Today my guest is author Annabeth Leong, who's here to talk about her new book, One Flesh, a beautifully written lgbt romance. Enjoy the post, and don't forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway. And now here's Annabeth.
Thanks so much for hosting me today!
The subject of virginity came up recently on a radio talk show I was listening to, and I have to admit I was pretty disgusted by the way it was discussed. The hosts of the show had a very narrow-minded view of what virginity meant, and they went on a bit about how a woman's body is altered irreparably by losing her virginity, and how for her it's a marked physical change (that is implied to signify many other things, such as loss of innocence).
Of course, sexual connection changes a person, and of course there are milestones that feel significant, but I take huge issue with the idea that all that change is contained in a flap of skin commonly known as the hymen. There are a bunch of really problematic things about measuring virginity by the presence or absence of the hymen (including the fact that the hymen can break from activities besides sex). I think one of the weirdest things is that it defines a woman's loss of virginity as having to do with a certain type of heterosexual experience.
I'm old enough that it's been years since I worried about "losing it," but I do remember the ways I used to track virginity and the things that did and didn't count in my view. It got weird after I got together with my first female lover. We were definitely together and we were definitely having sex, but the things I did with her would not have counted as "losing my virginity" according to the narrow definition those talk show hosts were using.
That was my first inkling that virginity wasn't as straightforward as I'd been led to believe. Clearly, some arbitrary distinctions were involved, and perhaps even some personal choice. The subject has remained interesting to me, and I've come to believe that seeing virginity as a sort of Rubicon to be crossed is a very inaccurate view of it. (Incidentally, I highly recommend Jessica Valenti's book, The Purity Myth: How America's Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women).
For me, it makes more sense to think about sexuality as a bunch of experiences that can be shared. Some are special and reserved for certain special relationships, but I think the specifics of that need to be defined on an individual level. This is the idea that's at the heart of my recent release, One Flesh. As they enter into their marriage, Leticia and Rosalie decide that they want to be virgins in some way on their wedding night. Then they proceed to define what that means for them—and there's plenty of room to do so.
Leticia and Rosalie are planning their wedding, wanting very much to make their special day one to remember, but Rosalie has something else weighing on her mind, one more thing she wants to make as special and as memorable as the ceremony itself—their wedding night. Rosalie wants to be with Leticia in a way that neither of them had ever been with anyone else. But finding something that would be a first time for both of them turns out to be harder than expected.
As it turns out, there is one thing Leticia has wanted to do but has never trusted anyone enough to allow herself to overcome the fear of it. And it's something that Rosalie has never done either.
The women discuss the idea of fisting as a means of connecting and forming an intimate bond with each other, one that they've never formed with anyone else. They've never loved or trusted anyone else they way the love and trust each other, and they are determined to find a way to make it work.
"I'll call tomorrow to tell the church how many flowers we want to order," Leticia said, sighing and folding her notebook closed. No matter how many neat lists she made with her favorite purple pen, the sheer quantity of wedding-related details was overwhelming. "Can you call the caterer back, Rosalie? I still feel like they sneaked a charge in somewhere, but I can't get a straight answer out of them about it."
Her fiancée smiled indulgently. "Better yet. I'll go in person on my lunch break, and they won't know what hit them."
"Great." Leticia rubbed her temples and closed her eyes. She'd wanted to go to bed early, but another evening of wedding planning had made that completely impossible. She was excited to be marrying her one true love and all, but it was easy to lose track of that when she had fourteen phone calls to make and her mother demanded an e-mailed progress report every single night. "That's got to be enough for now."
Leticia stole a quick glance at Rosalie. She'd changed into a cute pair of pajamas when she got home from work, the childish pattern an odd contrast with her sophisticated coppery makeup. Leticia briefly fantasized about peeling the clothing away, revealing her lover's curves and smooth brown skin. Unfortunately, at that very same moment, she had to stifle a yawn. She was so damn sleepy. They would need to get to bed immediately if she was going to give Rosalie proper attention.
"We can't quit planning yet," Rosalie said. "We haven't discussed the most important thing, and it's coming up soon."
Leticia groaned. She flipped her notebook open again and paged through her color-coded, highlighted lists. "We've talked about everything I had listed for the day, and we even went over things that have deadlines coming up in the next few days. I don't see what we're—"
"The wedding night," Rosalie purred. "We haven't discussed that at all."
There was no mistaking the sparkle in her eyes. Leticia actually blushed, the way she had at Rosalie's makeup counter the first time they met, when the other woman's soft words of praise, roughened by the obvious desire in her voice, had gotten Leticia so hot and flushed it had been impossible to identify the correct shade of foundation for her skin tone. She'd been forced to come back later, not that she'd minded.
Now that she'd figured out what Rosalie was hinting at, Leticia played innocent. For all her lover's passion, her Catholic upbringing had left her with an adorable aversion to using direct language. Leticia loved to watch Rosalie get flustered while trying to explain her naughty desires. She batted her eyelashes and focused on her notes again. "We've reserved our hotel room the night of. We've got our plane tickets to Puerto Rico for the honeymoon a couple days after that. Everything appears to be in order."
"The wedding night," Rosalie said, apparently oblivious to Leticia's teasing. She rolled her hands through the air, one over the other, the gesture an invitation to take the word "night" and run with it. "The whole reason I wanted an afternoon wedding was so we could have plenty of time together. Afterward. In the hotel."
"You mean to take a good, long nap? I'm sure we'll be tired after dealing with all the guests, and coming down from pre-wedding nerves, too." Leticia couldn't resist continuing the act.
"Not a nap. But I am talking about what we might do in bed."
All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-oneflesh-1355652-149.html?referrer=6bdb1f9160564c0525b41f36e51861a0
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GUMJ080/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00GUMJ080&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelt-20
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00GUMJ080/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=B00GUMJ080&linkCode=as2&tag=lucyfelthouse-21
Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/one-flesh-annabeth-leong/1117483502?ean=2940149014910
Storm Moon Press: http://www.stormmoonpress.com/books/One-Flesh.aspx
Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors—dark, romantic, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her lesbian stories have appeared in the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Lesbian Cops, Circlet Press's love-spell anthology Like Hearts Enchanted, Lovecraftian erotica book Whispers In Darkness, and others. When not writing erotica, she is frequently reading it. She has lived in six states in various parts of the United States, and traveled to most of the others. Annabeth believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and the need for compassionate religion. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking, and excellent bass lines.
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