Blues Singer Candye Kane pulled from Festival – Sexphobia

“A sour taste of reality for Candye Kane

Blues musician Candye Kane has just been yanked from a blues festival in Pelham, Ala., because her past rankled some of the members of the region’s chamber of commerce.

Candye and her band had a contract to play the Shelby Blues & BBQ event Oct. 1 in the Birmingham suburb of 20,000 people.  Her Piedmont Talent booking agent was then told the reason she was not being hired is because she is allegedly gay and that she once engaged in a porn modeling career.”

Listen to her fabulous sounds -

Candye controversy 

“This is the first time I have ever had a contract for a show that has been invalidated because of my past,” said Candye from an airport in Detroit en route to an apparently more enlightened Kitchener Blues Festival near Toronto.

“I am outraged that my sexual preference or my career choices are being attacked. My show is empowering and positive.”

“Candye opened a public debate on this when she posted news of the festival cancellation – and the reasons behind it – on her Facebook page on Aug. 6.  That posting has resulted in more than 100 notes of support from friends and fans, including the marketing director of a music magazine and record company president.

For the record, Candye Kane describes herself as both heterosexual and bisexual. And, while she doesn’t deny her past working in the sex industry, that occurred long before she became and internationally acclaimed musical artist with 11 albums to her credit.

Yet,  the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce rescinded the contract offer after learning of Candye’s background during an Internet search.  Candye has been playing festivals and club gigs for two decades throughout the United States and Europe for two decades without ever having run across this attitude.

Meanwhile, the head of the Shelby Chamber said her organization has never had any contact with Piedmont Talent and denied that there was ever any verbal or written contract for Candye’s services. Jennifer Trammell, president of the chamber, told Frogger Dogger that there were no comments about Candye’s background as well. She said agents from the Magic City Blues Society had recommended Candye as a performer.


Yet, Candye supplied a copy of a contract from Piedmont Talent and evidence that two online services were selling tickets to the event promoting Candye Kane as a headlining performer.  This evidence is damning.  Booking agents do not generate contracts until a firm deal has been made.

So much for the spirit of tolerance and diversity – at least in Alabama

“This really hurts because I believe I am an activist for so many oppressed people, not just gays or bisexuals or overweight people, but I consider myself a champion for people with disabilities  of all kinds and cancer survivors,” Candye said.

Candye, who survived a 2008 bout of very serious pancreatic cancer, has played for the presidents of France and Italy, and just returned from a seven-week tour of Europe with a band that performed a series of shows of United By Music, a Netherlands-based organization that works with individuals with intellectual disabilities to get on stage and perform blues songs.  Candye serves as UBM’s chief musical ambassador and will further extend that roll as UBM enters the U.S. this year.

Amazingly, Alabama is one of about 30 states that currently don’t have state laws that prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation in the workplace.

But this more of a moral battle than a legal one. What entity has the right to base any decision to hire someone on their sexual orientation?  The Shelby festival was to be held at the Verizon Wireless Music Center in Pelham and I can’t help but think about the faces of Verizon Wireless attorneys when they learn that they are endorsing discrimination of this kind.  I’m certain they will be making a call or two to officials of the Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce about his.

I also certain the most of the companies, banks or law offices whose employees are on the 19-person board of the Greater Shelby Chamber are probably pretty red-faced about this.

And, frankly, the organizers of the Shelby Blues & BBQ are on thin ice when it comes to hiring blues or any other type of musical performers.  Some of the more prominent members of the blues community are openly gay or bisexual, just as they are in any other profession.

“This hurts because it is really disrespectful to the musicians who play in my band,” Candye said. “They are being penalized, too.”

The Pelham date also was important because it is one of the coveted “anchor” festival dates that musicians seek so much when they do tours to other parts of the country.  Those festival dates generally pay better because they attract more people and balance out the low-paid gigs a band needs to play during the week to continue touring.

