Saturday, April 6, 2013

Sex Before Dinner

A few weeks ago, my kid had a spontaneous sleepover with a friend. This happens pretty frequently, and since he's an only child, my husband and I are lucky enough to get more nights alone than a lot of parents. Typically, we prefer to spend our evenings alone eating nachos on the couch, watching Glee or Mamma Mia, and drinking in our underwear. We've been together a really long time and we've long since passed that stage of our relationship where we feel the need to dress up and go out for a fancy dinner. It's so much cheaper to buy a good rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods and open up a bottle of Kirkland vodka. And we can drink till we're stupid and not worry about driving. Bonus!

Well, on this particular night, we decided we actually wanted to go out for a nice dinner. It had been a long time since we'd gone out to a place with cloth napkins and metal cutlery, and it sounded fun to pretend to be actual adults for a change.

He threw ideas at me, I threw ideas at him, but we were having a hard time deciding where to go. Then the dogs got hungry and we figured we better feed them dinner before we left for the evening. Yeah, being a responsible adult is sexy! You think I'm kidding, but no. Apparently taking care of the day to day needs of furry pets is sexy because we ended up going to the bedroom for some seriously intense and noisy lovin' (I'm sorry to all our neighbors. I honestly didn't realize the window was cracked open!)

If you have kids, you know that there's nothing as hot as noisy sex when the kids are gone. It's just awesome!

After we were both satisfied, we realized we were still hungry, so we settled on a nice restaurant near our house and ended up enjoying the best meal we'd had in a long time. I'm not sure if the food was really all that great or if it was even worth the price, but damn, that dinner was good. As we ate, we talked about what, exactly, made that dinner so delicious, and we both came to the same conclusion: We were coming down from a sex high and that made everything beautiful and delicious. A sex high is better than drugs!

We talked about what it was like to be young and in the dating world, about the anxiety and the horniness and the hundreds and hundreds of dollars wasted on good meals not eaten because both parties were worried about sex. That's when I had the best idea in the whole history of great ideas:

Everyone should always have sex before dinner! Yes! Assuming that you like each other and feel an attraction towards each other, just fuck before you go out. You know you're gonna do it afterwards anyway.   Let's face it, ladies. You damn well know whether or not you want to fuck the person who rang your doorbell before he or she even showed up, unless it's a blind date situation, but then you know within just few minutes. So invite that beautiful person inside, ply him or her with drinks and then get it on. It doesn't matter if you're on the couch or the bed or the kitchen counter. Just do it. Have crazy, loud, sexy sex until you both collapse from exhaustion and hunger. Then go out for dinner and tell me it's not the the best fucking meal you've ever had.

Once you've run your tongue up his shaft, once she's slid her fingers inside you, once you've both screamed with the delightful pain of pleasure, the whole world looks amazing. You'll both be more relaxed and conversation will flow more freely, food will taste more delicious, and you'll be in on something that nobody else knows. It's so much fun to look around at a bunch of couples and to think "Schmucks. I've already gotten laid once tonight and I'll probably get it again in an hour. Ha! Ha!"

Whether you're in a relationship or whether your dating, just try it once. Just once, find a person who turns you on and let yourself go. Don't worry about social mores or whether or not it makes you slutty. As Nike says: Just do it. Sex before dinner, it's the best thing ever.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifty Shades of Responsibility

As an erotic writer, some people may see me as perpetuating stereotypes, of glorifying pornography and the degradation of women. No and no again. Women are strong and powerful and...sexual. We have desires and wants, fantasies and dreams. Sometimes we want things in our minds that we would never, ever, ever want in reality. It's fun to think about certain things. Those things can be as different as the women who think them, but we all think things we'd never want to really happen.

Here's the thing, though. I feel that authors owe a debt of responsibility to their audiences. Yes, it's important to be honest in your writing, but it's equally important to remember that your audience is placing themselves in your story and you never know what will send a message you never intended. And that is my problem with the Fifty Shades trilogy.

I feel that James did not take her debt of responsibility seriously.

Whether you love or hate her writing style or her storytelling skills, I think anyone who's ever read the books will agree that they are frequently cringe-worthy.

