Saturday, May 2, 2009

Confessions of an Erotica Master

By M. Christian

Okay, “love and lust” ... well, let’s take the last one first.

I’m lucky, I guess, that I don’t have a lot of sexual baggage. My parents had more than their fair share of faults … okay, a LOT more than their fair share of faults … but at least they spared me from the sexual guilt and religious shame a lot of other folks seem to have been saddled with.

Because of that lack of sexual Samsonite, I’ve always been very much in touch with my erotic identity: in short I know what I like and that’s okay with me. In many ways, especially considering the tiny corner of literature I’ve found myself working in, I’m a very simple sexual critter. Sure, I might write about queer bondage, lesbian domination, and all kinds of outrageous and outré fetishes and kinks for the straight folks, but when I turn off my versificator (look it up, it’s from Orwell’s 1984), switch off the lights, and head home, it’s to simple and sweet sexual fun.

Not that I’m dull, you understand. It’s just that compared to my writing life, my nighttime antics might disappoint the two people who read my erotic stories. No whips, no chains, no safe words, no leather, no latex, no appliances, no lingerie (at least not for me), no feathers, no personas, no spikes, no pudding … no kidding.

Sure, I have a few interesting quirks. Part of the reason I think I sympathize so much with queer life is that while I’m comfortably heterosexual, the object of my desire is not exactly common.

In short, I like chubby girls. Not that they’re the only kind of women I like, the only kind of girl who can get me excited, but I do have a preference for a zaftig partner. Okay, that’s not the same as being gay or lesbian but when steaming-with-testosterone-straight-guys happen to walk into my life, and sex comes up, I feel very much like I might as well be gay.

In some ways I wish I did feel shame or guilt about my sexual side, instead of that touch of isolation. Many of my friends with sexual suitcases seem to use it somehow to spice up their erotic antics.

If there’s a darkness to my erotic self, it’s that it didn’t come to life until very late in my life. I lost my virginity to a prostitute (in London of all places) when I was 23 but didn’t have my first true girlfriend until I was almost 28. Luckily I’ve made up for lost time since then. With my ex-wife, I dipped my toes into all kinds of very kinky pools, which gave me some details to add to my smut writing, and also reinforced that while I’ve tried my hand (and other body parts) at cross- dressing, bondage, piercing, polyamory, S/M, BD, D&S, and all kinds of other pervy acronyms, I’m still basically happy with earnest, passionate, heterosexual sex.

So that’s lust. “What about love?” you may ask. Well, here’s where it’s different for me. I love my mother; love my father’s memory; love my brother; I thought I loved my ex-wife; and I absolutely, positively, totally love Jill -- the lady I’ve waited all my life for. I’ve cried for love, ached for love, done stupid things for love – the usual orchestra of emotion that comes when you care deeply, passionately, about someone.

But then there’s the difference, the thing that’s made pretty much all of my life emotionally painful. See, I love a lot of people – friends, lovers, partners, even fellow writers (if you can believe that) -- but there’s someone I can’t seem to love; someone I’ve known for close to 50 years, someone I blame for everything bad that’s ever happened to me, someone I curse with keeping me from success and true happiness, someone I wish would just go away.

His name is Chris. He’s me.

The clinical term is chronic depression but what it means to me is while I have no problem telling a roomful of people, or a blog full of readers, that I like to fool around with BBWs, that I’ve worn frilly pink dresses, gone to sex parties, had my back cut with a scalpel, performed in porn films, and written a lot of very strange erotic stories; that I love my lady, Jill, with all my heart; that I adore my brother, Sam; cherish my mother; and that I’ll go way out of my way to help people who have been kind to me; I’ve never loved myself.

I have meds, I’ve gone to therapy, I’ve talked it over with doctors and even discussed it with religious folks (I’m an atheist) but so far nothing’s worked. No matter how many times I hear it from other people I still don’t feel anything but pain and sadness when I think about myself.

Maybe because there’s no darkness in my sexual side, there
has to be more than a little shade in love, especially in self-love.

