Alternative Endings to the Bachelor

16 Mar

Huzzah! Rachel Lindsay–The first POC bachelorette.

by Madeline Iva

I saw the very first season of the Bachlorette while packing for a Big Move to the South.  I made it through a few seasons after that because I was fascinated by watching grown women aggressively fight for the attention of one man–while pretending not to. So deliciously perverse! Alexa Day posted about the announcement of the latest bachelorette on Tuesday, and the rest below is just one long riff about The Bachelor and other thoughts her post inspired.

I loved how the most interesting women (to me) on The Bachelor in the end ultimately had to be–I mean HAD TO BE–there for the money. (Student loans, I’m guessing.) Top ways to tell:

  1. They were very popular with the other women in the house. This, I think, is a key sign. But at the same time, they didn’t seem to have a secret boyfriend at home, or were there for some kind of acting career –and thus could dodge the “you’re not here for the right reasons” attack.   (BTW has anyone ever gone up and attacked a contestant saying “You’re just here to pay off your student loans—aren’t you, bitch?”)
  2. Often they would acknowledge being on the fence about their feelings for the guy. Why? Because they weren’t that into Mr. Available.  This only helps them not seem like a threat to the other women, of course.
  3. The fact that they weren’t so into the bachelor often seemed to make the bachelor far more into them.  Like he wanted to chase them hard.  After all, for most men, chasing is their comfort zone.  (Some of us are challenged when it comes to being adored.) Logically, enlightened men *know* it’s okay for a girl to chase a guy.  But they’re not actually comfortable with it.  It’s not their usual pattern–and sometimes breaking patterns feels odd.
  4. Because these women were just “passing time” to earn their paycheck, they could neatly avoid conflict in the house with the rest of the women–and work on soothing things out.  This is where their attention was.  It’s like they reguard the other women in the house as their fellow co-workers and wanted to be team players more than they were actually vying for the heart of one man.
  5. There’s almost an instant, quick and quiet break up following the conclusion of the show when one of these women was chosen.  The fact that a break up would immediately follow seemed like wonderful karma to me.  That’s what you get, you bachelor guy, for going for the girl that’s “not that into you” and ignoring the ones who were good people and desperate for your man-love.

At any rate — I’m glad that the show chose a POC bachelorette.

But I gotta wonder: how is this show going to continue to appeal to any but the most conservative audience? Because with polyamory becoming an accepted thing amongst all the hipsters and millenials, doesn’t the idea of picking ‘the one’ seem just a wee bit old fashioned?

I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with being a monogamous type of person (I’m one myself). I’m just saying that when the Batchelor says “OMG, I’m in love with BOTH of these women” is this still the shockingly upsetting drama that it used to be?  Aren’t twenty and thirty somethings across the land saying “And? This is a problem why?”

Or–a more radical theory still–was the repetition of season after season of The Bachelor/Bachelorette actually paving the way for widespread polyamory across our heartland over these last ***seventeen*** years by making TV America overly familiar with the idea that one person can easily fall in love with two (or more) people at the same time?  I mean, think back to when polyamory started becoming a thing–right? Amiright?

I’m just waiting for the season when the Bachelor/Bachelorette decides to propose to *both* women or accept a proposal from *both* guys.  Now that would be a ratings booster.

Maybe if this this new bachelorette says yes to a black man AND a white man we can all have our cake and eat it too.

MEANWHILE — Idris Elba for Bond.  Seriously.  Accept no other substitutes.  Unless it’s Tom Hiddleston.  Then we’ll have to talk.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

 

Spank Me! Pull My Hair! But He Says, “No.”

15 Mar

By Elizabeth Shore

In Madison, Wisconsin there’s a great hard rock radio station, WJJO, which, thanks to the internet, I can still listen to despite no longer living in the midwest. What I like about JJO, apart from the music, are the morning DJs.

Johnny, Greg, and Biatch (hey, I didn’t make it up) are unapologetically raunchy and laugh-out-loud funny. Their morning show includes everything from topical commentary on whatever’s in the news to the daily “fake at 8,” in which a woman calls in to fake an orgasm and win concert tickets if her “performance” gets a thumbs up from listeners. Every Monday morning, Mr. Skin gives his update on nude celebrities in TV and film, and every Tuesday and Thursday morning is the “Sex Fix.” A listener calls in to discuss a sexual conundrum he or she is dealing with and the morning crew lends their best advice.

Last week a female listener called in because she’s stressing over a compatibility issue with her boyfriend. His definition of “rough sex,” which is what she wants, is to land a few polite slaps on her bum and increase his pace. Her definition is to be choked, have her hair pulled, her ass smacked, and even, she said, “maybe draw a little blood” from biting. Just a little bit different.

The morning crew’s advice was for her to ease him into her kinky world by taking the bull by the horns and doing to him what she wants done to her. Start out slowly, they advised. Maybe tie him up and gently tease him with a flogger before venturing into the more intense territory she really wants. That said, they did caution that if he just doesn’t get turned on by her BDSM ways she may have to decide whether the relationship will ultimately work. A conundrum indeed.

If you do a web search on “sexual incompatibility” there are, as with most searches, an endless amount of information on the topic – good, bad, or nothin’ but fake news. Plenty of therapists offer their advice, but one of the best articles I’ve come across was one from a few years ago from dating advisor/coach and blogger Dr. NerdLove, who – as he clearly states – isn’t a real doctor. However, if you don’t know him, check out his blog. His sound advice is sprinkled with compassion and he’s amassed quite a following.

In a post he wrote back in 2014 about sexual compatibility he raised some excellent points, beginning with the culture that shapes our sexual views in the first place.

Even in the 21st century, we live in a profoundly sex-negative culture – just one that likes to think that it’s progressive. Our sexual education system is at best a glorified anatomy lesson; at worst, it’s a collection of lies and deliberate misinformation designed to (theoretically) keep children from having sex ever. We tell women to be sexy but not sexual – to be desirable but to not feel desire – while men are told that their worth depends upon as much sex as possible, setting men and women up for an inevitable conflict. Even the concept of making sure everybody is an eager participant is a new and radical concept.

…When we complain about being dissatisfied with our sex-lives then you risk plunging head-first into a wall of razor-sharp judgment from just about everyone around you. If the sexual dissatisfaction doesn’t conform to a very specific narrative… well, you’re really being selfish at best and a perv at worst.

Faced with the potential of harsh judgment, many couples choose to stay silent. Who wants to risk being viewed as a perv by one’s spouse if said perviness is deemed an undesireable trait? Better just to STFU, be thankful for what you do have and suffer in silence. Right?

Wrong. As NerdLove points out, “sex is a part of the relationship. It’s not something that can be excised when it’s inconvenient.” Having your needs in the bedroom unfulfilled will affect the relationship as a whole. Sexual incompatibility is one of the most common reasons why relationships end. No surprise that it’s an issue rarely tackled in romance novels. Who wants to read about that icky reality? Better to have your H&H happily f**king like bunnies whenever and wherever the mood (mutually) strikes.

But in the real world, as Dr. NerdLove reminds us, compromise is key. No one’s going to be a perfect sexual match. You may differ on drive, desire, or even views on fidelity and monogamy. Working out how to deal with those differences is what’ll get you to that mutual happy place.

And speaking of happy places, join LadySmut bloggers at the RT Booklovers Convention May 3-7, especially at our super special reader event – Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever. Win crowns, toys, books and more. Goodybags to first 100 people in line! A raffle will be held for a big basket of books for all. Event: Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Link: https://www.rtconvention.com/ event/never-have-you-ever- ever-ever

Elizabeth Shore writes both contemporary and historical erotic romance. Her newest book is an erotic historical novella, Desire Rising, from The Wild Rose Press. Other releases include Hot Bayou Nights and The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires

 

 

 

 

Half Past Time: Rachel Lindsay as the Next Bachelorette

14 Mar

Not sure what lies ahead for Rachel, but she seems to have done pretty well so far, no?

By Alexa Day

Her name is Rachel Lindsay, she’s 31 years old, and she’s an attorney working for a very supportive law firm.

She’s the next Bachelorette. And she’s black.

Some of you can’t be bothered to care, and that’s fine. I will defend to the death your right to apathy. Just understand that this is a really big deal for a great many people.

I’ve never really watched the Bachelor; I could only watch so many grown women burst into real tears on camera over some dude they just met. By the time, I stopped paying attention years ago, the show’s few black cast members were usually on the show long enough to make the network look good. Then they were gone before anyone started to think that the Bachelor, usually a white man, would actually choose a black woman as a romantic partner and potential spouse.

Gradually, black women garnered longer stays on the Bachelor. But before Nick Viall, whose run as the Bachelor will end tonight, none had cracked the final three. Indeed, Nick had a more diverse selection of women than many Bachelors. In the history of the franchise, going back 21 years, the Bachelor and Bachelorette have had only 43 black cast members, and eight of them were with Nick this season.

Rachel left the Bachelor last week, leaving Vanessa and Raven to vie for the final rose. This is about the time I found out that Rachel would be the next Bachelorette, and after I shook my head in wonder that it only took ABC thirteen years to make a black woman the show’s lead, I started to pick through the press coverage.

I liked Rachel immediately. She said her law firm is holding her job open while she films the show, something she knows to be an anomaly in the legal industry. She said she had no desire to know what her dad and Nick talked about, when the two of them apparently had their suitor-parent conference. And then, in The New York Times, she said, “Even though I’m an African-American woman, it’s not different from any other bachelorette.”

You might be asking, at this point, what the big deal is. She says she’s going to be just like any other bachelorette.

That’s the big deal. That’s a huge deal.

I’ve got a few years on Rachel, and so my experience with popular culture’s expectations of black women is probably a little different. Today, we have Rick and Michonne on The Walking Dead, who have moved beyond being the zombie apocalypse’s most dangerous couple and become its most adorable couple as well. On Scandal, Fitz’s adulterous relationship with Olivia might be a thing of the past, but he’s involved in another, similarly complicated interracial relationship with Angela, the director of the FBI … and his ex-wife, Mellie, is flirting across racial lines with her aide, Marcus. Not that long ago, I was delighted to spread the news about the immense but understated magnetism of Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga in Loving.

My point here is that we’re seeing black women with white men in the popular culture. We’re seeing it frequently. What’s so different about this?

The headline that sent me down this Bachelorette rabbit hole was this one, from The Hollywood Reporter: “History-Making ‘Bachelorette’ Opens Up About Pressure to Pick a Black Man.”

Rachel hasn’t even started production yet. And she knows there’s going to be some pressure for her to pick a black man, because to some person or persons out there, it’s okay for her romantic options to be limited by her skin color.
In short, she knows that a lot of people think that black people should be with other black people, to the exclusion of all other people. Whether this view is espoused by enough people to affect her pool of suitors remains to be seen. But she knows the truth about people’s perceptions, and she is willing to tell The Hollywood Reporter about it. In spite of this, she’s determined to pursue her reality-TV romance just like any other woman, of any other race.

