Exclusive Excerpt: A Dirty Word



It has always been a challenge, at least in the majority of recorded human history and modern history, to be a woman. It seems that only in the most modern times can women finally have, generally speaking, socially acceptable platforms to give voice to issues that are important to them and the right to even do so.

Sexual harassment. Sexual assault. Sexual abuse. Misogyny. Fair pay. Maternity leave. Fair, safe, and affordable healthcare. The list can go on…

Thanks mostly to the #metoo movement and feminism in general, women are, now more than ever, seeking to further their stance in society and the world, and to live their own personal truths — from the married, stay-at-home moms of four, to the childless and husbandless CEO of a Fortune 500 company. However, despite this herculean agenda, perhaps the hardest thing 50 percent of this planet needs to accomplish is furthering the understanding of women’s issues, across and within genders, sexes, generations, and within yourself, too. Perhaps this is necessary before women and men could ever hope to affect positive change.

When it comes to our sex organs and sexual health, the most recent research seems disproportionately inclined toward the study of men’s sexual health as compared to women, despite the fact that women have more complicated reproductive systems when compared to men. And women’s reproductive processes put women at a much higher risk of death than men. But, then again, this is nothing new. Yes, it must be traumatic for those dealing with erectile dysfunction, but then again women go through menopause, too. (Granted, most women can still orgasm after menopause: I wouldn’t wish an orgasm-less life on anyone…) But before we even get to those wonderful mid-life crisis years, one study found that in their most recent sexual encounter, 95 percent of men reported orgasms, as compared to 69 percent of women. So why is more research not being done on women’s sexual health? Why is the range of experience so different? Shouldn’t women be getting off just as much as men?

There is obviously a divide here and there are A LOT of factors that play into a woman’s level of arousal and sexual fulfillment, from the errand she forgot to run this morning to the size and shape of her labia. How can women who feel unsatisfied and “less than” (even through they are not!) ever hope to help an outsider understand? How can they ever hope to move past the “what’s” and get to the “how’s?”

Steph Auteri has boldly volunteered her own personal experiences in A Dirty Word: How a Sex Writer Reclaimed Her Sexuality. She touches upon many subjects of interest to the modern woman, most notably her battles with female sexual dysfunction — which is much more wide-ranging than you would initially think. In a recent study, it was found that 40 percent of women have sexual concerns and 12 percent of women report distressing sexual problems. Women are complicated creatures…

So, read on. Whether you have been diagnosed or not, whether you feel at your peak mental and emotional health or at your lowest, whether you have the sexual ego of a award-winning porn star or a forty-year-old virgin, whether you have only had one partner or have more notches on your bedpost than you can count… you are not alone.



[Note: Travis was Steph’s boyfriend for several months in college. An experience that was beautiful at times, but was more traumatic than anything else.]

I was twenty when I finally succumbed to Travis’s appeals for a blowjob. We had just shared a shower and I was feeling generous, so I knelt down on the bathroom floor as he stood before me, the hair on his legs dripping, making golden loops and whorls across his shins and down his calves. The mirror over the sink was fogged, and the air was damp and heavy. My knees were slick, tender as they dug into the tiled floor; wet strands of hair striped my cheeks and my forehead and inched between my lips, requiring me to spit them out before returning to the job at hand. Travis’s knees shook, and he gasped. “Where did you learn to do that?” he asked.

Back when I still lived with my parents, I sometimes watched fuzzed-out porn at three in the morning. I stared at bodies twisting and humping on the screen, squinting to get a glimpse of things I’d not yet experienced. What was taking place on that bathroom floor was not nearly as bow-chik-a-bow-wow as what I had seen on TV. But as for sex education, that was all I had to go on. Apparently, it was enough.

You should never, however, underestimate the sex toy industry’s ability to make you doubt yourself. Like a SkyMall for sexy time, adult toy developers love creating unnecessary doo-dads and whatzits that promise to elevate the in-and-out experience.

The BlowGuard was one such whatzit. Years after that first blowjob, when I received a review unit just before a romantic anniversary trip to a B&B in upstate New York, I slipped it into my suitcase. In the fullness of that first day upstate, I almost forgot about it. Leaving our luggage at the inn, we drove along the Canandaigua wine trail, turning in at small vineyards, poring over lists of whites and reds, swirling the wine in our glasses as if we knew what we were doing. We sipped Chambourcins and Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs and, later in the evening, gulped down large, full glasses of wine at the farm-to-table restaurant where we had our dinner. By the time we made our way back to our room, we were thoroughly soused. Especially Michael. Because my tolerance for alcohol was lower than his, I often used his glass as a personal dump bucket when we were at tastings.

