My theory about most women is that, for the most part, we are female impersonators. This means that we merely grow into a pre-established, pre-ordained template; this is what it means to be successful, this is what it means to be sexual, and, most importantly, this is what it means to be a woman. The lines of this template are rigid and inflexible, particularly when applied to female sexuality. There isn’t much room for interpretation or creativity. We grow down not up, and in literature this translates to a few accepted plot arcs — marriage, insanity or death. The male narrative encourages adventure, redemption and growth. The female narrative, not so much. It’s not surprising that 21st century erotica is written, with few exceptions, by women. However, at its core, I don’t believe it’s about having a healthy sex life with our partners. I don’t believe these books are kept by the bedside to add spice to the life between the sheets. Instead, I believe, women write erotica to challenge, change or redesign this template.
I’ve been writing and publishing erotica for almost twenty years. However, I’m not a sexpert. I don’t possess specialized knowledge about the female anatomy. I don’t want to hear about your sex life. I’m not sex obsessed. I am obsessed with challenging the status quo, the aforementioned template. Here’s how it started -- everyday, when I lived in the West Village, I passed by a newsstand on Christopher Street. Front and center, I saw a magazine, Jugs. And I got to thinking about how a female colleague, a theater director, kept saying-- men know their story, it’s mapped out in plays, movies, novels. But the female story is unknown. And for the life of me, I didn’t understand what she was talking about--but one morning, staring at the cover of Jugs, I did. I got it. We are not women. We are female impersonators. We accept the story that is given to us about who we are -- and sometimes, apparently, we are body parts. Twenty years later, the women, including myself, who write erotica, challenge the male narrative--by writing on top of the story and beyond the story. It’s about authenticity. It’s political. It’s about dropping the mask, and taking the big risk of being ourselves.