It's finally here. Yay! That this is the first story I've written with homo-erotic elements makes it extra exciting for me. Most of the stories I've had published have been pretty much straight hetero and mostly vanilla. Okay, Birthday Boy, (Cheeky Spanking Stories) has a touch of Discipline in it, but is still pretty tame. Being a cis-female, I have focused almost all of my stories on the female characters in my story. They are virtually all female POV, so this was a fun stretch for me. The thing is, this is an AWESOME collection of stories. So, it's worth getting if you want some quick hot moments over the next few weeks. 69 stories that are likely to get you off in many happy ways. (Disclosure: Click the link below to purchase, and I actually might make a couple of pennies.)
If you live in the Bay area, check this reading out! No, I won't be there, but ten of the other authors will be--it sure sounds like fun. I love going to author readings because you get to hear their voice and how they punctuate and stress their words. Sometimes it changes how I experience a story completely.
From a review on Amazon:
In the foreword of this hefty anthology, Barbara Carrellas writes:
I'm looking forward to the release of this anthology. My story, The Big Cat, is my first piece with homoerotic elements to be published. I've shied away from writing m/m erotica mostly because I don't have a penis. I reminded myself that writing is all about fantasy and making things up--so why not let go of my pre-conceived worries about having the appropriate genitalia and have fun with it?
Editor Rachel Kramer Bussel is currently signing up Amazon reviewers for The Big Book of Orgasms, for print copies (US only) or Kindle editions - people should email her at orgasmantho at gmail.com with either their U.S. mailing address for a hard copy with "Amazon" in the subject line or their email address for the Kindle edition with "Kindle" in the subject line. By doing so, they acknowledge they have an Amazon.com account they've made a purchase from before, and that they are willing to post their review within 6 weeks of receipt.
Details about how you can get your free copy and be a reviwer, can be found at Rachel Bussell's blog by clicking here. (But act fast as she's only taking 100 volunteers.)
Here's a complete table of contents. I am so proud to be found in such awesome company!
Foreword: Foreplay: Figments of Erotic Imagination by Barbara Carrellas
Introduction: Orgasm Is Just the Beginning The Beginning, B. D. Swain
How You Christen a Bed Thomas S. Roche
All You Do Is Play Annabeth Leong
Hard Knocks Malin James
The Gallery Exhibit Chris Komodo
White Preston Avery
Matinee Suleikha Snyder
All Talk Jenna Bright
Scarecrow Giselle Renarde
In Her Hands Tenille Brown
Remote Control Logan Zachary
Weathering the Storm Salome Wilde
Hellfire Valerie Alexander
Her Lover Is a Flame Cecilia Tan
Me Vengo! Mistress Kay
Count Out the Strokes Virgie Tovar
Steamy Tess Danesi
Come On Monocle
The Pink Team Kelly Rand
Headache Sherry Reid
Pushing Boundaries on Public Transport Victoria Blisse
Runner’s High Sam Angioli
His Three Conditions Medea Mor
The Morning After David Salcido
Look at Yourself Maxine Marsh
Do It Again Sinclair Sexsmith
Under the Table Elizabeth Coldwell
Light Sleeper Mina Murray
The Big Cat Cecilia Duvalle
Opening Doors Thea Landen
Baxter’s Boy Xan West
Suds and a Two-Piece Bathing Suit Brantwijn Serrah
The Jeffrey Factor Stella Harris
Chains of Love Lily K. Cho
By the Beat T. Fox Dunham
Icing on the Cake Lula Lisbon
The Massage Lady Cheeky
Feast for the Senses Riley Shane
Squirt Evoë Thorne
Piano Man A. M. Hartnett
Out of Control Crystal Jordan
Tantric Home Dominic Santi
Queer for Mike Shane Allison
Meeting Cute Vanessa Madison
Cheryl Andreas Amsterdam
Beer and Orgasms Jeremy Edwards
Sullied Innocence Neve Black
The Rub Jon Fulton
The Park Elise Hepner
Coming Together: The Elusive Simultaneous Orgasm Jade Melisande
Meeting Myself Anya Levin
I Am Not Cruel J. Sinclaire
Cooling Agents Marina Saint
Seeing Is Believing Heidi Champa
The Velocity of Roaches Michael A. Gonzales
After the Funeral Jeanette Grey
There Sommer Marsden
Forced Orgasms Shoshanna Evers
Blue Jean Baby Eleanor Proctor
Learning Experience Kathleen Tudor
A Teachable Moment Walter Pratt
The Flogger Jade A. Waters
Book Lover Donna George Storey
Tied by Red Kay Jaybee
After Party Drew Griffiths
I’m on Fire Rachel Kramer Bussel
Should You Ever Be Allowed to Feel This Good? Lillian Ann Slugocki
The Final Challenge Heather Day
Every time I start a new story, I go through a certain amount of naming angst. Sometimes I don't have the luxury of going through lists and lists of baby names and meanings to get the perfectly nuanced name for the character I'm about to create. There are also times when I don't know the character well enough yet to name him or her, so I'll just grab a name from the air and use it until I get a sense of what I am doing.
