erotica writing

The Lineage & Ancestry of Queer Kinky Erotica

In the Writing Spicy class this spring, I invited people to honor the names of the people who came before them, people who wrote or created content around queer kink, reclaiming sexuality, and more. I’d never done this before, but it became a powerful list — no, more than a list: a powerful digital altar. It acknowledges our collective lineage, and how much work people have done in order to get us to a place where we can write and publish as freely as we can.

This was the invitaiton:

Invitation to acknowledge all the radicals who came before us — queer, kinky, neurodivergent, people of color, disabled, fat, and other historically marginalized folks.

Almost none of the things I’m sharing in this course are completely made up by me — I come to the knowledge I have because I’ve read books, went to workshops, listened to elders, learned history, and studied about sexual, gender, and kink liberation.

Feel free to add the names of folks you have learned from, who have been inspiring to you, on this thread.

I started with a list of more than a dozen erotica authors whose work influenced me, some of my writing teachers, and other queer folks whose work made a difference.

People wrote all kinds of things, including things like “The small group of neurodivergent queer kin I loved, survived, and sheltered with while growing up.” and “Every nameless/anonymous/forgotten queer whose work I read on literotica late at night over a 56.6.k dial-up connection.” and “A handful of queer zines I could find back in the mid-1990’s that probably saved my life several times over.”

And of course, we generated an incredible list of names. (This isn’t the entire list, but a lot of it.) Not all these folks are explicitly queer, or kinky, but they have been an influence on us as we’ve created our kinky queer lives.

It feels like a prayer, when I read these names out loud.

I invite you not only to read through this list, but to think about who is on your own list of influences. Who has been your lineage, your ancestry? Maybe not the ones you’re related to through blood, but the ones you claim culturally, the ones who have helped you make sense of who you are and how you fit in the world.

Blessed are the in betweeners, the boundary pushers, those who make the paths.
Blessed are the porn makers, the erotic writers, the liberationists.
Blessed are our ancestors, by blood and by choice.

    Adrienne Marie Brown
    Alison Bechdel
    Amber Hollibough
    Annie Lennox
    Audre Lorde
    BD Swain
    bell hooks
    Beth Ditto
    Carol Queen
    Carrie Brownstein
    Casey Plett
    Cecilia Tan
    Davey Davis
    Diana Cage
    DL King
    Donna Dresch
    Dorothy Allison
    Fiona Zedde
    Daemonum X (FIST zine)
    Gayle Rubin
    Guy New York
    Hanne Blank
    Imogen Binnie
    Ivan Coyote
    Jack Stratton
    Jen Cross
    Jiz Lee
    Joan Nestle
    Karlyn Lotney
    Kathleen Warnock
    Kelli Dunham
    Kill Rock Stars
    Laura Antoniou
    Leah Lakshmi Piepszna-Samarasinha
    Lee Harrington
    Leslie Feinberg
    Louise Erdrich
    Marcia B
    Mark Doty
    Mary Oliver
    Minnie Bruce Pratt
    Nancy Friday
    Octavia E. Butler
    Patrick Califia
    Princess Kali
    Rachel Kramer Bussel
    Raven Kaldera & Joshua Tenpenny
    Rita Mae Brown
    S. Bear Bergman
    Sacchi Green
    Shar Rednour
    Shine Houston
    Shirley Manson
    Simon Sheppard
    Sins Invalid
    Susie Bright
    Tara Hardy
    Tobi Hill-Meyer
    Toni Amato
    Tristan Taormino
    Xan West

Add your own in the comments, if you wish.

If some of your influences are people who are relatively private, and might not want their name on a “sex blog,” feel free to abbreviate it, or just share a first name or initial.

Published by Sinclair Sexsmith

Sinclair Sexsmith (they/them) is "the best-known butch erotica writer whose kinky, groundbreaking stories have turned on countless queers" (AfterEllen), who "is in all the books, wins all the awards, speaks at all the panels and readings, knows all the stuff, and writes for all the places" (Autostraddle). ​Their short story collection, Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica, was a 2016 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and they are the current editor of the Best Lesbian Erotica series. They identify as a white non-binary butch dominant, a survivor, and an introvert, and they live outside Seattle as an uninvited settler on traditional, ancestral, & unceded Snoqualmie land.

6 thoughts on “The Lineage & Ancestry of Queer Kinky Erotica”

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