Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lust is not enough

By Kim Dare.

I know an erotic romance writer should probably be jumping up and down shouting about how great lust is and how important it is and all that. I write about sex so lust should be right there at the top of my list of wonders of the world. Right?

Actually, no. I don't really think of lust on it's own as a particularly interesting thing to read or write about. Lust might be hot blooded, but I find it's also emotionally cold.

Maybe I should make myself clear here. Physical desire, sex, kink, whatever else, I'm all in favour of that. What I don't like the idea or the reality of is lust in isolation from everything else - lust without any emotion behind it.

Lust on it's own is all about getting what you want. It's about getting yourself off or getting your own way. Pure lust on it's own doesn't really allow for consideration for the other person's pleasure. It doesn't allow for anything other than physical gratification. To put it bluntly, lust on it's own is no different to a dog humping a post man's leg. The dogs happy - what does he care about the poor post man?

If a submissive goes into a scene thinking only of their own lust, it's not going to go well. And if a dominant goes into the scene with that attitude, then it's probably going to go to hell pretty quickly.

Submission in it's best, and I think in it's more satisfying, form is about giving not taking. It's about giving up control, giving pleasure without any thought to your own, giving your trust to another person, giving up privileges that are generally taken for granted. It's all about giving... well, at it's deepest level, I'd say submission is about giving yourself body and soul to another human being - not through fear or weakness but through free choice.

And the best dominants give us much as they take. They give control, security, safety, certainty, structure, discipline. They give praise as well as punishment. They give pleasure as well as pain. And, yes, I'd say that when it goes right - a dominant gives as much of themselves to a submissive as the submissive gives to them.

So, lust on it's own is not enough to keep me interested as a reader or a writer.

I'm not saying there has to be forever-love attached to every sex scene, but there has to be something more than just an inclination to get off. There has to be emotion attached to it. The person has to care about their lover, it has to be about both people's pleasure.

And I don't mean that in the simple form of everyone has to get at least one orgasm each. Sometimes the submissive in a sex scene doesn't have permission to come and I'm fine with that - but it should be because the dominant has made an informed decision not because he simply can't be bothered.

I write erotic romance and so the characters who have sex in my books are either in love or on their way to it. I like that. I like that they have an emotional as well as a physical investment in their sex lives. I like adding love to lust.

I think everyone a private little list of story types that tick their boxes. Experienced lover coupled with a virgin. Older women with younger men. Threesomes Werewolves... To pick some random examples. I have quite a long list of things like that.

One of the things I like is to take a couple who are already in a physical relationship - who are already in lust and who care about their lover at least a little bit. And I like to watch them fall in love.

That's partly because in spite of my kinks, I'm just a bit soppy like that. And it's partly because it doesn't matter if your dominant or submissive - if you kink that way you'll probably have a good instinct for where the control lies - and the introduction of an emotion no one can control is sure to set events spinning in all sorts of interesting directions.

You First is a book like that. The sex is good from the start. Maybe a bit too good for Luke! Lol.

The best way to explain what I mean is probably to just give you the blurb:

All Luke had to do was come after Justin. How difficult could that possibly be?

There was only one thing that stopped sex with Justin being completely perfect for Luke. The timing. That wasn’t so perfect. In fact, the timing really sucked – and not in the fun, fellatio related way.

Justin was five years younger than Luke and relatively inexperienced. Luke had enjoyed more lovers than he could count or remember—he knew he was good at sex. There was no good reason why Justin should outlast him every time they hooked up.

All Luke had to do was come second, set his mind at ease, and everything would be perfect between them. Hell, if he could do that, he might even consider the serious relationship idea Justin seemed so taken with.

How difficult could that possibly be?

So, is it just sexual pride that's got Luke worried, or could it be that he can sense that there is some deeper emotion lurking between them - one that could make everything so much more complicated than lust ever could?

What do you think? Can you tell if two men are destined to fall in love, even before they're aware of it themselves?

Here's an excerpt right from the start of the story. Lust isn't enough for me, but is it enough for Luke?

Love or Lust? Let me know what you think.

Luke Anderson was not going to come first.

He repeated the mantra over and over inside his head as he held his hands out to be bound. Justin Collins deftly buckled the soft leather around his wrists. Tugging on the chain between the cuffs, he positioned Luke on his hands and knees in the middle of the bed.

Justin attached the cuffs to a little hook screwed into the headboard for that precise purpose. He pulled at the chain, testing how securely it would hold Luke in place. The metal links clinked together. Luke took a deep breath. All his best sexual experiences occurred to that theme song. The sound went straight to his cock.

Luke was still not going to come first. He was Luke Anderson, newest and highest flying barrister in the best chambers in London. He could bloody well do anything he set his mind to.

Justin’s hand applied pressure—a steady pressure to the back of his neck. Luke lowered himself onto his elbows. The pressure didn’t ease. Luke turned his palms up and rested his head in his hands. Head down and arse up, Luke closed his eyes. He told himself for the thousandth time it must be possible.

Just because he hadn’t outlasted Justin yet, didn’t mean he couldn’t do it. He just needed to focus. He was twenty-three years old—five years older than his lover. He’d topped and bottomed more partners than he could count or remember in both genders. False modesty and jokes aside, Luke was well aware he knew tricks even most really expensive professionals hadn’t mastered.

He shifted his knees further apart on the mattress as Justin moved into position, kneeling on the bed behind him. He had to outlast Justin just once, just so he knew he could do it. Just for pride’s sake, because Luke knew his lack of self restraint was the only thing that kept sex with Justin from being perfect.

Justin’s fingers slipped briefly inside him, checking he was slick, relaxed and ready to play. Luke bit his lip and held back a moan as Justin crooked his fingers and found his prostate.

He could do this. Practicing a little bit of restraint wouldn’t kill him.

The rustle of the packet when Justin slipped on a condom was his only warning. Justin slid into him in one smooth movement. Luke gasped. For a perfect moment, Justin stilled inside him, stretching him and filling him completely. He began rocking his hips, building up the movement in tiny increments. Only when Luke whimpered his frustration did Justin begin to thrust into him in earnest.

In what felt like moments, lethal frustration was a growing possibility. Each stroke pressed against Luke’s prostate in a rhythm calculated to throw him over the edge at any moment.

He tried to remember he didn’t want to fall into pleasure—why he didn’t want to jump over the ledge with his arms spread wide in enthusiastic abandon. All he could think about was just how glorious it would feel when he came with Justin still buried balls deep inside him.

But still, in the back of his mind the mantra continued. Luke was not going to come first.

Desperately trying to concentrate on anything other than Justin’s erection pounding into him, Luke scrambled for any other details and senses to focus on.

The cotton sheet underneath him was pale blue. At this angle, with his nose barely an inch from the surface, Luke saw it was actually two shades of thread blended together. He couldn’t bring himself to care. His prostate sang inside him, coaxing him to join in with it in harmony, groaning his pleasure at every inch of delicious friction.

