An Erotic History – I.J. Miller – Huffington Post

Several months ago the featured presenter at the Erotic Literary Salon, I.J. Miller, read passages from his (must read!) new novel, “Wuthering Nights,” an erotic retelling of Emily Bronte’s classic “Wuthering Heights.” The following excerpt is from his ‘An Erotic History,’ written for The Blog, a Huffington Post blog “Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost’s signature lineup of contributors.”

…The first decade of the twenty-first century seemed almost as conservative as the early sixties. An X-rating for a movie was the kiss-of-death at the box office. Major publishers shied away from mainstreaming explicit sexual material at first, whether it was well-written or not. Then along came Print-On-Demand technology and the explosion of ebooks, which opened up vast opportunities with self-publishing and independent presses. The erotica market grew in leaps and bounds. More people could produce sexy books on their own and make them available at a nominal cost. Most significantly, online purchasing did for erotic books what VCRs and now Movies-On-Demand did for X-rated videos. It allowed men and women to buy this material discreetly and read it in the privacy of their own homes…although it still seemed to be mostly women filling up their ereaders with erotic stories about hung cowboys and sexy threesomes.

Despite the boom in erotic writing, it wasn’t quite out of the closet. Major publishers developed small erotic imprints, but focused more on other genres. Many traditional and self-published authors used pseudonyms. This material, with its bold, racy covers, whether ebook or not, was rarely reviewed in mainstream periodicals or carried by libraries. The orthodox rabbi of my town had checked my first novel out of the local library in 1984, provocative cover and all. But during this decade the same book wouldn’t even get through the front door….

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