READER POLL: How Hot Do You Like Your Sex In Books?

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Participate anonymously in our reader survey and let us know how hot you like sex in your books. You can choose more than one answer.

Video: 20 Strangers Kiss For The First Time

Everyone is circulating the film by Tatia Pilieva that captures 20 people kissing for the first time.

They don’t know each other at the start, and those awkward first-kiss moments ensue, but many of the kisses turn passionate and hot.

Everyone ends their kiss with a smile, and they look pretty intimate with their kiss partners.

Los Angeles womenswear brand, Wren studio, announced today that the video is part of an ad for their Fall 2014 collection.

I think we will all want to buy those kissing clothes now! It’s the Clothes to be Kissed In line. 🙂

ASMR: Have You Had A Brain Orgasm Today?

By A. C. Rose

Oh my God… oh my God… oh my God… I think I am having a brain orgasm. And just from hearing hubby whisper in my ear!

He has an awesome, sexy voice, but, according to the concept behind autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR), any kind of whispering [and other sounds] can make your head all tingly and result in a feeling of, well, orgasmic pleasure, emanating from the general vicinity of your brain and sending a tingling sensation around your head. Sigh.

You may have had one without even knowing it. Think back to times when you got your hair cut or washed and the touch of your hair stylists made you head feel so very good. Or even observing an activity or event where you felt a tingle run up your scalp.

There is not a whole lot of medical research for this phenomenon but they do have a website for research and support (which was down at the time of this posting but try later).

Steven Novella covered it recently in his Neurologica Blog and said the website reports that the following experiences that can lead to a braingasm:

– Exposure to slow, accented, or unique speech patterns
– Viewing educational or instructive videos or lectures
– Experiencing a high empathetic or sympathetic reaction to an event
– Enjoying a piece of art or music
– Watching another person complete a task, often in a diligent, attentive manner – examples would be filling out a form, writing a check, going through a purse or bag, inspecting an item closely, etc.
– Close, personal attention from another person
– Haircuts, or other touch from another on head or back

Turns out there is a big community of enthusiasts who swear by the ASMR phenomenon. They describe the sensation refer to it as a “brain orgasm”, “brain massage”, “head tingle”, “brain tingles”, “head orgasm”, “spine tingle”, and “braingasm.”

Why are braingasms good for you? Seeking them out can relax you. There is, in fact, a growing field called “Whisper Therapy,” according to this ABC15.com report.

An article in Time, posted yesterday, reported: “The term ASMR was coined by Jenn Allen, a 30-year-old New Yorker who works in Healthcare IT. She started the ASMR Research Institute, an unofficial organization that relies on volunteers to help analyze the neuroscience and psychology behind why the phenomenon exists.”

Since 2008 hundreds have created ASMR videos and upload them to YouTube and the community just keeps growing. One fan started the Water Whispers Channel on You Tube.

This hot guy who identifies himself as Truth Revolutions is one of them.

I suspect reading can also bring on a braingasm. Or even watching a hot guy perform a mundane chore without his shirt on. We are looking into this and will report back soon!

Have you ever had a brain orgasm? What brought it on?

Tantric Sex and G-Spot Orgasms

Stephanie Kerns

By A. C. Rose

Erotic romance books may inspire the urge to merge, but ever feel that your actual love life does not quite measured up to the rockets and rainbows, fireworks and shooting stars, of romantic fantasies? You are not alone!

Kinky sex aside, there is another kind of loving that can increase your connection to your honey and your orgasmic pleasure in real life. It’s called “tantric sex.”

The basic premise of the ancient art of tantric sexuality is that couples who practice tantra together share a deeper ability to communicate, a spiritual connection, and an extraordinary expression of erotic love. And here’s the fun part: Tantra is devoted to honoring the female. Although both partners share in loving exploration of sexual pleasures, pleasure for women is one of the primary aims of this kind of sexual play.

Tantric Sex for modern women and men was brought into the twentieth century in The Art of Conscious Loving Seminars taught by Charles Muir and his ex-wife Caroline Muir. Charles is still teaching around the world.

So What Exactly is Tantric Sex?
The word tantra, in Sanskrit, means “expansion.” Relics of tantric rituals date back nearly five millennium. Hindu practitioners of tantric yoga practiced and taught sexual play and sexual union early on in life, yet sex was just one of 65 arts. The other 64 included traditions such as singing, writing and drawing, tattooing, making beds and spreading out carpets and cushions for reclining, and the study of sentences difficult to pronounce.

They also had unusual names for sex organs, which are still used today. For instance, a “lingam” means penis and “yoni” is vagina. And tantric lovers don’t use the word penetrate, rather, they enter. “Permission’ is also a key word and concept.

Seek Your G-Spot and Ye Shall Find
The G spot has long been heralded as the elusive female love spot that truly can send you to new heights of passion. But it’s not a modern day discovery — the ancient teaching of tantric love and sex have been aware of this female pleasure spot for milleniums. They call it the “Sacred Spot.”

For women, one of the first hurdle to jump is not just finding their G-spot, but believing it actually exists! A fair percentage of women and physicians will still say does not exist — but it does, trust me! Others just have a hard time feeling it. To help women access the treasure of pleasure and healing available in that area of the body, Muir teaches sacred spot massage.

It is believed that the sacred spot functions in the genitals similarly to the way the subconscious mind functions in the head — it is the keeper of all your sexual records, your pleasure, your pain, your grief. Memories of old broken hearts, broken hymens, sexual abuse, surgery and health issues, and poor sexual experiences are stored in the spongy area that rest right behind the pubic bone. The sacred spot—which is literally the size of a pea—is located in the upper wall of the vagina. When stimulated, in conjunction or separately from the clitoris, it arouses the female and she is capable of multiple orgasms and that mysterious, most coveted, controversial female ejaculation—known as “amrita” or “divine nectar.”

Graduating to G Spot Orgasms
Sexual desire and response evolve with time, as you learn more about what you like, and your partner, if you have a steady one, figures out more ways to please you. Discovering tantra, or any new practice, is about changing, growing and being exposed to new things. It doesn’t mean what you did before was bad — it’s learning a new skill that will bring pleasure to both you and your sweetheart. To master G-spot orgasms you have to give yourself time to learn and practice.

A G-spot orgasm has some of the same qualities of a clitoral orgasm — the building of excitement, the spreading of tingly feelings, the sense of urgency — yet it grows above and beyond anything previously experienced and expected. Not only does the explosion of pleasure feel like its shooting up toward your throat and moving sideways into the reproductive organs, it also is felt in the thighs and breasts. Most of all, it gives women a great sense of opening up and becoming more expansive!

Click to discover 6 Tantric Tips to Help Create Hot Romance at Home.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Hooked Us With Erotic Triggers

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By A. Charlotte Rose

I have been on the Fifty Shades of Grey beat for over a year and a half. In addition to covering the fun burst erotic expression women experience reading it, I’ve been researching the psychological, sociological, and sexual aspects of what led millions of women to fall in love with the story and characters, especially with Christian Grey.

What it is it that touched such a deep longing in readers? What is the secret sauce that made so many go ga-ga for Mr. Grey?

Over 90 million books have been sold and all three books were on the New York Times Bestseller list for what seemed like forever. While the trilogy follows a romantic fiction formula spiced with eroticism and suspense, it somehow has captured reader’s attention like no other book of its kind. Fifty Shades has opened a new conversation about female sexuality, has restored passion to many relationships, and it has kicked open an exciting new door in publishing for many writers already in the field or those thinking of writing steamy love stories.

In search of insight into what got readers so hooked [me included], I attended an informative lecture by sex therapist Sari Cooper, LCSW. Titled “Fifty Shades of Grey: What You Can Learn about Sex Esteem from the Bestseller,” it was delivered to an audience of psychoanalysts at Washington Square Institute in New York City (tough crowd, by the way). Cooper, a columnist for Psychology Today and an ASECT certified sex therapist, said she was even using the book to help couples. She outlined what she called “the erotic triggers” that are written into the book and said these triggers combined are what kept the heroine, Anastasia Steel (Ana) so stimulated and intrigued, and made the story so irresistible to readers.

“These are the multisensory messages that our bodies receive and that get us turned-on,” she explained. With her permission, here are the top 10 erotic triggers she outlined.

1. Powerful hero. “He is dark, mysterious, and possibly dangerous–a total Alpha male. He’s wild, dangerous, and unpredictable. Being with him is like a rollercoaster ride.”

2. Awakened Heroine. “She is innocent. She is the yin to the yang of Christian Grey. She is a young woman awakened by this man who knows a lot more. “

3. Christian Grey uses all the senses – taste, touch, sight, scent, sound. “For example, Ana is always talking about how he smells and he about her scent. He also consciously uses these different triggers to arouse her.”

