Wednesday, July 2, 2014

One Woman's Trash

Some time back, I read an article that said more and more women were reading erotica thanks to electronic reading devices.  Apparently, a high number of women have enjoyed erotica all along but have been fearful of purchasing it for fear of what others might think of them. With the advent of e-reading devices like the Kindle and the Nook, women are now able to discreetly purchase these novels.

I couldn’t tell you whether or not that’s true, but I can confirm that my Nook is chock full of all kinds of erotica. As a writer, I’ve always struggled with writing sex scenes for my adult characters. By reading the work of others, I get a better idea of what works and what makes me cringe. In fact, in the last few years, I’ve not only become more comfortable with writing sex scenes, but I like to think I’m getting pretty good at them.

Sex scenes aren’t confined to erotica either. Many contemporary romance novels are packed with graphic sex scenes. In fact, there seems to be an emerging new romance sub-genre called the erotic romance. The characters are not only falling in love, but they’re having steamy sex when they do; steamy sex that’s often explicitly described in the story.

Considering that I’m writing sex scenes for my consenting adult characters, I obviously have no problem with sex in novels, and that includes graphic sex. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but there are only two problems I have with sex in novels. I’m not a fan of sex that reads like an instruction manual nor am I fond of those euphemisms writers are using for their characters’ anatomy because they’re afraid grandma might read their story and know they’re familiar with the word cock.

Recently, I set out on a search to garner some reviews for my new contemporary romance novel, This Time, and was surprised by the number of reviewers who were very specific about the fact that they would not read stories containing sex. That includes stories of consenting adults having sex and even consenting, married adults having sex. Given the fact that erotica and erotic romance are supposed to be such hot commodities, you can imagine how surprised I was to learn some reviewers feel this way.

After my knee-jerk, eye-rolling, you’ve-got-to-be-kidding, people-still-care-about-that reaction, I realized the publishing industry is one of the most subjective ever. Not everyone is going to like every novel produced. We all have our own tastes. For example, I’m not a fan of science fiction or historical romances and couldn’t be counted on to fairly review either one.

The same way I feel about science fiction and historical romance is the same way someone else feels about sex in novels or sex between characters of the same gender. They don’t like it and they don’t want to read it. So, why make them? That’s a sure fire way to get a bad review since the reviewer will be focused on what they don’t like and could miss how much more there is to like.

If someone else’s refusal to read your sex scenes seem narrow minded to you, just remember that one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. And I mean that in the most literal sense!

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