Monthly Archives: January 2017
K D Grace
is a scary thing. That’s pretty obvious in the present political climate. But
Sex really is a scary thing. I had a
conversation once with another writer who wrote cozy crime. It wasn’t actually
a conversation so much as it was a rant. She didn’t understand why sex was such
a big seller. What was all this erotica stuff about anyway? Why did sex always
have to be dragged out in a novel for the whole world to see? Why couldn’t it
just stay in the bedroom where it belonged? Surly proper educated, intelligent grown-ups
should prefer proper literature. This was in the halcyon days of 50SoG and the
resulting erotica boom. The woman was not someone’s grandmother parading out
her Victorian sensibilities. This was a person who was a good deal younger than
I am. Seriously, sex is scary stuff!
don’t want to talk about obvious reasons why sex is scary. STDs, unwanted
pregnancies, sex as abuse – sadly the fear of those is a constant. What I want
to talk about is why sex is a scary thing just by the nature of being what it
makes us vulnerable. We’re quite literally exposing our tender parts, the parts
we keep hidden from public view, the parts we sometimes have disturbing dreams
of exposing in the super market or the office. More than that physical exposure,
we make ourselves vulnerable to another person, and that experience of opening
ourselves is something we can never take back, something that permanently
changes our perception of each other.
remember my first view of split beavers and hard cocks in the pages of a
dog-eared Hustler magazine that a
friend and I had surreptitiously taken from her parents stash. My first
response was ‘gross!’ I remember the little knot in my stomach. I remember the
feelings below my stomach that
disturbed me and at the same time intrigued me. All these years later
having gained a healthy appreciation for the view of the tender bits hard and
slippery and ready for action, I often find myself thinking about that first
response, that first sense of shock that both disturbs and intrigues.
is governed by something other than our rational mind. Anyone who has ever
watched dogs or other animals mating understands that what’s happening is a
primal imperative rather than a hot date. That we have a good bit of that
primal urge in us just below the surface just waiting to kick aside the
rational self and rut like rabbits is pretty scary. That we can somehow
convince ourselves that sex among humans is more civilised, more easily
controlled is even scarier still.
sex is scary because it offers an altered state that nothing else can. It feels
as though we’ve been transported either to a deeper place in our bodies or
was eleven when I had my first orgasm, quite by accident. I was extremely
ignorant of what touching my own body could lead to, and I thought I was having
some sort of seizure. I was terrified. But then when it passed into little
tremors, and I realised I wasn’t going to die, I was intrigued enough to
wonder, in scientific fashion, of course, if my results could be replicated.
wish I could say that it was all smooth sailing from there on, but those of us
who grew up in the western world all live with the religious and mythological
shaping of our civilisation, whether we grow up in a liberal family or not. I
had to fight the battles with guilt and shame. I had to fumble and faff about
in those first sexual experiences with none of the elegance and aplomb we
always read about and imagine. I had to decide for myself what it meant to be a
‘good girl.’ I had to find a way to claim and own my own scary
sexuality. That, to me, is the scariest thing of all. Even now female
sexuality is shamed and vilified. Even now tremendous lengths are gone to in
order control it – efforts that are inadvertently just as damaging to male
many ways, I think, erotica and erotic romance are about rebelling against that
control. Mind you I
don’t think erotica is our effort to tame sex and make it
safe and toothless. I think it’s our way of walking with the wild beast and
never forgetting that it is
dangerous, that it is and always will
be wild. The written word, story, is a safe place, in essence a container, in
which to approach what will never be safe and yet what by our very nature, we
long to embrace. Having said that, those of us who have been moved, disturbed,
intrigued, changed by what we read or write can vouch for the fact that even in
the written word, sex is a scary thing.
writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror,
and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son,
and her three cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook
page, and her Amazon Author Page.
Her new m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing
It is out! This book is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda
Strain, and Outbreak. Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by
Cleis Press. You will also find her new novel No
Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.
(February) is Women In Horror Month. I thought I’d write something a little
different for January in preparation for this fun time since my first love is
horror. I’ve written erotic horror, and I though I’d tell my readers about how
enjoyable and sexy it can be.
Erotic horror is a
small niche in a big field. I’ve noticed that most romance and erotic fiction
readers don’t like horror in their smut. Most horror readers don’t like smut in
their terror. However, there is a small group of people who do like it, and I
suspect that group is larger than I assume.
I wasn’t allowed to
read horror when I was a kid although I did manage to get my hands on my
paternal grandmother’s Alfred Hitchcock
Presents horror anthologies. They scared the piss out of me. I loved every
second of it. My maternal grandmother was hooked on The Twilight Zone and Dark
Shadows. When my sister and I would stay over night at her place, we’d
watch both shows. They gave me nightmares but I couldn’t get enough of them. I
loved being scared. My mother, on the other hand, was not pleased at all. She
repeatedly told my grandmother to knock it off but the woman never listened. So
I enjoyed some scary shit when I was a kid. I was affected by horror movies
before horror books.
There are some very
sexy horror movies out there. Four of them are The Hunger, Innocent Blood, the Nosferatu
that stars Klaus Kinski as the vampire, and The
Vampire Lovers, a movie version of the very erotic tale Carmilla by J. Sheridan Lefanu. That one
has lesbian undertones. It was my first exposure to anything remotely lesbian,
not including Theo in 1963’s The Haunting.
Theo’s lesbianism was so understated in the movie to my 10 year old mind I
didn’t make the connection until I was in my late teens. It also helped when I
read the book to catch on to that.
Helen Fisher has written that scary movies encourage intimacy between partners.
So if it’s movie night with your sweetie, rent a scary movie rather than a
romance, chick flick, or action movie. Fear releases dopamine, the same brain
chemical that is released when you are infatuated with someone. So fear (like
watching a scary movie together) can bring a couple closer together. All you
need to do is choose the right movie. I recommend a horror comedy if you aren’t
into horror movies that much. Movies like Shaun
of the Dead, Zombieland, and Dead/Alive
may just be the ticket. The jump scares in some movies make you jump into your
partner’s arms. What a great excuse to get close! When I first started dating
my husband, I told him if he couldn’t make it through Dead/Alive, we weren’t meant to be together. He loved it! That
movie was made by Peter Jackson long before he directed the Lord Of The Rings movies. Dead/Alive is rather notorious and it
has a very bent sense of humor. And gore. Lots of comic-book-like gore. Fun
Some erotic horror
stories include the aforementioned Carmilla,
which is one of my favorites. It’s a vampire story with lesbian undertones. I’ve
written some erotic horror including Asphodel
which is available on my horror web site as well as Maneater
which is available on my romance web site. Before you read Asphodel, read Edgar Allan Poe’s horror story Berenice. My story is inspired by that one. Both of my stories are
Back in the 1970s
and 1980s Playboy published an occult erotica series. Other books you may want
to look into if you wish to try out erotic horror are Poppy Z. Brite’s Love In Vein series (vampire erotica) and Anne Rice’s Lestat books (very erotic vampires). You may have noticed a theme
here. Vampires and eroticism mix very well. There are many reasons for this –
the intimacy of the embrace inherent in the act of drinking blood. The Svengali
effect of a vampire on the victim’s psyche. Vampires as romantic creatures came
about with Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula
and continued with Lestat, Christopher Lee as Dracula, and even Twilight.
Beforehand, they were undead ghouls the like of Nosferatu starring Max Shreck from the silent movie era. Even that
movie has been romanticized with Kinski in the vampire’s role.
Looking for some
good erotic horror? Here are some more
Cthuluerotica by Carrie Cuinn (cosmic H. P. Lovecraft
horror with some smut thrown in)
Blood: Tales of Erotic Horror by Jeff Gelb
Seductions: Tales of Erotic Horror by John Scognamiglio and Alice Alfonsi
of the Dark by
Dark Fuses’s new
erotic horror stories. Erotikós.
So cuddle with your
partner and read some of these fine books. Take a walk on the dark side of
erotic horror for February – Women In Horror Month.
Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 2
(Best Lesbian Erotica 2018)
Editor: Sacchi Green
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: March 20, 2017 (earlier encouraged)
Payment: $100 and 1 copy of the book within 90 days of publication
Rights: non-exclusive right to publish the story in this anthology in print, ebook and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.
Is there a story inside you burning to be written? Now’s the time to let it out. Or is there one you published during 2015-2016 that you think is the best thing you’ve ever written? I’ll consider just a few reprints. Up to two submissions per author are allowed, preferred length between 2000-4000 words. No simultaneous submissions.
I want a variety of themes, voices, and tone. A diversity of ages, ethnicities, cultures, and physical attributes and abilities is welcome. The central figures must be lesbian, believable, fully developed characters. Give me vividly drawn settings, and plots or story arcs that grip the reader and don’t let go. Originality is especially valued; write the story that only you can write. And, of course, I want intense sex scenes that flow naturally from the story as a whole. All flavors of sensuality are welcome, from vanilla to BDSM to edgy frontiers that surprise and startle the reader. A few stories with a speculative fiction bent, science fiction or fantasy, might fit in.
Send your submission to sacchigreen [at] gmail [dot] com as an attachment in .doc, docx. or .rtf format, double spaced, Times New Roman black font. The story title, your legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), previous publication information for the story (if applicable), and mailing and email addresses, should be included on the first page.
Queries are welcome.
by Jean Roberta
Over the years, I’ve read a lot of advice on how to write, what to write, and how to promote it. Some of that advice has been contradictory, while some of it might have been brilliantly relevant to current trends, and for particular writers who are not me.
During the Feminist Sex Wars of the 1980s, I was warned by sister-feminists that “porn” was a male writer’s genre, and that its goal was to reduce live women to objects, or sex toys without wills of their own. There was evidence to support this theory, and “jokes” about the sexual abuse of women have not disappeared from the culture. They probably never will.
However, I discovered that sexually-explicit fiction is as diverse as fiction in general. In fact, since most human beings secretly or openly want sex in some form, it’s hard to imagine a narrative about humans in which sex is absent. In some cases, the sex shows up in a central character’s dreams and fantasies. In nineteenth-century fiction, it often shows up in Latin/legal terms. (“They were caught in flagrante delicto.”) In “literary” fiction, the sex used to appear in euphemisms (“And that night, they were not divided”) and metaphors (“The earth moved”).
Since the sex is already there, I thought, coyly lurking between the lines, why not bring it out into the light so we can see it? If the sex is meant to violate the will of one or more of the participants, an explicit description makes that clear, and readers can respond.
Writing about sex felt thrilling when I first tried it. I knew that most of my relatives, not to mention friends, coworkers and other acquaintances, would probably disapprove and consider me misguided at best, but it was still a big relief to describe things I had actually done as well as things I had only imagined. Okay, I thought, call me a slut if you want, but if you never think about such things, why do you read my stuff?
The Erotic Readers Association (as it was called in 1998, when I joined) was a great source of support. Other members consoled me when I complained on-list that my stories seemed to disappear into the Bermuda Triangle when I sent them off to editors in response to calls-for-submissions. (My first three erotic stories had been “accepted” in the 1980s by a small publisher that mailed me a letter, then immediately went bust.)
I began getting stories published in anthologies, and I thought the thrill would never wear off. It never completely did, but as Lisabet has mentioned, books are more ephemeral now than we bookworms of the Baby Boom generation ever believed in our youth. Having dozens of erotic stories in anthologies has not made me famous on any level, nor has it provided a reliable income. Thousands of books are published each year, and most of them probably won’t be remembered in another generation.
Besides all that, as M. Christian has said somewhere (probably in a blog post), there are only so many ways to describe sex. Characters, situations and plots can be different in every story, but body parts are limited, and what can be done with them fits into a few categories. I grew tired of repeating myself, and I hesitate to go far beyond my own experience in describing elaborate scenes that might be physically impossible. (And on that note, unclear sentence construction can suggest that a character has three arms, three breasts, or three balls, or that two characters can grope each other from across a room. The logistics of a sex scene have to be carefully managed.)
My age has probably played a role in my desire to write about something other than sex. I doubt if I will ever completely turn off like a burned-out lightbulb, but I no longer feel as if I will just die if I don’t get some. And if I don’t need it desperately, it’s hard to convince myself that my characters do.
In short, I have begun to stray into other genres. According to those who advise writers to discover their “brand” and stick to it, this is a problem. If I have a brand at all, it is clearly erotic fiction.
