Month: May 2018

Aaron Gold’s “Don’t Mind If I Don’t” Podcast

My Fucking Day Job keeps my hands and eyes busy most of the time, but my brain and ears are usually bored. I try to make use of this time by listening to audiobooks and podcasts, as well as a variety of music. With the audiobooks, I try to do stuff that will help my preferred field of writing erotica. I bounce back and forth between stuff on business/finance/promotion, erotica, sex/health education, and classic or popular books that can help me learn how the great writers did what they did.

With podcasts, my selection is mostly oriented the same way–all stuff that helps me sharpen my skills as a writer of erotica–but there’s other stuff in there too. I listen to Ted Talks of all sorts, because there are a lot of story ideas in those things, and because I just like learning new things and thinking new ideas. I’ve been listening to the Donkey Banana Show, because somebody I know on Twitter recommended it. There’s a bunch of stuff.

One of my favorite shows is the “Don’t Mind If I Don’t” podcast by comedian Aaron Gold.

The premise of this show is that Aaron picks something that he doesn’t like, then gets people to come on to the show to convince him to like it. He might be indifferent to the subject, simply not getting why it’s a deal to anybody. He might have a negative reaction to the subject, but see some kind of appeal. Or he might hate the subject with a burning passion.

At the beginning of each episode, Aaron gives a rating of 0 (indifference) to -10 (extreme hatred) for how he feels about the issue in question. Over the course of each episode, the guests try to explain to Aaron why he should like the subject, try to convince him to become a fan of it. Aaron explains and explores why he dislikes it. At the end of the show, Aaron gives his new rating to show how his feelings have changed.

Usually, the number moves closer to zero, because Aaron wants to enjoy more things; part of the point of the show is that he’d like to open his mind, and to find more pleasures in life. Sometimes, as I believe happened with the David Lynch episode, the number moves the other way, and Aaron finds that the more he knows about the subject–or the ways the guests/experts tried to convince him to like it–has pushed him even more toward the extreme hatred end of the spectrum.

Sometimes I agree with Aaron’s view, sometimes I agree with the guests’ views, and sometimes I agree with everybody, but I always empathize with Aaron because I have my own quirks and a long list of dislikes. I have my own hot-button issues, and plenty of popular topics that I hate. Most people do. At the same time, I also–like Aaron–want to enjoy life more, and I think that it’s good for people to have an open mind whenever possible.

Regardless of how it turns out, I enjoy listening to Aaron’s exploration of his own emotions.

A lot of the time, I feel like the guests aren’t doing a great job. They often forget that they’re not there to defend the topic’s general appeal; they’re there to specifically pitch the subject to Aaron in a way (or ways) that will make HIM specifically find more enjoyment in the issue. They don’t always pay attention to his objections, so sometimes they accidentally make pitches/arguments that only play up the factors that anger or annoy him. Other times, they fail to take notice when they hit on something that could seriously sway him, some point that he expresses interest in, but that the guests move on from all too swiftly.

Much of the time, the fans’ or experts’ arguments boil down to “But it’s SOOooo good!”, a blatant emotional appeal that’s not going to convince many people. Other times, the fans or experts come up with fascinating angles or information, things that catch Aaron (and/or myself) off-guard, and manage to change the way he looks at the issue in question. Either way, there are almost always jokes, ideas, and fun moments that make the show well worth my time and attention.

I follow both the podcast (@dontmindpodcast) and Aaron Gold himself (@HeyItsAaronGold) on Twitter, and I recommend that you do the same, as well as giving the podcast a try if you’ve got any free listening time. He’s affable and amusing, but can also be endearingly cranky in ways that I identify with. If you like things, or if you don’t like things, this just might be the show for you!

Do any of my readers have podcasts or audiobooks that they’d like to recommend to me? If so, let me know in the Comments section here. Pitch it to me in a way that’ll make me like it. 😉

Stop Kinkshaming Ammosexuals

Every time there’s a shooting–which I assume we can all agree is far, far, far too often–the big argument about guns and gun rights rages across the nation (and to some degree, across the world). We all have our views on what should be done when it comes to changing gun laws, and I’m not going to talk about that here. What I’m going to talk about is something that I see happen regularly in the comments section of articles, and in various arguments/discussions in social media, when the anti-gun crowd or the “sensible regulation” crowd face off with the pro-gun crowd.

