If you like romance, you may also like reading erotic fiction
There was a time not so long ago, when erotic fiction in the UK was confined to shady Soho establishments, and even the fabulously stylish The Erotic Review (now sadly no longer available in print form) was posted in an innocuous envelope, not revealing its contents, just in case the postman, or your neighbours, be offended.
Then, six years ago, in May 2011, the first book in The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was published. These erotic books took the publishing industry by storm because it was, firstly openly erotic, secondly self-published and sold in its millions as an Ebook. And it was said to be revolutionary because the audience was predominantly (dominance being the operative word!) women readers.
Of course, there was a plethora of criticism leveled at the series of books by the traditional publishing industry, until the big publishers woke up to the opportunities a best-seller such as the three books provided. Now E L James is a millionaire, and the books are traditionally published and turned into two films so far. We can discuss the quality of the writing of those books until the cows come home, as well as the portrayal of the female and male characters and the power they had on each other, but I think the important lesson we should take from the success of those books is that yes, women do like sex. And yes, the female of the species also likes to read erotic fiction.
There is such a thing as brilliantly written erotic fiction
Perhaps Fifty Shades of Grey failed to make sex intellectually viable and emotionally relevant on the page, but this is not true of all fiction that deals explicitly with romantic love. Erotic fiction shouldn’t be intellectually inferior just because it describes an act that is deemed by society somehow dirty, and certainly naughty. Writing sex, like writing in general, is intellectually challenging, and difficult.
Sex should be like eating a mango
At a recent BareLit festival discussion, author Leone Ross, an award-winning author whose collection of short stories (some of which can be classified as erotic), Come Let Us Sing Anyway, is just out, commented, ‘Sex should be like eating a mango, wonderful and delicious, but natural.’ The talk, titled, ‘Sexy Times’ centered around how the patriarchal society has for too long portrayed sex as a male domain, and through it oppressed women and their natural sexuality. How moralistic rules of what is allowable and not allowable are still in force around the world. Women in sexual relationships are portrayed as submissive and innocent, while men are experienced and in control. Things are done to a woman with or without her consent, let alone enjoyment.
Anyone who has been in a fulfilling sexual relationship knows that the rules are set by those involved, not anyone outside, and that as long as those involved are consenting adults, rules are immaterial.
Erotic fiction is empowering
Leone Ross also says, ‘Being a woman writing about sex means that I am a woman walking free around the world.’ And I guess this is the point of erotic fiction; to be able to write and read about a subject still so taboo (especially for women) around the world is a wonderful thing.
Religion and Erotic Fiction
Financial Times and London Evening Standard critic, Arifa Akbar, says, ‘Uqasha offers a paradox in its invention of ‘moral’ erotic fiction which defies the narrow preconceptions of the Islamic faith by putting Muslim values and characters – and challenges to these values – at its heart. A quietly subversive twist to the erotic fiction genre, and a bold, brave debut.’
Do you read erotic fiction?
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