I'm absolutely thrilled to announce that a series of guest posts will be going up on this blog over the next couple of months about the value of romance and erotica. I've invited six fabulous writers of erotica and romance to tackle this topic and give us all some food for thought.
The first post is by author Sassy Jacksun, whose steamy contemporary erotic romance novel In Between is rumored to almost be finished! Read on to find out what Ms. Jacksun thinks romance and erotica can add to our lives.
"The Value of Romance & Erotica" by Sassy Jacksun
I believe that reading the romance/erotica genres helps to remind us that true love does still exist. So many people have given up on love, and it makes me quite sad. More importantly, I feel the words commitment and love are overused and taken for granted.
Think for just a moment about how many times a day we hear the words “I love you.” Several years ago for a linguistics class, I had to go out and listen to people converse, as well as watch television at specific times of the day, to see how often these three small words were used and in what context. What I discovered made my heart sink.
I feel love should mean something when you say it, and I feel a commitment of love to another person - or people - should be something you are willing to fight for and not just toss away as if it were a dime-store toy.
Truly, if love and commitment to love are not worth fighting for anymore, then why are we alive at all?
This is one of the reasons I feel the romance/erotica genres are so important to read. They remind us why we are here. Reading a really good romance or erotica story can help you remember why the good fight is worth fighting. Cheesy, maybe. However, very true, I think.
The reasons why I write erotic romance are many. A couple of the biggest reasons I write in this genre deal with the sex negative views that still exist today. Even worse, there are many preconceived notions and extreme expectations that have been created around the words love and sex.
First, the preconceived notion of my “one and only” and the expectations that come with that title are practically impossible for any human to achieve and still be normal. These notions and expectations about our “one and only” have been so engrained into our nurturing and cultural beliefs that I feel like they have become an actual part of our DNA.
Yes, there are truly people who do have their “one and only,” which I applaud, and I do not in any way think monogamy is a negative form of commitment or love. However, I do not believe monogamy is the only way we as a species commit or love.
If everyone is truly monogamous, why are there so many people who cheat? Why is the divorce rate so high? Why walk outside your loving commitment to hurt your “one and only?”
Common answers to these questions are: “We grew apart,” and, “You weren’t fulfilling my needs.”
While I believe that neither of these responses is a reason to cheat or lie - actually, I don’t believe that there are any good reasons to cheat or lie - I do believe that they are reasonable topics to discuss with your partner. Furthermore, because these are reasonable topics to discuss with your partner, it is fully possible to seek out the answers together without lying and/or cheating.
Second, so many cultures are suffocated by the negative myths spread about sex and sexuality. How many people do you know who can say the word masturbation without blushing? In the general population, not many. Yes, it is getting better than it used to be many years ago, but the blushes and giggles are usually still there. I feel that masturbation should be a topic that is discussed in sexual education classes. It is the safest form of sex out there, and you do not need to involve anyone else. For most people, sex is a basic need. So why is the word masturbation still whispered in dark corners?
And finally, there is the issue of women being told what they can or cannot do with their bodies - I’m so over it. For centuries, women have been forced to believe in a duality myth: women are either good wives or sluts but cannot be both. There are countless examples of this cruel and confusing myth about women in literature, and the myth’s backlash - sex negativity and slut shaming towards women. Sex negativity needs to stop. Now. There is no rational reason why a woman cannot ask for what she wants or needs in bed. It is healthy. It is realistic, and it is completely natural.
My hope is that writing erotica and creating sex positive acts in which women take the lead will help debunk some of the fear-based notions that still exist.
Well, Jeanie Grey, thank you so much for asking me these very important questions. I look forward to reading other opinions on this topic.