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Writing Taboo Content and Controversial Erotica
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"Literature... cut short by the intrusion of force... is not merely interference with freedom of the press but the sealing up a nation's heart, the excision of its memory."

—Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Russian novelist

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Incest – Bestiality – Rape

Writing Taboo Content and Controversial Erotica

Why controversial subjects matter...

Or rather, why its important to publish that terrible author who can't spell, can't write properly, and who has crap covers that are horribly offensive.

– Sent To Lot’s Cave by Anonymous

Growing up, I experienced censorship in many different forms. My religious upbringing was a little extreme in its tastes, and I bought such beliefs. This kept me separated from many people my age in often ridiculous ways. I didn't dance, because that was suggestive and crude. I wasn't supposed to wear pants. I couldn't listen to "worldly" music. More importantly though, what I  read was highly monitored. Books were seen as a portal into the soul itself, and this is important realize in many ways. In religious circles, nothing is as important as the Bible. This book is considered sacred, the very word of God himself. Why then, would anyone want to read anything else?

My extreme upbringing stressed reading the bible only, yet I wanted to read "worldly" books. Dickens, Chaucer, Shakespeare, and more classic works were all shunned by the church. Why? Because they often contained highly sensitive ideas. These works were scary, because they had a core theme or idea that didn't mesh with the church's interpretations of the bible. Dickens contained the message we might be able to overcome our own problems. Shakespeare contained witchcraft and murder glamorizing sinful behavior. Chaucer, well Chaucer was crude, depraved, and outright disgraceful. As a child, I would never have been exposed to these works if my parents had gone along with the church's opinion. But that isn't where censorship ends. Many people make the mistake of thinking censorship is only done by religious zealots. Sometimes well meaning people end up censoring ideas too.

It's easy for people to say they don't want to censor ideas when they agree with every subject. I've heard that before, I've seen it, and I've experienced it myself. Ideas are powerful things, and books have continued to further ideas even still. Erotic works seem to emphasize this in many people. As publishers and authors we owe it to ourselves to understand this subject a little better. We don't get to just accept our prejudices for what they are, but we have to seek them out and discover more about them. I've had to do this as an author, but I've also had to live this message as a submissive. I'm a female who feels the man deserves to be the leader of his family, which is a very unpopular opinion these days. My opinions have to be carefully expressed, because ironically they may end up censored.

Why do we take sensitive material? Why write sensitive material? Because it shapes who we are! Many people don't realize where censorship begins in and of itself. I have books in my catalog that personally reflect my own struggles. I'm a white girl. My father taught me from the time I was little I should never associate with black people. Worse, I shouldn't associate with anyone who wasn't white. Well, how does someone like myself deal with this? I had no one. No one to talk to about this, as I matured quite fast. I was afraid of talking about it, how was I to know my opinion was a majority? The answer to how I dealt with this subject will really explain why we need controversial books no matter the quality.

At eighteen, I dated a Nazi. Yeah, I managed to find the one guy who still held "those" ideas. The only problem was, he was polite to everyone. He helped everyone. Not once did he ever say anything racist, sexist, rude, or prejudicial. He had his arguments sure, but he was a really nice guy. Turns out, a Nazi was the one person willing to talk to me about my "racial" questions. This was the beginning for me of a very tough important lesson I had to learn. See, I was also, a submissive to him. I knew from a young age I was made to be a submissive, I make no excuse for who I am. The thing is, this became very important in how he and I interacted. There was one major rule... no secrets.

So there I was, a submissive telling this Nazi of my confusions regarding race and racial issues. Imagine my surprise when he accepted every idea. He exploited my feelings, my insecurity, that feeling in the pit of my stomach I couldn't explain. Yeah, he used my own sexual insecurities to teach me a huge lesson. Nothing with him in regards to that topic was easy. He never "humored" my fascination. I mean, I found the one guy that was supposed to be "perfect" and "masculine in every way" and he made me work for the lessons he had to teach me... because he knew. In many ways, he exploited my shame in very "vulgar" ways. Because controversial subjects like this matter, I'll be blunt.

