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New Book & Exhibition: The Polaroid Years

July 25, 2013

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Robert Heinecken
Hustler Blind Beaver Hunt, 1979
Eight Polaroid SX-70 prints with offset lithography
© Robert Heinecken Trust

 

Our friend, Mary-Kay Lombino, curator at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College, spent the past five years putting together the excellent exhibition and companion art book, “THE POLAROID YEARS: Instant Photography and Experimentation.”

Before Polaroids went the way of the dinosaurs, we used to recommend them as the ideal medium for saucy couples who wanted to experiment with taking naughty pics together (hey, no negatives or digital files!). So we were not surprised to find a bunch of nudes when Mary gave us a tour of the show. Of course, she and her colleagues have a much more erudite analysis of the art form: in Peter Buse’s essay “The Perversity of Polaroid” that opens Mary-Kay’s book, he writes:

It is something of an open secret that Polaroid, by eliminating the dark room and taking the professional photo-finisher out of the equation, turned countless of its users into amateur pornographer or erotic artists. Not only did Polaroid lift a basic inhibition, it added an extra dimension to the privately made erotic image, and one whose charge was increased by appearing in the very scene in which it was made….

Lucas Samaras declared: “I was my own Peeping Tom” and gives a frank confession about the primal scene of his Photo-Transformation series:

“I came home and I took my clothes off and it was wonderful. I never had such a wonderful experience with a camera or photography before. It was like finding some fantastic lover, and you were unworthy, but you were glad that this ethereal creature was paying you a visit.”

Below are a few excerpts from the exhibition. It’s no longer up at Vassar, but the show will be traveling to the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Chicago from September 20th, 2013 through December 1st, 2013, after which it will move on to the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach from December 19th, 2013 through March 23rd, 2014.  Definitely check it out if you can. And consider “The Polaroid Years” as a gift for any photographers, nudists, art collectors or adventurous couples in your life!


Lucas Samaras
AutoPolaroid, 1971
Polaroid with hand-applied ink
© Lucas Samaras

 


Les Krims
Bubble Gum Test, 1974
Polaroid SX-70 print
© Les Krims

 


John Coplans
Untitled, 1997
Polaroid Type 55 print
© The John Coplans Trust

 


Jack Butler
#1, 1978, from Sex-70 series
Polaroid SX-70 print
© Jack Butler

 


Lucas Samaras
AutoPolaroid, 1971
Polaroid with hand-applied ink
© Lucas Samaras

 


Les Krims
Roses, Gestural Stripes, 1974
Polaroid SX-70 print
© Les Krims

 

from “THE POLAROID YEARS: Instant Photography and Experimentation” (Prestel) by Mary-Kay Lombino, with Peter Buse

 



How Fantasizing Can Improve Your Sex Life

July 23, 2013

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Tracey Cox author photo by Daniel Annett

The fabulous and funny Tracey Cox from the U.K. is one of our favorite sex writers out there. We’re thrilled to present the following excerpt from her new book, Dare: What Happens When Fantasies Come True, which is available now on Amazon for your Kindle. Tracey’s Dare product range is also available at LoveHoney. Check back in on Friday for a hilarious (and educational!) example from the book about what happened when a real couple tried to make the woman’s mile-high fantasy come true.

Why Do We Fantasize?

Think of your fantasies as a vibrator for the mind. There are a finite number of possible physical combinations of what we can do with our bodies, but our minds are limitless. Your imagination is the single, most potent engine driving sexual desire. Tap into your imagination and you’ve turned on nature’s built-in aphrodisiac. Fantasies are what keep sex fizzy when your sex life – or your partner – goes temporarily pear-shaped. They’re what can make sex with someone we’ve slept with hundreds of times seem not only remotely appealing but exciting. One of the quickest
ways to arouse yourself is to fantasize. Even better, fantasies are a form of foreplay we can access in an instant – anywhere, any time – because we carry them with us always.

Some fantasies are fleeting. Others start off small then develop over time into rich, complex formats. Often they’ll start the same or feature the same characters but have different endings, designed to suit the mood we’re in. They generally last as long as it takes us to orgasm and we become adept at timing them so the climax happens when we do. Just like sexual positions, most of us have three or four favorite fantasies we return to time and time again.

