When It Isn't Like It Should Be


When Did Erotica Become Unsexy?

Saucy Readers, this is a rant. If you’re having a good day and don’t want to ruin your mood, maybe you should stop here. If you enjoy the recent trends in romances and erotica — regardless of the barely-there plot — you might not want to read this either. You’ve been warned!

I’m one of those women who enjoys reading romances every once in a while. After every intense series, chilling mystery, and hair-raising horror story, I like taking a break with a romance. For the past few years, I’ve found that erotica is a fun break in between book series, even when the series themselves are full of romance and sex. It just helps knowing that at the end of around 2-3 hundred pages there will be a happily ever after.

I won’t lie — the sexual tension, chemistry, and the sex in these books is a major reason I enjoy them. I like the whole “girl meets boy, boy tries to get girl, girl holds off, sparks fly, they clash, they melt, they surrender” formula. Yes, it’s predictable. It will not quench your thirst for an epic story. And for those of us who relish the slow burn, it won’t satisfy that desire. But sometimes you just need to take a break, you know. And for me, that sometimes means erotica.




Lately, it has been tough finding romances/erotica that keep me engaged for even a few chapters. I guess it was easier reading romances when I was younger, but as I grow older I realize that I just don’t “get” a lot of the clichés used in these books.

I can live with predictability. I know they will meet, have instantaneous reactions to each other, and eventually decide to get together. Then “the problem” will begin to tear them apart, some misunderstanding will occur, they will seemingly end things between them but then realize they can’t get over each other, and then somehow everything will work out (usually with the help of some amazing friends), and all will be right with the world. The end.

But I keep running across things that are increasingly difficult to ignore, or even not worth suffering through, just to get my smut fix. I’m actually apprehensive of most erotica I come across now, because I’m beginning to expect those horrific clichés that make it all so distasteful to me. Let me run you through just a few of them.


Why, oh why, does the girl almost always have to be a virgin? I just do not understand that. What is so special about virginity? If the authors were writing about girls in their late teens or even early 20s, I’d get it. But you have books where the girl has been “waiting for the one” until well in her 30s, and it just makes me wonder... why?

I especially don’t get it in the erotica genre. These books are supposed to be about great sex between two sexual beings, so why is she a virgin? Why can’t she be just a regular girl, who enjoyed sex like every other woman her age, and met this guy, and had explosive chemistry with him, which led to epic sex? Why does it have to be this whole “oh I’m a virgin” and “he’s oh so experienced” and he teaches her everything there is to know about sex? The man is always this sexual beast who is amazing at sex, through years of practice (even if he’s only 21), and gets incredibly (weirdly) turned on by her virginity, and thinks it makes her more special than other girls. Look, I agree, taking someone’s virginity is special. But what is the deal with it ALWAYS being the case? Why is the guy never a virgin? Or NOT a sex connoisseur? Why does he awaken something no man has ever been able to in the blushing, innocent heroine with his magical fingers and (clearly) equally magical penis?


It’s acceptable (I guess) in historical settings, or even in some parts of the modern world, but contemporary romance/erotica has way more virgins than not, and I have to wonder why. Where are all these unbelievably gorgeous, smoking hot, yet painfully innocent and “pure” virgins that are inspiring these authors? Is there an island?


Another thing that always bugs me is the whole “she never had an orgasm before” or “she never responded to anyone this way” stuff that happens when she ISN’T a virgin. (Don’t worry, she has still barely been out there; someone just happened to pop her cherry before the hero came along.) I mean seriously, is it not possible for her to have been happy, healthy, had orgasms in the past, and still be insanely attracted to the hero and have dynamite sex?

She goes from being a virgin who had never been touched “down there” (don’t get me started), even by herself, to having multiple orgasms on her first go. Clearly, years of practice with every woman who crossed his path gave him super powers (and not STDs, shockingly). I’m not going to even get into the deflowering scenes themselves.... I don’t think I can put into words how ridiculous some of them are. And there are so...so...many deflowering scenes.



