• Member Since 14th Jan, 2012
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MrNumbers


The magical psychic socialist

More Blog Posts244

Jan
5th
2019

The State of FimFiction's Fading Erotic Scene · 5:25pm January 5th

Hello my mostly straight, mostly male audience.

That’s not a callout. That’s not a condemnation. Hell, until recently, I identified as both - and I could never hate myself, could I?

It’s true though, and it’s important to remember that sometimes. Especially as it becomes more amplified over the years. I’ve noticed a lot of our female authors and voices leaving, and the ones that remain getting more uncomfortable for their time here. That’s a serious problem for a fandom that’s supposed to emphasize female representation.

When we run out of female voices, what we start having is a site showing a perception of female characters entirely from a male worldview. This isn’t an issue of what we should be ‘allowed’ to do, because I’m not going to stop doing it, but it’s an elephant in the room I feel like we need to address.

Namely because the female authors I’ve spoken to about this have been harassed when they addressed it.

Let’s start small and specific, with M rated fics. We’ve come to heavily emphasize a male view of sex and sexuality right now, which more than being an aesthetic problem, it seems to be hurting the quality of the porn we produce.

That’s why I Need Feminism: I want better porn.



Right now at the top of the feature box are three stories, “Stealing Her Laboured Breaths” by An Intricate Disguise, and “I’m Cool Not Cute” by Horse Girls Are Watching and “Enduring Affection” by Fugger. The first is about a guy who survives on sex, and having to suck the soul out of whoever he has sex with - and the problems that occur when he wants to have sex with the same character multiple times!

The other two are “RGRE” stories, popping up a lot more frequently; Reverse Gender Roles Equestria.

But I’m not going to start with those; Some would argue they’re too low-hanging, and when they advertise that they’re about skewed gender roles right on the tin, it’s a bit too much to go through at once. I’m only saying this to give you the lay of the land here; Of the four M rated stories in the box when I write this, three have harmful views of gender representation, and the fourth is human-on-foalcon. Well. Smoulder.

There’s the aesthetic hazard.

I want to start with something that was pointed out to me, though, about a story I would call extremely good: Cold In Gardez’s Salvation. Salvation is one of the best written stories on the site, and I loved both iterations it was written as.

The reason I want to single it out is because it is such a good story. I can use it to criticize the context it’s written in, without condemning the story itself. Again, I need to stress this here one more time: I am using this story explicitly because it’s a good story, and this is not criticism of Cold In Gardez either.

That being out of the way, there are problems that come with CiG’s portrayal of a lesbian couple. Which is a problem when it’s one of the most defining stories on the website, especially as the definitive Rarity × Rainbow Dash story.

CiG doesn’t control that context, and his only obligation was to write the best story he could. Its success is a testament to his accomplishing of that. But, again, when there aren’t enough female voices to explain why some of his portrayals are male-emphasised, "male-gazey", those problems are going to go uncontested and unexamined.

A very quick and dirty summary of the story: Rainbow Dash and Rarity have lost their previous heterosexual relationships in a way that’s left them bitter, older, and fairly traumatized. They largely get over this trauma through their budding relationship with each other which involves becoming lesbians - or, at least, their first lesbian relationship.

Their attraction to each other is emphasized mostly by their becoming more physically aware of each other: There’s an emphasis on Rarity noticing Rainbow Dash’s speed, her muscles, the physical qualities of her athleticism. Rainbow Dash is drawn to Rarity’s classical beauty.

When you’re immersed in the story, it makes complete sense. But it’s also not really how women write these things, or notice them. It’s a male perspective of attraction.

From here it follows that there are a lot of moments of eroticism in the story, but there’s an emphasis on titillation with them. They’re well written character moments but, again, they’re also clearly written by a guy with a predominantly male audience in mind. I asked CiG about how aware he was of this:

It wasn't until after Salvation was almost complete that I even began to contemplate writing for a larger audience, so really my entire writing universe was within the fandom. So, living inside that bubble, as it were, I don't think I'd be aware of any stylistic or composition choices deliberately made to appeal specifically to the fandom.

I think this explains the problem as I see it: A lot of us just exist inside this bubble. It’s hard to see these perceptions in the same way it’s hard to know what your own house smells like.

So a lot of the mostly male audience won’t realize it’s their own sexuality being reflected in the character they’re reading, and they won’t question it because it makes sense to them. It’s what’s defining the works they’re reading and, importantly, emulating.

