"I'm just shocked. I was shocked."
"Grandma would be mortified if she was alive. She wouldn't even say the word 'fuck' out loud ever in her life."
"What are you going to say to your son about this when he's older?"
"How is it possible all your friends know about this and they are okay with it?"
"I just can't imagine that many people like sex that much and want to read about it."
This is a list of comments a family member made to me recently when she learned that I had decided to write erotic fiction and had, in fact, already published my first erotic romance.
You see, this family member does not approve. And for some reason, she felt the need to tell me this as if it was all relevant to my life choices.
She hasn't actually read my book. She's only read the blurb, which she said -- insultingly -- reminded her of the movie Almost Famous. UM, NO.
With this list of comments above, she has basically outlined that I am 1. a bad person and 2. a bad mother because I'm not ashamed of myself as I should be. I should be ashamed to have a sexual fantasy and MORE ashamed that I wrote it down.
Also, I should be ashamed that I would jokingly refer to my book as 'porn,' because that means it is by definition, in her eyes, DEGRADING to women.
In fact, she told me, erotica is degrading to women because "everything about sex should remain private."
This family member isn't 80 years old. She grew up in the 1960s and 70s and, in fact, has probably had sex with many more men than I have.
That didn't stop her from telling me her unedited thoughts on my novella (that she's never read.)
I wasn't quite sure how to respond to these comments.
I ended up just saying "I'm not ashamed and I have nothing to be ashamed of. Don't be so Puritanical."
But I will admit the conversation hurt me. Not because think ANY of her criticisms are accurate, but because she can't accept me for who I am, for what I choose to spend my time on and see it for what it is -- a form of expression that a lot of people out there get a LOT OUT OF on a daily basis.
Erotica is fun. It's fantasy. It's freeing. And that makes it a perfect way to spend my free time. If I can write well enough that other women feel and experience the fantasies that I have in my brain, I'd say that's an accomplishment!
My family member is probably just jealous.
Any other erotica/romance writers out there have a family member or friend like this? How do you deal with it?