Last week I wrote about Amazon’s latest push to get erotica out of the sight (and presumably out of the minds) of readers. But while this Pornocalypse continues, and I’ve given writers tips on how to survive Amazon’s jackboot on the throat of their genre, I now want to give erotica readers hope for their reading future!
Look, I hate to burst Amazon’s bubble, but erotica not only made the Kindle the success it is today, erotica is going to continue to be one of the biggest selling genres in the ebook business. It has a proven track record already, but it’s not just that. Erotica and ereaders have a special relationship. Erotica + ereaders = a unique combination. Readers are discovering they can read anything they want without having people ask about the title or cover of the book. Ereaders make that age-old question, “Hey, what are you reading?” on the subway or in the doctor’s office far less likely to be asked at all–and ereaders also make it easy to fib, even if the question is asked. With one click, you can switch from, “How I Became a Sexy Cum Slut” by Trinity Jane (a book that is still accessible from the all-department search, by the way, while my book, Sybian Sorority, has been excluded, proving how arbitrary Amazon is being in their filtering process) to something nice and safe for work or church like The Great Gatsby.
One click and you can hide it all.
That makes ebook erotica very appealing, even to readers who previously eschewed the genre because of the perceived stigma or possible judgment of others. Erotica no longer has to be hidden or even read in private. Women can read it on their lunch break (and they are!) and men can read it on the subway home from work (and they are!) Readers are reading more erotica now than they ever have before (the success of Fifty Shades of Grey is just the tip of the iceberg, as books filled with explicit sex are flooding the market, even if they’re not being put into the “erotica” genre, or announcing their spicy content with titles like Ms. Jane’s “How I Became a Sexy Cum Slut” above) and the “problem” of erotica isn’t going to go away.
The customer is always right–and Amazon’s customers want erotica. They are voting with their dollars, again and again, pushing so many erotic books up in the ranks that Amazon has had to resort to this crazy, arbitrary filtering system in an attempt to keep the “naughty” titles and covers from appearing before too many eyes. Amazon might be making it harder for the casual reader to find what they’re looking for, but readers who already devour books in the genre aren’t going to stop looking. They’re just going to find better ways to search. Already I’ve heard readers say they search books they want from Goodreads instead of Amazon, or they search Google for the author and title they want. If they don’t want a specific author and title, they simply search their particular fetish, “BDSM spanking” for example, and add “Amazon”–and lo and behold, far more search results pop up in Google’s search, because they include all those results that Amazon has filtered out of the “all-department” search.
So readers, take heart. Your smut has not, I repeat, has not disappeared! Someone told me that their mother (their elderly, sixty-something mother) switched to Smashwords for her “dirty books,” because all the books she liked to read “seemed to disappear from Amazon overnight!” Well, readers, the smut isn’t gone. It is still there on Amazon, right where you used to find it, it’s just a little harder to get to. Honestly, it’s not even that much harder to find–a few clicks–if you know where to look.
And this is where my best, favorite, number one tip to survive the Pornocalypse for readers comes into play. Fellow erotica writer Mercy Faulk has done all your search work for you! That’s right, erotica readers, you can download How to Find Paid and Free Erotica, Erotic eBooks and Sex Stories for FREE, and it will tell you how to get around all of Amazon’s crazy filtering process! No more frustrating searches that don’t return the results you’re looking for, that make you scratch your head, wonder if you’re crazy, and search again and again, thinking all your smut has disappeared! Finally, you have at your fingertips a clear, easy-to-read, step-by-step way to find all those books you were looking for (and some you didn’t know you were looking for, but will be glad you discovered!)
The best defense is a good offense. Take your ereading experience into your own hands, reader! If you own a Kindle and like reading erotica, you NEED this book!
And as always, don’t forget to support erotica writers and JOIN BANNED EROTIC BOOKS on Facebook. We will post books there that have been banned or filtered by Amazon’s censors, we will share the latest news and updates about erotica and censorship, and give you a place for readers and writers to talk about it!
