Another reason is that I want my ideas to be my own. As far as keeping my own writing fresh is concerned, it is a matter of constant attention. Sometimes I have a plot idea that seems great and fits the story well—and then I recall that I used the same idea four books ago.
I try not to do the same thing over and over—and if I do reuse an idea the fake betrothal, for example I try to use it in quite different ways each time. Many of you write with recurring characters in your stories. How do you keep track of what your characters have done to ensure that your storyline stays true?
I keep lists of characters and places and key descriptions. But on the whole I am a "head" person—I keep everything stored in my brain. If I am not sure of a detail, then I have to go rummaging through the previous books to check. But it is, of course, hugely important to keep the details consistent. My books Slightly Tempted and Slightly Sinful not only are related but also run concurrently. I had to get both plots and sets of characters to converge at a certain time and a certain place the same scene occurs close to the end of both books. That meant keeping very detailed time lines for each book.
I did not want one group arriving at the appointed place a whole month ahead of the other group! It is part of the fascination of the job! Do you visualize your characters as anyone in particular? A celebrity or a significant other? No, never. My books are purely creations of the imagination. Though I do have a mental picture of my characters, it is not as anyone I know. I remember once grimacing when told by a reader that she pictured one of my heroes as an actor whom I disliked.
But that of course is the privilege of the reader. We all see things differently with our different imaginations. How wonderful to work in a medium in which so much personal freedom is allowed both writer and reader—unlike film or television.
If you write historical romances, how do you do your research? In great bulk at the start, reading both history and contemporary sources. But since most of my books have been set in the same historical period the Regency , I am constantly adding to my knowledge. And there are two great e-mail loops of Regency fanatics to which I belong.
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What the people on those loops do not know about the Regency period is not worth knowing. Everyone is very willing to share expertise. I am British by upbringing. This is a huge advantage to a writer of historical fiction set in Britain. I have an intuitive feel for what people would do under certain circumstances or feel about various issues, and how they would speak. I spend a month there each year to soak up atmosphere. Level with us — how easy or difficult is it to write a love scene? I think of them as love stories. They are emotional experiences, bringing together as they do two people who are quite separate entities to the point at which they commit their lives to each other in a deep love relationship.
Sex is a crucial aspect of such a relationship, and so it is important to me not to leave the reader outside the bedroom door, so to speak, and thus remind her that she is not one of these characters but a reader holding a book. I love writing love scenes. I look forward to them. I never write them for titillation purposes. My love scenes are an integral part of the love story, the moments at which the passion of the growing relationship is at its most intense—either negatively or positively, showing what is wrong with the relationship or what is right. Love scenes are as much as emotional experience as a physical—perhaps more so.
Has this changed over the years? I think there are a wide variety of tastes out there. Books have clearly become more graphic over the years.
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I do not know which type of book is the most popular. A survey of readers would have to be taken to get that answer. Very few of my readers have ever objected to the explicit nature of my love scenes—even when I was writing traditional Regencies. And no reader has ever asked for more sex in my books. So I suppose for my own readers the balance is just right. In the publishing business, do you feel there is a stigma attached to romance novels and, by extension, romance authors? Are the subgenres that are being used to define novels today — romantic suspense, historical romance, romantic mystery — an attempt to eliminate any stigma attached to the romance genre?
In the publishing business itself? If there is, I have not felt it. I have always been in the romance program with editors of romance. The fellow-authors I tend to meet are romance authors. So I suppose I would not know what the overall house attitude is. My answer is always that romance and happy marital love are as real as all the horror stories we watch on the news each evening. It is just that the emphasis, the perspective is different. For reasons similar to those that make pseudonyms both commonplace and often deviously set up, the boundary between fiction and non-fiction is often very diffuse.
Erotic fiction is credited in large part for the sexual awakening and liberation of women into the 20th and 21st centuries. The Satyricon of Petronius Arbiter later made into a film by Fellini is an ancient Roman novel, which has partially survived, narrating the misadventures of an impotent man named Encolpius, who has been cursed by the god Priapus.
The novel is filled with bawdy and obscene episodes, including orgies, ritual sex, and other erotic incidents. From the medieval period, there is the Decameron by the Italian Giovanni Boccaccio made into a film by Pasolini which features tales of lechery by monks and the seduction of nuns from convents. This book was banned in many countries. Even five centuries after publication copies were seized and destroyed by the authorities in the US and the UK.
