Porn Digital Art, Habits of Highly Erotic People

I enjoy sharing blogs and articles I think the attendees of the Erotic Literary Salon will appreciate. Nerve and The Paris Review are today’s blog contributors.

The Habits of Highly Erotic People

What can the French teach Americans about sex?

vintage french adFrom a 1923 French advertisement

Last month, as the New York Post went into paroxysms over the latest French presidential love triangle, we found a more academic comment on French habits of the heart, thanks to our attendance at a panel on “The Art of Sex and Seduction,” sponsored by the Alliance Française. On the first of its three nights, entitled “Did the French invent love?”, Catherine Cusset, a former professor of French literature at Yale, told a story:

A countess invites a young man to her house after running into him at the opera. After a stiff meal with her husband, who retires to his private apartments, the countess leads her guest down a secret passageway into a bedroom. The walls and ceiling are covered with gilded mirrors. Sexual frenzy ensues. At daybreak, the giddy, exhausted young man emerges from the den and runs into a marquis who has just arrived. The marquis thanks him profusely. The young man realizes that he has served merely as a decoy to distract the count from his wife’s true lover. The husband appears for breakfast and greets the marquis cordially. The last line of this story—Vivant Denon’s No Tomorrow, first published in 1777—reads, “I looked for some moral to this adventure and … I could find none.”

“There is no moral lesson,” Cusset said pointedly, and a communal gasp could be heard in Florence Gould Hall. Throughout the series, the audience was susceptible to gasps, audible stirring, and sudden eruptions of laughter. The French and American panelists, who included historians, scientists, sex therapists, and journalists, spoke about vaginas and orgasms in that purposefully blunt way one always expects and yet can seldom prepare for. Here’s what we learned about the difference between French and American sexual customs and attitudes, with a few startling facts about tout le monde.

  • “Love, for the French, is tied up with adultery,” explained Marilyn Yalom, a feminist scholar at Stanford. Marriage in the Middle Ages, as least in the upper classes, was a contract related to the exchange of rank and property. Love was, therefore, to be found outside the marriage, leading to the mythic French threesome: the husband, the wife, the mistress.
  • Studies show that Americans and French have similar rates of infidelity, but the French, “marathoners,” have longer, and therefore fewer, affairs. Americans are “sprinters,” with more frequent but shorter trysts.
  • Older French women are considered sexual beings. A nonagenarian is to be respected as a repository of sexual history. When Colette was nearing fifty, pointed out her biographer Judith Thurman, she had an affair with her sixteen-year-old stepson, among other men-children.
  • Cusset once assigned Woman Destroyed, the novella by Simone de Beauvoir, in a class at Yale. The diary of a woman who discovers her husband of twenty years has been unfaithful, it records a gradual nervous breakdown. Cusset was surprised by her American students’ reaction. “They thought she whined too much. They didn’t understand that you can be broken by love.” Love as the loss of control—whether it brings ecstasy or devastation, within or without marriage—is a French ideal. Total surrender is too much for an American. We prefer to check boxes for the ideal mate.
  • More casually accepted notions in France: When a woman has married and produced the heir and a spare, she is free to live her own sexual life. A lover outside the marriage can save a marriage.
  • Marie de Bonaparte, a great-niece of the emperor and a student of Freud’s, was convinced that her frigidity was the result of an anatomical defect. After measuring the distance from the clitoris to the vagina in a group of women, she found that those with a shorter distance were more orgasmic. She had surgery to shorten hers. It didn’t work. She did it again, with no better luck.
  • Forty million Americans describe themselves as sex-starved. According to Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist at Rutgers and chief scientific consultant to the dating site, it is often a question of mismatched libidos—an adventurer paired with a traditionalist, for example.
  • Studies show single Americans are having sex especially rarely. An audience member blamed Internet porn; the American sex therapist Ian Kerner theorized that everyone was too tired.
  • Women who had their cervixes wired for signs of stimulation were shown images of heterosexual, gay, and lesbian porn, and one image of bonobo chimpanzees having sex. The women claimed not to be excited by anything but “appropriate” images, but the instruments showed otherwise. The women were turned on by all the images, including the monkeys. Men, subjected to the same study, were excited by the predictable, and mostly said so. None of them reacted to the monkeys.
  • In a survey of five thousand Americans, 70 percent said they experienced sexual boredom in their relationship, but eighty percent of married couples said they would remarry the same person.
  • Women get bored sexually with the same partner much sooner than men. According to one study, women experience “a catastrophic decline of interest” after three years whereas men show a much more gradual erosion.
  • Studies and anecdotal accounts show rape fantasies to be ubiquitous among women.
  • In France, “flirting is a civic duty.” Flirting is playing with le fleuret, the tip of the sword.
  • There is a point of no return in the process of seduction, wrote the French eighteenth-century erotic writer Crebillon Fils, which is when the woman signals that she won’t say no.
  • As human animals, we have our own observable sexual cues. Females tend to tip their buttocks up during courting. There is also the “copulatory gaze,” during which the pupils dilate.
  • Manon Lescaut and Dangerous Liaisons were named the sexiest works of literature. Also, The Story of O still stands as a minor erotic masterpiece.
  • Why the French are not as morally conflicted about sex as Americans: “The French are keenly aware of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure.”
  • For the French, love is “embedded in the flesh.” Americans “prefer to imagine love without the body.”
  • According to a French audience member in her twenties, there is no French translation for a date, as in the official dinner/movie outing, which she clearly thought sounded deadly.
  • A French therapist would not necessarily encourage, as would an American one, more “communication in bed.” Mystery, or what the French call le non-dit (“the unspoken”), is a better aphrodisiac.
  • An eager young woman had a question “from some friends.” Her “friends,” a new couple, were in love and very attracted to each other, but the man wouldn’t “release his inner wild man.” “What should she do?” the woman inquired, almost desperately. “She is ready for anything!” “When a man gets to know a woman, “ said the expert, “sometimes he becomes self-conscious about objectifying her that way. He thinks it’s wrong.” There was a silence as we considered the sensitivity of this hypothetical male. Then the American science writer suggested talking dirty to break the ice.

On all three nights, the audience was about fifty percent male, which surprised us. The third night, entitled “Behind the Boudoir: The Secrets of Sex Appeal,” attracted an especially attentive group, most of whom appeared in their seventies. The French audience members, whom we might assume to be appealingly jaded, were just as riveted as everyone else. Throughout the series, the ubiquitous French affirmation c’est normal (“that’s normal,” or “we are only human”) hung in the air as we delved into the often bizarre complexities of sex, and for a moment, we felt a uniquely Gallic pleasure: exulting in the complexity of a problem rather than searching for its solution.

Someone asked what Americans could teach the French about sex and seduction. There was a puzzled silence. Finally, the cultural historian suggested that French men could be encouraged to help out more with household tasks, with an important caveat: “Egalitarianism is wonderful in the kitchen but boring in the bedroom.”

Making Porn into Digital Art (NSFW) – Nerve

Italian artist Dom Barra works in the emerging field of Dirty New Media Art. Jon Cates, a professor at the Art Institute of Chicago says Dirty New Media’s mission is “to express a contrast with the kind of cleanliness that is [associated] with more commercial or corporate styles of digital art and design. It refers to a menagerie of alternative practices and subcultures spanning from punk and digital sampling to piracy and pornography.” Barra says this is done through, “using softwares not designed for the image editing task such as text editing and music softwares. Through these process I manage to corrupt/glitch digital format such as .jpg, .gif, .avi, .bmp, .raw, .tif, .iff and so on.” Barra says of his subject matter, “I work with porn because I think it fits well with the glitch art aesthetics, that feeling of stolen images, corrupted TV signals from a dystopian cyberpunk scenarios. I also believe that sex is the best expression of the human body and its power and energy. I love the way it shows these qualities in a glitched picture/video/gif.”


dom barra - untitled 4 - pirate porn material (1)

Dom Barra - untitled- Dirty Process series
dom barra - untitled - a picture is never private (1)

dom barra - untitled

Dom Barra - Untitled - Red Link District

dom barra - wrecking penis - the thin line between porn and pop

dom barra - untitled 4 - red link district

dom barra - untitled - pirate porno material

dom barra - untitled 2 - red link distric

dom barra - untitled 3 - pirate porn material

Fuck Yes: Sex-Ed Series for Adults

New sex-positive videos by F*ck Yes!


“With issues of consent at the center of so many conversations lately, F*ck Yes is just the kind of raw, honest entertainment we need.”

A couple negotiates what it might be like to incorporate a little porn into their sex life.

Things have gotten hot and heavy, but there’s no protection in sight. What’s a couple to do?


Lesson: If you ask for what you *actually* want, you might *actually* get it.


Consent is still sexy, even in a long-term relationship.

Press Release-February 21-The Erotic Literary Salon-The Adult Sex-Ed Salon, Valentine’s Special-Monica Day’s Loving The Unlovable


Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon-Live and the Adult Sex-Ed Salon, Valentine’s Special-Monica Day’s Loving The Unlovable, along with Attendee Readers, Share an Evening of Edutainment, Tuesday, Feb 21.


