While I’m on questions I consistently get asked (see Virginity and other disappointments), there is another fairly personal question that keeps raising its nosey head. It’s a question that no one would dare ask under usual circumstances (unless they were a very close friend or really drunk or both). But it seems the fact that I write about sex is a green light for people to cross all manner of social mores, one of them being, ‘So...is what you write based on your own sex life?’ (Cue waggling eyebrows).
I’m not sure which I find more distasteful, the question or the eyebrows.
No matter how many times I’m asked this I’m always caught off guard. Does this perfect stranger, brimming with natural curiosity about what I get up to when I get my clothes of, really expect me to answer this honestly? I mean, do they expect me to waggle my eyebrows back at them and say ‘You don’t know half of it!’ while nudging them in the ribs. Or perhaps they expect me to launch into a colourful, no-holds-barred description of just how depraved I can be once the bedroom door is closed (you don’t know half of it *nudge*)? Do they want me to feed their fantasies? Are they angling for a few pointers? Is it just an inept conversation starter?
It’s utterly bewildering.
Usually I shrug and make some lame joke about being married and not having a sex life, which makes them laugh and look a bit disappointed (or relieved). At this point I feel a bit of a fraud because I think they wanted to be convinced that I’m some kind of expert on the horizontal hokey-pokey and if I write everything from direct experience it somehow makes my writing more compelling, or exciting...or something.
Like a lot of questions, the most worrying thing about this one is what lies beneath it. Is the kind of sex I write about really such a revelation? Is great sex (because that’s what I like to write – although I do throw a few shades of cursory sex, boring sex and embarrassing sex in for variety) so rare that people find it difficult to believe in – like the Easter Bunny or an honest politician? Or are people just trying to reassure themselves their own sexual experience is normal, because nobody but nobody is willing to speak out loud and honestly about what happens between their sheets? Or are they just worried they are missing out on something?
I suppose great sex, like the Easter Bunny and Honest Politician, is something people WANT to believe in. I can’t blame them. Who doesn’t want to believe that an ecstatic sexual experience is not only possible, but achievable, for all of us?
Well, for those who want to know, here’s the good news - it is. According to the research I’ve done anyone can achieve an ecstatic sexual experience, but not before they’ve explored their own mind, body and heart with honesty, openness and self awareness – which is code for ‘it’s not easy, Folks’. And why should it be? Anything worth having is worth working for. And just imagine all the fun, intimacy and inspiration you could have on the way.
If you want to know the truth, erotic fiction writers have exactly the same kind of sex lives as everyone else. They are in turn, inspiring, boring, regular, irregular, kinky, wholemeal, adventurous, ordinary and everything in between. The only thing erotic fiction writers might have over everyone else are the benefits of ‘research’. Believe me, I thought I knew a lot about sex before I started, but I’ve learned a crapload more since I started communing with fellow erotic fiction writers.
Has it made a difference to my sex life I hear you ask?
Tell you what, you tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine...