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Posts Tagged ‘Fannying Around’


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The Intrepid Sarah Berry Talks Writing and Other Outrageous Stuff

KD: My first introduction to you, Sarah, was back when you wrote for the now defunct Scarlet Magazine. I always looked forward to your ‘Berry Outrageous’ pieces because you were the reporter who personally explored the kink we all wanted to know more about, then told us the yummy details in a style that was both entertaining and informative. Since then I’ve known you as the editor of Forum Magazine and the founder of the wonderful women’s group, Fannying Around, and just all around cool chick. Having recently been thoroughly entertained by hearing you read an original work of Sarah Berry erotic fiction, A (getting) Biblical Tale, I was amazed by your versatility as a writer. Could I be so bold to ask for a brief history of Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: Dear KD, the phone is off the hook, the Cava is bubbling and I’ve slipped into something uncomfortable. Fire away…

KD: Oooh! Sounds like the ideal set-up for a fab interview! Let me start by asking what do you like to write most?

Sarah: I delight in writing features that are informative, entertaining and saucy and have carved a name for myself writing reportage features for Scarlet as Berry Outrageous – a joy. There have been thousands of articles written on the likes of pony play, spanking and adult babies, but if you write openly about your own experiences it will always be unique.

KD: Tell us a little bit about your latest offering, Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex, written with Peter Birch.

Sarah: I met Peter while editing Forum and a collaboration between us seemed like a no brainer. I am relatively young lady who delights in gentler sex play while Pete is a veteran of the sex scene whose deliciously pervy antics frequently lead cheeks (both upper and lower sets) to blush furiously. Our Seasonal Guide captures both our perspectives in a range of features, fiction and interviews, written around a seasonal theme. The Winter issue includes Burlesque queen Ditz Von Teese; Trans porn star Buck Angel; great ideas to raunch up 2012 with our new year’s revel-ations; kinksters who love sneezing, woolly tights and big knickers, sexy ways to keep warm and more. We’re just working on the spring issue – watch out for the bunnies!

KD: Sounds fab! And I’ll be looking forward to the bunnies in the next issue! You’ve written a lot about sex, Sarah, you’ve written investigative pieces, you’ve written blog pieces, you’ve edited magazines on the subject, and you write some pretty steamy erotica as well. Why sex? Why not food or politics or any number of other topics? And why such an enthusiastic ‘hands-on,’ so to speak, approach?

Sarah: Actually over my career I have written on a range of subjects from the latest developments in railways to living with Tourettes (I have it mildly and no I don’t swear – at least not without meaning it). I am currently contributing editor of a marine magazine!

However, the reason my sex writing is so prominent is maybe because people enjoy my unique perspective – indeed Pete says I could sell butt plus to Mary Whitehouse. I am open about the fact that I’ve suffered from a sexual dysfunction (more on that below) and, whether I am writing about amputee devotees or men who like to be kicked in the balls, I try not to sensationalise them. I strive to portray their point of view and offer helpful advice to any readers with similar passions. I encourage people to experiment if they want to but don’t try and shock those who don’t. As long as we’re safe sane, consensual and legal, I say each to their own.

KD: I’d buy butt plugs from you, Hon!  If you had to choose a topic other than sex to write about, what would it be?

Sarah: In the future I hope to write more women’s lifestyle pieces.

KD: What do you think was your finest moment, as a writer (so far, of course)?

There’s been lots of proud moments but I think the most important one was the first time I wrote about vaginismus. This is a sexual dysfunction where my brain told my pelvic muscles to clamp up. In my teens sex was impossible, in my 20s it was traumatic, then in my early 30s, unpredictable. It’s only with my current fella that I know I can have sex whenever we both feel like it.

By the time I was 28 I’d had a couple of sex features published and I decided that, if I was going to be a sex journalist, I wanted to tell it how it was, warts n all (I mean this metaphorically, luckily I’ve never had genital warts).

But I felt like I was taking a huge risk. Most of my friends had no idea about the condition, and I was so worried the media world would think I wasn’t qualified to write about sex. So I downed two bottles of wine and wrote a Voice of Experience feature for Scarlet, explaining my struggle with this condition. I read the feature to two ex boyfriends. They both asked me if I was sure then commended my braveness. The next morning, hungover, I edited it for drunken typos then sent it in.

I needn’t have worried: Sarah Hedley the Scarlet editor, loved the article and awarded me with the accolade of “Contributor of the month.” A year later she gave me a column in the magazine!

Countering the shame around sex problems is the basis of my groups. The Open Forum is a support group for women with stubborn nethers, in Fannying Around we discuss the good, bad and interesting about our special places and in Private Pictures we draw them. Find out more at www.fanniesrule.com.

KD: Wow! You’ve had an amazing journey, and one that I’m sure is a real encouragement to a lot of people. What would you love to write about that you haven’t?

Sarah: I am hoping to do a lot more campaigning about how the medical profession views sexual problems. Like me, many of the women have been told to, “Just relax,” while many men are palmed off with Viagra. GPs should be more open to referring patients to therapists. Also, I went to a vulvodynia conference the other day. This is an umbrella term for women who suffer from an unexplained chronic pain in their nethers. I will be pitching features about this in the new year. My dream, once I’ve qualified as a sex therapist, is to get a gig as an agony aunt!

KD: What advice would you give to young writers or people aspiring to a writing career?

Sarah: Be honest, be original and, if you’re writing about sex, seriously consider using a pseudonym.

KD: What was the most fun piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Gosh… there’s been so many. I think the London Naked Bike Ride was special. I had to swallow all my worries about being chunky and just get on with it. It was so bloody liberating. And when I threw a flier explaining the cause of the ride to a load of builders, they fell on it like I was Angelina Jolie. I highly recommend you give it a go!

KD:  Wow! I might consider riding a bike naked if it got me treated like Angelina Jolie. What was the most unusual piece you’ve ever written?

Sarah: Definitely the big toy challenge where I put the world’s biggest sex toys up a very mild tempered chap called PUMA (which stands for Put It Up My Arse). The finale ended up with me drildoing him with a bumpy toy that that was over two feet long, stuck on the end of Woolworths’ drill. When he prolapsed I almost puked!

KD: What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in sex writing right now?

Sarah: The fact that it’s so easy to blog means that anyone can be a writer – of course that means there’s a lot of crap and offensive diatribes to wade through. Also the nature of social networking means we can bring our messages to a wider audience. I’ve had some very touching emails for kinksters and vaginismus sufferers thanking me for helping them to not feel so alone.

KD: What does the future hold for Sarah Berry, the writer?

Sarah: I’m planning on penning more erotica and a book offering advice on getting laid. Plus there will be the spring issue of Pete & Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex and more exciting fanny projects on www.fanniesrule.com. I hope you’ll all be along for the ride xxx

KD: I wouldn’t miss it, Sarah! Thanks for being my guest. Happy New Year, and I’ll very much be looking forward to lots of great pieces from Sarah Berry in 2012!

Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex is available to download from Amazon and iTunes.
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
iTunes

 

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Happy Birthday, Fannying Around!

Happy Birthday Fannying Around! Yes, Thursday night was the big one year birthday bash in London at Sh! Erotic Women’s Emporium, Hoxton. Fannying Around is the brainchild of the vivacious and multi-talented Sarah Berry. Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that Fannying Around is her heartchild. Certainly no one could ever doubt that for Sarah, Fannying Around was a labour of love. This quote from Sarah on the official Fannies Rule website explains how Fannying Around came to be the talk of the town in London.

I first came up with the idea for the group when I was a teenager. I couldn’t have sex, I didn’t know why but I dreamed of a place I could talk freely about my problem. Every time I tried to insert anything into my fanny be it a finger, tampon, cock or courgette, I started to panic. I couldn’t tell anyone and suffering in silence led to clinical depression.When I was 21, my then boyfriend marched me to the Family Planning Clinic. Not long after I got diagnosed with vaginismus. This is a condition where the brain tells the pelvic muscles to contract when anything is inserted. 

Over the next decade, with a lot of therapy, vodka, prescription drugs, all sorts of encounters – both shameful and respectful – my fanny began to open and I was finally able to discuss it with others.Turns out ladies have a lot to say about their fannies and as soon as people started sharing all that was normal to them, I realised how individual they all are. They are mysterious, stubborn, on fire, loose, exciting, hairy, sexy, stubbly, oozing, bloody, wet, dry, lippy, asymmetrical, fabulous and more. 

Thursday night, Sarah, dressed in sparkles and a top hat, and surrounded by myriad fanniers led the celebration of a whole year of women filling the Sh! basement to nearly bursting to talk about their fannies, make new friends, and celebrate being women.

I felt especially happy to be a part of the celebration, as I was one of the original fanniers who nearly overflowed the basement at Sh!, Portobello on a cold December night a year ago. I remember that night we all introduced ourselves by saying, ‘My name is … And my fanny is…’ The introduction was optional, and no one had to say anything if they weren’t comfortable. ‘My name is… And my fanny is…’ has become the traditional opening ice breaker for every Fannying Around meeting since, an icebreaker that has sparked a good many fascinating conversations. That first night discussion was lively, raunchy, frank, sometimes funny, often poignant, and in the year since, that has continued to be the case at the Fannying Around meetings.

That first night, the lovely manager of Sh!, Renee Denyer, brought out Rosy, the fanny puppet for a little fannatomy lesson. Since that first meeting, there have been tantric teachers, there have been midwives, there have been porn stars, there have been poets and therapists and performers and writers and fabulous women, so many fabulous women, women who I’m now happy to call my friends. And there is now a website, there have been field trips and a casting party and Private Pictures and Muffember and interviews and … Well the list goes on!

Thursday night was a celebration of all things fanny, complete with a special fannytail created by the London Cocktail Society especially for the event, mixed and served up with a smile by the lovely Katie. There were yummy, beautiful c*nt cakes made by the scrumptious Rubyyy Jones. After all, it was a birthday party. And what’s a birthday party without cake? And for this special occasion, and for the first time ever, men were invited to Fanny Club to help celebrate everything fanny. I did notice they all seemed to be having a great time.

The evening was celebrated in poetry performed by the fabulous Annie Player, the sultry Cathy Flower, and Fannying Around’s very own poet in residence, Mel Jones. I felt extremely honoured to have been asked to read from my very fanny-centric story, Muscle Bound. I think most people would agree that outrageously funny comedienne, Janice Phayre, stole the show when she donned her knitted fanny costume and enticed the audience into a chorus of the old Carpenter’s song, Close to You.

As always the lovely Sh! Ladiez host the very best parties. For the past year Sh! has provided a warm, welcoming place for Fannying Around to meet, and I know I speak for everyone when I say how much fun it is just to be there. There was plenty of time to shop and browse and chat and reminisce with other fanniers about all that this year has brought and what we hope will happen before we all gather together next December to celebrate year two. All the while the beautiful Sarah Berry, in her top hat, sparkled. …And so did her dress.

 

 

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Susan Quilliam Talks About Sexualization

I’m so excited to have Susan Quilliam as my guest today on A Hopeful Romantic. Susan wears a lot of hats. She is a writer, a broadcaster, a consultant and a  mentor on the psychology of relationships and sexuality, among other things. But what she’s most noted for is rewriting what is probably the most famous sex manual of our time, The Joy of Sex, Alex Comfort’s 1972 masterpiece. In 2008 Susan revised The Joy of Sex and brought it roaring into the 21st century.

I had the pleasure of meeting Susan at the Fannying Around Women’s Group founded by Sarah Berry, where she had been asked to speak. After some online correspondence, Susan kindly agreed to allow me to interview her concerning the nebulous, but frightening topic of sexualization. Welcome, Susan!

K D: I think a lot of problems and confusion are caused by people not understanding what sexualization is and confusing it with sexuality. Somehow promiscuity always gets thrown into the equation as well. Susan, could you start by giving us some working definitions, please? What exactly is sexualization and how did it come about?

