Monday, June 23, 2014

What is "Adult Content"? Hell, I don't even know anymore.

Please avert your eyes.
The first time I went into a gym locker room when I was a kid, I was completely wigged out that grown-ups were walking around naked. Not because adults were naked--I had seen plenty of that--but because it seemed so arbitrary. Naked in locker room = a-ok. Naked in KMart = alert the police. How could rules be so iron-clad in one place, then completely disregarded in another?

It was a dual morality that seemed a bit pointless. Why were we pretending to be shocked by nudity, when it was obvious from the locker room experience that we could all handle it just fine? Yes, I get that the gender-segregation made it "different," but I think that's crap. If some chick was walking around naked in the Winn-Dixie, we would need to giggle and/or pretend to be scandalized.

I think the same phenomenon is happening right now with sex--this sort of weird combo of pretending, denial, and reacting like we think we're supposed to react.

We are all here via fucking--someone did IT with someone else. Our ancestors made love, they had tepid sex because the ovulation thermometer said it was time, they co-mingled souls and saw God, they slam-fucked on a dirty old couch in the dorm. Everyone* came from someone coming. To ignore that and pretend that sex is still some sort of unspeakable thing that adults cannot even discuss without everyone needing to giggle and/or be scandalized is ridiculous. Ridiculous! And yet it's STILL happening all the time. I don't mind the giggling part, sex is funny, but the scandalized bit, I am just so...done with that.

To wit: Trisha Borowicz has made a smart, funny, amazing film about female pleasure called Science, Sex and the Ladies. It's educational and cheeky. She's been shopping it around to festivals but reports they flat out won't run it because it's "too explicit." "Even festivals that are known for taking risks," she reported via email, though I've added in my head that she was also shaking her head in disbelief.

The film is sort of "explicit," in that it shows stuff like photographs of an aroused clitoris vs. unaroused clitoris, but it's not porn. It's about biology and the history of how society views women's sexual pleasure and how women can best have an orgasm. It's for learnin'. And besides, even if it was porn, these are film festivals, for fuck's sake. When the hell did film festivals get all uptight?

I honestly don't know what's acceptable anymore. Every night on TV there are shows about grisly sexual/violent crimes, but this month Facebook made me take down a photo of a vaguely naked woman. Everyone's mom has read Fifty Shades of Grey, and there were articles in major publications about it, but Google has docked me for my supposed "pornographic content." My friggin' Sunday paper supplement has coupons for vibrators and lubes, but my blog provider (Google, again) has threatened to take down all Blogger blogs with ads for "adult products." Seriously? The dorky newspaper coupon section is more progressive than these supposedly modern, forward-thinking tech companies?

Do we really not get the difference between supposedly offensive content and regular adults just trying to figure out how to have proper sex? Why do we have such a nonsensical patchwork of rules that apply here, but not there? For this body part but not that one?

So, yes, this was supposed to be about Science, Sex and the Ladies, but kind of digressed into ranting. Fear not, next post I will tell you how you can see the movie, for free. People, especially women, need to know how their bodies work. Why is that even controversial? It's madness!

Anyway, tomorrow we talk about the movie and female pleasure.

Til then.

*Test-tube babies: even you came from some jizz.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

True Tale: I was a Grade School Nudist

Yes, I know that every kid is a nudist.  But I really was one.  Like, officially. As in, card carrying member of the ASA (American Sunbathing Association.) As in going to special places--nudist camps, or if would want to make them sound really creepy and culty, nudist colonies--which were created for no other reason than so people could walk around naked.

This was the Shameful Secret of my childhood, like having an alcoholic mother who hit or an uncle who touched you in the areas where the bathing suit covers. No one was to know. As you may recall, I grew up in the 1970s, the time of hippies, macrame owls and mushroom decor, but I grew up in 1970s Georgia, a place of macrame owls, etc..., but also a very conservative, uptight place. It was a place where every white family had a "nigro" maid named something like Mavis, vegetarians were suspect and you sure as fuck weren't supposed to be something as whack as a nudist.

Nudism, then as probably now, was considered to be something weird, at the very least, and at the worse, probably sexual. Not sexual in a particularly nameable way but just...wrong. Naked=sex, end of story.

The reality, which would become apparent to anyone who spent 2 minutes at a nudist camp, is that they are about a sexual as any average RV park. Picture the folks in line at your Target store. Now picture them naked. Now picture them naked and running for a tennis ball, their own balls flopping in the wind. Feeling sexy? Exactly.

