What is the importance of erotica in fiction today? Is it necessary or simply a cheap thrill? Why as a writer do I write sexually explicit scenes into my novels? Well, I suppose there are several reasons. Sexual interaction is a very important part of any relationship. As a writer, if I leave out the sex scenes, I'm leaving out one of the most significant aspects of a couple's relationship. The awkwardness of a new couple having sex for the first time reveals a whole bunch not only about each character, but about how they feel toward each other.
But to be honest, I have to acknowledge that I'm competing for your attention with the likes of reality TV shows about rich housewives, fantasy island survival, and marriage proposals. Then you have cable fantasy shows depicting dragons, wizards and of course nudity. So, yes, part of the reason for writing sexually explicit scenes is to spice up the story and keep you, my readers, interested.
There is a long history of erotica in literature, from D.H. Lawrence and Anais Nin to the inclusion of sexually explicit scenes such as in the writing of John Irving and a few other modern authors. Each author has different reasons for writing sex into their stories, but probably the most common is that it reflects reality. We humans are sexual beings and writing a story that leaves out sex leaves out part of what makes us human.
For the best example of tasteful and necessary erotica, please check out my 2nd novel The Sex Therapist.
For the eagle-eyed readers of my latest novel, Chapter One, this blog post is almost verbatim a speech given by the main character, Henry, at one of his book signings. Another reflection in the hall of mirrors that is the theme of that novel.