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2006 Authors Insider Tips

Beyond the Basics
With Tulsa Brown
The 30-Second Solution
Backstory vs. Flashback
Intimacy Begins With "I"
Hit the Ground Running
Make the Reader Leap
Meaningful Dialogue
Pulling the String
Central Image
Elegant Smut
Better Plots
Bitch Power


The Write Stuff
From Ashley Lister
Predefined Your Goals
Spell Ink Miss Takes
Plotting & Planning
Character Building
Speech Therapy
Talking Sense


Two Girls Kissing
With Amie M. Evans
Intro to Lesbian Erotica
3-Dimensional Characters
Submitting for Publication
Five Year Writing Plan
Setting Up Your Plan...
The Power of Naming
Language of Lesbian...
Sexual Description
What Can I say?


Hard Business
From Greg Herren
What Are Your Priorities?
How to Edit an Anthology
Follow the Guidelines...
A Cock is Just a Cock
But is it Still a Story?
Who Am I Fucking?
Potential Material
Rejection ...


The Business End
By Kate Dominic
Effective Cover Letters
How to Lose Contracts
Contracts: Agent Issues
Contracts: Read It!
Double Duty Bios
What's Sex?


Literary Streetwalker
By M. Christian
Ground Rules for Writers
No Muse is Good News
Effective Cover Letters
Location, Location
Say Something!
Dirty Words


The Erotic Book Docter
By Susie Bright
Marketing Your Book
Submission Concerns
Promotion Strategies


2006 Smutters Lounge

Pondering Porn
With Ann Regentin
Babes & Hunks of Erotica
Fantasy, Reality & Rape
Selling Ourselves Short
Selling Smut in Motown
The Frankenstein Bride
Frankenstein Revisited
Porn and Perfect Shoes
Porn's Passionate Pull
Instruments of Joy


Get All Worked Up
With J.T. Benjamin
Orwell's Eerie Parallels
Redefining Marriage
The Porn Menace
High-Quality Porn
About Profanity
Dirty Laundry
Big Brother
Sluts


Editorials

Wrong Reasons to do SM
by Midori

All Worked Up About High-Quality Porn
by J.T. Benjamin



Writers and readers of erotica operate under a strange, quirky stigma. No matter how good the quality of the work may be, the fact that we’re reading and writing erotica means that to the general public, we’re reading and writing crap. Sexually oriented writing, fiction or non-fiction, is considered to be of such low quality that the very words "smut" and "pornography" are considered synonyms for "garbage." And the word "erotica?" That’s just a dressed-up word for porn, isn’t it? At least, among most people. (As for myself, I tend to use the words, porn," "smut," and "erotica" interchangeably. The genre is believed to attract only the writers of the poorest quality, and readers with the lowest moral sense. If literature were gourmet food, erotica would be considered the convenience-store microwave burrito.

Some erotica writers and readers try to overcome this image, emphasizing the literary quality of works by Henry Miller, D.H. Lawrence, Anais Nin, and the like. Others wallow in the trashy nature of their work, practically bragging that they’re tapping into the baser instincts and, like Jackie Collins and Jacqueline Susann, that they’re making money at it. Still others (such as myself) see writing smut as a challenge. Take a genre known (fairly or unfairly) for poor quality work and strive to tell not only arousing stories, but entertaining stories as well.

My point is, Dear Reader, that by visiting this website and reading and writing these and other erotic stories, you’re considered by polite society to be gleefully wallowing in the gutter, and I welcome you and congratulate you. Not only for admitting that you enjoy smutty stories and pictures, but for striking a blow for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Yes, this is a "sex-and-politics" column. After my last few rants I swore I’d steer away from politics for a while, but I just can’t stop myself. It’s like stopping at one potato chip or at one porn website.

In a way, I can’t stop myself from linking sex with politics because they’re already intertwined with each other so much they can’t be separated. In fact, I think the reason the Powers That Be in government have such an abiding interest in battering down the bedroom door is that they recognize that erotica, smut, porn, call it what you will, is among the most politically subversive genres in literature.

In the first place, whether they intend to or not, and whether they even realize it or not, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, who reads or writes erotic media of any kind, stories, photos, film, anything, is speaking out in favor of freedom of expression. That’s a political position. Everyone who produces or consumes porn is pro-freedom, pro-liberty, pro-expression, and anti-censorship.

The history of freedom of expression in the U.S. and Great Britain is a history of the governments’ wars on erotica/porn. A study of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment is rife with examples of how the government tried to shut down publication of works such as Miller’s Tropic of Cancer and Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover. And the battle continues today, as appeals courts are routinely asked to address whether strippers can be forced to dance wearing pasties, or whether nudity has any inherent value as a form of expression. To this day, courts routinely weigh whether erotic or pornographic media can be disseminated or banned because it violates obscenity statutes.

The test is called the "LAPS" test, meaning that for a work to not be considered obscene, it must have some sort of "Literary," "Artistic," "Political" or Social" merit. It’s true that virtually all erotic works published in the U.S. pass this test, but it’s also true that no other genre is even put to such a test. Care to take a guess as to whether "WWE RAW" [Monday night professional wrestling television program for World Wrestling Entertainment] would pass any test requiring that it have literary, artistic, political or social merit?

Some people would rather not think about the fact that they’re entering the political fray. They don’t create or consume smut to advance freedom of expression. They’re just trying to get turned on. Well, guess what? THAT’S a political position, too. Deep in the bowels of every government building in every state and nation on the planet, bureaucrats of every ideology are plotting ways to smother, stifle, or otherwise deprive consenting adults of their rights to get their rocks off any way they choose.

Why? Wilhelm Reich, one of the pioneers of psychiatry and psychoanalysis, believed that one of the most effective ways repressive regimes can control their populations is through repression of sexual freedoms. Shame, said Dr. Reich, is a powerful tool to compel submission to the authority of church and government, and through submission comes control. Dr. Reich, a Jew, saw firsthand the effects of the repressive regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, so he had a basis for the conclusions that he’d drawn. While Dr. Reich believed that authoritarian societies needed sexual repression, truly free and advanced societies conversely promoted affirmative and liberated policies toward sexuality.

Salman Rushdie expressed similar sentiments in his essay, "The East Is Blue." Mr. Rushdie recounts how the sexually repressive governments in India, Iran, and Pakistan are losing the war to stop access to porn, and how the governments’ policies are in fact virtually turning porn into an instrument of liberty. Pornography exists everywhere, of course, but when it comes into societies in which it’s difficult for young men and women to get together and do what young men and women often like doing, it satisfies a more general need; and, while doing so, it sometimes becomes a kind of standard-bearer for freedom, even for civilization. If the restrictions on ordinary social, romantic, and sexual relations that these societies impose were to wither away, the need for pornography would very likely diminish, too."

So, purveyors of smut aren’t just trying to get people turned on, they’re striking a blow for liberty and freedom, and Larry Flynt is correspondingly a Great American Patriot. However, with great power comes great responsibility. I submit that it is the duty of every person who produces or consumes porn to take that responsibility to heart, and to dedicate him or herself to making and critiquing work of the highest quality. Because it is through that high quality and it is through clarity of the message that we drive the Powers That Be absolutely mad with frustration.

In his essay, "Politics And The English Language," published in 1946, George Orwell recounted how politicians and governments are intentionally and categorically trying to destroy language, and how clear and effective writing can be considered an Enemy Of The State.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face…Thus, political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness."

The present occupant of the White House offers a perfect example of Mr. Orwell’s point. While President Bush is famed for his inability to put together two coherent sentences in a row, it goes much more deeply than simply tripping over his words. The Bush Administration has done such a great job of defending the indefensible that "shock and awe," "collateral damage," "extraordinary rendition" and even all-American concepts such as "democracy" and "freedom" are practically devoid of any true meaning.

Clarity is the enemy of political rhetoric. I don’t subscribe to the notion that all writers of sexually oriented materials must be subtle, or that all readers of those materials have particularly delicate sensibilities. If those are your preferences, fine. However, (and I can only speak for myself), in the stuff I read and write, I’d rather see that a cock is called a cock and a pussy is called a pussy.

I believe that we purveyors of smut/porn/erotica have a duty not only to indulge our urges to read, write and consume sexually oriented materials, but to expect our filth to be of the highest quality. By doing so, not only will we piss off the Powers That Be, but we’ll be effectively expressing the most fundamental freedoms to which we’re entitled. And I also believe that if you’re looking for the highest quality smut/porn/erotica, you’re going to find it right here, at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association. I beg you to enjoy your time at this website, contribute to its discussions, patronize its sponsors and affiliates, and make every effort to ensure that it remains the highest possible standards of quality.

I know I will. I’m getting ready to start my fourth year being All Worked Up at ERWA, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it so far. I’m looking forward to more of the same, and I hope you are as well.

Onward!

J.T. Benjamin
November 2006
jtbenjamin.blogspot

______
"All Worked Up" © 2006 J.T. Benjamin. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  J.T.Benjamin says, "I'm a generalist. I write about what interests me, which is just about everything." His resume reflects the diversity of his interests. He's been a disk jockey, insurance salesman, private investigator, journalist, college professor, child advocate, political activist, truckdriver, thief,...doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief. He's currently trying to start a hippie commune in the Denver/Boulder area.
Email:  J.T. Benjamin



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