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Lusty Lady

Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Debutante Ball, 2009 edition

This is just the kick in the ass I need. I am finishing the increasingly small but increasingly impossible kick my ass challenging bit there is left to my novel. It's late and I feel guilty about it every day, even though I know that's pointless. I have so many fears and worries that I often just don't even know how to write a word there. But I am starting to finally believe in my very special virgin. It's gonna happen, and soon, and then I will not be all doom and gloom as I've been for much of the last year.


How about a debut book slated to launch in 2009 by a major publisher?

The Debutante Ball (, is launching a Debutante Search for a group of five debut authors for the 2009 Debutante Season.

The Debutante Ball is a popular group blog of six debut authors, including Eileen Cook (Unpredictable), Jenny Gardiner (Sleeping with Ward Cleaver), Lisa Daily (Fifteen Minutes of Shame), Jess Riley (Driving Sideways), Danielle Younge-Ullman (Falling Under) and Gail Konop Baker (Cancer is a Bitch: Or, I’d Rather Be Having a Midlife Crisis).

The wildly successful grog (group blog) has attracted a loyal following with publishing insiders, media and readers, and such notable “guest debutantes” as John Grisham, Jodi Picoult, Meg Cabot, Meg Tilly and Sex and The City’s Evan Handler. The 2008 Debutantes will pass their tiaras to the 2009 Debutantes in September.

Applicants must have a debut book slated to launch in 2009 by a major publisher or established small press. Deadline for applications is July 1.

Visit the Debs for details (and to read their Evan Handler interview)


Gay editorial pride

Tulsa Brown's story "Temporary," which opens my book Crossdressing: Erotic Stories, will deservedly be published in Best Gay Erotica 2009. I'm thrilled, and so proud of that book and its authors. It's a little odd to be "competing" for spots in an anthology with people I've published, but they are two different roles, author and editor. Someday, along with signing at BEA, I want to make it into Best Gay Erotica. And I will, if I'm patient. I try to pick either the hottest and/or the most gripping story to put first in my collections, and "Temporary" is one that gives me chills. I hope it does for other readers as well. I don't know if there's a market for it, but I'd be thrilled to do a sequel to Crossdressing because there's just so much potential there.

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Kerry Cohen on publishing and her promiscuous past

As soon as I got a copy of Kerry Cohen's Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity, in the mail, I knew it would be one I'd want to read. Because that's the kind of book I tend to fall for. What I didn't know was how much I'd relate to it...even though I didn't have sex for the first time until after high school. Like me, Cohen grew up a Jersey Girl. Like me, her parents got divorced. Unlike me, she wound up being drawn into her parents' conflict, and much of Loose Girl is about trying to make sense of their divorce and her conflicted feelings about where she belonged, and doing so by jumping into bed with boy after boy, then man after man.

She writes:

This is what I wait for every night: a face hovering close above mine, his breathing fast and out of control. Him wanting me, all mine. He kisses my neck, my collarbone. So sweet, I can almost believe he loves me. And then he is inside me. He moves, gripping my hips and butt. Like he needs me, too...

When Amy and I leave that night, Dave hugs me then chucks me under the chin. It is sweet, affectionate, a big brother's gesture. I smile, not knowing what else to do.. I guess this is just how it is. Having sex is lukewarm, something you share for an evening. It's friendship-building. What else should it be?

I never snuck into Manhattan and went to boys' apartments when I was in high school. I would say I'm romantic but not in the traditional sense. But that feeling of letdown, of believing that sex is the harbinger of something beyond the physical, only to find that it's so momentary it may as well not exist...I get that. And from everything I've read, it's way tougher on teenage girls now. I don't say that to imply that every woman is looking for the same things, or that all women should (or all men for that matter). I say that because I relate to the spirit of Loose Girl. Cohen was looking for male attention, and love. I wasn't really looking for either in my twenties - well, the former more than the latter. But I think even if you are a freethinking, polyamorous by nature, go with the flow sex positive type of girl, there are still heartbreaks. Men are heartbroken too but in this way Cohen describes? I'm not so sure.

Cohen goes to get tested for HIV, and confesses that she doesn't use condoms for a reason I'm sure many can relate: In the moment, when I'm trying to make some guy mine, thoughts about death or disease are furthest from my mind. I'm too caught up in desperation, in filling what I can never seem to fill. She picks up guys at Dorrian's Red Hand, right before it's made infamous by the Jennifer Levin/Robert Chambers preppy murder case: Had he ever come to Amy's and my table would have gone with him in a second. I would have held his hand in the park, as I imagine he held Jennifer's. I would have allowed him to push me into the deep, damp grass, to wrestle off my clothes, to bite at my neck. I would have pulled him against me, into me, deep inside to that silent, painful spot. Before I remember she is dead and gone I will think how much I would have liked that, to meet him there at that place.

Somehow, though, her story turned into this:

"Is "Sex Addict" Kerry Cohen Even Actually a Slut?" on Jezebel, spawning a ridiculous discussion about what "counts" as slutty. I'll agree that Marie Claire played up the sensationalist angle, subtly implying that if you've slept with over 40 guys, of course you're a slut, end of story. But it was sad to see this become less about the ways Cohen felt uncomfortable with her promiscuity and more about who gets to lay claim to being a "slut," in some weird kind of reverse trend to the usual media slut shaming. Dan Savage and Boinkology added to the chorus.

There is nothing to my mind "sex positive" about saying that someone is not entitled to their story, their feelings, their interpretation. You may not think it newsworthy, but is it really such a startling thing that women may have mixed feelings or in this case, not so mixed, about their promiscuity? We have Susan Cheever's and Rachel Resnick's books on the topic coming out later this year, so clearly there is interest from the publishing world. I'd like to see a little more open-mindedness from people who should know better. I've already written about how sex addiction is overblown and by those measures, we are all sex addicts. But this whole "she only slept with forty guys so she's no slut" business misses the point entirely. It's not and never was about the number, but the reasons for that number. With that longwinded intro, here's my e-mail interview with Cohen.

Your first book was a YA novel, Easy, which focuses on much of the same territory as your memoir, Loose Girl, both about young women who seek out sex when what they want is love and attention (and, I would venture, sex along with those). The details are different but the emotions and insights are largely the same. How did each book come about, and why did you decide to publish both?

In all honesty, I wrote Easy when I wasn’t quite ready to write Loose Girl. I had been trying to write Loose Girl, and I set it aside and wrote Easy instead. I assumed writing the story as fiction would fulfill any desire I had to get my story out there. But it didn’t. I couldn’t stop myself from writing Loose Girl (against my agent’s advice). For this subject matter, it turns out honesty was the best means for getting at the material. Sometimes I regret Easy because it seems like a tame version of Loose Girl, but then I remember that lots of young teens have contacted me, telling me the book helped them understand certain things about themselves. Loose Girl is too raw for lots of younger teens, so I’m glad Easy is available for them.

Your parents don't come off very well in the book; your mother is distant and your dad is a little too interested in what you and your sister are going through relationshipwise. What are your relationships like with them now? What do you think they could have done differently?

