Archive by Author

Keeping It Real: An Interview with Bridget Midway

14 Feb
Best. Housewarming. Gift. Ever. Click to buy.

Best. Housewarming. Gift. Ever. Click to buy.

By Alexa Day

We’ve spent a great deal of the last few days celebrating Fifty Shades. I cannot in good conscience join that celebration. My consistently negative feelings about Fifty Shades — both the portion of the book that I struggled to read and the movies I have no intention of seeing — are well documented here on the blog. But today, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I have chosen to offer you a more gentle, generous message.

You can do better. You can do much better.

Take Bridget Midway. Her Fascination Street was one of the very first kinky romances I ever read. It’s more of a swinging romance than a BDSM story, although it’s Bridget’s first book featuring characters who are into BDSM. Still, it doesn’t look like many of today’s BDSM romances. There are no billionaires. There are no ingenues. There are no sex clubs (but there is absolutely an orgy). Fascination Street is the story of a couple discovering that their new home in the suburbs comes with some very kinky neighbors. It’s also an interracial romance, the first BDSM romance I’d ever read with a black heroine.

Woman In Chains features a Dominant hero who rescues a submissive from an abusive Dom. When the story opens, the heroine, Brea, has been so badly abused that she won’t even use her own name. Watching her find her way out of the darkness with her rescuer, Dakota, is pretty powerful stuff.

I got to interview Bridget about her sexy stories, where BDSM romance is headed, and whether BDSM’s chains and power exchange are especially loaded for black kinksters. I definitely learned a thing or two from our conversation.

AD: With Fascination Street, you showed us that kinky people could literally be the couple next door, and with Woman in Chains, I absolutely love the way you portrayed hero Doms and villainous ones, to show readers what these relationships should and should not look like. (I consider both of them seminal works, by the way.) Is BDSM romance doing enough to draw the line between good relationships and bad ones? Does BDSM romance have any responsibility to do that?

BM: All romance fiction should highlight what a great relationship is for that couple. (Emphasis Alexa’s.) What works for one person may not work for another. Belle in Beauty and the Beast desired the Beast more than Gaston, but I’m sure some woman out there wanted Gaston. The goal of BDSM romance fiction should be to represent the Lifestyle honestly.

A: Do you think that we, as erotic romance authors, are sacrificing the tenets of safe, sane, consensual to achieve more popularity? I think erotic romance has always been a little larger than life, but do you think that we’re going beyond the unrealistic into the dangerous? Do we have a mandate to educate, or at least to be responsible, in our portrayal of BDSM?

B: In all fiction, authors push the boundaries of reality to create a fantasy that will make readers fall in love with love and with the characters. I can only speak about my writing style and my goals. I stay in the boundaries of portraying safe, sane, and consensual BDSM relationships. However, there’s more to a BDSM relationship than safe, sane, and consensual. Trust is paramount. It’s the bedrock of any good BDSM relationship. I’ll shake the characters up by making them question the trust they have between each other.

A: What would you say to black kinksters and the kink-curious who may be torn between curiosity and the powerful cultural implications of the power exchange, the whip/chain/restraint trappings of BDSM? Is BDSM different for black practitioners?

B: Although I write BDSM, I’m not personally in the Lifestyle. However, I have learned about the Lifestyle from people in the Lifestyle for more than twelve years. The very first time I went to a munch, which is a lunch that includes a demonstration, the Domme who taught me about the Lifestyle taught me one very important thing. BDSM is about sensations. Some people like a harder sensation than others. Some may want to be spanked, caned or flogged. Some may want dirty talk or tickling or mummification. No matter the kink, people who are involved in the Lifestyle are doing it for themselves and no one else, unless your thing is being an exhibitionist. If it is, you still wouldn’t care what anyone thinks. A person of color who enjoys being tied down or whipped should want it because it’s what they desire and it’s consensual. That’s the most important thing.

It'll change the way you think. Click to buy.

It’ll change the way you think. Click to buy.

A: Do you feel any kind of a way about Fifty Shades?

B: When the books first came out and there was a definite buzz about them, readers contacted me and asked me what I thought about them. At the time, I hadn’t heard of the series or the author. So I went on the author’s website to check out what she was all about. In her Frequently Asked Questions page, she admitted that she did all of her BDSM research online. After that, I discounted everything in the series and the movies.