“It’s my journey in finding love,” she said. “And whether that person is black, white, red, whatever — it’s my journey. I’m not choosing a man for America, I’m choosing a man for me.”

I hope the network is prepared to support her in this mission.

If Zack and Lisa mattered to you back in the day, then Rachel probably ought to matter to you now.

Because I’m older than Rachel, I remember how many a television show would bring on a completely random black character for the sole purpose of being an appropriate, but temporary, love interest for a more permanent black character. I’m also aware of the longstanding TV trope of pairing the black character with the least romantically desirable character on the show. We’ve made progress, sure. But let’s be honest. Popular culture is still very comfortable with black romance (interracial and otherwise) on the sidelines, leaving black characters with societally appropriate partners who have no chemistry with them, with some grand mission to assist other characters at the expense of their own love lives, or with no partners at all. Honestly, I’m still a bit annoyed with Magic Mike XXL for pushing Rome into the corner. I’m enjoying the rise of Richonne because part of me is afraid it’s going to be taken away soon. Please don’t start me talking about Sleepy Hollow again.

I’m not going to sit here with you and suggest that the Bachelorette is the flagship of romance. I did just say I couldn’t bear to watch grown women devastated to discover that they wouldn’t be marrying some dude they just met a little while ago. But Ali Barthwell from Vulture says it best in “Why a Black Bachelorette is a Big Deal.”

“Celebrating black womanhood in the context of marriage and motherhood might seem reductive to some, but because they’ve so often been denied those roles in pop culture, it’s in fact, revolutionary,” she writes. “Seeing a black woman as the woman pursued, riding off into the sunset, would do so much to diversify the narratives of black romance.”

Will I tune in for Rachel? Well, just last night, one of her future suitors apparently greeted her, on international television, with the promise that he was “ready to go black and never go back.” I have to support a woman who could hear a man say that and not punch him in the face, cameras be damned.

In the meantime, let me present two tales of reality TV romance where black women take center stage.

In The One, by Danielle Allen, heroine Zoe is a reality-TV skeptic who suddenly finds herself on a Bachelor-style show. And Bridget Midway’s Love series, starting with Love My Way, features a reality TV show that pairs Doms with their submissives.

Still looking for excitement? Try this on for size.

Let the Confessional Games Begin!

Have you ever had mad monkey love on a motorcycle? A three-way in an alley? Been roped, tied and pleasured? Have you never, ever, never done any of this? Be rewarded for your naughty or sweet past and win crowns, toys, books and more at the Lady Smut special reader event, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. at the RT Booklovers Convention.

Follow Lady Smut. This is where the fun starts.

 

 

Waiting for Godot: Living Through Series Delay

13 Mar

by Kiersten Hallie Krum

Recently, an author for whom I am a big fan–in fact, I think it’s safe to say I am a superfan–released the first book in her new series. Cue the confetti. Strike up the band. Huz-freaking-zah. Right?

This new novel is in a new genre for said author and is the start of a three-book series, the remainder of which will come out throughout the rest of the year. Goodness abounds, yeah? Well, no, not really.

The author is rightly super excited about her new foray, a genre into which she has long been noodling on her own, ramping herself up to finally go for it. She also values her readers and is enough in tune with them to know not all of her dedicated flock are going to happily trot along behind this new venture. To this end, she’s taken great pains to explain the long path that’s brought her to write this series. She’s posted blogs on her web site and on social media patiently laying out, not her argument, because she needs make no defense for following her heart into writing the stories that have been weighing on her or so long, but an explanation as to what led her to make the decision to pursue this series. No author or any creative force, is obligated to take this sort of effort to, essentially, state her case. She’s done this with grace and care, and I have a lot of respect for her, or rather, even more respect for her, for doing so. And I’ve read enough of her books (over and over and over again) to feel confident that she has hit it out of the park.

That said, I’m unlikely to read this series because its genre is not in my wheelhouse. Like I said, I’m a superfan and have deep dived into this author’s extensive back list. That said, there’s a dozen or more of her novels I haven’t read, or ones where I’ve read the first in the series and the genre and situation didn’t/doesn’t appeal to me.

But, I’m woman enough to admit, this time, I’m a little miffed.

This is not because this author has written a series in a genre I don’t like, which leaves me going nearly a year without new goodness from a favorite (my choice, admittedly). Okay, it’s not only because of that. Mainly though, I’m miffed because this author has at least two unfinished series for which I am rabid and another series that readers (including moi) have been greatly anticipating for years, all of which are being denied for something new. Instead of working on what is already in play, she’s taken a new creative direction and thus created another new series.

I don’t want a new series. I want the books that have been explicitly or implicitly promised for existing series I’m on which I’m already thoroughly hooked. I want the series installments for which I have been (im)patiently waiting.

And yes, I would like some cheese to go along with that whine, thank you very much.

Look, I’m miffed, I won’t lie. That’s the reader side of me. I want my jones for those existing series to be fed. I got hooked on one of them fast and deep only to have the brakes slammed on the three or four books yet waiting to be written. Now I hafta wait out this unwelcomed series and hope that maybe next year there might be a hint of these upcoming books being in the works much less the break off series that has been promised for years.

But the writer side of me gets it. Sure, you have to sit and write whether the Muse or the spirit or whatever floats your boat gets your butt in the chair and your hands of the keyboard or not. Especially if you’re a full-time writer making a living off your words. You have to produce pages in order to get paid. It’s much easier to do this when you’re passionate for the project, when you’re driven to get that story out of your system. A writer can’t always pick and choose what story grabs her and when. In order to be true to reader expectations of the quality of your work, you have to make sure your commitment to that work is on par. That doesn’t always mean giving them the story they think they want. I know enough to know it doesn’t always work that way. Added to that, when an opportunity presents itself to do something different, something you’ve been somewhat secretly working on or leaning toward for some time, you don’t say no. You pursue that opportunity with prejudice if necessary. No author jumps off into the deep end of something new, knowing you might be risking a portion of your readership and therefore your livelihood by making a drastic turn in what you’re writing. Don’t get me wrong, I totally support this writing and admire her for having the guts to pursue this direction for which she clearly feels substantial compulsion.

To be honest, I wouldn’t want those upcoming books that I’m keenly anticipating to suffer from a rush job either. If the author isn’t feeling those stories, isn’t prepared to live in the heads of those characters, I sure don’t want her to force herself to write them simply to appease her readers’ desires when she’s not prepared to tell those stories. That disappoints everyone.

Look, it’s not like this is the first time I’ve waited on a series. Diana Gabaldon cranked out Lord John novels and novellas in-between her Outlander tomes. We all know the pain and suffering G.R.R. Martin fans have been going through for decades. Cripes, Godot shows up more often than new Game of Thrones novels.

Maybe I’m feeling this one so keenly because to me, it feels like a waste because I have no desire to read this series. This means I now have to wait for it to burn out so she can get back to writing what I want, because I’m a selfish superfan in need of her jones. God forbid she come out with an announcement later this year that she’s writing more installments in this new series. I may just plotz.

It’s a weird line to walk. I support the author’s new endeavor because I like her and I dig her work hard. I’ll probably read it too at some point, despite my dislike of the genre, because I’m curious to see how her voice comes through in that situation. What her unique take on the genre turns out to be. But I also resent it because it just means more and more delays until she writes the stories I’m waiting for with ever so-much-less patience.

The writer/reader relationship can be so wonky.  There’s an ownership a superfan feels when they’ve invested time and emotion and dollars into a writer, or any content producer really, and then something happens that makes the reader feel as though they’ve been gypped. It’s not just in books either. Lord knows, I’ve railed and fumed when TV shows and movies don’t fulfill the promise of relationships or story lines. It’s gotten to the point where I refuse to invest in a TV series until I can wait out the will they/won’t they of the primary ‘ship. (Do *not* get me started on Arrow’s abysmal treatment of the Olicity ‘ship, which has made me stop watching the show altogether.) This resentment I’m feeling now is along the same lines, the continued disappointment of not getting what I want, no matter what the motivations or desires of the content provider. And yet, as a content provider myself, I understand the creative and marketplace demands that may take precedent over one reader’s (or a thousand readers’) preference.

Have you been disappointed by a writer or other content provider’s creative decisions? Are you waiting for a book that feels like it might never come? Have you had a favorite author go in a direction you don’t like? Tell me your experiences in the comments!

Lady Smut is out and about in the wild again. We have a hot and spicy event at the upcoming RT convention in May. Share your sexy secrets at the “Never Have I Ever, Ever, Ever” game with in-person Lady Smut bloggers Elisabeth SaFleur and Isabelle Drake. We’ll have more information on the event in the upcoming weeks so be sure to follow Lady Smut so you don’t miss a trick!

Now available exclusively from Kindle. Click image to buy!

 

Writer, singer, editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, WILD ON THE ROCKS, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on various social media via @kierstenkrum.

Sexy Sunday Short: Phở for Two by Thien-Kim Lam

12 Mar Big bowl of pho. Photo by Thien-Kim Lam

by Thien-Kim Lam

As if food isn’t sensual enough, what happens when two Vietnamese lovers get busy in the kitchen?

Today’s Sexy Sunday Snippet is actually a short story. I’m obsessed with food: cooking it, eating it, and creating new recipes. I also love sex and sex toys. It’s no surprise that both subjects play heavily in my erotic and romance writing. I hope you enjoy my short story.

Phở for Two

The cold hard metal chair would not stay warm, no matter how often she wiggled her bare ass. Wiggling was all she could manage. Her hands were tied behind the back of her chair while red rope coils kept her legs parallel to the chair’s legs. The red anklets spread her knees wide while her thighs beckoned.

Her lover puttered in the kitchen behind her, out of sight but never out of mind. Scents of cinnamon, star anise, and clove from his cooking assaulted her nose but she barely noticed them, though her mouth watered in response. Her thoughts were focused lower. Much lower. A small vibrator was taped to her chair. Its pulsing tip focused right on her clit. All she could do was wiggle forward and backwards. Her hard nipples pointed upwards as her back arched against her restraints. Just a little bit more and she could feel the full force of the stupid thing. Unfortunately, her lover was skilled with knots.

“Are you hungry, babe?” Her lover set down a large bowl of noodles topped with rare, thinly sliced beef and scallions. Slowly, he poured the cinnamon and star anise infused broth over the noodles. The broth cooked the slices of beef until it was the same flushed pink as her wet pussy.

Big bowl of pho. Photo by Thien-Kim Lam

Photo credit: Thien-Kim Lam

“Looks about right, don’t you think?” as he peered between her thighs to compare. She was nowhere close to well-done.

“Mmmmfffppph,” she managed to respond behind the gag in her mouth. The bowl of pho sitting between them made her stomach growl. She was hungry. She wasn’t sure what she wanted more: hot noodles or that damned vibrator to move closer.

