Archive for April, 2008

Circumcision/Best Sex Writing 2008 in San Francisco Chronicle

April 17, 2008

Violet Blue, who is also a contributor to Best Sex Writing 2008, has a great column in today’s San Francisco Chronicle inspired by Paul Festa’s piece “How Insensitive” about circumcision. She writes:

Most circumcised male foreskins are fairly mobile when the penis is erect, but may be too tight to slide up to, or around the head of the penis. That’s one major difference in understanding pleasure principle differentials between cut and uncut men. Uncircumcised men have a “turtleneck” of skin richly endowed with nerve endings inside a thin, slippery mucosal layer that covers the unerect penis and slides back to reveal the tip when the member is at fill tilt, so to speak. This layer of skin can be pretty movable and slidey at most stages of arousal, and is basically the uncut penis’ own pre-loaded sex toy.

It’s those nerve endings that everyone’s wondering about. While working at a sex toy store, selling sex toys for boys and condoms alike, I’d routinely get questions about what sex toys might be better or more fun for uncircumcised men, and what condoms were recommended for those with intact foreskins. The overview of advice and recommendations we’d give was that because the head of the uncircumcised penis is often described as more sensitive than the shaft, some toys might feel more intense.

Also see my interview with Paul Festa about his essay.

I myself recently penned an ode to uncircumcised cocks for Jewcy.

2 great new Best Sex Writing 2008 reviews

April 17, 2008

Two great new reviews for Best Sex Writing 2008.

The first is from Hot Movies for Her by The Porn Librarian:

Tristan Taormino’s essay on phthalates is one that everyone with a cheap jelly dong should read. I’ve read a lot about the dangerous chemicals, but really appreciated how accessible this article was. It paints a scary picture, and I’m thankful for that. As Taormino points out, Canada has banned phthalates in doggie chew toys but you can still buy a chemical oozing anal plug.

One of my favorite pieces was Ariel Levy’s Dirty Old Women, which focuses on older ladies who seduce teenage boys. We all have our opinions about Mary Kay Letourneau and her former sixth grade student and current husband Vili Fualaau. Unfortunately, I’ve never been exposed to information that wasn’t straight off the pages of People. Levy speaks of the differences between women and men who seduce children and of how society tends to portray all parties in this intriguing essay.

Rachel Kramer Bussel has managed to create an informative page-turner that offers readers a chance to broaden their horizons through each author’s unique perspective. Perverts and prudes will find themselves unable to put this one down.

Then Donna George Storey, one of my favorite erotica writers, wrote about it at Cleansheets:

“Whatever definition you currently have for sex, prepare for it to be shattered.” So writes editor Rachel Kramer Bussel in her introduction to Best Sex Writing 2008, and after reading the twenty-one essays in the anthology, I can honestly say my perspective on sexuality in our culture was blown wide open by the variety of topics, voices and emotion evoked in its pages.

Rachel Kramer Bussel’s introduction provides a few hints about what we’re in for: provocative answers and even more provocative questions about the role of sexuality in our lives, both close to home and in places as foreign, and strangely familiar, as Iran. If you’re the type who thinks the brain is the most important sex organ, you’ll definitely want to read on –and you won’t be disappointed.

Rachel Shukert’s opening essay “Big Mouth Strikes Again: An Oral Report,” tackles stereotypes regarding Jewish women and oral sex “head” on with an old joke about a wife who would let her husband die rather than provide the doctor-prescribed blowjobs. Common wisdom once had it that Jewish women never gave head, but apparently, the word is now they’re the best. Shukert explores this shift with interviews, self-reflection, and wonderful humor. Indeed many of the essays in this book are very funny which engages another taboo — that a serious, thought-provoking treatment of sex must be serious in tone.

Sex 2.0 conference in Atlanta 4/12

April 10, 2008

I’ll be teaching Erotica 101 at 9:30 a.m. this Saturday in Atlanta for Sex 2.0, a one-day “unconference” where you can learn everything from “Sex blogging as a feminist project” with Elizabeth Wood of to “HOWTO: Gt the most out of sex/tech” with Regina Lynn to “Sex Styles of the Internet Famous” by Melissa Gira, description below, to my friend/roommate Twanna A. Hines‘s “A Brief History of Sex.” Also, not about sex, but on Sunday at 3 p.m. I’ll be playing cupcake bingo at Sweet Pockets – stop by if you like!

On the Internet, we’re all famous to fifteen people. Inevitably, you’ll date at least one of them. So how does one gracefully navigate Relationships 2-point-whatever? Is post-coital Twittering acceptable? Should you block an ex from your Flickr? Do we need to call in a couples’ counselor to revise our Facebook relationship status together? After the breakup, who gets custody of the secret sex vlog? A seriously self-effacing facilitated discussion of social networking & managing your identity online when that comes close to and at odds with that of your lovers & partners.

Read more about it with Amber Rhea’s interview with Cory Silverberg at About.com

Photos from the San Francisco reading

April 2, 2008

Marlo Gayle took some amazing photos from the March 27th San Francisco Best Sex Writing 2008 reading. They can all be seen in this Flickr set.

Paul Festa:

Violet Blue:

Amy Andre:

Jen Cross:

Melissa Gira:

Host Carol Queen:

Thanks to everyone for reading and to Carol Queen for hosting and Kara Wuest at Cleis Press for organizing it!

Tristan Taormino’s new site openingup.net

April 1, 2008


Tristan Taormino photo taken by me

Best Sex Writing 2008 contributor (and the force behind Dark Odyssey, which I recently attended) Tristan Taormino has just launched a new website called Opening Up to promote her new book Opening Up: Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, which comes out this month.

Welcome to OpeningUp.net. I created this site as a resource for folks interested in all kinds of open relationships, including: nonmonogamy, partnered nonmonogamy, polyamory, solo polyamory, polyfidelity, swinging, open marriage, mixed orientation marriage, and mono/poly combinations. Check out the Resources section to see an up-to-date version of the Resource Guide in the book. The Open List is a list of professionals (therapists, psychologists, doctors, coaches, etc.) who are knowledgable and experienced with nonmonogamy. Check them out!

Here’s more info about the book, and here’s an excerpt

In a society where many people feel dissatisfied with monogamy and dishonesty in relationships runs rampant, Opening Up offers a bold new strategy for creating loving, lasting relationships. Relationship expert and bestselling author Tristan Taormino gives readers practical advice on how to craft responsible, fulfilling nonmonogamous relationships. Refreshing, accessible, and jam-packed with information, Opening Up dispels myths, explores the real-life benefits and challenges, and helps readers decide if an open relationship is right for them. It offers strategies for making an open relationship work, including tips on communication, negotiation, jealousy, boundary setting, and conflict resolution. With her trademark down-to-earth, sex-positive style and sharp wit, Taormino covers different styles of open relationships from partnered nonmonogamy to solo polyamory as well as topics like coming out, finding community, and parenting. Woven throughout the book are the diverse voices of real people—from a woman with two husbands and a suburban swinger couple to polyamorous parents and a gay male triad—who candidly share their struggles, fears, hopes, and the secrets of their success in open relationships.

“A superbly informative, sympathetic and literate guide to polyamory. Important reading for anyone curious about how multiple relationships work, and for everyone seeking solid advice on how to make those relationships satisfying and successful.” —Dr. Gloria Brame, author of Different Loving: The World of Sexual Dominance and Submission

“This is a courageous, stunningly thorough and inspiring book. If you need a pathfinding guide on how you might take the next steps in evolving your relationships to ever more expansive containers for that one great energy which is Love, this is it.” —Daphne Rose Kingma, author of The Future of Love