Month: May 2018

How To Have An Orgasm (Solo)

Odd as it may seem to some of us, there are many people in the world who haven’t had an orgasm, but who would like one. They just don’t quite know how to get one. I’ve talked to any number of women who have told me stories about frustrating early experiences trying fruitlessly to masturbate to orgasm as a teenager, as well as women who have had an active sex life for years without ever finding that level of satisfaction. One of these women was a professional sex worker, who’d had at least three digits worth of partners over her life, performing an astounding variety of sexual acts, and she’d never once had an orgasm.

When this woman asked me for advice on how she could take care of things (she was not asking for my assistance; we never had that kind of relationship), it was the most surprising thing I’d heard about anybody’s sex life in some time. I gave her the best advice that I could, which was a less-detailed, less thorough version of what follows.

Start By Being Sexually Aroused

I’m not going to make a blanket claim that orgasms can never happen without a person first being aroused, because that would be false. There are some people who can–and do–spontaneously orgasm from a balloon popping, or from sneezing, or other stimuli that hits that individual in a specific way. It can happen, but if it was the kind of thing that was likely to happen to you, you wouldn’t need to read this post.

For the rest of us, the more aroused we are, the easier it is to climax. If you’re unaroused, or actively turned off, then orgasm will be effectively impossible. If, on the other hand, you’re aroused enough, then anything slightly sexual will set you off. Don’t focus on “having an orgasm,” not to start. Focus on “becoming increasingly aroused.”

If you’re not particularly horny, either wait until you become horny, or try to find some kind of stimulation that will arouse you. Watch porn, think arousing thoughts, or buy and read any or all of my line of erotic stories available on Amazon.com. 😉


Physical sensation is important. As you consume your erotic entertainment, or entertain your own erotic thoughts and fantasies, you should feel yourself becoming more aroused. You should feel tingles in key places of your body. Feel free to touch those places, to remove clothing from them.

I feel that I should make it clear that if you’re reading this in a public place, do NOT actually do these things at this time!
Touch yourself lightly. One mistake that people sometimes make is trying too hard, using too much pressure, and rubbing themselves raw. You don’t want to do that–you want to caress yourself gently, to tease your skin lightly.

Think of what it’s like standing close to somebody who has just the right scent, the right perfume or the right cologne, or even the right natural fragrance. If the scent is too strong, you’ll back away from it. If it’s too faint, you won’t notice it. If it’s just right, then it will be in the middle, just strong enough to make you want to lean in, toward that person, to get more of it.

You want your own touch on your own flesh to be like that. You want it to entice you, to stimulate your senses but to leave them wanting more, not less. Vary your touch, try different locations on your body and see what feels good. Try to arouse, if possible, every inch of your skin.

As you’re working on your physical arousal, work on your mental arousal as well. It helps to be relaxed to start, to be comfortable. You want as few distractions as possible from any thoughts and sensations that would try to steal your attention away from the pleasure you feel. Try to still your thoughts, and to focus only on what you’re experiencing.

Soft music can help, by drowning out background noise.

Pot or alcohol can help, but only in light amounts. You want just enough to help you relax, to calm your mind, and to maybe to heighten things a slight bit. Too much of either, and you’ll sabotage your own orgasm. With pot, there are highs where everything will feel fabulous, but you just won’t be able to come. With alcohol, you want to numb only your inhibitions, not your sensations.

Mood lighting might help as well, enough to calm you and help you feel sexy, but not enough to make you sleepy.

Slowly Increase Your Pleasure

Don’t rush things. Take your time. Romance yourself. Tease yourself until your body is moving toward your own touch, pushing back, eager for more. Stroke the places where it feels best, rewarding your body for its hunger.

But don’t try to sate it yet. Keep giving it just enough that it’s eager for more.

Keep your mind in a state where it’s only excited sexually, not anxiously or impatiently. Increase pressure in slight increments. Do the same with tempo. If you have a sex toy, such as a vibrator or a masturbation sleeve, you should be using it.

Expand Your Sensations

This may not be necessary. If you feel at this point like you might be able to come, work in that direction, but be patient. If you’re turned on, but you don’t feel like things are going to come to a climax, consider options to increase the number and kinds of sensations that you’re feeling. Remember, orgasm is about being overwhelmed in just the right way.

This is why many people get kinky: they’re trying to expand their sensations in order for their mind to be overwhelmed. Different things work for different people, but anal play works for most. Having a finger or an object teasing or penetrating your backdoor adds another layer of sensation in addition to anything you’re doing to your genitals and nipples. Again, don’t rush things.

Temperature play can be good as well. Some people like hot wax, some people like ice. Some people like both, alternatingly or concurrently. Temperature is another level of sensation, and a potential tool to increase arousal. Ice chills the body, condenses the flesh a bit as everything tightens up. Ice demands attention, putting nerve endings on full alert. Heat is warm, simulating the warmth of another person’s body or bodily fluids. Heat is relaxing. Heat can cause pain, at certain levels, and that can heighten awareness the same way that ice can.

Other things might help as well. You’ll have to experiment. Put something in your mouth, perhaps a dildo, and fantasize about it being something else. Or just put something in your mouth and bite down, like a bit-gag. Play with nipple clamps or clothespins (read up on what you’re doing first!), maybe do some light self-bondage.

The idea is to have multiple pleasurable sensations and thoughts occurring at the same time, too many for your mind to absorb all at once, so that your awareness will have to move from one sensation to the next to the next, or back and forth. You want your thoughts to pinball around between the things you’re experiencing, until you can’t take it any more.

Then you explode.

You don’t necessarily have to seek out this explosion; just keep seeking pleasure. When you get enough of it, your brain and your body will let you know.

It might take repeated attempts. Don’t get discouraged, don’t get down on yourself. You don’t have to climax this session, or even next session, and if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you’re any kind of failure. You’ll get there. It just sometimes takes practice.

Is It Okay To Write Fantasies About Rape?

The short answer is “Yes.” But there are some important details to consider.

There’s a general distaste for rape fantasy because there is a very reasonable general distaste for rape. Rape is one of the most horrible things that a person can experience, so it’s only natural that there’s a strong social condemnation of not only rape, but of anything that is seen to encourage rape. This is all perfectly reasonable, except that we don’t always agree as a society on what kinds of things–stories in particular–encourage rape.

Rape fantasy as a rule does not, because people in general can tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Also because most rape fantasy stories I’ve seen, read, heard, had, or written, have as a context that the rapist is a Bad Guy, and that rape is a Bad Thing.

When dealing with people who cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality, almost anything can be used as some sort of justification for almost anything. John Hinckley Jr. used the movie “Taxi Driver” to justify shooting the President of the United States, for example. Mark David Chapman used “The Catcher In The Rye” to justify assassinating John Lennon. Neither of these crimes, nor many like them, were reasonably or logically inspired by the original source material–the crimes were the products of deranged minds, and the source material could have been anything.

On the other hand, the movie “Clockwork Orange” may have inspired several rapes. In one case, a 17 year-old girl was gang-raped by a group of perps who were (as in the film) singing “Singing In The Rain.” I tend to think that that group of perps would have been rapists in any case, and the movie only directed slightly how their crime manifested–they’d have still been rapists, but they might not have been singing rapists. Normal people who watched that film were not inspired to go out and commit crimes based on it. Still, there’s an important difference between this crime and the above crimes by other works: glorification.

The movie “Taxi Driver” doesn’t glorify the main character’s attempted assassination of a politician. The main character is clearly intended to be lonely, pathetic, and misguided. “Taxi Driver” wasn’t filmed in such a way that viewers would or should come out of the theater thinking that the assassination would have been a good deed. “Catcher In The Rye” does not–to the best of my knowledge–even have murder or assassination as a plot point, let alone glorify it in any way.

“Clockwork Orange,” on the other hand… well, the main character is not clearly the villain of the story. He’s charming, charismatic, and sympathetic in places. He’s the kind of character that people might want to identify with on many levels, and the rape scene itself was a mixture that contained more comedy than horror, downplaying the effects of the rape, up-playing the coolness factors of the perpetrator. I don’t think it’s necessarily true that the movie created rapists where none would have otherwise existed, but I do think that it’s treading along an edge that makes me uncomfortable, because rape shouldn’t be glorified.

You may be asking yourself why writing ANY kind of rape fantasy is okay, and the answer is that writing fantasy is by default okay and natural, including fantasies about crime and violence. If reading or watching a story about murder, rape, robbery, theft, and so forth, was truly harmful to society, then every society would be constantly harmed by the vast majority of the stories we tell. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.

We can watch horror movies without committing murder, usually because we know the difference between fantasy and reality, and also because the stories are usually told in such a way that it’s clear who the villains are, and that their deeds are vile. Even in cases where there is some sympathy for the monster/killer/villain, the stories aren’t a glorification of them or their deeds. In cases where they are, those stories are again treading on ground that I’d rather they avoided.
Same with crime stories, for that matter, although for some reason bank robbers, kidnappers, and so forth are much more likely to be glorified than movie monsters/murderers.

