I don’t do many reviews on this blog for several reasons, the biggest being that I’m inundated with technical reading for my day job. So, while I do occasionally squeeze in a book for pleasure, reading one for review is often a juggling act beyond my capacity. The benefit of this unfortunate fact, however, is that I am able to save this space for reviews of things I truly enjoy, books and stories that speak to me on a level I’d relish sharing with others. This is why today, I’m delighted to tell you about Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Sex and Cupcakes.
Rachel Kramer Bussel is a well-known erotica name, but she’s also a woman in the genre I’ve looked up to for years. She’s rocked my world with stories I’d read long before she accepted my first ever published piece (when she left me squealing, of course), and after that, too—both as a writer with a delicious imagination and an editor with a detailed eye and well-pinned finger on the pulse of our crazy market. It’s this latter piece Ms. Bussel takes a bit further than others, and that I most admire; she is virtually everywhere with articles, commentary, and reflections on sex and its various forms of cultural impact. Her words hit right on the mark for me, as she’s got a strong opinion paired with a knack for examining all sides of the issue—which is precisely why I bought Sex and Cupcakes, and why I enjoyed it so much!
This collection of nine essays showcases some of Ms. Bussel’s best commentary while also examining our sexual culture. Pieces such as “I’m Pro-Choice and I Fuck” and “Monogamishmash”—like many of the essays in the book—are thoughtful explorations of what our labels mean, and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t mean, that simultaneously share personal anecdotes and revelations. It’s clear Ms. Bussel doesn’t intend to throw out opinions and jam them into the minds of those she’s writing for; hers is a style full of sophisticated writing and opinion, but with a welcoming approach to every other person’s desire, style, and kink, too. She speaks in “Sorry, But I’m Not a Sexpert” about her sex writing not equating to acting as a sex educator. While I agree this is true, it’s her openness on the page that focuses readers on the idea that things aren’t always what they seem, and which teaches them—albeit indirectly—that in exploring our own sexuality, there is no need to push our wants, kinks, and desires onto others. This open-mindedness is a repeating theme throughout Sex and Cupcakes, and the primary reason her essays held such intrigue.
I am not, in general, a nonfiction reader, but getting an inside peek on the thoughts of one of my idols made this collection even more enjoyable for me. Whether it be Ms. Bussel’s striking and blunt words throughout “My Boyfriend’s Fat,” or her personal confessions on fantasy versus reality in “Champagne Sex,” each essay struck a different and pleasant chord. My personal favorites were “I Have Trouble with Orgasms” and “Sex and Cupcakes.” The former is a smart, important read for most women, a sort of battle cry for the sentiment of “lacking” some feel or are made to feel when this, in truth, is a pretty normal occurrence for many, while the titular piece is a brief memoir exploring the author’s relationship with both sides of her life as erotica writer and cupcake blogger. It was this piece that resonated for me the most, both in my own sensation of having two lives and the perception that goes with each (erotica writer life and “normal” life), and her comments on society’s tendency towards slut-shaming in the name of feminism while still condemning those who choose to speak their erotic truths. I’d say overall, this piece was about balance; so it would seem that as far apart as they sound—the sweetness of cupcakes and the delicious explorations of all things sex—Rachel Kramer Bussel shows us they are a pairing quite meant to go together.
I highly recommend you pick up your copy of Sex and Cupcakes on Amazon.
I ran into an old boyfriend last week, one that stands out from the others in his own right. The encounter itself was mellow and calm—much like our very short relationship—but it got me thinking about our time together and nostalgia, in general: that special place we hold in our hearts for the memories really worth keeping.
I’d known of C. a couple years before we dated, but I didn’t actually meet him until a strange time in my life. I’d finally ended a five-year bruise of a relationship, and though I’d ventured away from my hometown after high school with big dreams that carried me all the way through college, something about what I’d just been through made me feel like I had to go back. In a sense, I needed to be close to my roots so I could graduate again. I wanted to break out into the world all over, but this time as me, just me, with no noose, agony, or pain weighing me down.
