Sex Lit

We’ve gotten a number of requests over the years for a full list of books we’ve covered at the Sex Lit event I host, presented by House of Scorpio. Here’s a list of every book we’ve read so far:

9.17.2017 Story of The Eye by George Bataille

10.15.2017 The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A. N. Roquelaure/Anne Rice

11.19.2017 The Story of O by Pauline Reage/Anne Desclos

2.18.2018 Night Shift: A Choose Your Own Adventure Fantasy by Joanna Angel

5.20.2018 House of Holes: A Book of Raunch by Nicholson Baker

6.17.2018 The Marketplace by Laura Antoniou

8.19.2018 Philosophy, Pussycats & Porn by Stoya

10.21.2018 A Spy in the House of Love by Anais Nin

1.20.2019 Island on the Edge of Normal by Guy New York

2.17.2019 The Sex Sphere by Rudy Rucker

4.28.2019 Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

5.19.2019 The Mere Wife by Maria Dahvana Headley

6.16.2019 The Slave by Laura Antoniou

7.21.2019 Permission by Saskia Vogel

8.18.2019 Friday by Robert Heinlein

9.15.2019 Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

10.20.2019 The Vagabond by Colette

11.17.2019 Beauty’s Kingdom by Anne Rice

12.15.2019 “Song of Songs” from The Bible

01.19.2020 Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol 5 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

02.16.2020 SFSX by Tina Horn

03.22.2020 Sunstone Book 1 by Stjepan Sejic

04.19.2020 Disgusting Beautiful Immoral by Guy New York

05.17.2020 Confessions of a Sheba Queen by Autumn Bardot

06.21.2020 The Trainer by Laura Antoniou

07.19.2020 Docile by K.M. Szpara

An Update

I know distractions are helpful for me. I hear they’re helpful for other people, too.

Life With Althaar — A radio play style science fiction podcast about a man who has to move off of Earth in the wake of a teleportation accident, is free on iTunes, PodBean, and probably some other places. Dean Haspiel made the logo artwork. If you want to support the project, merch is available here.

Speaking of Dean, the War of Woo (which has been postponed indefinitely but will be performed one day) has a prequel. The play itself is a prequel to The Red Hook. Both prequel and web comic are free.

ZeroSpaces remains online, with all three of our current issues available for purchase. We’re still working on getting new content together safely and releasing at least one new issue in the near future.

House of Scorpio and I are continuing our monthly Sex Lit meetings in the digisphere. Our next meeting will be Sunday 19 April 2020, at 3pm NYC time. Tomorrow, Saturday 27 March 2020, we’ll be experimenting with an online version of Sex Bingo. For more details on both events, see HoS’s website.

I’m still able to write my regular column at Slate (How To Do It, with Rich Juzwiak.) Now might be a great time to read through the archives.

I’m doing mid-day chats on ManyVids, and the occasional Civ stream on Twitch*, and have just opened an OnlyFans account where I do respond to messages. ManyVids and Twitch are free. OnlyFans has a paywall.

(*I’ve also committed to a weekly guest spot on my friend Bij’s twitch account for the duration of his very first Civ VI game. Civ games tend to take a long time. Mondays at 9-ish NYC time.)

Stay as safe and calm as possible. Remember to breathe. Seek out coping mechanisms. And hang in there.

xo,

Stoya

ZeroSpaces/COVID-19

Out of an abundance of caution… we suspect we’ll all be hearing that phrase quite a bit in the coming days. Two years ago Mitcz and Stoya co-founded ZeroSpaces.com. Steve Ronin was a major contributor from the start, and Sydni Deveraux has been featured in every issue in some capacity. When Stoya realized where the gaps in proficiency were–mostly production management and organization related–she took steps to bring in Syd and Sweetpea as COO and CFO, respectively. These two luminous ladies, along with Steve, were given equity in the company in exchange for their time and efforts.

We’ve been organizing some big stuff for over six months. In December we shot a ton of content together and laid out our release schedule for 2020. Mitcz began programming a rebilling subscription option. We started planning promotional events, announced the theme of our April issue, and started teasing the subscription option.

Stoya and Syd flew to Minneapolis recently for the official announcement of Sweetpea and Syd’s joining of ZeroSpaces’s parent company at Kinky Friday. A great time was had. Lapdances were performed. Announcements were made and applause was given. And then it became apparent that the novel coronavirus was sweeping the globe in a way that none of us were prepared for.

