Aug 162012
 

If you haven’t read my review for Becoming sage, I suggest you do so first, as this is second in the series.

Local Colorado authors Kasi Alexander and Reggie Alexander do it again; they create a great book of hot BDSM erotica that balances realness and relationships far better than Fifty Shades of Grey ever could. In Saving sunni, the relationship between Sir Rune, sage and sunni (lack of capitalization is on purpose) continues here, but this time, their trials and tribulations are more than the traditional tests of a relationship. There is great commentary on how society and the law tends to view BDSM, as well as some of the protesters members of the kink community sometimes have to go up against.

Like the first in the series, it features sex scenes and kink scenes that are hot, well written, and mirror the type of BDSM/kink I see practiced in my community. There is talk of safewords and limits, of sharing your feelings and reactions, of the education side of things. It demonstrates that no relationship is without its challenges, but that you don’t need a handsome millionaire with mommy issues to sweep you off your feet in order to be kinky.

As a Denverite, I again loved the references that I recognized, from the store sunni worked at to traveling up Colorado Blvd, and of course, the local dungeons that went into the creation of the Keyhole. Knowing that Kasi and Reggie are members of the local community, and live in a real life Master/slave relationship with their third partner (very similar to the book, no?) makes me feel like this text is written more from the heart and experience than from some romantic notion of what power play relationships might potentially be. To folks looking for a great intro into BDSM (particularly from a straight, non-monogamous point of view), I think the Keyhole series is the perfect set of books for beginners, designed to arouse and educate without providing false information or setting up unrealistic expectations. I’d highly recommend this to the person looking for something in the 50 Shades vein, but with more authenticity and a more readable writing style.

To purchase a copy, click here for your own Saving sunni

-Shanna

Jul 052012
 

I’m not going to lie. I was a hold out. I really, truly, based on the feedback of others, didn’t want to read this book. I didn’t. However, after I started to get requests for press snippets based on the book, I figured that I was being pretty ridiculous to not read it. THIS book is the hot subject in sexuality right now; it’s the Rabbit Vibrator of Sex and the City of 2012. I needed to read it.

So I bought Fifty Shades of Grey and brought it with me on our trip to Florida to read over. I had heard that it poorly represented the kink community, that the writing was terrible, that is was boring, etc. I tried to go in with an open mind, but I’ll admit, I had some bias.

My thoughts:

The writing, especially the first few chapters, felt like an 11th grade essay. It was as if someone had told the author that she needed to be more descriptive, so she would use about four or five adjectives every time she tried to describe something. One might call it flowery language. To me, this was kind of annoying. However, as some folks have pointed out, not everyone has the same reading level, and this use of language might make it more accessible to more people. This is a great point, and while I still may grumble about her descriptions of Kate on the first few pages, I get that this allows more people to read. More people reading is awesome, PERIOD, even if I personally don’t mesh with the writing style.

The characters are interesting in that in some ways, they are over developed, in other ways, they aren’t at all. I think it’s nice having a heroine who isn’t blonde and stereotypically thin yet buxom…on the other hand, I think it’s a little sad that she has to get her self confidence (the little she gains) from someone who is not her. I have trouble supporting the idea that we have to rely on partners to love ourselves. Also, I cannot imagine (also noted by Jack Stratton) that someone is ridiculously “old-fashioned” and formal as Mr. Grey would call Ana “baby.” I mean, really? That was not well thought through.

I have some issues with the idea that he wouldn’t even consider playing with her (or anyone else, for that matter) a few times before bringing up the idea of a full time (or full weekend?) slave contract. I feel like if someone did that in our local community (“If you’re interested in me, you must sign a 24/7 contract before we can see if you like this and if we are compatible together”), we would call out that person for predatory behavior (actually, this has happened in our community, and said person was banned from multiple dungeons for poaching on newbies to the scene, and contracting them to his “house” without allowing them to get their footing first).

So yes, I have issues overall. However, I do appreciate that they covered STI testing and safewords (though I would have rather them talked about dams too, and condoms for oral, rather than just penile-vaginal), which are frequently left out of romance style novels and much erotica. I like that they talked about consent. I don’t like that she was banned from discussing things (I think that is a huge part of being kinky is trying new things, discussing your feelings/reactions with others, and tweaking what your like/don’t like), but I get that is was part of his millionaire schtick.

