Saturday, November 6, 2010

Enlightened Erotica


Our guest today at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two is R. Paul Sardanas. He is a true wordsmith with an incredible voice. His erotic romances and poetry are unlike any I've read. His poetry speaks of love and the struggles and empowerment of women everywhere. His romances are about strong women and the men who love them as their equals. When you read Paul's words, you'll come to know his deep respect and appreciation of all women.

And now for his thoughts on erotica.

Who would have thought that erotica could change the world? Who could have imagined that this, of all mediums, could evolve into a place where intelligent, sexually-empowered women could be portrayed without some form of demonizing, censorship or punishment? Where men could actually embrace and celebrate such women? Who could have believed that enlightenment could be this much fun?
Okay, let’s roll these thoughts back a bit.

When I began to write erotic poetry and literature, I was impressed by a number of things, but by nothing more than the fact that it is a medium filled with creative and professional people who are brilliant, strong, motivated, insightful…and almost entirely women. Yes, there are a few men too, and even they seem far more open minded than most of my fellow males. Of all the places I have sought for the company of men and women just like that, I wouldn’t have anticipated the world of erotic literature being the place I would find them.

But after all, why should that be a surprise? To go on the record, I’ve been appalled my whole life by the derogatory, often demeaning stereotypes and social roles applied to women in our culture. I grew up in a world where “good” women had no interest in sexuality, unless accompanied by a frivolous, swooning form of romance, which their male partners considered annoying but harmless. And what culture abounds with more sexually-tinged epithets for “bad” women? Consider this quote from Diana Rose Hartmann, in her article “Sacred Prostitutes”:

“Sexually empowered women are called bitches, dykes, ball-busters, etc., by both sexes. Sexually independent women, once respected as sacred vessels of the Goddess, are degraded as evil temptresses, obstacles between man and a sexless heaven.”

So to my mind, as men and women, we have a choice. To perpetuate the narrow, joyless vision embodied in that quote, or to embrace a life where our sexuality can be fulfilling, adventurous, fun, spiritually satisfying and exciting. Which is a reasonably accurate description of the world of erotic literature. And so we come back full circle, to changing the world.

The world I’d like to enhance with anything I write is that world of aware, empowered men and women. So in my erotic poetry, recently collected in a hardcover volume of works called “Touch in the Bed of Light”, I search with all the perception I can muster to lay bare the ways that lovers tragically fail in communication, mutual awareness, and pursuit of shared joy—and more importantly, to illuminate the ways they succeed. In one poem from the collection, I went all the way back to the “first couple”, Adam and Lilith (he had a wife before Eve, and not one crafted from his own rib).

The Black Lotus


She looks at it, mound of night-petals,
color of satin black, the flower of dream,
It floats in a vessel of water,
waiting for the moment when her lover comes to her.
It was, they say, the first flower made in Eden,
when man and woman were meant to know
epiphanies of vision divine, knowledge complete.
In its fragrance, dream is walked in flesh,
and the darkness that waits at the base of every
nerve is known, to feel and choose,
to flee, or yield to, and embrace.
So Lilith breathed the fragrance
of the black lotus, and looked at her mate
as a fount of blood, and hungered for him
beyond thought, wanting only to taste, drink,
suck, devour, and to have the same done to her.
Every daughter of Lilith carries that lust,
and as she waits, the scent brings her deeper
and deeper madness, coiling into her nostrils,
her mouth, until every fiber of her
cries out against the boundaries of the flesh,
yearns for the exaltation of the flesh,
for the scourging and grappling and insane
rushing hunger of the flesh.
He comes at last, and she lifts it from the water,
cupped in her hands, to hold before him.
She knows he sees her then with the eyes
of Lilith’s mate, and she laughs,
the fragrance of her own breath, a song
of need beyond enduring, beyond resisting.
His hands become iron heat,
closing around her throat when she wants
to scream her pleasure.
His cock impales her again and again,
until she is sure that her body must
shatter apart, for nothing could contain
such shrieking rapture.
He has torn the lotus from her,
crushed it in his hands, and the broken
petals cling to her, welded by sweat
across her breasts, across her eyes.
She doesn’t care; sight has been given,
sight enough for this, to see the torn flower
whole, in her mouth, to swallow at last.

http://rpaulsardanas.com/touchinthebedoflight.html

The Adam that I portray here is, sadly, the figure I see around me all too often in the everyday world. A man who can’t handle the concept of a woman of knowledge, a woman with sexual and intellectual equality—in short, a true partner. He tries to silence her, to overpower her, to tear apart the symbolic flower that embodies her equal awareness.

In my first novel for the erotic literature field, “The Order of the Golden Rose”, I wanted to portray a man and a woman who actually possess the strength that comes with open minds and open hearts—who have the potential and the desire to become that object of hope and fantasy—to become true partners. So I created Siobhan Bishop, a book expert, a practitioner of nature and sex magic, a woman secure in her strength and sensuality. In a way, the same woman from the Lilith poem above, updated to the modern world. Her lover in the book, Professor Richard Blake, has all the qualities of the strong alpha male that so often dominates the sphere of erotic literature, but he is not threatened by Siobhan, and welcomes her as an equal.