As a wordsmith, there were times I wanted to light the book on fire and then throw it across a room. As a feminist, my primary reaction was to take the main character in my arms and hold her. I wanted to tell her that she didn't have to take all that was being asked of her. I wanted to tell her that she has more worth than was being given to her by both her man and her creator.

Fifty Shades is a yarn. Hell, it could even be seen as a fairy tale for adults.  Beauty and the Beast, perhaps. It doesn't take a genius to see Ana and Christian as Belle and Beast, complete with a towering castle on a hill.  Like Belle, Ana finds herself entranced with a dangerous and controlling monster. Oh, like all controlling monsters, Christian shows signs of remorse and regret and even a glimmer of a person with a sensitive soul. He shows just enough humanness to keep her hooked and fawning. Yes, very Beast-like.

And the result is that this young and naive girl willingly enters into an abusive relationship and becomes the classic victim. Sure, James makes a point to let Ana question Christian from time to time and even to make demands of her own, like being able to control what and when she eats. Hardly a demand that needs to be made. Any person over the age of about 7 should be able to decide when they're hungry and to eat accordingly. But I give her credit for at least trying to give Ana a voice and backbone.  But it's simply not enough.

For three long books, this young girl bends over backward for her abuser. She tries not to ask questions, tries not to express her own needs, tries not to impose or make him upset. She tries to convince herself that if she just loves him enough, if she just accepts him enough, just sticks it out long enough, she will turn him into the prince she sees in him.

Did you read that? Read it again.

If she just tries hard enough and is a good enough woman, he will change.

What is the opposite of that? If he doesn't change, then she is not good enough.

That is a horrible, heart breaking, soul crushing message. But it gets worse. Eventually he changes just enough for her to feel safe. What's worse is that she starts to desire his controlling abuse and to convince herself that he's changed for her. Unfortunately, the only thing he's actually changed is threatening to beat her if she bites her lip. But that's enough for her!  She did it! She rehabilitated him! She turned her Beast into a very human Prince and they move into a brand new castle on a brand new hill.

The clear message is that you really can change an abuser with enough patience and love. If you go through hell and give up enough of yourself, you'll eventually reach your heaven.

My audience is women, and I take that very seriously. I don't know what is going on in the lives of the women who read my work, but I do know that I want them to walk away feeling empowered and stronger. I owe them a very real debt. My readers, and all women for that matter, deserve to read stories about characters who are true and strong. Even when I'm writing about a woman being tied up, I am aware that someone in my audience may be in a relationship with someone who is controlling or abusive. I want to give that reader a sense of freedom. I want her to understand that you can be tied up without being a victim and that if, at any moment, being tied up is no longer working, you can demand to be untied.

We are women. We are sexual. We are strong. We do not need to change for anyone. We do not need to accept someone's anger, hostility, or controlling attitudes. We can have all kinds of crazy kinky sex without subjugating ourselves to anyone. We deserve to be pleasured and we deserve to pleasure. But most of all, we deserve to know we can walk away from anyone who would demean us.

I have a responsibility to my audience to turn them on and to empower them. This is a responsibility I take very much to heart and that I will never abandon. It's the least my audience deserves of me.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Thoughts & Wishes from Alyssa Steel

This is a hectic time of  year for many people. There are so many things to be done, and it seems like there's just not enough time in the day to get everything that needs doing done.

My own life is a whirlwind of activity right now. Between homeschooling my son, (actually, don't tell him I said so, but my husband has now taken over homeschooling entirely so I can have more time to write) buying  Christmas gifts, making Christmas gifts, attending holiday parties, making cookies for friends and neighbors, and working on all of my various writing projects, I feel like I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in weeks.

I know I'm not alone out there, feeling the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, so I just wanted to take a moment to remind you that it's okay not to get it all done. It's okay not to buy a gift for everyone in your office or to attend every blasted party you're invited to. It's okay to curl up on the couch with a good book, a cozy blanket and a steamy cup of  hot cocoa and to just take an hour or two for yourself. Take time to enjoy your family, take time to laugh and sing badly. Take a moment to kiss your partner in the toy aisle at Target. Paint a picture with your child, let your cat cuddle on your lap and scratch your dog's belly. These are the moments that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives, so please don't let the frenetic pace of the season distract you from them.

