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I’m coming out of retirement for One Night Only, this Saturday in SF — see you there?

April 7th, 2011 · 47 Comments

The Bay Area’s craziest spoken word event celebrates its 10th
anniversary, with an all-star lineup!

When: Saturday, April 9, 2011, 7:30 to 9:30 PM, doors open at 6:30 PM
Who: Rick Moody, Maxine Hong Kingston, Monica Youn, Regina Lynn, Keith
Knight and the contributors to Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace
Where: The Make Out Room, 3225 22nd. St. between Mission and Valencia,
San Francisco
How much: $5 to $10 sliding scale, all proceeds benefit the Center for Sex and Culture.

About the readers/performers:

Rick Moody’s latest book is The Four Fingers of Death. His first
novel, Garden State, won the 1991 Editor’s Choice Award from the
Pushcart Press. His other books include Demonology, The Ice Storm, The
Ring of Brightest Angels Around Heaven, The Diviners and Right
Livelihoods: Three Novellas.

Maxine Hong Kingston’s latest book is I Love A Broad Margin to My
Life. She won the National Book Award for her novel China Men. Her
other books include The Fifth Book of Peace, To Be the Poet,
Tripmaster Monkey: His Fake Book, Through The Black Curtain and The
Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts.

Sean McLain Brown, Scott Morrison, Joanne Palamountain, Julie Thi
Underhill and Lee Swenson are contributors to the anthology Veterans
of War, Veterans of Peace, edited by Maxine Hong Kingston.

Monica Youn’s latest book of poems is called Ignatz. Her first book of
poems was called Barter. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Cue: A
Journal of Prose Poetry and elsewhere.

Regina Lynn was the award-winning Sex Drive columnist at and
the Tuesday “Sex in the News” guest on Playboy Radio: Afternoon Advice
with Tiffany Granath. She is the author of Sexier Sex: Lessons from
the Brave New Sexual Frontier and The Sexual Revolution 2.0.

Keith Knight is the creator of the K Chronicles, (th)ink and The
Knight Life, which have been collected in ten books so far. He won the
2007 Harvey Award and the 2010 Inkpot Award at Comic Con. His art has
appeared in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle,,
Ebony, ESPN the Magazine, L.A. Weekly, MAD Magazine, and the Funny

About Writers With Drinks:

Writers With Drinks has won “Best Literary Night” from the SF Bay
Guardian readers’ poll six years in a row and was named “Best Literary
Drinking” by the SF Weekly. The spoken word “variety show” mixes
genres to raise money for local worthy causes. The award-winning show
includes poetry, stand-up comedy, science fiction, fantasy, romance,
mystery, literary fiction, erotica, memoir, zines and blogs in a
freewheeling format.

→ 47 CommentsTags: events

Girlfriends ask, boyfriends deliver: Design your own luxury sex toy

January 10th, 2011 · 1 Comment

I estimate that at least half of the sex-tech entrepreneurs I’ve written about over the years are men who say they invented their product or service at the prodding of their wives and girlfriends. In many cases, the women keep their day jobs to support the household and prop up the business, and the men try to bring the product or service to market before the whole enterprise crumbles under the weight of financial ruin. (I mention this in case you are one of those people and wondering if you are the only one in the boat. You’re not.)

The most recent “girlfriends ask, boyfriends deliver” inventor I’ve talked to is Jimmy, of Made to Pleasure, which launched on January 3. Made to Pleasure offers a few “off the peg” sex toys that you can just buy, but what sets it apart is the design-your-own toy boutique.

Using the online design tool, you start with a template and then add or subtract length, girth, swells, and dips. An animated 3D preview lets you examine your work closely from all sides. Choose from clear acrylic, gold, or silver and submit the order. How long it takes to receive your new functional sculpture (heh) depends on how complex your design and material.

The design tool is very well done, simple and effective, and includes enough Help documentation to warm my little tech writer heart.

Prices range from £80.00 for the off-the-peg 5.3-inch Ellipse to more than £500.00 for a 7.1-inch custom-made gold dildo.

I sent Jimmy an email mini-interview to get more background on the company and the custom design service.

Who are the people behind MTP? What is their background?