BDSM is a real lifestyle with participants doing it all over the world. At the time I learned, I lived in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I didn’t even think where I lived that there was even a local BDSM group. I thought the closest I could get would be D.C. or Maryland. I did a search online and found a group that welcomed me to their meetings and have been so supportive about everything I have done, from book releases to in-person events. So for that reason, the Fifty Shades of Grey author had absolutely no excuse for not going out and meeting people from the Lifestyle to get a real, honest perspective. People can and do lie online all the time. When you get in a room with someone who is getting flogged or see a rigger hoist someone in the air with ropes or watch needles piercing someone’s skin and hearing their reaction, you collect sensational memories that you can translate into compelling fiction. I heard what it sounded like for a paddle to strike flesh. I smelled the wax during wax play. I’ve felt different types of canes and floggers. I have swung a paddle and flogger, and struck someone before. For that reason, I hope readers find me credible when they read my work.

A: I want to hear all about Royal Pains! How long have you been putting on an annual event? Why did you start? What do you hope to accomplish each year?

B: Ah, “2017 Royal Pains with Bridget Midway and Friends”. To be honest, and you may find this hard to believe, I’m painfully shy. I don’t mind absorbing into a background and being an observer. On the flip side of that, I do enjoy talking to readers and talking about books. About five years ago, author Yvette Hines put on an in-person event in Virginia Beach. She invited other local authors, including me, to participate. I saw how much fun it was, and asked her if she wanted to partner to do a joint event that focused on BDSM. I had never heard of a BDSM author event at that time, and I had been to plenty of BDSM conventions like Leather Flea Market Fair, Leather Fet and Fetish Fair Flea Market. I wanted to marry the two concepts.

In 2013, Yvette and I put on an event called “Wrapped Up” and wrote complementing books in a series about brothers who were both Dominants and owned a candy shop. My book was called Licorice Whips. I invited a couple of people in the Lifestyle to talk about what it is that they do, and they did an actual scene for the attendees.

To put on an event is a lot of work. So I waited a couple of years, and then in 2015, author Adrienne Kama and I put on another BDSM event called “Kickin’ It”. In that one, I had even more folks in the Lifestyle there and they answered questions and did some interactive activities with them.

I was exhausted after that event and hadn’t planned on putting on another one. When the people in the Lifestyle came up to me at the end of the “Kickin’ It” event and said, “You are going to do this again, and we will be here for you”, I knew I had to put on another event. It was fun and so informative.

My goal is to educate and entertain. I want people to take the fantasy of what they think BDSM is out of their heads and look at something real. And I want them to see and hear from people that I lean on for my BDSM teachings. And if I sell a book or two, that’s icing on the cake.

A: What are you working on right now?

B: Right now I’m working on the fourth book in the Love series, which is called Addicted to Love. That series has been about BDSM in reality TV settings. The first book, Love My Way, was about a Dominant trying to find a submissive through a reality TV show. The second book, Slave To Love, is about a submissive trying to find her Dominant through a reality TV show. In that book, there were two characters in there that “spoke” to me. I wanted to explore their stories. The hero was a contestant on the show who doesn’t talk. And the heroine is a bubbly submissive. Truth be told, this is the most difficult book I have ever written. But I can’t back away from a challenge. I want to get his story told.

A: I want that story told, too!

I am so, so grateful to Bridget for spending some time with me and Lady Smut! If you’re down with what Bridget is saying (and I definitely am), check her out on Facebook. Every morning, she posts up some smoking hot imagery in the run-up to Royal Pains. I especially enjoy the femdom photos. Yes, ma’am! If you want to join the party at Royal Pains — and I agree with Bridget that watching a scene from inside the room far surpasses anything you’re going to see on the Internet — head over to Bridget’s site. When she and I spoke, there were only 14 spots left, and they are going very quickly.

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

Includes massage oil, candle, lip balm, and soap. Continental US only, please!

And this is an excellent time to follow Lady Smut. You’re just in time for the Kama Sutra giveaway! Just subscribe to our newsletter for a chance to win.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

The Kama Sutra: More Than Tab A and Slot B

7 Feb
Need a roadmap? Look elsewhere. Want to think? This might be the book for you.

Need a roadmap? Look elsewhere. Want to think? This might be the book for you.

By Alexa Day

Want to hear a secret? Sure you do.

Pretty soon, we’re going to announce a giveaway. Aren’t you excited? Nothing like a little random chance to make the day go by faster, I find.

But while you’re waiting to hear more about the giveaway, I thought we’d spend a few minutes with one of the classics.

Do you have a copy of the Kama Sutra?

I do. It’s not a new copy; I’ve had it for years. Mine is the Danielou translation. It’s complete, unlike the Burton translation. Burton was known to skip over the parts that made him uncomfortable and then use euphemism to render the rest of the book incomprehensible. Not so with Danielou. It’s still not the easiest thing in the world to read, but at least it’s all here.

My copy isn’t illustrated. There’s a large contingent of readers who question the utility of a Kama Sutra without illustrations. I’m not sure I’m convinced, either. Reading about the sex positions without the illustrations is a bit like reading assembly instructions without diagrams. Sure, you’ll probably get the project finished eventually, but you will wish for a picture many times before you’re done, even if the picture isn’t especially helpful.