Slow down and enjoy a cup of cocoa on me.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Monday, November 26, 2012

His Heat, My Desire

After her fiancĂ© moved out without a warning, a young woman decides go to a party. She hopes he will be there so he can see that she’s not heartbroken. She decides to take a short cut through an alley and comes face to face with her deepest desires. 

Buy it now for your Kindle, Nook, or on Google Play



A tale of paranormal erotica.

Alyssa Steel's erotica eBookHis Heat, My Desire, is available on Kindle & Smashwords

Happy Holidays from Alyssa Steel ♥

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Seductive Voice of Depression

"Do it." The slippery voice urges me with assurance.

Tears stream down my face and I shake my head. I can't. I won't.

"You know," it says, "there really is no point in playacting at this anymore. Just do it."

 A long buried memory plays out behind my blurry and red eyes.
I'm a skinny little girl with lice infested hair and bruises on my arms and legs. I'm trying to do my math homework but I'm confused and I don't have anyone to ask for help. I hear my mother throwing things and I want to vanish before she makes her way to my room.The pencil is in my right hand and before I know what I'm doing, I start to rub the eraser against my my left arm. I rub harder and the heat of the friction hurts but it's nothing compared to some of the other things I have felt. Her voice gets closer to my room but then it turns in another direction. She yells at someone to shut the fucking dog up. I want to disappear. I want to vanish. I rub the eraser harder, my arm is stinging, and somehow that stinging, burning pain of not being able to erase myself is comforting. I know now that it's because I was in control of it. I could make it stop anytime I wanted. But the little girl just knew that the pain felt safe.
 I know the memory is brought to me as a gift from that damned, slippery voice. He wants me to remember that he was there with me, giving me control of my body even as I was being kicked in the ribs. That voice wants me to remember that he's never left me. Not when I was a little girl trying to literally erase myself. Not when I was a frightened college student trying to make myself vanish into nothingness with anorexia. Not when I gave birth to my son and I feared I'd be unable to break the cycle of violence and abuse, and not now. The voice has always been there, urging me, with words as soft as a favorite blanket, to step off the edge, to drag the blade, to erase myself.

And sometimes that voice makes so goddamn fucking much sense. Sometimes that voice is the only sane thing I can hear and I can see how everything would be better if...

"You're not the mother your son deserves, you know. You're only going to fuck him up if you don't do it now."

"You're not the wife he deserves, you know. You're much too selfish and fat and ugly to deserve him. Let him go. You are keeping him from happiness."

"Of course you realize that you don't matter. Of course you realize that you bring more shit into this world. You do know, don't you, that you have less value and worth than a pair of holey socks? Why do yo do this to yourself and to everyone around you? You could just vanish. If you rub hard enough, you'll get past the burning and stinging and you'll start to disappear. Just do it."

I try to ignore his seductive voice. I look into the eyes of my son. I smell the head of my dog. I contemplate a stiff drink at 11am.

I hide from the voice in the shower, but his words echo off the tile. I try to bury the voice under the simple acts of self care. I brush my teeth. I comb my hair. I try to look and act like I'm worth more than I feel. I try to fake it until I make it.

I stick my fingers in my ears and shout "lalalalalala" at the voice, hoping he'll go away.

I tell the voice he's a stupid piece of shit, that I have value. I have worth. I deserve the love of my family and friends. My mother's hatred of me is not a reflection of my true worth. My actions count. My love counts. I am a force for good, not a shit storm.

But it all feels a lie. I want to vanish. I want to be erased. I want to stop feeling the hurt of self-loathing.

And I'm so fucking scared. I'm afraid that if I listen to the voice, my son will grow up feeling that I didn't love him and then the voice will get him. But if I don't, what chance does he have? Eventually the voice will feed on him, too.

"Yes. If you don't come with me, you bet your sweet bippy I'll feed on your boy. But if you take my hand, I'll leave him alone. Trust me. Trust. Trust. Come."