“No?” Her lover grinned. “More for me, I guess.” He moved his chair–his had a cushion– to sit beside her.

She sighed through her nose. She had brought this onto herself.

Two weeks ago, she’d made fun of his cooking. There was no way his phở would even compare to her mother’s recipe, which had been honed and perfected throughout her childhood. Every Sunday, after her family returned from their church’s service, they broke fast together with large, steaming bowls of phở. Sunday brunch was their weekly family reunion as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins slurped hot noodles and dipped their tender slices of medium-rare beef into small saucers of hoisin. Younger cousins chased each other around the tables while the adults caught up on gossip.

Now she realized that it was the memories of her weekly phở bowl that couldn’t compare to her lover’s noodles and broth. It was too late to take back her words, even if her mouth wasn’t filled with the red ball gag. She secretly ordered it from the internet late one night after an unsuccessful masturbatory attempt. She’d forgotten about it until a nondescript brown box arrived a few days later. Embarrassed that some random website knew her secret yearning, she hid it in the back of the closet unopened.

A loud squirt brought her back to her present predicament. Her breasts were covered with cold hoisin sauce.

“Oops! Sorry about the misfire. Here, let me clean you up.” Her lover deftly picked up a slippery white noodle with his chopsticks. With the deft moves of his chopsticks, he created a nest of noodles on her right nipple. The hot noodles shocked her cold skin, making her nipple grow even harder, making it ache from pleasure. Using just the two melamine chopsticks, he circle her nipples with the noodle until it was coated in hoisin sauce. Her eyes were glued to those thin sticks. This was new territory for her. She wasn’t brave enough to tell him her deepest desires, yet somehow he knew. The box in the back of her closet confirmed it for him.

Chopsticks and dried noodles. Photo by Thien-Kim Lam

Photo credit: Thien-Kim Lam

She wanted more than those noodles sliding on her breast. She wanted his mouth, his hands, his–she wanted him to devour her until she could only gasp for air. Between his noodle swirling and the pesky vibration between her thighs, she couldn’t complete any of her thoughts. Her growls of frustration made him smirk.

“Should I give you what you want? Even though you insulted my cooking?”

She nodded furiously. Languidly, his tongue reached out and slurped the warm noodle off her nipple. He sipped some of the sweet broth from his bowl and took her nipple into his now hot mouth. Even the gag couldn’t hold back her moans as her body betrayed her. Her back arched and her thighs shook. He took his time licking the sticky sweet sauce off her breasts, taking a break only to warm his mouth with more broth. Her moans grew as her wetness pooled on her chair.

She tried to lean forward and push her nipples deeper into his hot mouth but the ropes around her arms and body wouldn’t allow it. Her moans of pleasure turned to whimpers.. She was right on the edge and needed just push to reach her peak. Yet, she had no control over her orgasm; her lover would decide when she could reach her pinnacle. Her clit pulsed rapidly at this realization. This was what she had fantasized about but afraid to say out loud. He could withhold her release. No matter how her pussy ached to be filled, she was his. She moaned into her red gag as she grew wetter.

Pho noodles on chopsticks

Photo credit: Thien-Kim Lam

Suddenly, he pulled away.

” All this cleaning is making me hungry. We don’t want my phở to get cold, do we?”

He turned his attention to the still steaming bowl. She shook her head, her eyes pleading him to return to his prior activities. He reached between her glistening thighs. She nodded vigorously. Finally, he would give her release. Instead, he turned the vibrator up a little higher, but no closer to her swollen clit than it was before. She cried into her gag, but her body betrayed her. Her back arched as she desperately tried to press herself closer to the vibrator.

As she worked herself into a frenzy that offered no sweet release, she heard her lover slurping his noodles.

She would never see a bowl of phở in the same way again.

Craving phở ? Here’s my recipe for easy chicken phở.

Thien-Kim Lam is currently writing romances about Asian American women who have mega hot sex. She is the founder of Bawdy Bookworms, a subscription box that pairs sexy reads with bedroom toys and sensual products. Batteries included. Check her Pleasure Pairings guide with buzzy recommendations for the adventurous reader

Sexy Saturday Round Up

11 Mar

Welcome to the weekend! We’re here to urge you to fall back into bed, plump up those pillows and enjoy yourself with a good long read of all these fascinating links.  Where’s the coffee?

From Elizabeth Sa Fleur:

Where oh where to put all my sex toys?

Dominatrixes who are “Whipping America back into shape, one middle aged white man at a time.”

From Madeline Iva:

How your masturbating can help your sex life (but maybe not his masturbating)

When your partner dies, there goes the sex too.  Grieving the loss of sex.

You’re looking for Noir-Murder-Mystery-Romance–but just what ARE you looking for? Smart Bitches Trashy Books chews on this topic with various recommendations.

Women squirting during sex is an old thing that’s a new thing:

Now a slightly different take from Jezebel–Shejaculation: How I learned to stop worrying and love the gush

Women are better at day to day multi-tasking, men want to disagree–but they’re too busy holding the baby while trying to make dinner and talk on the phone.

Tracee Ellis Ross is loving her booty.

While this dude has beard envy.

I sobbed. Scientific American gives us the story of NASAS real “human computers” the women Hidden Figures is based upon.

From Elizabeth Shore

Creepy victim-shaming Canadian judge decides it’s best to resign after questioning why a rape victim couldn’t just keep her legs together.

And the #1 porn search term worldwide in 2016 was…

So you think you know what men like in women best? Read here for the list (hint, it’s not what you think).

