A Matter of Tone

I received the uniquely interesting comment below a little while back, which prompted what turned out to be an unexpectedly lengthy response from me. When I tried to send it to the commenter’s email, it bounced. It’s rare that I get considered criticism like this about my writing (it’s usually something relatively unconstructive like, “condoms aren’t sexy”), so I decided that it would be worthwhile to publish the exchange as a post. In my responses, I’ve made some assumptions about my readership and would be interested to hear where folks fall on the spectrum between the two extremes laid out here.

Please do me the favor of keeping any comments as polite and respectful as you usually do.

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Love your Open Door Policy! Love how it progresses. Love how your character gives free rein to her emotions and hormones.

I also love how your characters ENJOY their care for each other and their “new” appreciation of their bodies and their shared openness.

However, permit me to comment on the pen name you’ve taken, and the related terminology that creeps into your narration.

I find myself a bit disheartened at the pejorative or negative word choices. “Dirty” (Dirty Minded Mom) and “Nasty” seem to hearken back to the sinful era of erotic writings. The indulging in sexual conduct was itself such a forbidden activity, that the writers had to have an excuse to dare to write. So, they wrote about what were described as variations of violation, sin, perversion, and the like. It was not acceptable (in their minds) to enjoy sexual behavior.

There is an analogous tone in some sexual fantasy that describes the women as “sluts,” “whores,” and “cunts.” It’s as if the writers are trying to excuse their writings by wanting to imply that they are justified in writing what they call “pornography,” because they want to be seen as exposing the evil conduct of their characters. For myself, when I see those pejorative terms in the titles, I skip the story, because those pejorative words don’t harmonize with my strong appreciation of delighted enjoyment of the sexual conduct of happy and joyful characters.

The tone of Open Door Policy is very joyful as far as the characters go. They deeply RELISH what they are lucky enough to do. The re-occurring denigration of their behavior is unsettling to persons like me. It’s like writing about a joyful child, but then repeatedly stressing that the child is disobeying his/her parents, because he/she is playing in the water. The occurrence of the description of the child as somehow inappropriate puts a dampener on what should otherwise be a joyful and happy story about a delightful child.

Similarly, the reoccurring characterization of sexual enjoyment as “nasty” or “dirty” seems to echo the high-school sophomore mentality that seems to be based on bad behavior when thinking of sexual activity.

The activity described by you in Open Door Policy is outside the bounds of most cultures, but it is not an essentially immoral activity. You are describing a joyful and nurturing and enhancing interaction between alive and vibrant and caring characters. I love that and wish it dominated erotic writing, rather than the vein of pejorative attitudes in many writings.

I don’t mean to say that the stories can’t include reality of life situations or that stories have to be rose-colored glasses stories. It’s the tone that has to characterize sexual conduct as foul in some way that I am attempting to describe, and that I regret.

You have built a history using the pen name you use, and that history, reputation, fame, etc. has a reality with momentum. However, if it ever occurs to you to invent an alter-ego author who has a joyful and deeply pleased at being a sexual actor rather than an actor with references to underlying shame at her conduct, do not close out that alter-ego who can build her own gleeful and luscious lustiness.

Let me close with my awe at how skillful you are in the use of language. Your dialogues are natural. You weave in comments in passing that brilliantly describe some aspect of the character or the situation. You write so well that the reader is sitting on your shoulder seeing and hearing everything your characters do. Without having to construct extended descriptions, you succinctly put almost all of your characters’ perceptions into your very smoothly flowing writing.

– L

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Thank you so much for your feedback and your insights regarding erotic stories.

I respect your viewpoints on what a story should be, but I found it amusing that you said the terminology you opposed “creeps” into my narratives – as if it was something not quite within my control. I just want to make sure up front that you understand there is an intentionality behind my terminology and that I’m making very deliberate choices about the words, situations, attitudes, and tones I use in my work. Nothing is “creeping” into my writing – I’m deliberately putting it there.

Please don’t get me wrong – I appreciate your sex-positive perspective and agree that taking such an approach can most definitely result in some beautifully erotic stories. The only problem for me is that’s not the sort of story I’m interested in (at least not right now). At the end of the day, I’m creating jerk off stories. I’m a staid, conservative wife and mother by day, and I want to be a raunchy provocateur by night. I do think of my stuff more as porn than erotica – but this is not because I want to pillory my characters for their transgressive behavior, but rather I do it for the prurient (and, yes, sophomoric) thrill it gives me. I want men and women to be hunched over my stories in the dark masturbating to the taboo scenes I’ve imagined. I want to be their guilty pleasure.

