Monday, May 25, 2015

Research

By Lisabet Sarai



 
Miss Meriweather. Increase the gain by another order of magnitude. Ahoh, by Newton’s apples!

Is that too much, Professor? Shall I dial it back?”

No, no, we must continue. Another notch, please.”

But your face is scarlet, sir. And your member—Oh, God, are those sparks?”

To be expected when experimenting with electrical forces, Miss Meriweather. Adjust the rheostat as I’ve instructed. Argh—that’s good, excellent...Oh! More. More...!

Sir, the boiler will blow. The needle’s halfway into the red zone already.”

We need more power—more steam—oh, incredible! Amazing! We shall be the first to chronicle the detailed response of the male organ to various levels of electrical stimulation—oh, by Aristotle, turn it up, girl! Don’t stop now!”

I smell burning. And you’re drenched with sweat.”

All—all the better—ah! Enhances conductivity—what? What are you doing?“

Protecting you from excessive scientific curiosity. I don’t want you hurt.”

But—I was so close to a breakthrough... Unstrap me immediately, Miss Meriweather. If you won’t assist me, I’ll have to man the controls myself.”

Sorry, Professor. I can’t do that.”

You disobedient little hussy! And whereoh, by Pythagoras, you’re not wearing knickers!”

Before you research artificial sexual stimulation, sir, shouldn’t you investigate the real thing?”

Saturday, May 23, 2015

By the Numbers

by Annabeth Leong

I can't think about the topic "over-sexed" without going for the data. From an early age, I felt weird about myself whenever I heard about women and sex—whether I was hearing what women are "supposed" to be like, what women are actually doing, or listening to what other women said they were doing.

In Alfred Kinsey's 1953 Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, he reported that unmarried women had a mean of 0.5 orgasms a week, and married women had 2.2. By that definition, I'm not over-sexed—I'm exponentially sexed (expo-sexed?).

For basically my whole sexual life, I've averaged a minimum of an orgasm a day, and often many more. I masturbate to fall asleep, so that's how I know it's at least one. I'm sure I've missed days here and there, but I definitely made up for those with recreational masturbation or experiences with lovers. Also, being coupled has often caused me to have fewer orgasms than I do when I'm single—when you live alone, it's not awkward to randomly masturbate on the living room couch, but when your lover's around, unless they're into that, it might be.

So, basically, when I read numbers like Kinsey's, I get pretty damn confused. Are all these women being surveyed telling lies? Or am I just that much hornier than everyone else? Do I need hospitalization? Or perhaps a shock collar? (Damn it, the idea of a shock collar turns me on…)

But Kinsey's book came out in 1953. Maybe those low, low numbers are the result of patriarchal oppression. If you don't know to call your sex organs anything other than "down there," and you're told you'll definitely go to hell if you dare to feel around down there, maybe it's hard to find the clit.

Modern numbers don't make me feel much better, though. Here's a clip from Jesse Bering's book Perv:

In a 2006 survey of 1,171 Swedish women, 80 of them (around 7 percent) were labeled "hypersexual." Why the researchers settled on thirteen orgasms per month as the critical dividing line between "normal sexuality" and "hypersexuality" in women is something of a puzzle (there's nothing special or catastrophic about that figure so far as I can tell), but nonetheless any kvinna finding herself on the wrong side of that line was considered "hypersexual." The bar for the Swedish male respondents in the same survey was set somewhat higher. Men needed a minimum of seventeen orgasms a month (another dubious figure) to be classified as "hypersexual."

Bering takes an appropriately skeptical tone about what really seem to be arbitrary definitions of hypersexuality, but I don't even need to get into that argument to feel like a weirdo nympho. Only 80 of those 1,171 Swedish women have more than thirteen orgasms a month? I shudder to think where my personal slice of the pie would be if I were in that survey. Would I have any company at all, or would they delete my figures because it's often a good idea to remove extreme outliers?

I want to pause here to emphasize that I'm not humble-bragging. I don't mean to imply that the frequency of my masturbation is somehow superior or even sexier. And I don't mean my incredulity at these comparisons to come off as shaming other women. I truly don't mean to throw any shade on women who choose to orgasm less often than I do.

I think maybe everyone is wondering what normal is. If we could remove our societal value judgments about normal or abnormal sexuality, maybe we could all just be ourselves and please ourselves without worrying so much.

