Trending: Writers and Readers in India Explore Taboo Subject of Sex

August 14, 2014

Until Fifty Shades of Grey hit the shelves, Indian readers had been generally hesitant to peruse erotica or sexually explicit literature. But since, Random House has sold over 100,000 copies in India, and, concomitantly, Indian writers are exploring female sexuality with a newfound fearlessness.

“The usually orthodox Indian reader, it seems, has finally woken up to mainstream erotica,” write Madhusree Ghosh and Deblina Chakravorty of the Times of India. “The question is, are we ready to openly acknowledge erotic literature, or are we so titillation starved and bored of street-side porn books that we are lapping up anything remotely graphic?”

The consensus seems to be that Mills & Boon, formerly the one major player in erotica sales in India, did not quite push the envelope in the way that Fifty Shades has, which created a desire in Indian readers for more intense erotica. Author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, whose novel, Sita’s Curse, about a middle class woman’s sexual explorations, was released in January 2014, said that the “taboo” topics, formerly unexplored by earlier forms of erotica, offer fodder for strong, “realistic and hard-hitting” Indian erotica.

“In India, erotica is a very difficult genre to tackle because of who we are and where we are coming from,” Shobhit Arya, publisher and founder of Wisdom Tree said to the Hindustan Times, last year.

Still, India is no stranger to sexual literature, as the source of the ancient erotic art of Kama Sutra. However, the language surrounding sex has not been as explicit as in Fifty Shades. According to Nielsen Book three years ago, the book market for erotica had grown at a rate of 38%.

Read more about the evolution of sexuality in Indian literature at the First Post.

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