Tuesday, August 14, 2012

GUEST POST: Tentacles and Sensuality - Two complementary flavors

Tentacles and Sensuality: Two complementary flavors.
by Elizabeth Hyder

One thing that one is always, always going to find in erotica is sensuality. Whether it's the sight of smooth muscle sliding under skin, the musky scent of bodies, the slide of fingers on sweat-slick skin, the taste of semen on the tongue, or the sounds of lovemaking, from low moans to the slap of flesh on flesh—sensory input is one thing that gets readers going, and it's always found in spades in erotica.

When I was writing the initial blurb for the All Wrapped Up anthology from Storm Moon Press, I asked some friends what it was about tentacles that made them want to read it. Myself, I tend to be a fan of things that push limits: xeno, dub/non-con, brainwashing/mind control, etc. My friends came up with interesting responses, though; they were able to dissect the reasons that they liked tentacles in a manner that I had not previously considered.

There's the xenophilia aspect, they said, but there's also the sensuality aspect.

Sensuality? I asked. It wasn't something I'd really associated with tentacle sex, up until then, though my mind was already racing with possibilities: the feelings were different. The comparatively rough feeling of human skin verses the soft, smooth, slick feeling of a tentacle's skin. The soft yet firm feeling of fleshy tentacles or the supple flexibility of vine-tentacles verses the callouses of fingers and hands and the distinct feeling of digits, of fingernails. Tentacles, without a doubt, have sensuality in spades.

But my friends' responses surprised me: Just the all-encompassing feeling, you know? With tentacles, your lover can fill you up completely. Every hole you have can be filled, plus you can have tentacles wrapped around your arms, your wrists—everywhere at once!

And that was when the light went on: tentacles are often about dealing with overwhelming sensations. Being touched in so many places at once, completely engulfed in what one's body is feeling, no chance to stop and catch one's thoughts, no chance for anything but passion and pleasure.

Oh yeah, I thought. Tentacles are hot as hell. Sensual, sensuous, sensitive... anything connected to the senses that I could think of, there was some way that tentacles lived up to the word. So now, whenever tentacles come to mind, I imagine the character whose lover knows what they like and is willing to deliver, willing to buy them a one-way ticket to the realm of the senses and see them happily on their way.

I think about the differences in feelings, too: fingers grabbing or tendrils wrapping, slick, cool, long, and curved verses warm, short, bony, and dry... the list goes on and on when it comes to the differences sensation-wise between humans and tentacles. And with the number of different types of tentacles—vines, fleshy, tapered or uniform, magic—there's no end to the sensations tentacles can evoke.

There's the idea of complete differentness, or xenophilia, and of giving in or accepting that differentness, and that is what I am going to talk about tomorrow over at Book Wenches! Thank you for having me here at Bending the Bookshelf; I know I am in good company!

All Wrapped Up, Now available from Storm Moon Press for just $6.99! Order in paperback directly from SMP and get double the reader reward points toward free books!

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