Truly a great resource! There are so many herbs that we tend to overlook because they aren’t as well known but we are almost literally discovering new plants every week! The possibilities of plants and the rich traditions of folklore from around the world impower us to give an extra touch of realism to our stories. The technology we have can no connect us to what was once common information. That is powerful and important.
I first started exploring herbs and what I could collect and do with them myself some years ago, and I have to confess that I was nervous about it at first. As a kid, there was a berry bush that grew at the edge of my backyard, and sometimes I would sit out there and pick the berries, just to squish them in my hand and smear the dark purple juice around.
I know now that they were Pokeberries, and they’re quite poisonous if ingested. This discovery highlighted my own ignorance about the plants around me, and even as I started dabbling and researching I was always well aware of the potential to miss something important. I have to imagine that the people who were first discovering the uses for all of our plants today had the same kind of excited fear going on.
If anything will make you a better content writer and a better writer in general it is interacting with other writers. Reading the works of others and having other others read your work elevates you to another level. However the biggest and most common issue a writer faces is getting feedback. Now that’s a broad way of putting it because feedback is buying your books, views, shares, comments, etc. But in this case by feedback I mean what people enjoy or dislike(in a constructive respectful matter). While there are people who write perfectly well in a vacuum even they could stand to gain from interaction. With all that being said…most writer’s communities suck and unfortunately it is in part because of selfish writers who constantly want to take and never give. Two weeks ago I started using Wattpad and the frustration I have always felt with others began to become clearer. The selfishness of fly-by-night writers who steal into writing communities demanding without ever wanting to give is underscored by communities that are swamped by so many fly-by-nighters that all work gets buried.
So how do you get involved?
Now, my opinions may change, but over all they can only change if the community standards change. Wattpad specifically needs more forums that are better organized in order to connect writers and readers more directly. They also need a search system that is at least on par with FanFiction.com, and can separate newer and older stories…BUT more importantly a can be searched on views in order to give everyone a chance to be seen. But wattpad isn’t the only problem.
The problem is us.
Writers keep acting like we can be selfish and that if we just market we’ll find readers, reviewers, and beta readers. Marketing is important along with everything else, but you can’t hope to get anything when you don’t give. Writing communities don’t work if writers don’t actually invest in stories they don’t write and participate in not only dissecting their own work, but other’s. You learn so much by reading and talking no matter how introverted you are. As a teenager I thought I was an excellent writer, but after years of workshops I look back fondly at my work while muttering a “Thank Hera” under my breath because I am SO MUCH BETTER. I am not unique.
Critiquing, sharing, and discussing writing exposes you to a wide range of styles, ideas, and concepts that you can dissect in terms of why it works, why it doesn’t, why you like it, and maybe why you do not. The bottom line is when you exit your vacuum you not only learn, but your brain gets going. You learn how to pull apart your own stories and you also learn what other people pick apart. In essence a group of writers or just readers like Wattpad connects you to your audience. That is one part why community is important because your writing friends can become your buying friends. Not just because they know you, but because you’ve learned what works in your writing and what works for real people and not just for you.
And yet somehow all of these communities suffer the same problem. Some would say it is accountability that’s the problem. Well, everyone is accountable…only to themselves. Somewhere in writing programs and reading classes we never taught people to value interacting with writing and the writer. Yet this is what keeps writers in business and going because who reads more than writers and creators? If we don’t support each other who will?
So I challenge you now to find writing communities.
I challenge you to not just read, but review and comment on other authors.
I challenge you to help that friend whose writing a novel or poem, by reading and giving honest thoughts about it.
We make the communities we want to live in. Earlier tonight,and not to get political, I was watching a program and a conservative radio host was laughing at the thought of basically any celebrity or anyone with a platform using it. It was whining. It was grandstanding. And I’ll be real conservative republicans have a very nasty habit of assuming everyone to the left of them is insincere and/or weak. Nothing I or anyone to the left of them is real, which is bullshit. But I bring this up because his point was that no one gets to make their community. In his eyes you don’t get to challenge, change, or make a statement about culture. It’s a very dangerous mindset no matter who you support or what you believe. It is dangerous because our communities support us emotionally, economically, and intellectually. Humanity is interacting. Writing for all the solitary hours we spend with a page and our thoughts…requires interacting. Communities inspire writing. Communities inspire you to dream bigger and do better. No one is an island and we all need to do better by each other, by book stores, by bloggers, and by ourselves by engaging with each other.
