Sex writing is bad for women? Give me a Break!

Nothing confuses me more than the claim that erotica is demeaning to women...
Publish date:
August 2, 2012
sex writing, erotica, fifty shades of grey

I've got my issues with Freud. Wordsworth's 'child is father of the man' predated his theories by nearly a hundred years. His research was based on skewed data. His own issues clearly fed into his work.

But when it comes to penis envy, maybe there is something in it. I've written about penises for years. I've lavished them with adjectives in erotic stories. I've reviewed packers and strap-ons. I've even modelled in a harness and dildo fashion show. It doesn't take a genius to work out I like cock.

And I've realised that I've been using a phallic substitute for years. My pen is my penis. A penis represents power – but words have just as much power at their disposal.

My sex writing has educated and made political points. I've paid my bills by letting the sexual contents of my brain spill out onto the page in an ordered form.

I've used my words to arouse and tempt – on a professional and personal level. My pen is a slut, spreading the sex-positive message prolifically. And I love it.

I'm not the first sex writer to use my words to shape my reality. Dominique Aury – better known as Story of O author Pauline Reage said “I wasn’t young, I wasn’t pretty, it was necessary to find other weapons. The physical side wasn’t enough. The weapons, alas, were in the head.”

Story of O had more power to it than merely the power to arouse. It gave Aury ammunition in the battle of the sexes. I know from first hand experience that erotic writing can be empowering.

I've written many a piece of erotica for Cliterati. I once had my genitals cast in the line of duty as well...

I founded – the original erotica site for women – back in 2001. This was before Sex and the City or Belle de Jour. Before Girl With a One Track Mind or 50 Shades.

We started the site with 100 stories - and anyone could add a story which was checked to ensure it was safe, sane and consensual, before being added to the site.

Hundreds – thousands – of women have contributed their fantasies and erotic stories to the site since then. Millions have visited the site to enjoy what other women have written – often with a menage a moi thrown in.

And I've learned that erotica can do far more than merely arouse: we all use erotica in our own way, to suit our own needs. I've seen women work their way through traumatic past experiences, messy break ups and sexual fears using erotica.

It's helped women gain self esteem, learn new sexual techniques, accept their kinks and quirks and discover unexplored areas of arousal. Women have written in, thanking Cliterati for helping them to achieve their first orgasm – often long after they'd given up hope of ever experiencing climax.

Research even shows that erotic depiction of condom use increases people's likelihood of practicing safer sex: empowerment at the most physical level.

And then there's the 'coined liberty' that erotica can bring if you're lucky enough to hit it big.

EL James went from being a successful career mum to a multi-millionaire and one of the top 100 most influential people in the world, according to Time magazine. And all through sharing her fantasies, willingly and in the hope that others might enjoy them.

Erotica is a sector that's dominated by women: female authors selling books to female consumers for female gratification. Xcite Books – one of the fastest growing imprints – is run by a woman.

While there are male publishers involved in the industry, just as many erotica authors are self-publishing, thus having full control over their work and their income.

Erotic writing can be used to blast away prejudice and open people's minds; to take control over your own desires and share your wisdom.

When I hear people say that erotica is demeaning to women, I feel confused. Women produce erotica. Women read erotica. Women make money from erotica. Women get sexual pleasure from erotica.

Financial and sexual freedom as demeaning? I don't think so. But maybe that's because I don't have a penis.