We no longer feel comfortable sending our team all over the place, ping-pong-ball style, through airports and across borders and time zones, until the various states of emergency are over. We’re not sure when filming interactions between two or more people will feel responsibly possible again. This may be the end of Around the World in 80 Ways, and is definitely an impediment to current production.

So we must postpone our launch. We’ll have to wait until the COVID-19 dust settles, and figure out how we’re going to run our business in the future. We’re not sure how to supervise sets remotely, and that’s one way we can reduce travel. We’re not sure how we’re going to conduct our events. We’re not sure when we’ll be able to shoot enough content to have the necessary backlog to continue business as usual in the face of another global issue.

Like all the other postponements, we believe it’s the right thing to do. When we launch we want to be prepared to keep our commitments to you, our customers. And when we launch, we want to do so knowing that we’re doing everything we can to keep our collaborators and workers as safe as possible.

Best,

Stoya, Syd, Sweetpea, Mitcz, and Steve

New Year, New Blog Post

I took a break between Gregorian Christmas and Gregorian New Years. I stayed at home. I read Jacqueline Carey’s Imriel Trilogy from her Kushiel’s Legacy series, borrowed from a very lovely couple who attend Sex Lit regularly. I didn’t write a New Year’s post. Or a 2019 recap. I don’t think we did a top 9 on the Stoya Inc Instagram either. I’m not sure. I was on staycation.

Now it’s Julian Christmas. Serbian Christmas. Which means Julian New Years is a week away, and I have a second chance to participate in the meme.

2019 was a lot of setting up infrastructure. As CEO of the company that owns ZeroSpaces.com, I learned a lot about the limits of my capabilities. I have clinically diagnosed ADHD. This is a disorder—for lack of a better word—of executive function. It’s more of a neurodivergence, but that’s a subject for an expert. The point is, being chief executive officer of a company, without the support of a chief operations officer or chief financial officer, is less than ideal. Even with medication in the mix. I’ve taken steps to improve this situation and we’ll be making announcements about those steps in the next couple of months.

We did manage to put out two issues this year.

2019 was a lot of writing for Slate. I’m half of their How To Do It sex advice column, with Jezebel writer Rich Juzwiak. We do our individual columns weekly, with a bonus column from each of us every other week, and a chat together weekly, too. I love this job. I’m appreciative of everyone who has sent us their issues to pull apart and attempt to help with. Thank you. We literally couldn’t do the column without you. I’m looking forward to another great year with Slate in 2020, and thrilled to continue partnering with Rich.

All Elite Wrestling launched this year. My friend Justin and I started watching together every Wednesday that I’m home for. I drink Prosecco (a little bit of bubbly!) and we eat something—usually nachos. We flip over to NXT during the commercial breaks, hoping to see Baszler. Occasionally I tweet lukewarm takes. Justin maintains that Jericho is the most fuckable man in wrestling and I beg to differ.

I went out to Southern California and got to direct on a high production set with Mickey Mod and Alexis Tae as the performers. It was a great experience. I’m proud of the final result.

My book, Philosophy, Pussycats, & Porn, was translated into Spanish and Russian. I squealed with glee when I got my copies of Filosophia, Porno, y Gatitos. I squealed with glee again when I saw pictures of my book in Russian bookstores, with the title in Cyrillic. 

I’m excited for 2020. We have some great new changes coming up with ZeroSpaces, including a move to a monthly subscription model, which means monthly releases. I’m scheduled to participate in a variety of shoots in different capacities in the next couple of months, and they’re all exciting. I’ve got some stuff already shot that I can barely wait to post.

Wishing you all the happiest of New Years, and a wonderful rest of your winter.

xo

Stoya

Sex Workers Town Hall

Someone in what looks like one of Francois Sagat’s fractal head shirts with the sleeves cut off weaves through the crowd, their purposeful movement marking them as part of the event’s organizational team. I’m at the first town hall for sex workers, held in Queens, NY with Suraj Patel, a candidate running in the Democratic primary for Congress.

I got my period last night, which means my upper body is curled over in an attempt to protect my abdomen from jostling. No amount of PMS is going to prevent me from missing this moment, from being in this room. I’m hoping my over the counter pain medication kicks in soon, though, because I’d like to be able to follow the conversation.

