I published my first BDSM story on the Internet on 28 February 2008 on BDSMLibrary.com. In the last two years, I have published 20 stories, totaling 330,000 words.
This gives me a certain visibility.
Conventional wisdom says that a woman who publishes pornography on the Internet is going to be plagued by pests. Perverts are going to be crawling out of the virtual woodpile hounding her with all manner of crude suggestions, night and day.
In my experience, conventional wisdom is false. I have had over a hundred fan letters and none of them were rude or obnoxious. I haven’t counted, but maybe a quarter of them have asked, politely, if I have experienced the things that I write about. I interpret this as the opening query that could lead to a suggestion for some kind of personal relationship. But when I respond that I don’t practice what I preach, that I’m married and am happy with a vanilla sex life, no one has tried to press me any further. Certainly I have not experienced the kind of horror stories about cyberstalking that abound in the mainstream press.
Not only have my fans been courteous and considerate, but they have been exceptionally helpful. Two of them even volunteered to spent many, many hours editing some of my earlier stories. When I suggested that I would like to acknowledge their contribution, as anonymous editors if they preferred to keep their on-line identities private, they declined my offer. Apparently they were happy to contribute to improving the overall quality of pornographic writing on the Internet and did not need a public acknowledgment of my appreciation.
The one exception to the courteous responses that I have received is a FaceBook message that I quote in its entirety: “ican c that you are a sex slave, I wanna make you mine. Where can I find you”. My reply, “Have you read my stories?” seems to have discouraged him from further communication. Possibly someone who is unable to write grammatically is not an enthusiastic reader. Or maybe it’s going to take him a while to read more than 330,000 words and he’ll get back to me eventually — hopefully much better informed about my attitudes toward sex, marriage, and kink.
Reflecting on my experiences, I’m intrigued by the possibility that the BDSM community, exemplified by readers of BDSMLibrary.com, is more polite and considerate than the population as a whole, as represented on FaceBook. Possibly members of a sexual minority (people with a strong desire for BDSM fantasies are probably about 10 per cent of the population) need to be more careful than most about how they interact with other people about sexual matters. Or possibly people with a BDSM orientation think more about other people’s feelings because that is the foundation of their sexual world. A top who is not exquisitely sensitive to the bottom’s feelings is not going to be successful in the community. He’s just going to be another criminal sociopath.
As much as I love my hypothesis that BDSM folk are better human beings than the population at large, I cannot think of any way to test it empirically. But it certainly fits my personal experience as a BDSM pornography author.
For the sake of full disclosure, I must note that I take reasonable precautions to guard my identity. I do not publish under my real name; and I constantly tell people that, if they know someone named “Ashley Zacharias”, their friend is not me. I use a generic hotmail address for correspondence. I do not publish my physical address or telephone number. And I set my stories in a variety of different cities, from Boston to Cleveland to Las Vegas, so that I am not identified with my home town. If I were to make my real-world identity known, then I might have a different experience with stalkers.
That I’ll never know.