Thursday, July 24, 2014
By Kathleen Bradean
Over the past decade, I’ve discussed, argued, and mused over erotica as a genre. Last night, while reading a piece of erotica, I decided that my arguments are invalid.
Oh, on an esoteric ‘awake at three in the morning with another writer who is like my fricking soulmate as we share profound insights into The Everything of Everythingness’ level, the ideas I fought for and against do matter. To someone. Probably an academic. And me, but I’m weird that way. But to everyone else, they don’t, because everyone else properly goes to bed at a sensible hour, doesn’t drink absinthe at cons, and likes the erotica genre because that’s what they reach for when they want to turn on their brain.
Rather than fight against the label of erotica, I’ve decided to embrace it because it’s damn useful to a writer. Think about it. A person who picks up a romance expects a story about a relationship. No one picks up a romance then half way through asks with a suspicious glint in their eye, “Wait. Is this a kissing book?”
A writer can only put so much on the page. The reader has to bring something to the party, and the most important hostess gift-- so to speak-- is the expectation of arousal. If you’ve been thinking of sex since lunch at work, through the commute home, and during dinner, you’re going to be more primed for sex than someone who only just now thought about it as they’re climbing into bed. It makes the writers work so much easier if the reader is already willing to be turned on.
The problem with not having the erotica label on my work is far worse than having it. I imagine the wrinkled nose of a reader as they look down at their tingling groin and mutter, “Wait. Is this a fucking book?” And imagine the chirping crickets awkwardness of someone reading through a sex scene they weren’t mentally prepared for and being bored by it. They might do something to retaliate, like quote part of the scene out of context and publicly ridicule it in a contest designed to shame writers for attempting to write sex scenes in books that are not officially designated dirty, filthy smut.
Not that I find that sort of thing annoying as all get out or anything.
While I’ve been writing erotica for years, I’ve often been at odds with the label, but now I’ve decided to make my peace with it. I know you’ve been waiting breathlessly for this moment. ;)
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 4:30 AM