Extremely cool: check out this brand new column I just wrote for the excellent Writesex site:
My name is Chris – though my pseudonym is usually M.Christian – and I have a confession to make.
I’ve written – and write – a…what’s the technical term? Oh, yeah: shitload
of erotica. Some 400 published stories, 12 or so collections, 7 novels.
I’ve also edited around 25 anthologies. I even have the honor of being
an Associate Publisher for Renaissance eBooks, whose Sizzler Editions
erotica imprint has some 1,300 titles out there.
I’ve written sexually explicit gay stories, lesbian stories, trans
stories, bisexual stories, BDSM stories, tales exploring just about
every kind of fetish, you name it and I can all but guarantee that I’ve
written about it. I like to joke that a friend of mine challenged me to
write a story to a ridiculously particular specification: a queer
vampire sport tale. My answer? “Casey, The Bat.” Which I actually did
write…though I dropped the vampire part of it.
Don’t worry; I’m getting to the point. I can write just about anything for anyone – but here comes the confession:
I’ve never, ever written about what actually turns me – what turns Chris – on.
This kind of makes me a rather rare beast in the world of
professional smut writing. In fact it’s pretty common for other erotica
writers to – to be polite about it – look down their noses at the fact
that I write about anything other than my own actual or desired sexual
peccadilloes. Some have even been outright rude about it: claiming that
I’m somehow insulting to their interests and/or orientations and
shouldn’t write anything except what I am and what I like.
To be honest, in moments of self-doubt I have thought the very same
thing. Am I profiting off the sexuality of other people? Am I a
parasite, too cowardly to put my own kinks and passions out into the
world? Am I short-changing myself as a writer by refusing to put myself
For the record, I’m a hetero guy who – mostly – likes sexually
dominant women. I also find my head turned pretty quickly when a large,
curvy woman walks by. That said, I’ve had wonderful times with women of
every size, shape, ethnicity, and interest.
So why do I find it so hard to say all that in my writing? The
question has been bugging me for a while, so I put on my thinking cap.
Part of the answer, I’ve come to understand, relates directly to chronic
depression: it’s much less of an emotional gamble to hide behind a
curtain of story than to risk getting my own intimate desires and
passions stomped flat by a critical review or other negative reaction
from readers. I can handle critical reviews of a story – that’s
par for the course in professional writing – but it’s a good question
as to whether I could handle critical reviews of my life.
But then I had an eye-opening revelation. As I said, I’ve written –
and write – stories about all kinds of interests, inclinations,
passions, orientations, genders, ethnicities, ages, cultures…okay, I
won’t belabor it. But the point is that I’ve also been extremely blessed
to have sold everything I’ve ever written. Not only that, but I’ve had
beautiful compliments from people saying my work has touched them and
that they never, ever, would have realized that the desires of the
story’s narrator and those of the writer weren’t one and the same.
Which, in a nice little turn-around, leads me to say that my name is
Chris – though my pseudonym is usually M.Christian – and I have yet
another confession to make.
Yes, I don’t get sexually excited when I write. Yes, I have never
written about what turns me on. Yes, I always write under a name that’s
not my legal one.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel when I write. Far from
it: absolutely, I have no idea what actual gay sex is like for the
participants; positively, I have not an inkling of what many fetishes
feel like inside the minds of those who have them; definitely, I have no
clue what it’s like to have sex as a woman…
I do, however, know what sex is like. The mechanics, yeah, but more
importantly I work very hard to understand the emotions of sex and
sexuality through the raw examination of my own life: the heart-racing
nerves, the whispering self-doubts, the pulse-pounding tremors of hope,
the bittersweetness of it, the bliss, the sorrows and the warmth of it,
the dreams and memories…
I’m working on a story right now, part of a new collection. It’s
erotic – duh – but it’s also about hope, redemption, change, and
acceptance. I have no experience with the kind of physical sex that
takes place in this story but every time I close its file after a few
hours of work, tears are burning my cheeks. In part, this emotional
investment is about trying to recapture the transcendent joy I’ve felt
reading the work of writers I admire.
When I read manuscripts as an anthology editor, or as an Associate
Publisher, a common mistake I see in them is a dedication to technical
accuracy favored over emotion. These stories are correct down to the
smallest detail – either because they were written from life or from an
exactingly fact-checked sexual imagination – but at the end, I as the
I’m not perfect – far from it – but while I may lack direct
experience in a lot of what I write, I do work very, very hard to put
real human depth into whatever I do. I may not take the superficial risk
of putting the mechanics of my sexuality into stories and books but I
take a greater chance by using the full range of my emotional life in
everything I create.
I freely admit that I don’t write about my own sexual interests and
experiences. That may – in some people’s minds – disqualify me from
being what they consider an “honest” erotica writer, but after much work
and introspection I contest that while I may keep my sex life to
myself, I work very hard to bring as much of my own, deeply personal,
self to bear upon each story as I can.
They say that confession is good for the soul. But I humbly wish to
add to that while confession is fine and dandy, trying to touch people –
beyond their sex organs – is ever better…for your own soul as well as
the souls of anyone reading your work.