So erotica readers, grab your Kindles, download this how-to search guide, and start searching! Amazon won’t be able to deny or stop the avalanche of erotica flooding its virtual shelves if readers like you keep telling them that YES, I READ EROTICA by voting with your dollars. And the more reading choices you have, the better. That’s the basis of capitalism and the free market itself (something Amazon is attempting to circumvent by excluding an entire genre from the search results…) so now that you know how to get around Amazon’s search engine, pass the word on to other readers, and let freedom ring!
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
LATEST RELEASE: GRACE (Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed)Read More
The Pornocalypse has begun. Amazon continues filtering erotica out of their All Department Search in large numbers. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think it’s going to all go away. By then, it may be too late. It’s time for you, as an erotica writer, to take action. (And erotica readers, if you stumbled across this, you too!) Readers and writers, please “like” the Facebook page Banned Erotica Books. Check our “About” section for the addresses and emails of those you can contact. Let them know that you don’t appreciate Amazon hiding the books you want to read!
For those of you who are authors writing in the erotica genre, for those of you who have quite your EDJ (evil day job) and are pursuing writing as a career and paying your mortgage with your words for the first time in your lives, take heart. There’s no need to jump off the proverbial cliff. You will survive this. You will move forward, and you will continue to make a living from your writing.
I have been doing this since 2006. That’s seven years in the erotic publishing business, and I have survived a great deal of persecution of my genre and attempts to suppress or eliminate it. I ran down the list of those instances in this recent post. No need to rehash them again.
The fact remains—the dirty secret that drives technology? It’s “porn.” Erotica, as a genre, has been Amazon’s dirty little secret from the beginning, driving sales of the Kindle to astronomical numbers. Does Amazon really believe that it was all the free copies of “Huckleberry Finn” and “Moby Dick” (Moby Duck on Apple?) that drove readers to buy Kindle devices? Nope, sorry. It was erotica. It was “porn.”
Jeff Bezos may have put out the product, but I made the Kindle into what it is today. Me, and legions of other erotica writers who were already writing it, and those who came later, who saw how much readers were clamoring for it. Readers could suddenly read erotica without anyone seeing the cover. The Kindle device made that possible, Amazon made the Kindle available… but I provided the content readers were surreptitiously reading under their desks at work and on the subway home.
Erotica writers made the Kindle what it is today. Not mystery writers, not horror writers, not even romance writers. Certainly not big publishing, who have been brought kicking and screaming into the ebook world. It was erotica writers who provided readers with the titillating books that made this new device so convenient and advantageous. So you could carry 500 books at a time… big deal, who’s going to read 500 books while you’re at the doctor’s office? But women everywhere realized they could read sexual fantasies, stories about BDSM, about dubious consent, about sex toys and infidelity, all those fantasies that we know women have been having since Nancy Friday wrote Secret Garden, and they could do it without anyone knowing, at the doctor’s office or in line at the supermarket.
THAT is what sold Kindles. Porn. Face it, Jeff Bezos. You owe the success of Kindle to me, and to every erotica writer out there making a living writing “porn.”
And what thanks do we get? None. Other writers (ala Konrath and Crouch and Bella Andre—the latter whose books are just as “dirty” or “porny” as some that have been relegated to the ghetto behind the ADULT filter) get special treatment from Amazon. They get spotlights and highlights. They get mentioned in Amazon newsletters.
Erotica writers get stepped on. We get shoved into a corner, we get relegated to back rooms and top shelves. We get “filtered.” Now, before you say, “But come ON! This is ADULT material, shouldn’t it be targeted just to ADULTS?”—my answer to that is “yes!” I don’t expect Amazon to highlight erotica writers in mainstream newsletters or even to highlight us at all (although if they were smart, they would… we make them a lot of money. A LOT of money. They should target us to readers they know read us… it only makes sense!) but I DO expect them to treat us with transparency and good business ethics.
Neither of which we have ever seen from Amazon. I’m tired of trying to figure out Amazon’s policies about what I write. They seem to change every five minutes. I’m tired of being treated like some crap Jeff Bezos stepped on and is trying to scrape off his shoe.
Back when I hit the top 100 on Amazon, the competition wasn’t anywhere near as fierce as it is today. They didn’t know quite what to do with a naked woman’s bottom on their bestseller list.
