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The Morning After

I’m never quite sure what to expect the morning after I’ve finished a major writing project. Will I wake up feeling like I just had the best sex in the history of sex, or will I wake up feeling like I tossed back too much cheap wine the night before? I hope for something pleasantly in between the two but leaning heavily toward the former.

As you might have guest, I just finished a fairly substantial project last night and sent it out into cyber space. The bon voyage to said project did, indeed, involve the quaffing of wine and the eating of good chocolate along with much channel-flipping of Olympic highlights, all of which resulted in me getting to bed a little later than usual. Hubby was just back from a successful trip to Rotterdam, so I think you get the picture.

No doubt you’re waiting with bated breath to find out just which kind of morning after I’m having. Suffice to say, I’m not hungover.

Wine, sex, chocolate and the Olympics aside, what is it about the morning after for a writer that’s such a crap shoot of extremes? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately since there have been several mornings after in recent months. The thing about writers is that we’re constantly creating our own reality and peopling it with our own characters. Then, for the duration of anything from a short story to a novel, even to a trilogy, we literally live in that world we’ve created, spending huge amounts of quality time getting to know the characters who people it in intimate detail.

In a way, I suppose it’s like going on the best holiday ever complete with sexy encounters, fascinating people and larger than life adventures.

Then you come back home…

It’s more than that, though, it’s the letting go of something you’ve created, knowing that this is the end of an intimate encounter, that you really are saying good-bye. But on the other hand it’s also letting go of something that you’re proud of, that you’ve angsted over, sweated over and, if you’re like me, lost sleep over. It’s a happy send-off with a raised glass and some nice chocolate. But it’s never without a slight edge of fear and trepidation concerning the morning after.

The thing is, there’s a lot invested in that project by the time I’ve clicked SEND and closed down the file for good. The hours I’ve spent in the world I’ve created with those people I’ve created are substantial, and empty nest syndrome is inevitable.

I can’t count the number of times well-meaning folks have suggested to me that once I’ve finished a project I should take some time off, take a break, relax. But … Well it’s not that easy. Taking too much time to NOT write is a sure way to ‘neurotic’ myself out.

There’s always another major project waiting in the wings, and the best way I know to insure that I don’t mourn the loss too long is to get as heavily into the next project as quickly as possible.

The chocolate and wine and Olympic highlights are behind me now. It’s a brand new, sunny morning. So what will I do? Well, I have a novella to walk, or perhaps I’ll ‘garden it’ at the allotment. I have a whole new set of characters with whom to get intimate, new adventures to put them through. Best way past empty nest syndrome for a writer is to fill that nest again, as quickly as possible. Jeez! That doesn’t sound neurotic, does it???

 

The Intrepid Sarah Berry Talks Writing and Other Outrageous Stuff

KD: My first introduction to you, Sarah, was back when you wrote for the now defunct Scarlet Magazine. I always looked forward to your ‘Berry Outrageous’ pieces because you were the reporter who personally explored the kink we all wanted to know more about, then told us the yummy details in a style that was both entertaining and informative. Since then I’ve known you as the editor of Forum Magazine and the founder of the wonderful women’s group, Fannying Around, and just all around cool chick. Having recently been thoroughly entertained by hearing you read an original work of Sarah Berry erotic fiction, A (getting) Biblical Tale, I was amazed by your versatility as a writer. Could I be so bold to ask for a brief history of Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: Dear KD, the phone is off the hook, the Cava is bubbling and I’ve slipped into something uncomfortable. Fire away…

KD: Oooh! Sounds like the ideal set-up for a fab interview! Let me start by asking what do you like to write most?

Sarah: I delight in writing features that are informative, entertaining and saucy and have carved a name for myself writing reportage features for Scarlet as Berry Outrageous – a joy. There have been thousands of articles written on the likes of pony play, spanking and adult babies, but if you write openly about your own experiences it will always be unique.

KD: Tell us a little bit about your latest offering, Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex, written with Peter Birch.

Sarah: I met Peter while editing Forum and a collaboration between us seemed like a no brainer. I am relatively young lady who delights in gentler sex play while Pete is a veteran of the sex scene whose deliciously pervy antics frequently lead cheeks (both upper and lower sets) to blush furiously. Our Seasonal Guide captures both our perspectives in a range of features, fiction and interviews, written around a seasonal theme. The Winter issue includes Burlesque queen Ditz Von Teese; Trans porn star Buck Angel; great ideas to raunch up 2012 with our new year’s revel-ations; kinksters who love sneezing, woolly tights and big knickers, sexy ways to keep warm and more. We’re just working on the spring issue – watch out for the bunnies!

