Sunday, May 19, 2019
Authors Posts by Paula Tiberius

Paula Tiberius

Paula Tiberius is an author, editor, screenwriter, filmmaker, musician and mom living in North Hollywood, California with her husband, daughter and big German Shepherd. Paula is the editor of, and wrote and directed the award-winning feature film Goldirocks, distributed by R Squared Films. Visit, and find out about her romance novel The Cowboy Singer, and her upcoming kids' album, Be Who You Are.

Dr. Ava Cadell on “Kendra On Top”

Dr. Ava Cadell, world-renowned sexologist and global speaker (and Sexpert’s founder!) is on Kendra Wilkinson’s show Kendra on Top tomorrow October 2, and October 9th, helping them sort out their relationship issues. She was referred by their therapist, and invited to their house.

Kendra on Top - heart connection
Dr. Ava gives Kendra and Hank an interactive exercise to see what kind of a “heart connection” they have in order for them to attend the Intimacy Retreat.

The first episode Dr. Ava appears in is hilariously entitled “The Sexorcist” – I love that! I doubt we’ll see Kendra’s head spin 360 degrees, but I do know that Dr. Ava will evaluate Kendra and Hank to find out if they’re ready for her Intimacy Retreat. Then in the next juicy episode, they go on the retreat and are forced to hash through the problems that have haunted their marriage throughout season four so far…it’s a lot of baggage to overcome.

“I think that Kendra and Hank were on the brink of crisis in their relationship,” says Dr. Ava Cadell. “I hope that by coming to my Intimacy Retreat, they were able to save their marriage. After all, there are two beautiful kids at stake.”

Joining Dr. Ava Cadell at her Intimacy Retreat are sexperts Dr. Hernando Chaves and Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce. Chaves joins Dr. Ava in helping Kendra and Hank draw new emotional and sexual boundaries, while Sutton Pierce is on the physical side, leading couples yoga and Tantric massage. Hopefully with these new tools in their marriage kit, Kendra and Hank will be able to keep it together.

Dr. Cadell’s Episodes will air on WETV October 2nd and October 9th.

Breast Cancer Awareness Art Show @ LAND Gallery In L.A.

Tomorrow marks the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which has not gone unnoticed in the Los Angeles art scene. Ground-breaking artist Bettina Hubby will be kicking off October at the Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND) with a large-scale installation called Thanks for the Mammaries, the Facebook feed.

The work chronicles a long-standing Facebook dialogue surrounding Hubby’s diagnosis of breast cancer and her subsequent double mastectomy in 2014. She asked for “boob-related imagery” from her friends, and they did not disappoint. Hubby’s art always unites a community, but this time it was personal, and she is loved. She received not only hundreds of Facebook posts, but also dozens of submissions for an original art show and sale that was put up at For Your Art on Wilshire Blvd. Read more about this incredibly eclectic show here.

For the show, Hubby created a huge fabric print-out of the Facebook feed that started it all, which was a centerpiece at the event. Now it can be seen alongside limited-edition artist objects created by Hubby tomorrow Thursday, October 1, 2015 from 6-8pm at LAND, which is also unveiling its new, larger public headquarters in Hollywood 6775 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90038.

All proceeds will go to benefit the Cancer Support Community at the Benjamin Center in Los Angeles. The exhibition will culminate on Friday, November 6, 2015 from 6-8pm with the book launch of Hubby’s book Thanks for the Mammaries, published by LAND.

The installation will be open for viewing Monday through Friday, 11am-5pm, beginning Monday, October 5, 2015.

BCA - Bettina Hubby exhibit

Lick By Lick, Blow By Blow – Elle Chase On Oral Sex At The Pleasure Chest

Elle Chase spoke to a packed house last night at The Pleasure Chest in Hollywood, talking about oral sex in her workshop called, “Lick by Lick, Blow by Blow.”

She had the crowd curious and laughing with her particular brand of humor and smartypants-ness that wooed the people who attended her last seminar, Big, Beautiful Sex.

Beginning with tips on how to make consent sexy (“Do you like that?” rather than “May I kiss you now?”) she quickly moved on to an in-depth anatomy lesson that actually had men and women murmuring amongst themselves – sex education at work! And it is pretty remarkable how much the clitoris is like the penis – and that it has 8,000 nerve endings while the penis has 4,000. “Why did the guys get ‘shafted?” She asked – pun intended.

Then the hands-on lessons began with Blow Job Basics and Pussy Licking. For penises, her acronym HIRE (which admittedly isn’t sexy in itself) worked to remind us of the four important elements – Hands, Intimacy, Reverence & Enthusiasm. She demonstrated techniques on a dildo with a condom, much to the interest of everyone in the room, especially a boisterous row of women in the front who got their own dildos to try out during this part of the workshop. Well done, ladies! One of these eager participants had the best lube question of the night – is it gluten free? The answer was that Sliquid is gluten free, so there you go.

Elle Chase workshop 1
Blow job basics!

With Pussy Licking she went over a staggering array of possibilities too lengthy to list here, and the conversation definitely amped up when squirting came up, with the usual questions about what the fluid is, how to stimulate it and whether or not to pee first. I liked the guy in the back who piped up to say that female ejaculate does not taste like pee – it’s sweet! This was a nice segué into the toy portion of the talk, and also when most people started taking notes. There were some amazing products on the display table, and of course in the store to buy right after the lecture!

Elle Chase workshop
Elle holding up the Jimmy Jane Hello Touch

Elle was advocating for the Wevibe Tango as the best bullet and the Jimmy Jane Form 2 as another excellent clitorial stimulator, she also whipped out Jimmy Jane’s futuristic electro-hand, the Hello Touch, as well as their Form 5, which is kind of a bat-like ‘hugging’ vibe that you can use during a blow job to hold the shaft in a vibrating embrace. Wow!

