Monday, April 27, 2009

Lustful Thoughts

By Jamie Hill

Ever since former President Jimmy Carter admitting to having lust in his heart, the word 'lust' has been on my personal radar. That was back in the seventies. I was a kid growing up with all the usual hormones and emotions. Until then, my reading had consisted of every Nancy Drew book ever written, and a few true crime books I had no business reading but did anyway (In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter are two that come to mind, both still freak the crap outta me.)

I had a friend whose mother had a big collection of bodice rippers. You know the kind, some guy that looked like Fabio on the cover, and a heroine with a 'heaving bosom' and a lot of other flowery purple prose that I didn't really understand but was titillated reading it anyway. My house wasn't the most open place to get information, so plenty was gleaned from those first romance novels. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was from a good, strict Catholic family with seven or eight kids. The whole family gave up TV for Lent (Give up TV? Gah! The thought still scares me) and prayed the rosary together at night.

Anyway, my friend sometimes came up with very weird, wrong ideas. I was never quite sure if it was her religious mother (yeah, the one with the collection of romance novels) or my friend's two ornery big sisters that steered her wrong, but it drove me crazy. While discussing the literary merits of our latest read one day, she informed me that a pregnant woman couldn't have sex. Now, I didn't know much, but for some reason, this sounded wrong to me. I marched up the the front of the classroom, where our English teacher sat grading papers, and flat out asked her. To her credit, she didn't choke or send me to see Sister Whoever, the principal. She just blinked and replied, "Of course they can. In the later months, the doctor might advise against it. But other than that it's fine."

By the time I'd returned to my desk my friend was practically crawling underneath it with shame that I'd asked a teacher such a thing. But I figured, hey, a girl needs a place to get some accurate answers. Maybe her mother intended to scare her straight by telling mistruths, but I was having none of it. I had questions and wanted answers. My lustful journey had begun.

As a writer, I knew early on that love and lust are the basis of all romance novels. If your book is long enough you might be able to make your characters fall in love. Much of the time, especially in shorter works, lust must suffice. The 'happily ever after' endings we talked about a couple weeks ago bear this out. In a longer romance book, the characters will fall in love and all will end rosily. In shorter works or short stories, the HEA is that my characters really lust after each other, and with a little good luck and large supply of condoms, that lust will carry them into something more.


I know they say great marriages are based on a friendship first, and I think that's true. But I also believe great love affairs are based on a healthy dose of lust. And that one, I didn't have to ask a teacher or somebody else's mom. I figured it out for myself.


17 comments:

  1. Yep - everyone needs a place to get accurate information. I wonder how many people have had their first sex ed lessons from romance books over the years - probably a scarily large number! lol.

    Kim Dare.

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  2. Probably a good number Kim. Funny, I had rather the same experiences reading as Jamie. Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon, then I got into those Angilique novels...holy smokes! I think they could still sell today!

    I probably got the most "wrong" information about sex from my friends. Funny how when you haven't had sex you think you know soo much about it.

    Lucynda Storey
    www.LucyndaStorey.com

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  3. I was never brave enough to ask those questions myself. I could have used Jamie back then. ;-0
    Mom sure didn't explain anything I got most of my information from books. Some were romance and some just had a lot of sex in them LOL

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  4. I don't know if I've mentioned this here or not, but I scandalized one of my HS substiute teachers by reading The Clan of the Cave Bear in class. She asked me if my mother knew what I was reading; I stated she was the one who had given it to me in the first place!

    Yup...loved some of those bodice rippers...

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  5. I got my first peek at sex from The Godfather. I think your courageous and matter-of-fact approach to finding out the truth as a child was just the first step in your journey as a lusty writer!

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  6. Hi Kim,

    I think the number would be large, too. LOL My mom wasn't very forthcoming, so I had to find out stuff somewhere! And it was a relief to have regular teachers to ask, I would never have asked the nuns stuff!

    Thanks for commenting,

    Jamie

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  7. Hi Lucynda,

    My friends knew nothing, either. They were always telling me wrong stuff. But if we got caught talking about it during school, the nuns had fits!

    I liked Trixie Beldon, too. I even read my brother's Hardy Boys series.