KD: Sounds fab! And I’ll be looking forward to the bunnies in the next issue! You’ve written a lot about sex, Sarah, you’ve written investigative pieces, you’ve written blog pieces, you’ve edited magazines on the subject, and you write some pretty steamy erotica as well. Why sex? Why not food or politics or any number of other topics? And why such an enthusiastic ‘hands-on,’ so to speak, approach?

Sarah: Actually over my career I have written on a range of subjects from the latest developments in railways to living with Tourettes (I have it mildly and no I don’t swear – at least not without meaning it). I am currently contributing editor of a marine magazine!

However, the reason my sex writing is so prominent is maybe because people enjoy my unique perspective – indeed Pete says I could sell butt plus to Mary Whitehouse. I am open about the fact that I’ve suffered from a sexual dysfunction (more on that below) and, whether I am writing about amputee devotees or men who like to be kicked in the balls, I try not to sensationalise them. I strive to portray their point of view and offer helpful advice to any readers with similar passions. I encourage people to experiment if they want to but don’t try and shock those who don’t. As long as we’re safe sane, consensual and legal, I say each to their own.

KD: I’d buy butt plugs from you, Hon!  If you had to choose a topic other than sex to write about, what would it be?

Sarah: In the future I hope to write more women’s lifestyle pieces.

KD: What do you think was your finest moment, as a writer (so far, of course)?

There’s been lots of proud moments but I think the most important one was the first time I wrote about vaginismus. This is a sexual dysfunction where my brain told my pelvic muscles to clamp up. In my teens sex was impossible, in my 20s it was traumatic, then in my early 30s, unpredictable. It’s only with my current fella that I know I can have sex whenever we both feel like it.

By the time I was 28 I’d had a couple of sex features published and I decided that, if I was going to be a sex journalist, I wanted to tell it how it was, warts n all (I mean this metaphorically, luckily I’ve never had genital warts).

But I felt like I was taking a huge risk. Most of my friends had no idea about the condition, and I was so worried the media world would think I wasn’t qualified to write about sex. So I downed two bottles of wine and wrote a Voice of Experience feature for Scarlet, explaining my struggle with this condition. I read the feature to two ex boyfriends. They both asked me if I was sure then commended my braveness. The next morning, hungover, I edited it for drunken typos then sent it in.

I needn’t have worried: Sarah Hedley the Scarlet editor, loved the article and awarded me with the accolade of “Contributor of the month.” A year later she gave me a column in the magazine!

Countering the shame around sex problems is the basis of my groups. The Open Forum is a support group for women with stubborn nethers, in Fannying Around we discuss the good, bad and interesting about our special places and in Private Pictures we draw them. Find out more at www.fanniesrule.com.

KD: Wow! You’ve had an amazing journey, and one that I’m sure is a real encouragement to a lot of people. What would you love to write about that you haven’t?

Sarah: I am hoping to do a lot more campaigning about how the medical profession views sexual problems. Like me, many of the women have been told to, “Just relax,” while many men are palmed off with Viagra. GPs should be more open to referring patients to therapists. Also, I went to a vulvodynia conference the other day. This is an umbrella term for women who suffer from an unexplained chronic pain in their nethers. I will be pitching features about this in the new year. My dream, once I’ve qualified as a sex therapist, is to get a gig as an agony aunt!

KD: What advice would you give to young writers or people aspiring to a writing career?

Sarah: Be honest, be original and, if you’re writing about sex, seriously consider using a pseudonym.

KD: What was the most fun piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Gosh… there’s been so many. I think the London Naked Bike Ride was special. I had to swallow all my worries about being chunky and just get on with it. It was so bloody liberating. And when I threw a flier explaining the cause of the ride to a load of builders, they fell on it like I was Angelina Jolie. I highly recommend you give it a go!

KD:  Wow! I might consider riding a bike naked if it got me treated like Angelina Jolie. What was the most unusual piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Definitely the big toy challenge where I put the world’s biggest sex toys up a very mild tempered chap called PUMA (which stands for Put It Up My Arse). The finale ended up with me drildoing him with a bumpy toy that that was over two feet long, stuck on the end of Woolworths’ drill. When he prolapsed I almost puked!

