Making Folklore Sexy
This is a guest post from Samantha MacLeod, who’s written On Selkie Beach in the Sinful Pleasures anthology. Having had a sneak peek at a copy, it’s definitely sexy – and read on for an excerpt!
We tend to think of mythology as belonging to the realm of childhood.
Folklore, fairy tales, and myths are all lumped together and then shoved off to the back of the library, the section with the bean bag chairs and big plastic blocks. And that’s a damn shame, in my opinion, because a lot of these stories are really fascinating.
What’s more, a lot of these stories are really sexy.
Of course, the sex is usually glossed over or removed altogether. But it’s certainly there in the original versions. In the Scottish folktale Tam Lin, which is preserved as a ballad, a young woman meets a man who was abducted by the Fey, and she agrees to save him… when she discovers she’s pregnant with his child.
The myths of the selkies, found in Ireland, Scotland, and Iceland, also lean toward the sexual. The selkies are shape-shifters who can live in the ocean as seals, or mingle with humans on land.
A female selkie is supposed to be a devoted wife and mother, but only if her husband hides her seal-skin, making it impossible for her to return to the ocean. If she ever finds the seal-skin (and in the myths, it’s usually locked away in a chest), she’ll return to the sea forever.
Sure, it’s a fairy tale. But doesn’t it also say something poignant about marriage and motherhood, not to mention our fears that our spouses (or perhaps our parents) had another life before us, a life to which they may long to return..?
And isn’t this myth also suggesting the best way to claim a selkie as your wife is to get her naked, then hide her clothes?
The element of seduction is even more pronounced in myths about male selkies, who appear to dissatisfied or lonely women as handsome, charming men. These seductive selkie men were credited with fathering children, and several Scottish clans trace their ancestry back to the selkies.
I’ve always been obsessed with mythology and fairy tales – yes, even when I was hanging out in the back of the library, with the bean bag chairs and big plastic blocks – only now, I’m most interested in the sexual overtones of these stories, and the erotic connection between the mundane and the mythical.
My short story On Selkie Beach, which is part of the forthcoming Sinful Pleasures anthology, explores that sexual charge in the myth of the male selkies, and puts it in a modern context. Hopefully it will convince you that folklore can be quite a bit sexier than you may imagine!
Excerpt from On Selkie Beach:
I took his hand and stepped down. Muir pulled me to his chest, crushing us together. I gasped and his lips were on mine, fierce and hungry, tasting like the wild, smoky scotch we’d shared. My body responded before my mind could register what was happening, my mouth opening for him, my arms wrapping around his broad shoulders. He kissed me for a long time, our tongues embracing, dancing. When he let me go, my heartbeat thundered through my body and every nerve was on edge.
“Bridget,” he rasped, his voice thick.
My body trembled, hungry for his touch. Desperate for another kiss.
“Follow me,” he said, turning toward the vast darkness of the ocean.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have, but I did.
Sinful Press welcomes you to lose yourself in Sinful Pleasures.
Join us as we weave our way from mainstream erotic romance to surreal sex-filled dreamscapes and everything in between, created by some of the best new and established voices in the erotica genre.
About Samantha MacLeod:
Samantha’s work has been described as, “breathtakingly lyrical stories that breathe new and unexpected life into the old gods and the mortals who cross their paths.”
Born and raised in Colorado, Samantha MacLeod has lived in every time zone in the US, and London. She has a bachelor’s degree from Colby College and an M.A. from the University of Chicago; yes, the U. of C. really is where fun comes to die.
Samantha lives with her husband and two small children in the woods of southern Maine. When she’s not shoveling snow or writing steamy sex scenes, Samantha can be found teaching college composition and philosophy to undergraduates who have no idea she leads a double life as an erotica author.