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Monday, September 29 2008

Safe Sex: Any Questions?

image via Natalie Dee

How do you define safe sex?

More importantly, can you define it?

If you really think about it, it’s not so easy, is it? The Yale Daily News’ Emma Allen digs deep into the Ivy to discover how Yalies define it, and how they measure up to the rest of us.  In “Is Safe Sex so 90′s, we find out a lot about who’s having sex at Yale, and what they’re using, or not using.  And then there’s the not-so-shocking statistic that sometimes smart people don’t get tested for STI’s. And if smart people aren’t getting tested, should we fear for the population of future dumb people? It’s a lengthy pontification, but one worth the read.

Tell Me You Love Me


Saturday, September 27 2008

Happy “Happy” Babeland

I started working at Babeland before it was called Babeland. Back then it was Toys in Babeland, a brilliant name, but one not so easy on the tongues of the masses. In 2001, when I joined the staff, we were one store in Seattle and one in New York. I felt like I was part of a movement about grrl power and queer power and it was exciting. I became more comfortable in my own skin and less quick on the trigger when it came to judging others, thanks to Babeland.

But the truth was, I loved helping people, and I loved watching them explore ways to improve their own sexual health and pleasure. Maybe I liked it too much at times, just ask my co-workers, but it gave me lots of fuzzy feelings to be a part of a sex positive movement. There seriously aren’t many retail jobs where you can get as much satisfaction, both as a customer and an employee. Our staff wanted to empower the world, one vibrator, one butt plug, one lube at a time. Word of Babeland’s stellar reputation made us a destination location. Zagat gave us customer service awards. People traveled from afar (from such places as the Upper West Side and abroad) to get a dose of what we offered. For the first time in my life, it felt like I was in the in crowd. And yeah, I liked it.

So, what was the experience? Things like re-shelving and alphabetizing, straightening and cleaning were all part of the package. But when someone walked into the store, whether she walked in to reclaim her body, or he waltzed in excited to explore his, there was always a level of trust between salesperson and customer. Different than any level of trust usually find in a retail environment. And we weren’t just sales people, we were sex educators. Each of us is, and was, here to do more than sell you a good time.

I really loved working at Babeland. I know because it was the longest time I spent at one job. If it weren’t for some of those closest to me, I don’t know when, or if, I ever would have left. After four years at Babeland, it was my NY family, and it was sad, at first, to leave. But things change. I’ve changed. Babeland has changed. But I wouldn’t be who I was without them.

What I loved most about Babeland is, and was, its heart. Claire and Rachel care about good sex, about having it, and about other people being able to have it too, so they saw a niche, and aimed to fill it. And thanks to other places, like Eve’s Garden and Good Vibes, they had support, and smarts, and made a way for themselves and their brand. When I started, Claire, one of the co-founders, was always working downstairs, in the dark hole of a basement, striving to make this company what it is today.

I appreciate who they are, and how far they’ve come. Tomorrow Babeland is celebrating their 15th anniversary (or is it more of a birthday?) in New York. It’s amazing how much has happened, not just in the world, but in the sex-toy business in  those last 15 years. Designer sex toys made by small companies are increasing the popularity of sexual pleasure, while also improving the standards of products, and inspired people opening sex-positive shops, both online and on land, are helping the sex-happy movement move into smaller cities and towns, and around the world. Places like Nomia in Portland, ME and Sugar in Baltimore, MD are just two examples of small terrestrial shops doing their thing, and doing it right.

In dog years, Babeland would be way old. In retail, well I think it still is. And that’s a great thing. I’m happy to see their mission spreading all over the world. Happy Birthday Babeland. You’ll always be family to me.

Tell Me You Love Me


Thursday, September 25 2008

How Robin Byrd Changed My Life

Robin Byrd. Photo by Richard Avedon for New York Magazine (Feb. 1999).

The headline sounds so People Magazine, and I love it. Truth is, Robin Byrd, the late-night, scantily clad, NYC cable goddess (her show is The Robin Byrd Show and it’s been on Manhattan Cable for a very long time), didn’t really change my life, at least I can’t be sure she did, not yet. What I do know is that Robin Byrd inspired me to live more fearlessly, to be more self-assured and to feel more divine.

F*ck knows, she is.

It all started at Blood Manor last night. I have to confess I didn’t want to go to Blood Manor.  I was so afraid of being spooked that I even insisted on stopping at a Rite Aid  before we got to the haunted house. I had decided, in my attempt to be fearless, that grabbing a set of earplugs would make me a superwoman. (We stopped at Rite Aid, noticed there were a lot of freaky people in this particular drugstore, decided that Blood Manor couldn’t be scarier than the freaks in the Rite Aid, and I decided I didn’t want to spend over $4 to buy 12 pairs of earplugs, 11 of which I would probably never use - especially since we already have an extra-large, jumbo pack at home, so we left. FYI: single ear plug packs did, or do, not exist).

We got upstairs, to the bar, which doubled as the entrance to the manor. I looked to my left, and the first person I saw was Robin Byrd. I’ve know Robin for a long time, but I’ve never really  gotten to know her. She did Bob Berkowitz’s show once, or twice, on eyada, but that was a long time ago. Since then I’ve run into her a few times in Vegas. The last time I saw her we were on the same plane back home from AEE (Adult Entertainment Expo). I remember seeing her that night on the plane, because I was really sad over the death of my grandfather so I remember a lot from that night, and I made a mental note that of all the people who could be traveling back to NY with me, it was Robin. I’m big into signs, and I think that night I took it as one, but then when I got back home things got crazy, and I forgot to remember that I saw the sign (you’re supposed to sing those last four words). But now, after last night, as corny as this is going to sound, I felt like there was a reason she was on my plane. Maybe a reason that I wasn’t ready to find out.

Last night I think I found it out.

I don’t know Robin well. I’ve watched her show whenever I happened to flip by the right channel at the right time. The insanely long commercial breaks bored me a bit, and so I would watch a segment and then try to come back for the finale. I always loved the final. When they sang that Bang Your Box song, and everyone looked like they were happy to be sexy. It was a “sexy time” version of Dancing with the Stars. I remember cock rings and boob sucking, and the Robin Byrd neon sign, but I never thought much about Robin herself. I mean, I thought she was fun and funny and smart, but I didn’t know she was all that and more. She is so totally in her power and in her skin - which might sound a bit obvious, even if you’ve only seen her parodied on Saturday Night Live.

Back at the manor, we all got online together. It was four of us (Robin and I both brought a guest). Robin knew I was scared, but she wasn’t. She was so tough. This ugly, scary monster guy on stilts walked past us and my heart began racing.  He was just walking around the bar, that’s all. In costume, but walking. Staring at people. Personally, I think staring is ultra scary if it’s done in a creepy way. And he was doing it in a creepy way.

I made Robin feel my heart racing as we waited online. She went right for my breast. Then she told me a story. It was a story about how she and a friend once went swimming with a shark. It wasn’t one of those contained “swim with the dolphins” experiences, this was more like holy-shit-there’s-a-shark-in-the-water.  She said her friend was really afraid of the shark, and that the shark sensed her friend’s fear, and so she screamed to her friend that the only way the shark would leave her alone is if she stopped being afraid. Once she stopped being afraid, the shark swam away. And then, like FDR told the USA before I was ever born, she told me that the scariest thing I could be afraid of was fear.

Fear was the most frightening thing about fear.

It made perfect sense, even though, like I said, I’ve probably heard it before, and before that, but until Robin said it, it had never sunk into my consciousness that way. And I wasn’t afraid anymore. I got it. I looked into the eyes of at least 16 monsters as we waltzed through the manor and I smiled, laughed or tried to engage them in conversation. It worked. I left there proud. I walked back through the line of visitors who hadn’t yet walked through blood manor and I reminded them that being afraid was the scariest thing about the haunted house. I told them not to be afraid. I even heard two girls talking after I left, saying that they believed me..that they were going to go in there and not be afraid.

And so I took one step closer to being true to myself. For one night I got rid of the mask of fear. I hope I can keep it off for a long time to come. I have to say, it’s thanks to Robin Byrd - one of the most spiritual, grounded, goddess-like people I’ve ever met. Maybe I’m not the only one to think this…I haven’t looked at any Robin Byrd fan clubs, but I’m definitely sold on this woman. She helped change my mind. And maybe, just maybe, my life.

Tell Me You Love Me


Wednesday, September 24 2008

Learning Sex

Two pieces I found online that all of us can learn from:

1. Cory Silverberg’s article on the reality of sex in adult movies is only one of the myriad of reasons why I love him dearly. If you have ever watched an adult movie, or know what porn is, you should read this piece. Here’s one of my favorite points:

Mainstream pornography is no more like most people’s sex lives than big budget Hollywood films are like most people’s daily lives. Notice how in Hollywood movies people rarely go to the bathroom, and never look anything other than stunningly beautiful…

As someone who has seen their share of sexy movies live! and in person! I do think we place an unnatural amount of guilt about our countries lack-of-quality-sex-education-in-the-classroom on these exuberant exhibitionists. Think about it. It isn’t fair, or logical, to translate performer sex into real-life people sex. It’s like saying that after watching Batman you know that Christian Bale can fly, and you’re sure that he’d be a great teacher to instruct you in the art of flight. Or that we can all learn about survival in the great outdoors from Harrison Ford, since he is Indiana Jones.  We need to keep getting the message out that porn stars are performers and porn is for entertainment. Say it with me, PORN STARS ARE PERFORMERS AND PORN IS FOR ENTERTAINMENT.

That being said,  I do tell my talent that they have to look at themselves with an educator’s eye, at least if they care about the sex they are having on film. I talk directly to them as if what they do care, as if the sex they have could make a difference in someone’s personal sexy life. That doesn’t mean most of them hear me, or care, (they don’t), but at least one or two performers on a shoot do, and that makes all the difference to me. Some of these porn stars do want to be sex educators, and they assume that the role comes along with the job. But most of them just want their daily rate, and they’re on there way. Unfortunately porn does impact impressionable minds. Especially since most people learn more about sex from porn than from anywhere else (like parents, schools, or books). If we continue to allow people to get most of their schooling from film-fucking, more so than in health or science class, then indirectly we are all to blame for the porn-is-reality-sex mentality that we have in this country.


2. If you’re looking for an inspiring story on coming-before-you’ve-gone-anywhere-near-inside-her-pussy, without it actually translating to coming to the end of sexy time, Greta Christina wrote a beautiful piece called “What I Learned from Lesbian Sex” (Alternet).


Tell Me You Love Me


Tuesday, September 23 2008

A stroke (of bad luck) during sex

Image by Sunniako

Today’s “tip tuesday” is just a reminder that sometimes an orgasm, isn’t an orgasm, isn’t an orgasm.

A 35 year-old woman in Illinois was recently the victim of an orgasm-induced stroke. Apparently she’s doing alright these days, but she waited a long time to get her blissed-out ass to the hospital, causing a lot more commotion than originally necessary.

How can you determine if the orgasm that should feel oh, so good, actually feels oh, so wrong? Let’s start with the happy signs of an orgasm? Some of the more obvious ones include toes curling, a change in breathing, a flushed face, dilated pupils (you can see this in a person who keeps his or her eyes open when they come), an arched back and lots of “Oh babies,” or maybe even the more obvious, “Don’t stop I’m going to come.”

If, however, you experience things like slurred speech, a sudden lack of consciousness or numbness in any extremity, or on one side of the body, you may want to think twice about coming, and instead go… to the hospital..call 911 - whatever comes first.

I’m not a doctor, and I don’t play one on TV - so if you want to read more on the strokegasm, I’m happy to refer you here (CBS News) or here (Amateur Scientist).

Tell Me You Love Me


Monday, September 22 2008

Make Your Own Erotic Movie…and let other people pay to watch it.

Think you gotz what it takes to make a dirty picture? Well, then make it already, because I know of two film festivals that want to see you do the sexy (which does not necessarily have to translate into penetrative sex).

You’ve only got three days to make it into the Good Vibes Amateur Erotic Film Fesitval. But fear not fellow filmmaker, if you don’t have a film in the can, and you can’t do one of those 24 or 48 hour jobs, you can still submit your film to Cinekink. You’ve got til October 15th.

Looking for inspiration? Check out my friend Mark Schoen’s new site - Sex Smart Films.

Tell Me You Love Me


Friday, September 19 2008

Sexy Calendar Girls

Photo by Circe

I’ve had this secret, or not so secret - depending on how close you are to me and how much you know about me - fantasy to become a burlesque supastar. I’ve got the name picked out (Rockie Rhode), and even my first song (that you’ll have to wait for), but up until now I haven’t had the incentive to actually get out there and take it off. Or maybe it’s not the incentive I lack (loads of eager eyes staring at my body as I wriggle and writhe on stage, as opposed to loads of eager construction workers oggling my body as I walk down the street, is good enough for me) but the motivation to learn a routine to make me look like a pro has taken a tad bit longer than expected. I’ve been promising myself the outfit, the pasties — another of my mental obstacles since I have those really large areola, and since said really large areola make me want to wear really large pasties, which then leads me to a mental discussion and overanalysis of my overly large areolas cause hey we’ve all got our issues — and the space to do it in, and now, suddenly, it’s happening..to me…for me…with me.. YES!

But before I tell you more, my mind must make one small digression. It’s about pasties. About an appreciation I have for them. Cause one thing I really like about pasties is how they can make some of the saggier sets of sisters look like a pair of perky potatoes (pre-schoolers and pre-pubescents also came to mind when I was looking for a “p” word to go with perky, but there’s something inherently wrong with associating either of these things with my breasts). That is all. Let’s return to some regularly scheduled thoughts.

This all leads me to Tess, my dear friend and certified sexpot, who lovingly emailed me (and 11 others) a few weeks back with a raison d’etre. Yes, finally I have the even-more-added-incentive-and-motivation to take it all off.  And BTW, if you haven’t seen Tess’ cleavage of the day posts, you really should…I’m talking some of the best! boobs! like ever!

So without further ado, I am going to take most of it off, and Rockie Rhode will spring forth from my loins, and boobs will bounce, and pasties will sparkle and I will be reborn a calendar girl/burlesque supastar (or at least a Burlesque supastar in training).

One more thing. You can be a part of it too. (I can see the excitment bursting from your loins as well now).  Cause me, and those 11 others like me, or not like me, or maybe they don’t like me - hello paranoia! are getting together a week from Sunday to shoot the 2009 Sex Bloggers Calendar. All proceeds go to Audacia Ray‘s Sex Work Awareness project.

You know you want to buy a calendar. Or even a day in it. It’s going to be sexy. All the info you need to know (like the who, how and why) can be found on the calendars’ blog. So check it out. And check me out. Construction workers and all!

Tell Me You Love Me


Thursday, September 18 2008

The Vaginal Walk

image: Mike Wood Photography

Does how she walks determine from whence she comes?

If you think you can tell a sex beast by her swinging hips and fancy shoes, think again. Those who orgasm from the canal that Dr. Freud once claimed made them “mature,” are more likely, according to a recent study, published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, to walk with high energy and a fluid freedom of movement. Well, at least 81% of the time. The study, which taped the walks of 20 college-aged women living in Belgium, (I know what you’re thinking, wow! 20 whole women! This is definitely a study worth knowing about) claims that happy, healthy, vaginally orgasmic women walk differently than their miserly, clitorally controlled, counterparts.

Never mind if last night you bench pressed too much at the gym, if you’re tight in the body, then you’re too uptight in the twat.  “Walking with high energy and a kind of freedom of movement signifies both sensuality and confidence.The discerning observer may infer a women’s experience [with] vaginal orgasm from a gait that comprises fluidity, energy, sensuality, freedom, and absence of both flaccid and locked muscles,” at least that’s what these serious researchers have to say.

That means that next time you’re looking to get “lay lady lay,” and you want to feel like you’re rocking her canal, and not just her world, you should pick a woman who’s more loosy goosey than purely lucky fucky.  Even if lucky fucky, meaning you’re just lucky to get fucked, is all you’ve got, she may not be able to come vaginally (oh the horror! THE HORROR!) and then what? Will you ever be able to face your friends? Brag about it on facebook? I don’t think so.

Now, is there a mind/body connection to how sexually open we are? Hells yes. The brain is more powerful than the clit, the vagina or the peen when it comes to how your sex life is going, and sure, if you’re not feeling all sexy, sexy you make walk differently than if you are, but really, if only approximately 30% of women orgasm from vaginal penetration alone, and if vaginal penetration isn’t the end-all-be-all of orgasmic exploration, does being able to do it matter?