Many times, my boyfriend and I discussed the idea of a woman being "polluted" by sleeping with someone who was not white. We discussed group sex with said non-whites for punishment. At times, the subject turned into full out rape discussions. Why? Because I, the female, was curious. I wanted every brutal detail. The shame, the humiliation, the power struggle, every captivating emotion I craved more than any other thing at that point in my life. Why? Because it helped me deal with the feelings. The desires I had that were so natural for that mixed race guy I went to school with could be exploited and made normal. I could "atone" for those thoughts. I could learn to forgive myself and heal. I could finally be free. Yeah, a Nazi made me free to enjoy the attention of any guy I was attracted to regardless of race.

This highlights the reason why controversial stories matter. Interracial books are now not seen as sensitive. If only people realized how necessary this opinion was continuing into present day. Interracial books are fine, but God help the author who exploits the subject in a dark way. At times, people need the darker themes. What many readers fail to understand is "Nazi porn" is consumed by a high number of Jewish people. Why? It controls their fear, their sadness, it allows them to feel powerful. Interracial is the politically correct term, Nazi porn is the darker extreme form.

These books often don't include happy fairy tale endings. BDSM is a community filled with debated topics too numerous to list, but there are some that are very important. Everyone is fine with an alpha male these days, but what happens when my alpha male wields a knife and takes what he wants? What happens if I want the guy that exploits my fears? Not every woman wants prince charming. There are profound numbers of people who realize that we all have demons. Why do many authors I have the privilege of knowing have a strong distaste for the Romance genre? Why do I personally continue to struggle writing Romance? Because these happy romantic endings aren't for me. I hate them, they bring out the worst demons I have. Why? Because I realized at a young age we don't always get fairy tale endings. I wanted the darker side of life. I was born that way, and so were many other men and women.

Dark romance is a thing now, but many authors are having a difficult time getting their stories published. Why? Because serial killers who avenge their heroines don't make publishers happy. Still, these books are shared more than many realize. They resonate with people, which is why books get written in the first place. If a book doesn't have a story to tell, then we should give up. But the thing is, we aren't made to read every story that's out there. Certain people need certain stories. Just because someone needs a fairy tale, doesn't mean others do too. Authors are in the rare business of selling their own demons. We write because we have to. We need to bleed on a page. Yeah, every once in a great while, someone really really bleeds on a whole book.... and that's the author we want to keep around and read more from. Why? Because they feel their story. They know their story.

Readers know those stories too. We all have aspects of our lives we keep buried in a dark deep closet. Writers get the opportunity to share all those struggles to help others. If we censor people, nothing is going to change. People do bad things all the time. At some point, stories need to be told. I know it's true. I've met many broken writers. The life of many authors depends on their ability to be heard. One person, one reader, is all it takes to make a difference. We have to carry the worst of the worst stuff. At the end of the day, we might find the person we're trying so hard to actually the one that wrote it to begin with.

In conclusion, we need to stop worrying about censoring titles people have a choice of purchasing. The people who purchase "extreme" material often seek it out, because it is so difficult to find in the first place. All censorship does is try to protect the very people who don't want to be protected. Studies have shown the common belief that "violent" porn makes people violent is not true. These studies instead found a decrease in overall violence occurred because people now had an outlet. The same must be true of erotic writing. How can we sit here and say "rape porn" degrades women setting them back centuries, when woman are the ones buying it? Women and men alike don't want to be protected, they want discussion. They want the freedom to express themselves and their ideas. For the very sake of readers and authors alike, we need to consider this as the most important issue publishers face. That's why we take books that offend us personally, because we've dealt with that issue ourselves... and it's time someone else had the same opportunity. We need to give readers the resource to reach out and find the answers they want on difficult topics, and that starts with the worst of the worst books. Why? Because excluding one will soon censor the other.

Phaedrus T. Wolfe

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