Friday, July 5, 2013

Vanquishing the Erotica Stigma

There are people in my real life who would never, not in a million zillion years, understand why I write erotica. Some of them would find it shameful because they are devoutly religious and sex is seen as a shameful and dirty thing that should never be talked about.

Some would shake their heads in dismay because they see erotica as a cheap market, a place where crappy writing is gobbled up like a 9 inch cock. To these people, anyone who writes erotica is automatically less intelligent, less educated, and of a lower caliber than all the other writers of all the other genres out there. Nobody who can write well would ever choose to write erotica. What a waste of talent that would be!

I have friends that I haven't told because they call themselves feminists and they see the whole idea of erotica as inherently damaging to women. These women love sex and talk about it as often as they can, but when it comes to reading erotica, they tend to clamp their legs together like nervous virgins. What they don't understand is that not all sex stories are about the subjugation and objectification of women.

It's a shame that there is such a stigma surrounding erotica. It's a fabulous, underrated genre that can be more empowering to women than some would ever believe. We're all adults here, so let's talk like adults. Sex is the most fun you can have with your clothes off. It feels good, and we all wish we could do it more often than we actually do. Sex can be passionate and slow, and take all night. It can be rushed and whispered in a few stolen minutes while your kid is in the shower. It can be comfortable and familiar, or it can be elaborate and creative. Sex can be so many things, but the one thing it should always be is fun for everyone involved.

I may write a story about a woman whose husband surprises her by tying her up and doing all sorts of scandalous things to her restrained body, but never, not for one single moment, are the women in my stories victims. They allow themselves to be put in situations where they can explore their dark sides. They are always willing participants, and shame doesn't wash over them when they put their clothes back on.

Erotica is a way for us to explore our own "shameful" desires. As a feminist, it's uncomfortable for me to admit that I fantasize about being licked and fucked by a room full of men and women, all of them trying to make me feel better than the person who came before them. As a woman in a happily monogamous marriage, I will never be in a situation where a room full of people compete with each other for my pleasure, but I can write about it. I can explore all those sensations in such clarity that it's almost like being there.

That's what erotica is for. It's not about setting up unattainable ideals for women to aspire to, it's not about women bending over and taking it up the ass simply because that's what a man demands of her. No, it's a way to explore the stuff you either can never or don't ever really want to experience.

It's my hope that someday, the genre will lose its stigma and that readers won't feel embarrassed by their bookshelves. I fully believe we can get there; we can vanquish this damn stigma, one well written sexy story at a time.