Tag Archives: erotica

E is for Erotica and Edibles

Today I find myself caught between two sex toys that aren’t necessarily considered as such.

The first is Edibles. Whether we’re talking about licking whipped cream and chocolate syrup off a lover’s body, purchasing flavored lubes and condoms, enjoying edible massage oils, or investing in special edible underwear, there’s quite a range to the edible spectrum.

In terms of health and safety, edibles can be a bit tricky. As one of my friends likes to say, the vagina is a “self-cleaning oven,” so to speak. It typically regulates itself, unless you start putting things in it that don’t really belong there. Edibles can frequently fall into this category of things that don’t belong, as sugary products tend to throw off the vagina’s pH balance, causing increased yeast production, resulting in yeast infections. Yuck!

Personally, my recommendation is to avoid inserting any type of foods or food products into the vagina. However, if you like licking things off of your lovers, you can still have plenty of fun with that, applying edible products to the rest of your body.

A great place to start with edibles is with flavored massage oils. The Kama Sutra brand sells a line of “love oils” that come in flavors like raspberry and vanilla. You can rub them onto your lover’s body, putting them in the mood with a sensual massage, and then enjoy licking it off. And, since they’re water-based, they also play well with latex condoms.

If you’re not a fan of mixing food and foreplay, my second E option is Erotica. Though it’s not necessarily viewed as a sex toy, erotic literature has been around forever, introducing men and women to new fantasies and sexual positions to try in the bedroom. The Kama Sutra is perhaps the most well-known sex manual in the world, though it’s not neccessarily the kind of light reading that will get you hot and bothered, which is probably why there are so many modern variations. (Just hit up Amazon with the search term “Kama Sutra” and you’ll get more than 8,000 hits!)

Whether you like to read erotica alone or with a partner, its goal is to get you all fired up and ready for action. That seems like a sex tool, if not a sex toy, doesn’t it?

Finally, as a writer of erotica myself, I have to say that the only thing more fun than reading erotica is writing your own. If you’re curious about exploring this avenue, my favorite recommendation is Susie Bright’s How to Write a Dirty Story, although Stacia Kane’s awesomely titled Be A Sex-Writing Strumpet also caught my attention this morning, so I’m definitely going to be reading that later on this afternoon. Susie’s book is great for the total beginner, and will help you figure out why to write sex scenes (for personal pleasure or profit?), as well as how to go about doing so.

So which do you prefer, erotica or edibles?

Buttontapper Press Best Reads of 2013

My 12 Days of XXXmas marathon is at its end, so I thought I’d throw out the names of some of the best books I’ve read in 2013, to see us out to the end of this quickly fading year. (Note that these are books I read in 2013, not necessarily books that were published in 2013.)

Buckle up and ready your e-readers for more downloads!

Best Erotica of 2013

This year, oddly enough, I didn’t read much erotica at all. However, the two I enjoyed the most were both by indie authors. Therefore, I pronounce this year’s Best Erotica category a tie between Pavarti K. Tyler’s Sugar & Salt and D.C. McMillen’s The Wedding. Both are short pieces that belong to a larger series, but also stand alone, confident in their stilettos.

Best Western of 2013

a-wind-of-knivesYep, you read that one right. Though I’m not normally a big fan of the genre, and the last western I read was probably Shane way back in seventh grade, my writer pal Ed Kurtz recently persuaded me to give westerns another shot. After quizzing Ed about his book’s relative merits, versus say Annie Proulx’s infamous “Brokeback Mountain” story, I bought a copy of his novella, A Wind of Knives, and tore through it over the holidays. Great book, worth every penny.

It’s also the winner of this year’s Best Title of 2013 award. Seriously, killer.

Best Horror of 2013

pinsSpeaking of genres I don’t typically read, Jessica McHugh’s horror cavalcade set in a strip club, Pins, rang in my 2013 as I stayed up super late into the new year to finish it. And holy hell, what a ride it was! Though I can’t say I’m a convert to the genre (gore just not being my jam), I thoroughly enjoyed Jessica’s astutely observed strippers, from the lifers to those just trying to pay the bills, and the kinds of very bad things that can befall them — whether or not they work in a place that doubles as a bowling alley. I’m definitely a fan of the McHughniverse now, though, and look forward to reading more of her cross-genre works in 2014.

