@NBlackthorne on The Victorian Era and Sex Disorders

After writing my masturbation post a week or so ago, my awesome pal and fellow author, Natasha Blackthorne, reached out to me to let me know how much she enjoyed the post & that her upcoming new release had strong ties to the miseducation surrounding masturbation. I was THRILLED! Of course, considering I absolutely adore her historical erotic romances, I invited her to come over and play in my sandbox for a while. So, without any further ado, here’s the lovely and talented Natasha Blackthorne!

  
First, I’d like to say a big thank you to Kitt, for inviting me to her blog to discuss some of the history that underlies my upcoming release, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne. Kitt has one of the most interesting and engaging blogs on sexual positivity and I am always honored to be a guest here. 

The Regency period is fascinating to me for many reasons. For me, it’s the psychological pressures and the resulting changes that took their society from the relative sensual indulgence of the Georgian era to the more, at least outwardly, restrictive and repressive Victorian era. To explain where the darker aspects of my story came from, I’ll give a little historical background information. 

The History

During the late Georgian Era, the emergence of the industrial age and the continued expansion of enclosure (the consolidation of formerly small and plentiful landholdings and farms into a smaller number of large estates owned by an elite group) the pressure on resources and jobs reached maximal levels.  

By 1789, Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus, wrote an essay on “the Principle of Population”, painting pictures of humanity overcome by a population boom that drained all resource and led to mass starvation and suffering. He believed this population explosion would be fueled by out of control carnal lusts and proposed universal self-control and chastity as a preventative measure. 

The upper class wanted to conform to behaviors and self-control that would separate them from the increasing encroachment of upwardly mobile middle and lower classes. If mere birthright no longer guaranteed that a person was “worthy” of being privileged, then they would prove that they were morally superior and worthy by their behavior. 

Of course, uncertainty regarding overpopulation and shifting socioeconomic status was only one of the many anxieties swirling in the general psychological undercurrent. The Regency generation had already grown up under a cloud of anxiety due to the uncertainty caused by the Napoleonic Wars. It was a generation plagued by so-called fragile nerves and anxiety disorders. In response, doctors, both the well-intentioned and the unscrupulous, stood ready to prescribe the cures. 

This undercurrent of anxiety over health, both physical and mental, led to a push for more control over the human sensual animal. Unfortunately, the ladies bore the larger brunt of the pressure because men continued to have their sexual outlets in secret and away from normal, socially sanctioned family life. The human body became seen as a closed system of sexual energy, orgasm began to be referred to as a draining; a sort of “spending” instead of as a healthy release. Emotional disorders diagnosed in girls and women were tied to “inappropriate” sexual expression and desires. Female masturbation became a primary focus/target.

We associate the idea that “misuse” of sexual energy leading to mental debility most strongly with the Victorian Era, but the roots for these attitudes began earlier. Famous physicians with interests along these lines were men like Dr. Thomas Beddoes. He believed that sexual reading materials could lead to gluttonous desires and ruin young people’s nerves. 

Dr. Samuel Solomon, who published A Guide to Health in 1795, blamed frigidity, nervous disorders, general physical debility and infertility on early masturbation in females and called it the “foul pollution” among other names. He presented his “cordial balm” as a cure all for such excesses and likely sold a great deal of it to lonely, awkward young people who lived hard lives with little solace except a solitary one. These are just a couple of examples of the types of thinking that were beginning to circulate in the late Georgian period. 

The Delicate Matter….

In my story, The Delicate Matter of Lady Blayne, Catriona is a young widow who has already gone through some experiences that have prevented her from expressing her true self. She’s trapped in a role that she has long outgrown and shamed for some very intimate sexual behaviors that were no one else’s business. But those around her want to control her, to prevent her from achieving her adult independence. And her sexuality is one area where they have invaded her privacy in an attempt to suppress her. 

Under pressure, she becomes distraught. Desperate. Others see her deep depression, not as a cry for help, but as a sign that she needs to be fixed so that she can return to her former, girlish role.  

Her late husband’s mother contacts a well-respected physician, Dr. Meeker, who is said to have an excellent track record with “handling” out of control and deeply disturbed ladies. This doctor believes that female sexual energy is a potentially destructive force on a woman’s mental and physical health.  

