Here’s a quick posting to announce that I will be one of two Dirty Old Women celebrating life and sexuality by reading erotica next Tues, 9/22/15, at the Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland. This is a fun event in a great little space, with a receptive audience, good food and drink, and easy parking. Click link for more information. Hope to see you there.
As for a lengthier post, that’s going to have to wait until the aftereffects of the very relaxing vacation I just returned from in Palm Springs—the same one where I’m surrounded by family and friends, with little to do but spend five to six hours a day in a swimming pool and decide what I want to eat or drink next. In fact it may take a while for that level of relaxation to wear off. As some of you know, September is my birth-month, so this was in effect a pre-birthday celebration. The actual special day is still forthcoming—and since I’ve long ago decided that the bigger the birthday the bigger the required celebration, this time the party may go on all month.
While on the topic of public readings, I’m honored to say I’ve been invited to read again at the Good Vibrations store on Valencia Street, during Lit Crawl on October 17, where I’ll be reading a section of my unpublished memoir, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, about a bit of San Francisco sexual history. But more about that later as the time draws nearer. Tweet me @DorothyFreed1
August 26th, 1970 marked the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, granting American woman the right to vote. On that date the National Organization for Women called on women to demonstrate in a nationwide “strike for equality.” More than 100,000 women responded to that call and participated in demos and rallies in over 90 major cities and towns across America, making this the largest, gender-equality protest in US history.
I was among the estimated 50,000 women who marched down Fifth Avenue in New York City in support of the women’s movement and equal rights under the law. Among the leading marchers were women of achievement: Bette Friedan, strike organizer , first president of NOW, and author it The Feminine Mystique; Gloria Steinem, political activist and founder of New York Magazine; Kate Millet, author of Sexual Politics; and straight-talking, peppery, Congresswoman Bella Abzug, tireless champion of women’s rights. I felt honored to be among them.
I was a twenty-six-year-old housewife then, and leaving my husband home with our two sons to join the march was a personal declaration of independence. I’d been married for eight years to a man who espoused equal rights and justice for all — but at home, as the assumed head of our household, he felt entitled to be in charge. He was okay with watching the kids three evenings a week while I went to art school — as long as I did the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the balance of child care, in addition to my schoolwork. But he wasn’t pleased when I joined NOW. Or when I read The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir and began questioning the male/female status quo. Or when I told him he’d be feeding his kids dinner that evening, because I was striking for equality.
My husband shook his head at that. “If you women had to deal with the serious issues men do, you’d stop complaining fast. Well, be home before dark. The streets aren’t safe.”
I sighed. His comments irked me, but I kept silent, not wanting to argue. I kissed my family good-bye and left the apartment., promising to be home before dark.
But how can we be equal, I wondered, if half of us can’t go out alone at night?
Filled with excitement and sense of resolve, I rode the subway downtown. Approaching Fifth Avenue, I looked out at a sea of female faces: women of all shapes and sizes, all colors, all ages, married and single, gay and straight. Some held signs bearing messages: Women Unite! Equality Under The Law! We Are The Fifty-One Percent Minority, I Am Not A Barbie Doll! And the slogan of the day — Don’t Iron While The Strike Is Hot!
“THE TIME IS NOW!” someone yelled, and the mass of women began moving forward. The march monitors passed along that we would be taking the entire width of the street — not the half we’d been allotted by the city — and we surged forward, arms linked. With cheers of victory we took 5th Avenue from curb to curb, unchallenged by the police.
For me, the highlight of the experience was meeting a silver-haired woman. Somewhere along the way we fell into step together. I smiled at her, impressed that a woman of her age would be marching. Linking arms, we walked side by side. The woman told that a half century ago, when she was twenty, she had marched with Susan B. Anthony to win women the vote.
“I was scared to death by my own daring. the woman said. “The world didn’t take kindly to uppity women back then. My family was scandalized and my gentleman friend left me over it. But I marched anyway.”
And in that moment, I realized I was in the presence of a living, breathing, direct link with history — and that this brave woman and others like her had put themselves on the line for something they believed was simple justice for everyone.
I felt overwhelmed with emotion. “Thank you for my right to vote,” I whispered. “I won’t ever take it for granted — or any other right.
Our eyes met. An understanding passed between us. We hugged good-bye when the march ended at Bryant. Intending to head straight for the subway, I began weaving my way through the throngs of women who stood listening to the speaker. In spite of my promise to be home before dark, I felt compelled to stop and listen. My husband was going to have to understand.
The experience of meeting this woman on the march has stayed with me all my life. Portions of this posting have been quotes from my story, The Day I Met The Suffragette, written by the person bearing my real name, and published in the anthology Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s.
So, happy Women’s Equality Day — we’ve come a long way baby, as the slogan for Virginia Slims Cigarettes used to say. But let us not forget our sisters around the world who are enslaved, genitally mutilated, and denied the right to an education, and even the right to show their faces outside their homes.
Let us not forget either, that although Congress officially recognized August 26, 1971 as Women’s Equality Day. the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been ratified in Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Oklahoma, Illinois Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama. Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, and Virginia. And that political; and religious factions, committed to stripping women of their hard-won right to choose and so many other rights are hard at work right now; so cast your vote wisely in the presidential election to come.
We’ve come a long way baby, but we still have far to go. @DorothyFreed1
At first I felt terrible about not getting this post out on time. July, 31st is National Orgasm Day, as I’m sure everyone reading this already knows. Curious about the origins of the day, I did considerable online reading about it. For those interested, just type the day into your browser to access articles galore in publications such as: Glamour Magazine, the Daily Mail, the Huffington Post, Feminista Jones at BlogHer — not to mention the informative, and arousing post titled the Big O and a Party Down South, by Cara Sutra, a top UK blog sex blogger and sex toy reviewer on whose site my writing has been featured, and to whom I subscribe.
Still, after all that reading I have to confess to still not knowing how it all got started, but the designated days seems to have been with us for several years now — and really, however it came about, what’s not to love about a day devoted to the celebration of pleasure?
As far as missing the boat on a timely posting goes, I took heart after discovering a plethora of sites about World Orgasm Day, celebrated on 8/8/15. My favorite among these is the site of artist ,Alexander Hirka, whose website proclaims the day as the seventeenth annual, One World Orgasm Day. What a great idea! This very cool site features multiple links: the most interesting one to me being Beautiful Agony: Facettes De La Petite Mort—a pay to view site that offers a generous selection of close-up photo of both sexes in the throes of orgasmic delight.
What a delightful idea (pun intended). In fact, viewing this link took me back in time almost forty years to when as a visual artist involved in creating a series of plaster bandages sculptures of female body parts — I engaged in collaboration with a fellow artist and lover, in casting my own upper body, long flowing hair and all. Since this process called for my being nude and coated with Vaseline, so as not to lose body hair when the bandage was removed, I lay naked on a blanket on my studio floor, while my friend applied strip after strip of moistened bandage over me, and smoothed each one carefully in place. To make a long story short, while waiting for the plaster to dry, my friend became bored and began teasing my clitoris — and despite my best efforts to be still, so as to not ruin my sculpture, nature had its way with me. Moaning, mouth open and shoulders contorted, I erupted into orgasm at the exact moment the plaster hardened — thus preserving my ecstatic moment for posterity. I titled the piece, which unfortunately met its demise years ago, the Plaster Orgasm. This was also the title of my first published erotica piece, in the Tenth Anniversary Seattle Erotic Art Festival, Literary Art Anthology, in 2012. An excellent use of a chance happening, if you ask me.
But I digress. There’s still another day devoted to orgasm, and my personal favorite,which is World Orgasm for Peace Day, complete with the compelling slogan, Come Together. This special day is celebrated on the winter solstice, 12/21 each year. So pick your day or better yet, celebrate them all. Come one, come all and let’s make this troubled world a more peaceful place.
I’ll be doing my part. How about you? @dorothyfreed1
I recently learned that Ashley Madison, the high-profile internet site catering to married people interested in having discrete affairs was hacked. For those not in the know, this site claims a hefty thirty-seven million members and sports the slogan, “Life is short. Have an affair.” It also claims to safeguard their secrets.
