Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Are We Jaded?

Those of us of 'a certain age' who cut our romance teeth on Harlequin Romances and later started picking up the works of authors like Kathleen Woodiwiss and Jennifer Wild remember those first scandalous sex acts we read in our favorite romances. Oral sex? OMGOMGOMG!!!!!! I recall being so shocked but so thrilled by this stuff. Forced seduction? Oh yeah baby! He ripped her bodice....WOW!

These days we are much more jaded and I have to wonder what, if anything, can shock us. The other day I had a convo with friends about this topic. It wasn't all that long ago that anal sex, menage and bdsm were considered a tad over-the-top but these days, not so much. Today these themes are pretty much standard fare, aren't they? I still remember writing my first menage. Couldn't really believe I was writing such a thing but needing to push myself a bit, I dove right into it, discovered I enjoyed it and I haven't looked back. But honestly, even my menages are nothing like other stuff that is out there. It's not unusual to find our heroines getting it on with four or more guys. Now the notion of multiple partners is pretty common.

Have we become un-shockable? I wonder about that. What new thing is on the horizon and  what new 'worlds of sex' are out there for us to discover and swoon about? I wonder.

23 comments:

Harlie Reader said...

I'll be honest, I'm kinda over the whole menage genre. I like menage but please, only 3 in bed. I lose count after that and I get bored. Plus, how is that romance with more than 3? I can buy into 2 guys and 1 girl loving each other but after that...

Regarding BDSM, I think more and more authors are writing it and some are doing well and some, its painful to read. They have not researched the subject matter and it comes off as laughable. I like BDSM to read but please, do your research.

As a whole, I think that we are becoming jaded but I think the winds are changing again. I've been reading more and more comments from blogs/bloggers that readers are wanting sex for sex sake in a book to go away. Sex is a part of the book, but shouldn't take over the plot.

Just my thoughts...

Marika

Melissa Bradley said...

I remember those old Harlequins, too, but the first sex scene I ever read was Judy Blume's Forever. Now they seem so tame. I still haven't delved heavily into menage so that still gets me on many levels as does BDSM. I could never go back to sweet romances, though. I need to go there with the characters.

Molly Daniels said...

I had to laugh at this, because I've gotten hooked on the TV series Spartacus, with full frontal nudity and blatant implied sexual acts.

Several years ago, this would have been a guilty pleasure I might watch after hours in private, but now I find myself glued to the set while my hubby's watching with me! Twenty years ago, watching a porno with a boyfriend embarrassed the hell out of me!

Maybe it's due to the changing norms of what's allowed; I remember being appalled the first time I heard the word 'cock' in an R movie, and several years back likened to watching The Ugly Truth to seeing a movie version of an erotic romance novel.

The media's pushing boundaries, and yes, we're getting used to seeing and hearing things once considered taboo or only in 'hush-hush' situations.

Mom remembers how Peyton Place and Lady Chatterlee's Lover were the 'scandalous' books at the time; I remember Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses, Judy Blume's First Love, and VC Andrews' Flowers in the Attic book as being THE ones to read, if you wanted sex scenes.

And I'll be honest; I let my 14-year-old daughter read my 1st erotic novella. Her comment? "Mom, I've read worse at school."

So yes, everyone's being exposed to it. And I'm in agreement, Marika; the sex shouldn't take over the plot, but be a natural part of the characters' romantic development.

Molly Daniels said...

Oops, you're right Melissa; that book was Forever, not First Love:) And we thought we were being soooooo grown up, reading it, lol! (I was 13 or 14!)

Liz said...

great topic. I love the menage but only "a trois" like Harlie REader said. when I see something labeled m/m/m/m/m/m/m/f (I did see this I swear) I want to roll my eyes....puhlease.
but my preference IS for realistic romance, sans vamps or weres or demons and so I think 2 men and a woman could be a realistic set up (not as much as 2 women and a man---but I digress).
and BDSM in my humble opinion is hot because it is and will always be "out there" as in outside the realm of most of our sensibilities and desires--but fun to read about nonetheless.

anny cook said...

