Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Why “Real Sex” is the Biggest Fantasy of All

by Donna George Storey

In last month’s column, I discussed the implications of a comment by an elderly gentleman with a white mustache who imagined that “most erotica writers are fat and ugly, fantasy based [sic] women with a serious case of penis envy.” In particular I examined the long history of using “fat” as a way to shame people with less power in our culture and also discussed the denigration of sexual fantasy, which plays a significant part in the sexual experience of those of us with brains.

This month I’d like to talk about the implied opposite of “fantasy-based” sexuality—Real Sex.

Here’s the main problem. We have very little reliable factual data on humanity’s actual sexual experiences. Kiss and Tell: Surveying Sex in the Twentieth Century by Julia Ericksen with Sally A. Steffen discusses the obvious reasons why this is so. Both men and women feel shame in being honest about sex, because the tradition is still strong that “decent” people keep sex private and besides it wouldn’t do to expose yourself to accusations of abnormality. Equally importantly, it is extraordinarily difficult to get funding to do a comprehensive study of any sexual topic, unless it is related to the “problem of sex” such as teen pregnancy. And even studies that have been done such as those by Kinsey and Masters and Johnson are likely skewed by the design of the study (nonrandomness, how the topics are examined, interpretation of data) as well as the usual cultural factors affecting and reflected in the research. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this situation will change anytime soon.

And so, in the main, we are left with voluntary surveys in magazines, honest, intimate discussions with friends (if you’re fortunate to have such friends), and public pronouncements that reflect as much how the speaker wants sex to be as what actually happens.

I cannot help but conclude that Real Sex is the biggest fantasy of all.

In my study of sexuality in America one hundred years ago, Real Sex was understood to be as follows. Men had a natural sex drive, which he must strive to control, but a good woman did not until her husband awakened her on their wedding night. Her body had no sexual feeling until a penis was inserted into it. If she didn’t experience pleasure even then, it was because she was especially pure and above lustful concerns. This was a tribute to her fine character.

As the elderly gentleman with the white mustache’s comment illustrates, our culture’s view of sex is not so very different today. Women must have “penis envy” because only the penis possesses and bequeaths sexual feeling, not, presumably, because they wish they had boners at inconvenient times or ejaculated prematurely, for example. Female sex organs are, on their own, without sensation, desire or pleasure.

I’ll leave each individual reader to determine the validity of that view for herself.

But there are advantages to this antique view. Men don’t have to worry about the details of an erotic encounter because just having a penis inside her is enough to drive a woman to ecstasy. Again, rather unbelievably, this is still a common presentation. I was dismayed that the most vivid sex scene in the Christmas special of Sense8, a Netflix original series I watch, consisted of a couple on a Tinder date who do it doggie style, with the man pounding hard and fast with no other stimulation to the woman but an occasional slap on her ass. “I love it!” she cries as her whole body jiggles from the assault. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, she is on top for a while but again with that super-fast up-and-down movement, which focuses on penetration and no stimulation of her clitoris or other body parts.

Sense8 is a cool show. It has lots of creepy supernatural stuff, artful orgies and tender gay sex, but heterosexual sex is presented as a porn cliché. Yet for many viewers, our eyes and the Tinder date’s enthusiastic review tell us we’re being shown Real, hot, casual sex, right? Clearly something is the matter with you if you don’t get off on such a vigorous, frenzied pounding of your cervix.

Another advantage of “the penis is sex, end of story” is that any complaints from the woman are covered. If she’s experienced enough to be picky about your technique, then she’s a slut. If she needs more, you know, that “fantasy” stuff like romance, a scenario where her needs are important and she experiences pleasure and orgasm in the encounter--like most erotica offers, by the way--then again, she’s being greedy, fantasy-based, high maintenance. This is problem sex, not Real Sex.

Naturally, this view does not benefit men if the man cares about “reality.” It only does if you measure your prowess in bed by the number of partners alone, believing that the insertion of your penis into a vagina—whether that vagina belongs to a cognizant, consenting partner or not--proves your manhood.

What if sex only “counted” if the partner genuinely had a good time? How many guys would still be virgins?

The fantasy informing traditional female behavior deserves attention, too. A variant on “the man awakens the woman” fantasy of Real Sex is that you expect the man to be “good in bed” and do everything right from the first without a word or a false move. In fact, he knows instinctively how to pleasure your body in ways you’ve never even imagined. The problem is that if you believe that mutually satisfying sex comes naturally, then the best lover (male or female or nonbinary) never needs to ask what is pleasurable, or make a mistake and learn. If you believe that ecstasy is immediate in Real Love, the traditional variant of Real Sex, then you’re as much a victim of fantasy as the guy who thinks his dick is the center of the sexual universe and everyone wants it hard and fast.

Good Real Sex requires time, communication, trust, understanding, and most of all, self-understanding. This was true one hundred years ago. It’s true today.

Here’s to speaking our truth in 2017.

Donna George Storey is the author of Amorous Woman and a collection of short stories, Mammoth Presents the Best of Donna George Storey. Learn more about her work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Gaudier the Patter

I am a child of the cinema. I think that can be said for most of us baby boomers. And, although television was a big part of our upbringing, the art form that most influenced us was the movies. It was an overlapping of a preference shared by the previous generation, which had also been influenced by radio art, particularly radio dramas. Radio had pretty much gone by the boards by the time I was coming up.

I recall lamenting the death of our television sometime in the 1950s and my dad saying, "Why don't you turn on the radio? Maybe 'The Lone Ranger' is on." And I remember how crestfallen he was when I told him no such shows existed on the radio anymore.

But movies endured, and thanks to television recycling films from the Forties and even Thirties, we wee boomers also thrilled to the exploits of the likes of Sam Spade and Rick Blaine.

When I was a kid my imagination worked like the movies. I imagined myself as a character in my own film, exchanging dialogue with other characters.

Yeah, I was a bit of a contrarian when I was young, so didn't make a lot of friends. But, before you begin playing the world's smallest violin, I recall the friends I did make had an abiding love of the movies too.

I can say I learned to write dialogue by listening to movie lines, and recognizing the rhythm, appreciating the wit exchanged between characters who shared a sophistication that made me want to emulate them.

Who wouldn't want to be like Bogart? But if I couldn't grow up to be as cool as Bogie, Claude Rains would do, or even the immense Sidney Greenstreet, whom I adored.

The words that came out of their characters' mouths. No one could get the edge on them in a battle of wits.

And what in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?

My Health. I came to Casablanca for the waters.

The waters? What waters? We're in the desert.

I was misinformed.

Who talks like that? Nobody in my old neighborhood.

How I would have liked to have told a miserable old nun, "I'd despise you if I gave you any thought."

As I got older, I realized characters in movies didn't spout dialogue spontaneously. Someone had to put those words in their mouths. I began to appreciate good writing, particularly dialogue writing, how to make it sound natural, original, spontaneous.

Those conversations continued in my head, and when I arrived at a certain age I began to write them down.

Today, younger folks watch movies on screens barely bigger than the palm of one's hand. Dialogue ... clever repartee ... doesn't move the plot along as much as explosions do.


Is it any wonder the national discourse has been reduced to a childish tweet?



Friday, January 13, 2017

The Future of Indie Publishing - Selena Kitt's Predictions for 2017

I remember in the old days, back in 2010 (*rocking like the old-timer I am, in a chair on the porch*) when the ebook market was the wild west of publishing…There was gold in them thar hills, I tell you! So. Much. Gold! Those of us who got in early? We made out like bandits. Now, I know this isn’t 2010 anymore, but the metaphor of the gold rush still applies. The avenues to “easy money” have mostly been closed off in indie publishing. As Amazon continues their attempt to dominate the ebook market, other income streams narrow down to a trickle. And Amazon themselves continue to squeeze indie authors, offering them less in profits, while their algorithms force them to spend more money in ads to make a larger sum. 

Depressed? Dejected? Don’t worry. This isn’t the end of indie publishing. It’s just a shift in the market, and the best thing about indie authors is their ability to adapt. Yes, the market will continue to be flooded with new authors and more books. As the pond gets bigger, there will be a larger gap between the “big fish” and the “little fish,” and it will become even more difficult to gain visibility. But if you stick with it, and do all the right things, you can still make a career as an indie author. 

2017 holds a lot of promise. It may not be the gold rush anymore, but there’s still a lot of gold in them thar hills—you just have to work a little harder to find it. 

I think upping your marketing game this year will be key. Learn how to create effective ads with the biggest bang for your buck—or hire someone reputable who can do it for you. Amazon Ads will start giving Facebook ads a run for their money. Bookbub will continue to be effective (but less so than in previous years – we may have reached a saturation point there…) To be fair, most mailing list sites are less effective now than they’ve been in years previous. That said, many are still worth investing in to get the most eyes you can on your books. 

Unfortunately, I do believe that Amazon’s market share will continue to grow. However, I think we are starting to see the giant just beginning to stumble, now that they have to turn a profit and actually pay shareholders (and this isn’t limited to selling books). Amazon has made several missteps this year, and they’re battling widespread fraud (again, not just in ebooks) and I see this trend causing mistrust, both in their customers and their vendors. 

Amazon algorithms will continue to give boosts to KDP Select books, but given the issues that have recently come to light about “Kindle Unlimited” (not the least of which is Amazon’s inability to actually count the “pages read” they’re using to pay out to KDP Select author participants) authors may become more selective about their use of KDP Select as a marketing tool. Authors may put only certain books into the program, or put books in for just the first 90 days and then use sale prices coupled with a Bookbub ad (or a cluster of other smaller ads) to push the book wide. I believe authors will continue to use KDP Select, but many will begin to back off from the “all in” philosophy. Personally, I’ve never been a proponent of putting all your eggs in one basket. 

Still, Amazon will remain the elephant in the room, and I believe their own imprints will continue to dominate the top book spots on the site. Because of this, we may see authors seeking to go hybrid this year, whether it’s looking to become an “Amazon author,” or submitting to traditional publishing houses. 

I think growth in 2017 will be in foreign markets (where Kobo already has a foothold), as well as audio (where the market is still growing by leaps and bounds) and direct sales (which means sites like Gumroad and Patreon will gain even more popularity with authors). And while we’ve seen some small pubs down-size (like Samhain) and other smaller sites collapse (like All Romance Ebooks / Omnilit) others like Excitica and A1 Adult Ebooks (and their sister sites) will be around to pick up the slack. And as Amazon and other vendors crack down on more “adult” material, these sites will offer niche markets for subsequently disenfranchised readers and authors. 

My best advice for 2017 is to work smarter, not harder. It may feel as if you’re on a writing treadmill, forced to release something new every thirty days or so, and the truth is there are plenty of authors doing just that. And some prolific authors have found success doing so. There is certainly something to the formula of “writing to market, writing fast and publishing often.” But don’t worry if you’re not the 5-10K-a-day sort of author. You can still be successful writing just a book or two a year. How? 

Work smarter. Make sure you’re growing your own mailing list—and engaging with your readers on a regular basis. Don’t let them forget you exist (but don’t spam them—or annoy them—either). Readers like engaging with authors. And what they seem to enjoy most is authors with big personalities. So find your author persona and work it! I’ve seen authors do this in many different ways, from the inimitable Chuck Tingle to the sassy Jordan Silver. Take the best parts of you—the parts that others tend to be drawn to—and amplify them by ten. Turn up the volume. Be bold. Do and say the things that will make them remember you, in your newsletter and on social media. Just make sure you’re doing it from a genuine place. You’re just turning up the volume, not changing the channel! 

Also, remember that no author is an island. Find other authors who write things similar to you and work out a way to cross-promote and cross-pollinate on a regular basis. Trust me, even if you’re the most prolific author in the world, you can’t turn out books fast enough to keep up with readers. Cross-promoting keeps readers on your side. They’ll start looking to you for recommendations and it will help keep their interest while you’re writing your next novel. And if you find you really click with another author, you can always consider an author partnership. After all, two authors can writer faster than one! 

I don’t think 2016 was a great year for indies—but I do believe 2017 has the potential to be. No, 2017 won’t be anything like the gold rush year of 2010, but it’s still full of possibilities. I think the indie author community has grown together and become stronger over the years, and their future is still quite bright. Indies know how to adapt. They’re natural entrepreneurs, and even when the learning curve is steep, they’re willing to jump into the deep end to learn how to swim. 

Looking forward to 2017, I think indie authors will continue to innovate, push the envelope, and transform the face of publishing itself.

Selena Kitt
www.selenakitt.com

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

That's not a Story...

(...That's a Story)

 

By Belinda LaPage (ERWA Gallery co-editor)


Yes, I paraphrased Crocodile Dundee. I’m Australian. What did you expect? Move along.

Scene vs. Story

Erotica writers, have you ever written a hot little scorcher only to be told by some dilettante that it’s not a story?

