Tag Archives: sexual practices

When Is It Okay To Exchange Sex For Favors?

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In case you missed the title of the article, I’ll ask the question again. When is it okay to exchange sex for favors? It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a serious question about a serious issue in our culture that just so happens to be the premise of one too many porno scenes. I ask the question because I think it’s a lot more relevant now than it has been in recent years.

Concerns about exploitation, harassment, and corruption have never been greater. Some of that is a result of recent scandals. Some of it is a result of ongoing social movements that are a lot more sensitive to gender roles and expectations. Some of it is just a byproduct of living in an era of social media where it’s very hard to keep secrets.

I would argue that the relevance of this question has become even greater in recent years as attitudes towards sex have become more regressive in some areas. Depictions of beautiful women in the media and even beautiful women in video games have become controversial. It has created an atmosphere where everyone is more sensitive to how sexuality is depicted and pursued.

It doesn’t matter that those controversies rely heavily on egregious double standards that make extreme generalizations that can be both hypocritical and damaging. This is the world we live in. If you attempt to use your sexuality and sex appeal to gain favors, then that’s an issue. People have already lost jobs and had their lives destroyed because of it.

It’s understandable on some levels. Most reasonable people will agree that there’s a point where someone seeking a sexual favor from someone else is outright exploitation. There’s a reason why there are laws in place that say an employer can’t demand sex from an employee or risk losing their job.

Most who aren’t in positions of power probably agree that those laws should remain. However, they’re only part of a much more complicated dynamic. Within the context of the innate justice that most people have, there is a line between seeking a sexual favor and outright exploiting someone. It’s just not always clear where that line is.

Take, for instance, the classic casting couch scenario that plays out in so many pornos and Hollywood horror stories.

A beautiful, ambitious actress walks into a room. She badly wants a particular role. She’s willing to do anything to get it, even if it means sleeping with a producer. Being a legal adult, she offers this to the male producer. He accepts. They have sex and she gets the part. The actress furthers her career. The producer gets to have sex with a beautiful woman. Both are satisfied with the outcome.

Now, this particular manifestation of the scenario is probably the least distressing. The woman enters with a willingness to have sex in the name of furthering her career. The man is just as willing to accept her offer. You could even flip the genders and it would still work. Two consenting adults are each seeking something from one another. Sex is just the currency they use and in the end, they both get what they want.

There may still be some who think that scenario is a problem. Some may slut shame the woman for essentially whoring herself to get favorable treatment. Never mind the fact that a willingness to use your body to get favorable treatment is not an issue when it doesn’t involve sex, as every professional athlete can attest. They still see this use of sex to get favors as unfair.

Others may scorn the man for going along with it, using his influence to help the woman’s career in exchange for sex. Again, never mind the fact that being in positions of influence or just having a lot of resources in general will attract those seeking favors. Somehow, using sex as currency is still seen as unfair. Even so, it’s a stretch to say that anyone was exploited in this scenario.

The line may be obscure in that instance, but still clear enough. It’s fairly likely that sort of thing plays out in the real world, both in Hollywood and the business world. Joss Whedon even alluded to it during his own sordid scandal last year. However, it still represents a best case scenario, of sorts.

It doesn’t take too much tweaking to make that same scenario more distressing. Here’s another one that probably occurs fairly often in the world of Hollywood and business. For some, it may be a bit more difficult to discern the line.

A beautiful, ambitious actress walks into a room. She badly wants a particular role that would really help her career, but she wants to earn it on the merits of her skills. She auditions. The producer says she’s good, but so are several other actresses, a few whom have more experience than her. Her chances aren’t great.

Then, after the audition, the producer sits down with her and offers a deal. If she has sex with him, he’ll get her the part. The woman is reluctant, but the man doesn’t push it. He gives her a few hours to decide with the understanding that the offer expires in two hours. The woman agonizes over the decision, but eventually decides to go along with it.

She meets up with the producer. She willingly has sex with him. She doesn’t feel that good about it, but the man does what he promised. He gets her the part. The role really helps her career, just as she hoped. She still didn’t like that she had to sleep with the producer, but she doesn’t regret it. Both she and the man got what they wanted.

I imagine this scenario will generate more uncertainty, arguments, and even a little outrage. To some, the producer in that scenario sexually assaulted that woman, using his power to get her to sleep with him. To others, it may just be a simple case of having to jump through some unpleasant hoops to further your career.

