I’m working hard on the final rewrite of The Exhibition, the third novel of The Executive Decisions Trilogy, and I can’t immerse myself in a major writing project without being reminded of just how closely linked sexuality and creativity are. Since I’m up to my ears at the moment, I’m sharing an archive post with you today that talks about just that subject, a subject I think is always worth revisiting. I hope you enjoy it.
Sex and creativity are often seen by dictators as subversive activities. –Erica Jong
My husband knows I’m always looking for interesting articles about sex. He sent me one the other day about masturbation as a treatment for restless leg syndrome (It’s orgasm that actually seems to help. The means is optional.) This led us to an impromptu discussion of all of the other benefits of sex. Sex is a good sleep aid, sex can help with weight loss, sex can improve skin, hair and nails, just to name a few. There was even a recent article in Psychology Today about semen as an anti-depressant. The jury, however, is still out on whether sex is an aid or a deterrent to creativity.
For the naysayers, abstinence has long been touted as a way to focus sexual energy for creative purposes. On the other hand, a study at the University of Newcastle-on-Tyne and the Open University showed that professional poets and artists had almost twice as many sex partners as other people. The study also showed that the number of sex partners increased as creative output went up. The conclusion drawn was that the more creative you are, the more sex partners you were likely to have.
I’m sure that’s a simplification, but I wonder which came first: the sex or the creativity? Is it the creative force that makes us horny, or is it being horny that makes us creative? My guess is that every writer, poet or artist would answer that question differently. However, I don’t think there’s any denying the close connection between the creative force and sexuality. Nor do I think that’s particularly surprising. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Freud was right. It IS all about sex. But I wonder whether we really understand just what sex is all about.
Yes, the basic biology is obvious, but we humans haven’t had sex simply to procreate in a very long time now. We’ve evolved to want, to expect, even to need more from the sex act than just the next generation. Perhaps that goes hand-in- hand with our cultural evolution, what sets us apart from our animal cousins — at least in our own eyes. For humans, all things seem to have evolved two meanings. First there is the concrete realm in which we’re born, nurtured, thrive, reproduce and die. But we develop another level of meaning when we no longer have to use all of our energy just to survive. When starvation is no longer an issue, food and its preparation and presentation become art. When keeping out the cold is no longer an issue, clothing becomes fashion, and magazines tell us how we can be walking galleries for the art of clothing. When finding shelter from the elements is no longer necessary, our very homes become an artistic expression of ourselves. In a world where all our basic needs have evolved more than one meaning, the artistic expression becomes as important as the function.
But all of these necessities are mundane. Sex is not. For our ancestors, sex was the magic by which two people become three. Today sex is the magic by which two people become one, or by which one person becomes more herself or himself. On one hand procreation has given way to re-creation, but on the other hand, how can an act that has evolved from the very need to create the next generation be rooted in anything but creativity?
How can the process of creating be anything but sexual? Writing a story is a penetrative act resulting in something larger, something much more alive than the words on the page, than the idea conceived. That’s heady stuff. That’s the writer in full rut. It’s intimate, it’s messy, it’s rough and tumble, it’s voyeurism and exhibitionism and full-on heat. If it isn’t, then there hardly seems to be a point.
That being said, anyone who has had good sex, lingering sex in which time seemed no longer to exist, will recall that what mattered was the wonder of the act itself, the amazing intimacy with the other. Any writer or artist knows that experience up close and personal. At some point the creative act itself becomes the sum total of existence. The writer’s world shrinks to and expands out from that act, and the end no longer matters.
So how did I get from masturbation for restless leg syndrome to once more worshiping at the altar of the Divine Creative Sexual Force? Well I suppose it’s all just a part of the journey isn’t it? And besides, where else would I go with it?
And here’s a little excerpt from Identity Crisis, book two of the Executive Decisions Trilogy, to make your weekend sizzle.
PR rep extraordinaire, Kendra Davis, is elated when she gets the chance to work for her hero, reclusive, romance novelist, Tess Delaney. Her elation is short-lived when she discovers that Tess is none other than Garrett Thorne, the bad-boy brother of business tycoon and eco-warrior, Ellison Thorne, who is engaged to her best friend, Dee Henning. Kendra blames Garrett for the comedy of errors that nearly destroyed their relationship. Garrett doesn’t like Kendra either, but he’s desperate. His alter-ego, Tess has been nominated for the prestigious Golden Kiss Award. No one knows who Tess really is, and he needs Kendra to play Tess for the awards.
When Tess is stalked by a rabid fan, the two unite to protect her identity. With Kendra, the body and Garrett the soul of Tess Delaney, is there room in this strange ménage for romance? Can a woman who doesn’t exist understand their hearts even better than they do?
Garrett had just pulled out his cell phone to call again, when he looked up to find Kendra standing at the bar with a drink in her hand, and his knees nearly gave from relief. One of the designer fashion boys was chatting her up. And immediately the relief was replaced with something a lot more tetchy. He shoved past a knot of Goths who mumbled and gave him a few nasty looks, but he was way past being polite at the moment.
‘The Porsche outside, it’s mine,’ Fashion Boy was telling Kendra, preening with one hand while he held a beer in the other. ‘Bought it with my bonus from last year. It’s one helluva ride.’ He moved in closer. ‘If you’re interested.’
Both he and Kendra spoke at the same time.
The man raised his hands and backed away, and Garrett grabbed her by the arm, none-too gently and marched her toward the door. ‘Where the hell have you been?’ He said, half shoving her out into the warm summer air, past the curious gaze of the bouncers.
‘What do you mean where have I been?’ She yanked her arm away. ‘I was dancing. I looked around and you were nowhere to be found. So I went to the bar to wait. I figured that would be the first place you’d look for me, and why are you so angry?’