So there I was one night, a couple months home and at a bar with a friend, and this handsome bartender I recognized came to take our order. “Whoa! Hey, C.! I didn’t know you worked here!” I’d said, and we’d been excited to formally meet one another. He was all smiles and charm and nice, exactly like I’d assumed he was after our occasional run-ins over the years, and not one week later we were on our first date at an absurdly fancy restaurant. He said a bevy of sweet things that made me blush so pink he claimed it was his favorite thing about me, and after hours of laughter, wine, and incredible conversation, I confessed that with all I’d been through—a story he, like many others, had heard mentioned around our hometown—I couldn’t handle anything other than light, fun and calm.
And for a while, C. was all those things. He was tall and twinkly eyed, a big carefree bear of a man who loved to make love and cuddle and laugh so loud heads turned. And when we were together, it was impossible not to laugh with him, not to spend hours rolling around in bed and having Sex and the City marathons, or singing at the top of our lungs to silly songs while we drove just to drive, fast and free, enjoying the moment and not really caring where it led.
Fun and free was what our entire relationship was for me—and though we ultimately ended because C. started wanting more and I still wasn’t ready or healed, I think deep down we both knew there was more difference than that between us. In many ways, I was still the small town girl aching to run somewhere bigger, somewhere I could stretch out my little wings, while he was more about sticking to roots, home, and comfort. It was the exact pairing I’d needed then, and yet, not something that could have worked for either of us beyond the length of time it did.
After C., I had more convoluted, tangled relationships. Some were long, some short, but many were not the kind worth remembering. This is why when I ran into C. last week, I had the strongest rush of all we shared in our brief time—not in any sort of pining way, but with that lovely flash of details that had been so good between us. I remembered bowling competitions with strikes and spares earning kisses, swing dancing in our underwear, enthusiastic discussions on the merits of men’s watches and women’s shoes, gentle kisses under a veranda before he told me I had “the most spectacular blush,” attempting to out-sing each other to Cake’s “Love You Madly” over leftovers and wine, and him surprising me with flowers on Valentine’s Day even though we were over, because, as he told me, I deserved them.
As short-lived as my time with C. was, seeing him years later—still bartending, smiling, and belly laughing, proudly showing me pictures of his beautiful wife and daughter while asking after me and rooting me on in that big-hearted way he used to—made me profoundly happy. Our relationship was a couple-month snapshot on a wide panorama of formative events, and the likelihood I’d see him again was fairly small—but when I left the bar giggling, blushing as pink as he made me do over a decade ago, I had the sweetest warmth of memory and the biggest smile on my face.
So I think that’s the true beauty of nostalgia—it doesn’t matter how small the memory is; when it’s that worth keeping, it will always be pure gold.
Fifty, Fifty, Fifty. It’s all everyone has been talking about. Hell, Malin James and I even talked about it in audio for you a couple days ago.
However, I think it’s safe to say that many are looking for another glimpse into BDSM. Maybe some different writers, new viewpoints, or a more realistic taste of the lifestyle in some smoking literary form…yes?
Well, I’ve got news for you: the phenomenal D.L. King has curated a sampler collection of the best BDSM erotica and erotic romance out there—and it’s free!
Beyond 50 includes work from many stellar names in the industry, including Violet Blue, Sinclair Sexsmith, Laura Antoniou, Cecilia Tan, Janine Ashbless, and many, many more. It’s also got samples from my lovely Pillow Talk colleagues—Malin James and Tamsin Flowers—and I’m tickled to have a piece included in here, too!
The best part? This book is entirely free to download, and you can do so right here.
Need more convincing?
Here’s the blurb:
Can’t get enough Fifty Shades of Grey? The authors in Beyond 50 have come together to give you 50 FREE samples of their erotic musings.
