Sunday, July 31, 2011

Celebrate the Wanning Days of Summer

It is the time of the sacred Sabbat of Lughnasadh, or Lammas, which falls this year on Aug. 1in the Northern Hemisphere, while Pagans who live in the Southern Hemisphere are celebrating the Sabbat of Imbolc, so here’s wishing everyone has a very blessed holiday season.

[Imbolc is at the opposite side of the Wheel of the Year, celebrating the spark of light that was born at Yule and has become a flame to warm people and the land.]

Today also begins the sacred month of Ramadan for our Muslim brothers and sisters in the North Hemisphere, while it begins tomorrow in the Southern Hemisphere. I wish them a memorable and spiritually rewarding time of faith and renewal.

According to the Holy Koran regarding Ramadans:

O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation. (2:183)

Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein.... (2:185)

For those reading this who are not Pagan, it might seem strange to mention a different faith in this blog, which is primarily devoted to Wiccan practices. As a Wiccan, I honor all beliefs and faith paths, even atheists who do not believe in the existence of a Sacred Other or Sacred Others.

Before describing this joyous Sabbat, it is important to restate what is the platform of my Wiccan faith:

"Bide the Wiccan laws ye must, in perfect love and perfect trust...Mind the Threefold Law ye should – three times bad and three times good...Eight words the Wiccan Rede fulfill – an it harm none, do what ye will."

Lughnasadh, or Lammas, means the funeral games of Lugh (pronounced Loo), referring to Lugh, the Irish sun god. However, the funeral is not his own, but the funeral games he hosts in honor of his foster-mother, Tailte. For that reason, the traditional Tailtean craft fairs and Tailtean marriages (which last for a year and a day) are celebrated at this time.

This day originally coincided with the first reapings of the harvest. It was known as the time when the plants of spring wither, and drop their fruits or seeds for our use, as well as to ensure future crops.

As autumn begins in later weeks, the Sun God enters his old age, but is not yet dead. The God symbolically loses some of his strength as the Sun rises farther in the South each day, and the nights grow longer.

The Christian religion adopted this theme and called it “Lammas,” meaning 'loaf-mass,' a time when newly baked loaves of bread are placed on the altar. An alternative date, which fell around Aug. 5 (Old Lammas), when the sun reaches 15 degrees in Leo, is sometimes employed instead of Aug. 1, by certain Pagan Covens.

In the Celtic Ogham, August is the Month of the Vine (muin), whose fruit has been used for centuries to make wine. The vine itself is symbolic of joy and euphoria, and in the past wine was often drunk as part of Ritual to enhance divination and vision quests.

This month’s Full Moon is the Wyrt (Corn or Barley) Moon, closely linked to the Goddess and the Green Man, and falls on Aug. 13.

In mid to late August, we celebrate the beginning of the Wyrt or Corn Moon. This moon phase is also known as the Barley Moon, and carries on the associations of grain and rebirth that we saw back at Lughnasadh. August was originally known as Sextilis by the ancient Romans, but was later renamed for Augustus (Octavian) Caesar. Some Native American tribes knew that the sturgeon of the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain were most readily caught during this Full Moon, for them it was the Full Sturgeon Moon. Others called it the Green Corn Moon or the Grain Moon.

Day of Hekate

On the same day as this month’s Full Moon, is the Day of Hekate, the Dark Mother. She is the Goddess of the Crossroads, a Triple Goddess, representing the Crone Aspect of our Mother.

Hekate is primarily a goddess of the Underworld, holding dominion over death and rebirth. This is meant both in the literal sense and in the metaphorical as well. For life is filled with many deaths and rebirths aside from that of the flesh. Because of this the Dark of the Moon especially is her time of the month, since it is a time of endings and beginnings, when what was is no more, and what will be has yet to become.

Hekate guards the limenoskopos (the doorstep), for she is a goddess of liminality and transition. Of being on and crossing boundaries. This includes not only the boundary between life and death, but any boundaries, such as those between nature and civilization, waking and sleep, sanity and madness, the conscious and the subconscious minds. Indeed, any transition can be said to be her domain.

As such she is also goddess of the crossroads, where the paths of one's life fork and a person must choose which future to embark upon. In ancient times these were believed to be special places where the veil between the worlds was thin and spirits gathered.

In the ancient world a crossroad was a point where three roads met to form a "Y"-shaped intersection. It was believed to be a place where spirits gathered, including those of the Underworld and those of Fate. It is also a metaphor for the divergence of possibilities in an individual's future. Their life will bring them to the crossroad along one of the roads, and they will be met with a branching, where they must choose one path or the other to continue onward. As goddess of transitions, Hekate rules this place where the roads separate and differing futures are possible.

Hekate is often portrayed as a three torch-bearing female figures standing in a circle looking outward, with their backs joined so that they are in fact one being. This exhibits her dominion over the triple-crossroads and her ability to see in all directions simultaneously. The road a person had come from, and the directions they might take in the future. These hektarion (or hekataion) were placed at crossroads. Their earliest forms consisted of a pole upon which three masks were hung, with one facing each road. In more recent times these became statuary, sometimes of three figures standing with their backs to a central pillar, other times a similar portrayal without the column in the center. Typically, devotees often left her gifts of grain at these markers.

[Note: The Romans knew Hekate as Triva, which means "where the three roads meet."]

Hekate is also the goddess of psychological transformation. Her Underworld is the dark recesses of the human subconscious as well at that of the Cosmos. Many have accused her of sending demons to haunt the thoughts of individuals. What they fail to understand is that the demons are not hers, but their own. By the light of her twin torches Hekate only reveals what is already there. These are things which the person needs to see in order to heal and renew. However, if they are not prepared for the experience of confronting their Shadow then it can truly feel like they are being tormented. Hekate is not motivated by cruelty, nor is she seeking to harm. But her love can be tough love. She will prompt a person to face the things that they must, whether they like it or not.

Then and now Hekate is a goddess of Witchcraft and those who walk between the worlds. In the ancient world she was the patroness of those magicians – often women and the transgendered – who practiced magick, herbalism, and religion outside of the boundaries of the established temples and civil authorities of Greece. This is one reason she and her followers have often been feared and reviled. They stand with at least one foot outside of the conventional world.

