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Man Up, Sacky.

April 28, 2010 2 comments

I love Dan Savage. I could go on about how he’s the only advice columnist anyone can trust, and I could babble on about how much I love his books, or I could just give you the latest reason for my affection:

You are a huge pussy, CTOAC—excuse me, sorry. Pussies are powerful; they can take pummeling and spit out a brand-new human being. What you are, CTOAC, is weak, vulnerable, and far too sensitive for your own good.

What you are is a ball sack.

I don’t think people realize the cumulative effects of having your body parts used as an insult. It’s like water on sandstone – eventually, there’s going to be a big empty space any passing animal can pee into. If you want to suggest someone is wimpy, worthless, or somehow lesser, call them something that boils down to “a girl.” A “dick” is someone who is a jerk, who takes what he wants regardless of how other people feel, who makes himself happy. Someone with power, and even when you’re insulting him with this pathetic and flaccid excuse for a pejorative, you’re still acknowledging his power. (Tellingly, “flaccid” is a much stronger insult in the context of our language and society.) But a “pussy” isn’t worth any respect at all. And when we use the words of the dominant culture to express our own frustrations, we’re declaring our support for that dominant culture without regard to the costs to ourselves.

Words matter. Don’t use them casually.

iCensor

Apple has been a bunch of busy bees, lately, pruning out apps that might be the least bit salacious, even going so far as to reject an app for having “sperm” in the public facing text. This reminds me of the breast cancer patient unable to research her recommended treatment at her small town public library, but Apple is not a library. They are a private company and free to do what they like.

What they like isn’t consistent, however, and that annoys the dickens out of me. Given the lyric content of stuff I’ve bought from iTunes, the sudden prudery is mindboggling. If I go down my playlist and look for the red “explicit” tag, I see… a lot of little red boxes.

A friend of mine zapped me an instant message that said, paraphrased, “What gets me is this was a reaction to the way people got upset that Junior could see a chick in a bikini on their iPhone. So, for giggles one day I searched for Penthouse in the audio books, and listened to a 30 second preview of a moaning how much, and how hard she wanted this guy to bend her over the pool table and do her.”

We are not going to get anywhere as a culture by constantly bowing to prudes, hypocrites, and Mrs. Grundy. I know it’s ironic that I say that, given that I’m hiding under a pen name, but I can’t afford to lose any of my day jobs – and that’s exactly what will happen if Mrs. Grundy finds out that I write a lot about hard cocks and the women who love them. I can’t afford to stand up and fight this battle on my own. My kid can’t afford it. But Apple could afford it. Apple could say, listen, get your panties out of your crack, Mrs. Grundy (unless you like ‘em there, and who are we to judge). Look for the red “explicit” box, and if that kind of smutty talk upsets you, DON’T CLICK IT.

Apple wouldn’t lose a single freaking sale over it. They certainly haven’t suffered with iTunes. Why can’t they apply this simple solution across all their product lines?

Victorian Sex

I’ve always loved the Victorians, especially their children’s literature and their erotica. I’m working on a steampunk right now, so my eyeballs gravitate to any article that might help. If you’re not a big fan of the era, and you haven’t read enough of their erotica to know how wild they were under those all-encompassing costumes, check out this link for a brief look at why you’ve been given the wrong idea: http://www.doublex.com/blog/xxfactor/what-victorian-women-thought-about-sex

Things I Have Had To Explain

February 24, 2010 Leave a comment

* No, I am not the heroine of my stories.

* Mainly I have a very vivid imagination.

* Happily and monogamously married.

* Anything two or more consenting adults want to do together is okay by me.

* Tell me, do you think crime writers have to actually murder people in order to write good stories?

* Pen name.

* No, I’m not ashamed, but I really need to keep my day job, and I cannot fight that battle and provide for my kid.

* No, my kid doesn’t read my stories, but he is welcome to read the erotic fiction I have on the shelf when he’s old enough.

* “Old enough” depends entirely on the kid, and my particular kid isn’t even old enough to read yet, so I’ll sweat that decision sometime after we finish potty training and before he leaves for college, how about that?

* I don’t watch porn – porn actors so rarely look like they’re having fun, and my characters love having sex. If you wanted to get all deep, I write what I enjoy reading.

* No, writing erotica isn’t new with the advent of e-publishing. The Victorians wrote this stuff, too.

Categories: The Politics of Porn, Thinking Tags:

Things Not To Do

February 9, 2010 Leave a comment

If you are someone who thinks visually, and you are in the middle of writing a story about distinctive people doing highly erotic and yet in-character things, do not go to YouPorn for any reason. Even if it’s the first time you’ve ever been to YouPorn. ESPECIALLY if it’s the first time you’ve ever been to YouPorn.

As a side note, somewhat related: Ye gods and little fishes, but mankind is astounding in its infinite variety. Should I ever come to feel that I’m writing the same tired sex scene over and over, I know exactly where to go to see things I’ve never even considered in several decades of a) a very active imagination and b) collecting erotic stories.

As another related side note: The next time I whine about being concerned that someone might find my real name and jeopardize my day job, I’m going to try to remember that grandmotherly lady with the glass dildo. She doesn’t just have her name out there. She’s posting her face, among other things. Parts. Whatever. She wasn’t associated with a porn production company either. She doesn’t even seem to have a website. She just made a video and posted it. Grandma Dildo is the one doing all the work to normalize sexual expression, not me. Good for you, lady.

