REAL LIFE EROTICA: WRITING ABOUT SEX WITHOUT THE FANTASY TRAPPINGS — BY GEORGE PAPPAS, THE AUTHOR OF MONOGAMY SUCKS AND DEAR HEF
This post is also featured today on my publisher Lazy Day Publishing’s Web site.
I thought I’d also share it on my blog.
Now, this may sound like heresy coming from a so-called erotica author –
But I have no desire or interest in writing conventional erotica based on the typical and well worn fantasy elements.
What I write in my latest novel Monogamy Sucks and also in my upcoming novel about online sex entitled Dear Hef released on Sept. 14 as an e-book, is what I like to call real life erotic or reality fiction. Keeping it real was my mantra during the creation of my two novels.
It was my intention with my raw fictional diary of Jake Dalmas, the protagonist of Monogamy Sucks, was to depict sex, and particularly the swinging lifestyle, as it truly is — not as we fantasize it to be.
I have come to realize through some of my detractors that my kind of erotica is too explicit and honest for some readers, who would prefer the fantasy escape represented by the traditional erotica trappings. I wanted to write a book I’ve never read — at least not by many modern erotica authors. I knew by delving into such controversial areas most writers avoid — problems with monogamy, sexual escapades gone wrong, male sexual insecurities and the real skinny on the swinging lifestyle — I could turn off potential readers. However, I didn’t try to sugarcoat the swinging lifestyle in any way.
Yet as Rick Nelson sang in his song “Garden Party”…”Ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself…”
Honestly, most conventional erotica seems contrived to me. Yes, we all have great sex in our lives, but that doesn’t mean that every experience is perfect. We all have our share bad sex, too. A lot fantasies have a dark side, and I wanted to include that and keep things as real as possible. I don’t write sex scenes to get people off, but to understand my character’s motivations, and possibly make a bigger comment about how we all live our lives and society at large.
I used the diary format to truly bring the reader into the mind of Jake Dalmas, and to explore the male sexual mind. I wanted the reader to feel they were seeing this hidden, mostly unexplored sexual world of the swinging lifestyle, through his eyes.
Employing a traditional literary approach or writing Monogamy Sucks in the third person I think would have set up a distance between my character and the reader that I strived to avoid.
I was actually influenced by the literary geniuses of Henry Miller, Anais Nin and Charles Bukowski — particularly his frank novels “Women” and his poetry — in developing my novels. I attempted to write modern versions of their brave books. They also didn’t pull any punches or hold anything back in their fiction.
I also relied on humor to enable readers to relate or at least understand Jake’s and my new book’s character Jimmy Rausch’s journey, as I knew I was exploring touchy and controversial issues that might offend some. I worried at times that I might go too far and lose my readers, but I let the truthfulness of the story I was trying to tell be my guide.
I researched and the swinging lifestyle for many years. I didn’t just write this as an outsider. However, it would have been disingenuous for me to leave out the more awkward moments of my and other’s swinging pursuits.
Most of the swingers who have read my book have lauded it for its accuracy. Check out the reviews on my Amazon site as a guide. I have no interest in feeding the myths or lies about the swinging lifestyle or casual sex.
Whether writing about sex or any other human endeavor, I believe it is crucial as an author to not cheat your readers through depicting life’s very real and intriguing implications with concocted characters and scenes that simply don’t ring true. Just because the subject is erotica there is no need for the author to figuratively put their hands over the reader’s eyes and show sex and love in only the most positive light.
My favorite novels from Lolita to Henry and June showed life the way it is with all of its thrilling, absurd, humorous and heartbreaking dimensions.
That is what I strive to do with my frank brand of real life erotica.