Is it the BEST intro book into kink? Perhaps not. I personally would recommend Becoming sage by Kasi Alexander
(here is a link to my review of Becoming Sage) as a book I feel better fits the reality of the community (and also has a writing style I like better). However, I think this is a good Gateway Book into kink. If people read this, and it gets them hot, and that then inspires them to join FetLife, read kinky erotica, check out local kink events, and to have their desires fulfilled, then it is absolutely successful, whether or not I think it is perfect. So if you or your “friend” (or actual friend) is considering this, remember to take it with a grain of salt (it IS a romance novel), but know that for many folks, this is the book that revolutionized the way they look at sex. And that, my friends, is an excellent thing!
Click here to buy your own copy of Fifty Shades of Grey .

 

 

Nov 302011
 

Becoming Sage by Kasi Alexander

This is my review of Kasi Alexander‘s book Becoming Sage, the first in her Keyhole series. This series is interesting — it is published by a more traditional romance novel company, but also contains more erotica than an average romance novel, and covers BDSM and polyamory; two topics VERY rarely discussed in romance novels. Kasi is one member of a kinky, poly triad that just so happens to reside here in Colorado, and I’ve been meaning to get to this review forever, to support both a local author, as well as a member of my community.

I have to say, when I finally got around to reading the book, I just picked it up to read in bed until I fell asleep. I kind of romance-noveled myself out in High School – my two friends and I would buy them at used book stores, read them, exchange them, discuss them, etc. By the time I hit college and grad school, I was much more into pure erotic (ie; just the sexy times) than I was romance novels. My concern was reading through this whole book, and thought I was going to have to take a chapter at a time. Boy, was I wrong; I powered through the whole book in one sitting.

To be honest, the first thing that really grabbed me, as a educator of kink and poly communities, was the attention to both detail, and to safety. I cannot discuss how much it annoys me to read stranger erotic (or romance, for that matter) and not have any discussion of safer sex, consent, etc. Kasi makes sure that SSC (safe, sane and consensual) is covered, as well as discussions about becoming fluid bound, not using the same toys on non-fluid bound people, negotiation, etc.  While that may not be everyone’s cup of tea, this was the hook that got me; a sexy and romantic story that also covered the realism of communication and safer sex. Moreover, it was built into the story, rather than added in later as an after thought.

M/s relationships don’t really get me going, but I could see how this writing could certainly lend itself to one handed reading for those who are attracted to male dominant, female submissive relationships, and Kasi does a great job of discussing the feminist and potentially sexists aspects of them. I do wish that when they were out and about, they had chatted up, or at least seen more female dominant, male submissive, or male/male or female/female relationships, because I do feel as though the stereotype of both the kink and poly communities is a male dominated relationship, when actually, at least in the community here in Colorado (which is what the Keyhole series is based on), there are about 50/50 for male dominants and female dominants.

Otherwise, I really enjoyed the discussion between the two slaves, and the fact that their Sir messed up sometimes. I will say, that as a reader (and this drives me over the edge within the community and on FetLife as well), that the lower case spelling of sunni and sage made it VERY hard for me to read. Having been a proofreader, I kept wanting to take a pen and make three little lines under the s’s. That being said, I get that this is  popular affection within the community, and my grammar fetish will do nothing to change it.

Whether you are within the community already, or looking to explore, this is a fabulous book to learn about the dynamics in this type of M/s relationship, as well as learn about negotiation, safewords, etc. Being part of the Denver community, and having met Kasi and her Sir and their third partner, I can definitely see many autobiographical elements in the Becoming Sage book, and felt as though I recognized pieces of the Keyhole club, of Mistress Tonya’s pain processing class, etc, which I really liked. That being said, you don’t need to have played in the Colorado kink community to understand what Kasi is describing, and again, I think this is a great step in the right direction for helping BDSM gain some positive visibility in the more mainstream world…in this case, the world of romance. I eagerly look forward to the publication of the second book in the series, Saving Sunni, to come out this spring!

Click here to buy Becoming Sage from the Publisher, and click here to check out Kasi Alexander’s website and blog.

Enjoy!

