Public Domain Art - John Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare
Where lurks...? Yep, I went for the creepy verb effect with that title but really what I'm asking is, what the hell is Dark Erotica? I started wondering about this before I wrote my latest book, Take Me, Break Me because I wanted to dip my toes into it, and now after publication I'm seeing even more clearly that it's not that clearly defined. You see Wikipedia also calls it Erotic Horror and does a very bare bones definition of, "a term applied to works of horror fiction in which sensual or sexual imagery (or even descriptions of the physical act of sexual intercourse) are blended with horrific overtones or story elements."Yet on Goodreads the Dark Erotica group defines it as
"the more aggressive form of Erotica. This would include storylines with rough sex, forced seduction, rape, kidnapping, BDSM, and those who enjoy alternative lifestyles to the extreme, multiple partners that may or may not involve same sex interaction"But I like another definition, a far simpler one - dark erotica is a story with fear plus lust. Because in a way this covers both of the above. Fear is so personal. Something that scares you, another person will brush off as nothing much at all. Horror is surely a more horrible form of fear? True. Yet some of the most well known books of this sort of erotic story, such as Captive in the Dark, may cause mild fear or an unsettling feeling but aren't going to cause that true hide-under-the-bed horror that you get in a horror movie or a classic story like The Monkey's Paw (which is pure horror, not erotic horror).So to me, erotic horror is different from Dark Erotica, or it's a small sub-section of it. And so my romance story, Take Me, Break Me, which I deliberately wrote to drift about on the edge of the darkly erotic realm, has some readers going..."Wow. I can't express all the emotions I got from this read and I'm pretty jaded when it comes to deep dark erotic romance." Michele Harvey, Goodreads reviewAnd others are going, no, never, that's not dark erotica at all.Funny how we like to scare ourselves though, isn't it? Not that I read dark erotica to be scared exactly. It's more of a thrill, I think. Now I'm wondering if I got that definition right after all. Lust + Thrill plus or minus Fear?I think I need a maths degree to work this out.
PS Erotica is the wrong term anyway for a fleshed-out erotic romance IMO but that's another definition for another day.
Here's a great review blog I found today for dark erotic books: Jessy's Book Club
Adding some more thoughts.
Having done some more thinking...really, that definition should say that the lust and the fear have to be there at the same time. I could make a horror story where the sex and the horror are in different chapters and that is not dark erotica.
I'm also wondering if dubious consent or non-consensual scenes of sex need to be in the story. I think they do. Because although the wikipedia definition may not say it, but I feel it's pussy-footing around the true meaning. A story where the son of Satan, or a succubus, rapes a woman is still non-consent despite the non-human attacker. Am I right there?
Adults only excerpt - 18 years plus
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
I've had such a lot of feedback on facebook that I thought it worth putting this here.
My WIP that I'm writing. To give you all a head's up that I'm planning to self-pub a story that skirts non or dubious consent. Title: Take Me, Break Me
Planned release date - End of February. I'm about 4/5 ths of the way through writing this.
The first paragraph:
This was so pretty. The contrast to what we were doing made me want to laugh in a slightly demented way. Below the cafe waves washed up the beach then retreated, leaving foaming ripples. Diamond-lace reflections from the gentled parts of the blue blue sea blinded me – jaw-dropping scenery – and here I’d just signed a document that gave the man opposite permission to mind fuck me into the next century.
Jodie is scraping the barrel trying to stay afloat. An idea arrives that could rescue her finances and bring her together in a kinky way with a man she never gave up on. So why not use it? Capture fantasies rule Jodie’s eBook. Re-enacting one in a documentary would surely be irresistible viewing to millions of women?
But Jodie and Klaus discover that underneath an ordinary man dark desires may lurk. What will win in the end? The man and lover, or the monster?
“I agree. This isn't working.”
Pure agreeable statement, but she rocked back slightly before she nodded.
“Nice is bad, Jodie? You want mind fuck. You want mean. You want things you dream about. You have no idea."
Her eyes widened.
"Starting now. The rules are gone. I make my own rules.”
“Uh. What? They were your rules.”
I took down the list from the door and held it, slowly tapping the laminated paper against my leg. “No. They were not.”
After unfolding the flaps of the cardboard box, I tucked the list down inside and pulled out the two gags. “Rule one. You don’t talk unless I say you can.” As her mouth opened, with the buckles trapped in my fingers, I dropped both gags into view, and dangled them. “Talk and I use these.”
Like magic, her mouth clicked shut. Now I had her attention. That had worked. I was perhaps as stunned as she looked. She touched her tongue tip to her upper lip as I stood before her and she kept her gaze swinging from the gags to my face. I had a feeling I’d never had a woman so rapt in what I said. Addictive. The pulse of excitement had centered at my groin. Nothing I could do about it. I already knew that looking at women in bondage revved my engine. But I’d never done more than look at pictures.
Now I had an inkling that anything where I got to hold the reins, really hold the reins, was like oxygen to a man in the throes of suffocation. Incredible.
I ran through my epiphany, convincing myself as much as her. Bluntness was called for.
“My conclusions. You asked me to do this because you still want me in your bed. You want me to fuck you.” Her gasp, I answered by swinging the ball gag. She uttered no words. “Somewhere in your plans, you hoped. The rules, I made up those in line with what I knew you’d be thinking. You knew I’d not step beyond, or not much.
“This,” I swept my arm across, “This room was your idea. Your rules. Lock me up. Make me yours for a while, but not too rough or dangerous because that isn't in my rules.” I cocked an eyebrow. “Yes?”
Though she frowned and shook her head I went on. It didn't matter if she deluded herself.
“You imagined some safe little love affair, with some kink on the side? Doesn't work that way. Either you hand over control, or I walk. No documentary. Nod if you agree.”
I waited. I could almost hear the clocks ticking.
When she nodded slowly, my heart kicked back in. If it had beaten at all for those last few seconds, I was unaware.
“Good. This room is no longer your prison. The house is secure and private enough. You’re coming upstairs as long as you behave.”
No protests. Good. For a woman who liked having an opinion on everything this was exceptional. I could have walked on a cloud, I was so hyper-aware of everything she did. Were her lips fuller, her cheeks flushed, her breathing faster? I thought so. But she didn't know what I intended.
“Let me point out what could have happened if this stupid plan had gone wrong. If you picked a less restrained, a less sensible man. You've given me a hundred filthy dirty ideas about what I could do to you. I never knew what depths my mind could plunge to. Now I do. if anyone was mindfucked so far, it was me. Another man would follow through. You think these gags are bad? This one with the red ball is simple, it just stops you talking.” I laid the other, metal and leather gag across my palm. “This one is a spider gag. With this in, you can’t close your mouth and your mouth can be fucked. Do you have any idea of the things on the internet? Wait.” I held up my hand. “I guess you do, from what’s in those books you read.”
I bent and rested my hands on my knees. Mind fuck. This I could accomplish.
“You want a list? How about the list of things a man could do to you in this situation… I could make you wash my dishes naked with a gag in. I could tie you up, cut your clothes off and just stare at you all day – just because I could. I could make you be a piece of furniture and ignore you. Humiliating? Yes. I could train you to be an anal slut. I could fuck your ass all day long. I could collar you and make you crawl around on the floor like a dog at a convenient height for blow jobs. I could share you with the man down the street, stick needles in your nipples and use them and some string to fasten you to eyebolts in the ceiling. Want to try that one? And at the end of it all, if I was the worst sort of man, I could kill you and bury you out there on the beach.” I swung my arm up to point. “Maybe no one would ever find you.”
Now she was truly speechless, maybe even scared. Served her right. I watched the little swallows she did for a count of five.
“But I’m not going to. I’m your friend. Remember that, no matter what I do.” I smiled one-sided but I’m sure it didn't reach my eyes. The eyes are the mirror to the soul and right then my soul was very dark.
Then I squatted down in front of her, a couple of feet away, reached out and ran the very tip of my forefinger along her plump bottom lip. “My rules. Open.”