“I’m really disappointed by this,” Candye said. “Think of the people in the blues community – the musicians accused or murder, heroin and drug addictions and all sorts of nefarious backgrounds. And imagine that this festival is going to single me out because of something I have no reason to be ashamed of. I don’t get it.”

If it makes any difference, the people at the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce don’t get it either.  It is one thing to be dumb and stupid in 1961 when it comes to civil rights, but five decades later Alabama should have gotten a clue.”

by Michael Kinsman on August 6, 2011

Porn, Erotica, Romantic/Sensexuala transfer. Reminder – Tuesday, August 16 The Erotic Literary Salon – Live

The following piece was read at the Salon in it’s earlier days. I’ve begun re-posting pieces that were lost in the transfer to a new site. “After” from World and Time A Novel by Sarpedon Eleftherios

When she awoke after, she kept her eyes closed. Her vagina was a bed of embers in a winter fireplace.  She opened her eyes and turned to look at him, a kid’s smile crossing her face.  He was sitting up against the headboard, his arms around his knees.  The muscles of his shoulder and arm on her side were in repose, but showed the defined mancurves of strength.  Soft blond hair carpeted the top of his thigh she could see.  His temple was silvered, but the stubble on his face was chestnut.  He was looking at her, expressionless.  His blue eyes seemed far.  She felt her sex moisten again.  He raised one arm, slowly, ran fingers through his hair, and returned it to his knee.  He made as if to speak but did not, then raised and lowered his eyebrows and managed a grimace.

An electric shock of fear jolted her.   She inhaled sharply. Her mouth involuntarily made an “O” and she exhaled through it.  She pursed her lips before she spoke.  “I… I think I know what you’re thinking.”

His brows knitted.  “What?”

“How I, could, uh, do all that.”

He started.  “No, no,” he lied, shaking his head too fast.

He watched her raise her eyebrows at him. In fact, his brain was a shambles. Oh God, he thought, not some crazy I don’t know what under all those degrees.  After pouring myself out to her.  In every way.  But how could she not be?  Jesus, things he’d never even heard even the German girls did—his aching, shriveled, still-damp member twitched– the ones with the purple evening gloves who lined up in the off-base parking lot…. He looked down between his knees.  He scowled, and then his face drooped, as if he would cry.

She was overwhelmed with love for him and compassion terror and sadness and hating herself all over again.  She lunged for him and threw her arms around his neck and kissed him again and again and began to wail.  “No, Gordon, no, no, it’s not that.”

“Okay.” His blond head rose and turned, as if by a tiny silent motor, to look at her face.  “Then is it something?”  He spoke so softly she could barely hear.

OmiGod he is as handsome and terrible as a god and he’ll be so angry and disgusted, she thought. She shrank from him, sniffling.  I would hate to be anybody he had had to kill.  Please save me, don’t let him leave me, she said to no god and to all gods.

She remembered his father had been a minister and he was an only child.  OhGodohGodohGod what will he say what will he do...  “Gordon, I know you think I must be a terrible whore, a slut.”  She began to sob, tears cascading down her face, her eyes beseeching him desperately not to think it.

She means she’s not, he thought.  He felt new feelings arise, and they warred fiercely with the others.  He felt warmth, but not the warmth in his loins, that was gone now.  He tried to calm himself.  “Carla.”  His voice had cracked saying her name and he felt like a fool.  He cleared his throat with a hawk, snapping his head from left to right.

She was looking down now, still sobbing.  Her shoulders shook.  She looked up at him.  Her eyes widened.  “Yes?”  She struggled to stop heaving.  She wiped her eyes with the backs of her hands like a child.

“Look, I’m sorry.  I’m not a…a prude or anything.”

She felt hope flare, then gutter.  Her mind raced.  Her emotions swung wildly.  “I guess not.  I wasn’t the only one, was I?”  It wasn’t a question.  “I mean… of us.”

