Twelve months ago, we were mostly floundering: angry, scared, searching for optimism, hoping for change. Another year end approaches, and it’s safe to say that most people are in a similar frame of mind. The darkness encroaches, but there are still those doing their best to push it back.
Maybe this retrospective should stick to the stuff that directly concerns the world of erotica rather than addressing global politics, as plenty of others will have plenty to say on the wider issues. It wasn’t the best of years for those of us who write about sex or produce other forms of erotic entertainment. At least two erotica publishers collapsed in disarray. Two big sex-themed events were cancelled – the ETO show and Sexhibition – and, at the time of writing, Sexpo is having trouble getting a UK venue sorted. And let’s not even get started on the clusterfuck of age verification (if you want to know more about this, check out Pandora/Blake’s work on the subject).
There were positives this year, though: of course there were. A revamped Eroticon, under new management, was one of them. it should be even bigger and better this time round – and you still have time to bag your ticket and contribute to the anthology. There was also the continuing impact of the film I was involved in, Please May I Come, Mistress, which was shown in London and Toronto, and won an award.
I had a hand in a few more great erotic anthologies, such as Goodbye Moderation: Gluttony, Amorous Congress and the unforgettable Rule 34, which is probably the only collection of sexy stories to feature tripe, dentists, photocopiers, arson and a dildo in which a dead lover’s ashes are incorporated. A couple of new publishers appeared on the scene, Sinful Press and SinCyr Publishing, both of whom look extremely promising.
Finally, towards the end of the year, when it was noticed that Twitter had taken to shadowbanning a lot of sex bloggers, sex educators and sex workers, #SosS sprang up to address the issue – those not yet shadowbanned began retweeting and otherwise sharing those who were, and showcasing and highlighting good sex writing across the web.
Community is a misused and overrated term at times, but it’s fair to say that those of us who write about sex have a tendency to support one another in various ways, even when there are aspects of sex writing about which we disagree. We may need to draw on this strength even further in the year to come.