I recently finished writing a rather unusual story for my next Soulful Sex collection, unusual in that it took me a really, really long time to get around to the sex. As in page 55. Yeah, sorry about that. I can explain, really.
You know, there are some aspects of sex that tremble right on the brink of taboo, but nevertheless are very powerful. Sometimes an erotica writer has to work with them, but it has to be done with some care. For example, sex with animals is taboo, but at the same time, a lot of people are into werewolves and other shapeshifters (and you know about my faun thing). When I wrote my mermaid story, "Hunter" (Soulful Sex III), I had to speculate on the sex organs of merfolk without getting icky. Meanwhile, when I wrote "Artemis in Love" (offered free from the Living Beyond Reality Press READ FREE Project), I had a goddess fall in love with a boy, very carefully so as to avoid pedophilia. And of course whenever you deal with BDSM, you turn some people on and some people off; my READ FREE story "The Scarlet Shackle" looked for balance in that regard.
So this latest novella, "The Chieftain's Man," explores May-December romance, and commences with the 14-year-old narrator falling for a man 20 years her senior. Obviously sex between a young teen and a 34 year old is wrong, illegal, and kind of creepy as a concept. But think about it; when you were 14, didn’t you crush on a few thirty-somethings? When I was 12 and had no concept of sex, I was madly, hopelessly in love with then-36 Leonard Nimoy. It was as innocent as can be. When I was 14 and post-pubescent, I remember finding out David Steinberg was 28 and feeling bad he was twice my age and yet totally sexy to me. Ha!
But honestly, I ask you: which is worse when you're 14, wanting to have sex with a 28-year-old or wanting to have sex with a 14-year-old? And yet, when you're 14, you're gonna see some appeal in sex.
So, it was only realistic to explore the feelings of budding sexuality in a young girl like my protagonist. But I had to give it years to evolve, until it was appropriate for her to realize she had a woman's feelings for the man, and then eventually for it to be acceptable for the two of them to act on those feelings. Throw in the fact that there are numerous other obstacles to their romance, and you are really damn lucky they end up in bed by page 55.
I admit I felt a little bad about including this story in an erotic romance collection when it was going to take the reader so long to get to the actual stuff. But on the other hand, think about those teenage crushes you had on older men; life doesn't get a lot more erotic than that heady, newly-initiated lust you felt for men old enough to be your dad.
And speaking of that...well, you knew we had to speak of that, didn't you? There are an awful lot of us who, while we have completely normal, healthy feelings for our dads, have always been drawn to father figures. As an erotic romance writer, you do eventually need to address that particular fetish. In "The Chieftain's Man" my heroine initially falls for this fellow when he rescues her from attempted rape. He is savior, father image, and as head of her country's army, the ultimate authority figure. That's some pretty potent stuff going on.
But if you are going to present a romance like this, you will find yourself perpetually tippy-toeing around stuff that could be really uncomfortable. It takes some effort to get things arranged so that when the Big Moment happens, no one feels weird about anything, and everyone simply rejoices after a long buildup of sexual tension and romantic yearning.
Voila, page 55.
Yeah, I had my regrets about tackling a taboo again. But I did learn something in the process that was kind of self-enlightening. Sometimes sex is about being reluctant to have sex. This story, as all fiction necessarily is, was somewhat autobiographical. It was based on my own personal propensity to fall for father figures, most recently my crush on 60-year-old Admiral Adama of "Battlestar Galactica." I honestly do not spend a lot of time imagining myself in bed with this man, or with Edward James Olmos who plays him. In fact, there's something very daunting about the idea, even though he's only ten years older than me and at our age it doesn't matter a bit.
Nevertheless, I feel a very deep, unshakable passion for the character, and certainly not one without sexual elements. The idea of sex with him is not daunting because he isn't attractive to me. It's just that I feel unworthy, I feel such familiarity would be a breach of the awe I hold toward him. And, bottom line, that was the trickiest thing to deal with in my story. My heroine had to find a way to transform her potent hero-worship into a kind of love that would permit the intimacy of sex. So you see, sometimes sex is about being reluctant to have sex.
Hence--say it with me--page 55.
I hope my readers will find a way to bear with. Such is the price we all pay for struggling with those tricky but thrilling taboos.
Diana Laurence is the author of the Soulful Sex anthologies, most recently "Soulful Sex: The Science Fiction Collection." Visit her at www.dianalaurence.com.