A lot of people think that erotica is the easiest thing to write. Just slap down a description of your last orgasm, and Bob’s your reader. Wait a minute. . .that doesn’t sound right. Uh—nevermind.
The fact is, though, that erotica has to be better than a lot of other writing. An erotica writer is on the make, a seducer without the longing looks and casual touches that are the usual part of the cocotte’s catalogue. Even the most acclaimed authors sometimes stumble when they try to write sex scenes: David Guterson, Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer have all won the Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction Award.
After I read the first paragraph of E.B. Jones’s “The Interrogation Room and Other Sexy Stories”, I breathed a sigh of relief– the writing is smooth and literate. These are well drawn vignettes of women in tantalizing situations, like being interrogated by sexy officials or interviewing rock stars that ooze sex appeal. In all of them, a woman is overawed and taken in hand by a lover who is smart, delicious, and knows what he’s doing. Short stories are a good format, too—there’s no need for the author to wrestle with the complexities of a novel’s structure here. But while brevity is this collection’s strength, it is also its primary weakness. A woman is handcuffed and taut with anxiety when her interrogator–sexy, soothing, commanding—walks in. I would have liked much more nuance, to make the transition from fear to desire more believable. A woman’s sexual desire is not always a light switch, after all—there’s a complex swirl of emotions that causes one to boomerang from tension to desire.
Still, the author has planned these stories reasonably well. This is old fashioned, to-the-point and not too elaborate sex.