Last week, an article crossed my Facebook feed about sexual pleasure, and how we shouldn’t hide that fact from kids.
I admit, my first instinct was to scream internally. I have never been shy about my lack of knowledge about sex pre-University classes on sexual health and education. (Thank you, Professors Peggy Kleinplatz and Darcy Santor!)
So I started reading the article hesitantly. And wow, was I ever blown away! I enjoyed the writing style, first off. Very personable and felt like she was talking directly to me. Second thing I thought was that I want to be like this woman. I want to be able to talk to my daughter as easily as she talks to her son. I am so glad that I read this article when Keladry is still a baby, because it gives me time to get used to the idea and comfortable with talking about sex and sexuality with her.
I also feel the need to go and do more research and/or memorize the answers to the questions in Blush.
On a more (even more?) personal note, I finally sent an email to Prof Santor, the professor of the class that started Blush originating as a final project. I thanked him for his encouragement to complete the game 9 years ago, and told him that I finally got it published last year. I hope he’s proud that I finally did it.
When I started to write Lust and Lemonade, I didn’t intend to write a book that dealt with gender.
Before writing Lust and Lemonade, I was primarily a romance and erotica writer. I delved into the lives of men and the ones that loved them, set in mythical worlds with otherworldly beings. The men fought for each other with every fibre of their being, using their magic to save the day and save the man they loved.
When I started writing Lust and Lemonade, I only intended to write about what I knew. I knew gay men being one myself. But as I continued to write, other characters wanted to come onto the page, too. One of them was a woman named Poppy and she was pregnant. She was also a lesbian.
I didn’t know anything about pregnancy and what women went through with having a child. I relied on my beta reader for info on the female gender and about what is involved with having a lesbian relationship. I was in uncharted waters and Google would only take me so far. I had written women characters before, but the focus was always on the men and the relationships they were having. The women were only secondary and hadn’t taken centre stage. Lust and Lemonade was the first of my novels to feature strong women in lesbian relationships.
As I kept writing, I began to realise something. Two of my characters were transgender. One of them is a transgender woman and the other is a transgender man. If I had no concept of lesbian relationships, I had absolutely zero idea about the transgender population.
This uncharted territory was rather frightening for me as a writer, but it was also freeing in a way. I have never researched a novel before Lust and Lemonade. I delved into the lives of transgender people and what they went through to become who they always were, who they were meant to be.
I also wrote about straight characters finding love. It seemed right that if I was going to write about all kinds of other genders, that I included them too. The characters demanded it, really. It was only fair, they said, that if I was going to have gay, lesbian, and transgender characters in my novel, that the straight people get fair representation, too.
So, when I started writing Lust and Lemonade, I didn’t intend to write a book about gender. The book let me know where it wanted to go and the characters that peopled its pages. I also knew that, even though I’ve written many romances, that there would be no sex on the page. It would all take place off stage.
A friend of mine asked me how I could have lust in the title and not include sex scenes? It’s simple. The lust that is in the title is about the lust of getting to know someone, of becoming enraptured and enthralled with them. Much as I became enthralled with all the people in Lust and Lemonade.
I may not have set out to write about gender, but I’m so glad I did. I learned something about others that I didn’t know before, learned about their battles to be who they were and who they were meant to be. Writing Lust and Lemonade made me a better writer and, quite possibly, a better person.
Find out what happens to Blaine, Nancy, Mike, Chuck, and company in Lust and Lemonade, available now from Renaissance Press! You can get your copy here:
Your doctor may have mentioned that you should be doing Kegel exercises, no matter what your genitalia looks like.
Why should you bother?
There is one major reason to do Kegels: to strengthen the pelvic floor.
Who cares about the pelvic floor?
Well, everyone should. You may not have any problems with incontinence now, but over the course of your life, your pelvic muscles loosen, allowing for leakage from the bladder to happen. Hence the market for TENA, Poise, Always (yes, they have bladder protection pads as well as menstrual pads), and Depends.
Ok! Pelvic strength is important! How do I exercise it?
First you need to find the muscles. Go to the bathroom and start to urinate. Then stop it mid-stream. The muscles you use to stop the flow are your pelvic muscles.
Now that you know which muscles you’re supposed to be exercising, it’s time to get to it.
The general process is fairly easy: tighten your muscles for 5 seconds, release for 5 seconds, and repeat 10-15 times, three times daily. Gradually build up your strength by increasing the amount of time you tighten your muscles; 10 seconds, 15 seconds, etc. The easiest position to do these exercises is when lying down, moderate position is sitting up, and hardest is while standing.
Please note: Don’t exercise the wrong muscle group. The rest of your body should be relaxed during this time. Don’t hold your breath, clench your teeth, or tense any other muscles.
If you have any trouble finding the correct muscle group, the reference below gives more techniques for finding them. It also has some suggestions about when you can do the exercises. I do mine at meal times, because then I didn’t forget to eat, or exercise!
