Kinky States of Mind: An Erotica Writing Challenge

On my last post, Selena Kitt made a particularly insightful comment about the sex writing in Fifty Shades of Grey: “For me, the sex was incredibly vanilla for a BDSM novel.”

I had to agree with her and then I went on to wonder why.  It’s not that all the sex in the story was, physically, strictly vanilla. The restraint of her not being allowed to touch him is always there. And some of the scenes do have the physical trappings of BDSM, so why did it read so vanilla?

I came to the conclusion that writing BDSM sex is far less about the external scene than it is about how the person whose POV is represented in the narrative is interpreting it. The M/C in Fifty Shades of Grey has a very vanilla state of mind (and I would extrapolate and venture that E.L. James is probably not much of an avid practicioner of BDSM herself). And so, appropriately, she reads/interprets/experiences all the sex as vanilla, even when, externally, it doesn’t appear to be.

I think it’s something of an interesting  writing exercise to think about this. Take, for instance, the most vanilla position on earth – the missionary position:

From a vanilla perspective, the missionary position allows for the partners to be face to face. It’s a very intimate, loving position with lots of gazing into the eyes of the other going on. It’s easy to kiss. Both partners are within easy reach of the other, to caress and be caressed.

From a power play perspective, it’s definitely a one person-on-top position. The top has all the freedom of movement. They control the thrust. The top’s weight can be interpreted as a form of physical bondage. And all it would take is the top having a firm hold on the bottom’s wrists to make it instantly kinky… if that lack of movement was of some internal significance to the bottom.

( It was just very rightly pointed out to me on twitter, by I.G. Frederick, that it is also perfectly possible to have a very D/s missionary fuck where the Dominant is on the bottom, too)

It’s really all about what kind of language you are using to describe how it feels. And it’s going to feel entirely different to either vanilla lover vs someone in a dominant or submissive role.

So, here’s my challenge: Have a go at writing the exact same sex act, using nothing but the tone of language and the POV of the narrator to present it as either kinky or vanilla.

If you take up my challenge but post to your own blog, please leave a comment to link to your efforts. I’d really love to see how different writers experiment with this.

  22 comments for “Kinky States of Mind: An Erotica Writing Challenge

  1. April 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Power play isn’t always about physical restraint. Especially in a F/m D/s relationship, the power exchange is much more mental than physical. This brief extract from one of my short stories (Blind Date, available at http://tinyurl.com/TheBlindDate) demonstrates how a sadist and a Domme turned the missionary position into something kinky. And, as you can see, it is the POV character’s interpretation of the physical events that makes this scene anything but vanilla.

    “Boy, get my paddle out of that bag.” She pointed to the leather case next to the bed.

    “Yes, Ma’am. Thank you, Ma’am.”

    He handed her the heavy piece of lacquered oak. She flopped onto her back, grabbed his hair, and pulled him between her legs. His cock slid into her like it was finding its way home. She sighed with pleasure and then she reached around and swatted his ass with her paddle. He looked startled, but he didn’t miss a stroke. Trish moaned. His cock massaged her inside and each time she smacked the gorgeous globes of his ass with her paddle, she got even more turned on.

    They matched each other’s rhythm, each of his thrusts followed by the strike of her paddle. Trish came hard, and then she came again. She was on the verge of a third orgasm when Brian begged, “Please, Ma’am. So intense. Can’t hold out. I’m begging you, may I please come.”

    She was tempted to make him stop, to deny him. But she was so close. She hit him again, harder. “You may come, boy.” Thrust, strike, thrust, strike, thrust, strike and they both cried out and exploded. Trish held Brian in her arms until he stopped trembling, then used his hair to pull his head up so she could look into his eyes. His pupils were wide and he looked a little out of it.

  2. April 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’m still very new at a lot of this and trying to learn more and more, so I have no clue if this is at all up to snuff. But here is my attempt at this writing challenge:

    http://brantwijn.blogspot.com/2012/04/writing-challenge-by-remittance-girl.html

    This was a good exercise! Though I have known that words have this much power in writing, it was very intriguing to explore exactly -how- to alter a perception using only the words.

  3. April 24, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I found this challenge interesting, very interesting. The changes are subtle – in fact I copied my vanilla take and manipulated it for the kinky, trying to keep them very similar while changing the flavor. I wanted the same pacing and the same action sequences.

    Here’s mine… :) http://aislingweaver.com/wordpress/?p=2662

    • April 24, 2012 at 8:14 am

      “I could feel the orgasm trapped behind her fingers”

      That might just be the most erotic sentence I’ve ever read. Brava! Both are really brilliant, but I have to say, I found the second so much hotter.

    • April 24, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Aisling, I love yours! Very hot, great job!

      I also copied my vanilla take and manipulated it. I really like the difference the right words can make!

  4. April 24, 2012 at 9:17 am

    I’ve taken a stab at it. I thought about how two different mindsets could take exactly the same actions – at the same time – and interpret them completely differently. I hope I got the basic idea across successfully in this little flash-fic: Anima Animus http://eroticwriter.wordpress.com/2012/04/23/anima-animus/

  5. April 24, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Oops, I seem to have missed the part of the instructions that required a vanilla version. All I did was take a basic missionary fuck and make it kinky with words alone, no props. Just for fun, I made the couple an undisciplined rich boy wanna-be dom and an inexperienced doe-eyed mediocre girl. Enjoy.