Self-Deprecation Doesn’t Belong In My Toolbox

January 25, 2010 2 comments

Today’s entry in the neverending sweepstakes of shame: Even when I’m talking to other erotica authors, I find myself apologizing.

I’m serious. I need help. To acquaintances, I don’t talk about my writing at all. To friends, I minimize it as porn. To close friends, I both minimize it as porn AND downplay the erotic elements. And to potential colleagues, I apologize for it being too vanilla and not edgy enough.

I write what I myself would enjoy reading, for crying out loud. My entire life has been spent learning that I am not a special snowflake. For every thing I enjoy, there are thousands of other people with the same exact preferences. Millions, even.

I like reading M/F, M/F/F, and F/F. I like reading mild kink and threesomes. But I do not like double penetration, Sam I Am, I do not like it in the can. I do not like the whips and chains, and I do not like the golden rain.

For crying out loud, my entire goal is to write mainstream erotica. I should be thrilled that my preferences are so much in the middle of the stream that I can’t even see the shorelines. Today’s exercise is going to be working on telling other writers what I write, and doing it without caveats or apologies.

Inspirations, Part One

January 21, 2010 1 comment

In high school and college, I was a theatre person. You can tell by the pretentious spelling of “theater.”

At any rate, many of my friends were somewhere on the GLBT spectrum, and before there was the internet to help the friends of Dorothy find each other, there were bookstores with rainbow flags out in front.

Browsing in one of these is eye-opening for little straight suburban girls. It’s a good way to see that the same work of art can be interpreted through multiple lenses. For example, as a twelve year old girl, I had discovered Mercedes Lackey, and collected the entire Valdemar series. As a college student, standing in a faaaaaabulous bookstore, I discovered that Mercedes Lackey was considered a gay-friendly author.

Now, in Valdemar she had a few gay supporting characters, one lead character (in that he had his own trilogy), and made it clear that homosexuality is not a choice or something to fear. Bear in mind that because I grew up reading her approach to the topic, I didn’t actually realize how monumentally unusual that was in mainstream fiction during the late 80s and early 90s. I thought her attitude was the norm and anyone saying otherwise was freakishly bigoted. When I said this out loud in that bookstore (remember, straight suburban college freshman), I was made aware of how poorly informed I was.

I haven’t gone as off topic as you might think. Mercedes Lackey is absolutely one of my inspirations. She writes clear, popular, page-turning genre fiction. She produces, among other virtues, proof that genre fiction can follow a formula without being formulaic.

But in that bookstore, I also discovered a writer called Lindsay Welsh.

I read two pages of a book called “The Best of Lindsay Welsh,” and I marched it right over the cashier because it set my hair on fire.

I identify as a straight woman. I am married to the most wonderful man who ever drew breath. And this lady’s erotica is still my go-t0 book when the night is cold and the husband is sleeping.

What was so revolutionary for me was that it clearly wasn’t porn. The writing was terrific, with great characters. I felt like I was right there in the story, feeling the things being done to the character’s body.

The other thing that melted my brain was the language. Up to that point, I’d seen two variations in word choice:

A) His rigid member nudged into her tender womanhood.

B) His gigantic penis sprayed cum on her face.

Welsh didn’t use any embarrassing euphemism, avoided spelling variations I associated with men’s magazines, and still made it explicit. And hot. So hot. Wow. Hair on fire. I practically have “Provincetown Summer” memorized at this point.

I didn’t start writing erotica then, but flipping pages in that bookstore was the moment where I realized stories could be erotic and well written.

But What Do I Call It?

January 18, 2010 1 comment

Continued from “What I Write”:

When people ask what sort of writing I’m doing, I don’t know what to say. With close friends, I joke that I’m writing porn. Well, I’m not joking, exactly. But I’ve always been the sort of person to minimize things that are important to me.

And no one knows better than a writer about the ways that word choice can diminish one’s choices. Calling it porn makes it come over… cheap. There’s a tawdriness to the word, a sticky, unwashed sound.

The society I live in has a two-sided approach to smut. We love it so much that we produce scads of it. Go ahead, google “free web cams” with SafeSearch off. You get dozens of girls willing to do pretty much anything. live, and for free. Look for free sex stories, and if you started now and ended on the Judgment Day that’s supposed to wash the internet clean, you wouldn’t be past the stories starting with “B.”

On the other hands, there’s such a taboo associated with producing the stuff and asking for money that standing up and saying “Yes, I write explicit sexual content, and I’m trying to do it professionally” is a political statement. And like all overt political statements that go against the mainstream, it’s one that could cost me my day job if I made it too loudly.

After all, selling sex is whoring, right? And whoring is… well, wait. Why is it bad? Seems like most of the ills associated with whoring have to do with it being illegal, not the actual act of providing a service for money.

At any rate, I’m not writing porn. I’m not writing smut. I’m definitely not a sex worker, even if I don’t think there’s anything intrinsically wrong with that.

I am writing erotic fiction, and I define that as stories where sexual content drives the story forward. I am proud of my work, and I hope to make money with those stories in order to broaden an already successful writing career.

And, um, I write just enough science fiction on the weekends to claim that genre at the office picnic.

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