Best Nonfiction of 2013

under_the_tableFar and away my favorite nonfiction book of 2013 was Kevin C. Fitzpatrick’s Under the Table: A Dorothy Parker Cocktail Guide. Not only will this gem teach you how to make fine adult beverages from the 1920s (and beyond!), but it’ll also give you lots of great tippling trivia about Dottie and her gang at the Algonquin Round Table that you can toss like glitter at all the parties you’ll be attending in the New Year. A great reference for writers, drinkers, and Dorothy Parker fans.

Best Graf novel of 2013

rage-is-backThat’s graffiti novel, not graphic novel. And yes, there is a difference. The winner, Rage is Back by Adam Mansbach (yes, of Go the Fuck to Sleep fame), spirited me back to my New York City days, most of which were spent commuting on “bombed” subway cars, for at least two hours one-way. I got a helluva lot of reading done on the subway, come to think of it. So, even though commuting in NYC will always suck, I can’t begrudge the time it gave me to speed through tons of great books. If I’d had this one on my lap, things would’ve been even more awesome. More, please!

Best Crime Novel of 2013

troubled-daughtersDefinitely one of the stand-out anthologies of the year, my favorite crime novel of the year was Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives: Stories from the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense edited by Sarah Weinman. I still haven’t written up a proper review for this one, since it’s hard to pick just a few stories to highlight out of all the great material in here, from Patricia Highsmith to Shirley Jackson to Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, but if you love some damned dames, this is your fix.

Best Poetry of 2013

life-cycleAnother end-of-the-year read, Dena Rash Guzman’s Life Cycle is one of those books that deserves all of its truly abundant accolades. Though I often run screaming from poetry titles, Dena’s book is smart, approachable and often times laugh-out-loud funny, too. A proper review is forthcoming, over at Black Heart Magazine, but for now let me just say I am thrilled to have read this cheeky little volume, and I look forward to reading lots more from Dena in the future. (P.S. You can’t buy this one at Amazon; only through Powell’s Books online or in stores.)

Best Childhood Fave Re-Read of 2013

bfgPretty much every childhood favorite I’ve re-read this year has been amazing, but rediscovering Roald Dahl’s inventive wordsmithery (not to mention the true meaning of “snozzcumbers”!) has inspired me to take up my quill and go a little crazy on the page in 2014. The BFG was my favorite as a kid, and it’s still the greatest, although I have to admit I also really enjoyed getting reacquainted with Louise Fitzhugh’s marvelous Harriet the Spy - still a favorite amongst those of us who carry notebooks absolutely everywhere.

Best Serial of 2013

downward-facing-deathI love mysteries — the cheesier and punnier and cozier the better — so I was thrilled to see Neal Pollack had written one for Kindle Serials entitled Downward-Facing Death. As I devoured each new installment, I was panting for more, and Mr. P delivered. I hope he’ll write lots more of these funny, strange mysteries in the future, whether as serials or full-length novels.

And speaking of mysteries…

Best Noir Mystery of 2013

gone-girlI know everyone read Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl last year and went bonkers for it (so much so that it’s currently in production as a David Fincher film, with none other than Ben Affleck in the lead male role), but I read it as part of this year’s Tournament of Books and absolutely loved it. It’s one of the darkest novels about married life I’ve read in recent times, and it’s perfectly disturbing as well as an incredibly well executed mystery. So just go read it if you haven’t already. It’s a great example of he said/she said that actually works and the plot will have you guessing all the way through.

Best Public Domain Book of 2013

sherlock-holmesAnd it’s official:

Sherlock Holmes is now in the public domain!

Which means that in 2014 I’m totally going to have to write some filthy erotica using everybody’s favorite consulting detective as the star. Yum!

