Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How far is too far? Testing the Boundaries #EroticRomance #Erotica



As I've delved into the erotic romance genre, I've been on a steep learning curve of what's acceptable and what isn't. It seems there is a myriad of opinions--from there are 'no limits' to 'no dubious consent' or 'monster erotica' is out of bounds. 

Book sellers and certain publishing houses definitely have standards they adhere to and reject manuscripts/indie books for crossing the proverbial line. An author friend of mine recently said she doesn't believe either should dictate what women read. This statement has been tossing around in my brain lately--on the one hand, I see that businesses are looking at it from the standpoint of marketability and a return on their investment; on the other hand, authors shouldn't be prohibited from writing what resonates with them. 

One person's porn is another person's Sunday afternoon, right? But is the erotic genre getting out of hand? Some erotic authors have been accused of promoting violence against women, beastiality, promiscuity, and pedophilia. In the age of the internet when choices are limitless, however, is this true? People are, after all, choosing what to read and where to spend their money, nothing is being forced upon them. 

But where is the moral compass and is it our business to patrol it? Censorship is the dirtiest of words in publishing. Is there a line that should never be crossed or, because it is so easy these days to self-publish, is anything fair game? The gatekeepers that once controlled the publishing world are becoming scarce--but this leads to bigger questions about "just because we can write/publish it, should we?" Are erotica authors taking their freedom too far and adding to the corruption of society? Then again, if people want to be corrupted, is it our business to act as their moral compass? 

I have my personal tastes--I like M/F romance and erotic romance. I enjoy stories that push the limits, that walk right up to the edge spit in the face of the conservative mindset. I have rape--or dubious consent--in a few of my books that fit with the storylines I'm intending to write. I don't feel that it's wrong--after all, life isn't always filled with light, rainbows, and joy. To me, as an erotic romance author, I enjoy writing about the darker parts of life and sex that is far from vanilla. It's liberating! 

It's true that I don't enjoy certain genres--and would't go out and buy them--but I don't judge the authors or refuse to promote my friends who write them. I know some erotic authors who do ban the more taboo stuff--but I think that's their right, too, because at a certain point we all need to look at our own reasons for writing and our fan base. Erotic romance and erotica genres cover a wide spectrum. I'm learning that we're a diverse group, as is our audience, but does cross-promoting work for this group or not when the diversity grows more every day? 


Do we as erotica authors who are putting work into the world have an obligation to think about the impact of our words? Or do we wrap ourselves in the cloak of creative expression and trust that people are capable of controlling their own actions? Somewhere in the answer is the C-word we all fear--censorship. What is acceptable? What is scandalous? Is there a right or wrong or is there simply an individual choice that needs to be respected? 




5 comments:

  1. Well, certainly you ask a lot of good questions. I see two major issue with censorship: where do you draw the line, and more importantly, WHO gets to draw it? As you say, one person's porn is another's Sunday afternoon. There are those who would equate a non explicit sensual love scene in the same category as explicit beastiality. All sex is porn to them. Do we want my mother's former neighbor who thinks Dancing with the Stars is "disgusting" deciding what we can read in the privacy of our own home?

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    1. Exactly! And, no, I definitely don't want your mother's former neighbor deciding anything for me if she thinks Dancing with the Stars is crossing any kind of boundary. Ha. Thanks for commenting! ---Dakota Skye

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  2. Great post with lots of thought provoking questions. I tend to approach it from more from a business perspective than a moral one, so I look at my goals as an author and then determine if what I want to write is consistent with that. But I love that we have a diverse market, and that people can write what they want these days. The days of the big pubs telling us all what to write are in the past, and I love the freedom that gives authors.

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  3. That's a good question. Or a lot of good questions. I look at it a couple of ways. It's fiction and fiction is a great way to explore and embrace even the most taboo. It's not real (monster erotica/hard core sci fi sex?) and it's safe to push the boundaries and cross them. Does a depraved imagination translate into a depraved real life? No! I've had my share of rape fantasies and written about dubious things I never want to happen, but like writing or reading. Giving an outlet can be cathartic for many people and necessary to mental freedom.

    But on the area of moral responsibility... I'm a writer not a priest. If right and wrong isn't being clearly delineated and you're reading fiction to figure it out, you got your own set of problems to sort through. Erotica isn't the bible or Koran. I'm not a prophet. I'm not advocating the devil with taboo subjects either. Are there things I won't touch or read? Yes. But we have to be careful what we censor. Let people do that on their own. Is it wrong? Well then don't read. Don't give it air space and that'll be the judgement on it.

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    1. Love your take on it. Thanks for stopping by! --Dakota Skye

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