Exotic, Erotic Steampunk
Given the highly stylized nature of steampunk, it’s no wonder people’s love of it can reach fetish-like proportions. One manifestation of the fetish is erotic steampunk romance. In these stories, steampunk devices are often channeled into elaborate instruments of erotic pleasure. The devices are sometimes so lovingly detailed that they become characters in and of themselves.
Let’s be real: one on level, it’s all about the titillation. The concept of being pleasured by an elaborate, exotic apparatus–whether a steam-powered vibrator or automaton sex doll–provides a delicious, forbidden thrill. Plus, steampunk sex toys offer a fresh spin on ways to show couples connecting not just on an emotional level, but a physical one.
It’s perfectly valid to deliver a titillating erotic steampunk romance and nothing more, but when authors add other layers to such stories, readers gain an experience that also stimulates their #1 sex organ: the brain.
Erotic steampunk romance makes for fascinating reading given the primitive nature of the technology. Some of the devices seem downright dangerous to have near our tender bits! Yet characters are always game to take the risk. Characters stimulating each other with steam or clockwork driven devices sends the message that we have always been sexual beings. That beneath the brass and gears we pulse hotly with life–and will continue to do so no matter what.
Zoe Archer and Nico Rosso have a series of steampunk romances out called The Ether Chronicles. Two scenes from this series struck me as highly illustrative examples of the fetish-like nature of erotic steampunk romance as well as a sex positive message.
In the first book, Zoe Archer’s Skies of Fire, the hero is a Man O’ War. Essentially, Captain Christopher Redmond is a steampunk cyborg–a walking weapon. As a result of his new body, he’s huge, strong, and fast. When he and the heroine, Louisa Shaw, make love, he pins her easily against the wall with his technology-enhanced strength. While penetrating Louisa, she notes the nature of his allure:
“Here again, the benefits of his transformation, for he moved as no ordinary man could, piston-fast.” (Kindle location 2545).
Redmond is basically a giant steampunk cyborg vibrator! The scene delivers one of the ultimate heterosexual female fantasies, that of being penetrated by a lover who is at the sole service of the heroine’s pleasure. Skies of Fire explores the exotic nature of cyborg lovers–that they are stronger, bigger, and have unequaled stamina. The unabashed, underlying message? That a woman deserves this kind of energetic lover, and that she’s entitled to sexual encounters that are beyond awesome.
Nico Rosso’s Nights of Steel features Jack Hawkins, a bounty hunter hero with a prosthetic hand. In a sense, he’s a character with a physical disability. He falls in love with Anna Blue, a rival bounty hunter. In one scene, he stimulates Anna with his prosthetic. She literally takes the Other into herself. Since Jack is also a Person of Color, the love scene sends a multi-layered message about the importance of acceptance.
The social commentary is present even in stories loaded with raunchy sex. A Certain Pressure in the Pipes by Clancy Nacht is a tongue-in-cheek m/m steampunk romance with a strong focus on the erotic adventures of Conrad Lloyd and his lover, Ezhno.
One of the key scenes involves the two heroes, both of whom are mechanically inclined, working on Conrad’s faulty steam-powered pleasure machine. The device’s name is so naughty I can’t write it here. Essentially, it’s a steam-powered dildo.
One of its functions, however, has more to do with freedom than sex. It’s a pleasure device that Conrad hopes will prevent him, a gay man, from suffering “social stigma” (Kindle location 322). Conrad’s solution is clever, but at the same time the passage made me think that he shouldn’t have to make such an extreme accommodation (i.e., restrict himself from dating). Rather, the pressure should be on the society of his world to eliminate its prejudiced attitude.
“Steamlust is romantic erotica that reflects the excitement, fantasy and rebellion of steampunk. Not sure what steampunk is? Think Victorian elegance and aesthetics meets futuristic invention and exploration. The genre of steampunk itself has transcended the Victorian (or Edwardian) eras — in Kristina Wright’s inventive anthology, it can be any time period, real or imagined, that blends elements of science, history, fantasy and technology. Until Steamlust, the genre had been missing romantic relationships and erotic encounters. Steampunk erotic romance is shiny brass and crushed velvet; mechanical inventions and romantic conventions; sexual fantasy and kinky fetish. It’s steam powered sexy romance!
Editrix extraordinaire Kristina Wright creates a lush and fantastical world of women-centered stories and romantic scenarios, first for steampunk fiction. Fetishizing the wardrobe, language, fantasy and rituals of steampunk, Steamlust includes alternate histories, second worlds, time travel and contemporary settings.”
About the author
Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express. She’s also an author in the subgenre. To learn more about her published work, visit heathermassey.com.