For instance between and eight orders for destruction of the book were made by English magistrates. From the 15th century, another classic of Italian erotica is a series of bawdy folk tales called the Facetiae by Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini. It is one of the earliest examples of an epistolary novel , full of erotic imagery. The first printed edition was published by Ulrich Zel in Cologne between and The 16th century was notable for the Heptameron of Marguerite de Navarre , inspired by Boccaccio's Decameron and the notorious I Modi which married erotic drawings, depicting postures assumed in sexual intercourse, by Giulio Romano , with obscene sonnets by Pietro Aretino.
Aretino also wrote the celebrated whore dialogue Ragionamenti in which the sex lives of wives, whores and nuns are compared and contrasted. This manuscript claimed that it was originally written in Spanish by Luisa Sigea de Velasco , an erudite poet and maid of honor at the court of Lisbon and was then translated into Latin by Jean or Johannes Meursius. The attribution to Sigea and Meursius was a lie; the true author was Nicolas Chorier. A unique work of this time is Sodom, or the Quintessence of Debauchery , a closet play by the notorious Restoration rake , John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester in which Bolloxinion, King of Sodom, authorises "that buggery may be used O'er all the land, so cunt be not abused", which order, though appealing to soldiery, has deleterious effects generally, leading the court physician to counsel: "Fuck women, and let Bugg'ry be no more".
An early pioneer of the publication of erotic works in England was Edmund Curll — who published many of the Merryland books. These were a somewhat peculiar English genre of erotic fiction in which the female body and sometimes the male was described in terms of a landscape. Other works include A New Description of Merryland. The Mousetrap. The rise of the novel in 18th-century England provided a new medium for erotica.
One of the most famous in this new genre was Fanny Hill by John Cleland. This book set a new standard in literary smut and was often adapted for the cinema in the 20th century. Peter Fryer suggests that Fanny Hill was a high point in British erotica, at least in the eighteenth century, in a way that mainstream literature around it had also reached a peak at that time, with writers like Defoe, Richardson and Fielding all having made important and lasting contributions to literature in its first half.
After , he suggests, when the Romantic period began, the quality of mainstream writing and of smut declined in tandem. Writes Fryer: "sex was driven out of the English novel in the latter half of the eighteenth century. The castration of imaginative English literature made the clandestine literature of sex the most poverty stricken and boring in Europe". Meanwhile, French writers kept their stride.
One genre, which vies in oddness with the English "Merryland" productions, was inspired by the newly translated Arabian Nights and involved the transformation of people into objects which were in propinquity with or employed in sexual relationships: such as sofas , dildos and even bidets. The climax of this trend is represented in French philosopher Diderot 's Les Bijoux indiscrets in which a magic ring is employed to get women's vaginas to give an account of their intimate sexual histories.
In the late 18th century, such works as Justine, or the Misfortunes of Virtue and Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade were exemplars of the theme of sado-masochism and influenced later erotic accounts of Sadism and masochism in fiction. De Sade as did the later writer Sacher-Masoch lent his name to the sexual acts which he describes in his work. In the Victorian period, the quality of erotic fiction was much below that of the previous century—it was largely written by 'hacks' [ citation needed ]. Some works, however, borrowed from established literary models, such as Dickens. It also featured a curious form of social stratification.
Even in the throes of orgasm, the social distinctions between master and servant including form of address were scrupulously observed. Significant elements of sado-masochism were present in some examples, perhaps reflecting the influence of the English public school , where flagellation was routinely used as a punishment. It first appeared in and was written by one Gordon Grimley, a sometime managing director of Penthouse International. Clandestine erotic periodicals of this age include The Pearl , The Oyster and The Boudoir , collections of erotic tales, rhymes, songs and parodies published in London between and The centre of the trade in such material in England at this period was Holywell Street, off the Strand, London.
An important publisher of erotic material in the early 19th century was George Cannon — , followed in mid-century by William Dugdale — and John Camden Hotten — An important and entertaining conspectus and evaluation of 19th-century pre and earlier underground erotica, from the author's own private archive, is provided by Victorian writer Henry Spencer Ashbee , using the pseudonym "Pisanus Fraxi", in his bibliographical trilogy Index Librorum Prohibitorum , Centuria Librorum Absconditorum and Catena Librorum Tacendorum His plot summaries of the works he discusses in these privately printed volumes are themselves a contribution to the genre.
