Have you ever wished that you felt sexier? Felt more confident in your ability to entice a lover? Or that you had the courage to match your sensual thoughts with your sexual actions? Just how does one find her feminine confidence? Enter Emmy Award winning author and sensuality coach, Lori Bryant-Woolridge. She can dish from writing erotica to the steps she suggests for a whole new way of living.
A life-long sensualist, Lori Bryant-Woolridge is a prize winning author who's been on the best seller list, a teacher, a mother, and the founder of Stiletto U, a virtual university dedicated to teaching women the power and pleasure of sensuous living. Sexuality informs a lot of Lori's work, and has gained her quite a following of avid readers and students.
Lori grew up amidst family and friends of every hue, race, religion, and economic background, and was raised to value a person's essence, not their exterior superficialities. She is Chinese-American, African-American and Caucasian, though today she most closely identifies with the African-American community, her lifelong exposure to the wonders of multiculturalism has definitely colored the way she views this world, both as a person and a writer. Early on, Lori was disappointed in the absence of any social consciousness among the exotic locations, desperate love affairs, and decadent show of wealth in the books she read. Writing without concern for the current niche markets that exist in the book business has been a challenge thus far, but it's a challenge Lori gladly accepts. Lori continually strives to foster a new fictional niche where a good story is a good story, regardless of the race of the characters, the author or the reader. The simple truth is that Lori writes the kind of books that she loves to read - cleverly constructed page-turners that are emotional, fun, romantic and sexy.
"My life's goal is to empower women by helping them find their feminine confidence,” Lori explains. "So many women, no matter their age, race, religion or sexual preference are so confused by the disconnect between wanting to be a sexual being and feeling inadequate and/or guilty about living those desires.” Not so for the characters in her latest book, the erotic anthology, Can't Help The Way That I Feel. These sexy stories are driven by characters who approach sex in ways that are experimental, curious, ad
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child or as a teenager? Did you always want to write or did you figure it out later or even just stumble into the field?Hello everyone. Thanks so much for your brilliant questions! Anyone who believes that sexy isn't smart has never logged on to EdenFantasys! I have coffee in hand and a list of inspirational queries, so let's get started!
As a child and teenager, I didn't really think about my future that way. I had no specific aspirations about what I would be when I grew up. I pretty much stayed in my kid lane and worried about and reveled in kid stuff! So, I guess when I look back, even then I was living in the moment and not overly concerned about what life had in store for me. I always assumed it would be positive and happy and for the most part, it has been.
Having said that, expressing myself through writing has always been a part of my life. I was published for the first time when I was eight years old on the kids page of the Oakland Tribune, and every job I've ever had involved writing in some form or fashion. I spent the better part of my television career writing what I needed to for work, and then doing freelance writing jobs that satisfied my more creative urges. I wrote magazine and newspaper articles, scripts, advertising copy, short stories, etc. What I really didn't recognize then was that I was experimenting and trying to find my niche has a writer.
I stumbled into novel writing when I got an idea for a character based on my work at ABC and took a couple of fiction writing workshops. After I'd written a few chapters, I knew in my heart that this was home. I really liked writing long form and I loved creating my own little worlds. But honestly, it wasn't until my first novel was published by Doubleday in 1999 that I actually referred to myself as a writer and fully owned the title.
So, all you aspiring writers, the moral of this story is "Writers write."
Victoria (host): "Love it! And I love that you were actually persistently a kid during your childhood."
How do you explain your job to people who ask? Have you ever received any weird reactions from it, or is it generally positive responses?I am assuming that you are referring to my job as a sensuality coach. When asked, I explain that I am basically a life coach who specializes in helping women live fuller, happier lives by introducing them to and then unleashing their unique sensual selves. Most find their interest piqued when they hear the word 'sensual' because they assume that I am talking specifically about sex, even though I am not. Then a few eyebrows get raised, but 9 out of 10 times positive interest remains because sex is one of those areas that we are most curious, while at the same time the most confused about.
Some of the most accomplished and powerful women I come across are professionally assured but are much less secure in their feminine confidence--their ability to act and react in a world that is socially and sexually driven. Not surprising because society does a great job of teaching us to be good at what we do, but who teaches us to sort through all the mixed messages and rules and be good at who we are?
Most women do not have the time or inclination to really look at themselves and break down their interests, personalities, doubts and delights in any real way that they can understand and either embrace or change. And those who do usually don't know how to use this self-knowledge as a catalyst to make positive life changes. I show them how to use their God-given five senses to understand and empower themselves and add pleasure to their lives on all levels.
Victoria (host): "That's a great point about how most women don't have the time, and that does make a good case for how much a coach can help."
How did you come up with the name "Stiletto U?" Is the word stiletto meant as a euphemism for the "power and pleasure of sensuous living?" If so, why did you choose this as the symbol? Also, have you received any backlash as a result of the name?Hi Kristi. I came up with the name Stiletto U (the U stands for University) for two main reasons. The first, because I love shoes! Stiletto heels, in particular. They make me feel tall, powerful and sexy. And secondly, as little girls, one of the first things we did to emulate being a woman was to put our tiny feet into our mother's high heels, and for a lot of people, they are definitely symbolic of female sexual power.
I have not received much backlash about the name because it's the mentality not the shoe that I'm advocating. Even if your chosen footwear are flats or sneakers, it's the grown and sexy stiletto mentality I'm trying to instill in women. It's a mindset that no matter your body shape, weight class, bra size, wardrobe, hair color or heel height, you're always ready to walk tall, strut your stuff and announce to the world that "sexy has just entered the building!"
In a nutshell: Shoes don't make you sexy. Your attitude does!
Coming from such a diverse cultural background, how did you handle raising your kids to appreciate people of all cultures? Did you teach them to be "colorblind" or did you encourage them to explore the difference in the cultures and to celebrate the diversity that exists in the world?Kristi, you ask fabulous questions! I did not raise my children to be colorblind, because really, what is joyful about that? Cultural diversity is one of the big things that puts the fizz and fun into everyday life. What would life be without food and music and literature and fashion (and the list goes on) supplied by people who don't look or speak like me? Also, I think you handicap kids if you fool them into thinking that life is colorblind because it's a rude awakening when they step out of your cocoon and into the real world and realize that others see color and race first. I think kids need a healthy sense of identity so they know who they are at their core when they meet the world.
What I did teach my children was to judge people of all races, religions and sexual orientations, but not be judgmental. There is a huge difference. We all have to judge other so we know how to interact with each other. But to be judgmental is to penalize others just for being different. That's always been a no no in my house. But the lesson has to go further than teaching them not to be judgmental of others, they also have to be taught not to be judgmental of themselves. For my 17 year-old daughter, it's an ongoing lesson because as we all know, the messages girls receive can really screw us up.
Victoria (host): "You're really giving people a lot to think about already! This is a short but deep answer. You are being so open with us. Thank you!"
There are lots of writers here on EF, and I'm sure at some point, all of us have reached a block of some sort. How do you personally deal with this, if it does happen to you? How do you get through it or inspire yourself to get writing again?You know, I really don't get blocked that often now, and usually when I do it's because I'm tired. So walking away from a project for a day or two usually helps.
Early on, I would get blocked more often and it was because of fear. For whatever reason, I was afraid to continue or finish something. The first time I discovered this about myself was when I was three chapters shy of finishing my first novel. My brain just shut down. I spent time meditating on it and realized that I was afraid to finish because once I did everything would change, or not. I'd quit my job to write the book and really didn't want to go back to corporate America. Once I finished the book I'd have to sell it and what if I didn't? I'd have to go back to work. So I was putting off the finish so I didn't have to deal with the next step. Once I realized that and gave myself a good pep talk, the block dissolved.
Another time was with another book. I found with the first, that things I wrote about actually manifested themselves and I thought it was kind of freaky cool. But when I wanted to write about a woman with breast cancer, I was afraid that by putting the words on paper, it too would come true. Again, I meditated and asked God and the Universe to realize that this was a creative exercise and not something I wanted manifested in my life. So far so good!
A lot of my writing students get blocked because they are trying so hard to be GREAT writers. I tell them all the time that the actual writing (as opposed to the pre-writing) is more about taking dictation than about creating. I do believe that inspiration is simply God whispering in your ear. It is my practice to meditate every morning before I write and ask for guidance about what I am suppose to share with the world in my work (I know, very swami salami!!). Doing so, frees me from writing from my ego and instead I write through divine or universal inspiration. Writing from this place has eliminated the blocks because it's eliminated my egotistical need to be great or profound. I like to think that the profound thoughts comes from Spirit and then I get to doctor it up with my own ideas and creative flair. It's a real collaboration, and I'm never working alone.
Does that make sense? Hope it helps all of you writers out there!
Who/what has most influenced your work as a writer (i.e.- particular authors, theorists, performances, etc)?Good question. I think I've had too big influences that have informed all of my work. First, was my job at ABC when I worked with a public service campaign called Project Literacy U.S. (PLUS). It was a network wide campaigned designed to shed light on and improve the illiteracy rate in our country. The first thing working there did was inspire the main character in my first novel, Read Between the Lies. Gabrielle Donovan was an illiterate model trying to navigate in a world that was paved with words. She was inspired by the many new readers that were so fascinating and geniuses at hiding their inability to read.
The second thing I learned at ABC was that you can do well by doing good and that you could take a mass medium like broadcast television and entertain, educate and enlighten the public. That lesson has stuck with me and every thing I write is based on that idea. My work is definitely a cross between literary ideas and commercial accessibility (damn I wish they had spell check on this!).
The one author who has totally inspired me and who I whose success I'd love to emulate in my own fashion is Brazilian author Paulo Coehlo (The Alchemist, Eleven Minutes, the Zahir). He tackles such difficult and great issues like sex and spirituality and pushes people to think for themselves and find joy their own truth. He's a prolific, international bestselling author, and frankly, IMHO, sexy as hell!
I discovered his writing after I published my first novel and it was a thrilling discovery that one could be so successful and well-respected while combining Spirit and art. It was also validation that I was on the right path.
Damn, thanks for asking that question. I'm getting all inspired again!!
I'd like to know more about the work that earned you your Emmy Award, what were you working on that earned this nomination?Hi Laurel. I received my Emmy award for Achievement in Individual Writing for an episode I wrote for a show called, "In Our Lives" The show was for teenagers and the topic of my episode was child abuse. I won that award over 20 years ago, but I'll never forget the thrill of that night!
