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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

Get All Worked Up About Lust
by J.T. Benjamin



J.T. BenjaminStop me if you’ve heard this one.

A French politician hears a knock on his front door. He opens the door to find a reporter standing there, with a cameraman. The reporter thrusts a handful of photographs a the politician and says, “We have pictures of you having sex with a woman who is not your wife! Here iz ze evidence! Do you have anyzing to say?”

The French politician looks through the photos and says, “Oui, I’ll take one of zeze pictures and two of zeze pictures, and an eight-by-ten of zis one…”

Once again, the rest of the world stands in awe as an affair (no pun intended) which is no big deal anywhere else in the world completely destroys the career of a U.S. politician, in this case that of Eliot Spitzer, now the ex-governor of New York. We’ve seen it all countless times; the somber press conference, the regretful admissions of indiscretions and betrayal, the stoic “stand-by-your-man” wife next to the guilty party, with a look of shame, humiliation, fury, and deer-in-the-headlights terror on her face.

Now, ostensibly, Spitzer’s problems weren’t actually about diddling a high-priced call girl; they were about misappropriation of public funds, padding expense accounts, transporting a woman across state lines for immoral purposes, and so on, but let’s be honest, this whole scandal was about sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, sex, SEX! Let’s face it. What’s been circling around the Internet since this scandal broke, copies of the Mann Act and Spitzer’s credit card statements, or photos of the aforementioned high-priced call girl?

The good news for Spitzer is that he’s got plenty of company at the next “Sexual Indiscretions Anonymous” meeting. In fact, they might have to bring in extra chairs. Senator Larry Craig, (R-ID), Senator David Vitter, (R-FL) Former Congressman Mark Foley, (R-FL), will gladly welcome Mr. Spitzer into the club, not to mention long-time members Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Bob Livingston, and of course, former President Clinton. Senator John McCain’s got a chair waiting, but he probably belongs more in the “inappropriate relationship with a lobbyist” club than the “inappropriate relationship with a woman not his wife” club.

For that matter, the whole group just might be getting another new member very, very soon. I just came across a news item that the mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick, is facing perjury charges stemming from …you guessed it…an illicit affair with a woman not his wife!

The bad news, for all of us, is that once again, it appears that lust is the only thing that really seems to get politicians into trouble. Consider the fact that the current occupant of the White House has presided over not one but two bungled wars, looked the other way while our brave soldiers have been under-supplied and over-extended, slipped money into the pockets of war profiteers and private contractors, green-lighted torture, extra-ordinary rendition, violation of habeas corpus and due process in general, incompetently managed the economy, terrorist threats and disaster relief efforts, obstructed justice and otherwise made a titanic mess of things it’ll take decades to repair. Nevertheless, President Bush is safe from impeachment since he never got a blow job in the Oval Office. THAT’S what’ll get you into trouble, by golly.

In fact, notwithstanding that I have no knowledge of the President’s eating habits, (and I’ll therefore give him a pass on gluttony), it’s safe to say that lust is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins (lust, gluttony, pride, envy, sloth, wrath and greed) of which it’s clear President Bush is NOT guilty of committing.

Hell, (and I know I’m dating myself, here), I remember back in 1976, in a Playboy magazine interview then-Presidential candidate Jimmy Carter got shit for admitting that he’d lusted IN HIS HEART for other women, not that he’d actually acted on that lust.

And while I’m thinking about it, I can’t help but wonder why Spitzer, a Democrat, was hounded out of office almost immediately, but Republicans like Craig, Vitter, and Gingrich are treated with kid gloves and are still gainfully employed. I wonder if an eighth sin, “hypocrisy” ought to be added to the canon.

But I digress.

So what’s so bad about lust? Specifically, what makes lust so much worse than other sins? I’m not talking about lustful actions that are obviously criminal, such as those which are considered rape or forcing sex. I’m talking about your garden variety, primal urge, everybody-has-it, consenting-adult-type that’s-a-nice-looking-piece-of-ass sexual desire that may but need not be associated with love. In other words, the sort of sexual desire that can get you into trouble.

