Erotica 2.0

Earlier this week, Alex profiled the novel Fifty Shades of Grey, and the literary revolution the steamy smut book’s having on booksellers, agents, libraries–and yes, writers.  But what few people know (or a lot of people know, but aren’t willing to bring up, at least in public) is that erotica is a booming industry within the literary world.  According to MSNBC, what was once the domain of perverts and sexaholics has been front and center in revitalizing what is already a struggling industry. The e-book niche has been particularly profitable, helped in no small part by the thousands of erotic tables available for download–many for a pittance of the price people would pay to walk red-faced into a Barnes and Noble and ask for the latest negligee-busting tome.

Speaking of sexaholics, the latest book to make waves is Sexoholics. Written by an author known only as Pynk (writers rarely use their real name, for fairly obvious reasons).  Centering around a group of female sex addicts, the book takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the very real (and debatable) problem of sex addiction.  Led by caring psychiatrist Dr. Rachel Cummings *cue snorts*, the Cummings shephards the foursome as they reveal their tortured-and very raunchy–pasts one by one.  Imagine if Dr. Drew sat in on an Onanists Anonymous support group.

You get the idea.

Despite it’s taboo subject matter, Sexaholics and it’s author is extremely popular among recovering sex addicts as well as people looking for a little escape from the day to day.  Several discussion groups have started online around the book and others like it, and some have branched out into writing erotic fanfiction of their own, some of it very, very good (just take my word for it, or do a Google search).

Anyone who is familiar with Charlaine Harris or Susan Sizemore can testify to the boundary-pushing impact erotica has had on the paranormal and horror genre. One of the books I reviewed not long ago contained a steamy sex scene between a female police detective and a vampire, and it proved to be among the most popular (at least, among the commenters who RTFA).

Women continue to make up the majority of erotic authors, but men like Eric Jerome Dickey have made their mark as well.  Men also make up a small but growing  segment of the market as well. What was once the province of sex-starved housewives has spun out into several niches, from stories featuring Amazon women kicking tail to vampire squids on a sexual rampage. When it comes to erotica, there’s more than 52 flavor–and everyone knows what they like.

 Social Media Coordinator (and managing editor) John Winn is Hennen’s Twitterer in Chief.  In addition to writing for Hennen’s, His work has been featured in A Twist of Noir, Lightning Flash, Racket Magazine, and plenty of other online magazines.  He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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