The Thoughts Of Selina II : Violence Good. Sex Bad

Following on from my Opinion on the present state of the Erotica genre I wanted to explore a little further a particular theme surrounding that.

I absolutely love Star Wars but fun fact after watching the entire saga you would have witnessed the death of trillions of people.

But that’s okay because it’s never really gratuitous. Sure genocide occurs, millions of people wiped out but it’s ‘oh well. When they going to start shooting stormtroopers again?’

The body count for The Fast and The Furious franchise runs into the hundreds. The violence in those movies are undeniably gratuitous, they add nothing to the storyline and only serves to makes those scenes more action packed.

But gratuitous doesn’t mean explicit. It’s comic book violence and is totally acceptable. Plus a lot of them were bad guys and deserved to die.

Yet movies such as Kick Ass and any Tarantino film contain gruesome scenes of violence. They are depicted in such a way that it leads very little to the imagination.

Indeed often they are both gratuitous and explicit. Yet these movies are lauded as being fantastic works of art, scoring highly on Rotten Tomatoes.

These random acts of gratuitous explicit violence are not limited to movies and are also a plot device in both comic books and literature.

But these are harmless action and adventure stories. We don’t need to know the socio-economic reasons which led a particular person to become a henchman for some evil bastard. He speaks with a foreign accent , he’s got a gun, he deserves to die.

That’s right isn’t it? It’s just a bit of fun. These scenes are infrequent and whilst not necessary they are, after all, exciting…..Lighten up it’s escapism.

And I would agree. There are far more qualified people around to comment on the reasons for our desensitisation to violence and it’s not the point of this opinion.

My point is, if it’s okay with violence then why don’t we have the same attitude towards sex?

Romance or chick lit stories often opt for the ‘Star Wars Implied Genocide Method’. We lead up to the sex but never really see it.

Just as we never saw all the kids playing on Alderaan before it was obliterated or witness janitor Clive’s final day before retirement on the Death Star, dreaming of spending more time with his grandchildren before Luke blew him up.

In a lot of thrillers and chick lit the main character may be having frequent gratuitous sex. But that is still okay because it’s not explicit, right?

Yet the moment you describe in detail the natural act of lovemaking and dare to mention words like ‘cock’ or ‘pussy’. The Erotica label is slapped on it and you are banished to the corner.

(Well that’s not exactly true – if you are an independent author you’ll be punished. The differing attitude towards mainstream authors is a whole other story.)

Look I get that some readers don’t like sex scenes. But that’s not the point. I don’t like Thomas Hardy novels, it doesn’t mean I’m advocating banishing all his work from ever being found on internet searches.

We all have our own preferences and tolerances of what we read and watch. Yet as previously discussed Erotica is automatically labelled as wrong. Dirty. Disgusting.

You want to watch a guy kill hundreds of people (including scores of collateral damage) then grab a beer and settle down. You want to watch people have sex then please leave town you depraved monster.

There is a continuing movement to push ‘porn’ further into the dark recesses of the web. If Governments get their way it will become more and more difficult to watch porn. Those who write under the erotica category are and will continue to find themselves caught up with this apparent cleansing of the internet.

However, on the likes of YouTube all the gratuitous explicit violent scenes from these mainstream movies are just a click away.

Sorry Explicit Sex Scene is blocked but you may wish to watch Top Ten Best Gruesome Action Movie Deaths Of All Time.

Violence good. Sex bad.

Yet sex is the most natural thing in the world. As I write this people are having sex. As you read this people are having sex.

Whilst I accept that there are also acts of violence being carried out at the same time, what is so wrong with escaping to a place where people are having sex?

Why is it fine that you can freely and without judgement enter a world where non-descript prostitutes are murdered as a cheap plot device, yet to explicitly describe the growing sexual relationship of a couple is disgusting.

And if you dare make that couple the same sex….Boy, have you crossed a line. Away with you must go, you purveyor of absolute filth.

Well written ‘erotica’ explores something that can’t be achieved by implied sex – how that person feels at the time.

Whether it be positive thoughts of desire, lust, happiness and passion or more negative concerns such as disgust or regret, they form part of the story. It maybe explicit but it’s not gratuitous. It is an exploration of their character.

If it’s justified to show explicit violence to further a plot then the same courtesy has to be extended to sex scenes.

Whilst some will include an explicit sex scene just to simply evoke arousal that cannot be said of every story that features an explicit sex scene. Yet the likes of Amazon will, for the sole reason it is simply explicit, banish it to the dark corners of it’s site.

The truth is everyone thinks about sex. People are rightly curious about sex and well written ‘erotica’ can provide some comfort, offer some answers; Rather than send them down the rabbit hole of depravity it can help them process their own emotions and attitudes towards sex. It is a positive thing.

Being positive about our sexuality is something that should be encouraged and not hidden away in the corner.

At some point in our lives we will all have been curious about sex. The same cannot be said for being curious about standing on a moving bus and taking out two vehicles with a rocket launcher.

If you are curious about that then you really need to be having sex.

