Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beginner's Ball #6 - Happily to Hell in a Handbasket

Welcome to Beginner's Ball #6! This series was started by writers Helia Brookes, Marina St. Clare and myself. We hope to address issues of interest to new eroticists and more experienced writers as well. This series travels blog to blog. Scarlett Greyson will be joining us soon!

Okay, I'm going to play devil's advocate for a moment. Bear with me.

Totally ignoring the whole futile erotica vs. porn debate - if pornography is such a horrible problem (7.5 million Google results for "problem of pornography") that is destroying marriages and the very fabric of civilization as we speak (stop rolling your eyes) - isn't writing "erotica" just contributing to said problem?

I ask this because it's something I'm pondering as I prepare to let more friends in on the "secret" that I am writing erotica/smut/pornography/whatever and blogging about it. What will I say if someone asks me this - or some variation?

Because I know I will come up against this - I know some of my friends - and family for that matter - decry the music and dress and general decline in decency - and up till now I've just quietly let their tirades roll off me all the while thinking "if only you knew…" (yes, I have some strange friends)

Erotic depictions (paintings, sculpture, photographs, dramatic arts, music and writing, have been around a very long time. (That wikipedia link, if you're new to it will keep you busy a long time - I had to tear myself away.) What I find amusing is the insistence by some (still!) that all the very old (read Paleolithic) depictions are touted as "fertility symbols" - and not just depictions of stuff that made those skin-clad hunter-gatherers horny. I'll save that rant for another time. Side note: So, I kept reading about erotic cave art, but so far have not been able to find any images online - they trying to protect us from something?

But back to the original thing I was getting at. What was I getting at?

It would be nice if I could claim to have always been so enlightened. But. There was a time in my life when I was horribly ashamed of my own attraction to "erotic depictions" - I was sure it was proof of some damage - And I was even ashamed of writing some of my own. Seeing images and reading words that turned me on tended to lead to self-loathing. Yup. Me. Erobintica. And the reasons why and how I got from there to here are for another time and place.

The point is - I got to here. I'm writing what I'm sure a lot of folks would consider vile pornography (and yeah, in their minds that would be redundant). And it's one of the best fucking things that I've ever done in my life (and I'm just getting started). I finally feel comfortable in my skin. I finally have a lot more self-confidence than I've ever had. I joke with my husband about "empowerment through porn." But I'm serious. I've found freedom by embracing this previously hidden part of my psyche.

This is a subject that can't be hardly touched on in a single blog post. But I was wondering what your thoughts on the matter are. What would you say to someone who accuses you of being "part of the problem"?


Erobintica said...

you know what's funny? (well, not really) is that right now I'm damn nervous about this post - not sure why.

Emerald said...

I almost feel like you answered all your questions in your post, Robin. Indeed, some find pornography distasteful, and some find it vile and see it as bringing down civilization. You know the experiences you have had in the past and the experience you have now writing it.

In my experience I have encountered less of this attitude than one might have expected. That may be simply a result of those whose company I have tended to keep, or it may be a result of my particular relationship to those people. But even with strangers, I have generally been pretty forthcoming not only about the fact that I write erotica but also that I have been a sex worker in various capacities. More often than not this has been met with interest and a smile.

Of course, I have been in a position to feel very open about these things. (That has actually been part of being a sex activist for me.) I don't have kids, I don't live in a small town/community, I don't have family members who might disown me under the circumstances of my being a sex worker, or numerous of the other considerations one might find relevant in considering the subject at hand. I appreciate that that may make it seem much easier for me to speak on behalf of these things to others/the public, and I am happy to do so in lieu of those who feel less inclined to for myriad reasons.

So I myself do not feel I would find it particularly uncomfortable, generally speaking, to be "accused" of writing pornography or participating in it or somehow in doing so hurting society. I have no intention to unnecessarily hurt anyone, and perhaps that has come through or been understood by those who know me. It has seemed like some level/degree of trust to me. They may think, "I don't like/know about what she's doing, but I love her and trust her, and thus I respect what she chooses to do."

I'm interested in what others have to say. Thanks for posting, Robin! And very best to you if/when you do encounter what you described here.

Erobintica said...

Well, I am up late and wide awake because one of our cats got out and had a tussle with some critter and we were all out in the yard with flashlights. He's safe inside and seemingly intact, but there's no way I'm gonna fall asleep right now.

That said - thanks Emerald for commenting.It's cool that you haven't really encountered much in the way of negativity.