I recommend seeing Elle talk about anything at all, but boy she knows a lot about oral sex! Until next workshop…

Elle Chase oral workshop


Add “Sweet Heat” To Your Sexy Summer Recipes

Culinary entrepreneurs Hillary Danner and Maria Newman have hit on a combination of flavors that Gwyneth Paltrow calls “sweet and savory, spicy and ambrosial, totally unique.” At Sexpert, we would add ‘aphrodisiacal’ to that list – yes that is a word – and praise the sweet, spicy, sexy glory of Hell Fire Pepper Jelly!

“A little bit of spice raises the body temperature and makes the lips swell – it’s called a ‘sexual flush,'” says sexologist Dr. Ava Cadell. “It’s a potent aphrodisiac because it makes you feel alive and hot!”

When I contacted Hillary Danner about Jenkins Jellies, she told me she immediately smiled, remembering a conversation she had with her publisher at St. Lynn’s Press. “We had just decided that the name of my cookbook would be Sweet Heat and I laughed, saying, “they might get confused and put it in the porn section. All in good time, I guess.”

We think it’s a completely natural combination – sweet and spicy has always been a recipe for romance! Actually make that several recipes, as the cookbook is good to go with dozens of ideas on how to use their unique concoction. Find it here: Sweet Heat – Cooking with Jenkins Jellies Hell Fire Pepper Jelly.

The recipes have provocative names like Nuts on Fire and Passion Fire Popcorn, and we’re going to share with you here the recipe for Melt-Me Baked Brie,a perfect companion for an intimate dinner or a singles party!

You will need:

1 (8-oz) wheel brie cheese

Hell Fire Pepper Jelly, to taste

1/2 of a 17-oz package frozen puff pastry

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the wheel of brie in half horizontally.

Spread Hell Fire Pepper Jelly in the middle of the bottom half and place the other half on top. If you wish, spread a little more jelly on the top half.

Wrap the whole wheel of brie in the puff pastry and bake 15 – 20 minutes.

Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers of sliced baguette.


The future is sweet for these Angeleno gals and their popular pepper jelly. They’ve just hit Amazon, which is about as mainstream as it gets, and now they’re pairing up with restauranteurs.

“I’m really excited to see Hell Fire Pepper Jellies being used in the restaurant industry,” says Danner, whose urban Los Angeles garden bursting with fruit trees was the inspiration for the culinary surprise. “We are selling the jellies in gallons now! Chefs and Mixologists, on both the West and East coast, are incorporating our jellies into their menus and cocktails.” Find these nibbles and libations at such places as the hip L.A. pizza bar On The Thirty or the coastal Italian restaurant Santina in New York City.

Indulge your sweet, spicy, sexy sides this summer and put something new on your menu that will turn on your guests and satisfy a deep craving in your belly.

Elle Chase & Big Beautiful Sex @ The Pleasure Chest

Sex educator, writer and sex coach Elle Chase spoke to a riveted group last night at The Pleasure Chest in West Hollywood, presenting her seminar, ‘Big, Beautiful Sex: Sex & Body Image.”

Elle Chase 4

Chase boldly started off by describing herself as “fat,” reclaiming that word to empower herself and everyone who has been trapped in the judgement = shame equation that defines our advertising-based culture. After all, since almost no one is actually model-skinny, that leaves practically everyone feeling less-than when they watch TV, movies, or read fashion magazines. Why do we put up with this bullshit, Chase wonders aloud?

To prove her point, she showed an array of nude photos of herself, sharing her personal journey to becoming comfortable with the photographer and discovering the power of projecting her sex appeal. This brave move gave everyone else in the room permission to love their bodies too, and stop comparing, criticizing, and missing out on feeling hot and desirable. Why are we all wasting our time feeling bad about ourselves?

Next she tackled the gigantic obstacle to personal joy (and great sex) that is negative self-talk (surrounding issues of ‘less-than’), and gave some fantastic advice on how to have compassion for yourself, allowing in the vulnerability that leads directly to a broader life experience.  One great tip was to “tell yourself something you can believe” when you’re feeling crappy. If you look at yourself in the mirror and you’re just not buying, “I look awesome!” in that moment, don’t say it. Say something you can believe in, like, “My hair works today.”

In part two of her talk, Chase shared her favorite sex toys and furniture, including toys that have ‘good shapes’ for people with different shapes or restricted mobility. This generally translated into curves, lengths and bends. The NJoy Pure Wand and the Vibratex Joystick, for example, are good choices for big stomachs, and the Fun Factory Share seemed to have 101 uses! She also spoke about the innovative RevelBody with its subtle vibrations – now it has an extension which makes it easier to use for people of all physical abilities.

She recommended The Fleshlight shower mount for men with mobility issues, and Liberator sex furniture for just about anyone. I totally want a wedge pillow now!

Leaving the seminar, Dr. Ava and I did a bit of shopping, and it was all I could do not to buy these rubber hooves.

Elle Chase 3

Visit Elle Chase and also check out her school, the LA Academy of Sex for more workshops and events of this high caliber.

Elle Chase 2

Hot Romance Novel “Sweet Muse” FREE Excerpt & Juicy Interview! is thrilled to have the scoop on the hot new romance novel Sweet Musefrom Ava Cummings, a writer new to romance, but comfortable with the glitz and glamor of magazine editing in Hollywood. We had a chance to catch up with Ms. Cummings to ask her a few questions about her book, her life and what she thinks is the most important element of a romance fiction book.

Sexpert: What do you consider the sexiest part of your new book?

AC: The “Night of Dares” in Chapter 7 has to take the cake for the sexiest part of Sweet Muse. My main character Anna gets swept up in a night of increasingly risqué—and sexy—dares with the city’s hottest (and cockiest!) nightlife reporter. Let’s just say you’ve never read a shower scene quite like this one. There are a few others not to be missed, as well: the scene in her boss’s office…and The Plaza night with her love—the sexy beyond belief, yet tortured artist Damien Wolfe. She finally lets go, opens her heart for the first time, and falls for this man that sees her in a way that she has never seen herself—and what happens is very emotional and intimate.

Sexpert: What do you think is the most important element to ‘get right’ in a romance story?

AC: You’ve got to have page-turning chemistry! And not just physical, but emotional, too. Physically, you have to create hot, steamy situations that really get the fan going—envisioning those fantasies we all have, yet that we might not ever act on. And then the emotional piece is just as, if not more, important. Letting the reader in on how your character is feeling, what’s going on in her head—and heart. Women are emotional creatures. Sure, the physical is a turn on, but not without the emotional, too. It’s all about the main character’s journey to love and taking the reader along for that ride, that discovery process.

Even more, though, I think it’s important to make it a “real girl romance.” What I mean by that is that I’ve always loved romance novels, but tired of the typical plot line where the innocent girl gets taken by the billionaire CEO and he figures everything out for her. I want to shine a light on real girls…who figure it out on their own! The girls, like you and me, who have real guilt for not always making the best decisions, insecurities for not having it all figured out, and shame for just being ourselves.

In Sweet Muse, I really wanted to incorporate this—showing the full spectrum of the agony of figuring yourself out in your 20s. I like stories about women coming of age and owning their experience. Maybe in some way I can inspire women to own their own journey and be themselves, whoever that may be.

Sexpert: How did your magazine editor past inform the book?

AC: I worked as a magazine editor in fashion and at the celebrity magazines in the late nineties to mid 2000s, during the last hurrah of print publishing, before everything went digital. When we still had expense accounts, took town cars all over the city, and controlled the cultural conversation. It was a high-stakes, fast-moving New York world and a rich place of extremes that I wanted as a character in the book in its own right. Many bits and pieces of my experiences are woven into the plot. However, I never had a boss just like Bernie Roberts. Although, I heard stories from friends who did, and I definitely worked with some crazy personalities!

Sweet Muse cover

SWEET MUSE synopsis:

Determined to overcome her difficult past, Anna Starr lands a coveted job at the nation’s biggest celebrity magazine in the center of the New York City power scene. She learns early on to make it on her own, and through sheer force of will she does. But frustration sets in when the dark side of tabloid journalism starts to poke through, and she gets duped while dating slicker-than-thou city boys.

Amidst a sea of cocktail parties, Anna meets rising art star Damien Wolfe. Their connection is dangerous, intense, and passionate beyond her imagination. He sees her in a way that she has never seen herself, setting her on a journey toward self-discovery—understanding what it means to be truly loved for the first time in her life. But she may lose it all when her blind ambition and his dark past lead to a crisis that changes everything.


Ava Cummings spent more than 10 years as an editor at some of the biggest and best-known magazines in the world. She fetched coffee, fell in love with fashion, and eventually became a full-fledged editor, covering Hollywood and bringing in stories about bold women that were making a difference in the world. She has spun together the sweep-you-off-your-feet happy endings of fairy tales, the unbelievable headlines she reads in the news, and the quirky personalities that she’s encountered in both the real world and on reality TV in her first novel, Sweet Muse. Ava lives in the leafy suburbs of Boston with her husband and two children.


Now for your exclusive reading pleasure, please enjoy the first juicy chunk of Sweet Muse, courtesy of the author.


I grab a flute of champagne from a passing cocktail waitress in a skintight black dress.

“It’s Taittinger—the good stuff,” she says, leaning toward me, as if sharing a secret with a girlfriend. “They’re cosponsoring the party.”

I nod, make note of that tidbit for what I pray will be my first news story in Celeb, and guzzle half the glass. As I squeeze through the crowd, I scan the room looking, desperate to register a familiar face in my racing mind.

The bubbles instantly go to my head, and the familiar warm buzz relaxes me a tinge. Enough to bob my head to the rhythm of the thumping lounge music.

My stomach erupts in a growl, a not-so-subtle reminder that I forgot to eat dinner. I sling back the rest of the champagne to quiet it and secure a second Taittinger from another cocktail waitress.

Holding the glass keeps me from chewing my nails. Peering down at my hand, I cringe. My nails are jagged and stubby. Another giveaway. They should be squared off just beyond my fingertips, gleaming in Essie Ballet Slippers, a soft pink polish all the editors at work wear. But I hardly had time to get ready, let alone get a manicure.

I take a minute to survey the scene, noting details for my story. Decked out in dark mahogany, oversized ornate chandeliers, and rich reds from the carpet to the walls, the Bubble Lounge reminds me of an opulent turn-of-the- century library that I saw pictured in a coffee-table book at my friend’s house, a long time ago. The richness of the image seared itself into my brain. I wanted to go to that place, so perfect in its stately elegance. A quiet chuckle escapes me. It happened, after all. I really did just land in that library.

While the other guests air-kiss and chat like old friends, I plant my feet behind a side table and hang by my lonesome self. After reading the gossip columns and studying magazine mastheads religiously for the past few months, I recognize a face or two, but I can’t move through the crowd with the same confidence and nonchalance everyone else exudes. There’s no way that I’ll ever possess the born-to-it sophistication of a real New Yorker.

Almost without thinking, I raise my hand to my mouth and start to nibble the skin around my nails. The tiny act of self-mutilation somehow quells the anxiety growing inside me. Oh, it’s so high school all over again. I can’t bear it. I’m starting over. Again. But this time it’s not Clark Central Valley High School. It’s the celebrity-laden center of the universe.

Amid the throngs of people, I spot Carey Taylor, Hollywood’s action hero of the moment, holding court in the corner with a claque of models. He’s perpetually single and, when not busy filming the latest blockbuster, trots around the globe in an endless party with his buddies. Carey Taylor picking up his dry cleaning is material enough for an item in Celeb. If I can get a quote from him, I’ll be guaranteed a story. But the thought of going up and talking to a bona fide celebrity makes my hand fly to my mouth again, and a hot, itchy feeling slowly spreads across my skin.

Standing there, awkwardly solo, I quietly gulp another glass of champagne. I feel my cheeks flush and second-guess the decision to guzzle champagne for dinner. If I want to keep my job, I need to work this party.

A series of bright flashes go off near me. I dart my eyes to either side to see if I’m standing next to someone famous. Maybe it’s my insecurity taking over, but I feel like the entire room is staring at me, wondering why a girl from nowhere is at a party where everyone is someone.

It’s the craziest thing. One day, I’m living at the end of a dirt road in rural Pennsylvania, sitting around watching Law & Order reruns; barely a few months later, I’m at the pinnacle of New York nightlife, going to a party attended by all the biggest celebrities. It’s like winning the lottery: suddenly life completely changes, does a one-eighty.

Things never work out well for those lottery winners, though. They always seem to gamble the whole jackpot away and wind up homeless and broke. Maybe it’s not good to get your wish.

Rattled and partially blinded, I squint my eyes like an old lady, desperate to find someone I know. I remind myself—for the zillionth time—not to bite my nails. Releasing an audible breath, I spot a stylist I met recently at a photo shoot we did for the magazine.

In my determination to reach her, I stumble in my four- inch heels. As if in some kind of horrifying slow-motion free fall, I go flying back toward a group of innocent bystanders sitting at a nearby table.

Stifling a yelp, I squeeze my eyes shut and give in to the inevitable: making contact with the floor in the middle of the city’s hottest party. But instead of hitting the deck, I feel myself being caught from behind—like in a trust fall—by two exquisitely strong, muscled arms. They wrap safely around me, under my arms, breaking my fall. My body instantly relaxes. Then I swear I feel a squeeze, like a hug. The sculpted biceps flex, turning into firm cushions of strength. When they graze my breasts in the tumult, I gasp slightly.

I slowly turn my head and steal a look up. My eyes rest on a sexy half smile, framed by a beautifully chiseled face and jaw. “You okay?” he says, as my shoulders slump deeper into his arms. Oh God, what if someone from Celeb saw me and reports back to Bernie? I can picture the headline now in the gossip columns: Falling Starr! Bernadette Roberts’s Assistant Falls OM Celeb Masthead After Tipsy Tumble at Bubble Lounge Opening.

“Uh, I think so…I’m so sorry. I…I… ” I babble.

“Perfect timing, actually,” he says, lifting me up gently in one smooth move and setting me back on my feet. “Dying to get out of that conversation.” He nods his head back toward the table, where two guys and a chic-looking girl sit chatting.

As I take him in, I begin to tingle from the crown of my head right down to my littlest pinkie toe. He’s wearing—no, more like owning—a pair of dark-wash low-slung jeans that hug muscular thighs, a fitted, slightly rumpled black button- down with the sleeves rolled up, showing off those sculpted arms, and black biker boots. He’s got a raw sexiness that’s…well, hot. Hotter than a wood-burning stove on the coldest day of winter. Even hotter than a piping fresh bag of microwave popcorn, for God’s sake.

He seems like the guy who attracts people simply by being himself. A feeling of calm washes over me—something about his presence puts me at ease. And I never feel at ease. It’s like there’s a halo of goodness around him that affects anyone in his orbit. I want to be in his orbit. I like it here.

“Way too scene-y…who you know, what party you’ve been to, who you’ve gone to the Hamptons with. Can’t these people talk about anything of substance? I mean, look at what’s happening out in the real world. Hunger, war, poverty. It’s like they live in a champagne- and caviar-filled bubble.” He has a studied, intense look. It’s serious but alluring. I feel my heart beating a little faster.

He looks back at me, and our eyes meet. Electricity crackles between us as he holds my gaze. I can’t avert my eyes. It feels physical, palpable…and unfamiliar. He smiles. A tidal wave of emotions tumbles over me, and I feel like I could laugh or cry or both.

Finally, I manage to force words out of my mouth. “I’m so embarrassed. I would’ve hit the floor like a brick if it weren’t for you. I had a few glasses of champagne and didn’t eat much today, and it must have gone to my head…” I babble on about how I do this kind of thing all the time—trip on the sidewalk when there’s nothing there, stumble on the subway stairs—and how I was supposed to meet someone from work, but she hasn’t shown, so I’ve probably had more champagne than I should.

Oh God, why can’t I shut up? I’m usually the quiet one who holds back, and now I’m telling this gorgeous stranger that I’m a klutz who drinks too much. A real turn on, no doubt.

“Eat this,” he says, grabbing two mini-burgers and several crostini from a passing server. He places them on a couple of cocktail napkins and hands me the burgers first. His fingers brush mine in the exchange. They are strong, slightly rough. A charged tingle erupts in the spaces where we’ve touched. “You need something in your stomach.”

“Okay.” It’s all I can manage to get out now. His eyes bore into me like they’re seeing not just me on the outside, but into me.

“And then take a deep breath and relax. You’re an incredibly beautiful woman at the hottest party in the city. You’re practically lighting up the room. Everything will be fine. Trust me.”

He’s tender, a little rugged, and starkly honest. Somehow, I believe what he says.

I scarf the two burgers down, each in a single bite. “Heavenly,” I say, chewing.

“Feeling better?” he asks.

I nod my head and swallow the last morsel. He grabs a glass of club soda off another tray and hands it to me. “Now, drink this.”

I gulp the seltzer, starting to feel like myself again.

“So what do you do?” he says, pausing a beat. “No, wait.” His hand moves up and rubs his chin, striking an impossibly sexy pose. He looks skyward, like he’s plucking a thought from the ether. “Forget the ‘What do you do for work?’ thing. Let’s skip the boring cocktail-party banter. I want to learn something about the beautiful, nervous woman who just fell into my arms.”

It might’ve been cheesy coming from someone else, but this guy says it with pure passion and conviction, and it works. It sounds sexy as hell. His charisma, confidence, and charm are totally intoxicating. My body feels electrified.