The Thoughts Of Selina I: The Future Of Erotica & The Need For A Purge

In my continuing quest to make this blog a wonderful place to be I thought I would occasionally throw in the odd opinion about some topic.

For my opening attempt I want to look at the current state of Erotica.

Those writing in this genre are having a bit of a hard time recently with the forums for their work seemingly burying it as deep as they possibly can.

If this continues then it will be so difficult to find an erotica writer’s writing. This would be for the simple reason it has a bit of sex in it.

Erotica has enjoyed a bit of a golden period mainly in part to a combination of the phenomenon of Fifty Shades and Amazon KDP.

Fifty Shades was a huge success and no one can take that away from the author – well done to her. But let’s be honest, it’s a bit rubbish. A repetitive diatribe of grammatically incorrect erotic cliche. In short, she’s done alright but in the long term has done the genre more harm than good.

I have no doubt that people sitting at home thought ‘I can do that’ because certainly Fifty Shades is hardly an unobtainable literary masterpiece. Yet that has proven to be a problem.

Scores of wannabe writers with not much respect for the genre looking to make a quick buck with some crudely written smut

With Amazon KDP it provided those people the opportunity to do that. But the unforeseen consequence of tapping into this phenomenon is there is a lot of noise. That makes it difficult for any indie author with a great story to get heard.

It’s hard for a self published author. They have to do everything – writing, cover art and their own marketing often with the most limited of budget.

So I offer this thought what if Amazon etc just did away with the Erotica category. Even further that erotica or smut were not terms to be used to describe a book.

It would be terrible, right? How would you find your target audience?

In my opinion I think it would be the best thing that could happen.

Firstly it would do away with the dabblers. Those cluttering up the bandwidth with poorly written erotica short stories that really are nothing more than crudely created sex scenes.

A purge would leave those who actually want to do this, who care about writing, who are good at it still standing.

The massive problem with Amazon KDP is nothing goes out of print. There’s too much choice and consumers don’t like that and so opt for the safety of the mainstream.

If it were up to me I would have all ebooks published have a shelf life which when expired would have to be renewed by the author.

Thousands and thousands of stories keep entering the system and never go away.

Imagine walking into a book shop where every book ever written was published – a delight for some but a horror for the vast majority. They simply would not know where to start.

Secondly, should there even be an erotica category? What actually is it?

Well, erotica has many definitions but loosely it is a work of art designed to be sexually arousing.

So those one sex scene short stories I was talking about , yeh they are probably erotica but does that term apply to anything that may have an explicit sex scene in it?

That can’t be right. If you’re a guy and get a boner to a James Patterson sexy thriller is he now erotica?

I am proudly part of a community on Twitter of some of the most talented indie author who largely write under the erotica category.

I certainly do not speak for them but I would guess that a large number of them publish under erotica for fear of falling foul of the strict guidelines on content.

But are they writing erotica? No. They write romance, thrillers, horrors, sci-fi. Yet their stories include explicit sex scenes and so banished to the dark corner of Amazon they must go.

My current story A Song Of Tyler & Bryce begun life as a satire that those authors are labelled as inappropriate and hid away yet George RR Martin is lauded for stories that include incest, under age sex and plentiful non consensual sex.

If an indie author wrote those themes in a modern day setting they would be punished. Yet set it in fake olden times it’s perfectly acceptable.

I would also add that not once following the non-consensual sex does Martin ever explore how the woman may be feeling. Yet the big bad band of erotica writers dare to tell you what is on her mind before, during and after sex and they find themselves banished to the corner.

Whilst we could get angry about the injustice of this ludicrous hypocrisy I believe we should take note.

I refuse to accept that this world is made up of nothing but prudes. Mainstream literature, TV and film is littered with sex scenes. Overall society doesn’t seem to have a problem with sex.

You watch any HBO drama and the main characters are banging away whenever they can. Yet that wins Emmy’s

I believe it’s time to recategorise our work. If it is set in fake olden times it’s Fantasy. Modern Day it’s romance. A dark twist it’s a thriller or horror. They’re fucking in space it’s Sci-Fi.

Yes put the warnings that it contains explicit scenes (that would make you a better person than George RR Martin), change your cover to make it more, shall we say, user friendly.

If indeed there is a battle looming then prepare now. Play them at their own game.

If you are reading this and thinking but all I have to sell my book is a hot sex scene, then you may struggle if this trend continues (and I would suggest it’s only going to get worse).

But review your work, revise it. That’s the beauty of Amazon KDP etc your story can evolve.

Ask yourself can I add some scenes leading up to the explicit sex. In other words make it more mainstream.

Because Amazon etc cannot censor you for having an explicit sex scene. It’s a slippery slope that would have to include mainstream authors (including one Mr Martin) so it’s never going to happen.

My advice is to welcome a purge. Let’s encourage a reduction of noise and get your stories out there where they should be. Not buried because of some archaic categorisation but available to read.

Rightly or wrongly there is still a stigma about erotica – that it is cheap, nasty, dirty.

That is not how I view the stories I have read. They are well plotted, thought provoking with strong characters who are often female.

Yes they have explicit sex in it. But so fucking what. So does Game of Thrones.