Saturday, August 24, 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.

“Action Panties” Art Pieces by Ashley Gibbons Create A Sexy, Feminist Conversation

Ashley Gibbons creates fabric art pieces that are soft and beautiful, yet arresting and provocative, a duality she makes use of deftly both to deliver us to a safe female space and get us thinking about the profound magnitude of feminine power. Her embroidered women are iconic, bold, complex, sexy as hell – and on top of it all, they’ve got a sense of humor. The same could be said of her “Action Panties” pieces which bring to mind Jackson Pollock’s wild expression, but use a distinct feminine medium – panties. And where does she get them? From all over, she says. She prefers to use panties previously worn by women, but sometimes she needs to buy them herself. I sat down with her recently to ask her about her art, her philosophy, and what makes her pieces so sexy.

Your “Panties” pieces are so beautiful and provocative. You say you build “soft space in fabric to create a hard dialogue” – what do you mean by that?

White Panties
White Panties, Lingerie, Wood, Screws, Nails
48″ x 48″

I like to work in what seems like polarities – hard and soft, parts and whole, feminine and feminist, sensual and embroidery.  With the panty pieces, I have a wood canvas that is covered with metal protrusions of screws, and then I cover them in the softest material – lingerie –  which is both actually very soft and also metaphorically the inherent soft spot of womxn. So creating a soft space with fabrics, that people can relate to – panties, lingerie, thread, embroidery – allows a low-barrier entry into more difficult conversations for some people, which in my context is sex, sensual, womxn roles, layered experiences, fem experience.

I call these pieces “Action Panties” to relate back to Jackson Pollock, and his very masculine style of painting. This series is a kind of fem response – using fabric not paint, stretching the triangular panty which is metaphoric of the vagina, lingerie covering the screws. I have this vision of covering the world in these kinds of fabrics as a way of bringing, showing, sharing, and revealing the feminine, and her beauty, power, healing, creation.

How personal is your work? How has the reaction been to your work by women and men? Are the reactions different?

I think at the heart of what I do is show my perspective of the most fem, soft, healing, sensual, energetic vision of the world. When I was young, my mom’s drawers were this space for me. Silk and satin fabrics, jewelry hidden among them, perfumed. I used to dream and dress-up in these drawers with a vision of feminine power. And so now I dream in panties, lingerie, fabric, and embroidery. All this material is for me the source of beauty, fem, uplifting, dreamy, and an alternate world.

Granymede, embroidery on fabric

My work comes from the most personal place. Each piece is like birthing a piece of me. I have my stories, my perplexes, my questions, my struggles, and my love in each decision of every piece. And each decision has to be answered by only me, so I constantly question myself and my “why” – why are you interested in this, what does this mean, what are these symbols. I am creating a trail of Hansel and Gretel crumbs for myself – eventually, I will be able to follow these clues, these pieces, these decisions back to my whole self, my whole truth.

As for the reactions of men and women, they run the gamut of course, and yes there are some differences but not as much as one might expect. Currently, more men own my work than womxn which interests me. I think men resonate with the fem beauty expression too. I think they feel the passion, beauty, and uniqueness of embroidery. I think women see their stories and selves in the work. I think men feel the inspiration, power, beauty. But I don’t know, this is just my interpretation.

How does sexuality configure into your work?

Sexuality is important in my work and in my life. In my work, I use sex and nakedness to connote truth, vulnerability, bare, enticing. I also investigate sex as part of the womxn experience, in particular, the roles of womxn as provider, provocateur, nurturer, complacent, and powerful. And when society is built on shame, I see that the individual then segments themselves, and we can become isolated parts of a whole person. It’s really a struggle to realize and accept yourself as a sexual being, equally as a nurturer, equally as a learner, equally as all parts that comprise the whole. So freeing myself through my work, which is freeing the womxn in my work, feels like the most natural way to celebrate and connect with our inherent sexual power and freedom. And to me, that is resistance, it’s the witch, it’s the goddess, it’s our inherent nature if we want it. It’s my choice.

Also, in art history, the woman’s body has been the object, painted and investigated by men. So for me, I am both artist and object and subject. I am declaring my story. My body, my perspective, my skills are owned by me and tend to my desires without question or approval.

And womxn are beautiful. The body is beautiful. The fem is beautiful. I love to be immersed in this energy and I want to share in this vision with others.    

You do embroidery as well – what is the allure of using fabric as a medium?

Fabric is historically the womxn’s world. And art made with fabric has been relegated to craft, folk, utility, and not as “important” as the masculine paint. So choosing to work in textile and fabric and fiber is a conscious choice to resist this narrative.

Embroidery is historically womxn’s work, and I investigate womxn’s work. Mixing this gentle, slow, quiet technique with sex, sensual, nakedness begins a dialogue about roles, work, polarities. It’s the opposing perceptions that open space for inquiry. Like the panties that are stretched and contorted out of function, to be displayed like artifice or trophy or inquiry or decor. Bringing these polarities together allows for pondering the meaning of each, and your reaction to each. Are you reacting to the naked woman or the naked woman who is embroidered because now you think of your grandmother?

