Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Is There a Man in the House?

By Spencer Dryden (Guest Blogger)

Why don't more men write erotic romance?



I'm very new to writing fiction. I'm also an old guy. I just turned 64. I was 16 when Paul McCartney immortalized that age. At 16 I though 64 was much older and decrepit than it has turned out to be. Nevertheless I am past the peak of my sexual prime and clearly headed into the sunset.


One immediate benefit of writing erotica is that I can make love to any woman I want. In fact, she craves my sexual attention and my wife could care less. How good is that? As my awareness of the field of writing has expanded I have wondered why more men don't write erotica, or more specifically M/F vanilla erotic romance. It's a blast.


It's fair to say, since I'm saying it about myself, that I have been subject to female allure since the first time I felt that stirring in my pants when I saw pictures of naked women. Yes, I am pussy whipped. I love women. I love female sexuality. I have been easily led by the nose (actually by my cock) anywhere any woman has wanted me to go. I have made disastrous choices because of it.


Luckily, I found a woman who has been my wife and soul mate for 25 years, but she too, can get me to do anything she wants. She's so goddamn smart. She knows that the secret to moving men is that we crave to have two things stroked, our egos and our cocks. If she wants anything, all she has to do is make me think its my idea, praise me for it and then reward me. It's like leading a lamb to the slaughter.


Guys, does your wife brag about you? Mine brags about me—not for the tremendous screaming orgasm I bring her (right)— it's the handyman work I do around the house. When my wife is bragging about me to friends, in guy code she is saying, 'my husband's dick is bigger than yours'.


So by now I'm sure your asking, 'what does all this nonsense have to do with men writing M/F erotica'. The answer is: EVERYTHING.


To answer my own question about men writing M/F erotica, my thesis is: It's not that men don't have sexual fantasies or that men aren't good writers, it's that the standard, acceptable expression of erotica is passed thought the lens of the female experience. So yes, guys, we are subject to a kind of deeply rooted discrimination. INCOMING!


When I say deeply rooted, I am talking about all the way back to the dawn of mankind. It was sex that brought us out of the trees. Something happened back when we were two feet tall that caused an explosion in our species almost like a virus. I believe that explosion was triggered by several changes that happened relatively quickly but proved very successful. One of the most important changes was the shift from seasonal estrus to monthly fertility—females became fertile and sexually available on a year round basis. The other was the anterior migration of the vagina—males and females could face each other during copulation.


Prior to the change in the fertility cycle, a female signaled availability by broadcasting pheromones. It drove all the males crazy, we wailed and beat on each other, bringing gifts, building stuff and generally making fools of ourselves for the chance of a little nookie. The big alpha male swept us all away and banged everyone. The pheromones died down and we all went back to living separate lives, eating grapes and picking ticks off each other. That strategy is still working successfully for the other primates we left behind.


Somewhere along the way females got the idea that if they were sexually available all year long, males would be constantly seeking their favor, bringing them stuff, building shit and so on. Then to break the alpha male thing, they realized that if they could face their partner, visual cues could replace pheromones and allow them to have more choice in the selection of mates. The great migration of the vagina began.


The strategy was ingenious. Guys had to keep bringing more and better stuff in order to get laid, but we all had a chance if we could just bring the right stuff. The phenomenon we call civilization was born. It's why I am pussy whipped. I keep bringing stuff and building stuff in order to get laid. (You didn't think I was going to get back to that, did you?)


The only place females fucked up was in selecting big hunky guys (think Romance) as mates, which promoted sexual dimorphism—males much larger and stronger than females. They should have selected more of us regular guys. The slaves they bred became their physical masters.


When the language thing came around, women proved much more facile with this tool. Guys stuck to expressing themselves with clubs and spears. Moreover since females harbored life, they had to develop much more internal sensory awareness than men who merely needed to sense when to eat, shit and fuck.


Then there was writing. At first we wouldn't let females learn this communication tool. When they did, they focused on internal sensory experience. Eventually, completely frustrated by the lack of emotional bonds with their mates, they invented Romance Novels as a means of escape from their dreary enslaved lives. They specified that the standard story trope must be one that focuses on internal sensory and emotional experiences and hold the more physical, visual male fantasy to be an invalid expression.


And that's why we don't have more men writing erotic romance.

About Spencer Dryden

Some men are born great, others strive for greatness; still others have greatness thrust upon them. Spencer Dryden is none of these men. In fact, he's so unimpressive he leaves no footprints on newly fallen snow. He was trained in fiction writing on the job with the many sales reports he produced for his managers, winning the coveted 'Keep Your Job Contest' three years running. His expense reports are still considered masterpieces of forgery by the bankruptcy trustee of his former employer. He lives an unremarkable life in a suburb of a northern city. His friends and family would drop dead in horror if they knew of his secret life as a writer of erotica. He hates the family cat, but still loves to pet his wife.


22 comments:

  1. This is so funny, Spencer! I don't really agree with you - I think women are just as interested in the physical and the visual, if they'll just admit it to themselves. However, It's a lively argument.

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  2. Oh, Spencer.what a bright way to open my day. I have often wondered why more men don't write erotic; now I know. Ugh!! So, while you guys were dragging us off by our hair 'to have your way with us' we were applying lipgloss in preparation for leading you to our own nirvana. Dragged by the hair or dragged by the penis, the destination is the same. Brightened my day. I am sitting here tending my husband's own man-club after bladder surgery on Friday. Not fun, but you post reminds me of the pleasure it has brought into my life in a very amusing and reflective way. Happy soon to be Father's Day. Bet you're a riot to have around the house. Got to read more of you :) xo

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  3. Lisabet:

    Hee, hee, yes, lively. But how can you argue with such solid science?

