Photo courtesy of Quinn Rhodes
The room inside Club Amour was dimly lit, so much so that it was difficult to see the faces of those within. Dotted around the room, there was comfortable seating on which people sat drinking and chatting.
He led her to one corner and a couple sipping champagne under a red lamp. He introduced them as Guy and Michelle and nodded for her to sit. Lowering herself onto the sofa next to Michelle she carefully crossed her legs. Immediately a waiter arrived with glasses and more champagne.
David sat down beside her and she took the glass he offered. The nerves she had felt while waiting outside were building again and she took a large gulp of the fizzy liquid. “Don’t be nervous darling, we will take good care of you” he smiled. Resting his hand on her knee, he nodded for her to uncross her legs. Leaning forward she placed the glass on the table and slowly unbuttoned, then removed her coat.
“That’s right, time to get comfortable” David smiled and Guy nodded. Michelle stood and slipped her shift dress over her head. She too was naked. “Now, let’s have a drink before the fun begins.
As she looked around the room, sipping the cool champagne her nerves began to dissipate. Now used to the lighting she could see that every other woman present was naked. The men dressed in evening wear. He was right, she would be fine here with them.
The 2018 Smut Marathon has ended. 85 writers began their smutty journey in January and last weekend the winner, Exhibit A was crowned. The final 7 stories were, not surprisingly, longer than in previous rounds. With 2250 words to play with there was much more room for the story as well as sex and erotica. Strange then, that not everyone who commented found all the stories as smutty as they might be. This has been a theme throughout the competition and a source of discussion on Twitter. Since Smut Marathon 2019 starts in January and I am considering entering again, I decided to explore this in more detail.
What is smut?
The Cambridge online dictionary definition demonstrates that smut is not always seen as a good thing. A noun that describes magazines, books, pictures, films or jokes that offend some people because they relate to sex. Indeed, the word comes from the German ‘schmutzen’ and dates back to the 17th century – defile, corrupt or make obscene.
Fast forward to the 21st century and while some will still be offended by smut, some of us are actually looking for it. The top definition in the Urban Dictionary is: When two or more characters (fictional or non fictional) has a sexual encounter with each other. It could be all sex with little story plot, or a well thought out story with occasional sex scenes.
Of course, there doesn’t even need to be two people in the story. For two rounds of the Smut Marathon we wrote about sex toys and in one of those, from the object’s point of view.
What do readers look for?
In the comments section for the final round, one of the judges expressed of the winner’s story “Is it smut”. Where as Marie found it: “Brilliant, sexy, hot. I thought that there was smut, but like Charlie; not my thing. Perhaps this is where the issue lies. Smut is something personal.
I put a call out on Twitter to ask how that community defines smut. There were some interesting responses. Floss sets the scene:
“For me Smut can be sexy, explicit, sensual, downright dirty or subtlety seductive, all at once or one at a time works for me. But for it to be Smut it needs to make my mind wander to sexy places. To make me feel like I want some of what had been described. Sometimes I read erotica or smut & I just see no words or imagery or suggestion that says this is meant to woo me into being aroused & excited, either in mind or body. Even if the writing is excellent, if I’m not giddy with tingles then it just didn’t hit my Smut button”
Overt vs Subtle
For Marsha Adams “erotica is anything inspiring sexy thoughts and smut explicitly describes those thoughts.” Similarly Brigit Delaney wrote “I tend to be subtle in my sex scenes, which didn’t go over well. And when I tried to be smuttier, I edited out plot to make room for it and then wasn’t as happy with my stories”.
One of Vida Bailey’s stories was reviewed badly because ‘nothing happened’, for her “erotica doesn’t have to have lots of explicit action, I’d rather read a good story that awoke ideas and feelings in me”.
When you don’t have many words to play with, it isn’t always easy to build a plot and build up to a smutty scene. Plus, not everyone wants their smut to be too subtle. As Chintz Curtain says “something that allows my brain to create a really good, clear picture of said smut. The words don’t necessarily have to be explicit but the sexual intention needs to be clear. I struggle with it being messed with too much. It’s sex. So let it be sex”.
Charlton Todd responded: “For me, smut is evocative. It should make me feel like I’m there physically as well as emotionally. It should be both intelligent and visceral. And personally, I don’t think it’s enough to have just one. You need to have both. I want to feel like I’m transported into the scene, and am an active part of it more than a fly on the wall”
This makes writing for a competition challenging. Because what makes one person tingle, leaves another cold. What transports one into a scene drives another out of the window. As the competition progressed, the writers grew to know the audience they were writing for. As Daz wrote:
“it makes me wonder if the question isn’t so much about what we, as individuals, think of as smut; but more, how you see it (writing for yourself) or your target readers see it (getting the votes).” Also ” It depends why people read erotica; some enjoy the aesthetic(?), some just want to get off on it. Ultimately it’s about why you write…
I set out to try to understand a bit more about smut and what it means and have got the answer I expected. It means completely different things to different people. Some prefer their smut subtle, as part of a developing underplayed story. Others need to see erotic and sexy words on the page before it means anything. Even then, if it isn’t your kink the words may leave you cold.
Maybe it isn’t what you say but how you say it. Which suggests that the most important part of story telling is the edit. Allowing yourself time not just to write, but to read and alter the words. When writing for a competition remember this isn’t a blog post, an erotic story for a meme. That people will judge differently. But, in my opinion, better that we are debating that is and isn’t erotic rather than semi colon placing or the length of sentences. But grammar is another topic and not one I am going to get into.
Thank you to my fellow writers, bloggers and twitter friends for your inspiration and contribution. The final word goes to Bear’s cub who sent me this:
Time to write more fiction, as I have recently been saying. For the first time, I am submitting this to the Friday Flash Meme. The little story below is 200 words.
The taxi driver dropped her off and pointed across the road. There was little traffic, so she crossed quickly and walked into the grand square. The place was deserted, the sound of her heels bounced off the tall buildings and echoed in her ears. Unsure she was in the right place, she looked around and then up at the pink sign. Amour – The club. His instruction had been to wait here.
So she stopped beneath the sign and waited, shivering a little. The light coat might have felt warmer had she not been naked underneath, though it wasn’t cold; nerves perhaps. Looking across the square her face flushed pink as she saw him appear at one of the windows. He waved and then disappeared.
She assumed he was on his way down to meet her. Her nipples hardened against the lining of her coat in anticipation. Suddenly he was there, his arms around her, mouth on hers. Her pussy throbbed as he slid a hand inside the fold of her coat. He briefly rested it on her mound.
“Good girl” he smiled, and slipped his arm around her shoulders as they walked together through the door beneath the sign.
Part 2, The Corner is here
Today the round 7 Smut Marathon results were published. We had been out for the day, but as I was the passenger rather than driver, I was able to take a look at the comments and then results. I was pleased to see that my favourite story came top and that others I enjoyed did well. The quality in this round was amazing and voting especially difficult.
In round 6, I was eliminated from the competition, something of a relief. On 15th July, when the results were published I was feeling rather unwell. At that time I didn’t know what was wrong, but for a few days I had been tired and lacked energy. Worse my bladder had developed a mind of its own. When I needed to pee, I really did.
I was also in the middle of packing up my house to move. Months, if not years of preparation to leave my marital home and move in with Master were coming to a conclusion. The Smut Marathon was really the least of my priorities. In the run up to the deadline, I wasn’t sure I would even be able to write. But in the final few days I wrote something.
In hindsight it is clear that just dumping my thoughts into a document and editing for word count only is not going to be enough. But to be honest, I felt the need to send something, anything. It felt wrong not to submit an entry when others had been eliminated in the previous round. So time for a confession. Until today, I have not looked at my entry, I haven’t read anyone else’s. I didn’t vote and I didn’t comment. when the results were published, I responded to Marie’s email telling me I had been eliminated. But I didn’t look at the scoring or anything else.
I feel embarrassed to admit this today. But in mid July I had no energy for a writing competition. I had a urinary infection, was about to move house and like most of the rest of us in the northern hemisphere was existing in a heat wave.
