Friday, August 28, 2015

Phallic Friday - Ashley Madison

Without a fetish to explore, I was a bit lost as to what to post but since Ashley Madison is all over the news everywhere, I thought a post on that could be interesting.

So, the names got released and the news started listing how many people in government departments across the world were on the list. I'm watching the news in horror and I say to Mr E, "Seriously, people used their work email address to set up their accounts?" Not only that, I went on... "Why on earth wouldn't they set up a fake account? Why would they use their real name? They're cheating and they don't know how to hide it? Really? How dumb are these people?"

I'm not on Ashley Madison - in a real or fake name - but I've  spent months thinking about fetishes of various types and I am always thinking about sex, and people and sex, and how sex happens, and all sorts of sex things and story lines, so naturally I've thought about how you'd get away with cheating.

But question is WHY? Why hadn't these people thought through this? If you're going to cheat, why haven't you put in a little thought as to how you might hide it?

Do their workplaces allow them to sign up to anything using their workplace emails? I know when I was in a government department we had rather strict internet use policy and this wouldn't have been okay...and that was way before emails became so easy to create.

Are these people looking to get caught? Is the excitement of cheating not enough and so they need the thrill of possible exposure to be added in?

Is this another fetish?

There are serial cheaters. Is this a twist on that? Or a twist on the office sex, or sex in public fetish?

Should I be exploring another fetish? Would it be called The Ashley Madison? :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - Blacktip Reef Shark

Three blacktip reef sharks circling the boat
I went to Cairns and spent a day on the Great Barrier Reef, ticking off one of my dreams. I didn't go to the outer reef, but went to Green Island just off Cairns. I had to weigh up lots of things and Green Island was do-able, on a small scale, and wouldn't leave me wrecked, and so it was a better option for me than going out further and seeing more of the reef. And even if it wasn't the most spectacular place, I loved it and now I'm going to bombard you with fish photos for weeks :)

The biggest excitement for me was the presence of Blacktip Reef Sharks. I know sharks mostly scare people, and they do scare me too but they also fascinate and thrill me. When we moored, the boat was immediately surrounded by big fish and a few sharks. The guys I went with have a license to feed the fish a small amount of food each day...which guarantees you see fish :)

The sharks caused a fair bit of concern among the tourists, most of who were overseas visitors, but I was excited. Reef sharks are at Lord Howe Island too and I'd snorkelled and dived with them there, and other than freaking me out, they were harmless. I was determined this time not to be freaked out.

I'd hired an underwater camera with a housing because my little camera was only recommended for up to 6m depth and the dive said it was 10-12m. This was a great move, because I had a whole 8MB memory card in the camera that became mine and was just for the day, and I took 500 photos over the day.
I bet you can't see the shark going over the top of that coral mound!

I decided I wanted a good shark photo. I got in for the first snorkel and not a shark to be seen...but heaps of fish and coral. Then I went for a dive, and a shark skittered close to us but you sort of have to know he's there to see him in the photos! Then right at the end of the dive, a shark came past us again, but kept his/her distance too. That was a bit annoying. At Lord Howe, I'd had them almost glued to my shoulder but didn't have a camera then!

While I was recovering, everyone took off for the island, and I remained on board. Three sharks continuously circled the boat. The crew tossed out some food, and the fish and sharks hung around. One of the guys told me that if I wanted to get a decent photo, the sharks had to not know I was there. So, I snuck into the water, lay very still, and waited for them to cruise by. My patience paid off and I was happy to get some photos.
Blacktip reef shark and some of the big fish

The crew also told me that the sharks are nocturnal but I haven't seen anything to support this. The Australian Museum website has some info on them, you can see it here. It says they're no threat to humans because of their small size, and I guess 1m or so is small in shark speak, but it's a big fish for me!

The crew also told me that these sharks have small mouths and the teeth aren't very prominent - again, I haven't seen anything to suggest that either.
Blacktip reef shark with some of the small fish - my favourite photo

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sunday Story - The Narrow Road To The Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep NorthI've spent a few weeks reading Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road To The Deep North, which won the Booker Prize last year. The ladies in my book club had said it was wonderful, and it was on sale and fell into my hands in the bookshop, as books often do.

The story is about POWs in WWII and their return to Australia. It's mostly set in the POW camps for the Burma Railway. I've read quite a few war stories and they're all shocking and gut-wrenching but this one is so graphic and harrowing and awful, I really struggled to keep reading it at times.

The characters in the book aren't 'nice' at all. They're more than flawed too. There are some lovely moments though, but on the whole I didn't 'like' the people I was reading about. Maybe that's something to do with all the romance genre reading where identifying with a character in some way is almost necessary, but I think I would have felt like this even without being a romance writer.