In my real life I have a wonderful, loving, and joyful sexual relationship with my husband. But I also have a somewhat darker sexual relationship with myself. I grew up with a lot of shame, confusion, and fear of sex. It was a grand mystery and I desperately wanted to understand what it was. This atmosphere of repression, I believe, led to my inappropriate fantasies involving my sexually uptight family members. There were a lot of negative feelings about my desires, which ended up being mixed with the sublime pleasures of masturbation and eventually sex. I may be a somewhat broken as a result, but for me these negative emotions that are embedded in my conception of sexuality enhance rather than detract from it.

I’m willing to acknowledge that this may have stunted my emotional development when it comes to sex. Having a more adjusted, positive, and mature apprehension of sexuality would most likely allow me to have a more elevated experience with my partner, but paradoxically that doesn’t appeal to me. I like my dirty secrets and guilt-laced private fantasies. I enjoy the added taint of shame when I masturbate, hiding it from my husband. Even as an adult, the fear of getting caught pleasuring myself only makes it better when I achieve my climax with the added sense that I got away with something. I seems sad, I know, but that’s how I was put together.

With that being me, the stories I was drawn to were never about the joyous consummation of erotic fulfillment – they were about the dirty, nasty, filthy, depraved, and debaucherous aspects of sex. It was only natural, then, that when I started writing, this was the kind of story I gravitated toward. I love using dirty words. I adore having my characters use the most lascivious language I can think of, and display their bodies in the lewdest possible ways. I want to wallow in the degradation and iniquity of it all. But, strangely enough, I also wanted there to be a true sense of love at the core of it all.

What it comes down for me, and a lot of my readers, is that incest fantasies (as well as most of the other stuff I write) have a lot to do with acceptance. Many men write to me and tell me that they love mother/son porn, but are not at all sexually attracted to their own mother. The taboo aspect is part of it, but underneath that is a desire for unconditional love and acceptance. Alone we feel dirty, nasty, filthy and depraved, but idea that we can show that side of ourselves to another person and they embrace it provides a deeply satisfying catharsis for many readers (often without them being consciously aware of it).

I suppose, as you posit, that there are writers out there who resort to using “pejorative” terms like slut and whore (which my characters do a lot of in the most current chapter of Open Door Policy for reasons very close to what you suggest), but I think it’s important to consider that perhaps yours isn’t a one-size-fits-all explanation for using words with that kind of negative connotation. I feel like I use my dirty words not as a denigration of sex, but as a form of celebration. I see it as an expression of the freedom to use what society considers negative, and defiantly own it in a way that heightens pleasure. I love it when my husband gets so excited during sex that he calls me his slut. It tells me that his lust has reached the point where he feels safe to let loose and that he trusts me not to turn his vulnerability in that moment against him.

Another element at play that is important to consider is the basic nature of storytelling. If all characters were sexually well-adjusted people, that would make for boring characters. If all relationships were loving and stable, those would be uninteresting relationships. If all the sex was convivial and un-tainted, there would be a lot of lackluster sex scenes. In a story, it’s the interactions between conflicted, imperfect characters who conduct themselves inappropriately out of a sense of shame, anger, or guilt that generate the most intriguing scenes. From my perspective, as a reader and a writer, story about happy people having happy sex sounds rather dull to me.

I’ll grant that perhaps I’m deluding myself and your hypothesis is entirely correct, but I do feel there are shades of gray (probably more than 50) when it comes to depicting sex as something dirty, and characterizing the people who have unconventional fetishes as perverts. I probably still have some growing up to do when it comes to all of this, but in the meantime I’m going to continue wallowing in my trough of beloved smut.

– R

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In response to Open Door Policy 29:

Hmmmmmm. This was the social tone I worried about before. Sex as nasty and vengeful.

I love the joy you write into your stories. I don’t like the coercion.

Also, Chris was justifiably angry. The degrading characterization of his mother you needlessly wrote into Joanne’s mouth was not sexy; it was demeaning.

The part you then added with Chris using sex as a weapon of revenge was disheartening. Apparently that did not bother other fans of yours. That type of sexual violence seems to arouse some people.

You are one of the best writers. Can you build a line of stories that celebrate sexual living, rather than couch sex in terms of shame?

– L

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It was interesting timing that your first comments came just as I was in the process of writing chapter 29, which included that very aggressive scene between Joanne and Cris. Let me again say that I appreciate your feedback and welcome your point of view on what an erotic story can and should (or should not) be.

