Amber Chase

‘Sex Stories: A Brief History and Modern Day Introduction’

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‘Sex Stories: A Brief History and Modern Day Introduction’

Since its emergence as a form of written communication, sex stories have steadily grown in popularity in both their production and reading worldwide. Dating as far back as the 3rd century, sex stories have been utilized not just as a means of graphic or pornographic entertainment, but as a literary tool aiding in the exploration of one’s sexuality. In ancient religions, for instance, written and oral accounts of how one obtained sexual pleasure were often part of an individual’s way of achieving self-empowerment, especially for those who had been oppressed or otherwise unequipped to express themselves sexually in other ways.

To this day, sex stories remain an important tool for expressing individual experimentation, desires, and fantasies during sexual interaction. For instance, many readers utilize sex stories to discover and broaden their understanding of a variety of topics including body types, relationships, and societal ideals. Further, sex stories often present a “safe” way to gain knowledge and gain a sense of self-awareness, as they generally provide authors with an anonymous way to explore intimate or otherwise taboo subjects.

The purpose of this article is to provide readers with an overview of both the history and modern-day role of sex stories. Specifically, the following sections will illuminate the evolution of sex stories, their impact on society, and the modern-day washback from sex stories on both individual and collective consciousness.

History of Sex Stories

Sex stories have a long tradition in written works, dating back to the Ancient Mesopotamians, who wrote of “satisfactory intercourse” as early as 2800 BCE. In the Western world, sex stories are known to have originated in Greece and Rome shortly after the invention of the written word, while in Eastern countries, the first references of “erotic literature” date back to 3rd century India.

Since then, sex stories have evolved based primarily on changing cultural norms, as evidenced by the variety of themes used in different eras. For instance, in the medieval period, Christian influences on literature provided an ambivalence to the discussion of sex, visible in the works by the likes of Boccaccio (Decameron), Rabelas (Gargantua and Pantagruel), and other authors. This, in turn, eventually led to the 16th century rise of the ‘courtly love’ narrative, characterized by tales of sexual infidelity, same-sex relations, and the power of the romanticization of illicit activities.

From these origins, sex stories slowly began to take on a more modern shape, expressing the growing influence of attitudes surrounding gender, age, and marriage in Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, Daniel Defoe’s 1719 novel ‘Moll Flanders’ features a female protagonist who juggles her desires of romance and materialism to gain a sense of self-sufficiency. Nineteenth-century authors such as Henry Fielding, Mark Twain, and even Walt Whitman, embraced and wrote of a more open-minded, progressive attitude towards sex, as their published works started to introduce the idea of pre-marital sex and unconventional expressions of attractions.

Impact of Sex Stories on Society

Since the publication of its first stories, sex writing has had a lasting impact on literature, and by extension society, as its explicit accounts have often provided readers with new avenues of exploration and erotic release. By exploring the more forgotten sides of human sexuality, writers of sex stories have challenged traditional mores and expectations around gender roles, relationships, and other topics, providing historians and social scientists insight into the different roles individuals have targeted and adapted throughout time.

Additionally, sex stories have provided an outlet for those who struggle to express their sexual or gender-identity, especially in the deep and complex ways they often have. Through reading, individuals can often gain acceptance, understanding, and a sense of belonging that they may not have obtained through more traditional media outlets or other literature.

Modern-Day Washback of Sex Stories

Today, sex stories still remain a popular genre of literature, utilized both in private and public contexts. While some readers still look to sex stories for an “escape” from the mundane, it often proves to be an essential vehicle for more meaningful reflection and growth. Many writers today are exploring a variety of topics – from discussions surrounding consent, to those that broaden and dictate a new age of sexual liberation.

In short, sex stories can be credited for more than just graphic flings; they often provide profound insight, cultural undertones, and further paths of exploration. On the flip side of its explicitly sexual nature, sex stories today provide society with a chance to both identify and intervene in issues of gender identification, understanding, and acceptance.


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