Others have brought up the slut/frigid bitch dichotomy. Women are punished for both too much and too little sexual desire, and "too much" and "too little" are often defined in relation to the amount of sexual desire a male partner has.

My experiences, though, are all with the slut end of the spectrum. Frequency of orgasms isn't the only number that matters there. There's also number of partners. There was a movie that came out in 2011 called What's Your Number? It's about a woman who freaks the fuck out in response to a magazine article that correlates having more than twenty partners and having trouble finding a husband. She's been with nineteen people, and she thinks she needs to be sure that the next man she gets with is her husband.

I'll just say that I found the number twenty…quaint. I'll never forget going to a clinic to get tested and learning that having more than three partners in a year was considered promiscuous. That particular year, I'd had thirteen.

These numbers about partners are another vector along which I've always felt bizarre and over-sexed. Part of what's always been strange to me is that I can't imagine being any other way. How else would I fall asleep? And as far as the number of partners, aside from issues of coercion and the way people treat you when you're known as the town slut, I've just never seen the point in waiting when all parties involved know what they want to do. I've never been sure how people manage to hold back so much.

And I think this gets me to a very similar place to where Jean ended up. It would be so great to live in a world where we could be our true sexual selves without shame (assuming consent and safer sex practices). What if we stopped counting these things? What if I stopped counting?

For a long time, I tracked lovers according to several complicated systems. I lived in fear of discovering I'd forgotten a lover's last name, or wasn't sure exactly what I'd done with them. I obsessed over what did and didn't "count" as sex. But I think all that was part of the effort to be normal when I didn't feel normal, or to cling to whatever sense of normal I could.

What isn't normal, but should be, is to learn what's right for oneself and go with it.

I'll end with a plug for the best book of sex science aimed at women that I've ever read. Emily Nagoski's Come As You Are is the first book I've read that explained things I experienced, treated a wide variety of sexual personalities as normal, and never once made me feel like a slut. What if I'm not over-sexed at all, but properly sexed for me? I highly recommend that book.

(I'm posting on the weekend to make up for missing my normal day in this cycle. Back to normal next time, everyone!)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rolling In It

by Jean Roberta

I recently reviewed a scholarly book, The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830, by Susan Lanser. As the author shows, “woman + woman” (primary relationships between women) were described during the period under discussion as 1) impossible (especially if they included any activity that could be called “sex”), 2) new and “modern,” despite the general belief that the poet Sappho, from the Island of Lesbos (circa 600 BC) was the original foremother, and 3) a dangerous epidemic that could destroy civilization. This book includes evidence of “the sapphic imaginary,” including much speculation by anxious conservatives about the debauched practises of women who supposedly had too much freedom.

There needs to be a book about the “slut imaginary,” and maybe there is. At various times in my life, most of the people closest to me have accused me of “wanting it all the time,” and even of doing it all the time, presumably with no breaks for eating or sleeping, let alone earning money by holding down a non-sexual job. According to some men (e.g. my late ex-husband), too many women are Biblical demons who have no other function except to tempt men to spill their seed.

Accusations of sluttery are often motivated by political bias other than contempt for women in general. Queen Jezebel in the Old Testament wasn’t necessarily an adulteress or a nymphomaniac. According to the story, she was the foreign wife of a Hebrew king named Ahab, and she brought the worship of “false gods” to her husband’s people. In the centuries since her story was first written down, it has been assumed that such a “pagan” woman would be a slut. Most visual images of her focus on her lush, sinful curves.

Skip ahead to the late 1700s, when Queen Marie Antoinette of France was still known to her enemies as “the Austrian woman,” a foreign invader who married the dauphin of France when she was a teenager. On the eve of revolution, written stories about her “furious womb” (uncontrollable need for sex) circulated widely.

Note that King Charles II, who ruled England from 1660 to 1685, was a famous “libertine.” Historians estimate that he fathered between 12 and 19 children outside of marriage. (He had a wife, but she couldn’t carry a pregnancy to term.) Apparently no one suggested that he was unfit to rule because of his prolific sex life. At the time, more of his Protestant subjects seemed shocked by rumours that the king was a closeted Catholic!

When I was still fairly young and horny, I learned from experience that no one can really do it “all the time.” (I’ve also been accused of writing “all the time” as well as reading “all the time.” If there are only 24 hours in a day, how can time be multiplied?) Males, in particular, have a disadvantage if they want to do it “all the time.” Most guys, no matter how healthy and full of juice, need some reloading time after ejaculating before they can fire again. Girls/women are capable of multiple orgasms, but not for hours at a stretch. Human energy is limited.

