“It must be fascinating getting to explore your own sexuality.”
That’s what a friend said to me when I told him I was writing steamy romance. My gay male friend. I could have sat there wondering, what the heck would he know about female sexuality? But I couldn’t argue. He cut to the core of it. It is fascinating.
To be honest, the thought never even crossed my mind when I decided to start writing romance and erotica. I just figured it would be an interesting challenge and a way to learn about publishing in a high-volume niche. But well, I was in for a surprise.
Before writing, I didn’t read the genre much. I like this sort of content, but it’s always come secondary to other genres — scifi, thriller, literary. I’ve been told (both observantly and disdainfully) that I’m a “cerebral” sort of person, and I guess that’s kind of true. If a story doesn’t look like it’ll tickle me beyond my loins, I don’t tend to go for it.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy reading it, but when I’m searching for something to consume, I like that double whammy of thinky and sexy. Bonus points if it’s also funny.
Working on Chasing Sisyphus forced me to consider, well… all of these things. What works for me, what doesn’t work for me — emotionally, psychology, sexually. I felt exposed, especially when it came time to sharing with my beta readers. I kept wondering, would they think I’m a perv?
That fear is ridiculous, of course. Everyone’s secretly a bit of a perv. It’s healthy, it’s important, you could argue it’s almost essential to creative expression as a human being. But you know, there’s still that fear.
Realising this, I wondered why I felt this fear in the first place. What is it about my experiences and upbringing that summons it into existence, in spite of everything I consciously believe and decide, as an adult, about sex? What are these little mysteries in our sexualities that make us feel the way we do?
Writing, so far, has been a useful way to process and appreciate all this. And it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy. I feel I’m still only at the start of my journey, and look forward to sharing more of it you guys.
Img via Anna Sastre (CC0)