VIP Interview With Mistress Couple – A Guide To Bondage!

The adultsmart community blog is honored to welcome Mistress Couple the Head Mistress of La Domaine Esemar the world’s oldest BDSM training facility.  Mistress couple is also the author of The Ultimate Guide Series and most recently released her book titled The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy Through The Art Of Restraint from Cleis Press.

Welcome Mistress Couple.  Let’s get straight into it – how did you first get involved in the BDSM scene?

When I was 24, I was involved in what I considered to be my first adult sexual relationship. My partner at the time was wonderful at communicating about his fantasies and boundaries, and our chemistry was the best I had experienced up until that point. For my 25th birthday, I got up the courage to ask him for an over-the-knee spanking — something that I had been fantasizing about for a long time. He agreed to the act, but after we got home from a lovely birthday dinner and I bent over his knee, he panicked. “I just can’t hit a woman,” he said. I was crushed!!! The next evening, I went out to a bar for a “Ladies’ Night” with some of my girlfriends. They all knew that we had this birthday spanking planned and asked how it went. When I told them that my partner was unable to follow through with it, many of them commiserated. At the end of the evening, my little sister’s best friend waited until everyone left, and walked me to my car. “You know,” she said, “if you’re serious about that spanking I know somewhere you can go.” That friend is now a world renowned dominatrix known as Mistress Blunt. At the time, she was secretly training at La Domaine Esemar. She brought me there for my first BDSM party, and by the end of the first night, I knew that La Domaine was to play a major part in my personal and sexual development.

You are now known as a world renowned Mistress – but that was not always the case.  You entered the scene as a slave.  How did you make the transition?

By my second day at La Domaine Esemar, I felt a deep connection and bond with Master R and Mistress Collette. I offered myself to them as a slave, and they accepted me. However, before they did, they told me that they saw that I had a great capacity for dominance and asked if I wanted to be a Mistress-in-Training. At the time, I was very naturally submissive and had a very hard time seeing myself as a Domme. It was because of the duality that they saw in me that they named me “Couple.” At the time, I was a professional ballroom dancer, and I was told that just as I learned the follower’s parts before the leader’s parts on the dance floor, I’d do the same in the dungeon. When ballroom dancers go into competition, we all wear numbers on our backs to identify us to the judges. My complete slave name was “Couple Number 69.” Through the course of exploring my submission, many misconceptions that I had about Dominance were dispelled (primarily that it was all about punishment or being mean). Eventually, I found myself attracted to a woman who was more submissive than I, and she was able to draw out my inner dominance. I soon realized that I was going to need a lot of help in growing into this role, and at that point I became a Mistress-in-Training at La Domaine.

Domme Couple

What is your definition of a slave and how they prepare for that role?

First of all, I think that it is imperative that people understand that a person should only be called “slave” if they choose the title or consent to it. In BDSM, a slave is someone who offers their autonomy to their Dominant. Each Dominant has different goals for their slaves, so preparation for the position varies depending on the couple. I require that all of my slaves strip naked upon entering my home, that they don’t wear perfume or deodorant that will cover up their natural scent, and that they practice a series of mantras and training positions so that they’re able to serve me efficiently. Many of them also have sexual assignments such as edging or chastity training.

How do you define your role as a Mistress?

I would define myself as a leader, healer, caregiver, and mentor. I like to call myself a shamanatrix , because I help my submissives to reach altered states of consciousness and learn about themselves through the exploration of BDSM. The most common comment that I get in response to people finding out that I am a dominatrix is “But you’re so nice!!!” I think that’s a common misconception that people have—that you cannot be nice and also be a good Dominant. Another common misconception is that Mistresses should always punish and never reward their slaves. People are always telling me that I’m too kind to my slaves. I think that’s ridiculous. If they were never rewarded for good behavior, why would they want to serve me? To me, without the appreciation, the rewards, and the positive reinforcement, BDSM just turns into abuse.

You are now the Head Mistress of the world famous La Domaine Esemar featured in press such as Cosmopolitan, Netfilx, The Huffington Post, People, and so many more.  An esteemed position – how did you manage to secure it?

I think that I was always meant for this position. Three years prior to becoming the Head Mistress of La Domaine, I had a premonition about it during a meditation session. At the time, I was still very submissive so I pushed it out of mind and dismissed it as merely a fantasy. I’m still not quite sure how the rest happened! Sometimes life takes you on unexpected adventures.

La Domaine Chateau

You are also a pretty good dancer and hold a degree in choreography.  Do you incorporate that in your role playing?

Oh yes! I absolutely love working dance into my training in as many ways as possible. Be it position training for submissives, a trampling tango CBT session, feminization or sissification ballet classes, learning to walk in heels, etc. My experience as a ballroom dance instructor has also proven to be incredibly useful in couples instruction or BDSM coaching sessions. It’s all about learning to communicate clearly and with ideal intent.

You have invented a ‘new form’ of dance called the ‘Tangle’.  What can you tell us about that?

Tangle is not exactly a new form of dance. It’s a class that teaches tango through the lense of power exchange and bondage. Early on in my professional ballroom dancing career, I noticed that the traditional gender roles for leaders and followers did not suit everyone. (Go figure!) This class gets rid of the gender binary and allows all folks who identify as Dominant to be leaders, and all folks who identify as submissive to be followers. Believe it or not, people learn to dance much more quickly when they’re in the role that they identify with! Some of the class activities involve learning non-verbal leading and following through leash training, practicing the tango rhythm by spanking each other, using blindfolds to establish trust, and binding the bodies together in order to reinforce connection. The class definitely makes a wonderful date night activity.

You have recently completed writing a book.  What inspired you undertake this task?

Honestly, a magical moment. I was on vacation in New Orleans, which is my spiritual/social second home. I was at breakfast with some friends and casually mentioned that perhaps now that I was 30 years old it was time for me to write a book. I didn’t think anything else of it, but at 3 PM that day, there was an email from Cleis Press in my inbox, asking if I would be interested in submitting a proposal for The Ultimate Guide to Bondage!I was flabbergasted. I saw it as a sign from the matriarchs of New Orleans, submitted my proposal,  and never looked back.

