On Rape Fantasy

TRIGGER WARNING This post contains information about sexual assault, rape and rape fantasy, which may be triggering.

‘No,’ I said. ‘Not now. This isn’t playing. You’re for real because you’re sick. You’re a cold, twisted bastard and you’re scaring me. And I’m for real because I’m scared. I want to leave.’

He carried on pumping his cock. ‘Are you saying no, you don’t want me to fuck you?’

‘Yes,’ I breathed. ‘I am.’

‘And are you saying no, you don’t want me to force you?’

I nodded.

Kristina Lloyd, Asking for Trouble

I remember the first time I saw someone tweet ‘I want someone to rape me.’ It was in context, insofar as the person who tweeted it regularly wrote about dark fantasies and non-consent, but it bothered me. Even in context, you couldn’t guarantee someone would make the distinction between fantasy and reality; when the tweet was out there on someone’s timeline, with no context at all, it seemed risky, irresponsible even. You didn’t admit to stuff like that unless you were absolutely certain who your audience were.

Rape fantasy is top of my fantasy list in the sense that it’s rare for me to masturbate to orgasm without imagining being forced into sex, sex with a stranger, or more often than not, a combination of the two. As I teenager, I frequented the non-consent/reluctance section of Literotica. I find it hard to lay my hands on erotic fiction that’s dark enough for my tastes (more on that later) – Asking for Trouble is very much the kind of thing I’m into, to the point where I lend it to partners in order to explain my kinks, but I don’t think a mainstream erotica publisher would touch it if it was being pitched today.

I’ve never been sexually abused/assaulted in real life and I recognise that I’m incredibly fortunate in that regard. I’ve also come a long way in my understanding of the impact that reading about rape or non-consent can have on people who have experienced those things – years ago, I bought Asking for Trouble as a gift for a friend who lent it to her friend, who had been sexually assaulted, without having read it first. These days I’m not sure I’d buy it for/lend it to anyone without warning them about the nature of the sex first. I’m entirely pro trigger-warnings. But here’s the thing, I think trigger warnings are a good thing for literature because they allow people to evaluate the content without having to read it but from a purely selfish point of view, there’s something else potentially great about them: they allow authors to take more risks. In theory.

I say in theory, because unless you self-publish (and even then, I imagine rape might be a problematic keyword on Amazon), I can’t see publishers wanting to print rape scenes that are not explicitly fantasy. That’s one problem. The other, I think, is making rape work in a narrative. There’s some good rape fantasy writing out there – Sweet Danger by Violet Blue contains several great stories on the theme – but 75%+ of the time, it follows the same pattern. The main character is forced into sex, sex they do not consent to, but end up enjoying. So far, so good. Except at the end, we almost always find out one of two things: either the character’s ‘rapist’ is actually her partner, or someone else she knows and has previously consented to/expressed a desire to be raped by. It’s rape fantasy in the truest sense.

I’ve had trouble piecing together the next bit in my head, so bear with me. Obviously, rape and rape fantasy are not the same thing. No one actually wants to be raped. But because almost all stories about non-consent now take the format detailed above, I can no longer suspend my disbelief sufficiently to believe that the FMC hasn’t consented to what’s happening at some point previously, which will be revealed later in the story. The whole thing is an entirely consensual set up. Which kind of takes the edge off. For me, anyway.

So, what do I want from rape fantasy in erotica? I’m not entirely sure I know. Not actual rape, obviously. But something darker, something scarier, than a well-thought out arrangement between an established couple. Rape fantasy gone wrong interests me (and turns me on, often), but when I’m writing it myself I still feel obliged to stop short of actual penetration, for fear of crossing some unspoken boundary.

Is there an answer? Are there good examples of what I’m looking for (in erotica or mainstream fiction), that I just haven’t come across yet? And if this is your kink or s subject on which you enjoy writing, how do you get round the issues above. I’d be interested to know, so, as always, comments are more than welcome.

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Machine

She glances at the dessert menu and then abandons it, despite the chocolate fondant.

He raises an eyebrow. ‘You don’t want anything?’

Her foot rests between his legs, caressing his stiffening cock through the fabric of his shorts. She smiles at him and draws her finger through the damp circle her wine glass has left on the table. She feels, for once, like she’s the one in control.

‘Not dessert.’

‘Oh?’

How does he do that? How does he flip the dynamic so quickly, so easily?

She holds his gaze. ‘I want you.’

This time, he’s the one to smile. ‘Likewise.’

*

He asks for the bill. The minutes seem endless. He only has a fifty, and the waiter takes an age to bring the change. She’s so wet she’s worried she’ll leave a mark on the canvas chair.

He leaves a tip, gathers up the rest, and deposits three euros on the table in front of her. ‘Your turn to buy condoms.’

‘But we have – ‘

‘I’d like you to buy them there.’

Next to the restaurant is a pharmacy. A pharmacy which is clearly open for business. A pharmacy whose flashing green sign indicates that the current temperature is 28°C. Her face feels at least ten degrees hotter. Because she knows he doesn’t mean her to buy them there. He wants her to use the machine.

It looks as if it hasn’t been used in years. Graffiti covers its rusting surface, along with the tacky remains of stickers long ripped off. There’s a lump of what she fears is chewing gum stuck to its side.

It looks dirty, nasty. Exactly how he likes her to feel.

She wouldn’t mind, late at night. Late at night, in a deserted street, she’d do it willingly. But it’s 14:24 on a sunny Saturday afternoon. People are watching, and that’s his thing, not hers.

She’s frozen to her seat. He reaches down, adjusts his cock in his shorts. She feels her cunt twitch in sympathy. She needs him inside her.

When she finally moves, the backs of her thighs are actually stuck to the canvas. The chair clatters against the concrete as she stands. A few people look up. He grins, half in amusement, half in malice.

In her clammy palm, the coins feel huge. She feels like she’s clutching something secret, or precious. Suddenly she’s reminded of her childhood: of begging to buy Minstrels from an equally tired machine.

‘No,’ her mum had said, dragging her away. ‘You don’t know how long they’ve been in there.’

She feeds the coins in as fast as she can. They clunk down into the depths of the machine and she glances round nervously, convinced the noise is echoing round the entire square. The maitre d’, who seated them a couple of hours earlier, catches her eye. He’s thinking about what she looks like in bed, she’s sure of it.

She presses a button, any button. It doesn’t matter what kind the machine dispenses, because the condoms aren’t the point. They probably won’t even use them. The point is making her burn hot with shame.

The machine doesn’t budge. She presses a different button. Still nothing. She tries the first one again, but to no avail. She turns to look at him, begs him with her eyes to come and help, or to tell her It’s ok, leave it. Instead, he stands with his hands shoved in the pockets of his shorts, visibly erect. He shrugs.

She turns back to the machine, and in frustration as much as desperation, she thumps the side of it. This time, people really do look up. She can hear titters, and somewhere in the crowd a man whistles.

She hates this. She loves it.

Finally, a packet falls down the chute, and she grabs it and scoots back to the table as fast as she can, eyes firmly on the ground.

He catches her arm, pulls her tight against him, grinds his cock into her stomach. He holds out a hand and she drops the packet into his palm, ridiculously proud of herself.

They kiss, all the heat and shame finally channelled. When they pull apart, and he takes her hand and leads her back in the direction of their hotel, she doesn’t notice him casually abandon the square packet on the table behind them.

Anal, WHY???: On contemporary, literary, semi-autobiographical, women’s mainstream (erotic) fiction

And I told you that the main reason I didn’t see you, was because I was lost in my thoughts of you. This pleased you immensely. You had guessed as much. You could tell, you said, by the way my eyes stared, the thoughtful set of my mouth, that I was thinking about what we had done in the Chapel in the Crypt. The arrogance of this assumption annoyed me then and I rolled on my back on the bed, away from you, and tried to back-track, claiming I wasn’t thinking about you that day in the cafe after all, that I was thinking about the introduction I had to write to a new university textbook, a collection of essays taking a wide-ranging approach to molecular biology. You knew I was lying. You rolled on top of me, pinned my arms above my head with one hand and dug your fingers into the soft part of my waist with the other until I admitted I had been thinking about you, you, you …

Louise Doughty, Apple Tree Yard

What have I read so far this year? Lots, I think, or certainly more than in the last few years. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve read more that has stuck with me. Apple Tree Yard, by Louise Doughty, Hausfrau by Jill Essbaum, The Beautiful Indifference by Sarah Hall, In the Unlikely Event, by Judy Blume.

All have sex scenes. None are erotica. Truth be told, I’ve never really *read* erotica, I skip to the good bits and use them purely to get off. These days I might read more erotic short stories from end to end, as a way of learning the craft, but full (novel) length erotic fiction that holds my attention and brings me to orgasm? It’s harder and harder to find.

My earliest memory of getting off to words is not tied in with erotica, or even with a classic erotic scene such as the ones you find in anthologies like this. My earliest memory is of being aged around twelve, and of being allowed to stay up in my parents hotel room while they went for dinner and my sister slept in our shared room. I can’t remember what the book was called: it was a typical holiday paperback belonging to my mum – white glossy cover, ridiculously middle class protagonists – and the bit that I remember most is that when the FMC had her first child, a girl, her husband bought her pearls, when she had her second, a boy, she got diamonds. It was a sexist, dated, pretty crappy read, no doubt. None of the details of its (one) sex scene have stayed with me. But I do remember lying on the bed on my stomach, reading it over and over again. Of course, you could argue that what gets a twelve year old girl off is unlikely to titillate a grown woman. I think there’s some truth in that, although there have been plenty of mainstream novels with sex that both drives the plot and tries to be sexy. Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong; Ian McEwan’s Atonement. I’ve not wanked over either of these, but if I wanted something to wank over, I could just go to Literotica.

I class my own work as erotica because it has sex in almost every chapter. But it has sex in almost every chapter because endless publishers’ guidelines and other successful erotic novels have led me to believe that that’s what the reader wants. My natural inclination would probably be to include more sex than in the average non-erotic novel, but less than in the erotic fiction that’s out there on the shelves. I didn’t start out writing erotica, but I did start out writing sex: my first novel, which currently lies abandoned, opens like this:

Hope turns her head, hoping for a kiss. Her lips part eagerly and in the puddle of milky light from the street lights outside he can see her pupils are huge with desire.  He traces a tender finger across her lips and over her soft cheek and then bends to kiss the delicate valley of her collarbone, breathing in the faint scent of patchouli and rose oil that lingers on her skin.

He loves how everything about her feels so familiar.  Her breasts, small and pert enough to fit exactly into the palms of his hands, her tiny waist, the way the silver ankle bracelet that she always wears jangles as she moves.  Coaxed by his fingers, she grows wetter and wetter for him, but for the first time in their relationship, he feels nothing but cool detachment as her knuckles whiten, grasping the sheet as the heel of his palm presses firmly against her clitoris.

I’m a big believer in the school of thought that says that sex can reveal a lot about character, that it can change the relationship between people, that it can drive the plot forward. I’ve never wanted to write sex for the sake of sex, and I’ve never thought that my own writing was particularly hot. As a result, I agonise over what each sex scene is *telling* the reader about the characters, rather than whether I think it will turn them on. Right now, I have a post-it stuck to my desk which says ‘Anal. WHY???’ Not because I don’t enjoy anal sex, but because it’s currently in the story purely because I *do* enjoy it – it doesn’t develop or change the relationship between the characters or move the plot forward in any way. I, as a writer, think that’s a problem. Judging by the mood among erotica writers, the average reader doesn’t.

Like Malin James, I write to understand the human (or at least my own) experience. And because in RL, sex has taught me a lot about human experience, I write about sex. I’m struggling with my current novel for a number of reasons. Firstly, because like the other writers who’ve written on this topic – Tamsin FlowersRemittance GirlSessha Batto – I struggle to see where my work slots in to the market. Secondly, because it’s so strongly autobiographical – it’s me trying to understand the relationships I’ve had and the sex I’ve had within them. On my blog, that seems to work for people. Whether it would work for them in print is a whole other matter. The third reason is the one I gave above – that I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to structure and build a satisfying novel and that’s not a hallmark of most erotic fiction out there at the moment. And lastly because I’m wondering if I only started writing erotica because I’m lazy.

What do I mean by that? Obviously it’s an over-exaggeration – I care about plot, about character, about language – so I can’t be *that* lazy. Or maybe by ‘lazy’ I mean under-ambitious or just plain scared. I’ve always wanted to have at least one book published and when I started writing, Black Lace were still commissioning the old-style way: with a page at the back of their books inviting potential authors to send off for their submission guidelines and to submit their work. They made it sound easy, especially in a world where for almost every other genre (category romance aside) submitting direct to the publisher was a no-no: you’d need an agent first and finding that sounded hard enough, without even contemplating the fact that they’d then have to sell your novel on.

I think I was also scared off by the limitations (or not) of other genres: the book world seemed a true Goldilocks arena. Writing literary fiction allowed me to write the way I wanted to write, but I worried that it wasn’t intelligent enough, or conversely that it was too intelligent and therefore self-indulgent. Women’s fiction, when I started out, meant chick-lit, which I’d grown to hate, and although I think things have improved a bit, I still hear authors like Helen Walsh complaining that the publisher slapped a ‘chick-lit cover’ on their work, against their wishes, because it allows them to target the right audience. Chick lit, erotica, and romance all want the HEA. I don’t write HEA. Mainstream, contemporary fiction, which is probably where I should be aiming, just seems impossible: everyone, whether they’ve been published or not, seems to be talking about how ‘no one is buying anything right now.’

The benefits of erotica not requiring an agent have been totally lost: submission guidelines are no longer guidelines in anything but name: they’re requirements, and strict ones at that. Erotica has gone the same way as category romance: there’s undoubtedly a skill in being able to write to a tight brief, but building that skill is my day job, not the reason why I write fiction.

I’ve been contemplating these questions for weeks now and the more I contemplate them, the more the writers’ block sets in: I don’t know who I’m writing for any more, or what they want: we’re all taught that convincing plot and well-rounded characters are what matter to the reader, and I think we’re all trying to do our best for them, but honestly? That’s not what they want any more, or not from smut, at least.

And so for now, I’m trying to get back to writing for me. I like hanging out in the erotica community, so that’s where I’ll stay, but I doubt it’s where I’ll publish. But essentially, I think we need to stop worrying: there is a (big) market for well-written fiction with the bedroom door open, we just need to stop thinking we’re not good, or mainstream, enough to be part of it.

Disabled characters: who do I really write them for?

A few months ago, I tweeted about the huge disparity in follower numbers between the @EverydaySexism and @EverydayAbleism Twitter accounts. And somebody random came back to me and said something like ‘Well, there are lots more women than there are disabled people.’

