Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Friday, June 24, 2016

What Do You Need?

By Kathleen Bradean

As I was trying to figure out what to write about this month, my thoughts naturally turned to the question of what readers of this blog want to know. What advice or insights do they hope to glean from our entries? The answer depends on individual writers and where they are in their craft, or what they're stuck on right now. So what I'd like to know (and probably some of the other contributors here would also like to find out) is what topics would you like to see us delve in to? What do you need help with? From grammar to tales of how we got started, what is it that you'd most like us to talk about?

We're listening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Life Without Sex?

By Lisabet Sarai



Back in the days when I was a sex goddess, a fair fraction of my life was devoted to the erotic. If I wasn’t involved in some sort of delightful sexual activity, I was replaying the last such experience, or anticipating the next one. It would be an exaggeration to say that sex was the most important thing in my life, but certainly the notion of life without sex was horrifyingunthinkable.

I remember a conversation with my mother around that time. She would have been in her fifties, past menopause I believe, but considerably younger than I am now. After a rough struggle with addiction, she had embraced religion. “I’m so glad,” she told me, “that I don’t have to worry about sex anymore.”

I was appalled. She had always been an extremely sexual person. Her nude drawings exuded sensuality. I’d acquired my taste for slinky clothes and flashy jewelry from her. That she would willingly give up sexit was inconceivable to me.

Now I understand that she always felt guilty about her sexuality. For her, a decision to forgo sex relieved the discomfort of those feelings (though I wonder whether she really succeeded in sublimating her libido as completely as she would have liked). At the time, however, I really could not imagine a life without sex.

Now, well into my sixth decade, I have a confession to make. I haven’t had sex in months. Even more astonishing, I’m neither totally miserable nor crazy with unsatisfied lust.

The sad truth is that my sex drive has declined as I’ve gotten older. This shouldn’t be surprising, but it surprised me. I guess I underestimated the importance of hormones. There’s also the fact that it’s more difficult to feel desirable as your body ages. I’m moderately well preserved, but still, I’m acutely aware of all the previously perky places that now sag, all the flexible parts that now feel rusty, all the hair that has migrated from attractive to unattractive locations.

Meanwhile, my husband is more than a decade older than I am. His libido has dwindled as well, much to his consternation. Fortunately we’re both intelligent enough (not to mention busy enough) not to dwell on the question to the point of misery, or to blame one another.

It’s not that I have lost interest in sex. I still become aroused when I’m writing, or reading, a steamy scene. And I still have intensely erotic dreams, in which I desire and am desired by both men and women. In fact, as I’ve become older, my dreams have become more explicit and more taboo.

It’s just that, more and more, my sex life takes place in my mind as opposed to in my body. This means I don’t have to deal with annoying physical issues like arthritic joints or a lack of vaginal lubrication. I can imagine myself back in my sex goddess years, or later, during the period when my husband and I were experimenting with swinging and polyamory. I can revel in dreams in which I’m a willing slave, offered by my master to a room of strangers, or a mature but not decrepit woman seducing a delicious young thing who’s drawn to my aura of experience.

Occasionally in my dreams I remember my age. Mostly, I’m still in my twenties, nubile and eager. 
 
As my physical sex life ebbs, my writing takes on a new importance. Writing erotica and erotic romance keeps the flame alive. I can summon the dangerous thrill of an anonymous encounter or the deeply fulfilling connection with a love-time lover. I can revisit my many adventures, reshaping them for my readers, or create new ones.

It’s all happening in my mind, but my body reacts, too. I’m not usually aware of my arousal while I am writing, but later I often find myself drenched. And fundamentally, that’s the mystery that keeps me coming back to erotic fictionthe near magical way that a story, a mere figment of my imagination, can trigger physical reactions.

So ultimately, I don’t have live without sex after all. And hopefully, I never will.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sexy Snippets for June



Happy Summer! It's time to turn up the heat with another round of Sexy Snippets!

The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However, we've decided we should give our author/members an occasional opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.

On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day's post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link.

Please post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate your readers and seduce them into buying your books!

Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!

