Keeping it Real in Romance

As a graduate of a convent school, the Sisters of Mercy were responsible for my sex education. And hats off to them, they nailed the basics: fear and guilt. Sister Diana provided an almost endless list of reasons not to have sex. I mean, the pain and the diseases and the sin. So much sin! I feel a need for a Hail Mary just thinking about it.

After her tutelage, it is amazing that any of her pupils have gone forth to multiply…

But back to sex ed. The class was separated into boys and girls. Not entirely sure what the boys got to talk about, but the gals got to label diagrams. I learned my way around a vas deferens. And the Corpus cavernosum? Who knows where that is? This girl. And don’t even get me started on sphincters. I know where they are and what they do.

Notably absent from the syllabus was a single reason why any sane person would willingly dip their finger (and any other body part) into this coitus minefield.

Luckily my sex education did not end with the Sister’s of Mercy, it is entirely likely that I would still be a virgin if it had. Hello! Did I mention all the pain and the sinning? Fortunately I had romance novels to round out my education. And round it out, they did.

My mom bought romance novels by the pound, brought home in tattered paper bags, brimming with Fabio laden covers. There were hundreds in total and I read every single one. And the lessons I learned… My Lord those books were educational. For starters, sex was only painful the first few times and even then the discomfort could be lessened with the offerings of a gentle and attentive lover, like our Fabio. Man Fabio was amazing. I feel the need to pause now and reflect on the gift that is Fabio, always making sure his lady love was primed, mostly with his skilled tongue. Yes, dear friends, romance novels were how I learned about oral sex. I can’t for the life of me think why Sister Diana left that bit out; it is like covering the American Civil war and leaving out Lincoln…pretty darn important.

My man Fabio also taught me that sex requires movement. Until him, I thought sex was merely an act of insertion and then ejaculation, just put it in and fill her up. It was Fabio’s rhythmic thrusting that educated me, his throbbing manhood that taught me the finer points of sex.

Maybe because romance novels were my real sex education, even now I expect a certain amount of realism in sex scenes, because after all some poor soul may be getting their sex education here. We really owe it to them to keep it real.

I give authors a bit of poetic license, like letting their characters snog in the morning without first nipping to the loo to brush. In real life this is not going down in my house, but I forgive this oversight because morning breath is not a secret.

What I can’t forgive as easily is glaring oversights that ignore basic physiology or the necessity for prep work. The most noteworthy example of this I have read lately is impromptu anal sex. Surprises can be great. Flowers for no reason? Sure. Chocolates? Of course! A romantic trip away? I can get on board with that. But surprise anal sex? That is not a good surprise. Ever.

Recently I read a book where the heroes (yes there were two) surprised the heroine with an ambush that involved a penis and her bottom. Um…no…just no… I will endeavor to be delicate about this, because under my erotica writing exterior, beats the heart of a lady.

Anal sex requires prep work, dear friends, and not just the Fabio kind, making sure the lady is well up for it. Anal requires real prep work (read enema). Without the requisite freshen up things can get rather…I think icky is the technical term.

Let us all learn a lesson from “Soft Serve” the unfortunate guy from University who no longer has a name. He will forever be “Soft Serve” because he failed to do the prep work, and the resulting carnage involved the burning of bed linens and a Silkwood Style hose down for the involved parties. The scene was not pretty, or so I was told by a friend of a friend of a friend. Basically everyone in California knew about it within 36 hours…and this was before Facebook.

Let him be a cautionary tale.

But here is where things get tricky: how do you incorporate the “freshen up” into a scene? Working a condom into a scene is easy, working an enema in isn’t. Talk about killing the mood, or greatly enhancing it if that is your fetish of choice.

What to do, what to do?

In the end, I have had to forgive the ambush author the oversight of surprise anal, because I too have chosen to skip the “freshen up” in my books. Why? Because romance novels happen in an alternate reality where morning breath doesn’t exist and all men are well endowed billionaires? Well, a bit of that. And also because just because I didn’t write it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Yep that’s right. When my characters kiss in the morning assume both have brushed and smell minty fresh, and any and all prep work has been taken care of. I can hear you asking how the ambushed heroine could have freshened up. Hmm… Let’s just assume all characters are ready for every sexual eventuality at any given time. Agreed. Now dear friends, I leave you to read and learn. Enjoy!

X Kierney

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