Thanks for asking!
Stiletto U really intrigues me. Can you tell us more about it and the folks who will be running it in general?Hi Carrie. Thanks for your question.
I started Stiletto U in response to workshop and personal coaching requests following the release of my novel, Weapons of Mass Seduction, which offered a sensuality workshop within a novel. Our mission is to unleash a woman's natural and individual sensuality, with the ultimate goal of making her feel comfortable and sexy in her own skin. Feeling and being sexy is definitely one of the top three 'wants' from the women who come to us.
But what's really exciting about SU and what makes our approach different and unique from other programs designed to do the same, is that we don't give 'one size fits all' sexy advice. Instead we teach women how to unearth and unleash their own brand of sexy by using their five senses. By doing this, they discover their true selves, and stop trying to 'play' at being sexy and instead have the feminine confidence to simply 'be' sexy on their own terms, all the time. We then we teach them ways to amp their sexy up for what ever social or sexual situation they encounter.
I've created a comprehensive, nine-week program, that is divided into three units: Individual Sensuality, where you rediscover your sensual world and develop your unique sensual persona; Social Sensuality, where you learn how to interact with strangers or your lover on a joyously flirtatious level; and Sexual Sensuality, where you learn to marry your individual sensuality with charm and seduction to own your desire and amp up your sex life.
The really cool thing is that the women who "graduate" from Stiletto U (yes, you get a diploma!) are not the same women who sign up. They really walk away happier and more confident about who they are, exactly as they are. They've stopped waiting to live life and are living it with much more gusto!
At the moment, I do all of the one-on-one coaching and the majority of the workshops. I've also partnered with an amazing fitness trainer/dancer to create Sexitude, a mind/body workout that incorporates changing the way women think about sex, and movement designed to help them feel more comfortable moving and loving in their body AS IT EXISTS NOW and teaching them exercises to strengthen muscle groups used to have great sex! It's a great program and we are currently piloting it so we can work out all of the kinks and perfect it.
My future plans include building an online 'campus' and offering webinars and other services. Until then you can log on to www.weapons-of-mass-seduction.blogspot.com, and Stiletto U: A Guide to Unleashing the Confident, Sensual You will be in bookstores next spring.
On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate your personal fulfillment in regards to being a writer? Also, how much would you say you've grown from the beginning of your journey as a writer to your most current work?Interesting question at a very interesting time!
On a scale from 1-10, I'd rate my personal fulfillment as a writer a 15. I love writing. I'm a word whore! When I'm not writing, I'm thinking about writing, and I can't imagine a time in my life when writing would not be part of it. The best thing is when I'm told by a reader that something I wrote somehow changed them. Got them thinking. Influenced them to do something different or inspired them to do something new. That's the real joy for me--having the ability and opportunity to communicate in a way that entertains and empowers people, women in particular.
Now, to split hairs, I'd rate my personal fulfillment as a 'professional' writer somewhere around a 6.5. Publishing has always been a frustrating business and it's gotten even worse as the economy, technology and readers have changed. It's so hard to break out of the mid list and rise to the next level because frankly, the the big publishing houses are not set up to make sure that all books succeed. Only certain ones, and talent and quality are rarely the deciding factors.
And being a writer of color is even more difficult because the publishing business is so segregated My novels explore the worlds of diverse and multicultural characters, but this has this made getting my work fully supported difficult because publishers have never really known what to do with me, which is why I’ve been thrown into so many different genres—romance, chick lit, commercial literature. Cover art has been the toughest because it’s never truly representative of the work within, but rather the genre they believe I should be in, usually whatever is hot at the time.
Readers have are so much more together because, unlike publishing sales and marketing teams, they live in the real world. They live and work with all kinds and colors of people. What readers demand is that characters be interesting and compelling no matter what color. And that’s fair.
A couple of years ago when everything slowed down to a crawl, I took the time to rethink my career and made some difficult decisions. I got a new agent, and while I still have a deal with a big publisher, I decided to take my pet projects to a smaller publisher who would really stand behind the work. The money is much less up front, but they see my vision and support it. Thus, my enthusiasm is slowly being renewed. I'm working hard to simply enjoy the moments and lessons that come with each new book release and stop worrying about is this the one that is going to make me a household name.
So, how have I grown as a writer? The same way I've grown as a woman as life gives me the gift of experience and of hindsight. I'm stronger and more secure in my creative point of view, flexible but no longer willing to acquiesce my vision in order to get a deal, and solid in my belief that if you expect great things, great things happen.
Bottomline: Once a word whore, always a word whore!
Okay, today's whine session has now concluded!
Victoria (host): "Gotta love the bottomline!!!"
What is the one question you seem to get from woman most? Is there a common denominator in our lack of feminine confidence and guilt over sexuality?Well, Carrie, the most common 'issue' women come to me is their inability to be more fully sexually expression. Usually the reason for this falls into one of two camps: 1) their inability to match their desire to their actions; and 2) the angst they feel over their perceived physical flaws, which fuels their lack of feminine confidence and inhibits their sexual activities. The frequency that these two issues popped up is what led me to create Sexitude--my mind/body workout.
The first is by far the most common thread I've seen between nearly all of the women I have coached. It's not surprising because we all are growing up in a society that has such a split personality when it comes sex. In our culture, depending on what side of the line you're on, you're either pure and righteous or loose and whorish. You either have family values or are morally corrupt. But it seems to me that the majority of us are smack dab in the middle, and have a healthy respect and love for our sexual selves.
The women I work with want to be more spontaneous and adventurous about sex. They want to try new things and open themselves up to passion and pleasure but so often feel that doing so will make them feel and/or appear sluttish. Much of my work with them is about teaching them to STOP thinking of themselves as sexual providers and instead as sexual beings, and to START owning and reveling in their own desires--not just their partners. I help them find the power and joy in accepting their sexual selves by helping them establish their own value system and rules about their sex lives. They generally find that once they get the three P's--parents, preachers and the public--out of their heads, becoming a more fully expressed lover is a delightful and empowering transition.
Now, those with image issues are usually so caught up in what they think is wrong with their bodies that they have sapped most of the joy out of their sex lives. Surprisingly, the worst are the ones who already have a partner who loves and accepts them, 'flaws' and all. One of the first things I have to teach these women is to give themselves the same loving leeway that they give the other people in their lives. The people that we love are each physically 'imperfect' in someway but we do not penalize them like we penalize ourselves for not being 'perfect' We love and/or desire them with their stretch marks, saggy butts, national geographic breasts, bald heads, acne, crooked teeth, hammertoed feet, the list goes on and on because we don't dwell on those things. We only see the beauty in them and that's what attracts us. So, I help them learn to look past their flaws and focus on what's fabulous.
When we begin to work on body image the first thing I do is send them out to study and get in contact with Mother Nature to witness the perfection of imperfection. Once they see that the rose proudly blossoms knowing that despite all those bumpy thorns running up and down her stem, you can't keep your nose out of her buds. And that the desert isn't complaining about the meadows having all the wild flowers because she knows she's hot as hell and her cactus flowers are no match for those delicate little daisies. Snowflakes don't complain about be different, but each one revels in being unique. Mother Nature is a bad bitch and the only sexy icon that should be up on your pedestal.
Changing one's self image is a journey but one that is so liberating because freeing yourself from your 'flaws' opens up a whole new world of wonder and enjoyment.
So what's the common denominator in our lack of feminine confidence and our guilt over our sexuality? Attitudes determined by others and blindly accepted as your own, and the inability to stop judging and simply enjoy being yourself.
What one thing about modern society do you feel keeps us in our past of racial discrepancies especially among the sexual stereotypes of modern women?I think one of the main things that keeps us tied and invested in certain racial stereotypes is the one thing that is most common to us all--the media, in all its various forms. It is still largely controlled by one group of people (white males) who continue to perpetuate certain stereotypes about all women, but minority women in particular.
Take books for African-American books for instance. I cringe every time I walk into my local Barnes and Noble store and see the African-American 'literature" table. Based on the covers and titles on that table you'd think that all Black women are ghetto fabulous, hyper sexual, insatiable, gold-digging ho's, and these kinds of characters and stories are the only type that African-American readers are interested in. These are the books that are on display in the middle of the store, where everyone sees them and judge not only the book but a people by the covers. The real literature is tucked away on bookshelves, or very often 'available for special order'.
TV is the largely same. Look at the popular show Grey Anatomy, for instance. I pick this show because it is one of the few multicultural shows on broadcast television. On Grey's Anatomy, the minority women are Black, Hispanic and Asian. Bailey is the hardcore, hard working, bossy, angry black woman who displays little to no sexuality (sounds a lot like mammy to me). Everybody else is fucking everyone else around the hospital and she just goes around yelling at people. Yang is the super smart, unfeeling Asian who takes on sex the same way. She is an intellectual, unemotional lover. Very Asian of her, don't you think? Callie, the Hispanic doctor on the show, is highly sexual, screwing both men and women, and fulfilling the hot Latina stereotype. Grey's was created by a Black woman, which only goes to show how entrenched we all are in these sexual stereotypes based on race.
Rap songs and the music videos that accompany them are notorious for perpetuating these hyper sexual images of African-American and Latina women, portraying and glorifying them as man-sharing groupies and the sexual playthings of unfaithful playas who refer to them as highly disposable bitches and ho's. What's so sad is that so many young women see this as a coveted role and seek to duplicate this disrespectful relationship model in their own lives.
No wonder our self-esteem levels continue to be so low and our confusion levels so high.
A lot of the time I find myself wishing for more racial diversity in the mainstream online conversations and blogs about sexuality. How do you see the conversation and community developing over time?Hi Laura. Thanks for your question. I wish for the same thing very often myself!
I think the lack of diversity has come largely from the fact that most online communities, like cable news channels, cater to specific audiences. For example, you'd have to go to Black Voices on AOL or Essence.com or Blackplanet.com to get any real racially-specific conversations about most issues. Our internet sites have become sadly as segregated as our bookshelves. It's a shame because, while I thinks having conversations among your own is important, it's just as important to share information with folks that have a different point of view. It's the only way you grow as a person.
In order to change this, I think the publishers and editors of mainstream sites are going to have to make a concerted effort to include more minority voices and points of view within their content. I have to say that the Eden Fantasys' editorial staff is working hard to present a more diverse representation of views, so stay tuned to this channel!
