Are you ever asked about your sex blogging or erotica writing persona as if it is a detachable part of yourself?
As you may or may not be aware Ruby Kiddell isn’t my given name, my given name is Ruth Douglas, which isn’t news to most of my friends nor anyone with the ability to use Google and ten minutes to spare. This post isn’t about what my name is but rather who I am perceived to be when I use my names.
I am, as you can see from the above introduction, open about both my writing name, the content of my writing and by extension the work I do putting together the Eroticon conferences, in fact I’m incredibly proud of the conferences and shout about it regularly on both my professional, @eroticnotebook and @writesexright, accounts and my personal Facebook account. I first used a pen name to tweet and write about sex because at the time I was also trying to build a family orientated craft business and wanted to distinguish between the different audiences for my different work. Of course parents are interested in talking and reading about sex, but they probably don’t want to do it while shopping for children’s birthday gifts.
There of course came a point where I decided to be open about Ruby/Ruth, though I’m still mindful about who I tell and how, based on who I’m talking to and my perception of their openness to my work. Though in truth the more open I am the easier it gets and with the advent of Fifty Shades of Grey and the raising in public awareness of erotica writing then things seemed to get easier still.
For all this perceived shift in awareness and public openness to erotica and sex blogging, there seems to remain a tension between the acceptance of the writing and content and the understanding of the people behind it.
Erotica writers often receive feedback that conflates their fictional writing with themselves; you write about being spanked therefore you must enjoy being spanked. Sex bloggers receive feedback that conflates their personal acts with public acts; you write about your sex life therefore you must want to have sex with me. In fact both fictional and factual sex writers that I know are regularly propositioned by strangers because hey, if you write about sex you must be willing to fuck everyone.
Newsflash people, not so much.
I also get questioned on my representation of myself;
“How real is Ruby?”
“But Ruby isn’t really you?”
“How can you be Ruby and Ruth?”
Ruby is Ruth, Ruth is Ruby. It is all me all the time, but like everyone I know I play to my audience. I’m always a parent but I’m not always parenting, I’m always an erotic writer but I’m not always writing erotic fiction, I’m always a scuba diver but I’m not always scuba diving, and so on. My persona dresses for the occasion; so the Ruby of @eroticnotebook may talk about her daily life but will also flirt a little, swear a little and talk about sex, bondage, politics, feminism and more. In fact Ruby is the uncensored version of Ruth, and sometimes it is work; I write about sex and writing about sex to promote my businesses and my publications.
While I know of writers who go so far as to construct a fictional author persona for their writing including writing as a different gender, age and experience, I prefer to have a truthfulness in my life, both its online and offline representations. Of course truthfulness doesn’t equate to telling the world everything, I still choose what I do and don’t write about and when, but if you are wondering where Ruth stops and Ruby begins, the simple answer is they don’t, they, we, I am the same.
So if you find yourself wondering just how this funny old sex blogging and erotica writing malarky intersects with “real life” here is a non-exhaustive lists of answers to your questions:
- Yes I write about sex, both fictional and factual.
- Yes I have done some of the things I’ve written about.
- No I’ve not done all the things I’ve written about.
- Yes sometimes I mine my real life for aspects of my fictional writing.
- Yes <insert pen name> is really me.
- No I won’t have sex with you/
This post is, of course, my personal point of view, I’d be very interested to hear from other sex bloggers and writers as to how you perceive yourselves and the kind of questions you are asked around your writing and your identity.
I’d be especially interested to hear from anyone that has actively created a blogger or author persona which is deliberately fictional in order to write.
Do please comment and share…