I’m trying to write porn. It’s not going very well. My goal was to write some erotica and make millions of dollars but all I’ve scribbled so far is Fifty Shades of Dismay.

A girl I know writes erotica in her novels and said she gets quite turned on as she types. In stark contrast my writing makes me feel newly pregnant (you know, a little bit nauseous.) Rather than being an aphrodisiac my writing is more of a chastity belt.

I think there are several problems with my sexual literary tome; my characters, my plots … and the fact that I’m a prude. The prude bit is not my fault, it’s definitely my mum’s. She’s the one who taught me about ‘Willy’s and What Nots’ using a frozen pink doughnut and a zucchini wrapped in a clingwrap condom secured with a bulldog clip.

However it’s my fault that I’ve subsequently parlayed my learned prudishness into my writing. Unfortunately not because the style is reminiscent of a ‘librarian ready to rip her dark rimmed bi-focals from her otherwise hidden seductive eyes’, but more because of my complete inability to talk or write about sex with any frankness, openness or words currently used in the English vernacular.

To this day I can’t even say the ‘p’ word ( penis) or the ‘v’ word (vagina). And I can’t imagine ever, ever using terms like ‘throbbing member’ or ‘pendulous breasts’ or describing any level of arousal in a ‘pp’ (private part).

The other problem is that I actually don’t find erotic sexual clichés arousing. Some women don’t. Rather than being turned on by the thought of being hurled about like we’re auditioning as gymnasts for Cirque Du Soleil, we want complete silence and no distractions whatsoever (so that we can concentrate on sucking our stomachs in while willing our bosoms to rise and be pert.)

I know I may be out of the loop (I’m possibly at the age where the greatest advantage of sex is that it allows me to check the ceiling for cobwebs). But apparently there’s an epidemic of people tying each other up and saying ‘Do it to me big boy’ and I just don’t understand this.

I mean surely it’s exciting the first time you hang from the chandelier wearing nothing but a moose head, but the second time isn’t it all a bit hum drum (unless the chandelier falls)?

Isn’t it the unpredictable, the out of the norm, the surprise that’s exciting? Surely that’s why the apparent biggest turn on is sex with a stranger.

In fact scientific studies have shown that no matter what sexual extravagance you pursue it will become dull and need to be regularly upgraded. A guy I heard about was into S & M and in his quest for ‘the new and arousing’ went, in just a few short months, from being tied to the bed with elaborate knots, to tying his own ‘p’ ( penis) in a bow.

I’ve tried watching porn films and videos to get inspiration but the online sites created by amateurs have all the class and eroticism of raw sausages wrestling. And the professional videos are worse.

They do a disservice to all men and women because the females’ overzealous and often inappropriate moaning and groaning has made generations of males feel this is normal female sexual behaviour, thus forcing many a simple woman to perform sexually at home as though she were having an exorcism.

Yes, there’s definitely something stopping me from writing hot blooded, sweaty literature about ‘fb’s (front bottoms.) In fact I find myself so reluctant to write about sex that my novel so far is 300 pages long and I’m still establishing the lead characters who haven’t actually met. If they were casting the film version at this point the lead would be played by Dame Judi Dench.

My friends have suggested I need to abandon the sexual clichés and write about the fantasies of people like them. Reluctantly I’ve decided to give it a go. So far the story revolves around a Latino pool cleaner whose shirt gets so wet he has to take it off. He comes into the house and puts it in the dryer. While he waits for the cycle to finish he prepares a meal of salted hot chips and chocolate coated chocolate. He puts it on the kitchen bench, does the washing up and then leaves. Alone, the woman of the house eats the entire meal and doesn’t gain a gram.

It’s a perfect female fantasy! Though I do confess some chocolate does accidentally dribble onto her ‘c word’ (chin).



* cover image via


Virgin on Ridiculous

To Thine Own Self Be True

How to Say ‘I Love You’

My Friend is a Kept Woman

There’s a Bloke In My Freezer

Looking for Love… It Begins.


*Gretel has written more then twenty books, worked as a journalist, radio host, TV host, voice artist, stand up comic, film director and doco maker, and has proudly raised her now adult children as a single mum. Gretel is a communications adviser with Gretel Killeen Communications. This is the first in a series of stories about searching for the meaning of life. You can follow her on twitter @gretelkilleen.

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  • Reply November 9, 2012


    Oh honey, on so many levels I agree and truly love your article. But deep down I think your having sex with all the wrong people!

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    I think I love your final fantasy about the pool guy. Definitely does it for me!!

