I’ll admit, I kind of loved the original cover of Bound By Lust–the girl with the pearls around her wrists was sweetly submissive in an evocative way. However, this cover makes me even happier. It’s active vs. passive. It shows (hurray!) a little femdom in action. It has faces and bodies and two people who are clearly engaged with each other. And most of all, it more clearly represents the wide variety of stories inside the book, which range from femdom and furry play to bondage and leather to spanking and humiliation.
I was at Orycon recently and we were at Powell’s for a signing. A few of us decided to take a look through the erotica section looking at covers specifically. Here are the tropes we found:
- Women were on 90 percent of the covers. Typically shown in a very passive position, clearly there to be looked at. Often by themselves. This is a big issue for me, personally. Not that I’m against masturbation, but what I personally find to be sexy about, well, sex, is the interactions between people. The teasing and exploration. This is especially true of BDSM–humiliation, power play, bondage, dominance, all of these essentially require at least two people in order to make it happen.
- The covers which featured men featured their torsos only (chest from the front, ass from the back), often cutting their heads off completely and definitely cutting off their eyes. Now I’m happy to have men on the covers (finally!) and asses are fantastic, but I like eyes. The gaze has it all.
- Lots of montages of bodyless faces floating in the background. Um. No.
- Very few couples who looked like they were actually engaged with each other. Please don’t look at the camera while you’re fucking her. She’s hot. I’m pretending she’s me. If you’re not looking at me, then you’re elsewhere and our fantasy sex just went down the drain.
- A lot of images of women’s backs. Again, distance and disengagement. You’re walking away from me. I can’t see your eyes or your expression. Which means I can’t connect to you very well. (Also, you’re alone — see above).
Kristina Lloyd has done some fantastic work on this topic over at Erotica Cover Watch, better than I could, and I highly recommend a peek. I have to say that I’m super excited to see that publishers are taking note and making changes. Hurray to Cleis Press for making such a beautiful, progressive cover. Hurray to the authors in this book for a cover that they can be proud of (nothing worse than trying to promote your work when it’s wrapped in a package that makes you wince).
What do you think of the cover? Do you find it engaging? Interesting? Would you buy it? What’s your favorite erotica cover ever?
Kiss kiss bang bang, s.