The first time they make love in the story they are not in their bodies at all, but join in a mystical vision, becoming images of awareness and passion. Here is the beginning of that scene:

Focusing again on the image of Richard in her mind, she envisioned his clothes falling away, followed by a further metamorphosis coming to his flesh. It began to glow from within, the surface of his skin growing lambent with light. Once again, if he had hurtful or destructive energies hidden inside him, they should show, becoming lesions or areas of shadow disfiguring him. But no hint of malevolence appeared. Confusion, uncertainty, weaknesses…those might be present, but those weren’t taints; more the legacies of being human.
Siobhan placed herself in the picture, allowing her astral self to shape its own appearance, taking whatever form would be in harmony with his. She could see herself from within and without. Before the image of Richard stood a woman rippling with golden flame, black hair alight with tiny halos like stars.

The intense sex that they share in the continuation of that scene, and throughout the flowering of their love that follows (despite the troubles, confusions and doubts that are inevitable and natural in any relationship), Siobhan and Richard are filled with respect and admiration for one another. As lovers should be.

Enlightened erotica, I hope.

Just think, what the world would be like, filled with such lovers. Lovers like the ones in erotic literature, who in their own way, give readers entertainment and delight—and with that, a changing view of what we can be with those we love. If it is mostly women writers bringing us this vision through their stories, then men would do well indeed to listen to their message, and in their own way, join them, as I have. Changing the world, with a kiss.

To view more of R. Paul Sardanas’ work, including excerpts from “Touch in the Bed of Light” and “The Order of the Golden Rose”, as well as previews from the second Siobhan Bishop novel “The Blood Jaguar”, please visit www.rpaulsardanas.com.

62 comments:

Tess MacKall said...

Congratulations on all your latest releases, Paul. You already know how fond I am of everything you write. I'm equally sure that everyone here at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two will love your words as well.

The Black Lotus, to me at least, is the perfect portrayal of the struggles of women since the dawn of time. But your words also breathe hope in the way you portray Lilith's sexual awakening. With knowledge comes freedom in all things.

And if anyone is looking for the perfect erotic mystery/thriller--they need look no further than the Siobhan Bishop Erotic Underworld Series. The Order of the Golden Rose is an amazing book filled with mysticism and twists and turns that simply blow me away. Can't wait for your next release--The Blood Jaguar.

Thanks so much for being our guest today and allowing us to introduce you to all the followers here at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two.

Natalie Dae said...

Hi Paul!

I've read The Order of the Golden Rose and must say it's very well written, a page turner, and some turns of phrase are so beautiful they gave me goose bumps and made me want to cry--in a good way!

A thoroughly enjoyable read, especially how the past ties in with the now.

Olivia is an absolute BEAST of a woman, very well portrayed as the scorned lover--I hated her, as I should have--but do you have any plans to write another book involving the characters from the distant past, Genevieve and Bronson? I fell in love with their story and would like to see their relationship from start to finish.

:o)

Faith said...

This book is a definite for my TBR pile. It's prolly going to me a Christmas present to myself, lol.

Tess MacKall said...

Hmmm...that's a great idea, Nat. A historical tale about Bronson and Genevieve. That would be pretty amazing.

The Order of the Golden Rose is a definite page turner.

Tess MacKall said...

That would make a very good Christmas gift to yourself, Faith. I need a copy of your Darkness of Sable for my library too. I've read it, but need to own it too. lol

Gem Sivad said...

I haven't read this book, but I'm adding to the TBR pile right now.

Thanks for the poetic imagery and for sharing your enlightened words on women and their sexual journey to true freedom.

gem

Tess MacKall said...

Questions for Paul:

What credit do you give the overall women's movement to the general empowerment of women and how we all eventually ended up writing erotica?

Writing erotica--when you think about it--how woman are perceived even NOW with respect to anything sexual in nature, is pretty risky for any woman's reputation. We've all talked about how we've lost friends and are basically looked at kind of crooked, lol, when anyone discovers what we write.

Writing erotica is still taboo--so why is it women seem to be in control of this genre?

Faith said...

Tess, I need to buy a few more copies of The Darkness of Sable myself, lol. With the hubby's job not having the repair orders delivered on time, they were off several days, so now we're ALL playing catch up. One of the things that has to be put on the backburner during such times is my buying books. {{whimper}} I'm a bookaholic!

R. Paul said...

Thank you for the welcome, Tess, and thank you to all of the Three Wicked Writers Plus Two. I appreciate the support and enthusiasm you have given to my work so much. Some visitors to today's blog may not know that Tess was the editor for "The Order of the Golden Rose", and brought great insight and a remarkable professional eye to the project.

