Dita Parker

Friday, December 30, 2011

Raise your glass

New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
~Mark Twain

All I've promised is to give away a $20 Ellora's Cave gift card on January first, so if you'd like a chance to win it, leave your email addy after the beep.

Have an absolutely fabulous 2012!

Beep.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hope springs eternal

[If you're looking for the XXX-mas giveaway, it's in the previous post.]

Dearest denizens,

What a year 2011 has been! I don't know how 2012 can top the madness or the beauty, all I know is it will try.

I know I'm looking forward to it. I know I haven't been as out and about as I probably should have been, but awkwardly aware as I am of how useless I've been as a Romantica writer (thanks for the reminders, M, what are friends for), I've unconsciously okay consciously tried not to draw too much attention to just how desperately useless I've been. It's not as if I haven't tried. To succeed, I mean, not suck.

If I deserve it, an offer will come. In the meantime, I hope I manage to entertain at least some of you. I hope that whatever is hurting you passes. I hope that those who are alone still appreciate the break the holidays afford. I hope that wherever you are, your holiday spirit runs high. I hope that in the spirit of that spirit, unless your goal is to be the wealthiest body in the boneyard, you give as good as you get.

Be good, sweetie darlings. Have fun, be grateful, be kind.

Wishing you peace, joy, and peace of mind on this shortest day of the year, 

With love,
Dita

Friday, December 16, 2011

XXX-mas poll and giveaway

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas... I am, I am! The sun now rises way after nine and sets at three, what snow we've gotten has melted, and it has been the rainiest December in fifty years. [Last month was the warmest November in fifty years. We've been breaking weather records almost every season. A coincidence? I think not.] Dark and desolate? Definitely. So someone send some snow to lighten and brighten things up. Pronto. Please. But not as much as last year or the year before that. There is no need to exaggerate. We'd be quite content with the golden mean. Thanks.

The last seven days in seventy words: had a lovely wedding anniversary, Christmas shopping done, cards sent, menu set, deadlines met, saw three dudes pull off every Shakespeare play in two hours, the full moon was beau-ti-ful, oldest was really sick one day and fine the next, again, (seriously, the child is übermenschlich), youngest is up all night with growth pains, again, (that child will grow up to be ten feet tall), and my niece was born!

Now...now I think it's time to wrap up this year's Frisky Fridays. I haven't done polls or giveaways here at the Den, and you've been such good sports, visited and commented, so what do you say, dearest denizens, how about we send off 2011 with a bang and a whimper and do both?! They're not interlinked. You don't have to vote to enter. You can vote and skip the contest. Naughty or nice, every adult on the planet is eligible.

You'll find the simple XXX-mas poll question at the top of the right-hand column. If everyone's happy, my work here is done. If not, maybe some more Frisky Fridays are in order in 2012. Want an Ellora's Cave Romantica Publishing $20 gift card too/instead? Let me know by leaving a working email addy (working!, not stuffed to capacity, better luck next time) in comments, or by dropping me a line at ms[dot]ditaparker[at]gmail[dot]com (subject line: XXX-mas giveaway), and on January first, I'll let random.org decide and off shopping you go!

Okay! I think that's all for now. Spread the word. That gift card, if you hit the Vault, buys you up to twenty (20!) ebooks. Or would you prefer a Cavemen 2012 Calendar and some recent releases? You decide, I provide.

Ah, it is better to give than to receive. Which reminds me... But that's none of your business, sweetie darlings. Now shoo, go make someone happy, and yourself in the process. Oh, and if you know a really good shaman, ask for snow!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

You will meet a tall blond stranger

Did I ever. 

I don't know why but I've always liked them more on the dark side. Not *that* dark side. Eyes, hair, complexion. Imagine my surprise when I found myself totally in lust and love with a blue-eyed blond with skin smooth and pale like marble. Is he the exception that proves the rule? He's exceptional, that's for sure. Best of all, he's all mine.

No Frisky Friday today, ladies and gents, which, as always, doesn't mean you shouldn't have one. I fully intend to practice what I preach. It's our wedding anniversary weekend, you see. Eleven years. Eleven years? Eleven years?! Wow. Time sure flies when you're having fun. And when it hasn't been fun, when we've been forced to be apart, when we've been more tired parents than husband and wife, we've still been friends and soul mates in every way that matters. And you don't leave your friends in times of need, yours, theirs, you carry each other.

We still want each other, a lot and quite often. We share a quirky sense of humor. We find the same things unfair, worth fighting for/against. We work in very different fields, and even if we don't understand all the ins and outs of what the other does, we still find it immensely interesting, like a window to a parallel universe. We don't agree on everything, we don't like all of the same things, but we listen to and respect one another.

All of the above have carried us for eleven years now, and I hope they carry us for eleven more and beyond. Because I love him more than any man I've ever known. Because I still wake up some mornings and stare at him, just stare at him while he sleeps, and think I must be dreaming.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For country or for crowd

Temperature: 0/32

Eating: mixed nuts 

Drinking: glögg

Watching: The Nightmare Before Christmas later tonight

Listening: to the kids collaborating on a poster for I don't know what yet

Reading: Mankell's latest, Minnet av en smutsig ängel, in Swedish. It's gonna take like three years, but hey, anything for the sake of expanding one's vocabulary. (Forget Nordic Noir, give his other novels a try!)

Writing: trying to plot (plot!) a story I've been dying to dig into for a while

Feeling: Can you serve two masters? If you've succeeded, tell me how.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy 110th

I do not make films primarily for children. I make them for the child in all of us, whether we be six or sixty. Call the child "innocence". The worst of us is not without innocence, although buried deeply it might be. In my work I try to reach and speak to that innocence, showing it the fun and joy of living; showing it that laughter is healthy; showing it that the human species, although happily ridiculous at times, is still reaching for the stars.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December will be magic again

I'm sorry for the radio silence, sweetie darlings. It's all good, promise! It means I've been hard at work. It means I hope to have good news to relate in the coming weeks. 

So much to wrap up before Jesus faces off with Santa, but I deny being stressed out. There is no need to panic. Not yet, anyway. I'm on schedule with deadlines, even the self-imposed ones, and I've got a Teflon suit to don if the sound and the fury of the pre-X-mas fuss starts feeling a bit too much.

Mad Men beware, we have read our Seuss at Casa Dita. "Maybe Christmas," he thought, "doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more." The kids have written Santa (and once again, he does not, I repeat, he does not live on the North Pole. At the Arctic Circle, okay?). They know Jesus put the Christ in Christmas. But what they're most excited about, what they anxiously wait for all fall, are the little things they remember doing last year, and the year before that, every year a bit more.