Hekate is my personal Goddess to whom I am deeply devoted. Here are the prayers I say in her honor daily:

“To she who leads us into the cave of our own darkness, and brings us back to the light of our true being.”


“Hear her words children, worship and be glad, for if you seek Her, She will be with you always. She was with you in the beginning, and shall be at the end.”


“Dark Mother, Dark Mother, You walk with me like no other!”

I also repeat the following at dawn and at dusk, reversing the language depending on the time of day:

“At the gate of (dawn/dusk) I stand, Hekate Dark Goddess on either hand.
Guard me with you magick power,
Guide me through the Crossroads hour.
From the (glory/beauty) of the (night/light) to the (beauty/glory) of the (light/night),
In the name of the Ancient She and He,
So mote it be,
Now and forevermore,
Tod estu.”

I truly look forward to her Feast Day each year, as I owe her a great debt and much love for all she has brought and taught me throughout my life.

Lughnasadh General Correspondences

Traditional Foods: Apples, Grains, Breads and Berries.
Herbs and Flowers: All Grains, Grapes, Heather, Blackberries, Sloe, Crab Apples, and Pears.
Incense: Aloeswood, Rose, and Sandalwood.
Sacred Gemstones: Carnelian, Citrine, and Tiger Eye.

Special Activities

As summer passes, many Pagans celebrate by remembering its warmth and bounty in a feast shared with family, friends or Coven members. As a Solitary Practitioner, I do not belong to a Coven, so my religiously open-minded family and friends attend the feast.

As a devotion, you might want to save and plant the seeds from the fruits consumed during the feast or ritual. If they sprout, grow the plant or tree with love and as a symbol of your connection with the Lord and Lady. Walk through any fields and orchards you live near, or spend time walking or sitting by springs, creeks, rivers, ponds and lakes reflecting on the bounty and love of the Lord and Lady. If you have access to an ocean, the beach and its rocks overlooking the waves can be especially spiritual at this time of year.

A Prayer and Ritual to Celebrate Lughnasadh

“Oh Lady, your breast is the field. Inanna, your breast is your field.
Your broad field pours out plants, your broad field pours out grain.
Water flows from on high for your servant.
Bread flows from on high for your servant.
Pour it out for me Inanna. I will drink all you offer.”

Bake a loaf of bread making sure to honor the source of the flour as you work the dough. Shape the loaf into the figure of a man or a woman and give your grain-person a name such as Lugh or Demeter.

If you have a garden add something you've grown to the loaf. Bread combines the elementals of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water to become a substance that has nourished and sustained people since the first discovery of grain. Bread combines seeds from the Earth (flour and salt), with Water and Air (yeast the secret, airborne traveler, sacred changer of the Gods), adding Fire to bake. Suddenly, from those four ancient, basic elements: Bread.

If you don't wish to bake bread, consider making corn bread, muffins or even popping popcorn. It is the important to honor the harvest, and the baking process allows us to mindfully enter the sacred by being fully aware of our intentions.

In many parts of the world, it is traditional to make a “corn dolly,” out of cornstalks/husks from the late season harvest. If you decide to do this, as you work on her, think of what you and your family and friends have “harvested” this year. If you are like most people, you have brought both the positive and negative into your life. This is the perfect time to reflect on your life as a whole, deciding if there are aspects you wish to change.


— Place an ash leaf under your pillow for prophetic dreams.
— Decorate sheaves of grain with flowers or ribbons.
— Eat and drink in the name of the Goddess and God. Begin with a prayer of thanks for the bounty laid before you.
— Leave offerings of bread to the Faerie Folk.
— Honor the pregnant Goddess and the waning energy of the Sun God by offering them bread and wine.
— Hang crystals, faceted glass and sun catchers in the windows of your house to deflect unwanted energy and to create dancing rainbow colors in your home.
— Sacrifice unwanted habits and things from your life by throwing symbols of them into the Sabbat fire. Prayer scrolls can contain written descriptions of offerings, or they can be doodled or drawn representations. Thus, they can include symbols or words, whatever makes the most powerful emotional connection/association for you.

Detailed Lughnasadh Correspondences

Goddesses – Anat, Blodeuwedd, Ceres, Cerridwen, Demeter, Isis, and Sif.
Gods – Adonis, Hercules, Tammuz, Lugh, Odin, Loki, and Baal.
Colors – Orange, gold, yellow, citrine and gray.
Candle Colors – Golden yellow, orange, green or light brown.
Stones – Yellow diamonds, adventurine, sardonyx, peridot and citrine.
Animals – Roosters, calves, and stags.
Mythical Creatures – Phoenix, griffins, centaurs and speaking skulls.
Plants – Corn, rice, wheat, rye, oats and ginseng.
Herbs – Acacia flowers, aloes, calendula, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak leaves, sunflower, and vervain.
Incense – Aloes, rose, rose hips, rosemary, chamomile, passionflower, frankincense and sandalwood.
Foods – Homemade breads, corn, potatoes, berry pies, barley cakes, nuts, wild berries, apples, rice, roasted lamb, acorns, crab apples, summer squash, turnips, oats, all grains, and all First Harvest foods.
Traditional Drinks – Elderberry wine, ale and meadowsweet tea.


Apricot Wine

1 pound dried apricots
4 quarts warm water
6 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/2 cups raisins
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 oranges, thinly sliced
1/2 cup yeast


Wash the apricots in several batches of water and then dry them and cut in halves. Place in a large crock and pour on the warm water, reserving 1/2 cup, which is then used to dissolve the yeast. Stir in the sugars, fruit, raisins and ginger. Then add the dissolved yeast and mix well. Cover and let stand for 30 days, stirring the mixture every other day. After 30 days, strain the mixture and bottle.

Lughnasadh Incense

1 part oak bark
1/4 part pine resin
A few drops oak moss oil
2 parts red sandalwood
1 part cedar wood
A few drops cedar oil
3 parts frankincense
1/2 part sunflower petals

Summer Pudding

6 cups berries
1 cup sugar
Loaf of white bread, one or two days old


Wash the fruit and leave in a bowl with the sugar overnight. The next day, put the contents into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Gently simmer for 2 or 3 minutes., there should be lots of juice.

Cut the loaf into 1/4 " thick slices and remove the crusts.

Cut a circle from one slice of the bread slightly larger than the bottom of a 34-ounce pudding dish and place in position. Cut wedges of bread to fit around the sides of the bowl. If there are any gaps push in small pieces of bread.

Pour half of the fruit and juice mixture, cover with bread cut to shape and add the remainder of fruit and juice.

Cover the top with a couple slices of bread, trimming off the excess to make a nice, neat finish to the pudding.

Place a plate on top and weigh it down with two or three cans of food. Leave in the refrigerator for a day or two.

When serving, run a thin, flexible knife between the pudding and the bowl to loosen it. Place a serving dish upside down on top of the bowl Quickly turn it over and remove the bowl. Serve with lots of whipped cream.

Barley Mushroom Soup

5 cup vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked barley
1/2 pound of mushrooms (use morels or enoki for a woodsy flavor)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup chopped, fresh carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves minced fresh garlic
Salt and pepper to taste


Bring the vegetable broth to a low rolling boil on the stove and then reduce heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery, and allow to simmer for ten minutes. Add the barley and garlic, cover and simmer for another hour.

Add salt and pepper to taste.

Lughnasadh Corn Fritters

1 can corn
1 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salad oil
Additional oil for frying


Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, eggs and salad oil in a bowl until the batter is smooth. Add the can (or 1 cup of fresh) corn kernels and mix well. Heat 1/4 " of salad oil in a frying pan and drop fritters by level tablespoon full into the hot oil. Fry until golden, turning once. Drain and serve.

Here are some other August dates of note:

— Aug. 9; Festival of Sol Indigis, the Roman sun god.
— Aug. 13; The Vertumnalia, the Festival of Vertumnus, the Roman god of seasons, gardens and orchards.
— Aug. 13; Day of Hekate.
— Aug. 13; Full Moon Wyrt (Corn) Moon
— Aug. 15; Festival of Torches – Nemoralia
— Aug. 17; The Portunalia, or the Festival of Portunes, the Roman god of gates, doors and harbors. At this festival, people would throw keys into the fire in order to bless them.
— Aug. 19; The Vinalia, the Festival of Jupiter, who was the primary Roman god.
— Aug. 21; Festival of Consus, the Roman god of good council.
— Aug. 21; Sun enters Virgo.
— Aug 23; The Volcanalia, the Festival of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire (from which we get the word Volcano.)
— Aug. 25; The Opiconsivia, the Harvest Festival of Ops, the Roman goddess of harvest.
— Aug 29; New Moon.

As always, any Sabbat is the perfect opportunity to offer thanks to the Goddess and God through sacred sex. If you are a consenting adult, take your partner, or just yourself, and shout your thanks in the perfect expression of ectasy.

— E

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thank You, Mrs. Ford!

It’s difficult to articulate the impact former First Lady Betty Ford had on my life as well as on our country during her era, so her passing is a real blow – frankly, it actually feels like a personal loss.

Mrs. Ford died last night at 93. She was a towering, iconic figure on behalf of women’s health and reproductive rights – not to mention alcohol and addiction treatment services.

I was in high school when she burst onto the national scene, and remember her vividly. At a time when the wives of presidents were best known for what they wore and not what they said, the wife of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the U.S., said things, important things about social issues, that first ladies never said – then or even now. And, she was a Republican!

She spoke frankly about sex, once famously saying that she would be sleeping with her husband during their White House years.

According to Mrs. Ford, her young adult children probably had smoked marijuana – and if she were their age, she'd try it, too. She told "60 Minutes" she wouldn't be surprised to learn that her youngest, then 18-year-old Susan, was in a sexual relationship (an embarrassed Susan quickly issued a public denial).

Mrs. Ford mused that living together before marriage might be wise; thought women should be drafted into the military if men were; and spoke up unapologetically in favor of abortion rights, taking a public position contrary to the president's.

"Having babies is a blessing, not a duty," Mrs. Ford said.

Her unscripted comments sparked tempests in the press and dismayed President Gerald Ford's advisers, who were trying to soothe the national psyche after Watergate. But to the scandal-scarred, Vietnam-wearied, hippie-rattled nation, Mrs. Ford's openness was refreshing and she remained hugely popular throughout her life.

Candor worked for her, and she built an unplanned, enduring legacy by opening up about the toughest times of her life as public example.

In an era when cancer was discussed in hushed tones and mastectomy was still a taboo subject, the first lady shared the specifics of her breast cancer surgery. The publicity helped bring the disease into the open and inspired countless women to seek breast examinations.

Her most painful revelation came 15 months after leaving the White House, when Mrs. Ford announced that she was entering treatment for a longtime addiction to painkillers and alcohol. It turned out the famously forthcoming first lady had been keeping a secret, even from herself.

She used the unvarnished story of her own descent and recovery to crusade for better addiction treatment, especially for women. She co-founded the nonprofit Betty Ford Center near the Fords' home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., in 1982. Mrs. Ford raised millions of dollars for the center, kept close watch over its operations, and regularly welcomed groups of new patients with a speech that started, "Hello, my name's Betty Ford, and I'm an alcoholic and drug addict."

Although most famous for a string of celebrity patients over the years — from Elizabeth Taylor and Johnny Cash to Lindsay Lohan — the center keeps its rates relatively affordable and has served more than 90,000 people.

"People who get well often say, `You saved my life,' and `You've turned my life around,'" Mrs. Ford once said. "They don't realize we merely provided the means for them to do it themselves, and that's all."

In 1973, as Mrs. Ford was happily anticipating her husband's retirement from politics, Vice President Spiro Agnew was forced out of office over bribery charges. President Richard Nixon turned to Gerald Ford to fill the office.

Less than a year later, his presidency consumed by the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned. On Aug. 9, 1974, Gerald Ford was sworn in as the only chief executive in American history who hadn't been elected either president or vice president.

Mrs. Ford wrote of her sudden ascent to first lady: "It was like going to a party you're terrified of, and finding out to your amazement that you're having a good time."

She was 56 when she moved into the White House, and looked more matronly than mod. Ever gracious, her chestnut hair carefully coifed into a soft bouffant, she tended to speak softly and slowly, even when taking a feminist stand.

“The point is, I am an ordinary woman who was called onstage at an extraordinary time," Ford wrote in her autobiography, "The Times of My Life." "I was no different once I became first lady than I had been before. But through an accident of history, I became interesting to people."

Her breast cancer diagnosis, coming less than two months after President Ford was whisked into office, may have helped disarm the clergymen, conservative activists and Southern politicians who were most inflamed by her loose comments. She was photographed recovering at Bethesda Naval Hospital, looking frail in her robe, and won praise for grace and courage.

"She seems to have just what it takes to make people feel at home in the world again," media critic Marshall McLuhan observed at the time. "Something about her makes us feel rooted and secure — a feeling we haven't had in a while. And her cancer has been a catharsis for everybody."

The public outpouring of support helped her embrace the power of her position. "I was somebody, the first lady," she wrote later. "When I spoke, people listened."

She used her newfound influence to lobby aggressively for the Equal Rights Amendment, which failed nonetheless, and to speak against child abuse, raise money for handicapped children, and champion the performing arts.

Historians have said it's debatable whether Mrs. Ford's frank nature helped or hurt her husband's 1976 campaign to win a full term as president. Polls showed she was widely admired. By taking positions more liberal than the president's, she helped broaden his appeal beyond traditional Republican voters. But she also outraged some conservatives, leaving the president more vulnerable to a strong GOP primary challenge by Ronald Reagan. That battle weakened Ford going into the general election against Democrat Jimmy Carter.

Carter won by a slim margin. The president had lost his voice in the campaign's final days, and it was Mrs. Ford who read his concession speech to the nation.

The Fords retired to a Rancho Mirage golf community, but he spent much of his time away, giving speeches and playing in golf tournaments. Home alone, deprived of her exciting and purposeful life in the White House, Mrs. Ford drank.

By 1978 her secret was obvious to those closest to her.

"As I got sicker," she recalled, "I gradually stopped going to lunch. I wouldn't see friends. I was putting everyone out of my life." Her children recalled her living in a stupor, shuffling around in her bathrobe, refusing meals in favor of a drink.

Her family finally confronted her and insisted she seek treatment.

"I was stunned at what they were trying to tell me about how I disappointed them and let them down," she said in a 1994 Associated Press interview. "I was terribly hurt — after I had spent all those years trying to be the best mother, wife I could be. ... Luckily, I was able to hear them saying that I needed help and they cared too much about me to let it go on."

She credited their "intervention" with saving her life.

Mrs. Ford entered Long Beach Naval Hospital and, alongside alcoholic young sailors and officers, underwent a grim detoxification that became the model for therapy at the Betty Ford Center. In her book "A Glad Awakening," she described her recovery as a second chance at life.

And in that second chance, she found a new purpose.

“I'm not out to rescue anybody who doesn't want to be rescued," she once said. "I just think it's important to say how easy it is to slip into a dependency on pills or alcohol, and how hard it is to admit that dependency."

"There is joy in recovery," she wrote, "and in helping others discover that joy.”

Her beloved husband died in 2006, he was also 93.

One commentator referred to Betty Ford as a "rascal." Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley agreed with that assessment: "I remember there's a photograph of her just dancing on the desk in the Oval Office. This was something that wasn't previously done. Certainly Jackie Kennedy had brought in a new sense of style and flair and fashion [to the White House], but Betty Ford was a truly liberated woman.”

Amen to that, and may your unique and amazing soul continue to soar!

— E

Monday, July 4, 2011

Let Today Be YOUR Independence Day

Today in America we are celebrating our national Independence Day, but I believe it is also the perfect time to reflect on our personal independence, and perhaps to even declare our sexual orientations if we have not already done so.

Last week on Twitter, I suggested that members of the LGBT communities in the U.S. who are still closeted consider coming out today. I make the suggestion only if they feel safe and secure to do so. I’m a bisexual woman who came out in fits and starts over the course of many years.

I told my family and close friends as soon as I understood my orientation. That was almost 30 years ago when coming out was still fairly rare. To say that it was stressful is to understate the experience: I have never done anything that filled me with more horror and dread.

And guess what? It was worse than I imagined. My mother disowned me and actually damned me to hell. We never fully reconciled, and she died still believing that I was an abomination in the eyes of God and man.

My father, to his ever-lasting credit, worked to understand and accept who I am without judgment. It wasn’t always easy, but we remain very close and love each other without reservation.

I told very few people in my work life, and wasn’t fully “out” until I left my employment all together several years ago because of worsening lupus. Honestly, I just didn’t have the guts to be out at work back then, and I still regret that I wasn’t able to do so.

I present my personal history so that readers will understand that I don’t make the suggestion to come out lightly. What I do know is that unless I allow myself to live authentically, to be free to live as I desire, I will never truly be happy and prosper.

And that concept is exactly what the Fourth of July is all about.

The preamble to the U.S. Declaration of Independence says it all: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...”

The Founding Fathers called equality “self-evident” when the document was drafted in 1776, but we still haven’t achieved that lofty goal. They were white males, many slave owners, who penned arguably the greatest Constitution ever written. Since then, African-Americans were freed. They were given the right to vote, and women eventually followed in being granted the opportunity for their voices to heard in the selection of those who govern them.

Nonetheless, bigotry and hatred remains. People of color, different religions, women, or those of us with different sexual orientations are all too often still victimized. In addition, the country is grappling with whether to allow same-sex couples to marry.

I believe that being able to marry if you are in a same-sex relationship is an “unalienable right,” as defined by the Constitution.

Just what does that term mean? Black's Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, clarifies the term: “You can not surrender, sell or transfer unalienable rights, they are a gift from the creator to the individual and can not under any circumstances be surrendered or taken. All individual's have unalienable rights.”

Thus, if you are an American, regardless of your ethnicity, faith or lack of faith, gender, age, or sexual orientation, you have the legal right to your life; to be free; and to live your life in the way that gives you the most happiness.

