For the past 3 years, I have been living a bit of a sheltered life when it comes to reading. After my mammoth crush on Robert Pattinson began, and Twilight being my main source of finding the goods on him, I stumbled across fanfiction. Twilight fanfiction, for the most part, though I have read some Rob stories as well. The first I read were good, fairly tame in the sex department. I have been reading romance novels since a teenager, when I would pilfer my mom’s Harelquin’s and historical romances…so while these were thrilling for me because it was Edward engaging in some naughty deeds, it was par for the course.
The further I delved into fanfiction, I began seeing comments on some blog threads about some of the more “hot and steamy” fics out there, so I went to check them out. I remember reading some of these fics on my computer at home, with my sister and niece and my 18month old daughter in the room…my face burning, my heart pounding…hoping my sister wouldn’t notice and ask me what I was reading.
The thing was, it’s not like I hadn’t been exposed to this level of erotica before. However, they had been obtained through friends when I was younger…the books passed around so many times they were falling apart. They were also relegated to reading in private…not wanting anyone to see the cover. Now I had an almost unlimited supply of erotic fanfiction, no cover to worry about anyone seeing and a whole community of women I could speak with openly about these fics.
Last fall I came crawling out of my sheltered fanfiction existence, only to find that there seemed to be a turn in the tide…and thanks to books like Fifty, more women are openly reading what is considered erotica. Yay for us, right? Erotica. Raise your hand if it still feels like a dirty word. *eyeballs those of you with hands raised* Seems we have some work to do…
Erotic fiction has become a HUGE market thanks to the invention of ereaders. According to cbsnews.com, ”the average ebook power-buyer is a 44-year-old female purchasing romance/erotica books.” Downloading our naughty stories is becoming increasingly popular with women because there is still anonymity. I wonder how many women would be willing to put their big girl panties on and buy their saucy stories face to face with the knowing eyes of the cashier on them at the bookstore?
I do get it though. As a mother, I don’t always want to advertise what I’m reading. Also, if no one can tell what I’m reading on my Kobo, it means I can read erotic fiction anywhere I want without inevitable questioning looks and fear of embarrassment. Though I’m still convinced people know what I’m reading on the subway by my flushed cheeks…
As many times I’ve seen women in my city with a paper copy of one of these racy novels clutched in their hands, I know that where is WAY more women who are reading them on their ereaders or iPads. Classical romance and the as of late popular subsection Erotica… have long been a favourite for women. We all know that men are generally happy with their porn, being that visual stimuli is what gets them going. Women, however, much prefer the detailed descriptions offered by literature. For me, the biggest plus to reading my porn rather than watching it, is the inner dialogue. Hearing and knowing exactly how each partner feels about what is being done to them? Muy caliente…si?
Another genre that is picking up steam in the mainstream? Slash fiction (male-on-male romance/erotica). I recently had a conversation with my aunt who is a prolific buyer (and yes, she fits the power-buyer study to a T) and though she’s not a fan of it herself, she was quite helpful in informing me of the growing collection the publishers offer. I have yet to purchase one, my exposure to slash has been through fanfiction. I was skeptical at first that I would enjoy it…but holy moly…did I! I used to wonder what the appeal was, but really, it’s not that difficult to ascertain. Very simply, we enjoy two men together for the same reason men enjoy two women together. You get to see two of the opposite sex in a dynamic that you can only enjoy vicariously. It’s not for everyone, but don’t knock it until you try it. You may be surprised.
So what else is going on as a result of all this steamy fanfic and erotica that women are eating up as fast as they can their hands on it? Ideas that never before crossed our minds are having us thinking about sex in ways we always considered taboo. These ideas, even if they only remain fantasies, are a healthy escape from our everyday lives…whether you are single or in a relationship. Fantasizing is normal, and there is far too much shame associated with such thoughts. The largest sex organ is the brain. Use it! And embrace whatever it is that turns you on. If you do have a partner, from what I have heard from my married friends? Your husband will thank you.
I would like to pose a question to you. If ereaders were suddenly defunct, would it change what you are reading? Would you embrace your inner perv or retreat behind our latent fifties-housewife personas and go back to your socially acceptable vanilla romances and Harlequin books?
In case you were wondering…this is my opinion on it…*grins*