So I have one last challenge for you…engage more, have fun, and do better by yourself as a content lover and creator. If you do this you may discover stories, authors, and friends that will enrich your life in ways you can never imagine. Please, support each other because if you don’t who will support you?
How do you react when you don’t finish a project when you plan? When your doing something that is entirely self-driven schedules help hold you accountable, but sometimes for one reason or another you just don’t meet them. Then you wake up one day and realize “Oh…I was supposed to be done by today.” It’s not a fun feeling, and for me it provokes some anxiety.
So I’m finishing Come at Night, which is the first book of The Marquess series that I was supposed to finish months ago. Why has it taken so long? The story was thicker, better, and more interesting than I initially planned. It went from an erotic short story to a sprawling tale of politics, gender, and redemption. And ,as much as I love the dirty business, I love those things just as much when they’re explored in an interesting way. Still that development wasn’t planned. I wanted to have the book done by Christmas, but at this point I’m only going to be able to deliver the “preview” short story. That’s fine, and that short story will be more than worth its small cost. However it is disappointing to be where I am now.
Yet, as I reflect the importance of realizing how and why you miss a schedule is important because you can prepare better next time….or realize what affected your inability to meet the schedule at that time. So what happened to me? I got tired of writing smut. I’m brand new, but I was spending an average of eight hours a day on several different stories…most of which aren’t finished. Most of which people promised to beta read and edit and…never got back to me on consistently, which lead to me saying “I’ll give them a week…I’ll give them another” because I know I need feedback like any other writer. So I sort of burned myself out…however it was sort of a blessing because then I focused on my other stories. Stories you won’t hear much about, but I will tell you they’re great. One romance is going to be about 200 pages and I’m on page 50, which is actually amazing because I started the story on the first and have been running around for weeks trying to finish paintings and presents for the holidays. Still…it hasn’t made me feel great.
Not completing a task you set out for yourself can be disheartening, especially because you are entirely responsible for it. Whether you just temporarily burn out like me, or whether you’re pushing yourself constantly to finish there is a struggle to reconcile why you couldn’t finish. It’s depressing, but for those of us building a platform and small business it is worrying. You begin to question if you can do it. You begin to make ideas for change but them worry you can’t do what you need to in order to be successful. Some people balk at me when I describe this and say “It’s your own fault. Have a tougher skin,” as though that makes the feelings about the situation go away. It doesn’t. It may be my fault…and what does that matter? We can be upset at ourselves and the situation and still have “tough skin”. When you’re responsible for your business, your books, your blogs, your livelihood, and your dreams it is frickin scary! That’s the bottom line, and when things don’t go as planned it is even scarier
But to conquer that feeling you just have to accept it.
That is something I’m really struggling with because I’m very scared. I’ve been strong armed into spending money over the holidays to maintain certain relationships I need in my life and I have been forced to buy a new phone by relatives(long story). My finances are more than a little tight, which adds stress and anxiety to my life in general. Now writing isn’t just about the money though if you’d like to buy my books please help a sista out. Writing is what I love to do and it is what I can almost always do at any time of the day. My dream career would be to be a team leader/research in a non-profit organization and also have a career writing on the side. I’ve been writing since I was a child and this career is amazing, but it is never stable and always changing with technology and interest. Every day is a gamble. Heck, blogging is a gamble because people make new blogs every day, and even those that aren’t active for more than a week can bury yours to the bottom of the search pile regardless of SEO keywords.
However, to get to where you want to be you have to take that gamble and accept that sometimes you won’t meet a deadline. Sometimes you will discover that what you’re doing needs more time and care than you can give and you have to put it aside. All you can do is accept that sometimes you won’t meet the deadline and that your anxiety about that is ok and normal. More importantly, you can begin to figure out what to do next time. That won’t fix the now. It won’t let you go back in time and finish the project. But it will let you feel like you’re taking a step forward towards completing the goal. That can be the difference between falling into a funk over the situation and finding a new way to push you to completion next time.
Cliches aren’t an inherent problem. Shocker. I know. You’d never expect Rosie to say something like that, but it is true. Cliches are not an inherent problem in writing or life. The problem with cliches is twofold sincerity and whether or not they’re boring. A cliche fails when it feels insincere. Let’s put it another way your partner can say “You look great”, but you’ll usually be able to tell when they are really serious or just spouting platitudes. Why? Because there is a difference in tone. Whether your reading a book or a blog you can tell the difference between someone writing passionately and with more than a passing interest to get a concept out.
