Archive for April, 2012

Scared stiff: give it the old fist pump if horror makes you hot….

by Daniel W. Kelly

If you’re like me, you know there’s nothing like a good bump in the night to get the heart racing and the nerves tingling. The thrill of it causes your pulse to pound, starts the adrenalin flowing, leaves you saturated in sweat, and has you looking over your shoulder to get a good glimpse of the seductive devil who’s back there, about to slip inside your soul….

Isn’t it amazing how one paragraph could be describing either an incredible sexual encounter or a horrifying experience with the supernatural? While the psychological ramifications of exposure to one or the other are totally different, the physical responses are virtually the same. So is it any surprise that the horror genre has always crossed the line between titillating and terrorizing?

For starters, the monster is most likely to desire the innocent and virginal—while preying on the promiscuous and sexually active. Also, horror imagery often takes the sensual and perverts it with disgusting twists: demons with slimy, puss-squirting tongues they insert between supple human lips in order to possess the unwilling; creatures with grotesque, phallic appendages they use to savagely penetrate and poison beautiful human bodies; alien species with gaping, oozing, teeth-lined orifices resembling pulsating vaginas and anuses, which need to fill their void by sucking on flawless human flesh.

And possibly the most important reason sex is almost obligatory in horror? We are most vulnerable when we’re naked: in the shower as the knife-wielding masked killer stands just on the other side of the curtain; skinny-dipping in the middle of the night, unaware of the man-eater swimming just beneath the dark surface; making love in the backseat of a car at Lover’s Lane as the hook hand latches on to the door handle. Well, all that, and because of, you know, the obvious: sex and the satanic are often linked and are both considered taboo. So how better to draw in an audience than by serving up a whole lot of bare boobs to the beast?

Ironically, when I was an impressionable teen in the 1980s, there was a disconnect as I was bombarded by visions of curvaceous, scantily clad women being sacrificed to vicious specters on the covers of the plethora of horror paperback books and VHS boxes that lined my local bookstore and video store shelves. Upon digesting the media, I was never particularly upset when the lusty busty babe got the axe—I was too busy hoping her boyfriend would be the last man…um…‘standing.’

The horror genre is marketed to the straight man—particularly straight male adolescents. But this isn’t simply sports or cars we’re talking about. There’s something incredibly metaphorical about horror. It’s the big bad monster trying to punish those who partake in the natural acts of lust and love. And who better to relate to a relentless outside force trying to stop their desire for instinctive, impulsive passion than gay men?

In my time as a writer of gay erotic horror fiction, I’ve discovered something the heterosexual male horror community doesn’t fully comprehend: many gay males are voracious devourers of horror books and films. We’re not merely the prissy, disposable first victim or the psychosexual-woman-hating-cross-dressing killer they’ve always presented us as (hint hint: toss in a little hairy man buns now and then!).

Thanks to the niche communities the internet creates, I’ve been contacted by readers who are just like me. They love men, they love sex, and they love horror—but are generally required to subject themselves to woman parts in order to get to the scary parts (I know, there’s a gay joke in there about how the woman parts are the scary parts). As if the feedback to my gay erotic horror stories isn’t sign enough that there is an audience for it, I’ve found another very interesting gauge. On my personal website, I have a page called Stud Stalking. It’s a detailed list of every horror movie I come across that features even the slightest glimpse of scrumptious man epidermis. The response to the section has been overwhelming from gay horror fans like myself, from requests for more recommendations to other titles I need to add to the list.

I love writing erotica. I love writing horror. My first published strictly erotic stories appeared in jerk-off magazines, and I told myself this was just a way to get my foot in the door and that eventually I’d be able to get mainstream horror stories published. Then I began to realize that every time I went to write a horror story, it was with a gay man’s perspective. I didn’t want to write about women in peril (the market is flooded with that approach), and it didn’t make sense to try to put on the straight man beard. Sure, those options would sell more books to more people, but I really wanted to write horror I would like to read myself. I’d simply enjoy writing it more, which would most likely mean better, more genuine storytelling.

So, I began penning horror stories ‘starring’ gay men. I say starring because when I write, I try to make the story feel and flow like a horror movie. I want the read to be fun and fluid, not bogged down by excessive ‘smart’ prose and philosophical thought. That’s just not the kind of horror that grabs me by the throat and squeezes until I can’t breathe.

And because horror has always gone hand-in-hand with sexual content, and because the only thing that truly distinguishes gay characters from straight characters is that they—to put it bluntly—love and lay others of the same gender, it felt so natural for me to go balls-to-the-wall with the sexual situations (often literally). But to be clear, in the world of my characters, I don’t want all my men to be raped and ripped apart by heinous monstrosities (Although, it does happen occasionally. What can I say? It’s a classic horror convention). I want them to be happy, horny men who find love, score some ass, and find themselves in ungodly situations they must survive in one piece so that they can live another day to score some more ass.

My stories and novels are not intended to be what has become known as ‘torture porn,’ where the implication is that the consumer is getting sexually aroused and stimulated by gore and extreme violence. I’ve simply combined two of my favorite things—scares and sex—with each having its own place in my stories. The horror is there to give readers the willies, with the erotica as the tension relief—a chance to get off. Basically, an emission intermission. I guess you could even call it the horror-gasm.

And that’s the way the fun and fear unfold in Combustion, my first full-length ‘gothrotica’ novel. Those who have been reading my stuff for awhile will get satisfaction from my usual playful approach to the erotic horror genre, and are sure to recognize some of the names and faces (and asses, and cocks, and balls, etc.) from my previous stories. And if Combustion is the first book of mine you pick up, you’ll soon be getting very cozy with the boys, beasts, men, and monsters—and hopefully staying up all night to reach the graphic climax….

The Amazon Trail

Viral Victimization

               I always thought I’d suffered my first few weeks of college. It was horrible, I was completely unprepared, but I survived. Instead of getting on a train and taking Tyler Clementi’s long jump, I got on a train and went to my big brother’s office to announce that I was quitting school.

What was I thinking? What did I expect my brother to do? Was I thinking? No; I was just feeling and what I felt must have been similar to what drove Tyler off his bridge: despair, fear, hopelessness, humiliation, shame, blinding desire, loneliness, desperation. You can’t think when you’re a seething vat of emotions and hormones. You can’t make a good decision. You just want to end the pain.

Like Tyler, I was assigned a straight roommate my first semester. Like Tyler’s roommate, mine lived in a world so extremely foreign to me we could have been different species. She wanted to become a fashion designer, marry a nice boy, move back to Pennsylvania and raise a family. I wanted to become a writer, fall in love with a thousand girls, move back to New York City and drink like Dylan Thomas.

Instead of web cams back then, we had gossip. I dressed like someone out of the Beebo Brinker stories in Bermuda shorts, knee sox and Oxford cloth shirts. I was the only student, female or male, to bring my bicycle to campus, and listened to FM radio jazz, not rock and roll. Like Tyler, I was just plain different. I learned later that the other students shunned me, made fun of me, whispered about me. There were three of us weirdos on my dorm floor. I was the queer one, although in 1963 nice girls barely knew what that meant.

The first night in our new lives, my roommate and I went to a freshman mixer together. It was packed, loud, filled with that foreign gender, boys. I backed off, lost the roommate, left immediately. Outside, on the strange campus that still appears in my nightmares, I was as alone as any being on this planet had ever been. I was as alone as Tyler Clementi. Thank goodness the romance of the bridge – Hart Crane’s Brooklyn Bridge, Walt Whitman’s “Till the bridge you will need be form’d, till the ductile anchor hold, Till the gossamer thread you fling catch somewhere, O my soul” – was not a romance that drew me. I simply knew I would get nothing but confusion and misery from four years in the alien land of hetero-college and that I would do better on my own.