Even if you are not a member of the LGBT community, there may be some other aspect of your life that you might want to declare today. I am a pagan, a follower of Wicca. Perhaps you are a pagan, too, or an atheist and you have been holding that within you as a secret.

Whatever is the truth of your life, every American has the right to live it to the fullest, safely and without shame. That is what today is all about.

— E

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Scars Should NOT Matter!

It’s been more than 1½ years since British author Belle de Jour posted an unforgettable blog entry about facial scarring, and the resulting positive impact it has had on her life.

In the meantime, has society eased its harsh condemnation at all of anything that falls outside its narrow definition of female beauty? No, if anything it’s gotten much, much worse.

I was reminded of the issue last week when Dr. Brooke Magnanti, the real woman who has written the international bestsellers using her famous erotic pen name, posted the following June 25 on Twitter:

“Open letter to genre novelists: How about just once, the person with facial scars turns out *not* to be a bad guy? Love, Me”

Last year, Brooke wrote that she was grateful for the "gift" of her scars, that they saved her from being just another boring blonde! Her wonderful attitude underscores her astounding inner strength and fortitude.

I do not have facial scarring, but I was an overweight kid and teen, and was teased mercilessly by other teens, and even strangers who taunted me and, more than once shouted insults at me as I walked down the street.

I, too, keenly remember what it felt like to be judged by my superficial appearance and not my actual self. But unlike Brooke, I am not grateful for those experiences. They did affect my self-esteem, which had already been hammered by suffering sexual molestation for years at my elementary school by the elderly male janitor, and my mother’s worsening alcoholism.

With bullying in the headlines almost daily, and a concentrated attempt to teach teens to accept gays and lesbians they encounter — or to accept themselves if they are gay or lesbian — it seems the perfect time to reassess the pressure we put on kids to physically conform.

Both girls and boys are bombarded with overt and covert messages that their bodies should look so-called “perfect.” They know that anything that deviates on any portion of their anatomies is to be loathed, or at least that they should feel ashamed if they cannot conform, or at least come close to the norm.

Well folks, it’s past time that we mature as a culture here and in the U.K., and start looking beyond the mere physical. We need to start sending the message that scarred people are heroes, and fat girls can be legitimate romantic leads, not merely comedic foils.

Ironically, I grew up to have Lupus, which is taking away my ability to walk. I manage with two canes, and again have drawn the attention and cruelty of strangers and teens who frequently taunt me, even though I'm 55!

Hey Brooke! I am now secure enough to be able to say, FUCK THEM! I am still blown away that Brooke was secure enough as a person to be able to say that when she was a teen. She is one amazing woman.

Brooke wrote about her experiences via a post on her old blog. Since then, she has launched a brilliant new blog, Sexonomics, and has also promised we fans a new book.

In 2009, Brooke revealed her identity after a newspaper was about to disclose it without her permission. Brooke, formerly of Bristol, England who now lives in Scotland with her husband, was a noted scientist whose specialist areas were developmental neurotoxicology and cancer epidemiology. She has a PhD in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science and had worked at the Bristol Initiative for Research of Child Health as part of a team that researched the potential effects on babies of their mothers' exposure to toxic chemicals.

But, from 2003 to late 2004, Brooke worked as a high-class call girl for a London escort service. Her original blog was award-winning, and she penned the bestselling books based on her experiences as a sex worker. Her writing also formed the basis of the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper in the title role of "Belle," which is now available on DVD.

I have been a fan, and honored to be a stalwart friend of Brooke’s for many years. Her’s is an important voice that should be heard. As usual, I do not have the writing skills to adequately describe her post from last year, so I am reprinting Brooke’s blog entry here in full:

mercredi, janvier 13

Let me tell you about the best gift I ever received. And it's not a bit of sparkly jewellery, or a shiny car, or even a thoughtful trinket of affection.

I'm talking about my scars.

I had terrible acne as a teenager. By the age of 16 it was so bad a dermatologist said it was the worst she'd ever seen, which, ya know, is not super encouraging. At the hospital where I volunteered mothers pulled their children away from me, convinced I was plagued with something contagious. Strangers avoided making eye contact.

It was so bad I could not wash my face without bleeding. Many mornings I woke up stuck to the pillowcase. And oh yeah, it was only on my face. Not one blemish anywhere else on my body. To this day, I still never have seen a photo of anything like it - apart from some daguerrotypes of smallpox patients.

It was a very long, and very expensive, journey to improving my skin - remember, this all went down in America, where having a disfiguring condition you have no control over is not covered by health insurance, and duh, there's no NHS.

Long story short, a lot of Roaccutane and Dianette did for the acne. And more importantly, here's what I learned:

1. Beauty is fleeting. Thank fuck for that.

I had a narrow escape from being just another boring blonde - not to mention an early release from the cycle of self-hatred and frantic desperation that plagues many women as they age. Corollary 1a: The larger part of how people perceive you is how you present yourself.

2. People can be hurtful to strangers. That's their problem.

My best childhood mate had spina bifida. She walked on sticks and refused to use a wheelchair for reasons I only started to appreciate years later. Looking like a medical oddity gave me, for a very brief time, a very small taste of what she encounters every day of her life. It made me pity people who equate someone's appearance with their value as a person. This generalises magnificently to strangers judging you for, in fact, anything at all. Corollary 2a: The most vocal critics are often the most insecure.

3. Other people have things you don't. Big deal.

There is no such thing as the Most Beautiful Woman in the World (sorry Buttercup). Who cares? What is considered desirable is not especially worth getting hung up on. You may not be a six-foot Amazon so will never have legs up to your neck - but for all you know, that same supermodel would give her left arm to have your hair. This concept generalises to wealth, success, talent, and intelligence as well. Corollary 3a: Envy of other women's looks is a zero-sum game, and uses far too much time and energy to be bothered with.

4. Quality of love is not a function of attractiveness.

Elizabeth Taylor, for instance, has been married eight times. Beautiful people have dry spells and get their hearts broken like everyone else. The most worthwhile and loving relationships in my life all happened after my skin problems. And for what it's worth, I've been fortunate to date some pretty nice, smart (and attractive) men in my time. See Corollary 1a above.

