Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Thursday, August 31, 2006


Originally uploaded by rkb1.
One of my greatest accomplishments this week has been something I'm sure even a monkey could do, but I'm slow and stubborn and so just now figured out how to make a set on Flickr. Expert more soon, including (finally!) my Costa Rica photos, but for now, here are a few photos from the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair. These goats (they are goats, right?) were right next to me as I ate lunch. It was so strange to be back there as a real adult and realize that in a few years, hopefully, I will be bringing my own kids there.

I went to the fair every summer when I was little, and I thought it was the most exciting things. This year I was with a mishmash of family and went on a Ferris wheel and wandered around but didn't try to win any stuffed animals. We also saw a modified chainsaw competition (!) and there were these family friends and their high school-age kids and this girl asked me what college I go to. I was half flattered, half flustered, and responded, "I'm old, I'm 30." It was pretty funny. Now that I only have a little time left before I turn 31, I think I've finally settled into this age and I kindof like it. I am old, not in the my-life-is-over sense, but in the sense that I want totally different things than I did for most of my 20s. And maybe, just maybe, I'm going to get some of them.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Adventures in book covers: She's Not the Man I Married

She's Not the Man I Married

She's Not the Man I Married

Speaking of Seal Press editor Brooke Warner, here's the cover of a 2007 book she edited that I'm really looking forward to reading. It's by Helen Boyd, (en)gender blogger and author of My Husband Betty. (who, scheduling permitting, might be reading at In The Flesh for January's erotic memoir night)


Sex-positive chicks take over the world

Much good news this week from various friends who are out there kicking ass.

Photo by Brian Van

First was the news that Audacia Ray just signed a book deal with Seal Press for Naked on the Internet, where she'll work with the super-talented and awesome Brooke Warner. In Audacia's words:

It’s about female sexuality and the internet and will be cover the wide range of ways that women experience and explore their sexualities online: camming, chatting and making websites; dating, hooking up and forming friendships; sex blogging; watching, modeling for and producing porn; sex worker advertising and networking; as wives and girlfriends of partners who indulge in sexual activities online; sexual health and online support communities; and technology that enables physical sexual encounters.

Click on the link above and contact her if "you're a lady and use the internet for any of the[se] purpose."

Violet Blue enjoying a cupcake at Cupcake Royale

Also in major sex writing news, Fleshbotess, blogger, and Best Women's Erotica editor (among many other things) Violet Blue will be the new sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. All I have to say is: people, this is HUGE! Major bigtime congratulations to Violet, whose first column debuts September 21st. Also a shoutout to Paul Sarkis, who told Violet, by way of congratulations, "You can't see me but I'm totally lifting up my shirt and flashing my erect man-nipples at you!"

Book review: Mortician Diaries by June Knights Nadle

Mortician Diaries: The Dead-Honest Truth from a Life Spent with Death

Mortician Diaries: The Dead-Honest Truth from a Life Spent with Death

I just read a small but really powerful book, a memoir and case studies of a woman's life as a mortician. It was truly moving and I posted this review on Amazon. I recommend it for people looking for something not so much lighthearted but insightful to read, and anyone interested in the topic of death (but I swear the book is life-affirming). Also it's short (it's actually only 135 pages, I believe, not 212), so is good for those of us with little time to indulge in books (though I always make time, even when things are nuts, as they have been recently). Perhaps I'll try to interview her, though I'm trying to curb that "loved book, must interview author" impulse because I just have to get on the ball a little, but I think she'd have some interesting things to say.

You might not expect a memoir by an eighty-year-old woman to deal with topics such as gang warfare, AIDS, racism, unplanned pregnancies, and feminism, but this one does. You also might not expect a book called Mortician Diaries to be anything but morbid, but Nadle possesses the gift of bringing her over 50-year-long career as a mortician and her lust for life to the page. She's the kind of woman who visits cemeteries when she travels, to see how different cultures treat the dead. She uses phrases like "death care industry" and urges readers to create a "dialogue on death," but never lapses into a cold, analytical account. Every page is bursting with humanity, with people who are learning how to grieve in their own way. This book is as much about psychology as it is about death.

June Nadle's Mortician's Diaries offer a rare, heartfelt, and wonderfully honest insight into the "highlights" of the career of a lifelong mortician, capturing some of the most emotionally intense and interesting stories from her years working with death. The grandmotherly Nadle doesn't shy away from the subject, and encourages her readers to openly confront and discuss death, not in an obsessive, morbid way, but to gain closure and be as prepared as possible when the time comes, even though sometimes death catches us anawares. She offers case studies, such as an elderly woman who planned every detail of her own funeral to the story of a mother clinging to her newly-dead baby, unable to accept his death despite the blood soaking his tiny body, until Nadle speaks to her mother to mother and allows her to see that her older children also need her to be present for them. Nadle does not judge her clients, but offers psychological insights into why denial rears its head and how natural it is. In "The Mother Who Risked Her Life to Grieve," Nadle tells of one service, after a gang-related drive-by shooting, that's interrupted by bullets, and the following day the trip to the ceremony is made along with patrol cars flanking the mourners.

Her case studies are fascinating, and showcase a wide swath of humanity, across cultures and relationships. Friends, lovers, husbands, wives, parents, and children mourn for those they've lost as well as grapple with their sometimes conflicted relationships with the deceased. Nadle allows each of them to work their way toward mourning rather than pushing a socially-approved agenda or timeline onto them. She handles each one with dignity and compassion, and clearly attempts to understand the often-painful mix of emotions the bereaved feel.

As someone who's always tried to escape talking about death, especially when it comes to my most loved ones, I welcomed Nadle's approach. She has seen deaths of humans and animals, often under horrific, or simply human, circumstances, and offers a brief glimpse into her wisdom and, most of all, her heart. By reading of the many who did not appreciate their loved ones during life, whether the parents who shunned their gay sons who later died of AIDS, or the father who berated his little girl for, well, not being a boy, only regretting this when she was killed by a passing car at age four, to the father who sent his 17-year-old pregnant daughter away and made her feel ashamed, one gains an appreciation for one's own family. Nadle reminds us that it's not just life versus death, but about the quality of one's life that matters. She writes: "As humans, we have the unique ability to pause, to reflect, to acknowledge life, and to be reminded of our own mortal natures. In addition to our grief, death brings us the opportunity to reassess our own lives as well as our relationships so we can vow (maybe again) to make changes we see are needed." She offers various examples of how funerals can be conducted and the value they provided to the surviving family and friends.

Though this book will most likely bring tears to your eyes, it's not solemn or overly sad, but instead is about, as she would have it, a celebration of life and all that's in it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Cancer Blows benefit comedy show this Friday

From the fabulous Sara Schaefer comes news about a benefit show on Friday. It's only $10 and has a fabulous lineup, and it's for a good cause!

A Comedy Show to Benefit Breast Cancer Research

Friday September 1 @ 9:30 p.m.
There will be an auction too!

Tickets are $10
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction
34 Avenue A (2nd and 3rd St.)
Call or visit the Mo Pitkin's box office at (212) 777-5660
F or V to Second Ave.

Michael Showalter
Baron Vaughn
Amanda Melson
Jacqueline Novak
Mike Barry
Adira Amram
Matt McCarthy
Jon Friedman
Justin Purnell

The proceeds from the show will be going to the Avon Foundation. I am sponsoring a walker in the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer taking place in NYC on Oct 7-8. The walk is 36 miles! (I cannot attend the event this year but can tell you from my past experience as a walker that it is amazing and the Avon Foundation does great things for breast cancer research and also for charities that help low-income individuals suffering from breast cancer!)

As many of you know, my mom has been fighting and conquering breast cancer for the past 2 years. She has gone through three surgeries, two rounds of chemo, and one round of radiation. She's had a very difficult fight but I am so happy to say she's pretty much beat the crap out of that cancer. But if you're reading this email, chances are you know someone who has had, or is currently having, their own fight with breast cancer. So it's not only a personal cause because I know that without the advances made in research my mom would have had it much worse, but also a larger one because I know that every three seconds another woman is diagnosed with breast cancer.

There are lots of cancers out there and lots of causes but I say any little bit helps! If you'd like to donate, please go here, to my friend Melissa's donation page.

From the Editors interview, Stacy Boyd, Editor, Harlequin

Mediabistro From the Editors interview, Stacy Boyd, Editor, Harlequin

I've got the next few From the Editors wrapped up, thankfully, but if you know of any editors/imprints/houses that might be good for the series that haven't been profiled, please let me know. I've got great ones coming up in September with Richard Nash of Soft Skull Press and Julie Bennett of Ten Speed Press.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

song of the day/week/month

The lyrics don't really do it justice, but it is a fabulous song. I am having the week from hell, and am very tempted to spend my 4 day weekend curled up catching up on sleep. But first gotta make it through to the weekend.

