Thursday, June 14, 2007

Write Sex Week: Day Four

A week full of boy blogs really wouldn't be complete without a visit from one of our favourite erotica writers,Jeremy Edwards, who has kindly offered us not only a post but a naked picture.

Really, what more could a girl ask for?

Take it away, Senor Edwards:

Being a male erotica author, there are places I'm automatically
ineligible for publication. How do I feel about that?

Pretty good, actually.

Isn't it discriminatory?

Technically, maybe. But not really, in my opinion.

Isn't it unfair?

I don't think so, all things considered.

Here's how I see it: We live in a world in which women have been
second-class citizens--or worse--through most of history, in almost
every human society. To this day, women as a group are, to one extent
or another, subordinated by patriarchal societies virtually

For example, in the U.S. (where I reside), this translates into a
continuing wage gap between men and women; persisting double standards
regarding sexual freedom; and governmental policies that willfully and
viciously restrict access to birth control and sex education (and we
all know which sex that affects most severely).

And that's the mild form of subordination. In other parts of the
world, a woman can still be sentenced to death for actual or alleged
sexual activity, by governments wedded to misogynistic ideologies.
Now, those societies are not the places where erotica is being
published, and so they are not directly related to this discussion;
but I mention the grim fact of their existence simply as part of the
big picture of women's lives in twenty-first-century human society.

Bearing all of this in mind, I think, in our world, that it's very
understandable that some women, seeking autonomy and independence and
fulfillment, will insist on certain cultural spaces to call their own.
Places where the content is not only "for women," but also by
women. Places where women, and women alone, articulate their own
needs, their own concerns, their own problems, and their own

Nikki butts in: Articulating our fantasies? This calls for more naked men!

(The other Jeremy Edwards.)

And I think it's no surprise that the broad area of sexuality--from
the erotic arts to sexual health to sexual self-discovery--is one
where it can be particularly important for women to have that room of
their own. Because we live in a world in which women's sexual needs,
in particular, have been ignored, denied, misunderstood, and even
demonized for century after century, by society after society.

On the one hand, consider the phenomenon of a dominant group shutting
out an oppressed group (e.g., White people barring African Americans
from their clubs, or heterosexual parade organizers prohibiting gay
groups from participating in their festivities). On the other hand,
picture a subordinated group restricting participation in its
activities to members of that group (e.g., a ballroom dance class for
lesbian couples only). The difference between these two types of
scenarios is, in my opinion, a critical one. The former type of
instance is an expression of bigotry, whereas the latter represents an
attempt to secure a little independence and autonomy. These two types
of "discrimination" are just not the same.

I'm not presuming to say that the strong, self-actualized women who
publish with a company like Black Lace are personally oppressed or
victimized by male-dominated society. Nor am I asserting that about
their readers. But I think there are good reasons for the fact that
some women want to read erotic books put out by an all-female team
(it's not just something created out of thin air by marketers), and
these reasons have to do with the historical and contemporary position
of women in a patriarchal world. In that context, I think that "by
and for women" enterprises represent a legitimate and healthy response
to the continuing struggle of women to claim their fulfillment and
dignity in a world that still has a long, long way to go.

If the day comes that women run the world and guys like me have no
place left to publish our smut, then I'll protest. Until then, I say
long live the cultural spaces that women have designated as their own.
May they blossom, thrive . . . and provide all of us with some damn
sexy reading.

Jeremy Edwards

Jeremy Edwards is a pseudonymous sort of fellow whose efforts at
spinning libido into literature have been published various places
online, as well as in print anthologies. His greatest goal in life is
to be sexy and witty at the same moment--ideally in lighting that
flatters his profile.

A huge thanks to Jeremy for baring his um, innermost it's your turn! Let us know what you think about feminism, literature and Jeremy's Big Fedora...


Janine Ashbless said...

Pirate joke:

A pirate ship salls up over the horizon. The brave Navy Captain, seeing this, puts down his telescope and shouts "To arms men! Bring me my Red Shirt!"

They fight the pirates and defeat them.

The next day 2 pirate ships come sailing up. The Navy Captain shouts "To arms men! Bring me my Red Shirt!"

And once more the pirates are defeated. An officer asks the Captain, "Why do you wear a red shirt to battle?"

"That's so that if I'm wounded, none of you will notice and be disheartened."

The next day one hundred pirate ships come over the horizon.
And the Navy Captain shouts, "To arms men! Bring me my Brown Trousers!"


I reckon Jeremy is wearing his Brown Trousers today.

Nikki Magennis said...

Him and me both, Janine. Even the hedgehogs offended someone!

Jeremy, thank you so much for visiting. And I'm so very happy to say I agree with you. Just as I run out of arguing steam!

H.L. Berry said...

I remain unswayed. Discrimination still troubles me, whichever way it works. Adding 'positive' to the front doesn't make it look any less ugly.

And dammit, I'm also unconvinced that female erotica authors even need positive discrimination. Here's a test.

Off the top of your head, see how many you can name. Start with maybe the best known, Anais Nin. Then we have our friends here. Sommer, Alison, Gwen, Shanna et al. Susie Bright. Justus Roux. There are a few at Nexus, but I must mention my particular favourite, Penny Birch. And so on.

Now try to do the same for male authors of erotica. Ummm... Henry Miller. Jeremy, of course, though I suspect that he'd be the first to admit that he's perhaps not so well known as many of the ladies / women / wimin / chicks / female erotica authors (delete according to preference) on this site.

If you'll pardon the pun, it's a lot harder, isn't it?

And one last thing. I refuse to believe this crud about authors writing better for their own sex. When I'm reading, I don't really care which sex the author is. I've read, and been turned on by, many, many stories by female authors, not just from this site but all around the web. I know from feeback I have received that female readers like my stories - in fact, I've probably received more positive (ooops, there's that word again) feedback from women than men.

I do apologise to those of you who thought (hoped, even) that you'd seen the last of me. The idea for this post came to me last night and I couldn't resist. I'm off now to sexually harrass some of my female staff.

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Jeremy! Nice to read your post. I like what you said...

Nikki Magennis said...

Huck, I'm delighted you're still here.

I don't believe authors write better for their own sex.

Male erotica writers off the top of my head:

Bukowski, Bataille, Updike, Nabakov, Hemmingson, M Christian, Thomas Roche, Califa (ha! In either list!), De Sade, Lawrence...

Still, it's interesting that women are seen as more successful than men in the erotica field. Why is that?

Olivia Knight said...

I'm not sure the "off the top of your head" poll is going to work - partly because different heads produce different, too-small-to-be-scientific samples, partly because everyone's in the pseudonym business and what you see is not, necessarily, what you get.
It's a pity Erastes isn't around to give us her tuppenceworth... Yoohoo, Erastes...
I know what you mean about thinking of arguments late, Huck; the French call it "staircase wit" I believe, which is obscure but has the merit of being shorter than "bugger, I wish I'd thought of that at the time". I've been fretting for days about "ladies"/"gentlemen" until finally it struck that equivalent meaning is not equivalent: cf. "slut"/"stud", "spinster"/"bachelor" and so on.
Words are like belief-fossils. Some people say the word "Chairman" is not sexist because the "man" part derives from "manus", hand, ergo perfectly innocent. The same people do not excuse the word "cunt" as deriving from "wedge" (wedge-shaped) ergo also perfectly innocent. Our words are fraught far beyond their supposedly literal meaning. We do our best to lever new attitudes in with new words - Chairperson and Chair have finally acquired a tenuous status; bachelor-girl was tried out for a while and eventually deemed unnecessary; "Ms" is still decried by my mother's generation as "something only a divorced woman would use" but is in common usage in offices; and so on. The amount of language to be reclaimed reminds us of how prevalent, and ingrained, these attitudes still are - including in our liberated selves (says the good Barthesian/Saussurean).
I have argued until I'm blue in the face that men and women's minds, skills, abilities, and thought patterns are not dictated by their gender; I argue nurture every step of the way, because most people seem to insist on pinning everything on nature until it's proven, repeatedly, excessively, otherwise. A love of cushions? Must have something to do with the clitoris. Dusts more? Surely related to the presence of breats. Et cetera. I think 99% of it is socialised - but that is an important difference.
A man cannot have the same experience of life as I have had because he will never have been yelled at to Put that screwdriver down and let your brother do it. He will never have been forced to make salads because he was a girl. He is extremely unlikely to have been taught that having sex means you give something to the boy that he takes - and so he is unlikely to have the same sensitivity to phrases like "he had her" or "he took her". (It's possible that sensitivity could have been cultivated in other ways - acculturation is never absolute - but much less likely.)
I believe in positive discrimination where there is a history of such extensive oppression that no equal playing field is possible and where that oppression is still continued widely. I believe attitudes nest themselves in words. I believe my gender does not define me or my writing, but my experience of being treated as that gender in the world inevitably will, though I'll fight every boundary I find. I believe the imbalance of pay for paid work, and the imbalance of unpaid work, still, even in our nice equal first-world society, make it harder for women to achieve, yet they still do, and a space just for their achievement is fine.
I also believe "written by women" has come to signify a hallmark of quality that must be very frustrating for Huck Berry and Jeremy Edwards, and I'm sorry that my own experiences have left me so embittered that I'm not sympathetic - I just think to myself, "Yeah, fine, so now you have a go at having to work extra hard at everything and be twice as good to prove you're just as good." You won't really have to, though; the world is predisposed to believe in your ability.

Anonymous said...

Origins of the word Chairman :

In days of old, when people held meetings and whathave you, chairs in themselves were expensive items and most people sat on long wooden benches. But someone had to lead/govern what was happening in that meeting and that person, by virtue of their station, would be given a chair, as a sign of respect and therefore became known as the chairman. Invariably, these meetings were overseen by men so the 'man' part of the word was not a politically incorrect term at the time and the full word itself has continued through the years to mean something else. Chairman = leader/person in charge, invariably with a huge pay packet and a chauffeur to drive his car. And most people can afford chairs nowadays, so sensibly this term should be obsolete....

However, does this help inform the male/female debate? Probably not.

I just felt like sharing. Like any writer, of EITHER sex, I like words.

'Chocolate' is my favourite one.

Nikki Magennis said...

Olivia, hon, Jeremy was agreeing with you.

I'm surprised quite how much these arguments get everybody (including me) worked up. I think that, more than anything, shows that there's something still off-kilter bout the world we're living in.

I suspect we're arguing for the same thing in a way.

What is it that each (or all) sides ultimately want? Fairness, I suppose. Huck's argument at its most bald is that discrimination is wrong. And the other point of view is also that discrimination is wrong - only the discrimination in question is less tangible, more pervasive and more omnipotent.

The solution to Huck's problem is fairly simple, I suppose - no publisher would be allowed to issue calls for only women writers.

The solution to Olivia's problem, however, looks much more complex.

Maybe we're arguing different things, even. The feminist argument covers almost every area of life, with publishing being a part of it.

But then, I don't know that Black Lace has much of a feminist agenda. Does it?

Could we look for common ground, though? Is that possible?

The thing that leaps to mind is men only spaces. Men only anthologies - yes, I would love to see one. Or the male equivalent of lust bites.

Volunteers? Any?

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh, and here's an interesting article on women-only spaces:

H.L. Berry said...

Olivia said: "A man cannot have the same experience of life as I have had because he will never have been yelled at to Put that screwdriver down and let your brother do it."

Oh, I beg to differ. That used to happen to me a lot, because my brother was highly skilled at DIY, whereas I was the academic one.

And there is a long list of tasks that Mrs Berry insists that I take on, simply because she is a woman and therefore shouldn't have to do them. This includes, but is not limited to, taking out the rubbish, checking the oil level in her car, ironing my karate suit, cooking on Tuesdays, mowing the lawn, anything that involves ladders or power tools, and getting up in the morning to make coffee.

You see, you've unwittingly hit upon another pet gripe of mine, the sweeping generalisation. Not all men are the same, just as not all women are the same, or all cars, or dogs, or trees, etc, etc. Not all of us believe that sex is something to be taken (and even then I'd argue that it is possible for a woman to 'take' a man - here's a confession that I may well regret - Mrs Berry was my first sexual partner, and was rather more experienced than I, so who took who?).

As I've said before, the only acceptable use of the sweeping generalisation is in an ironic, tongue firmly in cheek sense - to whit, It is a truth universally acknowledged.... I rather suspect that this was not the case here.