And now it seems the group of hackers who go by name theImpact Team are demanding a total shutdown of Ashley Madison and its legion of adulterers, or else… Supposedly included in exposed information are email addresses, usernames, passwords, birth-dates and zip codes — not to mention sexual preferences and proclivities. Oh my… all those secrets. Imagine the inner turmoil, the gut-wrenching fear of those with so much to lose if their identities were outed — and wouldn’t there be one huge messy puddle all around the world, should those secrets be spilled?
This hack follows a similar event earlier this year when sexual tastes and preferences of over three million people were at risk after the dating site, Adult Friend Finder, was also hacked, and information leaked. And here you and I thought we had problems when our email address books are hacked and we get mail with weird links to click that we hustle off to spam.
Curious, I spent the morning reading a variety of views about the hacking. According to a piece by Joe Kovacs, published 7/22/15, on WND DIVERSIONS — an obviously open-minded site featuring a right-to-life message and a quote by Billy Graham — one unlucky Massachusetts man defied the thirty-seven million to one odds, and his name, profile ID, home address, email address, and list of preferred sexual fantasies were publicly identified in the hacker’s terrorist style manifesto, as a chilling example of their willingness to made good their threats Another person from Canada was named as well. One Catherine Cooper, who self-identified as a mom of two, expressed in her impassioned Daily Mail piece, on 7/21/15, that infidelity is inexcusable and Ashley Madison members, one and all, deserved to be exposed for the cheaters they are. Dawn Michel states in her 7/27/15 examiner.com piece that Ashley Madison is a site created to support bad behavior and instant gratification, and deserves what they get. Not to be outdone, Christian evangelist, Franklyn Graham posted a message from the bible stating, “be sure your sin will find you out.”
John McAfee, influential commentator on cyber-security issues, in a 7/23/15 piece in the International Business Times, proclaims the AM hack as the death knoll of secrets — focusing less on its sinfulness than on the weakness of its security system, he found the hacker’s date fascinating, revealing cheater by profession and sex. According to him, topping the male adultery list are doctors, police officers, lawyers, and real-estate agents, and topping the female list are teachers, soccer moms, nurses, and real-estate agents — and claims it should be no surprise that in the US, Washing DC tops the cheater list by percentage of population by a wide margin.
At this point I should reveal my own opinions about Ashley Madison, based on my taking advantage of their free female membership almost two years ago — with my husband’s full knowledge and agreement. My profile requests a dominant, kink-friendly, non-bisexual, friend-with-benefits, fifty-five and over with a pass from his wife. I was contacted by a surprising number of men in open relationship, as well as many claiming single status and seeking no-strings fun with a married woman and her spouse. I also received responses from twenty and thirty-somethings, many with cock shots included, even though my profile states that graphic photos will be instantly deleted — and men whose erotic interests were so different from mine, I wondered if they’d read my profile at all.
Over time, my AM experience yielded considerable back and forth email communication and photo exchanges with viable possibilities. This resulted in a handful of in-person meetings, and fewer still, encounters in-the-flesh. Willingness is one thing — but chemistry, as anyone in the dating world probably knows is damned hard to find. We did finally meet a hot man in a polygamous relationship, and in my age range who lived twenty minutes away. We met, we clicked, we shared dinner and fantasy a few times a month for over a year, until his move to another state. Six months later, this man appears to be the apex of what AM has to offer. I plan to retire my membership on its two-year anniversary late next month.
All in all I’d say there are a plethora of lonely people in this world, many of them married and not all of them hound-dogs, seeking no-strings affairs with willing partners for a variety of reasons, not all of them reprehensible. As Ashley Madison chief executive, Noel Biderman, stated, “Like us or not this is still a criminal act.”