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  4. An amusing post, as others have said. To address the question seriously for a moment, if you check older erotica collections (from 10 years ago or more), you will see many more male names. I have a theory that the explosion of erotic romance, which is more female-associated, has changed the erotica genre a great deal. Perhaps because men are often socialized to get away from female-identified things lest they damage their perceived masculinity. And romance as a genre has historically been female-identified. Though I think there's a lot of BS to that as well. Look at how many very romantic movies are out there written by men starring men—they just don't get called "romance."

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    1. Good point. Behind the silliness of my evolutionary theory (which one day will be proved correct) is the feminization of erotica. The six hundred pound gorilla of erotic romance has a line dedicated to male erotica. It's mostly short works, the kind I write. The line says that stories should be 'about male fantasies and male need and not as much about relationships.' I have read nearly everything on their current line up. Unless some guy is publishing under a woman's name there is not one story by a male author. Furthermore many of the stories are a female POV. What's up with that?

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    2. I once spoke with them about this. They said they wanted male authors and readers, but they got female authors and readers (probably partly because there are plenty of women who want to read erotica with more sex and less about relationships, but that's another issue...). If you're interested, I'm pretty sure they would love to get a submission to that line from a male author.

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    3. I have several submissions in the queue. They are 'awaiting an acquiring editor'. The first one has been there five months.

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  5. Please continue your view on the subject at hand, I was very pleased with this reading.
    - Ponygirl, NJ

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  6. Which particular part of the rant are wanting more of? The feminization of erotica? The incredible wacky theory of evolution? (BTW it's properly Bennet's Theory of Rogue Male Evolution-as delineated in my yet unpublished story "The Gueschtunkina Ray Gun") My sordid life as old guy/ new author?

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  7. Your argument leaves out the fact that for most of history, until about 1980, it was predominantly men who wrote erotic fiction.

    But I enjoyed your post anyway.

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    1. Wasn't reading erotic fiction in 1980. That is interesting. Why was that and what changed?

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  8. I'll bet there are still lots of men writing erotic romance and publishing it under female pseudonyms because it sells better that way.

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  9. I agree with Annabeth and Remittance Girl—and I was reading erotic fiction in 1980. The feminization of erotic fiction is a recent phenomenon.

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  10. I ask all three of you , or anyone else. Is 'male' erotic fiction different now from 1980? If so, how?

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  11. One thing I have to give the ladies credit for is raising the quality bar. The social compact in 1980-ish was men were allowed to have our dirty words/pictures, in the brown paper envelope in the nightstand drawer, as long as we didn't take it out and discuss it in "polite society" (i.e. when ladies—who would never ever be interested in such things—were present). Erotic writing wasn't expected to be of high quality, and much of it lived down to expectations.

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  12. Why was what men did "bad"? How exactly did women "raise the bar" if men were writing about their fantasies and their needs?

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  13. Two examples off the top of my head. Characters changing names mid-story. A narrative arc consisting of a hook, followed by a flashback detailing the entire history of the characters' relationship to this point, before getting started with the actual story.

    I started reading Herotica anthologies in the mid-90s partly because there was more craft in the writing, and partly because here were female characters who were subjects of the sex they were having—equal participants who were engaging in it for their own pleasure/reasons—and not merely objects of desire. That's closer to the type of sex I want to both have, and read about.

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  14. I think it's a matter of the inner dialogue thing. When men write erotica, it's the whole, "Pizza delivery! And here's your pepperoni!" (sound of zipper). So all females are nympomaniacs who don't need anything "boring" like foreplay or romance to entice them. They'll just drop trou and get to it...kind of like what men do with each other in M/M romance. As my gay cousin has told me, when you get 2 men together, all both of them can think of is getting off. When you get a woman and a man together, she's wondering what he thinks of her, will he be around after the sex is done? Etc.

    Having been the kind of woman who went strictly for the "hook-ups" long before that's what they were called, I've now been happily married for 30 years. But it took me a long time to realize that most women don't think like I do. Most over-think the whole sex act. I always saw it as an appetite, like wanting food...or an itch that needed scratching. But most women imbue it with so much more.

    I write contemporary erotic romance because I don't want to return to the days when a woman's only value was in her intact hymen. And birth control is non-negotiable with me, so I often deal with it in the story.

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  15. CJ, Fiona:
    Interesting points. Fiona I don't read M/M so I can't argue with your observation. My typical MO is a slightly clueless guy who falls into the clutches of a sexually aggressive woman.

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  16. "My typical MO is a slightly clueless guy who falls into the clutches of a sexually aggressive woman."

    A very common male fantasy, well represented in erotica written by men. A certain amount of wish fulfillment in it, yes? And nothing wrong with that. I write a fair amount of male fantasy, male POV myself.

    But let me ask a question—and I'll preface this by saying I'm not familiar with your writing, Spencer, so you may well have addressed this. If a female reader were to pick up one of your stories and read it, what's in it for her to relate to?

    For me, that starts with the female character needing to be there for more than getting the dude's rocks off. What does she get out of their encounter? Why is she sexually aggressive in the first place?

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    1. I can provide my answer to that. Spencer's male characters treat the women in the story as people, not just pussies. Intelligence, sense of humor, general grit - these are all as important as her boob size. As a woman, I love to meet a guy who has that attitude. And I think other women feel the same way. Certainly, my DH, who's no prince charming as far as looks are concerned, has a deep respect for and enjoyment of women as people (sexual people). He's had an unbelievable number of lovers, and even now that he's in his seventies, women still are drawn to him.

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  17. That is a very good question.
    My stories are mostly HEA or HFN. She sees a potential for a relationship and is willing to take a risk that with encouragement, he will too. On another level she enjoys being able to manipulate a man and relishes in the desire she stimulates.

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