Tag Archives: turn-ons

Flash Fiction: A Letter

 

Dear You,

I want to go somewhere together. I want you to make me come – in a bathroom or a bookshop or in the middle of a film. I want you to make me come. Press against me hip, to hip. Touch me in a crowded room. Fuck me somewhere civilized, where people shouldn’t fuck.

I want to pull you into an alley and suck your cock. I want scuffs on my knees when I stand. Fuck me in a window where the neighbors will see, or high on a balcony in the warm evening air. I want someone to see us by chance.

I want to watch you with other people and I want you to watch me. Surrounded by other people I’ll still pick out your scent. I want mouths on our mouths and skin on our skin, tangled with other people and other people’s limbs.

I want you to fuck me, hard and fast, in the kitchen while we cook. Fuck me from behind just as company is due. Cup my breasts while I bend forward. Lift up my hem. Come inside me, fill me, make me wet. Then kneel and lick me clean.

I want to share a secret. I want to taste us when we kiss. I want to cross the room and feel your eyes, narrowed and hungry and sly. I know you with that look on your face. You’re waiting to gobble me up. Clever Fox. Big Bad Wolf. I promise I’ll gobble you too.

Me xxx

On the Value of Fantasies

Japanese shunga erotica painting being eaten out by an octopus

The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife by Hokusai (1814)

Recently, Emmanuelle de Maupassant posted a link to an article called “The Art of Dreams”. The art in that post contains two prominent themes – mortality and sexuality, which makes sense since sex and death have been cultural obsessions for centuries.

As I was looking through the pieces, two of them stood out. The first was the one above – “The Dreams of the Fisherman’s Wife” by Hokusai. The other is of a girl dreaming that she’s being carried into the woods by a bear. Both have obvious sexual overtones and, given the nature of my own dreams, my mind wandered from dreams into fantasies.

I have always had extremely vivid sex dreams, even as a girl. In fact, I knew I was bisexual before I understood what that meant after dreaming that I was kissing Sleeping Beauty and her prince. I woke up wanting more of both, a feeling I internalized as normal but never talked about. That dream led to my first sexual fantasies, and their influence on my sexuality as it developed can’t be overstated.

Years later, a friend and I were talking about fantasies in college. Her opinion was that if you’re in a relationship, (she was and I wasn’t), having fantasies about someone other than your boyfriend is cheating. I understand now, on an intellectual level, what she was saying, but fantasies were so integral to my sexual development that hearing them spoken of as a form of infidelity left me feeling vaguely bereft, as if what was natural to me was somehow immoral to normal, relationship-having people.

Side Note: I should state that there is a difference between fantasizing to explore your sexuality, and fantasizing to escape an unpleasant or unsatisfying relationship. If you’d rather be in your head than with your partner, that’s a sign that something could be off in the relationship. While I still don’t consider this cheating, it probably isn’t something you should ignore either.

Even though I lost my virginity relatively late, I had a massively active fantasy life, so much so that, by the time I finally did have sex, I jumped into new experiences with an enthusiasm that I may not have otherwise had. I fantasized about threesomes well before I had one. Same thing with group sex, oral, anal, strap-ons, D/s, sex in public and pretty much everything else I’ve ever done.

But it wasn’t just the exploratory quality of my fantasies that formed my sexuality. As I experienced new things, more and more of those experiences were incorporated into my fantasies, so that I began to understand what worked for me in greater depth. Everything, from my love of prowess to shaving (and being shaved by) a lover, was nurtured by an increasingly varied collection of fantasies.

Even impossible or transgressive fantasies are valuable. Some may get explored in real life, while others can’t (or won’t), but the fact that they can be played out safely is important. I want to understand what makes me click because I can bring that understanding to my partners. 

Fantasies are also a surprisingly accurate way to gauge how your sexual focus may have changed. Early on, my fantasies, much like my erotica, were highly situational – getting off on a Maytag dryer, being watched, making someone do something that makes them uncomfortable (but that they also undeniably want). These fantasies explored different situations and helped me understand my various kinks and predilections.

