2 July 2012
What was the first erotic book you read, and how (if at all) has it affected your own writing?
Avalon Nights by Sophie Danson. It rocked my world—it was the book that convinced me I was allowed to write erotica (and fantasy erotica at that). And it’s a collection of linked short stories, which is a structure I particularly like.
It was the classic Venus In India, and it taught me that the story, and the characters, are as important as the sex. It's still one of my favorite novels.
I read Wifey by Judy Blume twenty years ago and I never felt it affected my writing until now. I vividly remember the first scene where Wifey watches a motorcyclist masturbate on her lawn and I find that I tend to write a lot of voyeurism and exhibitionism. I also like to write about housewives and the average woman’s sex life, but I never related any of that back to reading that particular book until now.
One of the first erotic books I read was Fredrica Alleyn's Fiona's Fate. It's about a woman who is captured and forced into a variety of sexual scenarios, many of which find her tied up and sexually teased and tormented. Also, Judith Krantz's I'll Take Manhattan. While I would say Krantz is more romance than erotica, she has scenarios in that book where her protagonist is aroused and left frustrated. Both of these books connected with me at a level I hadn't previously experienced and they've definitely affected my writing. There are always elements of power play, tease, denial, frustration and finally huge orgasmic explosive conclusions in my stories!
Rose de Fer, author of Lust Ever After
The first erotic writing I encountered were the little hints of BDSM in mainstream romance novels. I never actually read the books but I had a friend who pointed out several juicy scenes for me. There were also scenes in the books of Eric van Lustbader of women being dominated by strong men. Heady stuff to an impressionable subby teen girl! Blush, blush... don't know whether it really affected my own writing or not, although I'd certainly love to capture the slightly surreal and spooky psychological atmosphere at the end of The Story of O.
Megan Hart, contributor to My Secret Life
The first erotic book I remember reading was 9 1/2 Weeks, and I still hold it as a standard for what I think an erotic book should be.
The first one ever was The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A. N. Roquelaure. That one I enjoyed but I don’t feel it shaped me much beyond wanting to hone my skills. The second was Exposed, by Alison Tyler. That’s the book that made me think, I can do this, and if I try, I can do it well.
Gwen Masters, contributor to My Secret Life
The first erotic book I ever read was Best American Erotica 1993, edited by Susie Bright. I was mesmerized by the variety of stories and how it stretched my ideas of what “sexy” meant. These were not stroke stories! They were literary erotica that made me think. By the time I was done reading that first one, I set a goal to see one of my short stories in a BAE collection. I finally did it in 2006 with “Fifteen Minutes.” It’s one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my writing career.
If I hadn't given this question some thought I'd have said, The Story of O. But that isn't true. It may be the first erotica book that I purchased, but it isn't the first one I read.
See, my parents had this cupboard in their room . . . where they tossed all their dirty paperbacks once they were done with them. It wasn't exactly a hiding place, or if it was, it wasn't a very good one. There was a thick paperback novel with a man on the cover. He had a snake tattoo, I believe. I don't remember the title.
This book was awful. I read the whole thing. Basically, he comes to town on the train and proceeds to fuck all the women and mess them up something terrible. Then he leaves. I liked the beginning of the book; I liked it a lot. There's a girl on the train, on her way to the convent with a bunch of nuns. He manages to sit beside her and finger fuck her to orgasm. When they get to a truck stop, everyone goes inside to eat, but he talks the owner of the joint into renting him a grubby little room for half an hour and he takes the girl in there and fucks her silly. Back on the train, she bleeds helplessly but he doesn't care. The nuns are none too pleased.
I loved that story of utter debasement. I've written my own version, though it's never been published. Sex with a stranger on a train. Yeah!
For many years I kept a lookout for that book. Probably fifteen years later, or so, I saw it on a paperback rack in a store. There it was, waiting for me. I flipped through it and decided against buying it. I'm still not sure why. Maybe some memories are better left alone. The book was, after all, awful!
The first erotic book I read was The Story of O, as a high school sophomore. Clearly, it warped me. :-) I suspect its effect was to make me want to write stories that were pretty much the opposite of The Story of O: I like to write about relatively sane and happy people having responsible, loving kinky sex as opposed to unhealthily obsessed people having crazy, dangerous kinky sex. (I make an exception for vampires, who can be as crazy and dangerous as necessary for the story.)
The first book I ever read with erotic content in it was The Fog, by James Herbert. It taught me that sex can immeasurably add to a story, but also maybe don't have people die so much directly after bonking.