How many erotica books have you read where the male protagonist is a domineering, but sometimes benevolent, asshole?
Right. There are more books like that than fingers and toes on a baby alien.
So here’s another question: how many erotica books have you read where there is gaping inequality between the male and the female, and the power rests with the male?
It’s not that the female doesn’t get her way, of course she does; we are talking female fantasy after all. But she starts off with an unbalanced power equation, and then she gets all googly-eyed and breathlessly in lust, and she gets what she wants out of the intermittent goodness of his heart because she employs tricks and passive-aggressive manipulations.
She’s always younger, less experienced, in a subordinate position financially (how many billionaire series are there, anyway?). And she is always afraid to lose him if she was to stand on her rights.
Okay, right before the grand finale of the book or trilogy, the big brute understands that he’s better off listening to her, but all through the book, we claw through hundreds of pages of weak, submissive female. And that’s even when she is strong and capable out of the brute’s bed!
Where are the books that portray a couple who has hot sex but also equality? Where are the books with a female protagonist who stays strong in all facets of her relationship with the hot guy other than in bed?
Aren’t you bothered by the fact that these books are so few and far between? I know I am.
Here’s why you can’t find these books: We enjoy our female protagonists submissive in bed. Because it’s hot. That’s who we are. We want a strong man. A man who takes. Males have been stronger since we were gorillas in the bush, and that’s how we like our sex. Strong yet gentle. Powerful but attentive. A male who takes his pleasure, but gives us ours. He controls. That’s sizzling.
But ever since the feminist revolution, we are supposed to be strong, equal, just as dominant. And that’s the opposite of hot.
So what happens? In every other genre we read, we see incredibly interesting stories with incredibly powerful females that get shit done and conquer the world. But not in erotica. Because erotica deals with sex and in sex, we still want to be dominated. Yes, we do, admit it girls!
And that is why – say hello to the erotica protagonist – we get a frightened young thing who’s way over her head, lusting after the gorilla. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the gorilla, he’s the best of what men used to be, a million years ago, and parts of him are still really hot.)
And the gorilla tells her what to eat, how to dress, and he teaches her everything she needs to know about sex, i.e., how to fit into his male fantasy of the submissive woman.
And we buy into this, because a weak man in bed is not sexy. He can hide a vulnerability, that would make him easier to manipulate in the end, but he’s in control.
So the easiest way to portray this guy as strong is to put him in the higher-ranking professional position, give him lots of money, and make him a control freak, a domineering assholes, whatever. It’s easy. And in an author – it’s laziness.
Creating an un-leveled playing field in order to create sexual tension is the easiest plan, the easiest characters to build, the fastest way to get to the goal – a hot book.
Oops! We’ve just stepped into the heavy subject of gender roles and female-male attraction. But hey, that’s what erotica is all about.
Many women complain that their men learned to respect them, to communicate on an emotional level, to yield power in the boardroom, and as a result, they have become less attractive in the bedroom. I hear it all the time.
So yeah, there’s a great big challenge, here, for everyone who writes erotica, and this is it:
Give us a heroine who is not afraid to show her power in the passionate relationships and at the same time give us steaming-hot sex.
As always, I’d love your comments, questions, complaints, and requests!