“No, no, you weren’t.”  He looked between his knees.  “Uh,” he said. Godammit, I’m  NOT going to ask about her sexual past or her former husbands or boyfriends married men or anyone, anything. He felt stuck.  But he forced himself.  “Well, I’ve, uh, been lonely since Margaret died. And I fell for you hard.  Really hard.  Really that first day out .  The first morning at breakfast.  And I guess I wanted it to go… to be… and I wanted to feel, uh, safe and well, special to someone that I would….”  Well, go ahead, asshole, abase yourself some more.  Christ, I sound like a total pathetic fucking idiot.  But I am that.  With her. He ground to a halt ponderously, like a tank with its treads blown off.  He realized he wasn’t looking at her. But also that she wasn’t making any noise anymore.  He raised his head and turned to look.  She had stopped crying and was looking at him astonished.  Her eyes were wide.  Her mouth was open as if she couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

“Oh, Gordon.”  She ached for his sake and for hers too and loved him and wanted to throw herself on him again and hug him and never stop, but her judgment and self-possession were unsteadily returning, and she knew she had produced the elephant in the room and they were both in its shadow.  She was sitting up with her knees folded under her.  She suddenly felt her nakedness.  She raised and spread her hands and lurched into speech.  “Gordon, I panicked.  I’m sorry.  I… I feel the same, I ….”  How do I tell him I love him and then tell him about this? It’s like serving crème broulee and catshit on the same plate, she thought savagely.  I’ll have to go step by step.

He was looking down now, embarrassed.  All he could think was, She loves me.  She actually does.  She loves me.

But she didn’t know that.  She took a slow breath. “That was very kind what you said.”  Her voice started to shake.  She steadied it.  She had never told a man, not even her kindly father who had forgiven her anything and what a woman could never tell her father anyway, what she was dreading to tell him.  Just tell itYou could lose everything either way. “I’ve been lonely too.  I have come to realize that I imposed it on myself, that… I withdraw from people.  Beginning a long time ago.”  Okay, she thought, that was okay. She paused.  He was looking up now. His face was opening again.  Thank God thank God thank God she breathed to herself.  “And so.”  This was the hard part, so very hard.  Go.  Tell it! “And so, in college…”

“M.I.T.” he said.

“Yes.  M.I.T. was… hard.  Frosh year one of my roommates, a Chinese girl from New Jersey, committed suicide.”  Oh God it was so horrible finding her dead. What is it like for him, who has known so much death? Then she felt relief. This was the way to start. She closed her eyes tight and opened them, blinking. She had struggled viciously to suppress that memory.  How the dead girl’s mother, crazy with grief, had screamed at her.  “You no friend my daughter.  You cold.  Evil! Shame!”  Carla began to cry again, softly this time.

“That’s too bad.”  His hand stirred from his knee, as if he would reach out to her.  Yes, it was good to start here, maybe it’ll help him understand..  Her heart raced at the thought.  She took a deep breath.

“Yes, it was terrible.  It made me scared of making friends.  Of everyone.  I began to withdraw from people.  I went to class, the library, and the gym.  And track.  A professor took an interest in me.  The first older man in my life who didn’t want to put his hand on me or sleep with me.  He was wonderful.  He was a paleontologist.  So here I am.  A paleontologist like him.”  Not too fast, she thought.  “But there was a lot in between.  He was very sweet and totally sexless.  He made me feel safe.  Happy even, in a thin way.  But that reminded me of being lonely too.”

My God, he thought.  I thought I was the shy one. His feelings roiled.  She’s a leopard, a cheetah, my lover, my friend, my inspiration, fierce, funny, independent, maddening, unpredictable, a conscience, a goad, a goal. Some of these images were not conscious, just fleeting images. He ran out of things that she was.  Dear God, do I love her. I don’t care what she is.

