NOTE: If this is your first visit to one of my pages, you might want to
check out my home page first, so you have an
idea where I’m coming from.
A little introduction is in order, no? In this, my first column,
I think I’m supposed to introduce myself to you — to tell you my height
and weight and cup size, list what I’m looking for in a lover, whisper
some of my kinky fantasies and so on. If that’s what you’re expecting —
well, you’ve wandered into entirely the wrong place. Try soc.singles or
one of the personals newsgroups. Intersmut has kindly given me some space
to babble and rant, to complain and praise — a place to share my views on
sexuality, erotica, and the state of the world at large.
Why, you may be wondering, should you care what this strange woman
on the other end of the terminal connection thinks? I recommend checking
out my web page – http://www.mamohanraj.com/ – for full details
(probably far more than you wanted to know). For now, I’ll just say that
I’m a moderately well-known erotica writer. And yes, I’m really female.
And sorry, I’m taken. Enough introduction (whoever thought that so little
could be said in so many words?) — on to the show.
The question I’m asked most often is “Why do you write this
stuff?” ‘Stuff’ referring to erotica, porn, smut, that disgusting,
filthy, child-corrupting garbage, etc. and so on. I’ve answered the
question in various places, but I figure the more I talk about this, the
closer I’ll get to the truth…so here’s another answer.
There are, of course, lots of reasons. Some of the simple ones —
it’s fun. I like shocking people. I like challenging people to open
their minds a little. It makes great dinner table conversation — “What
do you do, John?” “I work for Apple.” “Gosh, sorry to hear that. If
you need crash space, let me know, okay? And you, Sally?” “C2Net.” “Neat
little company. Nice encryption work. How ’bout you, Mary Anne?”
“Actually, I write porn for a living.” You can hear the jaws drop.
That’s not really why I do it, of course — it’s just a neat
by-product. That and all the cute chicks…you think rock stars get the
babes? You should see them flock around writers, so cute and bubbly and
enthusiastic, just begging to have a little sex story written just for
them… (you think I’m kidding, don’t you?)
Ahem. As I was saying. The real reason I write erotica is,
unfortunately, political. I’d love to live in a world where nobody had to
worry about that sort of thing — where men and women, hets and gays and
transgendered and other, old and young(ish) etc. could have joyous wet
dripping sex and TALK about it as much as they liked without Mrs. Grundy
getting all upset, and without having government people showing up on your
doorstep to take their kids away. Since we don’t live in such a paradise,
I feel it’s my moral obligation to change that.
Sure, there are a lot of other problems I’d like to fix. Let’s
get rid of racism and homophobia and classism and all the other isms while
we’re at it. But I sort of feel like I have a handle on a possible
approach to this problem, and I have to admit that a lot of the others
make me want to throw up my hands in frustration and despair. It’s
interesting — when I talk about sex with strangers, they often go through
a cycle of response.
First, barely concealed shock. What’s this nice young Asian woman
doing talking about sex??! Then barely concealed fascination. Then
not-so-concealed. Then they get comfortable and let their hair down, and
soon we’re chatting merrily about where to buy the best dildoes (Good
Vibrations) and do I like Pat Califia (gods, yes!), and does anyone think
all the positions in the Kama Sutra are really possible? If they hang
around me long enough, most everyone mellows out a little on the
And I don’t really think it’s anything specific to me, y’know?
It’s just a lot harder to hold culturally-ingrained moralistic attitudes
on subjects if you have to actually talk about them. Talk about them, and
you may find that you don’t actually believe what the world is shouting at
you to believe. Talk about them, and you figure out what you do believe.
Talk about them enough, and maybe you get angry enough to do something
about the real garbage being shoved down our throats — garbage like the
idea that sex is something dirty, something to be ashamed of.
I’m not going to claim I’ve never had bad sex. Sure I have. But
I’ve had bad dinners too (including a few I cooked myself), and I haven’t
given up eating. I definitely haven’t given up trading recipes and
cooking for my friends, and working on turning into a really good cook.
You can extend the metaphor, I’m sure.
Occasional abuses (or simple mess-ups) of a thing do not mean that
the thing itself is bad. Sex is simply amazing — in the joy it can
bring, the comfort, the pleasure. What a gift — that we can so easily
brighten another’s day, or life. I believe we should be working to
enhance our understanding and appreciation of the many aspects of
sexuality…not shoving it into a closet and turning out the light.
That’s why I write erotica, and run the Erotica Writers’ Workshop, and
have offered to help moderate the new soc.sexuality.general newsgroup
(right now at the Request For Discussion stage), and why I’m writing this
column. I hope it helps.
– Mary Anne Mohanraj
July 2, 1997
If you have ideas for future columns — issues you want addressed,
questions you think I might be able to answer, drop me a line at