Fiddling with the focus

This isn’t a story, but a musing after a couple months back at the blog looking back, and forward, and here.

Over eleven and a half years after the Back through the lens post and discussion, the topic is still… topical. So much in the world has changed, but the needle on acceptability of erotica in the States, and even more so transgressive erotica, has moved very little. Despite the intense and intentional blurring of the lines of what transgression actually means in most of the last 5 years.

I kind of which more had changed. I wish more people were comfortable in their own skins, and comfortable leaving the skins of others alone and intact, to allow imagination and adventure to seem more welcoming and less dangerous (in the not-fun way). Don’t get me wrong, I do see some progress, but I see the forces of regression and repression, if not stronger, more aggressive than ever before.

Still, people are people, and many of them like to fuck, and/or spend a little or lot of time getting around to fucking, and they like reading about it, thinking about it, watching it, even if they tell you – scream at you – that they’re not and neither should you be.

I’ll bring a comment from the old thread here, because it’s no less true or important now than when I first put it together (and I guarantee others have thought and said it before me).

I recently said (well, tweeted) in response to a friend that your own fantasy is the ne plus ultra of control – every character, every situation, every action is your construction. It allows you unlimited freedom to explore anything – including *loss* of control and consent. Any transgression. It has power no one else’s story can give you. We are our own gods, and we’d better get used to it.

People afraid of that power they have over themselves often need – and thus create – an external power to reign themselves in, and some of them extrapolate outward to force others to do the same. The irony is that this external power is born out of exactly what they fear, and becomes dangerous precisely because they cede control over it.

The only advice I can give is whether you think it’s godlike or not, don’t abdicate your own power. Whether by voice, or keyboard, or simply your own mind. Don’t run away from yourself.

This is a bit of a ramble, I suppose. I came here to say I feel not much has changed about how I feel about my own writing, except I’ve more comfortable with it, however it comes, when it comes at all. Literary, smutty, purple, romantic, transgressive, taboo it’s all mine whatever name I put it under. I’m lucky enough to be able to express it in words that sometimes makes a story, oftentimes less or other than a story, and sometimes people like to visit them – or not.

Have I clarified anything? Made things more blurry instead? I guess every now and then you have to check the lens and see if you’re lost or are losing focus, or if there’s a need for a new prescription altogether.

Has this aspect of the world changed for you, reader? How?

Categories: Discussion, Erotica, Monocle, RazielTags: , , ,


I am the little devil on your shoulder, stroking your neck with my tail, whispering obscenities into your ear, and looking down your blouse. One third of The Erotic Writer blog.


  1. Wes

    I’m not entirely sure. I’m a reader who’s mind is continually seeking the new and interesting. This, the fringe elements have always been enjoyable, if only because they are new ideas to me . The elements of control and consent are the most enjoyable when bent to fit our desires.

    I will say, I’m not sure I agree with your perception of the oncoming regression. People are a lot more comfortable with erotica and I’ve met far more interesting people that read erotica than watch porn. The thinkers are still with you and each time I look there’s another person seeking content to expand and stimulate their sexual imagination. Keep it up. Ignore the “social justice” folks that fail to understand basic human sexuality and fantasy.

    • Monocle

      Thank you Wes. I do hope that my pessimism is incorrect, or biased by the smaller circles I travel in. I know the US is far more puritanical than much of Europe, for example, and factions of the culture war here have tried to turn a discussion of vast spectrum into an argument of black and white. For what it’s worth, that’s very much the opposite of social justice, which seeks equity and protection that includes all sexualities, to my experience.

  2. Mei

    I’m pretty sure I’ve been reading you since I was a teen (I’m way older now) and I don’t know if the context has changed all that much. Maybe there’s more of an expectation now on authors to tag and market their work appropriately, and disclose triggers if needed. I’m also not in the US though; admittedly some of your States are going backwards on the issue of women’s reproductive rights which is abhorrent.

    There are always people who are going to think that there are some things that are just too immoral to explore, even in fiction which is inherently consensual. I recently had another author come back to me with the ‘think of the children’ argument, for instance. (And I agree that we should teach our children sensibly about consent, bodies and setting boundaries, but smutty fiction is not the place to do that.)

    But at the same time there’s an acknowledgement at least in some segments that there’s an audience for taboo fiction marketed to women (e.g. the rise of dark romance, motorcycle club etc. as a genre).

    Anyway, it was pretty cool to learn you’re still around and thanks for sharing your old gems! I’m glad to hear you feel a bit more comfortable about your work. That part is really important.

    • Monocle

      Thank you very much, Mei. I appreciate your thoughts and perspective. It’s easy to forget that the romantica subgenre – or at least its mainstream incarnation and rising popularity – is really not much older than this blog, and its heights of popularity more recent than that.
      ‘Comfortable about my work’ in one’s own work, when I read it that way really is another way of saying comfortable with myself, and I’ve always been a flag waver about being comfortable with and within yourself. It feels a little ironic that I still had a ways to go with it, and I should really be unsurprised that self acceptance/comfort is never one-and-done but always a work in progress.

  3. I’d have to agree that the headwinds against erotic writers and writing have only intensified; and one need only think of Paypal’s having considerably curtailed/censored the kinds of books Smashwords was/is able to sell. And for my own part, Amazon won’t let me sell my stories via Amazon because of their “non-consensual” content—despite their selling Anne Rice’s “Beauty Trilogy”, which is nothing if not non-consensual sex and under-aged sex.

    Not much has changed about my own writing, except that the older I get, the more I find myself torn in two directions. The first is to take the genre with ever greater seriousness, to write literary erotica, and the other is to just have fun—to write stories with little to no literary value. Erotica is an outlet where the writer can try anything. And so I write both—despite myself. My personality is that way too, though. There’s a part of me who aspires to literary greatness, and there’s another part who just wants to write for the reader’s fun and enjoyment. Every now and then I manage a little of both.

    And you’re right, the fun of writing erotica is the fun of being the producer, director and actor, in a sense, of and in ones own script.

    • Monocle

      We are, unsurprisingly, still walking next to each other on the road, nearly 12 years later.

  4. Anonymous

    Well said. I feel you, Will, Cassi, are all the avant-garde to many of us. You allow use to see inside your id, explore what was told to us is unexplorable. Please keep up the wonderful work you do. I for one appreciate you for your imagination and as I have said before , made me feel normal for a bit.

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