Tradition. The scourge of change and progress, and a source of comfort and continuity. Some traditions I've introduced, some come from Hubby's side. The best by far are the ones the whole family has had a hand in creating. New ones. Ours. Decades old or brand spanking new, traditions put the Christmas in my Christmas.

I will catch myself at the intersection of chronos and kairos, teaching something I remember being taught, having a meaningful conversation over a mundane task, hands hard at work, minds wide open. In the middle of giving instructions, telling a story, answering questions over the counter, I will look at my children, their faces glowing, cheeks full of cookie dough, hands breaded in flour, and see myself. In that instant, the past, present and future bleed into one. I'm a girl. I'm a woman. I'm an old dame. And everything makes such perfect sense.

P.S. Thanks for all the best wishes I've received during the year, Special Mention: chain letters promising fortune and fame. Alas, they didn't work. Maybe I jinxed them. Never passed them on. We'll never know. But. I've devised the perfect plan to ensure next year is glitch-free. Next year, just send me a check, some bourbon and bonbons, a Marlies Dekkers gift card, or an extra hour to my day. Or make a donation to your favorite charity. Support your favorite authors, buy their books! Get some for your friends, too!! Much appreciated!!! Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go have lunch.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Girls on film

Caveat lector: If you are a minor, leave. If you object to viewing sexually explicit material, including but not limited to images/video of nude adults, adults engaged in sexual acts and/or other sexually oriented material, leave. If your community prohibits the viewing of such material or there are federal/local laws which prohibit the viewing/possession of adult oriented material, leave. If you believe that regardless of content and context all porn is the same, that everyone involved is a victim of abuse, probably on drugs, and forced in front of the camera, leave. No, wait, maybe you should read on, just this once.

Sex is emotion in motion.
~Mae West

Porn. Quick. What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word? A woman with chest enough for two and the vulva of a prepubescent girl going through the motions with a hung guy or two, even three? Heels, thongs, fake boobs, fake orgasms, facial ejaculations, and little/no emphasis on female pleasure? Unsafe practices, women reduced to sex objects, violent acts sexualized? Repetitive, formulaic, lame, images stripped of any authenticity, of healthy sexuality, sex based on trust, respectfulness and consent, on true intimacy, on mutual passion and satisfaction?

Who wants to watch that? Who wants to do that, on camera, for all to see? I guess the latter is one for the countless couples/individuals (enhancement-free for the most part) making porno at home and putting their posterior online for posterity for all eternity, most for free, some for a fee. But maybe you're not interested in either variety, neither the mainstream movies nor filming what you'd like to watch, let alone flashing the world (your imagination and bandwidth is the limit!).

Maybe you'd like to watch some some-some all the same, alone or with your partner. Maybe you feel that since tastes and orientations vary, and since women are watching, too, adult films should reflect this diversity. Maybe you feel, as I do, that sex is such a healthy, fun, positive thing that it's a shame porn has given it a bad name; that porn has become a blanket term; that sex is too important to be left in the hands of venture capitalists.

Make no mistake, there are a lot of sad people and sad stories in the business, everything from I-was-young-and-needed-the-money to human trafficking. Commercial sexual exploitation is a serious problem. When you feel that what you're watching is racist and/or discriminatory in nature, that it's abusive and/or demeaning toward women, there's a problem. If viewing porn has become compulsive, if you feel addicted, if it's affecting your relationships, your work, how you divide your time, you have a problem. If you can't get aroused/off without watching, you have a problem. [Remember when we talked about how rough stimulation can desensitize the body? The brain is no different. Consume responsibly, for your own sake.] If you're baffled because your date refused to let you help yourself to every orifice, I mean, is she normal, isn't that sex, the women in those films not only seemed ready, willing and able, they seemed to enjoy it, you have a problem. When you forget that porn is an industry, the participants performers, the act an act, and the end product a product, a source of revenue, you have a problem.

So maybe you feel as I feel that that there has to be something else out there. Maybe you feel like rejecting the reality offered by the mainstream porn industry (i.e. a male-dominated fantasy) and substituting your own. I'm happy to report there's a slowly but steadily growing movement trying to do just that. Sex-positive, female-friendly, high-end websites, independent production companies, distributors and filmmakers catering to all races and orientations, women writing and directing with women in mind and female pleasure and ethical production values as their guiding light.

I want to introduce you to a few. Some I've found a while ago, some I've just befriended but they came highly recommended via women whose judgment I trust so I feel safe passing them on. Of course I have no idea what you like. There's a good chance you're here because you read erotic romance, so maybe that's where you should start, by taking a minute to think about what stories turn you on and what setups turn you off and take it from there. One woman's fantasy is another woman's nightmare, so feel free to click away or delve deeper according to your tastes.

Bleu Productions
Fetish and erotica films by independent, award-winning filmmaker Maria Beatty.

Cinema Erotique
Female-focused fetish and fantasy à la Cherry Chapman.

Femme Productions
A line of woman-friendly erotic movies.

Good for Her
A diverse mix, Special Mention: the Feminist Porn Awards.

Good Vibrations
Another diverse mix.

Hot Movies for Her
And another.

I Feel Myself 
A female (authentic) orgasm appreciation site par excellence.

Kink.com
Your destination (18 sites, actually) for all things kinky, BDSM and fetish. Safe, sane and consensual!

The Crash Pad Series
Director and producer Shine Louise Houston explores female and queer sexuality. 

The Masseuse starring Jenna Jameson and (then husband) Justin Sterling. I know what you're thinking because I thought so too, that aren't these mainstream porn stars, but this came up so many times, described as a fairly regular love story with really hot sex, centered on female pleasure, maybe we should check it out, what do you say? 

Tristan Taormino’s Chemistry Series
I'm not a fan of reality television, but these reality porn movies got honorable mentions for, well, chemistry, hot and authentic, so I'm giving these the benefit of the doubt even though I haven't seen them. And because it's TT. Porn performers left to their own devices, when, where and with whom strictly up to them, focused on female pleasure.

The Viv Thomas production The Art of Sex.

x-art.com
As the tagline reads, beautiful erotica. Just like The Art of Sex, it does what it says on the tin. These are really sensual.

One thing pro-porn and anti-porn advocates seem to agree on is the need to raise awareness about content. And it's not just a feminist issue or a women's issue. Countless men are just as insulted by and tired of the mainstream portrayals of women, sex and sexuality. They are fathers who worry over the sons and daughters who will come across these images sooner or later. Will it affect their self-image, how they view and treat others, their relationships? Because sex should be a positive, pleasurable experience, not frightening, degrading or disturbing.

