Short story: “Maintenance Man”

by look i have opinions

“Maintenance Man,” by Emma Joy

Audio recording by FacelessVoice Productions (free download here)

Maybe around 3,000 words?

Pornographic fiction aimed at women is selling nicely these days, so I’ve been browsing around to see what it’s like. This story isn’t bad, but the premise is trite and I guessed the ending very early on. It may be good porn anyway; I don’t know, it’s not my kink.

I like the use of the word “penis” in the middle of the sex scene. Seems like the kind of random, non-pornographic thought that real people have at such moments. I’m told a lot of readers hate that kind of word being used in porn, though. This is what makes sex so tricky to write about: there’s no shared language of sex. Pornography traditionally uses one set of terms, medicine uses another, men use another, women use another, couples have their own private languages, and of course children learn a bizarre potpourri of misleading information. No matter what choice the writer makes, it’s guaranteed to turn somebody off. I usually think of defamiliarization as artistically exciting, but sex is one area where our culture’s taboos sort of pre-defamiliarize us, and it seems to me that this is very bad for art. (Whether it’s good for society is another matter.)

On an unrelated note, erotica seems to generate the worst small-press book covers of any genre. This story has a good cover image, though.

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