Carnival of the Liberals #41

Carnival of the Liberals #41 has just gone up, and they were kind enough to include my piece on the Blowfish blog about abstinence-only sex education, No Sex Please, We’re Democrats.

This is actually something of an honor, as the Carnival of the Liberals is a fairly selective blog carnival — they only list the ten best blog posts submitted for each roundup, so I’m very pleased that my piece got included. Thanks to the World Wide Webers for including me — and if y’all want to read some seriously good liberal blogging, do check out the Carnival.

Homer the Vampire Slayer

If you’ve seen even one or two Buffy episodes and vaguely remember the opening credit sequence, I think you’ll be tickled by this. And if you’re a rabid fan of both Buffy and The Simpsons, I think you’ll bust a gut laughing. FYI, you do have to have your sound on for it to be even remotely funny. Enjoy! (And thanks to Jocelyn for the tip. Keep those cards and letters coming, people!)

Why I Don’t Write More Porn

Three_kinds_of_asking_for_itI love writing porn.

It’s satisfying professionally as a writer, and it’s oddly satisfying sexually as well. The act of taking a sexual fantasy and fleshing it out in words, as clearly and vividly as I can, can take a fleeting bit of whack-off imagery and solidify it, deepen it, turn it into something I care about and am proud to share with the world. (And, not coincidentally, it can take a fleeting bit of whack-off imagery and turn it into something I can whack off to for months or years.)

So why don’t I do more of it? I hear you cry. (Or more accurately, I delude myself into thinking you care about.)

Two reasons — which are really kind of the same reason.

Best_american_erotica_2003First: For me, writing a porn story takes a huge amount of time. I love doing it, but it doesn’t come naturally to me the way non-fiction does. I can churn out a first draft of a review or a short essay in an afternoon. A draft that I’m reasonably happy with, even.

With fiction, I struggle with it a lot more. It doesn’t come pouring out of my brain and through my fingers the way non-fiction does. It takes weeks, sometime months, just to finish a first draft. Then I have to set it aside for a while, so I can re-read it with some distance and perspective — and then it takes still more weeks, maybe months, to revise it. Because it’s never, ever right the first time. Not even close. It takes more time than non-fiction by an order of magnitude or two. (And as a rule, it’s more emotionally draining than non-fiction as well. Also by an order of magnitude.)

All of which brings me to Reason Number Two: It pays for shit.

Naughty_spanking_storiesIt’s a rare publisher or editor that will pay more than $100 for a short piece of erotic fiction. And even $100 is somewhat unusual. $50 is more common. If I’m lucky I can get a story reprinted, and that’ll bring in a little more money for it. But with a couple of very rare exceptions, writing porn fiction pays rather less well per hour than running a lemonade stand.

On_our_backs_guide_to_lesbian_sexNow, it’s not like sexual non-fiction pays a whole lot better. It pays somewhat better, but not a lot. But because I can turn it around so much more quickly, I don’t mind nearly as much. It’s much harder to convince myself to devote the enormous amount of time and emotional energy to fiction that it demands — when I know the payoff is going to be so shitty.

That sounds pretty hardassed, I know. But it’s not just about the cold financial cost-benefit analysis. If this were just about the cold financial cost-benefit analysis, I wouldn’t be a freelance writer in the first place.

It’s also about the emotional cost-benefit analysis.

C_is_for_coedsIt’s very, very disheartening to spend months on a piece of writing, to devote an enormous amount of time and care turning a treasured and intensely personal fantasy into a story that other people will not only get off on but care about… and then get paid fifty bucks for it. It’s disheartening — and in fact, it’s kind of insulting. I know that the publishers and editors don’t mean any insult; I understand the economic realities of the publishing world. But when the primary external marker of your work’s worth to the world is consistently telling you, “Eh, whatever,” it’s hard not to feel like the whole thing is an exercise in futility.

Best_american_erotica_2005So except in those rare cases when the cost-benefit analysis actually does make some sort of sense, I pretty much only write porn fiction when I feel intensely compelled to do so. I have to feel like the personal, non-financial payoff will be worth it. I have to feel that this will be a fantasy that’s worth fleshing out: that this set of images will be worth solidifying, that these characters are ones I want to understand better, that this is a sexual concept I really want to dig into and get a grasp on.

