What would your reaction be if I told you I was writing a story called The Accidental Text? In this story, a girl sends a text message to a phone number she thinks belongs to a friend. But it turns out the friend changed her number and the girl ends up exchanging several messages with a perfect stranger. The stranger is a man who sounds interesting, friendly and educated. When she sees his picture, he’s drop dead gorgeous. They exchange messages for weeks and when they decide to meet in person he ends up attacking and killing her.
The rest of the story details how the girlfriend with the new phone number discovers what happened, tracks down her friend’s killer and helps bring him to justice. Sound interesting? Would you want to read it? Would you judge me for writing this story?
What if the story went a little differently? Over the weeks that they communicate by text and phone, the two fall in love. When she meets the guy in person they have sex in his car. They develop a relationship, in which the sex is passionate, steamy, intense; in the shower, on the kitchen table, outside in the backyard. If I told you this was the story I wrote, would you judge me?
I’ll tell you, I’d feel more comfortable telling you I wrote story A than I would telling you I wrote story B. But why is that? Is sex worse than murder?
I write romance – some of it erotic. Okay a lot of it is erotic. And in my stories the characters have sex.
While I was in church today, I looked around at the people I worship with – my church family and couldn’t help wondering what they’d think if they knew the type of story I just had published on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Bowmans-Inn-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00WBZSN0G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431909410&sr=8-1&keywords=bowman%27s+inn ) Or the story I’m working on currently.
Over the past year that I’ve been writing I’ve been concerned about whether I’d share my writing with my family, my friends, or worse, the people I go to church with. Would people say or even think that because of my faith and spiritual beliefs I shouldn’t write about characters who engage in questionable activities? Deep inside I guess I wondered if I should be writing the type of stories that I do.
But then I thought about books written about murder, serial rapists, people who don’t recycle, and people who don’t quite get the concept of what the left lane is for on a highway. Do the authors of such stories worry that they’ll be judged by their peers because they write about topics which are socially unacceptable? Criminal activity? Sinful activity?
I don’t think the fact that an author writes about topics that are socially questionable means he or she engages in, or condones such behavior.
We can write about drug use, driving slowly in the left lane, or failure to recycle without it meaning we engage in those activities, so why should I fear judgment for writing what I believe is an interesting story just because my characters are engaged in a sexual relationship? So yes. I write about sex. Hot, steamy, knock your socks off sex. But I also have a loving relationship with my God. No longer will I worry that these two areas of my life cannot coexist. No longer will I fear that people will judge me. I know that not everyone will like what I write, but I also know I can be true to my faith and still write steamy erotic romance.
11 thoughts on “Is Sex Worse Than Murder?”
Sha Renee, have you ever been with ‘a ultimate alpha male’ ?
Hola, Senor. I actually was not familiar with the term before connecting with my writer friends online. From what I’ve read and heard, alphas are natural leaders. They protect and provide for those in their care, always willing to step up to the plate; fearless in a fight if it becomes necessary.
The Ultimate Alpha that LJ referred to of course is God, so in that aspect, yes.
As for a romantic relationship with an alpha where said alpha intended to lead, protect and provide for? Most likely. But I may not have realized it at the time. Since the leadership and protection an alpha provides may include exerting authority, I likely rebelled thinking that he was only trying to control me.
Yeah, dinnae mind the spelling, for some reason my dyslexia is pretty bad right now. *sigh* I have good days and bad days.
Oh aye. The ultimate Alpha. Right.