But she couldn’t hear his thoughts.  “Anyway.”  She cleared her throat.  “Late one night I discovered… well, no, I knew about, but anyway I stumbled across… no, that’s not true, I went looking.”  She looked down again.  Her voice was so low he could barely hear it.  “Porn-o-graph-y.” She pronounced it slowly.  “I mean on the Internet.”  She kept looking down.  OhGodohGodohGod there it is I said it sounds so cheap and ugly like some pimply fat girl in a Snoopy sweatshirt fingering-herself pervert.  She didn’t dare look up.

“Hmh,” he grunted without thinking.  A curse of youth, he thought.  Well, I was no better.  He remembered how he spent his first night each visit home from the Point after his parents were asleep.  He had made sure to do his own laundry.

She was going on.  “I knew normal women don’t like it, it turns them off, it’s not a problem for them.  So I didn’t tell anyone.  But I got worse and worse and then I began to collect it.  On my hard drive and after Computer Services sent an Assistant to inspect my computer, for viruses or something—I was terrified and I’m sure he found the evidence but he never said anything.  Or did anything.  I guess.  I was scared of him for weeks—so then I was collecting it on my cell. Video clips.  Pictures.  Then when nobody came to kick me out of school—would they have?  No of course they wouldn’t.– I went back to the computer.  I made collections.  And then select collections of my collections. I signed up for Websites.  I kept up my grades. Schoolwork was my relief from the porn .  But I was distracted by it.  I almost got bounced from the track team.  But I couldn’t let that happen.  I’d lost my mind, my basic decency but by God I was not going to lose my body too.”

His mouth had begun to open.  She darted a look at him, and it didn’t look good to him.  But it didn’t necessarily look bad.

She paused.  What does that look on his face mean? Her skin felt clammy.  “But I learned some things, however… gross most of the stuff was.”  She was looking down now.  I’ve got to convince him why. “I realized I didn’t like the most of the regular sex stuff, because the guys were always leering, high-fiving each other, cursing and calling the women sluts and whores and pumping them so hard, bang right from the start, it was painful.  You could see the women wincing, trying to hold the guys back with their hands, or slow them down, sometimes yelling with the pain.  But then there was the oral sex….”  She stopped.  OhGodohGod.  She closed her eyes.  Then opened them wide and snapped her head sideways urgently to look at him.  “Are you.. can you…. hear this?”  Do I want him to? she thought.

He was gaping at her now.  But he hadn’t heard what she’d said.  Suddenly he realized she had spoken and recalled that it sounded like a question.  “Uh.  Oh, no.  I mean yes, it’s okay, sure, go on.  Do you want to?”

She felt braver, fleetingly rash.  She felt the hood of her clitoris firming.  Her hips shifted and she sat up straighter.  “Okay. So.  I began to refine my collection to consensual, loving. I’ve never been with a woman and don’t want to, and I don’t get excited about a man being with a man—I wouldn’t ever forbid it to anyone or condemn it.”  He raised his eyebrows and nodded at the last remark. Why did he do that? She forced herself on.  “But I found it was the bisexual stuff where all the models, the men and the women, were the most tender with each other.  All kinds of sex, but slow, uh, wet, and a lot of … gentling, as if they really cared not just about their own pleasure, not even only about each other’s pleasure, but cared about each other.  Not just… well… ass-slamming.”  She cleared her throat.  “So.  I had my own massive, refined, world-class personal Porn Ph.D. library.  I carried it from college to graduate school to postgraduate school.  I got single rooms.  I didn’t have boyfriends.  Oh, some tried.  They all seemed like jerks.  They got turned on by my body.  In the gym they would stare and the brave ones would hit on me. They were putting their eyes all over me wanting to touch me.  I think most of them didn’t even want to sleep with me.  They were too afraid.  Just memorize what I looked like and then go masturbate.  Creeps.  I hated it. So I got to wearing full sweats or warm-ups all the time in the gym, and outside running too, even in hot weather.  I bought them two sizes too big.  So the jerks just stopped noticing me.  They couldn’t see anything.  Oh, and that wasn’t all. No.  I got pretty intimidating in class.  Finally all that worked.  The women didn’t like my looks and neither the men nor the women liked my brains.  I went around in my own little world.  I had a life at night.”  Such as it was.  “I fell in love, I guess with the models. Instead.   No—I mean, not with the actual models, the actors.  With the love.  The love they were giving.  And getting.  I mean, I never wanted to meet them.  I looked at some part of the best of my collection almost every night.  When I went through the best once, I went around again.  I studied them.  How they looked.  All the models in my best ones were good looking.  You know, the women toned, even athletic, not just floppy tits and cottage-cheese butts.  The guys well-built, athletic.” The two naked  young men with chiseled bodies sitting on the bed, the trim young brunette lying naked on her back with one man resting the back of her head in his lap, his semierect member lying alongside her face, as three fingers of each of his hands cupped a small, firm breast while thumb and forefinger pinchrolled its nipple, the other man at her crotch, her legs wrapped around his waist, his hips moving his strikingly thick cock slowly in and out of her, and her eyes closed, her lips parted, she in total trust and utterly oblivious to anything but sexual pleasure. “The best was hard to find.  It took a lot of time.  But I found it.  Do you know, the women do it for money, but the men do it free, for the sport?  I read that.  Anyway, I got interested in what was underneath it.  Did they care about pleasing each other?  Did they seem to care about each other?  Was the desire real?  Where it was, or I couldn’t tell, those were the ones I liked.”