Truth be told, though, the positions aren’t the most interesting part of the Kama Sutra. Not even close. So if you have a copy with no illustrations, have no fear.

The best part of the Kama Sutra, to my mind, is that it will make you think.

There’s a chapter entitled Virile Behavior in Women, which describes the alternatives available to women who had not been satisfied by their lovers. Scratching and biting each get their own chapter. I never imagined there was so much to know about scratching. Apparently, there are eight kinds of scratch marks, where I would only have counted one.

There are six chapters on courtesans, and a great deal of attention is devoted to the emotional difference between a relationship with a lover and commerce with a courtesan. And of course, there’s the challenge of reading the positions without illustrations, if you want to put your visual imagination through its paces.

The Kama Sutra isn’t a how-to, despite its format. It’s more of a cultural study. But it’s interesting to examine what life the Kama Sutra brings to today’s sexual culture.

And it lends a bit of weight to one’s shelves. Right?

Follow Lady Smut. You won’t need a map.

Walk the Walk by Turning the Page

31 Jan

2017-ls-reading-challenge

By Alexa Day

Black History Month starts tomorrow, and this year, I’m mindful of our #ReadHotter challenge. You saw that, right? We threw down the gauntlet about a month ago with ten reading challenges, which I’ve placed here again for your reference.

This year, we again challenge you to read “a book with main characters of a different race or culture than you.” We had the same challenge last year. I’ve always felt some sort of way about it, to be honest. See, for a great many readers for a great many years, the mere act of reading romance was reading books with main characters of a different race or culture. Hell, for me, writing romance is writing characters of a different race or culture.

But today we live in a climate of frankness and openness. We’re called upon to be allies, to protect and understand each other. We can’t fall back on the same old stand-bys of black history.

We all have to do better. We have to teach better, and we have to do a better job of learning. That’s going to be hard for everybody.

(We do all need to be allies for each other — for everyone. You’re hearing mostly about black people today because I’m a black author and next month is Black History Month, but be ready to hear something similar from other sources.)

For our purposes today, I’m presuming that you all have at least bought a book with main characters of a different race. I want to push you a little harder, though. I want to ask you about the book you bought with an author of a different race or culture than you. Because I presume you have at least one of those, too. Seriously, if you don’t have at least one Beverly Jenkins book by now, you’ve earned the side-eye I’m giving you. It might also be any one of the other books I’ve recommended on Lady Smut over the years.

Go put your hand on that book. If it’s on your Kindle, go pull it up. I’ll wait.

Got it? Okay. I’m going to ask some in-your-face questions.

Have you read that book? Have you actually read that book written by a black author?

Did you read all of it?

Did you talk to anyone about it? Did you recommend it? Review it?

Did you ask any questions it raised for you? Did you examine the ways it challenged you?

I’m not just asking because our #ReadHotter challenge requires you to actually read the book. I’m not asking because I want to make sure you check off the little box on your Good Reader list.

I’m asking because actually reading that book you bought is more important than it’s ever been.

Buying the book — whenever you bought it — is a fantastic gesture. It’s an effective way to support diverse authors and the call for diversity in publishing, and I will never tell you that isn’t important.

You’re not going to get any answers that way, though. You’re only going to move forward if you read the book and act on it by leaving a review, asking questions, and going deeper.

It’s not enough any more to just buy that book. It’s wonderful and all, but just having that one book doesn’t make you an ally. It doesn’t make you an activist. You’re going to have to read it.

Read that book. Then read another one with a different author. Consider the way the heroines walk through the world — the billionaire socialites, the ancient queens, the 18th century doctors. Travel through ancient Africa and the American South still smoldering after the Civil War. Immerse yourself in the authors’ blogs as well as their books.

(Just as a start, go check out Alyssa Cole’s blog and her books — you will not be disappointed there. I promise.)

We serve each other by going beyond the mere gesture. Buying that book, in order to support that author and the call for greater diversity in publishing, is absolutely fantastic. But reading it — taking in the places where your viewpoints differ, where the author’s culture teaches you something, where you have something in common — benefits both you and the author. Reading it is where we go beyond mere talk and good thoughts and move toward real understanding.

So … what are you reading this month?

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For Your Amusement: Three Diversions to Occupy Your Impatient Mind

24 Jan
Dorothy and Lucas, from Emerald City. This ain't Kansas, and that guy's no scarecrow.

Dorothy and Lucas, from Emerald City. This ain’t Kansas, and that guy’s no scarecrow.

By Alexa Day

Three weeks until The Walking Dead comes back.

Eight months until Pitch returns.

Day 3 of the new President’s first 100.

These are hard times for an impatient woman. I found myself in search of diversions, something to take my mind off the political clusterf*ck that is social media. Something that would make time go by much, much faster.

