Is Erotic Fiction Hurtful To Women?


A former editor of The Erotic Review doesn't get the fuss over being sexy, single, and published.

As all you who frequent this site know,  we at YourTango loves us some titillating sex bloggers. We love titillating in general.

Not only will we gladly hoot and holler over  torrid study, after torrid study, of what makes us all promiscuous, or what it's like to be in an open marriage, we may even have copies of Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica and Kerry Cohen's Loose Girl bookmarked next to a pile of condoms on our bedside table.

It's just another day in the life of, but is all this  sex, sex, sex, on our screens and pages, wrecking havoc on our psyches? Is this new-ish womanly liberation warped and maybe a little unhealthy for our delicate, female minds? Are all of us deep down just a bunch of wannabe wives and mothers looking for love in all the wrong bars?

Well, if you take a peek at a recent article in the Daily Mail by former editor of The Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling, you'll take a long, hard look at your inner dialogue the next time you make the hungover, walk of shame back to your apartment.

Rowan Pelling, who perfected smart smut for eight at years at The Erotic Review, finds two really big problems with the recent wave of erotic writing (books like The Secret Life Of V; Insatiable: The Erotic Adventures Of A French Girl In Spain; and Girl With A One Track Mind) and the philosophy that follows the women who read and write the stuff. For starters, the writing is contrived and sort of sucks. For seconds, it makes normal gals who don't want random men touching them most nights of the week feel like prudish squares.

She's sick of the "pale sugar pink [cover] with a cute line drawing of a slim girl's body in tasteful, girlie lingerie" that once opened takes the reader on a predictable journey of "women playing men at their own game and winning."

"If you read these books the narrative arc doesn't take you much further than Bridget Jones: despite the raunchy tone, the women are mostly all seeking Mr Right, and almost all remain single despite (some would say because of) all the frenzied bed-hopping. I don't see why having lots of one-night stands should be a feminist statement. Does that mean those women with few notches to their bedposts and no interest in outré practices, let alone in writing about them for the world's diversion, are less feminist, less emancipated?"

Pelling then goes on to make a series of arguments that are neither for or against promiscuity, but rather observations of the world we live in and how sex is inherently tricky. 

For one, women can write novels about treating men like pieces of meat and feminists rejoice, but if men were to pen books about being bed-hopping Lotharios, we'd all grimace in disgust. Also, writing about sex is hard. Wicked hard. "You can't help but fall into cliche" she says and if done poorly, once you've read one, you've read them all.

"I am certainly not saying that women shouldn't write about sex, merely that they must do so for a reason," Pelling says.

Like, 91-year-old Diana Athill. The farthest thing from the recent outpouring of taut, toned pretty young things with a tale to tell. She's an octogenarian still looking to get her freak on.

"(She) has just demonstrated with her latest volume of memoir (which won the Costa Prize for Biography) that it is far more groundbreaking and interesting to write with dignity, craft and perception about the travails of sex in later life than it is to chronicle endless one-night stands." 

What do you think? Do you sex writers need to think outside the bed sheets and get as original with their topics as they do with their positions?