Friday, April 23, 2010

The Joys of a Dirty Mind

People sometimes ask me why I write erotic fiction. I could offer many serious answers, but sometimes I just smile and tell them that it's because I have a dirty mind. I was cooking for a dinner party last week, Melanzana Al Forno (baked eggplant). I opened the prepackaged bag of Italian eggplant to discover the item shown in the photo below.

I could hardly bear to chop up this article and dump it in my casserole. Now, to you it might look like nothing more than a slightly misshapen vegetable, but to me it's another stimulus to my over-active imagination. ("Melanzana Al Forno" would make quite a good title for a short story, I think.)

Then there was this rock formation, which my husband and I encountered on an idyllic island vacation... I just can't help it. Wherever I go, whatever I do, the sexual side of life just seems to jump out at me.

Mostly, I don't focus on inanimate objects. People have far more potential as the subjects for erotic imaginings. When I see a gorgeous guy in a tight tee shirt on the subway, or a svelte career woman striding down the sidewalk in a fitted suit and heels, or a young couple holding hands on the department store escalator, I find myself imagining their lives and their loves. A particularly warm smile from a cute waiter; a shiny pair of handcuffs dangling from a policeman's well-tailored uniform pocket; the long, thick braid dangling below the waist of my Indian neighbor; pretty much anything can set me off. Few of my friends know how often they feature in my dreams and fantasies.

Of course, reality is only the starting point. In my writing, I've been known to push things to extremes, starting with a simple what-if. What if a lover coated his fingers with chili oil before stroking my sex? What if billiard cues and balls were turned into obscene toys? What if there were a club where you could offer yourself to strangers without shame or consequences?

I capture the results of these hypothetical imaginings in my writing. It might sound as though I'm obsessed with the physical aspects of sex, but nothing could be further from the truth. In my view, the body is the reflection of the spirit. The tangible offers clues to the intangible. When I find someone desirable, it's because of who they are, not what they look like.

The most deliciously seductive imaginings involve the timeless constants of romance: eternal love, perfect communion, passion that never dulls or fades. I like to write about men and women finding their true selves in each other. I write about connections made at the physical level and the psychic level. I write because I want to reveal what is to me an obvious truth: that sexual relationships can be paths to self-realization.

Now that does sound serious. Maybe I should have stuck with the dirty mind excuse!

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