The scent of their arousal filled the room, mingling with Justin’s aftershave. Justin always smelt fantastic. Another perfect thing to add to all the other perfect things Luke had noticed over the months they’d been hooking up for sex. He always smelt like old sandalwood and well worn leather. Luke loved pressing close against Justin’s body and taking deep breaths of his scent when they danced together. He loved sliding his fingers up into Justin’s hair and pulling him close, to wrap Justin’s scent around him.

Luke threaded his fingers through his own hair. He pulled at the thick blond strands, hoping the pain might kill off some tiny bit of his arousal. The tug increased with each connection of Justin’s hips against his arse. It did nothing to help his increasingly frantic desire not to come.

Justin’s rhythm increased another notch. Cradling Luke’s pelvis in his strong grip, he held him steady and absorbed part of the impact from each thrust. Luke rocked back with every motion. As he focused on the pressure of each fingertip against his skin, Justin’s right hand left his hip.

He reached underneath Luke and started to jack him off with an expert touch. Luke pulled at the cuffs around his wrists. He couldn’t reach down and push Justin’s hand away. He had no choice but to accept the touch or say his safe word.

Kim Dare.
Kink, love and a happy ending. Do you Dare?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Bowl of Rice

“What is 'truth'? What is 'falsehood'? Whatever gives wings to men, whatever produces great works and great souls and lifts us a man's height above the earth - that is true. Whatever clips off man's wings - that is false." Paul
“The Last Temptation of Christ” Nikos Kazanzakis

There is a particular kind of dream which I have spontaneously sometimes, though it can be learned. Its properly referred to as a “lucid dream” and even forms an important component of Tibetan yoga and Native American sorcery. It is a form of dreaming often associated with astral projection, which if I had it all to do over again is one of those things I would have studied. A lucid dream is simply a dream in which the sleeper wakes within the dream and realizes he is asleep and dreaming. Think about what that means. If you’ve never had a lucid dream, it’s a wonderful situation to be in. Because it’s a dream there are no consequences to anything you do. You are the master of your universe, and can experiment harmlessly with any experience you might be curious about before you awake, even things that are impossible. You can feel pain and pleasure too.

See, I had this dream once. I woke up in my dream in downtown Panama City. There weren’t many people around and I realized I was dreaming. I had the whole universe to myself. A beautiful latina woman came jiggling down the sidewalk towards me. I swept her up into my arms and grabbing her breast in my hand, gave her a passionate kiss.

She shoved me into a building and punched me in the face hard enough to hurt.

While I held my stinging lip, she yelled at me. “Just because you’re dreaming doesn’t mean you can do anything you want!”

True story.

So, that’s about it. When it comes to love and lust, that sort of sums up my life experience in a nutshell. Sorry lady. Thought this was my dream.

I came into this world hungry, an intensely passionate and romantic soul. I was determined to be a lover and saint, carnal and transcendent. I find myself a middle aged frightened civil servant. What the hell happened to me?

I searched for God and quickly found religion instead. I think the biggest mistake I made, the one I steer my son away from, was not trusting my own passions, my own instincts. Allowing my life to be micro managed by others on the belief they knew more than I did. I did not find great love or great lust that way. I did not find God.

I think, if God exists in any way that matters, God is a lover of passionate souls, souls of great love and lust. Not necessarily pure or morally correct souls. The great figures of the world’s religions, were not the pious men and women, but the strong ones, the ones filled with great passion who sometimes made the most foolish mistakes. I think what God dislikes is the cowardly soul.

So there is this life, where now even in my dreams I get slapped. There is this inner solitude. What to do?

Freud observed that people do not fantasize about what they already have. They fantasize about what they covet and do not have. A man doesn’t fantasize great rough sex with his wife so much as with the stranger at the grocery store. I’ve done a lot of fasting in my time. I’ve fasted seven days on water alone twice. After the second day, you stop being hungry. Food becomes irrelevant. It’s really not that hard. I knew people who did forty days, like Jesus. The worst fast, the most difficult, is to eat one small bowl of rice every day and nothing more. Then the body doesn’t forget about food, it longs for it. You’ll fantasize about food the way a famine victim does, which is to say all the time. You won’t last three days before your will breaks down and your body seduces you into breaking your pledge.

A life where love and lust are sparse, and where God is only a painful disillusionment is like that one bowl of rice. You think about those things all the time. You’re never allowed to forget what you have only a little of. That’s when you become a writer of erotic stories.

I think the potentially most interesting writing, even if not always the most competent, comes from the bent up souls, the exiles. These are the people on the outside, who are obessed with certain ideas, whose former treasures are now guarded by fierce and resentful demons.

Then the writing isn’t about money. Its the exploration of obesession, the person questioning the things that can be denounced, or given up on, but never abandoned. It’s the lucid dream pinned to paper like a bug under a display case, labeled, defined but not yet understood and therefore magical, accessable only by sorcery, the invocation of magic words. I think erotica was a natural calling for me. Most of my stories are junk, I admit it freely, but no - not all of them. The good ones, and everybody who tries hard gets to have a few good ones, are the ones where I conjure the old angry ghosts, where the characters have difficult sex and are tormented by spiritual quandaries. I don’t write BDSM, I don’t even know how. But my best characters are tormented on the rack just the same.

It would be interesting, if it were possible, to know how many writers of erotica and romance have excellent and satisfying love lives. How many of them get to fuck all they want? How many feel greatly loved just as they are? I’ll bet the number would be few.

Some of us who write about love and lust, our calling is be obsessed with the one bowl of rice, to be filled with ghosts of what we covet. Its how we work out our particular curses. And once obsessed and driven a little mad – to dream.

Fiction By C. Sanchez-Garcia

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Love and Lust

by Jude Mason

A topic that had me thinking. There's a variety of the forms of love. You love your parents, you love your dog or cat, you love apples or asparagus, you love the town you live in, your country--yet each is different--feels different, means something different to you. They're love though, or I believe they are.

As an author, I've written dozens, if not hundreds of stories about love and what it means to the people who inhabit my books. Readers and publishers expect, and rightfully so, a story to go along with any lust these characters might feel for each other. You know, how they met, where they went, what they look like and why they were attracted to each other. Each of them has a different background and are looking for different things out of life. Some simply want to get free of the rat race, find a small corner of the world and someone to share it with. They want to 'fall in love' with the right person. That right person will be someone who compliments their kinks, foibles and attitude. A dominant man would perhaps be looking for a submissive woman:

From Selene's Awakening (Coming soon to Total E-Bound):

Holding her by one arm, he helped her to stand in front of him, facing him. The robe she had on hung open, her curves inches away. It was as if, suddenly, the angry, frustrated, spoiled bitch had vanished. She’d come to terms with her desires and with him and wanted to explore. Would she stay with him? Would she care for him?

He looked up into her eyes and smiled. “You’re gorgeous.”

“Thank you, sir,” she murmured in that sultry, sexy, voice he was growing to love. He wanted to hear more of it, and much more often.

“Slide the robe off, please.” He reached down and wound his fingers around the erection jutting from his groin.

