New title: Romantic Fiction, Reality Shaping and The Work

seek10

The Living Force
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I finished the Marriage of Convenience series yesterday and I really liked it. I think I will miss the characters a bit now that I'll move to another series.

My favorite book in this series was the fourth, Marry in Scarlet. The main character in this last book has so much in common with me in terms of personality that it really stirred up some emotions and made me reflect a lot on my own choices and behavior in the past. Also, the story in this one is slightly different than in the other three and it seemed to me that the author deals more with the characters' internal thoughts and their dialogues.
I think we all like different books according to our past. For me, Marry in Scarlet is not that impressive compared to other ones.
They didn't address the subconscious instinctive reaction of George to the Duke in Kissing. Probably, that is the rebellious persona she built for the hurt
Marry in Scandal is interesting with interesting movie scripting of events. I liked some scenes in Marry in Scandal.
  • Ned's father captures the obvious defect in Lilly and soothes her. It was like a magical dissolution of all pain/guilt/helplessness in an instant.
  • Ned is forced to face his demons to not to hurt Lilly
I finished Duke's Disaster. Though writing style was not that great, I liked Noah's character. Most "Manly" protagonist out of the dozen books I read - Strong, self-sufficient, Virtuous( relative word to the times), empathic, very knowledgeable, immense self-control, courageous to protect his folks, no hesitation in taking action, standing like a rock for others to do their part and so on. This little "Clinical" conversation, I thought surprising and sets the tone at the beginning of the book.
“Kiss me.”
They were out of view of the house and the stables, which was fortunate, for Noah sensed this additional, unanticipated request was the key to winning Lady Thea’s hand. Kissing was a pleasant enough undertaking, usually.
“What sort of kiss would you like?” he asked, for Noah’s expertise comprised the usual repertoire, plus a few extras.
Now she took a visual inventory of their surroundings, as if she either hadn’t known or hadn’t admitted to herself there were different kinds of kisses.
“A husbandly kiss.”
Women. “Because I have never been a husband, we must refine on the point. Is this to be the kiss of a husband greeting his spouse in the morning, parting from her, offering her amatory overtures, or… claiming her?”
“Not overtures.” Her ladyship checked the watch pinned to her bodice, a small, plain gold trinket apparently of more interest than Noah’s kisses. “A kiss to inspire trust.”
Laura mentioned Noah is like Ark. My thought process went in correlating this to all the troubles Laura & Ark went through handling the PTB attack in all these 20 years - psycho's, pedos, investigations, endless attacks to shutdown, research into Diet, Health Issues of different folks, History, science scams, SOTT and so on.

Since I want to try out different authors first, I picked My Sweet Folly by Laura Kinsale as my next book.
 

Arwenn

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I came across this Jordan Peterson snippet to a Q&A series, and I really like how he expresses the value/utility in marriage (totally the norm in the Regency Era) as opposed to living together (much more the norm nowadays). It’s only a short video, but what caught my attention starts around the 2 minute mark.


Roughly transcribed:
The next most important thing is trust. There is no marriage that is successful without trust. You guys, you gotta tell each other the truth. And one of the reasons that Jung believed that marriage was an oath, as a bond was so necessary and it's really wise. It's like telling the truth to someone is no simple thing because there's a bunch of things about all of us that's terrible and weak reprehensible and shameful and all of those things, and they kind of have to be brought out into the open and dealt with.

And you're not going to tell the truth about yourself to someone who can run away screaming when you reveal who you are. And so the marriage bond is something like okay here's the deal, "I'm going to handcuff myself to you and you're going to handcuff yourself to me. And then we're going to tell each other the truth and neither of us is going to get to run away.”

And so then once we know the truth we're either going to live together in mutual torment or we are going to try and deal with the truth and straighten ourselves out jointly, and that's going to make us more powerful and more resilient and deeper and wiser as we progress together together through life. And I think that's absolutely brilliant because if you leave a backdoor open man you're gonna use it that's for sure.


