There has been a great deal of talk surrounding E.L. James’ book 50 Shades of Grey. And hot on its heels are many more books that deal with the introduction of whips, chains, paddles and leather into your bedroom. You may be one of many women who have tried BDSM, or are giving serious thought to dabbling in it.
But then there are women like me who just don’t understand why you would willingly allow a man to beat you until you are black and blue, and how this could possibly turn you on.
Without consent, this would be considered assault.
Why erotic fiction?
So why, I ask, are you so eager to don that sexy little role-play number, cuff yourself to the bed, hoist your derriere into the air and wait in blissful anticipation for that first, painful clash of roughened hand on bare skin?
Is it because you like the sensation, or the feeling that what you are doing is naughty? Do you really enjoy being punished?
Or is it the fantasy factor, of not really knowing what it would be like to be repeatedly spanked that turns you on?
Are we so bored that we want a man who will strut into our homes wearing nothing but an aptly placed loin cloth, brandishing a club to smack us over the head with, and then drag us to his cave by the roots of our hair?
If he did do this, we would more than likely have him arrested. So perhaps we don’t actually want a cave man, but what we do want is to read about one.
Maybe this is the secret of erotic fiction, and the reason why it has so many women wantonly spreading their wallets and handing over their cash. They want to read a book that plans to unveil all the sordid, dirty naughtiness that they could get up to in the bedroom and in a relationship.
The beauty of books
Quite simply, books are safe. Despite that today we live in a society that claims to be forward thinking, women are still labelled. And more than often it is fellow women who are seen to pass judgement.
We are still expected to behave in a manner befitting the fairer sex. And what is considered socially acceptable for men is not for women.
We for instance can’t scratch our nether regions and belch loudly in public; that kind of behaviour is frowned upon. Nor can we have multiple sexual partners, and heaven forbid were we to actually speak about our sexual liaisons publically to anyone other than a close woman friend.
And perhaps this is wherein the beauty of erotic fiction lies, the author is liberating women and women’s thoughts.
Although women have always read romance novels, it has generally been in the sanctuary of our own homes where we needn’t worry that the cover - a scantily clad man, or a couple embracing - would be seen by others.
We worry that we’d be judged by what we read.
And this is where the e-book has revolutionized the way we read. No longer are we embarrassed by saucy book jackets, because no one is ever likely to know what we are reading, unless you’re sporting a flushed face and are nervously crossing and uncrossing your legs.
These books provide a glimpse into a life that might seem fantastic on the surface. We want to read about women who date men that are strikingly beautiful, multi-millionaires, with massive egos, an impressive package and skills in the bedroom to scream for.
And we want to read about women who do and say what they feel, and are not inhibited by societal opinions. We are voyeurs into the lives that we might secretly want to lead.
It’s all about escapism:
Many women fought for gender equality. They fought for the right to have a successful career that pays well, the right to higher education, the right to vote, and the right to have a family.
And largely these ideals have been fulfilled. But we are exhausting ourselves in an attempt to have it all.
And unfortunately there is little sympathy for women who are brave enough to voice that they are not coping and that they need help. Men are no longer the sole providers in a family, and yet their role has changed little over the years.
New age men are more hands on in the homes, but women still carry the greatest load. And perhaps we lose ourselves in these books to imagine what it might be like to lead a life other than the one we do.
We want to feel desired, and hunted. We want to be lusted after, and to have a man shower us with gifts. And of course we want a man to fall hopelessly in love with us. Instead, our men are pretty normal, with normal salaries, normal cars, and normal antics in the bedroom.
So we read books about woman who are placed onto unattainable pedestals, and who do what we can only dream about.
Simply put, these books give us a brief break from our busy lives.
They allow us to relax and forget about the bills that need to be paid, the dinner that needs cooking, that work assignment due the next day, and the house that needs cleaning. And for those brave few, it instils new possibilities to potentially re-enact and to spice up their lives.
But erotic fiction is not an accurate portrayal of real life. Life is messy, and it is demanding, and what might seem like a grand idea in a book, could leave you disappointed and uncomfortable.
I can’t imagine that even the plushest cushioning will ease a bruised arse. And so I still have no intentions of handing a paddle over to my man.
What are your thoughts on erotic fiction? Do you enjoy reading them?