Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sex column: "Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Open Relationships and Our Public & Private Sex Lives"

My latest sex column: "Demi Moore, Ashton Kutcher, Open Relationships and Our Public & Private Sex Lives".

My latest at Open Salon: Why I Love Greenpoint, Brooklyn indie bookstore WORD

"Why I Love Greenpoint, Brooklyn indie bookstore WORD! It's not just for the pencils, I promise:

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Big party on Monday! Hundreds of cupcakes - see you there!

Hope to see you at our fantabulous party on Monday! Get your tickets at Eventbrite - the sponsor list is growing by the day!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Now reading: Learning to Breathe by Priscilla Warner

Just started the memoir Learning to Breathe: My Yearlong Quest to Bring Calm to My Life by Priscilla Warner. Will let you know how it is. I love an author who Tweets!

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Sex in books Twitter chat December 7th!

Join us December 7th from 7-8 pm on Twitter with the hashtag #sexinbooks - I'll be moderating, so if you have questions for these authors, email me at rachelkb at with "#sexinbooks" in the subject line. See you there!

Rachel Kramer Bussel (@raquelita)

Women in Lust

Anna David (@annadavid)

Falling for Me

Beth Griffenhagen (@thathaikugirl)

Haiku for the Single Girl

Kiri Blakeley (@kiriblakeley)

Can't Think Straight

Sascha Rothchild (@sascharothchild)

How to Get Divorced by 30

Judy McGuire (@hitormissjudy)

How Not to Date

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Totally decadent: getting my makeup done

I'd like to think I'm not high-maintenance, at least when it comes to fashion and money. Emotions, perhaps. Anyway, I usually wear lipstick, if anything, and I like dresses in part because they're easy. I never learned how to properly put on makeup and it's something that trips me up repeatedly. So last night I went to Sephora and had a man whose name I've already forgotten at Make Up For Ever do me up. I got the 20 minute option, which required me to buy $40 worth of products. So now I have a good mascara, a black eyeliner, a deeper-than-my-usual red lipstick and Smashbox's Tease lip gloss. Not sure I'll be able to replicate his work, but I love the result:

pre-lip gloss self-portrait

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving sex diary

More like the sex diary I'm blogging on Thanksgiving: "The Single Bicoastal Lesbian Smoking Lots of Weed With Two Gal Pals". I'm incredibly thankful to have this fun editing gig, and I hope you enjoy the weekly sex diaries. And if you know anyone who'd make a good diarist (they don't have to be in NYC, though that is preferred), have them email me at sexdiaries at with a few sentences about their current sex life and their age, location, occupation, gender, sexual orientation and relationship status (info that's in each diary).

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I'm thankful for Billy Bragg

I must admit I'm more of a sucker for Billy Bragg's love songs (check out Mary Lou Lord's gorgeous cover of "Ontario, Quebec and Me," which always gives me chills), and he picks some amazing collaborators (Wilco, Kirsty MacColl, etc.), but I truly love that he doesn't make a distinction. Well, maybe that's not quite right, but more that there are his political songs and his love songs and his brain and heart and talent all are there, in all of them (see "Sexuality, below"). And there's something so deceptively simple, or maybe just simple, about a man and a guitar.

Via Wikipedia:

I would then say that I am Mr. Love and Justice, and to check out the love songs. That’s how I capture people. People do say to me, “I love your songs, but I just can’t stand your politics.” And I say, “Well, Republicans are always welcome. Come on over!” I would hate to stand at the door, saying to people, “Do you agree with these positions? If not, you can’t come in.”

Visit his website for the lyrics to this new version of "Waiting for The Great Leap Forwards."

Here he is talking about writing political songwriting (description via YouTube):

Visited London occupation to run a workshop on song writing. The Bank of Ideas is situated on Sun Street, Hackney in an abandoned office block purchased several years ago by the bank UBS. It is an enormous space complete with a 500-seater lecture hall. It has been opened to the public for the non-monetary trade of ideas to help solve the pressing economic, social and environmental problems of our time.

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Party with Cupcakes Take the Cake December 5th!

Yes, Cupcakes Take the Cake is coming up on its 7th anniversary, and 15,000 posts later, we're throwing a party. Hard to believe, but totally awesome, especially with our 2012 Cupcake Cruise coming up in August. Do join us, and if you can't make it, I'd love it if you'd tell a friend. There are always more cupcakes than the eyes and stomach can possibly take in at our big parties and this one will be no exception, plus there are lots of awesome prizes! December 5th, 7-10 pm, SoHo Gallery of Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street, NYC, $10 (buy tickets at Eventbrite).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Excited to read: Best Women's Erotica 2012

I haven't read Best Women's Erotica 2012 yet but I think it's pretty safe to say it's going to be as hot as all of Violet Blue's collections, and, hello, there's a story called "Tweetup." For all the geeky erotica readers!

Lots of my favorite writers, like Remittance Girl, Elizabeth Coldwell, Jacqueline Applebee, Tsaurah Litzky, Sommer Marsden and Donna George Storey, writers who are new to me, an writers whose work I'm just discovering, like Amelia Thornton, whose kinky outdoor sex story "Something to Ruin" is in Women in Lust.

My copy is hopefully arriving by UPS on Monday cause I wasn't home today to get it. I'll tell you more about it once I've read it, but definitely check it out, and coming up next month is Violet's One Night Only: Erotic Encounters, which includes my story "Rock Star Rewards." For the latest on Violet Blue, visit and follow her @violetblue on Twitter.

Via Amazon, the lineup for Best Women's Erotica 2012:

Drought by Olivia Glass
Tweetup by Louise Lush
Eddie's All Night Diner by K.D. Grace
Pleasure's Apprentice by Remittance Girl
The Nylon Curtain by Elizabeth Coldwell
A Big Deck by Rosalía Zizzo
Bad by Kay Jaybee
Dolly by Amelia Thornton
No Rest for the Wicked by Jacqueline Applebee
Skinheads by Jaqueline Applebee
The Skin Doctor by Tsaurah Litzky
Pagoda by Sommer Marsden
A Wider World by Donna George Storey
All's Fair by Tiffani Angus
Neighbourly Relations by Dorianne
Let Me In by The Empress
Lolita by Zahara Stardust
The Gourmet by Chaparrita
The Magicians by Valerie Alexander

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'd love this too; wouldn't you?

Working on pieces on my new tattoo, my trip to Portland, Maine, cupcake judging, panic attacks, another article for The Fix, erotica and much more. So keep up at Tumblr and @raquelita on Twitter if you want more frequent updates. Otherwise, as the tent at Occupy Maine says, I'm trying to make my life a Drama Free Zone, or at least, a bad drama free zone. See the rest of my Occupy Maine photos here and general Portland, Maine photos here. I'm going back in the spring and so glad I have part of Portland permanently on me.

And from Bard Coffee (I did not try their cider or coffee, but I did visit Coffee by Design):

Excited for How I Learned About The Rules of Attraction

I'm excited to attend this!

Knife play story "Beneath My Skin" by Shanna Germain rejected twice before landing in Women in Lust

I'm loving all the posts on the Women in Lust virtual book tour, and this one by author Shanna Germain really stands out. I know I'm rarely one to post about rejected stories, because I'd rather tell you about the ones that made it, the little story that could, the story that you can read, rather than one living only on my computer. So I think that's brave, and bold, and powerful. And, I hope, encouraging (have I mentioned that I very much need stories for my female submission anthology? Like, ASAP, and I truly need stories just like this: bold, powerful, take no prisoners, daring, creative, unlike anything else in my submissions inbox, which may or may not be helpful, but that's the thing - don't write it for me, write it for you, and make it an amazing, startlingly new and creative take on the topic, and it'll find a home). She writes:

Wouldn’t you like to know my real kinks? My real interest in sex and writing?

This story actually answers that. All of my stories answer that, if you read them carefully. Don’t look at the small truths. Not at the knife. Not at the kiss. Not at the way his hand moves across her skin.

Look at the emotional truths.

Here are some hints: No, it’s not about knife-play. No, it’s not about getting fucked while having a blade at my back. No, it’s not about having an orgasm.

It’s about opening ourselves to something greater than us. It’s about pushing past our safe places and seeing what lies beyond. It’s about taking the ‘real’ and turning it into something more, something that allows us to see the larger essence of our hearts and minds. It’s about touch and connection and those rare, precious moments where life splits us open and lets us be free

You can read an excerpt of "Beneath My Skin" at Smutketeers and a further one at Shanna's blog. I'm proud of Women in Lust because for the book, I do think it's an edgy story that may be too much for some readers, but for some readers, I hope, it'll be perfect, and for others it may lead them to an understanding of sexuality and humanity that they didn't have before.

Order Women in Lust from:


Kindle edition (ebook)

Barnes & Noble

Nook (ebook)



IndieBound (search for your local indie bookstore)

Cleis Press

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Read this: The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Do yourself a favor and check out The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler. It's billed as YA but anyone who uses Facebook/social media will appreciate it, and, as I say below, especially if you remember a time before the internet was a part of our daily lives. If my review sounds vague, it's because I tried hard not to give anything major away. You should read it for yourself, it's that good.

My review:

I cannot say enough good things about this book, especially if you're around the age of the protagonists and if you remember AOL and dial up internet. You're likely to enjoy it if you're a teenager, too, but for those of us in that age group (I'm 36), the idea of what the internet has the power to do works its spell in this page-turner.

Emma and Josh are best friends; Josh used to have a crush on her, but they've (mostly) moved on. One day, Emma logs on to her new AOL account and discovers something called Facebook. She and Josh try to puzzle over what exactly Facebook is and why their future selves are writing pithy, strange comments for all the world to see. What gets strange very fast is that Emma discovers that she can actually directly change her future by very minute actions in her present, and she becomes obsessed with doing so. Without giving too much away, the idea that everything we do in the present has a long-term impact is fascinating and disturbing, and each has to explore what they'd want their future selves to know about them, and how far ahead they intend to map out their lives. Soon Emma especially winds up so fixated on the future she forgets about the present. The novel unfolds wonderfully, with alternating viewpoints, and I found myself wanting to reach in and say "No, don't do it!" multiple times. I especially liked that the authors didn't present one future self as necessarily more perfect than any other; in their world, each was as plausible as another, and Emma and Josh had to determine for themselves, often through trial and error, what kind of life they envisioned.

The idea of knowing exactly what we'll be doing any given amount of time from now is miraculous or terrifying, depending on who you are (I vacillate between the two), and The Future of Us plays up that tension to the max, while highlighting the secret online universe the two have discovered. This book speaks to adults just as much, if not more so, than teenagers, and its message about living in the present is inspiring, without ever being preachy. I found myself rooting for both Emma and Josh even when they clearly made missteps and hurt others (or themselves). Mackler and Asher did an amazing job and while the ending is perfectly summed up, I'd love to see a sequel because I didn't want to stop reading! You will likely wind up questioning some of your own Facebook and social media usage as you read, wondering what the purpose is, as the protagonists do.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Pre-tattoo listening: "Turning Tables" by Adele

Because I'm me, there will of course be a tattoo essay forthcoming. I've thought so much about this tattoo, why I need it, what I hope to do differently, and, well, Adele captures it so perfectly in "Turning Tables:"

Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own savior
When the thunder calls for me
Next time I'll be braver
I'll be my own savior
Standing on my own two feet

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

My essay "Recovery Envy" up at The Fix

I wrote my first essay for The Fix, called "Recovery Envy," which may sound facetious in a soundbite but if you read the essay, I hope it’s clear that I don’t mean it facetiously at all. I have the utmost respect for those in recovery, and anyone striving to improve their lives, by whatever means. If you like it, I’d really, really appreciate it if you passed it on in some way. And if you’ve never been to The Fix, it’s a website “about alcoholism, addiction, recovery and the drug war.” Thank you.

The beginning:

I'm not an addict, and I'm not an alcoholic. But as offensive as this may sound, I sometimes I wish I were, if only so I could have a language and a community to help me deal with what often seem like out of control urges—a structure surrounding me to help me cope with, well, life. But there are no 12-step meetings for people who simply have trouble getting up every day, who feel hollow and weak and unworthy, but who don't gloss over those feelings with a single, predictable vice. Over the course of my life, I've certainly used alcohol, sex, shopping and food to help quell those feelings, and they've each worked, in limited doses, but eventually their effects wore off.

The thing is, though, my rock bottom moments don't revolve around alcohol, though I've consumed my share, or drugs (I've attempted to smoke pot twice, and basically failed each time); sometimes it's food, sometimes it's sex, sometimes it's shopping, but I fundamentally believe that the core part of me that hates myself in those moments when I'm eating an entire box of cereal, screwing someone I'm not that into, or buying a pair of shoes I don't need and can't afford, is the same impulse that drove, say, my father or grandfather to drink (both are recovering alcoholics).

Keep reading

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Reading tonight at 7 at KGB Bar

My last reading of 2011 is tonight at KGB Bar at 7 for Drunken! Careening! Writers! It's free. And fun! KGB Bar 85 E. 4th Street NYC Drunken Careening Writers KGB Bar, 85 East 4th StreetNew York City, NY November 17, 2011 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Sally Bellerose is author of The Girls Club. She was awarded a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts based on an excerpt from this novel. The manuscript won the Bywater Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the James Jones Fellowship, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the Bellwether Endowment. Sally is also a poet who loves rhythm, story, and language. Her poems and prose usually involve themes of sexuality, illness, and class. In writing, she is interested in messy, confusing, complicated relationships. She is also drawn to humor and transcendence. Sally is old and tired of ageism. The title story of her next book Fishwives won the Saints and Sinners Fiction Award. Fishwives features old women behaving badly. Rachel Kramer Bussel is an author, editor, blogger and event organizer. She is the editor of over 40 anthologies, most recently Obsessed, Women in Lust and Best Bondage Erotica 2012. She writes the Secrets of a Sex Writer column for SexIs Magazine and writes widely on sex, dating, books and pop culture. She blogs at Lusty Lady and Cupcakes Take the Cake. Meri Weiss was born and raised in New York. She has a BA in English from the University of Michigan, an MFA in Creative Writing from Southampton College, an MA in Literature from SUNY New Paltz and a boatload of student loans someone really ought to pay back. She teaches full-time at the South Bronx campus of the College of New Rochelle and part-time at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University. Her debut novel, Closer to Fine, was published by Kensington Books in 2008 and nominated for a Lambda Literary Award. She is currently working on her second novel.

