The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, December 16. Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale is an ordained Christian clergy in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) who is currently a clergy-in-residence at United Christian Church of Levittown. A graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary, she has spent most of her thirty years of ministry helping people reconnect their spirits and their bodies and confronting sex-negativity in the church and culture. Affectionately know as “Rev Bev,” she will present poetry and music to inspire us to bring the sacred to any sexual exploration. http://www.beverlydale.org
Prior to Readings – Adult Sex-Ed: The Joys of Sex
Topic – Reverend Dr. Beverly Dale will give a quick run through of the key biblical words and passages that will shake up your ideas and open the door to sex positive views. “We’ll look past biblical misogyny with its procreative bias and instead discover sexual freedom, pleasure and diversity!”
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. Adult Sex-Ed: The Joys of Sex 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.
‘Berlin is a bugger’s daydream,” the 21-year-old WH Auden wrote to Christopher Isherwood, with news of the city’s 170 police‑controlled male brothels. By 1929, when his school friend joined him there, the metropolis was the world capital of sexual liberation with a decade-long reputation as “Babylon on the Spree”. In his 1939 novel, Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood brilliantly captured the Weimar Republic’s decadent atmosphere of sexual experimentation, which was heightened by a sense of looming crisis. The city had been hit particularly hard by the worldwide recession; there was mass unemployment, malnutrition, economic panic and simmering political violence. “One suddenly realised the whole foundations of life were shaking,” Auden concluded.
In Berlin, Isherwood lived in an apartment owned by Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science, which occupied the grand mansion of the former French ambassador. The institute was decorated more like a wealthy private residence than a scientific establishment, with Persian carpets, a grand piano and glass cabinets full of porcelain. Free sex advice was dispensed in lectures and private consulting rooms and there were medical clinics for the treatment of venereal diseases and other sexual problems, as well as a library containing the largest collection of literature on sex in the world. There was also a research laboratory where the portly, walrus-moustached Hirschfeld – known as the “Einstein of Sex” – formulated dubious aphrodisiacs and anti-impotence medicines, and supervised the world’s first sex reassignment surgery.
The Institute also boasted a museum of sexual pathology that held up a mirror to the risque desires of Berlin’s inhabitants and became something of an unlikely tourist attraction. It was stuffed, Isherwood noted when he visited, with sado-masochistic and fetishistic props. He and Auden giggled as they went around displays of whips and chains, high-heeled boots, half-trousers sported by flashers under their coats, mechanical masturbation devices and transvestite accessories, including oversized lacy underwear worn by a Prussian officer beneath his uniform. Isherwood later admitted to having felt “a kinship with these freakish fellow tribesmen and their freakish customs”. He described the institute admiringly as a “sanctuary … where sex was being treated with seriousness”.
The Institute of Sexology, a new exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, celebrates the scientific study of sex that Hirschfeld, along with Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Havelock Ellis, helped to found. Last week, I found myself in the Wellcome’s storerooms, wearing purple plastic gloves as I previewed some of the artefacts that will be on display alongside the scientific charts and graphs that gave early sexology a legitimate, disinterested air. It was like Christmas: everything was parcelled in bubble wrap, which curator Kate Forde carefully peeled open to reveal the erotica inside. Most of these objects were collected by Henry Wellcome, who was interested in amassing evidence of “phallic worship” as the origin of religiosity: there was a porcelain persimmon, in which were secreted a copulating couple, a phallic amulet with copper wings (one broken), and a saw-toothed anti-masturbation device intended for a young man. The handling of an ancient box, full of intricately carved tortoiseshell sex aids (Hirschfeld apparently had an identical set in his collection), made me grateful to be wearing archival gloves.
There was also a turn-of-the-century vibrator, with the unfortunate name Veedee; a pun on the Latin phrase, “Veni, vidi, vici”. The packaging made ambitious claims for it as a panacea, able to cure everything from colds to neurosis with its “curative vibration”. The device resembles a bulky hairdryer and was once a serious medical tool, used by doctors to induce the orgasms thought to reposition the wandering womb believed to cause hysteria. Before he began using hypnosis, Sigmund Freud, who claimed a certain expertise when he distinguished the vaginal from the clitoral orgasm (he considered the later immature and inferior, to the annoyance of 1960s feminists), employed electrotherapy and massage at his own clinic – one historian wonders if he might have once also operated as a “gynaecological masseur”.
