Granny-Porn

She was standing behind one of those tables used at church potlucks. One of dozens of authors participating in an annual book event at the mall. The perfect chance for children and their parents to visit face-to-face with the magician-makers and beast-makers otherwise known as writers.

I took a moment before the scheduled signings to introduce myself to the authors I did not know — the bulk of them. I’d met the gal who wrote the book about her mom being abandoned as a baby. And a gal who wrote fantasy fiction for young adults but so far hadn’t spoken at any schools because that part of book writing- the part where you have to put yourself out in public wasn’t nearly as appealing.

Then I walked up to the gal at the end of the long table. A tall, slim woman, she wore a denim dress embellished with tiny flowers. Her hair was cut short, cropped for ease as much as for style. Her smile was pleasant, welcoming, like that of a favorite Bible school teacher. She, in fact, looked like she probably taught at a conservative private school of some sort. Or maybe she just taught piano or violin lessons. She looked exactly like the kind of woman you’d want to be your neighbor. A female Mr. Rogers. 

Noticing the book in front of her, I introduced myself and then said, “So you write YA?” That’s writer vernacular for Young Adult fiction.

“Yes,” she said. “I do but I also write this.”

And with that she reached under the table and pulled out another book. I don’t know if my face registered gob-smacked, but it sure should have. 

In bright red print was the word Erotica.

There was more to the title but suffice it to say that the entire marketing pitch for the book revolves around old people having hot sex.

“You wrote this?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“But you keep it under the table?”

“The store manager didn’t think it would be a good idea to put it out here with the children’s books,” she replied.

God bless that store manager and anyone else with a shred of common sense.

“So you wrote that?” I asked again. Still disbelieving it.

“Under another name,” she said. Or I think that’s what she said. I was still reeling, trying to put together my obvious misconception of the church lady with the very real porn lady standing in front of me.

Okay. I’ll confess in the here and now. I am being judgmental. There is part of me that longs for a return to legalism. Or at least a well-defined sense of right and wrong, where porn, especially granny-porn, is always wrong.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

And I don’t care if you think me a prude. I don’t care if you spew out your morning coffee as you curse me. Go right ahead.

I think aging people have  a right to hot sex. I do. In fact, most of the aged people I know do have hot sex. I’m wiling to wager that most people have their hottest sex after age 50, if you take into consideration the affects of menopause and aging, sex is the best workout most people over 50 get. I’m going to go so far and say it may be, in fact, the only time all day the aging work up a sweat.

Here’s what I truly believe — if you are sitting around reading books about erotica, chances are the only person you get erotic with is yourself.

I’ve been married 35-years next week. (Yes. Thank you.) And I’m not bragging or anything like that, but I can assure you that of all the books on our bedsides, not a one is a how-to-guide to erotica. Mark it up to my sense of adventure or even reckless daring if you like, but it seems to me that if a person has their nose in a map (or in this case a book) the entire time they’re exploring Paris, they might miss something wonderful along the way. I think the exploration is often the best part of the journey. 

The last thing I want is my granny – or your granny for that matter – handing over a recipe card file containing pornographic images.

I miss the days when the Bible was Granny’s go-to-book on erotica and all things of life and death.

Listen, if as an author you are compelled to hide the books that you write, something is very, very wrong about what you are writing. (Disclaimer: I am not referring to those social justice writers living in Syria or North Korea, who write at the risk of their own lives).

It makes me want to go all Bob Newhart on the grannies who waste the precious gift of creativity by writing to the under-the-table-and-covers crowd:

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About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • lbamusic

    Karen, I maintain that erotica written about sex between the elderly is not “granny-porn” nor any kind of porn. Some people whether elderly or not, are more open about their sexuality. Some are even able to express it in writing or on film etc. for others to read and see. I’ve never understood why depictions of sex is considered porn, but depictions of war, and murders, and other mayhem, is not. I am 72 years old, and I guarantee that people in my age group think about sex and are just as sexual (within limits of their health and physical condition) as younger people. In fact we may be more sexually active since we have more time on our hands to indulge. I’m a single guy and I can’t begin to tell you how many offers I get monthly, from older and younger women near my age. When we have sex privately it is considered okay, but as soon as we write about it or film it, it would be considered porn. It makes no sense to me.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Apparently a lot of people are more open about their sexuality. The question we need to consider is whether that is a good thing, on the whole. Historically, we have been far more open about sexuality, but somewhere along the way we decided that public orgies are acts of a primitive culture. That civilized society, an educated society, a more polite society would not indulge in such behavior on the public square. I’m not calling for a ban on sex, but I am suggesting that there is something uncivilized about the way in which sex is being marketed to the mass culture. That there is a lot uncivilized when you have women like Lady Goga and Miley Cyrus taking to the stage and simulating masturbation on the public square. I see a connection between the public consumption of erotica and porn — no matter who is writing it- and this unhealthy approach to sex. I am not surprised to learn that you are propositioned often – but I am disappointed. This isn’t about religion even. It’s about what’s best for a society as a whole. Studies have proven that porn desensitizes us. Makes us less likely to develop intimate,lasting relationships. Unfettered access to porn and to erotica is causing some to lose the desire for others. More and more we live in isolation, apart from community, apart from healthy relationships. I maintain that if you are writing books you have to hide under the table, you shouldn’t be writing them. And the same goes for reading them: http://nymag.com/news/features/70976/
      Is that a judgment call? Sure. But we make judgment calls everyday with an eye toward what is good, what is healthy, what is in the best interest of the whole, not the one.