I say this because I think there are a lot of writers who like the idea of writing and the concept of telling a story, but who don’t want to dig into what they’re writing enough to make it feel authentic. You pick up a book or read someone’s story page and your met with an obvious love of the concept of a character or a relationship, but the writer hasn’t made the story worth your while. They love the idea of this handsome young lad sweeping this girl off her feet…but there is actually no relationship between them except for the writer telling you so. They never have serious conversations or bond beyond steamy scenes, and even if your’re left with a bit of enjoyment you can’t quite believe in their relationship.
Plenty of blogs and stories that I started have not been finished for that very reason. They’re concepts with no depth, and that’s how you fall into the cliche. You don’t sound sincere even if you sincerely want to tell your story. D.D Griggs and I talked about this the other day. Whether you are writing non-fiction or fiction there are cliches and themes. She writes self-help books, and 70% of them are similar or have similar themes that are cliches we can all spout to a certain degree. Writers like her put those cliches into a context and a way of living that is incredibly important, but we’re all familiar with self-help stereotypes of conferences, yogis, and hippies. Most people can tell you one common philosophy in self-help, but neither of those things are inherently bad. What makes a self-help book succeed or fail is a matter of someone liking the author’s style, but more so it is a matter of whether that author is speaking from a place of sincerity and belief. That’s what keeps those cliches from being a problem.
When cliches become a problem is when they’re boring and don’t feel genuine. A blogger talking about “the power of positivism” and working out won’t grab your interest if they are just issuing copy-pasted ideas to their audience. If they don’t let you in to who they are you don’t feel like you can trust them because all you see is surface cliches. The same thing happens in fiction. If you have a book about a werewolf romance that is just paint by numbers it may make money…but it won’t make you an audience for the next book. It won’t get you the sort of repeat readers you want because the readers can tell you aren’t in it and you’re not giving them anything interesting. By that same token, someone else can write the exact same plot (and people do this and do it well) but they make the characters more sincere and write with more passion. They try to keep the story interesting and their readers see that. In blogging and ebook writing I see a lot of people just regurgitating what they think will get them blog follows or downloads, and then I go to forums of people upset and complaining about not getting sales. Well, you aren’t giving a unique product. You give something that is pain by numbers…and so have hundreds of thousands of others, which has hurt the market in many ways all on its own. These writers just don’t see how the cliches aren’t what hurts or helps a story or blog or what have you. It is a matter of how something is written and the tone that allows readers to connect.
Cliches can be powerful tools not only when you subvert them, but when you embrace them with the intention of making them interesting and bringing somethign new to the table with all the sincerity you can muster. This not only applies to the page or screen, but to how you talk to people as well. I hope you keep that in mind when writing holiday cards this season or are getting ready for New Years.
The answer to that question can be summed up simply: Because we live in a society that continues to say only certain people are lovable, and that people,women in particular, of a certain size have no right to anyone or anything good.
I often see people complain that not shaming fat, thick, curvy, round, big, etc. people is inherently encouraging poor health choices, and it is the most bizarre thing. It says something about a person to hear “Everyone deserves to feel loved and valued’ and to not only turn it into something negative, but think that showing someone as loved and valued is toxic to society. Every single person with a good heart deserves to find love, compassion, and appreciation from other people.
Now, I’m not going to deny I’ve always been chubby and I always will be that’s just how I’m built. Yet my weight isn’t the only dimension to this…I’m a big black woman. I’m sorry if you think your colorblind and nothing in society has ever affected you, but you’re wrong. I have lived in this body for 20 odd years and there are stereotypes projected onto me and those who look similarly to me that are harmful, wrong, and perpetuate a belief that it is ok to treat me and others a certain way. I write black women predominantly because I reject those stereotypes, and I want to destroy them one story at a time . That isn’t the only reason I care. At the moment I am trying to lose weight so I can be more healthy. I don’t want to be skinny or thin. To be honest, I don’t find it sexually appealing. I love softness, and especially my softness. So I naturally bring that love for myself and for pudginess to my books.
