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The Original “Fifty Shades of Grey”

February 3, 2015

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Earlier covers of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty trilogy

In my senior year of high school, I (Lo) read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, the first in a three-book series by vampire-genre goddess Anne Rice (who was a fave of mine at the time) writing under the pen name “A. N. Roquelaure.” Except instead of vampires, she was playing around with fairy tale characters in a crazy BDSM
world with bondage, whips, suspension, sticky-itchy honey-glazes on genitals, you name it! Her Beauty trilogy from over 25 years ago was the original Fifty Shades of Grey series, filled with kinky sex on almost every page — except Rice’s was actually well written and, if memory serves me correctly, a lot more hardcore.

Penguin Plume recently reissued the series with new covers and a new preface from Rice, in which she kind of can’t help but point out how she was here first, satisfying the dark fantasies of women long before Christian murmured ”Come for me, baby” and Anastasia did as she was told (and really, who can blame Rice). But my favorite parts of the new preface involve Rice defending the sexuality, sexual fantasies, and sexual agency of women:

As a feminist, I’m very much supportive of equal rights for women in all walks of life. And that includes for me the right of every woman to write out her sexual fantasies and to read books filled with sexual fantasies that she enjoys. Men have always enjoyed all kinds of pornography. How can it be wrong for women to have the same right? We’re sexual beings! And fantasy is where we can do the things we can’t do in ordinary life. A woman has a right to imagine herself carried away by a handsome prince, and to choose for herself as she writes, the color of his hair and eyes, and imagine his silky voice. She has a right to make him as tall as she wants and as strong as he wants. Why not? Men have always allowed themselves such fantasies….

People are much more comfortable today admitting and talking about what they enjoy in fiction and film. Much more. People are “out of the closet” about sexuality, period. The whole world knows women are sensual human beings as well as men. It’s no secret anymore that women want to read sexy fiction just as men do, and there’s a new frankness about the varieties of fantasies one might enjoy. So many clichés have been broken and abandoned. And this is a wonderful thing.

The image below is me (in my Annie Hall hat) posing for my high school yearbook editors photo on the steps of the New York Public Library — the theme of our yearbook that year was the written word, so all of us editors used our favorite books or whatever we were reading at the time as props. The original paperback cover of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty back then was a lot more subtle, despite the naked lady in a blindfold; it gave the impression of matoore litooratoore. Speaking of, I also wrote an English paper my junior year in high school on D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterly’s Lover. And I wonder how I ended up a sex writer.

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Top 10 Things We Hope the “Fifty Shades” Movie Does Better Than the Book

January 9, 2015

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photo via the movie website

The film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, the first book in the mega-selling erotic trilogy by E.L. James, is almost here! It arrives in theaters Valentine’s Day weekend (ladies, get your limos ready!). With the casting of Jamie Dornan (The Fall) as Christian Grey and Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) as Anastasia Steele, many diehard fans cried foul, saying that the filmmakers got it wrong. We’re not sure any casting would have been universally warmly received (short of Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart), but we do think the film has a chance to definitely get some other things right. Behold, our top 10 improvements on the book we hope to see in the movie:

1. No cable ties: In the first book, when Christian visits Ana at the hardware store and picks up some DIY bondage supplies, it’s implied — intentionally or not — that he’s hoping to use cable ties as wrist restraints on his next guest in his Red Room of Pain. Big mistake. HUGE! If used in such a way, cable ties could cause cuts, poor circulation, and a little thing called nerve damage. The only thing they should be used for in BDSM play is organizing all the cords of your various plug-in vibrators.

2.  No explosive orgasms from Ben Wa balls. It’s just not realistic, at least not for the majority of women. Giving them the same power as, say, a vibrator just sets women up for yet another sexual expectation most can’t meet. Balls (like LELO’s Luna Beads) are better suited for working out your pelvic floor muscles and thus improving pelvic health, which can lead to better sexual sensations. But as little balls full of cosmic orgasm potential? Uh uh.

3. Give Ana some sexual experience. Just a smidge. We’re supposed to believe an adult woman who’s not a member of the FLDS can graduate college with absolutely no sexual interest, no experience with men, and no attempts at masturbation ever? It perpetuates the myth that women aren’t sexual creatures until the right man comes along. Please. She’s the virgin and he’s the stud, and they save each other — gross. And even if we were to believe that such a mythical woman could actually exist, it would be totally irresponsible — reprehensible even — to dunk her over her head into the world of BDSM.

4. Full disclosure on the slave contracts. Christian doesn’t ever clearly articulate to Ana that slave contracts are not actually legally binding — you know, thanks to Abraham Lincoln and that whole abolitionist movement. Here’s a kid, for all intents and purposes, who is not what you would call worldly or business savvy or lawyered up. Not cool for a romantic interest who’s supposedly falling in love.