5. Confidence doesn't come overnight.

It also doesn't happen in a vacuum; it requires nurturing. As with anything else worth having it's work. But let me tell you, it is so worth the work. A mate recently told me about a magazine 'happiness quiz' in which one of the questions was, "are you comfortable with your body, and do you exercise regularly?" If you can see why this should not have been a single question, you're on the way. Corollary 5a: Confidence happens when you let it happen. No one gives it to you, which is great, because it also means they can't take it from you.

6. When someone says I am beautiful, they really, really mean it.

There is something about knowing someone sees you, quirks and all, and likes what they see... something rare and kind of overwhelming (in a good way). 'Beautiful' is one of those words (a bit like 'awesome') that has lost meaning in being overused as a generic affirmative. We call all sorts of people beautiful in one sentence and tear them down in the next. I'm happy to be different enough that anyone who uses it to describe me sees more than just hair and makeup.


Oh, and as for Brooke today — she remains a beautiful woman, inside AND out!

If you have any interest in thoughtful discussions about sex-related and scientific topics, I urge you to follow Brooke's blog. You can also follow her on Twitter.

She is a unique woman, and an equally unique writer whose work continues to dazzle.

Brooke's books include: Belle de Jour’s Guide to Men, 2009; Belle’s Best Bits, 2009; The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl, September 2005; The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, May 2007; and Playing the Game, June 2009.

You can find all of her books at the U.K.’s largest independent bookseller, Waterstones.

Also check out Brooke's op-ed articles on a variety of topics including reforming libel law in the UK, as well as the importance of ensuring the rights of sex workers.

— E

Saturday, June 25, 2011

New York Says YES to Gay Marriage!

In a narrow 33 to 29 vote late last night, New York’s Republican controlled Legislature legalized gay marriage — proving that love belongs to NO political party or even ideology.

As a bi-sexual woman living in New Jersey, I rejoice in this brave vote approving the legislation, which was quickly signed into law by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo shortly before midnight.

The legislation was enacted almost 42 years to the day that the modern-day LGBT rights movement was born amid violent encounters between police and gay activists at New York City’s iconic Stonewall Inn, referred to as “The Stonewall.”

It takes effect in 30 days, and same-sex couples are already lining up to become the first to be married.

This landmark law makes New York the sixth and largest state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. Sadly, it will no doubt be challenged in the courts, but let’s tackle that another day. For now, I want to let this glorious ruling seep into my very being.

As might be imagined, the news sparked massive celebrations in the streets of New York City, where members of the LGBT community from throughout the country had ironically been brought together for the city’s annual Gay Pride Weekend. [Note: The above photo was taken outside The Stonewall when the news broke.]

A note of clarification: I refer to the new statute as legalizing “same-sex” marriage, which is the wording of the actual law, rather than "gay marriage." As a bi-sexual, I am not gay but am living with my same-sex life partner.

It was deeply and profoundly emotional for me when I woke up to the incredible news. I know that it is the right vote, the human vote.

I was married to a man, and we divorced. When I met my same-sex partner, the love I felt, and still feel, for her is as genuine and sacred as the love I felt for my former husband. Rejection and hatred of me and my same-sex union, and millions of others nationwide, is a wound that is impossible to describe and will take a very long time to heal. This statute goes a long way in making that happen.

I did not choose to be bi-sexual, I simply am bi-sexual. It is not a lifestyle anymore than being heterosexual is a lifestyle. I am the exact same woman who was allowed to love and marry a man, but denied that same legal option to acknowledge my female partner.

I am also a spiritual person. I feel the guidance and daily presence of the Divine. I am not an aberration, but a soul who was created bi-sexual by that same loving and all-knowing Cosmic Other. Thus, I am as blessed as each and every person — every living being — on Mother Earth.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the vote, "a historic triumph for equality and freedom,” and I could not agree more.

Thank you, New York, for acknowledging me and thousands of others. Even though I live one state over, your action gives me hope, and makes my heart dance with indescribable joy!

I also fervently hope that this momentous step will be the action that prompts other undecided states to join this inevitable civil rights movement. In fact, a recent poll by a respected agency finds that 53 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage. It is the time for all same-sex couples to be able to choose to sanctify their relationships legally no matter where they live.

— E

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Hey — At Least Someone Scored!

Their very passionate and public intimate embrace juxtaposed against a fierce-looking team of riot police made the news photograph completely unforgettable — at least to me, as well as millions of others around the world.

They appeared to be locked in truly unrestrained, utterly surprising and spontaneous passion, depicted lying on the pavement amid the broken glass, arson fires, tear gas and the heavily geared riot police.

Sigh. It now appears that the photo that instantly went viral on the Internet captured less an act of total intimacy than of consolation — at least according to the couple and family members.

According to news reports, the couple, identified as Alexandra “Alex” Thomas and Scott Jones, an aspiring actor, only felt terror and feared for their safety.

Speaking to the a newspaper, Thomas and Jones, who were photographed in between police lines at the Vancouver riot following the city’s loss of the Stanley Cup hockey final's Game 7 on Wednesday night, described a very different scenario than what we thought (and I hoped) that we saw. According to the couple, it was an innocent act, propelled into the spotlight thanks only to a well-timed camera.


“We were struck by police shields, pushed to the ground and I was just very, very frightened,” said Thomas. “Everything happened so fast, faster than we could ever imagine it could happen.”

Jones, 29, and his girlfriend had been watching the game at a friend’s house downtown when they first heard there was a disruption. They decided to go see what was happening.

“We wanted to go down and see for ourselves but it was crazy,” said Jones, a Perth, Australian native on a working holiday in Vancourver. His girlfriend is a Canadian. “We didn’t know where we were supposed to go. We wanted to get out of there and we ended up in the line of police marching forward.”

Thomas said she doesn’t remember the exact sequence of events, but knows she had been struck by a surge of police and was on the ground. Jones was also struck and, while on the ground, was trying to keep her calm. “I just wanted us to go home safely. It was unbelievable that it was happening and all I wanted was for us to be safe,” he said.

Jones said he remembers that his girlfriend was very stressed out and all he could do was help her out.

“Nobody was getting out of the way. It was all of a sudden they charged us. Very strong-handed and we were in one spot. The only thing we could do was try to stay calm and try to get up,” he said.

He said he talked to her and tried to calm her down by kissing her, then helped her up.

Their now infamous smooch, captured by Getty Images photographer Rich Lam, was the perfect paradoxical photo. At first, many wondered about the kissers' identity and if their kiss was possibly staged. (The Internet is notoriously skeptical, particularly about love.) But once the smoochers were identified by name, the Internet fell in love.

Suddenly, their embrace amid the chaos in the streets made for a touching photo. Jones is seen on top of Thomas, kissing her, as shield-laden riot police keep the violent protesting Canucks fans at bay. (I had thought it was a lot more intimate because the kiss appeared to be quite deep, and her clothes were also askew, exposing more than a little bit of flesh.)

Thomas said bus closures downtown meant the couple weren’t sure at first where to go. They walked to the train station and took a train out of downtown.

The next day, the couple was shocked to see their experience had been captured on film.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not ... I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” Thomas said. “Then I looked some more and realized that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.

“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful,” she said.

[Above: Jones and Thomas enjoy a laugh over the incident.]

On Friday morning, Jones spoke with his dad, Brett Jones, by Skype in Australia after his family first identified the couple when the photo was seen worldwide.

“How’s that for making love, not war,” the father declared on his Facebook page, telling the world that the famous Romeo in a Vancouver riot picture was his son.

“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down,” Brett Jones said.

Even as a young boy, his son demonstrated his “gentle side for other people. I’m not surprised he would comfort Alex,” Brett Jones said.

Thomas, who graduated with a degree in environmental engineering from the University of Guelph, works in Vancouver on the Zipcar street team and as a technician for the FreshPure reverse-osmosis water-filtration systems in Whole Foods grocery stores.

Jones and Thomas started dating shortly after the young aspiring Australian actor arrived in Vancouver. Since leaving acting school in Melbourne, Jones has mostly been bartending, as he has been in Vancouver, but he did get one standup comedy gig in the city.

Comedy performance is “his passion,” said Brett Jones. “He has a natural ability to make people laugh.”

Brett Jones can see that the couple’s now-iconic photograph may follow them for the rest of their lives, for good or bad.

“Relationships do buckle under that pressure unless you have the ability to be very centered. Even if it wasn’t Scott, the guy who took the picture captured a moment in time that is iconic.”

The couple is leaving in a few days on a trip to California before Scott Jones heads back to Australia.

Brett Jones has no idea how right he is, iconic and then some! As per the unspoken and time honored rules of the Internet, the famous photo must now be combined with other pictures — and the more unlikely the better.

Thus: Who knew Jones and Thomas were on the scene of O.J. Simpson's car chase down the 405?

...And they were in Baghdad in 2003 when the Saddam Hussein statue was toppled?

...Theirs is the kiss seen ’round the world, and thanks to the Internet, it's also timeless.

I must admit that I MUCH prefer to hold onto my interpretation of what was happening in that photo in my mind’s eye. In point of fact, I have already unaplogetically banished the actual truth of the event entirely, and am continuing to enjoy the surprisingly arousing image of a very bold young couple having satisfying and quite public sex literally in the very middle of a violent no man’s land. Here's to fantasy.Yes!

— E

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Marilyn Monroe and Me! Who Knew?

Marilyn Monroe, who would have been 85 years old today and arguably still the most iconic sex symbol, apparently had a very surprising secret: The inability to orgasm!

She was rescued from this horror by learning how to masturbate. Difficult to believe, but I actually have something in common with Marilyn!

Sadly, masturbation has been much maligned in our society, especially when it involves its practice by women. As a disabled woman with a progressive disease, I can assure you that I have ONLY been able to hold onto my sexuality — at all — because of masturbation.

Solo sex (and it is REAL sex) allows me to function when partner-sex is too physically difficult, if not downright impossible at times because of my disease, and some of the medications I take. Masturbation protects and reinforces my Divine birthright as an honestly sensual, sexual woman.

As a sex-positive blogger, I remain dedicated to promoting all healthy sexual practices — especially masturbation, which is, afterall, the safest sex there is! Thus, I am reposting a blog in its entirety by LilithLand whose post appeared on the fabulous website of Dr. Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross. Betty has championed masturbation for decades as an award-winning author and sex educator, and continues to do so with her expected wit and verve.

Please read LilithLand's post below or directly and the Dodson and Ross website:

Marilyn Monroe the 20th Century's Greatest Sex Symbol was Pre-Orgasmic

By LilithLand
(Finishing my doctoral dissertation on female sexualdysfunction and sexual satisfaction)

May 26:
"You said there was an obstacle in my mind that prevented me from having an orgasm; that it was something that happened early in my life about which I felt so guilty that I did not deserve to have the greatest pleasure there is;...That it was buried in my unconscious. Through analysis we would bring it to my conscious mind where we could get to the guilt and free me to be orgasmic. Well, we sure worked it and got nowhere. I'd go home and cry and vomit from the frustration."

-Marilyn Monroe

The above paragraph is part of a transcript made from tapes Marilyn Monroe allegedly recorded for her psychoanalyst, Dr. Ralph Greenson, not long before her death. LA prosecutor Joseph Minor was probing into Marilyn's death, and he compiled the transcript from tapes Greenson handed over as part of the investigation.

No one knows for a fact that they are legit, but Minor was a credible, though solitary witness. I kind of think that the tapes are authentic. There's too much in them that feels like a real woman speaking.

In these tapes she talks about many things — her feelings about herself, her body, Lawrence Olivier (he was an arrogant prick) — and the fact that she couldn't orgasm until shortly before her death.

Yep, the twentieth century's greatest sex symbol was anorgasmic.

That's the current, politically correct.term; her analyst would have called her frigid back in 1962, and as the quote makes plain, it weighed heavily on her. Though she never won an Oscar, apparently her bedroom performances were worthy of one — a fact that she wryly acknowledges to her shrink.

"Speaking of Oscars," she says, "I would win overwhelmingly if the Academy gave an Oscar for faking orgasms. I have done some of my best acting convincing my partners I was in the throes of ecstasy."

She was a goddess. A woman's whose bountiful, Rubenesque curves got the entire world off, but she never came. Everybody got off, but poor Marilyn — her lovers, her husbands, the guy who watered her lawn, even Joan Crawford. According to the tapes, Marilyn had a onetime sapphic encounter with the legendary "Mommy Dearest" during which Crawford had a thunderous orgasm (she was a "shrieker"), and during which there were most assuredly no wire hangers in sight.

Greenson was a psychoanalyst, and so Marilyn's initial therapy consisted of free-association (saying whatever comes to mind). The process is supposed to work kind of like a therapeutic version of Drano — blasting away psychological blocks so the analysand can "turn hysterical misery into common unhappiness" (Freud's exact words).

Sound's fun.

I can't help but have this mental image of Marilyn propped up on her analyst's couch, blond curls spread on the pillow, and in a feathery, little girl voice free-associating like a bat shit fiend (...let's see, orgasm makes me think of organ... and organ makes my think of and that makes me think of my ex-husband who was know..). But I digress...

Not surprisingly, it didn't work. Not matter how much emotional sludge she pulled out of the convoluted drainpipe of her unconscious (an unconscious that housed such traumas as parental abandonment and childhood sexual abuse), it wasn't enough to torpedo through her anorgasmia.

But lucky for her, Greenson hit on a novel idea (novel for a psychoanalyst anyway, not novel for any woman with a right hand). Dispensing with the Drano, he told her to masturbate. And just in case she got lost, he gave her a road map. That is, explicit instructions as to how to actually accomplish this task. It's no exaggeration to say that this advice was a revelation for Marilyn. Finally, a breakthrough:

"'By now I've had lots of orgasms. Not only one, but 2 and 3 with a man who takes his time.

I never cried so hard as I did after my first orgasm. It was because of the years I had ...never had an orgasm.

What wasted years. How can I describe to you, a man, what an orgasm feels like to a woman. I'll try.

Think of a light fixture with a rheostat control. As you slowly turn it on, the bulb begins to get bright, then brighter and brighter and finally in a blinding flash is fully lit. As you turn it off it gradually becomes dimmer and at last goes out.

It is so good ... Doctor, I worship you."'

I think Marilyn makes an amazing case study on this issue. Our culture consistently equates desirability in women with the ability to desire. Indeed, women often confuse the two themselves and assume if they were thinner, had better breasts, they would have better sex. But the fact is being sexy looking, according to social norms, has nothing to do with feeling sexual.

I find it an ironic metaphor that the 20th century's greatest sex symbol was a woman who was both infertile and anorgasmic. How appropriate. Over the last century, sex has become increasingly disassociated with reproduction but not necessarily more associated with female pleasure.

According to the National Health and Social Life Survey, around 24% of women have problems experiencing orgasm (other studies have put the figure lower). The DSM-IV (the diagnostic guide of the mental health field) refers to this issue as female orgasmic disorder.

Generally, there are two flavors for your displeasure: generalized (no orgasm under any circumstances) and situational (orgasm occurs under certain conditions but not others e.g., masturbation but not partner sex, with Joe but not with Bob, or the planets have aligned, the moon is blue, and Johnny Depp is your midnight pal ). Marilyn had the generalized variety.

The New View Campaign has an interesting way to conceptualize women's sexual issues. Rather than focusing on limited diagnostic classifications, they look at the situation more holistically, including both medical and socio-cultural factors. So, using Marilyn as a case study, here's how it works:

1. Sexual Problems due to Sociocultural, Political, or Economic Factors:

Being a follower of Freud's (the original father of the vaginal orgasm) probably didn't help Marilyn's sex life much. Traditional psychoanalysis regards the clit as a child's play toy to be put aside when a girl sprouts boobs. At that point, it's time to come like a "real" woman- vaginally. The fact that Marilyn didn't learn to masturbate until she was 36 tells me that she was probably too indoctrinated by a theory (and a clitaphobic culture that denied her sexual reality) to take charge of her sexuality. Most likely, she was too afraid of getting fixated on her clitoris.

Plus, Hollywood regarded her as a joke. She was seldom given the parts that she desired as an actress, and instead was stuck playing humiliating roles that made her look like a fool. Her sexuality was her meal ticket. And Marilyn, like many women, may have looked at it as a way to get things: love, attention, work, money, fame. In other words, it was a commodity to be traded - not something for herself to be enjoyed.

2. Sexual Problems Relating to Partner and Relationship:

I don't know much about Marilyn's relationships, but with three divorces, it's safe to say that they may not have been very satisfying. She picked extraordinarily successful men who were from very different worlds than her own, which isn't usually a recipe for a harmonious marriage. People tend to do better with partners like themselves.

3. Sexual Problems due to Psychological Factors:

Marilyn had a history of sexual abuse, a mentally ill mother, an absentee father, problems with infertility, and three husbands — that's a lot to deal with. She grew up in foster homes and as an adult had problems with depression and substance abuse. Her death was officially ruled a suicide, but Minor didn't believe she killed herself. But that's a whole other kettle of worms.

The fact is feeling like "a candle in the wind", without a strong center, doesn't make it very easy to be sexually authentic. To fully own your sexuality takes tremendous inner strength. And sex is the female Achilles' heel — a weak point that's pushed to the side when issues like relationship stability, or economic security are more important.

I am glad to know that Marilyn didn't die without ever knowing how to orgasm. I sometimes wonder what her life would have been like if she had lived. Would she have won an Oscar, married again, adopted? At least, she would have had some ownership over her sexuality, and maybe that would have empowered her.

Who knows, maybe she would have run for president."'

Here's LilithLand's profile:

"Hi, I am a single, graduate student who is finishing up her doctoral dissertation on the subject of female sexual dysfunction (FSD) and sexual satisfaction. Sex, particularly female sexuality, is something that has always fascinated me since I was 14 and read my first book on the subject: The Hite Report.

Boy, was that an eye opener, prior to that book I had never heard the word clitoris. I had my first orgasm through masturbation within days of reading her book. I have worked as both a counselor and a college instructor. I am also hoping to turn my dissertation into a book on female sexual dissatisfaction. I would love to find participants for both my book and my dissertation. My blog is"

— E