I have pretty good relationships with both of them. It took some work, of course, and still does. They’re limited, like all of us. I also think they were parenting during a very confusing time. Like lots of parents of that era, their own parents had stayed silent about things like sex and drugs, and since this hadn’t worked well, they went to the other extreme: too much freedom around sex and drugs, and too much trying to be friends instead of authorities. I think they both have some regrets. I also think they both don’t see, or maybe don’t want to see, a lot of stuff they did, and still do. It’s hard to say what they could have done differently, especially now that I’m a parent myself. Every kid is different, and it’s very difficult to know what each of us needs and how each of us will respond to different treatment by our parents. I guess the one thing I can point to with certainty is that my parents didn’t allow me to have my feelings – not if those feelings were going to make them feel bad. And this led directly to my desperation to be seen.

As a parent of two boys yourself, how do you think parents can be involved in their kids' lives and reach out to them, especially about sex, when clearly it's a topic kids with even the most open-minded parents are reluctant to talk about? Are there warning signs parents can look for?

I believe the treatment of this subject will have to be somewhat different, depending on whether your child is a boy or girl. “The Talk” is probably important at some point, but not nearly as important as other things. Girls are not allowed to own their sexual identities and development in our culture. The media images about who girls need to be – sexy and available – clash entirely with the equally loud message that girls should keep their desires under wraps. In my estimation, parents will have the best luck if they build in their kids a healthy ability to critically examine the culture in which they live, and then talk some about sex in those terms. Also, they should do their best to get kids involved in activities like arts and sports, and then stay involved with their children’s interests in this way. Sports can be especially good for girls, as a way to build a sense that their bodies are worthwhile for something other than to be looked at. Finally, parents have to model self-worth for their kids.

Warning signs will differ. This is a hard one, because it’s perfectly natural to want others’ romantic and sexual attention when you’re a teenager. It’s also normal to have sexual curiosity and to experiment. And then, even inside healthy behavior, girls will wind up punished or hurt by the behavior because of our culture’s treatment of them as sexual creatures. I’d say, keep these lines as open as possible, encourage critical thought and self-esteem, and learn the signs for depression and addiction.

You did an interview with Marie Claire magazine where the headlines was "Confessions of a Sex Addict." Do you consider yourself, or did you consider yourself, a sex addict?

I don’t consider myself a sex addict, no. I hadn’t been aware the magazine was going to run that banner. But, Marie Claire isn’t the only place I see that label applied to my story. In the UK, for instance, the words “addiction to sex” are right there on the cover, even though I argued to get them off. There’s a line in the book jacket copy: “…soon she needed sex just to feel alive.” My God! But I’m not totally blameless here. I agreed to be profiled on an episode of The Secret Lives of Women about sex addiction because I figure if this is how my story needs to be labeled to get read and to help other people, then so be it. I’ve come to the understanding that lots of people will only understand my behavior as sex addiction. We have all these prescribed ideas about female sexual behavior, and if a girl has tons of sex that made her feel bad, well she must be a sex addict. I used sex in my addiction. No doubt about that. But my addiction was more to male attention – to that moment when he gave me attention and I felt chosen – than to the sex itself.

Some of the blog postings about the Marie Claire article questioned how you could be a "slut" or a "sex addict" when you'd "only" slept with 40 men. I've slept with, shall we say, more than 40 men, but I don't consider myself a sex addict. How and where does one draw the line?

Yes, I found those blog postings about my slut cred amusing. A friend emailed me after seeing the thread and said, “What, now you aren’t skanky enough?” I wrote in the introduction to Loose Girl that many will have much longer lists than mine, but these facts we have – numbers, statistics – they don’t get at what sits beneath the behavior. I can’t say what will hurt or feel right for another person. I only know that of the 40-some-odd boys and men I had sex with, maybe two or three were fulfilling situations. The rest made me feel like shit. Only one could be defined as rape – meaning, I actively didn’t want that one to happen, but most all the other sex felt just as violating and self-destructive. And yet I chose it. I kept choosing to have sex, not from a place of natural sexual desire, or just because I was attracted to a guy and wanted to get with him. I was having sex from a place of terrible desperation. Every single time I did it because I needed the sex, and his interest in me sexually, to mean I was worthwhile and lovable. That’s the line right there.

In your research and work as a therapist, how much of sex addiction is "a female problem?" Does it manifest differently for men?

Well, first I must confess that I haven’t worked with many sex addicts. Nor have I done tons of research in the area. So I’m speaking from limited experience. I do think sex addiction manifests differently in men and women, only because, like anything else, the addiction is culturally cued. When men want sex and have sex, they get congratulated. When the behavior becomes pathological, that line is much clearer. Women, though, still tend to get shamed for wanting sex. As a result, a woman’s sexual addiction can often be masked in love addiction (which is yet another type of addiction – explored in Rachel Resnick’s forthcoming book Love Junkie). Or it gets mistaken for a desire for attention that leads to promiscuity, which is more what my book is about.

That line you asked me to address in the previous question is often blurry in our culture. Just because a woman seeks lots of sex, with lots of partners, this doesn’t make her a sex addict. The “addiction” piece must be there: some kind of desperate desire to fill herself, to make up for something, and the behavior must be self-harming even as she keeps going back. And then there’s the fact that women are expected to desire and choose monogamy. Often they get into relationships because this is the only socially acceptable thing to do, but then they want to have casual sex with other partners and wind up emotionally hurting their partners. Does this make her a sex addict? It seems the real problems, once again, are the limitations placed on girls’ and women’s sexual identities. I would concede that until we do a better job of peeling back these cultural layers, we can’t assume sex addiction in as many women as we do.

How do see you promiscuity, or sex addiction, as being similar to, or different from, other kinds of addictions?

My addiction was to male attention, to that moment when he would look at me or touch me, and I would feel chosen, that I mattered to someone. Sex addiction is an addiction to the actual sex, to the high that comes from the sexual feelings, or from the conquest. I share with sex addicts the addiction to avoid intimacy, which is ironically what I claimed I was after. I’m well aware of the danger of maintaining that I was an addict, by the way. There are plenty of people with drug addictions, alcoholism, and even sex addictions who go in and out of rehabs, whose brain chemistry is wired for addiction, and who have almost died – and indeed died – on their journeys. My assertion can be offensive to those people. But I guess I won’t relent because the bases of addiction are all there, and this seems important in order to take responsibility for what I did, and also to help others see their behavior more clearly. I used male attention and sex self-destructively, I put myself in harm’s away again and again (STDs, rapes), I couldn’t stop even after I had gained insight about my behavior, and I continue to be “in recovery” for it. Unlike drugs and alcohol, though, I can occasionally indulge my continued enjoyment of male attention without letting it run my life, and without needing to attach all that meaning to it. I’m well aware that’s not something most drug and alcohol addicts can do.

Have you heard from any of the men you wrote about in Loose Girl?

No. I never lost touch with one of them, and every once in a while I’m in contact with one of the ex-boyfriends. It would be interesting to hear from a few others too. I’d mostly love to hear from one of the Jennifers, none of whom I ever saw again after that day. I still feel guilty about what I did there.

How do you see your experiences contrasting with those who are proud to be slutty or promiscuous, who embrace casual sex? Is casual sex automatically a negative thing for women?