  • Sharon O

    so agree… thank you for bringing this up

  • Guest

    Certainly the bible has some great erotica in it. Song of songs, for instance.
    I think you are being needlessly judgemental. It’s possible that most of the people reading this erotica are single, but why does that make it wrong? Single people have a right to a sex life too. What if someone is widowed, are they just supposed to let cobwebs grow over their vagina? Masturbation is pleasurable, it’s free, it improves your health, and it doesn’t hurt anyone. And ‘granny porn’ helps get the engine started, as it were.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      There are many instances in our everyday lives when any of us could be accused of being “needlessly judgmental.” Is it judgmental of the non-smoker to forbid the smoker from smoking in the public square? Is it judgmental to require motorcyclist to wear helmets? To require the drinker to only drive when sober? If it judgmental of the Huffington Post to criticize Miley Cyrus for twerking on stage? Or is simulating sex acts on the public square now to be accepted as performance art? Listen, what if the widowed woman (I assume you use that because you know I was raised by one) lets cobwebs grow over her vagina, would that be so bad? And you make a few judgments yourself here. Who is to say that the married woman isn’t letting cobwebs grow? I’ve known married people who’ve gone decades without sex. I’m not making an argument for or against masturbation. I’m saying I don’t want to live in the society where masturbation is considered performance art or talked about and/or put on public display for mass consumption. I certainly don’ t advocate for erotica or porn being one of the most lucrative businesses in America. I think it is unhealthy on all sorts of levels. And I’m perfectly fine with you thinking me judgmental because of it.

  • Lando

    First, I admit I came here from another blog after seeing your click-bait title, so I’m not a regular reader.
    I enjoyed the article, but wonder if you could briefly rethink the ‘exploring Paris’ analogy.
    Let’s just assume that you and your wonderful husband take a yearly trip to Paris (I would be jealous). After years of exploring together, finding special wonders you enjoy every visit.
    Would it really be so bad to read the travel diaries of a couple your own age for some inspiration? Maybe you thought renting a moped for the week would be a chore, but Susan in Philly had a blast. Maybe that little bistro you walked by a hundred times, the one with the fading sign, has the best Tiramisu Jane has ever tasted. A little inspiration might spice up your next trip; you don’t have to sit with your nose in the book the whole time, but why not see what others have to say.
    I assume you write because it can inspire imagination; maybe that’s all this author was looking for. Maybe she wanted to rekindle that passion and wonder an older couple may have forgotten. Without any details on the book, it’s hard to decide, but I seem to remember an old saying about books and their covers.
    Cheers

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Lando:

      Well, welcome to the site, no matter what backroad you took to get here. RE: your insights: I have no problem with Susan taking Jane’s advice on where to get the best Tiramisu. What I have an issue with is when Jane makes that discovery and then writes a book claiming she found 50 great places to get Tiramisu but that these are hidden places and only she knows the way. So if Jane wants to try them all, she’ll first have to buy Jane’s book which then provides readers with a detailed map of the 50 different places to enjoy Tiramisu. And then Jane buys the book and goes to these places, only to discover it’s the same old Tiramisu recipe that Mrs. Valenti gave her when she first got married. Instead of feeling satisfied, now Jane just feels cheated.

      • Lando

        Thanks for the reply; I chuckle every time I see a Cosmo in the checkout lane. How many times a week can someone come up with “30 things you’ve never tried in bed?”
        Sill, I’d wager that an older couple trying 50 new recipes for Tiramisu, when they maybe haven’t branched out for a while, could still find something they like, or at least have a great time trying something new. Nothing against Mrs. Valenti, but variety is often the spice of life.
        And I imagine as we get older, the tried and true techniques or recipes might get a little more challenging than we remember; maybe rolling dough is tough with arthritis, and Jane knows a couple tips to make things easier.
        *Sorry, all these metaphors are crashing together, and I’m trying my hardest to avoid any unintentional double entendres*

      • http://www.redletterbelievers.com/ David Rupert

        The is the first time i have ever seen “Tiramisu” as a code word for “sex”

  • Carol Phillips

    As I see it, the problem with porn is that it disrupts the loving intimate act between two people by adding a third party, thereby moving the focus from your lover onto the fantasy.

  • http://www.redletterbelievers.com/ David Rupert

    Karen. This post cracks me up on many levels. Well done and very true.


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