I got lucky this week and found three.

1. Emerald City. Mixed opinions follow Emerald City, an NBC series inspired by L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. It’s a dark reimagining of the stories many of us know best through the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. But the Oz books were darker than the film, and the series is darker still. Just within the first few episodes, the story reveals prostitution, ritual suicide, and the introduction of gun violence into a world that’s already a pretty dangerous place.

I love it.

Visually, Emerald City is quite a spectacle. The spires of the titular city rise high over the sea, and we’re treated to a variety of sweeping landscapes. Everything looks just unreal enough. It’s a big change from the Technicolor experimentation of the film.

Women dominate Emerald City’s storylines. The Wizard has forbidden magic in the realm of Oz … and magic is used primarily, if not exclusively, by women. The story traces several women’s relationships with their powers, whether their magic is stifled, latent, or on full, startling display. Morality, identity and power come together in fascinating ways, and before long, the Oz of Emerald City starts to raise questions that have troubled women for a long, long time.

Oh … and the Scarecrow’s never looked quite like this.

Give it a try. It’ll make you think.

2. Playboy. I wrote a while ago about what Playboy would be like without its nudes. I popped over there last weekend, looking for something to read, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Playboy has always upheld a somewhat proud literary tradition; its track record with short fiction is long and impressive. And then there’s the Playboy interview, whose question-and-answer format gave Alex Haley a way to use laconic jazz legend Miles Davis’s curt responses. When I read Playboy, I really was there for the articles. But I’ll confess that I haven’t read any part of it in a pretty long time.

I don’t know if the disappearance of the print pictorial has anything to do with it, but my recent visit to the website revealed a wealth of women writers, alongside their male counterparts. The lineup of articles includes coverage of the Women’s March (including the best of the signs), questions about women, jazz and La La Land, a critique of modern journalism, and my favorite — a peek at how much better sex can be with an unattractive partner.

Are there still scantily clad women on the Playboy website? Sure. But I work in a world of scantily clad men. I will not now be seen to point fingers.

3. Exhibit Unadorned. In its struggle to redeem itself this past week, Facebook introduced me to a new-to-me blog, Exhibit Unadorned. Kayla Lords, a woman I’m proud to call a Facebook friend, wrote this interview with Exhibit A, a male sex blogger from London. Exhibit A didn’t match my stereotypes of what a male sex blogger would sound like. Sure, his blog has a whole page of links to dick pics sprinkled generously through his posts. But his post about a sex party he attended with his girlfriend would be at home in any erotic romance. A his-and-hers commentary about a shabbily written list of sex don’ts is too cute for words, and all too true.

I feel bad for being surprised by this. I don’t really have a reason, other than being narrow-minded, to think that a male sex blogger can’t produce this kind of inviting, fun, sex-positive work. Perhaps Snctm left a bad taste in my mouth.

If you’re looking for a diversion for the next 98 days and beyond, I hope I’ve given you a lot to click on! We’re all in this together, after all. And if you’ve got diversions to share, hit me up in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. The time will just fly by.

Come Again … Eventually

17 Jan
anatomy-of-arousal

Sheri Winston taught me a thing or two about meditation. Click and get yourself some sexy science.

By Alexa Day

Things worth doing are worth doing slowly.

It’s one of the philosophies that gets me through life, but much of the real world is built for speed. We’re conditioned to work faster, eat faster, and move faster. Sadly, this need for speed has begun to stretch into the bedroom.

I sense resistance to this idea. No one wants to admit, even quietly to themselves, that they’re having sex too quickly. You’re raising your eyebrows at me.

And that’s fine. Let’s pretend for the moment that we’re talking about someone else.

Back in November, I wrote about Regena Thomashauer’s book, Pussy, in which she describes a Demonstration of Extended Massive Orgasm. In a live demonstration, the DEMO course features a one-hour female orgasm. Thomashauer describes the experience of being brought to extended orgasm by one of the class leaders, in front of a gathering of students.

My mind was blown.

I’ve been to sexual meditation before, a loosely guided journey out of the here and now and into the world of sensation that’s usually kicked under the rug of so-called real life. An eye mask pushed the outside world a little farther away, and I sat up after fifteen minutes feeling fully rested. Sexual meditation is a must for writers of erotic fiction, a practice that slides business and productivity concerns out of the way in favor of communion with the feelings and sensations of our characters.

Ready to grab your own? Click to buy.

Ready to grab your own? Click to buy.

Somewhere in the DEMO and sexual meditation between is Orgasmic Meditation, or OM. In OM, one participant (the stroker) strokes the clitoris of another participant (the strokee, naturally) for fifteen minutes. The practice is intended to create heightened connection between the participants and to bring about extended, deep sensations of pleasure.

The orgasm as we know it, that which we typically call a climax, isn’t really the point. Indeed, the strokee may not experience a climax. The practice of OM is focused on orgasm, a “goalless, intuitive, and dynamic” state. Orgasm isn’t something to achieve in OM. It’s heightened consciousness, sensation, awareness, and connection, and it starts as soon as stroking overtakes the flood of conscious thoughts. All this stroking is often performed in front of other people, too. I don’t know what’s up with all the observers, but it seems to be working for other people, so I’m not going to cry about it.

Nicole Daedone is the founder and CEO of OneTaste, the organization that teaches Orgasmic Meditation. She advised two first-time OM observers that the clitoris is home to ten loci of sensation, and that each locus feels different when stimulated.

Damn. That’s worth handling slowly, too.

It is no surprise that there’s resistance to a meditation practice focused so intensely on the female orgasm. The stroker, typically male, doesn’t even remove his clothing. Critics are quick to call it a cult or to jeer that the fifteen-minute journey into the state of orgasm is easily achieved by any woman with a sex toy.

That’s missing the point, I think. Although I do find it interesting that these critics almost uniformly recommend a sex toy and not a partner, as if they are aware that they lack the necessary patience, the necessary technique, or both.

Speaking as someone who recently experienced a sex toy intense enough to vibrate my dental work, I question whether a toy is the way to the state of orgasm achieved through OM. Because much of the point of OM is to take the strokee out of her own head, I also question whether the goal can be achieved with self-stimulation, which does require the sort of thought OM strives to avoid. My suspicion is that a great many people are threatened by any practice focused exclusively on the female orgasm to the exclusion of the male’s climax. I can see how that would be a problem. There’s so little in Western culture that addresses male sexual pleasure, right?

Now, doesn’t it seem like a good idea to slow down? Everything will still be here afterwards. And who knows how long it’ll take to traverse orgasm, now that we know it’s a state and not just an off-ramp?

Follow Lady Smut. We know how to keep it coming.

Alexa Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

Sex Robot Anxiety: Alexa, Why Can’t We Have Nice Things?

10 Jan
I still think we'll all eventually have our own robot gunslingers. We just need to be very careful with them.

I still think we’ll all eventually have our own robot gunslingers. We just need to be very careful with them.

By Alexa Day

Am I obsessed with sex robots? I’m not sure obsessed is the right word. I prefer enthusiastic. I’m enthusiastic about sex robots.

And I really think we’re close to making sex robots a reality. I mean, we have most of the component parts out here right now.

For the first time, I’m a little worried about that.

Before I get to my concerns about the future, let’s have a quick look at where we are now.

Until recently, the reality of the sex robot was sufficient to dampen my enthusiasm (and not in a good way — heyo!). The real sex robots, predominantly women for male consumers, honestly didn’t look all that good. I don’t mean that they didn’t look hot. I mean that they didn’t look human. The average mannequin was a more attractive partner.

Sinthetics is changing the game. Elizabeth Shore wrote about them last month. They’re featured in a Vice Video, where the host Karley Sciortino commissions a sex doll named Gabriel with a sculpted body, blue eyes, and an erection that won’t quit until Karley wants it to. Gabriel was made by sex-positive people with a real eye for detail. You can see the veins in his arms. He has body hair. Thanks to Sinthetics, male sex dolls look pretty damned good.
(If you skipped the video last month, you missed out big time. Gabriel’s not shy about full frontal. Seriously.)

As hot as the modern male sex doll is, what separates him from the sex robot we’ve been talking about is a brain. We need him to understand what we’re saying, what we mean by what we’re saying, and what we might want later.
So where is our fabulous sex doll going to find a brain?

Ask Alexa. Not me. The other Alexa.

Amazon’s Echo Dot connects users to the Alexa Voice Service, a powerful artificial intelligence that recognizes and responds to a multitude of commands. Alexa knows your morning commute. She can read you the headlines. She’ll adjust the temperature in the living room. And the best part is that Alexa is learning as she goes. Amazon promises that the Echo Dot is adapting to its user’s “speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.” The more you ask of Alexa, the more she learns about you.

You don’t have to be terribly pervy to see the possibilities here (but it helps, I think). Alexa’s brain in Gabriel’s body seems like a fantastic idea, right? Aren’t you excited about the chance to educate your new friend?

Slow down, neighbors. Didn’t you read Frankenstein? That sounded like a fantastic idea at one point, too, but that snowball went downhill very, very quickly. We all have a lot to deal with right now, between smashing the patriarchy, protecting reproductive rights, maintaining our Netflix queues, and things of that nature. We won’t have time to chase a suddenly willful Gabriel all over creation, and we don’t know how quickly his hungry brain learns things. So we need to anticipate a couple of problems now.

We have an advantage over the Echo Dot in that we can move independently and it can’t. We could put the Dot into the underwear drawer if it starts getting a little ahead of itself. There’s a limit to how much it can do if it becomes disenchanted with its servile role in the household. Our robot friend isn’t going to be like that. I’m thinking about the Synths in the AMC show Humans. The Synths think independently enough to have secrets. It’s a big jump from following orders to keeping secrets, sure, but all a robot has to know in order to keep a secret is that knowing the truth will displease its owner. The sex robot’s job is to make you happy. How long do you think it would take our robot’s new brain to figure out that you would be better off not knowing the whole truth about something? It might start off innocently enough — one well executed surprise would teach our robot that withholding the truth sometimes pleases you. But once we’re not in complete control of disclosure, problems are going to arise.

The other problem is, well, people. Other people.

We aren’t out to take advantage of the sex robot, of course. To the extent a robot consents to sex, we’ll only be engaged in consensual activity. This is more about partner availability, the ability to have sex without having to make an effort to find an attractive partner whose presence we can tolerate. We are not awful people. We’re just about convenience and efficiency.

But awful people exist.

If you really want to be depressed by all of this, check out the brief documentary My Sex Robot. Along with all the rudimentary robots, you’ll find a host of men who will cheerfully tell you that the best part of having a sex robot is that she can’t say no. It’s kind of disturbing.

Is it possible to rape a sex robot? If it has a brain like the one we’re talking about, then I think the answer is yes. At the very least, the question invites discussion. Ideally, that discussion involves our new robot friend.

Damn. All I wanted was a robotic sex partner. Now that he sounds expensive and complicated, I might be forced to re-evaluate things.

And I will.

I promise.

Someday.

Are we moving too fast? Am I worrying about the wrong things? Let’s consider it in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. We’ll get you all the nicest stuff.

Pitch Is Perfect

3 Jan
Is hair like that the secret to happiness? Can I give it a whirl and get back to you?

Is hair like that the secret to happiness? Can I give it a whirl and get back to you?

By Alexa Day

Right up until the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, I was prepared to complain about the direction the show had taken. I’d spent most of the seventh season tuning in to listen to the endless rambling of Negan, who is basically a schoolyard bully with a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire. I could not figure out why people who had driven glass into their enemies’ eyes or torn out their enemies’ throats with their teeth were afraid of a big Chatty Cathy doll with a bat, and I’d started to lose interest in that particular mystery.

But I have to thank Negan for something. If he hadn’t annoyed the living daylights out of me, I might never have spent half an episode looking for other things to watch. If I hadn’t gone shopping for alternatives, I would never have found Pitch. I think I may be the last person in North America to have found the Fox series about the first woman to play major league baseball, but my tardiness meant I could binge-watch the whole season, so I’m grateful for it.

Pitch rescued me from the depths of television despair. It’s amazing. It’s given me reason to believe in regular network television again.

How?

Well, the easy answer is that it’s clearly put together by people who give a damn about what they’re doing and have the talent to do it well. I think that’s getting lost in television these days. How much television is being produced by people writing random stories that don’t make sense because they don’t think you’ll ever quit watching? Too much.

The true beauty of Pitch is that it isn’t about baseball at all. It’s about a large group of tight-knit characters who interact with each other and each other’s issues against the backdrop of baseball. Baseball is more of a setting in the way that New York City is a setting. It’s important but it doesn’t drive the story.

A lot of other things make Pitch beautiful.

1. There are no one-dimensional characters, even in the secondary cast. We know that Ginny’s agent, Amelia, used to represent celebrities, and so we know why she needs to protect Ginny from herself. We also know that Amelia’s struggle with infertility cost her a relationship, which adds a touch of vulnerability to her hard-charging facade. The general manager (Mark Consuelos, looking good) recruits a Cuban player by pitching a doll’s head at him. It’s the opening to a very well written conversation about two immigrants whose lives were changed by an all-American game. Ginny’s teammate, Blip, and his glamorous wife have an argument about how their marriage is not built on what they each wanted from life. It’s hard to create an entire cast of well-rounded characters, but there is a giant payoff in feeling every character’s fears, joys, and crushing disappointments. There’s a bigger payoff in not knowing whether a beloved character will find the happiness they want so badly or face another setback.

