Before the spiking popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey, erotic novels were rarely the topic of every-day conversation. Just a few years ago, discussing an erotic novel while in line for coffee would have been seen in the same distastefulness as discussing a pornographic film. It's not surprising given its once-taboo status, as fans of the genre usually thought it better to kept their preferences private.
It's funny just how much has changed in so little time. CNN notes that E. L. James can be credited for allowing fans to come out of the shadows and bringing the romance and erotic novels into the mainstream, making them more popular than ever before.
Unfortunately, the increase in popularity could be more of a negative development for some fans as opposed to a positive. As with any product that enters mainstream popularity, erotic literature now runs the risk of having the market over-saturated with lower-quality products.
Not surprisingly, it's already become a popular option for those that are just looking to make a little money. Such is the case with reality-turned-porn-star Farrah Abraham and her new erotic novel, In the Making (Celebrity Sex Tape). Gawker called it painful to read, and The Frisky said, "the book bounces from sex scene to sex scene with 'Fallon' constantly telling the reader how amazing she is."
Of course, because the pseudo celebrity is more concerned with profit than her product, the lack of positive feedback isn't slowing her down. Abraham is already well into planning the release of the second installment to the series.
It's not all bad news going forward though. According to The Washington Post, erotic novelist Sylvia Day is making strong headway for the genre. Her recently released book "Captivated by You," the fourth book in her Crossfire series, debuted as the No. 1 seller among e-books, and several other sales charts across the country.
In addition, while authors looking to make a quick buck may be rushing to take advantage of the recent increase in demand, there's still some hope for a section of the industry that those lacking respect for the genre, likely won't touch.
Just like any other book, there are two different types of erotic literature—fiction and nonfiction. Fiction usually takes place in the form of novels like Fifty Shades of Grey, blog installments, or short stories. Non-fiction, though occasionally a compiled retelling of the author's sexual exploits, usually focuses on teaching rather than entertaining.
In many cases, as Adam & Eve explains, sexually graphic novels are frequently used for educational purposes. They're not for learning the physical parts of the body, of course. Instead, they're seen as how-to guides, step-by-step instructional books, and ways to improve your sexual health.
Many are written by some of the most well-educated people in their field, such as sexual psychologists, relationship councilors, and experts in human anatomy. Not only do they discusses the physical act and ways to make it hotter and more satisfying, they also delve into the history of sex, psychological aspects of intimacy, and the complexity of relationships. The sheer amount of facts and research alone required for writing such informational books would likely turn off a lot of writers simply looking to get into the industry to make a quick buck.
These books are great for new position ideas and helping you obtain a more satisfying sex life. Also, hopefully the increase in authors will provide us with some new skilled writers, ones that will outshine those that aren't planning on sticking around. Maybe by the time that the new erotic trend cools off, we'll be left with a genre that's more talented than ever before, making it easy to weed through the phonies.
Personally though, I'm OK with doing the research until that time comes. To true fans erotic novels are kind of like pizza—even when they're bad, I'd rather be reading them over anything else.
About the Author
Sherri Goodman is a freelance writer, tackling topics of sex, health, relationships and most recently, erotic literature. You can find her on Twitter under the name @SherriGoodlove.