Also, if you haven’t yet grabbed a free copy of The Complete Sherlock Holmes, you really should. It’s — dare I say it? — elementary.

Et toi?

That about does it for my 2013 reading list. So, what were YOUR favorite books of 2013?

A to Z challenge: Laura Roberts

R is for Laura Roberts. Yeah, that’s right: I’m featuring myself as an Awesome Lady Author today. Because I’m worth it. And because it’s my blog, so I can write all kinds of egomaniacal posts if I want to, so there.

If I were to profile myself, here are the highlights:

Laura Roberts used to write filthy, thought-provoking erotica, before it was cool to write filthy, thought-provoking erotica. She published pieces in her online magazine, Black Heart, and people seemed to enjoy them, so she made some print copies and sold those to anyone who’d buy ‘em. Based on her success, she started writing a sex column for a Montreal weekly paper, profiling sex workers and finding out all there is to know about the underground city. She took notes for a novel, which she’s still wrestling onto paper, and moved into a post-Apocalyptic bunker in Austin to continue writing. For now Laura writes humorous fiction about pirates, ninjas and other bizarre characters, has published her first novel, Rebels of the 512, and is contemplating a sequel. She still runs Black Heart, which has transitioned to a multi-genre literary magazine with a dirty streak, and writes reviews for money.

You should buy one (or all) of her books to support her filthy writing habit.

Who’s your favorite R author? (Mine is actually Mary Roach, because she’s even more of a freak than I am, but still gets paid by reputable sources to indulge her freakish writing behavior.)

PayPal vs Smashwords: Censorship and fiction

As you may have heard, Smashwords is currently in talks with PayPal regarding the publication of “questionable” erotic fiction. As a writer and publisher of erotica, this concerns me.

Smashwords’ founder, Mark Coker, is currently in talks with PayPal about the situation, as what PayPal is proposing is ultimately censorship.

As a writer and publisher of erotica, I agree with Coker that PayPal has no business telling us what we can or cannot write about. If the work is fictional, it’s legal.

PayPal is worried about topics such as bestiality, rape and incest. But, when applied to fictional works, these concerns make no sense. No real person or animal is being harmed by writers who graphically describe a man fucking a donkey (or, perhaps more to the Smashwords point, one half-man/half-donkey hybrid fucking another half-man/half-donkey hybrid). So why should anyone be concerned about this content? It is, in a word, ridiculous.

Think about it: Lolita is the story of a pedophile, who describes his love and lust for the underage Lolita—whom he drags across America, violating her in one motel room after another, following the death of her mother (who, by the way, he only married in order to get at her child). Would PayPal have had Smashwords censor Nabokov’s seminal work, claiming that it violated the Terms of Service concerning rape and incest?

This is exactly the kind of madness PayPal is proposing.

Here is what Coker said in an email to the Smashwords community about the company’s views on fictional instances of incest:

*Incest:*  Until now, we didn’t have a policy prohibiting incest between consenting adults, or its non-biological variation commonly known as “Pseudo-incest.”  Neither did our retailer partners. We’ve noticed a surge of PI books over the last few months, and many of them have “Daddy” in the title.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the surge in “Daddy” titles prompted PayPal to pursue this purge (I don’t know). PI usually explores sexual relations between consenting adult stepchildren with their step parents, or between step-siblings. Effectively immediately, we no longer allow incest of any variety in erotica.

Pseudo-incest? The name itself says it all: it’s not real incest, it’s pretend. So what is there to censor? If, as Coker suggests, these titles concern consenting adults having affairs with their step-parents (i.e. people who are totally unrelated to them by blood ties), I am flummoxed by PayPal’s desire to suppress this material. It’s not like these writers are saying, “Go out and rape your step-daughter; here’s a how-to manual.”

