The other day I posted a link to a story I had written for my husband as a Valentine’s Day gift, at his request. It was his loving way of encouraging me to get over my fear of and resistance to “putting myself out there” in print. The story, a piece of erotica, was motivated by LOVE and was written with the following intentions:
(1) To fulfill my amazing husband’s loving request.
(2) To get over my fear of publishing my work and to bust through a shadow which has kept me limited for almost 50 years.
(3) To push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to grow as not only a writer, but as a person.
(4) To exercise my creativity.
(5) To use my gift of writing to not only entertain but to uplift and illuminate.
(6) To fully surrender to and allow God/LOVE to work through me in this way.
I shared the link on facebook in an invitation to my friends and family to celebrate my breakthrough with me. So many have been witness to my struggles with writer’s block and have supported and encouraged me for so long, I thought a nice way to thank them for all of their love would be to share my joy with them…as they say, “A joy shared is doubled!” And, I felt secure in doing so because my husband was cool with it and, most importantly, I felt strong in my conviction that this was not only a good thing to do, but that it was divinely inspired as well as guided.
Believe me…I thought long and hard about sharing myself in this way with the world, not to mention the hours of prayer and meditation, and not just because of the subject matter. For me to put ANY of my writing out into the Universe is a huge deal because of that shadow issue, mentioned above. But, every time I questioned God/LOVE, I got the same validation…”Do it!”
So, I did. And, now I have been challenged to examine my conscience concerning my actions and their resulting consequences, so here I go:
Concerning writing erotica, I stand firm in knowing that what I wrote was not pornography, as accused. Now, the trick here is that this is a very subjective area. As Leon F Seltzer Ph.D. writes, the topic “is so steeped in personal moral, aesthetic, and religious values” that it is important to remember each one of us will have our own views and perspectives, and here’s the real kicker…each one of can be considered to be “right” because of this fact. I can’t tell you that you are wrong for considering what I wrote to be pornographic because of your life’s experience, beliefs and unconscious shadows. That is simply your view…your truth. I can’t take that away from you any more than you can take my truth away from me.
This is paradox. We can both be right, “can” being the operative word. Each of us has to allow the other’s “rightness” to exist for paradox to be fully realized and benefitted from. Unfortunately, this isn’t a well understood phenomenon and rarely is its power employed.
In contemplating this challenge, I did some research on the difference between pornography and erotica. I won’t take up your time by posting definitions and etymologies, but I found Dr. Seltzer’s summary spoke very eloquently what I feel is my own truth: “…what in general separates the erotic from the pornographic is an attitude toward sex and human sexuality that can be inferred from looking (dare I use the word, “objectively”?) at the finished product. If the subjects are portrayed in a manner that focuses on their inner and outer radiance, their fleshy vitality, and the work itself seems to manifest a passionate and powerful affirmation of life and the pleasures of this world, then I think we’re talking erotic. If, however, the subjects seem reduced to so many body parts, if any beauty appears subordinate to the overriding purpose of arousal, if the sex depicted seems depersonalized, controlling, non-mutual, and devoid of fun or play (but rather seems about “getting down to business” and “getting off”)–and if the sex acts pictured contain not a hint of human caring or emotional connectedness to them–that, to me, would definitely secure the work’s place in the realm of pornography.”
(Excellent post, by the way…here’s a link to the full article in Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201104/what-distinguishes-erotica-pornography )
Even the Supreme Court of the United States has admitted difficulty in defining pornography, including Justice Potter Stewart who wrote that he could not define pornography, but he knew it when he saw it.
Again…we see that it’s all in the eye of the beholder. My erotica might be your porn and vice versa.
So, again, I honor you for speaking your truth and standing firm in your beliefs. However, please don’t tell me that just because you believe what I wrote is “wrong” that I should believe as you do. I’ve been there, done that. In fact, this whole episode in the life of Joy could be said to be about exactly that. I’m speaking once again about that shadow that I’ve dealt with for most of my life. When I was seven years old I was publically shamed by an authority figure who told me that I was wrong. The problem with this was that I wasn’t wrong…and neither was she. We were both right. Only, neither of us could or did realize this. She knew she was right and I knew I was right but she had the position to over-rule me and the ugly disposition to make me suffer, which I did…intensely in that moment and chronically for the following half century. I won’t do that again.
I won’t doubt my truth.
I won’t doubt my motivations or intentions.
I won’t doubt myself or my gifts, abilities and talents.
I won’t doubt my God.
I WON’T DOUBT LOVE.