In the past few years, however, my fantasies have changed. As someone close to me noted, I’m after connection more than experience now. That isn’t to say that I’ve done everything I want to do (because I doubt I ever will). What it does mean is that my sexual focus now prioritizes intensity and connection rather than situational novelty, a shift that is also reflected in my work.

If sex is the lens through which I view life, then fantasies are how I keep that lens polished. The notion that fantasizing about someone other than my partners would take something away from the depth of my commitment to them rings as false now as it did when I was eighteen. 

If anything, your fantasies give you access to more of yourself, knowledge that you can then bring to your partners. Whether it’s fucking against a wall because you can’t keep your hands off each other, or ravaging and being ravaged by some sort of subhuman beast, fantasies, dreams and memories help ground you in your sexuality, and it’s your sexuality that you bring to real life.

Beautiful, Joyful Porn

Still from Hysterical Literature. Image for Beautiful, Joyful Porn - Malin James

Still from Hysterical Literature, Session 1: Stoya (one of my favorites)

I’m kind of embarrassed to admit it, but I’m not that into porn. Sort of. Okay, it’s complicated….

I like porn in principle, but scripted porn doesn’t tend work for me. I’m hyper-aware of stories and how they’re told. Unless they’re done really well, a lot porn scenarios yank me out of the sexy place and drop me into my head, which is kind of a shame, since most of those scenarios aren’t designed to withstand a critical eye. They’re designed to help the viewer get off, which is excellent in and of itself.

One of porn’s traditional conventions is to provide a narrative, even if the narrative is just randy pizza guy or threesome for his birthday. The problem for me is that I have weirdly specific taste, so pre-packaged scenarios don’t tend to turn me on . That’s why I’m more likely to trawl Tumblr for a quick fix than I am to watch a full length porn video. Sorry, porn – it’s not you, it’s me.

For me, porn is defined by efficiency. It’s like the media equivalent of the vibrator I keep at my desk for when I just need to get off. I’m not looking for a sexual experience, I’m looking for mental clarity, so I pull out the vibe and five minutes later, I’m back to work. For me, most porn serves the same function. If I’m already horny, it can be pretty useful, but if I want to rev myself up, it probably won’t do. It’s the difference between the vibe and a beautiful glass dildo. If I need to get off, the bullet rocks, but I’ll enjoy the glass in a whole different way.

Luckily for me, there are glass dildo equivalents in porn.

Last year, I wrote a post about a video called The Slap, a satirical riff on an ad called First Kiss. The Slap riled me up so much it shocked me. There isn’t an ounce of sexual content in this video – it’s literally a bunch of strangers slapping each other in the face – but the visceral, impulsive joy of it never fails to turn me on.

The only way I can think to explain it is that this crazy sort of intimacy develops between each pair, regardless of the race, gender or sexuality of the individual participant. That intimacy underpins their shock at hitting someone and taking a hit and it informs their joy at being given permission to do something taboo. In fact, it’s so fucking intimate that it makes me want to slap someone too…and then fuck that someone a lot

Sexual mechanics are cool for a snack, but if I want a pornographic meal, I go straight for intense, voyeuristic intimacy – intimacy that stands on its own without a scripted story. That’s why I go to Beautiful Agony or  Hysterical Literature when I want raw sexuality without the side of narrative.

Beautiful Agony features videos that people submit of themselves masturbating in front of a camera. All you can see are their faces, so the way they experience pleasure is displayed without distraction. Watching one of their videos is like being in a room full of laughter. You can walk in cold and miserable, but give it enough time and you’re going to be laughing too, which is to say that I can pop on one of their videos while I’m tired and stressed out, and by the time it ends, I’m after the glass dildo.

Hysterical Literature is also wonderful. People sit at a table and read from a book while someone under the table uses a vibrator on them (or jacks them off). The participants choose their book and that book is the single thread that carries you through to their orgasm. On a personal note, I’m a fan of reading while being pleasured, (and of torturing someone by making them read while I pleasure them), so Hysterical Literature is tailored made for me. And oh my god, the people who participate are happy. It’s beautiful. And hot! It makes me think of the times I’ve laughed after coming, because it felt so good.

