We've all seen those seedy places, those stores with the covered windows, IF they have windows. The only way one truly knows what is inside is by two methods: 1) going inside, and 2) reading "ADULT BOOK STORE" on the outside.
But exactly what is an Adult Book Store? Sure, it has porn. Well, D'OH!! What makes an adult book store an adult store? I guess it is because only adults are allowed inside. Maybe the merchandise is part of the aura inside. Yes, I've been in an adult book store. Look at this way, I was a sailor and it is a necessity and rite of passage for most sailors. To say it was an experience would be an understatement. I didn't know some of that stuff even existed. Even today, I sort of wish I didn't know that it did. Unlike the "adult theater" - and yes, I've been to one of those and it was one of the most hilarious times in my life - the hottest scenes were visible outside behind the glass advertising the movie. But I digress.
I was raised in a fairly strict family. I didn't cuss. I was a rural country boy who was very active in his church - with Catechism twice weekly, youth meeting, choir practice, Saturday school (yes, Bible and religious training on Saturday mornings, Sunday school. On Mondays, I got to go to Scouts and it wasn't at the church. Whew! And this wasn't while I was 6 or 8 or 10. This was for my Freshman through Junior years in high school. Catechism ended during my Junior year and I no longer had to attend Saturday school.
So, to put it bluntly, even if I had a mouthful of it, I still wouldn't say it. I didn't cuss and blushed when certain words were used in my presence. Talk about naive.
I told my father I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. He didn't tell me not to be one. He basically sat me down and let me know that most writers struggle to make ends meet and lead a very drab life. The only way to really make money as a writer was to write heavy sexual or porn type novels. Can you say "Henry Miller?" In the 60s, his trilogy novels of The Rosy Crucifixion: Sexus, Plexus and Nexus, were the scandal of the day. It was a big seller but nobody read it openly in public. My father informed me that to be a good writer, I would have to fight with myself to decide which route I would take to make a living: good writing or porn. My dad was a man of few words. His final words on the subject were simple: Write what you want, but make sure it is something you're proud to let your mother read.
WOW! Talk about a guilt trip and laying it on thick. I have lived with that over my head for what feels like eons although it really has only been about five decades. I was like 17 then.
I wrote fantasy and science fiction which basically eliminated all sexual aspects. Spacemen don't have sex and elves and fairies ... well, they're elves and fairies. Sure, there might be some attraction but it can be written off easily without a lot of detail being spent on the romance aspect. Then I started to write horror. Again, it can be sexless but when a werewolf shreds the blouse, suddenly sexual innuendos seem needed. Face it - Men are men (human or werewolf) and the bottom line is simple: women have boobs. When I co-wrote Ancient Blood: The Amazon -- I kept wanting to tone down the sex. My partner wanted just a bit more. We "discussed" this topic over and over. Amazon went out a tad spicier than I would normally write and is now published. We have finished book two in the series and it definitely has more sex inside the covers.
I grew up. My mother read Ancient Blood: The Amazon and thought it was a great story with a little racy segment here and there. She was amazed I'd write anything like that but also stated it was well-written without a lot of dirty porn aspects. I wanted to ask her how she knew that but decided there are some topics that a mother and son should NOT discuss - this was one. She has since passed, as has my dad.
I've matured. I can use terms (both slang and biological) for genitalia in a book without turning fifty shades of red. I can cuss. I didn't spend five years in the Navy and not learn a couple of terms. I came to realize that just because my character is a little raw, rough and on the edge doesn't mean that I am. As a writer, I had to learn to discern the difference between the character I am writing and me. My buddy in Texas, Mitchel Whitington, taught me how to write a sexual encounter using "afterglow" [see my writing tips http://bobnailor.com/tip_template.php?type=a&i=8] to reveal the event. Another friend of mine explained the difference between sensual or erotic and down-right porn. His words: Consider it like a movie: and the angle of the camera. For erotic, you see the characters from afar and tell what they are doing. For porn, you shove the camera in at the knees or closer for the action shot. I found his interpretation rather graphic but it does explain the difference.
One is tasteful. The other, uh, more graphically detailed.
I don't want to say I write erotic scenes. I prefer to say they are sensual, sometimes a little more graphic but only for a line or two, not for pages. And most definitely, not for gratuitous sex. I feel if I write a brief sex scene, it is necessary for the story.
Yes, I'm a biggy boy and I was good, so I get a lollipop.
Until next I ramble on...