I know that people see erotica as just that. Pointless smut for people to read so they can get off to it. I understand why that is. I’ve read erotica (as well as written it) for quite some time. I do enjoy erotica but I also enjoy plots, drama, and character growth as well as development. I fail to see why both can’t be done? There seems to be this mentality that if a story contains graphic sex (especially BDSM elements) it can’t possibly be good. It’s probably because absolute tripe like 50 Shades of Grey cluttered the market with horrible writing, characters, and even the unrealistic idea of what BDSM actually is. Those books are Twilight fan fiction, they don’t realistically portray BDSM or the lifestyle, they are poorly written, and somehow they reek of a fourteen-year-old’s writing style instead of a middle-aged woman. As an author and a practitioner of BDSM I find the popularity and existence of these so-called “novels” offensive on a hundred different levels.
After that all happened I was determined to not let BDSM or erotica be seen as only smut, stupid, and pointless fantasies for either bored housewives or teenage girls. I wanted it to mean something and I thought, why can’t it be both things? Why can’t erotica include very important characters and plot development while stimulating all of the senses in a seductive manner?
It is exactly what I set out to do with my story, Birthright. What I thought was that with a BDSM theme I could tell a story. That not only could it include erotica but it could have a point. That the sex wasn’t in there for no reason it was all about character development and growth. As we see from the start of the story, Cordelia was sold to the highest bidder. A man who believes that she is no more than his own property. She knows very little about sex in general (let alone anything kinky in nature) but he does, and he’s her dominant immediately. She knows she has no choice in the matter so she just kind of goes with it because she doesn’t want to die. The more stuff he does with her, the more she discovers that she actually likes it. She doesn’t know why she likes it but she finds herself engaging in it more. Through this rough level of intimacy, feelings are able to develop and it opens a dialogue between her and the main male character, Avery.
As time goes on, she suggests to him that maybe they would both find more enjoyment in these activities if she was a willing part in it, instead of him forcing her into submission every time. She already knows she doesn’t hate it but she’s curious about what it might feel like to have consent. Avery isn’t very against this idea so he agrees to try it in a manner where they both like what’s going on. Eventually, this leads to a point where Avery decides that he wants her to have control. The whole arc of the story exists to show that Cordelia went from a powerless slave girl to actually being in charge of her life and dominating the brutal force that she started up against. It shows her ability to become strong from a place or weakness and change things in her outcome. Though there is a lot of smut and sexual activity it is there for a purpose, not just because sex is sex.
In my story Price, it’s a similar notion. The main protagonist, Lisa, has felt on the outs her whole life. Is a struggling writer, low self-esteem, and something of a loser. When she wins a billion-dollar jackpot she decides she’s going to “buy” what she considers to be a dream man for her own purposes. A wee,k of kinky sex. It doesn’t just launch right into that but there’s a discussion on proper practices. What they will and will not be doing, a safe word, and who is going to be dominant and who isn’t. Over the course of these activities, they both learn about each other. Lisa learns far more about Elliot and why he would take such a ridiculous offer in the first place (and maybe that he’s not just a pretty face and full of himself asshole) and she learns that love isn’t all about superficiality. While practicing BDSM, which takes a lot of trust to begin with, they start to trust each other. Fall in love with each other. Learn that even though they are from two different worlds they are still essentially soulmates. BDSM is the vessel in which they both travel to come to their ultimate romantic ending.
I really don’t oppose the creation of smut just for the sake of porn or to get off. Hell, I’ve written stories like that. I’m not saying people shouldn’t enjoy that (or write it for that matter). However, whenever I read romance novels it’s just pointless, stupid, cliche drivel. Riding off into a sunset, or a prince who falls in love with a slave girl. It’s flowery and it’s ultimately meaningless (to me). I don’t like that because it all follows the same guidelines. Guy likes girl, guy can’t have girl for some reason, guy eventually convinces girl that he’s not like other guys, they make love while the sun sets on the beach. You get the point. If people like that, more power to them, but I never have. As someone who enjoys elements of horror, the supernatural, science fiction, and psychological thrillers I want to be able to fuse erotica with those themes and develop something entirely new. Though I don’t ever expect for my type of writing to become anywhere near popular or relevant I do hope that one-day people can accept that good stories can also include intense erotica and it’s part of the plot it’s not just there for the sake of pornography.