Thursday, November 1, 2007

Extreme Erotic Fantasies

Kristina Lloyd
As my tongue swirls around Tyler’s clit, her hips begin to wiggle slowly.

Janine gave them one of her come-on smiles accompanied by a ‘fuck you’ sign.

Mistress Shanna ran an upscale pain salon. Perfumed candles flickered in sconces.


Hey, did someone write a book about us?

Fortunately not - or not that we know of. The names are from Polly Frost’s short story collection – Deep Inside: Extreme Erotic Fantasies – and it’s just one of those coincidences I can’t help liking. Deep Inside is a smartly written, wildly imaginative, mad crazy mix of supernatural smut, sass and comedy. Serial killers, viagra addicts, highschool vamps and tentacled aliens fill its pages, and the humour is droll and dark.

Can sex and laughter work? Polly reckons it can and she’s here today to tell us why and how she takes her smut with a smile.


*

I like to write around in a variety of genres, and I’m impressed and amazed by writers who are monogamous with a genre. Nothing against it but, as for me, I’m a genre slut!

Deep Inside is a mix of my favorite supernatural genres, taken to the erotic edge. I like to think that the stories are also funny and satirical, with more than a touch of black comedy in them. Come to think of it, the only constant element in my erotic fiction is comedy. Comedy is how I began as a writer, and moving into erotic fiction seemed like a natural extension of that. Why? For one thing, I don’t find anyone sexy who doesn’t have a sense of humor, especially about sex.

Also, if you live in the U. S. -- I mean, need I say more about how badly we need to satirize how crazily conflicted this country is about sex?

In writing the stories in Deep Inside, the one thing I wasn’t trying to do was confine myself to erotica. I love purely erotic fiction, but that genre slut in me just had to get out and play! So in addition to erotica, I was influenced by films, manga, anime, graphic novels, hard-boiled fiction, and even some heavy metal, as much as by the fiction we usually think of when we think of erotica.

In fact, I was probably more inspired by erotic movies than erotic literature. A short list of movies that have pressed my buttons: almost anything by David Cronenberg, Roger Vadim’s Barbarella, David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, Francois Ozon’s Swimming Pool, Black Widow, Basic Instinct, and the Wachowski Brothers’ Bound. As well as, of course, many of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies, such as North by Northwest and Vertigo.

What? You don’t think of Vertigo as an erotic thriller? Not even when James Stewart puts that sweater on Kim Novak? Sure got me hot!

This may just be in the humor writer in me speaking, but it seems to me that the element these films all have in common -- in addition to turning me on, of course -- is that they’re all essentially comedies. It often seems that the best erotic and suspense works have an underlying humor and wit in them. A malicious one, of course, but isn’t that part of the fun?

I tried to bring that kind of wit and humor to the supernatural-erotica genre in the stories I wrote for Deep Inside. It’s very gratifying that audiences have responded so well and have seen the connections between humor, suspense, and sex. One guy who certainly got it was the porn star Ron Jeremy, who wrote ‘I found this book difficult to read because the blood kept leaving my brain and entering my penis’. And you can believe we used that blurb on the book jacket!

Many women have written me fan letters too, or have come up to me after readings to tell me how relieved they are to be able to laugh and feel arousal at the same time. Let’s hear it for rowdy women! The people who don’t go for it are interesting, too. The one I found most striking was a woman who wrote she was upset that the stories had characters in them who got off on killing people. She was really furious about this.

I think it’s healthy to give ourselves permission to enjoy extreme fantasies. Caveat: Of course, I don’t condone certain fantasies at all: underage sex, nonconsensual rape, hurting animals... But other than that, if you can’t allow yourself to enjoy the deliciousness of a fantasy, then perhaps you’re fighting something. Perhaps you have something in you that disturbs you and that is distorting your behavior. Why not enjoy it in fantasy instead? I’m not the first person to point to the Japanese, who are famous for enjoying erotic and violent manga on the subway to work, and who then get off that subway and do their job. They have a lower rate of violence than America does.

When I calm down, of course, what strikes me is: This is all great material for comedy!

Now, there's certainly a lot of deadly earnest erotic fiction that’s pretty damn hot -- the recent 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Melissa P. comes to mind. And my husband can’t get enough of those slim, perfect, serioso, Euro-erotic novellas that seem to be published regularly. He keeps telling me to keep a straight face while he reads passages from them out loud.

I’m trying, really I am!


Visit Polly’s website to find out more about her, and her weird and wonderful erotic fiction, plays, comics and cartoons.

Polly’s giving away two signed copies of Deep Inside plus a ‘Dangerously Oversexed’ T-shirt. Yup, that's right: a Dangerously Oversexed tee! Add a comment to enter.