The soft, soothing, slippery, sleepy voice wants me. He's always wanted me and he'll never leave me alone. Sometimes I feel too tired to keep fighting him.

And because I know that's exactly what he wants, I keep fighting. I keep writing, even when I don't think I can. Writing muffles his voice, writing shuts him up. Writing is his weakness and so it's the most important thing I can do for myself and my family. If I work hard enough, if I write well enough, maybe I'll kill the voice.

Then I'll finally be free.




Friday, October 19, 2012

Balancing Act

Working mothers.

I hate that term. All mothers work extremely hard, whether or not they get paid an actual income to do so. We all work hard to make the most out of current circumstances, we all work hard to ensure that our children have a better life than we had, and we all work hard to be the best damn moms we can possibly be, even when we're fumbling and making crap up as we go.

My kid is in fifth grade and I've homeschooled him his whole childhood. Well up until now. He's still homeschooling, but my dear, sweet, handsome  husband had taken a much more hands-on approach with his education and is now the primary homeschooling parent.  He works from home so he's able to break away and teach our son important things like how to convert a mixed number into a decimal. He's being super supportive of my writing and makes a point to send me to my room...er, office...every morning with the assurance that "I've got this. Really. You just go write."

My son is super duper supportive and he sends me off to the spare room with shouts of "Go write mom! We've got this under control!"

Such amazing, sweet, supportive, awesome dudes. I love them both so much it seems like it ought to make my heart burst.

But as the primary homeschooling parent, the primary stay-at-home parent for nearly eleven years, letting go and following my passions is hard. When I hear commotion or my son's raised voice because he's pissed off and confused, I have to turn up the music and fight the urge to run in and fix things. I have to remember that my husband is smart...he's got this. That doesn't stop the guilt, though. I worry that I'm becoming a distant mother, that I'm making all the wrong decisions, and that every hour I spend writing a sex story is an hour I'm not on the couch reading to my kid.

Truth? I miss it. I miss being the on-point parent.

More truth? Working from home is fucking hard. I do have to tune out the noise of life, but all of the stuff that needs to be done still needs doing. I'm not talking just about the schooling. There are still pets to feed and breakfast to tend to. There is lunch to prepare, dishes to clean, laundry to fold, toilets to scrub, dogs to walk, dinner to cook, more dishes to do, cat puke to scrub out of carpets...dear god, the list of shit that still needs doing looms over me and judges me for ignoring it or putting it all on my honey.

I know I've said that my guy is awesome. But have I said he's amazing? He takes on all this extra stuff without complaining. I still do the majority of cooking and meal preparation, but he does almost all of the cleaning. Oh, trust me, Loves, it is not lost on me that I'm one lucky little bitch to have a hot guy who is not only willing to go buy me porn, but will be the primary homeschooling parent AND the primary house-cleaner. Just so that I can spend my time writing. The man isn't just encouraging me to reach for my dreams, he's freaking letting me stand on his shoulders.

And to assuage the guilt I often feel for neglecting my family for the sake of writing smut, I've decided that I'm going to be an example for my son. I'm writing a novel for him. It's something I'm doing under my real name, it's something I can do with the office door open, it's something I can talk to him about. Writing smut with a pre-teen in the house is pretty tricky, but writing a middle grade novel with a pre-teen in the house is pretty awesome. He can see the big outline on my wall, he can help me come up with names and he gets to be involved in the process, even if it's just to a small degree.

Writing two very different genres is somewhat difficult, but it's also completely fun. And if my family is going to be supportive of my writing career, well, then I owe it to them to explore all of the stories I have inside of me. Now I just have to find a way to spread my time between my pouty-lipped sex goddess persona and my wild haired, whooping, tree-climbing adolescent persona with the mother and wife I am.

Life. It is one helluva balancing act.



Friday, October 12, 2012

The Concert, an Erotica eBook by Alyssa Steel

After two years of a hot and heavy office flirtation, Mike and Lori are finally going out on a date. When Lori runs into a friend during dinner, she gets some advice that is sure to knock Mike off his feet. Although nervous about making herself vulnerable, she follows her friend’s advice and ends up experiencing the most amazing night of her life

Buy it now for your Kindle, Nook, or on Google Play.