Many years ago, in a student bar, a friend asked a strange question.
“Why do you have to transport your body when you want to go anywhere?”
We laughed. I mean, the answer is obvious isn’t it? And yet, the question has remained with me over the years. I imagine it has remained with my friend too. He moved to Seattle shorty after graduating and has had a successful career in Artificial Intelligence research. Simple, naïve questions sometimes turn out to be the most fruitful and I am sure Peter’s habit of coming up with these questions has inspired his research.
For me, as a writer, it has proved to be a fruitful question. It has helped me to think more deeply about my writing and how it has enabled me to travel to places and times I could not otherwise visit, to inhabit other, different bodies (something I touched on in my last post) and to think in different ways about my own body, my own materiality, and that particular bit of spacetime in which the embodied Eve finds herself.
I had actually planned to be in a different bit of spacetime today as I had originally planned to be at the main event in Montreal. Instead I sit at home in the rainy English Midlands with woe and honey cake, listening to The Cure as I write. Yet I am in Montreal with a bunch of people I love and admire. We may not be physically present to each other but wed are together, we are there for each other today. Some of my posts will be about Canada so I will be travelling and exploring without transporting my body. Just as well as it aches like anything today (I am in training for a half marathon).
How does this relate to sex? After all there is nothing more body centred than sex is there? Even solos sex needs a body. And yet we are able to interact sexually with people who are not physically present to us. There is phone sex, obviously, web camming and so on. There is also writing. I engage with my characters, and some of them are hot in ways that never made it on to the page. This does not mean I fantasise about them as I masturbate. For me, the cat of thinking about them, just holding them before e ca be sexually charged. I pour sexual energy into my writing. And also into my reading. There is an aspect to reading and writing erotica that I had never considered until I read Enjoy Sex by Meg John Barker and Justin Hancock a couple of years ago. This is that through reading and writing we interact sexually with our writers and readers. When I post a story, I am inviting you, dear reader, to enter my house of eroticism, maybe not the whole house, but a room or two, all with large windows and nice views. And If you like what you read, if it fuels your fantasies, then we have connected sexually. Not with our bodies, but with our minds. I may never know who you are, we may never be in the same bit of spacetime, but the connection is real. I value it. I hope you do too.
Today you have the opportunity to interact with a lot of clever, sexy people here at smutathon.com I hope you enjoy what you read and that you will feel able to make a donation to the cause of abortion rights in the United States that Smutathon2019 is supporting. And pause, too, to reflect on the potential richness of a naïve question.