Thursday, September 29, 2016

If at First...

by Giselle Renarde

I don't remember meeting my girlfriend. That sounds terrible, but she doesn't remember meeting me either. We know how we met, but neither of us remembers specifically what day of the week it was or what the other was wearing. It if had been love at first sight, we would have remembered. There would have been sparks.

Maybe I've told this story before. In fact, I'm sure I have in one way or another. You know by now my girlfriend is trans. You also know she's not out with her family. With them, she presents male. That's how she looked when I met her.

We didn't take much notice of each other until we fell into conversation. I noticed she took particular interest in gender and gender identity. In fact, she brought up trans topics so often I thought she was a trans man for a while.

She tested the waters with me by saying she looked good dressed as a woman. She didn't come right out and tell me she was trans.  Even though she knew I had a lot of trans friends and acquaintances, she still didn't know if she could trust me.  She didn't want to lose the friendship we'd built.  She couldn't have known, back then, that I don't hold myself at any one end of the gender spectrum. I'm not sure I could have articulated where I was coming from, but I think our individual journeys with gender brought us closer.

I can tell you everything about the night I met Sweet presenting as a woman. Every detail.

I'd been out with a friend and came home to about 16 voicemail messages. First, Sweet was inviting me to a movie. Then, as it got later, "Maybe we could get together. I just want you to SEE me." To this day, Sweet never thinks to call my cell phone. She'll just leave a series of messages at my home number.

As soon as I got home I called her back. "It's late," she said. "I'll come to you... if that's okay."

We live in different cities. It wasn't exactly a short drive. She didn't knock at my door until one in the morning, and when I opened up it was to a striking redhead wearing a long green skirt, short-sleeved blouse and sandals. I can see her in my mind. I can see the scene so easily.

"This is ME," she said. And I knew what she meant.

That's when the spark happened. That's when I fell for her. I don't want it to seem like it was necessarily her physical appearance that changed things so much. It was more like an unveiling. She wanted me to SEE her, and I did.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

On the Loose

“You cannot call it love.  For at your age
 the heyday in the blood is tame and waits
upon the judgement. And what judgement would
step from this to this?”

I don’t want to say lust is only a cherished memory.  But it has certainly changed its nature.  The flame still burns but not as tall, or fueled by visions of glistening crevices, or stiffened giblets.

Its more a question of how someone shimmers the air as she passes by, that Japanese concept called Wabi Sabi, which finds beauty in imperfection.    A woman who is close to my age, whose blood is tame, but looks like she might be a generous lover. Or a vulnerable lover.  Or a surprising lover.  Or an assertive lover.  Or maybe a woman who still dreams.  And god forbid, does she notice me here in the coffee shop looking up furtively over the rim of my cheap glasses with my nose down at the writing pad?   

Women are exciting for me to watch, though the criterion has changed.  It’s still the women my age that are exciting to the view, to watch at a distance, to sense their scent on the air as they pass, guess at their secret kinks, their embarrassing neediness like my own, and if faithful and long married, unless they are especially lucky, their erotic boredom with their mate. Maybe their temptation.  Their openness to danger, to the fearfulness of trying to seduce at any age.  I think especially what we all want is to be seen and still known as sexual beings until our last breath.  My brain chemistry which greased the way of lust as a teenager has changed so much that the fantasy of lust itself has changed from those first childhood fumblings with medical dictionaries that illustrated hairy vulvas and the mechanical mysteries of the uterus, to my own growing sensitivity in my penis that responded to the urgent and ineffable desire I felt for my school teachers.  A desire I didn’t even know how to release if not yet consummate.  

In the bookstore, in the Kroger produce aisle, the women are endlessly fascinating in their Wabi Sabiness. Their variety of form, shaped by time, not youthful symmetry but their delicate and honest lumpiness, like that of a supernatural, dangerous woman in an old Frank Frazetta painting.  It is a vulnerable beauty that invites connection. 

I watch a woman, maybe in her 40s passes by and she sees me stealing a look and we look away, embarrassed, but casting her spell on my loins anyway, a brief residual zing.  Her fantasy image in my thoughts follows after her like a comet trail.

