Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Coming Soon - A More Exciting Grip Than Ever!



Hello, Readers!

 The Oh Get a Grip blog is getting bigger and better!

Starting in mid-March, we'll have an expanded roster of authors, with new posts every weekday, on the controversial and thought-provoking topics you've come to expect. 

We're also taking the opportunity to do some graphical redesign of the blog in order to make it easier for you to read and follow.

Sorry for any inconvenience. Please check back around March 18th. 

Meanwhile, if you're looking for incisive and entertaining blog posts in the general space of erotica, authorship and society, check out the blog of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Coming to Come

by Jean Roberta

Boom! Crack!

Lightning turns the stormy sky an alarming shade of bone-white as thunder almost deafens the worshippers at the temple. The High Priest throws himself on the ground before the temple door, and his followers prostrate themselves behind him.
This day had been prophesied, but no one in the temple had paid much attention to the bumper stickers on volkswagens in the 1970s that read: “God is coming, and is She pissed!”

“Forgive us, O Lord!” howls the High Priest. “We have allowed unnatural perversions to go unpunished in our cities. We have allowed filthy words to be read by all, even in our schools. Our women are impure and they are filled with pride, not shame. Strike down all those who break Your holy laws!”

The raging of the sky grows quieter so that She may be heard.

“In that case,” a low, silky voice croons from a large purple cloud, “I hope you are ready to die, Jeremiah.”

Heads are cautiously raised from the ground. Doom, it seems, is better met head-on.

“You dare to call yourself the lord and master of five women,” continues the voice, “my daughters, made in my image. You dare. You cannot begin to satisfy one of them, let alone all five. You have driven men out of your cult for no crime other than their love for each other. You have treated children like toys to be used and broken. You have forced your followers to work without pay that you may profit from their labour. You have sickened the healthy and denied healing to the sick.”

The High Priest opens his mouth, and spontaneously bursts into flames.

“Now then,” says She to the terrified and confused mortals who have all scrambled away from the fire. Their leader had no real friends among them. “This isn’t my usual style, but it’s what you’ve been led to expect. You realize that you’re all hallucinating on the potion he made you drink, don’t you? No, you probably don’t. It’s probably just as well.”

“Understand this, as far as you’re able: I am the Earth, and you have exploited Me for too long. Pleasure is what you were made for, because you are my children. Life-hating cults drive me crazy, and the cult of profit is the worst. That’s going to change now, at least for those of you who want to live long enough to see the sun rise tomorrow.”

She blesses them with sleep because they aren’t strong enough to stay conscious in Her presence for long. Her smile, in the form of moonlight, shimmers through a storm cloud as it disintegrates like smoke.

She is thinking of all the fun she is going to have with them on the first day of their re-education.


There are wiccans and neo-pagans who pay tribute to a Deity like this, but they are a powerless minority of the world’s population. The best erotic stories I know of that deal with Her are set in times when the Fathers of Christianity were not yet established in power, and they saw Her as a serious threat.

Here is the last paragraph of “Salt,” Simon Sheppard’s retelling of the story of Sodom, in his erotic story collection, Sodomy! (Lethe Press, 2010). A Sodomite addresses a male newcomer:

“The lamps are burning low, and Aram [one of the two male strangers who came looking for Lot, a “righteous” worshipper of Yahweh, and who stayed with the narrator instead] is waiting for you in the next room. May you enjoy each other, share the joy of the earth, and may the Goddesses grant you dreams of peace.

Heartbrother, welcome to Sodom.”

[You have to read the story to find out how naked worshippers pay tribute to the Goddesses.]

Monday, February 18, 2013

Holy Hannah

by Kathleen Bradean

I can't think of anything I've written that's about the sacred or the profane. I suppose writing erotica might count if I thought it was an evil pursuit, but as a character observed in the movie Enchanted April, it's awfully hard to be improper when there are no men around. Or in my case, it's difficult to be wicked when you don't take your critics seriously.

What is it about explicit sex that gets everyone so tense?

There's a literary prize for the worst sex scenes. It's like that squinty, perpetually frowning girl on the playground who lived to tattle on her schoolmates. If she couldn't put a stop to the shenanigans, she'd pace and fret one step outside the scene, ready to point the finger of blame. It wasn't because she secretly longed to be invited to join the others. Nothing upset her more than the idea that they were having fun and getting away with it. Sometimes I feel there's a cadre of writers like that. They don't want to write explicit sex, which is fine, but they don't want anyone else to either, which isn't. So they pick out a few lines from a novel and hold that out of context passage up to ridicule, perhaps hoping shame will stop people from writing about sex.

