Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Erotica Without Romance

A recent amicable rejection from an erotic publisher and reading this blog post really got me thinking...

I am not a romance writer.

Not even a little bit.

I write erotic poetry and cheesy love letters for my boyfriend...but that's about it. Romance novels embarrass me...but erotic literature doesn't. Whenever I look at those pink glossy covers at the bookstore, the same uneasy feeling passes over me like whenever I'm at Victoria's Secret.

From the moment I walk in, everything I see is wrapped and propped up for display in bright, hideous pink. The delicate laces appear foreign to me as I stop in the middle of the store. The nauseating smell of perfumes gets my heart racing. I look around at all the happy, smiling women, effortlessly selecting their see-through panties and gel-cupped bras, and I start sweating and feeling really uncomfortable--dizzy, even.

It's more than embarrassment, I think. I genuinely feel a "disconnect." I understand I'm supposed to like those pink frilly thongs...but it's all I can do to keep from bolting out the store when approached by one of the sales associates.

None of it makes sense to me--I don't need ten million sparkles and unicorns on my underwear, and I can't understand why anyone else would either. I like colorful panties, sure, but do I really need one hundred hearts and rainbows stitched across every square inch of my crotch? It's so...overkill it literally makes my head hurt.

I feel the same way about writing and reading romances.

For those who have read my stories, you're familiar with my style.

My main character almost never makes it out alive in 95% of my horror stories. My erotic pieces seldom end with wedding bells.

Perhaps I'm too much of a cynic, but I just can't seem to write an erotic piece with a happily ever after (HEA) ending without forcing myself to do it. I like happy for now (HFN) endings because the HFN is the more "realistic" outcome. HEA endings rot my teeth out, and they're just so gawd-awful corny, don't you think? But women seem to love them. And so do most erotic publishers.

Erotica without a HEA is a guaranteed rejection in some markets, and I really wish it didn't have to be that way.

Sex is sex. Does it always have to be romantic? A bra is still a bra without the pink lace and satin ribbons.

I don't want porn or romance...just give me sex. There's no in-between, it seems, between the tawdry and the syrupy-sweet. Sex can be so many things beyond those two labels.

Although I find most novels in the romance genre to be embarrassing (or overkill) I won't go so far to say I hate them or can't appreciate the stories. I consider myself to be a hopeless romantic, believe it or not. I've filled journals with dozens of romantic poems and sappy drawings for my boyfriend. I hide romantic messages in his car and like to hold his hand and coo and snuggle and all that jazz.

I'm not an ice woman, I just think dismissing all erotic stories that don't have a HEA ending is like only buying underwear if it has a million pink ribbons on it. The point gets lost. It becomes more about the unrealistic, unnecessary, and flowery parts of the garment, and less about whether or not the underwear fits right and makes your boobs look good.

Or perhaps my androgynous, tom-boyish ways are clouding my ability to see the issue like a normal person. Until I find a publisher willing to accept my erotica without the corny "prince charming" part, I'll have to grit my teeth and force myself into the pink fairyland of sparkle puffs and rainbow turds that is HEA and HFN. *sigh*

In my next post, I'll post an excerpt of one of my erotic stories. Happy writing, everyone!



Robin Eduardo said...

Bwahahahahaaaa! RAINBOW TURDS!!!

Damn girl, you made me spit my morning coffee!

We're on the same page regarding erotica apparently. There's a difference between writing romance with an erotic theme and erotica that doesn't need to always have a "happy ending"....unless it is the kind of happy ending you get at those massage parlors.... ;)
But my preference as you know is more toward the dirty sexy as opposed to the "rainbow turds". But of course, it is still viewed in the archaic fashion that a woman who uses her sexuality in such a manner must be a "whore", and that doesn't seem to sit well with many publishers. (And unfortunately, some readers.)

Anonymous said...

Start a HFN revolution and maybe, just possibly you'll be HEA.

Anthony Beal said...

I'm with you, T.K.

As a fellow erotica writer, I don't think I've EVER written a HEA ending into a story, because like you, I'm not a romance writer, and more importantly, I just don't feel the need. I think it's much more interesting to write about (and perhaps more importantly, READ about) complicated people/relationships grounded in realism. In saying so, I'm not knocking romance; just saying that given a choice between writing about nasty sex or writing about spiritual soul-communion-affirming love, I prefer to write about sex and all that comes with it, whether it be good or bad.

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