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Press Release – October 21 – Featured Reader Award Winning Poet Lynn Hoffman

Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon, Featured Presenter Award Winning Philadelphia Poet, Dr. Lynn Hoffman, Along With Attendee Readers, Tuesday, Oct. 21.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

PCSalons@gmail.com – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

PCSalons@gmail.comreserve a time slot to read at Salon (5 min max)

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – guidelines for reading.

www.theEroticliterarysalon.com – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.

 

The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, October 21.  Lynn Hoffman will read from Boom in Love: Love for a certain generation.

 

Lynn Hoffman has been a merchant seaman, teacher, chef and cab driver. He’s published three novels, The Bachelor’s Cat, Philadelphia Personal and bang-BANG. He’s also written The New Short Course in Wine and The Short Course in Beer and published over 140 poems in literary journals. Lynn has won the Petracca Prize from Philadelphia Poets and he’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Radiation Days, his memoir of a funny year with cancer was published in July 2014 to great reviews and these days, he wanders around doing a one-man show based on the experience.

 

The Talk: Adult Sex-Ed – TBA

 

Approximately twenty attendees will also entertain with their 5-minute erotica, sex memoirs, rants, short stories and poetry.

 

PHILADELPHIA: The Erotic Literary Salon, unique in the English-speaking world has launched a growing movement mainstreaming erotica. Salons attract a supportive audience of 65 or more individuals. Approximately 20 participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others, the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud. Frances, our resident nonagenarian (97 years young) occasionally recites her original erotica.

 

Salons gather the 3rd Tuesday of every month at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), 1315 Sansom Street, Center City, Philadelphia. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (limited seating), for cocktails, food and conversation. Talk and Q&A between 7:00-7:30, readings begin at 8:00. Admission is $10, discounted for students and seniors to $8. Salon attendees must be 21.

 

Creator of this event, Dr. Susana, is Philadelphia’s best-known sexologist. She lends her voice to the Salon by offering relevant information to support the discussions that arise in the Salon and blog.

 

…surprisingly comfortable….Salon devotees praise her for the space she has created….”

“I think Susana is doing a very brave thing.”

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 10, 2010

 

“There are laughter and tears along with the hot rush of blood – to the face.

Daily News, March 15, 2010

 

“I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.

First-time attendee and reader 2013

 

 

Kill the Censor, Free the Beast or Behind and Beyond the Doors of The Erotic Literary Salon: The Power of Uncensored Words

The following is the event description along with the actual talk I gave this past weekend at the 2014 Sexuality, Intimacy and Aging Conference held at Widener U. Melanie Davis, PhD, CSE and Robin Goldberg-Glen, PhD, MSW were the co-chairs for this wonderful conference on aging. I wish to express my gratitude for being given the opportunity to share the Salon.

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The Erotic Literary Salon is an “edutainment” event where words are never censored. Join founder and host Susana Mayer, PhD as she recreates the Salon, reading sexually explicit writings along with your own anonymous six-word sexual memoir. Learn the Salon’s history and how it developed into a “verbal” freedom house for sexuality. And, learn how to use erotica and the Salon format both professionally and personally as a tool for sexual healing, growth, transition, and of course, pleasure.

Susana Mayer, PhD, is a certified sexologist and adult sex educator with a private practice in Philadelphia. She champions Ageless Sex, consulting with clients on typical lifespan sexuality changes and challenges. The core of her Ageless Sex philosophy is to produce no emotional disappointment or physical harm while creating sexual pleasure and satisfaction. She has founded and hosts The Erotic Literary Salon, which meets monthly in Philadelphia. She published SenSexual: A Unique Anthology 2013.

Behind and Beyond the Doors of The Erotic Literary Salon:

The Power of Uncensored Words

or

Kill the Censor, Free the Beast

 

Thank you Melanie and Robin for inviting me to share the behind and beyond the doors of The Erotic Literary Salon.

Sorry to disappoint there are no slides, since I do not allow photos to be taken at the Salon. I protect the identity of all people attending. Now you’re really curious! What does happen at the Salon that cannot be photographed? I know some people in the audience have attended this event, but for those who don’t know it even exists, it is all about uncensored words. Fantasies, sex memoirs, and lusty confessions, along with other explicit graphic writings that might get people divorced or even fired from their jobs, sometimes merely just for attending and listening.