4. Music is huge part of it. There are many musical moments in the book that inspire erotic or emotionally charged moments.

5. He appeals to her psychologically. “He sends signals to throw her off-balance, such as his first gift of the collector’s edition of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. He attached a quote from the book that says there may be danger waiting. It creates more intrigue for her and she is intrigued by him.”

6. There is stimulation of all the erogenous zones and multisensory anticipation. “Christian does it with such expertise, and so much foreplay, with plenty of time to get Anastasia ready.”

A. Primary erogenous zones. Genitals and breasts.
B. Secondary erogenous zones: Earlobe, neck.
C. Tertiary erogenous zones: Feet, arms, scalp.

7. BDSM. “The book has opened up the door a crack to things people may not have considered before. In Fifty Shades, Ana has many fears about being hurt, but when she is in the red room of pain she is not just in pain—she is in a state of arousal beyond what she would normally feel. Sexual arousal sometimes involves working with negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. It’s the experience of being on a roller coaster that enhances the state of arousal.”

8. Love. “Ana pushes for ‘more’ than being his submissive and he ‘tries’ because he will do anything to keep her. He’s only had subs [submissive female partners] before, women that he has controlled, and he is pushed to his hard limits by Ana who is demanding more. That’s what people love about the book. They want the romance, the emotional tension. Will it work out for them? They want to know!”

9. The experience of being desired. “This is a huge erotic trigger for women. It’s the experience of being that special someone. There is no one else in his eyes. He only has eyes for her. She is the one he longs for. It combines the erotic with the sensual. Being desired is such a turn on for women.”

10. He’s very loyal. “At first we are not sure if we can trust him. She talks about his ‘stalker tendencies. ‘What wins Ana over, and wins the reader over, is he’s very loyal. And when she needs him, he’s there. I think it works because women can feel the fantasy of having that danger, with the security of having a good relationship.”

Cooper’s analysis made perfect sense to me in both understanding what the character Anastasia experienced and how the readers, too, took that rollercoaster ride into the kinky romance and the psychologically intrigue. The idea that women can experience the fantasy with Ana, yet view it from the safety of their own relationships, also explains the appeal of the books.

The concept of “erotic triggers” can be very helpful in relationships, in general. In Fifty Shades of Grey, here are some of the ways those triggers kept Ana, and the reader, in a state of anticipation:

• Sound: “You are mine,” he whispers, “only mine. Don’t forget it.” His voice is intoxicating, his words heady, seductive.” (Page 119).”

• Sight: “A slow, sexy smile spreads across his lovely face, and I am rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me (page 370).”

• Touch and Scent: “He runs the tips of his finger down my cheek. Oh my. His proximity, his delicious Christian smell. We’re supposed to be talking but my heart is pounding, my blood singing as it courses through my body, desire pooling, unfurling… everywhere. Christian bends and runs his nose along my shoulder and up the base of my ear, his fingers slipping into my hair (page 427).”

The reader is constantly barraged with these triggers or cues. Along with a genuine emotional connection between the characters, these are present from the start. Even if some of the writing is corny, the sentiments can set women’s hearts afire because they stimulate the fantasy of the perfect man who is not only gorgeous and rich, but is sexually masterful and desires her pleasure. His virility and her fertility are a turn-on and can help the reader feel young, just reading about their interactions. Sigh.

People have complained about the quality of the writing in Fifty Shades of Grey, but I would argue that E.L. James was masterful in her use of erotic cues, and storytelling that stimulates all the senses. Personally, I am a huge fan of hers for opening the door to a brave new world where women of all ages can enjoy reading – and writing –erotic romances without shame. It’s about time, right?

Was Fifty Shades of Grey the first erotic romance novel you ever read?

This was originally published in my Hot Romance column on The Three Tomatoes.

Do Characters in Erotic Fiction Have Too Many Orgasm?

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By A. C. Rose

Since so many of the heroes and heroines in our favorite romance books have so many orgasms, and since many readers are inspired to take their own orgasmic pleasure while reading, or immediately following a good read (jumping the bones of your spouse, waking your beloved from a deep sleep to have sex, or employing the help of your favorite toy or digit) we recently asked Ramani Durvasula, Ph.D. about the pros and cons of orgasms for real people.

Dr. Ramani is a licensed clinical psychologist, professor of psychology, and author based in California. We love the way she offers practical insights on emotional and sexual issues. She even looks like she could be in a romance novel!