KD: What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in sex writing right now?

Sarah: The fact that it’s so easy to blog means that anyone can be a writer – of course that means there’s a lot of crap and offensive diatribes to wade through. Also the nature of social networking means we can bring our messages to a wider audience. I’ve had some very touching emails for kinksters and vaginismus sufferers thanking me for helping them to not feel so alone.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: I’m planning on penning more erotica and a book offering advice on getting laid. Plus there will be the spring issue of Pete & Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex and more exciting fanny projects on www.fanniesrule.com. I hope you’ll all be along for the ride xxx

KD: I wouldn’t miss it, Sarah! Thanks for being my guest. Happy New Year, and I’ll very much be looking forward to lots of great pieces from Sarah Berry in 2012!

Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex is available to download from Amazon and iTunes.
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
iTunes

 

Dr Dick Talks About Sexuality and Spirituality and His Eye-Opening New Book Part 2

 

Welcome to part two of my interview with the amazing Reverend Richard Wagner, better known to a lot of us as Dr Dick from Dr Dick’s Sex Advice With an Edge and his fabulous series of podcasts, ‘The Erotic Mind.’ Last week we talked about his gripping new book, ‘Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church.’  This week, we’ll be talking about the split between spirituality and sexuality. Welcome back, Dr Dick!

KD: The split between spirituality and sexuality that exists in most people who have grown up in a society influenced by the Judeo-Christian mindset is different from the split between spirituality and sexuality in religious institutions, the split that played a major role in the loss of your priesthood. Do you think that institutional split will ever heal? Do you think institutional spirituality, for lack of a better way of putting it, will ever be reconciled with human sexuality as the vibrant creative force that it is rather than seeing it as a danger to be controlled?

DD: No, I don’t think there is a fundamental difference between the cultural and the institutional split.  One reflects and supports the other.

Will the split ever heal?  Yes!  Every person who works to heal the needless and artificial divide in him/herself brings all of us that much closer to a cultural and religious rejuvenation.  In the end, this is the work of individuals.  It is not the work of institutions.

KD: On a personal level, I feel that my writing of erotica, and my blog are, in a lot of ways, my attempt to facilitate the healing of that split. I suspect your work as a sexologist and with your fabulous website and podcasts, among other things are your attempt to do the same. How has it helped? Where do you hope it will ultimately lead?

DD: It’s true; my websites and podcasts are vehicles for me to promote the “gospel” of the reintegration of sexuality and spirituality.  I firmly believe that promoting one without the other is not optimum.  It’s like trying to walk with one leg instead of using two.

I’d heard from numerous visitors to my sites over the years who have told me they finally get it.  This kind of feedback is both heartwarming and invigorating.

KD: You’ve been immersed in both theology and the study of human sexuality in a deeper, more intellectual way than most of us will ever be, and I’m curious to know, theologically and sexually, why do you think that split ultimately happened?

DD:  It happened because disjointed people are much easier to manipulate. Just like it’s easier to topple a man standing on one leg than it is to topple one standing firmly on both of his legs.

For the most part, organized religion and the popular culture are all about exploiting people. Religion tells us that it holds the only key to spiritual enlightenment.  Our culture tries to keep us sexuality frustrated so it can use sex to sell us products and services.  Both, I believe, are cynical means of control.

People who are whole; those who have an integrated sense of self, who have reconnected their sexuality and spirituality are not so easy manipulated.  Church leaders and cultural despots know this and so they try to keep us off balance and disoriented.

KD: It occurs to me that some people might find it a bit strange to discuss spirituality and sexuality together at all, let alone consider that the two are both halves of the same whole. How would you explain that false dichotomy to someone who has never considered how the two might fit together?

DD: A dichotomy only persists for those who’ve never tried to rejoin these two fundamental aspects of self.  The concept of reintegration is foreign to them.  And since there is precious little in organized religion or the popular culture that would support a quest to heal the disconnect; they think being disjointed is ‘normal”.  It’s like a caged animal who only knows the inside of its cage; in time that cage becomes all the world to the animal.

I contend that if these two aspects of ourselves didn’t belong together, there wouldn’t be such a virulent push back from the powers that be when we try to reassemble ourselves.  Wholeness, after all, is power.

KD: Ultimately, what do you hope your book, and the journey that led you to write it will lead to, for yourself and for others? Did you see it when you wrote it as a tool to help others or a warning, or something else entirely?

DD: It was cathartic for me to tell my story.  And I am so delighted that it has finally been published.  If it helps anyone else in his/her personal journey, that will be gravy.  That being said, my story does concern itself with at least one universal for us all — establishing and maintaining our personal integrity.  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced at lest some of that in his/her life.

DD: The book feels like the closing of a long and painful chapter in your life. What’s next for all the people living inside Richard Wagner’s skin? Where do you think the journey will lead next? Where would you like it to lead?

A nap for sure!

Honestly, there’s no grand plan.  I’m happy to continue to put one foot in front of the other on my journey, and try to be aware of things as they reveal themselves to me.  Frankly, I have no idea where I’m going or what the fates have in store for me.   I guess not knowing is part of the adventure.  I’m trying to embrace that philosophy of life and make it my own.

That being said, I am working on a follow-up book detailing the sexual molestation I endured at the hands of my Oblate superior while a 14-year-old seminarian in Southern Illinois.  And how all the religious superiors I told about these incidences did nothing.  The book will investigate the psychological and emotional trauma of clergy sex abuse and its impact on the psychosexual development of abuse victims.

KD: What a pleasure to have you here on A Hopeful Romantic, Dr Dick! For every question I asked, and every answer you gave, I could have asked ten more. Best of luck with your book, and as always with you fabulous website, podcasts, counseling, and all of the many other things you do! You truly are an inspiration.

Places you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner

 

 

Dr Dick Talks About Sexuality and Spirituality and His Eye-Opening New Book Part 1

I’m very excited to have Rev. Richard Wagner with me today for the first in a two part interview. A lot of you out there will know him as Dr Dick from his fabulous website, Sex Advice with an Edge, but this man has more layers than a wedding cake and every one of them is totally fascinating. Welcome, Richard Wagner!

KD: I know you as Dr. Dick, who interviewed me on your fabulous Erotic Mind podcast series. When we did the podcasts, I was scared to death, having never done anything like that before, and you put me at ease and made it so much fun. I love your podcasts, and your website, and I’ve found several of your essays on the Catholic Church and sexuality to be fascinating. But I have to admit, it seems strange for me to think of you as Richard or Reverend Wagner, and I can’t imagine you as Father Wagner. You’ve worn lots of hats in your life, and as I read your book, Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church: The Systematic Destruction of an Oblate Priest, I am reminded just how different those hats are. Tell us about the people Richard Wagner is, and tell us how do all of those people you are live comfortably together in the same skin?

DD: Wait, are you telling me I don’t have multiple personality disorder after all?

I’m getting a lot of that same reaction from people who have known me as one or another of my “personalities”.  But the remarkable thing is that I’ve never experienced any disconnect between, Fr. Wagner, Richard Wagner, therapist and Dr Dick.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  Imagine if I had difficulty making room for all these personas in my skin.

The truth of the matter is that I am all these “personalities” and there is virtually no distinction between them.  I suppose they reflect, as you suggest, different hats I’ve worn over the years, but the hats fit on the same head.  Curiously enough, each “personality” compliments and infuses the others.  I honestly couldn’t be Dr Dick if I weren’t also Richard Wagner and Fr. Wagner.

Besides my sometimes biting humor when it comes to human sexuality, as evidenced daily on Dr Dick’s Sex Advice, there is also an abiding sense of reverence for our capacities to express ourselves sexually.  And I am painfully aware of how short a time we all actually have to explore this gift before our life is over.

KD: The events that ultimately led you from being an Oblate priest in the Roman Catholic Church to doing the wonderful, though extremely different work you do now are an astonishing example of the power of a religious institution to crush anything it considers harmful to itself, whether that threat is real or imagined. They are also the events that led ultimately to the publishing of your book. I know this is a bit like asking you to bring me the ocean in a teacup, but could you tell us briefly what happened.

DD: My book tells the story of my dismissal from The Oblates of Mary Immaculate; a Catholic missionary order based in Rome.  My association with the Oblates began at the age of fourteen as seminarian in 1963 and I was ordained an Oblate priest in Oakland, California in 1975.  In 1978, The Oblates formally assigned me to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, a postgraduate school in San Francisco.  For my dissertation, I chose to study the behaviors and attitudes of gay Catholic priests in the active ministry.  The study, titled Gay Catholic Priests: A Study of Cognitive and Affective Dissonance, was completed in 1981. I was awarded my doctorate the same year.  With that I became the first Roman Catholic priest in the world to hold an advanced degree in clinical sexology.  To this day, I remain the only one.