And I have to feel that this is a fantasy I’m going to want to whack off to for months or years.

Which just doesn’t happen very often.

Bless Me, Physical Universe, For I Have Sinned

ConfessionalA couple of other atheist blogs have been doing this (Friendly Atheist and No More Hornets), and I thought I’d get in on the fun.

It’s the Atheist Confessional.

I’ll get the ball rolling.

Bless me, Physical Universe, for I have sinned.

When I engage in one of the most central and profound secular activities of my life — namely, having sex — I can’t seem to shut up about Jesus and God. I say/scream “Oh God,” “Oh Jesus,” “Jesus Fucking Christ,” and so on, probably dozens of times in the course of an evening.

I go out of my way to find things about religion in the news to get angry and worked up about — just so I can blog about them.

And when I’m visiting other atheist blogs, I go out of my way to bring up sex, whenever it’s even remotely relevant.

So what about the other godless heathens reading this blog? What godless sins do you have to confess?

This Week

Here’s a dirty story. (Family members and others who don’t want to read my porn: Now would be a good time to stop reading.)

I wrote this story a couple of years ago, and it’s become one of my favorites. (Not that the list is that long — I don’t write fiction nearly as often as I do non-fiction, since… well, that’s the subject of another post.) FYI, while I usually illustrate my blog posts with lots of pictures, I’m not going to do that here. I want you to be able to picture the characters yourself, the way you imagine them, so I’m leaving this one picture-less. This story originally appeared in the anthology “Naughty Spanking Stories A-Z 2″, and was reprinted in the collection “C Is For Coeds.” The world of erotic fiction: A class act all around.

This Week
Copyright 2007 Greta Christina

Here’s what it is this week. A girl, a college student, is being spanked by her college professor. She’s young, nineteen or twenty, young enough to be in college, but old enough to have some sexual knowledge. He’s older, of course, probably in his forties, dressed casually but with dignity, a trim beard with a hint of gray. She is dressed, not in the schoolgirl outfit of porn cliche, but in regular modern clothing that merely implies the schoolgirl look: a short skirt with a flare, a simple blouse, white panties. The white panties are important. She is bent over his lap with her skirt pulled up and her panties pulled down, and he is spanking her with his hand.

Here’s how they got there. I think of the girl as the instigator of the scenario. I think of her sitting in this man’s class: admiring him, becoming excited by his ideas and his authority and his ease with his body. I think of her feeling flustered in his presence: not stupid, but young, and acutely self-conscious of her youth and her limitations. And I imagine these feelings coalescing into the simple image in her mind, the lap and the bare bottom and the hand coming down again and again. I think of her, not coolly deciding to act on her thoughts, but doing it impulsively, not even entirely consciously; just coming to him after classes for help and advice, putting herself in his path, waiting to see what happens next.

Now. I imagine her going to his house after a test, a test on which she had done fine but could have done better. She goes to his house, dressed only somewhat on purpose in the short skirt and simple blouse and white panties. She goes to his house, apparently upset about her less-than-ideal test score, telling him that she clearly needs more help. She works herself into an agitation, a frustration about her academic performance that even she half-believes. At the same time, she’s deliberately, or semi-deliberately, being provocative, displaying her body, putting herself in poses both seductive and submissive. She talks about how lazy she is, how little self-discipline she has, how she needs external discipline to succeed — and she drops something on the floor and turns away from him to pick it up. She says she can’t achieve her best unless she fears being punished, says a B+ grade isn’t enough punishment to drive her to excel — and she bends over his desk to examine a knick-knack on the far side. She uses the word “punishment” again and again, and she keeps finding ways and reasons to turn away from him and bend over.

He’s not an idiot. He’s an adult, a middle-aged man of the world, and he can see what she wants. He wants it too; she’s a lovely girl, she makes him feel powerful and wise, and the thought of bending her over his lap makes his dick twitch. At the same time, he’s not an idiot. He knows how much trouble he could get into if he’s guessing wrong, or for that matter if he’s guessing right. So he’s careful. He asks her if she wants his help, if she wants him to provide this external motivation she’s missing, to give her the punishment she needs when she fails to reach her potential. She breathes a deep breath of relief and excitement, says yes, please, can he help her. He asks again: are you sure you want this discipline, are you sure you want to be punished for not doing your best, are you sure you want me to do it. She begins to pace around the room, agitated and anxious, saying yes, yes please, that’s why she came here, this is what she wants.

