Porn: Visual or Written? Also, my book is out!

So I’m writing this essay about the differences between visual erotica and written erotica, and I wanted to spew about it here for a bit. As a long-time sex writer, I’ve always felt faintly guilty about the fact that I usually prefer visual smut to the written variety. It’s not that I don’t enjoy and appreciate good sex writing — I do — but it’s often more of an aesthetic or cultural appreciation. When it comes to actually getting off, I almost always head for the dirty pictures or videos.

I’m just so very picky about written porn. It’s rare to find erotic stories that are as well-written as I want them to be, *and* that hit my own particular erotic buttons (which are very particular indeed). Compared to my own sex fantasies, I almost always find other people’s dirty stories a bit disappointing.

And visual porn has this immediacy that I really like. Photos and videos especially: I like the fact that the camera is capturing real people doing real sexual things. It makes it very visceral, and easier for me to suck into my own fantasy world.

But obviously this is very much a matter of taste. After all, I’m a porn/erotica/smut writer myself, so I obviously think sex writing is a pretty cool thing, with potential to be arousing both sexually and otherwise. And it’s not like I’ve never been turned on by a dirty story. There are a few that live in mind and my libido years after having read them. (“The Hit” by Aaron Travis comes to mind…)

So I’m curious about how this works for other people. What do you think? What are the differences for you between written and visual porn? If you enjoy porn, which do you prefer? Or do you prefer comics, with its elements of each? And why?

P.S. My new book is out! My erotic novella, Bending, has just been published as part of the three-novella collection Three Kinds of Asking For It, edited by Susie Bright and published by Simon & Schuster. “Bending” is an erotic novella about a woman who is sexually fixated on being bent over. More broadly, it’s about obsession and what happens when you finally get enough of the thing you’ve been craving.

Three Kinds of Asking For It is in stores (both the physical and the online variety) right now. I’ll blog more about it in a few days: in the meantime, you can go to my Website to read an excerpt from it, or get the details of my book tour. Quickie details on the tour: I’ll be in San Francisco at A Different Light Books on July 7 (with Susie Bright); Los Angeles at Skylight Books on July 16 (with Jill Soloway of “Six Feet Under” and Susie Bright); New York at Bluestockings on July 19 (just me); and Capitola/Santa Cruz at the Capitola Book Cafe on August 3 (with Susie Bright). Come by and say howdy.

Reading diary, 6/17/05: Mutants: On Genetic Variety and the Human Form

Neat. Tough sledding, but neat.

“Mutants” Armand Marie Leroy is about, well, mutants: people born with genetic or other birth defects. Unlike most books I’ve seen on these people, this isn’t a social history of freak shows and freak society. It’s a science-for-the-layperson book, looking at how humans (and other animals) develop in the womb, and taking what happens when that process goes wrong as a way of understanding what happens when it goes right.

The book is tough going at times. It really, really doesn’t dumb down the science; as a result, there were good-sized stretches that I didn’t follow at all and just had to skim. And I’m usually pretty good with this “science for laypeople” kind of thing.

But I found it very much worth it. I have a far better sense now (which is to say, any sense at all) of how exactly DNA and embryonic development works, how the genetic code tells an embryo to do what it does. And I have a much, much better sense of gaping awe and wonder at the fact that this un-fucking-believably complicated and delicate process even works at all, not to mention that it works most of the time. I’m feeling much more humble since reading it: less inclined to gripe about my petty aches and pains (asthma, allergies, bum knees, etc.), and more grateful for the fact that my body basically works, and has for over 40 years.

Nitpick: I do wish there had been more pictures. Not just because the pictures it does have are cool, but because I think I would have been baffled less often if there had been more visual imagery.

Books I’m currently still in the middle of:

“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond
“The Forbidden Zone” by Michael Lesy
“Will The Circle Be Unbroken?” by Studs Terkel
“Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius
“The Onion Ad Nauseum: Complete Archives Volume 14″ by the staff of The Onion
“Zounds! A Browser’s Dictionary of Interjections” by Mark Dunn
“Existentialism and Human Emotions” by Jean-Paul Sartre
“Essays” by Michel de Montaigne

Kirkus Reviews and the Hollywood Reporter Say “Make Greta’s Book Into A Movie!”

No, really.

This is probably the most hilarious review I’ve ever gotten.

Here’s the deal. Kirkus Reviews and the Hollywood Reporter apparently team up for a regular series of "books-to-film recommendations" — and my new erotic novella, "Bending" (part of the three-novella collection "Three Kinds of Asking for It" from Simon & Schuster’s Touchstone) recently got listed. It was part of a piece they did on sexy books that might make good movies, ranging from PG-13 to unrated. My book, needless to say, was one of the unrated ones. Here’s what they say:

"If you look carefully, you can find novels whose sexual charge makes them natural movie fodder in nearly every rating category… Contributors Eric Albert and Greta Christina provide an even more inventive pair of sex fantasies in Susie Bright’s latest collection of erotica, ‘Three Kinds of Asking for It’ (Touchstone, $14). A young man’s deal with a witch to make every woman he meets powerless to resist his advances? A young woman who can be satisfied only when she’s bent over and taken from behind? What would L.B. Mayer say?"

If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.

In case you’re wondering why I’m laughing my ass off about this instead of scrambling to find a movie agent, it’s because it’s so unlikely. Don’t get me wrong, I’m immensely proud of "Bending" and I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written — but it’s unbelievably smutty. It’s very sexually explicit; the sex is, shall we say, extreme; and there’s pretty much nothing in it other than sex. With the exception of a sentence here and a paragraph there, every word of the book involves either people having sex, talking about sex, or thinnkig about sex. It’s a little hard to imagine it being made into a movie directed by anyone other than Rocco Siffredi. (Even if the sexual climate were otherwise, it’s hard to imagine "Bending" being made into a movie, since so much of the book consists of internal monologue and mental landscape. Vividly depicted internal monologue and mental landscape, but still.)

But hey. What do I know. Any movie moguls out there who want to take a flyer on "Bending," drop me an email. We’ll do lunch.

P.S. "Three Kinds of Asking for It" comes out at the end of this month. You can get more info about it on my Website.