Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Writing Erotica...

...is not something I have ever done.

But still -- true to form -- I have opinions about it.

And I can imagine writing about it. As in, I can imagine the things I would write. If I did, in fact, write erotica. Which I do not. At this point, anyway.

I have read some erotica, though, here and there, throughout my life. And most of it, in my opinion, is pretty boring. And sort of predictable. And often gross. Although, admittedly, these things are matters of taste. And I am just talking about my own.

So, after much consideration, here are my thoughts about that literary genre known as "erotica."

First of all, it should be a bit subtle. A lot of erotica is not subtle. It's like, "He marched over to her and yanked her hair back by her ponytail and shoved his tongue down her throat while simultaneously taking off his pants. And she yielded to his irresistible irresistibleness."

It's true, isn't it!?!? It's just like that a lot of the time! And I mean -- really!?!? REALLY!?!? Because that is just lame. And not at all erotic.

Where is the subtlety? Things that are erotic -- or sexy, if you will -- have a bit of subtlety to them. A bit of mystery. Things that are erotic should be enticing. And enticing things don't come at you all at once. They build slowly, gaining your attention a little bit at a time, until -- finally -- your full attention is held.

Erotica should also be about more than just the physical. Sexually attractive things encompass not just the body, but the intellect and the spirit. They appeal to the wit, to the sense of humor. They might make you laugh. I guess what I am saying is that erotica should appeal to the whole of a person, to all the aspects of what make a human being human. Yes, there is physical attraction; but, there is much more. And not only does foreplay include the successful unhinging of a bra strap, but a funny face and a giggle, as well. Or the sharing of a sorrow. What is erotic is the feeling that a person understands at least something of the deepest parts of you, and beholds and embraces those parts.

Keeping this in mind, erotica does not necessarily have to include full-on sex, at least not in a way which comes prematurely in the story. That which is truly sexy, truly erotic, has to do with the touch, the gaze. This big old rush by writers of erotica to get to the orgasm -- putting the orgasm on a pedestal -- robs this genre of a lot of what could be interesting about it. And it should be interesting, meaning that the story surrounding and involving the characters should be given at least as much thought -- if not more -- than "the act" itself. Most erotica that I have encountered in my lifetime does give this sense of "let's hurry up and get to it." There might be a little bit of story involved, but it is clearly not carefully crafted. Its importance is marginalized. And this, to my mind, undermines most of what could actually be erotic about most erotic literature. The characters, their individual stories, their story together -- these things are incredibly vital to a believable and compelling sexual dynamic. 

I read an article once about how reading erotica influenced young people's ideas about how "real-life" sex should be. An anecdote that made me laugh -- and also made me think -- was related by a young woman. She said that she came to realize that she didn't have to behave like some sort of gymnast in bed -- transitioning from one position and "activity" to another, in an effort to keep herself and her partner "entertained." She said that it dawned on her, as she had sex one time, that it was infinitely more pleasurable to just lie still and relax and enjoy her partner. She found that she was much more gratified and pleasured by having sex in this more "restful" way. She realized that she actually became more aroused. Yes, I laughed, because the way she related the story was kind of cute. But, it also made me a little bit sad, because a lot of people are getting at least some of their ideas about how to have sex by reading erotic literature.

Of course, some people will say that we should just "stamp out" erotic literature. But, that's not going to happen. There has always been erotica, and there always will be. But, maybe, more of it should encompass what is real, what is human, what is truly engrossing in human sexuality and the whole of human relationships, rather than insulting us with cheesy, thoughtless, hastily slapped together, very mechanical, and fairly dull attempts to cheaply titillate.


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