I read this post by the wonderful Girl on The Net recently, and if you haven’t read it, I can’t recommend strongly enough that you do so.
Stop reading this and go and read her post, then if you can be arsed, you can come back here and finish reading this drivel.
Now, as anyone who follows her knows, GoTN. unlike me, is a woman and she writes freely about her sex life. If you have now read the post, you will have got the fact that while she writes honestly, she may, sometimes inadvertently, sometimes deliberately, change certain things and/or leave certain details out. Does that make what she writes any less true? I don’t think so. And, after all, if she hadn’t told us, we’d all be none the wiser.
Now me, on the other hand, I dress things up. Yes, I can happily ramble on giving you my opinions (whether you want them or not) on everything from pubic hair, to why I enjoy cunnilingus, to why I will never give you a mark out of 10 for your blow-job skills, but when it comes to actual sex; actual people actually fucking, I mostly resort to writing fiction.
Now, I do happen to say on my "About" page:
"My writing is a mixture of experience and imagination in varying proportions."
And this is true. Well, kind of…
Some of my stories actually do correspond pretty closely to actual events. In others, the sex may be based on an actual shag, but I’ve changed the setting or the circumstances that led to it. In others, the sex scenes may be a distillation of the memories of a number of different shags, possibly with different partners, but I have chosen to weave them into one story, one scene.
And, of course, because it’s fiction, no one ever breaks wind when they roll over, the protagonists never spend 5 minutes swearing at each other because her hair has caught in his watch strap, no one ever accidentally gets elbowed or kneed somewhere painful as positions are changed, or gets a dead arm from lying in one position for too long supporting the weight of both partners.
In fiction, even when based on reality, the sex is idealised.
Some sex writers may include such details when regaling us with their real life exploits and adventures. GoTN is wonderfully frank in her writing, and does sometime choose to share snippets of such sex “fails” with us; but if she never alluded to them, would that make her “stories” any less true? In my opinion no. It might make them slightly less funny on occasion, but it doesn’t change the underlying event, in the same way that watching the Match Of The Day highlights doesn’t change the final score.
So, “truth” is true, and fiction can contain truth even when it’s not entirely true. Is one form of writing better than the other? I don’t think so. Even when not related to sex, I enjoy reading non-fiction as much as I enjoy reading fiction. It’s all down to the taste of the reader and the style (or lack thereof in the case of your truly) of the writer.
The truth can sometimes be stranger than fiction, but it can also be closely intertwined with it too.
PS: The book that inspired this was, of course “How a Bad Girl Fell In Love” by none other than Girl on the Net herself.