I want to start by focusing on your use of the word “needlessly.” When you get right down to it, every element of every story ever written is effectually needless. I didn’t need to have Joanne say those things; Romeo didn’t need to drink the poison; I didn’t need to include Cris as a character; Huckleberry didn’t need to go down the river in a raft; I didn’t need to have the Ramos family move in; Han Solo didn’t need to shoot first; and I didn’t need to have Joanne become sexually involved with her son. These were all choices made to define a specific character or serve a particular story. While I didn’t need to make any of the choices I did, they are all the choices I wanted to make.

I chose to have Joanne say the demeaning things she did because she understands that Cris is very devoted to his mother (as, a reader pointed out to me, men of that culture tend to be). She also has a strong suspicion that he has sexual fantasies about his mother (his attraction to his friend’s mom is her first clue, combined with Vera being a voluptuously sensual woman). Her goal is to push him over the line and into a place where he can move past his guilt and shame about the lust he feels for his mother and take the unthinkable actions she wants him to take. To do this, she decides that she must provoke him in the way that she does. Naturally, Cris reacts with anger and violence, which is a physical manifestation of his inner conflict. Yes, Joanne is being manipulative and coercive, but I find this to be a more interesting course for the narrative of the story and part of the continuing evolution (or, more accurately, devolution) of Joanne’s character. If, instead, I chose to have Joanne cuddle up with Cris and lovingly present the case for him seducing his mother, I believe it would have been less interesting for me and for readers.

(Oh, and by the way, Joanne LOVED the vengeful sex Cris subjected her to. Sometimes we ladies just want to be owned by a man who can give it to us hard and rough.)

It would be a struggle for me to write a story as you suggest. Even if I could force myself to try, I’m afraid I would end up a bit too syrupy, which probably wouldn’t satisfy me or anyone else. I have to write what’s true to my current sensibilities (which, as I mentioned, are filthy, nasty, and perverted). I’m sure there are plenty of people who agree with you and align with your preferences, but down here in the incest fantasy pits I have the sense that the majority of us are in it for the delightful degradation and dirty dissolution of it all (as long as there’s a “happy ending” for all involved).

– R

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22 thoughts on “A Matter of Tone

  1. In the end, I get both sides of the argument, but Rachael, this is your playground and your stories. I love the dirty, depraved, conflicted sex you present. If it’s happy people having happy sex, that might be the ideal, and I’ve read some of that type of porn, but there’s no meat there. That’s why the seduction is sometimes hotter than the actual sex. I hate the incest porn that presents Jimmy going home to his mom like he does everyday and fucking her. They both love it. Hurray. But it’s boring and it doesn’t get me hot.

    Jimmy wanting his mom, knowing it’s wrong, masturbating all the time, stealing her underwear, and then getting discovered? Yes! And the mother slowly giving up control of her own dark desires? Yes! And they are dark desires. Incest is forbidden for a reason. And like Jimmy and his mother know, that’s what makes it hot.

    Like you said before, write what makes you hot!

  2. Rachael, sounds like your reader is going down a deep, psychological “rabbit hole” in his response and recommendation(s); and may have had an even more repressive upbringing that may have led him “to the couch” of assisted analysis. Anyway, I’m starting to sound like him/her!! For my money, your outstanding story-telling is as you have portrayed it (although your scenes may be quite true in reality; not having had sisters, I did know of a couple of guys who “did” their sisters), as taking your readers to a darker place that most appreciate being hidden. You are a fantastic writer regardless of the subject matter. Keep it up. I look forward to it on a daily basis. Apologize for the long message.

  3. i don’t know what to write ,without been rude ! so i will tell a BIG thank you Rachel for writing these stories !!! its instant hard on for me when i read your new chapters and my wife says thank you a lot ;-) .i dont want that kind of relationship with my mother , never thought of it but the idea ,the taboo of it makes me hit the roof of excitement .im not gonna tell you not to listen to them or dont pay attention to them but tell them thank you for been bad to you CAUSE that means you do a hell of a good job making our dicks hard !!!!

  4. That reader clearly has issues, He doesn’t agree with or really
    like your content but keeps reading anyway?

    DDM you really need to learn to ignore the back
    seat driving wannabe critics & trolls….

  5. My guess is you knew the response you would get from your faithful readers and thus felt the need to admonish us to be respectful and polite. With that in mind I would suggest that “L” take advantage of the plethora of romance novels available in any public library. The rest of us will continue support and encourage you to continue writing exactly as you have been. I do believe that the vast majority of us will follow you down any dark alley you wish to lead us.

  6. Rachel,

    Please don’t change a thing. Rest assured in the fact your an awesome writer. Here are a few personal facts. Just about every day, I wake up, get my mandatory coffee, light a cigar and cum visit your site. By the time I sit down, my cock is throbbing hard. One might say I have filled buckets with my cum thanks to your writing, in fact I just said that. If there were one thing about your witting I could criticize, it could only be that there isn’t enough and there is too long a time between stories and their chapters. You truly have an amazing talent for penning the written word.

  7. Dear Porn writing lady/ as the others have expressed you are a great writer of sexual approaches by all sexes and your approach although you pretty much indicated it is not from full experience, hits the Nail on the HEAD and keeps us cuuming back for more of your writing and editing. Happy Valentine’s day. dj

  8. Rachael, You are on point with 99% of your readers. Your commenter in this case I am sorry to say may live in his mothers basement and could be person straight out of Criminal Minds, patroling the streets at night looking for people engaged in lewd behavior and handing out his own form of justice for said behavior. Thank you for giving the sophmoric jerk off material.

  9. There were a lot of eloquent, sophisticated, intellectual words in this blog post….none of which game be a boner, lol. Interesting though – just do what you do and the world will still turn, just with a little more fun! :)

  10. You said it before in your first “how to” posts, write what turns you on! And if it turns you on, it will turn us all on, and we’ll be so happy. And I agree with all comments, especially the one that said all the fancy words didn’t give him a boner, but your writing does! So write on!

  11. I sympathise with your reader in his (or her) advocacy of good clean guilt-free fun. On the other hand, few societies have embraced incest as valid, and ours certainly doesn’t. Nevertheless, it has a hold on the imaginations of some. The same can be said of all manner of objectively disrespectful, degrading sexual behaviour. Some go further than that, and indulge in various types of oppressive/submissive activity – and I largely lump practising incest into that category because it frequently has a genesis in an imbalance of power and a disrespect of what I would regard as proper behaviour by the more powerful party, be it father, brother, uncle, grandfather (usually) or, less frequently, some female family member.
    There are taboos. In light of the taboo, I am not sufficiently well-adjusted to regard inter-family carnality as entirely wholesome. But flirting with the taboo is exciting. The notion of hot mummies needing their sons’ cocks or lapping at their daughters’ sweet young cunts happens to do it for me; some other things do not. Bad mummies. Nasty, horny, foul-mouthed, sperm-splattered exhibitionist mummies. You know – the sort that Rachael writes about …

  12. Dear Rachael,

    You are an extraordinarily gifted, talented, and erotic author. This is your blog, and everyone should be thrilled that you take the time out of your very busy day to keep it running. Although I respect your response to the critic, you have no obligation to answer to anybody about anything.

    Simply put, in response to the long note you got from this reader, you could have said, “Thanks for your comments” and leave it at that. Or, if you were feeling particularly frisky, you could have said something like, “Fuck off.” Either way, you could have done something more productive with your time, like look at porn, drink coffee or re-arrange your lingerie drawer.

    Again, thanks for all that you do to produce my favorite sex-related blog, and don’t be concerned or afraid just to ignore the critics, or give them a one sentence reply. You deserve better, and they deserve nothing.

    Yours,

    Brad

  13. I have no interest in real life but enjoy reading the taboo. You are an exceptional writer. My only request is to write more father/daughter instead of mother/son. Please. Keep up the great stories!

  14. Hi Rachael

    First, LOVE your stories! Well written, exciting, and every element chosen for good reason. Please keep them (and us) cumming!

    Second, wholeheartedly agree with your points and assertions. My experience is that since sex (and sexual satisfaction) are as much in the mind and emotions as my dick, whatever gets the mind engaged usually gets Mr Happy bouncing up as well. Conversely, if it ain’t happenin’ up north, it generally ain’t happenin’ down south!

    Third, and finally, a story with no tension and nothing to resolve doesn’t get (or deserve) my attention/engagement. John D MacDonald once had his most famous character Travis McGee ruminate on the Playboy ethos. Paraphrased it was “the idea seems to be sex for sex sake alone is fine as long as everyone is terribly sincere about it!”. If I wanted my sex normalized, I’d read Masters & Johnson (or maybe Dr. Spock… hmmm, THATS a pair to draw to!) not DMM. I don’t. I want to be excited and have my imagination fired. Your writing does that. Thank you

    I admire your willingness and facility at “going there” across such a wide range of interests/obsessions. Not ALL to my taste certainly but the QUALITY is never 2nd rate. There just aren’t enough thank yous. Please add mine to the pile.

