For Parents - I used to write porn (and I'm a woman)


#1

I've seen two threads on this forum so far dealing with teenagers girls writing pornographic stories and masturbating. Speaking as a woman who used to do the same thing, I thought I'd share a little of my life, in the hopes of both giving you warning about what might be happening, and helping to put some fears to rest.

At 19, I discovered "fandoms." Typically, these are groups online where all the members adore a particular TV show, movie, movie series, comic book seires, or novel/novel series. They can also exist offline, informally among friends and small circles of interested parties.

Most fandoms are about 85% to 90% female. The members are usually either teens or middle-age married women. These groups are usually very close-knit, with people "beta" reading for each other, sharing ideas, and self-referencing themselves and their friends on the message boards a lot. Girls and women will often write together. Some groups become very close-knit. There's a lot of positive re-enforcement for writing together by people replying to one's writing and asking for plot ideas.

Many of the younger girls start off writing very bad fan fiction, usually all "fluf" of PWP ("Plot? What plot?") pieces which are nothing more than sex without substance. A lot of them do this for giggles and grins, because they know that it's bad, and because they get positive feedback from other readers. Of the older writers, they tend to write better fiction, though it's usually still heavy with the sex, but usually their works have detailed plots and storylines, and sometimes they border on being actually very good writers. Younger girls read them and admire them, and in turn try to write better, more plot-detailed fiction.

A few myths that I want to clear up:

1) Myth: This kind of writing can lead one deeper into pornography.

Fact: Actually, this kind of writing is a natural off-shoot of romance novels and TV soap operas. Women are more drawn toward the written word than men are, because our brains work differently, but because our brians work differently, I noticed in almost all the fiction I used to read that there's a strong emphasis on love and romance, despite the sex. True, a lot of people write fluff pieces with nothing but sex in them, particularly at first, but after a while, the romance comes out in the stories. This is significant - what the girls and women writing this stuff are really trying to communicate is that, in spite of the tittilation involved, what they're really looking for is love and committment. And they want it in a "safe" manner, vicariously through their literary creations, because the real world is tricky and sticky and guys hurt girls in real life. Anyway, I never met anybody online who was more interested in porn than in romance, and eventually that cropped up in all the stories.

2) Myth: My daughter is writing this stuff to masturbate to!

Fact: While it's true that in the beginning a lot of girls play out their fantasies for the first time on the page, and thus masturbate to them when their feelings become overwhelming, if a girl keeps it up for very long she usually stops focusing on the sexual release she gets and instead turns her focus onto making the story better. Anybody can go online and find free porn. But why should anybody go read your writing, unless it's really good and stands out? So after a while, the emphasis turns away from your own body to the approval you get from the other readers/writers online (or in your group if you're offline doing this).

3) Myth: Once my daugher starts, she'll never stop!

Fact: Our fandoms regularly lost writers as time went on. Some girls got bored of it, some got tired of the internal politics, and some girls simply weren't satisfied with the type of writing that they were doing. Writing is always and forever work. In order to keep getting the approval of other readers/writers, they have to forever improve their work, or else be labled fluff authors, and not taken seriously. They won't be read, and that will kill the cycle of approval. Or they'll simply get bored and turn to something else.

Continued below:


#2
  1. Myth: My daughter is doing this because she hates God! She’s trying to rebel!

Fact: Your daughter is a mess of emotions and she doesn’t know how to control them. Putting the feelings down on paper helps her sort them, then gives her a stimulus to act on by masturbating. Probably she’s a sort of mess mentally where God’s concerned. She wants to please Him and get His approval, but at the same time she doesn’t know what to do with her hormones. She’s probably living a life of double-think - “I love God and respect Him. I enjoy writing this stuff and want to continue because surely this isn’t all bad.” A study of me at age 21.

(And just so you know, at some point I realized that I was going to have to give up writing smut eventually, to please God, but I was sad about it for a while, and then one day I just stopped. And I haven’t missed it much. I did miss the admiration of the readers that I got, but I didn’t miss writing sex scenes. And then I wondered why I was so sad about it, because I wasn’t missing anything important in my life!)

  1. Myth: This is just a phase. She’ll grow out of it. It’s not dangerous.

Fact: It might be a phase. For me it was a rather long-lasting phase, but it was just a phase and I did grow out of it. But now here’s the problem: A lot of the readers/writers are older women, middle-age women who write very well. And a lot of the younger writers can’t tell good writing from a hole in the ground. The vast majority of these writers are Protestant women who see nothing wrong with masturbation, anymore than the see something wrong with the pill. In this case, what you’re getting is a cycle of admiration that can lead your daughter to stick with it for a long period of time, because other girls will spew admiration at her, and older women will encourage her writing. And since these women aren’t in line with the Holy Catholic Church, they won’t frown on a lot of the stuff that we Catholics know better about. It’s very easy for your daughter to be lead astray.

Continued below (again)


#3

My recommendations:

If she’s writing on her own, outside of a group, then you’re in luck - she doesn’t have the cycle of admiration to feed her yet.

First, don’t completely spaz out. The last thing you want to do is make her feel either like she’s exceptionally bad (she’s not, she’s a human being, and thus as fallen as the rest of us) or give her a reaction she enjoys. Either of those reactions will lead her to continue or increase her writing.

Second, pray your guts out! God wants us to pray. It keeps us honest and keeps us connected to Him.

