Home > The Politics of Porn, Writing > But What Do I Call It?

But What Do I Call It?

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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  1. January 18, 2010 at 8:45 PM

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