That’s when they began the system that we are seeing them implementing now – what we in erotica circles call the “ADULT filter.” Back then, you were only filtered (which means that you were excluded from the all-department search, and your book didn’t appear in the also-boughts of any books that were not filtered, which was very limiting at the time!) if your book contained nudity on the cover.
So I slapped a thong on the woman on my Babysitting the Baumgartners cover and Amazon “unfiltered” my book. Sales resumed at their usual pace and life went on. But I had to figure out myself what the problem was, the reason the filter had been applied in the first place. There was no transparency on Amazon’s part. None. Nada. I even talked on the phone to an “Amazon executive customer service representative” who would only “confirm or deny” my suspicions.
I felt like Woodward and Bernstein talking to Deep Throat in a parking garage somewhere. That’s how bizarre and surreal the conversation was.
The media has recently picked up on Amazon’s latest attack on “porn,” but the Pornocalypse looks as if it’s just begun.
The filtering tool that Amazon previously only used to exclude nudity on covers is now being applied to books arbitrarily, but in very, very large numbers. We haven’t seen a purge this big on Amazon since they banned incest and bestiality in erotic work.
First of all, Amazon has now separated Erotica and Romance. I don’t know if erotic romance writers know this or have realized it yet, but Amazon has recently changed their policy (not that they’ve told anyone about it or anything!) and you can no longer put your book in BOTH Erotica and Romance categories. You have to choose one or the other. “Erotic Romance” as a category will now classify your book as “erotica.”
And be careful, because once you have labeled your book as “erotic,” they will not allow you to reclassify it as NOT erotic. The only exception to this rule I have seen so far is for traditionally published books (ala Fifty Shades). Self-published books don’t get this treatment.
So what are we supposed to do, as erotica writers? Bend over ask for another, sir? I don’t think so. Amazon holds the stranglehold on the lion’s share of the sales in the ebook market because of the Kindle–and the Kindle only became the front-runner because of erotica! As an erotica writer, I’m not going to let Amazon use me like a whore and then kick me to the curb.
No one puts Baby in a corner.
So I say to you now, erotica writers, we will get through this Pornocalypse together. We will prevail. We will flourish and thrive. Are you ready to hear how best to prepare for your survival during the Pornocalypse?
Here are some survival tips!
- If your book has two characters who fall in love and have a happy ever after, put it in romance. I don’t care if they’re men, women, or giant mutant chipmunks. Put that book in romance.
- Check to see if your book has been ADULT filtered! Go to Amazon, make sure you are in the “ALL DEPARTMENT” search, and type in the title. If you can’t find your book, you have been ADULT filtered. Another way to check is to go to Sales Rank Express. Type in your titles there. If you are filtered, a large red ADULT will show next to your book. Previously, if your book had been filtered and then unfiltered, it would show a black NOT ADULT beside it. Amazon recently did away with this, presumably so they could see all the erotica books and go through them and filter them again based on this new “non-policy” they seem to be implementing.
- You can’t fight an enemy you can’t see, so you need to know how to avoid the ADULT filter. If Amazon isn’t going to be fair about applying it to ALL books (including Fifty Shades of Grey) that contain erotic content, then we don’t have to be fair about playing by their inconsistent and non-transparent “rules” and “guidelines.”
How do you avoid being filtered?
- Keep nudity off your cover. Also keep it out of the inside of your book.
- Keep your titles and keywords free of the “Amazon Bad Words List” below. Amazon’s current policy could be summed up in this way—if you dress up pretty on the outside, you can be as much of a whore on the inside as you like.
The “Amazon Bad Word List”
(who else is thinking about George Carlin right now?)
(And if you know of more words or things that are being banned, please go ahead and add to the list in the comments, or better yet, post it over on Banned Erotic Books on Facebook!)
- Nudity on covers (this rule changes a lot – thongs are ok so far. “Hand bras” are not ok, i.e. a nude woman with her or someone else’s hands covering her breasts).
- Incest is banned altogether. But pseudo-incest will get you filtered. Anything with obvious titles, especially “Daddy” and “Mommy,” but also sister, brother, siblings, uncle, family, etc.
