Wednesday, June 1, 2011


by Pat Mihailoff

Erotica (from the Greek Ero "desire") is a modern word used to describe the portrayal of the human anatomy and sexuality with high-art aspirations, differentiating such work from commercial pornography.

Okay, I got that from Wikipedia. However, like water, sin, and prostitution, Erotica has been around a long time. Some say there is a very thin line between it and Pornography, but I say there is a wide divide between them depending on your point of view and its use. Older novels like The Story of O, Lady Chatterley’s Lover and D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love, and The Virgin and the Gypsy are just samples of currently time-honored literature that was actually banned from distribution and not allowed in libraries, or anywhere in fact that was not on the bottom shelf of curtained and cordoned off shelves of bookstores. The movie Quills re-imagines the last days of the Marquis de Sade and how his works were spirited out of the Asylum he had been placed in because of his writings and in some circles has been touted as revolutionary.

As the mores of the nation relaxed (a little too much so in certain instances—can you say Booty shakers on MTV?), books and movies began to emerge into mainstream entertainment, and Bodice Ripping half clad pirates (all looking like Fabio) literally crowded and flew off the book shelves as women gobbled them up as fast they could be written. It’s too late to shoot me now but I admit I was one of the ones who bought books solely based on the sexiness of the cover (and long hair on the hero of course). As much as some people might not want to admit it, they are titillated by the forbidden, and without mixing it up with SEX-TREMISM, (I think I made that up), it is quite palatable in certain circles. Movies took advantage of this whispered call for something different and the cinematic screens took up the reigns of sexual exploration with a bang with 9 ½ Weeks, (Pre-messed up Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger’s table scene, or them in the rain in the back alley of an abandoned factory) and Wild Orchid, the love scene between the unnamed couple in the cave.

I have a lot of erotic favorites but anybody who knows me knows that the pilot episode of The Red Shoe Diaries is my all time favorite erotic movie. In my opinion, nothing director Zalman King has done since can compare to it (Ask Kathye Quick, I made her watch it and she is still suffering from shocked-lip-hang-itis). Are there other movies with similar and maybe even better sexual content? Of course, but his just happens to be the one for me.

Erotica can be funny. Oh you don’t think so? Just watch Zach and Miri make a Porno. It’s not only hysterical but fulfils both ends of romantic and steamy sex spectrum. Sometimes you have to look beyond the actual title and content of a movie or book to see what is truly being said. One of Lori Foster’s books had her hero telling his “chubby” love interest, “I work hard and I f--k hard, and I think you better know that before we start this.” Talk about wet panty syndrome! Whew! I had to hurry up and try to find ice chips, two fans and a Chippendale dancer.

No one is saying you have to be “filthy” to write Erotic love scenes. There’s nothing wrong with them; they are just a little more intense. No one says that anyone who writes erotic is doing everything they write, (although it will cause me to raise a brow if I saw Sister Mary Catherine of St Martin of Tours reading one, let alone writing it). You have to believe in what you do and write it so that it is believable to your readers.

There are things that I’ve seen written that the author might want you to THINK is erotic when in fact it is not only physically impossible but ridiculous as well. That swing thing hanging from the ceiling? Let me tell you about that, there is a certain angle that each partner has to prepare for BEFORE they get to the actual fun part. It is NOT fluid motion. Sure, Pole dancing is erotic, but make sure your pole is substantial enough to hold you and the antics you’re trying to pull off. Making love in Jell-o or chocolate pudding may be erotic for some, but I personally don’t see it. Pardon the visual I am sure you all have, but not everyone is equipped for such culinary
frolics, therefore I would never write a scene like that. So you see, even those of us who write sexually explicit prose have our boundaries.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. I have heard the uproar of debunkers who are literally knitting and crying a Madame DeFarge like “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS” to those people who would dare infuse society with what they call smut. Sex is everywhere, and without running the risk of raising the heckles of some. There is a certain book that is filled with it—hint you say? Sodom and Gomorrah, David and Bathsheba, Solomon and Sheba, Boaz and Esther. When there is something on Television I don’t like I turn it off, so if you do not like erotica or any forms thereof, do not read it, but like the forbidden dance Lambada, sex is selling and selling big and unfortunately, like rap music, it is here to stay. ♥

Patt Mihailoff was RWANYC's 2009 Author of the Year.  Her latest novel, A LESSON IN LOVE, is available now from New Concepts Publishing.  Patt also writes with author Kathye Quick under the pen name of P.K. Eden.

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