Saturday, November 18, 2017

Here We Go Again... Censorship Of Erotic Fiction

Censorship is rearing its ugly head again.

Erotica and erotic romance are under attack again; this time at Smashwords. All erotic titles must fill out a form indicating they do not fall under the following categories: incest, pseudo-incest, bestiality (shifters are not considered part of this category), rape-for-titillation, dubious consent (dubcon), and sexual slavery. If authors refuse to tag their books by January 1, their accounts may be shut down.

I doubt this new form of censorship will affect big moneymakers like Fifty Shades of Grey. No, it's only the small indie authors and publishers who will suffer.  On the other hand, author Paul Herron brought up on Facebook that Anais Nin's rediscovered classic, Auletris, may be banned again due to these stringent categories. Auletris has already been banned Amazon, but it is available there now – but maybe not for long. This book has only been published for about a year. What other classic erotic books will be axed thanks to this form of categorization?

If you want to buy Auletris at Amazon here is the link:

Here is Paul Herron's Facebook post on the subject:

Censorship actually helped me. About six years ago, my erotic fairy tale Purr (a short erotic version of Puss In Boots) was banned by Amazon along with my entire publisher's catalogue. New Dawning published Purr, and it was attacked in much the same way Smashwords is attacking erotica now – pulling out the usual suspects for banning such as incest/pseudo-incest,  pedophilia, bestiality and dubcon. This act actually helped sell my book. I slapped a "Banned By Amazon" sticker on my cover and advertised the book that way. It sold like hotcakes. Amazon later reinstated New Dawning's catalogue but the sour taste was already left in my mouth.

My other two erotic fairy tales Trouble In Thigh High Boots (long Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (Rapunzel) also had been caught in the censorship crosshairs. When readers learned about that, it only ensured the books gathered more interest. It reminded me of Tipper Gore's censoring of music CDs back in the 1990s. The stickers on "questionable" music only told the kids which CDs to buy.

At first glance, no reasonable person would have a problem banning these categories. However, it's a slippery slope. What else could be considered harmful content and should be banned? Then there is the issue of censorship based on personal preferences. No one is ordering a reader to buy books with these themes at gunpoint. I personally do not read them but that should not prevent those who want to read those stories from having access to them. Selena Kitt has written plenty of incest and pseudo-incest erotic stories. She's seen many of her works banned and she has fought banning for years. Her publishing house eXcessica has been under fire many times for publishing what some consider questionable and obscene content. Where do we draw the line? Trouble In Thigh High Boots includes lactation fantasy which has been under fire by Amazon and other retailers. My main character Tita is a shapeshifting cat creature. Cats like cream. Use your sexy imagination. I also include ménages and lesbian scenes. Climbing Her Tower includes a few scenes of questionable consent but that book does not have dubcon in it. Where do retailers draw the line? When will the content I described be banned? Why aren’t books containing excessive and graphic violence banned, especially violence against women? There is a double standard here. Violence and murder are acceptable but God forbid show a nipple and the world crashes.

The direction the evangelicals are taking the U. S. could result in more censorship of erotic fiction in the United States at the very least. By banning what many people would think is a no-brainer, this opens the door to ban other erotic content the prudish may not like. I don't want to see erotic fiction banned at all. You are free to click away the retailer's page if you don't like the content. No one is forcing readers to buy books.


  1. Sadly it not only affects the US. with their world wide branding players such as Amazon and smashwords are the biggest indie publishers in many countries including the UK. You can bet a ban will not be limited to one country but end up being worldwide.

  2. It definitely affects writers worldwide. I also write for some UK publishers and I'm sure they'll be affected as well. Thanks for commenting!