Available December 11, 2018

There are many BDSM and bondage guides and books available.  What sets yours apart from the rest?

This book really is the “Ultimate Guide.” In today’s BDSM community, there is a surplus of rope bondage and rope suspension images, instructors, workshops, etc. Unfortunately, what I have found is that knot tying can be incredibly intimidating to novice bondage practitioners. I’ve seen countless people have one frustrating experience with rope and decide that bondage isn’t for them. There are so many other forms of bondage, from mental bondage, which requires no equipment at all, to fashion bondage such as corsets and hobble skirts, mummification using bondage tape or even saran wrap… and many of them are covered in the book. I would say that only about 20% of the book is about rope bondage, the rest of the book contains information about safety, theory, the psychology behind why people are attracted to bondage activities, exploration of various types of bondage, and even some wonderful erotic essays that lend insight into participating in bondage activities.

Having looked through the book there were many pictures or images that really made it easy to follow.  Did you oversee the imagery?

I am so glad to hear that! Yes, I oversaw the imagery which was created by two of my very talented friends. Emily Dorr did the beautiful illustration, bringing some of the concepts of the book to life. I think that the first time I saw the images that she created was the first time that I thought “Wow—this is going to be a REAL book!” The photographs in the book were taken by my friend Kiki Vassilakis. That photoshoot might have been the most fun thing I have ever done! For 2 nights, we turned the La Domaine dungeon into a photo studio. I invited over about 25 of my friends, broke them up into teams, and assigned each team a few of the tutorials. We listened to music, ate great food, and created some amazing images! Creating these images together was incredibly inspiring, and having a variety of perspectives allowed us to think outside of the box and create some groundbreaking bondage images. After the photoshoot, I stopped calling The Ultimate Guide to Bondage “MY book,” and started calling it “a book that I created with the help of my community.” I am so grateful to all those who participated.

What are you most proud of in writing this guide?

Finishing it. This project was certainly the biggest undertaking of my life, and I was still running La Domaine Esemar, hosting, teaching, and sessioning while writing it! I am also very proud of some of the new ideas and perspectives on bondage that I presented. I hope that I’ve made some valuable contributions to the understanding and acceptance of bondage enthusiasts.

Is your book aimed at the newbies to give them insight into BDSM or the hardcore participants?

This book has a little something for everyone. The tutorials are simple enough for a beginner to complete, but unique enough that they might pique an expert practitioner’s interest (balloon encasement, predicament bondage, and even ice locks are covered). This book covers 10 different areas of bondage (Japanese Rope Bondage, Device Bondage, Objectification Bondage, Mental Bondage, Costume Bondage, Sensation Bondage, Sensory Deprivation, Fetish Bondage, Physically Stressful Bondage, and Self-Bondage). Even if someone is an expert in one or even a few of these areas, there are still a variety of new approaches and applications for them to explore.

What do you most enjoy about power play in BDSM role play?

To me, BDSM is not role play, it is my sexuality and an expression of my personality. The thing that I love most about power exchange is that by choosing to assume or relinquish control with a trusted partner, people can access the deepest, most secret and sacred parts of their sexualities. I have gotten to know myself much more than ever before through practicing BDSM.

When you get stressed or tired – what is the downtime activity that grounds you?

This depends on whether I want to be in a Dominant headspace or a submissive headspace while I am relaxing. If I want to be in a Dominant headspace, I cook. Cooking requires a lot of executive functions such as organization, problem solving, and multitasking, but it also gives me the opportunity to engage my senses. By smelling, tasting, feeling, seeing, and even listening to my food as it is cooking, I am honing the same skills that I use to read my submissives during a BDSM scene. I find it to be a relaxing, meditative, and incredibly sensual activity. If I am in a mood that precipitates a more submissive approach, I go out social dancing in the role of a follower. I just turn off my brain, and let the music and my dance partner guide my body around the room. It really is sweet surrender!

As well as offering [play] sessions at La Domaine, there are training sessions, too.  What does a training session incorporate?

Training sessions are for individuals, couples, and polycules up to 6 people. These sessions are instructional in nature and cover a variety of BDSM topics from relationship structuring to bondage to impact play, and beyond. They can be talk-based or technique-based.

There are many fetishes that fall under BDSM.  Are there any that you would not personally explore and what is your favorite?

There are plenty fetishes that I would not personally explore, but I’m not going to put them on blast because there is so much shame and stigma associated with fetishes and I do not want to contribute to that. As far as my favorite fetishes go, balloons, shoes, feathers, and leather are at the top of my list. To learn more about my balloon fetish, check out the erotic essay portion at the end of the book!

To purchase the Ultimate Guide to Bondage by Mistress Couple click on the book image above!!!

VIP Interview With Angela Lieben – Brand Ambassador Liberator!

VIP Interview

The adultsmart lifestyle community blog is proud to have with us today Angela Lieben.  Angela is a ‘pleasure activist’ who is in charge of Public Relations and Marketing for the world famous Liberator Brand that creates Bedroom Adventure Gear.  Liberator is well-known for their hand-crafted USA made intimacy furniture that enhances love-making for the ability to innovate positional lovemaking.  The brand focuses on bettering sexual relations and is highly recommended as an aid for people with mobility or physical impairments.

 

A big hello to you Angela.  We will start with the big questions first.  Tell me something that not everyone knows about you?

It’s my pleasure to take part in your interview. Thank you for inviting me to share my story.

A lot of people think my life revolves around sex, sex, sex and it does. But my first true passion and pleasure is cars, especially vintage! My dad was an import car specialist and he taught me all about foreign automobiles. I spent a lot of my summer vacations hanging around his shop. He eventually taught me how to change the oil in a 1972 Ferrari 365 Daytona. My husband is amazed at my ability to clock any car’s make and model at a glance.

I would love to get my hands on a vintage VW Karmann Ghia (or a 1969 Camaro RS) and do part of the restoration myself. There’s is something about the smell of gasoline and whir of an engine that really turns me on!

You have had quite a history in the adult industry.  I would love to explore some of them in more detail? You are a filmmaker, produced documentaries and also done the make-up for adult movies.  What motivated you to get into this genre?

My dream of working in the adult industry started an early age.

In 6th grade, I was assigned a project of “What You Want to Do When You Grow Up.” It was one of the most exciting projects ever in my young life. My first plan of action was to scour through my dad’s collection “girly” magazines—like Easy Rider, Playboy, Oui, and Penthouse. I spent days methodically cutting and pasting all the pretty, naked women posing with their products on my colorful poster board. The ladies were well-placed and represented my idea of working in the sex industry. But dad was not so pleased when he noticed his magazines were missing a few pages.

I was excited about sharing my hopes and dreams with my class and teacher. Sitting through what felt like hours, my classmates showed off their pursuits of working for the State Department or the FBI or the CIA. (I went to a State Department school.) Bemused, I sat patiently for my turn. I was confident and self-assured that everyone would be happy to see that I was different and going places other than the police academy.

Finally, my name was called. Standing in front of the class, I took a deep breath and shamelessly unfurled my poster and held it up proudly! “I want to work with sexy people,” I stated. (Audible gasps!)

First—nothing but silence. Then suddenly a torrent of nervous, tittering laughter. My poster of beautiful women was instantly snatched from my hands and I was roughly escorted from the classroom. My teacher was not amused, and to find out, neither was the school principal.

My mother, however; was proud of my project and defended my right to dream.

She said to me afterward, “If you’re going to work in the sex industry, then be the best you can be!” She recently told me that she is proud of all the work I’ve been doing.

Here is a chance for a bit of a plug!  Can you give us a list of some of the productions you were involved in?

I was the executive producer for a documentary called the Art of Fetish by Laurence Gartel. It was supposed to air on HBO, but nothing ever happened. From what I understand, the production is still in the can. I spent hours with the artist lining up people who live the BDSM lifestyle in Atlanta and we filmed scenes that featured everything from sploshing to bloodletting to flogging and orgies. People were really eager to share their kinks on film. There was a book released called the Art of Fetish which is available online at Schiffer books.

Angela Lieben Fetish
Fetish Book

I also produced, shot and edited a short documentary called Lightworship. It was for an art opening that I was curating at the Paradigm Art Space in Atlanta. I followed the renowned fetish photographer Victor around for a few months and filmed him working in the studio and darkroom. I’m very proud of that documentary—although I have no idea where the footage is today. I was one of the first people to ever “live-stream” the Lightworship event on the internet. (This was back when we were still using dial-up services.)

You also have owned your own erotic art gallery (Friction Art Gallery) in Atlanta.  Tell us a bit more about that?

I live for erotic art and being around creative people. The financial success and media coverage of Lightworship was the impetus for opening Friction Gallery. There were so many amazing fetish artists and photographers not being represented because they were deemed too dark. So, I thought, “what the fuck! I’m going to create a space.” Friction Gallery not only had a monthly art show, we also hosted a series of seminars focused on the BDSM community. Even back in 1999, I knew that BDSM and bondage would one day become mainstream. So, I was not surprised when 50 Shades hit the market.

Friction Gallery was unique in that the shows were invitation only. This concept worked in getting people interested in coming to not only see the art but purchase it too. I created a private space where people would not feel judged for looking at “dirty pictures.”

 

And to top it all off a sex educator and sex toy tester.  Which do you enjoy more?

I never thought in a million years that I would be a sex toy tester! That’s partly because sex toys were not as evolved as they are today when I first started writing about sex. I first started with Liberator five years ago and owned two vibrators (you know the plastic/jelly kind that takes batteries). Now, I have a collection of 200 sex toys altogether. You name it—I have it!  I enjoy testing sex toys and then sharing my experiences with others in an educational way.

 

Podcast Interview Liberator
Angela Lieben Podcast Interview

 

You are vocal about sex-positivity yet so many people get confused with its meaning.  What does it mean to you?

There is a lot of confusion surrounding the sex-positive movement. For me, being sex positive simply means being open to all expressions of sexual pleasure. Basically not yucking someone else’s yum.  What may feel good to one person may not do it for the next. Just because someone gets off on sucking on their partner’s toes does not mean they are deviant or bad. We should never be labeled or judged for enjoying the things that make us feel good. Also, I believe respecting our partner’s boundaries, as well as our own, is an essential component to being sex positive. And that also means getting and confirming consent!

You have your own blog called the pleasure activist.  Do you enjoy sharing your journey and advice on it?

 

The Liberator UnZipped blog was what started it for me. I thought, “why should I give my best ideas out when I can write them on my own blog.” When I first started my blog, I was a bit reticent about sharing my experiences. Part of that reason was that I went through a terrible breakup with a man who used my sexual history against me in court. But then I realized—who the fuck cares? My journey could actually help someone. There was another reason too—there are so many sex blogs now regurgitating the same information over and over. To stand out amongst the noise, I had to start incorporating personal anecdotes into my narrative. I love being authentic and laying it all out there. The writing is cathartic for me and has really helped me heal through some personal traumas.

Angela Lieben
Pleasure Activist Blog

 

What is the best piece of sexual advice you would give?

Please, get out of your head! As humans, we are our own worst critic. Stop listening to that judgemental inner-voice that says —Ewww! Sex is the one area of your life where you can be creative—whether it’s playing out fantasies or trying something you saw in a porn video. Release your inner critic and throw caution to the wind. You never know what pleasure you’ll find lurking inside your imagination. Do what makes your tail wag!

 

 

A career with the established and esteemed Liberator brand.  How did that come about?

I was working at a neuropsychology center and was extremely unsatisfied. I felt like an imposter because I could not be myself. But living in Atlanta, careers in the sexual wellness industry are limited. So, one day I called the CEO (Louis Friedman) and left him a voicemail saying, “you should hire me because your company needs it!” He called me back about an hour later and asked, “when can you come in?” I sat with him for about two hours sharing my ideas on content and marketing strategies. He and I clicked and have been working together ever since.

 

What is the best thing about being Liberators PR and Marketing manager?

Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask, “is this real?” I love having a career in this industry and being able to use my marketing background. Every day is different and I am honored being the voice of such a famous brand! The main part of my job is developing content for the blog, copy for the website, and our email newsletters. I basically have my hands in everything from web development, content creation, art direction, erotic workshops—you name it, I do it. But the best part connecting with Liberator customers via social media. I feel that in order for any brand to be successful, you have to connect with customers on a personal level and communicate with them and share ideas. An added bonus, however; is I get to help with product new designs and testing them with my husband.

If you could describe what it is that makes Liberator a much loved (pardon the pun) company to consumers?

We put a lot of love into all of our products. Everyone who works here counts and plays an integral role in creating a product that is meant to enhance sex on all levels. There is a lot of thought and consideration that goes into every collection. For Liberator, we want to truly make a difference in people’s sex lives. Whether it’s helping with mobility or having a deeper, intimate connection with a lover, our products truly stand the test of time. Manufacturing Liberator in the USA gives us greater control over the product quality.

 

You were bullied as a teenager.  How did you overcome that?

Bullying is no joke! I am thankful for coming of age at a time when the internet and social media did not exist. There were days when I truly wanted to become invisible. My mother was the one person who helped me overcome the pain and trauma of being relentlessly bullied. She empathized with what was happening because she too was bullied when she was a teenager for being a refugee from East Germany. She taught me that it does not matter what anyone thinks and that I was meant to do great things with my life. She said that “the Lieben’s are tough and strong —and this time is only temporary.” Being reminded of the impermanence of life helped me push through and become the strong woman I am today.

Ange on Porn Set
Angie Lieben

Being labeled ‘a slut’ in your earlier years must have been difficult.  How has that motivated you being an advocate for women’s issues?

The word SLUT, when said out loud, has a very powerful effect. That one syllable word feels like a gut punch it’s being hurled at you! Whether it’s being whispered or yelled, the impact is always the same. It’s even more challenging for teenager girls who are still trying to figure out sexuality.

What I realize now, and wish I knew back then, is that slut used to demean—make someone feel small and bad for exploring sexuality. What I find appalling is men can sleep with a shit ton of women and they are labeled as STUD!

I want young girls and women to know there is absolutely nothing wrong in exploring sexuality. There is nothing wrong in having control over your own sexuality. Sex is power, especially for women. The ancient Greeks honored women for possessing sexual power! They held them to a higher standard. So, now when someone slut shames a woman—they are basically recognizing and acknowledging that inner power.

 

So, now when anyone calls me a slut—I tell them “thank you!”

Who do you most admire and why?

Hands down—Amber Rose. She’s a powerhouse and is unapologetic for the choices she’s made throughout her career. On top of that, she is extremely intelligent and not afraid to speak out about issues facing women today. There is a spark in her eye and personality that says, “don’t mess with me.” What I also love about her most the massive call-to-action with the Los Angeles SlutWalk. I went a few years ago and the energy was positively overwhelming. She is a warrior and is leading the charge for change in the way we view slut-shaming. God, I wish I could be more like her and not be so introverted.

 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

That’s really hard to say! I’m working on a few projects right now. One is a book aimed at teenage girls and sexual self-discovery. The other a podcast with my husband. A lot can happen between now and 10 years—I see myself being surprised and grateful for all the opportunities. But in all honesty, I see myself being the CEO of a luxury sex to brand!

 

Once again thanks again for taking the time to do this interview with us.  I know that your time is extremely tight and valuable being the busy woman that you are.  We hope to catch up again with you sometime in the near future as your answers are both enlightening and honest.

VIP Interview Darren Michaels – Flipside Erotica!

Flipside Adult Stories

I’d like to thank you for agreeing to this interview. I’m quite intrigued by your work. You’re an acclaimed erotic novelist having won an Independent Publisher Award in 2010, and you currently have two books to your series Flip Side Erotica. Now, in a world full of smut and erotic stories, your books are unique in the sense that you tell the same erotic story twice, once from the female perspective, and once from the male perspective. You get your inspiration for these stories from your own sexual adventures, as well as your own imagination, often concerning people you know, have met and detailing the wicked adventures that you’d like to have with them.

 

You’ve mentioned that you’d been writing erotic stories for some time before you decided to publish your book. Why did you start writing Erotica in the first place?

I always has a desire for a creative outlet, but I learned that I am a terrible artist even though my father excels at this sort of thing.  I did do some creative writing as far back as grade school but in a typical structured school environment I was not really given the right guidance at the right time.  It was something that I had to explore on my own at a later date in life instead of developing along the way early in life.

As the story goes, my first attempt at this stemmed from a bet with a former lover of mine.  We were very casual in our relationship, but the sexual chemistry was off the charts.  One night early in our pseudo-relationship she called me and asked what I was doing.  I was knee deep in the middle of nothing at the moment, and knew if she was calling me there was probably a specific reason and that I was going to like it.  She informed me she had recently gotten a romance novel that she wanted to read to me; I wasn’t terribly interested in a “Prince on white horse rescues Princess and makes love to her in a field of daisies kind of story”, but I figured there was sex in the near future so I went over to her place.

I was way off base; the story was not anything like I had imagined, it was a rough and hot sex scene.  It really was a turn on in general, but more so that she was reading it to me in that context.  The build-up, anticipation, and final act were well crafted and painted such a great picture it was downright artistic.  We tore each other apart after that, an amazing night of passionate sex fuelled by this one passage in this book.  Afterwards we were lying in bed together and I made some comment about how I would like to write stories like the one she had just read.  She laughed out loud at me; stating “you can’t just make stuff like this up, these people go to school to be writers.  You are kidding yourself.”  I took it as a challenge.   We made a bet (the details of which I have yet to reveal publicly) and I was given one week to write an erotic story.

I had never done anything like this, but I was determined to not only win the bet, but to become the artist I had always longed to be.  I sat down in front of my laptop and the words just flowed out of me; like a dam had broke.  I could barely type fast enough to keep up with my thoughts.  It was a liberating and fulfilling experience in and of itself.  A week later I turned in my homework.