Myself and my business partner are the founders / owners and are both designers (both men by the way) and have worked in the design industry for 12+ years. We currently employ a female designer who takes the lead on design elements of the site and products and see that women will make up most of the design team as we grow and add product lines.

We came up with the idea for MTP when our girlfriends happened to strike up a conversation about the lack of thought that goes into existing toys. They liked the look and quality of Lelo’s toys but felt that there wasn’t something for everyone. We saw the potential for MTP then.

Have they designed sex toys before?

We haven’t no. But two of the regular testers have … before you ask, I’m not able to divulge who they are or who they worked for though.

How many testers, in total?

We worked with 23 testers on a regular basis and have one off feedback from another 8. We have an ongoing testing program to develop new shapes and materials. They age between 22 and 45 and are all in full- or part-time employment in various professions varying from secretaries right up to managing directors of blue chip companies. The boutique was developed in parallel with the toy designs and proved to be an amazing tool for them to express what they wanted. The feedback split roughly into 6 types of preference of use, which are represented by the 6 Off The Peg designs. As you may have realised, you can take each of the range into the Boutique and tweak them to fit your own preferences.

How long does it take to receive the bespoke toy after ordering?

If it’s clear acrylic we can do it within 2 weeks, maybe faster in some cases, that’s delivered via UPS. Gold and Silver take at least 3 weeks. {Note from Regina: Made in and ships from the U.K.}

→ 1 CommentTags: hardware · sex toys · sex-tech

Follow-up: ThriXXX supports Kinect and Fleshlight simultaneously

January 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

I’ve had a great email exchange with Brad at ThriXXX and am still following up on some details to see what I can and can’t publish about what’s coming up (so to speak), but for now:

Yes, the plan will be to support simultaneous use of multiple devices.

The Vstroker/Fleshlight is a USB device and the Kinect camera and other motion-sensing cameras are typically USB, so as long as there is a device driver for every USB device, we should be good to go.

The challenge of course is making sure the sensations that occur in devices like the vStroker and RealTouch work with what’s happening on screen and in-game and that requires good old-fashioned programming.

ThriXXX’s Hentai 3D title has some non-human avatars. Ever since writing my (non-hentai) story for Tentacle Dreams, I’ve noticed tentacles everywhere in real life, in non-menacing ways: the plant that keeps trying to twine its way into my screen door, the curlicue decorations in a restaurant’s breakfast room, Rapunzel’s hair in Disney’s movie Tangled, a sculpture of a deer in a downtown gallery that has these amazing swirly antlers.

I’d love to see more of this sort of thing. One of the complaints about the current state of 3D sex games is that the avatars aren’t realistic enough and the animation not smooth enough to stop being distracting. Yet, we all know that will improve, and one’s imagination can fill in for a lot anyway. (I wrote about that in Sex Drive: Smart Girls Need Smart Porn.)

But if the characters aren’t trying to look like idealized humans, the engagement of getting into the fantasy can overpower the distraction of “hey that’s not how a boobie would move in real life.” (For me, anyway.) And since it’s going to be more engaging in a game than in a porn movie with actors in costume (I cringe just writing that!), it’s the perfect place to experiment. Especially with the slow but inevitable development of engaging more and more of the senses in various ways.

→ 2 CommentsTags: games · hardware · sex-tech

Kinect goes Wiiiiiiiiiiii, Wiiiii, Wiiii, all the way home — to home base, that is

December 29th, 2010 · 10 Comments

The month has been full of “OMFG when will someone develop a sex game for Microsoft’s new Kinect thingie” and I have not chimed in, because I don’t have one handy and I haven’t had time to find someone who does. (Also, that two-day-jobs thing really cuts into the rest of one’s life, has anyone else noticed this?)


ThriXXX has been active in the 3D sex game space for years, and you might have already seen its trailer for its Kinect-enabled hands-on game. Sure, the hand is dismembered, but if you’re into the game, you won’t even notice. If you have a powerful enough imagination to hook yourself into a game like this (and I do), a little thing like a Thing avatar isn’t going to toss you out of the scene.

You can already interact with some of ThriXXX’s games with a Fleshlight and the VStroker interface. I don’t know if the new game will support a Kinect for your limbs and body with a Fleshlight for your cock at the same time — I’ll email the guys and let you know their answer, I’m sure I have their contact info around here somewhere — but I sure hope so.

I know a few different folks are working on bringing motion capture to real-time interaction between people in 3D platforms. I see ThriXXX’s Kinect hack as an interim step, or maybe a practice ground, that combines mocap and teledildonics. The games get you used to strapping on transmitters and controlling your avatar with your whole body. The next step will be playing with professional performers through their avatars, and then sex with long-distance lovers.

Perhaps we can even have the cybersex Renaissance some of us have been hoping for, and there will be peace on earth and goodwill toward geeks. RAmen.

→ 10 CommentsTags: games · hardware · sex-tech

Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV In ‘Berlin Patient’

December 14th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Stem Cell Transplant Cures HIV In ‘Berlin Patient’.

Timothy Ray Brown, also known as the “Berlin Patient,” received the transplant in 2007 as part of a lengthy treatment course for leukemia. His doctors recently published a report in the journal Blood affirming that the results of extensive testing “strongly suggest that cure of HIV infection has been achieved.”

Brown’s case paves a path for constructing a permanent cure for HIV through genetically-engineered stem cells.

Last week, Time named another AIDS-related discovery to its list of the Top 10 Medical Breakthroughs of 2010. Recent studies show that healthy individuals who take antiretrovirals, medicine commonly prescribed for treating HIV, can reduce their risk of contracting the disease by up to 73 percent.

While these developments by no means prove a cure for the virus has been found, they can certainly provide hope for the more than 33 million people living with HIV worldwide. Alongside such findings, global efforts to combat the epidemic have accelerated as of late, with new initiatives emerging in the Philippines and South Africa this week.

→ 2 CommentsTags: in the news · science and research

I’ll see your tentacle and raise you a Pigeon

December 9th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Geekologie and about a billion other nerdy sites posted about a robot tentacle prosthetic today, saying it was designed by Kaylene Kau as part of a student project. It took me a while of clicking through the cross-linking to realize I’d have to Google to find out who Kaylene is.

She’s a recent graduate from the industrial design program at the University of Washington, and she’s looking for a job. Had I known about this sooner, I’d have suggested we invite her to contribute an erotica short story to Tentacle Dreams.

Here’s the tentacle on the arm of an unidentified person who just might be Kaylene herself:

Tentacle prosthetic by Kaylene Kau of Seattle, WA

Tentacle prosthetic by Kaylene Kau of Seattle, WA

Here’s something cute she made for another project:

The Pigeon helps international students cope with homesickness

The Pigeon helps international students cope with homesickness

And here’s her portfolio site if you need to know how the Penguin Pigeon* helps relieve homesickness (hint: it involves relationships and communication, but then, you probably already guessed that):

Kaylene Kau, Industrial Designer

*thanks kibbles for the catch!

→ 1 CommentTags: wearables

5 years later, The Toy pairs with Droid to bring more joy

December 8th, 2010 · 2 Comments

Android logoAlmost exactly five years ago, I wrote about a complex and interesting Bluetooth-enabled vibrator called The Toy. The one drawback of The Toy was the limited number of phones it was compatible with. But now, there’s a free Android app. I’ve downloaded it, but I have to charge my The Toy to see if it will work with the first production model.

If not, I’m seriously considering spending the £140.00/$212.00 to get a new one. I text with a couple of people who give my soul good, good, good vibrations already, so why not expand that? Besides, my goal for 2011 is to learn how to live in a body again, after *mumblety* years of being a brain connected to a computer.

No better way to do that than with a playful gadget and a mobile app.

The Toy, a Bluetooth-enabled vibratorI’d seen pictures of The Toy, of course, but they hadn’t prepared me for the real thing. I expected a standard bullet vibe. But this capsule is huge, longer than my middle finger and bigger around than a quarter. The antenna alone is almost 6.5 inches long.

Yes, that’s right, I said antenna. The antenna does double duty as a Bluetooth signal receiver and extraction cord. In fact, the entire apparatus resembles nothing so much as a giant plastic tampon. Except instead of a string, you have this high-tensile, coated cable that you’re supposed to point toward your navel.