Selene shrugged and his robe slipped off her shoulders, falling to the floor around her feet.

“Kneel in front of me, please,” David said in a soft, yet stern voice.

For an instant she stood looking down at him, her lower lip trapped between her teeth. She didn’t drop to her knees, but said, “I don’t understand what’s happening to me. I want you. I…I.” She lowered her eyes. “I want you to control me.”

“I know, my sweet lady. I sensed it in you very soon after you awoke.”

Or, perhaps the decades old vampire seeking someone who would be more permanent than the fleeting morsels they fed on--someone who knew and understood the torment of being undead:

From Night Games (Coming soon to Total E-Bound):

“True.” Johan slipped his fingers around the swelling length of flesh and gave it a gentle squeeze. “I’ll get back to you as soon as I can though. Save this for me.”

Chuckling, Petre placed his hand over top of Johan’s and moved it up and down the shaft of his cock. “It’s yours. Always yours.”

Johan looked deeply into his lover’s eyes, and felt the bond they shared deepen. Lifeless, they cared more for each other than either had ever done when they were human.

Johan winked and pulled his hand free. “I wonder if we shouldn’t get some clothes on before we wake her?”

Glancing down at himself then back up, Petre smiled. “Yeah, we don’t want to look more like rapists than rescuers.”

“No shit. For all she knows, she’s gone from one bunch of hoods to another. Follow me.” Johan turned and headed for the bedroom, and the closet full of clothes. Opening the doors wide, he took two robes from the hooks, one black velvet, the other dark blue silk, and held them up. “Which one?”

Petre took the silk robe and slipped it on. Johan slid into the other, belting it at the waist. Pushing his feet into a pair of slip-ons, he turned and headed back to where the woman lay stretched out on the sofa. On the way, he reached down and grabbed a throw from the foot of the bed.

Yet, I can't ignore the feeling that lust has it's place and I'm drawn to exploring it in a variety of ways. You can lust after your wife/husband, you can feel lust for the woman or man you see in the street. There's no pleasantry, just the animal want.

There's also the lust for power, or revenge. The darker side of lust is as strong and compelling as the softer, more accepted side. Think of all the hookers, both male and female, who lust after the wealth and standings of those who buy their services. The buyer may lust, but what of the bought? Think of those poor souls who have nothing else but their lust to live, or their lust for revenge.

From Roses Have Thorns:

The room grew dim around them, as if the light couldn't permeate the dark misery transpiring. Clifford raised his head and watched her rifle through the assortment of leather and shiny metal lined up on the table. One hand searched, while the other wandered down her body, following a trail of scars. When her hand reached the soft fur covering her sex, her legs spread as if of their own volition. Her finger found its mark. Her clitoris was warped and torn, but the nerve endings had somehow survived enough to give pleasure. A harsh rub and she rode the wave, but stopped before she crested.

Feeling the sweet nearness of her climax, she gazed lustily at her prey. A glance at what her other hand had found, and she smiled. "This one I think." She lifted her hand and showed him a leather contraption of straps and buckles.

He nodded, solemnly, and didn't say a word. She took hold of his testicles with her dew covered fingers and pulled them away from his groin. One strap wound around the neck of his sack, separating the two round balls from his body. Rose jerked the straps tight then fastened the buckle and petted the lewdly presented jewels. Another strap circled the base of his prick, and she took great pleasure in pulling that one particularly snug while buckling it. The last strip of leather didn't have a buckle, but did have a clip at its end.

"Fun begins now, Clifford," Rose purred as she pulled the last strap to the end of the table and clipped it to a metal ring welded in place.

When Clifford's groan started, it was barely audible, but by the time she'd fastened the scrotum strap, the sound had risen to rumbling growl. The skin stretched paper thin over his balls. The tiny blue veins contrasted sharply to the white skin. Rose ran a finger over them, her nail lightly scraping the tight flesh.

"Yes!" he hissed and pushed his body toward her hand, as if seeking her pain-filled touch.

They lust for each other, for different reasons, but the feeling is undeniable.

Human emotions are amazing. I guess as writers it's up to us to draw the picture clearly and show the readers the love and lust of those we write about.

I'd love to hear what you all think about our topic this week. Love and Lust, such strong emotions with such wide variations of meaning.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Lustful Thoughts

By Jamie Hill

Ever since former President Jimmy Carter admitting to having lust in his heart, the word 'lust' has been on my personal radar. That was back in the seventies. I was a kid growing up with all the usual hormones and emotions. Until then, my reading had consisted of every Nancy Drew book ever written, and a few true crime books I had no business reading but did anyway (In Cold Blood and Helter Skelter are two that come to mind, both still freak the crap outta me.)

I had a friend whose mother had a big collection of bodice rippers. You know the kind, some guy that looked like Fabio on the cover, and a heroine with a 'heaving bosom' and a lot of other flowery purple prose that I didn't really understand but was titillated reading it anyway. My house wasn't the most open place to get information, so plenty was gleaned from those first romance novels. My girlfriend, on the other hand, was from a good, strict Catholic family with seven or eight kids. The whole family gave up TV for Lent (Give up TV? Gah! The thought still scares me) and prayed the rosary together at night.

Anyway, my friend sometimes came up with very weird, wrong ideas. I was never quite sure if it was her religious mother (yeah, the one with the collection of romance novels) or my friend's two ornery big sisters that steered her wrong, but it drove me crazy. While discussing the literary merits of our latest read one day, she informed me that a pregnant woman couldn't have sex. Now, I didn't know much, but for some reason, this sounded wrong to me. I marched up the the front of the classroom, where our English teacher sat grading papers, and flat out asked her. To her credit, she didn't choke or send me to see Sister Whoever, the principal. She just blinked and replied, "Of course they can. In the later months, the doctor might advise against it. But other than that it's fine."

By the time I'd returned to my desk my friend was practically crawling underneath it with shame that I'd asked a teacher such a thing. But I figured, hey, a girl needs a place to get some accurate answers. Maybe her mother intended to scare her straight by telling mistruths, but I was having none of it. I had questions and wanted answers. My lustful journey had begun.

As a writer, I knew early on that love and lust are the basis of all romance novels. If your book is long enough you might be able to make your characters fall in love. Much of the time, especially in shorter works, lust must suffice. The 'happily ever after' endings we talked about a couple weeks ago bear this out. In a longer romance book, the characters will fall in love and all will end rosily. In shorter works or short stories, the HEA is that my characters really lust after each other, and with a little good luck and large supply of condoms, that lust will carry them into something more.

I know they say great marriages are based on a friendship first, and I think that's true. But I also believe great love affairs are based on a healthy dose of lust. And that one, I didn't have to ask a teacher or somebody else's mom. I figured it out for myself.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lust and Love

By Lisabet Sarai

Sex is boring. A strange claim, you might think, from someone who has been publishing erotica for more than a decade. It's true, though. I'm really not interested in the physical aspects of sexual encounters, tab A fitting into slot B, all the sweat and the groans, the stickiness and the wet spot on the sheets. What fascinates me is desire – the mental/emotional experience of wanting someone sexually. In less polite terms, lust.