Of course not! I mean, it tends to be a negative thing in plenty of people’s minds, but it certainly isn’t in mine. Lots of times I look back on my experiences and feel regret that I didn’t just enjoy myself. I’m married now. Those days are over. I sure wish I had had fun rather than needing every last glance to mean something. It wouldn’t have been possible for me, though, because my sense of self-worth was so low. Casual sex winds up being impossible – or difficult, at least – for lots of women because it’s not socially acceptable. I notice that lots of girls have to get drunk so they’ll have an excuse when they act promiscuously. I also notice that lots of girls in their late teens and twenties choose unavailable guys for relationships, and I can’t help but wonder if it isn’t so that they can blame their disinterest in real commitment on him. I hope that someday we can get beyond these tired old expectations for girls and let them own their own sex lives.

Your book has a "happily ever after" when you meet your future husband, but that can't be the end of the story. I found the ending a bit rushed in light of how much attention was given to your various sexual encounters. Can you elaborate on how you changed your behavior and way of thinking? How does this impulse for male attention play out in your life today?

No, you’re right. There is no happily ever after, and I certainly didn’t intend it to be so in the book. Everyone asks me this question, of course: How did you finally make change? I always find myself a bit stumped when answering. It was a combination of many things – self-awareness, growing up, therapy, friends, living through my life experiences, and my personality. I am extremely aware these days of my struggle with intimacy. I was very good in the past at convincing myself that it was the guys who had that problem, not me. And it’s complicated, because I tended to choose emotionally unavailable men. But seven years into my marriage, my own issues and the ways in which they play out even inside the marriage, are too obvious to miss. Because I’m not acting them out anymore, no longer projecting them onto other people, I’m stuck with them. It’s sort of pathetic, actually, how unskilled at intimacy I am. I’m working at it, though.

My children have probably been the biggest force in keeping me inside this work. Perhaps if my husband and I hadn’t had them, I already would have left him at some point, as soon as I started feeling uncomfortable or like I had to work too hard. Having children means I can’t put my own selfish fantasies and unexamined needs first. In all honesty, it kind of sucks for my addict-self. Every addict holds onto this fantasy: No matter what happens here, I can always go back to comfortably treating myself like shit if I want. But when you have kids, that door swings shut. You’re not willing to risk your children’s happiness.

Loose Girl was lumped into the memoir category of "Bad girls save themselves" by a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter. What do you think of that description?

Well, need I say that that author obviously didn’t read the book? He – and plenty others – was annoyed that I wrote a memoir about being a privileged “bad girl.” Privilege really pisses people off! How dare I come from money and then claim my life stunk in some way, when there are people out there who are really suffering? Meanwhile, I’m always interested when we learn that money and cushy lives don’t save people. Most people think sluts are going to be socio-economically disadvantaged; that’s the stereotype. I wanted to show a different image. But, anyway, “bad girls save themselves.” I’m okay with that description. Is it supposed to be an insult? You know, people are going to come up with their sound bytes about the book. I really can’t control how people will perceive it.

What are you working on next?

I’m working on a new memoir about parenting my son, who is on the autistic spectrum. I’m interested in our culture’s notion of special needs, because my husband and I have way more problems than my son does, and we’re both considered “normal.” So much of what people assume I should want changed about my son are things that simply make them uncomfortable. Also, so many of those things he can’t change, anyway. It’s how his brain works. He is who he is, you know? And so many feelings I wrestle with surrounding his autism, it turns out, are really much more about me than him. In many ways the book is about trying to find a way to be happy with what you’ve been handed, and following that line, it’s a sort of sequel to Loose Girl.

See also:

Kerry Cohen's website

Kerry Cohen's blog

Interview at Teen Reads Too about Easy

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Conflict irresolution

I am trying to figure out how to do a jump cut in old Blogger (I was told it can't be done, saw it on another blog, and forgot to bookmark it...anyone?). In lieu of that, I'll just say at the top that if you don't want to read details about my sex life (you know who you are, or should be), please stop reading here.

Okay, so I too was interviewed by Susannah Breslin for Salon. Which this post isn’t really about, but she used the word “conflicted” and I think it would be safe to say that’s pretty much where I’m at these days in terms of sex, and sex writing. And it’s probably because I do care what other people think. Likely I shouldn’t say that here, because it gives someone a means to exploit that, but so be it.

woa!! you are writing books about sex, but ny times reviewed your views about cupcakes and kids...... you are trash, and shouldnt be advertising your raunchy offensive books on a web link where mothers and their daughters will 99% of the time come across this tacky ad. i am glad my 6yr old wasnt looking about cupcake reviews together, otherwise i'd love your explanation of why sexual topics are linked to cupcake website,to my 6 yr old.. you are trash and need to promote your trash somewhere else. i am very offended people as yourself exist.

It’s why emails like this one above, as easy as they are to laugh at, are less easy to shrug off. I’m horrified that someone would think I’m unfit to give comment about kids and cupcakes (and before we even get there, have and love kids of my own) because I write about sex. Yet maybe I play into that as well.

I’ve been trying to separate myself from It, from that whole messy dirty x-rated bare-all body of work, not because it doesn’t represent me, but because on some level it does irk me that people equate “sex writer” with “whore,” or whatever their epithet du jour is. It makes me want to protest that way of thinking, to give more insight. To say, “oh yes, I may have casual sex, but…” There’s always a but, a p.s., a way of trying to prove that really I’m a “nice girl.”

And yet I know that the people who want to get that will get it, and those who don’t, won’t. I know that and yet I still make the mistake of trying to explain to the haters (okay, not to the hate mailers though). For me, no, it’s not enough to know who I am and be all proud and strong…by myself.

I have written about and will write about being kinky. I’m not ashamed of that. At the same time, in my free time, I’d infinitely rather go to a barbecue than a BDSM conference over July 4th weekend. I’m not saying one is better than the other, but for me, I realized after Dark Odyssey that it’s not really my scene. I’ll always be an observer looking in and I hate the idea that because of It, people will assume…anything, really.

I’m thinking about all this in part because there are a lot of people from my past who are, well, still around. It confuses me sometimes because I don’t know where they fit in, or rather, I know perfectly well but there’s no word for it. There’s no word for someone who’s not an ex but was always way more than just a hot fuck in a hotel room. I don't know if I want there to be a word, other than friend, I guess, and maybe it's my job as a writer to figure out how to explain what I feel for this one person I'm gonna see tomorrow. It's a funny friendship because it was built on sex but was always about more than sex. I had forgotten we went to BEA together. That was like another lifetime ago even though it wasn't really all that long ago

In a way, the cold hard facts of sex are easier to write about. They happened, and I'm not shy about the details. Or, I wasn't. But the emotions are messier, trickier, less easy to explain. There's jealousy threaded in with awe and respect and self-doubt. It's easier to stick to the dirty parts but I don't want to stay with the easy all the time. I am finding myself writing these dark stories lately, these cocky men who want something more than sexual gratification. They want to fuck the women in my stories until they change something fundamental about them. They want the mindfuck even more than the physical one. And I wonder where I, stepping away from the story, fit in. Do I want to be changed or do I want to stay in my own world where it's safe but...lonely. I'm not sure, because once someone comes in and steals/borrows/tampers with my heart, they have part of it and I can't get it back. They will have that part of it I want to call a corner, though I don't think hearts have corners. I don't know yet how to write or talk or think about that, about the maybe stupid things I do for love, where I don't know if I'm making the right decisions but don't always want to know. I'd rather leap and not look because I know I'll probably make that same choice again. That kind of love can be selfish, I'm realizing, can be greedy. See? Way more complex than someone coming all over my tits in some hotel room.