The answer to bad porn isn't no porn...it's to try and make better porn!
~Annie Sprinkle

Friday, November 18, 2011

If you don't know me by now

I've been having the weirdest dreams this week. Weird weird weird. It's also been a productive week, which is nice. I've known the other variety, too. I've been thinking a lot about last year and last fall lately and how maybe it's not a surprise that the Romantica I submitted, rewrote and still couldn't get right didn't work out. I'm absolutely astonished I managed to write anything at all, all emotion one minute, feeling nothing the next just to stop the hurting, even for a second, as I was. Some of the stuff I do profitted from the detachment, other areas suffered a severe blow. Turned out I'm not Superwoman. Imagine my surprise.

Ah, sweetie darlings, we are all just troubled souls, aren't we, swimming in an ocean of illusion, dead calm on the surface, violent currents underneath. How can I say that? I don't know you, you say? I know how you feel. [Look into my eyes.] I know how you feel. [Look into my eyes.] I know how you feel. [Not around the eyes. The eyes.] 

I know how you feel.

What the hell?

I'm hypnotising you into forgetting it's Frisky Friday. It's not working, is it? (And did I promise to post every Friday? I can't check if I did. It'll drive me to drink if I did, and now is not a good time, seriously.) I know what you're thinking. I didn't have time to write a post, right? Wrong. I started writing about porn, one thing led to another as it often does, and before I knew it I had written some seven thousand words instead of seven hundred and oops.

It's the curse of the multidisciplinary mind. It ain't funny. It's a curse. A curse! It has you wishing you had a spare brain or two, 72 hours in a day, a desert island and an extra month all to yourself so you could read and write and read and write and try it out and try it again because that's how you make sense of life the universe and everything, and that you could live to two hundred because there's so much to do and look into and try to understand, too much!, in one lifetime. What a fascinating world we live in, dearest denizens. Fantastic! And people, OMG, people are the best, and relationships better than best, and what about sex? None of us would be here if it weren't for that drive!! Brilliant!!!

So I got a little carried away as I'm wont to do in my pathology and have stuff enough for ten blog posts about pornography, and maybe one day we'll look into those one interesting tidbit at a time, but first I need to sift through the thing, choose a POV, my position (but I want all positions!), and write a focused, coherent post about porn, not a Theory of Everything. And I've only started looking for No-Performers-Were-Scarred-For-Life-While-Making-This-Movie movies for your viewing pleasure, because there's porn and then there's porn, and if you'd like visual stimulation beyond what reflects from the mirrors around the house you should be getting some, but not just any ol' crap.

I'll dig up some suggestions for next Friday. When some of you will be elbow-deep in turkey and gravy. Well, The Rest of The World won't be. Everyone is equally welcome to join and pitch in when Frisky Friday ventures into the world of adult movies. Same time, same bat-crazy channel. Until then, if you can't be good, be careful, okay. And keep thinking those sexy thoughts.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The choice is yours

I love my job. I love Hubby's job, too. I wouldn't survive it for a minute. Then again, he couldn't write to save his life. He wouldn't stop as long as his heart beat in his chest, though. He would die trying, my hot man from the cold.

His hours are far from conventional, and that's okay. In fact, it's a bonus. We've had a steamy office romance going for as long as I've worked from home. What? Tsk. As if you wouldn't take advantage of the situation. Born to be mild or wild, moaner/screamer/do you want to get arrested, you would if you had kids and the constant prospect of interruption that comes with the package.

But the surest way to put out a fire is to deprive it of oxygen. So tonight I'll step out for some air and spend the evening with two women I'm absolutely demented about, women who love me as Hubby does, for me, women I love, admire and respect with all my heart.

You can't be all things to one person. No one person will ever fulfill all your needs. Expect that and set yourself up for disappointment. I wouldn't survive doing what Hubby does because I haven't got and never will have the skills and knack for it. I don't understand half of what it involves. It doesn't mean I can't be interested in what he does, appreciative of the fact that it's his chosen profession, thankful someone's at it because it can be stressful and demanding and laden with responsibility. 

What I'm truly grateful for is that he has people who understand exactly what he's talking about if he needs to talk about it with someone, and that I have people to unload to so I don't have to dump it all at his feet and watch his gaze glaze over as I talk shop. It takes nothing away from what we have together. If anything, it adds a very important layer to the relationship, one I consider all-important, the one where we belong together, yes, but where we don't belong to one another, exist for one another, are the other's only reason to live.

Marriage, or any other serious relationship, say friendship, is such a paradox. It's supposed to be a source of joy and enjoyment. So why does it sometimes feel like so much work? Where's the fun? Wasn't it supposed to be fun and fulfilling? Here's a thought: It's all of that, too. Chances are you're not married/friends for money, security, convenience or any other particular reason other than you choose to be. You want to be. 

And nothing requires more strength of will and determination than something you choose to do of your own volition. That's why marriage, and friendship, can sometimes feel like so much work. It's a choice you have to make every day. And unless you are absolutely free to make that decision, unless you have choices and you choose them above all others, you can't commit yourself heart, body and soul.

Told you. A paradox. Sorry if I lost you. My intentions are, as always, good; doubly so on a Frisky Friday. Feel free to comment, dissent, nod in agreement. Just promise you'll think about it, and that you won't be too upset with me if I don't immediately get back to you, because tonight yours truly madly deeply and partners in crime will burn this town.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

To whom it may concern

[Promised myself I wouldn't dip my pen in this ink again, but the things I've been seeing and reading lately...damn.]

No one pays me to write. I write a story, submit the story, and if I get an offer for the story it's published. Or something happens on the way to heaven and it isn't. If and only if the story is published, I get a shot at making a part of my living writing.

My royalty check is equally proportional to how my book does. So it is with many authors. Every cent I don't make writing is a cent I go in search of somewhere else. Not that bad a deal when you like what you do. Not that sweet a deal when you dream of writing for a living, when the less you make writing the less you write and do something else instead.

The myth of the starving artist is a myth about artists starving. Bills to pay, mouths to feed, just like everybody else. I've gone without sustenance while writing. Because I forgot. Lost myself in it and simply forgot. That hunger I know, the satisfaction this craft brings. But no trade comes without frustrations and challenges and there are people out there making this one harder than I ever believed possible.

