The very word that brings forth a flurry of feelings, emotions, and above all else temptations.
We all have some notions of sex and sexuality, so why is it shunned in the literacy world? The novel "Fifty shades of Grey" instantly brings forth nervous chuckles or a quirk of an eyebrow, but what is about erotic literature that creates a certain level of uncomfortable feelings when we talk about it aloud.
We all think about sex. We want it. We crave it.
Our entire genetic make-up is bent upon us finding a partner to reproduce children. Of course, we don't want to talk about sex bringing us pleasure, and simply doing it because we want to do it.
I grew up in a household that never uttered the word. It was a traditional conservative household; there was to be no swearing, no drinking, and all books and television shows were to be severely censored. Above all else one should never, ever utter the word: "Sex." As a result, when I heard the word or even got the slightest glimpse of it in a television show or movie I immediately became uncomfortable. It was something I was supposed to discuss and discover with my future husband, so as a result it was to be all "hush, hush."
I had friends that slept with their boyfriends in high school. They never really shared their experiences with me, perhaps, it was because they sensed how naive I was. College and later on in University, my friends started to open up to me more about it, but still the conversation was verging on taboo.
With no boyfriends and the only guy my age placing me into the friend-zoned, it became easy to be so ignorant about it. Then one day when I was bored with school work and I looked up anything related to Spock and Uhura, and being the nerd that I am, I stumbled upon a link to a story, unbeknownst to me it was fan-fiction. It was the most beautifully crafted story I had ever read, and I was engrossed with it from the start, but then I came upon a scene that involved SEX. What did I do? I blushed and lowered my phone onto the table. I battled with myself for minutes to continue reading it, because I was in love with this story so much. Time went on, and I continued to read it, taking in the tantalizing language that depicted the scenes and sensations that only a lover can bring. Of course, there wasn't just one sex scene- no, there were multiple. The irony of it all, was I started to no longer blush over the scenes, it became something natural for the couple to do when celebrating their love for one another. It was sweet and lovely, and I fell in love with it. I remember reading every single story that author published, and found myself disappointed that I had finished them all. The natural conclusion, was to find more, and three years later I can now read a passionate sex scene while sitting on a bus with a cup of coffee in hand. I feel no shame reading erotic literature while sitting beside my friends or family, though I do hate when my tongue just happens to lick my bottom lip or my eyes grow a tad bit darker.
Two years ago I found myself writing my own erotic literature, and to be perfectly honest it took a while to become extremely comfortable with it. Words come naturally to me, as do stories, but it was the explicit detail of the way they performed sex that was difficult at first. I am at a point now where I can write a smutty scene without blinking an eye, it is like second nature now. I can talk about sex with people as well rather freely, something that I could not have done before I discovered fan-fiction. I make dirty jokes and sly innuendos now (a little too frequently). I have come to a point where I recognize I that I am an adult and the word "sex" should not make me feel uncomfortable or shy anymore. My conservative childhood shaped me to be weary of the word, but now as an adult I see it as something that is in our basic human nature.
The problem with erotic literature is that people shy away from it in public. How often do you see someone reading a printed book of one on the bus? Or post on Twitter or Instagram their latest erotic romance read? It is a sort of taboo, something you want to hide and show to the world at the exact same time.
Through my experiences of marketing Cursed I have faced some obstacles. What do you mean you won't advertise my book because it has sex? It is one chapter, for goodness sake's! But no, you cannot put it on your website or promote it online because it has a sex scene. It is the year 2020, but for me it feels like I am trying to publish a book during the Victorian age. Due to my profession I completely understand the desire to not have erotic literature available to the public audience, but if you can promote "Fifty Shades of Grey" everywhere I go, than surely you should have no qualms to advertise my novel. Long rant aside, I think as a society we should seriously reconsider the status quo of erotic literature. I think it should be equal to all the other novella styles out there. After all, the greatest literary minds have written something akin to erotic literature. Yes, it wasn't taught to me in my high-school years, but I sure as hell read them in my undergrad (thankfully). Sex is sex. We should not be scared of it. We should not hide it. There should not be a problem of advertising a book purely because it has a sex scene (a good one at that). Anyways, those are my thoughts of the day. Feel free to comment below or share your own experience of first encountering erotic literature. I would love to read them.
Yours ever so faithfully,