So much thanks to Grace Duncan for coming up with and organizing this blog-hop that is explicitly (hehe) sex-positive. Please have a look at some of the other "hop" contributors as well (the list is at the end) It's cold out there and this will warm you up :)
So then, without further ado....
You know how sometimes somebody says something in a way that nobody ever put to you before, and you realize it’s true and that, in fact, you knew it all along? Yeah, that.
So a few months ago I was talking to a counselor about school/life/work/community/personal balance, and at one point, he asked me right out about relationships (with the stipulation that that doesn’t have to mean ‘romantic’ or ‘physical’ ones). Well, I thought about it for a second and I thought, ‘what the hell, cards on the table.’ Now, I don’t consider myself to be in a ‘relationship’ of any real definition, but I might have the occasional assignation with a gentleman. So I said as much to my counselor, saying that it was a very loose ‘relationship’ and that, really, that worked fine for me since I didn’t exactly have the kind of time that anything more defined would deserve. And frankly, there really aren’t warm, fuzzy, cuddly feelings involved. It’s pretty much a good time.
And then my counselor said something that kind of blew me away. He cocked his head and nodded and said, “good for you!” Like, as in, ‘own that!’ ‘you go, girl!’ and/or ‘that’s quite a healthy, mature attitude!’ and yet completely devoid of any ‘ooh la la’ overtone (which, naturally, licensed counselors should definitely avoid). Basically, it was like saying that sex can and should be a healthy part of life, without sexualizing the fact.
The very feeling that there’s a sort of sanction there to quite frankly have an enjoy the sex life of my choosing without any sense of ‘this should be leading up to _____,’ or questioning the healthiness or maturity of such a ‘thing,’ the feeling that I am answerable to no one but myself in this, is a very cool thing.
It’s so easy to get tangled up in feeling like we ought to have a certain kind of relationship at certain stages of our lives. We see the ‘messaging’ everywhere from advertising to entertainment to even just in what other people present about themselves. We ask ourselves, “So-and-so has this… why can’t/don’t I?” when the better question would probably be, “Is that what I want and what fits for me at this time?”
And that can be especially challenging for those of us who write romance. I love what I write and believe in it wholeheartedly. Characters who get themselves a strong, chronic case of the warm-fuzzies are a beautiful thing, for definite. But we also don’t have to live and love like our characters to be able to understand and convey those things. Good thing, too, considering some of the things I’ve put my characters through! And while my main characters almost always have those genuine romantic relationships, I have made it a point to include secondary characters with a range of relationship and romantic styles. That’s probably because I’ve always been of the opinion that they all ‘count.’ Whatever your thing is, if it’s good for you, what else matters?