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Sex Ed That’ll Make You Scream

Albany couple’s workshops aim to make you orgasm, but only when you’re ready

By Nicole Klaas

Do you know how to find your (or your girlfriend’s) G-spot? Are you tired of reenacting the café scene from When Harry Met Sally every time you’re in the sack? Ever wonder if female ejaculation is real? Want to know how to make the “oh, yes!” and “right there!” last longer?

For eight years, sex educators Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot have been answering these—and the countless other questions your high-school sex-ed teacher probably would have blushed at—during speaking engagements across the country, most often at colleges. Their presentations are far from the typical sex-ed course (they do not, for example, involve unrolling condoms onto a banana, decades-old educational videos featuring pimple-faced teenagers talking about puberty, or a strict abstinence-only lecture). Their most popular program is a workshop dedicated to the female orgasm.

“On those lists of what’s hot and what’s not, female orgasm is definitely hot right now,” Solot says. “Orgasms are all about pleasure, exactly the aspect of sexuality that’s not discussed in most formal sex education. High-school classes often teach about anatomy, reproduction, and disease, but they rarely address pleasure. That’s pretty sad, given that pleasure is a core part of sex for most people.”

The female orgasm also is the subject of the Albany couple’s upcoming book project, I Love Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide, which will be on shelves next month. The book is a crash course in everything you ever wanted to know—and maybe even more than you thought you did—about the female orgasm, including discussions about vibrators, piercing, multiple orgasms, etc. An entire chapter is devoted to men and another specifically to lesbian and bisexual women’s experiences.

“The book is our attempt to capture all the fabulousness of female orgasm in one place: the funny stories, the great tips we’ve collected over the years, real people’s experiences, answers to frequently asked questions,” Solot says. “We crammed a lot into those pages.”

While Miller and Solot unearthed the content for their book from more traditional resources such as books and academic journals, their research also included a survey of nearly 2,000 people from across the country and tidbits they have picked up from their many audiences over the years.

“I think there are two pieces to what makes our sex ed popular,” Miller says. “Part of it is just presenting knowledgeable, accurate information—people are hungry for that. But the other part is being human about it. Sex is funny, it’s frustrating, it’s confusing, it’s sweet. We try to capture all that.”

The couple’s presentations are based on the sex questions people really want to know while also focusing on the basics, including safe sex and the right to make your own choice about whether or not to have sex. Workshops involve the recognition and discussion of both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.

“Being out there in the world, talking to people, it feels like people are starving for honest, down-to-earth information—not the impossible acrobatic sex positions you see in women’s glossy magazines,” says Solot.

Solot’s passion for sharing accurate information is due, in part, to her personal experience as a breast-cancer survivor. “Today, I’m so grateful that I was familiar enough with my own body to notice this very small change,” says Solot, who was 26 when she found a lump in her breast. “I’m convinced that, at least in some cases, helping women be more comfortable with their own bodies isn’t just a nice thing—it can be life-saving.”

Miller also brings formal training to the pair’s résumé. He earned a degree in Sexuality and Society and was trained as a sex educator at Brown University.

When the couple—in business and in life—began giving presentations eight years ago, they weren’t expecting the speaking engagements (and, eventually, writing) to evolve into their full-time occupation, Miller says. Today, the duo honor as many as 80 speaking requests per year, with daily engagements at peak times during the college semester.

“Sometimes audiences start out sort of nervous and giggly, but then you can see them relax into it,” Miller says. “They see us talk about sex just like any other part of life, and we do a lot of laughing together.”

Their various programs can be targeted toward a specific audience, but most include a combination of interactive activities, lecture, discussion, humorous stories, multimedia, and question-and-answer sessions.

“People’s responses to what we do really keep us going,” Miller says. “We got an e-mail just last week from a woman writing to thank us—she said she and her boyfriend attended one of our programs together, and afterwards they had the best conversation they’d ever had about sex and their relationship. That’s really what it’s all about: starting the conversations, getting people thinking, helping people find the path and make the choices that are right for them.”

nklaas@metroland.net

 

Lifestyle Choices

Like numerous other swingers’ clubs around the country, Schenectady’s Union Street Bed and Breakfast offers a smorgasbord of fun for experimental couples

By Chet Hardin

‘You’d be surprised how many people have medical fetishes,” Robert Alexson says, resting his hand on the stirrup of a gynecological chair. Next to him, on a small table, there is a pot of paraffin wax cooking at a low simmer, some dildos, and a moustache trimmer.

Alexson explains that paraffin is used instead of candle wax because of the lower melting temperature. “That way,” he says, “nobody gets hurt. You get the pleasure, the experience, but you don’t get hurt. We’re not into the hardcore stuff here.”

The moustache trimmer?

“You’d be surprised by how many people who have always wanted to shave,” he gestures on himself, “and haven’t, until we put them up on the table and shave ’em.”

“We let the people who come here,” he adds, with an aficionado’s conceit, “live out their fantasies.”

Alexson is showing off the Play Room in the basement of his Union Street Bed and Breakfast. The Play Room is a mild bondage-discipline-sadomasochism (BDSM) dungeon: There’s a massage table; a St. Andrew’s Cross; a low, wide cage; a couch; hooks for a sex swing; mirrors; and a dull knife lying next to condoms and dildos. Discarded nonalcoholic beer bottles and Diet Pepsi cans are the only remnants of last night’s party.