Oh my, was that ancient Han dynasty ever a kinky bunch. Giant jade dildo, anyone?

Just in case you want to feel worse about yourself, Tinder’s working on “Tinder Select,” that’s invitation only for hot, rich people.

Another reason to have lots of sex – it’s good for your career.

 

 

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

10 Mar

“Why don’t you write something like Fifty Shades of Grey?”

We romance writers get asked this question by friends and family. I have to admit this question puzzles me. Each time I’m asked I wonder:

  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something about two people seeking love and connection?
  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something erotic?
  • Do you mean, why don’t I write something that pushes the boundaries of relationships?

I only wonder these things because me asking them aloud would draw attention to the fact that the person asking the question hasn’t read any of my books. Of course, I don’t care whether or not the person has read my stuff but …well, I don’t want to make things awkward by pointing that out. Besides, as a writer, here’s the question that makes the most sense to me:

  • Do you mean why don’t I write something that sells millions of copies and creates just as many devoted readers and fans?

That one I don’t have an answer for. Nobody does. Many–many–of us writers have tried to figure out why that series in particular took off like that.

50 2

In my other life, I teach freshman composition at a college. We write essays, the standard sort that college freshman have been writing for years. Thesis statements, MLA formatting, research. All the usual stuff. One place where I get to mix things up is in the prompts. So, wondering what my students think of the 50 phenomenon, I include a prompt about the widespread popularity of the series. The prompt encourages the students to question the contrast between the book’s content, the relationship between the two characters, and the current wave of new feminism. Bottom line–why do women connect this book?

As you might imagine, the prompt generates interest. After reading seve50 3ral essays I’ve found a distinct difference between the younger, 18-20, and older, 25-30 women in regard to Mr. Grey’s relationship appeal.

The younger women find him super romantic. They are drawn to the idea of having a man so dedicated to you that he is “interested” in every aspect of your life. They don’t find him stalky or boundary-crossing, they find him devoted. These younger women write very little about the sex; they write almost exclusively about the attentive relationship. It seems that while young women view career and societal contribution as essential and validating, they still long for a dedicated partner.

The older women write about the sex. They are drawn to the idea of an extremely intense almost completely sexual relationship that has no emotional commitments. These women reflect that while they hope to have an emotionally intimate relationship in the future, they are, at present, busy with school and work and don’t have time to develop “that sort of thing” right now. This staying-single-longer, waiting-for-real-commitment life plan is on the rise,  but as noted above with the younger set, this older set seeks devotion. They simply define devotion in a different way.

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

And – follow us here at Lady Smut. We’re always here to inform, entertain, and keep you up to date.

Isabelle Drake writes erotica, erotic romance, urban fantasy, and young adult thrillers.

NEVER SWEETER: The Sweet Darkness in Charlotte Stein’s Dark Obsessions Trilogy

9 Mar

This one is going into my “special” kindle folder. ; >

by Madeline Iva

We posted a fun excerpt from Charlotte Stein’s story NEVER BETTER last Sunday.  NEVER BETTER is the final book in her Dark Obsession trilogy, so of course, I read it first, and then worked my way backwards, cause I’m perverse like that. I gobbled down NEVER BETTER like a chocolate chip cookie and advise you to do the same.  Now I’d like to take you on a journey through the open-mouthed, kindle-clutching, eye-squeezing moments I had while reading NEVER SWEETER, the first book in the series.  How to do so without delivering any spoilers is gonna be hard, but here I go…

CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE GOES TO THE DARK SIDE

What really keeps a man and a woman apart these days if they want to be together? Not much. After plundering the treasure chest of meet-cutes and other fabulously quirky ways to bring two people together and then keep them apart for two hundred odd pages, contemporary romance has gone to the dark side.

I personally blame paranormal romance.  Let’s face it–paranormal romance is just so much easier.  Look at the obstacles a heroine faces—Example: “He’s a vampire who’s killed THOUSANDS of people and he’s hundreds of years older than me.  How could we ever be together?” it’s a really messed up situation.

CRAZY-WRONG “I’D HAVE TO BE INSANE TO BE WITH SOMEONE AS EVIL AS YOU” SITUATION= STRONG ROMANTIC ROAD BLOCKS = LOTS OF ROMANCE FEELS & GREAT TENSION

After all, 50 Shades was based on a paranormal romance, wasn’t it?  E.L. James just fished around for a modern day ‘real’ equivalent for a evil-but-not-really, self-loathing, brooding hero.  She came up with a billionaire sadist, around the same time other authors were also plonking down flags into anti-hero territory. Do we want to blame 50 Shades for all the motorcycle clubs, hit-men, crime families, and other anti-hero-ish trappings that are so popular these days? No, but I think the E.L. James phenomenon illustrates a sweeping trend, and Charlotte Stein has taken some steps down the same path.

BUT CHARLOTTE STEIN ISN’T LIKE THAT! SHE’S SO SWEETLY DIRTY…

But maybe sometimes she isn’t. INTRUSION and some of her other works have strayed from abused heroines into more plum-colored territory. Which brings us to NEVER SWEETER.  Let’s look at the blurb:

Letty Carmichael can’t believe her eyes when she catches a glimpse of her high school tormenter, wrestling champ Tate Sullivan, on campus. College was supposed to be her escape from Tate’s constant ridicule. Now he’s in her classes again, just waiting for his chance to make her life hell.

skipping, skipping, skipping…

Loving him is impossible. Craving him is beyond all reason. So why can’t she stop?

