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A Different Kind of Erotica?

I'm being hoity-toity (which is kinda French for "blowing your own horn") when I say that I attempt to create a different kind of erotica. Obviously, there's no way that I'm REMOTELY unique in my approach to the subject matter and I don't pretend to be. But I do make the attempt to step outside the so-called "norms" and carve my own niche in the genre.


I'm not going to bad-mouth any particular breed or brand of erotica and/or pornography (see the opening quote of "Strictly Professional Relationships" to see how I personally define the difference. Hint: It's the lighting.) There are plenty of places on the internet devoted to exactly that, and the Literary Review even has a "bad sex in literature" category. Anyway, we're all individuals and one person's nightmare is another person's whacking material. However, speaking as a rather avid consumer of the written word, I've read my share of what I consider bad porn. And your share, and his share, and most of her share. In fact, one of my few paying gigs was watching and reviewing extremely bad porno movies for a (sadly now-defunct) website about terrible things.


I learned a few things as I delved into my first novel. I'm speaking in broad generalities, but I discovered that a lot of men won't read erotica unless it's short and pure porn. On the other side of the card, many women won't read erotica written by a male. In fact, I found a HUGE list of successful erotica authors who are actually men writing under female pseudonyms. I considered trying this approach myself, but finally decided it would be dishonest and went with a gender-neutral pen name instead.


When I first conceived of "Strictly Professional Relationships" it was going to be a short story posted on a fetish website I was a member of. Just something to occupy my time. My original concept was something quite gritty. The protagonist, Jake, was going to be an unhappy male prostitute and reluctant bisexual who gets drug down into the dark underbelly of kink and porn. I sat down and wrote a couple of pages, decided I hated them, and tossed them.


Give it a few days to rest and I tried again. Let's give him a woman to save. There's also a saying I heard somewhere that goes "if you want your character to be a good guy, give him a dog". So enter the characters of Mickey and Bonzo. I sat down and wrote a couple of pages. Pig shit. I tossed them.


Obviously, something wasn't working here. So I sat on my story idea for a while longer and then went back with a make-or-break effort. I decided to take it in the absolute opposite direction. I was going to write a romance. Jake became a happy pansexual who was just down on his luck, all the dark and dirty porn scenes I had planned turned into fluffy fantasies that leave everybody smiling at the end, played up the romance angle, and in general went as sex-positive as I could go. Poof, my muse woke up and my short story suddenly turned into my debut novel. There are still a couple of bits in the story that are leftovers from my original "gritty" idea, and if I were to rewrite it, I would probably remove them completely. But I did try to soften them at least.


In a way, "Strictly Professional Relationships" became a bit of a commentary on how I feel about modern porn (hint: I loathe it). The directors of the film-within-a-novel are determined to break the 'rules' of pornography and I ran with this idea right up to the very end. At the same time, I tried to steer clear of a lot of the elements of written erotica that I either don't personally care for or feel are overdone. The end result (I desperately hope) is something that could be fairly called "different".


So in closing, I can't say for certain that I write "a different kind of erotica" but I can say for certain that I give it the old college try.


~RS

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