When I wrote "The Black Lotus", I did indeed want to use the metaphor of the first man and woman (Lilith came before Eve, of course)to express some of what I felt were the roots of the struggles women have faced in societies all through history. As I mention in the blog, I have always been appalled at the inequity and disrespect aimed toward women in our society, and have felt as a writer and a man, that it is not a subject I wanted to sit quietly about.

In the poem, set in the Garden of Eden, Lilith (as Eve also did after her)desires knowledge and awareness, and wants to share that along with her passion with "Lilith's mate", or a man who she embraces as an equal. Adam can't deal with this, and responds as so many men do, sadly, with violence, with blindness -- attempting to choke off and dominate the woman who offered him the fierce passion of a spiritual and physical equal. But in the end, you are right, Tess. If Adam wouldn't embrace the sexually and spiritually awakened woman, then Lilith embraces it in herself, and so there is hope.

In "The Order of the Golden Rose" I explored some of this theme as well, wrapped in an erotic mystery/thriller -- "The Black Lotus" actually appears in the book, along with a portrayal of another couple from the depths of time, Isis and Osiris. The twists and turns of the plot were fun and a challenge to do -- in essence I worked to tie together mysticism and real-life history, like the secret occult societies of the late nineteenth century (My "Order" was based loosely on the Order of the Golden Dawn, which boasted members like William Butler Yeats), and the Emerald Necklace chain of parks and forested areas in and around Boston (my home for many years). Of course the heart of the story rests in the two lovers Siobhan Bishop and Richard Blake, who embody a stong man and woman unafraid of one another's strength, quite unlike the original Adam.

I am looking forward too to the second in the series, The Blood Jaguar, which is scheduled for December release. Siobhan and Richard travel to Florida (my current home) and are caught up in an erotic vampire culture unlike any in the current vamp rage in literature...

R. Paul said...
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R. Paul said...
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Anonymous said...

Very well said, R. Paul. As a friend of yours, it never ceases to amaze me, what writing adventures you get yourself into! I also loved The Order of the Golden Rose AND Touch in the Bed of Light - those poems actually blew me away. I appreciate all you are saying about the empowerment of women through erotica. Quite a concept! and, yes, I would love to see a historical erotica with Bronson and Genevieve. Can't wait to read The Blood Jaguar as well! You're definitely on a roll. Keep em coming, no pun intended.

R. Paul said...
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R. Paul said...

Sorry for the multiple comments above, my browser went a little crazy on me...

Natalie, I'm delighted to meet you, and thrilled you have read The Order of the Golden Rose.

As I mentioned in my reply to Tess, it was fun and quite a challenge to tie the past and the present together so closely in the story. Thank you so much for your thoughts on the poetic nature of some of the language in the book.

Writing Olivia (who is eminently hatable) was also a challenge -- she is in an intriguing way a female avatar of the "unenlightened man" that I portrayed Adam as in "The Black Lotus" - a turnabout of the Adam/Lilith dynamic. And yet she is pushed into this approach to life by the fact that the only way she can succeed in the world (or at least this is the way she perceives things) is by adopting the worst of men's attributes (desire for power and control, obsession with violence, manipulation through intimidation), so in that regard she is both villain and victim.

I would love to write a story portraying the two characters of The Order of the Golden Rose's "understory" -- the nineteenth century lovers Bronson Alexander (a poet and occult Magus) and Genevieve Poulos (a genuinely powerful woman and nature mystic). Though their story is a tragedy, I came to fall in love with both characters.

R. Paul said...

Faith, thanks for coming by! You and I write about many similar subjects...the mysticism in your own "The Darkness of Sable" is mesmerizing, and I love the character of Sable herself (what a beautiful name). I already have the book, so I will need to make your next release my present to myself...

Thanks again!

R. Paul said...

Tess, you and Natalie are definitely giving me ideas about a Bronson/Genevieve book -- what a delight it would be to tell their story set in New England at the turn of the Nineteenth/Twentieth century! As you know, in the story she turns the brilliant but dark Bronson away from a destructive life, and even though their tale has a tragic ending, it turns full circle to a happy one in their 100-years-later spiritual counterparts, Siobhan and Richard.

R. Paul said...

Gem, great to meet you!

Thank you for the good words -- and yes, I think men can and should embrace enlightenment about the sexual, spiritual and intellectual journey of the women in their lives and in society. It is long, long overdue, and I will always use the power of words to the best of my ability to hasten that enlightenment. What a world that would be! It's the world I long to live in.

Natalie Dae said...

R. Paul...PLEASE write it! It'd go straight to the top of my TBB list if you did, and I mean that sincerely.

Faith, make sure you do buy this for yourself. You won't regret it, I promise. It's so rich, many themes and layers, and I actually read it in one day. LOL! Couldn't put it down.

:o)

R. Paul said...

Tess, to answer your comment about the women's movement, in the late sixties I was just on the edge of becoming a teenager, and I was always intensely agitated by what I thought to be injustice -- to me at the time of my own sexual awakening a few years later, I was thrilled to think that society might at last be casting off some of the chains imposed on both sexes by the destructive disempowerment of women. So I was a feminist right from the get-go.

