by Joyce Lamb)
Nola Sarina, co-author with Emily Faith of Wild Hyacinthe and Andee: The Core, gets into the nitty-gritty of why reading erotica can be an important — and enlightening — experience for many readers.
Nola: A caress. A kiss. A subtle taste.
Each of these things feels different to every woman. I doubt any two experience it the same way.
A strong, alpha male. A gentleman holding open a door. A passionate grip on the wrists before a mind-blowing kiss.
All of these elements of erotic scenes in romance are unique moments to every woman who reads them. The memories and sensations I link to a rough kiss are a completely different experience than the memories another woman links to them. The way I view a strong, alpha male might differ, visually, from the imagery others link to a spicy hot encounter.
I adore erotica as a source of entertainment and arousal for women and men alike. The word "pornography" has such a stigma attached to it in society, sometimes evoking feelings of uncleanliness or shame. Well, I don't think shame is an emotion worth wasting energy on in the first place. But the feelings of pleasure we get from reading erotic fiction bring us closer to understanding our sexual selves, and the better we understand ourselves, the better we can give and receive pleasure with a partner. So if you like to watch it, watch it. If you like to read it, read it! We're all human. We all get aroused. And as long as nobody is getting hurt in the process (and all is done between consenting adults), what's the harm in enjoying these forms of inspiration in a safe environment?
Erotic fiction provides that safe environment for a person to explore their desires without the usual social anxieties that go along with it, and the way we use our imaginations to enhance the sensual experience of a fiction piece sets erotic literature a step above other erotic mediums.
It's that extra element of awesomeness attached to erotic literature that sets it apart from visual pornography: the imagination. Because we all experience each sensual moment differently, we get to immerse in the moment exactly how we want to.
If I watch a pornographic video that displays a scene in which I'm interested (maybe a shower scene, or a boss-employee fantasy encounter), and the male or female lead doesn't appeal to me visually, my chances of engaging with that video are slim. But if I can read the story, I can see him exactly how I want to. The way his hair falls, the way his muscles bulge. I can see her reactions as though it was actually me in the story: the way her body feels as it tenses in the moment, the way his caress glides over her skin. I can fully immerse in the experience of the erotic encounter without having to ignore visual factors (or generic movie sets) that do not add to the experience. There's no distraction in erotic fiction, no conflict of the senses. It simply is what you make it, and it can be intense.
The same holds true for more explorative, out-of-the-comfort-zone encounters with erotic literature. For people who wish to indulge in an encounter with a person of the same sex when that isn't what they've already experienced, or in a situation they are not bold enough to approach in person, they can do so safely through fiction. There's no fear of awkwardness that might turn you off to the concept altogether. You can discover what areas of sensuality and romance lights your fire, and all because of that one added element: the beautiful, powerful imagination. It allows you to really discover your turn-ons and turn-offs without embarrassment, without shame.
My co-author Emily Faith and I always hope, through writing erotic fiction, that we'll help others feel free to explore their sexuality and desires. In writing Wild Hyacinthe, we tackled a spicy paranormal take on incubus legends, incorporating eroticism into the main character's battle against his own inner darkness. In the New Adult erotic short story series Andee: The Core, we are proud to show readers a situation where self-discovery through sexual encounters is not only encouraged, but how it highlights Andee's own inner beauty and power, as it can in real life. And in my dark fantasy Vesper series, readers can face the desire to push boundaries for love, to trust one another on the deepest level when sensuality with a partner is both dangerous and forbidden.
As a reader, I'm grateful to all the erotica authors I've read in the past who showed me it's not only OK to feel these things, it's a beautiful part of the human experience. As a writer, I hope that's what readers take from my erotic scenes: the ability to see things in an open, loving way, embracing their desires as beautiful and unique.
Read it. Write it. Explore it. Explore you. You're beautiful, and so are all of your sexual experiences and desires that you draw upon to enhance your erotica experience. Embrace the fire inside you and let it burn!
Read excerpts of Nola and Emily's books. You can also find them on Facebook: Nola here and Emily here.