We were told we could put this article anywhere we wanted.
The first time I heard about erotic fiction, I was at summer camp. A camper who was much older than me read a passage from a book whose title I’ve long forgotten.
My first—and up until recently, only—encounter with erotic fiction was probably similar to many American’s collective memory of the genre:
a rushed read on a crowded school bus, a whispered recitation after lights out, fleeting glances at the flea market stand while your mother looks at lamps.
Much of our current understanding of erotic fiction stems from the immense popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy that caused such a media frenzy over the past two years. Some haled it as a revolutionary work that made it okay for people, especially women, to demand a little BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Dominance and Submission) in the bedroom. It also left many erotica fans shaking their fists.
“People are pissed about Fifty Shades,” says Angela Tavares, one of two women behind the start-up Go Deeper Press, which will soon publish erotica eBooks.
“How can people say that this book is revolutionary when there are authors like Anne Rice [author of Exit to Eden]?”
Tavares and her partner, Lana Fox, are both writers and teachers of erotic fiction who decided in March of this year that the hole in the genre wasn’t being properly filled by works like Fifty Shades.
“People want well-written erotica, but where do people turn now?” asks Tavares.
“Where do you go in Barnes & Noble for the erotica?” adds Fox.
While they may be vexed by the popularity of Fifty Shades—a work that has been suspect for its quality as well as its origin as Twilight fan fiction—they agree that those works have done something similar to their own goal: opening the discussion of alternative sexual lifestyles in the public forum as well as in the bedroom.
“When you feel as if you’re the only person who enjoys being spanked (or indeed spanking another) you are far more likely to be depressed, and therefore less capable of helping the world,” Fox writes on the Go Deeper Press blog.
Tavares, who is from Bridgewater, and Fox, who hales from London, both say that they see a “sex stigma” in America’s culture, and that conversation about sex has been stiff (and not in a good way).
“Britain has a reputation for being stuck up about sex,” says Fox, but after living here for seven years, she says that “there are similarities.”
“The debate has to do with the words versus the acts,” says Fox, referring to the tame language in Fifty Shades as compared to other erotic fiction. “We can reach for an arm but not for a pussy.”
Go Deeper is currently in the research and development phase—they’re working with a consulting company, seeking submissions, and will soon unveil a Kickstarter campaign to fundraise—but they’re already operating in blog form, where you can find updates about the press, news about the erotica world, and even free erotica. (It’s okay. I’ll wait here while you go read it.)
“It’s exciting,” says Fox. “I can talk to people about sex like I never could before.”
To stay updated on the press (and connected to the free erotica), you can read their blog or follow them on Twitter. Their site might need to come with a warning, though: Do not read while at work! May cause out-of-control blushing and awkward speech patterns!
Attention: HOT CONTENT.