The empowerment that I've seen in the decades since then makes me very happy, but it is not nearly enough.

Those of us who have turned to writing erotica really do have an opportunity to push that empowerment forward. We can portray sexually powerful relationships that destigmatize sexuality in general, just by showing couples enjoying one another's bodies and souls. Even in portrayal of troubled and unenlightened relationships we shine a light on the hurtful things we do to one another.

But you're right, for a woman (or a man, for that matter) to write erotica really does bring us onto risky ground (as is true for all revolutionaries, even if only of the mind). I use a pseudonym for that exact reason, as I don't make enough from my writing to support my family, and my day job is rife with religious and conservative individuals who would unquestionably ostracize me if I wrote under my true name. How sad...how ridiculous really! Here we are writing about a subject that every adult is interested in and excited by, and that brands us as outlaws. But that can change, and we are the ones who are changing it by putting our work out there.

My own thoughts as to why women are largely in charge of the genre go all the way back to Adam again. I frankly don't think that most men can deal responsibly with a field that portrays sexuality in a way that entertains with a minimum of exploitation. Now that is a blanket statement, and by no means true of all men, but women do seem to have embraced the field of erotic writing with enthusiasm and awareness, which to me, is marvelous. I'm proud to be working in the field with you.

R. Paul said...

Anonymous, thank you for the validation. I have actually balanced writing novels and poetry all through my adult life, though it was the poetry that first took hold in the public spotlight. So I am thrilled to see the poetry collection "Touch in the Bed of Light" being received as enthusiastically as it has been. I went far out to the horizons of sensuality between men and women in that collection, writing about joyful relationships, and also about damaged (and damaging) ones, from myth to contemporary life.

Hmm, the Bronson and Genevieve story is getting me excited...

C. Zampa said...

These excerpts were terribly beautiful.

My dream would be to pen words such as that, which transcend just 'sex' and go deep into the inner sould where sex SHOULD originate from. To me, THAT is erotic, and intensely beautiful!

I'm going to have to buy your book, Paul!

And it's a pleasure to meet you.

Madison Scott said...

Thanks for blogging with us today. Your post was incredible. Thanks for sharing it with us.

I have found a new author to read!

R. Paul said...

A pleasure to meet you too, C.! I will have to explore some of your writing, as well.

I agree with you completely...true, loving and alive sexuality is born in the soul, and when it can be shared there as well as through the body, that is the purest, most joyful eroticism.

What could be more beautiful than that?

R. Paul said...

Thank you for having me, Madison! I love reading all the posts here on Three Wicked Writers Plus Two. Your entire quintet of creative minds and passionate souls is very special.

Anonymous said...

Hey R.
I never could have imagined that Erotica could be filled with equality between the sexes until I read your fabulous poetry and books!
Amazing what romance and real love brought to the picture can do, and then you threw in magic and had me hook, line and sinker.
I can not wait to read the next book in the Golden Rose Series, and I love the idea of telling the back story with Bronson and all...

I have to admit though the word Erotica still sticks in my throat when I describe your writes, they are so much more than that.

Star to star
Kristaline

Regina Carlysle said...

Hi Paul! I had the pleasure of reading some of your erotic poetry several years ago. Tess turned me on to it and I came away knowing you 'got it'. It's all more than sex, isn't it? I think that's why women make up the lion's share of erotic writers. Weaving soul, dreams, hopes & fears into the physical and making it something more.

Thanks for coming by today! I certainly look forward to reading more of your work.

kellicollins said...

Oh man...another author for my TBR pile. I really need to stop reading blogs. Like I don't have enough to read. :)

R. Paul said...

Thanks for being here today, Kristaline! You know, I had the same feelings about the word "erotica" for a long time. Even classic writers of such works, like Anais Nin, seemed to be considered on the one hand with fascination, and on the other with degrees of disdain because the subject explores sexuality. The long, long years of exploitation of sex in society leave their mark even on open minded people. My writing in this field will always be as much about the soul as it is about the body. To me, that is the definition of erotica -- and it is exciting to have discovered that publishers and readers alike will embrace works like that.

R. Paul said...

Regina, you couldn't be more in touch with what I believe is the heart of erotic and sensual creativity. And I believe you are right, overall, women do see that aspect of their lives as you so perfectly describe it:

"Weaving soul, dreams, hopes and dreams into the physical..."

I hope that even in a small way, my writing can help men to realize what they are missing when the look at sensuality without those qualities. There is nothing so fulfilling and empowering as men and women embracing one another as equals, in mind, heart, body and soul, and in the everyday world as well.

R. Paul said...

Thank you Kelli, I have the same problem! I read amazing blogs like these here on Three Wicked Writers Plus Two, and I immediately have more and more books that I MUST read! But that's a problem I love to have.

Debbie Gould said...

I want to thank Tess for introducing your writing to us. Your story had definitely piqued my interest and I'll be picking up The Order of the Golden Rose. It's premise appeals to me.
And, since I haven't been able to put pen to paper lately, I may was well read. Your Golden Rose sounds like my kind of story.