Of course I expect you to follow the rules. One snippet per author, please. If your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one link, I'll remove your comment and prohibit you from participating in further Sexy Snippet days. I'll say no more!

After you've posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a whole to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers hang out.

Enjoy!

~ Lisabet

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Long History Behind The Stanford Rape Case: Why Society Still Says Women Who’ve Been Raped Deserve It

By Donna George Storey

Stories make us writers. And within our stories, we know that each of our characters has her or his own story to tell. I’ve always had a particular fascination with “he said, she said” stories, perhaps because of the delightfully humorous “Watching” by J.P. Kansas in The Mammoth Book of International Erotica, one of the first literary erotica anthologies I ever read. There is something especially satisfying about experiencing the same situation through different eyes.

Unfortunately, we’ve all had to make sense of a profoundly troubling “he said, she said, and then he said only six months” story in the recent news when Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky sentenced Stanford swimmer Brock Turner to a surprisingly light sentence in the county jail (three months with good behavior) for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster in January 2015. The victim’s eloquent statement has resonated with millions of people. In a neighborhood parents’ discussion group, a woman wrote in and said that after reading that statement, her stepdaughter revealed that she’d been on a date with a man who forced her to perform a sex act against her will a few months before. Reading the victim’s statement made her feel she was less alone in an experience that had filled her with a sense of violation and shame. The woman wanted to know how she could convince her stepdaughter to press charges. I haven’t seen the community’s replies yet, but I don’t have much faith that victim would get justice from our legal system in a “date rape” situation that did not involve injuries or underage sex.

It is always difficult to get a conviction in a rape case, in particular an “intent to rape,” as happened with Brock Turner. His victim had convincing evidence on her side, although she was still subject to the same humiliating cross-examination about her character and dress that all rape victims must face in the legal process (you know, just to be sure before she passed out she didn’t actually consent to an act which resulted in lacerations and pine needles in her vagina, but then whimsically changed her mind later). She suffered documented physical injury and the assault happened while she lay unconscious behind a dumpster--a dirty, uncomfortable, public place. Most importantly, two male graduate students saw Brock Turner humping the victim’s inert body and realized something was wrong because the woman on the ground was not moving at all. Because the victim was unconscious, there was very little “she said” to the story, but the male graduate students provided a powerful additional “he said” to her side.

As my loyal readers are aware, I am currently doing research for a historical novel set in the early twentieth century. To a researcher, all things come to seem relevant to her work, and indeed I realized that attitudes towards sex and women’s behavior in 1910 provide a clue as to why Aaron Persky could be so sympathetic to Brock Turner. If we hope to make a real change in the way rape is viewed and dealt with today, we need to examine how the prejudices and assumptions of one hundred years ago are still with us.

The main attitude toward rape was, and apparently still is, that a woman who claims rape deserves what she got, because she put herself in the position where sexual activity could happen. There may be a few exceptions—if a stranger breaks into her house, for example, or a soldier from a hostile army treats her as war booty. However, a "respectable" woman always made sure to stay in a safe place under the supervision of her family, especially male protectors, to avoid sexual violation. Whether or not she was an actual prostitute, a woman who acted like one was giving up the security of that male protector of us all--the Law.  Or in other words, if a woman was not respectable, a man could feel free not to respect her refusal or fear legal punishment when it came to having sexual relations with her.

In 1910, one slip on one occasion was enough for a woman’s swift demotion from the respectable to the available.

A woman was not respectable if she was under the influence of alcohol. Respectable women didn’t drink. Drinking alcohol in public was a sign of sexual availability.

A woman was not respectable if she wore make-up or dressed in a way that got attention. Prostitutes “painted” their faces and wore bright clothes as an advertisement of their business. Wearing make-up and dressing in a flashy way was a sign of sexual availability.

A woman was not respectable if she went out alone especially at night, if she agreed to go to a man’s room or retire to a place with him out of the sight of others. By placing herself in the company of men who were not her protectors, she was saying yes to anything they may care to do to her.