The book is well-written and it gives a view of both the Aussie POWs and also the Japanese and Korean soldiers...and that's interesting as few war stories show both sides, and never (that I've read anyway) make the 'enemy' human and give reasons for their behaviour which are believable and maybe almost understandable.

I find prize-winning books often are heavy going, and this is no different. Foal's Bread was another recent prize-winner that was well-written but harrowing. Maybe there's a fad for harrowing stories at the moment. Although I don't find these easy reads, and I would never say I enjoyed reading them, I do believe there's a need for them and these books should be written, and read. 

I'm off to read something much lighter now.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Phallic Friday - messy/dirty partners

This is the last of the fetishes on my list and I'm not sure if it's a serious one or just a laugh, but it was on a few lists, so I guess it's real.

Salirophilia - it has a name, so it must be real - and when I look that up, it's about smearing make up, making a partner dirty/messy during sex, messing up the partner's hair or clothing. Those are the tame then moves into mud, scat play, golden showers, and other such fetishes.

It seems to be another fetish that overlaps with D/s and many other fetishes that we've discussed over the last few months.

These blog posts have been such fun. I've thoroughly enjoyed my research into the weird, wonderful and wacky things that people enjoy to enhance their sexual gratification.

I hope to use all of this research in a book I've got half started, temporarily called Awakening. But doing all this research, and after other writing, I've changed my thoughts and I think I need to scrap what I've got and start again. So my new plan is to submit it by the end of 2015 - good luck to me (I'll need it!).

Hope you've enjoyed a walk into the world of fetishes!

And please, let me know if I've missed your favourite fetish.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - gum blossoms

Spring is well and truly on its way and the beautiful gum blossoms around me are out. I love gum blossoms because when I look at them, I see the Gum Blossom Fairies of May Gibbs, from Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Do you see them?

If you've never heard of them, have a look at these images...or this website.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Phallic Friday - cuckolding

Cuckolding is an ancient 'act' but it has a modern twist that makes it a fetish! let me explain:

The term 'cuckolding' comes from the name of the cuckoo, the bird (see Wildlife Wednesday and Phallic Friday finally cross paths!). European Cuckoos 'steal' the nests of other birds for their eggs...and they don't just lay their egg in another's nest, they remove one of that birds' eggs leaving the unsuspecting parents to hatch the cuckoos egg. But it gets worse, when the young cuckoo hatches, they shovel the other chicks out of the nest, so the parents devote themselves to feeding the 'wrong' chick, thus raising a European Cuckoo and not their own fledgling.

With the act of cuckolding in the past, a woman would cheat on her husband, birthing a child who was not his own but who he would, usually unknowingly, raise as his own. The act itself wasn't a fetish, more like a way for a woman to survive a loveless marriage, or bear children if her husband was infertile, or the result of an affair on the sly. The husband may find out if the child bore a vast difference to himself, in which case it could cause an awful furore.

In the American south in the past, there was a huge stigma attached to cuckolding when a white women slept with black men, often a slave, and birthed a black child. To add to this, there was the belief that black men were far more endowed than white men, so for a woman to sleep with a black man, the husband was humiliated many times over - not only because of the unfaithfulness, the child that was not his, and all the emotions those issues brought up, but also because it appeared to society that he couldn't perform adequately (or had a small penis) because his wife preferred the 'larger' man.

So cuckolding has always had a large dose of humiliation and shame associated with it. Not only for the unsuspecting husband, but women who had affairs that were discovered were often shunned by society, or worse.

In recent years in America particularly, cuckolding has taken on a fetish twist, with some husbands wanting to organise for their wife to be serviced by a 'bull' (the term used to describe the third party) and for them to watch for their sexual gratification. This fetish defied my understanding, but I did some research because there was a call for short stories on this fetish, which I thought might be interesting to write.

Some have theorised that this cuckolding fetish may have found a rise in popularity because it contradicts the ideals of monogamy. In most scenarios, there's a 'wife', a 'bull' and a 'cuck', who is the husband and the usual organiser of the event. From what I could find out, the typical cuck is in their 30s, in comfortable longterm relationships, alpha male in most situations, above average intelligence, often in high-powered jobs with above average income. It's thought that these blokes might need the extra mental stimulation that this scenario gives. (I was shocked by this unexpected profile, so I keep searching more).

In most cases, the cuck organises for a bull who is better looking, more endowed, more muscular, and whatever else might 'hurt' them. It doesn't seem that the wife chooses the bull, although she may have input. It seems that in most cases, the guy does the choosing - and yes, there are websites designed for this fetish (in the US. I didn't find much info at all in Australia, so maybe it hasn't taken off here).

