Hey everyone today’s Guest Blogger is Sarah Martinez who wrote “Sex and Death in the American Novel”
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest misconceptions that readers have about erotic fiction?
My sense is that people think it is just ‘dressed-up’ porn. I’ve had a lot of discussions lately with people who feel it’s irrelevant whether a book features sex or not. Really, the question is: should I like it, or should I not? Is it good, or is it bad? My porn might be your erotica, and my erotica might be your porn. It depends on a person’s perceptions.
Thoughtful discussions like what you will find in Michael Perkin’s The Secret Record or any article or essay discussing an erotic work will help a lot to begin new discussions about this genre.
If the purpose of a book is to feature a new sex scene at regular intervals to provide material for stroking off, then I would call this porn. Erotica to me celebrates the sexual, and it shines a light over in the dark corners of the human psyche. Read Georges Bataille, Pauline Reage or Marquis de Sade for this. You will also find in both of these books scenes that for one reader or another could probably be used as a sexual aid, but there is also so much more. There is creativity, there is irreverence, there is thoughtful attention paid both to the details included and the social topics discussed.
I just read a book called Erotomania by Francis Levy that featured all sorts of erotic activity but there was also an incredible amount of attention paid to the way the story was told. Hot Blood, a collection of erotic horror edited by Jeff Gelb fascinated me as a young person. My parents called this stuff junk, but I would argue that much of what I found in there and what drew me to it in the first place was not the sex itself but the novelty of finding something that made me look at the world in a completely different way. Both books featured erotic content, but what is different in each case was the platform, or publishing experience of the authors. I would argue that this also has something to do with how we classify books, and the people who write them.
Jack Remick and I did a class for the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association where we looked the what we called The Three Domains in Sex Writing. There are ways to classify a lot of it, but I also come to think that quite often, the really good stuff cannot be classified. Great books can be pornographic, erotic, literary, hopeful, thoughtful, poetic, insightful and celebratory all in the same story. For me the really great stuff blurs the lines.
Something else Michael Perkins pointed out is that within the genre classified as “erotica,” work that the reading public eventually finds acceptable for one reason or another and begins to call literature was once called pornography. Henry Miller is a good example of this, Marquis de Sade is another, Marco Vassi one more.
Anne Rice’s Exit to Eden is one of my all-time favorite erotic books, but in the end, if you consider the message, it is a pretty conservative romance novel, while the plotlines of the Marquis are so delightfully subversive and outlandish. What I love about erotic work in general is the range of possibility you will find there.
Thanks Sarah and respect for giving props to The Marquis. I love me some 120 Days in Sodom. Ok peeps, click below and see a very smooth and cool cover and book.
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Literary Erotica
Rating – X