A drunk Michael is a particularly frisky Michael. So as I bent over the sink in our private bathroom, brushing my teeth, he took the opportunity to remove all of his clothing except for his boxer briefs, clamber up onto the elevated canopy bed, and stretch out in a come-hither position. I looked at him when I emerged from the bathroom and shook my head. I was wearing bulky, fleece pajama pants emblazoned with a Cookie Monster pattern. We were still in our twenties, but we had never been what I’d describe as sexy. At least not in that performative way you see on TV and in the movies where the woman shimmies out of her negligee or the man backs his partner against the wall, and then they both magically orgasm while they’re still standing there, dry humping each other. But I did have one ace up my sleeve.

I whipped the BlowGuard out of my suitcase and brandished it in the air. “Ta-daaaaa!”

Michael sighed.

The BlowGuard was a toy meant to be used during partner play in order to prevent you from nicking your partner with your teeth during oral sex. With its built-in bullet vibrator, it also promised “mind-blowing” plea- sure. It looked like a mouth guard but, since we weren’t winning points for sexiness anyway, I was willing to look silly if it meant we would soon experience staggering levels of orgasmic bliss.

The first speed bump came when I couldn’t fit the bullet vibe into the dental guard. Michael grappled with it for a while before finally prevailing over imperfect manufacturing. Then, I realized I wasn’t sure whether I was supposed to place the BlowGuard over my upper or lower teeth. The instructions that came with the device were less than illuminating.

I eventually decided to try it both ways (I am nothing if not thorough) but couldn’t stop myself from giggling as I slow-motion approached my husband’s penis.

Not only that, but I couldn’t stop worrying that the BlowGuard would fall out of my mouth. This thought made me tense my jaw, which in turn made me worry that teeth nicks were inevitable. My tightened jaw also made it impossible for me to actually fit my husband’s penis into my mouth. (He asserts that this is because his member is so large.)

Finally, we were forced to abort the experiment.

“Besides,” he said, “it’s scary to see that thing coming at my penis.”

Luckily, we were able to laugh about it. But it wasn’t always that way. When Michael and I weren’t laughing, I was crying, the guilt and pressure I felt around my sexual issues suffocating me. If it were up to Michael, we would probably have sex every damn day. But night after night, when he turned to me in bed to run a hand down my arm, I turned away from him and stuck my head in a book. The want I’d felt for him at the beginning of our relationship had faded, and I could go for long stretches of time without feeling that tingling sensation that signified my desire. At the time, I hadn’t yet learned that, for many women, physical arousal is the thing that sparks desire. I hadn’t yet learned about the waxing and waning of desire that is normal throughout the course of everyone’s life. And so, I resented him for pushing me, even after I told him I wasn’t in the mood.

All of this was made worse by the fact that I continued to experience pain during intercourse for several years. Lube didn’t help. Penetration wasn’t the problem. It was when he was inside me, thrusting his way to completion, that I felt a sharp, stinging agony, like needles biting into my vaginal walls. Why would I want to participate in that? How could I not resent the person who wanted to forge ahead anyway, despite knowing what I was being forced to endure?

At the same time, I always felt that he deserved more. Better. And my experimentation around sex toys and my immersion in the world of sex positivity—an exploration enabled by my sex writing—were the vehicles I had chosen in my efforts to fix myself. I wanted to be more like everyone else. I wanted to have the sex life I imagined everyone else was having. I wanted to want. I wanted to feel comfortable and capable in bed. And if the pain I felt was all in my head—as my gynecologist at one point intimated—I wanted to get down to the very essence of who I was, deep down inside, and fix that, too.

A Dirty Word is available for purchase at all major retailers in print and digital formats. Or feel free to order a copy at your local bookstore!

AmazoniTunes • Nook • Google Play • Kobo

Cleis Press Back to School Sale


It’s never too late to learn about pleasure…

And Cleis Press is here to help, despite some web design difficulties. I think we may have to go back to school for that one ourselves…

To help you discover the best instructional and sex ed titles, they are listed below by subject category. From learning the art of BDSM to mastering fellatio, we have you covered!

Sale ends 9/31/18.



50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino

As Kinky as You Wanna Be: Your Guide to Safe, Sane and Smart BDSM by Shanna Germain

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex: A Complete Resource for Women and Men by Karlyn Lotney



Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines



The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent

The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception Through Birth by Rachel Pepper

The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman, PhD

The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us by Felice Newman



The Cleis Press Sextionary by the Editors of Cleis Press

The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals by Stephanie A. Brill and Rachel Pepper

The Transgender Teen: A Handbook for Parents and Professionals Supporting Transgender and Non-Binary Teens by Stephanie Brill and Lisa Kenney



Better Sex in No Time: An Illustrated Guide for Busy Couples by Josey Vogels

The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: The Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans

Never Have the Same Sex Twice: A Guide For Couples by Alison Tyler

Never Say Never: Tips, Tricks, and Erotic Inspiration for Lovers by Alison Tyler

O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm by Jenny Block

Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships by Alison Tyler

Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson

The Smart Girl’s Guide to the G-Spot by Violet Blue



The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men by Bill Brent

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus 2nd Ed.: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio: How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge by Tristan Taormino

The Ultimate Guide to Orgasm for Women: How to Become Orgasmic for a Lifetime by Mikaya Heart

The Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy for Lesbians: How to Stay Sane and Care for Yourself from Pre-conception Through Birth by Rachel Pepper

The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure: Erotic Exploration for Men and Their Partners by Charlie Glickman, PhD and Aislinn Emirzian

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain or Regain a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life by Joan Price

The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability: For All of Us Who Live with Disabilities, Chronic Pain, and Illness by Miriam Kaufman, Cory Silverberg, and Fran Odette

The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood by Madison Young

The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasy: How to Have Incredible Sex with Role Play, Sex Games, Erotic Massage, BDSM and More by Violet Blue

The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex: All You Need to Know About Masturbation by Jenny Block

The Ultimate Guide to Strap-On Sex: A Complete Resource for Women and Men by Karlyn Lotney


<3 Cleis Press

Why preparing your kids for sex is just as important as preparing for their birth


When we’re preparing for the birth of a child, everything has to be perfect: pack the overnight bag, save the doula’s emergency number to your and everyone else’s phone, have friends and family on call to rush to your aid, make sure the nursery is perfectly prepared with ALL THE THINGS to welcome your little bundle of joy home…

So… Why is it so important to take such painstaking steps to welcome a child into the world, but, for so many, teaching a child exactly where they came from is something that can trigger feelings of shame and embarrassment on both sides?! If giving birth is so beautiful, then why are we not arming out kids with all the information they need in order to survive the years of puberty, high school, growing up, forming healthy relationships, and ultimately (gasp) having sex themselves? Why would we not give as much thought and attention to prepping a nursery as we would to educating our kids to make smart choices about serious topics? Why is it not more common for parents to develop a plan to educate their children about sex? 

It is just that curious, sex-positive line of inquiry that has inspired Alison Macklin, Vice President of Education and Innovation at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, to write Making Sense of “It”: A Guide to Sex for Teens (and Their Parents, Too!) (Viva Editions, September 2018).

As parents, we can choose to leave sex education up to the schools (if a program should even exist in your district) where a school’s teaching plan may not align with your own values/ideals. Or, even worse, kids can be wildly misinformed if your district does not make health and sex education a priority. Personally, I still remember my high school “health teacher,” who was not certified in any way, getting into a heated verbal debate with a fellow student. She believed that cancer IS a virus. Too bad the rest of the world (and fortunately my class) disagreed with her…

Or, perhaps even worse, we can leave sex ed up to the media, movies, music, etc., which tends to paint sex in a truly poor light, misinforming both sexes by conforming to a wide array of unrealistic standards and negative stereotypes.

Championed as the “Our Bodies, Our Selves for today,” Making Sense of “It” can help parents from any background to teach their kids/teens/young adults a variety of different sex-related topics:

  • the human brain in relation to sex and puberty
  • the need for human touch
  • gender roles, sexual identity, and sexual orientation
  • feeling horny
  • various levels of “risk” in sexual behaviors
  • signs of healthy and negative relationships
  • consent culture
  • fetishes, fantasies, sex toys, and pornography
  • choosing when to become sexually active
  • tactics to improve communication with sexual (current or potential) partners
  • how to get help and be an active bystander when witnessing sexual harassment and assault
  • various methods of contraception and abortion

We all know not one family is ever the same, nor is any parent-child relationship, so chapters are conveniently arranged in such away where you can cherry pick your lessons. Making Sense of “It” also includes handy conversation starters at the end of each chapter to help make the “talk” your own, and to forge a closer relationship, which is a challenge unto itself for any teen and parent.

Sex will always be awkward, but talking to your kids about sex shouldn’t be. Making Sense of “It” will help parents everywhere enjoy and appreciate this time as another beautiful step on your parenting journey.




ALISON MACKLIN has been with the Responsible Sex Education Institute at the Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) for over fourteen years and is currently vice president of education and innovation. Macklin is an award-winning, nationally recognized leader in sex education and holds a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver. She is a mother of two who lives in Colorado.


Making Sense of “It” is available for preorder/purchase at all major retailers. Or you can always purchase a copy through your local independent bookstore! Don’t forget to mark it as “To Read” on Goodreads!




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The Eight Biggest Mommy Mojo Blocks


I am sure most Mom’s will agree that the fantasy of having a baby – all the oooh’s and aaah’s, and dreamy Pinterest-worthy visions of domesticity – quickly fade as the new reality of motherhood settles in: a crushed libido, unpredictable lactation, constant exhaustion, and an underlying identity crisis.

