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'07 Authors Insider Tips

by Louisa Burton
Formatting Your Manuscript
Scams / Choosing an Agent
Pitching Your Novel...
From The Call to Published...

Hard Business
From Greg Herren
Who Is Telling This Story?
Itís Work, Not A Hobby
Where Ideas Come From

Sexy on the Page
With Shanna Germain
Plotting Erotic Fiction
Seducing Your Muse
Creating Characters...
Description, Action & Dialogue
Fucking on Paper
Ten No-Nos of Erotic Fiction
Climactic Moments: First Draft
Critique Groups
Revising Your Erotic Story
Finding the Perfect Markets...
Just Submit Already
Rejections and Acceptances

Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Verb Tense Confusion
Coming Up with Story Ideas
Attend a Writersí Conference
The Fundamentals of POV
Should I Sign That?
Etiquette for Authors
Erotica is Serious Work
No Body Writes for Free...
Shameless Self Promotions
The Myth of Writer's Block

The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
The Time is Write
The Beautiful People
A Book by Any Other...
Synopsis: the Necessary Evil
Erotica or Porn?
Feedback Whine

2007 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
What's it like being a writer?
An Apology to Salespeople

Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
About Secrets
The Perfect Fuck
About Choices
The Age of Consent
The Kingmaker
Kids and Sex
The Price of Beauty
The G.O.P.
All Worked Up About Hate
Real Men

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Good Sex: A Physics Lesson
Meet Frankenstein
Thoughts on the Orgasm Gap
The Very Bloody Marys
The Doomsday Erection
Online Threesome Porn

All Worked Up About Secrets
by J.T. Benjamin

You canít say he wasnít warned.

Today, Reverend Ted Haggardís reputation lies in ruins. In case you didnít know, or knew but had simply forgotten, it came out recently that Reverend Haggard was leading a double life all these years. In public, he was the founder and senior pastor of the Colorado Springs-based New Life Church and President of the National Association of Evangelicals, ministering and counseling to thousands upon thousands of conservative Christians. In private, however, it turns out Reverend Haggard frequently associated with a gay male prostitute and purchased crystal meth. Once the prostitute, Mike Jones, came forward to reveal his relationship with Reverend Haggard, you can guess what happened next. Reverend Haggard left his exalted positions in disgrace, with accompanying embarrassment and pain ensuing among himself, his family, friends, and associates.

Feel however you want about the dramatic turn in Reverend Haggardís fortunes. For myself, I donít have a lot of sympathy for two reasons. First, he was on the front lines of the Holy Terrorsí War On Whoopie, saving special venom for, you guessed it, homosexuals. I donít care much for hypocrites.

Secondly, I donít have much sympathy for Reverend Haggardís situation because he had to have known his double life would have eventually been revealed. It says so right there in the Bible, which I can only assume Reverend Haggard has to have read at least once.

In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 8:17, Jesus warns us that "nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, neither anything hid that shall not be known and come abroad." (KJV).

In last monthís column, All Worked Up About High-Quality Porn, I wrote that governments and self-appointed arbiters of morality have a powerful interest in advancing a culture of shame among the masses whom they govern. From shame comes a lack of self-worth and through that, a submission of the will to those in authority, who are conveniently willing to use that submission to more effectively exert control.

One of the side-effects of this culture of shame is a need to keep things hidden. Shame can only be made worse by public exposure, so the urge to sweep our dirty little secrets under the rug and move the couch over to that corner to disguise the tell-tale lump becomes a habit; even a compulsion. However, in hiding our foibles, we tend to make them seem more intense, donít we? Covering a pot of boiling water doesnít stop the water from boiling; it only builds up pressure. Fears become phobias. Turn-ons become manias, kinks become fixations, passions become obsessions, and obsessions become steps on the road to self-destruction. And, of course, eventually the pressure becomes too much to handle and the aforementioned self-destruction is practically guaranteed.

It was easier in the old days. There werenít so much access to information, and it wasnít so diverse and quick to make its way clear around the world. These days, thanks to the internet, GPS, cable TV, twenty-four hour government surveillance and digital cameras in our cellular phones, those secrets we fight so hard to keep hidden can end up in our neighborís email inbox before we even realize the secrets are out. To make matters worse, considering how hard it is to really delete files from a computerís hard drive or, (as Congressman Mark Foley found out) text messages from a cellphone, once those secrets make contact with the electronic air, theyíre truly indestructible and omnipresent. It brings to mind another phrase from about two thousand years ago, originating in a different context but still quite apt. "Deus ex machina." God is in the machine.