With all this in mind the question leads me to “If I don’t who will?” and to that end I also write some bigger guys too because I believe in love. I believe in the beauty of love at any and every size. Bigger people lead dynamic and interesting lives, as do skinny people, as do any people. We’re all on an exciting adventure through life and to pretend like it only happens to conventionally beautiful, young, skinny, and white people is a problem. Why? It is boring and unrealistic and after a certain point everyone I know makes fun of the prevalence of overly beautiful people described in over detail because they’re always the same details. Long flowing hair. Muscles. Blah. I describe unique details, but usually I keep them limited for that very reason. Being original with your descriptions is hard and necessary, and sometimes you just want to focus on getting across the most important details of your characters.
This is a simplification of a lot of things, but this is the bare bones. I love my pleasantly plump and Thick ladies they’re fun to right and have a range of physicality that is a delight to describe and discover new ways to describe. At the end of the day creating new and exciting characters in any genre is what brings magic to story telling. That is what makes stories feel refreshing, and we’re getting to a point where people are really realizing that. What are your thoughts?
Want a Book Featuring Some Curvelicious Ladies? Dirty Honey is an introduction to The Black Hat Society series of steamy, occasionally romantic, and erotic BDSM centered novellas. Are you ready to play?
I am also accepting Beta-readers for my erotic-romance story White Hot Room.
The first time I wrote a story with a sex scene I was 14. It was a Full Metal Alchemist fan fiction. The first time I wrote an original piece worth a damn was at age 15. The story concerned a young unnamed woman who encounters a shape shifting wolf(original I know). The wolf isn’t some bad boy though. He’s a teenager like her, but full of cheer and hope for a better world. One moonlit night the unnamed girl kissed him and shy fumbling led to more. Now as I begin my journey as an erotica writer I’ve been forced to ask a question: is it wrong or uncomfortable for my readers if I revisit those ideas and give them a more evolved form? Is it wrong to plumb my brain for dirty fantasies I drooled over as a minor? Is it wrong to take old stories from my books and USBs and rewrite them as something new? It may seem like a stupid question, but as young people gain access to more technology and we engage in discussions over technology, sex, consent, and inevitably morality we have to begin figuring out these often arbitrary lines of legality and morality.
My natural instinct with creative works is that they are fictional and though they do impact our society we can’t and should not treat thoughts as crimes. So long as no one is hurt then regardless of our disgust no one should be penalized legally for fictional content creation…though they can be penalized socially. My litmus test has always been “Is anyone being hurt by this?” and I mean that both directly and indirectly. And take notes here because that question is going to become particularly important as we advance virtual reality and robotic technology (we often talk about robots used for sex, but a debate will be around animal like or childlike robots made for that purpose. This will soon be our reality.). Access to stories, platforms like amazon, and access to the materials necessary to create stories/comics/games/movies/etc. are already complicating our reality. Back in 2014 I remember reading a story about a man returning from Japan who was arrested on child pornography charges because of comics specifically manga as well as this. The characters were written as being the age of majority, but they said it didn’t matter because they saw what they saw on the page/screen. And I get why people reacted this way because they saw what they saw. I have no doubts that some characters are written younger despite their given ages which can be gross and uncomfortable to say the least. I have no clue what sort of manga or comics that the people prosecuted had, and I don’t know how young or realistic the characters drawn were, so it may have really been a case of “I know it when I see it” and even though that’d make me more comfortable part of me hesitates because it’d still be fiction. But I’d still be more comfortable.
But the weird part is basically the choice to prosecute these individuals penalizes artists for their style but more than that it brings up a whole lot of questions. To me this asserts if a person has a young face, or more dramatically has a youthful body and you date them you could be subject to being called a pedo. A lot of people say it is a matter of using common sense to decide what is and is not ok, but it isn’t. I wish it was that simple to separate the wheat from the grosso chaff but it isn’t.
Despite all the fan service I loved the animes pictured above…now let me tell you a secret. They are both animated versions of The Dirty Pair. One is the original show from the 1980s and the one on the right is from the fan service laden ugly 1990s reboot. The exact same characters are depicted, but the artists had very different interpretations, styles, and quite frankly most people probably wouldn’t think they were the same characters or the same ages(mid twenties). The reboot had them less mature and more cartoonish in personality, so is that enough to penalize it? I’d guess not, but still it might be. Whether right or wrong it can lead to sticky situations. But plenty of people risk arrest for creating characters who are drawn or written in a certain style. It’s arbitrary decision making based on some random person(s) comfort level, and in the case of fiction…depending on the style of the artist the only difference between a child and an adult is height and eye size…and that’s not always the case.
