Thursday, April 20, 2017

Scandals, Secrets, and Subversion: Why I'm hooked on CW's Riverdale

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Die hard fans of Archie and Betty and Veronica Comics will either love or hate the CWs new series Riverdale. Aside from the characters names and appearances, pretty much the only thing that is consistent with the old school comic series is the setting--the small, idyllic, East coast, town of Riverdale. Most everything else everything is different and way more scandalous. The series pushes the boundaries for sure and, as a die hard vintage Archie Comics fan, I'm here to say I love it.
**Spoiler warning: from here on out I will tell you some things about the story-line. Not enough to ruin it, only enough to entice you.
The series starts with the death of Cheryl Blossom's brother, Jason Blossom. A suspicious death isn't scandalous but the near incestuous relationship between the twins it. Its hard to ignore the did they or didn't they questions the relationship provokes. Don't believe they'd put that on mainstream  TV? Check out this picture.
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Many of the relationships go beyond what you typically see in a teen series. All-American high school football player, Archie Andrews, and Mrs. Grundy, the music teacher, are making music. But not in the classroom.
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The characters are awesome too.
Moose, a stereotypical dense jock in the 1950's Riverdale, is a more realistic, complex, and actualized human in this new version. He has a brief  fling with Kevin Keller who quickly moves on to the town's bad boy.  Who could blame Kevin? We've all fallen for the bad boy. At least in our minds.
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Is it wrong of me to think the brooding writer Jughead is hot?
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Vixen Veronica provides a continual vintage-inspired fashion show.
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Want more of the scoop? Check out the trailer for next week's episode:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUvAzfLLxl8&w=560&h=315]

Friday, March 31, 2017

Spring is in the air...a basic primer on the female orgasm

Something you already know: the female orgasm is more (much more) complex than the male counterpart. See? You did already know that. Here are some things you may not.
While men reach orgasm more quickly and frequently, 90% of the time as compared to the woman’s 25%, the male orgasm is usually shorter, reportedly less intense and requires a longer recovery time.
Quick facts:
  • 26-32, estimated peak age for a woman’s sexuality, but equal amounts of research show sexual satisfaction is more connected to overall life satisfaction.
  • relaxation, studies shows its single most important element in regard to reaching bliss.
  • 15-40 minutes, that’s the average length of time it takes for a woman to orgasm.
  • women are much more likely to need a “reset” due to distraction or unexpected position changes during those 15-40 minutes.
  • muscular contraction in the lower abdomen precedes the orgasm and can be used by a lover to determine whether a technique is getting the desired results.
  • the labia deepens in color as blood flow increases, another signal lovers can watch for.
  • too much clitoral stimulation is counterproductive as it becomes desensitized, yep--another factor for partners to consider.
That list alone isn’t enough to make things complicated. Here's more: there are four types of female orgasms.
Clitoral:
With 8,000 nerve endings its no wonder this ultra sensitive spot is the most common way for women to achieve orgasm. Good news, stimulation there is quick and easy and works consistently. Less good news, the result is not as physically powerful as the other possibilities.
Vaginal:
While there is some controversy as to whether or not the G-spot exists, many women state that they have had an orgasm as a result of stimulation inside the vagina alone (excluding clitoral stimulation). The G-spot is an area, not a particular “spot,” of sensitive tissue. Achieving the big O this way can take longer and require more mixing it up via positions, but this type delivers legendary results.
Never had a vaginal orgasm or lost touch with your G-spot? Consider trying Ben Wa Balls to tone up your interior
Blended:
Ahhh…yes, the best of both worlds--clitoral and vaginal orgasms simultaneously. This mind-blowing experience is the longest lasting and most physically intense, but also the most difficult to achieve. The trick to achieving this Mecca of Satisfaction is persistence and patience. Lots of foreplay in the form of touching everywhere, kissing everywhere, and--dare I suggest it--gentle, intimate conversation.
Multiple:
Not to be confused with several orgasms that occur at different times in the same session, multiple orgasms occur one after the other, a roll of mind-melting pleasure. Not all women are cut out for this one, as the continual stimulation may not “work” for some; however, those who do achieve it reach their peak several times in a row, usually with altered positions. A possible method to increase your chances and avoid the over-stimulation that can prevent multiple orgasms, ask your partner to stroke your clit over a silk scarf or your panties.
The female orgasm is in some ways the icing on the intimacy cake. It’s part of the process of that leads to pregnancy, but not a required part. So, its technically “unnecessary.”
Ha! Says who? Scientists. What do they know?
Okay, they do know a lot. But on this issue, they just might be wrong. I’d say the big O is necessary and ought to be on everyone’s holiday wish list. Thoughts? Shout out in the comments.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Why don't you? The appeal of Fifty Shades of Grey

“Why don’t you write something like Fifty Shades of Grey?”
We romance writers get asked this question by friends and family. I have to admit this question puzzles me. Each time I’m asked I wonder:
  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something about two people seeking love and connection?
  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something erotic?
  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something that pushes the boundaries of relationships?
I only wonder these things because me asking them aloud would draw attention to the fact that the person asking the question hasn’t read any of my books. Of course, I don’t care whether or not the person has read my stuff but …well, I don’t want to make things awkward by pointing that out. Besides, as a writer, here’s the question that makes the most sense to me:
  • Do you mean why don’t I write something that sells millions of copies and creates just as many devoted readers and fans?
That one I don’t have an answer for. Nobody does. Many--many--of us writers have tried to figure out why that series in particular took off like that.

In my other life, I teach freshman composition at a college. We write essays, the standard sort that college freshman have been writing for years. Thesis statements, MLA formatting, research. All the usual stuff. One place where I get to mix things up is in the prompts. So, wondering what my students think of the 50 phenomenon, I include a prompt about the widespread popularity of the series. The prompt encourages the students to question the contrast between the book’s content, the relationship between the two characters, and the current wave of new feminism. Bottom line--why do women connect this book?
As you might imagine, the prompt generates interest. After reading several essays I've found a distinct difference between the younger, 18-20, and older, 25-30 women in regard to Mr. Grey’s relationship appeal.

The younger women find him super romantic. They are drawn to the idea of having a man so dedicated to you that he is “interested” in every aspect of your life. They don’t find him stalky or boundary-crossing, they find him devoted. These younger women write very little about the sex; they write almost exclusively about the attentive relationship. It seems that while young women view career and societal contribution as essential and validating, they still long for a dedicated partner.
The older women write about the sex. They are drawn to the idea of an extremely intense almost completely sexual relationship that has no emotional commitments. These women reflect that while they hope to have an emotionally intimate relationship in the future, they are, at present, busy with school and work and don’t have time to develop “that sort of thing” right now. This staying-single-longer, waiting-for-real-commitment life plan is on the rise,  but as noted above with the younger set, this older set seeks devotion. They simply define devotion in a different way.

If you’re one of the thousands, maybe millions, of people who've had this conversation--why is 50 so compelling--I’d love to hear what you think. Give a shout in the comments.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bondage Rope Starter Guide: the busy woman’s cheat sheet on what to get to get what you want.

Thinking about buying some bondage rope? If you are, you won’t be alone this weekend.
First time thinking about buying rope? Again, you won’t be alone this weekend.
Headed to the hardware store because you want that rope - in - a - hurry?
Sounds good. But you may want to think about what’s going to work best for you ahead of time. You know, to avoid that awkward moment when the helpful salesperson asks you what type you want then, in attempt to assist you better, asks you what you want it for. See what I mean?
Fiber
Think of fiber as the rope’s texture and appearance. It’s what the rope is made from, so fiber determines the look, texture, pliability, smell, and overall aesthetic. The four most common fibers used in bondage are hemp, jute, nylon and MFP.

Hemp Rope
Hemp 
Thanks to the fact that its natural, hemp offers great smell and texture. It’s soft but strong. It ‘breathes’ and bends, tucking itself into the contours of the body. The texture makes it easy to secure knots and this rope adjusts to varying tension levels.
Bonus, it has great old-school appeal, making it easy to imagine you’re being bound by a pirate or roped by a cowboy.
Notes on hemp:
  • it can be put through the washer but looses strength with each washing.
  • it looks wonderful in person but is hard to photograph.
  • its more expensive than the other commonly used roped.

Jute

Jute, the other natural choice, is nearly the opposite of hemp.
This fiber starts out very strong, sturdy and rough. This makes it a favorite of those who prefer edge in their rope play. That same firm texture makes it hold knots very well and photograph really well.
Bonus, this rope is light and so travels well. And yes, it also has that old school appeal of hemp.
Notes on jute:
  • it has enough grip to stay in place, but not as much as hemp. As a result, careful tensioning is required when using jute.
  • it can be tricky to wash and must be stretch dried to retain length.
  • it requires careful selection when purchasing. Be sure to ask about the weave, as loosely woven jute will not last very long.

Nylon and MFP (multi-fiber polypropylene)
These are manufactured, oil-based ropes, so cost quite a bit less than the natural alternatives. Because they are not natural, they maintain their round shape consistently and over a long period. They both wash easily and can be used in the water.
Something to consider, they don’t hold body heat. As a result, some users find these feel less natural and say they fell disconnected from these ropes.
Bonus, these fibers comes in many bright colors, are super shiny and photograph great.
Notes on nylon and MFP:
  • in regard to weight, they are about the same as jute.
  • they are very strong.
  • they can be tricky to use as they are slippery so tension can be difficult to control.

Diameter
A good diameter to start with is between 4mm-8mm. 7mm and 8mm are frequently selected due to strength and comfort. Obviously, strength is very important when considering suspension. Also, the thicker ropes are easier on the skin and, as a result, are the better option for longer bondage sessions.
Thickness impacts rope stiffness and weight. Thicker ropes are more stiff. The stiffer the rope is, the less pliable it is. Therefore, knots and intricate patterns can be difficult. Thicker ropes are also heavier and, consequently, more difficult to transport.

Length
In regard to length, consider what the rope will be used for, ie, simple wrist ties or full body suspension, and the size of the person being bound.  The North American standard is about 30 feet, with 15 foot spares. The Japanese have a more complicated system of deciding rope length, basing the decision on the measurements of the rigger. The idea is to use a length that the rigger can work with easily and fluidly. That measurement is typically between 23 and 27 feet with 12.5 foot spares.
Not buying any rope for yourself? No worries. In an effort to make this knowledge useful, take yourself to the opening of FIFTY this weekend, reread your tattered paperbacks, and check out what they use, see if you would have made the same selections.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

What to do about Valentine’s Day?


Who truly loves Valentine’s Day? Who wakes up on February 14, sure that the entire day will be wonderful, romantic, and filled with happiness?

Not most of us. There are too many pit falls. Too many possibilities to feel emotions other than pure bliss. Like what, you ask?

Non-bliss emotions caused by gifts:
·        Disillusionment: No gift from your SO. (SO = significant other).
·        Irritation: Wrong gift from your SO. You clearly said you wanted sparkly jewelry. Not an itchy brown turtleneck sweater.
·        Exasperation: Last minute gift from your SO. The orange price tag from gas station ruins the moment.
·        Unworthiness: Much, much too nice gift from your SO. You expected a bag of Hersey Kisses and got a new BMW. Now what?
·        Puzzlement: Unidentified gift. You have two or more possible gifters. Who to thank?

Non-bliss emotions caused by your “status”:
·        Irritation: Not so subtle, prying questions from your well-meaning relatives who are older, wiser, and concerned about your ‘painful’ single status.
·        Annoyance: Not so subtle, prying questions from your well-meaning friends who are in new, sparkling, fresh relationships full of excitement and romance who are concerned about your boring, been-together-forever, couple status.

Non-bliss emotions by sex:
·        Ecstasy: Okay. This one isn’t a problem. But it is a possibility and so must be included here.
·        Weariness: After all that pressure about the gifts, your status, and where to eat and what-not, your just too wiped out for those extra steps to make it wild enough to lead to ecstasy.
·        Bewilderment: After a bottle and half of wine, your SO suddenly decides to try __________ (< insert anything you never talked about or even considered). You have no idea where to start and so spend all your energy trying to figure out what to do instead of relaxing and getting to the ecstasy.

See what I mean? It’s a wonder any of us make it through the day at all.

Because I like to leave people with a little something more, I’ll offer a link to this quiz, How Sexually Adventurous AreYou? It won’t help you avoid the above emotions, but it might make you laugh. And hell, if you ask me, laughter is an absolute necessity on Valentines Day.