"Can't Lose Them All" by Kim Richey

I got good luck in my pocket
and a good shine on my shoes
I got a silk shirt in my closet
that I'm not afraid to use
A little fortune cookie told me
help is on the way
the tables may be turning
it could happen any day 'cause
You can't lose them all
you can't lose them all
no you can't lose them all
I could go down in history
I could go up in smoke
could be the center of attention
or the butt of every joke
But everytime I get shot down
I justify the risk
because I come a little closer
to a hit with every miss
You can't lose them all
you can't lose them all
no you can't lose them all
Outside my window there's a blue horizon
but it seems so far away
a ray of hope that I can keep my eyes on
If I'm playing on the B-team
or I'm sitting on the bench
it ain't for lack of trying
or a lack of confidence
When I reach my full potential
when somebody gets my drift
the stars are gonna line up
and the tides are gonna shift 'cause
You can't lose them all
you can't lose them all
no you can't lose them all

Interviewees needed: Blondes/brunettes/redheads/hair color fetishists, and sluts and manwhores

I need to interview people for 2 different pieces; the hair color one is for the Voice, and some of you may have responded last year. I am resurrecting this idea, but I don't to just hear "one time I slept with a blonde and it was hot" or whatever. I want to talk to people who only or primarily are attracted to/date/sleep with people with a certain hair color. All genders/sexual orientations; in fact, if your hair color fetish crosses genders, even better.

Do you only sleep with (or are only attracted to) blondes, brunettes or redheads? Why? What has happened when you've hooked up with people not having that hair color (if applicable)? Why does that particular hair color do it for you? What qualities do you think people with that hair color possess that people without it don't? And anything else you want to say about a given hair color. It could also be from your pov as dating/sleeping with someone who's into you and has a hair color preference. Send all responses along with name, age, location, sexual orientation to rachelkb at by Friday, September 1st.

For Penthouse Forum, I'm doing a story on the "slut stigma," and whether there still is one, for both men and women (for this one, primarily looking at straight people). In your opinion, how many people does a person have to have slept with to be a "slut?" Is there such a thing as a male "slut" and is he treated the same as a female "slut?" Have you ever felt a stigma for acting too "slutty?" (Especially want to talk to guys who say "yes"). And by "slutty," I don't just mean number of sexual partners, but maybe a certain act that was deemed slutty or the way/place it was done or whatever.

Email: rachelkb at and include as much of your story as you think is relevant (the more detailed, the better), along with your name (or pseudonym), age, location, and sexual orientation by September 15th.

Backstage at Take This Job and Shove It

Last week I got to meet the fabulous photographer Anya Garrett, who, among other things, takes such wonderful promo photos of Brandy Barber and Sara Jo Allocco for their show The Kissing Booth. She took this one of me backstage at D-Lounge plus some other really fun ones. Check out her portrait gallery and her NYC comedy gallery at

My awesome and sexy friends

I was so excited to see my friends Molly Crabapple and Baron Vaughn (yes, he is on Coke Zero commercials, but you can also catch him all over town doing comedy...and November 15th at Comic Sex Night at In The Flesh, hopefully in a killer British accent) named as two of "The 25 Sexiest New Yorkers" by The New York Post. Congratulations!

photo by Brian Van

Molly Crabapple

Age: 22

Resides: Williamsburg

Occupation: illustrator

Crabapple's a part-time burlesque dancer who draws in an erotic, whimsical, Victorian style for newspapers and magazines. "I do really like drawing naked chicks and naked guys," she says. "It's so fun to be able to put down on paper those dirty thoughts you get when you see a chick, and no one will punch you for it."

photo by Semyon

Baron Vaughn

Age: 25

Resides: Astoria

Occupation: comedian

Vaughn, whom you may recognize from a current Coke Zero commercial, has gigs all over town. But when it comes to meeting girls, he takes nothing for granted. "I'm kind of bad at reading signs. I just assume, 'Oh, she's just being nice.' And then I'll find out later on that I had a chance."

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Adventures in book covers: I Was a Teenage Popsicle

I Was a Teenage Popsicle

I Was a Teenage Popsicle


Saturday, August 26, 2006

not a total bitch

and yeah I know this has to end 'cause you're just in it for the win
I feel it every time I see you walk through the door

– the reputation, “for the win”

"I'm not a total bitch, you know," I whisper into the phone, feeling all the more stealthy by the muffled words. It’s 9:30, maybe, on a phone that rings for me maybe once a week. I’m caught off guard but I quickly go into full attention-paying mode. I don't have time to ponder the surreal nature of that sentence that time, so caught up in the drama, the need to prove that it’s true and, well, an understatement. Funny in that anyone possibly overhearing it would wonder at my need to clarify. Yet I do, to make sure he knows, somehow, to make sure I know. I’m not, right? And yet I don’t doubt myself for a second. My whole body softens, as does my hurt. It doesn’t go away, but it becomes less solid, liquefies enough to move around, maybe away from my heart, spread out, thin a little.

Any friend would tell me I shouldn't care; I see it on their faces, whether they say it outright or not, this look of disbelief that I might even deign to need that approval, even a smidgen. I can’t be quite as blase. “You’re better than him,” I can hear them thinking. I hear that a lot, there are a lot of “him”s, and I start to hate that phrase. I don’t want to be better than anyone, don’t want to be so off-kilter that there I am, my heart not just on my sleeve but falling out of my body, on a diamond-plated tray. It’s like I can’t even pay someone to take it, but that’s okay. I stop thrusting it out there, shoving it, training it like a child on a leash, tugging it back in in in until it’s safely locked away—until next time. It’s so abrupt though, and in a second, whether it’s the voice on the phone or a name haunting me, I’m there, again, before things fell apart. Before I had to clarify whether I’m a total bitch or not. I’m naked with the hot water running over my hands. There are only a few dishes but they’re mine, my suds, my hands, my smile, and I’m only half-joking when I later ask if I can come back again to wash more. If I really thought the answer would be no, I never would’ve asked.

But there’s another Reputation line from the most dead-on song of them all, “this town,” that goes “same stupid mistake I always make,” and again, that’s me, to a T. I alter the mistakes only slightly, convincing myself it’s different because of x, y, or z. Oh, he does Habitat for Humanity, surely he won’t push the tray back or knock it to the ground. Or just turn around and walk away. We’re fuck buddies, nothing more, nothing less, so of course we can maintain that. We live thousands of miles away. I think I’m low maintenance but apparently not. I’m too much, too too too, always.
By that point, when I’m in the “overwhelming” stage, too ready, too eager, too many cards and thoughts and dreams.

I wonder if they're disappointed in me, in how strong I can be in some areas and how weak in others. And I admit it, I am weak. I want him to know that I'm a good person, even though that plea should really be going in reverse. Because for me no matter what comes after, there's always part of me that's the girl in the bed, in the middle of saying yes, stuck there like a time warp. I can write it down or not but it’s there in slow motion, the good, the bad and the utterly stupid. Even one night can haunt me and it's not that I have any what-if-could've-should've regrets, it's more that in that stand-alone moment in time, I felt like I wasn't sludging through my thirties, taking plodding step after plodding step into middle (old) age. I was leaping, dancing, prancing even. It was the beginning, not the end, and it has nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. It was the subway in the morning, packed on the 6 even worse than my loser train, which I thought was impossible. But it was okay because I could hold on, get a kiss on the forehead, be a few minutes late for some walk of shame shopping. Not even really a hangover. I go back to that happy place because , well, in part, I have no choice. My brain calls it up, and I'm there on the train, tired, but in a good way, not caring about anything else beyond our little bubble.

And the saddest part is even now, much as I know I’m better off, there’s still that bit of jealousy. I think I’m okay and I feel it and have to say, “Let’s move over here” or “I have to leave now.” I have to walk those tricky lines of friendship vs. not, and I wish I could just be a total bitch, not for the sake of being one, but because then I wouldn’t care. But I do. I say the one most incongruous word because it’s what I would say to anyone else. It’s funny, but also not. Will anyone ever be congratulating me? Will I ever be the one picked over someone else? It’s pathetic, this wanting something simply because you can’t have it. It’s not real, because were that choice offered to me, I would turn it down cold. Or at least I tell myself that to try to feel all 30 years old mature, not teenager lovesick. I go back to the scene(s) of the crime(s), sometimes literally, and if I turn my back a certain way, I can look at a different view, can erase those random nights, random cabs, random beds, at least enough to get through whatever I need to get through. But there’s still a part of me that thinks “working on myself” means trying to fix whatever flaws they saw, even though I know it doesn’t work that way.

It’s not rational, I’m aware. I don’t know which would be better in some utopian world, not to care at all, or to keep striving, to want that approval for my own twisted reasons. But better or not, I do. Something like serenity, that most elusive of states, washes over me. I like phone call 2 way better than number 1. I’m not shaking, I’m even laughing a little. It’s in jokes and silliness and knowing that it’ll be okay, not just for me but for him too. And that I care. I can’t not, and I guess, when it comes down to it, I’d rather be the girl who’s sometimes crying or angry, with all the drama and ups and downs and whirlwind of emotions, than to be still and silent and cold. It would be easier on many levels, certainly, to just meet the madness of those feelings with a blank stare, a wall, a sealed barrier that doesn’t let anything in. But I’ve met those people, or, worse, ones who offer one face but have a different one just under the surface. They scare me, or just confuse me; I have no idea how to react because it’s all right there with me. Sometimes I try to hide it, I wait til after the phone call ends to cry into my pillow, but even so, I can’t tuck my heart back in. It’s there, there, always. It’s Dorothy Parker waiting for the phone to ring, it’s Elizabeth Elmore singing “almost blue.” It’s the way it is and I’m just stuck with it. But it could be worse; at least I’m not a total bitch.


More procrastination

I deleted whatever rambling idiocy I had posted last night. Long story short: I need to get with the program and start doing what makes me happy. I talk a good game about "being a writer" but the reality is I cut corners, I sleep in and stumble to work and then go home and want to vegetate. And sometimes, that's fine, but not every day, not when things are overdue. But I also have to learn to set limits and take cues from my much more savvy, business-minded, persevering friends, cause they know what they're doing. Just read this in this book by Laurie Seale, The Questions to Ask Before You Jump Into Bed, which I'm finally reading as I settle into a period where I will hopefully not be in anyone's bed for a good long while. First it was the summer I needed for myself, and I feel like I haven't really gotten all that I wanted to do this summer done. And it's weird to basically refuse sex, especially with people I am highly attracted to and really adore and wish I could be with. But since I can't, it just seems rather pointless. I've put off booking my California trip, which I really need to do next week, in part because I know it'll be a massive challenge to me to try to be friends with people who, in other circumstances, I'd love to have their babies. But alas, I have certainly learned that I'm not the girl people look at and see "baby-maker." That's for everyone else, and that's okay. I can do it myself someday, if need be, even though everyone is saying no no no no. Okay, I'll wait. Despite myself, I can be a little patient. So anyway, the passage reads:

Only you know full well the emotional price you pay when you don't follow your dreams, your aspirations, your needs.

That really could not be more true. More than however many hundreds of thousands of dollars I will pay to Sallie Mae, it's still that price that kills me, that makes me want to curl up and go in some hole and never emerge. It's pre-emptive failure, not even trying because I'm so scared of the consequences. I've done that for what feels like forever, and taking a chance is such a tough risk, I don't know if I will ever know how to do it, but I've gotten learn, and soon.

Friday, August 25, 2006


This is just some very general advice from a girl who may or may not know what she's talking about. But since people seem to think I do, I will just say that doing your own research is really important, in my opinion. Don't rely on someone else to find you an agent, or a publisher, or a life, or a boyfriend or girlfriend, or a this or a that. But mainly in terms of the writing stuff. First of all, it's lazy. Second of all, I think, and I am probably wrong about this, but I still think that the harder you personally work for something, the more you'll be rewarded.*

And it's not like you can't look into things yourself. It's the Internet people, it's all there, pretty much. There are a TON of author, publisher, and agent blogs, the latter of which I find endlessly fascinating. I just discovered Rachel Vater's blog and devoured all the information. If I sound bitter, it's more that I'm just tired, and have been a slacker supreme lately. I don't wake up early and write, and I don't write when I get home. I just lie there against the pillow and somehow think the words will magically leap out from my brain to some screen to some editor. Barbara Demarco-Barrett is so smart. She wrote this fabulous book Pen on Fire and doesn't check email in the mornings, but instead, writes. Now, I love email, but it's such an easy crutch. Oh, I have to answer this one email, and by the time you do, three more have piled up and you remember this person and that person you have to write to immediately. It's funny, because on those rare occasions I actually allow myself to sit down, browser off, Word on, and just go, my fingers fly. But still, twenty years later, I'm still petrified of failing. Of blank screen and clumsy words and being wrong. I'd rather pre-empt the failure by not even trying, and that, I must say, is such a tough routine to break out of.

*continued here (I realize this post is a bit rambly, but whatever, too tired to make it more coherent) Maybe I have to think that after the last 7 years, from leaving law school until now, because if that's not true, I might as well quit. I didn't do my research at the beginning. I just said yes yes yes to everything, cause I wanted to be in, I wanted to be part of things, I wanted to be an "author." That's one way to do it, and sometimes you're so broke and stuck in a day job and just hungry to be doing something, anything, that you agree to whatever. You write for free, a lot, you don't plan ahead at all, you just go from one thing to another utterly aimlessly. I'm talking about myself here, because I still do. I try to say yes to everything and then I can't live up to my own promises. Hello, lifelong pattern.

But ultimately, I am trying to learn and grown and be an adult. To not fuck up, but to not overcommit. To believe in myself. It's so fucking easy to let other people steer you down the wrong path. To believe the naysayers, to agree even when your stomach turns over. There are sharks and snakes and people who just don't have your best interest at heart, but ultimately, I think that's such a personal thing. Yes, ask questions, but I am kindof through trying to do anything but dig myself out of these self-dug holes. I need to keep my eyes on the $80,000 prize, because I want babies, I want a life, I want to be free. I don't just want to be the girl who failed. And I know, I have done a lot, I've worked my ass off in ways I never could've imagined sitting in that law school feeling like a complete idiot. Now, even at its roughest, deep deep down, I know I can do it. Will I? is another question, but can I? Yes. In law school, I think deep down I didn't think I could. I felt like the answers were floating just over my head and I couldn't see a way to grasp onto them. This life is tough, and I'm tough on myself, I know that. Lately I crash so hard, and wake up in a panic, and run around until I just want to somehow pulverize myself and start over as someone else. Yet I also know that even if that were an option, it would be the easy way out. The hard way, but the real, human, honest, challenging as fuck way, is to work through it. To do my best but keep striving to be better. To never ever be complacent or ungrateful. To learn how to say no, early and often, over and over and over, often to myself. To not be so needy and grabby and wanting, yet to not give up. That's a balancing act I haven't learned yet, but I'm trying. All this to say that no, I have no fucking clue how to help anyone else, I just don't. I'm maxed out and have to start really taking care of myself. It's funny because I'm surrounded by babies, and lately I think about so much in terms of being a mom someday, and yet I treat myself like shit. And I need to work on that before everything. I think I do that and then I want someone else to swoop in and take care of me in all the ways I don't, and that's wrong. I see that, and I'm just trying. Day to day, serenity prayer and all that. It's funny because it's not about drinking anymore for me, but serenity? I'm not even close. I feel like it's too easy to always choose accepting what I can't change, to defaulting to that, rather than learning from my really brilliant friends about how to change even the things that seem impossible to change. I'm so complacent sometimes it makes me want to scream.

So yeah, I am really not your go-to girl for advice. I'm lucky, and have stumbled into many fabulous opportunities. And I do work my ass off, but I'm really one of those people who just work a lot, but don't work smarter. I don't have the business sense or the perseverance or the guts I see in my friends, who can cold call and bargain and haggle and who believe their worth X dollars per word. I'm still so awestruck at everything that I'm like, oh, a penny a paragraph, yes please. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but close. And yet, even as I type that, part of me knows that I will never be totally mercenary. There will always be things I would, and probably will write for free. I know, I should not type that publicly, should not say or admit that, and yet, it's there. It's true. I'm such a fan I just can't help it. But maybe it's about balance, not the either/or, not the self-hatred. Carolita Johnson called rejection "Vitamin R" and I love that. I need to learn from the rejectees to be a little more gracious and believe in myself, so that when those slings and arrows come, especially the ones that start from inside, I can deflect them with a smile on my face.

Win a copy of Ultimate Undies at Saucypanties

The blog Saucypanties is giving away a signed copy (by me) of Ultimate Undies: Erotic Stories About Underwear and Lingerie.

In other news, just saw the cover for the book I am desperately trying to finish in the next few days, Second Skin: Erotic Stories About Leather and Latex. I think that's the final title, but I'm more concerned about getting the damn thing OVER AND OUT. Ugh. It'll be good when it's done I'm sure but right now it's just a bit maddening. If you submitted to this anthology, please be patient. Nothing is more annoying that people writing in to check on their submissions (and believe me, I know how hard it is to be patient as I bite my nails and wait for editors to get back to me). I'm one of the least patient people EVER, so this summer has been a huge lesson in learning to just fucking deal with waiting what feels like interminably.

