First appeared in March 2008 issue of Night Owl Romance Magazine.
(c) 2007 by Gracie C. McKeever
I discovered my own fondness for erotic romance by coincidence when I was solicited by another author to review her title from, at that time, a new electronic, erotic romance publisher. To say I felt like a child (or an adult in this case <g>) with a new toy would be an understatement. Never having read anything more “erotic” than a traditional romance, slipping into this author’s fiction world where sex was not a dirty word but embraced and celebrated by its characters was yet like indulging in something inherently naughty and forbidden. Sure, some of the romances I enjoyed gave insight into the sexual lives of their heroes and heroines, but this book went above and beyond anything I had ever experienced in a romance (i.e., addressing taboo subject matter like oral sex and using realistic language to describe sexual anatomy) not only leaving the bedroom door open, but kicking it in with determination and full force.
That first book was an eye-opener, instantly hooking me on this “new” genre, which is a good analogy to describe the afore-mentioned need for erotic romance and erotica. Reading that first book was like taking the first hit of an exotic drug that turns you on and gets you high. It was a rush, a stimulant and like any other drug, the body (and brain) craves more and more of it, in fact requires stronger hits and/or fixes to get off.
That title I read back in the late 90’s was, compared to some of today’s erotic romance, well, tame. But at the time when I read it, there wasn’t much like it on the market. It was more graphic, rawer, and more real, yet with the monogamous couple at its core and a prerequisite happily ever after to please the idealistic sensibilities of the genre’s fans. The title teased and pleased both my libido and my romantic inclinations. It was, quite simply, the best of both worlds.
As for Erotica (and there is a distinct difference between it and its literary, mite tamer sister Erotic Romance, but that’s better left for another article) it has its place in modern day woman’s heart (or loins might be a better word) for totally different but no less valid reasons. It fills that desire for ever exciting, more adventurous, in some extreme cases kinky and fetish-laden, commitment-free sex without the need for guilt or restraint.
In addressing modern woman’s need for erotica, the discussion wouldn’t be complete without discussing the concept of need versus opportunity. I don’t think we have more of a need for this literary form as much as we have more of an opportunity to pander to the need and it’s more acceptable for us to pursue and indulge our sexual fantasies. Erotica certainly isn’t anything new and has existed for centuries in one form or another. The Woman’s Liberation Movement of the 70’s, however, empowered women, giving them “permission” to be sexual beings, indeed, to like sex, even demand it in some cases, essentially opening Pandora’s Box, if you will. Which begs these issues: has all this new sexual freedom and indulging these, before now, forbidden fantasies led to increased tolerance and desensitization? How much erotica is too much and how far will we women now go to get that next, sexual high? Perhaps, more questions better left for another article <g>.