Almost invariably and inevitably, one of the anti-gun crowd calls one or all of the pro-gun crowd an “ammosexual.”

There’s a lot of general name-calling back and forth, and a hell of a lot of stereotyping, when it comes to this kind of heated political debate. Ad hominem attacks are never productive in any kind of debate, but this particular attack rubs me the wrong way for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with guns, and everything to do with how our culture sees sex and human sexuality.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/ammosexual
   
Wiktionary defines the term as follows:
    (US, Slang, Derogatory) A person obsessed with owning guns; a zealous supporter of the right to bear arms.


    So why is the word “sexual” in there?

It’s because our culture–especially when trying to make things seem unseemly–loves to project a sexual element where it doesn’t necessarily exist, because we have a generally negative view of sex and sexuality.

The implication of the term “ammosexual” is not only that the person in question sexually fetishizes guns, but also that they are morally and even factually wrong for doing so. I’m going to unpack a lot of the things that are wrong with that.

First, it’s a conflation of two entirely different (if sometimes overlapping) things: a political stance supporting the right of people to own firearms, and a sexual fetish for firearms. I know many gun owners and pro-gun advocates, and I’ve never known one yet who seems to see their firearms in a sexual way. At the same time, I’m aware that there are people out there who are into gun kink, who use firearms to spice up their sex life the way that other people use whips, knives, or ropes. Believe it or not, the people in the latter category aren’t necessarily NRA members or gun rights advocates. They’re just people who have a certain kind of kink.

Having that kink does not mean that there’s anything wrong with them, nor that they are wrong about whatever side of the argument they’re on.

Moreover, the people throwing the term about do not–as far as I can tell–seriously believe that the people they’re hurling the word at actually do have any kind of kink when it comes to guns. They’re using the word as a hyperbolic insult, trying to shame people by insinuating that they’re into something kinky.

Because our society thinks that kink is shameful.

Because our society thinks that sex and sexuality is shameful.

But it’s not shameful, and it shouldn’t be shameful (unless your particular kink is being shamed, and you’re engaging in consensual play).

In a conversation about guns and violent crime, people are using sexuality as an insult to try to shame the other side into submission. It’s not simply an attack on the people targeted by the word; it’s also an attack on sex in general, kink more specifically, and gun kink directly.

Worse, this kind of thing usually comes from leftists/liberals/progressives, the kind of people who are supposed to be more enlightened when it comes to sexuality.

 

A similar situation is the idea that men who own guns must have small penises. I haven’t done a survey to see if there’s any truth to this, and nobody else has either, because the claim/insinuation doesn’t hinge on truth–it hinges on shame. It’s an attempt to shame and insult gun owners, not to do anything else. So it’s probably not true, but let’s pretend that it was true for just a moment. Let’s pretend for a moment that if a man owns a gun, for some reason that’s because he has a small penis.
    So what?
    Should men with small penises be non-consensually and publicly shamed for their bodies? Is that what we want to accomplish in our online political arguments? Is that any better than when a man dismisses what a woman has to say on a political subject by calling her “fat,” “ugly,” or “mannish?”

Body shaming is body shaming, and body shaming is bad.

Especially when the body shaming in question directly feeds the kind of toxic masculinity that is at the heart of much of the gun violence that we’ve been seeing, the tropes we have about manhood, and what it takes to be a Real Man. Accusing a gun owner of having a small penis relies on the assumption that any man with a small penis can’t be a Real Man. Considering the fact that the key traits of a spree shooter is that they are almost always males who are concerned with or caught up in societal notions of what masculinity is, I don’t think that attacking their penis size is a productive way to defuse or discuss anything.

Whatever we as a nation or a planet ultimately do with guns, we need to make our ideas of masculinity more inclusive, and our ideas of how men deal with shame more productive. What we do NOT need to do is to shame more people, and to reinforce existing prejudices about sex, sexuality, and sex organs.

 

[As a final note, I’ll point out that there are people who self-identify as an “ammosexual,” typically for the same sort of “fuck you” reclaiming reasons why Americans like the song Yankee Doodle, why some women (or men) self-identify as a “bitch,” and so forth. That doesn’t affect the nature of this post, which is not about people self-identifying, but is specifically about people applying the term to others without their consent, as a pejorative.]