In both cases, watching someone go from zero to climax over the course of 5-10 minutes is sexy and I love it. It’s infectious, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s the ultimate form of sexual sympathy. The people in the videos are having an amazing time, which makes me want to too. And, as a added bonus, Beautiful Agony and Hysterical Literature mean that I don’t have to spend the rest of the day itching to slap someone before ripping off their clothes. That’s what I call a gourmet pornographic meal.

Jade & Malin Talk 50 Shades

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Jade & Malin, minutes from embarking on the FSoG experience.

Hello everyone! I’ve got a bit of a departure for you today. Over the week-end my lovely partner in crime and platonic valentine, Jade A. Waters, and I saw The Movie. We got to talking about it over lunch, (of course), and decided that, in the face of so many proper reviews and opinions, we’d skip writing anything truly critical and record an off-the-cuff conversation instead. We meandered, we drifted, we laughed a lot, (we might have even snorted). Most of all, we had a lot of fun making this recording. A few notes before you press play:

1. We went into this with a particular context in mind – that FSoG is a formula romance, and the kink / BDSM elements were going to be geared for a primarily vanilla, mainstream audience. Also, R rating.

2. We tried to consider it through the lens of the audience it’s intended for, (rather than our own erotica writer / kinky person perspective)

3. The most pornographic moment in this film was the opening credits with Christian Grey’s wardrobe. See #1 on context and rating.

4. We get kind of loud at points so apologies if we laugh you out of your earbuds.

5. There are outtakes at the end! Listen on through if you can!

And now, without further ado, Jade and I talk 50 Shades. Thanks for joining us – we hope you enjoy the conversation at least half as much as we did.

xx.M

Pillow Talk Secrets: Details, Details, Details

PIllow Talk Logo - girl with black hair on pillow making red pouted kissy faceIt’s time for another installment of Pillow Talk Secrets! This time around, Tamsin, Jade and I are dealing with the devil – the devil in the details, that is. How much physical / erotic detail do we prefer a story to contain, both as writers and as readers? And we’d love to know what you think. Would you rather the protagonist have “dark” hair, or do you want a fully painted picture of her “curling raven locks”? Feel free to leave a comment below or, even, better, follow the link and jump over to the Pillow Talk website to finish the conversation and let us know what you think there. Either way, I hope you enjoy! xx.M

Pillow Talk Secrets

Jade: Hello, ladies! So nice to be back together again! How are the both of you?

Malin: Hiya! I’m doing good—got my first cup of tea right here, so I’m feeling fine (though I’ll feel better after the third!).

Tamsin: Hello girls—hope you’re both well!

J: Good to see you both. I’m very excited for today’s session! Shall we dive right in?

T: Absolutely!

J: All right—today is all about the dirty deets. As in, how much specific physical detail do we like to read and write in our erotica? It’s a pretty broad topic. Any initial thoughts?

T: Just to explain how this topic came up—I was having a chat with Malin as she’d been beta reading something for me, and I pointed out that I’d never mentioned what colour hair the protagonist had. So I asked her if that mattered.

Eye Color Detail

Her eyes were the most amazing shade of…

M: And my response was that, for me, it definitely didn’t. I actually preferred it. I’m a “less-is-more” kind of girl whether I’m writing or reading. I like selective amounts of specific detail, and then I like to let my brain, (or the reader’s), fill in the rest.

J: I get the sense this is a common feeling for the three of us—and maybe a lot of other erotica authors as well. Sometimes, too much detail can throw things off. For example, if a character is described as having enormous breasts, or a certain color hair, or a freckle on the forearm… that paints a very specific image.

T: I find there’s nothing worse when I’m reading a story if the action breaks off for a whole paragraph of physical description, like the writer’s going down a checklist of hair, eyes, height and so on…

M: Absolutely. It feels manufactured. You basically want your reader to identify with the characters—if you lay in a ton of generic detail (large breasts, curly hair, etc), it can make it more challenging for the reader to put herself or himself in the story.

J: I don’t want to discount some detail—I think some detail orients the reader. The key is just enough, without becoming overkill.

T: Drip feeding it is the preferred way, I think. A small, specific detail here, another there, to build up a gradual picture—not all at once.

M: It’s also important to drip feed those details (I love that, by the way) in as they become relevant. Don’t give us a dossier the moment the character walks into the room…

Click here to continue the conversation!

