tagReviews & EssaysFeathers on a String

Feathers on a String

byBuckyDuckman©

There's a storytelling production put on in Baltimore called "Stoop Stories" where they invite everyday Joes and Janes to sit on a stoop in front of an audience and tell a story from their life about a certain topic. The topics change from week-to-week. According the producers, the people telling stories aren't supposed to memorize their speech or use notes. Nope, instead, they're supposed to sit in front of a group of 750 people and just tell their little story.

I've never seen (or heard) a Stoop Story. I only heard an interview with one of the producers as they prepared for the current season. Apparently, one of the future topics will be the Sex show. She went out of her way to reassure people the topic would be handled tastefully. She also mentioned, "Everyone has a sex story" and "Sex is universal." I guess because of my dirty little hobby of writing sex stories for this site, those two sentences stuck with me.

She's right, of course, sex IS universal. Most of us wouldn't be here if a man and a woman didn't get together and fucked. Even if you're a test tube baby, at least the guy had an orgasm. In fact, we could alter her "Sex is universal" statement and say, "A guy having an orgasm is universal."

On the occasion of his sons fortieth birthday, singer/songwriter Loudon Wainwright III wrote a cute little song you can find on YouTube, I Knew Your Mother. That song includes a really fun line, "I knew her when Love was the means and you were the end." I guess that applies for most of us. We were born of a moment's passion, hopefully one that included a few "I love you's" along the way. Even if we don't know the story of our conception, we're all the product of a sex story.

A very Christian conservative, straight-laced friend of mine has a son conceived through the miracle of in-vitro fertilization. I find that fun for a couple reasons. First, she's such a goody-goody two shoes, it makes sense that she may have experienced a virgin birth. (I'm sure her and her husband have had sex plenty of times, but none of that was necessary for conception.) Secondly, for her to conceive, her dear hubby had to jerk-off into a cup. I'm sure, in her little world of Christian faith, masturbation is a sin, too. So, no worries, her kid was still created with at least a little sinning going on.

Setting aside the idea of cloning, it's not original suggesting that without sex, humans cease to exist. Most would agree sex is better when there is real passion involved and even better when there is love being shared with that lust.

Do my stories celebrate the sex act? Oh hell yes! Do I feel guilty about it? Hm, should I?

Not all my stories feature the kind of sex that can create a baby. My Catholic upbringing teaches that's the point of sex, creating more Catholics. The Church doesn't allow birth control, beyond the rhythm method. While I've never asked for verification of this, I'm reasonably sure the reason behind the rhythm method would be so a couple knows when they have the best chance at creating a new little Catholic. (I could ask, but fuck that.) Instead, many devout Catholics will use the rhythm method as a way to avoid pregnancy. Funny how we find those little loopholes, isn't it?

I'm lying if I say I never second guess my choices when I'm writing. Of course I do, especially when I write about incest. Am I encouraging it? Am I celebrating it? What about other sexual choices that some would consider deviant? (Like homosexuality.) Again, am I encouraging sinful behavior or providing an outlet for fantasy?

Hm.

I would posit that I'm telling a story. Yes, a sex story, but like that nice woman from Baltimore suggested, "Everyone has a sex story." I work hard to present stories that feel real (or at least plausible). I enjoy exploring the variety of ways people might express their sexuality without making the judgement call of "This is good" and "This is bad." Others seem to enjoy those explorations, too.

Some would say am I guilty of appealing to prurient interests. Those same people could describe my stories as salacious, licentious, lascivious, lustful, and lewd. My response? "Um, yeah. Okay." Why argue with those labels? Why should any of those labels lessen the writing? Let's remember, it's all fiction, okay? It's all a heavy dose of "Let's pretend!" In my recent incest story, Sally's Summer Thrill, there really isn't a Sally seducing her brother. I made that shit up, every word of it. Did I delight a few people? Based on the nice comments, kind votes, and a couple of very nice emails - yeah, I did. Was it wrong of me to do that?

If "Everyone has a sex story" and "Sex is universal," then why is a sex story so reviled and feared? Apparently the case against writing or reading a sex story boils down to several simplistic arguments. It's immoral. It encourages immoral behavior. It celebrates the lewd and crude, the most basest of human desires. It glorifies sinful behavior. Blah, blah, blah. All those arguments quickly fall apart when contrasted against other literary genres. Couldn't it be said that a murder mystery encourages one to plot a more perfect murder? And war stories encourage social upheaval while teaching military tactics that might be successful, right?

Is it good and right to cheat on your spouse? Hm, is it good and right to plot a murder, assassination, or uprising?

We possess amazing imaginations. I don't find imagination unique. Wave a feather on a string in front of your cat and you'll see your precious little feline enjoying all the traits of being on the hunt. Does your cat believe that feather on a string has suddenly become prey or is your kitten merely enjoying the play, the few moments of "Let's pretend!" Catching the feather doesn't reward the kitty with food, only the satisfaction of being a hunter.

I would suggest reading a story is nothing more than a feather on a string for your imagination. . Yes, your heart may race, but are you likely to begin plotting precisely how you can murder your spouse? Why not? You just read about the mistakes the other person made. Surely you could do a better job, couldn't you? Except. . .

It's all just an exercise in "Let's pretend." We know better. We're able to control our impulses. Most incest readers aren't interested in their family members. In her blog, Michele Fogal points out that ". . . at most [publishers], 80% of their M/M writers are female." Many within the publishing industry are at a loss to understand why the primary consumer of romantic M/M fiction is consumed by women. Why would women want to read about two guys getting it on when they don't even have the body parts to do the same thing? Maybe for similar reasons why incest stories can tweak someone's libido - the sense of forbidden. Are these women who enjoy romantic M/M fiction dragging their men to gay clubs? Probably not. It's let's pretend, that's all.

It doesn't mean none of these never happen. Sometimes, people do band together and overthrow an oppressive government (1776). Sometimes, a murdered body is discovered without a clue (Jack-the-Ripper for one). Some men do lead secret double lives (Rock Hudson, anyone?). Sometimes a beautiful, rich heiress unabashedly leads a life of pleasure (Paris Hilton!).

If I write, "Frodo LIVES!" some of you will smile. Of course he does. If I cryptically tell you, "The answer is 42," I bet I just got a couple more smiles, because we all KNOW that's truly the answer to life, the universe and everything, right? Because we can accept that giant sharks patrol the water off the coast for naked swimmers (Jaws) and there will certainly be a day when we will begin our ". . .five year mission to. . . boldly go where no man has gone before." Frankenstein was only a zombie story.

I'm suggesting that it's okay to pretend. I don't expect my little stories to ever be held up as great literature, but I refuse to feel guilty about writing and sharing them. I seek to entertain, amuse, and delight. I enjoy writing about the private side of life. I'm glad you enjoy reading about it. If I'm lucky, I'll post more stories and entertain a few more people along the way. Why? Because I believe my readers can separate fact from fiction. I don't believe I'm appealing solely to prurient interests. I believe I'm exploring alternatives, other ways we could be, and maybe exposing how some people truly are. Enjoy the show, dear reader!

Please feel free to leave a comment or send me a note!

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