It’s bad enough when she knows nothing about her body — even though she’s an adult. But those scenes where she first gets a glance of his manhood of pornographic proportions make me wonder if I should laugh or cry. I mean... it’s a penis. Where on earth has she been living if that is the first penis she has ever seen? Has she never watched TV, picked up a magazine? Surfed the web? Does she not go to movies or watch even one of many modern cable television channels, like HBO and Starz? Once again I ask, where are these women?

No you nitwit (the heroine, not the adorable minion), it’s a penis.

So she acquaints herself with the hero’s body and ALWAYS, if not aloud then silently, wonders if he will fit inside her. Once again... if it occurred back in the day when girls were told diddly squat about sex, their bodies, or men’s bodies, it would be more realistic. Contemporary books that portray the heroine staring wide eyed at the hero’s penis wondering whether he’ll fit are ridiculous.

And then that moment occurs, when the hero finally gives in and proceeds to ravish the heroine. He penetrates... and freezes. Realizing she’s a virgin (because the dumbass didn’t tell him, for no intelligent reason). I HATE that it makes him look at her in a different light because he suddenly respects her more. As if FINALLY she is worthy of his time. WHAT.THE.BLOODY.HELL? What concept are these authors trying to perpetuate? Why do more women not fling these books into the trash?

Oh! And one of my favorites... He penetrates her that first time, in the heat of the moment, because he JUST CANNOT resist her any longer. And he is IN her. Then he stops to ask, “Are you on birth control?” I am going to try and remain calm now. *deep breathing* They usually end up having sex anyway. The guy often busts out a condom for round 2, which I find hilarious. Or sometimes, and I love this, they both have secret yearnings for the gift of life. I kid you not. The heroine does not freak the fuck out, and does not wonder why on earth the man-slut doesn’t carry protection around with him everywhere he goes. As far as I’m concerned, people who are that irresponsible shouldn’t be allowed to procreate. But that’s just me. Authors, please remember:

It really, really is.

So they didn’t use protection. And a few weeks later, the too-dumb-to-breathe-on-her-own heroine is nauseous and puking and/or craving weird foods and/or has tender breasts/nipples. Let’s not even mention how these women never realize they’re “late” until the all-knowing heroes tell/ask them. And then, turns out, they ALL had irregular cycles to start with so they didn’t notice. How fucking convenient for this ridiculously overused and stupid plot twist. 



Moving on to other things too stupid to think about for too long with out popping an artery....

Have you noticed how, when the hero and heroine are separated by some horrible circumstance for years, the hero tends to screw everything that moves, yet the heroine chooses celibacy? Basically, she returns to the man-whore as pure as the day she left. Yet he has issues if another man has so much as looked at her during their time apart, when he was dipping his junk in anything with a vagina. WHY do authors stick to these outdated clichés?




Now don’t get me wrong. There are times when these books do manage to be entertaining, even with the clichés. Usually because the heroine is extremely likable, the hero is likable and insanely hot, or there is just something about their story you connect with. Not to mention the sizzling hot sex scenes that make some books worth the read all by themselves! But for the most part, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the stories I’m running across.

The overbearing, bordering-on-stalker-ish hero is another cliché I see a lot. It just does NOT float my boat. If a man (who barely knows you) feels the need to track everything you do or know where you are 24/7, don’t walk out... RUN. This is NOT a Dominant/Submissive thing. This is scary and not sexy at all. I’m not even going to discuss the domestic/psychological abuse aspects. And yet I notice hundreds of these books on the Amazon and Goodreads sites, where women are recommending them left and right, and swooning over assholes who have issues with women who behave as if they had lives before meeting them or women who have male (or, sometimes, any) friends!


I absolutely loathe the old, familiar tune that once the heroine meets the hero, he becomes the center of her entire fucking universe. THIS is one reason I adore a lot of our favorite UF/PNR female authors so much: The hero is just a support system for the heroine a lot of the time. If anything, he helps her become a stronger HER by letting her be herself. He doesn’t diminish her awesomeness in any way. SHE is the epic one, the kick-ass one. She just happens to find someone worthy of her attention. Which is why it bugs me so much that a lot of these awesome books are often found in the Romance section of a bookstore... but that’s a rant for another day.

If a dude wants you to spend every second of every day around him, or keeps tabs on where you’re going and with whom, I’d be worried. If he’s that needy, he’s looking for a mom, not a girlfriend. Realistically speaking, two happy people in a relationship CAN have lives and friends outside of each other. I kid you not. Jealousy is NOT attractive when it leads to creepy anger that scares you (and the heroine, if she has half a brain). Sure, a little possessiveness is acceptable, but unless you’re screwing another man, he shouldn’t be threatening violence to other men, and especially not to your close friends who just happen to have penises. NOT.SEXY. Most of these stories portray a heroine who IS scared of the hero’s anger, and who often thinks of how angrily he’d react if he saw her/heard her doing something in particular. Once again, NOT SEXY. And yet, she seems to think it is.

Yeah, NOT normal.
I am allll for some Domination in the bedroom. Hell, I have enjoyed the occasional BDSM erotica. While I’ve realized it really isn’t my kink, there are some books that have made me wonder whether I’m perhaps more open to it than I like to believe. But OH MY GOD, the amount of BDSM erotica out there is getting ridiculous. Most of it is trash (in fact, some of the most popular ones, IMHO). It’s generally used as an excuse for the hero to make the heroine do whatever the hell he wants in the name of a Dom/Sub relationship, and she just goes a long with it because, even though she has never ever in her life had the inclination to submit to anyone sexually, she wants to be a good Sub. The hero just KNOWS she is a Submissive, by the way. His magic Dom radar picked up on it when she walked into the building. And, would you look at that, she is inherently a Sub! How lucky for her that someone showed up to convince her, in one short (usually extremely weird) session. I feel bad for people who actually are into the BDSM lifestyle, because they come across in some of these books as fucked-up psychos with mommy-and-daddy issues who turn to pain for something other than pleasure. There are exceptions in the genre, but not many. I’m wondering where all the regular, non-specialty, kink erotica has disappeared to. (Feel free to leave me recommendations in the comments!)

I’ve run out of things to rant about (for now!), though I’m sure there are many more. But the point of all this was that someone needs to tell these authors they are not doing us any favors by writing these outdated and clichéd story lines. I shudder to think that younger females might read these books and infer that this is how they should weigh their worth, and judge their relationships. Brings to mind those girls who say shit on Twitter like “I’d let Chris Brown beat me” (even typing that makes my brain hurt). You have to wonder if, just maybe, they’ve been reading one too many books where the woman puts up with everything the man does because “he loves her” and makes her feel like no other man has, or because she lost her virginity to an asshole and thinks that means something more than it really does and that she should just let him treat her as he pleases.

You heard me, Chris Brown has young fangirls
who are okay with him abusing them.

I would like to mention that there IS good erotica out there. Not ALL of it is full of clichés. These were just a few of the things I’ve noticed in recent erotica that have diminished my enjoyment of the genre. I haven’t named authors or titles, good or bad. I don’t want to offend anyone, and honestly, I just wanted to rant a little. I’m tired of people recommending books that are so bad I almost wish I didn’t know how to read so I had never come across them. Thank God for the Wenches and their recommendations, though! I think from now on, I’ll stick with erotica my fellow Wenches tell me to read.

Disclaimer: I have nothing against virgins, man-whores, or people who read and write romances/erotica. I just don’t want to read (over and over again, in a million different books) about cherry popping, unplanned pregnancies because of irresponsibility, and promiscuity that is somehow cured by taking a naive woman’s virginity.