The Slap, or The Intimacy of Violence

four image screen capture from Max Landis's short, The Slap

Screen captures, YouTube. From Max Landis’s “The Slap”

This post has been amended ever-so-slightly because I can’t leave anything alone. Enjoy! xx.M

Earlier in the year, a video called “First Kiss” went viral. It featured people who had never met before sharing a kiss on camera. “First Kiss” generated some controversy because, as it turned out, the strangers in the video weren’t “normal people,” but were, in fact, actors. Apparently, this turned a lot of people off. Personally, I didn’t care. Actors or not, the people in the video were still kissing strangers and, as a former actor myself, I can tell you that it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re getting paid – kissing someone you don’t know is legitimately awkward, no matter how many times you’ve done it, (particularly when you’re going in cold).

Anyway, another video came out several months later in the wake of “First Kiss.” Filmed by a different director, this one was called, “The Slap,” and featured, unsurprisingly, randomly paired strangers slapping each other. I was intrigued so I watched it, expecting a tongue-in-cheek parody. What I got surprised me instead. Here – take a look:

Important Note 1: This may be stating the obvious, but this video shows a whole lot of people slapping each other in the face. If that makes you uncomfortable, please feel free to skip it, and just read on.

So, here’s why I like this video – “The Slap” shows a form of visceral intimacy that we rarely talk about in civilized culture. Just as kissing is widely acknowledged to be an intimate act, so to is hitting someone, (as well as getting hit).

Important Note 2: Allow me state up front that consent is everything. The people in this video agreed to slap and be slapped. It is never all right to haul off and hit someone without their consent – unless they’re trying to hurt you. If they’re trying to hurt you, please, by all means, go to town.

Now, back to my point. The violence in “The Slap” is entirely egalitarian. Everyone’s on board. Everyone knows what they’re about to do. And yet, they all hesitate before doing it. There’s a breathless moment right before they each strike that I absolutely love. It’s like that silent negotiation right before a first kiss, when your lips are almost touching, but you’re still not sure it’s going to happen. That is intimate. And just as with a kiss, once they’ve gotten a taste for it, they want more. They laugh, they hug, they kiss, they scrunch their shoulders in that oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I’m-doing-this way that happens when a person is super giddy and getting away with something.

The thing is, they are getting away with something in a way. They’re getting away with feeling good about hitting someone and getting hit. That right there is a modern taboo. We tell children not to hit each other. We raise ourselves to avoid violence, and for the most part, this is a very good thing – abuse is real. Harm is real, and so is victimization. These things are fucking abhorrent. But between two consenting adults, moderate violence can be shockingly sweet. It can be the foundation of a bond, a friendship, a brief connection or a life-long affair. It is, very legitimately, an intimate act, and intimate acts are powerful.

We are animals, after all. Regardless of how civilized we are, our impulses are not always civilized. There’s something about a slap that can send us back to our primal selves just as quickly as a kiss can – sometimes playfully, sometimes not. This is why, when people talk about how satisfying martial arts can be, I completely understand. Sparring is the epitome of consensual, controlled, disciplined violence, and that’s a powerful thing. The same goes for spanking and other forms of BDSM play, which involves forms of what many people call violence. And yet, hitting and being hit, in consensual BDSM contexts, is the height of intimacy – the exchange of power, trust and, at times, deep emotion. Between two people who agree to the exchange, violence can be many things, including sexy, delightful, charming and sweet.

It’s the sweetness that I see in “The Slap.” I can understand it making a person uncomfortable. I’ve been hit and I’ve hit back. Sometimes it can be lovely. Sometimes it definitely is not. But when it is lovely, it can be a powerfully intimate thing. Moreover, it’s an intimately human thing, and that, if nothing else, makes it worthy of consideration and, in my opinion, respect.

Stunt Porn / People Porn

Burlesque contortionists, c. 1910

Burlesque contortionists, c. 1910

What is it about erotica that allows it to cover so much ground? I’m mean really, what’s up with a genre that contains everything from Anais Nin to poorly veiled twilight slash, (sorry Fifty Shades)?

