Interview with M. Svairini

I’m in an anthology called Outlaw Bodies, edited by Lori Selke and Djibril al-Ayad, with a reprint of She Called Me Baby. Outlaw Bodies contains stories about how bodies will change laws and transgress rules in the future. As part of the promotion, each author is interviewing another about their story. So here’s M. Svairini talking about “Mouth,” a story I quite liked; both edgy and erotic, which confronts issues of pre-defined sexual roles enhanced by technology.

VK: Tell me a little about your story “Mouth.” What inspired you to write about a person with the gender of “mouth,” in a world with four genders clearly defined by their sexual roles?

MS: Oral sex is hot! So the character came first — I started writing a character who was totally, 100% about oral sex, and would be going to an orgy where she would be totally satiated. I thought about what would give her even more pleasure, so the idea came of a kind of technology that would divert sensation from all of her erogenous zones to her mouth.

Then I started to imagine a world around her, and the rest of the story arrived. I’ve always been a fan of feminist utopias/dystopias. I wanted a world that didn’t have to deal with male-female gender roles, so I got rid of those but realized it needed a different kind of hierarchy in order to create conflict.

That all sounds very deliberate, but actually I just started writing what I felt was exciting, and the story unfolded. Then the world got more complex and cohesive in the revisions.

VK: What does the phrase “Outlaw Bodies” mean to you? Why is the topic interesting?

MS: Our bodies are subject to all kinds of written and, perhaps even more so, unwritten laws. Everything is more interesting when we start to push up against that policing, to violate and threaten the rules, to encounter the limits within ourselves and seek ways to transcend or bust through them.

VK: What are you working on lately, and what projects do you have coming out soon?

MS: The story of Mouth continues after this piece, so I’m developing it into a novella. I’m part of a couple of other anthologies coming out: the Perverts of Color anthology and Alchemy: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories 2. I post stories on my blog, The Bottom Runs the Fuck, and I write occasional commentaries on sex issues for India’s top news commentary site, First Post.

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