It’s not uncommon during a party for 40 people to be crowded into the Play Room, Alexson says, and that’s the reason for the mirrors—you can always get a good view. “Because as soon as somebody knows one couple is down here playing, everybody wants to watch. Nothing wrong with watching is there?” he asks. “That’s what a lot of them do.”

There is an austere quality to the Play Room. Other than the tall, ornate vase holding peacock feathers, the room lacks decoration. It is oddly utilitarian, peopled for only one intent.

“To relieve stress,” Alexson says.

Like a sport. Like golfing. The couples who come to Alexson’s parties are swingers, people who are looking for no-strings-attached sexual play with like-minded couples and/or singles who belong to this extended “family.”

Alexson, who owns the now-notorious Schenectady-based B&B, continues the tour through his basement. In the next room, an eight- person hot tub bubbles and gurgles. Steam rises and cools, wetting the floor and the wooden stairs. This is the hot spot, he says. This is where the action starts. The hot tub is a great place to loosen up and get to know people. Most parties, the tub is full of couples and the water just gets going and splashing all over the place, he says and laughs.

In another room, there is a two-level, floor-standing pizza oven.

“We eat good here,” he says. And it shows. Alexson is a tall man with thick forearms and a strong build. In the past, he worked as a fireman. Now, older and retired, he has gained a few pounds around the midsection.

In fact, for all those starry-eyed optimists out there—sorry. These are not the swingers of late-night Cinemax fantasies. The few loyal swingers who brave the exceptionally cold weather this Friday night to show up for Alexson’s party are as average-looking as they come. Think Roseanne, not Desperate Housewives.

Of course, this is only a small sliver of the large swinger community in the area, Alexson says, a community that he numbers conservatively at 4,000 couples.

Any weekend, he says, there are at least a half-dozen parties going on somewhere in the Capital Region. He throws two or three himself.

A few people are gathering in his kitchen and dining room upstairs. One of them, a buddy of Alexson’s, says the swinger parties are really laid back. Chill.

“Some people come and just talk,” the buddy says, taking swigs from a Diet Pepsi. “If it goes to the next level, then no one cares.”

The swingers’ community is a social network, first and foremost, he says. Swinging is a lifestyle (often referred to as “The Lifestyle”), and clubs like his have formed in an effort to support this lifestyle. Most of the people you will find here actually seem somewhat conservative, family-oriented. One night, he says, everyone just sat in the dining room and talked about making quilts.

Believed by many to have originated on U.S. military bases and then spread to the suburbs, swinging has a long and storied past. It is a conservative estimate that 4 percent of the U.S. population swings. And the rules that the Capital Region community adheres to appear to be in the norm: “No means no,” respect each others’ privacy, and have fun.

Alexson tells the story of a man who was kicked out of a party in Albany for being too aggressive. By the time he made it to the B&B in Schenectady, Alexson already knew exactly who the man was and why he had been kicked out. By the next day, everyone knew who the man was and he had effectively been banned from the swinging community from Glens Falls to Utica.

It’s a tight-knit group, Alexson says. “We are all friends. We care about each other. If someone is not interested, don’t push it. That is the most important rule—have respect for each other.” Jealousy, he says, is rarely a problem. People who are jealous are usually ousted quickly or just can’t handle it.

This group also works to protect each other’s privacy. If Alexson knows that two people who plan on coming to one of his parties work at the same place, for example, he will let those people know that one of their coworkers might be showing up. He leaves it up to his guests to decide how “out there” they want to be with their lifestyle.

Newspaper clippings that highlight Alexson’s many battles with the town of Schenectady are taped to a wall in his foyer. Mostly, he has fought with the city over zoning issues, and he has always won. He is proud of the wins.

“We aren’t doing anything illegal here,” he says. “And I am willing to fight.”

Plus, he adds, he is careful to keep the disquieting elements out of his home. There is little or no drinking, a high vetting process of the partygoers, and the parties never get out of control. There is not even a stereo.

One time, a well-known politician was staying with him, and she read some of the newspaper clippings. “And she turns to me and you know what she says?” Alexson asks. “ ‘Who’d you forget to pay off?’ That’s what she asked me. Can you believe it?

“Oh yeah,” he adds, “you’d be surprised if you knew everyone who comes here.” He rattles off a list of professions: doctors, lawyers, teachers, judges, cops, firemen. You name it, he says.

“One woman who comes here is a librarian,” Alexson says, with his buddy interrupting, “But she’ll crack that whip on your ass in a hurry!”

“I have 30 couples within a one-mile radius that come here,” Alexson brags. “They might all come in the back way, but they come here.

“The best group of people you will ever meet,” his buddy concludes, “are swingers.”

chardin@metroland.net

 

PHOTO: Chris Shields

Dance With Me

Sal DiCarlo, “Albany’s Hef,” has spent 15 years trying to make his club the classiest strip joint in the Capital Region

By David King

Walk into DiCarlo’s Gentlemen’s Club on Central Avenue in Colonie on a morning after the crowd has died down, after the flesh has stopped shaking, after the nipples have been sheathed, the rumps hidden away, and you might start to notice things you otherwise wouldn’t.

There’s a lot of stuff on the walls inside the club. There are pictures of celebrities who frequented DiCarlo’s in the ’80s when it was a nightclub called September’s. A surprisingly spry-looking Jack Nicholson smiles down from the wall. There are plaques from the charities that owner Sal DiCarlo donates to. And then there is one picture in particular—one that really has special meaning for DiCarlo.