5. Easy on the controlling, abusive, stalker-ish behavior. Christian spies on her and tries to control who she can see, where she works, what she eats — and she is not down with it. She’s afraid he’s going to hurt her; he causes her physical and emotional pain she doesn’t want — that’s not a D/s relationship, that’s abuse. And where’s the aftercare? Christian is a terrible top. The movie should make him a better one.

6. More well-adjusted kinky characters. It would be nice if the movie could add a character or two who’s into kink who isn’t royally fucked up. In the book, it’s Christian the controlling abusive boyfriend, his crazy gun-wielding ex sub, and his statutory rapist from when he was a kid. Not exactly the best advertisement for the kink community, the majority of whom are uber-responsible, law-abiding, stable citizens.

7. Drop Ana’s issues with eating.  With Ana forgetting to eat all the time, not being hungry and being forced to eat by Christian, it’s like she’s got an eating disorder. Maybe EL James was just playing around with a woman’s ultimate fantasy of never being hungry, but it’s a distracting issue — let the girl have a healthy appetite.

8. Have Ana enjoy the kink more. She can be conflicted about it, sure, but she should ultimately love it, embrace it and not be so afraid of it.

9. Make the sole minority character less date rape-y. Jose, basically the one minority in the book, is on a clear path to sexual assault as he tries to take advantage of Ana when she’s super drunk outside the bar. He tries to kiss her even though she keeps saying no and trying to push him away. He continues to hold her in a bear hug and is about to commit a crime before Grey breaks it up. Criminal tendencies aren’t a great quality in a “really good friend.”

10. No Ana narration. We hope and pray the movie dispenses with Ana’s insipid internal dialogue. Please no voiceovers about the “ghost of a smile” on Christian’s face or her cartwheeling Inner Goddess.

For an awesome book about kink that should be made into a documentary movie, check out our award-winning “150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink” – now available as a Kindle E-book! 



“150 Shades of Play” Is Now Available on Kindle!

December 11, 2014

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Our latest book, now available in a discreet Kindle edition

We get it: 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink is not necessarily the book you want to be caught reading on the bus, or during your lunch break, and it’s definitely not the book you want sitting on your nightstand when your nosy mother-in-law (“Oops! You mean this isn’t the guest bathroom?!”) comes to visit for the holidays. Yes, we’re looking at you, Olive Kitteridge. Dear readers, you asked, and asked again, and you even said pretty please, and so we’ve finally got around to releasing our most recent book on Kindle. It’s on sale now for $4.99 on Amazon — or FREE if you subscribe to Amazon’s KindleUnlimited service. Oh, and if you already happen to own 150 Shades in print, then the Kindle version is a bargain 99 cents.

And here’s why the Kindle version is worth checking out, whether or not you’re already familiar with the book: Every entry is completely linked! Simply click on any bolded word in the text throughout the book that you want to learn more about, and you will be taken directly to that term’s entry in our kinky encyclopedia!

A refresher course on our book: If you — or someone you know — loved the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy by E.L. James but wished there been a little more guidance and information, then 150 Shades is for you! This helpful (and hilarious, if we do say so ourselves) illustrated A-to-Z guide to kink for beginners includes:

  • How to’s on role play, dirty talk, spanking, bondage & more
  • Important safety info missing from the Fifty Shades trilogy
  • A voyeuristic peek at all of Christian Grey’s “hard limits”
  • Tips on shopping for top-of-the-line kinky accoutrements
  • Notes on what the Fifty series got wrong about BDSM
  • Links between all terms for easy navigation of related topics
  • Everything beginners need to know to get their kink on!

So don’t hesitate! Get it for a loved one, or a lusted-after one, for Xmas (or should we say XXXmas?).  Not only will you be giving yourself, your partner or your friends a great [pick one: sexy / kinky / funny / outrageous / romantic / informative / entertaining / gag ] gift, you’ll be giving your two favorite friendly neighborhood sex writers a gift, too.

But don’t just take our word for what a great read it is; check out some of the praise the book has already received:

“I consider Em & Lo my adopted sex daughters, and they have made me proud once again with ’150 Shades of Play.’ Their sound advice, smart writing, and sense of humor empower women to give kink a try, safely and realistically.”
— Betty Dodson, sex educator icon & author of “Sex for One”

“For readers looking to tap their erotic potential, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is only the tip of the sexual iceberg. With their signature sense of humor and commitment to educate, Em & Lo take readers on a guided journey into titillating, and often taboo, territories and expertly navigate a diverse landscape of thrilling possibility.”
— Ian Kerner, PhD, GoodInBed.com founder & CNN columnist

“Unlike ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ this was fun to read, informative and didn’t take eight chapters to get to the sex part. Em & Lo have yet again taught me more about sex than all the extensive research I’ve done by watching porn.”
— Joel Stein, TIME magazine columnist & author of “Man Made”

So what are you waiting for? Have yourself a Merry Little Kinkmas!



This Week in Great Subliminal Phalluses from History

November 20, 2014

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We just finished Sam Harris’s Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion for our book club last night. It was a spirited debate, which went a little something like this:

- Harris is self-centered, arrogant and off-putting.
- But you just don’t know him like we do.
- He condones drug use.
- And that’s wrong why?
- Religion does good.
- Religion does bad.

Wine was drunk, feelings were hurt, and someone misplaced their Diva Cup (for real). But we all went home agreeing on two points:

  1. We would all try to meditate more (at least more deliberately than zoning out for 20 seconds on the toilet).
  2. There was definitely a hidden penis in one of the illustrations in the book.

In the fourth chapter on meditation, Harris talks about how one British contemplative was inspired to describe “what it’s like to glimpse the nonduality of consciousness” (duh) after seeing a self-portrait by the 19th century Austrian physicist/philosopher, Ernst Mach, “who had the clever idea of drawing himself as he appeared from a first-person point of view.” And here Harris includes the drawing:

Now, maybe it’s a symptom of writing a sex blog for a living. Maybe our subconscious was at work in mysterious ways. Maybe, like the optic blind spot, there’s a phallic symbol blind spot that most people aren’t aware of, but sexually enlightened folks like us can see through. Or maybe we’re just seeing what we want to see. As Harris attests, the brain works in incredible, complicated ways. (We’ve juvenilely highlighted the dick in question with color below.)

Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris is available on Amazon.com



10 Quick Lessons from “Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue”

November 5, 2014

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I consider myself a hardcore feminist (I’ve even got the T-shirt), one who’s attuned to all the gender stereotypes bombarding us daily. I work hard to combat them whenever and wherever I can. But I don’t live in a vacuum, and I’ve found myself falling into traps I thought I could avoid: like talking tougher and playing rougher with my son than my daughter. Sometimes “Hey, buddy” just pops out while I’m tickling him with much less mercy than I showed my daughter at his age.

But I didn’t know quite how insidious my own gender biases were until I read Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue: How to Raise Your Kids Free of Gender Stereotypes by developmental psychologist Christia Spears Brown, Ph.D. (and my new imaginary best friend). I’ve been mentioning it to every parent I know ever since, trying to drop it casually into conversation without sounding like a cult member. But then I remembered I could aim bigger, try to reach a larger audience. So I’m telling you now, reader: Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue should be required reading for all parents and teachers!

As a scientist, Brown doesn’t just use a lone study here and an outlying study there to make her case, as many other writers do when trying to prove how even little boys are from Mars blah blah blah. She’s all about meta-analyses, which analyze the findings of many, often hundreds, of studies on a similar topic. It’s in that kind of data where you find out just how similar kids are — a fact that doesn’t get much play since studies showing differences make much catchier, sexier headlines. (Plus, we as humans like to pack things into neat little boxes, no matter how many exceptions to the boxes’ rules we encounter.)

Sure, there are a few genuine differences (girls’ first words come a little earlier; boys have a little less impulse control), but the areas of similarity far outweigh the areas of genuine difference: “For most traits and abilities, boys differ from other boys and girls differ from other girls more than the two groups differ from each other. Just because we like to ignore the variation within a group of boys or a group of girls doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.” Spears explains that even when the average boy differs from the average girl, the distributions are often largely overlapping, meaning you can’t predict what a child will be like based on their gender.

It’s only after a lifetime of being squished into their respective gender boxes that women and men’s brains do actually conform and reflect bigger differences than there actually need to be — than there should be. After all, being encouraged to try and allowed to enjoy a variety of different experiences as you grow up, regardless of whether those experiences are deemed “masculine” or “feminine,” creates better brains — not to mention more empathic humans. Gender-blind parenting, writes Spears, “is about enabling your children to maintain as many cognitive, social, and emotional abilities as possible.”

Without ever being overly academic or pedantic, Brown cites study after study that show the incredibly negative impact gender stereotyping has on both boys and girls development, self-esteem and skills. For example:

  • “Parents routinely assume that their sons are more interested in math and science than their daughters [and they] hold these assumptions regardless of how their kids are actually doing in math and science.”
  • “Girls have a more negative body image after playing with Barbie than before.”
  • “Boys are doing academically worse in school than girls, across the school years, largely because the stereotype tells them to be tough, independent, and never ask for help.”
  • “Dads who avoid the ‘mom’ stuff end up less satisfied with parenting than other dads.”
  •  ”Analyses of national AP Calculus tests shows that almost five thousand additional girls a year would have scored high enough to earn AP credit had they indicated their gender at the end of the test instead of the beginning. Simply pushing back those gender thoughts until the test is over can keep performance higher.”

The list goes on and on, with each finding more powerfully eye-opening than the next. The classroom studies she writes about are even more depressing in terms of how pervasive and damaging gender assumptions are — and how daunting trying to affect change can be (beware of schools adopting different teaching styles based on gender). But knowledge is power. Did I mention that if you’re a parent or a teacher you should read this book?

Again, you should read Parenting Beyond Pink and Blue But in the meantime, here’s a quick list of small, everyday changes recommended by Spears (or in some cases inspired by Spears’ suggestions) that you can make to help your own kids turn out to be more fully-formed, multidimensional successes, rather than simply macho dudes or girly girls.

  1. Buy gender-neutral toys for your own and others’ kids and encourage them to play with cross-gender toys from an early age (though keep in mind that, after a certain age, anything labeled for a certain gender will be anathema to the “opposite” gender).
  2. Before puberty, have co-ed birthday parties and playdates.
  3. Don’t refer to children as “boys” or “girls.” Call them “kids/students” — otherwise you’re constantly dividing kids into opposing “other” groups and reinforcing how this one aspect is THE most important factor of their identity.
  4. Avoid making sweeping statements about how all boys are X, Y and Z or how all girls are A, B and C (e.g. the dreaded “Boys will be boys.”).
  5. When your child is exposed to gender-stereotyping by TV, books, and other people, question this stereotyping with your child and give them several examples of exceptions to these “rules.” (When my kids say boys don’t wear pink, I pull up loads of pictures of men rocking pink shirts, pants, shoes, etc.)
  6. Don’t assign chores based on gender: girls can take out the trash, boys can help with the laundry, etc.
  7. Talk to boys as much as girls, especially about their feelings, and encourage caretaking and nurturing in them — they might be parents too, some day (just like William from “Free to Be You and Me”!).
  8. When reading in class, make sure you don’t automatically assume animals/aliens and other “it” characters are male; change any terms like “firemen” and “policemen” and “mailman” to “firefighter” and “police officer” and “mail carrier.”
  9. Don’t compliment girls on their appearance (e.g. a new haircut or outfit)  – compliment all kids on their hard work and effort, and ask about their interests. And make sure you count and talk numbers with girls (since parents statistically do this more with boys).
  10. Monitor — and censor — the media they consume. A lot of shows’ and games’ bread and butter is gender stereotyping, portraying girls as interested in looks and boys, while encouraging boys to be aggressive and violent. Ban commercials (TiVo and Netfilx can help with that).

 



How “Fifty Shades” Has Changed Sex Over the Past 3 Years

September 24, 2014

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sponsored post

As if the whole Internet going gaga over the first trailer for the movie adaptation of E.L. James’ erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” wasn’t evidence enough, our friends over at LELO have actually quantified just how influential the story of Ana, Christian and his woven tie have been on the world’s sexual habits. They surveyed over 10,000 women from 8 countries over the past few years and discovered that the interest in kinky accessories inspired by “Fifty Shades” served as a gateway to enjoying other intimate objects and activities:

2012:

The Year Vanilla Turned Grey

(click for infographic)

Women were becoming more adventurous. Sex out of the bedroom was on the increase, sex toys were on the increase and kinky liaisons were on the increase too. Sales of whips and teasers increased by more than 50% and sales of Pleasure beads increased by more than 200%. Fifty-eight percent of global sex toy owners were expected to use premium personal massagers with their partner.

 

 2013:

The Kink Continues

(click for infographic)

The kinky liaisons between the sheets continued throughout the first two quarters of 2013 with women everywhere feeling a new sense of sexual empowerment. But by the end of 2013 LELO witnessed a shift in how women wanted their pleasure.  Sales of BDSM accessories, like whips and teasers, reached a plateau in the last quarter of 2013 compared with sales of premium couples’ massagers and vibrating couples’ rings worn during intercourse, which increased by 82%. By the end of 2013, 72% of sex toy owners used massagers or rings with their partner.

 

2014:

The Year of the Vanilla Revolution

(click for infographic)

LELO’s Global Sex Survey revealed women emerged from their kinky ‘Fifty Shades’ phase with liberated attitudes, finding ways beyond novelty and kink to enhance intimacy with their partners.

In 2014 LELO shows that 1 in 5 women have been involved in a threesome (double that of 2012’s findings). Similarly more than half of women in a relationship have made a home movie, and over a third have had sex in a public place. More women have lived out their fantasies over the past 2 years but a whopping 80% said their fantasy didn’t live up to expectations. Either women have become more sexually confident since “Fifty Shades,” or they’ve become more confident talking about their sex lives.

Kinkier ‘novelty-based’ products like whips and hand cuffs have still plateaued, but are expected to take a sharp rise around the release of the movie. However, sales of couples’ massagers, vibrators worn during intercourse, like IDA and Tara have increased by as much as 82% this year and are expected to continue to rise.