But, as I said, so far nothing’s worked – the emphasis is on “so far.” Despite the pain, the leaden weight of low self-worth, I keep trying to get through the depression. I have wonderful people in my life who are there for me, and who hold my hand and whisper the magic words of “It’ll be okay.” I have a few bright lights that shine through the murk of being a struggling writer – which is (sarcasm) the perfect avocation for a depressive.

Some day, I hope, I’ll be able to put out a hand and have it taken by that person I feel is to blame for everything bad that’s ever happened to me, the person I'm convinced that no one can ever love, the one nobody respects, that one nobody wants. Some day, I hope, I’ll be able to say that I love Chris -- that I love myself.

Some day.

Wish me luck.

M.Christian is an acknowledged master of erotica with more than 300 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many, many other anthologies, magazines, and Web sites. He is the editor of 20 anthologies including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, and others. He is the author of the collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, Licks & Promises, and Filthy; and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll.


  1. Welcome to the Grip, Chris.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us.

    I know it probably doesn't help much, but I'm a devoted fan...


  2. Hi Chris,

    Welcome to the Grip. A thoughtful and thought provoking post for sure. Depression is a horrible place to hang out. I truly hope your 'some day' comes soon.


  3. Wow, just goes to show you can never tell about people from the outside! I'm sorry to hear about your battle with depression, it's a lonely place to be.

    You've done so many cool things and written scads of wonderful stories. Thanks for sharing with us, and inspiring others with your amazing tale!

    Best wishes, you're welcome any time at the Grip.


  4. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for joining us today.

    I'm glad you're keeping the words "so far" right up there in front where they belong.

    Good luck.

    Kim Dare.

  5. M. Christian!

    I've seen your stories everywhere. Its very cool to hang out with you, even for just a little while. I hope you'll keep an eye on our little blog and drop in on us with your thoughts. "I post on Wednesday." I asseverated shamelessly.

    I was surprised to hear you have a kind of meat and potatoes sex life, much like me. There's just no classifying people who write what we write. I was also moved by what you wrote about yourself. Maybe you confer with your demons also when you sit at the keyboard. Like Iago, I haven't met a man who knew how to love himself well. Maybe that's the hardest thing.


  6. Thanks, everyone -- I really appreciate your kindness and support ... as well as the welcome to Get A Grip.

    Yeah, it's been tough, but that I keep going -- and writing -- is a sign that someday I'll get through this.



  7. Sometimes I wonder whether there might not be a correlation between sex writers and depression. Or maybe it's just the larger correlation between creativity and depression. In any case, I'm another one - clinical depression, SAD, a sprinkling of bipolarity of the non-seasonal sort, and that de rigueur companion: low self-esteem.

    The self-esteem issue isn't helped, of course, by having become rounder due to a SADdened appetite that outdoes marijuana munchies by a mile, said body growth assisted by medication that is supposed to make everything better. So I am always comforted when I read about people like you, Chris, who appreciate a fleshiness that painters used to consider healthy and hot.

    I must say that the last 2 men in my life have helped in that matter. The philosopher calmly said that he preferred round women. The sadist is decidedly more stern and direct. Any comment of doubt about my looks, my sexiness, and my general appeal is met by a very threatening statement implying the dangers of questioning his judgment. He could have anyone, and he has chosen me. So slowly, cautiously, I'm learning to look in the mirror and actually like what I see. Slowly, cautiously, I'm learning to say - and believe - that yes, I am smart, yes, I am creative, and yes, I am sexy as hell.

    BDSM as a therapeutic technique. Highly effective.

    In the vein of therapy, Chris - honest as well as repayment of sorts - remembering the first story of yours I ever read and my surprise at finding out you were not a lesbian, I am relieved to read here that you've had all sorts of wild adventures before settling down into what you like best. Because I'd be really scared to think that you could write so convincingly about things you personally had no contact with at all.

    Good luck wrestling with the demon of dark clouds.

  8. Garce wrote:

    "Like Iago, I haven't met a man who knew how to love himself well."

    I have. He was really, really boring.


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