Jul 192014
 
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After Pornified – How Women Are Transforming Pornography and Why It Really Matters

A Book Review, by Lady Cheeky: Originally published on EvolvedWorld.com

What do you think about when you hear the word “pornography”?  In the United States at least, that word usually conjures up images of brightly tanned, women on their knees and overly built men with perma-erections in various states of orgasmic euphoria.  Pornography has classically been made by and for a male consumer base summarily ignoring the female audience that was always assumed to not be interested in sexually based entertainment. It’s interesting to note though, that 40 million Americans visit porn sites regularly and 1 in 3 of those viewers are women, (probably more if you figure that a lot of women would be too shy to admit to it).  However, with the ever-increasing demographic of women who enjoy porn on a regular basis this old-fashioned image may need to make way for a new paradigm of pornography, Feminist or “Re-visioned” Porn.

In the new book AfterPornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography & Why It Really Matters (from Zer0 Books) by Anne G. Sabo, Ph.D., Ms. Sabo catalogs  and explains the history and the need for Feminist Porn.

the great thing about porn affecting us is that it can actually have a good effect on us.  Re-visioned and transformed feminist porn proves my point.  Re-visioned porn can change the way we think about and practice sex in positive ways, just as mainstream porn has affected the way we picture and practice sex in negative ways”.

By highlighting and examining revolutionary feminist porn filmmakers and their work, Ms. Sabo delineates how each artist brings their unique vision and aesthetic to their films and how that impacts the world of erotic filmmaking geared toward women.  She also speaks with these illustrious filmmakers, Candida Royalle, Erika Lust and Lisbeth Lyngoft to name a few and interviews them about their vision and their process. Ms. Royalle, for example, outlines (with great sub-categories) two essential elements one must incorporate in a good feminist sex flick:

1. High cinematic production value and

2. Progressive sexual-political commitment.

Ms. Lyngoft also throws her hat in the ring with her must have list, one of which is “To create a powerful female character who is determined and who goes with her desires”. This seems to be the main current that runs through the feminist porn genre; giving the female lead agency over her own body and desires.

Breaking down scenes from classic feminist porn films and then dissecting why they change the landscape of the pornographic film business is a unique and fascinating aspect of Ms. Sabo’s book. It’s almost as if the reader is being schooled in sexuality & feminist theory and practice by an intelligent and noted scholar. In fact, Ms. Sabo is an academic-cum-public educator who has researched feminist pornography for over a decade and is a noted expert in her field. The reader benefits from her expertise by covering topics that range from pushing the limits with progressive porn to  music video porn all written with intelligence and aplomb. As a fantastic plus, Ms. Sabo finishes off her book with a healthy appendix of filmmakers, websites, women-oriented sex shops, and progressive sex film awards and festivals to further quell your new lust for more feminist porn.

 

Ms. Sabo has done her research and it shows in this illuminating and detailed treatise on the re-visioned/feminist porn movement. This book is a goldmine for all sex-positive women and men who at least believe that there is nothing wrong with porn that a little balance can’t fix or even the steadfast feminist who wants to broaden his/her knowledge base on the issues of sexual agency of women in adult film. The casual reader will also find something to take away from this book, a new respect for the women of porn and a newly minted image when they next hear the word “pornography” brought up in conversation.

After Pornified: How Women Are Transforming Pornography and Why It Really Matters (from Zer0 Books): is available on AMAZON and AMAZON UK

 

 

Jan 172014
 
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aka Lady Cheeky  

I happen to live in Los Angeles where being over a size 8 is a felony. This can be depressing when I am searching for a cute bathing suit or a stylish pair of jeans in a city that considers the ‘norm’ a size 2. At those times I like to remind myself that the average dress size for women across America and the UK is a size 14 and that a size 2 is more an aberration than the norm. However, it’s disappointing to note that at size 14, those average women are also considered “plus size”, labeling them in a category that, in this media ridden age, might send a woman’s ego to the back of the proverbial bus. This size stereotyping (especially in metropolitan cities like Los Angeles and New York City) can compound the list of reasons why single “plus size” woman are intimidated by dating and sex.

I have found that a lot of my single friends complain they can’t find a nice guy or even a good lover. When I suggest online dating, taking a class or going to events to meet a guy, I almost universally hear “maybe when I lose some weight” as the first excuse not to engage. It seems that no matter what we look like, women are always first to dissuade themselves from dating by knocking their perceived physical shortcomings. This kind of dysmorphic thinking doesn’t discriminate it seems, women of all shapes and sizes do it. Though being a “plus sized” woman has its challenges, dating shouldn’t be one of them. In fact, as a plus sized woman myself, I had to get past my own mental lambasting and take a leap of faith, even though at the time I still hated my body. It’s not easy to do but it IS possible.

When I made the decision to start dating again after my divorce, I had to examine my history with my body image. My whole teen and adult life I was lead to believe, through society, other women and some really immature boys, that my body was “less than” because it had more lumps, bumps and curves than the women portrayed in television, film, advertising, fashion magazines (including Seventeen magazine which can be horribly destructive to a young woman’s ego) and the like. Add to that the unconscious conditioning I received from my well-meaning mother and I was set up to fail.

I thought about all the women this kind of conditioning affects, as most women do not have “perfect” bodies and have even less perfect body images. It was interesting to me that regardless of size, all the women I knew loathed portions, if not all of their bodies. Not only does this affect quality of life in general, it substantially affects a healthy sex life. So what can we, as women, do to begin to accept the parts of us that we have heretofore shamed ourselves into hating?

Rebecca Jane Weinstein, Lawyer, Social Worker and Author, was told by her grandmother at nine years old that no man would ever love her because she was fat. So started Ms. Weinstein on her journey of figuring out her womanhood on her own. She relates her pilgrimage to satisfying sex in her book Fat Sex: The Naked Truth.  I asked Ms. Weinstein what her advice would be to plus-sized women who are trying to feel more confident sexually. Here is her answer:

“In interviewing the many large sized women I have about body image and sexuality, I have found a common thread.  When a woman feels sexy, she projects sexy, and men (or other women) find her sexy.  This seems almost simplistic, and it is, in a sense.  Perception is everything, particularly self-perception.  What is not simplistic is coming to that realization and then internalizing those feelings.  Women seem to find that place in themselves two ways.  First is personality.  Some of us are just lucky to have an inner core of confidence that has no clear genesis.  It just exists.  But even women who aren’t so lucky to be somehow born with the “I feel sexy” gene, seem to be able to learn to feel sexy.  The key is listening and believing when you are told you are attractive and that someone is attracted to you.  So often we are told such a thing, and every available evidence supports it (like there is a person lying next to us in a bed), and yet we don’t believe it.  We must overcome that disbelief.  It is not easy when all the societal messages tell us fat is not sexy.  But those messages come from disreputable sources – mostly people trying to sell us stuff.  They want us to feel badly about ourselves so we will buy diets and cosmetics and clothing and medical procedures.  Those people are liars.  The ones telling us the truth are sharing our beds and our hearts.  It is them we must believe.  And the truth is, even if there is no one giving those positive messages, telling ourselves works too.  When you feel sexy, you project sexy, and others find you sexy.  It’s not so important how you tumblr_mfma65kGMu1rrgft7o1_500get there, but that you get there.”

She’s right.

I had a lover once with whom I had some of the most erotic, connected, exciting and sensual sex of my life (some of our exploits are detailed on my erotica site www.smutforsmarties.com) and I was considered plus-sized at the time. Though I felt confident that he wanted me, I still didn’t feel comfortable in my body. Still, before our first tryst I panicked about how he would react to actually seeing me naked.  Would he still want me when he saw my overflowing stomach and flabby thighs? I was terrified.

When we first got together I was so ashamed of my physique that I kept my nightie on thinking “maybe he won’t notice my fat.” Though, in contrast to what the little devil on my shoulder was whispering in my ear (“you’re disgusting,” “you should be ashamed to think he wants you”,) my lover couldn’t have been more effusive and complimentary about how seduced he was by my body. He continued to sincerely voice how attracted to me he was, yet I kept that nightie on for two months until I “believed” he was really yearning for me. What in the world did he have to do to get me to believe him? The answer is “nothing.” The issue was with me and my own narrative about my body. I used the shame and the humiliation I took on from others’ opinions about body size during my childhood and young womanhood to inform my ability to receive full pleasure in the moment. What a shame.

Later on in our relationship, figuring a bigger gal was his bag, I brought up the subject of a woman’s body type and asked him if he had always been attracted to plus-sized women. For me, his answer was revolutionary. My lover explained that body shape or size had nothing at all to do with his attraction to a woman. To him, a woman’s physical appeal (among other things like chemistry, personality, intelligence, etc.) was based on how sexual/sensual the woman was. He continued, that when a woman felt she was a sensual being and was confident about her sexuality, that it drove him wild. “I could be lying in bed with a supermodel but if she didn’t own her own sexuality I would be completely limp,” he said. Furthermore, the men he knew in his life felt the same way. He continued by saying that those same men were often frustrated with the fact that women in general don’t own their bodies and often let it get in the way of “letting go and enjoying the moment.”  Again, revolutionary to me. I thought back to when I was praying he wouldn’t notice my fat and thought “Wow. If I were just able to let go and take in that he was having sex with me because he WANTED to and was ATTRACTED to me, I would have enjoyed myself so much more.”  The change needed to start with me.  I needed to give myself a break. If it was true that he found me physically attractive then it was equally true that other men would as well. It was clear, I needed to start accepting my body as is, otherwise I would be living a lonely existence waiting for the day I would be happy with my body and that day will never come. This was evidenced by my smaller framed friends who had a litany of complaints about why men wouldn’t find them attractive. Again, the unrealistic body dysmorphia rears its ugly head no matter WHAT you look like.

Pamela Madsen, who wrote the book Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner says “If you work on embracing who you are – every single day just like a religious practice – things will change in your world.” I completely agree. No more negative self-talk ever.

So here’s the deal I’m not going to tell you to look in the mirror and say affirmations that you’re beautiful and sexy or tell yourself “I love you the way you are;” that’s too big a jump. What I AM telling you is that if you can’t muster up something nice to think about yourself, at least say something factual and neutral like,  “this is the way I look and that’s that.” It’s accurate and at the same time makes you accept yourself the way you are. Once you have that under your belt move on up to “I look pretty good today” etc, but wait until you believe it.  The point being, you are never to put yourself down. And if you can’t compliment yourself, then at least say something objective, something you can believe.

The next step would be to start to become more comfortable in your body sexually as it is right now. Whether you’re plus-sized or not, I highly recommend you read the aforementioned book  Fat Sex: The Naked Truth by Rebecca Jane Weinstein. She’s plus sized, smart and has the experiences to back up what she preaches. Her book will feed you stories of women (and men) who feel the same or worse about their bodies and will inspire you.  Reading the stories of how others achieved their positive body image and started enjoying sex will help you get used to the notion that there are other people out there (perhaps even larger than you are) that have found their inner sex gods and goddesses.

There are also a plethora of body image and sex positive websites at your fingertips. One of my favorites is Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’ website www.dodsonandross.com that has a wonderful DVD called Bodysex Workshop. This DVD teaches women not only how to feel good about their sexuality but shows REAL women with REAL bodies “taking care of business” (if you know what I mean.)  Other validating websites to check out: I Feel Myself http://www.Ifeelmyself.com which feature women from all over the world masturbating to orgasm. It’s liberating watching women of all shapes, sizes, colors and backgrounds enjoying the sexual pleasure that is their right. Pamela Madsen’s blog Being Shamelesswww.beingshameless.com offers Pamela’s words of wisdom on the spiritually based “sacred sexuality movement” and body image.

tumblr_m5asknvCUc1qeuufeo1_500If you are feeling frisky, even the porn world has something to offer. The multitude of amateur porn online also affords us the opportunity to watch women who look like us engaging in hot sex.  There are even porn sites dedicated to plus sized nude models like (my favorite) London Andrews and very popular plus sized porn star Kelly Shibari. There’s also “feminist porn” (also known as women’s porn or couples porn) brought to us by pioneers in the field like Candida RoyalleErika Lust and Tristan Taormino. This type of porn is made by women for women (and men) who enjoy a more sensual story and a focus on the woman’s pleasure as well as the man’s. Checking out this kind of porn might make you feel more a part of “the club” than traditional porn where the focus is mainly on the man’s gratification while they screw thin women with fake boobs (not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that).

Poor body image doesn’t doesn’t have to be debilitating. Your sexuality is part of who you are as a woman and human being and the plus sized woman should take steps to start empowering herself as an erotic, sexual being every woman should, really. If we can divorce our self-loathing (while we work on it, of course) from our sensual selves, then dating or sexual expression doesn’t have to be tied into body image and as a result, we can work on accepting ourselves while at the same time experiencing sexual pleasure.

Since I have accepted my body “as is,” not only have I had no problem finding men that find my me and my body sexy but I’ve been allowing myself to have some of the best sex of my life. I have come to understand and believe that sexual pleasure is not just meant for the “beautiful” and the “hard-bodied,” it’s a natural enjoyment that is your right as a human being. So take back that right. Ignore the messages from people, agencies and corporations trying to make you feel “less than” and take back control of what is inherently yours.

Originally published on www.EvolvedWorld.com, Sept. 2012

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Jan 162013
 
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Originally published on EvolvedWorld.com - January 14 2013

Ahhh January – the crisp, bracing air, the relief that the holidays are behind us and the optimistic promise of a whole new year ahead. Each January my friends, colleagues and nosy grocery store clerks ask me the dreaded question “have you made any New Year’s resolution’s?” My reply is always the same one I give for anyone asking me my age “Fine thank you”. The confused look on their faces never ceases to amuse me as I slink away; proud I’ve escaped answering that question yet again.

I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. I’ve always been an immediate gratification gal and didn’t make the yearly over-promise because it always seemed too high aiming and unachievable in a satisfying amount of time … at least for this impatient writer.

Yet, I can’t deny there is some wisdom in making a resolution and sticking to it. The discipline and drive to commit to an immediate improving of one’s condition is a great way to ameliorate our well-being and over-all health.

This year, I was going to take that principle to heart. I was determined to improve one thing in my life pronto and I knew exactly what that was. In the past few months I had become all too aware that my sex life had started to take the back burner to other parts of my life. After my divorce a few years ago, I had vowed never to let my sex life suffer again. That was it. No more sitting around. It’s 2013 I am going to improve my sexual attitude. But where to start?

Meditate: Figure Out The Basic Need That’s Not Being Met

On New Year’s Day, I turned off all electronic devices (gasp!) and began to search my soul for the answer I knew was buried. How could I re-energize my sex life? Frustrated, I picked up one of my favorite books on sexuality, Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston. Bingo. Sheri never disappoints. All I had to do was read these lines under the heading Whole Sex – Macro to Micro:

“Your sexuality is about your connection to everyone and everything around you … you are a sexual being not a sexual ‘doing.’ Sex is not just something you do – it’s a fundamental and inseparable part of who you are.”

This really resonated with me. My lack of importance placed on sex recently was the loss of focus on how it makes me feel when I’m connected to my sexual self. When I’m having great sex my senses are more astute, my mood is elevated and my interaction with others is more positive and engaging. I missed all those feelings and wanted them back.

Enumerate: Identify Three Ways To Achieve Your New Goal

I love to make lists, but I can get carried away and end up overwhelming myself with steps and procedures to follow. So, I kept it simple and allowed myself three things to do to change my sexual attitude. For me, the best first step is to research. Researching always gets me excited about my topic and it’s a way my inner “know-it-all” gets exercised. In my fact-finding mission I came up with three ways to encourage my sexual attitude to grow and become more diverse. My personal list is made up of A) something I’ve wanted to learn, B) something I’ve wanted to become better at and C) something I’ve been putting off. I came up with: learning Orgasmic Meditation, become better at the art of lingam (penis) massage and a resolution to acquire a new, like-minded lover to practice with. Great! I had my list, now I had to take the leap and start the journey.

Participate: Take The Quickest Action To Achieve One Of Your Goals

This is perhaps the most challenging part of change, the actual dirty work (pardon the pun). However, the most important aspect of this last step is not to delay. I resolved to tackle my chosen first step immediately. If I didn’t engage myself posthaste, chances were I’d keep putting it off. When I found a local Orgasmic Meditation group on Meetup.com, I signed up for my first introduction that same week. Just taking that first step excited and inspired me to investigate other ways to encourage my inner sex goddess to express herself again. I found my desire to pick up the Anais Nin book I had put down and was suddenly inspired to write more erotica.

The most surprising aspect of these three steps was that it immediately opened up my sensuality again. I had a familiar sway to my step and lilt to my voice just from acknowledging and welcoming it back into the fold. I truly believe this small but powerful master-stroke toward changing my sexual attitude right away on New Year’s Day, opened me up to attract more like-minded partners and friends – people who support my new attitude and foster its growth.

I’m only eleven days into the re-invigorating of my sybaritic soul, but so far I’m very glad I actually made and followed through with a resolution this year. Now, if people ask me if I’ve made any New Year’s resolutions, I won’t confuse them with a flippant remark, I’ll intrigue them with the answer “I’m changing my sexual attitude!” as I skip off to practice Orgasmic Meditation, lingam massage or make-out with a new lover.

Nov 142012
 
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By Elle Chase

Originally Posted on Tuesday, November 13 2012 - www.EvolvedWorld.com

In this fast food culture, women’s sexual release is often relegated to the back of the bus.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the female orgasm and how it’s attained.

As a woman who went on a sexual discovery journey I learned a few things on the way about orgasms in general and orgasms for women specifically. For

instance, an orgasm should be thought of  not as the climax of a specific act, but should include the act itself. Candice Holdorf, columnist for The Orgasmic Lifeand elephant journal has a definition of orgasm that really resonated with me. Candice explains:

“… orgasm is pulsing breath of life that births every moment. Orgasm is the chilly tickle on the edge of my skin as my lover draws his tongue from the edge of my ear to the tip of my nipple. It’s the warm flush in my face and genitals when I reveal a taboo desire.  It is the fire of my hunger and the blazing force that opens me to pleasure.”

This definition of orgasm refers to all-encompassing act where a woman can fully take advance of and surrender to all the pleasures that lead up to her climax. But how can we achieve this heightened state?

Give Yourself Permission

I’m not being patronizing. As women we do it all, we are breadwinners, mothers, students, career women and a lot more. We do so much for others on a daily basis that we sometimes forget that it is just as important (if not more so) to nurture ourselves with as much care. When you are in the position to be receiving an orgasm, whether it’s by yourself or with a partner, take a moment to recognize that this is your time. Give yourself permission to accept the love and the pleasure that comes with such an intimate act. Relax into the moment with deep breaths and stilling your mind. Concentrate on how your partner is touching you (or you are touching yourself.) Allow the glorious feelings that come with this directed touch to reverberate within and use it as an opportunity to connect on a deeper level with yourself and/or your partner i.e. your needs, your pleasure zones, your relaxation.  This is a time to connect intimately with your partner and even with yourself.

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Let Your Senses Guide You

Your senses are your best friend in orgasm, they communicate with you by their degree of intensity. Don’t forget about them and let them happen. Pay attention to what they are telling you. Do you get goose bumps when she flicks her tongue on your belly button? Do you get wet when he kisses your neck? Do you flinch with pleasure when you massage your mons? Your body’s various levels of response to certain stimulation is information about how you like to cum and it’s not all physical either. What your partner whispers in your ear can lead to a visceral response as well. Even the music you play or pure silence punctuated with your own breathing and moans could be something that excites you. Whatever it is, make note of it and communicate it with your partner later (or show him by moans and groans while he’s doing it) or if flying solo, make a mental note for yourself for next time.

Set The Stage

Respect the time you’ve set aside for orgasm and make certain you don’t inadvertently set yourself up to fail.  If you’re anxiously awaiting a call from work in an hour, chances are you won’t be able to fully relax into your body and be present. Make sure you honor this time and set the stage for an intimate and sexy rendezvous with yourself and/or your partner. Do candles get you in the mood? Light ‘em up! Does Enya make you feel sultry? Pop her in the iPod. Maybe you feel sexy naked or like to lounge about in just a bra? Perhaps you like to be in the dark or in a freshly made bed? Whatever it is, don’t be stingy. This is YOUR time and you should make it count.

Try Something New And Different

Something I have been interested in exploring lately is Orgasmic Meditation, or “OMing” for short. OMing is a mindfulness practice where the object of focus is the clitoris. Developed by Nicole Daedone, author ofSlow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm, OMing is an exercise done in its entirety with a partner (although it can be practiced on one’s own) and promotes the slow massaging of the clitoris and surrounding vulva. The apparent result is a blissfully languorous indulgence for the woman where all attention is placed on making her feel good, becoming more intimately connected as a couple as well as extending the “sensory peak” that precedes climax. As someone who likes to practice what she preaches, this is my new “taking charge of my own orgasm” goal. Having explored many different ways to achieve a diverse fare of orgasms, I look forward to trying this practice and reporting back my results. Wish me luck!

All in all, the basic message here is to remain open and self-aware. Men and women both deserve to take advantage of all the pleasure human body is capable of. Besides being enjoyable, orgasm is a natural and free way to achieve stress relief, a built-in mood equalizer and just plain fun! Explore your potential and allow yourself the freedom to come and come and come!

 

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