During the past two years, I’ve written several stories that are not sexually explicit, and most are still unpublished. My story for an anthology that is meant to tweak the imaginary world of a famous horror writer was tentatively accepted, but I haven’t been offered a contract, and this project seems to have no clear completion date. I wrote a queer mystery story for a Sherlock Holmes-flavoured anthology, and I haven’t had a response yet. (In fairness to the editor, he probably hasn’t had time to make decisions yet.) I sent a fantasy story to an editor who said explicitly in the call-for-submissions that the anthology was not meant to include erotica. This editor sent me a flattering rejection (“This was an enjoyable read, but it’s not quite right for this collection”), so I sent the story to a speculative-fiction magazine that rejected it.
I feel as if I have started over. If I continue to write fiction without sex scenes, I will continue to send it to editors and venues that probably don’t recognize my name. The competition might be even more intense than it is in the erotic fiction market, though this is debatable.
I am grateful that the “Writers’ Block” I thought I had when I was responsible for a child and for too much unpaid work, while scrounging for a living, seems to be permanently gone. As Virginia Woolf put it so well, a woman writer needs a room of her own, and I now have several. And while I’m on sabbatical, I’m not distracted by the day job.
What I didn’t expect, and what writing coaches never seem to acknowledge, is that the Muse changes over time. For that matter, individual identity changes over time. As long as that is the case, I’m not sure how more “successful” writers (in terms of royalties and name recognition) manage to promote their “brand” for a lifetime without burning out. That seems to be one fate that ever-changing writers don’t need to fear.
by Kathleen Bradean
For those of you who don’t live in the western United States, it’s hard to explain what this drought has meant to us. I live in Southern California, which either stole, swindled, or skillfully negotiated water rights years ago that make us the villains of the west (See the movie Chinatown for a glimpse into this). Northern California suffered far worse in the drought than we did simply because we’d been sold the rights to the rivers up north. They had to eat of paper plates for several years rather than run the dishwasher and limit showers to once or twice a week, again, for several years. We simply turned off our irrigation in our back yard and let everything back there die, but were still able to avoid penalties for over usage when we continued to water out front (albeit on a reduced schedule). But then, it started to rain. Northern California got the brunt of it first and came out of drought months before we did, which seemed only fair. Now, it’s pouring outside and several times this week I’ve had the rare (for LA) pleasure of falling asleep to the sound of rain spattering on the patio.
Metaphorically, that’s pretty much what happened to my writing the past few years. I simply couldn’t write. I wanted to. I had a manuscript due, but there was nothing that could drag those precious drops of creativity from a dry well. Then, finally, something happened and I was able to write again. I wish I could tell you what it was. Nothing in my life circumstances changed. The horrible things are still dragging along, and the good things are also unchanged. For those of you suffering from writer’s block, I wish I could offer you some magical solution, but I rally don’t know what made it possible to write again.
Okay, maybe I do, but it’s no magical bullet.
I forced myself to write. It didn’t matter how crappy it was. Things can be rewritten, but only if there’s something to rewrite, right? It wasn’t a smooth return. I would write a sentence or two then take a month to get back to it. I took a stab at several opening chapters and discarded all of them. (This is, unfortunately, my writing style. It’s wasteful and slow and awful and I don’t recommend it to anyone.) Then I went to visit another writer and she gave me an amazing idea that I ran with for a while until I decided it wasn’t going to work, but when you know something isn’t going to work, you have to have a vision of why not and that’s as close to an idea of what I wanted to do as I could find, so I tossed out those two chapters and began over again. Now I’m on the threshold of chapter three. It’s a dam bursting in slow motion, perhaps like the infamous Great Molasses Flood in January 1919, only not nearly as quick.
It’s relief to be writing again. Only now that I’m wading back into the waters, I’m remembering things about writing that I’d conveniently forgotten. Writing a novel is a hell of a thing. Every character is a moving part with their own motivations and personalities. It’s not so easy to shove dialog into their mouths and make it seem natural, and they never seem to naturally do what they need to to move the plot along. Unless, of course, you’ve created the right character, in which case of course they’re going to say and do those things you need them to. That means backing up and recasting parts, which is also a slow painful way to write that I don’t recommend, so try to start out with the right characters.
