December 10, 2015

Tour Day: Sheri Velarde on Sexual Double Standards and Erotic Romance

Today we welcome back our friend and colleague, Sheri Velarde. Sheri lives in New Mexico with her new husband and their two dogs. Being an avid reader since an early age, she has wanted to be a writer for as long as she can remember. She has been writing all her life, but only recently started to actually try to pursue her dream of writing for a living. She specializes in all things paranormal and that go bump in the night. Her heart truly lies in exploring unknown worlds or adding the supernatural to our world. If it goes bump in the night or has magical connotations, Sheri writes about it. She is constantly putting out new material with various publishers, so it is best to keep up with her on her website In her spare time Sheri is an artist, jewelry designer, independent comic writer/artist and freelance non-fiction writer. Hiking in the mountains, going to live concerts, art openings, museums, and hosting intimate dinner parties.

Sheri Velarde
Sex and Romantic Fiction

You meet someone and there is an instant attraction. Could there be more of a connection? Something beyond the physical, something deeper? Sure, but it’s too soon to tell and right now it’s the physical need that is driving you and causing you to want to act. More intense feelings may follow, but for right now your hormones are in charge.

This is something that happens in real life as well as in romantic fiction. An instant animal attraction can change everything, for you or for characters you are reading about. Yet there seems to be a double standard on how men and women are viewed if they act on such an attraction. Men are often seen as studs if they act on something physical with someone whom they just met. Women on the other hand are often judged and labeled as “easy” or “sluts”.

Why is that? Why is it okay for men to act on instinct while women are considered weak somehow if they do? I am sure what you are wondering that I am bring this up on a blog about writing, but the standards often hold true in books as well. Characters are often judged by the same double standards, with readers forming the same conclusions as they would in real life.

My new release Not So Silent Night is actually a re-edited, re-worked piece that I put out a few years ago. As I was rewriting this story, I remembered comments made by an acquaintance back for its first release. Keep in mind that I warned said person before buying the book that it was erotic in nature and not her taste. Still she bought the book and then proceeded to tell me that Anna, my female lead, was a slut and how disgusting it was for my character to have a sexual encounter at the beginning of the story. One woman’s opinion and certainly not mine.

So why was my protagonist called names? Because she meets a hot stranger, feels and immediate strong attraction and chooses to act on it. Now this is a paranormal romance so there was some magical connection at play here, but still Anna choose to have sex with someone she just met and was labeled by this particular reader. Hey, erotica is not for everyone, I get it. But knowing that something is erotic, still reading it and then condemning it is so not cool.

What is interesting is that there was no such reaction to Alexander, the male in this equation. Apparently it was okay for him to engage in such behavior. My question is why is that? Is it because men are expected to act on instinct while women should be waiting for something intellectual to recommend a lover? Is it because women tend to be more emotional about making love that they cannot just act on their base desires? Why is there such a double standard for sex?

As it turns out in my story, magic aside, Anna had been lonely and seeking a connection for a long time. When someone interesting came into her life, well she jumped at the chance to feel something for a change. I personally do not consider someone who has not even dated for years to be worthy of name calling just because she had sex. But why do so many other women in particular?

To me this is systemic of larger issues about women and sexuality in society. In American society in particular, a sexually free and liberated woman seems to be something that is feared. I lived in Paris when I was younger and more sexually adventurous I guess you could say, and no one batted an eye at my behavior. Sex was not a taboo over there, it was part of life and a part to be celebrated and explored. Not so much here in the States. Again it makes me wonder why?

Sex is a natural part of being human, a basic need for many of us. It is there for pleasure and not just reproduction. I can’t have children for medical reasons but that by no means has ever lowered my sex drive. It’s part of the human experience and should be treated as such. And that includes all sexualities as well. As long as two, or more, people are consenting adults and being safe why should it matter what they are doing in the bedroom?

I ask so many questions because I truly want there to be an open dialogue about sex in America. It should not be something considered “dirty” or a topic not suitable for public conversations. We need to talk about sexuality so that it eventually becomes something natural to discuss, something that is not a taboo any longer but part of our everyday culture. We need to as a society to stop being ashamed of sexuality and embrace it.

Please comment with your thoughts and feelings on this subject and let’s get the dialogue going. I will check back with this blog and reply to any and all comments, all I ask is that you keep it respectful whether you agree or disagree. Now let’s get talking!

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Another lonely Christmas approaches for Anna and her life of penance—until an otherworldly distraction appears and changes her life.
Anna is a lonely woman, running her dead grandmother's flower shop. She hates Christmas and could not feel more lost when a handsome and mysterious Russian, Alexander, walks into her shop and her life. Each has secrets that they are harboring. Just as their passion erupts, the good old boys in town threaten to ruin everything. Getting to know each other is tough for most couples, adding in magic does not make it any easier. Now with a pack of werewolves out to destroy them, things become intense. They find themselves in a fight for their lives. Can their newfound love give them the strength to win against this threat and trust in the future?

She had almost finished cleaning up in back when she heard the bell on the door ring less than five minutes before closing. "Seriously? Can't people let me get out of here on time just one damn night?" she muttered to herself as she stormed toward the front so she could wait on her customer and then get the hell out of the store.
Anna whipped around the corner in a huff, not caring if she scared the latecomer away. She stopped in her tracks and almost forgot what had pissed her off when she saw the customer in question. The most breathtaking back view of a man she had ever seen stood just inside the doorway, and her brain stopped working for the moment. Wow, who knew broad shoulders and a great rear could stop a woman in her tracks? While she gawked like an idiot, the man turned around and proved to be even more distracting from the front. This guy was like a wall of muscle, perfect body attached to a very masculine and handsome face with the deepest blue eyes Anna had ever seen.
"Sorry, I know you are about to close, but I need a gift of flowers," he said when he saw Anna. He had a very thick eastern European accent that she thought might be Russian, which of course only made him hotter. She noticed his eyes taking her in, and she couldn't help but stand a little straighter, showing her curves off to her advantage while she absentmindedly ran her fingers through her long, wavy, raven hair, which most men seemed to love.
It took Anna's brain a few moments to catch up before she could speak. Her previous anger and frustration vanished, replaced by eagerness to help this particular customer. "No problem at all. Do you have an idea of what kind of gift you are looking for? Is this for your girlfriend or wife?" Anna held her breath as she waited for this mystery man to answer, a bit annoyed with herself that she cared so much about what he might say.

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