But how do you get past all that in order to feel playful and inspired as a woman again, satisfied as a loving mother, and more importantly, to discover a renewed enthusiasm for sex? How do you learn to reconnect with your “new” body? How can you marry your new identity as a mother with the woman, lover, and boss babe you were before?

Thankfully, Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor, has written an exciting new book meant to help all Mamas dealing with these questions: The Mommy Mojo Makeover: 28 Tools to Reclaim Yourself & Reignite Your Relationship. After encountering this postpartum sexual and identity crisis herself, Dana set out to help Mamas everywhere. Her first recommendation is to take a look at the most common obstacles you’re encountering – the mommy pains that are draining you of desire, lowering your self-esteem, and leaving you wondering if passion will ever return to your partnership. Before you can begin whipping your Mommy Mojo into shape, you must uncover your blocks. If you start by shedding some light on what’s been holding you back from being the alluring and inspired woman, mother and partner you’re meant to be, you’ll be taking the first steps on your path to rediscovering your sexual self!

Here are the eight biggest Mommy Mojo Blocks according to Dana:

1. The Mom Zone

You have a super-busy life balancing the many responsibilities of motherhood. Between schoolwork and activities, cooking dinner and tending to your kids’ every need, the pressure to parent perfectly is burning you out. Whenever you see your friends (probably on a play- date), your conversations revolve around kids and are constantly interrupted by them. Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by the demands of motherhood and that you’re lacking the personal freedom you desire. You might even feel bored to tears with your domestic load, and left wondering where the real you went. Sex has fallen low on your priority list, which is not that surprising considering how much energy you give to your kids. Since you don’t have the energy to nurture the sexy woman within, you feel stuck in the Mom Zone.

2. Low Libido

Since becoming a mother, your desire has been on a slow and steady decline. From hormonal shifts to sleep deprivation, chronic stress, and physical exhaustion, your sexual appetite has waned. It’s also possible that after a long day of the kids hanging from your every limb, you’re “all touched out” and just want to be left alone once they’re asleep! Mother- hood requires being 100 percent “on” all the time, and so you’re always thinking about the safety, well-being, and development of your little creatures. This constant mental multitasking—and likely a lack of self- care—leaves you feeling physically and mentally drained, and sexually uninspired. It’s no wonder you’re too tired to make love after the kids are in bed.

3. Body Confidence

Some moms feel just as amazing as they did pre-baby, regardless of whether their bodies changed, but many more moms view their body in a very different way post-baby. If you’re one of those moms, you may feel depressed about your appearance, or even hate how you look. Your inner vixen doesn’t give you a wink when you look in the mirror anymore. Maybe you’ve started to reject your spouse’s compliments, or you turn o the lights during sex to hide your body. You might find yourself talking trash about your thighs, tush, or tummy. There’s never enough time to exercise the way you like or get your favorite beauty and self-care treatments, all of which leaves you feeling less than thrilled with your post-baby body.

4. Time 

You’re short on it. Short on me-time. Short on kid-free time with your spouse. Short on time to do what you love and to see your girlfriends. You feel like you’re barely getting through your to-do list, let alone finding a moment to decompress and leisurely think about sensual things or get busy in the bedroom. The carefree bonding time you once shared as a couple has winnowed away to nearly nothing. Not only are you desperately short on precious together time, you and your spouse may be prioritizing time in different ways—causing your busy schedules to feel out of sync and driving a wedge between you.

5. Identity Crisis

There is a very real identity crisis that happens when you become a mother—and no one seemed to warn you about it! Perhaps you once a social butter y, with seemingly unlimited time and freedom to explore restaurants, hang out with friends, or take trips. Maybe you were an ultra-productive rock star at work, and then slipped on sexy heels and went salsa dancing at night. You defined yourself by your accomplishments, your passions, your talents. And then you became a mom: “So-and-so’s mom.” Perhaps you chose to take a break from work to raise them. And then you question, Am I just a mom now? And, Am I a good enough mom? And perhaps the biggest one of all, Why aren’t I having more fun with this?! The sudden lack of freedom and the enormous responsibility of caring for a child is a big deal, and it can make you feel like you’ve lost yourself. You might sometimes wonder: Where is the fun, social, sensual woman I used to be?

6Romantic Disconnect

When you brought your baby home, you immersed yourselves in the blissful experience of becoming parents. You swore that having kids wouldn’t change your relationship, but it did anyway. You became 
incredible partners in parenting, and maybe even better friends than you thought possible, but the sex went from hot to obligatory—and the desire and erotic tension you once had for each other began to fizzle out. The steadiness and routine that helps family life run so smoothly has zapped all spontaneity, flirtation, and adventure. Your conversations with your partner are now mostly about the kids, and your once-a-week date nights have turned into once-a-month outings where you’re home by nine. Perhaps you’re even feeling a genuine loss of sexual attraction, and worry he feels the same. The loss of romantic connection is one of the most gut-wrenching and pervasive pains of motherhood!