It's thought that there are three types of cuckolded me - those who are submissive (they want the degradation and humiliation of not being 'good enough' and being shown what 'good' is, to achieve orgasm), those who want the forced bisexual experience (they want to be pushed into exploring their darkest fantasies, being with a man, and may want their Mistress/dominant wife to instruct them into doing things they'd never do, like a blow job for the bull. It seems that the cuck does not interact with the woman, only takes commands from her), and those who are voyeurs (they want to watch another man having sex, and/or they want to watch their woman being pleasured, and therefore they want the 'best' man possible).

The cuckolded man experiences mental anguish and humiliation, but wrestling with these feelings, turns into the most intense arousal and pleasure. Sometimes it's because their woman is with another, admired by another and lusted after (competitive spirit). The sex scene is always in his memory for him to use in private later, and that's his reward.

Some men like to have sex right after the cuckolding sex - also the competitive spirit, my sperm will over ride yours. This can also be the re-activation of the 'hunter' mentality that existed when he was courting her - trying to win her. The wanting, desiring, lusting were strong emotions that may have diminished in every day life.

Some men find the emotions are a source of pleasure - so a psychological masochism. Intense emotions are experienced, like jealousy, misery, gratitude, shame, sublimation, inadequacy, lust.

Some men want to feel alive. Others to feel diminished from the loss of control (this when the wife becomes the Mistress, and especially if she adds in humiliation aspects by saying how much better the bull is to the cuck, etc).

I still wasn't really understanding the thrill in all of this for the cuckolded guy. I know I have issues with humiliation, but this was way way out of anything I could even stretch to. I was firmly stuck in the thought that to humiliate someone was to deny his humanity, to make him feel less than worthy. And how anyone could get off on that was beyond me.

And then I went hunting in psychology today papers and found this:

Highly secure or self-confident people who believe that they are in the right rarely feel shame at their humiliation.
A light bulb went on in my head. The profile of the cuck made sense to me now.

There was also a bit that mentioned hazing rituals are also a form of humiliation. How many times have I read about those happening in Ivy League Schools in the USA? Suddenly, the fetish began to have some clarity about it. But it took me days, and a lot of reading to get to this understanding. I just wrote some notes to show my journey, because I knew I had this post coming up. do you feel about the new twist on an old secret shame?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - crab

Once again, I've no idea what this crab is! I thought maybe a ghost crab, but this is about 10 cm big, not the 4 cm that ghost crabs grow to be (this is my post on Ghost Crabs).

Then I thought maybe surf crab because apparently they're the only crabs in Sydney with two red spots on their back - but must be different down the coast, because surf crabs have modified back legs as swimmers, and this guy just has legs.

It's like what I'd call a fiddler crab with one nipper much much bigger than the other...and maybe that's just what he is. You can find some info here.

It says that they're found - Fiddler crabs are intertidal animals that live in mangrove forests, tidal creeks, sandbars, mudflats or, occasionally, stone or boulder beaches. - 
and that's not where I found this one. Our beach is a sandy beach and we're halfway along, so no stones or rocks are near us. We are near a river and a sandbar, so it's possible he got washed into the sea and I was just lucky enough to catch him coming out.

He was asleep (?) when I saw him. I took the first photo and another, thinking that he was probably dead but the photo was going to be okay. Then I'm squatting in front of him, like in the second shot but a little more straight on, when all of a sudden his eyes popped up on his stalks. How I didn't end up flat on my backside to be drowned in the next wave, I'll never know. I laughed like a kid, then sat chatting to the crab while I took more photos. I'm ever so glad our beach is usually empty! People would have thought I was mad :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Sunday Story: What if the data suggests you're wrong?

I've got a science background, so reviewing, evaluating and trying something new are almost second nature to me. I do it automatically, without consciously thinking. But in the writing game, I've been trying to think things through more thoroughly than I would if this was just 'for fun'. I'm trying to make this a career, so I need to look at it like a business, which means properly evaluating. Unfortunately, my data is small so proper evaluation isn't possible, so I've got to go off what I feel the data's saying...which isn't very scientific, but all I have!

I only have a few books out. They've got varying lengths because of how the story worked, or the format I wrote them for. Most are written in first person, present tense because that's what I most like to read, what I felt comfortable with, and how I wanted to write. Then I was asked to write Lana for the Housewives project and I had to write in third person, past tense. I managed with a fair bit of help :)

There's always been a lot of discussion in writers' circles about people who HATE first person and say that they'll never read a book written in that format. I've always ignored those comments as best I can. There are a lot of successful books written in first person. How could they be successful if people refused to read first person? It didn't seem possible. books have sold about 200 copies in their lifetime. Except for Lana, which has sold about double that number.

Double that number!

I know that's not a big number of books...but it's twice as many as my other books. Twice!