Embroidery is also a transformation of the actual material. It’s like braiding in a new truth, a new inherent material in the fabric. The image becomes part of the fabric. And yet also stands out against it. This is a metaphor for me about truth, experience, perspective. The braiding and weaving of thread create a new textile that holds the previous knowledge (the fabric) and then together builds a new intertwined story. Embroidery is our interconnectedness, our intertwining.

Also, fabric is so beautiful to me. It speaks to my mother and grandmothers. I have a deep relationship with fabric, sewing, adornment, embroidery, dress up, quilts, lingerie, textiles, and fiber.

Where have you been showing your work, and where can people buy it?

I just had a solo show in San Diego at CM Curatorial in January. Folks can check out my IG with photos from the show and the pieces at @missashleygibbons and my website is a great place to see and buy my work and drop me a note to see more.

Loveology University Marks Its 10th Anniversary

Dr. Ava Cadell is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of her Loveology University® with a new website, a curriculum transformation, and a 25 percent discount for all new students who enroll in her online school before Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

Loveology University® is an internationally recognized online institute that has graduated hundreds of certified Loveologists®, many of whom have become successful love coaches in private practice, as well as authors, speakers, media sexperts and pleasure party consultants, based around the world.

The new and improved learning platform includes an expanded and enhanced curriculum for all three signature programs: Certified Loveologist® and Love Coach; Master Sexpert; and Intimacy Bootcamp.

Each state-of-the-art, online program hosts a multi-level learning experience with narrated multimedia presentations, live audience training videos with top sexperts, erotic instructional how-to videos, and exclusive reading material combining sex education with entertainment.

Loveology University® can boost the offerings of life coaches, health coaches, dating coaches, yoga instructors and practitioners in health and wellness. Students can study at their own pace, tracking their progress as they go, and become experts in topics ranging from love and intimacy to aphrodisiacs and erotic massage.

“My mission is to teach people how to give and receive love without guilt or shame through love coaching training, and I’m so proud of all my graduates,” says LU founder Dr. Ava Cadell. “Together we can change the vibration of the planet and make it a more loving and sexier place.”

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Loveology University®, Dr. Ava is offering a 25 percent discount on all programs to new students who sign up before Feb. 14 — a savings of more than $600 off the regular price of the Love Coach Program.

New students will get instant access to the entire learning platform, and can begin their Loveology certification immediately. As a bonus, graduates will also receive the LU Entrepreneur Kit, full of tips on how to start a private practice, become a global speaker and more.

Best Lesbian Erotica Anthology Celebrates 20th Edition! Interview With Editor Sacchi Green

Writer and editor Sacchi Green has paved one very sexy road for herself in the world of lesbian erotica, and she’s now celebrating the release of the much-anticipated volume of stories, Best Lesbian Erotica, 20th Anniversary Edition.

As the editor of Girl Crazy and co-editor of anthologies like Lesbian Cowboys, Rode Hard, Put Away Wet and many more, Green has honed her taste and skill to deliver a collection of stories that range from lust-at-first-sight quickies to coming out stories, and secret desires to deeper explorations. It’s packed with women’s fantasies that truly satisfy.

We were excited to interview Sacchi Green about her new book, the nuanced world of lesbian erotica, and what readers look for when it comes to the delicate balance of creative story and getting turned on.


Best Lesbian EroticaHow did you get started writing lesbian erotica, how has the genre developed over the years, and what brought you to start the anthology?

My first published stories were in the science fiction and fantasy genre, usually with lesbian subtexts, but when I came across a call for submissions for the Best Lesbian Erotica series in 1999, I thought, “Hey, I bet I can do that!” and found myself seduced by the erotic side of the force.

The genre was expanding then, and becoming more diverse, so that you could find erotica with a romantic slant, or an edgy street-smart bite, short and uncomplicated or so expertly constructed that the sex and characterization and story arc fit together seamlessly. I wouldn’t say that the writing got more explicit—there were always some authors taking sex to the edge and over—but there was more and more of it available.

Tristan Taormino’s Best Lesbian Erotica series from Cleis Press, beginning in 1996, brought together the best work in this expanding genre (with “best” of course being subjective when it comes to writing) and seemed to me to validate the genre as a whole, as Susie Bright’s Best American Erotica did beginning in 1993 for the wider field of erotica. For a while erotica anthologies proliferated, and then over several years many of them fell by the wayside as the publishing world changed, but now there are new presses adjusting to the new ways, and erotica is stronger than ever in both short fiction and novels. All this time Cleis Press has been, for most writers of my very extensive acquaintance, the gold standard to aim for when it comes to erotica anthologies.

After five years in a row of having my stories published in Best Lesbian Erotica as well as many other anthologies, and getting to know a wide range of excellent writers, I decided to try my hand at editing in 2005. I started with three small presses, none of whom exist today. Eventually Cleis Press decided to publish more lesbian erotica anthologies, and called on me after people I’d worked with recommended me as someone who could handle the administrative as well as editorial functions. Now I’ve edited seven anthologies for Cleis, with two more coming up. Being asked to edit this year’s Best Lesbian Erotica, the 20th Anniversary Edition, has been the highlight of my career so far, with the possible exception of the Lambda Literary Awards won by two of my Cleis anthologies.

What types of storylines and characters do lesbian erotica fans look for in your experience?

The best thing about lesbian erotica fans is that they get beyond the all-too-prevalent view of erotica as “plot-what-plot?” trash not worth bothering with. They do want storylines, and complex characters, and intriguing settings, and can find them in erotica. Lesbian erotica fans are as diverse in their tastes as any other group of readers, so in anthologies, even themed ones, I try to have enough variety to appeal to many different readers, and skillful enough writing to appeal to most of them even when the particular slant isn’t to their usual taste. The readers need to be able to connect with the characters, to feel what they’re feeling, whether the sex is traditional, kinky, one-shot or committed, but sometimes they want characters who can fulfill their wildest fantasies rather than mirror their own identities. Role-playing has its place, too, consensual scenarios of transgression, bondage, power play. Above all, whatever the tone and theme of a story, they want intensity, both sexual and emotional. They want detailed, explicit descriptions, but they don’t want glaring clichés or strained metaphors. If a writer can turn them on well enough using creative terms, though, all the better.

What I look for as a reader and an editor are stories that are about more than sex, with sex still being at their core. I think most readers want that, as well, but some would rather not pay attention to anything beyond the sensory stimulation, and that’s fine too. As I said, erotic tastes are diverse, for lesbians as well as any other group. For those who want only BDSM, or butch/femme couplings (or butch/butch or femme/femme, etc.,) or paranormal/fantasy settings, or any other niche theme, there are anthologies out there that cater to their tastes, some of my books included, like Me and My Boi, coming out this June, and The Princess’s Bride: Lesbian Fairy Tale Erotica, coming out next year. Or my two Lambda Award winners, Lesbian Cowboys and Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories. Did I mention that I like variety? It goes without saying that I’m that kind of lesbian erotica fan.

Who are your role models in lesbian erotica?

I’m not sure that I have any role models in terms of writers I want to emulate; in fact I’m a proponent of finding your own voice (or even voices) rather than trying to be like someone else, and originality is high on the list of things I look for as an editor. One downside of the proliferation of erotica that I see as an editor is the tendency of some new writers to try to sound like others they’ve read, and all too often they choose the wrong role models.  But there are certainly writers I’ve admired and respected ever since I discovered them, even though some of them no longer write erotica. Some, “literary” writers like Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson, don’t officially write erotica at all, even though parts of their work are certainly erotic enough. Among those who have written unabashedly for the erotica genre in the past, Joan Nestle comes first to mind, for both her pioneering fiction and nonfiction, and for her activism. Leslea Newman falls into this category, too. Pat Califia (now Patrick Califia) is another major figure, legendary for pioneering BDSM+ themes. Among contemporary writers of lesbian erotica, so many of my favorites have written for my anthologies that I don’t dare single out a few any more than parents can rank their children.

Besides your fabulous anthology, what other lesbian erotica would you recommend?

First of all, I recommend all of the other books in the Best Lesbian Erotica series. Tristan Taormino, the creator of the series, was editor from 1996 to 2009, and Kathleen Warnock took over through 2014. Laura Antoniou edited the 2015 volume, I’ve just done the 2016 edition, and the 2017 volume is being compiled by one of my favorite writers and editors, D.L. King.  As far as other anthologies go, I have to admit that I haven’t kept up with many beyond those I’ve edited myself or those that include stories of my own, so the best I can say is that Cleis Press anthologies are always worth reading, and some of the older works from the now-defunct Alyson Books certainly had their moments. For BDSM/Kink fans Pat Califia’s Macho Sluts is a classic, and Sinclair Sexsmith’s contemporary writings continue in that tradition with a distinctive voice of their own. Cheyenne Blue, one of my favorite writers, has edited a couple of excellent lesbian erotica anthologies lately that would recommend even if I didn’t have stories in them. Ylva Publishing and Ladylit Publishing are two of the newer presses that are producing lesbian erotica anthologies well worth reading, as well as novels .

How can couples use your book to teach each other to talk erotically or turn each other on?

There’s no denying that lesbian erotica readers sometimes turn to fiction for how-to information, for lack of other resources. There are, in fact, non-fiction resources, chief among them Felice Newman’s The Whole Lesbian Sex Book, but stories have their own power to inform and inspire. When it comes to readers of my previous books, some lesbians have told me, when we meet at readings, that they read these stories to each other at bedtime. Erotica as foreplay is probably as old as language itself. Erotica also plays a role in widening the readers’ recognition of possibilities, sexual activities, and seductive language, and sharing these stories is a way to pass along and discuss that knowledge. The emotional impact of erotic fiction can be as powerful as the sensual parts, too, and create an atmosphere where couples feel free to communicate their desires and act on them. But all this explanation sounds on the dry side; the stories need to speak for themselves, wielding their own lubricious magic. Lesbian erotica fans find their own personal ways of connecting with their desires and those of possible partners through these stories, and exactly how they do it is, as with so much of life, complicated.

