Romance for the Ladies and Adult Content for the Men

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Guys have never denied that adult content is their guilty pleasure while girls have always been drawn to a more boring avenue – erotica and romance novels. Aparna Sundaresan attempts to explain why – A two-minute vivid skin show in a video clip on the Internet is all that a guy needs to release his pent-up urges. A girl, on the other hand, is more likely to be disgusted by this. The girl, however, will resort to romance and erotica novels where the exact two-minute skin show is depicted, albeit with words. What makes a guy favour adult content and a girl, romance stories?

Simple vs Complicated

Physical intimacy, for guys, is simple and unfussy. It’s a no-strings-attached act and the adult clips reflect just this notion. For girls, physical intimacy is largely an emotional act, which means it is complicated and meaningful. They don’t want to just sleep with someone for the sake of having intimacy but want to cultivate a relationship with a person before getting personal with them. In that sense, guys are an on-off switch; girls are a circuit board. Girls, therefore, immensely enjoy romance novels because these books have explicit storylines and characters that girls get to know intimately between the first and last pages. Thus, when the hero of the story has physical intimacy, no matter how dirty or graphic it is, girls enjoy it because they have become emotionally interested in him by then.

I Wanna Have Your Baby!

Guys might think of physical intimacy as wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, but girls ask a multitude of questions before indulging in the act. Is he committed? Is he gentle and kind? Will he stick around? Is he rough? The reason for so much concern is that the female brain is developed to unconsciously examine everything that relates to the girl’s social, emotional and physical well-being. This is probably a result of evolution – women’s bodies are equipped to procreate, so before engaging in the act that leads to reproduction, girls want someone who will stay and provide the necessary resources for raising a child. Erotica plays on this psychology. The hero of the story is typically well-built, strong, handsome, generous, kind, loyal and understanding – the ideal man to have a baby with.

Who’s Driving My Passion?

A woman’s drive is usually lower than a man’s, not for biological or physical reasons but for reasons relating to repression. In this patriarchal world, women have historically been repressed from both self-expression and intimate expression through objectification in the media and lack of equal rights in society. Adult content reiterates the objectification with women in pornography serving as objects. Girls reject this representation which explains why they usually don’t like the graphic adult content. The plots in romance novels fundamentally exercise in convincing the heroine to fall in love before the act.

Disney and My Unrealistic Expectations

Girls are raised on a diet of Disney movies where a prince rescues a damsel in distress and lives with her happily ever after in Fairytale Land. Girls thus grow up believing in one true love, the concept of soulmates and that there is a prince charming somewhere in their lives, waiting to sweep them off their feet. Since reality is anything but that, girls escape to their imagination and find solace in romantic stories which are essentially fairytales with a generous serving of physical intimacy.

In the End, Everything is Distorted

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Image Credits: Odyssey
We blame adult content for giving men astronomical and illogical expectations from women, but we need to flip the coin and examine the other side. Romantic and erotic literature places just as much unrealistic and skewed expectations for men. Stereotypes are created in both instances; guys want Barbie dolls and girls want Ken dolls. And these stereotypes have become so rooted in their origins that if the actions were reversed, it is a matter of shame and embarrassment for a guy to be caught reading a romance novel and for a girl to be watching explicit videos.

Favourites from the Erotica Bookshelf

  • Mills & Boon: The quintessential escapist romance novel publishing company that has comforted and excited women since the 1930s. Although it has been criticised for selling formulaic and unintelligent books, its sales figures have rarely dipped
  • Fifty Shades of Grey: Love it or hate it, this Twilight inspired fan fiction has become the urban woman’s go-to for intimate release. Even though the writing is not Booker-worthy and the nature of the act described is violent, it is a hit.
  • Nicholas Sparks: His books aren’t outright sexy but are rather mushy love stories with a smattering of physical intimacy that have spawned not one, not two, but seven film adaptations, including the international hit ‘The Notebook’. His stories are permutations of characters that are estranged, that are of different social class and that have fatal diseases. Emotional adult content, if you will.

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