Books for Lovers

by f

I was obvious about my intentions when I started this blog. I wanted to talk about sex. But books are better than sex sometimes. Not better, but different, and sometimes easier to handle.

A turn of phrase can get me unexpectedly horny for no good reason. Inappropriate places, too. I always turn to the line from Before Night Falls, where Arenas discusses how one of his partners and potential persecutors “dismissed him with his penis”. For a long time I took a cucumber and held it to my crotch, using my fake dick to try to dismiss others. It turned Arenas on; his prose salivates as he describes being dominated and tormented by his oppressors. Punishment and control can be sexy. Extreme control and punishment can be even sexier, something that produces resistance so sweet that the misery is almost worth it.

When I was young, I turned to books for emotional release. I needed to be loved. If not, I wanted to perceive others being loved. Different books held different promises of love for me. I turned to Dickens when I wanted to hold my ribs from being cracked open. I loved the Brontes (sometimes) for keeping me in the throes of real outrage. I adored Austen for her cool, clever quick-witted humor that hid quiet poignance.

I even learned about sex by reading about it. I was ten. The Sesame Street magazine ran a birds-and-the-bees talk. The story covered the following important questions:

  • Mommy, why’s my wee-wee standing up?
  • Why do Mom and Dad make lots of noise in their bedroom after they think I’m asleep?
  • Why does it feel so good when I rub myself up a bedpost?

etc, etc.

At first I loathed sex. I knew what a penis looked like after some family friend’s kid showed me his dick and asked to see my boobs. We were seven, playing around in my mother’s walk-in closet while our mothers were downstairs sipping tea while discussing the weather. I did not flash him. Ugly, shriveled up things. Unconnected to any intense, romantic feelings. Wrinkly balls covered in thick pubic hair never factored in literary arcs that cock-teased their way into few, fervent pages of climactic insert-tab-A-into-slot-B-action.

My adolescence was sex-free. Nobody wanted to fuck me. That is perhaps fortunate. As far as I knew, nobody got fucked unless they were a slut. Only one teenage mother from my class, and she was pretty normal aside from the pregnant part. There was a rape rumor in school when I was a high school freshman. (But there was that one girl who dropped out during the year because she was raped. She and her best friend — [cruel school nickname for her: class bicycle] blocked the hallway one morning as they cried over each other’s shoulder. I was too young to understand or even be sad that this was reality.)

The only way I got off was through books.

(Books for friends, books for lovers…)

At sixteen I went to a Barnes and Nobles looking for the Count of Monte Cristo. On my way to Alexandre Dumas from the Z section, I encountered Carrie’s Story. It was my first exposure to S/M. As I thumbed through the novel I felt my face getting red. The sensation of faint trickling down my thighs forced me to clamp my legs together. I had to break the tension by flipping through to different pages as soon as the action got too hot for me to handle.

From then, I started to pursue harder and harder literature. I don’t remember the authors or titles. (Sure, there was some Marquis de Sade, and some Masoch, but I read far more than just that.) That was a deliberate decision. I read these books online, in libraries and at the bookstore. Most of my time was spent still reading more literature, where sex was still the savored object at the end of a long chase, but erotica was my one luxury that I pursued when nothing else was enough.

I had to enjoy this in secret. I couldn’t talk about it. My family stalks me on a regular basis, so I couldn’t join online groups. I couldn’t blog about it. The desire was not there until I was in college, but then I repressed it. I kept it between myself, my computer, my hands and my crotch.

My cousins love stalking me on the internet. They know I love books. They love books, too, often writing about their tedious selections in exhaustive detail. They even know that I write reviews whenever I can. But what I really want to write about are the books that discuss fucking. How can I write about Before Night Falls without mentioning the infamous dick dismissal? Or the relationship between the sexual and the written?

(I cannot find the book now, but I remember Arena’s relentless voice and his discussions of sexual and mental energies. One could write while preoccupied by sex. Sex was something he needed to experience before he wrote. He fucked everybody and everything, and when he was clean from it, he wrote.)

But I can’t write about that. I have to keep pushing myself to corners of the internet. Sometimes I have these incredible fantasies in which I go up to my various nosy cousins and hold up a white board.


A wispy, useless fantasy. They all fuck, I am sure, but they do a very good job of pretending that they don’t or they can ruin that, too, with genteel (and sterile) prose.

2 Comments to “Books for Lovers”

  1. I just love the way you phrase things, F! 🙂

  2. Broken, by Megan Heart, is somewhat decent, as an introduction; which you probably don’t need. If you don’t mind (or, like me, rather enjoy) a variety of gender (and gender-ambiguous) pairings, there’s PoMoSexuals (which is actually not intended as erotica. I think…). And… that’s all I’ve got. :/ The Elena Michaels novels by Kelley Armstrong are fun.

    I’m going to scour Subterfuge for other recommended titles… because I can. XP

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