Tuesday, January 28, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – contact: Susana Mayer, Ph.D., Salonnière,

PCSalons@gmail.comreserve a time slot to read at Salon (5 min max) – guidelines for reading. – blog: events, Salon notices, erotica, and guidelines.


The Erotic Literary Salon will be held Tuesday, February 21. The evening will start with the Adult Sex-Ed Salon a one-hour program devoted to sex and sexuality. The audience will create this month’s theme. They will have the opportunity to pose any questions regarding sex and sexuality anonymously. Sexologist Susana Mayer, PhD, along with co-host Walter will facilitate the Adult Sex-Ed Salon and attendees interested in sharing their knowledge and experiences will join in the discussion.


Underneath the shallow trinkets of love — flowers, candy and dinner — lies a deep longing inside of us all to feel connected, to belong, to rest inside of one another. This longing plays out in how we sex, how we fight, how we navigate the tricky terrain of our relationships. In her annual Valentine’s performance, poet and storyteller Monica Day will explore how our deepest desire to be loved collides with our unspoken fear: what if we are unlovable? An exploration filled with tenderness, vulnerability — and her signature erotic overtones — this performance will infuse the Valentine’s month with depth and realness. Please join us.


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 15 attendees participate as writers, readers, storytellers, spoken word performers of original works/words of others, the rest just come to listen, enjoy and applaud.


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., for cocktails, food and conversation. Adult Sex-Ed between 7:00-8:00, readings begin at 8:30. Admission is $12, discounted for students and seniors to $10. 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



FREE Raffle-Tonight-Jan 17-Win Tickets to The Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot is the first ever high energy, heart-pounding, fist pumping, laugh-out-loud “Pop Erotica” burlesque* show in the world. Up and running in over 30 cities so far, this sensational theater production takes you on a lively adventure celebrating the sexier side of life.


Get ready to experience the world’s best performance poets, live body art models, sultry burlesque dancers, live music, comedy and the most electrified host you have ever seen. All this mixed in with today’s top 40 hits. If you have never partied from your seat, let this be the first time!

This Mardi Gras Edition: It’s all about the beads!

* Burlesque refers to performances in a variety show format. Also be ready to participate in fun games, birthday treats, and opportunities to win prizes.

* Popular destination for birthdays, bachelor(ette) parties, and large groups.

* Drinks are available for purchase. Food and novelties are available for purchase depending on the venue/city – call 347.409.7442 to inquire.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: SweetSpotNation / #SweetSpotNation

What some people are saying:

“Blessings! I celebrated my 41st birthday with you all here in Oakland back in October… I just want to say thank you for the best birthday celebration ever! See y’all in January! Merry holidays!” – Mich

“This was our very first time attending in Atlanta, GA on Saturday, November 14, 2015. We were not sure of what to expect, but it was very sexy, provocative, enlightening, and very entertaining. We will definitely attend again. Keep up the great work!!” – Tequila

“I was thoroughly entertained by the games, poets, dancer and let me NOT forget about the Comedian (Host). YEEEEEES! I’ll be back! And I’m promoting the hell out of this event. Lol..I’m telling EVERYONE that I know to go to this event when you go to their city.” – Shanita

“Sweet spot is about unlocking what lives and needs to breathe in all of us, our passion, our sexuality, and our desire and love for having fun. I was unlocked immediately upon entry to the venue. Really funny, really articulate, and really really sexy. Thank you so much.” – Dan

For more reviews go to:

List of cities where we perform:
Albany, NY / Annapolis, MD / Atlanta, GA / Baltimore, MD / Buffalo, NY / Charlotte, NC / Fresno, CA / New York, NY / Newark, NJ / Philadelphia, PA / Oakland, CA / Rochester, NY / Sacramento, CA / Toronto, Canada / Washington, DC / New Orleans, LA / Miami, FL / Birmingham, AL / Dallas, TX / Houston, TX / Louisville, KY / San Antonio, TX / Oklahoma City, OK / Austin, TX / Silver Spring, MD / San Diego, CA / Las Vegas, NV / Los Angeles, CA / Montgomery, AL / St Louis, MO / Detroit, MI



What is The Sweet Spot’s refund policy?  In line with industry practice we have a “No Refund” policy.

Are there ID requirements or an age limit to enter the event? This event is 21+

What can/can’t I bring to the event?  Please do not bring a professional recording device.

Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?  Call us at 347.409.7442 or email us at

Is my registration/ticket transferable?  Yes, your ticket is transferable to another person but not to another city/event.

Can I update my registration information?  Yes

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? We prefer that you download the Eventbrite App and show your ticket on your smart phone. You may also bring a printed ticket.

The name on the registration/ticket doesn’t match the attendee. Is that okay?  Yes

For more information visit our website