Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Attractions of Unrequited Lust

Erotica can be most compelling when it's about what's out of reach. The urge to acquire what we can’t quite get our hands on is, after all, why billions of dollars are spent on self-improvement products and services by men and women alike.
For instance, a person may see someone attractive and fantasize about making love. The latter’s very inaccessibility may drive that person wild, while the reality may be that a union, were it consummated, might prove to be a bore. Not necessarily, of course. But it’s the old story of achievement not always living up to the anticipation.
The gorgeous couple united in perfect union is all very well, but in this imperfect world the real inspiration is a reject who can't get what he or she wants, or at least not without much mental anguish and then perhaps not without compromise. Such is life …  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Understanding Women

How do women adorn themselves, and why? Fashion designers and sales people obsess over it, of course, as do their potential customers.
For me, as a male writing in the M/F branch of the erotica genre, it’s a topic that can be more than a little daunting at times.
The way I see it men wear clothes and, if they have hair, they comb it. And that's pretty much all a man needs to know about how other men look. OK, so I know it’s different in the M/M branch of the genre, not to mention F/F and transgendered characterization. Oh, right, and fantasy, paranormal etc. But let’s stick with vanilla for this.  
Sometimes the women in my stories push me to the edge of the known male universe. My version of the male universe anyway.
For instance, a female character saunters into my plot. Well, for a start, does she saunter? Or does she sashay or perhaps strut? If she were a man, she could just walk. But no, with women the details seem to count more.
And then there's that top. Is it a tank or tee, a blouse or a bodice? Is it sheer or a scoop neck? Satin or silk?
That's just a start. Then one has to consider what she actually looks like apart from those clothes. There's a bewildering palette of make-up shades and hair tints. Do her peepers blink beneath mascara or eye liner? Is that blush or bronze on her cheeks? Is that smudge of lipstick on his collar burgundy or hot pink? And is it lipstick or lip gloss?
In my blinkered view, men come in three or four colors at most. The way cars used to. You can have your man’s follicles in brown, blond, gray or black. Eyes are blue or brown, occasionally something fancy like cobalt or emerald. But be careful. The guy's a hunk, right? Even if he has skin as smooth as titanium and eyes of a deep chili ocher, he's not likely to be uncool enough to draw attention to it. All right, he might if it gets him what he wants.
The list goes on, and it's got me studying magazine spreads I never thought I'd notice. Girly stuff that's supposed to be about fashion rather than erotica — unless you've got special needs like mine.
I still hardly know a pump from a platform heel. But this isn't a bad way to get an education. And, of course, I'm not a total idiot. Character is more than skin deep, I know that. She has to say "yes" in so many words, or I'm out of a plot. Then again, what does she really mean when she says that? Maybe? If you do it my way? Those women. So many nuances.        

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Act Naturally — Or Did They?

Take a look at any picture of Adam and Eve and the erotic possibilities seem obvious. Usually the First Couple is naked, or as close to it as propriety allowed. Either way, their basic bodily components are not difficult to figure out.
So it doesn’t take an analyst to conclude that what people can do with each other, once they get intimate, has been pretty much the same since the Garden of Eden or Lucy the missing link — take your pick.
However, what people do with each other and what they say they do are two different things, as Kinsey and others have shown. For instance, has foreplay always been important? Some cultures are reputed to shy away from oral sex. Is that true of certain eras as well? Or is it just that some generations are more discreet in their pleasures than others?
It’s clear from classical Greek friezes and Indian temple art that ours is not the only period in history to exalt in sexual athletics. At other times though, moral and religious constraints have made the missionary position between heterosexual spouses the only viable option for many.
And, of course, we need not mention the loves that dare not speak their names. After the decline of Sparta, not many advocates went into detail about those areas of exploration. At least not for a couple of millennia.
I’m reminded of all this as I work on some stories based on myth and folklore. Intimate details in that material are hard to come by. Go back a long way and you’ll find plenty of outsized yonis, breasts and phalluses. But what they did with them is not so clear. Apparently they were good for fertility, but that’s hardly a hot button in the bedroom these days.
Traditional ballads and classical legends are full of transformations in the pursuit of carnal knowledge, or attempted escape from it. And though being turned into a tree or a snake or whatever may have done wonders for the libido, it does leave some gaps in our understanding.
Ah well, that’s what writers have imaginations for. That and search engines.