Erotica vs writing about sex
What is erotica?
Many people claim that erotic fiction is no different to pornography, suggesting that erotic fiction is 'mummy porn'.
I wish these people could hear themselves when they speak. To suggest that women would stop watching pornography when they have children is ridiculous.
Yes, some women like to watch pornography.
No, they're not going to stop watching it just because they procreate.
In The Future of Sex, Lexi Maxxwell introduces the protagonist in a situation where there is sexual activity depicted so subtly that it's almost invisible. If you skim read you could possibly get through the entire first chapter and wonder why the book is sold as erotica. You'd know for certain once you started reading the second chapter. But in that first chapter, some quite graphic sexual imagery is so brief and so carefully woven into the story that you could quite easily be shocked by it the second time you read the book.
And that's what erotic fiction is. It's sex with a storyline, or as Lexi puts it 'smut for smart people'.
Want to try erotica but don't know where to start?
There's loads of great erotic fiction available on Kindle, Kobo and Nook, some free, some cheap, some not so cheap. If you want a few ideas of what to read, here are a few names to look out for:
- Lexi Maxxwell
- Harper Bliss
- Jen Harker
- Ben Schrodinger
- Raminar Dixon
- Veronica Hardy
- Lisette Ashton
Sex within a story
Sex within a story is a different kettle of fish.
Sex within a story is generally veiled, a fade to black and then we next see the couple after the deed, perhaps he's smoking a cigarette, perhaps she's cuddling into his manly chest - this would of course be a stupid idea because he could set light to her hair with his cigarette.
This is probably as it should be. Some amazing authors can't write sex scenes for toffee. Ask anyone what their most uncomfortable moment was reading Stephen King, and it won't be from The Shining, or from It. It won't even be the incredibly bizarre short story 'Dedication' from Nightmares and Dreamscapes. It will invariably be 'that' bathroom scene from Pet Semetery. It was for many readers, a great book ruined by a clumsily written sex act.
There are, of course, authors who can write a good sex scene in fiction. Despite its controversial nature, Lolita contains some beautifully created, well written sex scenes. The reader learns of Humbert's own teenage experiences, the childhood sweetheart who died young, his previous marriage, his life before Lo.
Do you agree that Google should ban ads on pages that mention 'adult' anatomy, even if that page is educational?
Sex with a storyline / Sex within a story
Why do we feel compelled to hide the fact that we read erotica, while openly discussing the lovemaking scenes in romance novels among friends?
Why do erotic fiction authors tend toward using pseudonyms?
Why do we have trouble admitting that we enjoy reading about SEX?
The answer is hidden in question 1 and question 3. Society tends to teach us that lovemaking is acceptable and sex is not. Breasts are allowed on telly and bums are too. But if you want to see male parts then you have to be watching really late at night, or watching the Adult channels. Or you can just watch Quadrophenia and see a young Ray Winstone in all his glory.
A perfect example of this skewed philosophy is that Google ads aren't allowed on pages which mention parts of the adult anatomy, and yet sex education is taught in schools. Google infers that our twelve year olds aren't allowed to know about their body, but they'll be taught about it in school anyway.
Sex is a fact of life. It's how we reproduce. Whether it's as guarded as sex within a story or as wild as the smuttiest porn film, almost every adult has sex. So why are we told it's something that shouldn't be discussed, that our sensitive human minds need to be protected from it?
There's no shame in enjoying sex
I am happy to admit I enjoy erotica. I enjoy the complex stories that feature in the better fiction, I enjoy the sex, I enjoy a well written character even if they're down on their luck and just doing it for the money.
I've never read the Fifty Shades books, and nor do I ever intend to. It's not my thing. But a lot of people like it, and that's OK.
Sex doesn't have to be shied away from. If you have a favourite work of erotic fiction that you think your friends would enjoy, don't be afraid to tell them. Proudly display erotic paperbacks on your bookshelves. Let yourself be seen in the erotica section of your bookstore. Write reviews of erotic books you like on Amazon. Let society know you're not going to be held back by its warped view of the human condition.
Love, or rather sex, is all around...
I could write out the word sex five hundred times to try to get this hub to 1250 words, but it would be cheating, and would almost certainly get rejected, so I won't do that.
Instead, I'll just leave you with some sexual activity you can see in the world around you, without you even thinking about it.
- A butterfly flitting from flower to flower, pollinating the blooms - floral sex
- The graceful dance of flying ants on a warm summer evening - ant sex
- That spider running across your living room floor? - arachnid sex, he's looking for a mate
- The seemingly eratic flight of bees - bee sex
- Those flies that buzz around each other for ages and then fly off to a windowsill or shelf together - rather disgustingly, fly sex
So which do you prefer?
How do you prefer to read sex in fiction?
© 2014 Rebecca Hillary