I’m conflicted not because I don’t love being a writer, and I wouldn’t do the kinds of work I do if I didn’t want to on some level, but because I do know that it makes it harder to be in the “dating marketplace,” shall we say. It kindof sucks to have it all out there and googleable, where you can’t just tack on a “Oh, p.s., that guy I gave a handjob to at the airport that time? Is actually this very sweet dad who calls me from Costa Rica.” It’s hard to explain how there are these romantic threads woven into even my sluttiest actions. And I hate the part of me that even has to go there, to try to defend it. Because I’d love to be like Lena and say “who cares?” but I always come back to me. I care.

I am slowly, stubbornly, reluctantly coming to terms with the fact that not only can’t I disown my writing past, but I shouldn’t have to. I’m the one making my view of myself into this either/or sex writer vs. baby mama dichotomy. Of course I know they can coexist. It’s not like I read that hate mail and think, “Wow, she’s right, I should never even glance at any children.” But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

I want to go back to a place where I can write more openly about my feelings, about what’s going on, but there are other considerations. I think the charges of narcissism against Emily Gould in part stem from the conundrum that if we’re going to tell a story, we can’t tell someone else’s side of it. We can only tell ours. And by doing so, of course we’re going to come across as “narcissistic.” I’m working on something I want to send to Modern Love and I’m wary because part of it is not my story to tell, but part of it is, and the Venn diagram of those parts gets murky. But I will try, if only to puzzle it out for myself, to make it make some kind of sense I can’t see unless I write it down.

In the meantime I’ll be daydreaming about the baby in sunglasses I saw today who just looked like such a rock star and I don’t know whether these baby sightings are good or bad because they make it just that much worse. Maybe I can get a fake baby in the interim.

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A book I don't want to get at BEA

But still want to read, of course, even though the whole "how to marry yourself off" genre of books seems like it should've died out...20 years ago? The whole likening women to cows/milk analogy isn't just offensive, it's old. Do men really think like this? And if they do, do women want to date/marry the men who think like this? Really?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In The Flesh: LA, Thurday, May 29th

Please tell your LA friends! I'd love to see some familiar faces. Also, Carly is reading June 19th at GLBT Night at In The Flesh at Happy Ending. Can't wait. I'm also really glad Carly has taken my Jewish mother need to feed and ran with it - free cupcake and more! I have to read something related to "survival" - may have to write it on the plane or when I land as nothing has come to mind yet.

I'm thrilled that In The Flesh is launching an LA version by my friend Carly Milne and that I'll be there for its debut (but sad that Nina Hartley can't make it). It's a stellar lineup and I am excited to get to be a participant and not my usual psycho scattered host self. Also, check out their fabulous upcoming lineups - there's a Madonna night! How cool is that? Wish I could be there.

Details from In The Flesh LA blog:


THURSDAY, MAY 29th at 8 PM
(Three blocks West of Centinela on the North side,
Admission: Free, $10 suggested donation to RAINN
Freddy and Eddy: 877-915-0380

On our inaugural evening, a collection of journalists, novelists and various other kinds of ists share tales of sexual survival to tease and expand your mind. Starting with Willam Belli (Nip/Tuck, CSI) sharing his story of toe rape (yes, you read that correctly), Rachel Kramer Bussel (In The Flesh, Dirty Girls) takes over with a little bit of erotica. Both Dana Harris (, Naked Ambition) and Shana Ting Lipton (L.A. Times, tell true stories: one funny and sexy about making it through the Hot D’Or Awards in Cannes, the other a peek behind the curtain at Playboy Enterprises. Last but certainly not least, Maxim Jakubowski (Confessions of a Romantic Pornographer) and Stan Kent offer their own stories in lusty, lurid detail. Author’s books will also be on sale.

In the Flesh: L.A. (the West coast version of In The Flesh founded by Rachel Kramer Bussel) is a monthly reading series held the last Thursday of every month at Freddy and Eddy, and features the city's best journalists, authors, scriptwriters and more offering their torrid tales for your entertainment and titillation, hosted and curated by writer/editor Carly Milne (Sexography, Hooking Up, Naked Ambition). From secret dirty confessions to unique sexual insights (and even the odd embarrassment or two), these writers get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Complimentary cookies and cupcakes are courtesy of Schmerty's. The event is free, but a suggested $10 door fee will be donated to the Rape and Incest National Network. This month marks In The Flesh: L.A.’s debut!

Willam Belli, hereforth known as "artist," is a drag sensation and a true Hollywood success story. The artist is quite happy about all his major credits due to that fact that poor people food like Ramen gives the artist yeast infections. Some of the artist's fave appearances include 5 episodes of nip/tuck as murder-inclined, but lovable tranny Cherry Peck, American Wedding, Rock of Ages and guest star appearances on every cop show for the past 5 years (The District, CSI:NY, 10-8, The Shield, Cold Case). He's created his own cop show, Tranny McGuyver, which will be screening at film festivals throughout summer and fall. In addition to writing his blog, the artists work has been published in Out Magazine and porn reviews for Freshmen magazine... but mainly just to hone his grammar skills.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is an author, editor, blogger and host of In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series in New York. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a former sex columnist for The Village Voice. She's edited numerous erotic anthologies, most recently Dirty Girls, Rubber Sex, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma'am, and the nonfiction Best Sex Writing 2008. Her writing has been published in AVN, Cosmopolitan, Diva, Fresh Yarn, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Playgirl, Time Out New York, Zink, and other publications. She's appeared on The Martha Stewart Show, NY1, Naked New York and the Berman and Berman Show. Find her online at,, and

Dana Harris is the editor of, and contributor to Naked Ambition.

Maxim Jakubowski is a British writer and editor. His novels include IT'S YOU I WANT TO KISS, BECAUSE SHE THOUGHT SHE LOVED ME, KISS ME SADLY, THE STATE OF MONTANA and ON TENDERNESS EXPRESS. His latest CONFESSIONS OF A ROMANTIC PORNOGRAPHER is being published in the USA this winter. His short story collections are LIFE IN THE WORLD OF WOMEN and FOOLS FOR LUST. He is the editor of the bestselling MAMMOTH BOOK OF EROTICA series, which has now reached 13 volumes, and a prolific anthologist in the crime field, where his ROME NOIR will appear this fall. A columnist for THE GUARDIAN, he is also the director of London's annual CRIME SCENE film and literary festival. TIME OUT LONDON recently included him at nr 21 in its top 50 list of best erotic British writers of all time, as one of the only 12 still alive, and he believes Shakespeare, Chaucer, Keats and others defunct talents should have been disqualified, which would have made him nr 5!

