This episode of The Lesbian Review Podcast is titled Becoming Cliterate And How Lesfic Can Lead The Way.
Sheena is joined by Karelia Stetz-Waters today to talk about how important well written sex is for f/f books especially in an age of unhappy and sexually frustrated young people.
In this episode:
- Becoming Cliterate – what it is and where it comes from
- Studies about orgasms and the importance of the clitoris
- Why great sex is important in lesbian fiction
- How Karelia Stetz-Waters wants to educate mainstream romance writers
- One of the worst sex scenes ever
- Fading to grey vs graphic sex
- The struggle for the Gen X
- The vocabulary gap between generations
- Becoming more diverse in our language
- Plus hear Karelia Stetz-Waters read a sex scene from her novel Worth The Wait
In this podcast we talk about these books
Becoming Cliterate by Dr Laurie Mintz
Publisher: Harper Audio
On audio: Yes
We’ve been thinking about sex all wrong. Mainstream media, movies, and porn have taught us that sex = penis + vagina, and everything else is just secondary. Standard penetration is how men most reliably achieve orgasm. The problem is, women don’t orgasm this way. We’ve separated our most reliable route to orgasm – clitoral stimulation – from how we feel we should orgasm – penetration. As a result we’ve created a pleasure gap between women and men:
- 50 percent of 18- to 35-year-old women say they have trouble reaching orgasm with a partner
- 64 percent of women versus 91 percent of men said they had an orgasm at their last sexual encounter
- 55 percent of men versus 4 percent of women say they usually reach orgasm during first-time hookup sex
In Becoming Cliterate, psychology professor and human sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz exposes the broader cultural problem that’s perpetuating this gap and what we can do about it. Pulling together evidence from biology, sociology, linguistics, and sex therapy into one comprehensive, accessible, and prescriptive book, Becoming Cliterate features:
- Cultural and historical analysis of female orgasm (spoiler: the problem’s been going on for ages)
- An anatomy section (it’s all custom under the hood)
- Proven techniques for cliterate sex (it starts with training the sex organ between your ears)
- A comprehensive final chapter for men (because you don’t have to have a clitoris to be cliterate)
By dispelling the lies, misunderstandings, and myths that have been holding us back, Becoming Cliterate tackles both personal and political problems and replaces them with updated outlooks and practical skills needed to change our collective perspective on sex. It’s time to finally inform women and men on how to have satisfying experiences in bed that benefit both parties.
The revolution is cuming – and Becoming Cliterate offers a radical, simple solution to progress and pleasure for all.
(this link works for Amazon US, UK, Canada, Italy and Germany)
Worth The Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Publisher Forever Yours
On audio: no
A second chance at first love . . .
For fifteen years, Avery Crown tried to forget her best friend Merritt Lessing. The late nights studying, the whispered confidences, and the little touches that never turned into something more. Unfortunately, her efforts have not been as successful as her TV career as the queen of home renovation. So when she runs into Merritt at their high school reunion, Avery asks for one night with the woman she’s always wanted . . .
Merritt spent high school pining after Avery, but never made a move-their friendship meant too much. The one time it seemed things might change, Avery chose her budding career. So Merritt did the same, throwing herself into her remodeling business. Now Avery’s back, and while Merritt still hasn’t forgiven her for walking away the first time, they can’t keep their hands off each other. But when their professional paths cross, and it seems like Avery is choosing her career once again, Merritt will have to decide if she’s willing to let go of the past and give herself a second chance with her first love.
(this link works for Amazon US, UK, Canada, Italy and Germany)
Something True by Karelia Stetz-Waters
Publisher Forever Yours
On audio: no
Don’t miss Karelia’s newest release in the Out in Portland series, Worth the Wait, available this summer!
Tate Grafton has a tough exterior, but underneath she’s kind, caring, and fiercely loyal. That’s why she first started working at Out in Portland Coffee – it was her way of repaying the shop’s owner for taking her in as a homeless teenager. Nine years later, the coffee shop is floundering and Tate feels like she’s letting life pass her by . . . until she shares an unforgettable night with a beautiful stranger. When the mysterious woman disappears the next morning, Tate doesn’t even know her name.
Laura Enfield was supposed to be in Portland for only a few days – just long enough to oversee a simple business deal before joining her conservative father on his political campaign. But when the closeted Laura romances an employee of the coffee shop her company is shutting down, things get suddenly complicated. Now, the lies she’s told for years are beginning to unravel, and her biggest secret is about to be exposed. Laura can’t stop thinking about the barista with the soulful eyes, but after a lifetime of deception, can she finally embrace something true?