Happy Independence Day to everyone! And all the more so in light of the recent, historic Supreme Court ruling, this past June 26th, 2015, declaring marriage equality to be the law of the land.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the deciding vote in the 5-4 ruling, declaring that the freedom to marry is a fundamental right of all Americans. His ruling is based on four ideas, the basic gist of which is as follows: freedom includes being free to marry whom one chooses; marriage is vital for relationships; marriage protects families; and marriage is a cornerstone of American society. In response to this landmark decision of equality without exception, the White House lit up in rainbow colors in commemoration of this occasion, as did the Empire State Building — and the mood among gay rights supporters was nothing short of jubilant. Gay Pride, right on!
Well, how about that? After all the vehement, unreasonable, fear-driven, and just plain mean-spirited resistance of the religious right to deny same-sex couples their constitutional rights — love is now equal in the eyes of the law! (Take that dissenting Justices, Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas. Like it or not the Twenty-First Century has arrived and is well underway. )
Public opinion has shifted in the past few years, revealing the intrinsic wrong of the ban on gay marriage and paving the way for such a decision to be made. I always felt in my gut that it would be just a matter of time, combined with unflagging activism, until that changed. No doubt the disgruntled conservatives — the same good churchgoing souls laboring to reverse Roe vs Wade and deny 51% of the population the right to choose to be pregnant or not — are currently huddled together, plotting and planning the overthrow of Constitutional rights.
Speaking of gay marriage, a few years ago I wrote a five-hundred word memoir piece about being a sixteen-year-old art student, with a raging crush on Hal, a handsome, sophisticated, forty-year-old art professor — to whom I offered my virginity — and who turned out to be gay. He didn’t give that as his reason for turning me down. He said I was beautiful and desirable, but I was sixteen and it would have been wrong for him to take advantage of me. I went home crying that day, stung by rejection. But I later learned through a mutual acquaintance, that the man whom I’d lusted for was already taken by a model named Ralph. Funny, learning the true reason for my turn-down put the experience in perspective. So he likes men, I thought, shrugging, who knew? I didn’t blame Hal for not coming out to me either — it was only the 1960s, after all; Utopia was a long way away.
If by some slim chance Hal and Ralph are still alive and together all these years later, I imagine their rejoicing at finally being declared equal American citizens but the law of their land.
As Victor Hugo so wisely said, “No army can withstand the power of an idea whose time has come.” But it sure was a long time coming.
Happy Independence Day. We’ve all just taken a giant step toward creating the kinder, gentler, more humane society that we all claim to long for. @DorothyFreed1.
I recently saw in Publisher’s Lunch that E.L. James’ new book, GREY, will hit the bookstore on June 18th. The date was chosen to commemorate Christian Grey’s birthday. It will, I’m sure it will make a great Father’s Day offering on June 21st, for those hard to buy for dads who have everything.
This book is the sequel to the runaway hit trilogy, Shades of Grey, and is told from Christian’s point of view — affording anyone interested, the opportunity to get up close and personal with inner workings of his angst-filled, emotionally shut down, control-freak mind. So now, in spite of feeling that I’ve read quite enough of Ms. James’ prose for one lifetime, I am going to have to read this book. Particularly after having read and enjoyed, the inner workings of a top-man’s mind, in Master of O, by Ernest Green (see 5/3 posting, My Thoughts on Master of O), I simply have to see what makes Christian Grey tick. One can only hope we won’t be treated to dialogues with his inner goddess this time around.
My husband and I saw the film, Shades of Grey, not long after (see 4/23/15 posting). I recall saying I planned to wait to see it when came out on DVD, and there it was about five minutes later, available on TV for $4.99, and in the privacy of our home. So we watched it. Neither of us found particularly hot, although there were a few hot bits mixed in with the rest. I think this was partly due to some basic lack of chemistry between lead actors Dakota Johnston and Jaime Dorman. Remember Mickey Rourke and Kim Bassinger in 9 1/2 Weeks, or James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Secretary? Now there are some red-hot examples of what made our groins come alive.
All in all, my husband and I both shook our heads a lot at the stilted and melodramatic portrayal of a BDSM romance. But then, to us kinky seniors, these twenty-somethings seem far too young, immature, and ego-driven to be taken seriously. Surely, we thought, that tight-assed contract negotiation scene was intended as comic relief. And really, the whole idea of Ana demanding that Christian demonstrate the most severe pain she’d be required to endure — without having already generated the necessary endorphin rush to make a positive response possible, make us laugh out loud.
Having been a happy BDSM couple for thirty-two years this December, viewing the film did generate nostalgic remembrance of our own initial meeting and consequent negotiation process at a San Francisco cafe. How could I forget that zinging, high frequency excitement i felt when I gazed into his eyes, felt his energy — and realized the the submission fantasy I’d been rehearsing in my head for so long. was about to be lived out. And after watching Ana’s first entrance into Christian’s theatrically named, “Red Room if Pain”, my husband became positively sentimental recalling my introduction to his spare room turned dungeon — and my responsiveness to this new, fun form of play. But we weren’t kids when we met. We knew what we wanted, and when we found it, we thanked the powers-that-be that the chemistry was there. Still, between hot scenes we had our power struggles, like everyone else. We were ready to spit up five times during the first year alone, but somehow persevered.
So I never thought I’d say this but I’m interested in reading this new book and offering my review of it. I’m also interested in how 50 Shades Darker, the next film in the series will turn out. I hear that both director, Sam Taylor-Johnston, and scriptwriter, Kelly Marcel have resigned from the project and that E.L.James and her husband will have unbridled control of this next installment of Christian and Ana face life.
Still, schmaltz aside, looks to me like E.L.James has turned mainstream attention to the topic of BDSM, and the kink community owes her a debt of gratitude for that. @DorothyFreed1.
I’m a bit late saying so, but in case anyone doesn’t know, May is National Masturbation Month. It began as National Masturbation Day, first observed May 7, 1995 and was later upgraded to a month-long commemoration of what surely must be one of life’s simplest and most universal pleasures.
The day and then month was introduced by the San Francisco based sex-positive retail store, Good Vibrations, in the wake of the dismissal of U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, by President Bill Clinton, for suggesting at a World AIDS Day presentation, that masturbation, as part of human sexuality, should be included in sex education curriculum. Since Elders unjust firing, Good Vibes has held annual events to serve as public health education programs about the promotion of safer and healthier sex , and to increase awareness and de-stigmatize the practice of masturbation — which is, after all, the ultimate in safe sex. A Masturbate-a-thon will be held May 30th at SF’s Center of Sex and culture, as a fundraising and no partner sex event, providing participants an opportunity to enjoy one’s self, and one’s exhibitionist tendencies. The act, however, must be done alone, since assistance by another counts as partner sex.
Thinking about this takes me back to my own life as a masturbator. I recall fondly the time I spent fondling my girl-parts in the family bathtub — sloshing about in the warm soapy water until I was wrinkled all over — or until my mom broke my rhythm by rapping on the bathroom door, demanding to know what on earth I was doing in there for so long.
Interestingly, as pleasurable as the feeling were, I don’t recall bringing myself to orgasm back then. The first memory I have of experiencing a no-doubt-about-it, knock-my-socks-off orgasm was at sixteen, when I got off using the vibrator my mom kept by her beside, one day when she wasn’t home. It was one of those old-style, gun shaped instruments, with a thick, screw-shaped metal shaft fit over the metal part. It was marketed in those days as a neck massager, and knowing my mom, that may be what she used it for. But for me, somehow the the loudly buzzing instrument found its way between my legs, igniting a sweet, intoxicating heat greater than any positive sensation I knew existed. I almost passed out as an unexpected orgasm ripped through me. After that I recall some lengthy experimentation with the various attachments. They were all good but the broad flat one became my favorite. Back then, being young and bursting with estrogen, I came repeatedly until I was limp with satisfaction.
After that enlightening afternoon I had a new best friend for life — particularly after my teenage marriage and consequent discover that penile penetration, although highly pleasurable just didn’t get me off. Unfortunately, my first husband was rarely patient enough to bring me to orgasm with his hands or mouth. If not for the trusty vibrator I bought myself and used in secret, I might have gone high and dry. It wasn’t until the mid-70s after moving to San Francisco that I discovered Good Vibrations, the first sex-positive store for women I’d been to in my life. Back in those pre-HIV awareness days the store featured a tiny try-out room — and as long as female customers kept their panties on, we were free to discover the vibrator that best suited us. I remember entering the room with a possible selection and emerging weak-kneed and a Hitachi Magic Wand girl for life. I’ve worn out a number of them over the years, using them alone and with partners and have loved every moment of doing so. tweet @DorothyFreed1
I ‘ve finally finished reading Master of O, by Ernest Greene. This is no small commitment since the book is 763 pages long, but I found it well worth the reading time. The story, which resets Pauline Reage’s classic, Story of O, to glitzy contemporary Los Angeles is told from the Dom’s point of view, and Greene, a longtime pornography director and real life husband of porn star, Nita Hartley, based his lead character, Steven Diamond on real life experience. Greene is a skillful storyteller. His natural dialogue and great interplay between Dom and submissive, provides a keen insight into the inner workings of a hard-core BDSM relationship. Not only did his sex scenes sizzle on the page, they’re so well described, I felt I was watching a film inside my head as I read his words.
I love the fact that Steven, is an unapologetic sadist and libertine, who does not in any way blame his penchant for power, punishment, and pain on any disturbing childhood incidents. Instead, Steven, whose ideas of erotic play is not at all for the fainthearted, savors each command given and each stoke of the whip — because, simply stated, that’s what turns him on, makes him hard, and is part and parcel of who he is. All in all, Master of O, makes E.L James hero, Christian Grey seem like nothing more than an uptight, neurotic, wanna be Dom.
Steven’s new slave, O, is a gift to him from his brother, Ray, her current owner, who first proposes that they share her, later surrenders her to Steven when he realizes that her lust for pain and domination are greater than he can satisfy. And, as predicted, Steven finds in O, a talented photographer and heavy-duty masochist — with her acute appreciation of “quality pain”, in exchange for her submission — to be the perfect complement to his no holds barred brand of sadism. Steven and O are authentic characters, who come together form a place of mutual respect and understanding of each other’s needs and requirements. Together they embark on a high intensity, hardcore, BDSM relationship that continues to flourish until the story’s end, when Steven learns that O’s enslavement is not without its limits, after all.
As a kinky reader with an animal rights point of view, I found myself having to struggle a bit with descriptions of certain grossly decadent details of indulgences in the LA party scene — such as the wearing of endangered species shoes or the eating of pate fois gras, since such details unfortunately jerk me right out of the fantasy and into activist mode.
Aside from those discordant elements, I enjoyed reading about the inner workings of a kinky, high fashion magazine quite fascinating. And as one with a with a longterm familiarity with the scene, Master of O, with its quirky cast of desire driven characters reads like the real thing to me. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone with a genuine interest in the relationship dynamics of BDSM. Tweet @DorothyFreed1
I wasn’t planning to blog about this—my thought being that since the Shades of Grey Phenomena began a few years ago, and particularly since the movie version came out this past Valentine’s Day—everyone and her sister has already weighed in on the issue, so perhaps I should pass. But then I learned that in spite of all the murder, mayhem, and general madness going on in the world today on a minute by minute basis, there is a good reason for humankind to carry on—the next Shades of Grey film to be adapted from the second book of the E.L. James series, will go into production early next year. So it appears all is not lost after all.
Now I speak as one who has not yet seen the film and was thinking of catching it when it goes to DVD, but have read several reviews and articles with conflicting opinions about it. Certainly, one positive thing generated by both books and film is a spirited, out-in-the-light-of-day discussion about what BDSM is and isn’t.
I particularly liked Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Salon piece this past Feb titled “Christian sex activists warn against ‘dangers of mommy porn’ and ’50 Shades of Grey.’” The article mentions Julie Slattery, a Christian author and psychologist, who pans the film because she sees BDSM as degrading to women, in that it involves behaviors “normal”, mentally stable women with intact self-esteem wouldn’t consider doing—a pretty Andrea Dworkin take on it in my view, but there you are. I think Steven Elliot agrees from a different perspective by claiming he sees Christian Grey as a stalker, in the Rumpus, 2/23/15, and expressed that anyone with kinky desires should boycott the film.