Our fantasies tend not to change in theme terribly much, though women’s tend to be more involved than men’s are. Women read more, are generally more imaginative and need more varied stimulation to arouse them. Our fantasies almost always have a plot. There is scene setting, character development, a narrative arc . . . Men go for instant action. They fast forward straight to the naughty bits – often sliding straight into bits in graphic detail. They’ll often have one simple image rather than a ‘video’ – usually of someone they could pull in real life.

This is why amateur porn sites and live webcams with ‘normal’ looking girls are so popular with men. They like to think they’ve got a chance of the sex actually happening. Women, on the other hand, have no problems picturing Bradley Cooper frothing at the mouth for the chance to slide a hand up our skirts. It’s one of the few times we allow our egos to run rampant and our self-esteem to soar! Read the rest of this entry »



Retro Sex Advice of the Week

July 16, 2013

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) by David R. Reuben, M.D., is the most popular book on human sexuality of all time — but until now, we’d only ever read the thirtieth anniversary edition, which was released in 1999. And then yesterday, a friend presented us with a dusty old book she’d found in an long-lost storage locker, thinking we’d get a kick out of it — it’s the original 1969 (heh) edition. We love the musty smell of old books — but in this case, much of the advice is equally musty (and less lovable). But we’re going to take a glass-half-full approach today, and simply celebrate how far we — at least, most of us — have come. Take the following quote, which we found when we opened the book at random:

Why do so many homosexual expressions refer to food?

Food seems to have a mysterious fascination for homosexuals. Many of the world’s greatest chefs have been homosexuals. Some of the country’s best restaurants are run by homosexuals. Some of the fattest people are homosexuals.

The exact reason is complex but clearly food overshadows much of homosexual behavior. Aside from using their mouths as a principal sex organ, food plays another role in their sexual lives.

SInce Nature apparently did not anticipate homosexuality, the male has not been equipped with glands to secrete a sexual lubricant. Thus the first problem that two gay guys have to solve before making love is lubrication. Many homosexuals favor cooking grease. Salad oil and margarine are commonly used. Among gourmets, butter and olive oil are preferred. But it doesn’t stop there.

Most homosexuals find their man-to-man sex unfulfilling so they masturbate a lot. Much of their masturbation centers around the anus. The question, of course, is what to use for a penis. The answer is often found in the pantry. Carrots and cucumbers are pressed into service. Forced into the anus, lubricated with vegetable oil, they give homosexuals what they seek.

Egg white is also considered a good lubricant. Sometimes the whole egg in the shell finds itself where it doesn’t belong. Sausages, especially the milder varieties, are also popular.

The homosexual who prefers to use his penis must find an anus. Many look in the refrigerator. The most common masturbatory object for this purpose is a melon. Cantaloupes are usual, but where it is available, papaya is popular.

Oh man, we don’t even know where to start. We are beyond stunned that a book containing the line “Some of the fattest people are homosexuals” made it into print. And that thing about the papaya, “where it is available”? We have no words. Here’s hoping that, thirty years from now, we’ll be equally stunned at the advances we’ve made when it comes to gay rights and respect.

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Top 5 Works of Dirty Literature You Can Read in Public

July 11, 2013

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We’d never be caught dead reading Fifty Shades of Grey – let alone well-written erotica — in public. There’s just something unseemly about it, like PDA with too much tongue. But there are plenty of books that can satisfy your craving for smut while making you appear erudite to your neighbors on the beach or the subway.


Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
The original edition of the book, published in France in 1934, was banned here in the U.S. for its sexual explicitness. Not until 1961 did we get a U.S. version — and that led to obscenity trials going all the way to the Supreme Court, which declared it non-obscene in 1964, a whopping thirty years after its publication. Be warned: it will probably offend your modern sensibilities with its misogyny. (And if it doesn’t, then there’s probably something wrong with you.)

 


Lady Chatterly’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

For a more female-positive sex book from the same era, check out this 1928 classic, which was also banned for a time. It elevates sex as something sacred and soul-saving. If Lawrence were alive today, he’d totally be into Tantra.

 

 

 

 

 


Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Some people have called this 1955 classic an “erotic novel.” But don’t get too excited. It’s dirty in what it doesn’t show. Its rightness is in its darkly funny wrongness. This is, after all, at its most basic, the story of a hebephile. One you’ll love to hate.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Collected Poems 1947-1997 by Allen Ginsberg

Ginsberg’s openness about his homosexuality didn’t just make him controversial, it made him politically significant during the second half of the 20th century. Just go straight to “Please Master” to see just how open he could be. It’s an ode to BDSM that proves the dirtiest sex requires love.

 

 

 

 


The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Promiscuity, sexual manipulation, adultery, public sex, deflowerings, and, of course, rimming. And this collection of stories was a 14th century bestseller! Do yourself a favor and get a version written in modern English (otherwise, some of the tasteless dirty jokes might get lost in the Middle English).

 

 

 

 

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Kinky Poem of the Week: The World’s Guide to Beginning

July 8, 2013

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You may recall that a month or so back, we were in New York City to receive an IPPY Award for our latest book, 150 Shades of Play: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. While there, we met  Marty McConnell, silver medalist in the poetry category for her collection Wine for a Shotgun. When the poetry winners were each asked to perform a poem, we braced ourselves for the kind of spoken word poetry slam stuff typically found in grad school basement coffee shops. But Marty’s poem blew us away.

After asking the crowd, “We’re all adults here, right?” she recited the last poem in her collection — an ode to the body and all the kinky things you can do with it — with the perfect blend of performance and restraint. And now, Marty has kindly agreed to let us post the entire poem here so you can enjoy it, too (be sure to check out her video performance of it above, too!):

The World’s Guide to Beginning by Marty McConnell

I was born in the obscene genius
of the club. I was a chemical
hero. Slick as a greasy encyclopedia,
I strutted like a bullfighter. I learned kink

is another word for survival. learned to love
the body more for what it can do
than for what it is. how did you get this far
without knowing lust is disaster’s

good cousin, what flickers when the rest
has been burned down and blown
away? there will be a quiz.

here’s another story: I was born.
I was adored. I am in charge. I need you
to tie me down, now. call it love,
this intimate vine. this gift

of the mother. gift of the neighbor,
the uncle, gift of the whip. the dildo.
lying was my first language. I am not

ashamed. touch is not reversible. one
cannot be un-touched. are you
uncomfortable? good. then it’s begun.

go ahead and cry. to break
is to be sanctified. to find in the body
a safehouse where all your monsters
get to be raucous, bring the audience

to their feet calling what. what.
dig at the shame places. your gutter
of a cunt. your crowbar of a cock.
say the words, say fuck and wheelbarrow

and voluptuary until it all sounds
like amen, amen, amen, amen, amen,
amen, amen, amen. why despise

your own wiring? it was desire
that made you; however twisted
the originating bed, your beginning

was ferocious. quiz: what’s the difference
between a lie and a myth. answer:
the storyteller’s intention. example: I
am more bear than fruit. more leather

than lion. legend says I opened my mouth
and the world rolled out. the brine
of saliva, browbone splitting into branch,
to root. and from the cheeks, the sweetest

meat, the man, the woman, the lost
androgynous other. example: in our myth, Atlas
is a hermaphrodite. a dancer. bearded lady

in a g-string in a cage above the dance floor.
fact: there are gods who love us,
and they want us to fuck. have I earned

another story? to emerge, a world
must learn itself, then flood,
then burn. unfurl your ugly
like fists inside another’s

body. step into a skin familiar
as your mother’s bed, and
as spurned. something in you
stands up. it is like light,

or a crime. it is alive.
your turn.

