6 May 2012

Discussion - Erotica

Do you remember that episode of Friends, when Joey finds Rachel's erotic novel and when she embarrassingly try's to explain he declares, 'You've got porn!'
Do you think if that episode was made today it would be different? Because I can't help noticing lately how open we've become about what we're reading, especially with 'Fifty shades of grey' by E.L. James hitting the shelves recently, not to mention topping best seller lists all over the place.
Is it becoming more socially acceptable to discuss the books you'd normally read behind closed doors?
I admit that until recently my solitary 'dirty book,' which was bought hidden amongst packs of gum and magazines, was tucked out of sight behind my bookshelf. But now my copy of 'fifty' sits proudly on the shelf and I'm happy to share the erotic novels and stories I'm buying or grabbing for free from amazon in 'On my Kindle' posts and on goodreads.
So when did my attitude change? Honestly, I'm not sure, but as other people have become more open I've found I'm happy to be just as honest as they are.
And with new blogs and websites solely dedicated to discussing erotica popping up and more adult authors joining social networks to promote their work it's getting much easier to find outlets to talk about these books and no one is embarrassed to state their preferences. In fact, Entangled publishing, even have blog tours for their new adult releases and more ya authors are turning their hand to writing more adult themed books and short stories. And they have much prettier covers than the semi-nudey covers that are usually associated with Erotica.
These books aren't just 'Dirty books' either - well ok, some are! - they have stories to them, they have just as much character development and world building as other books and there's such a wealth of choice that it's easy for anyone interested in trying the genre to find something to their preference.
Sure, there are full on 'Hardcore' books that are full of sex and little story but there are also softer books more focused on the story that just happen to have sex in them and ones that are set at a happy medium, and there are books written for every sexual preference/fantasy there is.
My personal tastes extend to BDSM (Bondage&Dominance, Dominance&Submission, Sadism&Masochism) and girl on girl. (Thats right, I said it!)
But all this leads me to ask why do we read erotic literature?
Is it just something to giggle over a glass of wine with the girls? Does it help make the story? Do we feel closer to our characters when we see them get down and dirty? Or is it a way to explore fantasies we wouldn't think to act on in the real world? A way to get something different and exciting without actually doing it?
Yeah, I enjoy reading girl on girl but I don't plan to pursue an encounter with another female, or to let a man have his wicked way with me whilst I'm blindfolded (well, maybe!) it's purely the realm of fantasy for me when I read these books, why would I want to read something with plain old boring straight missionary sex when I can get that whenever I like? Sure, in a romance novel I don't mind because it's part of the story but when I'm looking for something racier I want it to be unexpected, heated and down right dirty!
And if you're wondering about the book I kept hidden behind the bookshelf, it was Dark surrender by Kim Knight.

What's your take on the genre? Do you read erotic novels? What are your preferences?

If you're shy, you can comment as anonymous :)

Whilst all opinions are welcome, hateful, non-constructive comments will simply be deleted.


  1. Wooohooo!!!!! Yip, I'm totally converted!!! This last year i would refuse to read erotica because I didn't think i would enjoy it. Yet I enjoy the odd steamy movie :P But when I got my kindle I tried some freebies and its only recently ive admitted to liking the. Hell I even made a new blog for it. And i dont feel like i need to hide that I do enjoy some erotica. And I'm with you misty on your taste. ;) I'm very open minded about well....everything.

  2. Oh...a dare...I like it ;) I'm with you on pretty much everything you've said in this post my friend. I started reading racier books when I was about 13...there was an illicit traffic going on in school where girls in my class would steal the equivalent of "Mills and Boon" books from their mums hidden stacks, and pass them around (I had nothing to contribute cause my mum didn't read them, but I still managed to get included ;p). The first one I got was the dirtiest of the lot, and I loved it.
    I wasn't sexually active until much later, but in my head there were questions and yeah, as cheesy and predictable as those books were, they filled in some of the blanks in my mind.
    I've never been shy about my tastes in Erotica, and I've reviewed a couple on my Bookaholics review album.
    Sex is a part of life, in all its shades and colours. I've read good Erotic books and bad ones (incidentally Fifty Sahdes of Grey doesn't make my top 100...not even close, but that's just my opinion, although it seems to have opened the public's mind more on what is acceptable to see on bookshelves, as you mention), and it's always a way of visiting a part of my fantasies that, as you rightly say,I might not be able to explore in real life. BDSM and Dominant are also my favourite stories, and I love a touch of the Paranormal and Fntastic in my Erotic stories as well (The Gingerbread Dungeon is a cute read and I highly recommend it!).
    So there. I'm an Erotica reader and proud ;)
    How about the rest of you?

