BDSM

The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast — And Me

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Earlier this month the most exciting thing happened to me. Rose Caraway, The Sexy Librarian, and her husband and business partner, Big Daddy Dayv Caraway came to my home in Half Moon Bay, where I’ve lived with my husband and Sir for nearly thirty years — traveling all the way from their home in Sacramento, where Dayv set up a sound studio in our living room, while Rose interviewed me for The Kiss Me Quick’s  Sexy Librarian’ Erotica Podcast!

I can hardly express how honored I feel that my erotic journey begun in the mid-70s — and the sex-positive way I’ve chosen to live my life from then on — is deemed inspirational to others, and a story worthy of being told.

I met Rose and Dayv twelve days after suffering a stroke, when I attended the reading of Best Women’s Erotica , Volume 1. The reading, which took place appropriately enough, at the Good Vibrations sex toy store, on Polk Street in San Francisco , was an amazing experience. I was frankly thrilled to realize I was sharing pages in a book with an incredibly  talented, diverse group of female writers, in an outstanding anthology that I have no doubt will make its mark in erotica history.

But the highlight of my experience — aside from sharing a stage with BWE editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel. Jade A. Waters, and my Erotic Reading Circle buddy , Amy Butcher — was meeting fellow writer, Rose Caraway, with whom I felt an instant sense of connection. Although Rachel read my story for me, as the light in the room was too dim for my eyes, I joined the others on stage afterwards for interaction with our audience. I also managed quite nicely by signing copies of our X-rated book with an X placed beside the title of my story, since my left and dominant arm had been weakened by the stroke.

 When the signing concluded, my 74 year-old husband who’d attended the reading with me, chatted with Rose and Dayv, expressing that I’d felt I’d earned the privilege of being there that night, and stroke or no stroke wouldn’t have missed the event for the world.

(In my view, the difference between a coward and a hero is the hero is not stopped by fear, and I’m delighted to report I was not.)

I’m as much of a talker as my Sir is a strong, silent type. I shared a bit about my three-decade long erotic relationship with him. The relationship resulted from a personal ad I placed in the late San Francisco Bay Guardian in late 1983, seeking a husband/Dom/life partner all rolled into one — a first date so dynamic it went on all night. At age 71, I’ve had sufficient erotic experience for a small sex-starved country. (My story in BWE, Two Doms For dinner, was  real-life inspired, as is much of my erotic writing — a pleasure to experience and write about as well.)  

Rose and Dayv expressed genuine interest that I’d written a memoir, now submitted to publishers, titled PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, about being a swinging single mom in an era of unprecedented personal freedom. They also appeared to enjoy our old-time tales of being a BDSM couple back in the 80s, and on into current times. By the time we’d parted company that evening, Sir and I felt we’d encountered a couple  who mirrored us in their obvious love and dedication to each other and their chosen lifestyle. We left feeling we’d just made new friends.

I was thrilled when Rose contacted me soon after, requesting an interview for her podcast about my lengthy sexual history. Even more so when she expressed that my erotically adventurous nature had inspirational value to others, too important not to be shared.

So far I am loving my fifteen minutes of fame. It still amazes me how sadly undervalued erotic pleasure is in our culture. Enjoying the pleasure of the flesh has long been considered a traditionally made domain. But in recent years erotic literature written by strong, self-directed women has risen to the forefront, expressing sexual interaction from the female point of view. I want to shout out an enormous thank you to the Caraways. If my erotic adventures serve inspirational purpose and in any way enriches the body of sexual knowledge existing in the world — then Rose and Dayv’s brilliant and insightful documentation of those adventures has equal value as well.

And I ask you; if sexual delights were not meant to be enjoyed by women, what then would be the purposed of our having clits? 

 

How Sexy Is a Stroke?

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                                     Best Women’s Erotica, Volume I, Two Doms for Dinner 

Truth is way stranger than fiction in my opinion, which is why my writing is mainly memoir based. Five weeks ago I went from a state of excited anticipation at having a story included in the soon to be released anthology shown above — to shock and horror at suffering a mild stroke on January 7th.

Lucky for me I was on the phone with a friend, who said my voice sounded slurry and asked if everything was okay — and that my husband who sat nearby  said, “Look at me,” and  saw the corner of my mouth droop for a second, before rushing me to  the emergency room at Mills Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame, for two days and nights of medical testing reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition.

To say I wasn’t scared as the reality of my situation unfolded before me would have been a grave understatement. One health care professional after the other quizzed me as to the date and year and city we were in, attempting to determine how muddled my mind might be, and assessing the impact of the stroke on my cognitive abilities.  

Thankfully the damage appeared to be minimal, although my left arm was affected, rendering my dominant left hand weakened. My mind and ability to speak was left intact — although it would be a while before I could utilize the muscle memory to properly lift an eating utensil to my mouth.

