I think that many of us have/had no idea of what a truly healthy intimate sexual/spiritual relationship looks like for whatever reason. I also found the sex scenes unappetising at times, simply because my buffers popped up and as a result I was initially reticent about learning of healthier ways of lovemaking. Reading these novels showed me that I was biased! But through these novels AND the posts of others I am learning to see that there are healthy ways of expressing love in a physical way. Especially if lovemaking/touch is one of our 5 love languages, then physical intimacy plays an even more important role.
Re: the item in bold above: this appears to be more of an issue that I at first suspected. I would have thought that, in this day and time of extreme sexual "freedom", that what people needed was more a way to rein in and parameterize their physical relationships; to find a way of inhibiting what had been given too much freedom. But it seems I was wrong. There is still a great deal of programmed distortion going toward almost Victorian morality.
I was concerned that people might have been too influenced by such things as Margaret Mead's studies of primitive societies where she claimed people were almost completely sexually uninhibited even from very early ages and that this was supposed to be "healthy" and "natural". Well, of course, we know now that this was very likely part of a program of moving toward a society that accepts the sexualization of children. And acting like little more than an animal is not the way to go. My concern was that people should learn that there is a healthy sexuality WITHIN LIMITS, and those limits include spiritual and psychological considerations and something our society has lost sight of: decency that is born out of care and concern for others and what is best for them.
What a freaking mess our culture has made of people's minds and thus their bodies and lives.
So, indeed, yes. These books exhibit exactly that sort of reality: where there is freedom within limits, and those limits are concerns for others and their healthy development.
Now, I had hesitated to bring up this next particular series because there are parts of it that are so dark that I worried about real triggering if a person had been abused, but maybe that is something that can be built up to? In the story of James and Madeline, there was psychological abuse that led to very confused physical expressions, but in the series I'm about to mention, there is definite, institutionalized abuse of a very horrific kind. And yet, despite the darkness, the characters manage to emerge with the help of a bearer of light. The stories are complex plots, more like action/adventure tales, and really engaging. But, the sexual scenes might be triggering because they describe persons who have been sexually abused as children finding their way toward more normal relationships. In some cases it is actually painful to read their struggles in this regard.
Once again, this series almost MUST be read in order because the plots and characters are so interrelated and complex you will certainly NOT get as much out of it if you read it out of order. Also, other books by this author aren't worth much as she goes way over the top in many respects. It works well enough here, but I think she's a libtard and once the whole liberal/snowflake revolution took over, she lost the plot. She even dedicated one of her later books to the "metoo" movement. So, I would suggest to ignore her later work.
In any event, the heroes of these stories have been subjected to the most awful abuse as children and young men you can possibly imagine. They end up surviving only because they bury their humanity and become something that looks a lot like psychopaths. I even wondered, at some point, if the author was not intending to romanticize or write apology for psychopathy; but then I recalled that the Cs had said that sometimes, what looks like psychopathy is really a soul in struggle. Well, yeah, that sure describes these guys, even moreso than James in "Devil's Web."
With all that said, the series is: Victorian Rebels by Kerrigan Byrne.
1. The Highwayman
2. The Hunter
3. The Highlander
4. The Duke
5. Skip book 5 as it is really bad and not necessary to the overall scheme/plot.
6. The Duke With the Dragon Tattoo
7. Seducing a Stranger. (This is also vol. 1 of a second series that isn't very interesting or useful, so stop here.)