Hello everyone! It’s time another installment of Pillow Talk Secrets in which Jade A. Waters, Tamsin Flowers and I chat about erotica, writing and sex. This time around, Tamsin is our host for a discussion on why, in mainstream erotica, a heroine must often be justified in sleeping with multiple partners or risk be considered unsympathetic. It’s a knotty question, and it was a great deal of fun to tackle with these ladies. Here’s an excerpt of the conversation below. I hope you enjoy… xx.M
Pillow Talk Secrets
Tamsin: Hello, girls. Nice to see you!
Jade: You as well! How are you?
Malin: Hi ladies! I’m here!
T: Hello, gorgeous!
M: Ah, now this is how I want to start a day – chatting with the two of you. Nothing tops it.
J: So true! Now, who’s leading us today?
M: Our lovely, Tamsin, I believe! And I think she’s got something really interesting in mind.
J: Bring it, T!
T: Okay, I’m going to launch us straight in to today’s topic: Is it all right for the heroine of your book to sleep with more than one partner? This is a question that’s been batting around my brain for quite some time now. As you two know, I’ve just finished the first draft of my sexy spy thriller, Honeytrap, and my heroine certainly gets called upon to cosy up with the villains as well as the good guys. But I remembered reading somewhere that it’s a big no-no to readers if the heroine sleeps with multiple partners. How would you two handle this dilemma?
M: So, I have a couple of thoughts right off the top of my head. The first is that context is probably critical – how and why is she sleeping with multiple partners seems to make quite a difference in how readers respond… What do you think, Jade?
J: I agree. There are so many variations here – is she a free bird, is she cheating, is she in a negotiated polyamorous situation? Maybe we should focus on one at a time.
T: Ooh! Free bird is a new expression for me. I like that!
J: I just made that up. 🙂
M: I love it! Interestingly, I think the free bird scenario is the trickiest for writers. There’s still surprising amount stigma attached to a female character who sleeps with multiple partners for no other reason than she wants to. Her own desire might be perfectly valid justification, but that doesn’t seem to settle well with readers in general. It’s a real shame, actually. There’s a lot in that restriction that doesn’t sit well with me.
J: I think that’s still, sadly, largely due to the real life cultural view on women having multiple partners – and it translates directly into people’s reading.
T: And this is where the question is interesting. Obviously, if someone buys a menage story, they’re expecting multiple partners. But there seems to be a real move in the market towards erotic romance rather than plain erotica at the moment – and with it comes a demand for the heroine to be, how shall I put it, better behaved or in lurve!
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