When I was informed today’s talk was to be held in a renovated church the irony certainly did not elude me. I immediately thought of my dear friend and colleague Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale, affectionately known as Rev Bev. Her ministry has a very specific and unique focus: to help people of faith heal from the sexual wounding that occurs when they are taught to separate the spirit from the body, and also to provide tools for those who are developing a Christian theology that affirms the body and pleasure as God-given. What Rev Bev and I share in common is a similar focus – combatting shame.

People who once frequented this renovated holy space might have felt uncomfortable attending an event such as the Salon and listening to explicit sex material and yet ironically I have come to their once sacred space to share them. So hearing highly graphic words in this setting might seem sacrilegious, but considering the context in which they are shared I’m hoping it will be forgiven.

As explicit sex pieces are being read tonight you will get a sense of how some people use the Salon to share their emotional pain and pleasure and often come away with a gift – transformation. Others continue to use the Salon as it was originally intended, to share many styles of sexually explicit material purely for the purpose of verbal titillation.

I know there are conference attendees that are not in positions to use this work professionally or just not interested, but most of the information I will be providing can be adapted for personal use. Someday you might even attend the Salon and listen to heartfelt pieces or even share the ones you wrote inspired by this talk.

The order of my presentation will be as follows. I will offer a brief backstory to the Salon and how it evolved into an edutainment event. Then, I’ll present ideas on how to customize the Salon for your professional needs and use it as a tool for therapy. I will offer writing prompts that can be used in various settings and for your personal use. Salon readings will follow and then there will be a brief intermission before the Q and A and the sharing of the six word sex memoirs you wrote, responding to the theme: XXX

The seed for the Salon was planted in 2008 at a focus group session comprised of older women complaining about their lack of desire for sex. I thought I had a simple solution. I suggested they use erotica to get turned on, it works for me. But I was quite mistaken, they shouted almost in unison, “But I’m a feminist.” As if I weren’t. And that was the spark that created the Salon, a place to mainstream erotica. Note, this was before FSOG – Fifty Shades of Grey.

I originally planned on an all women’s group, a safe space where they would feel comfortable writing and reading highly graphic words without testosterone muddying the waters. Unfortunately, the venue I selected was a public space, and while they could not discriminate among sexes, ultimately the inclusion has served the Salon community well.

The doors have always been open to anyone over 21. It is one of the few events where all are welcome and this is obvious from the minute you walk in the door. People of all identities, ethnicities, races, social status and a huge age range attend. During intermission I encourage people to speak to someone they have never met before and I’ve been informed my permission giving has sparked many an interesting conversation and the occasional friendship.

Initially it was a place to share mainly erotica, sometimes highly graphic works, where people critiqued and discussed the contents of the pieces presented. Until one day a disgruntled attendee read with much gusto a piece from the Internet, filled with much gratuitous graphic language. I only recall cum being flung to the wall, but her anger backfired. She actually took the Salon in another direction, entertainment.

The event has now evolved to include the witnessing, accepting, and support of people as they share not only their fantasies, but lusty confessions, sex memoirs, journals, diaries, correspondence and rants, using a variety of writing styles, some of which I didn’t even realize existed.

The Salon eventually became so successful the owner of the Bohemian Absinthe Lounge where we meet monthly, asked me to deal with the long lines. I had no idea, I never looked out the window, we’re on the second floor. I resolved the issue by opening earlier and adding an Adult Sex-Ed section prior to the readings, where experts present a wide range of topics followed by a Q&A and most often lively discussions with attendees. The Salon took yet another direction– edutainment.

Some of the typical Adult Sex-Ed presenters include Terri Clark, Consortium member and long time sexuality educator and trainer, who spoke on Bisexuality: What it is and is not. A psychologist and sex therapist introduced his client, a couple who discussed their BDSM lifestyle. During the session the husband smiled as he spoke about his wife insisting he wear a butt plug during their presentation. A few months ago I introduced the concept of Designer Relationships – the many styles of polyamory. It led to an interesting discussion on open relationships and consensual non-monogamy, with some personal disclosure from long-term couples in the audience and the desire by most attendees to learn more.

Based on unsolicited feedback and rising audience attendance, I have finally determined the magic behind the Salon’s success – SILENCE, profound silence from the audience during the readings. The consequence of this silence is reverence for the readers and a safe and comfortable space for them to share powerful words. This is an environment not commonly experienced in open-mic communities.

