An Ethical Issue With Erotica

June 22, 2017

So I've been revising my erotic flash fiction collection "Thong of Thongs" (A play on Song of Song, incase anyone didn't get the pun). I'm combing over each story to make sure they're each as strong as possible before I send this hot stack of stories out to potential publishers.

Out of 69 stories (tehe), 8 of them needed major edits and were completely rewritten. It took some time to step back and approach these from a different angle, but I like to think it was worth it.

However, it wasn't until I watched a documentary on HBO, that I started thinking about issues with one of the stories. This story was called "The Red Scare" and it involved Julius and Ethel Rosenberg consummating their love after stealing atomic secrets. These two, innocent or not, have been heavily mythologized.

It wasn't until I watched the 2004 documentary "Heir to an Execution: A Granddaughter's story" that I began to feel guilty about writing this story. The documentary follows the Rosenberg's granddaughter looking for answers, digging through evidence, and talking to family members (both close and estranged).

I learned a few things about the Rosenbergs that I didn't know, which have since changed my view on the story I wrote. The first thing is, they had two sons. I had no idea they existed. But it's when the sons and the granddaughter go back to the family's apartment that made me feel terrible. The eldest son, who was just a little boy at the time, comments that he thought there were two bedrooms, when they're only one. He and his brother shared the room and the parents slept in the living room. To me, this speaks volumes to them as parents and the sacrifice they were willing to make for their children.

This is where the guilt comes from because in my story, the Rosenbergs, they go to the bedroom to have sex, but this would imply that they were doing the deed on their kid's bed. I poke fun at a lot of people and topics in this erotic collection, but looking back, this is the only story that me feel gross (and that's saying something). Knowing this fact, I can't leave the story as it is. So I need to either rework the smaller details on the story, i.e. having them bone on the couch, but at the same time I want redo the whole thing. To think, I would have been fine with the story if I didn't see the documentary. That's what I get for feeding my curiosity.

I'm going to let the story sit for a little while and then come back to it and hit it with a hammer and sickle, and see what sticks.

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