Stan Kent is a chameleon hair colored former nightclub owning rocket scientist author of hot words and cool stories. A dedicated voyeur and world traveler, Stan has penned nine original, unique and very naughty full-length novels including the Shoe Leather series and dozens of quickie reads on everything from spanking with shoes to cupcake sex to voyeuristic orgies to techno-rave group spankings on the dance floor. He gets the inspiration for his titillating takes while staying, watching, fucking, eating, drinking, dancing, carousing, sometimes sleeping and mostly writing in everything from The Ice Hotel in the Arctic to the Standard Hotels in Los Angeles to the Carlton in Cannes to various five-star establishments the world over, not to mention a sleazy selection of bed and breakfasts where the emphasis is on bed. When not globe-trotting and jet-setting, Stan has hosted an erotic talk show night at Hustler Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times described his monthly performances as “combination moderator and lion tamer.” To see samples of his works, his latest hair colors and travels, visit Stan at or email him at

Born in London, Shana Ting Lipton is a pop culture journalist and consultant, who lives and works in her native Los Angeles. Her writing has appeared in such publications as the Los Angeles Times,, Radar online, Wired, Variety and BlackBook's magazine and guide (she is editor of the Blackbook Guide to Los Angeles 2008). She has lectured and consulted on pop culture for Media Bistro, as well as global marketing firms and advertising agencies.

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Sex and the City and its movie spawn

Obviously there's a lot being said about Sex and the City this week.

Here's a pro-SATC piece by Paige Ferrari at Radar ("Carrie and Co. weren't supposed to be like us or like anyone we actually knew. They were roles women could take on anytime—the slut, the prude, the kooky overfeeling narcissist, the brain.") and Naked City's "Five Things You Can Do to Battle Sex and the City Mania" ("2. Build your fantasies around actual personal achievement and adventure (sexual and otherwise), not wardrobe and housing.") Me? I'll be leaving said city for the city of angels books.

But let's not forget that it also spawned...Liz Tuccillo's about-to-be-released novel (with photos of her, but a novel!) How to Be Single and the move based on the book she co-authored with Greg Behrendt, He's Just Not That Into You.

Trying this:


June 19th and July 17th In The Flesh

I'm horrible about email reminders (sorry!) but will post here again about these. Please mark your calendars, these are some amazing lineups. I still haven't decided whether or not to continue In The Flesh after 2008, but I do have some great stuff planned for this year (Ellen Sussman's Dirty Words night September 18th and Oral Sex Night October 16th).

THURSDAY, June 19th at 8 PM
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

In The Flesh’s third annual GLBT Night offers up a wide range of the queer writing, from Cris Beam reading her entry “dyke” from Ellen Sussman’s anthology Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia of Sex, to Selfish and Perverse author Bob Smith, spoken word performer Aimee Herman, and erotica writers Amie M. Evans and Cecilia Tan (reading from her new collection White Flames), both based in Massachusetts, and Charlie Vazquez (Best Gay Erotica). Hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussel (editor of First-Timers, Glamour Girls: Femme/Femme Erotica, Up All Night). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, HoneyB, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth. This is not Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending Reading Series.

Cris Beam is an author and educator living in New York City. She wrote the book Transparent: Love, Family and Living the T (Harcourt, 2007) about transgender street kids in Los Angeles and has written for several national magazines as well as the public radio program “This American Life.” Cris currently teaches creative writing at Columbia University, New York University, the New School and Bayview Women’s Correctional Facility in New York. She’s now working on a book about foster care in the U.S.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, conducts interviews for, and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited numerous anthologies, most recently Rubber Sex, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, Dirty Girls, and Best Sex Writing 2008. Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Cosmopolitan, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, Velvetpark, and Zink.

Amie M. Evans is a widely published creative nonfiction and literary erotica writer, experienced workshop provider, and a retired burlesque and high-femme drag performer. She also writes gaymale erotica under a pen name. Evans is on the board of directors for Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival. She graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Literature and is currently working on her MLA at Harvard. Evans has offered workshops at numerous conferences and universities, including Golden Crown Lesbian Conference; Plattsburgh State University; Wellesley College; Brandeis University; Cornell University and MIT. Evans is currently working on her full length memoir. She offers private and group writing instruction. She can be reached at

Aimee Herman recently had a small volume of poetry with accompanying spoken word cd, self diagnosed lactose intolerance published by Baobob Tree Press. She has two other chapbooks of poetry, tastes like cheesecake (Butcher Shop Press) and if these thighs could talk (RoseWater Publications) and a spoken word cd, performance anxiety, available through Her erotica has been featured in and Cliterature Journal. Her three favorite things include peanut butter, black licorice, and Canadians (one in particular).

Carly Milne began her professional writing career at age 14 and hasn't looked back since. Her work has appeared in Glamour, Variety, AOL, Stuff, Maxim, Yoga Journal, Whole Life Times, Bitch Magazine and more. Milne has also had essays published in Virgin Territory (Three Rivers Press), Best American Sex Essays 2005 (Cleis Press) and Hooking Up: You'll Never Make Love In This Town Again Again (Phoenix Books), and curated the anthology Naked Ambition (Carroll & Graf). Her sexual memoirs, Sexography, was published by Phoenix Books in 2007. She lives in Los Angeles, where she is the curator of In The Flesh: L.A.

Bob Smith has appeared on The Tonight Show and had his own HBO Comedy Half-hour. His first book, Openly Bob, won the Lambda Literary Award for humor. His first novel, Selfish and Perverse, about three gay men and one lesbian in Alaska, was released in September and has been nominated for the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award from the Publishing Triangle. Armistead Maupin has said about his new book, "A thoroughly seductive and satisfying read. It makes you laugh, it makes you horny, it makes you want to fish for salmon."He can be reached at

Cecilia Tan is “simply one of the most important writers, editors, and innovators in contemporary American erotic literature" according to Susie Bright. She is the author of White Flames (due in May from Running Press), Black Feathers, Edge Plays, and Telepaths Don't Need Safewords and the founder of Circlet Press.

Charlie Vazquez is the author of the queer punk adventure novel Buzz and Israel (Fireking Press, 2005), the fiction collection Business as Unusual (Fireking Press, 2007), screenplays, queer art essays and various published erotica stories, including contributions to three Alyson Books anthologies: Straight? 2 (2003), Best Gay Love Stories: NYC (2006) and Fast Balls (2007). He is featured in Cleis Press' Best Gay Erotica 2008 (2007) and the essay anthology Queer and Catholic (Taylor and Francis, 2008). He'll be re-publishing a second edition of Buzz and Israel and finishing his second novel in 2008. He currently resides in his hometown of New York City, where he also manages the website for diva-chanteuse Diamanda Galás. He can be reached at

July 17th at 8 PM
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey or F/V to 2nd Avenue,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

