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recommended reading : bibliography : videography
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past interviews

talking to carol

I talk to the press all the time, especially to 'zines and webmags that focus on sex and culture. These are links and reprints from some of those interviews.

Source: The Good Vibrations Gazette, Fall 2003. Interview questions by Sarah Burgundy. Used by permission.

Congratulations on the re-release of Leather Daddy and the Femme! Tell us about how it ended up getting reissued. What did you change in the new edition?

CQ: The Leather Daddy and the Femme went out of print pretty fast in its Cleis edition -- not because people weren't buying it, but because at that moment, the publishing industry was starting to undergo some harsh changes, and the book got caught in the middle. Big bookstores, particularly chains, order books and then if they don't sell quickly, they send them back to the warehouse and don't pay for them. Some publishers get the books back from storage and send them out again. But many copies of LD&F -- I'll never know exactly how many -- were exiled into a warehouse and destroyed. You can imagine how I felt! And all the while I was hearing from bookstores in Boston and Madison and all over the place, wanting to order it. Cleis let the rights revert back to me, so I brought the project to Down There Press -- which is, of course, the publishing company Good Vibrations owns. I knew DTP would take good care of the book, and this way its sales directly support Good Vibes.

Plus, I had always wanted the cover to have a sexy leather daddy on it, collaged with a sexy femme. For whatever reason, Cleis chose not to do that, but Leigh at Down There Press was very open to having my web designer, Kristin J. Herrera, do the artwork, and I got permission from the Tom of Finland Foundation to use a genuine Tom leather daddy! Now a prospective reader who doesn't know the gist of the story -- a bisexual femme who cross-dresses as male to lure gay male leather daddies -- can look at the cover and get a hint about the gender-bending and pansexual contents of the novel. I also included a few chapters Cleis didn't publish in the first edition, including a couple where the characters have long conversations
about sexual orientation and gender identity. Cleis thought those chapters were too "talky" for a sexy book - but, as I say in the new introduction," No sex I ever had existed outside of questions of who I was for having
it... Since most people fuck within the context of relationships and sexualities, I've put that material back in." Judging from reader response, I made the right call. An important element of The Leather Daddy and the
is the way the characters become family for each other, so it's also a book that explores poly relationships, not just gender-bending and kinky sex.

How do think the book has been accepted now, with the reprint, as opposed to when it first came out? Do you feel like you have more of an audience for it now?

CQ: Lots of people have told me they'd looked for the book without success (because it was out of print for a while) -- they'd wanted to get copies for friends and lovers, which to me is a real endorsement, especially given the way having a "family of lovers" is important to the characters in the book. People have also said they've loaned it out and not gotten it back -- and, while it's bad karma to book-borrowers, I think that speaks to the way people feel about The Leather Daddy and the Femme. In the years since it first came out its reputation has spread, and I also think the ever-more-comfortable way queer issues are discussed in the mainstream has made a bigger audience ready for this book. It's not a polarized thing -- instead, the characters have purposely various, and often fluid, sexual and gender orientations. I think the public is getting more open to that, and to polyamory as well.

You also just came out with Five Minute Erotica. Why just five minutes?

CQ: I know, most of my erotica is at least ten! This was the idea of the publisher, Running Press. They wanted to do a book of erotic "fast fiction" that was especially focused on women. They initially wanted me to write the whole book, but I didn't have time; I negotiated to open it up and make it an anthology instead. Readers who know erotica will recognize many of the names in the table of contents, but there are also at least three writers publishing erotica for the very first time, and there are also four couples in the book! It's great for sharing quick erotic fantasies, especially for reading out loud. Most stories are only about 1000 words long.

Was it challenging finding stories that were so short, but still engaging and erotic?

CQ: Honestly, the greatest challenge was asking the fantastic group of writers represented in 5 Minute Erotica to keep their stories on the heterosexual and vanilla side. They are a diverse and sometimes kinky group! But I came to really appreciate this focus. There's not really enough good erotica aimed at mostly-heterosexual women, and the majority of the great erotic anthologies being done are pansexual. Not everyone finds this speaks to them, and I really think there ought to be good erotica on the shelf for

A few of the stories submitted weren't successful in taking me, as editor, into the world the story presents. It has to be quickly and skillfully sketched out or it's just, at that length, too sparse to warm up to. And I
know women like their plot lines, their characterization. Many, many women enjoy erotica and porn most when they can get into the characters and why they're together. So the stories had to pass that test, and the test of making me (and, by extension, the reader) take a fast little trip into the story's reality.

You also just released G Marks the Spot, an instructional video about G-spot stimulation and female ejaculation. What was your favorite part of making the video?

