books

EvilSlutClique's picture

The Ethical Slut

We recently got a copy of the new revised and updated edition of The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy to review, because...well, we're us. Although we were familiar with the book, none of us had ever actually read the first edition, which obviously was a huge oversight being that we're Evil Sluts and all. So, a big thank you to the awesome people at Eden Fantasys for hooking us up so that we could remedy the situation.

Let's start with the obvious. Of course we're all on board with the idea of reclaiming the word slut and refueling it with new, positive intentions, so there was plenty for us to like right away in the book.

In most of the world, “slut” is a highly offensive term, used to describe a woman whose sexuality is voracious, indiscriminate, and shameful. It’s interesting to note that the analogous word “stud,” used to describe a highly sexual man, is often a term of approval and envy. If you ask about a man’s morals, you will probably hear about his honesty, loyalty, integrity, and high principles. When you ask about a woman’s morals, you are more likely to hear about whom she shares sex with, and under what conditions. We have a problem with this. 

So we are proud to reclaim the word “slut” as a term of approval, even endearment. To us, a slut is a person of any gender who celebrates sexuality according to the radical proposition that sex is nice and pleasure is good for you. Sluts may choose to have solo sex or to get cozy with the Fifth Fleet. They may be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual, radical activists or peaceful suburbanites.

Our approach to a sex-positive language is to reclaim the original English words and, by using them as positive descriptors, wash them clean. Hence our adoption of the word “slut.”

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Two Definitions For The Price of One


If you’re a frequent reader, you may have noticed that a few weeks ago I wrote about a book I recently bought: The Encyclopedia of Erotic Wisdom. I had transcribed their definition of orgasm and today, I’m going to give you two more definitions. Hopefully, like last time, you’ll feel compelled to share your thoughts or your experiences when it comes to these words. Here we go…

Sexual Imprinting   The Islamic, Ishmailian “heretics”  known as Nizari Ishm’ilis were apparently masters of sexual imprinting, binding their “initiates” to them by creating an unforgettable erotic experience, using drugs and multiple sexual partners to create a kind of erotocomatose lucidity. Apart from such consciously designed imprints, most members of our species are subject to incidents of sexual imprinting of a less obvious and more unconscious type: our education and first sexual experiences. The techniques for, and the abuse of, sexual imprinting are described in detail in the works of Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson.

Hermaphrodite   The mythical figure and/or symbol that combines the God Hermes and the goddess Aphrodite into a double-sexed personality, thought it is sometimes interpreted as being neutral and nonsexual. This must not be confused with the  concept of androgyny, in which the male and female poles do not physically coexist, but are seen as existing in an integrated way on a psychological level, with repression of neither and the one complementing the other. To the ancient alchemists, the hermaphrodite represented perfection. Symbolically this image can be compared to those of the hexagram Chi Chi and the Chinese symbol of yin and yang.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

When “Feminist” Became a Bad Word

Back in September I wrote a post called When Did Being Called a Feminist Become an Insult? I didn’t really have an answer at the time, I mostly wrote about my personal musings on the questions, but after reading the first Chapter of Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth I have or rather she has an answer to the question. It might be pretty obvious to some, but she wrote about it so well, that I’m here to share it with you all:

The caricature of the Ugly Feminist was resurrected to dog the steps of the women’s movement. The caricature is unoriginal; it was coined to ridicule the feminists of the nineteenth century. Lucy Stone herself, who supporters saw as “a prototype of womanly grace… fresh and fair as the morning,” was derided by detractors with “the usual report” about Victorian feminists: “a big masculine woman, wearing boots, smoking a cigar, swearing like a trooper.” As Betty Friedan put it presciently in 1960, even before the savage revamping of that old caricature: “The unpleasant image of feminists today resembles less the feminists themselves than the image fostered by the interests who so bitterly opposed the vote for women in state after state.” Thirty years on, her conclusion is more true than ever: That resurrected caricature, which sought to punish women for their public acts by going after their private sense of self, became a paradigm for new limits placed on aspiring women everywhere. After the women’s movement’s second wave, the beauty myth was perfected to checkmate power at every level in individual women’s lives.

This book is AWESOME. I’ve only read chapter one and it has pretty much blown me away. You should all get your hands on a copy from somewhere. I borrowed mine from my neighbor. Seek it out! Spread the word!

Crossposted from Cuntlove.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Masturbation As Meditation

When I was 18 or 19, at a time in my life when I had a lot of free time on my hands (not unlike now), I had the freedom to take really long showers. The shower in the apartment I lived in at the time had really good water pressure, if you know what I mean. I realized that after getting into the habit of masturbating every morning, I found myself feeling pretty relaxed everyday. I came to the conclusion that masturbation could count as a form of self-help, stress relief, therapy, which led me to believe that everyone should masturbate at least once a day and that if everyone did we’d live in a much better world.

Betty Dodson in her book Sex for One writes about Masturbation as Meditation. As she tells it, she had started practicing transcendental meditation everyday in two twenty minute sessions. At one point, when pressed for time, she decided to incorporate her meditation mantra into her masturbation session. Instead of two twenty minute sessions a day, she would masturbate for forty minutes every night while repeating her mantra. Time saving and delightfully orgasmic. What a discovery she had made, “Now everyone will want to meditate”.

Olga Wolstenholme's picture

Bodies and Souls: The Century Project

Frank Cordelle had an idea. He took nude photographs of women whose ages spanned over a century. The first picture is of the head of a baby girl crowning through her mother’s vagina. Not quite making it to a hundred, the last picture is of a 94-year-old woman whose photograph is accompanied by the following message:

I posed so some old lady will not fear age, and some old men would know old women are not so strange. I loved the challenge of posing nude, such excitement! My husband would have said, “Some picture, kid!”