Piracy is not a big problem in digital publishing, it's huge. So if you're downloading or uploading thinking it's just me, just this once, just one, no harm done... Did you check the counter? With downloads by the dozens, hundreds, even thousands? Many writers do. They see what's going on, cry in the shower and resent you for it. Pick themselves up, fight back wondering if it's a losing battle, have another round in the shower and resent you even more. This is the demoralizing reality of those cooking up your favorite fantasies; something so prevalent everyone's sincerity is coming under suspicion.

I don't want you to write me telling me how much you liked my book and all the while think but where did you get it. I don't want to sweat months writing and revising, writing and revising some more, only to have my book stolen the minute it comes out. No author does. That is not how I want to start out a story; with the thought they will copy the hell out of this. I don't want to stop writing, either. No compulsive wordsmith does, and yet some are forced to cut back. Some never seem to get it off the ground. Mouths to feed, bills to pay, you know the drill.

What's it to you? Well, what if it were your favorite author down for the count? Hold your breath and hope for the best? You really want to take it that far? Really really? What if they switch to some other stuff they're good at? Some other craft you don't give a flying fig about? Are you prepared to hand them over to people who will never love them and appreciate them and understand them the way you do? What if you never find another author who understands you, life, the universe and everything the way they did?

I know many multitalented authors. They could have been a great many things, and what do they choose to do, the fools? They write. For reasons most can't explain and many refuse to dissect. Because that is what they love doing, what they'd rather do above all things. I for one don't want to lose a single one of my favorites so do us both a favor and don't encourage them, okay? Don't give them reasons, excuses or ideas. They're brilliant, yes. They're also highly impulsive and extremely impressionable. Give them the impression there's no future in writing and some will run.

I want to trust you. I want to write. I want to believe it doesn't have to be this way, that illegalities don't have to be accepted as part and parcel of digital publishing. Free reads are free reads, free content is free content. I get that. Books and content with a price tag are not free no matter how you come by them and you know that. You know what you're doing. What you don't seem to realize is how much deeper than an author's pocket the hurt and the harm goes.

Oh but you had no idea? You don't want to die a pitiful putz, do you? Of course not. You want to make sense of those questions, those objections, those buts burning within you. May I suggest you take a look at Shiloh Walker's rather comprehensive Q&A sure to put out the fire?

Long story short: No author, no book. End of story.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not a dry eye in the house

It's that time of the year again, dearest denizens. The 5th of November. Bonfire night.

You know what that means. It's V for Vendetta night. Try making it through Valerie's letter without crying, I dare you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say it with a kiss

Osculation, "the anatomical juxtaposition of two orbicularis oris muscles in a state of contraction,"* smooching, snogging, the prelude, interlude and postlude of platonic, romantic and erotic encounters alike. Kissing. You can't write a romance novel without some, and it's impossible to imagine a romantic relationship, any close relationship really, without any.

I wonder what fool it was that first invented kissing.  

~Jonathan Swift

Well, Jonathan, since you asked, Mother Nature. Kissing may well have evolved from the mouth-to-mouth feeding practices of primate mothers who chewed food for their young. Or/and Mother Nature saw it fit for the process of mate selection, because as philematologists** will tell you, a kiss is not just a kiss. It's a complex, multi-sensory exchange of information by way of taste, smell, touch and pheromones. You are not aware of it while at it, but you're in fact tonsil-deep in exploration for clues not only into another person's genetic makeup but the current status and future of your relationship.

A man's kiss is his signature. 
~Mae West

Biologist Claus Wedekind found that the more different a man's genetic code immune system is from a woman's, the more attractive, or unatractive, she will find him. How do women detect those proteins? Via a man's scent and taste. Which explains the inexplicable, i.e. why some people turn you off the minute you kiss them. Fifty-nine percent of men and 66 percent of women say they have ended a budding relationship because of a bad kiss.***

Before I take out all the romance out of something very romantic, kissing is more than nature's reproductive litmus test. The messages it carries to your brain evoke an euphoric response you can feel from head to toe. Dopamin, serotonin and oxytocin all rush through you, raising your heart rate, dilating your blood vessels, sharpening the senses and your desire, elevating your mood and making you borderline obssessively focused on and attached to your partner. It's not only lust that kissing propagates, it's love.

Kissing is a means of getting two people so close together that they can't see anything wrong with each other. 
~Rene Yasenek

Kissing is a good indicator of how your relationship is doing. Says evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup: "In an established relationship, the frequency of kissing is a good barometer as to its status. If it's no longer featured prominently or is entirely absent, there's a much higher probability that the relationship is in trouble." Kissing is an act of flirtation and foreplay, it's an expression of caring and tenderness, it conveys love and desire. It can be soft, slow, long and tentative, it can be hard, take-charge, deep and urgent. You won't remember each and every one, but you will remember the first one. And when there are none to be had, they are sorely missed.

So. Sex drive (ruled by testosterone), romantic love (ruled by dopamine) and attachment (involving bonding chemicals like oxytocin). Anthropologist Helen Fisher says kissing evolved to fulfill all of these three needs. Customs, styles and techniques abound, but the need to kiss appears universal. More than 90 percent of known cultures kiss romantically. It brings lovers closer together, it inspires artists, it's a language that transcends time and borders.

Soul meets soul on lovers' lips.
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound

I did save the best news for last, meaning that of course you don't have to consider science or worry about tomorrow while kissing. All you have to do is let nature take its course and enjoy the joyride. Your next week's mission, should you choose to accept it, is to kiss with a vengeance. Write a sonet with your lips on theirs. Write a symphony with your mouth all over their body. Easy on the teeth and tonsils, okay? Going straight to tonguing and thrusting can be an explosive, spontaneous encounter, but try working up to it if you can. Vary your approach, the place and your pace. Brush with your lips. Brush with your tongue. Suck gently. Suck intensely. Explore. The only limit is your imagination.

Sweet smooching!

"A kiss is one of the most potent stimulants that a man or woman can indulge in...and is more intoxicating than strong wine."
~Sheikh Nefzawi, The Perfumed Garden

* Dr. Henry Gibbons
** scientists who study kissing
*** research conducted by Gordon Gallup of the University of Albany

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween dress down

Looking to dress up this Halloween, thinking about something naughty? This is what the ladies have to choose from, just to flash a few: 






If you insist on going out half-naked in this weather, you can't go wrong with these items, now available at Netpinky.