To my great surprise, and then alarm, I became an overnight media sensation, attracting attention throughout the U.S. and even abroad. Instead of focusing on my research and its results, the sole object of interest became my own personal identity as a priest and gay man.  Nothing else mattered, all context was drowned out, all rational discussion quashed, and what had begun as a story about my work was instantly transformed into a full time red-meat scandal.  What followed was a shock that altered my entire life.  Within a matter of months, the Oblate Superior General in Rome contacted my provincial superior in Oakland and demanded my immediate resignation from the Oblates.  Either that, he warned, or dismissal proceedings would be brought against me.

 

KD:  I still find it difficult to know what to say in response to such an experience, other than how pleased I am that out of your ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ something as eye-opening and truly ground-breaking as your book could come. Could you tell us about your book, Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church: The Systematic Destruction of an Oblate Priest, What inspired you, ultimately to write down everything that happened to you? I also know that it was a rough journey to actually get it published. What happened?

DD: The book is in two parts.

Since I wouldn’t resign my priesthood; I contend I did nothing wrong, my community moved to dismiss me.  The first part of my book narrates the dismissal process that lasted for an agonizing thirteen years, until the final decree of separation was issued on May 13, 1994.  What happened to me was unconscionable and I wanted my brother Oblates to know that.  So I wrote my defense as an open letter to them.

It is a lengthy letter reviewing the entire convoluted process leading up to my formal separation, and demanding from my brothers some form of acknowledgment and restitution for the hardships imposed on me.   The letter is a fully documented history based on the years of correspondence between me and the successive Oblate administrations with which I had to deal.

As such, it throws a unique light on the internal workings of the Catholic Church and on the typical methods that church officials employ to suppress compromising truths, to exonerate themselves of wrong-doing, and to punish anyone who dares to draw into the open the institution’s interior secrets.  It shows how the church silences and hustles out of sight anyone who dares to speak out.  It is a sad and disturbing account of corporate malfeasance, canonical corruption, and institutionalized homophobia on a massive scale.

The second part of the book is my complete doctoral dissertation. Soon after the controversy with the Oblates began I learned I was being silenced by Rome.  I realized that if I didn’t get at lest a few copies my dissertation out before the order from the Vatican arrived it would have never seen the light of day. So apart from a small run of photocopies made available in a hurried arrangement in 1981 very few people have ever seen my research.

So this is the first time that my thesis has been made available to the public at large.  It remains the only large-sample study ever conducted of the sexual behaviors and attitudes of Catholic priests in active ministry, and my sample were all gay men by design.  While some may consider the sample of fifty participants to be small, it is in fact quite large given the hiddenness of the target population.  As the narrative portion of my study makes plain, the tools of intimidation and control that church authorities routinely employ to keep gay clergy silent and invisible are extremely effective, even in the case of one as prepared as I was to fight against them.

Wardell Pomeroy, my doctoral supervisor, was astonished not only by the size of my sample but also by the candor, depth, and thoroughness of the participants’ responses.  During all the years that he worked with Alfred Kinsey on the monumental Kinsey Reports—a project that involved literally thousands of participants—only two or three priests were interviewed.  What’s more, the sexual behaviors of these men were not specifically linked to their vocations but were simply folded into the study’s general statistical results.

The only reason I was able to obtain my sample was because I was a gay priest and I had extensive contacts in the informal network of gay clergy that exists throughout the U.S.  My sample’s size and the insights it provides into the behaviors and attitudes of gay clergy are still without rival as a primary source on the subject.

And if you’ve just taken the time to read through all of that, you’ll understand why it was so difficult to find a publisher.  Some publishers wouldn’t touch the manuscript because they feared reprisals from the Catholic Church.  Other publishers thought the subject matter was presented in to scholarly form.

KD: When we skyped before we did The Erotic Mind podcasts, we discovered that we had a lot in common in that our spiritual journeys had led us in directions we never could have imagined. We both felt that our journeys were about healing the split between spirituality and sexuality. Do you feel writing a book documenting the events that led you to where you are now has helped to heal that split? Do you think it may help others?

