Thursday, December 6, 2012

Backdoor Lovin'--What Do Readers Think?

Okay, this is definitely an over 18 blog post, so if you're a youngster, hit the road. The rest of you, gather around. We're going to get down and dirty.

An acquaintance had commented on the amount of anal sex that takes place in erotic romances and erotica books (it was more of an eye roll and "God, please no more," comment.) It got me to thinkin'--scary, I know--do readers like reading about anal sex? Do they expect to read ALL about it in their steamier smut?

Yes, there tends to be a lot of backdoor lovin' in the true erotica/erotic romance books. Adding anal sex to a book tends to up the rating factor, which does make it sell better. For example, in our Scarlet Rose line of TWRP, adding anal sex will up your rating from a single rose to a double rose rating. There are other factors that can land you a happy double rose score, like heavier bondage and BDSM, but an episode of anal and you're in, no lube needed. Now, the editors aren't going to let us toss in anal for a rating--it has to work for the book. But give readers an anal-loving cowboy or military man and they're swooning and begging for more.

But I'm a nosy girl, and I wanted proof from actual readers. So I asked my friend Bookie, queen of the Erotic Enchants group on GoodReads to set up a poll for me about anal sex in erotic romances. The results were very interesting. Before we get to the results, feel free to join the naughtiness on Erotic Enchants. The link is embedded above (and you could weigh in on the poll yourself.)

The Poll!

Anal sex!
Inquiring minds would love to know what you think about backdoor lovin' in your reading material.

Out of 170 total votes...

88 votes (51.8%) weighed in as: "Hell yes! Love it!"
67 votes (39.4%) weighed in with: "With lots of lube and a good set up, it's acceptable."
15 votes (8.8%) weighed in with: "::Squirm:: Keep it in the front, mister!"

The demographics aren't broken down into percentage of male/female voters, but I know we have guys in the group. I would assume, however, the overwhelming majority consists of women.

The comments were interesting, too. Some readers expected anal sex in their erotic romance but preferred not to see it in contemporary books. Others just loved reading that aspect of sex. Some liked that some more generally mainstream contemporary authors were starting to press the envelope and add it in, where others weren't on board with that.

I personally don't like it tossed in for a steamier rating, and the characters I write truly want to experience that adventure (I voted for the middle choice, in case you hadn't guessed from this statement.)

Anal sex in my writing:

  • In Trained for Seduction, anal sex was the one thing Chase refused to do with Kate, because he was afraid it would drag him back into his old ways of deeper kink, and he didn't want to take her there for many reasons. However, Kate feels it's just one more way for Chase to own her completely, which she truly wants. 
  • Lethal Limits--Jake and Tia are just dirty, happy kinksters and they just love it. 
  • In Endgame (to be released) the hero, Aaron, wants to try, but struggles with the religious aspects of whether it's right or wrong.
  • And finally, in the work I have in progress, anal sex is actually important for plot reasons, and the hero, Marek, is going to make it as romantic as possible so Skye is thrilled enough to do it again (and again, and again. But not all the same day.)
Are you brave enough to weigh in here? What do you think? 


Kim Muhl said...

I'll be brave! I like it in my reading, as long as it fits with the story. I wouldn't want it thrown into a story with 2 inexperienced lovers just for ratings.

Sandra Dailey said...

I feel there is a definite place for anal sex in erotica. It has to be done between consenting partners and in a fun or loving way.
Many people want to explore and bring something new to the bedroom. What better gift to give your lover. That's why a lot of people read erotica in the first place.

Mia Downing said...

OOh Kim, you're so brave to go first! Extra hunks for you.

Sandy, I agree. I know I've tried things that I've read. Nothing too kinky, though. LOL

Rho said...

I personally think that it's something that happens in relationships (some) so I like it in my reading AS LONG AS IT'S REALISTIC. If the author is writing that the guy is hung like a horse and then he's having anal sex with his partner after hardly any preparation, it just pisses me off because then I don't think that it would work. my rant now! LOL


Mia Downing said...

LOL Sassafrass, lots o' lube needed.

Doris O'connor said...

Ah you know, I vividly recall the first anal scene I wrote, lol. Took me days and I argued with my hero something fierce, before I finally gave in, because he was having none of my objections.

He was right of course, the scene needed to be in there, because my heroine needed to heal, and a reviewer actually praised that particular scene ... phew ;-)

I have no qualms writing them now, though it depends on the couple. Sometimes the story doesn't call for it, other times, it's a necessity.

As a reader I like reading them, as long as they're done well and fit the story, but equally I don't feel cheated if it's not in there.

Mia Downing said...

I feel the same way, Doris. I remember my first written scene, too. It wasn't hard to write at all, because the heroine had asked for it, and had actually played around some on her own. So it was fun!

Which book was this for you? I'd love to read.

I ♥ Bookie Nookie said...

Oh! Now I am curious about the breakdown of men and women... I can provide that info for you! I will take a look at it the weekend and report back. I KNOW the majority of poll participants are women, but I am curious how the men responded.

I shall return!

Mia Downing said...

Bookie, I know at least two did. :) I'd love to know, though!

Kathryn R. Blake said...

I've never thought of adding anal sex simply to get a higher heat rating. In my current paranormal romances backdoor play doesn't even enter the picture, but in both my spanking romances it does.