Readers, ever read a hot little scorcher, only to realise you don’t remember it the next day?

Well, it might be for the want of Developmental Editing. It might be for the want of Structure.

Erotica, you see, lends itself handsomely to short stories—about twenty to forty minutes reading time—because … well, you know why. That’s about five thousand words, give or take. Plenty to lay down a solid foundation, followed by some solid banging. Job done—write another.

And there lies the danger. We as erotica writers want to get to the fun bit, so we set the scene quickly and get the action started. The result for the reader is gratification, but not recollection. It’s not something they’ll come back and read again. It’s not something they’ll recommend to a friend.

Sadly, it’s not a story.

That’s the problem. It’s actually just a scene, and there’s a difference.

A developmental editor (or a lovely ERWA Storytime subscriber) will find those missing key ingredients that make a story and help you build your scene into something greater. Why wait though? If you know what these key ingredients are, then you the writer can add them yourself. Before you commit, no less.
You can create … (pause for effect) … a story plan!

* * * *

Still with me? Thank goodness, because story planning sucks big time. I’m surprised you didn’t nod off. To make it more interesting, I’ll devote the rest of this post to a case study.

This is an actual story I’m actually about to write (so don’t freakin’ steal it, okay?).

Stroking up a Scene

Erotic scenes are easy. I have dozens of them in my ideas folder. All you need is a sexy, novel way for your protagonist to get his or her rocks off and you’ve got a scene.

Here’s mine. Matt goes to the Sperm Bank to make a deposit, but instead of porn in the donation rooms, they have assistants (sexy ones). So Matt gets PAID to receive a hand job. Fun, right? I can make it more fun pretty easily; the Sperm Bank is run by a convent and the nuns do the jerking off. Why? Because masturbation is a sin, silly.

The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank.

The title almost writes itself. We can make it more fun still by making Sister Mary Katherine a pretty young novice, and this is her first time at the altar, so to speak. A beginner like Mary Kate might very well over-commit collecting Matt’s donation, and a creative soul like me could easily bend this to a sweet First Time fantasy.

Now we have a sexy niche and kink, as well—First Time / Nun / Uniform Fetish. Let’s go write this sucker and make us some money.

What happens next? I bang it out (figuratively) and send it to my loyal band of beta readers, who say wonderful things like “lucky Matt”, and “Mary Kate was a treat”. Those guys are great for my ego. They’re not just being polite—they really enjoyed it. I write hot nuns like nobody’s business and they love that about me.

Buoyed up, I scribble a quick premise (blurb) and send it to a publisher, who gives me a “Thanks, but no thanks”. Maybe if they’re in a generous mood, they’ll bless me with a “Your characters and plot need more depth”, or perhaps just, “Under-developed”.

Then I cry for a bit, drink wine, and self-publish. Or …

What do you mean, ‘Under-developed’?


Or, I could get some help. Some developmental editing help. Someone who can explain to me the difference between a developed story and The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank.

Now, I’m no developmental editor, so I’ll skip the mechanics of what they do, and stick to the small but important subset of stuff I can do myself.

I’m a simple person, and I need simple instructions, so I have this cool checklist of questions in a spreadsheet. I fill it in before I begin writing. It helps me find gaps in my story—or in this case, gaps in my scene that stop it from being a story.

Q1. Who is the protagonist?

Duh! It’s Matt. The protagonist is the hero—the main character. Clearly, Little Sisters of Grace is about Matt.

Q2. How is the protagonist constricted?

Matt is imperfect in some way that drives his actions. All protagonists should be, because perfect people don’t behave in interesting ways.

Constricted … um, he’s horny? No, he’s broke. And sploodge-for-cash is Matt’s idea of easy money.

Q3. What is the protagonist’s goal?

Seeking the goal gives Matt something to do – hopefully it’s an interesting enough thing to get us reading.

Well, Matt wants to jerk off, but that’s the means, not the end. His real goal is making some quick cash. Why? What does he want to buy? A book? A case of beer? Does it even matter?

This is my first red flag. Whatever Matt is going to do with the money, it’s not going to make a shit of difference to the sexy nun awaiting him at the Little Sisters. You can’t just answer these questions with any old thing—they need to tie together.

I press nervously on to question 4 without a goal.

Q4. What is the protagonist’s focal relationship?

Secondary characters play off the protagonist and give us drama. This one is easy: Sister Mary Katherine.

Q5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

The antagonist stands in the way of Matt achieving his goal. This drives conflict and makes the story compelling. I have a list of generic possibilities:
·        Man vs Man (or woman, or monster, whatever), e.g. Little Red Riding Hood
·        Man vs Self, e.g. Bridget Jones’s Diary
·        Man vs God, e.g. Bruce Almighty

The list goes on: machine, society, the supernatural, nature, situation, fate. It’s good for blue-skying how conflict might guide the story.

In my case, who is going to stop Matt collecting? Red flag number two. The whole point of this story is that Matt gets his money, and that means he gets a hot ecclesiastical hand-job along the way.

My story clearly transcends antagonists. Who needs them? Moving on.

Q6. What is the conflict?

The protagonist acts towards his goal, the antagonist acts against them. That’s the conflict, and it makes a story interesting. It makes us invested in the protagonist and his quest. It makes us turn the page to find out ‘what next’.

No antagonist means no conflict. So now I’m really fucked. My system is telling me I don’t have story, all I have is an ending, albeit a happy one.

Back to the drawing board?

Okay, so Matt has no goal, no antagonist to stop him from reaching it, and no conflict to drive the story forward. And if we believe this blog, adding those things will turn Little Sisters of Grace into a story.

We didn’t have any luck thinking of a goal, so let’s skip that and find an antagonist. Maybe the goal will present itself later.

Pick one—how about Man vs Self? Matt could be the virgin instead of Mary Katherine. Let’s change his constriction from being broke to being inexperienced. So he’s reluctant, and the good Sister will need to try all sorts of tricks to coerce his donation. That could be the conflict. Matt can’t get it up, so Mary Kate gives him a blow job. MK’s hand and mouth work is unskilled, so Matt can’t reach climax. MK’s hand gets tired, so she has to use her … Okay, we can all see where this ends up.

Antagonist: check. Conflict: check. Goal? Still struggling. Matt’s goal now is to get his first real intercourse with a live girl, but it doesn’t explain how he ended up at The Little Sisters in the first place. Unless he already knew about their extraction technique, but that spoils much of the fun. It’s boring.

Tie it together: Goal – Antagonist – Conflict – Constriction

Start again. Let’s go back to my list of antagonists. Man vs man? Nope. Man vs Self? Tried it. Man vs God? Hold on a bible-bashing minute. Nuns? God? Surely this is a match made in heaven.

Matt vs God—let’s go with that. So God is acting against Matt. Does God want him to bone Sister Mary Kate? Or does He want to stop him? Mary Kate is doing His work, so clearly that’s what God wants. Does Matt want the opposite? No way, José, Matt wants MK like a duck wants bread.

So maybe Matt wants something else. Turn it around and look from another angle. God wants Mary Kate to do His work, so Matt wants …

Matt wants to do Satan’s work!

Yes, okay. Matt’s off about town and ready to do something evil, like rob a store, or bang a hooker, and God keeps thwarting him. His brakes fail and he crashes his car through a Little Sisters billboard. He tries to catch a bus, and the bus sweeps past at full speed, carrying off his bus-pass in the slipstream (with a Little Sisters sign on the back). Matt breaks down and cries, and a little old lady gives him money. Waiting for the next bus, Matt meets a homeless man and gives him the old lady’s money. Awww. The homeless guy gives Matt a business card: The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank—$20 per donation. Hilarity ensues.

Now all we need is an ending.

Q7. How is the protagonist changed?

Well, clearly if Matt was doing Satan’s work before, he must have changed for the better. He must repent and denounce his evil ways. No more hookers for Matt; he’ll be doing the Lord’s work, from now on. Maybe he could convert his friends. The Little Sisters are certainly up for it.

Now do we have a Story?

Do we have something that will keep the reader reading? Sure. It’s fun, it’s action packed, and there’s a payoff at the end. Will we remember the guy who bangs a nun at the sperm bank? Maybe not, but we stand a better chance if we make him work for it. A hot fantasy like that shouldn’t come for free.


Next time you’re critiquing a story on ERWA Storytime that just doesn’t grab you, but you can’t put your finger on why not, try out my seven questions. It might be because its only a scene, and maybe you can help the author turn it into a story.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Why Not? By M.Christian

In case you might be wondering what I've been up to lately, check out this link to the articles I've been doing for the great Future Of Sex site. Other things brewing, but writing about the sexuality of tomorrow has been a blast!

