Is it because humans are so obsessed with death that we find murder so acceptable--and yet there's no doubt humans are equally fascinated by sexual desire.
There's a study by Dr. David Buss (author of The Murderer Next Door) who says:
“Killing is fundamentally in our nature because over the eons of human evolution murder was so surprisingly beneficial in the intense game of reproductive competition,” Buss said. “Our minds have developed adaptations to kill, which is contrary to previous theories that murder is something outside of human nature—a pathology imposed from the distorting influences of culture, media images, poverty or child abuse.That's pretty scary stuff, and yet it makes perfect sense to me. And, what is that sentence, right there...
“Though we may like to think that murderers are either pathological misfits or hardened criminals,” he added, “the vast majority of murders are committed by people who, until the day they kill, seem perfectly normal.”
"over the eons of human evolution murder was so surprisingly beneficial in the intense game of reproductive competition"Reproductive competition. For humans that (generally) boils down to who gets to have s e x with whom.
Interesting stuff. Both s e x and murder are fundamental acts in the animal kingdom and yet, in fiction at least, s e x elicits a much stronger reaction from readers, and is considered much more intimate/personal than murder.
In my humble opinion, it's that intimacy that makes sexual relations integral to romance novels--it isn't about which bit goes where. It's about the emotional risk of getting close to someone and trusting them when you are at your most vulnerable. Most animals don't have face-to-face s e x, except octopods (have you read SEA OF SUSPICION? ;)) and it is that vulnerability that lies at the heart of a successful romance novel.
I don't know why people get more upset about s e x than murder. I'd like to find out. Anyone have any insights?