Over the last month and a half, I've hosted guest posts on this blog from six romance and erotica writers about the value of romance and erotica.
In her post, Sassy Jacksun, who is on the verge of finishing her first erotic romance, talked about true love, the role of romance and erotica in promoting sex positivity, and the potential to explore alternative models of romance relationship through erotic romance stories.
Jane Hunt, author of erotic fantasy, offered a historical and personal perspective about the changing views on female sexuality in England.
Erotica author Christina Harding revealed how reading romance saved her marriage by reigniting her libido.
Chris Liccardi, writer of romance and erotica fiction, shared his view that reading romance and erotica can provide us with inspiration for our own sex lives.
Bestselling contemporary romance author Ember Casey talked about how romance novels provide a safe space for women to explore their sexuality and sexual fantasies.
Last but certainly not least, contemporary romance author Virginia Duke offered a conflicted perspective on romance: she dislikes it because it often perpetuates the traditional gender roles that chafes against her feminist ideals, but she writes it because it "provides many women a sexual outlet they are often denied in their everyday lives."
Each of my guests seems to agree that, no matter what the stories are currently doing, there is at least great potential for romance and erotica to effect real social change by providing readers (and writers) with an outlet for authentic sexual expression that counters current societal norms.
The question now is: Where do we go from here?