Don’t be a sheep!

by | March 21, 2021 | General | 2 comments

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

In my own quiet way, I guess I’m something of a outlaw. For one thing, I write smut – generally not considered a socially acceptable activity. My life hasn’t followed the standard script for women of my generation. I’m an engineer, a field often viewed as male-dominated. I left my birth country nearly two decades ago and have permanently settled half way around the world. Although I’m married, my husband and I have an open relationship. We’ve both kept in touch with former erotic partners, and we’ve experimented with swinging and polyamory. He and I have no children. However, we’ve founded several companies together.

My path has been a bit torturous but mostly enjoyable. While I don’t go out of my way to flaunt societal norms, I like to make my own decisions. Certainly, arguments based on popularity or mass appeal hold little weight for me.

I trace at least some of these attitudes to an incident in the early sixties. I was in fourth grade, living in frigid New England. That winter we had snow banks three feet high and weeks of temperatures in the teens (Fahrenheit). I had to stand outside with the other kids for twenty minutes every day, waiting for the school bus. Much to my embarrassment, my mother insisted that I wear padded snow pants under my dress. I hated this; only babies wore snowsuits! Furthermore, I had to tuck my skirt into the pants so I could hook the elastic suspenders over my shoulders. I looked even chubbier than I was.

“But Mom,” I argued one icy morning. “Everyone thinks I’m weird. Nobody at the bus stop wears snow pants!”

My mother, a strong woman with definite opinions, peered at me through her glasses. “Who cares about everyone else? Do you want to be a sheep?”

I was about to tell her I didn’t mind, but the deep contempt in her voice stopped me. I could tell from her tone that she’d never let the majority dictate what she should do. Wanting to make her happy – and amazed at the strength of her convictions – I donned the hated garment and headed out to catch the bus. I still felt conspicuous and silly, but I was also toasty warm. I noticed that the girls who had bare legs huddled together, looking distinctly uncomfortable.

Maybe she was right. Maybe being like everyone else didn’t matter nearly as much as I’d thought.

I didn’t consciously decide that day to ignore the opinions of the masses, but looking back, I think she planted some of the seeds for my future independence. I remember other situations when I realized that I didn’t have to follow the social rules if they didn’t make sense to me. I’ve chronicled one potent (and erotic) incident in a previous blog post. As I grew older, I started to make choices that were different from what most people expected.

I’m still doing that now, especially when it comes to writing. Over my twenty year publishing career, I’ve seen the rise and fall of multiple fads and genres. Vampires, billionaires, virgins, step-brothers, cuckolds, reverse harem, Navy SEALS, mafia, aliens, motorcycle clubs – every few months there’s something new that “everyone” is writing. In a recent email, a friend who makes her living writing erotic romance was bemoaning the fact that she can’t keep up with what’s trendy. I told her (but I’m not sure she believed me) that it was hopeless, and recommended that she write what she enjoys, what sparks her personal passion. I could have asked: do you want to be a sheep? But that wouldn’t have been kind, or polite.

Sorry, but I don’t care what “everyone” is writing. Of course I have that luxury, because for me writing is a beloved avocation, not a career. But I also believe it’s impossible to gain either success or satisfaction trying to suss out what the masses are going to want next. Nobody can write fast enough to keep up with the fashions.

Meanwhile, I know from experience that my best work comes from tapping into my personal kinks and fantasies, not from writing to the market. For years I tried to produce the kind of romance my publisher wanted. I won’t say I failed completely, but trying to clip the wings of my nasty imagination resulted in books I now view as mediocre.

Not all my colleagues agree. Another friend has been analyzing the stats from Amazon, working to determine which genres have the best sales for the least competition. He’s very deliberately writing with an eye toward financial gain.

I wish him luck.

As for me, I now realize that my mom’s advice was precious, no matter how I resented it at the time. Her wisdom might not have brought me wealth, but I’ve reaped an abundance of joy.

Lisabet Sarai

Sex and writing. I think I've always been fascinated by both. Freud was right. I definitely remember feelings that I now recognize as sexual, long before I reached puberty. I was horny before I knew what that meant. My teens and twenties I spent in a hormone-induced haze, perpetually "in love" with someone (sometimes more than one someone). I still recall the moment of enlightenment, in high school, when I realized that I could say "yes" to sexual exploration, even though society told me to say no. Despite being a shy egghead with world-class myopia who thought she was fat, I had managed to accumulate a pretty wide range of sexual experience by the time I got married. And I'm happy to report that, thanks to my husband's open mind and naughty imagination, my sexual adventures didn't end at that point! Meanwhile, I was born writing. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, though according to family apocrypha, I was talking at six months. Certainly, I started writing as soon as I learned how to form the letters. I penned my first poem when I was seven. While I was in elementary school I wrote more poetry, stories, at least two plays (one about the Beatles and one about the Goldwater-Johnson presidential contest, believe it or not), and a survival manual for Martians (really). I continued to write my way through high school, college, and grad school, mostly angst-ridden poems about love and desire, although I also remember working on a ghost story/romance novel (wish I could find that now). I've written song lyrics, meeting minutes, marketing copy, software manuals, research reports, a cookbook, a self-help book, and a five hundred page dissertation. For years, I wrote erotic stories and kinky fantasies for myself and for lovers' entertainment. I never considered trying to publish my work until I picked up a copy of Portia da Costa's Black Lace classic Gemini Heat while sojourning in Istanbul. My first reaction was "Wow!". It was possibly the most arousing thing I'd ever read, intelligent, articulate, diverse and wonderfully transgressive. My second reaction was, "I'll bet I could write a book like that." I wrote the first three chapters of Raw Silk and submitted a proposal to Black Lace, almost on a lark. I was astonished when they accepted it. The book was published in April 1999, and all at once, I was an official erotic author. A lot has changed since my Black Lace days. But I still get a thrill from writing erotica. It's a never-ending challenge, trying to capture the emotional complexities of a sexual encounter. I'm far less interested in what happens to my characters' bodies than in what goes on in their heads.


  1. Larry Archer

    You go girl! – With apologies to Oprah.

    Freedom to chart your own path and accept yourself is a precious gift. But, you have a filthy mind! LOL It has been my honor to know you these past years.

    Love Foxy and Larry

    • Lisabet Sarai

      Thank you kindly, Larry! I could say the same. xxoo

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



Pin It on Pinterest