Partway through the opening panel—comprised of sex workers rights activists, advocates, and community service providers—Ceyenne Doroshow reminds us to watch each other’s backs, to check in with and keep track of each other. Applause breaks out, possibly the loudest so far. In a way, we’re voting with our hands.

Suraj dives into the subject of harm reduction. Lorelei Lee, the beautiful blonde seated on the same couch as I am, leans forward. I suspect we all want to hear what the politician has to say. The PMS fog obscures memory and I haven’t started taking notes in earnest yet, but the clapping indicates that we like what we hear.

Someone asks how Suraj wants to end the stigma around sex work and the people who do it—something he’d mentioned earlier. He says he intends to continue listening to and amplifying the voices of the community. He moves into some of the intersections at play: mass incarceration, economic hardship. Ending these problems would also lessen the potential for exploitation in sex work. He points at events like this Town Hall being a display of our power to push back, be heard — and actually listened to.

Another person asks about sex work and disability. Suraj shows humility in acknowledging how he himself neglects to include that in the conversation, and moves into a call for every citizen’s basic healthcare needs to be met.

A community organizer reminds Suraj that he is the face of anti-FOSTA, whether he likes it or not. Laughter rings around the room. They ask what he’s going to do for our community if he loses the election, what he’s going to keep doing to fill the responsibility he’s taken on—championing our rights. He jokes he’ll keep fighting but will take a month off first.

He answers seriously that he’ll figure out what he did wrong, engage in self care, and points out that he’s in his early thirties and isn’t going anywhere. He says “I’ll be right here with you guys, the whole way through. That’s a promise.”

Lorelei stands up to tell Suraj she hopes he does continue to listen and to learn. She thoroughly describes how great the things he’s doing are, and then explains that it isn’t enough. Reducing the penalty for prostitution to a ticket isn’t decriminalization. It isn’t enough.

Lorelei says that protecting the rights of those of us who love our jobs is too flat, too headline-y. She points out that many of us who’ve been in sex work for a long time have worked under many different conditions, that we’ve loved and utterly hated our jobs at various times. She says she needs to hear that he’s here for those of us who don’t particularly love our jobs, or don’t love them right now, even if that’s complicated.

The furthest Suraj goes is to say that the argument for decriminalization is “very compelling,” but also promises he will continue listening to the community as he forms an opinion. Then the event is over.

On my way out Suraj thanks me for coming. I tell him I’m quite happy with what I heard.

An activist behind me says “Only quite happy?” I respond “I want a bolder response on decrim. I understand the likely political reasons he can’t give one, but I don’t have the patience for this slow and steady.”  She tells me to tell him that. I smile and say “He knows.”

I’m far from all in, but if I lived in NY’s 12th congressional district I’d be voting for Suraj on June 26th.

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Brazil

I don’t know anything about Brazil.

Ok, I know they mainly speak Portuguese, and evolved from a Portuguese colony. I know that in Civ 5 the Brazilian player gets extra culture from jungle tiles. I know they just had a religious holiday of some kind, and that they were recently protesting something regarding gasoline.

But that’s it.

———

I’m so far out of my element here. I don’t know the history of this place. It’s lovely. I can simply absorb the beauty without seeing it through six different lenses of politics. Like a vacation. And, fuck, is it ever beautiful.

Photographers refer to magic hour. That period as the sun sets where the light is gorgeous and the photos go from good to stunning. You may have heard people talk about the light in Los Angeles or Greece. 

The sky in Porto Alegre is exquisite when it’s cloudy. I haven’t seen the sunshine yet.

———

Lazar and I are here because the Fantaspoa festival is screening Ederlezi Rising. The organizers are very family style… I was picked up at the airport by a representative of the show instead of a hired driver, there are group lunches and activities, and the organizers are always willing to walk us from point A to point B.

My main contact, Joao, is tattooed all over with artwork from the festival’s history. He took us to a bar where the walls are covered in genre film posters and at least one table sports a layer of tasteful Playboy nudes.

It’s a joy to be around people who love what they’re doing so much. Who celebrate the creative work they love so thoroughly.

———

Depending on the geographical area, you might greet a person by hugging, kissing cheeks one to three times, or some combination of the above. Even a stranger. They aren’t forceful about it, but isn’t it nicer their way? Warmer than a handshake.

