The sucking sound of lips

26 05 2011

“I leap to attention an inch from her face”

“the sucking sound of lips on lips, with saliva exchanged”

“she entered the cinema and felt a line of current run through her body”

Once you’ve read Rajpal Abeynayake and A.S.H. Smyth on Blue, there really isn’t much more to say. Sri Lankan English writing is generally amateurish and there is no reason to expect anything radically different from this. There are a few interesting stories in it – Marti’s and Ameena Hussein’s stories for instance. But beyond that, the critics’ views hold hold true. We can’t be expected to like anything and everything in the name of erotica and there is a reason why sites such as Writing World and The Erotica Readers and Writers Association give you advice on writing erotica.

From a queer perspective, however, Blue is interesting – it is the first time that a number of queer short stories have appeared in a collection of Sri Lankan short stories. In a collection of about a dozen short stories, four stories bring us sex between women and one describes a sexual encounter between men (albeit one very young one). Even if you consider Blue only as “fiction” and ignore the “erotica” side of it, this is significant in the Sri Lankan context, because queer desire is represented rarely in literature.

Whatever its literary merit (or paucity of same) it also raised a discussion on the nature of erotica as a genre. I have heard various questions consequent to Blue: is erotica the same as porn? Is erotica as explicit as porn? Should erotica have a storyline? All I can say is that I need a lot more sex, a lot less purple prose, a lot more finesse and a lot less description of the setting for it to be erotica.

‘Scorching’ the publishers claim it to be. The wrong adjective I think.





Porn you said?

15 01 2011

I went to my first porn book launch last night. Before I left for the event, I told two friends, who were not so fortunate as moi, how I was going to the FIRST PORN book launch. They were awe-struck of course – “in Sri Lanka?”

I should say ‘adult stories’ but porn is so much nicer a word, don’t you think? The word has such a seedy, sordid, lascivious feel to it. Wanton, depraved, libertine connotations. Red drapes and billowing lace curtains all around, I thought. Black and red silk somewhere around. Erotic images surrounding me. Darkened audience and mood lighting on the stage.

Instead I walk in on a launch that could have been of any other book in English published in Colombo. Groups of people walking sedately around greeting friends. No billowing drapes of any colour. Yellow lights glaring on audience and readers alike. Some small photos on the far wall. And Blue wrapped in newspaper.

I suppose the entire burst of creativity was taken up with the publication of adult stories. It is the first after all. One hopes the stories don’t emulate the mood of the launch.





porn today – gone tomorrow!!

6 11 2010

The Daily Mirror reported that the Colombo Fort Magistrate has ordered police headquarters to publish in the newspaper photos of local men and women appearing in Web based porn sites. According to the Magistrate, they want to track these people and identify and punish them!

Bull shit!

What will the lives of these people be like once they are identified? The court punishment is one thing, but what about the ostracism they will receive from the wider community? Can they ever safely live in Sri Lanka again? What will their livelihoods be? How will the consequences for women be greater than those for men?

Furthermore, have they no realization that doing such a thing is not going to deter the making of porn, the demand for porn or from other people entering porn films? This is all assuming that those who are featured in the newspapers are willing participants in the movies. But we all know that there are many young people who are forced into such things, black mailed, and coerced. Some are even trafficked into the sex trade. And many are underage. Some are filmed without their knowledge. So basically what we are doing here is re-victimizing the victims. Is this the best way to address the problem? The government’s approach will only make it more difficult to help those who were coerced into the porn industry. A more productive policy would seek to reduce stigma to assure that those who are willing participants have proper access to medical care and those who were forced to participate could access resources that would help them reintegrate into their communities and rebuild their lives.

In Uganda, some 100 photos of gay men were published in a newspaper – apparently to shame them – so we are going the Uganda way or what?





x rated

31 10 2010

an update:….

http://www.latimes.com/health/la-me-porn-hiv-20101208,0,5306958.story

 

In mid October this year, a male porn actor in the States was tested positive for HIV.

This is not the first time someone has tested positive in the multi-million dollar porn industry. In fact, a similar story broke out in 2004 when another actor tested positive. It led to the closing down of several porn producing studios at that time.

6 years later, nothing much has changed. People continue to have unprotected sex in pornography. No condoms are used, and even though the industry is regulated, the health concerns of the actors/actresses seem to have fallen from the list of priorities. Testing HIV positive in an industry such as this is definitely the end of your career. In one way, it is a health and safety issue and should be treated as such.

But why and how did this happen? One obvious reason is having unprotected sex with multiple partners which are one of the basic ingredients in porn. Secondly, we never see condoms being used in porn flicks, they just aren’t part of the deal. Buy why is this? Will the inclusion of condoms during sex in the flick actually decrease the demand for that movie? Are condoms too much of a ‘reality check’ for folks who watch porn in order to fulfill their fantasies, get their kicks, get aroused? Is the fear in the industry that including the use of condoms will remind their customers of the ‘real world’ and sexually transmitted diseases and ultimately put them off that porn? Or is all this just a perception?

And more importantly, why can’t condoms be made sexier? They have been around for over 400 years and they are still far from sexy despite developments such as flavored, vibrating and textured condoms.  We haven’t made them sexy, nor do we think about them in relation to sex in the same way we think of sex toys such as dildos and vibrators. Condoms remain medicalised, reminding us of sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies rather than eroticism and pleasure!

I know a few groups in Asia who can teach the American porn industry how to ‘sexy up’ safe sex. It’s time to get into the act…