Debbie Gould said...

BTW, The Blood Jaguar sounds like it's going to be a good one also.

R. Paul said...

Hi Debbie, thank you for coming today! I hope that you enjoy "The Order of the Golden Rose" and the "The Blood Jaguar". Each book in the series will have Siobhan and Richard involved in a unique, wholly different branch in the vast landscape of mysticism (and sensuality)- a subject that fascinates me to no end. Just the research into things like the nineteenth century secret occult societies for "Golden Rose", and Aztec culture for "Blood Jaguar", are exciting and fun. I hope you will let me know your thoughts when you ultimately read the books!
Thanks again.

Debbie Gould said...

Just downloaded it. Even though I have to go run some errands, I wanted to read the first page. Well the first page turned into the first chapter, and now I'm running late. Seems Olivia is up to no good. I can't wait to get back to the story!

Natalie Dae said...

Yes! Debbie is HOOKED!

:o)

Debbie Gould said...

Was there ever any doubt. You know my tastes. In what I read and write.

So yes, I got caught up in reading it and now Hubby is home and want's to do more errands. I could have had mine done in an hour, now I fear it will be much longer. Sigh!

Farewell for now.

R. Paul said...

That's exciting, Debbie! Thank you.
(And yes, Olivia is up to no good).

I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on the tale...

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Another enlightening post, R Paul. If only more men shared your views, showing respect and love, equality and understanding to the women they claim to love, instead of domination and degradation, whether it's a conscious act or not.

Lots women in the South go from being under a father's rule to that of her husband. When will men realize that once respect and trust are given, a woman will do anything in their power to make their partners happy?

As you say, "change the world with a kiss."

This topic IS and always will be dear to my heart. :)

Anne Rainey said...

Thanks for blogging with us! And congrats on your latest release. :)

R. Paul said...

It's a topic dear to my heart too, Lisa. Here are a few stanzas from a poem called "Blood in the Crystal Space" from my "Touch in the Bed of Light" collection, depicting a woman who has freed herself from an abusive marriage, and is reclaiming her own sexual feelings...

...She thinks about her ex-husband;
a wash of crimson slides over her thoughts,
and his permanent absence from her life
positively turns her on.
Her mind for so long has been as detached
as a locked cabinet of Waterford.
Could she have been capable of staying so long?
Of sinking into so complete a lie?
She must have been.
How shallow we can be, to think that a pleasure tinged
in the caress of pain, requires cruelty for a companion.
Sometimes we just batter against the walls of life,
embrace in need without awareness, with some manufactured excuse,
just to feel something, to feel anything.
She had no regrets in leaving the bastard.
Charm, elegance and cruelty; he was a jagged crosshatch
of pictures she had toyed with for years, ashamed of her desire
for a harsh edge to her passions,
thinking she had to be punished for it.
***
The poem goes on to depict her pleasure in reclaiming sexual desires that had always belonged to her, and yet the man in her life had made her feel ashamed of. Sometimes, as you say, to be thought of a father's possession and then a husband's, can be dehumanizing, and when the cultural concept that a woman with sexual feelings is "bad" is layered onto that, it sets things up for tragedy and pain.

I love the awareness and caring you always show, Lisa...to your friends and fellow writers, to your readers, and ever-so-deservedly, to yourself.

R. Paul said...

Anne, thank you for having me here! It has been a wonderful experience, and I am loving reading the thoughts of all the Three Wicked Writers Plus Two here on the blog pages. You've created a marvelous forum for both fun and awareness...a combination hard to beat!

SamWB said...

Hey R, I have been looking forward to this blog :) You know how I love this "topic".

Firstly, I am going to reiterate how fantastic your writing really is. Rarely do I find erotica that I don't throw at the wall within minutes. So yes, "enlightened" is the truth.

Lilith! The orginal "Sin". It is sad that I see so much weakness around me, yet the spirit of her strength is comforting. As an empowered woman myself, with many of my own ideas and interests, I frequently impale myself on the fence spike of the man who deems himself worthy and then changes his mind in haste. Are we threatening? I think so...

I have much more to say, and to that end I will be back. I am exhausted after a busy day but I wanted to swing by and tell you how fabulous you are!

xx Sam xx

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

As always, your words bring tears to my eyes. The acute perception you have for senselessness abuse, the cruelties women have suffered for generations. I've seen the detachment you speak of in the eyes of someone I love more than life itself. It's something I'll never forget.

Tess MacKall said...

Paul...you just made my day. I'm officially a revolutionary. God I love the sound of that. lol

Your understanding of women and the ways of the world is as usual right on target.

I think that men as a whole have a difficult time in simply letting go emotionally. And in reading Regina's response to my question as to why so many women write erotica and not as many men--I think she helped nail it down even further. As you said, men--but let's not make that a blanket statement--in general, can't deal with portraying sexuality well enough. When a man writes erotica--not you, my friend--he generally writes more about the sex act itself than what the sex act should make you feel. Just as Regina said--it's more about the soul--unleashing mind, body, and soul.

