Thursday, January 7, 2016

Proud to be a Prude, Part Two

Does anyone remember the blog post I wrote over four years ago, in which I said that I was proud to be a prude? If you're wondering if what 26 year-old me wrote is still relevant to current 30 year-old me... well, say "hello" to the title. ;) I'll tell you exactly what prompted me to write this blog post, too: a book that was highly recommended to me.

As I mentioned yesterday, in my quest to spend less time on social media, I've been taking advantage of the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL)'s vast collection of audiobooks and eBooks. One of the books -- the first one I started reading this year -- seems to be universally beloved amongst many of my girlfriends so I decided to read it. The book? The Royal We. The verdict? Returned to the LAPL after five read chapters.

I know I'm going to get a lot of judgments for saying this (especially because of my age) but I just don't like reading books or watching shows or movies with sex in them. I'm sorry, I just don't. I made it through the first five chapters of The Royal We before I just couldn't keep ignoring how much of the "hooking up" was mentioned. While it never got explicit, I was just not comfortable reading it. In fact, I've never been comfortable reading or watching anything close to it in general.

Four years ago I wrote that my imagination was wildly vivid and it's still true. I know that once an idea is put into my mind, it's hard to get it out. If I read something, it'll replay in my mind until something else captures my imagination. Books tend to stay with me for a long time after I read them. Having said that, I knew that I don't want to go there with all sex mentioned.

I've been trying to undo the years of the "experimentation and 'self-discovery' is good" propaganda that I was fed from my pre-teens through my early 20s. I mean, I never fully bought it but it was still (repeatedly) taught that things like looking at pornography out of curiosity or self-pleasure was all "normal" and that not doing it was unusual. 13 years of public school and undergraduate education in liberal Los Angeles... you do the math. My parents fought that mentality as much as they could -- even refusing to sign the waiver to let me watch the sex-ed video in health class; I had to leave the classroom when those were played -- opting for my mom's guidance on the subject. For that I'm grateful, but you know kids. The information was going to get to me through classmates anyway. Even though pornography was seen as "no big deal" amongst my peers and even some of my professors at certain schools, I knew it was destructive.

I've seen what pornography does to people with my own eyes. I've witnessed the effects in two people I grew up with, a man and a woman. I'll keep it vague though I have the permission of the woman to share this. The man's addiction was closeted but I knew one of his children still had access to things they should never had seen. His marriage suffered because of his addiction to it. The woman ended up developing an addiction to it in her adult years -- it became easy for her to access it to the internet -- and that addiction spanned for a couple of years. She said it was hard to break but was able to do it when she shunned it and kept God on her mind (she had developed the addiction while away from the Church). Though she successfully overcame it a few years ago, it has scarred her and she still has to be careful not to go anywhere near those things to this day.

All of those books and movies with sex scenes may seem harmless to people but they can very easily manipulate you into thinking that it's no big deal. It's all fiction. It's not real. It's true... but it can become a very real thing. Maybe people will be calling me a prude... too religious... too cautious. Maybe I am all of those things. However, I don't want to put myself in a position that I'll later have to take to the confessional.

It's a slippery slope -- "no big deal" becomes "ohh, I can watch this because I'm strong enough" to viewing things that get more and more graphic. "No, I can definitely remember this is fiction," you may argue. "I'm not weak. I have a strong will that will keep me from developing an addiction." Maybe you can, but many can't. I may be able to differentiate between fiction and reality but I just don't want to risk it. I know myself, I know my mind and my will power, and I know that it's simply not worth it to me to basically tempt myself.

I gladly accept all the judgments that come my way because, in the end, it's my life and it's my comfortable level. Books and other entertainment which I consider a kind of "gateway drug" are just not my cup of tea. I'm not going to judge you if you don't have an issue with these things; everyone has their own limits. As I wrote all those years ago, I'm not against sex. It's a beautiful and healthy thing within a marriage... or so I'm guessing since I'm not married and have not experienced that part of life. lol. Still, even when I do get married, I highly doubt I'll ever be comfortable reading or seeing it. It's just the kind of person that I am.

Authors: c'mon, y'all... you can write a great book without having sex so heavily focused! Why do you think I even became a YA/NA writer (besides my love of writing)? Because I was tired of seeing so much sex in books. Yes, it's the norm with young adults but, newsflash, not all young adults are into books like that. There are some who prefer cleaner book. Shocking, I know.

Anyway, come at me (with those negative comments), bro! lol. I'm done with my little mini rant-like blog post. ;) I'm going to go read another book and hope for better results. lol.

I hope y'all are having a great week thus far!

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D


AnneMarie Miller said...

The struggle is real!!!! I hate putting down books that I'm interested in, but just the other week, I was reading a book that had some sexual references here and there I could mostly ignore, but about 100 pages in, I realized, "Oh, they're taking a lovely story premise and turning it into a tale about fornication and homosexuality. Nope." Why do so many books have to include sex scenes??? I like to read a lot of crime & murder novels (it's a weird phase I'm in currently), and they always manage to throw fornication scenes in there-but usually, they are short, don't have much imagery, and I can skip or skim them. But you know what ticks me off?
(mini-rant coming)
A lot of Christian romance fiction that I've picked up makes me so sad with how they write physical affection scenes. I mean, I know they are romances, but still, I feel that sometimes, a line is crossed. It strikes me as so odd that in many of those books-where Christian values of abstinence before marriage are upheld-the love scenes between unmarried people get so steamy!!!! I don't get it, and it makes me mad. Like, there are plenty of secular crime novels where I can handle the sex scenes, because they're 2 very objective sentences that don't give me much imagery and I mostly skim over them anyway. But then I'll dive into a Christian romance book, and there will be a 1-2-page, very steamy kissing scene between an unmarried couple?!?!?! Does not compute. Seriously.

Emmy Cecilia said...

AnneMarie - YES! I was just thinking about that -- how Christian novels have a lot of really steamy scenes in them. Like, what? If I want to read a Christian novel I'm expecting it to uphold the beliefs. I've had my share of disappointment in so-called Christian novels that have gotten a bit smutty.

Stephen said...

If only more people came to realize the damage that it (porn/hyper-sexualization of our world) does to people, how it turns the person from seeing the other person for who they are into an object of the beholder's selfish and self-centered desire.

Where once I accepted the modern's worldview of sex, never giving it a first (or even second thought), as I've grown in my faith and coming to see God in each person, those books or movies that I enjoyed when I was younger I have a growing distaste for. I like to think my taste has grown and become refined as I've matured. :)

So no, I don't think you're a "prude" at all, and I think the world needs more of that attitude honestly - it's a much healthier way of life, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

Blessings upon you!

Emmy Cecilia said...

Thanks, Stephen!

AnneMarie Miller said...

Jumping off of Stephen's last point, the world does need more of this attitude. Several months back, I was talking with a friend and she threw up her hands in defeat, saying, "I know, I know, I'm a prude, but I don't watch sex scenes." I thanked her, and I thought it was so sad that she felt the need to be apologetic. Yet, she had watched movies with strong Catholic friends where they unabashedly were going to watch the sex scenes, and she was the odd girl out who didn't want to watch them. People who don't watch sex scenes in movies shouldn't be the odd person out!! And it's interesting that you're found smutty Christian novels, too-I didn't know if it was something that only I noticed or have a problem with. Guess the problem is a lot bigger or more noticeable than I thought (groan).