    As for the 50 Shades saga, I must be one of the few people that hasn’t read them. I’m actively boycotting them as all I’ve heard is that the writing is terrible.

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    LOL. Anyway~ Gretel can I suggest you learn another language besides English for your project? If you know another language already~experiment with that…

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    OMG you are so funny! LOL totally

    And confession time…I enjoyed reading all three Shades. There I’ve said it

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    That was a good laugh! The washing up and exit senario is utterly delicious. Just what this woman wants but we know we can never get what we really want. I haven’t ventured into the 50 Shades at all and don’t intend too. I’m not into domestic violence and delusions of grandeur. And that moaning and gyrating that woman are seen to be doing in the movies is sooooooo boring. What’s that do for 70% of women who do not experience vaginal orgasm??? Absolutely nothing! Ah the myths of male centred sex…..

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    Classic Gretel.
    Maybe you could try letting your partner look at the cobwebs – a view view could be inspiring lol!
    Love the washing up bit – hubby’s caught onto that – which now means ‘domestic bliss’ has a new meaning in our house!

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    Recently I stood in Myer and skimmed a couple of pages of Fifty Shades of S**t: it really is just badly sexed up Mills and Boon. Which, I must confess, is my occasional dirty secret: I discovered M&B yonks ago when doing my final English Lit exams (note how I have established my intellectual credibility here…not… hey, I was seeking some “light relief” from Samuel Richardson, eurgh). A couple of years ago, in a moment of weakness, I rang Helen Razer on talkback when she innocently asked what people had been reading. I’d just had a good long soak in the bath with a, you guesed it, Mills and Boon – complete with throbbing maleness, hair roughened forearms etc etc. We had a good giggle anyway: but, as with Gretel Killeen, when Helen asked me the sweaty specifics – I COULDN”T bring myself to utter the words.

  • Reply November 9, 2012


    I. Like. How. When. You . Read. This.
    The. Little. Voice. In. Your. Head. Takes. Pauses.

    Or in other words, there is a big difference in the way I experience a porn video (visual) and the written equivalent (prefer the written stuff as the pictures are so much more vibrant).
    Before you can capture erotica I suspect you need to experience it with greater intensity.

  • Reply November 10, 2012

    Tony W

    “I’m trying to write porn. It’s not going very well. My goal was to write some erotica”

    There’s your problem Gretel. You don’t seem to acknowledge the difference:

    Pornography: “printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity.”

    Erotica: “literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire.”

    Pornography is all about genitalia and copulation – Erotica is much more cerebral. To me it’s like comparing comics and books – one is comical and cliché ridden, the other gets your imagination working. One has cartoon characters, the other has real characters. In short – one is for kids, the other is for adults!

    The aim with erotica is to avoid descending into pornography, ie. avoid explicit descriptions of genitalia and copulation. Adults don’t need an anatomy lesson!

    Being a prude is an advantage, because you’re already uncomfortable with explicit descriptions. Some of the most successful erotic novels ever written employ euphemisms throughout. Remember – it’s Art, not Anatomy! It’s an exploration of human sexuality, not the human body!

    I agree with Tracy there are some issues around the objectification of women, but I guess that’s another discussion. Interestingly some of the most successful erotic novelists in recent times have been women.

    Anyway Gretel, you’ll know when you’re doing it right like your friend – “she gets quite turned on as she types”! And yes, you can have the man do the washing up before he leaves. Whatever turns you on!

  • Reply November 10, 2012


    Your pool boy sounds dah -vine Gretel. My cheekiest erotic fantasy at the moment is having Michael Fassbender serve me a steam hot cup of tea while I’m watching Mad Men Season 5. You guess it – I’ve got pre-school kids.

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    Verity Marshall

    My controversial new book, HARD MONEY – The naked truth behind the red light, may be of interest.

    Short stories straight from the whore’s, oops horse’s mouth. HARD MONEY – The naked truth, has sex drugs and ‘Bra Boys’! OUT SOON!

  • Reply November 12, 2012

    Verity Marshall

    Short stories straight from the whore’s oops horse’s mouth. HARD MONEY – The naked truth behind the red light, has sex drugs and ‘Bra Boys’!

  • Reply November 16, 2012


    I saw the headline and started reading and loving it. I thought who is the hilarious writer? I checked and of course, it’s Gretel one of my favourite hoopla gals. You could write a fantastic spoof such as the Fifty Shades of Sheds that has just been published. I stole a Mrs Woog line – fifty shades of grey hair – for the title of a short story I wrote. Sex is fun and funny. I am writing this in the supermarket carpark while my man does the weekly shopping. Baby he is hot.

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