Sinning… it gets confusing…

So the sermon this morning was about “as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody…” Of course we all know the fallacy of THAT particular misbelief but he gave examples of things that really DO hurt people, of things that were more like “what they don’t know won’t hurt them…” ie: it won’t hurt her if she doesn’t know I’m looking at porn, it won’t harm him if I’m flirting with this guy at work, etc. etc. And he followed it up with the story of when the one fighter from the Israelites kept a few of the spoils from overcoming Jericho and God’s wrath burned against them all. Of course, that leaves one with all sorts of questions. Nevertheless, I’ve believed for years that God treats people—cultures—as groups. He deals with us and our countries and we collectively deserve. But that’s not what I’m in here to “talk” about right now.

What I got to thinking about is my books, my writing. I write romances and they’re spicy romances with some adult portions to them. In the 90s, I wrote some erotic books but then I felt badly about it and I used my royalties to buy the books left in print back from my publisher and that was that. Now, of course, that could never happen because I’m with a much bigger publisher, also now there are ebook rights that I’ve signed away and print books are POD (print on demand), so I could never buy back my books. Also, royalties suck these days. Back then I earned three dollars a book. Nowadays I only get one dollar a book. 🙁 Whatever, it’s still worth it. I’d be writing even if I didn’t get anything. But I’m getting off track here.

I have certain limits for myself. The couples that have sex in my books will be married or would be married if they could and the sex always results in love if they aren’t in love already. Secondly, the sex scenes are written very delicately. I don’t use body part words, I’m very vague, yet I know the scenes get the point across. (Funny story: One of my friends gave a copy to her elderly eye doctor and when he returned it, he told her that it “gave him an erection. TMI, right?” LOL So one can be delicate and still evoke a response.) And, of course, the scenes are not particularly realistic… nothing is awkward, sticky, messy or uncomfortable and everyone is gorgeous… come one, these are romance books.

The question is here, am I sinning? Is this actually porn? Am I harming somebody, anybody? Am I setting up expectations in someone’s heart that cannot be met when they get into their marital bed? I ask myself these questions and wonder if I’m displeasing God. I really truly worry about this.

I went through the: Whatever is noble, whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is honorable, whatever is admirable, etc list and my stuff actually always ends up that way. My main characters are extremely noble, true, pure, honorable, admirable—way past the norm. He doesn’t start out totally that way but he thinks he is then comes to realize that maybe he is not all the things he thought he was, but part of the reason he comes to that conclusion is through a plot device that uses a sexual encounter with a woman he falls in love with… so, again, is that sinning to write that—I mean, it’s a pretty intense sexual encounter (several)… I just don’t know. I just find it hard to believe that’s sinning.

On the other hand, the amount of time I spend in thought about the plots, imagining the books, writing them in my head, planning them out, etc. THAT may be sinning as that is all time that I’m not thinking, meditating on God. I’m meditating on my main character instead and that main character is an old television spy played by a long-dead actor with whom I’m pretty obsessed, I suppose—not really with him so much as a few of the characters he played. Those characters are my muse. I’m thinking this obsession could very likely be a sin because it’s like a drug—it’s escapism. I hear the news or look around this world and everything going on and I just feel like I have to escape. I should probably be escaping into Christ but that often just leaves me feeling so inadequate, wrong, and guilty that it becomes just something else I need to escape FROM. My escape is into my imagination dreaming up a new adventure for my guy.

My husband, by the way, has no problem with any of this. He thinks it’s fun. It has brightened up our lives in a number of ways, not the least in my libido (enough said). But he’s also thrilled with the writing and because one of the shows that this guy did was one of my husband’s favorite cult shows and I was never into it before the whole pandemic quarantine thing, so he’s thrilled that I’m a total nerd for it now. He just laughs when I get online with the other fans of the actor and we exchange spicy comments about the looks of the star. Several of us have happy husbands. After all, the guy is dead.

I just don’t know. I think when I finish the current fan fiction I’m doing, I’ll slow down for a bit and work on some other stuff. Of course, I could turn this one in to another novel but I just don’t know.  I’m tossed up.

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Fan fiction is fun to read. I like historical fic the best. When I was a teen, I used to read bodice rippers. 😮

May 15, 2022

Have you ever heard of an author named Andrew Greeley? He was a Catholic Priest who wrote novels. Some of those novels had erotic scenes in them. I remember that he was controversial. Many people thought of his writing as sin. He did not. I wrestled with the question years ago. And then revisited it again later. I was older and different later. I cannot think of it as porn or sin anymore than I can think of Song of Songs in the Old Testament in those terms. (My atheist sister-in-law once tried to convince me that Song of Songs and porno magazines were the same thing). I do think it is an important question, as well as a fascinating one, and I wish you the best in finding your answer.

May 16, 2022

@catholicchristian Thanks for recommending him (Andrew Greeley). I looked him up and have even downloaded one of his books! He seems to have such a sensible perspective on these things and is hilarious in some of his sharing about his ideas. And he also talks about Christ as the ultimate lover, not in a weird way. I’ve often thought about that myself—that delightful intimacy one shares with their spouse/partner, the thing that sex is REALLY supposed to be about. Greeley talks about that with Jesus. It honestly has little to do with the physical aspect. I have, like Greeley, often thought about how that might be how we interact with Jesus in the next life, how maybe we will be that close, that warm, that together. That’s what makes the difference between porn/erotica and romance and that’s why I feel like my current books fall in the second category (not to mention they have a heavy Christian undertone).