Donald Trump

I don’t want to have sex with Donald Trump, but being good at my job means being open to entertaining the idea that some budding political science student, much like I once was, might just have the hots for the presidential candidate.

Why is it part of my job? Because as an erotica writer, I’ve learned how to turn everything around me into erotica fodder. During the 2008 election cycle, I even ran a website called Sarah Palin Erotica as a way of capitalizing on sexy satire about the VP candidate.

With e-publishing, this is all the more of an essential skill, which is why within days of British Prime Minister David Cameron’s pig sex scandal breaking, there was an e-book called David Cameron Slaps the Ham by E.S. Telphers for sale on Amazon. There’s also Kim Goes to Jail, about Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who went to jail rather than marry same-sex couples.

But it’s not just politics that’s up for grabs — it’s every aspect of our lives. The more different types of people we’re able to imagine having sex and what might motivate them, even if they’re a different age, race or religion than ours, the more empathetic we become.

I loved Joan Price’s anthology Ageless Erotica, featuring characters over 50, because it gave me insight into the mechanics of sex at an age many of us don’t even want to contemplate. Now that I’m about to turn 40, I’m finding myself wanting to write more about middle-aged characters, considering what it might be like for them to go to sex clubs or have first dates.

I wrote a story in my anthology Dirty Dates about a woman who’s “forced” to do all kinds of degrading things, from wearing a blindfold with “slut” written on it in the passenger seat of a moving car to eating a sausage in a saucy way in public. I don’t personally want to do those things, but I love that this character is bold enough to get off on them.

Writing — or reading — erotica about people who are different from us is like being a voyeur. We get a peek into another way of life, and we have to suspend snap judgments. It’s easy to mock Trump’s hair, but much more challenging to consider what it would be like to be in bed with him, whether or not you share his politics.

I often instruct my erotica students to write from the perspective of a character who’s a different gender or sexual orientation than their own. Some take to the task while others languish, uncertain over how to proceed. I consider both scenarios successful; even if it takes you time to conjure an idea, you’re still stepping outside your comfort zone, which is a positive for anyone, writer or not.

As we head into the 2016 election, it’s likely that if you’re single, you’ll wind up encountering at least one person whose political views differ from yours. Before dismissing them outright, talk to them. Ask questions. Be open to their queries. It’s possible that by letting go of your preconceived ideas, you might learn not just about another political party, but about a person you want to get to know further.

Looking at the world through an erotic lens has made me more open-minded. I genuinely want to know about what the Trump version of Obama Girl thinks — and the Sanders and Fiorina and Clinton versions, too.