Most of the pictures are in fact accompanied by a message written by the women themselves and although I did not read the entire book, I did take a look at the excerpts on Frank’s website and let me tell you they are heartbreaking, but in a good way. My eyes literally welled up with tears. As did my neighbors eyes when I told her about the project and the stories these brave women have shared.

piecesofstring's picture

Some Thoughts on Individual Feminism/Intersectionality

This post is a discussion post for the online feminist book club started by frau sally benz of Jump Off The Bridge fame.  It's open to anyone and you can commit as little or as much as you like, participate one month or every month, write a blog, comment on blogs, or just read along with us.  It's been great so far, and the more people that get involved the better!

This month's book is bell hook's "Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center" and I am so so happy to be reading it.  I'm only 22 pages in and am already asking some serious questions concerning the whole way I view feminism.  I have to admit that I was nervous at first that the book club would spout support of intersectionality but end up reading Jessica Valenti books or something, but so far I am super impressed.  With online feminism continuing to grow and the constant introduction to new bloggers (hello!) it's great to see such a huge chunk of us really putting effort into refusing the upper class white feminist stereotype.

When I took the book club's survey, I was tempted to put Susan Brownmiller's memoir, In Our Time, on the list, because I had been in the process of reading it and was patiently waiting for her to include women of color (I can recall one sentence on WOC, and it was something like "I can't think of any movement that tried to include black women [nice that, once again, POC = black] harder than feminism.   Anyway, abortion...") or something about lesbians and other queer women that didn't mention the "Lavendar Menace" or "Lavender Herring," or you know, ANYTHING about trans or disability issues.  As a memoir of the revolution of middle class, white, able bodied, cis, straight women, it did a great job at catering to that audience, and maybe I'm rambling a little more than I should, but I'm very excited that the bookclub is not taking this direction.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Interview with Daniel Bergner, author of “The Other Side of Desire”

I was all set to dislike Daniel Bergner. As a member of the BDSM community and an advocate for greater societal acceptance of BDSM, I was unimpressed by the reviews of his new book, The Other Side of Desire. I get annoyed when I see media depictions that play into BDSM stereotypes or create other problems for the BDSM community image; it seemed to me that Bergner had written a book that did just that. At best, it sounded naïve — at worst, cynical and insensitive. I requested an interview with him, wondering whether we’d end up at each other’s throats … and then I read the book.

The Other Side of Desire is far more complex than I initially gave it credit for. There’s too much silence around alternative sexuality, and it breaks that silence — not by promoting an agenda, but with a plea for personal understanding. I found myself believing that Daniel Bergner really had done his best — not to put us deviants on display like animals in a zoo, but to give profiles of human beings thinking about human concerns. Still, there were gaps in the book that I found very troubling, and I wanted to see if he could defend them.

I arranged to meet Daniel at the Leather Archives and Museum, a museum devoted to leather / fetish / BDSM on Chicago’s north side. There, I found him looking over the Archives’ BDSM history timeline. As he greeted me, I was impressed by his measured speech and unexpectedly dark eyes. There was an openness to him — even, perhaps, a vulnerability — that didn’t come across in photographs. I could see how he’d gotten so many people to open up about their sexuality, and I warmed to him instantly.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Vote for your favorite BDSM fiction for a new Leather Archives & Museum exhibit!

Calling all READERS within the Leather / Kink / Fetish / S&M / B&D / BDSM community:

I (Clarisse) have been asked to curate a pansexual BDSM books exhibit at the Leather Archives & Museum (your friendly neighborhood BDSM museum). I know a fair bit about books, but I still need help with this question, so I've created an online poll. I'm asking everyone to send in their favorite BDSM fiction title; I'll base the exhibit on your submissions. This way, the exhibit will be firmly based within the community -- please repost this WIDELY, so that we get the most comprehensive community representation possible!

To be featured in this exhibit, a book must be FICTION and it must contain EXPLICIT BDSM.

You can vote in the poll by clicking here.

Clarisse Thorn's picture

Interview with Daniel Bergner, author of “The Other Side of Desire”

I was all set to dislike Daniel Bergner. As a member of the BDSM community and an advocate for greater societal acceptance of BDSM, I was unimpressed by the reviews of his new book, The Other Side of Desire. I get annoyed when I see media depictions that play into BDSM stereotypes or create other problems for the BDSM community image; it seemed to me that Bergner had written a book that did just that. At best, it sounded naïve — at worst, cynical and insensitive. I requested an interview with him, wondering whether we’d end up at each other’s throats … and then I read the book.

The Other Side of Desire is far more complex than I initially gave it credit for. There’s too much silence around alternative sexuality, and it breaks that silence — not by promoting an agenda, but with a plea for personal understanding. I found myself believing that Daniel Bergner really had done his best — not to put us deviants on display like animals in a zoo, but to give profiles of human beings thinking about human concerns. Still, there were gaps in the book that I found very troubling, and I wanted to see if he could defend them.

I arranged to meet Daniel at the Leather Archives and Museum, a museum devoted to leather / fetish / BDSM on Chicago’s north side. There, I found him looking over the Archives’ BDSM history timeline. As he greeted me, I was impressed by his measured speech and unexpectedly dark eyes. There was an openness to him — even, perhaps, a vulnerability — that didn’t come across in photographs. I could see how he’d gotten so many people to open up about their sexuality, and I warmed to him instantly.

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