My husband stayed in the room with me on the second  night of my stay — having returned home to care for our  dogs the prior evening. By then all I wanted was to go home to them myself, but the doctors talked us into staying to do still more tests on the following day.  We were running out of patience toward the end of the  second day — but were convinced to stay a second night to wait for the results of an MRI, that would reveal an image of the inside of my brain.

 That’s when the nightmare began in earnest. My brain scan showed evidence of prior strokes so small I ‘d been unaware of them — which led a well-spoken neurologist to present the possibility that I might have MoyaMoya Disorder. Now while this sounds like something to be ordered  in a Japanese restaurant, it actually means puff of smoke, indicative of an almost unheard of brain condition affecting a tiny percentage of the population. These people begin experiencing strokes when young and rarely live to be my age.  Because of the possibility of my having late onset MoyaMoya, she urged me to transfer by ambulance to the Stroke Unit of the California Pacific Medial Center, Davies Campus (CPMC), for further testing and observation. My husband and I gazed at each other horror-struck, as based on this information we left Mills Peninsula to be whisked away for three fun-filled days of further testing.  

CPMC is located in an drafty old building in San Francisco’s Castro District. Much of the stroke floor had been modernized, but we were shown to a spacious two-room suite  with a  hospital bed in one room and a couch made up for my husband in the other. On the first night of our stay, he heard me crying and sat up in a chair beside my bed, holding my hand for the entire night.

The next morning we realized that it was January 10th and our 29th wedding anniversary. Upon hearing that, a kindly nurse brought a fold-out bed to our room and placed it beside mine. That night we celebrated our 29th anniversary on the stroke floor of a hospital, toasting each other with glasses of water and gazing out over the Land of Oz — while I congratulated myself that win, lose, or draw, I’d had the balls to pack up my kids and drive to San Francisco  after divorcing their father in the mid-1970s– to begin a new life in a magical city where where I could be me and where my Sir and I would meet and embark on our BDSM lifestyle in late 1983.

We were considerably less peppy than on earlier anniversary celebrations — my husband leaning on his cane and I with my disabled hand and arm — but honestly, I doubt we’ve ever loved each other more than we did that night .  

To make a long story shorter, brain surgery was suggested, probably in February. I was released from the hospital on blood thinners to return home to our dogs, and my wonderful younger son flew out from his home in Brooklyn to care for our household, and to arrange the details of obtaining second and third opinions from other neurologists. It was twelve days before the scheduled reading of Best Women’s Erotica, at Good Vibrations Polk Street store and stroke or no stroke, I wanted to attend that reading. 

After endless debating about if I felt up to it or not, I attended the reading wearing my hottest red and black outfit. A friend helped me with my makeup, making me look as good as possible under the circumstances. She even drew on a pair of elegant eyebrows, which for me to do myself would have required an unimpaired left hand.

Still, I felt too shaky to read my own story. Editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel kindly read it for me, while I sat in the audience beside my Sir. But before beginning, she asked me to state briefly what had inspired it — and I replied proudly that the inspiration for my story, Two Doms For Dinner was a small slice of my wonderful kinky life with my love.

I loved every minute of being a part of that reading.

As a single mom I taught my sons the importance of demonstrating courage under fire. I felt that by attending the reading I was doing just that. I loved being part of the warm, supportive erotica community at Good Vibrations that evening. Since I couldn’t sign my name, I marked each book I was asked to sign with an X on the first page of my story beside my name. I would not have missed it for the world.

 I’ve recovered the use of my arm considerably in the three weeks since that evening. I haven’t eaten meat for twenty-five years, and have now eliminated all dairy products from my diet in an attempt to not ingest cholesterol.  My wonderful techno-savvy son sent the disc of my brain images to other neurologists. A second opinion, was obtained from Stanford, which disagreed with the first — no MoyaMoya or surgery,  with medical maintenance of the constricted artery at the base of my skull — and finally a third and last opinion by the head of neurology from UCSF, concurring that I didn’t have MoyaMoya at all, didn’t need surgery or more than one blood thinner, and agreed that lasting changes in diet and moderate exercise deserved a fair shot.

And now, five weeks later, my son has returned home to his family in time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with his love — and my husband and I are alone in our home once again, gazing into each other’s eyes and looking toward a future that sill involves sex.

At this point I am able to hold an eating utensil properly and  am now able to once again write my name  This health incident I’ve experienced is a wake-up call for both me and my husband, but in no way does it indicate the end of our sexual life.

I feel in my bones that my left hand and arm will enjoy a full recovery. In the meantime I thank the powers that be that I masturbate with my right hand.  

Shades of Grey Sequel Is Almost Upon Us

6/14/15

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.

My Two Cents Worth on the Shades of Grey Phenomena

4/23/15

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 craving@lovecrave.com, 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