Monday, February 3, 2014

New Taboos

By Lisabet Sarai

Several years ago I set out to write a story for an anthology about voyeurism. I rolled the topic around in my mind, looking for a new and different angle on what is, after all, a well-worn erotic theme.

I realized that the kick in a voyeuristic scenario derives from the forbidden nature of what the voyeur observes. Secret parts of the body – secret behaviors – things society views as inappropriate to expose. In a culture where the genitals are freely displayed, there's no particular thrill to spying on the nakedness of a neighbor. If masturbation were openly practiced, it wouldn't matter if someone watched.

From that point, I jumped into what if mode. What if, instead of breasts and asses, pussies and cocks, people's hands were considered to be obscene? I imagined a society where everyone wore gloves, all the time. To be stripped of one's gloves would become the ultimate shame. Bare hand-to-hand contact would be the most intimate possible act. The mere sight of a naked palm could incite unbearable arousal. Prostitutes would excite their clients by wearing flesh-colored gloves that looked like exposed skin, but even a whore would not allow herself to be caught bare-handed.

Yeah, that could work....

The result was my story “Trespass”. This tale has the distinction of being my most rejected short story ever. It finally found a home in the altruistic erotica anthology Coming Together: By Hand (which focuses on self-pleasuring, but is certainly an appropriate title given our theme!), but only after being rejected by three – or was it four? – other editors.

I don't think the hand taboo was the issue, by the way. The story's pretty dark. Indeed, it turned out to be a science fiction riff on Romeo and Juliet, complete with the blood and violence. Not all that popular in today's world of romance-influenced erotica!

Anyway, whatever the editors thought, the tale is actually one of my personal favorites, so I thought I'd share a bit.


Her bedroom door was half ajar. A mirror faced the door, and in that mirror, he could see her as clearly as if she stood before him. He had a blazing, confused impression of bare skin and swelling curves, before he shut his eyes in panic. It wasn't seemly, for someone like him...

His heart slammed against his ribs. He waited for her to notice his intrusion, to scream. Instead, he heard her humming to herself, sweet and low.

Jared had to look. He couldn't stop himself, even though he knew the risk he was taking. There she was, undressing before her mirror, admiring her own loveliness. She wore black satin gloves that rose to her elbows. The contrast of her black fingers against her pale flesh kindled a hungry fire in his belly.
He watched, fascinated, as those long fingers untied the shoulder ribbons that held up her translucent chemise. The light garment drifted to the floor, exposing the perfect breasts that had been only half-visible before. She cupped them in satin-clad palms and strummed the rosy tips with her jet-colored thumbs.

Each of her self-touches sent shivers through Jared's body. His cock swelled painfully inside his tight uniform trousers. He allowed his own white-gloved hand to stray to his crotch, trying to adjust the pressure. It remained there, grasping the aching mass of his erection, while his eyes continued to follow her wandering digits. She trailed her fingers down over her milky torso, teasing herself with brief brushes of satin against skin. Her two forefingers slipped under the waistband of her lower garment, which like her chemise hid little. Jared could see her fingers as streaks of black against the gauzy fabric; he held his breath as he watched them disappear into her cleft.

Her humming had stopped. Now he could hear her panting, punctuated every now and then by a little moan. Her eyes were screwed shut. Her mouth hung half-open as she concentrated on the sensations she was stirring between her thighs. He imagined he could smell her musk, though logic told him she was too far away. A shudder ran through her body. His cock surged, straining for relief.

All at once she removed her hand from her sex. Dampness stained her fingertips an even deeper black. She brought them to her nose, savoring her own scent. Then, after a moment, she began to remove the gloves.

Jared couldn't breathe. His heart threatened to burst out of his chest. His leaking cock made a shameful spot on his spotless uniform. Could he really be seeing this? She peeled the black fabric down her forearm to her wrist. Jared knew he should look away, but no force in the universe could have made him do that. Finally she gripped the glove by the fingers and pulled completely off.