Probably not. Definitely not to me. I don’t care how you come. I just care that you do it if you want to do it. But you don’t have to have an orgasm each and every time you feel sexual pleasure. Because sexual pleasure isn’t always about orgasm. It’s about liking what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. Whether it be your own Jackson five, or your neighbor’s hand, rod or tongue. The bottom line is it’s good to wub yourself wight whenever you feel like a little wub-a-dub-dub.

I don’t care if you walk this way, or that, or hell, even if you skip, crawl, or run down the street. And what about women in wheelchairs? How do they walk? The point is, whatever you do, don’t judge how a girl does sexy time by her gait.  You don’t know where she’s been or who she did last night. She might have rocked a cock so large she can’t walk, or she might have twisted her ankle on the treadmill. That’s why this survey sort-of-kind-of-in-actuality-utterly disgusts me. I pity the person who cares so much about how she walks, and where she comes from, literally, instead of just enjoying the pleasure that should be derived from enjoying the pussy.

Of course, if you’re still interested in this research, you can read more about the study here.

Tell Me You Love Me


Tuesday, September 16 2008

Vibrators 101

If you’ve never bought a vibe before, or even if you have, you can get a brief intro to the vibrator in this piece from Cherry TV. Basically, if you want to get a vibe, whether it be your first or well, not your first, if it were up to me, I wouldn’t spend a lot (under $50), and I’d go for something hard and plastic. I think hard plastic has the strongest vibration, or at least the possibility for strong vibration, whereas a lot of softer vibes never produce enough power. Of course if you don’t want a lot of power, you don’t need to go hard and plastic, but I like being able to play with power. Know what I mean?

One other note: If you just watched the above video, or if you’re about to, I ask you to forgive my long pauses. I was hoping they’d be edited out, but they obviously weren’t. Sometimes I just talked too long without taking a break, and I simply needed to spit or swallow my spit, and without edits, the “natural” sound of a pause (while I swallow) is what you get. I think lots of us have had this dilemma before (to spit or swallow), only not necessarily while being filmed for the interweb.

Tune in next Tuesday for another tip, technique or teachable moment, cause I’m trying to actually get myself on a schedule, so you know what you’ll get on this blog every time you check me out. And that means Tuesday is Tip Tuesday. Are you as excited as I am?

Tell Me You Love Me


Monday, September 15 2008

Airline Porn Poo-Pooed by Professionals

Photo Credit: Bambangenator

Jaunted reports that American Airlines, upon their introduction of free! wi-fi! while you fly! has been receiving shitola from the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (which should not be confused with the Association of Unprofessional Flight Attendants, as these are people who just like to play flight attendant, and are not actually certified to serve you peanuts and get you an extra pillow if they so happen to even have pillows on your flight) about the predilection some passengers may have to view free, or not-so-free, online porn that comes with free! wi-fi! while you fly!

Fine, I may not want to find myself next to some overexcited Hasidic man who happens to be watching a porno of two cows doing it with a lady in a field in France, but it’s silly to think that with, or without, the Internet people can’t, or don’t, watch porn on a plane. I mean even if you bar “porn sites” from the friendly skies, you can still slip a disc in your computer, or portable electronic device, and watch as much gosh-darn porn as you’d fucking like as you fly. Well, or as much porn as you can watch before you battery dies, unless of course you happen to be on a flight that has plugs under your feet (thanks Virgin).

So, whether or not you can actually stream porn through the AA webserver or not, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants can’t stop porn from making its way on a plane. They can, however, refuse to serve you soda and a snack. Of course, by blocking said “pornography” you may also limit people from visiting other sites that aren’t porn, but sites that may be deemed “too hot to handle.” Heck, I can’t even log on to my site from some bigger chain sandwich/coffee shops, but alas, I’ve lived without wifi while flying for this long, I can live without going to certain sites when I fly.

Besides, I’ve actually watched porn on a plane before..and no one has stopped me. So just be smart about it. Even if you fly with your own porn, don’t wank off in your seat. Go to the bathroom and wank off quickly. While listening to the realistic ooohs and ahhs of your favorite startlet, be considerate to other passengers and wear headphones. And make sure nobody else has to watch what turns you on. Unless, of course, they ask to.

Tell Me You Love Me