She read the story, which was about the two of us, without so much as a reaction throughout the pages.  I thought I had bombed.  Finally, she finished, and I was waiting uncomfortably for my C- grade.  However, when our eyes met it was clear I had hit my mark.  “Take off your clothes” was all she said to me…

From that moment on, I would write erotic stories.  I would share them with other women just to make sure I wasn’t being graded by a biased audience.  It was clear that women loved the idea that I could express myself in this manner, were very aroused at the prospect of having an experience similar to what they were reading.  I wasn’t some fictional character; I was the guy at the next cubicle over or who goes to the same gym as they do.  This in turn lead itself to more “adventures” and more material to write more stories, this cycle continued for nearly a decade.

Erotica From Both Perspectives
Erotic Flipside Fiction

You participated in an interview many years ago where you spoke about the difference between Erotica and Porn, where sensuality was mentioned, and you spoke about erotica being classier, and written with a broader audience, particularly women, in mind. With the mainstream uptake of books such as Fifty Shades of Grey – What are your personal thoughts on the differences between Erotica and Porn, and has your personal definitions changed over this time?

There are good and bad things about the story I am about to share.  It is my personal history, I don’t cast blame or believe this has had too many ill effects, but it not ideal for most people in most cases.  When I was 16, my parents went away for a long weekend, taking my sister with them.  It was my first weekend alone ever, and the warning I kept getting was “NO parties!”.  Little did they know what really was in store for that weekend.  For several years, my neighbour had always told me someday she was going to do me a huge favour.  As an awkward teenager I probably did nothing but giggle, not really knowing what she meant.  This was the weekend I would find out what that really meant.

I’ll spare the nitty gritty details, but suffice to say I spent a weekend going to school in the sexual realm.  She was a very patient and understanding of my lack of knowledge.  We talked, we experimented, she showed me exactly how to be an attentive lover by example.  I was very intimidated at the time, but I also knew that this was something that would have tremendous impact on my understanding of sex.  I remember her saying that every woman I am with in the future should write her a thank you note; I cannot disagree with that statement.  Far too many men learn about sex through porn and/or listening to other men bullshit and brag.  Neither is accurate or helpful.

 

What was the inspiration that led you to the idea – hey, I should share these stories I’ve written with the world?

It was a great creative outlet, and I wish it was as wholesome as that sounds, but I also found out it was a great way to have more sexual adventures.  It was as if I had cracked the code on how to turn on almost any woman I wanted to, if I presented the information appropriately.

 

Your books are based on the idea that they’re written from both a male and a female perspective at the same time, how do you go about writing a female perspective since you have a male body?

PiV intercourse might be seen as hard to describe and experience when you’re lacking that.I actually wrote the female perspective and then gave it to the woman who was involved in the story to edit for accuracy and proper representation of the experience.  On occasion I was off base, but for the most part the women who are comfortable enough with themselves to have a non-committed sex partner typically view the encounter in the same manner I did.

Podcast interview

What’s the creative process for writing a story from both perspectives, and what’s the requirements for the story being included in your book?

Originally the female perspective was a suggestion of someone who was reading my other stories; she said how cool it would be if you could hear the same story from both perspectives.  I gave it a shot, and apparently did a decent job with it.  I don’t consider the process much different than for the men’s side.

The main requirements for not too similar to any other story in the books; I want to not repeat the same process in simply a different setting.  I never went with anything too far from “mainstream” erotica; 50 Shades helped to expand that definition over the past few years.

 

When it comes to sex, many men are focused on their own pleasure. Reading, and surely through the process of writing, these stories it’s clear that that’s not the case for you. What are some of the challenges that you go through as you’re writing a female perspective, and how do you go about escaping the biasedness that might occur, if at all, as a result of the male ego towards creating pleasure for the women in your stories?

I think the same answer to the (two above) question posed earlier answers this as well.

 

Which is your favourite perspective to write from, and why?

I honestly do not have a preference; I would say the women’s perspective is more challenging, but I enjoy both equally.

 

What’s your go to comfort food?

No question, writing at Starbucks with a chai tea latte is a prerequisite.  Cheesy 70’s music in my headphones is a big help too

 

You state in one of your interviews that some of your stories are based on intimate encounters that you experienced a long time ago. How do you go about writing both perspectives in this situation?

I wrote both perspectives and then had the woman from the story edit her point of view for accuracy.  The book is a collection of 12 or 10 stories respectively from the first and second books, of which half of the stories are true and the other half are fabrications.  I never reveal which is which, partly adding to the overall mystery.

 

Between some of your first stories in erotica, to the ones that you write now, how would you say that you’ve changed?

I have grown as a writer, so I believe that the character development and the settings are better described.  Using the artist analogy again, my palate of descriptive adjectives and thoughts have expanded over the years of doing this.  Even though book 1 won the IPPY award, I think the stories in book2 are better

 

I have to ask, in many of the stories that you write, the male comes across as sensual, romantic, and intuitive. Is this you in real life as well, or have you creatively embellished just a little?

I like to think I portrayed myself as accurately as possible in the stories.  I am sure that is a biased answer however.  J

What would you like people to get out of reading your stories?

One of the things I hope is an obvious takeaway is that the women in the stories are very empowered and in control of their sexuality.  Some much opportunity is missed simply out of the fear of rejection or looking foolish, but there is so much to gain by taking a chance.  Also, I hope that it is clear that I do not use women for sex and toss them aside, that a friends with benefits relationship can work if both parties are adult and realistic about it.  Having the tough conversations in advance is so much better than dealing with the aftermath of two misaligned people.

 

Are there any plans to keep on writing, and what’s next for you?

I am working on a third book, but it is a little different slant.  I am not currently writing it in the Flipside fashion; it is from my perspective but I am going to explore the swinger/open relationship lifestyle.  In the book, I am the one with the insecurity issues with this arrangement, not the woman.  It has been an interesting exploration so far.

 

Final thoughts – what would your advice be for people wanting to write erotica?

Do it…just start writing and learn as you go.  Don’t write the book from start to finish; get started writing and organize it later.  Be creative first, and then later on worry about having it make linear sense.

 

I think this just about covers everything that we were looking at. I’d like to thank you for your time on this. I’m looking forward to hearing your answers on this, as I’m really interested in some of your perspectives on your writing. Thanks again!

