Love n Sex n Whatnot
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Love n Sex n Whatnot
Kinda just what the title says...
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Happy Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances

Happy Ever After: 100 Swoon-Worthy Romances | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
It's the NPR Books Summer of Love, so to celebrate, we asked our readers to nominate their favorite romances. And the results are in: 100 love stories to help every reader find a happy ever after.
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Katie Barber's curator insight, August 24, 2:39 PM

Read this with a glass of wine.

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Is Bitcoin the future of sex work?

Is Bitcoin the future of sex work? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Sex workers can no longer use credit cards to place their Backpage ads. Is Bitcoin ready for the rush?
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Senior citizen strippers: Burlesque beauties decked out and working it for the camera

Senior citizen strippers: Burlesque beauties decked out and working it for the camera | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
La Savona, Indianapolis, Indiana (2012)
 
Last week the death of burlesque legend Blaze Starr reminded us all of a far cheekier era of stripper—an anachronistic kind of T and A, with a little more glam and giggle to it than today’s Las Vegas-style bottle service strip clubs. It’s easy to crystallize someone like Starr in our memory as a young bombshell, taking it all off for roaring crowds, scandalizing politics with the Governor of Louisiana (and probably JFK, too), but we should always remember—there is life after pasties! For her book Legends The Living Art Of Risque, French photographer Marie Baronnet captures the fabulous ladies of mid-century burlesque in all their mature glory.

Although I do appreciate Miss Toni Elling and her “hey, fuck it, I’m old” ensemble, the majority of the women featured remain gloriously glam, with sparkles, feathers and cheesecake pouts. There are some ladies who actually took it all off for Baronnet, but in the spirit of the vintage striptease, I’ve kept the selections pretty safe for work. Mostly it seems to be about muscle memory; there is a kind of sexual performance that these women still know how to work...
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What is sex, anyway?

What is sex, anyway? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
The answer, however, is less simple than you might think.

Sex, as an activity, turns out to be a slippery thing, by which I mean it’s troublingly hard to define. To some extent we all know what we’re talking about when we talking about “having sex”, but there’s room for disagreement. The edges of “sex” seem…porous.

Which can be a problem. There are a number of reasons why we might want to define sex; most pressing of which is that we need to have more conversations about it. We need to do that because quite a lot of people seem to be having bad sex. Bad sex in this context is sex that is not consensual, sex that is not pleasurable or sex that is not safe. Sex that is, in summary, the opposite of awesome. If people want to have sex at all, they should be able to have awesome sex.

It seems not unreasonable to suggest that the awesomeness of sex will increase the more openly we can discuss it, but in order to talk about something, we kind of need to agree what we’re talking about. Otherwise our

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Sex workers just want you to understand that:

Sex workers just want you to understand that: | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
ithotyouknew:
“1. We do this for money, not liberation or empowerment or anything else. Money.
2. We deserve rights and protection just like any other worker.
3. You hurt both victims and consensual...

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Gracie Passette's curator insight, May 25, 3:52 AM

There are some who would take exception to #1...

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I've Been a Prostitute for Almost Ten Years, And I Wish I'd Never Started It

I've Been a Prostitute for Almost Ten Years, And I Wish I'd Never Started It | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
I am embarrassed to be a sex worker, even though I like my job, I’m good at it, and I’ve made exceptional progress in my career over the past few years.

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Are we ignoring the sexual needs of disabled people? - Telegraph

Are we ignoring the sexual needs of disabled people? - Telegraph | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
A new book sets out to educate care workers on the importance of sex to disabled men and women. But as a society, are we accepting of the sexual needs of the disabled man? Gareth May speaks to the book’s author to find out
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10 Weirdest, Most Fascinating Sex Stories of 2014

10 Weirdest, Most Fascinating Sex Stories of 2014 | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Sex tips from a man with no penis? Open relationships reduce jealousy? Here are some of AlterNet's most interesting sex stories of 2014.
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Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason

Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
When a girl becomes a woman, she is initiated into a bizarre and mysterious annual ritual. She takes off her clothes, sticks her arms through a backless medical gown, reclines on an examination table, and spreads her legs.
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Just Who Is A "Sex Worker" & Who Carries The Shame? Irv O. Neil & I Discuss

Just Who Is A "Sex Worker" & Who Carries The Shame? Irv O. Neil & I Discuss | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“Erotica author Irv O. Neil and I continue our talk, this time traveling into the semantics and shame of sex work. Do you consider yourself, or erotica writers in general, to be sex workers? Why or ...”
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The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls

The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
While, since its popularization in the 1990s, the phenomenon of sex dolls—life-sized and lifelike synthetic figures intended both as erotic objects and as stand-in companions—has been riddled with condemnation, Danish photojournalist Benita Marcussen seeks to shed these judgment
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Gracie Passette's curator insight, November 24, 2014 10:01 PM

See here for more on sex dolls (info & art).

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People Want to Know: Why Do We Watch the Dong?

People Want to Know: Why Do We Watch the Dong? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
All the highbrow justification you need.
Craftypants Carol's insight:

cause it's about fucking time

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'Possessing The Lily' And Other Sexual Euphemisms You Never Knew You Needed

'Possessing The Lily' And Other Sexual Euphemisms You Never Knew You Needed | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Why can't we just say ... *whisper* penis and vagina?
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5 Secrets I Know About Women (From Writing Their Weird Porn)

5 Secrets I Know About Women (From Writing Their Weird Porn) | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
We talked to one of the guys who cranks out erotic fiction by the truckload for sale on Amazon, making a nice living in the process. This is what we learned.
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The Nu Project

The Nu Project | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
The Nu Project is a collection of nude photographs. The premise is simple: anyone over 21 with a body and a space to shoot can volunteer.
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Honey Almast's comment, June 12, 2:38 AM
hahah you got to check this out - http://goo.gl/QJIdMf
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Why romance novelists are the rock stars of the literary world

Why romance novelists are the rock stars of the literary world | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
When American filmmaker Laurie Kahn set out to make Love Between the Covers, a documentary about the women who read and write romance novels, she was struck by how often she heard the same story. It wasn’t a tale of beefy bodice rippers or love at first sight; it was a story about snobs. “I can’t tell you how many people I interviewed,” says Kahn, “who told me that people will walk up to them on a beach and say, ‘Why do you read that trash?’ ” Apparently, where lovers of romance novels go, contempt follows. Sometimes it’s subtle contempt—a raised eyebrow from a colleague, or a snarky comment from a friend (usually the kind of person who claims to read Harper’s on a beach vacation). Other times it’s more overt, even potentially damaging. When Mary Bly (pen name Eloisa James), an academic and New York Times bestselling author, began writing romance, she was advised to keep her fiction writing secret or risk not making tenure at the university where she worked.

For some reason, argues Kahn, perhaps because its subjects are female, romance novels are perceived as fundamentally silly, when other popular “genre fiction”—namely, fiction by and for men—is not. “Nobody,” she says, would walk up to “a man reading Stephen King, or a mystery or sci-fi novel” and scoff. And she’s right: Stephen King may write circles around romance novelist Nora Roberts, but mystery-thriller buffs James Patterson and Dean Koontz most certainly do not. Yet Roberts is the butt of jokes—a universal default example of “bad writing,” while her equally schlocky male contemporaries get a free pass.

A filmmaker whose previous work includes the Emmy-winning documentary A Midwife’s Tale, and Tupperware!, a film about American women of the 1950s who made small fortunes throwing Tupperware parties, Kahn wanted to explore not only the double standard faced by romance authors, but the wild success and collaborative nature of the romance community itself. Love Between the Covers, which premieres at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival at the end of the month, explores life from the perspective of the genre’s giants and veterans—the Nora Robertses and Beverly Jenkinses of the field (the latter a pioneer of African-American romance writing)—and its millions of readers and aspiring writers, some of whom work full-time jobs, yet write more than a thousand words every evening. (When Lenora Barot, pen name Radclyffe, began writing what would become groundbreaking lesbian romance fiction in the ’90s, she was a full-time plastic surgeon.) “It’s these untold stories of women that really appeal to me,” says Kahn. “Here is this community that is huge. It’s a multi-billion-dollar business and the women in it are writing a huge range of romantic fiction and no one gives them the time of day.”

