Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Senior Erotica"? Do we need it, want it?


 The anthology that became Ageless Erotica (Seal Press, 2013) had been a gleam in my eye for years. The older I got and the more erotica I read, the more I wished for erotica that reflected my age, my experiences, my challenges, my sexuality living in an aging body. I wanted erotica that acknowledged the challenges, the liveliness, and the creativity of older-age sex. Twenty-nine erotica writers ages 50 to 70+ came through with stories that amazed and delighted me.

Do people over age 50 need or want erotica about our age group? Personally, at 69, I enjoy sexy writing, but I don’t respond to youth-focused erotica with its quick arousal and inevitable orgasms. When I read about a couple slamming each other against a wall or onto a kitchen counter because their drive is impossibly urgent, my reaction is “ouch,” not “ohhh.” I want to identify with the characters, and I’m most stimulated by writers who write from an older perspective, using characters of our age, experiencing our challenges.

Many -- most? -- people don’t feel this way at all. They’re aroused by characters and scenes that fill a fantasy that is unrelated to age and that takes them away from the realities of their own lives. They don't want to be reminded of arthritic knees or undependable orgasms when they're reading erotica.

Even among my own Ageless Erotica writers, there was no agreement when I asked them about the importance of “senior erotica.” Here's a sampling of their comments:

    Donna's Picture.
  • “Good erotica is never about what the characters look like. It’s about sensations, sexy thoughts, hot words, how the partners give each other pleasure,” says Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman, a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman's erotic adventures in Japan. “For me it was deliciously naughty, a treat for my inner rebel, to write a true story about a juicy afternoon tryst with my husband of 27 years for Ageless Erotica. That story was very, very satisfying to tell.”

  • “I don't believe we need erotica that emphasizes the challenges of seniors -- people read fiction to escape from reality,” says I.G. Frederick, who writes steamy erotic stories and edgy, transgressive fiction. “However, all writers have a responsibility not to marginalize older adults by ignoring them. When they don't appear in fiction they may succumb to the media myth that only the young get laid.”

  • "It’s important for my older characters not only to enjoy good, hot, steamy sex, but also to experience physical and emotional changes and deal with real life insecurities," says Audrienne Roberts Womack, who also writes under the name Lotus Falcon, author of Sugar Dish Mouth Watering Erotic Poetry. "My main objective for writing erotic scenes for older characters is to emphasize that seniors are having and loving sexual relations just as they have always enjoyed it in their youth." 

  • "America and the world at large are obsessed with youth and beauty being paramount to sex appeal," says  Cheri Crystal, an award-winning erotica writer whose Help Wanted: Clitoris Missing In Action features a woman turning 60. "This preoccupation with staying young often affects how we feel about our sexual selves as we age. We want and need to see ourselves in fiction, particularly, erotica, because it makes us feel good no matter how old or how many limitations and challenges we may have." 

  •  “Erotica from an older perspective is fascinating because within us are the memories of a lifetime: adolescent lust, young adult passions, the settled sexuality of middle age, and the difficulties and rewards of older age sex,” says Susan St. Aubin, whose A Love Drive-By includes erotic tales about people of all ages. “At almost 70, I run into more physical limitations, but my interior fantasies remain the same, and the erotic memories continue to grow!”

    Rae Francoeur
  • “When I write erotica, I'm focused on the erotic aspects of lovemaking so that age doesn't really factor into it,” says Rae Padilla Francoeur, author of the erotic memoir, Free Fall: A Late-in-Life Memoir (read my review here). “When we do it, we're not just thinking, hey, watch out for my bad knee. We're hardly thinking at all.” Francoeur shares her writing with her lover, age 73, on date night. “If he says, ‘This is hot,’ I've done my job and I'm about to reap the rewards.” 


Is “senior erotica” a trend? We may never know, because we don’t talk much about our erotica appetite or preferences. But we can make it a trend just by buying, reading, and talking about erotica that acknowledges our age group. 

You’ll be surprised and, I hope, delighted, to expand your fantasy life to see what is possible at our age!




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