Saturday, May 21, 2005
Sex, the Light Side and the Dark Side
A couple things happened in the last day which were very enlightening, especially in combination.
First of all, I read a short story called “Party Trick” written by Master Nage. It was an excellent piece of short fiction on the theme of lost souls, and that theme was explored largely via a very dark, desperate sex scene. This type of erotica is at the opposite end of the light-dark scale from what I write, but I enjoyed it immensely. It was wonderfully executed both in terms of style and characterization, and had some very important things to say about the human condition.
Secondly, I received an email from a fan who just finished reading my book Soulful Sex Volume II. I reproduce an excerpt here for the purpose of sharing what it was she told me about myself that I didn’t fully grasp before:
“I will start by telling you that a lot of my opinions and observations about your work are tightly woven with my admiration and understanding of the ideal you are trying to attain. Not just in literary style but in your vision. The worlds you create, the characters and circumstances are a reflection of your longing and striving for a better understanding between men and women, a society where sex is not shameful and the women need not feel victimized or promiscuous. Case in point is the Vernal Night Trilogy. Etaen culture is every woman's dream! Upon reading the first paragraph, I stopped and thought, “How does she think this up?” What struck me was the purity of your characters, men and women. Sex is not shameful here, there is no conflict in the characters...Delinn and Arjent’s story is my favorite of all three because of the purity factor I mentioned before. I love the fact that they grew up together and in that maturation, explored their sexuality together without shame. I understand that in this ideal you have created there are no unwanted pregnancies, no STDs, or broken hearts. Yes, it’s only Art but as with all good Art, it resonates, echoes ancient longings we hold, primal memories of a purer time.”
I had never realized until I read this how extreme and unusual my view of sex probably is. I do think of it as pure and divine, albeit recognizing that human nature tends to cause us to spoil all good things to one degree or another. In my stories I do idealize sex, probably because I believe it really could be that good, that innocent and intimate and refreshing. I like to portray it that way because I know in real life it is so often f’ed up, we seldom see it in forms so happy as those I imagine and write about. That’s real life for ya. Which is why I write romance!
But interestingly, as much as I like to write sex that way, I also am grateful for writers like Master Nage who can capture the sad, frustrated, painful side of sex so vividly. Because he, like me, takes the subject seriously. He’s trying to say something about humanity and its yearning for intimacy and unity, and how that yearning is expressed in our sexual encounters. His protagonist is a good, lonely man in a flawed world, where sometimes a strange but powerful satisfaction can be found in the most conflicted engagements.
Has there ever been a subject so complex, so intriguing, so baffling and so wonderful as sex?
These two little occurrences make me think not.