Originally of very limited circulation, changing attitudes have led to his work now being widely available. Towards the end of the 19th century, a more "cultured" form of erotica began to appear by such as the poet Algernon Charles Swinburne who pursued themes of paganism, lesbianism and sado-masochism in such works as Lesbia Brandon and in contributions to The Whippingham Papers edited by St George Stock, author of The Romance of Chastisement This was associated with the Decadent movement , in particular, with Aubrey Beardsley and the Yellow Book.
But it was also to be found in France, amongst such writers as Pierre Louys , author of Les chansons de Bilitis a celebration of lesbianism and sexual awakening. Pioneering works of male homosexual erotica from this time were The Sins of the Cities of the Plain ,  which features the celebrated Victorian transvestite duo of Boulton and Park as characters,  and Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal Important publishers of erotic fiction at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th were Leonard Smithers —  and Charles Carrington — ,  both of whom were subject to legal injunctions from the British authorities in order to prohibit their trade in such material.
Because of this legal harassment the latter conducted his business from Paris. Vladimir Nabokov 's Lolita is often described as an erotic novel, but other critics view it more as a literary drama with elements of eroticism. It published a mix of erotic fiction and avant-garde literary works. Another trend in the twentieth century was the rise of the lesbian pulp fiction. Many of the authors were women themselves, such as Gale Wilhelm and Ann Bannon.
Many male homosexuals also enjoyed gay pulp fiction , which borrowed the same sexploitation format as the lesbian books. Chinese literature has a tradition of erotic fiction dating back to at least the 16th century. The critic Charles Stone has argued that pornographic technique is the "union of banality, obscenity, and repetition," and contains just the "rudiments" of plot, style, and characterization, while anything that is not sexually stimulating is avoided.
If this is the case, he concluded, then The Lord of Perfect Satisfaction is the "fountainhead of Chinese erotica," but not pornography. The most famous sexually explicit novel is the Jin Ping Mei written by an author who used only a pseudonym his real name is unknown.
There is also a tradition of erotic fiction in Japan. Some portion of this is doujinshi , or independent comics, which are often fan fiction. Plots revolved around humor and entertainment at the pleasure quarters. It is a subgenre of gesaku. In Indonesia, a mysterious erotic writer known only as Enny Arrow  wrote countless novels from the late s until the early s which were secretly circulated through magazine sellers.
Most of the novels are known for their vulgar and hyperbolic, sometimes comical language. They are now regarded as classics by some Indonesians and have been scanned for historical purposes. In the 21st century, a number of female authors have risen to prominence, including Alison Tyler , Rachel Kramer Bussel and Carol Queen. Janine Ashbless, Kristina Lloyd, and Portia da Costa are well known for their erotic novels and short stories.
Kristina Wright  is well known for her bestselling genre themed anthologies through Cleis Press , including steampunk erotica,  paranormal erotic romance,  and fairy tale erotica,   exemplified by authors such as Shanna Germain  and Michelle Augello-Page. Other authors celebrate the term 'erotica' but also question why literature 'with the sex left in' should be considered outside literary fiction. The debate has been rekindled by the release, in , of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy written by E. The phenomenal success of her erotica for every woman, dubbed 'mommyporn', has given rise to satires like Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by 'Fanny Merkin' real name Andrew Shaffer , a book of essays called Fifty Writers on Fifty Shades ed.
Lori Perkins , a parody called Fifty Sheds of Grey  and editors of erotic imprints re-evaluating the content and presentation of the genre. A development in contemporary erotica has been that, contrary to some previous views that it was mainly a male interest, many women readers are aroused by it, whether it be traditional pornography or tailor-made women's erotica. Romantic novels are sometimes marketed as erotica—or vice versa—as "mainstream" romance in recent decades has begun to exhibit blatant if poetic descriptions of sex. Erotic romance is a relatively new genre of romance with an erotic theme and very explicit love scenes, but with a romance at the heart of the story.