So how do we deal with the inevitable exposure of our dirty laundry? The most logical way to do so would be to overcome this culture of shame in our society. If we donít feel the need to be ashamed of our passions and hide them, maybe they wonít become self-destructive obsessions. Had Reverend Haggard felt more comfortable with himself and with his tastes in men and crystal meth so that he could have admitted to those tastes without fear of condemnation and the eternal fires of hell, he couldíve saved a whole bunch of people (including himself) a whole bunch of headaches.

However, the problem with changing the way society thinks about shame, kinks, and sex is that it involves tons of resources, at least twenty years of effort, and lots and lots of paperwork.

Option B is simpler. Just take it for granted that whether you choose to hide your passions or admit them, theyíre going to eventually be made manifest anyway.

Iím not saying that Reverend Haggard wouldíve been better off if heíd announced from the pulpit, "I like male prostitutes and crystal meth," thus making the scandalís intensity only about a five or six on a scale of ten, instead of the twelve-plus it became. Iím saying that heíd have been better off admitting to himself years ago, "I canít hide my passions and I shouldnít have to. My life is my own, and if the National Organization of Evangelicals doesnít like it, fuck Ďem."

Of course, itís rare that anyone has that sort of courage. But if you take it for granted that exposure is inevitable, the courage may be more easily found. And there can actually be benefits to displaying that sort of courage, too.

A few years ago, I was surfing the internet for, uhÖresearch purposesÖ(oh, hell. Porn. I was surfing the net for porn), and I came upon an interesting video clip. A young woman was in what appeared to be her dorm room, and sheíd turned on her computer camera. She addressed the camera, saying she was giving her boyfriend a present. She then turned on the stereo, and to a thumping, methodical beat, she proceeded to perform a very erotic striptease for him. When she was done, standing there clad only in a tiny g-string, she told her boyfriend she loved him, but if he ever showed her performance to anyone else, sheíd kill him.

Obviously, since Iíd come across this video clip on the internet, the young ladyís boyfriend hadnít kept up his part of the bargain. I have no idea whether she forgave him or he ended up face-down in a ditch somewhere. If she was embarrassed, I wonder why the hell she made the video since it was practically a given that it would eventually hit the internet. However, I also think itís fairly certain that whether she stayed with the crumb-bum or not, the young lady had no problem attracting attention from guys once that clip hit the internet and she could say, "Yeah, that was me. Did you like it?"

More recently, it was revealed that Dustin Diamond, a former child actor, ("Screech" on "Saved By The Bell"), made a sex tape of himself with two young ladies, and that tape hit the airwaves a couple of months ago. After Mr. Diamondís TV show was cancelled, he couldnít get publicity if he set himself on fire. After the existence of the tape was revealed, Mr. Diamondís name recognition has shot through the roof, especially since heís been exposed as being a massive stud. It could be said that Mr. Diamondís homemade porn movie has become a strategic career move. Not to mention improving his chances to get lucky on Saturday nights.

My point is that, ultimately, itís the hiding of the secret that proves more destructive than the secret itself. Itís also inevitable that secrets will be exposed, so why fight exposure? Especially when it comes to sex. In a way, when sex secrets come out, they tend not to damage reputations, but enhance them. ("Screech? Two women at once? You manly beast, you!")

Itís like the old gag about the priest hearing confessions, and an old man says, "Father, last night I went out to a bar and hit on this young woman, and I went home with her and I fucked her brains out! I had her screaming over and over again like a wild animal and when I was done, she was passed out from exhaustion!"

The priest says, "Well, fornication is a grievous sin, so youíd better say ten Our Fathers and ten Hail MarysÖ"

The old man says, "Father, donít bother. Iím not even Catholic!"

The priest says, "So why are you telling me this?"

Father," says the old man, "Iím not just telling you, Iím telling everyone!"

J.T. Benjamin
December/January 2007

"All Worked Up" © 2006 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:† J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:† J.T. Benjamin

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