People would probably take more notice of this picture if it were posted in a workplace, on the side of a nondescript cubicle, anywhere in a well-lit room that did not have topless, gyrating females demanding attention. The picture is a photograph of DiCarlo surrounded by an army of smiling blondes and grinning brunettes—girls who have worked for him—with a caption that describes DiCarlo as Albany’s Hugh Hefner. “If you are gonna run a picture of me, you should use that one,” says the soft-spoken owner. “That one says something.”

A couple years after DiCarlo opened September’s in 1980 as an Italian restaurant, a friend suggested that DiCarlo feature bands on the weekends. “It was very successful,” DiCarlo says. “It was so successful I got rid of the restaurant and made it a nightclub.”

However, when the drinking age was moved from 18 to 19 and then 21 in the ’80s, DiCarlo could no longer afford to book bands, and turned September’s into a dance club.

“Then when Mike Tyson had his first fight in town, he came up here to celebrate his victory,” says DiCarlo. “It was his first professional fight. And that kind of put the place on the map.”

According to DiCarlo, September’s became Tyson’s second home—and along with Tyson came his entourage. “A lot of celebrities who came into town knew that Mike hung out at September’s and they would try to get to meet him because he was a hot ticket at the time. I mean he used to live here. He was here day and night.”

In 1992, DiCarlo felt that the dance club no longer made sense, and he decided to try something different. “It started out as a bikini bartender, and people would be standing outside the door to get in at lunch hour because it was new,” he recalls. “Then eventually people get bored. People’s tastes change and then I brought in Penthouse features—all that kind of stuff. From there ex penses got higher so I got rid of Penthouse features and did a straight-up strip club.”

DiCarlo’s has be come a sort of enigma of strip clubs since its opening. DiCarlo notes that he has had no problems with the town of Colonie, because he was grandfathered in under the town’s earlier restrictions on strip clubs. He says that he has kept a good relationship with his neighbors because he doesn’t have gaudy signs advertising strippers on the club’s grounds, and because he spends an exorbitant sum on landscaping. “I’d hate to tell you what I spend,” he says, cupping his forehead. In fact, he points out, it has become a routine occurrence for people to walk in looking for a quiet Italian dinner.

DiCarlo is involved with charities across the region, including the Police Athletic League. But he notes that it is sometimes difficult to be charitable when charities do not want to be associated with a strip club.

Some of DiCarlo’s best patrons are also public figures, local celebrities, politicians. But, of course, DiCarlo does not want to name names. “I do a lot of donations to the politicians and all that stuff,” he says, throwing his hand in the air.

DiCarlo says things have changed since the early days when he had to go through agencies to find girls to dance at his club. Now, he says, they seek him out on the Internet because of his club’s good reputation. According to DiCarlo, most of his dancers “are college girls, because they can make good money and pick their shifts. The shifts are only five-hour shifts and they can work 20 to 25 hours for the whole week. They find me now.”

But how does DiCarlo evaluate the women who want to work for him? “When a girl tries out, we usually talk about it in bed,” he jokes, laughing. “You like that?” he asks. In all seriousness, though, DiCarlo says that he feels the girls’ dancing is an art that takes skill and should be appreciated as a display of individual expression.

“People’s tastes change. Every generation has their own thing. Right now, the biggest things are tattoos. You follow me?” He asks. “In the ’60s it was the Vietnam thing. In the ’70s it was John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever. I have copies of Metroland back in the ’80s that was written up about when I had the bands. I kept them as a souvenir, and every once in a while I go back and read them. Eighty percent of the businesses that advertised back then are out of business today. You have to change your format. If you don’t, you are going to get buried.”

Speaking of keeping up with changing tastes, DiCarlo says he owes a good part of his success to discretion. “You need to leave something to the imagination. If everybody walked around here naked they wouldn’t get a hard-on. Am I right or wrong?” he asks. Satisfied with my answer, he concludes: “The forbidden fruit is always sweeter.”

dking@metroland.net


Point, Click, and Hook Up

Forget finding The One—Internet dating services help you find The One For Tonight

By Erik Hage

Beth, 42, from Guilderland, tells me a good one, about the “triple dipper,” her friend’s initiation into the less-savory side of online dating. Beth (all the names of people in this story have been changed) tells of a friend who was on Match.com, still the most popular dating service, and met a man with whom she really hit it off.

She told another friend (not Beth) about the guy and that they were getting together again that very day, to which the friend replied, “That’s strange: I just got off the phone with him and I’m supposed to go out with him tonight.” The kicker is that by the time the story had been related back to Beth, he had set up a date with her as well (but not for the same day). (This story also, perhaps, is a tribute to the social dynamics of “Smallbany.”)

“That’s not triple dipping,” says Tom, 39, from Schenectady, shaking his head over lunch, when I relate Beth’s story to him. “Triple dipping would be three [dates] in the same day.” I ask Tom if that’s something he’s ever done. “I’ve done two on, like, a Saturday. But they were at different stages.” Different stages? “The daytime thing was a first date in Saratoga. The other was a third or fourth date in Albany.” Why do that? Tom looks at me warily. “People do that all the time. Especially guys.” (He is talking to me only because we have a friend in common and only on the basis of strict anonymity.)

Why would you risk messing up a situation that had evolved to a third or fourth date? “The first date was with this woman I was really interested in—really beautiful. Great job, liked to ski.” So why go out with the other woman? Tom looks at me as if I’ve just come back down off of Brokeback Mountain. “It was a third or fourth date. Meet one for coffee, swing back to Albany and, you know. . . . get laid,” he says, swirling a French fry in a mound of ketchup.

