Nikki Magennis

Posted in Uncategorized on February 1, 2011 by Shanna Germain

nude studies

child

‘Did you never wear clothes when you were a kid?’

Every photo, I’m running naked in sunshine, clothed in fresh air. But I remember the day I climbed a tree to grab the rope swing. My dress got stuck as I launched, and I was left stuck, hanging in mid air with my bottom half kicking, naked. My friends below circled, laughing. Discovering shame for the first time, I burned.

*

subject


I modelled mostly for groups. You sit and fix your eyes on a spot on the floor, and eventually start to hallucinate. It’s hard work, physical labour. Your muscles hurt. Dead legs. Pins and needles. But the money’s good.

In class, when the model is changing, everyone averts their eyes. It’s in the transition between clothed and unclothed that one is really naked. When nude, it’s fairly easy to become an object, make your body a face; breasts as eyes, cunt a mouth, like a Magritte painting. You assume a blank expression.

*

artist

I’ve painted beautiful people, and people I thought ugly to the point of repulsive. Men, women. Kristeen with the blonde frizz and acres of rolling fat. Andrew with his greasy leer, beer belly and occasional erection. There’s never been a person, a body, I’ve not wanted to draw. Every one is fascinating. Everyone is just an arrangement of lines and colours. We all reflect the light differently, that’s where the interest lies.

I dig into the oil-slick palette, come up for air hours later with my hands covered in gore. Trying so hard to X-ray the subject, to look under the skin, it’s only when you face the audience you realise it’s your own guts you’ve hung up on the line.

*

patient, mother

They gave me a spinal which numbed me from my heart down. I couldn’t inhale properly. I asked one of the women in the theatre to hold my hand, because even the touch of a stranger lends comfort. Behind a green curtain, they cut me open and pulled the baby out. I listened to my son scream for fifteen minutes. As he finished putting me back together, the doctor took a sweepstake on how many staples I’d need.

At last, they tucked the baby into my nightdress, naked, struggling, his nails dirty with scum and blood. His skin perfect against my skin. I realised – all I needed was strong shoulders and arms. I didn’t exist from the waist down. I held on tight.

*

lover

After the birth, I carried myself round in a stranger’s body. Scarred, sagging, striped like a tiger with purple stretch marks. Wounded in the middle, I bend in half like a hinge. Breasts scratched and swollen from feeding, back fucked from lifting, everything fucked from lack of sleep. I aged ten years overnight, averted my eyes when I passed a mirror.

The first time we made love, months late, you touched my scar. The same way the baby grabs for the most dangerous object in the room, you reached for the most tender part of me, the red line I’m scared to even look at.

I flinched, but your hand is warm. Your touch is good. You call me back to my body.

*

 

I have worn different bodies, different lives, different people. I’ve been a smear of bright skin, a drunk exposing myself, a good dancer. I’ve had gardener’s hands, dirty and blunt, inhaled a million cigarettes. Swam naked in rivers, carried a seed until it weighed me down, nursed a baby to sleep, got out of bed a hundred million times, even when I thought I could not.

What is left behind is not even scar tissue, not even bone. What is left behind is the movements I made, towards you and away from others, onwards into new countries, new days, just like the old days, more days, a finite number of days, working, always working, towards stillness.

***

*All names have been changed.

Lucy Felthouse

Posted in Writers on August 8, 2010 by neve black

I thought about the reason why I didn’t want a revealing photo or piece of writing online. It’s because I write under my own name, you see. If I used a pseudonym, a piece of writing would never be linked to me, unless I wanted it to be. And as for a photo, if it didn’t show my face, then nobody would ever know it was me. That’s why I was having so much trouble coming up with an angle.

But now I’ve found it, I’m going to run with it. Even without nudey photos or explicit true-life scribblings, using my own name as an erotic writer exposes me. Not with other writers in the same field, oh no. They get it. They’re a great bunch and it’s a great community to be a part of.

It’s the non-writers, and even worse, non-readers that give me trouble. And if they’re old fashioned to boot, then I’m really in trouble.

As we’ve established, I write mucky stories. I’ve written them on many different themes; sex outdoors, sex in uniform, phone sex, sex with a woman and even sex with a guy delivering grocery shopping. Those who don’t get it assume that because I write all these erotic stories, I must have lived them. They don’t get that it’s possible to have an imagination, know how things work “down there” and be able to put the two together to come up with erotic stories which (I hope) other people enjoy reading.

