Got your attention. This is going to be free writing.
Before you turn your attention to the body of this book, take some time to reflect on the sexual attitudes of the family and culture in which you were raised. Free-associate with pen in hand or sitting at the computer.
Benedict, Elizabeth. The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers (p. 3).
Growing up, even on a farm, I was sadly naive. I had no clue what the devil the chickens were doing and probably have many ghost roosters and hens who hate my gut because of interrupting them. Why? I thought the rooster was bullying the hen. Mom never explained it. Nor come to think of it did my Grandparents. I knew that cows/bulls did that because the female somehow signaled she wanted a calf but no clue exactly how they went about it. No one explained it. Granddad didn’t keep bulls so I simply knew that the Vet showed up and gave the cow a calf somehow by taking something from the bull. I somehow had the idea that their stomach [my guess was the belly button] opened up and out popped the baby. I never asked for specifics. It was verboten.
I have no clue how I figured it out. It was probably about 1973 when our library put out The Joy of Sex and Everything you wanted to know about sex but was afraid to ask. I realized that my mother wasn’t telling me shit. We had moved from my Grandparents farm to town where the library was only a block away. I spent a lot of free time at that library. When I realized Mom wasn’t telling me everything, thanks to the public school system and the girls having to watch a film on periods [we got hauled off to watch a film on baseball but girls talk especially at that age…]. So off I trucked to pick up the books. I read them behind the biggest book I could find that hid I had those books. Betty Crocker and her cookbook was responsible for my sex education. And a very good one it was.
By the time I was done reading them, I knew all about sex and was totally unimpressed. Everyone else in class was giggling over it while I knew the facts which made them seem silly and immature. Frankly, it’s been my policy never to sleep with a cousin and since our county was incestuous [cousins marrying cousins], there were no chances of experimenting. I basically went into the Navy a virgin except for a few dreams at night. Mainly of James Bond and the like. That made the guys in my class look insipid in comparison.
Mom didn’t explain it ever. Not sure who told my half brother about it. I know she didn’t tell my sister. That’s how Jean ended up pregnant her first time. She thought the rumor that you couldn’t get pregnant the first time was true. [That conversation was interesting and mainly consisted of me saying “Jesus Christ, Jean, you didn’t believe that shit did you?” Yep. She did.]
She didn’t explain it to me either. I remember when I was 16, she said “we need to have a talk”. Mom had flame red hair. She was as red as her hair. It was obvious what she wanted to talk about. I said, “Sure, Mom. What do you want to know about sex?” Mom [looking shocked] : “How did you learn about it?” Told her about the two books. The only thing she said was “They should give both of them to every kid and make them read them.” I guess you can say my mother, the Christian Republican, was ahead of her time.
The Navy was the great awaking and eye opener. My family actually did me a favor by totally ignoring the subject. The culture I was around was equally as repressed so again another favor. I got my facts straight from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak so there was no myths, fantasy or other bullshit. All plain blunt science succinctly put. Left nothing to the imagination which isn’t a bad thing.
The problem comes in writing. It isn’t personal conversation. It’s writing. It’s putting it all out there in sex scenes which unfortunately one cannot avoid when one writes the sub-genre of gay fiction called M/M. And if you want sales, you write M/M. It harkens back to how I was raised. And it makes doing those scenes when you really want to fade to black, very hard to do. I’m not an erotica writer and probably never would be. Ditto porn. So figuring out how to do it is essential. I know what it is like. I know how it feels but be damn if it is easy to translate for me.
This will give me some fodder to considering as I read the book and write. Is the attitude I grew up with the correct one? No. Actually it is a dangerous one as can be seen by the fact that my half sister as well as my mother had to get married. Mom, twice. You would think by the age of 36 the woman would have been bright enough to say “No rubber, no nookie.” I think she knew where babies came from by then.
There isn’t going to be a nice little conclusion to this because it’s ongoing for me to process this so I can make changes. I have no problem saying to another person, “Listen up…” and handing them the facts but putting it on paper is a different story. And that’s the problem. It’s the story.