What does she look like?  Not in mom jeans and a loose T shirt covering her breasts which sway underneath, but in curlers?  In a bathrobe?  Reclining on a sofa with a book in front of the TV in the basement rec room, on a Sunday afternoon?  Lonely and little bored?  On her second glass of wine?  Her robe loosely opens as she remembers her first time exposing her breasts to a boyfriend on a sofa in her parents home?  And as her fingertips touch her rising nipple does she remember the man in the bookstore who was watching her and does she feel his warm breath on her inner thigh as she opens wider and sees his lips move down to touch?  There is always hope. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Love and Lust and Sex

Several weeks ago, I had the pleasure of introducing two of the cutest young men I know to each other.  Myself and a couple other people suspected that these two twinks might hit it off.

We had them (and other people) over for a barbecue and they seemed to hit it off pretty quickly, so we followed it up with an at-home movie night with myself, my partner, and these two young men.  There was an obvious attraction from both sides, but for various reasons, neither one made a move on the other.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to when one guy, who we’ll call Jeff, was lamenting on Facebook about his dating woes.  The other guy, who we’ll call Andrew, offered to meet him for coffee to chat about it.  They did.  And then they chatted about each other and the mutual attraction they’d felt during the movie night.  And with it all out on the table, all the misconceptions out of the way, they were able to say how much they were attracted to each other.  It had taken a while to get to this point, but it was love at first sight.

Andrew took Jeff home.

Jeff is one of my closest friends and given our ten year age gap, I think he might look up to me for advice sometimes.  So I heard all about the other guys he went out with before that fateful coffee with Andrew.  We’ve talked a lot about the differences between love and lust.  And every time he gets closer to finding love, he realizes that everything he had before was just lust.

He thought he’d figured it out a couple boyfriends ago.  He’d text me after he had sex and say things like, “Now I understand what you mean about the difference between sex and lovemaking.”  He’d been searching for that ever since that relationship ended.  And he seems to have found that in Andrew.  In fact, I think he’s come to realize that what he had before wasn’t truly love — it was close, but not quite the same.  What he has now is love.

Last night I received this text from Jeff: “Ok.. now THAT was making love.”

It’s been my experience, and Jeff’s experience reflects this, that lustful sex is full of passion and energy and focusses entirely on physical sensation.  Lovemaking may be just as full of passion and energy, but the focus is often more on connecting at some deep spiritual level, something impossible to achieve in lustful sex.  Because of that connection, lovemaking can be so intense and all-consuming that nothing else matters.

I’ll be honest — when I jack off, I have dirty fantasies in my head (or on my iPad).  I think about or watch pretty much every fetish you could name, full of dominating sex and giant dicks.  But if I were given the choice to live out a sexual fantasy or have vanilla sex with my partner — and if there were no consequences from making my choice — I would choose sex with my partner.  And that’s because sex with my partner isn’t just sex, it’s lovemaking.  Anybody watching us would probably find it boring, but to me, it’s thrilling, invigorating, and incomparable.

Lustful sex can be incredible, don’t get me wrong.  It can be adventurous and exciting.  But lovemaking can be these things, too, and so much more.

Cameron D. James is a writer of gay erotica and M/M erotic romance; his latest release is Seduced by My Best Friend’s Dad (co-written with Sandra Claire). He is also the publisher and co-founder of Deep Desires Press  a publisher of erotica and high-heat-level erotic romance. He lives in Canada, is always crushing on Starbucks baristas, and has two rescue cats. To learn more about Cameron, visit

Monday, September 26, 2016

Some Enchanted Evening

By Lisabet Sarai

Some enchanted evening
you may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger
across a crowded room,
and somehow you know,
you know even then,
that somewhere you'll see her
again and again.

~ Oscar Hammerstein II, South Pacific

I’m willing to believe that love at first sight happens occasionally, but I haven’t experienced it myself. As I think I’ve shared here before, when I first met my husband (36 years ago!), I tried to discourage his obvious interest in me, because I already had too many men in my life. It took four months of cross-country correspondence and a month at my dying mother’s bedside for me to begin to understand what a special person he was.

My relationship with the man I call my master also developed gradually. We were casual friends for over a year, before he dropped out of grad school and headed for California. A lengthy epistolary seduction landed me in his bed and his bonds. (Hmm. Both cases involved writing. Is there a pattern here?)

I’ve certainly been hit by lust at first sightthat intense, immediate chemistry one sometimes feels when meeting a potential partner for the first time. That has rarely worked out well. Physical attraction and sexual compatibility just aren’t enough, by themselves, to support a serious relationship. I recall one guy, in particular, whom I met at a girlfriend’s wedding in San Francisco and found almost unbearably attractive. I gave him a lift back to the LA area, where we were both living at the time. We first had sex that very same evening. Definitely fireworks material. Before long, though, I realized that though I still wanted him, I didn’t like him much. He was immature, and not very trustworthy or honest. Still, we remained lovers for a couple of months, mostly because of the sex. I felt a sense of relief when we finally broke up.

Love at first sight is of course a common trope in romance, but it’s difficult to make the phenomenon convincing. When it’s done well, the couple almost always questions the reality of the connection. The characters know that this kind of immediate bond is rare. In fact, coming to believe in their own love can be a central story conflict.

As I mentally review my own backlist, I can’t think of a single contemporary or historical title in which my protagonists fell instantly in love. In paranormal romance, though, I’ve found I can stretch plausibility. My paranormal titles sometimes feature what I call “magical lust”—an instant, irresistible attraction between the protagonists that derives from their fated connection. Characters in a paranormal book are often lovers by destiny. Their complementary powers draw them together. Often they’re mystified by the potent forces that bind them, but readers understand and welcome this kind of attraction (which is, after all, another trope).

Here’s an example from my novella Rough Weather.

A high-pitched whine drew her attention to the tumbled boulders that marked the eastern extent of the beach. Atop the pile of rock crouched a dark-skinned man, boring into the surface with some kind of drill.

Hey! What are you doing?” Ondine strode towards the interloper, still holding her discarded clothing. “That noise—you’ll disturb the fish!” She halted on the sand below his perch, one hand shielding her eyes from the glare. “Stop that this instant!”

The stranger raised his head and fixed her with eyes like polished jet, set in a proud face almost as black. A cloud of wiry hair haloed his skull. He flipped a switch and the irritating noise died. His full lips parted in a confident smile, revealing even, pearly teeth. He rose to his full height—at least six feet, she guessed, though her position made him look even taller—and gazed down at her.

Self-consciousness blasted through her as she suddenly remembered she was naked. Hot blood raced to her face while her nipples tightened into ruddy peaks, and an echo of her recent climax shimmered in her still-damp pussy.

The stranger looked distinctly amused, as though he sensed the physical effects his presence triggered. There was something else, too, an unnerving sense of familiarity, although Ondine was certain she’d never met this man before.

She squared her shoulders, ignoring her embarrassment as best she could. She wasn’t ashamed of her body—far from it. “You can’t drill here. Tide pool habitats are very sensitive. The vibrations could kill crustacean larvae, for a start, and confuse organisms that rely on echolocation…”

The black man’s grin grew broader. He scanned her nude figure with deliberate and obvious interest before he answered. Ondine’s nipples ached under his scrutiny, even as her blood boiled at his brazen attitude.

I have a permit.” His voice had an unexpected softness, with a faint hint of the Caribbean. He rifled in the pocket of his tight jeans and pulled out a sheet of paper, which he offered her. “Mass DEP. Go ahead and check. I think you’ll find it’s all in order.”

The sun beat down, hotter than ever. Sweat gathered under her arms and at the back of her neck. Ignoring the proffered permit, she planted her fists on her hips and summoned every ounce of authority she could muster.

This beach is private, reserved for Katama residents. What’s your business here?”

Stuffing the permit back into his pants, he sank into a crouch to pick up a piece of equipment that he’d propped against a rock, next to a two-meter steel pole. His thigh muscles flexed against taut denim as he rose. His white T-shirt emphasised his ebony skin, sculpted pectorals and massive biceps—her mouth felt dry and her pussy, wet. “I’m installing a temporary meteo-hydrographic monitoring station.” The device bristled with lenses, buttons and dials, the pinwheel of an anemometer, and the tongue-like extrusion of a rain gauge. “Come on up. Take a look.”

Just a minute.” She stepped into her shorts, then pulled her shirt over her head, trying to ignore the sensation of fleece brushing across her naked breasts. In her bare feet, she clambered up over the knobby, rust-coloured stone until she stood beside him. He towered over her. She caught a whiff of sandalwood and coconut oil and was washed by sudden desire.

He pointed to a white plastic rectangle. “This is the hygrometer, the humidity sensor.”

Yes, yes, I understand. You’ve got a laser ceilometer for cloud height, I see, and an infrared camera for thermal imaging…”


She found his surprise gratifying, as he realised she wasn’t just a naked, blonde beach bunny.