And the oath is there and this was Jung's commentary on the spiritualisation of the human parable and by Christian marriage, which emphasised the subordination of both members of the marital union to a higher order/personality that was embodied in the figure of the Logos. So the idea is that in the Christian marriage for example, the man isn't the boss, the woman isn't the boss, the boss is the mutual personality composed by the seeking of truth in both of them and that's conceptualised as their joint subjugation to the Logos, and that is absolutely dead on.

The ruler of your marital life should be your vow to tell the truth because in hard times during your life when you've done something stupid and idiotic that might take you down and you don't have anybody to turn to, if you have a partner you can trust you can go say “Hey, you know, I made a big financial mistake and it's really torturing me and I feel like a complete idiot and it's really dangerous,” and the person there is going to help you figure it out what to do about it and they gonna know that then what when they make a stupid mistake they can come and talk to you and you guys are gonna work your way through it & that's a big deal. There's a couple of things our culture gets really really wrong and one is it devalues marriage that's a very bad idea.
 

thorbiorn

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Since many years I am in love with this painting. I want to share it here because it is a very romantic one where you can feel: love, desire, respect, and friendship between this couple. The title of this painting is "The meeting of the Turret Stairs" by Frederick William Burton. The story of this painting is
[...]
What a romantic situation!


View attachment 39071
About the picture the Wiki explains that
It was voted by the Irish public as Ireland's favourite painting in 2012 from among 10 works shortlisted by critics.[6]
For a review of the picture, there is a Youtube.
Then I tried to trace the history of the ballad that led to the painting, and that was much more difficult. One blogger refers to a couple of Swedish sources and claims this (Stolts Hilla (Geijer & Afzelius #32), see also here is the full version with 31 verses. The blog also lists two different melodies here and here. A Danish version (and here) (Olrik and Falbe-Hansen, 1899, p. 95 of 176), Hillelilles Sorg counts 33 verses, with the difference being verses 31 and 32. They mention in the comment that the custom and right of a father to sell his daughter as a slave, if she had had a relation not approved by him disappeared in the 12 century with the advent of Christianity. They also say that at the time of the assumed original poet, this custom was just a memory. An alternative is that the song was carried over from an earlier time, like the age of the Vikings, where Scandinavia had connections with the British Isles, which would connect to Hildebrand being an English prince.

The poem begins with an introduction, it is like a frame story with only the middle part being told in first person by Hilde. As the queen survived Hilde, she then could be the source of the story, at least if one allows for the story to be true to itself and internally consistent.

In this blog, they write that:
The English/Scots Child ballad #7 tells a similar story. This ballad is sometimes called The Douglas Tragedy, and is located in the Scottish borders. But it is also sometimes known as Earl Brand, after its male protagonist. The similarity with Hillebrand's name is clear!
In the above quote, I inserted a link to the Douglas Tragedy.

What is interesting about the idea that it should go back to the age of the Vikings is that Hilde according to the Wiki:
is one of several female given names derived from the name Hild formed from Old Norse hildr, meaning "battle". Hild, a Nordic-German Bellona,[1] was a Valkyrie who conveyed fallen warriors to Valhalla. Warfare was often called Hild's Game.[2]
Also in the story Hilde was not allowed to say the name of her kidnapper and lover since he would lose power, so there was some magic involved. However, when Hildebrand had slain all but her youngest brother, she does call on Hildebrand to save him. As a result, the magic evaporates and the youngest brother slays Hildebrand, but he does not forgive his sister who is tied to the saddle of this horse and exposed to a very abusive and hurtful ride back to the family dwelling.

In the introduction to Olrik and Falbe-Hansen, they mention that this poem was contained in the collection of a noble lady, Karen Brahe, (Possibly the same family as Tycho Brahe, who discovered the nova in Cassiopeia), however Karen was not the writer. Earlier the collection belonged to Margrethe Lange who came from Engelsholm near the Jutlandic town of Vejle. The collection has been dated to the 1570s or 1583. With these data, I found a transcript of the older version in an older language with words in Jutlandic dialect. This version has 42 verses, so some of the other later versions must either have a different origin or they have missed something. Interestingly there is an English translation from Danish by William Morris published in 1891 and this version has 36 verses. One can hear it read out in this Youtube.

What is different between the versions of 31 and 42 verses is that Hilde after returning is met by her father and mother. Her father puts her into a tower with thorns that hurt her wherever she moves. He wants to kill her, but her milder mother recommends selling her. At the end of the ballade, the queen who had acquired Hilde as a slave or maid, and who has been listening to the tale of suffering, sheds tears too and reveals to Hilde that Hildebrand was her son. After this Hilde dies in the arms and at the feet of the queen and would have been mother-in-law and a queen of England.

The longer version is more emotionally charged and disturbing. One encounters the issue of mixed loyalty between lover and family, the pain of a mother losing her son, as well as the one who loved him, but could not help betraying him, perhaps unintended, because she also loved her brother. It is even more tragic that Hildelil on her death bed confides in his mother not know the relation. The story also mentions that Hilde's father loved her so much that he had 12 knights to guard her. One of them was Hildebrand who did not only guard her, he also approached her. He then led her away along with so much gold that it had to be carried by two horses. One might argue it was a case of theft and bride kidnapping or rather a case of bride kidnapping gone wrong. Bride kidnapping has a long history as being an honourable or acceptable way of marrying and is still practiced in some places especially in Central Asia, see the Wiki, but earlier also in Ireland. The Wiki mentions:
The inciting incident for the 12th-century Norman invasion of Ireland was an instance of wife-stealing: in 1167, the King of Leinster Diarmait Mac Murchada had his lands and kingship revoked by order of the High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair as punishment for abducting the wife of another king in 1152. This lead Diarmait to seek the assistance of King Henry II of England in order to reclaim his kingdom.

The abduction of heiresses was an occasional feature in Ireland until 1800,[125][126] as illustrated in the film The Abduction Club.
I watched the beginning of the movie, it is based on real events and begins in 1780, a generation before the Regency Era.

What I learned in this little research was that there probably would not have been a background story that served as inspiration for the picture of "Hellelil and Hildebrand, the meeting on the turret stairs" if not for a few noble ladies in Southern Scandinavia who were fond of books, old stories and ballads including those about love. They had the good fortune of being able to preserve some stories long enough to make them last into our own time. I also learned that there has been a lot of editing of this particular ballad and probably many more. There is even a modern Swedish song version which is more reduced than the short 31 verse version mentioned earlier. Today we do not rely on ballads, as we have got Regency novels and so much more, still I realize these novels are part of a long tradition, that earlier had other forms, including ballads.
While looking up the story behind the painting and the Art in the Regency Era in general, I came across a page initiated by Vic Sanborn where she over the years has collected a huge amount of information and links to web pages about Jane Austen and everything around the Regency Era in history including art, fashion, and children. For more see Jane Austen World here and here, which includes one link to the page of the author Anne Gracie.
 
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hlat

The Living Force
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I'm almost done with Anne Gracie's Marry in Scarlet. I couldn't believe that Hart also didn't take his clothes off when making love to his virgin wife, just like Ned. I was enjoying a book without people getting shot or kidnapped, or so I thought, until the kidnapping of Phillip and Danny near the end. It was unbelievable that neither Hart nor the tutor failed to see that Danny was not Phillip, though my wife told me that I haven't gotten to the part that reveals they have the same dad.

So far this really only seems to apply to the women though; quite the double standard there. The men pretend to be chaste outwardly, but everyone knows they aren't
The 4 husbands of the Marriage of Convenience series certainly had prior experience. I wonder if the author thought that they had to have the experience, in order to sexually please their inexperienced wives. I don't think experience is needed though, and even Marry in Scarlet described George acting with instinct her first time.

It is a bit sad knowing I'm almost done with the Marriage of Convenience series, though I have Caroline Linden's Wagers of Sin series ready to go, and I wait for the November release of Anne Gracie's Merridew Sisters series audiobook.
 

thorbiorn

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[...]