Millions of readers around the world are caught up in the magic and romance of power and surrender, role-playing and kinky passions. Or, as some call it, BDSM.
But did you know there’s a wealth of BDSM themed-literature and media available now and coming soon, just waiting for you to discover?
Sensual romances. Gritty thrillers. Spellbinding fantasy. Darkly passionate suspense and horror. Dramatic historical adventures. Edgy erotica. Gorgeous art and photographs. Honest memoirs. From short stories to long novels, from subtle and light to explicit and nasty. Even helpful and sexy non-fiction to help bring your more risqué thoughts to life!
No matter what your interest, there’s a world of other authors ready to give your imagination a tasty turn. Whether you want only one style and theme or care to delve into a whole universe of passion, romance, danger and delight, you can find something just to your taste. All sexual identities and orientations and any match-up between them can be found in some of these scorching pages, and some you’ve never even heard of. Take the plunge and explore. Taste and nibble and maybe find so many more colors to paint your dreams and desires.
Laura Antoniou • D. L. King • Tamsin Flowers • Violet Blue • K. D. Grace • Cameryn Moore • Janine Ashbless •
Lynn Townsend and Elizabeth L. Brooks • C. P. Mandara • Korin I. Dushayl • I.G. Frederick • Sacchi Green • Elizabeth Lister • Sassafras Lowrey • Beth Wylde • Sinclair Sexsmith • Skye Callahan • Laci Paige • Leya Wolfgang • Payne Hawthorne • Jay Lygon • Lisabet Sarai • Penelope Syn • Malin James • Annabel Joseph • Cecilia Tan •
Tammy Jo Eckhart • Sherri Hayes • Cris Anson • Kira Barker • Lucy Felthouse • R. E. Hargrave • Jade A. Waters • Roz Lee • Elizabeth Schechter • Felice Fox • Red Phoenix • Cara Downey • Bo Blaze • Avery Cassell • Janet W. Hardy • Lee Harrington • Kate Kinsey • Sinclair Sexsmith
Be sure to get your taste of steamy BDSM erotica from all of these great authors! You can download it free from any of the following:
We are all so thrilled to be offering this sampler to you, absolutely free! Thank you for checking it out!
As you may well know, Malin James and I are the best of pals. We have a knack for chatter, laughter, and ridiculously good times. So for Valentine’s Day this year, we opted to take ourselves out to see the hugely hyped and widely discussed Fifty Shades of Grey. I mean, we do write erotica and all, so it made sense—and by golly, we were going to go into it open-minded and with the intent of making the best of it.
Here we are before the show:
Since we’d both planned to write blog posts on the movie, we had some things to bounce around afterward. But when we found ourselves chatting over our usual Thai lunch with so very many things to say, we got to thinking…what if we just had this chat over a microphone and shared our thoughts in audio with all of you?
So, that’s exactly what we did. We ended up having a smashing good time (so much so that we should probably apologize in advance for how loud the cackling got), and we hope you enjoy our take on this highly debated erotica blockbuster.
Also, I should mention: outtakes.
And with that…
Malin and Jade Talk Fifty Shades of Grey:
Thank you so much for joining us!
Photo courtesy of Rebels Notes
Welcome to Elust #67 -
The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #68? Start with the rules, come back March 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
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~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~
~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~
~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~
*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*
Due to technical difficulties there is no Readers Choice selection this month
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!
Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish
How to Make Time for Kinky Fuckery
Submissive Power Is Hot Stuff
Topping from the Bottom
Submissive power and the storms of life
I Talk A Lot, But Not About That
I Just Want To Be Me
What I Get Out Of Locking A Man in Chastity
BDSM and pick-up artists
Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor
Short Strokes: Molasses Makes Me Horny
12 Step Homeopathic Remedy for Scorned Lovers
Feel His Breath On Me
Out For A Walk
Playing in the Band
Erotica After Hours
Dancing in the Dark
Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships