I’m not going to write about how men and women perceive erotica, whether one defines it as erotic and another as pornographic. I think it’s subjective, and the topic has been covered to death.
I’d rather provide some real examples of my own experience with writing erotica, and the difference in reactions I’ve encountered with men and women.
Women I know, and even women I don’t know personally love the fact that I write erotica. Their reactions range from interest about the stories to where my inspiration comes from to how I structure my work day.
It’s great talking to them because they are incredibly supportive in every facet. If there has been discomfort around the subject with anyone, I have not felt it. Even my mother-in-law is reading my book. This is a damn cool woman whom I highly respect, and she also reads a lot. For this last reason alone, I must admit I had apprehensions about giving her my book. I am, after all, married to her son.
What was she going to think of me? I’m happy to say she read the first two stories and sent me a note saying she found them steamy and well written. I couldn’t have asked for a better review than that.
I had to wonder why I assumed she was going to judge me. I’m a writer, and it’s fiction. Just because there’s lots of sex in the stories doesn’t imply I’m a sex addict, right? It would be akin to saying that because Stephen King writes horror, he must be a psychopathic axe-murderer—a ridiculous notion. It then dawned on me why I had been nervous. It had to do with some of the men’s reactions I’ve received when I told them I wrote erotica.
I’ve been writing full-time now for a year. During these months, I’ve occasionally socialized with men—some strangers, some acquaintances, and others whom I’ve known in one capacity or another.
When the conversation came around to what I did, or what I was doing, there have been some odd reactions to my response. They fall into one of a few different buckets.
- He immediately feels like he can start talking to me about sex, sharing some intimate sexual fantasy he’d like to fulfill. I’ve suddenly become his new best friend.
- He tells me I don’t look like someone who’s capable of such “dirty” thoughts (not sure if that’s supposed to be a compliment or an insult).
- He is really intrigued and wants me to recite passages from my book (as if I can call up my words at will and recite them like some Shakespearean Sonnet).
- He looks at me with raised eyebrows and becomes quiet. I have no idea what he is thinking.
- He giggles uncontrollably until I tell him to stop … several times.
It’s endearing, amusing, and awkward at its worst. Little fazes me, and to be fair to most men, I don’t think their reactions are mean-spirited, so there’s no point in getting annoyed. Perhaps it speaks a lot more to their interest in the subject matter, and the discomfort with knowing that someone probably thinks about sex, on a daily basis, more than they do.
I tend not to believe in stereotypes, nor oversimplify the reasons for the differences between the sexes. The belief that men are more visual than women, so they prefer to watch erotica rather than read it has as many studies that support the hypothesis as it has that disprove it.
The primary audience for erotica is women, but men read it too. It’s sensual foreplay, like watching porn, which supposedly men enjoy more than women do—yet another stereotype.
No science here, just my observations. I delight in the differences between men and women. It interests me because people interest me. Perhaps I’ll notice these differences less over time, but for now, I’m savoring the experience.
About Eden Baylee
Eden Baylee remembers hiding under the blankets with a flashlight and reading an erotic novel. It was past her bedtime—she was eleven.
Since then, she has continued to read and write erotica. Her first book, Fall into Winter, is currently available for sale. It contains four erotic novellas; two take place in the fall, and two in the winter, thus the title. Though common elements unify them, each story is unique and stands alone. The themes include: younger man, older woman; ménage à trois (MFM); BDSM; and past lovers looking for a second chance.