DD: Yes to both your questions.

As you know, I believe there is a needless and a very artificial separation between sexuality and spirituality in western culture.  When I first came out as a gay priest I was absolutely convinced that I had something unique to add to the conversations we, as a culture and we as a church, were having about both of these fundamental human concerns.  I believed then, as I do now, that no one will ever find sexual and spiritual peace until he/she reunites these two concepts within themselves.  They should never have been rent asunder in the first place.

The publication of my book has helped me do that for myself, and it just might provide a template for others who are trying to reconnect sex and spirituality in their lives.

KD: Dr Dick and I will be discussing that fascinating and all-important link between spirituality and sexuality in more detail next week. Same time, same place. Don’t miss out on Part 2 of my interview with this multi-faceted, fascinating man. In the meantime, here’s where you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner /Fr Wagner and buy his amazing book.

Places you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner

 

The Education of K D: Erotica’s Steep Learning Curve

I just spent a good chunk of last evening on line trying to find a decent definition of kink. Never did find one I thought was satisfactory. But what I did find was a very good online BDSM dictionary to save to my stash of smutting tools. When I was writing The Initiation of Ms Holly, I made multiple trips into London to question the wonderful chicks at Sh! Women’s Store about strap-ons and spanking and blindfolding.  I spent an afternoon online learning amazing things about chastity belts. And that’s just the physical stuff. I find myself learning why semen is good for women, why porn is healthy, and what happens in the human brain during sex.  And the list goes on.

One of the best things about writing erotica, one of the things I would have never thought about before I penned my first smut, was the steep learning curve. I’ll be the first to admit, I usually try sneaking in the back door first, no pun intended. One of the best ways of educating myself to what is out there is to read what other erotica writers have written. I guess in some ways it’s voyeurism for smutters.

Writing is learning; I’ve always known that. There are stories that can be written without much effort or research, but the act of choosing the right words and getting just the right nuances, or analyzing why what some other writer has done works so well, is a learning process in itself. So I learn as I write.

But writing erotica is different in its learning curve because of the average person’s shocking lack of sexual education  – myself included. And because sadly sex is one of those things people don’t talk about in ‘proper company.’ Though it may be true that there are no stupid questions, people are still embarrassed to ask and embarrassed to seek out answers where sex is concerned. M niece has taught university classes on women’s sexuality, and she says what shocked her most was how little women actually know about their own sexuality.  I have no trouble believing that. Though I’ve always considered myself fairly well informed about sex and extremely aware of my own sexuality, as I began to write erotica I was surprised by my own ignorance.

The frightening thing about ignorance is that it can breed resistance to things that aren’t in our own sexual context. I’ve tried very hard not to be prejudiced about facets of human sexuality of which I don’t know enough to judge. But the battle against resistance is on-going. And interestingly enough, I find that my resistance is directly proportionate to my ignorance.  Not too surprising, really. That’s usually the case with ignorance. We tend to fear and villainize what we don’t understand.

Which leads me back to the high learning curve for erotica writers. True, we write about what we imagine, but our imaginations work better with a basic understanding of as many facets of human sexuality as possible. Not only do our imaginations work better, but our hearts work better as well. Our minds are more open and accepting. The old saying  ‘knowledge is power’ is never more true than where human sexuality is concerned. And one of the fringe benefits to writing erotica is that all that scrambling to do research, to understand why people find certain things arousing, to understand what actually happens on a physiological level when we have sex, to understand the sociology and psychology and science and history of human sexuality, is empowerment.

Empowerment means I can better understand aspects of sexuality in their proper context. It means less reason for resistance; that means less fear. It means more compassion, more asking enlightened questions and more desire to share what I know.

If knowledge is power, then the real power we erotic writers have is the power to share all aspects of human sexuality, the power to portray its many facets openly and honestly and approachably through story. True enough — we don’t set out to educate. We’re mostly all about entertainment, all about fun, but inadvertently we do educate. Inadvertently we open up the windows and doors and let light shine into the part of our humanity that has been kept in the dark far too long.

Yes, I know, I’ve just made all smutters sound like campaigners for the cause, dressed in corsets of righteousness. But the education, the empowerment, the coming to grips with all the many facets of human sexuality, well all that’s a long-winded way of saying —  I write erotica because it’s fun, and the education of K D is just a lovely fringe benefit, one more reason to feel really good about what I do.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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