VIP Interview With Michelle Roberton Tantric Counselor

Interview With Michelle Roberton

Michelle Roberton is a sexual healing and intimacy specialist who has discovered the power of healing through Tantra and touch.  Personally having to deal with childhood sexual abuse, anorexia, drug abuse, homelessness, death of a son, life threatening illness she found the answer and salvation in a healthy, sacred and holistic way.  This knowledge she now enthusiastically shares in order to give her gift of healing to people suffering sexual trauma, lack of intimacy enhancing each body, person and spirit.  She has been a tantric therapist since 2002 creating the connection between who we are, who we love, our body, sex and life.

Being an Authentic Tantric Therapist she offers training and certification courses (details that are available on her website) to those that wish to help others.  Her mentorship continues with graduates’ way after the official course has been completed to ensure proper techniques and methods are used in all sessions.  Her blog on sacredtantrictouch.com shares with readers various tantric therapy free with a useful vlog post on each explaining her methods ‘face to face’.

Sexual Healing Through Tantra
Tantric Healer Michelle Roberton

Hi Michelle, a warm welcome to the adultsmart community lifestyle blog.  I appreciate you taking the time to partake in this interview as I know that it is valuable and limited.  Let’s start at the beginning!  It seems that your vocation in life became apparent after some pretty harsh lifestyle experience occurred.  Can you run us through a bit of that?

Hi, really wonderful to be sharing with you all at AdultSmart.  Thank you for inviting me!

I do not know where the beginning is to be honest.  I guess I knew as a child something was not quite “fitting” in comparison to what I could see and feel around me and how I felt in my body and heart, love to be and an element of sex to I suppose. But as an adult I knew none of this, I had become so dissociated from my body and it’s pain.

I was around 32 when the flash backs started, one of my brothers whom was living over in Canada … (I was in the UK) started getting them at the same time!

And slowly my life and all my self-sabotaging and addictive behaviors made sense.  It was not who I truly was but instead what I have been led to believe I was worth.

 

Yet you came through the other side finding your ‘inner bliss’ and wanting to share this with others.  How did you manage to do this?

I started as many adult survivors of childhood abuse do, seeking talk therapy, trying to reassure myself that this was not all some wonky imagination.  But I found although talk therapy had it’s place, I was hitting a point that I could not go beyond.

Meditation, alternative healing therapies were easy for me, they were where I was at … ungrounded.

I was still out of my body and it was my body that was in trauma and pain.  The only way I felt was to reclaim my body and my sexuality.  And in doing that my childhood too.

The only “method” that encompassed all of that … body, sex, sensuality and creative soul was Tantra.

It meant I had to feel after so long from running away from feeling.

 

That is amazing, life-circumstances enough to break most people but you came out the other side with a mission to share your healing with others.  What power did you draw on to do this?

Oh, I do not know whether it was a power *smile*

Firstly I have 4 children and they were really all I ever wished for, so they were plenty of a reason to want to change things not just for me but be a part of re-writing their life script, so they too stopped suffering at the consequences of what happened.

Secondly, a courageous heart. I do not know where it comes from?  I guess it has always been part of me.  I doubt I would be here without it.

Buddhists and Hindus have accepted Tantra for many centuries but there are many doubting Thomases in Western Civilizations.  What obstacles did you face when starting out?

I waited until I fully integrated what I knew Tantra to be as truth for myself.  So it was not something I do but something I am.  In that, my boundaries grew and an enormous passion to share Tantra beyond what Western world believes it to be.

I had many potential clients contacting me for “Happy Endings”.  One gentleman shout at me in my home, because he didn’t get one. Others offer me more money or a new car!  But I had no interest in meeting them on their level, I saw my role to show others a new window to look through, not the one they already know.

Yes, Tantra is about Sex but so much more too.  It is not even about fantastical orgasms and lasting for hours.   People just focus on the sex part and that is a shame.  I think that is probably because that is the biggest part of our lives that we need to truly get honest about and move beyond the concept of purely penetration and ejaculation.

 

What can someone expect when booking a therapy session with you?

I want to say first … honesty, authenticity, warmth and someone who is deeply committed to meeting pain, shame or even joy with you.

With those qualities I support others to initially get away from a life lived from the chaos of the head and back to a place of being in the body.  From here, a relationship with sensation can be trusted again and an ability to attend to feelings.  Of course, that incudes our sexuality.

It is a very unique, lived experience, and because of that I do not feel I do anything to “fix” people, I feel I empower them through tasting the experience for themselves in their body to “fix” themselves.  Giving back control and empowerment to them.

Book Michelle Roberton
Sacred Tantric Touch Website

Do you have any requirements for prospective clients?

Yes, a level of honesty and to have read the relevant website page to them, just so they are aware of how I share, dissolving any confusion.

I always arrange to speak to a potential client before they commit to booking.

This is essential I feel.  It gives them time to ask may questions they may have.  It gives me an insight into how I may support the reasons why they are seeking change.  And most importantly it gives an opportunity to hear my voice and ensure they feel at ease with me.

And commitment to self … to actually want to put the work in to get the results they hunger for.

 

There are different tantra techniques used for men, women and couples.  Can you explain them?

My goodness, that is quite a big question. I will try answer simply.

I feel Tantra is initially an individual journey whether that is a man or woman.  We cannot share what we have not got.  We need to be in our sex from a place of “good health” so we can share our sex limitlessly.  (Note I said share our sex, not give it away as a performance or obligation.)

Yes, there are different techniques but they all boil down to the same message.

To be in the body, to slow down, to ride and be with the breath, to be sensual, to be in this moment.

Once we can own that for ourselves, the electricity can then expand as a couple.  Again, a couple would use the same methods but now together.

How do you incorporate Tantra with helping with sexual trauma?   

Tantra was the only “method” that supported me to reclaim my body and sexuality.  It is a complete re-wiring.  We get to drop all that we know and believe so far and start again.  It is very powerful and empowering to do this, to re-own and re-invent our sex that was taken away and made painful and/or confusing.

We feel the sensation of sex, for our self and can relate with it from a new understanding.

