Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Eden Light and Dark

By way of introduction, I’m an erotic romance author. A pagan erotic romance author. And a mom to two teenage girls. And I live in a conservative neighborhood in a Midwestern community. See where this is going?

Some days I feel like Superman and Clark Kent. Or Jekyll and Hyde. Depends on the day. My husband teaches at a Catholic college. He’s my number one fan and insists he doesn’t care who I tell that I write erotic romance. But I’ve opted to keep that information privy to those who won’t fear for my mortal soul.

Like my sister, who’s slogged through far more ménages, double penetration scenes, descriptions of anal play, creative sex toy scenarios, and one particularly memorable foursome, all for the greater literary good. She’s the world’s best reader, and has never so much as raised an eyebrow at the wild scenes in my books.

I love writing erotic romance. It’s fun, fresh, and never boring. I’m a card carrying feminist, and I see the surge in popularity of erotic romance and erotica written by and for women as a powerful statement. The feminization of sex, if you would. We’re not afraid to write about our fantasies, our desires, our secret kinks and cravings.

What we write doesn’t have to be politically correct. Erotic romance writers understand the draw of taboos, the delight of the forbidden. But unlike traditional male erotica, or newsstand porn, our characters are actors, not objects. The women in our stories may enjoy getting tied up, spanked, or tormented to within an inch of orgasm. Or they may enjoy doing the spanking, tying the knots, and driving the heroes wild.

Once they climb out of bed, erotic romance heroines do something even more important. They solve problems, negotiate sticky situations, and kick some serious ass. They run corporations, chase vampires, become vampires, succeed as single moms, dominate or submit in the BDSM scene, solve crimes, or even assume the traditional role of damsel in distress. There’s never been so much freedom to create complex characters with fascinating plots, and then follow the action and psychology right into the bedroom.

That’s a lot to celebrate. Enough to make any mild mannered writer feel like Superwoman. But at the end of the day, erotic romance writers have to contend with voices of disapproval. Like the recent letter to the editor in RWA’s Romance Writer’s Report which refers to “…hot, spicy, carnal, erotica which most publishers’ guidelines now demand…” as “pornography by any other name…”

Fact is, erotic romance writers know the difference. Love. Our writing’s about the emotions, the intricacies of human interaction, and the complexity of character and plot. But since the rest of the world isn’t always on the same page, for now I’ll remain Eden Light and Eden Dark. The suburban mom with two kids and a dog. And the writer of sizzling erotic romance who loves to listen to music under a full moon, and keeps a locked toy box under the bed.


Emma Petersen said...

That was an excellent post Eden! And right on. I love the names Eden Light and Dark by the way. :D

Meagan Hatfield said...

Wonderful post, Eden!!

Pornography? Sheesh! I must have missed that. Well, just think of how boring and unsatifying that person's vanilla, missionary sex life must be and smile, girlie!LOL!

Eden Bradley said...

I felt compelled to post today, simply by virtue of my name. *G*
I SO agree with what you were saying about the blossoming of erotic literature for women being a reflection of how modern women view ourselves-something I've long thought and often preached myself. An intelligent and thoughtful post. :)

Minx Malone said...

People seem to buy into the whole "Madonna/Whore" complex even in our so-called enlightened society.

Reality is, real women have desires, love sex and it doesn't make us dirty or bad.

It just makes us really happy!


Jill Hansen said...

I think everyone has a bit of the dark side in them somewhere--some people are just more willing to admit it than others. :D I think people would be better off in general if they'd indulge their dark side occasionally.