Who knew that the silence I demand would establish intimacy between reader and audience. This silence also lends an air of mystery to the evening, no one, including myself has any idea what is going to be spoken next. The mix is not only quite diverse; occasionally it is out of the realm of erotica. There are pieces that are welcome nowhere else but the verbal freedom house of the Salon.

I also act as a muse when I hear specific works that I think could be expanded upon or when discussions arise during intermission or after the event. I have been known to suggest people work together, such as when one woman wrote a fantasy piece about an attendee and I encouraged the recipient of her inventive words to respond. They went back and forth for several months with bawdy cliffhangers, and the audience couldn’t wait for the next installment.

The unique structure of this event creates a user-friendly environment for sharing raw emotions and in many cases cultivating transformation. You can use this format since it is easily adaptable to work in a variety of situations, from the sharing of erotica between client and partner to the mini-Salon created in a group setting such as a continuing care community or senior center.

There are a few conditions and procedures that should be considered in order to create a safe and comfortable setting for people to express their heartfelt words. Confidentiality is absolutely mandatory; people need to be informed that whatever they hear in the room stays in the room. They should only refer to a piece outside the space if there is no name attached or the piece itself doesn’t disclose a particular person.

I require each piece shared at the Salon to have a backstory, either prior to or after the reading. This places the piece in a particular context, which can be helpful in understanding its meaning.

I also suggest you calculate a maximum time allotted for readings, which will allow all those attending to be able to read, and keep the event flowing. I give the readers 5 minutes, just so we can allow for as many readers as possible. I have also noticed that depending upon the quality of the piece, five minutes might not feel long enough and other times it might feel like forever.

As noted previously, silence during readings is crucial to honor the person reciting works. Clearly this is sometimes difficult to achieve, so as close to quiet as possible will hopefully accomplish a similar effect. Of course, people do respond with outbursts of laughter or other sounds expressing their encouragement at appropriate times.

Uncensored words create a nonjudgmental atmosphere, which generally supports the sharing of intimate work. However, some individuals do take advantage of this policy by using gratuitous words solely for attention. It usually displays itself as poor writing. The Salon attendees typically respond to these rare types of works with lame applause and most often the gratuitous words disappear when the person reads in the future.

We don’t actually write at the Salon, but your situation might support writing as a group or within a therapeutic setting, or as an assignment for a client. You can also use the following exercise personally, to work on issues, express your sexuality, or merely create an erotic piece of fiction.

I would like to suggest several prompts that can foster various styles of writing to help individuals dealing with sexual trauma, interested in sparking desire for sex, or just for sharing erotic material with their partner. As a therapist these writings can be used as a tool to induce a transformative process.

These prompts can also be used when encouraging group writing in a non-therapeutic setting.

The 6 word sex-memoir, similar to the one you were handed when you entered this evening, has been a great catalyst for creating fun pieces to be shared within a large gathering.

If you are working in a therapeutic capacity you can select the first lines of published poems or fantasy pieces that relate to your client’s specific issue and encourage them to expand upon it. This exercise is also helpful for individuals that don’t know where or how to start.

Free style writing or freewriting, which many writing teachers promote, is exactly what it sounds like. You give the participants x number of minutes to write and they are not to stop until the time is up. They must disregard grammar, can even create their own words, and basically write anything that comes to mind without editing. You can also suggest a specific topic, especially if your client is working on a particular problem.

Be creative. Use these suggestions within any setting that feels appropriate. You can then encourage people to share their works in the supportive environment you have created for them.

The following are testimonials, backstories and excerpts from typical works presented at the live Salon and published in the Salon’s ebook, “Sensexual: A Unique Anthology.” I have interspersed ideas on how you can incorporate some of their styles and themes into your gathering or therapeutic session.

A caveat, you are about to hear NSFW stories. For those unfamiliar with the initials, it stands for – Not Safe For Work, implying sexually explicit material. They are usually attached to links on the Internet, warning of content. The Erotic Literary Salon’s website most certainly falls in that category, since it offers uncensored, sex positive information, erotica, events and illustrations. The following content would also carry this label.

It takes great courage to read in front of an audience, period. Couple that with the intimate material presented and it can be downright debilitating. When readers share their words for the first time at the Salon, we refer to them as ‘virgins’; affording them preferential treatment for taking the first bold step. The audience applauds not only after their reading, but also prior to hearing their words. This helps those who feel a bit, no usually a lot nervous. It must work, since occasionally people who have not read at the Salon for a period of time ask to be referred to as virgins, receiving that extra applause to allay their nervousness. One man who had not read at the Salon for several years referred to himself as a born-again virgin.

One virgin man traveled from quite a distance to attend. He barely looked me in the eye, as he asked about censorship. When he heard nothing is ever censored at the Salon, he asked if he could read that evening. He didn’t realize the guidelines state the need to sign-up in advance. I made an exception because of the distance he had traveled, and his plea was so very genuine, and I’m so very glad I did. After the initial first round of applause he proceeded to read from the perspective of a woman, describing in exacting detail how she was trying to pick up a man at the bar. It felt authentic; it felt like he had stood in the stilettos of his character, he knew the female role exceptionally well.

Later that evening I found his email waiting for me, here is an excerpt from his much longer heart felt piece. “I never knew such a life of honesty could exist. I finally found a home I can be comfortable in…this event changed my life.” I sensed he had felt normalized by the mere acceptance of his words.

I realize it’s a far leap for me to draw such a conclusion, and yet I have seen similar scenarios played out over and over again. Where people read works that place them in non-traditional situations and the audience pays homage to them by their genuine applause. I almost sense some are acknowledging – “I too have walked in those shoes, thank you for normalizing me.”

One regular reader admitted she wrote a piece during her early days of attendance, but wasn’t ready to reveal this aspect of her life. Then she heard the discussion by Terri Clarke on bisexuality. An audience member commented on how important it is to be yourself right from the start and this inspired her to share the piece.

As a young married woman she had felt duped as her husband admitted, for the first time, to his fetish. She was at her most vulnerable state, having just left her job, 6 months pregnant.

This is an excerpt from her writing:

 

So, when you asked me if seeing you

In women’s clothing would turn me on

I said , “NO”

In fact it would turn me off,

It was MY truth.

I know what I like and I still do.

 

So, you threw that highball glass

Hard against the wall,

Your face changed

You changed

Into a creature I did not know.

 

I was young

confused

scared

trapped, I thought,

there was no way out

 

So I gave up my voice

 

You persisted,

“Well maybe you can try to like it.

maybe one thing, like a garter belt”

I said “Okay-I’d try”, while “NO” was running through my veins

 

And then you kept at it,

“Let’s try the bra with fake breasts”

And I faked “Okay”

“the wig”

Okay

“The heels”

Okay

Okay

Okay

Okay!!!!!!!!!

 

And this is how it was for 8 years or more

I was your whore,

And in your mind,

You were mine,

But I was not there

With my voice gone

soon went my spirit,

And my soul.

 

Skipping to the end

 

… So was it rape?

Or abuse?

This prison that I was in

That I chose

When I gave up my voice?

I thought it was the only choice

 

When I was young and scared

 

 

Today

You are long gone

and

My breath is free

I am no longer young nor scared

 

I love to dress in lingerie

When I want to

And make myself look a little slutty for fun

And be a whore every now and then,

When I choose

And suck a man’s cock

And drink cum

 

And If I want to be with a woman,

Well, then I will be with a woman

Who is a woman

And I have

 

 

And if you are a man who likes women’s clothes,

Good for you.

In fact, great for you

Go be yourself,

I would never deny you,

But I still am not turned on by that.

And that is perfectly okay

I now know

 

So don’t make me be you,

Or want to want to be you

Because I am not you

I am me

 

And we each deserve to exhale

 

 

Today I breathe just fine

And exhale into who I am

And my voice…

Well,

My voice is clear and strong

And solid and rich

And full of truth

My truth

 

I bring it here before you all

To share

 

Here it is

Here it is

Here it is

 

Now, many years later she has dealt with those traumas and moved on, but realized the final acceptance was reciting that story at the Salon. It felt as if she was honoring herself by sharing her words. At the end of her reading, she thanked me personally for creating the space for this kind of work.

Occasionally people unexpectedly walk away with a gift. A regular attendee pulled me aside and commented how he had been trying to get his shy girlfriend to use dirty words to turn him on. She finally had the opportunity to hear some sexy words at the Salon and later that evening used them.

She confessed she hadn’t known any words previously or why he needed them to get turned on in the first place. Until, she heard a story at the Salon using dirty words that turned her on. It was not something he anticipated when asking her to join him at his monthly visits. He just brought her along for an unusual date and walked away with a bonus.

The following are excerpts from a much longer piece. Written from the perspective of a son ruminating on his 101-year-old Dad’s penis. It is one of the most intimate non-erotic stories ever shared at the Salon.

I wondered. How many times was this penis, my father’s penis, in the mouth of another? In their thirty-eight years together, did my mother ever suck him off? I doubt it.

Now I know that most kids can’t imagine their parents having sex, let alone oral sex. But the truth is, my mother told me how little she knew and how little my father did. But did some other woman do it to him? After my mother died, he told me that the woman that he met understood a man’s need for sex. “She took me by the hand and led me to the bedroom.”

So this penis in my hand spent some 75 years inside the vaginas of at least two women. That was no big deal. What fascinated me was that this penis supplied the semen that impregnated my mother that created me.

 

Skipping to the end when he is trimming his father’s pubic hairs

 

Now, I cupped his testicles in my hand and let the penis slide off in one direction while I cut the other side. Then I pushed the penis in the other direction. The hard part was the pubic hair that lay on the bottom of the shaft and the front of the testicles. That was where the urine dripped. As I held him, I could hear a soft moan. I knew it wasn’t the sound of a man enjoying the sexual contact. It was my father being babied. It was the soft sound that my sons uttered when I cleaned them. And it was probably the same sound that I uttered when my father cleaned me, some 60 plus years before. It was the sound of safety. He knew he was safe in my hands as I had been in his.

 

The entire work was equally as moving. There was barely a dry eye in the audience when he finished. After reading his piece I hugged him as I do many of the readers and he collapsed in my arms in tears. The memory still moves me.

I also interject my sexological training when I find a teachable moment. Like when the young man was describing with much graphic detail, sensually bathing his girlfriend in the shower and slipping the bar of soap gently into her vagina. Yikes! I saw the women in the audience react involuntary as they reached for their crotches and so did I. The men were caught smiling. After he read his story I spoke about soap, vagina’s and the healthy PH factor.

The Salon’s only nonagenarian attendee provides a teachable moment every time she reads, no actually every time she attends. Her mere presence is permission giving for people who might feel guilty for enjoying the pleasures of the Salon. She read the very first story ever presented at the Salon, it was also her first attempt at writing erotica and it was based on a true event.

I am Lily‚ there he was, the man, standing by the pool of our senior community. My eyes stood still and my breath slowed down. I hadn’t seen a white haired man who could touch my heart for almost a lifetime. We reached for each other and agreed to meet the next week.

Without shame, I lay naked on the bed, eagerly separating my legs as the man knelt before me. My body warmed in a new way. Ripples of movement ran through me‚ and music by Vivaldi.

My skin smoothed out and was flooded with rosy coloring. I was a painting by Rubens and the man said I was beautiful.

 

She had forgotten to mention the title, but after being cued, blurted out “First Date.” Upon hearing her words the audience gasped, then she said, “We’re old, we don’t have that much time.”

Her stories normalize sexuality and aging, better than any textbook or lecture can, especially for the population who follow Miley Cyrus. The 22 year old Disney symbol, actress and singer turned sex symbol with her twerking. She responded to the question regarding hanging up her sexy side, “I heard when you turn 40 things turn a little less sexual, so probably around 40, I heard that’s when people don’t have sex anymore.” Really!!!

Another true story by the Salon’s nonagenarian deals with the subject of masturbation. Most often masturbation is relegated to the young, those who are driven by an itch that needs to be scratched, quite often quickly. Here she uses it to revisit the loves of her past and welcomes them into her bed.

 Self-love—plus imagination

 

I was alone in my bed, gently I touched myself. My body was hungry for touch. I was my own best friend and lover. My fingers grazed my right breast, moving the nipple until I felt a delicate response. My fingers moved to my left breast where I felt the reassuring smoothness of foam rubber. The surgery was so long ago.

As I moved my hands toward my stomach and then to the private place between my legs—a place so long neglected, I thought of Morton, my first boyfriend. His touch had been tentative and clumsy—but oh so sweet.

Now it was Harry, a more experienced lover who moved in bed with me. He touched the warm and sensitive area, at first soft and quiet, later with strength and excitement.

I closed my eyes. Now it was no longer a hand—but a tongue. Sam, young and eager to share my juices. My body moved in sensuous patterns, responding to the love experiences I drew from my memories—enough for one night. I was satiated and worn out—no longer alone in my bed.

 

She read her backstory at the end of the piece: Wow! I didn’t know I could be so open in talking about what is usually so secret.