I accept that that’s true to an extent, but probably less so than you imagine. Factor in all the people with invisible disabilities, who tend to get ignored, and I bet the number shoots right up. Plus, it’s a pretty fucking limited view of who can care about these issues, isn’t it? Only women give a damn about sexism and only disabled people fight against ableism. And yeah, sometimes it feels like that. Which is a good enough reason, in my book, to pepper my erotica with my own experiences of disability. So that other people, able-bodied or otherwise, get it. That they see the challenges, the unexpected triggers, the psychological battles. I’d like to say ‘so they see that disability can be hot,’ but if I’m being totally honest, I often don’t care whether readers think what I write is hot or not – I just desperately want to share my own experiences.

I’m currently writing a short story featuring a disabled female character, with the intention of submitting it to an anthology. The character in question is freaked out by a physical challenge that would seem relatively insignificant to anyone able-bodied, but it’s a big deal to her. In this particular case, she overcomes her fear, but I don’t want that to be the narrative of every story about disability that I write. It’s just not realistic. But my biggest problem with this story is that she overcomes the fear with the help of a man, she doesn’t manage it all by herself. And in today’s climate of sex-positive, strong women, that feels like a failing.

The pressure I feel to write strong women, a pressure that causes writer’s block like nothing else, is equally applicable to characters with disabilities. In the story I’ve just had published in the For Book’s Sake anthology Tongue in Cheek, the (able-bodied) FMC cries during sex:

He’s losing me, and he knows it. Neither of us can gain enough purchase here on the cushions for him to up the tempo of his thrusts and re-centre me in the moment. So he takes me upstairs, and we fuck like we’re fucking, not kissing, and I give up the pretence completely and start to cry.

Until recently, I’d have found it hard to write a disabled character who cried during sex and not feel like I was perpetuating myths about disabled people being weak. But the truth is, if we write disabled people who are all happy and cool about their disabilities, who’ve dealt with all their issues, and are basically disabled only in a physical sense, we’re doing people who identify as disabled a massive disservice. I think the able-bodied world is often guilty of holding up as role models disabled people who’ve achieved way more than the majority of us could ever hope to – Paralympic athletes for example. While I find what they do hugely impressive, I can’t relate. Partly, it’s about finding it easier to relate to people whose condition is very similar to my own and whose strengths are similar too (Conservative MP Robert Halfon, for example, who mouths off about anything he feels strongly about). But it’s also about feeling immense pressure to be above average – I’ve done it in some areas of my life, and it frustrates me hugely that my body prevents me achieving what I’d like to physically. I want to write erotica that shows it’s ok to be weak, to be scared, to be angry. Because I think those are universal emotions – felt by able-bodied people as much as disabled people, men as much as women.

But universal though the emotions I’m writing may be, the writer’s block on the novel continues. Weak, scared and angry might be ok in a 3k short, but they’re pretty relentless in a full length piece. When I posted an extract on here, I got detailed feedback from several people who I like and whose opinion I trust. One pointed out that the female lead was clearly me, and that that was a risk – no one expects to get 100% positive feedback on a novel and I’d have to be prepared for readers to potentially criticise or dislike a character who is a barely veiled version of myself. And because she’s a barely veiled version of me, she spends the majority of the novel beating herself up. I’m not always sure I like her: how can I possibly expect readers to?

Perhaps readers won’t like her, but if the novel does get published, it should be a pretty good sign that some, at least, do. All my hang-ups when it comes to writing are not caused by other people’s opinions. They’re caused by my own. *I* worry that to turn to a man for support when I’m scared makes me weak. *I* worry that a heroine with a disability that she hasn’t fully come to terms with can never be sexy.

I write to make disability less scary. I write to reduce the stigma that surrounds it. I write to show that you can be disabled and still be sexy.

But right now, it’s not readers I’m trying to convince. It’s myself.

Erotic Fiction: Bite Me

So, a few weeks ago, the lovely Jade A. Waters posted on Twitter a list of her favourite words that she’s been keeping for years and years. She’s clearly a woman after my own heart, only much better organised and with the ability to actually stick to a project. Anyway, Exhibit A turned her list into a challenge, and allocated me the word ‘Alligator.’ It’s taken me weeks, but finally…

Bite me

Opposite her, the wolf chuckles softly. The gazelle gives her a smile loaded with fake empathy, and, sensing perhaps that she’s about to lose her shit, the hostess (panther) slides the box of after dinner mints towards her.

‘Alligator, Sarah?’ she says. ‘Don’t be so silly. You’re so much prettier than that.’

‘I like alligators.’ She tries to hide the ‘This is a crap game’ undertone.

It’s not that dinner parties aren’t her thing. She’s a fan, really, in the ‘platters of food piled high in the middle of the table, Jamie Oliver fashion, washed down with bottle after bottle of wine, and proper, meaningful chat,’ way.

What she doesn’t like is all this small talk and organised fun. Plus, she suspects she’s being set up.

The guy sitting next to her is unassuming and cute. She can’t even remember what animal he is, only that he’s David, and he’s an engineer. He doesn’t make her feel stupid for being an alligator.

