Much has been written about the rise of erotic romance since the stunning success of the Fifty Shades series, but this article on Salon.com is the best I’ve read. To me it gets to the heart of why people read erotic romance—and it’s not for the reasons that those who neither read nor write in the genre seem to believe. The article quotes author Anna Alexander, who sums it up well:
People are at their most vulnerable when they’re naked together, which leads them to admit their true feelings even if only to themselves.
Few would suggest that mysteries, thrillers, and horror novels should not dramatize killings because those scenes would only serve to titillate readers. It’s pretty clear that violence is inherent to those novels, and the degree to which the violence is graphically depicted depends on the author and the story.
So why is it difficult to understand that in novels about romantic love, where sexual attraction is intrinsic to the plot and character development, dramatization of the sex scenes can be integral to the story, rather than existing for cheap thrills?
Readers enjoy erotic romance for the same reason they enjoy other romance novels: because love conquers all. This belief is fundamental to human happiness. When the reader’s taste and the author’s talent are dismissed (by people ignorant of the genre, who’ve never read any of the literary-quality novels it’s produced), we are all diminished. This attitude says that we, as a species, shouldn’t value love. Shouldn’t value the decision of whom to marry and have children with. Shouldn’t value the joy that a fulfilling sexual relationship brings to our lives.
As an author of romantic women’s fiction, I generally don’t write novels where the sexual journey is key to the storyline. The sex scenes aren’t graphic, because they don’t need to be. But some stories can’t be told without fully dramatized sex scenes. That’s why erotica and erotic romance exist. It’s not about the sex—it’s about the story.
What do you think? Does the edginess of erotic romance appeal to you? Or do you prefer the bedroom door to be closed?
I’m recycling a post from my blog tour earlier this month, since it was fun to play with. Enjoy!
So let’s chat about some of our favorite movie or book couples of all time. Actually most of these are movies, but that’s what came to mind.
Titanic – Jack and Rose – How much did you cry when Jack gave up his place on the—plank? Whatever it was, I was yelling, “There’s fifty others floating around, fool!” And then what tears when Rose pried Jack’s frozen fingers from hers and let him go, saying, “I’ll never let go.” I blubbered like a baby. Every time I’ve seen it.
Gone With The Wind – Scarlett and Rhett – A smart-mouthed woman and an arrogant man that can’t get enough of her no matter how many times he tries to walk away. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
When Harry Met Sally – Harry and Sally – Women and men can’t just be friends, at least not in the movies, and not when it’s hysterical Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Finally realizing their love over “Auld Lang Syne”. And then there was that café scene where Sally proves the math that every woman knows. Every woman has done it, and every man swears it’s never happened to them. Go figure that one.
Rocky – Rocky and Adrian – “Adriaaaaaaaan!” Enough said.
Tarzan – Tarzan and Jane – Who doesn’t love a story about a proper lady turned primal by a jungle man? “Tarzan love Jane.”
Grease – Danny and Sandy – “Summer Lovin….he got friendly holdin’ my haaannnnd.” “She got friendly…down in the saaannnnd.” Yeah, Danny, really? But nothing like a boy who’s willing to change his whole identity for her, while she does the same. Awwwwww…
Forrest Gump – Forrest and Jenny – “My momma said life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest spends his whole life accidentally falling into fortune, while following the love of his life in one way or another. She’s all he wants, even when she ditches him, time and time again. And even when she’s dying. That’s true love.
Dirty Dancing – Baby and Johnny – I saved this one for last. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Oh dear God, who didn’t melt all over the floor on that one? Wealthy girl meets poor boy and defies Daddy to be with her Johnny. We miss you Patrick.
Okay! So tell me more. Who did I miss? What are your favorite couples????