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'08 Authors Insider Tips


Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Inspirational
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft


Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons


2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
Iím Easy, But Iím No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
Utopias
Lust
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel


Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn


Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics


On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank


Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

All Worked Up About The Price Of Beauty

by J.T. Benjamin

 

J.T. Benjamin

As part of my obligation in being a porn pundit, I read a lot of erotica, and lately I’ve been immersed in Victorian-style sado-masochistic and master-slave novels. It’s not that I find that stuff particularly arousing, it’s just that it’s a dirty job, and SOMEbody’s gotta do it.

There’s one book I’ve been reading lately called A Man And A Maid, which is (unfortunately, in my opinion), typical of the S/M genre. Our hero, (The “Man” of the title), has trapped the object of his desire (the aforementioned “Maid”), in a fiendish torture chamber of erotic delights. The poor (virginal, of course), woman’s crime is only that she has resisted his advances to date, and he’s become tired of her being such a cocktease. So he entraps her, binds her with chains and ropes, strips her naked and over the course of several chapters, subjects her to all manner of sensual and erotic punishments for her prudish ways. She resists at first, but eventually she of course succumbs to her master’s cruelties, goes mad with desire, enjoys several rapturous orgasms, and embraces her own sexualities and lustful cravings, eventually becoming a willing partner in his devious machinations.

This is, in my own unscientific opinion, the standard plot of your typical sado-masochistic/master-slave novel, so much so that it’s almost become a stereotypical plot device, as predictable as that of the Western novel that climaxes in the two stony figures staring each other down on Main Street, fingers caressing the handles of their six-shooters as the town clock strikes twelve.

Now, as a porn pundit and a general all-around sex enthusiast, I have to admit I’m not too wild about the unwilling-victim-becoming-enthusiastic-co-conspirator plot device in erotic novels. In the first place, it is a cliché, which I abhor as a matter of principle. In the second place, in real life, they’ve got a name for what happens when someone forces his (or her) sexual attentions upon an unwilling participant.

It’s called rape.

Now, I realize that we are talking about fiction, here. I recognize that any halfway decent story requires conflict of some kind, and that it might as well be the victim’s internal conflict as anything else, (“Don’t! Stop! Don’t! Stop! Don’t…stop! Don’t stop! Don’t stop, oh God, don’t stop!). I also recognize that some of the legendary erotica of the age depends on this sort of plot element, from the collected works of the Marquis De Sade to those of Anne Rice and her Beauty trilogy. Powerful writing, highly erotic, and very popular.

I of course also realize, and in fact fully embrace the concept of “Different Strokes for Different Folks” and acknowledge that this particular literary device is very popular, and I must also admit that as part of my general credo, if consenting adults get off on reading this stuff, that’s their particular kink and it’s none of my damn business.

Still, I find the whole subject just…icky, for one very important reason.

In my own humble opinion, one of the fun things about sex is the enormous diversity of turn-ons, kinks, and perversions into which consenting adults indulge when they let their twisted little minds run wild. Just when you think it couldn’t get any more exotic, a quick Google search will bring up even more outrageous behaviors that shock, entertain, and can even make one say, “Hmm…that looks like fun.” Like the man said, “Kink is using a feather during sex. Perversion is using the whole damn chicken.”

But part of what makes it fun is letting one’s own tastes and desires run wild, as a matter of taste and choice, and, dare I say, free will. As bizarre and exotic as peoples’ tastes can run, I believe there must be limits, even speaking as one who’s brought more than one whole damn chicken into the bedroom, metaphorically speaking. (Or was it the living room? The kitchen? The back porch? I honestly don’t remember. That whole night was a blur of alcohol, feathers, lubricants and various vibrating utensils).

Where was I? Oh, yes. Limits.

Whenever I discuss sex with one of my Holy Terror friends, I usually proclaim that whatever consenting adults do in their own bedroom (or living room, or kitchen, or back porch), is their own damn business and nobody else’s. My Holy Terror friend usually responds with, “So you approve of outrageous things such as child molestations, incest, and all manner of other depravities, do you?”