H.L. Berry said...

Nikki said: "The thing that leaps to mind is men only spaces. Men only anthologies - yes, I would love to see one. Or the male equivalent of lust bites.

Volunteers? Any?"

Oh Nikki, you keep trying to bait me with this one! I won't rise to it. Really.

You see, having come here and staunchly defended my position that discrimination of any kind is indefensible, then how could I hold my head high if I then went and set up a discriminatory website? Please allow me to keep my integrity, if not my dignity!

Although, a teeny-weeny part of me (and please, no jokes about the size of my 'manhood') is curious. If I did set up such a site, how would it be received? Would people be as accepting of a site that excluded women as they appear to be of this one? It would certainly be an interesting experiment.

Not one, alas, that I intend to carry out.

Nikki Magennis said...

Huck, I wasn't necessarily baiting you with that. It was a suggestion thrown to the winds.

As for how it would be received - I expect that would depend. On whom was visiting and the tone of the site.

I feel very uncomfortable with this site:

for example, but there are some sections of the men's movement that I feel much happier visiting.

As for them existing, good god yes. Hoorah. I can't imagine I'd protest at the existence of a site for erotica written by men. Would anyone?

Alison Tyler said...

Hi Jeremy!

Anonymous said...

Good morning(/afternoon/night). I'm so proud to be here! Reading my post--which was prepared a couple of weeks ago--in light of yesterday's discussion, I find that others have already articulated essentially the same arguments. (And, unlike me, you even managed to do it without using the word "society" seven times in one breath.) So apologies for the stale air of redundancy floating around my text.

If one could do a proper experiment, would a body of erotica written by good female writers and a comparable sample written by good male writers reveal any meaningful, general patterns of difference? I really don't know. I know that, if it did (which I imagine it might be a difficult thing to determine in any kind of objective manner--though it will be interesting to see what light Kristina's quiz answers will--er--shed), the differences would be statistical/generalized, and not say anything about how an individual writer will or won't write. (I think one of the most common pitfalls that result in stereotyping is when people leap from statements like "men are more likely to care about sports than are women" to "he's a man, so of course he cares about sports.") And my guess is that any differences would mostly be due to Nurture rather than Nature. Maybe there's some kind of biological sexual basis that makes women, on average, more likely to write stories with more foreplay, and maybe there isn't. But my personal feeling is that if such a factor exists, it is of tiny significance compared to all the societal (oops, there's that word again) influences.

So I don't know whether or not the body of erotica produced by an all-woman team is, in terms of general patterns, different from what would be produced by a comparably qualified team of mixed gender. But I don't think the validity of all-woman enterprises hinges on whether the product is in fact discernably "different." I think the point is that some women want these enterprises to exist, and in my mind the very desire, on the part of some members of a subordinated group, to have exclusive places proves that the existence of such places is important. I think it's great that some enterprises cater to that desire, and I think it's great that other enterprises (such as Pretty Things Press!) take the nonexclusive approach.

Janine Ashbless said...

Yes, yes, it's all about fairness and justice. Both sides of the debate want that; they just see the route there in different ways and give different weighting to "justice for the individual" and "justice for the collective."

I agree with every word you've said Jeremy, and it's really well put. But if it came to a vote I'd still have to go with Huck.

Janine Ashbless said...

And now I'm going to be a bit controversial.

The idea that women-only anthologies or publishing houses are Places where women, and women alone, articulate their own
needs, their own concerns, their own problems, and their own
doesn't actually apply to Black Lace. The whole "by women for women" tag is a bit of marketing illusion.

We have a male editor. We have a male sub-editor. They Yay or Nay every submission that gets set to Black Lace. They define the parameters to which we write, whether plot, character, vocabulary (Are we allowed to use 'cunt' at the moment? I've lost track.) or erotic theme. Black Lace is NOT female-defined erotica.

But I don't actually have any problem with this. If an editor tells me "You can't write about X because women aren't interested in that/find it icky" then I'm going to throw a great big strop regardless of whether said editor is male or female.

Women can have just as narrow or biased a view as to what is 'permissible' for women to enjoy as men do. And yeah, I include myself in that: I've seen female-written erotica of which I deeply disapprove. So I'm just as bad as anyone else.

We're all individuals, you hear?

(Cue Monty Pythons quotes...)

Alison Tyler said...

I think it's great that other enterprises (such as Pretty Things Press!) take the nonexclusive approach.

Yay! That's me! I didn't even do a shameless plug!

Truly, I am of the opinion that good writing gets noticed -- whether the writer is male or female. Or male pretending to be female, or vice versa.

But Huck, I don't understand where you're going with your argument. Can we name important male erotic writers? Nikki jumped in immediately with a slew of them. And there's also Michael Hemmingson, Stan Kent, Simon Sheppard, Ashley Lister, Joel A. Nichols, Shane Allison, Greg Wharton....

Do you think we can't name more because of women-only publishing houses? Before I wrote for Virgin, I wrote for Blue Moon and Masquerade Books, neither of which had a women-only requirement. Both of which published many male authors.

Is it only Virgin's policy that upsets you?

Anonymous said...

Janine, I'm glad you brought up the fact that the BL editors are men. I was vaguely aware that this was the case, and I probably should have researched it and acknowledged it in my post.

I guess my assumption was that the writers being women make BL what it purports to be, i.e. erotica created by women. But those of you who write for BL are in a much better position than I am to say whether and to what extent that mission is undermined, and the image rendered false, by the writers having to answer to editors who happen to be men. (And do they just "happen to be" men? Or is it, at least in part, patriarchy rearing its ugly head? I.e.--not to detract from the merit and qualifications of these individual editors--is it more likely that editors in such positions will be male because people in high corporate positions are generally more likely to be male?)

Alison Tyler said...

Up until fairly recently, BL was run by Kerri Sharp. And up until a month ago, the editoral assistant was Donna Condon. So it's not that fair to say BL is run by men. It's run by men *right now.*

That said, the other houses I've worked for (aside from Cleis Press) were headed by men: Richard Kasak and Barney Rosset. But both had female assistants, from Tristan Taormino to Marti Hohman. (God, I hope I'm spelling at least half of these names right.)

Janine Ashbless said...

