When it comes to attraction, the nose knows. As Sam Benjamin discovers, what you smell can affect how you feel when it comes to sex. (published on Gasm.org)
We live in a world pervaded by unnatural scents – Speed Sticks, so-called “air fresheners,” our boss or our co-worker’s ill-chosen perfume. It’s no wonder, then, that our noses tend to shut off from time to time: it’s in the name of self-preservation.
A carefully-selected aroma can go a long way in the bedroom. Scent is a natural aphrodisiac, one of our oldest and most reliable. Here are a few tips to get your snout twitching with pleasure.
Scents Are Subtle, But Crucial
Women often choose their mates via pheromones — which are barely discernable scents that convey a dossier’s worth of information about their potential partner. Pheromones can give us the lowdown on the genetic makeup of an individual, and give us hints about whether or not we feel comfortable and aroused with a person. If you take the time to tune into your partner’s subtle musk, you can receive important hints about your potential compatibility. So, if you’re feeling wishy-washy, snuggle close, cleanse yourself of any unnatural odors… and breathe deep!
Note: Sexologist Dr. Laura Berman believes that women who are on the pill may have trouble following the cues they glean via pheromones. Berman says: “Women on the pill experience hormonal changes that can interfere with this law of “scent attraction.” This can lead to trouble picking the right partner. In fact, a woman who goes off the pill may suddenly realize that she’s no longer attracted to the pheromones that her partner emits.
What Smells Are Sexy?
Sense of smell is very personal, so the answer to this conundrum depends a great deal on taste. Some men like the scent of vanilla: it conveys a domesticity and sweetness reminiscent of a home kitchen to them, and that’s a turn on. (To me, it conveys my seventh-grade math teacher, Mrs. Hartdress, who applied it so liberally before every period that her wrists and neck glistened powerfully for the forty-five minutes that she taught us about pre-Algebra. I’m not a vanilla man.)
For the hippies among us, the sexiest smells are often the most natural ones. Aromatherapy, aphrodisiac blends often include Ylang Ylang essential oil, which pervades a rich fragrance that’s appropriate for both sexes. Ylang Ylang blends well with both floral and wood scents, and a few well-placed drops of it in your massage oil or body lotion can really transform the mood.
Integrating Smell into Your Sex Life
Bringing smells into your bedroom should be fun and playful. Try blindfolding your partner, and let him smell different parts of your body: your hair, your heart, your pits, your wrists, your genitals. Are your armpits spicy and warm? Does the smell of your shampoo bring back a rush of early memories?
Candles can also be a wonderful tool for integrating smells into your sex life. Emily Morse and Tony Sosnick recently developed a line of Aromatherapy Massage Candles. The candles emit seductive scents like cedar, vetiver, patchouli and amber. When they liquefy, the oil can be slowly poured onto your beloved’s body. A sensual massage may follow… you can take it from there.
Smells From Around the World
Still don’t believe smells are important? Check out these facts published by the Social Issues Research Center in their Smell Report:
- In some Arab cultures, it’s good manners to breathe on your partner during conversation. To deny your partner the smell of your breath conveys a humiliating lack of involvement.
- Among the Desana tribe of the Amazon, all members of the tribe are believed to share a similar odor, and marriage can only occur between people of different odors. The Batek Negrito tribe of the Malay Peninsula agree: not only can you not marry or make love to someone with your odor, sitting too close to them for long is considered to be treacherous.
- Among the cattle-centric culture of the Dassanetch of Ethiopia, the scent of cows is extremely desirable. Men wash their hands in cattle urine, or bedaub their bodies with manure in order to attract potential mates.
- To the Dogon of Mali, the scent of an onion is highly intoxicating. Men rub fried onions over their bodies, creating a powerful perfume.
So there you have it! Enjoy your own experiments with aromas! Even if you probably won’t be frying up a pan’s worth of onions and bringing them into your bedroom, your own creative scents will doubtlessly infuse your own sex life with purpose, power, and pleasure.
I fell into the role of porn director at the tender young age of twenty-three. Having barely gotten my own sex life off the ground, videotaping paid professionals getting raw and passionate seemed like a pretty good opportunity to learn. Never mind that half of what I learned was what not to do … it was still an unforgettable experience.
And still, there are some things that have stuck with me in the years since then.
1. Healthy alternatives to Viagra are out there
By 2000, the year I started shooting porn, Viagra had become a very important part of the adult film industry. Fledgling actors relied on it, not to get hard so much as to stay hard for the long periods of time that porn demanded. However, on one shoot, I ran into an actor named Lucky Starr, who swore by Yohimbe, an herbal pill derived from the bark of an African evergreen tree. “I can get it at the health food store,” he said, “and I don’t need a prescription.”
Like Viagra, Yohimbe increases blood flow and nerve impulses to the sexual organs – and while most porn guys seemed pretty content with the little blue pill, over the years I gradually learned about other natural remedies for normal guys to stay hard, including Ginkgo Biloba, Horny Goat Weed, Ginseng, Arginine, Acupuncture, and even pomegranate juice.
2. “Double Penetration” isn’t Just Pleasurable for the Woman
Most of the scenes I shot featured one woman and several men; double penetration (simultaenous anal and vaginal intercourse) was a thing that we often tried to make happen. My boss surmised that viewers found it sexy, or at least interesting, and, in retrospect, I suppose that’s what porn supplies, some combination of sexy and interesting. Many of the actresses I hired were super into the DP, like Belladonna, and Flick Shagwell. Others were on the fence. I remember a Canadian actress named Bella Maria who vacillated. Meanwhile, the male actors in the scene looked on anxiously as I discussed if a raise in pay would make it worth her while.