His prescription is to attempt to control and redirect Catriona’s exceptionally self-indulgent sensuality and to tame her sexual desires. His dark eyes and coolly intelligent, charismatic manner, fascinates Catriona at first, while his sympathetic understanding overwhelms her. He promises what she needs most. 

She is quickly trapped in a relationship of manipulation and abuse of trust. She becomes the subject of the most invasive and abusive experiments at his hands, with emotionally destructive consequences. She’s driven the ends of her ability to cope and, at the start of the story, she is battling in the only way she knows to overcome the manipulation and brainwashing to which she has been subjected. She’s fighting for her sanity. 

The hero, James Blayne, is her late husband’s cousin and the new Baron Blayne. A former naval officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars, he’s a highly self-controlled gentleman, determined to protect her against any further abuse. He’s disconcerted by her alluring, sensual nature even while he experiences an overwhelming temptation to follow her lead and indulge in both sexuality and other sensual pleasures. His life has been one of duty, honor and obligation. Now his interactions with Catriona makes him question, for the first time, what is really important in life. 

When Catriona reached out to him, she did it out of self-preservation, a desperate chance to escape. But will she end up saving him as well? 

Wow, Natasha, it sounds like you’ve really outdone yourself this time & I can’t wait till your new release! What do you guys think? Is it any wonder I’m so thrilled to be one of the many authors participating in your Online Release Party on Facebook? All are welcome to join the party and WIN FREE STUFF, by the way. Just click the link to join. 

And if you’d like to learn more about Natasha, here’s where you can find her:

Blog: http://natashablackthorneblog.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Author-Natasha-Blackthorne/217388964952800?ref=br_rs

Twitter: @Nblackthorne

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4878430.Natasha_Blackthorne

Google+: https://plus.google.com/109806914738068189660

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Masturbation Misses

Masturbation Month

I couldn’t let the end of Masturbation month without acknowledging it. After all, we have a pretty strong history together if you recall my prior posts like Self Discovery, or Lessons in Going Solo, or Self Pleasure: A Solo Sport? Obviously I’m passionate about sexuality and self pleasure.

Maybe that’s why I’m still able to be surprised when I come across the woefully uneducated or amazingly puritanical viewpoints. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but in this modern age of technology and education, I still find myself blown away.

look_mom_im_a_unicorn

Okay, so this one is funny and a bit cute. There’s nothing at all wrong with the naïve innocence that comes with youth. In fact, it’s important to hold on to that innocence.

But…

And this is a big one.

It’s also important not to shelter your child so much that they are completely clueless about themselves, their sexuality, and the world around them. Don’t leave the job of teaching sex (and I’m not talking in the “sex is evil” sort of way) and/or the body to their friends or teachers.

Teach them not to be afraid of self discovery. Teach them not to be ashamed of the strong physical reactions self pleasure can bring. And for goodness sake…at least give them an idea that sex toys exist or you could wind up with a situation like this….

Fleshlight

Okay. So it’s funny in an OMG, kinda gross sort of way. But here’s a truth. If we talked about sex openly and honestly, would this meme even ever happen?

Or worse….

Can you imagine being so woefully uneducated about sex toys and pleasure that this happened?
image

So technically it’s not a masturbatory toy, but you get my drift. These things are misses in education. In open discussion. In sexual awareness.

Self pleasure is a powerful thing! So is information. It’s through self pleasure that we discover what feels good. How to teach our partners to help us enjoy sex. How not to settle for a poor relationship simply because they make you “feel good” because you can do that all on your own without any help.

So now it’s your turn…

Why is masturbation and/or sex education important to you? Or if it isn’t, why not?

Playtime: What Goes in the Box…

Vibe

Many moons ago I bought my first vibrator. It was exciting. It was taboo. It was hidden in a brown bag so no one would know what I’d purchased. After a quick trip to the store to pick up some batteries (let’s be real, first timer…didn’t want to run out and didn’t know what to expect) I rushed home, excited to play.

Alone in my room, I freed the teal gel cylinder from the wrapping, washed it, and slid the batteries the hard plastic handle piece. I toyed with the various settings against my hand to get a feel for how it operated, then disrobed and moved to the bed.

This was going to be awesome, right? So much easier and fun than my own fingers?

Not exactly.

It wasn’t so much the going in. Lubrication (both self and purchased) helped with that. It was more the uncomfortable, burning feeling.  And the feeling like the only way to rid myself of that uncomfortable burn was to pee.

I knew that the lady at the pleasure party said that they were considered “novelty” items, but it was explained that this had more to do with the rules of other countries about exporting things that were used for sex. That’s why there were things like rabbit ears or hummingbirds or dolphins on the clitoral stimulator….or so I understood back then.

It never occurred to me that pleasure items were not held to any health or safety standard. That they could be toxic. In the end, I gave up on that particular toy figuring it must be an allergic reaction. Heck, I’ve been known to have a sensitivity to latex condoms, so I just chalked it up to that! And then I did a bit more research.

Did you know that many of the older toys were made with toxic products? That they were safer to be used in conjunction with a condom? Or that the type of lubricant you use can actually dry you out? In fact, check out the article I wrote for Sexual Wellness News on exactly this topic this week! It’s all about how to shop for great non-toxic toys. And if you have any doubts that not all lubes are created equal? Check out this blog post from my favorite lube company. It’s from a nurse’s perspective on why their stuff is head and shoulders above the rest.

Don’t get me wrong, this has NOT stopped me from enjoying pleasure enhancers. It’s just made me much more careful in my choices. Heck, ya’ll know I’ve always been pretty vocal about sharing what I like….and reading materials to help you get there.

What about you guys? Any sex toy nightmares to share? Any tips you’ve learned along the way? Caring is Sharing, afterall!

Lessons In Going Solo #MasturbationMonth

Who has ever heard or said some derivative of one or both of these statements?

“He has intimacy issues.”

or

“It’s his responsibility to make sure you cum first.”

I’m guilty. I remember finding out from a friend at a pleasure party I hosted that she’d never achieved orgasm and me (and every other woman in the room) blamed her boyfriend. It was a reflexive reaction, probably partially programmed through years of hearing how when something goes wrong it must be the man’s fault/responsibility.

Lately, though, I’ve started looking at things differently. Men aren’t the only ones with intimacy issues. In fact, many women have major physical intimacy issues with themselves. I wish I could say it’s uncommon to hear how women are uncomfortable with their own bodies or that discomfort at masturbation is still a thing. But it’s not. In fact, I’ve discovered that it’s much more likely for me to talk to people with hang ups about this subject.

Why is that? As my buddy, August McLaughlin, points out in one of her GirlBoner posts, Orgasms are good for us! I’m going to take things a step forward and say that self induced orgasms are important for both your confidence and your love life.

Remember the old adage, “how can you expect someone else to love you if you can’t love yourself?” There’s truth to that. Not because other people can’t love you, but because if you don’t love yourself, often you don’t recognize when someone else does. Well, why are our bodies any different? If we don’t know how to rev our own engine, is it really fair to blame the partner who has difficulty deciphering our physical codes? Sure, there will be times when someone who really knows his/her way around the human body may make yours sing in ways you’ve never experienced before, but that’s not the norm.

Building and maintaining physical heat takes communication… Sharing what gets you hot (or not). If you don’t know where to start on your own body, it’s total guess work for your partner. And if you’re one of those people who “fakes it” because you don’t want to disappoint, you’ll probably never know the wonders that your body is capable of providing for you. The endorphin rush is amazing. Addictive, even.

But seriously. The best way to ensure sexual satisfaction? Start with yourself. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a bit of sensual exploration. In fact, here are a few suggestions to aid in your self discovery.

My newest favorite

Lubricant– ladies, lube isn’t just a thing for men, and they’re not all created equal. We’re not always wet when we begin a self pleasuring session, and this can be an incredible help. This particular one, made by Aloe Cadabra, is made with 95% Organic Aloe and is 100% awesome! The one pictured in my hand is the peppermint flavor that gives you that wonderful tingly sensation while you’re playing south of the border. It also doesn’t leave you feeling greasy or sticky or slimy when you’re done. It’s even got healing properties…. Who knew?

