Authenticity of Masturbation #brokentaboos

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.

Gender Bender

I’m not everyone8837096895_81577a234b_q‘s cup of tea, and one of those reasons is because I don’t understand or desire to have gender confines. While I do consider myself female, the confinements that we put on infants, children, teenagers, adults are unacceptable to me. I consider myself bisexual, but by that I mean that I don’t see gender or sex when I look at a person. It is completely irrelevant to who that person is.

Gender is a category. And while humanity loves categories, they are not generally used to uplift of make our society better. They are used to separate and distance one person from another. “What do women think?” “What do men think?” What difference does that honestly make? Is there even a difference or is it more what the individual thinks? Often times I’ve been told that I react differently than people expect. They look at me and see a blonde-haired, blue-eyed curvy woman and they think that I have to be ditzy and girly. The fact is I’m not. I love to lounge in basketball shorts and tanks. I sometimes like to put makeup on and curl my hair.

Why do we confine people to categories that we ourselves think can’t encompass a whole person? Meaning, how can we define a person only on one category while we would never describe ourselves in only that ONE category. I am not only just a female; I am a writer, a lover, compassionate. There are so many other ways that define us and who we are that it seems stupid and pointless to put such “static” categories or confines onto individuals.

Change is the only constant. If we lock people into groupings that don’t allow change, what does that do to their psyche? Is it not enough to accept people for who they are? Simply people? More over, since I write, this comes into language. In English we only have two pronouns, male and female, there isn’t really a gender neutral or a third option. We’ve certainly created them now, but they’re not common to the language.

I recently co-write a novel with a sex-shifting (and yes, sex-shifting, not gender-shifting) alien. Zhe and the other main character, Jane from the planet Earth, have a long discussion about gender and sex and the confines that humans put on others.

There’s an episode of the X-files called “Gender Bender.” It in there’s an alien or something or another, that switches “gender” (it’s actually them switching both gender and sex, btw, but I’ll let it slide). It is so unexpected that this could happen that it shocks a man who goes into a car with a woman and finds out that she also has a penis. Well…I get that it matters, that when someone is expecting one thing and gets another that they don’t know what to do except freak out. However, it doesn’t make sense to me. A person is a person, they are not a gender nor a sex, they are not male nor female, Jew nor Gentile. They are who they are, and that is the meaning behind it all.

No one is completely defined by their gender. So why do we care so much about it?

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Condoms! Condoms! Condoms!

I feel as though I need to jump on the bandwagon with this one. While yes, I mostly write lesbian fiction for publishing, I do write quite a bit of het fanfiction (actually, the majority of it). Now…I’ve been bad. The high majority of the time, my male characters do not wear a condom.

Now, that doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens a lot of the time. I think it really goes with what is happening. All of the characters (at least the majority of the time) are in monogamous relationships–or at least working toward one. I have read many places that when writing sex scenes always use the sleeping bag.

I really should write condoms in more, which is something I will continue to do in my fanfiction writing (and original when I actually get around to writing a het original).

Condoms are sexy. There is no reason why one shouldn’t use them when having sex (in writing and in real life). We are not a society that really promotes or advocates for abstinence until marriage anymore. I think it’s been accepted that it doesn’t really happen.

Condoms are sexy. Red, blue, black, white, purple, green, yellow, flavored, lubed–they’re all fantastically sexy.

Amy writes that she has a condom kink (she also has a consent kink–which should include consent for both parties, not just the woman, just saying). Maybe I should have a condom kink…a fetish with condoms. Perhaps I’ll work toward that, toward making sure that a condom is always present unless the circumstances don’t require it (aka my new novel where the goal is to get pregnant).

Women need to ask for condoms and come prepared with them just as much as any man does. Protect the vag, ladies. You can bring the protection! Don’t play damsel in distress, hoping the knight in shining armor has one stashed somewhere.

Amy’s Post: Unchainedfaith
Sirena’s Post: Condoms in Literature