December 5th = celebrate 7 years of cupcake blogging!

Can you believe I've been cupcake blogging for 7 years? I can, and I can't. I mean, it's such a huge part of my life, and I have a glimmer of having the idea, back in the days of comedy and contest blogging, but still, it seems surreal. So we are having a party and there will be probably more cupcakes than you can imagine. We'll be updating the sponsors as they come in, but it's a great list. Get your ticket now! December 5th, 7-10 pm, SoHo Gallery of Digital Art, 138 Sullivan Street, NYC.

I hate Blogger with a passion

One thing I like about new Blogger: tags.

Everything else I hate about it, like the fact that here and at Cupcakes Take the Cake at least every other post yields an error. That means I can't save as draft, so I can either save the html in a word document or do what feels like a mad dash - write the whole error-laden post, then rush to start a new one, click "publish" and hope it goes through. Often it does, but sometimes it doesn't. FRUSTRATING. I feel so inept and stupid and aggravated by it. I have this great post that is waiting for...who the fuck knows what? Clearly, not me, or I wouldn't be getting the same damn error message a million times a day.

That is all. I hate technology sometimes. This was a week where often getting out of bed was an effort, and I'm still sorting out which health insurance is the lesser of many evils, so I don't have the pretty pills I went to the doctor for on my birthday, which makes dealing with the hell that is Blogger a little more challenging. So if things look screwy on my blogs, that's why. On a happy note, makes me grateful Tumblr exists!

Today's stop on the Women in Lust virtual book tour is at The Smutketeers, where I wrote a little about the book and they've got an excerpt from Shanna Germain's very edgy knife play story "Beneath My Skin," probably the kinkiest story in the book! And a contest to win a copy. Enjoy!

New sex column: "Dear Redheads: I'll Take Your Sperm!"

My latest sex column for SexIs Magazine is "Dear Redheads: I'll Take Your Sperm!", responding to the fact that the world's largest sperm bank no longer accepts donations from redheads.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Portland, Maine plans

I'm going to Portland, Maine for the first time this weekend, and have lots of plans, including visiting one of my oldest friends (who sent me a birthday car asking if I wanted to take a burlesque class or a pole-dancing class!), getting a tattoo at Sanctuary Tattoo, tasting the local cupcakes, sampling food (still making lists), meeting Fury author Elizabeth Miles and seeing art. A few things I plan to see are:

Addicted to Love art exhibit by Eric Hou at The Green Hand

"Faces of War: A Photographic Essay Exhibition at UNE

Portland Museum of Art

Read this: Black Market Billions

My friend Hitha Prabhakar, Bloomberg reporter and retail fashion expert, just wrote a book I highly recommend (full disclosure: I'm still reading it, but I can say it's fascinating and eye-opening) called Black Market Billions: How Organized Retail Crime Funds Terrorists

. Official description from Amazon:

Black Market Billions blows the lid off the world’s fastest-growing illicit industry: organized retail crime. Hitha Prabhakar reveals how criminals with ties to terrorist groups around the world are committing huge product thefts, and using the profits to fund terrorist acts. Prabhakar connects the dots and follows the money… from consumers “dying for a deal” to terrorist cells eager to do the killing.

"...Illuminates how organized retail crime (ORC) thrives amid a recessive economy as penny-pinching consumers turn to cheaper ways of purchasing everything from luxury items to prescription and over-the-counter drugs. Prabhakar’s indignation is well supported by chapters on the many interlocking facets of black-market thievery...Sharp-pencil analysis on the seemingly futile battle against retail fraud." (Used with permission from Kirkus Reviews Online)

Photo below is from her book party, by Stacie Joy.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Sex Diary: "The 53-Year-Old Man With Trouble Climaxing"

This week's sex diary (I'm the editor): "The 53-Year-Old Man With Trouble Climaxing" - Personally I appreciate when people portray their struggles with sex, especially in a relationship, where I think there's the tendency to paint everything as perfect.

Highly recommended: PJ Walsh show about comedy, military, Bill Clinton's teeth

I highly, highly recommend this show by PJ Walsh at All for One Fest. It's been my favorite so far. Comedy, war, Camp David, Bill Clinton's teeth. Plus there was bonus standup at the end. I also think it's wonderful to see successful performers talk about how college wasn't right for them, and they went on to do what they love and are good at and succeed at it, on their terms. Hilarious and also touching, and a good reminder that "support the troops" shouldn't just be empty rhetoric. I say this having never heard of PJ Walsh before perusing the AFO listings. He worked the room incredibly well (especially when he was doing a sargeant impersonation and a woman had to go to the bathroom). Also...since I was staring at him on stage for almost two hours, he has really nice biceps, and I am not usually someone who notices these things. Truly, the whole show impressed me and if I were in town next weekend I might go back with friends. I love comedy that does more than just make people laugh (not that there is anything wrong with making people laugh, and in fact, the whole point of the show, or one of them, is that laughter is vital, whether we are on the brink of death or not. Seeing the smiles on the faces of the servicemembers in the slideshow--wide, wide, smiles--was pretty amazing. I've now seen 4 shows and 3 pieces of shows at AFO Fest, and this one truly stood out in a big, big way. Check it out.

OVER THERE: Comedy Is His Best Weapon

Winner ”Best Of Fringe” Hollywood & San Francisco Fringe Festivals 2011

Sat. Nov. 12th. @9PM & Sun. Nov. 20th. @9PM

Theatre 80 St. Marks - 80 St. Marks (just west of 1st ave) New York, NY 10003

Tickets: $20.00 (Portion of proceeds will go to Veterans) Buy tickets online HERE

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Pre-order this: Best Sex Writing 2012!

As I posted on Twitter, when you pre-order a book, you're both buying your single copy and signaling to the store that there's so much interest in the book that they should stock up. Whether that's Amazon or your local indie bookstore or wherever, every little bit helps, and more than any of my other books, this is the one that I'm most proudest of and that I think will hold up in ten or twenty years. As timely as some of the pieces are, unless our entire culture changes into a sex-positive one, we will be facing dealing with "sluts," homophobia, insane sex scandals and more well into the future, and these thinkers have some profound things to say about these topics. Also, I'll link to the Kindle and Nook editions as soon as they're for sale (probably January 10th), but this book will be in stock by the end of December at stores, probably a little sooner. Basically, this is my 42nd book, and I'd say, if you've never read any of them, read this one. (Love the rest, but this feels like my best work and the book of mine I'd most want to take to a desert island.) A quick and easy way to help the book? Click "like" on its Amazon page!