And once teeny tiny reminder from Mathilde Madden. If you weren't here yesterday - don't forget to nip down one post and enter our huge paranormal comp by telling us why you love Lust Bites.

33 comments:

Just Craig said...

Let’s hear it for rowdy women!

Hear, hear!

Loved this post. Thanks Polly and Kristina. The book sounds amazing. Great, sexy cover too.

I couldn't agree more about the twist of comedy in suspense and erotica, but the twist needs to be handled in proper measure. Suspense, Sex and Comedy, properly measured, blend like a perfectly balanced stir fry.

And I couldn't agree more about the sexiness of Hitchcock movies. For my taste, the undercurrent of sex in Rear Window is one of a kind.

Craig

Eloise said...

More rowdy women, mmmm, please!

The only problem I have with comedy in erotica is the same one I have with comedy in any other situation: it's such a personal thing.

I certainly laugh, but very few comedians make me laugh, comedy in a book almost never. You're adding an extra reason not to like the writing to my mind, but kudos to you for being brave enough to do it.

All that said, yes, sex is frequently ridiculous, and being able to laugh about it together really useful and attractive - it's nice to know of someone that tries to write about it too.

Polly Frost said...

Hi Eloise,

That's too bad about very few comedians making you laugh. I would love to know if there is any comedian who both makes you laugh -- and turns you on?

Polly Frost said...

Thank you, Craig. I agree with you about handling the twist of comedy in the right way. And I agree with you about Rear Window! One of the many things that makes me stand in awe of that movie is Hitchcock's comic use of Grace Kelly's icy perfection is sublime. Have you read book of conversations between Truffaut and Hitchcock? I loved what Hitchcock said about his fascination with cool blonds. I don't have the book with me, so I'm paraphrasing (badly I'm sure), but basically he found them hot because they would be very chilly then reach in your pants.

Just Craig said...

I haven't read that, Polly. Sounds like great stuff. You can certainly see that effect in how he casted most of his movies, to some extent even going back to his early silent films.

I agree with your comment on Kelly in Rear Window, and that's what really glues the movie together. I'm not a huge Grace Kelly fan in general, but she always played well in Hitchcock's films.

Well, unfortunately, I have to be sequestered into my nine to five job, but I look forward to reading the continuing conversations on this great topic later.

Craig

Anne said...

I'll echo just_craig by adding, Let's hear it for genre sluts! Especially rowdy genre sluts who love pushing limits. That's why we're all here, isn't it, in one way or another -- to explore what lies beyond the borders of the ordinary?

I didn't start out as a genre slut, but over time, I've come to appreciate the creative freedom that genre fiction offers, especially when it's blended with a heavy dose of sexuality. The tropes of horror, comedy, romance, detective fiction, etc., while they might seem confining at first glance, actually provide a playground where the imagination can push all kinds of limits. Those tropes and really toys that we can bend and twist and pound to our hearts' content, as Polly has done.

And I totally agree about Hitchcock. My favorite "kinky" Hitchcock movie is Shadow of a Doubt, where Joseph Cotton plays the sexy, sinister uncle from out of town, luring his naive but spunky niece into a dark and seamy underworld . . . .

Great interview -- thank you, Kristina and Polly. ge

kristina lloyd said...

I love sexy and funny but it has to be the right sort of funny. Slapstick and comical sex don't do it for me but wit, wryness and understatement work a treat.

A lot of the humour in Polly's book is in the writing, in smart dialogue and in situations which become increasingly surreal or weird. It's great!

And at the risk of turning this into an 'I love Hitch' post, Rope is one of my all time favourite films. It's so dark and tense, and is simmering with homoeroticism. I love it.

Polly Frost said...

Anne--

Great to meet another genre slut! That's a wonderful way of putting it, they are playgrounds. Do you also feel, as I do, that you're able to express more through genres? I think the great genre writers give us more perceptive visions of our world than the so-called literary ones do.

Kristina--

I love Rope! And thank you for your nice comments about the comedy in my book!

One writer who gets the sex and comedy connection is Junichiro Tanizaki. I recommend his book, Naomi, which is malicious and delicious, and his short story The Tattooer, which is beautifully twisted.

Janine Ashbless said...

Polly - this book sounds great. I wish I was eligible for the comp! Of course if Eloise won a copy I could beg to borrow it...

A good comedian is sexy because he/she is showing how clever they are, and intellect is a huge turn-on for me.

Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Polly, your writing sounds like a lot of fun. I wonder what were the significant influences you had growing up as writer? What writers did you look up to and admire?

Polly Frost said...