In The Flesh
features a range of authors, from erotic writers D.L. King, editor of Erotica Revealed, and Susan Wright (A Pound of Flesh) to letter lover Samara O’Shea (Note to Self, For the Lover of Letters), novelist/memoirist Scott Pomfret (Since My Last Confession, Romentics), and playwright/memoirist Rachel Shukert (Have You No Shame?). Hosted by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Spanked, Rubber Sex, Dirty Girls). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Tracie Egan, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, HoneyB, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth. This is not Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending Reading Series.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, conducts interviews for, and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited numerous anthologies, most recently Spanked, Rubber Sex, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, Dirty Girls, and Best Sex Writing 2008. Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Cosmopolitan, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Jeremy Edwards is a pseudonymous sort of fellow whose efforts at spinning libido into literature have been widely published online (at Clean Sheets, Good Vibrations, Erotic Woman, and other sites). Some of his many anthology trysts have occurred within the pages of A Is for Amour; F Is for Fetish; Got a Minute?; J Is for Jealousy; K Is for Kinky; Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 7; Open for Business; and Rubber Sex. Out on the newsstand, his lascivious prose has been seen in Scarlet. Jeremy's greatest goal in life is to be sexy and witty at the same moment—ideally in lighting that flatters his profile. Drop in on him unannounced (and thereby catch him in his underwear) at

D. L. King is the founder and editor of the critical review site, Erotica Revealed. Her second novel, The Art of Melinoe, was published by Renaissance E Books last October. Her short stories can be found in several anthologies, some of the most recent being Best Lesbian Erotica 2008, Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission and Yes, Ma'am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission. She is currently editing a new anthology for Cleis Press.

Samara O'Shea is an outspoken advocate on behalf of the written word. She is the author of the forthcoming Note to Self: On Keeping a Journal and Other Dangerous Pursuits (July 2008) and For the Love of Letters: A 21st-Century Guide to the Art of Letter Writing. For more information or to order a letter that Samara will gladly write on your behalf, visit

Scott D. Pomfret is author of Since My Last Confession, an irreverent and lighthearted memoir in the style of Michael Moore’s Roger & Me describing three years of stalking the Archbishop of Boston during the Massachusetts same-sex marriage debate. Pomfret’s other works include Romentics gay romance novels, The Q Guide to Wine and Cocktails, and dozens of short stories.

Rachel Shukert is an author, playwright, and performer. Her first book, Have You No Shame? And Other Regrettable Stories, was published in April 2008 by Random House/Villard. Rachel's plays include Bloody Mary, Johnny Applefucker, The Worshipped, The Red Beard of Esau, and Sequins for Satan have been produced and developed extensively throughout New York City, Massachusetts, and the Netherlands. She is currently starring in the live soap opera "Wasp Cove" which she co-creates and writes with Julie Klausner. She is also a co-founder of the theater group the Bushwick Hotel. Her writing has appeared in Nerve, Heeb, McSweeney's, and Babble, and featured in Best Sex Writing 2008 (Rachel Kramer Bussel, ed.), Best American Erotic Poems: 1800-present (ed. David Lehman) and The Future of Misbehavior (Chronicle Books) alongside Rick Moody, Douglas Rushkoff, and Will Self. She was born in raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and now lives in NYC with her husband and her cat.

Susan Wright's latest erotic fantasy novel is A Pound of Flesh, the sequel to To Serve and Submit, published by Penguin Books. Susan is also the founder and spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. She's written over 25 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture.


Kevin Nealon at BEA

Before Friday, I'm going to post my "What looks good at BEA" post, but the lists are so big and I have a zillion deadlines. For now, I'm excited for Hollis Gillespie (new book is called Trailer Trashed) and Vicki Lawrence (yes, dressed as Mama from Mama's Family).

I also obviously want to get Kevin Nealon's book Yes, You're Pregnant, But What About Me? Check out this trailer for it:


Monday, May 26, 2008

Baby boxing

Allison sent this to me - so cute! I know, I should just start a baby blog already, right? My friend predicted I'd be knocked up in the next 14 months, and you never know, but I'd, uh, be thrilled if that happened under the right circumstances. Yes, it's true, all I want in life at this point is to be a mommy(blogger). For now, I have, well, this.


Oh yeah, I have a new book out...

New books never feel real until I actually see a copy, but I probably won't until my Cleis publicist Kara gives me one at BEA.

But since Amazon's listing it as in stock, I want to tell you about Rubber Sex. It's a hot book of erotica about rubber, latex and PVC that was culled from the ashes of the misbegotten Second Skin book that was to have been the 4th in Alyson's Fetish Chest series. Well, thank goodness that never happened as I never would've seen a penny. Bad marketing idea all around, which is sad cause those are good books, but you live, you learn.

Hopefully I'm a little smarter these days and I'm doing everything I can to put out hot, sexy erotica books with as wide appeal as possible. To that end, check out Rubber Sex, for which I got some great blurbs too. And, of course, it has its own blog on which I'll be posting excerpts and photos of people in rubber, latex and PVC.

Cover of Rubber Sex

I love this super hot cover!

Rubber Sex: Erotic Stories coming in May 2008, edited by me, from Cleis Press

Rubber, latex and PVC all cling to the skin and have the power to make their wearers feel sensual, sexy, and aroused. In this collection, the world's hottest erotic authors make the most of the sensual potential inherent in getting suited up. Hang out with a "Tire Stud," learn "How to Liven Up a Boring Party," and go "From Solid to Liquid" in these tantalizing adventures. From latex body paint to the smell of rubber tires, pretty dresses that beg to be touched to clingy catsuits worn by powerful mistresses, and men who want to show off every inch beneath the allure of latex. Get ready to enter a world where the most sensual material gets slipped on tightly, then polished, stroked, and caressed while the bodies inside heat up with desire. These stories focus on the look and feel of rubber and latex, eroticizing them to the fullest. Find out why everything, from flirting to spanking to going all the way, is better in rubber.

"With the fetishistic insight she is famous for, Rachel Kramer Bussel has collected here a very tasty buffet of latex pervery served with sexy and literate writing."
-- Amelia G, Editrix, Blue Blood

"At its best, the written word has the power to conjure vivid images in one's mind. In Rubber Sex, Rachel Kramer Bussel has compiled an inspiring array of dirty stories that do just that. Your dreams are transformed by the sight and smell, the very sensation of skin-tight latex. From one story to the next, you are free to luxuriate in the embrace of shiny rubber, in fetish fantasies that make you weak in the knees."
-- Christine Kessler, Photographer,

Table of Contents

Introduction: Sleek, Shiny, Sinful and Seductive

The Dress by Kristina Wright
In a Single Bound by Shanna Germain
Rubber Necking by Alison Tyler
Slicker than Slik by Radclyffe
Stretching Logic by Jean Roberta
Tire Stud by Jeremy Edwards
Justine, in Latex by Lillian Ann Slugocki
Bathing Beauty by Andrea Dale
In The Middle by Jessica Lennox
Lick of Pain by Crystal Barela
How to Liven Up a Boring Party by Teresa Noelle Roberts
Sergeant Pepper by Rakelle Valencia
Tight Squeeze by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Butterfly’s Kiss by Thomas S. Roche
Cinema Show by Elizabeth Coldwell
Exchanges by Stella Hunter-Smith
Rubber Party Virgin by Jay Starre
The Balloonatics by Gregory L. Norris
Breathing by Tenille Brown

Introduction: Sleek, Shiny, Sinful and Seductive

The first time I tried on a latex dress, I couldn’t stop feeling myself up. After being generously shined to a high gloss, the gorgeous red dress gleamed⎯and so did I. It clung to my body in a way that let me see my curves anew, and any extra flesh I’d lamented carrying suddenly became more fodder for this voluptuous material to caress. It made me proud of my full breasts, wide hips, and plump ass, because I knew each beckoned to anyone looking. It was way better than being naked, and it felt divine, like I was trapped inside this sleek, erotic cave, and I never wanted to get out. For the characters you’ll read about in Rubber Sex, rubber, latex, and PVC set them off in a similar way, igniting multiple senses and firing up powerful fetishes. They interact with these materials as if they were lovers themselves, and when they meet someone who shares their interest, watch out.

