I just ventured into the comments section of Karen Scott's blog entry about the connection between Literotica and The Publishing House That Shall Not Be Named.
I like Literotica. I can't say I am a regular visitor there (I have enough to read already without looking for more) but I like what it stands for. If you ask me to sign a petition to save a site like Literotica from censorship, I will. Plus, there are some really good stories there, I think. Sure, there are plenty of terribly written stories, but they are also good to laugh at.
I personally think there should be a distinction drawn between the Literotica story sections and the Literotica forums but I also know not everyone is going to do that, heh. The stories on the main site are depicted without any ambiguity to be fiction. No matter how obvious sometimes that the author is writing about underaged characters and just slapping the ages of these characters to be 18 just to comply with the law, these are officially depicted as sexual fantasies rather than a reflection of the author's lifestyle.
The forums, which I even more rarely venture to because it's a different beast altogether, are where the problems lie. We have people discussing incest and pedophilia on top of swapping spouses and what not. It's not a regular occurrence, but it does happen. I don't want to get into the morality of such discussions, however, so let me just say that with these people going all TMI - although to be fair, it's hard not to go TMI in a forum about your sex life and fantasies - they should not be shocked when people start judging them based on what they say. The boundaries between fiction and reality are really fuzzy in those forums because there are people talking about sleeping with young children in their real life now and then, and these discussions may very well be immortalized in Google's cache for a long time to come. It is easy to say that the stories on Literotica are strictly fiction, but the forums are a different matter altogether. And this can create problems for the author's reputation.
No matter what I personally believe about the right to free speech when it comes to talking about such matters, were I an author who started out contributing stories to Literotica, I would not use the same pseudonym as the one I used on Literotica due to the touchy nature of the forums. As the comments in Karen's blog entry demonstrated, the graphic and often disquieting nature of the forums is one giant elephant sitting in the room that nobody wants to acknowledge when it comes to Literotica. I would not use the same pseudonym especially if I have taken part in some of these controversial discussions on Literotica. But that's just me, of course, because I'm a bit of a coward in that I don't like seeing my sex life being dissected by other people based on the ammunition I myself handed them via an unwise TMI discussion on those forums.
(Disclaimer: I have never participated in the Literotica forums before so don't waste time looking for any details on my sex life there! I have also never contributed anything to Literotica. The above is just a "What if?" scenario if I have done that and happened to be a published author as well.)
Should authors be embarrassed if they started out on Literotica? Perhaps not. But because people will always associate you with the company you keep, who knows, it may better for these authors to avoid openly announcing their association, unless they are willing to answer many uncomfortable questions about the nature of Literotica and its forums. That, or they want to cater to an audience exclusively from Literotica.
Literotica is not the same as fanfiction.net - as long as the owners of Literotica allow unmoderated discussions of everything and anything on their forums, thus blurring the line between fantasy and reality in that place, Literotica will be, fairly or not, used as a yardstick for strangers to judge the author's moral even if the author only contributed stories and didn't get involved in the forums. Life is unfair like that, so unless the author is willing to stand up for whatever she feels Literotica and herself stand for all the time, unless the author is willing to let any TMI stuff she said in those forums to come back and haunt her later on, I wonder whether keeping mum about one's role in Literotica is the wiser option, what with all the TMI and potentially damaging things the TMI stuff can do to one's professional reputation.
PS: I also feel the same way about authors who cut their teeth writing real-life person fanfiction, especially the always touchy and controversial real-life person slash or RPS (which involves authors writing stories about, say, Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman having gay sex instead of Harry Potter and Prof Snape). These authors must be either very daring or are ready to defend themselves from accusations of random strangers if they admit in their professional bio that they wrote or are a big fan of RPS!