I attened the Erotic Author's Association conference last weekend. I was a marvellous experience. In particular, I am always impressed by how many of the authors of erotic fiction are women and the way feminism has opened up choices for everyone.

During the conference, I explained that my radical feminist mother taught me: The right to say "No' should also include the right to say 'Yes.'

I thought folks might like to read a segment from an earlier writing where I explained some of that background.

From the "Introduction" to Lesbian Sex Scandals (page 2), by Dawn Atkins (my birth name, though I no longer use it):

Lips pressed together, tongues touching, hands caressing and sweaty bodies – the glorious feeling of touching and being touched by a woman – lesbianism, I have been told, has nothing to do with this. It is primarily a political agenda. The test of a true feminist.

My mother taught me about feminism. Feminism was carrying signs in front a building when the Junior Chamber of Commerce wouldn’t admit girls. Feminism was writing papers about women for history classes. Feminism was marching in ERA demonstrations, even when men threw rocks at us. Feminism was being on call for the rape crisis hotline. Feminism’s goal was equality for everyone. Feminism was my mother supporting and encouraging her four daughters to become strong and independent – and to change the world.

Jackie taught me something else. She taught me that being touched by another was what made it all worthwhile. She taught me the pleasure I could find in the arms of another female body. Feminism was the struggle and strength. Sex was a source of pleasure and comfort.

What of the transformative power of sexual experience? Despite isolation from other lesbigay people in 1970s small town Oklahoma, I knew that I was not straight. Sexual experience, was for me and many others, was a defining moment in my identity. Although this is not true for everyone, we do ourselves, our lovers and our community, great disservice when we dismiss the power of sexual experience to shape our identities.

Did feminism influence my sexuality as well? Yes. My mother taught me feminism included fighting for the right to enjoy love and sex, with whomever I wanted -- and that I should never give over the right to my follow my own heart, mind or body. I think my radical feminist mother was unprepared for the directions her daughter would take these teachings. We are both feminist and she is proud of my work, but where sexual politics are concerned, we often take very different approaches.

Since that was published in 1998, my mother has also come to accept a broader range of approaches to feminism and sexuality, including supporting me as a omni-sexual, gender-queer, polyamorus kinky writer.


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