Where does Ruby end? Identity and sex blogging.

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:

  1. Yes I write about sex, both fictional and factual.
  2. Yes I have done some of the things I’ve written about.
  3. No I’ve not done all the things I’ve written about.
  4. Yes sometimes I mine my real life for aspects of my fictional writing.
  5. Yes <insert pen name> is really me.
  6. 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…

 

Thanks for reading,

Ruby x

If you enjoyed my writing you can find more of my erotic fiction stories on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com, don't be shy leave a review!

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9 Responses to Where does Ruby end? Identity and sex blogging.

  1. tashalharrison October 29, 2013 at 5:37 pm #

    This is an issue I butt up against constantly. I don’t have the attention or desire that is required to maintain a pseudonym, which is why I decided early on to use my government or christian name. Everyone in my life knows what I write and it seemed pointless to separate the two. I do think that as mother’s we are expected to hide this aspect of ourselves from our children or take on a pseudonym to protect them from public scrutiny. I think that scrutiny is only there if you invite it. Like Lauralynn Brickhouse said in her panel, I would love to be confronted about my filthy scribblings. But also like her, it has yet to happen. I’m not worried about it either way. If I can survive my religious grandmother’s inquisition I’m sure whatever a stranger brings to the table will be a cake walk. :-)

    • Ruby November 4, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      Sometimes it would be nice to be challenged so you could lay out exactly what’s what but once people get over the initial “oooh!” it becomes “work” rather than anything more titillating.
      That said I do have a couple of friends who cannot resist adding innuendo into everything I say, or worse delight in dropping saucy hints into conversations with others which then forces me to have to explain my work all over again. That I could live without!

  2. Carina Benjamin October 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Surprise, surprise, Carina Benjamin isn’t the name listed on my passport…but the “other” me has a vaguely serious job that wouldn’t necessarily mix with the whole erotica thing…(not that I’m writing much these days, argh).
    Interestingly, I was about to refer to the”other” me as the “real” me, but Carina is no less real…she’s just a side that is hidden most of the time as I go about daily life. Having said this, I’ve done a lot of amateur dramatics in the past and I guess I simply enjoy playing with the persona a little bit, so some things are exaggerated or not mentioned at all. I’m not clever enough to go completely fictional though-that’s a really tough one to keep up over a long period.

    • Ruby November 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

      I know that Ruby amplifies aspects of my private self, but only in the same way that if I were out socially with a group of like minded friends I would amplify private self. I suppose I don’t see online life as separate from my “real-life” because for me it is just a means to talk to other real people.
      Perhaps that’s where the confusion lies for some people they perceive that online is not real and so everyone must be faking themselves or relationships somehow.

  3. reneeroseauthor November 2, 2013 at 5:55 am #

    I had a lot of shame about what I wrote when I started. I was certain that the PTA would fire me as president if they knew I wrote about spanking. Now, as I come out of that darkness, I’m feeling the desire to integrate my two separate identities– to be Renee Rose in my real life, and the dancer/Feldenkrais practitioner/healer in my author life. It was a new step for me to decide to wear the black lanyard at Eroticon and offer my face up for photos, but it felt absolutely right.

  4. Jade (@piecesofjade) November 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    An excellent topic for thought and discussion, Ruby (Ruth!) ;-)

    As you know, I write under a pseudonym – no, Jade Melisande is not my given name (I know, gasp.) And sometimes, I DO feel like “Jade” is a separate entity from my “real” self, the one that I present to the world I inhabit in my professional life. But most of the time…no…she is not a “persona, she is a *part* of myself. Yes, I choose to keep her separate from my professional life, but that is an economic choice – I need my job, and I am (possibly correctly, but who knows) concerned that the conservative attitude of my employer would make the fact that I write about sex and kink so openly grounds for firing me. :-(

    Jade was not created because of my blogging and writing though – “Jade” was a name I chose in another area where pseudonyms are pervasive and almost required: in the kink world. Many, many people use scene names to hide their vanilla identity, and Jade was a name that I gave myself in that arena. As a previous commenter said, I don’t have the energy, time or creativity to create multiple personas though, so when I started blogging and writing erotica, I used my already-established scene name to write under.

    I think I’m going to write a blog post about this on my own blog…I’d been meaning to for some time anyway…I’ll definitely link back here, because I think it’s interesting topic!

  5. mmalflic November 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm #

    My pen name has been with me for decades and began as a way to hide the performance art/musical lunacy of my youth from overbearing self righteous school authorities. Well that and to keep from destroying my parent’s good name while on stage. I simply kept it when I began writing other non musical and non professional things because there was a need for that separation. Most people from my day job would probably not appreciate the cross over from my actual area of expertise to erotica; although those closest to me even in my professional life do know. It’s just easier to be open with people who will respect the boundary and not damage one’s career along the way. The line is getting finer all the time with social networks converging by making recommendations based on associations and improving algorithms .

    The only difference between what I say as my birth name and under my pen name is the frankness and words I use to express those opinions. Malflic doesn’t stop and the other me begin. Yes it was a stage name, then a scene name, and then something used for writing but behind it all I’m the same guy living the same life and in my case in the same clothes.

    If I were to create an actual persona to hide behind I’d be far less introspective, be completely over the top, and have a much more interesting look than the one I favor now. The truth is though I’m fine just being who I am. Take it or leave it, love me or hate me.

  6. Rose (@SexwithRose) November 4, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    My Rose persona started when I started blogging, I realized I needed a different name for me online but since then it has grown beyond just a name.
    Rose is definitely the unfiltered ‘real’ me, but even in ‘normal’ life I don’t have much of a filter to start with. I don’t consider my pseudonym to be much different from the real me. The only reason I keep them apart is because of professional reasons. If I had a career/job that wouldn’t be as judgmental, I would totally have no problem being out there with my real name. Well okay there’s another reason, my real last name is also not pronounceable, even in my own country people get it wrong.

    Rose and my other name are quite equal to me and I even respond to it if somebody calls out Rose. I’m the same person though either way but I could say that Rose is a little more daring and the other me is behaving a bit more. Not a huge difference for me though.

  7. Anastasia Z. Kidd November 13, 2013 at 11:09 am #

    What are you looking forward to most about Eroticon USA? I can’t wait to meet other writers, since I’ve really only been exposed to the New York City writing scene. As well, it will be lovely to finally meet Ruby Kiddell and the others I have followed on twitter and on their blogs and to see the charming Harpor Elliot again.

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