Body Armor that is outdated protection and wounds that may be supporting the body to feel the abuse is still happening rather then something that happened is gently attended to and dissolved.

We get to feel our body as a source of pleasure.

And touch! … To have new experiences of touch, that has no agenda, no goal … no fear.

In life there are always highs and lows. 

  1. What most do you regret?
  2. What is the highlight?

 

I regret that my unconscious self-sabotaging behavior effected my children and lost me my marriage. That elements of my childhood no matter how good a parent or wife I believed I was, still found a way to show up and hurt those I love dearly.

I do know that I would not be the person I am today, without my past.  I know that is old and cliché but I only regret that my childhood affected those I love, I do not regret who it has made me today.

Highlights are many..

Giving birth to four amazing human beings.  Being a mum!

My work, that does not feel like work at all, more …  when I touch another’s skin I feel like I am a dancer moving intuitively across the floor … and when I see people unfolding from such closed spaces into a full life … Wow … it’s such a beautiful feeling in my heart.

And finally arriving here in this body and owning my sexuality for what I choose it to be.

 

If you could do anything differently, what would that be?

I would want to have made a difference in sex, relationship and intimacy education in schools.  And find a way to remove body shaming and the crazy ideas drummed into children and teenagers about the elusive perfect body.

Invitation To Explore
Michelle Roberton Website

Can you tell us a little about your Tantric Therapy and Massage Training Courses?

I share these as a one to one.  Purely because Tantra is an initiation … a doorway of feeling.  I do not wish to make 30 carbon copies in a class or give a rigid structure of how massage must look as that then is shared from head not body or heart.

When working with individuals I can support them to share their authentic self and tantric journey that happens through the learning.

I feel that is how we used to learn, from mentors, through direct experience and I deeply want to honor not just that lost part of our culture now but honor the individual I am working with, by sharing all I have.

 

Which do you enjoy more – therapy through tantra or teaching tantra to students?

I do not enjoy one more.  They are both ways of sharing that I love and a different adventure.

 

What do you feel is your greatest achievement?

My four children.  They are wise, compassionate, funny, beautiful people.

 

What will you be doing in 10 years’ time?

Hopefully, still this … with a dash more travel, sunshine and sunsets.

 

How do you want to be remembered?

For how people feel when I touch them or just sit close.

VIP Interview Oh Joy Sex Toy – Erika And Matt!

Ohjoysextoy.com is the most popular sex blog site on the web.  Erika and Matt the curators and owners cover everything relating to sexuality in a unique and cutting edge style leaving no stone unturned whether it be on a sex toy review, sexual position or sexual education.  They address them all in a comic format that is both educational and fun.  A new post is published each Tuesday and with the help of other guests have created a site that is outside the norm.  Sex positive and not afraid to take a stand on issues they believe in they are pioneers of the modern day blog.

I have to start with the standard question – how did it all start? There are a heap of adult blogs, and sex education sites out there, how did you both come up with something so unique, fun and accessible?

Matt: Sex education has always been really important to us both. But it wasn’t until Erika decided to make a little how-to sex comic zine for conventions did we think of doing it ourselves on a bigger scale.

After a while, that idea grew larger, and eventually when Erika was in between projects, she set out to write a sex education book. It ended up being HUGE in its range and because of the sheer size, she stalled out on it. Not wanting it to go to waste, the project changed and morphed into a webcomic. Something we could work on each week, and would give us opportunity to for other things – like sex toy reviews!

Its worked out really well.

 

VIP Interview ohjoysex blog
Oh Joy Sex Toy Interview

What’s normally involved in the process from writing the script, to the finished artwork?

Matt: Not included everything else we do like the books and guest artists, our weekly pipeline looks something like this:

– Matt makes the 1st draft on a script

– Erika cleans it up or re-writes it

– Erika takes cleaned up the script, lays it out

– Erika goes straight to pencils then inks

– Matt goes in, cleans up and colors.

Erika:  I’ve always been utterly fascinated with sex. It started out as abject fear, as my mom was trying to “protect” me through scare tactics. When I began to learn there was more to sex than the worst aspects of it, that it could be this positive, joyful thing, I basically became obsessed with learning more and more and trying out different things for myself. Like Matt said, I’m making the comics that I needed when I was younger. I’m trying to provide people with the material I wish had existed decades ago.

 

What’s the story, thought, or experience that drives you both to doing this?

Matt: Erika was brought up with very poor sex education, and has set out to make something that she would have wanted to read when she was younger. I just love making comics, and think the world of sex is amazing.

 

Sex education is a continual and fluid learning process as we grow and develop in our lives – what’s the most important thing that you’ve both personally learned through this work?

Matt:  To stay open minded and sex positive, even in the face of the opposite. It’s shocking to see so many educators put their own artificial lines in the sand when it comes to different issues, or approach subjects with a decidedly negative point of view. I think the most important thing as a creator and human, is to stay positive, friendly and open.

Erika:  Same as Matt, this job has really stretched my empathy muscles to stay open minded when presented with sexual practices and desires that are super Not My Jam— and I feel like that’s been a real benefit, honestly. It’s stretched out into a lot of aspects of how I think about complicated issues, to look for the shades of grey in situations that people may default to painting as black or white. Basically, my motto is it’s ok as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual— which  is a phrase coined by Dan Savage.

Your favourite comfort food is. . . ?

Matt:  Right now, nothing beats a good bowl of Pho.

Erika: Sliced cherries in plain greek yogurt with granola. I’m a fool for cherries in anything, and then the textures of the yogurt and granola is suuuuper pleasing to my mouth.

In her 24 hour Comic Series 2017, Erika makes note of one day being strong enough to do a comic on being Bipolar – What’s something else that you’d like to explore that you haven’t already?

Matt:  I know Erika has a lot of autobio storys in her, about her childhood, and rough years. It’s not really sex-education friendly, and more of a biography. I know she would love to explore that at some point, but it doesn’t really jive with what we’re doing at the moment.

Personally, we’ve got a few sexy fiction storys that would be fun to comic out. But that stuff doesn’t exactly sell well, and will probably just stay as a pet project.