He looks at her face, steadily, until she stops pacing and looks at him back. They’re no longer speaking in code.

Do you want this, he says. Do you want me to punish you.

She nods. She can’t say it out loud.

Alright, he says. Come here.

She walks over and stands next to him. He pats his lap; he can’t say the words either, and he needs her to make the gesture on her own. She stares at his lap, and at his hands, and she awkwardly kneels on the floor and crawls over his knees.

He’s done this before. Not often, but more than once, and he knows what he’s doing. He pulls up her skirt, not slow and sexy, not rough and impatient, but deliberate, matter-of-fact, getting the job done. He waits for her breathing to relax, then puts his hands on her waist and pulls down her panties. He moves a bit slower this time, but his manner is not teasing or sensual; the slowness is methodical, patient, done with calm authority. He looks at her bare bottom, listens to her breath, waits.

He doesn’t caress her — this isn’t about that — but he does rest his hand on her bottom. She flinches, then realizes that he hasn’t started yet, and tries to relax. He waits again. And then he begins to spank her.

His first blow is a real one. Not extreme, but she knows right away that she’s being spanked. He waits, and delivers another blow, exactly the same. And then he begins to spank her in earnest. The spanking is slow, she can feel it each time his hand strikes her bottom. She begins to squirm; she’s embarrassed now, self-conscious about what she’s doing and how she must look, a grown woman being punished on her bare bottom like a child. And it hurts, it’s hard now and it hurts, she wasn’t expecting that. But she can’t bring herself to say anything, she’d feel like a fool just quitting in the middle… and now it’s lighter, and she thinks she can take it a little longer.

He says nothing. He concentrates on the spanking, watches her body, listens to her breathe. His cock is getting hard, it’s telling him to squeeze her tits and then spank her as hard as he can; but he ignores it, tells it to be content with her warmth and her wriggling, and he centers his attention on just how hard he’s spanking her, and what exactly she’s doing about it.

She’s squirming harder now. She feels how warm her bottom is getting, she can picture how pink it must be by now. She’s getting agitated, and confused. The hard ones make her flinch and curl up — but the light ones give her time to think, and to feel: how small she is, and how flustered; her fear of the next really hard one; her uneasy frustration when the hard ones stop; her excitement; her shame at being excited; her hips wriggling against his lap. A good hard one comes down out of nowhere, and she cries out in relief and arches her back.

He still says nothing. He looks carefully now at her arched back and clenched fists, listens to the change in her voice. He stops, pulls his hand up high, and gives her five hard smacks, very hard, as fast as he can.

He listens as her cries of outrage subside into gasps. He considers starting again; he considers giving her a comforting pat on her pink bottom; he considers putting his hand between her legs. He’s pretty sure he could do any of these things, and she’d respond. But he’s nervous now, and doesn’t know how far he wants this to go. So he pulls up her panties, carefully, not touching her skin. He pulls her skirt back down over her bottom, and then puts his hands behind his back.

She scrambles to her feet right away, looks down at the floor, her face red. She mumbles something — “Thank you, Professor,” he thinks — and waits expectantly. “Good,” he says. “That was very good.” She stares at the floor for a moment, then scrambles for her things, mumbles “Thank you” again, and scurries out the door.

Here’s what happens next. They meet once a week at his house. They don’t discuss it, they don’t make a plan; she just shows up at his door the next week at the same time, as if they had an appointment. She puts down her things, and she tells him about her schoolwork, the week’s successes and failures. He congratulates her on her achievements, and then he analyzes her failures, explaining exactly what she did wrong and why it matters. And then he pats his lap.

It always has to be a punishment. She can’t simply walk in the door and say “Okay, let’s get to the spanking.” And neither can he. They can’t quite acknowledge what this is, they find it easier to think of it as instruction, discipline. Anyway, it’s more exciting this way. So he begins to write tests, every week, just for her, tests for her to make mistakes on. She’s a bright girl and she wants to please him; so he has to make the tests hard, hard enough that she’ll miss at least one question and will need to be punished. She takes the tests very seriously, studies hard for them. She does, in fact, become a better student during this time, in all her classes, not just his. And she never misses a question on purpose. She would consider that cheating, and she is a serious student, appalled at the idea of cheating. She’s always excited when he points out her errors and pats his lap; but she’s always a bit disappointed as well, upset at herself for failing, and believing, at least somewhat, that she really is being punished, and that she deserves it.