Tess MacKall said...

Lisa...your own books deal with the theme of women starting over from abusive relationships. A lot of Paul's poetry deals with the pain women have suffered. You should read more for sure. God, his words are so beautiful. So uplifting.

Tess MacKall said...

Hey Paul--I know for an absolute fact that when Debbie gets past the first page and before she knows it is through the first chapter and complaining about having to put the book down that she LOVES the book.

Poor girl--she'll be up all night reading. lol

R. Paul said...

Sam, you and I have both written our share about Lilith, and what she represents to us -- your stength as a woman and person shows in your own amazing writing, as it does here, in this excerpt from your poem "Thoughts on Losing Lilith":


"Will you match me in strength and faith?

and not ask that I lie beneath you

still and tolerating as the beast you tamed and refused?"


She bears Sin, the first

Of independence and strange notion

The blood of a hardened mind shows

Within universal eyes

Weakness desert me!

I cannot contain us

The burden is hers

To re-live...

To hold...

Forever more.


Is an empowered woman threatening? We have been talking about that here today, and of course my personal answer is no, of course she isn't. An empowered woman is glorious, in friendship and in love, able to both teach and learn, as an empowered man should be. But of course, in the wider world, the answer is often yes, she is, and has been through history, threatening to many men.

Why should this be? I mean, what is the appeal of disempowering your radiant partners in life? I understand that men (myself included) are often trained that the display of emotions, even the desire to understand emotions, is "unmanly". To then as an adult be faced with the complexity that comes from empowered and aware emotions in a friend or a mate can be too much to process for many. I can understand that. But what I can't understand is the inability of so many men (and not just now, all through history), as reasoning beings, to change. To respond to feelings of intimidation with oppression is senseless. For a man to do that not only ravages the emotion and spirit of the women in his life, but ravages his own life at the same time.

I want to challenge the notion that men who listen, men who are openly caring, men who want mates who are equals, are somehow abdicating the title of "alpha male". The acceptance of equality does not eviscerate you as a male -- nor does it mean a woman is no longer feminine. Your Lilith and mine, Sam, are powerfully, gloriously feminine, the more so for their empowerment. So would my Adam be stronger, more self-aware and assured (more honorably male, not un-male), by embracing his strong, intelligent, sexual, aware, and profoundly feminine mate.

(and lest I forget, to others reading this who are not familiar with Samantha Birch's work, she is a phenomenal writer, a poet of singular power, and I had the honor to publish her poetic collection "Beat")

R. Paul said...

Lisa, I know you write with great strength about the experience of starting over after working free from abusive relationships, and you do it in a medium that offers so much hope to those who long for love in their lives that is free from cruelty. Yes, I have seen that detached look in the eyes of people I care deeply for, and you are right, that can never be, or never should be, forgotten. But as writers, we can bring a glimmer of light into those eyes, and what a gift that is.

R. Paul said...

Tess, you didn't know you were (and are) a revolutionary? Damn straight, my friend. You are on the front lines.

As we've talked about above, you take the risk in your life of writing works that probably brand you a "scarlet woman" in the eyes of people fond of labels and judgment. And at the same time you are astonishingly dedicated to your family, and unwilling to relinquish the formidable powers of you mind and creativity. I think you are right, that men are conditioned not to be aware of their feelings (or that "sexual feelings" actually have depth!). Of course you are also right in this not being a blanket statement. I know men that I admire immensely, who are strong alpha males and who are not in the least threatened by strong alpha females. All it takes is that moment of understanding about how fulfilling it is to go beyond the surface sensations of sex, and as you and Regina (and many of the commenters here today) have said, unleash the mind, body and soul in conjunction when celebrating our sexuality.

R. Paul said...

Debbie, I'm still flabbergasted that you went right out and bought the The Order of the Golden Rose...and I hope it does bring you pleasure (even if it keeps you up late). Thanks again (and as always, thank you, Tess. I'm sure that Debbie will see your hand in the editing of the book, which polished and refined it, bringing out strengths I scarcely realized were there.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Tess, you're so right. I do plan to read R Paul's work. I've got to. :)

And R Paul, no, that look should never be forgotten. And that's all I try to do through my writing, bring back that glimmer of hope.

Debbie, read on lady!! :)

Melissa Bradley said...

Very eloquent and provocative. I will definitely be checking out your books, R. Paul. I love how erotica empowers not only its writers, but its readers to push boundaries.

I love very strong female characters, women who are as aggressive and physically powerful as men. I think Kara Thrace, Starbuck, from the Battlestar Galactica series is an ideal woman.

To that end I'm working to create a female warrior type who gets involved with a man who has more of the strengths typically thought of as female. He's going to be the nurturer. I also love the idea of two alphas who are equally dominant going at each other in the bedroom with the surrender being mutual, not woman to man.