"Life and Times of a Sex Writer" at TES, September 19th

I'm speaking at TES again on September 19th. Fingers crossed that Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2 will be in my hands by then; I'd love to spank someone with it! Well, I'd just love to have it, though my mind is on projects way far ahead of that one, but still, every time a book is actually completed and printed, I am super excited. So many have fallen through the cracks or just had problems and never made it to that stage that every time, I practically want to kiss the pretty, shiny book covers. Plus this one is almost 300 pages and is so so hot and fun and creative, I can't wait for spanking fans to check it out. The TES site says this goes from 7:30 until 11 (!!!). I certainly hope not. I am trying to be a homebody and rarely stay out that late on a school night, plus I have In The Flesh the next night, but anyway, I will be there and hopefully have something to say about being a writer.

As for "sex writer," well, yes, sometimes I am that, but I think like a lot of writers, anything before "writer" feels cloying and claustrophobic, fake and destructive in some way. It's a label, and sometimes it's accurate, but like most labels, I think it winds up being more confining than useful, for me anyway. I want to be able to write about books, cupcakes, music, gossip, babies, sleep, clothes, hair, politics, cleavage, friendship, etc. And I do. The sex writing is one thing I do, a major thing, yes, but I guess I shy away from that because that's really all it is, a job, a task, one I sometimes enjoy and try to be proud of, but it is not my entire life or identity. I think that's the crux of the problem with the Carrie Bradshaw label on anyone; it's a small part of a larger whole and just doesn't do that whole justice. So I guess that gives me something to discuss at TES! And an excuse to wear my "spank me" panties which have yet to be worn, if I can locate them.

September 19, 7:30 pm
Rachel writes the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice, is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, and hosts the monthly In The Flesh Erotic Reading Series. She will talk about editing her spanking erotica collections, Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2, her own spanking experiences, and crafting kinky, hot erotica and be available for questions on these topics.
260 W. 36th St., 3rd Floor
$4 for members/ $8 for non-members

Labels: ,

Dana "D-Nasty" Vachon's Mergers and Acquisitions

The new Riverhead catalog (which is also online or available as a PDF) has some fun info, including a book tie-in site a la Anonymous Lawyer author Jeremy Blachman's, about what I think is the biggest blogger book deal yet, Dana "D-Nasty" Vachon's $650,000 for two novels, the first being Mergers and Acquisitions, which comes out in April 2007. From the catalog (font oddness courtesy of Riverhead, not me, and note Dana hasn't lost his sense of humor with his bio):

is the story of Tommy
Quinn, a recent Georgetown grad who has just
landed the job of his dreams as an investment
banker at J. S. Spenser, and the perfect girl,
Frances Sloan, the daughter of one of New York’s
oldest moneyed families. As he travels from
the most exclusive ball rooms of the Racquet
and Tennis Club to the stuffiest boardrooms of
J. S. Spenser, from the golf links of Piping Rock
to the bedrooms of Park Avenue, and from the
debauched yacht of a Mexican billionaire to the
Ritalin-strewn prep-school dorm room of his
younger brother, he finds that the job and the
girl are not what they once seemed.
Sharply written, fast-paced, and bitingly wit-
is a compulsively read-
able story of Manhattan’s young, ambitious, and
wealthy. Set against the backdrop of money, lust,
power, corruption, cynicism, energy, and ex-
citement that is Wall Street, it is suffused with an
authenticity that only an author who lives in that
world can provide. A former investment banker
at J. P. Morgan, Vachon offers an insider’s point
of view on the financial scene, and he
knows the moneyed turf of Manhattan
inside out.
I wound up on Wall Street more through contacts than merit.
an early admission: I got accepted into the training program
at J. S. Spenser through my father, brian Quinn, a squat man
with a broad, freckled, forever smiling face, who was not too
many generations removed from his potato-farming Irish
progenitors. In three decades he had traveled from the
lower-middle-class sprawl of long Island to the lower-up-
per-class ennui of Westchester (bronxville, to be geograph-
ically exact). I grew up in a large white house on a large
hill full of green oaks, silver range rovers, and chocolate
labradors. my father is partner in a small law firm that you
have never heard of—tullis, Schacter & Scott. he ended up
there after failing to make partner at a large law firm that
you most likely have heard of—cravath, Swaine & moore.
he was a litigator, and by most accounts a very good one,
and after eight years at cravath had been told by many that
he was certain to make partner. but something went wrong,
and of the four remaining associates from his class he was
the only one to be politely asked to leave at age thirty-nine,
after giving his best decade to the most prestigious law firm
in manhattan. no matter how well he did after cravath, it
was never well enough, because his thirst for the trappings
of success was always greater than his success. So it was a
painful and selfless act, bordering on love, when he mined
his buried cravath connections to help me land at a major
bank, despite a Georgetown transcript notable only for its
Gpa of pi.

a StylISh and hIlarIouS novel
about the lIveS and loveS of Well-to-do
younG manhattanIteS In theIr fIrSt year on Wall Street,
deStIned to become one of the year’S
moSt buzzed-about debutS.

DAnA VAcHOn was born in Greenwich, Connecticut, and raised in Chappaqua, New York. He attended Duke University, graduating, as he claims, “cum nihilo” in 2002. Following graduation, Vachon landed a job at J. P. Morgan as an analyst and began work on this novel. His writing has appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Men’s Vogue, The New York Times, and Salon. He lives in New York City.

Blowfish recommends Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z

I'm SO thrilled that the very selective and classy online sex toy retailer has chosen my anthology Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z as a recommended pick. You can now buy it and a few other Pretty Things Press titles from Blowfish. Woo-hoo!

Twenty-eight stories (one for each letter of the alphabet, plus two bonus tales) that feature one of our favorite naughty acts (though what naughty act isn't one of our favorites?): spanking! From sweet over-the-knee spankings to full-on BDSM scenes, from stories about being spanked (and wanked) during a doctor's visit to stories featuring a steaming hot husband and wife caning scene (followed by a spanking, fear not), these stories run the gamut of spanking scenes, with lots of sex thrown in to make each one fresh and hot hot hot! If spanking is one of your favorite things, this just might be your must-have anthology. Recommended!


Two Rachels eating cupcakes

Taken at the recent wedding of my friends Kambri and Christian. The wedding was lovely and the cupcakes quite delicious.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Latest Lusty Lady column, "Keeping Married Sex Hot"

"Keeping Married Sex Hot"
Reddened cheeks, damp panties, and bedroom bliss

Labels: ,

Burgers and Cupcakes gets political

free cupcake
Originally uploaded by .bandit.
My friend says, "I should get more than one cupcake, I hate Bush more than anyone."

Burgers and Cupcakes

If anyone tries it, let me know how it goes.

Picnic. Saturday. Be there.

Visit for instructions/details.

Okay, you will have to click through for the hunger-inducing cupcake and hoagie photos. We're bringing the cupcakes, you bring the sandwiches (though if you also wanted to bring some cupcakes, we'd probably make out with you be really grateful.)

August 26, 2006 @ 1PM
WHERE: Near The Picnic House @ Prospect Park, Brooklyn

Haters out in full force

Haters is clearly not just a book by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez.

This is an exchange I just had with someone:

Obviously, like any blog reading, it's optional, so I highly suggest you unsubscribe from it. I would never want people to "have" to read anything I write. Contact Amazon or just click "block all posts," like you would with any other Amazon plog you did not want to read.

On 8/24/06, Judy wrote:
> Please no more messages on the amazon plog. Your picture seeen over and over
> is a real turn-off. Thank you

She was basically saying, "Please stop posting on your blog. I don't want to read it anymore." Um, yeah.

Or Diane Saltzberg's encounter with "Mr. Sensitive" on JDate. (via JDaters Anonymous)

For me, the hardest part is not internalizing it. I grew up so eager to please and wanting everyone to be happy that it's my first instinct to try to placate these people. "Oh, you don't like my Amazon posts, I'll stop." You'd pretty much have to die to please everyone, or never say or day a single thing, because every action is bound to offend someone. But for me to feel sane, my answer can't just be "fuck everyone else's opinion," because there are plenty of people whose opinions I do care about and I don't want to live a completely lonely existence. So balancing and learning and growing are what I'm all about lately. Spending most of my time outside of work on my own, in my head, with occasional bouts of sociability, but lately, I just can't do the piling on eventeventeventevent madness I used to. It makes me want to scream or cry or, most of all, escape. I love the solitude of having my own place and don't think I could give it up. I need it, but just as fervently I need the interaction I have with my friends and family, the hours-long phone calls, the goofy comedy shows, the little things that wind up meaning more to me than anything. And I guess dealing with haters is just part of life but I really try hard to stay above that level myself, to try to write about and interact with and surround myself with people who inspire me. It's easy to flock to people who can bring me down, who embody all of my own worst qualities and flaws and neuroses, because I can commiserate and understand that. I'm drawn to it, for sure, like a magnet, but I try to aspire to better things than being my own worst enemy, and that's all I can really do lately. Try. Aspire. Hope. Work. I can't do it all and I'm realizing that, I fail every single day, but I also, hopefully, also succeed.

Sex Stories We Don't Tell

Jeffrey Yamaguchi (of 52 Projects and 52 Projects fame) has been blogging at SMIThmag and asked for my thoughts about "Sex Stories We Don't Tell:

People also fail to realize that whatever you do put out there is never the whole story. I’m very open about my sex life but there are other topics I’m not as quick to blog or write about for public consumption, and because for many people it’s the opposite, I think it sometimes comes across as me not having anything I keep hidden. I have plenty of friendships and relationships that I don’t write about, either because I don’t feel like it or the nuances wouldn’t make sense beyond the confines of my specific relationship with that person. And when I write about a sexual encounter with someone, the person whose opinion I most care about is that person. I was really honored that the porn director I wrote about in that passage was really excited about and pleased with what I wrote and how I captured that moment. That’s very important to me.

Also check out Jeff's very intense and brave post about his prostate exam.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

He's on Top and She's on Top on Amazon for pre-order

Even though they currently say He's the Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission and She's the Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission, there's something thrilling about seeing my name and titles, especially with these that I came up with all on my own, on Amazon (due out in February 2007). I can't wait until I can share the SUPER HOT covers with you. They do everything a cover should, and I'm sure will make people pick up the books, even if they don't think they're into kinky erotica. I'm so proud of and excited about these books because they make BDSM come alive and really showcase the intensity of the relationships, and the sex, between people. More details and excerpts when I have them. launches

For the romance novel (and/or contest) lovers... just launched:

You can win one of many shopping sprees from Saks worth up to $1,000! And be sure to check out the other amazing prizes, including:

An in-person meeting with an Avon editor;
A $5,000 Fox TV development deal;
Plus Borders Gift Cards, signed copies of Avon books, and galley copies for upcoming books months in advance of release dates
If you sign up today, you can vote on your favorite Story Premise which will decide the overall direction of our novella.

Starting September 7th, each week you will be able to write and submit chapters, vote on player submissions, and discuss everything that's happening in the forums.

Plus, chapters from the weekly winners will be included in an Avon FanLit e-book.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

September 20th = "Revenge of the Sex Columnists"

I finalized the lineup for the most crowded, media-centric In The Flesh yet. I read some hate mail when I was on The Rejection Show and will probably be doing so again and as for everyone else, come and see!

(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

Hear your favorite sex columnists tell all—from horror stories to hate mail to come-ons and sexcapades! With Julia Allison (“The Dating Life,” AM NY), Nicole Beland (“Ask the Girl Next Door,” Men’s Health), Erin Bradley (“Miss Information,”, Ellen Friedrichs (, Greg Gilderman (“The Dating Life,” Metro), Laura Leu (“Sex Diary,” Penthouse), Stephanie Sellars (“Lust Life,” New York Press), and Jamye Waxman (“Sex Ed,” Playgirl), and your host, Rachel Kramer Bussel (“Lusty Lady,” The Village Voice). Books and magazines, as well as candy and mini cupcakes, will be given away.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by Village Voice sex columnist and acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Future themed nights include Revenge of the Sex Columnists (September), comic sex (November) and erotic memoirs. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Lily Burana, Jessica Cutler, Polly Frost, Andy Horwtiz, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Edith Layton, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from Escape (Hong Kong), The L Magazine, New York, Gothamist, and Wonkette. This series is not Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending Reading Series.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York City-based author and editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations, writes the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice, and conducts interviews for and Her erotic stories have appeared in over 60 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she’s edited her own collections, including Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2, Up All Night, First-Timers, Glamour Girls, Ultimate Undies, Sexiest Soles, Secret Slaves: Erotic Stories of Bondage, and Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists. Rachel has also written for AVN, Bust, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Julia Allison is a writer and columnist, best known for her weekly column, “The Dating Life,” in AM New York, a daily Manhattan newspaper that reaches more than 320,000 readers. She got her start as a now clichéd college sex columnist at Georgetown University, but since then she has written for Cosmopolitan, New York, COED, Teen Vogue, Seventeen, Capitol File and Men’s Health, among others. In addition to a regrettable stint on Elimidate, America’s #1 cheesiest dating show, Julia has been featured in The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Fox, CNBC, CBS and NPR. She appears regularly on Fox News as an entertainment pundit.

Nicole Beland, a former Cosmo senior editor, has been the Men's Health Girl Next Door for the past six years and also writes the He Says/She Says sex and relationship column in Women's Health. She's the author of Girl Seeks Bliss: Zen and the Art of Modern Life Maintenance and Sex: The Whole Picture.

Erin Bradley is writer living in New York City. Erin is the author of Miss Information, a weekly sex and dating advice column, and Girlgonemad, an online dating blog, both appearing on Originally from the Midwest, Erin is a graduate of Michigan State University where she earned a degree in Human Resources (don’t worry, she doesn’t know what that means either). When she’s not writing freelance for various entertainment and tech publications, Erin can be found working on her screenplay and watching television documentaries with Creature, her morbidly obese cat.

Ellen Friedrichs is a Brooklyn based sexuality educator. She holds an MA in health and human sexuality education and started her career in sexuality at Manhattan's Museum of Sex. From there she became the behind the scenes expert for Planned Parenthood's website answering hundreds of thousands of sex questions from information starved teens. Currently, she teaches sex education to teens in the South Bronx and human sexuality to biology students at Rutgers University. She also runs sexuality workshops and writes about the subject when she has a chance. These days she also hangs out with her baby. More information about Ellen can be found at her website:

Greg Gilderman’s column reaches 800,000 readers in Metro newspapers of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. He's a contributing writer at Cosmopolitan, and an on-camera advisor for's new video website. For five years he was the host of the popular late-night cable access talk show "Mr. Greg Live," and his first book, She's the One: What Makes a Woman a Keeper and Other Mysteries of the Male Mind Revealed, will be published by Penguin/Perigee in January 2007.

Laura Leu writes a monthly column for Penthouse called "Sex Diary." She has also written for Maxim, Stuff, Shock, Sync, Riot, and contributed to the book Naked Ambition: Women Pornographers and How They Are Changing The Sex Industry. As a sex and relationships expert, she has made several TV appearances and does a weekly sex segment on Maxim Sirius Radio. She recently launched a line of underwear, which can be found at

Stephanie Sellars is a writer, filmmaker, and performer. Her provocative column "Lust Life" appears weekly in New York Press. She also writes features and reviews. Her first film "Twenty Minutes of Immortality" (in which she can be seen in the buff) has been airing regularly on IFC for the past three years. She has sung about town in cabarets and jazz clubs. She has written several screenplays and an autobiographical novel. As Stephanie enjoys channeling dead writers, she co-produces and hosts a reading series of Dorothy Parker material.

Jamye Waxman has been called “the nexxxt generation of sex educator” ( With a Masters in sexuality education from Widener University in Pennsylvania. She currently writes three sex columns: "Sex Ed" for Playgirl and two dating and relationship columns for Steppin' Out and The Philly Edge. She is also the co-writer and producer of the latest Candida Royalle feature, "Under the Covers," (Femme Productions) and is currently working on her first book, entitled Women loving Women (Quiver Press, Spring 2007). Jamye also teaches classes on all things sex both privately and for the popular website/social calendar Waxman was a producer of the popular Metro TV show Naked New York. She is president of the national organization, Feminists for Free Expression.


Too adorable

Originally uploaded by brianvan.
Brian and Nichelle, two of the most frequent Dodgeball users and in-the-know partygoers I know!

Chicks Love Rejection TONIGHT!

From Jon Friedman and see below for Saturday's FABULOUS sandwich/cupcake picnic - please join us!

This week, Special Edition! Chicks & Giggles and The Rejection Show team up with and presents 'CHICKS LOVE REJECTION!' Tuesday is a lineup of all females and me (a man.)


AUGUST 22, 2006

(I'll be telling the complete story of why Michael Winslow is mad at

(Rejected from The White Rapper Show)

(Sharing a bad review and reading a chapter rejected from her new book

(Cartoonist from The New Yorker)

(Comedian, Host of SMUT)

(Comedian, MTV, Sirius Radio)

And as always more fun rejection surprises!!


The Rejection Show
Chicks Love Rejection
Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction
August 22 @ 7:30PM
34 Avenue A (2nd and 3rd St.)
Call or visit the Mo Pitkin's box office at (212) 777-5660
F or V to Second Ave.


Join us after the show in the lounge at Mo Pitkin's for drinks and more

Don't forget to get your sandwiches ready for the 2nd Annual Delicious Sandwich Social this Saturday!

Sugasm #43!

Woo-hoo! This is so exciting...I've been quite addicted to Sugasm for a while, but didn't totally realize how it worked, and now there's this new voting structure each week and my cleavage post made it into the Top 3. THANK YOU, and I urge you to check out all the links, and nominate yourself next week - all the details are below.

This week’s best of the sex blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Leading the pack is the top 3 posts voted by Sugasmer participants. Want in Sugasm #44? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form. Participants, repost the linklist within a week and you’re all set.

Top Voted Posts

Skinny Dipping (

Pretend Forest (

Why I’m Happy With “The Cleavage Situation” (

Mr. Sugasm Himself

Brian Griffin on Porn (

Random Selection

Self Love - Njoy (

More Sugasm

Join the Sugasm

(Sugasm participants should re-post all the links above. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)


Astra Zero remixes nude photos (

For the love of god, don’t see this movie… (

Half-Nekkid and Loving Herself (

Valerie Cortez (

BDSM and Fetish

The Honeymoon Part IV (

Hot Dog Anyone??? (

Jack revisited (

More of the same later (

Small penis information lol! (

Sometimes you just need a spanking (

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships

A bit more on anonymity and outery while contemplating outlawery (

How To Get Great Phone Sex (

My Pavlovian Pussy (

Night with Vodka Tonic (

Erotic Writing and Experiences

Breaking the ice, part 2 (

Coming down gently (

The dark basement of dirty secrets (

Five times in two days (

The grind (

Highway of Light (

Kiss the Girl- One Last Call for Alcohol (

Me and Ebony on the Hood of a Car (throwing caution to the wind) (

Tales From Under The Desk, Part 4 (

Why Asian Women Really Get Me (

The World Is Fuckable (

Yes, Please! (

Sex News and Sexy Reviews

Get virtual with Jenna (

Neon Dildos and Vibrant Vibrators (

“Put some lead in your pencil” is not just an old cliche! (

Straight Porn Review: Two Dicks for Every Chick (


Ever read your horoscope? (

Letters on chest (

Monday, August 21, 2006

More cupcake blog press

This time in the Detroit Free-Press, about a new bakery there called Cupcake Station.

Good sex in a bad mood - urgent - need interviewees

So, I am frantic for interviewees about how being in a bad mood (whether after a fight, bad day, or just not feeling so hot) turned into great sex for a major article I'm working on for Cosmo UK. If you have a story to share, please email me at rachelkb at - I'd need to do wrap this up by tonight (Monday) and feel free to pass this on, I can give you more information but that's the gist of it so I'm looking for stories along those lines. Thanks!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Vote for me for Sugasm #43!

If you liked my pro-cleavage post, I'd love it if you voted for me for one of the top 3 slots in Sugasm #43. Been away from the computer so I just saw this, but there are a few voting hours left (it closes at midnight PST). You can vote for up to 3 posts, or just email editor at and vote for "Why I'm Happy With The Cleavage Situation" by Lusty Lady (though I do highly recommend checking out all the Sugasm posts each week). Thanks!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Another reason not to visit Dontdatehimgirl

From an email I received recently (link added by me):

Dear Rachel,

I just read your piece on the Don't Date Him Girl website and was very happy to read it, especially being from a woman.

I just found out today that I am on that website. It's a horrible feeling to have your photo posted on a site with your full name, location, MySpace address and horrible rants from a crazy ex-girlfriend plastered for the world to see.

The insane thing is that this girl really is crazy. She even text messaged me to say she wishes I die a horrible, painful death. Now I'm not going to say that I am a total angel and that she doesn't have the right to be angry, because she does. But usually in our age (she's 27 and I'm 30) you would think this high school gossip would be over by now.

This website scares me. I think a lot of men are really being slandered online, in public, and some of us don't even deserve it. The crazy thing is that I didn't even cheat on this girl and now I have a headline, thanks to the website, that says alleged cheater. I don't see how this is even legal. Celebrities sue magazines for running false, hurtful and embarassing information, so why shouldn't all these men do the same to Don't Hate Him Girl?

Anyway, long story short, I'm glad that you wrote that article. I think it actually makes most of the women seem completely mad than expose "cheaters."

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Originally uploaded by brianvan.
While picking my way through the packed crowd at In The Flesh the other night, when I had a few seconds to ponder all the goodness that is my reading series, I realized that, while I book and host and publicize it, there's a fabulous group of friends who make help make it a success just as much as I do. If they weren't around, it just wouldn't be the same.

They come because they like to hear dirty stories, because they have a good time. I think I'm finally starting to realize that, and that that's the only reason you should come out. I don't want people to come just cause they're my friends if it'll make them feel uncomfortable. I started bringing candy and cupcakes and using that as a selling point because it’s that Jewish mother thing, which is funny because when it’s foisted on me I bristle, but I never feel like whatever I’m offering is enough. I know I posted about this a long time ago, about why I always have so much stuff, but anyway, it’s nice to know people aren’t just there for the free food.

But looking out and seeing so many familiar faces and people bubbling with happiness and connecting with other audience members does my heart good. In no particular order, a huge thanks, just for being there, month after month: Heidi, who is off at the beach having fun, Nichelle, for helping calm me down when I'm frazzled, Allison, for making and bringing cupcakes, Martha, for helping with raffle tickets, Brian Van, for taking the hottest ever photos every month, and people like Audacia Ray, Molly Crabapple, Victor Varnado, Lily Burana, and everyone else, and knowing they are there to have fun and hear new readers and meet each other, is what it’s all about. So thank you all for continuing to make it fun. It really doesn’t feel like work or a chore, and I know I need to get better about doing the things that do feel like work, but for now, I am so happy with my little reading series that could, that started from nothing and has really grown into a little community of dirty word lovers. So thank you for showing up, and enjoying it.

To my anonymous benefactor


Friday, August 18, 2006

To read: "The Slut Shot" and "Going Wild"

I'm off to Martha's Vineyard for the weekend, though of course bringing the laptop as I've both fallen behind and gotten handed new assignments this week, so I'm sure I will poke my fingers into this blog.

In the meantime, read my fellow Voice columnist Tristan Taormino's "The Slut Shot" about the HPV vaccine:

The right wing's refusal to teach teens or provide contraception to them is supported by flawed ideas: (1) To acknowledge that young people are sexual beings robs them of their innocence; and (2) if we give them sexual information and make condoms, latex gloves, dental dams, and birth control easily available, they will run out and have sex because we encouraged them.

Unrelated but also worth reading: Greta Christina's "Going Wild: A Feminist's Defense of the 'Girls Gone Wild' Girls"

But we all deserve sexual liberation. We all deserve the freedom to make sexual choices -- even dumb ones or crass ones. As someone whose name I can't remember once said, not all censorship battles can be about Ulysses. (Does anyone know the source for that quote, btw? I couldn't find it.) And the battle for sexual liberation and the right to sexual expression can't always be about brilliant sex-themed performance art, or beautiful ecstatic lovemaking in loving long-term relationships. Sometimes it's about college girls at big drunken parties pulling their shirts off for the video cameras. That's the whole point of feminist sexual liberation -- we don't get to go around scolding other women for their consenting sexual choices.

Sex in a bad mood - interviewees sought

I'm working on an article about having sex when you're in a bad mood; does being angry/upset/sad/etc. fuel sex? If you have a particularly interesting story to share along these lines, please email it to me at rachelkb at or ask me for more information - I'm wrapping it up on Sunday night, so would need this ASAP.

I also am wrapping up on Sunday night my Voice column on married sex. So if any of the married folk reading this have something pressing to say about marital schtuping, please email me about that as well. Thank you!

Take This Job And . . .

Take This Job And . . .
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
Next week, I shall attempt to be funny about the job I had before my current one, where I routinely cried, got reprimanded, had my internet access taken away, and was generally miserable. But I'll find a way to laugh about it, large cause I'm no longer there!

And I'll get to see Sara, Lianne and Brandy, woo-hoo! Since I've become largely a recluse, my comedy-going has waned, but I am going to the Chicks Love Rejection show at Mo's on Tuesday, should be HOT.