Best Lesbian Erotica, 20th Anniversary Edition is now available from Cleis Press.

ABOUT SACCHI GREEN: Sacchi Green is the editor of Girl Crazy and has coedited the anthologies Lesbian Cowboys, Rode Hard, Put Away Wet, Hard Road, Easy Riding, and Lipstick on Her Collar. Her stories have appeared in an array of erotica publications, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, the Best Women’s Erotica series, The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, and Best Lesbian Romance 2010. She lives in Pioneer Valley, MA.

Translations – 11th Seattle Transgender Film Festival

Transgender awareness may be a new thing to mainstream media, but Seattle’s Transgender Film Festival, Translations, is in its eleventh year and counting. This year the festival runs from May 12-15 and takes place in venues around Seattle’s Capitol Hill, including the Northwest Film Forum, SIFF Cinema Egyptian and 12th Avenue Arts, with a special launch screening on May 8 at the Seattle Central Library downtown.

The big buzz film is MAJOR!, a documentary by Annalise Ophelian about miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the legendary 73-year-old black transgender woman who has been fighting for transgender rights since the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City. Her fascinating life story celebrates the resilience of a community that has faced decades of traumatic marginalization. Miss Major will be present at the screening of the film, which recently premiered to a sold out audience at the Castro Theatre in San Fransisco.

SuitedAnother one I’d love to see is SUITED, a doc produced by Lena Dunham, fresh from its Sundance premiere, about Bindle & Keep, a Brooklyn tailoring company that makes custom suits for gender-nonconforming and transgender clients. Among the people on the gender spectrum sharing their stories are a trans boy preparing for his Bar Mitzvah, a New York City cab driver, a young Southern law student and a trans man preparing for his wedding. At its heart, the film is an intimate journey of coming into a new identity, accepting difference and living bravely in one’s own skin.


transparentFor fans of Amazon’s hit show Transparent, Translations is holding a discussion with some of the remarkable talent behind the show in a panel of guests that includes Alexandra Billings, the first openly trans woman to have played a transgender character on television in 2005, producer Rhys Ernst and director Silas Howard. The much-anticipated event will be moderated by director Sam Feder, and will feature inside scoop from the show, thoughts about the broader implications of the show’s success, and discussion about what it means to be transgender behind and in front of the camera.

The incredible calendar also includes the US premiere of A Womb of Their Own, a documentary about masculine-of-center people navigating the childbirth process, and a special screening of Deconstructing Zoe, an exploration of gender, race and sexuality seen through the life and times of Zoe, a transgender Chinese actor.

A Womb of Their Owndeconstructing zoe

For a full calendar of events, and for tickets and passes on sale now, visit Kudos to Translations in their eleventh year!

translations 2

What’s Your Shakespearean Kink Style? Quiz From “Sex With Shakespeare” Author Jillian Keenan

William Shakespeare is celebrating his 400th birthday, and asked, “What does that have to do with sex?” Enter Jillian Keenan with her brilliant new book Sex With Shakespeare, out tomorrow from William Morrow. The journalist, who raised a lot of eyebrows with her New York Times “Modern Love” piece Finding The Courage To Reveal A Fetish (spoiler alert: she’s into spanking) is also a former dramaturg, and has now written a memoir that uses Shakespeare’s famous plays to draw out her own personal stories while delivering shrewd commentary on love, romance and sexuality.

And as if Keenan weren’t clever enough, she created this hilarious, sexy Shakespeare quiz for us! Take the quiz to find out which Shakespeare play best suits YOUR sexual personality, and the sexual activities to go along with it. Enjoy!


What’s Your Shakespearean Kink Syle?

Question 1: You deserve to be punished. How?

  1. You’ll go to bed without dinner . . . but only if your spouse comes, too.
  2. What?! Heck no! The only person who tops you is YOU.
  3. You’ll be monogamous for <long, heavy sigh> a week. Maybe.
  4. You should be mocked, humiliated, and locked in a dungeon. A dark dungeon.
  5. A spanking. Obviously.

Question 2: Your crush is . . . a bit different. Why?

  1. S/he’s your boss.
  2. S/he’s your family’s mortal enemy.
  3. S/he is a different person every week!
  4. S/he’s your prisoner of war.
  5. S/he’s a talking donkey.

Question 3: How’s your sex life?

  1. Not great. Whether it’s war in Cyprus or the fact that you’re in disguise, something keeps getting in the way.
  2. The sin of self-love possesseth all thine eye. In other words, you do you.
  3. Good wine is a good familiar creature . . . if it be well used.
  4. Bloody. Very bloody.
  5. Almost as good as the meat pie you ate on your last trip to Rome.

Question 4: Who is your Romeo and Juliet spirit animal?

  1. The Nurse: She’s nurturing, loyal, and hilarious.
  2. Tybalt: He’s tough and determined.
  3. Romeo: He’s passionate and goes with his gut.
  4. The Prince: He’s in charge!
  5. Mercutio: Why wouldn’t it be Mercutio?

