Author: Rachel Kramer Bussel

Sleeping in My Clothes: Holding Tight to Impetuous Youth

I woke up this morning in my hotel room wearing a bra and beautiful purple flowered Rachel Roy dress, one that always makes me feel beautiful and yields compliments. It’s the dress I’ve worn recently to an important business meeting and am gearing up to wear at a talk at a library. It’s made of polyester (in China, of course), but feels elegant and classy. It is not the kind of dress one should sleep in, but the kind that should be treated with the utmost care so that it lasts as long as possible. It’s a dress I’d be sad to have disappear from my wardrobe, and yet…I still didn’t take the time to remove it from my body and hang it up, or at the very least, drape it from a chair. But alas, that is part of my vice: sleeping in my clothes, alongside sleeping in my glasses (or having them fall haphazardly onto the floor), sleeping with the lights on, not brushing my teeth or using moisturizer before bed, and generally …

Confessions of a Hopeful Hoarder

I love my stuff — my books, my clothes, my jewelry, my art, my notebooks, my giant Hello Kitty pillow that I snuggle up to at night (even though I’m 38). I don’t mean “love” as in the woman who married the Eiffel Tower — my belongings and I are on a strictly platonic basis. But it’s still a love that runs deep and strong, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I should tell you right off the bat that I’m a hoarder. My impulse is to add. I’d say “not like those people you see on TV,” but that would only be half true. My former apartment was right up there in terms of clutter horror stories. I had to shove the main door hard against all the papers, books and assorted items on the floor in order to eke out enough room to squeeze through. I walked over piles of stuff in every room. I lived in fear that my landlord would need to come in and would evict me …

Rachel’s Note: What Embarrasses This Erotica Writer?

Our guest editor this week is erotica author and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel You might think someone who writes about sex for a living wouldn’t be prone to blushing, but I most certainly am. When I’m faced with situations where I don’t know how to respond, my extremely pale cheeks turn traitor. I feel heat sweep across my face before anyone else can confirm it. The source could be a compliment, a flirtation or a faux pas, but most often, I blush in a professional context, when I’ve taken my sexy words off the page and read them to a live audience, unfiltered. Merriam-Webster’s first definition for blush reads, “the red color that spreads over your face when you are ashamed, embarrassed, confused, etc.” But I think there’s more to it than that. I wouldn’t say I’m any of those qualities when I blush; rather, it’s my body speaking up for me in a way my mind can’t. Most of the time, I’m not blushing because I’m embarrassed; I’m embarrassed that I’m blushing. In my …

50 Shades of Sexy X-Mas Gifts

Whether shopping for a friend, a lover or yourself, these fun gifts are both sweet (sometimes literally) and sexy, plus they work for anyone who could use a little pampering (or paddling). 1. Fantasy Fondue How better to indulge than with edible chocolate fondue? This tantalizing treat comes with a mini paintbrush so you can turn yourself (or the object of your affection) into dessert. It’s “virtually fat-free,” but when you’re licking chocolate off someone’s skin, does that really matter? $18, bootyparlor.com 2. Whip Me Stockings You won’t have to say a word to signal that you’re in the mood while wearing these. Emblazoned with “whip me, bite me, eat me, tease me” down the leg, these seamed stockings leave nothing to the imagination. Kink up your next date or be the talk of the holiday party. $70, agentprovocateur.com 3. Bettie Page Paddle I’ve always enjoyed paddles that offer a smile with their sting, and classic kinky pinup Bettie Page can offer inspiration to the spanker and spankee with this quilted paddle. Available in round …

How a Dresses-Only Girl Learned to Love Jeans

Making grand, public pronouncements is often a surefire way for me to get the universe to tell me exactly how wrong I am. This was the case when I declared that “every day is no pants day” for me in an essay at Refinery29. At the time, I’d purged my closet of all but sweatpants and one pair of extremely comfortable yoga pants that I used to sleep in, after my foray into yoga. I was convinced that my fashion sense and comfort level meant I was strictly a dresses-and-skirts kind of gal, and for the most part, I still am, except for a single pair of jeans I now can’t live without. Here’s the story of my love affair with my $29.99 Old Navy SweetHeart jeans, size 12 short. [pullquote]I learned that feeling comfortable can be its own kind of sexy.[/pullquote] I was merrily going about my skirts-and-dresses life when I decided to volunteer as a dishwasher at a nonprofit restaurant. The job itself was straightforward, except for one requirement: I had to wear …

