Episode 1: Midori, Beyond Vanilla Sex

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Want tips for moving from having "boring" sex to good sex? Want to hear about how to be truly connected in sex? Want to have disspelled your misconceptions about kink and those underground urges? Then you do not want to miss this show. In this interview Midori lovingly walks the listener through her journey into kink and the wide world of sex. While at UC Berkeley, Midori discovered the San Francisco underground and her deep exploration led her to a flourishing career. She also had a wild time as a member of the US Special Forces, and you will not want to miss her take on the best use of a foxhole! During the second half of the show, Midori discusses toys, furniture, and accoutrement that take kink to the next level. Hear what she recommends for the basic toolkit for beginning to play beyond vanilla sex.

Transcript

Beyond Vanilla Sex: OneTaste™ Talks to Midori

[music]

Beth Crittenden: Join us today on A Taste of Sex: Guest Interviews as we speak with Midori about the difference between boring sex and fantastic sex and what makes that happen.  We’ll hear about her adventures with Special Forces, and we’ll also hear about the San Francisco sex positive underground, which led her to amazing places in her life.

[music]

Midori: Talking a lot of my fellow soldiers into odd and strange things, and finding a lot of… I’ve got to tell you, the special forces guys are the best.

Beth Crittenden:  The best at what?

Midori:  A lot of things.  A lot of things.  Because they’re not… they’re not by the rulebook kind of guys.

[music]

Beth Crittenden:  Hello everyone, and welcome to a Taste of Sex: Guest Interviews.  My name is Beth Crittenden, and I’m your host for the show, brought to you buy One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco, who has partnered with Personal Life Media to bring you a list of guest lecturers on sensual practices that will open your eyes, your ears, and hopefully other parts of you as well.  Today we’re speaking with Midori, who is an author, and international sex educator.  Hi Midori, welcome.

Midori:  Hey, thanks for having me on the show.

Beth Crittenden:  Our pleasure.  Midori is known for the nonfiction books “The Wild Side of Sex”, “The Book of Kink”, “The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage”.  She’s also known for the sci-fi novel full of steamy sex called “Master Han’s Daughter”.  Midori also teaches internationally, as I mentioned, but locally in San Francisco you can find her often at Good Vibrations.  Midori, thank you so much for being with us here today.  I’d love to speak with you about your approach to conscious sensuality and sexuality, and how your path has gone when it comes to that.  I think our listeners would love to hear more about what kind of gives you the courage to go into these areas, and be really fearless, and true to yourself and your teachings, and bringing people together.

Midori:  Fearless, wow.  Well, that’s one way to put it.  The thing is, ok, I’m a real big dork.  I’m a total nerd.  In high school, I was that foreign student, I’m from Japan.  Foreign student, come over from Japan to the States, and I was clutching my notebook, and I was watching my peers, a lot, with a fascination of an alien academic.  Watching the American high school mating ritual with great fascination, even as my own hormones were bubbling.  So of course I clicked into that kind of analytical, “what’s going on here?” and being a nerd.  I wasn’t dating; I was hanging out with other nerds and talking about what other people were doing.  In college, my hormone kick-in coincided with Berkeley and life at Cal and all that.  I started exploring.  And then I started exploring the sexual underground of San Francisco, which is full of fabulous, artistic, intellectual, sexually fiendish, beautiful people, who of course seduced me and recruited me and dragged me into….

Beth Crittenden: Totally against your will… [laughter]

Midori:  This dark underground.  “Oh no, don’t, stop, don’t, don’t, don’t [laughter]”  Yeah, right, mmm, yeah.  Eventually I ended up getting connected with San Francisco Sex Information: Carol Queen, Robert Lawrence and the various crew there.  Got my training as a sex educator with the San Francisco Sex Information Hotline, around the time that the pandemic of HIV was really wreaking havoc.  So, here I am, just as my sexuality is blossoming, later than everybody else, but probably good for that, because I had my time to grow my brain.  At the same time, sex seemed to have the shadow of death hanging over it.  Nothing seemed right, and I come from a long line of idealistic, liberal, socially-minded, even utopianist women.  My grandmother was a suffragette.  My great-grandmother was pioneer; my mom’s an artist, and making her own way through the world as a professor in Japan. So, you know, what’s a good bleeding-heart liberal going to do?  So, somewhere along the way I realized that I was actually pretty good at speaking about sex.  Instead of doing my boring bureaucratic, downtown job, I had the most frightening experience of chucking it all, and deciding to be a sex educator, which is really scary.