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Awesome New Book: “What Makes A Baby”

June 12, 2013

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One of our favorite sex educators, Cory Silverberg, just came out with a new children’s book called “WHAT MAKES A BABY: A Book for Every Kind of Family and Every Kind of Kid.” It’s brightly illustrated, awesomely inclusive, and very, very sweet. Plus, it makes the perfect gift for families with little ones (or little ones on the way)! Cory says it’s intended for kids 4 and up — of course, we read it to our 2 year olds. They ate it up…literally. Cory, we’re going to need another copy without drool on it!

EM & LO: Your average reader might wonder why you chose to be vague about who has eggs and a uterus and who has sperm — for example, you write “Every body that has a uterus always has it in the same place…” without ever mentioning the word “woman.”  Can you explain?

CORY: I guess the simple answer is that I wanted a more honest book.  It’s just not true to say that every woman has a uterus. Most women have a uterus.  But not every woman does. And for that matter, not every woman who has a uterus has one that either can or will be home to a growing fetus at some point in their lives.

As a sex educator who works mostly with adults I see every day the effect that sex education has on adult sexuality, and it isn’t all positive.  When we teach children at the youngest ages that being a woman means having a uterus and eggs and being a man means having a penis and sperm, it may seem like a small thing but actually it’s a message that goes deep into our psyche.  And later on, for those of us who want kids and try to make them and find that our bodies won’t co-operate, it can feel like an enormous betrayal.

So that’s one reason.  Another more specific reason is that I wanted a book that would work for every kind of person.  I was particularly thinking of all the transgender, transsexual, and gender non-conforming parents I know whose bodies simply don’t fit that narrow story most books tell.  Some women’s bodies don’t have a uterus because the weren’t born with one.  That doesn’t make them any less a woman or any less a mother.  I feel like we all deserve books that reflect our experience, and that’s how I wrote What Makes a Baby.

If you cover the different ways babies can be born (vaginally, cesarian), why not cover the different ways they can be made (intercourse, IVF, etc)?

That will be in book 2!  What Makes a Baby is the first of a series of three books, but it’s written for the youngest age group, children as young as 4.  Little children tend not to be very good at sitting still for a long laundry list of things.  There’s a reason picture books usually follow a standard format and length;  it works!  I wanted a book that wasn’t just a text book for kids, or a check list of what kids MUST know, I wanted a book that kids and parents would want to read. And when it comes to young children that means being spare with words and information and letting the meaning and hopefully a bit of poetry flow.

The truth is that there are so many variations on how we’re making babies (at least in terms of getting the sperm and egg together, and then getting them to a uterus) that to do it properly would have meant a lot more pages.  So we made the decision to save that for the next book which will be about three times as long and be geared to older children.

You’re so careful about terminology, so why did you decide to refer to the embryo and fetus as a baby (“But before a baby can be born it has to get bigger, and bigger, and BIGGER” next to pictures of the various stages of gestation starting with 2 weeks)…?

This was one of those things I struggled with for a long time.  When I’m working as an educator and teaching live, I use the terms embryo and fetus (and sometimes zygote, which usually gets a few laughs). In a book you don’t get a chance to explain or talk around words, you just have the word on the page.  And in a picture book the language has to serve many functions.  It has to convey meaning of course, but it also has to be fun to read out loud, it has to have the feeling you want to convey.  Ultimately the words embryo and fetus just didn’t do it for me.  So it was a creative decision not a pedagogical or political one.  Of course it has political implications.  Some people feel very strongly that a baby isn’t a baby until it’s born.  Others think that a baby is a baby sometime after conception.  Others think that it’s a baby at the point of conception.  I’m not ignorant of these debates, and originally I used both embryo an fetus as they reflect my own understanding.  My hope is that I have left enough space in the story for parents to share their own beliefs and values around this question.

“Some babies are born by coming out through a part of the body that most people call the vagina.” Why not just say “…a part of the body that’s called the vagina”, since that is precise and accurate? And what are your thoughts about parents using euphemisms for genitals?

Language is language, and it doesn’t become any more or less important when we’re using it to describe our bodies than it does when we’re using it to describe our feelings, or a book we read or our favorite toy.  I think kids should know all kinds of words for different body parts including genitals.  So I wouldn’t say that people should never use euphemisms for genitals, but I would say that kids should know the terms that doctors and health care providers use in addition to whatever words a family might use.  I think euphemisms can be a problem if they are really about embarrassment or shame.  But sometimes we use words because we like the way they sound and feel, and I’m not sure why we need to police parents and families in that way.

Why did I write “most people call the vagina”?  Again, because I think it’s more honest.  Not every one calls that part of the body the vagina.  Most people do, but not everyone does.  So why not just say that?  It opens up the opportunity for a conversation about language and doesn’t foreclose options for the readers.

This language also has particular meaning and importance for Trans* dads, who have given birth but who often don’t use the word vagina to describe that part of their bodies.  So many of us have the experience of having to change words in books while we read them to kids so that they reflect our experience.  I wanted a book that would require the least amount of re-writing, and using this phrase makes it a little more real for a few more people.

Have you gotten any criticisms or hate mail from anyone? We’d guess if you’ve gotten any, it would be from the religious “family values” anti-gay crowd.

Yes I have.  It started when I launched my Kickstarter.  There were a few posts (one was on Glen Beck’s website The Blaze) and they seemed to suggest I was destroying families with my book.  There have been a few more articles – as you guessed – from conservative and generally homophobic organizations, since the book came out.  I’m glad when my work makes people think and starts conversations, but unfortunately in each of these cases, as far as I can tell, the people writing have not actually read my book and don’t seem to be interested in having a conversation as much as using my book as an occasion to spout the same narrow minded often hateful perspective they usually take.

“What Makes a Baby” is on sale now on Amazon.com!

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“150 Shades of Play” at the IPPY Awards!

May 30, 2013

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Last night, we attended the IPPY Awards ceremony in NYC to receive our silver medals for all-around awesomeness in an independently-published sex & relationship book.150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink is now an award-winner!

While sipping our complimentary cocktails (yay, open bar!), nibbling the mediocre passed apps (free food, eh), listening to all the award announcements (there were over 100 categories!), and waiting for our 10-second turn in the spotlight, we made friends with the gold medalists in the Humor category. Husband-and-wife team Dr. Ted Eisenberg & Joyce K. Eisenberg penned The Scoop on Breasts: A Plastic Surgeon Busts the Myths. As the world-record
holder for most breast augmentations, Ted supplied the info; Joyce supplied the jokes (guess you have to have a sense of humor when you’re married to a man who’s up to his elbows in boobs all day). We’re no big fans of fake tatas, but we must say The Scoop is really nicely designed. And they win for best award photo of the night: each of them held the cleavage-festooned cover up to their chests.

When the winners in the Poetry category were announced, they were each asked to read a poem from their collections. Admittedly, we braced ourselves for major cringing. But Marty McConnell, silver medalist for Wine for a Shotgun, made us poetry converts. After asking the crowd “We’re all adults here, right?” she recited the last poem in her collection — an ode to the body and all the kinky things you can do with it — with the perfect blend of performance and restraint. Stay tuned for an excerpt of it on our site soon!

We forgot to bring a copy of our own book to hold up for our award picture, so we accosted the winners of the Outstanding E-Book Achievement Award who hadtheir book (which is actually an app) on an iPad. Peering over their shoulders before pouncing, we got a good look at Psychometry, a super cool interactive digital collection of photographs by Carol Golemboski. She and her designer kindly let us pull up a picture of our book cover and borrow the iPad for our photo.

All evening we were looking for the telltale ponytail of the co-author of Great Sex Made Simple, the Tantra book that edged us out for the gold in Sex & Relationships (damn you, Tantra!). But we didn’t meet Mark A. Michaels and his partner Patricia Johnson until our category was announced — which of course was the 69th category of the night. Talk about a long-time coming! (Bud dum ching! Speaking of which, we would be remiss in our duties if we didn’t also mention the gold medalist in the Erotica category, The Harder She Comes by D.L. King)

After our award photos were taken (which, in usual fashion, we tried to ham up as much as possible), the gold medal winners Mark & Patricia generously gave us a copy of their book Great Sex (which we’ll also excerpt on this site soon). You can tell from this gesture (and the photos in their book), they’re very giving in all areas of life.

So stayed tuned for the fruits of our networking. And don’t forget to get your copy of our AWARD-WINNING BOOK! 

 



“Lean In” Is Great! Facebook, Not So Much.

May 24, 2013

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Our book group just read “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead” by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. According to its Amazon descrip, she (and let’s be honest, her writing and research team) examine “why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.” Does it do that? Totes.

Some of the more interesting points in the book have to do with…..wait for it…..sex and relationships:

Research supports [the idea] that equality between partners leads to happier relationships. When husbands do more housework, wives are less depressed, marital conflicts decrease, and satisfaction rises. When women work outside the home and share breadwinning duties, couples are more likely to stay together. In fact, the risk of divorce reduces by about half when a wife earns half the income and a husband does half the  housework. For men, participating in child rearing fosters the development of patience, empathy, and adaptability, characteristics that benefit all of their relationships. For women, earning money increases their decision-making ability in the home, protects them in case of divorce, and can be important security in later years, as women often outlive their husbands. Also — and many might find this the most motivating factor — couples who share domestic responsibilities have more sex. It may be counterintuitive, but the best way for a man to make a pass at his wife might be to do the dishes.

Yeah, what she said! (And these are not just Sandberg’s observations — all of the above points are meticulously footnoted with their research-study sources  – as is the entire book.)

There has been some major poo-pooing of this book, by both men and women, some who didn’t even read it, some who even consider themselves feminists! Do all of her points and suggestions apply to every single woman in America? No. Is it weird that she doesn’t openly thank any of her nannies in the acknowledgements? Yes. But how anyone can argue against the call for more real equality between the sexes — and that’s all this book really does — is beyond us. Jessica Valenti said it best: “Here’s a nationally known woman calling herself a feminist, writing what will be a wildly popular book with feminist ideas, encouraging other women to be feminists. And we’re worried she has too much influence? That she’s too . . . ambitious?” Yeah, what she said!

The only legitimate complaint that has anything to do with Sandberg that we’ve come across is the fact that the company Sandberg leads allows Facebook pages like “Fly Kicking Sluts in the Uterus,” “Kicking your Girlfriend in the Fanny because she won’t make you a Sandwich,” “Violently Raping Your Friend Just for Laughs,” “Raping your Girlfriend” (to name a few) — which feature pictures of battered women — while it bans images of breastfeeding mothers. This week, in “An Open Letter to Facebook” published on HuffPo, 43 women’s groups urged Facebook to apply the same standard to gender-based hate speech as they do to content that is violently racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, and anti-Semitic: “In a world in which hundreds of thousands of women are assaulted daily and where intimate partner violence  remains one of the leading causes of death for women around the world, it is not possible to sit on the fence. We call on Facebook to make the only responsible decision and take swift, clear action on this issue, to bring your policy on rape and domestic violence into line with your own moderation goals and guidelines.” Yeah, what they said!



Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat: How to Get Over Your Body in Bed

May 17, 2013

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More than half of all women have put off sex — even when they were in the mood — because they felt too fat. A recent study showed that how a woman feels about her body has more influence on libido than even menopause — and we have the letters in our inbox to back this up. (Those rare women who always feel good about their bodies probably stress about how “normal” their labia are!)

A new book, Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat, by sex columnist Michael Alvear — he was also the co-host of HBO’s show The Sex Inspectors — helps women get past their negative feelings about their bodies in order to truly enjoy themselves in bed. Here are seven of Alvear’s tips for sparking your libido next time you’re feeling bad about your stomach/hips/butt/insert body part you obsess over:

1. Speak up.

Being still, quiet and passive are ways of withdrawing from activity—leaving nothing left to focus on but your body. The secret to managing your mind is bed is to be active: talk, engage, exchange. Move so you can stop being a sight to see and be a force to be felt.

2. Lower your estimate.

Research shows that women with body anxiety overestimate the size and shape of their body by at least 25%. When you’re focusing on your body, apply the 25% margin of error. Your butt just got 1/4 smaller than you thought.