 

2015: Predictions for the Future of Sex

We would guess that immediately after Valentine’s Day next year, when the “Fifty Shades” movie premieres, LELO will be absolutely pummeled by increased requests for handcuffsblindfolds and teasers, not unlike Christian Grey on Ana’s bare bottom. Sales of kinky accessories will plateau (until the next movie in the series comes out), but by then even more women will have become comfortable buying and using bedroom accessories with their partners. A regular visit to LELO will be as normal as a dental checkup — but certainly much more pleasurable (unless, of course, you’re into pain).
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New Virgin Mary-Inspired Poetry: The Madonna Comix

June 11, 2014

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Our friend Celia Bland, who works at The Bard Institute for Writing and Thinking, just down the road from us, recently published a book of poetry called Madonna Comix. It’s a large-format, fine art book that was a cross-country collaboration with the artist Dianne Kornberg; the poems feature the Virgin Mary in various modern-day incarnations: vending machine, bomber, girl going to prom, etc. (With a foreword by Luc Sante, another neighbor of ours up here in the Hudson Valley. Because we’re not the only creative types to have forsaken New York City, though we’re pretty sure we’re the only sex writers in our country bumpkin zip code — reason enough to move here, we suppose.) A few months back, we wrote this about Mark Bibbins‘ new book of poetry, They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full: “He will convince you poets are sexy and dreamy and powerful and relevant.” We’re happy to have further proof now in the Madonna Comix.

Immediately below is a short essay by Celia on her project and why she was drawn to the Virgin Mary — and what the Madonna means to her as a modern woman (and as a poet who “kind of specializes in poems about sex,” she says). Just below that, after the jump, we are thrilled to publish three poems and three illustrations from the book:

The Madonna Comix were originally Captions for Cartoons Not Yet Drawn.  I imagined the poems’ stanzas appearing as comic strip captions beneath empty boxes – the panels drawn with different thicknesses of line but always empty.

The poems, you see, were about emptiness – a metaphorical emptiness as concrete as the air space where the Twin Towers once stood.  I’d worked as a temp in Tower B and at noon every day that summer, I’d sat in the shadows of a desolate wind-swept plaza eating peanut butter sandwiches and hating my life.  Looking back at my internal emptiness, so unaware of how the world could and would soon change, my complaints seem so petty, so personal.  The poems written afterwards stung with self-rebuke, a kind of loss focused on my ideas of Mary, mother of Jesus.

Despite the poems’ sometimes smart-alec-y lines, I remain deeply moved by the Blessed Mother.  I see her bereft at the foot of the cross, palms up in a gesture of acceptance, as in my poem “Education of the Virgin.”  Mary breaks my heart.  She does not rail against fate – Why hast thou forsaken me?  She has the patient heaviness of pregnant women – that almost-bewildered delaying of self for another day, another day, before blessed release.  I see her as a kind of shape-shifting superhero.

I wrote these poems in short lines and with some sense of the many roles women play: pregnant and scared, birthing and scared, mothering and resentful, joyous, bored, nurturing and self-abnegating. A woman who fell at the foot of the cross, beneath the corpse of her son, in a dead faint. A woman pressed into service. A vending machine for babies. A figure of maternal longing and infinite pity.

One day, wandering into an exhibition of text-inspired images at the Chicago Cultural Center, I saw Arachne, a collaboration between artist Dianne Kornberg and poet Elizabeth Frost, I decided that, yes, perhaps my poems could be captions for cartoons drawn.  So I mailed her a series of poems about the Madonna—Mary as pelican, as bomber, as vending machine, as bereaved mother. Dianne responded enthusiastically to my ideas.  She found some black and white negatives of photos she’d taken years before of a dancer seven months pregnant.  These became the basis for Madonna ComixLittle Lulu bleeds through, a pentimento.  The comic balloons for exclamations and jokey asides suggest the strange teardrop wombs that enclose medieval Madonna’s.

None of this is solely my invention, of course. Mary has always been, in the words of British historian Helen Hackett, a repository of “contradictory impulses towards the female body, including desire, fear, idealization and prurient fascination…” Pray to her to advocate for us lowly mortals, to intercede with a distant god. Always, when the Catholic missionaries came to a place, they supplanted the fertility goddesses, the Venuses of that place, with a Mary fashioned of clay and magic. This virgin, chosen by god, impregnated by him, not in Zeus’s golden shower or in the shape of a satyr or a husband, but by a white bird, bearing a word: that is, the word made flesh.

Making Mary, in my own mind, at least, most especially the protector of those laborers of the word.

Read the rest of this entry »


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New Beach Read: Social Death (With Naughty Bits!)

June 4, 2014

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When we asked our friend Tatiana Boncompagni whether her new novel, Social Death, had any “dirty-ish parts” to it (hey, two sex writers have to ask), she responded that there’s no “ish” about it. The novel is a mystery about the murder of a Manhattan socialite who dies with a scandalous secret — in other words, Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl. (Hello, beach read!) The story is narrated by Clyde, a veteran news producer who is called to the scene of the murder, only to discover that the victim was her best friend (oh, and the victim just happened to be heir to a fortune of billions, too).

We’re thrilled to present an excerpt of the novel today — and yes, of course, it’s one of the dirty bits. You’re welcome.

On my way back to the ballroom, I made a bad turn and ended up down a hall of small meeting rooms. I heard a voice, then a giggle, and being the nosy journalist that I was, couldn’t just forget about it and continue on my way like a normal person. Crouching low to the ground, I stuck my nose around the doorframe.

The overheads were out, but there was enough light coming from the windows for me to make out Sabine’s face and Alex’s profile. From my vantage point, I could see that he had her up on the table, his face buried in her neck, his hands working beneath her short skirt. Sabine’s dress fell off her shoulder, exposing a grapefruit-shaped breast. She whimpered with pleasure as his mouth found her nipple. The next thing I heard was his zipper.

I slipped back out, praying neither of them had seen me, wishing I hadn’t seen what I did as I stumbled back down the hall, passing the doors to the kitchen. A waiter burst through, carrying a tray of Champagne glasses. I sped up and pilfered two of them. Then I went into the bathroom and downed them both, one after the other, the bubbles tickling the back of my throat, tasting like heaven, warming my belly. I wanted more.

“OK, so what happened?”

Georgia and I were downstairs, waiting in line at the coat check. Husband No. 4 had left midway through the filet mignon, mumbling something about a conference call with Hong Kong, and Diskin and his wife had taken off immediately after the crème caramel. We were all free to go. “You look like a pig at a Memphis barbecue,” she said accusingly.

I threw my hands up. “What does that even mean?”

“It means, sugar pie, that your face is redder than the blood that used to come out of my hoo-ha every goddamn month and your breath smells like the peppermints they got in the ladies’.”

I’d grabbed a handful of them in the bathroom after downing the Champagne. Then I’d hit the bar, sucked down a vodka tonic and a glass of red abandoned on a table in the reception area.

“What the fuck just happened?” Georgia asked.

“Naomi Zell and I had a tête-à-tête. I’m off Olivia’s case, and I’m not allowed to get within ten feet of any of the Kravises. The network is hiding something. Or they’re afraid I’ll uncover something that will mess up the merger. Why else would she pull me off the case?”

Georgia took off her glasses. “You told her to stuff it, I hope.”

“But I thought you didn’t want me on this case either.”

“That ain’t the point.”

Phil draped Georgia’s chinchilla cape over her shoulders. The fur was overkill given the evening’s mild weather, but Georgia flaunted her furs whenever possible. “That it?” She gave me a knowing look.

I handed Phil the claim ticket for my black wool topper. “Would you mind?”

We watched him file back into the coat-check line. Georgia linked her arm in mine and lowered her voice to just above a whisper. “Fess up, child.”

Sometimes I loved that nothing got by her, other times, not so much. “If you must know, I caught Alex and Sabine going at it in one of the meeting rooms.”

Georgia planted a hand on her hip, her eyes two thin slits. “Christ in heaven, you are so much worse off than I thought.”

“She’s my assistant. I’m his producer. It’s normal for me to be weirded out.”

She clucked admonishingly. “You drinking tonight?”

“Everything OK?” Phil asked as he helped me into my coat.

I shot Georgia a pleading look.

“This girl is a workaholic. I’m always telling her she needs to get a life outside the office.”

“Point taken,” I said.

“Get her home safe,” Georgia said, giving Phil a meaningful look before leaving us to find her Escalade.

“What was that all about?” he asked.

“I think she just really likes you,” I said lightly as Phil led me to his Town Car. In the backseat, I slid a little closer to him, pressing my back against Phil’s body. “Thanks for coming tonight. I owe you one.”

“No problem.” He gave my leg a fraternal pat in return. “Georgia’s a hoot.”

I reached for the inside of his thigh.

He pulled away. “I think you and I are in different places.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

He took a breath, adjusting his glasses. “You’re beautiful, Clyde. And smart, and passionate about what you do, but I just don’t see this working out.”

I couldn’t believe he was rejecting me. I pictured Alex and Sabine, remembering the sound of his zipper and her moans. God, how I missed that kind of sex. Urgent. Dirty. Dangerous. I looked out the window, suddenly furious. We were at a red light and about to turn down Park Avenue.

“Look, if things change—”

“Don’t hold your breath.” My voice was jagged and sharp. I opened the car door and jumped out. Then I slammed the door behind me and ran for the curb.

I stood there, angry and horny, an old, familiar feeling stirring deep within me, a hungry recklessness that had been lying there blessedly dormant. There was only one place I could think of going. Crossing Park Avenue, I hailed a taxi. “I’m going uptown. But first, I need to find an open liquor store.”

Andrey opened the door to the Haverford. His jacket was off and shirtsleeves rolled up. I took his arm, tracing the scales of his tattoo.

He smiled. “Looks like someone’s been having fun.”

Not nearly enough. “I handed him the open bottle of vodka in my hand. Is there somewhere we can go?”

“Not here.”

I took the bottle back, pouting. “Fine. I’ll go then.”