R. Paul said...

Thank you Melissa, and I love the concept of the female warrior you will be writing. Let us know when you've developed the story, so we can read!

I also think the character of Kara Thrace is a remarkable creation. When I saw that the (formerly male) character of Starbuck that I had watched as a teenager was being re-created as a woman (and a strong, complex woman at that)I cheered long and loud!

I look forward to learning about more of your work, Melissa. Thank you!

SamWB said...

R, thank you for quoting my work :) "Thoughts on Losing Lilith" is a work dear to my heart and I intend to write much more on this wonderful subject.

I always feel amazed at the 'ease' with which a man can suddenly feel emasculated when faced with a woman who is not only willing, but hungry, to participate in the joys and struggles of life. As a woman, I don't want to dominate, I simply do not want to sit on a shelf in a background weaving talents only a woman "should".

And all this aside, I crave a man to be a man, the 'Alpha male' exists in more than 'carving the meat'. A man who has the depth and security to understand this, and still tread securely on the long path we call existence is surely a king. It's not about being the new age definition of "sensitive" or "understanding" but REALLY, REALLY about celebrating depth and security with who you are. This works on both sides. I like to be feminine, I enjoy my 'role' but there is a difference between this and the expectation to fulfill expectations. A man who is sure of himself without being an arsehole is a man who will bring out the woman in me, in all her possible incarnations.

Tags and labels of what society expects should not be used as a measure of maleness or womanliness? haha.... it is found inside. Hold your head up and walk without false pride. Walk WITH me, not in front of me ... and never expect me to lie beneath you 'silent and unquestioning' - I don't want it all... I want an equal share - we are human beings after all.

Lilith is the symbol of that first question - 'why?' and I LOVE her for it.

Once again, you have awakened my inspiration! Watch this space :)

xx Sam xx

R. Paul said...

Sam, my pleasure in quoting your exquisite "Thoughts on Losing Lilith".

And your thoughts on the illusion of feminine empowerment somehow emasculating the male ego are right on. I have often read (from both men and women)the belief that strong women are somehow anti-feminine, that to be equals in the home, in business, in the bedroom, transforms a woman into that quote I cited from Diana Rose Hartmann -- one epithet after another.

The plain fact is, if a man is threatened in his alpha male status by a strong woman, than he was never a strong man to begin with.

Remember that line from the old rock song "Lola"? "Girls will be boys and boys will be girls/It's a mixed up, shook up, muddled up world/Except for Lola, la la la la Lola..."

Lola is strong, sexually empowered, and intensely feminine.(In my teens it was a Lola -- or a Lilith -- that I wanted to date).

To secure, enlightened couples, the roles partners can share with one another are a matter of choice. Woman can be women and men can be men, and they can walk side by side.

As for domination and submission, if those things come as a result of communication, trust, respect and honest desire, then a strong woman or a strong man might enjoy a position of submission or domination sexually. To be physically "on top" or "on bottom" (or to have those roles switch), when mutually desired, clearly communcated, and entered into with shared trust and respect...well, more power to such lovers!

I'm glad beyond words to see you inspired, Sam...it means some incredible writing is coming soon from you...

Fiona said...

Paul, how appropriate that your name is the same as the man I've been married to for almost 30 years. He is not threatened by a strong woman who owns her own sexuality. Instead, he once told me that he didn't care how many men I had been with in my past, as long as he was the last one...that everything I had done before him was okay with him, because it made me the woman I am, and he loves that woman. I write about strong women who are not looking for a man, and the man they meet who is attracted to them...they have wildly enjoyable sex, then one or the other realizes they belong together for the long-term, and the rest of the book tells that story. I also use an assumed name, mostly because I live in an area where what I write would be considered pornography. But my brother tells me that what I write is actually considered "vanilla", since I write about M/F with marriage/children the usual outcome. I guess you can't please everyone...but it's wonderful to hear that there are other men in the world who share my husband's (and our 3 sons') enlightened viewpoint.

R. Paul said...

Fiona, I'm delighted to meet you, and equally delighted to hear the story of a marriage like yours, to a man secure and enlightened enough to cherish a strong woman.

Your writing too sounds like it reflects the pleasure and fulfillment in your real life, and that is marvelous indeed.

Isn't it the most absurd thing, that we should write about love and sex and delights that fill the soul, and yet some people would label that "pornography"? And here you are writing M/F relationships with marriage and children resulting. Ah well. Open minds embrace creations as beautiful as that (recognizing that fulfilling sex truly is beautiful), and those are the minds I hope are attracted to my work anyway.

You must write to me and let me know about your books, so I can explore them. Thanks again, Fiona!

CharlotteSometimes said...

"The plain fact is, if a man is threatened in his alpha male status by a strong woman, than he was never a strong man to begin with."

Yes, this is the truth. I don't think it's their fault really. The messages in today's society are mixed up. I don't think men know what they are supposed to be anymore. The roles have become fuzzy throughout years of 'right on' campaigning and such. I can also empathise because the same can be said for women, the 'wonder woman' phenomena is not one that is easy to cope with - Education and high powered jobs are to be maintained whilst hosting a beautiful household and knocking out a couple of perfect kids are the same time - hmmm... maybe we all took on too much?

No wonder things got confused in the bedroom - it's a recipe for hang ups and mental torture I think.

And yes, D/s - the psychological paradox of control - it has always fascinated me as you know. The psychology can be applied to the general side of life too I think.

:)

CharlotteSometimes said...

that last comment was SamWB btw... google accounts got confused! I ended up with 3 after only signing up for 1!

grrrrr

x

Tess MacKall said...

Charlotte/Sam...LOL

I have to agree with you. I've long said that the role of men in present day society is a hard row to hoe. And I'm a huge fan of the women's movement. Was and am a part of it. But I kind of feel for the guys out there. Really do.

They get plenty of mixed signals. It's hard for them to understand the code sometimes, I think--heck, a lot of times.

We women want our men strong--but we don't want them to be so strong they usurp our power and push it to the side. There's got to be a fine line there and who knows exactly where that line is-- as the boundary is different for each and every woman--and just when the line has been crossed until it's too late.

Communication, of course, is the key, but sometimes that can be tricky too.

R. Paul said...

Charlotte/Sam and Tess, I agree with your thoughts about how society has put men and women into terrible double-binds -- in many ways it can indeed be a recipe for hang-ups and mental torture.

That said, I think a lot of men just pass on trying to communicate and work through the individual issues of building a relationship with a strong woman. They either run away, or sink to the age-old brute-skills of intimidation and force. Relationship issues, sexual, emotional, practical... will be different in every couple, and of course the first step for any man would be to do some thinking about what he feels and how that relates to the woman in his life. This is not something society trains men to do very well, but sorry guys, we are grown-ups presumably, and we can use our intelligence and awareness to work it out even if it isn't handed to us by worthy mentors or teachers in life.

I know it is complex. But some things are simple. Respect your woman. Don't feel threatened by the natural fact that her sexuality is just as powerful and deeply layered as yours. Listen to her, and respond honestly, not out of some preconceived notion of a "man's role" or a "woman's place". Do just those things, and the chances of a fulfilling connection (not just for her, but for you)are immeasuably enhanced. Of course you can still be strong, an "alpha" if that is what you are, and there is remarkable strength, dignity and attractiveness in "beta" men too, if that is your natural inclination.

Of course one irony here is that the audience among erotic readers and writers is almost exclusively aware women and enlightened men. I am preaching to the choir. People who are open to the concept of discovering (and getting pleasure and satisfaction) from their bodies and souls are remarkably perceptive about how to learn and grow through consciousness of those pleasures.

That goes back to what I expressed in the blog at discovering the quality of the people both writing and reading in the erotic genre. Strong women who write about an intense and important facet of everyone's life, and men (authors and readers both, even in the minority) unthreatened, and in fact welcoming, friends and lovers of that quality.

Sam, I have also been fascinated by the dynamics of D/s, and how they can be applied in everyday life, not only in the sexual realm.
The focus in that community seems filled with intense communication, permission given before behaviors can be adopted, and self-awareness of what is okay and not okay. Pretty good tools for a positive experience in life, even out on the extremes of desire. As you say Tess, those boundaries are different for every woman and every man, as they are everywhere from the bedroom to home and the business world.

But imagine a world where we all asked and listened, opened up with all the honesty we can muster to one another, and built our love lives and practical lives from that. People in erotic novels do that all the time.

Tess MacKall said...

A few years ago I was privy to an argument between a friend of mine and her husband. We were in the kitchen and hubby came in from work. Wife immediately said: Take out the garbage before you do another thing. He walked quietly over to the garbage, lifted the bag and went outside. When he came back in he said to his wife, "I'm going to change and run out to the gun shop. I want a new scope for my rifle."

Oh, honey, she immediately turned on him like a banshee straight from HELL. Informed he that he was NOT going out and he WOULD NOT be wasting any money on a scope for his rifle. He quietly slinked off into the other room and I never saw him again that day.

She then turned to me and for an uninterrupted fifteen or twenty minutes listed and bitched about all of his shortcomings. Some of those shortcomings were all about how he never held the door for her, how he never did anything for her at all--that he was incredibly UNromantic, never made any moves for her in bed anymore--that she had to make the first move---but then she qualified that by saying: "But who'd want him? He's such a damn P****?"

Perfect example of how a woman can emasculate a man. She wants him strong, she wants him romantic, she wants her Alpha, but she can't give him any room to do it. Mixed signals much?

They divorced two years later. She and I are no longer friends. He ended up with a really nice woman and he's very happy. She is with someone but I know the dude and I don't think she COULD be happy. lol

And all of this has turned into a topic not related to erotica and its empowerment--but definitely a topic worth exploring.

Ladies, let your men be men. They like holding the door for you. And they LIKE killing the spiders. Let them do it. Never hurts to play the Miss Scarlet card from time to time.