Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Erotic Romance and Female Sexual Autonomy

By Ella Laurance (Guest Blogger)


As most of you can probably relate to, I haven’t the time to read just for fun as much as I would like. I do however succumb from time to time to the Siren song of browsing through those short descriptions that lure us readers in.

It was actually after I wrote The Art of Pleasure, that I started to notice on a conscious level how many erotic romance stories are about women who are not aware about their true sexual needs until they meet that one special man. And how much the story of Marie Dewey and her billionaire husband Trevor wasn’t about that.

I understand the attraction. In a life full of very real responsibilities and few ways out, these stories offer a hot little, but essentially innocent fantasy.

But there might also be another reason. Even woman who enjoy their sex and sexuality to the full, are living in a world where the messages are more often than not mixed or even downright condemning about women who step out of line. The whore/Madonna dichotomy is still alive and kicking, though not always as easy to spot as it used to be. I’m not so naïve to think that this fact has no bearing at all on how we lovers of written erotica make our choices of what to read and write.

For instance, since I came out as lesbian in the Spring of 1979, I've gotten very few really negative reactions from straight men me when I told them I was sexually attracted to women. However, I can’t count the number of men who took it as a personal insult that I hadn’t slept with men before I turned to women, or that I wouldn’t try it with them. Having sex as a girl with another girl was a-okay, but discovering all for myself what I wanted? What was wrong with me? Didn’t I know all lesbians (except the butches, of course) are in fact bi-sexual? 
 
Now that I’m many moons older and in a relationship with my wife for 32 years, the questions stopped. But it taught me that as an adult woman my sexuality isn’t my own the way a man’s is his, even if that man is gay or otherwise non-confirming. (One could even argue that most homophobia is a form of misogyny, but that’s a discussion for another time) 
 
Does that mean it’s wrong to enjoy the "innocent woman learns about sex from an experienced man" stories? Of course not! That would be nothing short of replacing one unwritten rule by another one. However, I still think it’s interesting to look at what we perhaps haven’t noticed before and wonder if what we see might form a pattern. 
 
Blurb of The Art of Pleasure:

Marie Dewey collects paintings and sexual experiences with different men, and her billionaire husband Trevor loves nothing more than to fulfil all her wishes…

Billionaire Trevor Dewey has two great talents—making money and loving his wife, Marie. Marie, in her turn, has two great loves—her husband and art. She's also a sexual freethinker who enjoys one-night stands with other men in the company of her own husband.

Trevor wants nothing more than to make his wife happy, so when she falls in lust with his personal assistant and best friend, Callum, and Callum returns her feelings, he decides to take both of them to his private island off the coast of Scotland for a weekend of sex. And both men will bring Marie to several unbelievable heights of pleasure during one weekend.

All three know this will be a one-time thing only before life returns to normal

Excerpt:

“You want to help me to undress?” Callum asked.

“It’s faster when you do it yourself.” Marie took Callum’s hand in her own and brought it between her legs. “My pussy, your dick. Any more questions? To avoid any misunderstandings, I don’t usually come from being fucked, I do however love the feeling. So fuck me, come whenever you come and allow me to enjoy this in my own way.”

She wasn’t unfamiliar with the speed with which men could get naked if they were exceptionally motivated, but she was pretty sure Callum was in her top ten. She wasn’t surprised at all that he was hard as a nail and she guessed he was glad she wanted what he wanted as well. Foreplay was a great dish on any menu, but not always what the guests preferred at a particular moment.

She turned on her back again and spread her legs in invitation. “Now!”

He slid in so fast and easy she could scream for joy. She wrapped her legs around his body, trapping him close to her. He still managed to move, first in stuttering unfamiliarity, but soon in a staccato rhythm.

“Yes, this, simply this…” she encouraged him.

He seemed to understand her words, because he sped up his thrusts, slightly changing his angle to facilitate even deeper penetration.