She hadn’t looked at him for some time.  She paused to steady herself.  “Well.  So I realize now that over time I just, uh, memorized, really, without particularly trying to, the things they did.  That I liked.  That … I wanted. That I would do with … someone.” She blinked rapidly and a  tear ran down her face.  “Down to each little detail.  A hand here, a tongue there, how long this, how long that….”  She became suddenly silent.  Okay, okay, she thought.  That’s done.  She sat erect.  “Tonight was the real life that I could actually have!”  Her eyes fixed on the side of his head, pleading.  He had stretched out his legs, his face tilting down toward his hands folded on the tops of his thighs.  His member was shriveled, motionless.  For an outraged moment she thought he might be asleep.  She tilted her shoulders and head down, breasts swinging, and looked up at his face.  His eyes were open.  They looked at hers.

She took another big breath and resumed.  “So, I … have to finish.  Don’t I.” Do I?  Should I just stop now? She cleared her throat again.  Another breath.  “I didn’t just fall in love with the porn. I…. I….”  This is it, she thought.  This is where he walks.  “I…  bought ….uh, vibrators.  Two sizes.  Shit, tell him, it explains that, too.  “For two places.  I came within a breath of buying a screwing machine off a Website.  One with a piston and gears and an electric motor.  With my poor retired academic parents’ money they sent me.”  She put her hands in her face.  Her head and shoulders shook up and down and tears began to run from between her fingers.  She snatched her head up and sniffled in fiercely.  “But I couldn’t bring myself.  I just couldn’t.  Thank God.”  She wiped a forearm across her brow.  This is going to finish it, she wailed to herself.  She couldn’t look at him. “So,” she was speaking in a whimper now, “I used those.  Night after night.  In the daytime.  Holidays when no one was around.  Of course I was always around.  No one asked me anywhere.”  I took care of that, she thought bitterly.  “At least it was a comfort.  No creeps looking at me sideways, no sex too horrible to imagine.”  Her head felt as if it would explode.  Do I sound ridiculous? Do I sound even sane? I can’t tell anymore, she despaired.

