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Sex stories, lies and memory

When you tell someone a story, how much of it is true? Every detail? Probably not. Whenever you tell someone something that actually happened, there’ll be elements of it that you remember perfectly, and other elements that you don’t. You’ll perhaps gloss over some of the awkward details, or play them up to comic effect, or tell a story in a context which doesn’t fully explain the whys as well as the whats.

And so it is with sex stories.

During an email interview the other day, someone asked me how much of what I write is true. My initial, kneejerk response was: all of it. And that’s the simplest answer. Everything I write here – unless it’s specifically marked as a fantasy or bucket list shag – actually happened. But to say it like that is to gloss over what actually happens when you write up a sex story – whether it’s a relationship you had ten years ago, or a quickie you had last night.

All these sex stories are true… but

Nothing’s ever the whole truth and nothing but.

This sex story is only a small part of the whole tale. This virginity story is very old – some details are seared into my mind while others have been lost. This Xbox blow job story didn’t come true until shortly after I’d hit ‘publish’. In this story the dialogue’s fudged – he probably said ‘I’m coming’ when he was called, but including it would sound cheesy.

It’s usually dialogue, to be honest. While I’m confident that if a guy says something particularly and unusually sexy, I’ll remember his exact wording forever (as well as, usually, the exact face he made when he said it), other words are fuzzier. Can you remember exactly what you said in bed two years ago? Or even yesterday? Or is what you’re left with an idea – a feeling – that it’s easier to recreate approximately when you write it down?

As a consequence, most of the people I’ve shagged probably come across as more articulate, witty, or perfectly-pitched in a blog post than they would in the pub. As do I.

Does it matter if a sex story is true?

So we get on to the question I really want to tackle – does it matter if a sex story is true? And if so, how much false memory, omission, and anonymising can a true story take before it turns from anecdote into fantasy?

I know some people give a massive shit about this. I occasionally get comments from dudes consumed with rage because they think I make it all up. One person was so livid about my sex cinema tale that he left a long and shouty comment telling me I was responsible for ruining the sex cinema industry. Sometimes – my least favourite times – I get comments or emails saying “ha yeah I bet you’re a man though.” For these people, truth in sex blogging matters so much that they are willing to ‘call bullshit’ on people’s lives – far better to aspire to the kind of smug twattery that enforces our ideas around sex than to risk the terrifying possibility that your own experience might not be the stick of truth against which all other actions are judged.

For the record, I’m not a man. And the sex cinema story is true, although I have cut out a fairly large chunk of something else that happened while we were there, in deference to the guy I went along with. Likewise most of my other stories are true, and lies are usually ones of omission:

I’ll avoid a particular detail if it’s too identifying.

I’ll change locations or fudge timings to avoid people knowing when or where things happened.

There are some stories that get culled in the ‘draft’ stages, because the situation (usually group play in clubs or at sex parties) is unique enough that I don’t want to risk discovery.

But other than that? It’s true, to the best of my flawed human memory.

Are sex stories hotter if they’re true?

Some of the most famous, popular erotica is fictional. Often people want to escape to a fantasy world in which the heroes and heroines say and do things so badass that you know it’d never be like that in real life. While I love fiction, and I’ve read some cracking fictional sex stories in my time, I write almost solely non-fiction. It’s limiting, sure. In real life I’m never going to get fucked by a horny space-mutant, invited to an orgy on a yacht, or achieve that two-clones-of-Nathan-Fillion spitroast that I’ve always dreamed of. But on the up side there are flaws in non-fiction that are often absent from fantasy. That bit where you fell off the bed, or things went on for too long, or you just got a different reaction to the one you’d expected. Awesome fiction writers can get this stuff in there as well, of course, but I think what makes non-fic hot for me is that I know the flaws are true.

More importantly – and I’m going to hazard a guess that this is why truth matters so much to some people – with fictional erotica, you always run the risk of an author who insists on distancing themself from your fantasy – saying ‘oh of course I don’t do this shit in real life.’

My stories are technically the same whether you believe them or not: your wank doesn’t retroactively become less horny if you think it was fiction. The words and the story is the same, whether you’ve met me and rolled your eyes as I’ve explained the detail in the pub, or whether you’re a keyboard-bashing truth-knight intent on calling ‘bullshit’. But although it’s the same story, there’s a kind of cameraderie that comes when you read non-fiction. The shared closeness of experience – the opportunity to go ‘oh hey me too.’ Non-fiction sex stories are as much about that ‘me too’ feeling as they are about the anecdote itself. I don’t just want to talk about the hot things I’ve done, I want to tap into exactly why they’re hot – to make you feel the same sexy shiver that I did.

So, if you build your castle on a foundation of ‘true’ sex stories then it really does matter that they’re true – if there were no real ‘me’ behind the ‘me too’, then the key tool I have to get people excited disappears in a puff of smoke.

Some people have the power to write fiction so horny it can conjure a sexy shiver that only ever existed in the author’s head. I’m not sure I have the skills to do that, so I use the only tool I have to hand: my memories of the people who’ve loved and fucked me.

It’s never exactly the whole truth, but it’s as close as I can get.


  • Nicely phrased.

    I too share sex stories on my blog (which also are as accurate as I can make them) in addition to quite a few posts which feature a large amount of dialogue with my friends – often in speech form. While i do flatter myself that I have a good memory for this sort of thing, nothing’s a word-perfect transcription, and therefore what I’m writing is an approximation. I’d assume it’s the same for everything.

    The same is true for sex stories – I don’t think anyone, be it me, you GOTN, or Joe Blogs the next blog along, is going to remember everything about every sexual encounter: every bump, every grind, every vocalisation, every thrust. Why would they? I don’t mathematically calculate all the different angles, pitches of cries or number of insertions it takes to get to orgasm (sorry, anyone reading who does do this).