Since I want to try out different authors first, I picked My Sweet Folly by Laura Kinsale as my next book.
I like the concept of trying out different authors. Here is what Kinshale writes about the process of writing My Sweet Folly:
Some readers have complained that the prologue of My Sweet Folly was wonderful, while the ending was disappointing. The prologue was one of those gifts of the Muse—as soon as I finished it, I knew I could never write a book that would live up to the promise of those beautiful letters between Folie and Robert. I tried, but this book was completed at the absolute worst of the conflict between me and my muse (you can read more of this ongoing battle in Laura Makes Tea). I actually have little memory of the book myself—people mention scenes to me, and its as if I never even read it! I think I was in a state of creative shell-shock at that time in my life.

So I’m deeply honored that many readers call this one their favorite, and that it was nominated for Best Long Historical and Favorite Book by RWA. I have no doubt it could have been better, more “even” in execution overall, but I feel fortunate that it even got finished. Folie, with her ferret and her humor, remains my favorite heroine of all, just edging out Leda of The Shadow and the Star.
The above description leads me to think that some of the passages in the books we read come from a deep level, be it a creative subconscious or channeled, just as the book by Helen Greaves and the three by Elsa Barker that I reviewed in the afterlife thread, except that in this romance novel there is no named source, and it may be less consistent, as also the above conflict reveals, but it is very hard to imagine, there has been no collaboration with the other side.
 

Laura

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The 4 husbands of the Marriage of Convenience series certainly had prior experience. I wonder if the author thought that they had to have the experience, in order to sexually please their inexperienced wives. I don't think experience is needed though, and even Marry in Scarlet described George acting with instinct her first time.

Untouched by Anna Campbell is about a man with absolutely no experience.
 

Neil

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Laura said:
hlat said:
The 4 husbands of the Marriage of Convenience series certainly had prior experience. I wonder if the author thought that they had to have the experience, in order to sexually please their inexperienced wives. I don't think experience is needed though, and even Marry in Scarlet described George acting with instinct her first time.
Untouched by Anna Campbell is about a man with absolutely no experience.
I like to see a "trailer" of a book before I start it to try and see if it's going to be worth my time, and while reading the reviews on Amazon for Untouched this was one of the main things that attracted me to it; something different. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book and while the initial premise is a little silly, I find nearly all of the things Matthew experiences sexually apply to me or probably would apply to me if I were in a sexual relationship.

Their first night "doing the deed" brings up some points which reminded me of some "locker room talk" that I remember hearing in my late teens from other guys who were supposedly "experienced" and liked to give "advice" whilst boasting a bit. The gist was that women are rather finnicky in the bedroom, and if you want them to want you there is a certain technique which must be adhered to; you can't just put it in and expect them to like it. You were supposed to fondle their breasts and kiss them all around and do this, that, and the other thing to "heat them up" before you put it in nice and slow and then kind of sit there for awhile before you can really do anything. While the kissing and playing with the breasts seemed rather obvious, the rest of it was news to me and got filed in my useless-but-never-know-when-it-might-need-to-be-retrieved-information file. This constituted the extent of my knowledge of "bedsport" until I read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, which is more of an intellectual book and focuses more on foreplay than actual sex, which was generally something to be avoided. Based on Anna Campbell's sex fantasies, the "locker room talk" evidently had a lot of credence, as all of the basic points that I remember seem to show up in most of her sex scenes, although she goes into much more specific detail and elucidates additional techniques. One thing that surprises me is all of the biting, I suppose it might tickle if done gently, but it's never something I particularly fantasized about and find it a bit odd. In summation, I'd be a rather uninteresting lover.

It seems that as long as the woman is receptive, she doesn't really need to know anything for her man to be lost to pleasure. For awhile, she will be happy that he's happy, but will ultimately be unsatisfied. If she does know certain techniques, she will make the experience richer and deeper for him, but it's not a requirement. Since the purpose of these books first and foremost is to make money, I can see where a lot of women would find the more mature and experienced lover to be more romantic because he can make her feel divine without hurting her. These books want to portray the most fantastic and mesmerizing male specimens possible, without them becoming so idealized that they become totally unbelievable. Dealing with the clumsiness and awkwardness while breaking in an untouched man only appeals to a subset of this demographic, and is neutral or a negative to most of the rest. While I don't think that experience is needed either, I can understand the appeal. What ends up saving Matthew in this regard is that he's very perceptive and good at reading her body to figure out what she wants.
 

Arwenn

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I can see where a lot of women would find the more mature and experienced lover to be more romantic because he can make her feel divine without hurting her.
Perhaps it’s an extension of the allure of the dangerous man trope- he has a handle on himself, and better still he knows how to handle her. He has the potential to hurt her and just take his pleasure but by doing the opposite- ensuring her comfort and pleasure, he is someone who is dangerous but tamed. I think it was one of Linda Goodman’s books where she describes sex for men as being fire and women as water- women just take a longer to come to the boil while fires are easily started & put out. So maybe the (largely) female audience prefers novels when the male protagonist knows how to make things very steamy ;-D
 

Color

Jedi Council Member
Hi Neil :)

I like to see a "trailer" of a book before I start it to try and see if it's going to be worth my time

Yes, I often demanded previews of the next stages of my life, never seemed to work. I guess sometimes you just have to go for it and risk it all.

I'm about 2/3 of the way through the book and while the initial premise is a little silly, I find nearly all of the things Matthew experiences sexually apply to me or probably would apply to me if I were in a sexual relationship.

Great, finally something to relate to. :D

Their first night "doing the deed" brings up some points which reminded me of some "locker room talk" that I remember hearing in my late teens from other guys who were supposedly "experienced" and liked to give "advice" whilst boasting a bit. The gist was that women are rather finnicky in the bedroom, and if you want them to want you there is a certain technique which must be adhered to; you can't just put it in and expect them to like it. You were supposed to fondle their breasts and kiss them all around and do this, that, and the other thing to "heat them up" before you put it in nice and slow and then kind of sit there for awhile before you can really do anything.

Not laughing at you in any way, just dying cause of your descriptions... :rotfl:

While the kissing and playing with the breasts seemed rather obvious, the rest of it was news to me and got filed in my useless-but-never-know-when-it-might-need-to-be-retrieved-information file. This constituted the extent of my knowledge of "bedsport"

Fascinated to learn such files exist within guys.

until I read Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, which is more of an intellectual book and focuses more on foreplay than actual sex, which was generally something to be avoided. Based on Anna Campbell's sex fantasies, the "locker room talk" evidently had a lot of credence, as all of the basic points that I remember seem to show up in most of her sex scenes, although she goes into much more specific detail and elucidates additional techniques. One thing that surprises me is all of the biting, I suppose it might tickle if done gently, but it's never something I particularly fantasized about and find it a bit odd. In summation, I'd be a rather uninteresting lover.

Ok, now I'm really dying!!!! :lol2::lol2::lol2:
Biting is great, to a certain degree, a little bit of pain can translate into excitement while feeling completely safe with your partner. It's a game of going beyond the boundaries of polite/boring because - sex should be an intimate happening, nothing conventionally polite about it.:wizard:

Also, stating how you would be an uninteresting lover is worrisome, why would you even think that?!? Cause you never bit anyone? Don't act so childish, show some self-respect!

It seems that as long as the woman is receptive, she doesn't really need to know anything for her man to be lost to pleasure.

That's quite an assumption, but then again, I guess it depends on what kind of 'man' you're referring to. If we are discussing the type who's happy with a warm hole then I guess you have the point. OK, jokes aside, what surprises me is how you're completely missing the point of these novels, they are NOT just about sex, they are about two persons having sex first, based on mutual attraction, and then finding their way to another's soul through it. Yes, it's somewhat twisted and backward and still - it happens every day, in the real world. Many miss the opportunity but, to some, it IS the way to connect and to start developing a more meaningful relationship. Is that so hard to understand? In this world that is so upside down? How some use sex as a doorway to full intimacy? And it has nothing to do with levels of sexual experience...

For a while, she will be happy that he's happy, but will ultimately be unsatisfied. If she does know certain techniques, she will make the experience richer and deeper for him, but it's not a requirement.

