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.