At University, I took a course in sexual diversity studies. Censorship was on the syllabus. We studied the case of the Little Sister's Bookstore in Vancouver. As part of our studies, we were assigned to read a short work of erotica that appeared in one of the books stopped at the border.
The book was "Macho Sluts." The story was "The Surprise Party" by Pat Califia. It's about a lesbian who's picked up by three gay cops, and taken to a dirty hotel room to be subjected to an enema before they take her in every orifice.
To this day, Califia's story is one of the most intense works of erotic fiction I've ever had the sexual pleasure of reading. But that's not the only reason I remember it so specifically. It just so happens that when I read this story from my unassuming Printing House collection of essays and articles, I was sitting squished between two complete strangers on a city bus.
I remember glancing side to side, praying neither would look down and see the words on the page. Cunt. Cock. Blowjob. Leather. Yes, I was reading a school assignment, but Califia's work is no statistics textbook. This was hard-core stuff. Far beyond anything I've ever read since, and beyond anything I've written myself as a writer of LGBT erotica.
Looking back, I find it difficult to believe I'd never read a work of erotic fiction before University. Certainly, I'd seen pornography before then. Perhaps the intensity and situation surrounding Califia's story simply made it stick with me. Or, maybe my internal definition of erotica is too narrow. My grandmother, who is the greatest supporter of my career in erotic fiction, considers Gone With the Wind an erotic novel. Perhaps my generation is too over-exposed to view the hardness in anything soft.
But I leave you with my initial question: Do you remember the first piece of erotic fiction you ever read? And were you, like me, between strangers on a city bus at the time? For your sake, I hope not.
Canada just got hotter!