Thursday, December 06, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
One of the finest erotica authors of all time, M. Christian, is offering some of his books (many that are rare or out of print) at what can only be called ROCK BOTTOM PRICES for a limited time only. Check them out -- if I'm not mistaken he will sign all of them!
This current crop leans more heavily toward gay smut, so if that's not your thing, M. Christian is going to be offering other books later, so keep your eyes on eBay for more penny-pinching deals to come...
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I ran across this blog post today, and read through the various French mens' answers about what lingerie means to them or what they like. I found it a bit silly, and I guess it's because only Frederic Taddei seems to have any grasp at all on the nature of eroticism. See what you think...
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Friday, November 30, 2007
In the writing community, the announcement of Kindle: Amazon's New Wireless Reading Device has been nothing short of momentous.
Personally, I've been a real snob when it came to e-books. I called them "the last act of the desperate" and lumped them in with self-publishing in terms of respectability. Whenever anybody told me they had an e-book out, I politely congratulated them but I always wondered why they were excited because in my mind, I couldn't imagine who was reading these things.
And to be honest, I still don't know who's reading e-books. I don't know a single soul who's read an e-book. Maybe I just don't get out much, you know? (If you or someone you know reads e-books, please write me or comment here. I'm increasingly curious about this phenomenon.)
But this year, things started to change in publishing. Practically all the traditional print publishers who put out erotica got bought, got sold, changed their focus, or otherwise disappeared. A few of the big houses (Penguin, Avon, and even Kensington, which is not quite as big but still hefty...) do have erotica imprints but they are erotic romance, which is actually quite different. (How? It's generally not very good, to be honest. Story lines are lame and predictable, there has to be some kind of happily ever after ending, and the emotional content is usually limited to the urgency of whatever libidinous desires are at hand.) Cleis Press publishes erotica but they're pretty cliquish about who they work with (and they micromanage every anthology to the point where the editor is superfluous anyway), so for all intents and purposes, you can't even count them as an erotica publisher.
So, what's an erotica writer to do? In this dearth of traditional publishers, e-books very quickly became the most viable option for writers looking for a way to get their work seen.
And now, with Amazon's release of Kindle, the stage seems set for enormous leaps forward in the e-book world. When I watched Amazon's video of this incredible electronic device, I found myself thinking, "Wow, that is so cool. No glare, no weight, and incredible versatility. I want one!" And I figure that if even I, the last of the great e-book cynics, am now ready to read an e-book, can the rest of the world be far behind?
A friend of mine is about to launch her own e-publishing company: Noble Romance Publishing. I'm excited not only because she's my friend, but because the timing seems simply perfect for her venture to do well. Another aspect of her company that I especially appreciate is what she intends to publish. I have been amazed by how many e-publishers claim that they will publish what the traditional houses won't -- yet when push comes to shove, they are looking for the same formulaic stuff that is tried and true and above all, limiting. There are some exceptions, of course, but as a rule, I haven't found most of the e-publishers to be terribly enamored of risk. They know that edgier books are harder to sell and have a smaller audience, so who can blame them for not embracing them? The thing is, though, how does any publisher really know what people want until they actually offer it to them? Noble Publishing is going to offer a wide mix of erotic material, so I guess we'll find out soon enough just what the reading public is ready for.
Addendum as of December 8: This great article extolls Kindle's virtues beautifully.
Monday, November 19, 2007
My friend LiYana of Redefining Monogamy is offering this retreat, which is "open to individuals and couples who want to create extraordinary relationships, expand body, heart and mind, whilst escaping the dreary mid-winter cold."
If I hadn't already scheduled a cruise with my sweetie up the Pacific Northwest in March 2008, I would jump on this opportunity -- it looks absolutely wonderful. LiYana is combining her inspirational workshop with a relaxing vacation and even a yoga component, which is optional (you could opt to just soak up the sun instead).
The price is outstanding and the location sublime. Barring any airline travel difficulties, there is simply no way you could return from a retreat like this one with any stress at all.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
This was not an easy decision to make, as you might imagine. I started CES in January 1998, which means that this January, it would have been 10 years old. And honestly, it was a fun run. I met terrific writers and worked with some delightful clients. My original goal was to start a company that would not only allow my work to land directly in the hands of people who wanted it, but also to give people permission to indulge their fantasies in a safe but exciting way.
I can honestly say I accomplished both and I wouldn't trade these 10 years for anything. But like all good things, CES must come to an end. One of my clients (Photoshop by ARB) -- for whom I've been supplying stories since about 1999, I think -- created the image you see here in honor of the occasion. And it's precisely the kind of generous, funny, warm-hearted gesture that I so often experienced from clients throughout the years. I'm getting verklempt just thinking about it!
What will I be doing? I'll still be writing -- no doubt about that. But I'll be moving into new genres and doing different kinds of projects. Change is good, especially when one can control it! I'll be posting more here in the next few weeks, so stay tuned....
Sunday, October 28, 2007
M. Christian's new Frequently Felt blog leans decidedly toward the latter.
Along with entertaining news items, Christian enhances his blog with original art from members of the DeviantArt Web site. All in all, the effect is exceptionally pleasing as well as informative!
(I love how he came up with the name for this blog. "Frequently felt" was the term used in the 1800s to describe either an old hat -- or a woman's privates. Clever, that.)
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
This class is being taught by CES staff writer, Jen Cross:
Declaring Our Erotic -- a day-long writing retreat for women
Saturday, November 10, 8:30am-4:00pm.
Intrigued by the idea of writing erotic stories or writing about sex? Been interested in the Declaring Our Erotic writing workshops but have a schedule that's too busy for a full 8-week workshop session? Want the opportunity to go a little deeper into the writing that you've gotten started on your own, or other workshop meetings?
Please join us on Saturday, November 11, for a day-long erotic writing retreat open to all women. Visit www.writingourselveswhole.org to register!
In this one-day writing retreat, we'll devote our writing selves to exercises that invoke various aspects of our erotic, sexual and sensual selves, in a safe and confidential group of peers. Explore the full, complex breadth of sexual desire, while practicing explicit erotic writing.
Previous participants have found the process of erotic writing to be deeply transformative, feeling that the work they've done has opened up and changed not only their relationship with their sexual selves, but with many other aspects of their lives as well.
No previous writing experience necessary!
Retreat held in a gorgeous healing arts house in Berkeley, very near Ashby BART. Continental breakfast and light lunch provided. To register or for pricing information, call 415-608-3398 or visit
About your facilitator: Jen Cross is a freelance writer whose work has been published in numerous anthologies. She's a queer incest survivor who's used writing to transform her relationship with her sexuality, and has facilitated writing workshops for the past 5 years. She received her MA in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, and facilitates writing workshops using the Amherst Writers & Artists method (http://www.amherstwriters.com/).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
This presentation by NOW Foundation's Love Your Body Campaign illustrates and describes how advertisers and the media enforce unrealistic beauty standards, sexual ideals, and gender stereotypes that girls and women are expected to follow. What is the impact of these images on the health and well-being of women and girls, and what can YOU do?
Find out today and download the presentation.
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Remember when you were a kid and you played doctor? A few years later, you understood that real doctors didn't feel up their patients.
But it appears that not every kid could accept that reality. In fact, some kids must have thought, "Man, this is excellent. I am so going to be a doctor when I grow up."
This dentist in Woodland, California has been "relaxing" patients by giving them "chest rubs." More than 2 dozen women have come forward to say that Dr. Feelgood (okay, his real name is Mark Anderson) groped them in the past five years.
Yes, it's weird and wild, but look at how many women just kept coming back for more. (I think we all know about the gynecologist fantasy that some women have -- you can't say no and they've got you where they want you -- but a dentist?)
I wonder what I would have done if I had been his patient. If his prices were good, who knows?
(I have a friend who claims she used to see a doctor who felt her up inappropriately. Has this ever happened to you, and if so, what did you do about it?)
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Back in June, Reverend Gary Aldridge of Alabama was found dead in his home. He had been the senior pastor at Thorington Road Baptist Church for the previous 15 years. At the time, the circumstances were kept pretty quiet and rumors circulated that he had been murdered because he was found bound.
But no signs of forced entry into the house were found. And then came the autopsy report, which you can see here at The Smoking Gun. He officially died of "accidental mechanical asphyxia." The man had a rubber fetish of grand proportions: he was found in a a wet suit, diving mask, another diving suit with suspenders, rubberized underwear, and diving gloves and slippers His hands were bound and tied to his feet.
And there was a condom-covered dildo up his butt. (Hey, at least it was safe sex, right?)
And there's nothing wrong with any of this -- unless you're a pastor who worked with the likes of Jerry Falwell and you preach that sex other than that which leads to procreation is sinful. Then, well, you look like a damn fool -- and an overdressed one, at that.
I have several questions for the dearly departed and am so disappointed that I'll never be able to get any answers. I'd ask the right reverend:
1. Did he really tie himself up? (I'm quite impressed by the complexity of his knot arrangement and am curious to know if anybody helped him or if he spent years getting this right by himself. Although if getting it right means dying, I guess it's not so right after all. Practice makes perfect, which really ought to be in the Bible, if it isn't already.)
2. Where did he get that dildo? Sex toys are illegal to buy or sell in the state of Alabama. I doubt that he picked his up at the Good Book Parable Christian Store, although they do have some charming "home accents."
3. Did he ever use either of the suits for actual diving? I get so turned on by an auto-erotica master who also knows his way around the bottom of the ocean.
4. What became of the dildo? Did the authorities give it to the family (perhaps it was an heirloom!) or did it get buried with him so that he could truly come to Jesus?
As my beloved boyfriend so aptly put it, "There has to be a formula. Something like pomposity + hypocrisy + perversion = embarrassing death."
Monday, October 08, 2007
What bothers me is two-fold. First, there's the implication that discriminating cocks and pussies need to spend twice as much to get pleasure that distinguishes itself from that of the unwashed masses. Second, brands like this are attempting to convince the average person that a better kind of sexual thrill can be had at a price. "Come like the rich!" is the message here.
Beauty products pitch a similar message, as do clothing manufacturers, technology companies, and just about any other kind of company. But it still bugs me.
Promise me you'll look for value in your sex toys, not prestige.
Monday, September 24, 2007
For years, people have been curious about what I and my writers do in any given day. What's life like at the office for folks like us? Are we writing more than we're fucking? How do orders get processed? Are there any office romances? And how do we stay on the right side of the law?
Well, I've started a blog to give you a glimpse into what we actually do around here. I post to it more regularly than I do to this one, so you might even consider subscribing to it. You won't want to miss any posts because, let me assure you, there's never a dull moment.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I met Marcy early in my erotica career (1998). She had a column in Playboy online, I believe, and when I learned that she was teaching a class in writing erotica right here in San Francisco, I jumped at the chance to attend. I still employ tips and tricks that I learned from her! She used to edit Cleis Press's Best Women's Erotica series and I was proud to be included in a few of those anthologies. She's got an impressive list of publications.
These days, she's having a great time with her blog, and also with a memoir she's working on about mothers and daughters called How Little We Know. Here, too, Marcy isn't afraid to be and say what she pleases -- most writers work in silos, exercising great caution about who they show their work in progress to, but she's dispensed with all that secrecy and wants to push the envelope a bit by exposing the work as it's being written, rather than presenting it in one package when it's finished. I admire that. I'm too chicken to pull that off.
Marcy recently became a staff writer at CES, and I'm delighted to offer the talents of someone of her caliber to my clients. Marcy, thank you for the great review, and thank you for your own contributions to the writing world.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Today, he announced that he has opted to share his latest work as a downloadable PDF. That's striking in and of itself, but what's even more incredible is that he's offering the PDF at no charge. This is such a wonderful way to familiarize yourself with his remarkable photography!
Here is his announcement:
This is to announce the publication of my fifth photo book, Vanilla Sex: Explicit Fine Art Photographs, available as a PDF for free download.
This PDF is a reprise of a 2005 show at the Center for Sex & Culture in San Francisco. It's my latest and best work. For me, “vanilla” means the spectrum of our community’s sexuality; what we normally do. So, some photographs are of acts generally considered normal and standard (missionary position sex, for example), while others are of acts considered normal and standard only within the radical sex community. The 53 photographs are soft and romantic images of explicit sex that challenge the banality of pornography. And, check out the introduction by the preeminent photography critic, A.D. Coleman.
Think of this as an advertisement for myself and my work. For me, publication has always been about putting my point of view out in the world in the most effective manner. Last century, I chose printed books for sale; so far this century I choose a free PDF.
Support this work. Buy my art prints. Buy my books - Sexual Art, Sexual Magic, Sexual Portraits and Lust & Romance - from Amazon and other online vendors, or from me at my website.
I'm always looking for people to photograph - individuals, couples and groups - for a variety of sexually oriented projects. I pay and/or trade. Tell your friends!
I hope you will avail yourself of this wonderful PDF and enjoy Michael Rosen's images.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
He loves boobs!
And so do I, dammit. And what's more, I think that more is better. (Which is good because my own are pretty formidable.)