7. Resentment

Many moms have shared with me that they resent their spouse because they feel unsupported. Moms tend to take on more of the childcare and domestic responsibilities, and can feel like we’re just not getting enough help, appreciation, or acknowledgment. Working moms, SAHMs, ultramodern progressive moms, hippie moms, it doesn’t matter: moms just take on more. But the resentment creeps in when he 
rarely-to-never takes charge of the kids’ activities. or when he leaves for the gym, hangs out with friends, or works on a passion project without considering family responsibilities. It seems like you’re always the one who has to secure childcare while you squeeze in your “other” life (work, hobbies, friends, self-care, etc.) between errands and playdates. Maybe he’s the breadwinner and feels entitled to relax after his workday, while yours just keeps going. Nothing kills the desire for intimate, connected sex like simmering resentment; when it goes unchecked, it can lead to intense hurt and anger, which can (surprise!) result in less sex.

8. Unsatisfying Sex

There was probably a time in the not-so-distant past when you couldn’t imagine using “bedroom” and “boring” in the same sentence. In the pre- baby phase of your relationship, your sex life was hot, heavy, passionate . . . and you expected it to be that way forever. But now, your lovemaking has slowed down to a predictable, uninspiring once-a-week a air: you know exactly what’s coming because it’s always the same. Worse, your 
sex drives often feel way out of sync: maybe he wants more, you want less—and you might even feel pressure from him because of it and struggle to turn o your brain and let go during the act. or maybe you both are stuck in a cycle of sexual fatigue from the relentless emotional and physical stresses of parenting. You’re both spending your energy just getting through another day, and little is left over for feeling turned on together.

If you have nodded in agreement more than once, there is a good chance that you will find a friend in Dana and in The Mommy Mojo Makeover. Books and ebooks are available at all major retailers: Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and many, many more.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Mommy Mojo Makeover


Hey, Mamas!

Feeling like you can be a sexier version of your current self? Missing that extra bounce in your step that comes with feeling sexually fulfilled?

Dana B. Myers, founder of Booty Parlor is here to help with The Mommy Mojo Makeover: 28 Tools to Reclaim Yourself & Reignite Your Relationship. This practical and actionable guide is meant to help you rediscover and redefine your post-baby body, post-baby relationship with your partner, and post-baby sex life. Yes, there is such a thing!

Lucky for you, Dana is here to restore your hope and start to reignite the passion in your life and partnership with an exclusive sneak peak from one ofDana’s mojo-boosting tools!

From Tool No. 6: Choose Fun over Obligation

When was the last time you used the word “fun” to describe your daily life as a mom? Is it fun to clean up toys, be thrown up on, prepare meals and snacks, potty train, teach manners, run errands, carpool, help with homework, wrangle wild things into bed, and monitor a teenager’s social media account . . . all while juggling a career and your relationship? The short answer: Not so much.

This letter submitted to my website, from Abby, a mom of one, illuminates this issue perfectly:

Dear Dana,

Having a loving husband, my own business, and a baby girl is truly my dream come true, but if I’m honest, it doesn’t always feel so dreamy. My girl is three, and I thought I’d be so much more in-the-moment with her. Instead, it feels like I’m robotically “plugging in the pieces” of our day. I’m always looking ahead to what’s next—a meal, activity, bath, bedtime, etc.—so much so that I miss out on the sweetness of “what’s happening now.” I see other moms having FUN with their kids and it makes me sad. I’m even ashamed to admit that I often feel angry about it. I was also raised to believe that you have to nish your work before you play. And my work—both as her mom and as an entrepreneur growing my business—is never done, so I never allow myself to fully get to the “play part” of motherhood. This leaves me feeling stuck in stress mode and isolation, and it’s certainly not making magic happen in my relationship with my husband either.

Please, please tell me . . . how can I enjoy motherhood more? I desperately want to be a happier mama, woman, and wife!

xo, Abby

I could totally relate to Abby’s predicament. I often struggled to experience the joy “in the moment” with my kids—my mind would inevitably drift to work deadlines or other domestic obligations. While I hate to admit it, I often found the minutiae of motherhood boring, which only made me feel guilty. on top of that, I was mentally and emotion- ally exhausted from constantly shifting between the roles of mother and businesswoman. For me, trying to be everything to everyone at every single moment, meant that I missed out on the joy of being in the here and now. What’s worse is that this inner discord also affected my marriage and sex life. I was often restless, resentful, and unhappy at the end of the day, and my husband was getting the bare minimum

from me—whatever was leftover. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved being a mother, but there were times I was downright irritated and overwhelmed by the endless obligations that came with it. Let me tell you something: obligation is So. Not. Sexy.