  15. I’m going to echo what everyone one else said and then add in my two cents. First, your writing is amazing and we all love the way your stories are written. Keep doing you and you’ll keep all of our private parts happy. My only comment about this persons critique of your writing is this. Sounds like they need to sit down, relax, pull up one of your great stories and do what we all come to this blog for, ORGASM. Thanks

  16. As someone who completely understands the almost double life you lead when it comes to your real life and sexual fantasies, you are giving me (and many other readers) exactly what I need. Please keep up the good work. You are one of the best writers of this genre out there!

  17. I don’t come to this blog for some type of sanatized Disney like enlightened fantasy of righteous coupling. I come here to be jerked off by a dirty minded mom as she tells me naughty stores. The fact that technically it is my hand that’s doing the stroking doesn’t diminish my experience. Drain me again please, naughty minx, my peverted spirit animal.

  18. This seems like a classic conflict of nature vs. nurture, or, culture vs. biology–to be more specific.

    Your tone-policing reader believes in the ‘culture is king’ model. From this person’s perspective, we are taught everything, therefore, everything we come across in literature or entertainment has the purpose and effect of, either, reinforcing or countering whatever the social narratives that are deemed either harmful or helpful.

    Therefore, as a writer, you are either helping or hurting with everything you write. (According to this reader, not me)

    Of course, there is also the evolutionary psychology model, which in fact has a lot of evidence supporting it. We have aspects of our brain pre-conditioned by our biology which culture is, either, compatible with, or counters to one degree or another. Our biology is like an old car, with bad alignment that veers to the right. In one environment, the Utah salt flats, for instance, we don’t really need to spend much effort correcting for that. If the car veers right, so what?

    But, in the city, you will have to constantly correct for this. The social environment requires that you don’t drive up onto the sidewalk. We, all, in a social environment do this, depending on the layouts of our various cities.

    But in fantasy, in writing, we are in the salt flats. Not just the real ones but forth-dimensional salt-flats that let us drive anywhere, including through time.

    There are those who think our fantasies should be perfectly reflective of the real world and that we should never run up onto virtual sidewalks and hit imaginary people. Those people will say that injuries to fantasy people hurt people in the real world. So far, I have yet to see any evidence for this perspective. It seems to be based solely on speculation.

    Until someone can link the fantasy world to the real, concrete and meat world, I suggest exploration. No one ever discovered new continents and worlds staying in their living rooms.

  19. Like KwikSylvia, I get both sides of the argument, and I actually find it interesting to think about what turns me and others on, and why.

    In my case, I like both, and I think you have shining examples of both on your site: Open Door Policy is wonderfully nasty, and I can’t wait for chapter 30 and all the rest. By contrast, Annie’s “A Hot Wife and Her Kids” is all sweetness, love, affection, and even duty, and it’s sizzlingly sexy too, perhaps because it’s her trying so hard to be a good wife and mom that leads her to the deliciously naughty things she ends up doing. Speaking of which, please ask Annie when she’ll be writing her next chapter, because I can’t wait for that either.

    I guess my only disagreement with your correspondent is his idea that stories ought to be only one way and not the other. Liking stories sweet and loving doesn’t mean you can’t also like them wicked and spicy, and for me at least, sometimes its the combo of both that is hottest of all. The contrast, the juxtaposition, the stark comparison. The combo works for chilli with chocolate, and for beautifully lit videos of gorgeous huge inky-black guys fucking someone’s classy petite blonde wife and mom. Why shouldn’t it work for stories too?

    Thanks for all the joy you’ve shared with us Rachel!

  20. I think the concept most essential to this entire debate is in Rachael’s objection, specifically, to the fellow’s “one-size-fits-all” mentality. To put it slightly differently, a depiction of a specific behavior or attitude is not necessarily an endorsement of such. And yet the very nature of erotica, quite apart from other literary arts, implicitly encourages endorsements of unhealthy behavior, on the basis of an unspoken agreement between reader and writer that said material is not necessarily to be taken as a how-to guide. Which is why it is extremely common to find two, say, father-daughter stories with identical themes and morals, yet the author of one abhors incest in any form and the other openly advocates its normalization. And frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  21. I don’t have any issues with how or what you write. In the erotic/porn field imho you’re amongst the best I’ve read. You managed to get me hooked on a theme that I don’t normally read – mom/son – and thoroughly enjoy it. (Especially Open Doors Policy which I’m reading for the second time in 2 days; completely unheard of with regards to porn.) Regarding the scene between Cris and Joanne, I probably would have written it differently to make him admit that he wants to fuck his mom (and sister?) but you’re version works and shows a different aspect of human sexuality. Maybe Cris will always be a little rough in his sexual expression.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more and cumming to more of stories.

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