…I am writing simply to inquire if you might have a free moment to answer a few quick questions related to your work with Domme Chronicles. I am in the latter stages of putting together a textbook of sorts for journalism students that presents advice from current journalists and bloggers about various aspects of the craft, including writing about sex, love, and sexual health….
Journalism_Professor_Guy at the University of Somewhere, USA
Me? Talk about me?! Oh, hell yes!!
– First, simply put, what advice do you have for students interested in writing about sexual issues?
Write about what you know and are interested in. Be frank and brave and honest. Have an opinion. Start and end with “Fuck ‘em!” Do I need to add a disclaimer here that it’s easy for me to say that because I write a blog that doesn’t have my real name on it? Naaahhh… thought not.
– What are the keys to uncovering or brainstorming quality story ideas in the sex/sexual health realm??
I write a personal blog… it is a particular genre, and is ‘cheating’ in a way because everything in it is my experience and my opinion which gives me carte blanche to write about whatever pops into my head. I don’t have to think of ‘quality story ideas’ and really don’t have to do any research (yay for lazy and opportunistic!)… I essentially write opinion pieces and erotica. I just look around at what is happening in my personal life, trawl through memories and experiences, pay attention to what I am seeing out in my world, read through topics that people are commenting on in forums that I frequent, examine what is going on in my head and then I blather on about whatever takes my fancy.
From a reader perspective, what I find appealing about any articles relating to sex or sexual health is the story that they tell about someone. People are not interested in fact and figures, people are not interested in theory, people are interested in other people.
– Something a student asked me the other day that I wanted to get your take on… Are there any sexual clichés, topic areas or tired story narratives that you look out for and immediately kill or attempt to spin fresh?
Oh god yes! Great question.
My blog is about female dominance and male submission. It is an area of sexuality that is littered with the fallout of a million bad porn movies, mainstream clichés and sensational journalism. My blog is a pretty direct response to the terrible clichés that I see *everywhere* about it, so of course I avoid spouting the ‘company line’ on female dominance that is out there in the world.
I spent many years reading pretty much all of the material I could get my hands on. That included devouring fiction found in various forms, browsing blogs purporting to be about real life, wading through people’s opinions in different forums, perving at femdom porn, and I ended up with a pretty negative view of it all. There are many many idiotic people saying a myriad of idiotic things about ‘what female domination looks like’ and, frankly, it pisses me off. None of it represents a sexual identity that I could relate to. None of it reflects my experience. None of it is healthy or beautiful or real or shows any depth of love and affection*. Nearly ALL of it is cliché and embarrassing and sex-negative and presents a singular view of femdommery that I know is complete rubbish.
My aim with my blog is to venture out into the blogosphere and go “It’s not like that! Really, it’s not… come join us, we have cookies!!”
So, yes, I avoid the stereotypical dominatrix image with the leather and whips, the steely gaze and bitchy demeanour; I will NEVER present a submissive man as a grovelling worm not worthy to lick the soles of my boots. I will hand in my Dommie McDomme card and decoder ring well before I will succumb to the deluge of bad femdom clichés that is actually all about male desire and isn’t at all concerned with what women find hot and sexy. It’s ridiculous and embarrassing and in fact, even if I play with some of the stereotypical scenarios because it’s fun and hot to toy with, I avoid writing about it a way that sets up this porn-like, male-driven image of what it is all about.
– What don’t they teach students in a textbook or classroom about being a sex columnist, blogger or writer? Or asked another way, what have been the most surprising parts of the gig for you??
The most surprising thing has actually been that writing about often explicit topics has not caused me or my blog to be inundated by wankers. Truly. I assume that the tone I set is not of interest to the average wanker, which, frankly, surprises me because there is some sizzling hotness in my blog!
The other surprise has been that even though I have been writing for over two years now, averaging more than three posts per week, I haven’t run out of things to say yet. I have spoken to quite a few others who have found it hard work, it becomes tedious and boring and difficult, and they give it up. I do have my moments of that, where my mind is a blank, or I am just busy or distracted or empty, and I worry a little that I have nothing left to say, but it comes back. There is a discipline in writing regularly, and I think that if you don’t find pleasure of some sort in it, it will become very difficult.
– On a more personal level, what should students know about how their life might change or be impacted once they establish themselves as a sex blogger or columnist??
I think that question very much depends on the type of writing you do (education, erotica, personal life), the audience you garner (size, location, proximity), the reach you have (broad, narrow), and how you identify yourself (real name, photo). I can obviously only answer from my personal experience where I have a (kind of) anonymous blog that has a broad reach and that reveals some very very personal things that I don’t talk about in casual conversation with people EVER.
While my blog is anonymous, the name I use there (Ferns) is all over Fetlife where I am very active, and exists on CollarMe (BDSM social networking and dating sites respectively). When I meet people from the local BDSM community, they are inevitably on these sites, know my name and they know that I write ‘that blog’, so the anonymity only goes so far. More significantly, I meet all of my submissive partners online through these BDSM sites, which have links back to my blog, so likewise, they have read all of these intimate details about my life, relationships, beliefs before they have even met me. I actually wrote a post about my concerns about how that might impact me here: Hello, my name is….
While my blog is ‘me’, Ferns is the externalisation of my very intimate life, she is the person that you will uncover if I enter into a relationship with you, she is the one who shares everything with you, she is the woman who wants to tear you apart because she loves you; she is not the person who you will meet over a casual coffee.
In short, the biggest impact is that potential partners will have read my blog and will have a completely inappropriate level of knowledge about me, an intimate knowledge that colours their impression of me. Some will manage that better than others. I haven’t read your book, but you used the word ‘celebrity’, it is not the word I would have used, but there is something in it. I know full well that many readers think I am sexier, smarter, funnier, better looking, more extreme, more ‘perfect’ than I really am. Even if they *know* that they are doing that (and they do, for the most part), letting go of it when they meet me is still difficult. Trying to reconcile who they believe ‘Ferns’ is with this person standing in front of them can be a challenge.
– Within the sex/sexual health realm, what topics or issues deserve greater or more frequent attention?
If I think about this question, there are many many topics that deserve greater attention. A big one for me (rather obviously) is sex positivity for women (in this day and age, how is this still a topic?!). I want women to be joyful and powerful in owning their sexual desires and getting what they want instead of being the passive object of male desire. WHAT IS IT YOU WANT?!!! Go get it, woman!
A more obvious one is safe sex practices (not the remit of my blog, so this is something I don’t cover). There is SO much information out there and so much misinformation, it is frightening. I think what many writers tend to do with it is give advice disease by disease, too much information, everywhere, all the time. I would love it if there were simpler messages about how to stay safe. Better to just say ‘here, do this’… make it clear and simple. Most people are easily confused and bored with it all, no matter how important it is.
– Who else might you recommend contacting to garner a few words of sex writing wisdom?
If you have not found him yet, maymay is a must. He is an incredible and tireless sex advocate who writes endlessly about sex positivity. He founded Kink on Tap and started the beautiful Male Submission Art.
* I went pretty hard with the ‘None of it is healthy or beautiful or real or shows any depth of love and affection*’ line. When I started, it was true. I have since found quite a few writers (of blogs particularly) who do portray those relationships and some of you I found here. I wanted to acknowledge that I know you are out there.