Again, so many assumptions and the point is - it's all irrelevant. Novels are playing on what's 'safe' for most people, males and females, to get them aroused by it. You're missing the heart factor. I had great sex with my first high school boyfriend of 4 years and none of us knew anything about it, we just loved each other and explored accordingly. I had great and horrible sex with much more experienced partners and learned from it, what I like and dislike; I had one of the best sex experiences in a relationship with a younger guy who knew little about it but we 'matched' and it was so beautiful, each and every time, we sincerely loved one another and the rest took care of itself, I never had to 'take the lead', it just worked.

Since the purpose of these books first and foremost is to make money, I can see where a lot of women would find the more mature and experienced lover to be more romantic because he can make her feel divine without hurting her. These books want to portray the most fantastic and mesmerizing male specimens possible, without them becoming so idealized that they become totally unbelievable.

That's a great observation. Another great one would be how they were written to make people feel MORE. I know it sounds absurd cause we're talking about cheap 'sex novels' but the point of it all is to awaken the heart as well, to lead that sexual energy up, where it belongs.

Dealing with the clumsiness and awkwardness while breaking in an untouched man only appeals to a subset of this demographic, and is neutral or a negative to most of the rest. While I don't think that experience is needed either, I can understand the appeal. What ends up saving Matthew in this regard is that he's very perceptive and good at reading her body to figure out what she wants.

Clumsiness and awkwardness is sometimes part of the game, as with anything else in life. That should not stop anyone from exploring this life further and enjoy it, no matter how clumsy one can get. You pick yourself up, make few lame sarcastic jokes about it and move on. Experience. The only way to live and to feel alive.
 

gnosisxsophia

Jedi Council Member
About the picture the Wiki explains that...


Thanks thorbiorn, thought this was an interesting opinion!


George Eliot noted about it: ‘The subject might have been made the most vulgar thing in the world – the artist has raised it to the highest pitch of refined emotion’


As the poem excerpt;

She sat in her bower, with eyes of flame,
(My sorrow is known to God alone.)
Bending over the broidery frame,
(And oh there liveth none to whom my sorrow may be told.)..

Had immediately brought to mind a favourite 'C's statement;


A: A man draws his energy for battle from his "lady fair." When he has this energy, he is supposed to utilize it not only for battle, but also for "building the castle”. When there is any break in the chain, he not only loses his "battle energy" but also his castle. Why do you think the legends of the "grail" speak of these things? And also fairy stories? A true warrior cannot be strong against the enemy without the lady. The lady cannot provide the energy without the castle and the "bower" of love.


Soo romantic :-)


...it is frequently referred to (and can be interpreted as) a parting after Hellelil and Hildebrand have consummated their forbidden love. But it was not in Burton’s character to depict such a scene. A careful reading of the ballad reveals an imagined early moment in the relationship when the couple meet fleetingly on the stairs, as Hildebrand passionately seizes Hellelil’s arm, embracing it and making the most of a brief encounter in a doomed affair. In the words of George Eliot, ‘The face of the knight is the face of a man to whom the kiss is a sacrament’. Burton creates an emotionally charged situation—by focusing attention on the knight’s intense embrace of the arm of his lady, who, taken by surprise, turns aside, having dropped her flowers, scattering the petals on the stair—symbolising the brevity of the affair and its destructive nature. The Times art critic, probably Tom Taylor, referred to it as ‘a personification of that lofty woman worship, which was the very heart of chivalry




And quite a beautiful allusion to the theme of 'spiritual' chivalry also imo...


💜
 

Jones

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[snip] they are NOT just about sex, they are about two persons having sex first, based on mutual attraction, and then finding their way to another's soul through it. Yes, it's somewhat twisted and backward and still - it happens every day, in the real world. Many miss the opportunity but, to some, it IS the way to connect and to start developing a more meaningful relationship. Is that so hard to understand?

This touches on one resistance I am feeling towards the reading project even though I'm continuing for the other reasons that this thread has highlighted. I have engaged in sex first based on mutual attraction on a number of occasions and tried to build relationship from there which were grand failures. That could have much to do with the kind of relationship that I find attracting, or it could be more about a pathological idealism and self calming developed to counter experiences of violence, catastrophism, toxic control and jealousy to the degree that I could be either totally blind to red flags in those area's, or sweep them under the rug where attraction was involved. In any case, I'd pretty much decided that sex first was going to be a no-no for me.