The general Western (Christian?) fear of “excessive” sex really seems like fear of the impossible, much like a medieval fear of having one’s crops or general well-being destroyed by a witch’s curse. Nonetheless, I’m sure I wasn’t the only girl whose parents recommended “therapy” of some kind (medical or psychiatric) to eliminate those inappropriate feelings. The only alternative to being a “fallen woman” who presumably wanted it all the time was to be a “nice girl” who was supposed to do it only with her husband, but not to like it.

The flip side of traditional fear and dread of uncontrolled lust (especially in women) is desire for unlimited pleasure. My earliest “porn” stories (as I thought of them) were about some other country – it might have to be on some other planet – where my sexual ability would be admired, not sneered at or punished. I could have high rank (i.e. be an earthier kind of Disney princess), be initiated into sex in some public ceremony, and not lose any status because of it. Au contraire; my “people” would love my sexual generosity.

The surrealistic plots of Lewis Carroll’s fantasy novels, Alice in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1872) seem like reactions to the Victorian social order, and even though they don’t include any mention of sex, they do include a surprisingly assertive young heroine. In my fantasy story, “Becoming Alice,” she accelerates through puberty by drinking a magic potion (one of the bottles labelled “Drink Me”), and then makes her debut, her presentation to the King and Queen, in a sexual sense. In Wonderland, this is all as it should be. (This story appears in my single-author collection, The Princess and the Outlaw, and in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 13.)

For a brief time in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I thought a Sexual Revolution might really be on its way, and it would liberate people in general from undeserved guilt and shame. That revolution never arrived, and I probably won’t see it in my lifetime, which is probably more than halfway over.

In the meanwhile, I can only imagine a world in which sex would never be considered a problem unless 1) it was forced on someone who didn’t or couldn’t give meaningful consent, or 2) it resulted in unwanted consequences (pregnancy, disease), or 3) it interfered with other aspects of life (eating, sleeping, working). Otherwise, an “oversexed” person could be considered an “overachiever,” someone who accomplishes more than the rest of us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Oversexed (in three disparate parts)

by Daddy X

I recently saw an article about a guy living in a senior facility outside Philadelphia who was caught with a prostitute (very much alive) under his bed. He was in his 70’s and selling booze to other seniors who paid—so he could play.

My kind of guy.

Although I developed crushes on girls all through grammar school, I didn’t discover masturbation until turning 13.

Wow.

But it was wrong. So wrong, according to the Catholic belief system. I had, of course, been long aware that there was no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny and no Tooth Fairy, but some old folk tales did persist. I still thought playing with my pecker was wrong, wrong, wrong. After all, somebody who lived in the clouds was judging me. When I got up the gumption to confess those sins, the priest ordered five Rosaries as a penance. You  Catholics know how long that takes. Fuck! I had things to do, for Christ’s sake.

Well, I did it. I did the penance. Not long after that, I stopped going to church. I figured that the harmless, benevolent act in which I was indulging with my own body, in my own bed, with nobody else to know… was nothing to feel guilty about.

For what it’s worth, here’s the Catholic catechism answer to “What constitutes a mortal sin?”

First, the sin must be a ‘grievous offence’. (Hmmm… no grievance there.)
Second, you must know it is wrong. (I don’t think so, not so much.)
Third, you must do it anyway, knowing it’s wrong. (In the words of Tweety Bird: “If I dood it, I get a whippin’! … I dood it.”)

It was obvious by the heavy penance that the priest considered masturbation a serious sin. What business did he have informing me that what I did was a grievous offence? He, in a sense, was attempting to create that sin for me in my own mind. And happy to do it.

I wanted no part of a god who saw such an innocent pleasure as evil. Or a clergy who decided what was my sin. Especially from some turkey who’d embraced a life of abstinence.

So I embraced masturbation in a big way. I’m talking blisters, open sores. Was I oversexed? Were the turkeys right after all? I pleasured myself every single day, every night, sometimes six, seven or eight sessions a day. When I learned that most boys my age wanked a lot, I felt more comfortable with my strong libido, but in talking candidly with friends, it seems either that I did it a whole lot more than they, or the others were too embarrassed. 

And fuck if I was going to waste any jerkoff time reciting rosaries!

