‘What is the benefit of having two chickens fuck their brains out in a barnyard?

Answer: We get eggs for breakfast.

That is why sometimes, before I gobble an omelet, I would close my eyes, bow my head for a few moments and whisper a few words, ‘Thank you rooster. . . thank you dearest hen. Big thanks for that good tumble and now I’ve got myself an egg to pair with my sandwich.’

That was the answer I gave to a certain dude who asked me about the benefit of an erotic-themed writing contest. My writer’s group, San Docena, popularly known as Literati in Symbianize Forum, conducted an erotic-themed writing contest a few years back.

I wasn’t exactly sure what he was trying to point out. I assumed he was asking a rhetorical question, maybe subtly implying the indecency of such a contest.

But it got me thinking: Is there really a benefit?

I pondered long and hard upon this ‘philosophical’ question while dropping torpedoes down the toilet bowl. Only after releasing all my torpedoes did I finally become convinced that there is indeed a benefit.

I just recently watched Kinatay, a short indie film directed by a brilliant director named Brillante Mendoza. It won the top prize in the Cannes Film Festival a few years back. In a nutshell, the film is a painfully detailed account of the butchering of a prostitute. There was hardly any plot in the story. It was more about brutality–the blood, gore and in-your-face depiction of human savagery.

What’s the benefit of that film?

Morally? Gee, I don’t know. Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wouldn’t recommend it for general viewing, that’s for sure. But why the hell did it win prestigious awards? Well, that is something to think about.

If one can go past the blood and gore crisply portrayed on the silver screen, we can assume that the film is a social commentary, a portrayal of how cruel the world is. It can also give us a deeper insight on our humanity, how brutal we can be to other humans when faced with a certain dilemma.

So back to the original question. What’s the benefit of an erotic-themed writing contest? Well, I still don’t know the exact answer.

But here’s what I DO know. Literature is all about life. Or as Mrs. Bugarin, my Literature professor in college, aptly put it, ‘Literature is the celebration of life.’ It’s all about that shit of trying to find the meaning of our humanity. Our purpose. Why we live. Why we love. Why we fuck. Why we die.

That is why in every fiction, even if it is set in outer space or in a fantasy world and populated by robots, aliens, or non-human characters, the story must still reflect humanity–either at its best or at its worst. Its characters must react to the setting, no matter how alien the world is, in the same way that any humans will react. They must also operate and be motivated by the same desires and emotions that make us humans human.

So why not celebrate sex in writing? Sex is an integral part of life. One can’t usually live without it. Sex is the grandest banquet one can attend to when celebrating life, more so if that celebration gives birth to another life.

Francis Bacon once said, ‘Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.’ And I’d like to think that it also applies in writing. I have always believed that a good writer should be able to think outside the box, be open to new ideas and be brave enough to test the deep unknown waters of knowledge and imagination. For it is only by tasting all the fruits–the bad and the good–from the tree of knowledge that we gain a little glimpse of the essence of our humanity.