He pulled me back into to him, his hands pressing my body into his so I could feel that he was already aroused. “It’s not that I don’t want you,” he said.

“Quickly then.”

He took a key from his pants and bolted the front door. In the elevator I felt his lips on mine, his hands all over my body. We reached the basement floor. He pulled me into the hall, unzipping my dress to my waist, liberating my breasts from the satin cups of my bra. A second key led us to a small, pitch-black room. It smelled of WD-40, dust, and men’s cologne. Andrey pushed me down on a couch and stood over me. I reached for his belt buckle, dropped his pants, taking his cock in my mouth. For the next few minutes, I was happy. This is what I’d come for, what I’d wanted. But when he bent back down, stripping off my wet panties, positioning himself to enter me, I pressed my hand firmly on his chest. “Aren’t you going to use a condom?”

“What?” His brow was slick with sweat, his breath loud in my ear.

“A condom,” I repeated, but the moment was already over. I couldn’t do this. Not here. Not like this. Not even drunk as I was. Andrey was involved in my best friend’s murder. Even for me, this was too far over the line. What the hell was I doing? I maneuvered out from under him, adjusting my dress. “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

“You sure?” he panted.

I nodded. “Maybe another time.”

He stood to buckle his pants. Then he walked a few paces in the murky darkness and flicked a switch, flooding the room with fluorescent light. I rubbed my eyes, which were struggling to adjust to the light, and realized that Andrey had taken me to the super’s office. There was a desk and a computer, a shelving system lined with toolboxes and toilet plungers, and at the back of the tiny chamber, where I was sitting, a silk-upholstered couch that had probably once belonged to one of the co-op tenants. It had seen better days.

Andrey couldn’t bring himself to look at me, and I got a flash of the man who looked so vulnerable in the coffee shop, talking about how Rachel had left him once Michael filed for divorce. “Take your time getting out of here,” Andrey said, gesturing to the small fridge under the super’s desk. “There’s water in there if you’re thirsty.”

“Thanks.”

“Just do me a favor and close the door to the office when you leave.” He pivoted on his heel, gave me an awkward salute, and was gone.

I’d had more humiliating moments in more unlikely places. And yet sitting there, half-drunk, half-exposed, my bare ass on a ratty old couch I wouldn’t want to touch with a gloved hand, I felt incredibly ashamed and disappointed in myself. I’d worked so hard for my sobriety. Damn it, Clyde.

Social Death by Tatiana Boncompagni is on sale now at Amazon.com

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New Erotica Book: Kresley Cole’s “The Professional”

May 9, 2014

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes The Professional, the first installment in her “Game Maker” series, an erotica collection that features the intense love stories, the family dynamics, the alpha heroes and adventurous women that Cole is known for, except apparently with even more naughtiness! Below is an excerpt from The Professional; here’s the set up: 

When grad student Natalie Porter encounters the sexiest man she’s ever seen, a Russian named Aleksandr Sevastyan, he spurns her determined advances in public—only to abduct her from her Lincoln, Nebraska home later that night (when she’s wearing nothing but a short bathrobe!). He tells her that she’s the heir of a Russian mafiya billionaire, she’s in danger, and that Sevastyan himself will be her new bodyguard. Oh, and that he’s flying her to the motherland—immediately. At a small hidden airstrip, Natalie has second thoughts and runs from her towering protector….

…………………………………….

From Chapter 3 of

The Professional

by Kresley Cole

 

Corn leaves slapped my face, raking my hair. My bare feet kicked up loose soil.

How much of a head start had I managed? Was he already crashing behind me?

“Stop this, Natalie!”

I gave a cry. My God, he was fast! I’d felt like prey before; now I literally was. This man was running me down, bent on capturing me! I dug deeper, sprinting even faster—

One second I was fleeing at full speed, the next I was flying. He’d lunged for me, snagging me around the waist. At the last instant, he twisted and took the impact on his back, crushing stalks beneath us.

“Damn you! Let go of me!” I struggled against him. Like fighting a steel vise.

Before I could blink, he’d flipped me to my back onto a mat of leaves.

“Get off me!” I battered his chest with the bottoms of my fists.

Huge and furious above me, he wedged his hips between my legs, snagging my wrists in one big hand. “Do not ever run from me again.” The moon shone down on him, highlighting the tight lines of his face. He seemed to be grappling with his fury, drawing on some inner iron control.

“Let me go!”

Over the familiar scents of rich soil, fragrant crops, and cold night, I detected his scent: aggression and raw masculinity. His shirt had gaped open, and I could see more of his skin, with the edge of another tattoo just visible past the material.

“Sevastyan, release me. Please.”

At that word, his grip on my wrists loosened a degree. “I don’t want to hurt you,” he said in a gravelly voice. “Only to protect you.” Behind that inscrutable mask, so much was going on, but I could read so little.

