I have been thinking about the word “naughty.” Some women find the word tremendously empowering. A while back, I realized that I was reacting badly to the word. My (now ex) would say, “Let’s go be naughty.” I realized that–to me–naughty meant, “Something I should be ashamed of.”
Now–I’d also just done 3-year leadership training program with a bunch of feminists. It occurred to me that I was overthinking this. Me? Overthinking things? Naaawww.
I want sex to be empowering, affirming, luscious and amazing. And, as a writer, words are important to me. And I’m not ashamed of having sex.
The word “naughty” seemed like I was playing into the dominant culture’s idea that sex is “bad.” That I should be embarrassed about flipping to the hot scenes in a romance novel while at the bookstore. That I should pretend that I don’t have sex.
How amazing would our world be if we weren’t ashamed of sex? What if people enjoyed safe, sane, consensual sex without fear of shame or judgment?
However, once I started publishing paranormal romance, I had to rethink that word “naughty.” Suddenly I was blushing when I told people I’d just published a novella about a girl hooking up with two werewolves in a threesome.
I address the idea of being sex positive sometimes when I teach leadership and community building classes around the country. I advocate healthy sexuality and sex education so that particularly women can learn what’s going to keep us 1. healthy and 2. make us feel good.
Sometimes I wonder how many women first learned about orgasm from reading a romance novel. Generally, we’re left to fumble around and figure it out, which has led to lots of unsatisfied women. We’re also taught that self-pleasuring is wrong. Yet, our partners don’t always know how to please us because they aren’t taught how either.
This fall I was on tour teaching leadership from Chicago to New York, and I’d just released my first novella, Werewolves in the Kitchen, as part of Jupiter Gardens’ Wild Shifters anthology. I’d been published before about topics of leadership, personal growth, and facilitation, but this M/F/M menage was my first published fiction.
So there I am teaching my workshops, vending at my table with my artwork, postcards…and a few copies of Wild Shifters, with the half-naked guy on the front. I got a curious looks and questions. “You teach leadership…and write romance? Huh.”
I blushed to my roots and said, “Yeah, I have a novella in this anthology.” And then blush more and feel compelled to mention that the story is a M/F/M menage. I blurted out, “My story is kind of naughty. Ellie gets to be with both guys. You know. At the same time.”
Driving to my next tour stop I’d wonder, why did I say “naughty?” Why not something affirming like hot or sexy?
I had to admit to myself that I wasn’t free of that cultural sex shame. I suppose it was exacerbated as Werewolves in the Kitchen is the only menage I’ve written, everything else is M/F. Hot, graphic, and sheet-scorching, but still M/F (with a little werewolf/vampire/Faerie/paranormal critter to add a little magical spice).
In Werewolves in the Kitchen there’s a “Manwich,” a term a friend introduced me to that I absolutely adore. Ellie’s having consensual sex with two men–at the same time–and everybody’s cool. Kyle and Jake don’t really have the sexual hangups that Ellie has. Jake and Kyle are werewolves; they are a little more primal. If it’s pleasurable and everyone’s consenting, it’s all good.
I wish that I could be a bit more like Jake and Kyle. But I guess what I’ve come to is this–sex is healthy. Sex is natural. I hope, with my romance and erotic writing, to turn people on. And I also hope that my stories might help people feel healthier about their own sexuality, their needs, their pleasure.
Not all women come the same way. Not everyone likes the same things. Some can’t come from intercourse but can come from oral. Others can’t come from oral at all. Some can only come with the aid of a sex toy. Some women can have orgasm after orgasm just from intercourse. Some women need a little helping hand. There’s lots of ways to have sex and pleasure is an amazing, vibrant, affirming thing. It’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s something to learn about so we can know what turns us on, what works for us.
For me, I suppose what it comes down to is, naughty’s not the word that works for me, but I can see how it’s affirming for others. And it was good for me to realize I’ve still got some shame-baggage, though I’m grateful to have way less baggage than I used to.
Maybe, after I’ve gotten a few more books out, I’ll stop blushing at the half-naked guy on the book cover. Until then I wish each and every one of you a happy holiday season full of pleasure!
Werewolves in the Kitchen is currently part of the anthology Wild Shifters, but will be released as a standalone novella in mid December. This paranormal romance/urban fantasy features two sexy werewolves and a menage (M/F/M), Heat level: Spicy
Blurb: After a hot, wild night with Jake and Kyle, Ellie finds herself in the dangerous world of shapeshifter magic. Will their love be enough?
Excerpt 1: Spicy Hot/R | Excerpt 2: Action/Adventure / PG 13
Where to buy:
http://jupitergardenspress.com/shop/wild-shifters (Coupon THANKS2013 for 15% off all JGP titles) or Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble
A Winter Knight’s Vigil is an erotic contemporary romance available through Pagan Writers Press.
Blurb: Sexy, kilt-wearing Tristan has captured Amber’s attention on many occasions. When their coven heads to a woodland cabin to celebrate the Winter Solstice, Amber finds herself closer than ever to Tristan. As the Longest Night approaches and their group’s ritual workings intensify, the pair realizes that they can no longer hide from their feelings. Tristan and Amber face their shadows—and the realization that one or both of them might have to leave the coven. Or can they be together without breaking their honor?
I’m hosting a giveaway including one hardcopy of the Wild Shifters anthology, one ebook of A Winter Knight’s Vigil, several pieces of jewelry, 3 gently used Sherrilyn Kenyon books, one set of 4 handmade cards, and one small painting. Click the link to enter by liking my FB page, following me on Twitter, and a host of other ways to gain additional entries. 9 winners will be chosen.
Don’t forget to head on over to the Thankfully Naughty Blog Hop for other great blogs and giveaways! Click the linky image to find links to the other blogs on the hop.