Beth Crittenden:  How long did you go that more standard, expected route before you chucked it all?

Midori:  Oh gosh.  It’s been probably, oh, about a dozen years ago.  So, in my early thirties, I had to make that decision.  Do I want to be a cog in the wheel and have my two weeks vacation, and a steady income?  You know, like in the movie Matrix, when he’s in his little entrance cubical?  Or do I want to?  Do I want to dive into the rabbit whole with the San Francisco underground?  And do I want to speak what felt like a trip, what at that time, and I still believe this, that there’s a lot of unhappiness and there’s a lot of frustration.  I think that, you know, if somewhere in my info-tainment, because that’s what I do… I like to tell jokes and keep it casual, and give them good information, and take home skills that people can use on their sweeties, on themselves.  And somewhere in there, if the little light-bulb goes on, for one person out of a hundred that I’m teaching, I figure I’m doing good.

Beth Crittenden:  What is the… What’s the significance of the light-bulb?  What do you think that does for people?

Midori:  Oh… One of my favorite sayings is Eleanor Roosevelt, “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”  And well, you know, candles are a bit retro, so let’s go for the light-bulb.

Beth Crittenden:  Halogen light.
Midori:  There you go.

Beth Crittenden:  What was your first sexual adventure?  You mentioned while you were at Berkeley kind of dipping into the underground.  What opened the door for you?

Midori:  Mmm… let’s see.  Actually, some of my wildest adventures were when I was in the Army.  Yeah, I was in the U.S. Army.

Beth Crittenden:  For how long?

Midori:  I was… short periods of active duty and reserves for eight years.  But, I remember talking a lot of my fellow soldiers into odd and strange things, and finding a lot of… I’ve got to tell you the Special Forces guys are the best.

Beth Crittenden:  The best at what?

Midori:  A lot of things.  A lot of things.  Because they’re not by the rulebook kind of guys.  Yeah, so there I was, and actually still in college because it was a weekend exercise, and I’m on a field exercise.  We dug a bunch of trenches and all that, full-field exercises.  It was raining and we had a set of little shelters along with the foxholes, and I ended up in the middle of the night, between a couple of Special Forces guys.  Now the problem is, morning, ok, we’ve got to like, scoot, before we get caught.  All the pants look the same, all the pants.  All three pants were the same kind of camo…

Beth Crittenden:  Oh, what’s a girl to do?

Midori:  I know.  So that was fun.  That was a load of fun actually.  Well, during my college years, actually, sex was pretty boring.  But, sex in the military was exciting because here were a bunch of people that I hung out with, that were willing to break the rules within the structure.  And, also at the same time, I’m coming over to San Francisco and discovering sex parties and things like that.  Yeah, college sex… college was nineteen-year-old boys, first time away from home.  Hello… they haven’t an idea at all about how to touch a girl, much less quality cunnilingus.  So, no, that was boring.  But the rest of it?  That was fabulous.

Beth Crittenden:  If you had a message, if you had three things you wanted to tell those nineteen-year-old guys that just hadn’t got a clue what to do with a woman, what would be the top three things you’d tell them?

Midori:  Ok… your tongue and hand is far better an asset than your cock can ever be.  One.  Two.  Learn how to use a vibrator while you’re having sex with her.

Beth Crittenden: Multitasking?

Midori:  Yes, the vibrator is your friend, not your competition.  And, put her on top, and let her do the moving and figure out how she likes it.

Beth Crittenden:  Oh that’s great!  I wish someone would have told my partners that early on.  Nice.  And so you teach adventurous sex classes.  So what do you think defines the difference between boring sex and then rule-breaking, mind-blowing sex?