As Coker eloquently puts it:

Like many writers, censorship of any form greatly concerns me. It is with some reluctance that I have made the decision to prohibit incest-themed erotica at Smashwords. Regardless of your opinion on incest, it’s a slippery slope when we allow others to control what we think and write. Fiction is fantasy. It’s not real. It unfolds in our imagination. I’ve always believed fiction writers and readers should have the freedom to explore diverse topics and situations in the privacy of their own mind. From an imagination perspective, erotica is little different from a literary novel that puts us inside the mind of farm animals (1984), or a thriller novel that puts us inside the mind of a terrorist, or a horror novel that puts us inside the mind of an axe-murderer or their victim. All fiction takes us somewhere. We read fiction to be moved, and to feel. Sometimes we want to feel touched, moved, or disturbed. A reader should have the right to feel moved however they desire to be moved.

Incest, however, carries thorny baggage.  The legality of incest is murky. It creates a potential legal liability for Smashwords as our business and our books become more present in more jurisdictions around the world. Anything that threatens Smashwords directly threatens our ability to serve the greater interests of all Smashwords authors, publishers, retailers and customers who rely upon us as the world’s leading distributor of indie ebooks. The business considerations compel me to not fall on the sword for incest. I realize this is an imperfect decision. The slippery slope is dangerous, but I believe this imperfect decision is in the best interest of the community we serve.

While I can’t say that I will be personally affected by PayPal’s crackdown, as I do not currently offer any titles that concern bestiality, rape or incest (or use keywords to that effect), I categorically do not support PayPal’s moral policing of Smashwords authors, and I stand by my fellow authors who do write about these topics.

It is their right, as authors of fiction. To suggest otherwise is censorship, pure and simple.

Coker is correct when he says that this is all a slippery slope. If PayPal can tell erotica writers who tackle dangerous or taboo subject matter to stop writing, then they can tell erotica writers who tackle completely normal subject matter to stop writing, too. And once they’ve silenced erotica writers, why should they stop there? They will have set a precedent, enabling them to eliminate any writers they deem unsavory or dangerous. Horror writers, crime writers, mystery writers that splash too much blood on the page… hey, why not?

That, to me, smacks of fascism. Do we live in a free society, where writers are able to dream and imagine and write as they please, or do we live in a concentration camp of the mind, where only “acceptable” ideas are considered?

PayPal cannot tell writers which ideas are acceptable. It isn’t up to them. Readers will decide, and they will vote with their dollars. And if PayPal doesn’t want our dirty money, then they will ultimately drop out of favor as the “preferred payment method,” and someone else will step in to enjoy the profits.

So I guess the question for PayPal is: do you want to keep making money, or do you want to be the vice squad? You can only pick one. Think fast.

If you support freedom of speech and the writers who publish with Smashwords (like me!), sign onto this letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation to tell PayPal you think they should stick to handling money and keep their opinions about morality and erotica to themselves.

Dicks are still dirty, even if it’s art

Today I logged into my Smashwords account to check up on my ebook titles and see if they’d all been approved for listing in their premium catalog. When I did so, I found the following notice on my title “The Unbelievably True Story of the World’s Worst Sex”:

Some of our retailers are super-sensitive to nudity. Please consider uploading a new or censored image.

This is only the second time any of my erotica ebooks have been flagged for nudity, which is odd, because one has a straight-up naked ass on the cover, and that didn’t cause anyone to bat an eye, whereas the tits on “Acting the Part” had to be blocked with a black bar.

I’m a little puzzled by this one, though. Here’s the image in question:

In case you couldn’t tell, it’s a painting. It’s a Baroque painting, actually, by the Italian artist Guido Reni. The title is “Bacchus and Ariadne.” It was painted in 1621, when people apparently had no qualms about flaccid dicks just hanging out there for the sake of art. Especially in the case of a classical mythological character like Bacchus, the god of wine, women and revelry!

Odd how, in 2012, naked cocks are automatically deemed “offensive,” no matter what the context. I mean, first of all, it’s an erotica ebook. By definition, this title is about sex. If it offends you, why are you browsing this section at all? It’s not like you’re going to find a dissertation on quantum physics here, so get your mind into the gutter or don’t go down the drainpipe at all.

