Category: Slideshow

Phawker Blog – Book: 50 Shades of Laid

Philadelphia’s most informative Phawker Blog helped promote the Erotic Literary Salon’s new book, “SenSexual: A Unique Anthology 2013” with a wonderful posting this week.

Jonathan Valania, the editor-in-chief was most instrumental in helping the Salon get off the ground. He lent his connections and expertise in designing the first flyer, using Cupid and Psyche as the background. Eventually  the master painting was used in the logo for the Salon.

Phawker Blog: “Curated News, Gossip, Concert Reviews, Fearless Political commentary, Interviews….Plus, the Usual Sex, Drugs and Rock n’Roll.”

Read the article here: scroll down to April 9th.


K.D. Grace – A Hopeful Romantic – Talk about “SenSexual: A Unique Anthology”

I was interviewed by erotica author K.D. Grace, her blog – A Hopeful Romantic. Please read the interview and hear about the backstory regarding the Erotic Literary Salon and the new book, “SenSexual: A Unique Anthology.”


KD: Dare I ask, what’s your favourite part of the anthology?

SM: No favorite part, just the fact that my dream of creating one when I first started the Salon actually came to fruition. It is such an unusual anthology so I wasn’t certain how people would respond. So far all the reviews have been stellar.

KD: I’m once again seeing this wonderfully delicious term, which you coined, SenSexual – such a celebratory term for embracing of our sexuality. Could you explain the term to our readers and tell us how it came about.

SM: I was tired of the pornography/erotica debate. As I stated in the book, “Why “sensexual”? It’s a sensual, sexy new term that bypasses all the old judgments around divisive labels like “erotica” and “pornography.” Pornography usually conjures up negative judgments, while erotica, a more toned-down term, is most often equated with sexual material for women. The subjective line between erotica and pornography is personal, temporal and culturally prescribed, and “sensexual” breaks down this boundary.”

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Sam Rosenthal – Author: Queer Erotic Novel “Rye” – Interview by W.D. Wilkerson

Sam Rosenthal will be the featured reader at next week’s Erotic Literary Salon, Tuesday, April 16.

An interview with Sam Rosenthal by W.D. Wilkerson

Q RYE is a hot, engaging read. Was it fun to write?

Yes, it was fun because I got to invent these people I really like, and then create situations for them and see what they’d do. I’d be walking to work, with all these scenes spinning in my head, thinking about how my people would react to what I wanted to throw at them. Wondering what sort of funny things they might say, or how they might be triggered by something that the other person says or does.

Q That’s something that I really like about RYE: It’s not just about the hot sex. What inspired you to write this story?

I began on RYE after attending an erotica reading. I should back-up a bit and explain that I’m the songwriter in my band, Black tape for a blue girl; I’ve written the lyrics for our ten albums. As I left the reading, I thought, “Hm, writing erotica could be a new way to tell my stories. A chance to stretch out over more space.” For me, RYE was always about the characters, and their story. I wanted to create people and have them come off as real and do things that interest me. I’m an artist, so I put many levels into my work. The people. The sex. Their desires, how they identify, how they want the world to see them. Not just about their gender, but generally how we all want to be thought of by other people.

Q It’s not every day that you read an erotic novel about poly, kinky, queer people. Why pick this subject?

These are the sort of people I’m involved with and attracted to. I’m not a big reader of erotica, honestly, but I sense there isn’t a whole bunch written about queer characters. But, that said, people are people. We all have the same underlying emotions and conflicts. Anyone can relate to what happens in RYE.

Q Quick summary of your main characters?

Rye is a biological-female who identifies as a gay male. The narrator, Matt, is biologically-male. Rain is biologically-female, but is fluid about gender. I had some interesting possibilities going in.

Q The three of them are involved in a poly relationship. Is it harder or easier to write for poly relationships than it is for more conventional monogamous relationships?