2. Complex feminism. I missed Pitch when it first showed up in September because I thought it was going to depend on one-note feminism. If I knew that a woman could do the job, and she knew she could do the job, I didn’t want to spend a whole season watching her prove it to the world at large. (In September, that felt a lot like the real world.) Pitch establishes right away that Ginny can do the job well enough to stay on the team. Much of the rest of the season touches on the kind of things women have to deal with in the universe outside professional baseball. Ginny has to balance her job with her social life; her groupies are all female and with her job, she struggles to find time to date. Ginny and her agent have to deal with leaked nude photos. (Their solution, which involves the ESPN Body Issue, is brilliant.) Ginny’s entire family has always wanted her to achieve this level of success, but once she’s arrived, they all have different issues with her. None of us are strangers to the pressure to maintain an image, build friendships, find romance, and establish a solid professional standing. Watching Ginny try, and sometimes fail, to do it live on the JumboTron made me want to cheer for her all the more.

I was surprised by how badly and how quickly I wanted to put my face against all that beard. Very badly. Very quickly.

I was surprised by how badly and how quickly I wanted to put my face against all that beard. Very badly. Very quickly.

3. Mike Lawson. Mike’s not the typical sports hero. The bottom half of his face is hidden beneath a thick beard. He’s starting to go to seed. Much is made of his bad knees. Age is catching up to him and he knows it. He’s the team captain, and he keeps the younger guys in line with the knowledge and wisdom that come with a long career. But that career has cost him just about everything, and when we join the story, we’re watching him deal with the ruins of the marriage he sacrificed to baseball, the erosion of his body, and the threat of being replaced. Mike’s earned his alpha status with the team, but we get to see him in private, too, at his most vulnerable. I’m not sure that we as romance writers are creating enough characters like Mike, but he’s the reason I keep coming back. I have the highest hopes for him, along with the deepest fears.

Of course, there’s bad news. Nothing’s free in this world, right?

As magnificent as Pitch is, we won’t see new episodes until next fall. That’s criminal, but I can see how it might have happened. It just bothers me that I have to wait that long to rejoin the story, and I’m scared that Fox will come up with some baseless reason to get rid of it.

I’m also worried about what will happen to Pitch if it does come back. Right after watching the world fall apart for all these wonderful characters, in exactly the way the world should fall apart in a season finale, I sat back with a contented sigh and wondered if I’d ever felt so happy with a television show. That’s when I remembered Sleepy Hollow. That first season finale was a thing of beauty. After that, it was like the writers became jealous of its glory and tried to destroy it. They finally succeeded by killing one of the leads, but they worked really hard to wreck that show before then.

(Sleepy Hollow isn’t completely dead, by the way. It’s just dead to me.)

So while I’m working through the next several months, waiting for Pitch to return, I’m on the lookout for other distractions. Fanfiction writers are already linking Ginny and Mike, which sounds just lovely to me but might not be the best idea for them. And I imagine I could be seeking out more sports romances during this long interval.

Just be warned. Pitch has presented me with an appropriately diverse professional baseball team. I will be pretty disappointed to find that romance can’t do the same.

Follow Lady Smut.

‘Tis the Season to Ring Those Bells

20 Dec
Is it too late to be good?

Is it too late to be good?

By Alexa Day

You know, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. There’s an abundance of food, drink, merriment and romance. People are being slightly less awful to each other. Snow has begun to fall. And most importantly, this is when I start looking forward to next year.

I’ll be taking a winter break, along with my learned colleagues here, but I’ll be back in January with more hijinks. In the meantime, why don’t you check out some highlights from this past year?

Snctm. Is it, as Churchill described Russia, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”? I think not. I think it’s much less complex.

Soon you can go back to being naughty (if indeed you ever stopped). Don’t forget to touch up your skills.

Please, in the new year, can we resolve to keep the wild alpha wild?

Consider, as we broaden our horizons, the baggage we carry along with our curiosity. I have a word or two about urban romance here.

In this season of parties and bar hopping, don’t forget to be of service to your single friends. Start training to be a wingwoman here.

I would feel strange if I left you without a video, so enjoy this holiday favorite as you sit down to break bread with your loved ones.

Have a lovely holiday! And follow Lady Smut. We’re the gift that keeps on giving.

Yes! Yes! 365 Times, Yes!

13 Dec
Click here and get to yes.

Click here and get to yes.

By Alexa Day

Shonda Rhimes’s book, Year of Yes, came out a little over a year ago, and I jumped on it as soon as it was released. I picked it up again a few days ago, now that I’m deciding what the next year is going to look like. I’ve tried to say yes more often that I’ve said no this past year, and 2016 has been pretty exciting as a result. As I start looking into 2017, I thought I’d share with you all some of the high points from Shonda’s Year of Yes — and one high point from my own journey.

(In my head, Shonda and I are on a first-name basis. Someday she’ll challenge me on that, I’m sure, but I doubt today will be that day.)

The Year of Yes began shortly after Shonda’s sister observed that her famous sibling never said yes to anything. After some reflection, Shonda pledged to say yes to everything that scared her. One week later, the president of Dartmouth College asked her to deliver the commencement address.

She said yes.