It has an instant and powerful effect, and in an age when book publishing is, shall we say, a precarious profession, I strongly encourage you as book consumers to do so if you're sure you want to read the book. And, well, I don't think I need to do a hard sell on Best Sex Writing 2012 once you see the lineup below. It touches on culture, education, religion, the law, the military, New York City, circumcision, SlutWalk, butch femme, sex work, gender roles, sex scandals, monogamy and nonmonogamy, queerness and many other topics. It's a truly powerful collection I'm incredibly proud of and I hope you enjoy it too. I'm working on NYC, Seattle and Bay Area readings (possibly others, time/money/venue permitting).

Best Sex Writing 2012: The State of Today's Sexual Culture is a nonfiction anthology edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, with Susie Bright as guest judge, to be published by Cleis Press in January 2012. It is available for pre-order at Amazon (other links below). Email bestsexwriting2012 at if you have any questions; to request a review copy, email Brenda Knight at bknight at Stay tuned for details about the virtual book tour and readings in NYC, Seattle and San Francisco. For more information about the Best Sex Writing series, visit

Pre-order Best Sex Writing 2012:


Kindle (coming soon)

Nook (coming soon)



IndieBound (find your local independent bookstore

Cleis Press

Table of contents:

When the Sex Guru Met the Sex Panic Susie Bright

Beyond the Headlines: Real Sex Secrets Rachel Kramer Bussel (see below)

Sluts, Walking Amanda Marcotte

Criminalizing Circumcision: Self-Hatred as Public Policy Marty Klein

The Worship of Female Pleasure Tracy Clark-Flory

Sex, Lies, and Hush Money Katherine Spillar

The Dynamics of Sexual Acceleration Chris Sweeney

Atheists Do It Better: Why Leaving Religion Leads to Better Sex Greta Christina

To All the Butches I Loved between 1995 and 2005: An Open Letter about Selling Sex, Selling Out, and Soldiering On Amber Dawn

I Want You to Want Me Hugo Schwyzer

Grief, Resilience, and My 66th Birthday Gift Joan Price

Latina Glitter Rachel Rabbit White

Dating with an STD Lynn Harris

You Can Have Sex With Them; Just Don’t Photograph Them Radley Balko

An Unfortunate Discharge Early in My Naval Career Tim Elhajj

Guys Who Like Fat Chicks Camille Dodero

The Careless Language of Sexual Violence. Roxane Gay

Men Who “Buy Sex” Commit More Crimes: Newsweek, Trafficking, and the Lie of Fabricated Sex Studies Thomas Roche

Taking Liberties Tracy Quan

Why Lying about Monogamy Matters Susie Bright

Losing the Meatpacking District: A Queer History of Leather Culture Abby Tallmer

Penis Gagging, BDSM, and Rape Fantasy: The Truth about Kinky Sexting Rachel Kramer Bussel

Adrian’s Penis: Care and Handling Adrian Colesberry

The Continuing Criminalization of Teen Sex Ellen Friedrichs

Love Grenade Lidia Yuknavitch

Pottymouth Kevin Sampsell

Beyond the Headlines: Real Sex Secrets Rachel Kramer Bussel

I think about sex a lot—every day, in fact. I don’t mean that in an “I want to get it on” way, but in a “What are other people up to?” way. I’m a voyeur, first and foremost, and this extends to my writing. I’m naturally curious about what other people think about sex, from their intimate lives to how their sexuality translates to the larger world.

With the Best Sex Writing series, I get to merge my voyeuristic self with my journalism leanings, and peek into the lives, public and private, of those around me. This volume in the series doesn’t pull any punches; the authors have strong opinions, whether it’s Marty Klein sticking up for circumcision in the face of an effort in California to criminalize it, Roxane Gay taking the New York Times to task for its treatment of an 11-year-old rape victim, Thomas Roche calling out Newsweek for its shoddy reporting about prostitution, or Radley Balko examining a child pornography charge.

There are also more personal takes on sex here that go beyond facile headlines or easy answers, that aren’t about making a point so much as exploring what real-life sex is like in all its beauty, drama, and messiness. Whether it’s Amber Dawn and Tracy Quan sharing the truth about their lives as sex workers, or Hugo Schwyzer explaining the damage our culture does to men with its mythology about their innate sexual prowess, or Tim Elhajj’s first-person account of pre–don’t ask, don’t tell military life, these authors show you a side of sex that you rarely see.

What you are about to read are stories, all true, some reported on the streets and some recorded from lived experience, from the front lines of sexuality. They deal with topics you read about in the headlines, and some topics you may never have considered. They are but a small sampling of the many kinds of sexual stories I received in the submission process.

Part of why I think sex never goes out of style, as a topic or activity, is that it is so very complex. There is no one way to do it, nor two, nor three. Sex can be mundane or mind-blowing, and for those who are trying to get from the former to the latter, there is a plethora of resources but also a host of misinformation purveyed by snake oil salesmen.

In Best Sex Writing 2012, you will read about subjects as diverse as “Guys Who Like Fat Chicks,” the care an handling of a man’s penis, and the glamour and glitter of the Latina drag world. Abby Tallmer, telling a story set in a very specific time and place—the gay leather clubs of New York’s Meatpacking District in the 1990s—manages to capture why sexual community is so vital, and why, I’d venture, those who lack such a community wind up mired in sex scandals. Tallmer writes, “These clubs gave us a place to feel that we were no longer outsiders—or rather, they made us feel that it was better to be outsiders, together, than to force ourselves to be just like everybody else.”

I’m especially pleased to present stories about the kinds of sexuality and sexual issues that don’t always make the headlines, from Lynn Harris’s investigation of dating with an STD to Hugo Schwyzer’s moving look at men’s need to be sexually desired and what happens when boys and men are told that that wanting to be desired is wrong. Joan Price gives some insight into elder sexuality, as well as into what it’s like to purchase the services of a sexual healer. The topic of elder sex is often treated with horror or disgust, or the focus is placed on concern over STDs—which is a worthy topic this series has explored before. But Price, author of two books on elder sexuality (her piece here is excerpted from Naked At Our Age), obliges the reader to see the humanity behind her age. She writes, “My birthday erotic massage from a gentle stranger changed something in me. It showed me that I was still a responsive, fully sexual woman, getting ready to emerge from the cocoon of mourning into reexperiencing life. I realized that one big reason I ended up on Sunyata’s massage table was so that I could get ready to reenter the world.”