Erika:  I have so many autobiographical stories I want to share, from serious subjects to some of the absolutely absurd situations I’ve gotten myself into. Oh, and I’d love to do a comic about our immigration experience of getting Matt into the US and becoming a citizen. And I want to embroider a comic!!! I want to do a three or four panel comic that’s entirely embroidered. I just have to figure out what the subject will be.

 

On the topic of strength – running a blog is hard work. Both of you are often open, honest, vulnerable and incredibly raw with what’s going on both physically and mentally in your lives – what’s one of the hardest things that you’ve endured in this line of work and how did overcome it?

Matt:  We suffer from burn out pretty often! The pace is a bit hard and fast, and after 5 year’s on the project we’re both a little thin. We try our best now-a-days to hire a lot of guest artists, to give us more time in between comics, but even that process can be exhausting! There’s no real answer here for you: making a living from comics, and sex education is hard, it involves graft and sacrifice.

Erika:  I had a nervous breakdown over the intense backlash to one of the comics we ran. It’s the closest I’ve come to being hospitalized for a mental breakdown, and in hindsight I probably should have been. A year later I still feel like I’m recovering from it. I don’t know that I’ve overcome it, but the way I’ve learned to survive the scrutiny and condemnation I receive is to have a really strong friend group and turn to them for guidance and support, and generally not let myself be so accessible to the public at large. It’s such a contrast to the work we do: Our comics are all about being open and friendly and communicative, and in real life I’ve had to close myself off from the general public to protect myself from the casual judgements, vitriol, violence, and death threats that are sent my way. Ah well, it’s a livin’!

 

Running a blog full time is really hard work. I really want to emphasize that point. Between the weekly comics, the annual book, guest appearances, shows and maintaining your own health– how do you both fit it all in?

Matt:  It’s a constant battle, and balancing act of all of that. We’re lucky that we’re two people and have a passion for the subject!

 

How would you best describe the approach you use to the way you review sex toys?

Matt:  We always try to find the positives. Even if a toy is terrible, it might still be perfect for someone out there, and so we try our best to acknowledge that.

Hitting the right tone is the next big thing. We want each comic to feel like a conversation between friends: I often tell our guest artists that it’s gotta feel like they are sitting down with a pal at a coffeeshop, to talk about the toy or subject. Coffeeshop Erika.

It’s not enough to just say what’s goods and bad about a sex toy. We want to engage with a reader, have fun with them, and make them excited for the world of sex through our excitement.

 

You’re one of the most respected and popular male/female sex toy reviewers in the world – when it comes to male/female sex toys and pleasure where are toys hitting the mark, and where are they missing it?

Matt:  Gosh – thank you for that =D

Its odd, I keep feeling like imaginations have run a bit dry in the sex toy industry. That the best sex toy designs have been made, and that the new things are just iterations on said designs. Companies are running around trying to make subtle differences, but nothing all that new. That being said, I’ve been seeing a real push for better PR, marketing and a market trending for the $100+ toy’s, which is encouraging. We deserve fancy toys for our sex lives!

It’s been really exciting seeing Fun Factory expand into menstrual cups. And The We Vibe’s Nova actually seemed like an innovative new (good) idea, so the industry still surprising and delighting me!

Personally I see the future in more hand crafted story lines for sex toys. I think there’s a lot of room and excitement for a toy that comes with a history of its sourced components and the people who worked on it. People are excited to have sex and own a sex toy now-a-days. Lets help them be PROUD of their specific sex toy too.

Your goal seems to be providing sex education in a fun and exciting way. If there was one thing about sex that you’d want your readers to understand, what would it be?

Matt:  That sex is an interesting and fascinating part of being human – even if it’s not your jam, it’s a huge deep well and something that should be celebrated.

Erika:  Sex is so much more than two bodies smushing their genitals together. Sex overlaps with so many subjects; science, art, trauma, philosophy, fantasy, legislation, taboos, sociology, representation, attraction, communication, psychology, identity, community, cultural customs, consumerism, capitalism… There is SO MUCH to explore and it’s all so fascinating.

 

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start out their own adult or sexual education blog?

Matt:  Look for a unique angle, expand your skills set past just writing: it’s not enough to JUST be a blogger any more. Make sure to have at least a years of income saved up before diving in (and/or do it part time initially), and keep in mind that you need a HEALTHY dose of luck (which might never come), to ‘make it’.

On a personal note: stay away from being negative. The world is so toxic right now, don’t fall for it. Instead be a beacon of positivity. Show the world how you want it to look with your work.

 

What do you feel is your greatest achievement?

Matt:  5 years without missing an update, and the emails we get from people who say they’ve been touched by our work.

Erika:   Creating work that I’m incredibly proud of with the most important person to me. I love being a creative team with Matt. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not always a walk in the park! But I know for a fact that I have done some of my best work with him on this series. And knowing that our work has actually helped people just blows my mind. People tell me that they’ve gotten contraceptive devices IMPLANTED INSIDE THEM because of our comics, they’ve gotten diagnosed with conditions because they recognized the symptoms we explained and went to their doctors about them, we’ve even had more than one person tell us that reading our comics inspired some folks to go off and enroll in graduate school so they could go into the medical field for sex. Like. Holy shit. That is serious, life changing stuff. And they got the seed of inspiration from something we created for a comic? Wow.

 

Any final words to people looking for sex education?

Matt:  Planned Parenthood and Scarleteen are SO GOOD. Check them out. Alternatively, we’ll be making more and more sex ed on Oh Joy Sex Toy. And our next book Drawn To Sex, The Basics will be out in bookstores at the end of the year.

Erika:  Adding on to Matt’s suggestion: DONATE TO SCARLETEEN AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD IF YOU CAN! They survive on the funds they raise from the public, especially Scarleteen, and what they provide for free to the public is so, so invaluable. I feel like Oh Joy Sex Toy is the appetizer to whet your appetite before the sex education meal, and the main course that really fills you up with more knowledge than you can fit in your mouth all at once is Scarleteen and Planned Parenthood. …Sorry, that analogy got a little weird. What can I say? I love them!

 

We are extremely grateful for Matt and Erika’s Interview.  Learn more about Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan at their websites.