Pleasure paraphenalia

Pleasure paraphenalia

Toys– There’s this myth that says growing up means we outgrow playing with toys. I beg to differ. The type of toys we play with simply changes. When I began to explore these bedroom enhancers, I found some very interesting devices, but found I had a sensitivity to some of the materials used (jelly, specifically) to create these passion playthings. That’s when I remembered hearing about glass toys. They can be warmed and cooled, allowing me to pick my pleasure without the after-effects of vaginal irritation and/or discomfort. Nowadays, it’s amazing how many options there are, so it’s just a matter of finding what works for you. Me? I enjoy shopping at adult shops or hosting pleasure parties (though others may prefer the privacy shopping online affords them). In fact, I hosted one at the end of last month. My consultant was a truly fabulous woman named Stacey…and she’s moving to Wisconsin, so if you live in that area and want to have a party, here’s her website. Tell her I sent you!

naughty nights2

Inspirational Paraphanelia– Not everyone can get heated just because they’ve decided to explore. Some are great at being able to close their eyes and fantasize, but not everyone can do it quite that easily. Erotic reading materials are a fantastic source of inspiration. In fact, click here to check out a current ongoing blog hop (It ends on the 21st) that’s all about giving away Wickedly Hot and Sexy books or Amazon gift cards. Yes, I’m giving away a copy of one of my books. 😉

Partners– Hey, if you’re in a relationship, discovering what works for you can be a joint adventure. There’s something extremely sexy about sitting across the room from your lover, watching him/her enjoy himself while you do the same. Me? Sometimes I prefer a taste of danger or the possibility of getting caught. Yes, there’s something about enjoying myself in the passenger seat when my partner has to keep his hands on the wheel that appeals to me. Or surreptitiously doing it in a public place where an observant person might notice, but maybe not. You know, like in a fancy restaurant, sitting across from your lover….or in a movie theater.

Yes, the pleasure possibilities are endless! The health benefits are great. The ability to take responsibility for your own orgasm and lead your partner to pleasing you? Priceless! The fact that May just happens to be Masturbation Month just gives you the perfect excuse opportunity to explore.

What major insights or changes in thinking have you experienced with regards to sexuality and/or relationships? If you’re one who enjoys the solo touch, what advice or lessons would you care to impart on folks who might just be opening up to self discovery?

And, of course, my warped humor wouldn’t let me leave out the ever-so-famous Sex in the City “Rabbit Intervention” episode. 😉 Enjoy!

 

Self Pleasure A Solo Sport?

Why wait till May to talk masturbation???

Masturbation

A couple days ago I confessed to you guys that I can be a bit of a Grammar cop. Before I continue, look at the sentence under Masturbation….that statement needs a well placed comma to match the above picture, no? I’m pretty sure the sentence is also pretty accurate, too, though. Masturbation isn’t just limited to men I know. 😉

Remember those myths/old wives tales we used to hear about masturbation? My personal favorite was probably frequent self pleasure will make you go blind. Or what about the one that said touching yourself would make your palms hairy? Maybe you heard that masturbation would cause you to lose your ability to orgasm during actual sex…. or any of the many other myths out there.

With all the craziness surrounding something as simple and natural as masturbation, it’s no wonder folks are unwilling to admit to taking pleasure into their own hands. For me, personally, it’s my ideal way to relieve stress…assuming I’m someplace I can shuck my clothes. As it turns out, not only were those endorphins helping me to release stress and tension, they were also increasing my sex drive.

There’s this other myth that says that masturbation is a solo sport. I beg to differ. Everyone needs a helping hand. Sure, it can be… but alone is not your only option. I’m not talking about the whole leave your window curtains open “accidentally” so that the neighbors can get a peek…though if that does it for you, I’m the last person who will be throwing stones. What I’m talking about can be done several ways for multiple benefits.

Mutual Masturbation.

As we know, we women tend to need mental stimulation. Most men need visual stimulation. It would seem to me that playing in pairs would have a symbiotic effect. We can read our most recent racy novel or float off to fantasyland in our heads, then once our bodies are raring to go, invite our partners into the bedroom.

You can make it a game….