Why isn't there a prize for best sex scenes? Probably because few people in the English speaking world want to admit that such a thing can exist. Imagine the humiliation if your peers thought you nominated a scene because it turned you on instead of the criteria being good writing. Oh, the horror! A piece of writing so powerful it made your cock or cunt respond! *staggers to her fainting couch*

We simply can't let that happen, can we? People treating sex like just another thing people do instead of partitioning it off in its own special world where it can be safely mocked? Egads. Next thing you know, I'll be demanding that people actually read erotica before condemning it. I'm a mad woman, I tell you. Insane! Literary critique coming from a place of knowledge rather than ignorance? The lit crowd would have a fit of the vapors, the poor dears.

Oh dear. I'm being a bit ranty, but I've had about enough of this nonsense about erotica being bad writing, worthless, and a bastard genre. It may be difficult to be improper when you don't believe in impropriety, but I'm sure it's even harder to be a sanctimonious prat when the rest of the playground points their fingers and laughs at your priggish ass. Be warned - that's exactly what I intend to do from now on.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Lady of the Broken Wings

Oberammergau Bavaria 1880

"Your shoulders here!" Wolfgang's horse hair beard was beginning to slip its stage paste under the lights. He shrugged his shoulder to straighten it as he stepped in to hoist an end of the heavy timbered cross from Dieter, the barber’s son. The young man dressed in muslin Biblical robes let out a sigh which showed as a puff of steam under the stage lights of the unheated theater.

"Out of love for you will I carry!" cried Wolfgang, in the voice he had rehearsed with his father in back of the butcher's shop. "If only I could be of more use to you." He took the other end of the timbered cross bar and lifted it. Dieter staggered and sighed and straightened his back.

A girl dressed in black, her hair hidden by a bright scarlet kerchief was jostled by a sweating Roman soldier armored in leather and brass and holding a bright spear. She felt him put his hand on her ass and hold it there, hidden in the crowd. Behind her she heard boy’s snickers. Another hand landed on her thigh and squeezed. She squirmed but her line was coming and there was nothing she could do. The hand moved between her thighs and she twisted away.

"Now you can move around more freely!" said Agrippa, lately the mayor of Oberammergau.

The soldier let go of her asscheek and stepped forward into the light and swatted Dieter in the face. "And something still holds you back? Even though the cross has been taken from you?"

Another man in ancient robes waved his arms. "Are you still in further need?"

The soldier, on most days the bar keep of the local tavern and brewery, waved his spear threateningly. "Let him be. We will rest for a time, so that he will have time to recover before he climbs the hill of death - to Calvary!"

The crowd parted and the girl in black stepped forward, away from the men and their hands. The soldier glanced over at her and stepped aside. Dieter fell to his knees, the crown of thorns sliding forward on his head. The girl looked out past the lights seeing the faces only as far as the second row. The rest of the spielhaus was in shadows. They were whispering and watching. She felt their eyes on her and hesitated. For a moment she could not remember her line. She glanced down at her right hand to see if the golden glow had begun there. If the angels came to her now, to take her in front of these people at this moment, it would be glorious and terrible.

A small group of robed women stepped forward with her into the light. A man in a bristly beard and a black skull cap looked severe and waved his fists at the soldier. "Another delay! Whenever shall we make our way to Calvary? Make haste!"

She put her hands to the ends of her kerchief and tugged. She looked into Dieter's eyes and felt an odd contempt.

Those are not his eyes, she thought. There are no eyes in all the world like my lover's and none of you know his fierce passion as I do.

"Oh how your face is covered in sweat." She realized her voice was shaking and soft. She took a breath and tried to make it louder. "Will you not take my kerchief and wipe it dry?" She tugged at the ends of the kerchief and lifted it away. A thick mane of bright silver hair tumbled out over her shoulders like a cascade of moonlight. She pressed the cloth to Dieter's face and lifted it away.

"Compassionate soul!" he cried. She reached out and gently straightened his crown of thorns. In spite of himself he smiled at her touch.

The girl in black looked at his face. Looked at the crowd, thought of the men on stage who had secretly touched her.


You’re all such pigs.