“Tell me something…about you. Something important, that you don’t normally tell people.”

I don’t like to share. My story’s not pretty, and I hate the pity party. So I usually just listen. It’s my little trick, to avoid telling people about me. But I feel a strong pull, a tight feeling of excitement in the center of my chest, to confide in him.

“My Aunt Sylvie,” I start to say quietly, then gain strength. “My Aunt Sylvie. She’s the reason I’m here. Well, not here at this party, but here in New York.”

“Aunt Sylvie?” He says her name back to me slowly, nodding his head, one eyebrow slightly raised. I just want to wrap myself back up in his arms again. I hug myself, trying to get back that feeling of his strength and safety, sturdiness and softness. “I love her already. Everyone should have an Aunt Sylvie.”

He listens attentively as I tell him how she was my inspiration, an editor at Life magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal.

He’s studying me again. I feel like he’s noting every curve, line, shadow, bump. Somehow, I keep talking, and the words come out of my mouth easily. I feel a freedom to open up—an unfamiliar new desire. I want him to know me.

“I’d come and stay with her in New York for two weeks every summer. One time she took me to dinner at Tavern on the Green. I remember pulling up in the cab and seeing the white lights covering the trees in the garden. It looked like a majestic palace in the urban oasis of Central Park. Dining in the main room, I felt like a princess, like I mattered, like I was someone. And that’s where my romance with New York began. The seed was planted then, and by age nine, I was determined to get myself back here permanently.”

“The lure of a big life. It’s what drives most New Yorkers,” he says in a knowing voice.

“Aunt Sylvie never got to see me follow in her footsteps. But I know that somewhere up there, she’s smiling down on me.”

I look to the floor, suddenly afraid to make eye contact.

He places a finger under my chin, moving my head up so that our eyes meet. The intensity of his presence and of the moment overwhelms me.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, it’s just that…” No, I can’t go there. I change my mind and decide to switch subjects. “What about you? Who was your biggest influence?”

I sense a darkness come over him, hidden behind his smile. Pain. I recognize it, an all-too-familiar emotion; I know what it’s like to stifle it.

“It’s complicated.”

To buy Sweet Muse or learn more, check out:

Harold & Maude Raises Money For AIDS Research

Colin Higgins wrote the classic 1971 film Harold & Maude, which is one of the most beautiful love stories in cinema, centering around the relationship between a rich, bored young man obsessed with death (Bud Cort) and a much, much older woman (Ruth Gordon) who has nothing but joie de vivre. As a young filmmaker, this movie made a huge impression on me, especially the brilliant opening scene where you’re led to believe the kid has hung himself. When his mother indifferently dismisses his swinging body, he’s forced to cut himself down and move on to the next prank, foretelling a scathing commentary on modern society that rings as true as ever. Hal Ashby‘s directing is nothing short of exquisite.

That’s why I was so excited to see that the book version of Harold & Maude is being re-released this month, with proceeds going to the Colin Higgins Foundation, established in 1986 to further Higgins’s humanitarian goals. The Foundation supports many LGBTQ organizations, ranging from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to youth outreach and AIDS prevention programs. Since 1993, the Foundation has awarded more than 341 grants totaling more than three million dollars. The book has remained popular ever since he wrote it shortly after the release of the film, and Chicago Review Press has jazzed it up with a fresh cover to a new generation.

Harold and Maude 3

Though Higgins didn’t get to direct Harold & Maude himself, he did go on to direct the feminist laugh riot 9 to 5 and the inexplicably mainstream The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, among others. Higgins died much too young at 47 in 1988, from AIDS related illnesses, but not before establishing his foundation, and leaving his legacy of helping people for decades to come.

Video Art Based On Your Sexts Redefines Porn

Documentary filmmaker Eileen Yaghoobian has a fascinating new project that “explores the language of modern sexuality and its intersection with technology.” She solicits real life sexts from the public, and for a fee, turns them into short art films. You have to see Ted & Holly, below, to understand what I’m talking about:

The site is called simply, Send Me Your Sexts, and for eighty dollars you can watch your personal down and dirty sexts come to life with visual concepts ranging from pinball arcades to tennis courts. Despite the base, carnal nature of the material, the commentary on modern culture is amazingly profound, and often just flat-out fucking hilarious.

“My personal fascination with sexting got me talking to other people about it, and then the conversations led to ‘It would be funny to see this come to life!’ Sexts are really the perfect inspiration, they are current, contemporary, and filled with creativity, tension, real drama and humor,” says Yaghoobian.

Yaghoobian was inspired by her experience as documentary filmmaker (she made Died Young, Stayed Pretty, a movie about rock posters) where she dealt with the concept of reenactment, and by her theater background where she reenacted text.

“The material is hilarious. I mean you can’t make this stuff up. It’s the narrative aspect that interests me most.  I like the idea of combining the world of sex with the world of indie.”

Yaghoobian’s pieces aren’t porn because the visuals are not hardcore, yet she is redefining pornography in a very important way. We all lament how hardcore porn has become so boring and mechanical, and that the violent aspects are being pushed to the limit because of this lack of imagination. Many men, women and couples I’ve talked to about pornography recently long for the innocence of 1970’s-style porn when people actually watched narrative and enjoyed the anticipation of sex as much as the act itself.

Yaghoobian’s work brilliantly solves the dilemma of dead-end overblown porn. While remaining fully entrenched in the cutting edge world of Internet memes and serious dirty talk, she also allows us our cherished 70’s-style porn narrative, in the form of someone else’s sexting fantasy, a ‘reality TV’ voyeuristic aspect that cleverly brings us the best of both worlds. Who needs more violence in porn when we can make art instead?

So what are you waiting for? Send her your sexts!