That's the point. BL says its writers have to be women because that makes a significant difference. But its editors can be men because there's no significant difference ...


And Kerri left a couple years back, I think.

H.L. Berry said...

Alison said: "But Huck, I don't understand where you're going with your argument. Can we name important male erotic writers?"

I'm not entirely sure I understand myself where I was going with it. Last night it all seemed so clear. I lay in bed thinking about erotica writers, and the only ones I could think of were women. And I have to confess that reading yours and Nikki's lists haven't really helped. I've only heard of de Sade, and I don't consider him an 'erotic' author.

I think what I was trying to suggest was that erotica is one area in which a level playing field already exists. I'm still of the belief that female authors don't need any help in this regard, and nothing I've read today or yesterday has changed that. You (Lust Bites) are all highly respected, well-known authors. Most of you are in demand for your stories and anthologies. Will Jeremy or I ever achieve that level of recognition? Maybe, but I doubt it.

Incidentally, are men put off buying Black Lace books because of the 'written by women, for women' slant? And if so, have you considered that by submitting to them, you may be cutting off half of your potential market?

I thought up a few more things to say but on reflection they might dig me into a hole so deep that I'd never get out, so I'm off to make a cup of tea instead.

Megan Kerr said...

Nikki - yes, I know Jeremy was agreeing and I was agreeing right back (hey there, baby) but disagreeing - to an extent - with Huck, although my other personality firmly agrees with him.

And Huck - sorry if I sounded totalising - I tried to use enough "likely to" and "tend to". You're quite right that men's gendered experiences are not necessarily more pleasant than women's, and it is better if people can just do what they're best at rather than be restricted according to gender.

It's a question of historical issues versus how to move forward from this point, I suppose. That's where I start to schizophrenically argue with myself.

Black Lace exists in a very different climate now to the one it started in, so perhaps the emphasis on women-only is less significant. I've noticed the strapline has changed from "Erotica by women for women" to "An erotic romance" or "An erotic novel" etc. So perhaps the times they are a-changing...?

Alison Tyler said...

What I meant was that I believe (but I could be wrong) that Kerri ran BL for quite a long time. (Was she there at the start of the imprint?)

But I'm of the mind that there should be open calls -- for *everything*. I like that Alana's story can be part of not only Best American, but Best Gay American. And clearly (although she's American) she's not gay.

I just don't think that the fact that BL is run as a women-only imprint is what has kept men from being widely published erotic writers. And that seemed to me where the conversation was going. I think there are many amazing male erotic writers.

Alison Tyler said...

What, Huck? You don't know Thomas Roche? Or Michael Hemmingson? Or M Christian? They've been in just about every major anthology in the past decade.


Alison Tyler said...

Most of you are in demand for your stories and anthologies.

You know, a lot of us have been writing for a long, long time. I think Wendy said she's been penning her lovely words for twenty years, and I am right up there with her. I was *not* in any sort of demand for such a long time, and I have the folder of rejection letters to prove it.

Even if I think that calls should be open, I have to say that moaning that women have all the advantages in the erotica world just sounds like sour grapes. I don't buy it.

Sommer Marsden said...

I am steering clear of the serious part of this conversation as my brain is not functioning that way ;) See, I'm in my Word program writing about pink vibrators and, I can't switch gears that fast.

I would like to point out, however, that the lovely, nearly nekkid, fedora photo that appears here today was originally on Smut Girl. And I gotta say, I feel a tiny bit jealous. Just a bit. To see it up here (bigger than mine!) and all that. It will pass. The jealousy. I'm sure.

Wonderful article. As if J's writing could be anything *but* wonderful.

Also, not sure who that other Jeremy Edwards is. He does look familiar. But just as I start to piece together where I've seen him before---I glance down at that open fly and it all goes to hell..


Anonymous said...

Up until fairly recently, BL was run by Kerri Sharp. And up until a month ago, the editoral assistant was Donna Condon. So it's not that fair to say BL is run by men. It's run by men *right now.*

I for one didn't know this history--thanks, Alison! So here's a question for those of you who write for BL. If you are one of the writers to whom it matters at all to be part of a "by women" publisher, did the transition from the Kerri Sharp era to the present era affect your feelings about the enterprise's image? Obviously, the editors are individuals and you might have all sorts of reasons to enjoy working with a particular editor . . . but, if it's possible to set all that aside, do you feel differently about the company now? Or do you think the writers being women is "good enough," despite the fact that editors (and marketers?) also play a role in shaping the ultimate product?

H.L. Berry said...

Alison said: "Even if I think that calls should be open, I have to say that moaning that women have all the advantages in the erotica world just sounds like sour grapes. I don't buy it."

I'm sorry. I didn't mean to come across as moaning. Really, truly, I'm quite happy with where I am. I amke enough money out of it to fund a small eBay habit, and I have a couple of books on my shelves that I secretly hope visitors will ask about.

And I certainly hadn't appreciated the length of time you've put into this. I didn't mean to imply that success had just fallen into your (dare I say spanky hot?) lap.

Forgive me if I caused any offence.

H.L. Berry said...

By the way, what is it with these stupid letters I have to type in every time I want to make a post? I assume they're some sort of anti-spam device, but do they have to make them so bloody hard to read? At least one time in five I get it wrong and have to re-enter more of the wretched things.

H.L. Berry said...

Oh, and I did mean to say, Janine, that pirate joke was very funny. For a while I thought it was going to be Star Trek related. Anyone who beamed down to an unknown planet in Star Trek wearing a red shirt was facing almost certain death.

As for the brown trousers, I'm not sure Jeremy needs them. He seems to be getting along very well so far.

Alison Tyler said...

Oooh, now we are onto a subject that I really and truly care about. Ebay! What do you buy on ebay? Do men buy different items than women do? Heh heh.

If you tell me one truly guilty purchase you've made on ebay, I will tell you my darkest guiltiest collection purchased entirely on ebay.

Says Alison *hot spanky babe* Tyler

Anonymous said...

I assume they're some sort of anti-spam device

Now you tell me! All this time, I thought they were new synonyms for "cock" and "cunt." I thought we were supposed to figure out which were which and begin using them in our stories. (Attention editors: I hereby apologize for making your spellcheck programs go haywire with my recent submissions.)

Anonymous said...

Jeremy, get your Fedora, mate, you've pulled.