The only other times/ways I can think of (other than rape glorification fantasies) where it is NOT okay to write rape fantasy are:

When You Don’t Know You’re Doing It

Unfortunately, many authors–even or especially famous authors–have written rape scenes that are seemingly intended to be something else. One example that comes to mind is the sex scene in Ayn Rand’s novel The Fountainhead, where the protagonist Howard Roark sneaks into Dominique’s bedroom at night, pins her wrists, physically overpowers her in spite of her fighting back, and has rough sex with her. It’s all meant to be okay, because a) Roark could tell just by looking at her that she really wanted him to do it, b) even though she said No, she meant Yes, and he could just tell, c) she enjoyed it, d) she entered into a romantic relationship with him afterward, and e) all the usual things that rapists think or say to justify their actions. As a rape fantasy scene it’s not bad… but it does glorify the act of rape, and justifies it, and the author seems to be oblivious that this wasn’t just rough, hot sex.
There are also countless other novels where the author seems to be trying to write a passionate love scene, but instead depicts a rape, sometimes a quite brutal one. Writers can mistake “lack of consent” for “passion,” but they’re not the same thing. When you write a sex scene, check it for consent. Consent doesn’t have to be verbal; it just has to be clear enough that the characters involved, along with any witnesses, would be able to tell that everybody was having fun. If/When you write a rape scene, make sure that not only do YOU know what you’re writing, but that the reader knows that you know it as well.

 

When It Comes Without Warning:
The sex (rape) scene in The Fountainhead also kind of comes out of the blue. This is supposed to be a philosophical novel about an architect, not a bodice-ripper. There’s nothing really in the book before that point that indicates to the reader what’s going to happen, and that kind of thing can put a lot of readers off. Especially if the reader has been the victim of sexual violence in the past.

Think of it a bit like killing a dog. It’s not something that you want to spring on readers without warning, if only because you’ll lose a lot of readers that way. If you’re writing rape fantasy, the idea will usually be to arouse your readers. That takes a certain kind of audience, and they usually like to know what they’re getting into. If you write in genres where sexual violence is common enough that it won’t shock your audience, something like Beast Porn, Bodice-Rippers, Splatterpunk, or fantasy BDSM stuff like Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Quartet, then you (and your readers) are probably safe.
If you’re writing conventional Romance, Erotica, realistic BDSM stories, and so forth, then you might consider including a Trigger Warning at the start of the work, or telegraphing to the reader PLENTY of advance warning.

Is It Okay To Fantasize About Raping Somebody?

The short answer is “Yes,” but there are some important details to consider.

The only caveats I’d place on that answer is that it’s probably not a good idea to use masturbation fantasies to condition yourself toward certain actions, especially if you’re the kind of person who ever has trouble telling fantasy from reality, and I’d discourage anybody from indulging in rape fantasies that glorify the act of rape. Otherwise, go at it. Fantasize away.

Just keep a strong wall inside your mind dividing this part of your fantasy life from anything that you’d ever consider doing in real life.

The first place that I encountered the idea of rape fantasy, the naming of it, was when I was reading sex manuals along the lines of “The Joy of Sex,” or “Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid To Ask).” One or more of these tomes had passages on rape fantasy, mostly explaining what it was, and that it was okay. I seem to remember them focusing more on women having fantasies about rape than about men (or women) having fantasies about committing the act of rape, but it’s been a long while since I read those books.

I don’t remember how old I was when I first encountered the idea, but I do know that I first read those books years before I hit puberty. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I’d already had at least one rape fantasy that I remember. I’d attended a circus at one point, Barnum & Bailey’s, and I was among a handful of children who were picked to go down to the show floor. There was some kind of undersea theme, and they gave us special hats to wear, telling us that we were colonels in the undersea navy or something like that.

The rank was important because I remember thinking that it would give me some kind of authority to order the undersea soldiers around. I remember thinking that I’d like to order my minions (I didn’t use that word, just the concept) to take some of the lovely ladies of the circus that I’d seen performing earlier, and to strip off their clothing. I wanted to see what they looked like naked, the ladies that is.

Not technically a rape, but certainly a violation that demonstrates one of many reasons why it would be bad to grant young children any level of military command. Fortunately for the ladies, the soldiers, and myself, my special rank only allowed me to be paraded around for a bit, then returned to my seat. Or something. It’s so long ago that I’ve forgotten much of the incident. I do remember the moment of the fantasy, and I probably returned to that scene when I grew old enough to start masturbating, changing the memory of the fantasy into a new fantasy.

I can’t say if that was my first rape fantasy, and I can’t say how many I’ve had since. I can tell you that a very, very large percentage of the jokes that bounced around the playground of the grade school I attended were, in hindsight, bizarre rape-fantasy instructionals for blackmailing girls into nudity or various sex acts.

