Spoiler Alert: This is a Myth
I had a man tell me the other day that “writing about sex is easier for a woman than for a man.” He continued by saying women get a free pass to say whatever they want whereas men are not able to have a voice. Apparently, woman have a unique “privilege that we are not even remotely aware of.” He boasted that he has done years of research on the subject of writing, and that I should just believe him. Oh, did I mention that this guy was using this little dialogue as an introduction to me on an online dating site? At this point, I went ahead and poured myself a drink. As I sipped my scotch slowly, I let myself wonder why this person felt this way, what research he could have possibly done, and why I was drinking to prevent me from writing him an actual research-based essay in response. So, let me share a few thoughts I have on this whole “free pass” notion and the realities about writing about sex as a woman.
First: Free Pass
There is no free pass for anyone when it comes to writing about sex. Our society has deemed conversations about sex to be taboo. So much so, that the ability to monetize or profit from words about sex becomes increasingly difficult. Take Amazon for example. They are constantly amending their algorithms to prevent graphic cover art, strong sexualized language, or anything lewd from being advertised or even searchable on their site. Thus, authors are left with no choice but to mute their images, words, or just forgo using them as an available revenue stream altogether. If you read the policies of any major publishing or blogging medium the avenues for advertising or earning even the most basic of wages is almost nil. The choice often comes down to share your work for free, or don’t share your work at all.
This is currently true regardless of gender. Writing about sex offers no magical free pass. In fact, writing about sex actually closes opportunities for many, including myself. I cannot include my decades of non-monogamous blog writing, or my erotica fantasy shorts on my resume. And the risk of being caught sharing my sex life via my words, has resulted in a direct loss of friends, family, and stable careers. Because my body of work does not lead to mainstream, sustainable income, I have to do what…