‘Why am I so angry? You scared the shit out of me, that’s why I’m so angry.’ He jerked her closer to him. ‘One minute you’re dancing with me and the next minute the incredible hulk steps in between us and then you’re gone.’
‘Where are we going?’ she said, pulling back.
He jerked her forward. ‘Home, damn it. We’re going home where it’s safe.’ He half marched, half dragged her through the parking lot across the road and to the edge of the park before she gave him a shove, pulled away from him altogether and turned on him.
‘Fuck you, Garrett! I haven’t done anything wrong and even if I had, you’re not my father. I’ll go home when I’m damn good and ready.’
‘So what? You want to go back and ride banker boy’s Porsche, do you? Is that it? He buys you a drink and you let him give you a ride.’
That she didn’t slap him was the first shock, the second was that she didn’t turn back to the Boiling Point, but that she headed on into the park at a pace that a race horse would have struggled to keep up with.
‘I bought my own drink, you asshole. And I came with you. You’re the only one who gets to give me a ride.’
‘Kendra. Kendra, I’m sorry. Kendra wait!’ He struggled to catch up with her. ‘I just panicked when I couldn’t find you. I’m sorry, okay. I panicked.’
‘And you just assumed that I was on the make. Fuck you, Garrett! Fuck you!’
It was then that he realized she was leading him off the main path into the darkened edge of the park. ‘Kendra, where are you going?’
She didn’t respond, so he kept following her up a winding path deeper into the center of the park.
At the top of the hill in a grove of hawthorn trees and rose bushes in fragrant full-bloom, there was a bench. The leaves of the trees admitted a tiny pool of light from the street lamps just above it. ‘Kendra, where the hell are you going?’ He grabbed her hand, and she turned on him so quickly that he thought for sure this was when she would slap him, certainly he couldn’t blame her, but instead she fisted both hands in the front of his hoodie and pulled him to her in an angry kiss, then one hand migrated into the front of his track bottoms, and inside his boxer.
‘God, Kendra, what the –’ she swallowed up his words, biting his lip, sucking his tongue, licking at the back of his teeth and his hard pallet until he couldn’t breathe. Her fist around his cock was a strangle hold and even in its discomfort it felt like he was in heaven. ‘Kendra, I can’t …’ He tried to push her hand away, but the other hand snaked in and jerked his bottoms and boxers down over his ass until he could feel the night air on bare flesh. He wriggled and squirmed his heart racing in his chest. ‘Jesus, Kendra, you can’t be serious. This is a public place. What if someone –’
She bit his lip hard enough that he wondered if she’d drawn blood, and his cock surged so strongly in her hand that he feared he’d come right there. ‘Shut up, Garrett,’ she growled against his mouth. ‘I need you to fuck me, so just shut up.’
He heard the crackle of foil and with a slight of hand that nearly took his breath away she sheathed him in the condom, then with hands that seemed as full of anger and need as the rest of her, she ripped open the fly of her shredded jeans and shoved them down. Christ! There were no panties! ‘I need you, Garrett.’ She struggled to breath. ‘I need you to fuck me right now. I can’t wait. Right now. Right now!’ She turned her back to him still shoving and pushing at the jeans until they were down around her thighs and the rounded heart shape of her bottom shown in the pale light. Then she bent over and rested a palm onto the seat of the park bench. With the other hand, she reached behind her, grabbed his hip and pulled him up close until his cock pressed into the valley between her buttocks. ‘Do it, Garrett. I can’t stand it any longer. Do it now!’ She wasn’t trying to be quiet. She wasn’t trying to be subtle. She didn’t care that there were other people still using the park, that they might get caught, and Garrett felt like he’d burst at the very thought of what they were doing – and where. She opened herself to him and shifted her hips, while he, with one hand low on her back and the other on his cock fumbled and maneuvered until he slid home. She grunted a curse and pushed back onto him hard, and they both cried out as they began to thrust.
Her beret tumbled off behind the park bench and he grabbed at her ponytail as it fell free reining her in with it. He yanked her back toward him like it might help him control her somehow. He yanked her back until he could bury his mouth against her neck, rake her pulse point with his teeth, suckle and nip until the sounds coming from both their throats were feral groans and grunts.
With a quick movement, she unhooked her bra, grabbed his free hand and guided it to the bounce and the fullness of her breasts, nipples tight and puckered against the rake of his thumb. Then she grabbed his hand from her hair and guided his fingers to her mouth, licking and nibbling before she shoved them down between her legs, down to the heavy strain of her clit.
They were both too far gone to hold back much longer, and it took little more than a stroke between her legs before she came, growling and straining and nearly collapsing onto the bench as he came juddering in hard waves inside her.
It was only as their breathing began to return to normal that he could hear her sniffles. As he pulled out, she stood and wiped her nose on the back of her hand, then jerked her jeans up as though they had made her angry somehow.
She stuffed her bra into the pocket of his hoodie with a hard shove, bent to retrieve her beret, and was already heading down the path before he could deal with the condom and get settled back into his track bottoms.
Blrub for The Exhibition:
Successful NYC gallery owner, Stacie Emerson, is ex-fiancée to one Thorne brother and ex-wife to the other. Though the three have made peace, Ellison Thorne’s friend, wildlife photographer, Harris Walker, still doesn’t like her. When Stacie convinces Harris to exhibit his work for the opening of her new gallery she never intended to include him in her other more hazardous plans. But when those plans draw the attention of dangerous business tycoon, Terrance Jamison, Harris comes to her aid. In the shadow of a threat only Stacie understands, can she dare let Harris into her life and make room for love?