Now, of course, it gets a lot of emails. So many, in fact, that I detailed analysis of hundreds of emails I've received about the story, much of which were quite positive and some of which were, as could reasonably be expected with erotica in general and consent-play BDSM erotica in particular, negative.
None of that is terribly new.
However, what IS new is the email that landed in my inbox today.
The person who emailed me, who identified himself as male, wrote at great length about how the Training story shocked and terrified him. He relates, in the email, how the descriptions of the sex were so terrifying to him--more terrifying, he said, than anything else that he has ever experienced in his life--that the story now "haunts" him and has changed his life.
He seems, according to his email, to be so horrified by the story, and by the way the main character's experiences are described, that he feels traumatized, and he seems to feel I bear some responsibility for what the story has done to him.
Okay, so different folks have different expectations and desires about sex, and what some people find titillating might be disturbing to other folks. I get that. In fact, many's the time I've been quite shocked and horrified by graphic descriptions of unsatisfying, unfulfilling sex in the dark with the lights out between folks who are so ashamed of their sexual desires that they can't muster the courage to ask for anything else, even though they don't like the sex they're having. But, hey, as long as we're all adults, well, it takes all kinds, right?
But here's the bit that baffles me.
The email demonstrates a knowledge of the entire story, or at least near enough to it so as it makes no difference. The story, taken as a whole, weighs in well north of 200,000 words, if I recall correctly.
So this suggests that a person has found a story that terrifies, horrifies, and traumatizes him, one which in his words sounds plausible enough that it has changed his perception of sex (for the worse, presumably, though he doesn't quiiiiite say so directly)...and, once he realized what he was getting into, kept reading.
And reading. And then, read some more.
So: what am I missing? If this person really found the story to be that traumatizing, surely he could...stop reading it?
Is this why there are many folks who want to pass laws banning the things they see that offend them--because once their attention has been caught by something they don't like, they can't look away? I feel like I'm missing something here.