Erotic Review Magazine has just announced a new literature prize: The Good Sex in Fiction Award.
Is this an award we need? I think the answer is yes, and not just because it promotes good writing. Here’s why: erotica can shape our view of intimacy.
Erotica and porn are becoming interchangeable in that they seem to share a ‘more is more’ ethos. There is a concern that many young people now get their sex education from the internet, where hard-core depictions and descriptions of sex are easily accessible.
This was the subject of Cindy Gallop’s 2009 Ted Talk, Make Love Not Porn*. To date, the video of her talk has attracted almost two million views. Scroll down to watch. *Warning: the talk is intended for an adult audience*
There Is More To Erotica Than The Mechanics Of Sex
Erotica has been woven into prose and poetry for hundreds, if not thousands of years:
1. Boccaccio’s masterpiece, Tales from The Decameron, fuses stories of erotic love with life lessons, tragedy and sorrow.
2. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence, is celebrated as much for the writing as for the fact that it was banned.
3. Fear of Flying by Erica Jong is both erotic and deserving of its place in the canon of feminist literature.
Nikki Gemmell, author of the best-selling novel, The Bride Stripped Bare, has said, “You can write sex scenes easily enough, but to make it authentic for your reader is extremely difficult. But that truth is vital. I think that, for a lot of women, erotic fiction is about living vicariously through the words of others.”
Erotica Can Feed The Imagination
Good erotic writing may not just be a boon for the world of literature, it may also enhance our inner lives. As Elaine George, director of Sexology Australia, explained, “Erotic fiction, in particular, enables a woman to get carried away with her sense of imagination and imaginary play… That imaginary play can be with a lover. It can be with multiple lovers. And it can be inventing a scenario that enables her to become erotically charged.”
Last year, I was asked to review an ‘erotic novel,’ not a genre I tend to choose. The work, Katie in Love by Chloe Thurlow, is a compelling story of two people who, on the surface, seem very different, but as we learn about their lives, through the lens of their erotic memories, we discover that they have much more in common than they realize. Not sure if Katie in Love is eligible but it would be a worthy recipient.
If The Good Sex in Fiction Award inspires erotic fiction writers, like Thurlow, to aim for prose that sparks the imagination, as well as tantalizing the senses, we should all welcome it.
YouTube Channel: TED
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons