Tag Archives: Bloghop

Sex Positivity Blog Hop – My experience with slut-shaming

spbhbanner-3I’m posting today as part of the Sex Positivity Blog Hop created by Grace Duncan.  The idea behind it is for romance authors to share positive views about sex, as opposed to the negative views presented so often in the media and in our culture.  I’m a story-teller, so I prefer to discuss things like this as they relate to me personally, as part of the story of my life, rather than in the abstract.  And I’ll use kittens to illustrate my points, because… well, they’re cute.

To see the other stops on the blog hop, go here.

black catI’ve always had a very casual attitude toward sex—it’s fun and I enjoy it, but I’ve never connected it to love.  Love is how I feel about a very select few people in my life, including my husband, of course.  But sex?  I’ve had a lot of it.  Some of it was with friends, and some was with people I didn’t know.  I’ve tried nearly every position I can think of, and quite a few kinks.  Some of it was special, some of it was incredibly hot, some of it was awful.  But only when it was with someone I cared about deeply did it have any emotional power.

I’m not saying this is the way everybody should feel about sex, but it’s the way I’m wired.  Love is love, and sex is for fun.

It surprised me to learn, as I grew older, that some people found me disgusting because of this.  One of the most hurtful things that happened to me when I was dating was when I was on a second date with a man I was very attracted to.  We ended up back at my apartment, making out passionately on my bed.  I assumed this meant we would be having sex soon, so I joked, “I’ll warn you—I’m easy!”

386200_2673280425520_1061443511_32785704_1832786642_n.jpgHe jerked away and said in a disgusted voice, “I’m not!”  Then he left, and I never saw him again.  All calls to his number went unanswered.

I ran into more men like this over the years—men who initially found me attractive, but quickly dumped me when they found out I’d had a lot of sex in the past.  I was now “damaged goods.”  And because they saw me as worthless—certainly not as someone they could have a relationship with—to offer to have sex with them seemed to insult them.  “How dare you think I would stoop to having sex with someone like you?”

Once, when I went to look at an apartment, the landlord accosted me, pulling me into a dark room and yanking down my pants.  I didn’t want it—I was dating someone, at the time, and I found this man to be repulsive—so I struggled to get free of him, and ended up fleeing with one hand pulling my pants up as I ran.  I told my boyfriend about it that night, and he responded by sneering at me and saying, “That figures.  What did you do to encourage him?”

Luckily I continue dating nevertheless, meeting people everywhere and going online on those free trial chatlines,that helps people meet new people, and then I found Erich.

So, needless to say, by the time I met Erich, I was used to people thinking I was a “slut.”  It wasn’t so much that I thought badly of myself for my sexual history, but I was convinced I’d given up whatever chance I might have had for a permanent relationship.

kitten cuddleThank God for Erich.  Our first “date” was more of a geeky study group for two.  We were both interested in Old Norse, the language spoken by the Vikings, so we met at my apartment to go over some lessons.  When we got tired of that, we ended up making out.  I came onto him, and he didn’t play hard to get or act offended.  He acted as if he was lucky to have found me.  And I quickly realized I was lucky to have found him.

We’ve been together for thirteen years now.  We’ll be celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary this week, in fact.  During this time, Erich has always enjoyed hearing about the sexual antics I used to get up to in my youth.  He hadn’t been quite so adventuresome himself.  But whenever I mention how men used to make me feel there was something “tainted” about me for being so experienced, he pulls me into his arms and laughs.  “Then they missed out,” he tells me.  “I love hearing your stories.  I think they’re hot.”

So I may not be the type of guy every man wants to marry.  But that doesn’t matter anymore, because Erich wanted to marry me.

I wrote about some of this, fictionalized, in my novel Screwups.  What happened to Danny isn’t true—not for me, at least, though sadly it does happen to some high school students.  Some have committed suicide over it.  But his feelings of being sleazy and not good enough to be Jake’s boyfriend—of having screwed up his life—I understood all too well.  And many of the events that occur in the dorm really did happen to me, though of course I’ve inserted my fictional characters into them.  Eaton House did in fact have nude pizza parties, people chasing each other through the dorm naked, and residents posing nude in the lounge for art students.

One thing I left out of the novel was the time I streaked the dorm covered head to toe in nothing but marshmallow fluff.

Ah… good times….

To buy a copy of Screwups, look for it at Dreamspinner Press or Amazon.

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Filed under Bloghop, College, Contemporary, Jamie Fessenden, Life, Nudity, Sex, Sex Positivity

The Equal Rights Blog Hop: Coming Out in the 80s

Coming Out in Small Town New England in the 80s

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Welcome to the Equal Rights Blog Hop! Each year, members of the the GLBTQ community and their supporters gather to celebrate the battle for equal rights. This year, thirty different authors have joined in the hop, and there are prizes galore! Be sure to check out the entire prize list at Queertown Abbey and see how you can enter to win the rafflecopter–as well as the Master List of Participating Authors.

I came out in 1983 in Keene, NH, a town with a population of about 23,000.  This was not a great time to be gay in America.  Homosexuality was still classified as a mental illness (until it was reclassified in an addendum to the DSM-III in 1987), and just one year after I came out, a young, openly gay man named Charlie Howard drowned, after being beaten and thrown off a bridge in Bangor, Maine—the town I was born in.

The world was not yet ready for us—for me.

I was actually lucky.  Though I’d spent some time in fundamentalist churches and, not to put too fine a point on it, been seriously screwed up by their loathing of homosexuals, my parents were not mean people.  In 1983, I was living with my mother—a psychologist—and she handled the revelation that her oldest son was gay pretty well.  My problems were self-loathing, taught to me by the church and society, and sheer loneliness.

Apparently, my self-loathing didn’t go very deep, because I was able to get over that within a few years of meeting other gay men and starting to date.  Thank God.  But that first obstacle—meeting other gay men—was a challenge.  Keep in mind, they didn’t want to be found.  Not by anyone who wasn’t gay.  And that made it hard for those who were gay to find them too.

It took me about a year to go from coming out to finally meeting another gay man.  Any gay man.

A friend of mine had heard that one of the local supermarket papers had personals for gays as well as straight people, so I picked up a copy.  There were a few GWM (Gay White Male) Seeking… hookups, mostly.  I found most of them kind of creepy.  But there was one from a man just a few years older than myself, and he appeared to be looking for someone to hang out with—not necessarily sex.  So I agonized over my response and finally sent a letter that just copied his ad, replacing his age with mine.

Fortunately, Michael thought it was cute.  He called and we arranged to meet in a public place.  Again, I was lucky.  Michael didn’t turn out to be my One True Soulmate, but he did turn out to be a caring, attractive man who made me feel good about myself and, as someone who worked in public radio news, he opened my eyes to the world around me.  And yes, he also became my first lover. For the record, he didn’t seduce me—I pretty much threw myself at him.

It was also through Michael that I finally found the Gay community in Keene.  It turned out they moved every month from one house to another, the next month’s location published in a newsletter distributed only to members, and then marked by purple balloons attached to the house’s mailbox when the time came.

At this time, there wasn’t much of an “LGBT” community.  Gay men did not hang out with lesbians, and the two groups frequently badmouthed each other.  Bisexuals and transgendered people were, I’m sad to say, treated with mockery.  Michael wasn’t like that. He and I rented rooms from a lesbian couple and he had friends who were bisexual, so I learned not to absorb the cliquish attitudes I encountered in the men’s group.  But we certainly weren’t any more welcome at the lesbian group than our landlady and her partner were welcome at the men’s group.

I recall being baffled, at the time.  I couldn’t understand why we didn’t all ban together and recognize we had a common cause.  I can’t tell you how much better things got for all of us in the 90s, when this began to happen.

To enter the grand prize drawing at Queer Town Abbey, please answer this question — WHAT TOWN DID I LIVE IN WHEN I CAME OUT?

Then, go to this link–

http://queertownabbey.com/the-equal-rights-blog-hop-july-4th-through-11th/

What you do next, will be explained there!

 

 

 

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Filed under Bloghop, gay, GLBT History, Jamie Fessenden, Life

The Next Big Thing Blog Chain

Last week, fellow author Cate Ashwood tagged me on her blog as part of her Next Big Thing, so now it’s my turn to post my latest project and then pass the baton to another author.  So here’s what I’m working on:

The Next Big Thing

What is the title of your book?

Murderous Requiem

How did you come by the idea?

I was inspired by a number of different things, including The DaVinci Code (the book and the film), some books I bought years ago on Marsilio Ficino (a Renaissance magician, doctor, and musician who believed that music could heal the body), my interest in Norse mythology, Alfred Hitchcock films like The Birds, and murder mysteries like And Then There Were None.

What genre does your book fall under?

Paranormal/Occult Mystery

Which actors would you choose to play your characters if it were a movie?

Three Characters

I’m not really sure I can pick actors, apart from perhaps Brad Pitt in Interview with a Vampire as Bowyn.  I did find pictures online that captured what I imagined.  From left to right, these would be Jeremy and Bowyn, the two love interests in the novel, and the enigmatic playboy, Rafe.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Renaissance music expert, Jeremy Spencer, is dragged back into the occult commune that he co-founded years ago with his ex-boyfriend, Bowyn Clarke, in order to transcribe an ancient manuscript, but he soon discovers the Temple holds dangers beyond stirring up old feelings he isn’t sure how to deal with — the manuscript contains a dark secret that somebody is willing to kill for.

Will your book be self-published or traditional?

It will be published by Dreamspinner Press in eBook and paperback.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hard to say, because I don’t always write a complete first draft before going back and rewriting, especially in something this tightly plotted.  I went back over the first half several times before I wrote the second half.  From beginning to finally having a complete story in my hands was probably a little over a  year.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s a bit like The DaVinci Code, though there is considerably less running around.  It all takes place in one location.  I’m not sure which M/M novels it might compare to.  (EDIT –12/31/2012:  I am now reading a book by Shelter Somerset called The Rule of Sebastian, which I wasn’t aware of when I first wrote this post.  It has a very similar feel to Murderous Requiem, though it’s much more of a murder mystery than Requiem is.  I haven’t finished it yet, but I suspect I’ll be able to give it a good recommendation when I have.)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

To put this mystery together, I drew from a number of sources:  the writings of Marsilio Ficino, alchemy, the life of John Dee, Enochian, ceremonial magick, Aleister Crowley and his occult order, the O.T.O.  I also blended in some horror elements to give the mystery a creepy feel.

So that’s my Next Big Thing.  The writers I’m tagging for next week are:

Lou Sylvre on December 25th

Jana Denardo on December 26th

Zahra Owens on December 26th

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Filed under Bloghop, gay, horror, Mystery, Next Big Thing, Occult/Paranormal, Writing

And the Winner Is…!

I want to thank everybody who stopped by my blog this weekend during the Rainbow Book Reviews bloghop!  It was a great time and I loved chatting with everybody.

Second, since I had such a great turnout, I decided that I couldn’t just give away one measly copy of my novel, By That Sin Fell the Angels.  Instead, I decided to give away three copies!  (To different people.  Giving three copies to the same person probably wouldn’t be that exciting.)

I hope that doesn’t violate some unwritten bloghop code I haven’t been informed of….

Everybody was probably expecting me to announce the winners on Sunday.  You know…actually during the bloghop.  Unfortunately, things got hectic for me and that didn’t happen.  I apologize to everyone about that.

But anyway, I’ve drawn three names from a hat and the winners are:

Tali Spencer

Ruth Sims

Yvette 

Congratulations!   

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