The way I see it, erotica falls into two basic categories. I’m going to label them People Porn and Stunt Porn. These two categories cover a lot of territory but, in the end, they have less to do with the “quality” of the writing than they do with authorial intent.

People Porn is erotica that features some form of emotional or psychological arc. Failing that, there is some sort of thematic point to the story. While the stories are explicitly sexual, they are so for a reason. Think The Story of O, Anais Nin and yes, Fifty Shades of Grey. I know many people have issues with Fifty Shades, and that’s perfectly fine, (I have them too), but no matter how bad it is, the sexual acts depicted are depicted to a purpose – a character’s exploration of BDSM.

If you want to see an example of what I mean by People Porn, read a piece I wrote called “The Second Letter.” You can also listen to “Bound / Unbound,” a story I wrote for The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast.  Those stories are People Porn. Graphically sexual? Abso-fucking-lutely, but very much to a point. “The Second Letter” is about the end of a relationship, while “Bound / Unbound” examines how easily control crumbles beneath sexual pressure. Those stories require sex, but they aren’t strictly about the sex. They’re about the people having it.

Stunt Porn on the other hand, is exuberantly and un-apologetically hot for the sheer, filthy joy of it. Stunt Porn doesn’t want to make you think. Stunt Porn wants to get you off. The whole point is to make you wet, to make you hard, and to make you want to fuck. Think everything from Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty to Babysitting the Baumgartners by Selena Kitt. Yes, Rice’s Beauty series is gorgeously written and very literary in style, but in the end, it’s really just a beautiful set-piece in which various characters have sex in supremely interesting ways. Characters aren’t examined and emotional depths aren’t plumbed, but if you’re looking for the prettiest pony play in literature, you’ve found your book.

There is no value judgement here. Stunt Porn is awesome. I’ve written Stunt Porn and will continue to do so, (though, I must admit that, as my writing matures, People Porn attracts me more). In fact, if you want to read an example of my Stunt Porn, check out “Spin Cycle.” That’s Stunt Porn and it still makes me happy, even though I wrote it three years ago. Stunt Porn is as awesome as People Porn – it’s just different. It’s literally about the animal joy of having sex, which, I think, is worth writing about.

Ultimately, figuring out how erotica can contain so much variation is less important than removing the value judgement inherent in erotic classification. I’m not suggesting that we remove the classifications, (I used to be a librarian – I love classifications), but I am just suggesting that rather than slot things as “good” or “bad,” we look at what the author is trying to do.

Stunt Porn and People Porn both serve equally valuable purposes. For me, as both a writer and a reader, it’s important to remember that and to treat both sub-genres with equal consideration. Whether my characters are fucking for the sheer joy of fucking, or fucking as part part of a larger arc, the story needs to serve it’s intended purpose. It either needs to turn you on, or it needs to turn you on and make you think. Either way, reading erotica should feel intimate. As an author, that should always be my primary intent.

Deviant Acts

Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights. c1500

Hieronymus Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights. c1500

Recently, I’ve begun to wonder what, exactly, qualifies as a deviant sexual act. What does “deviant” really mean? Does it mean any act that deviates from the sexual norm? And if so, what, precisely defines that definitive norm? Should we ask Kinsey, or is it more complicated than that?

Are we talking heterosexual missionary sex? (For the record, I love missionary and am in no way knocking it). Or is it enough that the sex be between one man and one woman and involve vaginal penetration? And going from there, I have to ask, vaginal penetration with what? A cock? A dildo? A tongue? Is oral sex okay? What about blind folds–or are we tripping into deviance there? What about non-heterosexual couples? Is loving, connected sex between two married men deviant? Is a woman fucking her female partner with a strap on deviant? Where does deviance lie?

The short answer is, I have no idea. To me, it’s a highly subjective thing. In my head, spanking can be as wholesome and profound as feeling a partner come inside you. There is no deviance for me in either act, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other things that press my “whoa” button. Some aspects of edge play make me pause. Casting? Emotionally speaking, that feels pretty deviant to me, but if I look at a photo of a woman happily wrapped in cellophane while her lover blasts her with a Hitatchi I don’t feel like I can judge–nor do I want to. Who am I to prescribe a norm?