Take This Job and SHOVE IT!
A party-formacne for Sara Jo Allocco

WHERE: The D Lounge
101 east 15th street at union square east- basement level of the DR2 theaters
WHEN: Thursday, August 24th, 2006
party begins at 7 pm
$3 beers! $4 shot special!
Show begins at 8 PM


Featuring Mike Burns, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Michael Cyril Crighton, Sean Crespo, Jon Friedman, Jerry Miller, Lianne Stokes and more!

See for more info

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Miriam makes me laugh

Originally uploaded by brianvan.
And smile and just generally makes me incredibly happy, whether it's a rushed phone call as we try madly to catch up or silly bar giggling or writerly complaining or drama of many kinds. I can't believe we've only known each other less than a year. Ah, that fateful article; whatever else can be said about it, I met one of my favorite people from it, and I am so grateful for that.

It was much fun catching up with her last night before our respective trips, and trying to impart to our new friend the horrors of trying to date a sex columnist. If not horrors, then hassles. I think it's one of those "grass is always greener" situations, though lately, I'm just all about trying not to stress about the things I can't control. Like the mysteries of the dating jungle.

Miriam is gonna be a superstar (well, she already is) so expect to see her books all over your local bookstore in the next few years.

Caught Looking reading in San Francisco November 4th

I haven't been to San Francisco since October 2001. In 2001, I went there 3 times and was convinced I was going to move there. Obviously, that didn't happen. But I am returning, and planning other West Coast readings (probably February 26th at Powells in Portland but I'm still finalizing that) here and there, but for now, this is confirmed:

Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists

Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists

Book Signing for

Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, edited by Alison Tyler and Rachel Kramer Bussel

Saturday, November 4, 2006
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Good Vibrations
1620 Polk St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 345-0400

So far it's me and Thomas Roche, but since probably half the book is SF-based writers, there should be others signing on soon.

My future as a bingo caller

Originally uploaded by brianvan.
That's me last night at In The Flesh giving away raffle prizes, in this case, Nina Hartley's awesome forthcoming book Nina Hartley's Guide to Total Sex. More soon about the AMAZING reading; I am so honored by all the readers' brilliance and the fabulous crowd who turned out, filled with eagerness, ready to win prizes and hear sizzling smut.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Adventures in Book Covers: How To...Make Money Like a Porn Star

How To Make Money Like a Porn Star

How To Make Money Like a Porn Star

from Amazon:

Sin City meets How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, in this graphic novel by the bestselling co-author of Jenna Jameson's autobiography.

Claudia Corvette. From her tousled bedroom hair to her name-all the porn stars in this world take their names from supermodels and sports cars-she is adult entertainment's prototypical femme fatale. Her life is the collision of countless troubled-childhood clichÉs and grown-up wet dreams, projected onto her as surely as her videos project their blue light onto lonely men around the world.
From its first panel, How to Make Money Like a Porn Star draws the reader into the dark world of girls like Claudia, the men who fantasize about them, and the monsters who control them. In the hands of Rolling Stone writer Neil Strauss and illustrator Bernard Chang, this adult graphic novel weaves together black humor and blacker reality. Like all great American stories, it features humble beginnings, life-changing tragedy, stripping, abuse, implants, fame, addiction, bigger implants, abduction, gunplay, downfall, and even bigger implants. Not to mention a thousand shades of latex and L'Oreal.
Part parody, part morality tale, here is the truth about the porn life, its outsized visual splendor captured in a comic parade of doe-eyed centerfolds, its essence distilled in a story that will haunt every reader who has ever wondered where his next fantasy is coming from.

From Publishers Weekly:

Regan Books is jumping into the graphic novel field with How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, a satirical graphic novel written by Neil Strauss and drawn by Bernard Chang. The story follows a young woman named Claudia Corvette as she discovers the ins and outs of the porn business. The book includes fake ads and puzzle pages, along with more traditional comics, to satirize both the porn industry and its addicted consumers.

Artist Chang contributed illustrations and comics to Straus's last two bestsellers,
How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, the book he co-wrote with Jenna Jameson, and The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, a guide to picking up women.


Tonight is a HOT In The Flesh!

Homemade cupcakes, tons of candy, book giveaways galore, cleavage, and HOT HOT HOT stories! This is a really special In The Flesh (to me, anyway, I'm so honored to have these authors on the lineup), so I hope you can make it.

(B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free
Happy Ending Lounge: 212-334-9676

Join an eclectic mix of New York's finest writers as they entertain and arouse you. Readers include Marie Lyn Bernard (Best American Erotica 2007, Erotic Interludes 2), Lily Burana (Try, Strip City), Shari Goldhagen (Family and Other Accidents), Riain Grey (Erotic Authors Association, Scarlet Letters), Shane Luitjens (Bullets and Butterflies, Revolutionary Voices), Lisa Montanarelli (Whipped!, Strange But True), Caridad Piñeiro (Sex and the South Beach Chicas, The Calling Vampire series), and host Rachel Kramer Bussel. Copies of the authors' books will be given away, along with free candy and mini cupcakes.

In the Flesh is a monthly reading series hosted at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, and features the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered, hosted and curated by Village Voice sex columnist and acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Future themed nights include Revenge of the Sex Columnists (September), comic sex (November) and erotic memoirs. Since its debut in October 2005, In the Flesh has featured such authors as Andy Horwitz, Jessica Cutler, Polly Frost, Maxim Jakubowski, Emily Scarlet Kramer of CAKE, Edith Layton, M.J. Rose, Lauren Sanders, Danyel Smith, Cecilia Tan, Carol Taylor, and many others. The series has gotten press attention from Escape (Hong Kong), The L Magazine, New York Magazine, Philadelphia City Paper, Gothamist, and Wonkette.

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York City-based author and editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a Contributing Editor and columnist for Penthouse, writes the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice, and conducts interviews for and Her erotic stories have appeared in over 60 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004 and 2006, and she's edited her own collections, including Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2, Up All Night, First-Timers, Glamour Girls, Ultimate Undies, Sexiest Soles, Secret Slaves: Erotic Stories of Bondage, and the forthcoming Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhibitionists, She's on Top: Erotic Stories of Female Dominance and Male Submission, He's on Top: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance and Female Submission, Sex and Candy: Sugar Erotica, and Second Skins. Rachel has also written for Alternative Press, AVN, Bust, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Marie Lyn Bernard is a half-Jewish, half-Midwestern Farmer's-Daughter freelance aspirant. Her work has appeared in Best Women's Erotica 2005, Best American Erotica 2007, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica V.5, the Lambda Literary Award-nominated Erotic Interludes 2: Stolen Moments,, CleanSheets, Fresh Off the Vine, Conversely,, The Sarah Lawrence Review and She lives in Brooklyn, works at the Donald Maass Literary Agency, believes in St. Elmo's fire, is usually a Kinsey 3, and occasionally fools around with a website called

Lily Burana is the author of the unapologetically beachy "beach book" Try—a tawdry rodeo romance. She is also author of the memoir Strip City: A Stripper's Farewell Journey Across America. Her participation in In The Flesh marks her very first time reading a sex scene in public. A literary loss of virginity, if that's not too gross. Okay, it IS gross. But that's what makes it fun. She hopes you'll be there for her first time.

Shari Goldhagen's critically acclaimed first novel, Family and Other Accidents, was released from Doubleday/Broadway this spring. A fellow at both Yaddo and MacDowell, Shari holds an MFA from Ohio State and journalism degree from Northwestern. While working on the book, Shari stalked celebrities for The National Enquirer, Life & Style, and Celebrity Living Weekly.

Riain Grey is the pen name of a writer, editor, bookseller, exhibitionist and tight-rope walker. Her work has appeared in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica Volumes 4 and 5, Clean Sheets, Scarlet Letters, the Erotic Authors Association, and Synapse. She lives in New York City with her husband, two cats and a frightening assortment of books.

A non-native New Yorker, Shane Luitjens is a 31 year-old full-time Creative Director and activist. His work has appeared in various places throughout the country, including Revolutionary Voices (Alyson Press), suspect thoughts: a journal of subversive writing, Lodestar Quarterly and this year's Lambda Literary Award finalist Bullets and Butterflies.

Lisa Montanarelli's erotic fiction has appeared in Best American Erotica 2004, Best American Erotica 2005, Whipped! and many other anthologies. She has coauthored two humor books, Strange But True: San Francisco and Strange But True: Chicago (both Globe Pequot 2005), and a health book, The First Year -- Hepatitis C (Marlowe 2002).

Caridad Piñeiro attended Villanova University on a Presidential Scholarship and earned her Juris Doctor from St. John's University. Sex and the South Beach Chicas, coming in September 2006 from Downtown Press, is Caridad's twelfth published novel. Also look for Death Calls and two other books in The Calling Vampire series beginning in December 2006. Caridad is slated to have another four releases from Downtown Press and Harlequin in 2007.