 

So glad she was willing to share and step out of her comfort zone, the attendees remarked they didn’t realize people of her age were still interested in masturbation, or even had the inner drive to create such an experience. They certainly had their preconceived notions shattered that evening.

One woman is sharing her journey from CIS male to female, each month recounting the responses she gets from the public, friends and her relatives. Plus she shares her emotional feelings regarding the impact of estrogen therapy on her body.

Read February 2014 Both sides now

My transformation has begun quite literally at the hormone level. I must be officially crazy, since the nice doctor at Mazzoni Center gave me these prescriptions to treat … something. But being crazy gives me license to be myself more honestly because FUCK IT, I’m the only person I can really be!

Read April 2014 Physical Transformation (at 50) In Pennsylvania you don’t qualify as the opposite sex unless you get reassignment surgery … down there. So in a while I might develop nice boobs, and yet be able to take my shirt off in public because … I’ll legally still be a man. How’s that for fucking with the system?

Writing a letter to your genitals or any of your body parts is an interesting exercise you might have experienced if you participated in a SAR (Sexual Attitude Reassessment or Restructuring). If you are working with a client who is having issues setting sexual boundaries while attempting to integrate their physical and emotional self, and perhaps a myriad of other physical and emotional challenges involving their genitals, this could be a perfect exercise for them. You might want to suggest also reversing the order, having the genitals write a letter describing how they would like to be treated. In having your client write from both perspectives they might find interesting connections that could help reveal and solve their problems.

The following are several excerpts from three Pussy Letters written by the same individual.

 

Her backstory: As an exercise in a writing workshop, I wrote the first-ever letter to my own genitals. I was amazed at the floodgates this opened within me. I had never thought to explore this relationship. Hadn’t realized how separate I felt from my lady parts. How much grief and joy and conflict resided there….This series of three letters is from my collection. They represent a significant healing of my relationship with my genitals, my sex, and ultimately, my heart in this tricky business of opening my legs.

 

(first letter)

Dear Pussy,

I’ve missed you. I still miss you. When you talk to me, I don’t listen. Then I wonder why I can’t feel you sometimes.

Only I know that you can be shy. Only I know how wild you want to be. As the arbiter of your passion, I have failed you.

I would treat almost anyone better than I have treated you. I make you feel ashamed of your wetness, shy about your orgasm, as if you are wrong just by being.

And yet you continue to love me.

 

(second letter)

 

You are directly connected to my heart—but you don’t seem to know that. You are the child who runs in and out the screen door, constantly needing to be reminded by Mom to close it behind you.

Left to your own devices, you would let the draft in….leave the door unlocked….invite in all your friends….empty out the refrigerator showing them nothing but warmth and kindness. They, in return, would surely take everything.

 

(last and third letter)

 

You are so much softer now than when I first wrote you. And yet, you are stronger. Your wisdom has far surpassed the wisdom of our mind. I knew it would. I knew that was always a part of you. It was just me, not listening. Alternately not feeding you and then gorging you, my poor bulimic pussy.

 

 

This was actually a fine example of how writing about one issue in a series of letters or stories, over an extended period of time, can reveal the progress being made dealing with it. Each progressive piece can also act as a catalyst for the next one, creating a domino effect of change.

 

Rants are also a great writing style for clients to expose and channel their anger. They are not an uncommon genre at the Salon, especially among the younger attendees. They get the opportunity to blow off steam verbally, before it escalates to another level. Judging from one young woman’s frequent rants at the Salon, they are being used to vent her various frustrations with life and being a female who identifies as a lesbian.

The following excerpt is the last section of her much longer work.

This body is not yours.

It speaks, words washing over the world around it,

describing pain and pleasure,

joy and love and sadness and despair.

This body declares ownership of the world in sheets of paper, in

lines of ethereal text messages coated with protestations and promises, in

term papers and gas bills and emails.

It whispers sweet words over the skin of a lover.

It shouts profanity at daily injustice and insincerity.

It does not speak for you when you

slide your eyes slowly over it, your mouth

describing curves that it was proud of until a moment ago,

the moment before you placed your words on it

“Fuck yea,” “Damn,” “Work it, girl.”

It does not speak in those moments, but

bows its head, lowers its eyes,

pushing past you in a

flurry of skirts and heels.

It says… nothing,

and in that nothing is the fear of every woman

under your attention.

In that nothing is the fear of violence,

of rape,

of the escalation of unwanted attention found so frequently on the news.

