Smut

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”


Writing for a competition

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…

In conclusion

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: 

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

What do you see?

Earlier today, when I should have been working but was instead looking at my phone, a tweet popped up. Cara linked to a post from 2013 about how much of ourselves we reveal to our readers. She comments in the tweet that she has now met other bloggers and so of course many people have seen more than is every revealed online. This had me thinking about the things I write and the amount of myself and relationship I put online.

What I reveal on my blog

On the surface the answer is a lot. Over the last 6 years I have been open, honest, sometimes painfully so. This whole blog started as a place for me to track my own progress through a new affair. One that took me not only into infidelity but a whole different lifestyle. At times, it was the only place I could document my own feelings. This was especially true when my husband found out and I often felt frightened and alone. But actually I rarely went into personal detail, nor did I describe how my lover often left me to my own devices.

I am always careful about the things I write on my blog. I try not to criticise anyone, I don’t speak about work in any detail. Family details rarely appear, though exceptions have been when my dad was dying and frustrations with my mum. For a while I wrote about the polyamorous relationship but then the other woman started to read and so everything became sanitised. Even now, there is little real emotional detail.

I describe our sex life and my submission in some detail, often as an outpouring of post coital emotion. Milestones appear, as much for my own future memory as well as for Master to read. But detail is often sketchy, partly because I have a rubbish memory but also because I am not good at descriptive narrative. This is currently exposing itself in the Smut Marathon competition (more of which on my next blog post).

Perhaps the photos give away the most about me and us. Sometimes I even show my face. But this doesn’t mean that the reader sees or knows everything, how can they.

Twitter

Everyone here and on Twitter know that MPB is Julie. That is my real name. I chose to do this not because I am uncreative, but because I don’t want to hide behind a massive pseudonym. I am not critical of anyone that uses one, it just isn’t me. But it does tend to lead to me being more open and more like my real self. What you see is what you get. An open book, I find emotions hard to hide. So on Sunday when the Smut Marathon results were published I got into conversations with other bloggers / writers. Participants began to express some of the things they felt are wrong with the process and I joined in. Then someone essentially told us to shut up and I felt ashamed that I had been part of the conversation.

On balance, twitter needs to be treated with the same caution as my blog. We are all people but some of us are prone to speak more openly than others. I’m not sure I should open myself up in that way to people. While I know some of the people on twitter and have met others none are people I can describe as friends. If I can’t say it here, then I really don’t want to say it on Twitter.

Even if you see my face, know my name is Julie that doesn’t mean you can and should see all of me. Some things must remain hidden.

Blogging A-Z 2018: T and U

First day back from holiday and suddenly yesterday I had lost my blogging mojo. The discovery that I am shadow banned on Twitter just added to my apathy.

Twitter

Somehow over the past couple of years I have become more and more engaged with Twitter as a social media platform. I find myself going there when I wake and again many times during the day. My posts auto tweet and during the day a couple of older posts appear. Some days I tweet quite a bit, engaging with others and other times not.

I have no way of knowing whether this behaviour alone has led to Twitter taking against me or if it is the photos. After all, the photo below, which appeared as part of my post on Sunday is pretty graphic. But since Twitter don’t admit shadow banning is even a thing, all I can do is surmise. Still it will make my SoSS all the more pertinent this week.

Undertake

Finally I am in a position to realise my objectives. At last, after more than 4 years of talking about selling my house and moving on from my marriage it is in touching distance.

Now, the hard work must be undertaken. What to throw away, what to put into storage, what to take with me. Master has cleared out a lot of clutter, but there is still work to be done. Also, he is planning some building work, so I can’t take all of my belongings straight there. Plus there is the emotional attachment I have to this house, I have lived here for 27 years. We moved here when my son was a baby of just 5 months and so there are lots of memories here.

But now is the time to move on and to create a new home, one with Master. We will both need to adapt to our new life and to make room for each other. But it will mean we can be together and can start to plan some new plans and work on those outcomes. It also means I am going to resign my job soon and take a breather. The next few months will be emotional, but interesting and fun too.

This year is a week old already

We have been chilling out in Spain for nearly 3 weeks now and this pace of life seems to be suiting me. The days seem to roll into each other – get up late, maybe some food shopping, lunch in or in a bar, a wander around, reading, browsing, drinks and dinner, a DVD, a nightcap, bed, sleep, sex, getting up late…..

That is the excuse I am giving for not having posted here for a week and for being so remiss in wishing anyone passing by a Happy New Year.

Today is my last day here in Seville with Master, and I can honestly say that all of the stresses of home and work have melted away during the time we have been here. I wish I could stay longer, as he will be doing, but the time has come for me to return to the reality of the part of my life which is separate from that with him – work and family. I am kind of ambiguous about the work part. To be honest, I do enjoy my job, but I am not looking forward to getting caught up in the politics or the pressures that come with it. I dearly wish that I could walk away, just because I realise I want different things in life now, but I don’t yet have the financial security or even the nerve to do so. I wonder though how I might feel this time next week when I have completed my first week back. As for family, well mum has been misbehaving and my brothers are looking forward to my return, and for my part I am ready to pick up my part of that bargain. I will manage her as I always do and perhaps invest a little more time while Master is still here in Spain. I have missed my son and am hoping to catch up with him and his girlfriend in the next week or so. Lastly there is the ex-hubby / house thing which really needs sorting now. I need that proper and clean break and I need to make it happen. So some tricky discussions ahead there.

But whatever difficulties there might be ahead, I do so from a happy and calm position. I have seen how my life with Master can be and it is one I definitely want and need more of. I just need to work through all of these huge little barriers to making that happen. What is for sure is we definitely get on as well over a few weeks of being together 24/7 as we do for short periods.

I am going to miss him, but hell it will only be two weeks and during that time I am going to be busy. This first week in January has gone pretty quickly and there is no reason to suspect that the next one won’t be the same.

One more day and night together and then I fly home.

…………………………………
Twitter

I already had a Twitter account, which I rarely post to myself, but follow a number of healthcare and other related threads. For obvious reasons I avoided linking to anything sex / BDSM related on there. But I have now got myself a new twitter account linked to this blog. You can follow me from the side bar or @MPBjulie This whole thing is work in progress, but something I will attend to when I get home. Yep, MPB is getting into social media!