Falling in love with your high school bully is messed up, peopleKids, don’t try this at home.

However, line by line Stein just sucks you in.  Great dialogue, great side-kick friend, very specific descriptions of torments she endured and then Tate — a classic Stein-i-an hero, just takes over.

What do we like about Tate? We like that he’s open, agreeable, and fast on his feet.  We like that he’s hotness plus, and can read people–especially the heroine–quickly.  We like that he’s a sexual beast wrapped up in a Nice Boy package–but is he really trustworthy?  It’s that last part that keeps readers furiously turning the pages and riding all the highs and shocking lows.

Why was he such a monumental dick? This is the big answer we need to know. Stein gives you answers, and then sweeps on by.  Do we believe these answers–ah! This is where she’s brilliant, because doubts may  linger, and she plays upon these same doubts later.

I just went through such a roller coaster of emotions with this book.  It really was so incredibly sweet at points–which is what I do look for from Stein–and so sweetly filthy at others–which is what I relish about Stein–and at other times it was kinda like a horror movie.  There’s a Carrie reference and it’s seriously well earned.

I think at one point I shouted “No!” in shock.  At another point I kinda cried, almost.  The whole time I felt as guilty as the heroine for being so sucked into a kind of situation that I would NEVER EVER EVER!!!! endorse in a million years in ‘real life’.

So go buy it already.

Meanwhile, I got the skinny from Charlotte Stein about RAW HEAT — her so good it hurts post-apocalyptic romance that’s out of print right now. Talk about bullying! It’s really unfair clobbering my friends and even total strangers over the head for not having read RAW HEAT if it’s not even in print. Stein has said she’s going to re-pub it in a collection with some of her other post-apocalyptic/paranormal stuff.  So happy about that. Soon none of you will have any excuse.

Okay, I’ve started going into Charlotte Stein withdrawal, so I’ll sign off for now.

Follow us at Lady Smut–if you want to.  It’s your own choice.  Really. We’d never bully you about it.

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.wickedapprenticefinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

 

Dancing In A Cage And Other Fantasy Jobs

8 Mar

Looking sexy and dancing in a cage

By Elizabeth Shore

In my day job, I talk to a lot of people who come in my office just to vent. They plop down in the chair across my desk, lips ready to explode with frustration, and let it all out. I listen and nod and offer whatever guidance I can, but mostly they’re not looking for advice, they simply want a sounding board. They need to know that someone out there in day job world actually isn’t an insane corporate soul sucking lunatic nightmare but rather someone who’s well-balanced. Rational. Someone who actually gives two cents about what happens to them. That’s me. In the daytime world.

Once several years ago an exasperated employee who held a very senior-level job gave me a call. After ranting about this or that for several minutes he said to me, “I mean, f**k it, I’m like everyone else. Sometimes all I want is to just be a bicycle messenger.” That conversation stuck in my mind because I knew exactly how he felt. When Monday through Friday means spending essentially every waking minute imprisoned in the mind-numbing world of a corporate day job, your mind starts drifting into fantasy land. You envision how much better life would seem if only you could be a ____ (fill in the blank).

The guy who called me wanted to be a bicycle messenger. He said he’d get his exercise in every day, feel great about being outside, and – most importantly – not be stuck behind a desk and computer. That actually does sound pretty darn good. But for myself, I envision something a bit more…titillating. More decadent. And I’m not talking about writing erotic romance. I already do that, and love it, but since it actually is part of my reality it doesn’t count. No, friends. When I’m secretly thinking about my fantasy day job, it’s all about dancing in a cage.

This idea first took root when I saw a rock video featuring cage dancers. Well, it actually featured the band, but my focus wasn’t on the screaming lead singer or the heavily tattooed drummer. I don’t even remember who the band was, because for me it was all about the babes in the cage. Like this girl:

 

See, I want to be her. Gorgeous, fit, with moves and a body to match. She’s not in the least intimidated by the photographer getting up close and personal as he’s snapping shots. No way. She’s working it, baby. Smiling and dancing, swishing her hair and looking beautiful without a care in the world. And that’s me! Or so goes my fantasy. Why in a cage? Why not in a cage! It brings out the sexy, prowling animal in us all. Well, in me, anyway.

If one were to actually talk to that girl, we might find out she was paid all of a hundred dollars for that little dancing gig and that it’s the only one she booked that month. She might be living in a studio apartment with three other girls and having to share a single hamburger between them – mostly to stay thin, but also because it’s all any one of them can afford. She also might not be particularly educated. (Just sayin’. It’s only a guess). Global matters or an appreciation for art or literature may be denied my young beautiful cage dancer. But that’s not part of the fantasy. No way. My cage-dancing fantasy life also includes possessing intellectual horsepower and enough money so I don’t have to stress about finances. Cool, right?

I looked up what the top fantasy jobs were for other folks. A poll in the online U.K.’s The Telegraph posed the question to British workers, and their top fantasy was to be a pilot. Those big dreamin’ Brits! Pilots was followed by charity workers and writers. A poll over at Ranker lists movie critic as top fantasy job. But totaljobs.com is singing my tune. The number one job on their list is rock star. Yeah! As Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger sings in Rockstar, “well we all wanna be big rockstars, and live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars.” Exactly.

Of course, if you’ve really got it going on, you can be a cage dancer and a rock star. Like Shakira in her She Wolf video.

 

Now, that’s what I call a fantasy.

How about you? Cage dancer? Pilot? Or something completely different. Make your fantasies a reality – at least on paper – and tell us about it in the comments below.