As the weeks go by, they become more accustomed to each other. Their rhythm becomes more fluid, the ritual more detailed, the spankings longer and more intense. He begins to talk during the spankings, sometimes lecturing in detail on that week’s failures, sometimes just chanting, “Bad girl! Bad! You can do better! You need discipline! You need to be punished! Punished! Bad!” He knows by now the words that set her off, the ones that make her whimper and arch her bottom in the air — and he knows the ones that make her freeze up. He knows how hard she likes to be spanked… and he knows how hard is just a little harder than she really likes, how hard is hard enough to make her feel that she’s been bad, and is being punished for it.

As more weeks go by, he begins to ask if she needs any special punishment, something extra to make her pay closer attention. The first time she doesn’t understand what he’s getting at, she says no thank you, Professor, please just punish me. But she gets it later, alone in bed that night; and the next week when he asks again, she has her answer ready. Yes, she says. She fears that his hand isn’t a hard enough tool for serious discipline, doesn’t make her fearful enough or sorry enough for what she’s done. She says she needs to be punished with something harder, something that will make her more afraid to fail, something to really hurt her and make her feel ashamed. He asks her to be specific — he always needs her to ask for it, always needs it spelled out — and she’s learned by now to speak up. She asks him to please spank her with a ruler, wooden or maybe metal, or with his hairbrush. He tells her to fetch his ruler — the hairbrush is too personal for him — and she goes directly to his desk and takes it out of the top drawer. She knows exactly where he keeps it.

And as still more weeks go by, the special punishments become both more elaborate and more central to the ritual. The bare-bottom over-the-knee hand spankings, once the entire reason for them being there, now become prelude — neither of them will call it foreplay — to the special punishments she asks for each week. She asks him to spank her with a rolled-up newspaper. She asks him to make her say out loud what a bad girl she is while he spanks her. She asks him to make her get on her hands and knees and kiss the floor while he spanks her. She asks him to use the ruler to spank her between her legs. She asks him to keep spanking her until she cries.

She never asks him to fuck her. He never does.

The end of the semester draws near, and both of them are a bit at a loss. She has one more year before she graduates, and no more classes with him. She starts asking about her final exam; her questions are anxious, restless. He’s pretty sure he knows what she wants. With some regret he begins crafting her final. He spends every spare moment on it. He knows it has to be perfect.

She comes to his house for the final, wearing the same short skirt and simple blouse and white panties she wore for their first lesson. He hands her the test, and she takes it without a word and begins immediately, working fiercely and steadily like a buzz saw. When she finishes, she hands it back and waits silently, tapping her fingers on her knee.

It’s perfect, he says at last. No mistakes.

They both sit still, somewhat taken aback, sitting quietly together in the empty space that has just opened up. He guessed exactly right, this is what she wanted. But neither of them had thought about what to do next.

So, he says. No punishment today. You get punished for making mistakes. What do you get when you’re perfect? Do you get a reward?

She doesn’t know what to say. She’d imagined in detail how the test would go; a serious challenge, just barely within her abilities. She’d imagined her struggle to get through it, the rush of pride when he told her she was perfect. But she hadn’t thought any further than that.

A reward, she says.

She could ask him to kiss her. She could ask him to fuck her. She could ask him to spend the afternoon feeding her tea and cakes and telling her how much he admired her. She could ask him to take off her shirt and play with her nipples, could tell him exactly how she wanted him to do it, and then she could make him get on his knees on the floor in front of her and lick her pussy. She could ask to sit in his lap, the lap she’s been bent over so many times, and have him stroke her hair and tell her what a good girl she was. She could ask him to make her masturbate, make her lie back and spread her legs and show him how she did it, and then make her turn over onto her belly and keep masturbating, while he punished her hard on her bottom for doing it. She could ask him to give her all her special punishments over again, one after the other until she’s weeping and raw, and then pin her down over his desk and push his cock into her ass. She could ask him to make the decision, to take the initiative, to for fuck’s sake, just this once, not make her come to him. She could ask him to take her over his knee, and pull up her skirt and pull down her panties, and spank her bare bottom with his hand one more time.

