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!
Marcy Sheiner (mmarquest) Wed 31 Oct 01 16:18
Hello Linda and M.J.
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?
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.
M. J. Rose (anewanais) Fri 2 Nov 01 21:12
Which leads us right into - why is there no book quite like yours?
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.
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?
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!
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?
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.
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.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 5 Nov 01 10:45
Tell us about the sexercises! How do you know if you are clueless?
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!
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.:)
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.
pointy, but rarely undeservedly savage (vard) Wed 7 Nov 01 13:05
now THAT's disgusting.
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."
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail-mail address AND telephone number and we will FedEx a copy to you.
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.
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.
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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