Erotic Interlude: The Problem with Mental Fucking
By Hapax Legomenon

99 Erotic Notions Index
About | Contact

A month after sending Lisa my latest story, I ran into her at a professional gathering. Every month a group of people met at a local cafe to discuss ways to help local charities. The group attracted web-savvy individuals who liked to stay involved with the community. By the time I had arrived, everybody was put in small groups to brainstorm ways to increase recycling locally. Lisa was in a different group, so there was no opportunity for us to talk until the end. I was half-inclined (as a joke) to whisper into her ear, "Did you like the Good Pussy?" when I had the chance to greet her. But no, that would be crass. Instead, I asked about her group's ideas and whether she thought any were workable. We talked about other things: a local political scandal, her latest boyfriend (Barry?), the magical properties of blueberries. Because people were around, I decided not to bring up my story but ask her tomorrow via email. Amazingly, Lisa seemed to have read my mind; the next morning an email arrived from her on that very subject.

The story I had written sketched my idea of an ideal wife. I wanted to portray a married couple that had conventional sex – while preserving a little kinkiness. Would Lisa buy it?

Lisa's email read:

Finally, a story about married people! Nice to see that you've discovered that married people are having sex. It's not a bad story, but it's overwritten, and what you undoubtedly regard as poetry would make me (or most woman) just smirk.

I know your heart is in the right place though...

The problem is that there's no plot. Oh, yes, there is that story-within-the-story thing, and that's clever, but ultimately the plot of the story is just, "I love my wife and love having sex with her."

Where is the drama? The couple's relationship in the story may be normal, but there's no plot complication. Don't confuse sexual tension with dramatic tension. It's better to make a sex scene a minor episode of the plot and nothing more. Sex should just happen; it should be incidental to plot (whether it be a thriller, or mystery or sci fi). If a story is about the sex (and nothing else), you have to deal with the added performance anxiety of trying to make a sex scene sexy.

Reading is a quiet, contemplative activity in a bored individual's mind. Sex is noisy and emotional and instinctive; it is about interacting in physical space and responding to a person's private needs. When an erotic story focuses on inner psychology instead of action, people lose interest; it becomes as arousing as a calculus problem.

The problem with mental fucking is that you forget what real fucking feels like.

That last line of Lisa's email stayed with me. It even irritated me. That was the main reason I wrote these stories — to remind myself what real fucking ought to feel like.

Written March 2009

Your name (first only is ok):

Email address (optional):


"Don't confuse sexual tension with dramatic tension. "
Federico Madrazo Two People Sitting (Title Unknown)
Federico Madrazo (1815-1894) Untitled
Creative Commons License
More legal stuff
See a typo? Tell me!
View comments from readers