The standard joke would be something along the lines of:
A boy catches a girl in the act of peeing, and he sees her privates. She’s embarrassed. The boy tells her that he won’t tell anybody that he saw her peeing, IF she promises to give him a closer look at her private parts. She agrees. He then tells her that he won’t tell anybody that she showed him her private parts, IF she takes off her clothes entirely…

And so on, and so forth. There was rarely if ever any kind of punchline to these “jokes,” but they weren’t exactly porn either. Although that basic plot IS used in plenty of porn and erotica today. Anyway, these jokes were extremely common. They weren’t about overt rape-by-direct-force, but rape-by-blackmail was extremely common, as was rape-by-deception, and various other forms of sexual coercion.

I’m not going to say that any of it was healthy for society, but I can say that the vast majority of the kids telling that kind of joke did not turn out to be rapists that I’m aware of. I certainly didn’t turn out to be one.

The harm from those jokes would come not from the plot, but from the execution of of the story. They didn’t normalize the sexual assaults, but they did make them seem clever. They perpetuated the ongoing social narrative that it’s a boy’s job (or at least natural and reasonable inclination) to try to trick or trap girls into nudity/sex, and that it’s a girl’s job to protect herself. If the boy succeeds, then the only problem (in this narrative) is that the girl was foolish.
The stories glorified the predatory acts.

While it’s arguable that none of these stories directly caused anybody to ever commit a rape, I would say that such stories did (and likely do, if they still exist on the playgrounds today) perpetuate and reinforce rape culture. That is a bad thing. That kind of story can be harmful.

Do not indulge in rape fantasies that in any way glorify the act of rape.

Other rape fantasies that I encountered growing up were in the form of Damsel In Distress form, and were quite common in television, movies, and books. A woman would often be vaguely threatened by a man, she’d be breathless, her clothing might get torn. In the more family-friendly mediums, things would stop there, with the unspoken threat of rape. Sometimes the act might occur, but happen off-scene.

These scenes were generally crafted for the Male Gaze, to titillate the audiences. They could be problematic in a number of ways, but they did make the point that the attacker or potential attacker was a Bad Guy, not somebody that anybody should emulate.

The same kind of thing happened a lot in horror films, only more graphically. Same with certain action movies, like “Death Wish.” The stories were crafted for the viewers to be turned on by the nudity and the forced sex, but to avoid condoning rape. This is why “Rape and Revenge” movies (and books, and everything) are a thing: they allow the audience to experience the thrills of a fantasy that they know is wrong, and they allow the audience to experience the satisfaction of seeing justice be eventually served to the perpetrator that they were earlier vicariously thrilled by.
Most people aren’t likely to go out and commit rape based on “Last House On The Left,” “I Saw The Devil,” or “I Spit On Your Grave,” where the rapists are shown as despicable beings not to be emulated, and the rape is morally condemned instead of glorified.

I don’t think that the vengeance/justice aspect need be a part of personal masturbatory fantasies, but I do think that the moral condemnation should be clear. It’s okay to fantasize about rape, just as it’s okay to fantasize about murder, robbery, zombie apocalypses, and all sorts of other things that would be horrible in real life.

It’s okay for a man or woman to fantasize about raping.
It’s just not okay for them to fantasize about rape being in any way good, noble, or justified.

Once in a while, it’s fun in our fantasies to play the role of the Bad Guy. The only danger is if we end up playing him/her in real life.

Hobbies, Skills, and Passions

I’ve talked in other posts, I believe, about one of the useful elements in becoming a good or great writer being a fluency in the language of writing. The faster and cleaner you can translate what’s in your mind into what’s on the page, the easier the entire process of writing will be. On a good day, at the right time or times, you’ll be able to write as fast as you can type. If you’re a good typist, you’ll be able to write almost as fast as you can think.

At this point, one of the big bottlenecks will be what your mental speed limit is: how fast you can make story-creating decisions that fit the characters you’re working with, and that advance the plot in the right direction. As with everything else in writing, this takes practice to get really good at.

Luckily for me, I’ve spent the vast majority of my life playing Dungeons & Dragons.

More specifically, I’ve spent a huge portion of my life as a D&D Dungeonmaster (as opposed to the BDSM kind of Dungeonmaster), running games for all kinds of different players. I credit this particular hobby with a lot of my ability to come up with plots on the fly, as well as my ability to create fictional characters quickly, and my ability to envision the decisions those characters might make. All of those things are skills that one needs to varying degrees when running a tabletop role-playing game.

As with writing fiction, a Dungeonmaster (DM) tries to create or direct a narrative, to tell (with the aid of his players) a kind of story. The Dungeonmaster lays out a general plot, with a beginning, middle, and (assuming not everybody dies along the way) an ending. As with writing, any or all of this outline is routinely threatened by the often unpredictable actions of the characters involved. While the DM has full control over where the story starts, he/she does not fully control how or where the story ends, nor what happens along the way.