I have also found some of the language used to describe the sexual acts and body parts off putting. I can imagine that these may have been titillatingly naughty in the historical period being discussed and amongst the class of people in the stories. These days I associate the terms with derogatory vulgarity that I find difficult to reconcile with something that is supposed to be unifyingly beautiful and a fundamentally creative force - not quite to the degree of the kind of puratinism that judges others where the parties are consenting adults, just more that I personally I would be put off by the language. I realise that while doable, classical conditioning can be a biatch to unravel. At this stage of my life, I'm not sure that working on that particular element is necessary.

Still, as a nature and animal lover, I find it hard to be as cynical about sex as I'm perceiving Neil to be because everywhere you look, everything is doing it in it's own way and time and very little of beauty would be here without it. And nature makes no attempt to hide it - spend any time on a farm at all and sex right there in the open along with new life and death.

I had pretty much decided that for the rest of this life, sex is out for me. That decision is to do with my own proclivities and situation and the potential effects on aims and goals of a group - though there are still issues from my last relationship that I'm working on resolving, and I've been spending more time around family, which while difficult at times, it's helping to uncover some my patterns that I might not have in the context of gaining a deeper understanding of failed relationships and friendships. I'm finding reading the romances at this time additionally helpful in that regard where I can compare the relationships in the novel to that of my parents (well, apart from the bedroom scenes) which also helps to uncover some of my patterns of relating . So the decision may not be permanent.

I don't think that decision totally precludes me from the creative force generated through attraction though. I've had plenty of experiences of being attracted to someone where further relationship was definitely not on the cards and have learned to enjoy and use the energy created by the attraction itself while it lasted - even though it often ended in some form of hurt. So long as that attraction does not in any way burden or make the other party uncomfortable, or leave me open to manipulation then the energy generated can be a potent force where noticing details and being energetic enough to respond to them in creative ways seems to be highlighted. And yeah, I've also learned some difficult lessons in relation to that as well - a work in progress - sometimes the billboards that land on my head leave scars! Attraction can be to an ideal rather than reality. I acknowledge that this decision is probably easier for me since I seem to have comparatively low libido to many.

The next life is another matter entirely, so I'm continuing with the reading project on the chance that I can take some different biases with me.
 

Neil

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I guess I'll start here.
Fascinated to learn such files exist within guys.
We are programmed to crave sex, it is part of what keeps 4D STS in business. That it has other possibilities beyond "feeding the machine" is largely ancillary to the design function of humanity. Consequently, it is unavoidable that the subject has a certain draw and becomes a fascination. There are always pontifications about what women want. I learned from an early age that most people confuse lust for love, and it made me cringe when I walked past a young couple saying "I love you," because I knew that in most cases it was an illusion or outright lies. Therefore, I considered the draw and fascination of my base instincts something that needed to be rigidly controlled and in many ways began fighting against it. This led to a situation where I tried to gather information about it while always maintaining a distance from it. Now, one could make the case that I confuse love for lust, and perhaps they are right. I err on the side of caution and don't trust anything when it comes to sex unless it occurs within a very specific context.
OK, jokes aside, what surprises me is how you're completely missing the point of these novels, they are NOT just about sex, they are about two persons having sex first, based on mutual attraction, and then finding their way to another's soul through it. Yes, it's somewhat twisted and backward and still - it happens every day, in the real world. Many miss the opportunity but, to some, it IS the way to connect and to start developing a more meaningful relationship.
Is it now? You couldn't prove it by me. Not so long ago this question was posed to the group:
Perhaps it would be helpful for some of you to maybe list the number of couples you know WELL and CLOSE enough to have a good idea of what their relationship is like, with whom you would trade places? I don't mean, like take over a wife or husband, but whose LIFE and relationship you would trade for.
Out of the 30 or so couples I know of there are only 2 whose relationship sort of works. Both of them have kind of chaotic lives governed by the Law of Accident, but their love somehow keeps them going. These couples are close to 50 years old, none are my generation. Everyone in my age group, with very rare exception, is either divorced or in a very tenuous partnership. The answer to Laura's question is 0, which I'm sure was the point of it in the first place. The books do tend to lean towards the sex first then love pathway, but they aren't black and white, they exist along a continuum. The Cam/Pen story was more skewed toward the love then sex side of things, which I admired. In my personal observable reality, it never happens that people have sex first and then find their way to each other's soul. It's somewhat twisted and backward, as you say, and totally out of sequence. I must have the intellectual attraction first, which then leads to an emotional curiosity, which, if it burns brightly enough, can lead to sexual things. There can be no other way (or so I think). I consider some novels' implication that it can happen differently pure fantasy, and their attempts to try to convince me of this are only met with resistance. Are there other people out there who are different than me where it could happen differently? Sure, most likely, and that's fine, but it isn't going to move me personally at all because it is not my experience.
Is that so hard to understand? In this world that is so upside down? How some use sex as a doorway to full intimacy?
Again, for me, as I said earlier, sex is for when you already have something. When the love is there sex can make it flower, potentially.

