This post is for grownups, adults, mature readers, or least for those who are old enough to know what sex is!
First, I will defend any writer who chooses to write erotic stories. I will also defend the reader who chooses to read it. That said, I don’t write it, and I hardly ever read it except for friends who will ask me to read a manuscript. Those who know me and write erotic, will point, laugh, and roll on the floor, then tell me I’m totally incapable of writing it.
I was happily married to a man who happened to love sex. He never missed seeing a good-looking woman, or failed to notice one that was bra-less, etc. But sex was simply get naked and have fun. No one invited the neighbors, the dog, or any wildlife, took videos of the act, dribbled hot wax, or used any devices. We never did it in the bed of the pickup, in an alleyway, at the company office, or on the kitchen table. Apparently, that makes me a little too tame.
I had a beautiful white nightgown that was given to me for my wedding night. I put it on and my darling hubby told me to take it off and get into bed. He never wanted anything between us. So yes, I slept naked from then onwards. My robe was hooked to the foot board post. I never thought about it as being romantic or even sexy. It’s just the way we slept.
I cannot imagine sleeping in a king-sized bed. How do other people find each other in those things? We slept in what is called a spoon. I was either snuggled to his chest or against his back, or he was snugged to my back. In the heart of summer when it was too hot to sleep, some part of us touched, even if it was just our fingers.
Prior to marriage, I wasn’t the wild thing who jumped any man I met. So obviously, I have no background for writing it. My imagination doesn’t even go there. I haven’t lived under a turnip leaf. I know what goes on in the world, I know what homosexuals do. I’d rather not think about it. Therefore, I won’t read it. Yet, I have wonderful friends who are gay. (I’m blessed with two different neighbors who are gay and I adore both those men! I couldn’t ask for better neighbors or friends. But what they do behind closed doors is their business.)
I don’t mind a little sexy reading. Everyone has body parts. We know how to use them and where they fit. Some of the exceptionally “clean” romances are incredibly funny to read because they make no sense. It was that night when they held hands. Yep, she got pregnant from doing that! And of course he denied it was his child. If I had been him, I would have demanded paternity testing! I would would have never married the conniving little witch! (This book was on the best sellers list!) (No not mine. I just put the cover there because they are holding hands and yes, she got pregnant and it wasn’t from holding hands!)
So let’s talk real life! I don’t care if the guy is fifteen or seventy-five. If that guy isn’t raising the flag from a serious kiss, he’s either got a real physical problem, or he doesn’t like the person he’s kissing. And if you’re dating him and not having serious kisses – run away! (I’m not talking about virginity; I’m talking natural human desire and involuntary reactions.)
Sex is part of the normal human relationship between two people who are in love. Once that relationship is established, the mating dance begins. Depending on the individuals and their comfort levels, it progresses accordingly.
To strip that away from a story isn’t very realistic. As readers we want to feel all those wonderful glorious feelings that come with being in love. We want to know when we kiss the hero what we’ve done to him and we want that to show in the writing. So someplace there is a line of what we want and what we don’t want when we read.
I think I write in the middle. If my heroine gets pregnant from the hero, it’s not because she held his hand! But on the flip side, I don’t hide what they did. It’s part of that relationship. And maybe the difference is in the wording or the fact that no one is screaming obscenities. When you peel off all the layers, we’re down to body parts and which parts go where.
There’s a huge market for erotic books. It used to be that people had to go to some book or video store with a back room, or into an adult shop to buy them. Then ebooks arrived and opened the door for reading erotic books to those who enjoyed them, but didn’t dare go to such places. Many people had never read anything like it – didn’t even know such stories existed. Now people could buy and read books that even their spouses didn’t know about.
Then more general romance flocked to ebooks. No longer did the reader have to worry about anyone knowing they were reading a book that had a cover of a woman swooning in the arms of man with his shirt unbuttoned. The elitists that preferred to keep their romance reading a secret could!
A few years ago, there were a lot of references to the silent majority when it came to politics. Today, I think there is a huge silent majority when it comes to reading, especially romance. They are average people and they don’t want their romance too hot.
They like a good story. They want to escape the madness of everyday life. They’re tired of the 8-5 grind, the long commute, and everything else that goes with living today. A curse word is something that is used, under breath, when the grocery bag falls and the jar of pickle relish breaks or they open the dryer door only to discover they had washed and “dried” a crayon with the family’s whites. It’s not something they use constantly.
To call erotic a niche market, is wrong. Today, it’s widely read and by more than a small niche. But I happen to think that there’s a huge silent market out there of readers who prefer to read a story that isn’t quite that hot. They want something where they can see themselves as the heroine or even their husband as the hero. They will buy a book because the cover has a blond with blue eyes in a kilt. (Um, hubby has blue eyes, blond hair, and probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a skirt.)
I figure almost anyone can read my stuff. And if the eleven year old in the house picks up my story and reads it… There’s no reason to panic. Yes, that’s what two people do in a committed relationship.
To me, sex is a wonderful, fantastic expression of love. It’s a part of life and as natural as breathing. It should never be taken lightly or abused. It’s not where the body parts go as much as the expression of that love. So those who will read hotter will read mine, and those who prefer very little to no heat will still usually read mine. Maybe it’s not what I write, but the context in which it is written.
I recently received an excellent review on one of my books and the reviewer praised it for not having any sex in it. Thank you, whoever you are, for leaving such a nice review. I really do appreciate it, but you might have missed a few things, like the sex… It ‘s not thrown in anyone’s face with heavy details, but it’s there. It’s right after: One by one, her clothes fell to the floor.
The Authors of Main Street write to the silent majority that I call Main Street. In Weddings on Main Street the stories range from sweet to sexy, but nothing is erotic or over the top. You might laugh at the antics of my hero and heroine in my story and I hope you do enjoy their youthful, energetic expressions. I’ll give you a sexy snippet this weekend!
So what is hot? What’s not? Where will you read? And if you are a writer, what do you read and write? How do you feel about the silent majority of readers or do you think the silent majority today does read erotic? Please keep your answers PG! I don’t want WordPress shutting me down over an answer.