Within written erotica, I remain a veritable virgin

I’m currently writing a short story unlike anything I’ve tackled before. It’s called The Narcissists (a working title) and, whittled down, it’s essentially a body-swap story, à la Big or Vice Versa, but concerning a married couple – and minus Tom Hanks dancing on a giant keyboard.

The husband is shallow, the wife pretentious, each with their own unique brand of vanity, and their marriage is in tatters. But, one morning, they wake to find themselves in each other’s body.

Initially, there’s plenty of room for hilarity, with anatomical exploration and bewilderment, and gender-based high jinx. But the point of the story was to show how these two people separately find themselves intensely attractive – indeed, as soon as they see themselves as a separate person, they want to screw that person. So they do – they have this bizarre, twisted sex from inside the body of their erstwhile partner, but with themselves.

It’s weird and freaky and as likely to spark arousal as it is a spine-tingling cringe. It’s also a bit odd to write on the tube on my commute – I’ve bought a case for my phone to limit the potential viewing angles of my little, filth-filled screen (you dirty old man).

Later, it explores feminism, empathy and masculine privilege – naturally via thematic transgender concepts – on its way to its existential finale, of Lovecraftian madness and despair, ultimately questioning the soul’s relationship with our bodies.

A lot to ingest – so you might be concerned the tone becomes too erratic, shifting from mutual disdain, to comedy, to erotica, to social commentary and finally to gut-churning horror, all in less than 10,000 words. But thankfully, the tone – much less the themes it concerns – remains consistent in its dark humour throughout.

Too blue for you

My problem is the sex itself. It’s essential, yes, but I’ve not written much sex before, and knowing what’s too much and what’s too tame is a challenge in itself. I don’t want it to be so blue that it becomes pigeonholed in “erotica”; but I also want it to evoke emotions: lust, disgust and carnal confusion.

At the moment it’s explicit – but is my idea of explicit some other prude’s sloppy nightmare? Or merely a deviant’s heavy petting? The books I’ve read over the last few years have hardly helped. Most of the time sex is merely implied, or if it is described, it’s brief, unfulfilling or ultimately tragic.

I need my scene to be sexy, because the sexier it is, the weirder it will feel. I want my characters to make love to their egos, to delve into a sweaty pit of self-lust that leaves them panting and confused. I want that confusion to fester, propagate and morph into paranoia. Finally, I want that paranoia to feed its inevitable, violent conclusion (which, as yet, remains undetermined).

Unfortunately, my frame of reference is limited. I don’t own a Kindle and, seeing as I’m too shy to read erotica openly in paperback, I’ve not come across much in the genre. I need to change that, and I’ll be buying an e-reader soon, though I’ve no idea where to start. The only erotica I’m aware of are the bear-shifter supernatural romances (do they count?) – and I only know about them because they’re hilarious.

For better or worse, erotica is a genre often derided, but I cannot in good conscience say one way or the other until I’ve read some myself. However, I gather it’s the predominant genre among self-published fiction – perhaps because titillation is relatively easy to achieve, though good writing demands depth.

Bow-chicka-bow-wow

Whether it’s true or not, I nevertheless imagine there are many examples of erotica that resemble low budget porn films with a story crudely filling in the gaps between the anal gaping – an excuse to place characters in a situation where the sex may occur. The sex is the real character – the people are merely the conduits for that character to express itself.

Of course, this prejudice against a form of writing I haven’t yet bothered to read will either be vindicated or refuted in my upcoming research, but I expect to both enjoy that exploration as much as learn from it.

I will need recommendations, however. And for that, I ask you, the internet, for assistance. If you’ve enjoyed anything particularly racy, please leave a comment below!

But before I leave you, I ask you this: next time you see someone nervously reading their Kindle on public transport, coyly holding its screen close to their chest as they peer down at it, checking periodically over their shoulder to check for eavesdropping bookworms – don’t judge them: it might simply be a writer doing research.

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9 thoughts on “Within written erotica, I remain a veritable virgin”

  1. Forget the Kindle for now — you don’t need it for your mission. Check out smashwords.com, and you’ll find free erotica that you can download on PDF. At the website, there’s a blue banner at the top — and you have to click the “Adult Content” button on the right side of that blue banner. This way, you can view the adult stories. Now you can use the search field at the top — or click on Erotica in the list of categories on the left. Then click “Free” in the middle row of buttons that are just below the blue banner. Lots of stories available for free.

    An alternate idea is to buy erotica on Amazon and use Amazon’s cloud section of your account to read the stories. Just a couple of work-arounds where you don’t need a Kindle.

    Good luck with finding stories — and with writing sex scenes in your story. Your plot sounds really neat.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. There’s a comments section with each ebook, but Smashwords doesn’t have near the amount of comments on Amazon. I usually give a careful eye to a book’s blurb: If the author didn’t take the time to craft a compelling blurb, then the story might not be compelling, either.

        Alternatively… I just typed “free erotica” on Amazon’s search, and there are more comments and starred reviews than Smashwords. If you get the cloud reader working, that might be a better bet.

        Like

  2. Wow! What a great idea, you could be onto a winner there.

    As you’ve probably heard, the annuals of erotica are littered with terrible novels. But, when done well, they can be an excellent read. Having ploughed through a lot of this genre myself, I would say marriage doesn’t feature that strongly, it’s usually the HEA ending. To my mind there’s actually a gap in the market for erotic stories about married couples; not everyone wants to read about the exploits of a twenty year old virgin! The twist you’re proposing sounds intriguing.

    From your story outline I’m assuming you’re not talking about BDSM or threesomes, all of which are extensively covered within today’s erotica, but about what’s considered a ‘normal’ monogamous relationship (obviously this varies from one couple to another). In which case I would suggest the following books as they involve married couples: The Marriage Diaries – Erika Wilde, What Wendy Wants – Nikki Sex, Priest – Sierra Simone (although this couple aren’t married the sex scenes are well written). If my memory serves me right, the first two contain both male and female POV’s. You could also try BookBub, where a lot of the books are free to download.

    I would also recommend a couple of blogs for you to look at: Andrea Kore and Malin James. Most erotica is written by women, for women, with only a few successful exceptions. It’s not easy for a man to write from a woman’s point of view because we approach sex from a different perspective. I would suggest that’s going to be your biggest challenge, especially as the couple will be swopping bodies, but I believe it could work really well.

    As you’re not familiar with the genre I think you’ll find your introduction into erotica quite entertaining.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is excellent Carol – thank you so much. They’re all on the to-read list – once I get that e-reader to conceal my shame.

      PS – first time I’ve seen that HEA acronym. The Narcissists will definitely not have that, ha ha.

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    1. Cheers fella. I’ve only read a little Ballard: The Drowned World, which I thought was ace, but many think is too slow and wordy (it’s intentional). I’ll check that out.

      Did you see Cronenberg’s film adaptation?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I quite enjoyed the movie. The book is pretty hard going (pun intended), but it’s definitely full of strange boning.
        Taking of Cronenberg, have you seen Dead Ringers? I was thinking about it earlier today. Utterly disturbing, but completely beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Not seen Dead Ringers (we talking the Jeremy Irons film?); either way, I’ve managed to come across a copy, so I’ll let you know what I think.

        Speaking of twins – did you see Gyllenhaal’s Enemy? It is weird and wonderful and what an ending. I’ve not seen a movie that I’ve wanted to exhaustively talk about afterwards since (coincidentally) Donnie Darko.

        Like

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