Lust is supposedly a deadly sin. That's because, at its purest, it can overwhelm everything else: self-control, reason, responsibility. Lust acts like a drug, heightening the senses, intensifying every experience, swinging your mood into the highest highs or the most profound lows depending on whether it is reciprocated and consummated. Lust might lead to sex, but it might not. As an author, I find it interesting either way.

I've probably written at least a hundred sex scenes in my career. I have to admit that I've gotten many compliments on them (as well as some protests from people whom find my level of explicitness uncomfortable). Other writers sometimes ask me how I do it. How do I keep straight whose body parts are where? How can I write “cock” and “cunt” without getting embarrassed – or bursting out laughing? How do I manage to arouse my readers?

My answer is that I focus on the lust. I am firmly ensconced in my characters' heads – not in their bodies. Actually, I'm not particularly skilled at describing the (possibly indescribable) physical sensations of sex. But I know what my characters want. I feel what they feel. I see the pictures in their minds, images that might not have anything to do with what they're actually doing at the moment, but which fan their arousal. “Spirit to body and out to the world”, to quote a line from the poem I posted when I was talking about dancing. That's how sex works, too, at least for me.

Lust stimulates lust. Nothing turns me on like knowing that someone finds me desirable. The most intense pleasure comes from the knowledge that my fantasies are in sync with my lover's. My story “Reunion”, in Rachel Kramer Bussel's recently published Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories, includes a scene in which the woman dons a corset and parades around the hotel room while her lover/master watches.

The boned curves press into my flesh. I move a bit stiffly, my breathing shallow so that I don’t burst open the hooks. The corset elevates and separates my breasts; they spill lushly over the top of the garment. Meanwhile, I can feel my bare buttocks bulbing out behind.

“Okay – I’m ready.”

My master leans forward, eager, his smile baring sharp white teeth. “Very nice. Come over here.”

Stumbling a bit in my high heels, I circle the bed and stand in front of him.

“Very nice indeed. Walk around for me, Sarah. Let’s see more of your tits and your ass.”

His mocking, lecherous tone thrills me. I’m terribly embarrassed, but I love showing off for him, and he knows it. My pussy swells and moistens. My nipples harden further, so painfully sensitive that one touch might send me into orgasm. He doesn’t touch me, though. He just watches, while I strut back and forth in front of him, swinging my hips.

I notice the seaweed scent, rising from between my dampened thighs. I’m close enough to him. I know he can smell it to. I don’t dare to look at his face. Instead I hold my head high as he taught me, imagining that I’m wearing the collar he once promised me.

I feel his hot eyes ranging over my body, and I rejoice, knowing that I please him, that he’s as aroused as I am. And all at once I’m awed by the power of our complementary fantasies. I want him to watch me; he has flown three thousand miles to do just that. He nourishes all my perverse notions, rewarding me for being the outrageous slut that I secretly am, the submissive, devoted wanton that he recognized in me, long years ago.

“Bend over,” he says, his voice gruff with lust. I know exactly what he wants. I stand with my back to him, between the chair and the ottoman. I bend at the waist, presenting my ass to his gaze, holding the stool for support. He leans closer, but for a long time he still doesn’t touch me.

His gaze traces paths across my bare skin. I swear I can tell when his eyes linger on the pale globes, or probe more deeply into the shadows between them. This inspection excites me beyond belief. I know that he’ll touch me, sooner or later. I think that I’ll die if he doesn’t do it soon.

This story is based on an actual experience, which in the real world was bittersweet. Even in the story, there's no actual tab A into slot B sex. Yet the tale is drenched with desire. I get wet every time I reread it.

So what about love? Where does that fit into the equation?

Now that I'm writing erotic romance as well as erotica, I'm required to give my readers love as well as lust. For me, it's not that difficult. In my own life, I've rarely known one without the other. I don't necessarily mean the great love, the deep love, the Love that transcends all and lasts forever which romance readers crave. But I find it hard to be aroused by someone, to share the intimacy of sex, without caring for my partner. Even a one-night stand can be sanctified by love -- sweet, precious, elusive, but perhaps not as rare as some claim.

I know that my perspective on this is not at all universal. Some women are probably horrified by my confessions. They need to know a man for a long while before they can trust him with their bodies. I can understand that. I know that I've been lucky.

Some women, on the other hand (probably more women than men would believe), are perfectly happy getting off with a stranger, some hot-looking stud with whom they could never have an intelligent conversation. Not me. I've had a few experiences with men where there was physical attraction without the emotional connection. I remember them with regret. Still, I don't think it's silly to call most of the several dozen men I had sex with during my wilder years my “lovers”. That's what it felt like to me.

I suspect that this natural convergence of love and lust in my psyche explains the fact that my writing bridges the gap between erotica and erotic romance. When I'm writing romance, I sometimes worry that lust will get the upper hand. Usually, though, there is love in the background. All I need to do is bring it into focus.

One of the raunchier scenes in my novel Raw Silk is a four-way ménage. It includes M/F, M/M and F/F interaction. Don't worry, I'm not going to quote the nasty parts here! Here's a peek into the mind of the main character, though, after all four participants have reached orgasm:

Four exhausted, sweaty bodies sprawled on the rich carpet. As Kate regained her senses, she realised that she was inexplicably, deliriously happy. Joy bubbled inside her, like champagne. Laughter threatened to overwhelm her.

Her head rested on Somtow's flat, firm stomach. He gently stroked her hair, running his fingers through the tangled ringlets. His other hand stroked Uthai's buttocks. The performer lay face down, his shaven skull cradled in Orapin's lap. The maid sat leaning against the couch, a serene smile on her full lips.

No one spoke, but Kate could sense Somtow's gratitude and delight. Meanwhile, she scrutinized her own emotions. Why did she feel so buoyant, so joyous? It was only sex. Then she understood her own error, that the line between sex and love was so thin that it might easily dissolve in the warm flood of mutual pleasuring.

She felt love for Uthai, for Orapin, and most of all for the shameless and insatiable Somtow. Finally, too, she felt love for herself, so free and ready to savour whatever carnal treats her life might offer.

That's what lust will do to you. Or is it love?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Love, Sex and Artificial Intelligence

by Thomas "cmdln" Gideon

I love my computer. I'll admit it. Does that mean I have a deep, meaningful relationship with it? Not so much. I like to think that I've gotten beyond a mere techno fetish into deeper considerations of how programmable, general-purposes computers are able to help us create beauty, discover meaning, and effect change.

Sure, it started more with a fascination for form and style rather than any sort of substance. My relationship with my computer, and computing in general, has taken time to evolve.

I guess it isn't so different from the emotional relationships that characterize my rich social life as a human being. For those intriguing similarities, though, the notion of an intimate relationship with any kind of artificial construct still strikes me as preposterous.

Why is that?