All of this came up because I finished a story yesterday. It’s about a couple who gives fisting a try for the first time. I wrote it to be romantic and sweet, with fisting as a gateway to the next level of their relationship. For the record, (not that it matters), the couple is straight, and the guy’s hands are big. But this doesn’t stop her from wanting them.

Why did I write a story about a heterosexual couple engaging in what many consider to be a deviant sexual act? And why did I do so in manner that qualifies as schooby-sweet romantic? Because kink is coming into the mainstream and I wanted to address how wholesome deviance can be. I’ve read a lot of articles and message boards full of questions like, “if I want to peg my boyfriend, does that mean I secretly want to be a man?” “Does pegging make me gay?” “Can anyone fist, or is that just a lesbian thing?”

These questions are asked in earnest and, while some of them make me sad, (particularly when asked in conjunction with concern over being defined as gay), they’re important because they aren’t really addressing the act in question. Rather, they’re addressing an underlying concern. If I do this, am I still me, or do I have to reevaluate my sexuality and my self image to accommodate this desire? Or, translated into normal person speak  – am I a freak for wanting this?

The answer is no. You are not a freak, any more than I’m a freak for being bisexual, kinky and non-monogamous. Those things have all been considered deviant in the past, and they are still considered deviant by a great many people today, (though thankfully less so than before). Which brings me full circle to my original question. What do we mean by “deviant”?

The bottom line is that we all mean different things. For a super conservative person, oral might be at the top of the list of deviant-things-that-send-you-to-hell, while for others, it takes a bit more. I think the important thing is to keep subjectivity in mind. There’s no reason that pegging can’t be good, clean fun or that even the edgiest edge-play can’t nurture a deep and meaningful connection. And even if it doesn’t, who’s to say it’s wrong? Because really, that’s what “deviant act” implies – an act that is somehow immoral or wrong. As long as everyone consents is it really for any one group to judge what deviates from the norm?

My answer to that question, unsurprisingly, is no. Today, there are too many different normals for traditional notions of deviance to work. While it is true that we live in culture largely defined by Judeo-Christian hegemony, even those are adapting and expanding within their accepted tenets. Very slowly, but surely, “normal” is changing and becoming less defined.

The bottom line is that whether or not something is deviant depends entirely on where you’re sitting and how “normal” is defined by you and your community. This means that, to a certain degree, we’re all deviants in some way. We all experience sexuality differently–both publicly and in the quietest corners of our souls. As a result, when you drill down through cultural mores a bit, there is very little normal in the norm. Adjusting for consent and responsible action, we all deserve compassion and respect…. Unless you get off on kicking puppies. Then you’re on your own.

On Hang Ups

Image courtesy www.hotdog.hu

Image courtesy www.hotdog.hu

Shortly after I moved back to the San Francisco after a short stint in LA, I went to a party. There was nothing special about the party itself – in fact, I only remember one thing about it. At some point during the evening, a woman arrived. She came in quietly, but for the space of a breath, the energy shifted as, deep beneath the surface, everyone noticed her. Even after the moment passed, the latent awareness remained.

I admired that woman for the rest of the night – not because she was dishy, (which she was), but because she owned the room by sheer dint of owning herself. Deep into her thirties, she had nothing of the girl about her. Whereas my friends and I were pretty little kittens, the woman was a cat – strong and still and feline in her self-possession.  More than anything I wanted to be that… I was 26 at at the time.

Fast forward ten years. At this point, I am extremely comfortable with myself, sexually speaking. This hasn’t always been the case. At thirty-six, I’m sitting pretty on the sexual curve – old enough to know what interests me, and young enough to… I was going to say, “have fun with it” but I don’t actually agree with that statement. I don’t see myself as ever getting too old to “have fun with it” – at least not until I break a hip or don’t know which end is up.

So then, let’s say that it’s less of a sexual curve and more of a straight, (ha), progression. I’m old enough to enjoy my sexuality without reservation or apology. Like the woman at the party, I’ve left my hang-ups behind… and darlin’, I had hang-ups, and I had them for a good long time.

