Friday, November 29, 2013

Phallic Friday - sex survey results

Last Sunday's newspaper had an interesting article, which I found online here. I've no idea why I can't find the link in the Australian paper that I read but it's almost word for word this article anyway.

There were some interesting results from this survey - and I noticed different online papers have taken a different slant on reporting it, which is fascinating and makes me wonder why they'd skew the article to a particular sex survey result - is it that they think their readers would be more interested in one result than another? But that's a whole other topic (and since I'm late writing this, won't be discussed here!).

The survey occurs once every decade and had a sample size of 15 000 British people. Key results are:

For people aged between 16 and 44, in the 1999/2001 survey they were averaging sex 6.3 times a month. Now, it's 4.9 times per month. There was some discussion about this being attributed to busier lives, taking work home, even having tablets and phones in bed (!) but also to the availability of porn on the Internet.

The average age for losing your virginity is also declining. For those people under the age of 25 currently, the average age for starting sex was 16. Those in the 65-74 year age group, lost their virginity at 19. In Australia, you're only just legally able to have sex at 16... in another ten years, will this figure decline? Are we, as a society, facing these sexual challenges and teaching our youth about sex in a rational, factual, un-embarrassed manner?

For women under the age of 44 years, the average number of partners was 7.7. For men this was 11.7. Another interesting statistic which to me still indicates the double standard we have in society for it to be more acceptable for men to 'sleep around' than for women. But I am glad this figure is coming closer together. That shows some changes in society.

Oh, if you click through from that article to the attitudes article, it's great. Only 3% of people refused to answer questions about their sex life, but 20% of people refuse to discuss their income. Wow - does this mean we're becoming more open about sex? (or in Britain anyway)

With changing attitudes, adultery is becoming less accepted, and one night stands becoming more accepted.

One of the doctors commenting on the article said that it was interesting that women are having sex younger, but having children later in life, which means there is a need for birth control for a longer period of time in a woman's life than ever before. Lucky there are options for this now days.

A scary statistic is that 1 in 10 women and 1 in 70 men say they have been forced to have sex against their will, and few of these people reported the crime.

I love seeing these type of articles in the mainstream newspapers. I think a good discussion about sex is always healthy! How about you? Do you like juicy discussions full of facts?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - fish in WA

Snorkelling in Western Australia, near Exmouth at Turquoise Bay, and at Coral Bay south of Exmouth, we came across some rather colourful fish.

Where I live, we mostly get cold-water-loving fish, but here are more of the warm-water-loving fish, or reef fish.

Butterfly fish would have to be my favourite of the reef fish. This bright yellow one is (I think) Bennett's butterflyfish. My hesitation is that my book says they're rare and they are difficult to get a good photo because they employ devious tactics to hide. I just snapped this, so maybe I have the wrong species, but it's definitely a beautiful butterfly fish.

The leatherjacket is an interesting fish. When I was a kid I could catch these without trying, as an adult I rarely catch them. And when I was a kid, fishing in NSW, they were never this beautiful. This could be the horseshoe leatherjacket (but I don;t have a photo of its side, which I need) also called the Variable Leatherjacket.

Parrotfish or Wrasse are beautifully coloured too. After Googling, I think this is the Green-cheeked parrotfish. Whatever it is, the blue hues were amazing.

And this yellow and orange fish also defies my skills at finding out who it is...but gorgeous none-the-less.

Green-cheeked Parrotfish

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Story - Deep Diving (again)

Last week I said I'd sent out my latest story to my fab team of crit partners and beta readers. I sort of stagger it so someone reads chapter by chapter, then the reader who gives the best 'story' crit gets it first to give me overall tips, which I fix, then it goes to the next, who gives great 'line edits', which I fix. Then to other crit partners and beta readers. It's taken a while to perfect my system but I love it now!!

Oh, I should tell you a bit about the story, hey? (first attempt at a blurb - which I'm useless at writing!)

Samantha Caine, newly retired triathlete, meets Cooper Sterling, rugby league player,on Lord Howe Island when they're paired up as dive buddies. After enjoying each other's company all day, Cooper asks her to be more than dive buddies...but Sam doesn't want to be just a notch in his bedpost, or goalpost, she wants to be remembered. So begins their ten-day holiday fling. Two tough competitors each trying to win and never repeating a sex act.

