30 November 2012
What have you learned about yourself or the world around you from writing erotica?
Not to look down on the kinks and predilections of others. And that just because something is written as a sexual fantasy does NOT mean the writer desires it to come true. Fiction is fiction.
Felix Baron, author of petite novel Look at Me!
I used to think I was oversexed and kinky. Now I realise that all the best people are much the same.
Chrissie Bentley, contributor to The Visitor, Confessions, Submission, My Secret Life, Sex & The Stranger, At Your Mercy, Shameful Thrills, Exposure, Improper Conduct and Girls Girls Girls and Underworlds and Holiday Affairs
There’s a short novel in that question, but I think the most intriguing lesson has been how liberating it is, not in a sexual manner (although some people might say that too), but in terms of treating different situations as though they are an erotic scene, and just going full bore for what you want to get out of them.
I’ve also noticed that people who know I write are more likely to confide in me—and lose some of their general conversational filters, as well, which is something I explored in my. contribution to Confessions....
I've learned that almost anything can be erotic if looked at through the right lens, and that people overall have more in common sexually than not. I've tried to apply that when writing about sexual practices and fetishes I don't share, and trying to find the common core of human emotion and desire that's the through line. When I started writing erotica, my stories were largely drawn from my own life, but when I began to open up the possibilities to other kinds of characters, it brought new creative opportunities and a new level of empathy for my characters as well as for strangers who approach me with their sexual stories.
I find writing in general, and erotica in particular, to be very introspective so you can learn a lot about your desires, what makes you tick. I always thought of myself as identifying more with submissive roles in books and stories. Then one day I started writing the character of Mistress in my upcoming novella For Her Pleasure. And whoa, I tapped into some Domme side of me I didn’t previously know existed! I’ve written things for Mistress and thought, wow, where did that come from??
To write erotica effectively you have to open yourself up and let go of your inhibitions. Each time I put a story out there it feels like taking a huge leap of faith. I often just have to take a huge breath, close my eyes and click send! Writing intimate things and asking the reader to go with you and be okay with what you are having them experience can be enormously scary. So, for me anyway, this has made me more open minded about other people’s intimate desires. Just like anyone, there are certain things that just don’t do it for me. But I absolutely embrace the idea of everyone writing and/or reading what appeals to him or her. It can be very fulfilling and even cathartic to share ideas and have other people connect to them.
I suppose writing down your fantasies for others to read inevitably helps you zero in on just what turns you on. I find myself returning to certain scenarios and writing variations on favourite themes. For instance, petplay is very erotic for me but I'd never read any petplay stories before I began writing my own. My first was "Best in Show" from the Submission anthology. The next was "Sugar Lumps" from the forthcoming Come Play with Me anthology. I know there are whole pet and ponyplay societies out there but for me the fantasy is very personal and private. It involves complete trust and casting off of inhibitions and yet it has such a playful element to it. Once I started really exploring aspects of it in writing I saw what a perfect venue it is for really deep submission.
Another peculiar fascination of mine is koonago ("tiny woman"). I suspect this one buried itself in my sexual subconscious at a very early age but it wasn't until I wrote a few of my fantasies down that I realised just how deeply ingrained it was. I kinked up the homunculus scene from Bride of Frankenstein and turned the tiny ballerina in a jar into a tiny nymphomaniac in my petite novel Lust Ever After. It's another heady fantasy for me of ultimate vulnerability and one I wasn't really in touch with until I started writing about it. Now I can't help wondering what other fantasies are lurking beneath the surface, just waiting to be unleashed when I write about them!
When I was younger I thought erotica was pure fantasy. I didn't think people actually did the sort of things I read about. When I discovered that they do, a whole new world opened up for me. At first I was unsure if I was abandoning my feminist ideals but that's no longer a concern. It takes a strong woman to seek what she wants, sexually, when what she wants is generally considered bizarre.
I've learnt that it's okay not to be okay. But just don't tell everyone on Twitter about it.