Is Truly Sexy Erotic Horror Possible?

I write a lot of horror stories; I also write a fair amount of erotic and/or sexually-focused fiction. I certainly write about other things–and I take pride in the range of topics, genres and sub-genres in which I’ve been published–but those are two of the most common and recurrent subjects that I’m drawn to explore.

On occasion, out pops a story that features both. But I’ll be honest: I struggle when a given story requires that I strike some sort of delicate (or often a very INDELICATE) balance between those two important plot elements. It always seems that one or the other threatens to overshadow or even overwhelm the other. In my case, it tends to be the horrific element that wins out.

Examples?

In 2001, I had a story called “Faded Goddess” in THE DEAD INN, a limited edition anthology of extreme horror fiction from Delirium Books. It was the first hardcover book I’d ever had a story in and I was proud to be found rubbing shoulders with such well-known fellow contributors as Jeffrey Thomas, Mark McLaughlin and Charlee Jacob (among many others). My story involved a former Hollywood star brought to ruin by self-destructive impulses rooted in sexual abuse and incest. So, yeah–there’s explicit sex here, but none of it is positive or fulfilling, let alone redemptive in any shape or form. It’s really a cautionary tale and NOT to my mind “sexy” at all.

A year later, Prime Books came out with TOURNIQUET HEART, a trade paperback anthology of erotic horror. My contribution was a short, nasty thing called “Sister Simone Fucked the Devil” (apologies to anyone offended by the title, but that’s what it was). Based (EXTREMELY loosely) on a notorious mass murder years before at a Quebec convent, it’s about an abused novice who makes a sexual union with (yes, literally) the devil, slaughters the other nuns (who, yes, have been mistreating her–including sexually) and is found rutting obsessively amid the carnage with a partner nobody else can see or otherwise sense (guess who).

In both cases, the explicit sex is–if anything–repulsive and ANTI-erotic (though effectively dramatic, I hope).

Please understand: I’m not apologizing for it. Horror is about–well, obviously–the not pleasant sides of life (and death). But maybe it’s that other emotionally loaded word (erotic) that I have trouble with?

I think sex is–in and of itself–a good thing. I’m pretty much in favor of it, overall. It should bring pleasure and maybe even deeper joy to all those involved. And no, I’m not saying it should all be total sweetness and light. Nor am of the marriage-only/vanilla or nothing crowd. One of the things that makes sexuality such a compelling subject matter for a writer is the diversity in which it manifests itself.

Anything so basic to human behavior–and at the same time, so varied and often controversial–is guaranteed to be full of drama, very often INTENSE drama. And hey, I’m a writer–where would I be without THAT?

Perhaps it’s simply a matter of the requirements inherent in horror fiction.

I’ve often blended explicit eroticism (of a more positive nature) with other genres. Back in the 1990s, I had stories in three volumes from Circlet Press–an outfit specializing in erotic science fiction and non-horrific fantasy literature. SELLING VENUS is erotic fiction about “the future of the age-old tradition of exchanging sex for money.” SM PASTS blends power-exchange eroticism with fantasies set in the past. And yes, VAMPIRICA EROTICA is about sexy vampires–which seems the exception to my self-proposed rule, in that the sexual activity there isn’t a negative factor. But even there, the focus is more on the erotic turn-on than on scaring the crap out of the reader (so I guess that makes it ‘dark fantasy’ more than ‘horror’).

Of my more recent credits, I have an erotic steampunk story in VALVES & VIXENS, an anthology from a British publisher (House of Erotica, Andrew’s Ltd) and my first (so far only) stand-alone book is a short novel from Canada’s Crimson Frost Books called COYOTE SUMMER, an e-book of erotic romance blended with often violent crime fiction. Both include sex that’s as explicit as all get-out and mostly positive for those involved.

It occurs to me that I’ve got another vampire story currently in search of a publisher where the sex–while contributing indirectly to the central characters’ tragic downfall–is not, in itself, unpleasant or perverse. I guess I see vampires as unique beings–and therefore immune to the “curse” that otherwise tends to make my efforts at “truly erotic erotic horror” almost a contradiction in terms.

Anyway, here are images of the covers of the books I’ve mentioned. If anybody’s interested, visit my page at amazon.com/authors/leejim to buy any of these books (current or used/print and/or e-book editions of these and many other titles.Tourniquet HeartThe Dead innSM PastsSelling Venus51w2+T4TtIL._AA160_Erotica VampiricaCoyote Summer cover

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s