    *G*

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Jamie

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  8. Hey Julie,

    I wasn't really so brave, but I did spend a lot of time at the library and knew where to find answers myself. Sometimes, I just wanted some verification. Or maybe I wanted to shock my teachers! *G*

    Thanks for popping in.

    Jamie

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  9. Hi Molly,

    My mother never read anything good. She still doesn't, LOL Won't touch my stuff with a ten foot pole.

    Take care!

    Jamie

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  10. Hey Donna,

    Yeah, or like I said earlier, maybe I just wanted to shock my teacher. LOL

    No, not nice little Jamie...heh heh heh

    Thanks for commenting,

    Jamie

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  11. That was a fun post. I've been thinking a lot about bodice rippers these days. I've been reading a wonderful book for theromance clueless like me, called "Beyond Heaving Bosums: The Smart Bitches Guide to Romance Novels." I've been learning about stuff like Man Titties and the Magic Hoo-Hoo.

    I wonder how your friend turned out.

    Garce

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  12. Hey Garce,

    She's the housewife of a farmer, has four kids and milks cows at 4 a.m. every morning somewhere in Nebraska.

    I have no idea how she turned out, that's merely the obvious. *G*

    The Smart Bitches are tough on romance book covers, especially man titties. They do make some good points! (pardon the pun)

    Can't wait to see your take on this Wednesday!

    Take care,

    Jamie

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  13. I was really lucky. My mom did talk to me about sex, at least to some extent. I remember her telling me, in dire tones, that I should be careful, because the first man you have sex with will have a special emotional hold on you. (I know realize that she was generalizing from her own experience with my dad.) This was when I was about fourteen, I think.

    My literary introduction to sex came from the James Bond novels. We used to pass them around in study hall with the "good parts" marked. Of course, in the Bond novels, as in the romances of that period, the chapter always ended just as Bond was stroking his hand across her flat stomach...!

    We also had sort of medical compendium in which I read about sex.

    The funny thing is, except for the Bond, none of this taught me anything about lust. When I read about the male inserting his penis into the female's vagina and moving to attain mutual satisfaction (not an exact quote but this will give you the flavor of the prose!), I couldn't understand it at all. For one thing, I never connected any of it with masturbation (which I pursued guiltily but regularly) or the attraction that I felt for the guys in my classes.

    Even with good information, I think that it takes a long time to put it all together.

    (By the way, Jamie, you've got balls asking your teacher a question like this. I really admire her for her straight answer. And I love your graphic!)

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  14. That post struck a chord with me. I've been married for a long time, more than half my lifetime (to the same woman), and we've been through the mill together.

    From the joyous, though all too brief, coupling of our youth to the more slow paced lovemaking as we got older, we've always had lustful thoughts. I'm glad to say we still do. But the thing that counts more and more as we get older is the truest friendship that I have ever experienced. I think of it as being a sort of "Passionate Friendship".

    It’s the sort of thing where you know how your partner is going to react in almost any given situation, though she can – and does, still surprise me sometimes; the way a phrase from years ago can be brought into the conversation between ourselves and reduce us both to helpless laughter, while no one else understands what on Earth is going on. The best part though, is being able to look at this woman as she’s studying which particular type of frozen peas to buy, and still think “Oh boy – wait till I get you back home…” and the exchange of looks between ourselves that means she’s thinking along the same lines.

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  15. Hi Lisabet,

    Oh, how I hated those closed door romance books! Don't shut me out, right at the good part!

    I think reading them to begin with created my first experiences with lust, though I might not have called it that at the time. Those desirous yearnings...okay, I still get those when reading the really good stuff!

    I still see that particular teacher occasionally and always give her a hug. She remains one of my favorites.

    Take care!

    Jamie

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  16. Hi Verb,

    I've been married more than half my life to the same guy, too. Though I'd never thought about it quite like that. Hmmm....

    What you described is one of my favorite parts of being married for a long time. A phrase from a movie or TV show we enjoyed, repeated at just the right moment, can make both of us crack up while the rest of the room has no idea what's so funny. And it's never as good when you try to explain it.

    Thanks for stopping by, and say hello to Mrs. Verb!

    Hugs,

    Jamie

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  17. Still in the frenzy. Learn by doing without fear of exploration. Reserve does nothing more than stunt personal passions and the desire to seek the extent of them.

    Am feeling very fortune cookie today.

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