This article, published a few days ago in the European paper Wales on Sunday, looks at the increase in the popularity of erotic books, especially those that feature spanking. Hazel Cushion, who publishes erotic books via her company Accent Press, thinks the rise in popularity is due to the whole Sex and the City effect. I’m not so sure about that, considering Carrie wasn’t an erotic fiction writer, but rather a writer of sexy non-fiction, which, in general, is more accepted than erotica. Still, there’s no denying the show made everyone a little more comfortable with sex in general.
Cushion says women like erotica books that have that “Sex and the City vibe rather than being all black and whiplash.”
This worries me, because I’d hate to think there’s only going to be one accepted kind of erotica out there–the safe, chick-lit type. If erotica gets a push into mainstream, all types of erotica–not just those appealing to straight SATC fans–should get that push.
Something else that’s interesting about this article is the fact that Accent Press gets great distribution. There was a time when erotic books were relegated to dirty bookstores in Times Square. These days they can be found in such upscale, general-interest bookstores as Borders. Erotic books can even be found in libraries these days, something unthinkable years ago. But buying erotica is still somewhat taboo, so it’s no surprise Cushion’s books are particularly popular on the Internet, hitting number one on amazon.co.uk.
The article also once again opens up the whole “women like dirty words/men like dirty pictures” debate that has been going on forever. Cushion believes it’s true, though as a woman, I have to say, I don’t mind a dirty picture here and there, and I think others would agree with me.
One thing that fascinated me was Cushion’s statement that older women like her books a lot. This flies in the face of our stereotype of the older woman being less sexual than the younger one. I’m glad to see that’s not true, as I never really believed in that stereotype, anyway.
Another stereotype Cushion busts: “Some people confuse spanking with wife beating and domestic abuse but it is not. It is all down to the woman and what she wants.”
Cushion is publishing a spanking non-fiction book called The True Confessions of a London Spank Daddy.
“…Spanking is very popular,” she tells the paper. “In fact, I’d say spanking is the new black. I didn’t know there was so much interest in it.”
Cushion makes an excellent point about spanking being as controversial today as being gay was many years ago. And she links feminism to spanking: “…Women have been so pushed into feminism and this idea they are equal, and some of them – often ladies with high powered, managerial jobs – want to give control to someone else.”
So it’s not so much feminism itself that has given rise to spanking, but feminism’s effects–more women having the kind of high-stress, high-responsibility jobs that men have always had. All day long women tell people what to do, for their jobs, so when nighttime comes, they want to be dominated. I can see that, as it’s probably been true of men in high-powered positions for years.
Cushion also agrees with the judge’s decision in the Max Mosley case, to award him 60,000 pounds.
The Spank Daddy book will be a Channel 4 (UK TV) documentary. Perhaps it will come here via Showtime, or some other outlet? We can hope.
Anyway, a fascinating article overall. Cushion is really quite the powerhouse. What other erotica publisher has met the Queen for her contribution to Britain’s business world?