Erotica and the romance novels that are sold nationwide are so common that you can find them just about anywhere. They are considered to be safe ways to fantasize and while they’re not considered to be the highest of literature (no matter how fantastic the quality of writing), they are widely available and do not carry with them the stigma of pornographic pictures and/or videos. You’d be surprised just what would be considered erotica and as time passes, it is becoming more and more popular as well as more accepted as a mainstream genre of literature.
This can be seen from the success of Fifty Shades of Grey and similar novels where the erotic tension is high and often explicit. Even the teen romances such as the Hunger Games are heavily focused on the physical side of Katniss and Peeta’s relationship with large chunks of the novel devoted to their kissing rather than the death match which should be happening. This made us curious as to whether or not reading erotica or romance novels would be considered cheating as pornography has been qualified as cheating before when you were in a relationship.
According to celebrated erotic novelist and contributor for the Huffington Post, Kimber Vale, “erotica/romance, and fantasizing are both considered “safe” ways of getting something you aren't getting in your current relationship.” Vale continued to explain that these acts might even be sexual acts that the reader would not want to indulge in outside of their novel, but within the pages they are able to feel like they can take the risk.
Personally Vale doesn’t believe (and we agree) that reading or fantasizing should be put within the realm of cheating. It is often because there is a lack of acceptance when it comes to our fantasies that we are forced to fantasize in private due to a fear that what we desire would not be accepted. There is also the idea about fantasizing about someone else during sex which would undeniably cause tension within a relationship that has been forced into a monogamous role.
Erotica is an important tool though for people who are stuck in a relationship that they’re frustrated with sexually. It can give them an outlet to see if they can satisfy their own needs through fantasies and their own hand/toys rather than giving in to being with another person. There are varying degrees of cheating and while we don’t think that reading erotica should count as cheating, it’s hard to argue against the fact that it helps unfulfilled fantasies. Even if you’re not sexually frustrated yet and feeling like your relationship has been a little blah, you can read some erotica to get that spark back.
Could fantasizing or reading erotica be considered an emotional or intellectual affair?
Vale thinks that it shouldn’t be. “People run the spectrum on morality, as you know. I'm sure some might view it as such, which is just another reason for people to keep quiet about it.”
It is this attitude which can make it so hard to be honest with your spouse or affair partner about what you’re looking for in terms of sexual fantasies. In a monogamous world where your sexual choices are scrutinized, the fear of being judged may make it too hard to talk to someone you know intimately and are attached to about what you are looking for sexually. Vale thinks that this is a shame, stating that it “doesn't give their partner an opportunity to explore those kinks with them and possibly reach a new level of sexual enjoyment and intimacy together.”
We couldn’t agree more when it comes to erotica and the realm of infidelity.
When it comes to the realms of erotic fiction, the stats are sometimes stated as high as 90% of erotica readers being female with the last 10% covering the other genders that people identify with. While this may seem surprising to males who are reading this, women often have a fantasy about two males together. While the idea of men being interested in Lesbians is practically old hat now, the idea that females may have an equivalent fantasy sometimes shocks. In regards to the fiction that Kimber Vale writes (some of which falls into the categories of gay erotica and erotic romance), Vale estimates that women are the majority for readership in terms of erotic romance. For the straight on (pardon the pun) erotica, women aren’t the majority but it is estimated by Vale that males and females are on par with each other.
Erotica has its own niches and for any fetish that you are interested in, you will be able to find erotica on it. BDSM and ménage a trios have become the more mainstream of the fetishes even though they were considered to be highly taboo before the prevalence of the internet. To Kimber Vale, there shouldn’t be a line in terms of which fetishes erotica writers write about.
“To each his own. I like rocky road. You like peanut butter cup.” Vale explains when asked about whether or not there should be a erotica up to a certain point. “Just because I don't eat that kind, doesn't mean they should stop making it. Now, if you're making sardine and pickle ice cream, and no one is buying it, it's up to you to decide what your goals are. Are you trying to sell a million copies, or just writing to get your own rocks off? Some people write extreme fetish erotica. If they enjoy it, maybe that's enough for them. Odds are that someone else out there will love it too.”
As we have stated many times before on this blog and in interviews, we think that monogamous relationships and the stigmas that society places on certain fetishes is harmful to open communication within relationships. Vale agrees, stating that “I think open communication about sexual needs and fantasies between partners is the key to a long healthy relationship, absolutely.
“I think everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to conveying their needs. Starting a conversation with your partner might work for some people, while taking small steps physically to get to where you want to be might work for others. The bottom line is, try to be open with your partner; get a dialog going. If you keep your needs a secret, odds are your relationship will not survive the resulting frustration. Even if your kink is not their kink, they may be willing to work toward fulfilling your desires, as you do theirs.”
Through erotica, you might even be able to introduce your spouse and/or affair partner to new fetishes that are presented in a pleasing (or even tasteful) way. Vale suggests introducing a new book that highlights whichever kink you have or a movie that has some sort of demonstration in it.
“Even if they are hesitant, watching or reading together might warm them to trying something new. Certainly seeing your response to the fetish/act could get them interested. People want to please their lovers, and sometimes it only takes a small push to get someone out of their comfort zone to experience something they never considered before.”
This doesn’t mean though that you shouldn’t be considerate of their feelings and give them the time to get used to the idea.
If you are feeling sexually frustrated in your marriage, please consider giving erotica a try to see if that frustration can be stifled. The novels of the wonderful Kimber Vale can be found here.