Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Once, in a blog interview about my paranormal Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, I was asked if I believed that sex magic is real. My answer was something along the lines that I believe sex is the only kind of magic, and certainly the only kind of magic we all have access to. But the question itself got me thinking about why the paranormal and the erotic work so well together.
Writing always exposes us, though that exposure is sometimes more obvious than others. As I thought about the question, I realized that the choices I’d made when I wrote the Lakeland trilogy were very much my psyche’s way of doing the full Monte. I’ve written lots of blog posts about the magic of sex, about what happens when we cross that final barrier and get inside the skin of another person, about what happens when we make ourselves vulnerable. Though it certainly wasn’t a conscious part of my decision, choosing to make the witches of the Elemental Coven practitioners of sex magic speaks very powerfully of my writing credo and of my own psyche and what I believe is important.
I started writing erotica mostly to see if I could, and because I had always enjoyed writing sex scenes. But it was the magic of sex that kept me writing. It was what the act of sex revealed about my characters and how it exposed them, all of them, in one way or another to the magic of sex that kept me writing. Somehow sex brought them closer to their humanity while at the same time increasing the chance they would experience their own divinity, and that of their beloved. And, with any luck, my readers would experience the same, vicariously. There’s something exciting in knowing that the very act of sex between two people can completely change the course of a novel. All of these elements of sex kept me writing erotica. And all of these elements are the reason I believe sex is magic.
There are few parts of our human nature we struggle more fiercely to control than sexuality. How miserably we fail in that struggle is a testament to the biological drive and even more importantly the archetypal power of sex. And that’s a whole other area, the place within the sex act that borders on the mystical, the magical. That’s why paranormal tales partner so beautifully with the erotic. Once that boundary between the magical and the sexual is breached anything can happen.
Ultimately, sex makes people uncomfortable, and anything that makes people uncomfortable is a fabulous tool for fiction. On some level sex is all about biological urges, experiences of a much more visceral nature than the sanitized, well defined, well ordered way we like our world to be. But the power of sex reaches way beyond the procreative. I know of no other act that can connect us to our animal nature while at the same time lifting us outside ourselves to the realm of the gods. I also know of no other act in which we become physically one with another human being, in which we literally get inside the skin of another human being, in which there is the possibility of literally creating new life. The human sex act is about as close to magic as we can get, and we’re not all that comfortable with anything we can’t explain away and dress up for polite company.
Sex is that one little sliver of our life in which real magic happens. It’s the place where our boundaries are most permeable. So it’s not surprising that we like to team up the erotic with things that go bump in the night, things we can safely experience on the written page, where those things are free to scare us and titillate us and take away our human control thus allowing demons and vampires, ghosts and witches, werewolves and succubae to dance the tango with our libidos while we all perform our own personal versions of sex magic.
Whether you celebrate Halloween, Samhain, Day of the Dead, All Saints, or whether you just like to enjoy the season, I wish you much sexy magic!