Sunday, June 22, 2008

Jean Roberta's answer

Jean writes:

>The question:

>Do you have a dark story lurking in you? Is there a tale so edgy you won't
touch it even if you thought it up? Erotica is probably the most self-policed
genre out there. If you slapped the label literature on your work, would you
feel free to go there? Go where? How bad is your bad self?

Pretty bad, by legal standards! (And regarding some "obscene" topics, Canadian
and U.S. authorities seem to have parallel views.)

Oh yes, literature. Some of the classics are quite edgy already, but they're
not as explicit as they could be. As an English instructor, I've sometimes fantasized about how Hamlet really feels about his mother, and imagine him seguing from rage at her for marrying Hamlet's evil uncle to incestuous lust.

The Greek comedy Lysistrata (circa 450 BCE) ends with the promise of a feast and an orgy between the Athenians and the Spartans featuring "Peace" (actually a beautiful naked woman) - because everyone wants her. It would be fun to write that scene, which
would probably be more over-the-top than "dark." (This could include some cool lesbian action, another ancient Greek discovery, at least in literature)

Probably the darkest scene I've imagined is seeing or being a woman riding a bound man for the purpose of conceiving a baby while choking the man to death. Before this final act, he would have been whipped and branded, and given false promises of freedom in exchange for saying the right things. In this way, he would have gained
some perspective on his own dishonest, irrational treatment of women.

This fantasy kept me relatively sane before I could escape from an abusive
husband in the late 1970s. On December 30, 2006, he died in worse circumstances than I ever wished on him. Attending his funeral and sincerely wishing him peace in the afterlife brought me some closure.

I still think a realistic story based on that revenge fantasy would probably be unpublishable - and definitely wouldn't be called "literature" by the critics, no matter what label I might slap on it.

- Jean Roberta,

author of Obsession, 14 stories of dark erotica from Eternal Press:

contributor to href="">Haunted
Hearths and Sapphic Shades: Lesbian Ghost Stories (see

and Best Fantastic Erotica:


and Lipstick On Her Collar (lesbian erotica):


and Coming Together: With Pride (see

Reviewer for "Erotica Revealed:"

Coming July 1, 2008: "Sex Is All Metaphors" in "Smutters Lounge," Erotica Readers and Writers Association (

writes: So I'm not the only one who thought Hamlet had it bad for his
mother! Yes, literature cloaks a lot of pretty dark stuff with euphemism. The problem I have with that is that to unlock the meaning, most people have to take a college level course that discusses it. And it's not as if once you figure one story out that you then have the key to every book, because different writers in different times used other ways to get their meaning across. Even Aciman's Call Me By Your Name, a
modern book, doesn't use direct language until the last chapters. Until then, he's shooting the scene through a soft filter and sheer curtains from half a mile away.

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