inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #0 of 54: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 31 Oct 01 15:21
    
Our next guest, Marcy Sheiner, has been writing and editing women's
erotica for more than a decade. She is editor of Herotica 4-7, as well as
of the Best Women's Erotica series, and The Oy of Sex: Jewish Women Write
Erotica. She teaches writing classes at the Writing Salon in San
Francsico.
 
SEX FOR THE CLUELESS is the first "how-to" on sexuality that addresses sex
as a realm to be explored rather than as a problem to be solved. It is the
culmination of Marcy Sheiner's work and experience gathered from over a
decade on the front lines of the "sex positive" movement. Personal
anecdotes, visualization exercises, and an exhaustive resource list are
presented in a tone of girl-next-door down-home wisdom and a generous touch
of levity.
 
M. J. Rose, Novelist and Columnist for Wired News and previous inkwell.vue
interviewee, will be leading the discussion. Rose is the author of three
novels: Lip Service, Private Places, and, In Fidelity. Her next, Flesh
Tones, will be published in July 2002. She is also the co-author of How to
Publish and Promote Online. Rose began her career in publishing in 1998 BK
(Before Stephen King) when she self-published her novel Lip Service as an
e-book and sold it online.  (With the encouragement of the writer's
conference on the Well.)
 
Marcy Sheiner was the first professional reviewer to read and praise the
book and predict its success. Nine months later Lip Service was
discovered and picked up by the NY publishing community. Lip Service was
also chosen by Susie Bright to be included in Best American Erotica 2001.

Please join me in welcoming Marcy and M.J. to inkwell.vue!
 
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #1 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Wed 31 Oct 01 16:18
    
Hello Linda and M.J.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #2 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Thu 1 Nov 01 05:29
    
Hi Linda. Hi Marcy. 

As Linda's intro tells - Marcy has a special place in my heart and
career since she was the very first - and for quite a while only -
reviewer to take my self published novel seriously enough to review it.


Her review let to other reviewers taking the novel seriosly and now I
have a career.  

So Marcy - thanks.

Now. To you. Why this book? Why now? What empty space does it fill on
the bookshelf?
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #3 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Thu 1 Nov 01 12:02
    
To be perfectly honest, this book wasn't my brainchild initially:  I
got called by the publisher who already had the concept and title, had
gotten my name somewhere, and wanted me to do a quick outline of how
I'd approach the subject. I dashed off something grandiose, then got
the gig...and I thought, oh, no, now I have to write all this ! But
once I got started, I realized that I had a lot to say and knew how to
say it, and  I ended up having a helluva great time writing it. 

As for its  "space in the bookshelf," -- every time I enter a
bookstore I despair, thinking the last thing this world needs is more
books, more words. But when it comes to sex, I think that the more
information out there, the better. Of course, there is no book quite
like mine. 
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #4 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Fri 2 Nov 01 21:12
    
Which leads us right into - why is there no book quite like yours?
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #5 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Sat 3 Nov 01 02:25
    
As I've been saying, I treat sex as a realm to be explored rather than
as a problem to be solved. There are no "techniques" in my book, but
philosophy, exploratory exercises, personal anecdotes, and a lot of
resources. The book aims to help readers get in touch with their own
sexual attitudes, desires and behaviors, to suspend judgement and to be
open-minded.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #6 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Sat 3 Nov 01 07:58
    
Do you feel you are in a sexual ghetto as a writer? Do you mind? 
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #7 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Sat 3 Nov 01 18:57
    
Yes and no. I've actually been told outright by one editor that I
can't expect to write and publish sex stories and then get my memoir
about raising a child with a disability published. He basically said I
was out of my mind if I thought I could mix up sex, motherhood and
disability--not in one book, but in one writer. Of course, most
intelligent people know this is ridiculous. But the fact remains, every
erotic story I have ever written has been published, while very little
of my other fiction has seen the light of day--and I've written four
novels and a dozen or so short stories.

The "no" part of my answer is because in many ways my sex writing has
opened some doors: at least I have publishing credits, and my name is
somewhat known. 

Do I mind? Hell, yes!
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #8 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Sun 4 Nov 01 18:59
    
So - to be blunt - who's clueless? And do I want to be seen in the
store picking up a book that identifies me as being sexually clueless?
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #9 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Mon 5 Nov 01 08:44
    
You know, I just began to wonder about that myself!

Everyone, IMHO, is clueless in at least some areas of sexuality; I'm
always learning and finding out new information. Even if you consider
yourself totally savvy in this department, I think there is something
for everyone in my book. I doubt, for instance, that many people have
done the kinds of "sexercises" I suggest, since I made them up myself.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #10 of 54: Dr. Leda Horticulture (leroy) Mon 5 Nov 01 09:49
    

Whenever I buy a book with a potentially embarrassing title, I always buy a
birthday card along with it, and then babble idiotically at the totally
indifferent total stranger at the cash register that I'm sure this will be
the perfect gift for my niece/aunt/cleaning lady/whatever who has been
asking after it for several weeks now. At least I always have a stock of
blank birthday cards on hand.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #11 of 54: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 5 Nov 01 10:45
    

Tell us about the sexercises!  How do you know if you are clueless?  
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #12 of 54: Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 5 Nov 01 10:47
    
And then, when I get the book home, I take the dust jacket off, and
shelve it with my old college books, so we've got, say, Ulysses, A
Peculiar Institution, Painting in Florence and Sienna after the Black
Death, Sex for the Clueless, Robert's Rules of Order...

castle slipped!
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #13 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Tue 6 Nov 01 14:33
    
leroy, you are brilliant! A great shopping tip.

I don't know how you would know if you're clueless; it seems to me
that would be a very individualized and personal assessment based not
only on sexual experience and knowledge, but also on where you want to
go and/or be in the future.  But let's be honest here: the title was
chosen by the publisher for its cleverness and potential to sell books
. I never thought about its potential for being a drawback until it was
on the shelves.

My "sexercises"  typically involve getting yourself into a meditative,
calm state, then visualizing something according to specific
instructions. For instance, in the section on getting to know youself
sexually, there's a "Mental Sexploration" sexercise during which the
reader examines the mental images that crossed his/her mind while
masturbating in a previous sexercise. These fantasies are to be
noticed, never censored. Later on I discuss fantasies in a lot more
depth, but during this phase I'm helping the reader to become more
conscious of his/her sexual fantasies. 

I also suggest keeping a journal during the course of reading the book
and doing the sexercises, as well as afterwards. For the mental
sexploration , the reader would record the fantasies and, in later
work, compare and contrast fantasies in order to discern any patterns.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #14 of 54: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 6 Nov 01 14:59
    

Oh, interesting!  Thanks.  Does it help with those of us who are
completely blocked in the fantasy department?  I used to have some
regulars, but, as I think of myself as less and less sexy, they don't play
any more.  I used to be able to turn just about any daily situation into a
sexual fantasy, but not any more.

Which makes me wonder, maybe some of these sex books aren't for older
women like me?
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #15 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Tue 6 Nov 01 15:21
    
Marcy - sounds like the next one should be sex for the ageless...
think your publisher would be interested?
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #16 of 54: Linda Castellani (castle) Tue 6 Nov 01 18:00
    

Well, I mean really.  Once one is past the tight and juicy stage, the way
that one thinks and acts about sex changes.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #17 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Tue 6 Nov 01 18:12
    
I meant it seriously too... I never thought about it but of course our
fantasies change.... and I think the time is ripe for such a book. No
pun intended.:)
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #18 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Wed 7 Nov 01 10:37
    
My fantasies have changed over the years; some old ones don't work,
new ones come in. It seems unusual to me that you'd lose all fantasy as
you age., Linda. I suggest reading my book and/or trying out this
exercise. Or try looking for new fantasies.

I used to have disdain for women who claimed their fantasies were all
of famous movie star types. I thought this was a copout, that they just
didn't want to confess their really dirty fantasies. But lately I've
been using famous figures, because, unlike thinking about ex-lovers
there's no emotion involved; and unlike my really twisted fantasies,
these are in no way disturbing. They're actually fun.

For instance, recently I became a baseball devotee, and I found new
material on the diamond! I imagine waiting in the locker for Roger
Clemens after he's pitched seven and is sweaty and smelly. I reward him
for his efforts on behalf of the Yankees. This fantasy not only gives
me effortless orgasms, but makes me laugh myself silly.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #19 of 54: pointy, but rarely undeservedly savage (vard) Wed 7 Nov 01 13:05
    

now THAT's disgusting.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #20 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Wed 7 Nov 01 16:34
    
Now, now: if you'd read my book you would know that, in order to
explore sexuality freely, we'd do better to suspend such judgments.
Something I like might disgust you, and vice versa, but our motto,
girls and boys, is "Live and let live."
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #21 of 54: pointy, but rarely undeservedly savage (vard) Wed 7 Nov 01 20:58
    

but ROGER CLEMENS. I mean REALLY.

Hell, I'd rather do Joe Torre.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #22 of 54: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 7 Nov 01 23:44
    

Heh.  %^)

BTW, folks, copies of Marcy's books were delayed because of some sort of
mail weirdness, but they have finally arrived!  So, if you are a WELL
member, and would like your very own copy of Sex for the Clueless to read
and participate in this discussion, send e-mail to inkwell-hosts@well.com
with your snail-mail address AND telephone number and we will FedEx a copy
to you.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #23 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Thu 8 Nov 01 08:16
    
Doc Ruth just came out w/ Sex for Dummies, want to address that?
Dummies - clueless - how did we all get along before.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #24 of 54: Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Thu 8 Nov 01 10:41
    
Actually, I discovered that she wrote the book several years ago and
just recently issued an updated version. I'm trying to find it to see
how it differs from my book, but apparently it's always sold out.

Now, maybe it is unfair to criticize something I've never seen, but in
general I'm not crazy about Dr. Ruth's approach to sex. She rarely
says anything new and startling, and she perpetuates old and harmful
stereotypes. For instance, she's said that women don't care as much
about having orgasms as do men. I don't know who she's been talking
to...I think her popularity rests on her being this adorable little old
lady with an adorable accent, someone we wouldn't expect to be
promoting even stereotypical sex. I want that position! I may not be as
old as she is, but hell, I AM a Jewish grandma, and I too have an
adorable accent--it's just New Yawk rather than Old World.

How DID we ever get along without these books to explain our bodies'
natural instincts? Beats me, she says, tongue in cheek.
  
inkwell.vue.129 : Marcy Sheiner: Sex for the Clueless
permalink #25 of 54: M. J. Rose (anewanais) Thu 8 Nov 01 19:43
    
I'd also like to know what you think the biggest problem people face
with regard to sex and how you address it - or undress it - in the
book?
  

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