The American Heritage Dictionary defines “lust” as either an “intense or unrestrained sexual craving,” or “an overwhelming desire or craving; an intense eagerness or enthusiasm.” The term actually goes all the way back to the Bible. For example, the Gospel of Mark Chapter 4, Verse 19 references “(A)nd the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” King David lusted after Bathsheba when he saw her naked on her rooftop, inducing him to have her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle so David would be free to claim her as his own.

In his book, The Seven Deadly Sins, Solomon Schimmel says that lust is the “unrestrained and unethical expression of the sexual impulse,” which is, when you think about it, an astonishingly unhelpful definition.

What makes an expression of the sexual impulse unethical? Dr. Schimmel, a professor of Jewish education and psychology at Hebrew College in Brookline Massachusetts, explains that “David, a brilliant and courageous leader, acted foolishly and cowardly, risking power and prestige, in order to satisfy his sexual urge. Lust is more powerful than shame, guilt, fear, prudence and gratitude. When we succumb to lust we can be blinded to our most blatant crimes…unrestrained sexual desire can corrupt even the best of men and lead to irrational, unethical behavior.”

Or, as put in Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, “Lust, the origin of sin, has its place in the heart, not of necessity, but because it is the center of all more forces and impulses and of spiritual activity.”

In other words, give in to lust and the door is opened to all manner of unnatural urges; it’s sort of a “gateway” sin, like the use of marijuana is supposed to lead to harder, more damaging drugs, or how watching one episode of Survivor will turn someone into a reality TV junkie.

While researching this column I read the last few paragraphs over and over, trying to make sense of them, but it wasn’t until I remembered one of my own experiences that the light dawned.

In every relationship, there comes a moment when a couple faces, headlong, the most momentous and challenging, and yes, inevitable confrontation, the sort of confrontation that literally shapes the future of the relationship.

For me, that moment came when my Lovely Wife found my porn stash.

Now, as porn stashes go, I confess there wasn’t much there that was terribly shocking. No barnyard animals or leather corsets or pierced genitalia. Pretty standard stuff, actually. In fact, in light of what’s often found on the Internet these days, it might even be considered rather boring.

Nevertheless, my Lovely Wife hit the roof. It took days for her to calm down enough for me to slink out from underneath the bed, and it was only after another few days of groveling that she explained to me what was so bad about something that every other man, everywhere, in every culture has hidden SOMEWHERE in the marital home.

“It’s not that you HAVE it,” my Lovely Wife said. “You’re a man. Of course you’ve got a porn stash. It’s that you HID it from me. If you keep secrets about something small like this, you’re probably keeping bigger, more important things secret, too.”

To this day, I’ve never met a man who understood the logic that hiding a porn stash means someone is hiding larger secrets, as well. For that matter, I’ve never met a woman who’s doubted the soundness of that logic. Maybe the understanding comes with that extra little wing of that second “X” chromosome.

But now, I get it. Sort of. Everyone has their lustful urges. It’s part of the nature of things. However, if one trains oneself to hide those urges or to indulge them in secret, one become skilled in subterfuge and it therefore becomes easier to be tempted to try larger deceits, not to mention larger sins, too. Maybe the big fear is that if ex-Governor Spitzer was ballsy enough to travel with a prostitute by train, and to pay her with his credit card, he was ballsy enough to try to gut the state treasury or invade New Jersey or something like that.

Conversely, since President Bush has never given in to the sin of lust, his various corruptions and incompetencies remain somehow pure and wholesome.

So, what’s the solution? How do we keep lust from destroying our lives? In my own experience, my Lovely Wife and I have found that the better course of action is not to fight it. It turns out she LIKES porn, as much as I do. (Well, almost as much. I really, really like porn). My Lovely Wife and I watch movies together, we talk about who’s hot and who’s not, she’s the harshest critic and biggest fan of my erotica, and our sex life is pretty damn good, all things considered. And we’ve never once broken our marriage vows.

This whole honesty and forthrightness thing might be the start of a trend. After Spitzer resigned in disgrace, and David Paterson, his lieutenant governor, took the oath of office replacing Spitzer, Paterson decided the best defense was a good offense, and ONE DAY after he became governor, Paterson admitted to having had several affairs with women during his marriage; he volunteered the information, he behaved like an adult, and the whole scandal seems to have died a-borning.

Sort of a preemptive mea culpa.

J.T. Benjamin
jtbenjamin.blogspot
April 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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