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Sending Up Sex - Thaddeus Rutkowski

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

Thaddeus Rutkowski, author of 'Slip of a Knife'

I started writing sex-themed pieces many years ago, in a workshop led by Irini Spanidou in New York. The prompt she gave was about character: Write about someone you know; picture as many details as possible about this person, and put those details into a story. I wrote about a friend of mine who had a lot of tattoos, but who wanted more of them. He wanted to get a scrotal tattoo of a snake, which would begin at his basketry and wrap around the shaft. In addition, he wanted to get a Prince Albert, a ring through the tip of his penis. This way, he could be led by a leash clipped to the ring. He thought these accessories would help him meet women.

At the time, I had no idea why such a ring was called a Prince Albert, but later I realized it had something to do with the relationship of the historic Prince Albert to his wife, Great Britain’s Queen Victoria. I guess the prince wasn’t the top dog in that couple. Whatever the case, I wrote my piece in the first person, thinking that a focus on such decorations might also help me meet women (I was single at the time). The closest I came to meeting someone was getting an email from a woman who had (she said) a body covered with tattoos. When she found out I actually had no tattoos—or piercings—she stopped communicating with me.

I’ve gone on from that first piece to write more than a hundred sex-themed “monologues”. For many of them, I put myself in someone else’s place; for others I drew on my own experience. Since the pieces are all in the first person, readers might suppose that I’ve had many adventures. In reality, I use my imagination to make the actions I write about seem convincing.

I wrote ‘Slip of a Knife’ (in the Stories About Penises anthology) after having a dream about losing my penis in an accident. I did some research and found that dreams of losing one’s sex organ can have deep psychological implications, all relating to the loss of power. Perhaps a new person has taken one’s place at work or in school. Perhaps one’s childhood was filled with uncompensated helplessness. In my story, the penis loss comes from a slip-up while cutting salad (which is rather ridiculous) or from a role reversal in a sex game (it’s just a game). I see no real loss in either case.

Thaddeus Rutkowski’s website is His Twitter handle is @thadrutkowski.

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