The Wellcome exhibition makes clear that the pioneers of sexology, who followed Freud in putting sex at the centre of psychological life, were also political activists. Hirschfeld, who was homosexual, campaigned vigorously to have laws against both sodomy and abortion revoked, and argued for all consensual sex among adults to be considered outside the purview of the legal system. Communist psychoanalysts such as Wilhelm Reich, who moved to Berlin to join forces with Hirschfeld, believed that sexual liberation was the key to social revolution. Influenced by the Polish anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski, author of The Sexual Lives of the Savages (1929), Reich believed that the bonds of the family and marriage were bourgeois shackles, and that, following the example of the Trobriand Islanders of Papua New Guinea, children should be raised collectively and adolescents encouraged to pursue free sex. For Reich, the Trobrianders’ relaxed attitude to sexuality, and correspondingly peaceful culture, showed the possibility of primitive communism, of utopia on Earth.
However, the sexual revolution Hirschfeld and Reich envisaged remained elusive. As Jews, sexologists and communists, they were everything Hitler abhorred. Hirschfeld suffered a fractured skull when he was accosted in the street and beaten up by Nazis. In 1933, after Hitler assumed power, the Institute of Sex Research was vandalised by storm troopers – they poured ink over the photos, documents and archive files, smashed the exhibition cases, and played football with the erotic artefacts inside. A plaster bust of Hirschfeld, then in exile in Paris, was paraded on a wooden stake to the Opernplatz, where Brown Shirts tossed it on an enormous pyre of 100,000 “un-Germanic” books. Hirschfeld was sitting in a cinema when he happened to see newsreel footage of the fire, which he described as like witnessing his own funeral. Reich’s works – including The Function of the Orgasm (1927) – were among those burned and, similarly blacklisted, he was also forced to flee Berlin.
In 1939 Reich emigrated to the US, where he joined Malinowski at the New School of Social Research, then known as the University of Exile. There he built an Orgone Energy Accumulator, a box that he thought could channel the libidinous force of the universe. Gullible Beats and bohemians – including Burroughs, Ginsberg, Bellow and Mailer – sat inside patiently hoping for sexual enlightenment (visitors to the exhibition can try an orgasmatron for themselves). By the time Reich arrived in the States, Alfred Kinsey, a 44-year-old professor of zoology at Indiana University had just begun collecting interviews for his monumental study of American sexuality. Kinsey taught what was quaintly known as the “marriage course” at the university (nicknamed the “copulating class”). “In an uninhibited society” – Kinsey began the class with a reference to the Trobriand Islands – “a 12-year-old would know most of the biology which I will have to give you in formal lessons”. Disappointed by the dearth of scientific literature on sex – “mainly morals masquerading under the name of science” – he began interviewing people about their sexual histories in an ambitious attempt to fill the void.
Kinsey quite deliberately made no moral evaluations of his subjects and guaranteed them complete confidentiality: he avoided euphemism, and rattled off between 350 and 521 direct questions, maintaining eye contact all the while. Each interview took an average of one to three hours per case, depending on the subject’s experience (the longest took 17 hours). By using a unique secret code, he estimated he could boil his research down from what would have taken 20 to 25 pages to a one-page grid, information that was punched into Hollerith cards and tabulated using an IBM computer. Kinsey’s carefully coded files – which formed the basis of his landmark studies, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male(1948), and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953) – were kept in a series of locked fireproof filing cabinets at The Institute for Sex Research. Kinsey boasted that the 18,000 case histories he collected – from paedophiles to politicians (sometimes both) – contained enough material “to blow up America”.
Kinsey’s Institute, which oversaw a renaissance in sex research, was modelled on Hirschfeld’s pioneering clinic in Berlin. An obsessive collector, Kinsey amassed a similarly diverse museum of sexual ephemera, some of which will be on display at the Wellcome. Though he publicly dismissed Hirschfeld, who had conducted his own sexual survey, as more of a special pleader than objective scientist, Kinsey was himself a lot more prescriptive than he liked to admit. Underneath his cool scientific detachment was a crusading humanitarianism that bubbled up between the lines of everything he wrote. Clara Kinsey claimed that her husband’s work represented “an unvoiced plea for [sexual] tolerance”. Building on Hirschfeld’s doctrine of “sexual indeterminancy”, Kinsey developed a sliding scale that was radical in that it made sexual orientation a matter of degree: while only 4% of men were exclusively homosexual, 37% had enjoyed a homosexual experience (“more than one male in three,” he emphasised).
Kinsey used his statistics to ridicule the existing sex laws (sodomy, for example, was illegal in Indiana, as was oral sex): 90% of the nation’s men and 80% of its women, he was fond of saying, could theoretically be sent to prison for what they’d done sexually. Conservatives attacked him for undermining the institution of the family; McCarthyites accused him of spearheading a communist plot to weaken American morality; and J Edgar Hoover launched an investigation into Kinsey’s background in an attempt to undermine him. Nevertheless, in 1955, a year before Kinsey’s death, the American Law Institute drafted an influential Model Penal Code. This drew on Kinsey’s studies to reject the concept of “deviant sexual behaviour” and led to the reform of the sex laws.
Kinsey’s statistics helped to lay the foundations for the sexual revolution of the 1960s, when views of sexuality were transformed in ways he could not have imagined. William Masters and Virginia Johnson continued Kinsey’s work, focusing not only on personal histories, but the biology of sex. (Few knew that Kinsey had conducted similar research, filming his team of sex researchers having sex with various volunteers.) In their secret laboratory at Washington University, Masters and Johnson used specialist equipment, including a camera hidden in a transparent dildo, nicknamed Ulysses, to record the physiology of coitus. The Wellcome juxtaposes the resulting electrocardiograms, included in their book Human Sexual Response (1966), with original drawings from Alex Comfort’s bestseller, The Joy of Sex (1972). One of these features a Neanderthal-looking man lost in the equally bushy armpits of his female lover.
Following the birth of the contraceptive pill, which was licensed in 1960, feminists seized on the similarities Masters and Johnson detected between male and female sexual responses to insist on women’s right to orgasmic pleasure. The duo, who married in 1971, pioneered “sensate therapy” to treat sexual dysfunction, and controversially used sexual surrogates to that end. However, unlike Hirschfeld and Kinsey, they didn’t exhibit an unreservedly open response to sexual difference, claiming in a 1978 book to have “cured” several homosexuals. In the 1980s they also fuelled hysteria about Aids, claiming it to be a disease of biblical proportions that might be transmitted by mosquitoes and toilet seats. The Wellcome show ends with this era, which Hugh Hefner termed “the great repression” because the climate of fear it engendered put an end to the optimistic rhetoric of liberation that had recently surrounded sex.
One exhibit on display is a leaflet, posted through UK doors in 1989, titled “Aids: Don’t Die of Ignorance”. The crisis was the catalyst for the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles, carried out in 1990 and the most ambitious sexual study since Kinsey (Further NATSAL surveys were collected in 2000 and 2013.) Margaret Thatcher, then prime minister, objected to the project, deeming the intimate questions an invasion of people’s privacy, and controversially vetoed government support. The Wellcome stepped in with the necessary money, and almost 19,000 people were interviewed (more than Kinsey managed in his lifetime), data that helped researchers predict the spread and transmission of the Aids epidemic.
If the Wellcome Trust comes across in the trajectory of the exhibition as heroic, it should be remembered that the money they invested in this research was minuscule compared to the huge amounts of money that Wellcome plc, part-owned by the Trust at the time, had made from AZT, an antiretroviral drug used to control HIV infection (a crucial ingredient of which is herring sperm). AZT had been on sale in the United States since 1987, and was one of the highest priced drugs ever marketed, making it prohibitively expensive to anyone without health insurance who had the disease. In January 1990 Act Up, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, picketed the Wellcome plc shareholders’ meeting, accusing it of profiteering, and the organisation was in desperate need of some good PR.
• Christopher Turner’s Adventures in the Orgasmatron: The Invention of Sex is out in paperback from Fourth Estate. The Institute of Sexology starts at the Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1, on 20 November. wellcomecollection.org.
The Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor is an annual award for excellence in literature. This is the first annual award. It is so named in honor of someone whose years were short, but his inspiration was infinite. Jackson Daughtry passed away from heart complications, after suffering from a debilitating syndrome, nearly ten years ago. He was only fifteen. He inspired others to strive for, and reach, their dreams. He lived life to the fullest sense of the word and never let anyone tell him that anything was out of his reach. Jackson was not famous and his life won’t be found in the history books, but he was loved dearly. Although nothing can replace his compelling presence, this award is a memorial to him, a legacy for those who strive to achieve their literary dreams.
The Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor award was established to help make the ultimate goal of one exceptional writer come true: to become a published author. You may be that person. You’ve spent months, even years, pouring over every detail of your precious book. It’s your creation; your baby. Now it’s time to share your book with the world. It’s time for your story to be read! You’ve got to believe in yourself and your talent! You’ve got to know that you have just as much of a chance of winning the whole competition as anybody else, because you are a teller of stories and it is time for your story to be heard!
The winner of the Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor receives a one thousand dollar ($1,000) cash prize and, best of all, a publication deal for your book, which includes professional editing, full distribution and marketing - all the components necessary to get your book published and the acclaim it deserves. Not to mention the sole title of 2015 Jackson Daughtry Literary Honor Winner.
Here’s how it works. To enter the competition you will submit the first twenty pages of your work, along with a three to five page synopsis of your story. We are looking for a novel of Fiction or Creative Nonfiction in any genre, except Poetry and picture books. Be sure to get it in before the Deadline, January 31, 2015. The panel of Judges will read all of the entries as they are submitted and, on March 1, 2015, they will narrow it down to five finalists. Those five will then submit their novel in its entirety and, May 30, 2015, a GRAND PRIZE WINNER will be announced! That person could be you. If you don’t believe in yourself, who else will?
He said my name over and over as he lifted me up, my legs curled around him, and laid me down beneath him on the high bed. I had never imagined that I was capable of wanton behaviour, but it was as if a dam within me had burst and we made love that day and night like two people starved, slowly suffused with more and more pleasure, exploring and devouring every inch of each other, so as not to miss one single possibility of passion.
2. Desert God by Wilbur Smith
Her hair was piled high, but when she shook her head it came cascading down in a glowing wave over her shoulders, and fell as far as her knees. This rippling curtain did not cover her breasts which thrust their way through it like living creatures. They were perfect rounds, white as mare’s milk and tipped with ruby nipples that puckered as my gaze passed over them.
Her body was hairless. Her pudenda were also entirely devoid of hair. The tips of her inner lips protruded shyly from the vertical cleft. The sweet dew of feminine arousal glistened upon them.
3. The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Whatever had held them apart, whatever had restrained their bodies before, was now gone. If the earth spun it faltered, if the wind blew it waited. Hands found flesh; flesh, flesh. He felt the improbable weight of her eyelash with his own; he kissed the slight, rose-coloured trench that remained from her knicker elastic, running around her belly like the equator line circling the world. As they lost themselves in the circumnavigation of each other, there came from nearby shrill shrieks that ended in a deeper howl.
Dorrigo looked up. A large dog stood at the top of the dune. Above blood-jagged drool, its slobbery mouth clutched a twitching fairy penguin.
4. From ‘DD-MM-YY’ in Things to Make and Break by May-Lan Tan
She wriggles down under the blankets and pulls off my jeans and skivvies. I lie back and her hair tickles my stomach, her mouth wrapping over me. I’d forgotten this about her: she has the smallest, hottest mouth, as if she’s storing lava in her cheeks. I shut my eyes, holding her hair by the roots. My bones start to liquefy.
When I’m about to come, I flip her onto her back and take off her underwear. I roll her nipple on my tongue and rub her clit with my thumb until her lips get slippery. I glide my middle finger in and out, then fold her legs up and push in. God. It’s like sticking your cock into the sun.