Victoria (host): "What a wonderful answer and a very meaningful compliment to our staff. Thank you!"
You have a lot on your plate - between editing anthologies, running Stiletto U, and working on the upcoming book about it. However, when one looks at your list of accomplishments, it doesn't look as if you're going to slow down or limit yourself anytime soon - what is the next step you hope to take in your career? Also, if you could narrow down one overall long-term professional goal, what would it be?My near term goal is to launch the Stiletto U brand, beginning with the book, and build up my professional reputation as a sensuality coach. Long term my goal is to simply work my passion and help make the world a more beautiful place one sexy woman at at time!
As the wife of a high-femme, I often get frustrated when people assume that heels, skirts, and lipstick = someone who has given up on being an empowered woman.
Have you ever encountered any resistance from people who believe that one can't seek out feminine sexuality (especially high-femme sexuality) without subjugating themselves? What do you say to them? More importantly, do you think it's possible for a woman (or any potentially oppressed person) to be empowered by intentional objectification or submission?I have never believed that femininity equaled fragility. True empowerment is never about the wardrobe, but rather the attitude. Women who wear high heels, lipstick and skirts are neither more nor less empowered than the women who wear power suits and flats or the woman who wears athletic gear. What each have found are the sensual style signatures and reminders of their brand of sexy, a look that makes them feel good about who they are. Being comfortable with yourself is what begets confidence and that radiant energy attracts people, which ultimately creates personal power.
And no, I do not believe that intentionally objectifying yourself as a method of getting attention or submitting to another person's vision of who they want you to be in order to please them, will empower you. Rather it enslaves you into playing a role that is neither natural nor sustainable. It strips away your confidence and ability to validate yourself and leaves you open to seeking validation and acceptance from those who may or may not have your best interests at heart.
Being your own woman can be so much damn fun, but it's when we try to conform to other folks' opinions and images of what the perfect woman looks and acts like, that we get confused and draw back from our true selves. We get caught up playing a role written by someone else, a role where we're rarely given a script and so we find ourselves improvising our lives rather than living them with purpose. That's when we lose our personal power and dim our lights and become just another moth hanging out around somebody else's flame.
Were you ever made to feel shameful for embracing your sexuality/being sensual?Only once, do I remember this happening. I was 19 and had recently begun having sex with my boyfriend of two years (I was lucky because my first time is remembered with the most amazing memories of feeling loved and adored. The sex sucked, but thank God for time and experience!). Any way, my mother, a God-fearing, church going Catholic woman, found my birth control pills and confronted me about the fact that I was having premarital sex. She was appalled that I had not waited until I was married. Then she used the "D" word--disappointed--which was like shish kabobbing my heart.
Well, I grew a backbone that day. Without raising my voice, I took control of my sexuality. I asked my mom if she really thought it was feasible that I wait until I got married. What if I didn't get married until I was 30? (I was psychic, I married at 28!) Well, apparently she did. I then informed her that I didn't agree with that idea, and that I loved my boyfriend and we'd been together for two years before I finally felt ready to have sex (in other words he didn't coerce or force me to do it) and that she should be happy that I was mature enough to take responsibility for my actions. And then I closed the discussion.
Trust, she was as surprised as I was that I had not argued with her, but in so many words, politely told her to butt out of my budding sex life. I had not asked for her permission but rather spoke my intent, and she never said another word about it. That day my relationship with my mom changed. A respect between two women, not simply mother and daughter, blossomed that evening.
Fast forward several years, and I have a four year old daughter. For like a week, every night I would put her to bed in pajamas and each morning she'd wake up naked. I'd ask her if she was hot at night or itchy or whatever reason I thought might be causing her to shed her clothes during the night. Finally, I asked why? She told me because she liked the way the sheets felt on her skin. Well, who can argue with that?
That was my first mother/daughter sensuality moment. I could have made her keep her jammies on or let her revel in her innocent nakedness. I chose the later, letting her embrace her sensuality while making a mental note to teach her to use her sensual nature for good not evil! At 17 she is still the same sensual being she was at four, and now the real work of ushering her into her womanly sexuality begins.
So the moral of this story is nobody can shame you into feeling bad about your decisions unless you let them. The question I always ask is, am I being true to my personal truth? If you are being true to you, and doing no harm, then it's time to put on your big girl panties and own your sensual nature without shame or apology.
Victoria (host): "This is my favorite answer so far - and your answers are all damn good and well thought-out. I could not possibly agree with this line more: "nobody can shame you into feeling bad about your decisions unless you let them." Shout it from the rooftops, it is so true!"
What, if any, book projects are you currently working on?I'm currently finishing Stiletto U: A Guide to Unleashing the Confident, Sensual You, which will be in bookstores in Spring 2011. And working on a three book erotica series for Simon and Schuester. These are written under a pen name and are full erotic novels featuring seasoned women, i.e. the grown and sexy! The first book, The I.O.U. will be out in February 2011.
My agent is also now sending out my fourth novel, Mother and Other Strangers.
I'm also working on a reality show proposal for Stiletto U. Damn, I'm tired just thinking about it!
Victoria (host): "Reality shows are stressful lady! I hope it works out and keep us posted!"
What kind of erotica do you enjoy reading?Well, being a writer first and foremost, I enjoy well written erotica that isn't just a bunch of sex scenes strung together by transitions. It has to have all the same things that any good writing has, good characters and plots (no matter how short the story) that I can relate to and escape into. Also, great erotica is sensory in nature. I want to be able to see, smell, touch, hear and taste it!
Now, in terms of the actual sex, again being able to relate is key. When I want to be turned on, I want to read about sex that I either am already into or could see myself getting into. Some stuff I wouldn't ever actually do, but it's fun to fantasize about it. That's one reason why I enjoy erotic anthologies because you get a wide range of interesting takes on what gives people pleasure. I think Rachel Kramer Brussel does a great job. As does Carol Taylor with her Brown Sugar series.
I recognize that you were probably asking about specific kinds of erotic acts, but I am respectfully choosing not to be specific. You know, kids and all.
Victoria (host): "A lady's got to have her secrets... ahem. ;)"
Do you enjoy reading your own erotica for their intended purpose?Absolutely! I write the kind of books I like to read, and luckily other folks like to read the same kind too!
Ok I will ask the question that gets blasted at me when I mention that I am polyamorous: How have your children handled the fact that you are a sensuality coach? Do you feel that what you believe is being absorbed by them and that it is informing their character? I was asked that the other day, and it was meant in a nasty 'OMG you are creating sex monsters' fashion but I thought it was a wonderful question since I believe what I am doing isn't negative or bad. I certainly hope your ideas and goals are being filtered through to another generation of young 'uns!This is a great question Airen.
My kids don't know the exact specifics of what I do. They know that I work with women who want to be happier about who they are and more confident in themselves. At 21 and 17, I figured they were old enough to know that I wrote erotica, though I still won't let them read it. I think that's kind of weird to read about graphic sex when your mom wrote it. Thankfully, they don't want to read it either!
I have always been very conscious about my role in growing healthy sexual beings. Instead of sex being a no-no, mystery, it has been a private but always open for discussion topic in our house. It began with telling them both the correct names for all of their body parts and not making their sex organs something forbidden or unspeakable. We've talked about masturbation and that sex feels good. They've met all of our gay friends and now have friendships of their own. Once I had my son watch an episode of Dr. Phil that was about teen sex. So as not to embarrass him, we watched on separate televisions and talked about it later. We had a good discussion on the fact that all sex--oral too-was reciprocal, that he should not ask a woman to do anything to him that he was not prepared to do for her. We've watched reality shows and listened to rap music and used various situations or lyrics as jump off points of discussion. We've talked about how to argue with a woman without being disrespectful The point is we talk and he hears a woman's point of view on sex.
My daughter has always been totally sensuous and we began talking very early on about sex. It began when she told me around seven that she wanted to be sexy. So I told her how she should go about it. That sexy meant being clean with fresh breath. That sexy meant being kind and compassionate. That sexy women smiled and were nice to people. That sexy women were smart and funny. I think I threw in that sexy women cleaned their rooms too! As she grew older, that list expanded to include that sexy was uniquely individual. That sexy had no cup size or booty.
All this to say, is that most parents get so worked up when the word sex or sexy comes out of their kids' mouths and immediately panic. My daughter didn't know what sexy meant, but it was a word she heard all around her and that she had a vague opinion on what it meant. It's our jobs to shape these half thoughts into meaningful, healthy, self-respecting opinions that they use to build their feminine confidence. People get confused thinking they are teaching their kids to be promiscuous when they make sex a topic of constant conversation, when in fact you're teaching them to respect themselves and others as sexual beings. And people, passing down antiquated ideas and religious values about sex without letting them express their thoughts and opinions isn't helping your kids at all. It's confusing them, just the way it confused you.
Victoria (host): "You are the best - sexy means cleaning your room! Way to get that in her mind early on. Hahah. But seriously, what a wonderful overall approach to sex and sensuality."
Growing up with such a racial diversity, and probably marrying into even more diversity, how do you and your children handle being multiracial? Have you encountered any issues because of it? As being part of an interracial relationship myself (he's African-Indian-Chinese and I'm European), I definitely get some strange looks and a few nasty comments every once in awhile. How would you deal with that situation, if someone was rude to you only because of your awesome diversity?Honestly, Annemarie, I am the ultimate narcissist who married a man who looks enough like me that early on people would mistake us for brother and sister! So the strange looks and/or comments were derived from that rather than race. My son is very fair and looks like a biracial kid. My daughter is actually a throw back and the darkest one in the entire family, not just our nuclear family. She is this beautiful cocoa brown with straight, dark brown hair, Asian eyes and many folks think she is Indian. The funniest comment I ever got about her was once in St. Lucia a woman came up to me and asked how a white woman like me could have such a pretty brown child! I told her I was blessed that way.
My younger brother, who looks white, married first a Japanese/Black woman, and they have a son who is Chinese, Japanese, White and Black. He then married a woman who is German and Panamanian. My nieces are Chinese, Black, Hispanic and German. My best friend is half Italian and Ethiopian. Her husband is from Serbia. My goddaughter speaks English, Italian, Serbian and Amharic. Are you getting a picture of my world? It’s a mosaic and it’s beautiful.
