Why Erotica? An Interview with Eden Sly

Love? Money? Profit?  Here’s a deeper look at the author Eden Sly and how she found herself in the world of erotica.

So, let’s start at the beginning.  How did you find yourself writing about sex professionally?  Was this an earlier passion of yours or did you stumble upon it?

A little bit of both.  I was already a writer and in the performing arts (theatre and music).  When the recession hit in 2008, I wound up working as a phone sex operator for a couple of years.  It was among the most creative, intellectually demanding jobs I’d ever had–contrary to what people think.  My favorite part, though, was writing blogs and stories for my job.  And at the same time, since it was my job, I found myself reading a lot of erotic writing for the first time in my life.  I always have been–and I guess always will be–a huge art nerd.  Erotica is where sex meets art in an explicit way.  So writing erotica books was a way to have artistic freedom, hone artistry, and celebrate sex at the same time.

I think a lot of people think of erotica as a get-rich-quick scheme.  They think that writing erotica is easy.  What are your thoughts?

Look, doing anything poorly is easy.  Doing anything well is difficult.  It depends on what you put into it.  Any job is easy if you don’t show up for it or don’t take it seriously.  There are great erotica writers and poor ones.  There are erotica writers who can sell themselves well, and some who can’t.  There are erotica writers who can take advantage of a trend, and those who don’t pay attention to things like that.  I wish, honestly, that I had a bit more interest in the money side of things-because I’d have more of it.  But as far as the integrity of the work?  Erotica is every bit as challenging as any other genre, and I’m looking for how to tell a story that has a visceral effect, and how to make people re-examine themselves and sexuality.  You don’t hit the bar every time you put pen to paper, but I do believe in setting a high bar.  Erotica is art–that’s the top priority for me.  Erotica also makes you cum, and that’s a close second.  Both make the world a more fulfilling place.

Who are your favorite erotica writers?

It may be a bit obvious, but I have to go with Anais Nin and D.H. Lawrence.  They read very contemporary, and their sexiness comes from unexpected places.  It’s one thing to write about scenarios  your readers are likely to get off on and succeed at it.  But they manage to make me aroused by things I never even considered before.  And, of course, their writing is incredibly smart.  I also have to go with the poetry of Arthur Rimbaud–he was a fourteen year old kid, and he had more humor and insight into sexuality than most adults.  He also was able to talk about sex in the most debased way–I remember a particular poem about his secret desire to have sex with everyone in his family– and then turn right around and write about it in the most loving way–with awe and reverence, like in Clever Girl, about a girl who teases him with her body language and sets up a circumstance where he has to feel her cheek–and how tickled he is that she knows exactly what she’s doing.  Eroticism isn’t always about creating jerk off material.  Sometimes it’s just exploring the erotic.  I don’t think many people touch themselves to Rimbaud, but his coming-of-age perspective, which we all went through and he articulates so well, is very relatable.  And for something truly contemporary, I enjoy Nicholas Baker, who wrote a hilarious erotic novel called House of Holes.  I love it because most erotica is fantastical in nature, but his novel has no constraints.  It begins with a woman who finds a severed arm that pleasures her, which she falls in love with.  It shouldn’t be sexy, but somehow it is.  It takes a pretty good writer to make you laugh and cum at the same time.

Do you ever get tired of (writing about) sex?

I feel like even when writers aren’t writing about sex, ultimately we’re writing about sex.  And strangely, the converse is true.  Even when you’re writing about sex, more often than not, you’re actually writing about something else.  We all get burned out on what we do from time to time–you just take a break, and then you try to look at your work with fresh eyes, and you get back to it.

Do you get turned on by your own writing?

Yes–If I’m not turned on, it’s not sexy.  But that’s not to say I’m turned on 100 percent of the time that I’m writing.  There’s also a lot of hovering over a sentence, trying to make it flow better, trying to come up with the right words to paint an accurate picture.  But in the first draft, when I’m just simply trying to get what’s in my head down on paper before I lose it?  Yeah…it’s got kind of the same effect as ripping someone’s clothes off because you have to have them right this second.  There’s some adrenaline there.  I tend to write in public places.  I think if I wrote at home, I wouldn’t get much writing done–I’d take too many masturbation breaks.

