Or, as my Very Proper Sister put it during our recent visit, “Why don’t you write something your kids can read?”
Well, I stammered, if I was writing for my six-year-old, all my stories would involve a dog named Bob who runs fast. And, if my kids want to read my writing, they can wait until they’re 18 just like everyone else.
Of course my sister’s real question – the question I’ve seen over and over, wrapped up in different outfits – is, “Why the hell do you want to write about filthy, disgusting sex?!?”
The first answer, the easy answer, is It Just Happened.
I started writing in 2014, after 13 years of not writing a damn thing (I talk about that decision here). I wrote a few sci-fi short stories, some flash fiction, and some speculative fiction.
Then I got this idea…What if the Norse god Loki showed up at my grad school alma mater, the University of Chicago?
In the middle of the night?
In someone’s bedroom?
Well, what would you do if a Norse god showed up in your bedroom? (You’d do this. Don’t lie to me.)
So that’s the easy answer: Smut showed up, and I ran with it.
But that’s not the whole truth. After all, I could have just slammed the door on that smut.
So here’s the more complicated answer.
First, I’m a philosopher.
I spent six years studying philosophy and religion. I’m fascinated by human decisions, I’m drawn to transcendent experiences, and I want to explore the things that push us to go beyond our greedy self-interest, to defy our own rationality.
In short, I like the things that make people crazy.
And sex makes people crazy. It pushes our boundaries, it blurs the lines we so carefully build. It defies rationality and reveals something far more interesting beneath the surface.
As a writer, who wouldn’t want to explore that forbidden territory?
Well, as it turns out…
No One Talks About Sex, and I’m tired of it.
Turn on the TV and watch for, oh, twenty minutes.
How many people died in those twenty minutes? At least a few, right? And, depending on the channel or time of day, I’m betting some of those deaths were gruesome.
And how many people had sex?
That’s what I thought. You probably saw scantily clad women, flirting, and innuendos, but I’m willing to bet my entire profits (ha!) you didn’t see any actual f*ing.
With a few fabulous exceptions – like Gaiman’s touching and beautiful sex scene in American Gods – lots of books are the same way.
Graphic descriptions of dismemberment, zombies eating people, or exactly what brains look like when you bash a skull?
Graphic descriptions of an orgasm?
Seriously, society? Seriously?!?
We’re cool with all the blood, guts, brains, and death, but we can’t handle something most of us do on a fairly frequent basis? Something that motivates us to do crazy, horrible, and beautiful things?
Yeah, fuck that.
I’m gonna go write some smut.
Like what you’ve read? Subscribe to my newsletter for updates, teasers, and free stories!