Under the moonlight, his prominent cheekbones shaded his lean cheeks. His collar-length black hair gleamed like a raven’s feather, the ends tripping across his jawline. Wavering almost hypnotically.

“You must remain with me,” he grated, his gaze on my lips, his brows drawn tight. He looked like he was struggling not to kiss me.

Kiss? What was happening here? Confusion began to drown out my panic; I had nothing to draw on as a reference for my predicament—because I’d never been in a situation like this.

A sexual situation I didn’t control.

I was embroiled in dangerous circumstances with a mysterious stranger, but I felt no fear. I felt … anticipation. And I suspected the lack of control was fueling it.

Was danger turning me on? The tension between us seemed to shift; as smoothly as a machine switching gears, my confusion morphed into hazy heat. I hadn’t known I had this in me! Who am I??

When my gaze dropped, I spied the shadowy bulge in his pants. He wasn’t indifferent to me! He might’ve disdained me in the bar, but he couldn’t disguise his erection straining to be freed.

At the sight of it, arousal muddled my thoughts like a fog rolling into my mind. I’d heard the expression stupid with lust. I was getting there.

“Sevastyan?” That feeling of connection surged within me. Desire, need, and something more. “What do you want from me?”

No answer. All I could hear was our breaths.

In this position, he could unzip his fly and be inside me in a heartbeat’s time, covering me on the ground. Like animals in the dirt.

Him. Inside me. Here.

The mere thought made my body vibrate with a need so strong, I suspected I might allow him to do anything he wanted to me. My staggering level of arousal began to unnerve me more than this entire situation. I had no control with him, needed to get away!

I shook my head hard. “You let me go now.” I squirmed in his grip, digging my bare heels into the ground to propel myself back. Managed maybe a foot. I was furious—at him, at my out-of-control body. Another heel-digging lunge back.

With his free hand, he gripped my waist and yanked me back against him, forcing my thighs wider. His gaze descended, his eyes going wide before narrowing intently.

I felt cold air between my legs, just as I saw that my robe had come open at the belted waist. Everything below was exposed. My pale skin glowed in the moonlight, the trimmed thatch of red curls stark in comparison.

I was too stunned to react, pinned by his gaze. His lids grew heavy, his nostrils flaring. His broad chest seemed to struggle for breath. I was naked from the waist down but had no way to cover myself. I twisted my arms to free my wrists—until I saw that look of his.

Dark, hungry, molten. Dangerous. As before, I felt like his captured prey, his to enjoy.

My fury dwindled. When my body decided to soften beneath his, he gave a curt nod, as if I’d pleased him, and his free hand landed on my bare hip. Skin to skin. He groaned at the contact; I shivered from the electric heat of his rough palm. Hadn’t I imagined those hands kneading me everywhere?

Shaking, I watched as he straightened his ringed thumb from my hip until it reached my mons. He brushed the tip of his finger along the edge of my curls. It was so slow and unexpected, so tender, I couldn’t bite back a moan.

He touched me as if with … reverence.

I no longer saw signs of that iron control; instead he looked lost.

Like I probably looked in that moment.

I murmured, “Sevastyan?” as my hips rolled. “What are you doing to me?” He’d somehow spellbound me, making me feel empty and desperate.

Still riveted to my sex, he grated words in Russian, something about how he couldn’t be expected to deny himself in the face of this.

How no one should expect him to.

“The Professional” is on sale now.



Moms Are Kinky People Too!

April 22, 2014

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Lelo’s Etherea Silk Cuffs

Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Sure, you could get her some nice flowers…again. Or you could get her something she’ll really enjoy: our new book, 150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink!

Hear us out: Moms loved the Twilight series, but secretly wished there was more sex in it. Along comes the Fifty Shades series, which is essentially Twilight fan faction, and there’s tons of sex….kinky sex. Moms across the country go gaga for it, so much so that it’s dubbed “mommy porn.” Then the movie version goes into production, and mom-fans everywhere count down the days until its release: Valentine’s Day, 2015.

There are just a few problems:

  • Fifty Shades doesn’t tell moms how to incorporate any of this stuff into their own lives
  • it doesn’t mention specific quality products or where to get them
  • it perpetuates myths about kink
  • it even promotes some very dubious (i.e. unsafe) behaviors and techniques
  • and a year is a long time to wait until the movie comes out!

A mom friend of ours recently wrote us, saying she’s been married for quite a while and needs some new ideas, asking which book of ours we would recommend. We told her 150 SHADES OF PLAY: while it does cover some intense kinky stuff, it also covers the basics; it’s not visually graphic; it has a great sense of humor, which makes it fun and non-intimidating to skim with a husband or partner; and it gives readers a vouyeristic look into how extreme some people can get with BDSM which might make them feel more comfortable and confident to try new, mildly kinky things. Because let’s face it: a little toy or light bondage is nothing compared to pony play!

So when making the mom in your life a Mother’s Day care package this coming May 11th, remember: flowers are nice, but floggers are nicer.