My husband joked that he planned to go through my book with a highlighter, marking the scenes he would like to try. As if my books were a menu at a tapas restaurant. While this got a lot of laughs, it also got me thinking: How many people read sex scenes and assume it is a glimpse into the author's secret desires?
If you're a travel writer—it's likely that you do a lot of traveling, yes? When speaking with a sports columnist, it's safe to assume they probably watch a lot of sports. If a novel's main character is an avid knitter, readers will presumably believe that the author therefore has some knowledge of yarn and skeins and knitting, right? Therefore, is it safe to assume that when people read particularly spicy sex scenes that they are going to believe you (the author) are well versed in what you are writing?
When you write erotica, you are revealing a lot about yourself in ways you might not even realize. At the very least, you're highlighting your knowledge of sex. I've read in the past that in order to write an effective sex scene, you yourself must be aroused by the words on the page. While I agree with this, it really does show the exact reason we are all opening ourselves up to the world. With each sexy scene, we are exposing aspects of ourselves, and our arousal, to every reader.
So, how do we deal with this? How do we write out descriptions of acts and the emotions behind said acts (ones that we may have never even imagined ourselves doing) and place that in the hands of the public? It's almost like that dream of going to work naked—only your nipples are hard peaks, your skin covered in gooseflesh and a tight spiral of heat is simmering low in your belly.
Committing your sexual proclivities to the page can certainly be nerve wracking. We live in a culture where many of us are ashamed of sex. We are ashamed of our arousal. I, myself, am at fault of this, too. When I first signed the contracts on SOUL STRIPPER, I spent months agonizing over 'who might find it.' After one particular conversation with my mom (a fellow author), she told me: “Get over it. Sooner or later, someone you didn't plan on is going to find your book. They are going to read it. And they may have a problem with it. At the end of the day, though—who gives a ::expletive::! Wouldn't it be more embarrassing if you didn't know about sex?”
Yes, mom. Yes, that would be more embarrassing. That next day, she handed a copy of SOUL STRIPPER to my dad to read. She basically said, no reader will embarrass me more than my own father, so if I can handle that, then I can handle anyone—and yeah. She was right. It took me weeks to be able to look my dad in the eyes.
And I'll admit that while my own sexual experiences might be partially where I draw inspiration, it is certainly not the only place. I also find myself inspired by fantasy, movies, sexy images on Pinterest, my friend's stories and experiences and above all else—imagination. Just closing my eyes and imagining what my character would do in the bedroom with this particular man. Because how she would act and how I would act are two entirely different beasts.
So, there it is. The bottom line is, yes—there are going to be people who read our sexy scenes and think they all come from personal experience. The more rational readers will know that much of it comes from other outlets and imagination, as well as our real sex lives. So, let's all take my mom's advice, put on our big girl panties and throw those sexy scenes out into the world!♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katana Collins is the author of the paranormal erotic romance series SOUL STRIPPER (June, 2013-Aphrodisia). She splits her time equally as a writer and boudoir photographer in Brooklyn, NY where she lives with her husband, two rescue pups, and a gaggle of unwritten heroes and heroines in her head. Visit her at www.KatanaCollins.com or follow her on Twitter (@katanacollins) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/KatanaCollins).