On the other hand, I suspected those years were not the worst thing that could happen to a young gay. College was a privilege. The relative cloistering might have been a cosseted cushion between childhood and the demands of adulthood. It was not. Maturity gives us an anonymity and freedom to crash and burn that’s hard to achieve in the micro-world of school. Tyler knew he couldn’t stay at Rutgers and escape the condemnation and ridicule his roommate’s boorish video-assault would bring. Maybe he hadn’t been through and hardened by castigation and bullying before. Clearly, he had fewer defenses than I had.

Already, I’d toughed out the schoolyard hounding. Already, I knew there was a community out there, if I could just get to it. Already, I was on medications to still my fears. And I reached out to my semi-sensible brother who reached out to my sensible father. I said nothing about being a pariah. How can you tell your family a thing like that? I only told them I wanted to get a job and live in the city, that college was a waste for me. At my father’s urging, I gave school one more try.

My poor innocent roommate avoided me. Complained about my drunken late nights. Never came back after that first semester. An artist down the hall invited me to room with her and we’re still fast friends. I found a sort of girlfriend and spent many weekends in the city, feeling like an outsider in the gay bars, but the gossamer thread of my soul at least could anchor there.

Oh, Tyler, how I wish I, or someone, could have been your guardian angel through those hellish weeks. Mine was a straight male upperclassman named Jonathan who liked my writing, hung out with me and impressed my tormentors with his motorcycle, marijuana and getting kicked out of Columbia University. The other weirdo girls left school, but I made it through. I was lucky: Jonathan and his anti-establishment literary friends, all my elders, took me under their wings and kept my victimization from going viral. They became my life-saving, not lethal, bridge.

Copyright Lee Lynch 2012

April 2012

What’s So Sexy About Pirates?

Errol Flynn. Johnny Depp. Through the generations hearts have fluttered over the swashbuckling heroes of the screen. Those swordfights! Those outfits! Those sexy eye patches! Of course you know it’s all Hollywood, but you set that aside for an hour and a half and wallow in the forbidden glamour of it all. Pirates are bad boys, and everybody loves bad boys, but these bad boys are out of control. They live completely outside the law. Once they get their hands on you, they could do anything to you. For the kinky imagination, anything is a very powerful word.
Real Buccaneers’ lives were of course much different. The name originally referred to a group of 17th Century French Caribbean outlaws who lived on small islands and survived mainly by hunting wild cattle. They were able and willing to go pirating, but opportunities were often few and far between. Being a society all but devoid of women, they formed male same-sex couples who did everything, including sleep, together. Sometimes one partner would assume a woman’s role.
Buccaneer Island is set in the 18th Century, years after that traditional Buccaneer culture had spread and relocated and changed in many ways. The name by this time defines a much more heterogeneous group, including in some cases escaped slaves. For a time, Dominica, in the Antilles, was a Buccaneer stronghold, and I have set my story there. Beyond that, almost everything is fantasy based on that frisson that accompanies the word anything. They can do anything to you. The submissive mind is free to wander.
My first foray into male submissive erotic fiction was a short femdom novel called Her Perfect Wife. For a man in a thirty-year marriage to a very understanding woman, it wasn’t too great a leap of imagination. The couple in the book get up to some things I’m quite familiar with, and others I can only imagine. But that’s what I do: I imagine things, and write them down. For that first book, I had a modicum of experience to add to the mix. Buccaneer Island was another matter altogether.
I must confess I have no first-hand knowledge of gay, 18th Century pirate life. Nor did my research turn up a lot of detail on the subject. So for instance, if anyone were to challenge me on it, I couldn’t provide evidence to support the amount of spanking that goes on in the book. It’s quite possible that spanking was no more common among Buccaneers than anywhere else in the 18th Century. On the other hand, maybe I got it right. Maybe spanking and sexual submission were a common feature of Buccaneer life.
After all, they could do anything. 

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