Sexy beasts: Why 'monster porn' needs love too

Do romance books with sexy dinosaurs, centaurs, Cthulhu, and aliens send your heart racing? After some such e-books get yanked by online booksellers, Crave's Bonnie Burton explains their appeal.

Tall, dark, and furry? Bigfoot is the hunk in this monster erotica book by Virginia Wade.
Tall, dark, and furry? Bigfoot is the hunk in this monster erotica book by Virginia Wade. Amazon

It's easy to mock book titles like "Boffing Bigfoot," "Taken by the Tentacle Monsters," and "Sex With My Husband's Anatomically Correct Robot," but there's a growing market for erotic fiction by amateur writers that involves something a bit more unusual than an oversexed pirate or kilted warrior.

If romance e-books with sexy Yeti, mermen, Cthulhu, and aliens fill your tablet or e-reader and send your heart racing, the increasingly popularity of books featuring non-human love interests will come as no surprise. However, many may have been introduced to so-called monster porn for the first time thanks to a recent Business Insider piece on e-book retailers cracking down on this literary genre that's gaining a wide following online. One of the titles in question, "Moan For Bigfoot" by Virginia Wade, has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

As a lifelong geek and hard-core fan of horror and fantasy books, I totally get the appeal. Let's face it -- an affair with a rich sultan or a fascinating count probably isn't going to happen in real life, so why not read about a flirty fling with a centaur instead?

Aliens dominate this erotic thriller by Alice Xavier about an abductee that might enjoy probing too much.
Aliens dominate this erotic thriller by Alice Xavier. (Click to enlarge.) Amazon

The Business Insider story by Eric Spitznagel points out that amateur self-published authors suddenly found their erotica e-books featuring Bigfoot, dinosaurs, and minotaurs no longer offered by sellers like Amazon because of their explicit sexual content. At the same time, erotica books by more established authors that featured vampires, werewolves, aliens, and other similar creatures remained untouched.

Many of the removed erotica e-books were published through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing self-publishing system, which clearly states in its content guidelines that "we don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts." A representative of Kindle Direct Publishing told CNET that the KDP's quality department "reserves the right to make judgements about whether or not content is appropriate; this can include the cover image or the content within the book. If the book contains mature content, it will not be surfaced in our general product search results."

Some authors of recently rejected e-books realized that the quick solution to getting their titles back up on Amazon was not to alter their racy content but simply to change their e-books' titles and cover art. That's exactly what monster erotica author Alice Xavier did with her "Serpent God's Virgin" e-book when it was pulled from Amazon. "They flagged it because it had virgin in the title," Xavier told Business Insider. After she renamed the same exact book "Serpent God's Maiden," it appeared back on Amazon's virtual bookshelves.

The disappearance and reemergence of some of these books points to online booksellers' evolving standards when it comes to monster erotica. That is a story unto itself, but for some readers, the Business Insider piece probably also raised the question: what makes monster porn -- also known as "cryptozoological erotica" or "erotic horror" -- so intoxicating?

You don't have to go further than "Twilight," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Teen Wolf," "Vampire Diaries," and "Dracula" to see why so many romance seekers would gladly make out with monsters.
Paranormal romance books, and later their film and TV adaptations, are big business.

Even before I contemplated kissing a dragon thanks to Benedict Cumberbatch lending his voice and motion-captured movements to the dragon in "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," I was pining for Fearghus the Destroyer in "Dragon Actually" by G.A. Aiken. Sure, Fearghus is a fire-breathing, man-killing dragon. But he's not just staring at his computer all day playing World of Warcraft. He has a cave full of rare books he likes to read by firelight. Sexy! And when he discovers Annywl mortally wounded outside his cave, instead of eating her like any other human snack, he tenderly nurses her back to health, winning her heart in the process.

And it's not just the usual fanged and furry beasts that are swoon-worthy. There are sexy steampunk androids like the hunky hunk of metal in " Iron Duke" by Meljean Brook. There are zany zombie love stories like "White Trash Zombie" by Diana Rowland. There's the H.P. Lovecraft character Cthulhu, which spawned a tentacle-lovefest with the anthology "Cthulhurotica" (Yes, I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to sexy Cthulhu images.) There's even dinosaur erotica like "Taken by the T-Rex" from Christie Sims and "Eternal Pleasure" by Nina Bangs.

As one of the hosts of the " Vaginal Fantasy Book Club" show on Geek & Sundry's YouTube channel, I get to read these books, then dissect them over wine with my co-hosts Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, and Kiala Kazebee. Granted, not all of the books we read get five-star ratings, but we have fun discussing why some women would gladly trade their boring, human boyfriends for a chance at love with a raptor, werewolf, dragon, shape-shifter alien, android, cat person, zombie, elf, troll, leprechaun, and Cthulhu himself.

Regular male characters in romance books tend to be over-the-top perfect glistening warriors and knights, but I want an imperfect monster who needs love to show that he can be just as sweet as his human competition. Vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, aliens, and even Replicants are capable of love, compassion, and really good sex. Why deprive the imagination of a great romance just because the protagonist happens to live for 600 years or has the occasional bout with fleas?

 

ARTICLE DISCUSSION

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

Hot on CNET

The Next Big Thing

Consoles go wide and far beyond gaming with power and realism.