Secondly, does simply viewing a penis make one horny? Or does it assail one’s eyes? Sure, it’s a sexual organ, but if it’s not standing at attention, I think it’s safe to say it’s just another body part. Likewise for Ariadne’s exposed bosom. She’s not squeezing her nipples or making any sexual advances on Bacchus (who is, by the way, her husband). She’s just hanging out.

In fact, she looks kind of annoyed with him—as if she is maybe saying “Can’t even get it up for the ol’ ball and chain, can you?” That’s why I picked it for my ebook cover. She’s irritated with this guy, and it shows. Plus, he’s got a tiny penis, which fits the theme of my story perfectly.

So why is this offensive and in need of censorship? I thought this was a beautiful painting. And an ironic one, as you can clearly see a mere mortal giving a god the gears, which most humans can’t get away with (even in classical mythology). Reni also painted a really femme-y Archangel Michael, which I dig, and which may or may not have inspired the nipple-protruding breastplate on the Batman costume.

Just look at this shirtless wonder! Plus, I think Fabio is tweaking her nipple here… Highland Rogue indeed!

I think it’s really odd that Smashwords is suggesting retailers would take offense because of an erotic ebook cover that features a classical painting of two naked people hanging out. It’s art, after all, and I’ve seen plenty of oil paintings and pottery and sculptures depicting mythological scenes on the covers of books over the years, some of which even involve (gasp!) nudity, where people are just hanging out. None of those publishers argued about whether it was art or pornography; they just slapped it on their cover. Hell, this one’s not even depicting an orgy, for which ol’ Bacchus was famous!

So, yes, my cover involves nudity, but it’s not even half as steamy as the romance novel covers with Fabio on ‘em (see just one example at right). And isn’t it, really, the suggestion of nudity, more than the nudity itself, that causes people to get all turned on?

I guess my ultimate question is: does my ebook’s cover offend you, and if so, why?

Sexy writing workshop and haiku

In addition to reading being sexy, as detailed in yesterday’s post, writing is also super sexy. Which is why I’m taking it to the sexiest level possible and teaching a workshop about writing sexy stories! My “Saucy Smut” class is happening this Friday, October 9 at 6:30PM at Joy Toyz (4200 St-Laurent, suite 415), and will feature tips and tricks for anyone interested in learning how to get started writing erotica. This is for people who are purely in it for pleasure, as well as those looking to turn it into a career. The class itself is one night only, and costs $35 to attend ($30 if you’re a student).

In case you’re wondering what qualifies me to teach this class, please feel free to read some of my erotica at Black Heart Magazine, or online at Oysters & Chocolate, where I’m currently creating dirty astrology pieces for every sign of the zodiac. This month’s installment is Libra.

If you’ve ever wanted to write erotica, but wondered how to begin, c’mon out to Joy Toyz and find out! I promise to be gentle. You’ll also get extra credit if you’re read Inga Muscio’s fabulous book, Cunt, as I mentioned in this week’s Vixen. This extra credit may or may not come in candy form, as Halloween is fast approaching, and everybody loves sweet things.

And now, on to today’s sexy haiku, and the image that inspired it:

Photo by Ask The Geek

Photo by Ask The Geek

woman as object:
full lips, luscious bosom,
embracing herself

Oh, and in case you were wondering? That’s not me in the photo, although Ask The Geek has taken photos of me before. Maybe I’ll use them as inspiration in a future post when I’m feeling particularly vain!

P.S. A friend pointed out that my haiku today doesn’t follow the typical 5–7-5 format. This is true, but according to the definitions offered by the Haiku Society of America, I don’t think any of my haiku thus far actually qualify because they’re not about nature or natural imagery. Since I have never written about nature, nor do I intend to embrace this stuffily traditional definition of haiku, you could argue that I either write experimental or non-traditional haiku, or perhaps that I write senryu, which are “poem[s], structurally similar to haiku, that highlight the foibles of human nature, usually in a humorous or satiric way.” This is actually much more my type of poem, but I doubt any non-poets would know wtf I was talking about if I said I write senryu, so I’ll stick with the more common term haiku when explaining my daily obsession.