1. Growing up, I never had a crush, and during my teens I didn’t fully understand the hold that sexual temptation had on others. Sure, I kind of understood it in concept and could acknowledge the addictive nature of sex and such, but it was easy for me to be a little too dismissive when it came to why people might have a harder time having self control in certain instances.

    Reading stories with sensuality in them kind of helped fix that, because when I read I am constantly analyzing the human nature aspects that are at play. I started to actually be able to see and visualize the hold that people’s sexual inclinations had on them. It helped me be able to truly understand, contemplate and engage with the issue instead of merely acknowledging it on a superficial level.

    From that standpoint, discussing sensuality and sexual issues is important, even in fiction. Sex is an aspect of life that a lot of people struggle with and it’s made worse when people are not willing to talk about it honestly. Or, when people do talk about it, they do so in a toxic manner. It’s hard because, although sex shouldn’t be a completely taboo topic, that doesn’t mean that people should sit there and marinate in sexual content either, especially not at a young age. Not nearly everyone needs to talk about sex or discuss it in their stories, but it is important that some people are willing to do so on occasion.

    I don’t write actual sex scenes, but there is some sensuality in my stories that takes an honest look at what the characters go through and how it affects their decision making. It isn’t there to encourage promiscuity, it’s there to address the reality of what people do and why. And then it also explores the consequences of people’s decisions and how they cope with them. I feel like this is important since the age group I will be targeting is adults, and although I don’t want to write porn, I do want to address topics that at least some of my readers might be dealing with.

    As far as men being visual and women being based more in sweet poetic words and stuff, I’m glad you address that myth. Women are very visual. And if the relational/verbal stuff didn’t matter to men, then the communication they have with women online or over text wouldn’t make a difference to them. But it DOES make a difference, even when there’s no photos being shared or direct sexual references being made. Matthew Hussey has entire tutorials for women based on how they can get a guy’s attention through text and quite a few of those don’t have anything to do with sex. I don’t agree with everything he says, but it seems like a lot of his advice would work on at least certain types of men. So when we look at visual, verbal, relational, etc. aspects, these affect everyone in some way, regardless of gender.

    • Parker J says:

      Hi Autum,

      Thank you so much for your always, well thought out response. I really can’t add anything but an ‘Amen!’

    • notleia says:

      I feel that, I was also a late bloomer. It absolutely didn’t help that I grew up in the sort of culture that treated the subject as radioactive, it wasn’t until I was more on the internet where I found people who could approach it as a real subject and not as some kind of fantasy — which isn’t easy even on the internet, because fantasy sells. A possible snag is that I found that real-subject treatment in circles among exvangelicals or ex-Christians entirely (with some assorted neo-pagans thrown in for flavor).
      I still think Christian subculture isn’t good at talking about sex, even if some of them have realized that treating the subject as radioactive isn’t helpful. Bless their hearts, they haven’t figured out how to thread the needle to be non-radioactive yet still fall within the subjectively Christian parameters. Which, to be fair, may be an impossible task. For example, Stephen’s written policy on the topic, as needing redemption through the potential for childbearing, is basically incompatible with even the blandest, generic sex-positivity, because that is how you treat a necessary evil (which is also surprisingly Catholic of him — not necessarily bad, but surprising for a Calvinist/Reformer dude).

      But as for how to get a dude’s attention in text: it’s usually as easy as them attention in text, but the context for Auntie Notleia’s experience is in chatting with dudes on OKCupid about a million years ago (according to the internet fossil record, about 5 years in real time). Shy nerd dudes on the dating apps are very happy to talk to girls who initiate chats. Your mileage may vary if your type is not, in fact, shy nerd dudes on the internet.

      Bonus tangential linky, because of course I have one: https://going-medieval.com/2020/12/16/on-treating-sex-with-the-utmost-reverence/

What say you?