Why Not?

Every writer gets frustrated, especially when they've been rejected for stories that seem to be just what the editor was looking for: smart, stylish, deep, interesting, heartfelt, and all the rest. It was a sure winner, right?

But first, a quick word about rejection slips. Do they really express how the editor feels about your work? No, they don't. Now, that doesn't mean that some editors aren't being sincere when they send out their rejections—especially if they include a personal message with their generic rejection—but it's just about impossible for one editor to write to everyone who didn't make the cut. What's their answer? Enter the form rejection letter. They can be polite ("Sorry, your story didn't meet the needs of our publication"), cold ("Your submission was not satisfactory"), sympathetic ("I know how tough this is") or even rude ("Don't you EVER send me this drivel again") but they mean the same thing: better luck next time.

But there is a bright side. Think of it this way: at least that editor spent the time to send those notes out. There are still some cowardly editors out there who never reject; you just hear that your friends were accepted or the book comes out and you're not in it. At least getting a note—any note—means that you can now send the story somewhere else.

Now then, onto the Great Secret of Being Accepted. Are you ready? You sure? Okay, okay, put the baseball bat down. The Great Secret of Being Accepted is ....

There isn't one. If there were, don't you think I'd be selling it? If there were, then why the hell do I still get rejected? The fact is that even though you think, hope, and work really hard to give editors exactly what they want, the decision is still very subjective.

In my own case, I've been rejected because:
+ The story is too long by a few hundred words
+ The editor didn't get aroused reading my story
+ There is already a story selected that's set in New York City
+ The editor doesn't like the use of certain words in a story
+ The publisher may object to it
+ Some of the sex is "objectionable."

Now I've never used any of these reasons—either subconsciously or consciously—in rejecting a story, but that's just me. Every editor is unique, as are the criteria for taking, or not taking, a story. At first, that seems like a situation that should, nay must, be corrected somehow, but that's just the way the world works. The editor is the boss, and he or she is trying to put together the best book they can, using what stories they got, according to their own call for submissions. If there was a concrete method for selecting stories, we'd have books by machine, and anthologies created by a precise formula. Luckily for the reader, we don't, but this lack of a more scientific—or at least quantifiable—method for picking stories can be very frustrating for the writer.

If it helps, rejection never gets any easier to give or to get. As an editor, I hate to give them out, but I have to because I feel writers deserve to know whether they made the cut. I'm also in a position of having to put together the best anthology, as I see it. As a writer, I still get rejection notices and will get even more in the future. It's simply part of the writing life; good, bad, or indifferent. The only remedy I can offer is to keep writing because—as I've said before— the only way a writer fails is not when they get rejected but when they stop writing.

And by keeping at it—trying to write each story better than the last one, and never giving up—you'll stay on the road to becoming perhaps not a great writer, but at least a better one: published, rejected, or not.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The List Poem - A Writing Exercise

 by Ashley Lister


 Happy New Year everyone. I’m genuinely hoping that 2017 will be a year when we can all find the happiness and love that seemed to be such a scarce commodity during 2016. And, as this is my first post of the year, I figured I’d start with a fairly accessible form of poetry: the list poem.

That Bedroom Drawer

Condoms, dildos and a long-eared bunny
Novelty nipple-tassels that look quite funny
A thumb drive of films from PornoTube
And lots and lots and lots of lube

Crops and paddles and pairs of canes
An electric device powered by the mains
Lacy corsets, a satin basque
A leather morphsuit (with gimp mask)
A mould for making rude ice cubes
And tubes of fruity flavoured lube

Various hairbrushes, that have never seen hair
Toys that we will use (down there)
Sexy toys for sexy play
Loads of sexy lingerie
Cuffs and cats and broad bullwhips
A gag to go between your lips
Sexy clamps that bite at boobs
And lots and lots more tubes of lube

The list poem is a simple form.  We’re not looking for a particular rhyme scheme or meter.  All that we need is a list of items that suggest a larger picture. Back in 1989, Billy Joel sang ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ and used the list form to provide lyrics that gave a chilling view of post-World War II history. Before that we have list poems in sonnet form from the likes Elizabeth Barret Browning with Sonnet 43 ‘How do I love thee, let me count the ways…’

It’s a fun way to approach without the confines and restrictions of a rigid form and structure. And, as with all poetry, it can be lots of fun.  As always, I look forward to seeing your poems in the comments box below.