I’ve read a whole lot of romance books in my life. It’s one of my secrets that I read and hardly anyone knows about. I tend to like romance over erotic romance and definitely over erotica, and yes there is a difference.
But sex wasn’t always acceptable in piece. It’s still not acceptable in a lot of pieces. I do write sex scenes. Not in every book I have, but I do write them when the story fits. Now, sex isn’t necessarily seen as something that’s bad any more in books. Not with the blast of Fifty Shades of Grey and books similar. In the last ten to fifteen years, writing and reading romance has become acceptable.
I definitely remember a time when it was not okay to tell people I read Nora Roberts but it was perfectly acceptable to tell people I read J. D. Robb. Yup, times have changed and they’re still changing. Sex in novels is almost expected now. What’s interesting to me is that I get flack for my novels that don’t have sex in them. They’re seen as not having enough romance. Well, to start they’re not romance novels, but still I don’t think sex is necessary. There’s allusions to sex for sure, and there are fade to black scenes.
What I do want to talk about in this post isn’t specific sex with another person, but sex with oneself. I want to talk about masturbation. Honestly speaking, how many books have to read where there is a masturbation scene? I’ve read a lot of Nora Roberts’ books, and I can say that I don’t remember a single one that has a masturbation scene.
Masturbation is still seen as something dirty, something we do when no one is looking. Come on, people! People masturbate all the time. It’s better than going out and having sex with random strangers. So why isn’t it such a big thing in books? I don’t get it.
There’s this thing called the Merry Month of Masturbation, which I do believe happens in May. During this time, some authors strive to write one story a day that has a masturbation scene in it. I have to say, I’ve never participated mostly because me trying to write a story a day is ridiculous in and of itself, but the concept is very appealing to me.
Masturbation is not something to be frowned upon. It’s exploration of one’s self, of the character, and it really tells a lot about the character. It makes them comfortable in their own body. It makes them aware of their dislikes and likes. It lets them know how to get to that Big O as quickly or as slowly as they want.
Masturbation is about self-discovery. Which, if you think about it, is what every good romance novel is about. Coming from the Christian perspective, there is a huge taboo about masturbation. Sex is acceptable in terms of wanting to procreate (so since I write lesbians, I’m already screwed on that one unless there’s some weird alien thing going on). Masturbation is by all means not acceptable.
We are a Protestant society in the US. I’ve explained this once, but the things related to it in how we think and behave as a society are ridiculous We’re a Protestant society so we don’t like to talk about these things. We don’t like to think about them. We don’t want to teach our children that masturbation is a good thing, that sex feels good. We don’t even want to discuss it with them.
Wouldn’t it be better to talk to your kids about masturbation and keep them in that realm of sexual exploration than letting them try and figure it out with another person and having a whole world of emotional, physical and other things come into the equation? Just saying.
Anyway, masturbation is a taboo subject. I rarely read books where there is a masturbation scene. What’s even more interesting is that if there is a masturbation scene, it’s probably a man. I’ve read many many lesbian books, and I’m trying to recall one that has a masturbation scene in it and I simply can’t. It might be because it’s be awhile since I’ve read some, but that should be a point unto itself.
Masturbation is OKAY! It’s okay to touch yourself and to have your characters touch themselves! It’s an exploration and a lot of times it’s damn sexy to read about.