Of course I haven’t had sex on an army base (more’s the pity). Neither have I had it off with the guy delivering my shopping. And I’ve never dabbled in Sapphic delights. These are all just ideas. That’s all it takes – a little spark of an idea and a story is born. Naturally, some of these ideas may come from real life, but real life is rarely as exciting as fiction, which is why so many people read it in the first place – escapism!

I’ve been asked lots of daft questions to do with my writing – which you can see in more detail here. Luckily, I’m thick-skinned and am able to laugh most of them off. Even more luckily, most of the people I choose to tell about my extra-curricular smut-mongering take it pretty well. That’s probably because I’ve sussed out what I think their reaction will be before hitting them with the news. I suspect many of them Google me the first chance they get and read some of the stuff I’ve posted online. They may even enjoy it. But I also suspect that, however cool they appeared on the surface, some of them probably wonder whether I have lived my stories, where I get my ideas from, and whether I’ve ever written a story about them, or someone we know. To be honest, I don’t mind any more. It’s what I do and the people that do get it are the important ones; the readers. And for those I am thankful.

Long live erotica, I say.

Oh, and though I won’t post a naughty photo, I don’t want my post to just be text. So here’s a photo of me with some books my stories have appeared in. And as to whether the ideas came from real life, well… nobody will ever know, will they?

Anon

Posted in Writers on August 1, 2010 by Shanna Germain

Call me Anonymous.

Once upon a time, much of erotica was attributed to ‘Anonymous’, and it continued that way for several reasons, not least the fact that it means than on bookshop shelves books by Anonymous can be most easily found at the beginning of the alphabet. But that’s not the reason I’ve adopted the convenient pseudonym today.

I am a middle-aged male writer of erotica. I have also been a serial adulterer, a liar and a man who leads several lives. I have repeatedly had sex with other women I was attracted to, whether physically or intellectually, against the moral dictates of normal society. I have also had sexual relationships with men, even though I would not normally describe myself as bisexual. When it comes to men, I don’t even remember their faces, let alone even attempt to learn their names, and my only memory is of their cocks and the way they fucked me. But every single woman is etched like a scar in my memory, in my soul. They are all unforgettable, however brief the encounter, the sex.

I have even slept with two female writers of erotica with whom I have shared pages in anthologies. One still is a good friend, even though we only had sex that once; we were lonely, and there was a glimpse of recognition, and we comforted each other one sunny afternoon in New York. The sex was good and she tells me that as a result she felt like a woman again and shortly after left her husband and started her life again. I don’t flatter myself that I was that good a lover; any man right there and then would have helped her unblock the frustrations that were paralysing her life.

The other was someone I had briefly corresponded with, and then flirted heavily with online and we decided ‘what the hell’ and decided to meet. She lived on the other side of the world and we met in a city that was more or less a halfway distance for both of us. The reality was at first a bit awkward but we spent a week and fucked like rabbits in a hotel room. We even had anal sex. After we parted and returned to our realities, we briefly wrote to each other again but it soon fizzled out and it’s now been almost 10 years and we have not communicated since. She no longer writes erotica, to the best of my knowledge.

Why am I cloaked behind the veil of anonymity when all previous participants to F-Stop have not done so? Sadly we now live in a world where Google Alert and search engines can in some instances prove highly dangerous. I have a wife and children and I would rather they stay in ignorance of some of the true facts about my other lives. I wish to preserve a form of status quo and not create unhappiness or at worst incomprehension. Of course they know I write material of an erotic nature. My children seldom read what I write (whether in the erotic sphere or elsewhere) and my wife only does so occasionally, and although I know she must necessarily have some suspicions, she prefers to think I have a valiant imagination, which is both flattering to my ego and reassuring. She is aware of at least one past affair and I long ago resolved not to hurt her and protect her from my terrible wanderlust. Deceit ever eats away at my guts, I assure you but I try and live with it. I am sadly aware how imperfect I am with my ever-growing web of deceits, and ask you not to pass judgement; cast the first stone and all that…

The irony is that I am one of the few male erotic writers (and yes, we are in a distinct minority) who does not use a pseudonym, because I strongly believe that I have to be honest to myself in my writing and not hide behind another name!

