By Wilomina Bloom
The word ‘erotica’ scares/amuses people. Saying this word, talking about it, writing about it throws up all sorts of ‘shocked’ reactions by even the most self-proclaimed — and supposedly — broadminded of people.
Erotica is taken to mean something sex-related or something to do with sexual activity. The word ‘erotica’ is still taken to mean porn. It’s taken to mean something ‘adult’, forbidden, something to censor, something titillating.
As a writer on the subject of erotica, I cannot post on mainstream social media platforms because this subject is considered taboo. I cannot have an ‘adult’ conversation with people about this subject, because this subject is shut down before I can even explain what I mean by it. This is so wrong.
So, I have decided to rewrite the meaning of the word ‘erotica’ for myself and share it with others; and it goes something like this; erotica is sensuality; it’s about the human need for touch and connection; it’s about communication. Erotica is life. Without it, we are dead. The simplest way to think about the erotic in life is to think about touch. At its basest level, touch is a primal human urge, the need — like oxygen — for life itself.
From this most basic of human needs, human beings have complicated things — as is our way. This complication has, at its core, many factors; religion, misogyny, power, and money, to name a few. And within these parameters, our erotic need for touch has been sexualised to mean touch that leads to sexual pleasure (porn and misogyny), and sexual penetration.
There are ‘rules’ when it comes to touching others, and I am sure you’ve read/heard about all this before. These ‘rules’ are set in stone; for example, you should never touch anyone you are not having an intimate relationship with, on their body, on anything other than a slight pat of their arm. A pat on the arm signifies camaraderie. Letting your hand move up their body to their shoulder or their face is the RED-LIGHT ZONE, a no-no in terms of human relations.
So, it’s obvious then, that within these rigid black-and-white interpretations of touch, the word ‘erotica’ flounces and shimmers in the sexualised zone. But what if we could use the word ‘erotic’ to suggest a love of the sensual, of art, of another way of existing? What if the erotic was not necessarily completely about sex? What if the word explained a human life lived at — perhaps — a higher level?
Time-travel back through history and you’ll find a greater acceptance of the word ‘erotic’ within art, literature, and life. I’ve listed some links below so you can go off on your own research journey.
Commentators have argued long and hard that the difference between erotica and porn is that erotica is about the story of sex, and porn is about the act of sex. I believe this very basic interpretation has some truth in it. But erotica is so much more than this; it’s a feeling, an imagination, an aura, the shimmer of a look.
Erotica is everywhere you look and everywhere you don’t look. Porn was invented by men for men, for the sole purpose of helping them ejaculate!! Erotica transcends the ages as the story of desire. Porn is never about desire, it’s about quick release.
Now, within the great cloak of Western ‘woke-dom’ that now governs our presence on this earth, the word erotic along with representations of the naked body in art, photography and literature has been banned by the algorithm police of social media fascism.
Eroticism is very much about the female body; therein lies the nub of all this — misogyny. OK gay eroticism needs examining too, but I’ll leave that to another.
I run a small press in the UK and have two imprints; both are EROTIC imprints. We publish erotic writing by women for women. I refuse to define women in my life as an erotic publisher. Women are women are women. End-of-story. My press is about women and our sexuality, about our wombs, our vaginas, our vulvas, our breasts.
My press is about our want and need of sex and how we get it. My press is about our right to actively seek out desire, sex, multiple partners and to love and have sex with whoever we choose. This is our human right and these fictional stories — written by my ever-growing stable of women writers working in this genre right now — allow us time to dream, to log off, to protect our stories from the ravages of misogyny.
Our stories are beautiful snapshots of women’s sexual adventures right now. These stories speak of our desires to be sexual human beings, actively pursuing sexual and erotic encounters that fill our souls.
Yet, my press has to ‘hide’ on online platforms that accept women’s sexuality. We are gagged by most places because of our description of ourselves as an erotic press.
Misogyny is the number one factor in all this, and it’s a thing to see how many women have had their brains rewired to think that erotica is porn and erotica is dirty, when the opposite is true. Erotica is art; erotica is life; erotica is about the everyday moments of human emotion and need; it’s about touch, taste, scent, sound and more; erotica is about realness, and humanity.
You cannot find erotica within an algorithm; you cannot find erotica within the scrappy little mind of an internet tech nerd, but you can find it in nature, in the outdoors, within your own eyes if you allow yourself to unplug yourself from your online world.
Wilomina Bloom xx
Find me on Etsy UK under the shop name PocketErotica or click here:
https://gallery.library.vanderbilt.edu/exhibits/show/fr8040/sensuality-and-textuality/erotic-of-the-exotic Below are variations of the meaning of the word. https://www.etymonline.com/word/erotica https://www.etymonline.com/word/Eros https://www.etymonline.com/word/erotic https://www.etymonline.com/word/auto-erotic#etymonline_v_18976 https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio/subjects/erosamor/cupid https://www.femina.in/relationships/love-sex/difference-between-erotica-and-pornography-200730.html https://www.femina.in/relationships/love-sex/difference-between-erotica-and-pornography-200730.html https://happymag.tv/best-erotic-novels-of-all-time/