It is a question often raised in writers’ groups. I recently came across this question in a group I have been following. The answers to this question are generally bland and correct and inoffensive. They turn around the style of writing, the machinery of the composition etc etc. There are a lot of discussions on the mechanics of it all and a serious concern not to cause offense. But sex is not about mechanics nor is it about the machinery involved. Sex is mean and down and dirty and disgustingly spontaneous.
But in today’s cautious times it is almost impossible to be spontaneous in one’s writing. There are so many …ah…mmm…considerations. We live in repressive times. Consider the fist half of the 20th century for example, when D.H.Lawrence, Henry Miller, James Joyce, Anne Desclos (The Story of ‘O’) wrote their books. They did cause an uproar but they did not self censor themselves in their writing. The censorship came from the outraged upper classes who would have been ashamed to let their wives or their servants read such novels. I wonder why?
It maybe that the writers of that time did not have to compete with a burgeoning porn industry. There was porn but it was safely hidden away behind black painted doors and discreet red lights. Writers then were striving against Victorian values and they wrote almost as an act of rebellion. When a writer has a good cause she writes with a vengeance, bloomers flying. But today’s writers have nothing to rebel against. There is after all, porn open to the public and any self respecting writer is desperate to not be seen as a pornographer. But ironically, pornographers have stolen the show. There is some very good porn writing available these days. You just have to sift through a lot of debris to get at them and of course no self respecting critic would help us out by going though the stuff and recommending to us what is good and what is bad. Publishers and their lawyers are risk averse and would not want their respectable journals to be tainted by out and out porn God forbid!
So you see, there is a lot of hypocrisy among our “respectable classes”, the publishers and newspaper barons and the governing elite, about what us, the servant classes should be reading. Good writing should be good writing and should be appreciated as such. I pose you a question. At what point does a stylistically well written book extolling the virtues of a Putin becomes publicized in the mainstream press? There have been a never ending list of books on Mandela because he is “our good man”. Would a book praising Fidel Castro ever be published in English and top the best seller list? Castro has been a pariah for over 50 years among the guardians of our culture. Unless there is a hurried Qaddafi style make over I doubt that. The same applies to books on sex. Sex has to be “our sex”, framed within permitted norms. If you ask me what lies outside the permitted norms, then I feel sorry for you.
I shall finish with my own personal ear witness account of down and dirty sex. There was once a girl. An English girl. She had short blond hair and an all over peach skin with just the touch of peach pink on her cheeks. She was petite and demure and smelt like freshly laundered sheets. She was the sort of girl with whom you would not venture beyond discussing the various flavours of ice cream. She rented a house across the road from me. One day at 3 O’clock in the morning I was woken by banshee like screaming. Oh,Oh,Oh, it went. Aaahh, Aaahh, Aaahh. Yowwwl, yoowwwl. Heyeee, heyeee! These screams were punctuated by the banging of what I took to be the headboard against the wall. I was astounded by how long it went on, the banging of the headboard, I mean. Then all went quiet and I, woken by the noise and the nostalgia of it all stood at my balcony and dreamed, smiling at it all, and certainly a little jealous; of the man, of the woman, who knows?
The next morning at 10 O’clock a man comes out of the house all leather and tattoos and greasy long hair. I had never seen him around before. He got his bike ready and went into the house to fetch bags. The girl walks out in a short pink skirt, white blouse, all cool and clean as if butter wouldn’t melt, if you know what I mean and gets on the pillion seat carefully adjusting her skirt. Her mother would have been proud. Then they roar away, never to be seen again. I was shocked because it was a still summer night when windows are left open. We were in a small cluster of houses and all the neighbours would have heard her that night. That night that girl wrote her own sex scene so well but no one would ever publish it.
So long folks! If I don’t get to post soon, have a Happy Sexmus!