Third, trust in God. Hard to do and easy to say, right? The Lord knows I am having a hard time with it in other matters, but remember, God will provide whatever graces we need to find our way back to Him. I changed, in a heartbeat. If you keep praying and trust in Him, everything will work itself out in His time. (I personally recommend the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. It’s amazing - go read St. Faustina’s diaries!). The truth is that if you’re a dedicated parent who believes in and loves God, then that still stays with your daughter, and the compass of her heart will spin back in His direction.

Fourth, find a spiritual guide for you and your daughter. Talk to your local parish priest. Have her talk to a Catholic counselor. She needs to know what’s going on with her body, how to fight temptation, and how to be strong in the face of adversity. One thing to keep in mind - Mortal Sin requires that it be a grave matter, done deliberately, and with full consent. In the struggle against masturbation, she may feel so overwhelmed by her hormones that she might not be a fully willing participant. Just something to keep in mind, and to discuss with your priest (not being a priest, I don’t pretend to know for a fact what is and is not mortal where your daughter is concerned, but remember, Jesus said to forgive your brother seventy times seven times - she keeps going to Confession, he’ll keep forgiving her until she gets it right).

Now that the important, spiritual parts are out of the way, what can you do about your daughter’s writing habits? Encourage them! BUT - do it the right way.

What most of the women involved in fandoms craved were approval and community. If you wrote well, or at least well enough to impress the community, you got a lot of attention.

Look around either online or in your neighborhood for a writing group that focuses on teens and young adults. Preferably a Catholic group, it can be any kind of group that has, as its guidelines, a no-adult writing policy. I recommend finding a real-life writing group to get her involved in, rather than an online group, unless it’s a Catholic group, simply because it’s hard to monitor what she’s reading and writing online.

Check your local library - some of them will have young adult writing clubs. Get her enrolled in writing courses in school. Look for writing groups at your local book stores. She’ll learn that more than just her sexual feelings can go down on paper, and it’ll help her out in the long run to write regularly.

Above all - read everything your daughter reads and talk to her about it.

My mother had that policy while I was growing up. I could read anything. But I had to talk to her about it. Ever try talking about “The Catcher in the Rye” with your mom? Or “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?” Eeee… the freedom to read what I wanted, tempered with having to discuss with Mom. But that will do two things - it’ll let her know she can come to you about anything, and it’ll keep you in the loop about exactly what she’s putting in her head. And when you discuss, you can instill your beliefs by talking about why one character didn’t do so well, what was against God, etc. And yes, she did this even though she worked full time. It’s hard, but it can be done.

Finally, limit television and the internet. Those two influences stimulate the mind in bad ways far too easy, despite the fact that they have some great potential.

Now, this is NOT a one-size-fits-all set of suggestions. While I’m hoping that something in here might help you figure out how to start fixing the problem, ultimately I want to tell you this: Don’t give up hope! I was a fan fiction writer of some hard-core and mostly soft-core pornographic stuff from the time I was 19 until I was about 29-ish. Just like that, I gave it up cold turkey. (For the record, that wasn’t all that I wrote, and I often laced my writing with a spiritual search as well, but it was always there as a side note in my writing.)

Keep your faith firmly planted in God. I mean firmly planted. No matter how frightened you might be, keep praying for your daughter and remember that you love her SO much, imagine how much more God loves her, who created her soul and all the world around her as well.


#4

Thank you for writing all that. I think you’ve given folks some real food for thought, especially about teenage girls’ motivations.

Of course, it should be emphasized that there are plenty of people who write totally clean stories in these fandoms, just as there are still plenty of romance novels that are totally clean. (If you know where to look.) But since there is so much sex in romance novels and regular novels these days, you sometimes have to do a lot of looking around to find the G and PG stuff in fandoms as well.

Sigh. It’s depressing. But that’s human nature for you.


#5

[quote="Mintaka, post:4, topic:183134"]
Thank you for writing all that. I think you've given folks some real food for thought, especially about teenage girls' motivations.

Of course, it should be emphasized that there are plenty of people who write totally clean stories in these fandoms, just as there are still plenty of romance novels that are totally clean. (If you know where to look.) But since there is so much sex in romance novels and regular novels these days, you sometimes have to do a lot of looking around to find the G and PG stuff in fandoms as well.

Sigh. It's depressing. But that's human nature for you.

[/quote]

Absolutely. A lot of people who write the best X-rated stuff will also turn around and write the best G and PG (or PG-13 if there's violence) rated stuff. The trouble is separating the dross from the cream. Figuratively speaking of course.

Sometimes if you know the main motivations behind this kind of writing, you can intervene and steer kids onto the right track.

One thing that caught my attention was that some mothers who wrote adult fan fiction in the fandoms would get their daughters involved in writing "gen" stories, letting them be involved in the fandom along with them, but requiring their stuff be PG-13 at best. That was about when I realized that the main reason I was into fan fiction was I loved the feel of community and the feel of approval for my writing. I do love to write, but there's a sense of not writing inside a bubble, and that's what changed things for me - writing for or with someone. Getting girls involved in that community feeling, without them being encouraged to write smut, will be a bigger draw away from writing porn than yelling at them. And once they have a motive to wirte clean stuff, then you tackle the issue of sex and masturbation, when it's not such a heavy thing on their minds. They'll be more receptive.

But that's just my theory.


#6

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