Reading Erotica: A Personal Essay
The year is 2003. It's the summer before I start high school and having finally been blessed with a personal computer in my room, I log on to Xanga.com to update my 17 subscribers on how crazy it’s been these last two months that I've just been unable to carve out any time to blog. In reality, I'm finishing my ninth book of the summer and have a strict daily TV watching schedule of The Price is Right, Passions, Maury and Cheaters. And in between my shows, napping and snacking, I spend countless hours online reading erotica.
Xanga was a blog hosting site that I discovered during my coding phase; when I was obsessed with HTML and perfecting the layout of my Geocities website. But Xanga offered a mix of blogging and online group interaction, meant to bring together users with similar interests like sports, crafting, movies, or food. And if you searched a bit deeper into sub groups, you'd find ones surrounding topics like psychedelics, polygamy, and my personal favorite, erotic short stories. My first stumble happened when I was searching for book or writing groups, which then narrowed down to genre, and finally landed me smack dab in a puddle of intense desire and dirty talk that made my mind flutter and hands tremble in excitement. I had found another medium to satisfy my secret love for smut.
My First Erotica Experience(s)
I'm eight years old watching TV late at night because I can't sleep. As I'm flipping through the channels, I come across a boob. And I only knew it was a boob because I'd seen my mom's boobs before, and they looked just like them. It was Channel 3, HBO, and I was looking at a boob being massaged by a guy, which then turned into my first look at softcore porn.
There was no fast forward on cable television, so I'd watch full length pornos, enveloped in storylines and character development and the climax (pun intended) of it all. This is when I turned into an episode of PEN15, immediately humping everything in my room the second my parents thought I was asleep and often asking myself, "Can you hump too much?" But this was the only time I was able to explore my body freely, the only time I got that throbbing hum in my loins that felt better when I touched it – figuring out the cause and effect of these sensations was a fun time to say the least.
A few years later my great aunt passed and my mom inherited a bunch of her belongings. We quickly found out that my great aunt was one hell of a host for parties – she had all the minibar essentials, lots of ashtrays and playing cards. She also had a large box of erotica novels that were kept hidden on the top shelf of my mom's closet. And since I was a nosy kid and reading was a large part of my childhood, I'd sneak them, reading cover to cover at lightning speed, soaking in all the creative ways you could describe penetration. I had no idea what a "supple, milky breast" looked or felt like, but my mind went wild with imagery, bringing those familiar sensations to the surface over and over again.
Feeding my Teenage Curiosity
Back to the Future, it's 2003. Having my own computer in my room at my mom's house made it easy to spend hours online reading smut, even at the expense of tying up the phone line – yes, this was when the internet required taking up an entire phone line and your mom yelling at you from downstairs to disconnect so she could make a call – the memory of dial-up still ringing in my ears. But at my father's house, we only had the "family" computer. It was in my father's office, so I was able to close the doors and have a little privacy as I binged new and exciting filth, but there was always the chance of someone walking in announced, a very on brand characteristic for my family.
Logging in to my erotica groups every few days became as routine as watching my soaps that summer. I looked forward to Wednesdays and Fridays because that's when my favorite smut author posted new stories. I loved browsing other recommended accounts for wild and crazy storylines and points of view. It's where I was first introduced to anal play, even though I could not wrap my head around what someone's "quick and breathless gasps as his rock-hard penis buried itself into her cheeks" could really mean at the ripe age of 14.
I was infatuated with the dedication and creativity that these authors possessed, as well as their consistency in publishing their work, anonymous or not. I'd only ever written in my journal or for school, but the energy and chills I got from reading erotica (both in my vagina and my brain from continuous #wordporn) was something next level. I wanted to know the authors behind the stories in real life, but I'd been online for a few years by then and knew to never meet people you met on the World Wide Web, a rule long forgotten by 2019.
Sweet Nostalgia for Life
Every few years a piece of work will catch my eye and remind me of those adolescent years spent completely immersing myself into the world of erotica for the sole reason that it made my vagina throb (ever heard of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey?). It was a time before I was able to put words to the intense pleasure I felt flipping the page in anticipation of more thrusting, or that PING notification meaning a new story was ready to dive into. Reading, specifically erotica at the time, took my mind to another place, an empty space where my brain was in charge of building the layers of the scene. I strived to one day be able to use words to create an experience like that for someone, a way to stimulate and arouse the senses, tickle the creative parts of the brain to action and leave a lingering want for more. I'm still on my way to achieving satisfaction in the latter, but I'm having a damn good time practicing.