    She looked defeated beneath him, moist and glossy like a deboned chicken. He hovered between and above her thighs, at once heavy and weightless. His biceps rippled, waves of menacing strength rolling up and around his shoulders.

    The point of his cock was the only thing touching her. The malicious quiver in his body traveled the length of his erection to the opening of her cunt. Her cunt: a small trapped animal unto itself, so ravenous its lips would grasp him if they could.

    “Please,” she whispered, humiliated by her own hunger.

    “Say it,” he laughed meanly. She didn’t like this part. Not yet.

    “I’m your whore, Chris!” she yelled, screwing her eyes shut, then gasping, then, “Jesus fuck!” as he pushed his thickness halfway in. “More!”

    “Again,” he said, his voice taking on that daddys-little-rich-boy nasal edge she so detested. And feared, feared more than his physical strength because that — his family, his upbringing — was the true source of his confidence. What could be more terrifying than a man who lives a life free of consequences?

    “I’m you’re whore. I’m a whore for you. For your cock,” at the  word “cock” she started to relax. Her eyes opened, she kept on, “Please give me more of your cock. All of it. I need all of it.”

    Chris kept his eyes locked on hers and, with agonizing slowness, inched his way fully inside her. He winced at the pressure on his shoulders. He dropped into what the guys in the gym called Pussy Push-Up position, knees on the bed, careful not to let his skin touch hers.

    He started fucking.

    Her body arched in syncopation. Without thinking, her hands traveled up the sheets to find his. It was a familiar gesture, her small, bird-like hands over his, this complicated man she was trying to learn, love, solve, by way of her reluctant surrender. Her fingertips grazed his knuckles.

    “No!” his face flashed red with rage. “Don’t you fucking touch me!”

    “Chris,” a word, spoken softly.

    He went soft inside her and rocked back onto his heels. He stared her down, squatting between her splayed thighs. He held one hand in another, as if it were injured. Then he lifted it high as if he might backhand her.

    “No, Chris, way outside our limits,” she whispered, afraid in earnest now, legs closing, beginning to back away.

    “Don’t you fucking tell me what to do!” he said.

    “Cathedral,” she pulled her knees up in the circle of her arms.

    “Don’t you fucking safeword me, you fucking bitch!” Chris faked with his arm, jerking as if he might really hit her.

    Instead he stood, looked at her until she looked up. He laughed  the mirthless laugh of a very free man. He leaned toward her, and he spat. 

    Her grief was soundless. His bare feet made a fleshy noise as he walked down the tile hallway.

    • April 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

      I just adore this. And if 50 shades had been written with even an ounce of the rawness of this, it would have been a far, far better novel. And she wouldn’t have needed to come up with ridiculously implausible crisis points.

  6. April 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Something tells me you’ll hate this; something about botching the pov, since the pov change here isn’t a function of the narrator, because…there really isn’t one. Oh, well.

    http://brewtblacklist.blogspot.com/2012/04/on-challenge.html

  7. April 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    I haven’t read “50″ and now I don’t really want to. I was initially impressed that a trad publisher would pick up an erotic novel and was somewhat hopeful. Now I’m thinking not so much. What you noted in your last post was spot-on for so many sexual themes in culture and literature, that perception is the spin. I find this true for age-defined relationships (cougar/daddy) and for overall genderqueer portrayal. Most such themes aren’t handled well in literature, which I think is related to them not being well portrayed in our culture. Anyway. So very enlightening. I appreciate the force of your perspective ;)

    • April 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm

      I have to agree with you – especially that these things are not handled well in lit. And it tells you just how low lit has sunk that it’s representation can’t extend beyond the narrow bounds of what is mainstreamly acceptable.

      didn’t use to be that way.

  8. CJ Lemire
    April 25, 2012 at 3:03 am

    Here’s my take. I had a lot of fun doing this.

    http://cjlemire.blogspot.com/2012/04/kinky-states-of-mind.html

  9. April 26, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I have to say publicly again how much I adore you. Entirely. I’ll be posting a portion of mine a bit later.

  10. April 26, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Hope I’m not too late to the party, RG! I had to wait until Thirsty Thursday, you know..! ;-) Here’s my go at your challenge. Thanks for the prompt!

    http://vineyardroad.com/2012/04/26/remittance-girls-challenge-fifty-shades-of-huh/

  11. April 26, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Here is my attempt at your writing challenge :)
    http://smuttymummy.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/kinky-states-of-mind/
    Lily xxx

  12. April 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Finally got around to doing this! Definitely an interesting thing to try. I did two versions of a cunnilingus scene, though my partner doubts whether the vanilla version is fully vanilla. :)

    http://annabethleong.blogspot.com/2012/04/rising-to-challenge.html

  13. Squeaky
    April 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm

    not really up to much, certainly not to the standard of those above, but here’s my attempt:
    http://dazedeye.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/room-with-two-views/

  14. April 30, 2012 at 8:10 am
  15. May 6, 2012 at 5:43 am

    I’ve really enjoyed reading around to see what people have made of this. Seems, RG, you were right! It is largely to do with use of language and POV.

    Anyway… here’s my try: Vanilla/Kinked

  16. May 12, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Third time’s…something. This is fun.

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