I think some of the early feedback is worth sharing, because it made me laugh.

  • I lost Samantha’s conflict.  
  • You dangle two things and then don’t deal with them.   
  • Two photo comp scenes could actually be the one.
  • The addition of aging parents thread / Coop's granddad seems unnecessary.
  • Coop's charity/business – not sure what it actually is. 
  • Not sure about this line – sounds too cocky and arrogant. 
  • He’s adorable without being too good to be true – she’s strong and competitive without being awful with it.
  • Ooooh, is 'deep diving' a metaphor for diving into a relationship? Letting someone in close.
  • Goodness, this story's so hot my lady parts have spontaneously combusted.

So, it's worth going to the team to get the best story I possibly can. Writing is never a solo journey, not for me! It's about a bunch of people throwing in their bit and me making it all work. And I love the people who throw their bit in. I have a huge bunch and each seems to have a particular role.

Early on in this story, one of the team told me I always wrote wimpy girls and I should try to make this one tougher. Hard, yes, but true. I hope I met the challenge. I'm still waiting on the verdict!!

And here are the inspirations for my hero - my two favourite rugby league players. You can see from these pictures there's not a lot of similarity between them!! I told you it's their game that enthralled me :)
(But maybe if they had lots of shirtless images in the 80s, you might see more similarities!)

Cooper Cronk

Peter Sterling Rugby League Hardman, Hero and Legend. Peter Sterling played for Australia, Parramatta, Hull, during the Era of the Biff
Peter Sterling

Friday, November 22, 2013

Phallic Friday - triggers

I've been thinking about 'triggers' lately because I realise that I don't seem to have them.

By 'triggers' I mean a sensitivity to a topic that can make you react in a specific (often hostile or emotional) way. From the free dictionary, it's defined as "anything, as an act or event, that initiates or precipitates a reaction or series of reactions."

In erotic writing, there seems to be many triggers (e.g. a particular sex act, rape, sexual violence, BDSM, a phrase) that people (readers) may/will react to. And maybe it's because erotic writing walks a fine line between being open, and opening up wounds for people.

There have been a couple of questions on Facebook about triggers, and I've read a few reviews that alerted people to triggers before they reviewed a story. And both of these things have made me realise, I don't have triggers.

In fact, I wasn't consciously aware that these things could cause a lot of angst and issue. Of course I knew that some topics may upset people. Of course I knew that people who had had bad experiences would not like to read about such experiences, especially if they were done incorrectly/lightly/not dealt with properly.

What I didn't understand was how it can affect someone's reading experience, their day/week, and their impression of you as a person. Which is rather naive of me. Incredibly naive really.

It was a while ago, but I was speaking to another erotic writer, and she made me think about my story from a reader's perspective. I was a bit stunned. I write my stories for me, what I want to read - that's the advice you get when you start writing. But as you develop, you need to think of your story from a readers' perspective...and for me, that's difficult.

I don't have triggers...well, none that I'm aware of. It gets me into trouble - a lot - in my life, not my writing (or not yet, anyhow). I'm a bit too clinical, interested in the 'why' and not so concerned about how someone feels. I've upset my sisters many times by not showing enough care, because I didn't understand how deeply a topic affected them. It's not that I don't care, it's just that I want to understand why they feel this way, why it's such an issue, why it bothers them. And, you know, people would much rather have sympathy than explain themselves - and I get that, I do. But I'm a writer and a scientist and I want to know the nitty gritty. I'm sorry, but that burning need to know overwhelms me at times, and I forget to be sympathetic and caring and loving.

So for all the people with triggers, I'm sorry if I don't handle something correctly. If you'd like to explain what I've done wrong, I'm more than happy to learn.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - sea snakes

On our trip to Exmouth, Western Australia, we went out on a trip to see whale sharks (which we didn't see) but one of the things we did see was a sea snake.

These photos really don't do it justice. The sea snake was maybe 8 foot long, and round enough that it spilled out of a guy's hand when he went to pick it up. It's a seriously large snake. I thought sea snakes were small - the ones I've seen have been - but this would have rivalled any diamond python lazing around eating rats from your roof!

Sea snakes feed on fish, darting out to catch them with open mouths. They swallow fish whole, similarly to how land snakes feed.

