Russell James on Writing No One Gets Hurt

True story: back in the days of silent movies a producer saw the rushes for a less than inspiring movie. He paused glumly, then shouted the immortal words, “I know. Let’s fill the screen with tits!”

He’d remembered an old rule of entertainment: people pay good money to watch other people have sex. They still do. It’s one of the stories of the moment – famous people downloading images of sexual acts.

noonegetsbigWhen commercial sex is performed upon children the vast bulk of us recoil in horror. Children are victims. They may be scarred for life – and in no way will we let the purveyors cry, “No one gets hurt.”

But the implication remains that sex between adults (and who’ll ever know if they’re ‘consenting adults’?) when watched by adults does no one harm. No one gets hurt – neither those taking part nor the coarsened spectators.

Is commercial sex harmless? How about other commercially driven hobbies, like gambling and drug use – are they harmless too? They used to be thought decadent and degrading. Now they’re everyday. But then, we’re sophisticated now, aren’t we? We’re smart. You haven’t caught us laughing at the flames that engulf Rome.

It’s not surprising that people pay for sex. They always have (world’s oldest profession and all) because the need for sex is natural and at times is overwhelming. If you can’t find a willing partner, the only recourse is your hand or someone either paid or coerced into doing it with you. Paying for sex will be with us always – but how about paying to watch someone else have sex? How natural is that?

Perfectly natural, it seems to many. Maybe we draw the line at viewing certain kinds of sex – kiddieporn is not for most of us – but we’ll watch attractive adults perform on page, internet or screen. When we watch the fantasy we don’t think of the true story behind what we see – that this couple, threesome or whatever have been brought together to enact this for us, for money or some darker reason. We watch girls brought in from the third world, we watch junkies, we watch those who see this as the only escape from poverty. We watch victims paid or beaten into giving us titillation. But we don’t think about that. We don’t want the truth; we want the fantasy. After all, if they’re not children, if they’re (we wish) consenting adults, then where’s the problem? No one gets hurt.
So that’s all right then.

Kids at school try ‘adult’ drugs – well, where’s the harm? People stuck in poverty waste money on state sponsored gambling – where’s the harm in that? Prostitutes hand over their earnings to brutal pimps – why should that matter to me? Women pleasure old men and drunks in sordid bedrooms, while others flirt with the rich and powerful in the expense account bedrooms of top hotels. Why get in a tizz about any of it? One thing is certain: no one gets hurt.

No One Gets Hurt is a story that gets inside the sex industry. It’s not a titillating book, though it contains a lot of explicit sex and violence. It’s quite a moral book, in truth, showing that there are participants on both sides of the screen, and that the last claim anyone can hide behind is that ‘no one gets hurt’. But it isn’t a tract. Don’t worry. I’m a thriller writer and this, my tenth book, is hard, brutal and exciting.

By no means is it a ‘male’ book. The heroine, Kirsty Rice, is a video journalist who believes her friend and colleague lost her life working undercover in the ‘harmless’ sex industry. Kirsty goes undercover too. Grieving for her friend, sorrowful at the recent break-up with a fellow journalist, Kirsty finds that even that has left its mark. She’s pregnant. And as she worms her way in with the pornographers she finds that her ex-boyfriend is already close to them. They know his name. They say they have him on film. Now they have a little job for Kirsty. It’s perfectly simple: just play things their way, they say, do this one little thing — and she can rest assured that no one gets hurt.”

Other books by Russell James (published by The Do-Not Press):

Pick Any Title
Oh No, Not My Baby
Painting in the Dark

About Russell James

Read an extract from No One Gets Hurt

The No One Gets Hurt title page