Now, this probably means that many of you reading these lines (this confession?) will recognize who I actually am and I will not in any way be ashamed of the fact. But I would ask you, if you feel like making comments, not to mention my real name there; feel free to write to me privately if you wish, that would not be a problem. Add the fact that even though my photographs do not feature my face, some of you who have come across me socially or professionally might recognise my build or something of my appearance even though, with the exception of the two writers mentioned above, they have only seen me clothed! I can just imagine so many of you speculating right now as to who I actually am. You may; it’s harmless, and if it makes you feel like Sherlock Holmes, I’m happy for you.

Why have I supplied some nude photographs to illustrate this article? Again, I strive for absolute honesty.  In life as in my writing. Were I just displaying a dubious touch of exhibitionism, I would have arranged for better photographs or asked someone reliable and more talented as a photographer to take them and make me look somewhat better, or at more flattering advantage. Or waited until after the summer vacations for my skin to be a bit tanned and less white and pasty.

I am no longer young. I carry more weight than I should normally, even though I am stocky by build. But this is me. Neither Brad Pitt nor Frankenstein. These are my hands, this is my chest, these are my arms and my legs. This is my cock at rest.

There is also, I know, something sordid about the sheer everyday ordinariness of the photographs, like some unimaginative pervert who wishes to show himself off on Craigslist or whichever dubious Internet contact site of your preference. That’s the way I wanted it to be.

I find it ironic that for the reasons stated above I should be headless following all the recent controversy about the nudity of women under the male gaze in the debate about headless women on the covers of many of the books we all appear in, so here I am, with a faint smile (of course unseen on the photographs) and not a little trepidation offered to the female gaze, in view of the fact that I am well aware that a large majority of erotica writers and readers are women. These photos are not erotic in any way, just a reflection of reality. Sorry, I am not a hunk (and never was).

The American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, who has always been a great influence on me, literally wrote hundreds of short stories. Scores of them were written for slick magazines just for the money and their quality fluctuates wildly. But, even in his worst efforts, there was always something, a line, a paragraph, a character, a situation that we know was a genuine part of him, a cry for recognition, something that was dear to his heart. Similarly, much of what I write (I’ll leave the quality judgement to readers) contains a part of me and, in my erotica, a window into my other lives and my sexuality. How could it not be?

I don’t mean by this that everything I write is autobiographical.

But neither is it all a fabric of personal fantasies, or wish fulfilment scenarios – like too much of what is written and published these days as erotica.

Not one of my illicit sexual encounters with women was purely about sex.

I swear.

And, thinking back, the fewer ones with men were more about experience, curiosity, wanting to know what it could feel like to be a woman, a paradoxical way to understand women better by sharing their sexual experience, a desperate attempt of sorts to identify with the female side of sexuality. Being me, I one day reached the stage where I desperately wanted to know what it felt like for a woman to suck a cock (my cock) and later to actually be fucked, penetrated. Physiologically, the experience is of course different, but what beckoned me was the psychological, intellectual feeling it would provide me with, the insights it could give me into the minds and hearts of the women I had known and those I would hope to know one day. Hence the fact that when I have been with men, it has always in a way been as object: my only interest in them was as cocks able to fuck me or to suck, I had no interest in them as persons. Do I hear the word ‘objectify’?

Whileas every woman I have been with has been an epiphany, a celebration of the senses and mind, and every single encounter has informed what I write even if the circumstances, the names, the sexual mechanics, the situations have been transformed by the alchemy of fiction.

I love women, i love sex with women, but more importantly I relish the closeness, the words said and unsaid of sex together, the complicity, the raging lust, the emotions shared.

I think it was Bob Dylan who came up with the expression ‘I am what I eat’ or maybe it was said of him. In my case, I am those I have fucked.