This is because the characters make their own decisions. Which often seems to happen when one is writing fiction, particularly fiction of any significant length.

A DM might start the story off in a tavern, intending the characters to roleplay a quiet meal getting acquainted with one another, planning the next day’s journey to the castle or dungeon where the object of their mutual quest lies. The players might choose to pick a fight, either with strangers at the tavern or with each other, and the evening might end with any number of dead bodies, and burning tavern.

The DM’s job is to adapt, to get the story back on track, but also to include the consequences of this event into the overall narrative. Surviving party members will likely be on the run now, to avoid angry mobs and law enforcement, which can be used to increase their incentive to achieve whatever their original goal was, as well as to provide additional possible obstacles that might add to the story.

It’s not so different when writing, sometimes. A writer might think they know where a scene is going, but by the time they’re done writing it, they have to re-adjust their entire outline to account for unpredicted outcomes. This is likely to happen more than once, in a longer story.

This can be frustrating as a Dungeonmaster, so most DMs try to predict ahead of time how and why scenes might go wrong, and to come up with ways of reducing the odds of disaster or major derailment. Instead of starting the scene in the main room of the tavern, for example, the DM might start the scene in a private room, where there are fewer distractions from the DM’s goal with the scene. It’s hard to start a fight with non-player characters (NPCs) when there aren’t any in the room/scene.

The party can fight amongst themselves, but this can be countered by making sure that each of the main characters, the Player Characters (PCs) have compatible backstories that can be used to avoid disastrous in-fighting. Four complete strangers are more likely to pick deadly fights with one another than a group of four people composed of two brothers, one brother’s love interest, and that love interest’s long-time friend who happens to have helped the other brother out of a serious jam on at least one occasion. It also helps if the characters have compatible personalities and overall motivations. That way, if things start to go off course, the DM can guide them back on course by reminding the PCs of their close ties and their mutual goals.

Storytelling is storytelling, and a lot of the skills that one can develop in table-top role-playing games can translate into other forms of storytelling, such as writing. It’s not the only way to develop useful skills, and it’s not even necessarily the best way to do so. It is one of the ways that’s worked for me, and I’ve heard other authors make similar claims.

Then again, writers tend to use their own experiences, and whatever a writers’ experiences are, I’ve heard them claim that those experiences have helped shape and guide their writing.

If you’ve never tried running or playing in a tabletop RPG, but you’re looking for fun hobbies that might help you with your writing, I recommend joining or starting a game sometime. If you have played or run tabletop RPGs, I recommend actively thinking about lessons that you can learn from your RPG experiences that will translate into writing skills, and vice-versa. It’s always nice when our hobbies can sharpen our skills for our passions.

Is It Okay To Fantasize About Rape?

The short answer is “Yes.” If that’s good enough for you, skip to the next blog post! (or go read an earlier post)

The long answer is still “Yes.” See below.

Fantasy is by default okay and natural, including fantasies about crime and violence. People fantasize about all kinds of things, for all kinds of reasons. What happens in our imaginations really isn’t anybody’s business other than ourselves, and it doesn’t affect anybody other than ourselves.

When it comes to sexual rape fantasies, there are reasons why they exist. We live in a society where we’re taught that sex is shameful, particularly for women. We’re taught that we’re bad people if we want to have sex, but biologically we are (most of us, anyway) driven to have sex, and to want sexual experiences. Rape fantasies allow people to conjure scenarios where we can participate in all the “depraved” things that we’d like to do, or–more to the point–that we’d like to fantasize about doing–while avoiding the negative feelings associated with our own lusts.

A person might want to fantasize about having rough sex with a group of strangers, about the pure, faceless physical act of it. The simplest scenario where they can indulge in that fantasy would generally involve being taken against their will. This would help them avoid not only guilt for their own general lust, but for any number of details in the scene that they might otherwise avoid envisioning, and/or might mentally punish themselves for.

This kind of fantasy does not mean that the person having the fantasy wants to be raped in real life, no more than an idle fantasy about being pursued by a serial killer, or a fantasy about being in a war, or a fantasy about a zombie apocalypse, means that the person having that fantasy would wish to be involved in such things in life.

Most sexual fantasies people have are used to get us off, and we don’t entirely have control over what scenarios push our buttons. Fantasizing about different things, rape included, can help us figure out what our turn ons are, and it can help us learn more about our own sexuality.