Anyway, M. Christian has started "reprinting" via his blog the columns he's written for various Web sites over the years. They never fail to entertain, and are yet another testament to his quirky worldview and beautifully twisted perspective on everything from tits to fetishes to politics.
You gotta love this guy. But hey, hands off. He's mine.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Write Whole: Survivors Write (for women): Monday eves 9/17 - 11/12
Gather with other survivors of sexual trauma to create new art and new beauty out of your experiences, and deepen your sense of wholeness.
Declaring Our Erotic (mixed group): Tuesday eves 9/18 - 11/13
Declaring Our Erotic (for women): Wednesday am 9/19 - 11/14
These workshops provide a space to get more comfortable exploring and talking about sexuality and desire, and become less inhibited in your writing.
(Both “woman” and “survivor” are intended to be self-defined.)
No previous writing experience necessary – open to anyone who writes or has ever wanted to write. In these exercise-initiated and non-judgmental writing workshops, you’ll be encouraged to risk, stretch and celebrate your complex and fully brilliant self. Changing our language can change who we know ourselves to be.
Writing free and deep can be both mentally & physically healing!
Space is limited! Registration for summer sessions is open, and continues until
each workshop is filled. Workshops held in San Francisco. Register here.
Jen Cross is a freelance writer whose work has been
published in numerous anthologies. She's a queer incest survivor, and has
facilitated writing workshops for the past 5 years. She received her MA in
Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College, and facilitates writing
workshops (both erotic and not) using the Amherst Writers & Artists method.
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
My friend and colleague, LiYana Silver, relationship guru and founder of Redefining Monogamy is hosting one of her increasingly famous tele-classes next week called "Ask A Woman." (A couple of months ago, she hosted "Ask A Man" and it was wildly successful, not to mention entertaining.)
Ask A Woman features four magnificent women (they're written books and/or appeared on TV) who are experts on topics from emotions and intimacy to communication and relationship; and from intellect and insatiability to sex and orgasm.
LiYana offers these tele-classes free because that's the kind of warm-hearted soul she is. But you do have to register -- think of it as a party that you have to RSVP to in order to insure that the hostess has enough food for everybody.
Learn more and register, get a sneak peak at the women on the panel, or invite a friend to the Ask-A-Woman Tele-Class.
Your Burning Questions Answered By A Panel of Expert Women
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
8:30 - 9:45pm ET (Eastern Time)
5:30 - 6:45pm PT (Pacific Time)
Thursday, August 30, 2007
The article is about "the little acts of love" in your marriage; small things couples do for each other that breathe energy, passion, and love into the everyday.
For example, her husband, Jeff, has been known to coax her out of the kitchen and onto the back porch to show her an iridescent blue beetle; take photographs of the vegetables she's harvested from her garden and email the pictures to his mother with a message that reads "Jen's beautiful bounty"; come home from a yard sale and hand her a delicate jewelry box covered in tiny seashells. All of these things are sweet little gestures that remind her why she married him in the first place.
If interested, please email her. (And please feel free to tell friends and family!) She'll need to include quotes from both you and your spouse. Some, not all of the couples, will have their photos published.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
One of the posts there recently was by my favorite blogger, Meg. She writes about her experience at a Paris sex club. (Warning: the post is not designed to turn you on, so if that's what you seek, you might want to try reading something else.)
More and more people are putting music on their blogs. And this is not good.
The fact that any sentient being would have to be told this isn't good is unsettling to me. (Kinda like how it's increasingly necessary to tell people to stop yapping on their cell phones on public transportation. Or a library.) Nevertheless, I will list the reasons why having music on your site -- and that includes most especially your MySpace page -- is unbearably annoying.
1. People often Web surf at work. If they land on a page that makes noise, suddenly all their cubicle mates, and possibly their boss, knows they are Web surfing. Likelihood that they will stay on your page? Big honkin' zero.
2. With iTunes being so popular, lots of people have music playing when they are at their computers. If they aren't listening to iTunes, then maybe they've got a CD playing right there in their computer. When they land on a page offering a competing tune, which do you think they will opt to listen to? Personally, I choose my own music about 99 percent of the time.
3. If you insist on having music on your blog, at least give the visitor the option of not having to listen to it.
Seriously. When I visit a page that accosts me with music -- no matter how hip or beautiful -- I hightail it outta there as fast as possible. I know I'm not alone in this reaction. There's enough noise out there, folks. Can't you at least keep your blogs quiet?
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
In 2004, I bought an iPod. I loved it but soon discovered that using it with a PC was an unsatisfying experience. And when my PC got so invested with spyware that it was rendered inoperable in 2005, I thought, "Okay, it's a sign. Time to buy a Mac!"
After the first few days of growing pains, I fell in love with my Mac. I evangelized it, even. It really was simpler than the PC and far less susceptible to pop-ups, spyware, adware, and all those other "wares."
Until two months ago when the power supply failed and had to be replaced. That was annoying, as my Mac was only a little more than two years old.
Last night, my Mac stopped working completely and today it was diagnosed with a failed hard drive. Failed hard drive? That's something that happens to other people! People with old computers! People who buy mongrel brands!
So much for my reality.
No, I don't back up my files like I should. Last time I did it was in May. I write several stories a month, so you do the math. I risk losing about a dozen stories unless my dear friend Marc can extract my data from this so-called failed drive.
And my address book! Noooooooooooooooooooo! Not my address book! Hundreds of addresses, gone forever? It's too disturbing to contemplate.
I've also lost longer stories that I was in the middle of writing. What a profound annoyance all of this is. Imagine how lame I'm going to look when I have to tell a couple of clients that their stories will be delayed because I have to start them over from scratch? Oy, I feel like such a loser.
So, the point of this post is two-fold:
1. Macs are not perfect. They are only slightly less imperfect than PCs. Sure the commercials are cute, and the products looks sexy. But it's still technology, people. It will fail.
2. Back up your data. For the love of God, back up your data.
And if you're waiting for a story from me, my deepest regrets. After Sunday, I should know better if what I've written for you so far can be saved.
Monday, August 13, 2007
It's a rare writer who goes out of her way to promote another. That's why I'm so grateful to Donna George Storey, who recently wrote such a lovely review of Your Erotic Personality. And because no good deed goes unpunished, I would like to extol her virtues here in my blog!
Donna and I first met a couple of years ago, when we both publicly read from our stories in the travel erotica anthology, Foreign Affairs. I was impressed with the story she read about Japan -- it was clear that she wrote from experience with that country and its customs. (Her story was sexy as well as informed, which for me only heightened the erotic experience.) I invited her to contribute to the three anthologies M. Christian and I were editing at the time, and as a result, she wrote an excellent story for Garden of the Perverse: Fairy Tales for Twisted Adults.