When I pointed out the trauma angle, while probably unintentional, fits a narrative a lot of LGBT people have to deal with, and that a lot of people don’t appreciate having their identity associated with trauma:

[...]Maybe that's where the constructed fictional world conflicts most with reality, or at least reality as it exists in 21st Century America, in which sexuality is viewed as a strong component of identity to RD and Rarity and everyone else in the story, there's nothing untoward or even odd about two women finding love and comfort in each other. The only oddity is that these two particular women did, as they weren't previously even close or compatible.

And I suppose you could read that in two ways: That Salvation is an unconscious projection of an ideal world of mine, in which any sexuality is welcomed on the basis that it expresses love, and gender is a secondary concern

Or that the author is simply ignorant or how sexuality really is, and that sexual identity always will and always must be in the foreground of any story

Obviously I prefer the former interpretation

However, when I pointed out that our audience exists in this real world, and showed him the start of a homophobic (and transphobic) PM chain I dealt with on this site where the reader would be the kind of person who would see that trauma narrative as an intentional statement, CiG said:

Well, let me say something troubling, then

A lot of the LGBT people I know are struggling with issues that seem related to their sexuality.
Now, my sample size is small, but it's the sample size I've got

That’s completely fair, and it’s a representation of what his lived, personal experience is. This isn’t a criticism of CiG and I sincerely appreciate him taking the time to talk to me so honestly. But that’s obviously a viewpoint of LGBT people that’s going to be... well. Different to how they’d present themselves.

They’re going to be more aware that while sexual identity isn’t always going to be in the foreground, it’s still always going to be present in the audience’s perception: It’s going to be contrasted against the ‘normal’ that is straightness. Not trying to make a point about it, or an absence of statement, is still a statement.

It’s a statement about what is assumed, and what’s assumed is based on the environment. It's what's filling our bubble.

The problem isn’t that guys shouldn’t write lesbians. The problem is we’ve created an environment where it’s only guys writing female characters, and that being internalized as the female perspective.

This isn’t really something we can fix, but it’s something I hope we can try to be more aware of both in how we read and write these characters.

So, what is the background we’ve created for ourselves? Why am I playing climate scientist on the FimFiction environment?

Here we get back to RGRE: Reverse Gender Roles Equestria stories. What does that even mean?

Apparently, it means guys are demure and pursued by the more sexually aggressive mares who want to fuck all the time. This is usually experienced by an Anon human-insert character - which is to say, an external character who expresses 'our' gender values.

I mean straight out the gate we make two uncomfortable statements with this: First, that all guys want out of their relationships is sex and women are less 'fully realized people' and more 'the gatekeepers of sex', complex social puzzles to solve for the reward of a sexual relationship, a prize for being Deemed Worthy. The other statement is that by inverting that, you’re playing up the audience’s power fantasy: Damn, isn’t it desirable to be seen that way? Isn't it gratifying?

Fucking hell, no it isn’t.

Are you kidding me? How do you think it would actually go, to be seen like that?

To have half the human population see you, either consciously or unconsciously, is trying to ‘solve’ you, so they can use you. That the positive relationship they want with you is conditional. That your positive qualities aren’t something that make you a better friend, but a more desirable relationship. That your vulnerabilities are to be exploited as the ultimate keys to the puzzle, so you can’t trust any comfort that you’re given by this half of people you meet.

That’s fucking miserable.

I’m extremely guilty of this myself. I feel the need to be in a relationship most of the time not due to loneliness, but because I abhor how I view women when I’m out of one. I catch myself trying to talk to women purely to see if I can get that relationship out of them, and losing interest in friendships with women I’d otherwise value but can’t ‘upgrade’.

It’s led me to making awful decisions and getting in some really bad relationships.

That’s really fucked up. That’s awful and toxic, and I hate it. I’ve been single for about four months now and haven’t had that urge, or at least stomped it the hell down whenever I notice the fuzzy edges of it, but it’s also not something I accept about myself. It’s something I try to condemn, and feel is a deep personal failure.

The feature box is full of that toxic, base, awful mindset as a wish-fulfilment power fantasy. It’s how it’s defining the core relationship dynamic between the genders.

It genuinely makes me ill. Being in a space where those are the dominantly read, dominantly upvoted stories in the community makes me want to scrub my skin in boiling water.

It’s been very disheartening to see An Intricate Disguise (AIDs) dominate the feature box so consistently. Not because his prose is bad, but because his stories reflect very poor understanding of both women and of consent.

