tagReviews & EssaysOn Why I Write Erotica

On Why I Write Erotica

byScheherazade73©

I don't know when I started writing. I was very young when I started stringing the stories in my head together, forming linear tales. I was perhaps just able to write a few basic words when I began feverishly scribbling on construction paper, on my father's steno pads, the words jumbling out of my brain, stories I knew, or just as often stories I didn't know that just burst forth from me.

My parents paid little to my writing or alternately embarrassed me by overdoing it. They had little interest in what I actually wrote, but the fact that I did write was sometimes a suitable party trick to trot out for guests or relatives, my shy parents grasping for something impressive, forcing me to my room to collect some school essay or poem, legitimately proud of me but also unsure what to do with me. I started journaling at twelve, hiding my little gems in pretty books that I worked hard to hide from my mother, lest she discover my secret sorrows ("Brett made out with Nicki at the party! And now the whole 7th grade knows about it!") or darkest dreams. The journaling allowed me a stab at honesty, whatever that is at such a young age. I still have them all and love reading the inner workings of my crazy little mind and its evolution to present day.

And I kept writing, making two critical mistakes. The first was sharing the fact that I wrote with my jealous, controlling high school boyfriend, who got hold of one particularly rich journal, destroying most of it and stealing the rest (as I later learned, to copy in letters to other girls). The second was later obliterating things I wrote when what I wrote was too painful to go back to. A rough two years in high school, chronicled and then shredded. A passionate affair, too illicit to keep on the books, burned in the kitchen sink. A denial of myself, this destruction of words. A self-censorship, the worst kind.

In 2006, after years of surviving amongst the walking dead, barely even journaling anymore (the girl who once wrote in her diary four times a day now going months or even years between setting pen to paper), I met a friend who would have a profound influence on me. This friend was experiencing a similar transition to my own, an awakening of sorts. He, too, had taken stock of his life and didn't like what he saw. Together we bounced ideas off each other, pondered the mysteries of life and love, read and re-read the same poems, searching for meaning, engaging in the comforting honesty of the written word once again. It wasn't sexual, but it was powerfully intimate. We inspired and challenged each other. We let go and found ourselves through the written word.

But it still took years for me to make the leap from girlish journaling and penning angst-ridden poetry to writing erotica -- although it wasn't really a leap. My desire to read good erotica, a lifelong passion of mine, was finally satisfied with Literotica, where I could usually find whatever I fancied -- no matter how vanilla or perverse I was feeling that day. And after several months of reading with no thought whatsoever to publishing anything of mine, things began to click together. My notebooks full of scribblings, scenarios half-imagined because there was no venue for finishing them. My voluminous sex drive, stifled because neither my partners nor my need for physical safety allowed me to play to the extent of my desires. The way I looked at the world, always, watching the thing happen and playing the movie of the thing happening in the simultaneous cinema of my brain, its before, during, and after on display in my unquiet mind, an insomniac torture. The incessant blooming and shriveling of ideas.

My commitment to writing erotica has been its own giant step. For most of my life, I have been a sporadic and fairly repressed writer. I have journaled or written poetry when I had something to say to myself, I have written a letter when I had something to say to someone else, but I have not emptied my brain. I have not felt the joy of taking all the little scribbles on Post-its and notes on my iPhone and lines or phrases that just came to me and running with them. I have not given myself the permission to flesh out characters or unpack scenarios or go down rabbit holes. I have neither exercised my talent nor improved upon my deficiencies. I have lived unfaithfully to myself, cloistering myself like Bertha Mason in Mr. Rochester's attic, a dirty secret, a woman not to be trusted.

And then I stepped out of my head. I took the words with me and we went for a walk together. We breathed fresh air and kicked our shoes off. We rolled in the grass. We soaked up the sun. And we looked back toward the big, cold house and shrugged and just kept walking.

So, erotica. The playground of the erotic mind. Not because it is forbidden, although that adds a layer. Not just because it is anonymous, although that adds another layer. But because it is forbidden and anonymous enough to mean that the people who play there -- many of them, anyway -- have found an honesty within themselves that they are determined to respect and that they demand respect for simply by participating.

It was a revelation for me to find people brave enough to say: This, too, is who I am. This part of me, this filthy, tucked-away part (or in many cases, completely open part) makes me, me. I'm not just what I do for a living or how many children I have or who I'm related to or spend my time with. It's not what don't eat for dinner or who I pray to or what I am to my next door neighbor that defines me. It partially defines me. And this does, too. I am this craving of pleasure. I am this twisted dream. I am this bare breast, this hard cock, this eager mouth, this horny brain. And me accepting it means you can also accept it, and reveling in it means we can all revel in it, as we should, celebrating these beautiful parts of our beautiful selves.

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