It does not speak for you.

In those moments,

marked by a feeling of overwhelming shame and cowardice at not being able to say something

in those moments of womanly silence,

this body speaks for itself.

 

As a teachable moment I made the connection between her assuming that men leering and shouting disrespectful words will escalate to rape much the way society automatically assumes women wearing revealing clothing are asking to be violated. In the early days of the Salon when the numbers were smaller these teachable moments would be discussed at great length immediately following their utterance. These days they are relegated to intermission, the end of the evening or, if I feel it warrants a more in depth discussion, I schedule a talk for the Adult Sex-Ed portion of the next month’s Salon.

Sexual violations are not a common topic at the Salon, but one evening coincidentally three women spoke about their experience being raped. The one thing they had in common besides the rape was the use of writing as a tool for recovery. Being able to put actual voice to their pieces took it to another level. They were able to hear themselves retell their stories without shame to an audience that supported their words.

This topic certainly warranted a larger discussion. I asked the women if they would create a spontaneous panel for the following month’s Sex-Ed section and they all came forth willingly. It became a wonderful lesson on how writing can be used to transform sexual trauma.

At one of the earlier Salon’s a woman discussed a rape incident in a most erotic manner. The audience was appalled that she had eroticized the rape scene. It became an immediate teachable moment. The reader confessed she had actually been raped long ago, but in the piece changed the nature of that scene to ravishment. The man involved fit the description of someone she wanted to be taken by. With pen in hand she took control of the scene and gave consent with her writing. The piece and reading became a tool for her therapy.

The Salon has many followers from a distance, people who will probably never attend the live Salon, but are most interested in being heard. Their works are read via proxy and I always pass-on to them the remarks and the applause response of the audience. One individual’s work that stands out is professor R.K.’s, a department head at a major university in India. He is in his sixties and composes beautiful erotiku, along with other styles of poetry.

He originally wrote an academic styled backstory for some of his works published in the Salon’s ebook SenSexual: A Unique Anthology. R.K. has followed the Salon since its inception and I felt he was not disclosing all. I asked him to write a more personal one and added some of my thoughts regarding his need to write.

This is an excerpt from his more personalized backstory.

 

In fact there is so much lived and observed in one’s sexual life but

hardly fully expressed. My deep interest in erotic poetry often makes me

compose ‘erotiku’  that happen, as you rightly say, “to relive a

thought”,

or  re-enact sex acts,  or  re-create a felt or lived experience of a

moment.  Haiku offers a good medium to express love and sex subtly as

well

as explicitly, yet leaving lots of room for the reader’s imagination

I consider the expression of passionate sex in my poetry as the

internalized substitute or antidote to the fast dehumanizing existence

without, and ever in conflict with my search for life, search for

meaning

in a sort of routinized, boring existence. By writing brief personal

lyrics, including tanka and haiku, or confining myself to the privacy of

love making, I make my life itself a work of art, and enlarge myself to

the

universal sameness of human feelings. ****

 

** **

 

I see woman, and her nudity, as the mainspring of our being (and art),

shaping the psyche and constituting the sensory experience. She is

eternal

and there is no poetry without her. I sing of woman who is both my

passion

and interest, who is the balance point of various beings, the very cause

and end of life, perhaps the means to rediscover the original magic of

life.

 

Here are a few of his erotiku’s.

 

love takes to

animal of the body:

living again

 

 

The thought is sin

she thinks and denies me sex

to protest against

my mind in the gutter

that breeds erotics in verse

 

It’s not ageing

but eternal delight:

you under me

smooth belly nude necking

slow stroking parting flesh

 

 

R.K.’s lack of sexual gratification has led to some wonderful poetry being shared at the Salon.

Many attendees express words of inadequacy and shame through their writings. It is an honor to witness their growth as they share their transformative process at the Salon on a regular basis.

It has been a privilege to have created a space where people feel comfortable reading in a style out of character with the norm society imposes on their gender. It is a safe space for women to share salacious stories about their sex exploits in highly detailed, sexually graphic language. It is equally as safe for men to share romantic stories expressing their tender love in flowery language.

I have been asked on numerous occasions to create Salons specifically for each community represented by the LGBTQIA initials. I have declined, since my mission is to create inclusivity, to all identities, ethnicities, and races. I want people to learn about sexuality, sexual experiences and behaviors from a variety of people so they can better understand their own sexuality and those of others. For many the process of sharing their stories and feeling accepted has been the first step to ridding themselves of shame. It is shame and the fear of not being normal that often drives people to live inauthentic lives.

