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Review: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner

Hey sex fans!

I have another swell sex-positive book to tell you about today. Anyone who frequents this site will already be familiar with my dear friend and esteemed colleague, Cheryl Cohen Greene. If ya don’t believe me type her name into the search function in the sidebar to your right and PRESTO!

Not only will you find the fabulous two-part SEX WISDOM podcast we did together, (Part 1 is HERE! And Part 1 is HERE!) you will find a posting about the movie The Sessions. You’ve seen it right? It’s the award-winning film staring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. It’s the story of a man in an iron lung who wishes to lose his virginity.  He contacts a professional surrogate partner with the help of his therapist and priest. Ms. Hunt plays Cheryl, the surrogate partner in the movie

Cheryl also contributed a chapter on sex and intimacy concerns for sick, elder and dying people for my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying.

With all that as a preface, I now offer you Cheryl’s own story: An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner. The first thing I want to say is this book is it’s not a clinical or technical tome. It is an easily accessible memoir. And that, to my mind, is what makes it so fascinating.

She writes in the Introduction:An Intimate Life

I started this work in 1973, and my journey to it spans our society’s sexual revolution and my own. I grew up in the ‘40s and ‘50s, a time when sex education was—to put it mildly— lacking. As I educated myself, I found that most of what I had been taught about sex was distorted or wrong. The lessons came from the playground, the church, and the media. My parents could barely talk about sex, much less inform me about it.

What follows is a candid and often funny look into the personal and professional life of a woman on the cutting edge of our culture’s movement toward sexual wellbeing.

Cheryl comes out of her conservative Catholic upbringing and her often tortured family dynamics with what one would expect—her own sexual awakenings as well as the conspiracy of ignorance and repression that wanted to stifle it. This is a common story, the story of so many of us.

Starting when I was around ten, I masturbated and brought myself to orgasm nearly every night. … If my nights began with anxiety, my days began with guilt. I became convinced that every earache, every toothache, every injury was God punishing me. … I couldn’t escape his gaze or his wrath. Sometimes I imagined my guardian angel looked away in disgust as I touched myself and rocked back and forth in my bed.

The miracle here is that this troubled tween would blossom into the remarkable sexologist she is today.

rsz_1greenecherylSome of the chapters in her book describe one or another of her hands on therapeutic encounters as a surrogate partner, but equally important and compelling are the chapters that describe Cheryl’s own sexual struggles as she moved to adulthood and beyond. Cheryl’s acceptance of her own sexuality enables her to build a career out of helping others do the very same thing.

Everyone has a right to satisfying, loving sex, and, in my experience, that most often flows from strong communication, self-respect, and a willingness to explore.

Despite the frank discussion of sexual topics within the book, there is no prurience or sensationalism. For the most part, Cheryl’s clients are regular people, mostly men, who have pretty ordinary problems—erection and/or ejaculation concerns, dating difficulties, as well as self-esteem, guilt and shame issues. Cheryl helps each of her clients with the efficiency and confidence of the world-class sex educator she is. Most of her interaction involves her supplying her clients with some much-needed information, dispelling myths, and giving them permission to experiment. As she says;

I continue to be amazed at how solid education delivered without judgment can eradicate much of the guilt and shame that turns life in the bedroom into a struggle instead of a pleasure.

Her most famous client, Mark O’Brien, the 36-six-year-old man who had spent most of his life in an iron lung after contracting polio at age 6, was the author of How I Became a Human Being: A Disabled Man’s Quest for Independence, in which he writes about his experience with Cheryl. This, of course, was adapted into a film, The Sessions, which I mentioned above. For her part, Cheryl delivers a most poignant remembrance of Mark early in her book.

I explained Sensual Touch to Mark. Although he was paralyzed, he still had sensation all over his body, so he would feel my hands moving up and down. … I encouraged him to try and recognize four common reactions: feeling neutral, feeling nurtured, feeling sensual and feeling sexual.

An Intimate Life chronicles Cheryl’s life-long interest in human sexuality. Her life and sometimes-turbulent loves are on display, but in the most considerate fashion. She teaches by example. She’s even able to speak with great compassion of her time living with and through cancer.

