Is It Safe to Blow Air Deeply into the Vagina?

Are there any sexual restrictions during pregnancy?

Dr. OB posed that question to the expectant moms in attendance during the mandatory first trimester class.

The answer?

Pregnant women should feel comfortable having sex as much as they want during pregnancy. Sexual activity won’t hurt the baby-to-be since the uterine muscles and amniotic fluid protect the fetus. Sex and orgasms also do not increase contractions or the risk of premature labor.

It’s normal for parents-to-be to feel hesitant about having sex. In addition, women who are ill during pregnancy typically won't want to have sex. If your sex life has noticeably changed, make sure that you communicate with your partner, prioritize intimacy and seek out alternative ways to show affection.

Dr. OB continued by stating that,

Blowing very hard into the vagina may cause an embolism and possibly death so don’t do that during pregnancy. Normal breathing during oral sex is fine, though.

All of us in the class looked at each other with confusion, wondering what that entails or who actually does that.

Upon arriving home from the class, I wanted to know more. According to The Mayo Clinic and Cosmopolitan, blood vessels in the pelvic region are more pronounced during pregnancy and menstruation. Deeply blowing air into the vagina could cause air bubbles to form and those bubbles can block a blood vessel. If that blood vessel leads to the heart or the brain, serious complications, including death, can ensue.

Are there any additional restrictions?

As pregnancy progresses, women will be more limited in terms of how they can position themselves during sex. Communication and creativity will be critical to finding positions that are comfortable.

The Mayo Clinic doesn’t recommend anal sex during pregnancy, given the possible transfer of bacteria. Check with your doctor to find out more about that and other restrictions. If you're not comfortable talking to your doctor about sex, read my tips for doing so!

Your doctor may also add restrictions if there are health concerns during the pregnancy. For your sake and the sake of your baby-to-be, adhere to them! It’s also worth being as specific as possible with your questions so the doctor can provide you with specific guidelines.

So, dear readers, I’m curious. Has anyone tried the “Huff and Puff?” For those of you who have been or are pregnant, did your sex life change? 

I’m Not Fat; I’m Pregnant!

I’m halfway through my pregnancy this week, and quite a few friends have commented that I don’t look pregnant.

Do I regard those remarks as compliments? Of course! However, I take them with a grain of salt. The time will come in the not-so-distant future when I won’t be able to hide the fact that I’m pregnant and my regular clothes will no longer fit.

It's simultaneously fascinating and disheartening how preoccupied women are with their weight during and after pregnancy. I wish that our culture put greater emphasis on what’s important. The average baby is 20 inches in length and weighs between six and nine pounds. How can women expect that their bodies won’t change dramatically during that process? Isn’t it far more important that the mother-to-be and baby-to-be are healthy than the number on the scale?

Any friend of mine who has given birth knows exactly how many pounds she gained during her pregnancy and how long it took her to lose the weight or how much weight she has left to lose. New mothers typically are juggling 20 balls in the air at any given time. Why add unnecessary pressure about weight into the mix? At a minimum, doctors believe that it should take a woman as much time to lose pregnancy weight as it did to gain. That unfortunately doesn't happen overnight.

Our society’s preoccupation with weight also extends to how we treat people who are heavier. We should regard insults and judgment about obesity as unacceptable, and yet, those remarks are often either encouraged or condoned. In an essay by Harriet Brown in The New York Times, she writes:

I’ve sat in meetings with colleagues who wouldn’t dream of disparaging anyone’s color, sex, economic status or general attractiveness, yet feel free to comment witheringly on a person’s weight.

How does that issue relate to pregnant women’s views on their own weight? Well, for many, it thankfully doesn’t. For others, though, the issues are unfortunately related.

I found this abohorrent t-shirt online. If you conduct a broader search, you’ll see that there are many similar shirts, buttons and a book using the same phrase.

How is this not regarded as prejudicial? Why would anyone tolerate the casual use of such expression, let alone buy a product that contains such a disgraceful phrase?

One pregnant woman’s concern or frustration about her weight is her prerogative. However, that concern or frustration should not be at the expense of another woman. May one day I live in a society in which that hope is a reality.

What are your thoughts on the t-shirt? Have you heard this expression or seen anyone wearing these products? How did you respond? 

The Lelo Truly Smart Wand

There’s a scene in Sex and the City in which Samantha goes to Sharper Image to return her vibrator. The sales clerk insists that the store sells neck massagers, not vibrators. Samantha then proceeds to give a tutorial to two women in the “neck massage” section about which toys are the most effective for reaching orgasm.

It's important to note that some toys actually excel both in terms of sexual pleasure and neck and back massage. Lelo’s Smart Wand is one of those rare few products! On the massage front, my friend saw the unused toy on my couch and asked about it. She had recently pulled a muscle from exercising in her upper back. Several mini massages over the next few days with the Lelo Smart Wand saved her from making an appointment with her massage therapist! Seeing her relief, I, too, began to use it on my neck and upper back and found it to be very soothing.

On the adult toy front, I was a bit hesitant to try the Smart Wand since I’ve been a fan of my Hitachi Magic Wand for years. However, Lelo’s Smart Wand boasts many great features that has caused my Hitachi Wand to have an especially cold winter thus far:

  • The toy utilizes Lelo’s patented SenseTouch technology. When the wand comes in contact with the body, the vibrations increase even more;
  • The Smart Wand is curved, which is more ergonomically friendly to a woman’s body;
  • The Smart Wand is rechargeable. A full charge provides at least two hours of pleasure and makes it much easier to use with your partner or on travel;
  • You can choose from eight levels of vibrations and eight pulsating patterns. This toy has light enough vibrations for a first-time toy user or highly-sensitive woman. On the most intense level, though, this is an extremely powerful toy. The versatility in terms of pulsations also allow you to have a variety of options, depending on your mood, body and preference;
  • The Smart Wand is very quiet for a wand toy;
  • It’s 100% waterproof so you can bring it with you in the shower or bath; and
  • As with all Lelo products, it’s made of body-friendly materials and comes with a one-year warranty.

The Smart Wand is available in medium or large sizes. The large Smart Wand is over a foot long, and the bulbous tip is approximately two inches in length. If you might be using the Smart Wand as a massager, I would purchase the large to allow you to easily reach more spots on your neck and back. If you’re only interested in the vibrating elements of the wand, the medium should work well for you.

This toy is for external use only so don’t be intimated by the size. You can use it on any body part, and men might enjoy the lighter vibrations on their perineum (the area below their balls and above their anus) or on the back of their penis.

The Lelo Smart Wand makes a great holiday gift or large stocking stuffer for that special someone. However, some might get a bit of sticker shock at the fact that the medium wand retails for $129 and the large wand for $189. Just remember that this is a gift that will keep on giving!

I never expected to part ways with my Hitachi Magic Wand, but the Lelo Smart Wand has won me over! It thus gets my full Five Squeals of Approval.


Disclaimer: Pursuant to FTC Guidelines, I received the Smart Wand from Lelo free of charge in exchange for my honest assessment of the product.

Lelo Ina 2

A female friend recently asked me for my top sex toy picks. Which are the crème de la crème?

In no particular order, I give my highest Squeals of Approval to these body-friendly toys:

Lelo Siri: This small toy is designed for clitoral use, but can also be rubbed over nipples, the outside of the anus, and the labia. This toy has vibrations light enough for a woman in menopause or recovering from illness or surgery and strong enough for a woman who requires significant power.

Fun Factory SmartBalls: These two connected balls are recommended for solo use to strengthen the pelvic muscles, but are amazing for use with your partner during oral or anal sex.

Lelo Tor 2: This cock ring is a great addition to the bedroom mix for women in heterosexual relationships who aren’t able to orgasm from vaginal penetration alone. The Tor 2 can also be used between male partners to heighten the sensations during sex. For those of you who are budget conscious or have multiple partners, you can try Trojan Vibrations’ disposable cock ring.

