Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Talking about SEX!!

Let's Talk About Sex!!

There exists a strange dichotomy between the portrayal of sex in our 24/7/365 media and what is "accepted" by society as being something to be talked about openly.

What is the hangup with sex in our culture?

Sex is something we all think about from the time our bodies start to mature, a biological imperative, good for relieving stress, connecting on a deeper intimate level with one's partner, etc., etc. - but yet it is still strictly viewed as verboten in most circles to admit that you personally have desire or needs. In fact women with the same sex drive as men are too often labeled as "easy" or "sluts" in our society.

I do not really care what turns you on - that is your own private business of course - but the moralizing judgment in public of those who embrace their own kinks in private has to stop. That is simply my opinion of course - and I will qualify that as I always do with one of my favorite phrases. "Your mileage may vary."

As most of you are probably aware of by now - I write erotica. Erotica is an interesting genre in that it is one of those things that people enjoy, but are not likely to talk about in "polite society". Erotica also seems to get a bad rap sometimes as people tend to confuse it with porn. Think of it this way - with porn you are getting nothing but descriptions of the sex acts. With erotica you are seeing behind the scenes - so to speak - and enjoying the thoughts and feeling of your characters. There is a discernible story line and shockingly enough the story could probably stand on its own merits without the explicit descriptions.

Anyway - I digress - as I tend to do on occasion.

So - what does the societal hangup with sex have to do with erotica? Good question - I'm glad you asked. ;-)

As an author of erotica I have found it to be quite the uphill battle to spread the word about my writing to a larger audience. Even with 75+ four and five star reviews - there is something missing.

Anyone want to venture a guess? Go ahead - think about it - I'll wait right here ... raise a hand when you are ready.


Yes? I said raise your *hand* back there in the third row - although that *is* quite impressive.

Where was I?

Ah yes - what is missing? Word of mouth. Societal shunning. The virtual equivalent of that Scarlet Letter we all remember from so many years ago.

For example - I recently posted about Volume Two of my Summer's Journey series being FREE for two days on Amazon. (Okay - so I posted A LOT about that - what's your point?)

There exists a forum that I participate in wherein a bunch of authors talk about their experiences with KDP Select and their results from having one of their books free.

An author who had one of their books free during the same time period I did experienced 12,000 downloads in the period of two days - driving their ebook into the Top 100 in the Amazon store - gaining them some valuable exposure.

In the same time period - despite my best efforts at having freebie sites list my book as free to their wider audiences, not one of them did - and my free downloads were about 1,200 - or 1/10th of the other indie author.

Why you may ask? Was this author's book that much better than mine?

I submit it was simply because my ebook was erotica and this other book was in a more "acceptable" genre. Now - some of you will say - (and you will be right) that I chose to write in this particular genre (well - actually it chose me - but that is a whole other story) - and that genre choice is what is limiting me.

True enough I suppose, but let's go back for a moment to what I said was missing.

Word of mouth. Even in this day and age of vast new resources online for self-promotion and marketing - the number one best friend of any author is still word of mouth "advertising". A reader enjoys your work and passes on word about it to a friend or family member. That person tells someone else, and so on and so forth.

This does not occur to the same degree with erotica - due to the societal stigma associated with talking about sex. This is an interesting phenomena that even extends to fellow authors. On that same forum I was talking about earlier - I posted a few questions about my own experiences with the free book giveaway. Even my fellow authors seemed to go out of their way to distance themselves from the erotica author.

Readers will contact me and say they LOVED the first volume of the series - can't wait to read more, but they hope I will understand if they don't tell anyone they loved it - their family, friends, pastor and German Shepard would be shocked to know they were reading that kind of material.

So ... what's my point ...?

I'm not sure I have one - after all of that - so if you were waiting on one - oops. ;-)

Maybe I just think we should initiate (somehow) a healthier societal attitude towards sex. A more realistic one that acknowledges human sexuality instead of berating it - or idealizing a particular body image through the media.

Of course - that *could* simply be the self promotional erotica author in me saying that. ;-)

Embrace your sexuality and love one another. Life is too short and we are all in this together.


  1. I don't think it helps that we closet ourselves as erotic authors. Only a few people I interact with in my daily life know what I write. Living in a very conservative, rural area, when most people ask me what I write, I fudge the truth.

    My parents, however, are very proud of me and tell most of their friends and pass along my website. Why does my 70 y/o father have no shame about it, yet I worry what my neighbor will think? Maybe I need to take a leap of faith and come out of the erotica closet.

  2. Well said Brandie ... and so true.

    I too hide what I do - in my case because I'm writing a fairly autobiographical series and I don't want my nieces and nephew (or the rest of the family - or my employer) to have to answer questions about "that sex writer" because of choices I made.

    I think it is a bigger issue than our confidentiality as erotica authors. I think it is indicative of a larger societal ill that sex is viewed as something only worth discussing behind closed doors while the media pushes it 24/7/365 ...

  3. My writing is juicy but not considered erotic. I have been told by my more conservative friends that they won't read it because it causes them to fantasize about other men. Why can't they use what I write to fantasize about their significant other? Maybe they aren't as happy as they portray? I don't know...the excuses are all crap! Be proud of what you write!

  4. This is an interesting perspective. I had read somewhere recently that women in general tend to 'share' what turns them on and the fact that other women think something is hot tends to make it hotter for other women. I think the theory was related to the proliferation of Twilight. I have something to think about now.

  5. My family calls my books soft porn - I don't care what they call it - I have 4 brothers and I offer to lend them any of my books as long as they take care of them. That shuts them up but they bug me all the time and I just smile!!

    I have 2 daughters - 23 and 19 and if they wanted to read any of my books - they are available. So far as I know they haven't yet but I'm sure there will be a time that they will and I have no problem lending them. I have learned so much about myself through reading erotic romances - they have improved my personal experiences so much that I can't even believe how much. My husband has enjoyed the benefits of my reading these books as well. I have even had him read a couple of them.

    Summer, I love your story but I have to tell you that I am thoroughly frustrated with having to wait to read what feels like the next chapter. I would rather wait and buy them when they are all out so I don't have to wait but I have bought all 3. This probably isn't what you want to hear but it is the truth. I do love your 3 books out but I really wish the whole story would be available NOW.

    Please take that as a compliment! I did go on a daytime talk show on TV here in Canada as a reader of erotic romance and they had a blogger on there as well as an author - it was a lot of fun. I did have a cousin mention that she saw me on there and laughed her head off. It might help more women learn more about themselves like it does for me and I'm all about spreading the word.

    Thank you for your books and everybody I chat with online knows about your story.

    I just bought an ebook from All Romance that has a story you wrote in it "Sexy Briefs - Knickers In A Twist". You are auto-buy for me - just wish there were tons of books available.