- Gangbang, rape, reluctant, reluctance, nonconsent, dubious consent (dubcon), forced, or “rough” sex, strap-on – careful BDSM folks, keep an eye out, because they may come after that next.
- Breeding, bred or impregnation stories
- Any profanity or obscene language: pussy, cock, cum, tits, fuck, sex, clit, etc. (Now I really feel like George Carlin…)
- Lactation, breastfeeding, lactating, milky
- Tentacles and other mythological creatures (minotaurs, centaurs, bigfoot, etc.)
How do I get UNfiltered?
Make the above changes as they apply to your book. Then email Amazon at this email:
This is the letter I send. Feel free to cut and paste!
Please reevaluate the title ___________ by _____________. The title has been changed and resubmitted to comply with your current terms of service and should no longer have an adult filter placed upon it or be excluded from the all-department search.
Please mark this title NOT ADULT.
Authors, you will make it through the Pornocalpyse. I’ve seen it all happen before. If you’re new to this war, well I’ve just given you your helmet, so get ready, soldier. There’s no need to jump off the first cliff you come to. Just take a deep breath and arm yourself the best you can with the knowledge we have. It’s all you can do. Keep your head down and keep writing. I promise you, we’ll make it through this together.
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
LATEST RELEASE: GRACE (Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed)
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Hey, does anyone remember when Amazon started banning erotic fiction?
Or when Apple removed “certain” titles from their bestseller lists?
Or when Paypal stopped paying for “certain types” of erotica?
When Amazon began excluding books from its “all department” search?
When Smashwords started cracking down on “nipples and floppy bits and dangly parts?“
When Apple began rejecting outright those books which contained “certain content” they didn’t agree with?
When Barnes and Noble stripped bestselling erotica books (in the top 100) of their ranks by 1,000 points?
I remember, because it makes a difference to me, to my bottom line. This is my livelihood, my living. Every time one of these corporations decides to change the rules (again) without telling publishers (again) what is or isn’t acceptable in their venue, they take food off my table. It hasn’t stopped, by the way. Just because the news isn’t covering it today, doesn’t mean it’s stopped.
Your freedom to read what you like is being eroded every day. Every time Apple rejects a book or app (they just did it again and made the news last week), every time a corporation decides, “We won’t sell that here,” it narrows your choices as a reader. Yes, corporations can sell what they like, they can make the rules on their playground.
But they should then have the cojones to tell publishers and authors what is or isn’t okay with them. Instead, we have to guess, while Amazon and Apple and Barnes and Noble “reserve the right” to arbitrarily refuse one book, but not another.
I’ll give you a recent personal example. This story of mine, Girls Only: Pool Party, has a picture of two women on the front. They’re not naked (look closer) and there are no “important parts” showing. Yet Amazon stamped my book ADULT and excluded it from the All Department search.
However, this book has a very similar cover, but depicts a man and a woman, rather than two women, in the same position. I made the sensible argument that either my book should be unfiltered – or Leo should be ADULT filtered.
This was the response I received:
Regarding “Girls Only: Pool Party,” we have evaluated your title in comparison to “Leo” and stand by our decision not to remove the adult flag. Mature content handling is confidential and we retain discretion over what we perceive as “adult” titles.
I responded, letting them know that I was sure the GBLT community would like to know that they are censoring gay and lesbian fiction but allowing heterosexual fiction to remain in the all department search. In fact, I was sure that there were many reporters and journalists who would be interested in this fact as well, especially after Apple’s publicity last week in banning an app for gay/lesbian content, and I happened to know several of them personally, because they interviewed me during the Paypal fiasco…
Amazon took the filter off my book.
But most authors don’t have the same ‘clout’ that I do, or the means to back up an “I’m going to the press with this!” statement.
There is, however, power in numbers. It’s one of the reasons I developed Excessica as a publishing co-op. There’s always more power in numbers.
So with that in mind – if you have a book that’s been filtered or banned, a book you’ve been told by some corporation that it isn’t “acceptable” to them, please POST IT HERE.