The amazing thing is that this historically derided genre is not only wildly successful (it regularly outsells both mystery and sci-fi; Romance Writers of America estimates the genre made $1.08 billion in sales in 2013) but also preternaturally friendly.

In an age where women are constantly encouraged to “lean in” at predominantly male workspaces, there exists this frequently ignored, yet massive and diverse, woman-steered industry where writers literally tutor their competition. As Bly says early on in Kahn’s film, the romance industry may be one of the last meritocracies left on the planet.

And it’s a very functional one. The annual Romance Writers of America conference, where thousands of authors offer detailed advice to newbie writers on everything from where to pitch to how to find an agent, is unique in a publishing world in which authors are typically discouraged from discussing their contracts openly. Kahn attributes this friendly, inclusive atmosphere, in part, to the recent popularity and acceptance of self-publishing (formerly known as “vanity publishing”).

A common criticism expressed about major romance publisher Harlequin (which declined to comment for this story) is that it promotes the “line”—the type of romance novel, be it “historical” or “intrigue” or other—over the author. Apparently this has been an issue for a long time. “Because of this practice, romance authors have to hustle their own books and find their own markets,”writes Leslie W. Rabine in her 1985 essay, “Romance in the Age of Electronics: Harlequin Enterprises.” They can also have a difficult time getting royalties from publishers, they report, with waits of up to two years, Rabine adds. Today, many romance authors have turned that liability into a strength. If they’re going to do the hustle on their own, many writers figure, why not reap the bulk of the financial reward? Ironically, the entity that’s allowed them to do this is the biggest publishing behemoth of them all—Amazon. Kahn says that, in the three to four years in which she worked on the film, “There’s been a revolution in publishing, and it has upended everything. It used to be that the power was completely in the hands of the publishers, and authors were like hitchhikers waiting by the side of the road, hoping some agent would pick them up,” Kahn says. “When I was shooting, Amazon started Kindle Direct Publishing. That radically changed the picture.”

Shelley Bates (pen names include Shelley Adina and Adina Senft), who writes steampunk and Amish romance fiction, was once one of those metaphorical hitchhikers waiting for an agent to pick up her new book series, Magnificent Devices, set, according to her website, “in an [alternative] Victorian age where steam-powered devices are capable of sending the adventurous to another city, another continent, or even another world.” Bates grew up on Vancouver Island, and today lives near San Francisco with her husband, where, in addition to writing fiction, she rescues chickens (some of them abandoned, others coming to her from people moving out of the area who “can’t take their birds with them”). She shopped her series around to 10 different publishers in 2010, all of which rejected her. She says the editorial department at a major U.K. publisher was really interested at one point, but eventually turned Magnificent Devices down because it wasn’t sure how to market steampunk.


Photograph by Erik Putz

“I put it out myself [on Amazon] in 2011,” says Bates, “and, eight books later, it’s going up like gangbusters. That’s what paid for the house.” Bates, who hired a graphic designer for the cover and marketed the book herself, says she made “six figures” in 2013, and again in 2014, success she attributes to self-publishing and the collaborative nature of her business model. “Suddenly I realized I could go directly to my readers. I bounced things off them on my blog,” she says. “It’s not writing by committee, but my readers are so invested. I’ll give them two cover options [for a book] and they’ll come back and tell me and that will be the cover.”

Romance writers may get little respect from the literary world, but they are, without a doubt, its rock stars. “We don’t really care what the establishment thinks, because we’re paying off our houses,” says Bates. “Readers vote with their wallets. I think the big-publisher business models will have to become more author-friendly if they want to retain their authors.”

