Sex as a gift, or sex as violence?

A thought that’s always uppermost in my mind when I’m writing is the genre. Romance. I’m writing a love story, and part of love (hopefully!) is steamy sex, where sparks fly, and all you can think about for days afterwards is that person.

Recently I’ve come across some things that have made me wonder if I’m alone in this view. Revenge porn. Porn in general. Some people seem to see sex as a weapon to use against other people.

A friend of mine recently had pictures of her published on a web site. They weren’t as bad as they could have been, but her job gives her a high profile, and word quickly got around about the pictures. She’s stood down from her job for a while, until it all blows over. These were snaps she took willingly, for a person she was with and trusted at that time. More fool her, huh?

I also made the mistake recently of viewing Hot Girls Wanted. This is a documentary about the amateur porn industry, and it’s unflinching in looking at how the women are treated. It includes abuse videos, which I was possibly naive in thinking wouldn’t be that common. They are.

How could someone possibly find these things sexually enjoyable? Viewing pictures without a person’s consent, knowing they were never meant for you? Viewing video of a pretty young girl being screamed at, beaten, and then made to perform sexually?

It’s always uppermost in my mind when I write, that I want the characters having sex to enjoy themselves. There may be all sorts of internal conflicts about whether they should want it, but they do. Those are always the scenes that are hottest to me. Where people want each other, get each other off, and then bask in the glow together afterwards.

Romance books are often called lady porn (my preferred term) or mummy porn. I don’t mind people seeing it as porn, despite the stigma attached to it. Although I’d like to think there’s a lot stronger story than your average porn video! I’d probably enjoy watching porn as well as reading it, if sex was shown as something beautiful and consensual. Sex is probably one of the easiest ways to flood our brains with happy chemicals and bond with another person. What a wonderful gift to be able to share.

There’s probably little we can do to stop certain people from treating sex as a weapon. All I think we can do is celebrate it in our own lives. Never give in to those who would want us to be ashamed of it, and our bodies. And always be as sure as we can be that those we share it with are trustworthy.

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