Midori:  Let’s see.  Trying to do things like you see them in porn, or how you read them in one-handed reading… that’s, that’s bad… you know, because that’s fiction.  So boring sex, boring sex is where you’re doing what you think women like, or you think men like, as opposed to actually paying attention to what your partner likes.  So actually paying attention as opposed to going on myth and expectations.  Great sex can happen in two minutes, or two days.  Duration has nothing to do with it.  But it’s about how much you’re willing to actually connect.  And you can actually connect really deeply with a complete stranger.  That’s hot.

Beth Crittenden:  Nice.  Did you find that, in your personal exploration of wonderful adventurous connected sex, that there were a couple of key people who moved you along the way?  Or was it a collection of lots of different people?  What was necessary for you to really step into this and own it?

Midori:  What was necessary was my being ready for it.  And I’m sure there were some amazing lovers that came my way, and I’ve probably had great sex with them, but I didn’t learn anything from it, because I wasn’t ready.  On the other hand, my own readiness allowed me to learn about sex, and my pleasure, and my limits even from bad sex.  So, you’ve got to be ready for it.

Beth Crittenden:  And do most of the people who show up in your classes seem to be ready for it?  Or what’s the percentage there?

Midori:  Whole mix, whole mix.  There are some people who are extremely well-adventured, and very self-aware.  And then there are the nervous beginners.  And then there are people who are know-it-alls, that haven’t a clue.  So, a whole wide range.  And there are people that, hell, I can learn from, and I’m stunned that they’re in my classes.  I mean, no, no, no, you come here, you teach me.

Beth Crittenden:  What is it about those people that kind of gets your attention or let’s you know that they’re in that category?

Midori:  A relaxed smile, some tidbits of information, or maybe I’ve just seen them fucking. [laughter]

Beth Crittenden:  So do you… how much do you get out of watching, versus doing.

Midori:  Oh loads.  I’m a very visual creature.  I’m an artist, and I do insulation art, as well as my word art, when I’m writing fiction, is very visual as well.  So I feed off of the visual, and I’m often inspired by that.  I love erotic art, I love art that is erotic to me, but the world doesn’t necessarily think of it as erotic art.  I think Rodin’s my favorite.

Beth Crittenden:  What’s erotic about Rodin?

Midori:  The stunning musculature, the bravery in which he portrays the body moving in contortion, whether in pleasure or anguish.  He conveys passion beyond the structured discipline of figure study.

Beth Crittenden:  How do you take care of you body?

Midori:  Oh, I don’t.  I’m horrible.  I’m absolutely horrible.  I travel all the time, so the extent of me taking care of myself is asking for low-fat food on the airline dietary provisions.  Oh no, I’m awful.  And, on top of that, I love not just adventurous sex, but adventures of eating, so if I haven’t tried it, I’ll try it.  Heck, I’ve even… I even like poi and scrapple

Beth Crittenden:  I think on that note, we’re going to go on our first break, and support our sponsors.  When we come back, we’re going to hear more on your take on kink, especially for women who have interests that they haven’t fully explored yet.  Thank you, Midori.  I’m Beth Crittenden, your host of A Taste of Sex: Guest Interviews.  We’ll return shortly.

[commercial]

Beth Crittenden:  Welcome back, Midori.

Midori:  We’re back.

Beth Crittenden:  We’re back, and we are live.  We were speaking before about your path towards sexuality, and sensuality, and why Special Forces rock.  And now let’s, let’s get more into the steamier side.  I’d love to hear your experience with kink, and in sexuality, and what works for people, especially for women.  To be able to bring their fantasies to life.

Midori:  What I’m finding out there, is that the general interest in what would be considered kinky sex is totally growing.  And I think that has to do with the sophistication of sexual information that’s out there.  It’s no longer the era when people talk in hushed tones about oral sex.  You know, of course there’s oral sex.  And it better be quality.  And, you know, people aren’t shocked by sex toys anymore, and I think the time is right in the world for people to look at their fantasies and actualize it.  And there’s been enough social awareness and individual work, at the greater social level, as well as the individual level, that people are comfortable with separating fantasy from the fear that inner monster would take over them.  So fantasy role-playing, cops and robbers, tie up little spank girl, shagging, yeah and people are less concerned that that’s some sort of reflection of inner dysfunction, and they really see it for what it is, which is fun.  And the time is right for that, and people want information on how to do that lovingly, and with compassion, and passion, and to do it safely.  And classes and books are becoming popular because of the stage in social and sexual development, and women owning their own bodies, finally.

Beth Crittenden: Yes. Other than the worrying about the inner monster taking over, what are some other misconceptions that you think people have about starting to actively practice kink?

Midori:  I think they’re worried that they’ll no longer enjoy what’s called vanilla sex, which is not true.  I think of kink as… you’re adding… you’re adding a repertoire in your recipe, in the kind of restaurants you like to go to.  Let’s say you like Italian and French, and you’ve never had Japanese, it’s very exotic.  If you add Japanese, and we go through a phase of doing Japanese all the time, right?  Does that mean you turn your back on the Italian and French?  No. No, now you like Italian, French, and Japanese, so what next?  Let’s try Laotian food, some Polynesian food.  So, it becomes a part of your repertoire, and I think some people get worried, “Oh, if I try a little bondage, I’ll never appreciate good, righteous fucking like I did before.”  Not true.  So that’s a myth.  Another myth is that “Oh my god, I’m going to turn into some psychotic weirdo.”  Again, not true.  What is true, however, is you will need a bigger toy drawer.  So that little tiny shoe box under the bed with the cheesy plastic vibrator?  Go for the foot locker.

Beth Crittenden:  Gotcha.  I think our listeners are ready for it.

Midori:  Kink sex is, well accessorized sex.  It’s sex with a lot of aftermarket toys.  Yeah.  So if you’re into your toys, oh my god.  And some of the kinky sex furniture that’s available out there? It’s great.

Beth Crittenden:  Where do you… Where do you find things like this?  Where do you like to shop?

Midori:  Stockroom.  It’s a really good online shop, it’s long-time reliable company.  So Stockroom and Good Vibrations.  Good Vibrations for the quality vibrators.  Or the kinky toys and some of the more exotic sex furniture, I go for Stockroom.com, they’re great.

Beth Crittenden: What do you mean by exotic furniture?

Midori:  Oh, let’s see.  They have this rocking chair, where if you were sitting on the rocking chair, and there’s a little handle where I would hold the handle and pull the handle and push the handle, and you would rock back and forth.  Except when I pull and push there’s an opposite levered device that will thrust the dildo of your choice into you with each rock.

Beth Crittenden: Oh, how considerate!

Midori:  So, I could put you on the rocking chair, with the dildo of your preference, then I can sit on your lap, and operate the push-pull mechanism, and it’s simple mechanical.  And then I can sit on you, you can fuck me, while the chair’s fucking you, and we can slide, and glide back and forth while it’s thrusting deep into you and you into me.  That’s pretty nice.

Beth Crittenden:  Thank you for that recommendation.  We might need to get one of those here at One Taste.  Thank you.  What’s a good starter kit for people?  What do you think are the basics to get people going?

Midori:  Basics.  Let’s see.  A good blindfold.  A good blindfold that’s comfy on the eyes, if you wear contacts or sensitive eyes, you can get ones with padding around it.  Comfy blindfold, the fuzzy wrist and ankle restraints.  And if you’re a vegetarian or vegan they come in vegan friendly form, absolutely.  That’s good.  Really good lube, really good lube.  Let’s see, there’s some bondage things. I would actually invest in one of those wedgey pillows, because you can change your position on that.  The rest of it’s going to be directed more by what kind of kink and fantasy direction you take.  So if you want... if you’re thinking a little more toward sensation and spanking, maybe a very soft, little leather paddle.  Whereas if your fantasy is more about being somebody’s sex slave, or having a sex slave, maybe something more symbolic like a collar.  Yeah.  Or let’s see, here’s kinky.  Video recorder.

Beth Crittenden:  Oh, yes.

Midori:  Yes.  Be your own porn star.  That’s kinky.  See, kinky isn’t just about say spanking and bondage, kinky is anything that… here’s the difference, Playboy is vanilla, Penthouse is kinky.

Beth Crittenden:  Oh that’s good, yeah.

Midori:  And, it’s the thing that you would not tell your neighbors.  And you might not tell your… anyone but your best friend.  So kinky can be making your own sex video.  Kinky can be, yeah, you know, you’re… you’re well into your middle age with a couple of kids and all that, and kinky is having sex in the back seat, when you haven’t in twenty-five years.  Yes.  Kinky is arranging, pre-arranging a peeping tom.

Beth Crittenden:  Oh

Midori:  So, ok, you’ve been together for ten years, right?  You’ve seen each other, all that.  But what if you end up being the peeping tom through that hotel room?

Beth Crittenden:  Possibilities are endless.

Midori:  All sorts of kink.

Beth Crittenden:  Do you find that your students most often practice at home together?  Or do they go out somewhere to explore?

Midori:  It depends on where I’m teaching.  Now, in places like San Francisco, lot of my students are pretty sophisticated.  But in other places maybe they have less outlet for it.  So it does depend.  It also depends on the venue.  If I’m teaching in… teaching in a place like well, like one place, then I’m going to be teaching to a different audience.  So it’s all over the map.

Beth Crittenden:  And, is there anyone who you think is ruled out of this?  Like they just are not candidates for it?  Any type of either work situation or some sort of personality thing that would make them not a candidate for it?

Midori:  You know, I haven’t encountered anyone like that.  There are people that are harder than others to teach, and harder than others to open up, but just by the fact that they’re willing to come to a class, means that they’re ready for something.  They may not be ready for what the person sitting next to them is, but they’re ready for something and they deserve quality education.

Beth Crittenden:  Thank you for providing that education.

Midori:  You’re welcome.

Beth Crittenden:  You teach weekend intensives.  One is called a Women’s Sensual Dominance and the other is Rope Bondage Dojo.

Midori: Oh, the weekend intensives are very popular.  In March I’m brining my Rope Bondage Dojo back to San Francisco.  It’s a two-day intensive on finding pleasure through rope.  And connecting… I teach the how-to-tie stuff as well, but the central message is being fully present, and how to use the rope as an extension of your arms, your legs, your desire, and how to seduce, and encircle, and create passionate scenes, whether loving, or cocooning, or rough and tumble.  And it’s for a weekend, and a lot of intense, technical drills, as well as exploring ones own potential for strength, either side, whether you’re tying or being tied.  The Women’s intensive is about finding one’s erotic power.  And it is about… it’s a compassionate weekend of actualizing a woman’s sexual power, and her erotic tigress within.  And I, everything from the basics, but I use an archetypal based exercise to help individual women find their own style, and I give lots of practical information in between.

Beth Crittenden:  And do people usually choose whether they’re going to be tier, or tied up?  Top or bottom?  Or do they go back and forth?

Midori:  Oh, in the weekend dojo, everybody goes back and forth.  Everybody goes back and forth.  It’s just like a martial arts class, you don’t just learn how to throw a punch, you learn how to get thrown on the mat.  It’s very egalitarian, actually, that way.

Beth Crittenden:  Great.  What’s something that you have thought at some point in your life?  Oh my god, I would never try that, and then you did.

Midori:  I think I’ve had a few of those.  Right now I’m finding myself weirdly fascinated with sexy clown make-up.  And I’m really…

Beth Crittenden:  Wow

Midori:  To tell you the truth, I’m really disturbed by this.  I never though I could find women in clown makeup sexy, but I went to this burlesque club in Sydney, Australia called Girlesque and these two women that go by the stage name of Sex and Glitter… hot bodies, saucy performers, and they do these, just, twisted, vaudevillian, clown strip tease, and they’ve gorgeous bodies, and they have such a prankster… they’re really pranksters, they’re sexual pranksters,  yeah, I honestly never thought I’d find that sexy, and I’m still working it out, as you can see from the look on my face, I’m kind of still challenged by that, yeah.

Beth Crittenden: [laughing] Great

Midori:  So, there’s always something new, always something new.

Beth Crittenden:  Wonderful.  I want to tell our listeners about the something new opportunity you’re going to be providing for them on February 3rd.  It’s your bang for the buck event, where women have an amateur strip contest and cheer each other on, and get to learn from pros how to strip, and how to feel great in their bodies.  Do you want to tell us about that?

Midori:  Oh my god.  Bang for the Buck, third year, total success.  It keeps growing, we do one party in San Francisco, that’s February 3rd, and another party in Seattle, February 18th.  Hundred percent of the proceeds goes to my AIDS Lifecycle fundraising.  And here’s the lineup of the event.  First off you get a free strip lesson for butches and fems from Indigo Blue in Seattle, she’s a fabulous burlesque teacher.  Followed by a two hour, competitive, high action, high volume, exciting, amateur strip-off.  And all size, all age, all experience level, and it’s competitive, and I do this at a sex-club, the Citadel, so no holds barred stripping, and all the tips goes to AIDS Lifecycle, but we have tons of prizes for the raffle from fabulous, fabulous sponsors like ID Lube, who’s also providing the lube wrestling vid, the Pleasure Chest, and Good Vibrations, and XPeeps, all these guys.  Really fantastic prizes and so, ladies come show up and cheer, wildly cheer, and really encourage women to discover just their inner sexiness and shake it, shake it everywhere.  And… or step up on stage and just shine.  And after that is the sex party.  Oh yeah, and in between, I do Aunty Midori’s Meat Market.  Aunty Midori’s Meat Market is if you’re looking for some action, whether you’re single or you’re in a pair and looking for a third, fourth, or temp, that you come on up, and I introduce you to the audience.  So I might ask you “What’s your name?” and, “What’s your favorite sex position?” and “What’s your sex talent?” and oh my god, one year we had this exciting one, where this woman said, “I’ve never… I’ve never kissed a woman and I’ve always wanted to, and I’m just coming out, and I… I might be bisexual, I might be gay… and… hi” and she came up and I said “Alright women, I want whoever’s willing to give her the righteous lesbo kiss off, line up.”  And like a dozen women lined up, one after the other and just like kissed this woman while the entire audience… we’re talking 150 to 200 women… so what I would love for the women out there to do, is dress up, come wear you sexy ass things, bring your dollar bills, come ready to play.  This is… this is a women’s event.  All orientation welcome, and you know, if you’re a little shy about the sex-party part, that’s all right, just come for the strip off, my dj too. 

Beth Crittenden:  Thanks.  And men, sorry you can’t attend that one.  You’ll just have to send your love and get the turn on when she comes home.

Midori:  Send us your women. You can send them off. Gentleman, you can send your ladies off to my party, but under the condition that they can re-enact everything they saw.

Beth Crittenden:  There you go.  Getting the temple in their body.  So if you would like to support that you can find out more information at PlanetMidori.com  And you can also sign up under Midori participant number 9029 on the AIDS Lifecycle website.

Midori:  Oh, and the party information is at Bang4theBuck.org  And that’s the number 4 b a n g number 4 t h e b u c k dot o r g

Beth Crittenden:  Great.  Don’t want to miss it.  So Midori, before we wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to add.

Midori:  Oh my gosh.  Hey, I’m all over the net, I’m on LiveJournal and MySpace, so listeners please stop by, say hi.

Beth Crittenden:  Great, thank you so much for being with us today.  My name is Beth Crittenden and I’ve been your host of A Taste of Sex: Guest Interviews.  To get text or transcripts from this or any of our other shows, visit www.personallifemedia.com  Please do email us your questions or comments.  We’d love to get your feedback at [email protected] You can also find out about One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco by visiting www.onetastesf.com  We’ve been speaking with Midori today.  Fantastic author, international sex educator, and just beautiful woman in general.  Thanks for being with us and take care.

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