My story “The Pleasure Exercises” appears in the just released Spring 2014 issue of Confrontation. This is the companion story to another piece that will be appearing in Interfictions later this fall, both stories taking place in the same futuristic dystopia/utopia, where traditional relationships have been exchanged for government-regulated sex due to very low birth rates. To prepare for their adult lives, children now live at boarding schools where their learning focuses on these pleasure exercises. I’m always impressed when literary journals / magazines publish speculative-bordering-on-genre stories, so thank you, Confrontation.
I started writing these two stories many years ago when my friend Sarah told me about the Mosuo culture, a matrilineal society that has no traditional marriage. Instead (and I am summarizing this poorly — perhaps it’s best you read the Wiki entry), a woman invites a particular man over to visit her “flower room” but only at night, then the man goes away during the day, and the relationship lasts as briefly or as long as she would like. Sarah said this sounded like a utopia, though to me, it just sounded unpleasant, and I was interested in trying to write about living in someone’s utopia where you don’t totally belong. Which is what these two stories of mine are about.