I'm thinking that maybe I didn't make it totally clear what I was thinking - or maybe I did and just can't tell - haha. And I keep typing things and deleting them because they don't make sense.

Maybe in the morning...

Emerald said...

Actually, I hear you, Robin. I myself seem to feel an insecurity about articulating effectively right now for some reason.

Certainly, it could also be that I did not interpret accurately what you were saying. :)

I am so glad to hear your cat is well (or seems well). Sleep well, and be well. (Well well well, lol!)


Unknown said...

In my humble opinion, porn was never the problem. In the words of a recent guest on Bill Maher, 'can't we just be more french about this?' It's the puritanical ideas of what marriage and relationships should be that have created this problem. It's all these ideas of sex, which is the only surviving instinct of humans, being dirty or private or meant only for reproduction or marriage that got us into this in the first place. It's not porn that created the problem, it's making porn and the sex industry so scandalous that is the problem. Porn doesn't destroy marriages, puritanical wives who won't let their husbands put it 'there' distroy marriages. All these thoughts are already in our minds. Maybe I'm just too liberal for my own good but I will never be the sort of person who thinks that anything shared between consenting adults is dirty and I think our society would do well to follow suit.

And now I'll jump down off of the soapbox...

Emerald said...

"It's not porn that created the problem, it's making porn and the sex industry so scandalous that is the problem."

Ah, I hear you Elle. (I think we've discussed this here before, yes Robin?) Sometimes it just truly seems baffling to me.

Danielle said...

i think too that you answered most of your questions yourself...i had this "i write porn" outing (and i always say porn never erotica so the whole thing is clear from the start) behind me and it happened to me that..that actually nothing really happened..i also didnt get up in fire and smoke and went to hell and no one was really shocked..which i actually expeckted them to be...

thats why wait until you feel ready for the whole thing and then go ahead and tell them..:-)



ps: @ T. Elle.. as i am a half french person i think we really should be more french about the whole thing..:)..or dutch..no the other half of mine isnt dutch but the dutch people are quite relaxed with porn and smut and anything naked

Scarlett Greyson said...

Morning Robin(hope you managed to get some sleep, glad the cat's okay!).

I've been slowly and carefully chosing who I tell that I'm writing erotica. Though, I do say "erotica" and not porn(though that's what my husband calls it).

Someone(on twitter, I think) described erotica as "examining the human condition through the lens of sexuality." I liked that, and when someone asks me what the difference is, that's what I say. Porn is a sexual fantasy.

But, I also explain that I could write porn and that would be okay too. There's nothing wrong with it.

It definitely is a matter of how uptight this society is about sex. And I admit to having a rather skewed vision of porn for a long time. But when something is demonized perpetually if you have no other exposure to it, how can you learn the truth of it?

I've realized that if I'm going to tell people I write erotica, then I have to be prepared for it. I have to be prepared for the interest and curiosity, but I also have to be prepared for the recoil. And when that happens, I have to have my arguments ready, and try to enlighten that individual.

Enlightenment through sex. Sounds good to me!

Though, to be honest, I anticipate getting the reaction of "is that real writing" or something along those lines more often. Because it isn't viewed as legitimate.

Thankfully, though, written porn/smut/erotica isn't view as negatively as visual is. So it's easier to use it as the first step in an "acceptance program" (LOL) to get people past their hangups. If you can get someone to stop and listen, you've a chance to bring them over to the real side of life. And who knows, maybe even improve their sex life, indirectly!

I need more coffee. It's way early. Did any of that make sense?

Donna said...

So many wise things said already, not sure I have much to add, except that I totally agree we should all be more French. Pass the Cotes du Rhone!

Making sex a "dirty" and limiting and skewing our natural sexual urges in the name of social control is the fundamental problem. But I also find it a problem that traditionally pornography is seen (literally) as something for men, and also something cheap, that doesn't respect the consumer in any way. Pornography literally means "writing about prostitutes" and there's this sense of the prostitute-john rip-off there as well, you keep paying and paying to see Anal Encounter 4, then 5, then 73 and where's the satisfaction?

I see my work as "talking back to porn." Not that porn itself is wrong or bad, just that it needs to be challenged so that it's not the last word on the sexual imagination in our culture. Just think how we've let Playboy and Penthouse and Anal Encounter 37 shape our libidos and are ideas of what's sexy. It's time for each of us to define what is sexy for us. Empowerment through porn, indeed!