Rejection Letters

I’ve recently received rejection letters from two different erotica anthologies that I submitted to. While it’s always disappointing to be rejected, I wasn’t surprised about the first letter (technically, it was an email). While the story I submitted is pretty good, it’s not my best work. The story I was trying to tell was bigger than the number of words that I was limited to, and the story suffered from having some corners cut. It also wasn’t the ideal fit for that anthology, but I hoped that it would get in anyway.

The other rejection letter did come as a surprise. It was for a story that I hammered out just under the deadline, but that I thought turned out very well. Like the other story, I had to condense the tale I was trying to convey significantly to fit the word count limit, but I truly felt that I had accomplished that without compromising the heart of the story. I was proud of that one, and I was confident that it would be accepted.

Ah, well.

While I’m suffering from a bit of mild rejection dejection, I’m mostly left wondering why specifically that second story didn’t make it into the antho. Was it not good enough? Or was it just not the right fit? Was the story not as good as I think it was? Or was it simply the wrong fit for the anthology that the editor was envisioning?

One key difference between writing for classes in college, and writing for submission in the real world, is that there was absolutely no vacuum of feedback in the classroom. I miss that. With this kind of thing, I’m left guessing. The rejection emails were very nicely worded, but in some ways I would have preferred harsher wording that gave me more indication why my work wasn’t accepted.

A response of “No way; you suck!” or “WTF? Did you even READ the submission guidelines?” would at least let me know what the problem was, and what I would need to work on harder for my next submission (i.e., not sucking). Of course, it’s obvious why no business could succeed with that kind of interaction with their authors.

The only thing I can really do is to take my best guesses, and to try harder or better next time.

I’ll start with what I know was wrong with both stories: I had to shrink them to fit the word limit. Since the stories have already been rejected, word-count isn’t an issue any more. I’ll go back, look at each story, and flesh them out more until I feel they’re the right size. I’ll probably self-publish them at some point, because there aren’t a lot of submission calls for stories longer than 5k words. That’s one of the nice things about self-publishing: you can spend as many or as few words on a story as it requires.

The next thing that I know was wrong with both stories is that they were written and submitted very close to the deadline. If I’d had more time, I might have figured out how to polish them a bit more. That first story could have used it, I admit, and as good as I believe the second story to be, it could have perhaps been even better (while still constrained by the word count). So next time I need to submit, I’ll try to focus harder on finishing the stories early, leaving more time to tinker with them.

Also–while I think that it’s entirely unlikely–some editors might read submissions in the order they were received, and simply reject everything else once they’ve found enough stories that they like. Writers aren’t the only people who can cut corners, nor the only ones who are pressed for time. On the slight off chance that this kind of thing is a factor, I might do better getting my submissions in a lot earlier in the future.

When these anthologies do eventually come out, I’m going to get copies, and read them carefully to see what kind of stories did make the cut, and try to figure out why. If they’re all clearly better than my own efforts, that will clue me in. If some or all are not as good–to my eyes–as my rejected stories, then I’ll try to figure out why the editors thought that these lesser works were better or more appropriate to include.

Beyond that….? I’m not sure, so I guess I’ll ask my blog audience:

-If/when you get your submissions rejected, what steps do you take to change the outcome next time?
-What kind of post-game analysis do you do to figure out why you were rejected?
-Can you think of things that I should be doing in this area that I’m not?

How to Suck Your Own Cock

[Disclaimer: I’m going to leave it to your imagination to decide whether I’ve done this, whether I’m doing it right now as I type this, or whether I’ve simply researched the subject thoroughly in other ways.]


First and foremost, it helps like hell to have a long cock. Think about it. If you’re 5’4, and you have a 3’ cock, it’ll be easy as pie to reach your pie-hole with that beast. I mean, if it’s proportionate, you might not be able to fit your mouth around it… but you’ll sure as fuck be able to REACH. You can lick your own crown, tongue your pee-hole, whatever. You can make it work.

The longer your cock, the easier time you’ll have reaching it with your mouth.

For most guys, that alone won’t do the trick. For most of us, we’d need to use some special maneuvers.