Lana is in third person. My first book in third person. Do you reckon people have bought it because it's in third person and nothing else I write is?

I don't know.

It's part of a series with 10 other authors, some of who have big readerships, so the extra sales could have come from there.

But what if it's because of the third person thing? What if I've been wrong all this time?

I can't tell for sure because these are small numbers, I only have a few books, and I don't know why the sales are different...but I have to give it a shot that I might have it wrong. Maybe I need to write in third person.

I have another book that's part of a multi-author series in the pipeline, and it's also in third person, plus this time I even managed to add a male perspective not just the female. But I think I'm going to write my next stand alone book in third person. Bugger that I have 25K already in first, but I have to give this a go. I have to see if I can up my sales. I'm not writing really successful breakout novels, so maybe those in the 'middle of the pack' should be sticking to what works for the masses. So I'm going to give it a go.

I'll no doubt be checking figures and reevaluating again and again and again. I'll let you know how I go. I can always go back to first person - or write each story however I feel it's needed. Let's see how we go :)

Friday, August 7, 2015

Phallic Friday - pain

This week's fetish is fairly routine after some of the ones we've done. Pain.

Some people get sexual satisfaction from receiving pain; some get sexual satisfaction from giving pain (this one is called sadism).

I'm pretty cerebral and I get lost in my own head sometimes, so if I'm lashed with a bit of pain, it can jar me from becoming lost in myself - and if sex is involved, can tip me into a spectacular orgasm :) But if you go too hard on the pain - you'll hurt me, I'll cry and orgasms will be a long way off! So for me, there's a bit of fine line. And if you don't listen and react to me, there are no second chances.

For other people, they may not have limits on their pain threshold. They may love being pushed further and further each time. They may adore losing all thoughts and just becoming lost in the euphoria that the pain gives them.

But to know how much pain someone likes to receive/inflict, you need a lot of communication. Maybe not so much talking about it before you start, although that's probably a good thing, but also during the sex play. You have to know how to communicate, or how to see, when the limits are reached.

Sadists are usually a Dominant in a BDSM relationship (although not all Doms/Dommes are sadists). But sadists can also just be bastards who abuse a relationship, or abuse a stranger.

If you're playing with a sadist, I think it's really important that the communication is excellent. With pain, what's acceptable for one, may not work for another and both of you need to know that, and work out limits, expectations and care. If you're really going to be hurt, make sure you have plans for your care afterwards and for unexpected emergencies.

Let's have a look at Tiffany Reisz's book, The Saint or the whole Original Sinners series, really. Soren is a sadist, and also a priest. Eleanor is a young girl in his parish, who at the start of the book is not legal. I read this book, and I loved the nuances in it. I thought it was clever, and a really interesting way to explore sadism and Dominance, which developed into a highly complex, adult relationship.

But have a look on Goodreads or Amazon at the readers' reviews. On Amazon, 82% of people gave it 5 stars and loved it. But there are a couple of low starred reviews with people commenting on the characters' lack of loyalty to each other, and others appalled by the violence in the sex. Some are queasy reading the sex scenes. In other reviews, the reader felt Soren groomed Eleanor and likened it to paedophilia. Others say that Reisz pushed the sex too far. There's a wide interpretation of what people like and find acceptable - even though I imagine only people who are fans of erotic romance would chose to read this book.

With pain, like so much about sex, everyone has different limits, expectations and experiences.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - sea sponge

We have lots of sea sponges wash up on our beach. I think they're one of the most beautiful soft corals in the sea. They're really very delicately 'woven' and if you look closely, the intricate patterns are beautiful. Underwater they can let in some amazing light patterns.

There are lots of different types of sea sponges, some look like the sponges you may use in the bath, others like like blobs of muck, some of the sponges that are washed on the shore are the exoskeletons of the sponge after the sponge itself has died.

The Queensland Museum has some excellent information about sponges. You can find it here.

I've pinched snippets of information for you -

"Many species of sponges are actually capable of some locomotion, just very slowly. ...sponge larvae are highly mobile, capable of crawling across the sea bed, but generally adult sponges are firmly attached to the seabed."

"Many or most sponges reproduce sexually at some stage of their life cycle, producing larvae that can disperse and recolonise new habitats. These larvae are either incubated within the parent and born live (vivipary), or the eggs and sperm (gametes) are broadcast directly into the seawater where fertilisation takes place (ovipary). Oviparous sponges may have separate sexes (gonochoric), or may be capable of changing sex, from male to female and back again, in sequence (sequencially hermaphroditic)."

Asexual reproduction also occurs in sponges with some budding and others fragmenting to produces new sponges (little clones).

Next time you're having a bath with a sea can wonder about its previous sex life :)