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.