PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies

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? 

 

Lit Crawl In San Francisco Is Almost Upon Us

10/11/15

Lit Crawl in San Francisco is a mere week from today — that’s next Saturday evening to you — and looming larger than life on my radar screen! I’m delighted to announce my participation  in the annual San Francisco Literary Festival, which will span more than three hours along the Mission District’s Valencia Street corridor. The event will feature 101 literary readings and events of all kinds: in bookstores, bars, galleries, restaurants, cafes, community spaces, a bookmobile, a police station, and last but for sure not least, an iconic vibrator store.

Details are as follows: From 7:15 pm to 8:15 pm, on 10/17/15, the Good Vibrations store, at 603 Valencia Street, near 17th, welcomes sex writers identified with the San Francisco sex scene. The theme of the reading is intended to share our takes on the diverse erotic realities in the Land of Oz — otherwise known as our City by the Bay. This second hour of Lit Crawl features, our MC, the incomparable Carol Queen, plus Bay Area writers, Polly Whittaker, Avery Cassell, Jackie Strano, Meliza Banales, Cinnamon Maxxine, and me, Dorothy Freed.

Since I’m. ahem, a mature writer, my reading will be a selection from my unpublished memoir, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies. The chapter I’ll be reading from is a scene from my first visit to San Francisco’s first coed bathhouse and sexual playground, Sutro Bathhouse — and my first experience with three-way sex in a public place. Sounds to me like a good fit for diverse erotic realities.  I hope you’ll attend the reading and decide for your yourself.

More details at http://www.litquake.org/event-series/lit-crawl-san-francisco    

Tweet me @dorothyfreed1, Like me on Facebook

 

A Quick Posting to Announce My Next Reading

 

9/17/15

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.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1659638734276714/

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

 

 

I Used to Fake Orgasms, But Don’t Any More

4/9/15

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. 

Social Media and Me

3/27/2015

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to easily warm to technology in any form. And, as an adult person in the 60s and 70s — when privacy not only still existed, but was held in high regard, I learned to eye social media with suspicion and mistrust.  My initial responses to suggestions from others that a Twitter account could positively impact my career as a writer was to express my complete lack of knowledge of what it was about. But, in spite of my resistance, I finally set up a Twitter account a few months ago, and have been tweeting my little heart out since. I still can’t claim any significant understanding of how it works,  but I dove in headfirst anyway, which has always been my style.

One thing I liked right away about this form of social media is that at 140 character maximum per tweet, it cuts straight to the chase with no chance of rambling. It was, according to Wikipedia, initially defined by Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsy, as a “short burst of inconsequential information.” Okay, I got that, but still the whole concepts pretty well mystified me.

What really led me to an at least minimal understanding  was the way my friend and fellow writer, Amy Butcher,  explained it to me. “Tweeting is like standing on a street corner shouting,” she said, “And anyone who hears you may respond if they wish.  Well, that makes sense,  I thought,  and the next day I sent out the message, “I’m standing on a street corner shouting. Can anyone hear me?” Amy heard me and responded by not only favoring my tweet, but following my account, as well, which I took to be expressions of approval. She also sent me an email with suggestions of Twitter accounts I might enjoy following. Inspired, I tweeted out a compliment about an anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, a sex writer, editor, and blogger that I’ve long admired. She responded by favoring and re-tweeting my tweet, and following my account, as well. Cool.

After that the thing began to snowball. I began getting all sorts of suggestions about who to follow, with more to come each time I began following a new account. Consequently, I’m now following a rapidly growing number of writer, editors, and publishers I admire, and am pleased to report that many of them are now following me. Hopefully they’re also logging on to my website and drinking in the word on this blog.

Yea! What a woman. First I conquered email, then forged ahead, not only to a website, but a blog as well. And now, onward to Twitter and who knows what else. I’m sure I’ll find out as I skip down the Yellow Brick Road of self-promotion, on my way to transforming my coming-of-age story, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies, into a published book. 

My Twitter name is DorothyFreed1

 

Happy New Year to All

1/24/2015

It seems that with the advent of the holidays and delightfully distracting visits by adult children, combined with the first nasty bug I’ve succumbed to in years — not to mention the unbelievable and stressful time-suck of composing an engaging query letter and story synopsis preparatory to submitting my now completed manuscript, PERFECT STRANGERS: One Woman’s Journey Through The Swinging Seventies to publishers and agents — I’ve ended up taking an unplanned hiatus from my blog.

My best gift to myself this past holiday season was the purchase of a written critique by prominent writer and editor, Rachel Kramer Bussel, of two stories that I felt were well-written and hot, but never quite jelled into finished work that pleased me. The critique, followed by an hour-long phone conversation was money well spent. Rachel honed right in on the trouble spots in those pieces — to my credit, the very spots that troubled me from the first — and offered clear, cogent suggestions on how to write my way out of them.  I was so impressed by her editorial abilities  that I splurged and signed up for her four-week  long, Erotic Writing class set to begin February 12th. Since meeting deadlines has never been my strongest suit, I’m a bit worried about keeping up the pace — but at the same time am looking forward to getting caught up in the momentum of fast hard writing, trusty feedback, and growing as a writer.

Good news from Rachel during our phone talk was that her forthcoming anthology, Dirty Dates, is slated for publication in September of this year — with the even better news being that my story, The Corset, will appear in the book. I haven’t yet seen the table of contents, but knowing the overall quality of Rachel’s story collections, I’m sure to be keeping company with some awesome writers. Yea! I’ll never get tired of seeing my name in print. Hopefully my next piece of good news will be from a publisher or  agent about my book, or from another well-respected editor awaiting publisher’s approval of one of her manuscripts with three of my pieces in it.

 A recent literary adventure I shared with my husband was the celebration of our January 10th anniversary at San Francisco’s 1st Annual Sex Culture Book Fair, which took place that same day. The fair was held at Adobe Books on 24th Street — a collaboration between Adobe Books, Belle SF magazine, and the sex positive social club, Mission Control. Throughout the evening, we were treated to a series of interesting presentations of the trials and tribulations of independent publishing, the best information sources for polyamory advice, a sex worker’s panel, a kinky demo, a D/s demo, bawdy story telling, Naked Ladies Reading, and a whole lot more. The stimulating evening  feature a variety of sexual literary luminaries such as Dr. Carol Queen, Violet Blue, Ron Turner, Allison Moon, and Polly Superstar, to name a few, who offered their educated opinions on the past, present, and future of publishing and sex.

Now what better way could there be for an erotic writer and her life-partner to celebrate thirty-one kinky years together than that? Well, yes, I realize that only a few years ago the question would have been a no-brainer. But aside from that, this book fair fit the bill. Here’s wishing a heartfelt happy anniversary to this happy and long-lasting couple — and to the book fair, as well. May we all live to attend many more.