Monday, February 26, 2007

Erotic Romance and Faith

There is something that I've noticed when it comes to erotic romance, and its slightly more smutty sister, erotica - faith, or a visible lack thereof.

Oh, I'm not talking those highly involved fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction types of faith that an author might build a world around. I'm talking good old, everyday religion in a contemporary setting.

Are Sex and Faith mutually exclusive?

I've mentioned before that I enjoy reading Catherine Anderson. Her stories, more and more (just personal observance, she might not think so at all, and neither may you) are verging into inspirational, but I wonder if they will ever quite make it as she is just too frank with her language and pretty open with sex, too.

What appeals to me is not the sense of Faith running through her work, but the reality of her characters. They swear and fight, they have premarital sex - though often suffer for it in some manner - they have jobs they have to to before they can run willy nilly through the crabgrass and clover of their love lives. They are human.

But when I was sitting down staring into the ether at the Golden Trough on Sunday while scarfing my over sized plate of chicken, green beans, and spuds this is what popped into my brain. Why you ask? - the group of people who before seating themselves prayed over their table.

Now, I do live in a city that, religiously thinking, would love to name itself the reigning Baptist center of the world, so you might think I would see more of this type of behaviour. We don't really. A few quiet murmers, some dipped heads or clasped hands, but not a very public display. So Sex and Faith just jumped in there as an interesting blog topic.

Personally, I'm an agnostic. Yes, I'm one of those people who wants proof. I believe what I see, so Faith has little meaning for me on an intrinsic level in a story. But it does have a great deal of meaning for me for understanding a character though - their personality, their core beliefs etc. Does this translate over into romances hot-to-trot cousin, erotic romance?

I mentioned that there is no lack of faith or religion when applied to an imaginary world. After all it's a chance to be your own mini god, isn't it? Getting to make up the ins and outs of your own religion. The same with historicals - it's just a given that religion plays a big part in the mores and strictures of life. But what about in a contemporary setting?

BDSM and religion - now there's the mother of all debate topics. Submission, degradation, action and consequence, forgiveness, control of power, release - trust.

I think I understand the concepts behind BDSM, although it's not a hot trigger for me; still, the correlations between the two ring bells, big bells. Why then do I not see more content involving faith? Not the type of story line that involves someone ritually purging themselves through pain, but the kind where they trot off to Church on Sundays and make obvious dialogue about their religious beliefs. And I'm not talking "Oh my GOD, it's so huge!" That's finding religion of an entirely different genre.

Are erotic romance readers people who embrace religion?

I know there are readers and authors alike who are Pagan, but what about the traditional churches - Catholic, Baptist, Methodist etc? What about Asian or Middle Eastern faiths? It's not too far a jump from some Pagan beliefs to paranormal, romance, and fantasy. After all, that's where it all started - Greek and Roman myths and legends coming to life; mother nature at her finest; Druids, Witches and Warlocks.

Can traditional religions make the leap and keep the sexy heat? Is religion in an erotic story a turn off - the guilt factor chiming in? Face it, most erotic romances do not involve a married couple (or triple, but then that's another big no-no for most religions). Is the reminder that premarital sex is supposed to be a big NO, the reason I don't seem to see religion as a part of the current erotic romance selections?

I know I don't write about it - don't practice, how can I preach it? Could this be the new big thing? Inspirational Erotic Romance? I think it could be done. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to tie BDSM up with a healthy religious aspect, rather than using it in a protaganistic manner?

1 comment:

crowwoman / rhian said...

oooohhhh Anne! This is a GREAT topic. And i need to chew a while, digest and then come back with a "hopefully" intelligent response. Excellent.... (i'd clap with glee but i haven't had enough coffee yet - my hands would miss)