I have been listening to the frightening Gail Dines and I don't want to give her more airplay by naming her here but I must vent. She has been taking up my vision, turning it enraged red, and I will respond to her more formally in my exegesis where I will cite the good folk too, the advocates of pleasure, my tribe. For now I have to clarify my argument. No references needed, this is a friendly conversation between me and you.
Honestly? From the heart? I think sex is important. I think it is important for literature particularly. The reason is that literature when it is good, shines a light on the relationships between people. We are one thing out there in the world but sex changes everything between us, even if it is just for that moment when we are locked in that carnal embrace.
I rage at authors who take us right up to the heart of a story, then lacking the skills to write a climactic scene, come back to the scene when the heart of it is over. I see this often, even with some of our more celebrated authors. It always seems like a cheat to me. I want to know what has happened, to be there through the action, not one step removed, looking on as if it were a crime scene.
Sex changes everything and because of this, it is often the most honest moment of a story, the moment when we see characters behaving openly without their armor of carefully chosen clothes and words. So many writers take us right up to the moment of sex and then return, when the sex is done. I have the same frustration with them as with the ones who refuse to show the final confrontation. Take me with you. Don't leave me here in the cold to wonder.
Explicit writing about sex, pornographic writing takes us to the heart of it. The words we choose are important. How we describe the genitals says so much about our relationship to them. How we kiss, touch, finger, fuck. All of these things are unique to the specifics of that relationship.
In literature the more extremes of literary pornography act as a kind of ice breaker, forging the way for other, smaller, less robust ships to sail in their wake. The Story of the Eye, Little Birds, The Delta of Venus, The Story of O, the work of the Marquis de Sade, these are the ice breaking barges that ram into our polite avoidance of sex. These are the works of pure sexuality. Sex up front and foremost. Pornography, if you will, designed for us to look at sex in all its pleasures and perversions.
Ultimately I would like to send my ice breaking works of fiction on ahead, my pornographic novellas. I see them ramming headlong into the thick cold territory that Gail Dines and her cohort have frozen over. Behind my ice breakers will come my quieter works, delicate works of fiction, novels, short fiction, each one using sex as it should be used, as a light shining onto the relationships between us. Illuminating. I hope that my great fearless barges will make way for other writers to claim the same space. Ultimately I hope there will be other, modern pornographic writings taking huge chunks out of the icy terrain beside me. I know that Frank Moorhouse will be steering his barge into a different part of the landscape when Sonny is published next year. More icebreakers please. More literary porn. Fellow writers of smut? I welcome your assistance.