Because erotica is awesome, that’s why. Especially old-school:
There is always a story. Let’s talk about the term “bodice ripper.” It’s not fair. No more so than “mommy porn.” It’s demeaning. Women’s sexuality can not and should not be reduced to a nose-in-the-air, dismissive…whatever. Those were our randy-girl-books, and some of them got us to write erotica. Here’s a question…why was Fifty Shades so shocking? We’ve had these stories right along, but thanks to Kindle, now we can read them wherever we want, without shame. Which has opened up a vast market, gotten a lot of women to communicate their needs/feelings better, and created a broader community. So I won’t call them bodice-rippers, from here on in. If it weren’t for historical erotic romance, I would not be publishing today.
When I was twelve years old (when I started high school), I had many unanswered questions. Growing up in the household I did, my burgeoning sexuality was not something that would be acknowledged beyond “Nice girls don’t.” I say this not as a criticism of my Catholic family, as we were no exception to the general public perception of the female sexual reality. In 1980’s sex ed, no one discussed the idea that our bodies, our curiosity, and possibility of erotic pleasure was something to acknowledge. . .let alone accept and encourage. While the “boy class” was learning about erections, masturbation, and nocturnal emissions, the girl class learned about “menstruation,” “saying no,” and how to “not get pregnant.” That was it. Fun, fun.
Between the values I was raised with and the general mindset of society, I didn’t even know what my orgasms were. My first was in the fifth grade; a dream about David Bowie. I still thank him to this day. It would not be until my sophomore year that I figured out the “moist bud of desire” I’d been reading so much about was an erect clitoris. Dang, that would have made things so much easier. Also, if sex-lack-of-education instructors had taught boys and girls about Astroglide, that might have saved a lot of trauma on both sides of the beast with two backs. But, still the “most bud” is misleading. We are still desperately trying to figure out the massive amazeballishness that is the clit.
Obviously, 80’s gals didn’t have Wikipedia, and the Brittanica Encyclopedia failed to include the fact that females had somethin’ special specifically created strictly for pleasure, rather than procreation.
Thank goddess for HER. (Historic Erotic Romance.) Oh, if there has finally been a decent name for 70’s-90’s non-Harlequinn soft-core porn for women that doesn’t sound like a put-down to readers/writers of the genre, please include in the comments. Thank goddess, also, for babysitting gigs. If it weren’t for babysitting, I’d have been totally broke from the key ages of 12-16…because I couldn’t get a worker’s permit. Babysitting meant you might get $10 after a night of watching four wild children for seven hours. Also, you would get to eat ice cream (our home was healthy food) home, watch Dynasty on a giant furniture-sized color t.v. (we had no television), talk wicked late on the phone without siblings eavesdropping, stay up after 10:00, and even develop an anti-fashion thriftstore style! Unfortunately, it also meant long, awkward rides home with random dads.
But then there were also Those Books. Without babysitting, I never would have purchased Amber Passion at Annie’s Book Stop in Wiscasset, Maine…and had an entire universe of sexual and literary possibility opened up to/for me.
This is Amber Passion:
The worn-out jacket says it all. My life would never be the same. Much, as you can see from the cover, Melanie’s never would be, either.
Also, red haired girls are kind of cool, which people hadn’t figured out yet.
So I read Amber Passion. Then just about every other HER our local used bookstore had to offer for a buck or less. Then I started writing different fiction than I had been, previously. (At some point, I’ll write a post about Lit Fiction, but today we’re talking about PASSION and finding-the-fun.) After bookmarking several of the more important scenes, I was hooked. I wrote soft-core for myself, not even realizing that I was writing anything other than what would some day be called fan-fiction, and putting fantasy to words. Happy to share my newfound inspiration and pay it forward, I passed this book –and many others– around in the high school hall to my friends. The waiting list was longer than the one for Judy Blume’s Forever, which eventually was banned from the high school library.
Then the writing happened. Everyone knew I wrote, because my short stories were something that English teachers would read out loud in class to fill up 45-minute periods.
But what if I could only write for a female audience?
That’s what I decided to do.
Once again, I was hooked.
‘Til Next Week,