Even in the literary world, female sexuality is controlled, extinguished, or even ridiculed. E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey will never lead women into battle to reclaim their bodies with writing such as ‘he’s my very own Christian Grey-flavoured popsicle’. However, Fifty Shades of Grey did reveal to the public in an unabashed way that, shockingly, women have sexual desires too. The response? Fifty Shades of Grey was undermined and patronised as ‘mummy porn’, simply soft and silly sex making repressed mothers giddy and giggly.
However, there’s one author, Anais Nin, whose 1977 short story collection, Delta of Venus, may truly lead the female sexual revolution and give women back their bodies. Critics claim Nin is the first Western writer of female erotica, an interest that started in her late teens when she gained a ‘degree in erotic lore’ by reading around the genre. This interest became a commercial enterprise when in the 1940s Nin and some friends wrote erotica for the ‘Collector’ at a dollar a page, some of which became Delta of Venus, arguably now her most famous work.