Moore's law, which describes the acceleration of raw computing power as a function of transistor density on a chip, has some researchers in machine intelligence drooling over finally achieving comparable raw computing power to that housed in our humble brain pans. Recent specialization in this field of research has shown promise on the necessary software to transform brute gigaflops into something approaching general intelligence. Despite the constant promise of artificial intelligence being just beyond the horizon for the past few decades, it actually does seem like we may hit a tipping point within our lifetime.

I still cannot see having an emotionally fulfilling relationship with a synthetic being. There are more optimistic researchers betting that intentionally and craftily inspiring emotional connections will form a valuable part of the repertoire of human-machine interaction in future systems, computational and robotic.

Donald Norman's latest book, Emotional Design, Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things, goes beyond his earlier efforts in understanding the rational basis for design. He explores how emotion can override reason and lead us to making irrational but inwardly satisfying decisions. His work and others in the same vein suggest value in exploiting that phenomenon to ease the frustrations many users encounter in existing hardware and software designs. It is not that emotionally designed products are better but they consciously tug at our inner chords to get us to put up with their other less endearing quirks.

That's a bit cynical but you can see the optimistic scenario easily enough. Couple thoughtful, rational design with compassionate emotional design and the potential boggles the mind. Not only would you get greater effectiveness or productivity, but you'd feel good as you used the tools that made those improvements possible.

MIT has been exploring these threads of social technology for quite a bit longer, most notably with the Kismet project. Little more than a robotic caricature of a face, Kismet and its researchers seek to discover some of the core components of our emotional interactions. To hear the researchers talk about Kismet, the results are surprising and compelling.

When presented with a noisy information channel, the human mind is adept at filling in the blanks. We have apparently evolved considerable neural machinery to pull off this feat. In emotional interactions, we may have similar but less well understood abilities. We want to project and fill in the emotional gaps even in the most rudimentary systems.

More recently, tweenbot explored similar social interactions with an equally minimalistic construct. Norman, Kismet and tweenbot suggest that a simulacrum doesn't have to be pitch perfect for us to form an emotional connection.

Of course, if the appeal is made to even baser instincts, there appears to be even more latitude. Well before the media rich web, enthusiasts of the form flooded Usenet groups with strings of seemingly random characters that with the right arcane invocations could be transformed into prurient images to suit all tastes. At the risk of understating things, technology and the sex industry have a long and storied relationship. Many folks have already suggested that key technology innovations, such as the DVD format and high quality video codecs for online distribution, are the direct result of our monkey sex drives.

Sex and technology is a whole other topic to explore. No doubt there is plenty of research comparable to the emotional technology writings and projects I have cited. We, as a species, don't seem to have a problem with emotionally connecting with our technology nor do we collectively blink an eyelash at its increasing role in the development of our sexual natures.

I remain skeptical and my objection really crystallized when Helen Madden expressed a simple idea on a panel on which we both participated at a recent science fiction convention.

What if your sex toy could say no?

It would be easy to devolve from that simple question into some pretty heavy and potentially disturbing psycho-analysis. Or to be flip and dismissive. At that moment, in the context of a discussion of love, sex and artificial intelligence, it really captured a latent but necessary leg to the tripod of a satisfying relationship. I've discussed emotional connection and intimacy but I think these aren't able to get past technologically-mediated self-gratification without some degree of agency, of free will.

It seems so obvious in retrospect. It also represents a largely unspoken holy grail of artificial intelligence. When discussing our relationships with other social animals, we completely take it for granted. It isn't even worth mentioning.

In the context of a relationship with a constructed being, it is critical because we haven't been able to instill true agency into any of our creations as of yet. We are not even sure how to measure it, to know when we truly have achieved it. However, it is only when our creations are capable of evolving beyond their programming, to follow independently derived desires, to say no to us, that they achieve equal footing with the other social agents available to us. Only when there is the risk of rejection is there a sense of satisfaction in successfully developing a healthy emotional, even intimate, relationship, regardless of whether the agent's programming executes in flesh or in silicon.


Thomas "cmdln" Gideon is a self-described hacker, curmudgeon and hacktivist who ponders the intersection of technology and society on his twice weekly program, The Command Line Podcast, which can be found at A student of The Hacker Ethic, he is particular fascinated by its contentions that computers can be used to create beauty and that they have the potential to effect positive social change. He follows a number of related topics of interest such as the creation and distribution of social media as a form of peer production, the future of computing both as realized in its physical architecture and the ways we program these forthcoming systems, and how computing relates to our own astonishing capacity for reasoning.

His interest in artificial intelligence combined with his habit of speaking at science fiction conventions led to his being a co-panelist with Helen Madden contemplating the intersection of social relationships, intimacy and machine minds.

Creative Commons License

Love, Sex and Artificial Intelligence by Thomas "cmdln" Gideon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

Based on a work at

Friday, April 24, 2009

Helen Makes A Porno

By Helen E. H. Madden

Actually, I've made TWO pornos, and by making I mean I wrote, directed, and animated two dirty flicks. Yes, that's right, animated. Remember, I have many talents, and one of them is cartooning.

Sometime around 1999, the Hubster bought me a program called Flash, which you may have heard of. Flash was a simple, yet very flexible, 2D animation program priced just right for the amateur cartoonist. It was simple to use, and even allowed for the addition of audio clips and a soundtrack to work with the animation. In fact, my copy of Flash came with a simple music looping program called Acid Pro 3. The idea behind Acid was that you picked out various clips of music and placed them into stack on the screen where you could arrange them with the click of a mouse. The looping part meant that the sounds would play over and over for as many repetitions as you liked, thus allowing for seamless music creation. And it came with a library of music clips to experiment with. It was an ideal program for someone like me who has an ear for music, but doesn't really play a musical instrument.

I mention all of this because the late 1990s was about the time that the multimedia computer craze swept through the world. Anybody who had a couple hundred dollars and a decent computer suddenly had the ability to create short films, animated cartoons, or even computer games. About the same time that Flash and Acid Pro came out, other inexpensive programs like Bryce (a program that let users create 3D landscapes) and Poser (used for 3D rendering and animation of human figures) appeared on the scene as well, opening up the previously out-of-reach world of 3D art to would-be digital artists.

Now let me ask you, what do you think a lot of folks did with all those simple, affordable programs? Did they create great works of art? Did they astound the world with their imaginative genius?

Well, maybe some folks did, but the rest of us created porn.

That's right, we suddenly got the capabilities of Industrial Light and Magic on our desktops and we make porn. A lot of porn.

I blame this on Poser. You see, Poser came complete with adult male and female figures. Nude adult male and female figures. You and I both know you can't just hand people a program that allows them to pose and manipulate naked 3D people and not expect something naughty to happen. I mean, come on! It was like having digital Barbie dolls to play with, only Ken came with genitalia. If you wanted him to, that is. Pose did have the option of letting you turn off his private bits and thus make the disappear (and please feel free to insert any obvious pun that you like right here).