Despite my unwitting career of infidelity and sexual dalliances I have never had sex with a woman just for the sake of it. I’ve always wanted more. Much more. Which has been both a blessing and a curse as I have repeatedly fallen in love hard with many of my clandestine partners, thus precipitating a variety of problems and all too often sadly our eventual break-ups. Yes, I might be kidding myself or seeking some form of justification for my actions, when I say that it is possible to love more than one woman at a time. But it’s genuinely the way I feel. Let me expose myself even further: on two occasions, two lasting affairs, I (we?) even reached the stage where I was almost hours or a few days at most away from abandoning my marriage, my life at the time, commitments, job to run away with the other woman involved. In one instance, she was married to another and he found out, which put a painful spanner in the works when he asked her to choose between him and me, between 10 years of marriage and what was still too much of an unknown factor. On the other occasion, I was the one who hesitated too long to fully commit strongly although my heart said yes yes yes because I was crumbling under the weight of our age difference (she was half mine, and so beautifully young…).

And neither am I seeking extenuating circumstances when I say that, as much as I have given in to lust and been with so many women I shouldn’t have, I have also turned down as many opportunities for sex that presented themselves. Because they would have been pointless, or held no promise of emotions, of a connection somehow. Believe me when I say (or believe) that I’m not promiscuous.

So, this far from perfect life I have had has made me the writer of erotica that I am. In every story I have penned there is always something that originates in my life, whether the memories of a body, a smile, a hotel room, a beach, the feel of skin under my fingers, the shape of a breast, the awesome first vision of a new cunt. What I try and write is ever a celebration, however bittersweet, of the fruits my past lust, and the way my heart opened to women.

For several months now, I must confess that I have been celibate–at any rate, in the infidelity stakes. Lack of opportunities, mental tiredness, loss of seductive powers? I still flirt from time to time, in life or online, with a handful of possible female friends (albeit none in the world of literary erotica) with a view to a real life encounter but the will and the energy appear to be fading. Maybe because every new experience takes a lot out of me when the parting has to come, possibly? Too much time for reflection. Which has had a marked effect on what I have been writing. I have written a couple of handfuls of new stories over the past 18 months, which I believe are strong and amongst my best. Inspired by eyes and bodies past, things said and things done with beautiful souls I have now lost forever. But some of these stories are surprisingly extreme, even to me. One shocked me even when I read it on publication earlier this year (it was not actually published as erotica, for all you would be detectives…). Another, which is just about to appear in an anthology this autumn, is contradictorily one of my least autobiographical tales (it’s a first person female narrator) but also one of the most personal, and it scared me writing it. Somehow I just can’t see how much further I can go before I breach good taste, let alone taboos. The editor commented that I had just written the ’Texas Chain Saw Massacre’ of erotica!

So I feel I am at at sort of crossroads.

I have always had a covenant with myself that I would always write with total honesty, not fudge matters when it comes to that confused borderline between reality and fantasies. In a way, all my writing has been a way of exorcising my demons, I suppose, a form of catharsis.

If I can’t write about my reality, there is no point in writing.

Erotica is not just about sex, it’s about feelings.

Wonderful feelings, terrible feelings, important feelings.

The feelings that keep me metaphorically alive.

Maybe this short essay will be my final contribution to the world of erotica. I don’t know. Right now, I feel empty. I recently read again some of the stories I’ve published over the years and some of it fills me with joy because it reminds me of her and her and her and happier times.

Will there be another unwitting muse, another accidental encounter, further adultery and consequently new stories? Time will tell.

These are my naked words.

This is my naked body.

This is me.

Naked.

*

A Peep at Our Summer Schedule

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2010 by donnageorgestorey

I’m sure you’ll all agree we’ve had an amazing run of essays since F-Stop debuted on Valentine’s Day this year bringing us all the way into the lazy days of summer.  A number of fascinating and very talented artists have expressed interest in exposing themselves here with us in the future, but with vacations and barbecues and the languid heat of the season, we’re expecting the goodies to roll in sweet and slow from now on.  But do check back, browse through the archives or better yet, consider sending us some prose, poetry and/or pictures of your own!  We’re easy.

To all readers of F-Stop, thanks so much for your support and hoping you have a sweet, lazy, as-naked-as-you-want-to-be summer!

Kirsty Logan: Naked on the Internet

Posted in Writers with tags on June 20, 2010 by Shanna Germain

Most people in my life don’t know that I’m naked on the internet. It’s not a big secret – if they were to ask, I’d be honest about it. But they never do ask, of course: I suppose I just don’t seem like the type of person who would have got their tits out on camera. I’m not entirely sure what such a person would be like, but I don’t think it’s me.