Erotic fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy fiction and utilizes erotica in a fantasy setting. These stories can essentially cover any of the other subgenres of fantasy, such as high fantasy , contemporary fantasy , or even historical fantasy. The extents of the genre to break existing conventions and limits in subject matter have managed to shock popular audiences, with genres such as monster erotica emerging with the ease of digital publishing. Erotic fantasy fiction has similarities to romantic fantasy but is more explicit.
Erotic fantasy can also be found in fan fiction , which uses plot elements and characters from popular fiction such as television series, movies or novels. Erotic fan fiction may use characters from existing works in relationships undreamed of by their creators, such as " slash " homoerotic fan fiction.
Fan fiction and its Japanese counterpart, doujinshi , account for an enormous proportion of all erotica written today. The Internet and digital revolution in erotic depiction has changed the forms of representing scenes of a sexual nature. One researcher  concluded that erotic literature was available among the poor and performed at public readings in 18th-century Britain.
Erotica was present on the Internet from the earliest days, as seen from rec. This news group was a moderated forum for the exchange of erotic stories that predated the creation of the World Wide Web. Most of this migrated to the alt. The vast majority of Internet erotica is of an amateur nature, written for the enjoyment of the author and readers instead of for profit. Increased interactivity and anonymity allows casual or hobby writers the opportunity not only to author their own stories but also to share them with a world-wide audience.
Many authors adopt colorful pseudonyms and can develop cult followings within their genre, though a small number use or claim to use their real names. Among transgender or genderqueer authors it is a common practice to adopt a feminine or masculine alter-ego, although it is not unheard of for a writer to use his or her own given name. Prostitution was the focus of much of the earliest erotic works. The very term " pornography " is derived from the Greek pornographos meaning "writer about prostitutes", originally denoting descriptions of the lives and manners of prostitutes and their customers in Ancient Greece.
According to Athenaeus in The Deipnosophists these constituted a considerable genre, with many lubricious treatises, stories and dramas on the subject. Accounts of prostitution have continued as a major part of the genre of erotic literature. In the 18th century directories of prostitutes and their services, such as Harris's List of Covent Garden Ladies — , provided both entertainment and instruction.
In the 19th century, the sensational journalism of W. Stead 's The Maiden Tribute of Modern Babylon about the procuring of underage girls into the brothels of Victorian London provided a stimulus for the erotic imagination. Stead's account was widely translated and the revelation of "padded rooms for the purpose of stifling the cries of the tortured victims of lust and brutality" and the symbolic figure of "The Minotaur of London" confirmed European observers worst imaginings about "Le Sadisme anglais" and inspired erotic writers to write of similar scenes set in London or involving sadistic English gentlemen.
Erotic memoirs include Casanova 's Histoire de ma vie , from the 18th century. Edward Sellon was a writer, translator and illustrator of erotic literature who wrote erotica for the pornographic publisher William Dugdale, including such works as The New Epicurean Various discrepancies with known facts of the singer's life, however, have led many to doubt the veracity of this book and the erotic adventures contained in the second volume, at least, appear to be very implausible.
These include the author indulging in lesbian sadomasochism, group sex, sodomy, bestiality, scatology , necrophilia , prostitution and vampirism : all before she had reached the age of Sex manuals are among the oldest forms of erotic literature. Three brief fragments of a sex manual written in the fourth century BC that is attributed to Philaenis of Samos have survived, though modern scholars generally regard it as a work of parody probably written by a man, most likely the Athenian sophist Polycrates.
The Indian Kama Sutra is one of the world's best-known works of this type. The Ananga Ranga , a 12th-century collection of Indian erotic works, is a lesser known one. Also very famous, and often reprinted and translated, is The Perfumed Garden for the Soul's Recreation , a 16th-century Arabic work by Sheikh Nefzaoui. There is anecdotal evidence that at least as late as the midth century sex therapists and other physicians prescribed erotic literature as treatment for erectile dysfunction. The ancient Chinese versions of the sex manual include the texts that contain the Taoist sexual practices.
These include books that show illustrations of the ideal sexual behavior because sex in this religion is not considered taboo but a manifestation of the concept of the yin and yang ,  wherein the male and female engage in an act of "joining of energy" or "joining of essences". The belief is that proper sexual practice is key to achieving good health.
