“I am gone in a liquid cascade; my edges
dissolved in the ecstasy
that you catch in your palm
Cupped to your mouth, then mine
The taste sweet, clear, as lychee nectar”
(Excerpt – Threshold – Adrea Kore 2013)
Welcome to Part 2 of ‘Writing the Orgasm’, which I guess could also be subtitled “Why I Write Erotica”. I’m aware as I write this, that although writers often have underlying reasons in common for writing what they do, their reasons may also be very different. For some erotica writers, it may be escapism. Some writers may laugh at my taking sexuality so seriously. But it doesn’t mean that I don’t explore the playful aspects of sex in my writing. Sex is an aspect of human creativity and self-expression – the playful is just as important as the intense or the serious.
In my erotica writing, I reach for a tryst between the truth of sensation and the tease of imagination. I’m engaged in translating the sensations of sex into imagery, in a way which will transmute back though the body of the reader into arousal. In this way, erotica is a kind of sex.
So, what are other reasons I feel called to write what I do?
For centuries, it is mostly male authors have spoken for the female sexual experience in literature. Our bodies have been filtered through male eyes, male observations. This language does not emerge from inside the female body, but outside it. How do women articulate desire for themselves? How does it differ from how men write us sexually? I agree that sometimes the difference isn’t discernible. Nin wrote about sex admirably well from the male perspective. Some of my contemporaries like author Ronnie Strong have impressed me their depiction of their female characters’ experiences and thoughts around sex.
It’s just I believe there are qualitative subtleties, and a realm of the female sexual experience that male writers can only approximate, at best imitate. And that is actually part of the writer’s job – as writers entering the life of various “others”, we are always using imagination and the leap of empathy it takes to see the world through another’s eyes. But what it shouldn’t do, is silence women articulating desire, exclude women writing about sex.
Political, ideological and social forms of oppression and misogyny have to a large extent, achieved this for centuries. Of course, there have been female authors. Sappho, Aphra Behn, Virginia Woolf. Hungrily I sought them out. But there were far less of them, and they were often excluded from the “canon” of classical literature studied in schools and Universities.
It’s only in the last century, and particularly the last half of that century and into this new century – since the strong feminist waves of the late sixties and seventies – that more women’s voices as authors around sexuality started to become more widely available. Germaine Greer’s groundbreaking The Female Eunuch (1970)) and Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden (1973) were considered radical and subversive at the time of publishing.
I love My Secret Garden because it contains a multiplicity of women’s voices, all sharing their sexual fantasies in their own words. From this book, a real sense of the diversity of female desire can be seen. It’s raw, arousing, and surprising. Romantic fantasies sit side by side with rape fantasies.
As a female-bodied erotica writer, I am nearly always aware of my fortunate and privileged position in history. In the sixteenth century, if I’d tried to distribute in some way what I now am sometimes paid to officially publish I’d have been called a witch and burnt at the stake. Possibly via rape and torture. A sobering thought. But it’s also why I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. I have the weight of all those silenced women on my metaphorical back, and I must make up for all those lost words, lost sensations, lost time.
Here, when she is most with herself, when she seeks and finds her own pleasure, by herself or with another, here in her secret garden…
Interestingly, I’ve experienced almost no discrimination as a writer in terms of gender. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never apologised for being articulate, and I’ve never expected discrimination.
So all of these factors give me enormous imperative to write about sex. Particularly to write about sex from the female perspective. To write from the inside of my body. To write from the multifarious eloquence of my yoni (Sanskrit for the female sex), to write from the wisdom of my cunt. Because I know I’m not the only woman to experience orgasms like this; I know I have an audience. And I also know that more women (and men) can experience orgasms and sexual pleasure in this way. So I am writing to show what’s possible and to contribute my drop in the ocean towards a more expansive, open dialogue and cultural shift around sexuality.
Society is hungry for more ways to open up dialogue about sexuality – between women, and between men and women. Erotica, and the sharing and discussion that takes place around the reading of erotica, is one such conduit of dialogue.
Part of the reason I am excited to have my own little corner in the internet landscape is it enables me to share the work of other inspiring women working and creating other amazing ‘conduits of dialogue’ in different fields of sexuality; from personal empowerment to Tantra, sex ed and orgasmic enhancement. Women like Liv Bryant, who is doing incredible work in the field of empowering and informing women in the expression and exploration of their sexuality. With her permission, I’ve shared excerpts and links throughout the first part of this post to a fabulous article she’s written recently about re-defining female orgasms. She’s also just finished a series of sexuality workshops for women called Pleasure Ed. Check out her inspiring work.
What I love about the erotica genre, is there is so much scope. Human sexuality is vast, varied, and complex. The spectrum of people’s turn-ons and kinks is almost verging on infinite. And so is writing about it. As authors, we don’t all have to be covering the same ground. So there is room for diversity (what a relief!). What I am discussing here is my raison d’être for writing erotica. Perhaps you could say they are my kinks. They don’t have to be everyone’s. But it’s why I don’t refer to or even think of my work as’ smut’. Other writers are welcome to. Just don’t expect me to use that word here.
Cunt, yes. Smut, no.
There’s more than enough shaming around sexuality in the world. I will stand up for conscious, shame-free sexuality, and for healthy. open, conscious, transformative communication between the genders. We have so much to learn from each other. ❤
It feels on theme to end this post on an orgasmic note – so for you discerning readers here, I’m going to share an orgasmic snippet from my newest story Under my Cape . In this story, I subvert fairytale themes from “Little Red Riding Hood” into a grown-up adventure in a BDSM club. To enter the wood – click on the pic.
This story was showing temporarily in ERWA’s (Erotica Readers & Writer’s Association) sumptuous Fiction Gallery from January – March 2015. A further excerpt is available to read here .
Thanks for reading … Do feel free to share your thoughts.