Assholes are going to be assholes. Don’t let them steal your joy. Love sees no color, only love.
Victoria (host): "Wonderfully said!"
Do you have a favorite story that you've written?My second erotica story, Close Encounters is actually my favorite. I was approached by the editor of the Brown Sugar series to contribute to the third book: Brown Sugar: Opposites Attract. The reason I love this story is because it’s the first story where I really stretched the boundaries of reality and created a kind of sexual sci-fi experience. It also became my ode to love about how souls fall in love and are attracted to each other, not bodies. So my story is about a tired, single, hetero woman named Thea, who takes a weekend retreat at a Chicago hotel. She goes down to the bar and meets this gorgeous woman and the woman hits on her. Not being a lesbian or even bi, she kind of freaks out because on the one hand, she’s attracted and curious but on the other hand, she loves men. She gets in the elevator and there is this gorgeous man, who she decides to take all of her pent up sexual energy and fuck the hell out of him right there in the elevator. As he climaxes, he morphs into the woman at the bar and when Thea decides to go with the flow, she has this amazing outer body orgasmic experience. It's a great read and I was proud of myself for stretching as a writer.
What is your take on kink/fetishes and the positive side of sexualization of woman, in relation to the recent swing towards the popularity of femininity?Madame, I am not going to answer this question, not because I don’t find it to be interesting and extemely valid, but because I don’t honestly know enough about the kink/fetish world to give you an informed opinion.
I know, I'm so vanilla!
Ok, we're a sex toy selling store full of sex toy reviewing sex toy junkies...
We have to ask.
What's your favorite sex toy?A string of pearls, and a regular, old fashion, no tricks just the right kind of buzz vibrator (though I do like those damn rabbit ears!).
Who criticizes you and your career/profession more? Males or females?I haven’t really gotten much criticism for what I do. I actually get more misunderstanding, particularly by males who they think I am some sort of a sex therapist, which I don’t see myself as at all, or that I have an open relationship. I've had more than a few guys make inappropriate advances because they misunderstood my work or thought the erotic stories I write are some sort of invitation.
So to be clear, as you see, I talk about sex quite a bit, but I’m really about trying to make women feel comfortable and confident in all areas of their feminine world—from shopping to sexing—all by unearthing and unleashing their true selves through their innate sensuality.
How would you give advice to women trying to get over the guilt over their sexual lust? So often, being lusty or sexual is conceived as whorish and dirty, but.. I'm committed to one partner but so often our sex life is kind of dampened because I'm too shy to allow myself to enjoy anything besides really missionary, and so.. I have no orgasms.. I'm confused on a fix to this!This is a tough question to answer with any specificity without knowing the personal details necessary for me to understand why you feel the way you do. There are several themes running through your question—guilt, shyness, relationship sex, and lack of orgasm. I will try to give you the best advice I can, with the caveat that I am only speaking universally.
Let me start by sharing something I learned in meditation a while back. I always meditate before writing or coaching, and ask Spirit to give me the words necessary to help those asking me for advice. So I asked God to explain to me exactly what sex was. And this is what I heard: “Sex is the creative expression of love of self and others.”
Think about that for a moment and then breakdown the words: Creative = imaginative, original, inspired, resourceful, inventive…Expression= demonstration, manifestation, representation, example
of love=esteem, respect, admire, revere…of self and others.
What you are left with is a definition that says: Sex is an imaginative and inspired demonstration of love based on mutual respect and esteem for oneself and others. Sounds to me like anything goes as long as you respect and love yourself and your partner.
So based on that foundation of spiritual thought, let’s get back to your question.
First, understand that there is a huge difference between feeling guilty about feeling and acting sexual, and being shy about it. So, the first thing I would suggest that you do it really interview yourself and determine which emotion is driving your inability to enjoy sex. Guilt feelings can be driven by a myriad of things—abuse, religious and cultural values, partner expectations, etc. etc. Until you recognize what is the source of your guilt, it will be difficult to truly work through them in order to bring you to a place where you find peace of soul with your sexual desires. And truly, guilt is wasted emotion. One of the hardest things to do is to get and keep other people’s voices and expectations out of your head. This is particularly exasperating because our brains are our most potent sex organ so when it’s full of wackadoo thoughts that are in direct opposition to our current wants, well, we have a problem, because where our mind goes our butt follows.
So here is some general advice for you to consider, if indeed your sexual angst is guilt driven. When it comes to your sex life, forget man-made rules that are pontificated by others and seek guidance from the Universal rule: Find joy. Do no harm. Love. Or the tried and true Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. In other words, both of these rules are saying live your life as you desire as long as you do not hurt others. If the sex you seek to have brings you joy, does no physical, emotional or psychological harm to others, and is a representation of love and respect for yourself and others, then go for it.
If your shyness is keeping you from pushing the boundaries of your pleasure, then you need to work on finding out what it is about sex that embarrasses and/or intimidates you. Do you have performance anxiety? Sex can be one of the areas that really tests our egos. Are you reluctant and frustrated because you feel you are failing your partner because you can’t achieve orgasm? Do you feel that you deserve pleasure? This is a big one because we’re often brought up with the idea that it’s our job to please and give others to the detriment of our own ability to receive joy. I meet so many women who find it difficult to accept pleasure. You say that you only like missionary position (I am assuming you’re on the bottom), which ain’t a bad thing if it works for your body, but it also suggests that you believe sex is something that is done TO you, and that you aren’t really participating in a truly active manner. Are there any positions you’d like to try but haven’t because (fill in the blank)? How do you feel about your body?
Do you communicate your needs and desires to your partner? Have you talked about why you don’t have orgasms? Have you ever had an orgasm? If so, what kind? Vaginal or clitoral? What are your partner’s expectations of you? Do you and your partner have true sexual chemistry? That’s a tough one to look at head on, but it’s important to realize that maybe the reason you aren’t that into sex is because you aren’t that into your partner. And have you been checked out by your gynecologist to make sure there’s nothing physical going on?
I know I’ve asked you more questions than I’ve answered but until you figure out your attitude and relationship with sex and what drives you to feel the way you do, you won’t be able to push past the negative feelings. One action step I can suggest to you is to find takes some one-on-one time with yourself to get to know your body and what it likes. Pleasure yourself with and without toys. Activate your imagination by reading erotica or watching porn and fantasize about the woman you are but haven’t let be fully expressed. Once you begin to feel comfortable imagining yourself as that woman, pick one new thing that you are curious about (a new position, bringing a toy to bed, changing where you have sex) discuss it with your partner and try it without any expectations. If that works, try something else until you build your comfort and confidence levels up to par with your desires.
Bottomline: Change your Sexitude, change your life!
You wrote in other replies about your concern that the media has a negative impact on developing sensualities and sexualities, and that your mother was a Catholic who believed in a more conservative approach to sex. What do you credit to your ability to grow beyond these influences and become a person capable of coaching others to do the same, after the damage is done?Hi. Great question with a simple answer. I never felt damaged in any way, at any time.
Even with my Chinese-American mother and Catholic upbringing and did I mention my father is a retired Brigadier General (now there’s some discipline and ‘reputation is everything’ for your behind), they gave me two great gifts—the confidence and permission to think for myself, make my own decisions and then loved me through the results--regardless of whether those decisions turned out to be achievements or mistakes. My parents taught me that being myself can never be wrong (which is the motto I use for Stiletto U). That’s not to say that my words and actions were always right, but that it was okay to be myself in all my glory and faults. My father taught me to be an effective leader and my mother helped me understand the need to sometimes be a gracious follower, and that neither was more important than the other, because both were required to successfully navigate life.
I think that my Catholic upbringing and fear of disappointing my father, kept me from doing anything truly crazy, but I was rebellious in my own way because the ‘box’ always felt just a little bit too constricting. I was able to create my own morals, based on their teachings that resonated with me—kindness, humility, modesty, responsibility, respectfulness—and my intuitive instincts on what felt right or wrong to me. (India.arie once sung, “You know the truth by the way it feels” SO true.) On that foundation, I created my own set of rules. Yes, I believed in premarital sex and even sex simply for pleasure sake, but as long as it fit into my moral code. Hell yes, I believe in birth control. I believe in being modest but don’t find anything wrong or lewd about sunbathing topless or nude where appropriate. I can fantasize about threesomes (and I do) but my moral code is not such that I would actively participate, though it’s fun to imagine it. You get the point.
My first love and lover also played a huge role in making me understand the joy and pleasure of sex. We were juniors in high school when we first got together and stayed together through our sophomore year in college. He was a funny, endearing, nurturing, smart and loving boyfriend. He was a considerate, tender, romantic, patient, adventurous first lover. He set the tone for my views on committed relationships and sex. And he broke my heart, simply by growing up and moving on, but he'd left his imprint on my life.
R continued the lessons that my parents had begun. He taught me that I was lovable just being myself and that I didn't have to lose myself or deny myself, my needs, or disrespect myself in order for someone to love me. He also taught me that the quality of I love received was a direct response to the quality of love I gave. And lastly, he taught me that loving someone hard can sometimes lead to hurt, but it's so worth the pain. And ever since then, I have loved without fear and learned about myself with every giggle and each tear. I pray that my daughter has a first time experience just as awesome.
So, no, I never had to get over and through any real damage in order to feel capable to coach others. I come at this with a healthy respect and a joy for love and sex. One of the things I try to pass on to my students and readers is my belief that true masters learn from joy. And that happiness is real and yours for the asking. And that’s for true!
Are you noticing a shift in multi-cultural awareness that is positive? I know there is a long way to go but I have noticed that thanks to the dedicated work of strong, earthy and just plain normal African American and Latina woman that the stereotype is starting to become almost cartoonish...keep in mind this is from the view of a hopelessly white European American woman. I guess my point is I can see a shift happening, I'm wondering if perhaps I'm being naieve or just hoping.Hi Airen. I had to laugh when I read your description of being ‘hopelessly white.”
I think there is definitely a shift in many areas because young people are slowly becoming more exposed to real people instead of having to make their judgments based on fictional characters. I do think the fact that America has a Black President and a wife who is solidly African-American but is so approachable that she helps demystify the women of color and beats back the stereotypes that Black women come in only three versions emotional angry black woman, welfare mom or hyper sexual black woman. Michelle Obama shines the light on our similarities thus making our differences seem much smaller and less important. And that’s a good thing. But that said, we still have a long way to go.