And I always say, “No. I said, ‘whatever CONSENTING ADULTS’ want to do is their own damn business. A child, by definition, is not an adult. A rape victim, by definition, does not consent.”

It all comes down to free will.

When a person has reached the stage of physical and emotional maturity to which he or she is presumed to know what the hell he or she is doing and to be aware of the consequences of his or her actions, as far as I’m concerned he or she is free to do whatever the hell he or she wants, with whomever he or she wants, wherever he or she wants, with whatever toys, tools, equipment, or other hardware might be available, so long as he, she, and/or they make the CHOICE to do so.

That’s where I have problems with A Man And A Maid and other stories of that ilk. Before the willing co-conspirator embraces his or her depravity, he or she starts out as a helpless victim, and it’s just too much of a suspension of credibility for me to believe that the victim just had to be (forcibly) exposed to his or her own deviant nature and all that non-consentual stuff is just water under the bridge.

For me, the erotica is just so much more entertaining and arousing to consider that both (or all) the participants are and have been willing and enthusiastic from the very beginning. That’s not to say that seductions aren’t fun, either. The thrill of the chase can be intoxicating as well, getting from “Dream on” to “Well, maybe” to “Yes” to “Yes, yes, yes, OH GOD, YES!!!!” But there’s a difference between seductions and forcing oneself upon another. The first involves skillful and subtle persuasions and the other involves…well…forcing oneself upon an unwilling participant.

On a larger scale, one of the things that sticks in my craw about the Holy Terrors and their War On Whoopie is their complete and total determination to remove the idea of free will from the bedrooms of Americans. No Women’s choice. No birth control, no porn, no sex education, no freedom of sexual orientation, no options whatsoever other than man-on-top, within-the bounds-of matrimony, only-for-procreation type sex.

The Holy Terrors’ obsession with removing free will has become such an obsession that as Californians have debated this election cycle about whether to re-prohibit gay marriage by passing Proposition 8, most of the pro-homophobia lobby has come from none other than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The LDS Church has sunk millions of dollars into advertising in support of Proposition 8, (a ‘yes’ vote would repeal the judicial decision allowing gay marriage), and has taken such an explicit position that the Church’s own website states, “As the Proposition 8 campaign in support of traditional marriage enters its last two weeks, the Protect Marriage Coalition is encouraging its members to make phone calls in support of the measure. The Church is participating with the Coalition in support of this endeavor.”

Keeping in mind the fact that the LDS Church’s headquarters is based in Utah, it’s mind-boggling to think that these sanctimonious assholes are so steeped in their own self-righteousness that they feel compelled to deprive consenting adults two states over of the free will to which they’re presumably entitled.

The kicker is that most religious faiths place a great premium upon the notion of free will and the matter of choosing to follow a particular creed and/or paying the consequences of one’s actions. Eve chose to taste the forbidden fruit. Pandora chose to open the box releasing the world’s ills upon mankind. Prince Gautama chose to leave his kingdom of privilege to understand the nature of suffering and to eventually become the Buddha. The LDS Church especially makes a big deal of allowing people to choose their own path to salvation, or in fact to another path that leads, not to salvation as defined by others, but rather toward the idea that one’s own choices belong to oneself.

It’s as if the Holy Terrors have the rest of us bound and chained, naked, expecting to break us down, not with your usual depravities, but with the concept that some musty old book gives them the right to stifle our own free will, our own choices, our own preferences, so that we’ll eventually be overcome and will gladly embrace their way of thinking.

And I’d thought A Man And A Maid was outlandish fiction.

J.T. Benjamin
jtbenjamin.blogspot
November 2008


Get All Worked Up with J.T. Benjamin in ERWA 2008 Archive.

______
"All Worked Up" © 2008 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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'08 Movie Reviews

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'08 Book Reviews

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