We've all read Fifty Shades of Grey. At least we have all probably read Fifty Shades of Grey. And if you don't know the plot then you must have been living under a rock for the past few years. Whilst people all over the world have heard about the antics of Christian Grey and his Red Room of Pain, there is so SO much more to the world of erotica than originally meets the eye.
And this Valentine's Day, I set out to find out more...
If you don't have a clue what I'm talking about, then head back and read my introductory post on everything to do with #FromFranceWithLove. Don't worry, I'll wait till you're done.
Back now? Well on Thursday 9th Feb I headed down to the Big Smoke, took a stroll down the beautiful Portobello Road to Electric Cinema. Here, Match were hosting an erotic writing workshop (in association with Sh! Women's Erotic Emporium) and a screening of the classic French film 'Belle du Jour' - because who does romance and erotica better than the French?
Before diving headfirst into all things erotica, I sat down with Renee, owner and founder of Sh! to get her thoughts on this delectable world.
But if there is anyone reading this who is completely new to the world of sex toys and erotica, we recommend you join us. But we understand that it can be a little intimidating, so Renee gives her advice on how to dip your toe in..
"Bite-sized pieces; start off very very small. Start thinking of small things like what you enjoy. Something that we find is that her pleasure doesn't come first; usually she will put him first, even if she isn't quite enjoying the sex or not getting what she wants from it, she will do it because it's what he likes. So I would like women to find the confidence within themselves to start exploring their sexuality and to understand that sex and sexuality isn't 'one-size-fits-all'. Everyone is different. Just because your friend likes this toy doesn't mean it's going to work for you. And not comparing themselves to anyone else; sex is not a race. It's about you, it's very personal."
"Women are more cerebral, and I think if you read erotica, you picture everything in your mind. Everything is the way you like it. If you watch porn, there might be a guy wearing socks, and that might not be for you. Or you can see that she's not quite enjoying herself. Men watching porn is often like a quick-fix; it's the McDonalds of sex. I would like to think that more women will watch porn, but in order for that to happen there needs to be better porn made. Something that women will find arousing as well."
Fifty Shades of Grey has certainly helped, but I can't help but feel that there is still a certain stigma around women that read and enjoy these kinds of books. Remember the Friends episode where Joey finds Rachel's book? There are misconceptions that the women that reads these books. But I applaud them. I would mentally want to cheer for any women I saw sitting on the train or bus openly reading Fifty Shades.
But what about the women who put pen to paper and get these thoughts out there into the world?
"I think people imagine that they must be very dirty women; either she's not getting any or she's getting all the sex. But they're actually just normal women, they're your everyday women. On the tube you would not know that this is the every day normal women with the filthiest fantasies."
After she had divulged her opinions on all things sex, lust and fantasy, Renee turned her attention to telling us how to craft the perfect written sex scene. So here we go...
Think about the smell
Location, location, locationWhere is your fantasy going to take place? Be sure to choose a location that you are familiar with, as you will be able to provide much better description of what is around you. Wherever you are, use your mind's eye view - look around and describe what you see. Is there anyone around? Where are you in the scene? What is being worn? Silk, velvet, lace? How does it feel against the skin? What are other people wearing? Is it easy to remove? Don't get caught up in complicated clothes; you want to be able to get to the action as soon as possible...
Starring...You are the director. You are in complete control (of what happens at least - maybe your fantasy is to be dominated). Make things however you want them to be; no one else needs to know. Cast yourself in the lead role, or be the director and sit back and watch the action unfold. Cast anyone you want and make them do whatever you want.
The dialogueDon't forget to give your cast lines; it doesn't have to be a full script. What are they saying to each other? What are they talking about? Are they flirting or getting hot and heavy? Be sure to use very positive sensual language like exciting, thrilling, delicious. Now is the time to unleash the writer that exists within us all.
Time of dayWhen is your scene taking place? Don't forget that different times of day have create a certain tone. We all love morning sex - is the sun coming up? Are you lying in bed? Are the sheets clean? Do your lips sleepily meet and things start off slow?
In the middle of the day, things can get very energetic. So if you're going for something a little heavier or rougher, now could be the time.
In the evening when the sun has gone down, the sky is the limit. You could go for slow, languid sex or break out the toys and conduct your very own BDSM scene under the cover of darkness.
The sexWhat kind of sex are your characters having, if they are having sex at all. Is it romantic and gentle? Are you being more sensual with eye-contact and gentle touching? Is it wild and vocal? Or quiet?
What positions are they trying? Are they staying in one or are they moving in as many as possible? Why are they in this one? Is it their favourite or they are trying something new? Are props being used like toys or elements to create a little sting...
OrgasmsWho doesn't want orgasms? Now this is the challenging part where you need to put every incredible sensation and feeling of an orgasm into words. Are your eyes open or shut? How does it build up? Are you vocal or quiet? How does your body feel and move?
And voila. Now you have a story that is tailored to you and your own desires. You can keep this naughty story to yourself or share it with a loved one. You're welcome.
Happy Valentine's Day, y'all.
By Megan Crehan