I’ve talked about the right and wrong ways to explore sexuality and BDSM on this blog. I’ve talked about the potential benefits and insights that alternative concepts of sexuality may bring. However, there’s another side of that coin that’s worth talking about and, given that my work involves both erotic and romantic elements, it’s something that needs to be touched on.
A lot of my books have heavy romantic elements. At their core, books like “Skin Deep,” “Child of Orcus,” and even the aptly titled “The Escort and the Gigolo” are love stories. A big part of the story involves two characters coming together in a meaningful way. For the most part, I try to make this journey compelling, as well as sexy. I try to avoid typical Disney cliches. We all know them when we see them. It’s a “love at first sight” or a “forbidden love they can’t have.” Those make for tantalizing possibilities, but do they really make for healthy relationships?
It’s an important question to ask because some of these stories fail to acknowledge the flaws in those relationships. Make no mistake. Those flaws are there. The concept of “love at first sight” is sweet and all, but it’s barely the first step to a meaningful relationship and not taking more steps can undermine both the story and the relationship as a whole.
This isn’t a new issue either. Doomed romances are a big part of literature, going back to the days of the ancients. There’s an undeniable appeal to them, albeit one that reflects a crass understanding of love and meaningful relationships. Paste Magazine even made a list a few years back that highlights some of the most notable. I don’t think their choices will surprise anybody.
That’s one kind of doomed relationship. Most won’t argue the premise. Then, there are the doom relationships explored by Cracked.com in an article that may surprise some. Being a humor website full of dirty jokes, they took a more crass look at certain iconic romances. As is often the case, a crass gaze reveals an unexpected insight.
Some of the romances on this list are sure to make a certain subset of fans tense, but sometimes science and reality can be just that harsh. We tend to forget that relationships founded on excessive sacrifice or two people from different words, such as Han Solo and Princess Leia or John Bender and Clair Sandish, have more obstacles to overcome than most. By and large, those obstacles can be pretty detrimental. They’re not impossible to overcome, but the stories rarely explore this. It’s almost always just about how they come together. Then, the credits roll and we’re all left to fill in the blanks.
I understand why that happens. Exploring the intricacies of how relationships blossom and flourish is rarely as interesting as the process of coming together. I’m guilty of that as well in some of my stories. My book, “The Final Communion,” is the best example of that. At the same time, the concept of doomed romances provides an important context to developing romance as a whole. It’s a context I hope to keep in mind as I explore new stories. “The Big Game” doesn’t have heavy romantic elements, but some of the other books I have in mind will. Whatever comes of them, I hope I can show that there is a place for more meaningful romance that won’t feel so doomed in the end.