She was dumped a week ago, for being, apparently, scary. Weird that he’d never mentioned that before she met his mates. Perhaps some girls would respond to an accusation of being scary by reining it in, toning it down, but not Sarah. Sarah wants to be scarier. 

Here, she’s surrounded by a gazelle, a panther, a tigress and a unicorn. A unicorn, for fuck’s sake. Of all the things she’s ever fantasised about, being a unicorn is not one of them. She doesn’t have the sleekness, the elegance of any of these (fake) animals. She is independent, and fierce and suspicious, and an alligator strikes her as being all those things.

The other guests have lost interest in the stupid questions now, thankfully. In the light of low-burning candles, they turn to their partners and absorb themselves in chatter, leaving Sarah and David to rely on each other.

‘Interesting choice,’ he says, leaning over to top up her glass. ‘Why’d you pick it?’

Perhaps she’s had one glass too many. Perhaps she’s still hurting. Either way, she’s had it with the bastard alligator.

‘Because I fucking bite when people piss me off!’

Heads turn. Mouths drop open. David just laughs. She loves him a little bit for that.

‘Do you need to escape?’ he whispers, when the attention has shifted away from them. ‘Do you feel like an alligator *in captivity*?’

She nods, frantically. ‘Get me out of here. Please.’

He drops his napkin (Ironed linen. Seriously.) onto the table, and announces ‘Sorry, guys. I have to go. Early start tomorrow. Dinner was delightful.’

And then he turns to her. ‘I’ll walk you home if you want, Sarah.’

Nobody buys it. Everyone thinks they’re going home to fuck. Except Sarah. Sarah *hopes* they’re going home to fuck.

It’s a nice night, and so they do walk, falling into step beside one another, until eventually his hand brushes hers and their fingers interweave. On the way, he tells her about alligators.

‘I thought you were being serious,’ he says. ‘Because alligators are cool.’

‘Oh?’

‘They do that thing where they can walk on their hind legs. And they like to be alone.’

He’s teasing her now, she can tell from the way his finger is gently stroking her thumb.

‘There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone.’

‘I never said there was.’

They tumble through her front door and kiss against the bare wall. She’s taken down the print of Paris that Ben bought her at Christmas. David nips at her bottom lip, goading her, making her desperate.

Upstairs, she fumbles urgently with his belt. She needs the solidity, the realness of his cock, the reassurance that not all of life is as fake as dinner.

He places a hand on her shoulder, pushes her to her knees. Once she’s down, he takes a few paces back. He unbuckles; takes out his cock.

‘If you want it, crawl for it.’

‘You’re not serious.’

‘Totally serious.’

And she does crawl, floorboards stinging her knees, shame and lust duelling for dominance.

He stops her again, as she draws close, hand on her forehead this time.

‘Beg for it.’

‘No,’ she says, and tries to break away; to get to his dick. She wants to taste him so badly.

His hand flies from her forehead to her jaw so quickly, she doesn’t have time to react. He holds her mouth tightly shut, fingers biting into her tender flesh. It feels incredible.

‘Will you ask nicely?’

She’s impassive. She doesn’t give in that easily. But his grip is unrelenting.

‘You want my cock in your mouth?’

She nods.

‘Then say “Please.’’’

Christ, she can’t bear it. She wrests her head free. ‘Please. God, please.’

She lunges forward. He slides his length deep. Saliva spills freely to the floor and down the front of her dress, leaving dark stains on the silk. She gags, gets lightheaded. It’s bliss.

Relentlessly, he butts against the back of her throat. She swallows away her gag reflex the best she can. She wants him to flood her mouth.

Instead, he yanks his cock free, pulls her to her feet, shoves her towards the bed. He seems to know what she needs even better than she does.

He holds her down as he fucks her, pinning her forearms so tightly to the bed that she knows there’ll be bruises in the morning. It doesn’t tame her; it makes her wilder still. Her hips thrust violently back against his every downstroke, her cries are throaty and raw. And when he comes, with a sudden cry, she sinks her teeth into his bicep, remembering something he told her on the walk back. Alligators only attack humans if provoked. And he’s provoked her, without a doubt.

*

She wakes in the early hours, thirsty. It takes her a moment to orientate herself and once she has, she wishes she’d stayed asleep. David has vanished. Her heart is pounding. How could he slope off after something so perfect?

She pads downstairs, fills a glass and drains it. Fills it again. Her jaw aches. This can’t be a one off.  She couldn’t bear it.

Sipping her water, she turns. There’s a bill on the table, and on the back, a scribbled note: ‘I really do have an early start. Drinks tonight? See you later, Alligator! xxx’

Content, she crawls back to bed. And wonders: ‘Do alligators mate for life?’

Giving It Up Competition: The Results

I’m late with these – I’d have extended the deadline for another week or so, but I figured that after the whole of Lent, it was time for you to stop writing and get back to morel important things like chocolate, booze and wanking (oh, wait, that’s just me…)

Anyway, as ever when I run competitions, the calibre of the entries was pretty damn high, which makes making a decision about the winner difficult, to say the least.