Heh. Interesting. The well-known print authors are moving slowly into opening that door. And the erotic romance authors are moving toward less sex. I suspect we'll all end up meeting in the middle.

Three person menage will likely end up mainstream at some point. Anal will be just another way to make love. BDSM will be a "niche" taste.

Ultimately, I think it will all circle back to a great story--and great writing.

Jordan Ashley said...

There are still items that shock people. Swaps for one thing. The swingers, and orgies... at least for me are things I'm just really hearing about. Orgies that really happen and not just in porn flicks.
Menage? I think it's hot as HELL but definitely just m/f/m AND ONLY that way. when I see it listed as m/m/f I shy away. just my personal tastes. Though I haven't delved much into BDSM, the couple that I have read were amazing.

Regina Carlysle said...

I'm like you, HarlieReader. Too many people in a bed strips the romance from the book. Maybe there should be better distinctions between what is romance and what is straight erotica? That could definitely give everyone what they want. As to bdsm, I do some 'lite'...fuzzy handcuffs kind of thing. I don't understand the lifestyle enough to feel I could do justice to a true bdsm story.

Regina Carlysle said...

I know, Melissa. I couldn't go back to the sweet stuff either.

Regina Carlysle said...

Molly, remember the days when we would have gasped at full frontal nudity on tv? Seeing BOOBS was scandalous.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Liz! I'm with you on m/m/m/m/f. Huge eyerolling going on when I see that although I know many pubs are demanding that because menage sells so well. Still, I think a touch of realizm might be called for. Admittedly, my menages are all in the paranormal realm. To me menage in the 'real world' would be difficult at best so I just take my characters somewhere where it is part of the mythos/mating ceremony, etc.

Regina Carlysle said...

Agree, Anny, and meeting in the middle wouldn't be such a bad thing. One wonders though, what will be considered 'extreme' in the future.

Regina Carlysle said...

Hmmm. Wife swaps and orgies...the idea kind of squicks me out to tell ya the truth. In a wife-swap type thing you'd have to wonder where the romance is in something like that. Orgies? I have read some that were definitely hot but in a weird way. Again, no romance, but kind of a voyouristic kind of thing. Not for everyone and I can't see me ever writing that into a book.

Billy London said...

I think we tend to forget that there are always people who will come to this with new eyes and it will be shocking to them or at least give them a mini Rabbit buzz. There's always a first time for someone out there.

Regina Carlysle said...

So true, Billy. I think we forget that, especially when we are writing sex 24/7

Molly Daniels said...

Remember that show which came out summer '10...Swingers? I liked it, but it wasn't renewed. And at the end, it showed a worse-case scenario of that lifestyle; the wife fell for one of the others, and the couple who started it all ended up pregnant, I think...

Anyway, it showed how new ideas can be exciting, yet intimidating, and if you're afraid to be totally honest with your partner, it ain't gonna work.

The erotic genre has shown people how to be honest, and not be afraid to TALK to their partners about fears, fantasies, etc. And I speak from personal experience; I've been reading some of what I'm either reading or writing, and it's opened up dialogue on subjects I wouldn't have dared talk to him about earlier, and vice versa.

Harlie Reader said...

I will agree with you Molli. My reading and talking to authors has added a whole new level of communication between my husband and myself. Some good, some bad but at least the lines of communication are open now.

Marika

Tess MacKall said...

Great post, Reg. Nothing shocks me anymore. And that's just plain scary. We are all going to be so desensitized to what we read that we're going to get freaking bored. Hell, writing it can be boring. Well...if you don't find the right TWIST, lol, that is!

Eileen said...

wow what a great topic. I read a few of the comments and I totally agree with Harlie Reader. I want a good story with sex to go along with it. Sex in the story just for the sake of sex is a waste of my time. I'm interested in character development and where does the author want to take me.

Taryn Elliott said...

Great post. I think a lot of us readers and writers are wanting more story than sex. But there's a LOT of the latter out there these days.

I guess we'll see what comes down the pike.

Personally, as an author, nearly all my sex scenes have a purpose in the plot. I need that emotional connection and way to forward the story.

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Iowa DUI Laws said...

I am jaded. Are you?