Every nice weekend in the summer, my dad would load up the car with camping equipment and we'd be off to a campground in nearby Florida. It was run by a sweet old man named Uncle Sammy who was also, incongruently, incredibly racist. And, if you must know, he had rather large testicles that were kind of a blueish hue.

My two sisters and I hated going. HATED it. And it wasn't because of our unfortunate kid's eye view of Uncle Sammy's literally blue balls. Being nudists was the thing that made us different.  Made us weird. Made us wrong. "How was your weekend?" our neighbor Mrs. P would leeringly ask me when we got back. "Did y'all go camping?" She knew what she meant and I knew what she meant, but both of us were loathe to acknowledge it. "Yes," I would admit, mumbling. "Oh, reeeeeeally?" she would smirk triumphantly.

It was this sort of insinuating attitude about nudism that was what was so shameful about it to us. The actual nudism was no big deal. Really.

People find this really hard to believe. Even today, if I mention it to someone--I mean, people who know I write this blog, friends who know me well--they get that Mrs. P look on their faces. It's a mixture of judgey, sort of aroused, completely intrigued, yet put off at the same time.

"It's like a KOA, but everyone's naked," I say, lamely. They never believe me and press for more details. Because surely--surely!--there's more to it than that. But really that's it. Here's what people do at a nudist camp: swim, play old-school sports like horseshoes, ping pong or pool, sit around and play cards, sit in saunas or whirlpools, lie out in the sun, eat dinner and so on. All of this is done naked. Or naked but wearing the appropriate gear like tennis shoes. (If the idea of a bunch of your average Appleby's customers walking around naked isn't non-sexual enough, seeing those same folk naked but for a pair of socks and tennis shoes should do the trick.)

BTW, if you were wondering, the cliche about nudists and volleyball is totally true. Nudists love their volleyball--love it! Every camp has a court, no exceptions. Another nudist thing is the Importance of Towels. Nudists have an inordinate faith in the power of towels as all-purpose protectant. Every nudist carries a towel so that can put it between their sweaty naked ass and whatever surface they put said ass upon. The towel, you see, magically protects everyone from...well everything. I'm not sure why no one considers the "towel flipping factor," that is, once you re-use the towel, can you really be sure you're putting the butt side on your butt? Nonetheless, it seems to work. I don't know the science behind it, but to my knowledge, nudists don't suffer from any greater incident of butt-transmitted disease.

Because everyone is naked there probably are some things I've seen that most people haven't seen. I have seen flaccid penises covered in tanning oil (it was the 70s, remember). I have seen very obese men walking around naked, their genitalia tiny and cowering under the massive flap of their bellies. I have seen boobs hanging down to stomach level, all kinds of scars, varicose veins, sunburned boobs, flat wrinkly bums, prodigious bushes (70s, ditto), and balls that hang down nearly to knee level. I have seen women walking around with a tampon string hanging out their wangs (the accepted nudist procedure, by the way, is for a menstruating woman to don a pair of underpants. Why they couldn't just tuck the string inside and try to "pass" as a non-menstruating woman remains unexplained to me. Perhaps many women of the day still had the whole belt and pad apparatus?)

What I did not see includes: orgies, sex of any kind, an erect penis. (As a child, I read a Q&A pamphlet for new nudists featuring naked cartoon "Love is..." looking folks. For the question "What if I get, you know, aroused?" naked cartoon man was advised to take a quick jump in the pool.)

When teenage nudist kids start rebelling against their parents they do so--seriously--by wearing clothes. Every nudist camp has kids in their awkward years Fighting the Power by wearing a long t-shirt or--fuck it!--even a full pants and shirt combo.

As I said, my sisters and I hated our nudist secret. It wasn't the actual nudism so much because, in truth that was kind of fun. Not the naked part, which we really didn't care one way or the other about, but going on adventures-- running wild, exploring woods and creeks, water skiing, climbing trees and getting to play grown-up games like pool. Nudist camps are like a secret club. They are all over the country and--at least at the time--you had to know where they were (invariably down a long dirt road in the middle of nowhere), the secret code to unlock the gate or who to ask for at the intercom when you pulled up. When we pulled up to the gate at a new club, we'd ask for whoever--Dottie, say--and Dottie would come to the gate, bronzed, wrinkled and wearing only a terry cloth wrap around skirt.  The Dotties always seemed to smoke and had a vague white-trashiness about them. The Dotties always had the nicest mobile home in the place, but nudist camp nice, which is not really that nice.