Question 5: What’s your ideal date?

  1. The activity doesn’t matter—it only matters that you’re with the one you love.
  2. Dinner at your favorite restaurant, followed by a nightcap at your apartment.
  3. It varies! There are so many factors: the day, the company, your mood . . .
  4. A cage fight. In an abandoned subway tunnel.
  5. Always the same thing. The same . . . very specific thing.

Question 6: Which Shakespeare character turns you off the most. 

  1. Hamlet: He’s way too indecisive.
  2. Ophelia: She’s such a victim.
  3. Helena: She’s way too clingy.
  4. King Duncan: Learn to fight back, man.
  5. Hero: Perfection is boring.

Question 7: Which Shakespeare character turns you on the most?

  1. Imogen! Despite everything, she stands by her love.
  2. Benedick! He knows what he wants, and has the brain to get it.
  3. Puck! Who doesn’t want a shrewd and knavish sprite?
  4. Tamora! Goth girls got it going on.
  5. Caliban! The less said about why, the better.

Question 8: Which line from the Sonnets sets your mad blood stirring?

  1. “If the dull substance of my flesh were thought, / Injurious distance should not stop the way.”
  2. “’Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed / When not to be receives reproach of being.”
  3. “When I consider everything that grows / Holds in perfection but a little moment.”
  4. “For I have sworn thee fair and thought thee bright, / Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.”
  5. “Such is my love, to thee I so belong, / That for thy right myself will bear all wrong.”

Question 9: It’s Shakespeare movie night! What do you watch?

  1. Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
  2. Gil Junger’s Ten Things I Hate About You.
  3. Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet.
  4. Julie Taymor’s Titus Andronicus.
  5. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Maqbool.

Question 10: What’s in your toy box?

  1. Rope, handcuffs, and bondage tape.
  2. Phthalate-free toys from your favorite body-safe, sex-positive vendor.
  3. A mask, four different vibrators, and a flask. Oh, and a banjo.
  4. Knives.
  5. Two hairbrushes and an old report card.


Which number corresponds with most of your answers? Tally your results, and then read on to learn how you get down and kinky with Shakespeare! 

  1. You are . . . patience on a monument You want real love, and you’re willing to wait for it. You’ll enjoy: Twelfth Night, paired with a healthy sprinkle of bondage and sensory deprivation.
  2. You are . . . a hard-hearted adamant  You know what you want, you know what you like, and you’re not going to let anyone change your mind. You’ll enjoy: Much Ado About Nothing—almost as much as you’ll enjoy arguing about it later with a partner who is as strong-minded as you are! 
  3. You are . . . falser than vows made in wine Variety is the spice of life! You change your mind fast, and your partners even faster. You’ll enjoy: the Sonnets and role play, both of which will feed your insatiable appetite for variety.
  4. You are . . . savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust You don’t do anything gently, especially sex. You’ll enjoy: Titus Andronicus and any kind of safe, sane, consensual play that is (almost) as brutal.
  5. You are . . . a devil, a born devil, on whose nature nurture can never stick You’re a total freak–and perfect just the way you are. You’ll enjoy: The Taming of the Shrew and some consensual TPE (total power exchange).

More About “Sex With Shakespeare” – Synopsis

Sex With Shakespeare coverHaving been raised in a household where familial estrangement was the norm, Jillian turned to Shakespeare for explanations of love, human connection, and ultimately, her own sexuality. At an early age Jillian recognized that she was obsessed with spanking, that it was a pivotal part of her identity. Since she wrote about the shocking topic in her New York Times “Modern Love” essay “Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish,” Jillian has received thousands of powerful, heartbreaking emails from people around the world who say they finally feel understood. In Sex With Shakespeare, Jillian enmeshes her narrative of a growing self-awareness with the characters and plotlines from plays such as “Macbeth,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” and “Othello.” In doing so, not only does Jillian chart her own interactions, but she also provides a new and nuanced interpretation of these cultural icons we’ve all come know.

With heart, humor, and unwavering knowledge of the Bard himself, Jillian Keenan keenly utilizes these plays to discuss fraught topics such as love, romance, sexuality, and above all, the differences between our most private and public selves.

About the Author

Jillian Keenan picAs a literary nerd, a pop culture enthusiast, and former dramaturg (in Singapore and London), Jillian lives and breathes Shakespeare. She received her BA and MA from Stanford and has written on topics from human rights to sexuality for numerous publications such as the New York TimesThe New YorkerWashington PostSlateForeign PolicyMarie Claire, and The Atlantic. Jillian lives with her husband and cat in New York City.

Gay Sexual Health Ad Meets Resistance In South Africa

We The Brave is a new sexual health campaign in South Africa, aimed at educating and protecting men who have sex with men. This ad is the the first of its kind on South African television, as was the use of the image of a condom.

Some media outlets have asked for the ad to be ‘toned down’ while others have outright refused to air or print the content due to concerns about alienating or offending their readers. Yet this is vital information for the sexual health of a population that is most at risk for HIV.

