(photo credit: John Coulthart)
When you’re a writer there’s a natural urge to tell people about your books. You want all of your friends to rush out, buy a copy and, hopefully, tell you how much they loved it. Lately, though, I’ve had a string of people asking when I was going to settle down and write a ‘real’ book. Others are overly concerned with my family’s reaction to my writing. I’ve had my morals, my sexuality and my fitness to raise children questioned by those who seem unable to separate fiction from the real world.
I should come clean – I write erotica, explicit gay erotica. This does not mean I’m obsessed with sex, any more than a thriller writer commits murder on a regular basis. It doesn’t make me lazy or unintelligent or morally bereft. Most importantly, it doesn’t make me any less of a real writer. It’s merely the way I choose to communicate my stories to the world.
Before I go any further, let me clarify. I’m talking about sex in all its permutations, from barely consensual sexual torture to tender lovemaking and the entire gamut in between. My only real boundaries are no children and no women. I write about men exclusively because of the wonderful shifts of power and control possible in a same sex relationship . . . and because I love men. No offense to the ladies, but I don’t think I could explore the same boundaries of pleasure and pain without seeming overly abusive, and that is at the core of everything I write. Beyond that, there is something wonderfully vulnerable and revealing about the decision to relinquish power, and the potent eroticism of two strong, powerful men being tender with each other.
Now, before you start screaming about ‘the children, the children’ – nothing I write is intended for anyone under eighteen, although, frankly, I don’t have any problem with children reading about sex. I live in a city full of pregnant teenagers and, believe me, they did not have sex because of something they read. That honor goes to the media that bombards them daily – television, music, advertising, video games, those are the most powerful influences on today’s youth.
Remember the old ads in the back of comic books for x-ray specs? For me, sex is my x-ray specs. It strips a character down to his core truth and spotlights who they are with far more accuracy than pages of exposition ever could. Sex is the ultimate act of trust. Who we trust, why, and to what extent reveals much of our psyche that we would normally keep hidden. Sex is the catalyst for revealing hidden baggage, all the events and experiences we think are safely buried but which bubble to the surface under pressure. Our kinks highlight our transgressive natures, throwing into clear definition the whys and hows of our alienation from society in general. In short, it’s the knife I wield to cut to the truth. What knife do you use?