Masturbation Month Feature! FREE Book Excerpt From Alexandra Jamieson’s Women, Food & Desire


Women food & Desire 1To help kick off Masturbation Month on, we’re proud to bring you a free excerpt from bestselling author Alexandra Jamieson’s new book,  Women, Food and Desire: Embrace Your Cravings, Make Peace with Food, Reclaim Your Body, which reached #1 on Amazon in Health-Sexuality (three times)!  In the book, she discusses masturbation as a primary self-care tool, and believes that it should not be limited.

Here is an excerpt from chapter eight of Women, Food & Desire by Alexandra Jamieson:

Female sexual pleasure is still a terrifying and taboo topic. And it’s definitely one that’s far too complicated to cover fully here, but it’s one we need to begin to really openly and honestly talk about, because I truly believe that the full expression of female desire and pleasure—including our need for hot sex—is at the heart of our health and well-being.

And I’m talking about pleasure in all of its full-bodied glory, which includes the pleasure we should experience from our rela- tionship with food. This is where food and sex become so linked, so intertwined. When sex becomes too dangerous for us to fully enjoy, food becomes our version of safe sex. Many of the very healthy needs and desires we have for touch, intimacy, and sex get funneled into the furtive, addictive, and unhealthy habits we build around food. Food has become one of the only acceptable means of quenching our desires, but at tremendous cost to our relation- ships with our own bodies.

The intense pressure we’re under to be perceived as desirable, in an objectified way, has us either starving ourselves to meet an unrealistic ideal, or gorging ourselves so we don’t have to feel how lonely or sexually unfulfilled we may be. On both ends of this spectrum, there is a world of hurt and unrelenting shame that I want women to break free of.

I know. I have been there. And it’s an awful, dark, lonely place to be.

When I was a young teen, I discovered, much to my delight, boys and their bodies. I wanted to explore things with them, and yet this healthy, natural desire sent me underground, like it does so many young women. Now, I didn’t come of age in a family or time or culture that insisted I had to be a virgin until I married my one true love, but nonetheless . . . I didn’t grow up in a culture that taught me how to celebrate my blossoming sexuality, either. I wasn’t encouraged to own my sexuality in empowering and healthy ways. So once I kissed a boy and I liked it, and then I kissed another, and another, I hid all of this from everyone—my parents, my friends—everyone. I held off on having sex until I was almost eighteen and was in love with my then-long-term boy- friend, and I feel grateful that my first experience of sexual inter- course was such a safe and happy one. Despite my trauma-free early sexual experience, like most women, I have had periods of really losing touch with my sexuality, of losing my sense of myself as a worthy and desirable being, and when this has happened, I’ve lost touch with the most vital and authentic parts of myself.

I really felt this kind of sexual shame when I learned that my husband was cheating on me. Even before then, I found myself feeling lonely and abandoned in my marriage as his work had him on the road pretty much all of the time. So I was home alone with our newborn, sexually frustrated and missing him in ways that were really difficult, and at times, nearly unbearable. I missed my randy partner, the guy who had swept me off my feet and with whom I’d discovered so much about life and love. When he finally came home and we had a stretch of time together, I began to doubt my attractiveness, as he no longer initiated sex with me. I started to feel inadequate, but I didn’t know why. When I pressed him on it, he made excuses about being tired or overworked or stressed out. In short, he shut me out. I didn’t know what to do or how to recon- nect with him, and so my doubts about my own desirability festered and grew. Then I found out; he’d been sleeping with someone he’d met through work, and when I asked him about this person, he told me he thought he might be in love with her.

At that moment, my world fell apart. But what I lost wasn’t just my husband; I lost myself. I lost myself in a terrible black hole of shame. It was the shame of rejection, the shame of no longer being desired. It was devastating. And I went numb. My life shifted then in ways that were really dislocating. I moved into a smaller apartment with my baby and began to grope around, trying to piece together and rebuild my life. I found myself just feeling much less safe in the world and definitely not at all at home in my own skin. Now, when I’d be walking along and a random catcall would come my way, it felt like a slap, instead of something I could just brush off. I found that being objectified in any way, even when it was meant to be a compliment, exacerbated how lousy I felt about myself. It wasn’t until much later, when I was on the other side of this, that I realized that betrayal has this way of distorting and dismantling things in ways that were frightening and unfamiliar to me; the sense of losing control, or more accurately, having no control over the trajectory of my life, terrified me. I thought seriously about leaving my adopted city of New York and heading back home to Portland, Oregon; I wanted to just cut and run and give up on my life there, believing that if I went home, I’d somehow feel safer.

But I knew this was no real solution and that running out on my life, as wrecked as it was, would be running out on myself. And so I stayed. And I learned to stay with myself even when I felt like a wobbly, fragile, mess.
The next several years were a time of deep discovery; about who I am, what I believe, what I really want from life. I knew that I wanted to experience deep love and intimacy with a man again, but I felt locked out of love—literally. My libido was frozen, as though my husband’s rejection had been a stun gun that had been aimed directly at my G spot. I had no idea how to access the part of me that felt playful and sexy. I didn’t know how to feel at home in my body again. I felt injured and alone, and finding my way out of this deep isolation took a few years and a lot of hard work.

First, I had to really acknowledge that I had sexual desires and that these were healthy and important. I was able to connect with guides and coaches and friends who encouraged me to talk openly about these things, to break through the taboos that had kept me so secretive and isolated about this topic.

I found that at first, talking openly about lust, attraction, desire—all of it—made me really nervous and, of course, embarrassed and self-conscious. But before too long, it made me feel energized and empowered—and alive. I realized that I was being coached to approach my sexual desires with openness and curios- ity—which is the same way I encourage my clients to approach food. I was advised, by the remarkable team of Ariel and Shya Kane, whose workshop, Monday Night Alive!, provided me with the community and support I needed to break my isolation, that it was important that I approach men and dating with no judgment and no expectations. I needed to stay firmly planted in a frame of mind that was about listening—especially listening to my body and how it felt in the company of whomever I was meeting. Again, this is exactly how I advise my clients to approach food. The Kanes stressed that meeting someone once—just once, for just an hour—would give me a lot of important information about myself, including information that might lead to real, meaningful internal change and much healthier relationships with others. I thought about all the times I’d encourage my clients to just give kale a chance, and I knew I had to do it, even though I hadn’t been on a date in many, many years.