BANNED EROTICA EBOOKS is a Facebook page dedicated to intellectual freedom, for authors and readers alike. Please share it with your friends, go “like” it on Facebook. Support those vendors who refuse to ban books, and tell those corporations who are limiting your choices that you don’t appreciate it!
Just because you haven’t heard about corporate censorship lately, doesn’t mean it’s gone away. In fact, the more silent we are about it, the more they will continue to do it–and get away with it.
Don’t sit back and ignore it. It’s not going away. Do something, even if it’s just “liking” the Facebook page to send the message to corporations: “We want to the freedom to read what we like!”
Make sure they get that message – loud and clear.
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
LATEST RELEASE: Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed Sequel: ConfessionRead More
READ THE LONG AWAITED SEQUEL TO UNDER MR. NOLAN’S BED
TEMPTATION (Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed) PRICE SLASHED! GET IT WHILE IT’S DISCOUNTED!
CONFESSION (Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed) PRICE SLASHED! GET IT WHILE IT’S DISCOUNTED!
JOIN GOODREADS AND DISCUSS – WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!?
COMING SOON in APRIL 2013:
GRACE (Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed)
I read all my “fan” mail (even the ones on actual paper!) and answer most of it. (You would be correct in assuming the ones I don’t answer start out with, “Hey, you write good, let’s fuq!”)
I suppose I’m lucky to a) not have so many fans that it would be impossible for me to answer them all and b) to have fans who enjoy my work and want to write me and say so in the first place. It’s a nice middle-ground place to be.
I’ve heard a lot from writers in the past year who have entered the erotica market with laptops blazing, ready to pump out title after title until they reach the magic number that will allow them to make a living from writing “smut.” I’ve heard writers talking about “collecting” emails via mailing lists in exchange for a free book or promotion. I’ve watched contests and giveaways scroll my by Facebook feed, “freebie” books offered as an enticement, even “I’ll write my next book about YOU,” promos, all just to attract the attention of possible readers.
But once you have a reader, once you have that mailing list… now what do you do?
I think too many writers forget who readers are. Readers are, quite often, also writers. Readers are smart. Readers like words, lots of them, in a satisfying order. They like stories most of all. Readers prefer to rely on their own imagination – with the helpful prompt of the writer. This is especially true of the erotic reader, more than any other genre, because otherwise … well, we all know how much visual stimulation is out there on the Internet. I’ve had people ask me, “How in the world are you making a living at this when there’s so much FREE porn on the Internet?!”
Because readers are special. Readers are unique. Readers want a story, they want you, the writer, to engage their imagination. They want a relationship with you, through you, to the story you are telling, the characters who walk and talk on the pages. Readers want to connect, with your characters, AND with you, as a writer.
Of course, with erotica, there’s a fine line to be drawn between fantasy and reality. We all know that every erotica writer is a sexual powerhouse who does nothing but work out and do “it” … while they’re not writing, that is. Sure. And I’ve got some real estate in Florida for you…
But it helps, as a writer, to remember that every single email on your mailing list is a person. It’s not just a number, not just another email address, not just another sale. Every single person who gave you their email address in exchange for a free read is a “someone.” Readers are valuable, but not just as a means to an end. I think too many people in the genre this past year or so have entered with dollar signs in their eyes, and forget that readers are individual people, every single one, who sought YOU out, as a writer, because something about the way you tell a story appealed to them.
Do you know what a gift that is?
Don’t forget it. Don’t just accumulate names on your list and rest on your laurels.
Because the market is flooded right now, and I mean flooded, with erotica and erotic romance. The one thing you, as a writer, have in your favor are your fans. Treat them well, and they will return the favor. It is a symbiotic relationship, not a one way street. Don’t ignore email from readers, don’t think you’re above connecting with the people who appreciate your work.
When aspiring writers ask me, “What is the one thing I can do to be successful?? I used to say, “Keep writing.” Which is still great advice and my number one response. But now I would also add, “Cultivate relationships with your fans.” Interact with them, talk to them, respond to their kudos and criticisms, both. Most of all, respect them. Remember that they have a lot of choices available to them out there–too many to count–but they chose you.