That’s an important one, too. I’ve read a few of his stories - (read: goaded into by the author, while he was drunk) - and a really consistent theme across them is that the idea of enthusiastic consent isn’t really there, or needed.

A character can start molesting someone in their sleep, and be rewarded for it with a smile and an “I always wanted you like that”. The moral ambiguity isn’t questioned, and the throughline of the author’s work seems to be that dubious consent isn’t morally ambiguous.

The current story of his in the box, as I’m writing this, has this paragraph:

“My handsome face was pervasive. It was more handsome than it had any right being, more handsome than I remembered. I smiled at it. I couldn't help it. How could I not smile at a face like that? It was fleeting moments like these that I realised why I had no trouble finding a date when I was on top of my game.”

And the character is the hero of the story. The premise is, again, that he is quite literally a sexual predator that feeds off sex in a way that hurts who he’s with. Certainly this is the start of their arc, but there’s something about this that is- well, something that makes it understandable why AIDs is one of the earliest members of the RGRE group, a group that now has 746 members in it for some reason.

There was an author who, famously, used to write stories like this. His name was MythrilMoth, and there was a backlash against him that I’m just not seeing repeated right now. The voices that I’d have seen speaking out, like Oblivion2K at the time, have gone for greener pastures.

I'm not seeing those dissenting voices anymore, and the values it reflects in our community - ostensibly a feminist one - are appalling.

Let’s get less angry now.

I want to talk about Vertigo, and what I wanted to do with it. Whether I accomplished it or not are up to the viewer’s discretion, but positive views about sex and sexuality, and an emphasis on enthusiastic consent, are really important to me.

I don’t think you’re going to be able to understand how important, so just take my word on that one.

I’m going to talk about how I approach it, and what I’m looking for in my stories, because I have the most confidence talking about my own authorial intent. I also want to prove that this is stuff you can do and be cognizant of - to reiterate that I’m not saying guys shouldn’t try, or should write less.

That shouldn’t be taken as a substitute for reading stuff written by actual female authors, and I highly recommend Monochromatic’s - Actually, I recommend Monochromatic, but Crimson Lips and Demons and Desires specifically here.

I also highly recommend Mare Tree Money, who needs more love in general, and Scarlet Weather's blogs which talk about these subjects in more detail. She was also an invaluable help in writing this. Big three examples here, here and here.

I personally haven’t read it at time of recommendation, but three separate people I asked for recommendations linked me to GaraTheAuthor’s Play Party. And shoutout to author Wendy Crescent, again I haven’t personally read their stuff at time of reading, but I trust the judgement of the people recommending her.

As always, being a woman doesn't mean being good. E L James is still garbage, for instance, with absolutely toxic views of men and women, and female-dominated fandoms like Twilight produce stuff that is really, really harmful in the perceptions of gay men. This is about diversifying your intake, and being more conscious of it.

Back to my stuff, but I hope you’ve at least bookmarked some of the above.

Vertigo wasn’t planned as erotica. It went that way because that’s the direction the characters pulled me towards, and I tried to explore that authentically. The erotic scenes were never intended to be the centrepiece or appeal of the story, but merely a symptom and expression of the emotional connection I was trying to convey.

The only difference between that and erotica I do plan - I got alts, baby - is that I plan the lengths of comparative scenes better. One of the best erotic scenes I’ve ever written was the no-narration, no described action Twinkie scene in Beautiful Night.

The best erotica I’ve ever written involved two characters just discussing what their interests were with each other, too nervous to do them, but excited to be with each other.

Why? Because sex is the least interesting part of sex. Describing it and acquiring it are dull, rote and mechanical, in the same way way that trying to transcribe the taste of food isn’t a particularly interesting experience.

Too often in these stories the anticipation of sex is in the pursuit of the partner, not in the communication of the desire. That buildup is necessary for a story to function, but by making it the will-they-get-the-girl portion of, it inevitably leads to stories where one character is trying to coerce interest out of the other.

Vertigo is careful in that regard: The tension is built by Twilight’s willingness, but nervousness. It’s something she is trying to overcome for herself because it’s something she wants. She comes into the story with a crush on Luna, the perspective character. So when we see the natural buildup of Luna’s feelings being reciprocated, the sex feels like an expression of that realized mutual desire, and not the intended end goal of the relationship.

They like each other because they like each other. They have sex to show that they like each other, not because they wanted sex.

