Sex vs. the State of the World

by | June 28, 2021 | General | 2 comments

I had several ideas for a blog post this month, but too many other events and news items have distracted my attention. When this happens, I ask myself how much of what passes through my stream of consciousness has to do with sex. The answer that comes to me is: everything! We all crave pleasure, but there are obstacles in the way.

I recently watched a documentary on the revival of Druidry in Britain. A ceremony to welcome the sun at Midsummer at Stonehenge was shown. A mature-looking man in a white robe held a branch of mistletoe aloft, and described it as the healing semen of the gods which never touches the ground in its natural state. Each person in the circle got a small piece of the branch, then they all cheered the sunrise and danced in a circle. At Midwinter, of course, mistletoe is supposed to encourage kissing.

My earliest ideas for erotic stories were fantasies about sex as a religious ritual, even though I couldn’t seriously imagine such a thing happening in the real world. Like most other people raised in the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), I was brought up to think of sex as a necessary evil that needed to be contained. Even though my parents had a liberal approach to Christianity when I was growing up, and my father declared himself an agnostic later on, their warnings to me about sex were probably similar to the sermons they got from their more orthodox Protestant parents: sex is for making babies, and if I ever “let” anyone have carnal knowledge of me outside the bounds of heterosexual monogamy, I would “pay the price.”

In spite of all that, a spiritual connection with the forces of nature seems sexual by definition.

The Midsummer ritual I watched looked like a welcome change from a torrent of bad news: the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves on the sites of residential schools for Indigenous children in Canada. Most of the people I know have decided not to celebrate Canada Day (July 1) because of the policies enforced by the Christian churches that ran these schools, and the federal Canadian government that funded them and forced children into them from the time Canada became a nation in 1867 to much later. The last residential school near me closed in 1996. The official rationale for these places was to “civilize” Indigenous children by teaching them Christian values and useful skills, but the high death rate in them was a clue to their real purpose: genocide.

While ground-penetrating radar is revealing an ever-growing number of small bodies whose families (in most cases) were never told what had happened to them, Britney Spears is fighting in court to regain the rights of an adult. Her apparent “breakdown” thirteen years ago served as a reason for her father to claim legal control of his adult daughter, supposedly for her own good, and to control her income. Like others in the “Free Britney” movement, I find it mind-boggling that she is able to maintain a gruelling schedule as an entertainer, but is officially considered incompetent to handle her own affairs.

Please note that I’m not equating the legal control of one person with a national policy that resulted in mass deaths, but there are some connecting threads. A traditional belief that certain people are too wild or irrational to make their own choices has been applied to people who are not white, not male, or not thought of as adult. (And on this note, I’ve blogged here and elsewhere about the flexible boundaries of “childhood,” depending on who is defining this state and for what purpose.)

To avoid sinking into a hell-pit of despair, I visualize the flow of sexual energy as something that can never be destroyed as long as human beings are still living on the earth, which still nourishes us. Those of us who write sexual fantasies can keep reminding ourselves and each other that pleasure is our birthright, and it doesn’t belong only to a privileged few.

Taking a break from social media and spending time outdoors is a good way to rekindle hope for a better future. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, this is the season for it. Happy summer to everyone living north of the equator, and may the Antipodeans find comfort in winter.

Jean Roberta

Jean Roberta once promised her parents not to use their unusual family name for her queer and erotic writing, and thus was born her thin-disguise pen name. She teaches English and Creative Writing in a university on the Canadian prairies, where the vastness of land and sky encourage daydreaming. Jean immigrated to Canada from the United States as a teenager with her family. In her last year of high school, she won a major award in a national student writing contest. In 1988, a one-woman publisher in Montreal published a book of Jean’s lesbian stories, Secrets of the Invisible World. When the publisher went out of business, the book went out of print. In the same year, Jean attended the Third International Feminist Book Fair in Montreal, where she read a call-for-submissions for erotic lesbian stories. She wrote three, sent them off, and got a letter saying that all three were accepted. Then the publisher went out of business. In 1998, Jean and her partner acquired their first computer. Jean looked for writers’ groups and found the Erotic Readers & Writers Association, which was then two years old! She began writing erotica in every flavor she could think of (f/f, m/f, m/m, f/f/m, etc) and in various genres (realistic contemporary, fantasy, historical). Her stories have appeared in anthology series such as Best Lesbian Erotica (2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, Volume 1 in new series, 2016), Best Lesbian Romance (2014), and Best Women's Erotica (2000, 2003, 2005, 2006) from Cleis Press, as well as many others. Her single-author books include Obsession (Renaissance, Sizzler Editions), an erotic story collection, The Princess and the Outlaw: Tales of the Torrid Past (Lethe Press), and The Flight of the Black Swan: A Bawdy Novella (Lethe, also in audio). Fantasy stories by Jean include “Lunacy” in Journey to the Center of Desire (erotic stories based on the work of Jules Verne) from Circlet Press 2017, “Green Spectacles and Rosy Cheeks” (steampunk erotica) in Valves & Vixens 3 (House of Erotica, UK, 2016), and “Under the Sign of the Dragon” (story about the conception of King Arthur) in Nights of the Round Table: Arthurian Erotica (Circlet 2015). This story is now available from eXcessica ( Her horror story, “Roots,” first published in Monsters from Torquere Press, is now in the Treasure Gallery of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association. With Lethe Press publisher Steve Berman, she coedited Heiresses of Russ 2015 (Lethe), an annual anthology of the year’s best lesbian speculative fiction. Her realistic erotic novel, Prairie Gothic: A Tale of the Old Millennium, was published by Lethe in September 2021. Jean has written many reviews and blog posts. Her former columns include “Sex Is All Metaphors” (based on a line in a poem by Dylan Thomas) for the Erotic Readers and Writers Association, July 2008-November 2010. The 25 column pieces can still be found in the on-site archives and in an e-book from Coming Together, Jean married her long-term partner, Mirtha Rivera, on October 30, 2010. Links:


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    I have always felt that for me personally, sex was the gateway to spiritual awareness. When I re-read my diaries from my twenties, I find frequent juxtaposition of erotic adventures with prayer.

    As for the recent discoveries of the graves, it has sort of shattered my image of Canada as the ultimate civilized country. I can only begin to imagine how you, as a Canadian, must feel about it.

    Not that the U.S. doesn’t have at least as many evil skeletons in its closet. But I’ve never viewed the U.S. as fully civilized, either.

    • JeAn Roberta

      Thank you for commenting, Lisabet. Someone I know who is part-Indigenous, part Black (by way of the Caribbean) suggested to me on Facebook that the U.S. has a better track record re government relations with Indigenous people than the Canadian government. Based on what I’ve read, though, treaties were regularly broken on both sides of the border. The famous Lakota warrior Sitting Bull (as his name was translated into English) escaped into Saskatchewan after the Battle of the Little Big Horn, a.k.a. Custer’s Last Stand, in 1876. This is why I know some of this history. The refugees weren’t warmly welcomed, so they returned to the U.S., where Sitting Bull was killed, as he foresaw. Racism or white supremacy played a formative role in the history of both countries, but at least Canada has a better health care system and fewer guns.

      I just hope that painful revelations about historical atrocities will lead to social reform. Meanwhile, there’s always the consolation of sexual pleasure, including fantasy.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



Pin It on Pinterest