While my sexual appetite has always been what one ex called “voracious,” – “your best quality, baby…”, (for the record, he was a peach) – there was a minefield of insecurity and bad experience surrounding me. That minefield made it hard for me to enjoy sex, or my partners, or myself honestly. This was very much the case all the way through my twenties.

Since I’m in a sharing kind of mood, allow me to qualify the contents of my minefield. I was self-conscious about being naked in front of anyone, even though I’m 5’10 and roughly 138 pounds. I was nervous about being on top for the same reason – small breasts and visible ribs couldn’t be pretty to look at. I was good with my hands, (still am, thanks), but nervous about giving and receiving oral – giving because I was afraid of doing something wrong, and receiving because I was afraid of not enjoying myself enough to satisfy my partner. This terrified me, and constituted my own version of performance anxiety….

And that right there is the key. Performance anxiety. For my younger self, sex was performance. I had to be perfect. I had to be beautiful. I had to be fucking excellent in bed, or I was worthless. While I was genuinely hungry for experience, part of me always stood back, tense and expectant, sure I was going to do something wrong and disappoint whoever I was with. That tension made the minefield, and that’s where the hang-ups came from.

Then, somewhere around 33, something changed. The worry burned me out, and I started to relax. It was a virtuous cycle – the more I relaxed, the more I enjoyed, the more I relaxed, etc., etc. Interestingly, it was right around that time that I began writing erotica more seriously too. In the end, my hang ups fell gradually away. Freed from my self-imposed traps, I came slowly into my own. I grew up. I stopped being a kitten, and became a cat – an experience not uncommon to women later in life.

I doubt my presence commands the attention that woman’s did ten years ago. To be honest, it doesn’t matter. I don’t need to own a room. I need to own myself and, now that I have some life under my belt, I do. I wield my sexuality when and how I choose, rather than allowing insecurity to wield me. It’s a wonderful feeling and it makes me wish I could take my younger self out for a drink to give a bit of advice… not that I would listen. Knowing me, I’d insist on nipping through the minefield to figure it out, one hang-up at at time.

On Guilt & Pleasure

SmokeI’ve had some interesting conversations recently, many with people who weren’t previously aware that I write erotica. The response was overwhelmingly positive. People tend to be curious and kind of tickled. Plus, there are almost always questions.

Where do you get your inspiration? 

Literally, everywhere. 

Do you do that at home?

Don’t know – depends on what “that” is.

How hard is it to write?

As hard as anything else. Writing, regardless of what you write, takes a lot of work.

I like reading erotica because it’s about things I could never do. Do you write erotica so you can experience those things without feeling guilty for actually doing them?

Um…. Huh.

I’ve only gotten that last question once, but it tripped me up. It was not asked in malice. In fact, the woman was very respectful. Her background dictated that sex, for reasons other than procreation, is a sin, and sins earn you guilt. That’s a fairly common belief so, rather than take offense, her question made me think.

I’m prone to many emotions, but guilt is not one of them. Love? Yes. Regret? Absolutely. I have a boxful of regrets that I am, nevertheless, grateful to have. Guilt, (at least in the traditional sense), plays little to no part in my emotional landscape.

For me, guilt hangs on an externally imposed moral framework – one that, in many ways, I don’t subscribe to. This is not to say that I’m amoral. Far from it. My moral compass is a weighty little thing – it’s just calibrated to my own standards rather than a governing body’s. I don’t believe pleasure is inherently wrong anymore than I believe it’s shameful to occasionally  listen to Copacabana by Barry Manilow, (judge away, people. Judge away).

Many of my pleasures are quite mundane – reading, catnaps and drinking tea. Others are not. I love sex, and I love writing about it. That said, I also respect my responsibilities – to my characters, and my readers and the people with whom I have relationships in real life. That’s where my moral compass points – to responsibility, rather than guilt.

So, no, I don’t worry about guilt in the traditional sense, nor do I write erotica as a means of avoiding guilt while indulging my sexual interests. That said, if other people feel that erotica is an acceptable means of experimentation, I am thrilled. I am thrilled, because everyone’s moral compass is wired a little differently, and pleasure to some, is guilt to others. Though the woman’s question broke my heart a little, I am happy to be one of the people writing windows into forbidden rooms.