Tom admits that neither relationship really got off the ground, and that he still frequents Match. And that he still gets “laid” through Match—a lot. He also says there is no way, in his busy life, that he would ever have the opportunity to date multiple women or to have so much sex “without Match.” (Tom has strict allegiance to Match.com; he takes a disparaging view of eHarmony because, as he puts it, you can’t browse.)

Bob, 40, is a bit more analytical about his online-dating experiences. “Look, if you’re in your late 30s to 50s, this is pretty much where it’s happening. You don’t meet people in ‘the club’ anymore. The Internet is ‘the club.’ It’s the meat market. This is where you go if you want to meet someone to marry, hook up or whatever. . . . I have a more active sex life than I had in my 20s.” Is that the goal? “When I started Internet dating, I wouldn’t have minded finding the one or whatever. . . . But I also had got divorced recently, and I was looking to sow some oats.”

“Did you ever double dip?” I ask him. “What?” he asks. I explain and he makes a face. “No. And I didn’t go back on Match or Craigslist until things ran their course with the girl I was with. But sometimes things run their course pretty quick. And there are a lot of women too who are fresh out of being married or whatever and are looking to have fun.”

Bob has now settled into a four-month relationship and is off all dating services, “but doing the Internet thing really allowed me to sow some oats.”

Internet dating, once a fringe activity, clearly has entered the mainstream. (A search on Match.com for single women between the ages of 37 and 46 within 30 miles of an Albany zip code yields nearly 300 results.) But, advertisements to the contrary, a lot of people aren’t necessarily using it to find a “soul mate”; they’re having a whole lot of sex, either by design or by circumstances along the way.

Whether this dating medium is ushering in a whole new sexual revolution and era of promiscuity much like the 1970s, is something for a much more data and sociology- oriented journalist to take up. But I’d like to say that it’s a distinct possibility, and that based on the anecdotal stuff I’ve been hearing for the past couple of years, it seems like the ’Net is allowing people to have lots of sex and multiple partners where there was little to no opportunity before.

A friend of mine observes that in the past, you might be less apt to “blow someone off” after a few dates, because it was set up through a friend or because the circumstances would be uncomfortable. But with the Internet, you meet someone out of the blue and if—after nurturing the relationship via e-mail, phone and a few dates—it doesn’t work out, you can slip back into the blue.

Beth, though, points to a darker side. When she was first on Match.com years ago, she went out with a man once and then politely declined any further dates. The result was that he IM’d and phoned her incessantly and called her a list of names, including “a fucking tease.” She eventually had to call the police, and felt naïve and ashamed.

She also remembers the man who, even before their first date, sent her piles of elaborate flower arrangements at her job. “He didn’t even know me. It was very strange,” she says, noting that she never went on that first date.

Carl is engaged to a woman he met on Match.com. But he also spent three years on and off the dating service and tells me about a woman in her mid-40s from Oklahoma who found him online and wanted to nurture a relationship via her webcam. “It blew my mind when she first turned the thing on through Yahoo! IM and right away pulled out her breasts. I called my buddy right away and was like, ‘You are not going to believe this.’ She was a nursery-school administrator or something and a mother of teenagers.”

Carl (who never owned his own webcam) also remembers that the woman began to act like they were in a committed relationship. “She always wanted to know if I was dating other people, and then the phone calls became way too frequent and weird, like planning out our lives and stuff. I cut it off, but she ‘drank-and-dialed’ me on New Year’s. She said she ‘couldn’t get me out of her system.’ ” They had never met face to face.

Carl also notes, though, that weeks and months could go by when, try as he might, he “couldn’t buy a date” on the dating services.

Bob, on the other hand, sums up his online experiences thusly: “I’ve met a lot of women. Some are still great friends. For a while there online dating was pretty much my social life, if you know what I mean. But I’ve also had some pretty freaky experiences and have also had the time of my life. It’s been better than college in some ways. I’ve racked up some numbers, if you know what I mean,” he laughs, turning a bit pink. Then Bob asks the same question he’s asked me twice before: “This is completely anonymous, right?”


Your Body Next to Mine (Sort of)

High-tech sex toys bring Web chat one step closer to the actual thing

By Chet Hardin

For $1.98 per minute, I can take control of WildBlondeCat. The 21-year-old, self-described “100% natural LITTLE KITTY,” loves role-play, sexy outfits, oil, close-ups, and a few other things that I should let you discover for yourself. She lists as her assets long legs, 36DDs, and an all-around perfect body. But what makes her (and nearly two dozen other girls at ImLive.com) so fascinating is that WildBlondeCat has a Sinulator.

The Sinulator package is a wireless, Internet-enabled treasure trove of sex toys. Out of the box, a Sinulator kit includes a USB transceiver, a remote control, software, an operating manual, and any one of a variety of toys—Rabbits, egg vibrators, Fleshlights—that can be purchased separately. In WildBlondeCat’s case, she has the Rabbit.

The Rabbit is a classic in the field of dildonics. A two-headed vibrator, it has a long, rotating shaft and smaller “rabbit ears” designed to “flutter along the clitoris,” as one distributor describes it. What the Sinulator brings to the Rabbit is control—other people’s control. At the other end of the Internet. Teledildonics.

