Erotica Goes Mainstream
I happened to be at my dermatologist's office leafing through old magazines, when I stumbled upon an article
in the September issue of Elle
that surprised me. It was about Alessandra Torre’s
meteoric success selling loosely structured story lines stitched together with graphic, scorching sex scenes. There were two things in particular that made me pause. One, there seems to be a general consensus that nothing about these books would qualify as good writing. And two, her first time out, she went from selling 15 in the first few weeks to 2000 copies a day
. This is in a climate when publishing for profit is more difficult than ever. Yet, this woman is making money hand over fist – and it’s not because of her writing skills.
So what then? Well, at the risk of stating the obvious… Sex sells. Yes, but, it talked specifically about this trend of housewives reading erotica in droves, getting all heated up, insatiable in their hunger for more. At first I wondered if this was a sign that women were experiencing some sort of sexual deprivation. Or, was it more a matter of their husbands not giving them what they want? And do their husbands even know what that is?
Hold on though. This is no different from men turning to porn to fulfill their fantasies. So husbands and now wives are turning to sexual outlets rather than to each other for gratification. But how satisfying is it really? It would seem not completely based on the rate at which they go back for more, looking beyond their partners to turn themselves on.
Titillation is good. I’m not saying it isn’t. I’m saying that hiding part of yourself – the part that wants and needs certain things from a partner - is counter to everything a love relationship represents. I’ve always felt that sex and marriage was a mixed bag of contradictions. And if the sales of these books are any indication that people are afraid to be themselves with the person closest to them, it’s another good example of the flaws in how society teaches us about love.
On the other hand, maybe fantasies just aren't meant to come true. But what fun is that, one hundred million dollars of Fifty Shades of Grey later!
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