One of the ways is to lie flat on your back, then to raise your legs up until they’re perpendicular to the ground, then to keep moving them forward until you’re resting mostly on your shoulders, and your waist is above your face. Open your mouth, pull your own hips forward, and try to carefully work that cock into your mouth. Don’t jerk when you pull, and don’t pull so hard that you strain/pull a muscle or damage your back.

This is something that you don’t want to cripple yourself over.

If you can get any part of it in your mouth at all, it might well be just the tip. That’s okay–use it. Suck on it, tease it with your tongue, and so forth. This should help you get longer and harder, and maybe get more of it into your mouth.

Again, don’t hurt yourself. I’d hate for anybody to try to sue me over this, and I don’t think that anybody would come out of the trial looking very good.

If that simply doesn’t do it for you, if you can’t get your own cock in your own mouth, then you’ll have to try something different.

Method #2 is to sit on a couch, with your hips as close to the edge of the couch as possible. You want to be perched on the frame, and then you want to curl forward and down to bring your mouth closer to the target. It helps if you’re dealing with a Hard target, so feel free to play with yourself and such. Just don’t use any funny-tasting lube.

Next, reach both arms down and grab the bottom of the couch. Pull yourself gently forward. Again, don’t jerk. Again, don’t hurt yourself. But pull yourself down cautiously and steadily. If necessary, use one arm to maintain the force needed to hold the position, and use one hand to position your cock closer to your mouth.

If nothing else, you should be able to lick the tip.

A large belly is a problem here, because it means you can’t curl up the right way. That’s why Ron Jeremy can’t suck his own dick anymore–his belly gets in the way. That’s a tragedy, because it was once his claim to fame, his signature trick. If that happens to you, the only thing to do is to lose weight and slim down.

Method #3 is similar to #2, but more horizontal. This time, you need to get into a bathtub (or similar structure), and put your knees over the side of the tub. Your spine should be perpendicular to the tub, sideways from how you normally (I presume) lie in a bathtub. If you have hot water in the tub, that might make things loosen up and make you more limber, but it also might make it harder to stay hard. Use your own judgment on that.

You want to again curl up. You want to have the backs of your thighs against the side of the tub, and you want to grab the outside of the tub with your hands, to pull yourself forward and down so that your mouth lines up with your goal. Again, this position is very much like #2.

If and when you get there, when you finally get your cock in your mouth, it probably won’t be all that satisfying. It’ll probably be a bit like tickling yourself–being on both ends of the sensation will mute the experience for you. But there are guys who come this way, and that’s another issue you’ll have to deal with. Do you want to come in your own mouth?

That’s something you might not know until the moment arrives.

If/when you get your cock in your mouth, it’s not going to be an ideal position. The upside of your tongue will be on the upside of your cock, not on the more sensitive underside. You’ll have to use your arms to do a lot of the work, pulling yourself forward and back, so you can fuck your own cock with your mouth (the head is going to be doing most of the movement in any of these positions). Sometimes it might help to pull the loose skin that covers your cock forward, to get more of it into your mouth, into the reach of your tongue.

If you succeed in all of this, you might not come the first time. You might have a back or neck ache. Again, be careful. With sufficient practice, though, and horniness you might well be able to finish this way, to come in your own mouth. You probably won’t like the taste, although that’s subject to the individual.

Needless to say, don’t worry about whether or not this makes you gay–it doesn’t, not any more than using your own hand to jack yourself off makes you gay. Homosexuality is all about what you do (and how you feel) about other people, not what you do to yourself. I hope by this point in history, men wouldn’t worry about that sort of thing, but I’m adding this disclaimer anyway: Sucking your own cock–even swallowing your own semen–does not make you gay in any way.

I mean, you’re still a filthy pervert, but that’s a separate issue.

“This Has Never Happened To Me!”

I’ve never really gotten the whole “this never happens to me” kind of thing that men go through when they can’t get it up. Then again, I’ve never been invested in erections that way. One reason might be because the very first time I tried to have sex, I couldn’t get hard for it. In my defense, to the extent that any defense was needed, I was crippled by the flu, and I was hopped down on NyQuil–the old-fashioned kind, the (as Dennis Leary phrased it) “Don’t Make Any Fucking Plans” kind.

I was with a girl. She was taking care of me, because I was sick. We ended up making out, germs be damned, and suddenly the bases were just flying by. First Base, Second Base, Third Base, then I was diving headfirst into Home.

I lay there for quite a while, with my head on the plate, and was rewarded first with squirming, and eventually with screaming. A bit later, more screaming. Then maybe some more. None of it was the bad kind–it was the enthusiastic, pinnacular kind, and a bit later, I decided that I was ready to lose my virginity. I’d been saving it for somebody special, and this girl was special. I didn’t know if she was The One, but I knew she was special enough that I wouldn’t regret her being my first.

I know… Virgin teenage boys are supposed to be willing to fuck anybody and everybody just to get rid of the scarlet V on their foreheads. But I was different, perhaps more old-fashioned, perhaps just more picky.

I decided that this girl would be the first girl I Went All The Way with… and my penis told me that it didn’t agree. It just wasn’t up for anything at the moment.
It was feeling sleepy.

I remember laughing, because of COURSE that would happen–I was only conscious because of the amazing opportunities that a naked girl was providing, combined with my youth. The amount of NyQuil I’d had would have paralyzed an ox. It wasn’t very surprising that it was paralyzing my cock.

She was cool with it. Even if she’d have otherwise been a bitch about it (and she wouldn’t), she’d already gotten hers several times (5, maybe?). So instead of fucking, we curled up together, and we slept.

Later that night or early morning, THEN we fucked. And it was glorious.
But the overall point was that my very first time out of the gate, my stallion fell asleep on me. And it didn’t fucking matter.

It was the first time my cock wasn’t up to a challenge, and it wasn’t the last. I mean, when I was younger, I half-joked that I could have an arm chopped off, and still be up for sex. Maybe it was a quarter-joke. Sex was and is one of my primary raison d’etres. That didn’t mean that there weren’t times when I was too tired, or too hammered, or too angry, or too whatever else to get hard enough to bang whatever girl I desperately wanted to bang at the time.

Age hasn’t made things easier, either.

The girl I’m with right now, we’ve been dealing with a weeks-long bout of bad timing and exhaustion, where our sex life isn’t where we’d like it to be. Sometimes she’s too tired, sometimes I’m too tired. Sometimes we both are.

The thing of it is, we make do. That’s what adults DO–they make do.

Sometimes she’s like, “Do you mind just lubing up, playing with yourself, and coming in me when you’re ready?”

No, I don’t mind.

Sometimes I’m like, “Do you mind if I just lick you til you come, then I roll over and go to sleep?”

No, she don’t mind.

When you’re young, part of you is still afraid that everything is going to go on your Permanent Record or something. You’re afraid that if you can’t get hard enough (or wet enough) that the person you’re with will laugh at you, and that IF they do, that it’ll matter in the scheme of things. You’re worried that if you don’t have sex right now, you may never have sex again at all!

But that’s all bullshit.

Sex isn’t all about Penis In Vagina penetration. Sex isn’t all about being hard, or wet. Sex is about two (or more) people physically bonding with and pleasuring one another, and it comes (so to speak) in many forms, most of which don’t require a stiff cock.

So my masculinity and my sexual identity isn’t tied up (so to speak) in my always having a stiff cock every time. That’s not the only tool in my toolbox. I know that I can orgasm when I’m not hard, and I know that I can make my partner orgasm when I’m not hard.

So I’ve never really understood the “this never happens to me” bullshit that guys seem to say. Maybe it hasn’t happened to you, but it WILL happen to you, and it doesn’t matter much what happens to you, as long as you make it happen for her, and as long as you both leave the encounter satisfied.

In Which I Battle Myself to Write This

“You don’t have to write anything,” I told myself. “All you have to do is to open up a new tab with Google Docs in it.”

Yesterday, I wrote something like 4-6 blog posts, which started catching me up on my goal. I figured I could probably get ahead of schedule today, without much effort. But everything has been effort today.

It hasn’t been a bad day; it’s been an inert day.

I’m not in a bad mood; I’m just effectively paralyzed by… I don’t know what. My mind, I suppose. My ADD is full throttle, so I’m constantly distracted by stuff. I’ll sit down at the computer, and three hours will have passed. What happened during that time?

