Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Penthouse, pt. 1: Threesomes Trump Turnons?

Before I get to my Penthouse interview, I wanted to give you a little background on how a mild-mannered housewife such as myself would be included in a “men’s entertainment” magazine for her opinions on sex. No big deal, really. I usually keep track of calls for submission for erotica on various sites and one such bulletin board posted a call for interviewees for an article on women’s turnons and turnoffs for Penthouse. My initial reaction was, “Hah, they don’t mean a fortysomething housewife, even if she does write erotica. Penthouse readers only care about the opinion of twenty-year-olds with large breasts who don’t much like wearing clothes.” But then another voice rose up inside me: “Perhaps,” it said, “but age has given me wisdom and a better perspective on these matters. Besides, they aren’t going to publish a picture of you naked.” It just so happens I was in a slow period of my writing life, so I decided to give it a try and if they turned me down for wearing too many clothes, so be it. Clothes and breasts or the lack thereof were never an issue, as it happened. A very nice woman, whose name I will protect, emailed me a list of questions and I responded with the gusto and wordiness of your typical writer-type. The freelance journalist thanked me warmly for the feedback, said my name would be changed to “Darlene” in the article, and promised to contact me when the article ran. She never did, which I assume meant, it never did.

Fast forward two years and an erotica-writing friend of mine mentioned that she’d responded to a call for a Penthouse interview on another topic: women who fantasize about having threesomes with their male partner and another woman. I was impressed with my friend’s broadmindedness. I knew that if I walked in on my husband in bed with another woman, I most definitely would not peel my clothes off and jump in to join them. Even as a fantasy, it didn’t work. And if I were to experiment with another woman, why would I want a man inserting himself in the proceedings? But lo and behold, the threesome article was picked up mere months after the interview. Rushed to the presses! I was mildly miffed, but not surprised. The one guy/two girl threesome fantasy is reportedly very common among men. A guide to women’s turnons and turnoffs might even go counter to the magazine’s very reason for being by causing a man to put down the magazine and try his luck with a real woman? (Ah yes, but where would American sexual fantasy be without Penthouse letters?)

The article on threesomes got me thinking about sexual fantasy and its purposes, a question erotica writers often pose to themselves on some level, even if only unconsciously in the writing process. What is it about the threesome that appeals to men? I read somewhere that abundance is part of it, you get two of everything, and indeed I’d say abundance, lack of consequences, and a banishment of real world barriers to sexual intimacy lie at the heart of male sexual fantasy. But then I began to wonder if acceptance isn’t part of it, too (that plays a big role in my fantasies). And a woman who would accept a man’s desire for another woman, even celebrate it, would fulfill a fantasy in a different way. Or perhaps, given the dreamlike nature of fantasy, as if it is a foreign language to be decoded, the accepting female partner is also accepting a certain female side of her lover. In other words, she is making love to his male and female sides, hence a threesome.

Oh, this is getting too deep for me now. I will be posting my answers to the interview soon. I'm busy right now getting my Christmas packages ready to send to family and far-flung friends. I’m also planning to do a list of my favorite books on “how to write good fiction” and “how to navigate the writing life.” (I’m a bit of an addict of these things, I confess).

1 comment:

Jolie said...

Hi Donna,

I found your blog! Congrats! I'll be checking in from time to time!

Jolie
http://www.joliedupre.com