I’m getting all A’s this semester, she says. Every class. I think I’m going to make the Dean’s list. And I got a special summer internship, a really good one. She tells him the professor she’s interning with, and he’s impressed, and a little jealous. That’s great news, he says. I’m really pleased to hear it.

A reward, she says. I don’t know. Let me think about it. She gathers her things, says, “Thank you, Professor,” in a clear voice, and quietly leaves, shutting the door behind her.

Super Geek – the lyrics

Willow_rosenbergA friend asked me to send her the lyrics to this, and I realized I’d never posted it on my blog. It’s dedicated to all the hot geek girls I know. Who are legion. You know who you are.

Super Geek
by Greta Christina

She’s a very geeky girl
The kind you cheat off of in math class
And she will never let her teachers down
Once she takes her SAT’s

She likes the boys in the chess club
She says that Spassky is her favorite
When she makes a move, it’s rook takes bishop, check-mate
She’s very hard to beat

The girl is pretty bright now
(The girl’s a Super Geek)
The kind of girl you read about
(In Omni Magazine)
The girl is pretty brainy
(The girl’s a Super Geek)
I’d really like to test her
(Every time we meet)
She’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright with me, yeah
She’s a Super Geek, Super Geek, she’s super-geeky

She’s a very special girl
From her glasses to her Oxfords
And she will help me study AP math and physics
And AP bio, too

“Live long and prosper”‘s what she says
“Back in the chem lab I’ll be waiting”
When I get there, she’s got Number Two pencils
It’s such a geeky scene

The girl is pretty bright now
(The girl’s a Super Geek)
The kind of girl you read about
(In Omni Magazine)
The girl is pretty brainy
(The girl’s a Super Geek)
I’d really like to test her
(Every time we meet)
She’s alright, she’s alright, she’s alright with me, yeah
She’s a Super Geek, Super Geek, she’s super-geeky

P.S. For those of you who don’t know, the pic is of Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I tried to find a picture of her looking really nerdy, but most of the pics I found in the Internet were of the later, more stylish Willow. This was the nerdiest one I could find.

Attack of the Giant Prehistoric Chicken!

Gigantoraptor

“We have a gigantic chicken!”

This is about the funnest thing I’ve seen all week.

We all know that birds evolved from dinosaurs, right? But until now, the fossil record that we had showed that the creatures got smaller and smaller as they evolved away from being dinosaurs and into being birds.

Not this baby. This baby is more than 26 feet long and 16-1/2 feet tall, and is estimated to have weighed at least a ton and half. And it was a young adult — so it wasn’t even the biggest one of its species.

And it’s a bird.

(Well, okay, a “bird-like species.”)

My favorite quote is from the paleontologist who discovered it, Xu Xing: “When I went back to my geologist colleague Lin Tan’s lab to check the skeleton, I was shocked. I said to Tan, ‘It is not a sauropod, it is not a tyrannosaurus, it is a tyrannosaurus-sized oviraptor. We have a gigantic chicken!'”

This makes me happier than I can put into words.

(Via SFGate and Pharyngula. SFGate has a couple more pictures. The one above is the most scientific, but I personally like this artist’s conception the best. It somehow manages to make the thing look both ferocious and campy.)

Dinosaurs

No Sex Please, We’re Democrats: The Blowfish Blog

CongressSo a a House subcommittee recently voted, not only to continue funding abstinence-only sex education, but to increase funding for it by $27.8 million.

To see me rant about this — er, analyze it and put it in context — come visit the Blowfish Blog. Here’s a taste:

Very few people — and even fewer politicians — are willing to look at teenage sex and say in public, “It turns out this really isn’t a big problem.” Very few politicians are willing to say, “We have bigger issues to worry about than 16-year-olds having sex.” Very, very, very few politicians are willing to say, “You know, I had sex when I was 16, and it didn’t do me any harm.”

Check it out. And then write your Congressperson.

“Many are finding welcome relief…”

Dilatherm

“Many are finding welcome relief through the gentle vibration, adjustable soothing heat, and dilation provided by the Dila-Therm.”

Yeah, I bet they are.

I think this is hilarious. I knew about the history of vibrators, and how early/ vintage vibrators were marketed to women as health and beauty aids — in language that barely disguised their real intent. But I had no idea until now that, at the same time, there were butt toys for men being sold in the exact same way.