She was beginning to feel exhausted.  She didn’t know why, but she wanted him to know the rest.  The last of it.  To get it all out.  She spoke fast now.  “During post-doc I met Bohm.  I don’t want to tell everything.  Not the academic part.  That was hell.  I thought my career was gone before it started.  But the … the physical part.”  Is a woman supposed to tell a man this?  What am I doing? Why? She looked at Ralli wistfully.  Ralli didn’t look up.  I’m talking to a stone. Her skin chilled, her sex numbing.  Maybe I need just to tell this to myself. So she continued in a low monotone.  Finish it out, make him understand I could actually love someone.  Or wanted to enough to try. “Bohm was gentle. He’s the gentlest man in the world.  Even more than Father was.  So I fell for him.  I was hopelessly in love for the first time and I felt so safe, at last.”  She sighed.  “At last.”  She began to cry again, softly this time.  “And so I wanted to do something physical with him, anything.  But that’s when it all died, everything.  That killed it.  His gentle wasn’t enough.  He just couldn’t do it. I seemed strong to him, I think, and he liked that at first, when we met, but it made him scared when we finally tried to make love.   And after opening myself to him.”  She looked up at Ralli afraid.  “Just a little, not like this,” she hastened.  “I was too scared to tell him all I’ve told you. Why do I think Gordon will understand when I was sure Bohm couldn’t? She looked down.  “He couldn’t make love to me.  He tried.  But he couldn’t. He couldn’t get it… you know.  Then he was ashamed.  He acted like he wanted to die.  It was him.  But it was me, too!  I felt so failed and worthless.”  She paused.  “Worthless,” she said with anger.  She started to cry.  Suddenly she snapped her head sideways violently. He felt a flung tear splash his cheek. She glared at him.  “There. I told you,” she almost shouted.  She was now enraged.  She didn’t know at what.  Or whom.  Him.  Herself.  Everyone.  No one.

She raised her hands, waving her palms at him and howled, “Maybe you’d rather I actually was just a goddamned dirty slut.  Then at least you’d have an excuse to want to see me again.”  She threw herself away from him to the other side of the bed, on her stomach, sobbing and heaving.

When she woke in the morning, she lay where she had fallen. The sheet and the pad under her face were wet.  She looked up abruptly. What was last night? Friday?, she thought.  Oh. She let her head fall to the bed.  Then she felt as if a safe had dropped on her.  She was naked and her head ached, as if she hadn’t breathed enough.  She felt abject and defenseless.  She snapped onto her left side to look across the bed where he had been.  No one.  Nothing.  Her apartment was silent.  She was sure was gone.  Forever.

Thumbprint – Blue Flower, 1918 Georgia O’Keefe

Porn by any other name – Erotica? Sensexuala? All in the Eyes of the beholder.

R.K. Singh, university professor in India, poet extraordinaire. Dr. Singh has been a follower of the Salon since its inception; I’m honored, considering he has never attended but offered much. Once again I am starting to fill my site with wonderful words of longing and lust. Below are just 3 of his many poems to be found at his site posted below. I enjoy the brevity of his poems, each line carrying much weight.


my wife after midnight
pushes me away
forgetting the ever live
ever present, now


erotica and
some wish lists under the bed:
spring cleaning


I never knew he’ll give a jerk to time and reach before the climax:
she sees her face with post-sex pee in the bottom of the commode


At this site, bottom right, under Dr. Singh’s most impressive bio you will see a link to “View My Complete Profile.” May I encourage you to link to this site, where you will find more of his blogs and links he has posted. I spent quite a bit of time enjoying some wonderful writings.

Thumbnail: Flower, Georgia O’Keefe


Romantic-Erotic-Pornographic – Is there a line?

I think once society or an individual stops thinking about sex acts or their depiction as shameful, there is no line. The absolute corollary of course is that to a society or individual that regards all sex as shameful, there is also no line.

Consent is the key. Not love, not what acts or body parts are displayed or hidden, detailed or euphemized, degraded or exalted, nor the medium but only consent and intent. Rather than talking about why we look or what we see, we should be talking about why we feel compelled to look away and why we feel compelled to force other consenting adults to look away.

So here we are in the 21st century, still wandering lost in the gray areas between artificial lines. Between these lines it gets so gray that I wonder if it will ever be possible to draw any line society as a whole can agree on.