You: Baby, I’m feeling a little frisky and I want to play…
Him: Okay.
You: I want you to watch me touch myself…
Him: (thinking it’s incredibly hot and he just scored…wondering what’s the catch.) That’s hot.
You: There’s just one thing. I want to touch me. I want to watch you watch me touch myself. But you don’t get to touch me until I say okay. (After your first orgasm.)
Him: (Wow…That’s the catch?) Sounds hot. Do I get to touch myself?
You: (The view is just added inspiration) Absolutely.

Okay, so maybe the dialogue is a little cheesy, but think about this… There is something very sexy about sitting across from each other and pleasuring yourselves. Looking into each others eyes builds intimacy. Watching each other touch yourselves does something else. If you pay close attention, you will learn how your partner likes to be touched. Struggled to help your partner attain orgasm? They’re giving you an in depth look into their points of pleasure! Things have been getting a bit stale? Watch the “way” they touch themselves. There may be cues for different interests or role play scenarios in the future. You’ll learn if you’re too soft, too hard, too gentle…or just right (which can be an incredible ego boost).

Of course, you can also bring out the toys! Who says you have to be the one to masturbate you? Why turn a partner down if they’re in the mood to drive you out of your mind with ecstasy? Or *gasp* you could initiate it. Maybe you have a whole array of toys and your own toy chest or maybe you’ve never bought a vibrator before. Either way, do you know how exciting it can be for a man to be invited to join you as you “break in” a new toy? Maybe it’s one of those little finger vibes…(don’t knock ’em, they can be very powerful these days) or maybe it’s your rabbit. Personally, I’m enthralled with glass dildos these days (something about the fact that they can hold heat or cold gives me the shivers in a good way).

Here’s a truth…we all have our insecurities revolving around sex. Sharing intimacies like this with our partners helps break down those walls. It also helps both of you to better be able to meet your needs without pressure and frustration. In fact, if you haven’t found your g-spot yet, why not ask your partner for a team assist? You could “research” the subject online together…watching all sorts of “educational” videos. Maybe you could read books or articles…or go toy shopping and find something designed to hit “the spot”. Or that can just be your excuse to play…;-)

And if you’re newer to a relationship? Won’t they think you’re nasty or a slut or some other hideous label people create? Unless they’re severely repressed, not likely. In fact, you’ve just told them three things about yourself. You know your body and are not ashamed (nor should you be–regardless of what clothing size you might wear because they were attracted to you for a reason), you expect communication with your sex (novel concept, I know) AND that you like a bit of adventure with your loving. THERE IS NO DOWNSIDE HERE! (In fact, if they’ve got a problem…they’re likely also the downside…)

Masturbation is a genuine pleasure for me. There are all sorts of scenarios you can play out for pleasure…the one I listed above was just one of many…and meant to get your creative juices flowing. So while you’re thinking of it, what myths have you heard about sex that you know are just not true? You know I’m open to any questions you may also have surrounding masturbation and sex, so feel free to ask…

As you all know, I don’t believe in taking sex too seriously, so I thought I’d share with you the most hilariously cheesy song I’ve heard in a while…appropriately called “Masturbation Song”.

Self Discovery

self-touch

Soft touch
glide on scented
skin.
The reverent kiss
of finger tips
follow
curve
of breast
and hip.
Warm response,
arched back,
hardened buds,
taut;
seeking
heated suction
or cruel bite…
Aching.
Hand delves down,
discovers
center of my universe…
Wet welcome
permeates the air.
Hips raise,
meet seeking touch…
Beg to be filled.
Quick thrust,
fingers
strong and sure.
Once,
and again.
Light sheen glistens
Body uncontrolled.
Friction heats
tiny bud
bursts…
Red lips
raised in supplication.
“Oh, God!”

This is my 200th post! I wanted to do something different to celebrate my little landmark when it hit me! Timing is everything. Coincidences happen for a reason. I find it kind of hot that my 200th post happens to fall on National Masturbation Month. Inspired by August McLaughlin’s Girl Boner post on Self Love in relation to Body Image, I decided to follow her example.

It’s also been a while since I’ve shared poetry…especially erotic poetry, so I’ve been overdue. I hope you appreciate my poem in celebration of the joys of self love. The body is a temple that deserves celebration. What things about May make you want to celebrate?

Hope you guys also enjoy the sexy, hot song I found to go with our Sexy Study of Sensual Self.