As I inch toward seventy, I appreciate more and more how much I have to be grateful for and how fortunate I’ve been. I was lucky to find a wonderful career and to be surrounded by so many smart, adventurous, caring people. My personal sexual revolution auspiciously paralleled our culture’s, and in many ways was made possible by it. I am eternally grateful to the pioneers, rebels, and dreamers who made our society a little safer for women who embrace their sexuality.

There is so much I loved about this book, but mostly it’s the humanity I found in abundance. Cheryl’sdr.-cheryl-cohen-greene enlightened soul shines brightly from every page. Her no nonsense approach to all things sexual is an inspiration. And her perseverance to bring surrogate partner therapy into the mainstream is laudable.

…what separates surrogates from prostitutes is significant. When people have difficulties grasping [that], I turn to my beloved and late friend Steven Brown’s cooking analogy that I’ve so often relied on to help me through that question: Seeing a prostitute is like going to a restaurant. Seeing a surrogate is like going to culinary school.

Finally, An Intimate Life is the culmination of Cheryl’s life as a sex educator, her surrogate partner therapy practice being just part of that mission. I highly recommend you read this book. You will, I assure you, come away from it as I have, a better person—enriched, informed, as well as entertained.

Cheryl, thank you for being in my life and being such an abiding inspiration. Thank you too for this marvelous book; now you can be in the lives of so many others who need you so that you can inspire them along their way.

Be sure to visit Cheryl on her site HERE!

Kinky Chat with D.L. King

D.L. King is one of my favorite authors. She appeared on The Erotic Mind show way back in January 2010. We had a great time together and she treated us to readings from her work. Look Part 1 of that show HERE and Part 2 HERE!

Imagine my surprise when I found this…

D.L. King Thrice nominated for the Golden Flogger Award for her anthologies speaks out

d-l-kingDo you participate in D/s activities or merely write about them?
I’ve been actively practicing kinky sex for more than fifteen years. There was always something missing in my relationships before I began adding d/s and s/m. I always chalked it up to not being a very sexual person; boy, was I wrong. Once I began writing what turned me on I realized that it indeed did turn me on (sometimes I can be a bit slow on the uptake) and I began to initiate d/s with my partners, I realized just how sexual I was—and how kinky. I’m a dominant woman and I enjoy playing with submissive men and the occasional submissive woman. I used to play in public fairly often, especially if exhibitionism either humiliated or turned my partner on, but now I prefer playing in private, where I can be as comfortable as I want. Of course, sometimes it’s nice to play in a dungeon or play space in order to have use of special equipment I don’t own or have room for.

What does being nominated for the Golden Flogger Award mean to you?slave girls
I was so very flattered to find out that three of my anthologies were nominated for the Golden Flogger Award. I’ve been writing and editing anthologies for many years and work very hard to make sure that a book or story is the best it can be before putting it out there with my name on it. There are many erotica anthologies out there, but I like to think mine are unique as first and foremost, I put them together to please myself. That’s why, whether it’s lesbian BDSM, female submission or general domination, choices will be different than another editor’s. I publish what I like and I think what I like tends to be a little quirkier than a lot of what’s out there—maybe there’s more humor, maybe stories are more thought provoking. But knowing that other people recognize what I’m doing and like it too is what makes being nominated so special to me.

What is the hardest part of editing your anthologies?
I think the most difficult part of editing is rejection. Sometimes rejection is easy. When a story doesn’t fit the call for submissions or has no plot or appears to have been written by a third grader, it’s easy to reject. But when it’s obvious that the author put his or her heart and soul into a piece and it still doesn’t quite fit what I’m looking for, it’s tough. When somebody’s on the right track but the work just isn’t there yet or when I really love something, but it doesn’t fit, or I already have something too similar, I’ll often add a note of encouragement to my email. I don’t know what writers think about those notes, after all, it’s still a rejection, but I hope what I have to say is helpful.

