It doesn’t matter how strange you are. The human race is very large, and there are people out there who are like you and who will like you.

Simeon Solomon\'s Sappho and Erinna in a Garden at Mytilene

The real question is not whether they are out there, but how to find them. I’ve long asserted that publication of erotica is not just about expression, but association, a means of forming part of civil society and overcoming personal loneliness. I have yet to tire of enlarging on this point.

Publishing erotic art of whatever kind is actually a pretty good way to find them, especially if you’re weird. It’s unfortunate, but for the most part we live in a society not terribly friendly to kink, and so frank expressions of unusual turn-ons are likely to get you into trouble. But if you can put yourself on the line and manage to get the fantasies out of your head, you are doing two things simultaneously. You are making a friendly gesture and providing a bit of happiness to people who are like you, and you are also identifying yourself as someone they would like to talk to. You are reaching out to people and showing them that they are not alone, and that you are committed to a common interest by having put in time, effort, and resources, to something that will make them happy. Many great friendships have started over less.

(It is also possible that if you identify yourself as interested in something that you’ll find people who want to play with you. In candor I cannot speak to this possibility all that directly myself if only because the thing I’m into can’t — or shouldn’t — be realized in real life. Your situation might be different, because there is a galaxy of things that you can be into — and it can be anything from an interest in exotic edible oils to speaking Russian in bed to re-enacting scenes from Stephen Douglas’s Slaveworld stories — that you can realize with the right partners. And if that’s the case, awesome! I hope you get together with like-minded people and have a blast. Although if you do want to go the Slaveworld route, please make sure to keep it safe, sane, and consensual.)

Also worth nothing is that there are lots of people out there who not only have common interests with you, but who will be interested in being creative partners, and that too is a rewarding form of friendship. If you’re a writer you will want to find artists and vice versa, and working together with the right sort of people you can experience a form of mutual enrichment.

When you publish, you show the world your individuality. Not the phony simulacrum of “individuality” you get through social networking sites, where you check the boxes as to what cheesy pop-cultural phenomena you “like.” You are rather putting something unique into the world, something that’s not just a formula for the convenience of corporate marketers. Remember that your friends aren’t internet persons who “friend” you. They’re people who really care about who you are.

So assert that you are human. Create!

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