So, Eroticon 2014. Awesomeness on a stick, right? Or on glittery Kate Spade heels in Ruby’s case (covetous, moi? Nah…I’m just going to chop the bitch’s feet off next time I see her). I had an absolute ball – and going by the tweets and blog write-ups afterwards it looks like everyone else did, too.
The funniest bit for me was afterwards, when I told people where I’d been over the weekend. ‘You did what?’ was the most common response, and opinion was divided as to whether my ‘normal life’ friends and colleagues would feel comfortable talking about sex and erotica with a bunch of strangers. The best response was someone suggesting that maybe I should carry mace spray at ‘that sort of thing’
That sort of what thing? There is an assumption prevalent amongst the wider public that anyone interested in sexuality (in any guise, whether that interest is interactive or academic) is going to be an up for anything pervert, ready and willing at any time of the day or night, regardless of whether they’ve got a hangover or are wearing bad pants (bad pants anxiety is becoming a bit of a trademark of mine, I should probably go shopping sometime soon).
So – ‘full on, 24/7 perverts’, eh? Of course such people exist. In fact they exist in each and every section of society. And in just the same way, good manners and propriety exists throughout society.
What people outside of erotica and sex blogging never seem to understand (and indeed, came as a surprise to me when I first became involved in the genre) is that these correct boundaries and manners are actually more precisely followed in such open minded circles than they are in your average person’s daily life.
My theory is that it’s because everything is out in the open at an event such as Eroticon. Not literally (well okay, sometimes literally, but that’s a different story), but there is nothing to hide because there wouldn’t be any point.
I found myself having a conversation with someone about the etymology of the word ‘anilingus’ and it wasn’t until afterwards that the friend I was with said in a musing tone of voice, ‘When you think about it, that was a really weird conversation to have with a complete stranger first thing on a Sunday morning…’
And that’s the joy of an event such as Eroticon – it brings together people with all the thoughts and ideas and fetishes and kinks and downright weird thoughts that would never be accepted in day to day life, outside of specific group meetings or online forums. The freedom that it gives to speak openly about anything and everything without censure means that the whole thing is as far from sleazy as it is possible to be. How can something be grubby when you’re discussing it over coffee and cake with a chap in a suit and a lady who looks like your old maths teacher?
Curiosity is at the core of any writer, regardless of subject matter. If you’re not interested in people then people will not be interested in you in return, nor will they be interested in your work.
And that’s what I make the most of at an event such as Eroticon – interest. In other people, their work and, just sometimes, their rather unusual personal habits. Plus also educational conversations about historical language*.
Random Fact of the Day
*’anilingus’ as a word is much older than I expected – it was first used in the wonderfully titled book ‘Psychopathia Sexualis’, way back in 1886.
[hr] Find Violet Fenn online: