Book: Sweet & Rough:Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut
Editor: Sinclair Sexsmith
Publisher: Maverick Press
$7.99 digital book; epub, pdf, mobi (available now!)
$24.95 hardcover book (Nov 2014)
Sinclair Sexsmith is one of my favorite erotic writers, whose stories combine all of the things that are important to me: power and gender dynamics, intimacy, consent, kink, multidimensional characters, and believable plots. If anything, Sweet & Rough: Sixteen Stories of Queer Smut takes erotica to a new level for me, because it’s easier for me to identify with than most smut that I read.
As much as I enjoyed reading the book, it was even more of a pleasure to get to ask Mr. Sexsmith a few questions about the book…
All of your stories are written in first person and you are almost always packing. How important is having a cock to your masculinity?
“It’s not that having a cock is important to my masculinity so much as it is important to my sexuality and sexual expression. For whatever reason, I’m very cock-centric, and much of my erotic play centers around penetration and reception. You might even say I have a penetration or a cock fetish. Interesting, coming from a dyke, huh? It’s a curious contradiction, to me, and one that has taken me a lot of deconstructing and reconstructing to make sense of.
Of course, masculinity is also important to my sexuality and sexual expression, so it isn’t that the masculinity doesn’t go hand-in-hand. But my cock isn’t so much about my masculine presentation as it is about playing with a lover’s body in ways that incorporate power, penetration, and energy. Since those are some of my most significant fetishes and kinks, and since strap-on cocks are a really excellent tool to play with all three of those, I tend to have an incredibly cock-centric sex life. Probably 9 times out of 10 that I have sex, I’m strapped on.”
I noticed that in pretty much all of these stories you integrate reading non-verbal cues as part of receiving consent. As a writer, how difficult is it to balance fantasy and enthusiastic consent?
“It’s so complicated! I am often in conflict with my role as a sexuality and BDSM educator and my role as someone who crafts dirty fantasy stories with the purpose of turning someone on and exploring erotic realms. Non-verbal cues are incredibly hard to teach about and talk about, because they are so easily misinterpreted. But what I love about writing is that you can show a character’s inner story and inner world really clearly, so you can show the conflict they feel about whether or not they got consent, or the very clear consent they are thinking even if their body language is the only cue.
The issue of consent and whether consent and ethics are clearly depicted in erotica is something I think about a lot, and try to play with consciously in my work. As I’ve been evolving as a writer and creator, I don’t think it’s as black and white as I previously thought it was, and I’m interested in exploring more of the nuance. (I refuse to add anything about “shades of grey.”)”
I can see many aspects of these stories that reflect what I know of you as a sexual person: gender play, power dynamics, sacred intimacy, and kink. What does it mean to you to write queer smut?
“Yes, absolutely—this book is really revealing, the closest thing to a diary that I’ve released. It’s been interesting how much vulnerability has come up, now that it is making the rounds and people are talking about the content! What does it mean to write queer smut … hmmm. I started because I have always been a writer, and because I was obsessing over reading “lesbian erotica” but most of it didn’t have the bite, the edge, that I was seeking. And, I started because I wanted to write as a way to explore my own fantasies and my own inner erotic world, in order to write myself into a better sex life. I gotta say: That worked. Incredibly well. Articulating my own fantasies and erotics made me more bold, more daring, and more able to go after what I wanted. So for me, writing queer smut means staying in touch with my erotic self, cultivating my own erotic desires, and prioritizing them in a variety of ways. When my erotic self dries up, there are so many consequences, and when I am deeply in touch, I am more creative and capable, and better able to act from places of love, strength, abundance, and vulnerability, rather than fear or scarcity. Writing erotica has been such an important way for me to come into my own power, kink, sexuality, desires, and deeper fuller self.”
Sinclair is right, this book is very intimate and revealing. This collection of stories is certainly extremely hot, but what I like best is the raw honesty at the heart of each story. It was easy for me to imagine myself in each character, to use each story as a starting point for my own fantasies. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give this book is that, after reading, I am imagining where I would let Mr. Sexsmith take me!