(Some of you may find this post offensive.)
Why write erotica?
That question, in various forms, has to be the most common question asked of me. People understand why someone would want to be a writer. When you tell someone you have stories inside you that claw at you until they're told, they understand.
Everyone—everyone—has some kind of creative outlet in their lives. It might not be as recognized as writing, drawing, singing or dancing, but everyone has something that allows themselves to express their creativity. (Sewing, cooking, prayer, home decorating, gardening, etc.) Thus, everyone understands why someone writes.
What they don't understand is why someone writes erotica. I'm going to tell you why. Other erotica writers might word it differently, but when you listen to what they say, we all say the same thing.
We want to remind everyone that they are sexual beings and, for those who do remember, we want to give you a place to celebrate it.
Sure, we say things like "it's hot" and stuff like that, but the bottom line of what we're doing is celebrating beauty and life through sexuality.
Everyone expresses sexuality differently. Everyone defines beauty differently. For some, celebrating life means highlighting the eloquence of death. For some people embracing the beautiful means surviving ugliness. And for some, those very few people who are truly asexual, they express sexuality through silence and platonic love. Non-expression is a form of expression.
Every single one of us is the product of a sexual experience. Sex brings life—how can we not celebrate and enjoy that? Oh sure, biologically speaking, there are sexual acts that do not carry the potential for creating life…or is that true? Well, maybe not.
If you define creating life as producing a child, then yes. There are a lot of forms of sexual expression that don't do that. If you define creating life as fostering the spirit of living, then all forms of sexual expression do that at least on some level. Alone, partnered, or in a large group sexuality becomes a form of life and fosters the spirit of living.
When we place restrictions on expressing sexuality, we run into taboos and shame. And here's where I start offending people.
I believe religion is the biggest enemy to sexuality. Not faith, but religion. Religion—where you deal with rules and processes of prayer. Religion where you deal with condemnation and "shoulds", "oughts" and "shouldn'ts".
It doesn't have to be that way, but, sadly, all too often it is.
Faith, the mother of religion, is a glorious friend of sexuality. For those who believe in a creator deity, they know their body was fashioned for work and pleasure. They know the pleasure of witnessing a sunrise should be cherished as much as feeling their own skin or their lover's skin beneath their fingers. How better to thank your deity for life than to enjoy that life?
Additionally, sexuality is how we perpetuate the species. (All forms of sexuality including homosexual expressions are based off this instinct. Instinct drives us to do this, but does not promise results.) The creator deity you see when you pray or worship knew this when they created us. The deity planned this. Why would that deity give us such a powerful form of communication and then give us all sorts of limitations on how to express it?
Religion's rules are an attempt at preserving the sacredness of sexuality. I understand what religion is trying to do with this. It's trying to keep the virtue of sexuality from becoming the vice of sexuality.
I don't believe that humans are inherently evil. I don't believe that without religion we'd fall into a pit of destruction and become selfish hedonists. (Not to be confused with selfless hedonism.) I don't believe STD's are punishments for orgasm just as I don't believe the flu is punishment for breathing.
So, why would religion even want to limit forms of sexual expression? I think it's a misguided attempt at keeping us from becoming obsessed with all things sexual (thus a vice). When we do that, we miss out on the beauty of non-sexual things in the world. Sexuality as a vice is detrimental where as sexuality as a virtue is wholly positive. (Note: I believe the line between vice and virtue varies from person to person.)
When I sit quietly and think of the most personal and intimate thing I can possibly do, two things come to mind and I can't decide which one is more initiate—expressing myself sexually or expressing myself through prayer. Both are equally intimate, powerful and beautiful. That can't be a coincidence.
When we're intimate with someone, we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We express desires and needs that we might not otherwise express. We allow our mouths to be manipulated through kissing and other ways. (That's trusting someone with our breath and voice.) We cannot wield a weapon while someone licks and nibbles our fingers. We close our eyes and allow someone to put their teeth upon our necks. We literally open our arms and give someone access to all of our tender bits. How is that any different from prayer? We're showing the same vulnerability. One cannot fight a god that they worship. And, when you pray and offer your concerns, worries and celebrations are you not allowing that deity a glimpse at your most tender bits?
Humans need language and physical gestures to communicate. Deities do not need these things. So, when we pray are we whispering thoughts or greeting a lover? Some of you just realized I'm saying prayer is having sex with God. And you would be right. Don't believe me? Try praying without words. Clear your mind and just feel the presence of your god(s). Take a quiet moment and bask in the base sensuality of raw faith.
Some of you may think I'm picking on the Christians with this. No, I'm not. Yes, Christians either by design or accident usually end up at the forefront of any puritanical statements. But, they're not alone. Are you familiar with some of the "family purity" practices of Orthodox Judaism? Or some of the sexual limitations of Muslims or Hindus? Yes, even some Pagans have hang-ups. There are extremists in every religion. Extremists manage to scream loud enough to get noticed by the world and some times they scream loud enough and long enough to become tradition.
With that stated, I'll close post…
The next time you wonder why someone would want to express themselves through erotic arts, take a moment to set your religion aside and examine your faith. Perhaps you'll find your own answer. If you don't find it, try praying without words.