Let’s start with Innocent Loverboy’s entry, seeing as he was quick off the mark to send it in. I really like the way he’s added extra elements of challenge to the prompt, and that he’s been inspired by music (he wrote it in 05.42 minutes, which is the length of the James track that inspired him. I love the short sentences at the start as well, which do indeed give a real sense of build up.

Jane at Jane’s Little Secrets is also a recent discovery, and one who shares the same problem as me: struggling to give up control. It’s totally worth it in this case, though, because the description of being fingered by someone who’s driving feels risky in more ways than one. And who isn’t turned on by an element of risk?

Absolutely Ruby’s gorgeous post imagines the day that she’ll have to give up a lover who’s both bad and good for her all at the same time. The remembered details in this – her first champagne cocktail, a much needed hug – enrich the piece and create a situation we’re almost all certain to relate to. My heart aches for her reading this, but at the same time, when she says ‘I will look back on our time and boy will I smile because it really has been fantastic’ it makes me smile too. A proper emotional rollercoaster of an entry, this one.

Lent by Strained Voices is a piece where the characters end up breaking the rules of Lent, and isn’t that always the most fun? It was the line ‘I can do whatever the fuck I want,” he said, holding her hips and plunging himself inside her,’ that really got me. Hot stuff.

TheShingleBeach is the third entrant to include a song lyric – it’s as if when we’re forced to give up the good stuff in life we turn to music to see us through. Loss appears as a theme here too, and heartbreakingly sadly, once again, especially because, fuck me, this couple have chemistry. We know they’ve been intimate for a while, because of the way she is pulled into the bedroom in ‘a practised tango,’ and it makes the end, with its lonely walk home and suitcase to be packed, even more poignant than it might otherwise be.

Collared Mom’s Lent is Rough was definitely the piece that made me smile the most – i could totally see myself wondering if tiramisu was fair game if I’d given up coffee – and here the main character still can’t stop her mind wandering to tiramisu even once she has a hot man on the scene! The descriptions, such as ‘I was grinning like a school girl that had just been given a pony for her birthday.’ are great too.

@Mandapen‘s Take It All is sadly not available for reading online, as she emailed it to me. It’s a great tale of a woman domming her partner for the first time. There’s no fear here of painting flawed characters – we learn that he is ‘an unreliable servant’ who often goes AWOL for ‘weeks, sometimes months’ or of viscerality: ‘great salty mouthfuls of her juice,’ both of which are things that i massively appreciate in fiction.

In the end though, I was torn between two pieces: An Older Man’s Breaking Conditioning and Euclidean Point‘s Giving Up Kink (which again, was sent to me via email.) The draw of the former is how fearlessly it eroticises something that I still think of as a relatively niche kink – water sports. Innate shame duels with the desire to please, and I love the way that the subtle tension of the piece dwindles to deep affection as it draws to a close.

Maybe Euclidean Point’s entry taps strongly into my kinks (and by ‘maybe’ I mean ‘definitely), but it also covers such ground so concisely. For example, ‘On our first date he opened doors for me and I lowered my eyes for him. The first time we were alone, in a hotel room, he spanked me and I sucked his cock while he pulled my hair,’ tells us everything we need to know about the characters in two perfectly composed sentences. And then, the final paragraph which captures both the strength and peacefulness in submission, and well as the sense it can give you of coming home. All these things combined to leave me with little choice but to declare this piece the winner, which means you can read it in full below. Congratulations, Euclidean Point – I’ll be in touch about your prize.

Charlie xx

Here is what happens when you give up your kink. 

It was his idea, to live as a vanilla couple for a month. Since meeting online we had each been entrenched in our defined roles – he was a dominant and I was a submissive. On our first date he opened doors for me and I lowered my eyes for him. The first time we were alone, in a hotel room, he spanked me and I sucked his cock while he pulled my hair.

We’ve been living together for two years now, and I want to be with him forever. His issue with this is my experience. I’ve had flings and half-hearted love affairs, but never a relationship like this. How can I know that it’s the submission I love, not just the fact that I can cuddle up to someone after a hard day at work?

He removed my collar on a Sunday morning. The sun was shining into our bedroom as I knelt at his feet. He carefully laid the collar in his bedside drawer, and then returned to me and helped me to stand up. The rest of the day was mine.

We cooked breakfast together, as we had done a hundred times before. I decided I wanted to go shopping, and I remembered to inform rather than ask him before I left the house. I managed a few hours of pleasant but directionless wandering before returning home. He’d brought me flowers. That night he gently took me into his arms and caressed my body. We fucked slowly and kissed passionately. I moaned in all the right places, and smiled at him afterwards. It felt empty and soulless, but perhaps it was just unfamiliar.

For the next few weeks he hugged me, kissed me, and asked about my day. Gone were the affectionate slaps on my arse. For the first time in years my pale skin was entirely without a mark or a bruise. All of our toys were sealed in a box in the corner of our bedroom, a box that I couldn’t stop glancing at out of the corner of my eye.