Susana, at the ELS, you used to share explicit emails between yourself and your lover. In one you wrote that “The line between erotica and pornography is personal, temporal and culturally inscribed.” I’d add that yesterday’s taboo is today’s pornography. Yesterday’s pornography is today’s erotica. Yesterday’s erotica is today’s coffee table book.

“In olden days a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, now heaven knows … anything goes.” And yes, the beat goes on.

I think what you shared with us, explicit as it was, is an exchange of romantic love, pure and simple. Another pair of lovers could well have the same pulse-quickening reaction to Emily Dickenson’s or Andrew Marvel’s poetry or a tame description of candles lit and a bubble bath taken with the missing lover’s sweet face and voice.

Now say, you were to publish your lover’s courtly depictions of your love without his consent, with intent of causing him pain and humiliation. Some might construe that as pornographic. However if he gets off on humiliation, your act of exposing, of catering to his particular tastes could be an act of Eros.

Let’s look at an extreme case. Take a camera into an establishment of forced prostitution and film the sodomizing of a trafficked 14 year old girl and we’d all have a hard time seeing that as anything but sick and beyond pornographic. But the lover who shows his or her lover the same acts, convincingly staged, depicted by consenting adults, say as a way to fire a moribund marriage, well, that is still over the line for most of us, but is it truly pornographic?

Let’s add another twist or two. What if the two people sharing these taboo images aren’t yet lovers yet, but just friends? What about the lonely guy or woman who downloads a clip like that from the internet for the purpose of some relaxing self-love before bed? He or she doesn’t know if the video they masturbated to was staged or real. Many people would call such a person a pervert or pedophile, especially if he/she fantasizes about being the aggressor in such a video. But we don’t know that person’s heart. This individual might be just as capable of calling the police if confronted with the real tragedy of human trafficking. Being aroused by representations of sexual cruelty that do not sit easily on one side of a line or the other is not the same as knowing right from wrong.

When I read erotica, my standards may be a bit different than most people’s. I realize that many people, particularly women, use erotic writing as a journaling, journeying sort of activity toward healing and enhanced sexual wellness and to that I say BRAVO. I would never look at any man or woman’s account of their life experience and say oh, your life is trite or your accounting of it is anything but your gift to share with the rest of us. And thank you for doing so.

Here are some of my standards:

Does it (the writing or imaging) get me in the language/speech/emotional centers? Is the language fresh, original and vibrant? Does it evoke emotions, dark or light? Does it go down a different path, stir old associations or make new ones? Is it not just well-constructed, but playful and evocative?

Then there’s always the sex? Slightly south of language and speech centers, but not so far. Three chords might work in rock and roll, but are tiresome when it comes to erotica. I crave novelty. I want to see fresh and original ways of describing the act. If the “same three words” are overused, I quickly become bored. On the other side of the spectrum, if the writer is too timid, academic, euphemistic and abstracted in their descriptions, I also become bored.

Beyond that, what’s the emotional connection between the characters? Are they longtime lovers or brand new? Is the sex playful, angry, heated, languid, brutal, gentle, spice or vanilla? Do I smell, taste, hear and feel what’s going on?

Does the feel and the pace of the writing echo the pace and progression of lovemaking? Is this just an exercise, or is it evident that the writer is hot and bothered too? I know when something I write is working if it stirs me “down yonder.”

I think it’s an amazing, intimate compact to turn people on with words.

What about the story? Are there conflicts, plot twists, character arcs, resolution, (and yes, climax? ;-)

In short, I apply the same standards to erotica that I apply to any other form of art. Sex is powerful stuff. It makes for great stories, great art. It’s time our society lost its false modesty, false virginity and begin to appreciate the depiction of sex (lovemaking or fucking) in art. It is art. An aesthetic experience. In the end, that’s all that counts.

In admiration,
Ricc Berra, author of Apostrophe—Tales of Longing and Consent (

This essay was added recently as a response to my call for definitions. Written by one of the regular attendees of the Erotic Literary Salon – Live.  Has me thinking I should start sharing some of my emails again, I always receive interesting reactions to the exchange of words.