There were other things you could do, too. In a classic case of sex driving technology, a lot of enterprising artists took the programs apart and figured out how to do things like resize and reshape 3D breasts and buttocks, apply lacy digital lingerie to these now enhanced virtual bodies, animate a variety of sexual positions, and even create sex toys in other 3D programs for additional pornographic fun. A few geniuses, disappointed with the original genitalia that came with Poser's 3D figures, made new and improved body parts that sold like mad. Yours truly bought a digital dick for her thirty-second birthday and spent many months experimenting with that little joy.

What became known as Poser porn offered endless deviant possibilities. Because the characters were digital, they could hold any pose in any environment. They could endure any extreme of BDSM. The artist had complete control over what he or she created. No longer did a person have to surf the web looking for just the right image to satisfy a visual need. You could make it, right there on your computer. An online society called Renderotica soon sprang up. Over the years it has become home to thousands upon thousands of dirty digital images.

I have certainly made some Poser porn in my time, and I've happily invested quite a bit of money into software and 3D figures to improve my efforts. The better quality images have a home on my website. As an artist, I strive to create images that don't look 3D even though they are created with 3D programs. I am getting better at it. But I still think the finest digital porn I ever made was in those early days when I first played around with Flash. Just some simple frame-by-frame animation with primitive characters and a cheesy looping soundtrack, but it certainly had its charms. Here, see for yourselves.

Stick Figure Porno 1

Stick Figure Porno 2

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Classic Leather Techology

By Kim Dare.

I have to admit that sexual technology isn't one of the things that rocks my boat. Well, not current technology anyway.

If I'm looking for a toy, I'm drawn to something that's more likely to be constructed by a blacksmith than a computer expert. Or perhaps something that could only be fashioned by a very talented leather worker.

Toys need to have an emotional impact if I'm going to consider them worth while. They need to enhance the connection that exists between the humans involved in the scene.

Computer chips might not rock my boat, so I thought I would share with you a few things that were the hight of modern technology once upon a time.

Fast forward to the present day and they're not so much a modern innovation as classic.

Take this collar for instance.

A bit of metal, a bit of leather, a touch of craftsmanship and not a bit of electrical wire in sight. And, for me at least, it's pretty perfect.

I have no objection to technology in every day life. I'd be lost without my laptop. If I had to go back to pen and paper, I'd cry - not least because I'm dyslexic and I can't spell unless I'm working on a keyboard.

But when it comes to sex, in real life or the stories I write, I'm quickly bored with overly complicated gagets.

I don't mind the occasional addition of a vibrating whatever. (I'm back to talking about my characters in my books here. My private life I'll keep at least a little bit private!)

When my character play, they rarely have to plug anything in.

I've been thinking about what toys each character should play with.

Eric in Turquoise and Leather is inevitably going to spend a lot of time wearing a gag similar to the one above in the future. George is a traditionalist at heart. He'd agree with my ideas of what should consitute sexual technology. It's probably also the only way he's going to get any peace and quiet with Eric around.

The cage on the left?

It hasn't made it into one of my books yet, but I found it while I was surfing around looking for pics for this post. (Sometimes a writers life is hard, lol!) I'm keeping it on file for a future book.

Can you imagine spending some time in that cage? Maybe in the middle of a busy club? Your master has people he needs to speak to. He needs somewhere safe to leave you for a little while.

Maybe I'm weird, but when I see a cage I don't think restraint. I don't think prisioner.

For me a cage represents protection. It means a master's care. It looks like safety.

This one on the right is more about making the heart race than providing quiet comfort.

Suspended in mid air. Completely out of control. Entirely available. Totally dependant upon the person who put you in there. Yep - we're back to the emotional connection again.

It's what a master means when he puts you in there is the thing.

It's what the submissive feels when they are in the restraint. Pretty toys aren't as important as the love and care they represent.

I found this pic below while I was surfing around to.

I love this cushion. (There's a heart shaped one as well - very lovely but a bit too soppy for my tastes.)

Okay, it looks nice. Leather. Metal. All good so far.

But you know what means more than that?

Look at how it's intended to be used.

Leather wrapped around wrist and ankles.

Restraint - safety.

But there's been a bit of extra thought put into this.

Bondage isn't always intended to be comfortable. Sometimes it's uncomfortable for a purpose. That's fine if it's what everyone involved wants. The lady on the right looks happy on a hard floor.

But I get really annoyed by the idea that submissives aren't ever worthy of better. I get wound up by people who think that submission should always be about punishment.

There's room for care and love. There's room in the kinky world for restraints attached to thick comfortable cushions.

Imagine an empty room. Imagine that cushion in the middle of that room and a submissive sitting on it while they wait for their master to return. Or perhaps the cushion is set next to a desk where a master can work knowing that his pet is sitting safely at his feet until he's done.

I quite taken with this slope too.

It's more about play and display than the simple square. It makes a very nice compliment to it.

I wonder if they do a discount if you buy both together?

A perfect matched set. A fine addition to any home.

That's my sort of interior decorating.

Which brings me to another thing I like.

Leather based technologies that fit discreetly and naturally into every day life.

Kinky toys that are also very nice, bery functional pieces of furniture.

Do you like the pretty red circles the metal worker has decorated the bed frame with?

The red coating is leather.

The holes are the right size for a neck, or a pair or ankles, or a pair of wrists. (Not all at the same time unless you're very flexible!)

A bed. A set of stocks.

A place to play. A place to submit. A place to curl up with your lover and fall asleep in their arms.

Which brings me back full circle again. The person you're with. Your submissive, your master, your lover.

All the leather in the world can't replace that connection.

And that's really saying something, coming from a writer who really likes their leather technologies!

Kim Dare.
Kink, love and a happy ending. Do you Dare?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Mortal Engines: From X Box to Sexbots

When my Dad came down with leukemia last year, his brothers arrived to visit, including my rich uncle Tony from Chicago. Uncle Tony came to Minneapolis by Amtrak, traveling like a gentleman in the movies. When we had a chance to talk, he made it sound wonderful, the best scenery, the best food, a chance to think about childhood memories meeting with mortality. So I thought I’d check it out to see if Amtrak had anything going between Augusta and Atlanta. I dialed 1 800 872 7245.

“Hi! I’m Julie.” said a perky voice. “Amtrak’s automated agent.” And she ran down a list of options. After some conversation about schedules I told her I wanted to leave from Augusta Georgia.

“I think you said ‘Augusta Georgia. Is that correct?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Great!” said Julie, enthusiastically, all smiles in her voice. “Let’s look up schedules and fares. Ready? Let’s get started!” (oh boy oh boy – yes, lets.) What city are you departing from?”

“Augusta Georgia.”

After a pause “I’m so sorry, but we don’t have trains running from Augusta Georgia.”

She sounded genuinely disappointed for me. “Our nearest service is from Denmark South Carolina, 48 miles away. Would you like to hear those schedules?”

I was completely turned on by this fireproof Customer Service Barbie voice. “Julie?”


“I want you, you hot crazy bitch. Make wild love to me. Here. Right now.”

“I’m sorry,” she said sincerely. “I don’t understand what you’re asking.”