-Shanna

Jul 062011
 

I’ve been a huge fan of Tristan Taormino movies since I first saw Chemistry. I love the majority of her Expert Guide To series, as I can suggest them to singles, couples, and triads as a sexy way of learning a sexual activities and getting more of what the want in the bedroom. Ergo, you can imagine that I was incredibly excited to get to check out her newest movie, Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind. Basically, it’s a movie in her Rough Sex Series that focuses solely on Adrianna and her fantasies. Add to that the first scene being with Jiz Lee (one of my favorite queer performers) and the first time Adrianna and Jada Fire play together? I had high hopes. Plus, Adrianna always brings in, and I was excited to see what she’d come up with.

The problem? My hopes weren’t quite fulfilled.

My partner and I watched this together, and as we made it through scene after scene, we were really surprised at the fact that we liked the less queer scenes far more. This is from me, who preaches the gospel of queer porn; No Fauxxx, Pink and White/CrashPadSeries, Good Dyke Porn, Reel Queer, etc. However, the scene with Jiz and Adrianna (in the style of David Bowie) fell flat for both of us. We actually wound up fast forward through many parts of it – the Bowie-esque lighting made it super blown out and hard to watch, while the sex itself seem almost choreographed. My inner monologue kept saying things like “why are you putting your hand in her mouth? It doesn’t look like either of you think it’s sexy, so why are you doing it? Take it out. Good job. Oh…we’re doing it again? Really?” Now, this is not to say it wasn’t an authentic scene or authentic pleasure/fantasy — it just didn’t appear that way, and the lighting made it incredibly annoying to watch. However, the appearance of the Eleven elicited cheers, as did the Vixen Outlaw.

Scene two (with Ramon Nomar) was shockingly tied as my favorite. Honestly, I’m not in to much boy/girl porn, but I felt the way he exhibited a type of caring for her pleasure really brought me in. Granted, I couldn’t understand half of what he said, but he had passion and emotion behind it, and that made it worth watching. My partner also enjoyed this scene, although we moved forward through the not one, not two, but three cum shots, as those aren’t really our style.

Like all of Tristan’s awesome films, Adrianna and her co-stars were interviewed at various points throughout the film — without a doubt my favorite part of the movie. I loved hearing her thoughts, her feelings, her wants, etc…even if I sometimes felt they didn’t come through on film. Perhaps this should have been called Fucking Fantasies instead of Rough Sex, because it felt a bit more like we were exploring her fantasies in general, instead of ones centered around rough sex. Anyways, I digress.

Scene 3 was with Jada Fire, who is freaking amazing. She’s hilarious in the interviews, and she and Adrianna had some great chemistry to watch. The Eleven was back (more cheers, and we re-wound it to spot the Easter Egg of a second Njoy Eleven on the pillow!), and watching Jada get to try the Hitachi Magic Wand for the first time? Amazing! I’m not always the hugest fan of the traditional FemDomme scenes, but this one was beyond awesome, and we both enjoyed it start to finish.

Scene 4 was the locker room scene…I wished for a little bit more dialogue between the folks, especially when you’ve got Evan Stone and Danny Wylde in a scene. It would have been more fun for us to watch if it was a little campier, kitchier, etc. More fun, I guess. Anyways, I kind of tuned out for this scene, until I started getting worried about safety in the shower scene. I mean, I was just waiting for SexFail to happen. Same with Scene 5 – not the safety bit, but the tuning out bit. It was kind of meh for me.

So two great scenes, two meh scenes and one big disappointment. All and all, not bad for porn, given that we all have our own wants and needs and turn ons. If these sounds more up your alley, get your own copy of Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind. Otherwise, I personally loved Tristan’s Rough Sex 2, featuring Madison Young, Sinnamon Love, Claire Adams, Dylan Ryan, Adrianna, Bobbi Starr, April Flores and more — was much more aligned with my turn ons than this film.

-Shanna

Jun 152011
 

I love interesting toy materials – glass, ceramic, wood, marble, steel, aluminum. You name it, and I probably own a toy made out of it. I did this awesome video review for a cool line of glass toys called Simply Blown, but unfortunately, Fascinations is no longer carrying it online. However, I am not one to let a rocking review video go to waste, so I’m post it here, with links to Simply Blown glass dildos on other sites. They come in all sorts of interesting shapes, sizes, colors, plugs and designs, so check them out. Contrary to how they look, they are in fact solid, making them safe for play…as well as can be sterilized by boiling 3-5 minutes, being run through the dishwasher on the top shelf, or wiped down with a bleach solution. I think these are some pretty awesome glass toys, and give them my thumbs up. Just remember – never freeze, microwave or boil  your glass toys prior to use. Ice water or warm water will change temperature just fine!