And for the gents (and decidedly not available at Netpinky):


Hmm. There's naughty and then there's naughty and there's something wrong with this picture. I think I'll keep my clothes on until I can figure out what it is. Until then, have a fun Halloween and a fantastic week, sweetie darlings!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Assume the asana*

Technically, it's still Friday, so how about we strike a pose, dearest denizens, and go at it from every angle with another Frisky Friday! Ready? Assume the position.

What do you say to a guy who tells you that monogamy is beyond him, it's like eating the same meal every single day? A man who brags about the high frequency and amount of his conquests (proof he is a Great Lover, as if quantity has anything to do with quality) and that his married friends are missing out? All I could think of was he had to be really bad in bed. Of course I didn't say that to his face, but I did say something to the effect that obviously he didn't know how to cook.

You don't need a hundred cooks, you only need a hundred recipes, tried and true, for a versatile, satisfying diet. That applies to the bedroom as well as the kitchen, Casanova. But I know it's easy to fall into a rut, rotate the same few recipes because you can do it with your eyes closed/the lights out, you're in a hurry, you don't have the time or the inclination to start learning new ones.

If they're your favorite could-eat-this-and-nothing-else-for-the-rest-of-my-days recipes, go for it. Enjoy! But if you feel like trying out something new and different every once in a while but are not quite sure how, that's where cookbooks and sex manuals alike come in handy. The problem: we are spoiled for choice. So where do you go for sound but sexy advice? Which sexpert do you listen to with everything from the classics such as the Kama Sutra to specifics like The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus/Fellatio and The Best Illustrated and Most Innovative Step-By-Step Guide for a Pleasurable Path to Anal Sex to choose from? Where do you start?

My suggestion: start with the classics and progress to the specifics if and when you feel like it. There's a good reason the Kama Sutra ("the science of pleasure") is a classic. It's known as a sex manual, but it's more than a how-to handbook. Only a small part of its text is devoted to technique, the rest is erotic wisdom. It does give practical instructions on how to use different sexual positions to lend variety to lovemaking, but it's also about the senses and intimacy and sensuality, it deals with foreplay and seduction, and above all mutual pleasure, something lost on our loverboy from the beginning of the post, focused on satisfying his own needs as he was.

The text may be 2,000 years old but it's strikingly modern in it's treatment of and approach to the sexes, so don't write if off as so last millennium and counting. Times may have changed but the human body has not and for example the sections on genital size are very helpful if he's too large/small for you, or if she's too small/wide. (The Kama Sutra separates men into three types according to the size of their penis and women into three categories depending on the depth of their vagina.) The bad news: some unions are more satisfying than others. The good news: there are highly pleasurable ways to work around this. The Kama Sutra recommends positions for every possible union, something anyone who's ever suffered discomfort during sex can appreciate.

Depth and angle can make all the difference if you or your partner have any sort of physical limitation, say a disability or you're pregnant. If sex causes pain or discomfort of any kind, for any reason, it tends to limit the repertoire of sex positions and it forces you to get creative when having sex. Again, a manual can point you in the right direction when you search for what yields the most pleasure and the best results.

The Kama Sutra has seen many rebirths and been given countless interpretations. You're pressed to find a sex guide not inspired or influenced by it. Fast forward to modern times and Western shores...The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide to Lovemaking, (are you paying attention, Mr. Lothario? gourmet guide), which you may or may not have accidentally on purpose taken down from your parents' shelves, is the modern equivalent to which many if not all subsequent volumes on the subject owe a debt.
 
If you're waiting for a list, I'm sorry to disappoint you but I don't have one. I meant to compile one, even started one, then realized most positions in today's manuals are variations on the basics covered in the classics, so unless you're in the market for Coitus for Contortionists (yeah, it's all fun and games until someone pulls a muscle) you're not likely to find anything revolutionary. Still, in a rut, they can be a sex life saver. You can feast on them, make a multi-course meal out of them, or have a light snack. They are also perfectly good aphrodisiacs and appetizers, sensory stimulation.

They can add variety to your routine but keep in mind that as with any large menu, you probably won't like everything on it. I encourage you to experiment all the same. Find your favorites, what you enjoy most, together, and don't worry too much if a particular position doesn't feel right or work for you. Move on. Do whatever feels good and natural. Make it up as you go.

Bon appétit! Have a sexcellent weekend. And keep thinking those sexy thoughts.

*position

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sweet dreams (are made of this)

Had to wait for almost a year but it finally happened. Got a visit from my grandfather, the gentleman I lost last November. I didn't see him in the dream. We talked on the phone and he told me there was somewhere I should go. He even gave me the address, or rather the name of a street. There's no such place (I checked), not verbatim, it's just a metaphor, but for what, that's for the subconscious to know and my conscience to find out. I just think it's interesting my mind chose him to deliver the message. Still, it was good talking to him.

I've been looking forward to this because it's not the same as looking at photos or reminiscing, it just isn't and I can't explain why. But the feeling of peace after one of those dreams...it's the closest to heaven you can get on this earth, or the closest I imagine I'll ever be. It's beauty and happiness of the bittersweet kind; you wake up smiling only to realize it was just a dream. Oh well. Such is life.

Another dream is a little closer to becoming reality, I see the finish line with this latest Romantica of mine! Doesn't that just make me wanna sprint when what I need to do is pace myself, gracefully glide across that line, not head-on with my tongue hanging out, my limbs about to give and with the taste of blood in my mouth. God I miss a proper workout. My shoulder is doing better but my foot is still shot. It turned out to be worse than I initially thought but it'll heal. If this is the Universe forcing me to stay put, BICHOK, it's working. Give me a limp et hop, I'll give you a book.

But who was I kidding thinking I could ever write full-time. No one literally writes full-time, it's exhausting, as fun but as draining as a proper workout. You can only go full throttle for so long before you have to recoup and replenish. I will admit to being a bit impatient to submit this book, though. Get it over with. Not because I'm sick of it but because I can't wait to see how it goes over with my editor. Big or lead balloon, I've liked the book all along, I've enjoyed working on it. Even when it's given me grief I've wanted nothing more than to sort it out. Wish me luck, will you? Then again, what's luck got to do with it?

Sleep tight, sweetie darlings. May the plot bunnies bite.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Maybe I'm amazed

Dita can't come to the blog right now. She has discovered the secret to BICHOK and it's bodily harm. She has harnessed all the restless surplus energy to polishing and submitting her latest piece of Romantica, and boy oh boy what a difference a sprained ankle and pulled shoulder makes! We wish her a less-than-speedy recovery and many mild injuries in the future!!

When asked about Frisky Friday and that SWOT analysis on sex positions/guides she'd been sketching, the answer was a terse and tight-jawed "Not. Now." We'd better leave her to it then. Who knows? Maybe she'll produce something publishable this time around. What was that? Totally unprintable and uncalled-for, is what it was. Temper, temper! Or a touchy subject, hmm? Hmm?!

Oh well. So that your sojourn wasn't a total waste of precious time, we'd like to offer you one of Miss Parker's favorite time robbers: male athletes in various stages of dress. (FYI: the clips contain sound. Some would go as far as to say music.)


Hmm. That doesn't impress us much, Señor Nadal, as lovely as it was. Most people are half the tennis player you are, maybe even less, but most people can run and take their shirts off at the same time. But. What Rafa and most of us can't do is what the talented Mr. Walters does at 0:59 and 0:57, respectively.




Now stop staring and get back to work.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday, Monday

Temperature: a sunny 10/50 degrees

Eating: stir-fried goodies; Hubby is a wok star!

Drinking: a fruity...milky...smoothie...something.

Watching: a hundred thousand different shades of yellow, orange and brown

Listening: to nothing in particular

Reading: see below

Writing: that never-ending story; oh the story has an ending, middle and beginning, it's the writing that seems endless.

Feeling: a slight ache in my left ankle and deltoid

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sisters are doin' it for themselves

After the annus horribilis that was last year, I was looking forward to an uneventful rest of the decade. (Okay, my first Romantica got published. That was pretty fantabulous.) No such luck. My brother-in-law's partner and my sister-in-law's mother were diagnosed with breast cancer this summer. One has been given a clean bill. The other, well, we'll see.

On Monday I find out that my father had a health scare over the weekend, a heart incident. My brother and sister had already given him an ass-chewing so I tried to bite my tongue, but seriously, he'd had all kinds of symptoms for three weeks (!!!). No, s e r i o u s l y , gents, what gives? And I'm sorry if this sounds like a gross generalization, chew my ass if you feel like it, but in my experience when men get sick it's either a big production over nothing or they admit they need medical attention when their heads fall off and even then they're going, "It's nothing." Death grunts. "Really, it's nothing." More death grunts. I feel for the hospital staff; he's being absolutely impossible to treat or reason with, I'm sure.

The things that have been going through my mind this week...I'm getting palpitations just thinking about it. Sweet. Baby. Jesus. We need to talk about something else. How about some smart, brave, wise, reasonable women. As you may have heard, the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was divided between Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman, "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace building work." The Norwegian Nobel Committee noted that "[w]e cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society."

That's what women have been trying to tell the world for a couple of centuries now. And now we have the portrait of Alfred Nobel in relief to back our demands. But seriously, it is easy to forget in the relatively free and egalitarian part of the world how disenfranchised, and I do mean stripped of both rights and dignity, many women still are. Far too many women. It is for these women, women and girls with no voice or visibility, that the three winners and prizes such as these bring hope.

Got another brave and tireless woman for you, one who's doing something to leave the world in a better shape than she found it, brought to you via The Rejectionist. La Rejectionista has cooked up a buffet of a fundraiser to help her friend Emily, a buffet bound to tease the taste buds of readers and writers alike. The first item is already up for grabs so hurry! How will you know she hasn't booked a winter vaca and this isn't one of those last-chance-to-send-your-dollar fundraisers? I'm sorry but who vacations in Nepal? Really, peeps, jeez. Give the cynic the day off and have a look at those items, alone worth the price of admission, surely! 

I do love a woman, a man too, naturally, who doesn't lament the state of things but sets out to do something about them. Yes, I know, you could have been a contender, start a clinic from scratch, save the planet, it's a done deal, really, save for the fact you don't have the time or the expertise. Well, Emily does, and you can play a part. Major role, bit part, walk-on, the choice is yours.

No, serious like cancer, everything counts. As in everything. Maybe this week you'll do one daily coffee run instead of two. That pick-me-up pretzel? That's what the coffee is for. If it's not picking you up, it's either decaf and explain to me why you're having it or you're not getting enough rest. Enough said, you get my drift. When I start thinking I've got nothing to give, I give it another think and all kinds of possibilities open up. Not only are you leaving the world a better place than you found it, you're none the poorer for it. Do the math. None. You can take that to the bank.

I would like to sign off by reminding my dearest denizens duty calls me to step out of the den this weekend so no Frisky Friday this Friday. Doesn't mean you can't still have one, you know, not-so-subtle hint hint. I would also like to remind the ladies out there of the importance of monthly breast self-exams. You can find instructions on frickin' YouTube if you don't know how to do it, so there is no excuse. None. And gentlemen, please, it's the 21st century. Your dick won't fall off if you admit you don't feel one hundred percent one hundred percent of the time. Admit it. I dare you. Damn right I'm upset. I'm too young for this shit. Don't make it worse now. There's an army inside you. An axis of light and wisdom and truth and beauty. Mobilize it. Conspire for good.

Until next week, sweetie darlings. Behave.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The O factor

Last week's post on vibrators got me thinking about orgasms. I must confess I feel a bit uncomfortable writing them. Not uncomfortable writing about them here, talking to you about them, but in erotic romance. I sometimes feel as if I'm perpetuating a myth. You know, that if she's not screaming and writhing as if having a seizure and if he's not going off like a New Year's rocket, no one's having fun or satisfied. I sometimes feel and fear I'm party to creating performance anxiety writing stories where most every sexual encounter ends in climax, his, hers or theirs; that I'm implying that's all there is, and that that's all there is to it.

Yes, I know. Readers are smart. I for one love reading the dream instead of reality and regularly opt for entertainment instead of education. I'm also willing to suspend a considerable amount of disbelief when it comes to fiction provided the fictional facts hold water in the context of the story world. But. I do believe we agreed at the start of Frisky Friday that it would be about fact not fiction. So. The O. Some facts I rounded up for you:

Less than a third of women reach orgasm when having sex. Three in four men always do. But:
Women have more than one nerve pathway for sensation; women have four, which in turn implies women are capable of experiencing more intense and complex orgasms than men. Furthermore, women can orgasm from not just genital but several forms of stimulation. Everything from knee to brow has been reported and recorded.
It is possible to "think off." You can orgasm without touching your body.
Male orgasm and ejaculation are not synonymous or interchangeable.
Orgasms have the same impact on the male brain as heroin does on the brain of an addict, plus activity in the male brain’s reward hub is off the charts at the point of orgasm. Meaning what? Sex can be addictive.
The more aroused a woman becomes, the more the parts of the brain responsible for processing fear and anxiety deactivate.
Orgasms activate the same part of the brain as pain. Which kind of explains those distorted O faces, doesn't it?
For women, orgasms become easier with age.
Anorgasmia (female orgasm disorder) is a condition in which women can't orgasm or have difficulty reaching climax.

