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320227916_e6d5fc518e_ocreative commons. . . have you read anything hot lately?

Perhaps it was the convergence of Valentine’s Day and the release of Fifty Shades of Gray (the movie), but I’ve been on the look-out for a really hot romance. Something literary. Not the so-called mommy-porn “Gray” aspires to. Nor the BDSM that seems so popular these days. But a straight, steamy love story that has depth and substance. I have yet to find what I’m seeking.

It hasn’t been from lack of trying though. I read “Gray” back when it first came out just to see what the hoopla was all about. But I couldn’t get past the first three chapters–the writing was so silly, the characters so unbelievable, and even the sexual tension between the two seemed tepid at best. Nothing to keep me turning pages.

Since then I’ve revisited some “steamy” romances I read in my youth, only to find them sadly lacking. I’ve surfed through pages of reviews of erotic romance and downloaded a few e-books onto my Kindle (thank God for Kindle—this is what it was created for!). While some were fun reads, and others hot enough to steam up my reading glasses, all left me feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

I am seeking something that stimulates and satisfies in a deeper way than what I’ve found so far. A story that explores, perhaps, at least to some degree, both the sensual and spiritual nature of desire, arousal, and consummation. After all, sexual and spiritual pleasure, power and transformation are parallel journeys on the road to fulfillment. Both are precipitated by strong human desires for union with the Other. Both, arguably, are what shape us as human beings.

Each journey involves deep longing for something beyond the individual self. Each requires trust and receptivity, surrender and self-sacrifice, tenderness and devotion. Each gives way to passion and delight, awe and wonder, ecstasy and bliss, love and transcendence.

Each seeks the Beloved.

I can’t help thinking that the first journey, that’s seeded in sexual desire for oneness, is what prepares us for the second, to step outside ourselves into something that subsumes us. And I can’t help believing that the two journeys can overlap or coincide. That the parallels between them have deep significance.

Maybe this kind of recognition is too much to ask for in an erotic romance. But I’m still looking.

How about you? Do you enjoy reading hot romances? Anything you’d recommend?