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While everyone has to make the choices that are right for them (and really, who I am to tell you what is right for you?), I commend you bravely putting your truth out there. Both with religion and with your writing. It’s a line I admittedly do not walk with grace. Based on true biblical principles, there are many sins we commit every day…ones most turn a blind eye to now…yet no sin is greater than another, right? Thus making us all morally corrupt, sullied, and unredeemable? Or does it simply mean that we, in our perfect imperfection, can not possibly see the enormity of the whole…thus in essence only enabling us to hold true to the one ideal that needs no explanation…love. Love for ourselves and love for others. I hardly see how you writing sex, even raunchy sex, equates to you loving or caring for the well-being of humankind any less than someone who writes bloody violence. Of course I’m also not the type to not wear a dress I like simply because it might cause someone else to lust. So maybe I’m selfish, another erotica writer furthering her own agenda…or maybe I’m just a friend in awe of you…
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Interesting perspective. Scripture hardly shys away from Eros actually. The most common metaphor for the relationship between God and his people is one of erotic surrender. The Lover and the Beloved. There ain’t no safewords with the Almighty. He gives you a choice: you can stay in the room or not, but if you stay, he demands complete surrender. He loves you, but he’s the ultimate Alpha Male, right?
Batter my heart, three person’d God . . .
For I, except that you enthrall me, never shall be free
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.
JOHN DONNE, Holy Sonnets.
Arguing a story with sex in it ‘inspires some to sin’ would cut half of the Bible out. It would also cut out from our spiritual traditions most of the great mystics, thinkers and writers in Christian history. St Augustine of Hippo, St John of the Cross, Teresa of Avila. CS Lewis.
Jeremiah and Hosea’s writing, for example, uses strong sexual language, designed to turn the reader OFF not on. But Song of Songs and parts of Isiah are deeply moving erotic poetry, imagery designed to seduce and pull in the Beloved…
My Lover is mine, and I am his . . . he is a fine wine, flowing gently over my lips and teeth.
And then, does reading 2nd Samuel 11 make you want to cheat on your wife? Does reading Genisis make you want to take more than one wife? Does Judges 6 inspire you to rape her?
The answer is that the Eros, untemptered by the other loves, especially Agape, Divine love is a demon. But the erotic blueprint of what makes us tick is part of our humanity. And Love Himself put that there.
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LJ, your words are beautiful, encouraging and awe inspiring. And the Ultimate Alpha Male? I love it! Wheels are already turning in my writer brain.
Thanks and hugs.
Dont worry about what people will think/ What does God say. He tells you n the Bible, that why he gave it to us. 1st Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body. The stories you write may provoke others to sin. While others are responsible for their choices, do you want to plant the seed? Your feeling this way because the spirit is talk to you. Would Jehova God read your stories? Is your relationship with Jehova God for your comfort or to serve him? I love you and thats why I say search the bible for your answer not the net.
Very interesting and thoughtful post. I’d have the same concerns.
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I love you too, my friend, but I have to disagree. I don’t think what I write will provoke people to sin any more than a murder story would provoke people to sin. The fact that my characters have sex, does not encourage the readers to have sex – or at least it shouldn’t. My characters ride motorcycles. My characters are in the Navy. Heck, my characters drink coffee! Does that mean that my readers will start drinking coffee as they ride motorcycles to the local Navy recruiting station? In my opinion, no. It is expected that people will read responsibly. If reader thinks they would be provoked or tempted to have sex because of something they read, then they should not read it – no one is forcing them to. The Bible cautions us against causing others to stumble. If I coerce a recovering alcoholic to accompany me to a bar, and I sit next to them enjoying my Pink Moscato, raving about how good it is, THAT would be provoking someone to stumble. It’s very different from writing a story in which THE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS go to a bar and drink. Warnings are put on adult reading material for this very reason, to forewarn any readers who feel they will immediately engage in whatever activities they read about.
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My boyfriend and I are writing a travel + sex blog together. I don’t do this secretly and even use my Facebook account to announce updates and what not. What I find interesting is how many people do read it but refuse to talk about it. It’s sex. Everyone does it. If they pretend they don’t know anything about it, does that make them better people? Haha I don’t have the church aspect in my experience but the “judgment” should only add to your book sales.
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A travel and sex blog! Allow me a moment to dream… Ok, I’m back. That’s amazing. Travel, sex, a camera, sampling coffee from every region of the world… sorry I got carried away.
I appreciate your comment and wish you luck with your sexy travels!