I also am fortunate to live in a liberal community and not have a job where my work would be threatening, so I totally respect eroticists who need to protect themselves with a pseudonym. But I remember in a workshop Susie Bright said, you'd be surprised how many people start out with a pseudonym and then regret it and start using their own names. Guess she'd know.

Another thought-provoking post, Robin, thank you!

Erobintica said...

Back again.

Emerald - isn't it funny how sometimes the words just flow and other times you just wonder where they've gone to - or what they've been doing while gone? And I think it's mainly me not being able to drag those reluctant to leave thoughts out of my brain in any semblance of order. And yeah, this seems to be a recurring theme. ;-)

Elle - please feel free to jump back on anytime. ;-) I agree with you. When I was pondering this post in my mind, I kept thinking back to this article about the Time Magazine covers - specifically the "Porno Plague," "Dirty Words," & "Cyberporn" ones. And it occurred to me that covers and stories like those draw us in with what I think is a natural interest in sexual things and then hit us with the "those things are bad" paddle. And the more I think about it the more mixed up it all seems. *returns soapbox*

Welcome to my blog Danielle. Glad your "I write porn" outing was ... anticlimactic. I'm pretty sure it'll be that way for me too - at least I hope so because I've never been fond of confrontations. And I've taken to referring to what I write as erotica/smut/porn/whatever because I really don't see any true defining lines. Thanks for commenting - and come back anytime.

Scarlett - I really liked this - It definitely is a matter of how uptight this society is about sex. And I admit to having a rather skewed vision of porn for a long time. But when something is demonized perpetually if you have no other exposure to it, how can you learn the truth of it? - It's so true. Especially when the word "porn" is used itself as a put down ("that's just porn"). And I'm finding that personally my views are quite different from what they were oh, say half dozen years ago. Evolution.

Erobintica said...

*waves to Donna* who was posting as I was too.

And I read "talking back to porn" at first as "taking back porn" - which isn't a bad idea either.

It's time for each of us to define what is sexy for us.

And I think that might be part of the thing with "mainstream" porn, is that the focus is always just on the act (LOL at Anal Encounter 37) - and not what it is about the act, whatever it may be, that turns us on. And I think that may be the real "problem" with porn. It gets formulaic and repetitive and BORING. So of course it doesn't do what it's supposed to do.

Marina said...

Hi Robin - great post! Great topic! I'm swamped at work, and I want to think on this a bit. I'll be back later! Hi everyone!

Scarlett Greyson said...

Take it back, Take it on.

I like that. That should be our motto.

I, now, don't really have a problem with pron. It used to bother me alot, but that was because I really didn't understand it. I didn't see the purpose of it. But, we all fantasize, right? I prefer to read, but others, others are visualists. They prefer to SEE their fantasies.

But, back to something you said in the beginning, Robin.

There are tons of studies and discussions out there about what men/women find attractive and why. Women rouge their lips and apply blush to their cheeks to emulate the effects of arousal. The fucked up and skewed image of the "preferred" body is all about fertility/virility, for both women and men.

A great deal of our base programming is still related to procreating. But, we wouldn't be built the way we are, evolved as we are, if intercourse weren't intended to be pleasureable as well. Otherwise, like the vast majority of mammals we would have an estrus cycle that would urge us to breed.

So sex is also about creating bonds, reinforcing bonds, partnerships. I think that might be where some of the "demonizing" of the sex industry comes in. That whole set of behaviors acts outside our instincts, our primal natures. (Forgive me, I just read Emerald's abortion post, so my brain is going all sorts of directions).

Gawd. Did any of that make sense?

Now, I'm not saying it's wrong, but when trying to understand where people are coming from, that aspect kind of makes sense. But we are evolved, and our brains are our most important sex organ. And as such, there's more to titilating it that watching people grunt and thrust on tv. And I think that's where the pron industry has gone all kinds of wrong.

And the fact that people buy what they produce...well, if all that's there is unripe apples, you take what you can get, but if someone would just wait, let the fruit develope a little longer, they'd find customers truly coming back for more.

Like they do with erotica *wink*

Donna said...

"Taking back porn"--yes! Even better than talking back.

First I wanted to say that I didn't mean to degrade all sex work with my "prostitute-john rip-off" comment. I do think in some, but not all, sexual relationships involving some exchange of money (and frankly any commercial transaction), including the making and selling of pornography, the provider is aware of the consumer's weaknesses and uses that to his advantage. So, no disrespect intended!