I would like to share part of a public comment received at the Salon’s meetup site. It was sent in response to the Salon held this past week, where the attendee read a piece regarding her bisexuality. It referred to her lesbian lover seated in the audience.

I have introduced the salon to 2 more people. That’s 5 in total. Each left inspired to create an erotic work of art. This family that you have created… This home can only be described as a safe place to be open and honest. Everyone I have brought home, over the past year and a half that I have been a part of this family, has felt welcomed and safe enough to return and share. Thanks for the gift “Mom. “ I look forward to our monthly reunions – Domina.

I invite you to become part of this process and to listen, bear witness, and support people’s traditional and non- traditional ways of expressing their sexuality. Perhaps sharing your own work – Uncensored.

If you are interested in accessing some of the pieces you’ve heard this evening, the unabridged versions can be found in the ebook SenSexual: A Unique Anthology, dedicated to the Salon’s nonagenarian, where you can find many of her pieces along with others read at the Salon and on the website www.theEroticliterarysalon.com.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to present the Erotic Literary Salon’s story. I would like to encourage you to share some or all of the information you have heard this evening.

If you wish to correspond with me, my email address is: my name SusanaMayer1@gmail.com

 

 

Liberating Pleasure & Healing the Spirit-workshop-Reading the Bible with Sex Positive Eyes

My good friend Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale (Rev Bev) will be teaching a four week course, “Reading the Bible with Sex Positive Eyes” starting this Weds. 9/17, day after the Salon. Her courses are always well received and filled with myth shattering information.

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NEXT CLASS BEGINS 9/17-10/8 -a 4 week course called “Reading the Bible with Sex-Positive Eyes”

William Way Center in Philadelphia PA. 7 p.m PRE-REGISTER at tinyurl.com/nnf6d7j

The workshops and classes offered by the Incarnation Institute are based on the requests and usually customized to the interests of the participants. These sexual subjects are always presented through a body and sex-positive Christian framework. We have expertise in the following areas:

Themes

  • The Hook-up Culture
  • Sexual ethics and decision-making
  • Sexual diversity
  • Gender non-conformity
  • Sexual abuse
  • Self-image and sexual self-confidence
  • Women’s erotic empowerment

Sample Programs

“Calling Missionaries of Pleasure” – a program for those who are already exploring outside traditional norms that illustrates the crucial insights learned about body acceptance, diversity, intimacy and pleasure’s abundance are important contributions for a body-positive society. Rather than being hidden away, these lessons are good news to be celebrated and shared with others.

“Seeing Biblical Women through New Eyes: Sassy, Sexy and Self-Confident” & “Reading the Bible with Sex-Positive Eyes” – Both of these programs highlight the ways scripture is always in dialogue with reason, science, Christian tradition, and our personal spiritual journeys. This perspective towards scripture helps open us to fresh insights that challenge sex-negativity and religious rigidity as well as sexism and misogyny.

“The Hook-Up Culture: The Good, Bad and the Ugly” – a program for singles that acknowledges that a “meat market” approach to dating is only slightly less appealing than enforced celibacy. This non- judgmental program makes a distinction between objectified, cheap, and meaningless hook-ups and mutually satisfying, but ethical and compassionate relationships of a short duration.

“Introduction to a Gay-Friendly Christianity” – a program for the sexual minority communities and those people who love them. The focus is on inclusion and hospitality as hallmarks of Jesus’ life and teachings as well as a re-examination of the traditional “clobber passages” in the Bible that are used to justify Bible bashing of this population.

“Christianity or Polyamory: It’s Not Either/Or” – This program is for those interested in multi- partnerships and has as a key focus the ways scripture and stories of the early church can teach us how to discern righteous behavior — rather than simply obeying cultural norms.

More Information:

http://www.incarnationinstitute.org/classes_and_workshops/

Sept 16-Tuesday-Cris Anson-Ellora Cave Author-Ellora’s Cave-10 Years of Refusing to Behave-Video

You do not want to miss Cris Anson’s Adult Sex-Ed session and her featured presentation this Tuesday. http://theeroticsalon.com/category/press-release/

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She has taken Ellora’s Cave to another level, including BDSM into her writings.

Interesting brief video on how Ellora’s Cave Publishing got started.