One day when he was out, I opened the box. Three weeks after sealing it all away, it was strange to see the neatly packed rope, a selection of clamps, canes, floggers and my favourite riding crop. I took out two lengths of rope and re-sealed the box. When he came home, I led him to the bed and almost had one of his wrists tied to the headboard before he even realised what I was doing.

He allowed himself to be tied, for his nipples to be pinched. I brought him to the brink of orgasm with my mouth and then stopped. He laughed when I asked him to beg. I teased him some more. He pulled experimentally on his bonds but having been tied to that headboard so much myself I knew exactly how to ensure there would be no escape. Eventually he persuaded me to give him his release. He never told me that I was in trouble, or that I would pay for this once the month came to an end. The next morning I packed the rope back into the box and it has been there ever since.

The last week of the month was difficult. I was really busy at work, and came home stressed and tense every evening. He cooked dinner, and rubbed my shoulders. Some nights he massaged my feet as I sat drinking wine in front of the TV.

Today is the last day of my freedom from submission. As I enter the bedroom he’s standing waiting for me.

‘You’re happy.’ He sounds resigned.

‘I am.’ I respond, smiling at him.

He steels himself before responding. ’You know I can’t give up for good, don’t you? But maybe we could just do it on weekends or…’

My grin stops him in his tracks and he searches my face for meaning. ‘I’m happy because the month is over.’

It’s only when the tension visibly leaves his body that I can see how much he has suffered. How careful he has been, how studiously he has denied himself to give me this choice. That he loves me so much he would be prepared to let me go rather than risk pressuring me into a submissive lifestyle that I didn’t want.

But I need it as much as he does. As I lean in to kiss him, he takes my wrists and pushes them behind my back. Then using one hand to keep my wrists pinned, his free hand roughly grabs my breast and pinches my nipple hard. We’re both smiling as we press our foreheads together in a moment of shared relief.

Tonight we will open the box in the corner of our bedroom and resume our familiar roles. The blank canvas of my flesh will once again carry the evidence of our shared passion, the lines and bruises that mark me as his. This is my freedom. This is my home. And I will never give it up again.

[Christmas] Nail Polish Fiction: Wingwoman

I got a manicure a couple of months back, and the polish was called Wingwoman. It felt like it was begging to be the name of a story…

784_Wing_Woman__98960.1407741159.1280.1280

Wingwoman

‘Lame.’

‘I’m sorry?’

He gestures at her ombré fairy wings – the ones she bought from Claire’s Accessories at ten to five.

‘The theme was superheroes.’

Faux-obtuse, she raises an eyebrow. ‘And?’

‘You’re dressed as a fucking fairy.’

She’s not having it. Especially not from a guy whose idea of dressing for a superhero fancy dress party is a Batman t-shirt over faded jeans.

‘No, I’m a superhero.’

‘Which one?’

‘Wingwoman.’

What starts as a sneer morphs into a grin, as if he can’t help himself.

‘Wingwoman? And what are her super powers?’

She gestures to the corner of the room, where Mark has been sucking some girl’s face off for the past fifteen minutes. ‘She can find you a shag within half an hour of arriving at a party.’

He winks at her. ‘Really?!’

Oh, spare the fucking cheese, she thinks. She doesn’t need this. She’d agreed to accompany Mark to this party because she owed him a favour, but the favour doesn’t stretch as far as tolerating predictable flirting from some guy who used his opening line to insult her.

They’re kids wings, too, and the elastic straps are way too short, so they sit too high on her back – if she actually were a fairy there’s not a chance in hell they’d keep her airborne. She’s wearing them with a silver top and denim skirt and although she knows she looks ridiculous, she thinks it’s kind of cute-ridiculous. At least she’s abandoned her matching wand somewhere over by the wine.

She gives him a withering look. ‘Sure. But only if you put more effort into your chat up lines than you did into your costume.’

‘Ah,’ he says. ‘So that’s your other superpower. You can find a guy a shag in thirty minutes or cut him dead in two. Nice.’

She likes a man with a quick comeback. She has a weakness for guys who turn verbal sparring into actual sparring – the ones who teasingly slap her arse on the way to the bedroom, and then again, repeatedly and harder, once they’re actually inside her. She likes boys who dare her to masturbate in front of them until she comes apart, the ones who tell her to keep her eyes open the whole time, the ones who force her hand back to her clit if she stops. And the ones who bite. Fuck, especially the ones who bite.

‘Yep,’ she replies, and hands him her glass. ‘Or I can trade another drink for another chance.’

‘Red, right?’

‘Well spotted.’

When he returns from the makeshift bar, he’s carrying not only her drink, but also her wand.

‘This belong to you?’

‘It did. I was trying to offload it.’

He turns his hand over so his palm faces upwards and experimentally strikes it with the wand. Hard. The sound of it makes her wet.

‘No use for it, huh?’

‘Well,’ she says, taking it from him, chin tilted upwards and eye-contact maintained the whole time. ‘I wouldn’t necessarily say that.’

‘Look,’ he says, ‘I know this is presumptuous, especially given that it’s been less than half an hour, but do you want to take this upstairs?’

