Saturday, December 9, 2017

Writing a Book About Fetish, Sexual Fantasy, and Erotic Media, Illustrated by GIF's


I released my latest non-fiction sexuality book last week. Some have asked me what it's been like writing a book exposing my relationship with sexual fantasy, fetish, and erotic media. Here's an illustrated post of my answer.
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One day I saw one too many “Top Ten Weird Fetish” lists and decided to write my own book.




All right. It was a bit more complicated than that. Basically, in my life, I had read so many great sex books….


…but none I found really delved into the real life issues about living with a fetish or the role sexual fantasies play in our lives.




I decided I was going to have to write the book myself.




I dove right in….




…But then I realized that I would have to reveal my own sexual fantasies and come out about being a fetishist.




I would have to tell my family, friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers what I’m into.




Things like bondage…




And spanking…




And priests…




Oh my!




I’d have to talk about my experiences writing erotica, and watching porn, and things I can’t even find GIF’s for.




I didn’t know what would happen if I let it all out. But I expected the worst.




Then I remembered I already wrote a book about my open marriage and how a neurogenic bowel/bladder impacts my sex life. What did I really have to lose?




So I got to work.




I was very enthusiastic during the first draft.




But then re-writes and edits slowed me down.




So I decided to do some field research and see what people wanted to know about fetishes and sexual fantasies.




Some people weren’t that supportive.




Them: “Yeah, but… letting people talk about fetishes gives people permission to hurt each other and talking about sexual fantasy will make people addicted to porn!”

Me:




But most people I talked to were really excited!




A lot of people even shared really intimate things about their sexual desires and I made some amazing connections.




This encouraged me to give the book everything I had to give and to push myself as far as I could to write on these topics. I got to it!




When I finished the book, I cried.




Then: formatting. Tremendously tedious and boring.




But during final read throughs, I felt like I had produced the best work of my life to this point.




I felt like a fucking rock star!




…for about ten minutes.




Then the doubt arrived. The fear. The desire to run back into polite society and hide.




But I confronted all those thoughts…




…and published the book anyway.




I have saddled up for a bumpy ride.




And I’ve thought up some creative ways to cope with haters.




Because I wrote about everything from porn to erotic fan fiction to fetishes to male pregnancy romances….




But I’m excited to open up the conversations around fetish, fantasy, and our erotic imaginations. I want to raise a torch for intellectual and sexual freedom.




After all, an erotic mind is a terrible thing to waste.




I honestly don’t know what will happen next.




I’m sure I’ll make some new friends on the internet, at least.




Perhaps one of them will be you?




Thursday, December 7, 2017

Hurt, calling out, and the sex positive world

The news and events surrounding the death of August Ames has been the catalyst for the following post. This is a complicated issue that involves a lot of elements that are not in my forte. Though I have been involved in the sex blogging/education world for several years now, I certainly am not an expert on the adult industry or really even the wider the sexuality community. So what I want to speak of here is removed from the center of this tragedy. What I have to say has been on my mind for some time, and is not just about this recent happening.

Most of the news stories and consternation surrounding the death of August Ames concerns the activity that took place on Twitter. The arguments, discussions, and harassment that unfolded is also in itself complicated and multifaceted, so I am not going to comment in detail about that. I am only going to comment on the splinter of the incident that I witnessed.

Last week, before her death, I saw many of the responses to Ames's original tweet pop up in my feed. Some people I follow were quoting her tweet, replying to her, or favoriting/retweeting responses to her. I know that not all favorites and retweets are endorsements. And people favoriting or retweeting things is not the same as making direct statements. There is also a lot of context that can get lost. All that considered, most of those responses I saw I personally considered to be bullying. The language, tone, and allegations were hurtful and ill intended.

I saw them.

And I just kept scrolling.

Because these responses are nothing new.

Most people in the sex positive community refer to such responses as calling out bad behavior or thoughts. I see it so often I don't think twice. I don't engage, but at this point, even hateful and unfair statements have become white noise to me.

So, I have a few things I just want to say. They are not unique to the situation regarding Ames. I have wanted to say these things over the past couple years for various incidents. But I was always afraid to speak my true thoughts and feelings. But I’m doing that now.

1.       Not all calling out is bullying. But some of it is. Holding up any concept uncritically is unhealthy and I think a lot of people have reached that point in the concept of calling out. Justifying toxic action or hurtful statements as calling out encourages abuse that should be stopped.

2.       There's this sentiment that people who have been hurt are incapable of hurting other people, but that is just not true. As a disabled person, I have been completely dismissed. “She said something hurtful, well, look at her! She has nothing going for her, no one wants to be her! She can say all the hateful things she wants.” Bullshit. I have the power to hurt other people. Victims still have the power to hurt people. To deny anyone their ability to be hurtful denies them a part of their humanity. I take my ability to hurt other people very seriously. Hurt is powerful.

3.       The other sentiment is that hurting others is justified if that person is already hurt or belongs to a group that has been hurt or marginalized. Again, I disagree. I used to think this way. As a disabled person with a lifetime of experience and an acute awareness of the historical context of how disabled people are still treated, I harbored a lot of frustration, anger, and pain. There was a time I wanted other people to feel my pain. I wanted the hurt. I wanted the name calling. I wanted the blame. I wanted to silence and censor and rage. But it almost ate me alive. I stopped listening. I became wonderful at manipulation. I only spoke if I was arguing or if I knew it would hurt. I became slick with my well-timed words, just like those who had abused me in the past, emotionally and verbally. I hated who I was and I wasn't producing anything good in my creative life. But I woke up. I realized I don't hold a monopoly on pain. I realized that the pain I shared with others connects us, even if that pain looked different than mine.

4.       Finally, I have never changed my mind by being called out or called in. (I’m actually a fairly staunch believer that neither calling out nor calling in works, but that’s another post in itself.) When I was a raging anti-porn advocate lots of people tried to call me out and it never worked. What worked was books. Articles. Blogs. Getting to know people. Original content, stories, and work. Thus I believe, we should do our work. It has power. Against mean, ignorant, and hateful tweets, even. So any time you want to rage tweet or call someone out, I truly feel your efforts will be a million times more effective and compassionate if you instead work on your own projects and put your own content into the world.

I’m not saying we should not speak up for ourselves or others when we see things that are wrong or hurtful. I’m not trying to tell anyone how to manage themselves or how to respond to this world we live in or the people in it.

But something has to change.

I see a lot of people in the sex positive community saying how proud they feel to belong to this community of so many people: educators, bloggers, therapists, artists, performers, writers, counselors.

Right now, where I’m at, I don’t feel that way. A lot of what I see coming from this community on social media makes me feel sick and sad. We preach and teach one thing, but act entirely different on social media. We shower ourselves with accolades while we isolate those that need our help the most. We argue and rage, but we don’t make anyone’s life better outside our own circles.

Those are my thoughts and feelings. I am owning them. I am working through them. I hope to find my way back to that pride and peace.

But I could not do that while remaining silent on these points, so I am choosing to share them now. If you are still with me, truly, thank you for listening.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Book Release | Thinking Myself Off: Fetish, Fantasy, and My Erotic Imagination


Well. Here it is.

I know. Most book releases open with a much more enthusiastic and enticing line. And, yes, I am extremely proud of this book. This project is something that I have been wanting to put out in the world for a very long time. In many ways I feel that, as a writer, this book will be one of the most important things I’ve done in my life.

Part of me is also completely panicked and scared to release what I have written. 

But that fear is the reason I wrote this book.

This book is about the role the erotic imagination plays in living a fulfilling life. This book is about erotic media and how we can use it better. This book is the handbook for fetishists I always wished I’d had.

In order to write this book, I had to reveal a lot about myself. Of course, I have boundaries. This isn’t an explicit free-for-all. But I did go out on a limb to share things that I’ve needed other people to share with me through my life, but never had the opportunity, or never met anyone else willing to share.

I hope this book is, above all, helpful to people out there like me. Fetishists. Or people whose sexual fantasies are just as important to them as other needs in their lives. Or people who have felt shame about their erotic media consumption. I hope my work provides insight and practical advice so we might live more authentic lives and have more intimate relationships.

So… here it is. All of it. It’s out there, now. The brave and the vulnerable. I invite you, too, to be brave. To be vulnerable. Let’s see what’s inside.



Thursday, September 28, 2017

When I Think About Playboy...

Two weeks ago I was walking down Hollywood Boulevard. I had just taken in a spiked milkshake from the bar at the Roosevelt Hotel and I was a little bit tipsy and giddy. Because, even if just for one weekend, I was living my dream. I had just spoken at a sex conference where I had met friends and writers and educators and artists and therapists in the field of human sexuality. I was living an experience that was going to take my writing and my education work to the next level. A little dizzy and star struck as I nudged through the crowd, I was looking for a star that could sum up my experience in this moment perfectly. Beneath my toes I spotted Hugh Hefner and I immediately tossed my phone with a dying battery at my friend and asked her to take my picture. 


I don't know who Hugh Hefner was. He was a human, but to me he was a ghost. A phantom of legend and a pop culture icon. Someone and something far too famous and larger than life for my small town sensibilities to ever truly comprehend. What he did in his personal life and his business life and his public life is up for much debate, criticism, praise, or adoration. But I do not know who he really was nor can I ever imagine anything close to being real under the shroud of glamour.


What I do know is that for four generations in my family the first depictions of sexuality we saw were in Playboy.


When I think about Playboy, I think about the 1980's copy hidden in the high school auditorium that each class bestowed upon the next, as we taped up the edges and folded in the loose pages.


When I think about Playboy, I think about the excruciatingly unexplainable feeling of empowerment and frustration when I donated old copies of the magazine to disabled people I help support living in group homes so they wouldn't have to explain to their guardians why they needed money to buy porn.


When I think about Playboy, I think about the endless friends and acquaintances who feel shame around their erotic media consumption who who could not say the word "porn" but could say the word "Playboy," so our conversations started there.


When I think about Playboy, I think about how for so long I hated my scratch and stitch flesh, my disabled body, the braces, the scars, the jutting bones, and how I blamed the beautiful glossy pages of the centerfolds and the covers and the Playmate of the Year.


When I think about Playboy, I think about how the ground didn't shake and the world didn't shatter when I realized that those women were sexy and powerful – but so was I.


When I think about Playboy I think about the 1970's editions that my husband gave me as a gift and how I still reread the articles from time to time to understand my place in the history of popular culture, education, media, and sexuality.


When I think about Playboy, I think about how I started carrying my Playboy Bunny purse to the bar on Saturday night to see what kinds of looks I would get.


When I think about Playboy, I think about how I still don't know what all of those looks meant.


Because of Playboy, we've had millions of conversations about censorship and embodiment and art.


It's how we've been playful and serious at the same time.


It's how to so many people who look down on me for turning my sexual secrets into memories harbor Playboy as their own deepest secret.


No I didn't know who Hugh Hefner was. His name was written in stone beneath the soles of my shoes as I stood for a few breathless moments far from home on Hollywood Boulevard.


But now the soles of my shoes are on home soil and I continue to have those conversations about sex, about pornography, about our fantasies, about our desires, about our passions, about the words we write and the things we do with our bodies.


The man, the human, Hugh Hefner, did good things. He did bad things. But most things he did fell into the vast grey sea of blurred lines and emotions and the secrets we keep in the dark of dresser drawers.


Those waters are where I'll be. Those waters are where I'm free. So, thanks, Hugh, for joining me there, even as a ghost.


#RIPHef

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New release! Booked: A BDSM Romance


I am so excited to announce the release of my contemporary BDSM Romance that features librarians, detective role play, and a focus on the psychology behind power exchange and kink. I put a lot of things that are really important to me as a writer into my fiction and this book features a bisexual character, a character with nerve damage, and the characters all come to a place where they can embrace and celebrate their kinks (even if it is difficult at first.) It is a happily ever after standalone title with a M/M romantic/erotic/bdsm pairing and a M/F kink pairing. 

The book is available as an ebook as well as in print.

For a ton of details about the book and my process writing it, check out this interview on Lady Smut

You can also click here to read a guest blog post I wrote that explains more of my motivations in writing a bisexual main character and how my experience living with nerve damage shaped the life of one of my characters.

Below is a synopsis of the book. If you like M/M pairings, bondage, librarians, detectives, role play, and philosophy behind BDSM then please do check out this title! I had so much fun writing it!


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Nate Fuller looks like a typical artist: Part-time novelist, part-time bartender, and dedicated volunteer at the public library. But beneath the surface, Nate keeps many secrets. Nerve damage has left him without feeling in most of his body. He has a thing for being tied up. And the interlibrary loan librarian Charlotte is his BDSM Domme.

Between his body and his kinks, Nate has always had a difficult time with romance. But when he meets the new assistant library director James Albright, things in that department quickly heat up. Unfortunately, James has never been exposed to BDSM beyond the erotica section and Nate has always been more comfortable lying about his body and his sexuality. But James has a secret of his own and clues begin to appear behind the detective crime novels he reads every night.

Armed with handcuffs and a thrill for the chase, Nate sets out to uncover their dream power dynamic – and true love.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Release: Cast From the Earth


My Old West Zombie Apocalypse Polyamorous Romance, Cast From the Earth is now available in print and ebook! This standalone HEA title is full of erotic romance, edgy horror, and fluff... because I couldn't resist! Below is the summary and some videos I made talking about the book and my inspiration behind writing it. I included a lot of things that are really important to me as a writer: disabled characters, polyamory, and erotic romance.

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An epidemic that turns men into monsters has seized the nation. At first the disease only spreads in cities but soon cannibals are roaming the prairie, threatening the quiet little towns of the late 19th Century heartland.

At an isolated poor farm in rural America, Sara Warren has survived a tumultuous life of loss and an accident that leaves her with one leg – but she is hopeless of any other future until a woman named Cordelia arrives at the farm and changes Sara's life forever.

Along with Dan, a man who can't hear and Grace, a young woman who is more concerned with her sewing needles than people, they face the oncoming apocalypse with their wits and their bare hands. When it seems like all is lost, a man from Sara's past named Jack returns to her life and they all realize the only way to survive is together.

A story of romance, violence, sex, and the wild prairie that proves broken bodies still feel pleasure and broken souls can find love – even at the end of the world.




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Monday, April 17, 2017

Podcast interview with TantraPunk



I had an amazing time last week recording a podcast episode with TantraPunk where we discussed so many important things like sex and disability, porn, fetishes, and the really complicated place where all those things come together. We really just scratched the surface of these topics, but I was so happy to connect in a conversation that treated these topics with respect and aimed to shed light on an often overlooked or ridiculed topic. 

I was also so excited to share my story about how I became a sex writer and shared some of my work.

You can listen to the episode here.

Check out TantraPunk's website, and click here for a list of recent podcast episodes -- they are fantastic!

Follow TantraPunk on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tantrapunk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tantra_punk/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tantrapunx/