This past weekend, I was lucky enough to go on a writer’s retreat with some of the ladies from Diamond State Romance Authors. We spent the weekend in a lovely lodge in the middle of the Ozarks. We spent the days writing and the nights having fun.
Saturday night, the talk turned to euphemisms. With a room full of romance and erotic romance authors, it got very interesting very fast. Jolly rogers were hoisted. There were secret gardens, cakeholes, tookuses. There was even a ginger roger and talk of zones overlapping.
Have you ever been reading along and hit a euphemism that stopped you dead? Tell me about it and you could win a copy of my menage Quickie And She Liked It. Winner to be announced Sunday.
The weirdest one I can remember reading was ‘juicy love blossom’.
You’ve no doubt heard that old saying, “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” As writers, we labor to create that picture in our readers’ minds with the words, but photographers create those pictures literally.
I recently had the opportunity to see into the mind of photographer Michael Clothier as he developed a series of pictures that he used to tell the story of Carmilla, a vampire who lived before Bram Stoker’s Dracula enthralled readers. Published in 1872 by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, the novella explores the story of a vampire that preys on a small manor and its town.
In the process of selecting models, Michael developed the project descriptions and shared a blurb, just like we do as novelists. As they understood the project, the pictures grew in their ability to tell the story.
One funny part of this particular shot is that the taller model was so much taller, yet the “victim,” that it presented problems for the other model and from the perspective of the photographer. Another thing I noticed as a viewer is the subtle sexuality surrounding this image without the use of any overt adult imagery.
Jockeying for position, the boundaries blur as to who is seducing whom here, both for the image itself and the viewer.
For more on Michael and his work, please visit his website:
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We are not all perfectly curvy with an amazing ass, and all men aren’t like a Greek god with an eight inch cock that is as thick as your wrist. In real life we have bellies and hips, skinny legs, and no ass. Men are not really well muscled and their dicks are more like six inches that your fingers can easily wrap around. And I am not even going to start on SFF issues. LOL!
Would that we all could be multi-orgasmic and do it repeatedly in a night. Sadly, not so much. Especially not for real men. There is such a thing as refractory period, and real men need it. As they get older, they need more of it. Of course, we all know there are exceptions to every rule if you are one or your SO is, then bless you!
Okay, now don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me. But, not unlike porn, we sometimes write positions that aren’t comfortable or just sound better than they would be if actually performed. We do try to stick to executable maneuvers, but come on, some positions just aren’t realistic and can’t be maintained through completion. Just saying.
I love Cerise Sinclair’s disclaimer at the beginning of her BDSM books. She basically cautions that a real D/s relationship takes time to develop and nurture. She is clear that the time lines in her books are escalated for the purposes of the story. Could it happen that fast? Yes. But, is that the norm? Should it be the norm? No way! Trust is earned, and that takes time. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I moved in with Mr. Sorcha Mowbray after knowing him for only two months. I am smart enough to know I took a gamble that paid off. I had doubts and fears even when it seemed right. Trust takes time, and engaging in a BDSM/kinky relationship takes a whole truck load of trust.
Can real sex emulate romance sex? Yes! Every time you create a special moment with your honey or find yourself in the grip of lust, you’re doing just that. There are lots of ways to bring the spirit of romance sex to your real life sex.
Set The Mood
Have a romantic dinner together. Do it at home in lingerie or in public sans panties. Light candles and turn on some music. Recreate your first date.
Not a talker? Try it! Tell your partner everything (or just one thing) you want to do to them. Or maybe what you want them to do to you.
Maybe try blind folding each other or tying each other to the bed with a scarf (loose enough you can escape). Maybe get your partner to swat your butt while having sex. Maybe just have them (or yourself) be more demanding during sex. You don’t have to go crazy with leather, whips, and chains to bring a little romance sex into your life.
Go on, admit it. There is something about sex away from real life that lets you be just a little more free. So, go on vacation and be your own heroine with your very own hero. Trying something new there might be a little easier than at home.
So, got any other ideas for bringing romance sex into real life? Share them! I am always curious about ways to keep things lively.
I cut my teeth on the romance genre. I discovered it when I was 12 and loved all the chaste heroines, especially in western and Civil War historicals, who were being compromised. It was an epidemic of virgins being ravished. Romance was my first love.
I discovered erotica not long afterward and by 15 understood that in them, authors wrote about a very different kind of woman. These women weren’t ignorant and untouched, waiting for the right man to make her fall from any precipice or fly on wings of pleasure. The women in erotica were firmly in charge of their sexuality. They weren’t ashamed of desire, knew what their body parts were, and when they had an orgasm, there were no flowery euphemisms describing it. They simply came.
At the time, it was shocking to me. Back then, there was a firm line between the bad girls who did, and the good girls who didn’t. But the women in erotica didn’t seem like bad girls. They were strong, they were independent, they knew what they wanted and took it. Their version of sexuality appealed to me much more than the retiring misses in the romances I’d been reading.
Fast forward about ten years and I discovered a new kind of story, one that combined the strong, worldly heroines I liked with the romantic story lines I loved. I had discovered erotic romance and I was in heaven… for a while.
There was a disturbing tendency to make erotic heroines so idealized that I had trouble relating to them. They were strong and adventuresome. The relationship conflicts were more about species than character flaws. I liked the sexy stories, I liked that the heroines weren’t afraid of their sexuality, but I wanted someone who seemed… well… real. I think that still holds true today. I like stories, but I have trouble loving them.
So… here’s a little secret. I’m writing a heroine with a past that can best be described as sordid. She’s spent most of her adult life working as an exotic dancer. she’s done private parties where she took money for sex. She was a paid mistress to an old, rich man… an old, rich, married man… for several years. She uses her body to pay her way in life and has no regrets. She is everything that is unacceptable in a romance novel, but I’m giving her a romance, a hero who is upstanding and loyal to a fault, and the kind of happy ending every girl, even the bad girl, deserves.
So, do you love an imperfect heroine?
Words are powerful. It’s a lesson we all learn at some point in our life. Despite having no inherent monetary value, the ease with which they are shared, and the frequency with which we use them; words are very powerful.
As a writer of erotic romance I recognize the power of words to incite an emotional response in characters, readers, and even myself. One of the funnest ways to play with that power is dirty talk between characters. It always amazes me how mere words can incite lust and desire.
I think as people we forget this sometimes. I had a pleasant and refreshing reminder of the power of words the other day. My DH and I were texting back and forth about mundane things when something possessed him to text me in Italian. (That’s right bitches, let the jealousy commence!)
From a few lines of Italian texted to me mid-morning I found myself having a hard time focusing at work. He didn’t say anything dirty even, just our usual endearments with a twist. I swear, if he weren’t fighting a cold he totally would have gotten lucky tonight!
It was a nice reminder of how little it takes to spark desire and emotion with mere words. And well, words in a foreign language? So sexy. Now I’m curious, do you find words to be as powerful? Is there something your SO says to you that gets you going every time? Or maybe a language they speak that revs your engine? Come talk to me about the power of words!
I had an interesting conversation with a co-worker the other day about Alpha Heroes. She is not a romance reader, but we were discussing the whole paranormal romance phenomena and why women found shapeshifters and vampires attractive. My friend reads horror, tends toward monster stories etc, so she is baffled by the romanticizing of traditional monsters.
I think the popularity stems from a desire to be dominated. Now I am not saying women want to be tied to the bed and ravaged (Okay, some of us want that…but not everyone. LOL!) but, more that there are elements of the dominant/submissive (D/s) relationship that is both inherent in the man/woman dynamic and something that is very normal for women to desire. I mean, it’s like survival of the fittest. We all desire to attract the strongest most successful mate we can to ensure our species’ survival. In modern times what constitutes strength and the ability to protect does not equate to the physicality once required.
Now, here is where this all links together. What makes the Alpha Hero so attractive is that he appeals to that deep dark repressed inner self for many women. We no longer require that physicality for survival, but there is a buried instinct that draws us to that quality, even if only in fantasy. I believe (feel free to disagree with me) that much of the D/s element of BDSM has seeped into paranormal romance because it is part of the natural order of things in the “animal kingdom”. It makes it easy for the average woman to accept the attractiveness of the dominant quality in a hero if it can be rationalized as being part of the trope.
I think the inclusion of this in paranormal romance also allows both readers and authors alike to have a spectrum within which they can work. Many women are not comfortable reading/writing blatant BDSM themed stories, while others are. The paranormal element permits a blending of subtle D/s elements without having it be in your face and uncomfortable. There is a whole scenario built that makes it acceptable for the more vanilla readers/writers.
And frankly I love that about romance. There is something for everyone. So whether you are comfortable with your interest in power play or prefer to stay within a particular comfort zone where things are much more subtle, you can find that in romance.
Assuming my ramble made any sense to you…what are your thoughts? Are you someone who is comfortable with pushing your reading/writing boundaries? Or, are you more the type to stay in your comfort zone?
Possibly a touchy subject but it’s something every sexually active person should be aware of on some level. Right? but how much of it belongs in romance and erotica?
I was more than a little shocked to read through a recent forum discussion on the subject and find that the overwhelming focus of the writers participating was birth control. The majority of these writers were young, and by young I mean under 30, single and sexually active… a group which I assumed would be informed on protection. To my surprise the focus of the participants wasn’t safe sex but birth control. The reasoning was simple: condoms aren’t sexy.
