by Donna George Storey
Last month I proposed the perfect excuse to taste fine chocolate while you’re writing erotica. This month I thought I’d focus on a different reason why what we do can feel good. Indeed while writing erotica allows us to celebrate the sensual, it offers another equally satisfying, even spiritual, pleasure—knowing that the stories we write make an important difference in our culture.
Now, my dear Fellow Erotica Readers and Writers, perhaps you’re wondering how can I make such a grandiose statement. No doubt, you’ve heard the same comments I’ve gotten from well-meaning critics, which can be summarized in this question: “You’re such a good writer, why are you wasting your time writing dirty trash instead of Real Literature?”
The next time someone says this to me, I have an answer. I truly believe stories that explore the power of sexuality in our lives—for the good as well as the bad as is more common in polite literary fiction—carry on the great literary tradition of speaking out about the passions and conflicts that we all live with every day but that the authorities would prefer we keep hidden for the sake of social order.
With women’s access to birth control still considered a matter of public debate, we must admit we live in a society where it is still a revolutionary act to acknowledge that ordinary, “decent” people have sex for pleasure. Just as both sexes benefit from the availability of birth control, both men and women gain from the chance to express their personal truths about their sexual desires. Even if men have traditionally been allowed more sexual agency than women, they’ve still been subject to significant restrictions that merit full examination and exposure.
By writing erotic stories that express the unique styles and tastes of real people, we are proclaiming that sex doesn’t have to be silenced. Nor must it be relegated to the realm of the XXX pornography industry where the rules are so very different from the world we live in: strangers have sex within minutes of meeting in positions that are strictly camera friendly; all women have multiple orgasms with minimal stimulation; and all men have huge penises and prefer to ejaculate outside of their lover’s body.
Now, I don’t mean to revive the old debate of what constitutes porn (usually seen as visual, male-oriented, and subversive) versus erotica (usually characterized as written, female-oriented, and thus less threatening to the social fabric as long as feeling is involved). Whatever you want to call erotic expression that celebrates the fullness of the human sexual experience, the powers of the mind and imagination as well as the body, is fine by me.
The important thing is that we keep up our courage when so many still try to marginalize our work and value each new story as a chance to tell the truth about what it means to be human. If you define a good story as one that stays with you, I’ve read more memorably good erotic stories than any other kind.
So keep writing and keep changing the world—one erotic story at a time!
Donna George Storey is the author of the erotic novel, Amorous Woman. Her short stories have recently appeared in Best Women’s Erotica 2012, Best Erotic Romance, and The Best of Best Mammoth Erotica. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor.