I know you're probably wondering why I opened the blog saying 'at last' Nyki is here, but God bless the man, I have not made it easy for him to visit, LOL! We have battled back and forth with topic choice but he has come up with a winner! I love it.
Take it away, Nyki...
Erotic romance. Some people, usually those with what are described as “old-fashioned” views (meant either as a compliment or a criticism) might say that sex has very little to do with love, and nothing to do with romance. After all, romance is all about courting, whereas sex is what you do after marriage, in order to produce children.
Well, I assume that anyone reading this blog-page wouldn’t hold that view, but the surprising thing is that it isn’t really old-fashioned – it’s a relatively modern way of looking at romance.
Our western culture’s concept of the romantic comes from the medieval rituals of “courtly love”, as described in the romances. They were called romances, in fact, because they were written in the “Romance” (Latin-derived) languages, and all modern meaning of “romance” and “romantic” derive from this.
And they were essentially about sex. The courtly lover’s purpose wasn’t to be pure and self-denying, and it certainly wasn’t marriage. The purpose of all the courting and sighing and poetry was to get the fair one into bed.
In fact, medieval courtly love was usually adulterous – Lancelot and Guinevere were the ideal couple. There are complex reasons for this, but essentially it was the double whammy that marriage was seen as nothing but a business transaction, and that noble girls usually married very young. You couldn’t be romantic about your wife (that would be ridiculous) and an unmarried girl would probably be about twelve or thirteen, unsuitable for the powerful, desirable woman the romancers idealised. That left widows, or women married to someone else.
By Shakespeare’s time, this had changed. Romeo and Juliet, for instance, does feature a thirteen-year-old girl, but this was a tale of angsty teenage romance, not of the knight wooing his lady. In a more morality-conscious age, Shakespeare got his lovers married first – but he got them into bed immediately after, and there’s no doubt at least part of the motive for this great love was that both were itching to get laid.
By the time we get to Jane Austen, sex as a impetus for romance has been replaced by social and economic motivation. The money aspect has diminished since then, though not disappeared – it always helps in a romance when the handsome hero who sweeps the heroine off her feet happens to be loaded too – but the social need for the status of marriage remained powerful.
Nineteenth and twentieth century romance, on the whole, combined this with non-erotic emotions until, with changing attitudes, the past few decades has seen sex return to centre-stage in romance, as it was in the middle ages.
Still, the erotic and romantic elements aren’t always perfectly fused, and nor should they be. Neither medieval and modern romance is all about sex, while erotic exploration isn’t always about love. My fantasy/erotic series of novellas for Lyrical Press Inc. about Kaydana the Sorceress is essentially about Kaydana’s gradual discovery and understanding of the deeper and darker parts of her sexuality. Most of the novellas involve a love-story, sometimes central, sometimes merely important, but Kaydana has to get through a lot of demons (literally as well as figuratively) before she’s in a position where she can give her heart for good.
The most recent book of the series, Kaydana and the Pool of the Gods, is primarily concerned with Kaydana coming to terms with aspects of her sexuality, but this happens against the background of a relationship that develops through the story. In Kaydana and the Lost City, to be published later in 2011, the love-story will be central, offering Kaydana the chance of lifelong happiness. Will she take it? Well, you can find out when it’s published.
You can find my books from Lyrical at http://tinyurl.com/488a954
and visit my website at http://www.freewebs.com/nykiblatchley/
Love this post, Nyki! The topic of love, sex, marriage and how it has changed over the years is a fascinating one. Isn't that why romance (whether erotic or not) remains one of the highest selling genres worldwide? We all want love...and we all want sex!
We'd love to hear your questions and comments, people....