She doesn’t reply, just sashays up the stairs ahead of him, leaving him to follow in her wake. It’s only when they reach the top that she turns to face him, kisses him, and says ‘Good plan, Batman.’ And then she bursts out laughing. She’s inordinately pleased with herself for that line.

He’s laughing too, but his eyes are roaming the landing for some place they can go. The bathroom is occupied. The door to the study is ajar, and she’d fuck on an IKEA desk if that was the best option, but there’s also the bedroom. With a bed. A bed that’s covered in coats.

They’re too horny to care now. The thick heft of his cock is straining against his jeans and he shuts the door, wedges a chair under the handle, flicks off the light and pushes her unceremoniously onto the bed, hard enough to show that he gets her.

She reaches for his belt, but one of his hands is on hers, lifting them high above her head and holding them there, while the other flicks open the steel buttons on his fly and frees his dick.

She wants to touch it, and so she tries to wriggle free, but he only tightens his grip, which makes her wetter still, and brings his lips down to meet hers. He kisses like a dream.

They fuck like superheroes would fuck, his jeans still around his ankles, her knickers shoved to one side, as if either one of them might have to fly off and save the world at any minute. It’s quick, but it’s good: he grinds against her clit with every thrust and before she knows it the world is shattering into a million sparkly pieces and she’s gasping into his mouth. When he comes he buries his face against her neck and she strokes his back, not caring what he might make of that.

She does care though when he props himself up on his elbow and kisses her swiftly on the lips. It feels like she’s losing him.

She tries to make a joke of it. ‘Isn’t Batman also an escapologist? Should I expect you to disappear right about now?’

‘No chance,’ he says, leaning into her again and sinking his teeth into her collarbone.

‘And,’ he says, tweaking her bent and flattened wings as she’s blissfully contemplating the bruise she’ll have tomorrow,  ‘It doesn’t look like you’ll be flying off anywhere soon either.’

Cold for July

contemplation-3-ss

He was hot in the way of British summers: longed for, sticky and never around for as long as you wanted.

That said, they’d lasted a year, on and off, even though she was never quite sure what their deal was. He’d flitted in and out of her life, butterfly-like, and she’d chased him, more than a little eager to stick pins through his wings. He even fucked on top of the covers, as if he couldn’t bear to be beneath them, trapped in the fug of his own body heat.

At first, she’d struggled to associate that on-top-of-the-duvet fucking with intimacy – she wanted the two of them rolled beneath it, not these marooned-on-top shags she got instead. But she’d learnt, with time, that they didn’t need cotton and feathers to bind them – it was enough to wind her arms around his neck as he buried his cock deep inside her and to feel his sweat-slick skin stick to hers as he held it there.

A year in, she still puts in more effort than he deserves. Tonight, for example, she’s wearing the killer heels she knows he loves, and she’s stopped at the hairdresser on her way home from work to have her fringe trimmed. Her hair’ll be out of place ten minutes after he walks through the door.

After sex, her fringe always sticks to her face, and he’ll peel it away and kiss her damp and salty forehead. The room smells of the two of them, and she holds on tight to him, and wills his cock not to soften. ‘I just want you inside me’ – those words trip so often from her tongue, her emails, her iPhone keypad, that they’re like a mantra now.

Tonight though, she never got the chance to say them. Tonight he cut her off before they were even fully naked: he took the hand that was reaching for his belt and guided it gently back to the mattress. She tried to break free, at first – he was just playing Dom, right?

He was playing Dom, as it happened, but with someone new. Someone he’d met in a bar, a few weeks back. Someone he’d thought would be just another fling. But things change…

He didn’t want to mess her around.

And so she let him let himself out. He did it quietly, without fuss. As break-ups went, it was one of her better ones. But the bed, the one she’d always slept alone in six nights out of seven, was too big without him. She slipped down into the gap between the bed and the radiator, where the space felt more manageable, more contained. It didn’t stop her shaking.

She turned the radiator on. It was cold for July.

***

This is an entry for Exhibit A’s Sinful Stories 2 competition. Many thanks to @Flutterbyflip for permission to base the story on her beautiful and inspiring photo.

Memories of butter

One of the things that makes me sad is that I can’t get off on my own writing. I mean, obviously if I could I’d be unbearably smug, but even though the scenarios that I write about turn me on, my own prose makes me self-conscious in a way that means it’s unlikely that you’ll ever find me in bed with a page or two of A4 that I wrote.

So, when Kristina Lloyd posted a link to this on Facebook, I begged her to write a story entitled ‘Memories of butter’ – because her writing does turn me on. Somehow, she managed to persuade me that I should write it instead, which led to me squirrelling myself away in Bettys tearooms in Harrogate while away at a work conference, writing dairy product porn:

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Asking for Trouble

When I was staying with friends the other day, we were lying in the park and, having read the Sunday papers from cover to cover, had turned to Siri for amusement. I already have my favourite exchanges with Siri, namely:

‘Do you like anal, Siri?’

‘This isn’t about me, Charlie, it’s about you.’

Yep, OK, Siri, you’ve got me all figured out.

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