(this link works for Amazon US, UK, Canada, Italy and Germany)
Karelia Stetz-Waters suggests that if would really like to become cliterate (and watch one of the sexiest pieces of media I’ve ever seen) check out the OMGYes project. It is well worth the $40 USD it costs to view this content.
Did you know that you get exclusive content when you become a patron? Find out more here.
About Karelia Stetz-Waters
Karelia Stetz-Waters is a contemporary lesbian writer. She is passionate about providing happy endings and a vision of redemptive love for readers of all orientations. Her novels include For Good, Something True, The Admirer, The Purveyor, and Lambda Literary Award and Golden Crown Literary Society finalist Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before. Karelia teaches English and writing at Linn-Benton Community College, where her students include everyone from drag queens, to farm boys, to Sudanese refugees. They all tell stories of passion and perseverance and inspire her to write characters that are real and diverse.
Karelia has a BA in comparative literature from Smith College and an MA in English literature from the University of Oregon. She also teaches writing for the Gold Crown Literary Society Writing Academy, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote and strengthen lesbian fiction.
She is married to her beloved wife of 19 years and lives with her a friendly cat and a breed of dog never-before-seen: the King Pug Spuglette (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a pug).
Find Karelia Stetz-Waters Online
Listen to this episode here
please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect
hi there I’m Sheena and this is The Lesbian Review Podcast this podcast is a spin-off of the popular review site TheLesbianReview.com where we review the best books movies and music was leading lesbian bi or queer woman the goal of this podcast is to bring you closer to the best queer media and give you access to interviews with people who are behind the scenes in creating it today I’m joined by the author Karelia Stetz–waters clearly I really hope I’m pronouncing your name correctly perfect I know the American a is often different to the South African a it sounds great okay so we’re here to talk about six it’s it’s a controversial but interesting and exciting topic please if you are underaged stop listening because we are talking about six and you’re not supposed to be listening to this alright camellia you have a New Year’s resolution you want to tell us about that yes so my New Year’s resolution is to share clitoris E with the world I rent a fabulous book this this winter season becoming literate the pleasure gap and why it matters by Dr. Lori Mintz and it’s just an absolute must read for everyone mm-hmm it’s about how our societies focus on penetration has kind of ruined sex for women has taken all the focus off the clitoris the way women most reliably achieve pleasure orgasm and focused on the penis and penetration right down to the fact that we often refer to the female sex genitals as the vagina when in fact the vagina is the internal canal the part that coincidentally brings pleasure to men so dr. Laurie Mintz tries to dispel these myths about penetration being the focus of sex and the end of her book she asks her readers to take the clitoris II pledge that they are going to help educate women and men about women’s bodies and women’s pleasure and this was something I was already passionate about as a lesbian romance writer but she really reaffirmed my desire to use romance to help women learn more about their bodies and celebrate their sexuality I think it’s a fantastic thing and you’re so hundred percent right there’s penetration is the focus of a lot of heterosexual particularly six scenes even in literature and that’s got to stop you’ve got some interesting qualities things you’ve got some interesting stats that you talk about in your newsletter you say and this is I think from menses book you say that research shows that penetration without clitoral stimulation leads to an orgasm in only 4% of the female population that is a tiny tiny percentage yeah and studies very some studies will go as far as to say 30% of women can’t come without clitoral or can come from penetration but those studies are vague in that they don’t explore whether that is penetration with clitoral stimulation or just pure penetration with no interaction with the clitoris myths did some of her own research and asked women how they come most reliably and only 4% said from penetration alone but no matter what statistic you look at penetration is really not women’s route to orgasm right so it can aid sakes and it can feel nice and and be part of the package but it’s not necessarily the thing that’s ultimately gonna cause the most pleasure for women absolutely that’s right and one of the problems that mints highlights that I think I can really help dispel for heterosexual readers of lesbian romance is this idea that anything involving the clitoris is basically the foreplay you know oral sex is foreplay touching the clitoris is floorplate it’s this thing that you do before the main course so to speak these little add-on bonus and but you haven’t had sex unless there’s been penetration so I think I really want to share the word with women and with men too that that’s not the case at all and the clitoris needs to get just as much attention as the penis imagining a sex scene or sex for two people where the woman does not get her clitoris stimulated but somehow comes anyways Israeli like imagining a sex scene where nothing touches the man’s penis but he still has some orgasm so possible maybe but kind of odd and certainly not a blueprint for great sex well that’s true so you say at the end of the book is pledge that you take and that’s to to aid other people by educating them on how six works for women so so you’ve started this by starting off with the newsletter and now you’re doing a podcast so what else are you doing around