Surprise pregnancy, secret babies and forced marriages because of a baby on the way are part of the fabric of romance fiction. It makes sense that in a modern world that we’d want our heroines to take a proactive stance when it comes to their reproductive future, right? A smart heroine is on the pill.
But does a smart heroine ignore other forms of protection just because she knows she won’t get pregnant?
It seems the general consensus was… yes.
My main genre is contemporary erotic romance. I love reading and writing it, and for me, nothing shuts down the sexy faster than bareback. Why? Because to me a woman who allows a man with a sexual history to penetrate her without wearing a condom is TSTL (Too Stupid Too Live). It might not be as dramatic as going to investigate that strange noise when there is a killer on the loose and she was told to stay in the nice safe room, but the consequences can be just as bad.
For me, no-condom is no-sex.
Are there times when condoms aren’t needed? Sure. When you’re looking at paranormal, sci-fi, or other worldbuilding that supports the idea that disease isn’t a problem, then then protection isn’t needed. Historical fiction bows to the knowledge of the time. If the couple in question is long-term monogamous then condoms are likely a thing of the past. When I write married erotica I don’t use them, for instance. Those situations are a little different from new-relationship sex.
I’ve questioned the no-condom idea before and the most common reasons given are that including them is disruptive and that readers don’t want the fantasy shattered with latex.
The first point I don’t get. I’ve never considered a few words alluding to donning a condom disruptive. I suppose if the author stopped and talked about safe sex and all the reasons to use one it might be, but I can’t ever remember reading that. I’ve read a lot of scenes that stop and talk about how everyone is clean to justify going bare, though. For me that’s jarring.
The fantasy part of it doesn’t make as much sense to me. Maybe it’s because I like to have a gritty, realistic edge to my erotic scenes. I’m not into flowery purple prose where everything is perfect and feels good. I like things to be awkward and sweaty, maybe a little uncomfortable sometimes… because that’s what sex can be like.
So, where do you fall on the scale? Do you want to see safe sex practiced on the page or would you prefer condoms stay hidden? Writers, if a condom isn’t available, do you call an all-stop, keep going, or maybe get creative?
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
How often do you say “thank you” to your lover? It’s easy to take for granted the tender touch, the heat-filled glance, even the orgasm. But to deepen our expressions of love for each other, or to aid in seducing a new lover, the power of gratitude has power beyond price.
“I love thee to the depth and breadth and height”
Have you expressed all the little ways you love and cherish your lover? Take a pen and paper and write down what little things you love about them. It could be their lips, the curve of their ear lobe, their laugh, the way they make scrambled eggs, the way they make love to you… See if you can’t get to a hundred. You will start finding little, tiny things toward the ends and that’s all to the good. Mies van der Roh, the architect, said, “God is in the details.” Whether or not that is true, certainly seduction is. Consider giving your list to your lover or, even better, reading it to them in bed while they lay with their eyes closed, so you can whisper into their ear.
“My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight”
Above all, the expression of love is made in the small, daily steps we take. When we become aware of these, we can make them more often. Small, regular deposits into our partner’s emotional bank account can pay dividends in the future. Why not start now?
To inspire you, here is the love sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861). May you love often and love deeply, and above all, gratefully.
“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
I’ll say it flat-out: sexy is awesome. There is power in sexiness, a primal strength that nothing else can match. Any woman who has seen that enraptured look in her lover’s eye understand this. A woman who channels that power becomes the center of the universe, a goddess of sensuality.
It’s a rush.
Discovering that power can be transforming. It can change the way a woman feels about herself, inspire her to change her life.
While this blog is made up of women who write erotic romance, we do more than just that. I also write some women’s lit and mainstream romance, but by far one of my indulgent pleasures is writing straight-up erotica.
People all seem to have their own definition of what makes something erotica. For some it’s anything with sex described, for others it has to be kinky, unusual or ‘alternative’ sex. Even within the writing and publishing communities there isn’t a set definition. Some toss around terms like ‘house style’ or ‘the publisher’s standards’ without really giving information on just what that means.
To me, erotica is something separate from simple levels of kinkiness. It’s not about the partner, or what the characters do together or separately. It’s not even about arousing the reader or the sensuality of the writing.
I believe a sexy story becomes erotica when the character discovers and is transformed by the earthy power of sex. Erotica isn’t about building a relationship, happy endings or love and marriage; It’s about a journey, about self-discovery. By the end of the story, the character will be empowered.
But then, finding that inner strength is a bit of a happy ending, so maybe there is a kind of “Happily Ever After” involved, after all.
You can sample my erotica in The Mansion series, a collection of short erotica stories available through Amazon and All Romance Ebooks. The first story, Pretend You Love Me can be downloaded free here.
So tell me, what do you think of the power of sexual discovery? If you read Pretend, what did you think of Alice’s journey and what can you imagine in in her future?
Embracing couple image (c) 123rt.com