When I was 18, I did about ten nude photo shoots over the course of six months. They were pretty tame; art students or amateur photographers rather than porn barons. The photos are probably still out there, but I don’t really think about them. The woman I am now, at 26, is not the same girl I was at 18. I have seen the photos and I know logically that those are my nipples and my ankles and my hips, but to look at they could be any of the thousands of other naked girls on the internet. The only reason I know it’s really me is that the girl in the photos has my face and my tattoos.

I recently confessed all by writing a personal essay about my nude modelling, which you can read at The Rumpus. I linked to it on my website and social networks, which are read by my friends, family, acquaintances, students in my adult learning classes, and fellow writers. It was my ‘coming out’: telling them without having to actually tell them.

The decision on whether to include photos was a tricky one. I wanted to confess; I wanted to show that I had no reason to be ashamed or secretive about this aspect of my past. Including pictures made it seem like I was trying to titillate, but I included them anyway; a decision I’m still not sure about. The photos made me feel naked – not in the sense that they show my skin, but in the sense that I was admitting to the world that I had liked to be looked at, and perhaps I still did. The photos said that this 26 year-old woman wasn’t so different from the 18 year-old girl after all.

Back then, I wanted attention. I wanted people to look at me and think that I was worth their time. Taking my clothes off seemed like a short cut: everyone wants to look at nude 18 year-olds. Now I don’t get naked for attention, but I do wonder whether my writing is based on the same need for recognition. Perhaps I still need people to say that I am worth their time. And because it takes longer to read a story than to look at a photo, maybe I feel that I am progressing.

I am a 26 year-old woman creating worlds with words, and I am an 18 year-old girl with goosebumped skin and a lens trained on my breasts, and I am a child stamping her foot and screaming look! look at what I made! look at who I am!

All of this is hard for me to admit. I am a feminist. I am educated. I am trying to make a living by being terribly clever and writing terribly clever things, and so I do not like to admit that I am just a scared and needy teenager underneath it all. But then, aren’t we all? Everyone is scared that they are going to get ‘found out’. That someone will come up to them one day and say: “You don’t know what you’re talking about, do you?” Because we all do know what we’re doing, but at the same time we have no fucking clue. Life is a series of bluffs.

I admit everything in my writing – everything – because if I reveal myself then no-one can do it for me. If I say: “Yes, I am totally fucking clueless and this whole thing is a just guesswork,” then no-one can catch me out. I confess! My ivory tower is full of empty biscuit wrappers and crumpled pieces of paper! I am a fraud!

It’s all a defence. It’s the strength of walls. I can’t be found out if I’ve already told everything. So yes, I am an attention-seeker. I need people to read what I have written and tell me that it was worth their time. But who doesn’t? Would we really scrawl on the walls of our cells if we knew it was all going to be washed away by the rain before anyone could see it?

I do this for me, and I do this for you. I am building a life, and I am building myself. I do it this way because I don’t know what else to do.

Learn more about Kirsty Logan at http://www.kirstylogan.com/*

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Posted in Writers with tags on June 12, 2010 by donnageorgestorey

Photo by Laura Boyd

FS: As a long-time columnist, editor, erotica writer and sexy model, you’ve “exposed” yourself to audiences in many media and genres.  Do you find you reveal more about yourself in your fiction or nonfiction writing?

RKB: I’ve always written both erotic fiction and nonfiction about my sex life, and each serve different purposes and roles in my life. There are some ways I can be more honest and open in fiction, especially if I’m writing something based on a real relationship or encounter. You don’t have the same parameters and can also disguise people and work in fictional elements to go along with the “real” story, while in non-fiction you have to stick to the facts. Sometimes that comes off more stilted, though I can offer certain insights in that format, such as in my Secrets of a Sex Writer column at SexIsMagazine.com, that I couldn’t in erotica. I like being able to capture my erotic world in both ways.

Photo by Celeste Smith

You seem very comfortable in front of the camera.  Did you always feel that way or was it a growth experience?

I definitely have not always been comfortable in front of the camera and there are many horrible photos of me as a teenager and into college to prove that. I’ve gotten more comfortable in front of it both as I got more comfortable in my body as well as finding good photographers to work with. So much of it for me is having a positive working relationship with them, and that chemistry is something you can’t plan or force.

Photo by Laura Boyd

Is making a video/book trailer any different from still photographs?

It’s totally different, though for me one aspect that is similar is that neither is my forte (I know almost nothing about photography and nothing about how to shoot video) and that I have to give up control to those who do know better. The way I work with my videographer, who’s made the trailers for Spanked, Do Not Disturb, Peep Show and Please, Sir, is we select a location, get props and invite friends and acquaintances and then shoot as much footage as she thinks she needs. I and others do voiceovers reading from the anthologies and then I give her basic guidelines, sometimes music (or she chooses), and let her work her magic.

I think of my trailers as little movies that give some insight into the particular topic, whether that’s spanking, hotel sex, exhibitionism and voyeurism or BDSM, as well as hopefully enticing people into wanting to read the book. I get to play both myself and “characters” and while it’s somewhat of a tool to sell books (though I’m not sure how successful it is as such since there’s no way to track that) it’s also a component to my online persona that I think adds to my appeal to editors and publishers. It’s also a way for first-time visitors to my site to get a taste of who I am and what my books are about.

Photo by DA Photography

Do you feel that your work as an editor reveals parts of you that your other literary endeavors do not?

I don’t necessarily think my editing reveals something about me beyond the topics I choose to work on with my books. For me as a creative endeavor it’s a huge relief from the pressure of writing and such an educational experience. I love putting a call for submissions out into the world and seeing what authors do with it; their work is so fresh and creative and breathes new life into my simple ideas. I liken editing anthologies to running my reading series In The Flesh, which I hope you’ll attend before we close in December 2010, because it’s an opportunity to collaborate with others and a case where the whole is so much greater than simply the sum of its parts. I think editing is a very social thing, even if it’s all done via email, whereas writing is quite solitary.

Thanks so much for exposing yourself with us at F-Stop, Rachel!

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York-based author, editor, blogger and reading series host. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, wrote the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice, and hosts the monthly In The Flesh Reading Series, where she’s booked everyone from Susie Bright to Zane. She has written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, TheFrisky.com, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, Time Out New York, and other publications. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, the Best Women’s Erotica Series, Zane’s Succulent: Chocolate Flava II and Purple Panties, and others. Rachel has a fondness for spanking, rough sex, hotels and general naughtiness…when she can tear herself away from her computer and iPhone. She also has an unbridled passion for cupcakes which she blogs about frequently at her popular group blog Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Marcy Sheiner

Posted in Writers with tags on May 29, 2010 by donnageorgestorey

Open

“Open,” he whispered huskily into my ear, and I obeyed, spreading my lips far apart, arching my neck to demonstrate my eagerness to please the man who was prodding the inner recesses of my body.

“A little wider. A little bit more. Thaaaaat’s it,” he said, as I opened even wider, thrusting my chest forward, hoping to win his approval.

The air felt rarefied, thinner than the air of ordinary existence. I floated in an atmosphere of finer and more frequent vibrations, where my senses tingled and shimmered, where all pain magically vanished. The man continued his agonizingly slow journey, gently caressing my face as he explored territory deep inside me. Music was playing, but it was indistinguishable, the music of the spheres, a series of high vibrations that seemed to both surround and fill my body. I breathed deeply, inhaling the colors of ecstasy.

Suddenly everything shifted: The sweet air thickened, steadily blunting the blissful sensations. The voice of Tammy Wynette, mundane and whiny, screeched from the tinny radio. I opened my eyes and there was my dentist, efficiently pulling instruments and cotton out of my mouth and telling me not to eat for a few hours.

I crashed to earth with a thud. This was not the first time I’d had ecstatic experiences under nitrous oxide in the dentist‘s chair, and it undoubtedly would not be the last. But in between visits to the adorable man who probed my cavities with such tenderness while I greedily snorted nitrous oxide, there would be months of ordinary life to endure.

I’ve had a long history of severe dental problems, beginning in adolescence, that have continued, domino-like,  right through middle age. I’ve encountered every kind of tooth doctor, from incompetents at dental schools to a New Age quack who treats “dentophobes” with hypnotherapy and psychobabble.  The worst was a certifiable sadist who repeatedly struck one of my teeth with an electric prod; as he came at me for the fourth time I kicked him in the balls and was subsequently banished from his clinic.