Today I have read comments on my entry – #14 Slave’s deepest fantasy. People were in the main kind but clear. My punctuation left something to be desired, I used the same or similar words in close proximity (a pet hate) so clearly I hadn’t edited properly. What is more, mention of the prompt was at best transient. I could have done better.
What I have taken from the competition
Fiction is something I have to work at. It doesn’t come naturally to me, even adapting my own life experiences feels like hard work. I struggle to be creative, to think outside the box. I am in awe of my fellow participants who easily write about crime, vampires and science fiction. In part, this might be due to the fact I don’t read masses of erotic fiction and when I do, it is reasonably mainstream. But I know my writing has improved during the time I was part of the Smut Marathon. I have been encouraged by the wonderful feedback and help from Marie. But also the comments left by the judges and those voting.
My favourite round was 5 – I wrote a story from the perspective of a sex toy. I will post the story on my blog in the next few days since I am proud of it. Somehow I found my creative juices and allowed my writing to flow. In that round, I received my best votes and also feedback. I will take that forward into next year. Because people, I know I can write, I can edit my work and I can put commas in the right places (most of the time). I also do have a creative side and I can show it. I will take the experiences of this year with me. But also, I will continue to learn from those still in the competition.
As the red velvet curtains opened, the stage slowly revolved. The slave’s limbs were firmly secured to a St Andrew’s Cross by fur lined leather cuffs. Her mouth filled with a ball gag secured behind her head. With wide eyes focused on her audience, her mind flashed back an hour.
Master had led her on a leash, naked into the small empty theatre. This place reminiscent of a venue they had visited on her birthday. A circular stage surrounded by 20-30 seats they had sat in the midst of the action. The actors had weaved in and out of the audience making it an intimate, immersive experience. This was how the idea had formed in Master’s mind.
Now though, the seats were filled with smartly dressed men and women, the Dominants. At their feet an equal number of naked submissive people. As the stage slowly rotated and slave realised she knew everyone. Some were mere acquaintances and others true special friends to them both.
Master stepped up to the applause of the group and approached his slave. Tears filled her eyes as he began to stroke her with the fingers of both hands. Starting at her shoulders, moving down her arms, onto her tummy, up to her breasts, circling the nipples. Finally he placed the fingers of his left hand between her legs and stroked the wet, throbbing pussy then leant down to suck her right nipple. She squirmed, bucking her hips towards his fingers. The stage stopped moving.
Standing up he leaned towards her left ear and whispered.
“Darling slave girl, your fantasies are about to be realised” Spit filled her mouth as she tried to speak, to ask what he meant. He grinned and took a vibrating wand in his hand and pushed it into her throbbing pussy and beckoned to a man in the audience. He in turn nodded to the girl at his feet and she stood up, walked purposefully to the stage, stepped up and as previously instructed dropped to her knees.
Master removed the wand and the girl crawled close to the slave. She leaned up and her tongue circled the clitoris of her subject. Slave’s juices began to gush forth, only to be lapped up.
Slave focused on her grinning Master and nodded. Whatever her resovations, Master knew just what she needed. On display, secured to the cross, her previously identified boundaries pushed to the limit. Safe in the knowledge that they shared a secret safe code she nodded again.
Today I was back at work just a few miles from Camden Town. It seemed almost impossible to believe that my 4 day break had flown by quite so quickly. The anticipation and excitement I felt on Thursday as I left the office replaced by tiredness and yes a little sadness. We are going to have to wait an entire year before Eroticon takes place again. But I have taken away some amazing memories along with a head crammed with ideas. Yesterday I was just too tired to write, but in the office this morning I could have written loads. Instead I got down to the emails, interspersed that is with twitter chat. So, what were my highlights?
There were so many great sessions to attend, so there were difficult choices. I can honestly say I enjoyed every session I went to.
Remittance Girl’s session on Taboo and Transgression had me thinking all weekend. It also gave Master and I plenty to discuss in our downtime and with others at the conference. The universal taboos of incest, murder and canabalism are almost passé as film and book topics. Speaking ill of modern politicians and celebrities perhaps carries a greater danger. Remittance Girl was clear that as writers we must tackle the really difficult topics. Consent, pornography, the sexualisation of children, of illness and disability to name a few.
Kayla Lords provided an insight into the making a living from blogging and writing. Something I hadn’t really considered. It has made me assess my worth and given me food for thought about the future. This is not something I would pursue while still working but it could be an alternative to what I had planned. On Sunday, I attended Cressida Dowling’s session: Is there a book in your blog? In essence I think the answer is no – I have no clear theme, I am not organised enough and am probably too lazy. I’ll leave that to others and buy their book.
Neil Brown’s Legal tips session was very interesting. Unfortunately we got stuck on the issue of age verification. I know this is a really important topic and one we all need to know about, but it prevented him covering everything. I enjoyed hearing his views and advice on freelancing, particularly after Kayla’s earlier talk. And I was pleased to find he confirmed much of her advice.
The talk on SEO by Miguel and Mark from Fetish.com was extremely useful. The loss of my blog and subsequently pasting my old backed up posts means I have about 600 without SEO. Loads to do then.
Vac Play and Kink Lab
I knew Mactire was going to be at Eroticon and had already decided I was going to try out vac play. He offered me the choice of all 3 of the beds, I chose the one I thought least likely to cause me anxiety.
I loved the experience and will definitely try the cube in the future. I am less keen on the Vac Bed that involves being completely encased in rubber.
Last year at Eroticon I struggled to engage fully with my fellow delegates. This is not a new issue for me at conferences. I tend to stick with people I know and having Master with me meant I conformed to type. This year though I wanted things to be different. He did too and I agreed to socialise more.
Being more active on Twitter before the event helped. By the end of the Friday meet and greet I had already spoken to more new people than in the whole of the weekend last year.
I enjoyed re-engaging with people from last year, putting faces to names from blogs and twitter. We spent some time on Friday speaking to Kendra, including helping her plan her visit to Harry Potter World. She told us a little about the talk she would be giving on Sunday. It didn’t however prepare me for the power of her talk on Sunday. I am in awe of the things she has gone through during her life and that she has fought so hard to express herself. She is an absolute inspiration.
I am an author
Earlier in the year I submitted a story for inclusion in the Truth, the Eroticon Anthology. My submission is a true life account. I can’t describe how good it makes me feel to see my work in the Anthology. I will write more about this another time.
A weekend away
We love a weekend in a hotel. Even though we live just 20-30 miles from the Eroticon venue there was no question of us commuting. That would make it too much like being at work. We stayed in our favourite hotel, near Euston and took the tube or bus. The cold weather took me by surprise since I didn’t believe the forecast. So I arrived in and had to wear my light weight raincoat all weekend. But our room was warm and the bed huge. Sunday afternoon we snuck away from Eroticon and attended a pre-booked concert. Then dozed in the room. I wanted to go and meet up for post Eroticon drinks but couldn’t find enough energy for more than a stroll to a nearby burger bar.
An extra night in the hotel and a day off on Monday rounded off the weekend. Back home it felt like the weekend was a dream. I felt sad because the days had flown by. But with such wonderful memories I know this sadness will be short lived.
The results for round 2 of the Smut Marathon are in and I am happy to report I made it through. There have been several times over the past few weeks that I have had cause to question my motives for entering the competition.
It isn’t as if I am a prolific writer of fiction, erotic, smutty or not. I lead a busy life and have enough deadlines to meet without putting myself under pressure in this way. I am not entirely keen on my work being critiqued and criticised, well certainly not at work. While as part of this competition your work is voted on and people provide feedback. However, the thing that makes this different is that entries are anonymous until each round ends.
As soon as the first assignment arrived I considered withdrawing. While I was fully aware of what a metaphor is, I don’t use them in my writing. Having pulled myself together though, I did some research on the internet and had a look at a few examples. I decided that my focus would be about a person who lures their prey into their nest or den. Then wrote something, found it to be far too long and so began editing. Happy enough with my completed entry, I prepared to hit ‘send’. Only to re-read (or probably read) the rules and realise I had 2 sentences rather than 1.
“Leonie wondered why she decided to have sex with a man that was definitely not her type; pursuing her prey had been much more fun than capturing him.”
I was amused then, to be criticised by one of the judges for my use of a semi colon. There were a few other comments, one or two complementary but I didn’t score particularly well. I needed to up my game.
In this round we were asked to write a piece of flash fiction incorporating one of the metaphor sentences. This was to be no more than 100 words plus that of the chosen entry.
I spent a few days deciding on the entry to use, and then went with my initial gut instinct – Libido by Nero J Black. I wrote my story in long hand while eating noodles in a café one lunch time, then typed it onto my work iPad. It was 250 words long, but was a start.
A few days later I went back to it and started to edit it down. By the time it was 150 it looked different, though was essentially the same story. Word by word I paired it back further until it was exactly 113 words long. Mine was called ‘The Risk’
When voting began I was pleasantly surprised to find that my metaphor from round 1 had been used by 2 people.
Comments and voting
This time I received a greater number of comments most of them positive. What is more, I also received votes from 2 of the judges and some public vote too. Maybe then I am not so bad at this kind of thing after all. In the next round, which I can’t discuss yet, I will have to write something I have never before attempted.
Fewer people voted this time than last and that may have affected who went through and who didn’t. I gather from reading twitter that some of the entrants didn’t vote and since you can vote for yourself that might not have been the best thing. Some of the well established and talented sex bloggers haven’t made it through which is a great shame. Anonymity may have played a part, but also that this required most if not all of us to write in a way that we don’t usually.
I don’t know if this will be my last round; as I said, I am well and truly out of my comfort zone now. But I am really glad I entered the Smut Marathon. I have learnt much about writing, but also about myself.
The creativity I managed to find for blogging this month was double that of last. Sadly this is not saying very much as there were just 4 posts. On 10th I expressed some of the reasons for the drought (holiday, work and meme overload). If I have learned one thing this year, it is not to over think and force the issue. The blog won’t disappear (even if readers do) and quality really is much more important than quantity.
Sinful Sunday has been a constant and Master is now involved in the photos, both as photographer and subject. This post might be one of my favourites so far and I am proud to have been named amongst the top 5 participants for this shot. The joy of mirrors!
During much of the first half of the year our sex life and M/s relationship was dormant. The two are inextricably linked, as although we are always Master and slave it is most evident in the bedroom. Master’s shoulder problems, evident last year re-emerged. And at the same time we both found our libido low. As I emerge from the menopause I am struggling to find my sexual mojo. My body looks and feels different and I often feel tired. On 6th August, my 55th birthday I posted of a change to that situation. Another Sinful Sunday on 27th demonstrated the measures Master has taken to help us overcome our difficulties. The sex swing in action!
Another first, when we attended a Clothed Male, naked female event. I wrote about my feelings about being naked in a venue of other naked women and clothed Men. This was really my first experience of D/s protocol of this kind. Sadly I wasn’t well that day and so we couldn’t play. But it was an amazing experience. I met new people as well as meeting up with some that we do know. Perhaps then a good opportunity to mention Sub Bee (who was also at the event and is a regular). We first met at a local munch and while I don’t know Bee and her partner well we also met at Eroticon. If you are not familiar with Sub Bee’s blog you should take a look. She writes candidly about her relationship, bisexuality and other topics as well as posting some fantastic images.
Elust features the best of sex blogging and is published each month by Molly. Bloggers and writers are invited to submit the best of their material which is then peer reviewed by an army of willing volunteers. While there are winners, there are no losers as everyone that submits a valid entry is published. Everyone then republishes, which means that it can reach far and wide within the kink community. My own blogging drought this year means I haven’t submitted many posts, but in October I did – to Elust 99.
The feature photo is from Exhibit Unadorned and features a bunch of bloggers having fun. This gives me the opportunity to mention his Exhibit A blog as well as that of his wife The Other Livvy. Both blogs are worth a visit, but be warned they are excellent and talented writers and photographers. So you may be there for sometime! They are newlyweds and seem like amazingly fun people. I saw them at Eroticon but we didn’t speak. I hope this will change next year.