Click here to get a Simply Blown Glass Sex Toy for your very own collection!

-Shanna

Jun 082011
 

I love Lelo sex toys — they are made of great materials, they are all rechargeable, and they all come with a one year warranty. It really doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve reviewed a lot of their toys; the Lelo Mia, the Lelo Ina, and others on my previous review blog.

This week, I’m reviewing the Lelo Iris, which is the biggest of the Lelo toys, and comes with dual motors, so you can have two different types of internal stimulation at the same time. Plus, there are all sorts of fun and fabulous patterns, as well as different levels of vibration for each set of patterns, so you have lots of choices and options, and it never gets boring. If you’re looking for an external or clitoral vibe, I’d say go for the Lelo Siri, and if you’re looking for a g-spot specific vibe, I’d suggest the Lelo Gigi. However, if you’re wanting something a little bigger, and with some more power options, then the Lelo Iris is right up your alley. Keep in mind that since it is 100% medical grade silicone, you should use a water based lubricant with it — I’d suggest Maximus, since it is my favorite!

Enjoy my thoughts on the video, and then head over to get a Lelo Iris of your own!

-Shanna

Jun 012011
 

It’s a mouse, it’s a com device….no no, it’s the Better Than Chocolate vibrator! In my latest video review, I take on Nomi Tang’s clitoral stimulator/external vibrator, the Better Than Chocolate. It’s a cute toy, made to hug the curves of a variety of parts of the body (the vulva, around the penis shaft, etc), and comes in two colors; plum and navy, which is awesome for those who aren’t the biggest fan of pink (like me!). While I wish that it was made of silicone (which is a sterilizable material), at least is is made of elastomer, which happens to be a phthalate free and body-friendly material. This makes it safe and hypo-allergenic for bodies, and is also compatible with a variety of water-based lubricants. It can be used solo for masturbatory fun, or with a partner for some vibe-tastic interactions.

All in all, it isn’t better than chocolate. However, it’s a fun toy, with pretty light up action. If you’re looking for something similar but made of silicone and rechargable, I’d suggest the Lelo Siri.

Check out the video below to hear more of what I think, and then head over to Babeland to get your own Better Than Chocolate Nomi Tang Vibrator.

Apr 262011
 

I love rechargeable sex toys, for a variety of reasons. First of all, you never have that awkward moment when the batteries are dead, and you don’t have anymore, and you finally rationalize pulling them out of the remote for sexual use, and then you realize that you stole them from the remote for your OTHER toy with dead batteries, and now you’re turned on and screwed, but not in the good kind of way. Secondly, rechargeable is better for the environment — you’re not dealing with going through tons of batteries, dealing with how to dispose of them, etc.

USB rechargeable vibrator

However, one issue I tend to have with rechargeable toys that have corded chargers is I misplace the cords, or try to use the wrong ones. Then my cats chew through them, and you can’t really buy them separately, or you bring the toy on your trip, but forget the charging cords, and again, sad pandas.

The Lelo Mia, however, is a pleasure object that truly thinks outside the box (pun totally intended). Basically, it’s a lipstick or flash drive shaped vibrator that charges…wait for it…in your USB drive! That means that all you need is a computer (your own, your office’s, or the business center at your hotel) in order to recharge this fancy schmancy piece of equipment for your sexy times. Awesome, I know.

It only has one pattern; on. However, it does have various speeds you can select, and I’ve found the the recent re-design has helped increase the power provided by the little engine. I love love love this little bugger; great for those wanting a travel friendly vibe, a discreet vibe, and/or a vibe that can easily fit in their purse or pocket. I also really appreciate that the newly re-designed Mia also comes in Black (in additional to pink and purple), as I like black and red toys best.

The cons? It is pretty small, which makes it easy to lose, or become a cat toy. It’s made of phthalate-free ABS plastic, but because it isn’t silicone, it cannot be sterilized, meaning it is a one person, fluid bonded couple, or condom use only toy. I wish it had some pattern options, in addition to the different vibrational levels…and of course, as I said when I first discovered the Mia a few years ago, I wish it actually WAS a flash drive, so you could store sexy pictures or erotica on it, in addition to being able to charge it and then use it as a vibrator.

All in all, I love the Lelo Mia. I think it’s one of the more innovative vibrators available currently, and I’m excited to see what else is coming down the Lelo pipeline. I think the Mia is great for singles, couples, and moresomes looking for a pretty powerful (though it is no Hitachi) vibrator that is discreet, cute, as well as fun and easy to charge.

-Shanna

Apr 082011
 

 

A few years back, I took a tour of the Kink.com Armory in San Francisco. One room was where they stored all their fucking machines, including one titled Lick A Chick, which was silicone tongues on a chainsaw belt. Upon seeing it, I wished that they’d come up with an at home, more personal use version. Lucky for us, they have. It’s called the SQWEEL. It’s tongues on a wheel….the end.

It’s exactly what it sounds like — a bunch of silicone tongues on a wheel, that rotate in circle at various speeds. It’s pretty amazing, and as long as you add a little lube to reduce friction (update! YOU MUST ADD LUBE – this is a non-negotiable!(, I can totally see how this toy might become your new BFF. This is a body friendly product; the wheel is made of silicone (helllllo boiling) and the outer casing is a phthalate free ABS plastic. It’s actually pretty awesome; it comes apart for cleaning purposes (thank you! Brilliant design), and apparently, there are now other pink tongue wheels in different styles (bumpy, nubby, etc) that you can switch out for the original tongues on a wheel. I love options.

This may not be *the* best partner toy; it can be hard to have someone find the exact right angle to use on it, and for many people, if you have someone with a deliciously wet tongue in front of you, it might seem silly to pull out your fabulous tongues on a wheel (although let me never be the one to tell you how to use your sex toys!). On the other hand, this is a brilliant toy for masturbation (vulva or anal — the silicone is sterilizable!) and for those who LOVE oral sex and aren’t getting that tongue to clit (or tongue to anus) action (or maybe not as much as they want), this is a great stand in. Also fun to use on nipples — would love to hear of other places as well.

And now, tis time to decide if this is the newest addition to your household of awesome! If you decide you like the concept, but want different tongue action, there are multiple options for purchase!

 

Click here to get your very own Sqweel to enjoy!

Shannna

Mar 162011
 

As I’ve said before, the anus is the great equalizer — everyone has an anus (I feel like this should be an Avenue Q song somehow…you know, “Everyone One Has an Anus…everyone has a butt!). Whether you personally like to put things in it or not is up to you, but it’s a fact that everyone HAS an anus, meaning that anyone who wants to CAN experiment with anal sex/anal stimulation, whether on their own, with a partner, etc. That said, we don’t really talk much about butt sex and back door action, which means that some people may not know how to get started, or may have some beginner’s knowledge, but want to know more about the anatomy of the butt and how rear revelry can increase pleasure in certain people’s lives, etc, or maybe they are wonderful about the health, wellness and safer sex side of things.

Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men

I’d like to to suggest that before you head out and get a bevy of sex toys to stick up your butt (making sure, of course, that they have a flanged base–meaning that the bottom is wider than the rest of the toy to prevent them from getting stuck in your butt), you check out these two books written by the queen of anal education herself, Tristan Taormino. She has two books out (well, more, but I was sent these two in exchange for an honest review); the Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women and the Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men.

Now, I usually talk about body parts are body parts, regardless of the gender of the person; nipples can be played with the same on everyone, necks can be kissed the same on everyone, etc. However, because of the presence of the prostate gland in those assigned male at birth, I understand why the books are written as such. That said, a lot of the information is the same, so if you’re in a couple with both someone with and someone without a prostate, I’d suggest getting the Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men, as it has more info on the prostate and prostate specific stimulation, but most of the info can also be used for people who don’t have prostates.

Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women

Both books cover great info about the spectrum of anal sex, but don’t get too technical or academic, so they’re good for people both beginning butt sex as well as educators and those with more experience with the technical terms and anatomy of the back door. Some of the info isn’t going to be relevant to everyone, but I don’t think it is meant for everyone to read it through from beginning to end — it’s good to check out the sections that interest you most, to share them with your partner(s) if you’re interested in playing together.

All in all, I’d say these are two of the best books on anal sex currently available, and are great educational butt sex resources for both newbies and anal sex lovers, and those that enjoy collecting sex books for a little bit more pizazz on their bookshelf.

Click here to get the Ultimate Guide to Anal for Women. Click here to get the Ultimate Guide to Anal for Men.

-Shanna