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Men are from Mars; women lust after Mars

The Washington Post had the foresight to include the Sunday magazine section in the paper delivered on Friday, the last print issue we have seen since the Snowpocalypse hit the DC area Friday afternoon. Because of that, I was able to stave off crossword puzzle withdrawal, and to read one of my favorite features, Gene Weingarten's humor column.

This week's column is called “XXX for the XX Set: Women's erotica isn't just dirty. It's nice and dirty.” In it, Gene interviews writer Kate Rothwell, who writes romantic erotica under the name Summer Devon.

Gene Weingarten is almost always funny, and this column made me laugh out loud. But I do think Ms. Rothwell/Devon is wrong about one thing. I think men can write women's erotica if they have studied it, which Gene Weingarten clearly hadn't (his attempt was one of the places that made me laugh). But when men do write for the “women's market,” they use a feminine pseudonym, because otherwise most women would assume it wasn't what they were looking for.

If you have a moment, read the column and then let me know what you think of the assertion that basically, porn/erotica is about unrealistic expectations. I found that statement fascinating.






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( 31 comments — Leave a comment )
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 04:25 pm (UTC)
Note: I turned off that part of my brain that goes ::snicker snicker:: and am trying to talk like a mature adult.

The point of some porn/erotica is fantasy/wish fulfillment, but I guess you could say that about regular or genre fiction as well. (See: evidence of Mary Sue-ism in genre fiction.) Another part of it is the desire to see how two people get together -sometimes in graphic detail- and perhaps another part is for people to find satisfaction in reading a story with a happy ending.

(Okay, I walked into the euphemism there. My bad.)

And yes, I'm not an idiot: some people use those stories to arouse themselves.

However, I don't think porn/erotica is completely -or even mostly- about unrealistic expectations. If that were the case, most movies made today would be suspect. Why get the most attractive men/women to play roles on the screen if there wasn't a bit of unrealistic expectations surrounding their appearance? Do people really think all of the characters in a drama should look like the beautiful people? It's one thing if the show is about a modeling agency, but about high school or college, or even a law firm? At least that's one thing that The Big Bang Theory has going for it: the main characters -with the exception of Penny- look normal.

I know some people write their fiction using movie stars or other attractive people as their mind's eye model, but is that realistic? And should it be that way?

(Ooo... I sense a blog post.)
karen_w_newton
Feb. 7th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Re: BBT. I think Koothrappali is actually pretty hot. But you're right. One reason I like it is that even very pretty Penny is often shown hanging out around her place in comfy clothes with her hair stuck up any which way.

That's something I've noticed form watching British TV shows, too. The people on Eastenders look a lot more everyday/normal than the people on Days of Our Lives.
dferguson
Feb. 7th, 2010 05:29 pm (UTC)
You put your finger right on the reason I've recently gotten hooked on EASTENDERS. My wife has been a fan of the show for a couple of years but I just started watching it with her the past two or three months and it's precisely because of the reason you state: The folks on EASTENDERS look like people I could see walking down my street and not like the impossibly handsome/gorgeous people inhabiting most TV shows.
karen_w_newton
Feb. 7th, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC)
I suppose it averages out. British soaps probably pay less, but the actors don't have to shell out for plastic surgery. -)
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 07:29 pm (UTC)
This just got me to thinking about American Idol. Isn't a big part of that show the physical image of the contestants?
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 7th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 7th, 2010 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Feb. 7th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 7th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Feb. 8th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 8th, 2010 03:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Feb. 8th, 2010 04:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 8th, 2010 04:56 am (UTC) - Expand
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Here's a question that just popped into my head: while that may be the case for British shows, what about Bollywood? After all, we know how Hollywood operates, but what about the Indian film industry?
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 7th, 2010 07:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Feb. 7th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
That was fantastic. The example he posed vs. the reality of erotica is essentially the difference between men and women. A love scene, for a man, is all about the physical thrashing, the sweat, the saturation of lust, the pure adrenaline-rushing, feral thing that is sex. And then they never see one another again. (That cracked my shit up--that's porn, darling, not erotica.)

In erotica, a love scene can be all those things as well--with a purpose. There is never just sex in a sex scene. I'm not talking emotions either. There must be more to it than sex. It forms a connection--good or bad--between the characters, or a single character and the story she resides in. It creates conflict and tension and not simply for the moment. It resounds in scene after erotic scene whether or not they are connected.

**Of course, there are always exceptions. This is what I have found as a reader and as a writer.
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
Good thing you put that disclaimer in, because I was going to call you on it. I wince when I read variations of

A love scene, for a man, is all about the physical thrashing, the sweat, the saturation of lust, the pure adrenaline-rushing, feral thing that is sex. And then they never see one another again.

because that shouldn't be the point of it all. I'm not trying to be critical of porn/erotica in general -that's a personal choice- but there ought to be more to it than just the sex.
bogwitch64
Feb. 7th, 2010 10:19 pm (UTC)
My husband loves Clive Cussler's Dirk Pitt books. Sex is all about the act. It's titilating, often messy, and almost never an actual plot point more than it is a device.

Not all men like this. Not all women like erotica. I was speaking speficially within the genre.

I did note, however, in the bulk of sex scenes I've read written by men, it is often quick, raw and to the point--that being an explosive orgasm that has an awful lot to do with domination. :)
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I did note, however, in the bulk of sex scenes I've read written by men, it is often quick, raw and to the point--that being an explosive orgasm that has an awful lot to do with domination. :)

Yeah, I can imagine.

I guess I think of someone's first time, and there's such a disconnect between what is written and what really happens. Not everybody gets that idealized version of a first time that you often read about or see on the screen. I'm not asking for a lot of "oops" or "sorry about that" or "ow" or other things along those lines, but words evocative of giants bestriding the world like colossi probably is a bit much.
karen_w_newton
Feb. 7th, 2010 11:38 pm (UTC)
Ever read THE GROUP by Mary McCarthy? Now there was a first time that women could empathize with. Basically, it boiled down to he's happy and she's no longer a virgin but she can't figure out what all the fuss is about because not that much happened.
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 7th, 2010 11:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 8th, 2010 12:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 8th, 2010 01:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Feb. 8th, 2010 01:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 8th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Feb. 8th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
words evocative of giants bestriding the world like colossi probably is a bit much.

That was too hilarious for words. If I weren't so full of the delicious but gut-busting bread pudding I made for Superbowl yummies, I'd have fallen off my chair.
(no subject) - mtlawson - Feb. 8th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Feb. 8th, 2010 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
karen_w_newton
Feb. 7th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
So, you're saying it was good for you? -)
mtlawson
Feb. 7th, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
::rim shot::

bogwitch64
Feb. 8th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
You're the man, baby. ;)
( 31 comments — Leave a comment )

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