I’ve got a novel that I expect to have finished and on the market by the end of this month. One of my beta readers said it was “like Ben Elton, but with explicit sex”. I’m happy with that as a genre.
I don’t want it to be marketed as “erotica with comedy elements”. I’d rather it was “an extremely sexy comic novel”.
Though, of course, I want it published, and once I have a publisher I don’t care if they market it as “the best thing since Nigella in the Kitchen“, so long as they give me money.
But I was looking through Kindle, checking out bdsm books, for the marketing and the prices. There are writers out there asking for $6.99 for a semi-literate 15-page wank fantasy, and I have to say that I think they’re dreaming. For all that I think writers should be paid in diamonds, rubies, oysters, champagne and free sex, I still think asking for about $1.50 a page, for 15 pages, is eye-wateringly lazy and greedy.
On the other hand, I expect that no one buys that stuff, so perhaps it doesn’t matter. Nice try, is all.
Anyway, the other thing that struck me was the amount of anti-condom messaging, where one of the hot bits for the intended reader (the target audience seems to be women) is the bit where the male lust object tells the heroine that he’s going to fuck her hard, without a condom.
I wondered what the hell that was about. Here are my three guesses.
- Maybe it’s some kind of cultural side-effect of the resurgence of the religious right. Anti-birth control measures are not just getting into US laws, they’re also getting into the porn.
- Most people who use condoms probably don’t actually like them. I use condoms. But where we’re being sexually exclusive, been tested, and so on, skin to skin is far more intimate, more sensual, and, in the Erica Jong sense, more zipless. But the “hard, rough and unprotected” porn usually won’t even mention condoms, or the advantages of bareback. Still, maybe for once they’re being subtle.
- A fair proportion of the books end with the heroine in advanced, blissful pregnancy. Her sexual rival – often her mother – has gone, and now she’s happy being looked after by the step-father. She didn’t get a billionaire, but at least she got a guy who owns his own home and has a job. So, like the billionaire porn, it’s partly sexual and partly an economic fantasy.
The truth is, I don’t really understand “hard, rough and unprotected” porn. When I read a sex scene in this genre, I tend to see it as something like this:
“He pushed her down and as her legs sprawled apart, helpless from her own wanton desires, with one powerful, masculine lunge he exposed her to STDs and unwanted pregnancy.”
This is not hot, to me. But obviously it is for a lot of people. I’m not being a snob and I’m not mocking. I genuinely want to understand this genre.
Can anybody help?
One other point, since we’re talking about condoms.
If you get sexual consent by agreeing to use a condom, and then don’t use a condom without informing your partner, the law on obtaining consent by deception is clear in pretty much all jurisdictions in the world.
If you do that, you’re a rapist.