Archive for January, 2008

Best Sex Writing 2008 video footage, Q&As and Jezebel post

January 31, 2008

My friend Jason Boog over at his excellent writing/publishing-themed website The Publishing Spot did a 5-part Q&A with me (last one’s up tomorrow) and also has some footage from the Best Sex Writing 2008 party:

How to Build a Better Reading Public

How to go from short stories to a novel

How to cope with the stress of freelance life

How to write about sex without sounding like a spam email

Also, in separate but related news, Jezebel (a multiple Bloggie nominee!)has a great post up by Jessica Grose, with lots of debate in the comments, called “Shiksa Studies: Why Don’t Jewish Women Get Any Pop Cultural Love?” and it includes an excerpt from my interview with Rachel Shukert about Jewish girls and blowjobs.

From Jezebel:

Radar is declaring, in its typically amusing and tongue-in-cheek fashion, that this year’s hottest accessory for shiksas is a Jewish husband. You know what? Tongue-in-cheek or not, I’m over Jewish dudes getting all the love. You never hear about Jewish women being the hottest, well, anything; while Woody Allen is off bagging WASP goddesses Mariel Hemmingway and Diane Keaton in Manhattan, cultural stereotypes of female Jews show us to be fleshy, frumpy, sexless overbearing mothers with big noses and unruly hair. Rachel Shukert, the far from frumpy sex writer, thinks that “Jewish men have really had a large part in disseminating those [negative] stereotypes” of Jewish women.

Read the rest

Sugasm 116

January 31, 2008

Sugasm 116

The best of this week’s blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants. Want in Sugasm #117? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form. Participants, repost the link list within a week and you’re all set.

This Week’s Picks
In Case Of Fire
“His hand slid around the back of my neck and pulled me close – easily, no effort at all, letting me feel the power of his arms and the warm puff of his breath against my ear.”

It was a long night…
“I gasped as he slowly pushed in one finger, slippery with oil, and began to wiggle it and spread me open.”

Sex Worker Confessions: Gracie Passette
“But underneath it all, sex workers are all about bridging, in body & soul, word & deed, the irreconcilable differences between realities and desires.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
The Persian Kitty Alternative

Editor’s Choice
Baker’s Birthday

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

See also: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

(Sugasm participants should re-post all the links above within a week. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)

NSFW Pics & Videos
Guy fucks an English babe’s bum in free gangbang clip
Half-Nekkid on Wacky Hair Day
Joanne Arnold, Extra Nipples & A Request
Justine Joli
Lucy C topless (Met Art)
Naughty Toons
Our movie debut )
Pornsaint Mandy Morbid
Sex Toy or Dog Toy…Or Both?
WebMistress Feature Gallery: The Shaving Celebration

Sex Work
Sex Worker Solidarity: Rachel Kramer Bussel

Sex & Politics
Choice Only Begins With Abortion
A Taste of History and Ethics

BDSM & Fetish
Catalina loves Old Friends
Learning my place
Morning Wake Up
The Secret Room
Sex Party of Five
The TAO of Slavery
Tinkle Tinkle

Sex News, Reviews & Interviews
Bisexuals Are No Longer Confused
Gwen Diamond Cuckolds Her Husband And Forces Him To Eat Cum
Interview with Rachel Shukert on Jewish girls and blowjobs
The ultimate titty finder

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships
Cum-shots, spanking, and the role of blogging in feminist porn
Fear and Loathing of Phone Sex
Just Ask For It
What is sex?

Sex Advice
The Two Best Sex Positions for Delaying Ejaculation

Erotic Writing and Experiences
A Clandestine Liaison
The fluent cunnilinguist
For You….
Haute Couture – Part 1
Recovery – Part III
Seven minutes
Table Seventeen
Teaching a blowjob lesson
That Girl

Press for Best Sex Writing 2008

January 28, 2008

Last week, after our group reading, we did a joint podcast interview, all five of us, for Bat Segundo. I’m only sorry I don’t have a photo of us all sitting around with huge microphones at a pizza place! That is probably the most interesting location I’ve ever done an interview in! Click below to listen to me, Rachel Shukert, Liz Langley, Lux Nightmare and Miriam Datskovsky.

segundo173.jpg also did video interviews with us which will be up soon; for now, read Jordan Manley’s take on the book.

And more reviews are coming soon, along with some cool interviews with contributors.

My friend Jason Boog over at The Publishing Spot</a> interviewed me for his “Five Easy Questions” segment. I think my answers were so long he’s running them in more than one part. And I love the title he gave the piece: “How To Write About Sex Without Sounding Like A Spam Email

Here’s a snippet:

Jason Boog:

It takes a lot to write frankly and vividly about sex. There are so many clichés and taboos to steer around. What’s your advice for a writer looking to write more physical, sensual, and sexy nonfiction? How can we avoid clichés and stop gettting hung up on taboos?

Rachel Kramer Bussel:
I think the first thing to do is to forget about anything you think you “should” do. We all talk and think about sex differently, so the words that may feel right to me might not be right to you. I think sometimes people make the mistake that simply writing about sex is automatically titillating, when that’s not the case at all. You can write smart nonfiction about sex that’s insightful without being clinical – and you can also write erotica that’s actually not sexy at all.

Being honest, with yourself and your audience, is foremost. If that means using a pseudonym, use a pseudonym, but you don’t want to be cagey. I don’t mean you have to be clinical, I just mean don’t make assumptions about what your readers are into sexually.

The Columbia Spectator on the Best Sex Writing 2008 reading

January 25, 2008

Miriam Datskovsky

Originally uploaded by editrixie

“Writers Bare All for the Best Sex of 2008,” Columbia Spectator

The cover of Best Sex Writing 2008 features a young woman’s backside, her lacy black thong tugged upward by one patent leather heel. Those expecting to find nothing but a collection of lit erotica within, however, will be pleasantly surprised—the book, like sexuality itself, has a lot more going on in the noggin than we might give it credit for.
“I wanted to create an anthology that would open people’s minds about sex, and not just deliver the usual suspects or what you might expect,” explained Rachel Kramer Bussel, editor of the current edition. “I set out to find pieces that looked at sex in new ways and focused on people you might not normally hear from.”

She has certainly succeeded. The book’s 21 stories range from comic vignettes to serious essays to journal-styled entries. In one, modern-day eunuchs explain the reasoning and risks involved in their voluntary castrations. Another, “Sex in Iran,” examines the divisive case of a sex tape scandal within a fundamentalist nation. “Oral Report,” meanwhile, attempts to explain why Jewish women supposedly give better head. And one story, “Absolut Nude,” by Miriam Datskovsky, BC ’07, focuses on a topic dear to all CU hearts: college sexuality, specifically the advent of the nude party scene.
Datskovsky is perhaps best known at Columbia for her “Sexplorations” column during her years at Spectator. She was inspired by previous sex advice articles, which answered the “nitty-gritty how-to details” but failed to “actually broach issues of sex and sexuality that college students face.” Datskovsky is now an editorial assistant at Condé Nast Portfolio, a business magazine from the publishers of Vanity Fair and the New Yorker.

Before the formation of Best Sex Writing 2008, Datskovsky had known Bussel for years, and both women were familiar with each other’s work. “Absolut Nude” was chosen to address the college trend that is naked parties, and Datskovsky’s piece has the distinction of being one of few to address university-aged sexuality, and the way that obscurity and group participation can diminish sexual taboos.

“I would hope that all expressions of sexuality become acceptable regardless of anonymity or whether everyone’s doing it,” Datskovsky said. “Ideally, people will be comfortable with their own sexual preferences because they’re comfortable with their sexuality and nothing more.”
Photo of Miriam Datskovsky by Stacie Joy

Interview with Amy Andre about sexuality studies

January 23, 2008

Best Sex Writing 2008 cover

Here’s the latest in my series of interviews with Best Sex Writing 2008 contributors. Click here to read the table of contents and introduction. Amy Andre

Amy Andre has a master’s degree in human sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She works as a sex educator and writer.

What inspired your article “The Study of Sex?”

I’m actually the guest lecturer I refer to in the essay. I’ve lectured in Dr. Nick Baham’s class a number of times. He’s doing great work, and I wanted to spread the word.

Your essay starts off with a description of a course called African-American Sexuality and goes on to talk about how race is handled in the field of sexuality studies and the lack of people of color in the field. How is race dealt with generally in the sexuality studies classes you’ve taken? What are some of the areas where the intersection of race and sexuality should be explored in academia, in your opinion?

Sexuality and race are two things that infuse every element of people’s lives. So I feel they should be in every area of academia. When I was in grad school, I was lucky enough to have a couple of professors who were very cognizant of their importance. But that was not the case in every class.

That course was actually part of the Ethnic Studies Department. Do you think a course like that also belongs in other departments?

Absolutely. I would love to see it replicated in Ethnic Studies departments across the country; it belongs in Sexuality Studies departments, too. As far as Nick and I know, his is the only course of its kind anywhere in the US, and, in fact, the world.

You quote SFSU Human Sexuality Studies professor Rita Melendez who says that the word sexuality “gets associated with white people,” and that if it’s in the title of a course, people of color tend not to sign up for that. Based on your own experiences and research, why do you think that is, and what can the field of sexuality studies do to be more welcoming to people of color?

She’s right. For example, even though SFSU, where I got my master’s degree, is, like many California universities, a majority minority school (most students are people of color, and mostly Asian American), the students in the Sexuality Studies master’s program are mostly white. When I was a student there, I was one of three students of color in my graduating class, and the only African American. Sexuality scholarship seems to have a reputation as being a white field, and that’s to the detriment of everyone, current scholars as well as potential scholars. Professors who are passionate about diversity should follow the example that Nick and Rita are setting.

Another interesting notion you bring up is a quote from California State University Professor Nick Baham about BDSM being a “political act.” What’s your take on that notion?

I agree. It’s political because engaging in BDSM is so recreational (as opposed to procreational), that it’s really the loudest you can metaphorically scream “I deserve erotic pleasure.” And that’s a political statement.

One of the first comments on the article at Alternet is an objection to its even being posted there on religious grounds, and religion is also something you touch on in the article. Is there a greater degree of tension between traditional religious beliefs and the field of sexuality studies from people of color?

I’m a non-practicing Jew, so I can’t speak from experience here, only from what I’ve read. But I have not read any social science research indicating that people of color are (a.) more religious than white people; (b.) more sex-negative than white people. There’s a stereotype, for example, that African Americans are more homophobic than whites (and that this homophobia is linked to the involvement of African Americans in Christianity). But, in fact, all the research I have read shows that the opposite is true: white people are just as homophobic as blacks, and blacks are just as LGBT-rights-affirming as whites. That’s a social scientific fact.

You have a Master’s degree in Human Sexuality. Was that also what you studied for your undergraduate degree, and what drew you to the field?

I have a BA in psychology. What drew me to sexuality was the just that I love sex. I’m constantly curious about it. I love to read about what other people do and why they do it. Also, I’m bisexual, and I am especially interested in understanding bisexual identity, politics, health, community issues, etc.

What do you see as the future of Sexuality Studies? Where would you like to see it go?

I would like to see sexuality studies focus a lot more on bisexuality. I recently co-authored Bisexual Health, a book published by the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and bisexuals are experiencing a major health crisis. When we look at health status in relation to sexual orientation, people who identify as bisexual (which is, by the way, 50% of all those who identify as either gay, lesbian, or bi) have poorer physical and mental health than people of any other orientation. There’s a lot of work to be done.

What is a typical class you’re taking now like? What do most people in your field want to do after they finish their studies?

Right now, I’m getting an MBA, so a typical class is about finance and math! Coming from the social sciences, and as a writer, I feel very much like a fish out of water. Most people with MBAs go into the corporate world, but I’m planning a career in the nonprofit world, specifically focused on the needs of LGBT people.

In terms of sexuality studies, most of the people I got my first master’s with ended up back in school, working on PhDs, or working as researchers doing sex research at local universities.

You’ve been doing a lot of press around Lisa Diamond’s recent study on women and bisexuality. Can you tell us more about your thoughts on that and the general media treatment of bisexuality? Do you feel the topic is overly sensationalized in mainstream news outlets?

Lisa Diamond’s study shows that, for bisexual women, attraction to people of more than one gender remains consistent over time. Of course, to bi women, this comes as no surprise. I came out as bi when I was 14, which was almost 20 years ago, and I’ve never wavered from that. What she’s proving is that being bi isn’t a phase. The idea that it is a phase – and that phases are bad or wrong or inauthentic – is not only biphobic to me, but also confusing. Why would desire not based on gender be temporary? Why would desire based on gender be the ideal permanent state? I don’t have anything against monosexual (gay and straight) people – in fact, I’m engaged to one – but I do object to a monosexual-centric imperative.

There is definitely a lot of sensationalism happening in the mainstream media. It’s almost as though journalists can’t figure out any other way to present bisexuals.

You directed the short documentary film On My Skin about a transgender man and his family. Can you tell us more about the film and how it came about?

On My Skin is about my friend Logan Gutierrez-Mock. He and I got our sexuality masters degrees together. For fun, after I graduated, I took a free intro-level film class at a local community center. My fiancée, Kami, is a film-maker, and I love visiting her on sets and watching her in action, so I thought it would be cool to learn how to make one. Logan had just come back from Mexico, where his grandfather is from, and he had blogged about his journey. He was also just starting to transition from female-to-male and had a lot to say about his family and his gender. I decided to make a film based on his blog, and six months later, On My Skin was born and showing at film festivals all over the world. It’s even been translated into Spanish for the showings in Latin America and Spain!

What are the differences for you in working in academia and working in film? Do you prefer one over the other?

Other than giving guest lectures on topics like bisexual health, I don’t work in academia. And, other than directing On My Skin, I wouldn’t say I work in film, either!

What are you working on now?

Currently, outside of being a full-time MBA student, I’m writing a book, getting essays published in various places, and promoting Bisexual Health, which is available on the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force website as a free PDF download. And bringing On My Skin (which is available on my site, to universities; it’s perfect for Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Sexuality Studies classrooms. Oh, and I’m also planning my wedding. I stay pretty busy. 😉

Interview with Funky Brown Chick and Reading/PARTY!

January 22, 2008

Very exciting update!the reading/book party made it into the New York Times‘s UrbanEye newsletter!

Cover all your literary erotica bases on Tuesday night (and actually leave the house to do it). At the old-school East Village haunt the Rapture Café, Rachel Kramer Bussel celebrates the publication of her new anthology, “Best Sex Writing 2008.” Several contributors — including former Columbia sex columnist Miriam Datskovsky — will read their work.

Thanks also to FreeNYC and and The L Magazine Time Out New York (and TONY blog) for listing the reading!

Here’s the first of a few interviews I’ve done about Best Sex Writing 2008, with Funky Brown Chick. We’re also being interviewed tomorrow for a new website and for the Bat Segundo podcast.

Best Sex Writing 2008 cover

So please don’t miss our reading and party, where there will also be cupcakes like the ones pictured below (those are peanut butter chocolate, there will also be strawberry cream cheese ones, free!):

Tuesday, January 22, 7 pm – 9 pm

At Rapture Cafe, 200 Avenue A (between 12th and 13th), NYC, FREE
Featuring editor Rachel Kramer Bussel, Rachel Shukert (“Big Mouth Strikes Again: An Oral Report”), Lux Nightmare (“The Pink Ghetto”), Miriam Datskovsky (“Absolut Nude”), and Liz Langley (“Sex and the Single Septuagenarian”). Free cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery will be served, and books will be available for sale and signing

With Kumquat Cupcakery's peanut butter chocolate cupcakes

Sex in the news roundup: Thurston Moore gets Pervy, Katherine Heigl’s sex life, SaSi sex toys, and more

January 20, 2008

“Thurston Moore to Soundtrack Arthouse Erotica Film,” Uncut

Thurston Moore has soundtracked an arthouse erotica film, made by acclaimed New York underground director Richard Kern.

The 60-minute film, titled “Extra Action (And Extra Hardcore)” , is released on DVD on March 18, and features original music from the Sonic Youth guitarist.Kern has collaborated with Moore in the past, directing the gory video for Sonic Youth’s 1984 single “Death Valley ‘69″ and supplying the cover image for their 1986 album“Evol”, which was taken from Kern ’s film “Submit To Me Now” .

Also: ”Thurston Moore gets Pervy,”

”Marriage boosts Knocked Up star’s sex life,” The Times

Katherine Heigl has confessed her sex life has got “10 times better” since getting married.

The Knocked Up star — who married musician Josh Kelley in December — says her bedroom gymnastics have improved dramatically since tying the knot. She told the US’s Cosmopolitan magazine: “Our sex life has always been phenomenal, but I think it is 10 times better than it was. We understand each other better.”You feel sheltered in the moment, whether you’re being wild and crazy and you’re doing your striptease or it’s more mellow.”

”Teenagers’ cell nudity under fire,” The Salt Lake TribunePolice and school district officials are investigating several Farmington Junior High teenagers who traded nude photos of themselves over cell phones.

The latest incident is the third time this school year that Farmington schools have caught students trading photos of their genitals and other nude shots, said Christopher Williams, a spokesman for the Davis School District.

“This type of technology creates problems,” Williams said. “Imagine being a teacher trying to teach a class and you’ve got students sharing inappropriate photos of each other. You’re not going to have the attention of the students.”

A parent recently found the explicit photos on a child’s cell phone and contacted police with concerns about the material, said Farmington police Lt. Shane Whitacker. The photos were traced to 13- and 14-year-old students enrolled at Farmington Junior High School, he said. Both boys and girls were involved.

”Sex, Lies and Contraception: The Male Pill,” Blowfish Blog, Greta Christina

If I were a single guy, dating and screwing around, I wouldn’t want to leave the contraception question in the hands of some woman I’d just met, either. I mean, think about it. If, as a woman, I wouldn’t trust some strange guy who told me, “Don’t worry, baby, I’m on the pill” —

then why on earth should men trust some strange woman to tell them the same thing? The consequences for men of an unwanted pregnancy aren’t as intense as they are for women . . . but they’re not negligible. (Can you say, “child support”?)

And I think that might point to the real market for the male pill. (Or patch, or injection, or however the drug winds up getting delivered.)

Mark thinks that, even if pharmaceutical researchers could make it effective, male hormonal contraception will always be a niche market, mainly limited to men in committed long-term relationships with women who trust them enough to leave the contraception in their hands. But while I can see his point, I think he may be overlooking another key market: the market of single men who want control of their own damn reproduction, just as much as women do. I think the biggest market for the male pill might well be single men who want the moral equivalent of a temporary vasectomy: a way to guarantee that they won’t get stuck with offspring they didn’t expect or want.

”The Roots of Western Pornography,” Marianna Beck, Libido Films blog

Prosecutions against pornography were largely haphazard in England during the 18th century, although the publication of pornography was judicially declared to be an offense of common law. As noted, Memoirswas successfully driven underground without any legal prosecution and, generally speaking, there seems to have been little government interference in regard to publications described as bawdy or licentious. The main exception, of course, was if sexual activity found itself mixed in with politics and/or blasphemy. Although the major campaigns against obscenity didn’t start taking shape until the beginning of the 19th century, it was clear that the winds of tolerance were shifting as the 18th century ended. One of the more perceptible changes occurred in 1787, when King George III issued a proclamation against vice, exhorting the public to “suppress all loose and licentious prints, books, and publications dispensing poison to the minds of the young and the unwary, and to punish publishers and vendors thereof.”

”Sex-ed effort in Glen Cove focuses on Latinos,” Newsday

For Blanca Recinos, doing laundry in Glen Cove has become an opportunity to lecture about sex education.

Armed with brochures and pamphlets from Planned Parenthood of Nassau County, Recinos talks to her Latino peers about the prevention of pregnancy, HIV, AIDS and human papillomavirus. Recinos, a six-year resident of Glen Cove, is one of 14 women recruited by Planned Parenthood of Nassau County as part of a new, Spanish-language marketing campaign to inform the Latino community in the city and the surrounding area about the services the health center offers and to draw them in. ”The community needs plenty of information in this regard,” said Recinos, 39. “At the very least I can talk to them a bit and hope that it stays on their minds.

”‘Sensual Intelligence’ Gives New SaSi Sex Toy an Erotic Edge,” Regina Lynn,

But we’re finally starting to see sexual appliances that can compete in coolness with The Sharper Image’s kids-of-all-ages catalog, although not necessarily with the Roomba robotic vacuum.

British company Je Joue launched a new product, the SaSi, at the Adult Entertainment Expo last week in Las Vegas. If the original Je Joue oral-sex simulator is like a 60-GB iPod with multiple playlists you design yourself, the SaSi is like an iPod Nano with an automated Most Popular playlist.

The SaSi takes the best of the Je Joue — soft surface material, firm massage finger, sensual movements — and simplifies the control so all you have to do is press a button to say “yay” or “nay” to a particular movement. It also has buttons to control speed and to add or remove vibration.

Interview with Rachel Shukert on Jewish girls and blowjobs

January 19, 2008

Rachel Shukert

I don’t know if editors are supposed to be unbiased and treat each piece in their books like their babies (as in, “I can’t choose which I love best!”) but if that’s a rule, I’m breaking it. I totally fell for Rachel Shukert‘s “Big Mouth Strikes Again: An Oral Report” when I read it in Heeb. In part, yes, because I’m a Jewish girl who likes giving blowjobs and got her start in the erotica world with a fantasy piece about Monica Lewinsky (“Monica and Me”). But it really won me over because it unpacked a huge stereotype, but didn’t just set about debunking it. Rachel went after the truth behind the stereotype and along the way tackled some uglier stereotypes than Jewish girls just liking cocks in their mouths. She looks at JAPs and Monica and food and family and the ways these all get tangled together. Because I believe that sex is not just about sex; that is perhaps the true point of Best Sex Writing 2008. That sex is about sex and so much more; it’s about identity and safety and love and comfort and pride and on and on, and Rachel did such a wonderful, witty job of tackling her topic. Plus, come on, she sent me the above photo of her with a giant penis that she said “seems appropriate” to illustrate our interview! LOVE her, and I hope you will to.

And…you can come see and hear us read this very Tuesday, January 22nd, 7 – 9 pm at Rapture Cafe, 200 Avenue A, between 12th and 13th. It’s free and, for those who have oral fixations, there will not be penises to suck (well, if there are, that’s your business), but there will be peanut butter chocolate and strawberry cream cheese mini cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery, perhaps the next best thing.

Best Sex Writing 2008

Rachel Shukert is a playwright and author based in New York City. Her plays include Bloody Mary (NYIT Award nominee), The Red Beard of Esau, Sequins for Satan, The Blackstone Hotel and Soiled Linens, and have been produced and developed by Ars Nova, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Culture Project, the Ontological/Hysteric, the EVOLVE series at Galapagos, and the Omaha Lit Fest, among others.

Rachel is also a regular contributor to She has also contributed to Heeb magazine, McSweeney’s, Babble, Culturebot, and Critical Moment. Her upcoming collection of essays, Have You No Shame? will be published by Random House/Villard in the spring of 2008. Rachel holds a BFA from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. She was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska.

What was the genesis for your piece on Jewish women and blowjobs? What were your ideas about Jewish women and blowjobs going into it and how did they change once you were done?

Well, I felt so much had been written about Jewish male sexuality, (we can all picture scenes from “Portnoy’s Complaint,” et al., of some weird-looking little boy masturbating furiously, lusting after tall blond shikeas, etc.) and traditionally, that had left Jewish women sort of sexless–as either mother figures, or obnoxious harridans, or at best, entitled JAPs who only care about money and status. This is something that bothers me very, very much, and I felt that Jewish men have really had a large part in disseminating those stereotypes, in books, and especially in Hollywood, where you see these very stereotypically Jewish men scoring with hot, WASPy chicks constantly, and Jewish women are never, ever part of the equation. Which is funny to me, because there are more hot Jewish leading ladies now than maybe ever before–Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johanssen, Sarah Michelle Geller, Rachel Bilson–but they never play Jewish characters.

There’s this idea that Jewishness is sexiness in guys but a liability in girls. Yet, the tide is hugely changing, in that there’s been an explosion in the past several years of Jewish women emerging at the forefront of movements about sexuality–you, for instance. So I wanted to find something very, very specific to research that would address some of these cultural myths, and Josh (Neuman, the publisher of Heeb, where the story appeared) and I remembered all those dirty Catskills era sort of jokes about Jewish women being frigid, especially where blowjobs were concerned, and I remembered growing up how people always joked about Jewish women loving to give head, and being great at it, and then Monica Lewinsky entered the collective unconscious and Jewish women and blowjobs became kind of inextricably linked for a generation, at least.

How did you figure out who you’d include in the piece? Did people say, “Go talk to her – she’s a blowjob queen?”

Ha. Originally, I wanted to talk to girls in high school, who were active in Jewish youth groups, etc., but that didn’t really work out–I spoke to one or two, but for the most part, they were very, very uncomfortable talking to me, as I think I would have been at that age. To my surprise, they really saw me as an adult, which is a big division to overcome. And you don’t have much perspective on sex, at that age, obviously–with very few exceptions, you’re just trying to wrap your head around and make sure not too many people (or only the right people) find out what you’re doing–which would be the opposite of being in a magazine story.

So I switched my focus, and started thinking about who I wanted to talk to, and yes, asking around. One of my colleagues had interviewed Miki before for an article, and knew she was Jewish–I don’t know if he knew she had once been ultra-Orthodox, but she told me that in the interview and that was obviously extremely compelling, and I really wanted the point of view of a professional–who could really keep feelings out of it and look at the act in a very clinical, very objective way.

I really wanted to talk to a non-Jewish girl, just to turn the tables a little bit, see what it was like from the other side, and Kristina Grish wrote the book (Boy Vey! The Shiksa’s Guide to Dating Jewish Men). And I wanted to talk to a Jewish woman at the forefront of the sex-positive, educational movement, so I talked to Jamye Waxman, who gives seminars and classes on oral sex, etc., and she took me to what was kind of the Holy Grail for this story–she was giving a blow job class to a bachelorette party of Jewish girls from Long Island, and that experience really turned a lot of my hypotheses around. But basically, I decided I wanted to talk to people who would really have some perspective and point of view on this issue, who’d though a lot about it, and wouldn’t just be “My boyfriend says I give good head, I guess,” you know? I think I wound up getting some of the best of all worlds.

I thought the connection between Jewish women using their mouths for eating and for cocksucking was a very interesting one. Do you think they’re related, both in the mythology of the oral-obsessed Jewish woman and in actuality?

I think it’s a question of appetite and consumption, and not being squeamish, you know? A story just popped into my mind when you read this question–I was a debutante in Nebraska where I grew up, and I remember going to the mother-daughter debutante tea at a country club. The food was terrible–like this horrible pasta salad, and lettuce, and some lemon thing for dessert (like why bother, right?) but I remember noticing that my mother and I were the only ones who ate anything. We were hungry, it was lunchtime. And it wasn’t like we were fatter or had worse manners or anything, it was just a very cultural thing–that culture still exists I guess, where it’s very not done for a woman to be seen eating much of anything in public. And it’s completely because of other women–there were no men there at all.

So I don’t know. I don’t necessarily subscribe to the theory that if you eat like a pig, that must mean you’re great in bed, but I think there’s some kind of link. I think it’s appetite, and more than that, it’s a kind self-determination that Jewish women have, which I think we actually acquired from never being part of high society, from never really being seen by men as these kind of dainty flowers. It’s the kind of self-determination that’s like, if I’m hungry, I’ll eat. If I want to suck your cock, I’ll suck your cock; and conversely, at the other extreme, if I don’t want to suck your cock, I won’t, you can’t pressure me, I’ll do what I want to do. And I do think there’s an oral component, but some of it has to do with speaking up for yourself, which is something Jewish women traditionally don’t have a problem with. And food is a very important part of Jewish culture, and this constant urging from maternal figures to “Eat! Eat!” So I’m sure there’s some subliminal messaging there, and you know what? It does feel nice to have something in your mouth.

What kind of reaction did you receive to it, both from men and women, and Jews and non-Jews?

Hmm. Positive, for the most part. I think a lot of people were disarmed by the humor in it. A lot of non-Jewish girls came up to me and told me how true it was, how their Jewish boyfriends always told them that the girls they went to camp with gave better head, etc. A lot of people really responded to the characterization in the story. A few Jews had some problems with it–but that’s how it always is. My parents were proud, as always.

Why do you think the stereotypes about Jewish women and sex are so pervasive? What do you make of the contrast between the older stereotype of the frigid Jewish woman vs. the newer one of the oversexed one?

Well, I think it’s important to stress that most of the factors in the culture that have made Jewish women seem unattractive–whether it’s being frigid, or physically unappealing, demanding, spoiled, etc.–have been created by Jewish men. Now, I love Jewish men. The men I love most in the world–my husband, my father, my grandfather–are Jewish men. But it’s not Gentiles who invented the “shikse goddess” or wrote all the JAP jokes. Who knows why? Frustration, mostly, I think. All that self-loathing and insecurity.

I’m going to speak in incredible generalizations here for a minute, so just bear with me. I think that Jewish men in the past 30 or 40 years have been extremely invested in making themselves sexy and attractive to the culture-at-large–and they are, they seem smart, sensitive, generous, etc. But with it comes this sense of fear, this kind of atavistic fear, I think, that at any moment they’ll be found out. And if anyone can call a Jewish man on his bullshit, it’s a Jewish woman. So they rationalize why they shouldn’t be involved with Jewish girls–all of these reasons. Jewish women are left open to constant criticism. And since Jews have been such an intrinsic part of popular culture, all this stuff disseminates and becomes conventional wisdom.

Now, I think this is changing, hugely. I think Jews have become more and more of an accepted part of mainstream culture, and this generation of Jewish men are more comfortable with themselves than ever before, and no longer feel like they’re straddling two worlds and trying to leave one of them behind. They can look on their Jewishness as something comforting instead of something constricting. But in the meantime, I think Jewish women have been like, “You know what? We’re sick of waiting for you,” and started on their own project of who they are, which is extremely interesting. And that’s what’s ascendant right now, I believe, which is very exciting for me. So that’s the split, I think, that the old Jewish stereotypes were disseminated by men, and the new ones by women. And the mainstream picking up on it.

If Jewish women are supposed to be good at giving blowjobs, does that extend into other areas of sex as well, or did you find that most of the stereotype is about oral sex?

I think most of the stereotype, at least in the research I did for this article, dealt with oral sex, but look. Jews, for all our troubles, are remarkably un-fucked up about sex. There’s not a lot of shame or guilt about it; “purity” in the creepy, virginity pledge way, is not a part of our doctrine. Our religious leaders mostly stay out of it. You won’t find a lot of Jews, not mainstream Jews, in the abstinence only movement. Dirty jokes and earthy humor were a part of Yiddish culture for hundreds of years. And that translates into a pretty healthy sex life, I think–and by healthy I don’t mean necessarily frequent, but not fraught.

What are you working on now?

Well, I’m glad you asked me that, Rachel! My book, Have You No Shame?, a memoir/essay collection is coming out at the end of April from Random House/Villard. It’s my first book and I’m tremendously excited, and I hope everyone will read it and like it but mostly that they will buy it! I’m also shopping my next book, which is a follow-up to the first one about my time living in Europe, working on a couple of new plays that will probably go up this summer, and some collaborations with exciting people that it’s probably too soon to talk about, but look for them soon.

Best Sex Writing 2008 contributor news

January 19, 2008

My own little news is that I walked through the Lincoln Center Barnes & Noble tonight and saw Best Sex Writing 2008 right there on the new non-fiction release table, next to my friend Judy McGuire‘s book How Not to Date. Yay!

Violet Blue (“ and Porn Hysteria: The Lie of Unbiased Reporting”) was in the news this week with her snubbing by Steve Jobs.

She’s also just announced the call for submissions for Best Women’s Erotica 2009, also published by Cleis Press, and I particularly loved this part:

Desired themes include: Women’s sexual fantasies and experiences of all kinds, such as taboo sex acts, fantasy scenarios (real or imagined), bondage, fetish, male anal penetration (such as strap-on play), first-time experiences, light S/M, exhibitionism, power-play, voyeurism, public sex, seduction, role-play, spontaneous sex, spanking, erotic punishment, sexual surprise, emotional honesty, desire, longing, lust, passion, female fierceness, power (and power struggles), deviousness, meaning, themes that involve the Internet and technology, and sublime humor. Above all, include explicit sex.

Scott Poulson-Bryant (“The Hung List” from Hung) announced news of his novel which sounds so juicy and right up my Judith Krantz-loving alley:

I’ve been getting emails from peeps since I’ve announced that my new novel The VIPs will be released by Doubleday Books in Spring 2009. I’ll give you some more details soon about the exact plot of the novel, but til then you should just know that it’s very influenced by the page-turning books I loved when I was a teenager in the 80s, like Scruples and Hollywood Wives: lots of characters, sexy shenanigans, intrigue, betrayal—yup, it’s loads of fun. At least, I should say, it has been loads of fun to create. It’s a globetrotter of a story, taking place in the Hamptons, Manhattan, Miami and London. It’s about four guys who shared a few summers in Sag Harbor in the early 80s and are now Very Important People, or so they like to think. Then the past comes back to bite them all in their asses. I’m excited to finally be done; hope you get excited to read it.

Lux Nightmare (“The Pink Ghetto”), who’s now going by Lux Alptraum, gives the lowdown on homemade porn in the latest episode of Boinkology TV:

There’s no thrill quite like getting it on — and getting off — in front of a camera. But how can you make sure that your home porn adventure won’t turn you into the next Paris Hilton (or Pamela Anderson, or Dustin Diamond, or Amy Fisher, or Joey Buttafuoco, or…)? We’ve got some advice for you in this episode of Boinkology TV.

Greta Christina (“Buying Obedience”) on “All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Porn – Or Not”

Here is a very short list of things that people will get grotesquely wrong if they get their sex education from porn.

What women’s genitals look like. This is a biggie. If you’re looking at porn video to satisfy your curiosity about what a pussy looks like — well, standards of female beauty in porn are almost as rigid with pussies as they are with basic body types, and female genital cosmetic surgery in the porn industry is getting increasingly and depressingly common.

What male genitals look like. Another biggie — literally. Every time I read a letter to a sex advice columnist from a guy complaining that his dick is pathetically small — not like the guys in the porn videos — I want to scream and bite people. Male porn actors are specifically selected for their large genitalia. They are not a statistically representative sampling. Statistically speaking, they represent the far, far end of the bell curve.

The realities of female sexual response. This may be the worst offender of the bunch. There’s already enough ignorance about what gives women sexual pleasure and what gets us off, without “porn as sex ed” adding to the mix. Look, I have no doubt that there are some women out there who don’t need foreplay, get very aroused by giving blowjobs, have intense multiple orgasms from intercourse alone, and couldn’t care less if you touched their clit. But if that’s how you’re trying to get a woman off, you’re really not playing the percentages. Trust me on this.

And it’s not out until April, but because I’m a lucky girl, I got a galley of Rachel Shukert’s new book Have You No Shame? Check out the awesome cover and pre-order it on Amazon: (and come see her, Lux, me, Miriam Datskovsky and Liz Langley at the PARTY on Tuesday at Rapture!)

Sex in the news/blogosphere roundup

January 18, 2008

Sarah Katherine Lewis from her forthcoming book Sex and Bacon, on Britney Spears: (via Seal Press blog)

“Of course she’s demonized: Britney is female appetite. Britney wants. She wants food and sex and love and trashy, sexy, no-account boys. But it’s not the outward manifestation of her appetite her detractors can’t abide—after all, many female actresses and singers are heavier than Brit’s ever been (Kirstie Alley, Missy Elliot, America Ferrara, Kelly Clarkson, et al.). It’s the fact that Britney appears incapable of hiding her appetite the way every woman is taught to from childhood, whether or not the truth she tells with her body is deliberate. It’s undeniably familiar to me and to every single one of my female friends. Every single one of us fights the same war, attempting to forge a tenuous detente between what we want (everything) and what we’re supposed to want (nothing). The difference is, Britney’s fight is public property. Her attempts to make peace with her own body and its desires are accompanied by a constant chorus of criticism meant to shame and punish. You try living with that.”

Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

It’s said that how we eat is reflective of our appetite in bed. Food and sex: two universal experiences that can easily become addictive and all consuming. You don’t need to look far—The Food Network, billboards, and TV spots, to name just a few—to witness firsthand the explosive combination of food and sex.

In Sex and Bacon, Sarah Katherine Lewis is a seductress whose observations about the interplay between food and sex are unusually delightful, sometimes raunchy, and always absorbing. Sex and Bacon is a unique type of lovefest, and Lewis is not your run-of-the-mill food writer.

A lusty eater who’s spent the better part of her adult life as a sex worker, Lewis is as reckless as she is adventurous. She writes of eating whale and bone marrow as challenges she was incapable of resisting. With chapters that hone in on the categorically simple—fat, sugar, meat—Lewis infuses even the most quotidian meals and food memories with sensual observations and decadence worthy of savoring. Sex and Bacon is exuberant—a celebration that honors the rawness and base needs that are central to our experiences of both food and sex.

Firstly, how hot is my friend Tess, photo below?

And she’s teaching a class on talking dirty! January 26, 8 pm at Kanvas Lounge – click here for details

Silence has no place in the bedroom – unless you’re gagged!…

Having hotter, sexier sex doesn’t require you to spend a fortune on an arsenal of sex toys and accessories. Mind blowing sex can be achieved by using what your already possess. This course will teach you how to use your voice, your imagination, and your erotic vocabulary to add fun and spice to the bedroom or the backseat.

If you don’t think you have an erotic vocabulary, you will by the time you leave. From using your cell phone to send messages that leave you breathless with anticipation to looking into your lover’s eyes as you relate just how good that feels, you’ll learn how to go at your own pace as you release your inner slut or stud.

2 words “vagina couch” – from Jezebel

Tantus Silicone on Freddy and Eddy’s Sex Boutique

I, as many people associated in any way with the sexual health industry, have often contemplated creating a store- THE STORE that I would want to shop in. A store that was clean and well lit with no slat and no grid on the walls. Where less was more and quality was beyond reproach. A boutique where customer service wasn’t looking at the daily reciepts but at the life long relationship between clients and the business. A store that was comfortable to talk frankly about sexual explorations and a couples intimacy- how to maintain it and how to spice it up so it was ever evolving. A place where family was center- even with no children allowed. A community space where the neighbors would think it was an asset rather than a liability that the store was there.

How inspiring a store like that would be- a store like that is.

I will tell you- I’ve been to beautiful boutiques the world over. I’ve seen nothing like this vision until I stepped into Freddy and Eddy’s store in Venice California.

What makes it unique is not the aesthetic but the experience. The espresso waiting for you at the door and the long hall of a sexual library where customers can take any book they like on loan free- it’s on the trust system. What an amazing way to begin a dialog that is often full of secrets or even more often a dialog where the client doesn’t know how to talk or what to ask.

Good Vibrations on “Mood Creams, Shmood Creams” plus a sex tip!

Mood Creams: I get asked for these a lot. From both women and they’re partners and I have to say mostly straight folks. The underlying dilemma here is that the chick isn’t always in the mood when the guy is. Possible reasons? Different sex drives, relationship issues, personal baggage, lack of sexual gratification (on her part, guys), not enough sleep, and even some medications can curb sexual appetites. My prescription? Erotica. Porn. Ask her what she wants between the sheets. Settle arguments. Communicate. See a counselor. Add some kink. Get a new toy. Make compromises. Talk to a doctor. Get some good rest. Take some time to seduce your parnter. Compliment her. Tell her at least once a day how fucking hot she is. See if that doesn’t put her in the mood…

Your Sex Tip of the Day: Next time you get hot and heavy challenge yourself to make-out out with your partner as long as possible before reaching in for the naughty bits. That means clothes on, kissing and rubbing only. You may also whisper naughties into each other’s ear, but that’s it! See how wet and hard you can get just by doing that… By the time you get around to the main dish(es), you’ll be guaranteed an incredible time.

Pleasure Happens, the blog of The Pleasure Chest, interviews Jessica Resler of Vergenza:

P.L. – So what really sets this product apart from the thousands of other sex toys on the market?

J.R. – Our differentiation is based on our brand and our design. Sex toy companies don’t focus on branding their products, or if they do it’s very graphic and aggressive. Our goal is to build a lifestyle brand where our customers know that using a Vergenza means you are using the finest erotic tool. We never will pander to our audience by offering pink toys in plastic boxes or tell customers that a sex toy is a substitute for a lover. Our erotic tools are a means to express a new intellectual and sexual sensation.

Our credo also suggests that Vergenza product owners don’t hide their erotic tools in their sock drawer or under their bed. Our products are gorgeous and should be put on display. I personally have three that I leave on a silver tray next to my nightstand, and this always, shall we say, promotes use.

Video from the below letter taken at last night’s Blogger Sex Night at In The Flesh Reading Series will be coming soon. For now, a photo of me with T.A. Hines, a.k.a. Funky Brown Chick:

With T.A. Hines, aka Funky Brown Chick, at In The Flesh

“An Open Letter to the Man Who Told Me He Wanted to Piss in My Mouth,” Funky Brown Chick

Three beers (for you … and two glasses of wine for me) later, we were standing at the bar ordering the final round when your hand began to dance along the small of my back. That’s when you said it. You leaned into my ear and murmured, “I’m gonna piss in your mouth.”

I didn’t have time to react because you immediately dipped your right hand in the back of my pants and tried to slide your fingers along the slit of my ass cheeks. Naturally, I stopped you. When you removed your hand, you placed your index finger under my nose. “Smell your asshole,” you said with a straight face.

Why God? Why?

Sticky Pages at Bookslut, “an exploration of sex in literary fiction” – on Tin House’s anthology Do Me

Matthew Vollmer describes the awkward fantasy of a young woman, who is infatuated with an older woman, as her boyfriend is giving her head. “That night, after a few beers, the younger woman allowed the boyfriend to go down on her. She tried to imagine the older woman. It was hard. The older woman would not have whiskers.” Most of the stories in this collection follow that same idea about sex — exposing the uncomfortable and all too human elements of real sex. This is literary fiction, after all.

But Martha McPhee’s story “The Anthropology of Sex” really earns the collection its vulva on the cover. McPhee writes about two sisters who, in childhood, engaged in a game called, “Normal Day.” The sisters would play it with the neighborhood kids and the game involved having an affair and successfully keeping it a secret from the others. The narrator, Isabelle, is grown up now and watching as her sister’s own affair is unraveling, while reflecting on her first affair as a college student with her married professor.