RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
The next story isn't our typical Sunday morning fare. It contains some sexual content and may not be for all listeners.
DISHAN WASHINGTON: It was so liberating when I was learning those moves. And we were being so seductive, and I felt like another person. This woman who had been locked inside of me for so many years was coming out. And that really - before I actually named it Christian erotica - that was really the beginning of the Christian erotica movement with me because I went straight home, got online and ordered a pole for my house.
MARTIN: That's the voice of DiShan Washington. She's very comfortable with her sexuality now, but that wasn't always the case. Washington's father is a pastor. And when she was just 16 years old, she married a 20-year-old minister at her dad's church. She didn't know a whole lot about sex, let alone what she describes as the spicy stuff. Now the spicy stuff is her business. DiShan Washington produces what she calls Christian erotica, writing books and even making a movie called "Let's Get It On." She started that career in part because of troubles in her own marriage. Her husband had cheated on her, but in Washington's telling, she takes some responsibility for the end of her marriage. DiShan Washington is our Sunday conversation.
WASHINGTON: I want women to know that I am not harboring all of the responsibility, but I am owning my part because we were together in the marriage for 15 years. And I would say that for 10 or 11 of those years, I didn't really cater to his sexual needs. And that is...
MARTIN: But did he cater to yours?
WASHINGTON: (Laughter) No, but I was also raised by a generation of women who taught me that sex is for the man. And that's a major point because that is the mentality that I took into the sexual relationship part of our marriage, is that sex was for him. It wasn't for me.
MARTIN: How did it occur to you to start writing erotica?
WASHINGTON: It was 2011. I knew that the marriage was going to end. But I was reflecting one day over the marriage and wondering, OK, when this marriage ends, what will I deem the cause of it - outside of the infidelity, of course. And I said, OK, this is it. How do I get Christian women to remove the stigma that being erotic is sinful or somehow shameful or embarrassing? And that's where it all came from. I just decided one day I was going to write a more tasteful version of what I had read in the other books.
MARTIN: OK, so what does a more tasteful version look like? What is - what is Christian erotica?
WASHINGTON: Christian erotica is basically my way of taking what the secular world has perverted and made us feel ashamed of. I wanted people to focus more on the seduction and not just necessarily the body parts and the language that you sometimes hear when you're watching pornography or if you're reading a book. The other main difference is that all of the characters in my books, as well as in my film, are married. I don't promote premarital sex. My goal is to help save marriages.
MARTIN: Have you gotten some surprising questions from friends about sex?
WASHINGTON: I have. Most recently, I had a lady. And she got married at the top of the year. She came to me, and she said, DiShan, I need your help; I don't know how to have sex outside of the missionary position. It was a little weird, I must admit, because this is my friend. And I don't want to imagine my friends having sex. I just don't.
WASHINGTON: I just don't (laughter). So she said, I was told that it was wrong if I had sex anywhere outside of the bed. Are you telling me that it's OK to have sex on the couch or on the kitchen floor? I was like, girl, it's OK to have sex on top of the dryer or the washing machine if that's what you and your husband want to do. I mean, seriously? But she was really concerned that she would be sinning because the Bible talks about the marriage bed being undefiled. She took that literally.
MARTIN: Have you unlocked something about your own sexual desires through this process? I mean, you have talked a lot about learning to please a partner and how important that is, especially in the context of a marriage, but what about what you want? Have you tapped into that?
WASHINGTON: Well, I have not allowed myself to tap into it fully because I'm not married. People say, well, have you had sex since you got a divorce? Yes, I actually had a daughter a year and a half ago (laughter). But there is a part of me that's reserving the fullness of the Christian erotica concept that I teach other people, other married couples, to do. I'm reserving that for my husband, if I should ever get married again. Now, I won't lie to you and say I don't get the urges to go and find somebody's son to unleash all of this stuff on. I do.
WASHINGTON: But, you know, I'm able to maintain it because I'm getting a joy and a satisfaction out of helping people.
MARTIN: DiShan Washington is the author of several books on Christian erotica and a film as well. Thank you so much for talking with us, DiShan.
WASHINGTON: Thank you so much for having me.
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