I put the word short in the title in hopes that it will keep this from being ridiculously long. That might be a battle I’ve already lost. I have a lot to say on this subject.
Shame surrounding sexual fantasies is a topic that I’ve long battled with, and it came up for me again recently when I submitted Innocent Lacey to Literotica.
For a little background, I’ve been a long time reader on Literotica. That site has been instrumental in helping me overcome my own personal shame around sexual fantasy. I’ve been having dark sexual fantasies (Rape, incest, BDSM, sexual slavery, etc) ever since I was a young girl, and for most of my childhood and adult life I felt deeply ashamed by these fantasies.
When I finally discovered Literotica, it was like a veil opened up and I could see clearly for the first time.
What I could see was that I was not alone in fantasizing about depraved carnal acts. Stories similar to those I read by flashlight under the covers or dreamed up myself in the darkest hour of the night, appeared right here in print and public for everyone to see. And many of them had thousands of views and likes. Clearly, I was not the only person in the world enjoying these fantasies. Like a hammer and chisel, Literotica cut away my shame, revealing a complex and ultimately healthy sexuality underneath.
As I read comments on stories on Literotica, looking for glimpses of connection with these mysterious people who were turned on by the same things as me, I noticed that among the many positive comments, there was often one or two readers who berated the author for writing such shameful imaginings. I was always a bit flabbergasted by these comments, and I often felt defensive of the author. It’s odd to read a piece of writing that makes you feel so good and then find someone else was horrified by it. If you don’t like it, just don’t read it. Don’t prick the shame of those of us who enjoy it.
After years of reading and enjoying erotica, I started writing down my own fantasies. I published a few stories and gained a small following, and as these things do, the project grew. To this date I have over 70 stories published and am bringing in a modest but growing side income.
For a long time it had been on my to-do list to make my story Innocent Lacey available for free on Literotica. I didn’t expect much to come of it marketing-wise, but I felt, I guess, a certain pride in publishing a story on the platform I had gone to for so long for my naughty reads.
I finally got around to submitting Innocent Lacey in July. With Literotica, you submit a story and then they review it before publishing it on the site. Innocent Lacey was grammatically clean and generally well-received by my readers, so I didn’t anticipate any problems.
I was surprised to find it rejected due to underage characters. I have to admit I was shocked. I had to go back and re-read Innocent Lacey to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake. I hadn’t. A few paragraphs in, it clearly states that the main character, Lacey, is over 18.
I figured Literotica is probably being really careful, because of how the laws and stigmas around child porn affect the erotica community.
I added a statement in the first paragraph clarifying that Lacey was of age. I double-checked for references in the text, in case there was anything about her having sexual relations before she came of age–there wasn’t. I also added an “All characters in this story are over 18” disclaimer at the top.
Second time around, they published it. I didn’t actually notice because after I submitted it I got caught up in other things, like writing, publishing and marketing more stories.
Just last week I thought, hey, I should check to see if Literotica rejected Innocent Lacey again.
I checked, and to my delight not only was it published in late August, but it had several likes, follows, and even a comment. I clicked through eagerly to see the comment, curious to know what the Literotica community thought about a story written by someone who spend so much time as a reader in the community.
Sadly, this was the comment I received:
“Sincerely Hoping This Is ONLY A Fantasy
It’s the only reason I was able to read this story. The concept of the Princess Club is very literally vomit inducing to me, it’s NOT a case of the Daddy Dom : Little lifestyle it’s the full on incest/ paedophile version which is sickening beyond reason. The girl in the story is 19 but has been groomed from an early age to want to fuck her own father. Unfortunately the story didn’t improve.
I’m not interested in the Daddy : Little fetish anyway but thought the story might be ok as the heading indicates she’s ‘sold’ to a third party, I was hoping that she moved to an alternate BDSM lifestyle. She did.
As BDSM goes it’s on the extreme end of things but nothing about this is truly consensual because she’s been groomed/ manipulated into believing that fucking her own father is a wholesome natural act. The Dom who buys her is quite possibly just as bad as her father because he’s following the Master : Slave life, he’s assuming her consent when she has no sexual experience and has been groomed to accept this treatment. Therefore she has no true understanding of what is actually Safe, Sane or Consensual.
The so called “Princess Club” has girls 18-25 only but her new relationship is for LIFE. I doubt she’s going to get a choice if she doesn’t want something, so yes it’s very very extreme, so extreme that it’s not actually BDSM. Presumably this is set in the US so by stating it’s girls over 18 it just dodges the paedophile label in legal terms but Americans tend to treat their offspring as children for much longer than elsewhere, the prime example being legal age for drinking alcohol ranging from 18 – 21/ 25. This kind of abuse is just as damaging as early access to alcohol.
The memories of abuse never go away. I can’t understand how ANYONE can find this erotic a child without an advocate has no chance of escaping this nightmare. My advice to the author is, if this is a strong prominent fantasy for you, you should NEVER EVER have children OR have a relationship with someone who does have children.
There’s a lot to unpack here. I’ll try to navigate through the morass in a way that might be meaningful to readers who might be feeling the same cascade of emotions that crashed through me when I read this.
The first sensation was shame. This comment, and it was most likely calculated to do so, ruptured open the wound of shame I’ve carried ever since I was a little girl having these types of fantasies. Tess revealed to me that I still have a lot of shame around my sexual fantasies, locked up inside, waiting to be triggered.
The second was anger. Because I’ve been boxed in and controlled and made to feel bad about myself by these feelings of shame for so long, because I’ve wasted so much of my life hating myself instead of enjoying the unique, bizzare, perverse and beautiful person I am, I felt angry. My first instinct was to lash out.
The third was sorrow. Because as I read Tess’s comment over again, I realized that something in what I wrote triggered something very profound and painful for her, and not in a good way. I felt deeply sad for her. I don’t know anything about her except this comment, so I can’t say if she herself was a victim of sexual abuse–it certainly seems possible from how she talks about it–or if she is someone who would like to fantasize about this material, but for whom the shame runs too deep. This also seems likely, because why else is she looking for material to read and why did she keep reading, long after she got past the Princess Club part?
The realization that she was triggered and reacting to the story allowed me to step back and not take her comment quite as personally. She frames it as a very personal attack, going so far as to say I shouldn’t have children or be around them, but clearly she knows nothing at all about me as a person, including whether or not I have children already, or really anything else about me other than the fact that I enjoy writing incest fantasies heavy on male domination and control of hapless young-adult women.
It started to seem clear that she wasn’t reacting to me as a person, or even really the story, but rather projecting her own issues onto it. I’m personally very secure in the knowledge that I’m not a pedophile, I don’t have pedophilic tendencies or urges, and when I write these fantasies it’s not with an intent to mask some pedophilic fantasy. In fact, usually when I write I’m identifying with the submissive female character. If anything, these fantasies are probably a way in which I play out my issues with my own absent father. If I were to have pedophilic fantasies, they would probably be about me as a child being “preyed” upon, not about me as an adult preying on children.
But she makes the assumption that because I enjoy writing down my fantasies about being so thoroughly dominated by a man that I’m basically a mindless sex-slave, I’m a pedophile.
That brought me back to sadness, which has been my over-all most consistent reaction to this comment. Just deep sadness for this person, who is clearly consumed by her issues, whatever they might be, and has decided to project them onto my story, because it triggered her.
I kept wondering, why would she read an incest story, if she’s so deeply against the very idea of fantasizing about incest?
And then I realized why, and I felt a healthy dose of guilt for my part in her finding my story, for which I must take responsibility. Literotica only allows you to put a story into one category. Innocent Lacey skirts the incest category, but she and Daddy never actually get it on. I hemmed and hawed over this quite a bit, and finally decided it fit better in BDSM. Because that is the bulk of the story, her BDSM relationship with Mr. Anders. I figured if I put it in Incest, I’d get a lot of disappointed, annoyed readers since the implied incestuous relationship is never actually consummated on page.
Because I couldn’t quite figure out how to categorize a complex story, I exposed someone who probably wouldn’t have gone looking for incest to an incest trigger. I’m currently considering how I might resolve this problem, either by choosing a different category or putting some sort of warning at the beginning about incest.
Tess’s comment makes a lot more sense to me in this light. She was in BDSM looking for a certain thing, and found something repulsive to her instead, tried to like it, got more and more triggered. The fact that I had gone to extra lengths to clarify that no minors were involved (in order to satisfy Literotica’s reviewers) only made her more upset and more convinced she was reading a story about pedophilia.
I feel genuinely sorry that this caused her pain. I write to bring people pleasure and give them profound experiences, not to trigger pain that people aren’t prepared for or seeking. I’m sorry she found my story this way, and I’m sorry she misunderstood what it was, and I’m sorry she kept reading it.
But I stand firmly by my belief that no one, not one single person, has the right to judge another person for their sexual fantasies. I believe with all my heart that real-life acts of pedophilia, bestiality, rape, and other sexual crimes, are repugnant and must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law (hopefully also with treatment to resolve the issues that cause the behaviors, if possible).
But if a person is indulging in such fantasies in their mind or in writing, without exploiting or harming anyone, that’s their business. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I take responsibility for not indicating the contents of Innocent Lacey clearly enough to Tess; she must take responsibility for continuing to read it even after being repulsed by it, for projecting her issues onto it and onto me, and for trying to shame and denounce people who, like myself, might be aroused by the fantasy of Innocent Lacey.
I’ve come across plenty of fantasies I didn’t like while reading on Literotica. Gore, violence, scat, revenge, I’ve found many stories that made me want to throw up, or otherwise deeply disturbed me. I promptly stopped reading, went back to the list, and found another story. I don’t judge the authors of those stories; if that turns them on, power to them. I honestly hope they enjoy their fantasies to the fullest. I don’t need to read them, but I would never, ever try to make them feel shame, or draw assumptions about what they do or who they are in real life.
An ability to separate fantasy from reality is a necessary skill for a writer, otherwise you will go insane. Many writers and artists have. I wish everyone could clearly understand the distinction between the two.
One wonderful thing that came out of this painful comment is that it has served as a yardstick for my personal progress with shame. I honestly think a few years ago, certainly a decade ago, I would have crumpled under the burden of shame this commenter tried to place on my shoulders. While the comment upset me (clearly, it triggered in me a need to write a 2000 word rant) it didn’t destroy me. Far from it, I was able to brush it off much more quickly than I would have expected. It hasn’t stopped me writing or fantasizing about dark, decadent sexual acts. Clearly, I’ve come a long way.
If you’ve made it through this post, you’ve come a long way too. If you’re reading stories like Innocent Lacey, enjoying them, and not flogging yourself afterward–I mean, unless you like that, in which case flog away–congratulations! Please continue to be yourself and accept yourself in every single shade, the dark right along with the light.
You can read Innocent Lacey on Literotica.
Edited to add: I figured out that you can delete comments on Literotica, and after some hesitation, I deleted the comment on Little Lacey that is quoted above. Part of me wanted to leave it up because I think it’s interesting, it made me realized how unashamed I am of myself, and in general I’m NOT a fan of censorship of any form.
However, what finally decided me was the thought of someone like myself as I was a few years ago finding Innocent Lacey, reading it, and then being made to feel ashamed by that comment. I don’t want anyone else to go through that.