I wanted to unearth bliss within the chaos, rediscover delight in the precious moments with my children, and find a way to make my life a whole lot of fun again! Something had to shift and I had a hunch it would have to be my attitude. That’s when it came to me in a flash, like a light bulb going o in my brain:

♥ I decided I would CHOOSE FUN, whenever possible.

♥ I would choose PLEASURE over a sense of obligation.

♥ I would choose SILLINESS over boredom.

♥ I would choose AMUSEMENT over irritation.

♥ I would choose MY MOM TRIBE over isolation.

♥ I would choose to SEEK SENSUALITY over strict scheduling.

This radical change in mind-set was a revelation. I realized that, amidst all the chaos and sleeplessness, there is magnificence to be had in motherhood. Why miss out on it? Why not squeeze the pleasure and bliss out of every single moment?

Even with this new attitude, I still had to run the household and get my work done, change stinky diapers and operate on less than six hours of sleep, but I decided I would do it with more merriment. I’d listen to more music, find the humor in the madness of it all, and eat more chocolate along the way. I’d abandon my strict by-the-minute schedule and opt for a more spontaneous family ow. I’d attend more playdates with friends, even if it meant I had to leave work early and finish up once the kids were in bed. Fun would be my choice. And it worked! Motherhood 
became much more fun. I became much more like my old self again. The moments spent doing the simplest of things with my kids became so much sweeter, so much more amusing. I began to get my glow back, and feel like me again. I freed myself of the unnecessary feelings of anger and obligation that were plaguing me, and my Mojo began to steadily rise. Motherhood became more joyful, and that newfound happiness carried right over into my relationship.

I shared this personal success story with Abby and, inspired by my process, she began to focus her attention on finding more fun and plea- sure, and her experience of motherhood changed for the better.

Mama, pleasure and fun are your birthright—they are yours for the taking. That’s not to say that holding onto this lighthearted mind-set is always easy, but it is worth it. When you’re having more fun within the daily grind of motherhood, your whole life will become happier. Fun o sets exhaustion; fun is a way out of feeling blue. Fun melts away fear, doubt, and stress. Fun can keep you from unleashing your inner tyrant upon your kids and husband. Fun makes room for present moment magic with your kids, opening your eyes to the possibility of more plea- sure in all areas of your life—including in the bedroom! Choose fun every day, and you will access your glow once again.

Available wherever books and eBooks are sold:

Amazon.….iTunes…..Barnes & Noble…..Google Play…..Kobo

and more!



Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Deadline Extended!


From the book series’ website:

To everyone who previously submitted work to Volume 4, you can expect to hear back by September 30, 2018. If you have any questions, contact editor Rachel Kramer Bussel at bweoftheyear at gmail dot com and she will get back to you ASAP.

Call for Submissions – Extension

Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4

To be published by Cleis Press in December 2018

Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Make sure to read and follow the guidelines in full. Guidelines may be updated over the course of the open submission period. Feel free to repost these guidelines as long as you link to this site (https://www.bweoftheyear.com/call-for-submissions), which will always contain the most up-to-date version of these guidelines. For occasional BWE submission tips, follow @BWEoftheyear on Twitter.

This is an extension of the original call; if you already submitted work, it’s still being considered and you will hear back by September 30, 2018. If you previously submitted one story, you can submit one more; all authors can submit a total of two stories.

This anthology is open to women, genderqueer and nonbinary authors only. I’m seeking 2,00-4,000 word original, unpublished erotic stories with women, genderqueer or nonbinary protagonists that touch on the theme of outsiders or the theme of risk. Stories without one of those elements will be rejected.

What I’m specifically looking for:

Erotica stories relating to current events (but that will still be sexy to readers in 20 years)

Ownvoices erotica stories (author and protagonist share a marginalized identity – for more information, see originator of the term)

Stories with transgender women as protagonists

Stories exploring a specific culture (see “On the Calendar” by Kate Sebastian in Volume 2 for an example)

Stories starring women who feel like outsiders because of an aspect of their sexuality

Stories starring women over 50

Historical erotica (see “Demimonde” by Valerie Alexander in Volume 1 for an example)

Humorous erotica (see “Starstruck” by Lazuli Jones in Volume 1 for an example)

As in prior volumes, I want your best, boldest, hottest, most creative and diverse 2,000-4,000 word erotica stories, written by and starring a wide range of women, genderqueer and non binary characters, from single to coupled, living in big cities and small towns anywhere in the world, of varying sexual orientations, races, ages (all characters must be 18+ for the entirety of the story), fetishes, jobs, interests and life experiences. First, second and third person narratives are all welcome. The two themes of this anthology will be Outsiders and Risk, as detailed below.

