So, today we’re trying to get to the bottom of you, the readers…. In the sense that I’ve been looking for research behind the mahoosive explosion in this genre over recent years. Why are we all so interested in reading sexy stories?
Writing about sex is nothing new. Some of Chaucer’s work in the Canterbury Tales is filthy (14th century), and Shakespeare doesn’t exactly shy away from it either.
More recently, D.H.Lawrence spoke eloquently of it in his classic, Lady Chatterley’s Lover:
“His body was urgent against her, and she didn’t have the heart anymore to fight…He too had bared the front part of his body and she felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite and melting her all molten inside… She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, swelling and swelling til it filled all her cleaving consciousness, and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, til she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconscious inarticulate cries.”
But back in the days when I started buying erotic fiction, you had to walk right to the back of the bookshop (yes, this was pre-Kindle territory), right among the LGBT literature, to find anything juicy. Nowadays, you can see it atop the bestsellers, right at the front of the shop. When did that happen?
Obviously, there has been a huge cultural shift towards liberalism, starting in the 1960s and continuing today. Thankfully, we can now no longer be ashamed, as women, of being sexual creatures. We can grab that book from the bookshelf and proudly march to the cashier and say, “I’ll have this please,” without blushing from head to toe and trying to hide our choice under The Times Book of Crosswords: Volume 132.
But there’s another reason too. Let’s talk about escapism.
I found a great blog post by Lexi Maxxwell (see here) which discusses the honesty of erotic language. Readers want to read about their sexual fantasies, the things they wish they could do but can’t because of work commitments, children, and the general banality of Life.
More and more these days, women are expected to be everything. We have more equality in the workplace than ever before, but we still have to be the main child rearer at home, as well as provide food and a clean, tidy house. If you’re not part of the clique that’s into entertaining friends as well, consider yourself lucky.
Erotica allows us, just for a few pleasurable, mind-blowing- earth-moving moments, to be the version of ourselves that we really want to be.
As usual, I welcome your comments.