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Posts Tagged ‘women’s sexuality’


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London Slutwalk — Hopeful Solidarity

What to wear to Slutwalk? That has been my dilemma for weeks now. But when the big day dawned yesterday, I dressed in jeans and a top that showed just a peek of cleavage, and the thought of walking on hard pavement for several hours made me opt for my old reliable Hedgehogs rather than f**k-me shoes. If there’s ever a ‘tomboy walk’ I’m so in! Raymond dressed like Raymond always dresses, no dilemma for him. I admire that so much. Of course the answer is that it doesn’t matter what one wears to Slutwalk, as the oft repeated chant says, ‘Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.’
For those of you who might have been on holiday on another planet recently, Slutwalks began as a protest movement when a Canadian policeman advised students to ‘avoid dressing like sluts’ in order to avoid being attacked. Since his unfortunate remark, thousands of people around the world have marched in protest of a culture in which the victim, rather than the abuser, gets the blame.
We arrived for at Hyde Park Corner for Slutwalk London amid a gathering crowd and a forest of waving placards and banners. Though there were the expected men in drag and women in mini skirts and bras, and I could only see a small bit of the crowd (BBC estimated five thousand people marched) a majority of the people who marched could have passed for people just out for a Saturday stroll in London, or even people heading off for work. My Hedgehogs and jeans were not the least big out of place, and my man dressed like himself was in good company.

We were all in good company, actually. Placards ranged from angry, ‘Blame the c*nt who rapes and not the c*nt he raped’ to ‘My clothes are not my consent,’ There were lots of  ‘No Means No.’ placards, but the one that moved me most was a hand held message written on a piece of cardboard. It simply said. ‘I was wearing jeans and a jumper.’ There in the colourful, festive atmosphere a simple piece of cardboard said it all, why we were all there, and why what we were doing was so important.

The march got officially started at two, and Raymond and I found ourselves marching in front of Zoe Margolis, ‘the girl with the one-track mind.’ I’d met Zoe before at a reading she did at Sh! a little over a year ago. She is an avid supporter of Slutwalk.We marched along talking and laughing and sharing the excitement with the others marching around us, men in drag hobbling in heels, women in corsets and suspenders, men and women in dressed in T-shirts, all mixed together. The age range was fabulous. There were mothers marching with their daughters, there were pensioners of both sexes, there were students and professionals and every one in between.

Every once in a while to the beat of drums and tambourines, a spontaneous chant would arise, ‘Whatever we wear, wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no.’ The day had turned warm and a woman marching several people in front of us had written a plea for sunscreen on the back of her placard. There was an outpouring of support from the crowded open-topped tour-buses that passed by the march with waves and whistles and shouts of solidarity.

The feeling of excitement and the chanting and cheering got louder as we rounded Piccadilly Circus and headed down Haymarket toward Trafalgar Square. At Trafalgar Square the march ended with a barrage of amazing speakers, most with messages of what the average person can do to make a difference. The official website, Slut Means Speak Out has more on that.

Afterward in The Chandos Pub, I spoke with a group of young women who had come up from Brighton for the march. It was their first ever. They had read about it on Facebook and felt it was important. We all laughed and chatted and had a pint together.

It’s hard for me to take it all in, even now. It was my first march too, and it was sensory and emotional overload. But I took away two very important things from the London Slutwalk that will stay with me. First of all I felt  a renewed sense of hope and excitement for the future of women in general. The organizer of the London Slutwalk was 17-year-old 6th-former, Anastasia Richardson. The London Slutwalk made it clear young women are neither apathetic nor silent when it comes to changing the world they live in for the better.

Secondly, I went away wondering what all the controversy was about? The message was clear, the marchers were all united. Rape is never acceptable. The division between ‘good girls’ and ‘bad girls’ is a false dichotomy that must be done away with if we are to create a world where justice really is for everyone, and everyone can walk the streets in safety. And the feeling of expectation that permeated the whole walk was the sense that something was about to change.

I’m usually a pessimist, I’m usually a firm believer that if things seem too good to be true, then they probably are. But this time I’m hopeful, and I seem to be in excellent company.

 

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In the Company of Women

I’ve gone through long swaths of my life with men among my closest friends. And I’m a lucky woman in that my very best friend is my husband. But one of the fantastic fringe benefits that has come with writing erotica is the fabulous company of women. Whether online or up close and personal, time spent with Real Women, sexy, lusty, smart, empathetic, lovely women is NEVER time wasted.

I get lots of chances to think about my vibrant relationships with women these days. Saturday night’s fabulous smut fest at Sh! Portobello was a perfect example. I love reading my stories in front of an audience, but I love listening to other women read theirs just as much. And the warm fuzzy feeling is only enhanced by a little pink fizz in a place as sex positive and pro-chick as the Sh! Stores are.

Saturday night was a triple celebration of Women Together. The fabulous artist Mayo’s lovely work graced the walls of the Sh! Portobello gallery/event room. All of those lovely charcoals and pastels illustrated some of my dear friend and great erotica writer, Kay Jaybee’s stories. The art work most definitely set the mood. Kay Jaybee read from her hard-pounding, sexy novel, The Perfect Submissive, which I’d already read and loved. But I have to admit, hearing Kay read from it out loud, sat there on the posh pink throne all booted and swathed in black and red, was a much more visceral experience… in the hottest sort of way. Kay also gave us a teaser from her new e-anthology, Yes Ma’am, with hot and sweaty squaddies in the midst of delicious nastiness in ‘lying in Wait’. Kay and Mayo would have enough to send me back home on the train to Surrey totally blissed out. But too much of a good thing is even better!

To add to the lovely girlie naughtiness of the evening, the luscious Lucy Felthouse was there, reading about a steamy champagne-soaked encounter with a hot waiter in ‘Just Couldn’t Wait.’ The remarkable Rebecca Bond, in her lovely mauve heels, delved into crime and punishment in her gritty hot story, ‘Sin City.’ And the yummy Victoria Blisse cleaned up with her story of a very naughty, very hot cleaning lady caught in the act in ‘Dirty Deeds.’ These three lovelies were at Sh! for the aural debut of the critically acclaimed anthology, Uniform Behaviour, edited by Lucy. Uniform Behaviour is a great anthology by any standards, but even more remarkable as Lucy’s first effort, though most thankfully it won’t be her last.

If the setting provided by the lovely Sh! Ladiez wasn’t enough, with wonderful art work, colourful displays of tempting sex toys and hot readings, the audience itself was awash in a bevy of sultry writer chix. I had the pleasure of sitting next to the fabulous Lily Harlam, whose sizzling fairy tale novella, The Mother of All Hen Nights, still heats me up when I think about it. Lexie Bay was there. Lexie is another one of the fabulous Uniform Behaviour chix, who opted not to read…this time, though her fabulous story, ‘In Love and War,’ like all the other stories in the anthology, shines.  Also there was the lovely Lavinia Lewis, whose novel, Luke’s Surprise, has things boiling over at Total-E Bound.

The evening was stirred to perfection by the  Sh! Ladiez, Always on hand to make sure the pink fizz flowed and no one suffered from want of a cupcake. And even more important, they were always ready to tell everyone about all the great toys and books and corsets and other sexy items in the store. Ladiez, you’re the best!

I certainly wouldn’t want to short-change the men behind the pink throne. Where ever sex-positive, imaginative, steamy women go, the blokes won’t be far behind. And it’s no surprise at all to find the highest calibre of men in attendance – sometimes a little shell-shocked by the sea of pink and the tables of sex toys, but quietly, charmingly taking it all in, and often playing the very important role of photographer.

Yes, I’m often in the company of women these days, whether it’s just a quick text to one of my close erotica friends or whether it’s plotting and scheming as we mooch around the London Book Fair, as I was lucky enough to do yesterday with Lucy Felthouse and Rebecca Bond. I’ve always enjoyed my male friends, and still do very much. And I would be the first to admit there are some fabulous men writing erotica now, but I appreciate the company of women because we all know what the journey is like for a woman to embrace her wild side, embrace her vibrant, gritty, dangerous, tender sexy self and step forth with enough confidence to write it down as something to be valued and shared and celebrated… often with pink fizz and cupcakes.

 

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The Education of K D: Erotica’s Steep Learning Curve

I just spent a good chunk of last evening on line trying to find a decent definition of kink. Never did find one I thought was satisfactory. But what I did find was a very good online BDSM dictionary to save to my stash of smutting tools. When I was writing The Initiation of Ms Holly, I made multiple trips into London to question the wonderful chicks at Sh! Women’s Store about strap-ons and spanking and blindfolding.  I spent an afternoon online learning amazing things about chastity belts. And that’s just the physical stuff. I find myself learning why semen is good for women, why porn is healthy, and what happens in the human brain during sex.  And the list goes on.

One of the best things about writing erotica, one of the things I would have never thought about before I penned my first smut, was the steep learning curve. I’ll be the first to admit, I usually try sneaking in the back door first, no pun intended. One of the best ways of educating myself to what is out there is to read what other erotica writers have written. I guess in some ways it’s voyeurism for smutters.

Writing is learning; I’ve always known that. There are stories that can be written without much effort or research, but the act of choosing the right words and getting just the right nuances, or analyzing why what some other writer has done works so well, is a learning process in itself. So I learn as I write.