Now, I do understand that this might actually work as a treatment for prostatitis — in that anything that makes you come on a regular basis can be an effective treatment for prostatitis. But given that the ad was found, not in a medical journal or health magazine, but in a 1949 copy of “Detective World Magazine”… let’s just say that I have my doubts as to the device’s real intention.

Via Majikthise. Which, by the way, is the coolest blog name ever.

Joined At the Brainstem: Relationships and Privacy

Speak_2Several years ago, I read a piece of relationship advice that always stuck with me. (I wish I could find it now; but I can’t, so I’m going to have to paraphrase.) It was by a lesbian relationship adviser, and she said that in the first six months of her relationship with her partner, they had a rule that, if one of them asked, “What are you thinking right now?” the other had to answer, completely honestly and spontaneously.

BrainstemThe advice writer said that, while this obviously was difficult and painful at times — both for the asker and the askee — it “worked.” At the end of the six months, she said, “we were joined at the brainstem.”

This was before I got together with Ingrid, back in my single days, and at the time, I remember thinking, “What a bad idea.” In fact, it struck me so strongly as a bad idea that I remembered it all these years.

But now that I’ve been in a serious relationship for close to ten years, my feelings have changed somewhat. Now I think about the idea of sharing every passing thought with your partner on demand, and I don’t think, “What a bad idea.”

I think, “What an appalling, unbelievably stupid, extraordinarily horrible idea.”

Brainstem_2Okay. Two reasons. First, we have the actual stated goal of this little exercise: joining with your partner at the brainstem.

Why is that a good idea? Why is that something you’d want?

Brain2I like that Ingrid has her own brain. I like Ingrid’s brain. It’s a good brain. And it’s good in ways that are often very different from my own. The fact that Ingrid has her very own brain means that she can surprise me. She can make me think about things differently. She can make me question my ideas and assumptions. And possibly more important than any of this, she can make me laugh.

None of which she could do if we were “joined at the brainstem.”

After close to ten years together, of course we know each other very well indeed. Of course we sometimes finish each other’s sentences, sometimes know exactly what the other person is going to say. But not always. And while of course I treasure how well we know each other and how close we are, I also treasure the fact that, nearly ten years into our life together, we’re still learning about each other.

Second, and maybe more importantly:

Brain4Having your own thoughts and feelings — which you can share with others or not as you choose — that’s one of the central defining characteristics of being, you know, a person. An individual. A being with some sort of selfhood.

And the idea that you should give that up when you get in a relationship gives me chills.

Now obviously, when you get into a relationship, you give up a certain amount of privacy. The closer the relationship gets, the more privacy you give up. And of course, different people need different amounts of privacy. Some couples are fine having their partner in the bathroom with them while they pee; others need to live in separate apartments.

PrivacyBut the privacy of the inside of your own head? That’s really basic. That’s a huge part of what makes you who you are.

Why would you want to take that away? Either from your partner or yourself?

BitchAnd I’m not even getting into the potential rudeness and hurtfulness of the exercise. I mean, it’s not as if every fleeting thought that passes through my head is one that I really stand by, or even think is true. If I have to hurt Ingrid by telling her something she doesn’t want to hear, I bloody well want it to be something that matters — not some petty, selfish, mean-spirited bitchiness that happened to be crossing my synapses at the exact moment she was asking, “Honey, what are you thinking?”

Telepathy2Maybe I’m being unfairly judgmental here. Maybe this “complete and unedited honesty on demand” thing is just a greater degree of intimacy and a lesser degree of privacy than I’m personally comfortable with. But it just seems like an unbelievably bad idea. Especially for lesbian couples. Lesbian couples already have enough of a tendency to merge, to lose their individual identities in each other and in the couple-identity. And the whole thing that’s cool about a relationship is that it’s a balance between intimacy and selfhood. You can’t have intimacy if you don’t have different people, with different identities, to come together and connect. The idea that more closeness is always better in a relationship is, IMO, a seriously dumb one.

So am I being too judgmental here? Have any of you ever done the “complete and unedited honesty on demand” thing in a relationship? If so, how did it work out? If not, is it an idea that appeals to you? I’m weirded out — but I’m also curious.