Then we both sold our first novels to the same publisher, a crazy division of Orion Books called Neon. I say crazy because these folks have some serious organizational problems -- I've been waiting for my novel, Giving the Bride Away, to come out since I turned in the manuscript back in August of 2005! Donna has been waiting almost as long, and finally, at the end of this month, her book, An Amorous Woman, will see the light of day! True to crazy Orion form, however, it isn't available in the United States yet (but they promise that it will be). So do keep your eyes open for it or order it through Amazon UK.
Donna is not only a terrific writer, but also a fine person and a good friend. You can bet I'll be reading her novel when it comes out.
1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
7. Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10. Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11. America : One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
13. Whose G-d Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq ?
16. Bush: G-d's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
19. We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
20. Is It Vietnam Yet?
21. Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
26. The Bush Legacy: Leave No Child a Dime
27. Pray For Impeachment
28. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
29. What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
31. 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified
32. Bush Never Exhaled
33. At Least Nixon Resigned
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Here's a woman. I based her on a shy, lovely friend -- let's call her Josephine -- here where I live, who has nearly black hair and striking green eyes. Josephine, now in her forties like so many of us, has some silver streaks in her hair, which she hates and I love. She has what she calls "rather floppy" breasts, which she hates and I love. She has a bit of a belly, which she hates and I love. She has thick, extra-long (she calls it "freakishly long") pubic hair, which she hates and I love. I've never seen her labia, but I hope they are long, thick, and lush, which she hates and I love! She has a large lush bottom, which I love! She has large, luscious thighs, which I love! The very things Josephine dislikes most about her body are the very things I love about her body. I love them all. Maybe because they are hers...
So, out of love and admiration, I imagined her here, courageously showing us the place she's most ashamed of. Where she was molested. Where, when she was younger, her lovers longed to come and stay. Where her children were born. Where her unloving partner hates to go. Where she touches herself in secret.
It's easy to look at naked bodies and objectify them. Society teaches us how to do that. It's harder to see what that body has experienced or how it seeks to tell us what it feels or wants or needs. But isn't it awesome beyond words how easily we can see a body in a whole new way when we remember that every body has a soul attached to it?
I can't help but wish Josephine could know that this painting exists or that the artist feels such a beautiful combination of love, appreciation, and desire for her.
(And here is the painting that inspired my friend's drawing: "The Center of the World" by Gustav Courbet.)
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Should you find the results less than accurate, feel free to take the genderless mother quiz for a thorough diagnostic on your horniness triggers.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
It's not new that Fox News offers everything *but* news. They skew information, create a climate of fear, misrepresent facts to support their own conservative agenda, and worst of all, debase journalistic integrity beyond recognition.
Maybe you've heard about the war between the loud and ignorant Bill O'Reilly and the wonderful Daily Kos blog. If not, read about it here to fully acquaint yourself with the horrifying humanoid who knows absolutely no boundaries when it comes to truth or fairness.
And if you want to see what a fine, upstanding gem Mr. O'Reilly is in his personal life (so that you know his television persona is not just a little something he dons for the cameras), check out this post: http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/7/30/161937/795
If you don't think this idiot is not only reaching people but also affecting their judgment, let me tell you about an experience I had with my own parents recently. They watch Fox News -- almost exclusively. Because of Fox's relentless attacks on "bloggers," my mother asked me, with visible fear in her voice, how to find blogs on the Internet. She wanted to know how pervasive they were and whether, if she visited one, something would be "recorded" on her computer and somehow put her under suspicion. I explained that a blog was a form of expression, and that it was the content of the blog rather than the format that determined its "flavor." I asked her whether she wanted to find some blogs of her favorite celebrities or even political figures. "Oh no!" she instantly said. "I don't need to see that stuff."
Thanks, Bill O'Reilly, for spreading hate and fear so effectively.
Monday, July 23, 2007
I just took action with Ms. magazine protesting the Washington Post's recent article analyzing Senator Hillary Clinton's cleavage. Like her or not, Senator Clinton is a member of the Senate and quite possibly the next president of the United States. Instead of writing about her strategy to end the war in Iraq or her plans to reform the health care system in this country, the Post devoted a feature story to analyzing her breasts.
Join me in expressing your outrage to the Washington Post!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
4Parents.gov is part of the United States' mission to keep both parents and children in the dark ages sexually. Here is what the site claims its mission to be: "4Parents.gov is part of a national public education campaign to provide parents with the information, tools and skills they need to help their teens make healthy choices, including waiting until marriage to have sex."
NARAL Pro-Choice America has a letter you can send to demand factual and objective information.
I urge you to sign the letter. Tell the government you want American children educated not misled about sex and abortion.
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Slightly behind yet another trend, I recently have become totally smitten with the TV show, "The Office." So, when I saw this quiz that would tell me what character I was most like, I just had to take it! (Despite my book, which is based on a quiz, I really don't spend all my time taking or thinking about quizzes -- honest!) Turns out I'm Pam, which isn't surprising, considering the huge crush I have on Jim!
I'd post the results, but they don't fit correctly on this page, so here are the highlights:
Pam Beesly 60%
Jim Halpert 58%
Toby Flenderson 53%
Saturday, July 14, 2007
1. On July 9, the "D.C. Madam" released her little black book of clients, and in a preemptive move designed to ward off the wave of public derision and marital strife, Senator David Vitter (R-La.) confessed to having availed himself of the madam's services. He's since disappeared, probably because his wife was once quoted as "being more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hilary Clinton" on such matters. I can only wonder whether Vitter escaped before she reached for her knife.
Vitter was a typical Southern Republican, espousing the sanctity of marriage while getting his kicks from the professionals. In 2005, Vitter attacked "the Hollywood left" for "redefining the most basic institution in human history." Uh huh.
2. Republican Strategist John ("Jack") M. Burkman's name was also in the revealing black book. (You may recall that Burkman picked up some teenage girls last year -- and was dumb enough to give them his business card -- and offered to pay them for sex. He likes really big tits, by the way.) Burkman is a real doll: following on the comments of Ann Coulter's vile hate rants on the widows of 9/11, he declared that “within hours of those [World Trade Center] towers going down,” the wives of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks “were ready to make money and exploit this tragedy!” Once a sleazeball asshole, always a sleazeball asshole, I guess.