In the first, she's got a hand up saying, "Nay, nay, horsebreath." Not really, but you get the idea. Though the hero is "interested," he doesn't press her.

In the second, anal play comes up a lot because the hero discovers she'd been abused by a previous partner, and he's a Dom. Being a Dom, he needs them to address the issue so she can be freed of her fear to move on with him. So, there's discussion as well as a moderate amount of activity in that area.

In my paranormal WIP, the heroine has a similar issue, but the hero is a vampire, and he.... Well, let's just say that making love like a mortal, whether through the front or back door, requires him to be really well fed. We're talkin' toppin' off the tank so it's near to overflowin'.

My personal feeling is that anal sex requires a lot more trust between partners. A woman, or even a man for that matter, can be seriously hurt if the proper precautions aren't taken (a lot of lube and patience is needed, especially for the newbie or the uncertain partner). I also think every sex scene (whether oral, anal or otherwise) needs to reveal something about the characters that the reader wouldn't have discovered in any other way. JMHO.

Mia Downing said...

Kathryn, yes, I agree! I've never added sex to get a higher rating, though. I will make that statement clear. And I hope all of my sex scenes offer more about character insight anyway, so anal takes them that much closer. Except Jake and Tia in Lethal Limits...they just like it. LOL

Lee Anne said...

This was a great blog post. I'm excited about the 2 new books coming out for Spy Games! I'm ready! Write faster woman! LOL!

Lee *Show me the Smut* Anne

Eden Connor said...

I write it when it fits the story line, and not unless. I believe most men want anal sex, therefore, in any remotely realistic depiction of a relationship between humans, it's going to come up. For women, I think it can be an issue of trust, barring outright enjoyment, and using that to up the intensity in a fictional relationship is a tool for any erotic writer.

I'm actually a lot more offended by the stories that never mention a condom than I am by anal sex.

And I will confess, I have more trouble writing a good kissing scene than I do writing a good anal scene. (sigh) It's always somethin', isn't it? :p

Excellent and informative blog post topic, though, kudos, Mia :)

Mia Downing said...

Hi Lee Anne! Actually, Spy Games should have 2 more novellas, Endgame and then maybe a m/m novella at the end (so Jake's other brother can find love.)

And Eden, Thanks for stopping by! I hear you on the kissing scene, especially the first one. I think I struggle with sex that doesn't have character development of some sort. If I'm having a hard time, then it's probably not motivated enough.

Michelle Graham said...

I write menage romance - anal is a must! It's even part of Siren's submission requirements for the imprint that there's at least one scene with double or triple penetration. But I try to portray it realistically - lots and lots of lube, and love.

The fact that the book is a menage automatically ups the heat rating. I don't throw it in on purpose, that's just the way the story has to play out.

I don't mind seeing anal when reading m/f as long as it fits with the story and doesn't feel like it just got dropped in out of nowhere.

Thanks for the great post!

Mia Downing said...

Hi Michelle, Yes, anal would be a must in menage! LOL I love m/f/m. I'll have to check out your books! Thanks for stopping by.

Cari Silverwood said...

Ahh, interesting. I tend to put anal in most of my books. If it happens, it happens. It's just another aspect of our sex lives so why not put it into books?
I'd argue that it doesn't have to be in menage though. But I write Mff menage. So there are two girls and a guy. Also my two co-writers have an aversion to writing anal sex. Things can still get hot and heavy though. lol

Doris O'connor said...

One could argue, even in a m/f/m menage you don't necessarily need anal, lol, but it does make things more interesting. And my menage scenes certainly contain it.

Mia, that scene is in Scandinavian Scandal :-)

Mia Downing said...

Cari, I didn't even think of menage that way, since I write m/f/m, and I LOVE the anal aspect of it. And yes, your m/f/f menages are hot and heavy! I enjoyed Dom with a Safeword. Jude was divine.

Mia Downing said...

Doris, you're right, too. It's interesting what variations there are, and yet immediately one mentions m/f/m and anal pops to mind. At least I think that, because I enjoy reading that more than vaginal double penetration. The girlie parts cringe when I've read that. LOL

Isabelle Werneck said...

What a good post and discussion Mia.

I like to read it. :) I mean, if it' relevant with the book, but since 99% of the books I read has sex in it, it's never really in the wrong place.

Dalton Diaz said...

Great post! I also find that it has to be relevant to the story, and to the characters themselves. Two of my books are m/m/f, so no question there's anal, er, in there. ;) In By Mutual Desire, one of the assignments takes place on Anal Mountain. It's obvious what they do there, but it is also integral to the story, and to the character discovery.

Mia Downing said...

Isabelle, I love your thinking--it's never really in the wrong place. LOL That's why I adore you!

Dalton, Thanks! Anal Mountain! I hope their mountain is volcano-like. I'll have to check By Mutual Desire out! It sounds really fun. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic! I will say that I read a series of Western Romance stories upon a recommendation of a friend. The anal sex included in these stories killed the stories for me. Two of the stories revolved around sexually abused heroines and the concept of anal sex (one sister even gave another a jar of cream for this purpose) felt out of place and a bit...icky. lol Given the right situation, I can accept it (Such as Spy Games, Mia :), but sometimes it's best left out.

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