For my sisters and I, it was the secret part that was so bad. We weren't supposed to tell anyone about it. Knowing that I had a thing about me that people couldn't know gave me a sense of shame that took years to shake. I thought if anyone ever knew this horrible nudist thing about me...well, that'd be about it. I, seriously, didn't even tell my husband until we'd been married several years. I still haven't told my children, or many of you guys. I don't think either of my sisters have told their husbands. (uh, til now. Sorry! Hope you enjoy your Big Talk tonight.)

It is not right to make children keep secrets and, well, let's just say that perhaps the situation could have been handled differently. Though I don't know how. There really was no good way to present the whole nudist family idea to my Georgia neighbors. And I still think there's something a little weird about needing to be naked in public, among other naked people. Couldn't people be just be fine walking around naked in their house without formalizing it, building camps, forming the ASA and whatnot? Was there something sexual about it that I wasn't getting?

That said, as an adult, I can see some of the advantages of the whole nothing-to-hide aspect of it all. I recently went to a Korean spa with my friend Janet. It was hardcore. Old Korean women were squatting down by these sort of low faucets scrubbing the bejesus out of their nether regions. (For a really long time too. They are either really really clean or there must be some sort of pleasure in taking to your crotch with a scrub brush that I'm not aware of.) Everyone was naked because you had to be--sign on the door said so. As I soaked with Janet in the hot tub (making, like, constant eye contact so I wouldn't appear to be staring at her boobs in an unseemly manner*), I looked around.

Everyone looked bad naked, and yet everyone looked good. That is to say, we all looked human. Clothes give the illusion that other people have perfect bodies and that, plus general media bombardment, etc... gives us the idea that most everyone else looks fucking amazing. Of course we "know" that's not true. We know models are genetic rarities, culled from millions of others, and that they are strategically posed, photoshopped, etc... But seeing these regular bodies made me really know it, in a deep way. The chick with the amazing boobs had a bit of a wide ass going on. The trim woman was also a bit gaunt. It was incredibly liberating to realize that we all looked...well, okay enough.

The other day I had the experience of being on the other side of the naked generational divide. I was pet sitting for friends who have a pool. I invited my husband and two daughters over to swim. When they got there, I shouted, "Woo! Let's go skinny dipping!" I peeled off my clothes and dove into the pool. When I surfaced, my three family members were staring at me in semi-horror. "Woo!" I said, again, defiantly. I swam around briefly, to prove my point that they were missing out--big time--but it was half-hearted. I felt foolish and suddenly way way too naked. Soon I climbed out and grabbed my towel. I was half-embarrassed, half-hating their prudery.

Despite that, at 47, I think I've pretty much come to peace with my supposedly sordid past. At least enough that I feel fine telling you, Dear Internet Stranger, and who knows who the hell you'll tell. The good part is that I don't really care any more.

In an interesting coda to all this: My nudist connection which had always been the Worst Thing of my Life also turned out to be one of the best things. When I was looking for an idea to pitch to Rolling Stone, my dad told me that a local nudist camp was hosting bands like Foreigner and Loverboy for a concert, a two-day Nudestock festival. This, anyone could see, was comedy gold. My piece on Nudestock (thank you to my RS editor, the amazing Jancee Dunn) was my first national story.

So what have we learned here? Here are your takeaways: Things are never all good or all bad, they just are. Keeping secrets=bad. Some men have really really long balls.

Now you know the worst,

* For the record, Janet has an incredible ass.

(Note: names, places, and such have been changed to protect the privacy of various pissed off family members)
(photo source)

Friday, June 6, 2014

On the Benefits of a Smaller Penis by Blue

Oh god, please tell me I didn't send an email last night to
 IBWMW about my lover's ruddy, noble, well-formed penis
Reader Blue sent in the following missive. When I asked her what pseudonym she'd like, she answered, "I can't believe I sent that! I wrote that while drunk a few weeks ago and sent it while drunk last night."

Don't worry, Blue, lots of people write to me when they're drunk, which is probably not at all flattering, but I'm just gonna decide that it is actually highly flattering and be done with it.

Besides, the whole drunk Internet/texting/sexting possibilities available to Today's Modern Drunk makes me so so so happy that my own drunken days were pre-all of that. I can't even fucking imagine the hideousness of waking up all bleary-eyed and hung over and having to face my Sent Mail folder to see what horrors might lie within.