But writing erotica is different in its learning curve because of the average person’s shocking lack of sexual education  – myself included. And because sadly sex is one of those things people don’t talk about in ‘proper company.’ Though it may be true that there are no stupid questions, people are still embarrassed to ask and embarrassed to seek out answers where sex is concerned. M niece has taught university classes on women’s sexuality, and she says what shocked her most was how little women actually know about their own sexuality.  I have no trouble believing that. Though I’ve always considered myself fairly well informed about sex and extremely aware of my own sexuality, as I began to write erotica I was surprised by my own ignorance.

The frightening thing about ignorance is that it can breed resistance to things that aren’t in our own sexual context. I’ve tried very hard not to be prejudiced about facets of human sexuality of which I don’t know enough to judge. But the battle against resistance is on-going. And interestingly enough, I find that my resistance is directly proportionate to my ignorance.  Not too surprising, really. That’s usually the case with ignorance. We tend to fear and villainize what we don’t understand.

Which leads me back to the high learning curve for erotica writers. True, we write about what we imagine, but our imaginations work better with a basic understanding of as many facets of human sexuality as possible. Not only do our imaginations work better, but our hearts work better as well. Our minds are more open and accepting. The old saying  ‘knowledge is power’ is never more true than where human sexuality is concerned. And one of the fringe benefits to writing erotica is that all that scrambling to do research, to understand why people find certain things arousing, to understand what actually happens on a physiological level when we have sex, to understand the sociology and psychology and science and history of human sexuality, is empowerment.

Empowerment means I can better understand aspects of sexuality in their proper context. It means less reason for resistance; that means less fear. It means more compassion, more asking enlightened questions and more desire to share what I know.

If knowledge is power, then the real power we erotic writers have is the power to share all aspects of human sexuality, the power to portray its many facets openly and honestly and approachably through story. True enough — we don’t set out to educate. We’re mostly all about entertainment, all about fun, but inadvertently we do educate. Inadvertently we open up the windows and doors and let light shine into the part of our humanity that has been kept in the dark far too long.

Yes, I know, I’ve just made all smutters sound like campaigners for the cause, dressed in corsets of righteousness. But the education, the empowerment, the coming to grips with all the many facets of human sexuality, well all that’s a long-winded way of saying —  I write erotica because it’s fun, and the education of K D is just a lovely fringe benefit, one more reason to feel really good about what I do.

 

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Back To Our Animal Nature

In my last blog post of 6 February, I ruminated on whether internet porn, chat rooms and all of the technology that makes the inconsequential voyeuristic experience possible have made sex too safe, too bloodless. Writing about the bloodlessness of virtual sex and the closed, once-removed, environment in which it takes place made me wonder if the popularity of fang bangers in erotica, and in books, films and television is, in a very literal sense, an unconscious offensive against that safe, bloodless sex.

The cleaning up of sex, the dressing it up for proper company by keeping the physicality of it once-removed isn’t just something that happens online. It’s something with which we’re bombarded every day by the media and by social pressure. We are informed on a regular basis that the sanitizing, deodorizing, decorating waxing and reshaping of the equipment is a must if we want good sex.

Fang bangers return our animal nature to the bedroom. What could be a better counter for bloodless, sanitized sex than sex with a vampire? And how better to get back in touch with the animal in us than sex with a werewolf? I wonder if on some unconscious level we miss our animal nature, we miss dirty, nasty sex that doesn’t involve a computer, or expensive lingerie, or waxing off all body hair and making sure all of our bits smell springtime fresh.

When I first conceived the idea of The Pet Shop, back when it was a short story for Black Lace, and later when it became the Zoo in one of my favourite chapters in The Initiation of Ms Holly, it was that same desire to reconnect with the natural, unashamed, naughtiness of which our animal counterparts seemingly partake, to reconnect with a spontaneity driven by desire and not marketing. It seems to me that fang bangers are at the forefront of that return to a more earthy connection with sex.

A quick glance back through mythology – all types of mythology — reveals the common archetype of creatures that are half animal, half human, often gods or demigods. There has never been a time when the part of us that is most closely related to our animal cousins hasn’t frightened us. The Creationist battle against evolution is the most timely example. How can we be both like gods and like animals? If anything, having a big brain only strengthens the drive of our ‘lower’ brain. We can run but we can’t hide.

Our archetypal connection to the beast and the blood may be temporarily sublimated or denied, even dressed up and taught to dance, but it will never go away. The loss of control we fear is ultimately the very thing we crave, the thing we find so alluring in tales of vampires and werewolves.

True enough, biology cares nothing for control, nor does it care who it hurts in furthering its cause. Our big brain can balance our lower brain, can come to some sort of agreement with that lower brain, but it can’t deny it, at least not in any way enduring or healthy or satisfying.

 

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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?’

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The Romance Reviews

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