Are you interested in sex? Do you enjoy the fact that humans have sex in different ways, with a number of different people, in a variety of interesting positions? If someone tells you about a cool new sex game or a fetish that’s new to you, is your first reaction to go ‘ooh, wow! That sounds interesting please tell me more’?
You might want to be a sex writer.
If any of the above things have made you recoil slightly, a frown of disgust on your face, or made you feel like you should hammer out a comment about how some people are just ‘sick’, ‘creepy’ or ‘gross’? Then I cannot stress this enough, but please:
do not become a sex writer.
Disgusted sex writer of Tunbridge Wells
In the last week I have read a few articles about sex by people who seem not just uninterested in it but actively horrified by it. One was an article which… umm… ‘leant heavily’ on something I’d written for The Debrief, about all the varied requests that cam girls had heard. Compare and contrast, and let’s see if you can guess which quote came from my piece:
“Discussions with cam girls demonstrate neatly that sexuality is a more diverse and interesting thing than we could ever possibly imagine.”
“Perhaps the people with the best sense for what sort of sickos exist are cam girls.”
There is no prize for guessing. Read the original article here, please do not read the copy of it because I’m in the process of getting them to take it down.
Listen: I’m not holding myself up as the Queen of Fuck Writing. I write some good stuff and I write some shit stuff. I churn out thousands of words each week, for this blog, books, and a whole bunch of other people who pay me money for my words. Inevitably some of it will be so-so, and some will be downright bad.
BUT WHAT IS NOT INEVITABLE is that any of it will be sex-hating. Because I do not hate sex. I do not hate niche fetishes, or interesting quirks. I do not, granted, test out every single fetish I write about (although wouldn’t THAT make for a fun article?! I should pitch this), but just because I don’t personally get turned on by something doesn’t mean I have to stamp on it.
What you need in order to be a sex writer
There are two absolutely crucial things – in my opinion – that you need to be a good sex writer.
- An interest in sex
- The ability to empathise with people
That’s it – that’s the list. You don’t actually have to have fucked tonnes of people, or tried each and every sex toy on the market. You could be asexual, for instance, and still be an amazing sex writer. You could have only ever had very vanilla sex with one other person. All you need is, when people tell you about their sexual interests, to not be a fucking prick about it.
Do you need to be a good writer? No. You do not even need to be that. In a world which is screaming for more content – content ALL THE TIME, NEW content, SHINY content, content shovelled into the faces of clicking consumers – you don’t even need to write good.
If I were responsible for hiring a new sex writer, given the choice between someone who was interested in sex but bad at writing and someone who was good at writing but didn’t give a fuck about sex, I would pick the former.
Any. Day. Of. The. Week.
It’s why I stress on the guest blog page that you don’t have to be fucking Shakespeare in order to contribute a guest blog. I can help you with the words: that’s my job. What I can’t do, though, is take someone who hates sex and pull from them an article that’s worthy of being spaffed out onto a sex blog.
This week I’ve read sex articles about:
- why cunnilingus is gross
- why threesomes are a bad idea and
- why unusual fetishes as requested from cam workers are ‘creepy.’
Two out of those three were by people who purport to be sex writers. One of these three was in Playboy. PLAYBOY.
In all seriousness, on what planet do we think we should put up with this kind of stuff? You, as clicking consumers, deserve better than this. As a couple of people on Twitter pointed out, we wouldn’t put up with this in other topic areas:
@girlonthenet Can you imagine if food writers did this? “All the ways putting substances in your face to survive is actually disgusting”
— text stop (@SuzeMarsupial) December 4, 2015
So why do we put up with it in sex writing? We shouldn’t. Please do feed back to mainstream publications when they publish things like this, as well as when they publish articles that are good and written by people with the requisite empathy and understanding. I realise that by saying this I am opening myself up to some criticism if I write something that’s overly negative or critical. I am 100% happy with that because I know I’m not always great, and when I am Not Good Enough then I should be fucking told.
If you find sex gross then please – do not become a sex writer. I promise you I will not turn up at your house and insist you nod and smile while I give you a soliloquy on the joys of piss-play. In return, please assure me that you won’t show up in a sex article sneering at people who like anal or making someone else’s private joy the victim of your public disgust.
If you’re a reader then please demand better – from writers, editors, everybody, including me. At the very least request that any professional sex writer meets the absolute minimum standard:
they are not shocked by sex.