By Big Ed Magusson (Guest Blogger)
“She never mentions the word addiction in certain company.”–Black Crowes, She Talks to Angels
In 1991, I drove into Tucson a mental wreck. I was returning to an academic career in shambles. I’d driven 900 miles to propose to the love of my life only to have her first tell me about kissing a new guy. It was over a hundred degrees in my tiny apartment, I had no friends in town, and precious few anywhere else. I went looking for a place that was dark and cool and wouldn’t mind if I just sat for hours without doing much.
I found Temptations.
It was an appropriate name for a strip club and for what it offered. For a few dollars, I could sit quietly in the dark and have beautiful naked women pay attention to me. I had the cash. I had free afternoons. And after a while, I had more.
Solace. Comfort. Escape.
And then, over time, a life that narrowed to my trips to the club.
My story The Fix (on my site here and also in the ERWA Treasure Chest here) captures this slice of my past. There’s a pleasure that only the obsessed can understand—that pleasure of final attainment. At the same time, the obsession itself is an inward knife’s blade—constant stabs of nerves and fears and self-loathing.
There’s a saying in the twelve step world: the addiction is not the problem. The addiction is the crappy solution to the problem. Fix the underlying problems as I did (or become more mature), and the addiction either disappears or drops back to a manageable craving. There’s even some scientific backing to this (here).
But try explaining that to people.
All too often, our culture forces a black or white model onto addiction. On the one hand, addicts are terrible people with destroyed lives. On the other, we celebrate the overindulgence of addictive acts—”we were so wasted” describes a good time on too many college campuses.
This is particularly true in erotica and porn. One of Marilyn Chambers’ big hits was Insatiable, about a nymphomaniac; an archetype regularly celebrated in male-oriented porn. Scores of erotica conventions and tropes draw on the power of sex and the human attraction toward it. We’ve “gotta have it.” Mainstream literary fiction is left to dwell on the question of whether that’s truly a good thing, even though mainstream fiction all too often portrays sex negatively or unerotically, as Remittance Girl discusses here.
So, do we dare go there? Do we dare portray sexual addiction in erotica in a realistic nuanced fashion?
There’s only one way I know to find out—write the stories and see. It promises to be an interesting experiment.
Big Ed Magusson has been writing erotica for the past decade. More of his work can be found at www.besplace.com and www.besplacebooks.com, including some of his Addictive Desires stories. He plans to release an anthology of the Addictive Desires stories later this year.