|After the Bath, by Edgar Degas|
* * * * *
Jess: Have you written erotic-themed material? Why or why not?
Anon: I have. Because human sexuality (namely, mine) interests me, and fiction allows us to explore things in a sort of intellectual playground environment where consequences cease to matter, thus allowing for experimentation that might be impractical or unwise in the real world. Erotica is to sex what action/adventures are to testosterone.
Jess: Cool! How do you differentiate quality erotica (as an art form), from pornographic writing?
Anon: I'm tempted to say "the caliber of the writing", but I suspect that the ugly truth is that good prose in erotica is like a clean and well-informed employee at a comic book shop: a pleasant surprise, but not exactly necessary.
No, I suspect the thing that most differentiates erotica from porn is the emphasis on the psychological/emotional aspects of human sexuality. Porn treats sex like biology, where erotica treats it like the delectable desert at the end of a long, intricate, many-course meal. Erotica is dark chocolate melting on the tongue; porn is Lucky Charms eaten out of the box by handfuls.
Jess: Very lyrical ;) I shall now ask how you would respond to the following statement:
“I am very put off by the notion of 'literate smut', as if any porn is intellectual, that erotica needs to have a high and low art distinction. I think this is just a pretentious way for people to excuse their taste for pornography.”
-- originally posted on http://www.barbelith.com/topic/925
Anon: I would not deign to respond to such a statement, since it is likely posited by someone who has been taught to view sexuality as a vice and is likely not in touch with his/her own sensual nature.
Jess: What a succinct response :) What inspired you to write erotic stories/poems/etc.?
Anon: What were, at the time, unrequited fantasies and curiosities. As explained above, fiction allows a playground where the impractical, unsafe or impossible can be explored in great detail. Later, erotica allowed a place to condense memories and experiences into a more concrete, fictionalized account that could be revisited and enjoyed again.
Jess: Do you always follow the "safe, sane, consensual" credo?
Anon: Technically, yes. I do tend toward a more kinky angle where the consensual bit is often a little murky. I suspect all adults know that sometimes it is better not to have permission. In my fiction, however, as in real life, it is only sexy if her "resistance" is obviously token, covering up her obvious hopes that he does not abandon the pursuit of her.
Jess: What do you think readers will find most notable about your book(s)?
Anon: Hopefully the believability of the interactions, the not-just-sexual depth of the relationships, and my ability (which I admit may only exist in my own head) to understand and write from the woman's perspective.
Jess: In order to write on certain experiences, you would have to either research or live the life. Which describes you as the writer?
Anon: Initially, I wrote neither from research of real life. I wrote from imagination. It was surprisingly effective.
Later, of course, I added repeated layers of experience to my stories. Also, having discussed erotica and sexuality with many people in a (mostly) platonic environment, I suppose that would count as research.
Jess: Do you think erotica caters to a male or female market (or does gender of the target audience not matter)?
Anon: I suspect that, while interesting debate on the topic is surely possible (and probably a lot of fun), we all know that literary erotica caters to a mostly female audience. The reasons for this are frustratingly stereotypical: men have the capability to be fully aroused by the mere sight of an attractive woman, whereas women are more drawn to the psychological processes of attraction. Literary erotica excels at the latter, this making it ideal for the lip-biting of sensuous women, but less geared toward the hair-trigger visual-arousal of the average man.
Jess: Are there any topics you will NOT tackle, with regards to sexual behaviors and attitudes?
Anon: Not much. The only prerequisite is that I, as the author, find it intriguing and attractive. Thus, for example, I would write very bad homosexual erotica.
Jess: Please share with us a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words).
Call it inhibition, or propriety, or simply not being "that kind of girl", it didn't matter. He scolded himself for becoming distracted, even as they sat and talked, with thoughts like 'beyond that closed door she gets undressed every night', and 'just down that hall is the shower where she soaps herself up every morning'. When she took his glass to the kitchen, he actually smacked himself lightly on the cheek, ashamed of his erotic daydreams, even while in her presence.
Jess: Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives on the art of erotic writing :) Best wishes with both life and literature too!
* * * * *
ANONYMOUS (in his own words):
Anonymous (not the Anonymous who is the author of "Primary Colors", although that would be nice) is author of young adult novels with a worldwide readership. He also blogs, rambles, and offers opinions to anyone willing to listen. Or not.
JESS C SCOTT:
Jess is the author/artist/non-conformist behind jessINK (her indie publishing division). One of her specializations is erotic literature.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and would like to share your views via a similar interview, just check out/fill out the form at Author Interviews. Jess will email you with the link once it is posted.
Jess is available for interviews too. Drop her a note at missfeyATgmailDOTcom :)