tagReviews & EssaysPoets and Fools: On Writing Erotica

Poets and Fools: On Writing Erotica


Poets and Fools

A great moment occurs in the Citizen Kane of French films, The Children of Paradise, where the dreamy-eyed Baptiste finally gets the object of his desire: the beautiful Garance. She is the Aphroditic ideal he has been chasing throughout the film, and in one simple motion of a dress hem pulled up invitingly to reveal a leg, she offers herself to him. And Baptiste runs for his life. In contrast, the dapper Frédérick beds her the same night, no problem. I've often felt torn between these two characters, because I see myself in both. I feel, however, that good erotic fiction is only possible if one behaves as Baptiste.

In running from the actual sexual encounter, Garance remains an object of sexual desire. Be becomes the author in his own tragedy, one featuring unrequited love and rejection. And this serves as fuel for some of the best pantomime ever depicted on the silver screen. He is a truly tragic character, but his pathos is of his own making and it is what truly makes him an artist.

All erotic fiction revolves around the withholding of sexual gratification. In other forms of fiction, the conflict can be between two people, between man and nature, or any other sort of thing. But in erotic fiction, regardless of who the characters are, being kept from the release is the key. The object is different in every story, but the goal is the same: sexual gratification. It is called climax for a reason.

With that said, I feel that those who so easily find sex may not be the best equipped to tell such powerful stories. Perhaps they have more experiences to relate, but who wants a real story when, in fiction, the boundaries are limitless? You must be willing to go where you've never gone before. Those who go only where they've been usually stick to smut. And that's ok, but those are not really the stories I'm talking about here.

In all forms of media, there seem to be a side featuring spectacle and one that focuses on higher truth and deeper understanding. We call this second one "art." It's really hard to make art. Really really hard.

It's like speaking another language. Except, you are inventing the language so that you can speak your mind, heart and soul directly, and you need to provide your audience with the context and syntax with which to understand you at the same time you speak to them. You can use convention, borrow from what's familiar, use novelty to your advantage and draw from your own experience. Above all, though, you must go where no one has ever gone. Otherwise, who would give two nickels to hear it? Your experience is unique and you have a story of your own to tell, so don't tell one we've heard a thousand times.

This has been a hard thing for me to grasp as a writer, but I feel myself coming into being as a writer. I wouldn't have been able to do it if not for a series of sexually frustrating experiences over the last year.

I wrote my first erotic story last summer, and I wrote it entirely out of desperation and frustration. Not just because dating life was going nowhere, but because I had severe writer's block. I love to write, but I felt so distracted by my own hormones that I couldn't put pen to paper to save a small child's life.

Then I decided to write a sexual fantasy. The kind that Baptiste probably dreamed up, except probably not quite so steamy. No story, except that the object of the main character's desire blows him off before giving him a try. Very simple, and not really all that good, in my opinion.

But the feeling of finishing a story after such a long rut was nothing short of orgasmic. Having created a woman onto whom to place all of the frustrations I'd grown to have, and to have that negative ideal turn into a positive one – one that can be likened to one of those cheesy Disney-type endings where everyone gets what they want – it was very meaningful.

There is no doubt many of the writers on this site write for equally important reasons. I have many, but the most salient is catharsis. I don't draw from the actual experiences of my life, but I draw from the emotional equivalent. I did not write any erotica the whole time I was with my last girlfriend, but I wrote quite a lot right after we broke up.

I don't look at an episode in my life and think, "What was that like?" Instead, I challenge myself to ask questions like, "What should that have been like?" And, "What could that have been like?"

Because for me, lust can become an obsession. I need a way to sort it out and rationalize it, to play with it until some scenario emerges where I can imagine receiving that which was denied to me. The wish may go ungranted and dramatically speaking, that would be called tragedy, but I've yet to read a true erotic tragedy on Literotica.

But the real question I keep asking myself is: Am I holding myself back as a person from being the sexual being I ought to be because I'm convinced I'd lose my ability to write erotica? Maybe I love writing it so much that I would almost prefer to be sexually frustrated in order to continue to do so. After all, some of the erotic stories I've started turned into non-erotic epics – the likes of which I never would have though myself capable of.

Maybe, like Baptiste, an awesome lady will come into my life who will love me and take care of me and be naked with me – not only physically, but emotionally – but I will destroy it over an ideal. I will be the architect of the demise of my own good fortune because I will always need to want more. Call it that primal instinct to conquer if you will, but will it still be there when the conquest is done? And is it ever meant to go away?

For now, I will remain the Poet. I have no intention of playing the Fool, but things could change if I get what I think I want.

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