So begins my off again on again story of Nixie’s origin. I don’t know why it’s so hard to finish especially since most of the story is written in my head. I think there is something in me that doesn’t want to finish it, maybe doesn’t want to say goodbye to my little vampire girl.

Our best characters are made of something in ourselves. I suspect she comes from that place deep within, past where words reach. It’s a place I’m aware of on some morning’s, like today’s, when I wake up with a mysterious longing for passion and intimacy, the psychic residue of some forgotten dream. This is the soul of Nixie. It might be a longing for God or it might be a longing for union. I’m aware more and more that erotic longings and spiritual longings are aspects of the same energy. We are awareness; awareness longing for union, waves of individual expression on a vast ocean of being.

I think it must be hard to be a supernatural creature like a jinn or a vampire. Human beings are not made for immortality, it would exhaust us to bear the weight of our longings without hope for an end. To be immortal must require a form of consciousness, even a kind of callousness, that would be foreign to our human experience. Most theistic religions have a vision of the afterlife I can’t share. A belief in heaven as a paradise of unending pleasure and comfort shared with flawed human souls like our own. Or a hell of unending punishment for a life that is all too brief and would go on and on when entropy has turned all the stars to cold cosmic dust.

Nixie’s journey is essentially a spiritual one, an outsider who feels connected to God in a special way and then loses her way. This is very much my own story as well. The telling of her story is struggle, and I don’t know why, maybe because I’ve never found my way again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Visit To St. Valentine

By Lisabet Sarai 

Our topic for the next two weeks is "Saints Preserve Us". We'll be discussion religious imagery, Christian and other, and how we use it in our fiction.

Bringing religion into erotica is a risky business, because you don't know whether you'll offend your readers. I had one of my stories (Communion) rejected by a publisher because they had a firm policy: no clergy in erotica. It didn't matter that my nun and priest were twelfth century - they were verbotten.

Coming Together: In Vein contains a wonderful story (My Soul to Keep, by Kimber Vale) in which a vampire seduces and turns the priest who took her virginity before he made his vows, and led her to suicide. It's a powerful story, at least partially because in the Christian tradition, spirituality is associated with denial of the flesh - but vampires cannot be denied.

I've always wanted to write an erotic story about Jesus. I'm certain that he must have had that sort of  irresistible charisma that draws and excites both men and women. Not to be disrespectful, but the Messiah must have been as seductive and desirable as today's vampires. Beauty, intelligence and power - how  could he not be desirable?

I haven't dared write that yet. But I've used the New Testament quite a bit in my tales, partly because I believe there's much in common between surrendering to a dominant, and having faith in a deity. Higher Power, my story of a stage magician and his devoted assistant, turns on one of my favorite verses:

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear. (John 4:18) 

I've come to feel that perfect surrender - perfect trust - would completely eliminate fear - no matter how terrible the external circumstances.

Anyway, as it happens, we're approaching a saint's day, though for most people Valentine's Day has no religious significance. (However, I recommend Simon Sheppard's harrowing BDSM tale "St. Valentine was a Martyr, You Know", which appears, among other places, in my anthology Sacred Exchange.)

I happen to have a piece of short fiction that imagines the origins of Valentine's Day from a religious perspective. Valentine was a Roman in the reign of Emperor Claudius, who embraced the "new religion" and became a priest. His proseletyzing was politically inconvenient and ultimately he was executed for his beliefs.

So how did we get from there to sentimental cards, flowers and boxes of candy? Here's my take.

The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day

The priest Valentinus lay on the straw pallet in his cell. Final rays from the setting sun pierced the slits in the stone walls and made gold streaks on the floor. Valentinus sighed at the thought that this would be the last he would see of the glorious orb. Soon, though, I’ll will be with Christ, in the heart of glory, he reminded himself. Still, his heart was as heavy as the granite enclosing him.

Claudius had just left in a fit of pique, after failing again to make him recant. Despite the emperor’s epithet, “The Cruel”, Valentinus understood that the august ruler respected him, and did not want him to lose his head. It was all political for Claudius; he hadn’t a spiritual bone in his body. The new religion offered too much of a challenge to the state to be tolerated. If the priest would renounce his faith and publicly bow to Jupiter, Claudius would free him in an instant, an example to the self-righteous rabble who followed the new prophet.