When writing female characters, how do you avoid ‘male gaze’?

Even when I write human characters, very rarely do I dwell on the physical characteristics. Personality is sexy. The person is sexy. When mentioning physical characteristics, it pays to tie them to an expression of personality they represent, how the form is a manifestation of the mind.

Focus on the emotional connection. Focus on feelings and sensation - on actions and reactions. The things they do and the reason they do them. There’s an eroticism in intentions.

Also, I can’t stress this enough, you’re perfectly allowed to write dubcon. You’re perfectly allowed to write noncon. This isn’t about kinkshaming. IF you’re going to write those things though, make sure you know you’re writing it, and try to be aware in how you’re portraying consent.

Too often I see stories play fast and loose with consent and see the authors say; “it’s just a story” or “it’s just porn”. But storytelling is fundamentally moral lessons, even if it’s just the literary equivalent of hand softener and a kleenex, and when you show characters coerce consent, or start the fuckin’ without consent and that character gets rewarded for it... then you’re teaching a very dangerous lesson, just because you didn’t want to put more effort into the fantasy you were selling.

That’s really bad. According to Project Five Thirty Eight, in the US only about one in five cases of sexual assault occur where the victim didn’t know their attacker. It adds that only about 11 percent are reported with a weapon.

It isn’t helped when the stories we tell about sex and sexuality reinforce the idea that, unless you are exceptional, the most you can hope for is negotiating permission for sex, and that consent isn’t withdrawn during.

It doesn’t help when we reinforce the idea that sex is something we’re entitled to as an objective, and not as an expression of intimacy.

Here’s perhaps the most important paragraph in Vertigo to me. It’s not my favourite, or my cleverest, but it’s important.

“You want me to touch you,” Luna said plainly, and Twilight shivered at the honesty of it. That was a ‘yes’. “But you think because it is something you want, it is an imposition to ask it of me. And the idea of asking it is horrifyingly embarrassing.”

It specifically targets and addresses the idea of thinking of sex as trading favours, of an exchange and not of expression. There is an inuit expression that applies to that portrayal of sex: “By gifts one makes slaves”. The expression follows “And by whips one makes dogs”, but I’m really not here to kinkshame.

We are in a fandom that is overwhelmingly straight, and overwhelmingly male. And even if we can’t change that, or shouldn’t feel guilty about it, we still need to be aware of it, and we need to be aware of the values we’re incubating in our community.

And seriously, it makes for much better porn.

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Comments ( 640 )
MrNumbers #1 · January 5th · · 29 ·

Thank you to my Patrons again, without whom I couldn't take the time to care so much about things. Sorry I've been so quiet about this one, but I hope that this explains what I've been working on so hard these last two weeks.

This is a serious problem if we want to still have female voices in our community, and they're being ignored. Not only do I want this place to be less toxic for them, when they go, I don't think we're going to have anyone to make us be aware that anything's even wrong at all.

We should stop writing sex stories

I recently muddled through one of the featured RGRE AIDs stories to see if I was wrong and he actually had literary merit.

I was correct, it was easily one of the worst things I've ever read on any metric.

This is an extremely good and important blog.

R5h
R5h #5 · January 5th · · 13 ·

Thanks for the recommendations of stories! It definitely wouldn't hurt to see more variety in the stories on FiMFic. (Also RGRE suuuuuucks)

4991564
that seems something of an overreaction.

4991564
We should stop writing bad sex stories. I think part of the problem is that a lot of the problems Numbers outlines are problems across the breadth of bad pornography. A lot of authors default to writing sex scenes in love stories like they're porn, which is an entirely different animal to anything approaching real relationships or sex. Porn (bad porn, anyway - in fact, assume any time I talk about porn instead of 'erotica' or 'stories with sex in them' I'm talking about bad porn,) porn has no emotional connection and characters will act not just out of character for them but for any sort of real person, playing roles for the reader that don't approach anything in real life.

It's the same sort of objectification you find in most 'hero gets the girl' stories where women (and thus, to the reader, sex) is a reward for deeds done rather than the result of chemistry between two consenting adults. It's the core problem of Nice Guy culture, where media has unintentionally prepared them for a world where women are a prize given to anyone who puts in the effort. Liking them or getting along with them or having any kind of connection with them is a totally foreign concept - gratitude for doing something is rewarded with romance.

