Earlier this week my alter ego, Tara Neale…the ‘good girl’ (ha-ha, she ain’t that good) did a blog asking…
The impetus for it all was a wonderful romance I read. The characters were alive. The author used big words, fifty-cent ones, that actually forced me to use the dictionary junction on my Kindle. That impressed me. She caught the very essence of the South in which I grew up: the good and the bad. Best of all, I adored the fact that her hero was no flawed bad-boy. He was a real man…and a Marine. With the exception of a few awkward sentences, the book should have been a solid five stars.
EXCEPT…there was no sex.
Fair enough, ‘sweet romance’ is a genre all its own. Not one this girl will ever write, mind you. But one that is popular for religious and moral reasons. But the first two-thirds of this story had not read like one of those. The author kept raising the sexual tensions with long kisses, feeling one another up, even erections, and wet panties. All to fade to black on a couple of times they do make love. Then I read this in the author bio…
The muscle I most admire in a man is between his ears, so I don’t write titillating sex scenes because you already know where the body parts go and you don’t need an anatomy lesson from me. As I recall bedroom events, it was fifteen minutes and he turned over and went to sleep. I got up, changed diapers or washed dishes or ironed my clothes for work the next day.
Whoa! Wait a minute. What’s with this nothing more than “fifteen minutes and he turned over and went to sleep”? That got me to thinking about the value we put on sex, not just in romance novels, but in our relationships as well.
I suppose for some people sadly it might be nothing more, but for me, sex is one of the most powerful human acts on this earth.
It can wound you so deeply that you just want to die, perhaps even kill something inside of you…
But it can also heal…even Fisher King wounds…
It is communion …with one another…with god, or the goddess, or just life itself…
Yes, it can be procreative, but it can also be creative, comforting, transformative even.
It is anything BUT body parts in slots, fifteen minutes, or an anatomy lesson.
As Raine Eisler author of Sacred Pleasures says:
…sex can be a form of sacrament, a peak experience, as here the sexual union of two human beings can be a reminder of the oneness of all life, a reaffirmation of the sacred bond between women and men and between us and all forms of life.
A sacrament? Sacred? Those might seem unusual ways of describing an act that in our society is either used to sell anything and everything from cars to deodorant or something dirty, part of original sin. But that is exactly what sex has the power to be.
It might shock you then that the first time I considered such an idea was towards the end of my marriage to ‘the preacher’. I had left the church, our marriage was falling apart. We stayed together for the sake of the children and because his bible told him he could not ‘put away an unbelieving wife.’ We no longer wanted the same things or shared the same goals in life. The only things we had left was friendship and great sex.
One day we were lying in bed after that great sex. He said to me, “I feel closer to god when we have sex than when I pray.” At the time, that shocked me.
Even the experts agree sex can have a huge impact on happiness. A Psychology Today column entitled The Secret Reason Why Sex Is So Crucial in Relationships had this to say…
“the size of the difference in well-being for people having sex once a week, compared with those having sex less than once a month, was greater than the size of the difference in well-being for those making US$75,000 compared with US$25,000 a year.”
Sex makes you happier than money.
So, yes, sex does matter! Big time. Unfortunately, too few of us realize just how much. We close ourselves off. We engage in mind games. We play one another. We hurt people. We are hurt by them. Sex, even good sex, heck, even GREAT sex, is taken too lightly. It is not appreciated for the transformative act that it is.
Does that sound preachy? Well, I was married to one for years. But ya’ll know this one is important to me. My Three Rules…
1) Life Sux.
2) Love is the only thing that makes it worth living.
3) Great sex is the best way to show that love.
That sex does not have to be just between a man and a woman either. Homosexual, transgender, poly, it doesn’t matter. Because as Joy Danvers preaches…
Nothing Done In Love…can ever be wrong.
So, yes, I was disappointed and angry that such a wonderful romance author felt that way about sex. But even more, I was sad that for her and so many others, what is to me a sacred communion of souls was just fifteen minutes of insert tab A into slot B. Sex can and should be so much more than that.
That is the message which I try to convey in all my books…Tara or Raquel. That is why most of my Raquel ones have some sort of sex in every chapter…and even the Tara Neale one’s have some.
But it is not sex just to titillate or sell books. It is that transformative experience that fosters growth and healing. It is there to develop the characters, the plot, and move the story forward. Because that is what sex does…in romance novels or real life.
And writing about that, my feeble attempts to communicate that sacred beauty and its power, is an important part of who I am as a writer. It serves a higher purpose too.
As Eisler says if we are to break old patterns such as seeing sex as dirty or simply something to be used to sell things, then we must re-mythologize it. We need new scripts, new stories that empower sex as that sacred communion. Whether that be between one woman and one man as Tara Neale writes or two men/one woman or two men or whatever combo you can think of.
Hell, yeah, sex most definitely matters. It matters to me as a woman. As a priestess. And as a writer. Every day it becomes a deeper and more meaningful communion with the man I love and the goddess I serve. Marvin Gaye had it right, folks…
Have you ever experienced that kind of sacred communion?