FAMILY AND EROTICA by Olivia Cunning

2_26 Olivia Cunning 9781402245831-PRIf you’ve never heard of me or my books, I write sexually explicit books about rock stars. My latest release, Hot Ticket, is about the bass player of a fictional rock band called Sinners. His particular kink is a pain fetish. He also likes to restrain women and “torture” them with pleasure. Each member of the band has his own particular kink. One enjoys using toys. One prefers to go at it as discreetly as possible in public. There’s a voyeur who likes to watch. And then there is Trey Mills. So maybe you’re wondering if I tell my mother what kind of books I write? Yeah, she knows.

Most of the members of my family are fans of my books. You didn’t think I was raised by a bunch of prudes, did you? My mom and aunt are voracious readers. They read everything I write and ask for more. My sister, who rarely reads, has even read my books. And enjoyed them. And told me her husband really enjoyed that she read them because it put her in “the mood”, which I did not need to know, thank you very much. Dad likes to tease me about the books I write, as my dad is the kind of person who teases about everything (including my advanced degrees in science—he thinks a BS degree is bulls**t, a MS is more s**t and a PhD is piled higher and deeper, just so you know what I’m dealing with here), but even dear Daddy drove two hours to attend one of my book signings and I could see the pride on his face. Even my grandmothers own my books. One of grandmothers read them and said I would have to explain some of the terms that she didn’t understand. I’m glad she’s a bit senile and forgot to ask for further clarification. Having a discussion about the kinky birds and the naughty bees with my grandmother is not on my bucket list. My son has never read my books, and I think we’re going to keep it that way, but I sometimes talk to him about the characters. He’s used to his mother talking about fictional people as if they are real. Now the extended family are more likely to whisper amongst themselves that I write “that kind of book”, but it doesn’t bother me and it doesn’t stop them from buying them and reading them. It just stops them from telling everyone that they did read and even enjoyed them. It might embarrass them to admit it. I write books that are explicitly sexual in nature, not books about serial killers. Strangely, in our society, sexually explicit material is more taboo than grotesquely violent material. I have never understood why. There is nothing wrong with sex and everything wrong with violence. A lot of people are more embarrassed to buy condoms and lube than to purchase bullets for their semi-automatic assault rifle. Why is that?

I think the main distinction between porn, erotica and erotic romance is the opinion of the reader. I didn’t used to think that. I used to think porn was strictly for titillation, erotica was literature that included sex as a main theme but did not necessarily involve love, and erotic romance was literature that included both sex and love and ended with a happily ever after. To some people, my books are erotic romance. They recognize that the developing relationship is the most important part of the book, and that the lead characters happen to enjoy having sex with each other. To some people, my books are erotica. They get so caught up in the explicitness of the sex scenes that their eyeballs start steaming and they can’t get into the deeper meaning of the books. And to a few people, my books are porn. They probably think Animal Planet is a porn channel as well. Sex happens—maybe not to you—but it happens. I used to be bothered when someone would refer to my books as porn, but now I’ve figured out that it’s a personal problem, I mean, opinion. One person’s outlandish porn is another person’s Friday night.

If you were a best-selling author of erotica, would you be proud of it or would you try to hide it?


  1. What would you categorize your books as Olivia? I have a friend who is deeply religious ( I’m an Atheist ) and my reading Erotic Romance was an issue for her. It almost ended our friendship! She called it porn. I explained that there is a huge difference! In the porn industry there is always a risk of people being exploited, under age people involved, STD’s, perhaps abuse. With writing/reading Erotic Romance, no one gets hurt! It’s fiction. Someone used their imagination to create the characters and situations. An author sat in front of a computer and created the world in their book. They themselves are probably just as “normal” as apple pie! I don’t have an issue with the porn industry, provided its all legal. However, it is not anywhere near the same as an Erotic Romance novel!

  2. IF (and that is a huge if…) I were a best-selling erotica writer I would hope to let my family know. My parents are gone now, but they would have been one of the first I would have told as they were very open-minded people. My children probably wouldn’t be too surprised, knowing the genres I tend to read. My sister would have to know, she would be my editor! Now my brothers might be shocked, but they would get over it. I’m glad you are proud of your work, you should be! Thanks for an interesting blog!

  3. I absolutely love this post. I’m so cracked up over the family reading and discussing the books!
    It is so odd that violence is more acceptable than sex. Crazy.

  4. I know I can’t do it. Sadly, I’m secretive from my family by nature. I lived in a household of don’t ask don’t tell and maintain a stiff upper lip at all times. Having been stripped of my innocence when I was very young, I have this perverted need to maintain an aura of virginity with my family. That said, I’ve always spoken openly with my children about sex, just not in the kind of graphic detail I write.

    So, if I were to have a best-selling erotic novel, my family would never know. Besides, I think I would get a bit of a kick out of a family member obliviously telling me about a book I wrote.

  5. Olivia, great points that you make comparing sex to violence. And I love your books and look forward to the next ones. I’d love to meet your slightly senile granny, too.

  6. I LOVE your books Olivia. Have them all. Hot Ticket is currently burning a hole through the floor beside my bed while it waits for me to pick it up. (I’m trying to wrap up my own menage story at the moment). I’ve let my family and friends know what I write (my debut just came out in Jan). Some of my family were embarrassed I think, but my mom is proud of me. 🙂 She even told me so (and she added – everyone does it, they may not admit it, but they all do it!) Love my mom. I does bother me when people call it porn, they may say it jokingly, then I remind myself that more often than not they just don’t know what they’re talking about out. I can give them a piece of porn and I can give them a romantic story that happens to have sex in it.

    Keep writing Olivia, and I’ll keep buying!

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