Why science fiction, one might wonder. Or fantasy, or horror? When all the rage in erotica these days is sexy billionaires and BDSM, why write in these other, lesser served genres?
First off, I will admit that I do also write BDSM. My writing tends more towards the B and the D than the S and the M, but it is a favorite genre of mine. And it is, for very obvious reasons, very well suited to erotica. It IS erotica. You can’t extricate one from the other. There are definite subcategories, but that is for another blogpost.
Science fiction, (or fantasy or horror), on the other hand, aren’t inextricably linked to erotica. Though there will always be a glut of sex robots, sexy aliens, sexy witches, and of late, sexy vampires, sexy werewolves, even sexy zombies, until recently, this was not always the case. And in those erotic science fiction stories you could find, the truly well written stories, the ones that HAD a story, were even more rare.
The reasons for the appeal of science fiction a
re as innumerable as the stars in the sky. But it all boils down to escape and exploration. Readers want to escape to other worlds, vastly different than their own. See the possibility in impossible things. Believe in a future where things are better, are infinitely more interesting. If the world can change so much that space travel and life on other planets is possible, maybe their own little corner of the world can change, too. Or, conversely, they want proven that sinking feeling that technology and out-of-this world advancement will be our ultimate undoing. That change is, just as they suspected, a very bad thing.
Erotica, to me, is not terribly different. What is more erotic than feeling free to explore your own sexual nature? No matter how dark or taboo those desires may seem? What is more intense than the longing to escape to a world where your sexual desires are accepted and fulfilled? What is not too far from science fiction is the true definition of erotica: literary or artistic works having an erotic theme or quality, meant to elicit feelings of desire. That desire, for me, can be the desire for a fantastic otherworldly experience, or the desire to have one’s sexual needs and urges fulfilled.
The emphasis in the definition is, for me, on “literary” or “artistic”. This is the kind of erotica I like to read, and it is the kind I aspire to write. I want real stories, with character and conflict, that explore erotic elements as well as themes of escape and exploration, or other human themes that traditional literature addresses.
I think also, in addition to escapism, both science fiction (or fantasy or horror) and erotica address the concept of the “other.” In science fiction and similar genre work, the “other”, ultimately, is us, in extreme situations. The otherworldly, the unknown future, or the mysteries of the afterlife are all brought to light, with the hope of understanding, with a desire to know the unknowable, to tame the primitive fear that being confronted with “the other”, subconsciously or consciously, raises in our hearts. In erotica, there is that mysterious inner self that we are so afraid to show to the world, whether kink or fantasy or secret desire. Sometimes that “other” is dark, beastly even. Sometimes it is just something we’re afraid is weird, or that no one else we know would understand or accept. Something we fear, or something we long to embrace and be proud of. The allure of both science fiction and erotica, or the melding of the two, is that this “other” could be recognized and relatable, heroic even. It is immensely appealing.
The sense that one is not alone, either in the universe, or in the inner galaxy of our own selves, is a very powerful thing.