CQ: It was really interesting to write a script -- I had not done a whole script before -- and I liked doing the "talking head" presentation. But my very favorite thing was being on set as a consultant, and getting to be
right there while the whole thing was made. Working with non-professional actors on an explicit shoot is such a privilege -- people are doing something amazing and often kind of scary, not something they do every day. They're like poster children for Exhibitionism for the Shy! And it's really wonderful to be there as they get more and more comfortable with each other, the set, the cameras, everything. My number one fave minute is when Falicious gives up and yells, "Noooo! I can't ejaculate! I did it last night but I can't do it now!" And then five minutes later she and her partner have locked eyes, gotten frisky, and pretty soon she's doing it! It illustrates performance anxiety (and getting over it) so perfectly, it's like we scripted it.

As you know, we hear from lot of women who want to learn how to ejaculate. Why do you think female ejaculation is such a hot topic and sought-after skill?

CQ: Well, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, who wouldn't be intrigued by the idea of an extra erogenous zone? Many women hear there's pleasure to be had, and they want to experience it. It's a great reason to go g-spot hunting. And it's just a plus that ejaculation might be involved -- which I think many women (and their partners) see as sort of a "proof of the pleasure," plus of course it feels great. It breaks down the boundary a tiny bit between how females and males experience their sexuality, and many people really welcome
that -- the "Men are from Mars, women are from Venus" thing is a popular social construction, but really it's very alienating to many people. In some cases, it becomes a kind of contest -- women who say, "I can squirt farther than you! I can ejaculate more!" I do not favor that view -- particularly because I don't think science has established the vast, superior quantities of ejaculate these women are bragging about. As I say on the DVD interview, I really wish we could be making this film in ten years, because perhaps then there will be much more conclusive information about female ejaculation.

Here's the second thing, and I actually have mixed feelings about it. I think women and male partners are often very eager to find a vaginally-based kind of orgasmic pleasure. Part of the hype around the g-spot -- I agree with Betty Dodson about this, though not her total take on the subject -- is that it's a vaginal thing. And we are told by the culture that vaginal sex is the type a mature woman is supposed to have, no thanks to Dr. Freud, and women often don't have as much vaginal pleasure as they wish they could -- because they aren't turned on enough when intercourse begins, mainly. The irony in all this -- looking to the g-spot as a magical vaginal sex button -- is that it's not well-stimulated during much intercourse. You still have to use
fingers or play with toys and get really turned on to make the most of your (or your partner's) g-spot.

As if this all wasn't enough, you and your partner operate the Center for Sex and Culture. Tell us about what this organization does.

CQ: Yes, when I say I'm as sexual overachiever, people think I'm talking about having sex all the time! -- but the reality is, I spend a lot of that time writing, lecturing, doing education. I think people in the US get truly
awful sex education for the most part -- especially the sex ed provided in school -- and then they have to go out on their own to get better information. The Center for Sex and Culture is an information resource -- we don't have a building yet, but when we do, it will have the largest publicly-accessible sex library in the US, a sex-related archive (including the papers of important sex writers, educators, and others), plus classes, workshops, salons, and other events. We have our non-profit status and have spent this year getting organized, doing benefits, getting the word out, and storing donations in increasingly-stuffed storage units. We're looking for a space in San Francisco, so when people visit the Bay Area they can come
browse, do research, and take classes. If readers want to know more they can visit, where they will find our address in case they want to send us boxes of old porn, their granddad's sex novelties from the '40s, or a check!

Any good thrift or estate sale scores you want to share?

CQ: You know me so well, Sarah! Lots of people don't know that's my secret vice -- going junking! And of course I'm especially into finding old sex stuff. My partner Robert and I have told all the local estate sale folks that they shouldn't throw away the smut, because we'll buy it. In the last year we've gotten a set of cool black and white swinger photos from the '50s; two tiny little keychain-sized telescopes with porn pictures inside (that's what I mean by "your granddad's old stuff"); tourist plates from Greece, circa early '60s, with sex painting on them; and -- best of all -- an old man's entire secret collection of bondage and transvestite porn! He had a ton of great stuff, too. It's all going to be view-able at the Center for
Sex and Culture. And of course we tune into eBay on a pretty regular basis, and we find great stuff there too.

Anything else?

CQ: Yes, people who want to keep track of what I'm doing can visit my website,, where content - including a list of my readings and workshops --changes every month at least. There's also a pretty full bibliography there, at least of my work that's published in books. I do stay awfully busy! And as my old girlfriend Natalie used to say, "Carol, I could see if sex was your business. or your hobby. but everything?" You know, to me it's all just endlessly fascinating.

contents : meet carol : appearing soon : advice : travels : opinion : talking to carol : faq
recommended reading : bibliography : videography
"a dr. like this" : the center for sex and culture : contact