The main thing I’d forgotten is how long it takes to write action. It’s a quick little movie in my imagination that takes maybe ten seconds to play. Describing it in words takes forever. For-ev-er. But I hate it and I love it in ways that no non-writer could ever understand. It’s like a rain storm after eight years of drought. I knew something was missing, but I didn’t remember until the tortured drip-drop of words began to form lakes on my pages.
Dear Lecherous Literati,
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays has past, we can get back to serious matters. Like sex. Sure, mistletoe and champagne can ramp up the romance , but seriously, during November and December one hardly has the time to indulge.
We’re deep into January now, with short days and long nights—perfect for erotic exploration. Here at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, you’ll find everything you need to turn up the heat and keep the thrills coming until spring.
Being an author myself, I always like to start in the Erotica Gallery. In this edition, we have a steamy half-dozen Awesome Authors (left sidebar), each of whom shares a sexy short story or book chapter. Selections in this edition range from paranormal lust to rough power exchange, with everything in between. Meanwhile, original erotica from the ERWA Storytime community is featured in the right sidebar, including ERWA’s trademark flash fiction. Don’t miss these elegant and arousing nuggets.
More than just dirty stories:
If you’re like me, the Gallery (wonderful as it is) just won’t be enough erotica to keep you happy. Satisfy your hunger for arousing reading in our Books for Sensual Readers section. It’s dangerous for me to do the necessary research for the Erotic Lure; I always end up adding more titles to my want-to-read list.
This month I honed in on the steam punk collection Valves & Vixens, edited by Nicole Gestalt, as well as Giselle Renarde’s Best Fetish Erotica. Nobody does kink like Giselle! Looking at the novels section, I immediately honed in on Fionna Guillaume’s Tokyo: A Job with a View, about a young woman who takes a position that requires extensive travel—plus much more unorthodox activities. (Check out Fiona’s magnificent story in the Gallery for a sample of her style.) A Little Too Farby Lisa Desrochers also grabbed my interest, with its theme of a woman torn between two taboo attractions. We have a huge selection of gay and lesbian titles for you to sample, including gay fantasy The Woodwoseby Nicolette deSada, habu’s gloriously literate gay collection Creampuffs, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 1, edited by the legendary Sacchi Green, and Selena Kitt’s collection of naughty lesbian shorts, Girls Only.
When I tell you this is only the tip of the iceberg, believe me, it’s true! We have scores of titles in every sub-genre for your browsing pleasure, with quick links so you can grab copies of anything that takes your fancy.
Indulge your literary libido:
What about movies? We’ve got you covered there, too. (Or maybe I should say, uncovered?) In this edition, we feature a top ten list of films starring the delectable Latina, Sara Luvv. I was particularly intrigued by “The Faces of Alice”, about a closeted young lesbian who makes a deal with the devil to win back her out-and-proud lover. (Sara does het porn, too…) Scanning some of the other sections, I noticed “The Doll Underground”, a wild tale about four angry women who become sexual revolutionaries to fight the evils of big business. I also love browsing through the Classic Porn section (since I’m a classic myself). Digital technology allows older films to be restored and remastered so they can be enjoyed by new generations. Henry Paris’ 1970 masterpiece “Maraschino Cherry”, which set the standard for intelligent porn, is a case in point.
Porn for couples, porn for women, porn with a plot, porn parodies, totally unmitigated smut… whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it (conveniently categorized) at ERWA. Plus we’ve got links to the very best places to acquire the films you crave, including Gamelink, Adult DVD Empire, and SmutNetwork.
All you need to fully enjoy your new adult film is some popcorn—and a sex toy or two. Our Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column keeps you in the know about the latest innovations in self-stimulation. Many of these items are high tech gadgets that wouldn’t be out of place in your typical computer store. (Geeks love ‘em!) For instance, the “Hot Octopuss Vibrating Duo Stroker for Couples” offers a 9 speed oscillator, 5 vibration modes with adjustable frequency, a remote control unit and a USB charger. Fortunately one can still find good old-fashioned manual erotic implements like the Büch Dich (“Bend Over”) Paddle Dildo. An ingenious combination of a multi-textured silicon paddle with a versatile phallic handle, this toy does not require batteries, controls, or anything else other than toned biceps and a good imagination!
Of course we have the links you need to get your hot little hands on any of these items. Let me remind you that everything you buy via our affiliate links helps support the best free adult site on the web. (That would be ERWA, of course.)
