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Genre, Writing, Writing Craft

Eroticism and Writing


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I have been thinking about the topic of sex for a long time now. It´s funny; I have written so many things on different topics since I started to blog; abuse, feminism, lack of respect within our society, I criticized the Swedish sick-nursing, and I questioned the death penalty. I even wrote a causerie based on a book from the Bible (The Story of Creation). But nothing made me stop and think as much as the topic of sex. Why is that?

There is always a risk of getting X-rated, or being misunderstood as a blogger, writer and as an author. Sex has always been a sensitive issue in our society, as if it would be some kind of bomb. I was actually also considering what to call the topic – sex or eroticism? Physical love? X-rated stuff? The-you-know-what-thing? Ugly stuff? Dirty behavior? Or simply just that?

When Henry Miller published his book Tropic of Cancer in 1934 (in USA), the book got banned “on the ground of obscenity.” He kept on writing books that got banned just to be smuggled, and he got an underground reputation. In 1961 Tropic of Cancer got published in US by Grove Press, which led to a series of obscenity trials that tested America´s laws. (Source: Wikipedia).

Today people are more tolerant than ever when it comes to sex. You can buy books within the genre eroticism, or even borrow them from the library as if it would be a book about golf. There are magazines to buy, and the internet is full of whatever you might want to know. But within the established genres as the novel, science-fiction, horror, fantasy and so on there is still very little said about sex. An author can go deeply into a description of how people look;

They seemed to be everywhere, a gallery of ills – men, women, children tattered, clothing matted with dirt, some without arms, others without feet, victims of scurvy or polio or leprosy walking on their hands or rolling down the crowded sidewalks in jerry-built carts, their legs twisted behind them like contortionists.” (Source: Dreams from my father, written by Barack Obama.)

You never find this kind of deep description of sexuality in books within the common genres.  You only find them within eroticism. I think this is strange. Have our society really not developed further than to a point when you have to divide eroticism from the rest of our lives? In most books there is a mix between all the things you find in life; people argue, they kill each other, they have a shower and sometimes even look into the future. You can find all of it in the same book, very well described. But no sex. As soon as two characters undress the author stops. A hint of it is enough, people are smart and they don´t need to know. Do they? And then the story continues with a new chapter, a new scene or even other characters. I will probably have to be the brave one, the one who describes a sex scene really deeply between two paragraphs of normal life. Or do you have the guts to do it?


Have you ever written a story that belongs to any of the common genres, but included a great sex scene? Or have you ever read a book from any common genre with a detailed sex scene? Tell me about it! Why do you think this still is such a difficult topic? Why are we still dividing sex from normal life?


About Magdalena Wiklund

Leg. biomedicinsk analytiker och maker. Arbetar med transfusionsmedicin till vardags, forskar på antibiotikaresistens på fritiden. Jag skapade Sveriges största site för biomedicinska analytiker därför att detta verkligen är ett fantastiskt yrke som jag hoppas att fler ska intressera sig för.


5 thoughts on “Eroticism and Writing

  1. It’s funny that you’ve said it like that. Erotica tends to be placed into a category all it’s own. When asked what I write, I typically say Romance. I’ll also say I dabble in erotica. While as a culture we embrace sex we are still in a lot of ways ashamed of it. It’s a private act displayed publicly that we still want to be private. We can’t really make up our minds on that. I’ve also found erotica to be a tough genre to do well. When writing simply romance, a well detailed sex scene seems out of place and the urge is to label it erotica then. So, in answer to your question, no, I have not included a well detailed sex scene in a regular genre piece. I actually keep a separate site for when I write explicit pieces. (Found here: http://unduecreativity.wordpress.com/. this is not shameless self-promption. I don’t usually announce the site, but figured it was pertinent to the topic)

    I think I’ve muddled through this. Nice post.

    Posted by TheOthers1 | February 20, 2012, 2:10 am
    • TheOthers1,
      Thanks for visiting my blog. It is an interesting theme, and I agree with you. We cannot stand up for the natural part within ourselves, we cannot make up our minds. But why is a sex scene out of place in writing? It´s a normal part of life. And thanks for the link 🙂

      Posted by Magdalena Wiklund | February 20, 2012, 7:44 pm
  2. I have no problem writing erotica; in fact, the one “published” online piece I have had (with an online publisher) was a piece of erotica. However, as a genre, erotica requires (me, anyway) to immerse myself in that world, and it’s not a subject matter I can write exclusively. It actually becomes rather difficult to write erotica, since what captures the imagination in that genre is often very graphic, and that gets boring to write. You have to keep thinking up new ways to say the same things. 😉

    Posted by Alison Gunn, Ph.D. | April 14, 2012, 8:08 am
    • Alison Gunn,
      Hahaha – you made me smile! I really don’t think it´s boring to write graphically, rather opposite. I love it! It deepens all the plots and characters, it´s fun and it give the reader a nice pic in his/her head – no matter if it is eritoc or something else. And yes, indeed it´s a great writing exercise to write so clue to characters and plots.

      Posted by Magdalena Wiklund | April 15, 2012, 4:39 pm


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