A woman was not respectable if she was African-American. All African-Americans were considered to be inherently immoral and African-American women were assumed to welcome sexual attention from anyone at any time. Not only during the period of slavery but well after, no white man was ever indicted for the rape of a black woman.

A woman was not respectable if she had sexual experience outside of marriage. And until recently, any sexual act initiated by her husband, no matter how violent or unwanted, was not legally defined as rape. As John Burnham writes in Bad Habits: Drinking, Smoking, Taking Drugs, Gambling, Sexual Misbehavior, and Swearing in American History:

“... Women were supposed to be pure or at least virgins until they married and men, who were still constrained to uphold conventional standards verbally in public, were presumed in actual behavior to be beasts who could not resist sexual temptation, who sowed wild oats when young and whose passions would impel them to commit adultery with any available woman on an occasion—with tacit community approval. As a YWCA spokesperson noted in 1899, ‘society excuses the sin in men; in the women never.’” (p. 179)

This is but a partial list of “she deserved it” behavior. If followed to the letter, any woman concerned for her safety must wear a gray sack and no make-up, never drink alcohol, never have sexual experience or desires outside of marriage, never go out in public without proper protection and never be alone behind closed doors with a man. These restrictions on an adult’s autonomy seem ridiculous today, but these same assumptions lie behind the questions Brock Turner’s lawyer asked the victim. Does the color of the cardigan she wore make a difference in determining whether or not she was raped? Indeed, such questions are designed to determine if a woman invited or otherwise "deserved" the rape according to the old-fashioned double standard of sexual morality. Were the clothes Brock Turner wore that night scrutinized as a key to deciding his guilt?

Because men controlled the law and moral discourse, and still control it to a degree that Aaron Persky well reveals, “he said, she said” always favors the “he.” A friend and I were discussing how traditionally a sexual encounter would only be termed “rape” if a male third party provided evidence or confirmation that the encounter did not appear consensual and/or the woman was verified to be too pure or high-status to say yes to sex with the accused. Screaming, resistance, and/or violence were necessary. A man doing sexual things to an unconscious woman would qualify as a violation for most observers as well, and it certainly helped her reputation if the woman was murdered during the encounter. If the woman was awake and suffered unwanted sexual advances quietly, consent was assumed. I wondered how things would be different if the opposite were true—what if every man required a woman eyewitness to confirm the encounter was consensual or it would be assumed he was a rapist? How would that change the nature of sexual encounters? And yet today most victims of rape face a similarly impossible bar of proof.

Aaron Persky’s sentence has ignited a passionate discussion on the internet—about drinking and sexual assault on campus, about the role of the legal system in victimizing the victim, about what can be done to change the status quo. Change will not be easy, but one positive step is talking more openly about sexual experiences, both good and bad, and challenging outdated assumptions that blind our judgment. Telling our stories honestly, as Brock Turner’s victim did, is the best place to start.

Donna George Storey is the author of Amorous Woman and a collection of short stories, Mammoth Presents the Best of Donna George Storey. Learn more about her work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

When You Poke the Sex, What Comes Out?

One of my favorite erotica stories is by Patrick Califia. (No surprise there.) “No Mercy” (which can be found in his collection of the same title) centers Terry, who is in an abusive D/s relationship with Heather, and on the cusp of finding her way out of it. The story begins as they approach a piercing shop to finally get the genital piercing that Terry has wanted for a long time. Her body could not accept the piercing from Heather, she kept safewording as the moment was approaching, so they decide to go to a professional piercer. The first 8 or so pages are filled with the lead-in to the piercing. Heather thinks of the piercing as a last ditch effort to save the relationship, and Terry thinks of it as another step away from the relationship. The tension in the story builds until the piercing is done, and once it is complete, Terry bursts out with a flow of words. The piercer, a leatherdyke herself who becomes a key character in the rest of the story, explains, “Once you poke a hole in somebody, something frequently comes out.” The piercing, which is hot in and of itself and also incredibly satisfying, is also holding so many other things for all the characters involved. It is this transformational moment, this intensely loaded thing.