Susan: Ah….. so many definitions of this term! I guess the most relevant here is ‘sexual perspective’… the way more and more aspects of society today are seen through the lens of sexuality.

We do live in an age that is arguably more sexualized than ever before. How has it come about? I ran a whole evening around this topic recently at The School of Life (link: www.theschooloflife.com) – we explored the ways in which modern society quite simply makes it much easier to have sex and so more tempting to link sex with everything.

As the last century began, huge social changes such as industrialisation meant that folk who used to live in close-knit, morally-tied villages suddenly found themselves in huge anonymous cities where they were free to do what they liked with whomever they liked. The rise of science and the decline of religion meant all the messages about ‘sex is sin’ suddenly seemed wrong, while with women’s emancipation and then the pill came the possibility of having sex without conception – just for pleasure.

Not that I’m saying that sex just for pleasure is a bad idea! Far from it! But all these changes have meant that sex has been delinked from family life, has been brought out of the bedroom and is far more visible in society. And as with all social changes, that brings some good and some bad in its wake.

K D: How closely linked do you think sexualization is with consumerism? Are two the opposite sides of the same coin?

Susan: Ever since the first prostitute accepted the first fee for delivering sexual favours, sex has been linked with consumerism. But even outside the directly sexual industries, it’s inevitable that as sex is so powerful, people will want more of it – and that those who aim to make money will be harnessing that power: linking sex with products, marketing goods by making them appear to trigger sexual desire, selling services through promising sexual success.

It’s sad that sex is sold in this way… sad that we don’t all have the true intimacy with another person that means we are neither looking to buy sex nor looking to buy things that deliver sex. If we were all loved, physically and emotionally, in a way that made us feel valued, powerful, safe and satisfied emotionally, the link between sexualization and consumerism would be broken.

K D: Is there a solution that doesn’t involve censorship? How much of the solution do you think falls to parents, or even those us who aren’t parents, and how much to the state?

Susan: I personally believe that though we see a great deal of problematic sexualization going on, there are also huge solutions being put in place, both on a personal and on a society-wide level. Maybe I’m being too optimistic – but in my own lifetime we have moved from a high level of ignorance and fear about sex to a much healthier and happier approach. Trust me, having a fulfilling sex life in the middle of the last century was rarely easy and straightforward.

Nowadays parents, though often unresourced, are acting to protect their children. School sex education, though often minimal, is now seen as necessary. Adults too are maturing in their attitudes to sex; there is a growing awareness in society of the value and power of sexuality – and that it needs to be treasured and taken seriously. Plus organisations such as the Family Planning Association and Relate are working to promote positive sexuality.

K D: The main concern about sexualization seems to be its effect on children. Is it a problem for adults too?

Susan: Yes – though as I say above, I’m optimistic that as a society we are maturing in our attitudes to sex. But the latest figures on sexually transmitted infections show that there’s a steep rise in disease in the over-40s, who think that they are immune and take risks; this is a clear reflection of the way adults too are hitting problems in this respect.

K D: I hope I’m not being sexist in asking this question, but I just have to. Is sexualization a feminist issue? I ask that because most of the images with which we’re confronted on a daily basis, whether on billboards, the internet, movies or women’s magazines are of women and geared toward women – and little girls.

Susan: I agree that sexualization is a feminist issue. Females are bombarded with images that suggest they will be valued more if they present themselves as sexually knowledgeable and active. As an agony aunt I often get letters from early teenage girls saying that they want a boyfriend to love them, and hence are going to do sexual things that they don’t necessarily want to do.

But this isn’t a one-sided issue. I get letters from teenage boys saying the same, saying they feel under pressure to perform in order to impress their girlfriends. So sexualization may be a feminist issue, but it is also a ‘masculinist’ issue too.

K D: How do you think a sex positive society would change the landscape where sexualization is concerned? And how do you see that happening?