Teledildonics is a sardonic term, coined in the 1980s, but it is readily employed when describing the arena of sex toys controlled via computer, linked to the telepresence of another person. And teledildonics is an industry to watch. To say that millions of people are waiting in breathless, sweaty anticipation for the days of satisfying virtual cybersex might not be an overstatement.

So here’s the hypothetical scenario with WildBlondeCat: She’s an exhibitionistic Web-cam girl in California, looking for some quick cash. I am a lonely/bored guy/girl in New York’s Capital Region. I pay the fee and, in my browser, up pops a control module. With this basic tool, I am able to manipulate WildBlondeCat’s Rabbit. A live video/audio feed is streaming to me, and I can feed a stream of me to her. We can watch each other as I control her masturbation.

“Men come here looking just for it [the Sinulator],” she tells me in a free-chat box. “It has increased my money. And that’s why I am here.”

And this technology, of course, is not limited to the soft forms of prostitution. The toys can be easily employed by couples. The traveling salesman, or the corporate, jet- setting wife, or the long-distance affair—the Sinulator-controlled Rabbit, WildBlondeCat tells me, is a fun ride for anyone. All that is needed is an Internet connection, a couple hundred bucks worth of toys and computers.

Another advancement in the world of interactive cybersex is the Virtual Vagina. This is a complete sex-toy system that takes manipulation to whole different level.

It features both the bowling-pin-shaped Virtual Hole (for the man) and the phallic-shaped Virtual Stick (for whomever the man deems worthy). The Virtual Vagina’s maker, Japanese company Segment Inc., claims that the Virtual Hole’s “9-motor simulates completely of women’s mouth, hands and sensation of insertion very detail by interlocking with images.” The grammar is shaky, but the idea is simple.

The Virtual Hole can be manipulated in two ways. One, its massaging actions can be linked to a video, mimicking the basic movements seen on the screen. Or two—and this is where it gets interesting—it can be linked to the Virtual Stick. This phallus is fitted with sensors that collect pressure and location cues along its surface and sends that information to the hole, “converted in realtime and synchronized.”

So again, the guy in the Capital Region with a Virtual Hole strapped on can be watching a performer in Bangkok, or wherever, work away at the virtual dick. He will feel the “movements” of the performer’s hand, mouth, and so forth.

Even if you have your doubts, as I do, that nine motors and so much latex could substitute for a flesh-and-blood partner, you have to admit that the linking of real-time pornographic images with a rudimentary massaging tube will be a boon for many people. Think Second Life [“There’s Gold in Them Digital Hills,” Feb.1].

As of yet, no communities have sprouted up around the Virtual Vagina, but this is a new product and has yet to hit the mainstream of even the porn industry. The Sinulator, on the other hand, has been around for a couple years and is enjoying a brisk and growing acceptance. There are plenty of competitors in the crowded field of teledildonics, each vying for even a sliver of the billions of dollars annually spent on sex toys and pornography. It seems almost certain that these companies will continue to amaze and flabbergast us all with their technological reach for the stars.

chardin@metroland.net


PHOTO: Chris Shields

The Pen Is Mightier Than the Penis

Troy artist Jess Fink makes erotic comics to please an oft-overlooked population of porn consumers: women

By Miriam Axel-Lute

 

A love robot whose job is to satisfy a decadent and demanding lady. A woman pretending to be a man in order to sleep with gay boys—and the occasional straight girl. The internal process (and accompanying masturbation) of a patron trying to work herself up to propositioning her waiter.

Welcome to the world of Jess Fink’s Dirty Limericks, a pornographic Web comic created by Troy artist Jess Fink. It’s a sex-drenched world, of course, but it’s also one with a sense of humor, where stereotypes get skewered and turned on their heads, people are sometimes drawn through a fish-eye lens, and sex is, more often than not, satisfying for all involved.

“I like it when people have new ideas about what sexy is,” says Fink. “I like presenting that in a happy way.”

The Troy artist is in a good position to give the world some inspiration in that regard. Along with Dirty Limericks and a new serialized long-form comic on Adultwebcomics .com, her work has been featured in (and on the cover of) several theme anthologies (Head, Blowjob, Rear Entry, etc.) published by Fantagraphics’ Eros, and she recently collaborated on a whole issue of Head with writer Polly Frost.

Though porn is far from the only artwork Fink does—she also makes other comics, illustrations and paintings; has a thriving caricature business and is even working on some kids’ books—she doesn’t want to be one of those artists who doesn’t talk about her pornographic work and keeps it segregated to the side. “Artists have this weird bias toward porno,” she says. “Sex is just as good a topic for art as anything.”

Porn is not, certainly, what she went to the School of Visual Arts for. But when she heard from one of her college professors about Eros Comix, which was supposedly launched in a bid to improve Fantagraphic’s bottom line, the recent graduate with a degree in cartooning/illustration thought, “Hey, I want to make money doing comics!” Looking back, the 25-year-old wraps her long fingers around her chai and laughs the laugh of an artist with a day job. “As it turns out, you don’t really make all that much money doing it.”

But she had always made erotic drawings, she said, and she dove into the genre with gusto, submitting work to Eros “the minute I got out of college.” She took as one of her major inspirations the Tijuana Bibles, a series of palm-sized eight-page pornographic comics that were sold on the street in the ’20s and ’30s. They featured famous people and characters of the day, from Greta Garbo to Mussolini to Popeye. And, gushes Fink, “They’re just really really dirty. . . . Popeye has this humongous penis, and he has sex with Olive Oyl and it comes out her mouth. It’s great.”

