What Made Her Want a World of Sex, Lies, Injustice and Danger?

 

When it comes to fiction, I don’t shy away from exploring shocking subjects. As a reader, I like books that challenge my core beliefs, make me think a little differently, scare me just a touch. From the psychology behind school shootings to the life of a child killer, from stories about drug addiction to understanding what it’s like to be condemned to life on death row – I find the suspicious, the eerie, the cunning and the criminal elements of the world we live in incredibly fascinating. So far, during the research of my own stories, I’ve delved into sex crimes, children who kill their parents, murder in the workplace and manipulation within families to name just a few. And it’s been an incredible thrill, although sometimes, of course, it’s hard. Some of what I write is funny, darkly so; the rest is serious entertainment for people with similar interests to myself. Everything I write has a subtle message, a very subtle message hidden deep beneath the storyline. The messages are my way of gently communicating what I like or don’t like about the society we live in.

But when I started thinking about writing something set in the world of online porn, I didn’t really know where to begin. I’m not even sure what attracted me to the subject in the first place. I think maybe the anger that young people (sometimes children) are trafficked into such a destructive business, coerced into becoming sex slaves – I think that really affected me deeply at a subconscious level and then I just kept finding my way back to that theme and felt this overwhelming need to say something about it through my work. But where to start? I don’t have any personal experience of the industry. I don’t (think I) know anyone in it. Yet I really wanted to write about it. So I took a risk. I sat down and closed my eyes. I imagined myself as a young man trapped living with his traditional parents, a man who doesn’t have the social skills to meet local women and pursue them sexually, yet who has a sexual appetite that he cannot suppress any longer. I imagined him logging on to a sexually explicit website while his parents were out shopping, browsing the content, maybe signing up under a pseudonym and then I imagined watching a video he decided to watch and on his screen I saw a pretty Chinese girl posing naked for her new client.

Her name was Opal and this is what I wrote about her:

Fresh-faced, naive and fearful, new girl Opal Sang arrives at Sex Media. She is originally from rural China, but her last few weeks have been spent travelling, hoping and being disappointed. She steps off the bus that brought her from Datong where a distant cousin let her sleep on the floor until she found an alternative and enters the unfamiliar building, eyes flitting from point to point. Both Opal’s parents died in a recent earthquake. Since then, she has searched far and wide for work and lodgings, but with no close family to rely upon, and no distant relatives willing to feed her because they are also poor, she has ended her search here. And her sweet, intensely innocent looks and submissive temperament will make her one of the most sought after girls in this building in no time.

As Opal steps through the entrance doors holding a small bag containing a few clothes, a pair of talking guards quieten as they look at her. She is only fifteen and desperate to earn enough of her own money to survive. After attempts to find a cleaning job in Beijing failed, she came here – only certain industries will employ a girl her age – and Opal keeps reminding herself that her choice is a good one. Her aim, for the time being, is simply to try to please the manager (they say he’s American) because if she can do that, surely everything will be alright? However optimistic on the outside, though, she is deeply wary, but desperately trying to hide an innocent fear.

I know there is a proven link between internet pornography, prostitute use and illegal trafficking between countries of adults who resemble children, or of children themselves. In general, overseas sex workers will be less able to cope financially and are more likely to accept poor conditions and I wanted to explore this situation more thoroughly, so I did lots of research. Perhaps out of desperation, these people may be keen to please those in charge and may offer to perform the more degrading services requested by paying customers – and this links right back to internet pornography, which was frightening and intriguing at the same time. Watching degrading activities online makes some porn users want to experience them in reality. I thought carefully about this and where it seemed to be leading me. As a writer tackling tough issues knowledge is one thing, but understanding is another. What mattered when I wrote Sex Media was whether I really understood what my characters were going through. I wanted to feel the way Opal felt when she realised she had been lied to about her new ‘job’. I wanted to be fearful when I heard the boss’ footsteps coming down the corridor and joyous when I thought I might escape the trap he’d laid for me. I like to think I’ve written something worth reading when I cry the tears of the characters.


If you’d like to find out more about the book, why not take a look at the full Sex Media storyline? You can also discover the best regrets: an exploration of freedom, fear and feeling good, what I mean by sex before books or find out when a kiss with a fist isn’t better than none. For all other fiction, click here.End of post

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