I should confess immediately to always having had an interest in erotic fiction, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised to watch its migration to the mainstream. But migration is probably too gentle a word to describe the tsunami that we observed on the publication of the Fifty Shades series.

The Water's Edge

The Water's Edge

I think its character also changed dramatically at that time as it moved from the essentially pornographic to the much more plot and character driven works that we now see reaching such a wide readership.

The readership of erotic fiction has also changed, of course, because the newer works appeal to four fifths of fiction readers, rather than one fifth. (I am fearful of being any more specific on what characterises those groups of people; you know who you are!)

The scope of erotic activity treated in modern works is certainly explicit, and often kinky, but gives the reader the chance to mediate her or his own experience. (Is that how it felt? Or how it might feel if I pursue those fantasies of mine?) I think this is the strength of the written word, which makes your own mind your stage or wide-screen picture; and you are both director and star! The writer tries merely to provide a script or screenplay for you.

Another differing feature of modern erotic writing is the theme of the dominant female. This is less noticeable in the Fifty books, although Ana does evolve to become more her own person, but is more clearly depicted in a favourite of mine, the trilogy of L S Hilton’s (Domina, Maestra, Ultima), where Judith Rashleigh is unquestionably an alpha character. (Spoiler alert: whose demise I still mourn!)

So, we have a world of modern erotic literature written mostly by women, about women, for women. I tread warily on to this alien field, venturing carefully to write as a man, yes, but more from the realistic perspective, I hope, of Claudia, my principal protagonist.

The big advantage of the gender switch, of course, is that you have to be outside yourself to think about how things might look, what might happen and how you might feel, were you this other person. I’m hoping you can see these stories as about real people, in real situations, living lives maybe only a little more adventurous than your own.

The sex is, I would say, spicy, but I’ve been gratified by most reviewers responding to plot and character first. I think that’s why erotic fiction has now become mainstream. Sex is a major part of life, but far from all of it. I think we’ve moved ourselves to a much better place.

Martin Morton is the author of the Claudia series. There are currently five books in the series and the first book is The Water’s Edge. Find out more at: www.martinmorton.co.uk

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