Don't get the wrong idea, this is not a rant about my kinks being better than other people's. I have no problem whatsoever with the fact that some women prefer to be on the receiving end of the whip or the cane or the hairbrush or anything else. Nor do I have issues with people writing erotic fiction about women submitting to men and yes, I have written some myself, though it's always been a bit more of a challenge than writing about group sex, gender-blurring sex or queer sex - or femdom sex. And I don't think I've ever written any femsub fiction that doesn't feature at least one incident or mention of femdom action in it somewhere.
I didn't actually read the 50 Shades books. Well, I picked one up in Tescos and read a few paragraphs and went 'Eurgh' at the atrocious prose style and put it back down again. Nor have I read the handful of others touted as 'even better/more authentic/sexier/the real thing.' I really, really didn't need to, because I have read so much erotic fiction over the years that I know this: femsub doesn't really do it for me. A whole novel about one woman being introduced to kinky sex by a man who does it all TO her is just Not My Thing.
Again, if that's your thing, that's fine, I wish you joy of it. What actually irritates me is the insistence that Vacant Virgin and Cruel Sir Jasper in modern guise is what all women really want, an attitude that obviously peaked last summer, but isn't that new. Back in the days of the first erotic fiction 'explosion', when half a dozen publishing firms were putting out 'adult' imprints, I got told more than once that 'readers don't like stuff about dominant women' and 'it won't sell, can't you make the heroine more submissive'. It's one of the reasons I pretty much gave up on writing erotic fiction for several years (the others being general idleness... oh, and parenthood of course).
Yes, things are getting better than they were in the 90s, a lot of which is due to the generally magnificent efforts of Xcite Books and the thoroughly diverse range of erotica they publish. And there is of course my own fabulous commissioning editor Peter Birch who said, I want a femdom novel, get on with it. But there still seems to be the same kind of disconnect - a look along any shelf selling erotic novels will show femsub, femsub, 'romance' and more femsub, with maybe a bit of LGBT-lite, and yet whenever I'm selling a mixed bundle of books on my stall down at the LFF there are always punters going, got any femdom? I like femdom and it's really hard to find.
Maybe the tide is about to turn. I'm trying, anyway.