I know it’s not what Shakespeare was talking about but it’s been on my mind lately. Do people read books with erotic themes simply because they are explicit? I mean sex sells right? I’ve said it myself when discussing my writing. Does it need to be explicit though? Is it the way that body parts and touching are described that keeps the pages turning?
A very dear friend of mine recently told me that I’m a great writer and they could see me eventually branching out into something more meaty, but here’s the thing I like romance and to me erotic romance if done right feels more real and authentic to me. Lets face it we all love to be in love and often spend a large portion of our lives chasing after love. Who wouldn’t want to be a fly on the wall witnessing two people in the throws of passion.
Maybe it isn’t something we ever get to see in our real lives outside of fantasy and porn, but in our minds it can be anything the fantasy can dirty and primal and make your muscles tense with longing.
Do you need to say cock instead of penis? Or describe in detail the texture of a woman’s nipple against your tongue. Have we progressed past the flowery purple prose or are there still somethings that make us squirm? Words we can’t say? Words we won’t say? Words are very powerful I just happen to think the explicit ones make things more interesting.
Obviously it is, but is it a bad one?
When people hear that I’ve written a book they tend to be excited and generally ask what the book is about. The excitement lasts only briefly until I explain that the book is an Erotic Romance. It’s at this point that their eyes glaze over or they shift nervously frantically searching for a change in topic. Comments like “Oh you write smut” or You don’t seem like the kind of person who would write filth” are readily tossed around.
I found myself proclaiming “I do not write smut!” with a sense of indignation. Then it dawned on me when does it become smut? Where is the line between erotic romance or erotica and smut? Is it the amount of work that goes into piece? or the volume of sexual encounters? Maybe there is some type of equation to determine where the distinction occurs.
I once had someone tell me that they don’t read popcorn books meaning that they only read serious fiction and I’ve always viewed this comment as a type of book snobbery and I can’t help but wonder if smut has gotten a bad rap.
Is smut a four letter word? A work only worthy of being displayed covertly on the screens of e-readers and destined to be hidden with embarrassment under our beds?
I believe the distinction exists only in our minds and stems from our own views on sex. It’s difficult to say how or when these preconceived notions will change so for now at least the jury is still out on this four letter word.