In the last few weeks, as erotica has become a mainstream topic of conversation, I've heard so many different takes on the matter. Some usually sensible folk have referred to it as 'porn.' Simply and flatly just included it, for themselves, into the same subject-basket. At a restaurant at dinner with a few friends, suddenly they were talking about the politics of dom and sub and who-is-really-in-control. For the first time in, what twenty years, we were discussing 9-1/2 Weeks. Someone said, see women aren't any better than men, maybe now they'll stop complaining about us enjoying porn. Which led into a conversation about how men are more visual, therefore, they like porn. Women are more into the romance and story of it, so they like erotica.
And of course, with a few publishing professionals, the whole thing was, why now, why suddenly is it such a big seller, a hot topic? Why this book? You know, let's face it. It's always been there. Just like young-adult novels had always been there before Harry Potter. And vampires were there before Twilight. What's amazing is listening to the reactions of different people on the subject. It's most fun to hear about mothers of adults, these 60 and 70 year old women who are voraciously reading That Book. And then talking about it with their adult kids. And they bring it up so nonchalantly, 'Oh, have you read...?' That, folks, to me is the most refreshing aspect of it all. Mommas around the country are tapping into their interest in sex. And I don't mean, the Mommys with little children, the ones we all assume are the ones scooping up the copies all over the place. For me I think it's more exciting to note the Mommys of Mommys who are reading erotica. It's not Mommy Porn. It's G-ma Porn. But no, I don't want to see her in leather pants.
But I do worry about the people who are perplexed, puzzled, concerned, worried, or downright offended by this 'sudden interest' in erotica. You hear the audible ugh. They immediately deride the whole topic by saying, 'Well I heard it really isn't that good anyway.' As if the entire genre is just one book. One woman said, when being asked if she'd read it, 'Why would I ever want to read that?' Indeed. It does make me sad when people are just so absolutely unable to talk about sex. It's such a taboo, to them, it seems the entire subject is dirty, secret, embarrassing, inappropriate. And how did you get on the planet, dear? Oh you started with a good fuck. All, right, I'm assuming, maybe it wasn't all that good. Oh but I digress... the only thing newsworthy to me here is, I'm mildly surprised that it was a BDSM novel that had the huge break-out. Not a cowboy erotica or menage or werewolf pack gangbang story. It wasn't erotic suspense or paranormal. Maybe because those were already featured at the top of the bestseller charts. But still, ten million copies in a matter of months. I would have bet on a more general erotica subject area. But you know what? Then the media would not have jumped all over it like they did this one, specifically because BDSM is so juicy and gossipy.