So because of Reasons (I maybe shouldn’t go into much detail publicly, but it involves a side gig), I have been exposed to a lot of romance novels (often erotic, though not always) over the last few months, and it has been an Experience.

1. Did you know that in mainstream fiction circles, “MC” stands for “motorcycle club” rather than “mind control”? Because I did not know that, and I did a hell of a double-take when I first saw an “MC romance”.

2. Relatedly (or I guess *not* relatedly, if you are someone who looks at “MC fiction” and thinks “motorcycle club”), I did not expect memory play to be so popular. I mean, they put a different spin on it, of course, but still. Quite a few people in these have glorious sex with their true loves and then later wind up mind-wiped (I think usually by Fiction Head Trauma) and the true love has to Remind them *nudgewink*. And that’s not even counting other variations on the theme.

3. Wow, is a lot of this stuff dark. And even when it’s not dark, it’s often embarrassment-squicky, or people are doing something ~taboo~ and worrying about getting caught. It seems like even people who aren’t *specifically* marketing to taboo fetishists casually assume that something being taboo is a point in its favour, sexiness-wise (why would worry be sexy?). (And apparently breath play? Although that might have just been one person. But she seemed to think her audience would agree, without having selected her audience for hypoxyphilics beforehand.)

4. Overall, when I see stuff about what’s up in popular erotica, I am left with a sense of “wait, *these* are supposed to be the normal vanilla people? they’re *way* more out-there than I am.” (Also, that a lot of the problems† that I thought were specific to primarily-non-con-oriented kinks (or even specific to hypnosis, like memory play) are apparently happening all over. Not that I was expecting *this* porn to appeal to me anyway, but still, I feel some solidarity with the people who *would* like this stuff if only it were fluffier. Though there’s still *some* fluff out there, of course (just as there is here).)

Did something happen to, like, the sexual Overton window while I wasn’t looking? Is it subcultural effects–but I would expect subcultural effects to work in the *opposite* direction if anything. Or outgroup bias: everyone thinks the [people who are only into central examples of sex]†† are Over There in Normal Land, and that it’s just their own circle that’s kinky? Maybe the central-example-of-sex people just don’t read much erotica, even mainstream stuff? Maybe things were *always* like this and I’m just naive? (I think I have vaguely heard that taboos-are-sexy was always like that, though I don’t understand why.)

†I am using “problem” in the subjective sense here, to mean “trends that make porn less suited to my tastes”.

††I am no longer confident in my sense of what “vanilla” means, so I’m trying to avoid it here.


#??? #sexuality and lack thereof #oh look an original post #amnesia cw

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