Susan: Let’s first define what we mean by a sex positive society: a society where sex is seen as a Good Thing, but because it’s a Good Thing, should be valued and treasured. I do believe that if we made a shift to that belief, things would change hugely; much of our unhealthy obsession with sexuality comes from a rebellion against inhibition and guilt. If we were genuinely taught that sex is wonderful, we’d be far more likely to approach it wisely, respectfully and healthily.

There’s proof of this, too. A number of studies have shown that when young people are taught about sex, and told that it’s enjoyable, they are far more likely to wait to have first sex and to have that first sex within the context of a caring relationship. So the first approach here must be to resource parents, schools and the media to present a perspective on sex that doesn’t label it as bad and wrong.

This may take decades if not centuries – but to me it is certainly the way forward. For thousands of years, guilt and punishment haven’t worked to discourage sexual expression; we need to try something different.

K D: I’ve always felt that erotic authors, or erotic artists of any kind for that matter, are in an ideal position to promote a sex positive attitude and by doing so help to combat sexualization. Do you have any suggestions as to how we might best do that with literature, fantasy and art?

Susan: I agree with you that artists in general have a huge role to play in offsetting sexualization because they reach through to people’s souls in a way that informational health campaigns, albeit useful, simply can’t.

We learn from art by feeling with, by reacting to, by taking on board deeper messages than simply factual ones. So I would encourage all artists to make the messages they give out about sex emotionally literate, with the right values, not in any prissy way, but in ways that teach us what the best sex can be- a heady mix of physical and emotionally connection.

K D: And how about everyone else? What can we all do to combat sexualization?

Susan: Speak out when we see abuse of the wonder of sex, support others who speak out, encourage society as a whole to make a stand.

K D: Since the internet gets a healthy dose of the blame for sexualization, how much of that blame do you think it deserves? Can it also be a part of the solution? If so, how?

Susan: I’m a huge fan of the Internet, albeit it has a bad press. Every medium of communication has a dark side and Internet porn is at the core of the dark side of sexualization. But it also allows us to access accurate and helpful information about sexuality, to spread positive and useful ideas with the click of a mouse, and exchange views – as this very post proves! Well done KD for providing such a positive arena.

K D: Thanks, Susan! And thanks so much for sharing your time and helpful insights with us. All the best to you!

Susan Quilliam is a writer, broadcaster, consultant and mentor on the psychology of relationships and sexuality. She works closely with the Journal of Family Planning, the Family Planning Association and Relate. Her 21 books are published in 33 countries and 24 languages; in 2008 ,she rewrote the seminal manual The Joy of Sex.

Susan’s website: http://www.susanquilliam.com/Home.htm

 

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Foreplay with Holly!

It’s never any big surprise these days when good stuff gets banned from Facebook. The fabulous Sarah Berry was the victim of yesterday’s banning — twice. Facebook banned her post about the next meeting of the great women’s self-help, discussion, and just all around ‘proud to be a female’ group, Fannying Around, which Sarah facilitates once a month at Sh! Women’s Store. If that wasn’t enough, Sarah’s Facebook avatar was also banned. Her Avatar is usually the cover of the latest edition of Foreplay Magazine, of which she is the feisty, intrepid, and outrageously sexy, editor. As it happens the banned cover is the cover of this month’s issue which contains an XXXtract from my novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly. I feel very proud to have Holly behind that delicious, yellow, Facebook-banned. Foreplay cover.

Here’s just a little teaser if what’s inside:

 What if Edward was just the gang leader, like some kind of mafia boss, and what if she never saw the light of day again? She’d heard all kinds of rumors about the mysterious Mount. Where the hell was her sense of self preservation? Was her wounded pride worth her going along with this insanity – insanity that might be very dangerous?

 She was seriously contemplating yanking off the blindfold and making a run for it when the door burst open and Edward called her name. Suddenly she was engulfed in his arms and her mouth was consumed with his kisses. He pulled away just enough to speak, his breath coming in fast, tense gulps against her parted lips. ‘Are you all right, Rita?’

 Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

 Xcite Books

 

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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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