I spent a quarter century writing submissions to the FDA for new medical products. In my late 50s, I read a well-meaning article in the New York Times Book Review by an older erotic writer, urging her sisters to create characters in their 20s, if they wanted to be published. Shades of the Bronte Sisters, writing as the Bell Brothers! The thought of older women writers closeting ourselves was so repugnant that I decided to start writing erotica.
Meanwhile, my second marriage had ended and my sex life was ramping up. Around that time, my friend Lynx Canon started a monthly event called Dirty Old Women, where women over 50 read their erotica to welcoming crowds at a local bookstore. All at once I had the method, motive, and opportunity to launch a different kind of writing career.
The writers at Dirty Old Women are a fun bunch of mutineers, intent on rebelling against the invisibility of older women. Lynx and I soon launched a writing group, Elderotica, and invited our writer friends to join. The guiding principles are simple: Writing is play, we are all brave to write erotica in our older years (so no judgement), and everybody can read or pass as we choose. As member Billie Berlin said, “Why is erotica important at this stage of life? Why not? I’m not dead yet.”
Then I decided to write a book to share the joy of writing erotica with other older women. Aphrodite’s Pen: The Power of Writing Erotica after Midlife blossomed into a complete toolkit for older women interested in erotic writing. It covers how to draw on our extensive knowledge of character and conflict to develop sexy stories, and why we should use erotic writing to increase our visibility and power. The book contains writing activities, interviews with older women who write erotica, and examples of our stories and poems.
Aphrodite’s Pen was published by North Atlantic Books on September 24th, two days shy of my 66th birthday. And what a terrific birthday gift! Launch events on both coasts have been met with enthusiasm. As author and senior sexpert Joan Price says, “Writing erotica is powerful—it can entertain, empower, and excite the writer as well as the reader.”
We are by no means the first older women to write erotica. Erica Jong, Jane Juska, Rae Padilla Francoeur, and others have published inspiring books. But there are not nearly enough of us. If you are a woman in your 50s, 60s, and beyond, please consider joining this marvelous mutiny. Your Elderotica sisters will welcome you.
About Stella Fosse: Stella is an erotica writer, the author of Aphrodite’s Pen: The Power of Writing Erotica after Midlife, and a late bloomer whose erotic life blossomed in her late 50s. Learn more at: StellaFosse.com, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Access a free writing course from Stella on developing a fully realized story here: https://page.stellafosse.com/pop_write.