There has been many a time over the past few years, when short of inspiration, I have turned to TMI Tuesday. Usually this involves a few questions on a sexy or kinky topic to write as little or as much as you feel able. On 7th November though, there was something different. We were given the words: Dragging, Kitchen, Bedroom, Sofa, Albert Einstein, Closer, Eggbeater, Olive oil, Eight and Rain and asked to create a story. There is very little fiction on my blog. It takes more head space than I can usually muster. But for once I embraced the challenge rather than moving on. I am quite proud of this post and need to do more.
Increasingly mainstream social and other media as well as government seems to be trying to reduce freedom of expression. Especially in the sex writing and blogging community. Using the protection of minors as an excuse they are attempting to gag and blog the things we say and show. On 18th November I took part in my first Share our Shit Saturday. In 2018 I intend to focus much more on doing just that!
Earlier in December we attended a febsub event at the same club that the CMnf one is held. Held on 3rd, it helped me get into an early Christmassy mood. The theme was pantomime, but since I have always wanted a santa type costume I chose the latter. I was very pleased with the result, as was Master and many others.
I mentioned in part 1 that Master had a new bathroom installed this year. The jacuzzi bath has been an amazing and wonderful source of late night relaxation and enjoyment. Something I highly recommend!
In some ways this has been a lean blogging year for me. But I am proud that I have kept going. Have posed every month and have kept true to myself and our relationship. There are lots of challenges ahead for us as a couple (more of that to come in the next few days). But also many opportunities for me as a blogger.
In the 3 years since she had been seeing Mark she was aware that their relationship may not have been as it seemed. At first she had felt in control, she paid him to cut and style her hair, meet her requirements. This was to incrementally shorten her hair while maintaining a ‘feminine’ style (her words). As she told him, an older woman looks and feels better that way. He agreed with her that this was the best way to achieve that end result. Unless, as he joked, you were prepared for the shears on day one.Their meetings which took place every 6 weeks were a little more frequent than she would have preferred. But since his schedule was even more busy than hers she booked ahead and stuck to the appointments. Master seemed happy with her progress, she knew his preference was a closely cropped, almost bald style. But she knew what He wanted from her. She wanted to please him but needed to get there in easy stages. Master in turn preferred a slave who complied at her own volition.
Mark wasn’t the kind of stylist that she would have chosen. She adored him as a person, for his outgoing nature and personality but worried about his approach. He loved to flirt with her and at the same time to offer fantastic celebrity gossip. But all of the time he pushed her towards a shorter hair cut. It was almost as if Master was giving him instructions.
At the same time this seemed unlikely, what top end stylist would push for an ever shorter cut so that eventually his skills would become redundant?
For each appointment she negotiated an outcome which took her closer to Master’s goal and each time Mark pushed her further. He would accidentally cut it shorter at the back, at the sides or on top. Then one day he took clippers to the left side of her head without discussion.
Exclaiming how wonderful it looked he asked what he should do next. Running her fingers over what remained of her hair, she had to agree it looked and felt great. She considered whether to even things out of to keep her hair long on the other side. She knew that was what many people did; short on one side while long on the other.
Symmetry was something she loved, taking a deep breath she instructed Mark to shave the right side. The hair was then short on both sides, but still held the layers she treasured on top.
Clarity of her situation suddenly surfaced, and she looked Mark in the eye, seeing his image reflected in the mirror. He cupped his hands around her head and stroked the stubble on each side of her head.
“Master asked you to do this” she stated with sudden clarity.
Observing her in the mirror, he nodded briefly.
“Then you should complete the task” she said. His nod was much more pronounced. He picked up his scissors and began to cut. Within minutes he had removed the remaining hair to little more than stubble.
At the cash desk she paid for today’s cut and booked her next appointment for 6 weeks time. “I think next time will be a number 2, all over” she told him clearly.
“Maybe even a number 1?” he asked.
“Maybe, if that is what Master wishes” she agreed.
As she pulled her coat on and walked out into the street she stroked her head, on one hand missing the hair that had gone, but also loving the feel of the stubble. They both knew that the next visit in 6 weeks time would be the start of a new chapter. One of maintenance but also one where both could fulfil their Master’s requirements.
In this element of their slavery at least.