A considerable amount of violence is allowed in Christian thrillers (speculative included), suspense, romantic suspense, mysteries, sci-fi, and I can only assume there is some in fantasy. In some novels the violence can be graphic (Robert Liparulo's and Steven James' novels both contain some graphic violence). I've read a few books from the Christian Fiction market which use the word "crap" once or more.
But when it comes to romance novels, there are all kinds of restrictions to limit the use and description of real sexual attraction, struggle, and in some cases which words will be "acceptable". I've come to detest the word "acceptable" in regard to fiction as much as I came to resent the word "edgy". Those words force judgment on a story and imply the judges are just in their decisions.
"Sex is everywhere. The last place I want to find it or deal with it is in Christian Fiction." Anonymous
Because the world uses sex to sell everything from automobiles to vacation spots, I cannot argue with the saturation factor. On film, on TV, on magazine covers, on billboards, almost everywhere sexual photographs, jokes, "soft" porn and hardcore porn appear with little thought for who can see the suggestive or graphic exploitations.
However, since when is sex for the Christian equivalent to the world's view? Since when is sexual attraction deemed taboo for the Christian? And since when is marital sex for the Christian something to be hidden, silenced, and overlooked in a romance novel? When did it become "unacceptable" to non-graphically refer to romance, sexual attraction, love, and marital sex in a romance novel?
And since when is contrasting the world's various views of sex to God's view somehow "unacceptable"?
Christian men, both married and single, look at women. Some struggle with looking at women too much. Some have trained themselves to look away because they aren't usually viewing their hair color first unless it's purple or fuschia. Guys, I hope you'll be brave enough to back me up here. This isn't a criticism, it's reality.
Women certainly notice men they think are attractive. Many women view them differently from the way men look at women, but, nevertheless, we see what we consider good-looking. Biceps, forearms, bare chests, eyes, lips, moustaches, whatever. We're not blind.
Sexual attraction isn't always equivalent to lusting after someone, but for those in the world it's usually synonymous. The contrast, the struggle, the common desires . . .
Shouldn't all of these factors appear in a romance novel? A Christian romance novel? Why not?
Before you answer, I will not accept any reasoning that concerns "the weaker brother or sister". If any kind of sexual attraction is a problem issue for an individual, why is this person reading romance novels? Romance novels are built around the male/female attraction and dynamic.
I wonder if Christians haven't corrupted their views of sex by denying its God-designed and ordained importance and beauty for His people keeping their marriage beds pure and enjoying their lives together in the process . . . while resisting the temptation to join the world's views and indulge the flesh in our sin natures.
(*Reprinted from post on 6/26/12)
Father, we're desperate for your clarity and instruction, your love, grace, and presence. Always. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.