Treat that as the gift it really is. There’s nothing wrong with offering a free read in exchange for a mailing list sign up. I do it too. It’s what happens afterward that matters. Now that you’re connected, what do you do? Don’t disappoint your readership, don’t belittle them or treat them like a number. They are much, much more than that. In the self-publishing wild west out there, your readers are your most important thing. They’re not just your bread and butter, they’re valuable, in and of themselves. Each one wants something from you, and each one deserves your very best. Treat fans like you, as a reader, would want to be treated by someone whose work you enjoy.
That, more than anything else, will keep you going, writing what you love to write, for the people who love to read it.
Erotic Fiction You Won’t Forget
The sequel to Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed has been a long time coming.
The original sequel was set to release right around the time Amazon starting banning biological incest fiction. In order to allow people to continue to access the book on Amazon, I created two versions—the original Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed and Plaid Skirt Confessions. The former ended the same way this story ends, but the latter leaves Leah and Mr. Nolan in an entirely different place.
In order to release a sequel, I knew I would have to figure out how to let the continuation apply to both versions. And the more I re-wrote the original sequel in an attempt to fit both, the more I realized that the story that wanted—really, needed—to be told, required that I change the first one. Again. So I thought I would try a little experiment. What if we took the same characters, the same basic situation, but I took them back in time?
Not literally, of course—the girls don’t get into a DeLorean and travel back to 1955 with Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox, I promise. I just decided that, to tell the story I wanted to tell, we had to be situated in a different place and time, when the secrets found under Mr. Nolan’s bed were (arguably) far more shocking—and dangerous—than they are in our present time.
I hope you will continue this journey with Leah and Erica and, as you read the trilogy, you’ll understand why I’ve written this first book, Temptation, to begin their saga, rather than relying on version one (the original Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed) or version two (Plaid Skirt Confessions) as the basis for the series. I believe the integrity of the first story has been kept intact, but the experience, I think, is something entirely new.
You can get TEMPTATION for FREE this week on Kindle! The sequel, CONFESSION, is now out as well – and look for the third installment in the trilogy, GRACE, coming in April 2013! Click the links below for your FREE copy of TEMPTATION and to check out the sequel, CONFESSION!
Get it while it lasts! Free until the end of the week!
“Lead us not into temptation…”
What happens when you fall in love with your best friend’s father?
Leah is a good, Catholic girl, and she and Erica have been best friends since their first communion. Sure, Erica’s father is handsome and charming, but Leah spends so much time at the Nolan’s—just Erica and her famous, photographer father now, since Erica’s mother died—that she’s practically part of the family.
Both girls have led privileged, sheltered lives and are on the “good girl” track at St. Mary Magdalene’s Preparatory College, Leah pursuing her love of dance and Erica sating her endless curiosity as editor of the newspaper. Neither of them could have ever imagined that one fateful discovery will not only push the boundaries of their strict, repressive upbringing, but the bonds of their friendship as well.
Leah certainly never could have imagined finding herself torn between her best friend and her best friend’s father. Sure, Leah’s mother had always talked about Mr. Nolan as “a catch,” but Leah herself had never thought of him as anything other than just Erica’s dad—until the girls discover something darkly erotic under Mr. Nolan’s bed, a deep, shameful secret that will not only lead them into temptation, but will deliver them into a far greater revelation than any of them could ever have imagined.
If you read the original Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed, you will find this retelling a richer experience with deeper secrets to reveal—and don’t miss Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed: CONFESSIONS, the second installment in the three-part series!
Word Count: 75,000
BUY ON AMAZON
“With the mouth, confession is made into salvation…”
The shocking discovery best friends Leah and Erica have made under Mr. Nolan’s bed has them down the wicked path of temptation, both girls veering far from the narrow path dictated by their strict Catholic upbringing, and their sexual transgressions have had unintended consequences.
Erica finds her life turned upside down when Leah falls for Erica’s father, but just as Erica is beginning to accept their love for each other, Leah disappears. Bewildered and abandoned, Erica and Mr. Nolan are faced with sadness and confusion at their loss, but while Mr. Nolan spirals into mourning, Erica is determined to find her friend.