Rapey stuff, like Numbers mentioned, where women secretly want attention but don't say anything until the nice guy comes around and does it without permission they'd never give... that's also super dangerous. Yes, it works in porn where you just want to get to the banging and call it a day because your readers are going to skip everything else to get to the 'good part', but it doesn't work anywhere else.

Better people than I have gone into everything in detail, and the problems (Numbers being one of said better people, the evidence standing pretty clear above). I'm not going to get into the controversy of why I think it happens or what could solve it, because that's outside the scope of what we can really achieve here but there is one thing we can do.

We can write good sex stories, with positive, healthy relationships.

4991571
Hey no RGRE can be cool if played right.
I've seen it used parodically in greentext format that was hilarious (Female-perspective "it was my privilege" storylet)

I'll let you know when I see it played well in a real story.

Georg #9 · January 5th · · 4 ·

Oh, so that's what RGRE means.

Yeah, we get told "Write what you know" which naturally assumes that male writers can't write female characters and vice versa. The thing is that writing cross-gender is more *difficult* not impossible, and the same for cross-species, cross-ethnic group, cross-everything else. It's a bug up my bum, particularly every time I see some politician claiming they're going to Washington to represent (fill in ethnic group of politician here) which make me want to ask, "Aren't you supposed to be representing *all* of us equally?" Fanfiction writers tend to write to the most comfortable role they like, because there's no money involved. Fiction writers, including romance story writers, are writing for *money* for the most part, they have a target audience that requires certain approaches and that precludes certain things also. Take a look at some romance writers who also wrote other genres and used a pen name for one or more of them. Not all of the readers work totally off objective points about the relative worth of the story, but subjective influence can be fairly substantial in ways that defy logic. (As an example here, note your exact comment about posting your M rated stories under another name to keep from affecting this one's reputation. I'll be doing that too with a story I wrote)

Also, I can’t stress this enough, you’re perfectly allowed to write dubcon. You’re perfectly allowed to write noncon. This isn’t about kinkshaming. IF you’re going to write those things though, make sure you know you’re writing it, and try to be aware in how you’re portraying consent.

Bingo. I like enthusiastic consent, I like dubcon, and I like noncon (partially because I can never find stories where doms are actually dominant, though milquetoast subs are irritatingly common; guess you don't really need to establish your dominance when the sub just rolls over automatically) but for Thoth's sake KEEP THEM IN DIFFERENT BOXES. The moment someone suddenly decides they "like" their unwarranted, fully non-consensual sexual assault is the moment that ruins my entire night.

I am not a fan of Clop. But I feel if I do ever do one. It won't be a random oh lets go and screw. I like stories like Xeno's ones that have a little taste and love in it. Just randomly getting into a bed with whatever seems a bit much.

4991582
Or have it be less "enjoying what is currently happening" and more "wow wait what holy shit I'm actually kind of into this"
Realization of a kink, basically.

4991562

This is a serious problem if we want to still have female voices in our community, and they're being ignored. Not only do I want this place to be less toxic for them, when they go, I don't think we're going to have anyone to make us be aware that anything's even wrong at all.

The expression, "too little, too late," comes to mind. This is a conversation that should have been had six or seven years ago.

4991580

It's a bug up my bum, particularly every time I see some politician claiming they're going to Washington to represent (fill in ethnic group of politician here) which make me want to ask, "Aren't you supposed to be representing *all* of us equally?"

No, explicitly no. Representatives represent their districts, not the people as a whole, and compete among themselves for pork and power. Districts are drawn in such a way as to guarantee as far as possible the return of certain political types. Because of the racialized nature of American politics, that means packing ethnic and racial groups into districts. And it means the competition among representatives takes on racialized overtones.

The only American politician that represents "the people as a whole" is the President, and, well, it's an apt representation, isn't it?

4991592

The expression, "too little, too late," comes to mind. This is a conversation that should have been had six or seven years ago.

And "better late than never".

When the website's corpse is dissected, at least future historians will know we saw ourselves before we died.

And it means the competition among representatives takes on racialized overtones.

EDIT: That's almost an understatement too, when you consider the effect policies like redlining had on population distribution in the US. Turns out that when politics are tied to geography and geography is tied to community, representative republics look a lot less egalitarian than you might think.

Good read. Thank you.

This is a solid blog. Definitely seconding the importance of prioritising the emotional connections in play and the intentions and decisions and whatnot - all the good character stuff, essentially, rather than the mechanics of the act.