In her own work, Fink particularly likes filling the void of good porn for women. “Guys always have porn on their computers. What do girls look at?” she muses. Not jasmine-scented tea candles and rose petals, if Fink has anything to do with it.

When Fantagraphics first told her that Polly Frost wanted to collaborate, she admits having been a little nervous. “Whenever I think of other women doing porn I always think it’s going to be really flowery and bad. Like romance novels or something . . . girly, nondescriptive,” she explains. “I like really graphic stuff. If it’s porn, I want it to be porn. . . . I don’t want to talk down to women, like, ‘I know you don’t like sex so I’ll make this easy on you.’” Happily, Frost’s stories were plenty explicit, as well as fun and fantastical, and the collaboration has been a success.

So what does it mean to make porn for women—at least for those who want something more than romance-novel-style softcore? For one thing, “Women are attracted to characters, things that feel real,” says Fink. For another, include men they actually want to look at. In mainstream porn, she says, the men are all ugly. Big penises, but ugly. “Maybe Ron Jeremy is someone’s idea of attractive, but . . .” She shudders.

Fink says she gets lots of comments from women thanking her for making her male characters more attractive—and also more diverse along the scale of masculinity. “I like effeminate men,” she ex plains. And indeed, her work is full of metrosexuals and pretty-boy artists.

This may partially explain why Internet fans often think she’s a gay man. Of course that may also have to do with her enjoying drawing men kissing each other. She grins. “I take it as a compliment. People say that, and I’m like ‘Awesome!’”

Fink doesn’t have much sympathy for people who get freaked out by images of gay male sexuality. She recounts with some glee a story about an online illustration forum where artists would post their work for critique. It was not a porn-oriented site, but highly erotic drawings of women showed up quite frequently. Lots of, as Fink puts it, “pin-up girls and pretty girls lying on things.” If, however, you posted an equivalent drawing of a guy, you’d be ignored at best.

At one point someone posted some drawings of the Batman characters Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn kissing and cuddling. Fink rolls her eyes at the memory. If someone did the same thing with Batman and Robin, she said to herself, people would go apeshit. So she did. And received the expected torrent (six pages full) of outraged comments accusing her of everything from defaming the characters to making fun of the original artist to depicting “boy” Robin doing things inappropriate for his age. (“The Robin I drew did not look like a boy,” she responds.)

Are there other wrong assumptions that fans make? “Well, I really like poop humor,” she says. (This is, by the way, something of an understatement for someone whose blog is titled “Jess likes poop” and who sells earrings in the shape of piles of dog poop.) “And I’m always worried that people are going think I’m into poop. And I’m really not at all.”

 

The Sex Survey

Reader alert: Below are what our editorial staff thought were some of the most interesting answers to the questions in this year’s Metroland sex survey. While we did omit answers that even we found offensive (and we’re pretty open-minded), some of the responses printed here are sexually explicit and may not be suitable for all readers.

1. Describe the circumstances of the best sex you’ve ever had.

A three-way with my husband and an escort on our honeymoon.

The night my husband asked me to marry him. It was magical.

Kitchen counter, while making Sunday breakfast with my boyfriend. Whipped cream, chocolate, honey and some licking were all included.

My fiancé and I did the nasty on top of the dryer as guests in a friend’s home on New Year’s Eve. The house was packed with people who kept walking in on us. It was fun, hot, messy, and exciting to think here we are, doing it on my friend’s appliances. . . . Not romantic, but it was very hot.

Rolling around for days with my fiancé having hot sweaty monkey sex.

A winter afternoon on Taconic Crest Trail with my back against a birch tree and my pants at my knees—the right combination of hot and cold! The thrill and the chill!

Chardonnay wine, reefer, cocaine, and a hot, horny woman that I knew for less than an hour made for a helluva night.

Drive-in, three-way.

Anal sex with my wife; it was unexpected and wonderful for both of us.

On my 27th birthday my boyfriend at the time came to see me (it was a long- distance relationship). After dinner we came home, had sex, and drank champagne. After the champagne was gone and I had about my fifth orgasm, he fucked me with the champagne bottle. It was mind-blowing.

Me, my wife, and our female friend having an evening of dinner, massage, and lovemaking.

2. Describe one fulfilled sex fantasy.

Having sex with a construction worker: My husband dressed up in a toolbelt (no pants) and hardhat, standing in an “under construction closet.”

My boyfriend acted like he was raping me.

Sex on a beach at night in the Bahamas.

My girlfriend snowballed me when I came . . . wow.

Having two men at once.

Having my fiancé and another woman make love and then join in and have the three of us go at it for hours.

Being blindfolded, handcuffed and teased . . . then pleased.

Anal sex with my wife.

Sex in a tent while camping.

3. What fantasy of yours would you most like to enact?

Get two women in bed at the same time.

Watching my husband have anal sex with a hooker.

Sex with a pro athlete.

Watching, or at least being told about, my wife sucking and then fucking one or two strangers.

Me and my wife taking home a girl we met that same night.

To have sex in a campground in the woods, reenacting the gay sex scene from Brokeback Mountain, me playing Jack Twist and my boyfriend playing Ennis del Mar.

Fucking my freshman-year English professor in his office.

I would like to have sex with a woman with genital piercings.

Having another woman lick my cum out of my fiancée’s freshly fucked pussy.

To be dominated by an incredibly beautiful she-male while my dominatrix participated.