Valentinus was a different sort of man. He believed in divine love and ultimate resurrection. His faith had kept him strong and pure for more than fifteen years, since the trip to Ephesus when he had first encountered the True Church. For his faith, he would lose his life. But he would save his soul.

Dusk deepened to full night. The pitch torch smoked and sputtered. Valentinus prayed, there on his back. He knew that his Lord did not require the discomfort of bony knees on a hard floor.

The iron door squealed. Valentine sat up. It was too early for his last supper. A slight feminine figure swathed in white linen slipped into the cell and pushed the recalcitrant door shut behind her. She approached the pallet and removed her outer wrap.

Golden curls tumbled down over her shoulders, brilliant as the vanished sun. A chaplet of myrtle bound her brow. Youth shone in her eyes, but the body he glimpsed under her finely-woven robe was the ripe form of a woman. Ancient desire stirred in him. He suppressed it with the ease of long practice.

“Who are you, lady? Why have you come to disturb my final meditations?”

“Lord Valentinus, I am Lydia, priestess of Juno. The Holy Mother is affronted by your stubborn refusal to pay her homage. Tonight is the festival of Lupercalia. Tonight, maids and youths throughout Rome will be celebrating the marriage of Juno and Jupiter, the rulers of heaven. Yet you languish here, refusing to accept the gift of love, scorning the generosity of the gods.”

“Your gods are not mine, lady. I neither honor nor scorn them. They are irrelevant to me.”

“Relevant enough to take your head.”

“My body is unimportant. Soon enough, my soul will be with God.” Despite his brave words, though, her beauty was working her spell on him. The rod of flesh between his legs grew stiffer by the minute.

Lydia untied the sash that fastened her robe. The diaphanous garment floated to the floor, revealing her lush, perfect body. “I’ve come to offer you Juno’s gifts, nevertheless.” She approached the pallet and took his face in her hands. “I know I cannot change your mind, Valentinus, or make you renounce your faith. But allow me to provide one last taste of the pleasures of earth, before you leave it.”

“No, wait. I am sworn to celibacy...” Valentinus began. Yet he did not resist when she gathered him to her sweet breasts, when she pushed away the ragged cotton robe that covered him and laved his aching nipples with her tongue. He cried out, but did not push her away, when she swallowed the stubborn pillar jutting from his groin. He grabbed her hips and arched into her when she straddled him and settled his shaft in the liquid depths between her thighs.

They moved together, not speaking aloud, but joined in spirit. She is not like the other Romans, realized Valentinus, even as pleasure surged through him in ecstatic waves. She does not care about material things. She is a creature of faith, a true daughter of her gods. I can touch her soul as well as her body.

Moonlight crept through the window-slits, painting their skin silver. Their passion rose and fell, smooth and silent as the Tiber rolling toward the sea. Their pleasure crested and ebbed and then climbed again. They never broke the connection. Through the night he remained within her, their limbs entwined, their minds and hearts united.

At last they slept. At dawn came the squeal of the rusty hinges and the guards, unexpectedly gentle when they saw Valentinus and Lydia together. Without shame, ignoring the lustful gaze of the centurions, Lydia rose and donned her robe. “Remember me,” she told the priest, with a final kiss. “It will ease the last pain.”

“And remember me,” said Valentinus, unfazed by his apparent fall from grace. “Here, take this.” He handed her a scroll, his copy of the scriptures. “I know I will not woo you from your gods to my God, but let this be my keepsake.”

“Sign it,” she said, and he did, before the guards led him to the execution ground.

Lydia returned to the temple, rejoicing in the trickle of Valentinus’ seed running down the insides of her thighs. She did not wish to see his final moments. She knew that she would be in his thoughts as the sword came down. She made her obeisance to the majestic gilded image of the Mother before returning to her modest room. There, she unfurled the scroll and read her lover’s dedication.

To my beloved Lydia whom I look forward to meeting in heaven,
For I know that no God or gods would be cruel enough to separate us.
From your devoted Valentine.

Tears fell on the parchment, smearing the charcoal-based ink.

They were tears of joy.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


by Jean Roberta

What is sexy on the page can be different from what is sexy in real life. Extreme sensations, described in some black-hanky scene involving scary accoutrements, don’t leave any marks on a reader. And as soon as a written scene stops casting a spell, the reader can simply close the book or the screen.

Touch and words are both more potent in real life, where they are both more nuanced. The gentlest touch, in the right circumstances, can send tingles all through the person receiving it. A tone of voice can convey more than the actual words.