A second’s hesitation at most. She shivered and her mouth parted. Mind fuck, here we come.
“Good. Jodie.” Then I very deliberately held up the spider gag, slipped it between her teeth, pulled her head forward, and held her there while I buckled it. Hair made a great anchor point. I slid my splayed fingers into the roots and tilted her head back then I added a rule. “Second rule. You do my dishes whenever I say. You wear the spider gag. You don’t speak unless I say. But first…” Eyes locked on hers, I advanced one finger into her mouth and stroked her tongue. And she let me.
Had I hypnotized her? She did nothing but stare back. What I wouldn't have given to fuck her mouth right then and there.
Copyright Cari Silverwood 2012. All rights reserved. No part of these publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of the author.
This is my first post. Here I stand, turning in place, looking around at my squeaky new blog. Roomy, a little minimalistic, but I’m sure with some artwork and gore and guts it’ll show promise.
With Keyboard Fandango I aim to show the side of me that is behind the curtain and only my crit partners have seen. The naked me who constantly wrestles with why I write, how I write and dang it all, with the way my brain often explodes with a nasty splatter of blood and flesh against the walls of my room because I have no idea what I’m doing ninety percent of the time.
I crack my whip.
On Prancer, on Rudolph! On to my bloggerating…
Capture Fantasies -- the slippery spiky edge of erotic fiction. How many of you read them? I’ve read enough myself to know that I like them. Some of them have even gravitated into actual rape stories like a recent one by Remittance Girl, called Gaijin, that I was quite stunned by. A brave author tackles rape in a way that turns it into an almost HEA.
This one, and Comfort Food by Kitty Thomas, made me decide to write my own capture fantasy. Thus far I’ve written HEA stories with men who are dominant yet always they are nice guys at heart.
As soon as I set fingers to keyboard the struggle began. In capture fantasies the woman gets dragged off (in some way) by the man. Since I wanted this to be acceptable by the more mainstream ebook publishers, there needed to be a reason for this happening. Why does the man do this? And why does the woman ultimately fall for him?
If the writer doesn’t sort this out we have a big humungous pitfall. So I tapped my foot and put the question to my hero, Sten (this name may be changed to protect the guilty).
Why sir, have you kidnapped and ravished this woman? Need an excuse, sir. Pronto.
The alien/ sex pollen excuse was presented to me. Strange name? Check the wiki entry. http://fanlore.org/wiki/Sex_Pollen
With a weird-ass contortion of the steampunk world of my story, a fragment of a god from another universe has invaded. A god of fantasies, who delights in matching up people’s deepest darkest fantasies. A bit like Puck, only with a dash of evil, for in this world all his restraints have fallen away and he discovers he can do anything he likes. Now all he has to do, to take over the world, is rip open the flaw between the worlds and get the rest of himself to come through.
So, right, I thought, there it is. Brilliant excuse. Kaysana is overcome by a desire to do all sorts of naughty things, including exploring a kink for exuberant exhibitionism and having sex in places like on a rooftop while at the same time her and Sten race to save the world.
The words built up, the story surged along…and pitter patted to a weak little halt. I went back to Sten.
She has an excuse, sure, but what’s yours? Just because she’s temporarily had her inhibitions removed, you take advantage? Not good enough. I tapped my foot again -- I think I have Domme potential somewhere.
Sten decided to contemplate his navel for a while, to sort out his inner demons. I have learned my lesson though. I need my hero to still be nice at heart. I cannot write my main man if he’s got too much evilness hidden somewhere. Remittance Girl has my admiration. Nasty is not my scene right now. My Sten has morphed into a down-to-earth guy who really has reasons of his own for what he does, and boy does he get up to some mischief. I still haven't got him quite right but I at least I got him to fess up a little.
Which leaves me to wonder at how nasty the man can be in a capture fantasy yet still leave the reader happily turning the pages.
Any offers of name alternatives for Sten happily received by this author, as long as they're free of germs, and well, just plain free.