It was interesting to listen to you recapitulate your sex life because I think my emotional center is dead to a lot of impressions that would seem to speak right to your heart. These impressions must be distilled by the intellectual center because that's all I've got, which is why you continually get the impression that I'm off the mark. Based on my comments, you may have surmised that I've never had a sexual partner. I've never kissed anyone on the lips, and on the cheek maybe 4 or 5 times. As for affectionate caresses that's only happened twice, the second time was kind of an accident that happened in the school hallway where we couldn't hide our feelings for each other anymore, and the first time was a bit of homoerotic experimentation. That's pretty much the extent of my sexual experience. There's really not much in the way of life experience for these novels to plug into. I can conjecture and imagine what their love might be like, and I seem to have some dim distant past life memory that gives me an appreciation for it, but these novels can never be completely real to me with my life as it is now.
And it has nothing to do with levels of sexual experience...
I know this, but based on what you say here...
Again, so many assumptions and the point is - it's all irrelevant. Novels are playing on what's 'safe' for most people, males and females, to get them aroused by it.
...I often find myself playing around with lower level ideas trying to work around the tropes that feature prominently in these books. Matthew's ideals are much higher than what is suggested in my psuedoreview, it's just the relative abundance of rich and powerful men who are kind of stud-like in these books had me thinking more about what "hooks" are being employed with the demography than the actual book itself. Matthew is a rare exception to the prevailing trope, and his lack of experience does briefly become an issue. As I said in my first review, it's a mixture of STS and STO energy with the STO prevailing if you know which trail of breadcrumbs to follow. So far, none of the books have been so immersive or relevant enough that I felt I was really drawn into the story. There would be an idea here in this book, or a scene there in that book, or a character in some other book, but nothing comprehensive. In this particular book, it's Matthew's sexual attitudes. Usually the sexual narratives don't have much impact for me. For me, the point of this exercise seems to be to amalgamate these different fragments into a sort of meta romance value structure that is immersive and comprehensive. I can appreciate the beauty of the end state that the couples achieve, where somehow by the end of the book it appears that they really do love each other, even if I take often take exception to how they get there. That is something worth striving for, and the purpose of reading so many books is to be able to fill in the middle part, I think.
Also, stating how you would be an uninteresting lover is worrisome, why would you even think that?!? Cause you never bit anyone? Don't act so childish, show some self-respect!
Well, I was using the biting example as a bit of dry humor. Apparently I don't have the spiciness necessary to meet the standard and need to be educated!

I had a series of about 10 posts in the finding partners thread about 5 years ago with some pretty high ideals about sexuality, but came to the conclusion that that type of esoteric relationship was an impossibility, or at least highly unlikely. In all seriousness, I don't think I have the emotional warmth that a potential partner would need. I could be wrong, but I can't really picture myself in a relationship when it comes to day to day living. The primary hurdle that even blocks the attempt is trying to discern someone with the correct receivership capacity to even try. So yes, I've given up on any possibility of romance for the foreseeable future, but I can still visualize it in a more generalized way.

Now enough about me and back to reading.
 
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