People fantasize about rape for many reasons. The escape from shame mentioned above is one possible reason, but for other people the reason might be because shame itself is one of their buttons, one of the things that inexplicably turns them on. They might enjoy fantasies about being beaten, humiliated, and forced… and that fantasy might not have anything to do with what they’d like in real life. Or maybe it does; there’s nothing wrong with that either.

Another thing about rape fantasy is that it’s easy. Different people have different thresholds when it comes to suspension of disbelief, and that includes sexual fantasies. Some people may not find fantasies of love & courtship, or hooking up at a bar, or any number of other common plots to be plausible or simple enough when they’re trying to just rub one out.

Fantasizing about being raped cuts to the chase: You’re there, the other person (or people) are there, and they’re doing things to you. You don’t have to worry about whether they’ll call you after. You don’t have to worry about whether they find you attractive. You don’t have to worry anything other than the sex, and you don’t have to worry about any kinky implications of anything that they do to you because this fantasy is about not being in control.

It’s about being relieved of responsibility, anxiety, and every other concern other than sex.

Rape fantasy allows people to bypass many, most, or all of their mental blocks when it comes to sexual fantasy, and it allows them to just enjoy the ride–something that is the exact opposite of actual rape, which can create obstacles between the victim and sexual enjoyment. This might be one reason why many victims of real-world rape indulge in rape fantasy: the trauma from their attack may create mental blocks that can only be effectively overcome by this kind of fantasy. They may have feelings of shame. They may have feelings of being damaged. They may have feelings that nobody good would want them. This kind of fantasy can provide a necessary sexual outlet that bypasses all those things and more.

There’s also a legitimacy to rewriting our own emotional stories, to dealing with traumatic events by imagining variations of those events that take out the sting through repetition and reframing. People can take traumatic events, and imagine those events in different ways that remove the negative experiences and replace them with positive associations. A person who has been raped can fantasize about being forced into sex under different circumstances, and in that fantasy retain complete control over everything that happens. They can replace powerlessness and suffering with fantasies of those things, with mute echoes that–like all fantasies–dull the bad parts and highlight (or in this case create) the good parts.

There’s nothing wrong with having rape fantasies, and there are many good reasons why people have them.

Avatars and Objects

Both “erotica” and “horror” are emotional terms, referring not to any physical actions, but to emotional states. Erotica is specifically art intended to arouse physical desire. Although there are certain physical responses that are a part of this reaction, the reaction itself occurs in the minds of the audience. Horror as a genre is specifically referring to the capacity to instill fear, revulsion, or even terror into the audience. This is something to keep in mind when writing in either genre, because all too often writers and artists seem to focus entirely on the physical elements.

In purely visual mediums, this is understandable. A painting or picture can only do so much to do the things necessary to fully bring the viewer along for a journey. A simple portrait or picture of a nude man or woman might well be all that is required to achieve the intended reaction, but even in such cases there is usually effort made by the artist to convey something other than the pure physical form. Compare nudes sketches or photos that are done for the purposes of simply showing anatomy, versus works designed to arouse. The former is typically informative, but essentially unarousing. The latter is typically much more arousing, and this is due in large part to the emotional information conveyed by the work in question.

Faces in anatomical works are usually blank, neutral, conveying nothing about the subject except perhaps indifference. Faces in erotic works are typically full of various emotional reactions, and this is precisely because that emotional quality is essential to arouse the audience. Humans can be aroused by sheer anatomical close-up visuals, but typically they are aroused to much greater extents when emotions are involved in the work. A naked woman with a completely neutral face and posture isn’t going to do all that much for most male viewers, but add a bit of flush to the cheeks, a bit of a wanton smile, and suddenly any eroticism is greatly multiplied.

Humans are social creatures, and we as a species are typically concerned with and affected by the emotions that we see (or project) onto the people around us.

Most commonly, we are sexually aroused by seeing the emotion of sexual arousal in others. That flush to the cheeks can indicate a host of emotions that we associate with sex, from lust to embarrassment, to the kinds of physical exertion that we associate with enthusiastic sexual activity. As a hetero male, seeing art portraying an emotionally neutral naked woman provokes a certain level of arousal, a low-level spark of lust. Seeing art portraying a clothed (or partially clothed!) woman who’s looking at me (or another person in the art itself) with lust in her eyes, in her smile, in her flush, in her posture, can turn that spark into a bonfire.

Horror works the same way, although typically with different emotions (barring various kinks and phobias).

Picture a person being stabbed in the chest with a large knife, but with their countenance conveying complete indifference. Picture their limbs lying neutral. Picture their mouth closed in a lazy line, their eyes half-lidded with a lack of any interest.

Now picture the same stabbing, only with the target’s eyes wide with shock and fear, their mouth forced open by their scream of not only agony, but their understanding that these are their last moments of life, and that those last moments will be filled with suffering. Picture their legs buckling, their arms desperately failing to stop the incoming attack.

