Pornography is another country, they do things differently there. Sometimes very differently. Sometimes with improbable objects. Sometimes with animals, for crying out loud (and they do that, too). And whilst during my teenage years I admittedly made an occasional tentative trip over the border to observe the quaint native customs and get my passport stamped, as it were, it is not a country I have visited in some time.
What? It's true! Stop looking at me like that! Oh, like you haven't. Don't come the wide-eyed Sunday-schooler with me. It's not like I don't know what you get up to behind closed doors. Uh-huh? Care to let me browse through your history file, then? I thought not. Pervert.
Inadequate protestations of innocence aside, there are some areas in which my knowledge is (and I'm ok with this, quite frankly) rather lacking. Now I ain't no prude: I know what to expect from smutty movies and naughty magazines; as an art historian, I've had to study thousands of images, ownership of which, though they are now considered masterpieces, would just a few hundred years ago have earned you not just disapproving looks from your Mum but possibly the attention of local religious authorities (the Church having pioneered the use of improbable objects and their varied applications). However, erotic literature has not only been a closed book to me, but one in which the pages are suspiciously stuck together.
Until now. My sources deep within the seamy world of book merchandising have happily fixed this deficiency in my education by placing in my hands the Erotic Key (no, that's not a euphemism - get your minds out of the gutter), the ultimate guide to pornographic literature - used in leading bookstores across the country, and now presented here for your edification and amusement.
I kid you not - there really is an Erotic Key. Publishers of erotica helpfully include a series of small but graphic symbols on the spines of their products, allowing the discriminating customer to choose a book which will best cater to his or her personal fetish. The elements appearing on this pornographic periodic table are as follows:
-Corporal Punishment - traditional
-Corporal Punishment - modern (there is a difference?)
-Uniforms ("Step out of the vehicle please, m'am.")
-Rope Bondage/Hojujutsu (I haven't dared look up the meaning of this word - braver readers are invited to type it into a search engine and report back).
-Period Setting (the sort of Jane Austen you wished was taught in Lit 101)
-Medical (and here the mind boggles)
-Fem Dom (pornography is an equal opportunity exploiter)
-Sex Rituals (uh.....huh)
Of course, rather than having to pick just one category, one can mix and match. I am told, for example, that vampire smut is very popular, incorporating as it does Period Setting, Willing Captivity, and Sex Rituals. Mysteriously, however, erotica in which the protagonist is a Scot tend to be bestsellers - is it all those sporrans? all that caber tossing? One can do no better than to paraphrase Ambrose Bierce upon his discovery of the merkin, and ask: how can such things be?
Those of you who are especially curious should check out further titles that are available wherever hilariously bad books are sold. Truthfully, I'm unsure how anyone can stop laughing long enough to get turned on.
But there: now you, too, possess the Erotic Key, and can explore the deviancies and fetishes available in your local bookstore to your hearts content. You sickoes. I myself shall stick to more wholesome titillations. Like pigs - pink, grunty, and...oh! those curly tails...
Ahem. Excuse me.