Erica can’t possibly know why Leah has vanished, but when she enlists the help of Father Michael, her search and the real reason for Leah’s disappearance intersect to uncover a multitude of shocking confessions and a secret that will shake not only the foundation of their faith, but the entire institution of the Catholic Church itself.
Look for Under Mr. Nolan’s Bed: GRACE the final installment in the trilogy coming April 2013!
I’m sure there’s some biochemical explanation. And a psychological one, too. I remember, soon after meeting my husband, riding next to him in the car on the way home from a date, the window open, the wind in my face, his hand on my leg, and I thought, at the time, I’d never been as happy and didn’t know if I ever would be again. That memory lives in me like a heartbeat, even now. Every aspect of that moment has been preserved, because I reminded myself at the time to remember it.
Remember this. Remember this, years from now, when you’ve been married seven years and things aren’t so easy anymore.
And I do. You see, I’d been married before. I knew how fast the bloom falls off the rose. And I knew, too, sometimes you just can’t put all the pieces back together, no matter how hard you try. So I never expected to feel that high, euphoric, totally in-love feeling forever. We’ve been together for fifteen years and married for thirteen, now, and life has had plenty of ups and downs in that time period. It’s also fallen into its routines, and we’ve had plenty of time to find each other’s faults.
Plenty. And we’ve found lots of them. We’ve hurt each other a lot. We’ve forgiven each other a lot, too. We’ve held each other open when we wanted to curl inward and close. We’ve pressed each other’s buttons in ways no one else ever could. And I wouldn’t trade what we have now for that beginning euphoria if someone offered me a million dollars. I truly wouldn’t.
Our love has grown as much as we have. It’s matured, as we have. I’m softer, more open, less afraid, and more accepting now in loving him. I think he is with me, too. As much as I remember that incredible, floaty lovesick feeling at the beginning, I don’t crave it or think I’m missing anything. I would never give up what I have now for the promise of that feeling (and a whole new set of problems, I might add.)
And when it comes to sex…
A single friend recently asked me, “But… isn’t married sex kind of… boring… after a while?” I just blinked at her. “You know, I mean, I like pizza, but if I had to eat pizza every single night I’d get… bored.”
First of all… bored with pizza? Perish the thought!
Secondly… no. Married sex isn’t boring.
In fact, I wouldn’t trade my married sex life for a single one if someone gave me the choice. I can’t imagine going through all that… stuff… again. You know, that self-conscious first undressing, learning all the buttons to push – or not. Those particulars vary so much from person to person. When you’ve been with someone a long time, you get comfortable. Not in a take-for-granted sort of way, but in a relaxed, open way. I can let myself go with him in ways I can’t imagine doing with someone else. Because I love him, because I trust him, because we’ve spent the time, in bed and out.
I don’t honestly even miss that first time sexual excitement, because for me, so much of it was nervousness and anxiety. The fear of rejection out there in the single world looms pretty large, real or imaginary. We talk about what it was like at the beginning sometimes, and while it was fun and sweet and exciting… I really have no desire to go back.
Just this morning, he called from his cell phone and told me how much he wanted to roll me over this morning and lick me through my new pink striped panties. (New panties are always a cause for sexual celebration in our bedroom, and while I don’t usually wear panties to bed, last night I fell asleep before taking them off. So my husband was faced with not only a new situation – me in panties – but new ones at that).
“Too bad you woke up late,” I teased.
“Remember the first time I licked you?” It was the first day I met him. How could I forget? “Remember all your half-hearted attempts at protest: ‘No… wait… I… ohhhh…’”
“Shut up, you!” I blushed just remembering.
He went on anyway, imitating me, “‘Oh god, your tongue, oh please, that’s so good…’”
“I remember. I remember!”
He chuckled. “You were so shy and sweet. You made me want to eat you right up.”
“But you did.”
He lowered his voice. “Are you still wearing those panties?”
“No… I’m not wearing any panties…”
“Wanna eat me up?” I teased.
“Does a cat meow?”
No, for us, married sex just doesn’t get old.
But I don’t get sick of pizza, either.
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