Is erotica bad for you? Well, not really. But some people like to think so.
Over the weekend, I received an e-mail from one of the distributors I use to publish my titles. The distributor, Smashwords, pretty much said in so many words that PayPal was threatening to stop their services if certain erotica titles didn’t disappear. These titles are of the incest, pseudo-incest (Step-Daddy, Step-Brother, etc…) and rape, bestiality kind. I, for one, have seen all of these titles published on Smashwords and other distributors such as Amazon.
Naturally there was a bit of an uproar in the writing community. Some were claiming conspiracy theory involving Amazon. Some were claiming another conspiracy theory involving other distributors. Some were claiming their freedom of speech was being violated. Some were saying erotica was being targeted (which isn’t necessarily a stretch of the truth). Some were implying other literary genres will be attacked soon enough.
My stance might surprise you: I think it’s a good move by Smashwords. Now hear me out.
Erotica has been around for ages, even dating back to the Bible. (Don’t believe me? Read Song of Solomon and see what you find.) The genre has grown over the past several years and there are many sub-categories within it. Interracial, fetish, rubenesque, BDSM, etc. Some like straight erotica, while others like the taboo stories (such as the pseudo-incest that is quite popular). Now do I judge those who write the taboo stories? No, but I choose not to read them. However, I do believe it is the taboo stories that give all erotica writers a bad name. I’ve seen stories that had a rape association with them. I’ve seen stories that had a child molestation element to them. I’ve also seen stories that claim to be BDSM and they were non-consensual stories. And yes, these were on Smashwords.
Now these stories are different from let’s say, Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, where there is a major storyline involving incest. And these stories are different from A Time to Kill by John Grisham where a major storyline involves child rape. What about Gone with the Wind? Feminists have argued for years that Rhett Butler didn’t ravish Scarlett, he raped her. I can go on and on with plenty of other examples but the point is, the aforementioned books use those taboo subjects as a means to further other storylines in the book; they are not the only storyline.
When people hear erotica, they immediately associate it with porn. Erotica is not porn and porn is not erotica. Let’s be clear on that:
Porn: Boy Meets Girl. Boy Does Girl. The End.
Erotica: Boy Meets Girl. Girl’s not sure if she likes Boy. Boy proceeds to chase Girl. Girl lets Boy chase her. Eventually, Boy gets Girl and gives her the hot luscious. The End.
Lastly, BDSM is always, always consensual. Safe, sane, consensual. BDSM comes in many forms and is particularly hot and passionate when the parties involve love each other. My husband and I have been a part of the Lifestyle for several years now and we’ve seen a lot in the scene. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are authors who write porn and I know a few. There are authors who write erotica and I’m one of them. Erotica is beautiful. There is nothing wrong expressing your love (or lust) to someone by written word. To me, erotica is no different from a Barry White or Marvin Gaye song. In fact, one of the most sensual love songs that is played all the time, Crusin’ by Smokey Robinson, is about sex. The pictures I have posted on this blog are examples of erotica. Could I post hard-core porn stills on here? Sure. But if you want to see porn, there are plenty of other sites for that. This isn’t one of them.
I’m all about the First Amendment and people should have the right to publish whatever they want, no matter how stupid I think it is. 🙂 However, I also have the same right to not read it. And publishers have the same right to not publish it.
And there you have it,