Even if you’re reading the ebook version of a Lexi tale, my guess is you’ll click back to your reader’s menu or close the cover when Mom comes too close — anything to disguise the nature of what you’re reading.
“Mom doesn’t have eagle eyesight anymore,” you might figure, “but the word ‘pussy’ was on that page in stark e-ink, and she might’ve seen it.”
Probably would have.
That’s how it goes with erotica.
People hide erotica.
With the exception of not-really-erotica pop phenomena like 50 Shades, people usually don’t admit to others that they read it.
But you can share romance all day, then into the sunset.
Sure, the heroine might be riding her suitor’s throbbing rod six ways from Sunday, but romance is romance — it’s about love … and even Mom understands that sometimes, people in love do untoward things beneath the sheets. That’s how you got here after all.
Still, both stories have sex. Erotic stories can have a lot or a little, and romance can be tame or hot enough to blister paint. I’ve been writing sexy stories since long before I started sharing them with you, and have been reading them longer than that. As an avid reader of both genres, I can promise you I’ve seen romance with more sex (and far more explicit scenes) than other books classified as “erotica.”
Yet, when you sell stories like mine, you can’t class something as erotica and romance. You must pick one. Erotic romance doesn’t help — you still have to hide it from Mom.
The whole thing reminds me of my marketing days. When you write ad copy, you can’t sing a product’s multiple praises. You have to pick one of its many aspects, then pretend it’s only that and nothing else. We call that “positioning.”
Sex on one side. Romance on the other.
It’s as if someone’s trying to tell us that the two don’t go together.
There’s One Side to Every Coin
I have a friend who, after she’s had a few glasses of wine, likes to say, “Welcome to Bonertown. Population: me.”
She’s married to her high school sweetheart. They have three kids. Her husband is constantly texting to tell her he loves her. When they relax together, she nestles against him on the couch as if he’s a throw pillow.
If their lives were a book, Barnes & Noble would stick it in the romance section. You’d have no problem sharing that book. But I’m telling you, they fuck every chance they get. I’m fairly certain they once did it in my bathroom after asking me to “keep an eye on the kids for a sec” then disappearing for 10 minutes. She’s told me tales — even here and now, after years of domesticity — that would fog your glasses.
Beneath the work-safe veneer, they’re living a Lexi life.
Yet no one would give it that label.
Because they must be one thing, and not another.
They must be a primary color.
An element from the periodic chart.
A prime number, unable to be divided into component parts.
Human brains don’t like for things to have dual natures. They want to say, “This is X.” It’s either a paperweight or a civic award. It’s either a Frisbee or a dog toy. We want to know where to pile our things for fear of cluttering our boxes. We don’t know where to put things in our houses, or which books we can safely recommend to friends.
My book Anticipation is about a sweet married couple trying to recapture the spark they had before children occupied their lives.
Divorced is one of the sweetest, most heart-wrenching stories I’ve ever been blessed to hear or tell.
But both of those sweet, romantic stories have sex. A lot of sticky, sweaty, heart-pumping sex. Because silly me, I’m under this delusion that when two people are in love, they often like to slide parts of themselves into one another. I don’t (can’t) see it as something shameful, unnatural, or in any way worth hiding. Sex is in our biology.
The future of our species depends on people pairing up and fucking, so when I write a love story, I write it all.
In Divorced, Zach gives Sam a rose when they go to the county fair on a date. She thinks it’s corny, but is still touched by the gesture. He gets slightly offended, because he’s the hopeless romantic artist and she’s the pragmatist.
Her hesitation, for a few beats, shits on their moment. He huffs. She makes fun of him.
Then she sees how vulnerable he is, and takes his hands. They kiss.
I wrote about that exchange in detail, because it was part of the story.
Later, when they’re riding the pirate ride and find themselves alone in a row, Sam fumbles Zach’s cock from his fly and jerks him off. Once home, they finish what Sam started.
I wrote about that in just as much detail. Because it, too, was part of the story.
These aren’t just love stories, nor are they stories just about sex. They are stories of people who fall in love — and as part of that love, have a lot of hot, throbbing coitus.
I could slant my stories toward romance, but everyone already understands that a romantic story might contain some steamy elements. Far fewer people give erotica credit it sometimes deserves.
The common thought: If it’s primarily about sex, it’s for masturbation and nothing more.
And that’s why I write erotica. Make a bullshit statement like that, I can’t resist trying to disprove it.
I’ve been in love three times. I’m single now. I’ve sat on the floor plenty of times, back to the wall, knees to my chest, sobbing into an endless box of tissues.
Me, Lexi Maxxwell.
Me, the girl who makes her living by writing about licking pussies and sucking cocks until they erupt in ropes of salty, sticky cum.
I hesitate to write this — if for no other reason than it forces me to admit it to myself — but I’m still in love with one of those men today. We’re apart. We’ll never be together again. It’s very, very, very difficult to write those words, but they’re true. I was briefly in love with another man since, but I’ve still never stopped loving the first.
Love is odd that way; you can love one person fully while still loving another just as fully.
There isn’t limited space in our hearts. In my experience, a pair of loves will have different flavors, but both can co-exist. I love one man with a sense of bittersweet nostalgia, and that’s what I mined when writing Divorced. And through those pages I cried plenty.
At the same time, I once loved another with a sense of powerful, present now. That feeling — before it soured — has inspired other parts of my work.
I’ve thought about my lost loves — all three, each with a different feeling — when I’ve been lonely. My first love was sweet and innocent, and those memories inspired Zach and Sam’s early days in Divorced.
My second love inspired their later, more mature relationship. Even my third love (which inspired much of Cheated; I’ll tell that tale another time) had moments I cherish like dried petals preserved in a box of precious memories.
