Welcome Corinna Parr, today's participant in the Dirty Minds series.
Corinna has two titles which were banned from Smashwords, and she's going to tell you why she writes transgressional erotica.
My first memory of sexual arousal was at the age of six, the direct result of watching Princess Leia in a bikini being yanked around on a chain by Jabba the Hutt.
This is an important memory for me because a year later, an adult friend of the family began to molest me. The abuse lasted for two and a half years and escalated in severity, as such things tend to do. This memory is important to me because I spent the next twenty years hiding from my own sexuality due to feelings of guilt. In those twenty years, I read a number of studies on the effects of sexual abuse in children, see. I read that I had a greater risk of becoming a child molester, myself. I read that I had a greater risk of being sexually promiscuous, of marrying an abuser, of developing into a pervert with a taste for BDSM.
In those twenty years, I did in fact place myself at risk, emotionally, physically and sexually. I slept with men I shouldn’t have slept with, though I didn’t really want to. I was raped. I married abusive men. I did not become a pedophile but when my son was born, you can bet I spent a lot of time being irrationally scared of the day that I would wake up and feel an urge to abuse my child. I buried my interest in BDSM because it felt like a symptom of the trauma that had been done to me.
And then, I woke up. It took me a long time to realize that my capacity to be a sexual being and my taste for submission did not come from being abused as a child but I did finally figure it out. Those parts of me existed before the abuse. My sexuality was not defined by what some sick fuck did to me when I was seven.
I owned my sexuality, I found a partner who I could trust and love to explore those parts of myself with. I stopped feeling ashamed. That was also when I graduated from reading erotica-- furtively, always in secret, always suffering guilt for having that urge-- to writing it.
I believe that reading erotica contributed to me finally reaching a place where I could set the shame aside. It opened up ‘what if’ worlds where I could explore various themes and experience them in the safety of my own imagination. I could determine what turned me on and what didn’t. Most importantly, it gave me a sense of control. I wasn’t a curious and deceived seven year old, or a confused and hurting nine year old, or a tortured and lost nineteen year old. I was an adult woman looking into herself with the help of words written by other people, using them to find myself. I still remember some of the stories that resonated most with me. One of them, The Wilds, carried a triple whammy of incest, rape and barely legal sex. It was a hot story. It turned me on and I got off to it, but most importantly, it stayed with me and this was a story that I found back in the late 90s. It’s been fourteen years. Fourteen years, and I still remember details from the story as vividly as if I’d read it yesterday. This is coming from someone who’s lucky to remember her telephone number or what she had for dinner last night.
That is the impact erotica can have on a reader.
As a writer, I’ve seen some of my titles removed from Smashwords. One of those is The Wild Hunt which has the dubious distinction of being the first erotica story I ever wrote.
At first glance, it really isn’t anything special: it involves a barely legal girl who is taken into the woods by a bunch of smelly priests. These priests rape her and then she’s “rescued” by a forest god. She flees from him, she’s caught and he claims his prize in a second rape, while his pack of hounds circle them and watch. So, elements of barely legal sex (in the original story, Cara was fifteen or sixteen), molestation, group rape of both her mouth and vagina, more rape by a half-man, half-beast deity which injects aspects of bestiality and possible outright bestiality because one of the dogs licks her while she’s presenting herself to the God of the Forest.
But digging deeper, it becomes apparent what the story is to me. A girl is ripped forcibly from her life and her family by men who abuse her. These are people she should be able to trust and look up to, but they betray her trust to work out their own lust on her body. And then a new element enters the story, a mysterious and fantastic element that is frightening to Cara. Terrifying, even. She doesn’t know what it is, or what it means; she only knows that it’s bigger than she is, more powerful, raw and primal and untameable. But in spite of her fear, she submits to it and in submitting to it, discovers the first stirrings of genuine pleasure. The story ends with her being lifted in the arms of this wild, fascinating lover and carried into the forest to begin a new life.
I think the parallels are clear. Cara is me. The priests are those who betrayed my trust and tried to make me feel dirty for the things we all feel and do. And the forest god is simultaneously my own sexuality, and the person I trust enough to explore it with.
In the indie publishing world, I’m small potatoes. I’ve only had two titles removed from the shelves. The other is entitled Captivity, and thanks to No Boundaries Press, they’re available for public consumption again. But in spite of their content-- no, because of their content-- they did not deserve this censorship. None of the titles hit with the ban-hammer deserved this censorship. Erotica is important, it is vital to us as sexual creatures who need safe avenues in which to explore ourselves and our preferences. I don’t care how poorly a story is written, it has worth.
It has worth to the person who wrote it and to the people who read it. Deep, personal worth. No one can make the judgment on whether it “deserves” to be out there or not, because the only person who can make that determination is the author.
So there it is. Why I write, what I get from it. I’m not going to pretend that it’s all high art. Sometimes you just want to make yourself and other people blush and squirm in their seats. Sometimes that’s all you need. But it can be so much more than that when it needs to be.
I’m living proof of it.
Thank you Corinna, for coming and for sharing in such an open and honest manner. I'll tell my readers Corinna and I discussed a Q & A format, but once I saw what she'd already written, I decided to stay out of her way and let her tell you her story her way. I'm certain you can see why.