Why read erotic fiction?

So, today we’re trying to get to the bottom of you, the readers…. In the sense that I’ve been looking for research behind the mahoosive explosion in this genre over recent years. Why are we all so interested in reading sexy stories?

Writing about sex is nothing new. Some of Chaucer’s work in the Canterbury Tales is filthy (14th century), and Shakespeare doesn’t exactly shy away from it either.

More recently, D.H.Lawrence spoke eloquently of it in his classic, Lady Chatterley’s Lover:

“His body was urgent against her, and she didn’t have the heart anymore to fight…He too had bared the front part of his body and she felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite and melting her all molten inside… She clung to him unconscious in passion, and he never quite slipped from her, and she felt the soft bud of him within her stirring, and strange rhythms flushing up into her with a strange rhythmic growing motion, swelling and swelling til it filled all her cleaving consciousness, and then began again the unspeakable motion that was not really motion, but pure deepening whirlpools of sensation swirling deeper and deeper through all her tissue and consciousness, til she was one perfect concentric fluid of feeling, and she lay there crying in unconscious inarticulate cries.”

Ahhhh….. Beautiful.

But back in the days when I started buying erotic fiction, you had to walk right to the back of the bookshop (yes, this was pre-Kindle territory), right among the LGBT literature, to find anything juicy. Nowadays, you can see it atop the bestsellers, right at the front of the shop. When did that happen?

Obviously, there has been a huge cultural shift towards liberalism, starting in the 1960s and continuing today. Thankfully, we can now no longer be ashamed, as women, of being sexual creatures. We can grab that book from the bookshelf and proudly march to the cashier and say, “I’ll have this please,” without blushing from head to toe and trying to hide our choice under The Times Book of Crosswords: Volume 132.

But there’s another reason too. Let’s talk about escapism.

I found a great blog post by Lexi Maxxwell (see here) which discusses the honesty of erotic language. Readers want to read about their sexual fantasies, the things they wish they could do but can’t because of work commitments, children, and the general banality of Life.

More and more these days, women are expected to be everything. We have more equality in the workplace than ever before, but we still have to be the main child rearer at home, as well as provide food and a clean, tidy house. If you’re not part of the clique that’s into entertaining friends as well, consider yourself lucky.

Erotica allows us, just for a few pleasurable, mind-blowing- earth-moving moments, to be the version of ourselves that we really want to be.

As usual, I welcome your comments.

Effrenata Lifestyle Festival – Kitty reads aloud to a live audience!

And now for something completely different, as they say…

A trusted friend called me up one evening with a proposal.

“I’ve got a massive opportunity for you!”

I’d never heard of Effrenata before and I was intrigued. A lifestyle festival, you say? Outdoors in rural Warwickshire? To read aloud to a load of kinksters…?

Oh, go on then! what’s the worst that can happen?

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Photo by Kash-R Photography. Stunning landscape. Luckily, the horse seemed unperturbed by the goings-on!

 

 

As the event drew nearer, I began to get nervous. When I first picked up my pen and wrote my stories all those months ago, I did not think for a second that I would ever be reading them ALOUD!

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Funky fancy dress!

I worried that I would stammer over my words, that people would be able to tell how nervous I was, and they wouldn’t like my chosen story. Maybe they would heckle and boo me off the stage! My nightmares involved me forgetting my bring my story to read from, becoming panic-stricken and bursting into tears.

Luckily, none of these things happened. It was a fabulous weekend and I really hope I get to do it again. Let me tell you more…

It was a line-up which packed some punch. Vince Vega  and Danny Rampling brought the marquee tent down (almost) with pumping tunes on the Friday and Saturday nights. An impeccable bar service was provided by the charismatic Scott Hawkins and his Artisan Bar Events throughout the weekend.

During the day, there were fetish demonstrations by wonderland, including some intriguing work involving stapling a lady’s back and threading ribbons through them to create the look of a corset woven into her skin. Utterly and magnificently beautiful in a strange way. I almost went for it myself!

Then, of course, there was little old me, with my story, reading to an exclusive audience of kinksters. I very pleased to say it went very well. I did not stammer my words. I did not panic and run screaming from the stage. Most of all, no one booed or heckled! After I had finished, there was a short question and answer session and then my audience gave me a most welcome round of applause, and I got myself a well-earned drink!

All in all, a fantastic weekend, and something which I am considering doing again in the future. It was great to connect with readers directly, and have them listening intently to my work. I was even lucky enough to be approached by some of them to ask for advice on how to start writing.

Well, I guess now that Autumn is well and truly upon us, the festival season is over for another year. However, come 2016, look out for me in a marquee near you. Stay tuned to my Facebook page and Twitter feed for more up-to-the-minute news about public appearances!

Ink or Pierce? Decisions, decisions…

I’m getting restless again. It’s only four months since my last tattoo and I want something else done already.

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I haven’t yet decided whether it will be another tattoo or a piercing this time, so I’m open to suggestions at this point.

Naturally, if I plump for the ink, there will be a continuation of the cat theme, which features in all six of the existing designs. My very first tat, the small outline of a cat in my lower back (that’s the ‘tramp stamp’ to most of you!), is now looking a little lonely all by itself, and it’s nowhere near as intricate as the others, so I think it would be great to have it embellished and expanded into something more artistic.