To her credit, Blue is not the incoherent mess of a drunk I was, so I reprint her story here in its full glory. Enjoy.

a few weeks ago i saw your invitation to "Just sit down at the computer, rip your heart out, and jot the results down"  and started writing this.  i don't know if this is what you want, and that was awhile ago but here's my story: 

i started writing this because of the part of dusky's letter where she writes "the idea that naturally the greatest sex of your life will be with the love of your life."  for me sex was indeed "a litmus test of the true inner feelings of two people" although love has always been a Big Deal for me, sex had never been the highest on my list of priorities.  i had attributed my lackluster sex life to my complete disinterest, not the other way around. it had kind of escaped my notice that the way people feel physically and the way they feel emotionally have a lot to do with each other.  there is no aphrodisiac like love... 

so i didn't know this but not everybody is know... anatomically compatible.  there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.  sorry guys, but now you know.  it CAN be too big.  but i didn't learn this little secret until i cheated.  and let me tell you, for those lucky people out there who have never cheated on anybody: it a repulsive experience, don't do it!  but then, the marriage sucked and sometimes you don't know the grass is greener until you get on the other side of the fence.  sure it looks greener, but.... now i know.  

there are people in the world who are really good at having sex.  just like mozart was a great composer, da vinci was a master painter, and stratavarius made the best violins ever, some people are really REALLY good at fucking.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bad Erotica, that is, Erotica Other People Like

Somebody mentioned erotica for folks over 60, which reminded me of this post. Pretend like you haven't met before.  

As part of my affiliate deal with Good Vibrations, I get to pick from an assortment of free stuff each month which I can offer to you as a prize or keep for myself*. (My motto: if you're going to sell out to a corporate overlord, do it for a sex-positive, girl-power one that showers you and your loved ones with free sex toys.)

Usually I pass the free sex toy love on to one of y'all, but a couple months ago, Good Vibes was offering a book called Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women. Oh yes, I decided selfishly--giving not a whit of thought to you and your needs--this one's for mama.

When it arrived in its discreet brown wrapper, I snuck away to be alone with my new smut and started reading. There was a story about an anonymous encounter on a subway which was kinda good. Something about a lady working at a fruit stand and a TV star who comes and whisks her away, eh... Next. I kept reading and reading, hoping to get to "the good part," as it were, but it started to become apparent that, for me at least, there wasn't gonna be a good part.

By the time I got to a story about retiree sex, I stopped looking to be aroused by the book and started reading as sort of a sociological study. (Yes, I am this nerdy. Reading porn as an intellectual exercise. I would appreciate it if you'd not bring it up again.)

I am not at all against retirees having sex. I'm all for it, I swear! But seriously, listen to this supposed "erotica" in "Moving" by Susan St. Aubin.
We trade medical notes: he sometimes takes Viagra in the afternoon. Mornings he can do without. I tell him about the hormone cream I've started using in my cunt to bring back its raw silk texture.
What. The. Fuck???

My point here is not that it is unsexy**, but that yes, though it is unsexy to me, it's completely fucking off-the-charts sexy to someone else. For all I know, writing it was so fucking hot to Susan St. Aubin that she had to slip away several times while writing it to push her hand between her legs to relieve the growing pressure in her hormone cream-covered raw silkiness.

I find it fascinating how different people are turned on by different things. Your particular biological predilection, plus snippets from your experiences--people you knew growing up, a sexy movie scene you saw in 2003, an early lover, an idea you saw in a book--all converge in your brain to form an idea of what is erotic to you.

A friend of mine lent me a book called The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Vol. 5. I turned to something called "I Want to Watch you Do It" because I liked the title. In it, the girl makes the guy jack off in front of her while she watches, then he takes charge and bosses her around. She, overcome with lust, can do nothing but obey his sexual commands. "Just do what I ask and don't say a word until you come at least twice. Nod your head if you agree," demands the guy, as her puts her through a series of moves. Oh, darling, I loved that #$##! But that's because it happens to fire up whatever particular erotica neurons I have set up in my brain. You, by contrast, might be left completely cold. Perhaps you need a vampire involved, or a fetching Scotsman, or a fierce dominatrix wearing a specific brand of blue boots.

I can imagine that Mammoth contributor Joshua Hoobler would be among those unaroused by my beloved story of sexual instructions. His story, "Not at Risk," lavishly shares the details of some dude giving himself enemas (5 of them!) and having sex with a series of three dildos. (Each oh so very very special.)
On Sunday morning I wake up early, have my regular bowel movement, wipe thoroughly, take the enema bag out from the bathroom cabinet, fill it with warm water, hang it on the towel rack, grab the Astroglide, slip on some latex gloves, lube up my asshole and commence upon a series of two quart enemas...It takes me at least three and sometimes up to five to get to where the toilet water is as clear when I'm done as it is when I sat down. 
Again, the point is not that this is unsexy***, but that this guy and I have a vast chasm--oh so very, very vast--between what we each consider sexy. When he was describing the particular quality of his friggin' poo, I not only wasn't turned on, I was whatever the complete opposite of turned on is. In truth, I really kind of wanted to retch.