Sex in a lake.

Being forced to have sex quick and hard.

A three-way with two ladies and a small strap-on.

4. What fantasy of yours is best kept a fantasy?

Having sex with a good friend of mine and my wife.

Watching my wife and another.

The one involving my married boss tearing my clothes off and pounding me against the wall.

Fucking someone different every day.

Totally abusing a willing and eager slut with my fiancé helping out.

Having an orgy with my husband and lots of other girls.

Having sex with another woman with a strap-on.

My husband catching me having sex with another man.

Waiting to be fisted as part of a prostate massage medical-fetish scenario.

5. What tactics do you use to keep a long-term relationship hot?

None. . . . They all fizzle out at some point.

Toys, escorts.

Dressing up, being spontaneous, showing how much I want him.

Keep plugging all the holes.

Please the woman first. Keep her special.

I don’t get in long-term relationships for this very reason. They don’t stay hot!

Keeping sex on my mind every day, at least once an hour.

Variety, trying out new things, other or extra people.

Perfume, wine, and hot tub.

I am married with children; this question does not relate!

Varied positions, places, and themes. Always try to keep it different.

All of them. Mostly the element of surprise.

6. What’s the strangest advice you were ever given about sex?

To “pull out.” Doesn’t work!

To force women into obedience and make them suffer.

Do as the Romans do.

To wait until I was 25 to have it. (Yeah, right!)

Saran Wrap can replace a condom in an emergency.

That if I ate sperm I would get bigger muscles.

Put it in her mouth so you don’t get her pregnant.

To use it to get what you want and don’t deserve and certainly don’t need, just because you can. I believe that’s called whoring.

I don’t take advice. I’m fantastic in bed.

Way back when I was told that it didn’t feel that pleasurable. What an effing liar!

If it fits in, then it must be a sex toy.

A friend once told me to enter a girl and then spin around like hands on a clock. He swore it would drive her crazy. I tried it once and I kept falling out, and our arms and legs got tangled up. It was the stupidest thing I ever tried. My friend must be made of rubber!

From a fellow passenger on a bus from Portland, Ore., to Denver: “If someone from Montana or Idaho tells you they’ve never fucked a cow, they’re lying!” “Where are you from?” “Idaho . . . ”

7. What the best come-on you’ve ever heard?

Is that a lollipop in your pants? I sure would like to lick it. (It’s not that small.)

A girl in a bar came right up to me and whispered that she wanted to suck me off until I came in her throat. I took her hand and showed her the way to my car in the parking lot. Nothing like right to the point!

Can we stay together tonight and just cuddle only?

Come on my face!

When my boyfriend tells me how hot I am and talks dirty.

8. What’s the oddest thing you’ve ever thought about while having sex?

Riding on a back street in a little town on a motorcycle.

Gotta change the oil in my truck later.

My to-do list, my job.

What it would be like to have sex with her mother.

Did I turn off the stove?

My grandmother.

Laundry.

Paying the bills.

A clown orgy that I saw on an episode of HBO’s Real Sex.

Robots.

When I was going to get my eyebrows waxed.

My sixth-grade teacher.

What to cook for dinner.

9. What’s your craziest sex story your friends still won’t believe?

That I can suck my own penis.

Having a threesome with my fiancé and a hot 21-year-old stripper.

About the time when a friend of mine (girl) ate me out in front of her man while he just watched.

Fucking a lesbian on the front lawn of a millionaire’s house at 4 AM because she thought I was a morally responsible person.

Seven chicks in five days.

Receiving oral sex while driving. I guess they think that only works if you’re a guy.

They don’t believe I can have an orgasm by just imagining something.

10. If you have an “arrangement” with a long-term partner that allows for sex with others under limited circumstances, what are those circumstances?

No vaginal sex, and I have to be there.

Safety and trust.

No phone calls during the week, weekends only.

Would have to make sure that it is safe sex.

Tell the truth to her after the fact.

I would have to be involved.

There would be no such arrangement.

No repeats, no exes, no dates, and preferably no sleepovers.

That I know about it ahead of time, or I get to watch.

11. Tell us about the best sexual surprise you’ve ever had.

Doing it on a plane, in the bathroom with a steward guy.

How really cool it feels to have ice on my clit!

In between having sex in the doggy position, he pulled out and licked my behind. It was the first time and I loved it.

My husband knows I think men in Air Force flight suits are hot! My husband decided to do a little shopping at the Army/Navy store. When I returned home that night, I entered the door and he was waiting for me dressed in a flight suit!

Waking up to my boyfriend going down on me.

My former high-school teacher seduced me while I was in college.

Finding out my attractive gay friend wanted me to give him a blowjob, and then doing so.

Learning that my fiancée liked women too.

12. What’s the strangest place you’ve ever had sex?

Million Dollar Staircase in the Capitol building.

Girlfriend’s mom’s waterbed.

During February, in the North Country, in a tent—at 10 below zero.

A rowboat.

A gazebo overlooking Lake Placid in the middle of the day while people were jogging or walking by, and most of them stopped to watch!

The rifle range.

At a Denny’s restaurant on a box of hash browns in the back room while employed there.

On a picnic table outside my old insurance office.

The old Lionheart. Or maybe the playground. Empty house under construction.

On my girlfriend’s kitchen table when I was about 16 while her best friend sat there and watched and her mother napped on the couch in the living room.

Church. Dark room.

13. What’s the strangest place you’ve ever masturbated?

A changing room in a department store.

Doctor’s office.

Into a glass so my ex-girlfriend could do a shot.

Sitting at my desk when I worked as a receptionist.

In my car while driving down I-90 during my lunch break.

In the family van in the middle of a trip to Florida. (I was very very bored.)

14. What’s your favorite sex toy?

Tongue.

My strap-on.

The purple monster—it vibrates and rotates.

Anal beads and an electric finger-tip dildo.

Butt plug.

My wife’s rabbit.

This G-spot toy. It’s awesome!

Banana.

15. What’s your favorite sex toy that wasn’t meant to be a sex toy?

Cell phone on vibrate.

My dog’s collar.

My brand new electric toothbrush.

My shower head.

Popsicles.

A shampoo bottle that fits just right.

The hot-tub jets.

Wooden spoon, belts, TV remote, do I need to go on?

The handle from my kitchen faucet—it come off with one screw, and it has a little knob at the end of it. Great for anal probing.

“The Zapper.”

A big plastic note clip. Makes a great nipple clamp.

After a few hits on a bong, she showed me a new use for that item.

A Garcia y Vega tube.

Clothes pins.

A remote control from an old television.

16. What sexual discovery has changed your life?

Finding her G-spot.

That swinging can be a lot of fun.

How much I love receiving oral sex!

Anal play.

Durex Tingling Pleasure Mint Lubricant.

A dildo.

The first time I had sex with a woman. Hot, fun, and a great experience, but I need cock every once and a while!

I discovered that falling in love is very sexy.

Lots of women are just as horny as guys; the man simply has to unlock that emotion.

Kissing a guy.

The discovery of the BDSM world.

Admitting that I was bi and embracing it. Now I find that I can admire men as much as I do women.

Being a lesbian.

When I learned how to lick my lover’s clit and bring her to orgasm.

That staying healthy and physically in shape is the best aphrodisiac. I’m never going to stop!

That I like to have my ass licked and probed. My orgasms are so much more intense.

17. What’s your best story about watching or being watched?

I had a girlfriend at St. Rose that always thought that her roommate was sleeping! No way; when I would look over there she was staring at us every time!

It would have to be receiving punishments at a dungeon with onlookers.

A few years ago I was regularly hanging out with these two guys. One night, they came over and we put a porn video on. They started kissing and touching me and eventually we moved into my bedroom. I sucked guy No. 1’s dick while the other guy fucked me from behind. Guy No. 2 freaked out for some reason and decided he no longer wanted to participate; he’d rather watch. So he sat on the bed and watched guy No. 1 do me. At one point, guy No. 2 and I locked eyes and it was so hot. I still fantasize about it.

Letting a friend watch me masturbate via Webcam.

Watching my fiancée be with another woman for the first time (followed closely by her being with another man).

While having a threesome with my mouth on one and bent over for the other; their cousin was watching.

My partner and I were housesitting at an extremely beautiful house. We were very horny and decided to get a little in the kitchen. The kitchen had a dining-room table in front of French glass doors. I climbed on the table positioned like a patient at the gynecologist, with my legs spread, feet on the table and butt at the edge. She was enjoying herself between my legs when I noticed the exterminator peering through the French patio doors enjoying himself watching two women making love orally on the kitchen table. It was too late to turn back so we finished pleasurably. Hope he enjoyed it as much as we did.

My ex and I had a contest to see who could hold out longer not touching the other person. I waited a couple of days, then just started masturbating while he watched. He could only watch for about a minute and then he was on top of me. I won the bet and had great sex. It was like having my cake and eating it too.

I came upon a young couple fucking near a remote upstate lake. Watching them undetected, I could not help but jerk a load of cum from my throbbing cock.

18. What would most improve your sex life?

A new wife!

A female sex slave.

An easier way to find local like-minded people.

Having much in common with a girl besides sex.

More partners in an accepting, mutually secure format.

Kids going to bed earlier.

Nothing, it’s great!

More time with my boyfriend.

Getting it more often!

To find a nice girlfriend and enjoy the completeness of a satisfying relationship.

More of it, and getting my wife to swallow!

A new boyfriend.

If I could get an erection again (bad erectile dysfunction).

To be able to last longer. God, I miss my days of youth!

Having my nipple pierced.

19. What is your favorite turn-on?

Other women.

My husband doing anything.

Having a woman who is confident of her sexiness and is willing to be an active partner, and one who isn’t embarrassed to play with herself while I am watching.

Women having hot, kinky sex with each other.

Earrings, tops without bottoms, a nice ass, a trimmed pussy.

Having my hair pulled.

Women who aren’t afraid to say what they want.

A cute woman with a fun sense of humor.

High heels.

A low whisper in my ear.

Bondage and rape fantasies with a strong mistress.

Watching pornos—for some reason it turns me on so much.

Being dominated.

Feet.

The female ass, without a doubt one of the world’s natural beauties.

The “throw me and do me” kind of thing.

20. How has technology enhanced your sex life?

It hasn’t. The computer has ruined mine; I’m on the damn thing way too much!

I don’t have to buy porn anymore. I get it free on the ’Net.

Internet is fun to look at hot chicks!

Well, it hasn’t ruined it, which is more than I can say for the RPI geeks I went to college with who just talked on Instant Messenger every night but never got laid!

I can make my own pornos.

Text messages can be extremely hot.

Better DVD quality.

Internet porn is very nice.

I can send dirty pictures.

Love batteries! They make me moan.


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