Karl--

Thank you! To answer your question about influences -- just a few off the top of my head:

Raymond Chandler, Daphne Du Maurier, Donald Westlake, Junichiro Tanizaki, Harold Robbins, Jacqueline Susann, Doestoevsky, James Thurber, Woody Allen, Philip K. Dick, Judith Krantz, Ira Levin, Alice Munro, Terry Southern, Charles Bukowski, Poe, David Goodis, James M. Cain.

And I'd love to hear about influences on some of the erotica writers who visit this blog!

Polly Frost said...

This is a blast! I've got to leave for a few hours -- MacMillan is producing an audio edition of "Deep Inside" this week. This morning, Alison Fraser, an amazing and amazingly hot NYC actress (and a two time Tony nominee) will be recording a story. I'm excited about this! It's not just an audio book for me -- I wrote the stories originally as monologues to be read by actors. Plus I'm thrilled to be able to bring smutty comedy to commuters stuck in traffic!

I'll be back early this afternoon and look forward talking about erotica, genre busting and comedy!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Humor is a biggie for me. I aspire to a certain type of dry, gentle wit in my writing, and I would cite authors like P. G. Wodehouse and E. F. Benson among my influences. (Though I have to make my standard disclaimer: I deplore the misogyny that I think is implicit in Wodehouse's patterns of female character depiction!)

t'Sade said...

I always have a place for drawn art... and tentacles. That picture is was just perfect. :)

Kate Pearce said...

What a very interesting post.

I love the idea of using humor with erotica, but I find it difficult to do without getting into the whole subtle irony, biting sarcasm/wit, piss taking, of pure British dialogue. Not sure if that ends up being funny or dark :)

I do,however write in several different sub-genres, and can appreciate that desire to try out new and different things!

Ally said...

Thank you Polly and KL,
Great post. I love comedy anywhere and if you can pull it off while I get off even better!

I can write erotic and my novel has so many cross genres in it that I haven't figured out what to classify it as.

I can also write standup comedy and add wit to most things I do or say. Yet I had a hard time throwing in a bit of humor. I am using more humor in what I am working on now, but it is very subtle, mostly just humorous flirting and suggestive overtones.

Any suggestions on how to work in more, give it a more defined atmosphere?

angell said...

Great post!!

Wish I was dangerously oversexed, but alas, I am severely UNDERsexed.

*sigh*

I knew monogamy was a mistake...

Alison Tyler said...

Damn, I can't believe we're giving away a t-shirt and I can't qualify! Thanks for visiting Lust Bites, Polly - and ta very much, Kristina, for hosting such an interesting discussion!

XXX,
AT

tetewa said...

I love humor my favorite comedian is Dane Cook, he is hilarious.

jeri_feaster said...

Hi, Just discovered your blog and I love it already. I have never read the kind of fiction in your prize pack, but my interest is piqued.

Polly Frost said...

Hi, Polly here--

Thank you all for such great comments. I'm just back from the recording studios where MacMillan is recording the "Deep Inside" stories for an audio edition. Today Alison Fraser read three stories. She's just incredible. There's nothing like hearing hot actors read your erotica!

Jeremy--

I love Wodehouse and Benson! I'm fascinated by what you write about Wodehouse's misogyny. I find his female characters hilarious, very memorable and very strong. But then I'm a woman who loves Strindberg and laughs through his plays.

T'sade--

I agree with you about tentacle art. Have you ever seen the Japanese anime film Legend of The Overfiend? It's a must for lovers of tentacles!

Kate--

I know what you mean about irony. It is tricky. It's why I'm grateful to brilliant actors like Alison Fraser. One of the stories she read today from Deep Inside is a black comedy, and the main character would is spoiled and really rather evil! But Alison got inside her and made even me, as the writer, feel more sympathy for her and admiration for her sex drive than I ever had while writing her. She made my humor work in it.

And subgenres rock!

Madeline Moore said...

Terrific post - and comments. I deplore the idea that humour and erotica don't mix. They do in real life, so why not in erotica? wit, at least, is part of the dance that precedes the act...

One of the things i try to do in my erotica is have characters persevere even if things go awry as they try to get it on. My point is that everything doesn't have to be and stay perfect in order for sex to happen. You just have to be able to go with the flow a little bit.

This ia a great post idea Kristina. Polly, welcome to Lust Bites - do come again!

Jeremy Edwards said...

I'm fascinated by what you write about Wodehouse's misogyny. I find his female characters hilarious, very memorable and very strong.

They're certainly great characters. But after reading a bunch of his novels in a row and noticing that the sympathetically-portrayed male protagonists are consistently living in terror of the various women who orchestrate and complicate their lives, I began to think that the guy had some issues.