Her naked hand was alabaster white, gleaming in the mirror like some pearly apparition from another world. Her fingers seemed unnaturally long. Her fingernails, he was shocked to see, were enameled red, like the whores he'd read about. Her flawless skin looked impossibly smooth, obscenely soft, unforgivably vulnerable. She slipped one bare finger into her mouth and sucked on it. The lewdness of it all finally undid him.

With a muffled groan, he exploded, his come soaking his crisp trousers. Then he fled in terror, still shaking, taking with him a last lascivious image of the woman plunging her naked fingers deep into her cunt.

****

I look forward to reading my fellow Grippers meditation on the erotic marvel of our hands.


18 comments:

  1. what a wonderful premise. i love the idea of sexualizing hands. i have rejected two potential lovers in the last year due, in part, to their hands, particularly their short, stubby fingers.

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    1. I've never made hands (or any other physical characteristic) the determining factor in selecting a lover, but I can imagine being turned off (or turned on) by someone's hands.

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    2. it wasn't the only reason...but for a one time hook up, it was a good enough reason. he also looked like Booberry from the cereal...

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  2. Hands ARE sexy. I love to look at people's hands and imagine them doing all kinds of things. What a great idea for a story!

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    1. Thanks, Naomi. I was pretty proud of it, and still am, despite the rejections.

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  3. Lisabet, what a great premise for a story and what a perfect context (Coming Together By Hand)





































































    Great excerpt Lisabet, and great premise for an erotic story. (I'm reminded of Kathleen Bradean's hilarious story "Orbiting in Retrograde" in which an innocent earthling on another planet discovers a new set of taboos.)



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    1. Hi, Jean,

      Haven't read that tale by Kathleen but it sounds as great as most of her work.

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  4. Kinda like an ankle perked up Charlie back in Victorian times. Mirrors, reflections, voyeurist imagery. What more can we ask for?

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  5. I read Xavier Hollander's "The Happy Hooker" when I was in middle school...yes, I was precocious and read anything I wanted to. She explained how to gauge the size of what a man had to offer by checking out his hands. I was intrigued. I spent years imagining things, then when I got active, I got a few guys to let me measure things and damn! She was spot-on! So my female characters always check out a prospective lover's hands. Some of them prefer normal-sized, some prefer fat, chubby fingers that indicate more width than length. My heroines' desires are as varied as their names and jobs are, so every one has a different "perfect prick". And they judge it all with hands.

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    1. Oh c'mon, Fiona! Are you serious?

      I find this pretty hard to believe. But now you've got me wondering...!

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  6. I forgot to add that whatever body part isn't shown is the one we will obsess over. Your excerpt did an excellent job of creating that frisson of tension involving a part most of us take for granted. Very hot scene! Especially with the long, black gloves.

    I've often wondered if Muslim men go bananas over their wife's hair, rolling around in it and draping it across their body, because it's never shown in public. And obviously if the women around you wear pup tents with mesh screens to look through (known as burkas), probably even glimpsing an ankle, like Daddy X reminded us, would be a huge erotic thrill.

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    1. I have some ideas for a story featuring a Muslim woman, but that would be such a political minefield I don't dare write it. I think you're right, though.

      It must be tough to be a Muslim guy. Though when they get turned, they seem to blame it on the women.

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  7. Hi Lisabet!

    I've always thought it was amazing what different cultures see as erotic. In Japan the back of a woman's neck to about her shoulders is somehow very sexy, sort of like a nice pair of legs. That's why in so many classical paintings and wood blocks of women you always see their neck exposed.

    I've read in some stories where women were eroticised by a man's hands, hands that were big, hands that strong rough. Cowboy hands. I'm thinking about your story where hands had become a forbidden object. What an eroticised world that would be since hands are so ever present and revealable.

    Garce

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    1. I love the images of women's necks in Japanese erotic art. They *are* sensual and arousing. In this case, I'm not sure it so much a cultural difference in what is considered erotic, as much as a difference in what people notice.

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  8. Since our hands have so much contact with the world around us, in some ways they probably reflect more of our lives than any other part except the face.

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  9. Re: Muslims and eroticism- I'm told that in some cultures, the unibrow is the hot thing. My guess it's that the eyes are the only feature the men can see.

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  10. I always loved this story, and I think it's great to get its origin.

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