3. Florida State Representative (and Co-chair of Senator John McCain's Florida campaign) Bob Allen got into a sticky little mess this week, too, but at least his name wasn't in the D.C. Madam's book. Instead, he was arrested Wednesday afternoon at a local park after offering to perform a sex act on an undercover officer in exchange for $20. The Orlando Sentinel story says Allen was arrested for "offering to perform a sex act," but TV reports out of Florida say Allen was to have the sex act performed on him. Either way, I think we all agree that Florida is clearly the place to get a blowjob, as they can be had for the bargain price of $20!
Thanks, you horny Republicans, for making such asses of yourselves. But fear not, your supporters will not be thwarted. They're all praying for you and saying crap like, "If God has found it in His heart to forgive you, so can I."
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
I took Sage Vivant's Erotic Personality Quiz and discovered I'm a Show-Off!What is your Erotic Personality? Find out now.
So go ahead and take the quiz -- your results will provide you with code to place on your own site and share with friends.
Monday, June 18, 2007
She's looking for stories from women who either made a major lifestyle change in order to get their sex lives back (quit a bad job, started pampering themselves in some way, etc.), or made small changes to boost their sex lives (bought sexier clothes, erotic novels, etc.).
She already has stories involving exercise, alcohol and cologne, so she can't take any relating to those topics. Also, she can only take stories from women who live outside of New York City.
If you have an anecdote to share (or if you know someone does email Natasha and describe your story, and include your full name, age, town, and, for fact-checking, email
address and phone number. Her deadline is Tues., June 19, at 5pm
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I like this interview because he asked questions that I think most people would have, and he allowed me to answer them (instead of talking over me like so many interviewers tend to do these days!). It's a great way to learn a bit more about what Your Erotic Personality is all about. Enjoy -- and feel free to post your thoughts here or on my Erotic Personality blog.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
She spoke recently at the SisterSong conference, and got two standing ovations. Why? Well here's a sampling of some of the things she said (these are taken from a marvelous post at Feministing.com):
"We're sexual beings from the time we're born until we die, and we need to make sure we understand our sexuality and realize that sex is about more than procreation."
"If men went through menopause, we'd know everything about it, but we still don't even know if we should be taking hormones."
On people who say condoms aren't 100% reliable: "Condoms will break, but I can assure you that vows of abstinence will break more easily than condoms."
What is not refreshing to realize is that she would be even less welcome in today's narrow-minded White House than she was in the Clinton administration (which caved to panicked right-wing idiots over her remark about masturbation being natural and something that "perhaps should be taught"). Why are any of her remarks grounds for fear?
People think I'm a snob when I say that this country has adolescent views on sex. I'm not saying that there aren't other countries that could use some enlightenment as well. But when you consider that remarks like those quoted above do not encourage anything illegal, do not promote violence, and simply reflect a dispassionate view of human sexual behavior, it's disheartening to realize how many Americans would find her line of thinking objectionable or even immoral. How is it that we have existed so long on this earth without coming to terms with our sexuality? And what will it take for grounded, mature minds like Dr. Elders' to be understood and respected?
When are we going to shake off the Biblical mysteries bullshit and look at who we really are?
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Yeah, yeah, I'm being facetious. If a blog has a purpose, it's got value. So, I hope you'll agree that my new blog -- Your erotic personality -- has a purpose.
What I'm trying to do is bring up topics related to the book that readers will want to talk about. With a non-fiction book like mine, there are so many issues that readers will undoubtedly have questions about. With this new blog, I hope to answer them. Or at least to tackle notions that never got addressed adequately in the book.
I hope you'll visit. I'm pleased to see that the conversation there is already fairly lively. It's with a service called Vox, and I've not used it much but it seems okay. Let me know what you think.
Monday, May 28, 2007
If you live in the San Francisco bay area (or can get here easily), I'd love to have you as a student in my class entitled "Your Erotic
Personality." Yes, it's based on my book but it will be a great opportunity to delve deeper and get more information about who you are and what you need for great sex. The class happens on May 30, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. here:
OneTaste San Francisco
1074 Folsom street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 503 1100
Although you cannot register online, you can read a bit more about the class here.
(I'll be taking this class on the road in the near future, so stay tuned for announcements about opportunities to attend in your area!)
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
It's not that I don't have anything to say. If you listen to my podcast, you know that I do! But with all the writing I do in any given day, the idea of then spilling my guts here on a blog fills me with anticipatory exhaustion. I try to keep things short and sweet (okay, except for that crazy post about pole dancing!), but there are other bloggers out there who are not only articulate but insightful, and who have an outlook on sex that's not only healthy and progressive but free of ego and shock value.
In other words, there are mature sex bloggers out there. And as of today, I'm going to start keeping a list of them for you. But beware: I'm going to limit the list to fairly cerebral blogs and bloggers. I figure you've got enough resources for finding naked bodies, learning creative uses for sex toys, or reading about the personal sexcapades and preferences of certain bloggers.
A couple of months ago, I discovered Elizabeth's Sex in the Public Square blog. I like this woman. She puts thought as well as research into her posts, and her posts are frequently related to topical news items that have some bearing on sex in our culture. She rants but she also offers suggestions and insights, which is the sign of a somebody who is more interested in improving the state of the world that just getting hits on their blog.
I also like the saucy, spicy commentary from Carol Queen. I admire her in general but because I know her personally, I also know she's not driven by ego but rather by a sincere desire to explore the sexual side of human behavior and benefit it via education and knowledge. (Hey, that's why she's Doctor Carol Queen, you know?) She doesn't post all that often, but when she does, it's entertaining as well as informative. Like this post, for instance...
Yesterday, I discovered Devon, who seems relatively new to the sex blogging scene but he's got a mission statement I really applaud. Devon wants to stimulate a "cultural climax." Sounds good, eh? As he says: "it's about time we started expecting more then mediocrity in every aspect of our lives -- and then going out and creating it." Check out his video podcasts -- he's a down-to-earth guy who believes (as I do) that sex isn't about positions and technique as much as it's about raw honesty and a willingness to fumble toward truth.
Yes, it's true that I write smut and am painfully, consciously, unrelentingly aware that sex sells, but if I can help steer people toward a deeper awareness of who they are, what they like, and why they need it, can sexual maturity be far behind?
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Have you been tempted to join the Erotic Personality Club but haven't decided yet for sure? Well, if you win the following contest, you could win a free membership plus an autographed copy of my book!
Penguin (they own Berkley Books, my publisher for Your Erotic Personality) features its sexiest titles on RedLightBooks, and for the next few months, they are running a contest to give away THREE free memberships to the Erotic Personality Club.
Go check it out and enter the contest -- otherwise you cannot win, silly!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The sexy and super-talented author, M. Christian, has just announced that his next novel, The Very Bloody Marys, is available for pre-orders as well as reviews. If you'd like to review his book, please write him at zobop at aol.com. Here's some info on his wonderful book (and I know it's wonderful -- I copyedited it and read every word!).
He’s the only vampire cop around—and a gang of Vespa-riding vampires threaten to drain San Francisco dry!
Big trouble at night in the city. A gang of Vespa-riding vampires are killing San Franciscans so indiscriminately they threaten to not only drain the city dry—but risk the discovery of vampires everywhere. Gay vampire cop Valentino is called upon to stop the group calling themselves The Very Bloody Marys before the situation gets worse. Unfortunately, it already has. You see, Valentino is still only a trainee who is in way over his head now that Pogue, his mentor, is missing. And this brutal gang is tough, smart, and very, very bloodthirsty. To do his job, Valentino must move quickly—and carefully—otherwise he may just get himself killed. What's a creature of the night to do? The only thing he can: track the gang through the haunts of some very odd characters, unravel the mystery, and try to stay out of the sun.
The Very Bloody Marys is a comic horror novel about vampires, ghouls, faeries, and the undead that move around after dark. Part chase, part gallows humor, part shivery excitement, this new story from the wildly imaginative M. Christian is funny, frightening, and very entertaining.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
I recently noticed that several copies of Your Erotic Personality were for sale by independent sellers at Amazon.com for rock-bottom, bargain-basement prices of $3 and $4. This mystified me. How could anyone afford to sell the book at such a price and make any money? (Oh, and let me be honest, as well. I was pissed as hell that some asshole was offering the book at a price that would clearly dissuade anyone from buying it new and at full price. Call me greedy, but I would like my $1.46 per copy and that windfall can only happen when people pay retail.)
So, being the inquiring mind that I am, I wrote to one of the sellers and asked how they were able to offer the book at such a low price. Because the book is so new, I couldn't imagine that the seller would be anything other than a bookstore. But no. The seller was a person who had received the book as a joke from friend who knew it would not be her "cup of tea." So she couldn't think of anything else to do with it but sell it immediately at a price that would guarantee she'd be rid of it quickly.
I hadn't thought to market Your Erotic Personality as a joke or gag gift, but what the hell -- if it'll sell more copies, maybe I oughta think about it.
I bought the book from her. It seemed the only sensible thing to do. But how sad is that?
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
The 2007 official Live Masturbate-a-Thon will be held on Saturday, May 26th at 415 Jessie Street in San Francisco and is sponsored by The Center for Sex and Culture.
CSC’s National Masturbation Month plans climax with the Live Masturbate-a-Thon in San Francisco. Founder and director Carol Queen, Ph.D. announced that the Center for Sex & Culture will hold its sixth annual fund-raising Masturbate-a-Thon on May 26, 2007, doors open at 4:00 pm for regular participants and at 2:00 pm for those attempting to set this year's time/orgasm records. CSC's Masturbate-a-Thon is a live group event at which participants will raise funds by getting others to sponsor them for each minute they masturbate or each orgasm they claim.
Founded by San Francisco's own Good Vibrations, National Masturbation Month seeks to raise awareness and dispel shame about this most common and natural of sexual activities. GV acted in the wake of then-Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders' firing in 1994 for stating that masturbation "is perhaps something that should be taught" about when discussing young people’s sexual options. Good Vibrations and its sister sex toy stores, as well as sex-positive nonprofits, have been celebrating National Masturbation Month across the US and Canada since 1995. More information about Good Vibrations' role in NMM will be available on GV's website in early May. The Masturbate-a-Thon became the centerpiece of National Masturbation Month when it was added to Good Vibrations' slate of activities a few years later. GV sponsors the Masturbate-a-Thon as a private event, as most masturbation is; the Center for Sex & Culture celebrates it as a live group activity.
The most recent Masturbate-a-Thon was held in August, 2006 in London, England. With 154 participants and produced for the benefit of Marie Stopes International, the UK’s premier sexual health nonprofit, that event was filmed for British television and set several new world records, including Most Orgasms for both women (49) and men (6). Last year's Center for Sex & Culture Masturbate-a-Thon raised close to $3000 from participants and their sponsors, who pledge a variable amount per minute to support their friends' efforts. One female and one male participant won trophies for Longest Time Spent Masturbating (the longest, a man, spent nearly eight and a half hours), and one person received the trophy for Most Orgasms (CSC director Carol Queen had predicted a woman was likely to win this particular award, and was proved correct). A reporter from Reuters was on hand, as were representatives from several Bay Area publications. The entire event was webcast by bondage.com and so was available for interested supporters outside the region.
This year the event will feature a news commentary desk, commercials by and for masturbators, a barn stage, an opera singer, a castle interior, a bar stage, live masturbation stages for men and women and appearances by local adult movie performers Tom Orr, Tassy Pink, Robert Black, Michael Starr and the Bay area's own well loved Nina Hartley.
Who participates in a live Masturbate-a-Thon? Not surprisingly, representatives from various sexual communities attend to come for a cause; the Center for Sex & Culture is arranging this year's co-sponsorships among gay men's clubs, erotica producers, and other sexual adventurers. Separate areas of the Masturbate-a-Thon site spaces will be set aside for both mixed- and single-gender groups. Only part of the room will be set aside for the webcast cameras, so less exhibitionistic attendees can participate somewhat more privately. Participants have also been drawn to past Masturbate-a-Thons to publicly acknowledge the importance of solo sexuality in their lives, so not everyone handing in a pledge sheet will be a committed erotic adventurer; many will never have done anything like this before
Word of the Masturbate-a-Thon has spread around the globe. Last year our best-treaveled competitor (and winner of the “Longest Distance Come to Come” award) arrived from Hong Kong. We expect participants to come from as far away as Australia this year; in past years press hits have come in from Spain, Ireland, Austria, Britain, Germany, China, South Africa, France, Brazil, Ireland, India, and elsewhere.
In fact, international press has paid more attention to the Masturbate-a-Thon than has US media, particularly during the London event in 2006, when CSC Director Carol Queen spent seven and a half hours talking to the press. Although international press coverage of the event in Europe and throughout the Americas is quite well covered, US coverage including local Bay Area news outlets has been quite sparse. The on line event has historically shown a viewer moment of about 40,000 people drawing approximately .015% of the internet on the day of production (Alexa 2007)
Pledge sheets and co-sponsorship links are available at the Masturbate-a-Thon's website. Participants can download a pledge sheet and begin collecting pledges right away; after the Masturbate-a-Thon they will let their pledgers know how much to remit. Pledges can be paid by check and sent to CSC; they can also be remitted via the event website. All monies raised will be used to support the Center for Sex & Culture's educational and sex-positive cultural programming. People who wish to participate but who can't find pledgers may pledge themselves at any amount plus pay a $20.00 entry fee. Online supporters who live too far away to attend can tune in to the webcast that evening (May 26); interested parties who prefer a private Masturbate-a-Thon can download the pledge sheet, stay home and participate, and remit by mail, or they can participate in Good Vibrations's private Masturbate-a-Thon.
Visitors to these sites and Masturbate-a-Thon participants should be 18 and over only.
The Center for Sex & Culture (CSC) received its nonprofit status in late 2002 and was declared "Best Emerging Sex Nonprofit" in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Best of the Bay issue in June 2004. It is open by appointment and for events. The Center for Sex & Culture is a largely-volunteer organization that subsists on donations from the public, including donations of books, art, videos, archival materials, etc. CSC's mailing address (where donations can be sent) is 2215-R Market Street, #455, San Francisco, CA 94114. Website donations can be made online . Telephone: (415) 255-1155. Masturbate-a-Thon™ Open Enterprises Inc.; used by permission.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
(Sorry to tell you about this so late, but I didn't know the contest had started until a few days ago! So, I apologize if the contest if over by the time you go check it out.)
Good Vibrations magazine is having a contest to see who can offer up the best ending to one of my unfinished stories. Give it a shot! If the editors at Good Vibrations think your submission is the best, you'll win a gift card and the dubious honor of saying that you and Sage Vivant wrote a story together. Clearly, the gift card will have considerably more value...!
Here's the story they'd like you to finish:
The Contest Winner
By Sage Vivant
She’d read many entries, every one of them a seemingly earnest plea for her unique brand of punishment. Each week she had to choose one contest winner—one recipient who seemed more deserving than the others to endure whatever torture she chose to exact on them. But this week, one letter piqued her interest.
My transgression is an ongoing one and I hope that you can cure me of it. Whenever I am exposed to pussy, my tongue emerges from my mouth, wagging and hungry to touch it and taste it, altogether beyond my control. In my previous requests for discipline, I have been ordered to wear blindfolds but this doesn’t help, as I respond to the merest aroma of cunt, as well as the heat of it. I want to be rid of this affliction and hope that you can help me.
He arrived at her bidding, on time and suitably contrite. Although in his mid-forties, he carried himself with the ease of a man in his twenties. When he stripped naked at her request, she noted the fine physique and exceptional cock. Even flaccid, it hung a good six inches, which made her plan that much simpler to implement.
Without explaining herself, she cuffed his wrists and elbows into the special rack that tilted from vertical to horizontal. Seconds after securing him to the rack, she decided that a diagonal pose with feet to ceiling and head to floor would suit his needs best.
He was docile and she liked that. He didn’t presume to even look at her, let alone speak to her. Serenity sat like a veil on his face. The angle she’d placed him in caused his cock to flop toward his belly with a reassuring fwap just before she tied the leash around his balls. Still, he lay there expressionless.
“Tell me to stop if this pain is more than you can bear,” she said in her signature snarl. She slipped out of her thong panties and now wore only her stockings, boots, elbow-length gloves, and corset (the one that made her tits look ready to spill out at any moment).
She planted one high-heeled boot alongside each of his ears and waited a moment as she dangled the leash across his chest. She positioned herself so she could watch his cock grow. Just a little something she did for herself.
She allowed him to look at her naked snatch for a full minute, secretly delighted by how quickly his meat swelled with appreciation. His cock, of course, wasn’t the problem he sought her help with, but she used it to gauge how his tongue might be behaving. When she looked down at his face, his lips were parted and the tip of his tongue struggled to stay behind his teeth.
She tugged at the leash and he winced. His lips slammed shut.
She launched into a partial knee bend to bring her steadily juicing cunt closer to his face.
Her scent was unmistakable, as was the anguished expression on his face. Yet once again, his mouth went into a natural O shape and the eager, pink tongue squirmed forward.
Another yank at his slightly blue balls, and his tongue retracted but his mouth did not close. She lowered herself a few inches more, now hovering so close that his struggle had to be excruciating.
“Do you want to eat my pussy?”
She promised herself that if he said nothing, she’d reward him but that if he spoke, she’d end the session and send him on his way.
She waited, still hovering over him with phenomenal control. High heels made the position a bit easier, truth be told.
He said nothing. She looked down between her squatting knees and saw the reason for his silence. His tongue was extended so far, it threatened to skim her pussy lips. In all her years as a dominatrix, she had never seen a tongue so long or so fervent in its desire to lap at cunt. Her juices trickled along the lips of her labia.
She tugged at the leash, lowered herself just enough to wipe her cunt against his tongue, then straightened into a standing position. The tip of his tongue was slightly rough, like a cat’s. The brief swipe of it against her clit nearly upset her balance.
“You have a lot of training ahead of you,” she announced, disappointed that his tongue was now back in his mouth. “You’re going to need a lot more than this leash,” she added, walking over to her tool box to select her next implement of discipline.
She might give this client more time, she thought to herself as she perused her inventory, rubbing her clit as she considered her options……….
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
I guess the real hammer will fall when Publisher's Weekly does its special brand of smackdown on it...!
So, if you're interested, here are links to the reviews so you can see what people have to say about it:
[The Joy of Sex], and so many others that came after it, focused on the specific acts of men and women having sex. What sets Sage Vivant’s book apart is that it focuses more on the psychology of sex and the eroticism of it: what type of erotic personality are you? What type of behavior appeals to you most? If you can pin that down (and most of us, as Sage points out, will be a combination of types ...), then you can practically jump start your way to more satisfying sexual experiences, and better target sexual partners who will share, enhance, or compliment your erotic interests.
-- Marilyn Jaye Lewis, internationally published erotica author
Read the full review here.
"I cannot recommend this book enough. Very few times do you get an opportunity to have an enjoyable read which will almost assuredly translate into tangible benefits for your own sense of self identity, as well as your confidence, which can then flow over into your meaningful relationships. This is a unique dose of sexual self-help which will open up new possibilities and understandings."
-- Kelly Arthur, The Erotic Woman
Read the full review here.
"In a market which is overcrowded with books on how to spice up your sex life, Your Erotic Personality offers something refreshingly different. Witty and informative, it will have you looking at what (and who) pushes your buttons on in a whole new light."
-- Elizabeth Coldwell, Forum UK magazine
Read the full review here.
"The information on each type is incredibly in-depth. This is made all the more fascinating because this isn't something Sage has read about and re-written, it's information she has gleaned from her customers at CES over the years she has been running it. This is first-hand information, from someone who knows!"
-- Lucy Felthouse
Read the full review here.
Many thanks to you, Marilyn, Kelly, Elizabeth, and Lucy!
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Here's what's coming up soon:
Crafting Extraordinary Relationships
Part 1: Relationship with Yourself
Friday-Sunday, May 4-6, 2007
Clear Point Center, CT
Get out of the City for an powerful 3-day workshop with LiYana Silver
and rejuvenating retreat in the springtime Connecticut mountains.
Join LiYana if you want:
- To stop being stopped by self-doubt, stagnation, and confusion
- A profoundly loving relationship with yourself
- Ownership of your happiness and self-confidence
- To become vibrantly connected to your passion and purpose
- Relationships that are a vehicle for your growth and joy
- Clear HOW-TO's and TOOLS
- And you know it all begins with YOU...
For a full description of the workshop:
If you are ready to register, contact Steve Munn:
Through interactive lecture, physical and writing exercises and individual
coaching, we will dive into:
- Why you are always attracted to the wrong person
- How to befriend and cultivate intimacy
- The five simple steps to shift any unhealthy pattern
- What turns you on and lights you up
- Getting in the driver's seat of your life
- How to adore yourself in your own skin
- An introduction to exceptional communication skills
- How to take it all back into real life, including dating!
- And more...
For a full description of the workshop:
* * * * *
Early Bird Special: Register before April 15th
$550, or $450 if you register with a friend, partner or family member
Includes workshop, lovingly-prepared meals and accommodation
Limited to 16 - so register soon!
* * * * *
To register, or ask questions, contact Steve Munn:
Monday, April 02, 2007
It's finally happened. I now have an audio CD -- and it has music!
British composer David Courtney contacted me almost two years ago with an idea for an erotic story with a musical score. We worked out story details, he composed music, and at long last, we have the final product! The CD is called Sex With a Stranger and it's now available for sale at CD Baby.
CD Baby lets you listen to samples before you buy, so check it out before you plunk down any money. But frankly, I think you're going to like it.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
I made a few disparaging remarks, which surprised him, but then proceeded to think about just why this whole pole-dancing thing rubs me the wrong way. (That pun just happened, by the way. I didn't plan it.)
I should begin by saying that I once knew a woman who was a dancer in Las Vegas, pre-pole-dancing era. She denigrated the pole dancers whenever the subject arose because she saw them as talentless. "They wrap themselves around a pole. Big deal. I've been dancing my feet off and wearing elaborate costumes for years. How can they call themselves dancers?" That was my first introduction to the pole-dancing phenomenon. My friend had led me to believe -- and I had no reason to doubt her -- that pole-dancers were simply an inferior version of exotic dancer.
What do I know from exotic dancing, really? I grew up in suburbia, was an honor student, and went to KC and the Sunshine Band concerts in high school. When an exotic dancer tells a non-exotic dancer that pole-dancers are the bottom of the barrel in the exotic dancing business, the non-exotic dancer tends to accept that information as truth.
So, my next exposure to pole-dancers was via The Sopranos. Here we have a seedy strip club with women who look like they'd just as soon scrub a toilet as let you watch them pretend a large pole is, in fact, your cock. They look bored and unhappy, and what the fuck, they work at a place called Badda-Bing! for cryin' out loud. Not a resume-enhancer, you know what I mean?
Now, I am aware that it is often unwise to base an opinion on what one sees on television or the movies. If we all did that, we'd think that all crime labs had the latest technology (a la CSI) and that everybody in America only eats barbeque between the months of June and August (according to the Food Network). Nevertheless, what else did I really have to go on?
When my friend sent me those links this week and was surprised by my reaction, I had to devote some time to thinking about why I felt as I did and figure out whether I was really being fair to the much-maligned pole-dancing crowd, whether they love their poles as a livelihood or a lark.
I read the New York Times article and had several reactions. It's always been my belief that anything that makes a person feel sexy is a great and worthy pastime. I also believe that an experiential one is better than a virtual or imaginary one, meaning that pole-dancing in your living room is going to make you feel sexier than doing it in Second Life or having me write a story about you doing it. I don't have children to sap my energy and I don't have a boring or sexless domestic life, but I know I'm lucky in that regard -- plenty of women do need activities or interests that will reignite their sexual selves. Who am I to find fault with whatever does this for them?
Pole-dancers who dance for money have made a conscious choice to do so, and whatever motivates them is obviously no different than whatever motivates any stripper or exotic dancer. That they choose a pole as their primary prop is of no never-mind to me. If they're happy and having fun, great. The world should be full of people who are happy and having fun.
My beef is not with professional pole-dancers -- it's with the women who do it in their living rooms, at parties, and such. I find it sad that a woman's sexual self could be so buried that she must emulate the movements, wear the clothing, and employ the props (namely, the pole) of women that society tells her are sexy.
For me, this pole-dancing-at-home phenomenon is yet another symptom of applying a topical treatment to a systemic ailment. Yes, women will feel temporarily exhilarated by pretending they are pole-dancers. Ten years ago, women were reading about how to strip for their men. Three years ago, they were learning to "make love like a porn star."
Yes, these are harmless pastimes and they may help loosen some inhibitions. But they may also frustrate women who approach them expecting to feel sexiness descend upon them. Lots of women will discover that sexing up a pole feels silly to them, that stripping for their husbands or boyfriends only makes their men look at them quizzically, or that making love like a porn star means that they are acting rather than feeling passionate. They will feel inadequate because aren't these things supposed to make them feel sexy? There must be something wrong with them, they'll think, if these activities are failing to meet that goal.
Realistically, what can we expect bored, confused, desperate, naive, young, or sexually shut-down women to do to feel sexy? They can't ship their kids off to boarding school or make their husbands work fewer hours. They can't afford to hire maids and cooks to relieve them of housework. (And in the case of young women, they aren't old enough to look within for their inner source of sexuality and sensuality. We have to excuse them, I guess. They are led to believe that if they look and move like a Pussycat Doll,, they will be sexy, not understanding that they will be perceived as sexy, which is different than the confidence that comes from knowing who you are sexually.)
Pole-dancing seems innocuous to most people. To me, it's just another way that our culture has distracted us from introspection and self-examination so that it can lure us with quick fixes and immediate gratification. After all, the former are free but the latter can be had at any price the market will bear. I feel sad that so many women think they have to pay somebody to access what is available to them 24/7 at no cost whatsoever.
Okay. Now go ahead and attack me. I'm ready.