I’ve done it slowly and with a long build-up, using my vibrator, remembering how the same vibrator was once used on me by another.
And I’ve done it while crying, simply trying to reach the end. Sometimes the most earth-shattering orgasms come when I’m sad, when I’m feeling exactly the opposite of how a “porn book” would have you believe was sexy.
I am not one and only one thing. I refuse to feel one and only one way, or to be one and only one person.
I know you feel the same.
The Truth About Erotica
Let’s get something straight: Most of life’s stories would be erotica if people told the fucking truth.
I had that epiphany maybe a year into publishing sexy stories. When I first started, I knew I wanted to write about sex because my core desire was to make readers feel, and telling sex stories was the most visceral way to do it. Evoking horror or a sense of lingering sweetness is hit or miss, but making cocks hard and pussies wet is comparatively easy.
So that’s what I did. I wrote single-serving fantasies that started just before the kiss and ended shortly after the cumshot.
But after writing those stories for a while, I realized that while my tales were well-written and plenty hot, they were also a commodity. Everyone was writing about fucking this person and fucking that person. Once sex starts, mechanics are more or less the same. There may be more poles in more holes, but the basics remain: In, out, repeat if necessary. If I wanted to stand out — not just in terms of selling books, but in terms of keeping my readers at the raw edges of their feeling — I had to give them more. I had to give them stories and characters they cared about. Because while a cock in a pussy is a dime a dozen, the right cock in the right pussy after the right stage-setting and buildup could be DYNAMITE.
That’s when it hit me: I could tell any story I wanted. And when the moment arrived for some of my characters to get down and dirty, I wouldn’t (couldn’t) flinch from the details.
Calling my writing “erotica” sucks, because it does two things: First, it implies that the sex is primary, and that little else matters because readers will always want to skip my irrelevant filler material to reach the good parts. And as we’ve discussed, it also imbues my work with a sense of shame for those who read it.
It’s erotica, right? So you’ve gotta hide it from Mom, because like Playboy, no one really gets erotica for the articles.
If you just want graphic descriptions of sex, head to the top 100 erotica list. You’ll find plenty. You’ll find compilations where women seduce gardeners over and over in a big anonymous circle. You’ll find yarns about handsome strangers who spread pretty ladies’ legs to eat pussy. There’s no distracting “substance” there, and you’ll be able to find all the whacking material you want.
On the other hand, if you want excellent stories that don’t shy away when things get hot, you’ve come to the right gal.
I’m forced to classify my stuff as erotica, but if I had my druthers, I’d classify it entirely differently.
Adult Video is laugh-out-loud hilarious. It’s comedy, pure and simple, and would be at home on HBO. Yes, Tiffany, Heather, and Seth sometimes have sex. But when you work in a dysfunctional adult video store, that’s par for the course.
The Future of Sex is hard sci-fi. Thanks to the genius of my co-authors Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (who also created the world in which Future of Sex takes place), it’s also downright cerebral. The Future of Sex takes place in the year 2060, after a reshuffling of the world’s power has paved the way for a massive corporation, O, to use their influence to manipulate our society’s very conception of sex and pleasure. And through their beta access to a next-generation, AI-driven network called The Beam, they’re close to changing humanity and reality themselves.
If anyone is reading Adult Video or The Future of Sex just for the jizz, I would be sad. I put a hell of a lot more thought into creating experiences that go far beyond genitals when writing both. Put FOS in front of a sci-fi audience and an erotica audience, and I’ll bet the soak in my hole that sci-fi folks would devour it first.
Vampire fans would love Bitten.
Paranormal fans would love The XXX-Files.
Hell, Kill Bill fans would love Cheated.
Even my ace slut Autumn Cole has plenty of dimension. The Autumn Diaries and I Fucked Tucker Max are meant to be absurd and funny, but both harbor surprisingly sweet scenes between Autumn and her boyfriend, Sam. Autumn has a past that would make Belladonna blush, but now she’s with Sam. Autumn is faithful, and loves him deeply.
One might even call it romance.
There’s a Quentin Tarantino movie called True Romance that I absolutely love. Patricia Arquette plays Alabama, a prostitute. When she meets Christian Slater’s character, she decides to give up the life, and so he surprises Alabama by killing her pimp and his henchmen.
Alabama, seeing this, declares it, so romantic.
Quentin and I are two birds of a feather. He has the audacity to redefine romance in terms of murder and to position violence as funny. I do the same kinds of things, only with sex. Autumn forcing Sam to fuck her in an alley is romantic. Sucking Sam off in a public bookstore is romantic. And yes, the quiet moments they have alone, when Autumn stops being so damn “Autumn” and lets Sam lead, are romantic, too.
I’ve been in love three times, and all three times I’ve had amazing sex. Dirtier sex, sometimes, than I’ve had in casual, I-don’t-care encounters when single. The love of my life once fucked me so hard and so rough that I had bruises for weeks. The next night, we ate fondue as candlelight flickered.
If you read my stories, then yes, you’re reading erotica. Technically. Because the booksellers have this way of classifying things, and readers have ways of looking for books they might like to read. Sometimes I’m forced to pick a path, and play the game of the one-sided coin. For most people, all products need positioning so they know which mental box to put it into. Books are no different.
For now, my books might be those you hide under a pillow.
But in time, as you get to know me, I hope you won’t see just the sex. I hope you’ll see the story. The characters. The variety. The adventure. The love. The romance.
If I had my way, my genre would be “Lexi Maxxwell.” You’d know my genre as being characterized by honesty, and straight talk, and good characters, and good storylines.
I hope you’ll stick around long enough to stop hiding your books and readers.
I hope you’ll stay with me long enough to find the confidence to share the tales that move and inspire you — no matter how unflinching the lens on those tales may be.