It was a while ago at this point, so I’m not entirely sure where it all went wrong. The idea was good. I would write erotic fiction for a semi-popular porn website and they would pay me $20 for each short story I cranked out. Not only was this easy money, but it presented an ideal excuse when it came time to actually do my homework. I was always on the lookout for novel ways to avoid homework.
The stories I came up with weren’t the worst to ever infect the genre, but that may be the best I can say for them. Once in a while I’ll linger over the old backup files because I need a good laugh, and will I ever laugh! At the two-dimensional characters fucking through showers of synonyms and tinny dialog (ex: “You geek, there’s no such thing as a superhero. I am, however, a super-human screw, if you care to try it out,” after which the character gives a saucy wink, naturally. Sweet Christ why did no one stop me?) At the more and more absurd scenarios I manufactured as paper-thin pretexts for ineptly written sex scenes. At how altogether silly they seem now. Occasionally, though–out of nowhere, I’ll find a sentence or two that’s almost hot… to me. Usually these sentences tend to somehow invoke the concept of tension.
I was still a virgin: a technical virgin, the most hilarious kind. Believe I knew tension. I’d fooled around with my oddly sex-adverse college boyfriend, but “sex-sex” was an odd taboo between us. Showing too much interest in intercourse was tantamount to spoiling for a fight back then. My inexperience may have thrown the wrenchiest of all the wrenches bogging down my fledgling erotic writing career. Of course virginity really never stopped anyone from writing about sex (I’m looking at you, fanfiction.net), but when a 10-year-old boy first draws two concentric circles and calls it a boob is it really fair to call that erotic art? And he certainly shouldn’t expect anyone to hand him $20 for his trouble. Getting paid to clumsily explore one’s sexuality is, of course, a pretty nice job if you can get it, but the results are bound to be awkward.
When I reread my old erotic fiction it occurs to me that although I knew the rudiments of orgasm, I didn’t really understand how sex works: the logistics, the sensations, the movements and blistering chemistry of bodies really overlapping. I also didn’t, DID NOT, understand attraction. It was all but impossible for me to navigate the murky waters between rawest acquaintance and bareback. All too often that transition was settled with a jaunty “wanna fuck?” proposed by one of the characters, usually the girl because the porn site was (brace yourself) targeted to men, and it seemed to me the kind of thing a guy might like, having a hot-as-only-fiction-allows female offer sex completely unsolicited. Come to think of it, my reasoning there was fair.
If I’m being honest, I still don’t have a handle on attraction, but we’ll revisit that some other time.
It’s odd to me that I never got any complaints from the client. They seemed perfectly happy with my work, although frankly, who reads erotic fiction on a pay site anyway? I could’ve gone on for decades. Maybe I would’ve hit some kind of stride, once I had a little more familiarity with my subject.
Eventually I just lost interest and stopped writing smut. One of the most frustrating things about writing for a glorified Girls Gone Wild porn site with a (for lack of a better term) frat boy demographic was the fact that as much as I didn’t understand my own sexuality I just absolutely, 7,000 times more, didn’t understand theirs. I mean, it’s possible… just barely possible… that that saucy wink I threw in really spoke to them. But if I knew that for a fact, I really couldn’t live with myself.