Friday, February 20, 2015

Survey: How Has Weight Loss/Gain Affected Your Sex Life?

Hello, a reader reached out to me via email and asked why I don't do more surveys like the ones featured in Warning Sign and Secret Stuff.

plus size sex, slow sex, sex life, sexual health, loss of sex, hot sex, great sex, sexless

My answer? I didn't know you wanted more. So I'm conducting a new Sexual Health survey: How Has Weight Loss/Gain Affected Your Sex Life?

All the answers are recorded and kept anonymous. If you would like to participate click here, I am writing a post about it to be featured soon. Hopefully this is a topic we can talk about, learning and helping each other.

UPDATE2/23/2015 -- Thank readers for sharing your thoughts! The survey is still open if you'd like to share yours.

Thank you,

Jean

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: Before You See The Damn Movie 2

This is part two of "Fifty Shades of Grey: Before You See The Damn Movie." Read the first part here.

To recap:

Oh yes, the new big thing. Fifty Shades of Fucking Grey. I'm just worried women think this is the best thing ever written. It's not. And it's going to mess with people's real sex lives when their significant others don't act like this fictional billionaire...I tried to read it from Chapter 1 to the end. I did not succeed. What I did was stand in a Target in the electronics department and flip through the 20+ chapters scanning for the sex bits. At best, they made me shuffle my feet and get creepy stares from the guardian of the camera display. (I don't need your help if I'm reading a book.)

Now, I have finished reading the second book, Fifty Shades Darker. That makes two books with mostly the same sex but a little more emotional development. Let's deconstruct this trilogy of "Lady Porn."

fifty shades of grey, Christian Grey, kinky sex, Anastasia Steele

I Get Why You Like the Dialogue: Christian and Anastasia are so happy to be back in each other's company (especially during sexytime). They are back in the saddle again after, what, like five days spent separated? Now, Anastasia has a new job at a publishing company with a creepy boss. And she's been invited to (and is she focus of) her friend Jose's photography show, which Christian insists on accompanying her. And one of his tossed-aside submissives is stalking them. And ::gasp:: there's drama! (And an ascension in the story arc of the novel.)

Ontop of all the above drama, Anastasia Steele is in love with her broken, handsome billionaire and is unsure if he's capable of loving her back, which, if you remember, was what ended their romance in Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, since he's grown so much in the five days they spent separated, he's decided he can't live without her.

So, after seeing her friend Jose and his All-Anastasia artwork, Christian purchases all the pictures AND tells Anastasia he loves her. Yes, he dropped the L-word. (not Lesbian, but good show.) Sounds promising, eh?

Here's Why The Dialogue is Bullshit: It's the same crap from the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, repackaged. First off, think about your own significant other, best friend, or person who you spend a lot of time with. Then, think about the last time you spent more than six hours with that person; now, think of how many times you said their name out loud. Or even in your head.

I ask you this because it's completely unrealistic to expect two people who are spending time together to continually say/call each other by name during speech. It's unnatural. It feels forced. Especially so in Anastasia's dialogue when she keeps calling him Christian, or "Fifty" or "Fifty Shades." We just don't do it as people and when you write it in a novel it looks like bad writing and people don't relate to the characters as well.

Also, some tidbits that I thought were cloying... everytime Christian is ontop of Ana about to, shall we say, get busy, he utters some version of "You are going to unman me, Ana."

  • Meriam Webster defines the verb "unman" as: Deprive of qualities traditionally associated with men, such as self-control or courage.
I don't know about you ladies, but this isn't really something I want to hear from a man hovering over me pre-coitus. And he continually says it. Get your shit together. Or get off of me.


Also... the bitching about Ana being so thin? It's very nice that Christian likes her ten pounds heavier, but in five days, the thought that she's lost that much weight and his constant reminding her to eat makes her look like a petulant child.  Eat a sandwich.

fifty shades of grey, Christian Grey, kinky sex

I Get Why You Think Christian Is Developing Romantically: Ana has a creepy, Slut-Slut boss Jack. He hits on Ana, tries to get her to come for a drink with him and is rather rude to Christian when he meets him in person. Yes, this man is an antagonist and one dimensional. Turns out he tries to lure Ana on a "business trip" to New York City that Christian says she absolutely cannot go on regardless of how much Ana protests and says that she has no interest in Jack. Christian doesn't deem it safe and says he's not worried about Ana's intentions, but in Slut-Slut's.