Sex and kink can hold so much in them, and Califia is one of those writers that deeply embraces this reality, and uses the sex and kink in his stories to nudge the reader to grapple with the things he cares about. He’s pretty upfront about it too. In his essay, “A Insistent and Indelicate Muse”, printed in M. Christian’s brilliant collection The Burning Pen: Sex Writers on Sex Writing, Califia says:
“I like to use the cover of eroticism to entice the reader and make them emotionally and psychologically vulnerable to new ideas or discomfiting information. I hold out the reward of dirty talking in exchange for the reader stretching their political muscles.”
Califia is upfront about wanting the reader to stretch, to see the things that sex is holding inside itself, to grapple with those things in reading his stories.

When I started writing erotica, it was about reaching for my desire, trying to envision it and make it real for myself. My early erotica is full of my fantasies about BDSM, but more than that, about my fantasies of being seen, witnessed, and met in the wholeness of who I am, particularly around gender. I wrote a story about being seen and desired as trans by cis gay men. I wrote about being witnessed and desired as a genderqueer femme by queer trans men. I wrote about being desired as a submissive boy by a trans man, and as a femme dyke by a butch dyke.

These stories, these fantasies, were as much about gender and queerness as they were about spanking, or pain play, or sucking cock in a bathroom or an alley. They were imagining a sexual universe where I was able to be in the fullness of myself, and be desired. Because I was worried about that, worried about whether I was desirable in my gender complexity. Worried about whether the kind of queer kink I wanted was possible.

I am not worried about those things as much now; I bring other needs to my writing. But they often are still rooted in that desire to be recognized, that desire to create moments of recognition for readers, that desire to open up space that allows us to be in the wholeness of ourselves during kink and sex.

Erotica has been a place where I play with the ways we can feel seen and met in our desires, honored for all of who we are, witnessed and held in our vulnerability, as we show ourselves to our partners. That’s been a common thread in my erotica over the last 15 years of writing, because I find it to be one of the most gloriously hot aspects of sex and kink. I titled my recent queer kink erotica collection Show Yourself To Me to evoke that aspect of my work, to draw attention to the ways it is rooted in that place of yearning and meeting, of holding and celebrating, of showing who you are and being shown in return.

In a recent round table discussion on sex writing, Larissa Pham, who writes one of my favorite sex columns, Cum Shots, said:
“With Cum Shots, people would text me (saying), ‘Oh my God, you broke my heart again.’ This isn’t happy writing a lot of the time. Sex is just a way to talk about other things. You poke sex and a bunch of stuff comes out: power comes out, abuse comes out, emotions come out, trauma comes out, race relations come out.”
For me, writing stories about sex and kink has been a way to write about other things that I care about. You poke the sex and kink in my stories and a bunch of other stuff comes out, including the very things that Pham names in the quote above. Sex and kink is the arena where all that stuff takes place, shows its face, gets grappled with and held. I use my stories to illuminate ways I have found to create safe enough containers within sex and kink that can hold the things that come out when you poke.

When you poke the sex you are writing, what comes out? How do you grapple with that as a writer? How do you create stories that can hold it? How do you decide what stuff your story can hold, and where you need to limit that? What do you use sex to talk about?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Call for Submission: A Special Charity GLBT Anthology



Hope for Pulse – Hate Will Never Win

From the ashes of tragedy, hope will survive. When faced with hate, love
will survive. The constant balance of positive and negative is something
that lives in all of us. Help us focus on the positive and not the
negative; put aside politics and focus on the people; give strength and
hope to those that remain.

Submissions should:

- All stories should all have hope and love as the focus of the story;
stories should be GLBT pairings

- Be a minimum of 5k, maximum of 10k – stories will be combined into a one
volume anthology

- Any subgenre is welcome and all prohibitive guidelines are observed

- Submissions should be sent to special_submissions@mlrpress.com

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: June 25, 2016, anthology will release July 22, 2016
and all proceeds will be donated to Equality Florida’s fund for the victims
and families of the Pulse Shooting

Any questions can be sent to Kris Jacen at KrisJacen@mlrpress.com

***Permission to forward***