Robin, you nailed it. It's those bored expressions on the faces of the actors in porn that just turns me off completely. There are some exceptions and I can't say I've watched a lot, but dead eyes just aren't sexy.

And yes, Scarlett, I think both men and women really crave sex where the partner truly cares. But that's not common and requires taking risks and so on. Novelty is a poor substitute, but obviously it works to some degree. Some argue that filmmakers (porn and mainstream) dumb down their work because it's what the audiences want. But I hope/believe we would reward artists who give us more. We just need more of them!

Danielle said...

@erobintica..be sure i ll come back,,added you already on my bloglist:-)

back to the subject..i wish my english vocabular was bigger..less slang words and more words which would be useful to answer and comment this post in a more intellectual way..but..i cant!..language is leaving me in intelectual silence..

when somebody ask me about my writing i answer "porn"..because that it is..because i dont think there is something wrong with the word porn..for me porn has a total different meaning as it has to society ( as well as the word pervert)..i m living in a country where you can see porn everywhere..where you can see naked skin, men women , ass, breats what ever you crave in each add, movie or commerical..sex sells is very true here in germany...in this way porn dont exist in its dirty , secret form since all consume it over tv ect...in those times where all this is open available porn found a new meaning to me..a while ago someone send me a video a friend of her had made..it was music and tons of private pictures of a freshly fallen in love couple..normal stuff like shopping, eating, sleeping , going out..and kissing...all totally innocent..intimate..intimacy is my porn...i like to see whats hidden..

speaking about porn movies all i can say is that the most of them bore me to --i wanted to say dead but maybe better say..whats the oposite of erection?..anyway..all this camerawork totally focused on the genitals bores me..i dont wanna see genitals..as far as they arent extremly big, deep or ugly i know how genitals do look like..i mean i have some myself...what i wanna see is what i write about..passion..sensuality..extrem at times...special..naughty..wild...faces..oh i love faces..if there was a movie only showing the i m coming faces of people i surely would buy it..but hours of in out done porn..please..who gets arroused by that?..who has the muse to watch that??...i dont..in that time i could write a story..or have sex myself..possibly much better as what i had seen on screen..:-)

Erobintica said...

Hi everyone - too much here for me to comment on right now (but I want to!) - there's some great thoughts there - oh, and Danielle, your vocabulary is awesome, though I understand the frustration. Notice, I won't be posting comments on your blog in German, hahaha.

Back later - keep talking!

Donna said...

Danielle--it seems people are more comfortable with sexuality, or at least its public expression in Germany. I remember seeing a magazine cover in Germany that was about thirty photos of a woman having an orgasm and you could trace the progress of it. Fascinating. This was at an ordinary news stand.

There is a movie made by the former editors of libido magazine. Clean Sheets editor Bill Noble was one of the faces of orgasm, along with his partner, Des, and a dozen others. It's called Orgasm! The Faces of Ecstasy available here among other places. I saw it at a party in San Francisco attended by most of the actors and directors. Interesting experience. It's definitely more erotica than porn.

Danielle said...

dear donna ..yeah in some parts germany is really more open about the whole sex-thing..but compared to france or netherlands..we are still behind..as a writer of "porn" i should defentely be happy about that..otherwise..i m not..first of all i dont like the whole sex add and sexualisitaion of almost everything..you hear a radio comercial..a woman moans and groans like she has a real wild and naughty experience..its so real that it almost make me feel uncomfortable..and in the and..its all about a chocolate bar..i dont like that kind of beeing open to sexuality..first of all because there are underaged children who a faced with those things too..which isnt the best i think..i do believe in sexeducation..but not in this way...plus..all the omnipresent skin, breasts and butts ect takes the peoples sensibility away..the germans are so used to nakedness that it hardly exites and arouses them anymore..which is sad i think...:-(

Erobintica said...

Donna & Danielle - I have comments but no time to even type them! So frustrating. Hopefully when I get home later tonight (probably around 10:30pm my time) I'll sit down and try to find them again.

Alison Tyler said...

I have a difficult time with pinning down the definitions. I tend to say that I write smut. Why candy coat it?

But if we're going to hell, we can suck on these!


Alison Tyler said...

Hmmm... that makes me sound cockier than I am. I mean, I tell people I write *smut* when I tell people at all.


Emerald said...