What do you recommend as a "sensuality recharge" for someone who has lost their significant other to death? It is really hard to get back in the saddle, so to speak, after that!I’m so sorry about your loss. I hope you have great and happy memories of you and your loved one to revel in.
My advice to you would be to do just as you are suggesting, recharge your sensuality. My guess is that you are thinking about such a recharge from a sexual vantage. I, however, am speaking about it from a truly sensory point of view.
Think about this: to be sensual means to be acutely aware of your surroundings. It’s the joyous preoccupation with what you smell, touch, hear, taste and see. And when live sensuously you are always in the moment. You’re not worried about the past or what will happen in the future, but instead caught up in some wonder of right now. And when you notice all the beauty the world around you has to offer, you can’t help become more grateful and appreciative. This makes you feel happier. And this has a huge bearing on how you perceive life and act and interact with your world and the people in it.
So Brendada, make a commitment to yourself to notice the sensuality of the world around you. Take some time each day and vow to experience your world from a sensual perspective. Take a walk and notice the sounds, sights, smells, textures and tastes around you. Do the housework in your best underwear and listen to music that rocks you from the inside out. Make dinner a sensual extravaganza or taste, texture, smell and visual appeal. From the laundry room to the bedroom and everywhere in between, explore the sensual you and learn how to use your unique sensibilities to create an extraordinary atmosphere in which to live, love and eventually, make love again. Stop looking at your sensuality as a sexual perk and start enjoying it 24/7. Because when you feel like a sensual woman, you behave like one. And before you know it, that battery is recharged and you’ll be ready to climb back in the saddle!
I see above that currently you most closely identify with the African-American community. Is this an ever changing thing, as in did you once identify more closely with the Chinese-American community? If so, what inspired the shift in identity, so to speak?Growing up in California, I was totally aware of my dual ethnicity but race wasn’t a part of my daily life except for at the dinner table. My best friends were Mexican, Guamanian and Irish, and we all different so we were all the same, so race was always a nonstarter.
At 13, I moved back East and my racial identity became much more a concern first to others, and then to me. For a while I tried the old “I’m a child of the universe” but it was important for white people to put me in a box so they knew how to deal with me. I didn’t look or act particularly Chinese (Most thought Hawaiian, Filipino, Hispanic, Taiwanese, etc.) so I didn’t really fit there, and it was the African-American community that was most accepting because black people have always come in a variety of colors and hair grades. Though, I did have many an episode when some African-Americans thought that I was not black enough or spoke too white or whatever. What I came to learn that those kinds of feelings can only be changed by exposure. It was another lesson to me that being yourself is the only way you can comfortably get around in the world if you want to prosper rather than simply exist.
Different cultures treat women sexuality and the embracing of that sexuality differently. Being a multi-cultural person, did you have to deal with different pressure or expectations because of the different cultures?No not really. There was basically one unified message. Respect yourself and keep your panties on!
What do you feel has been the hardest topic or thing to write about? And why?Hey Diva, I love your uh, what do call it? It begins with an A. The symbol. Love really is what it’s all about! (I'm on a plane winging my way to Las Vegas answering questions. I'm a bit brain dead at the moment. Forgive).
Anyway, I find it difficult to read, and in fact do not ever write about the ugly horrors of child abuse in any form. I will admit that I am a happy ending kind of girl, both as an author and in real life, and it hurts me to read and write about stealing the innocence and joy from children in ugly hateful ways. And honestly, I don’t like writing about women being abused either.
Flight Attendant, another Bloody Mary, please!
Victoria (host): "Fair enough - everyone has their boundaries, and for good reason. I can relate to yours."
What advice might you have for someone like me, who married young and is just now starting to accept and explore undiscovered sexuality/sensuality, but who's husband feels I am not acting like the woman he married?Hi There. Thanks for your question as it is a very common problem for a lot of women in long-term relationships. Again, because I don't know all of your facts, I am making the following assumptions: You are happily married, despite being just a tad bored. Your undiscovered sexuality that you are wanting to accept and explore is not bi-sexual in nature nor does it include third or fourth parties. If it does, then my advice will be somewhat different. But based on these assumptions, let me say this:
Here's the thing. Neither you nor your husband is the same person you were the day you married. On life's journey, people change and grow as individuals. Growth is good. It's positive and as I tell folks, when you find yourself bored and feeling unsatisfied when you've been in any situation--a relationship, a house, a job, a personal style--for a good while, don't panic. Recognize that you're in the midst of a growth spurt and celebrate the fact that you are evolving into the bigger, better you. It's only when you deny that change and try to ignore it that it becomes depressing and paralyzing.
Now, when you are in a relationship, some of the personal growth temporarily sends you on divergent paths, but if your foundation is strong, eventually your paths intersect again and the relationship continues on to the next level of your lives together, until your next growth spurt. Of course for this to happen, you both must be willing and trusting to accept that nothing ever stays the same--not you, not your partner, not your relationship--and that you love each other enough to allow them to discover themselves. Most often the growth spurt doesn't happen to both of you at once, so while one is out discovering, the other is left at home wondering, and if you aren't talking to each other, well that's when you hit the potholes because adjusting to change without understanding it is not easy.
Now, when a man sees his wife's interest in sex changing and wanting more and different, he's not really thinking to himself, "Oh snap, my lovely wife is owning her desire and evolving into a fully expressed woman. Yippee!" No, he's wondering where in the fuck are you learning those things and who is teaching them to you! His ego is whispering in his ear that he just might not be enough man for you anymore. And then performance anxiety grips his heart and places down south as he worries about can he now satisfy the hottie you're becoming. Right now he's scared.
The truth is, you aren't acting like the woman he married. Your job is not to deny your growth or dim your new sexy light, but to understand how is he feeling and handle him in a manner that let's him know that he's the only person you want to be this woman with (I mean, I'm assuming that this is the truth!) and that your newfound excitement and interest in sex has everything to do with you growing up and growing into the woman you are meant to be. And lucky him! He gets to be the beneficiary of your new lusty self. If you married young, I am guessing that he's been your sexual guru for most of your relationship. Now that you're coming into your sexual own, he's feeling displaced, so make him part of the process. Sit down with him and talk about the kind of things you'd both like to try. Get him talking and thinking differently. But also assure him that he's still the one who makes you feel hot and loved and safe and how you couldn't imagine wanting to do any of these things with anyone else (again, I am assuming that you're not talking about throwing your keys in the neighbors bowl). Communicating your need for him while not denying your need for growth will go a long way in helping him understand that he's still the man!
In my new erotic anthology, Can't Help The Way That I Feel, there are lots of things going on in the stories to give you both ideas but I also included three story starters followed by blank pages. The idea is for you to grab a bottle of wine, a pen and paper and your favorite partner and finish the story together. Once you have a final draft, you copy it into the book and viola! you have your own erotic story right on your nightstand. I often use this exercise in my coaching and it really is a fun way to get the intimate conversation started and find out what's lurking in your partner's sexy imagination.
Bottomline: Talk to him about how you are feeling. Go slowly and let him ease into the sexy new you, and be an active participant in the change. Good luck!
Where do you tend to get most of your ideas for your stories? Are any based on your own personal experience?
You are truely an inspiration to me! Do you get your inspirations for your stories from personal experiences?Hi Ladies. Thanks for your questions. Because they are similar I'm putting them together to answer. I hope you don't mind.
All of my stories, whether fiction or erotica, have at least a little bit of personal experience within them--whether mine or my friends. It could be character quirks or hobbies, settings that I've traveled to, or questions that haunt me and push me for answers. With the erotica, I often take experiences that I've had, many that are not sexual at all, and turn them into sexcapades. That way they are a true combination of fiction and reality and it's alway fun for me to imagine the things I might have done in the situation. I will also ask my friends to share some of their fantasies and experiences and turn them into sex/love scenes as will as include some of my own.
And then I find inspiration, sexual or not, from songs, news stories, photographs, whatever. It's all about playing the 'what if' game and letting your mind wander in the literary direction you need it to go.
And Happeegrl, I'm thrilled that I inspire you. That is each of our job after all, to go for our dreams so that others will be inspired to go for theirs. What have you done to inspire someone today?
Do you do a lot of traveling? What is your favorite place that you've been, and where have you always wanted to go?I do travel a lot, though for the past few years it's mostly been stateside. But over the years I've been to various cities in Turkey, Greece, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Morocco, Malta, Belize, Canada, The Caribbean and nearly all of the U.S.
My favorite places are anywhere in Italy. I love the food, fashion, architecture, men and mentality, and Morocco. That trip was by far the most sensuous experience of my life. I love it there. I'd love to go to Maldives in the Indian Ocean and to South Africa, which I hear is just beautiful.
Damn, there is so much of the world I have yet to see! I just now had a serious outbreak of wanderlust!
Victoria (host): "It's contagious!"
Have you ever considered doing a radio or TV program? I think you would be fabulous. You are so emotionally intuitive and easy to relate to.Hi Victoria,
I would love to do a radio or television show. That's part of my long term goal of building the SU brand. Perhaps we should discuss doing an webtv show right here on the Eden Fantasys site!
Victoria (host): "We will definitely have to follow up!"
I've noticed that around particular members of my group of friends, I am not able to discuss sexuality.. or even any kind of sex-related topic with them without them becoming embarrassed and shutting down. My question to you is.. how do you go about making people feel more comfortable discussing these things?Hi. Again, tough to give you a really helpful answer without knowing any pertinent details, but I shall try.
Okay, so you said 'particular' members of your group of friends. So about those people makes you uncomfortable discussing sex? Are they male or female or both? Are their views on sex different from yours? Are you attracted to any or all of them? Are they highly sexual and you are not as experienced? Do they put it all out there and you are much more private about your personal life? Are you afraid you'll be judged? And when you speak of sexuality are you speaking about sexual preference or simply sex in general? Are you able to have these kinds of discussions with other friends? Why or why not?
Also, what do you hope to gain by discussing sex with these particular friends? What are you afraid you'll lose by discussing sex with them?
I'm sorry, but without knowing more, the only help I can give you are more questions for you to use to interview your self and find out what about this group unnerves you so? Once you know this, you'll have a better idea for yourself. I hope this helped even a little bit!
Victoria (host): "I think sometimes the path to a solution is by asking tough questions - well done!"
