I was lying in bed this morning resisting my body’s recommendation that I get up, and thinking about stuff. Somehow the topic of romance novels vs. porn occurred to me. People are often asking me what I think about the fact that women so often eschew video pornography in favor of written romance novels and/or erotica, and I haven’t really got a succinct answer for that. But then the question always comes up: “Both men and women like sex as entertainment. What’s the difference, really, between romance novels and porn?” To which I usually say, in effect, there isn’t much of a difference. I think it’s just a matter of what’s considered acceptable, and why that level of acceptability is different, I don’t know.
But this morning it occurred to me that, while romance novels are often packed full of very explicit sex scenes (and even more so lately, now that the 50 Shades phenomenon has sunk in), I don’t think that women actually masturbate to them all that often. At least, I don’t really recall ever hearing a woman say that while she was reading a really hot scene in her favorite book, she jerked off like crazy. I’ve heard comments about how turned on a scene made someone, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone talk about rubbing one out to it.
This might just be my perception–despite the fact that I work on romance novels at my 9 – 5, I’m not a big fan of them in general myself. I don’t get into online forums about them or get involved in the culture. But at my day job, I do read a lot of reviews and the like, and nobody ever talks about even the most hardcore books like they’re jill-off material. They talk about the characters and the “sizzling sensuality” but never about having orgasms to any of it. Meanwhile, in almost any forum where pornography is actually discussed, up to and including totally inappropriate responses to porn stars’ instagram photos, people talk about jerking off to porn scenes/porn stars/porn in any form except the written form. Is this just another case of women not talking about the reality of their sexual behavior? Or do women really not jerk off to their romance novels?
Anyone out there have an answer for me? I’m very curious about this.