But this is not meant to be a gruesome tale: the human spirit is remarkable in its ability to adapt, and adapt I did. Some might label me the ultimate masochist for finding an erotic charge in the dentist’s chair, but while I concede that elements of S/M are certainly at play here, it’s not the entire picture. Yes, the pleasure-pain continuum is an obvious factor. And yes, the dentist’s white coat and position of authority puts him in the “master” role.  But more significant, I believe, was my intuitive realization that if I could activate what we now know are endorphins, I could ease the pain inflicted by dentistry. Early on, while prone in the dentist’s chair with my mouth forced open, I closed my eyes and thought about the wondrous source of pleasure I had only recently discovered–sex.

I was, after all, 16 when my career as a dental patient began in earnest, when X-rays revealed that two of my baby teeth had never fallen out and the permanent teeth were impacted. Treatment involved extracting the baby teeth and ripping away the gums in order to pull down the permanent teeth. This was 1962: no nitrous, no sodium pentathol, no ether–just Novocain. Lots and lots of Novocain. Up my nose, down my throat, into my cheeks. The procedure was so brutal that the only way I endured was by taking refuge in “trashy daydreams,” as Joyce Carol Oates calls them, so common to adolescents. During the long ordeal of freeing my impacted teeth I would mentally focus on my latest sexual discoveries with boys, from petting to finger-fucking to oral sex and finally intercourse. This was a two-year process; by the time it was over I was married (no, no, not to the dentist) and a mother-to-be.

“For every baby you lose a tooth” may be an old wives tale, but in my case it proved to be pure science. The two teeth I respectively lost were, of course, the ones that had been forced out of their impacted state –they’d never lined up properly, and rotted away. By the time I was 22 I had two kids and two frontal  bridges; as the years went by the bridges separated and had to be replaced with one six-tooth structure. Enamel behind on either side began to shift and rot, and today I sport a nine-tooth wonder of modern dentistry requiring vigilant care, including a cleaning every three months.

Sex fantasies combined with nitrous oxide have gotten me through all this. The first time I was given nitrous I had a psychedelic experience, with colors swirling behind my closed lids. The second time I had an orgasm.

I’ve had crushes on several of my dentists: It doesn’t matter what he looks like; simply by virtue of using his fingers to explore my mouth while I lie back passively he becomes, to my mind, a sex object. Should I grow bored with the dentist,  I close my eyes and think about everything from my boyfriend’s cock to Dolly Parton’s tits. The tools or fingers inside my mouth become fleshy cocks. The words “Open wide” or “Hold still now” become sexual commands.

These days I eagerly look forward to dental treatments–in fact, they’re the most relaxing moments in my frantic life.  My current dentist is an enlightened sweetheart 15 years my junior who believes that with no pain we all gain. He gives me as much nitrous oxide as I need to rocket into the stratosphere; in fact, the front page of my chart reads “DO NOT TOUCH WITHOUT NITROUS.” (He knows about the dentist I kicked in the balls.) This goes not only for broken fillings, caps and root canals, but for cleanings as well. For the heavier work I get Novocain once I’m high on the nitrous, and if I flinch even slightly, up goes the gas.

With pain removed from the dental situation, my consciousness is fully free to wander. Occasionally–particularly as I get older–I enter a philosophical state where, like William James who regularly used nitrous to explore his psyche, I glimpse cosmic truths. Still, my mind invariably drifts into the realm I discovered early on could save me: not above my head but below my waist.

***

Every serious pursuit, whether it be stamp collecting or scuba diving, involves setting and attaining goals. For years my goal as a dental patient was to repeat my one and only orgasmic nitrous oxide experience.  When it occurred I was stunned: without any physical contact, my cunt spontaneously spasmed. I’ve heard all those horror stories about predatory dentists who take advantage of their zoned out patients, but I’ve never encountered one.  Even high on nitrous, I’m aware enough of my surroundings to know if I’m being fondled; when I climaxed it wasn’t because of any hanky-panky on the part of the dentist.

No, my orgasm arrived unbidden as a blink or a sneeze, the only assistance being a headful of nitrous and sexual imagery. This was all the more startling since I’m one of those women for whom orgasm during sex, whether partnered or solo, is a long hard climb; sometimes I don’t even make it over the top. So this event loomed large in my life as singularly unique–until last week.

