Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ethical Voyeurism

My first novel, Nature’s Pentacle, is now available at Loose Id! When witches use sexual energy in a rite to mend the shattered environment, the forces set in motion carry them into a vortex of loss, a sizzling ménage, and finally, to the love they never imagined they’d find.

Since it’s a scorching paranormal erotic romance, it comes with a warning label. Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, dominance, male/male sexual interaction, ménage (m/m/m/f), multiple partners, voyeurism.

Most of those warnings I not only expected, I suggested myself on the promotional forms the publisher hands out to authors. I don’t want anyone to pick up my book and feel uncomfortable, and warning people that the story contains controversial elements is the right thing to do. Plus, the “Publisher’s Note” lets readers who love scorching erotic romance know that Nature’s Pentacle is the book for them.

But one thing surprised me when I saw the warning today. Voyeurism? In my book? When I think of voyeurism, I think of a man tip-toeing outside a window as a couple has sex inside, or a teenager watching his sexy neighbor’s bedroom when she forgets to draw the curtains before undressing. Nope, that’s not my story.

But then I thought about it a while, and yes, my characters are involved in a ménage (first a threesome, and then a foursome), and they do watch each other--with great interest. They watch both in the context of the ménage, and also when twosomes pair up in crowded quarters. A cabin doesn’t allow for a lot of privacy.

And of course then there are the two forbidden sexual rites where five pairs of witches summon sexual magic to heal the shattered environment. Each time, three witches stand at center to channel the power--and yes, they can’t help but watch what’s going on around them. And they’re interested. Aroused.

So I’ve decided what I have in my story is some form of consensual voyeurism--“ethical voyeurism,” if you will. What’s important to me is that the person being watched is okay with what’s going on. In the end, the element of consent, or willingness to let someone watch, is what separates the common window peeper from adults involved in a complex, consensual sexual situation.

Here’s the point where I confess that my college dorms had huge, wall length windows. I can’t count the number of times I’d be walking home with a friend, only to spot a couple entangled in a passionate (read this naked) embrace. We’d laugh, blush, and hurry on. But nonetheless, those bits of accidental voyeurism were--interesting.

So what are your thoughts on watching? Ever been an accidental voyeur? Or a watcher of a more intentional ilk? Any favorite scenes from fiction that involve consensual voyeurism?

Happy reading!

Eden Rivers


Kris said...

Congrats on your release, Eden!

Can't say I've ever been a voyeur, accidental or otherwise but I'm definitely interested in seeing how it's portrayed in your book!


Eden Rivers said...

Hiya,Kris! Took me a minute to recognize you from your book cover, lol. Not used to the nickname :-) And thanks for the kind words about my book!

Jill Hansen said...

Suprisingly--since I've lived in New York City where all sorts of weird stuff happens--I've never been an accidental voyeur. But I agree, I think there's a scale from acceptable to icky voyeurism.

Eden Rivers said...

Jill--the whole NY experience, and not one peek at the seamy side--I think you got ripped off, lol. As for the sliding scale, yeah, I was really suprised to see "voyeurism" pop up on the Nature's Pentacle warning lable, because the standard definition slants toward the sneaky kind that happens w/o consent. I guess I think of what goes on in my story more as a simple byproduct of being involved in a menage situation, plus those two tricky sexual rites the witches are roped into. Never would have thought to call it voyeurism--but hey, the label may bring in a whole class of readers who are into that, lol.