    The trick – as I’ve always seen it – is to get the key bits into the story in as much detail as possible. The rest may just be padding. But if it’s sexy padding, all the better for it.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Thanks for chipping in ILB – I totally envy your dialogue memory! And you’re right, I think the key is to get the bits you remember in. Maybe I’m a bit too obsessive/touchy over detail and truth. Because I so often get people saying ‘I don’t believe you’ or ‘how much of this is true?’ I think I hold truth up as something super-important and I always answer ‘yes of course it’s true.’ But then there are certain things that give me pause for thought. A while ago I wrote about sex under anaesthetic and someone commented saying ‘I can’t believe he fucked you in the mouth after you’d just had a wisdom tooth removed.’ It got me wondering… did that actually happen? Or was it something my memory painted on later because it fit with what I’d expect to happen during a fuck like that? This is perhaps why I should meticulously record and document all of my sexual encounters from now on =)

  • Anonymous 4982 says:

    I can’t be the only one who doesn’t actually wank while reading your stories. I actually enjoy reading your political stuff as much as your narratives. And I don’t wank to them either.
    And frankly, it doesn’t matter if what you’re writing is true or not. I’ll take it as it’s written.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I don’t think you’re the only one. And thanks – I quite like writing the political ones. I used to get a few comments from people saying ‘stick to the filth’ so it’s nice to know that you like ’em =)

  • DigitalBroccoli says:

    I think this is almost an offshoot of the “amateur versus professional” porn conversation. For some people, it’s important that what they’re seeing, or reading, is real. That it’s a real orgasm she’s having, that he’s really enjoying that blowjob and neither one is faking, and that the story that they’re reading actually happened.

  • advizor54 says:

    This is a fantastic expression of what I try to do. Real life is so much hotter than fiction. A fantasy about Cindy from church is hotter than one about Cindy Crawford.

  • Charlie says:

    I really struggle with writing real life sex stories mainly because I barely remember the whole thing afterwards. I only get snippets/flashes that normally come back to me at the most inappropriate times and I don’t want to write it down and find that I have to lie to fill in the blanks.

  • Ferns says:

    I think on blogs it matters (beyond ‘Imma wank to this!’) because readers come to care about YOU, the author, and they want to know if they are seeing *you* in these pages, or if they aren’t. I know bloggers who have presented their writing as the truth, and when it was uncovered that it wasn’t, their most loyal readers felt horribly betrayed because they became invested in the writer’s story, their triumphs, their heartbreaks, their sex lives, all that. They thought they could relate to this person, so it cuts deep when they find out they’ve been lied to.

    Partners I write about have read what I wrote and consider it the truth, so I get pretty close. Though I often think of what I write as an emotional truth more than a narrative truth, and I often will write things with no concern for chronology. So it’s truth, but truth in a kind of me-filtered world.


  • Jo says:

    Even when we *think* we remember something perfectly, it’s often not the case; sometimes we can’t remember if we dreamed something or if it happened in real life. There was just a story on This American Life where a teacher remembered in great detail telling a student that she got a scholarship in class; turned out that it never happened. Memory is very tricksy! Also, changing details in a story to protect your identity is just good sense. I’m someone who prefers true stories to erotica, but that’s mostly because so much erotic fiction is just bad writing that overuses cheesy euphemisms for sexual acts and body parts. I’d much rather read / hear a well-written or funny / interesting / exciting story that might fudge the truth a bit over something not as interesting that’s 100% accurate.

  • Chris says:

    Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who died last year, wrote his autobiography, “Vivir Para Contarla,” about 12 years ago, looking back from age 78. In it, he offers this gem: a person’s life isn’t the actual events and actions, but rather the stories that he or she told others while alive, and the stories told about that person during life and after he or she is gone. In tha way, we’re all have some prospect of extended longevity, if not immortality, if we tell really great stories or pass along those really great stories we’ve heard and tell them to others.

    Anyone who’s lost a loved one, and mortal flesh has an inevitable end, can take comfort that that person lives on in our stories.

    So, tell really great stories. Michelangelo sculpted the figure of Giuliano Medici for Giuliano’s tomb. It’s in Florence, and you could visit him there today. It’s a marvel. As Michelangelo and his assistants finished polishing the last rough edges and chisel marks from the fully carved stone, onlookers complained that it didn’t look like the deceased, at all. Michelangelo’s reply: “A thousand years from now, no one will care what he looked like.” Well, it’s been 500 years, and he was exactly right.

  • I read your blog because of all the “me toos.” I’ve never really stopped to wonder if they actually happened exactly like that or if at all. They are written from a real point of view and have all the perfect bits, including the flaws that make it so real.

    I write solely from my own experiences too, even if they were dreams, they still really happened to me. I do find it hard to recall some dialogue or the order of things because it was such a good fuck. But it’s that the goal? I’m usually writing only for my partner’s pleasure, so I do want it to be very accurate since he was there. When I post them later to my blog, I often change details for our privacy, but the nature of the deed remains the same.

    Hater are going to hate. They can’t write or don’t have the balls to put something creative out there. Keep being you, but there are so many more of us that love that.

  • Excellent write up, and I cannot begin to express how much it bothers when I read fiction that I personally find hot and the author insults that very reaction they created by saying things like “but of course, I would never do this”.

  • I was going to reply, but then I realised I had so much to say that, instead, I decided to write a post about it instead.

    Your reality is still “real” regardless on any omissions. My fiction contains much that is “real” too. The fact that you give us (actively or inadvertently) the edited highlights of an event, doesn’t change the fact that it happened.


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