I’m a marine biologist. We use similar devices in my lab at Woods Hole. But VineyardAirport has a full suite of weather instrumentation. Why are you installing this system here?”

I’m working on the design for an offshore wind farm.”

Wind mills?” Her indignation returned, blasting through her with hurricane fury. “Those spell death for sea birds!”

We’re doing research—”

And the awful, endless hum disorients cetaceans. They swim in circles until they starve to death!” She snatched the apparatus and held it above her head, threatening to smash it upon the rocks.

Don’t! Please!” Seizing both her wrists in one massive hand, he pried the delicate gadget from her clutches with the other.

She did not fight him. When he touched her, her anger fled as quickly as it had arisen, to be replaced by irresistible, irrational lust. Her pussy gushed and her clit pulsed between her thighs. Electricity zipped along her limbs. Her modest breasts felt huge and heavy, aching for contact.

The stranger’s eyes grew wide. Sweat beaded on his forehead. She dropped her gaze to his crotch. A visible bulk distended the fabric there, evidence that he shared her reactions.

Without releasing her, he placed the weather station upon an outcrop, then dragged her into a rough embrace. Their lips mashed together as they grappled, tearing at one another’s clothing in a desperate quest for bare skin. The rusty taste of blood flooded her mouth. She’d bitten her own lip in her hunger for him. His flavour was spicy with a burnt edge, like an autumn breeze. His brazen tongue mirrored the frantic dance of his hands on her flesh.

She wormed her hands into his trousers so she could grip the smooth, solid curve of his buttocks. The muscles tightened and shifted under her palms as he ground his hardness against her. Her shorts hung loose on her hips. He dragged them down to her knees and plunged his fingers into her drenched cunt, smothering her moan of delight with another fierce kiss.

Ondine fumbled with the stranger’s zipper as he delved into her core, pushing her closer to the edge. She needed to complete the circle of pleasure, to feel him hard and smooth and slick in her hand. The pressure of his swollen flesh against his fly and the exquisite play of his fingers in her sex combined to render her task almost impossible. Finally, using both hands, she managed to open a gap big enough to release his cock from its prison. Now she made him moan, as she stroked his taut shaft and coaxed him towards release.

Oh, ah, Father Legba! Oh, woman, you will undo me…!”

The man sank to his knees, and she followed, unwilling to relinquish her hard-won grip on his cock. He fisted her hair to take possession of her mouth again. She drank in the heat of him, the taste of him, at once strange and familiar, pumping his cock all the while. Gravel tore at her knees as she opened her thighs to expose her needy cleft. His thumb found her clit, sending bolts of sensation roiling through her. She rolled her thumb over his slick bulb in return. Waves of tension rippled up the shaft, proof of his struggle for control.

Somehow he’d ripped her shirt open. He bent his head to suckle her and she felt the same pull deep in her centre. His teeth closed around her aching nipple. She raked her nails along his length.

His cock shuddered and jerked in response, spilling warm fluid into her palm. At the same instant, he captured her clit between two fingers and squeezed.


The characters go from adversaries to lovers in seconds. As it turns out, Ondine is a Water Elemental and Marut is an Air Elemental. They have been lovers for eons, reborn in each generation. They’re fated to be together, to balance the varied forces of Nature. Though they don’t understand their connection, they can’t help but surrender themselves to magical lust, and to love.

Writing this sort of scene is a guilty pleasure. I know this kind of overwhelming, magic-enhanced attraction probably doesn’t exist. It sure is fun, though, to pretend that it does.

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Power of Silence

by Jean Roberta

As the person who posts last in a two-week (or fortnightly – such a handy word) cycle here at the Grip, I get to read everyone else’s post first. Much has been said about criticism, insults, negative messages aimed at us and/or our writing.

I’ve experienced some of that too, especially the question, “Why don’t you write serious literature instead?”

However, the most devastating message can be silence. If someone accuses you in words of something you haven’t done, you can defend yourself with words. If someone interprets what you have done in a way that seems insulting, you can critique their critique. If someone refuses to speak to you, the message is unanswerable. Whatever you say in response is likely to seem hysterical or unjustified – because they didn’t actually say anything, at least to your face. And the misunderstanding, the credibility gap, or the conflict goes on as though preserved in cotton wool.

“Jean, you’re just so --.”

The “co-operating” teacher never finished her sentence. Apparently she couldn’t find an adjective that was negative enough to describe me. It was the spring of 1980, and I was a student teacher in a large high school that served the upper-middle-class South End of town.

From the beginning of my four-month stint, there was tension. I already had a four-year university degree in English, and I had done all the classes for a BEAD (Bachelor of Education After Degree). All I had left to do was to get a passing grade on my practicum from my Faculty Advisor, who got his information from three “co-operating” teachers, all of whom had Education degrees only. They clearly thought I was over-educated. They all knew that if I got a pass, I would immediately graduate and enter the public school system as a high school English teacher, and I might get paid better than they did, due to my greater knowledge of language and literature. They had been wrangling teenagers for years, and they were inclined to think I was an educated fool.

Besides all this, I wasn’t Sally (as I’ll call her). This was my predecessor in the role of student teacher, and all the regular staff glowed when they mentioned her name. She must have done an excellent job of sucking up. And now here I was in her place.

Of course, I had discipline problems in the classes I was allowed (expected) to teach. Students act up when a student teacher is trying to maintain some sort of order. It’s a tradition.

I had been told that my three “co-operating” teachers would mentor me, explain their own techniques, and give me advice and support. Instead, they let me take over their classes while they hung out in the staff lounge.

At the end of four months, my three “mentors” told my Faculty Advisor that I wasn’t the stuff of which teachers are made. Faculty Advisor told me I wasn’t passing, just before I headed into a classroom of rowdy eighth-graders; later, he commented that I didn’t maintain enough discipline. (I was aware of the flying spitwads in the class, but I hadn’t found a way to force thirty kids to sit still and pay attention to me.)

Right afterward, there was a “conference” of five: Faculty Advisor, the three witches from Macbeth – uh, my “mentors” – the head of the English Department in that school, and me. One of the Team of Three smoked silently (smoking was allowed then), looked disapprovingly around the room, and hardly spoke. Another one listed my many faults, including my apparent inability to relate to high school students because I knew my subject-matter too well. The youngest one said I had an “unapproachable personality,” then made the comment quoted above, with the missing modifier.

What wasn’t said aloud upset me more than the actual complaints, which I could dispute. (But of course, when I disagreed with anyone in the room, that seemed to confirm my hostile, unapproachable nature.)

Later, I asked my Faculty Advisor what was the outcome, since he had the right to decide. He decided that I should continue my practicum, which was to last for another week, and then he would pronounce judgment. So the torture dragged on.

When my sentence was over, the youngest “co-operating” teacher told me that of course I hadn’t passed, and that this had been made clear to everyone involved, including me. (This seemed like another reference to a resounding silence.) Faculty Advisor said he felt uncomfortable giving me a failing grade, even though the practicum was supposed to be a pass or fail kind of deal. Since he didn’t think I had failed, exactly, and the Panel of Three thought I certainly had, he gave me an “Incomplete,” a kind of non-grade which prevented me from getting the degree I had worked for. To get the degree, I would have had to repeat the practicum.

So the loaded silence of those who judged me unsuitable became a gap on my resume. Luckily, I didn’t need an Education degree to teach at the university level, where knowledge is not frowned on. What I needed was a Master’s degree, which involved a somewhat different kind of torture – yet silence was still the method of choice of my new Advisor, who ignored my thesis-in-progress for months.

Before and after my stint in the High School Jungle, I often wondered whether my parents’ belief that I was hysterical and delusional (which they formed after I tried to commit suicide after being raped in my first year of university) still held, and whether my younger sisters really believed I was the madwoman of the family.

Months would pass when no one in the family called me insane – not exactly. My mother liked the term “high-strung,” which was vague enough that I couldn’t disprove it. How could I show that I was actually low-strung, or perfectly tuned? My sisters had their own concerns. So I would tell myself that bygones were bygones, and that if I noticed some eye-rolls around the supper table after I said something about the existence of institutional violence in any form, I was probably imagining the silent sarcasm.

Then something would happen to remind me that my image as the Madwoman was firmly intact. After the first time I brought my current spouse home to meet my family, she seemed shaken, and she urged me never to list my parents as my “next of kin” on any form that would give them legal power over me.

