Here’s something I learned long ago: In order to write erotica, you need to be proud of your sexual self. After all, by penning a “dirty story” you expose a part of that self, while also giving the message that you are unashamed of doing so.
When I first moved to America, I took a fabulous sex scene writing class led by Steve Almond, and that’s when I first learned that it takes courage to expose our sexual selves with honesty on the page. “Honesty” in this context doesn’t mean mocking our characters or laughing at them, but rather getting in touch with their feelings and longings — the parts of them that make them vulnerable. That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with fun, frothy porn/erotica — rather, the notion is that if we boldly express our true vulnerability and empowerment in a sex scene, we put sexuality forward as important and profound and exciting…and by doing so, we fight shame in a courageous way.
In my opinion, that’s true activism.
Deepest thanks, of course, to Cynthia Occelli for the beautiful, burning reminder above, which prompted this post.