Until I started doing research for Blush a few years ago, I wasn’t very aware of what being transgender meant, or how badly transgender people were treated by society in general. I’m sure my awareness now barely scratches the surface of the issues, and I know for a fact that I still make mistakes.
The TDOV is to help spread awareness and support for the transgender community. The page at transstudent.org explains the day completely, and there is a Facebook event, which I am attending.
You may have heard about the Texas bill that will fine men $100 USD for masturbatory emissions.
But what exactly is sperm?
According to Merriam Webster, a sperm is a male* gamete, “a mature [cell …] usually possessing a haploid chromosome set and capable of initiating formation of a new diploid individual by fusion with a gamete of the opposite sex”.
But what people usually consider to be sperm (the entire ejaculate) is false. The ejaculate is semen; sperm only makes up about 2-5% of the fluid emitted. The rest of the semen is made up of energy (a sugar fluid) from the seminal vesicles that makes up ~65-70%, prostate secretions (enzymes, citric acid,, and acid phosphatase) that give semen its white colour make up ~25-30%, and a clear secretion from the bulbourethral glands helps with mobility after ejaculation only makes up less than 1%.
*male is used by the dictionary to identify the difference between a sperm (male) and an egg (female) gametes.
While Blush is primarily aimed at people over the age of 8, the other day someone contacted me and asked me if I had any recommendation about their toddler touching themselves.
They didn’t want to discourage their toddler from exploring, but they wanted to know how to tell them that they should be doing that in private.
So I did a little digging. Most of the first pages that pop up in a search are forums, parents helping other parents, with no valid sources. However, www.psychcentral.com provided me with a great article (follow the link to read it) written by a valid source, and peer reviewed by another.
To boil it down: treat the child as a whole person with valid wants, and teach them that what they want to do is normal, healthy, and should be done in private. You can explain to them where “private” is, and remember, be prepared to do so many times over, because children forget.
I hope that helps! If you have further questions on this topic, you can ask me anonymously here.
I am going to be writing a new game – a sort of sequel to Blush! I have do NOT have a publisher for it, I don’t have completed questions for it, and I don’t have a full concept for it, but I could use your help.
So if you have any questions about pregnancy, anything that surprised you while you or someone you know was pregnant, anything about newborns (first 3 months) – PLEASE submit them through our anonymous question box, found here.
My publisher Renaissance Press (and Eric’s, incidentally) is having a sale on all their love-oriented books and games for the entire month of February! If you haven’t picked up a copy of Blush yet, this would be a good time to do that!
You can also see a complete list of all their published works here.
Do you know how difficult it is to find good sources for personal lubricants? The amount of junk articles I had to sift through was intimidating, to say the least.
There are three different categories of lubricant: water-based, silicone-based, and oil-based. Each has its pros and cons.
The lube you are most likely to find is water-based. Be careful with the ingredients, though, as some of these include glycerin, which can cause yeast infections. Water-based is arguably the best, as it doesn’t dissolve silicone toys, and it doesn’t make latex condoms permeable. However, it is the most likely to evaporate, causing you to need to add more in the middle of things.
Silicone-based is the most expensive. It is very slippery and won’t dissolve, but if you’re using it with silicone toys, it will cause them to start to break down, making them unsafe to use. You can get around this by putting a condom on the toy, though! It is also more difficult to clean up after use (soap and water works).
Oil-based cannot be used at the same time as latex condoms (I specify latex, because other types are fine). The oil makes the latex membrane become permeable, and will cause breaking of the condom.
Okay…now you know about the different types of lube. Why should you use it at all?
A lot of misinformation goes into this question. People think that lube is only needed if the vagina doesn’t lubricate itself enough, and using lube is a last-ditch effort.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. And it only takes PiV intercourse into account.
The human body’s vaginal lubricant is not enough for intercourse. Period. Full stop. It reduces friction, increases pleasure, and decreases the risk of tearing and pain. You should always use some sort of lubricant, even if it’s only saliva (which is the only natural lubricant that my research has agreed is a good one). And if you are participating in anal intercourse, don’t even attempt it unless you’ve got a lot of lube on hand. Tears/rips in the anus are dangerous, because of the excess of bacteria in the fecal matter that could enter the bloodstream. Please note: saliva is not enough lube for anal intercourse.
If there’s something more that you’d like to know about lubricants, or we didn’t cover, please contact us through our Anonymous Question box!
Nagoski, Emily, PhD. Come as you are: The surprising new science that will transform your sex life. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2015.
I was discussing Blush: The Card Game with someone the other day, and they asked me what the difference was between ejaculation and orgasm for a person with a penis. The difference is a little more obvious when the person has a vagina – and for most people, more difficult to achieve!
Orgasm is a rhythmic series of muscular contractions that are pleasurable. Ejaculation is the release of fluid, usually at the height of orgasm.
Each can occur without the other, and intercourse can happen, and be enjoyable, without the occurrence of either.