Later, she explained that my parents had taken her aside to tell her I was “completely lost,” that I didn’t know what I wanted in life (I thought I did), and that I really needed a husband to take care of me. This advice was clearly intended to scare off a lesbian date. Being the radical she is, Spouse rose to the occasion, told my parents she knew everything she needed to know about me, and that she would form her own opinions.

Since then, my parents have passed into a deeper silence, and my sisters no longer speak to me. Their silence doesn’t feel peaceful, but I can’t believe my well-intentioned friends who assure me that a “good talk” amongst the three of us would resolve a lifetime of distrust and disbelief. In some cases, silence is probably the only logical response.


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Letting Them Win

by Annabeth Leong

I’ll never forget the way my stomach squirmed the first time I put on a bra. It was an unbearable sensation, and all I wanted was to take the thing off again. It felt mortifying to me that my dad had “noticed” that I “needed” one now. I didn’t understand what it meant to “need” this garment.

So I avoided wearing bras. I basically didn’t wear them at all until I started going to high school, at which point my mom managed to convince me to wear one for all of freshman year. Sophomore year, I stopped a second time, and didn’t put one on again until after grad school, at which point I was so desperate to get a job that I was afraid to do anything that might give someone an excuse not to hire me. I asked my sister in law to help me buy some bras before my first interview.

Over the years I didn’t wear a bra, all sorts of people felt free to tell me that I needed one.

To me, the embarrassment and discomfort produced by a bra outweighed whatever I might go through if I didn’t put the thing on. I hated being talked to about my breasts, but that discomfort was small compared to the panic I felt about them.

This earned me a ton of detractors, who fit into several categories:

A) The modesty police: These people seemed to believe that I was forgoing a bra in order to (pick one or more) steal their boyfriends, invite people to look at my breasts, attract men generally, or engage in other forms of sluttiness. Somehow, these people believed this despite the fact that the thing I wore most commonly over my breasts was a XXL black T-shirt, which I chose specifically for its shapelessness. This is a paradox I’ve never been able to sort out. Having now gone through a femme period, I can attest that wearing a low-cut blouse and demi pushup bra, the combination of which bares me nearly down to the nipple, wins me nothing but social approval. On the other hand, my anguish over this garment I couldn’t bear to put on, a fact I attempted to hide with the giant T-shirt, somehow made people think I was out to find a boyfriend.

B) The concern trolls: These people went out of their way to explain the health problems that would likely ensue from my refusal to wear a bra. According to them, I would have back pain and my breasts would sag down to my navel before I reached forty. It is truly amazing how many random strangers over the years have worried for me about the future perkiness (or lack thereof) of my breasts. It would be one thing, I guess, if any of these people had been my doctor. However, they tended to be people like the woman working the cafeteria line at my college, strangers at department stores, and the like.

C) People out to cop a feel: There were also people who believed that the only reason I wasn’t encasing my breasts in a bra was that I must want someone (they volunteered!) to grab my breasts. These people seem to ascribe to the bodies as valuable property metaphor which causes so many problems whenever it pops up. According to them, not wearing a bra was akin to leaving my wallet on a subway bench. I was, apparently, begging for them to reach in(to my shirt) and pull out my nipples/my money. These people varied from shouting their enthusiasm for my breasts to giving uncomfortably lingering hugs to actually reaching into my shirt. They were enthusiastic supporters unless and until I made it clear that my breasts weren’t for them, at which point they became heartfelt detractors.


Highlights of the experience:

That time I joined a club and the women called each other to figure out who should be the one to talk to me about how I ought to be wearing a bra. I found out when a woman did talk to me about it, and then later, the woman I was closest to in the club confessed to me that she’d gotten phone calls about this, too.

That time I went to (an open church service at) a monastery and a woman pulled me aside to hiss, “You need to wear a bra among these men.”

That time in college when my breasts were the answer to a trivia question in a joke quiz sent to the entire school.

All the times I got picked for greeting committees, handing out awards, or really any thin excuse to have me hug a lot of people (because my breasts were a special extra reward!).


One reason this always bothered me was I really felt incapable of wearing a bra for a lot of years. I’d panic at the department store, panic when I saw a bra, panic when I tried to put one on, panic when I saw myself in the mirror wearing one. If I did wear one, when I took it off at the end of the day, I’d feel this lingering, itching cling that I couldn’t get off.

I’ve never understood exactly what was going on with all this, but it put me in a weird position. My reason for not wearing a bra wasn’t on people’s radar, they kept making weird assumptions about why I wasn’t putting one on, and the last thing I wanted to do was discuss this awkward psychological state with hostile strangers.

These days, I wonder if there are elements of gender dysphoria to this. I’ve been curious how I would feel binding my breasts, and have wondered if that might give me some relief from my constant discomfort with them. It’s hard to explain how much fear I feel about this line of thinking, though.

I do wear bras now, but I still have a hard time buying them. I went into a Victoria’s Secret with my ex-girlfriend and started panicking just standing in line with her. I think the big reason I wear them at the moment is that I’ve gotten more afraid of all the unwanted attention from strangers. Though I know it isn’t true, there’s a part of me that fears I’d be inviting even more street harassment if I went back to dressing the way that makes me comfortable.

This is nonsense, though. I’ve received unwanted attention from strangers all my life, with and without bras, dressed well or dressed badly, in any and all conditions.

However, in the case of bras, the detractors eventually won the day. I put one on in the morning because it seems like I do “need” it if I don’t want my breasts to become a topic of conversation while I’m buying a coffee.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

High Hopes

by Daddy X

When I first stared writing erotica, I was desperate for someone to read my work. Momma X (greatest editor on earth) isn’t interested in erotica. And friends? They’ll say either what you want to hear, because they don’t want to hurt you, or, they never speak to you again. :>)  

I’m sure there’ve been such times, frustrating for everyone, times before getting to know and appreciate the supportive folks in this erotica-writing community.

After an introduction by a mutual friend (call her Elaine) I approached a local mainstream author with professional editing skills. She was between projects, and though never having considered writing or editing erotica, she agreed to have a go. I sent a check as a retainer.

The following (except my comments within parens) is her report, word for word:

9 June 2011

Dear (Daddy)

As you see, I’m returning your check


(See notation on check)

Let me explain a bit. I read the stories in the order in which you described them, began making notes about such matters as run on sentences and phrases, and in the particular problems as I saw them with each one, as in The Gift when it was difficult to know the age of the first person narrator. A man of, say, 75, fanaticizing like that about a teenager has a creep factor beyond dirty old man. Good closing scene of the girl’s lover recognizing your (sic) lust, and showing her dominance, I wrote, then went on to Stairmaster, (avail. The Gonzo Collection) noting some funny lines, eg, “The ladies frequenting the apparatus right in front of me are quite concerned with their posteriors. So am I.”

(Stick with it. This builds)

Puzzlement got the best of me in “Case Closed” about the trio in the car, and “Tenters” (First ever submission, Naughty Nights Press. First acceptance. Batting 1000 for a while. Yay! Now avail. Brand X) when I didn’t know if the reader is supposed to think the man’s wife is in bed alone or not. I thought she was. There is a good description of the girl with “bright rosy cheeks and dimples of the Anglo Celts over fine and fair Norse skin, accentuated with the full black tresses, dark features, and even darker passions fathered by Roman seminal overflows from occupied England.” But I was confused by the back-and-forth narrative. In retrospect, I appreciated that at least in this story, everyone was willing.

As for “Phyllis Diddle”, I didn’t know if the language was mock-offensive or real offensive.

Finally I read, skimming some passages, “Suasion” and “A Woman In My Position”. (Gonzo Collection; previously, ERWA Gallery and Treasure Chest) I found the depictions of the humiliated women, written in the first person, so excruciatingly offensive and pathetic, that I realized whatever I might have to say about scenes, voice, and more—basic editing advice—would be impossible for me to give.  I could not overcome my discomfort at their appalling self-hatred and wretched lives. Some may consider there to be philosophical elements, but to me everything was obscured by sado-machochism. (sic)

So, rather than spend more hours trying to put together helpful suggestions for the collection as a whole, I am bowing out, gratis. I know Elaine considers you a friend and fine person, and that made me decide to agree to read the stories. By the end, though, I had to recognize that whatever your work needs, I am not the right editor for it.

(Name deleted to protect the innocent.)


Me again.

That obviously didn’t deter me. I figured if she came on that strong, the work must be effective on some level.

At that point, I took some workshops with Susie Bright, who was apparently impressed with my stuff and referred me to the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. The kind folks at ERWA and editor Lisabet Sarai helped turn these stories into quality products.

I haven’t asked ‘Elaine’ if the woman ever mentioned anything.

Brand X
Or, hit the cover at your right.