Or perhaps they’ll have to embrace diversity. The notion that steampunk, for example, wouldn’t sell, or would be too difficult to market, is a sensibility at odds with other forms of popular entertainment—from television to Hollywood movies—where many producers have realized that diverse ideas and new voices do well in the mainstream. Because publishers sell books to retailers, as opposed to readers themselves, they have an often confused perception of what readers want and who reads what. This is a frustration Barot, who also publishes LGBT books, knows well. She says she’s seen some of her own books placed in the “cultural studies” section of major bookstores—the likely assumption on the part of retailers being that LGBT romance is too niche for general fiction. In other words, if you’re a run-of-the-mill heterosexual romance novel, you’re the subject of cheap ridicule, and if you’re an LGBT romance novel, you’re perceived as irrelevant outside the realm of esoteric academic study.

In the end, the most common assumption about romance novels, buoyed by the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, is that they are anti-feminist. And though the so-called bodice rippers of the 1970s (in which men who look like Fabio ravish passive sweethearts) are still quite popular, the genre has also expanded rapidly in recent years to include fiction of the paranormal, gay, evangelical, steampunk, time travel and Gothic variety (and many more). Its female leads, in many contexts, have evolved with the times, rendering the charge that romance novels are full of oppressed, unthinking women, or who are profoundly ignorant. Not only is the industry itself rife with female entrepreneurs; its heroines always get what they want. In fact, the only formula that rings true across all romance novels is the HEA: the Happily Ever After. It is unanimously believed to be the defining principle of the genre. “The women always win,” says Kahn. “And that doesn’t happen in most places.”

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Annie Edmonds 's curator insight, May 29, 7:08 PM

This isn't new news. Romance novels, and erotic romance novels have been big business for decades. 

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The Women Behind Erotic Fiction

The Women Behind Erotic Fiction | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Warning: The captions of this post are excerpts from the featured writers' erotic literature and contain sexually explicit language.  Who are the people behind erotic fiction, those accounts of racy affairs and clandestine romances so often stashed away in secret, read in the privacy of one’s home?

Via Deanna Dahlsad
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Deanna Dahlsad's curator insight, May 21, 7:02 PM

Quote: “Easy to imagine they would be foxy, leather-clad mistresses, whip in one hand, the other on the keyboard. I knew the reality would be very different. I wanted to see behind their pseudonyms and secret lives,” Woolfall said in a statement.


Why even begin with the nasty stereotype? Do men get that wrap?

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Meet the UK’s best-paid sex worker who's campaigning to rid prostitution of its stigma

Meet the UK’s best-paid sex worker who's campaigning to rid prostitution of its stigma | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it

Josh said there’s a negative attitude towards sex workers. He is now campaigning for the stigma attached to the industry to end. For him, being an escort is just like any regular job.

 

“It’s the most practiced since the dawn of man so I don’t understand why people have to make such a big deal of it like it’s some sacred cow.

 

“The only other job you can be in and learn so much about people is being a psychologist.”


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How I know squirting/female ejaculation is real (and not pee)

How I know squirting/female ejaculation is real (and not pee) | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
I've felt it, smelled it, and soaked towels with it, and many other people with vulvas also report: it's not urine. Take that, sketchy scientific studies.
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female ejaculation, and the problem with "average"

female ejaculation, and the problem with "average" | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
A fascinating study (Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality) was just published on female ejaculation. It was the first such study I've seen that concluded that "squirting is essentia...
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‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979

‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979 | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979”
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Is The Clothed Female Naked Male Fetish Feminist?

Is The Clothed Female Naked Male Fetish Feminist? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Ever visited PornHub and spotted an incongruous image of a naked man surrounded by clothed women? Then you've stumbled upon the fetish of CFNM – Clothed Female, Naked Male.
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The Healing and Rejuvenation Magic in Sexual Arousal--Pamela Madsen | Good Vibes

Regular Good Vibrations blog contributor Pamela Madsen talks sexual healing through female arousal
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The Buying & Selling Of Used Panties Makes News Again

The Buying & Selling Of Used Panties Makes News Again | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
As we covered before, in Skanky Panties & The Business of Faux Fish Juices, there is money to be made in selling used panties online. That means lots of people are running panty scams too ~ as ...
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