Burlesque: Women in Control

Last night I participated in an introduction to burlesque class taught by the fabulous Tempest Rose, one of the famous Kitten Club kittens. A group of eight women gathered at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium off Hoxton Square. Most of us only really knew that Burlesque involves beautiful costumes, sometimes strip tease and stage performances, all done by very sexy women. We spent the evening learning to shimmy, and bump and grind, learning to use our bodies and faces to convey our emotions, and learning about the costumes and props of burlesque. (I’m pretty sure Sh! had a last-minute run on nipple tassels at the end of the evening.) The class culminated in our ‘graduation exercise’ — a glove strip-tease. The glove was the only item of clothing removed during the evening. (Unless you count a pair of VERY uncomfortable, nose-bleed stilettos that got tossed in the corner after a few attempts at bump and grind.)

I had no idea a simple glove could be such a sensual tool, nor that it could convey so much. Tempest told us that though strip tease is often apart of burlesque, a burlesque performer never takes off everything. In fact, a burlesque performer views the items of her costume as props rather than clothing. She said she begins a performance with some props, and by the end of the performance, she has less props.

The literal meaning of burlesque is to ‘send up,’ or to make a joke of. Its literary forms can be traced back to Chaucer’s bawdy Canterbury Tales. According to Wikipedia, Burlesque is a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration. Burlesque sometimes parodies the higher performance arts – ballet, opera, poetry. It often, parodies the male and female relationship, and usually at the expense of the blokes. The form is often associated with a variety show and striptease.

What makes burlesque unique, according to Tempest, is that female sensuality and the female form are always at the centre of burlesque. What I found most striking about the evening, as I did the first time I saw Tempest introducing an audience to burlesque at Sh! Portobello, was the sensual female power that is the driving force of burlesque. That power was the reason I wanted to learn more. Tempest told us that in burlesque, the woman is always in control. It is in her power to reveal or conceal what she chooses in her own time. When curves and female sensuality are emphasized, the result is not only beautiful, but also very powerful.

Tempest demonstrated to us how female control in burlesque is shown in the stances and the movements of the performer. She showed us how the angular, sensual stances emphasized in burlesque showcase the female form, emphasizing sensuality and curves. The result is an art form that is 100% female powered. And the sense of that power appeals to both men and women.

She contrasted that to what a stripper might do at a strip club, where the stances are open and straight on, emphasizing what is between the legs. The movements suggest the sex act itself, and emphasizing a man’s point of view.

It was a girl-powered evening, with each of us showcasing our own unique female sensuality. There was pink fizz, silky gloves, corsets, lace, and laughter, and at the centre of it all we were in control. As a woman writing erotica for women, I like that a lot.
 

The Initiation of Ms Holly launch 15 October!

15 October, 18:00-20:00 at Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, my novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly, published by the award-winning Xcite Books, will be officially launched! Finally I’ll get to introduce Rita Holly and Edward Ellison and their mysterious world of The Mount to the public. I’m convinced it will be love at first sight. Or in this case, love at first listen. I’ll be reading just a few of the yummy bits, just enough to convince you that you absolutely must take Rita and Edward and all of their friends home with you.

The lovely Sh! Ladiez will make sure there are plenty of copies to take home, along with pink fizz and cupcakes to refresh you while you listen and browse through all the cool stuff Sh! has to offer. Make sure to RSVP with Sh! as space is limited. Or on the launch Face Book page for The Initiation of Ms Holly

RSVP now, then come and see what really goes on at The Mount.
 

Educating KD

Though it may sound like it, ‘Educating KD’ isn’t the title of my next novel or of a hot new short story. It’s just a good description of what happened to me yesterday evening at the Hoxton Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium.

Writing erotica is a constant sex education. I’m always learning something new, and I often find myself amazed at the many facets of human sexuality. A lot of my stories involve a bit of punishment for bad behaviour (or lack thereof), and that punishment is often a soundly applied spanking. Even people who might not want it as apart of their own bedroom play may still enjoy reading erotic stories that involve spanking. There’s something very primal about it, something as basic as trusting the person with the power, or even abdicating that power willingly, which makes it an excellent topic for sexy stories. All manner of wild and forbidden things can happen when someone else is wielding the riding crop.