What's sort of funny is that I usually grab the name "Karen" for a female character. After a bit of time writing, I get a feel for who this character really is and can change the name to something more fitting for the character's personality. I sometimes forget, though. Two of my published stories last year featured female protagonists who were named Karen. Now you know why. It was more my being lazy than intentional.
I have spent hours researching names. making sure that the character I am working on is somehow reflected by the name I give him or her. I like it when a name reflects some personality flaw or trait that is exhibited in the story. If I am about to start a roleplay, I tend to research a new name specifically for that roleplay from the start since it's harder to do a' find and replace' on a forum and it might confuse my writing partners. It's better to stick with one name. One time, I chose a name for a RP that required me looking at it and copy-pasting it each time because it was such a funky strange name I couldn't remember it. Drove me a little bonkers.
When I write for erotic material, I add in more than just 'who is this character' to my search criteria. I have a whole list of squigg-worthy names I won't use in sexual circumstances. This counts for any erotic stories I write as well as roleplays. At one point. I was working up a f/f roleplay that involved an older woman (my character). My roleplay partner came back with her character being the same as my daughter's name. I have a particular taboo around incest in general, so this just sent me running. Whenever someone suggests a character name that is the same as any of my brothers' names, I ask them to change it. I do the same when someone comes up with my real name, my hubby's name or almost any other close family members. I don't confuse characters with real people, but the names can still affect me in irrational ways. There are enough names in the world that I don't feel it's a real issue to avoid the handful that bug me for whatever reason.
It never gets boring to see a new story in print. I've been having a lot of fun writing to various calls for submission that come across the Erotic Readers and Writer's Association page. Sometimes I just answer a call to see if I can write on a subject matter with enough conviction to be plausible and/or enjoyable. At other times, I write something because I HAVE to. I have a number of stories that I would never have written if I hadn't seen the call for it, and this is one of them. So, if you enjoy reading about some rather fantastical and some rather down-to-earth first time anal experiences, go ahead and buy the book. It might even make a great stocking stuffer! (And yes, if you click on the link I'll get about eight pennies for it as an affiliate.)
When I switched to writing as an intended (eventually) profession, I realized that it couldn't all just be for kicks anymore. While most of the writing I do under this pen name is just for fun because I love writing erotica and, now I've been told, erotic romance, I have found the rigor of picking at least one call off the website every other month to be a fun challenge. I even wrote my first scene ever with two men recently. It was more fun than I thought it would be! Turning something you love doing into work has its challenges, though. I love writing, and have always enjoyed telling stories. Now, I'm involved in writing longer pieces the work load has quadrupled. There are so many more things to keep track of in a novel than in short stories.
I love the short form, and I have several short stories simmering away at all times. I tend to write a rough draft, save it and ignore it for a few weeks. It gives me the chance to come back to it with a refreshed attitude and dig in for some editing. Usually, what comes out is something pretty close to where I want it to be. I'm lucky to have a couple of friends who also write erotica and don't mind giving my stuff a look over. (Thank you!) They always find something I miss.
Given my frequence of posting lately, I doubt very much I'll be doing any more blogging here in 2012. Here's hoping your holiday season--whatever you celebrate--is peaceful and joyous and that 2013 finds you in good health. XOXO
When I first started writing, I had visions of book tours and talk shows. I know I'm not at that level yet, and it might never actually happen for me as an erotica author. Sure, there's that small possibility I could put together a novel and hit the big time--but I know the chances of that are remote. The days of authors traversing the country and stopping at book stories is coming to an end. Not only are brick and mortar stores disappearing, the expense of doing such travel is so high it's practically impossible to embark on them. Today, I'm pleased to promote Cheeky Spanking Stories, edited b Rachel Kramer Bussell as part of the official blog tour. (Oh, just so you know...the link on the picture to the left is an affiliate link, and I do earn about .04 on each purchase.)
While there is a lot of excitement around being published--officially going from "writer" to "author" is alot of fun, it's not why I write. I hate the fact that my answer to the question "why do you write?" is like almost anyone else's answer. I write because...I have to. It sounds trite because it's pretty much what everyone who does write says about why they write. It's a compulsion. If I don't find time for writing, I get cranky and moody. I snarl at my family members, and I begin to throw or slam things around. It's like my body begins to need some sort of dramatic release if I can't do it through writing.
When people ask me "why do you write erotica?" the answer is a bit more specific than "I have to." I am in a writing class where there is a huge variety of genres represented. I don't think any of us are working on an ertotic fiction (even me). Three of us are working on various forms of mysteries (my other love and what I am working on under my legal name), two are writing supernatural romance, one is writing literary fiction, another is working on a memoir, another three are working on sci-fi, another is writing fantasy, and there's another that defies classification. The first night in class I mentioned I was published in anthologies in erotic fiction and would like to work on the novel form. I struggle with longer works, and I decided to take this class to help with plotting, structure and pacing. One woman was obviously bristling at the term, and I asked her if she would be offended if I were to work on sexually explicit writing while in this class. To her credit, she said she would rather not be exposed to it or have to critique "such things." She is also the woman writing literary fiction. The nose in the air was particularly pointed in my direction. I said that I had another work in process I would be happy to work on and decided to focus on that mystery I started during last year's NaNoWriMo project. No problem for me, but I get a secret bit of glee knowing that even in that mystery there are some pretty hot sexual topics and imagery likely to pop up. I can't help myself.
And there's the answer to why I write erotica. I can't help it. I...love...sex...I am interested in sex, and I love writing about it. I love to explore the relationships between people and what they do together with their bodies. I'd like to think most of my stories go beyond two (or more) people meeting and ending up in bed together. I try to find genuine circumstances where a character can grow and change in some way through the course of the story. I find that, if the sex doesn't have a reason for being there, it's just...sex. And that, in and of itself, is boring. There's nothing more tiring than writing a sex scene when a relationship and pattern for a couple is wholly established and there is nothing 'new' happenging for either character. So, I am continually looking for new and interesting ways for people to need, have, and experience sex.
I also get asked, how much of your real life is part of your writing? I have learned that there is a delicate balance between writing what you know and have experienced and what you don't know and have only researched. When I look at my colleagues, like Jade, who regularly writes from direct experience, I usually think..."wow...My life and my writing are...not the same." Most of my erotica takes form fully in my little fantasizing mind. I take bits and pieces of real experiences and weave them in. For example, in my story in this collection, Birthday Boy, the only things that are part of my real life experiences are that I am in a long term monogomous relationship, and that we did actually go to the Alexis hotel once--to celebrate our anniversay. Oh, okay, I do own a pair of black boots, and maybe might own a black leather skirt...but that's pretty much where the comparisons end. My last blog post links to an excerpt of my story in this collection, so you might take a look at that and then click the link above to buy the collection.
My last post was basically a quick notice that I was enjoying my summer. Even once the kids were back in school, the warm weather had me thinking it was still time to goof off. We had extended sunshine and warm days that made sitting at my desk and writing seem more like...well...work. Given that I have decided to pursue a career in writing, and not just poke at it, however, that seems all too appropriate. The IRS is going to start wondering about various deductions if I don't start producing more 'work.'
We had a fabulous family trip to Europe. I ate more food in three weeks than I probably had the previous three months. We saw new sites, some old familiar places, and expanded our vocabulary just a tiny bit. Just about everyone speaks English in the major cities, so we got along very easily.
The photo to the left was taken at our hotel in Berlin--sorry if the exposure is sort of sucky. I had this moment where I paused and looked at the words, my mind going to all those delicious places it seems to go so naturally. Given that this was a family trip, I didn't see fit to drag my underage kids along with me to see what really was going on inside. Turns out it was just a bar with a name that translates into English with unintended consequences.
After our return, I spent most of the summer days hanging with the kids and doing summer kinds of stuff. I didn't get any writing done to speak of, and sort of lost track of what it is I wanted to do anyway. Makes it easy to just sort of start over all fresh and new with a blank page. Or screen.
In August, I hit New York for a writer's conference called "BDSM for Writers." The three day weekend was an intensive workshop. When I signed up for it, I had originally missed the "hands-on" line in the conference description. It was...more than just a little intense-- it was informative, fun, exciting and provocative. I came away with a greater understanding of my own personal kinks and proclivities as well as a much broader understanding of the Lifestyle in general.
A while ago, I wrote about research being a good replacement for lack of real life experience. It turns out that there are some real differing levels of research. Reading about something can make up for a lot, but I am glad I took my own research to the next level. As part of the conference, we spent many hours at Paddles, a public BDSM club in New York City. I went to one early evening demonstration on needle-play which included some saline inflation techniques. While this particular play doesn't really do anything for me personally, I was able to see it from a new angle as a witness to it and appreciate it for the interaction and stimulus it provides people who do get off on it. I think I 'get it' way more than I possibly could from simply reading about it. I was able to flog a naked woman, turned down multiple offers to spank various men, or be spanked, and witness a multitude of interactions between players. The open nature of the club was intense even though I was mostly a voyeur. The fact that I was there with Dr. Charley and my fellow conference attendees made me feel safe in a new situation which could have been otherwise overwhelming and even dangerous.
One of our private presenters came to the club the second evening to show us more "electric play," and I found myself on his table with my shirt off. This is not exactly something that I am particularly comfortable doing. For all my writing about voyeuristic activities, I am not particularly prone to hanging out naked in front of strangers. At least we were in a corner of the club and the wand-master's body pretty much shielded me from view. I really wanted to experience the sensation of the violet wand first-hand. It turns out an under wire bra and an electric wand are an extremely painful combination, and I am not into receiving pain--hence the no shirt. After the initial shock of the under-wire, I had him turn the level of the wand down to almost nothing. Call me a wimp, but the experience clearly showed me I am not a masochist. I didn't get off on the experience, but, rather found the sensation extremely ticklish. I think I laughed long and loud with the experience, but managed to eventually force myself to take lots of mental notes on the sensation. I will be fine extrapolating the rest into my writing. Expect some electric play in a story sometime in the future.
We also had a private tour of the space shared with Paddles by professional Dommes. These play rooms are set up for pay-for-play scenarios with everything from school room themes, a medieval dungeon with various wooden torture devices, to a shiny medical room with plenty of scary looking chrome implements. Taking time to consider the reality of the level of kink and the varying sorts of kink out there is something I needed and wanted to do. I don't really know yet how it will all turn out in my future works, but I am looking forward to tucking into a fall filled with writing.
The conference was run by Dr. Charley Ferrer, author of BDSM for writers, and the following link takes you to her book.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing a new story out. This one, however, is sort of special to me. You see, "Birthday Boy" is the first story I ever submitted to an editor for publication. (Well, the first 'erotic' story I ever submitted.) Looking at it now, for the first time in a year, I can see some revisions I'd like to make. Maybe when I get around putting together a single author anthology, I'll tweak it a bit. But, for now, I think it's still a decent and really fun story.
Check out the free excerpt here and click below to buy the whole collection!
The Perfect Dom Lucy Felthouse
Birthday Boy Cecilia Duvalle
Unwrapping Craig J. Sorensen
The Assignment Donna George Storey
A Game of Numbers Kiki DeLovely
Mermaid Teresa Noelle Roberts
Butch Girls Don’t Cry Giselle Renarde
Echo J. Sinclaire
Bitch Elizabeth Silver
The Price of Experience Kate Dominic
The Spanking Salon Elizabeth Coldwell
The Impact of Change Maggie Morton
Writer’s Block Evan Mora
Lessons Learned Jade Melisande
Invitation to a Spanking Andrea Dale
A Timely Correction Dorothy Freed
Spanking the Monkey Cynthia Rayne
Shine Shanna Germain
Papers to Grade Thomas S. Roche
Lean on Me Adele Haze
Proxy Lucy Hughes
Bad Boy Isabelle Gray
Marks Rachel Kramer Bussel
(I'm honored to be in such awesome company!)
I tend to blog infrequently, but summer vacation means even more infreqent posts from me. I have two kids, and the summer is filled with things like traveling and doing stuff outside the house. I am also one of those people that write when I'm alone. It has a lot to do with the nature of my writing, but not entirely. I have a hard time concentrating when there are other people walking around behind me or playig music in the background. Even more, the divided attention just kills me. When I am working on something, I really need to focus. There are times where, if I am in the groove, I can write for six hours straight without even realizing the time has gone by. The requests for help with one thing or another break the concentration to such a degree I usually give up trying.
This summer has been pretty much a non-starter for any kind of writing. I put up a couple of blog posts on my other blog during the family vacation to Europe, but haven't done much else. I figured I should just admit that I'm not going to be around much until September. At that point, I will likely have two more stories out in anthologies (Yay!) that I can share.
In spite of wanting to just completely disappear and head to the beach all summer, I had to tend to some business. Someone who reads this blog regularly sent me the following in an email:
".....I noticed your blog looks different. What happened to all your pretty pictures?"
Well.... I read this blog post, by Roni Loren. Talk about a cautionary tale! I had been using images that I found off of Google searches without really thinking about it. They were out there being used by everyone else, right? Well...read Roni's story, and you'll see why I just started deleting things. I have since removed any image that might have any copyright issues. I have no desire to break copyright, and as an author I can really appreciate the notion that people should be compensated for their work. I spent a couple of hours last week removing any images that I didn't have permission to use. What that left me is covers of books that I either blogged about or where my own work appears.
The really bad image to the left is one I have complete copyright on since I created it in Publisher in about five minutes. I looked for a free "schools out" sort of image, but didn't really feel like spending $10 for one. You can see why I haven't just been doing my own art all along. I'm not an artist--or at least not a graphics artist. I'll be researching various photo-stock and image galleries that give things away for free or at low cost, but until then...Well...you get home-made images if any at all.
Have a happy, fun summer. I'll be back to more regular blogging in September.
I'm pretty open with people I know about the fact I write erotica. As I've mentioned numerous times, I'm just a little less open about my pen name. There are a few people I just don't want to ever share that with--like my nephews and a particular dude who keeps looking down my shirt and asking to read my stuff at the same time. (And I usually dress provocatively so there's no need to crane a neck to get a good view. Just sayin' it can be a little creepy when people are looking for more than I am already giving.) I just find some lines harder to cross.
So, yeah, people know I write and read erotica and have started to ask me for my opinion on the subject. Just recently, my minister approached me with a confused look on her face asking me if she could chat for a minute, privately. When we were off to the side of the crowd, she said, "Someone gave me this book to read..."
She didn't even need to add another word. I jumped in with "Fifty Shades of Grey?" She nodded. She had gotten through a few pages, but couldn't get into it--at all. Why would anyone think it is good? And, why would anyone think she might enjoy it? Oh-- a little more context. Don't forget that I am a Unitarian Universalist, so the notion of what you think 'church' might mean ought to be completely recalibrated. Also? My minister is a lesbian. There are any number of reasons that she might not enjoy 50SOG.
Primarily, however, she was appalled from the get go due to the lack of craft in the writing. We're talking about someone who has limited time to read and has, to my knowledge, no patience for crap. Content is one thing, but the quality is something else. So, putting aside the fact that 50SOG has a primary audience of het women, it's not surprising that a novel filled with a woman who refers to her "inner Goddess" repeatedly and whispers every other line of dialogue, is going to drive her bonkers.
Ultimately, two questions emerged from our little talk. What makes 'good erotica'? And, Why are so many people reading 50 SOG? The first question is much more difficult to answer, and I am currently compiling a list of novel length erotic works for a later blog post. The problem with the notion of defining 'good erotica' is that you have to also set forth a clear description of what is 'good' to begin with. This is so subjective a topic that it deserves some in depth consideration.
But, the second question is,maybe, easier to answer. While the writing itself is clearly inferior to...well...just about anything you've ever read, the story draws people in. And, it provides titillation. Sure, those of us who are used to reading graphic descriptions of sexual acts are finding it either quaint or ridiculous. Someone described the sex in 50SOG as "Vanilla sex with Spanking." (Please tell me where I read that!!) Let's face it. The majority of people in this country are practicing vanilla sex at home. BDSM is NOT the norm. Someone once recommended the "Outlander" series by Diana Gabaldon as being very hot and steamy. I just read it last month and found it to be very much mainstream with the lights going out just as things were getting steamy. The truth is, most people have not been exposed to graphic sex in the way that the erotica industry is used to. 50SOG is, at the very least, a gateway book.
It's selling because there is a story buried in there somewhere and most women reading it are diverted by their first exposure to candidly explicit (even if dorky and poorly written) sex that they've ever seen to not care about craft. Anyone who writes or reads Erotica has been panning and mocking it. (If you've not seen Laura Antoniou's Fifty Shades Of Sellout blog post, you really ought to read it. It's hysterical, and she's not read 50SOG.) So, while we can sit back and laugh at the poor writing, EL James is laughing all the way to the bank.
And the readers are left looking for "what next?"
Like it or not, for a huge number of women, 50SOG is their 'gateway' to a new world of reading. They are hungry for explicit sex, and I am certain that once they see where well-written erotica can take them--so far beyond what they've been exposed to in 50SOG--they will become voracious readers of the 'good stuff' too.
At the beginning of the month, I thought, "Oh, hey, It's May, so I ought to do a little fun blog post to celebrate Masturbation Month." My first question was, do people still celebrate this? And the second was, How did it come up anyway?
If you've never heard of it before, don't feel too alone in the world. I first heard of it a few years ago, but it's still not something I bring up lightly at a dinner party. "Hey, it's May, how's the masturbating going for you?" doesn't pop out of my mouth easily. Neither does, "Hey, I found this totally cool Lelo vibe that gets me off in about ten seconds, it's great." And therein might lie the problem. I write erotica, I spend hours of my day thinking about sex, and I still feel the need to be circumspect in my conversation with others. I am, clearly, not alone. And yet, I KNOW almost everyone masturbates.
A little bit of history: Masturbation month was first celebrated in May of 1995 as a response to Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders being fired for saying that "Masturbation is something that perhaps should be taught" as part of safe sex education. I'm not sure celebrating it ever gained a lot of traction across the American populace. After all, it seems like it should be about as necessary as celebrating "Pick your nose Month." It's something everyone does while maybe not talking too much about it. What's the big deal?
Why then, am I posting this so near the end of the month? I started doing research on masturbation at the beginning of the month and got caught up in doing a lot of reading. And then, for a long time, I fell into a deep funk once I started reading some of the hate-filled sites and blogs that are out there. My first response was amusement...really? People still think this is a problem? That shifted, however, after reading just how vitriolic some people are about the subject. This basic fact has me bummed me out for weeks:
There are people...in 2012...who still believe there is something wrong with masturbating.
What's worse, is that they seem to think that not only should they not masturbate, they think others shouldn't either.
Here's one example of the nonsense I am finding:
I know. It's hard to believe that people are saying stuff like that in this day and age. It certainly has me blinking with WTF screaming in my head. Sex with the man is awesome and wonderful, but it's different than masturbating. No man (or other person, male or female) is going to give me the same kind of orgasm as I can give myself. It's like oral providing a different sensation than actual intercourse--not to mention the different sensations found in different positions, but I digress. I'm the type of gal who enjoys it all and likes the variety. And, yes, I masturbate regularly. And, my husband does too. And, we even know that the other masturbates. Sometimes, *GASP* we even masturbate together! (Sorry, honey, I know you just love it when I over share.)
It's no surprise that these same people who think sex with the husband brings out a woman's sexuality are anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-woman, anti-sex, and anti-anything-that-doesn't-fit-into-their-ignorant-tiny-world-view. You'd think these folks would be happy to get their hands on chastity belts again. It's the same mind-set that has a number of states declaring hand holding as a gateway sexual activity.
However, in spite of all this crazy, ignorant moral-indignation, I found a bright light that has pulled me out of my depression. I was telling my daughter that I had started to write something for Masturbation Month but got caught up in this sense of hopelessness when encountering this type of anti-masturbation rhetoric. My daughter pointed out that people in her generation don't have the same hang-ups as those in "my generation." She added that even her more conservative friends are much more open to talking about masturbating. She has had conversations with her friends about this, and assures me that none of them think that hair is going to grow on their palms. Her take on it is that masturbation has kept her (and others she knows) from seeking out sexual partnerships at a time in her life when she doesn't need the complication of sex in relationships. Booyah! My daughter is living proof that full-disclosure sex-education trumps "abstinence-only" programs that only tell partial truths. Statistics show that teenagers who have a complete knowledge and understanding of sexuality are less likely to have sex or partake in risky sexual behavior and are less likely to have early pregnancies than their counterparts who are kept in the dark.
Masturbation deserves a month of celebration. Hell, it deserves a lifetime of celebration!
Time to do some catching up, then, if you're behind in self-pleasuring this month! (And if you think masturbating is evil, then FINE, don't masturbate, but get out of my pants. You wouldn't know what to do in there anyway.)
This is one of the last few stops on the month-long blog tour for "Best Sex Writing 2012." I picked the date late in the month because...and here I'm being completely honest...I was worried I wouldn't be able to slog through it. Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration, but I'm not big on reading non-fiction. I read two or three non-fiction books in a year, and, even then, those are usually part of a class list or for my book group. The last time I picked up a similar anthology, I was so disturbed by the first article I read, I had to put it down. I decided to join the blog tour for this particular book as a curative measure for that experience as much as any other reason. Well, that and the fact that I have this impulsive need to raise my virtual hand whenever I see something of interest go by on my twitter feed. Given my history with non-fiction, I wanted to have as much time as possible to get through the book and meet the obligation of posting for the tour in a timely matter. I got my free PDF via the editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, in the beginning of February and started to read it right away.
I don't know what I was worried about. From the moment I picked up the book, I was engaged. Sure, there's a warning that this is "not a one-handed read," but I find there are hardly any non-fiction books that would be. I took a couple of weeks to read it so that I could let each piece have some private space in my head rather than plow through it in a couple of evenings--which would be entirely possible as it is that engaging. The articles and essays cover a wide range of topics, and there's something in the book for everyone. Even if you look at the table of contents and think, "Wow, I'm not sure I really want to read about that," you might be surprised that you're not only reading it, but nodding along in agreement. The fact I "had" to read the book meant I read things like "Adrian's Penis: Care and Handling" by Adrian Colesberry in spite of the fact that I'm pretty sure I don't want to have much to do with Adrian's penis. If I had skipped that little piece based solely on the title, I would have missed out on one of the most delightful reads in the book. I still don't want much to do with his high-maintenance member, but his style and wit are fun and shouldn't be missed.
While some stories wanted me to jump up and write an angry letter to my senators and congresspeople, others had me chortling with subversive delight. (I read a lot when sitting with my children as they do their homework. E-readers are handy that way.) There is a nice balance of the serious and the humorous without anything being trite or hyped up. Bussel also did a fine job selecting stories that didn't get much focus or attention but should have.
Just a couple of highlights that I find particularly meaningful to me....
In her essay Why Lying about Monogamy Matters, Susie Bright says, "When young adults, past puberty, remain sexually inexperienced with their peers, it is because of dysfunction, not virtue." As the mother of a teen-aged girl, I am always happy to see sex-positive messages geared toward youth. I am weary of the finger wagging, anti-sex messages that populate the mainstream media outlets, and would like to see Bright's message that sex is normal on the front page of every newspaper in the country. It's not likely to happen any time soon, but a girl can dream.
In the midst of the recent PayPal scandal (there's some fodder for next year's compilation), a lot of people have come down hard on transgressive erotica--even other erotica writers. I'm not sure if this stems from the fear is that by condoning transgressive erotica, their own work will come under scrutiny, or just from a generalized sense of 'eeuw.' However, in spite of all that has been written about the why's and why not's of reading, writing, or enjoying erotica that involves rape, bestiality, or incest--or whatever it is that seems to send a lot of people squiggling away--I haven't been able to mold my thoughts into an 'elevator summary' of the argument. Not until, that is, I read Rachel Kramer Bussel's essay, Penis Gagging, BDSM, and Rape Fantasy:The Truth About Kinky Sexting. In it she says, "The point of fantasies is that they come from somewhere that isn't always logical or rational." It's sort of a "well, duh!" moment, but I've spent too much time trying to rationalize or put some sort of logic to fantasy. I've struggled in explaining to my daughter why it's okay for her to be confused about the fact she is a strong, confident young woman who harbors tendencies toward male ravishment in her fantasy life. The cognitive dissonance is resolved when no longer being forced into a rationality. It's time to just give in and let the fantasies be what they are and stop over thinking them.