For this volume, I want stories that speak to the book’s themes of outsiders and risk, though those words don’t need to be used explicitly in the story but should be conveyed by the plot. In terms of outsiders, that could include any woman who feels like an outsider, whether from her relationship(s), her sexuality, her personality, her looks, her career, her age, her race, her religion, her family, her community, her workplace, her country, etc. Perhaps she is right to feel like an outsider, because she’s deliberately ostracized or left out; perhaps she would be welcomed by others but still feels like an outsider. Whatever the case, I want to read about how her outsider status is affected by her sexuality, and vice versa. Perhaps she is a refugee arriving in a new country, a virgin whose friends are all sexual libertines, a woman who’s made to feel her desires are untoward or unnatural, etc. The more creative and unique your plotline, the more likely your work is to be accepted.

In terms of risk, I want to read about women who put everything on the line in pursuit of love and lust, who take dramatic, daring risks that will make readers marvel at their passion. Maybe she quits her job, or dares to make waves in a long-term relationship. Maybe she pursues someone everyone’s told her is wrong for her, but she does it anyway. How is taking a risk sexy for her? What is she sacrificing, and why is she doing it? I want to read about women who are natural risk takers as well as those who are innately risk averse but are compelled to go against their instincts and take a risk anyway. I don’t want clichéd plotlines or generic characters; stories should be original, captivating and arousing. Stories can reflect current events, but shouldn’t be so specific that they will be out of date. Stories should be timeless enough to appeal to readers now as well as in ten, twenty or thirty years. Keep in mind that stories will not overlap in plotlines, so the more individual and memorable yours is, the more likely it is to be accepted.

I’m especially interested in hearing from and about: stories set outside the United States, stories set outside major cities, romantic erotica (they don’t necessarily need to have a traditional “happily ever after,” but happy endings are extremely welcome too), stories involving more than two people, stories in unusual settings, erotica touching on current events (though the story should be one readers ten or twenty years from now will also appreciate), stories with a feminist outlook (that may or may not have the word “feminism” or “feminist” in the text but convey a feminist worldview), BDSM stories, especially ones outside of the Master or Mistress dynamic, and stories starring women creative, memorable fetishes.

Stories in the final book will range from humorous and playful to intense and soulful, and will reflect a similar sexual, racial and age diversity as the stories in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volumes 1, 2 and 3. Story submissions must be unpublished (never published, in whole or in part, anywhere, online or offline). No scat or incest, although age play will be considered as long as it’s clear in the context of the story that the characters are engaging in roleplay. No poetry will be considered.

In a nutshell: I want stories that blow my mind, that grab my attention from the first sentence and don’t let go, that say something new and exciting about sex and sexuality, that will appeal to longtime erotica readers and new readers of the genre. Make every word count and advance the story you want to tell. Consider each sentence and ask yourself: Does it serve a purpose? Is it advancing your story? If not, cut it. I want stories that will make readers stop everything they’re doing and eagerly read every last word to find out what happens to your characters. I gravitate toward unique, creative, memorable characters, settings and scenarios. Contemporary stories will comprise the majority of the book but historical, sci fi, fantasy and paranormal stories are also welcome. For an idea of the types of stories I like, see Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, 2 and 3. If you submitted a story to Volume 1, 2 or 3 that was rejected, you may resubmit it if it fits the theme of outsiders or risk, but in most cases, a new story stands a far better chance of acceptance.

In the interest of publishing a wide range of authors, those whose work appears in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, 2 or 3 will not be considered for this volume, but contributors to previous Best Women’s Erotica collections are welcome to submit work.

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish your story in this anthology in print, ebook, and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories. See exact contract terms below.

How to submit: Submit only 2,000-4,000 original, unpublished stories that are not being considered elsewhere. Word count applies to the text of your story, excluding story title and author name. Maximum two submissions per author. Stories CANNOT be under consideration elsewhere at any point prior to the book’s publication date in December 2018. I want only original work that has never been published online, in print or in any format at all, including personal or other types of blogs. All characters must be 18 or over for the entirety of the story. US grammar (spelling, double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) required. Submit to bweoftheyear@gmail.com with “BWE 4 Submission: Story Title” in the subject line by attaching a Word .doc or .docx file, double spaced, Times New Roman Black font with legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address, phone (only to be used for urgent communication about your story) AND 50 word-or-under third person professional biography either on the first page of your story above the title or in the body of an email. Make sure you use an email address that you check on a regular basis (at least once a week). Sample bio format with URL is as follows:

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) writes fiction and non-fiction. She is an editor, author and blogger.

All stories must have a title and byline (author name) included with the submission (no untitled stories) at the top of the first page. Indent half an inch at the start of each paragraph. Use double spacing for the entire file; DO NOT add extra lines between paragraphs or use any other irregular spacing. Title your document BWE 4 STORY TITLE LAST NAME, such a “BWE 4 Lovers Doe.” If you cannot use Word, submit as both an RTF AND include the full submission in the body of an email, including title, story text, bio, name and pseudonym (if applicable), mailing address and phone number. DO NOT SUBMIT MULTIPLE VERSIONS OF THE SAME STORY AS ONLY THE FIRST VERSION WILL BE CONSIDERED. SUBMIT YOUR STORY WITH THE TITLE, AUTHOR NAME AND WORDING YOU WOULD WANT PUBLISHED IF THE STORY IS ACCEPTED. MAKE SURE TO THOROUGHLY PROOFREAD YOUR STORY BEFORE SUBMITTING IT. Only stories that are between 2,000-4,000 words and submitted by November 1, 2017, 11:59 pm EST will be considered. Please do not ask about exceptions to the word count or deadline as they will not be granted.

I will confirm that I have received your submission within 72 hours. I will respond to all submissions by September 30, 2018 at the latest. If you have not heard back from me by October 1, 2018, feel free to follow up at that time. Please note the time frame and if you need a response sooner than September 30, 2018, this is not the right anthology for you.

Payment: $200 and 2 copies of the book within 90 days of publication. Payment will be made only via Paypal (strongly preferred) or U.S check (only for U.S. addresses).

Deadline: February 10, 2018, 11:59 pm EST

For questions that aren’t answered in the guidelines: Email bweoftheyear@gmail.com (note that NO word count changes will be granted – stories sunder 2,000 words or over 4,000 words will be automatically rejected)

If your story is accepted, you will need to sign a contract agreeing to the terms below in order for your story to be published in the anthology. If you are unwilling to sign this contract, DO NOT to this anthology

The parties agree as follows:


Author hereby grants Editor, during the first term of the United States copyright, and any renewals thereof, in the “Work”:

a. The non-exclusive right to “publish” (i.e. print, publish, and sell) the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English in the United States and its territories; and

b. The non-exclusive right to “publish” and license the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English in other countries; and

c. The non-exclusive right to publish and license the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in English and the right to license, translate and publish the Work as part of the Book in printed and digital form in languages other than English in all countries; and

d. The following non-exclusive subsidiary rights to license and publish the Work as part of the Book in the United States and all foreign countries, to wit: anthologies, magazines, book club editions and reprints; Braille editions; audio, computer disk, all electronic/cyber rights, CD-ROM and microfiche editions; and television productions (including network TV, cable, and pay TV); and

e. The non-exclusive right to excerpt from the Work in non-book printed materials issued by the Publisher and/or its licensee for the sole purpose of promoting the Work, including, but not limited to, bookmarks, post cards, buttons, and t-shirts; and

f. The non-exclusive subsidiary right, for promotional purposes, to serialize the Work in periodicals, newspapers, and magazines.


a. Editorial revisions to the Work may be made at the suggestion of the Editor and/or Publisher. The title may be changed only by mutual consent of the Author, Editor and Publisher. Editor has final say on the substantive content of the Work.

b. The completed manuscript shall be deemed satisfactory in content to the Editor and Publisher unless within ninety (90) days of its receipt, Publisher or Editor gives Author written notice of the respects in which the manuscript is unsatisfactory. Author shall have thirty (30) days from receipt of that notice to make and submit such changes.

c. Editor reserves the right to choose not to include the Work in the Book, if Publisher declines to accept it, or for any other justifiable reason. In such event, this Agreement is null and void; all rights revert to Author, and Editor does not owe Author payment.


a. Author represents and warrants that she now owns all rights granted hereunder, free of liens or encumbrances, and has full power and authority to execute this Agreement; and further warrants that the Work is original with her and not in the public domain. Author will give formal written notice of any previous publication of the Work upon presentation of the final manuscript, including editorial addresses of periodicals and/or publishers.

b. Author further represents and warrants that the Work does not infringe statutory copyrights or common law literary rights of others, and does not violate the rights of privacy of, or libel, other persons.

c. Author agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Editor and the Publisher, and the publishing of any reprint or book club edition of the Work licensed by the Publisher, pursuant to the Agreement, against any final judgment for damages (after all appeals have been taken) against them in any action arising out

of facts which constitute a breach of the foregoing warranties together with reasonable costs and attorney’s fees incurred by them in defending such an action in which such judgment is recovered.


Author shall retain copyright of the Work.


Author shall receive PAYMENT LISTED ABOVE to be paid by Author within 90 days of publication of the Book.


Publisher will give to Author two (2) free copies of the Anthology.


This Agreement shall be binding on the parties and her respective heirs, administrators, successors and assigns.