5. The Hormone Factory by Saskia Goldschmidt
She was moaning softly now, her breath coming faster. She tasted of apples. Her soft warm flesh was driving me crazy – that dish of delight my tongue was now lapping at frenziedly. Her suppressed cries were coming faster and faster. I unbuttoned my pants, pushing them down past my hips, and my beast, finally released from its cage, sprang up wildly. I started inching my way back up, continuing to stimulate her manually, until the beast found its way in. She opened her eyes and said softly, ‘I’m still a virgin, please be careful.’
I kept myself quiet for a moment, kissed her and said, “I’ll be very gentle, all right?”
Running her tongue over her lips she nodded; she was as hot as boiling water in a distillation flask, and it wasn’t long before I was able to really get going. We both came at the same time. I stayed inside her for a few seconds, gazed at her, and smiled.
6. Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
The girls entwined themselves lithely around Tsukuru. Kuro’s breasts were full and soft. Shiro’s were small, but her nipples were as hard as tiny round pebbles. Their pubic hair was as wet as a rain forest. Their breath mingled with his, becoming one, like currents from far away, secretly overlapping at the dark bottom of the sea.
These insistent caresses continued until Tsukuru was inside the vagina of one of the girls. It was Shiro. She straddled him, took hold of his rigid, erect penis, and deftly guided it inside her. His penis found its way with no resistance, as if swallowed up into an airless vacuum. She took a moment, gathering her breath, then began slowly rotating her torso, as if she were drawing a complex diagram in the air, all the while twisting her hips. Her long, straight black hair swung above him, sharply, like a whip.
7. The Lemon Grove by Helen Walsh
She closes her eyes. Shakes her head.
“We can’t,” she begins. His mouth is on hers; his tongue is jabbing around her gums, the wrinkled roof of her mouth. He pulls away a second time.
“Look at me,” he says.
She looks him in the eye. She reaches out and cups his balls and squeezes gently. Nathan closes his eyes, bites his lip. Then he steps into her, furious. And when it hits her, it slams her hard and fast, as life once had.
8. The Age of Magic by Ben Okri
When his hand brushed her nipple it tripped a switch and she came alight. He touched her belly and his hand seemed to burn through her. He lavished on her body indirect touches and bitter-sweet sensations flooded her brain.
She became aware of places in her that could only have been concealed there by a god with a sense of humour. Adrift on warm currents, no longer of this world, she became aware of him gliding into her. He loved her with gentleness and strength, stroking her neck, praising her face with his hands, till she was broken up and began a low rhythmic wail. She was a little overwhelmed with being the adored focus of such power, as he rose and fell. She felt certain now that there was a heaven and that it was here, in her body. The universe was in her and with each movement it unfolded to her.
9. The Affairs of Others by Amy Grace Loyd
I continued to tell her flesh of its gifts, such pleasure, gently but insistently given, even biting her earlobe with my front teeth, sweeping her hair from her face, her neck, as she cried, and breathed less jaggedly, “It hurts, it hurts.” I did not stop until it stopped hurting, until I heard pleasure articulated from her. Her throat as open as her body, wet everywhere from tears and the coming, and I did hear it, a long high twisting cry and a twisting in my arms as my fingers dove up and up into the full expressive wetness of her. Hold me, hold me. Here and here, she said after she came, placing one of my hands between her legs to press again, another over her breasts. Hold me tight.
10. The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham
They both know they have to do this quickly. He slides his dick into her. She sighs more loudly, but it’s still a sigh, not a sex moan, though this time there’s a soft gasp at the end. Tyler is inside her, here’s the heat, the powerful wet hold, and fuck, he’s about to come already. He holds off, lets his cock rest in her, lies on top, his face pressed to her cheek (he can’t seem to look directly at her), until she says, ‘Don’t wait.’
“Are you sure?”
He thrusts once, cautiously. He thrusts again, and he’s gone, he’s off into the careening nowhere. He lives for seconds in that soaring agonizing perfection. It’s this, only this, he’s lost to himself, he’s no one, he’s obliterated, there’s no Tyler at all, there’s only… He hears himself gasp in wonder. He falls into an ecstatic burning harmedness, losing, lost, unmade.
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