Do you ever feel as if you are looked down upon by various people for maintaining a personality true of your open speak regarding your sexuality? Often I have this problem and I need advice to how I should handle the situation, as I will never hide my sexuality and remain open as it is a distinctive part of my personality.
Thank youHi Hollywood! Thanks for your question.
I can't say that I've ever felt that people looked down on what I do or my opinions or willingness to discuss sex. Most are curious, some a little shocked, but I rarely feel judged. There are those that have raised an eyebrow before over what they call my 'sex' books but I simply smile and pay them absolutely no mind. I'm not shamed or insulted easily.
But also understand that don't walk into the room holding a neon sign that says "I got laid last night" or "What's your take on cock rings." I give my opinions when asked and unless I'm doing reseach and using conversation to obtain information or ideas, I'm usually talking politics or whatever the topic du jour may be!
Bottomline: It's my opinion that while I don't hide my views or my cleavage, making people comfortable in my presence is a sign of good manners and I don't general go out of my way to make people feel uneasy through my conversation or action. You just keep being true to you without apology or explanation.
Has technology had a negative or positive effect on your writing? What do you think about the belief that physical books will one day go the way of the dodo?Honestly, Kristi, I don't know how this is all going to shake out. I still don't know how or if I get paid on E books!
My wife is one that I do feel is disconnected with her sexual being. She says she has no fantasies and sometimes when she finally lets loose then I find that hard to believe. I feel that she is hiding her thoughts and desires most times. She is very worried about how anything being found out. What is a good way to help someone like that when talking and encouraging doesn't work? Is there a book that you would recommend or something else? I want to help my wife be able to embrace her sensual and sexual self.Hi. This a tough question to answer because it sounds like you are trying to communicate with her, in what I am assuming is a gentle and supportive manner, right? And again, I know little about your wife and her sexual education and history so I'm again speaking in generalities.
Your wife is not unlike a lot of women out here who have been made to feel that having sexual desires of their own somehow makes them whorish or slutty. The reason for her secretive nature when it comes to her thoughts on sex could be as simple as she's been trained to keep her sexual thoughts to herself. Do you have kids? Sometimes being a mother really screws with your sexual identity.
And I have to ask, who is she afraid will find out? You? Is she worried that these harmless and horny movies in her mind might be misunderstood by you who might try to analyze them for any deeper meaning? So honestly, if she did tell you that she fantasizes about being with another lover, man or woman, or having a threesome or some other kink or fetish fantasy that might be a little shocking, would you be able to handle it? Might she just trying to keep the peace over something she'd never do in real life but likes to think about?
I think it's important for you to interview yourself and your role, if any, that keeps her from being totally open with you.Your handle is Sex on the Brain. Remember that for women, the brain, her mind, is her biggest sex organ. Seduce her mind long before you get in the bed and you may see a different partner. It has been my experience that when one partner makes the other feel loved, safe and secure, valued and trusted, and does not judge, the freak (and freak is a relative term, mind you) will come out.
Books that come to mind, A Good Girl's Guide to Bad Girl Sex and The Good Sex Guide. Sorry, I don't have authors names. I am out of town and away from my office so I don't have my resources readily available.
Hope this helped!
How big of an impact is religion on women’s sexuality? Do you think religion is a big obstacle in women embracing their own sexuality?Hi Luvasaurus,
You know, I am not an expert on sex and religion so I will simply say that based on friends I know who have had a serious religious upbringing (and it doesn't matter which religion), and many of the Stiletto U students I've coached, religious beliefs have played an impactful role on the way they view sex. So yeah, I do think religion is a big obstacle for women.
What advice would you give to people looking to get into the field of writing erotica? How did you go about getting involved in it in the first place - did you have a literary agent off the bat or did you simply start submitting to open calls?Hi ToriRebel,
I'd give those who want to get into erotic writing the same advice I give to anyone who wants to get into any genre. Write and write often. But if you're specializing in a genre, have something new and interesting to offer.
I wrote my first erotic piece for anthology being published by Cleis Press, about ten years ago. The editor had read the sex scenes in my first novel and asked if I'd contribute to it. I wasn't sure at first but when I learned that I'd be sharing the covers with the likes of Nikki Giovanni and Iyanla Vanzant, well I couldn't say no. It was actually the first short story of any kind I'd written. I got several other requests after that but I turned them down because I was trying to launch my fiction career, and frankly, erotica, particualarly African-American erotica hadn't come into its own yet. But when Carol Taylor asked me to contribute to her award winning Brown Sugar series, I couldn't say no. Can't Help The Way That I Feel, came into being because I really wanted to write erotica for grown women and most A-A erotica is very much segmented to the younger, hip hop crowd.
I've always had an agent, but honestly, the only erotica assignment she's handled is the one where I was the editor. When I was choosing writers for Can't Help, I went to three of my past writing students to submit because I was impressed by their writing and felt they deserved to be published. So getting to know other writers and editors is never a bad thing.
Good luck everybody!
What is the most positive reaction you've had to your career and work as a sensuality coach, and what was the most negative reaction you've received?Let's see. I'd have to say that the most positive reaction I've had as a sensuality coach came from one the toughest Stiletto U students I've had to date. She was a lovely woman, it was just her circumstances that were so intimidating to me that I wasn't sure that I should take her on, but I did and I'm glad I did, because it became true validation for me that I was doing what I am suppose to be doing.
G is a woman who at 46, was still a virgin, had never been kissed and had never had a romantic relationship. She'd been sexually abused as a child and grossly overweight for most of her adult life. When I met her she had shed over 150 lbs. but still had a very distorted body image and no feminine confidence what so ever (her self rating on a scale of 1-10 was a 0), and was very angry and resentful towards men. Honestly, I was scared of the responsibility. But I did meditate over it, asked for guidance, and after being assured that she was under the care of a certified therapist, I agreed to help her find her sensual self. She absolutely blossomed and though she still wasn't in a relationship when our time together ended, she was not the same person who started. Her last session was tearful for both of us and she told me that I had "really helped to significantly transform the remainder of my life, and that is no small thing."
I was so humbled and grateful to have had the opportunity to help her like that, but her gift to me was just as awesome. Because of G and the depth of her issues, I now feel totally confident that my senual approach to female empowerment really does work and can definitely change women's lives in big and small ways. She gave me the confidence I needed to go out and truly work my passion. And in G's words, that is no small thing!
Negative reactions? None really towards me directly. Though I have had a couple of students quit midway because their spouses were not happy with the changes taking place. It happens.
How do you, as a writer, confront the stereotypes that equate "minority" with "exotic" and "erotic," especially in relation to women? Have you, as a multicultural woman, ever faced such labeling?Hi! Yes, as a multicultural woman, I have grown up alternatively embracing and disowning the exotic label. When I was younger and trying to find my unique place in my world, I totally embraced the exotic label. It set me apart from the norm and I enjoyed the attention. I think it began to take a turn when this white guy I had gone out with a couple of times decided that he would call me Sasha, because it sounded much more exotic than Lori. I can't really argue him on that point, but the bigger point was that I began to realize that he saw me more as a collectible than a woman. That happened a few times with guys, black and white, who made me feel just a bit used because I was more like a trophy than a girlfriend.
And once, when I was a in college, my cousin and another girlfriend went down to Daytona Beach, FL for vacation. All the men in the hotel were trying to hit on us and pick us up but in very skivvy ways. We were very confused and finally we asked someone. He told us that the men thought were high class prostitutes because even though we didn't look cheap, the only black women who came to this side of town were prostitutes. Talk about your stereotypes.
When I write, I do try to create interesting characters of all colors and nationalities that are universally relateable and showcase our similarities more than our differences. I try to avoid the stereotypes because of my experience in being treated as one, and frankly, they just aren't that interesting and the mark of a lazy writer.
I have always been self-conscious about my body. Especially after having kids and with my skin sensitivity to bug bits (I get attacked, scratch and scar easily). I never feel beautiful and far from glamorous. I always feel the need to cover-up my body, even on the hottest of days. In bed I try to imagine myself how I wish I looked. Being with my partner I find myself wondering if he’s picturing a better looking girl, or that I hope he doesn’t notice my flaws.
Do you have any advice for me or other women like me? Do you honestly believe that purchasing your book will help build my confidence? Also have you ever faced any of this before (being self-conscious, needing to hide or cover up)? If so what did you do to over come that?Hi Ashley,
Take a breath and realize that all those many imperfections that you think you have are noticed by your eyes and dwell in your head and not anyone else's, particularly the people who love you. I can almost guarantee that your partner has noticed your flaws, probably because in your embarrassment, you point them out to him, either directly or by how you act. The good news is that if he's still with you and still wanting to make love to you, he doesn't care about any of them.
But if you're so worried about what's wrong with you, it's impossible for you to be the lover he wants. More than perfection, when it comes right down to it, most men want three basic things from their lover: 1) a woman who has energy and a passion for life and making love (in other words, you aren't there just to do them a favor or because you feel like you have to); 2) a woman who is confident in who they are and know what they want ( i.e. not worrying about what your body looks like, but rather staying in the moment and are engaged in the act) and 3) the knowledge that at this very moment, they are only person you want to be with (this often boils down to he knows that he can please you sexually becaue through word and deed you express this).
My advice for you is threefold:
1) STOP trying to change or wish yourself to fit an image and START changing your self-image. You can waste your time and life energy worrying about things that for whatever reason you can't change (at least for nos) or you can enjoy your life in spite of them.
2) STOP listening to the negative voices in your head and START paying attention to the compliments people are giving you. Each time someone gives you the gift of a compliment, how often to your brush it aside and discount it? Listen and learn because they are giving you the clues about what about you and your body is appealing and attractive. Use this knowledge to enhance these assets and as the compliments continue to roll in your confidence is strengthened. And suddenly all those other 'flaw' don't seem so important.
3) STOP being judgmental of your self and START giving yourself the loving leeway you give your partner, your children and other people you love when it comes to their 'faults.' Think for a moment about some of your partner's physical 'flaws'. Then asks yourself: Do any of these stop you from loving and wanting to be intimate with him? Apply this same love to yourself.