  3. Ninfa comment reminded me. Lol. I remember being between.the age of 10 and 13 and reading al the vampire chronicles novels. Now...those are horror but my god they can be steamy. I was doomed from an early age. Hahaha.

  4. Lol, oh yeah! I read those and The Witches of Mayfair chronicles as well, now those had a huge erotic pull, The Witching Hour was like sooo hot!!!

  5. Ok so i have never kept it a secret that i love to read erotica, but i found more and more of it hitting my review pile as you can see from my reviews on the page. I think i have read all the different forms of erotica out there and i do have my favourites, but with the choices out there being so varied they are always worth giving a go. Whether m/m, f/f, bdsm, m/f/m, f/m/f There is something for everyones tastes. But i agree with Misty on all her points it is now so easy to go out in public and discuss what ever book you are reading even the erotic ones and not even consider being embarrassed by it. When did it all change, i know i have been reading it for many years as have so many others, so why is it now ok to talk about it? Not that i am complaining more people discussing these books means more recommendations hitting my wish list. Happy reading everyone what ever genre it is just remember to keep sharing those great books you find so the rest of us can check them out :D

  6. I think it's a shame that "erotica" even has a label in a way, because so many things can be erotic to so many people. If it hadn't been for erotica, I would not have entered the indie publishing world at all - I love to both read it and write it. I love to read it because it's fun, and sometimes because it explores darker areas of our minds and urges that we can't just discuss with others down the cafe, and I like to write it because it's kind of like therapy for me: feeling angry? Belt out a sex scene on my laptop - bye-bye anger, lol! Ultimately, only writing erotica when angry is not the best way to be an erotica writer, so my writing moved on from that, although I still like to think that my sex scenes in my paranormal fantasies / romances can be damn hot ;)

    To be honest, I just don't know why it's a taboo subject. It shouldn't be. When we're growing up, we discuss sex with our friends at school, some of us can also talk to our mums / dads about it, but suddenly it's not okay to talk about it when we're all grown up? And why the hell should we not be able to discuss what we like and what we don't with others? And even if we don't want to discuss it, why shouldn't we be able to read it ourselves for (NOT necessarily sexual) pleasure without others thinking we're nothing more than sex-starved housewives - what's that new term? "Mommy Porn"? Give me a break. We mums are good at reading between the line, and it ain't just porn we're reading.


  7. I must admit that most of my reading had been historical and paranormal romances. I found Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake and was surprised at how much I like them. Now I have read 50 Shades. I love the series and not so much because of the BDSM but because I liked the emotion and electricity between Ana and Christian. However, the sex scenes were HAWT! Probably not something I will ever do, but I did enjoy reading them and like what was said above, I like it because its a fantasy I can read about and not actually do it. I now find myself looking for other books in this genre. Next up..."Bared To You".

  8. Totally agree hun. I think before Erotica books were an unspoken thing but books like Fifty Shades open people's minds and once they read it, there's looking for something similar. I know that's why I did and I know that's what a lot of other people did.
    Me personally, I've really started getting into them and what I find is I tend to enjoy the story that much more. Not because it's sex but the book feels that much more real. YA will always be my favourite but I can't count how many times I've wished for that little bit more in the relationship. Not graphic details but something. Adult books go that bit further and for people our age (I'm 26) I like to read it. I'm not a prude! Lol. And if you can't discuss sex with your friends....who the hell can you discuss it with? LOL.

  9. Well I love erotica as most of you know. I've recently branched out to the genre and I love it. I don't mind the toned down sex in non erotica novels, but if I want something racier, like you said I will go to something like Fifty Shades or Bared to You. Bared to You was a fabulous read, I really enjoyed it and sex is very very hot and steamy.

    I think it's great that now thanks to Fifty Shades people are a little less shy about discussing their guilty pleasure reads out loud. A year and half a go I would have been embarrassed, but now I'm not. Not a single bit. It's always good to branch out into the unknown even if you end up hating it, at least you tried.