Wow. Just like the real thing.

I've had two published stories (Sometimes I don't get rejected) on the subject of sexual robots; "Mortal Engines", and a short story called "The Doll". When I'd discussed them with readers, I was always a little surprised by the scepticism I run into over the idea of cybernetic lovers. The objection being no one can imitate a human being closely enough for a person to fall in love with it. I think this is a failure of the imagination. For many reasons. I don't know if we'll see it in our lifetimes, but I believe it will happen and it will have a radical and permanent effect on relations between men and women. It will be huge.

I have many reasons for believing this, but because space is limited I'll stick with one - we will do it because it is our nature to do it.

Two reasons for now as to why it is in our nature: It is our nature to communicate. Human beings are highly sexual and it is in our nature to turn new technology in the direction of sex.


I'm absolutely convinced Julie is the harbinger of things to come. ("Want to have sex? Great! Let's get started! Choose from the following positions. . .") For one thing, she's cheap. Cheap and manageable, clearly American, and no matter what you say to her she doesn't get mad or take offense. She's 100% on your side and exists only to please you. The artificial intelligence parses sentences, makes decisions, responds, makes more decisionsand responds again. She reminds me of why I fell in love with computers back in 1986.

The first computer I ever had was one I fished out of the garbage. It was broken. I took it apart, figured it out and fixed it. It was a DEC "Robin" and ran on the CP/M operating system. It had all the manuals, including how to program in machine language, and a box of 5 1/4 floppies, back when men were men and floppies were truly floppy. There was a disk with the word "Zork" hand written in ink. It took me two days to learn how to load it. A geek friend handed me my first techie accronym: "RTFM!" (Read The Fucking Manual). It turned out to be a game. "You are standing in front of a white house. There is a mailbox here. The mailbox is closed. I typed "Open the mailbox." The computer said "The mailbox is now open. There is a letter inside." That was the end of me. The computer and I were talking to each other. I fell hard and I've been in love with artificial intelligence ever since.

In my brave little novella (you just knew this was coming) "Mortal Engines" set in the fairly near future, Hal Jordan, lonely and angry after his wife walks out on him, is online with what might be Julie's grand daughter going through the bureaucratic customer service process of a large corporation to set up a date with a sexbot:

* * *

In the evening, listening to the country sounds outside the silent and vacant house, he thought of Nickie with her Hitachi wand. He looked at the gold lettered card under the ceramic kitten and the silence of the house seemed to suffocate him. I shouldn’t get married anymore, he thought. I can’t. Some of us aren’t cut out for it. But it’s hard to be so alone. Going to the titty bar just makes it worse. He took the card and weighed the possibilities on the other side of it.

Fuck a robot. Goddamn Arnie, that’s just weird.

No, it’s not. It’s dope. Guys screw up their lives fucking robots everyday. It’s pathetic. Okay, guys like me - so I’m pathetic. Now I just know what everybody else already knew.

He scanned the bar code with the laser scanner on the flip side of the Waldo unit. When the business contact on the other end connected, he put the call on loudspeaker. The little TFT screen showed a sharp young Middle Eastern woman in a business suit. “Galatea Turing Cybernetics. How may I direct your call?”

Hal sat down in an easy chair by the window and sighed with shame. He held the Waldo in front of his face so she could see him. He wondered if he was blushing.

“Personal Consumer Products, please.”


He looked at the card. “Division Code S-7-5668?”

Was she smirking at him? Goddamn her ass. She vanished, and another woman appeared. She seemed to be from northern China or so. She was also dressed sharply and seriously, but in a sheer, dark topless business suit. “Thank you for calling Galatea Turing Cybernetics Engines, personal products.”

“Nice rack.”

She smiled sweetly. “Thank you.”

“I’m not sure who I should talk to. All I have is this card.” He lifted up the card and showed it to the tiny camera on the Waldo.

“You’re reached the right node. What are you looking for?”

“Jesus.” He had dreaded this, but he’d come this far. “Listen, I was talking to a friend of mine.”

“Are you looking for an arrangement with a love-bot?”

“Well. Yeah. I guess you could say that.”

“Transactions are conducted over a secure line and are FDIC insured credit cards only. We require a fifty percent deposit on all purchases and rentals. Rentals are only consummated at designated on site locations.”

“What’s that mean?”

“You can’t take the love-bot home. Not if you’re just renting.”


“What country do you live in?”

“United States.”

“State and city?”

“Oak Park, Illinois.”

She smiled. “I’ve heard it’s nice there.”

“It is.” She probably says that to everybody, he thought. I live in a goat herder’s yurt in Somalia. I hear it’s nice there.

“The closest location we have in your area is in the suburb of Bradbury Park. We have a brand new facility there offering a wide range of sexual surrogates. What did you have in mind?”

“What have you got?”

“All kinds.”

“Well. What? I don’t know. I’ve never done this before.”

She clasped her hands in front of her and gave him a sweet smile that drilled his loneliness deeper. “First we’ll arrange a deposit and then we’ll take down your specifications. Once you sign off on the specifications, the deposit will be charged to your card and is non-refundable. So, make sure this is what you want.”

“How realistic is a love bot?”

Her friendly smiled vanished. Her face hardened. For a moment, he was sure he had pissed her off and the connection was about to be dropped on him, when she reached behind both ends of her jawbone and pressed on something. She touched a spot at her hairline above her forehead and her face did a little skip and her eyes went dead. With both hands she carefully removed the dead face and held it out to him. The naked spot where her face had been was now a deep wound of soft veined, water cooled circuitry and glowing diodes beneath a delicate mesh of tiny interwoven hydraulic lines. The disembodied lips behind her outstretched fingers smiled for him.

“They’re perfect.” the lips said. “The sweetest ever.”

* * *

So you have verbal communication. The ultimate test of artficial intelligence is called the "Turing test" (now you know how I came up with the name of my sexbot company. "Galatea" is also a verbal joke. Look it up.) You can read about the Turing test in detail here:

but in a nutshell it is the degree to which a non human source can imitate a human source of communication. My other point of human beings turning technology to sex goes back as far as the Neanderthal and Cro Magnon. About 40,000 years ago during the Aurignacian period human beings began producing the first works of art, including a figurine showing a woman's large breasts and buttocks but terminating in a large erect penis.

Archaeologists speculate that this may have been the world's first dildo. Along with cave paintings of mastodon and deer, there are paintings of men and women having sexual intercourse in the woman above position. When VCR’s came out, the movie industry tried to ban them, but they were saved by the pornography industry. The reasons VHS format made Beta format extinct was because porno movies came on VHS. When the Internet came online, pornography because the cutting edge technology pushing business in cyberspace. Why would artificial intelligence be an exception?

There is an element of squick to the idea ofintimate touching with an artificial being, but this is being looked into also, with the innovation of haptic interfaces. You can read about this technology in more detail here:

technology but in a nutshell, a haptic interface enables a tactile connection between a human and another human across cyberspace. This is the ultimate safe sex. In “The Doll” I explored the idea of using haptic interfaces to have cybersex with people on the other side of the world, with the intermediary of sexbots capable of changing their personalities and bodies to match downloadable Internet programs and user profiles.


