By Lisabet Sarai
I live in a foreign country where porn is seriously illegal. I'm here by the grace of a government that could kick me out at any time. So these days my husband and I no longer indulge in the porn we used to watch occasionally, back when we lived in the U.S. -- back in the days of video tape cassettes. That's okay. Back then, most of the movies we sampled were rather boring and stereotyped, with buff, bulging, heavily-waxed protagonists who looked like plastic and “plots” so flimsy they didn't deserve the label. I don't find purely physical sex very erotic, in literature or in film. So much of the time, our porn experiences were rather disappointing. (Fortunately I had my resident stud to console me in the face of this disappointment!)
It looks as though the adult film industry may have matured, especially since so many women have joined the directorial ranks. Every month when I write the Erotic Lure newsletter for the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, I survey the Best in Adult Films pages and pick out a couple of titles that look appealing. I'd love to have the chance to actually view some of them, to see if my intuitions are correct. Alas, that's not really practical.
I love my adopted country, but I do feel rather isolated. I have to keep Lisabet Sarai strictly under wraps here. I don't get the chance to hobnob in person with my fellow erotica authors. I've known several of the Grip posters for nearly a decade, but I haven't actually met any of them in meat space.
Before we moved here, though, for one short period, I was part of the New York City erotica “scene” and it was a heady experience indeed.
Picture this: the dim, brick-walled basement of a funky bar in the Bowery, well-known as a venue for erotica gatherings. I've attended several events there hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussell, doyenne of the New York erotica community. Now I'm hosting a release party myself, for not one but two new books: my third novel, Ruby's Rules, and the BDSM and spirituality anthology Sacred Exchange, co-edited by me and S.F. Mayfair.
The room is not exactly full – I've always been terrible at promotion – but the modest crowd includes both strangers and dear friends. One of the authors represented in Sacred Exchange has come all the way from western Pennsylvania to participate and to meet me. My closest girlfriend has driven in from New Jersey. Rachel is there, with her latest flame in tow. A small but appreciative group sips red wine or martinis, chats, laughs, and waits for the reading.
I am wearing a tight burgundy velvet cocktail dress with a halter neck that accentuates my cleavage. Underneath I'm wearing very little – the costume won't allow it. Despite the horrible pronated arches that usually keep me in flats, I've donned the highest heels I own. My hair is a wild mass of curls. I've exchanged my glasses for contact lenses and I've done the best I can with the unfamiliar eyeshadow, mascara and blush.
I climb the two steps to the podium in the corner, nervousness fluttering in my gut like a trapped bird. There's a spotlight trained on the pedestal, which is fortunate because otherwise I never would have been able to see the pages of my book. A hush comes over the crowd as they notice I've moved into position. I purse my lips around the mike and try to sound husky and sexy. I begin to read from the first chapter of my novel featuring the brilliant, ruthless and irresistible Ruby Maxwell Chen:
My silence is making my unfortunate guest even more nervous.
I lean forward slightly. Under the desk, I smoothly part my legs and spread them wide. Mr. Dalton’s eyes grow round and his mouth falls open at the sight of the black lace garters against my pale skin, and the jet triangle of hair framed between them.
“Well, Mr. Dalton,” I say finally, “I need time to consider the details of your proposal. However, I am confident that we can come to some understanding.”
“Uh...I...” He is rendered incoherent with confusion, embarrassment, and, I can clearly see, lust. I delicately part my silky fur to expose the damp pink folds of my cunt. I have been planning this for the past ten minutes, and I am wet with anticipation.
“I believe that you have said enough, Mr. Dalton. I will give you my answer shortly. In the meantime, I would appreciate your removing your jacket, your trousers and whatever you have on underneath.”
He wants to run, but my eyes hold him, my eyes and that moist, inviting chasm between my thighs. “Now,” I say, allowing a hint of sternness into my voice.
He complies, as I expect. My eyes give him no respite as he awkwardly sheds his clothes. He wears tight blue briefs that highlight every detail of his straining cock. The showy underwear is a present from his girlfriend, perhaps; he is too caught up in his ambitions to have a wife.
A blush is spreading over his fair complexion, and he hesitates to remove the briefs, though they hide nothing. I tap my pen on the desktop, feigning impatience. In truth, I love the suspense, the gradual, reluctant submission, the slow exposure of vulnerable flesh.
I continue for ten or fifteen minutes, losing my anxiety as the story takes over. I can feel the appreciative gaze of the audience. I am Ruby's voice. Though I'm two decades older and far less gorgeous than my heroine, I identify with her as I read. I am transformed into an object of desire.
The bar is silent when I stop. Then comes the applause: not thunderous – there aren't enough people here to thunder – but enthusiastic. I realize that my pulse is racing. When I excuse myself to go to the ladies' room, I discover that my panties are distinctly damp.
I return and the crowd closes around me, offering me copies of my books to sign.
For one moment in time, that one precious night, I feel like a porn star.
And it's one of the high points of my life.