Words by Kalida Edwards Art by Rochelle Oh
I realised at a very early age, that I best expressed myself by putting pen to paper.
When I was sad, or angry, or elated, you could find me nestled in the pages of a notebook. As a child, and in my early teens, I was relatively shy, and struggled to express my emotions without crying or feeling embarrassed or, as is commonplace even in adulthood, feeling as though I was being annoying. Writing to myself eliminated those uncomfortable sensations.
There is nothing quite like the rush of sitting down to write my deepest, darkest thoughts on paper. Being human, some of those thoughts are of a sexual nature. In my opinion, sex is at the heart of what it means to be human. It permeates in most interactions, it is primal and, at the same time, so wonderfully elusive.
I write sexual literature in my downtime, mostly. During spells of writer’s block, this genre becomes the remedy. Erotic tales are saved as obscurely named files on my computer or USB. Self-written erotic literature gives me butterflies, and not only because it makes me horny. I am so deeply intrigued by emotional plays between people – depth, energy, tension, conflict – all underscored by sex. If I am writing about myself, this becomes a cathartic process, a purge. It also serves as an indulgence. When I am struggling in my day-to-day writing, bringing it back to familiar experience – sex – sends me revolving through memories of emotions and fire.
Growing up as a millennial in Western society, the story of sex has been told to me in many ways that never resonated with me. If it wasn’t the prudish, matter of fact explanations at school (ones that excluded sexual expression and emotion), it was the world of sexual forgery, also known as pornography (which shits on sexual emotion). Sex in our present world is often falsified, removed and separated from our humanity and vulnerability. Daily confrontations with domineering images of plastic bodies and staged moans affect our ability to connect to each other sexually. Writing about sex helps me to bring it home – to possess my own sexuality freely and uniquely, in a way that honours men and women equally.
Writing erotica helps me to trust my voice, and secure my personal value. At this time, sexual freedom for women is looked down on, and I can safely say that sexual literature helped me to regain my own sexual power. I am more able to write freely what would ordinarily be deemed embarrassing or unsophisticated. This rebellion helps me to transmute my writing into a positive kind of insolence. I have learned to grapple with my vulnerability and moments of shame, in a society where vulnerability in men and women is dishonoured. There is a great power that comes with breathing life into fantasies that may or may not be realized. Writing erotica helps me to trust my sexuality in a way that harnesses my creativity.
Writing about sex helped to improve my mental health. When I was much younger, and my friends were kissing boys, I often felt like an outsider as I did not dive into these experiences until later in my adolescence. Writing about kissing boys, as a starting point, comforted me when I felt left out or abnormal. Due to several extenuating circumstances in the years that followed, my behaviour drastically changed. Writing erotica became a way to alleviate teenage hypersexuality and eventually convert this into sex-positivity. As with all things, there is a dark side to writing erotica. It is taboo. It gives life to romance and sexual expression, but also lust, fear and danger. Having a healthy avenue to express these themes more than likely deterred me from allowing them to become a reality.
Stream of consciousness writing in any capacity can greatly benefit the mind, especially an overactive mind. Technically speaking, writing about sex and movement helps me shift into the rhythm of writing. It helps me find new language to describe complex emotions, intimacy and relationships. It brings all of my senses into play. I know that I am not alone in the things that turn me on, and when I find the words to describe it, well, I suppose the result is obvious. In addition, it makes my heart race and my hand move with a mind of its own. This is the way all writing should feel. Creativity, in any manifestation, is expression of the entire being. In this world, it is a form of rebellion. When I am writing, and I am excited, this is how I know it’s worth something.
Sexual literature, my creative indulgence, is (or at least was), my dirty little secret.