I also enjoyed “50 Shades Confession” by Ti Chang and Michael Topolovac, co-founders of Cravings, at firstname.lastname@example.org, 2/13/15, who see the sexual conversation about both the books and the film as a good thing, but not the best possible image of BDSM. Also offered in the short piece is a link to praise from Vogue reviewer, John Powers, 2/11/15, who found the film surprisingly good — and looked favorably on what he saw as Ana’s erotic redemption of psychologically twisted Christian Grey, into some semblance of a normal lover by stories end. The piece also offered ridicule, by New Yorker reviewer, Anthony Lane, in a somewhat self-explanatory piece titled, No Pain, No Gain.
Personally, I think the key to Shades of Grey mainstream acceptability as “mommy porn,” is that Christian Grey is presented as a damaged individual who was seduced by an older woman at age fifteen, and left with a permanent neurotic need to act out his rage — sort of a modern day Heathcliff from Emily bronte’s romance classic, Wuthering Heights. But what, in my opinion, the average female reader may not realize, is that by the end of the third book—which I actually did get myself to read—Christian Grey has not been converted to near vanilla behavior, by the love of a good woman. Rather, he was topped from the bottom by a very determined and righteous young woman who wanted her erotic encounters, her way or no way—and more power to her for accomplishing her goal.
In the meantime, not only has Shades of Grey outsold J.K. Rowling’s, Harry Potter, but sales of soft cotton rope have shot up out of sight, handcuff sales are on the rise, and the popularity of Ben Wa Balls continues to grow —and erotica, particularly romantic erotica is in, bigtime, and I’m quite pleased about that. DorothyFreed1
My new life as a tweeter is connecting me with all sorts of interesting articles and blog postings I hadn’t known about before. I recently discovered Miss Ruby Reviews, a sex toy review site with some excellent articles about various aspect of sexual pleasure. One article in particular, posted on 2/6/15, @missrubyreviews, and titled, I Used To Fake Orgasms, But Don’t Anymore, resonated with me like you wouldn’t believe.
The reasons for all this resonation, in case you can’t guess, is because I used to fake them too. My years as a faker began in the bad old days of my first marriage in the early 60s — when as a girl of eighteen, I found myself unable to orgasm during penile penetration, although I often came close. Being an honest sort, I told my partner the truth, thinking this was an issue to be worked on together, with the mutual goal of improving our sex life. Needless to say, this information was not well received. Both this young man and I had been raised to view the male ego as a tender, fragile entity, that must at all costs be bolstered and guard from harm — and the penis as the be-all and end-all of sexual pleasure for all. Never mind that I came like a house on fire from oral sex or from manual stimulation of my clitoris; the message was clear. Women who stubbornly refused to orgasm from penis/vagina sex, were male ego wreckers for sure.
After that initial confrontation, I not only faked orgasms, I did so every bit as believably as Meg Ryan did in the iconic, faked orgasm scene in the film, When Harry Met Sally, in 1989. Unfortunately, I was so indoctrinated into lying to my husband about this issue, I continued to do so after divorcing him, in order to show my new lovers what a dynamite hunk of woman I was. “Did you come?” they’d whisper in my ear after their own orgasms subsided — and there I was, so conditioned to seeking male approval, I felt I had not other choice but to lie.
A few years later, in my early thirties, I got lucky and met a man with enough self-confidence to not be threatened by the truth. Instead, this memorable man and I entered into a mutually beneficial relationship, dedicated to the discovery of what made Dorothy come. And from that point on, I’m delighted to say I’ve never lied about orgasms again.
This particular sexual issue was so significant to me it because the basis for my book length, erotic coming-of-age story, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, for which I am currently seeking publication
And this is why Miss Ruby’s article about how she faked orgasms, and how, like me, she no longer does, resonated so strongly with me. I have no idea what age she is now and how long ago she stopped faking. I’d love to think that younger women today have come a long way in claiming their right to full sexual pleasure and no longer agonize over orgasmic issues — although I suspect for some people, some ideas will die hard.