While The Toy offers an impressive 29 distinct modes of vibration if you just turn it on, that pales in comparison to the 7,200 variations possible when you pair it with your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

~ excerpt from The Toy Will Bring You Joy

Staying in business these past few years has been a challenge for all independent sex-toy developers. That this is a consumer-level teledildonics product without a little i in its name makes it even more impressive.

That they chose to enter the Droid market before the iThingie market is just the icing on the cake. (Yeah, yeah, it’s probably related to Apple not wanting to accept sex-related apps, but don’t harsh my mellow — as a Droid user, I’d like to bask in this for a while.)

→ 2 CommentsTags: sex toys

Sherri Williams plays by Alabama rules, opens sex toy drive-thru

November 11th, 2010 · 1 Comment

I wrote about Sherri Williams v. Alabama in 2005 (“Do You Have an Rx for That Vibrator?“), describing the battle Sherri fought to keep her Pleasures stores open after Alabama banned sex toy retail “for immoral purposes” from the state. I wrote about the case again in 2007 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Sherri’s appeal (“Chaste Home, Alabama, Where You Can’t Buy a Dildo“).

Now Sherri is in the news again: she has opened a Pleasures store with a drive-thru window, right there in Huntsville, Alabama. I’m impressed by her ingenuity and persistence.

Sex toy drive-thru: Alabama shop to offer window service

Williams said Alabama is the last state in the U.S. to have a sex toy ban. The anti-obscenity law had been sponsored by state Sen. Tom Butler in 1998, but Alabama officials said the sex toy ban was not intentional but the result of borrowing language from other states with similar laws.

But Alabama law also makes an exception to the ban on the sale of items designed for the “stimulation of human genital organs” if the sale was for “a bona fide medical, scientific, educational, legislative, judicial or law enforcement purpose.”

Williams said customers cannot purchase a sex toy unless they fill out a medical questionnaire describing the health-related reasons for their purchase.

The county district attorney isn’t bothered by it — he notes that his office is pretty busy with more pressing issues, such as violent crime and drugs.

Maybe the drive-thru will help everyone else feel more comfortable with the store, too. It’s just another pharmacy.

→ 1 CommentTags: in the news · sex toys

Tentacle Dreams erotica anthology now on Kindle

November 10th, 2010 · 2 Comments


→ 2 CommentsTags: erotica · me! · mobile · stuff i produced

My erotica story is alive and writhing in Tentacle Dreams (Republica Press, 2010)

November 1st, 2010 · 2 Comments

This feels something like being thoroughly French kissed while wearing vibrating nipple clamps and having someone nibble the nape of your neck…. ~ from ‘A Game of Passion’ by Regina Lynn

My story “A Game of Passion” is included in Tentacle Dreams, an anthology of ten — count ‘em! — tentacle sex stories from indie e-book publisher Republica Press.

Available now in PDF, ePub, and MobiPocket from Republica Press, All Romance eBooks, and BookStrand. (Kindle edition is due out in a few days now available right here.)

His tongue quests further downward, over the rise of my belly, over my mound, delves deeper, finds my clit. There are no words for how he makes me feel now, only sounds as ancient as time, small sounds, long low sounds, breathless sounds that can only be felt, not heard…. from ‘A Game of Passion’ by Regina Lynn

This isn’t exactly a book of hentai, though. As editor Nobilis Reed explains:

The phrase “tentacle sex” evokes a standard trope of Japanese animation, featuring hideous demonic creatures having their way with helpless sailor-suited schoolgirls. The genre is a perfect example of unintended consequences…

In our imaginations, it is safe to ponder the sexual innocent taken by an inhuman horror and driven to the heights of ecstasy, beyond the limits of propriety. The ten stories in this anthology take that theme and run in a dozen different directions.

I wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t tease you with a few glimpses into my romantic twaddle. So if you want to read the first 500 words or so, click…
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→ 2 CommentsTags: erotica · stuff i produced

Hey baby, wanna come over and … fold my socks?

October 28th, 2010 · 2 Comments

It’s a little bit Rube Goldberg for both of the purposes people are talking about, but who cares. It’s a robot! (And reminding me of a Big Bang Theory episode about a robot arm…)

→ 2 CommentsTags: hardware · sex toys · sex-tech

Naked Ambition: A retrospective?

October 27th, 2010 · Comments Off

I just stumbled across my chapter from the anthology Naked Ambition, written five years ago, from a completely different life than I have now.

I still really like it. (In fact, my first thought was, “wow, I hope I can still write like this.” Heh.)

It begins thusly:

Every week, I expose myself to a hundred thousand people online and invite them to discuss it in a public forum.

They don’t love me for my body. Hell, some of them don’t love me at all. But they come back each week because they know they’ll find a geek’s-eye view of sex. If nothing else, I give them something to think about over the weekend.

It’s a challenge, and I love it.

Click here to read it on this site.
Click here to download the PDF.

Comments OffTags: me! · pornography

Sexier Sex is available on Kindle! Did I know this already?

October 27th, 2010 · Comments Off

I can’t remember if I knew this already, but if I did, I’d forgotten. I think the subject matter of this book makes it perfect for electronic format. You can take action on several of the tips right there on your iThingie, Droid, Kindle, or other device without even leaving the book! How efficient is THAT, I ask you???

Comments OffTags: sexier sex · sexier sex tip

Love reduces pain? Anyone over 30 knows otherwise.

October 20th, 2010 · 2 Comments

This is why I don’t trust stories about new findings in sex or relationships, no matter how fun the conclusion might be. Sometimes even reading the abstract of the actual study, and preferably the whole study paper, does not ease my suspicions. Not that my intuition or feelings constitute evidence against the accuracy of a study. But if it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right.

pain scale

New Scientist posted a blurb last Friday, called Being in love eases the pain. It reports on Stanford researchers who did some real science-y kind of stuff, like brain scans. The goal was to find out whether being in love reduces our experience of physical pain, and if so, how effective is it compared to distraction-based stimulation, like Words with Friends on an iThingie.

According to New Scientist, the study found that distraction eased pain through the cortex, while love eased pain through the same “reward center” affected by chocolate and cocaine.

And yet, the subjects hardly represent real-life love.

Mackey recruited 15 undergraduates, each of whom described themselves as ‘intensely in love’.

Undergraduates? Undergraduates are almost always young adults, aged 18-23, taking their first steps toward mature sexuality. No longer teenagers sneaking around under the law, they are bona fide adults, away from their parents and surrounded by interesting peers for the first time. They are experiencing love not quite as intensely as one does at 16, but unencumbered by the slog of children, years of struggle or disappointment or compromise in a job or career, yard work, and grown-up bills. Or the changing role of sex and passion as a relationship evolves over decades, not just semesters.

And these particular undergraduates likely come from financially secure families who supported their dedication to good grades and high test scores. Or they have the obsessiveness required to get into Stanford on good grades and high test scores despite poverty and lack of support, with huge student loans, scholarships, part-time jobs, and sacrifice.

I don’t dismiss their feelings or claim that it’s “not love.” But I do suspect that a wider sample of ages, family backgrounds, life experience, and length of relationship would have a significant impact on the findings.

Click here for the abstract of the study at PLoS ONE.

→ 2 CommentsTags: science and research

Rate avatars so scientists can breed more attractive ones

October 4th, 2010 · Comments Off

bodyLab is researching attraction and has a couple of studies you can participate in. One study collects information about faces and the other collects information about bodies. In both cases, you rate an avatar on a scale of “less attractive than average” up to “more attractive than average.” The lowest scoring faces and body shapes are removed on a regular basis, and the higher scoring ones will be used to breed a new generation of avatars.

bodyLab: Researching the evolution of human body shape

I rated some male bodies today and saw that they are on the 4th generation. I was surprised at how similar the shapes are — perhaps the extremes of muscle-bound, obese, skinny, short, and tall have already been weeded out. There were differences in height still but in most cases I had to judge based on the curve of the waist when looking from the front and the protrusion of the posterior when looking at the profile.

Also, it’s hard to tell what would be attractive in real life when the avatar is a stone golem trapped in a position no human would hold on purpose. Certainly no man is going to stand like that when trying to exude sex appeal.

Perhaps the next step should be to take generation 6 or 7 and build them in a virtual world, complete with facial expressions and body language. Then see how many invitations each model receives.

[via an older Slashdot post]

Comments OffTags: science and research