Megan Kerr said...

Almost pulled me, too, but... AARGHH! Socks! Underpants and socks! No matter how many times I tell people The Rules, men still end up in their underpants and socks. The correct order for a man to undress is, erhemm, erhemm, as follows:

1. Shoes and socks. Get rid of them as fast as possible, preferably in another room.
2. Shirt. Bare-chested look... yummy...
3. Trousers
4. Underpants
5. You can keep your hat on...

At no point should you risk being in any state of undress while still wearing your socks.

Now, go on boys, while we have some here, what's the Correct Order for women's nekkidness? Is there one?

t'Sade said...

Oh, there are some yummy pictures in this one. :) I also like the red shirt joke, mainly because it is a stitch.

Very nice post, I love interview questions.

Side note: I actually had my HS teacher ask me about de Sade, because of my byline t'Sade. She wanted to know if I was inspired by him when I started writing. You'd never think a teacher would ask about him. I should have taken that as a minor hint, since I never heard of him before that. Of course, I don't write much BDSM (just my novel) and I found his stuff to dry for my own tastes.

eBay is evil, evil, evil. :) I say that for many reasons, but the items I've sold and bidded on were as varied as a new iPod screen to pornographic gaming miniatures. :P

H.L. Berry said...

What have I bought on eBay? Hmmm.

1. An entire army of radio-control Daleks, funded by erotica writing. See my blog for details.
2. Assorted Portmeirion crockery.
3. Violin, for my daughter, Brat 2.
4. Flute, mostly paid for from the proceeds of selling the violin, which she went off.
5. Computer games for Brat 1.
6. I might possibly have bought a couple of erotic books, purely for research purposes, unless Mrs Berry is reading this, in which case I didn't.
7. FastBerry, my small green sportscar. In no way a phallic substitute.
8. Diving gear. (scuba diving, in case any of you felt the need to ask)
9. Scalextric cars and track, from which only Harry the Cat seemed to derive any real pleasure.
10. Cowboy boots. Which I am wearing, even as I type this.

How's that? Enough to make you reveal that dark secret, Ms Tyler?

Megan Kerr said...

Huck - you have radio-controlled Daleks? All is forgiven! When can I come over to your house and play?

Anonymous said...

I *like* socks. Mmm. Socks. Hat, underpants and socks. Nice.

Oh, O, why limit yourself - men undressing has so many pretty combinations. Can you really not see the appeal of, say, big black boots, peek of white socks, white underpants and a suntan?

(Although, really and truly, I'm all about what happens to the tie and the belt.)

H.L. Berry said...

Olivia said: "Now, go on boys, while we have some here, what's the Correct Order for women's nekkidness? Is there one?"

Sure there is.

1. Clothes on.
2. Clothes off.


H.L. Berry said...

Here's a picture of the Yorkshire Dalek collection:

You can find a short movie of them in action here:

Apologies for the rubbish links. I haven't figured how to make them work in here.

I have my eye on a set of four movie Dalek replicas, but Mrs Berry won't let me buy them. If anyone here would like to sponsor one, please contact me for details. I have a plaque in the shape of a big pair of lips all ready to inscribe your name on, and of course you'd get free visiting rights.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Yeah, the socks.

Originally, we (my wife, who was behind the camera, and I) didn't expect the bottom chunk of my legs to be in the shot. So I kept the socks on because--well--my feet get chilly.

Once I got the photo loaded on the computer and saw that, for compositional reasons, the ankles had to stay in the picture, then of course we decided that the socks were the perfect touch, that leaving them on had been an inspired and calculated artistic decision (and possibly a stroke of genius), etc.

As for my tastes in partially undressed women . . . generally, I'm turned on by below-the-waist exposure. One of my stories (plug alert) involves a woman showing up at her (male) friend's apartment late at night in a blouse, and only a blouse. It would never have occurred to me to write the story from the topless angle instead. I think breasts are lovely and sexy and generally wonderful; but if I have to choose one form of semi-nakedness over another, bottoms win hands down.

Ooh! How about a semi-naked woman who is wearing half of an entire dress--i.e., her right half covered and left half exposed (or, if you're left-handed, the other way around)?

Shanna Germain said...

Wow, I just had a chance to duck in and read not just today's post, but the whole wild-n-wooly week's worth of posts.

This is great...You have to love the Internet, because where else in the world are these kinds of debates taking place? Maybe in people's living rooms (hmm...imagining a room full of erotica writers debating all of this stuff, namely the order in which men should undress...)..

-shakes head-

Ok, back. But, really, I sometimes feel sort of stupid because I don't put a lot of thought into these kinds of things. The extent of my deep erotic thoughts are usually, "Hmm...what shall I write about today?" and "Damn, I'm glad to be alive today, in a day and age when women aren't (as) persecuted for loving to write about sex."

So this is all wonderful food for thought. I can see both sides (or all side of today's argument) and I know that I swing between them. But, honestly, I'm more on the "everyone should have equal footing" side of the fence. That's because I'm competitive, I think. I don't want my work to be accepted because it's one of the the best among the women who submitted or among the Americans who submitted or among the blue-eyed female Americans living on the west coast who submitted. I want it to be accepted because it's one of the best from all who submitted.

That being said (yes, I swing both ways--but you probably already knew that), I do take advantage of all-women only calls and or west coast-writers only calls and all of those things.

See? I can't even decide what side of the fence I'm on. So I guess I'll just sit right on top for a while and enjoy the view. You all can practice the undressing rules some more if you'd like!


Jenny said...

Hmmm. Is that really you up there Jeremy? If so, did you have on socks? I didn't notice.

Shon Richards said...

Until this week, I didn't know Lust Bites was female only. I guess that shows how perceptive I am. I just thought you were writers who knew each other.

The only thing that turned me off about Black Lace was the implication that they were catering to some sort of ideal of gender. Whether it was the idea that women writers were better, or that male writers couldn't write erotica women would enjoy, I was turned off to the idea that this is not erotica, but some sort of tailored erotica that was going to appeal to some person's definition of what is good about women. Once you ever meet a man or woman who doesn't conform to gender stereotypes, it just seemed silly to divide up into gender oriented fiction.

I liked the hedgehogs. I hope you all have a lot less stressful week.

Janine Ashbless said...

