Spiritual erotica

My book doesn’t have a genre. It’s too many things, but two things it is are spiritual and erotic. Okay, so in my mind, I think, “spiritual erotica.” I like it.

Anyhoo, I would like to direct your attention to today’s Thmazing’s Thmusings post by Eric Jepson on “The Erotic in LDS Lit, Part I: Why?” Very thoughtful piece. Tyler of Chasing the Long White Cloud appears on the verge of addressing the subject himself. Then there’s The Visitors’ Center, which is a blog “celebrating Mormon sexuality,” and I’m wondering…

Is this serendipity that a whole bunch of us are coming up with this just in the last couple of years or so or has it been simmering on the back of the stove for a while and is now gathering steam and getting ready to blow?

The 37-year-old virgin heroine

The Virgin Heroine has always been (and remains, IMO) a staple of genre romance. It’s getting not so much that way anymore, but as time goes on and society gets freer with its sexcapades, it’s harder for a writer to justify the Virgin Heroine, especially beyond, say, college age. On the other hand, we still have historical writers who are perfectly capable of pulling off the “wicked virgin widow trope,” which I have to admit is cracktastic and I never ever get tired of it. (Kind of like “I had to do it to fulfill the will” plots, but that’s another post.)

I don’t believe I’ve ever read a contemporary romance (other than an inspirational or sweet) that used religious beliefs as a solid, if not defiant, reason for the heroine’s virginity. And in any case, religious or not, if the heroine does lose her virginity before she marries the hero, she still marries (or commits to) the hero, so it’s all good.

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The price of nice

I was over on Dear Author talking about Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer, which I have not read. One commenter expressed disapproval of Meyer on the basis that she’s a Mormon mother and shouldn’t be writing stuff like that anyway. I will go so far as to guess this commenter was not Mormon because she spelled it “Morman.”

I could crack on Meyer for a couple of different things, but when the religion gets broken out as a generic weapon to say “You can’t write that because you’re a Mormon,” I’m on Meyer’s side. Period.

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Reading against type

This morning I’m listening to Simply Red (flashbacks from freshman year at BYU) and the song “Money’s Too Tight to Mention” is a good song. If it weren’t, I wouldn’t have it in my library.

It also trashes things I believe in. Does it bother me? On some visceral level, yes, but that doesn’t make it difficult for me to listen to it and it certainly doesn’t keep me from listening. I’d miss a whole lot of good music (and that voice!) if I took umbrage at other people’s opinions and the way they state them (usually the way they state them is more off-putting than what they say).

So it started me thinking about how I read fiction,
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What the hell is Mormon romance?

So I went a-seekin’ keywords for my website header information and, naturally, plugged “Mormon romance” into Google and what did I get? This:

Mormon romance novels seduce book buyers

Germane point:

“I realized that there was a big hole in the LDS market for women’s fiction and I felt like I could do better,” [author Anita] Stansfield said. “I couldn’t find anything to read that satisfied me.”

Several years ago Stansfield wrote about a woman recovering from breast cancer. An important part of the book was the woman’s relationship with her husband, which included their relations in the bedroom, Stansfield said.

The novel’s bedroom scene dealt sensitively and obscurely with the topic of sex, referring more to the woman’s feelings than the couple’s activities. And yet Stansfield doesn’t believe those scenes would make it through the editing process today.

“I know I couldn’t write that now. They have cracked down,” she said.


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