I point out the difficulty of this scenario because it is something we’re dealing with now that affects creators both in business and in figuring out how people see their work. The comics/manga examples are far more clean cut than me revisiting stories from my teenage years, and yet they are fraught with ethical, moral, and social questions. Do we assume that any character in a particular style is a child. In the picture about Hiei, the short black haired guy on the left, is the oldest of the core four characters if I remember correctly. He’s just short. Do we assume any character written a specific way is meant to be a kid? I think there’s a reasonable argument for that, but even then I have to admit it becomes “I’ll know it when I see it”. All of these issues of morality, technology, and creation come to the forefront of your mind as a writer, especially when you begin engaging with pieces, thoughts, and characters that have experiences with sexuality. As I said, I wrote sex as 14 year old, and though it wasn’t good…it was there depicting characters who were young and on adventures. And while their or my age was never fetishized…I cannot stop someone from sexualizing it. I can’t thought police people to not find it arousing that I was a young pervert even if I find it gross, but can people be penalized for reading those revamped old stories, fantasies, and thoughts?
But that’s complicated…and this next part is often something we don’t like to discuss but it is true.
Quite frankly, we can’t 100% know what exactly excites someone or what role they are taking in their fantasies. Research finds time and again that some fantasy aren’t of the one traditionally considered the victimizer. Not every sexual thought is going to be safe, sane, consensual, or even possible but people have them…and there is no way to stop people from sharing them. Further why shouldn’t people profit off of fiction so long as it doesn’t give people a step by step guide to illegality? There are arguments to be made, but even still we don’t know what other people think. It isn’t my place to assume your darkest taboo fantasies place you in the role of the victimizer/power-holder/etc. because there is literally no way to know that unless you told me, and even if I did know what does that have to do with you in the real world? If its just a fantasy, a fun story to read, a fun story to write…than who is anyone to decide that makes me immortal?
Yet I can’t ignore that a large part of society disagrees. What I consider “Playing thought police” is what others call setting standards, and while I disagree with many of those standards I can’t say it is wholesale wrong. Now, this isn’t a matter of people being able to critique and turn their noses up in disgust. It is a matter of wondering what is inappropriate, not in risk of being seen as illegal, and generally pragmatic. So long as a piece isn’t harming anyone then it is generally seen as fine. The problem is deciding when something “promotes” something negative. Hundreds of thousands of people would see my BDSM erotica ,like Suffer too Good or my latest Dirty Honey, and decide I’m promoting anything from insanity to sexism. And I was once told by a room fool of people that sexual submission is an extension of sexism, so this isn’t me over reacting to nothing. Take that and add to the fact that I do have stories I wrote years ago that I find hot, erotic, and would love to rewrite, and we have some difficult questions. I’m pulling stuff from myself, but from my teenage self. Is it wrong because I should ignore who I was or ignore young people having sexuality and only write new stuff? I was a teen, a kid, and I had some of the dirtiest fucking thoughts you can imagine (pun intended), so I wrote some intensely erotic smut that would work for my business now. To some people that can be a problem.
Do young people have a right to write erotica or smut? Is there an inherent problem with anyone, especially adults, reading and enjoying it? Is there something wrong with me writing old sex stories from my teenage years into something else? These seemingly ridiculous questions have to be asked at some point and people don’t because they think the answer is obvious or the subjects make them uncomfortable. But we have to be braver. We have to be honest.
Every writer I know has at least one story or article that they’re written and put aside. I have thousands of notebooks filled with unfinished stories with some great ideas, but they were written at a point in time when I could not do them justice or give them the time they needed. Full disclosure…The Original Story that Dirty Honey was based on was a story I began at some point between the ages of 16-19. Does that make you uncomfortable? If yes…why? Because now you know I had very aggressive sexual fantasies at a younger age? If I liked the story then and I liked the story now, so what does it matter? Does the story take on added dimension with that revelation? Perhaps yes, but does that make the story disgusting in some way? So far as I can see no. The fact is I am a sexual and romantic being. I’ve always been fascinated by sex, romance, and falling in love. What is the difference between me coming up with the story now or then? Nothing practical or logical justifies a reaction.