I think that poly presents more opportunities for the characters. When they are with other people, it’s not about, “Oooh, am I cheating?” I’m not having to deal with that “problem” which I find sort of boring. If there’s consent, then nobody’s cheating. So now we’re past that, and I can be sex-positive about their interests, and let them get into different situations. And see what the outcomes are. I like that because it really opens up the palette for the kinds of sex the characters have, and also how it affects them.

Q I liked that you didn’t make poly relationships the source of their conflict

Right. And that’s something I had to think about while writing RYE. What is the conflict for these people? Where does the drama lie, if it’s not jealousy and insecurity? And to me, I tried to take a bunch of intellectual conflicts (identity, gender, social stereotypes, desire for family and commitment) and deal with it in a more physical and passionate way. I’m not a gender theorist; I didn’t want to be going all high-brow. Because RYE is a love story. RYE is a comedy. And it’s erotica. And I wanted to deal with these higher concepts in a down-to-earth and natural way. And I didn’t give Matt all the answers. Even though he’s the narrator, he’s learning along the way.

Q That’s cool, Sam, because then RYE can serve as an intro, too. To poly and queer.

Most of society isn’t familiar with queer and genderqueer. Jeez, America is still getting comfortable with same-sex marriage. And in RYE I’m introducing characters that don’t really have a social identification that matches their biological gender. So I wanted it to be easy to digest. And then Rain came along as a total joker, but really intelligent. And that gave me a lightness to work with, but also a voice for the more complex side of things.

Q Maybe you should define genderqueer…

I use it in the sense that gender isn’t binary. It’s not just male and female. We are born with certain physical characteristics, but they don’t define our gender roles. Society tells us about that. So we are a product of the rules we agree to. People who identify as genderQueer say, “Hey, wait. Do I have to be that role, or do I have the right to be who I feel like I am?”

Q There are some really ingenious and occasionally outrageous moments of kink in this novel. Did you have a laundry list of kinks you wanted to include, or did the kinks seem to suggest themselves during the process of writing this novel?

Matt and Rye’s top-bottom dynamic was in my mind as I started writing. There’s this really obvious stereotype that BDSM is about Master so-and-so and his weak-willed submissive. The 50 SHADES model. And I don’t subscribe to that idea of BDSM. I wanted both of my characters to be strong and secure, and I don’t even know if I like using ‘BDSM’ for their relationship. I chose to use ‘top-bottom’ in the book, to differentiate; for them, it is a very intimate relinquishing of control between equals. Rye is the stronger of the two, in many ways. In so far as not taking shit, and having some of the more traditional male characteristics. And I liked that complexity.

I didn’t have a list at the beginning of what kind of scenes they would get into, just that they had a specific dynamic, and there were certain things each of them had preferences for. And then Rain came along, wanting to do age play; and I personally do like the bratty, snarky type, I figured that would be fun to explore. Matt and Rain have a different dynamic from Matt and Rye. I think that’s true of complex people. We don’t put on the same mask in every situation. We are different people when we are with different lovers.

Q “Erotica” has a negative connotation to people who appreciate “serious” literature. Somehow that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY book came out of nowhere and suddenly the country is hot for it, pardon the pun. Why do you think there is such a taboo around erotic fiction?

The taboo is that “polite people don’t talk about sex.” America is all about its love of violence, and titillations. But real sex is still too much for most people. A lot of America is not very sex-positive. Sex has a lot of shame, and naughtiness to it.

Q Then to wrap up, is RYE the answer?

What’s the question? (laughs) I think that RYE has a lot of love and plot and character that goes beyond just the sex. But I like that sex is right there in most everything they do. Because that seems pretty real-life to me. Is it the answer? Well, it’s one of the answers. Thanks for asking.

Between the Sheets: Top 10 Most Provocative Books out this Month

Daily Loaf’s, “Best books on sex, sexuality and gender (re)released this April,” posted by Shawn Aliff.

