A Book Without Sex? Impossible!

25 May

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a friend of mine who read my novel, Wife 101, and had a friend of hers read it as well. (Without my knowing) She asked her friend to critically critique my book then came back to me with her friend’s feedback. During our discussion of the friend’s thoughts, there was something major that bothered me and has plagued me since. The friend made a comment that she felt it was unrealistic that I did not bring up the issue of sex in the book. I must state in advance that the friend’s friend is a Christian who attends my friend’s church.

I cannot help but to feel saddened and disturbed by the bamboozled thinking of African Americans/Blacks, especially those of us who consider ourselves Christians (Yes, I did say bamboozled.). We complain all the time about the rising level of immorality, crime, promiscuity, profanity, and disrespect in our community, yet when a form of entertainment offers an alternative focus, we call it unrealistic. Has our reality really become that negative that we cannot enjoy other topics beside sex and violence?

In my novel, I purposely left out sexual content, sexual ideas and sexual struggles because sex was not the point of the book. The point of the book was to explore the traits of a virtuous woman using a fictional character. Yes, in reality sex is a component of life and relationships, however, it is not the only aspect nor does it deserve more attention than other important life issues such as religion/faith, personal development, career development, family building, nurturing relationships, etc. It is okay for books and other forms of entertainment to address sexual topics, but that does not mean all entertainment must also do the same. I have written about sexual issues in relationships in other of my published books, but that doesn’t mean every book I write or that I read must contain this ONE aspect of life.

My conversation with my friend developed into a discussion of entertainment that is truly family friendly. She mentioned that the men in her church were able to go to the movies as a group to see the film Courageous, and that this was a rarity due to the content of most films. We talked about how much of a relief it is to have entertainment that doesn’t cause us to feel nervous about the suitability of it around children, having something the whole family can enjoy. Even many cartoon movies and so-called young adult films, music, and books often contain adult themes, violence, and sexual references.

I have read many Christian fiction books by non-black authors that do not discuss or emphasize sex or a sexual struggle. However, (as I said last year in my OOSA Online Book Club Open Mic rant) African American books tend to be ridden with sexual content. One of the reasons sex (and other topics like violence) continues to be injected into our entertainment is because we have accepted that this is who we are, that we don’t think about other topics, and that this is what we want. I am in no way the “sex police” nor do I dislike sex, but I am a highly intelligent and versatile, Christian woman who wants to read, talk, and think about more topics than just sex.

My novel takes place over the course of three months. Seriously we can’t get to know someone for three months without having to be overwhelmed by sexual thoughts and impulses? Most likely, this is why so many of us who are Christians struggle with sexual sin, because it is in our faces 24/7. And we are partially to blame because we crave it and knock material that doesn’t include it as being unrealistic. So my question is this: Whose reality have we bought into?

I end my soapbox moment with this verse from the Bible: “For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think and weigh and take account of these things [fix your mind on them]. Philippians 4:8 (Amplified Version)

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