Hitachi Magic Wand: This external toy has been a go-to product for women for decades! The high-intensity vibrations aren’t for the faint of heart, but there’s no substitute for this level of power. (For those women in relationships, it’s worth noting that regular use of the wand can desensitize the clitoral nerves, thereby making it significantly more difficult to achieve orgasm during oral sex.)

A recent addition to this list would be the Lelo Ina 2. I love the idea of dual stimulation toys that can simultaneously pleasure the G-spot and the clitoris. The Ina 2 provides all of the benefits of a dual stimulation product without being loud or jarring (as is often the case with "Rabbit" toys). It’s rechargeable — four hours of fun for a two-hour charge — with a sleek, aesthetically pleasing design. The toy is pliant enough that you can use it:

  1. Solely for clitoral stimulation;
  2. Solely for internal G-spot stimulation; or
  3. To simultaneously please yourself clitorally and vaginally.

Unlike many dual stimulation toys, the Ina 2 has settings with light enough vibrations so that someone new to adult products won’t be overwhelmed. The settings should also be gentle enough for a woman in menopause or recovering from illness or surgery, but you should still talk to your doctor to determine if you’re able to use this or similar products.

Although this toy has lighter settings, Lelo’s redesign of Ina boasts a very powerful motor that is sure to satisfy a woman who requires very intense vibrations. Press the ‘+’ sign button on the right to increase the vibrations up to six levels. The ‘-’ sign button on the left decreases vibrations, and you can hold it to turn the toy off.

In addition to the varying vibration levels, you can press the top and bottom arrows on the Ina 2 to change the pulsations. Eight different settings truly maximize your options and allow you to find just the right setting for your body.

Lelo’s original Ina was a bestselling toy, but the redesign offers the stronger motor and much more. The shaft portion of the toy is slightly longer and wider to allow for a fuller experience. The Ina 2 is also fully waterproof and makes a perfect companion in the shower or bath.

The toy retails for $159, but I promise that it won’t be collecting dust in a drawer somewhere. The Lelo Ina 2 is a high-quality, versatile product that you’ll be coming back to again and again.


Disclaimer: Pursuant to FTC Guidelines, I received the Ina 2 free of charge in exchange for my honest assessment of the product contained therein.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Four years ago, this blog didn’t exist. I was in a relationship with Lawyer Boy and thinking that I needed to end things for my own well being.

Three years ago, I was blogging regularly and getting the hang of Twitter. I was living with “Buckeyes” Boy, but I began to question his sincerity.

Two years ago, I was recovering from my second round of chemotherapy. The drugs caused me to hemorrhage and soon, I would be thrown into medical menopause. I was in need of companionship during treatment and was spending time with Mr. Agency and Best Boy.

One year ago, I was teaching my first semester at American University. I was dating on occasion, but my priorities had shifted. I had recently finished treatment and was busy with events and fundraisers for five different breast cancer charities.

In four years, my journey has taken a lot of twists and turns. I never imagined just how much undergoing chemotherapy would change my life. My blog isn’t as much of a priority now, and I’m far more selective about which charities I support. I seek stability from my relationships with friends and my significant other and have neither the time nor the inclination for drama. I find more joy out of teaching than I thought possible.

Professionally, it’s been a big month for me, as:

  • I was featured in the October 2012 issue of The Washingtonian about sex and cancer;
  • My Facebook status update, “It’s October 1st. We’re f*%&ing aware. To quote Redman, it’s time for some action,” inspired a post on; and
  • I was quoted in an article about healthy eating during chemotherapy on

I’ve been trying to reconcile how I’ve tried to be public about my journey to help and educate others with the fact that I wish this wasn’t my journey at all. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, and I’m very appreciative of all the blessings that I have in my life. Nonetheless, not a day has passed in two years during which I haven’t been frustrated by some lingering chemotherapy side effect. I often wish that I could click my heels and go back to the way things were before cancer. I know that I’m doing what I am meant to do with my life, but that doesn’t mean the past two years have been easy. Is life ever really that simple?

I don't know where I'll be in a year, although I hope that my career and relationship continue on this same path. I'll just keep putting one foot in front of the other and see where life takes me next.

Has your life taken a twist or turn that was simultaneously very difficult and very positive?

Woman on Top

“My husband really likes it when I’m on top, but I don’t find it that enjoyable. Do you have any tips for making it better?” my friend inquired.

Before exploring options in the cowgirl position, it’s worth defining what you mean by enjoyable. Are you able to have a vaginal orgasm in other positions and want to do so now when you’re on top? Is that a difficult position for you to stay in for an extended period of time because it’s uncomfortable or you don’t know what to do? Or, do you simply like other positions more?

75% of women don’t orgasm from intercourse alone, and 10-15% never orgasm. If you are able to orgasm from other positions, communicate with your husband. Make sure he knows from your words, expressions or movements when you’re reaching orgasm or if you’d like to switch positions.

If you haven’t reached orgasm on top, experiment with different angles. Rest your arms on the wall, or use a couch or headboard for leverage. Arch your back away from your husband during one session, and then put your chest on top of his for another. Sit on top of him and have him sit up, too. Straddle him with your knees on the bed and then switch to a squatting position in which your feet are on the bed. Or, try the reverse cowgirl position so your back is facing his chest.

With each different angle, you can vary your pace from slower to faster. You can also move your body up and down, and then switch so that you move your body forward and back. Finally, rotate your hips in a circle clockwise and then counter-clockwise.

Remember that there's no need to rush through all of these angles and paces as though you’re playing “Beat The Clock.” Take your time and experiment on numerous occasions to figure out what, if anything, you enjoy.

If you find the position uncomfortable to hold for an extended period of time, it helps to find something to lean on like the back of a couch or your headboard. You can also lie or sit on top of him and ask him to move his hips up and down.

If you are like the overwhelming majority of women who can’t orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone, being on top will allow you to easily touch your clit during sex. You can use your fingers, guide your man to use his fingers, or rely on the added stimulation of a body-safe cock ring. (Lelo’s Tor II and Trojan Vibrations are great picks!)

Not every woman will love every position. But, with some experimentation and communication, I hope that you’ll learn to enjoy being on top more!

So, readers, what tips do you have?

What to do if it’s been a while

It’s time for a reader’s relationship question!

Question: I'm in my first relationship since my divorce several years ago. We've talked about having sex, and I feel as though that's going to happen soon. The only problem is that I'm really nervous. I know that sex is sex, and it hasn't technically changed, but what if I've lost my knack? Help! What do I do?

Answer: It's perfectly normal to feel nervous about sex with a new partner, especially when you’ve developed feelings for that person. I've felt that way several times over the years, and I appreciate that the nerves increase exponentially with the amount of time between partners. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • Communicate: Do you trust him enough to tell him how long it’s been? If so, I recommend having that conversation when you’re not in the bedroom and on a night when there’s not an expectation that you’ll be having sex. Assuming that his reaction is compassionate, that should help reaffirm your decision to take your relationship to the next level.
  • Remember that it takes two: Have you considered the possibility that he feels nervous, too? (It is a lot easier for a woman to please a man than vice-versa, right?)
  • Talk before action: Could you set the stage one night when you’re talking on the phone or having drinks? I'm envisioning some conversation about what you both want to do to each other when you see each other next. (It could be done tastefully or you could ask him to take the lead in telling you what he'd like.) You might feel more at ease if you know what's on the horizon.
  • Setting the stage: What makes you feel relaxed or sensual? Is it possible to have candles, aromatherapy, new lingerie and/or music that give you a sense of calm? Would a couple of glasses of wine help to relax you? Make a point to set the stage beforehand.
  • Managed expectations: I know that it's easier said than done, but remind yourself that the time factor doesn't really matter. Sex is different with each new partner, and it always takes some time to adapt to what works for you as a couple. Try not to put so much pressure on yourself for the first time. You guys aren't looking for a one-night stand; you're building a relationship here! Chances are that there won't be fireworks for either of you the first time, but it will still be special. The toe-curlingly good part will happen in time!
  • Affirmations: I'm a big believer in affirmations so I would send some positive reinforcements to yourself. You still have your knack! You haven't lost your mojo! And, you both care about each other enough to give yourselves to each other! That all sounds pretty good to me!

So, readers, did I miss anything? What has calmed your nerves before sex with a new partner?

Lelo Tiani 2

There are many things that are better in theory than in practice, and I would have to include remote-controlled adult toys on that list. I had hoped that I would enjoy the design edition of Lelo’s Tiani more than the original, but the second edition didn't grab my interest either.

I opened the sleek black box to find a Lelo Insignia pin inside. You might wish to proclaim that you use a certain line of adult products via a brooch, but I'm more of a minimalist when it comes to jewelry.

The waterproof Tiani features a vibrating rechargeable U-shaped insertable toy and a vibrating battery-operated remote control. Insert two AAA batteries into the remote, charge the insertable toy for several hours, and you’re ready to go!

The smaller end of the U-shaped toy goes inside your pussy and should be tilted toward the front to allow for internal stimulation. The more bulbous end of the toy rests outside on your clit. The U-shaped toy is designed to be worn by itself for solo use or during sex in the missionary position. The second attachment (not shown above) provides more options if you’d prefer to use the toy in other positions. You can use the Tiani 2 with or without the remote control. Shaking or tilting the remote control alters the strength and pace of the vibrations on the toy. You can increase the vibrations by pressing the “+” sign on the remote, or you can change the pulse and pattern of the vibrations by pressing the top of the U-shaped toy.

The Tiani 2 has more power and range than the original edition. You won’t have to worry about the toy completely turning off when a body part is blocking the connection. However, if the front of the remote control isn’t facing the top of the U-shaped toy, the power of the toy weakens considerably. And, even on its highest vibrations, the toy won’t satisfy a user who needs intensity.

As much as adult toy companies try to make products with mass appeal, it’s impossible to please everyone all of the time. The Tiani 2 wasn't strong enough for my liking and didn’t feel comfortable during solo use. I liked that the remote control had a better connection to the toy than the original edition did, but I still wasn't a fan of the remote. For use as a couple, that option didn’t work for more than a couple of minutes. To quote my friend after she tried the couples’ massager, “there wasn’t enough room for both the toy and [her husband]. The toy just kept booting him out.”

In a conversation with sexuality educator and author Dr. Ruth Neustifter, I also learned the following:

"All of the pretty chrome Lelo toys have a troubling valley where the chrome meets the silicone coated ABS plastic, and that area requires special cleaning attention lest crustiness build up. This is true on both the remote and [U-shaped] toy. Furthermore, in order to recharge the vibe on the [Tiani], it is unscrewed from the tail and plugged in. The place where these two parts screw together collects quite a bit of lube and people juices, and is not easy to clean without pulling it apart and flushing out the tail part thoroughly and pulling out the Q-tips and cleaner for the vibrating section."

I sent Dr. Ruthie’s post to my friends at Lelo headquarters in the hopes that the cleaning problem would be rectified. Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t the case.

Lelo, I love many of your products! The Siri, Elise and Tor are among my favorite adult toys on the market. Nonetheless, your Insignia line doesn’t get my badge of honor.

With that said, who might enjoy the Tiani 2?

  • Couples who are fascinated by gadgets. The Tiani 2 did win the 2012 Red Dot Award for innovative design;
  • Women who need or prefer light vibrations, including those just cleared to orgasm after illness or childbirth;
  • Couples looking to reconnect in a unique way;
  • Individuals or couples interested in a body-friendly, waterproof product;
  • Couples in which the male isn’t well endowed;
  • Individuals or couples interested in a bestselling toy from a respected company, irrespective of price point ($159); and
  • Couples who have enjoyed remote-controlled products in the past, but would benefit from the improved power, range and versatility of the design edition.

*Pursuant to FTC Guidelines, I received the Lelo Tiani 2 product free of charge in exchange for my honest assessment herein.

The Change

It happens to 50% of breast cancer patients under the age of 35 who require chemotherapy.

For those breast cancer patients who need chemo and are 35-40, the statistics go up to 80%.

If you are over 45, have breast cancer and receive chemotherapy, it’s almost guaranteed to happen to you!

“What are you talking about, City Girl?” you might be wondering.

The Big M. The Change. Menopause.

How does chemotherapy-induced menopause differ from traditional menopause? Dr. Melody Cobleigh of describes it as follows:

“Natural menopause is a fender bender, whereas medical or surgical menopause is like hitting a brick wall at sixty miles an hour.”

That analogy resonated with me. In October 2010, one month after I received my first round of chemotherapy, I began to hemorrhage. By November, I stopped bleeding entirely, and the hot flashes started. Night sweats, sleep problems, and irritability soon became part of my daily routine. And, then, there was the dryness down there. Yes…there!

Think about it. Back then, I was the 37-year-old sex blogger with an active dating life. Once menopause hit, I couldn’t get wet even when I was turned on. If I wasn’t a woman who prioritized sex during treatment, it would have been very easy to just forgo the act entirely. I had to consistently remind myself that this was important to me since my body wasn’t cooperating.

During chemo-induced menopause, traditional sex was painful at times, and I always needed a lot of lubrication. It took me much longer to reach orgasm. Cuddling for more than a few minutes would cause me to get such intense hot flashes that the entire bed would be wet from my perspiration. And, the lack of natural moisture made my pelvic muscles tighten up so much that I felt like I often had a UTI, even though I didn’t.

I didn’t write tons about this all during treatment because I needed to channel my energy in a positive direction. Medical menopause isn’t sexy. It's not easy to talk about. And, it made a tough time in my life even tougher.

Once I finished chemotherapy and stopped estrogen blockers, my menopause side effects subsided. I wasn’t surprised when my period returned in August 2011. However, when my cycle resumed, it was quarterly, not monthly. I wasn’t in full menopause anymore, but I wasn’t back to normal either. I called it, “The Pause.”

Something inside my body finally decided to press the “Play” button, though. I'm pausing no more. My 30-day cycle returned. Menopause is over, although the doctors believe that given my age and chemotherapy, my eggs are no longer viable. I'm hoping that the next time I experience menopause will just be in the words of Dr. Cobleigh, "a fender bender."

What are my tips for female breast cancer patients under the age of 45 who might have to worry about early menopause?

1. Talk to your doctor, nurse or case manager before you start treatment about the possibility of medical menopause. What should you watch out for? What's the protocol if you start hemorrhaging? Will you need to take an estrogen-blocking medication after chemo that could prolong or induce menopause?

2. Think about the long term before you deal with the day-to-day of treatment. Do you want to have biological children? If so, should you meet with a fertility specialist to discuss freezing your eggs before you begin chemotherapy? Err on the side of keeping all of your options open.

3. Be informed! Read as much as you can from reliable medical sources, check out nonprofits such as Fertile Action, and talk to survivors who have been through it before.

4. Make healthy choices for your body. Approximately ¾ of breast cancers feed on estrogen. Many toiletries, including lubricants and vaginal moisturizers, contain parabens, which weakly mimic the action of estrogen in a woman’s body. Select products that are paraben-free.

Did you know that chemotherapy could cause medical menopause? If you are a patient or survivor, what was your experience?

50 Shades Musings

I hadn't heard of 50 Shades of Grey, until my friend mentioned the book to me.

"It's really hot," she said. "It's the type of book I would have thought you would have read already…or written!"

A few days later, I received a press release from Fun Factory about the trilogy. Apparently, the main characters use the company's Smart Balls and as a result, sales of this versatile toy have skyrocketed.

The following week, my doctor brought up the book during my appointment. Every staff member in the office had read the trilogy.

With three mentions in a row, I knew that I had to download 50 Shades. As I read the first book, I found myself simultaneously turned on and frustrated by the poor editing and unrealistic sexual dynamic between Ana and Christian.

When a freelance writer, Rachel Khona, asked me for my opinion about the book, I happily provided her with my thoughts. Her questions and my answers follow:

Q: Why do you think 50 Shades of Grey has been hit with the label “Mommy Porn”?

A: Labeling the book as “Mommy Porn” is great marketing. It heightens the appeal, as women whisper about the book and its sensual contents to one another.

We are all sexual creatures on some level. We just don’t live in a society that encourages candid dialogue about human sexuality. A recent study revealed that more than a half of the women surveyed had used adult toys, and yet, the thought of going into a sex boutique makes many women blush.

Most mothers would prefer to download a book onto their Kindles or purchase a book to read after their children have gone to sleep to other more overt forms of pornography. Thinking about sex is healthy, and 50 Shades provides a safe and private way to explore to do that.

Q: Is BDSM only relegated to people with repressed natures, ie mothers? Or is it something that all kinds of people are engaged in but just not talking about?

A: BDSM has little to do with sexual repression and more to do with sexual expression. It’s a form of kink or role-play. In every relationship, one partner is more dominant in the bedroom than the other. The extent of that domination is defined subjectively, as it is very couple-specific. Hair pulling or using furry handcuffs could qualify as BDSM for some couples. For members of the kink community, though, that wouldn’t.

Q: Is calling 50 Shades mommy porn a way to demean women’s sexual fantasies? After all don’t most romantic/erotic novels attract various types of women? What makes 50 Shades is different? Or is there another reason behind calling the book Mommy Porn?

A: The difference between 50 Shades and other romantic/erotic novels is that this book has mass-market appeal and has achieved enormous commercial success. Calling the book, “mommy porn,” heightens that appeal, while simultaneously demeaning women’s sexuality and fantasies.

We live in a Puritanical society – in the United States in 2012! Open discussion about our sexuality is viewed as crass, and our education about sex typically stops around the age when we’re just starting to have sex.

Women’s sexuality may be less taboo than it was in past decades, but many women still feel the need to hide their desires and fantasies, even from their own husbands and best friends. Referring to 50 Shades as “mommy porn” only exacerbates that shame, guilt or uncertainty.

Q: Why is there no such thing as Daddy Porn? If 50 Shades were geared to men (and men found romance novels appealing) do you believe there would be so much hoopla?

A: Human sexuality is traditionally viewed through the eyes of a straight man. Men are more visual creatures by nature. As such, it’s not surprising that most men favor an overtly sexual movie, magazine or website, instead of a romance novel. Pornography has always catered to the male market. There isn’t a need for additional Daddy Porn since men’s needs and fantasies are already satiated. As a society, men are expected to be sexual creatures. If “Daddy Porn” existed, it wouldn’t receive as much criticism or controversy.

Most women’s sexuality is inextricably linked to their mind and their emotions. Candles, music, and soft sheets help to set the stage. Females require foreplay and more stimulation to reach orgasm. A book like 50 Shades of Grey straddles that delicate balance of eroticism without being so overtly sexual that it loses its desired readership.

Q: Critics have panned the writing, but why is it that the writing in “Debbie Does Dallas” not criticized for being terrible?

Critics will always find something to pan. A book that discusses sexuality or encourages women’s fantasies is subjected to criticism from numerous vantage points. Stronger writers will focus on how poorly written 50 Shades is, labeling the book as porn, instead of chick lit. Feminists will focus on how the relationship described in the book is controlling and borderline abusive. People who aren’t comfortable with their sexuality will regard the book as scandalous at a minimum or worth banning from libraries at a maximum. Active BDSM participants find the book too tame.

“Debbie Does Dallas” and other pornography movies don’t receive the same level of press, and thus, they don’t receive the same level of criticism. People don’t talk openly about porn, and the media isn’t paying the same attention to pornographic movies.

A copy of Rachel Khona's article, "The Problem With 'Mommy Porn,'" for YourTango is available here.

And, for what it's worth, I actually enjoyed the second book in the 50 Shades trilogy. My inner goddess squealed at the better editing and stronger character development!

Have you read 50 Shades? What did you think of it?

Laters, baby!