A writer friend recently blogged about her unhappiness that a certain nameless novel and its sequels have caused a major shift in the way the New York publishers are buying and marketing fiction. The basic premise now is, if it is not super kinky-hot, don't even got there. Now I am a huge advocate of the old "diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks" principle and I think there is room out there for a tremendous range of subjects and levels of 'heat' in fiction.
I freely admit that I do write erotic romance, both hetero and GLBT varieties. (Romance because it is first about love and conflict and 'issues" and very secondarily about sex) I do basically believe that love is something that can come to anyone in any way and that there is no such thing as "bad" Love regardless of who the parties are in terms of color, gender, politics, religion or much of anything else. I would say let's keep physical love expressed within a species and consenting adults except perhaps in the case of some fantasy where shape-shifters of many kinds may be hit by Cupid's arrows. However, although there are very explicit love scenes and some of the cruder words used in my fiction, there are several things on which I draw a hard, black line. If what is going on does not at least speed up my heart beat and respiration a little bit, it will not get written. And I am totally not into any form of pain, humiliation, domination and such. Just do not go there.
Yep, a long time ago when I was experimenting and trying to establish my own person hood and what my on buttons were as far as sex went, I got caught up in some things that quickly taught me what I do NOT like or enjoy. Due to a number of experiences in childhood and growing up, I set a high value on my own independence, freedom and self-determination. My theme song could be, "Don't fence me in."
So you will find very little of what is commonly called BDSM in my books. No, gray is not my color and although I may someday steel myself enough to read at least the first book in that trilogy, just to be informed, I will not see the movie (as I cannot afford to throw away the ticket prices which are far from the fifty cents etc. we paid for matinees in my youth) when I would probably have to get up and walk out at some point. At least based on what I have heard about this phenom.
For this reason I cannot believe the current 'fad' should be a limit on what the major houses are willing to buy and publish. The reading public may be titillated for a time by 'dirty, kinky' little books--and I consider them little because they are ignoring a zillion other huge and important issues and aspects of the human condition to focus in on one very small and narrow one. I would think we as a civilization have matured to where we do not titter and tee-hee over naughty little jokes and crude cartoons as we might have done in middle school. Are we still not free of the Victorian pretensions where we have to put skirts around furniture legs but have a veritable sewer of filth flowing ignored beneath the rugs? I guess not.
Yeah, as they say "sex sells" but once it becomes so blatant and common that we have to go ever farther to keep up the high (yeah, it seems its like an addictive drug in this; with ever a larger dose or more potent strength demanded) just where are we going to stop? Incest? Necrophilia? Animals? We're already deep into the child porn--which literally makes me want to gag and then commit mayhem on the "perps." Maybe it is time that the 'silent majority' (I am pretty sure we still are a majority) stood up and began to cry foul. Freedom and openness and such are good; I have no desire to go back to the strict censorship and narrow requirements (like twin beds for married couples in movies!!) that were once in place but IMHO the pendulum has swung about as far as it can and still retain a modicum of civilized and decent humanity.
Comments and discussion welcome!!! Let me hear what you think.