“HumanGrrl3? That crazy Indian girl – Chandra? Is Chandra there?”

Sarah got that far away look and then brightened again. “Yes, its Chandra. Shall I engage her haptic interface?”

“Yes, please. Mine too. Give her the Greek Wrestler. A penis size seven girth. She likes them wide.”

Sarah’s skin color changed, from golden to deep brown. The eyes went blank, the irises blackened, the lashes became thick, the breasts shrank one size, widened and then flattened slightly with large prominent brown nipples. The flat six pack abs, swelled slightly into a cute little pot belly that pressed sweetly against him. The ballerina legs shrank and thickened, the arms became shorter and softer, the torso stockier. He felt the bush of public hair under his groin thicken and the vagina tighten. The nose broadened, the lips swelled and suddenly her face lit up into a huge grin. “Babu!”

“Hi Chandra!”


This can cause interesting dilemmas also:


“I insist.,” said Sarah. “ Would you like me to bring you another partner? The man is still online. He is willing to have you ejaculate in his mouth also.”

He made a face. “No. C'mon Sarah, you know I don’t swing that way.”

“I suspect you already have.”

That was disturbing. “What, Chandra?”

“I searched HumanGrrl3’s private files while you were engaged in intercourse. She gives every indication of being an elderly business man from Mumbai who enjoys playing golf.”


At the beginning of “Mortal Engines”, Hal whines to his friend Arnie “Why can’t we just marry their bodies instead?” Now don’t tell me women haven’t made this same complaint to each other about men. You know you have. It’s the most ancient human problem. People change over time. The person you are married to now isn’t who you married all those years ago. The person you think you’re in love with, turns out to be different once you get to know them. Princes turn into frogs. What if you could fix that? What if the devil wearing a lab coat, or more likely a salesman’s suit, could offer you the perfect soulmate, designed to your specifications alone? Would you do it? Could you would you?

One more scene from Mortal Engines and I’ll stop, bear with me. (I never know when I’ll get another chance to hustle like this.) So, Hal Jordan has filled out the paperwork and made his deposit and is on the way for his big evening. Riding in his automated car he reflects on a particular part of the application process:


The online application process had been lengthy and tedious. And a little shocking to revenants of decency he hadn’t even realized were still there.

The topless but soberly dressed Chinese woman, after reconnecting her face, had begun taking down the details of exactly the kind of machine he was hoping to stick his dick in tonight. What gender? Man? Woman? A young boy or a young girl?

A little boy? A little girl? Was she kidding with that shit? Did people do that?

Oh yes sir.

She assured him, with an indulgent smile, that such models were quite popular and a few were available this week with promotional discounts for new customers. Further discounts on young boys or young girls were available with their special membership card. Would he be interested in acquiring a membership discount card?

No thanks, lady. I’m sinking fast, he thought, but not that fast. Not yet.

A grown woman, please. Keep your little girls.

What age group? Our adult group begins from 17 years of age to precisely 70 years of age. Older than 70 would be an additional charge.

He cringed again. There was something in the woman’s artificial eyes that seemed to be testing him. You don’t have to do this, mister, she seemed to suggest, behind her saleswoman’s smile. You still have some of your soul left. It’s not too late to cut your losses.

Young. Not too young. Maybe twenty five. (Am I pathetic for wanting to do a twenty five year old?) Race of preference? Or a combination of ethnic groups?

Every man should take that quiz at least once, he thought, as he watched the fields passing by outside the tinted windows. It’s good for you. Even if you’re not trying to get your freak on with a robot, this quiz will show you some stuff you didn’t know. They should make it part of your job applications. Hell, they should make you take it if you’re getting married to somebody’s daughter.
We know what strange flesh you really want to poke your cock into, mister. You just think you know.
He had never thought of himself as a racist. He had never much been aware of the races of people he worked with. He was white, Scotch Irish and with some Mexican on his father’s side. No big deal. Gay? Lesbian? No big deal either. Common barnyard animals maybe? Go in peace my brother and sister. To each his own. But, when it was laid out right there in front of you, like dog food in a dish. When all you have to do is reach out your tentacles -

Would you like an elderly black man or an elderly Asian woman?

A little boy or a little girl?


Big ass and big taco tits. Like your daddy’s National Geographic. Fuck me bwana. Fuck me bwana. Fuck me bwana.


He had settled on a combination of Scandinavian and Polynesian. Scandinavian for the familiar. Slightly dark skinned Polynesian for the exotic. Was there such a thing? Amazing. What size tits? Prepubescent? Adolescent? Athletic? Nursing mother? Or dancer? She demonstrated each size by adjusting the size of her own breasts and nipples. Dancer, oh! Definitely dancer, yes! with those big nursing nipples and whipped cream, nuts and a cherry on top, please and thank you. Pubic hair? Body hair? Certainly, the more the better. Teeth?


There were people who preferred them without teeth.

But goddamn, Hal.

Teeth please. Yes. Definitely teeth.

They offered a wide range of sexual aggression for his personalized simulacrum pleasure. He might choose from terrified virgin (weeping and pleading) to insatiable nymphomaniac. Well, someday who knows, but for starters just something in the middle, please. Experienced but demure.

For an extra insurance charge they could throw in some bondage and strong sadomasochism in the works. No thanks. Maybe not this time. Did they offer that to the assholes who ordered the little kids too?
Oysters or snails. Chocolate or vanilla. Tacos or egg rolls. Roses or handcuffs.

“Destination arrival in five minutes.” said the smart car's voice.


Okay, this is getting long. Last thing. The weirdest thing. Scientists like Ray Kurzweil believe that in the near future, technology will surpass our ability to keep up with it in various fields, including the field of artificial intelligence on which sexual surrogates would be critically based. Google the word “Singularity” to read more about this concept. The brain is currently being studied and reverse engineered as the human genome was about ten years ago. Soon we will know how to reproduce and even enhance the human brain. This means at some point you have robots that are MORE intelligent that the human brain is capable of being. A robot could ignite and achieve self-aware consciousness as we know it. It could acquire complex, independent emotions, moral decision making, compassion or cruelty. The possibilities are endless. Would such a creature have shame? Personal hopes? Moral outrage? Despair? (Hal Jordan’s sexbot “Ilsa” has all these things) Legal rights? A sense of vengeance?

A fiction writer always starts from the magic words “What if . . . “

What if, robots of exquisite intelligence and emotional sensitivity were developed and mass produced? What if marriage or something like it became commonplace, between meat brain humans and cybernetic brain partners, and such marriages were even preferred over the traditional marriages? What if at some point the robots decide they may need to reign us in a little bit for the sake of the species and the world? Mankind, over a hundred years or so, may create - not a monster like Viktor Frankenstein – but instead a perfect and eternal companion as we prepare to reach out to the stars and immortality.

Fiction By C. Sanchez-Garcia\csanchez_garcia