Why My Cleavage is My Ultimate Accessory

In high school, my friend Steve nicknamed me “Cleavage.” Or, more accurately, “CLEEE-VAGE,” which he shouted down the hallway or across the cafeteria in his deep, booming voice. Sometimes he’d try to throw French fries into said crevice, which wasn’t hard to do as I often sported outfits that put my boobs on display. Over 20 years later, not much has changed, except that Steve and I have lost touch, nobody else has picked up the nickname, and I’ve gotten better at shopping for pushup bras. I still love to show off my cleavage any chance I get, meaning just about every day. Now, I should clarify: I’m not talking about a Kim Kardashian or even Christina Hendricks amount of cleavage — i.e., when a woman’s boobs are the only thing you see because they are totally front and center. Rather, I go for a less over-the-top look. It’s not about smushing my breasts together as much as it is about gently suggesting what the rest — what you can’t see — might look like. …

Gifts that Scream “I’m Ready for Action” (Like, Now?)

Who wouldn’t prefer a sex toy over a sweater? While there are a seemingly infinite number of toys and other erotic gifts out there, I’ve narrowed it down to five I consider top notch, all of which I proudly own, use, read and relax with.   1. Afterglow Natural Massage Oil Candle
 Candles can do more than flicker prettily. This one looks lovely, and is specially designed with your back in mind. It pours into a warm liquid that you can use to give — or get — a sensual massage. Who would say no to that? $29, JimmyJane.com   2. njoy Pure Wand Every time I pick up my njoy Pure Wand, I feel powerful and sexy all at once. Not only will this stainless steel dildo give your kegel muscles a workout, it’s also a beautiful product that is sleek and sensual. Get some tips on using it from sex toy reviewer extraordinaire Hey Epiphora. $100, SheVibe.com   3. Crave Droplet Necklace I’m a huge fan of items that multitask, and Crave’s droplet …

Going Solo: Spending My 38th Birthday Alone in Albuquerque

This Sunday, I’ll be turning 38. And I’ll be spending it in a city I’ve never visited: Albuquerque, New Mexico. I’ll be traveling by myself, and that’s exactly what I want for this birthday. It’s the first birthday where I won’t be getting a call or card from my grandmother, who passed away in January (though her card likely would have already arrived). It’s a birthday where the blaring biological clock warnings feel like they are all going off in my head at once. So I decided to escape to somewhere warm where I hope to recharge and replenish myself and find a way to make peace with this new age that feels scary for many reasons. “Is your boyfriend going with you?” several people have asked when I told them of my plans. He’s not. When a couple that we were having dinner with the other night asked, I said, “I invited you,” to my boyfriend, only partly joking. “No you didn’t,” he protested. “You just said, ‘This is what I’m doing on my birthday.’” …

Why FOMO Made Me Move to New Jersey

Fear of missing out — aka FOMO* — made me move to New Jersey, that is. FOMO is a term coined by Dan Herman, to characterize the sense that, and to paragraph Mindy Kaling’s memoir title, everyone is hanging out without you. You’d think someone with FOMO would want to stay in the city that never sleeps, rather than leave it for a far sleeper milieu, right? Let me explain. When I first moved to New York City at age 20 to go to law school, I fell in love. Not with a person, but with the city itself. Having moved from the Bay Area, where BART stops running around midnight, I marveled at the 24/7 subway service, art galleries right down the block from my Mercer Street dorm, and being in proximity to clubs like Tramps, Brownies, The Bottom Line (RIP, all) and Mercury Lounge. I loved the Big Apple’s cultural offerings so much that I threw myself headlong into anything and everything that could occupy my time — except studying. Back then, I …

What I Learned From My Stalker

I may have the word “open” tattooed on my back, but I consider myself overly cautious. By nature of being a sex writer, many people think I’ve offered myself up for explicit, inappropriate conversations, and that’s forced me to keep my guard up. Normally, I don’t answer my phone unless I know who’s calling. I vet strangers I’m meeting extensively online beforehand. On a recent flight, I even took my laptop to the bathroom rather than leave it unprotected in the seat back compartment. My caution is what stopped me from contacting a man I met on my flight to Dubai after I let him borrow my phone charger; I didn’t want to give him the wrong impression. I was excited about this trip to Dubai, and announced it on my blog, Twitter and Facebook in case friends had recommendations or knew people there. The primary purpose of my trip was to find the world’s first and only Hello Kitty Spa, which had recently opened (yes, I was 36 going on 13, and am more …