We are in a fandom that is overwhelmingly straight, and overwhelmingly male. And even if we can’t change that, or shouldn’t feel guilty about it, we still need to be aware of it, and we need to be aware of the values we’re incubating in our community.

And that's a solid take-home message as well.

Man, thanks for writing this.

The prevalence of problematic porn really is a bane to the fandom, and the sort of thing that makes bronies such an easy punchline. It’s not “oh hey grown ass men like the show ‘cause it’s good” but “grown ass men like the show ‘cause they want to bang the magic horses.”

Personally, I blame the fandom’s origins in 4chan for the weird trolling/shock fetish/nihilism element. We can be (and often are) better than this, but it’s something we probably won’t escape ‘til FiMfiction & derpibooru both fade away.

I’ll probably have more to say once I’m not posting from my phone.

4991604

Personally, I blame the fandom’s origins in 4chan for the weird trolling/shock fetish/nihilism element. We can be (and often are) better than this

These two sentences don't go together.

Lot of interesting criticism here. Gives one a lot too think about. Hard to get insight like that from a comment section so it's nice I stumbled on it.

Still going to keep writing RGRE though.

Now that I've woken up a bit, moved around a bit, and had some time to think about it...

I worry about the female gaze as well. Both from a "I'm a woman who likes women, men, and anything in between" perspective, as well as from a writer's perspective. I haven't written much erotica, I've also read a fair share of lesbian erotica from some authors (JAE is my current favorite and I only liked one of her books), and there isn't... how do I want to say this. Having also read a lot of fauxrotica from female authors focused on the straight relationships, there's a lot of focus on "The Bod" there too. The female gaze. It's just not as often explored in this fandom, but it is there.

Just kinda wanted to throw that out there too. I know you touched on it briefly, but... just my two bits.

That's not to say that we can't enjoy writing about exploring the female body (human and pony), and I do enjoy doing that from time to time because I'm curious, and sentient ponies are interesting ways to look at ourselves through a not us perspective. I just haven't written anything erotic lately because that's not what interests me about the relationship. Well, I mean, it does in some ways, but the relationship itself, and the growth of it, and the exploration of different facets of being. I'm just constantly worried that if I include mature scenes in stories not entirely about them, that it might be a focus for some, and the story itself might not get a play.

This is getting rambly. But you made me think a lot about the relationships in my stories and why I generally avoid, now, erotica. Maybe I should stop. At some point. I just don't have any ideas... well, I guess I do. I'll have to give it some thought.

Thanks for making me think. It hurts sometimes to peel back the inner mindscape, but I feel like a stronger writer for it. And I'll give some thought to not suppressing the erotic when it comes up in a future story of mine. It could, and probably would, make the story richer.

4991574
Why does everybody have to say that I overreact? I never overreact and it is most certainly the truth I mean there are kids on here for heaven sake, what type of pervert would you be to write those stories seriously what the hell.

Alright, so, as someone who prizes his ability to write all sorts of adult content, I wanted to chime in.
Yes, personality is sexy, but a physical attraction is a strong part of sexual desire.

Hell, I'm not even sure how offended you'd be with my stuff, but it's a tricky line to tread. You want your readers to find all aspects of a situation alluring, which can be pretty hard to nail down, seeing as how subjective the subject of attraction is.

Why? Because sex is the least interesting part of sex. Describing it and acquiring it are dull, rote and mechanical, in the same way way that trying to transcribe the taste of food isn’t a particularly interesting experience.

Now, with that statement, I wholeheartedly disagree. Sex can range from a simple physical action to a nearly mind altering event. If done properly, it's description can evoke exceptionally strong feelings in a reader. While it can be likened to describing food, it utilizes more senses and a stronger base instinct.

Because sex is the least interesting part of sex.

Yea, this. The reason I found so few M fics to be actually good :raritydespair:

4991633
Honestly, it's all about the buildup.
Can you just randomly stuff your face with a meal? Sure, of course you can
But if you smell it, and if you've built your appetite, it's much, much more satisfying

4991632

Alright, so, as someone who prizes his ability to write all sorts of adult content, I wanted to chime in.
Yes, personality is sexy, but a physical attraction is a strong part of sexual desire.

So here's the thing.

Female-perspective erotica focuses on bodies too, as many, many readers have already noted. But I think a quirk that's not as common in the really male gaze-y erotica is that it tends to focus on the feelings bodies elicit. The body isn't sexy because the person is objectively hot, for want of a better word, it's sexy because the person the story is about finds it sexy.

