Although I didn't realize it at the time, I wrote my first erotica in 1969 when I was in first grade. For some reason, something possessed me to write the word "pussy" on my Hanna-Barbara bed sheet.
Waking me the next morning, mom noticed the nasty word scrawled in blue Bic ink. "Who wrote this?" she asked. When I blamed my little brother (who was only four), mom popped me for lying. Though her punishment didn't stop my fresh ass from thinking about girls (I don't think there was ever a time that I didn't LOVE women), thirty-one years passed before I actually wrote the word "pussy" again.
In 2000, writer/editor Carol Taylor contacted me in about contributing to her then upcoming collection of black erotic fiction Brown Sugar. Having known Carol since her Random House days in the 1990s, I'd always liked her laidback, cool intellectual manner. Yet, when she asked if I would contribute to her collection of nasty stories, I was taken aback. "I'm not sure I can do this?" I mumbled to Carol.
"I'm not sure I know the difference between pornography and erotica."
“Well, you could always write under a pseudonym.”
“Naw, I’m too much of an egotist to do that.”
Carol laughed. "Well, don't worry, I trust you."
Having always wanted to write short stories, I thought this would be a wonderful entry into that world. Still, since this was before Zane and other contemporary Black authors were exploring this literary terrain on a regular, those kinds of "nasty" stories was virgin territory for me.
Going to the library (in addition to scanning the overflowing shelves in my apartment), I soon rediscovered the poetics of eroticism in the works of Ntozake Shange, Anaïs Nin, Henry Miller, Chester Himes, among others. In addition, I watched a few films and videos by David Lynch, Hype Williams, Kar Wai Wong, Fellini, Truffant, Alfred Hitchcock and Spike Lee (no matter what anybody says, Girl 6 is my shit), and listened to a little Betty Davis, Brian Eno, Teddy Pendergrass, Madonna, Barry White and Joi as my soundtrack.
A few weeks and a many of glasses of white wine later later my first erotica story “Movie Lover” was finished. Since then, I’ve written more than a few erotica stories, but in trying to craft that first piece, I discovered that the difference between erotica and porn (at least for me) came down to the characters and story.
While this might sound elementary, you’d be surprised how many so-called erotica stories I’ve read that just string together sex scenes without giving much thought to characters, theme or atmosphere. Of course, all of that has to be mastermixed with a level of textual hotness, but as far as I’m concerned, if I don’t know the characters, who really cares about their sex lives?
Published in the debut issue of a new erotic journal Bunnie, my newest erotica short story “Brooklyn Bound” is the first I’ve written that takes place in the world of hip-hop. It’s a sweet S&M piece about a melancholy photo editor working at a leading rap magazine and “mixing business with leather” when he has an affair with beautiful rapstress Snazzy Cleopatra. Though it is one of the shorted pieces I’ve done, it is one of my favorites.
Below is an interview with Bunnie’s editor/publisher Lady De Montfort.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved in the world of erotica.
I have a wonderful friend who told me once 'from 0 to 35, people put their hooks in you, and from 35 onward, you work at taking those hooks out.' I have found for myself that this is absolutely true. Getting involved with erotica is about expressing my sexual self, and helping other people express their sexuality, too. It is also about promoting authors and artists as much as I possibly can.
What is the concept behind Bunnie?
Bunnie is produced a little bit like a subscription magazine, in that we publish a new themed 'issue' every two months, with a big 'best of' annual in December. We think of it as an art book - it's printed on gorgeous paper, and we include stunning erotic imagery along with the writing. We only produce 500 copies of each issue, and every one is hand numbered. So, besides each book being full of very good writing and images, it becomes a lovely thing to keep.
For people who might not know, what is the difference between erotica and porn?
To me, the difference is very subtle and very subjective. I think that erotica is about consensual sex: consensual BDSM, consensual voyeurism, even consensual abduction. It is about two (or however many) people getting down in a totally consensual, fun, experiential and perhaps experimental way. Also, I feel erotica is about exploring new sexual avenues. For instance, a person who may have always wanted to try a bit of spanking with their partner, but didn't know quite how that would work, could read some spanking stories first to see what they think. I think porn is great, too, but to me, porn is far more animal and less subtle. Also, I think a big distinction is that for the most part, porn is about perfect bodies and huge cocks, whereas erotica can be about anyone of any shape or size.
What are the rewards and/or dilemmas when editing a magazine like Bunnie?
The rewards are all about the people I've met. Every person that has had anything to do with Bunnie has been lovely, helpful, interesting and kind. The dilemma is when we get a story or image that really isn't right for us. But even then, I've found the person I've had to let down is very good about it.
What writers or filmmakers fuel your erotic imagination?
For me it is more about certain images than writers or artists. Peaches, phallus-shaped glass paperweights. Imagery in stories or films - girl-girl, anal sex or play - truly turn me on!
What are your future plans with Bunnie?
We just want to keep improving Bunnie and building a lovely following of people who want their limited edition copy of each issue. We want people to be excited about it and watch for the next issue. A few months ago, while riding in the back of a friend's car on a longish journey, I came up with all the themes for the next few years of Bunnie. This exercise was so hot, I had to have a quiet wank, right there in the car! In addition to this year's voyeurism, sex with strangers and outdoor sex issues, in future we'll have issues themed around toys, girls and cars, multiple partners, anal, high heels - the list goes on!
We'll be producing a Bunnie podcast shortly, Bunnie merchandise and a series of erotic postcards, just to name a few projects bubbling away.
Red Rabbit Books, our publishing company that produces Bunnie has big plans for other erotic books. We want to go places few others go - and look at issues such as erotica for disabled people, pregnancy erotica, and some fetish themes such as pantyhose.
The first issue of Bunnie, the erotic periodical, is now on sale. Featuring ten fantastic, juicy, erotic short stories and erotic artwork, it's a brilliant addition to your erotica collection, or a nice place to start. The fantastic first issue can be bought at the great price of £5.00!