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"Interview: Rachel Kramer Bussel talks frankly about erotica"

on Saturday, 07 April 2012. Posted in Front Page Headline, Media Updates

USA Today

The end of Fifty Shades of Grey has stuck with me. I'm still disturbed by the hero using a belt on the heroine. Yes, she asked him to do it, so she could "understand" what he went through as a child and therefore, presumably, understand him better. That's a weak premise to begin with, frankly. I don't need to be shot in the head to know that it would hurt like H-E-double-hockey-sticks and maybe leave me brain damaged and scarred for life. So I really didn't buy the "you need to beat me with a belt so I can understand you" argument.

Other than that disturbing scene, the rest of the book was certainly compelling enough to keep me reading, It was also the first BDSM erotica I'd ever read. Which raised lots of questions in my mind about the genre. So I consulted with another expert on erotica and BDSM. (I also consulted with the wonderful Raelene Gorlinsky of Ellora's Cave. The link to that interview is at the bottom of this post.) Rachel Kramer Bussel, an author, editor and blogger, has written for several publications, including The Huffington Post, Salon, New York Post and San Francisco Chronicle, and is an editor at Penthouse Variations and a columnist for SexIs Magazine. She's also edited more than 40 anthologies devoted to erotica. In other words, she's an expert.

Joyce: Welcome to HEA, Rachel! What's your take on the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena? It seems awfully tame to me, overall — but maybe that's why it's become so popular? It's like a mainstream (light) version of erotica?

Rachel: I think it's not that unconventional for romance, both the BDSM scenes and the storyline, but it's obviously struck a nerve, and with the print and audio versions and movie deal, will surely be reaching more people. Maybe the average reader just hasn't known where to look to find romance with a kinky twist, because there's plenty of it, from Megan Hart to Maya Banks to Emma Holly (and many more). Romance and erotic romance have both gotten much kinkier so people who are used to reading this type of material have been, on the whole, nonplussed by Fifty Shades of Grey, but I believe the appeal is the overall fantasy of giving up control and getting sexual satisfaction and love, not so much the specifics of how that happens. ...

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