I had expected to get stories about dressing up⎯sexy nights on the town, glamorous parties, sensuous shopping sprees. And I certainly did; here you’ll read about trying on the outfit of your dreams and realizing its full sexual potential. “In that shiny black PVC dress she became Carrie the seductress. Carrie the bad girl. Carrie the slut,” writes Kristina Wright in the opening story, capturing the way a single slinky outfit can transform a woman into her rightful kinky persona. That these outfits have a life of their own, and are players in these stories just as much, if not more than, their human counterparts, should not surprise you.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, but I was caught off guard by the large number of stories I was sent that featured rubber or latex panties. Yet it makes perfect sense: where else would a girl thrill to feel that ultratight, sleek sensation than against her most tender parts? As Elizabeth Coldwell writes in “Cinema Show,” “I wriggled in my rubber panties, feeling them rub against my sensitized skin, stimulating me beyond endurance. I stifled a whimper; there was no one sitting next to us, but I didn’t want to alert anyone in the rows in front or behind to what was happening.”

Another appeal of latex is its translucence; body parts press against it, hard nipples, the outline of a cock or a pussy, and what you can’t fully see, you can more than imagine. In “Lick of Pain,” Crystal Barela’s perfectly kinky lesbian latex tale, she describes it thusly:

A cocoon of shiny red brilliance covered Sylvia from ankle to chin. The latex was thin enough for me to see the belt and buckles of her strap-on. Two perfectly round holes were cut into the bodice of the dress and there her turgid nipples were made burgundy where they pressed through the openings. She looked sticky, like a giant wet lollipop. I swallowed hard, hoping my mouth was worthy of the task, that I could wrap my tongue around her body and slurp Sylvia between my plump lips, suck her from head to toe all at once. The taste of rubber would coat my insides like a balm.

Other authors tackle the unusual ways rubber and latex can transport us out of the everyday and into a purely fetishized universe. Thomas S. Roche depicts a very hot scene with a vac bed (see for some visuals to accompany your reading), a latex bed in which one can be entirely encased, with strategic openings for maximum arousal. Jeremy Edwards’ protagonist in “Tire Stud” gets off on the smell, feel, and look of those round treads, and proves that they don’t belong only on vehicles.

The way rubber, latex, and PVC cling to the body⎯so tight there’s no give, room only perhaps for some powder or the trickle of wetness to sneak in between⎯creates a second skin like no other. A lover is almost battling against the material to get to the prize beneath it, and the look of a nipple or an ass, a cock or a cunt bared beneath such suctionlike material, is enough to make these characters want their lovers to wear it all the time.

Whether you’ve experienced this intimate, intense molding of skin to rubber yourself, or have simply admired those who choose to adorn themselves in these magical, sex-laden outfits, you’re in for a treat.

Rachel Kramer Bussel
New York City

So beautiful - Cherry Bomb at In The Flesh

I'm dying to do another book like Dirty Girls or my in-proposal-stage True Sex Confessions book (pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease - that's my little book industry public begging so I can do something that's a little more me than what I've been doing) or anything where I could publish this piece by Cherry Bomb. So amazing. I think she took down her post with the text, but listen, please. I promise it's worth it.


What a cupcake blogger does with her long weekend

I've been frantically cleaning (good news: I found my USB cable. bad news: I also bought a card reader that doesn't work with my Mac and a replacement USB cable - am selling the card reader for $20 or best offer), sitting in the sun reading Kathleen Rooney's fascinating memoir about being an artist's model so I can blurb it, and writing. Yes, I was really stuck on the writing for a long while, nothing, and I mean pretty much nothing, was coming out, but I am making headway on all fronts, which feels good.

I also read one of the most inspiring things I've read in a long, long while, by Merlin Mann, one I plan to tape/post on all the places I work, and to carry with me wherever I go. That's how badly I need to hear that message. It's called "Whining, Blue Smoke & the Mechanics of Getting Unstuck," and at the very least, it's stopped me from blogging all the many ways I feel...stuck. I still do, a bit, and realizing I will have to fail some people sometimes, perhaps even often, but I have to count what I do get done, even if it sucks, even if it's small in number, rather than what I don't.

I participated in a spelling bee, wished one of my favorite people in the world a belated happy birthday, ate Malaysian food in Chinatown and caught up on my sleep (I know, exciting, right?). I also interviewed Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like (book's out July 1st) for the August issue of Penthouse.

I'm getting ready to go to LA for In The Flesh: LA on Thursday, Book Expo, and Sunday's LA Cupcake Meetup. (more about all of these later)

I also did some cupcake journalism, and below is part of Unison Fetish's performance art piece about cupcakes. Read more about them at Cupcakes Take the Cake.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Pregnant man Thomas Beatie gets book deal

Somehow I missed this amid all the Emily Gould media madness. Not a big shock after how much exposure he's gotten. Looking forward to reading it (but even more, seeing baby pictures!).

via Huffington Post

May 22, 2008 (Los Angeles, CA)-- ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT can confirm that Thomas Beatie will write a book about his experience as a "pregnant man."

St. Martin's Press has purchased North American rights to LOVE MAKES A FAMILY: A Memoir of Hardship, Healing and an Extraordinary Pregnancy by Thomas Beatie, the world's first pregnant man. Publication is set for September 30, 2008.

LOVE MAKES A FAMILY follows Thomas Beatie through his transformation from a girl scout and beauty queen to a fully legal and recognized man with a black belt in marital arts and a loving wife named Nancy, herself a former champion bodybuilder. It will follow Thomas and Nancy through their controversial decision to have a baby and yet not hire a surrogate to carry the child; to, instead, have Thomas--who underwent gender reassignment surgery but kept his female reproductive organs--get pregnant and carry the child himself.

What has been told so far is a small part of Thomas' story. In LOVE MAKES A FAMILY, the poignant true story of how Thomas Beatie survived a lifetime of pain, prejudice and family disillusionment to arrive at this one astonishing moment in time--the moment when he will create a brave new family for himself and, in a way, for the world.

And the official Publishers Marketplace version:

Featured on Oprah and in People magazine, Thomas Beatie's LOVE MAKES A FAMILY: A Memoir of Hardship, Healing and an Extraordinary Pregnancy, the story of the world's first pregnant man, following his transformation from a girl scout and beauty queen to a legal and recognized man with a black belt in marital arts and a loving wife -- and their controversial decision to have Thomas -- who underwent gender reassignment surgery but kept his female reproductive organs -- get pregnant and carry their child, to Kathy Huck at St. Martin's, for publication 0n September 30, 2008, by Andrea Barzvi at ICM (NA).