Inside the Erotic Mind this edition, people are discussing “Spicy Sex”. Altoids? Peppermint oil? Ginger? Chili peppers? Ever tried spicing up your sex life with this sort of fiery additive? What were the results? Come read what others have to say, then share your experiences and opinions. Just click on the Participate link.
There are lots of ongoing discussions on other topics of perennial interest to the prurient. Just make sure you have plenty of time to explore—and some privacy!
Dare to venture into the erotic mind:
Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Authors Resources section. If you are an erotic writer, you can’t afford not to take advantage of this rich compendium of knowledge and news. Our Calls for Submission listings are the most complete and up-to-date on the web. The current edition features new calls for femdom erotica, fetish erotica, and erotica on the theme of gluttony. We have guidelines for four new e-publishers seeking erotic romance and literary erotica. The CFS and publisher guidelines are updated regularly, not just when we create a new edition of the site, so bookmark us and visit regularly.
In addition to the CFS section, we have dozens of links to marketing and promotional services, editing services, review sites, author communities— really, everything you need to get your sexy stuff out there where the world can read it.
Meanwhile, for the latest advice on craft and commentary on the erotica writing community, follow the ERWA blog. Written by some of the top authors in the erotic writing industry, the blog discusses everything from character development to dealing with rejection.
The world wants to read your work!
Is that all there is? Hell, no! I figure you’ll have fun exploring the rest on your own. I’ll see you again in April. Or if you really can’t wait… well, you know where to find me! (You can probably guess what I’ll be doing when you do, too!)
Visit me at my blog Beyond Romance: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com
By Lisabet Sarai
When did books become so ephemeral?
I have a bookshelf in my apartment full of titles I’ve lugged around for most of my adult life—from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again, and then from America to Asia. Indeed, some of these books (Alice in Wonderland, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan) have been with me since I was a child. These are books I don’t want to live without. I never know when I’m going to want to re-read one of them.
Many are hard-cover. Some have begun to disintegrate with age. I recently replaced two dilapidated volumes with new editions: Little Big by John Crowley and A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I found it heartening that both these books, among my life time favorites and first read decades ago, were still in print.
Growing up, books were my closest friends, possessing a special magic. They seemed more real than many of the people around me. It is perhaps strange, given the fact that I started writing as soon as I knew the letters, that I didn’t fantasize about being an author. However, I had a famous author in my extended family. I knew that having penned and published a book was a major achievement.
I remember the thrill of holding the first edition of my first novel. It was a cheap paperback, printed on dingy, low-quality paper. Still, it had my name on the cover, and my words inside. At the age of forty six, I felt that I’d achieved some small measure of immortality.
Now, seventeen years later, sitting in my apartment storage room, I have at least a dozen copies of that book that I can’t get rid of. Living as I do in a conservative Asian country, I can’t just toss them in the trash. I don’t want to send them to readers; I’m only too aware of the weaknesses in that edition, hopefully remedied or at least improved in the most recent release of this title.
I have even more copies of the second edition, and the third. In fact I have author’s copies of dozens of books that nobody wants—including me.
I used to believe that books were forever. Now they’re just clutter, inconvenient and space-consuming.
And that’s print books. What about everything that I’ve written that has been released only in electronic form? Talk about ephemeral! In a couple of decades, as technology and file formats change, it may not even be possible to read those books. (This is assuming that people will still know how to read.)
All the blood and sweat I put into those books, the energy and the love, produced nothing more than a collection of bits, easily erased by a random cosmic ray or an erroneous mouse click. Definitely a bit discouraging.
Books these days are ephemeral in another sense, too. In the days of traditional printing, it was expensive to release new editions. The text of a novel was more or less fixed.
In contrast, when I scroll through the directories on my hard drive, I find multiple versions of almost everything I’ve written. It’s so easy to tweak a tale for a new audience. Sometimes the changes are sufficiently large that it should really be considered a new book.
Which version is the “real” book? When future generations of students study my work (ha!), which file will be take as the authoritative text, from a literary analysis point of view?
Do you know how many e-books are published now, every day? Thousands. One estimate I found said there are 40,000 new ebook titles on Amazon each week.
Even as a reader, I’ve started to treat books as temporary, disposable commodities. Mostly, my DH and I don’t hold on to books anymore, unless they’re among the best things we’ve ever read. We tend to buy in used bookstores, and pass the volumes along when we’re done with them.
Still, there must be some readers out there like me, readers who remember the books that touched them most deeply, who want to make sure they have copies for the future. I recently got a request to reprint a story I wrote ten years ago. A few people, I guess, pay attention to what I’ve written. A few people remember.
Meanwhile, when my husband went to a used bookstore recently looking for new reading material, he found a copy of Raw Silk front and center on the shelves, staring at him. First edition.
I do hope someone buys it—to keep the story alive.
It may be the depths of winter where you are, but here at ERWA we’re heating things up. Today’s the 19th of the month, which means it’s Sexy Snippet Day!
The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However,
we’ve decided we should give our author/members an occasional
opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public.
Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers
and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.
On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or
less) in a comment on the day’s post. Include the title from with the
snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link. No extra promo text, please!
Please post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate your readers and seduce them into buying your books!
Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It’s an open invitation!
Of course I expect you to follow the rules. One snippet per author,
please. If your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one
link, I’ll remove your comment and prohibit you from participating
in further Sexy Snippet days. I’ll say no more!
After you’ve posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a
whole to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers
by Donna George Storey
In last month’s column, I discussed the implications of a comment by an elderly gentleman with a white mustache who imagined that “most erotica writers are fat and ugly, fantasy based [sic] women with a serious case of penis envy.” In particular I examined the long history of using “fat” as a way to shame people with less power in our culture and also discussed the denigration of sexual fantasy, which plays a significant part in the sexual experience of those of us with brains.
This month I’d like to talk about the implied opposite of “fantasy-based” sexuality—Real Sex.
Here’s the main problem. We have very little reliable factual data on humanity’s actual sexual experiences. Kiss and Tell: Surveying Sex in the Twentieth Century by Julia Ericksen with Sally A. Steffen discusses the obvious reasons why this is so. Both men and women feel shame in being honest about sex, because the tradition is still strong that “decent” people keep sex private and besides it wouldn’t do to expose yourself to accusations of abnormality. Equally importantly, it is extraordinarily difficult to get funding to do a comprehensive study of any sexual topic, unless it is related to the “problem of sex” such as teen pregnancy. And even studies that have been done such as those by Kinsey and Masters and Johnson are likely skewed by the design of the study (nonrandomness, how the topics are examined, interpretation of data) as well as the usual cultural factors affecting and reflected in the research. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this situation will change anytime soon.
And so, in the main, we are left with voluntary surveys in magazines, honest, intimate discussions with friends (if you’re fortunate to have such friends), and public pronouncements that reflect as much how the speaker wants sex to be as what actually happens.
I cannot help but conclude that Real Sex is the biggest fantasy of all.
In my study of sexuality in America one hundred years ago, Real Sex was understood to be as follows. A man had a natural sex drive, which he must strive to control, but a good woman did not until her husband awakened her on their wedding night. Her body had no sexual feeling until a penis was inserted into it. If she didn’t experience pleasure even then, it was because she was especially pure and above lustful concerns. This was a tribute to her fine character.
As the elderly gentleman with the white mustache’s comment illustrates, our culture’s view of sex is not so very different today. Women must have “penis envy” because only the penis possesses and bequeaths sexual feeling, not, presumably, because they wish they had boners at inconvenient times or ejaculated prematurely, for example. Female sex organs are, on their own, without sensation, desire or pleasure.
I’ll leave each individual reader to determine the validity of that view for herself.
But there are advantages to this antique approach. Men don’t have to worry about the details of an erotic encounter because just having a penis inside her is enough to drive a woman to ecstasy. Again, rather unbelievably, this is still a common presentation. I was dismayed that the most vivid sex scene in the Christmas special of Sense8, a Netflix original series I watch, consisted of a couple on a Tinder date who do it doggie style, with the man pounding hard and fast with no other stimulation to the woman but an occasional slap on her ass. “I love it!” she cries as her whole body jiggles from the assault. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, she is on top for a while but again with that super-fast up-and-down movement, which focuses on penetration and no stimulation of her clitoris or other body parts.
