Less is more

We've got a whole lot of sex these days. What we don't have is a whole lot of fun with it. We've left the shadow of our repressed Victorian ancestors. Sex is out of the closet and the bedroom and right in the center of the family room. On TV, Radio, stage and screen, in the newspapers, funny papers, and our daily conversations. Kindergarten teachers speak more explicitly about sex than their grandfather's family doctors did. There isn't a secret left to it now. We can hear how to do it, watch it being done, and do it unto others without the law or the family getting in our way.

We've been told that's healthy for us and our children. Experts say that if we see and hear about sex every day in every way, we'll develop healthy sexual habits and lifestyles, free of the evils of repression. It must be true. That's why the rate of teenage pregnancies has gone down, why sexually transmitted diseases are a thing of the past, why there are so few prostitutes now, and why the divorce rate is so low. Right?

If we're so open and candid about sex, why can't we get it right? Not only in our lifestyles, but in our pleasure in it?

Knowledge is not always power. It doesn't always bring bliss. I recently saw an article in a college newspaper telling readers how to perk up their boring sex lives. College students needing to know how to find sex exciting? That's so depressing. In days of not so yore, the only creature more eager to have sex than a college student was a bull in rut. But it makes sense. If you treat sex like exercise and divorce it from the soul, it becomes about as thrilling as a walk on a treadmill. Sure, your heart will race, but it will not be involved.

Pornography palls too. The first time you glimpse it, your brain sizzles. You goggle guiltily, as repelled as fascinated and excited, with a THEY'REREALLYDOING IT!! stare. But the next time your stare isn't quite as wide. And the next, you start noticing hair styles, scars, tattoos and moles. The thrill is definitely gone. After all, there are only so many ways part A fits into slot B. Yawn.

People joke about Romance writers penning "hot books." You can find hotter on TV almost any night. But you won't find much more thrilling. Fiction allows us to cloak and disguise, embellish and infer. Romance novels aren't sex manuals, they deal with intangible ecstasy. They explore the human heart and how it links to the rest of the body. Most of all, Romance novels put the love back into lovemaking. And love, and love alone, is what makes sex more. Life too, but that's another topic.

* Do I write novels with the ultimate embrace? Of course. Have I written novels without it? Yup. Some of my "Classic" Regencies. But some criticized THE DUKE'S WAGER, the very first one I wrote, for being too sensual and sexually explicit. Every time that happens, I urge them to show me where I was explicit. They can't. Because I wasn't. I just used inference. Their own imagination did the rest. Less IS more.

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