Not all, or even most, of the reading here is “easy.” Much of it is challenging and heartbreaking. Roxane Gay’s media criticism centers on a New York Times story about a Texas gang rape and why “The Careless Language of Sexual Violence” distorts our understanding about rape. You may think such a piece doesn’t belong in an anthology with this title, but until we rid our world of sexual violence so that everyone can freely express themselves sexually, we need to hear searing indictments of media or those in power who ignore injustice.

As an editor, I’m not only looking for pieces that I agree with, or identify with, but for work that illuminates something new about a topic that’s been around forever. The authors here dig deep, challenging both mainstream ideas about sex and a few sex-positive sacred cows. Ellen Friedrichs sticks up for the right of teenagers to be sexual without throwing parents, school boards, and other adults into a sex panic. Amanda Marcotte explores the fast-moving SlutWalk protest phenomenon, which has garnered criticisms from various sides, from being futile to only appealing to white women.

I will quote Abby Tallmer again, because I don’t hear the words “sexual liberation” often enough these days. What moves me most about her piece is that you don’t have to be a New Yorker, queer, leather, or kinky to understand what she’s talking about. I’m 100 percent with her when she writes, “Back then, many of us believed that gay liberation was rooted in sexual liberation, and we believed that liberation was rooted in the right—no, the need—to claim ownership of our bodies, to experience and celebrate sexuality in as many forms as possible, limited only by our time and imagination.” I hope this applies in 2012 just as much as it did in the 1970s, 80s, or 90s.

The truth is, I could have filled a book twice this size. Every day, stories are breaking, and being told, about sex—some wondrous, some heartbreaking. This is not a one-handed read, but it is a book that will stimulate your largest sex organ: your brain. Whether you live and breathe sex, you are curious about sex, or somewhere in between, I hope Best Sex Writing 2012 informs, incites, and inspires you. I hope it inspires you to write and tell your own sexual story, because I believe the more we talk about the many ways sex moves us, the more we work toward a world where sexual shame, ignorance, homophobia, and violence are diminished.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this book and what you think are the hot topics around sex. Feel free to email me at rachel at with your comments and suggestions for next year’s anthology.

Rachel Kramer Bussel New York November 2011

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Help my books with a very quick click

A very easy way to help my books is to "like" them on Amazon - links are below. If you can take a few minutes (don't need to do them all, the more recent ones are the more important), I'd really appreciate it. And stay tuned for big launch of Best Sex Writing 2012 plus events in (hopefully) NYC, the Bay Area and Seattle, and all the luscious 2012 anthologies! It's the little thumbs up logo at the top (see image below). Also a great way to show support for any author you like! Thank you if you can do it, and I'm just including all the relevant links here cause they also make great holiday gifts or so you can complete your RKB collection. In the works are my first solo short story collection, my first German translation of my books Fast Girls and Please, Sir and lots of other exciting projects.

Irresistible: Erotic Romance for Couples

Best Sex Writing 2012

Best Bondage Erotica 2012

Women in Lust

Obsessed: Erotic Romance for Women


Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

Best Bondage Erotica 2011




Fast Girls

Please, Ma'am

Please, Sir

Hide and Seek

Best Sex Writing 2010

Peep Show

Bottoms Up

The Mile High Club: Plane Sex Stories

Do Not Disturb: Hotel Sex Stories

Tasting Her: Oral Sex Stories

Tasting Him: Oral Sex Stories

Best Sex Writing 2009

Dirty Girls

Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica

Rubber Sex

Yes, Sir

Yes, Ma'am

Best Sex Writing 2008


He's on Top

She's on Top

Caught Looking

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Watch me on TV!

From yesterday's birthday/National Vanilla Cupcake Day appearance on The Gayle King Show. The actual segment was about 4 minutes and a lot of fun!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Birthday photos!

So far being 36 rocks. I had fun on TV, walked for a bit in the sun, admired pretty leaves, bought a very trashy guilty pleasure novel I hope to write about, ate spicy pizza, got some new prescriptions, and met a week-old baby.

At The Gayle King Show, where there were cupcakes galore:

And at Motorino (yum! soppressata picante for lunch!) with my friend Aaron:

Meeting Junior:

Happy moment of 35

A simple, happy moment from 35. More happy moments of the year, now that I'm 36 and can savor them. I know I have to be careful with thinking that my life will magically improve overnight but I really do feel like something in my universe shifted with this added number on my age. Yes, fertility, new age bracket, etc., but I also hope I've learned a lot...and keep learning. Also, I love this dress. It makes me so happy when I put it on. I want to only retain clothes that make me happy (not ecstatic, cause that's asking a lot for a wardrobe, but any clothes that make me feel gross in any way are going). This year was full of big dramas but also small revelations, and I can't wait to see what 36 has in store. Especially right now, I don't know where it will take me, literally and figuratively, and while part of me wishes I knew, I'm trying to just be patient and let it unfold.

Deadline extension: Female submission anthology

Not sure why I got fewer than usual submissions to this book, but I definitely need more stories! I know I say it every single time, but the number of authors who don't conform to the guidelines seems to be increasing and all it does is make more work for me. Please read them and follow them. I actually hate extending deadlines but in this case it's necessary, but earlier stories are, as stated below, very strongly preferred so I can get this book out the door and make it as hot as He's on Top, Please, Sir and Yes, Sir (all great books to look to for the types of stories I enjoy!). Thank you!

Earlier stories strongly preferred. Again, please make sure you conform to the guidelines, including your story title and byline on front page, and make your story stand out in its premise, characterization and type of BDSM play. While the bulk of the stories here will be from the female submissive's POV, I will consider stories from the top's POV as well. Creativity and uniqueness are key; you're encouraged to take the theme and run with it. If you have already submitted, you can expect to hear back as per the guidelines by April 2012. You will receive a story receipt acknowledgment within 72 hours.

Untitled Female Submission anthology (Title TBA)
Editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel
Publisher: Cleis Press (late 2012 or early 2013)
Deadline: November 30, 2011
Payment: $50/story, upon publication

This anthology of erotic stories will explore a wide range of female submission and male domination. Stories can be told from a female sub POV, a male dominant POV, or second or third person, as long as it’s a kinky erotic story focused on the topic. What's it like to be a female submissive, whether a full-time slave to a powerful master, or a kinky woman involved in an intense scene? These stories should explore the range of ways women submit to men, whether masters, husbands, boyfriends, play dates, strangers, Internet chatters, etc. Is the storyteller a lifelong bottom, or a new convert to kink, or simply enthralled to a particular man? Does merely offering herself up to any guy get her off, or does something about this particular top excite her? Can be long- or short-term relationships, single encounters, or anything in between, as long as the characters and plot are believable and the story is hot. Characters can be part of the BDSM scene/community or newcomers to the world of kink. I don't want simple snapshots of scenes that don't tell us anything about the characters' motivation. Please see my anthologies He’s on Top; Yes, Sir; and Please, Sir for an idea of the stories I prefer. No nonconsensual stories; all characters must be over 18. No scat or incest. No reprints.

