Today I was wondering why the term ‘erotic’ is such a highly charged word. Personally, I prefer the term “sex-positive” or “sex-friendly.” The definition of erotic is: ‘of, devoted to, or tending to arouse sexual love or desire.’ That sounds like a good thing. I like sexual love, don’t you? I adore sexual play with my committed partner, whom I deeply love. To me, that is the most erotic pleasure of all – engaging in love play with the man of my dreams. Whatever you choose to call it, we all seem to crave it, we all seem to love it, some of us rally against it, but I have been afraid to use it when describing my books for fear of being pigeon-holed as “that erotic paranormal romance writer.” And yet the truth is, if you call writing paranormal romance fiction that includes very sexy scenes ‘erotic,’ then I am guilty as charged.
When my publicist read my books she defined them as erotic paranormal romances. When she sent them out over the online wires, she eliminated the word ‘erotic’, saying that some of the recipients of the press releases would balk at the term. Come again? Even though they’ve been nominated for the Best Erotic Romance of 2012? What about Fifty Shades of Kinky Debauchery and Repeated Phrases (my term for the series), a highly erotic, vividly explicit series on the sexual lives and times of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, self-described advocate of something called “kinky f*ckery”? It has taken the summer by storm, rapidly rising to become one of the worst written, most loved and loathed book series on the planet. I’ll bet no one blanched at calling Fifty Shades an erotic novel. And again, can we simply say that my Wicked Series books are extremely sex-positive? I think sexual interactions are wonderful!
Another term I do not like is being described as “one of those tantra people” – another phrase that I believe pigeon holes me. Don’t misunderstand. I studied tantra back in the day with Bodhi Avinasha. I healed from deeply wounding sexual insults through my study of tantra. I learned how to stream with ecstatic energy in a manner most delightful. I cherish my time as a happy-dancing, soul-searching, love-embracing Tantrika. I am just not that same person today. It is something I experienced. It is something I cherish. It is not what or who I am.
Maybe my resitance has to do with shame. I am certainly not afraid of talking about sex (ask my friends!), writing about sex, embracing my powerfully sexy self but to be known as “that erotic paranormal romance writer” or “that tantra person” has, at times, made me cringe. I was reading postings on Veronica Monet’s Facebook Page, the Shame free Zone. Ms. Monet promotes that “what the world needs more than anything is freedom from shame.” So true. Yet I think the truth is, I don’t want to be judged if I am labeled a certain way.
Some of the characters in the Wicked Series struggle with shame. They struggle to accept themselves. They resist knowing things about themselves – their darkness, their flaws. They embark on journeys and quests that help them face their darkest fears. In the end, though, they come to know themselves as amazing individuals. They stream with energy in tantric-like, loving sexual exchanges. They ultimately become sexy, erotic, tantric, loving characters who probably, like me, hate to be defined. But for the record, today at least, let’s just say I am an avidly curious person who writes erotic paranormal romances and loves that about herself.