Authors: Carol Queen
Tags: #Anthology, #Erotic Fiction
Sex Still Spoken Here
An Anthology from the Erotic Reading Circle
at the Center for Sex & Culture
Edited by Carol Queen, PhD, Jen Cross, and Amy Butcher
Published by Center for Sex & Culture Press at Kindle Direct
Copyright 2014 Center for Sex & Culture Press
All stories copyright 2014 by their individual authors
All rights reserved. Except for brief passages quoted in newspaper, magazine, radio, online, or television reviews, no part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or recording, or by information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Cover illustration Copyright 2014 Dorian Katz
Cover and book design by Amy Butcher/Wiggleybutt Design
Jen Cross photo by Sarah Deragon
Holly Zwalf photo by Mark Narciso
Trade paper ISBN: 978-0-9907685-0-0
eBook ISBN: 978-0-9907685-1-7
“Bambino” by Gina de Vries first appeared in
, Glass Houses, 2012. “he has short arms” by seeley quest first appeared in
, Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. A different excerpt from “Swirl” (as “Pro-/Noun/ Per (Voice// en/ Trapeze)”) by Scott Bentley first appeared in
, Ars Omnia, 2011. “pink and devastating” by Jen Cross first appeared in
, Seattle Erotic Art Festival, 2011. “The Spirit of the O’Farrell” by Simone Corday first appeared in
, Mill City Press, 2007.
To all the readers who’ve graced the Erotic Reading Circle with their words and erotic brilliance over these years
and To Good Vibrations for getting it all started
and To all the new Circles about to gather—may you celebrate the beautiful and complicated erotic experience with compassion, generosity, and kindness. Thank you for holding space for your own and others’ creative erotic expression.
• Carol Queen, PhD
• Carol Queen, Jen Cross, and Amy Butcher
• Sinclair Sexsmith
• Charles Lyons
• Jeff Jacobson
• Marlene Hoeber
• Christine Solano
• Tori Adams
• Vince Clarthough
• Anaín Bjorkquist
• Avery Cassell
• Scott Bentley
• Erin M.
• Simone Corday
• seeley quest
• Elizabeth Rae
• Jack Fritscher
• Amy Butcher
• Dorothy Freed
• Ember Eli
• Horehound Stillpoint
• Jen Cross
• Norman Armstrong
• Eugenia Mills
• Joy West
• Gina de Vries
• Holly Zwalf
• Carol Queen
• Jen Cross
Carol Queen, PhD
I began to write in middle school. I journaled every single night when I was a pup, only stopping that daily practice when I went to college. But even there I wrote and wrote, now when the spirit moved me––and it moved me often, because a youth can always talk to herself, even when she doesn’t have others to talk to. I filled book upon book with hand-written musings, analyzing and describing everything around me, everything that was troubling or inspiring or new. If you are not keeping a journal, my friend, please do––it is such an extraordinary gift to yourself, to take your own life so seriously that you make a book out of it, even if it’s only for your own eyes … even if you never re-read it after you fill the pages. Years later I realized I had been writing the story of myself
myself, giving my older self a set of notes to help me make sense of my younger self, scattering breadcrumbs through a forest that, some days, was very dark and trackless.
Now I know I was also teaching myself to write. I never had a formal writing class, aside from those compulsory ones in high school. I didn’t get an MFA, didn’t apprentice to some amazing mentor, didn’t go to Iowa or anywhere else. I just wrote, and read, and wrote, and the scritching of my pen all alone in rooms, or surrounded by the comforting buzz of cafes, comprises a great deal of how I built my future.
I’m telling you––pick up a pen.
Since it was
journal, there was a lot of sex in it, and that’s what started me on the path of becoming a sex writer. (Even when there wasn’t any actual sex being had, there was yearning for and thinking about it, the next best thing.) Once, on a BART train the week after the Loma Prieta earthquake had knocked down part of the Bay Area’s freeway system, I sat my journal, in which I had been writing about (what else?) another night with Robert, down on the seat where I’d been writing, and gaped out the window––so struck by the damage was I that I left the train without it, and was so bereft that my raw document of new love and heady fucking was gone forever that I vowed I would go get hypnotized so that I could retrieve it, word for word.
(The guy who picked it up went to pretty extreme lengths to find me and return it. He left his card; he was a filmmaker, and to this day I keep an eye out in case the story of my life surprises me on Netflix.)
What I’m trying to say, I think, is that I mostly talked to myself for the first twenty years of my writing life. Until I found the Erotic Reading Circle. I visited it at least once in the 1980s, when I was new to San Francisco––just a few women crowded into the tiny Good Vibrations store on 22nd and Dolores. I think we sat on the floor. Some of them read their own writing; others got up, when it was their turn, to pull a book off the shelves, sharing someone else’s words.
By the time I began working at Good Vibrations myself, I was just beginning to write for publications, in anthologies and ‘zines. I soon took over the stewardship of the Erotic Reading Circle, joined by Jack Davis, the first man who came to work at GV. Wonderful readers flocked to the circle, too many to name––but just as exciting as hearing the opening pages of the piece that would later become Molly Weatherfield’s BDSM novel
(take a back seat,
!) was the pleasure of hearing people who’d ventured in with their very first-ever piece of erotic writing. From then until now, a span of twenty years, it is still such a thrill to hear the initial words of someone’s first-ever sex story––and a huge honor to be able to nurture them with feedback and appreciation.
We never know when a new person comes in the door what they’ll read when they pull out their folded manuscript or their laptop. We cannot predict by looking at a person’s apparent gender, age, station in life (and all of these are
appearances, after all––you cannot judge a book by its cover, nor the person who has written it), can’t assume what fantasy or experience has flowered from their pen or their blinking cursor. It is the most beautiful opportunity to be reminded of the diverse experiences and identities of the humans around us, but also of their unbounded erotic imaginations. We spend much time in the sex-positive world decrying the role of shame and lack of information––but people find workarounds, and when they sit down to write, no matter where they came from, they may dive into surprisingly deep waters.
I don’t know how many stories I’ve heard at Erotic Reading Circle gatherings––hundreds, maybe thousands. I have been touched by every one, moved by other Circle members’ feedback, taught more about the craft of writing just from my co-facilitator Jen Cross’s wise and loving observations than I’ve learned from any other single place. (Except, I suppose, my journal.) At the Circle, we have created the kind of sexual world every single one of us deserves: one in which each of us has a voice, a unique array of experiences that make us distinct and valuable to others for our knowledge and perspective, and where we can come together in our wonderful difference and feel, at the end of two hours, that we built a new world together. You’re holding a book in your hands that contains way more than just each individual author’s erotic dream. You are holding synergy, and community. I hope it makes you feel that the possibilities, on and off the page, are endless. The Erotic Reading Circle has certainly done that for me.
—San Francisco, August 2014