Elizabeth Shore writes both contemporary and historical erotic romance. Her newest book is an erotic historical novella, Desire Rising, from The Wild Rose Press. Other releases include Hot Bayou Nights and The Lady Smut Book of Dark Desires

 

 

“Naked is normal”: Playboy restores the nude pictorial

7 Mar
Nudity might be normal, but what about shame?

Nudity might be normal, but what about shame?

By Alexa Day

I remember writing about Playboy’s decision to remove the nude pictorial from their print issues. At that time, the pictorials had already been removed from the online issues. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it at the time, in large part because I read Playboy for the articles. I’m just not that interested in the nude female form. If I want to see female nudity, I’ll take my own shirt off.

I thought I’d heard that nudity had returned to Playboy, and on Saturday, my colleague Elizabeth Shore confirmed my suspicions. This was just a couple of weeks after I named Playboy one of the three things that was getting me through a bit of a creative slump. So now I’m presented with another opportunity to examine my feelings about the presence of the nude pictorial in Playboy, and I think I’m finally able to pick a lane.

I don’t care. I don’t care whether the nudity is present or not.

On the one hand, the restoration of nudity isn’t affecting the reasons I show up to the metaphorical Playboy party. (I mention the metaphor to emphasize that I am absolutely available for a real Playboy party.) I took a quick look at the website before I began to write this post and found an article about a hormone that improves sex (and isn’t testosterone or oxytocin), an advice column explaining what exactly a fuckboy is, and a short story about a young woman taking charge of her sexual awakening. The last time I visited, when I found a story in praise of sex with unattractive partners, I noticed how many women are contributors to Playboy. In fact, all the stories I just mentioned were written by women.

Here’s where it gets complicated for me.

If, indeed, the reason for bringing nudity back to Playboy is to increase readership, are we to believe that nudity is the only reason people will pick it up? That’s a little depressing. Playboy is bringing it right now. It should have a solid, dedicated audience of sex-positive people looking for the sort of content it supplies in abundance. I wonder if it might not benefit from more time to draw that audience. My suspicion is that a lot of potential readers are being scared away by their perception of Playboy’s reputation. Those folks are going to stay away now because they’re going to see this decision as a commitment to boobs before content.

Having said that, if the editorial staff stands to benefit from this decision, I will find a way to support it. After all, if nudity gets more eyes on the pages, at least some of those readers will stay for the stories. Nudity might sell that magazine, but strong content sells subscriptions. We’ve all seen what strong content is doing for Teen Vogue right now. I imagine Teen Vogue has picked up a lot of readers who don’t mind flipping past the story on six quick dorm-room breakfasts to get to the political coverage.

Don’t flip past that breakfast article, by the way. It’s sound advice. I actually eat two of the six featured breakfasts regularly, and I haven’t lived in a dorm in almost 30 years.

But what about the nudity itself?

I’ve always thought that a woman’s decision to pose nude for a magazine is just that — her decision. I can’t police that for her. I wouldn’t police it for her if I could. I’m never going to do it because nudity is a hard limit for me, but if it gives another woman pleasure to be photographed in the buff, I say go for it. Sure, people might point and leer, but I myself want to preserve the freedom to point and leer at unclothed men. Besides, I’m not sure we should let our presumptions about What Other People Think govern other women’s decisions. That position isn’t moving any of us forward.

The return of the nude pictorial is announced in the March/April issue with a cover announcing that “Naked is normal.” But if that raises the spectre of that one creep everyone seems to know, the one whining that “naked is normal” when he’s trying to convince you to cross a boundary, take heart in this month’s short story. In “Supercops,” an 18-year-old girl makes the decision to lose her virginity to an older man, so that she’ll know what sex is like before heading to college. The encounter is not described in any detail — indeed, the protagonist reflects on it with some regret — but her thoughts on the matter are significant.

“[A]fter graduation,” Meredith muses, “a woman not only had the right, she had the responsibility to use her body the way she saw fit—or what was feminism for?”

If feminism isn’t a woman’s decision to do what she damn well pleases, whether that’s choosing the princess life, attacking the glass ceiling, or posing nude for Playboy, then what is feminism’s purpose, in the final analysis?

Playboy’s official position is similar (careful, that link comes with music). In a world trying to decide “what freedom is, and what it looks like, for all of us,” the magazine wants to examine “how freedom, feminism and nudity intersect.” The new issue includes an essay on the topic from Scarlett Byrne, whose nude pictorial is also featured this month. Scarlett Byrne’s fiance is the magazine’s chief creative officer, but if you think she got here on her cup size, you might be part of the problem, she says.

“[W]hen women associate themselves with anything involving ownership of their sexuality, they’re often perceived as having abandoned their intellect,” Byrne writes. There’s a great deal of truth to that. It’s an accusation leveled against many a romance writer, especially those of us writing erotic romance, and we are in turn quick to point prudish fingers at others. Byrne goes on to say that she was hesitant to appear topless on this month’s Playboy, heralding the magazine’s return to nudity, but that she changed her mind when she considered a longstanding double standard.

“Was it just me who thought it was absurd that if Playboy published a topless woman on the cover and Men’s Health put a man on the cover in a similar pose, Playboy would be the one to be put behind blinders?” Byrne asks. “When I considered that fact, it became clear in that moment that it didn’t have anything to do with Playboy. It was about the double standards still being applied to gender roles.”

I wish Playboy a long and happy future. And if nudity is what it takes to secure that, then I guess I support the nude pictorial as well.

Still, I’m curious to see what lies ahead.

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