However, if me retching turns you on, I would direct you to Puke Planet, a site for those with a vomiting fetish.

Which, I think, kind of makes my point...


*I also get a 20% commission on anything you order from Good Vibes through In Bed With Married Women. Might I suggest the We-Vibe couples vibrator thing? The woman wears it during penetration, while it hums along outside and inside at the same time. Haven't tried it but, damn, sure sounds good.
**Though, c'mon it totally is!
***But, holy fuck, it is so so so unsexy!!!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brainy Sex Books, a reading list. Plus, for no good reason at all, Scary Robots.

A while back on the IBWMW Facebook page, I capriciously volunteered to compile a list of books referenced on In Bed With Married Women. Once it got down to actually doing it, however, I became acutely aware that the task bore an uncomfortable resemblance to actual work. In private retaliation--fight the power!--I spent a morning on non-reading-list-compiling activities like watching YouTube videos of creepy-ass real-looking robots. Look at this Japanese nurse one:

GAAAhhhhhhhhhh! She's alive!

And look at this one (below) of three robots and their comic resemblance to their human inventors. I kind of want the stern-looking Middle-aged Asian Man Robot in the center so he could stare contemptuously at me all day with his downturned mouth and eyebrows knitted in consternation. "Shouldn't you be getting to that reading list you promised over a month ago?" he'd finally say. And, damn it, he'd be right.

For you, stern Asian robot man who I imagine harshly judging me*, Thy Will Be Done. Here goes.

Books I can personally vouch for:

Sex at Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships: I wrote a whole big post on this because it kind of made my brain explode. It's about non-monogamy, sperm competition, the societal components of sexual jealousy, penis shapes and all kinds of brain-sparking topics. It's not meant to be hardcore science, but a jumping off point to rethinking all kinds of relationship/sexual things.
Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex: I am madly in love with Mary Roach because she is so funny and smart and well, here... I just opened to a random page in which she is touring a sex toy factory and describing the crew of middle-aged Latina women working the assembly line. "Now we have paused to watch a team of women, wearing latex gloves, whose job is to rub a light film of red paint into the testicles and glans of large fleshtone dildos, to pinken them, 'to give them the realism.'....The women are laughing and chatting as they work. Their movements are inadvertently erotic; the hand-staining of a dildo tip could be the efficient caress of a sex worker." See what I mean? (Even better is Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers but that is about dead bodies, not sex, which may well be a dealbreaker for you.)

Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray or Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher: Deliciously passionate writing on the science and anthropology of sexual attraction, crushes, the body language of flirting, brain chemistry and reasons we act like such fucktards when we're "in love." (Is the term "fucktards" offensive? If you are a fucktard, I mean no offense.)

Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper by Diablo Cody, penner of "Juno." So funny, completely dirty, very fascinating look into her experimental stripper phase. Some parts are so graphic--like the particularly vile (to me) fetish of one repeat customer at her seedy San Francisco peep show booth--that I can't stand even repeating it. Oh, don't worry, you'll know when you get to him.
The Art of Love: Ancient Roman poet Ovid offers instructions on conducting oneself before, during and after a love affair. So fascinating to see that the games and subterfuge of passion are pretty much unchanged (except for archaic bits such how to whiten your skin with the ground-up horn of a lusty stag. As we now know in modern times, non-lusty stag horn works just as well.) Here's Ovid on taking your time in love: If you will listen to me you will not be too hasty in attaining the culmination of your happiness. Learn by skillful maneuvering to reach your climax by degrees. When you are safely ensconced in the sanctuary of bliss, let no timid fear arrest your hand. You will be richly rewarded by the love-light trembling in her eyes, even as the rays of the sun fitfully dance upon the waves. Then will follow gentle murmurs, moans and sighs, laden with ecstasy that will sting and lash desire.

A Natural History Of Love: Diane Ackerman writes with a florid (in a good way) style on how the historical and anthropological ideas of love have developed and changed over time.

Anything by Dan Savage. Start with Savage Love: Straight Answers from America's Most Popular Sex Columnist (from 1998!) and move your way forward.

If you have something to add in the way or smut and/or sociological treatises, do let us know.


*My need for Robot Judgement probably indicates all sorts of psychological things wrong with me, but I'm gonna handle it like I do all such issues. I shall ignore it.

(photo source)