In retrospect, what the experience did accomplish was to jump-start a proclivity for critical thinking. Was all I’d been taught just plain incorrect? Everything I learned in Catholic school? Where the accepted intelligence was that you got a better education than in the secular system.

When the kids from public school were dragged in for religion classes, they seemed so stupid to us, not having memorized the basic catechism, fumbling for answers to questions with no context in experience. Baloney. It was years later when I realized that much of what I had been taught in parochial school was patently wrong. Just plain bad information: Evolution didn’t exist. God lived in the sky. It was a mortal sin to eat meat (in those days) on Friday or fail to go to mass on Sunday. (Ever wonder what happened to all the poor fucks burning in hell for eating a meatball before Vatican II?) Hell was under us. How would that be possible on a round earth? How many non-Catholics who've lived since the dawn of mankind were stuffed down there?  

If a kid questioned these tenets, they were told “That’s one of God’s mysteries,” by the more reasonable teachers. Or we were punished by the zealous kind. Beaten up.

Those seeds of rebellion set me up for a life of guiltless sex. I have always seen sex as a positive, and have not (to my knowledge) made enemies with my dick. After all those fuck-happy years, I began writing erotica at 64 years old. I’m now 70 and still like to play, whether on the page or in the sack (although these days my mental appetite tends to be larger than my genital stomach). Guess that appreciation is still working, at least on some level.

Wow. This post went sideways. I was going to write about a guy I knew who once told me he wanted to bed 100 women within a year.

I don’t have that many words yet, so I will tell the story:

First, I should say that the guy was absolutely gorgeous. Tall and of good physical proportion. His face came off somewhere between James Caan and a young Marlon Brando.

I worked with him at a restaurant where we were both lowly line cooks, so it wasn’t a matter of sexual harassment of underlings. He screwed a waitress after his first shift. He wound up sleeping with the majority of them. A new girl would be hired, and he’d bed her within a few days. Saw it happen time and again (not literally).

I turned him on to an apartment for rent, located in a building where I knew three sisters who lived in two other apartments. He screwed all three of them the week he moved in. One time I covered for him while he and a coworker dallied in the walk-in.

What this guy had was charisma. As far as I knew, none of the women wound up hating him—despite his indiscriminate carousing. He was a fuck toy, happy with the fat ones, skinny ones, uglies who’d never fucked before. Beautiful ones threw themselves at him with abandon.

I didn’t know him long enough to learn if he ever hit his goal, but I did (and do) wish him well.

Again, my kind of guy.










Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Romanticide by Suz deMello

I had a mad crush once on an art history professor. I was a seventeen-year-old freshman and he was twenty years my senior. I had gotten laid exactly once before we met—a disappointing experience that took place the first weekend I went away to university. I did not bother repeating it for months until I found myself crushing on...let's call him James.

I turned into a madwoman. From where had all this passion come? I didn't know, but what I knew was that I wanted him more than my next breath. 

I made my interest clear and he did the same. But he didn't seduce me until his class was over, so it wasn’t until the next semester that we finally got what we both wanted—sort of.

One memorable night, I found myself thoroughly fucked in a cozy bed aboard a houseboat—very romantic. He was great. I felt as though I was flying, in total bliss and joy.

Then he said, “So, you have trouble coming?”

I crashed to the earth and couldn't fly again for years.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Oversexed Erotica?

Sacchi Green

Too much of a good thing is apt to be indigestible. I won’t try to define “oversexed” when it come to individual people, but I see all too many stories that I’d class as oversexed. Bear in mind that the operative term here is “I’d class,” so this is all a matter of my own possibly jaded opinion

It’s not exactly a question of too much sex, but of too many actions, “dirty” words, sexual paraphernalia both organic and mechanical, and anatomically improbable acrobatics crammed together with little or no focus to draw the reader into the experience. Gay porn writer Lars Eighner, in his book Elements of Arousal (a fine writing guide even if you’re not writing erotica/porn,) uses the example of a circle-wank scene where one super-stud after another shoots his load, but there’s no one viewpoint character for the reader to identify with. Switching from one viewpoint to another and then another and on and on irritates me just as much, as happens in many an orgy scene, but that may say more about the inflexibility of my aging mind than about the general appeal of such hopping between heads and sets of naughty bits.