 

A Patient Teacher

“You’re about to go off into the world and be a man,” the teacher said, her eyes brimming with proud tears.  “But I have one last thing to teach you.”

The young graduate sat down and leaned forward, attentively, always the good student, eager to please the woman who had guided him through his rigorous studies.

The teacher lifted her skirt, delighting in how the young graduate’s eyes widened with awe.

“What is it?” he asked, kneeling down to get a closer look, inspecting it with the seriousness of a scientist.

“It’s the most important subject of study,” she said, her voice now soft and low and humming. “It’s the question, the answer, the motivation.  Here,” she said, spreading herself open, unveiling varying shades of pink, unfolding and multiplying into her depths, kaleidoscope-like.  “Come inside.”

He reached forward, hesitant,  excited, sliding his finger past her seal as though opening a present, careful not to disturb the wrapping.  But despite the small, delicate packaging, inside she churned and undulated powerfully, and he felt himself adrift in an endless ocean that both terrified and beckoned him.  He wanted to slip beneath the surface entirely, his cock rising and straining towards the treacherous waters and their mysterious magnetic pull.  Be careful, he said to himself.  But he was already gone.

The Power of Orgasm

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When I write, I like to find the erotic even in situations and in sexual acts that I, in my personal life, don’t naturally gravitate towards.  For instance, I may write a story about a young man sucking cock for the first time–this is something I’ll never experience, being a straight, cis-woman.  But it doesn’t matter.  The eroticism doesn’t come from the act, specifically.  None of us in the erotica game are reinventing how to have sex.  What makes it erotic is how these two young men found themselves there.  What are they feeling?  What are they afraid of?  What is at stake?  How are the boundaries being pushed?

I’m currently re-reading Lady Chatterly’s Lover (and if you haven’t read it, do–it’s a true work of art).  I very much enjoy how D.H. Lawrence refers to orgasm as a “crisis.”   “She finally reached her crisis”; “She brought him to his moment of crisis”; etc.  We often think of an orgasm as the end goal.  But to call it a crisis implies the do or die nature of it:  Will you succumb to the one who seduced you?   Or will you hold back?  The outcome of your decision will change who you are.  It doesn’t end at your moment of crisis.  It changes your course.  It’s terrifying–like a crisis would imply.  And that terror is why we crave it so much.

Sometimes, in an erotic story, the outcome of your crisis is that you become a humiliated slave.  Sometimes you are freed from the shackles of purity and you are empowered. But we want to change our lot with our crisis.  And I’ll always be fascinated by the power our bodies contain.  If I could only feel the hot, wet damp between her legs, I could escape…

Or, put another way:

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Making Me Beg

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A Writing Prompt

It seemed I was waiting forever.  Facedown, knees pressed together, knowing that any moment, he’d be there to tear my apart.  And I’d succumb to him–I always did.

He liked to see me nervous.  He liked to see me squirming with my own thoughts of what might be to come.  He liked to see the workings of my own dirty mind play out in the way my pussy opened and closed, gasped and gulped with desire, long before he ever started toying with me.  He liked knowing that in spite of my supposed propriety, my fearful brain was imagining things far dirtier than what he would devise on his own.  He liked to let my body guide him–tell him things about me I would never admit to.  

“Yes, she’s aching for it,” he’d think to himself, watching the way my legs were starting to part for him.  “She’s hoping I’ll drag my tongue between her plump cheeks.  She’s hoping I’ll kiss her deeply in her dirty little fuckhole.  She’s hoping I’ll pin her down with my cock, press into her without asking, so she can say, ‘I never do things like this!’  But she wants to.  And she will.  I’m a patient man.  I’ll wait until she asks me for it.  I’ll wait until she begs.”

The Erotic World

venusThank you for venturing into my blog.  After years of working as an erotica ghostwriter, creating hundreds of stories for other people, I’m very excited to finally have a place for my own musings on sex, love, sensuality and passion.  Here, you’ll find my upcoming work, as well as my thoughts on sex and culture and conversations about what turns us on.  I believe sex and art are intertwined, and that there’s beauty in even the most base, primal acts.  It’s always my aim to find and reveal that beauty.  Some people write erotica because it’s fun, others because they think it’s easy.  I write erotica because it reveals what’s human.

I always love to hear from you, and I welcome comments, recommendations and questions!

Sincerely,

Eden Sly