How Erotica Helped Me Discover My Sexuality

by | May 25, 2021 | General | 7 comments

Way back in high school, during one of those brief minutes between one class and the next, I was sitting  at my desk thinking about nothing when some of my friends started laughing and passing around a piece of paper. Now, being a typical teenager, I wanted to know what was so funny, so they passed me the paper.

On it was a short paragraph, no more than four or five lines, about two men having sex with each other and the moment I read it, two things happened. One, I instantly became aroused and two, I instantly had to hide this fact from my friends who continued to laugh and say that the story was gross. I remember mumbling that I thought it was too before handing it back. But I also asked who wrote it, while simultaneously scanning the classroom to see who it might have been.

No one knew.

Now, I’m sure some of you are wondering why I did not simply flaunt my erection in front of my friends. The reason being that long before this day happened I had been taught three cardinal ‘rules’ at that vaunted institution of extracurricular learning otherwise known as…The Playground.

1.      Stay away from all gay men because they’re all dirty kid touchers.

2.      There are no such things as lesbians. Those are just women who’ve never had their ashes hauled properly.

3.      There are no such things as bisexuals. Those are just folks trying to be greedy.

(I also learned a fourth rule to never flaunt your erection under any circumstances, but that is another story.)

It may surprise some of you to learn that I went to Catholic school from kindergarten to 8th grade and learned that we Catholics tend to be a heavy-handed people. We know guilt on a molecular level. It is written into every prayer we say and despite however distant we may feel from our faith, the fact remains that one cannot spend so many formative years swimming in the same waters without swallowing some of the lake.

However, as I have gotten older, and with the more that I have written, the more I have found that it is not just my characters who are unwilling to stay within the roles prescribed to them. In my most recent story “I’m Her,” which will be appearing in Cleis Press’ Coming Soon: Women’s Orgasm Erotica anthology on 7/13/21 (shameless plug), the main character is a woman with neither the time nor the inclination to explain her needs to anyone. As a divorced mother of two, all she wants, all she needs, is a round of impersonal, anonymous, wall-shaking sex. (If you wish to know whether or not she gets it…BUY THE DAMN BOOK.)

It was by writing this story, and many others like it, that I began to accept not just the fantasies, but the needs that I have lived with all my life. Erotica not only helped me cut my teeth as a writer, it helped me grow as a person. It even helped me come out as bisexual to both my wife and my mother, which was the most frightening thing I have ever done. Full stop. I did it because I knew that not talking about it was no way to go on living and because I wanted to be a good role model for my daughter.

There were tears, of course, I won’t lie. My wife feared she wasn’t enough for me. My mother was abjectly terrified I would leave my wife and daughter.  It took time to calm them down. To reassure them that I loved my wife and  daughter and that my feelings for them had not changed. Eventually this sunk in and several days later, my wife turned to me and said that I was a great father and a great husband and that was all that mattered.

In the end, coming out as bisexual did not break me, but it did leave me with more questions than answers. Why did opening up about my sexuality somehow also open up my integrity? How could they believe that I would tear apart my family? Why is there a part of me that is still angry about this? I don’t have answers to these questions but I do know where to go from here.

My mother, though also accepting of my sexuality, went on to advise that I should keep it to myself. That it isn’t anyone else’s business but my own, and to an extent, she’s right. I will never tell my father about this, nor my brother. Both have been making gay jokes for as long as I can remember and neither conversation will end well, I assure you. However, if there is one thing I know, it’s that my problems get better when I write them down. They become less numerous, more manageable. I can get a better grip on them when I put pen to paper.

Please don’t misunderstand. This is in no way a call to arms, nor is it a treatise on how life is better outside the closet than in. Do what is best for you. Let me say that again. DO WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU. Your sexuality is your sexuality. If you want to shout it from the rooftops, you be my guest. If you want to live with it quietly, your way, then more power to you.

But this post right here, isn’t for anyone else but me. It’s my way of saying (with a small apology to my mother) that I’m going to be writing this one down. It is not the scariest thing I have ever done, but it is up there. All I ask is that you please be gentle with me. After all…this is my first time.

Henry Corrigan

I want to write every kind of story. I know this sounds kind of pretentious but screw it, I'm going for it. I've always been an avid reader and started writing poetry in early grammar school. I think there are a lot of people who will say that they wanted to be Stephen King at one time or another, and the same holds true for me. I wanted to be Stephen King, Anne Rice, Ray Bradbury and Rod Serling, but it was in erotica where I really learned the mechanics of writing. What started out as private stories and love letters, soon became publications in anthologies, the most recent of which being Cleis Press' Coming Soon: Women's Orgasm Erotica, which is due out 7/13/21 ( To date, I have self-published a novella, Carnal Theory, and written one full length dark fiction novel that I am currently shopping around. I have the rough drafts of two science fiction books, one horror novella, one play, four children's books, an I-don't-know-how-many number of poems and several song lyrics. I meant what I said at the very beginning. I want to write every kind of story. (Except maybe westerns. I can't watch two men stare at each other for ten minutes without screaming "Somebody shoot somebody already!") I want to be known for not staying where I've been put. I want to always surprise people, especially myself. Because that's what makes it fun for me. The feeling that even I don't know what I'm going to do next.


  1. Lisabet Sarai

    Hello, Henry!

    Thank you for a wonderful maiden — or perhaps I should say, virgin — ERWA blog post!

    I think that writing erotica is a really healthy activity, from an emotional and psychological perspective. It broadens your perspectives as well as stimulating your imagination.

    You were very brave to tell your wife and mother you’re also attracted to men. Personally, I’ve never understood why people get so bent out of shape by this sort of thing; I think maybe it’s fear. Indeed, your wife’s fear that you were rejecting her is a perfect example. But I think many people also reject non-straight desire because they fear the unknown.

    I’m so glad you’ve joined the blog, and added your voice.

    • Henry Corrigan

      Thank you so much, Lisabet! It has been a wonderful, virginal experience 🙂 I wholeheartedly agree with you that writing erotica is healthy for the mind, body and soul. I also agree that many people reject non-straight desire out of fear of the unknown but it seems like the conversation around that is changing (for the better I hope, at least). The more I look the more I see people embracing who they are despite whatever backlash they may experience, which gives me hope for the future and the world that my daughter will grow up in. I am really glad I threw my hat in the ring for this blog. Thank you again for making me feel so welcome.

      • Jean Roberta

        Welcome from me too, Henry. Writing erotica, and writing non-fiction ABOUT writing erotica, never gets old, IMO. There is so much to say about the things that most of us were discouraged from thinking about when we were growing up. Even “straight” sex and sexual desire aren’t really respectable. (Some of my students in first-year university English classes object to any mention of sex in the literature they have to study. Too bad, I say. It’s part of life.) I hope you’ll enjoy contributing to this blog for many months to come.

        • Henry Corrigan

          Thank you so much for the warm welcome, Jean. It really means a lot to me. I hear you about the respectability of even straight sex in fiction because to me, the absence of it (where all description just stops at the bedroom door) just seemed like a lack of bravery on the part of the author. Whether you want it all the time, or you never think about it at all, you’re going to have a conversation about sex at some point, so skipping over it doesn’t do anybody any good. I hope to be here for as many months to come as possible Jean. Thank you again for making me feel so welcome.

  2. Rose

    Hi, Henry,

    What a splendid first post both in style and content. [Tosses confetti and toots a horn for an eminently successful “maiden” voyage.]

    I’m lucky that my first and only association with the Catholic church was that I was christened in one. Thereafter, we moved to the suburbs and there was no Catholic church within walking distance (we didn’t have a car and I was just a toddler, and my sister was only six), so my parents started attending what is probably the most liberal of churches, the United Church of Canada, pretty much the antithesis of dogmatic. (At least, that was my experience. Others’ mileage may vary.)

    Even as early as junior high, I couldn’t find it in myself to knock anyone else’s sexual orientation/identity and/or their proclivities. I recall we had a teacher and drama coach, who was purported to be gay, and my response to being told this was, “So what?” Seriously, he was a good teacher, an excellent drama coach, had a terrific, encouraging manner, and a winning personality; what else mattered? As I aged, I comprehend even less how so many people somehow feel *threatened* by other people’s sexual orientation/identity and/or proclivities. In my opinion, anything goes between consenting adults. I feel considerably more threatened by narrow-minded people, who are prone to using irrationality, emotional manipulation, coercion, anger, and violence to map their roads through life.

    But I get your reticence throughout your earlier life. I can’t say I went around volunteering the information, to all and sundry, that I was more than just a little kinky. Not that it was any of their business, but in one-on-one relationships, it was problematic. Reveal the kink and risk losing the object of one’s affection, or keep quiet about it and indulge the proclivities in private with fantasies and a few props kept hidden in the underwear drawer. Got lucky again, though, and met someone who “got” it, then spent the next 42 years with him. An understanding and supportive partner/spouse is worth more than all other fortunes in this world and any other.

    Sorry to ramble on, but I would just add that erotica, both reading and writing it, opens up so many doors to understanding oneself and others, too.

    Thank you for your excellent post.

    Rose 😉

  3. Tig

    Fantastic first blog! It’s always so interesting to see what other people’s experiences have been. I’m so glad your statement was accepted by those so close to you, even if it took time.

  4. Shwldon

    Hey Henry reading your post reminds me of what I experienced as a kid with my First erection, but, sexuality is a huge horizon and I discovered that I am bisexual or leaning more towards being gay. I have had some experiences, and thought of writing exótica to deal with or help me along this journey.
    I am still exploring and identifying my sexuality because I’m torn between identifying who I am sexually and the guilty of going with that and more.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


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