Scarlett said,
"But when something is demonized perpetually if you have no other exposure to it, how can you learn the truth of it?"

Indeed, and I think frequently this may be the case for people. I have a number of friends who were decrying pornography one night at a gathering (before I started working in it), and I explained why the perspective in me was different. It has seemed to me that in the case of a number of them, the perspective in them has opened to some degree on the topic. But it also came out that they had actually had very little exposure to it. Also, as Robin said, "porn" and "pornography" have often had a negative connotation as well.

Like Danielle, the word "pornography" does not have a negative connotation for me, and I feel like it may be helpful for us societally to not feel so bound by that perception — it seems to me to imply judgment about sexual material in general, as though there is some "standard" and as soon as something is below it, it may be simply dismissed and denigrated. But who sets this standard?

Donna said,
"Not that porn itself is wrong or bad, just that it needs to be challenged so that it's not the last word on the sexual imagination in our culture."

I quite agree with this too. I don't think it is pornograhy's fault, so to speak, that much of it has seemed geared toward frankly a fairly low denominator. It seems to me because of a lack of appreciation and reverence for sexuality in an open way.

"Some argue that filmmakers (porn and mainstream) dumb down their work because it's what the audiences want."

I think this combined with Scarlett's apples comment seems relevant. This may be perceived as what "audiences want," but I would argue that it may be more what they have been presented with. It's not as though many people have probably felt historically very comfortable saying, "I would like to see this kind of thing in porn." Many people historically have been busy hiding the fact that they even partake in viewing it. So I think it is a matter, as so many things with the sex industry historically seem to be, of pushing the realm underground, where it seems something to be embarrassed about or "ashamed of" to even be participating in. Ugh.

By the way, Danielle, from what I have read from you, I feel like you have expressed yourself clearly and have not felt like I didn't understand something you said because of a language barrier. Thanks for sharing. :)

Robin said,
"Notice, I won't be posting comments on your blog in German"

LOL!!!! That really cracked me up.

(Also, thanks for reading my post, Scarlett!)

Erobintica said...

Alison, those don't look very comfortable to suck on.
;-) And oh yes, shocked peach - I remember that (I was a lurker then).

As for what Danielle said about the sexualization of everything (the candy bar commercial) - there's plenty of that here and I find that I'm torn - there the Erobintica me that enjoys stuff like that (I love a funny dirty ad) and there's the mom me that understands that exposure to stuff like that - totally out of context - is not what I'd consider healthy - because it trivializes sex. As a parent I want my children to understand that sex is a big deal. As well it should be. And what Danielle said the germans are so used to nakedness that it hardly exites and arouses them anymore..which is sad i think - well, that's a very interesting point. And it makes me wonder if the line between too much and not enough is thin or wide.

And now my mind is going blank with what ever else it was I wanted to say.

I'm keeping this up tomorrow (Thursday) since I'll be out bright and early and not sure when I'll be back - going goose banding.

Donna said...

So much to think about here! But yes, Emerald, it is interesting that pornography or erotica is "blamed" as a whole for having a low standard when no one would blame all of medical science for a bad doctor or all cheese for a package that's spoiled! This thinking really shows what's at stake, the deeper fear of sex.

Danielle, I also agree that the exploitation of the titillating elements of bodies and sexual sounds devalues it in a different way that's not officially "pornographic," but still degrades sex. A lot of what erotica writers do/aim for is to bring back the magic, mystery and celebration. Because sex is all that, too, though you'd never guess it from the public discourse.

Alana Noel Voth said...


Don't feel nervous. You simply opened a can of worms. :-)

Listen, far as I can tell, what I write isn't a problem. My stories are contributions to an eternal life-long discussion, a line of discourse, my two-cents worth.

That's about all.

If erotica is a problem then human beings are a problem. Eh. So be it. We all have problems. Life is pretty tough, pretty complicated, and there are no answers, only more questions.

Every good story (and forget genre here a minute) asks its readers a question. Or we as writers at least ask readers to consider a situation. Like, think about this a minute . . .

We also ask readers to feel, and sexual arousal is one hell of a feeling. It's great for getting people's attention, for ont thing.

So once you have it then what?

When someone asks me, "You write erotica, like sex?" I say, "I write stories." I do not believe this is misleading in the least, and it's not avoidance either. For me, it's my truth.