“I got $50 extra on it, Sammy,” said one of them, finally.
“I’ll pay for it.” It was right then I realized, this feels good for guys, too. They appreciated the snug fit. Maybe they really liked the close proximity to one another. Call it homoerotic; call it what you will. Guys like the DP.
3. Complex Positions Don’t Necessarily Lead To Pleasure
You tend to see a minimum of five different sexual positions in most porn scenes, ranging from doggystyle to cowgirl to reverse cowgirl, then piledriver, so on and so forth; it’s a way to make things look exciting, glamorous, and attractively perverse, I suppose. Many orgasms follow the intricate coupling. However, I would routinely ask my actors and actresses if they made love like this at home, and amused stares were all I got. I can’t tell you how many times I heard, “Hell no. I don’t do any of this acrobatic stuff. I’m way into missionary.”
Missionary might not be the most glamorous of positions: it’s what you learn first, when you’re just starting to have sex. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s porn-addicted character in Don Jon professes to hate missionary. But it feels good. It’s intimate. Eye contact is easy. Take it from those who’ve done it every other possible way: simple is sometimes the best.
4. Assgasms DO exist
Yeah, I know: most orgasms in porn are fake. I realize that. But the truth is, I shot so many scenes over the course of a five-year career that I got to the point that I was actually pretty talented in discerning a fake one from the Real Thing – and Real Female Orgasmsdid happen from time to time … and they were goddamn beautiful. They made my job worth doing, in fact.
And here’s the interesting part: I’d say that at least a good 10 percent of the orgasms that I witnessed came during anal sex. It’s my understanding, or my guess, actually, that they were vaginal or clitoral orgasms that came about due to prolonged stimulation during anal intercourse. But that makes them no less real. Or amazing. Assgasms. Believe it.
5. Oral Sex doesn’t just mean Fellatio
The best actors and actresses in porn – hands down – are those who have something interesting to say. Talking while you’re having sex isn’t necessarily easy, and in fact, it’s an art: those who can do it seem to make the sex more personal, more meaningful, and more cerebral. Simply put, the stakes are higher when words are spoken – and this is true whether we’re talking about sex on film or in your bedroom. So take a chance. Talk naughty. Surprise yourself and your partner. In a safe environment, it can lead to great passion.
"Sister Lucy on the phone again, back under her home, down in the hideout, inhaling bongloads. Her husband forbade the habit, with good reason. Under the fevered clarity of the reefer, her favorite thing was to savor his inadequacies – the girlish overdrive of his singing voice, his moist, offended silences, his delicate heron-manner in bed."
from “Executors of Important Energies,” by Wells Tower
Legendary guitarist Robbie Robertson (The Band) has released a really cool book that’s designed to introduce children - and the rest of us - to the essential players of roots rock’n’roll.
(From the LA Times):
According to the book’s introduction by Robertson, the project began when his son was working part time at a children’s recreation and learning center, and noticed that “they didn’t respond to the average, pandering children’s music near as much as they did to really good songs performed by great artists.”
The list of those included stretches back as far as jazz innovator Louis Armstrong to jazz greats (Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald) to Great American Songbook pop (Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole), primal rock (Presley, Chuck Berry, Little Richard) to R&B and soul (Ray Charles, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield) to country (Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline) to classic rock (Dylan, Carole King) and reggae (Bob Marley).
The illustrations for this book are just beautiful, and two CD’s of music accompany “Legends, Icons and Rebels.” I just got my copy, and I’m digging in. So check it out, pronto!
On Thursday evening, October 18th, 2013, I read at the Make-Out Room, in the Mission, in San Francisco, as part of Litquake. I would say it went badly. It was kind of a bomb. I’d say it went mildly badly and I mildly bombed.
Does it matter? Good question. No: It doesn’t much matter. I was trying to be funny, and this is a dangerous mission with many pitfalls. I read fairly often - several times a year, at least - and generally I try to be funny. I win more often than I lose. This time, I didn’t win.
One cannot always win.
Howie Gordon, also known as Richard Pacheco to his fans and his faithful, has published a memoir of his time in the porn industry, a long time in the making. I know Pacheco, having admired his work as an actor - perhaps the best porn actor of all time? He’s up there in my estimation, along with John Leslie - when I was just beginning to watch pornos.
I was lucky enough to meet Richard about a year ago, after having communicated with him for a while online about the book he’d been crafting for more than a decade. Together, we did a reading/porn lecture at Carol Queen’s Center for Sex and Culture, and I was pleased to present some of his greatest thespian-oriented hits in video form.
It thrills me no end to be able to say that “Hindsight” as a book accurately reflects the kind of gentleman that Pacheco is - it’s a thoughtful, playful, hilarious, and sweet journey through the heyday of the Golden Age of Porn, and beyond. Richard’s able to tackle the intricacies of creating and sustaining a loving relationship, and I have to say I found this aspect of his book as riveting and as educative as his descriptions of, for example, making porn love with Nina Hartley.
In short, read this book penned by a Pittsburgh Jew- class clown- class president - turned - porn star; buy it; share it with your friends. Porn lovers and life lovers alike shall rejoice.