I encourage you to think beyond clichéd scenarios, as well as thinking outside the box when it comes to "power play." I am especially looking for stories where not all of the erotic action is centered around physical sensation. There can also be more than two people in a given story or scene (or even just one if they are following someone's orders), and bisexual scenarios are welcome as long as the bottom/top relationship is a heterosexual one, as fitting the title. My biggest pet peeve with the submissions I've rejected in the past is lack of characterization/jumping into the BDSM scene too quickly. The more variety you can bring to the topic, the better your chances of your story being accepted.

Guidelines: Stories should be unpublished and not submitted elsewhere for publication. Stories should be 1,500 – 4,000 words, double spaced, Times New Roman 12 point font, in a Word document only. If it is truly impossible to send a Word document, please send as both a RTF AND in the body of the email. You MUST include your bio (50 words MAX) and full contact info (mailing address, phone number, real name/pseudonym) when you submit.

Payment will be $50/story and 1 copy of the book upon publication (late 2012 or early 2013). Contributors will retain the rights to their stories. You may submit up to two stories. Please note that the publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

Send your submission as a Word document to

Please make sure to follow ALL directions. I'm getting a lot of single-spaced, non-Word document submissions without bios or mailing addresses. Please also make sure you send your FINAL version of your story, not a first (and then second or third) draft. All of the pertinent information, including a polished version of the story and your bio/contact info should be included in a single email, not multiple ones. Thank you.

If you have any questions, please email

Deadline: November 1, 2011
Expect to hear back from me by April 2012
Payment: $50/story, upon publication (late 2012 or early 2013)

About the editor: Rachel Kramer Bussel ( is the editor of 39 anthologies, including Gotta Have It, Surrender, Best Bondage Erotica 2011, Bottoms Up, Spanked, The Mile High Club, Do Not Disturb, He’s on Top, She’s on Top, Tasting Him, Tasting Her, Crossdressing, Dirty Girls, and is Best Sex Writing Series Editor. She writes a column for SexIs Magazine, and hosted and curated In The Flesh Reading Series in New York for five years. Her writing has been published in over 100 anthologies, including Susie Bright’s X: The Erotic Treasury, Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and Zane’s Purple Panties and the New York Times bestseller Succulent: Chocolate Flava II. She has written for Cosmopolitan, The Daily Beast, Fresh Yarn, Mediabistro, Newsday, New York Post, Penthouse, Salon, Time Out New York, Zink and other publications.

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2 photos that encapsulate my last day of being 35

Yesterday was hard. Violin Monster made me laugh after I'd literally been crying, and the bottom, a page from the opening of the yoga memoir Poser by Claire Dederer, I found true. I'm excited about being on TV, and grateful for every lesson I learned from being 35. And profoundly, profoundly grateful to finally being 36! Thanks for all the birthday wishes. Hope you get to catch me live on OWN today 10-11 EST on The Gayle King Show!

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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Win a signed copy of Best Bondage Erotica 2012 at Goodreads!

FYI the book is obviously edited by me (more info at but we're having issues with Amazon credited contributors as the editor, so it says contributor Kay Jaybee.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Best Bondage Erotica 2012 by Kay Jaybee

Best Bondage Erotica 2012

by Kay Jaybee

Giveaway ends November 30, 2011.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win

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Saying goodbye to 35, not a moment too soon

I keep wanting to write these elaborate, or at least, complete posts or essays or thoughts, about so many topics that I wind up not writing anything. Lately my life is in total flux and I blame a lot of it on being 35, but really it's about adjusting to that constant flux, going with the flow, and figuring out how to maximize my happiness. I mean, that sounds easier than it is, but maybe it's not as hard as I sometimes make it.

This year has had some extremely low moments--stolen iPhone, Top Chef date and other pretty appalling dates, getting laid off, lots of failures big and small--but it's also had some wonderful ones, from a great relationship to a host of new writing opportunities. I'm trying to keep the balance in mind, to remember that every day is a chance to start over, whatever my age. I have so many ideas and I often don't sleep at night these days, or sleep at odd hours, trying to get them just right. I still am my father's daughter in so many ways, like yesterday when I totally lost my shit because I couldn't find Commerce Street and thus couldn't go to the free reading at Cherry Lane Theater. Will I try again next week, or just chalk it up to West Village crazy streets and park my ass at a desk and write? Who knows?

I know that if 35 is the worst year I ever have, well, that'll be fine by me. If you'd told me 2 months ago I wouldn't be sitting in a cubicle editing smut but would be enjoying sunshine (!!), cupcake wrangling for national TV, jogging (!!) and trying to simply take each moment as they come, I don't think I'd have believed you. It's so easy to get utterly stuck, mentally and physically. I forget sometimes that change is possible, which is one of the most basic things that makes us human. I forget a lot of things and I'm trying to use this time, no matter where I wind up, physically, jobwise, or whatever, to just own myself, my thoughts, my feelings, and use them to be the best person I can be. I spent too much of this last year wanting to impress or please other people, and maybe I needed to hear things like "it would never work out" to know that I can only please myself. I'm about to embark on a year devoted to self-love, in all ways, and I'm already feeling and finding the peace there, the capacity to push myself into foreign territory and even though I have no fucking clue if everything will be okay, and I don't have much faith on that score one way or the other, I know that I will be the one making the decisions, one moment at a time.

I could tell you I'd love it if I never took a sip of alcohol again, if I live up to my promise to myself not to date or have sex in this coming year, but who knows? I have so many dreams and goals and yet I too often fall down on the job of living up to my potential. I'm so fucking scared sometimes of even writing a single sentence, it becomes easier to do anything else than take that leap into the unknown, the place beyond knowledge, the place where I'm just utterly in the moment. I'm laughably bad at that but I know that in my little mental utopia, no, I'm not some yoga-performing mistress of serenity, but my hands don't shake, I don't cry on the subway for no reason, I don't take everything so personally, I don't place such a high commodity on the stuff that literally clutters every space in my life, but rather on clarity and bravery and hope and love. Yesterday I was so eager for some kind of pain to break through the hell of feeling utterly out of control. I have a scheduled pain appointment in the form of a tattoo coming up in 13 days, and I'm very excited to have all that amorphous hope for something I don't know if I'm truly capable, having a heart, permanently etched on me. It's so easy to see this year as one of listening to my heart over my head, and if I'm honestly, sometimes i want to take a knife to my heart and slice it into ribbons, or explode it in some fabulous fashion. It gets me in trouble and lead me down so many false starts this year. I don't wish I could take them back, exactly, I just wish they hadn't lead where they did.

BUT I'm grateful to be right here, in this beautiful weather, in this beautiful city. And yes, I'm excited for my closeup on live TV tomorrow, but that's external, and more than anything I need to work on, starting right now, ignoring external validation for the falsity it is. It's really meaningless, and you don't take it with you when you die, and you really don't even take it with you when you live. I know that for every time someone pays me some fake-sounding-to-my-ears compliment like "you do so much" and I want to punch them (I've discovered this year how much of a not pacifist I am, when it comes at least to those very visceral urges), or says the most boring thing on earth ("you have a lot of bags") that if I let that white noise get to me, if I let it penetrate even a millimeter below the surface, I'm gone, and I've been gone too much of this last year, letting myself erase all those hopes and dreams in favor of anyone else's. That's not how I want to live, and I have to accept that there will be days like yesterday, when I'm lost and confused and frustrated, that that happens, and you move on, and I can choose whether to stay in those rock bottom moments or rise above them. Writing, which is I guess is what I now do for a living, is so inherently full of rejection that I feel like I have to just paint a thicker skin on, maybe in multiple layers, and, again, believe in my own words first, so that when, as happened this year, I don't hear back, I have the courage to probe further.

People keep asking me what I'm doing for my birthday, and my shortest answer is, welcoming 36 with everything in my being. I don't want gifts, I don't want a party, I don't want a celebration. I just want to put this rocky year behind me and make sure I embrace this new one as a better version of me, as the Rainer Maria song goes.

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Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sex Diary

This week's sex diary (details at the bottom on how to apply to be a diarist): "The Queer San Francisco Woman Having Group Sex in New York"

I loved that I saw the URL first in my "Hitachi Magic Wand" Google Alert!

Sample comment: "Is my vagina supposed to hurt after reading this?"

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Win vibrators and Women in Lust in Tuesday's Twitter chat!

Join me tomorrow night from 7-8 pm EST for a Twitter chat in which you can ask me anything! Follow me @raquelita as well as @EdenFantasys and @cleispress to see what we're up to, or just look up the hashtag #womeninlust.

You can win a copy of Women in Lust as well as these vibrators below, which are for sale from EdenFantasys (if you didn't know, EdenFantasys publishes SexIs Magazine, where my biweekly Secrets of a Sex Writer column is published).

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Saturday, November 05, 2011

I Was on HBO's Real Sex

Whether you know that or not, I took a walk down exhibitionist memory lane for xoJane in It Happened to Me: I Was on HBO's Real Sex". Ah, youth...and if you like it, I'd love it if you'd somehow like it on there (there's a thumbs up button at the bottom) or pass it on. Appreciated! Also, my original vision for my photo was me in my leopard print dress holding my Hitachi high above my head like a trophy but I couldn't really figure out how to politely ask someone to take that (note: this was taken by me before I used it, a vibrator is a self-employment necessity imo, all the more so cause I'm not having sex for the next year, but that's another story). Self-portraits are tough, so my next xoJane piece will have a picture of the topic in question. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 04, 2011

6 fun, free and cheap events I'm looking forward to

Once again, if my photos are all a mess, SORRY, but blog fixing is last on my priority list. Working for myself full-time is still a gigantic adjustment in every way and means, literally, day and night, because I'm trying to cram so much in and keep track of my thoughts. Would that I had some Vyvanse but I don't so it's just me but I am doing my best and...well, I cannot wait until I'm 36. Life will surely be better then (next week, cool plans for that day that I will share when I can!) but in the meantime, hustlemania. Now that I am taking a break from dating until November 2012, I will hopefully have a little more mental space and time to focus on what I should be doing, rather than what I shouldn't.

I do like the new Blogger, especially because it allows us at Cupcakes Take the Cake to circumvent the 5,000 label limit, which we surpassed long ago. But still, growing pains. I get used to certain systems and when they change, my brain takes a while to catch up. Hopefully you'll keep reading.

Who says NYC has to be expensive? All of these events are FREE! Perfect for my budget. Our cupcake meetup is buy your own, but since I plan to taste all the flavors I haven't tasted yet, I'm happy to share. Join us! Or just drool over our photos at Cupcakes Take the Cake and @cupcakeblog on Twitter.

November 5, 2 pm Cupcake meetup at Brooklyn Cupcake 335 Union Avenue, between Grand and Maujer Williamsburg, Brooklyn

guava con queso cupcake! photo by me

November 5, 8 pm - 11 pm QUEER MEMOIR: Speaking the Truth to Power

QUEER MEMOIR is NYC's only queer storytelling event. This month we'l; be hearing from a bunch of really fascinating folks with amazing stories, all on the theme of Speaking the Truth to Power. Please join us. The suggested donation is 5-10 bucks to cover costs, but if you want to come and and don't have the cash PLEASE just come anyway. No one ever turned away.

Even as LGBT characters and “out” celebrities become more common in pop culture and mainstream media, the richness and complexity of real queer lives is still undervalued and often invisible. Queer Memoir attempts to provide an avenue to share queer lives and celebrate the ritual and community-building value of storytelling.


We have some amazing storytellers sharing at this month's salon:

Ryann Holmes Amber Dawn Nick Krieger Dan Horrigan Lea Robinson

Monday, November 7, 7 pm

NACHO BINGO! (I'm not 100% sure what this is but since I love both those things and The West Cafe, I'm so there) The West Cafe 379 Union Avenue Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Can we give a big giant round of applause for theaters sponsoring free events? We need more more more of that! I found out about this via the Rattlestick Theater newsletter, and The Skint is always a great source for free and cheap NYC events, giveaways and more. I remembered Erin Courtney's name from reading Ida's liner notes a looooong time ago, and then it turned out we had a mutual friend. I don't know her, but I am excited to see this performance and happy that I can be free (still feels crazy that my afternoon is open) to go to this. I'm including the upcoming dates too just so you have the info; I'll be at Tuesday's for HONEY DROP.

Cherry Lane Theatre and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater present

RATTLESTICK TONGUES: a reading series

First up:

Tuesday, November 8th at 2pm

HONEY DROP by Erin Courtney

Tuesday, November 15th at 2pm COLLISION by Lyle Kessler

Tuesday, November 22nd at 2pm

OH, THE POWER by David Bar Katz

Stay tuned for more!

All readings held at Cherry Lane Theatre.

Admission is free. Reservations at

Jessie Oleson's Tour de Sweet for Cakespy Presents!

November 9, 2 pm Butter Lane, 123 E. 7th Street, NYC

November 10, 7 pm Baked, 359 Van Brunt Street, Red Hook, Brooklyn

Not in NYC? Visit for tour dates, recipes and more - also you MUST visit her Capitol Hill store if you're in Seattle. It rocks.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

I'm reading tonight at 9 at One and One Bar!

I'm reading tonight at One and One Bar, home of a funny story by comedian Andrea Rosen. I'll be wearing the dress below if you want to check it out in person, not sure yet what I'll read. I'm doing extremely limited readings these days, so come check it out if you're so inclined and/or want to rock the open mic. Click here for the Eventbrite details.

November 3, 6:30-10 pm

The Inspired Word presents a hot night of sexy fun, lip-licking words, and utter debauchery – Titillating Tongues: NYC Erotica in Poetry & Prose, featuring some of New York City's best erotic writers: Rachel Kramer Bussel, Janice Erlbaum, Uche Nduka, Jennifer Blowdryer, Aimee Herman, Kathleen Warnock, Puma Perl, Elizabeth Rivera De Garcia, Jane LeCroy, and Sam J. Miller.

There will also be a 12-slot open mic open to all types of artists, where you can bring your own heat to the party.

Hosted by HBO Def Poetry star Gemineye.


When: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011

Where: One and One Bar & Restaurant (downstairs Nexus Lounge) 76 East 1st Street (corner of 1st Avenue) Manhattan, NYC Phone: (917) 703-1512

Doors open for open mic sign-up @ 6:30pm

Show starts @ 7pm

Cover Charge: $10

Must be 21 years old or older.

"The Inspired Word isn't just a series, it's a movement."


For more info on The Inspired Word series, please check out:

And please join us for our Tuesday Night Open Mic Joint - same time, same place.

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My 36th birthday column, almost outdated already

Big changes in my personal life, all for the better. Let's just say, I will hopefully actually turn into a book author and a dream realizer by the time I get to 37, in a year and a week. Clearly, realizing dreams and being true to myself is antithetical to dating. Finally learned that lesson, go me! Not to worry, I'll still be writing my column, just will try as best I can not to write about my very thankfully non-existent personal life, and I think everyone will be better off. Birthdays are big times for change, and I'm grateful to be at a place when I'm genuinely open to change, unlike I was this year, where I just spouted utter bullshit to myself and believed it and kept running back to the safety of poor decision making because it was easier than facing the mess that is my life. Now that I have all this time to myself to figure out "what I want to do with my life" it's made me realize how awful I treat myself, and I want to do better. I'd rather be self-actualized than vulnerable any fucking day, but I am still getting "heart" tattooed on my arm in just 16 days! Not burying my heart, just helping it not be idiotic. I'll save the balancing act for the BOSU ball, where it belongs.

Hope you'll check this out - I quote Mindy Kaling! Check out her book, especially the chapters on boys and men, Jewish guys, Matt and Ben, and, of course, cupcakes.

I’m having trouble creating a sexual mission statement, as Friedman advises, because so much of my lust winds up being tied in to what someone else thinks of me, what they want. I don’t consider that entirely negative, but part of my next steps are figuring out ways to combine those two things — what I want and what whoever I wind up dating wants — in a way that’s mutually pleasurable. I know when I err on the side of only pleasing someone else, I do both of us a disservice, because there’s few things less sexy than someone who’s completely needy and subservient (not in the kinky sense, in the everyday sense). I get off on being useful, both sexually and otherwise, but only in the right context, when that aspect of my personality is appreciated for what it is, rather than assumed as a given or overlooked or taken for granted. It’s a sort of maddening part of my makeup because wanting to be wanted and needed isn’t exactly the easiest sentiment to convey. It puts me right back in that sweet spot of vulnerability that always makes me feel like I’m teetering on an emotional precipice. I believe that, like my trainer’s advice when using a BOSU ball, part of becoming a mature adult is learning how to handle that balancing act and not panicking when I tip too far over to one side.

Read the whole thing

Listening to a lot of Adele, love her stuff:

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

How to open a book, Jackie Under My Skin edition

There's a chapter called "How to Open" in Priscilla Long's excellent (and that is an understatement of a word, it's a must-read) The Writer's Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. I'm in high observation mode, in part because I'm determined to succeed at NaNoWriMo, but more because I'm determined to succeed at life and meet many goals that are as yet unrealized. So I couldn't help but be awed by this first paragraph, and page, quoted below, of Wayne Koestenbaum's Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon, from the chapter "Jackie's Death."

I'm still pondering "tranced apostrophe," and while I don't know precisely what it means, the words are beautiful to me, and the reverence for Jackie, the tension between the woman and the myth, is something I’m fascinated by. This is probably my third time picking up this book, which happens often with the amount of books I own and the rate at which I acquire them. I'm trying to be more studious and learn from what I'm reading, and savor the time to read at will (and push myself with my writing too). (Thanks to Veerublog for the block quote help for this tech simpleton.)

I began to write about the allure of icon Jackie in May 1993, while the real Jacqueline Onassis was alive and well. I addressed my sentences toward her, in tranced apostrophe: Dear Jackie, for a long time I have wanted to tell you about your frequent appearances in my dreams. I had a mad notion that she would read my book and understand my desire; that she would acknowledge the legitimacy of public curiosity; that we might become friends. It was a hopeless quest, doomed to fail. Brashly, I wanted to effect a truce between Jacqueline Onassis and icon Jackie. I wanted to find—to liberate—my "inner Jackie"; somewhere in my body was trapped a mimic Jackie O, and I wanted to afford her some room to breathe. But my plans to scale Mount Jackie—to give voice to Jackie's charisma—were foiled. Her cancer was announced; with sad suddenness, she died. I can't address Jacqueline Onassis anymore. But icon Jackie remains, a baffling array of images still requiring interpretation—not because interpretation is a panacea for loss, but because Jackie darkly captivates, and captivation fumbles for a foothold in speech. Dare I find words for why Jackie mesmerizes? Even while Jacqueline Onassis was alive, icon Jackie had a life of her own, obeying comic-book laws; we could no more explain the icon than we could avert war, bewitch our neighbors, or reverse time.

More on Jackie Under My Skin:

The New York Times review:

Initially, the results are amusing: Mr. Koestenbaum possesses a sharp and nimble wit, and his first few chapters seem like both a playful exercise in cultural commentary and a campy, tongue-in-cheek send-up of deconstructive pedantry. As the book progresses, however, the reader begins to suspect that Mr. Koestenbaum is actually completely serious about his undertaking, that he really believes he can decipher the hidden meaning of Jackie changing hairdos and clothes. In fact, by the end of the book, he has effectively turned her into a blank slate for his own theorizing, an approach that allows him to completely ignore the facts of her existence. It's this approach that enables him to write such ludicrous sentences as "Doom came to her, in Dallas, and it may have seemed retribution for hubris." Or to ask the reader to think of her father "in the dark night" and "imagine Jackie's love for him, and wonder if he pushed that love too far."

Interview with Wayne Koestenbaum

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Happy November! Kindle and Nook $9.99 ebook versions of Women in Lust are out now!

November is one of my favorite months, not just because the 10th is my birthday (and National Vanilla Cupcake Day), but because, in this case, it's auguring good things. Like the ebook release of Women in Lust for Kindle and Nook and the kickoff of the virtual book tour! It's also National Novel Writing Month, which I encourage you to participate in. I'm doing it this year and extra determined to finish.

Also, you can win prizes, including a copy of Women in Lust, a vibrator and a fun to-be-determined sex toy by following along and picking my brain in the November 8th, 7-8 pm EdenFantasys (@Edenfantasys) Twitter chat with me (@raquelita), hashtag #womeinlust. Also next Tuesday, November 8th, Women in Lust is the subject of the Naked Reader Book Club. Join in!

(fyi, you can't search inside from my blog but you can by clicking through to Amazon)

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