(Author's Note: This was one of those times I actually felt a little stupid as I could see how clearly going on the business trip with Jack was a rouse for sex and how Ana was going to be put in a compromising situation. Uncharacteristically, I rolled my eyes at Ana's lame attempts to assert her independence and understood Christian's firm "Hell no" stance)

Here's How Christian's Stalking Has Reached New Heights: Christian acquires the company Ana works for over the nonsense of Slut-Slut and pending business trip. If this isn't a blatant display of throwing one's money around I don't know what is. That is overstepping one's bounds as as boyfriend, even if he had good intentions.

If Christian was serious about wanting to protect Ana from Slut-Slut (Jack), he should have promptly fired him. I understand this a device for plot climax, but it was done so poorly and anti-climatic with a little scuffle in the breakroom, he should have just fired the guy and had Jack come back to the office with a half-drunk 40 and a handgun for more effect. Blah.

Wait... There's A Crazy Ex-Submissive? Show Me More! Furthering Christian's tirade, there's the tossed-aside submissive who is "stalking" Ana. Christian basically takes over Ana's life (driving to work, being watched while at work, moving into his condo,etc.) because of the threat of this unhinged lunatic. Hey buddy, sometimes people just want Jimmy John's for lunch--Ana might leave the building and you shouldn't go ape shit about it. Buy her a taser.
 
I wanted to see the submissive do more damage! She comes across as a hollow woman lacking the serial-killer gusto we all hoped for. Spill some rabbit's blood around Ana's apartment or do more than stare at Ana briefly as she slept. Drum up the psychological fear and make it seem like this one is an actual threat rather than a sad, unemployed submissive.


I think this is E L James' biggest writing flaw: she's too concerned with the sex to take her time and create true tension, whether it be sexual, psychological or foreshadowing coming full circle. She needs to breathe and enjoy the rise in tension more, let it build and come full circle.

She rushes time and circumstances to get to her "main event" which is the physical contact of Ana and Christian. It's like porn's attempt at a storyline when they add a pizza delivery guy who shows up at the home of two beautiful women who just so happen to want to have sex with him. It's cheesy and unbelievable.

This is my impression of dating Christian Grey... Always watching.

What I Did Enjoy:
  • The emails were fun, genuine and playful as usual. Still my favorite part of the books. I love the change in subject lines, signature lives and "shouty caps." And the mention of contents once Ana and Christian are in person. Nicely done.
  • The charity event. E L James described the cast of characters and surroundings quite well. It was also a nice introduction into Christian's world and gave his character more depth as he was seem mingling with people who aren't on his payroll. Good job. Should have done this more.
  • Christian's reaction and love for macaroni and cheese. Ok, that was cute. Even this sarcastic writer smiled at the thought of him grinning and reheating leftover mac and cheese.
  • The slow inclusion of Mrs. Robinson (Elena). Even though this basically lead nowhere since Mrs. Robinson had a small "shouty caps" match with Ana once she finds out her and Christian are engaged, the small inclusion of meeting the beautiful Elena at the spa, the email conversation, annoying phone calls to Christian and the appearance at the party were done well. That slow, constant burn is what keep's readers interested and awaiting a showdown. James should have showed Ana and Elena at a lunch together rather than let the idea get dismissed. Their conversation at the party--including Christian's mom finding out about the S&M-- was good, but I would have liked Ana and Elena to have had a lunch together where Elena could have divulged her view of Christian and tried to play nice with Ana, even if her intentions were sinister.
It was a better than the first. I think I feel this way because of Christian's character development. There were definite plot points in the novel that felt dumb ( the hoopla over the helicopter crash, Jack's brand new role as a well-developed villain), so I don't see a Pulitzer in James' future.

 As for a feature film, the small beloved literary details often get washed away to make way for sex, violence and gore--so who knows if that good devices of the novel will even make it to the silver screen.

Tell me what you thought, what you loved and what you hated. I can take it. Fifty Shades of Grey is our generation's lady porn, so I know opinions are running high. I still think it's an uber unhealthy, codependent relationship.

Laters baby,

Jean

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: Before You See The Damn Movie

Oh yes, the new big thing. Fifty Shades of Grey... the movie. But first, the insipid books came out. I'm worried women think this is the best thing ever written. It's not. It's not great sexy. I don't think it qualifies as very kinky sex. And it's going to mess with people's real sex lives when their significant others aren't fictional billionaires. Fiction is for fun, not for relationship pointers.

Fifty Shades of Grey, Christian Grey, Kinky Sex

I tried to read it from Chapter 1 to the end. I did not succeed. What I did was stand in a Target in the electronics department and flip through the 20+ chapters scanning for the sex bits. At best, they were ok, I would shuffle my feet and get creepy stares from the guardian of the camera display.

I Understand Why You Like Christian: Christian Grey is supposed to be handsome with beautiful gray eyes, tall, charming, articulate, successful, bold and filthy rich. He's also brooding and broken and many ladies like a puzzle to solve (whether you'll admit it or not). He's passionate, kinky, dominant, but obsessively polite, protective and assertive. We like that, too. Makes us think we have the best of both worlds but are in no real danger of bodily harm. I would also like to point out that to be all these things at once, I think there's a serious risk of manic behavior and psychological unrest.

Also (I will lay off the book's dialogue until part two) Christian is articulate. He tells Ana to stop biting her lip because it drives him crazy. He makes multiple references to how beautiful she is. How sexy she is. In detail. And he's audible in bed, too. Not just "yes" and "oh fuck."

fifty shades of grey, Christian Grey, E L James, kinky sex

Why Christian is Bullshit: The character Christian is possessive, jealous, stalks freely and backs up his undesirable and often unapologetic actions by using his money to woe Anastasia with dinner, designer clothing, exciting events, hotels, cars, electronics, etc. and the claim that he can't possibly fathom anything happening to her and would never let that transpire.Yes...romantic.

But, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that at their core, many men are not kinky. Dominant, yes, but kinky? Sometimes. They might like to watch it, but doing it for the desired effect isn't necessary. And that is ok, because most of them respond very well to regular, hot sex. Kinky should be sprinkled in your sex life like pepper in your soup... it shouldn't be the whole soup.

And his articulation: Sound like the polar opposite of someone you know and love? Give your real Christian some credit; men are wired differently and the book's Christian is written by a woman. A mid-forties, married mother living in London. Her hormones are probably turned up higher than the dial on her AC.

Confession: I once had a real, articulate, seemingly passionate male suitor (also in the transition between teenage & adult) who would go on both verbally and written about how wondrous I was. It was great. But it also distracted me from the terribly insecure little boy who was cheating on me with anyone with ovaries and used his words to mask guilt. And in the end, the articulation rang hollow. So it meant nothing. And that was worse.

Capricorn may be more plainspoken, but he is sincere, playful, funny, passionate, fixes things when they are broken and a few others that I have promised not to speak about in my blog. ;)

Beware of the overly articulate man. Life is not a Bronte sister novel. Your man thinks your lovely, maybe it's just not his thing to go on and on about it. Actions speak louder than words. Every

I Get Why You Like the Sex: Ana is appreciated, desired and actively pursued. We (don't pull women's lib on me) like that very, very much. We give in return, but there's nothing like feeling desirable from someone you desire. It comes across as Christian is fully enthralled with her as well as monogamous. He wants her. And there's a  (sorta) plot, characters and dialogue-- Ladies, this is our porn.

Also, Ana is (mostly) submissive. And still has many, many orgasms. You know what submissives DO during sex? Not much. They do as they are told, look attractive, let the dominate do what [he] likes and say stop when they want. That sounds like a lazy person's dream. And I'd argue that the submissive person is actually the one in control, because they control when it ends. Of course women readers are excited!

Anastasia Steele, fifty shades of grey

Why The Sex Isn't That Hot: The sex itself is fun, but, from a writer's standpoint, the over-use of euphemisms actually makes it a lot less hot.

It's like the writer was sitting on her couch, with her legs propped up on the coffee table, laptop in lap (I now feel odd because that's exactly how I am sitting) biting her lip at times thinking: Oh god. What's a word I can substitute for dick? Cock? I cannot bring myself to say that! Or pussy. Or sex drive. This is hard!

I had a creative writing professor (I'll call her Caroline) in college who by first glance looked like a frumpy, friendly woman who would ask you on the street if you thanked Jesus today. She loved granola, her cats and Herman Melville.

Caroline also loved sex. And would stare accusingly at each of us during workshop and say: If you are going to write about sex, write in detail. I want to know what you are doing, how it feels. I want to know what it tastes like. I want to know whether you both come or not. If you are going to get shy, write about a tea party.

So. E L James, I kinda feel like you dropped the ball. If you write Erotica, go for it in detail. Stop saying "inner goddess" "Holy cow" and "my sex." It makes me want to slap you. Or sick Caroline and her 12 cats on you.

Second Point: Did you notice how much sex they have in the book? Supposedly rigorous sex. And now many times each day.

Ladies, without being too graphic, there's a stopping point between pleasure and pain. After a few rounds of coloring (Sex and the City reference) things need to reset. Or you are just going to experience (if you are lucky) some mild fluttering and a very awkward walking stride for the rest of the day. The fifth time will not feel like the very first time. Sex is not a Foreigner's song.

Third Point: Men aren't always dominating. Sometimes, they get lazy. And needy. Or will want something that is specifically for them, that you will have to do all the work for and he will most likely fall asleep afterwards (you catch my drift?). And he wants that often. He'll even wash your car for it or accept it in lieu of a Valentine's Day gift.

So, don't get too comfortable with the fairytale sex life in FSOG. It probably will not look like your own and that's more than ok. It's a real give-and-take situation. [Also, on the submissive point, see my above reasoning].

I'm about giving credit where it's due.

What I Did Like: The emails.

The emails are great. They are flirtatious, short and feel like real, sexy conversation. They made me smile and blush. I liked when Christian would change his signature line to reflect his current mood and Anastasia would write witty subject lines. And the innuendo. They are my favorite part of the book.

I know some of you disagree with me so hard you're shaking your head at the screen. I don't mean to kill your Lady Porn dreams, I just believe this book was written in a tone that reflects a teenage girl's vision of what a romantic relationship should look like; and it's characters, plot devices and poor take on kinky sex is bullshit. We deserve better.

Tell me why I'm wrong. Or, tell me why you agree. And if you're going to see that damn movie.

I hear there's an actual porn of Fifty Shades of Grey. For my money, that's probably a much more interesting watch. Look out for Part Two coming soon...

Not to be confused with Fifty Shades of Gray-- that's Crayola,

Jean

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Find Sexy Plus Size Swimwear

Let's find attractive plus size swimwear together, because it wasn't always so easy: I remember being a size 10 and shopping for a swim suit in a department store for Spring Break. I had lost some weight and looked forward to finding a two piece to show off my smaller waist, back, hips and ass.

So as I grabbed swim suits to try on, I was hesitant to think the small cup sizes of 10, 12 and 14 might fit, but remained optimistic and hoped it was an optical illusion that would correct itself once on my body.

plus size swimwear, plus size fashion, plus size clothes, torrid bikini
It didn't. The cup sizes were too small, creating the awkward boob arm fat; and many of the bottoms stretched across my hips too tightly, yet loose in the middle, clearly not fitting my body well. And I didn't turn around to see the fabric digging into my shoulder blades and back, which I could feel.

I looked in the mirror and hated what I saw, fabric digging into my skin, creating bulges that weren't supposed to be there. I preferred the way I looked naked, as the ill-fitting suits made me feel so uncomfortable and unattractive. And super-sized.

I gave up the ghost of thinking I could wear a bikini that day--weight loss, size 10 or not and resided to buying a one-piece black swim suit that I disliked, but felt covered up what I didn't (yet again) like about myself.

It took me a long time to realize body types, not sizes, dictate how your clothes fit. And up until now swim suit designers have done a piss poor job of creating flattering, sexy swimwear for plus size, curvy, fuller bust, hips (whatever body type you are). We all deserved options that crafted suits to accommodate larger busts, curvier curves and more material where it counted.

It's a new day. Here are some great options I've found for the plus-size woman swim suit shopping:

 
plus size swimsuit, plus size bikini, robyn lawley

Swimsuits For All: This site optimizing the idea that plus-size swimwear can be as fashion-forward and sexy as any size. Has very cute options at reasonable prices.  Ok, ridiculously reasonable price, as in a quality bikini for $40. And whether you are looking for all-out sexy, or something more classically beautiful, this place has it all. And the bikinis come in a range of styles (high waisted for a retro look and tummy concealing), one-pieces, tankinis, you name it. Sizes ranges from 10-24.

Simply Be: Also a great option. SimplyBe has a larger size range (8-28), and many styles ranging from conservative to more modern, but also higher prices. In my opinion, if you aren't looking for a very trendy, sexy, or intricate pattern, this is the site for you. You can find a great suit here on this website, shifting through the many options. Prices will be higher, but they are lower than what you can find at a Macy's or Nordstroms.
plus size swimsuit, plus size bikini, robyn lawley
This is how I pictured myself in the store's suits, sans surf board

Torrid: The sassy staple of plus-sized edge. Torrid has the sex appeal and modernity to make you feel on-trend as a plus size woman. There are stores and online shopping options available, as the above two choices are online only. They created their own style-sheet, good or bad, ranging from 0-5. I have owned two Torrid suits previously, and while they were both cute, they disintegrated and color faded quickly due to chlorine and the sun. As this option is more expensive than SFA, and on-par or more of SB, I'm ready to try another option before I buy another suit from here. That being said, they do have cute styles if you need to find an in-store option.

My Two Cents: As being burned by Torrid's quality control before, and ready to find a more stylish two-piece option (I have a long torso and one piece's always fit awkwardly on me) I am going to try Swimsuits For All. Getting a hot suit for less than $50 makes it worth the try.

Happy shopping! The struggle is real.

Jean

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Times When I Should Have Been Batman

I think there's a little Batman in all of us -- yes, even the girls (hold your double entendre). But the Dark Knight isn't just dressed to kick ass, he's also stealthy, sneaky, direct, aggressive and clever. Those are helpful qualities in life's troubling times.

Batman, dark knight, winning lotto

Here are a few times in my life that I should have been Batman. Because damn did I screw things up:

When I was drunk and thought I won the lottery: 

I went to a Christmas party at a friend's older sibling's apartment when I was 18. Amidst the hipsters and musicians who were too authentic for mainstream audiences (read: Sucked and couldn't book a gig), I felt uncomfortable being at the dimly lit party where everyone rather pretend to understand 19th century philosophy than get a real job, because giving in to the man was bullshit. (I worked at the Gap during this time, and had an angry, bearded stranger tell me I was bullshit because I folded clothes to earn money, instead of living off my parents until I could make money off my craft.) Yeah...

As the night carried and the circle of people I thought I could have reasonable conversations with dwindled, my friend and I drank cheap beer and tequila shots. Lots. By the time we did the Christmas grab bag gift exchange, I accepted my gift and tucked it away, resolving to look at it when the room stopped spinning. My friend and I headed home, sobering up at 4am with some pizza and water.

As I slinked back into my parent's house--Christmas vacation-- the sun was beginning to rise. However, it was still dark enough for me to run right into my father, unknowing as he was heading to the kitchen to make his morning coffee.

"Ah! What are you do, don't sneak up on me like that." I yelled, in mid-judo chop stance.

My father eyed me suspiciously. "It's almost 6am. Where were you? And why do you have alcohol?" He reached into my Christmas gift bag and took out the bottle of Grey Goose vodka, which had a lottery ticket taped to it.

"Oh." I looked at the bottle in his hands. "I was at a Christmas party. It was a gift. I'll go now." I grabbed the neck of the bottle, hoping to pull it out of his hands and run up the stairs to my room.

He held onto the bottle. "You got a lotto ticket. See if you won."

I grumbled. "Ok." And pulled the ticket off the bottle of vodka I was now sure I'd never see again. Without giving the writing on the ticket a glance I began to scratch it with my keys. One Lucky #7 turned into 5. I gasped. I finally looked at the writing on the ticket, I won $20,000.

"Oh my god! I won $20,000. You can keep the damn vodka." I felt giddly, not fully sober yet.

My dad looked at the ticket in my hand. "Can I see it?" I handed him the ticket.

He looked at the ticket, scanning the front, and then turning it over to the back, chuckling. "You won $20,000, but you can't redeem it except at the North Pole in the year 3000. They gave you real vodka, but a fake ticket."

I was still drunk enough to not care much, appreciating the humor. "Those hipsters. Whatever, I should have known. Night dad." I left him with the ticket and the vodka, hearing him laugh to himself, and smelling the scent of ground coffee as I made my way up to bed.

If I would have been Batman, I would have paid more attention to the writing on the ticket, scaled the wall of my parents' house so I would have snuck in unnoticed and saved myself the trouble of being bested by a hipster. Batman would never have let that happen. Damn.

batman, dark knight, winning lotto, locked in bathroom

 

Locking Myself in the Bathroom in a Palace: 

Capricorn and I went to a big party last summer, overlooking a house on 12 acres of land that rivaled the Sistine Chapel in terms of design and artwork. The house has a racquetball court, indoor pool, theatre, salon, full wine cellar -- it's a palace, not a home.

The palace had something in common with many homes: a half bathroom, tucked away by a stairwell, equipped with small sink, mirror and toilet that guests often use when they've had one too many Heinekens and need to pee right now. I was that guest.

The door to the small bathroom had a sliding, folding door with a doorknob in the middle, like one might see for a closet. It hinged in the middle, forcing me to push the door in, in order to slide it on its track and gain entry. Once I figured out how to operate the door I rushed in.

After finishing, washing my hands and smoothing my hair in the mirror, I sighed a breath of relief and turned around, ready to join the party. I could hear jazz music coming from the outdoor pool deck. I reached for the handle, pushed the door hoping to see it slide easily on its track and let me out.

This is not what happened.

The door wouldn't open. I pushed and pushed. The door rattling, stuck, refusing to let me out. Panic began to sink in. Why was I cursed with a small bladder.

I took a step back, told myself to breathe and think about the situation logically. I would call Capricorn, explain where I was and have him try to open the door. I pulled my cell phone out of my purse. No phone service.

My zen moment escaped and I returned to grabbing the doorknob, pushing frantically. I heard footsteps outside the door and banged on the slated wooden door planks, hoping someone would hear me and come help. When banging didn't work, I tried yelled. "Help! I'm stuck in here. Help." [silence, footsteps walked away] "Help?" I was on my own.

Out of frustration of my potential savior abandoning me, I decided to hell with being gentle. Palaces were meant to be renovated.

I pushed the doorknob as hard as I could, adding my body weight to it as I leaned against the door. I lost my footing as my feet slipped on the marble floor, falling against the sink, pulling the doorknob back with me.

The door opened, folding on its hinges towards me and sliding open on its track. I had pushed the door open to get into the bathroom, I needed to pull it to get out. I gasped.

If I would have been Batman, I would have remembered how I entered the secret bathroom, making my escape seamless. Or, I would have used the grappling tool and tore a hole through that door, escaping before anyone knew what had happened. Batman has cool gadgets, all I had was a cell phone with no service.

I think there's times in our lives when we could all use a little Batman. When did you need to channel the Dark Knight? Jesus gets a lot of attention, but Batman has Alfred; I'm not sure the Holy Ghost offers the same kind of commitment.

Not the Hero You Deserve,

Jean