The manuals included the Ishinpo text,  which is a medical document that also included sections devoted to sexual hygiene and sexual manuals of the Tang and Han dynasties. Chi kung manuals include warming a wet towel and covering penis for a few minutes, then rubbing one direction away from base of penis hundreds of times daily, similar to chi kung.
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Squeezing sphincter while semi-erect or fully erect dozens of times daily, particularly a few hours before intercourse will help delay orgasm or enhance non-ejaculatory pleasure. The Universal Tao system was developed by Mantak Chia to teach Taoist meditative and exercise techniques to balance the body and increase and refine one's vital energy, or chi "chee". Front and back channel, the back channel is where the perineum is located between anus and scrotum moving up the tailbone to the crown, the front channel is moving down the front of your body down the midline.
Breathing up the back channel and then breathing out from the front channel down to and from the abdomen moves chi. Many practices combined help chi to be transformed into spiritual energy or shen. Not all sex manuals were produced to arouse or inform readers about sexual acts. There are also those created as a form of satire or social criticism. For instance, there is the case of mock-sex manual produced in the early sixteenth century by Pietro Aretino in response to the clerical censorship of the nude engravings of the Roman artists Marcantonio Raimondi.
Erotic or pornographic works have often been prosecuted, censored and destroyed by the authorities on grounds of obscenity. After the Reformation the jurisdiction of these courts declined in favour of the Crown which licensed every printed book. Prosecutions of books for their erotic content alone were rare and works which attacked the church or state gave much more concern to the authorities than erotica or ' obscene libel ' as it was then known.
For instance the Licensing Act of was aimed generally at "heretical, seditious, schismatical or offensive books of pamphlets" rather than just erotica per se. Even this Licensing Act was allowed to lapse in and no attempt made to renew it. The first conviction for obscenity in England occurred in , when Edmund Curll was fined for the publication of Venus in the Cloister or The Nun in her Smock under the common law offence of disturbing the King's peace.
This set a legal precedent for other convictions. Prosecutions of erotica later in the 18th century were rare and were most often taken because of the admixture of seditious and blasphemous material with the porn. For instance, no proceedings were taken against the publishers of Cleland's notorious Fanny Hill It was the Obscene Publications Act which made the sale of obscene material a statutory offence, for the first time, giving the courts power to seize and destroy offending material.
The origins of the Act itself were in a trial for the sale of pornography presided over by the Lord Chief Justice , Lord Campbell , at the same time as a debate in the House of Lords over a bill aiming to restrict the sale of poisons. Campbell was taken by the analogy between the two situations, famously referring to the London pornography trade as "a sale of poison more deadly than prussic acid, strychnine or arsenic",  and proposed a bill to restrict the sale of pornography; giving statutory powers of destruction would allow for a much more effective degree of prosecution.
The bill was controversial at the time, receiving strong opposition from both Houses of Parliament , and was passed on the assurance by the Lord Chief Justice that it was " The Act provided for the seizure and destruction of any material deemed to be obscene, and held for sale or distribution, following information being laid before a "court of summary jurisdiction" Magistrates' court.
The Act required that following evidence of a common-law offence being committed — for example, on the report of a plain-clothes policeman who had successfully purchased the material — the court could issue a warrant for the premises to be searched and the material seized. The proprietor then would be called upon to attend court and give reason why the material should not be destroyed.
Critically, the Act did not define "obscene," leaving this to the will of the courts. Whilst the Act itself did not change, the scope of the work affected by it did. Cockburn's declaration remained in force for several decades, and most of the high profile seizures under the Act relied on this interpretation. Known as the Hicklin test no cognisance was taken of the literary merit of a book or on the extent of the offending text within the book in question. The widened scope of the original legislation led to the subsequent notorious targeting of now acknowledged classics of world literature by such authors as Zola , James Joyce and D.
Lawrence plus medical textbooks by such as Havelock Ellis rather than the blatant erotica which was the original target of this law. In contrast to England, where actions against obscene literature were the preserve of the magistrates, in America such actions were the responsibility of the Postal Inspection Service, embodied in the federal and state Comstock laws , named after the postal officer and anti-obscenity crusader Anthony Comstock who proved himself officious in the work of suppression both in his official capacity and through his New York Society for the Suppression of Vice.
Twenty-four states passed similar prohibitions on materials distributed within the states.