My fave headline about him this week though? (this one I did catch)

Pregnant man Thomas Beatie mows lawn at seven months



The week's obligatory blog post

I don't have much to say about Emily Gould's article, other than to say that by Sunday, it'll be so over, with this much attention already, and that while there are valid criticisms of the piece, the umpteen NYT commenters seem to think there is something inherently wrong with writing about oneself. Don't read memoirs much, do they? Granted, they are different types of writing, and a book gives you room even a 7,000+ word article doesn't, but still. As for why they published it, if that's not obvious (readers!), then those people don't really get publishing do they? Also, it should be noted that even though she wrote a very personal piece, Gould also wrote an obituary for personal blogs.

This was my favorite part:

Knowing that the worst of my online oversharing is still publicly accessible doesn’t thrill me, but it doesn’t scare me anymore either. I might hate my former self, but I don’t want to destroy her, and in a way, I want to respect her decision to show the world her vulnerability.

Okay, second favorite (as in, ones I most related to):

I had made my existence so public in such a strange way, and I wanted to take it all back, but in order to do that I’d have to destroy the entire Internet. If only I could! Google, YouTube, Gawker, Facebook, WordPress, all gone.

So far this post from Shoot the Blog has been the most interesting and original:

When I went to read the piece (which will run in the magazine this weekend) I was struck by how Elinor Carucci those images were! Of course, they turned out to be by Elinor Carucci. But really, here is a photographer who delivers editorial imagery that is barely distinguishable from her own work. She and Gould even look alike. This pairing is kind of amazing:

photograph by Elinor Carucci for The New York Times

Elinor Carucci, from her series Closer, 2000


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fork ring

If you've seen me anytime in the last few months, I've likely been sporting jewelry from Artists and Fleas, the awesome Williamsburg flea market where they also have Kumquat Cupcakery and Lux Sugar selling cupcakes. My favorite vendor is Georgia Varidakis, who sold me my scissors necklace and the tooth necklace I gave a friend.

I've yet to see this but check it out - a fork ring!

I also really like these necklaces made with vintage slides:

Hear me talk about Dirty Girls

I have lots of overdue posts, but for now, a podcast interview with me by Felicia Pride promoting Dirty Girls: Erotica for Women.

Click on the book cover to listen:

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Everyone has fantasies, whether they talk about them or not. As an acclaimed erotica writer and the editor of Dirty Girls: Erotica for Women, Rachel Kramer Bussel is intimately acquainted with the wide range of fantasies (and people, and places, and stories) that turn women on. In this episode, Bussel talks about how she got her start as an erotica writer; exactly what's meant by "erotica for women"; and the context she believes erotica can provide to feminism.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Lux Sugar's Perez Hilton cupcake is delicious

Did you hearthat the fabulous Lux Sugar sells a super yummy Perez Hilton cupcake? Strawberry cake and strawberry frosting! So good. Catch them every Saturday in Williamsburg at Artists and Fleas and on their website and blog. Oh, and they ship nationally too!

image via Miami New Times


Friday, May 16, 2008

The infamous Sex and the City Magnolia Bakery scene

Just because...for more about cupcakes, visit Cupcakes Take the Cake


Let's talk about sex

Actually, as you might have surmised, I'm a little sick of talking about sex (perhaps because that's all I do lately, write and talk about sex, in lieu of, uh, having it) but I love these ladies and had a great time (and got to bring cupcakes) doing Ladies Night for the podcast Man and Wife.

Until I figure out how to do a watch it at (sorry!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

True Sex Confessions tonight (with Slut Machine!)

No, I have not forgotten - In The Flesh is tonight!

It's such a killer lineup, and it's crowd favorite, True Sex Confessions Night (so get ready for some anonymous audience participation). And not to play favorites too much because I know all my readers will be fabulous, but...Tracie Egan! aka, Slut Machine from Jezebel. You know you want to hear her read. She has been kicking ass lately with some amazing posts that totally wowed me:

"The Sexist Business of Sex Writing"

"Why I Never Write Here, And Other Things That Are Wrong With Me"

And a piece that I am hoping to publish in Best Sex Writing 2009 from Vice a while back:

"One Rape, Please (to go)"

THURSDAY, May 15th at 8 PM
(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

Our third night of True Sex Confessions promises lots of revealing, naughty, crazy sex stories. Featuring Andrea Askowitz (author of the memoir My Miserable, Lonely Lesbian Pregnancy), burlesque babe Cherry Bomb, Will Doig (Editor,, Tracie Egan (Editor,, One D at a Time), Ilona Paris (author of You Know You Love It), and comedian Giulia Rozzi (Stripped Stories). Free candy and cupcakes will be served. Hosted and curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Dirty Girls, Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am). Free candy and cupcakes will be served.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Laura Antoniou, Mo Beasley, Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Stephen Elliott, Valerie Frankel, Polly Frost, Gael Greene, Andy Horwitz, Debra Hyde, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Edith Layton, Logan Levkoff, Suzanne Portnoy, Sofia Quintero, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Grant Stoddard, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, Dana Vachon, Veronica Vera, Susan Wright, Zane, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from the New York Times’s UrbanEye, Escape (Hong Kong), Flavorpill, The L Magazine, New York Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Time Out New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette, and has been praised by Dr. Ruth. This is not Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending Reading Series.

Andrea Askowitz is the author of the just released book My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy (Cleis Press). You gotta read it. She is also the producer of the true stories reading series, Lip Service in Miami, Florida. And she's sometimes an adjunct professor at Florida International University. And she's a mom.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, conducts interviews for, and wrote the popular Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice. Her erotic stories have been published in over 100 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited numerous anthologies, most recently Rubber Sex,Yes, Sir, Yes, Ma’am, Dirty Girls, and Best Sex Writing 2008. Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Cosmopolitan, Gothamist, Mediabistro, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, Velvetpark, and Zink.

Conceived in the throes of a passionate one-night stand between bell hooks and RuPaul, art, activism, and a love of glitter is built into Cherry Bomb's sordid DNA. She currently holds the crown as The Bad Girl of Brooklyn Burlesque, and you can catch her raising eyebrows at the likes of The Slipper Room, Mo Pitkins, and with Wasabassco Burlesque. She also writes dirty/sexy/emo at her blog, The Queen of Cream, at

Will Doig is the editor of His work has appeared in New York magazine, The Advocate, Out, and Highlights for Children. He lives in Brooklyn.

Tracie Egan is an editor at and writes the blog One D at a Time.

Dominatrix and therapist Ilona Paris holds a master's degree in counseling psychology from Cambridge College in Massachusetts ad is the author of You Know You Love It: Lessons in Sexual Mischief. She has a private practice outside Boston, where she specializes in alternative sexual lifestyles. She is on the advisory board committee for the National Leather Alliance Domestic Violence Project.

Giulia Rozzi is a NYC based comedian, writer, and actress originally from Boston. She is the co-host/producer of the popular sex-themed monthly storytelling event Stripped Stories at Comix NY and has been seen on Mtv, and in sketches on Jimmy Kimmel. As a writer she's contributed to Playgirl, Glamour,, Huffingtonpost,, and Gawker. She is also a co-producer of the East Coast incarnations of the hit national show Mortified and was an associate editor and a contributor for Mortified books.