Do I ever feel self conscious about my body? HELL YES! Love, you are talking to a fiftysomething woman who has the map of the Interstate Highway system tattooed on her belly (okay, some call them stretch marks, I refer to them as my tattoo), my breasts, which used to be absolute perfection (only going by the compliments ) have gone from a 36C to a 38 long, and my ass cheeks now have the deep, delicious dimples I wished for all of my life (should have been more specific about which cheeks!). Oh, and did I mention that the same day my dentist told me I needed braces I got my AARP card in the mail? Needless to say, for more than a little bit, my feminine confidence was shaken.
How did I get over my changing body and worry that I may not be sexually hot and relevant anymore? By proving my dumb little ego wrong and continuing to work it and drop it like I am still hot--because I am! I concentrated on all the things that were still assets--my smile, my legs, my attitude, and my youthful appearance. And yes, it was a 'pretend til I win' exercise at first, but as I continued to receive positive feedback, it settled back into true feminine confidence. And that's the thing about true confidence--it doesn't mean that you never find yourself in mid pity party, just that you have the ability to still see the sunshine--even if it is off in the distance.
Attitude is everything! Ashley, never forget that YOU determine the way others see and judge you. People can either see you the way you want them to, or the way you hope they will. If people see that you are confident and sexy because that's the way you present yourself, that's the way they are going to respond to you. And no pimple, scar, stretch mark or saggy bust is going to stop them.
But enough about me!
For those in the "disconnect" feeling, what is the BEST way to start getting everything all back?Hi Bobbie,
The best way to get connected again is to rediscover your sensual world. We live such busy, over scheduled lives that our sensory diet becomes one of incessant chatter, ringing gadgets, quick meals and physical encounters. We live most of our days without truly feeling alive. How sad and how easy it is to get disconnected from ourselves and others.
As adults in today’s society, we basically purchase our sensual experiences, whether it be a spa visit or going on a Hawaiian or Caribbean vacation to feel the tropical wind on our face, see the magnificent sunset or taste the salty lick of the sea. We ignore the beauty that surrounds us daily and by doing so, become blind to its existence. But now, with the economic downturn, so many of us don’t have the disposable income to buy our sensual pleasures, and we’re getting more and more disconnected from the full range of our senses.
Thank goodness the fix is easy and free! There is so much joy buried beneath the everyday reality of our lives. First, begin with nature. By simply noticing the loveliness around you, you’ll immediately feel more appreciative, grateful and happier.
Next, make a conscious effort to incorporate the textures, colors, sounds, scents, and tastes that speak to your sensual self, into your daily routine. Make meal time, for example, a mindful experience. Don’t just stand at the counter or sit in front of the television and shovel your food down. Be in the moment. Savor the taste and texture of your food. By integrating sensuality into all aspects of your daily life, you’ll notice right away how your mood lifts. And in terms of sex, being in touch with your sensuality really goes a long way toward bringing sexy back and creating a real lust for life. Sensual sex becomes more about mutual pleasure and less about foreplay with a purpose.
Get your sensual on. It's all good!
Is there one specific event, conversation, or person you consider a turning point in becoming a sensuality coach? One little moment where it all came together and you realized what you were supposed to be doing? If so - what was it?When I look back at how all this began, I have to laugh. Nearly twenty years ago, I co-founded a group called Mothers Off Duty. We are a mothers' group whose sole purpose is to put ourselves on the list of people we take care of and do things to help us maintain the "me' in mommy. Each month a different mom hosted a meeting that was based on a theme of some sort. Mine were always about sensuality, spirituality and sex. I hosted flirt clinics and panty patrol meetings (lingerie--no granny panties allowed!), how to throw a red hot night.
When I wrote Weapons of Mass Seduction, I put a lot of these meeting ideas and my sensual sensibilities into the workshop that the character take in the book. While I was doing promotion for the book, I got calls from organizations who wanted to book the workshop for their conferences. So I created a workshop and traveled around the country talking about the subject and my ideas. I'd always get women asking how they could get more information. Or want to get in contact me for follow up questions based on their personal lives.
The ah ha moment came when I was doing a radio interview and a woman listening emailed me and asked if I did personal coaching. As we talked, a light bulb went off and the idea for Stiletto U came to me. I asked for volunteers on my blog tested out the program on twelve volunteers. With their feedback, I tweaked it and officially hung out my sensuality coach shingle. But as I mentioned in an earlier question, the most difficult student I had, was the one who let me know for sure that this was what I was supposed to do and all the M.O.D. meetings and workshops and novels had led me to this.
Fast forward two years, and an editor approached me about turning the WMS workshop into a non fiction book. I began working on it, but when they wanted me to make it more geared toward the African-American market,I found that to be too shortsighted and turned down the deal. And lucky I did, because I am so much happier with Viva Editions and can't wait for the book to be released next year.
Ok here goes!! My Husband and I have been together for 11 years, married for 7. We still have an active sex life, but no where near as active as when we first met. I love to read romance books, and books about sexual development (for lack of a better word) I find that with two kids, two jobs and alot of stress, that it is easier to just read about romance then to act it out. How do you go from writing about romance to actually accomplishing it?? I would love to bring that never ending new excitement back to our relationship. How much does your sex life compare to your writing??Hello. Yeah, time, kids and familiarity do tend to take their toll on your hot steamy sex life. Kudos to you, however, for at least trying to keep lust alive in your relationship.
The bad news is that you're never going to be able to duplicate exactly that "never ending new excitement' back into your relationship for all of the reasons you mentioned--two kids, two jobs, and a lot of stress. And frankly, Mother Nature didn't build that natural lover's high to last much longer than a year anyway.
If you want to bring the romance and lust back into your life, I'd suggest that you slooooow everything down and get back to the basics. See, after many years together we've gone through out bag of sexual treats and we're in constant search of new tricks that will keep us entertained and interested. What we tend to forget are the sweet basics that brought you together in the first place.
When you slow things down for bit, you get back to the good stuff. Romance, intimacy, touching, kissing, the sensual joys of sex rather than the goal oriented actions of sex.
Like kissing. Kissing is the way you start out your sex life and it's going to be the way you end it. Your bodies may give out but your lips never will. And yet, kissing is usually the first thing to go once we have our first orgasm and foreplay becomes all about getting to the goal instead of lusty mutual pleasure. Kissing builds intimacy and that is key to a long term sex life.
Like playful touching and flirting. Holding hands, cheek caresses, kisses for no reasons. Dust off your flirting skills and flirt with your man just like you did when you were trying to make him yours. This creates a sense of togetherness and gives your relationship a break from all the stress and drama.
Like making sex an event instead of just rolling over and doing the deed. Consider taking a sexcation every six months or so. A slow and sexy weekend away or right at home, but one dedicated to the fine art of seduction and lust.
We get so caught up with trying to find the next mind blowing sex move that we forget that often it's the simplest of things that make the sexiest impact. Get back to the basics and start all over again!
While I'm on the subject, do you find that either community is more open and/or accepting of a woman's sexuality and sensuality?Honestly, I can only speak from my personal experience and I growing up I found that both communities were pretty mum about sex and sexuality but the expectation was that we were to be chaste and respectable prior to marriage, and that sex was something that happened between a husband and wife.. Religious decree was that sex was for procreation so there was never a discussion that sex felt good though it was billed as a loving gift a wife gives her husband.
In developing the Stiletto U program (and writing the book), what would you say is the most common thing that women are either doing wrong, or simply not doing that they should be, when it comes to recognizing and being comfortable in their own sensuality and sexuality?I would say in most cases the most common thing that holds women back from being comfortable in their sexual skin is not accepting themselves for the amazing creatures they already are and falling victim to images and faulty idea that somehow they don't measure up and aren't worthy as is.
We are a society that systematically kills personal confidence by valuing all the wrong things and putting pretense on a pedestal, instead of honoring individualism and authenticity. Somebody decided that sexy could be contained on a check list and we all bought into it, literally spending time, money and personal angst trying to accumulate enough checks on that list so we rate. But we never do because the list keeps changing and growing.
Being yourself is what's sexy. If you believe it, somebody else will too.
Hello! I'm really enjoying this interview! Thank you!
As a caucasian guy about halfway through my 2nd year of 29, what kind of pointers or suggestions would you have to help me be more mindful around aware/empowered women? Do you have any suggestions just for the guys out there that might make your workshops easier?
Thank you again!Mr. Sauce, thank you for joining the conversation, and with such a thoughtful question!
The only suggestions I might give to you and the rest of the guys for dealing with aware and empowered women would be to first and foremost revel in their joy of sexual self and don't feel like you have to compete with it or shut it down because you feel intimidated. Women who are sexually possessed and have a high dose of feminine confidence often run across guys who feel threatened or question their morality. It's okay to let her teach you a thing or two and visa versa, because you're only making each other better lovers. Understand that just because she likes toys doesn't mean she doesn't like your dick. What you can do is let her know her confidence turns you on and let her know you are happy that she feels free and vulnerable enough with you to be herself. Notice and comment on her hair cut, hot new dress or sexy bra and panties, but understand that she doesn't wear them for you, she wears them for herself, cuz that's how she rolls!
Remember that desire begins in a woman's head long before you get to the bed, so seduce her mind as well as her body, and let her do the same. And the cuddling that she wants to do when it's all over, do it. That helps her make up her mind to have sex with you the next time!
And for those women whose feminine confidence has not fully blossomed, let her know that you accept her body just way that it is, just as she accepts yours. That your expectation of her is not for her to make you feel good, but for the two of you to make each other feel good. Show her that sex can and should be fun and that she should feel free to experiment because while some stuff just might not work out, a some will, and the fact that she's willing to try is sexy as hell. Don't judge her past experience (or lack of), respect her boundaries and limits, and always say thank you!
And because you played the race card by telling me you were Caucasian, if you do date any women of color, please don't make them feel like they're some kind of exotic game or social experiment. Yeah, we'll give you a time or two to marvel over the colors and textures and differences of our skin, hair and bodies, but then it's game on.
Now go forth and make some women happy!
I’m extremely comfortable in my sexuality but my body makes me very timid. I’ve struggled with an eating disorder my entire life. While I’m a healthy size now, whenever I get naked with someone I freak out a little bit. I can’t even fully enjoy someone going down on me, because too much of body is exposed. It takes me a while to relax enough to even orgasm with someone. Do you have any advice for me? I’ve come a very long way in learning to love my body, but sex is my weakness.Hi Luvasaurus. I'm so happy that you found the strength within to deal with your eating disorder and have made such strides towards loving you and the body you own. Kudos! That's no easy feat and you should be very proud of yourself.