Pornographic gaming miniatures, t'Sade?!
D&D = Dungeons & Dildoes around your place then?

25mm scale I assume? Or does size not matter?

Janine Ashbless said...

Jeremy, you may be onto something.
My last anti-spam letters were PECS XL - which are Tilly's favourite kind.

Anonymous said...

Given my propensity for tomfoolery, I can certainly understand why Jenny would ask if it was really me and not just an image I mischievously snagged from . . . but, yes, the image is authentic.

I'm referring to the picture up top, of course--I can't vouch for that other Jeremy Edwards, the one Nikki pulled in sleb land. Hmm . . . I bet it's not even his real name. (Oh, wait a second . . . it's not my real name, either.)

Janine, good catch on those spam letters. Hey! Let's play spam-letter Boggle or Scrabble!

Sommer Marsden said...

Hmm. Mine could be arranged to say:

big diwq

that's stretching phonics to the limit...but it works for me ;)

Nikki Magennis said...

Shon, I'm so glad somebody liked the hedgehogs!

As for the other Jeremy Edwards, he is an nactor in a hospital drama. I think he is. I don't have a TV.

Anonymous said...

Pretty, pretty Jeremy

Unknown said...

I wish I had something witty and intellectual to say this morning but my brain appears to be I'll just aim for general pleasant remarks.

I liked Jeremy's post. It was very calming. I also liked the hedgehogs although I really have a thing about monkeys-can you buy monkeys on ebay?

I buy Lulu Guinness purses on ebay, Ellora's Cave pin up calenders to give away and old books and prints of 19th century Regency fashion from Ackermanns-okay I know I'm boring compared to the rest of you-shut up.

I love the idea of the daleks.Mr Kate Pearce would love some.

It didn't occur to me that BL was a woman only publisher when I submitted to them, I just liked their stuff. I'm quite happy to submit to any publisher of whatever gender.

It's 90 degrees here and its only 10 a.m-that might explain my apathy.

Madeline Moore said...

Gee, is it still write sex month - er - I mean, week?

Thanks for coming by, Jeremy. Your comments are appreciated.

I have to admit, I'm a little worn out now, too. Re: the whole BL editor thing - Kerri didn't like my work (and she wasn't nuts about Felix's either,) so personally I was thrilled when Adam took over, enthusiastic, interested in trying new things, and generally - nice. I like nice.

Olivia - I spent a lot of time, decades I'd say, arguing nature vs nurture. Then I had a couple of kids. It ain't all nurture, not by a long shot.

As a therapist friend of mine once observed, 'Really, it all boils down to chemicals.' Girls who play with dollies and sip from their little china teacups with their pinkies extended have a lot more estrogen and a lot less testosterone than girls who hang from trees and like to play rough.
Boys - it's the opposite. This doesn't MEAN anything,generally speaking, about male/female. It just is.

Speaking of girls,I've got one of my own, right here! And I'm takin' her shopping.

I thank all our guests this month - damn there I go again - week.

Alana Noel Voth said...

First thing I did this morning was post a message to Alison Tyler at my blog. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MS. TYLER!


Then I read Lust Bites and doing so put me in a rotten mood. I love discourse; it's imperative like I said yesterday, but this back-and-forth has just became tedious.

Jeremy, your post is articulate and gracious. Thank you.

Alison, thank you for the list of notable male writers in our genre, and Nx, you as well. You both named some major male influences.

I'd like to mention one other. Steve Almond. Dick Lit Maestro. Multiple appearances in BAE and Nerve Magazine.

I think the best way to understand male penned erotica is to read it.

One day, I'd like to ask Huck and Jeremy more about writing. Meaning, I want men to talk to me about writing erotica, gender stuff aside.

Why do write erotica? Who are your influences? How would you describe your characters? What kind of sex do you like to write? What do you stay away from? Best story you ever wrote and why? Aspirations. Is the sex the story? What do want to say about the world through your erotica. What do you find challenging about writing erotica? What is most gratifying about it? What and/or who inspires your work?

Kristina Lloyd said...

Oh look! Here I am turning up late again to make a new Very Important Point when everyone's knackered, bored or having fun. Bear with me, there'll be near-nudity.

Janine suggested the women’s space of BL was ‘illusory’, and undermined by the fact that we are answerable to male editors (who are in turn no doubt answerable to men in suits, just as Kerri, our previous editor was). I think this is very true, and supports a point I made yesterday about our ‘by women’ tagline cunningly appealing to men as well as women. BL has plenty of weak points.

The images on book covers is one of them. For years, BL covers, as with so much in life, were brought to us through the filter of the male gaze. (Women, btw, also see through the male gaze because it is so prominent in society as to be regarded as normal or neutral). BL covers used to feature pretty sexy women – because tits sell! to men! This is changing and in the last year or so we’ve started get covers featuring couples and more recently semi-naked men! Even women-only imprints are slow to understand what women might want.

Most erotica books feature semi-clad women on the front. Het non-exclusive anthos, supposedly representing equality, have pretty ladies on the cover - and are therefore implicitly aimed at the default option: men. If you want to look at a bunch of these all together, check out the sidebar on this link … which isn’t to knock Alison Tyler or suggest I dislike the covers; it’s just to show how ingrained and subtle gender-bias so often is. Much of the time, we don’t even notice it’s there.

Great post Jeremy. Thank you. And thank you for getting your kit off! (I can't help wondering how different the pic would be if A is for Amour had a cute guy on the cover rather than a babe ... and how sales figures would differ if A-Z covers all featured men.) (Sales figures for the books, I mean, not for Jeremy's body.)

Anonymous said...

I love them male gays


I love you too, KL, you are so smart and sexy and have porno legs and every time you pop in and say something so clever all I can do is snigger. Your big brain makes me nervous.

Of course, you're right, and O was right earlier. And I have fallen in love with you both this week. Erotica - despite the women authors - (the female voice is something demanded by male consumers as you pointed out yesterday, it is - ironically - probably male consumers that are holding male authors back the most), is still put in pretty packages for male consumers. And we get the crumbs. Or buy gay porn - also for male consumers.

Male gays again - is that what they call a circular argument?

Alana Noel Voth said...

Damn. Just when I'm ready to wash my hands of this KL makes an excellent point regarding covers.

I was at Borders few days ago and spent some time in the erotica section and every cover had a woman in some stage of nakedness on it. Even Best Women's Erotica.

When I want to see a beautiful man in some stage of undressedness, I look to gay erotica. Especially if I want to see two freaking hot men make out, which I do. :-)

I remember when BAE 05 came out. The collection, awesome; many of the stories within excellent. But the cover . . . bummer. A woman with blue panties around ankles. Tanned oiled legs no less.

Anonymous said...

Talking of beautiful men on covers, look what popped up on Amazon yesterday

I know I hardly ever mention it - but I am writing these books....

Unknown said...

um...if you want to see man titty covers (as we call it in the romance biz) go check out the romance section. The covers that get most response from readers for me are my cowboys one (half-naked guy) and "Planet Mail"-(wish I was intelligent enough to put a linky in here of that awesome cover but I'm not-so check it out on my website)

and I'm with Madeline on the nature/nuture debate. I have 3 boys and more recently a little girl and they just approach things so differently.

H.L. Berry said...

Alana said: "Jeremy, your post is articulate and gracious. Thank you."

:( <---- that's me looking sad because I'm inarticulate and ungracious.

H.L. Berry said...

What are these porno legs that people keep mentioning? Is it just that they are like a 24 hour supermarket - always open?

Alison Tyler said...

You ought to be proud, Mat. You should be shouting from the rooftops. The cover is divine!

And Alana, thank you for the early thanks -- my big day is actually Sunday, and I'm gearing up for a three-day spree in L.A.

All my old haunts. All my old friends. All the old places to buy boots... Cannot...fucking..wait!!!


t'Sade said...

Yep, pornographic minatures. Then again, I have always run a rather raunchy set of games. In college, my Shadowrun game involved basically a group of poly runner (mostly female players) who occasionally banged their customers as much as broke into places. My D&D games... not much better though the unicorn was responsible for siring the werecow that ended up being their enemy. And half of the players were in rather graphic relationships by the end of the game. Exalted is (my current game) is just as bad. I had to forbid anyone under the age of 21 in my groups for that reason (well, that and almost everyone drinks beer). I mean, between the werewolves, spirits, and magical folk, I could probably write a novel every month on the topic.

As for the miniatures, I'm still looking to balance my collection with more naked guys in compromising positions. Or, I'll have to figure out how to make my own and make my own pornographic miniatures of both sexes!

Actually, I did write one D&D inspired novel (and a couple short stories on my site), just never cleaned it up. 260k words of an elf falling in love with an orc warrior, a human thief, an elvish pony "mistress", and a demon. I really, really need to finish it.

Anonymous said...

Madeline, I know you've gone shopping . . . but good point about Nature/Nurture at the individual level. I think the empirical evidence of Nature being such a strong factor at the individual level is somehow compatible with my belief that large-scale, prevailing societal assumptions are largely due to Nurture . . . but I admit I'm at a loss at the moment as to explaining the compatibility that I vaguely envision.

Here's one observation: I think that when children grow up in an environment in which they are more or less permitted to be themselves, in which they have choices regarding whether to hang from trees or play with dolls, then a big slice of Nature is likely to come into play. Whereas when people (children or adults) are, in one way or another, pressured into behaving in ways that conform to narrow societal expectations, we mostly see the effects of Nurture, and the people who manage to break free and be themselves are exceptional.

By the way, I'm getting too many consonants in my spam-words to make any nice anatomical terms (new or old).

Vincent Copsey said...

Okay, I'm playing catch up so I'm just going to run through a few things really quickly so that everyone can ignore me.

1. Transitions of any kind are scary, regardless of who they involve.

2. Missing the Sock Gap - Steve Moffat thou art a genius.

3. Did anyone ask the Hedgehogs opinion?

4. Huck, you are very wicked and very funny for that porno legs remark.

5. Empress Matilde, you never, not once ever, mention you're writing books. Although, you do go on about werewolves a hell of a lot.

6. OMG, Amazon have listed Phantasmagoria. They can't do that, I haven't written the damn thing yet.

H.L. Berry said...

Mathilde said: "Talking of beautiful men on covers, look what popped up on Amazon yesterday

I know I hardly ever mention it - but I am writing these books...."

I agree with Alison. That's very cool, and you should be blowing your own trumpet just a little. The cover is fab.

My spam-word is "Pibbe", which if it isn't rude, sounds like it should be.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Alana. I know you said "one day" . . . but since you've already gone to the trouble of articulating all those terrific, thought-provoking writing questions, would you like some responses emailed to you at some point?

Anonymous said...

And thank you for getting your kit off!

My pleasure! But I was never wearing a kilt. You must have me confused with somebody you saw in a Powerpoint the other day.

Oh. Kit. Right. Sorry, my vocabulary is in a bit of a caboodle. But it's growing (my vocabulary, that is)! Just today I learned what it means to have "pulled." Well, a new meaning, anyway.

And congrats, Tilly!

Alana Noel Voth said...

Jeremy, yes. Thank you.

Huck, no long face, K? I paid you a compliment yesterday. :-)

Alison. Sunday is your birthday? June 17? You realize you sent me an email that said the 14th? You're not a 234 year old hot spanky babe for three more days!

Murray Suid said...


I'm with you. I feel perfectly content that there are women-only spaces. An example, years ago my wife was a member of a women's group. I know that it enriched her without taking away anything from me.

As a male writer, I have so many opportunities to publish, I'd be an idiot if I worried about places that features only women's work.

In fact, as a man I'm interested in reading women's only publications, which not only can entertain me but also enlighten me.

I'm glad you wrote your piece.


Anonymous said...

Jeremy, you're so cute when you get
confused. And also sexy and witty,
of course. Very sly of you to show A
is for Amour. I love your story
Le Petite Dejeuner. You write as well
as a woman.

H.L. Berry said...

Alana said: "Huck, no long face, K? I paid you a compliment yesterday. :-)"

No long face. Just a sly wink ;)

And like Jeremy, if you fancy a less controversial week, I'd be more than happy to come back and talk to all of you about what it's like to be a man writing erotica. You pose some interesting questions. I'm sure the others can think of many more, which I will do my best to answer.

And I promise I'll try to come prepared with a semi-naked photo like Jeremy's next time.

Sommer Marsden said...

"And I promise I'll try to come prepared with a semi-naked photo like Jeremy's next time."

And where the hell are the fully naked pictures? I see fully naked women all the time. Where are the fully naked men? Hmph...

Nikki Magennis said...

Sommer, just for you:

an amazing French site.

(the link's to Romain Duras, but I reckon there's other zobs in there too. My French isn't good enough to translate the big warning message but I think it says DANGER! Naked cocks ahoy!)

Nikki Magennis said...

- and Madelynne, no, I don't know if the hedgehogs signed a release form.

I'm hoping they knew they were doing it for the edification of erotica writers everywhere, and didn't mind too much.

Nikki Magennis said...

- and Alana, oh my god, how did I forget Steve Almond. I love love love Steve Almond.


Nikki Magennis said...

- I'm sorry, but I keep remembering things I wanted to say:

Alison - Cheers! Hip hip hooray!

Tilly - lovely! Congratulations!

Huck, Jeremy, et al - yes, please come back again for another less touchy week of discussion. We need a new topic. I'm going to do obscenity laws and freedom of speech, but even that scares me a little...we could Suggestions?

I've had one too many limoncellos (and tried to take a picture of the alien langoustine I ate for you, Alana) but I was just thinking.

Erotica touches so many of the hot buttons, doesn't it? By its nature it stirs up strong feelings, difficult debates, delicate lines. I'm typing as I think, but what other field encompasses so many edges and disputed territories?

i like that about it, even if it's difficult sometimes.

Okay, time to go to bed before I start throwing nonsensical hedgehogs again...

Anonymous said...

[As I finish writing my current comment, I can see that things are winding down . . . so apologies for posting another chunky text so late in the game, and I hope that those who are tired or sleepy or busy won't feel obligated to read it.]

So about these book covers . . . I've gotten the impression, over the years, that many book designers think that pictures of sexy women are "safe" because they've concluded, rightly or wrongly, that most hetero men will enjoy drooling over them and many hetero women will enjoy identifying with them. Whereas (these hypothetical book designers presumably figure) most hetero men will not like looking at pictures of sexy men (if true, I bet that's a "nurtured" aversion--and one that doesn't hold in some contexts, if we interpret some of the positive response of many hetero men to images of sports figures and rock stars as a sexual identification).

None of this, of course, addresses the phenomenon of publishers being slow to put naked men on books marketed specifically to straight women, as critiqued above by Kristina.

I will confess that I enjoy drooling over elegant depictions of sexy women, and that pictures of sexy men often leave me cold--and by that I don't simply mean that I'm hetero, but that I rarely find myself identifying with the sexy men in pictures (though they don't repel me, either). But, you know, maybe that's because I really just don't identify with the brawny, testosterone-oozing men that I've most often seen depicted in erotic contexts. I guess when I see pictures of men who look sexy in a manner I want to identify more with--"I can't change a tire but I know some good jokes" sexy as opposed to "I can lift your entire car" sexy--it's different. (I think some of the men in Samantha Wolov's photos of couples are more like that.) I mean, I wouldn't run out and buy a magazine full of pictures of scrawny, waggish men just so I could attempt to identify with them; but I might find such a character to be an enjoyable element (preferably in the company of a sexy woman) as part of an erotic image on a book jacket. For example, here is a book of Alison's where the cover could easily make me fantasize about being the guy in the tableau. I'm very glad he's in the picture.

All of this is in no way meant to dispute the assertion that women who want to see naked, brawny men on book jackets are entitled to find them. The ramble above is just meant to express what I personally like.

And my spam-word this time was npwkpya, which is definitely a vagina.

Anonymous said...

but that I rarely find myself identifying with the sexy men in pictures

But that cuts both ways, doesn't it? I don't identify with the sexy women on most erotica book covers. They make me feel threatened and alienated

Anonymous said...

But that cuts both ways, doesn't it?

Yes, I totally agree. Just because someone has decided that many/most/"average" readers will respond positively to a cover, it doesn't mean a given individual will--or even that they're necessarily correct about the many/most/"average".

Anonymous said...

In case the lights are about to be shut off, I want to squeeze in my deep-felt (and sensual) thanks to Lust Bites for having me, and to all the friends--LB hosts, regulars, and irregulars--who spent time here today, when I was on tap! Lust Biters, thanks for being so smart, so learned, so witty, so welcoming, and so much fun to hang out with. Thanks for being interested in my thoughts and, in some cases, my semi-nudity. I heart LB.

[Spam word: cuwonktm. Wow!

Alison Tyler said...

Kristina! How funny you used my covers as an example! Ta very much!

My Masquerade ones were the super-cheesy pin-up girls, much more slutty than the early BL covers. Cleis aims for photgraphic art, I think, and they often have handsome men on the covers, or two men kissing, or two girls kissing, etc. I tend to win pretty women or couples, but often just body shots of them.

My favorite cover of all time is EXPOSED. I want that to be me. (Oh, wait. That *is* me! I mean, it is in my dreams. Those boots!)

The Pretty Things Press covers are absolutely all by women—I'm a woman/my artist is a woman. (I love saying that I have an artist.) And I got major grief about our first cover (pretty pink with lips on Naughty Stories volume 1). Doubleday book club said nobody would buy it. Then it became one of their best-selling titles -- more than 30,000 copies sold.

So who knows?

My goal at PTP is to put out books with pretty covers you might want to read in public.

Amanda Earl said...

i'm with you h.I berry. it's not making things better to start discrimination against men because it has and does exist against women. also to me this attitude of jeremey's makes women sound like victims. we need to be protected because society has been so bad to us. that's bull. what we need is for everyone to learn about and hear each other, not as a label, like x or y gender, but as individuals. i know, it's idealistic. in the end there will still be discrimination. i would just rather not be part of it. i appreciate this opportunity to hear others points of view and speak my mind too. thanks!

Anonymous said...

I know what you mean, Amanda, but I guess personally I think of the specific models we're talking about more as "self-determination" (male editors aside) than "protection." I wouldn't come along, as a man, and say "You women should start your own exclusive publishing imprint." Why should I tell women--all women or any women--what to do? But if some women say "We think we should have our own exclusive publishing imprint," then my response, if someone asks for it, is "Yeah, I can understand why you might choose to do that."