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Just curious - what did you pick _Macho Sluts_ and _Beauty's Punishment_ to illustrate? The former is some of the hottest S/M writing ever, IMHO, but the realism of the settings isn't hugely high if you're going to nit-pick. (I like her McKinnon-esque dystopia story, but it's not the world I live it.) And the _Beauty_ series doesn't even try.

I haven't even _heard_ of _Carrie's Story_, but if the other two are the company it keeps, perhaps I should remedy that...

I still remember fondly that review of Laura Antoniou by an ardently feminist mag.
"Have rec'd something lurid called _Leatherwomen_, supposedly written by women. Yeah, right. Real women don't write like that. Or shouldn't."

Greta Christina

I picked Beauty's Punishment, Carrie's Story, and Macho Sluts to illustrate my increasing cascade of pickiness about erotic fiction. I picked Beauty's Punishment as an example of smut that pushes my erotic buttons (but is only reasonably well-written); Carrie's Story as an example of smut that pushes my erotic buttons and is very well-written (but depicts an unrealistic fantasy); and Macho Sluts as an example of smut that pushes my erotic buttons, is very well-written, and is (mostly) realistic and plausible. (Califia's dystopian world isn't the world we live in, but as futurism goes it's not implausible; and most of the other stories in this collection are pretty down-to-earth.)

And yes, I do recommend Carrie's Story. Highly. The world Weatherfield posits isn't the most plausible one ever, but she does an excellent job of exploring what it might be like for a real person -- a smart, thoughtful, interesting real person -- to engage with that world. Plus it's really, really dirty.


I found the following solution to the "stuff that couldn't really happen" problem: I just fantasize that the scene is being roleplayed. Then it's a fantasy about people acting out a fantasy. The extra layer makes it plausible but still hot.

I still have the problem of my ethics invading my fantasy life, which is funny but irritating. It makes it impossible for me to fantasize about someone who is in a monogamous relationship without imaging a situation in which it ceases to be morally wrong (wife gives permission, join in, etc).

The worst part is when the ethical issue invades my actual dreams. I mean, how could it hurt anyone for me to DREAM about an unavailable person? But nooooooo...

Buck Fuddy

I guess I'm just hopelessly conventional. Aside from multiple partners I'm not kinky at all. I don't have any sexual interest in guys. I've tried, but it just doesn't turn me on. I'm not even into heterosexual anal sex, although I'll do it I'm asked, but I feel like taking a shower afterwards, and if it gets to be a regular thing, I find myself not looking forward to being with that particular partner.

I can't get rough either. I once had a partner ask me to bite her nipples, which I did, of course, but she kept telling me to do it harder, and it got to a point where I was afraid it was going to actually cause some damage, and I had to stop. It was making MY nipples hurt!

It's not that I'm unimaginative. I can get very creative about positions and situations. It's just that when I imagine sex that's rough or humiliating for either partner, it turns me right off. The two things that turn me on the most are willingness and responsiveness in a partner.

Naturally, these preferences carry over into my preferences for fantasies and visual porn, and that's a problem. I find that most porno videos, while they may contain a lot of good old meat and potatoes fucking and sucking, also contain a lot of scenes that make me really uncomfortable.

I really hate it that almost every scene ends with the guy jerking off in the girl's face. I have never had a partner ask me to do that, and I think it would probably gross me out. I also don't like the way they zoom in on genitalia. I want the whole picture. I want to see how her whole body is responding. I want to see in her face what's going on in her mind, but I guess that might take some real acting, or just an openness about her natural responses, if there are any.

I'm not that excited by pornographic stills either. Not only do too many of them depict violence, humiliation or acts that I'm not comfortable with, but even when they appear to show willing partners having a great time, I have to wonder if it's real. Is she really into this, or is she being coerced or slapped around between snaps? And that kind of spoils it for me.

So I have to say that, on the whole, I've found commercial porn pretty disappointing when it comes to fantasy material. Just closing my eyes and recalling a recent encounter as vividly as I can, and imagining some possible alternatives that could have happened--and might happen next time--works a lot better for me.

Please understand that I'm not putting it down, and I'm definitely not an advocate of censorship. If it works for you, great, but I guess my sexual tastes are just a little too far out of the mainstream for most of the porn that's available out there to appeal to me. Even the best I've found still doesn't hold a candle to the real thing.

Mike Haubrich, FCD

I, too, have a need for visual pornography; especially S&M and bondage. It is difficult to find partners who have the same tastes as I have and complementary desires, and while I have had partners who have had complementary desires in some aspects, I have been left without satisfaction in others.

For example, in bondage the disciplined and precise ropework that turns takes practice. Many of my partners have been largely excited by my "vanilla" fantasies but only willing to be occasionally tied up in order to fulfill my fantasies. The limits that we agree to are usually less than what turns me on, and not being willing to or interested in violating limits I still need more. Many are the times that I have left a girlfriends house nearly sexually exhausted but still needing to masturbate to stronger B&D than what I just participated in.

Visual porn adds a layer of desire fulfillment, and it is easier to slip into the imaginary role of the Dom participating; and further, not needing to be concerned with the needs of the sub in the scenes my fantasies of complete and total domination are satisfied (kidnap, torture and other darker fantasies) without hurting anyone at all.

As much as I would try to explain that to my partners, they always associated my porn desires for a desire from someone else. They didn't buy the fact that with the outlet of bondage porn, I was able to maintain my desire for them.

And Buck Fuddy, there is nothing wrong with not liking B&D or S&M or other aspects of desire. You have yours, I have mine. If you don't find it exciting don't try to force it.


Very interesting thoughts. I unfortunately don't have answers, just more questions. I do some writing, but I am also a photographer, and I do describe myself as "a visual person". This may be true in general, but is especially true when it comes to sexual arousal. In fact, it's my interest in visual depictions of sexuality that drew me to erotic photography in the first place. And yet, no matter how much I learn about photography, or how much of it I am exposed to, it (and visual stimuli in general) remains my primary source of arousal.

I do wonder about the "men are visual, women are imaginative" stereotype. You seem to be an exception, but this definitely appears to be a common trend. I don't know if it's more biological, or a result of self-perpetuating social roles, but that's a question I'd love to know the answer to. The bottom line is, when I shoot erotic photography with a male model, I get a huge gay male audience, and very few women (at least who make themselves known). Are the women hiding because they're not interested, or because they're afraid to admit their interest, or because they've convinced themselves that they couldn't possibly be interested? I wish I knew.

I suppose this could also relate to the "women are not allowed to admit they like sex" issue.


Are the women hiding because they're not interested, or because they're afraid to admit their interest, or because they've convinced themselves that they couldn't possibly be interested? I wish I knew.

I don't know either, but it might be because, in certain venues, they are not comfortable admitting it? My personal (and admittingly anedcdotal) experience, though, is that many women are absolutely interested in looking at sexy people!

I think that in many cases it's not so much a 'men likes visuals - women doesn't'-difference, but that many women doesn't much care for the same style of visuals that many men like.

My personal preference are skinnier long haired men, for example, if more erotic photographers would take more photos of such guys in erotic situations, rather than the more common hunky, big muscled, short haired kind of man, I would have much more visuals to enjoy!

I'm a woman who love visual erotica as much as I like written one. It's just a question of finding something that appeals to my taste.

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