Now, about the website I posted my writing on. Literotica.com is a website that accepts amateur authors “quality erotic story submissions” and offers the “hottest in erotic fiction and fantasy.” If one were to take the time to explore the site, they would find a WIDE array of works that encompass just about every aspect, area and topic concerning sexuality. There are even some submissions that have absolutely nothing to do with sex. There are some brilliantly written pieces which reflect the beauty and amazing potential of our sexual natures and there are some which aren’t and don’t. Just like every other open public website on the internet you get a mix of it all. On YouTube one can watch videos that make your heart open wide and your mind expand enormously. You can also see people blowing other people up and laughing about it. On Facebook one can see posts which uplift and illuminate and unify all of mankind as well as those which are racist, homophobic, and countless others which darken, divide and separate. Do you stop visiting and participating in these websites because of the “bad apples?” Do you throw the baby out with the bathwater?
Over the course of my self-examination on this matter, I’ve come to realize so many things. This particular life lesson has multiple layers and they just keep on showing up and peeling away. Right now I am focusing on the following:
1) Standing in my Truth. Exercising my Faith. Walking my Talk.
2) We need to be talking about sex and sexuality. We need to talk to our selves about it, we need to talk to God about it, we need to talk to our partners about it AND we need to talk to each other, especially our children, about it. It, like every other gift we have been given, is incredibly powerful and has the full potential to help us…well, basically, realize that Heaven is not somewhere else other than right here on Earth. It also has the potential to be incredibly destructive when misunderstood and abused.
3) Even with as much work as I’ve done on myself over the past 9 years, the absolutely wonderful relationship (including sexual) that I have with my husband and my awesome life in general, I still have shadow work to do on myself in many areas, including my sexuality and now I am even more determined to do it. I am dedicated to exploring EVERY aspect of myself and my life and living each to its fullest potential, depth and richness.
4) I need to share more of myself. If someone thinks I would consciously do something…ANYthing…motivated by anything other than LOVE, then they don’t know me well enough. The simple way to rectify this is to open myself up more, put myself “out there” and shine my light even more-so.
So, in conclusion…
Sometime last summer I heard three words that have made a huge difference in my life. “Empaths crave validation.” That’s ME! Or, that USED to be me! I SOOOO didn’t trust myself in just about any matter or area of my life that I was always looking outside of myself to make sure I was “right.” Along my active path I’ve found that I no longer need anyone else to tell me that I’m on the right track, am doing the right things, saying the right words, doing a good job, etc.. These days I get my validation directly from God, and you may rest assured that when I’m NOT on the right track I am very quickly set straight. Of course, when the outside validation comes, it’s always welcomed, but it definitely isn’t necessary. I’ve even found that when I do rely ONLY on God for validation, it comes even more often and more clearly. Since I wrote and posted the erotica story that I wrote for my husband, God has been telling me left and right “You’re doing a good job…just keep on doing what you’re doing,” in so many ways.
So, that’s what I’m going to do…keep on doing what I’m doing. I’m going to write more erotica with the intent that it be integral, uplifting and illuminating of the importance and power of our sexuality and sexual relationships. I’m also going to be talking about it and sharing my own journey of exploration into Sacred Sex, where our sexuality and sexual union is experienced as being blessed by God/LOVE and furthering Its purpose, as it unfolds. When I realized God really did want me to do this I honestly questioned, “What?!!! Who??!!! Me?!!!” and was answered with, “Who better than you? You who have experienced both the “dark” and the “light” sides of sex…you who have come to embrace the whole and are devoted to fulfilling this gift’s promises?”
So, to my friend who gave me the opportunity to do this in-depth self-exploration, I thank you. You are an angel in disguise. I now stand even stronger in my resolve to serve God/LOVE in whatever ways are divinely given to me, as best I can and without self-doubt or fear, and in the knowledge that this particular venture IS divinely inspired, guided and endorsed.
I leave you with two quotes:
“We are born sensuous; we become erotic. To cultivate the erotic is also to engage with sexuality as a quality of aliveness and vitality that extend beyond a mere repertoire of sexual techniques. We learn to play, be curious, engage with our imagination, anticipate. Erotic intelligence is our ability to bring novelty to the enduring, mystery to the familiar, and surprise to the known.” – sexual therapist Marty Klein in his book, Sexual Intelligence
“Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
doesn’t make sense any more.” ~ Rumi
p.s. for those who would like to read my first attempt at erotic story writing, here is a link to it on literotica.com //www.literotica.com/s/she-and-he-the-initation