there well my big push is to get this message to the mainstream readership of romance and by mainstream I mean heterosexual or women who predominantly have sex with men so minces book says that women who have sex with women have orgasms more reliably and more frequently than women who have sex with men just one more reason to play for our team lucky enough to be of that persuasion the I think it’s really important for women to see and read narratives that are not focused on the penis so my next big push is to really try to reach that mainstream market I’m going to Romance Writers of America for the first time this year I’ve always been intimidated that’s the big romance conference in the United States and it is predominantly heterosexual writers and I’ve always gone to the career conferences and just yeah I love them so much fun but it’s time to time to branch out time to put on my big off pants and go to really the largest show in my genre and I’ve also put in a conference proposal for a short presentation on what heterosexual romance writers can learn from lesbian sex when it comes to writing good sex scenes and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited about a conference proposal I’ve dreamed dreamt about twice that I got turned down so that must mean that I really want it I haven’t heard back yet I don’t I don’t know quite what time frame they’re on for conference proposals that’s pretty cool so you’re gonna stand up in front of a whole bunch of heterosexual predominantly romance authors and tell them that lesbian sex is the way to go I like this plan and I’m oversimplifying I just I get very enthusiastic about lesbian romance well anything there’s been really I think the world can benefit more from reading there’s been romance than anything else there’s a kindness and a generosity in lesbian fiction that isn’t they in mainstream I think there’s something very very sweet and tender and even even in lesbian sex scenes that have more more graphic or BDSM content there’s a attention to trust and consent not to say that there’s there not some some scenes that don’t have that I have I have a fabulous quote for you yes I am going to put 100% of my bet on this was not actually written by a lesbian but I said my wife likes to curate interesting content online when she sees something she thinks I might be she’ll be sure to send it to me so she found this fabulous article it’s called my boner killing quest to find the worst erotica on Amazon that was on Vice and so here’s a quote for you this is what I’m trying not to do with my sex scenes although this is not penetration focused so this is from lipstick lesbian tales number one by anonymous I ate her muskie patch with abandon slobbering tongue over every centimeter of her flower she ground her sex into my oral entry gyrated her hips fondled her tits and rode my face like a cowgirl her wetness threatened to drown me she became so drenched she slid over my face like a skater on ice so I’m guessing a ten-year-old boy wrote there I’m feeling that that was written by someone who had not actually had had lesbians sex or maybe sex of any kind whatsoever no and a couple sex scenes from from my work if you want later on I can share a little bit about that to illustrate some of the things that we’re talking about here definitely now let’s talk a little bit about the responsibility of other lesbian fiction authors to help straight women because frankly I think that that’s what we need to do we need to help straight women have better sex you know this is ultimately who’s gonna get our benefits this this whole clitoral thing because I think most lesbians have decent sex from from studies that I’ve seen okay so as a lisbon fiction author who predominantly writes romance and I’m not gonna say only because you’ve written some thrillers as well and suspense what would you say to other lesbian fiction romance authors what can they do you know I don’t say too great I honor every writers right to craft the scenes as they see fit for their story and their narrative and their style so even the lipstick lesbian tales number one by anonymous has a right to use such an array of metaphors and analogies all in one paragraph but if I get to give advice it would be not to skip the sex scenes in this weekend I’m going to be giving a lecture on writing sex scenes to the golden crown literary society writing Academy and I will tell I hate fade to gray especially in romance the the moment when the two characters make love or have sex is a moment of incredibly important plot development in a romance novel and so not only does fading to gray still from the reader may be the most emotional moment in this these characters narrative but it also means that we miss an opportunity to share the word about clitoris focused sex and I might add that of course women enjoy penetration and that’s part of lesbian sexual experience as well but I have read and I can’t think of any titles off the top of my head but yeah I wouldn’t call out my fellow authors anyways stories that really seem to focus on penetration in a way that struck me as odd from a lesbian from a lesbian perspective writers who left the clitoris out of it who almost felt like they had to replicate the heterosexual sex scene just with two women’s and two women in strap-on but nothing against strap-ons absolutely nothing but I wanted to see more of that lesbian focus and I think one of the other things that dr. Metz said that I thought was really interesting was that there had been a big surge of interest in education around women’s bodies in the 70s and she said that that we’ve really lost that she writes what troubles me is that much of this clitoral knowledge toven loss to millennials most young women think they’re abnormal if they don’t reach orgasm during intercourse likewise many men feel pressured to make their partners reach orgasm with their penis so this puts a lot of pressure on men too they’re being asked to do a job that they are constantly failing at because they’re using the wrong techniques and so that becomes fears about having larger penis or lasting longer that they’re suffering from this – so I think just because this knowledge came into popular consumption in the seventies doesn’t mean that young women are getting it and in this era porn they’re also seeing so much sexual content without actually learning about their bodies so that’s something I I feel really passionate about it I teach and most of my students from millennial or Gen Z and that’s also in the United States been recorded as the loneliest generation there’s a survey I’ve got my statistics here the UCLA loneliness scale which you can take online if you want and the questions are heartbreaking questions like you know I have to feel like no one cares about me or often feel like people deliberately exclude me and according to this survey young people in America right now are our loneliest demographic so you’ve got a lonely demographic who’ve lost their parents knowledge about sex or inundated with porn and it’s just a recipe for sexual dissatisfaction sadness you’re listening to the newsmen talk show the lesbians all choke on your hub of podcast information so when I read your news later and your thoughts around sex and penetrates of versus clitoral stimulation the first thing that came to mind was I learned about lesbian sex entirely from reading lesbian fiction I was young when I discovered lesbian fiction and it just changed my whole life at school you learn about heterosexual sex and that really is not helpful at all when you’re a lesbian so I agree with you about the not fade to black and the fact that you can educate others through good examples in your writing but how do we reach the readers that are not already reading this ‘fuck how do we reach the woman who need the stuff that’s that’s an excellent question and one that I struggle with especially as the channels of communication are changing so quickly I remember introducing some of my older friends and parents to Facebook and them saying I like changes so much it’s so hard to navigate and thinking to myself no it’s not you just like get on it and use it because it’s Facebook and now I have this absolutely wonderful young colleague who is passionate about snapchat and she got me on it and I looked at and I said all the same things but it’s always changing I can’t tell I think I just sent you a picture of my thumb so one of the challenges is that those channels of communication are quickly changing and they are the primary method of communication for this generation which is part of that that loneliness another challenge I think is that some of the designations that we grew up with like lesbian or bisexual don’t resonate with young people they have a whole array of vocabulary to describe their experience both in terms of sexual attraction and gender identity at the same time as they are classifying themselves more and differently I think there’s also a great sense that that they’re much more fluid this idea that I am a lesbian may actually seem kind of strange and alien to a younger audience they you know today he’s wearing a dress tomorrow he’s gonna you know wear pants at a tie and she’s the same way and she might be attracted to this person who doesn’t identify as male or female so I think that one thing I’m trying to be careful about in my upcoming romance is not holding on so tightly to the terms that I grew up with but thinking more about the language and expression of young people I’m writing about that’s an interesting point this assume it becomes challenging though because when you’re writing about gender fluid characters or characters who don’t necessarily identify as lesbian or bisexual then you have to be up-to-date with what the terms are what their identities are how that would manifest yeah and I personally never write about demographics that I don’t belong to myself I’ve been to conferences where I’ve sat on a panel for example of all-white writers and they said you know there’s not enough representation of people of color and queer literature we should all write black characters and I’m thinking like no no we should all support writers of color and bring them into our community but no we should not go around like adding a black man just to be diverse or all of a sudden making one of our characters blind because we think there should be more disability awareness in in our literature so I had never taken on the challenge of writing a protagonist who was genderqueer or trans or a race other than my mine but I want to make sure that my characters are living in a world where that is the reality of their community and their friends means for one thing in my important series giving up my focus on the lesbian bar that was kind of the center of the first novel I’d love lesbian bars the one that that the Mirage it was called was modeled after has since gone out of business broke my heart but had that idea of having a place where lesbians go I think it’s becoming at least in in liberal cities like Portland where the books are set not so much a big deal for for the younger communities they’re going where they want to go and in a city like Portland that could be anywhere and so things like the lesbian community center or the lesbian bar that I grew up with is really important features of my experience aren’t as central to a lot of young career people’s lives although I say that with the cabinet here in the United States someone living in Portland Oregon is having an experience that is radically different from someone living in a smaller community in the middle of the country I wrote forgive me if I told you this before which is about very anti-gay and violent time in the early 90s in Oregon in a really a terrible period in our history people were shocked people were firebombed you know the state was on fire with anti-gay sentiment and that was when I was in high school and when I came out I had people write to me and say Oregon in the early 90s that’s