One of the reasons I like ChuckFinley's erotica so much is how much emphasis he puts on the ways characters find each other mutually attractive. Most descriptions of a character's body are scandalous, yes, but most of them emphasize how overwhelmingly another character is physically attracted.

Tl;dr the interesting part isn't someone's abs on its own persay, it's how seeing those abs makes someone else go weak in the knees. It's not so much about curves as it is about wanting to run your hand along them.

Some authors get this, and express it clumsily. Some just don't know, at all. One thing that bugs me about particularly bad dude erotica is how the girls are described as being hot, but the main character often doesn't seem to be particularly attracted to them, if that makes sense. He's less impressed by the hot and more annoyed or confused or even dismissive. The hotness isn't there to make the reader feel weak in the knees, it's there because hotness is expected.

Fugger #26 · January 5th · · 21 ·

p gay tbh

4991637
I can appreciate that statement.
The only problem is that eroticism, much like culinary preferences, is individualized.
No matter how much a vegetarian screams about quinoa being the best damn food on the planet, not everyone is going to enjoy it.
As such, diversity should be welcomed in erotic literature.
Sure, there may be an overwhelming amount of one type or another, but that's just supply and demand. If the majority of readers pine for low brow "big tits and hot babes" that's what you're going to see. Now, if there's a paradigm shift, I have no doubt that you'll see it reflected in the material being produced.

Until then, well, the best advice I can give is to just be selective with what you read and ignore the rest.

Another post about something outside of my own sphere of perception that makes me unsure whether I need to interact with more people, or less people. Thanks for writing this blogpost, despite knowing what kind of response you'll probably get from the masses.

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p gay tbh

D'awwwwwwwwww.

That was adorable, kiddo.


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The only problem is that eroticism, much like culinary preferences, is individualized.
No matter how much a vegetarian screams about quinoa being the best damn food on the planet, not everyone is going to enjoy it.
As such, diversity should be welcomed in erotic literature.

That's kind of a larger point of the post, my dude. We don't have diversity. We have an overwhelming lack of it. If you don't have some level of diversity, you don't get the variety people crave. It's like imagining a world where Italy never exports the tomato. Italian cuisine is still there but unrecognizable.

If an overwhelming amount of the readers pine for low brow "big tits and hot babes" that's what you're going to see

See my problem with RGRE and similar isn't big tits. I'm a lesbian, I love me some ladies. The issue is more surrounding the uncritical sexual context, as "cerebral" as that sounds.

Have you ever noticed that most protagonists in fics like this don't even seem to enjoy the sex that much?

Very good blog, very important topic.

Aside from the actually important part, which you just expressed way better than me, I'd also add that it does dramatically increase the sexyness if done right. You mentioned the scene in Beautiful Night, which was indeed incredibly hot despite nothing being seen on camera. As Luna says in this story, it's about sensitivity and context.

Just in general, I don't read porn (or watch) because of exactly the problems described here. The only ones I actually enjoy are things I find myself enjoying the story of as much as the actual sex.

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I mean there are kids on here for heaven sake

Well, there shouldn't be. FimFiction is and always has been a site by and for teens and adults. static.fimfiction.net/images/icons/rta.gif That label is there for a reason and so is the Confirm Age button. There's nothing to stop someone from toggling the "I am 18" but the same can be said of any other adult site.

We're nobody's babysitter, nor should we be. If kids are where they should be, that's on them and their guardians.

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Well I don’t know about you but I think kids have the right to be here if they wanted or not

Great blog post. I generally don't read M fics myself, with the exception of the Monochromatic works you linked, but I had noticed that the featured fic section includes a lot of stories with dubious descriptions. I hadn't thought about how this reverberates to affect the general quality of M fics and how this could lead to the discomfort and exodus of writers who aren't straight white men. I agree that the actual physical descriptions of sex are quite boring. What I found appealing about Mono's works, and also a story called Lover's Bite by No Crow, is the focus on emotions. Constellations by Mono has my favorite "sex scene" of the stories I've read, even though it's mostly off screen, because the lead into it is so sweet and intimate.

Well, actually...

No, just kidding. I comment only to note that for once I agree with you unreservedly on something. :rainbowlaugh:

Great blog, and thanks for saying something that I've seen mentioned on and off in the community.

