About four years ago I entered the sex industry professionally. I have since worked as a stripper, amateur porn performer, and webcam model. I also write erotica, and it has been asked of me whether my work in the adult industry serves as the influence or inspiration for my writing as such.
It is a question I find understandable. The short answer is no—at least not in the way I interpret the question being asked.
In sex work, the focus is not really on me. It's not about what turns me on, what I find intriguing, interesting, arousing (some clients have invited it to be that way, which I appreciate, but it is nonetheless different from a non-professional sexual encounter). The kind of connection and attraction I have tended to write about in erotic fiction has not usually been that which I have felt while I am working. Which is fine—I am performing a service; my aim is to do so as sincerely and authentically as possible to the best of my ability.
In writing, I have free reign. I have been writing since about age seven, so long before any professional experience I have since acquired. In a fundamental way I am beholden in writing to no more than the creative pulse (ideally) coming through me.
Thus, making a living in the arena of sex is not the reason I write erotica or the main inspiration for what I write about. There are, however, ways in which the two converge. I started writing erotica when I was experiencing a considerable shift and transformation in my own sexual experience. The possibility of enhancing others’ experience and appreciation of sexuality, especially if it supports the emergence from under sexual repression, is one of my biggest inspirations for writing erotica. The facilitation of healing and support in the arena of sexuality both individually and collectively feels acutely compelling to me.
I entered the sex industry for the same reason. Sex work seemed to me another path to pursue the same aim, an opportunity to enhance others’ sexual experience and professionally treat sex in the respectful, reverent, sincere way I find called for. (As with virtually any job or experience, the ideal has not always seemed equal to the practical application, but the aim in me has not changed.) Working in the industry has afforded me opportunities to see and interact with the individuals whose sexual experience and appreciation I aim to enhance via writing (which is anybody/everybody) as well as observe perceptions of sex work, gender interaction, and sexuality itself in societal and individual contexts.
I have not tended to get literal story ideas and influences from my experiences working in the adult industry. But the inspiration to work there and to write erotica come from the same place in me, one that cares deeply about sexuality and aims to celebrate it as the sacred entity I see it to be.
Societally, I want to open expression and dialogue around sexuality, bring it out of a vilified, taboo, repressed realm into respectful and thoughtful observation and appreciation. Individually, I want to support the highest in all beings, and sexually is a way I feel particularly drawn to do this.
So for me, working in the adult industry does not necessarily inform or influence my erotica writing. Rather, the two ventures are informed by the inspiration that leads me to them both. Supporting collective and individuals’ sexual appreciation and understanding is to what I aspire, and it happens that I have had the chance to devote both my livelihood and my writing endeavors to that aspiration. So while literally and autobiographically, sex work may not inform the erotic fiction I write, it is connected to it—just not in the way one may first think.
Emerald is the widely published author of celebrated erotic fiction. Her short stories have appeared in titles as diverse as Please Sir, K is for Kinky, and Tasting Her. Find out more about the wonderful Emerald at: http://www.thegreenlightdistrict.org/