the reality I’m living right now in Mississippi or Arkansas or Texas so all these things I say with that with that caveat people are really experiencing a lot of different eras here in the states right now okay are there any other points you want to add about the six particularly I’d love to read your sex scene go forth all right let’s see here I cannot resist because I’m an English professor throwing in a little piece of advice that I’m going to share with my students this weekend as well about writing sex scenes and I’m one of the things I ask my students to do is to take their sex scene and do a find word to flip the names because of good in a good sex scene you should never be able to trade one character for the other you know if if I have Judy on top and barb on the bottom and I can flip the names and have the sexy and make just as much sense then I haven’t done a good job because every characters experience of sex is going to be a little bit different based on who they are and here’s a here’s a little scene from my latest book worth the wait and it’s about a hardware store owner merit and television star Avery and this is from Avery’s perspective and what I would ask my students to draw their attention to is the fact that we see Avery’s sexual experience through the lens of her profession as a TV star Merritt’s body was swollen beautiful and complicated and Avery wasn’t sure she trusted herself to satisfy Merritt Merritt made love to her like a woman who had practiced her part to perfection maybe she had read dr. bingo Sterling’s book on cunnilingus Avery wasn’t sure she remembered the lessons she’d learned at Powell’s Books and none of her other lovers had taught her much but a career in television had taught her a few things if the scene doesn’t play well you change tactic if you got it almost perfect go again go again go again you know when you got it right Avery dipped her tongue deeper into Merritt’s body then kissed sucked and released her clipped Merritt gave us oh then Avery shifted her kiss a little bit there Merritt said suddenly harder slower then Oh faster yes god yes her back arched her hands clutched the sheets then she fell back yes she sighed as though she had lost a fight she hadn’t wanted to win very cool what have you just released I’ve just released worth the weight that I just read from from published by Forever Yours imprint of Grand Central and it’s about it’s a second-chance romance a reality television star who was in love with her best friend in high school but abandoned her to pursue a television career has come back to Portland and she’s met her her lost love at their high school reunion she’s desperate to get back in touch with her but Merritt whose heart has been broken again and again is determined to stay away and they’re just about to reconnect Avery’s just broken through merits she’ll when they find out that the apartment building that Merritt has been trying to buy it’s the building she grew up in and the only place where she’s ever felt at home she’s just about to close on the deal and it means the world to her just then Avery’s home remodeling television show sweeps in buys the building out from underneath Merritt and Merritt believes that Avery has seduced her and slept with her simply to get information on the sale of this building which isn’t true but it’s enough to throw them into turmoil for another hundred pages or so creates a nice conflict okay and if somebody’s never made you work before what should they start with oh if they’re interested in the romance genre I suppose I would have them start at the beginning of the out in Portland series which is something true it is I often joke it is you’ve got mail if you remember that movie you’ve got mail with lesbians bitterlings seem to be my thing my writing group and I are always joking about our thing like each one of us has this thing that we keep coming back to and coming back to what my my writing partners thing is woman trying on other women’s clothes in a creepy way and she just shakes her head she’s like why like I never try on women’s clothes in a creepy way like no one’s ever tried on my clothes in a creepy way why is this the thing that I gravitate towards and my thing apparently is buildings so in in this one something true a real-estate developer comes into town and she’s going to close down the coffee shop where the lonely barista works but they fall in love what was very short okay and we can people find you online oh you can find my me at her alias tents waters calm and if you are popping on I definitely encourage you to check out my blog I’m really trying to focus on more sex content so that’s been a lot of fun and helping those folks from the Romance Writers of America when they’re reviewing my conference proposal we’re gonna go on the block be like wow she’s super cool and I’ve also got a newsletter called happily which which you read and was the seed for this interview and I hope folks will sign up for that tube it’s really fun to stay in touch with with readers you can write back to the newsletter so we can have a conversation I just love to hear from people absolutely and all the books we spoke about today the links will be in the show notes committee thank you so much for joining me today oh thank you so much is pleasure and I feel just a little bit more clitoris fantastic this has been the lesbian review podcast you can find this and other awesome shows by searching for the lesbian talk show anywhere you get your podcasts we’re even on Spotify now find more information on our guests in the show notes as well as links to what we spoke about on this episode and if you’ve enjoyed this podcast and want to see us creating more awesome content then consider becoming a patron not only does this mean we can keep on doing this but you will get exclusive podcasts that do not appear on the channel you can find out all about it’s on patreon.com slash the lesbian talk show the link is in the show notes that’s all for this episode