Ever since I read this article by Scarlet on how escapist media affects our view of the world, I've been trying to pay attention to the messages and perspectives I've been putting into my clopfics. I want to take this opportunity to second the recommendations for Gara, Monochromatic, and Mare Tree Money (seriously, The Secretary is a perfect example of focusing on feelings in addition to physicality in sex). All of these works have influenced my writing style, and I'm actually trying to use these stories as case studies for what I hope will be a sex-positive clopfic in which the characters are terrible people having sex for terrible reasons, which should be an interesting challenge.

There was an author who, famously, used to write stories like this. His name was MythrilMoth, and there was a backlash against him that I’m just not seeing repeated right now.

I wouldn't exactly call that backlash. After all, his (pretty creepy) Sunset Shimmer stories kept getting featured and while he did remove a fic from fimfiction due to backlash, it was the result of a Rage Review, rather than a backlash of his usual reader base. So it's not exactly an "old times were better" thing.
Also, I'm not sure why the past tense, Moth seems to be pretty much alive – recently I spotted him taking potshots at SS&E's recent crossdressing Flash Sentry phase (hmm, I wonder if someone ever uttered that phrase before me).

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Well, I'd love to hear what you think about this series. While it does include sex, it's not on the forefront of the characters' minds. Now, as a man, I can't truly give a woman's perspective on every little detail, but I can still make an attempt.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/417844/caught-in-her-web

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Like I said, we can't stop kids from wandering, but don't complain when adult content pops up on a site intended for adults. If lil' Jimmy decides to toggle that 18+ switch and fall into dangerous territory that's on Jimmy.

I repeat: We're nobody's babysitter, nor should we be.

Hello. I’m a guy who wrote a vore fic. You know what I think about this piece?

Your tastes are not exactly what the community’s tastes are. SomeLeech got it right.

You know what shocked me the most here?

My cock vore fic where the prey explicitly dies ended with a positive like dislike ratio. I was expecting negative ratios. Neutral at best.

There’s an audience for your tastes but it’s not the mainstream.

Hell I expect an influx of kneejerk dislikes just posting here and you know what I say?

So?

I don’t give a damn what people think about my (currently minuscule) output. It’s not going to be gang busters either way. At the very least I’m appreciative of those who do actually enjoy what I enjoy, and you probably should readjust your views about what’s expected here.

Just my personal opinion.

TFW you wrote ANON vs RGRE and The Last Stallion

Looks left and then right

Gender doesn't matter in clop, no one gives a shit if the writer is male or female, all that matters is the content.

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...Nobody said your porn is bad, my dude. That feels really insecure.

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Should a porn site remove all the porn because a kid might wander into it?

I haven't really seen any public fiction hosting site that doesn't have mature topics somewhere, I don't think FanficNet even has an option to hide them.

And with that, we could all feed with different points of view and we could all write better scenes for what we already know, but this time, with a wholesome perception.

Also the better porn premise is persuasive, haha.

Amazing blog. Thank you. I'll consider, well, basically everything I've written so far ^^.

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Oh my. One horseman away of the perfection <3

People...read Play Party?

Holy shit.

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I never said it either. If you read between the lines you’d see that I don’t care what others think of my output, just that I was expecting a less than stellar response because of similar reviews and whatnot related to similar stories.

This place has kneejerk reactions to any contrary to their tastes, hence why I expected more dislikes than not.

If I was really insecure about the response, I would’ve just stayed over at Eka’s Portal exclusively. Instead I came over because I figured I’d break even, as it were.

@Numbers: This is amazing. Seriously, no way I could have worded this message any better. It reminds me of an article I read, probably written by you for Wholesome Rage, actually. The takeaway was that people tend to seek out those who share their existing views, especially online.

But, and this is a large but, I think you ignored a key factor. It's not that the Brony community is predominantly composed of straight men, it's that we're weird straight men. Introverts, those who aren't neurotypical, 'manchildren', some would say. On an unrelated note, it's much easier to write what you know than what you don't. Many of us, myself included, have either never bothered to or have yet to experience what a healthy relationship involving physical intimacy is actually like. You know, because we're weird. So, instead, we fall back on what we do know: sexual arousal, and the things which elicit it. That's why most of the erotica here either cuts to the chase or frames the relationship poorly. Many of the T or E rated romances on FimFiction are actually very good, because they don't attempt to cross that line and just focus on the characters.

Not sure how many people will see this, but I thought I'd share anyway.

PS: The guy responsible for most of these RGRE fics has actually come to me for advice, so if nothing else, his prose may improve a bit, assuming I'm actually worth listening to.

Thank you Kanye, very cool!

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