As a teenager I read romance books. Johanna Lindsey and Connie Mason were some of my favorites. For a long time my idea of sex was wrapped up in the fantasy world of romance authors. A couple of times I got to sneak a peak at forbidden books, including Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller. The sex scenes I wrote during this time reflected my lack of experience and romance novel influence.
It wasn’t until college that I discovered Anne Rice’s Beauty series as well as her books Exit To Eden and Belinda. I devoured the world of S&M, intreagued by the blending of pain and pleasure. Eventually I came upon The Story of O and Justine. It wasn’t long until I noticed Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. This led me to read all of Nin’s works, including all the volumes of her diary.
One of my favorite books was a collection of erotic stories called Yellow Silk. I also stumbled upon Blue Moon Publishers, who strictly publishes erotica. I got a chance to read some of their reprints of some old French erotic novella. And, out of curiosity, I picked up letters to Penthouse as well. Being open minded, I was not shocked by anything I read. I found the variety of human sexual experience to be beautiful and fascinating.
Having deiced to write my own erotica, I found myself wrestling with a particular problem: vocabulary. It seemed the romance genre was prone to flowery language including words like manhood and womanhood. More serious and hard core erotica used pornographic words like cock and pussy. I felt there had to be an alternative or a happy medium. Was there something less clinical than penis and vagina, less flowery than shaft and womanhood but less dirty than cock and pussy? I researched and found a book dedicated exclusively to all the infinite words and phrases used to describe sex.
Though there were some creative phrases in the book, I was still at a loss. Interestingly, as erotica became more mainstream, more and more women began embracing the pornographic language. Sylvia Day and her contemporaries come to mind. Even romance authors have began to give up the flowery language in favor of more realistic and contemporary love scenes.
Then E.L James came along and made S&M hugely popular. I read 50 Shades of Gray and wondered what the fuss was. 1) It was poorly written and 2) the sex scenes were mild compared to other things I’d read. Needless to say, I was not impressed. However, I did embrace the nonfiction book Diary of Submissive that came out around the same time. Sophie Morgan’s honest and insightful book about stumbling into the role of submissive was educational as well as titillating.
While Erotica is predominately found in literature, over the years erotica has found its way to the silver screen. Stag films have been around since the film industry began and porn flourished in the 60s and 70s. But it has only been recently that women have begun turning a male-dominated industry into their own. Some of my favorite erotic films are Wild Orchid, Wild Orchid 2 Shades of Blue, The Red Shoe Diaries, 9 1/2 Weeks, Two Moon Junction, Bitter Moon and Secretary.