Once I fell madly in love with a story, but it didn’t fit the anthology for which it had been submitted. I sent a note to the author telling her that. I told her if I ever did a book it did fit, I’d get back to her. I don’t know how she felt about the note and I doubt she believed me. She may have been flattered by it, but it was still a rejection. I wanted that story so badly I pitched an idea to my publisher just so I could include it. I think she was surprised when I wrote to her months later and asked to have it back. It’s still one of my all-time favorite stories.

sedductressTell us a little about yourself and your writing works.
I’ve been writing erotica over fifteen years and have published over seventy short stories in a lot of different anthologies. My work can be found in various editions of the “bests” such as Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, Best Bondage Erotica and Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, as well as The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, Leather Ever After, No Safewords, Hurts So Good, Bound for Trouble, Baby Got Back, and many more. I’ve edited thirteen anthologies of Erotica including vampire erotica, steampunk erotica, lesbian erotica, female domination and many others. The one thing they all have in common is the inclusion of BDSM. Even the anthologies not necessarily billed as kinky erotica contain BDSM because it’s my passion. I’ve written two novels of female domination and male submission, The Melinoe Project and The Art of Melinoe and Riverdale Avenue Books has published a collection of twenty-one of my femdom short stories, Her Wish is Your Command.

My anthology, The Harder She Comes won both the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Erotica and the Independent Publishers gold medal. My anthology, Carnal Machines is also an Independent Publishers gold medalist and my anthology Under Her Thumb is a silver medalist.

I have another novel in the works, three anthology calls coming out soon and I continue to write short stories. Oh yeah, and I have a full-time job. I guess I’m a little crazy.The-Big-Book-of-Domination-Erotic-Fantasies

Will you be attending BDSM Writers Con or other events we can meet you at?
With a To Do list like that, I don’t think I’ll be attending the BDSM Writers Con this year, though that could change. I will be attending the NELA Fetish Flea in Warwick RI this Valentine’s Day weekend. Forget virtual bookstore; it will be an actual bookstore. Cecilia Tan and I have connecting rooms this year so readers can have a one-stop shopping experience. Oh, and Laura Antoniou will be making our rooms her headquarters when not teaching classes, and her books available, as well! So, if you’re going to the Flea, be sure to stop by!
Complete Article HERE!

From Everyone here at Dr Dick’s Sex Advice, CONGRATULATIONS on your all your nominations and awards, D.L.!

Review: The Killer Wore Leather

With the advent of the 50 Shades of Grey movie looming, the interwebs are abuzz; once again calling attention to this deplorable trilogy. (Apparently, the movie isn’t any better than the books. Ya don’t say?) To counteract this virus real alt-culture folks are trying to direct our attention to books and authors that better represent life on the sexual fringe. Why, there’s even a ‘which book should you read instead’ meme springing up amongst those of us who care about good erotica and authentic power play. Here is my contribution.

Just so you know, I wrote this review for a print magazine awhile back, and I thought now would be an excellent time for me to share an updated version with you here.

The Killer Wore Leather is Laura Antoniou’s new murder mystery with a fictitious international leather competition, Mr. and Ms. Global Leather and Bootblack, as its backdrop. Think IML (International Mr. Leather)… no, don’t think IML. Oh forget it; go ahead and think that if you want, because this fictional competition is clearly a very thinly veiled replica of that alt-culture institution.

Full disclosure: Laura was a guest on The Erotic Mind Show. (Look to the Podcast Archive, right here on my site, to find these great shows. You’ll find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE!

These interviews were a great way to get to know Laura and hear the delicious back-story dish on the novel. Laura is wickedly funny and astonishingly subversive. Interestingly enough, these are the very same characteristics that I liked most about her novel.

In Part 2 of our conversation we chat about:

  • James Lear’s quip on the back cover: “A murder mystery with a fresh, funny take on the fetish underground.”
  • I ask if The Killer Wore Leather is her first murder mystery.
  • I ask how she happened upon this genre?
  • We talk about her main character, a lesbian homicide detective, and two of her delightful supporting characters, the boys Jack. They’re adorable.
  • I ask if these characters are based on real people she knows.
  • We discuss the very unique slice of society that is the gay leather/kink subculture and her insider connection to it.
  • I ask if how she was able to add the refreshing comedic aspect to the otherwise hardboiled murder mystery.
  • And how she got away with making light of it all?

The Killer Wore Leather opens at the Grand Sterling Hotel, NYC. Thousands of people are arriving for the annual leather killer wore leather covercompetition and fetish ball. Anyone who has ever attended one of these fêtes in real life will feel right at home. Most of the main characters and all of the supporting characters are right out of (fetish) central casting. There is even an Antoniou-esque, rabblerousing gadfly who makes regular appearances throughout the novel just to stir the shit. So unlike Ms. Antoniou, don’t cha know.

Don’t think this will spoil the plot, but the reigning Mr. Global Leather, Mack Steel, who is also one of the contest judges, is soon-to-be deceased. He is—how shall I put this—a real dick, and not in a good way. Just about everyone hates him, which makes for loads and loads of suspects once he is found dead in his hotel room. Mr. Steel is stabbed to death with a trident-shaped weapon and left wearing only a pair of frilly knickers. Oh, the delicious scandal!

Enter Detective Rebecca Feldblum and her new partner, Dominick DeCosta. Rebecca is a lipstick lesbian, and Dominick is a hot, straight, black guy. Both detectives are way out of their comfort zone surrounded by all the freaks and perverts. The convention/contest promoters decide the show must go on, so despite the murder, Feldblum and DeCosta have to do their sleuthing amidst the fetish circus.

The Killer Wore Leather is a good, old-fashioned whodunit. And Antoniou lays on the detail; we are treated to a baffling array of characters from the sexual fringe and a barrage of alt-culture jargon. But don’t let this deter you. The two detectives and another surprising character, a savvy newspaper reporter, act as a Greek chorus of sorts. Through them we are treated to a delightful exposé of some of the more fascinating nooks and crannies of the fetish and kink underground. It’s all great fun.

Antoniou’s writing style is sharp, witty, and smart. She lovingly skewers everyone and everything. I hasten to emphasize the word “lovingly,” because there are no cheap shots here. There’s never any doubt that Laura loves this slice of life and those who inhabit it. Her portrayals are hilarious, but respectful. However, she makes no bones about the fact that some of the minorities within this minority are being marginalized, and sometimes that gets ugly. Discrimination is rife, even here.

The thing that struck me most about the book is, as I mentioned earlier, Laura’s brilliantly seditious streak. She’s well known for her biting essays on alt-culture, sexual roles, and gender politics. And I am delighted to say that her keen observations bleed—you should pardon the pun—into her narrative. I loved it! And I know that you will too.

Buy The Killer Wore Leather for the mystery story; stay with it for the subversion.

I want to say another special thanks to Cleis Press, the publisher of Laura Antoniou’s The Killer Wore Leather, who sent me a copy of this book to review.

PS: This book would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift for any adventurous reader.

Review: The Ultimate Guide To Sex After 50

Hey sex fans!

2015 is turning out to be a banner year for sex positive books. Here it is still only January and this is my second review of a noteworthy book about human sexuality.

A few weeks ago, January 8th to be precise, I introduced you to Cooper S. Beckett’s book, My Life on the Swingset.  In that review I mentioned that Cooper had been a guest on my Sex EDGE-U-cation Show.

Today’s review features a book written by another guest on my show, but this time it was the SEX WISDOM Show. Today’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain – or Regain – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, was written by the brilliant, Joan Price.

Joan is on the forefront of our culture’s discussion on ageless sexuality. She is the author of Ult+Guide+Sex+50+covertwo other books, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex. She is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader. And, if that weren’t enough, she’s also a fitness expert. This woman is a ball of fire, sex fans, and an absolutely charming interview. Be sure to listen to the two-part interview I did with Joan, you’ll find them archived HERE and HERE!

Joan and I talked about some the many myths that surround sex during life’s second half; she covers this topic more in depth in her new book. The misinformation about sex after 50 is so pervasive that even many of us seniors and elders perpetrate it. And, of course, we’re often the butt of jokes.

1. We lose interest in sex as we age.
2. Senior sex is boring.
3. Dating as a senior/elder is depressing and hopeless.
4. Seniors with arousal issues just give up on sex.
5. Sex becomes more frequent as we age.
6. Real sex must involve intercourse and orgasm.
7. Health concerns and menopause will end one’s sex life.
8. If you’re interested in sex after you turn 50, you’re a dirty old man/woman.

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty is the perfect antidote to the dismissive and degrading way that so much of the popular culture deals with senior and elder sexuality. Joan celebrates not only the existence and appropriateness of sexual desire for seniors and elders, but how sex can and does increase the health and wellbeing of older people.