Let's face it. When it's good, it's good. It's good for you, too. Orgasm is a natural high, a pain-blocker helping with everything from menstrual cramps to arthritis and alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety. It releases muscle tension and heightens women’s sensitivity to touch. But if you've never had one and are left wondering, if orgasms are elusive for physical or psychological reasons (hormonal changes, certain medications and disorders, depression, diabetes, stress, fatigue etc.), if it affects the quality of your life or relationships, it can be more a source of sorrow than pleasure. That's why I think it's important to bust some of the myths surrounding orgasms and acknowledge that there may be an overemphasis on orgasms when talking about sex. More! Better!! Faster!!! Stronger!!!! 

Sex may be a contact sport but it's not a competitive sport and I don't think orgasms should be viewed as the finish line, at least not every time. Focusing on the destination, have we forgotten to enjoy the ride? Sex can be great, it can be frickin' fantastic, even if you don't come. It doesn't have to be fireworks every single time. Firecrackers are good. They are absolutely acceptable and they can be very pleasurable and it's not an epic failure on anyone's part and I hope you agree.

Porn may have something to do with it, the confusion and delusion. Porn may even have a lot to do with it since it has given many a pleasurable, wonderful things a bad name and perpetuated some harmful myths about sexuality in general and women's sexuality in particular. But that's another topic for some other Friday.

I'd love to hear what readers think. Is the big O the sugar in your Romantica tea? Is there something in the descriptions of those climactic scenes (pun tot. int.) that bother or even irritate you, or are fireworks what you expect and let's leave the firecrackers to mainstream romance authors? In the land of a thousand pleasures, is an orgasm the epitome?

Frisky Friday takes a break next week as I take a short trip. In the meantime, enjoy the downtime. And keep thinking those sexy thoughts.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Notes in the margins

So now he has three hands?

Waxing poetic.

And again.

No, seriously. Stop sucking. Now!

Makes him sound like a power tool.

What season is this again? Fix description.

In 1751? I don't think so.

What? Losing your reader here. Losing the writer, too.

Is this her pussy or a cat after a bath?

Impossible since he is still wearing pants. Are these some kind of novelty pants? X [marks the spots in need of fixing]

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Hysteria!

This ought to be good, I thought when I first heard about this a year ago. A romantic comedy set in Victorian England, based on fact, about the invention of the vibrator. The movie Hysteria generated quite a buzz (pun int.) when it debuted at this year's Toronto Film Festival, and frankly, the history of motorized sex aids is pretty hysterical.

In the bad old days a lady didn't enjoy sex. Let me rephrase that. A lady was not supposed to enjoy sex. Sex was for procreational not recreational purposes, the act of intercourse leading to male climax. Female pleasure was beside the point since according to general wisdom women didn't suffer from sex drive. Except they did. Women exhibiting symptoms such as nervousness, insomnia, heaviness in the abdomen and lower pelvic edema, erotic fantasies and vaginal lubrication were diagnosed with "hysteria," after the Greek word for the womb, hysteros, a condition resulting from congestion of the reproductive system.

Sounds like acute if not chronic arousal to me. The cure provided to free women from this awful blockage: orgasms, or "hysterical paroxysm" as they were called as not to imply sexual desire and release. It was just what the doctor ordered and, incidentally, administered, too. Being treated for hysteria meant getting yourself to the doctor and letting him get you off.

It was hard manual labor. So hard that physicians used everything from wind-up vibrators and midwives as masseuses to ascending douches and pneumatic equipment for assistance. You bet those poor medicine men welcomed the age of electricity with open albeit tired arms. So. Before there were electrically powered irons or vacuum cleaners, there were vibrators, or "manipulators." Before long, women didn't need to bother with doctors appointments, they could treat themselves at home. The massager was a labor-saving household appliance like any other, widely advertised in magazines such as Good Housekeeping and sold at Sears. It was a health aid not to be confused or associated with masturbation. At least not publicly.

Along came the moving pictures with pornographic movies in tow. The minute vibrators showed up in the flesh flicks of the 1930's they were given a bad name, and women wanting or using one suddenly became infamous. Vibrators practically disappeared. Until 1952, when the American Psychiatric Association declared hysteria was not a clinical condition and knocked it off the list of mental illnesses.

It would take another decade for vibrators to re-emerge. Despite the sexual revolution, reservations, guilt and the stigma of sin and mental disease lingered, and most women wouldn't set foot in a sex shop. Vibrators were something men gave as naughty gifts to their partners and the designs of the decade reflect what men thought women wanted: the bigger the better.

It would take a few decades more for the "delightful companion" to establish itself as the fun and safe way to satisfy yourself and your partner, and another invention, the Internet, for the female market for vibrators to explode. The monster phalluses are still out there, but so is a wide array of other pleasurable paraphernalia women can browse at will and shop discreetly, if they so wish, online.

So whoever did invent the Internet, thank you. Thank you, Betty Dodson. And thank you, weak-wristed doctors of the 1880's. We sure are glad to be rid of the disease, and elated the treatment survived the cure. 

For a glimpse at some forty vintage vibrators, visit the Science Museum in London. For some personal or mutual pleasure, visit your local sex shop or one of the many adult toy stores to be found on the Internet. Some suggestions from around the world and the www:

Adam & Eve
Babeland
Canadian Sex Toys
Discreet-Romance
EdenFantasys
Liberator
Lovehoney
Love Shack Canada
MasalaToys
Matildas 
MyPleasure
SexShop365
Sex Toys 
Wild Secrets

I'm not affiliated with any of these companies, I'm only here to help. Until next week, dearest denizens! Keep buzzing, and keep thinking sexy thoughts.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wow

I just lost today's blog post. The whole post. Wow. A whole morning's worth of writing. I was working on the draft I had saved (in Blogger), I was going to add some links at the end of my post, and managed to delete the whole post, and before I could go back to the draft, Blogger kindly saved the changes for me, i.e. the blank page, which is all I have left of today's blog post on the invention of the vibrator. The title and a blank page. Wow.

I'm going to scream now. And then I'm going to go kill the heavy bag. Cry in the shower. Have some lunch. Take out all my notes and start over. I'm sorry your trip here was wasted. I'm an idiot. Id-i-ot. Come back tomorrow, you hear. This week's Frisky Friday just turned into a Smexy Saturday.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Love it or leave it

What's that smell? Can you smell that? Does anyone else smell megamarketing? Anyone feeling like a marketing tool? Or simply a tool?

At the risk of sounding cynical, I submit to you that most everybody is selling something on Facebook. Their brand, their personality, their view of the world, their passions, something that says something about who they are and what they're all about. That's fine by me. But from the very beginning I've felt that Fb is something someone created in their own image and everybody else has to adjust their image accordingly. Fit the circumstances, make do. It's the Fb way or the highway.

Now the highway is growing in width. It's growing in reach and going places it hasn't gone before. And we're being taken along for the ride. For a ride. At least that's how many users feel like. That if it's been hard to control your privacy from the get-go, it's becoming almost impossible. Will every page you visit somehow connected to Fb soon follow, record and telegraph your every move, automatically, unless you take certain steps to prevent it from doing so? What if you forget? Forget to log out, clear cache, cookies, history? Exit browser? Switch browser? Switch computer? It makes me feel quite paranoid just thinking about it.

Will all be revealed? I don't know of a soul who would want to share every single click with the rest of the world. What's the matter? Got something to hide? Oh everyone has their guilty pleasures and morbid fascinations. And everyone has a right to privacy. And yes, some have connections, secrets and associations to safeguard. They shouldn't be public by default. My toys aren't your property even if you own the playground.

I probably got it all wrong. Misconstrued poor Mark, misunderstood the altruistic intentions, blew the marketing thing way out of proportion. But you know what I'm thinking? If it's not like that, why does it feel like that? Should innocent fun and sincere networking make you uneasy, feel like this much work, like trouble? Wanna know what else I think? I'm gonna say it anyway. That bearded German might have missed the mark every now and then but he was on to something with the reification stuff. We'll not only sell our brand on Fb. That ship has already sailed. We'll each and every one of us be a fleet marketing an armada of stuff without thinking twice about it. (I for one can't stop thinking about it). And we're gonna do it for free.

Monday, September 26, 2011

This is bad

Baaad bad bad, sweetie darlings. According to a multinational study, which released just in time for World Contraception Day, unprotected sex is on the rise and access to and knowledge about contraception is going the way of...of...someone or something that doesn't give a shit about the welfare of others.

Clueless or Clued Up: your right to be informed about contraception reports that the number of youngsters having unprotected sex with a new partner has increased by 19% in Britain, 39% in the US, and a staggering 111% in France (in the last three years). Unplanned pregnancies and myths about surefire methods after the fact abound, as do abortions and STIs. 

The fact that "young people are telling us they are not receiving enough sex education or the wrong type of information about sex and sexuality," (said Jennifer Woodside, spokeswoman for the International Planned Parenthood) isn't helping. "How can young people make decisions that are right for them and protect them from unwanted pregnancy and STIs, if we do not empower them and enable them to acquire the skills they need to make those choices?"

That's a very good question. I know a very poor answer. Let's tell them to stop doing it and then pretend they're not doing it. Come on. It's not what kids know that gets them into trouble, it's everything they don't.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frisky Friday in the realm of the senses

Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Writers know the importance of sensory details, how they make a story come to life. Detailed lovers know it, too, how sensual foreplay can make their partners come to life. (And if it takes time for you or your partner to light up, listen up.) Did you know that a woman's skin is ten times more sensitive to touch and pressure than a man's? Women are one huge erogenous zone, so your chances of hitting the spot are excellent. If it weren't for individual differences and preferences. Therein lies the problem, and a whole lot of fun.

Men are said to fall for what they see and women for what they hear. As any man who enjoys a dirty talking dame and any woman who craves visual stimulation will tell you, that's not always the case. Individual differences and preferences, remember? So let's not settle for generalizations, let's broaden the horizons, shall we? Let's explore.

Grab your partner (preferably relaxed) and some time (preferably unlimited/uninterrupted), and make an expedition of it. You don't need a navigator. You have everything you need right in front of you (that would be each other) but you have to pay attention. Your reactions are all the guidance either one of you needs, so keep those minds and senses open and go. Explore. 

Where are we headed again? Intimacy. Arousal. Fun, a teasing good time. Mutual pleasure. A deeper understanding. The sensual world. Watching, tasting, touching, listening to and, yeah, even scenting out your partner. The favorite destinations: where skin is the most sensitive, most responsive to stimulation, i.e. in, on and around the genitalia, the navel, hips and pubic hairline, inner thighs, behind the knees, fingers and toes and the skin in between, the feet, the elbow crook and inner surface of forearms, shoulders, neck and underarms, breasts/chest and nipples, ears and mouth.  Did I forget something? The butt and backbone region?
 
Of course there's no need to limit yourself to these, to what you always do, what someone told you women/men like, or what you think your partner likes because that's what you like. Get off the beaten path. Explore. Get to know the most sensitive zones and their sensitivity and you'll learn the degree of intensity to use. Some areas may require an easy touch, others respond to rougher caresses. Kiss, lick, nibble, bite. Stroke, slap, scratch, tickle, massage.

Use your tongue as you would your fingers and vice versa. Don't just use your lips, use your teeth too, but start off gently, okay? Gauge those reactions. See what your hair does to them when brushed against those sensitive zones, or a hard sharp blow of cool air, or an open-mouthed long and warm breath. Nothing much? Move on. Explore.

Accessorize. Try using a blindfold. Taking out sight is a sure way to sharpen all the other senses. Verbalize. Tell them what you're going to do. Ask them what they want you to do. Then follow through. Watch and learn. A great way to find out what your partner likes and how they like it is to watch them masturbate. Try out sex toys but don't go overboard. (As a rule, intense, rough stimulation desensitizes and you don't want to end up in a vicious cycle where you need an ever-increasing amount of stimulation to get aroused.)

Don't just wonder what this or that or the other would feel like, find out. Boldly stick that tongue or finger where those taste buds or digits haven't gone before, with your partner's consent, naturally, and ask them to return the favor, to touch you where and how you'd like to be touched. Some of your wishes may sound silly or surprising to them. Some of yours may even make them a little squeamish. But if it's not intentionally hurtful or degrading (above all else, respectfulness, okay? you're both supposed to enjoy it, right?), give it a try. Don't be a 5-year-old. Don't say you don't like something if you've never had it. Give it a try and then decide if you want more. What borderline scared you may end up thrilling you. Your former put-off may turn out to be your new turn-on.

You'll never know if you don't go. So go. Watch, listen, smell, feel, taste. Explore. Enjoy.