The element of surprise, both in real life and in written erotica, is sexy for me. Even if the tension of unspoken desire has been building for awhile, an open expression of desire or acceptance is always a revelation. After all, fleeting lust is fairly common; many of us are briefly reminded of sex during a working day, or we notice an attractive stranger whom we don’t intend to approach.

When Person A says “I want you,” and Person B responds by saying, “I thought you’d never say it!” or “Not as much as I want you!” (or “Surely you jest!” or “Oh my God! But we can’t! Not here, anyway,” or “Don’t you think we should wait until your spouse leaves?”) the dynamics of the relationship have changed permanently. The burning-eyed cat is out of the bag, and things will never be the same.

There can be moments of revelation even in long-term relationships. Person A can tell Person B (with or without words): “I still want you after all this time,” or “There’s something irresistible about you when you don’t think I’m watching.” This news can be as cheesy but thrilling as a “surprise” birthday party (even if there were lots of previous hints), and delighted acceptance lets the suitor or plotter know that s/he is still on the right track.

I like to write about sexual revelations in my fiction, even though they carry a risk. If Person A and Person B rip each other’s clothes off and fall into each other’s arms too soon (and/or welcome the arrival of Person C, even though there is no previous evidence that ménage is everyone’s favourite flavour), the scene can read like a parody of more serious erotica. Pacing is important, and it’s a skill I’m still learning. Yet no matter how gradually a relationship develops, there is always a moment when someone has to jump off the diving board, not knowing if there is enough water in the pool.

Making a move is taking a risk, both in real life and on the page. The object of desire could snort with derision, and so could the reader. However, reaching a destination requires making a first move, and a second. For me, the thrill can change but never fade.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ephemeral Blaznous

by Kathleen Bradean

Recent studies have determined that your brain doesn’t distinguish between actually doing something and reading about it. So my sex scene can make your brain think you actually had a sexual experience?  I don't think so. It might get you in the mood. It might set off body responses tied to arousal. But how much of that is the brain and how much is the body? Do the mechanisms of arousal (such as increased blood flow to the genitals) start a feedback loop of sexual expectation and more arousal? And is there causality between expectation and experience when you read? If you expect to be scared by a horror novel, is it more likely to scare you? Similarly if you expect to be turned on by erotica, are you more likely to get aroused?
I think quite a bit about what’s erotic and I have no clue how to begin to discuss it. Not one. Some things turn me on and I spend a lot of time analyzing why but I never figure it out. Part of that is because there's a gap between what's happening in my brain and my ability to describe it. It’s as if we don’t even have the language to describe the erotic.

When we try to talk about the erotic we often fall back on the symptoms (physical) because the causality (mental) is outside shared experience or whatever it is that gives us the ability to slap a word on an idea and pass it around like an appetizer tray at a party. Sex we can talk about forever because it’s fairly simple. It can be examined as a purely physical act. The erotic is far more mysterious.
There are infinite colors outside the visible spectrum and I guarantee you not one is named. Things can exist without having a word attached, but that makes it awfully hard to discuss them. So for the sake of argument, think of the concept of an unimaginable color and call it Ephemeral Blaznous. Why Blaznous? Because it couldn’t be called Ephemeral Blue. There may be millions of shades of blue but blue is a specific idea. Blue is something we can talk about and the letters B-L-U-E in that arrangement can contain the concept of it in text and evoke the image of it.The erotic isn't as easy as blue. As an idea, it's a slippery sucker that dodges just as you try to pin a definition on it. It changes over time. It hovers outside the spectrum. It's blaznous.(and yes, that's a made up word)
I could tell you about things that turn me on, but only a general description of what I saw or read and I can't tell you why. The actual trigger, if there’s only one and it isn’t a cumulative thing, is a big old mystery. This is why I'm a bit in awe of the "porn" writers who can reach out and evoke a physical response to their words in just a few paragraphs. There's a real art to that. But it doesn't quite fit my idea of the erotic. What's most erotic thing? I don’t know it. Often, stories or movies almost reach the state of pure eroticism for me, but then they devolve into the physical because it’s easier that way or because the artist felt a need to resort to the shared vocabulary of sex or maybe they reach that state of Ephemeral Blaznous where everything gets hazy and fragments into uncertainty, and while they can reach for it, they can never drag it into the visible spectrum.  Much like my thoughts on this topic.