CA votes on bill for safety and accountability in adult film industry, performers plead to keep stringent industry health protocols and privacy

This morning, California voters are faced with a vote regarding regulations in the adult film industry. Sponsored by Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation introduced by California State Assembly member Isadore Hall (D-64th), AB1576 would require adult film industry (AFI) performers to use condoms at all times. It also includes a controversial government mandate on testing and requires all producers to keep health records of their models’ results indefinitely.

“[It] will look to make all adult filmed in CA require mandatory condom use and will criminally penalize anyone charged with violating it. This is not just professional shows; this includes ALL webcam models, amateur performers and personal web content trade,” AFI performer Steven St. Croix wrote on Facebook. “We have to stop the intrusion of the government in our personal, private and professional lives.”

More than 500 performers have signed a Free Speech Coalition petition opposing the bill. Independent groups representing adult film stars, such as the Adult Performers Advocacy have joined the petitioners and the Free Speech Coalition, the adult industry trade group, to oppose the bill. The petition will be presented in Sacramento today at an Assembly Appropriations hearing.

Lorelei Lee is a performer and vocal opponent of the bill, calling it “insulting and paternalistic.” In a YouTube video by AFI performers that encourages voters to oppose the bill, Lee said that the bill would require CDC requirements for testing that, according to her, are much less stringent than the requirements in the industry. “And these are performer-developed requirements, performer-development safety and health protocols that have been extremely effective,” she said.

FAIR (For Adult Industry Responsibility) claims that AFI performers have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI) than the general population. According to FAIR, a 2012 study found 28 percent tested positive for gonorrhea or Chlamydia.  In 2011, a study found performers 34 times more at risk for Chlamydia and 64 times more at-risk for gonorrhea than the general LA County population. Female performers were also 27 percent more likely to have a repeat infection in one year. They also claim that 23 performers employed by the AFI tested positive for HIV between 2004 and 2010.

“On porn sets in the last decade, there has not been one onset transmission of HIV, despite what you may have heard,” Lee said. “Active performers who have tested positive have done so after an exposure in their personal life. And the moratoriums that have been put in place after those positive tests came to light prevented the HIV from being spread to other active performers.”

The state Assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media cleared the bill for vote on April 29.

“For too long, the adult film industry has thrived on a business model that exploits its workers and puts profit over workplace safety,” Assembly member Isadore Hall said. “The Assembly’s Committee on Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media soundly rejected the opposition’s arguments because they were based on fear, not facts. The fact is adult film actors are employees, like any other employee for any other business in the state. A minimum level of safety in the workplace should not have to be negotiated. We need to begin to treat the adult film industry just like any other legitimate, legal business in California.”

Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation said that at least two adult performers, Cameron Bay and Joshua Rodgers, became infected with HIV in the last year while working in the industry. Both Bay and Rodger testified in favor of the bill.

“AB 1576 expands and broadens worker protections for all California’s adult film workers on a statewide basis,” said Weinstein. “We are grateful that Assembly member Hall has shown the courage—and the vision—to recognize that workers in the adult film industry are entitled to the same safeguards and worker protections that any employee in California is, and we will do whatever we can to help pass this legislation.”

Weinstein has been in hot water with AFI performers since he fought the FDA approval of medication Truvada for use by people at high risk for HIV—including sex workers—to help prevent transmission of the virus. Weinstein allegedly called the HIV-prevention pill “a party drug,” and used plentiful resources to fight the drug’s approval.

Nina Hartley, a performer and registered nurse, called the bill “a solution in search of a problem,” during testimony before the state Assembly in April. “There has not been a single case of HIV transmission between performers on a regulated adult film set in over ten years, and yet they treat us like a threat to public health, using shame, sexism and fear-mongering to dismiss our concerns about privacy, discomfort, rights and safety.”

In the video featuring AFI performers who oppose the bill, Christian Wilde said that the AFI performers are safe and careful, and “don’t need outsiders telling them how to do their jobs properly and safely.”

Performer Anna Fox said, “I feel that every performer should have the right to choose whether or not he or she wants to use protection. And I feel that our testing definitely works for us.”

Wilde opposes AB1576 for imposing on his privacy. “[The bill states] that every performer would have to disclose very sensitive, personal and medical information to every studio that they shoot for. And not only that, the studios could keep that sensitive information and on file indefinitely,” he said. “And I don’t know about you, but to me, that sounds like a very drastic break of personal privacy.”

In another PSA, Lee expanded on how the bill would impact performer privacy. “If our personal medical records are being kept by a content producer, that means not just a very established organization, like, where we have airtight record-keeping,” she said. “It means anyone in the Valley who is shooting porn out of their bedroom and keeping your medical records who knows where.”

According to Stop AB1576, the bill would compromise performer safety and privacy, as well as choice. It would also drive adult production out of California, with a loss of a multi-billion dollar industry.

“This bill is written by people who have no understanding or knowledge of the way the industry actually works and what regulations might actually be helpful to performers,” said Lee. She added that performers lack a voice in this bill.

“The actual effect of the bill would not be to have condoms to suddenly appear in all porn films,” she said. “What would more than likely happen is that the industry would move to Nevada or underground. And if the industry moves to Nevada or moves underground, what happens then is the degradation of the health and safety protocols that we performers have spent over a decade getting into place…So this bill would make us less safe.”

Diane Duke, head of the Free Speech Coalition said in a statement, “Performers shouldn’t have to give up control over their bodies. We are a small community, and not always the most political, but outrage has come from all areas of the industry — gay, straight, trans, fetish, studio and independent — to fight against a bill that criminalizes sex between consenting adults.”

Lee added, “This [bill] shows a total disregard for performers’ autonomy and threatens a vital safety infrastructure that we have spent ten years building…If the bill becomes law, it will, in fact, harm the people it claims it will protect.”

Wilde said that by voting no on this bill, AFI performers can “continue giving you the quality of work that we are destined to give.” He added, “We need our voices heard. We need our advocates out there—our fans who love us and watch our work—to take this into their own hands and help us get out the word…To say ‘absolutely no, thank you’ to this bill.”

Learn What Singles in America Are Saying About Dating, Sex and Relationships From

MatchOn February 8, presented its first Singles In America panel to announce the results from its 2014 Singles in America study. The event was hosted by Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger, who was joined by celebrity blogger Perez Hilton and other sex and relationship experts. This is the fourth year has done a comprehensive study of singles in the U.S., and as always, there were some surprising findings.

Stanger opened up the discussion by asking, “Who in the audience went on a first date and knew it was the one—so much so that you planned your future?” While none of the dating and relationship bloggers in the audience admitted that they had, Stanger said she’s done it a million times. And she is not alone.

According to the Singles in America study, 51 percent surveyed in America said they imagined a future together with someone on their first date. What is perhaps even more surprising is that men do it more often than women.

Dr. Helen Fisher, biological anthropologist and chief scientific adviser to, felt the results made perfect sense. “Men are much more romantic than women are. They fall in love faster because they are so visual,” she said. “When they meet somebody that they really love, they want to bring them home to friends and family sooner. They want to move in sooner. Man have many more intimate conversations with their wives than women do with their husbands because women have intimate conversations with their girlfriends.”

Not sure who these husbands are having conversations with if their wives are chatting with their girlfriends—I think that’s more accurately called a monologue, but what do I know?

The panel was mixed as to whether the velocity of emotions that come with a man’s visual mindset gave their counterpart power.

“I do believe it’s about power, but what I’m searching for is equality.” Perez Hilton said of the very visual mindset of the gay male community.”

Leading sexpert and Bravo TV star Emily Morris said that while she loves her power, she felt that men’s visual mindset made them more fickle. A man might believe his Friday night date was the one…until he went out on his Saturday date.

Fisher disagreed. “I don’t think it’s about power—that’s a feminist thing that’s gotten into everyone’s head,” she said. “It’s about love and about trying to figure out, you know, who you’re going to spend your life, about who you’re going to spread your DNA into the next generation with.”

Another surprising study finding was that 59 percent of singles want to plan their first date together. Audience members and the panel agreed that the person who asks for the date should plan it. Stanger asked how this works.

“It’s entirely possible that they’re already beginning to negotiate who’s flexible, who’s dominating, who’s gonna play some sort of false impression of who they are,” said Fisher. “The first three minutes of meeting somebody are powerfully important for many, many reasons. The brain is constantly categorizing…”

In last year’s survey , the top two things dates were judged by were their teeth and grammar. This year, the top three were grammar, confidence and teeth. Respectively, they show youth and health, your psychological stability and your background.

Dinner reigned supreme for a first date activity. Stanger put it like this:

Drinks are an audition

Lunch is an interview

Coffee is cheap

And dinner is for romance

After a first date, 46 percent of men and 35 percent of women want there to be follow-up within 24 hours. Only 6 percent of men still abide by the 3-day rule. Fifty-one percent prefer a phone conversation, but texting is a close second.

Speaking of texting, ladies, put down your cell phones and breathe. Texting multiple times before the man replies is their biggest turn-off. And men, stop sending sexy photos—for women, that’s a big turn-off.

Statistics try to scare you into thinking that marriage-minded singles are a rare commodity these days. However, the Singles in America Study found 53 percent of singles want to get married, and a whopping 89 percent of singles believe you can still live happily ever after. And a big proportion of gay men and women also indicate they want to get married.

So where are people most likely to meet their last first date? You guessed it—online!

For more on singles, sex, dating and relationships, watch it here!

Live streaming video by Ustream**This is a sponsored post for**

Six Steps to Claim Your Sensual Confidence

SixStepsToClaimYourSensualConfidenceOne of my younger female friends reminds me a lot of myself before I came into my sexual confidence. Despite having the slim and fit build and striking looks envied by many women and admired by many men, her insecurity about having smaller breasts not only feeds her jealousy of her loving boyfriend’s perceived attraction to other, curvier women, but also interferes with her ability to fully accept his open adoration (and wild lust) for her physical self. A conversation we had one day inspired these six steps to claim your sensual confidence.

To Love Thyself Is To Know Thyself

And vice versa is also true. And knowing and loving thyself makes it so much easier for others to know and love you too! There is nothing more sensual than a person who is exceptionally comfortable in their own skin, recognizes their own strengths and talents, who knows what they like, and goes after (attracts) what he or she wants from life and from you.

Find out the rest of the steps on Singles Warehouse here:

Can you successful carry out your sexual fantasies in real life?

This past weekend, the boyfriend and I celebrated our one-year anniversary. He whisked me away to a beautiful bed & SuccessfullyCarryOutSexualFantasies 300x168 Can you successfully carry out your sexual fantasies in real life? by @SoloAt30breakfast in scenic New Hampshire, where we had a spacious room looking out onto the stars. While there was plenty of opportunities for excellent dining, breathtaking hikes and scintillating conversation, The Warrior Poet and I also took advantage of the extended weekend away from it all to indulge in some of our bedroom fantasies. But can you successfully carry out your sexual fantasies in real life?

Find out what I have to say on the topic over at Singles Warehouse:

Resolve to Overcome Sexual Shyness in 2013 With Astroglide Giveaway

Astroglide Dr. YvonneGrowing up in a Christian household, there wasn’t a lot of talk about the birds and the bees. Obviously I knew that people had sex and that it could result in pregnancies and babies, but when it came to the mechanics of the act, let alone pleasure and technique, I was pretty much clueless. To be honest, I really wouldn’t have become aware of myself as a sexual being growing up if it hadn’t been for Skinemax, AKA Cinemax After Dark and its late-at-night adult movies in late middle school.

My first serious boyfriend in my late teens was as green as I was about everything in the physical intimacy department. So we lovingly explored each other and attempted to overcome our sexual inhibitions together. Some things worked effortless, while other things took more time to get right.

It wasn’t until later, when I started having much more experienced partners that I began to experience more sexual shyness. Many years later, I feel quite comfortable with my techniques, learning what my partners like, and experimenting, whether with new positions, costumes or playing with toys. Yet there is always room for improvement.

In the year 2013, I’d like to see myself feel even freer to express to my lover exactly what I want in the bedroom. I’d also like to play with a few more of my fantasies, such as going to a strip club with my partner. Additionally, while I feel sexier and more proud of my body with my boyfriend than ever before, I’d still like to learn to really love my perky, little breasts even more—I’ll never be a Victoria Secret model, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Astroglide’s Sexual Wellness Ambassador and sex expert Dr. Yvonne Fulbright offers some tips for how you and I can overcome any sexual shyness we may harbor in this New Year and have better sex in 2013 (and make sure you read to the end for a special deal from Astroglide):

Tip 1: Get a firm grasp on what’s holding your back in the bedroom. Is it an inability to express what you are looking for your partner to do? Are you uncomfortable in your own skin and worry that your partner doesn’t find you attractive? Do you lack confidence in your ability to please your lover? Get specific about the barriers you need to overcome in claiming your hot-to-trot sexual self and an amazing sex life.