Here's an exercise that I give many of my SU students. It's called WW?D. Get a journal and a pen and get comfortable. Think about your inner diva. Give her a name and write about her. What is her philosophy on life ? What is her personal motto? What are her sexual likes an dislikes? Being nude makes you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, how does being nude make her feel?
Now picture her on a nude beach and write about how she feels, what she's doing and how she reacts to being around people who are nude.
Write about her and get to know her. YOU ARE NOT CREATING A CHARACTER, YOU ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THE PART OF YOU THAT YOU KEEP HIDDEN. Let the confident, nudist girl in you breathe. Give her life within you. She has an important role to play in your sensual life. When you find yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable, ask 'what would (name) do? And let your inner diva take over in the situation. If she found herself nude and in the arms of one very sexy lover, what would she do? Take a breath and let her do her thing.
It may take a while, but eventually you will find that these two parts of you--the one confident in her sexuality and now the one confident in her naked body--will come into balance, and you won't be asking so much what she would do, but allowing yourself to do what you want to do.
Try it. It's worked for most of my students. At it's core, you are simply giving yourself permission to be you.
If you could give every woman in the world a one sentence slice of advice, what would it be?Okay, Carrie, have you seen the length my answers? Do you think that I can possibly give every woman in the world sage advice in just one sentence? Okay, I'm up for the challenge, as long as punctuation doesn't count!
Own yourself...live by the power and pleasure of your own truth, determining for yourself what is proper and moral and right as this is truly sexy and the most honest way of living because being yourself can never be wrong.
It's a run on sentence with more than one thought, but hey it starts with a capital letter and ends with a period, and I think there is a message in between!
So I have a quick question... I have never been satisfied with my body, Do you think that just reading your book would help me feel sexier, does it have a psychological fix or do I really need to just lose weight. I honestly feel so self consious with my husband during sex because he is so attractive, yet I find myself looking down at my stomach and thinking, Please don't look down... Please don't look at my tummy. I truthfully wish I had you next to me, becoming my sensuality coachHi Samanti,
Do you really need to lose weight? I don't know, maybe. But should you stop living and loving fully until you do so? Absolutely not! Far too many women put their lives on hold while they're waiting for the pounds to drop or the cellulite cream to kick in. Their energy goes into wishing and whining instead of living and laughing.
So your husband is attractive. Is he perfect? No flaws? Is he constantly badgering you over your tummy? Is he having trouble getting over the enormity of it that he's just going through the motions instead of really being into your lovemaking? If you answer is no, then it appears that the only person who is worried about the size of your tummy and letting it interfere with your joy, is you.
It sounds like for you, like most women, your physical appearance is greatly tied to your view of yourself as a sexy woman. It's a natural but dangerous inclination. As time goes by, depending on the physical to define and drive your sensual self, will more often than not prove to be a losing strategy. Childbirth, age, hormones, illness, medication, and for sure, gravity will prove victorious because as hard as you try (barring extreme measures) your body will not stay the same. Even if you remain at the same weight, your shape will shift. It's just the way it is (damn it!).
So, with that truth in mind, you must adjust the way you see yourself instead of struggling so hard to fit into an image that is largely based on unrealistic media images and your personal archive of photos. This isn't to say that you should give up trying to maintain a healthy, attractive appearance, but rather adjust your attitude and expectations.
I see that you are young. Be aware that there are many image bending episodes ahead in your journey to be a grown ass woman. It's best now to cultivate the right attitude to get you over these hurdles with a minimum of negative energy spent.
So darling, take Oscar Wilde's advice, "She behaves as if she was beautiful. Most women do. It's the secret of their charm." Live Oscar's words and act with the same confidence you'd have if your tummy was flat as a table top or ripped and shredded or whatever your vision is. Sure, go ahead and try to actually make it look that way if you want, but don't stop acting like you aren't already fabulous while the transformation takes place.
Oh, and yes, Stiletto U: A Guide to Unleashing the Confident, Sensual You, will help you build your feminine confidence. It is a comprehensive program that leads you step-by-step into the amazing woman you are meant to be, all by getting in touch and utilizing your Fab Five (that would be senses!). It's not out until the spring but you can log onto www.weapons-of-mass-seduction.blogspot.com to read more about my thoughts on sensuality and sex. One caveat. I have been underwater for many, many months working and writing to meet several deadlines, so I haven't been blogging with the same regularity, but there are plenty of older posts to get you going until I return with the new Stiletto U site. Enjoy!
You've also written a lot about redefining what a bad girl is and why we should want to be bad girls <3 but what do you think about the bad girl / good girl dichotomy as a whole? Do you think it's a useful way of describing feminine sexuality, or does it box women into a false choice of madonna or whore?Hi. Great comment and question.
I don't advocate women being a good girl or a bad girl. I advocate that they be themselves, which is usually somewhere in the middle. We get caught up in these words, the Lexis Trap, is what I call it, and let words define who we are and how we behave. The reality is that most of us grow up pressed into being 'good' girls, to follow the rules, please other people, and keep their lustful thoughts and actions to themselves. Bad girls were usually defined as the troublemakers and sexually rambunctious. And yes, using those two words to describe feminine sexuality does box women into false choices.
Because they are so much a part of our mindset, I try to get women to define these roles for themselves, to determine what it means to them to be a good or bad girl, to find the bad in the good girl and the good in the bad girl and eliminate what does and doesn't work for them, and let the two co-exist happily.
Another word I throw into the trap and advocate is scandalous, as defined by each individual. When you think about the women in history who are considered sexual icons, most are considered scandalous in some form or fashion. From Cleopatra to Mae West to Josephine Baker to Madonna to Angelina Jolie, all are women who by living, working, and loving on their own terms often created controversy and concern among the rule keepers.
I advise women to put a little scandal in their lives. It need not be tabloid worthy and nobody has to know. It could be a simple as going commando at church or taking a skinny dip. The idea is to set your own moral compass and live life that is based on their own sense of integrity.
Now that's truly being a bad girl!
At the risk of overwhelming with you with another question - there are so many! and you are doing such a thorough job of answering them all! - i'm going to throw another one into the ring.
I love the idea of your Stilletto U. It makes me realize, however, that I've never heard of anything similar for men! There's this sense, I think, in our society, that men have a very "simple" relationship to their sexuality - heterosexual men in particular. As I read about your sensuality project, I really started to feel like, hey, that'd be useful for me, too.
Do you know of any Stilletto U-like programs that are designed for men? Led by men?
Thanks so much for your great work and inspiring manner.Hi Sam. Thanks for joining the party and for your comments and compliments. I agree, we tend to think that men do have a very simple relationship to their sexuality--you know that 'think with the other head' mentality, and that's really not fair.
I don't know of any program similar to Stiletto U that are designed for men and led by men. I do know that there are programs out there designed for couples to enhance their sexual relationships through sensual work but nothing that mirrors building confidence through the Fab Five.
There should be because sensuous living has such benefits down the line from higher levels of happiness to better sex and intimacy to stress reduction to better living period. And there is nothing sexier than a man in touch with beauty and pleasure that goes beyond the bedroom.
So, don't just give away the roses, take time to smell them too!
Empowering women to be sexually proactive can often be a long journey, and a lot of the time, we create our own roadblocks. Why do you think so many women set themselves up to be unhappy? Do you think it's part of that whole need to please others at the expense of their own desires? And since old patterns are hard to break, how can they move past their limitations—either self imposed, or those imposed upon them by outside forces?Great questions, Judy. And I agree with you, we often set up our own roadblocks on the road to self improvement and empowerment, which indeed sets us up to be unhappy. The why is a huge question with an infinite number of reasons because it varies from woman to woman. But in general terms, while we are raised to be please others at the expense of our desires, I think sometimes it's easier to be the victim and unhappy in our present circumstances because it's not 'my' fault, than to do the hard work and risk failing.
We've all heard the saying, "Happiness is a choice." But most of us don't believe it. Most believe that other people are happy because they are lucky, not because they've made the decision to be.
Negativity is actually a more comfortable place for many people to live because it doesn't take a lot of work. Things never work out because of someone or something else. We can judge and be judgmental about everyone else without ever having to really look at ourselves. Excuses abound and we're off the hook for having any real responsibility for our own happiness. Putting others first becomes a convenient excuse for not having to go after our own dreams. Negativity stirs up emotion and passion and stress so we think we're feeling alive but it's counterproductive and destructive to what we say we want. And for negative people, happiness is fleeting because something always happens to screw it up, so why even bother.
Positivity is much harder because being happy requires effort. You have to put yourself, your ideas, your heart on the line and stand on your own merit and let others judge you while having the strength to ignore what seems petty and unhelpful and take in that which will make you stronger. To be happy you have to walk the fine line between 'selfish' and 'selfness' and know how and when to set boundaries and limits. It can be hard work and as you say, a long journey, but once you get use to learning and living through joy, the heartbreaks and hard times still manage to find you, but the ability to bounce back and see light at the end of the tunnel makes these times bearable.
If you want to move past your limitations, you have to make a choice. I'd suggest you go for the half full glass.
Since I'm sure some members of EF will be interested, how would one enroll or become involved in Stiletto U? What is involved in enrollment?If you'd like more information or are interested in enrolling in Stiletto U, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll email you an information packet. We offer:
Single coaching sessions: A 60 minute session to discuss a pressing problem or situation that needs attention.
Per Unit: You can take an individual semester unit to work specifically on one area of interest. Individual, Social or Sexual Sensuality. Each unit runs three weeks and includes weekly assignments and three one hour coaching sessions.
The SU semester: Our most popular and highly effective service. Nine weeks to a sensual new you! Includes weekly assignments, and nine one hour coaching sessions.
We also do workshops (including Sexitude, Weapons of Mass Seduction flirt clinics) for groups and organizations, and Sensuous Soirees, private parties with sensual themes for birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, etc.
For people who are seriously interested in enrolling in the entire SU semester, I offer a free 30 minute trial one-on-one.
We have a tradition here on the Community Interview - could you please finish the sentence: "Sex is..."Sex is a gift to be thoroughly enjoyed and lovingly shared.
That said, thank you everyone for your great questions that made me smile, laugh and think. This has been an awesome experience for me and the best interview I've had to date. What do the pros know anyway! I'm wishing lots of love and great sex for you all! xo L