The line in this case is a bit harder to identify. It is very much a quid pro quo exchange, the kind that would definitely result in a sexual harassment case if it occurred between an employer and an employee. However, the woman in this case is not an employee and an audition is not the same as a job. The man just has resources the woman wants for her own benefit. He gives them to her in exchange for something.

The fact the exchange involves sex is where the uncertainty comes in. You could also make the argument that there would be similar concerns if money is involved because that would constitute bribery, but that involves considerably different circumstances. It’s one thing to just pay for an opportunity, which isn’t as taboo, even if it’s unethical in many cases. It’s quite another for someone to offer their body.

On top of that, it’s fairly reasonable to assume there aren’t as many people who have those kinds of resources to bribe someone as there are people willing to have sex. It’s less a matter of legal constraints and more a matter of tangible assets. Most people only have so much money or skill to offer. Sex is one of the few inherently valuable acts that’s essentially built into us as a species.

Even if with those caveats in mind, it’s not entirely clear if there was outright exploitation in that scenario. Yes, the woman was reluctant and didn’t really like that she had to do it. However, she had a chance to refuse and even considered it. In addition, after she made the choice, she got what the producer promised. He delivered on his part. She delivered on hers.

That would change considerably if the man just slept with the woman and didn’t get her the part. In that case, it probably would count as exploitation because he was the only one who got what he wanted and the woman got nothing. Unless the woman got the man to promise on tape that he would get her the part in exchange for sex, she probably would have little recourse.

There are plenty of other distressing scenarios I could list, but I won’t go over the entire spectrum of sexual favors. I present them and the potential complications they incur to add substance to the initial question. Most people agree that exploiting someone for sex is wrong. People are a bit less certain when it involves consenting adults using sex to exchange favors.

It’s a question that covers so many issues, from concerns about prostitution to how we craft marriage laws. No matter how we answer that question, there will be people in this world who have resources and opportunities. There will also be people willing to perform sexual favors in exchange for one or both. It’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of understanding where the line is now and where it should be in a just and fair world.

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Circumcised Vs. Uncircumcised Preference (According To Porn Stars)

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When searching for expertise on sensitive issues, sometimes you have to look in unexpected places. For an issue as sensitive as circumcision, an issue that has been in the news more and more these days, we have to look a little harder. There aren’t many sane people willing to learn that much about mutilating male genitals.

I’ve made my attitudes towards circumcision fairly clear already. I admit, I’ve avoided the topic in the past, but find myself more and more interested about it for unexpected reasons. I had no idea that there was an ongoing movement to protest circumcision, nor did I realize the colorful history behind it. Honestly, who knew such a small piece of flesh could generate so much controversy?

There are a lot of aspects about circumcision that are worth discussing, but seeing as how I’m not an expert, I feel woefully unqualified to lead that discussion. There are people and organizations far more qualified and entertaining to dig into the logistics of circumcision. There is one part of the discussion that’s worth having, though, and it involves porn stars.

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I’m sure that got some peoples’ attention now. Depending on the contents of their browser history, they’re familiar with the expertise that porn stars bring to the table on all things related to male genitalia. Given the amount of time they spend dealing with the intricacies of male anatomy, I would further argue their qualifications speak for themselves.

They have experience in terms of frequency, variety, and circumstance. Given the sheer variety of porn that exists, the average porn star is bound to experience more aspects of male anatomy than most ordinary women, even at their most reckless. It’s not just personal for them. It’s their profession.

Porn stars aren’t doctors, even if they frequently play them in elaborate fantasies. However, there’s one important issue related to circumcision that they can probably answer better than any doctor.

Are circumcised penises better for sex than uncircumcised?

Regardless of the medical or cultural implications surrounding circumcision, I think this question is more pressing than most, if only because it’s the most intimate. There are plenty of impassioned arguments about the ethics of circumcising an infant boy without his consent or a full understanding of the impacts. Those arguments are important.

However, when it comes to our intimate personal lives, the stakes are a little bit elevated. Even if there are health and ethical arguments to be made about circumcision, people will pay more attention if their sex lives are involved. Even women will pay attention more because those sex lives often involve them to.

With all that in mind, how exactly do porn stars feel about circumcised penises compared to uncircumcised? Is there really a difference? That’s exactly what Wood Rocket, a channel dedicated to exploring the less explicit aspects of porn stars, asked a group of female porn stars. If there is, they’re in a better position to find out than anyone, including a licensed doctor. This was their response.

Granted, it’s a small sample size, but keep in mind that these women are porn stars. They’ll deal with more penises of every size, shape, and function than most women will deal with in a lifetime. Their sentiment on this carries more weight than most and the specifics of their response are quite revealing.

Beyond their comments about uncircumcised penises and anal sex, there seems to be an underlying sentiment of aesthetics. An uncircumcised penis is more of an anomaly, at least for porn stars in America, where the circumcision rate is significantly higher than the rest of the world. As such, it’s going to evoke different reactions.

One woman describes fucking a circumcised penis as fucking a door knob. Another woman describes an uncircumcised penis as smooth, squishy, probably a few other terms that might prompt some to open a new browser window. If you took those sentiments as an average, though, the main take-away is that these women don’t really mind either way, provided that the man is hygienic and knows how to use it.

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However, it’s the attitudes towards the circumcised penises that I found most revealing. The way these women described it gave the impression that their preference was based primarily on familiarity. They’ve just dealt with circumcised penises more often and, as a result, they’re more comfortable with them.

That seems to reflect the sentiment that a circumcised penis is “normal” whereas an uncircumcised penis is not. It’s worth remembering, though, that this concept “normal” requires that a piece of a man’s anatomy get cut off, usually when he’s a baby. I know normal is kind of a loaded term, but there’s something paradoxical about a kind of normal that requires surgery.

More than anything else, it shows that our attitudes towards circumcision are very much shaped by aesthetics. Even for those who consider themselves ardent individualists, we’re still part of a highly social species. That means public attitudes towards aesthetics matter and, like makeup commercials or lingerie ads, that effects how we see circumcision.

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As it stands right now, an uncircumcised penis is still seen as a novelty or an aberration. That is changing though so chances are, the porn stars of the near future will be dealing with more uncircumcised scene partners. It will be very interesting to learn the preference of those porn stars in the future. I suspect that their attitudes will be different.

Until then, the controversy surrounding circumcision is sure to continue. There will still be medical arguments on top of anecdotal experiences. Since it affects our sex lives, the stakes will continue to be high. For now, though, it’s worth taking into account the sentiments of experienced porn stars. There aren’t many issues where anyone can say that with a straight face. That just goes to show how serious this issue is.

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First Sex Doll Brothel Open In Spain

They’re coming. Literally and figuratively, they’re coming. That last sentence is even dirtier than you think it is. I’ve talked about it before. I’ve even posted a few scary signs that it’s closer than we think. Yes, I’m talking about robots again. Yes, I’m referring to the sexy kind.

Earlier this month, Spain took us a step closer to an era where sex robots will actually be a thing and not just the subject of one of Oscar Issac’s best movies. According to Bravo, they opened up a brothel in Barcelona which offers its patrons the opportunity to have sex with a specially-made sex doll for a mere $120.

Bravo: The opening of a naughty-doll brothel in Spain may foretell a more high-tech trend

Are you intrigued? Don’t deny it. Even if you find the idea of having sex with a life-like doll disgusting, a part of you is still curious. How could you not be curious? This is a potentially game-changing shift in our sexual culture.

Now these aren’t the kinds of sex robots that will talk dirty to us and ride us like a porn star on crack. Sex robot technology hasn’t quite advanced to that level, but make no mistake. Someone out there, who is likely very horny, is working on that as we speak. Given how motivated horny people can be, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a reality.

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Naturally, this news generated some concern from the flesh and blood prostitution industry, which has been operating successfully and lucratively since the dawn of civilization. They’ve basically had a monopoly, of sorts, on those who wanted to pay for sex. This is the first real competition they’ve had in centuries.

In Spain, prostitution is not illegal. Various activities associated with it are illegal, but for the most part, two consenting parties can have sex in exchange for money. This brothel changes that dynamic in a big way. It may also pave the way for a much bigger change in the near future.

From a pure business standpoint, this brothel is brilliant. These sex dolls are not alive. That means you don’t have to pay them. You don’t have to give them health benefits. You don’t have to worry about them getting pregnant. You don’t have to worry about them getting a disease. You don’t even have to worry about them quitting. They are, essentially, the perfect employee.

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That means that the brothel can offer sex at a rate that’s much lower than those offered by flesh and blood prostitutes. Like Walmart coming in and offering cheaper groceries, this brothel can offer a cheaper option to those who are lonely, horny, and in need of extra companionship.

Now you still get what you pay for in terms of quality. Like I said, sex dolls are not flesh and blood humans. Modern sex dolls feel pretty realistic, but they’re still clearly fake. Nobody is going to mistake the sex dolls at this brothel for real people.

However, that changes when the robots enter the equation. Sex doll maker, RealDoll, has announced that they’re working on a version of their product that can interact and respond to emotional cues. An early version may even be available at the end of this year. After that, all bets are off.

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As we’ve seen with everything from cars to smartphones, technology tends to evolve rapidly before our eyes. The first version is rarely that polished. This brothel certainly isn’t going to put the flesh and blood prostitution industry out of work anytime soon. Again, these are sex dolls and not robots. However, those robots are coming and the operator of the brothel foresees a very promising future.

They’re saying that these robot-dolls could change tourism as we know it as they continue to pop up at resorts around the world: “Like Barcelona’s, but with dolls enhanced by artificial intelligence, it’s reasonable to expect such holiday resorts could become popular tourist destinations.”

These aren’t some fanciful dreams of sci-fi writers or poorly-acted scenes from old reruns of Star Trek. This is happening and now, with the opening of this brothel, there’s a business model taking shape. History has shown us, time and again, that when there’s money to be made, we horny, ingenious humans find a way to make it happen.

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Should We Marry For Love? Wait What?!?!

Should we really marry the person we love? That’s not a rhetorical question. That’s not the beginning of some elaborate joke or rant either. It’s an actual, honest question that we, as a society, stopped asking very recently in the grand scheme of things.

As an erotica/romance writer, these kinds of questions are pretty darn relevant. The way people see love, marriage, sex, and everything in between shapes the novels I write. I’ve written several books thus far, but I’ve never really dealt with this question directly. Given the rate at which the concepts of marriage and love are changing, this question is pretty important.

So why is it relevant to begin with? Why should this be a controversial issue? Well, contrary to what registered republicans and the church would have us believe, the modern concept of traditional marriage isn’t that traditional.

In fact, for most of human history, marrying for love was the exception and not the norm. For some people, the very idea of marrying for love was an affront to marriage itself. There’s even an old Egyptian proverb that says:

“One who marries for love alone will have bad days, but good nights.”

Let that sink in for a moment. Up until very recently, and by recently I mean the 17th century in Europe, people didn’t marry for love. They married because it was just part of how old, pre-industrial societies worked. From Europe to China, most marriages were arranged by families. Sometimes, the bride and groom didn’t even meet each other until their wedding day.

This was because marriage was not seen as a romantic gesture. It was seen as a cooperative partnership, of sorts, between families. You didn’t marry your spouse as much as you married into their family. It was how pre-modern societies ensured a proper exchange of property, bloodlines, and procreation.

That’s not to say love was completely absent. Ideally, the hope was that a couple would marry first and then fall in love. It may seem backwards today, but that was the ideal espoused in the past.

Why was this? Why was love divorced from marriage, if that’s not too loaded a term? Well, there is a social and political reason for that, one that a brilliant woman named Stephanie Coontz articulates far better than I ever could. She explains:

In some cultures and times, true love was actually thought to be incompatible with marriage. Plato believed love was a wonderful emotion that led men to behave honorably. But the Greek philosopher was referring not to the love of women, “such as the meaner men feel,” but to the love of one man for another.

Other societies considered it good if love developed after marriage or thought love should be factored in along with the more serious considerations involved in choosing a mate. But even when past societies did welcome or encourage married love, they kept it on a short leash. Couples were not to put their feelings for each other above more important commitments, such as their ties to parents, siblings, cousins, neighbors, or God.

In ancient India, falling in love before marriage was seen as a disruptive, almost antisocial act. The Greeks thought lovesickness was a type of insanity, a view that was adopted by medieval commentators in Europe. In the Middle Ages the French defined love as a “derangement of the mind” that could be cured by sexual intercourse, either with the loved one or with a different partner.4 This cure assumed, as Oscar Wilde once put it, that the quickest way to conquer yearning and temptation was to yield immediately and move on to more important matters.

In China, excessive love between husband and wife was seen as a threat to the solidarity of the extended family. Parents could force a son to divorce his wife if her behavior or work habits didn’t please them, whether or not he loved her. They could also require him take a concubine if his wife did not produce a son. If a son’s romantic attachment to his wife rivaled his parents’ claims on the couple’s time and labor, the parents might even send her back to her parents. In the Chinese language the term love did not traditionally apply to feelings between husband and wife. It was used to describe an illicit, socially disapproved relationship. In the 1920s a group of intellectuals invented a new word for love between spouses because they thought such a radical new idea required its own special label.

In Europe, during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, adultery became idealized as the highest form of love among the aristocracy. According to the Countess of Champagne, it was impossible for true love to “exert its powers between two people who are married to each other.”

In twelfth-century France, Andreas Capellanus, chaplain to Countess Marie of Troyes, wrote a treatise on the principles of courtly love. The first rule was that “marriage is no real excuse for not loving.” But he meant loving someone outside the marriage. As late as the eighteenth century the French essayist Montaigne wrote that any man who was in love with his wife was a man so dull that no one else could love him.

It sounds as unromantic as it does unsexy, the idea that love is actually a liability in marriage, so much so that people in the past were shunned for loving their spouses too much. However, there is a context to consider.

These are pre-modern, pre-industrial, mostly-agrarian cultures where infant mortality is high, maternal mortality is high, and plagues are exceedingly common. Love, as anyone whoever listened to a Beatles song, is a very fickle emotion. It cannot be channeled, controlled, or changed. Some have tried, but most efforts fail. Just ask anyone who endured conversion therapy.

That kind of chaos just doesn’t fit in a society that is only one bad harvest or one nasty plague away from total collapse. These societies need to exert some level of social control in order to function.

Societies still change. Civilization, as we know it, changes with it. We no longer live in a society where such social control is necessary, but there are still plenty of societies all over the world where arranged, loveless marriages are common. Some will even claim that such marriages are better than love marriages.

It may sound ridiculous to the freedom-loving west, but think about it. Why go through the trouble of finding a spouse when your parents can just do it for you? Besides, who knows you better than your parents? Wouldn’t that save everyone a lot of time, energy, and heartbreak?

That last part wasn’t entirely sarcasm, but that’s the logic behind arranged marriages. The fact it’s still so prevalent all over the world indicates the logic isn’t entirely flawed. It also acknowledges that there are some fundamental issues with marrying for love.

As many writers far more accomplished than me have said, love is a very fickle emotion. It changes on a whim more than it lingers. You could love someone for 30 years and one day find someone else you love even more. It happens. That’s what love can do. That’s why it’s so scary/amazing/powerful.

There’s no doubt that marriage, as an institution, is destined to change even more than it already has. Every church, mosque, and synagogue may fight it. Every social conservative may oppose it. That still won’t stop it. The institution will keep changing, probably in ways that nobody, especially not an aspiring erotica/romance writer, can predict.

This brings me back to my original question. Should we marry for love? Should marriage even be connected to love? It’s as serious a question as anyone can ask, regardless of time period or generation. It’s also a question that we, as a society, will have to answer at some point in our lives. Let’s hope we answer it right.

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The Paradox Of Traditional Romance

The more I read and write about love, sex, and the elaborate hoops we jump through in order to get them, the more I notice something frustratingly profound. When it comes to love and sex, there is no normal. There is no true tradition. There is only the ever-evolving, constantly-adapting dynamics between lovers, love interests, and fuck buddies alike.

Human beings are such complex, diverse creatures. That’s a big reason why our stories about them are so elaborate and varied. I’ve written stories about repressive religious communities that engage in ritualistic orgies. I’ve written stories about strippers who find love in the never-ending party that is Las Vegas.

In each case, there are elements of what some people, namely those who watch too much Fox News, would call “non-traditional” behavior. Whether it’s in love or sex, these people and the mentality they embody represent a standard set of assumptions that we in the Western world cling to, despite any evidence or anecdote to the contrary. They cling to it so hard that it can openly conflict with the very nature that makes us human.

Now I’m not talking about the kinds of assumptions that lead to uptight religious leaders calling same-sex marriage a cause for terrorist attacks or old men thinking granting women equal rights will turn them into lesbians. Those assumptions are the product of one too many intimate encounters between a baseball bat and a skull. They can’t be taken seriously, nor can they be effectively debated.

The assumptions here involve our standard perceptions of sex and romance. Some call it the “standard model” and since I’ve used that term before, that’s the term I’ll keep using until someone comes up with something better/sexier. We all know about these assumptions to some degree. It goes like this:

  • Boy meets girl
  • Girl meets boy
  • Boy and girl fall in love
  • Boy and girl get permission from religion and government to legally have sex
  • Boy and girl move into together, start having babies, and become upstanding members of society
  • Boy and girl constantly struggle to avoid the urge to cheat one another with more exciting sex acts
  • Boy and girl do what they can to abide by societies expectations about how a married couple and family should behave

These assumptions are a big part of the narrative in “Sex At Dawn,” a book that continues to intrigue/arouse me with each chapter. In one of the early chapters, this book makes a keen observation that even my dirty mind missed. It’s an observation that’s so painfully obvious that you really do wonder if psychic lizard people are controlling our thoughts to make us think such crazy things.

If this traditional model of sex and romance is so natural, as many traditionalists claim, then why does it need all these elaborate legal, religious, and social institutions to reinforce it. If it’s so natural, then those protections wouldn’t be necessary, would it?

Think about it. There’s no need for a thought experiment this time. Look at all the elaborate tactics that religion, government, and society uses to preserve and reinforce the traditional model of romance and sex.

They make cheesy sitcoms. They make elaborate love songs. Entire countries even create this massive web of benefits for married couples that, until very recently, were reserved strictly for couples that stuck to the standard model of romance and sex.

This says nothing about the draconian extremes that religion went to in preserving this standard model of romance and sexuality. For some, just having laws, TV shows, and legal benefits wasn’t enough. Entire religions had to make this standard model of sex and romance a matter of spiritual importance. To go against it would be to go against an all-powerful deity that doesn’t want you using your genitals in a certain way.

Combine all that together and you start to see an odd pattern. This institution that’s supposed to be so “natural” needs all these elaborate traditions to protect it. It’s almost as if these traditions are not at all conducive to mankind’s natural inclinations for love and sex. If I could say that with any more sarcasm, I would.

Now some will claim that these traditions are necessary because mankind is naturally rebellious and immoral. Hell, that claim is the basis for no less than three major religions in this world. However, if you think about it just a little bit more than any priest or mullah ever dared, you should be able to see the flaws in that logic.

Take a moment to channel your inner Mother Nature. Pretend for a moment you’re programming a successful species from scratch. Why the hell would you install a program that makes the species rebellious and deviant? You want them to survive and reproduce, right? Making them rebellious just means you’re giving them a mechanism to defy the very goals you established in the first place.

That’s not to say that some people don’t have faulty wiring in their brains and their biology. Some really are naturally deviant, rebellious, and arrogant to a point where they get their own reality show on Fox. Those individuals are a byproduct of the diversity that every species have, daring to venture into uncharted territories to pave the way for others. They’re supposed to be the exception and not the norm.

What the assumptions surrounding the standard model of romance and sex do is invert that dynamic. It creates the impression that the norm is the exception. All those powerful mechanisms that urge us to love, hump, and cooperate in ways that make Catholic Bishops cry at night are scolded and shamed. The only way to subvert them is to create entire traditions and cultures that warp peoples’ mind into believing these assumptions.

It is a romantic paradox in many respects. We claim this standard model of romance that is the basis of so many Shakespeare plays and boy band songs is natural, but it still needs all these protections and traditions to propagate.

It’s enough to make you wonder what will happen as these traditions and assumptions fade. It’s another interesting thought experiment, but one I’ll have to hold off on until I finish “Sex At Dawn” in its entirety.

It’s already giving me many interesting ideas for the kinds of sexy love stories that may fly in the face of everything Stephanie Meyer ever wrote, but these are ideas worth exploring. When our love lives and our sex lives are involved, the stakes are pretty damn high. If my erotica/romance novels can flesh out those ideas, then that’s a worthy endeavor if ever there was one.

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The Age Of (Sex) Robots Is Upon Us!

After this week, I imagine everyone is sick of politics, elections, and even democracy in general. People, I share your pain and frustration. I’m sick of it too. There’s not enough whiskey and comics in the world dull my frustration with American politics this year.

With that in mind, I’d like to talk about something far less controversial and far less frustrating. I’d like to talk about something that is fun, apolitical, and relevant for everyone. So what could possibly fit all those criteria? What could possibly unite the internet in a positive way for an aspiring erotica/romance writer? I admit I struggled with this question. Then, it came to me.

One word: blowjobs.

I can’t think of anything that isn’t dipped in chocolate that inspires more unity and joy in people. Let’s face it, you could be having the worst day of your life, but if it ended with a blowjob (or a thorough oral excavation in the sacred valley for the ladies), that day will feel that much better.

So in our unity over the joys of oral sex, I’d like to bring robots into the equation. No, that’s not a non-sequiter. No, I’m not trying to kill the mood. There’s a reason I’m bringing robots into this conversation. It’s the same reason we bring robots into a lot of conversations these days. We usually bring them up when they’re about to enslave us and/or make something better and more efficient. I’m here to talk about the latter.

I’ve already talked about sex and robots before on this blog. I’ll likely talk about them again because chances are, one of my future erotica/romance novels will feature a sexy robot of some sorts. I know myself. At some point, this is going to happen for me. It’s only a matter of time and energy.

However, before my perverse imagination can craft a steamy erotica/romance story around sexy robots, the real world will need to catch up. Believe it or not, the world is farther along than you think. What do I mean by that?

I mean there’s a café opening in Switzerland where customers can come in, get a couple of coffee, and then get a blowjob from a robot prostitute if they want. No, this is not the plot of some low-budget softcore porn on Cinemax. This is real. This is actually happening.

It used to be a joke, a future where we would start having sex with robots. I still remember a time when the thought of having sex with a robot was akin to talking dirty with C-3PO form Star Wars. It didn’t have that much appeal, even to comic book nerds like me. Now, robotics has advanced to a point where robots can give us blowjobs. It’s an amazing thought with some pretty profound possibilities.

The fine folks at ThinkTank even did a piece on this. Granted, their tone was somewhat humored and full of dirty jokes. I can’t say I blame them though. Those things are bound to happen whenever we start talking about blowjobs, but I think there’s a more serious issue here that we can’t ignore.

Robots are rapidly advancing. The pace of technology is advancing as well. With Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, we’ve already allowed robots into our homes to some extent. These robots don’t have mouths, butts, penises, or vaginas yet, but I’m pretty sure someone is working on that in a lab as we speak.

This means it’s likely that within our lifetime, we’ll see a robot, male and female, that will be a fully functional sex partner. This partner will be programmable, capable of catering to our whims in needs in ways that no human ever could. Robots, by their nature, are not bound by the same limits as fleshy, frail humans. That means that, theoretically speaking, they could be vastly superior lovers in every way.

Think about it. For men, that means having a lover that never ages, never gets moody, never cheats (unless you want her to), and doesn’t complain when you want to try something you read about in 50 Shades of Grey. For women, the benefits are the same, but these lovers also never need Viagra, never fall asleep after five minutes, and never skip the foreplay. They are, quite literally, the ultimate lovers.

This café in Switzerland is just the first step. It may seem crude now. The robots they’ll use probably won’t look like Kate Hudson or Megan Fox. To us, it’ll be a novelty reserved for a select few. If you think that makes it a fad, consider the following. Cell phones used to be reserved for Wall Street tycoons and drug kingpins. Also, they looked like this.

Now, cell phones are so ubiquitous and cheap that people in third-world countries can have the same cell phone model that Wall Street types have, albeit theirs probably aren’t plated in gold. In some cases, a cell phone is as cheap as a cup of coffee and works a billion times better than the old models of the 1980s.

That’s only 30 years worth of technological advancement. Now apply that to sex robots. Right now, we’ve got robots that can give people blowjobs along with their lattes. That’s not much, but fast forward 30 years and dare yourself to speculate. What kind of sex robots will be on the market by then? How cheap and accessible will they be? What kind of features will they have?

It’s hard to say. Even my dirty imagination can’t contemplate every lurid possibility, but I’ll certainly try in one of my future novels. Whatever comes of my novels, we may look back on this day when robots began giving blowjobs as an important historical event. The day when sex robots finally began to please us in ways we cannot do for one another is surely a day that will change the course of human history.

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The Sex That Alters Your State Of Mind (Yes, It Involves BDSM)

Let’s face it. We all have bad days. We all go through periods in our lives when we wish we could just alter our state of mind. I’ve come home from a long, arduous day wishing I could just bang my head against the wall until my brain matter reconfigures itself into a state that’s less miserable. It rarely works, but it’s not like we have much to work with.

Sure, there are mind-altering drugs, but the legal varieties only go so far. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a few glasses of whiskey or a six-pack of beer like anyone else, but between hangovers and lung cancer, there are plenty of risks. The risks for the more potent, but illegal drugs are even greater. Despite these risks, the desire to alter our state of mind is still strong because some days will just be that bad.

Surely, there’s some way of getting to an altered state of mine. Surely, there’s a way that’s legal and doesn’t involve damaging our liver, lungs, and brain. If we’re to believe that nature isn’t stupid and understands that human beings need to re-arrange their brain matter every now and then, then surely it has a natural way for us to do so.

It turns out that such a way exists. It’s legal, but it’s not something you can do on a school playground. It’s natural, but it sometimes involves accessories that aren’t found in nature. It also has an abundance of instruction material, some of which I’ve written.

Yes, I’m talking about BDSM, or Bondage, Domination/Submission, and Masochism. Yes, this is going to be another one of those articles.

I’ve written about it before. I’ve even incorporated it into some of my books. We already know, surprisingly enough, that BDSM has health benefits. We also know that BDSM played a big part in the creation of Wonder Woman. Surely something that helped create an icon like Wonder Woman has merit.

Well, it may actually have more than just merit. It may actually do more than just do more than just improve your mental health. At this point, I don’t think BDSM needs any more appeal. I think the success of “50 Shades of Grey” and the babies born as a result of it have proven that beyond any reasonable doubt.

Despite this, nature decides to go for broke and gives it yet another benefit. It turns out it can actually alter your state of mind. It can do for your mind what a cocktail of illicit drugs and alcohol also do, but with less damaging side-effects. Nature isn’t usually this overt so I think we better listen.

So what exactly is going on here? How is it that BDSM can significantly alter your mental state in a way that doesn’t involve risking a raid by the DEA? Well, the fine folks at ThinkTank lay it out once again. As is often the case with issues of intimacy and sex, it follows a perverse, but understandable line of logic.

One of the key components of BDSM involves stressing the mind and body in ways that don’t typically happen at the office, in the fields, or in the mines. It can turn the powerful into the weak and the weak into the powerful. It can take a mind from one extreme to another and back again.

Think about it for a moment, but in a way that won’t require clean underwear. You come home stressed. You’re upset, anxious, and unable to relax. Then, your lover enters the room. He or she offers to tie you up, lay you out, and make it so you can’t focus on any of the crap that’s stressing you out.

Or maybe your lover has a different approach. Maybe he or she enters the room in handcuffs wearing nothing but a mask, a gag, and leather boots. They offer you a chance to dominate and control them in ways that you can’t do in any other aspect of your life. Can you see how that would be a powerful rush for someone?

It’s a power that can affect both men and women alike. Both genders can be submissive. Both genders can be dominate. Both can do so in their own unique way, crafting their own unique strategy. It gives everyone the power to mold their own experience. That’s something you’re just not going to get with whiskey, cigarettes, or other illicit drugs.

If we’re going to apply this to caveman logic, as I’m prone to do on this blog, we can see why this mind-altering appeal is there in the first place. Our brains are not precise tools. They’re blunt instruments. That’s why they’re prone to malfunction in bizarre ways. That’s also why they’re prone to have multiple types of orgasms.

It’s because the brain is wired for both pleasure and pain that BDSM has a naturally broad impact. It takes a mind to multiple extremes, from pleasure to pain, in a very intimate setting. Being such a crude instrument, that’s bound to alter someone’s mental state. It’s also bound to impact brain chemistry, hence the mental health impact.

This means that feelings like love, intimacy, pleasure, and pain are all going to be mixed into one potent pool of experience. Our brains, being so crude, aren’t equipped to process every one of them individually all at once. There’s bound to be some mixing and mashing going on. There’s bound to be a flood of chemical cocktails swarming around in our brain matter. Like the chemical cocktails we drink, smoke, or inject, it alters our state of mind.

Like any mind-altering experience, chemical or otherwise, it can be abused and misused. People can overdue it. People can get hurt. Then again, people can drink too much and get hung over. People can smoke too much and get lung cancer. It all comes down to moderation and understanding what you’re doing. Like being a mechanic or a brain surgeon, it helps to learn and refine your craft.

I like to think I offer some help with my books, but I understand that only goes so far. As BDSM becomes more mainstream, the taboo that keeps people from exploring it will become less an issue. If people can more freely discuss their intimate needs, then I say that’s a net benefit, especially to those exploring their kinky side.

There’s still a ways to go. We’re still not at a place when we can openly discuss how we like being tied up or what sort of whips we enjoy without getting awkward glares at Starbucks. We’re on our way though and I do hope some of my books will help with that. Using BDSM to enter an altered state is just one of the many benefits that our capacity for intimacy offers. On top of that, the side-effects are way less painful than hangovers.

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