Tip 2: Get to know yourself.  If you don’t know what pleases you—what you like and don’t like sexually—how can you expect your lover to know? Great lovemaking requires communication, taking the time to find out what arouses them, whether they are visual or tactile, and how and where they like to be touched. So first, take the time to get in touch with yourself. Fantasize—read erotica for inspiration. Play with toys. Experiment with your touch to discover whether you like things softer or harder, slower or faster, circular or up and down, or a variation of these. Role-playing with seduction and the process of foreplay will give you greater confidence to give instruction to a lover, even if it’s non-verbal.

Tip 3: Boost your body image. For many of us, the biggest challenge to getting into a sexy state of mind is our relationship with our own bodies. Many people will tell you the sexiest people are the most confident, and confidence comes with self -love. Do things that make you feel good about the skin you’re in, like getting regular exercise, eating healthy meals, avoiding toxins and shutting down negative self-talk. I would also add staying away from the majority of women’s magazines as well if you find yourself constantly comparing others’ bodies to yours. Become more intimate and connected to your body through movement and touch, with yoga, getting a massage, or wearing clothes that feel like they were made for you. For me, acknowledging that my breasts are the perfect size for my body type becomes more self-evident when I wear clothes that show off my petite, slender and athletic build. Every day, look in the mirror and find at least one thing about yourself—whether it’s your lips, eyes, shoulders or butt—that you love and acknowledge it out loud.

Tip 4: Study the masters. Knowledge is power when it comes to the art of sex. Many are insecure about their sexual expression because of lack of knowledge—about their own bodies, about what makes their partner stimulated and about how to successfully pull off different sexual moves. Read quality sex manuals. Educate yourself on erogenous zones, different sexual positions and techniques for oral sex and manual stimulation, and learn creative methods of seduction. The more you learn, the more you will boost your confidence as a lover, as well as expand your sexual repertoire.

Tip 5: Determine if your issues require extra assistance. Many women who have struggled with their sexuality as adults have encountered sexual abuse in the past, carrying guilt and sometimes fear or pain as they try to move forward into healthy sex lives. Adults who also have religious backgrounds that associate sex with guilt and shame may find it difficult to express sexuality in health ways. In cases such as these, working with a certified sex therapist or counselor can be extremely helpful for working through the past so that you can enjoy the future. You can find one in your area at


Astroglide is also offering readers of my blog free samples to help you slide into a sexy new year. Look for how you can get your hands on them here. You are also invited to submit any questions about sex you may have to sexpert Dr Yvonne.

**This is a sponsored post for Astroglide**

Missing The One, Marriage Odds and Other Lies We’re Told


By now I’m sure most have you have heard about the movie, What’s Your Number? According to the trailers and reviews, it’s about a woman who believes she’s going to wind up alone for the rest of her life thanks to a magazine article that cautions anyone who has had 20 or more relationships: you might have missed out on an opportunity to find true love. Our star has, you’ve guessed it, been with 20 men (oh my!), so she ventures on a journey to see if any of her exes might have been “the one.”

While this is fiction, the scenario rings irritatingly true: there are numerous articles published in magazines every month that make blanket statements about people out in the dating world, which only serve to make them feel this great sense of urgency leading them to cling to bad relationships they’ll later regret or to chase after someone—anyone—else instead of finding him/herself first and waiting until the right fit comes along.

Admit it, you’ve heard some variation of this one: A woman over age 40 has a better chance of being killed by a terrorist than of getting married. In the movie The Holiday, that age was lowered to 35; on the television show Frasier, it was age 30! The original gem, by the way, was borrowed from both a formal (but later found-to-be flawed and unreliable) study about university-educated women in the mid-‘80s—and an article in Newsweek magazine.


Add to that the science that tells us the fertility rate drops in our mid-30s, and the risk of miscarriage and genetic abnormalities to babies increases, many women of a certain age already feel enough pressure as they date beyond their 20s. One of my friends was so terrified by this, and understandably so due to family history, she rushed to start a family before her 32nd birthday even though she was in the process of getting a master’s to advance her teaching career.

Yes, she did graduate, but she never taught again. She and her husband still struggle financially and frequently have severe fights leading to genuine concerns about divorce. Sometimes I wondered what another year or two where she could teach and save more money might have done to add to the stability of their family, but hey, I respect that they had their reasons.

But I am taking a big detour, so let’s get back to What’s Your Number? The movie plays on the fear that women who sleep with too many men are, well, sluts and, as the astute Simone Grant sums it up, our main character becomes determined not to go over the number 20, thus “goes back through all her past lovers determined to recycle one of them.”

In the NY Post article Simone contributed to, Wrong Number: NY Women don’t worry about their sex lives going too far too fast, the cosmopolitan ladies scoff at the idea that real woman of today would worry about their number. The idea that people discuss the number of people with whom they slept with others seemed old-fashioned, and when asked by your partner, rude. I agree that things like this in general never come up outside the movie screen or chick-flick novels. But in reality, my life has held a few exceptions.

Four or five years ago, my boyfriend at the time, V-Man, and I were talking on the futon while half-watching TV. I’m not sure how or why we got into this discussion, maybe it was something somebody said on a show, but I laughed at the idea of the average woman having only three lovers when she gets married. The V-Man looked at me confused, saying something to the effect that I was like that average woman…wasn’t I?

I looked at him, asking him how many relationships I’d had before him. I said he knew it was more than three. So then he started questioning just how many others had I been with. I told him he didn’t really want to know.


We did the dance. Is it more than 5? Is it less than 30? And so forth. I didn’t want to tell him because I knew his ideas about me would change, but he forced the issue. Finally, I gave him the number. He gave his, which were a few less than mine. I was younger and woman. He liked to say he was pickier.

I felt more awkward than he did at the time, but I still wonder if knowing changed how he thought of me in general. He liked to think of me as the near-virginal girl, who was a little bit naïve, sweet and old-fashioned at her core. Truthfully, knock out the near virginal, and he wasn’t half wrong about his impressions of me when it came to life in general.

While this conversation we had was within the first year of our long and winding relationship, sometimes I still wonder…

The topic came up again just a few days ago with a guy friend who I went on a few dates with earlier this year, but whom I realized fairly quickly wasn’t the one for me. We’ve stayed in touch, solely over the phone mostly because getting together in person never works out. Anyway, we were talking Saturday night during one of our marathon phone calls where we just cover the gamut of topics: job situations, childhood experiences, music and, of course, former relationships.

He started telling me that due to his strict Christian upbringing, he was a virgin until age 24. While he was shy and unsure of himself at first, he’d quickly made up for lost time in more recent years especially. Then the numbers question came up. Why? For no other reason than curiosity, I suppose.

In fact, I think he wanted me to guess his number first, but we agreed we’d share to be fair. “Is [the number] bigger than a bread basket?” I joked. Anyway, we did the whole range guessing game first. We did the comparison—larger than a soccer team, but smaller than a whole football team? I realize how childish it sounds, but I think once our numbers were revealed, we both felt reassured.

I think it made us both feel like our exploration and appetites were normal. We were within the same number range. I was six years younger in age when I lost my virginity, but he is five years older than I am. We’ve both had our share of very serious relationships, including the one that shocked us when it ended, and we’d both floundered our way past pain and confusion, having fun along the way, while trying to find love again. We both followed our hearts, even if it meant putting it all out there to possibly get hurt again.

While I don’t think I’d ever tell any of my girlfriends my number, I think telling someone felt freeing. See, that wasn’t so bad. I’m not a freak. I’m just a single older girl in the modern world. And wherever my number ends, with whomever it ends, I will still love myself in the morning. And I think in some way subconsciously or otherwise, my partner/husband will be grateful for the time and experience it has taken me to find him.

Summer Breeze Makes Me Feel…Saucy

From Francois Truffaut’s "Stolen Kisses"

There was something about the salty ocean breezes of that summer holiday. We couldn’t keep our hands off each other even if we had tried—and no, we didn’t ever want to. A squeeze of the cheeks here, a glance down the front of the dress there, stolen kisses down the long hallway…

Every look had a double meaning—a sweet, safe-for-company smile with a head cocked just so, that one could bend up to look at the other, eyes twinkling with mischief. That ever-present video camera, damned one minute, blessed for capturing what the mind so quickly forgets, was witness of our daring flirtations.

It was as if we were teenagers again. The very real possibility of getting caught with, quite literally, our pants down, added fuel to the fire. As soon as we could steal a few moments away—the kids were playing noisily in the backyard, the other adults were busy working—we’d glance at each other knowingly.

Not a single word sneaking past our lips, I’d run to the door at the bottom of the narrow staircase. I sensed more than heard him closing in behind me, feeling his eyes branding his name across my ass as we ran up the stairs like horses rushing to the finished line. He pushed me into one bedroom, across the quaintly made bed.

“Her mother’s friend sometimes sleeps here,” he said. “I’d feel guilty.”

“He sometimes is here?” I asked. “I’m sure he doesn’t sleep on the covers.” I know. I’d see things differently if the tables were changed, but I didn’t care. I wanted my man. I wanted him now. I didn’t care where. I just cared how.

The other bedroom was off-limits because that’s where the children might sleep…though of course, they haven’t. Each night, they’ve been sharing a tent with us. Still, from that room, with the windows open, we could hear them as if they were standing beside us. Surely they could hear my voice rising with the crescendo as he plucked my strings of desire.

We moved to the next room, where we could easily slip to the bathroom if we heard someone come up the stairs. I helped him slip out of his shorts, I shimmied out of my panties. Have I ever expressed my love for dresses before?

With my legs astride him, his eyes were on fire. And then we heard a sound. “Was that the door?” The one at the bottom of the stairs.

“I don’t think so,” I said. We held our breath, held our positions. No clambering up the stairs. I slipped down to my knees to distract him in other ways. It worked.

Finally, he stood up and pushed me into the small bathroom. Leaning me up against the cool porcelain sink, he dove into me, like I was a cool pool of water on this hot summer day. With each refreshing dip, I grabbed onto the sides of the sink and tried to mute my pleasured moans.

Then we heard the door creak open for real. It was one of the kids. His shorts were pulled up and zipped in half a second. With barely a kiss, he was gone, leaving me in the bathroom to wash up.

Almost caught. But not quite. My heart was beating quickly. Too close.

I wasn’t too surprised that each of us was ready for round two, or was it three, not to much longer after that.

It wouldn’t be our last bathroom rendezvous.

That was a sensuous summer. A night where we waited for slowed breaths of sleeping babes, so we could unzip our side-by-side sleeping bags and join our two cocoons. I could slide my hand across his slender body, remembering where the dips below his hips were, the moles on his skin, the hair on his chest. The ways my hands could find his growing pleasure.

And eventually our pleasures would commingle and explode like the firecrackers we watched on the 4th of July when we first felt this feeling of oneness, just barely touching but leaning into each other, at the center of a park,  in the middle of a crowd.

He was all mine, and I was all his during that magical period of time. It was lust, yes. But not just. Lust intermingled with falling in love. Lust of the very best kind.

Check out the rest of the IC’s thoughts on lust.

Please check out what everyone else in the Insomnia Club thinks about lust…

Simone Grant: Lust in My Heart

Met Another Frog: Lust, The Jazz Singer, and Me

Train Wreck Love: Lust, love, greed and consciousness

Women Are From Mars: I have a healthy relationship…with Lust

My Pixie Blog: Sometimes You’re Nothing But Meat

Confronting Love: Dance with Me.

The Urban Dater: The Night Lust Made Me Its Bitch

Single Much?: Lust…When You Just Can’t Get Enough

Follow updates on twitter using #insomniaclub:

Every Good Girl Needs Her Toys

Ladies, I have three magic words for you: California Exotic Novelties. Now, you may not be familiar with them. I was complete clueless until a week and a half ago, so let me school you on what I’ve very pleasurably learned.

But first, a little back story. It all started with dinner at a Japanese restaurant. No, there was no sushi consumed. I had some chicken teriyaki dish (sub-par–nothing will ever compare to my near weekly haunt to my favorite Japanese restaurant in Menlo Park), and my dinner guest had the safe chicken stir fry. His meal looked absolutely incredible, it tasted delightful, but I won’t begrudge him…even though it has literally taken me almost four years to get him to go somewhere beyond the familiar and try Japanese food when I knew he’d find something on the menu he’d like. But I digress.

We got to the car after a long day, a really long work week for me–somehow I’ve turned into a workaholic who never sleeps, who is always writing, editing, plotting, perusing for ideas, or whatever the hell else I am doing at 4 a.m. His week has been just as busy, though he found time to sleep, at least.

Anyway, I assume we’re heading back for a quiet night of Saturday Night Live, when all of a sudden, he says, “Let’s go get some toys.” Now ladies and gentlemen, I am not so naive that I didn’t know exactly what he meant when he suggested getting toys. I started wearing the high heels, the fishnet stockings, the leather bra for him. It’s funny, we never really played dress up beyond panties and skirts. The week prior he got this weird look on his face and said, “Let’s put something up you!” Little did I know he meant something other than his finger, tongue or cock.

When he mentioned a cucumber, I was in utter disbelief. Never, ever would I have thought of such things. Especially not coming from him. We had a tame sex life in general…other than the anal. So I listened as he microwaved the cucumber–so I wouldn’t have a chilled vagina, right?

Are you really going to try to shove that huge vegetable inside me??

First, he spread me open with his fingers, and before I knew it, I had a cucumber in my pussy. Not only did I have a cucumber there, I actually kind of liked it. And while one hole was filled, another hole was free for him to fill me, and it felt pretty damn amazing.

So no, going to the L.U.V., right next door to the “gentleman’s club” didn’t come completely out of nowhere. Yet I was still a giggly sex toy virgin. They literally had everything from dildos to vibrators to penis extenders to pocket pussies to blow up dolls, gag gifts, magazines and videos for every fetish under the sun, and the strippers from next door to model skimpy clothing. It was like a Toy Store Warehouse for adults.

He kept asking me what I wanted, picking up things he thought were neat. A glass dildo that had groovy swirls and nobs that you could cool and heat, various vibrating toys, straight out ridiculous Ron Jeremy-sized dildos and a whole bunch of other things I was completely overwhelmed by. We wound up with a purple vibrating dildo and an amazingly small (waterproof, the female staff, kept highlighting) with at least a half dozen speeds, intensities and types of vibrations. The shape of a clam it could easily fit way up inside of you.

I will not go into any further detail about how said items were used, except to say that the clam vibrator is something both a man and woman can enjoy in synchronicity for a truly amazing and new sexual experience. It’s amazing how one little thing, or rather, two little things can change things. When the shape of a relationship changes, have gone stale or when you’ve reached that stage where it’s make it or break it point, living outside the box can really help bring that spark back. I can enjoy every minute of it, no matter where it takes me, sexually or purely emotionally.

And I think, personally, every good girl needs a little playtime away from her insane work-centered existence.

Should You Share All Your Secrets With Your Lover?

Early on in relationships, we often find ourselves divulging reams of random tidbits about ourselves to our partners, caught up in that heady rush of “I want you to know everything about me!” Sharing little secrets late into the night can often make us feel closer to the ones we are growing to care about, especially when there is heartfelt reciprocation. However, sometimes, we later find that these (over)indulgences of fact-sharing can quite frankly bite us in the ass.

I made the mistake of using one former boyfriend as a therapist, bleating about my father’s ancient infidelities. Later I would learn this ex had a sick sort of admiration for playboys, that he got a vicarious thrill about hearing of the adventures of his guy friends’ shenanigans that they somehow got away with unbeknownst to their girlfriends or wives. My ex brought up my dad’s former dalliances with me far more frequently and carelessly than desired just to get a rise out of me, despite knowing how much pain that past had caused my family.

To be fair, the same boyfriend also always remembered my soft spot for bunnies. No matter what either one of us were doing, if he spotted a bunny, he would run to find me. He knew that just catching a glimpse of the cute, furry creatures was sure to put a smile on my face, and he always went out of his way to make at least that happen.

From the insidious to the innocent, then there are those details you share about your past, more specifically your boyfriends’ past, that becomes a nagging reminder that perhaps there are some things you should keep safe in your memory locker and never bring up. Like the fact that you once dated a guy who was emotionally abusive and bipolar. Or the fact that you once dated a party animal who used recreational drugs. Or the fact that you once tried mushrooms at a Phish concert in Vegas because your then-boyfriend and your newlywed friends strong-armed you to finish the batch. These facts can and will be held against you in the court of dating.

Even more dangerous in some relationship situations is to share what you have done previously in the bedroom. If you do not want to set the stage for insecurity in your man, be very careful about answering the loaded question: “What’s the wildest thing you’ve done sexually?” In the past, men have taken this in stride and not felt threatened by this, but in my present dating situation, my answer to these questions has fueled my man’s competitive streak.

She’s done this with the V-Man, then surely she wants and needs to do this with me…
he thinks to himself. He is in a battle to show up the V-Man so there is one concrete way he feels he can do this.

I admit I’ve done some creative things in the bedroom in my past. Nothing too insane and kinky–well not usually. Yet men are surprised and titillated when they hear that I have partaken in anal play. I have only done it with one partner who I trusted very much and who loved it very much, so doing so pleased him and wound up pleasing me. I’m not sure I want to do it with other partners. I’m not sure I would enjoy it in my usual sexual repertoire with someone else, particularly one who has never done it before and doesn’t know what he’s doing. Yet if this will make him feel more secure and will also satisfy his curiosity about a fantasy he’s never achieved, then I might be willing to try it once.

It’s a slippery slope when someone tells you they want to be your perfect lover. There’s no such thing as perfect, in my eyes. There’s amazing lover, which he already is. I’ve told him that. He doesn’t need blindfolds, whip cream, and costumes to stave off boredom in the bedroom at this point in our relationship–though I am open to it later! Not all of my fantasies need to be fulfilled; some are meant just to be those lovely fantasies that play around in my mind to help me achieve pleasure.

When it is he and I in the bedroom, there is no one else. He is not competing against all my past lovers. My eyes and body are all focused on him, and him alone.

When An Ex Waxes Nostalgic, It’s Music to My Ears

The Music Man never fails to blow me away with the sheer perfection of his physique. Chiseled arms and legs, ripped abs, plus the tanned skin and perfect hair of a man who pays a lot of attention to his appearance. Even during my “man, this guy is a total jackass”-phase, I have never looked at him and not thought, “Wow, he looks delicious.” But his unchecked words, with their timing and delivery, still manage to catch me off guard.

Last week, he had promised we’d get together soon in the coming week, but it’s been months since we’ve actually been able to follow through on getting together. So this morning I woke up to a text from him asking if I wanted to get together at noon. On the drive to lunch in his gorgeous red Mustang, he informed me what he had been up to this morning. “Remember those sexy photos I have of you?” he asked, giving me a sideways glance. “I was jacking off to those this morning.” What? I didn’t know if I should choke him, or if I should be flattered. Later, I wound up doing both.

Before all this though, we somehow ended up talking about relationships and feelings, The Music Man’s second favorite topic behind, naturally, music. During our relationship, he over-analyzed everything, to the point where I, the typical feelings female, was like–“please give it a rest.” Today,  as he talked about the women he was dating, he commented on how much work dating these three women was becoming. I couldn’t help adding, “Like it became work when I got sick?”

He frowned at me and protested. “It was absolutely not work when you got sick. I wanted to be there for you, and I was happy to. You know we had our bigger issues far before you got sick.” I nodded. It was true. That was really what was behind why I broke things off with him, after all. When I was sick and he was at home playing the guitar by himself when he used to play so often for me, he said, one afternoon he just broke down crying. “I never did that over my ex-wife or even the ex-girlfriend. I was really sad and upset in those cases, but over you, I literally lost it for like sixty seconds.” He told me how he would always have a loving feeling for me because of how beautiful and caring and sexy a person I was and am.

I was touched but didn’t really know how to respond. Of course he asked, “What do you think about all that?”

After lunch, we went to the park and walked for a bit under the scorching sun. We quickly made our way to the shade of the trees and just lay on a sheet for twenty minutes relaxing. The Music Man reached out to put his arm under my head, and he pulled me in for some passionate kisses, but mostly we just talked. It felt good. I did miss our talks. As shallow as he sometimes appears, when The Music Man get below the surface, we always have great conversation.

When he drove me back to the house, he asked if I wanted him to come in. I gave him a quizzical look, but I remembered the sexy photos he showed me that had roused him earlier that morning. He reminded me then and there that there had been some passion in our relationship after all, that it hadn’t always been a case of me failing to live up to his fantasies and porn-style expectations.  He reminded me that yes, there had been too, in his odd little way, love.  He also reminded me that I was irresistibly sexy, just as I am, in this very body. All these things were beautiful to remember.