It’s a mystery.
I looked up obscure shit on Wikipedia. I argued with some twat who was wrong about something stupid, and who won’t learn anything from the experience of me walking them step by step through the echoing halls of their own ignorance. I watched some pointless videos on YouTube. I pissed most of my day away, doing nothing.

And even as I told myself that there was still time to accomplish something productive today, I told myself back that I didn’t want to do anything productive. I want to do nothing. I want to do glorious nothing all day, all week, and for the rest of my life.

It’s a trap that I’ve fallen into before, and it can be hard to get out of.

So I’ve learned to fool myself into being productive. I tell myself that I can always procrastinate later, that I need to do something, just ONE thing, then I can get back to the abyss of mindless online nonsense. Or I can watch something on Netflix. Or I can pet the dogs for an hour. Or I can stare out the window, or at a wall. But I have to do one thing first: I have to open a tab with a blank Google Document in it.

This is a trick, and I know it. Fortunately, I’m stupid enough to fall for it, and I’ve been writing non-stop for over two minutes now. I’ve battled me before, and I know a lot of my weaknesses. A blank page is one of them. I’m compulsed to put something on it, and once I have that something, I’m compulsed to add to it.

My ADD, and my OCDish tendencies can cut both ways, and against my worst judgment, I use them to cut my way slowly forward, to make myself do something productive.

My doubts kick in. Is this even a good blog post?
I parry with my own laziness: it doesn’t matter if it’s good. As I learned in school, “D” means Done.
My anxiety lashes out at me. Am I saying any of this right? What if it nobody knows what I’m talking about? What if it offends people somehow? What if….
I dodge the attacks, using my own procrastination to avoid even thinking about the questions, let alone answering them.

And here I am, 511+ words down, with a minimum goal of 800.

Things are flowing faster now, and I’m getting into the zone a bit. I’m able to type out my thoughts freely. I’m in familiar territory, because I’ve fought myself this way many, many times before. I’m fighting an enemy so familiar that we might as well share the same brain, except the enemy IS my brain, or parts of it.

I spend a few minutes trying to look up an applicable quote, something somebody once said about attaching a yoke to their own lusts. It was an eloquent idea, and a sound strategy, but all I’m getting right now are Bible quotes, and I’m pretty sure none of them are close to what I have in mind.

The point of the quote–and of this blog entry, if there is one–is that when you understand that you can be your own worst enemy, and when you study this enemy, you can adapt to an extent, and you can overcome yourself. I’ve spent depressingly close to half a century analyzing my own thoughts and actions, watching myself carefully to figure out how I’ve screwed myself up in the past, and how I’ll screw myself up in the future.
I suspect that I’m not the only one who has this kind of problem, the problem of self-sabotage, the problem of being my own enemy.

I suspect that I’m not the only one who uses this kind of solution, manipulating myself coldly toward my own agenda of self-improvement and productivity.

But I also suspect that there are many people out there that don’t have it down as well. I didn’t, decades ago. I get a little better every year. And I wish somebody had told me, had shown me, many years ago how I could fool myself into being more useful in my own life.

As a writer, the first step is always to look at a blank page.

That’s often also the hardest step, because the thought of a blank page is sometimes the scariest thing in the world, something that you’d rather kill your entire day–and even eventually your lifespan–than to face head-on.
So break it down, to the basics.
Set your goals small, starting with opening up a new document.
It’s an easy goal, and you can lie to yourself that it’s the only goal, something worth doing just for itself.

But when you get there, and you’re looking at that big, white Empty, push yourself to go just one step further, just one tiny step, and
Write.

One.

Word.
If you’re like me, that’s the hardest part, the biggest demon you have to slay.
It’s a deceptively complex project (but don’t let yourself catch on to that!), because in order to write that one word, you have to have a sentence or a half-sentence ready. And once you have that first word written, it’s easier to finish that sentence than not. It’s easier to finish that half-sentence than not, and if you have half a sentence, it’s usually easier to finish that sentence than to not.
And once you have that first sentence down, the second sentence will come pretty easily, as will the one after that.
And before you know it, you’re at 1056 words, and even a D means Done.