And so I began to date and explore and get to know my sex- ual self in a new, nonjudgmental way. It was the most liberating period of my life. Being a good mother was my highest priority, so I was able to bypass putting any pressure on myself to find “the one” or to seek out any kind of committed relationship. Instead, I followed my instincts and engaged with men in a consensual, playful, stress-free way. It was an incredibly healthy time in my life, and it was during this phase of dating that I was able to reintegrate into my body, to regain my sense of myself as an attractive and desirable woman, one who was just beginning to learn about her own deep needs and desires.

I recently did the math, and during that two-year period after my divorce, I went on about a hundred first dates. Most of those, of course, were also last dates, but that was how it was supposed to be. It was so helpful to meet a man in a coffee shop and know, after a few minutes of chatting, that we weren’t meant to get to know each other beyond that meeting. I did connect with a few men and I had sexual relationships with some, but I never committed to just one man. At least not until I met Bob, my current partner.
When I first met Bob, I was struck by how open and frank he was. He told me, right off the bat, that before he moved to New York, he had been living in a community that was all about healthy, open sex. My brain heard “sex cult!” but instead of running, I listened. He told me that he liked to play in the BDSM world (erotic practices that include bondage, dominance, role-playing—a whole host of yummy, fun, and titillating things). He looked me straight in the eye as he told me this, and let me tell you . . . it was hot! I wanted to end our date and rush home with him immediately. He did invite me over, showed me a couple of neat rope tricks—and I nearly lost my mind with desire. But he wouldn’t sleep with me. Not yet. He wanted us to get to know one another, to really talk about what we wanted from a sexual partner, with sex, with our own bodies.

Where had this man come from?

I had never, in all my life, had such a deep, meaningful, and frank conversation with someone about sex. With Bob, I dipped my toe into the world of BDSM, made famous by the wildly best- selling Fifty Shades of Grey books. At first, I was nervous. Stepping into parties where the guests were tying each other up in rope corsets, or acting out predetermined scenes, à la Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, frightened and excited me. Once I started talking to people, though, I realized that I could feel safe. These were actu- ally sweet, honest people interested in creating fantasies around sex that would allow consenting adults to take their pleasure to the edge, without the risk of falling off the cliff. The people I have encountered in this world tend to be mature and clear about their sexual desires, and I find this to be incredibly hot and fulfilling. It’s a world that’s built around open communication, safety, clear and respected boundaries, and deep trust—all the qualities that are the main ingredients of true intimacy for me. Encounters in these worlds require constant communication between partners and constantly checking in with yourself to ask: What are your desires? Concerns? Boundaries? These are similar questions we need to ask ourselves on a daily basis when we sit down to eat.

I’ve entered a phase in my life where I feel empowered sexually and I’m in a relationship with a man who loves and deeply respects me—plus, he knows his way around a knot or two. I feel incredibly blessed. And I’ve learned that when I feel safe, in my body and in the presence of my trustworthy partner, I can actually relax and surrender to pleasure. Now, with hindsight, I can honestly say that I am grateful for the beautiful, revelatory, transformative experiences that being rejected provided me. I finally feel like I’m becoming the sexually satisfied woman I was always meant to be.

Why Sex Is So Crazy Good for You

When we trust our bodies and we engage in hot, mind-blowing sex, the benefits to our health are many. Having an active sex life helps you reach a healthy weight. Yes: having sex burns some calories, but more than that, it nourishes you both physiologically and emotionally in ways that naturally regulate and curb your appetite, while ramping up your metabolism and balancing your hormones. Sex replaces emotional eating with what you were likely truly craving: physical contact, comfort, connection. Sex also sharpens our senses and smooths out the rough edges of our moods by flooding us with happy, feel-good endorphins. It keeps us flexible, hones our muscles, and keeps our thyroid healthy. It’s good for the heart and our circulation (ever notice how having great sex gives you a great complexion?). And that’s not all. It’s good for our oral health (all that kissing keeps our saliva flowing, which prevents tooth decay and boosts digestion), and it reduces pain and inflammation. It strengthens our immune system and helps us sleep better. Some researchers say it even fights cancer in men (studies show that men who ejaculate often are less prone to getting prostate cancer later in life). Having a healthy sex life is a cornerstone of having overall good health and I advise all of my clients, whether they’re partnered up or not, to find their groove and get it on.

The Metabolic Benefits of Orgasms

When you climax, your body is flooded with beneficial hormones and your metabolic systems are enlivened and invigorated in incredible ways. Orgasms don’t just blow your mind, they are packed with health benefits. Here are just a few: Having regular orgasms (at least once a week) helps your body grow healthy tis- sue, absorb nutrients, and balances your hormones. Women who have sex regularly report having more regular, less disruptive periods. Orgasms also boost fertility.

All sorts of beneficial hormones, including DHEA (which improves brain function, immune system responsiveness, and cel- lular growth and repair), estrogen, and oxytocin (a natural pain reliever and muscle relaxant), are released when you climax, and this is in part what gives you that healthy, post-lovemaking glow. Orgasms also stimulate the hypothalamus gland, which releases hormones that calm appetite, regulate body temperature, and keep all of your reproductive juices flowing and balanced. They massage the lymphatic system, too, which helps with the elimination of toxins and waste. There is no downside to feeling this good.

Taking ownership of your desires is the ultimate hero’s jour- ney. Strong, independent women through the ages have been leading us by example, showing us how to live with integrity and not deny that which is most primal, essential, and natural to us. But there has always been a cost to us, when we truly step into our desires. Our cravings and desires can be perceived as threatening, rather than as life-giving.