Sea snakes have highly toxic venom but are not terribly aggressive, and have short fangs (~1.5mm) so they are unlikely to deliver a large dose of venom to a human.

They have a paddle-shaped tail to aid with swimming. Sea snakes often bask in the sunlight on the surface, which is what this snake was doing. They usually remain underwater for 20-30 mins, but can remain at depth for a few hours.

Fertilised eggs are retained inside the mothers' oviduct until they are fully developed. .The young are born alive at sea and are independent from birth (except for one species).

Okay, now I've been looking up info, it says they get to 1m in length.... but I'm sure this snake was much longer than 1m!! Although, maybe I'm deluded.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Story - Deep Diving

My latest story has been in the hands of my crit partners. Way back in January, I thought this story was 20K and finished. I sent it to my crit partners, who came back with some interesting news. They thought this was two stories and I'd messed it up by making it one. They were right. So back to the drawing board for me.

I now have one part of the two stories complete. I muffed the ending a few weeks ago and went back to sort that out. Hopefully I've done a better job this time.

It's hard to tell how your own work is going. At times you love it, at times you loathe it. Sometimes you want to chuck it away. Sometimes you want the world to read it and love it like you do. It's a crazy process. So by the end, I have no idea how it is. I need my crit partners to let me know. If they don't, then I'd be lost. I'd be just writing for myself and letting no one see.

And I don't want them blowing smoke. I want brutal honesty. I want to know when something doesn't work. I want to know when something's not quite right. I want to know if my hero sounds like a wanker, or my heroine is a whiny bitch. I need to know if my ending sucks, if there's enough conflict, if my sex scene is pathetic. And it's awesome to know if they like something, laughed at something, or needed a fan.

Finding people who are honest, whose decisions you trust, who you know give sound advice, isn't easy. There are a lot of people who'll tell you how great you are, but never what's wrong. Others don't know what's wrong. Some don't 'get' your style. But never give up the search. They right crit partners are out there for you. Same as the right readers are out there too.

So, Deep Diving is closer to going somewhere. After my trusty crit partners give me their approval. Their opinion is worth it's weight in gold.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Phallic Friday - a milestone

Today marks my 250th post! I can't believe I've rabbited in that much. When I started blogging, I didn't even think I could do it. I thought I had nothing to say. I'm so slow at taking up technology/new things. I'm still struggling on Twitter and Facebook, but at least now I'm starting to enjoy Twitter. That's a start.

Now it appears the world has gone off blogging - just when I was getting the hang of it. But I like it. I like having to think of topics and formulate some thoughts. It's challenging but fun. And I even take photos on trips away, specifically to fill my Wednesday Wildlife posts.

Since we're talking about milestones, and it's Friday, I think I need to talk about sexual milestones. Losing your virginity is a sexual milestone. As is first kiss, and all those other firsts. But then the milestones stop. Once you've done something the first time, you don't think about it as an achievement again.

Should we celebrate sexual milestones? And if so, what other milestones are there?

I had a friend who had a "to do" list of the men she'd like to have sex with - nationality and occupation. You could celebrate significant numbers crossed off your list. If you have one, that is :)

If you're in a committed relationship, you celebrate number of years together, but maybe we need to tally and celebrate number of sex acts or something. It reminds me of the story someone told me about jelly beans. Before you get married, you fill a jar with jelly beans for each time you have sex. After marriage, you take one out each time you have sex. He reckoned you wouldn't empty the jar. You could turn that into a celebration, if you emptied the jar.

I'm kind of stuck for any other sexual milestones. And those I've come up with aren't really worthy of a celebration. Maybe that's why we don't have sexual milestones to celebrate!

Do you have sexual milestone celebration ideas?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - more emus

I wrote a post on Emus in October here, but we saw so many this past holiday, I thought I'd add them here. Plus, I find them so funny, especially when they run, that I had to share. And I have sitting emus - something I hadn't seen before.

So for your enjoyment - Emus...

Emu and chick at Mungo

Emu and both chicks, Mungo
Emu and chicks almost off the road - Ivanhoe to Wilcannia

3 emus crossing - and we're slowing, luckily because...

there were 3 more to cross!
This is the last one - we missed them, but I'm glad there weren't 3 more!

Emus standing

Emus sitting!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sunday Story - holiday ramblings

No reading done lately and no writing either. I went travelling with Mr E again. I don't know why but somehow when we travel I find no time for words. It's not that we talk a lot. I think it's because we do lots of kilometres and I like to look and think.

My first lot of study was in environmental biology, so landforms, vegetation and fauna interest me. I love watching the changing scenery. And this trip, we went out to Western NSW which has had three good wet years in 2010, 2011 & 2012. This year it's back to the usual drought, but animals were prolific. I've never seen so many emus, and goats. Lots of roos, and falcons and crows. The last few times I've been out there has been really dry for a long time. So to see it with lots of vegetation, even if dry, was great. So, lots of looking and thinking and comparing.

Then I need lots of sleep. I have CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome), although luckily not as badly as it could be even if it frustrates the heck out of me. Driving is wearying for me - even the passenger seat driving I do! So to sleep for ten hours is necessary after the 500km drive. So my reading/writing time is chomped into.

But...if writing is to be a career, should I be able to write when travelling?  Or should travelling just be holidays - a time for recharging?

Our ultimate dream is to travel while I work. But I might need to rethink this since I can't seem to find time for work on the last two trips! Or maybe we need to drive less. Mr E loves to drive, so pulling him up is kind of difficult. I'd love to write while he drives but I'm a control freak and I get car sick. LOL. I am the worst passenger. I sometimes think Mr E would like to toss me out, especially when my brakes aren't working no matter how hard I slam the floor.

Oh, and I take photos. Hundreds of them. And with digital cameras I can shoot out the window as we fly by scenes. If they don't work, just delete.

Sometimes there's so much more to do than read and write! I can't believe I said that!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Phallic Friday - "topping from the bottom"

I used this phrase in a post last week, and my most prolific commenter asked me to do a post to explain it.
So... this is for you, Lily. My explanation of what it means.

(Please be aware that my understanding of the BDSM world is rudimentary. This is my understanding and you may well have another description of the term. If so, please feel free to comment).

This term "topping from the bottom" is used about the BDSM world. Part of BDSM involves Submission from Submissives (people who give control of their pleasure to another person) and Domination by Dominants/Doms/Dommes (people who get pleasure from controlling another's pleasure).

In the 'normal' role of a submissive, he/she allows the Dominant to dictate the play/sexual acts/the pleasure giving. Truly submissive people play no role in directing what happens. They have a safe word which can be used when they cannot cope with going any further, but otherwise, their pleasure involves the giving over of themselves to another.

If a submissive is new, struggling to fit into the role, unbelieving/untrusting of the Dominant, having a bad day, not into the role, (any number of reasons) they may struggle with allowing someone to direct their pleasure. They may speak, give commands, back chat, surreptitiously direct the scene, move their body to change how something works, or make some kind of act that takes control from the Dominant. If the submissive is directing how the pleasuring occurs, then they're said to be "topping from the bottom" - in other words, pretending to submit when they are actually dictating the play from a supposedly submissive position.

In the book I was reading where I saw this happening, the male was the submissive. He was an alpha male, a protector, a strong strong man ... who liked to submit and allow Dommes (female dominants) to work with him. Except he always managed to have them allowing him to give them pleasure. He loved cunnilingus. He also loved to fill a woman, and so manipulated the women in subtle ways, to allow this to happen. For example, he showed greatest pleasure when women got wet, dripped, showed themselves to him. Subtly, he was letting them know what he wanted... and they gave it to him. This isn't something that's 'wrong'... it brings pleasure to both people... but in the true sense of being submissive, it's cheating. But if you're both happy, who cares?

But this is where the book got into my head. The Dominant worked this sub out. She knew what he was doing. She was fairly new, but extensively trained as a Domme. She wasn't just mucking around, she wanted the lifestyle - and he said he did too. So she made him submit to her. She refused him contact with her. He didn't get to eat her out, or fill her. She made him take an anal vibe set on a timer, and left him to orgasm three times in an hour, alone, with viewers. Not something he thought he'd like...but the submission turns him on anyway.

Her action was clever. It takes away his usual pleasure. It makes him bend to her will. It stops him dictating what he wants and what she does. It makes him submit. To her. And she's earned his respect - he's received pleasure, she's held off on her own, except the pleasure from making him submit.

But the book was even more clever. He wasn't broken easily. He tested her every time they were together. He knew it. She knew it. So it's a complete mind-fuck as well as the physical.

And that to me is a really powerful BDSM story.

I hope that's given a bit more of an understanding of the term. And I hope my interpretation hasn't offended anyone.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Blue Tongue Lizard

This is a picture post today. I have a Blue Tongue Lizard in my backyard who I've become quite friendly with. So I'm sharing some images. I've not played with these photos at all - that really is the colour of his/her tongue (easy seeing where the name came from)! And the tongue is huge...surprised me when it flicked out and out and out and out! The blue-tongue is rather on the large size as well!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sunday Story - movies and books

The Turning (2013) Poster
Movie poster
I went to the movies the other day to see The Turning. It's the movie adaptation of Tim Winton's book by the same name.

The movie was marketed as an incredible cinematic feat with 17 different directors doing an interpretation of the stories within the book.

For a long time I've whinged to my husband about how poorly movies depict a book. I've refused to see some movies when I've loved the book and fear a terrible interpretation. He scoffs at me. He's a movie lover.

Anyway, I had The Turning at home, as the book. Mr E decided to read the book before seeing the movie - 2 days before. So it was fresh in his mind (often books escape his memory cells as soon as he closes the cover).

Off we went to the movie. It was a 3 hour epic. And Mr E was digging out his phone looking at the time from the halfway point. He hated the film. He sat and wriggled and squirmed. He looked at his watch.

One story was interpreted as a dance. To me, it was fascinating and beautiful. By far the most glorious of the stories. Mr E hated it. Loathed it. Couldn't understand how dance could possibly tell a story!

The movie ended. Mr E went striding out. I was only chuckling a little :) I looked at him. "What did you think?"

He huffed a bit. Scratched his head. Squirmed a little. Then said, "Was that the same book I read? I didn't remember their being any Aboriginal people in the book."

The film allowed for interpretation of the stories - which meant anyone could play the parts. There were stories with big name actors, and some with people I've never seen before. I guess each director made their own call on who they'd like to work with (I've no idea how it worked logistically and I don't want to know either!).

The book linked all the stories together. They were all in a small town. Tim Winton is gifted at that.

The movie made no such links. Not even the same state of Australia was used for the stories, let alone the same town. And the people had no link from one story to the next. In the book, one character may have a part in 3 stories, linking them. In the movie, the same character may have been Aboriginal in one story, white in another, Chinese in the next. You could not link them as the same person at all.

The key element to Tim Winton's novel was missing. And Mr E finally saw my complaint about movies not following books, and letting me down.

I think I should call it a victory.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Phallic Friday - exhibitionism

Exhibitionism is another aspect to sex that I find fascinating.

There are two meanings to this word (that I found anyway):
1. is the deliberate behaviour to attract attention
2. is the psychiatric condition which requires the exposure of your genitals in public.

I think with sex, there is more of the first meaning than the second, but I'm sure some of the second comes into play too.

In my wild youth, spent often in country pubs, there was a condition among the 'well hung' men to bare all when they were suitably drunk. It was only my observation, not a fact, that only well hung men did this... but I've rarely seen a smaller man give public displays of his anatomy. Have you?

So I think that some men, the well endowed kind, have a endless fascination in showing the world how much they have. Maybe this isn't a psychiatric condition, as such, but I think many times outdoor sex is initiated by the male, it's for this reason. He wants to show off his junk.

Some women have a burning desire to attract attention. And for me, they're the ones most likely to be involved in overly lusty public displays of affection. The ones who virtually start foreplay at the main bar, continue it into the beer garden and the deed is done in the carpark. Sometimes they make it home! (hope I'm not being too cynical)

Sometimes exhibitionism comes from encouraging fear - the fear of being caught. You have sex outdoors, or in a public place, or in a car in a carpark, for the fear factor. It gets your adrenalin running. It fires up the libido. Your partner gets a whole lot hotter when you're pulse is already racing.

And sometimes exhibitionism is just because you're a naturist. You like being nude. You like being outdoors without clothing. And you like having sex with freedom.

There are a lot of different aspects to exhibitionism....and I find it a fascinating topic. I'll have to write and think more about this.