Saturday, May 07, 2011

Looking For More Progressive Female Readers

After receiving an email from a reader about my latest release (In Blood And Worth Loving 2—Lost Without You), I need to vent. Therefore, I’m blogging again. LOL!

This is 2011. I would have thought that women reading erotic romance (which is mostly what I write) would have a fairly open mind. But not so much. Some of them still seem to expect heroines in erotic romances to behave as heroines used to in books from the 70’s. And it seems to be based on the old double standard where it was okay for the hero to be sexually free while the heroine should be sexually repressed until she gives it up to the hero. All while the hero is still sleeping with other women after he meets her.

WHAT? In 2011. Really? In my personal life, I’m as prudish as they come. But why would anyone reading erotic romance expect the heroine to act like a heroine from the 70’s? If that’s what you want, why read erotic romance? Why not read sweet, formula romance? Why buy erotic romance and then complain when the heroine insists on the same level of sexual freedom as they hero?

The heroine in Lost Without You is a modern, educated, divorced woman in her 30’s. She’s not a 21 or 22-year-old virgin from a 70’s sweet romance. She’s not just sitting around waiting and hoping the hero will come along so she can have a meaningful sex life. She’s has one when she meets the hero. He has one as well. Why is it acceptable to modern women for him to have one but not her?

Why do women progressive enough to read erotic romance insist on old-fashioned behavior from their heroines? On countless occasions, readers have written to complain when one of my heroines slept with another man after she’d met the hero. Now mind you, the hero also slept with other women after he’d met the heroine. Did I ever get any complaints about the hero sleeping around after he met the heroine? Absolutely not. It’s always the heroine they complain about while excusing the hero’s behavior.

When are women going to stop trying to force that sexual double standard on the heroine while continuing to give the hero a free pass for the same behavior? At what point do heroines get sexual equality with such readers?

In one of my books (Skin Deep), the hero has an outrageous sexual encounter with his brother’s wife. Did readers complain? Not about his behavior. He’s one of my most popular heroes. The only complaints I heard were about the heroine (who didn’t behave outrageously with anyone’s husband). The hero got a free pass.

One of these days female readers are going to get progressive enough to allow heroines to be as sexually unrepressed as heroes. I hope.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

Below is the blurb from my latest book—In Blood And Worth Loving 2-Lost Without You—just in case you feel a compelling need to rush over to my site ( buy it. LOL!

With his favorite lover traveling, vampire Jayvyn Redwolfe spends a night clubbing. A “chance” meeting with a human woman intrigues him. When he learns she’s struggling to recapture her ex’s attention, he agrees to pretend to be her new love interest. Things go awry when Jayvyn realizes he’s falling into blood with another man’s woman.

Charmed by Jayvyn’s attentiveness, Cayenne Pepper’s interest in reuniting with her ex wanes as she starts to fall for Jayvyn. She’s unaware that she’s arousing the passion of a vampire whose hunger for her blood and heart is rapidly nearing the point where he’ll do whatever is necessary to possess her—including killing her ex.


Julia said...

You know I don't have complaints, Marilyn, I read erotica mainly because the women won't be like the heroines of old romance novels. I wouldn't read your books if they were any thing like that! I loved Bree, she had Jake coming back for more.

Temple said...

Hi Marilyn,

I'm not sure exactly what the reader's complaint was - please tell. It sounds like this reader's problem is exactly that - hers. Obviously something in "Lost Without You" touched a personal nerve and she had to try to wack you with it. But that's about her, not you. I'm just sorry that her 'problem' intruded on your life. I know that it's easier said than done, but forget about her.

But as for your larger question, truly progressive female readers WANT our heroines to be as sexually unrepressed as heroes. That's a large reason (if not the primary reason) we read erotica in the first place. That's why authors such as you are successful and loved by your fans.

I'm a 40something sistah and I can't not say strongly enough what a liberating breath of fresh air 20th century erotica (and authors like you) has been and continues to be.

I can only speak for myself, but this truly progressive female reader demands that her heroines be sexually unrepressed and will except nothing less. And, might I add, your heroines are not just non-sexually-repressed they are REAL. I suspect that the majority of progressive female readers feel the same way - that's why we read and will continue to read the work of talented authors such as you.

Oh and I have a complaint of my own - I want more Marilyn! I have everyone of your titles, love them all, and re-read them often. I finished "Lost Without You" in one day. I'm eagerly waiting to read about the further adventures of the Dumont's, the Madisons, and the Redwolfes ;-)



DeeDee said...

I agree with your feelings regarding a double standard in literature. There are some things or behaviors written in books that bother me, but they tend to be gender neutral. Cheating in a story is not an interest of mine and can be irritating. However, with some stories, like Only One Love, relationships with other people are an important part of the story. There were two people involved and I found it appropriate to the story. One of the best qualities you have as an author is that you are an equal opportunist when creating gender roles. Keep up the good work.

texazp said...

I LOVED the book and look forward to many more from you Marilyn. Maybe if some readers are looking for the 70's style sweet romance they should stick with Diana Palmer.

Alisha (MyNeedToRead) said...

"She's unaware that she's arousing the passion of a vampire whose hunger for her blood and heart is rapidly nearing the point where he'll do whatever is necessary to possess her—including killing her ex."

I'm sold! ^___^ Found your blog post on Goodreads, and I'm looking forward to reading your books, Ms. Lee.

Anonymous said...

I think the bigger question is why would anybody with that much anger over the lead female being sexually adventerous even bother to read an erotic romance?

I just found your books through the Amazon Kindle store. Since I don't have a Kindle, I'm glad to see I can buy some of them from your site and get a chance to get to know some of your writings.

Capri Montgomery

Towanda said...

Helloo Marilyn,

Unfortunately, we live in a society full of close-minded people. You may think due to them reading your books that they are open-minded but they are only one sided open-minded. They are used to the men acting like "dogs" but the women have to remain monogamous, once the hero has claimed the heorine. Do I think it's right? Absolutely NOT but people are not open to women being human with needs that go further than just being with one person. Keep doing what you are doing because that book is an excellent read. I go back and read plenty of your books many times over. I am awaiting on a 3rd one but I guess we have to see how it goes?

You are a great writer!