How Not to Fall

How Not to Fall

Today is the book birthday of the novel I wrote because I was *sure* it must be possible to write the story of a young woman experiencing her sexual awakening with a more experienced, older, more powerful man… in a way that’s feminist, sex positive, and, not least, medically accurate. And you, dear blog readers, said, “Write that. You should write that.” And darn it all, I did.   And it turned out, writing it was good for my soul, and I have continued to write because of that. Even if I never publish another romance novel after How Not

emily’s 180,000 word love letter to romance novels

emily’s 180,000 word love letter to romance novels

A hundred years ago, I read 50 Shades of Grey and found it to be the worst novel I have ever finished… but I also saw what worked for so many people about the story. I saw, because I am a reader of romance novels. I believe romance novels contribute something important to the world: Romancelandia is pro-woman, pro-sex, pro-pleasure and full of happy endings. And I felt betrayed by 50 Shades because, though it tried, it failed to be any of those things. It did not do what a romance novel is supposed to do. I read romance to experience

why I am sex educator married to Erika Moen

why I am sex educator married to Erika Moen

It’s tricky to write a review of a book that includes a review of my own book – including this, from pg. 210:   But this page perfectly illustrates (ha, see what I did there?) what I love about Erika Moen’s work: (1) ALL BODIES ARE INCLUDED. NO, I MEAN F’REALZ. All the bodies are included, welcome, and celebrated. (2) She nails the key points about the science – and then she puts it in a graphic format that makes it more relatable than all the metaphors and stories that I can harness. I can’t talk about desire anymore, without talking

why it’s not disparaging to call the genitals “peripheral”

why it’s not disparaging to call the genitals “peripheral”

I was delighted to listen to this Fresh Air interview with David Linden, about his book Touch. The book is about some aspects of the peripheral nervous system and how they interact with the central system to give rise to the experience of sensation. That sounds nerdier than it is. It’s actually the kind of science I used in writing the 51 Sex Nerd Sex Tips. My favorite moment was when they were talking about genitals (obvs), and Terry Gross asked Dr. Linden if the differences in genital nerve endings explained the difference between men’s and women’s sexual arousal.  

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2014

I read a lot of books this year. Reading is just what I do for recreation – I don’t have television, so instead of watching TV, I read. If I watched TV, most of which would be mediocre and a little of which would be AMAZING. Instead I read books… most of which are mediocre and a few of which are AMAZING. Here are the five most amazing books I read this year, out of the 104 I read: The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. I spent a year of my life trying to explain very complicated ideas in

bucket list item: teach Sex Ed for Romance Authors class [UPDATED]

bucket list item: teach Sex Ed for Romance Authors class [UPDATED]

Regular readers know that I read romance novels. I like ’em. In Romancelandia at its best, the toxic sex negative culture of the real world is transformed into a place where women’s sexual pleasure and autonomy wins over the forces of misogyny and patriarchy. But there are some specific frustrations that I have with the genre, as a reader who happens also to be a sex educator – and these are frustrations shared by authors In The Know.   Like, Sarah MacLean and I had this exciting twitter exchange: @sarahmaclean So much true. Also pain w intercourse is MUCH more

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 5: why this book is bullshit, and what I intend to do about it

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 5: why this book is bullshit, and what I intend to do about it

This is the last one. I’m finished with it. And I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about plot structure. In the process of writing my own book, I learned how novels are constructed – or really, I learned how stories are told. There is a typical structure to a well-told story, which the best storytellers can mess with but which, overall, good stories will tend to follow, whether on purpose or not. And 50 Shades is TEXTBOOK. The journey-lauching first plot point happens right at the 20% mark (she signs the “nondisclosure” thingummy, without which nothing else that

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 4: You. Are. Mine.

Emily Read 50 Shades Part 4: You. Are. Mine.

In today’s edition of my decreasingly neutral report of my read of 50 Shades – hereafter bearing the title “Worst Book I’ve Ever Finished”: Attachment. It’s the biological motivation system that bonds us emotionally with each other. Us and the other mammals, but us especially. The person you’re attached to is your SAFE HAVEN, your EMOTIONAL HOME, the place you go when you are stressed out. Attachment is what jealousy is about – attachment threat – and it’s what the desire to be “possessed” is ultimately about. So when Ana gets all eager about “belonging” to” the hero, that’s attachment.