Does Erotica Author Gender Matter?

Maybe you’ve picked up a naughty new book, and you’re reading along only to run into a line that stops you dead. Sometimes it’s the improbability, like a man barely touching a woman who immediately erupts into orgasm; sometimes it’s a situation that feels, well, uncomfortable rather than sensual.

It’s in those moments that you realize, no matter what the name says on the cover, the book wasn’t written by a woman. Should it matter? Does it matter?

As a reader, I think it does. The moment I hit something that makes me take a step back, it takes me out of the story. Particularly when it seems like an issue of force or non-consent.

The experience of women and men during sex is fundamentally different, as are the personal histories we bring to the bedroom. Even an imaginative writer cannot have the tactile experience of the opposite sex, and, at best, can only guess at the emotions and sensations the other feels.

I’m not saying that erotica written by men isn’t hot, or isn’t enjoyable, but it may not completely or accurately describe the female sexual experience. Similarly, while writing my male characters’ perspectives, I can only do the best that I can with an outside point of view.

As a culture, we’ve come to accept the male perspective of what is sexy as the baseline of sexy, while women are often seen as reluctant participants who need to be coaxed. As a woman, I know that’s not actually true. Women love sex. Women love dirty sex, kinky sex, sweet sex and passionate sex, and yet acknowledging it publicly carries a stigma.

We can read about sex, and we can write about sex from the unique perspective of understanding our anatomy, understanding what appeals and what feels unsafe. Romantic erotica should spark our own sense of satisfaction, rather than triggering a need to please with easy orgasms or accepting the conventional wisdom of what turns us, as women, on.

In a way, women writing erotica is a means of defining our own sexuality, reclaiming our own sexuality, figuring out what works for us and what doesn’t, and maybe even discovering a side of yourself you want to take to the real world.

Advertisements