P.S. I'm currently job hunting, in my current industry and academia as well, and my resume includes the names of some of my publications, i.e., Best Women's Erotica, and I've been contacted by four potential employers and spoken with them, a few at length, and not a single one of them has mentioned the names of any of the books or asked about the "erotica" at all.

Erobintica said...

Alana - I'm going to come back in the morning and write more - but my laptop battery is getting in the red zone and a thunderstorm is coming so I don't want to plug in - time to *step away from the internet* - but I do want to comment on a couple of things you said - oh, and welcome - I can't remember if you've commented before or not over here. :-)

neve black said...

If I'm going to hell, I sure hope it's in a designer handbag found at a HUGE discount at my thrift store around the corner!

Ahhh...the finger pointers and naysayers that preach fire and brimstone about a $12 billion a year industry.... Don't we often learn later that those pointing their fingers and judging others end up being the one's dipping their wicks into the offering basket?

The porn industry (you say erotica (tomato) and I say porn) just keeps on growing, financially and figuratively speaking. Someone is surely buying sex - Excuse me while I break into my piggy bank and invest every hard-earned penny into the world of porn. Can I get an Amen, please?

I know the question of "to tell or not to tell" is a sensitive issue for you and for others, Robin, but seriously, the truth will set you free - now who's preaching?

Is porn really the issue here? Are you a homewrecker because you're an artist? Instead of questioning your natural artistic talent, maybe you should re-evaluate who your true friends are? I'm just saying.

spam word: arsen.

p.s. I'm a little crazy. I'm part French. ;-)

Erobintica said...

Okay, back, though my brain just doesn't seem to be functioning in a word-producing mode - which sucks because I'd planned to spend today writing.

Alana - yeah, it's a can of worms I opened willingly too. And to tell the truth, I haven't had any negative fall-out, but then I've also not told some of the people I'd most expect it from. I've also not given the URL to most of them - telling them I will if they want - but nobody has asked. But I'm a worrier, and I have had friendships ... diminished is the best word I can think of, in the past because of things I've said or told to people. And depending on the people and what they mean to me - that has hurt.

My greatest fear is to be someone that people don't like - oh oh, I've said that out loud! And that fear kept me from being honest far too many times. But, those worms keep spilling out.

Neve - it's funny, there's the hell in a handbasket phrase (which I've always used) and hell in a handbag. And I know the truth will set me free - that's why I'm working on it. ;-)

Alana Noel Voth said...


Everyone wants people to like him or her. Even when we say it doesn't matter, it does. Acceptance, praise, it's all cool. We need it.

I've lost people due to my life choices. Not so much with writing, because in that regard, fuck em. But I've lost a few friends once they discovered I was a stripper. At the time, I didn't care. Later, I felt hurt. Now, I don't care anymore.

Also, my son's father dumped me when I said I wouldn't have an abortion. That still hurts, a lot. But what am I going to do? Love my kid, keep going. That's what we all do. :-)


neve black said...

Hi again Robin,
I thought about what I said after I hit the publish your comment button - the re-evaluating your friends - and I almost wasn't going to type that. I didn't mean for that to sound so harsh.

What I meant by that was - it irritates me when other people try and thumb-nail people down, because they don't understand, or like something. We all have to tell our mind's to shut the hell up and just let it in, or will never grow and expand our aesethetic. It's difficult to be a writer. It's difficult to be any type of artist. You're exposing yourself to the world, and as difficult as it is, that alone is enough to set you free.

I say, rock on little Robin and fly, fly, fly into the porn/erotica writing sky!

Erobintica said...

Hey Alana & Neve,

didn't mean to ignore your posts - it's just been a crazy weekend - I'm looking forward to the end of this week - hoping life settles down a bit - thanks for stopping by and commenting.

Marina said...

Hey Robin - I popped in on this several times, but things were hectic and I never got around to commenting! Wow, this was such an interesting discussion topic. I don't know that I have too much to add to everything - so many thoughful, insightful comments.

I guess, for me, it goes back to what I said in another post: "Nice people have sex, too!" I don't think we're contributing to the downfall of society. I think by writing what we write, we're acknowledging that all types of people are sexual beings and have feelings and needs and desires. Our stories need to be written and they need to be read. The more we write, the more we validate for others - and for ourselves - that sex is a positive force, not a negative force.

Shame and fear and repression are such looming forces in our culture, especially here in the States. We need to keep fighting against that. It's difficult - easier to say/write about than to do sometimes. But, I'd like to think we're each doing something good for the world, one smut story at a time!