That's just my take on it, of course—and I probably shouldn't go around smearing his name like I did (especially since he's one of my favorite writers).

t'Sade said...

Polly: Oh, Overfiend is a really good one for those. I have about 40-50 DVD's filled with tentacle goodness. Its one of my favorite topics both watching and writing (my Bathhouse series for example).

Polly Frost said...

Ally--

Your novel sounds great! And personally, I think it's fantastic training for any fiction writer to do some form of performance, don't you? I think it teaches a writer so much about reaching an audience, and about writing dramatically, which is what genre fiction is about.

I admire you for doing stand up!

I can understand why it would be harder to move comedy into writing. I think it's because you were used to the response from your audience. My suggestion -- and please feel free to ignore it if it doesn't work for you! -- is to start doing readings. I think you'll find that the audience response will both inspire you and tell you where/how you need to shape the humor in your novel.

I think it's hard to write comedy without having that feedback.

Angell--

That's hilarious about feeling "Dangerously Undersexed!" Maybe I need to make that t-shirt, too.

Alison--

Thank you for giving me the chance to post here. I'm a huge admirer of your books, and this has been a blast!

Michael Blowhard said...

Humor, sex, tentacles, Wodehouse -- now this is what I call a good blog conversation. Looking forward to many more such mash-ups. Is it OK to call this a mash-up, by the way?

Polly (well, everyone really) -- What are your feelings and thoughts about short vs. long? I mean, in terms of fiction-length? I love erotica, I love humor ... Love novels too, of course. But I'm lovin' short fiction more and more. Lives are chopped-up, time is scarce ... But really, most of the time I feel like, if a writer can't make her point in 20-50 pages, please, spare me. Of course a well-sustained long piece of fiction is a marvel, especially a sexy one. But why should that be the standard thing?

Anyway, curious to hear your thoughts about this. And do you suppose erotica writers feel differently about their fiction (and its length) than mainstream fiction writers do?

Cheers, great job, loving reading all this.

Janine Ashbless said...

Michael - my take is that if you want a wank, you need a short story. If you're looking for emotional involvement - i.e. erotic romance then the novel is the better format.
I love writing both.

Anonymous said...

Love the discussion and the Blog today (as always) but it's Jeremy and Woodhouse that lure me out of lurkdom today. Admittedly some of his women are frightful, but except for Jeeves, he's not that much kinder to the men, is he? At any rate, they all make me laugh, especially in the audio versions that have made my commute so bearable. You can listen to them in the worst of traffic but they don't cause driveway moments because there's no problem picking them up again. Not very erotic, tho.

Now, listening to Polly's stories could make it hard to go into the building.

Curious

Polly Frost said...

Tetewa--

Thank you for the tip about Dane Cook. Is it better to hear him live? And your comment brings up a thought: how many comedians today really talk about sex? And are sexy? OK, this is admittedly going back to way before all our times, but what female comedian today is in the Mae West tradition? I love stand up, but sometimes I wish it hadn't gotten so PG-13. I read about Lenny Bruce and I think, yeah! Or even early Woody Allen. Too many comedians today just riff on tv for my taste. I feel like telling them, ok, go get your tv show and stop talking about tv! Make jokes about life, about sex.

Jeri--

Thank you for stopping by. I'm thrilled to be a guest here today, and you can't do better than to read Black Lace, Cheek and Cleis books and the writers who run this blog!

Madeline--

I love it when you say "everything doesn't have to be and stay perfect in order for sex to happen. You just have to be able to go with the flow a little bit." Sometimes I'll get a reader writing me and complaining that my erotica isn't a perfect fantasy.

Michael Blowhard--

First, I really love your posting today on Bettie Page here.
I love what you write about the lack of respect for contributions like hers to popular culture.

Second, I like both short and long erotic fiction. I like what Janine says about the difference between the two.

I think that writing a short story is like having a short affair or one night stand. But you have to be committed to a novel.

Stacy S said...

I love reading a good book with sex and humor in it.

Polly Frost said...

Anonymous--

Is there a particular audio edition of Wodehouse you'd recommend?

I do think his comedy makes you feel so happy that it puts you in the mood for sex. And isn't that why teenagers out on dates love movie comedies (as well as horror movies), because laughing is such a turn on?

Stacy--

I agree! Please let me know if there are any you recommend.

Anonymous said...

Polly,
I pretty much listen to whatever Wodehouse I can find serendipitously at my library. I just went online to see what version they are and it looks like most of them are read by Jonathan Cecil and some by Alexander Spencer.

Rowdily yours,

Curious

Polly Frost said...

Anonymous--

Thank you for letting me know about Jonathan Cecil and ALexander Spencer.