Hold the handcuffs! Personal turn-offs

Have had one or two discussions about turn-offs this week, and it’s only Tuesday. It’s certainly true that everyone’s got a few things that make them go ‘Eww’ and put them right off continuing, whether that’s with reading a sexy story or getting up to stuff with an actual playmate.

noSome things are unerotic to some people simply because they dislike a certain sensation (the submissive bottom who can take any amount of whipping but loathes hot wax, for instance). Some people lose their horny thoughts if whoever they are playing with uses a word they have a particular dislike of.

There are cases where specific objects or actions are so deeply associated with past distress that an individual simply cannot accept these things in any kind of sexual context, however innocous – or not – the item or gesture or phrase might be.

It’s easier if you’re writing about strange things, because you have accepted from the beginning that not every reader is going to appreciate what you have to offer.When my bookstall carried a wide range of Nexus paperbacks, in the late 90s or thereabouts, I always felt obliged to check whether a customer fingering one of Penny Birch’s offerings was familiar with that particular author’s favourite fetishes. Well, unless the customer had snatched up the book with a shriek of joy and a demand to know whether I had any more ‘as filthy as this one’.


Editors and publishers, particularly when asking for submissions to themed anthologies, will usually specify any particular limits on content, with the two most contentious topics generally being dubious consent and lavatorial elements. If both of these things appal you, as a writer, then they are best avoided in your own work. However, if the stuff that intrigues you and tempts you is a little more niche then there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with it (readers of this blog should all know, perfectly well, the stuff that no editor will touch and which will cause you trouble with the law even if you publish it yourself and are fully aware it’s only a story), If what’s on your mind is just unusual rather than that which you know full well is hugely unethical, it may well be worth writing down that hot story about a bizarre, taboo activity that somehow won’t get out of your head. Writing the raw, filthy version might even inspire you to write one you could show to other people…

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