Why I'm Happy With "The Cleavage Situation"

(most photos courtesy of Cleavage: The Beautiful Divide photo pool on Flickr; see also all Flickr photos tagged with "cleavage")

Since it’s the height of summer, I’ve been seeing a lot of cleavage. From tank tops to dresses to bikinis, boobs are everywhere. Personally, I like the view, but I’ve been dismayed to read so many anti-cleavage thoughts lately. I stumbled upon this one at Mommy Life:

I've been so dismayed this year by the cleavage situation. I breathed a sigh of relief when short skirts were replaced by longer, fuller skirts this year. But my goodness! I can't believe how American women and girls have been brainwashed into exposing themselves above the waist.

The way women’s dressing choices is characterized here (“women and girls have been brainwashed”) points to a very basic flaw in her argument. Skin may be in, and may be pushed in ads, but to say that we’re “brainwashed” is a truly disturbing way of putting it. Just because I make different choices than you do, I’m suddenly a dupe of some marketing scheme? In a word: no. Perhaps women have come to understand that their skin is their own, and that instead of feeling like they need to feel ashamed of the parts that make them womanly, they can revel in them. Body image issues are so widespread, and I’m not immune to them, so wearing cleavage-bearing tops is one way I feel good about myself. For me, it’s like putting on lipstick; a little boost that helps enhance my outlook. It’s not that I can’t have a good day dressing in a turtleneck (well, in August that might apply), but I feel my best when my breasts are front and center.

For me, when I wear cleavage-baring outfits, which is almost every day, I do so because it makes me feel good. My breasts are one of the few parts of my body I don’t have at least occasional qualms about. When I wear a certain bra and revealing shirt or dress, I feel better about myself. I buy necklaces to nestle right above or in my cleavage, and often, no matter what I’m wearing on the bottom, my breasts are the main visual attraction.

Yes, I know people are going to look at them, and I don’t mind. It would be foolish and a falsehood to say, “Let us wear super low-cut tops, but look away, and pretend you don’t notice.” But it would also be foolish and false to assume that women don’t court that attention to some degree. Not all women, but some. I know plenty of other women who regularly wear cleavage-baring outfits, to the point that when their breasts aren’t visible, we wonder what’s wrong. This isn’t necessarily designed to turn on everyone we see, but for as varied reasons as the choice to wear a certain pair of jeans over another. Maybe it’s hot out, maybe you like the way it looks, maybe you want to get that little boost that comes from showing some skin. We can recognize that dressing in a sexy way may mean people look at us, but looking is one thing; touching another.

Hayley Dimarco’s latest book Sexy Girls: How Hot Is Too Hot? takes the cleavage-hating (and -baiting) a step farther, where on the back cover she declares, “If It’s Not on the Menu, Keep It Covered Up!” This is a theme for the author of Dateable and The Technical Virgin, and centers around the premise that boys and men are constantly checking out women (I’ll give her that, for straight guys, this is probably true) and thinking lewd thoughts about them.

Where I can’t go is to therefore attempt to control what women should and shouldn’t wear. The fact of the matter is, guys can fantasize about us when we’re wearing sweatpants. Haven’t you ever wondered why, even looking your rattiest, you still may get sexually harassed? Or about why your guy may get turned on to see you in one of his shirts?

By assuming that women only dress for men’s pleasure or to garner their attention, or, that by getting their attention, we must therefore cater to it, she falls into the trap of reinforcing the male gaze and privileging it. I’m not suggesting teenage girls wear the most revealing clothes possible, but part of figuring out your personal comfort level and fashion style is trial and error. There may be positives and negatives to showing some cleavage, but telling young women that they’re causing men to sin in their minds because they happen to have breasts and be proud of them, is demeaning to both men and women. It assumes that guys can’t keep their thoughts to themselves, and can’t think any farther than what you see is what you get. In fact, the very opposite may be true; the most demure-looking girl may be the one putting out, and the one dressed as dirty as can be may be a virgin. True, people make assumptions based on first impressions, but we all know the old saying about what we do when we assume: make an “ass” out of “u” and “me.” People may assume hundreds of things about my personality, values, age, religion, and sexuality from a five-second glimpse of me, and only a small fraction of that can I control. Why should I pander to the countless strangers I will encounter throughout my day, changing my dress, to suit them? That would be putting their interests ahead of mine, discounting my desire to feel at my best when I get dressed in the morning.

At the same time, I do realize that people are looking, and contrary to the belief that this puts my breasts “on the menu,” in a way, I see it as the opposite. When I’m dressed in a revealing way and someone starts hitting on me, I tend to discount their attentions, or, at least, take them less seriously. I know that in all likelihood they’re drawn to that aspect of my appearance, and that’s okay, I’m not saying they shouldn’t be, but I’m aware of it and it influences how I respond. In a sense, perhaps, it’s a way of warding off the superficial. I can flirt or talk to people and not expect anything more, because in my head I’ve already armed myself with the knowledge that they’re there mostly to look. In the same way, by nature of being a sex columnist and putting so much of my raw feelings and adventures out there, I will attract certain people to me who can’t see beyond that, who form assumptions about who I am and what I want, based on that, I also know that when some people see the cleavage, they also may make similar assumptions. Knowing the likelihood of these assumptions gives me power, and helps me automatically rule those people out.

I’ve learned the hard way never to date anyone I meet because they read my writing. It’s just destined to fail, because they’re drawn to a single side of me without knowing the rest. They may want to know the rest, but it’s too imbalanced and unnatural for me. I can appreciate their interest and am grateful people are touched by my words, but I have to keep in mind that, on a very basic level, that’s work. It’s the same with the cleavage; I would never want to date someone who insisted I wear cleavagey outfits all the time, one who was so invested in my boobs that they felt like they owned them. I think part of the problem is the idea that women dress, first and foremost, to impress men, and perhaps secondarily, other women. Dress for yourself! Dress in whatever way makes you happiest and most comfortable, and you will exude all the qualities about yourself you want others to absorb. I can let it slide if people see me and automatically think, “slutty dresser = slut” because I know what I’m about. Caring too much about other’s opinions will have us bending over backward to please the anonymous masses, and always failing. Trying to control the opinions of everyone who will look at you in a given day is a Sisyphean task if I ever heard one, and puts the power of the gaze solely in their eyes, not yours.

Cleavage shouldn’t be mandatory, but neither covering it all up, day in and out. At a wedding I attended this summer, I worried that my dress might reveal too much boob. “Don’t worry, we’re a cleavage-friendly family,” the bride told me, which was later proved true with some of her own busty attire. If she’d said otherwise, I’d have changed, but I was glad I could be myself and still be accepted into the (forgive me) bosom of this special occasion.

To castigate cleavage leads us right back into assuming that breasts, in and of themselves, are dirty and private. It’s the same attitude that finds flaws in talking about (and even showing!) breast-feeding. Let’s face it: yes, breasts are sexual, and sexualized. But many of us like it that way. You don’t have to be a Girl Gone Wild to appreciate the power of a good rack. You don’t even have to be a straight guy, either. One of my most popular columns was called “Meet the Boobiesexuals,” and looked at straight women and gay men who are sexually attracted to women’s breasts, but don’t want to actually sleep with women. This phenomenon continues to fascinate me, not only because it shows how our rigid boxes for sexual orientation cannot contain people’s wonderfully exuberant sexual desires, but also that breasts have widespread erotic appeal.

I appreciate that settings like churches and schools, like the Texas school district that recently banned cleavage, might want to control how much flesh gets bared in their environments. But in the everyday adult world, we’re big girls, and we can decide how we want to dress and what messages we want to send. You may not like those messages or not agree with our choices, but I may not love what you’ve chosen to wear either. To all but call women who wear revealing outfits sluts simply based on what they’re wearing is sexist and degrading. It also puts forth the idea that if we wear the “right” clothing, we are safe from men’s wicked fantasies and comes dangerously close to suggesting that women are “asking for it” if they dress in a certain fashion.

There’s a line between offering suggestions and positive affirmations and fostering a split between the cleaved and not. Every man and woman should be able to choose their clothing options. I’m not saying that if you go out in a super low-cut top, you shouldn’t expect to be ogled; you should. I’m saying that a) some women like that and b) ogle all you want, my boobs are still mine; they are not “on the menu.” (On the occasions when they are, it’s explicitly clear to the potential diner.)

And if I ever learn to play the electric guitar and rock out, my first choice for a band name is “The Cleavage Situation.” I hope it isn’t already taken, but if it is, consider me groupie #1.

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