I arrived a little before the 6:30 start time to have a warm cuppa, dry out from the rain, and look around at all the fun toys and gifts and the great selection of erotic books. When it was time, the manager, Joanna, and her new assistant manager, Ludi, ushered me downstairs where all the classes are taught. Downstairs is also where the famous pink velvet settee is. That’s where writers get to sit and read sexy stories when Sh! has book readings. But this wasn’t a setee sort of evening. A table was laid in the centre of the room with a full array of spanking impliments, all in pretty girlie colours, along with some smart black PVC and leather thrown in for fun.

As I sipped pink fizz, the Sh! Chix demonstrated the use of spankers, floggers, two-tails, crops, cat-o-nine-tails, and the age-old favourite — the human hand. There was a lovely bull-whip, but lack of space and expertise (definitely a don’t-try-this-at-home sort of toy) meant I was only allowed to fondle it. I’m told that often some of the larger whips and floggers are used more for the impressive explosive cracking sound they make when striking a pillow or a bed, or a pink setee. I was impressed! They can also be used simply to stroke, tease, and caress.

Joanna tells me that spanking releases tension, and the release of that tension can often come in the form of crying or laughing, then the body responds with a flood of endorphins, probably the real reason why spanking is so popular.

By the end of the evening I’d had a chance to flog and be flogged, spank and be spanked, and I felt like I had a much better understanding of the anatomy of a spanking. Since this was introductory spanking through the comfy padding of my jeans, I didn’t experience the endorphin rush, but I got something better. I got to go upstairs and shop afterward!

 

Mammoth Book of Threesomes and Moresomes on sale in UK now and soon in US too!

The long-awaited Mammoth Book of Threesomes and Moresomes, edited by Linda Alvarez, is now available in the UK. It contains my sizzling story, Flash Fire, in which two hot firemen, come to the aide of a sexy photographer in her efforts to educate her innocent young assistant in matters that have nothing to do with cameras, but have lots to do with fire.

For erotica lovers in the States, don’t worry, Mammoth Book of Threesomes and Moresomes will be available in the US October 5, but you can pre-order now. Thirty-six steamy stories by some of erotica’s top writers. You won’t want to miss this one.

 

Fantasies

Grab a scrap of paper and a pen and write down very briefly and generally your top ten erotic fantasies.

Have you done it?

Good. Now let’s compare.

According to AskMen.com, women’s top ten fantasies are just as raunchy as men’s. No surprise there. I’ve always maintained that we women have much dirtier minds than men do. Unfortunately, we’ve been socialized on a huge diet of guilt and self-doubt where sex is concerned. The good news is we’re doing our best, in spite of the opposition, to overcome.

Most of the top shelf erotica now in main stream book stores, as well as online, is erotica written for, and by women, and a lot of it blends great story-telling with blow-your-hair-back, burst-into-flame, nuclear sex. If you want the skinny on what goes on in our very dirty minds, women’s erotica is the place to look, and what a fun place it is!

So here it is. According the AskMen, the list of fantasies in reverse order are: dominating and being dominated, teacher/student, sex with a stranger, threesomes – MFM, FMF, voyeurism, force fantasies, exhibitionism, private dancer.

There they are, ladies, our faves. How accurate is the list? I can only speak for myself, but based on the women’s erotica I’ve read, and written, I was surprised to find being a private dancer at the top of the list. I was equally surprised that girl-on-girl wasn’t on the list. I would have also expected to find spanking and punishment in the mix, although I’m sure most of us can slot those in nicely in the teacher/student category, or dominating and being dominated.

Most of the fantasies on Ask Men’s list (and a fair few not on the list) I have written about in my short fiction and in The Initiation of Ms Holly. I’m not sure how Ask Men came up with their list, but based on the women’s erotica I’ve read and written, my list would have been similar. How about yours?

IN OTHER NEWS: A big BOOOO goes out to Facebook this week for deleting the 3,000 + member sex-positive women’s empowerment group, “Our Porn, Ourselves” founded by Violet Blue. Sadly, the above-mentioned opposition we women are constantly battling is alive and well.

Taking back our sexuality and owning and understanding it is an ongoing battle, one in which, unfortunately, we women are often our own worst enemies. Asertions aren’t facts, and zeal is no substitute for truth. Thanks, Suzanne Forbes and Carnal Nation for reminding us.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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