Neither of these images is necessarily going to instill you with fear, revulsion, or terror, but surely the second image comes closer to any of those emotions, comes closer to conveying horror, comes closer to doing the primary job that horror as a genre is designed for.

Let’s repeat the experiment with an erotic scene instead.

Picture a naked man and a naked woman. The woman is bent over a table, and the man is standing behind her. He is frozen mid-thrust, his cock half-way into (or out of) her. Their faces are blank masks, and their postures convey no urgency, no desire, and nothing about any kind of internal feeling about the act they’re in the middle of.

Re-imagine the scene.
This time, the woman is wearing a house dress. She is leaning over a kitchen table that has a cutting board with a knife and vegetables on it, as if she has been interrupted in the middle of preparing a meal. Picture her hands bunching the checkered tablecloth. Picture her face flushed with passion, her eyes closed with pleasure, her mouth opening wide with a moan of ecstasy. The top of her dress has been pulled down, exposing her bare breasts. The bottom of her dress has been lifted up, and her panties pushed aside so that the man could eagerly penetrate her.

He’s wearing slightly shabby clothing, as if he’s been working in the yard, and only came in for a break or a drink of water. His hands are on her hips, frozen in the act of frantically pulling her back against him. His eyes are filled with lust, his face red with it. His pants are unzipped and have been pulled down just enough for this spontaneous act of mutual passion.

Stereotypical gender roles aside (or especially included, depending on one’s kinks), which scene was more arousing?

Most likely the latter, because the characters we see in a work of art are our vehicle for this experience, our avatars and objects of desire. If we can see passion, we can feel that passion. Just as if we see fear or pain, we can experience that as well.

It’s the same in written work: a story must be about more than indifferent bodies in order to truly affect the reader. The characters must feel emotions, and these emotions must be transmitted to the readers in order to infect them with the appropriate feelings of fear or desire.

The goal of most art is to affect the audience somehow, and that’s incredibly difficult and rare to do without showing them any emotions within the art itself. Emotions are the key to affecting your readers, and details are the key to showing emotions.

Myself As Well

I suppose I should explain that when I was a kid, video arcades were a thing. They were a BIG thing, because there was no internet, personal computers were slow, clunky things with no hard drives, often with black and white screens, or green screens. The only game consoles were Atari 2600s, and we were so desperate for electronic entertainment that we thought those were completely awesome forms of entertainment. The 2600s were the cause of many fights and much envy among children.

They absolutely paled in comparison to the video arcade.

The arcade games were full color, and they had what seemed like crisp, clear graphics. When Pac-Man hit America, it was like a nuclear bomb went off as part of the opening fireworks of a Beatles concert, with the miracles of Jesus Christ as the opening act. Okay, maybe not that big, but it was fucking BIG!

It was bigger than Pokemon Go. It was bigger than whatever big game is more current than that, because it was all new back then—the world had seen nothing like what was happening in the world of coin-operated wonder that was the American arcade– and there was very little real competition. These days there are millions of games or more, all competing for your attention, affection, and currency, and you can get them in some form or other basically wherever you are on the planet.

Back in the day, in my day, there were only dozens of decent video games, and you could only find them in certain locations. There’d be like three video games and a pinball machine or two at the local pizza parlor. There was maybe a couple in the corner of the pizza place. There’d be some at the airport, the bowling alley, and other key areas that we’d all map in our heads and exchange via word of mouth the way druggies share information about their dealers.

The arcades–the good ones–were like a fucking all-you-can-play buffet, and there were dozens of machines, usually with masses of kids and adults not only lined up to play, but also smooshed around to watch because every time you took a bite of this buffet it cost you a quarter. A good player could play a long time on a quarter, but eventually whoever you were and however good you were, you’d run out of the money that mom and dad gave you.

And then you’d just watch.

You’d all crowd around the guy playing the game, close but not too close because you don’t want to fuck up his game. The guy at the machine is right up against it, one hand on the joystick (or roller) and the other hand furiously hitting whatever buttons make something else happen in the game. All of the guy’s attention is on the game, because just like in the games today, it was both engrossing and dangerous—one mistake, and he’d die. Back then, you’d only get three respawns before you had to put in more cash.

There’s usually somebody hugging each of the front corners of the machine, too. They’ve got the best view, outside of the player himself. There’s space between them and the player, but not enough to squeeze in another person, so the next layer of watchers is a half-step back, staring at the screen through that gap between the first row. The third row watchers is bigger, and the view isn’t great because the gaps are smaller.

That’s where I am.