He felt different inside her than Trevor, but then so had every man she had taken to the island. His cock seemed to stretch her just that little bit more, but the depth of his penetration was perhaps slightly less. And how good he smelt, with a typical rich masculinity that she’d only fully become aware of now he was fucking her. He wanted her, and it made her want him even more.

God…so good…” She loved his strong body on top of hers, because it reminded her of her own strength. She moved her hands over the muscles of his back, appreciating their subtle play under Callum’s sweat-stained skin. The tension inside her grew, building up to a point where it would either burst out in orgasm or simply linger until it would fully subside. She accepted the sensation for what it was, not wanting it to lead to a particular goal right now. She would come in her own sweet time, experience had taught her that much.

The Art of Pleasure is available at
and also at Amazon, AllRomance and other places. 

You can find me at: http://ellalaurance.wordpress.com/ 
 

5 comments:

Normandie Alleman said...

Great post Ella! I'm a clinical psychologist as well as a writer, so I'm all too familiar with the Madonna/whore complex. (In fact I talk about it in one of my upcoming books.)

But I learned something from a history professor that explained societal mores regarding women and sex that helped me understand it all much better. He said that women are the gatekeepers of sexual morality in any society. This is because they are literally the gatekeeper when it comes to sex. What women in a particular culture regard as "okay" will be seen as okay by society as a whole.

Men are always "expected" to desire more sexual freedom (think "boys will be boys"). It is the women who determine what is socially acceptable and what is not when it comes to sex. Think about the difference between a culture where prostitution is legalized and accepted versus one in which prostitutes are reviled and the practice is illegal and frowned upon by most of society.

I could go on about this forever, but the fact is that it leaves women in a catch-22 about their sexuality. It is the dilemma that all women face. Should I be a "good girl" or enjoy myself? A dilemma that's not likely to be solved as it dates back to Eve, but to be puzzled over in perpetuity.

The heroine of your book clearly knows what she wants sexually and goes for it. Thanks for sharing that hot excerpt and good luck with it!

sdora said...

Thanks, Normandie!

I'm a social historian, so I'm familiar with the theory of why men and women behave the way they do . Though I have to admit it's an idea that doesn't satisfy anymore as fully as it once did.
I mean, real women can get very real pregnant, very real raped and that's a very understandable reason for women to behave in a way that maximises their safety as much as possible.

But female writers of erotica (who have already taken a huge step by even writing about things that were not so long ago almost the exclusive domain of male writers) could do away with such matters in their work if they wish so, and still the woman who needs a man to find her own sexuality is a deep rooted trope/fantasy.
It's not wrong, but yeah, it makes me wonder.

Thank you for your thoughtful reaction.

Ella Laurance

Lisabet Sarai said...

First of all, a warm welcome to you, Ella. I wish you great success with The Art of Pleasure.

Normandie, thanks for dropping by and for your thoughtful commentary. I'm not sure I buy the notion that what women view as okay sexually will be adopted by society as a whole. Take a look at India, where rape is so common - or countries like Pakistan, where it is viewed as perfectly okay to kill your wife or daughter if you even suspect she is behaving immorally. Don't tell me that women created those mores!

I do get extremely annoyed by the fascination in romance for virgins. Not to mention the ridiculous speed with which virgins become daring, sexually accomplished lovers, once they meet the "right" man. Sexual competence takes time and experience to develop. And first sexual experiences are rarely very satisfying. I gave away my virginity when I was 15, but it took another decade before I could really appreciate sex.

Normandie Alleman said...

You're right, Lisabet. I have to admit I was thinking more of Western culture where woman have almost always had more power than women have in some cultures. Thanks for reminding me. When we generalize sometimes it can be as bad as when we assume. But that idea had helped me to understand a LOT of human behavior so I wanted to share.

And I agree. It's silly the way some virgins are portrayed in some erotic fiction these days. Doesn't interest me in the slightest. Give me a woman who knows what's up! Lol.

sdora said...

Honoured to be your guest, Lisabet.

And you're right, so much about sex and sexuality is cultural bound, in both place or time

Ella Laurance

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