First, I must start out by thanking Elizabeth for inviting me as a guest blogger! We go way back, since our high school theatre and band days where we coined the phrase, “chin up, safe sax!” (Yes, I mean sax, as in saxaphone…long story…) I’ve been mulling over what to write for a few days now trying to solidify what it is that I want to convey about romance/erotica and what it means to me. I’ve come to the conclusion that communication, whether in romantic fiction or real life, is very important. To help explain, let me tell you a little story…
I married my high school sweetheart. We fell in love my freshman year (his sophomore year), well to be honest I fell in love with him before we ever officially met when I was just an awkward 8th grader who got to sit in the back of the bus with the cool high school kids. The girl that invited me to sit with her was a fan of rock music and we spent our time together sharing songs, bands, and talking about all the rock concerts we’d been to. She was in the same grade my husband was and I believe he was initially attracted to her, so he started passing back his poetry for her to read. She’d read it then pass it to me to read. I fell in love with him through his poetry. It was deep, it was dark, it was thought provoking, romantic even, and it was damn good. I instantly felt a connection with him. The fact that he was tall, dark, brooding, and handsome just sealed the deal for me. Before the year was over, I clearly remember thinking in a love struck teenager type of way, “wouldn’t it be cool if we started dating when I get to high school next year?”
To make a very long story short, we ended up dating since we ran with the same crowd, he broke up with me, then we got back together. I broke up with him, then we got back together the final time when we realized that we were meant for eachother. (Honestly, I could write a fluffed up version of our high school years that would make a great YA romance, lol!) We’ve endured a lot of obstacles along the way, but have managed to stay together for almost 19 years and will celebrate our 10 year anniversary this year.
We had our first, and currently our only, child a little over 4 years ago. His birth was one of the best things to happen to me. I was lucky, my labor was quick and everything went smoothly despite my 3rd term gestational diabetes and an order that I must have him within 48 hours after my waters read as being low. My midwives were awesome and with their bag of natural tricks I was in labor within 24 hours and pushed him out in an all-nat-ur-al waterbirth. Although I was happy and it was everything I wanted, I wasn’t prepared for the aftermath. My libido was completely shot, like, murder stabbed. It was pretty gruesome.
My poor husband was having to commute 3 hours to work every day to a job that he hated, that barely even afforded us a comfortable living while I stayed home with our son. By the time he would get home I would be sleeping and even when we had time alone, sex was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t feel attractive as I was coming to terms with my new, motherly body. And even though my husband showed intense interest and told me I was beautiful, I just did not feel it, and this took a major toll on our relationship and sex life. So much so, we started to resent each other and fought more than ever.
Then one day, my friend introduced me to Romance Novels. She happily shared her kindle version of the first book in Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick series. I ate that entire series for breakfast and read it all in under 10 days. I loved the writing. I loved that there was an actual tangible plot and the characters were very real in that I could think of someone I knew in real life that had similar characteristics or personalities. The couple’s struggles, although steeped in fantasy, felt palpable and relatable. Although most of the male leads were strong and even stubborn, they still had their specific vulnerabilities ranging from sweet to tragic. The heroines personalities were never static and were multifaceted.
One of my biggest pet peeves in romance books is when the communication between the characters is formulaic, excruciatingly so, to push the plot along. It’s that moment when you read their dialog and want to throw the book across the room because the characters are not saying things, that you are damn well sure they would, which creates the tension or obstacle they have to get over. In the Rock Chick books, the communication between lovers is very real with an organic feel to it. If a character chooses to leave out something in a conversation, it’s usually backed up by a reason based on legitimate reservations to reveal that information at that time. And best of all, the love scenes sparked my libido!! I was able to read a book while waiting for my husband to get home and that would get my sexy time juices going. This was quite helpful since we had so little time to be together before we had to retire for the night. At first my husband was sceptical as to why I was suddenly interested again, but here we are now 3 years later, still together and still happily in love.
Romance/erotica books were the gateway to my own sexual healing and to opening up communication with my husband. It was the crux that got us back on track. After several very serious conversations, some much needed mourning of my youthful body, and beginning to accept my new postpartum body, we were able to continue to grow together and love each other with a similar yet different passion that we had in the past. All you need is love…and a little mutual communication.
Thanks for reading my guest post! If you would like to read more feel free to check out my book, Lolah’s Mark, under the pseudonym Alexian Lee. Click the picture to the left and it will take you right to the Amazon.com page. I’ve made it available on Kindle for free starting today, March 14th through the 18th, in honor of this month’s theme on Just Add Tea! Please give it a read, it’s short, sweet, and just plain fun! You can also visit my blog Allie’s Awesome Art Adventure.