There’s a fourth row behind me, and maybe a fifth after that, although it all becomes muddled into one big crowd by that point. I don’t know, because they’re all behind me, and every single fucking ounce of my attention is on front of me, obsessed with whatever magic act of neon glory and human skill is happening. I’m like a cat who sees a mouse, like a dog who sees a squirrel.

I am rapt.

I don’t remember if there was a break in the action that caused me to break out of the hypnotic state of focus that I was in, or if it’s simply that my inner frog eventually realized that it was time to check the water temperature. What I do remember is that there was something warm and firm pressed against the seat of my Toughskins jeans, and the guy standing behind me was pressed way, way too close.

I was a child, but I wasn’t stupid, and I wasn’t ignorant. I knew what a dick was (I had one myself, after all), and I knew what a pervert was. I’d had the “No, go, tell” lectures at school, and I knew that strangers could be dangerous to children. I quite probably even knew the word “Frotteurist,” well-read little bastard that I was.

I was annoyed.

One of the corner-huggers had left, and I quickly moved to take his spot. I went a bit further down the side of the machine, sandwiching myself between the machine I was watching and the one next to it. A deliberate move, because now my butt was pressed up against the safety of a heavy arcade game instead of some pervert’s crotch. Then I went back to watching the game. The Frotteurist wandered to a different part of the arcade.

A little while later, one of my friends found me, and let me know that there was a pervert rubbing himself up against kids. I’m guessing that my friend found out the same way that I did. We decided to leave, because while we were confident that we could each protect ourselves from this guy, we were hanging out with a younger friend of ours, and we weren’t sure if he was worldly or wise enough to watch out for himself. We gathered him up, and we left the arcade.

I wanted to kick the guy’s ass. He was bigger than me, an adult or a highschooler (all the olds and talls looked the same to me), but for a while my brain furiously thought of ways that I could turn the odds in my favor. Maybe stand on a trashcan, and hit him in the head with a baseball bat when he turned a corner, for instance. But he was still in the arcade, I didn’t have a trashcan, didn’t have a bat, and didn’t know which way he’d go when he left. Besides, we had other places to be.

We totally ignored our “No, Go, Tell” training. It always just seemed stupid, screaming “NO!” at an adult, then running off as fast as you could. It didn’t seem to fit this situation either, because this wasn’t a guy in a van offering candy, or somebody in an alley at night or anything.

In hindsight, it would have actually been a decent way to bust this guy, raising the Hue and Cry to at least get him tossed out of the arcade. The training was stupid, though, and hinged on a kid who’d been taught that adults were authority figures, a kid who didn’t like attention, a kid whose anxiety made any unusual or intense interactions with adults all the more torturous… that kid? That group of three kids?

No. Go tell somebody else to pull that crap.

I didn’t want to have to deal with adults or cops asking me a shitload of questions over a minor incident that left me pissed off, but not in any way hurt, damaged, or traumatized. That shit would have been worse and more traumatizing for me.

Years rolled by, and I barely thought about it. Sometimes I’d remember, and I’d wish I could punch the fucker, or give him a hard kick in the nuts. Because while I’m not traumatized, and it wasn’t a huge part of my life, this guy took a moment where I was having a great time, and he spoiled it for me. He didn’t ruin arcades or video games or anything for me; he just ruined that moment, that hour, and any minutes since that I’ve thought of him.

Only not just for me, but probably for a lot of other kids as well.

One of the times that I thought about that guy was last year, when the #MeToo went viral, and women everywhere who had been sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted, all let the world know that they’d been the victims of similar assholes and outright monsters. It was… nice? Heartwarming?

It was something to see all the virtual hands raised in empathy and accusation.

I was tempted to tweet a #MeToo myself. Maybe I even did, but I hope not. I remember thinking that it was a bad idea, because this thing was about women, and they didn’t necessarily need men talking over them or stepping into the spotlight in any way. They get too much of that as it is.

So life moved on, as it does, and I didn’t think of the incident again until today, when somehow that piece of shit again crossed my mind for some reason, and I decided that I’d tell my story. It might have been therapeutic, I guess. I teared up a couple times. Not because of this guy or the memories of him interrupting my day. Not that I’m aware of, at least, because brains can be tricky bastards. No, it’s the arcades of that era. They were something special, and as I grew older and the arcades grew fewer and fewer, there must have been some time where I went to a real arcade for the very last time, and I didn’t even know it happened. I didn’t even know how bad I missed it until I watched the Netflix series “Stranger Things” a few years back, and I sat there stunned and misty-eyed as I heard the sounds of a 1980’s video arcade for the first time in decades.

I don’t feel like there’s a good end to this post. There’s no particular moral, and no narrative closure. Like life, I suppose. Maybe that’s the moral.