Kristina Lloyd

Erotic Fiction Author

Eroticon 2014: porn, politics, powerplay and Pinot Grigio

BB2014aWhen the opening panel of a conference comprises a writer, a pornographer and a lawyer, you know you’re set for an intelligent, stimulating weekend. And sure enough Eroticon 2014, proved itself to be exactly that.

I arrived in Bristol on Friday and spent the evening at the meet ‘n’ greet, hanging out with a mix of familiar and unfamiliar names and faces. The atmosphere was buzzing. In a neat bonding moment, a bunch of us from various parts of the world offered up our pronunciation of the word, ‘cunt’. Who knew there were so many permutations?

Saturday morning’s opening discussion on censorship was a reminder that as writers and kinsters, we’re working within structures limiting diversity of sexual expression. Zak Jane Keir, Pandora Blake and Myles Jackman all spoke on the topic with eloquence, passion and wit, and emphasized the absurdity of many of the constraints, both legal and otherwise, which shape our sexual culture. As Zak said, ‘If censorship is the answer, it was a fucking stupid question.’

Eroticon 2014 featured many, many wonderful talks, workshops, conversations and massive glasses of Pinot Grigio. Well, mine did! Among my personal highlights were Ashley Lister’s fascinating and fun workshop on popular plot structures; the session on working your website from Ruby Goodnight and DomSigns; Cressida Downing and Barbara Cardy’s Q and A on editing; and the incredibly moving and hot ‘Sacred BDSM’ demo from London Faerie and his partner, Marti. I must confess, I approached this demo with a degree of caution. While I recognise that kink, ritual, ecstasy and pain-play can generate altered states of consciousness, as a pragmatist and atheist, I tend to steer clear of applying concepts such as ‘spiritual’and ‘sacred’ to experiences I regard as having a physiological and psychological basis. However, when London Faerie took to the stage, promised not to get too Tantric, and reassured us that as a couple, they also like it rough, I was won over. A short while later, I was gripped.

I’ve seen a fair few BDSM demos and workshops in my time but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. A brief ceremonial collaring was followed by a head-shaving (she did him); some flogging and spanking; beautiful singing; frisky business with a Hitachi wand; and oh my word, throughout there was some seriously hot kissing action. I was particularly struck by the shaving. Marti’s use of foam and razor on the sides of her partner’s Mohican was a lovely counterbalance to his later application of pain to her body; and though it was presented as an example of domestic servitude, I primarily saw the shaving as a sign of his willingness to trust and to be made vulnerable by allowing her to run a sharp implement over his scalp in a task that affects his physical appearance, even if only slightly. The description I want to use for the whole demo is the somewhat oxymoronic ‘solidly tender’. It was a wonderful illustration of mutuality within power exchange, and the intense, emotional ‘connectedness’ BDSM can both engender and sustain. I wish my clone could have attended the earlier session on Sex and Spirituality from K D Grace and Victoria Blisse. It sounds as if discomfort with the term ‘spirituality’ was a topic the panel and audience explored. Goddamn lazy-arsed clone!

On Sunday morning, in the post-cocktail-party, hangover slot, I ran a two hour workshop on flash fiction. I loved doing this, and my attendees were fantastically engaged, smart and enthusiastic, and no one seemed particularly the worse for wear. One of the benefits of workshopping the very short form is the ability to use whole examples in class. Beforehand, I’d asked Janine Ashbless and Molly Moore if they’d be kind enough to read pieces of theirs which I adore. Molly read Autumn, Leaves, her entry in one of Alison Tyler’s Smut Marathon rounds, while Janine read Picture Perfect from the Eroticon 2012 anthology. Much gratitude to these amazing women for sharing their work, and to my attendees for offering such insightful, considered observations on the two stories.

rsz_eroticon-2014-badge-greyIn the second half of the workshop, we played Flash Fuck Bingo (I corrupted a national treasure!) then did a couple of practical, idea-generating exercises based around the names of nail polish colours and posh paints from Farrow and Ball (don’t tell them!). Afterwards, a number of people approached me to say they now had story ideas they were eager to work on – and to my mind, that makes the workshop a success!

The conference concluded late on Sunday afternoon with high tea and an hour or so of entertaining and sexy erotica readings, hosted by the delightful duo, Harper Eliot and Gryphon, who somehow manage to be serene and silly all at the same time. I like their style! I was last on the bill, and closed the session by reading Mad Ghosts of Lust, one of my short shorts in Alison Tyler’s anthology, Sudden Sex. Then, happy and exhausted, a bunch of us decamped to the nearest pub for more wine. We managed to deplete the pub of its Pinot supplies in less than two hours but I think that was their fault rather than ours. Honest!

This year’s conference had a clear, strong, writing focus, and offered a super mix of sessions while maintaining thematic cohesion. As ever, when dirty wordsmiths get together, the atmosphere was warm, friendly, fun, liberating and supportive. Inevitably I didn’t get chance to meet and chat to all the people I wanted to, nor did I see as much as Bristol as I’d hoped. But that’s primarily because I was swept up in the content of Eroticon, and the weekend whizzed by.

I’m left in awe of the organiser, Ruby Kiddell, who not only puts these events together but manages to remain elegant, charming and calm throughout. Eroticon will be back in the UK in 2016, and across the pond in Atlanta in 2015. If you get the chance to attend, GO!

March 12, 2014 - Posted by | Kristina Lloyd | , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. I need a clone too! So much to do, so little time. Lovely to catch up with you over a noodle butty! ;)

    Comment by Victoria Blisse | March 12, 2014 | Reply

    • Haha, I had forgotten the noodle butty! Food was fab. Lovely to see you and to hear those Northern tones!

      Comment by Kristina Lloyd | March 12, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] Kristina Lloyd – Eroticon 2014 […]

    Pingback by Sex and censorship | Spanked, Not Silenced | March 20, 2014 | Reply

  3. […] March this year, Kristina Lloyd ran an excellent erotica workshop about how to spark up ideas for flash fiction pieces. Her suggestion? Nail polishes have cool […]

    Pingback by Polished | Sex blog (of sorts) | June 27, 2014 | Reply


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