Why I Don’t Use Trigger Warnings

[This blog post contains minor spoilers for my story “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus”]

I’m not opposed to the idea of trigger warnings. In fact, I think that they’re often a good idea. I personally like to check with DoesTheDogDie.com before I watch a movie, because I don’t like to wander into that kind of thing without advanced warning. It’s not truly a trigger for me, but it’s certainly upsetting. Likewise, I know any number of rape victims that have been unpleasantly surprised (and triggered) by a rape scene appearing in a film where there was no indication in the ads or previews. I can understand why trigger warnings exist.

 

I also understand that in erotica, rape/reluctant/violent scenes can turn what was supposed to be a perfectly pleasant experience into something horrible, or at the least upsetting and annoying. I want all of my readers to have perfectly pleasant experiences when they read my stories–that’s one reason why I write erotica in the first place.

While I do have the common author’s conceit of wanting readers to approach my stories without any spoilers, I also understand that when dealing with erotic short stories, it’s not as much of an issue. The plot is that somebody or some bodies have sex of some kind. Because people tend to have particular kinks and sexual tastes, knowing in advance what the sex scene is going to involve isn’t a spoiler–it’s advertising.

So for the most part, I’m cool with trigger warnings, even if they’d “spoil” part of the plot.
The main issue for me is that as an independent author, I work mostly through Amazon, and that means that trigger warnings could directly interfere with my business as a writer. Amazon has a very arbitrary set of standards that is sporadically enforced. They technically will not publish any books with rape scenes in them, for example, except for all of the books that that they publish that have rape scenes in them. “The Color Purple,” for example. And most dinosaur erotica. The difference being that Amazon is NOT going to yank “The Color Purple” from their electronic shelves due to content, but any indie or small-time erotica author could have their work(s) yanked at pretty much any time.

I went into the writing of my story “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus” with the idea that I’d go against the grain–and err on the side of caution–by having the human/dino sex be consensual. Oddly, during the writing of the story, a human/human rape-fantasy scene occurred as part of the main character’s back story. It’s not a particularly brutal scene, and I wrote it in such a way that it the rapist doesn’t exactly come out on top. But it is a rape/non-consent scene, even if it’s one that isn’t likely to trigger anybody. I’d gladly warn people about that plot element in the beginning of the book, or in the blurb, except that by doing so I’d be likely to attract the attention of Amazon’s enforcers.

Sure, they don’t seem to have a problem with countless beast-rape stories like “Taken By The T-Rex,” but the nature of the content often doesn’t seem to matter as much as whether Amazon has plausible deniability. If I, the author, mention that there’s rape-fantasy or non-consensual activity in a story, and somebody reports it, then Amazon would be more likely to take action.

Remember, Amazon’s applicable guidelines are as follows:
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200672390

Pornography

We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.

 

Offensive content

What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.
So the hazard for including trigger warnings for rape-fantasy/non-consent stuff applies equally to most possible triggers that might appear in my work. My BDSM novel has scenes where the main character is tied, cuffed, or blindfolded. Those things might trigger some people. But if I acknowledge that those elements are included, the Amazonian hammer might come down on me for it. Even though they’d never consider banning “50 Shades of Grey.”

Another factor is the nature of what I write.

I don’t feel bad about not including a trigger warning on “Satisfied By A Stegosaurus,” because the very nature of that particular sub-genre, dinosaur-human sex, is that consent is rarely included. It’s mostly just straight-forward stories about dinosaurs fantasy-raping humans. Similarly, my story “The Octopunishment” includes (surprise, surprise!) tentacle-rape scenes. Again, that shouldn’t surprise anybody. Likewise, my story “Moonheat” has a werewolf-on-human nonconsent/rape scene, and the only surprise there might be that the werewolf is female and the human is male.

In general, I try to write within genre and sub-genre norms and expectations when it comes possible triggers. If I write superhero stuff, there’s going to be some violence, and probably varying levels of non-consent at times. If I write monster sex, it might well include rape-fantasy scenes. I don’t feel that trigger warnings are necessary when it comes to standard conventions of a genre or sub-genre.

If anybody out there is curious about my work, but has particular things that they’d like to avoid (or to seek out), just send me an email, a tweet (public or private), or respond to this post, and just ask.