    I recently branched out even further and started to read male/male erotic romances. Female/Female doesn't really interest me right now, but the male/male romances that I've read so far have been really good and I'll admit I'm totally turned on by the whole genre. I like men, so why not read about men loving each other. I'll continue to read the standard m/f erotica along with m/f/m threesomes too as those I enjoy as well. But right now, I'm just enjoying reading all kinds of erotica, be it m/f, or m/m or m/f/m, or BDSM. And I think everyone should at least try something out of their normal reading comfort. I did. And I loved it! I can't get enough now.


    1. Your last paragraph has me very very intrigued. I must do more research ;-)

  10. So...I love me some erotica! Everything from tame erotic romances up to the wildly taboo. I probably prefer more on the taboo side (nothing TOO extreme), because it's more...I don't know what, but it's more something! I really love BDSM though, probably because it's a personal fantasy. :)

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

  11. I think Erotica is much more accessible nowadays and I don't just mean Fifty Shades on sale in Tesco, with the explosion of Kindle etc it's much easier now to just download an Erotic novel that I probably wouldn't go to a book shop to buy. Equally with Amazon and The Book Depository delivering right to your door everything is much more accessible. And with Kindle no one even knows what you are reading!

    I read loads of Erotica, there seems so much out there some of it is crap but I think there's a lot more now that have a story as well as numerous sex scenes. I agree with Donna, Fifty Shades has changed things in the world of books. I now even review Erotica in my "After Fifty" slot on Thursdays, I probably wouldn't have done that a year ago as I didn't know anyone else who read steamy books, but now everyone seems to be reading them.

  12. You rocked this post girly!
    And actually I've always posted and said what adult reads I've read or am currently reading but not on my blog because I thought I'd make that YA only and make another blog just for the adult reads...that has changed now though hehe
    And yeap, I used to NOT tell most of my book friends what adult books I like because they thought or still think I'm like 15 years old or something hehehe-I'm actually 21 but who's counting?-
    That was the only real reason that kept me from sharing and gushing A LOT about the books...and as for my tastes...
    Yeap...I read BDSM, a lot...seems idk...sometimes I like it because it's one of the sub-genres that gets the most twisted and complicated and hard and sweet and sad and happy and wicked plots and story lines EVER.
    But I'm the opposite of your other taste hehehe I don't read girl on girl...hahaha and actually read M/M or M/F/M...but never a novel that's based exactly on 2 women...
    IF you have a recommendation that might change the fact of me not reading F/F, be my guest hahaha

    And...I haven't read Fifty Shades...I own the book though...and I think it'll be on the books I read next week ^_^

    I'll say it one more time.
    I LOVE this post!

  13. I'm totally converted. I've read seeral stories and i think there are really good books. i can't understand why some people think about it as a taboo.

  14. I converted when I first read Sherrilyn Kenyon's Fantasy Lover and I was hooked on her series The Dark Hunters. My husband was a little worried at first when I told him how graphic some of the books can be but when he benefited from it he stopped..lol..I have never seen anything wrong with any of it the reason we have books is to let our imaginations run wild and erotica is just one of the many topics our imaginations explore.

  15. OMG this completely cracks me up...Ever since 50 shades has become popular people are saying how it puts a new standard on erotica but I have read books that make this series seem like a child's fairy tale...If you want to read a series that really makes you blush read Anne Rices Sleeping Beauty trilogy then question whether or not these types of stories are suitable to discuss.

    1. ....> Looking up that trilogy lol!

      Great post Misty! Maybe you should make a new feature/meme out of this?

  16. Whether anyone thinks Fifty Shades is good or not, what it HAS done is opened mainstream readers up to the possibility of reading and discussing erotic literature, and readers will find their own way to their limits within erotica, either stopping at something soft-core like Fifty (which I would slot into erotic romance rather than erotica, despite the first book's ending), or carrying on to discover they prefer something hard-core.

    Personally, I'll always maintain that erotica should be discussed rather than shunned. But then, I think EVERYTHING should be discussed rather than shunned, lol. Obviously only with people that want to discuss it too. I'm lucky to have come from a background (with family and friends) where no subject was off-limits, so controversial topics were (and still are) talked about.

    Unfortunately, this make me far too quick to jump into taboo discussions when really, I should be doing useful things like cooking lunch :D xxx

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