Mama Can Do Without The Dirty Details

Well, I was going to spend my evening quietly working on my novel manuscript (OK, it was looking like 82% Facebook and the rest devoted to rabbit trails concerning ancient Babylon), but I’ve decided to hop on a quick soapbox instead.

Let’s talk about sex.

Ahem. Not real sex, mind you, but literary sex.

Can I be born in the 1980s and old-fashioned? I’m going with “yes,” because I’ve always leaned toward old-soulness.

Then again, I want to file a complaint.

Why do I feel like condemning myself as “old-fashioned” for proposing people save sex for marriage? Like, I have to qualify my opinion by saying it’s a lack on my part (a distinct lack of hipness) to make a bold, traditional statement. Gross.

Side Note: All of this has to do with my Bible-believing, Christian beliefs. I may as well toss out now that I believe sex before marriage is wrong. I’m also thankful I got married right out of college, so I wouldn’t have to learn about swiping right and…ghosting? Am I saying that right? Tough world out there, single friends. 

Second Side Note: Admittedly, even though I know/believe it’s wrong to have sex outside of marriage, I still see the appeal of reading those scenes in romance novels. I’m not judging anyone for reading books with sex scenes, and I understand why it’s appealing. I do try to resist. Sometimes I’m stronger than others. Ain’t nobody’s perfect.

OK, off that soapbox and onto my original pedestal.

I’ve spent the last few months grabbing all kinds of literary eye candy. Hey, I’m a sucker for a fun cover with perfect font. I like novels with sass and humor, and especially if they have a little toe-curling romance. Shoot, I hope to write one someday.

However.

What is the deal with the sex obsession?

I’m sorry, Abbi Waxman, but I’m going to pick on your novel, The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, because it’s my most recent read in this genre.

The protagonist, who suffers from high levels of anxiety, sleeps (and sleeps and sleeps) with a guy and heads into “boyfriend” territory before she even knows his profession (he always smells like sawdust, so she has enough of a clue to assume he’s not a complete bum). She has a lot of sex with him before they’re officially in a relationship. Why isn’t this a problem, especially since she has severe anxiety?

While the scenes weren’t exceptionally raunchy, I just couldn’t cheer for the heroine. Of course, they fall in love by the end, but I have no idea why. I guess the sex was just that good during their week together that it conquers all.

Sex (outside of marriage) has become such an afterthought (in books, anyway). It’s nothing special. It’s commonplace. It’s not even the goal anymore. Apparently, it’s now the rule, not the exception.

I guess in yesteryear it was something unique or taboo, so it was exciting, even if those participating felt a twinge of wrongness.

But now? Authors write it as an inevitability. Like, even if it’s horrible, at least you’ll get a good story to tell your girlfriends! And, hey! At least you got some, because everyone else is getting some too. Thank goodness you’re not the weirdo in the corner waiting for a long-term commitment!

Honestly, I’m not going to make a long list of contemporary romances, because probably 87% of them fall into this category. I’m not picking on these authors. I want to read their books! I want charming meet cutes and quirky protagonists. I want girlfriends dishing and hilarious banter.

I just want more respect paid to sex. It sells these women so, so short. It turns them into uncontrollable, hormone-driven animals, and I want so much more from them. I want them to be brilliant, successful women. I want authors to make me feel something because they’re writing smart, funny characters, not because they can write something steamy.

But…you can’t always get what you want.

What are your thoughts on this? Live and let live? I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Currently Reading:
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – Whew. I’d be scared to see the inside of Laini Taylor’s brain. Her storytelling and world-building skills are absolutely fantastic. Yes, you have to enjoy fantasy to read her books, but, wow, they stick with you. I’m listening to this in my car, and let’s just say the kiddos are getting extra iPad screentime in the car so Mama can turn off the Frozen 2 soundtrack and get a few more chapters in.

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