*all gifs from tumblr

Comments

  1. You read my mind with this post. I've read only one erotica and I have to say all these things are the reasons I'll never go back to that genre. I was so pissed when I read that book that I almost threw my e-reader(but it's too expensive so I didn't). I must say that I even found a few UF/PNR with similar stories.

    IMO, when writers use these plot devices they are not imaginative enough to write something original and inspiring.

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    1. Hehe glad you didn't throw around your ereader! And YES, I have come across this in some PNR too! These authors don't bother changing because they STILL sell! Shockingly :/

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    2. There are a lot of authors in many genres that stick to the same old formula. I find it's okay for the first couple, but then they need to change it up. I love a book that sideswipes me with something totally unexpected.

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    3. I swear...I think the thing that really pisses me off, next to the plot in these kind of romances, is the fact that women write most of them. *barf*

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  2. God bless you, Zee, both for this epic post and the awesome gifs.

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    1. Thank you Donna! Glad you enjoyed the gifs hehe :p my fave is the minion one.

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  3. God bless you, Zee, both for this epic post and the awesome gifs.

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  4. Loved this. I like my heroines to be feisty and brave but I so often exclaim "another shy, blonde virgin falling into bed with the dark haired, alpha male?! Really?!". This post hits a lot of amazing points. I love knowing other people feel the same!

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    1. Thanks Natalie! I like my heroines kick ass too! (Hence one of my first posts on this blog was "My top 3 Kick Ass heroines" lol) but it is TOUGH finding them in the romance/erotica genre!

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  5. Zee this post is all kinds of awesome. You have voiced exactly what I think. One mind my friend. One mind.

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    1. Yay! So glad you think it's awesome Ange!!

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  6. The is an awesome post. I have to agree with you. Great post! The pictures make it even better!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! I do love adding the pics and gifs :D so fun!

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  7. Hey, we talked about this the other day! :-) This was really fun to read, and rather than "ruin my mood", made me laugh several times! I haven't read very many straight-up romances (that didn't have a paranormal aspect), so I haven't really been overdosed on the points that you cover. I find them entertaining at the time I read them. However, when I look back on them, they're never as good as I thought they were at the time. One series comes to mind. I read all three books in a week. It wasn't too long though, that I was telling other people, "Oh, if you want a *great* series, with lots of sex, don't read those, read these."

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    1. Yes we did Amanda!! Glad it made you laugh lol. And I have noticed, sometimes they aren't so bad on the first read.. but the more you think about it (and the better books you read after) really put things into perspective for you!

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    2. I wasn't even able to go through the first book (if we're talking about what I think we're talking about)... LOL

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    3. Oh if we're talking about what I think we're talking about, I could not even get through the first FIFTY pages!!!!!

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    4. I haven't even attempted it and don't plan to. When I heard what it evolved from, I wasn't going to touch it.

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  8. You forgot to give a shout out to the ultra rich guy plot device, especially one where he managed to make all that money on his own initiative...and the guy that can go multiple times forever.

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    1. Darn! I knew I was forgetting something! The ultra rich, self made billionaire (all in his 20s might I add) plot device! I can't even remember the last time it WASN'T used! And yeah.. they have the stamina of bull in heat... amazing isn't it? LOL

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    2. That's a great point! And yeah, it's truly amazing.
      ... There must be an island where they are! LOL :D

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  9. YES, YYYEEESSS, YYYYYEEEEESSSSS!!!!! From your mouth to the authors' ears! This is perfect, and I LMAO for a very long time. I had to keep stopping to wipe the tears from my eyes. How long I have wanted someone to say this. Bravo and thank you!!!

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    1. Hehehe Kathi it just makes me SO happy when you tell me your reaction :D you are welcome!! And thank you for enjoying it so much!

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  10. YesssssssG-d yessssssss!!!!!!
    I just had a book-gasm. Zee, you must be my soul mate. I will now proceed w/ the stalking.
    I have a scarily long list of words I despise used in sex scenes. That always makes a good rant. ;)

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    1. Hello Maggie!!! I don't think I've ever given anyone a book-gasm before! Wow! Commence with the stalking ;) I am just beyond happy you enjoyed the post! and agreed :D TBH I didn't think a lot of people would! So thank you!

