Sunny Leone’s Tryst With Literary Porn Leaves Us Cold
Seat 7E, the first story in Sunny Leone’s collection, Sweet Dreams, doesn’t excite us as much as we hoped it would.
World, we have news for you. The ubiquitous Sunny Leone has written a book. Sweet Dreams is a collection of seven erotic stories, designed to titillate and seduce. However, if we are to judge by Seat 7E, the first story in her collection, we will have to conclude, regretfully, that the story does not accomplish what it set out to do.
Sunny Leone, it is with some sorrow that I say this: Seat 7E was not even mildly arousing.
When I first heard that Leone was writing erotica, I was excited. Erotica is not a genre that is kind to women and it is gutsy of her to venture there. Then again, Sunny Leone is not one to be deterred by parochial social mores and for that she has earned my respect. I love that she is unapologetic about her career as an adult film actress and has shown up narrow-minded, judgemental journalists for what they are.
Seat 7E’s Skewed Gender Politics
Sunny’s accomplishments notwithstanding, Seat 7E is just not good erotic fiction. It thrives on tired, overused stereotypes and adds nothing of note to it. The story plays on the old Mile High Club fantasy.
I understand erotica is often successful because it is formulaic, but Seat 7E doesn’t experiment, not even a little bit. Also, and I hate to say this, but the story takes female sexuality and agency back an entire century. The protagonist wants to be ‘used animalistically’ and to ‘be his prey.’ What happened to joyful, healthful sex where both partners are equal participants?
In a country where crimes against women are rampant, Seat 7E sells a very dangerous idea of desire. It panders almost exclusively to heterosexual men and seems to imply that women like being used.
The story ends rather anti-climatically and the sex described is completely lacklustre. And if this wasn’t enough, the protagonist indulges in tedious descriptions of foreplay which are nearly impossible to relate to.
Long Story Short...
Long story short, Seat 7E is neither arousing nor entertaining. Much could have been forgiven if the gender politics of the narrative was progressive, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case.
Erotica is a genre with powerful potential for feminist expression and authors like Sarah Waters and Anais Nin have reclaimed it magnificently, telling incredible stories while writing about extremely sexy sex.
We wish you luck, Sunny! Seat 7E may have been a disappointment, but we’re looking forward to see what the rest of Sweet Dreams has to offer.
(You can read Seat 7E and the remaining stories in Sweet Dreams on the Juggernaut app for Android phones.)
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