Monday, May 21, 2012

Are Watersports the Odd Fetish Out?

If you've looked much at erotica publisher's guidelines, you're very familiar with the common list of squicks: scat, bestiality, necrophilia, watersports, noncon, pedophilia, etc. Some of that list is there for legality (pedophilia, for example), some for reputation (the publisher doesn't want to have a bunch of extreme, seamy stuff clogging up its erotic romance titles), and some is there, perhaps, because it doesn't sell well (maybe I'm projecting my own feelings, but I don't think there's a huge market for scat). By all means, publishers should differentiate their brands and publish what they're comfortable publishing. But I was really struck by a comment on watersports in a guest blog by Slave Nano posted at Erotica for All.

Slave Nano is discussing the editing process for what sounds like a pretty extreme bdsm novel, Adventures in Fetishland (a book with some inspiration from Alice in Wonderland):

Adventures in Fetishland has scenes of corporal punishment, nipple torture, cock and ball torture, electrical play, medical play, use of sounds, strap-on-play, cling film mummification, breath play and an attempted anal rape scene. So, you can see, it isn’t exactly for the faint hearted! But, one of the scenes I had to edit was a comic one involving Kim, the main character, pissing in a tea pot! I just have trouble grappling with how all that other extreme stuff was acceptable but a funny scene at a fetish hatter’s tea party involving pee had to be axed.

I take that point. The aversion to pee sounds silly in the context Slave Nano lists. That definitely got me thinking.

On the other hand, I wonder how salable watersports writing is. Does the publisher have any stats on that? My personal reaction might support the publisher's decision. I like some extreme stuff, and when I read the list of what is in the book, I get a little excited. Maybe a lot excited. Watersports, on the other hand, is icky to me a lot of the time -- I have read some writing about it that I liked, but it's often a negative in a piece of writing I otherwise love.

I think it's worth examining the reasons for avoiding certain subjects, and, every now and then, experimenting with pushing a boundary or two. If you're ready to push a boundary now, Slave Nano's post includes an unexpurgated version of the pee scene he had to cut from the finished book, and it is in fact quite funny.

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