No, this isn’t a ménage post. Sorry to disappoint.
I just completed the first round of edits on the second novella in my series. When I hit “save,” I had a revelation. I love my female characters. Now don’t get me wrong, my male characters are great. They are handsome and sexy and do and say all the right things . . . yada, yada, yada . . . but my stories are about the women and their journeys to happiness, however they define it for themselves. They are strong and independent, smart with good jobs that they excel in, and most of all they love sex and aren’t ashamed of that fact.
Shame. That’s the key.
It seems like in American society, shame is wielded like a weapon against women. “Good” girls don’t do X. “Bad” girls do Y. Stay a virgin until you are married? Good girl. Stay single, have a sex drive, and act on it? Bad girl. I don’t need to rehash the whole “slut shaming” that continues to rear its ugly head in the media, but suffice it to say that the overall message is that woman, particularly single women, are frequently made to feel guilty for desiring a rich, active, fulfilling sex life. And if those desires include a diversity of tastes like other women or multiple partners at the same time? Well, let’s bring out the shaming labels and mark her with a scarlet letter.
In fiction, it doesn’t have to be that way, so in my books, it isn’t. I am free to create women who love sex, who have a strong sex drive, and who embrace it. In all three of my completed works thus far, my female characters have no problems telling their partners what they want. Oral? Yes, please. Anal? Absolutely. Swing from the chandelier while wearing a superhero costume and holding a chocolate cupcake? Why not? (Ok, so maybe I haven’t written that scenario, but you have to admit that it does have possibilities.)
They don’t worry what their partners will think of them afterwards. They don’t care about their stretchmarks or their cellulite, or the fact that their left breast is slightly smaller than their right. They just want to connect with another person and share something pleasurable. If they find love, that’s cool, but that’s not the goal. Not initially at least. And that’s ok. Even this is a slightly radical notion because society would tell us that if you are a single woman and getting naked with another consenting adult (of the opposite sex, of course), it might be ok if you are “in love” or “looking for love” or “hoping to fall in love” or (even worse) hoping to “make the other person fall in love with you.” But sex just because you enjoy it? Because you need it or even crave it? Shameful.
I know these notions are not going to change overnight. We are a country built on shame, after all (see: the Puritans). So in light of that, I’ll continue to explore an ideal world in fiction and write stories that feature women who own their sex drive and honor it.