I’m delighted to feature in a tantalizing new anthology, written For the Men (and the Women Who Love Them), edited by Rose Caraway.
As we know, erotic fiction isn’t just for women; the ‘erotic’ has the power to speak to everyone.
The collection features twenty-five tales, each bite offering a new flavour: from darkly bitter chocolate, to lush caramel, with some tangy surprises.
As a reader, I love it when a story keeps me thinking long afterwards, moving me to speculate. We don’t need all the answers on the page. We, as readers, should be ‘filling in the spaces’, finding parallels to our own experience, or emotional state. Through contemplation of the fictional, we take away some understanding of our own self. For me, this is what’s meant by finding ‘truths’ in fiction. I discover what is true of myself in reading about others’ motivations, behaviours and choices.
In this series, I’m sharing insights from the authors of ‘For the Men’. Last week, in Part One, I looked at stories exploring the theme of sexual exhibition, revealing what is usually concealed, for the delectation of other eyes. Today, I’m looking at dichotomies, particularly those relating to ‘power’.
Adrea Kore, in Dance for Me, explores seduction through performance, showing a woman’s elation and liberation through ownership of her sexuality. Her character reveals herself through dance, and is ‘fully seen’. In this way, she demonstrates both ‘vulnerability and power’.
Adrea goes on to say that, in contemporary sexual culture, we tend to think of men being ‘hardwired’ to initiate. In Dance for Me, Adrea presents, first, her male protagonist as the recipient of pleasure, through dance. She explains, “In the second scene, the dynamic is reversed – he becomes the giver and she the receiver. Of course, the sharing of pleasure in reality is not so clearly polarized – the current of energy flows both ways, in varying intensities. Across the two scenes in this story, there’s an exchange in roles of who primarily plays the giver and the receiver.”
In response to editor Rose Caraway‘s call, I wrote Labyrinth: a scenario of sexual and emotional conflict. I look at our self-destructive side, and how we channel that ‘destruction’ onto those we love. In association with this, I wanted to look at our desire to inflict (and receive) pain as well as pleasure. I find it fascinating how these two opposing elements sit alongside each other, whether we speak of physical pain/pleasure or emotional.
My story uses the metaphor of the maze. We are ever seeking, though for what, we are unsure. Within, are our unspoken yearnings, and our fears, our ‘monsters’. Our inner life is the labyrinth: action following on from action, leading us to where we stand now. We are as we are in this moment, though shaped by moments that have gone before, and the promise of those yet to come.
We are the protagonists of our own stories. We wander our personal labyrinth, slaying ‘monsters’ as we go. This very act of exercising choice, of being active in how we determine our path, brings our sense of ‘being alive’. In this, there is another dichotomy: that of passivity and action.
In a similar vein to Adrea Kore, Rachel Kramer Bussel emphasizes that ‘dominance is not a one-way street; it’s an interplay’. For Picturing You Naked, Rachel relates ‘the way desire can overtake us, especially at work, when we’re supposed to be thinking about other things’, and the ways in which a dominant/submissive couple can ‘push each other’s boundaries’.
Rachel asserts that, although her businessman talks tough, he is ‘undone’ by his partner’s charm and creativity. She adds, “I liked the idea of him getting flustered by her. They are equally masterful. I want readers to enjoy the wordplay.”
As for who might be cast in the role of her heroine, were the story to be filmed, Rachel mentions Emma Stone, for her mischievous personality.
Dorothy Freed conceived her story, Love Sling, first from a submissive female point of view. She then became curious as to how it would read from a Dominant viewpoint. The second version of the story is ‘longer and more detailed, presenting more of the male protagonist’s feelings and motivations’. She underlines, “I intend my portrayal to illustrate how much care, consideration, and understanding is involved in safe, sane, consensual BDSM.”
Casting a film version of Love Sling, Dorothy imagines actors similar to Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in Nine and Half Weeks.
D. L. King believes her stories speak to men ‘because they can see themselves in the role of the protagonist’. She prides herself on showing ‘the softer, emotional side of the male psyche’ and underlines, “It’s different from its female counterpart, but is there, hiding in plain sight, waiting for the right woman to notice. I notice.”
As to who she’d cast to play her characters in Cupcakes and Steel, she opts for Margot Robbie as her dominant female, and Eddie Redmayne as her male lead.
Simon Drax’s The Binding of the Babe in the Backseat evokes his own fantasy of being in a position to save a sexy woman (in bondage) from danger. His character does battle, winning the woman’s respect, and his ‘reward’ in her arms.
Full of action, the story quickly evokes tension. Meanwhile, his damsel in distress isn’t passive (she bites off her attacker’s nose). Simon notes the arousing dichotomy of a ‘powerful woman’ being in a vulnerable position.
He pictures Jeffrey Dean Morgan as the Taxi Driver, and Chyler Leigh as Erin.
Erotic fiction offers an amazing space in which to explore. Dare to dip your toe into the unexpected, and the uninhibited.
Twenty-five authors have pooled their talent to bring you teasing tales of temptation and scorching stories of seduction.
An audio version is also available to complement the e-book, narrated by huskily voiced, utterly fabulous Rose Caraway.
My darkly erotic story, ‘Labyrinth’, features in final place in the collection, following stories by authors Adrea Kore, Tamsin Flowers, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Allen Dusk Terrance Aldon Shaw, Rachel de Vine, Jade A Waters, Dorothy Freed, D.L. King, Chase Morgan, Marc Angel, Charlie Powell, Landon Dixon, Sonni de Soto, D. Lovejoy, Erin Pim, J.T. Seate, Spencer Dryden, Winter Blair, Simon Drax, Lynn Lake, Josie Jordan, Daily Hollow, and T.J. Christian.
Find out more here, in Terrance Aldon Shaw’s interview with Rose: on creating an anthology attempting to encompass the scope of male desire, on advice to aspiring writers, and the importance of plain speaking when it comes to sex.
You may enjoy a peek at my own interview with Rose, and husband Dayv, on their superb work in creating erotic audio-fiction and anthologies.
More from Rose, including sexy snippets from each story, and her own interviews with each author, at Stupid Fish Productions.
Purchase your copy of ‘For the Men: And the Women Who Love Them’ from Amazon.