There’s something grounding about being embraced multiple times throughout the day. And these aren’t shoulders-first air hugs, either. The physical warmth and ease with contact reminds me of Serbia.

I don’t know anything about Brazil. But I know the people here are human and welcoming.

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May 24th

On Monday I was informed that our applications to Visa and MasterCard had just been submitted. I thought that was weird, since I’d paid the associated fees a couple of weeks prior. I felt frustrated, because our planned launch date (May 24th—today) was approaching quickly and Visa approval can take up to 21 business days.

When I still hadn’t heard back from my main contact at the payment processing company the next day, I called asking to speak to their boss about having a new contact assigned. By the end of the day our existing contact was calling with the news that Visa had approved us. 

I considered texting Mitcz, attempting to frame lucky coincidence and the processing company’s speed at resolving our issue as evidence that the 24th was, in fact, an auspicious day—which I promise to explain at some point.

———

Hi. Mitcz and I are launching a thing called ZeroSpaces.com. It’s a website. It contains videos that depict explicit, hardcore sex. It also contains galleries, and something a bit unusual: articles. We’re incorporating the roots of pornography—a word with roots in an ancient Greek one meaning depiction of harlots or prostitutes, depending on who’s doing the translating—and revisiting what it means to depict human sexuality and sexual workers professionally.

———

On Wednesday I forwarded Mitcz an email from the company’s lawyer, asking for confirmation that the Mitcz-devised language in our privacy policy about how it’s fine to make up a display name like JoeBobMcChickenHead is, in fact, original to the… um… originator. It was.

I finished uploading trailers for the library of archive videos, and scrambled to get creator profiles as complete as possible before the launch. Attribution of credit is important, and we’re working to make finding the online presences of the artists and workers involved as easy as possible so you can learn more about them and where more of their work is available, including places outside our walled garden.

Most of my work on ZeroSpaces in the last month has been dry bureaucratic stuff—organization of w9s and 2257s, work-for-hire and payment processing agreements. I’m looking forward to beginning work on the second issue, getting back to the creative end of things.

———

ZeroSpaces is using an issue-based format. We’re releasing batches of all sorts of content—yes, videos, but also erotic fiction, profiles on luminaries of the sex work community, and both documentary-style and editorial visuals—all tied to a single theme. We have videos and galleries available for individual purchase, but encourage you to choose the full experience.

———

I’m heading to the airport today, the suitcase already out and packed. It’s nerve-wracking to be launching a new project just before getting on a long flight—what if something goes wrong? But I’m not the programmer or the social media manager, so maybe it’s not so bad for me to be out of the metaphorical kitchen for a big chunk of the day.

Back to the 24th of May. On this day in 1844, the first telegraph message was sent from the United States Capitol. It’s also Saints Cyril and Methodius day, venerating the pair who inspired the Cyrillic alphabet and widely celebrated throughout the slavic-speaking parts of the world.

You can see why I feel today is so appropriate for launching a project that has to do with language, communication, and the transmission of media, right?

-Stoya

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Free Time

Belgrade to NYC to Paris to NYC to Malibu to NYC to Belgrade.

There was a feature film, a short film, a Sex Lit event guest starring Joanna Angel, and at least one photoshoot in there. No video pornography yet this year, but… stay tuned.

I’m in Belgrade for the premier of Ederlezi Rising. No details yet on when it’ll be released for general viewing, but… well, everything is stay tuned and jet lag right now.

With eight hours between checking into the hotel and needing to be dressed, I went down to the spa. They told me to come back in a swimsuit. So I came back in a long sleeved crop top and a pair of panties with a cartoon cat on the butt. Nobody said anything to me, but that doesn’t necessarily mean my outfit was acceptable.

Less than five minutes after entering the steam room I met someone who knows First. Randomly meeting people who know First is a regular occurrence for me in Belgrade. If there are more than ten people in a room, one of them probably knows him. I’d have stayed for a lengthy chat but the heat started to get too intense for me.

I managed to while away another hour reading a paper on Emma Goldman and the perversion of the Russian Revolution, sent to me by a follower on ismygirl.com. It feels a bit pompous to charge people a monthly fee to message me, but it’s cut down drastically on the amount of garbage I encounter daily and greatly increased the quality of the messages I actually see.

How the fuck did capitalism put the fun back in the Internet?