Joan states her credo in the Introduction.
“…being sexual at this time of life means:
• Enjoying arousal and orgasm, with or without a partner
• Having a zesty, sex-positive frame of mind
• Being open to new possibilities
• Giving pleasure to this body that is capable of great delights
• Making a commitment to myself to be sexually aware and healthy”

Joan invites her readers to join her in conversation. And a big part of that conversation is being aware of what’s going on with our body as we age. Being attuned to that, and being able to communicate that to a partner, is key to great senior/elder sex. (To be frank, it’s the secret of great sex at any age, but I digress.) To that end, Joan includes in her book actual comments from real people that she has encountered in her work. These anecdotes reflect an array of feelings that underscore the conflicts, successes, and complexities of real life situations. And this being the Ultimate Guide, Joan includes the input from many of our colleagues who weigh in with their expert opinion on the topics she is addressing.

I love that Joan often makes the point that having a fulfilling sex life is not dependent on having a partner. Lot of seniors and elders are without a partner, but that ought not be an impediment to sexual enjoyment. Self-pleasuring, with one’s hand, or any of the myriad toys available to us, is the foundation of a rich, healthy, rewarding, and ageless sex life.

Joan also examines a topic near and dear to my life. In my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying; Enhancing The End of Life, I took great pains to include a chapter about the sex and intimacy needs of sick, elder, and dying people. Joan does something similar in her chapter — Cancer, Cancer Treatment, And Sex. I am so grateful that Join addressed this timely topic, suggesting, as she does, that people challenged with cancer, or any other chronic condition for that matter, take their sexual performance questions to their doctors. I think we both believe this will go a long way to underscore the notion that wellbeing is not merely about absence of disease, it’s’ about quality of life. There’s also a marvelous section about sex and grief too.

And, just so you know, this isn’t a hetero-centric book. Joan includes all sexual orientations and lifestyles.

I highly recommend Joan’s new book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty, to everyone. If you are a fellow senior or elder, this book is chock full of important and practical information about things we care about. It also provides much needed support and encouragement as we make our way through this season of life. If you’re not a senior or elder, this book is an indispensable resource for you too. Not just so that you will be sensitive to the needs of others, but that you’ll grow in appreciation of the fact that sex is for a lifetime. And hey, you just might learn a little something new from someone who isn’t “new”.

I want to say a special thanks to Cleis Press, Joan’s publisher, for sending me this review copy of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty.

Kudos to Joan! Your book is a marvel.

Be sure to check out Joan’s websites: joanprice.com and NakedatOurAge.com.

PS:  This book would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift.

More of The Erotic Mind of Sacchi Green — Podcast #425 — 07/14/14


Hey sex fans, welcome back.Sacchi Green001

The brilliant and big time award-winning author and editor, Sacchi Green is back with us today for Part 2 of her turn on this The Erotic Mind show. Sacchi and I had such a good time together last week and since I had so much more to discuss with her, I invited her to come back today. And she agreed, so YAY for that. I’m also pretty certain she’ll read for us again this week because I plan to beg and beg.

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #424 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Sacchi and I discuss:

  • Her nom de plume and writing under her real name;
  • Her beginnings in science fiction and fantasy;
  • What sparks the images that become her erotica;
  • Women With Handcuffs, a little pervy, but oh so believable;
  • The fascinating history of this volume;
  • A straight guy’s interest in lesbian erotica;
  • The appeal of fetish and BDSM erotica;
  • Transgender and gender queer erotica;
  • A person’s sex life being enriched by erotica;
  • Time Well Bent;
  • The people who inspire her and her sexual heroes;
  • Upcoming projects.

Sacchi reads from the Introduction of Women With Handcuffs.

Sacchi invites you to visit her on her site HERE! Her Facebook page is HERE! And her LiveJournal page is HERE!

(Click on the cover art below to enjoy some of Sacchi’s outstanding work)

A Ride to Remember and Other Erotic Stories Girl_Crazy girl-fever-69-stories-of-sudden-sex hard road Lesbian_Lust lesbian-cowboys-erotic-adventures wild-girls-wild-nights-true-lesbian-sex-stories time well bent women in handcuffs

BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.
Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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