The campaign is spearheaded by the Anova Health Institute and funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and it directly addresses HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. It’s meant to send its vital message honestly, in a non-judgemental, sex positive – and most importantly – entertaining – way.

“HIV is is still a huge problem, and with the amount of stigmatisation MSM [men having sex with men] still face in South Africa, we do not have the luxury of tip-toeing around the issues,” says Nina Morris Lee, Head of Marketing at Anova. “We understand our market and are careful to always remain sex positive versus adding to discrimination by being fear-based. The aim of the content is not to shock, but to attract our market through creating scenarios to which they relate.”

About the rejection and requests for censorship of the ads, Morris Lee says that it speaks of the ignorance and stigmatization gay men still face. “Clearly, our work in this country has only just begun.”

A series of print ads and videos were produced for the campaign, some tamer than others. The video shown here depicts a simple kiss between two men in a flourish of musical climax at the family dinner table, but a few take it a little further by showing naked buttocks, a leather-clad “sugar daddy,” and simulated sexual acts.

Men who have sex with men are South Africa’s most at risk population for HIV acquisition and transmission. We applaud We The Brave’s initiative to encourage healthy sexual choices like wearing condoms and getting tested regularly. And the ads are eye-catching, dramatic and just plain fun to watch.

Visit and use the #WeTheBrave #BraveEnough hashtags to join the conversation on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

SHAG’s Guide To Sexy Stocking Stuffers

This holiday season, the owners of SHAG – a sexy shop in Brooklyn – have put together an amazing selection of gifts, events and workshops to put people in the holiday spirit (and in the mood). From jewelry to sex toys, hi-tech to handmade, edible to wearable, SHAG’s stocking stuffers are the perfect way to keep cold, winter nights steamy. For gifts that keep giving, they are also offering holiday packages for singles and couples to learn new skill sets in the bedroom with classes in massage, sensual scents and rope bondage and a free holiday party with a naughty Santa to kick off the holiday madness!

Naughty Or Nice Stocking Stuffers

People looking for alternative stocking stuffers and intimate gifts will find the answer in SHAG’s curated selection of smartly designed, erotically charged goodies. Highlights include: Eva Vibe, the world’s first hands-free, strap-free, non-intrusive couples’ vibrator ($116).

Eva Vibe_aqua_HR

Crave Vesper Vibe, an elegant, rechargeable, and (most importantly) discreet vibrator necklace ($69).

Crave Vesper Vibe
Crave Vesper Vibe

Crystal Delights Twist Butt Plug, made with hand-blown glass and Swarovski crystal, designed to stimulate every single nerve ending ($110).

Crystal Delights twist plug
Crystal Delights twist plug

Uberlube, scentless, tasteless, soft and velvety silicone lubricant ($18-$28); chainmail jewelry from Brooklyn artist Ashley Keeper ($100-$150); Pandora’s Aphrodisiac Pops ($5); Haute Chocolate Bars featuring sassy packaging and gourmet flavors ($8);

Palo Santo Meditate Bath Bundle_02_HR
Palo Santo Meditate Bath Bundle

Candy C-Ring, a naughty twist on the classic candy necklace ($8); A Lover’s Guide to the Kama Sutra mini book ($6); Palo Santo Meditate Bath Bundle including artisanal soap, sacred plants, incense, hand-made blessing sticks and a hand-pressed incense bar ($18); Black Orchid Aphrodisiac Essence ($18); Sea Grape Massage Oil ($13-$24); and SHAG’d in Brooklyn Mug, the perfect keepsake to mark a memorable holiday ($20).

Events & Holiday Packages

SHAG’s Naughty Santa Party

Date: Saturday, December 12 (3-7pm)

Cost: Free

Flipping the script on a traditional holiday party, SHAG is spicing things up with its third annual Naughty Santa Party. On the menu: eggnog, holiday cookies, raffles, and one very naughty Santa (who gets naughtier throughout the night)! SHAG will have props ranging from silly to sexy for people to pose on Santa’s lap, photographed by Constance & Eric. Partygoers can take home their photo ($10; printed on location) and receive a free gift with every purchase of $100 or more.

Sensual Scent Creation Class

Date: Saturday, January 23 (5-8pm)

Cost: $100/person or $175/couple

This class is a sensual, olfactory journey with Melody Hill Home founder Hillary Rothrock. Participants will learn about the conscious and subconscious effects of taste and smell, how they are integral to sex and what it is about aromas that turns people on. The class also includes champagne, a perfume-inspired tasting and a 1-oz bottle of a custom fragrance (made in class) to take home.

Intro to Shibari: Holiday Package

Dates: Thursday, January 14 (6-8pm) & Thursday, January 28 (6-8pm)

Cost: $225/couple

Designed for couples who want to add a new skill set to their sexual repertoire, this holiday package combines SHAG’s popular Intro to Shibari class with the newly released Shibari beginner’s kit. Hosted by Valentine Amartey, the two-hour workshop will teach couples the basics of this ancient Japanese art form of knots and ties to create an erotically charged rope scene. Couples will also take home the shibari kit used in class, which includes a beginner’s rope kit, safety shears and the seminal Bondage for Sex book by Chanta Rose.

Holiday Massage Decadence Package

Dates: Sunday, January 10 (4-7pm) & Saturday, January 16 (5-8pm)

Cost: $325/couple

This three-hour, sensual escape will allow couples to dive deep into decadence. During the first hour, a licensed massage therapist will teach basic massage techniques and give tips on selecting appropriate music, lighting and oils. Afterwards, couples will be guided through the chocolate wrap process by watching a live demo and practicing on their partner’s limbs while sipping on bubbly and indulging in treats provided by local chocolatier Haute Chocolate. The package also includes a take home kit for two (with chocolate massage oil, chocolate body scrub, chocolate body mask and chocolate shea butter) to keep the fires burning at home.

About SHAG

SHAG is a retail store, fine art gallery and event space that unites sex and art. All of the merchandise has one common theme: Making people feel sexy! SHAG offers an open, inviting and educated experience, meeting people where they are in their sexual journey and helping them to explore further. For more information, visit

Dr. Ava Cadell Nominated For X-Biz “Sexpert Of The Year”

I’m excited to announce that Dr. Ava Cadell has been nominated for ‘Sexpert of the Year‘ by the X-Biz awards! Of course, she has been enjoying her status as Sexual Health Expo’s ‘Sexpert of the Year‘ throughout 2015, so she’s a natural candidate.

Dr. Ava’s been busy traveling to China to lecture, revamping her Loveology University (launching February 2016) and appearing on television often. She took Kendra Wilkinson and Hank Baskett to her Intimacy Retreat on the reality show Kendra on Top to counsel them on their marital issues, and then in an unforgettable comic turn, she played the sex therapist on the hilarious new IFC show, Gigi Does It! If comedy chops are part of the Sexpert of the Year criteria, she will win hands down.

The other nominees are also very accomplished, excellent sexologists. Here is the esteemed list, and you can cast your vote here: Vote for X-Biz Sexpert of the Year

Sexpert of the Year Nominees

X-Biz Vote Dr. Ava Cadell

“Tempt The Ocean” by Agnès de Savigny – FREE Book Excerpt

This spicy page-turner from new author Angnès de Savigny has it all. Spine-tingling adventure, fun to follow characters, heart-racing romantic suspense – and let’s not beat around the bush here – incredibly hot sex.

Books usually sit on my nightstand for weeks on end, but I finished this juicy romp in just a few sittings because I had to know whether this rogue French sailor was a good guy or a bad guy and whether my heroine was going to make it out alive! And okay, the steamy scenes in between the political intrigue are also truly irresistible.

Imagine my delight when Ms. de Savigny said yes to posting an excerpt! Sneak this onto your lover’s kindle for Christmas and let the fireworks begin.


Tempt the Ocean‘s reluctant heroine is plucked from the self-isolation of her apartment and thrown into a harrowing sailing adventure down the west coast of Africa. She puts her life in the hands of Xavier, a handsome sailor with a mysterious past who battles his own demons. The heroine begins to question her trust of Xavier and the wisdom of her decision in the face of high seas pirates, slave traders, corrupt island magnates, jealous lovers, Canadian bureaucracy, and an evil nemesis with a hideous scar. Ultimately she must learn to trust her own wits and will to survive.

Excerpt from “Tempt The Ocean,” Courtesy of the Author

Tempt the OceanI could hear Xavier’s muffled voice coming from the cockpit above me. He was speaking rapid French. He was much more animated when speaking his native language than when he spoke English to me. I assumed he was talking on his mobile—he spoke on his phone whenever he had the time. I was surprised he could still get a signal even though we were only a hundred or so miles off the coast of Africa. But maybe it wasn’t a great signal, given that he was shouting, and saying ‘pardon?’ a lot. I heard him swear in exasperation and slam the phone down. Then it was quiet.

I never did get to sleep, and when Xavier came to get me for my watch I was already dressed in the rain gear. He had made the offer to sit with me in the cockpit for a bit at the start of all my shifts, since the night the radio traffic had spooked me. I looked forward to those moments when our duties overlapped, and we could let our minds wander in lackadaisical conversation. Xavier had other ideas this time. He was more tired than I was, and kept the talk sweet but brisk. I invited him into some easy exchange but he was more interested in finding a pillow. I let it go.

There were no mysterious voices during either of my watches that night. The excitement emerged instead as a drop-dead gorgeous sunrise at the end. The sky lightened and glowed pink as the stars faded. The early morning hue covered the distant clouds with a candy coating. As the sun itself began to poke up on the horizon, Xavier appeared at the doorway, hair disheveled like it was when I first met him. He rubbed his eyes and stubbly cheeks with his slender fingers. He was no longer wearing his rain gear—he stood completely nude. He leaned against the doorframe with his arms crossed, skeptical about the sight of me curled up on my side along the ivory bench seat, half asleep.

Through semi-closed eyes I watched his effortless steps cross the cockpit lounge, where he tucked himself into the space at the crook of my waist.

“You’re naked,” I mumbled, stating the obvious.

“And you are not,” he replied, playing with the voluminous fabric of my borrowed rain pants. “How’s the sailing?”

I could tell he was goading me. I twisted my shoulders flat to get a better look at him.

“Everything’s fine,” I promised, reaching to touch his naked leg in a gesture of assurance. I knew there were no boats anywhere around us—I’d just looked.

He sat back against me, surveying the horizon. He stretched one arm out across my legs as if they were the back of the bench seat. Without looking he picked up my assuring hand with his other one and kissed it warmly.

“Aren’t you hot in all this rain gear?” he challenged, his attention now on the heavy sleeve of my jacket.

“No,” I said, tightening the jacket around me. It was still early and the light morning wind had a chill to it. Never mind I was too sleepy to move much. I was also self-conscious about having nothing on underneath, despite the events of the previous afternoon.

Our eyes locked in an unspoken stand-off. He still had my hand in his and, as if not to startle me with any unexpected moves, lowered it slowly to the seat. He shifted his leg to pin my hand underneath his thigh. He took advantage of my dismay as a distraction and caught me completely off guard for his follow-up move. He grabbed my free hand, which had been casually resting across my waist, and held it against the back of the seat with a firm grip while his resting arm appeared from nowhere to pull down the zipper of my rain gear.

“No!” I shouted in surprise, although I was laughing. I easily slipped my pinned hand out from under his bare leg and grabbed at his wrist to stop him from completely unzipping me. He was already half way down by the time I got a good hold and though I made the unzipping more difficult for him, his strength made my effort virtually futile. By the time he had reached the buckle near the bottom of the inflatable life-jacket, I was merely holding on to enjoy the sensation of his muscles flexing under my fingers. I didn’t even notice him let go of my other hand when he needed both of his to undo the harness.

“Success!” he giggled at me, pushing back the lifejacket to get through the last of the jacket’s zipper. He folded back the front of the rain gear, peeling me like the soft ripening fruit I was.

“You are naked!” He imitated me. His hand generously caressed my freshly exposed belly. He grinned at me as his hand moved to warm each breast with a gentle knead. I returned his smile, allowing him his small victory.

He relaxed against my middle, stretching his arm back out across my hips. I rested my hand back on his bare leg, enjoying the sensation of his muscles working to counterbalance the boat’s constant motion.

“I must get to the business of sailing my boat,” he teased with a shrug, abandoning his initiation of my arousal. I could see when he stood up that he was abandoning his own as well. He indicated the console at the end of the cockpit. “I will be over there, if you care to get up and join me.”

I cursed his tight ass as he moved away from me.

I struggled upright with great difficulty, letting the jacket and harness slip off behind me. Goose bumps rose from my naked skin at the cool ocean breeze, pinching my bare nipples into upright perkiness. I knew, even though I did not look to confirm it, that he was watching my every move.

I attempted a graceful stagger to the console, bracing myself along the bench seat for balance. Xavier reached out to me with one hand when I came close enough, and pulled me into a tight embrace. The cold console wheel grazed the skin of my back, sending light shivers up my spine. I snuggled closer to Xav.

I wrapped myself around him, drawing heat against the morning breezes that caressed us from the sea. I tilted my head up and met his lips—warm, wet, and salty. We let our tongues play together in a pretense of devouring each other. I slid my hands down the hard lines of his back to the muscles of his ass and squeezed. His own hand caressed the small of my back before continuing across the dimple at the base of my spine. He paused a moment to snap the elastic waistband of the rain pants with a chuckle before sliding his hand under to curve over the arc of my bare ass beneath.

“What about those pants?” he taunted. He slipped his fingers between my legs and slid them up the middle as far as they would go.

“Stop it!” I squealed with a grin. My fingers dug into his taut butt cheeks. He eased his teasing and slid his hand out. I relaxed in the lull, fully aware of the wet heat that was left between my legs where his hand had been.

He pulled back, gazing at me with those ocean-deep eyes. He had a hard time breaking away to scan the horizon.

About The Author


Agnès de Savigny has lived and worked in England, Canada, France, and Mexico.

She has travelled to every continent except Antarctica, and dipped her toes in every ocean except the Arctic.

Her casual adventures have taken her sailing across both the Atlantic and Indian oceans, horseback riding on the beach in New Zealand with a hot cowboy, salsa dancing in Granada with a hot Venezuelan instructor, and playing drums in Zanzibar with a group of hot musicians.

She has flirted around the globe.

When not gallivanting around the world or making up stories about tortured romantic souls, she can be found at home cuddling with kittens and/or her sweetheart.

Buy her book Tempt The Ocean on Amazon here.

Sex Toy Or Not? Take This Hilarious Click-Flip Quiz

Is it a sex toy or….not? That question is the name of the game in this hilarious click-through quiz you’ll love from Carvaka – The Vibrator Specialists. I have to say, there were a few stumpers in there even for me, and I know my sex toys! : )

See how you do!