There are plenty of other ways for a story to be oversexed. A good story needs pacing, and flow, and varying levels of intensity, with sexual tension that builds toward a literal climax. If there are multiple climaxes, a chance to breathe now and then gives the next wave time to swell. There’s also a tendency to throw so much into the mix at once that the writer has to strain to think of ways to top what’s already been written, sometimes with results that cross over from the stimulating to the ludicrous, or even the baffling. “Wait…she was bent frontwards across a solid table,” the reader thinks. “So how can anyone be biting her breast?” Or the eternal question arises of how many limbs doing what where at which angles can any two people (or three, or whatever) manage? But that one isn’t directly related to too much unrelenting sex.

“Unrelenting” of course brings to mind BDSM and various flavors of power play, but in some ways the elements of dominance and submission and other forms of edge play provide enough of a range of experience besides basic stimulation of sex organs that they may well be over the top, for individual values of where the top is, but not precisely oversexed. (The whole matter of how closely sex and power differentials are related could make for an interesting discussion, full of debate about definitions, but let’s not go there just now.)

It occurs to me that I could just as easily argue against everything I’ve just said. I know perfectly well that a really good writer could make an all-sex-every-instant story work, and that plenty of readers get off enthusiastically on non-stop fucking. “Oversexed” as applied to stories is every bit as much in the mind of the beholder as when applied to people. I don’t have just time now to argue with myself, though. I have to dive back into erotica submissions for the anthologies I’m editing, and try to overcome my urge to skim past any long, long paragraphs packed with sex to see whether there’s any framework of an actual story there.      

Friday, May 15, 2015

What is this "over" sexed you're talking about?

My little half-baked dictionary on my computer defines oversexed as "having unusually strong sexual desires". That seems a beige and generalised definition to me. For it to have any relevance, then we'd need to establish a baseline as to what usually strong sexual desires might be.

(Side note: I'm aware all kinds of studies have been done. I'm also blissfully and wilfully unaware of statistics in these matters. Some things can be measured and quantified, and for me, some things shouldn't be. After all, it's not how big it is, it's what you do with it...right? Am I right? I'm right, right? When you're right, you're right...right? Right.)

One of the issues with that particular definition of oversexed is its apparent focus on quantity or frequency of feeling. What about quality? Or range of tastes? A person can feel a completely normal amount of lust, yet feel it for an enormous range of people (and/or objects). A bisexual person has twice the range of lust objects a heterosexual person has. Polyamory, just as a word, sounds oversexed. Yet none of those examples automatically fits the definition. A person can be bisexual but still have a low libido, for instance.

Personally, I gladly and wholeheartedly confess to being utterly oversexed. At least in a mental and emotional sense. Like most people, I don't act on it physically every time I feel the urge. Hell, I'd never get a scrap of work done.

And it's not the bikini-clad models on billboards or the ice-cream-licking strumpets in advertisements that work me over. Blatant overuse of sexuality to sell crap has been pounded so hard it's gone numb.

But it's partly being a writer which has honed my particular oversexedness. A need to try and understand more people, and understand people more. The need to make educated guesses about motivations. Essentially, to sound overtly and tritely male, to get inside them.

Every day, all around me, I see desirable women of all sizes, shapes, ages and colours. Those with a finely tuned fashion sense, and those who, like me, think Jimmy Choo is a character from Thomas the Tank Engine. It's clear, too, that as I've aged, so my tastes have expanded.

Nowadays it's the subtle and unsuspecting sexiness of people around me which gets me all worked up. People as average as myself. In comments with the previous round of posts here, I discovered I was not alone in finding small, rogue slivers of skin to be one of the sexiest visual treats ever (hi, Annabeth!) That moment when a woman takes off her sweater and her blouse rides up a little, revealing a gorgeous plump belly, maybe with a few little stretch marks she'd normally take great pains to conceal. The velvet skin of a throat either side of a black choker. Or the holy grail; the sweet skin of a curvaceous thigh between a skirt and a three-quarter-length stocking.

As a means of contrast...a drunk woman running up to me in the street, pulling out her breasts and shaking them at me would be a sensory assault. A businesswoman removing her glasses and rubbing the bridge of her nose is way sexy. It's those intimacies which really set my pot a-simmerin'. Little nothings that hit hard because that person has let you into them just a little, without even realising it in most cases.

Living in a subtropical city, with its barely-there winters and free-wheeling spirits, those moments arise so very often. On the bus, at the shops, in the park. Taking into account the vast array of feminine physicality which appeals to me, I simply cannot go anywhere without seeing a hundred different moments which hit me.

Moments which provoke in me an unusually strong sexual desire.