Plus the featured writer of the week

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Sensual: An erotic life is a sex-positive community of poets and essayists working to co-create a place of authenticity, inclusiveness, and healthy sexuality. Below are some of the highlights from the past week, but be sure to check out all of our offerings on our main page.

The featured writer of the week is Edward Riley. Edward is a writer who always brings a lot of himself to the page, but lately he’s really been challenging himself to be even more open, even more vulnerable, and the results are truly stunning. This type of courage not only leads to powerful…


Plus the featured writer of the week

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First a bit of writer news. If you are not a writer, feel free to skip down to the next section with the featured author and the highlights of some of our favorite submissions for the past week.

Well, I have to admit I was a little bit nervous about how the stats for Sensual would do now that we are no longer accepting Erotica, but so far the number of read minutes has remained steady, all except for yesterday when we logged a significant spike of 7,599 read minutes. I’m not entirely sure what that was about. The visitor…


All mammals are reluctant to kill each other

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Most of us have probably bought into the folk saying which originated in Victorian times that nature is "red in tooth and claw,” meaning that animals are completely unsentimental, engaged in indiscriminate killing at will. From there, it’s often extrapolated that humans are really no different from our non-human animal cousins. But as with so many of our cultural narratives, what’s widely believed has little basis in science or fact.

Although aggression does serve a variety of evolutionary functions, varying some from species to species, in general (just as with any behavior) it is designed to maximize benefits and minimize…


These quick and easy steps primarily involve you being yourself

Photo by Tibor Pápai on Unsplash

When I hear men, particularly younger men, talk about the difficulties they have learning how to meet and talk to women, I often want to cringe. Too often they have internalized some strange beliefs about needing to be impressive, smooth, and super confident, or they think they need to develop and perfect some sort of pick-up patter. Maybe that works for some men on some women, but most of the ones I know roll their eyes at this sort of nonsense. In my experience what women want is a lot more authentic than that.

The women I know and hear…


Plus news about the changing format of the publication

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Earlier today I published a story explaining that Sensual is taking a break from publishing erotica in order to refocus on essays and poetry. This publication was always envisioned as a sex-positive community and as enjoyable as erotica can be to read, it just doesn’t seem to foster the type of conversation and inspiration of other writers that the other two categories do.

It is unclear whether we will ever publish erotica again in the future, but as of today, September 5, 2021, there will be a moratorium on new erotic stories. Sensual poetry and essays about sex and sexuality…


To refocus on essays and poetry

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As of today, September 5, 2021, Sensual: An erotic life will be taking a break from publishing erotica. We may or may not bring it back at some future time, but for right now I want to pull the focus of the publication back to essays and poetry, which seem to do the most to foster the kind of sex-positive community that Sensual was always intended to be.

In addition to wanting to rekindle the community aspect, I’m finding that I spend the bulk of my publishing hours editing and conferring with writers about erotica. …


Plus the featured writer

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If you write erotica for Sensual, you may want to check out the story that I published today, How Not to Write A Sex-Positive Erotic Story. It gives a concrete list of things that we will not publish stories about as well as links to some reminder stories of what we are looking for.

Keep in mind, that words have an impact on the world, and the stories that we tell reflect our reality. If people behave unethically or without respect for each other in your story, it’s not just a made-up fantasy, it’s normalizing that sort of behavior by…


Some concrete tips about the sort of story that Sensual doesn’t publish

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Wait — haven’t I got that a bit backward? Shouldn’t the piece be about how to write the sort of story that Sensual is happy to publish? Well, to be honest, I feel like I’ve already written those in What Does It Mean to Be Sex Positive and What Makes an Erotic Story Work? Both of those, along with the Submission Guidelines paint a pretty clear picture of the sort of thing that Sensual is looking for.

But, nonetheless, I still get an awful lot of erotica submissions that I can’t accept, at least not as they are. Some are…


Some poly relationships aren’t about physical intimacy at all

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

You may have already heard quite a bit about how polyamory isn’t only about sex, but did you know that sometimes, it’s not about sex at all? Polyamory is about having different kinds of intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, and this means that it’s quite possible for some of those relationships to be close and deeply loving, but without any physical component.

This might not make sense to those who can only envision love and sex going together in the same romantic relationship. But given that somewhere between 10% and 20% of traditional monogamous marriages…


I’m so proud of this collaboration!

When Pollinate Magazine Editorial asked me to participate in co-writing an erotic story, I had just a moment of hesitation. I haven’t written any erotica for some time, and I wasn’t sure that I had it in me. Since around the time that the pandemic first hit, I just haven’t felt in the flow that I would need to create the kind of erotic story that I would want to tell. …

Elle Beau ❇︎

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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