She is all for orgasms, by the way, but says like anything in life, balance is key. While it is fun to read, in real life, you probably would not want to come as much or as often as some of those ladies we read about!

Are orgasms good for our mental and physical health?
Orgasms are great for you – for the obvious and ostensible reason – they feel good, really good. Within the context of a sexual relationship they can be a place of connection and connecting your partner to a pretty damned good experience. And if you are bringing yourself to orgasm–masturbation,using vibrators etc.–then there are also tremendous benefits.

What are some of the special benefits?
Benefits include a sense of vitality, and and a way of staying in touch with your own body. Orgasms can also be a relaxation tool. They can also be a great re-boot. I sometimes even suggest orgasms as a weight loss tool. Since so many people go for cookies as a “pleasure” moment, instead of sticking your hand in the cookie jar, stick it between your legs. Finally, it has also been suggested that orgasms have analgesic properties; and, if you can swing it, an orgasm can take the edge off pain such as a headache.

Are orgasms ever bad for us?
All things require balance. E.g., orgasms are great, but excessive masturbation, to the point that it may be detracting from your sexual life with your own partner, may require exploration and discussion. In addition, preoccupation with orgasms and the like, may also be a distraction from the rest of life.

Can the race to orgasm create pressure for some people?
Some people may have sexual response issues and may not always achieve an orgasm at the end of a sexual encounter, and sadly use that as the singular outcome. Sometimes we don’t get there, but the connectedness of a sexual experience may be a critical part of a human encounter.

Do we tend to make to much of a big deal about orgasms?
Bottom line is: Orgasms are good, and a great and pleasurable part of life. However, just like you may not plan your life around dessert, you probably may not need to plan it around orgasms. We are a culture that is so confused and conflicted about sex, and yet a healthy adult sexuality is an essential part of adult life.

The bottom line: Go ahead and have fun trying to keep up with the orgasmic pleasures of fictional characters, but know that intimacy is the most important part of the experience for most of us.

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Psychologists Agree Erotic Romances Can Help Your Love Life

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By A. Charlotte Rose

Erotic romances can help you explore your fantasies, stimulate your libido, and bring you closer to the one you love, according to three psychologists I recently interviewed.

Even though these books may be a little addictive, they are, overall, good for your emotional health and your love life.

They Offer Fun, Fantasy, and Exploration
“The benefits of erotic romances can fun and entertaining to read, encourage fantasy, and encourage explorations of new sexual activities in a safe way. These may be activities that you do or don’t want to try in real life, or may not have the opportunity to try in real life. Do erotic romances create false expectations of men? Perhaps. But no more so than Disney, Jerry Maguire (since when do we need someone else to complete us?), or just about any romantic comedy ever made. If you are someone who left Mr. and Mrs. Smith feeling despondent that you are not married to Brad Pitt or left Harry Potter looking for your magic wand, then yes, you may want to exercise caution when reading erotic romances. However, for most people, erotic romance novels are fiction and can be used as wonderfully sexually stimulating tools for fantasy.”
-Alexis Conason, Psy.D., Licensed Psychologist

They Are Great Aphrodisiacs
“Erotic romances are an important way to get in touch with your romantic feelings and sexual fantasies. They are a way to develop those fantasies, to better understand what you need, what turns you on, and what helps you feel very intimately connected with your partner. Erotic romances can be great aphrodisiacs, and truly a benefit to relationships. Or they can be a fulfillment in themselves and a detriment to your relationship. Isn’t this true of so many things in life? If you can bring it home and share it, it’s great. But if you escape into it, and meet your needs in a more solitary and self-absorbed way, it can become a problem or worsen existing problems. We want to feel the heat! But the important thing is to take those home, talk about them, enact them, experiment, and be freer as a couple.”
Carl G. Hindy, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist

They Help You Accept Love
“There are multiple benefits to erotic reading material. Specifically for those that are uncomfortable with intimacy or their sexuality, reading erotic romances can increase comfort. For couples that have problems with differing sex drives, I recommend reading these novels as foreplay or a way to increase desire. Additionally, these novels often describe relationships between individuals that learn to accept the love of another and be vulnerable. This is modeling positive outcomes for individuals that struggle with allowing themselves to be open and vulnerable in relationships.”
Nerina Garcia-Arcement, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist

This was originally published in my Hot Romance column on The Three Tomatoes