Meanwhile, Steve Prue approved my dress for the premier (courtesy of Yang Li, no less) and my press day outfit, so at least I’m not stressed about what to wear. Maybe that’s where all this free time is coming from.

-Stoya

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Sex Lit: Joanna Angel’s Night Shift

Last year we did three editions of Sex Lit—a book club, meeting in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We started with Story of the Eye, continued with The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, and closed with Story of O.

Some books on the list for future events:

Laura Antoniou’s The Marketplace

Nicholson Baker’s House of Holes

J G Ballard’s Crash

Colette’s The Pure and the Impure

Guy New York’s The Island on the Edge of Normal

Henry Miller’s Under the Roofs of Paris

Anais Nin’s Spy in the House of Love

Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands

The next Sex Lit will feature adult performer and porn company owner Joanna Angel’s Night Shift—a choose your own adventure erotic novel. The author will appear for a q&a during the event.

=========================
BOOK CLUB: 2/18
=========================
House of Scorpio
presents
Sex Lit: Stoya’s Book Club
with special guest Joanna Angel
Sunday, Feb 18*, 6-9pm, $20 (limited tickets), 21+ (25+ suggested)
Gemini & Scorpio Loft in Gowanus, BK – see site for address
No PAL or dress code requirement, but HoS Code of Conduct always applies
The body’s largest sex organ is the brain. Come stimulate yours with a rousing discussion of an explicitly erotic book led by pornographer Stoya. Drinking encouraged throughout, and mingling will follow the talk.
Your book for this edition of Sex Lit is Night Shift: A Choose-Your-Own Erotic Fantasy penned by Joanna Angel, founder of adult company BurningAngel and award-winning adult actress and director. Joanna herself is also our special guest for the event! She will participate in the discussion, with Stoya as moderator, and stay after for photos and signing.
Book summary: After graduating college, Taryn finds herself lost and uncertain of what to do next. With a self-imposed friendless and sexless life, Taryn unexpectedly winds up working the graveyard shift at Dreamz, a seedy sex shop. Your mission: in a sketchy world filled with tissues, gallons of lube, sex toys, tiger print, and swinger parties, help Taryn choose her way as she learns what happens in this small, unexpectedly kinky town. From butt plugs to cross-dressing truckers to being held-up at gunpoint over dildos, experience this fun and sexy journey along with Taryn, as she goes from shy and sweet to skilled and empowered— but how she gets there is up to you.
This should be obvious, but: read the book before joining the book club! In this case, the book only gets released on Feb 13, so you may want to pre-order for fastest delivery.

Loop

It was still there, years later. That immediate magnetic comfort. When I did pull away from our hug I didn’t pull away by much. Our faces stayed close together for long enough to wonder if they might kiss me, if we did kiss whether it would still feel like inhaling some kind of balmy cloud. The attraction hadn’t waned at all.

———

I’d thought he might kiss me after the show. I had my arms wrapped around his neck, we were swaying gently, his eyes looked so large because his face was so close to mine. He didn’t.

I’d thought he might kiss me when he came into my apartment. I’d also thought he might kiss me two hours in, with my leg draped over his and my face snuggled into his neck. Finally, four hours after he’d arrived, he kissed my cheek and made a move towards my mouth. I held his head in place with both hands and met his lips with mine.

His tongue thrust into my mouth. I flattened my own tongue against the bottom of his, enjoying feeling so open. Or maybe the feeling was opened. Every muscle in my body relaxed, towards him. I thought “This is the kind of kiss you dream of capturing on pornography.”

He said something about how he remembered that weekend so vividly. I said “What weekend?” and immediately regretted it. I could see in his face that he’d thought I was serious. “I’m sorry—I shouldn’t have been flippant. I remember the weekend you’re talking about relatively well.”

———

We’d spent every possible hour together, outside of work and a wedding. We’d hooked up, had sex, lounged talking with skin pressed against skin. He’d found it romantic, the way I was bouncing from hotel to hotel. I’d felt near-disastrously irresponsible—what gainfully employed adult can’t manage to secure long term housing quickly?

I’d written about it afterwards, around the time I started taking capitalization seriously. It was the first—but far from last—time I zoomed in on the joys of all the kinds of touching that aren’t directly sexual. It was the first time I tried to pen in with words that gravitational pull of ease.

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