Sense8 is a cool show. It has lots of creepy supernatural stuff, artful orgies and tender gay sex, but heterosexual sex is presented as a porn cliché. Yet for many viewers, our eyes and the Tinder date’s enthusiastic review tell us we’re being shown Real, hot, casual sex, right? Clearly something is the matter with you if you don’t get off on such a vigorous, frenzied pounding of your cervix.
Another advantage of “the penis is sex, end of story” is that any complaints from the woman are covered. If she’s experienced enough to be picky about your technique, then she’s a slut. If she needs more, you know, that “fantasy” stuff like romance, a scenario where her needs are important and she experiences pleasure and orgasm in the encounter–like most erotica offers, by the way–then again, she’s being greedy, fantasy-based, high maintenance. This is problem sex, not Real Sex.
Naturally, this view does not benefit men if the man cares about “reality.” It only does if you measure your prowess in bed by the number of partners alone, believing that the insertion of your penis into a vagina—whether that vagina belongs to a cognizant, consenting partner or not–proves your manhood.
What if sex only “counted” if the partner genuinely had a good time? How many guys would still be virgins?
The fantasy informing traditional female behavior deserves attention, too. A variant on “the man awakens the woman” fantasy of Real Sex is that you expect the man to be “good in bed” and do everything right without a word or a false move. He knows instinctively how to pleasure your body in ways you’ve never even imagined. The problem is that if you believe that mutually satisfying sex comes naturally, then the best lover (male or female or nonbinary) never needs to ask what is pleasurable, or make a mistake and learn. If you believe that ecstasy is immediate in Real Love, the traditional female variant of Real Sex, then you’re as much a victim of fantasy as the guy who thinks his dick is the center of the sexual universe and everyone wants it hard and fast.
Good Real Sex requires time, communication, trust, understanding, and most of all, self-understanding. This was true one hundred years ago. It’s true today.
Here’s to speaking our truth in 2017.
Donna George Storey is the author
of Amorous Woman and a collection of short
Presents the Best of Donna George Storey. Learn more about her
work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com
am a child of the cinema. I think that can be said for most of us baby boomers.
And, although television was a big part of our upbringing, the art form that
most influenced us was the movies. It was an overlapping of a preference shared
by the previous generation, which had also been influenced by radio art,
particularly radio dramas. Radio had pretty much gone by the boards by the time
I was coming up.
recall lamenting the death of our television sometime in the 1950s and my dad
saying, “Why don’t you turn on the radio? Maybe ‘The Lone Ranger’ is on.”
And I remember how crestfallen he was when I told him no such shows existed on
the radio anymore.
movies endured, and thanks to television recycling films from the Forties and
even Thirties, we wee boomers also thrilled to the exploits of the likes of Sam
Spade and Rick Blaine.
I was a kid my imagination worked like the movies. I imagined myself as a
character in my own film, exchanging dialogue with other characters.
I was a bit of a contrarian when I was young, so didn’t make a lot of friends.
But, before you begin playing the world’s smallest violin, I recall the friends
I did make had an abiding love of the movies too.
can say I learned to write dialogue by listening to movie lines, and
recognizing the rhythm, appreciating the wit exchanged between characters who
shared a sophistication that made me want to emulate them.
wouldn’t want to be like Bogart? But if I couldn’t grow up to be as cool as
Bogie, Claude Rains would do, or even the immense Sidney Greenstreet, whom I
words that came out of their characters’ mouths. No one could get the edge on
them in a battle of wits.
And what in heaven’s
name brought you to Casablanca?
My Health. I came to
Casablanca for the waters.
The waters? What
waters? We’re in the desert.
I was misinformed.
talks like that? Nobody in my old neighborhood.
I would have liked to have told a miserable old nun, “I’d despise you if I
gave you any thought.”
I got older, I realized characters in movies didn’t spout dialogue
spontaneously. Someone had to put those words in their mouths. I began to
appreciate good writing, particularly dialogue writing, how to make it sound
natural, original, spontaneous.
conversations continued in my head, and when I arrived at a certain age I began
to write them down.
younger folks watch movies on screens barely bigger than the palm of one’s
hand. Dialogue … clever repartee … doesn’t move the plot along as much as
it any wonder the national discourse has been reduced to a childish tweet?