Alternatively, I could go for another piercing. I’ve had some great information about the fabled (and in my opinion, incredibly sexy) VCH (read more here) but I am also considering another pair of ear piercings. I have four each side already, so it would be nice to build them up a little more.

Anyway, all this research got me thinking. Body art and modifications are more and more popular and mainstream now than ever before. Why is it that we choose to bejewel and adorn ourselves in such a way?

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The history of tattooing goes back to Neolithic times. A mummy was unearthed in South America who bore ink marks on the upper lip. The remains were dated to around 6000 BC (see here), so this is nothing new. However, until relatively recently, it was largely recognised as having prominence only in primitive tribal cultures.

In Western civilisations, it was largely used to distinguish those who had spent time in prison or been at war. There are records of soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War receiving tattoos.

Not until the 1970s did it become part of mainstream fashion in the West, often led by prominent artists in popular culture. The likes of Janis Joplin (who famously had a small heart inked onto her left breast) helped in shifting tattoos from something which marked someone out as an outcast, to being an acceptable form of self-expression.

Piercing, too, has had a colourful past. Apparently, there are references in the Kama Sutra to a piercing in the penis to enhance sexual enjoyment. (Who knew?!)

People choose to get tattoos and/or piercings for all sorts of reasons:

  • Identification – they want something meaningful to them, for example their Zodiac sign, or a favourite pattern or photo;
  • To honour loved ones – children’s names are often used, or a visual representation of something which reminds them of a deceased loved one;
  • Style, fashion statement – celtic bands, large flower patterns, angels, or whatever, these trends are constantly changing;
  • Prison/gang membership – still used, apparently, although I have no first-hand experience of this!
  • Other – tattoos can be a very effective way of covering scar tissue following surgery or an accident, improving body confidence in many cases.

For me, my tattoos and piercings are all very personal. Each one marks an event or person which has had a profound effect on my journey through this mortal plane of existence and I like to remember them.

So, who’s ready to share their photos of your ink? I’d really love to see them!

Ireland says “YES!” to Gay Pride

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Regular followers of this blog and of my Facebook page will know that I have a great passion for gay rights.

Imagine my delight, then, when my recent visit to Dublin happened to coincide with Gay Pride 2015.

IMG_0809There we were, attending our workshops in Parnell Square with all the diligence of brand new students, when the music started up and people started to arrive in the street below.

It was still 11am at this point, and I was finding it really difficult to concentrate on my studies, while tapping my toe to the pumping rhythms pouring through the open windows.

However, we managed to make it until our lunch break at 12.30, and a few of us escaped outside to watch the revellers (in their thousands by now) gathering to start their parade.

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Dublin Gay Pride 2015, sponsored by Skittles sweets!

Slightly more than half of me wanted desperately to join the march. I saw two girls holding hands, both in wedding dresses, heading up the parade. A proud testimony to the landmark referendum earlier this year, for sure. Just behind them were 26 individuals, each holding a banner for each one of the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland. A tear came to my eye; it was a very proud moment.

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A great day for Ireland, for the Gay Rights movement, and for the concept of Equality. Well done guys!

 

Tattoos: Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em..?

There was a time when only sailors and prisoners ever got tattoos. How times have changed!

My wonderful friend Huy Truong is a professional graphic designer. Recently, I commissioned him to come up with a design for a tattoo to celebrate a truly fantastic 2014, my first year as a publisher author. This is what he came up with:

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Kitty tat Design, commissioned by Huy Truong

His remit was very open. I said I wanted something to celebrate my author status. Perhaps a picture of me, maybe, surrounded by a couple of cats and some books. Something like that, I said. I was blown away by his results.

This will be my sixth tattoo. Each of them is cat-related and all mark specific periods or milestones in my life. They are sentimental events I wanted to remember especially and keep a permanent record of them. Separation and divorce, a particularly poignant love affair, and my own little cat’s portrait, they all have their place on my skin.

I love tattoos. Years before I had my first one, at the tender age of 28, I had yearned for one. I think there are a few reasons why.

Firstly, there’s the pain. I like the thought of enduring pain for something beautiful and meaningful. At this point, I feel the need to tell you that I’m not a mother, nor do I have any inclination to become one. I’m sure those of you who have endured the pain of childbirth will all agree that it’s very much worth it, for the children you have brought into this world.

Secondly, I think it’s a great way to exercise freedom of expression and individuality. Tattoos have become very personal items. It’s not uncommon to have them commissioned especially for you, as Huy has done for me. I know this image could be widely copied from the web and used again for someone else’s tattoo, but I also know it was designed personally for me, and with me in mind. That girl does kind of look a little like me, in a good light!

But, you know, there’s another reason why I keep getting tattoos. They are strangely addictive. I shall never forget my first one: a small stylish outline of a cat in the small of my back. The guy finished putting away the needle, sat back to admire his own handiwork, then said, “You know, one will never be enough. You will have more.”

It was a number of year before I went back, but I did. I have now embraced the fact that I shall keep getting them, as long as I have something to commemorate; an event or a milestone that is so important it deserves a permanent brand somewhere about my person. I am celebrating my expression of these moments in my life, that have made me who I am today.

I have a Pinterest board which captures some gorgeous, fantastic images of tattoos and piercings, so feel free to follow me here, and add your own if you like.

In the meantime, I shall be having this tattoo done some time early in 2015. Check out my Twitter page for an image soon!