3. Get active, then get frisky.

Exercise doesn’t just affect your abs. It also raises hormones linked with arousal—estrogen, prolactin, and, cortisol—particularly 30 min. after the workout. Plan your sexy evening before hitting the gym, to make the most of its effect.

4. Sexual competence builds body confidence.

Women who consider themselves “good in bed” report far less anxiety, even when researchers held their weight constant. Feeling good about what your body can do is the first step to feeling good about your body. [Editor's note: For expanding your expertise, may we humbly suggest our new book, 150 Shades of Play?]

5. Share your fantasy.

Fantasize your way out of your appearance anxiety. Go light or go Fifty Shades of Grey, but go. Inhabiting new people and situations makes you far less likely to focus on your thighs.

6. Develop erotic cues.

From smelling your favorite aftershave to just having a heart-to-heart talk with your guy, finding your body’s cues triggers a response that brings your desires to conscious awareness.

7. Find your best light.

No supermodel can save harsh lighting, so take time to do a room makeover, keeping lighting soft and low wattage. Think about installing a dimmer switch—or even a strobe light.

Not Tonight Dear, I Feel Fat by Michael Alvear is on sale now

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C Is for Cuffs

May 14, 2013

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Lelo’s Etherea Silk Cuffs (a black version is part of their Dare Me Pleasure Set)

The following is from our very own naughty, award-winning dictionary, 150 SHADES OF PLAY: A Beginner’s Guide to Kink. Bolded words signify individual entries that appear elsewhere in the A-to-Z section of the book. Anything with a tie icon indicates an activity or prop mentioned in the Fifty Shades series (symbolic of the famous woven tie Christian Grey uses to restrain Anastasia Steele). The idea being: look up something you’re interested in and, from there, make it a choose-your-own-adventure book by following any bolded words that pique your interest to their own dedicated entry. Or just start at A and don’t stop ‘til you get to Z—or ‘til you’re compelled to try something out with your partner, whichever comes first!:

C

 cuffs, ankle and wrist

If restraining someone by their wrists and ankles is the meat-and-potatoes of bondage, then made-for-play cuffs (sold at any sex toy store) are bondage’s Hungry-Man frozen dinners: quick, easy, and surprisingly satisfying. Bondage cuffs are way safer than handcuffs and provide instant gratification—unlike rope, with its pain-in-the-ass learning curve. Most cuffs are made of either leather or nylon (for kinky vegans, e.g. Super Cuffs) and are often lined with faux fur, etc. (for comfort even during marathon seshes). And before you complain that faux fur is “not me” or “so last season,” just try writhing around in a pair of police-issue handcuffs first. For real-world restraints that aren’t a pain in the wrist, check out the surprisingly attractive institutional cuffs at MedicalToys.com. And for something a little more in line with the high-end Fifty Shades aesthetic, check out LELO’s Etherea Silk Cuffs and Sutra Chainlink Cuffs.

Bondage cuffs feature either buckles or Velcro (the former gives a stronger hold, the latter a quicker release and a sexy sound) and are fairly wide (at least two to three inches) to ward off the nerve damage that is a risk of traditional handcuffs. Speaking of risks: As with any form of bondage, the bottom should speak up as soon as he or she notices any numbness or tingling, and the top should allow for at least one finger’s width between cuff and skin. And regular bondage cuffs should never be used for any kind of suspension — you need special equipment for that sort of advanced play (although you should never suspend someone from the wrists, no matter the gear). Bondage cuffs typically feature D-rings so that they can be tethered to each other, to bed posts, to chair legs, etc. And if you’re still sleeping on your college futon? Most sex toy shops sell “Under the Bed” tethers that serve as makeshift bedposts. Another option is to attach the ankle or wrist cuffs to a spreader bar. For more self-contained bondage, just attach wrist to wrist and ankle to ankle. You can even attach bound wrists to bound ankles (either in front or back) for an instant hogtie! See also bondage safety, collars, cuffs (grip), cuffs (rope), door jamb cuffs, and handcuffs.

For more on restraints and other kinky endeavors, pick up a copy 150 SHADES OF PLAY, on sale now at Amazon!