Is indulging in erotic content good or bad for your sex life?
- Erotica is defined as any type of art that is meant to cause sexual ideation or arousal. The main difference between erotica and pornography is that the former is seen as "art that has a sexual aspect."
- While there are many different misconceptions about the consumption of erotic or pornographic content, many studies on this topic prove it may not be as harmful as you think.
- Erotic literature can allow you to become more comfortable in your sexuality, communicate easier with your partner and may even impact your ability to orgasm.
Common misconceptions about written erotica<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc5MjU4Ny9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNTk4OTA3MH0.UUHj7oImKfaRvteKGi0VdJKJmQyccFbKEGoPuM26eTE/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C103%2C0%2C103&height=700" id="66c89" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="72ddf915c4d9e920a0e27b4e7202cc16" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Concept of confused woman" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
There are many myths and misconceptions about erotic content...what are the facts?
Photo by Dean Drobot on Shutterstock<p><strong>MYTH: Women like erotica more than men.</strong></p><p>While it's a generalization that women prefer erotica and men prefer visual porn, this is not always the case. <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224499.2015.1131227" target="_blank">This 2016 study</a> examined the effects on both men and women who read BDSM themed erotica. The findings of this study proved that there was no difference in the extent to which the erotic stories aroused men and women. </p><p><strong>MYTH: Erotica (and pornography in general) are toxic to relationships. </strong></p><p>This is a widely spread myth about all things pornography. Some people are wary of erotic content because they assume it will hurt the intimacy and sexual desire felt in their relationship. However, according to <a href="https://www.regain.us/advice/intimacy/reading-erotic-literature-online-might-help-get-couples-in-the-mood/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Regain</a>, a popular couples counseling service, reading erotic literature can help get couples into the mood. </p><p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6155976/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This 2018 study</a> suggests whether porn hurts your relationship depends on how your partner feels about you consuming pornographic/erotic content. </p><p>"For men who are more accepting of pornography, more pornography use is associated with more relationship satisfaction; however, for men who are less accepting of pornography, more pornography use is associated with less relationship satisfaction."</p><p><strong>MYTH: Erotica is vulgar and crude. </strong></p><p>There is a large stereotype about erotic content being vulgar and crude, however, this is not always the case. There are many different kinds of written erotica available - the stories can range from romantic and subtle to aggressive and outrageous. Not all erotica is created to stun and surprise - some erotica is created to help the reader explore parts of their sexuality they've never experienced before. </p><p><strong>MYTH: Enjoying erotica is bad. </strong></p><p>There are some studies that prove this to be quite false. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK67373/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">This 1998 study</a> examined the effects of bibliotherapy (reading therapy) on patients with orgasm disorders (sexual dysfunctions), and found that "the available evidence warrants the recommended use of self-help books for sexual dysfunction, but only after proper assessment."</p><p>While erotica may not quality as "self-help" to some, for others, reading and exploring sexuality through the written word is in fact a form of self-help. </p>
How reading erotic literature can improve your sex life<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzc5MjY1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzQ1MjMwOH0.OfgPRry6Xk6qLJU6QFzuwY7Q2JaXx-goY4_N9xx7B6E/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C4%2C0%2C4&height=700" id="66884" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a7fb0be3ebf9473b8c2dcdbcc2552ef" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="man and woman in bed reading erotica book together" data-width="1245" data-height="700" />
Reading erotica can be relaxing and boost your confidence, allowing you to communicate better with your partner about your sexual needs.
Photo by Dmytro Zinkevych on Shutterstock<p><strong>Reading relaxes you. Relaxation makes sex easier and more enjoyable.</strong></p><p>Stress can impact your health in numerous ways, including lowering your sex drive. One of the best ways to relieve daily stress and overcome anxiety is to lose yourself in a good book. </p><p>According to the <a href="https://worldliteracyfoundation.org/reading-reduces-stress/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">World Literacy Foundation</a>, reading has been found to decrease blood pressure, lower your heart rate, and reduce stress. In fact, as little as 6 minutes of reading can slow down your heart rate and improve your overall health. </p><p>Reading erotica can rid society of stigmas around sexual satisfaction.</p><p>According to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/life/how-reading-erotica-can-unlock-sex-drive/12127924" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ABC Life</a>, reading erotica may just be a key to unlocking your sex drive. Kate Cuthbert, a program manager at Writers Victoria, explained that, "erotica reflects our sexuality in a positive way, unlike in mainstream society where a lot of it can be repressed."</p><p><strong>Erotic literature can help you discover your sexuality and feel more comfortable. </strong></p><p>Not only does it relieve stress and anxiety (which can often be barriers to an active and enjoyable sex life), but it can also help you navigate your own sexuality and express yourself in a healthier way. </p><p>"Romance novels are as much about a woman falling in love with herself—in addition to the adventures, true love, and fantastic sex," says romance novelist <a href="http://www.mayarodale.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Maya Rodale</a>.</p><p><strong>Much erotic literature highlights consent and safe sex. </strong></p><p>While there are some erotic stories that don't discuss things like birth control, safewords, and consent, these themes are becoming more and more popular among up-and-coming erotica authors. </p><p>Erotica can be a safe place to express sexuality and explore curiosities and it can also promote communication and conversations between partners around safe, healthy, vibrant sex that all parties involved are happy with.</p><p>--</p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/jaimeebell_" target="_blank">Jaimee Bell</a> is the author of "All the Dirty Little Things," a six-story erotica collection now available on <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08F4JTQTZ?tag=bigthink00-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Amazon</a>. <br></p>
Will Storr has written a masterful guide to writing with "The Science of Storytelling."
- In "The Science of Storytelling," journalist Will Storr investigates the science behind great storytelling.
- While good plots are important, Storr writes that great stories revolve around complex characters.
- As in life, readers are drawn to flawed characters, yet many writers become too attached to their protagonists.
Will Storr, author of 'The Heretics', appears at a photocall prior to an event at the 30th Edinburgh International Book Festival, on August 13, 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo by Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images<h2>The Many Us</h2><p>Many writers fail because they become too emotionally invested in their protagonist, which is often constructed from pieces of the writer. Another way to phrase it: the writer must be willing to expose their own flaws. </p><p>The Buddhist concept of no-self derives from the idea that none of us are ever one single thing. We're influenced by the environment we're in and the people we're around and the amount of caffeine we drink. We have much less willpower at night than in the morning. Our goals and desires shift by the hour. We are many people throughout the day. </p><p>"The difference," Storr writes, "is that in life, unlike in story, the dramatic question of who we are never has a final and truly satisfying answer." Humans are complex animals. We love stories that make us the hero. To be heroic requires recognizing the many conflicting desires and thoughts that make us what we are.</p><h2>The Hero's Journey</h2><p>Which is really what all of this is about: championing the hero. "Stories are tribal propaganda," Storr concludes. The modern storyteller is working with a different landscape than those past. "A unique quality of humans is that we've evolved the ability to <em>think</em> our way into many tribes simultaneously." We're no longer bound by the traditional tribal structure that dominated for hundreds of thousands of years, nor the caste system that commenced with the development of Harappan civilization. Today's hero transcends prior boundaries. </p><p>Though we cannot write off tribalism completely. We're still biologically Stone Age. Just because we have an opportunity to grow does not mean everyone chooses to. "A tribal challenge is existentially disturbing." </p><p>We all believe in stories, and all stories are inventions. If we lose our own hero narrative, depression and anxiety are certain to follow, so invested in our stories have we become. The best storytellers carry their hero through to the end. Their flaws result in transformation. It's what we all crave in a story because it's what we all desire, regardless of how illusive notions of control and closure actually are. </p><p>For the time being, while we're here, we're storytelling animals. Will Storr has contributed a wonderful guide of how to master the craft of invention. To pull a random quote from the formative years of my childhood, as Axl Rose sang, use your illusion. </p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a>. His next book is "</em><em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
"You get to this age, you realize that there are people who will not like what you do no matter what you do," says Booker Prize-winner Salman Rushdie.
- Booker Prize-winning author Salman Rushdie recounts his evolution as a writer who has grown more aware of the reader and less aware of the critic.
- Literary reviews, famously the Times Literary Supplement, were once anonymous—and brutal. Once the Times started publishing bylines with reviews, critics suddenly got much nicer.
- Anonymity, especially online, is a double-edged sword. In authoritarian societies, it gives people great freedom. However anonymity is also the reason people say things online they would never say if they were in a room with you. That may be a degrading force in a highly digital society.
The famed German filmmaker offers his thoughts on reading during Eric Weinstein's podcast.
- During Eric Weinstein's podcast, The Portal, Werner Herzog said that reading is essential for any creative endeavor.
- In the past, Herzog has stated that you can't be a filmmaker without a regular reading habit.
- Herzog's reading list includes classics by Virgil and J.A. Baker, and even the report on JFK's assassination.
Werner Herzog on "The Portal", Episode #003: "The Outlaw as Revelator"<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fe4845a64aacdffa2a171a1a6a9c2f88"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Eua5iPUKw6Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Looking up big, fancy words won't make your writing better. But a thesaurus can help – if you use it like this.
- Using a thesaurus to find larger or more impressive words is misguided, says Martin Amis. Instead, use a thesaurus to find words with the perfect rhythm for your sentence.
- For example, the Nabokov novel "Invitation to a Beheading" was originally called – not for very long – "Invitation to an Execution". Nabokov nixed the repetitive suffix.
- A dictionary is also a writer's best friend; looking up words has a rejuvenating effect on your mind, says Amis. "When you look up a word in the dictionary you own it in a way you didn't before. You know what it comes from and you know its exact meaning."