I’m presently reviewing the first book on the list, and the first story by Jonathan Lethem, ‘Live Nude Models,’ is quite wonderful.

Excerpts from the list:


Best Sex Writing 2013: The State of Today’s Sexual Culture (4/16/2013)
Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Publisher’s Description: Once again, Rachel Kramer Bussel has collected the year’s most challenging and provocative nonfiction articles on this endlessly evocative subject. The essays here comprise a detailed, direct survey of the contemporary American sexual landscape. Major commentators examine the many roles sex plays in our lives in these literate and lively essays. Judged by the Dr. Carol Queen, who is without peer, this stunning collection of sexsmart essays is sure to stir the heart, the brain, as well as other major organs.


Taming Passion for the Public Good: Policing Sex in the Early Republic (4/1/2013)
by Mark E. Kann

Publisher’s Description: The American Revolution was fought in the name of liberty. In popular imagination, the Revolution stands for the triumph of populism and the death of patriarchal elites. But this is not the case, argues Mark E. Kann. Rather, in the aftermath of the Revolution, America developed a society and system of laws that kept patriarchal authority alive and well—especially when it came to the sex lives of citizens. Kann contends that despite the rhetoric of classical liberalism, the founding generation did not trust ordinary citizens with extensive liberty. Under the guise of paternalism, they were able simultaneously to retain social control while espousing liberal principles, with the goal of ultimately molding the country into the new American ideal: a moral and orderly citizenry that voluntarily did what was best for the public good



The Jet Sex: Airline Stewardesses and the Making of an American Icon (4/1/2013)
by Victoria Vantoch

Publisher’s Description: Victoria Vantoch explores in rich detail how multiple forces—business strategy, advertising, race, sexuality, and Cold War politics—cultivated an image of the stewardess that reflected America’s vision of itself, from the wholesome girl-next-door of the 1940s to the cosmopolitan glamour girl of the Jet Age to the sexy playmate of the 1960s. Though airlines marketed her as the consummate hostess—an expert at pampering her mostly male passengers, while mixing martinis and allaying their fears of flying—she bridged the gap between the idealized 1950s housewife and the emerging “working woman.”



Cosmopolitan Sex Workers: Women and Migration in a Global City (4/30/2013)
by Christine B.N. Chin

Publisher’s Description: This book examines the phenomenon of non-trafficked women who migrate from one global city to another to perform paid sexual labor in Southeast Asia. Chin offers a theoretical framework that she terms “3C” (city, creativity and cosmopolitanism) in order to show how factors at the local, state, transnational and individual levels work together to shape women’s ability to migrate to perform sex work. Chin’s book will show that as neoliberal economic restructuring processes create pathways connecting major cities throughout the world, competition and collaboration between cities creates new avenues for the movement of people, services and goods (the “city” portion of the argument). Loosely organized networks of migrant labor grow in tandem with professional-managerial classes, and sex workers migrate to different parts of cities, depending on the location of the clientele to which they cater. But while global cities create economic opportunities for migrants (and survive on the labor they provide), states also react to the presence of migrants with new forms of securitization and surveillance. Migrants therefore need to negotiate between appropriating and subverting the ideas that inform global economic restructuring to maintain agency (the “creativity”). Chin suggests that migration allows women to develop intercultural skills that help them to make these negotiations (the “cosmopolitanism”).



Why Men Fake It: The Totally Unexpected Truth About Men and Sex (4/16/2013)
by Abraham Morgentaler

Publisher’s Description: Harvard Professor Abraham Morgentaler, MD, offers a view into the secret world of his patients, providing a new perspective on men, sex, and relationships. What really drives men to do what they do? Why Men Fake It uses the real-life stories of Dr. Morgentaler’s patients to let us in on the secrets of men and to examine the current state of male sexuality in science and medicine as well as in relationships and popular culture… From these stories you will gain a surprising perspective on the minds and motivations of men: committed, caring, loving and sometimes clumsy individuals doing their best to be great partners in their relationships.

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