      Ohh I thought of adding a list of words I hate that are used to describe genitalia! I know a few of the other Wenches and I have talked about it before! Hmmm that would make a good rant!

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    2. YES Maggie you're so right about the list of words used in sex scenes! And gawd how I've often thought about writing one :)

      LOL Zee, yeah that topic has been discussed :D

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  11. That was one of the most epic post ever Zee, standing ovation! Same bloody word!
    I've maybe only read a handful of this types of books and when I have Oh. My. God it's horrible (thinking about the one I just recently read *shudders* but at least there were no virgins in that one, hehe) I don't even like them the first time around... no way I'm going to read it again, ugh.
    Great post and hilarious at the same time, if I were rating it, it would be "Awesomesauce"!

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  12. Your post is so funny I had the best laugh in days! And while I haven't really had the time to spare on this kind of books, I did "brake" and read the one that made such a media splash (and combines all the things you mentioned) but could not make myself endure more than the first book. I hated the heroine with too much passion! Thx for the post, you rock!:)

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    1. Hello Bianca! Glad you enjoyed it! And yeah... that popular book.. possibly one of THE worst books I have EVER read in my life. That character does not deserve to be called a "heroine". I can honestly say, I hated every single character and every single thing about that book. So we totally agree on that ;)

      You are very welcome, and you rock too!

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  13. Brilliant post Zee, I can't believe I missed this one. You know I ssssoooooo agree with you, we've had this discussion so many times before. Love the "Banana" gif LOL :D
    One thing I've been noticing lately in romances, mostly UF/PNR is the stallion sized penis that hurts the heroine every time she has sex with the guy, oh and she's always so "tight" like she's an incurable virgin *eyeroll*
    And the guy is always so tortured and of course the heroine is the only one that can save him blah blah blah

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    1. SOOOOO glad you enjoyed it Inga!! Makes me so happy :D

      Haha the stallion sized penis! Of course!! And don't even get me started on the overuse of the phrase "you're so tight" *eye roll*

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    2. I know!! Makes me cringe everytime *shudder*

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  14. This post was hilarious, Zee. I agreed with a lot of what you said, and this is coming from a smut-reader. ;-)

    I haven't read any erotica in awhile. Maybe I'm burnt out on virgins and well-hung sex gods, haha.
    But yeah, the virgin thing I ALWAYS hated. I just didn't get it.

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    1. THANKS Jaymie! And yes! I appreciate it even more coming from you! You and Barb have actually pointed me to the best erotica I've read, but since then it's all been a downward spiral! Everyone's recommendations suck! Glad you enjoyed the post though! :*

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  15. Ahhh! You just gave me a timely reminder why I LOVE you ladies so damn much!

    I enjoy a little (ok, a lot) of erotica now and then but I need my reading experience to have a little more meat on it's bones than so many of the newer ones have. I like a plot that extends beyond repetitive shagging scenes, heroes and heroines who I actually like and a touch of this crazy little thing called common sense showing it's face now and then. But my all time bugbear, even more than the multiple orgasming virgins you mentioned, is when you get a female character who has been hideously raped and brutalised (again, someone who was previously a virgin until that terrible event)swooning onto the cock of the uber-hero and having mind blowing sex from the get-go. That's not to say that survivors can't have wonderful and fulling sex lives but the speed at which they seem to recover when the hero waves his magic wang and speaks the foreplay version of 'abracadabra' is quite shocking. Authors! Quit with the purer than pure women who never entertain a dirty thought unless they are with The One, the victimisation of female characters as an excuse to show how amazing and tender the hero is in contrast to, well, pretty much every other male on the face of the earth and buying into the idiotic concept that enough sex scenes make up for the lack of any other decent content.

    And on a side note, a certain piece of 'erotica' that you reference many, many times in your wonderful post has been appearing in second hand book stores and charity shops in droves and hardly any of them look as though they've been read beyond a few chapters. It truly is a triumph of marketing and hype over substance and I curse the day it was ever published and spawned so many equally poor imitators.

    Keep up the good work!

    Kitsune x

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    1. Hello! And I am SO happy you enjoyed it!

      "I like a plot that extends beyond repetitive shagging scenes..." SO THIS! I can not remember the last time I read one that HAD a plot! And common sense! Jeez. I miss common sense in these books.

      I have to say, the rape survivor who jumps right into sex with the uber-hero and has multiple orgasms from the get go when the guy is barely trying (you know... because he's just THAT good) actually pains me to read it. It has bothered me in MANY many books. Also, the certain piece of popular fanfic..err.. erotica that has been so popular of late, has something similar. Where the guy does NOT do vanilla, and does NOT spend the night with a girl, and does not like to be touched (due to oh so tragic and deep seated issues), but does all these things IMMEDIATELY with the vapid cunt. Oops did I just say that? I mean..... with the "heroine". Maybe... just maybe... his journey would have been more realistic to me if it hadn't been SO convenient to the plot. But enough about that LOL. I could go on.

      "buying into the idiotic concept that enough sex scenes make up for the lack of any other decent content." Yeah.. I have to say I am SICK and tired of seeing this in both books and television!

      Thanks for stopping by Kitsune!!!

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  16. Popping in as a repeat offender! I would like to say a big, sarcastic thank you the author of a certain trilogy for effectively destroying what was once a quietly thriving genre.

    Once upon a time anyone with a taste for female friendly erotica could dive into any number of scenarios but now? BDSM seems to be the ONLY order of the day. I know that every success (no matter how ill deserved) will spawn multiple imitators but this has gone beyond a joke. Is it even possible to beg, buy or borrow a piece of modern erotica that doesn't involve the hardcore arsehole Dom hero discovering the TRUE meaning of life through the subjugation of the heroine by any and all means possible? It wouldn't be so bad if any of these authors had actually understood the reality of BDSM (where the sub is actually the one with the greater degree of control) rather than the warped and instinctively shameful Jameseon version, but none of them do and authors who KNOW and CAN write it sympathetically and with good erotic tension are being lost in a landslide of drivel.

    It would also be extremely nice if the authors and publishers could wrap their collective heads around the idea that this style of erotica is not a "One cock fits all" situation. Heavens above, but some women like to read about female Dominants and male submissives! And some don't like ANY BDSM erotica at all and simply want an intriguing love story interspersed with some breathtaking near misses that have the reader calling the author every name under the sun while compulsively continuing to read as fast as their eyes will allow until they get to one of the BIG scenes that leave them feeling like they want a cigarette and a lie down in a darkened room. We are all different and like different things at different times so c'mon people! Stop causing grey and silver ink shortages with your clone covers to go with your clone stories and give us some well thought out, well written and well rounded variety!

    Finally, may I humbly suggest that the wonderful Wenches start an erotica review section that takes in the dedicated paranormal and standard smutsplosions of quality? I'm sure that many of us would welcome a place where we can get honest and often cripplingly funny recommendations for erotic titles and authors that dare to break free from the grey Borg-think...

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    1. Welcome back!!!

      Oh Lord, I soooo know what you mean! If I have to see yet another woman with her hands tied or blindfolded on a cover I'm going to scream. Or in a submissive position. And I HATE the fact that such a crappy series has made this so popular.

      "We are all different and like different things at different times so c'mon people! Stop causing grey and silver ink shortages with your clone covers to go with your clone stories and give us some well thought out, well written and well rounded variety!"

      CAN I GET AN AMEN!!?!

      I love that suggestion Kits! We will work on it. Erotica is relatively new to me (not to the rest of the Wenches though.)

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