Please, Sir, Can You Spare An Ounce of Desire?

by | February 24, 2014 | General | 8 comments

I haven’t written much erotica lately. I’m generally a private person, plus I was raised in an emotionally repressive family, so admitting publicly to any weakness is extremely difficult for me. But I’ll admit that personal stress is just about killing me. I know other writers who are going through much worse times now, so I feel a bit like a whiner even mentioning the death in the family, the company I worked at for so many years closing its doors, a bit of a health scare, and other family drama on top of all that.

Misery isn’t a contest. We’re all winners at this race to unhappiness, and at the same time, things could always be worse. That’s what keeps you up late at night, tossing and turning. It’s the great monster that eats up the hours of darkness and makes you watch them disappear with eyes wide open– that things could always be worse. And you have imagined every possible variation on worse, haven’t you?

Sometimes, don’t you wish you could hang a sign around your neck that says, “I’m really fragile right now. Please be gentle with me.” So that when you start daydreaming at a traffic light about the list of things you must do that you’ve never done before and start panicking a little about ‘how on earth am I going to take care of this’ and don’t see it turn green that the person right behind you wouldn’t sit on their horn. Or that you didn’t feel such crushing shame for breaking into tears because some little frustration like the market carts being stuck together overwhelmed you?And wouldn’t it be nice if the entire world would just pause while you deal with your troubles so that you don’t have to run to catch up later?

So many things can stop your ability to write. It doesn’t have to be extreme grief or one of you worst fears coming true. Things can be going great and you can still be blocked. The stories, they’re always with you. The technical skills, the craft of writing, that’s in your muscle memory now. But the desire to write? That’s the thing that eludes us when we’re blocked.

It may be worse for erotic writers because how do you write passion and desire when you don’t have any? My emotions have practically flatlined from the strain at this point. I cant summon it no matter how hard I try. So if your writing portfolio is fat and sassy right now, if seduction twinkles from your fingers like rubies from a maharajah’s rings, and you pass me on the street looking dispirited and unstoried, spare an ounce of desire for me, won’t you? Because I’m tapped out.

Kathleen Bradean

Kathleen Bradean’s stories can be found in The Best Women’s Erotica 2007, Haunted Hearths, Garden of the Perverse, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6, and She’s On Top in print. Clean Sheets and The Erotica Readers and Writer’s Association websites have also featured her stories. Writing as Jay Lygon, her stories can be found in Inside Him, Blue Collar Taste Tests, Toy Box: Floggers, and the novels Chaos Magic, Love Runes, and Personal Demons. Read more about Kathleen Bradean at:


  1. minamurray

    Your post struck such a chord with me I felt like I just had to comment. Because this happens to me, too. I understand, I really do, those times when your heart and your mind and your body feel separate and disconnected. I too find it almost impossible to write erotica when I'm under intense personal (and especially familial) stress. There've been times I haven't written for months, and they usually coincide when I feel disconnected from my body, when I'm going through so much that pleasure seems like a luxury. But when I eventually feel present in my body again, the creative urge comes back too. Speaking from my own experience (which is nowhere near as stressful as what you must be going through) sometimes you just need to let it all go, and actively give yourself permission not to write. To trust that the words will come back to you when you're ready for them, to just take the time to nourish yourself in other ways – whether it's watching a movie by yourself, or even just finding a small pocket of time to sit in a quiet room of your house while everyone else is asleep and no-one can ask anything of you – and not to see your writing as something else you're failing at. Be kind to yourself, I guess is what I want to say. I hope things feel better soon.

    • Kathleen Bradean

      Thank you for the kind words. I think you're right. Eventually, everything will come back into alignment. Feeling present in my body is such a great way to put it.

  2. Jo

    Ah, I know just what you mean – and only because of basic depression, not because of crisis or specific stress. Which is awful? I was just thinking about the same thing yesterday, why can this not fuel the writing process. But it doesn't. It saps it.

    Let it go, for now, put your energies into resolving the other things. Writing will be waiting, when you're ready.

    • Kathleen Bradean

      Basic depression is an insidious thing, and I think sometimes the guilt is worse because you think things like "I have no excuse to be this down." Only you do, because you're suffering from depression. A chronic illness, not a character flaw.

  3. Lisabet Sarai

    Kathleen, my heart aches for you. Give yourself permission to feel horrible. As you note, everyone has those periods in life, when the world throws lemons at you so fast you can't dodge them, let alone make lemonade.

    How your particular problems stack up against someone else's is not the issue. Grief, pain and frustration is as much a part of life as is joy, Emotions cannot be precisely measured.

    "The stories, they're always with you. The technical skills, the craft of writing, that's in your muscle memory now. " This is the truth. Let it offer you a grain of comfort. One can't force desire. However, it will return. And when it does, you'll be ready.

    Big hugs,

    P.S. Note that even in the depths, you met your commitment to the blog – with a post that I think will resonate with everyone.

    • Kathleen Bradean

      Being classic me, I'm already really regretting writing this piece. So I hope it resonates with others, especially a couple other writers in our community who I know are going through much more difficult times than I am.

  4. Jean Roberta

    Lisabet has it right, Kathleen. This post resonates with other writers. And the wit in your piece about having no sexual spark actually shows that your creativity hasn't left you. I can't imagine you giving up writing — or erotic writing — for the rest of your life. The inspiration will return.

    • Kathleen Bradean

      Jean, you're always such dear to me. I haven't given up on writing. I just wish I could summon that spark again. But I've gone through non-creative phases before, so I never believe it's gone for good. (and now I'm picturing myself putting on my reading glasses and seeing it was right there in front of me the whole time)

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