by Annabeth Leong
Thanks so much for hosting me today!
I’ve spent this week on tour for my recent release One Flesh, talking about wedding nights and virginity, and in some ways dancing around the heart of this book. While I care very much about the meaning and politics of what I’ve been saying, I wrote One Flesh for a very specific (and perhaps socially unacceptable) reason. To put it baldly, I wanted to write a story about fisting. While it’s always been a turn-on for me, it’s often considered an extreme act, and even though it’s mentioned in the story’s blurb, I find myself reluctant sometimes to admit what a central role it plays.
One Flesh was originally written for an anthology my publisher was planning—a book all about fisting. Not only did I think that was a hot concept, I was attracted to the way the publisher’s call for submissions talked about this act. They emphasized the deep emotion and trust involved, the preparation, and the aftercare. They talked about how the act ought to be very significant for the main characters’ relationship. I loved all that because it gets to the essence of what I find interesting and significant about writing erotica. To me, sex is a deeply transformative act. The things people do in bed reveal their deepest secrets and expose and shape who they are. So many times, sexual experiences—good and bad—leave a person forever changed. I was very interested in the power of fisting and the loveliness of the trust it involves.
I can’t really talk about this without mentioning Deborah Addington’s incredible book A Hand in the Bush: The Fine Art of Vaginal Fisting. This is in many ways an odd and quirky book. It’s written with strange exuberant language that seems to come from a different time. It also expresses deep appreciation and fascination with the female body. I don’t think anything else I’ve read has put across such an utter, unwavering love of women and womanhood, and I value that intensely.
Before reading Addington’s book, I’ll confess that I sometimes thought of fisting as if it belonged in the realm of porn. She changed that for me. After reading A Hand in the Bush, my first thought was, “I have to try that,” and my second was a more incoherent sense of the grace and awesome power of letting another human inside the body in such a deep and significant way.
So it was clear to me that my fisting story needed to be about marriage, and that’s what One Flesh is. That anthology ended up not coming together, and so you see my little novella as it stands now, a story on its own. It’s one of my favorite stories, though, because it’s been my chance to write about something I find utterly hot and emotional all at once. I know sex is like that, but too many times I’m tempted to divide the two. One Flesh is about union—between the main characters, Leticia and Rosalie, but also between the physical and emotional aspects of a relationship, which are all too often separated.
Leticia and Rosalie are planning their wedding, wanting very much to make their special day one to remember, but Rosalie has something else weighing on her mind, one more thing she wants to make as special and as memorable as the ceremony itself—their wedding night. Rosalie wants to be with Leticia in a way that neither of them had ever been with anyone else. But finding something that would be a first time for both of them turns out to be harder than expected.
As it turns out, there is one thing Leticia has wanted to do but has never trusted anyone enough to allow herself to overcome the fear of it. And it’s something that Rosalie has never done either.
The women discuss the idea of fisting as a means of connecting and forming an intimate bond with each other, one that they’ve never formed with anyone else. They’ve never loved or trusted anyone else they way the love and trust each other, and they are determined to find a way to make it work.
“I’ll call tomorrow to tell the church how many flowers we want to order,” Leticia said, sighing and folding her notebook closed. No matter how many neat lists she made with her favorite purple pen, the sheer quantity of wedding-related details was overwhelming. “Can you call the caterer back, Rosalie? I still feel like they sneaked a charge in somewhere, but I can’t get a straight answer out of them about it.”
Her fiancée smiled indulgently. “Better yet. I’ll go in person on my lunch break, and they won’t know what hit them.”
“Great.” Leticia rubbed her temples and closed her eyes. She’d wanted to go to bed early, but another evening of wedding planning had made that completely impossible. She was excited to be marrying her one true love and all, but it was easy to lose track of that when she had fourteen phone calls to make and her mother demanded an e-mailed progress report every single night. “That’s got to be enough for now.”
Leticia stole a quick glance at Rosalie. She’d changed into a cute pair of pajamas when she got home from work, the childish pattern an odd contrast with her sophisticated coppery makeup. Leticia briefly fantasized about peeling the clothing away, revealing her lover’s curves and smooth brown skin. Unfortunately, at that very same moment, she had to stifle a yawn. She was so damn sleepy. They would need to get to bed immediately if she was going to give Rosalie proper attention.
“We can’t quit planning yet,” Rosalie said. “We haven’t discussed the most important thing, and it’s coming up soon.”
Leticia groaned. She flipped her notebook open again and paged through her color-coded, highlighted lists. “We’ve talked about everything I had listed for the day, and we even went over things that have deadlines coming up in the next few days. I don’t see what we’re—”
“The wedding night,” Rosalie purred. “We haven’t discussed that at all.”
There was no mistaking the sparkle in her eyes. Leticia actually blushed, the way she had at Rosalie’s makeup counter the first time they met, when the other woman’s soft words of praise, roughened by the obvious desire in her voice, had gotten Leticia so hot and flushed it had been impossible to identify the correct shade of foundation for her skin tone. She’d been forced to come back later, not that she’d minded.
Now that she’d figured out what Rosalie was hinting at, Leticia played innocent. For all her lover’s passion, her Catholic upbringing had left her with an adorable aversion to using direct language. Leticia loved to watch Rosalie get flustered while trying to explain her naughty desires. She batted her eyelashes and focused on her notes again. “We’ve reserved our hotel room the night of. We’ve got our plane tickets to Puerto Rico for the honeymoon a couple days after that. Everything appears to be in order.”
“The wedding night,” Rosalie said, apparently oblivious to Leticia’s teasing. She rolled her hands through the air, one over the other, the gesture an invitation to take the word “night” and run with it. “The whole reason I wanted an afternoon wedding was so we could have plenty of time together. Afterward. In the hotel.”
“You mean to take a good, long nap? I’m sure we’ll be tired after dealing with all the guests, and coming down from pre-wedding nerves, too.” Leticia couldn’t resist continuing the act.
“Not a nap. But I am talking about what we might do in bed.”
Storm Moon Press: http://www.stormmoonpress.com/books/One-Flesh.aspx
Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors—dark, romantic, kinky, vanilla, straight, lesbian, bi, and menage. Her lesbian stories have appeared in the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Lesbian Cops, Circlet Press’s love-spell anthology Like Hearts Enchanted, Lovecraftian erotica book Whispers In Darkness, and others. When not writing erotica, she is frequently reading it. She has lived in six states in various parts of the United States, and traveled to most of the others. Annabeth believes passionately in freedom of speech, rights for people of all sexual orientations, and the need for compassionate religion. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking, and excellent bass lines.