It All Began with Eve

We need look no further than the Bible and the story of Adam and Eve to see how the desires of women have been labeled as dangerous or wrong. All Eve did was reach out for an apple, for some simple, natural nourishment and knowledge. All she wanted was to be fulfilled. She wanted to be energized by experiencing. And this craving led her to a desire to feed herself something whole- some, fresh, and real. I mean, c’mon: What is objectionable about that? As it turns out, Eve reaching for that apple was a radical act of self-care, one that the world just wasn’t ready for yet. Her simple gesture was portrayed as threatening the patriarchal power of God at the time the Bible was written, and for whatever reason, those in power felt the need to equate Eve’s natural and healthy hunger and passion with the concept of “sin.” In other words, Eve was made to feel wrong for wanting to take good care of her- self. Sound familiar?

At that moment of hunger, Eve felt so good and at ease in her own skin that she approached that tree as naked as a baby. It’s worth noting that her lover and sexual partner, Adam, was also nude, and neither of them seemed to have any issues like body shame. Adam was clearly an enlightened guy, because he supported Eve in her desire, and like her, he wanted a taste of that ripe, delicious apple, too. We’ve spent the last several thousand years trying to get back to that state of innocent, open, naked, and raw freedom. To get back into the garden.

When you look at the story of Adam and Eve from this perspective, it’s almost as though the big, industrialized food machines got their hands on them and pushed them away from the whole foods and healthy sex they needed to stay free in their bodies. I can’t help but love Eve because she was an early badass feminist. She was the original poster girl for claiming real, nourishing pleasure.

I wish I could say that things have really evolved for us since Eve’s story was first penned, but we’re just getting to the point where a woman who expresses her deepest desires—whether they involve food, sex, work, family, or play—is perhaps not immediately judged or criticized. But we still have a long way to go. When a woman expresses her desires, it still too often causes some seri- ous blowback. And too often, the harshest judgment comes from other women! I want this to stop. And it stops when each one of us makes a commitment to stop judging ourselves and others so harshly. But until we get there, just taking a step into desire, into our purest natural state, is still for women both individually and collectively a very radical, necessary first step.

I’m convinced that the more we support each other in shamelessly discovering and declaring our desires, the easier it will become for all of us, and the more our desires will be met. When we build on this idea of being truly mutually supportive, really beautiful things will begin to happen everywhere. Feminine power is the greatest untapped natural resource we’ve got, and every time a woman realizes her desire, that energy flows into and enhances the world. Just imagine the power that would be unleashed if we stopped focusing on the number on the scale or wondering if we are good enough or worthy enough? Stepping into desire helps us surpass these limitations and launch into action.


Alexandra JamiesonALEXANDRA JAMIESON is a Certified Holistic Health Counselor, food blogger, and professional gourmet chef. Part of the dynamic duo behind the award-winning 2004 documentary Super Size Me, Alexandra has appeared on Oprah, CNN, and MSNBC, among others. She is the author of Vegan Cooking for Dummies (Wiley, 2010), Living Vegan for Dummies (Wiley, 2009), and The Great American Detox Diet (Macmillan, 2006).  Alexandra offers one-on-one and group coaching sessions aimed at leading healthier, fuller lifestyles. She resides in Brooklyn, New York.

LGBT Teen Filmmaker Series ‘Come As You Are’ at NFFTY In Seattle, WA

Having made films myself, I can tell you that making a film is not easy. That’s why it’s always extra- impressive when teenagers actually get their hormone-fueled butts in gear and make one. This particular collection is made by LGBT filmmakers from around the world, all under the age of twenty-two, and most as young as sixteen!

The National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY – pronounced ‘nifty’), based in Seattle, Washington, is showcasing six such films in a lineup they’re calling Come As You Are.  Each one addresses a topic you know about, but never get the unadorned teenage perspective – like what it’s like to come out in high school, how it feels to realize you’re transgender person, or how the horrible anti-gay Boy Scouts discrimination is affecting kids. Bravo to this festival for trumpeting new voices!

Read the synopses for these international films, and tell me you’re not dying to see them.


NFFTY Out Again2
Greg Chu – 16, Tai Payne – 16, Emma McKittrick – 15
Washington, USA
A 16-year-old boy named Sam attempts to come out to his crush Jordan. After his failure, he discovers an ability to travel through time and fix his mistakes until he can get the “perfect” coming out.


DILucas Helth Postma – 15, Mikkel Nordfang Philipsen – 16, Freja Maegaard – 18, Olivia Karoline Fløe Lyng – 16
Emilie, born a female, wishes to be a boy. Sadly, her mother doesn’t wish for the same thing. Emilie attempts to convince the world that she’s trapped in the wrong body.


NFFTY - Border Woods - CROP
Miles Dupuis Carey – 18, Mida Chu – 18, Kathryn McCarthy – 17, Leah Yrastorza-Daghman – 17
Michigan, USA
When Rowan loses his friends in the woods the night of their last camping trip before college, he is plunged into a fantastical world where he must face his hopes, fears, and sexuality, as he is pushed ever closer to the border of the unknown.


NFFTY - Kiss From Your Lips
Allison Tate – 22
California, USA
A one-take swing dance film with a twist.


NFFTY - WereOkay1
Kira Bursky – 18, Miles Carey – 18, Elena Jacob – 18, Gintare Zukauskaite – 17
North Carolina, USA
Delilah has decided to kill herself on her 18th birthday, but her friend Lena surprises her with a birthday party. We see how Delilah is truly feeling in her stop-motion animated, circus-world mind.


NFFTY - Clipped Wings
Coleman Andersen – 16, Duncan Gowdy – 16, Leo Pfeifer – 16
Washington, USA
On the journey to Eagle Scout, discrimination gets in the way. These are the stories of those most affected by the Boy Scout’s ban on gay members.

The festival opens this Thursday, April 23rd for its ninth run, and this LGBT program is scheduled for Sunday April 26th at 5pm at SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, Seattle, WA.