After dropping the f-bomb at a back-to-school meeting in response to the suggestion that contributions to the bake sale must be homemade, she said yes to storebought baked goods and to a nanny. Enlisting help and support when necessary does not equate to failure in parenthood, she writes. Finding help and support makes the well rounded life — or even moderate levels of sanity — possible.

She said yes to her body, to the physical vehicle she depended on as she created a body of work and raised her children. During the Year of Yes, she lost 100 pounds, and she did that without making any one food off-limits. Shonda lost 100 pounds during the Year of Yes without saying no to food.

She said yes to herself by saying no to others. She did not respond to work communications after 7 p.m. during the week or at any time on the weekend. She said no to poor casting decisions. She left a long-term relationship because she didn’t want to be married.

I tend to think of myself as being comfortable with yes. I’m even better with why not? But I saw myself in Shonda’s journey to saying yes to praise, compliments, and recognition. Like Shonda, I used to be the sort of person who deflected compliments with explanations and reductions. I think I’ve made my way out of that phase — it’s a lot less stressful just to say thank you and keep it moving. I also know that recognizing that one’s own talents does not diminish anyone else or their talents.

And yet …

I made the USA Today Bestseller List this past July. It’s been about five months now. I still have trouble telling people that.

Oh, sure. It’s one thing to type it here, there and everywhere. If I could put it on a nametag and be done with it for good, I wouldn’t have any problems at all. But I’ve only told a handful of people, and very few of them are other authors. When it comes to telling other authors, I’m all deflections and explanations. It was a box set, I said. I was with a lot of very talented people, I said. I didn’t expect that from myself; I’m a firm believer in tooting one’s own horn. And yet here I was.

Finally, I confessed to someone the other day that I didn’t actually feel like I had done it.

“Okay,” she said. “Well, you did do it. So you may as well tell people you did it.”

And she’s right. This is how Shonda had to take on the Year of Yes, by taking hold of these uncomfortable acts and following through anyway.

It’s good to have an example to follow. And a whole year to get better at saying yes. And also The Year of Yes Journal, while we’re appreciating things.

What do you need to say yes to? Find your people in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. We know all about saying yes.

Nutcracker? Sweeeeet.

6 Dec
Remember that time you fell in love? So does Clara. Click and see.

Remember that time you fell in love? So does Clara. Click and see.

(Hello there, neighbors! It’s the Season of Deadlines in my corner of the world, but I didn’t want to leave you empty-handed this Tuesday morning. The Ovation network is starting the Tenth Annual Battle of the Nutcrackers next Monday. With that in mind, I’ve updated this classic Nutcracker post for your perusal and enjoyment. Enjoy!)

By Alexa Day

The holiday season rests on tradition, which is to say that most of us, regardless of how we feel about the holidays themselves, spend part of that time doing things because we do them every year and for no other real reason.

We have holiday movies and holiday music that only comes out once a year. We gorge on holiday foods with the defense that we don’t always eat like this. We tolerate the behavior of others more than usual because “it’s only once a year.”

And then there’s the annual Dance of the Exes. This is the yearly ritual in which one’s exes emerge from the woodwork to send a holiday greeting, usually via text, after being wonderfully absent all year long. The Dance of the Exes is a mystery to me. Do they think holiday spirit will keep me from reminding them of how they became exes in the first place? Are they actually hoping for holiday hookup? Are they purging their phone address books? Who knows?

I try hard to keep my holiday traditions on the joyous side, since holidays tend to be stressful for me. A couple of years ago, I found out about the Battle of the Nutcrackers on the Ovation network. Each year, the arts channel presents five productions of The Nutcracker and invites viewers to vote for their favorite. The Battle is getting me through the holidays.

The Battle is a fabulous way to discover the less traditional Nutcracker productions. One of my favorites, The Nutcracker- The Story Of Clara, follows an older Clara as she remembers her past. I watched it shortly after turning 40, and it’s a perfect story about how full life has been and how much fuller it might yet become. Have a peek at its Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Now, as lovely as that was, I can’t pretend there’s not another reason I like spending my holiday with the ballet. I like football as much as the next girl who likes football, but given the choice, I’d rather watch the glorious beauty of the male form moving with majestic purpose, without crashing into anything … and without the obstruction of all those pads. If there’s one thing ballet has in spades, it’s hot men. Feel free to ogle them here and here, and then take a second and watch these fellows from the National Ballet of Canada.

Whoa-ho, Canada! That’s actually part one of three. If the National Ballet of Canada isn’t on your greeting card list, it might be time to put them there.

The Battle of the Nutcrackers begins next Monday on the 12th, so you’ll want to check now to see if you get Ovation. Once the battle’s over, I’m sure the hot men of ballet will keep your holidays nice and toasty warm.

Aren’t you following Lady Smut yet?

 

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