The aversion some may feel comes from this belief that young people shouldn’t be sexual even though we know they are, and that feeling isn’t logical…but conditioned and arbitrary. I debated over using old material,but ultimately I realized it’d be more criminal to not do so and pretend something drastic happened at 18 and I realized I had girl parts that could be fun and imagine these filthy things. But no one took the adult filter off my brain like all of a sudden the kids have left home and the adult channels no longer need an adult filter. Nah. I’ve been sexual for a long time and there is no reason I should act ashamed of that or not use valuable material because someone might be uncomfortable with realizing I’ve always been me. Life is too short and I am too poor to not look to the things I like and use them in profitable ways. Bottom line: that’s their hang up not mine.
But I want to throw a wrench in here…what about teenage writers?
Fanfiction.net, live journal, Gaiaonline, myspace, Xenga, IMVU, and ,hell, even Neopets were spaces where I found sexual young people who were writing flat out smut if not erotic romances. Anyone of any age could read them. Once upon a time I was one of those teens, and writing was so much happier than my reality. Writing those sexy, romantic, and angst filled stories helped me develop as a person. Getting feedback helped me develop as a writer. Some people would look at those places and see corruption. I have no doubt there are predators on those sites because there are predators everywhere, but that isn’t what this article is about. This article is about navigating artistic boundaries, and what I’m asking is does age negate the right to certain types of art, to profit from that art, and/or affect those creating it?
There’s a difference between sexualization and writing sex, which I believe in. However I acknowledge that it is difficult to navigate. I know a woman who published her first book at 17 to rave reviews, she sold the rights while maintaining royalties, and generally could stand to make millions from that still popular book. As I began writing Dirty Honey, I found myself thinking what if that author had written a sex scene in her book? What if there is a book written by a brilliant 16 year old who is able to write with the sort of maturity and care that most adults can’t even do, but they’re story has been hurt by sex?
While plenty of YA books contain elements of groping or “fades to black” or references to candles burning all night…what happens when 15 year old Rosie D. writes sex that is inherently different from 20 something year old Rosie D. ? Content wise I’m a better writer and I write better stories. There is no moral imperative here. Nothing changes, and yet so often we use age to determine what is appropriate not because it works, but because why not. We have to do something to protect those who aren’t mentally matured enough for the sexual world, but even the more tangible aspects of sex and age and consent still have muddied waters. A number of gay kids have been charged with statutory rape because they turned 18 and their current or former girlfriend or boyfriend was a pinch younger with parents who blamed the now-18 year old for “making their kid” gay and forcing them to acknowledge their kids as sexual/romantic beings. It is an unfortunate reality that the laws just can’t cope with, and I don’t know if they ever will be. So how do authors especially young authors navigate this moral mind field?
If a 15 year old was revealed to be a top selling erotica author how would the world react? Probably with calling the kid’s parents perverts, suggestions of child protective services, investigations of abuse, laughter, derision, suddenly rave reviews are redone to point out “childish” aspects of the writing they once praised. It has a sense, but it isn’t logical or reasonable. Yet people would feel dirty, but if that 15 year old held back that book and then published it five years later? Their reputation would be un-compromised and the readers would feel less upset and bothered. That 15 year old might be harassed as well, and perhaps sexually harassed by not only old perverts but classmates and others. But I don’t know how we would handle that. I don’t know how we would make peace with the fact that a 15 year old wrote a mature, sensual, erotic, and emotional sex scene that excited adults, teens, and anyone who got their hands on a copy. I do believe we’d struggle. So often we pretend young people are sexual or capable of sexual thought with any weight to them.
But if that kid waited five years…what would we do? Praise them, share their works, whisper about them in coffee shops, and then see them on Oprah’s Book Club. And then what would happen if that now-20 writer went on TV said “I wrote the story when I was 15. I fully edited it by the time I was 16, but didn’t get the courage to send it out until I was 19”? Once again people wouldn’t know what to think. They wouldn’t know what to say, or how to feel about reading sex by the author’s younger self, but I’d imagine they might excuse in five seconds if the author was charismatic enough. I hope that’s what will happen with my writing.
For me…I have lived a life as a teenage wasteland of sex, and now as a young adult obsessed with sex and candy and whips and things I find the best policy is to look at the piece as what it is before doing anything else before moving to where the piece came from and who wrote it. In erotica the best way to examine our works and to enjoy them is to just accept them and the creativity that birthed them then we can evaluate what they are, how they work, and if they really do promote dangerous ideas for someone to follow through on to hurt people/creatures.