It was a big dental day: I needed two caps and a cleaning, so I’d be in the chair for more than an hour. The technician moved the nitrous oxide tank into position, fetched my personal orange mask out of the drawer, and hooked me up. (I’ve come to regard these preparations as akin to primitive pre-nuptial rituals, where the village women prepare the bride for her studly groom.)  Usually I get hooked up, take a few inhalations, and am still fairly lucid when Dr. A. comes on the scene. But today he was having difficulty with another patient, and I was left alone to inhale the holy nectar for what must have been fifteen minutes.

Fifteen minutes on nitrous oxide is a long time. Suddenly I found myself laughing hysterically, with the receptionist and technician on either side of me, frantically removing the mask and asking if I was okay.

Okay? Hell, I’d never been happier; they don’t call the stuff laughing gas for nothing. But the technician told me she would have to lower the gas level.

“What’s wrong with laughing?” I protested.

“We have other patients here,” she said, laughing herself, “and you were really crackin’ up.”

The lower level of nitrous frustrated me, and when Dr. A. stuck his nasty needle full of Novocain into my  gums I let out a howl. He apologized profusely, and agreed to raise the gas, but it was still below my normal level. In a few minutes he began filing or scraping or whatever barbaric method they use to prepare a tooth for capping. I felt the pain, and let him know it with grunts and menacingly jerking limbs. He gave me more Novocain.

The situation was dire; I felt almost as desperate as when my impacted teeth had been ripped from my gums. I closed my eyes and began a steady inhalation; reversing the yogic technique of longer exhalations, I inhaled as much as I could manage and exhaled as little as possible. I conjured up a recent sexual memory and entered into it fully, imagining hands on my breasts, objects in my cunt, words in my ears…

My cunt contracted, slowly at first, then building, spasming painfully around emptiness, but providing exquisite release. I couldn’t stop my hips from bucking slightly, and I must have let out an unusual sound, because Dr. A. drew back, alarmed.

“There’s no nerve in that tooth,” he said, genuinely distressed at having caused me pain. “It shouldn’t hurt.”

“Uuuuuuuungh.” I grunted and nodded, forming an “okay” sign with my thumb and forefinger. My cunt was happily twitching, at the tail end of orgasm.

Dr. A, being such a considerate lover, now turned the nitrous up full force. Since I’d just come, my body was released into an entirely new plane of sensation. As had happened to me before on nitrous oxide, I saw everything in my universe as inextricably connected: pieces of my life flashed before me on a continuum, each event leading inevitably to the next, each a profound learning experience. And every person I’d ever known seemed to fit into this jigsaw puzzle called my life, every one of them there for a reason.

I opened my eyes and benevolently watched Dr. A. as he earnestly worked on my teeth, his movements not barbaric but intensely purposeful and caring. Suddenly I could feel a physical connection similar to the emotional connections I had been seeing: there was a direct line from my teeth downward, through sinew and muscle and bone, through every organ and orifice–including my cunt. No wonder I’d always been turned on in the dentist’s chair! My teeth were connected to my nerves and my cunt, and any stimulation in one part could cause a reaction in another.

Suddenly the song “The leg bone’s connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bone’s connected to the foot bone…..now hear the word of the Lord,”  popped into my head, and I began laughing hysterically.

Uh oh. Alarm all around. Down went the nitrous, off came the mask, concerned faces peered into mine. My laughter turned into tears of joy, for I wanted to kiss Dr. A, his assistant, and the whole damn world. Glory halleluliah, I’d found religion and sex as they were meant to be experienced.

But of course I couldn’t tell them; if I did, they’d probably lock me up or, at the very least, I’d never get nitrous oxide again.

“I’m all right,” I assured them in a whisper. In a world where both cosmic visions and sexual responses are seen as signs of mental imbalance, mine must remain secret.

Marcy Sheiner is the editor of a dozen collections of erotica, including Herotica 4-7, Best Women’s Erotica 2000-2005, and The Oy of Sex: Jewish Women Write Erotica. Her sex stories, essays and features have been widely anthologized, and her book Sex for the Clueless was published by Kensington Press in 2001. You can read her at http://www.marcys.wordpress.com and her memoir of mother/daughterhood at http://www.marcysmemoir.wordpress.com.

She also lists her writing and editing services at http://www.marcysbookbuster.wordpress.com.

“Open” was originally published in Guilty Pleasures, edited by M. Christian.

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