The Good Old (Sexy) Days

21 Jun
Today I have the fantastically amazing Elizabeth Boyce, author of historical romance, here to share some very interesting things to make you go, “Hmm…”
Author Elizabeth Boyce

Author Elizabeth Boyce

People (Usually old people [Who am I kidding? I’m an Old. 😦 {Get off my lawn, you little punks!}]) like to gripe about today’s youths being worthless degenerates, how civilization is sliding into moral decline, and how much better things were in The Good Old Days. You know The Good Old Days, don’t you? Silver-tinted and brimming with tall glasses of whole milk and paternal wisdom, The Good Old Days were a simpler time, when men were men and women were women and children respected their elders. Entertainment was wholesome in The Good Old Days. Authority figures like teachers and cops were respected in The Good Old Days. Women and minorities couldn’t vote and child labor laws didn’t exist in The Good Old… oh. Anywho, back in The Good Old Days, as society’s morality police would have you believe, people didn’t write or read filthy stories. Love was pure. Mr. Darcy didn’t sneak Lizzy Bennet into the hayloft for a tumble, did he? No! In The Good Old Days, people behaved decorously and had quiet, decorous orgasms only after they were married. Today’s historical romance novels, say the biddies, are full of dirty smutty smut that shouldn’t even be there.
No worries. They’re married.
To them I say, Pshaw! That’s right. I pshaw’d those historical smut naysayers. I’ll do it again: PSHAW! We authors of steamy, spicy, hot, and otherwise sexy historical romance stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our smutty sisters in other genres and proudly declare: Sex is awesome and you can’t make me feel shame for writing about it. We are not the first people to write about sex. Shoot, even cavemen depicted sex. 28,000 year old Aboriginal art discovered in Australia last year clearly illustrates couples copulating. Before written language existed, people were writing about sex. Ever since our primitive forebears committed to rock what was really on their minds, humans have written about sexual relationships. And why not? Sex is the sole biological imperative. All other instincts exist to make sure we survive long enough to reproduce. It’s kind of nature’s thing. I refuse to believe that people only admitted interest in reading about sex in the last fifty years. And I have centuries of good, clean smut backing me up.
Tell that sexy tale.
Take for instance The Canterbury Tales. You might remember from British Lit class that there was a good bit of ribaldry in the Tales, but do you recall just how graphic Chaucer got? “The Miller’s Tale” is about a carpenter’s wife who has an affair with one man, and is pursued by yet another. We’re presented with gems like these: “And privily he caught her by the queint” (That’s the, um, c-word in Middle English); “And helde her fast by the haunche bones;” and “But with his mouth he kiss’d her naked erse Full savourly.” Mmmm, savourly butt. And that’s just one tale! Shakespeare’s plays are notoriously peppered with innuendo and double entendres. A brief exchange from Romeo and Juliet:
MERCUTIO: Thy wit is a very bitter sweeting: it is a most sharp sauce.
ROMEO: And is it not then well served into a sweet goose?
MERCUTIO: O here’s a wit of cheverel, that stretches from an inch narrow to an ell broad!
Yeah, baby… serve that sauce in my sweet goose. Oh, yeah. Ooo, your wit is getting huge. It’s almost an ell [45 inches] long! Basically, if you’re reading Shakespeare and aren’t sure what he’s talking about, sex is a safe guess. And then there is John Donne, whose poems describe sexual longing tender and intense enough to make you weep, such as in these excerpts from “The Sun Rising”:

  Thy beams so reverend, and strong
Why shouldst thou think ?
I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink,
But that I would not lose her sight so long. 
She’s all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ; 
 and since thy duties be
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.
Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere ;
This bed thy center is, these walls thy sphere.
Suddenly, ruffs totally do it for me.
I die. I swoon straightaway. But then Donne gets funny on us, too, such as in “The Flea,” in which the narrator attempts to convince his love interest to give it up. Having both been bitten by the same bug:
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;   
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead
Later, the narrator’s lady squishes the flea. So much for reasoning his way into her bed. Today’s historical romance novels follow modern writing conventions. We go deep into our point of view characters and try to provide the reader with a full body, sensory experience. We tell you what characters taste and smell, what they feel, what they think. And yes, for many of us this includes writing about the sexual aspect of the developing romance. We walk a path well-trod by our literary forebears, who recognize sexuality as an integral aspect of the human experience. For me, emotional love is inseparable from the physical drive pulling two people together. Neglecting this key component of falling in love is only telling half the story.
Be sure to check out Elizabeth’s work; you won’t be disappointed! Once a Duchess and Once an Heiress are available now. Worry not–you won’t have to wait long for Once an Innocent, coming July 8th. To learn more about her and to get info on her books and more, visit her site by clicking here! In the meantime, get a gander at one of the most beauty-full covers you’ll ever see and check out the blurb for the upcoming romance…
Freakin' amazeballs, right?!

Freakin’ amazeballs, right?!

Jordan Atherton, Viscount Freese, returned from the Peninsular War scarred and ready to live as a dissolute bachelor. Society knows nothing of his secret occupation or of the obligation binding him to Lintern Abbey, the estate he loathes. When his Foreign Office superiors discover a network of French agents near his country home, Jordan quickly devises a house party scheme to cover the influx of his men hunting the enemy. With no time to lose and political stability hanging in the balance, Jordan turns to his friend, the Duke of Monthwaite, for help. Would the duke be so kind as to loan Jordan some ladies to populate his party?

Lady Naomi Lockwood, Monthwaite’s younger sister, is snatched from her warm, secure world when she’s suddenly forced to go to Lintern Abbey, despite her pleas to stay home. Stunned by her family’s abandonment, Naomi and her aunt travel to the Yorkshire home of the handsome and enigmatic Jordan Atherton.

There Naomi soon realizes this house party is not all it seems. The estate is neglected by its master, as is Jordan’s ward, a mysterious Spanish orphan. When Naomi demands answers, Jordan distracts her by indulging their mutual attraction. With danger drawing closer and her family far away, Naomi must stand on her own to uncover the truth and protect the home and people she’s coming to love—including the maddening Lord Freese.

One Response to “The Good Old (Sexy) Days”

  1. Elke Feuer June 21, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    What a great post! It so true that people’s idea of the good old days gets muddled and they forget what it was really like. Humanity has been doing all the same things for years, the media has just made it more widely known and we started tracking it with statistics.

    Historical romance is my favorite genre. I’ve got your books on my TBR list and can’t wait to dig in. If only I could get a job that paid me to read and write. 🙂

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