Jun 172015

It’s still surreal to say. I’m published. My nameEpiphora. On the pages of a book. Followed by my words — about dongs, no less. It’s not something I’ll be showing to my high school journalism teacher at his retirement party next month, but that doesn’t make it less meaningful. In fact, this book is a special sort of validation of my work as a sex writer.

My mom already made me order a copy for her — and sign it.

Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1 was edited by Jon Pressick, whom interviewed me flawlessly for his Sex City Radio show last year. I submitted several pieces for consideration: “The 2 Weeks of My Sex Life I Lost to Zoloft,” “My Vagina is a Black Hole,” “What Should We Call Sex Toys?”, and “A Day in the Life of a Sex Toy Reviewer.” Pressick chose “What Should We Call Sex Toys?” and, thankfully, allowed me to edit the colloquial and irrelevant bits out. Turns out, some stuff you’d write in a blog post sounds really weird when you imagine it in a book.

I still stand by every point I make in my piece, though, about how cutesy terms like “pleasure objects” and sterile ones like “marital aid” should be thrown out in favor of the classic “sex toys.”

I do not believe that, as Shakespeare famously wrote, a sex toy by any other name would feel as good. Call something a “dong” and nobody will want to put that inside themselves.


Here’s a video, which was shown at the book’s Toronto launch party, of me reading my piece as it appears in print. I suggest you watch/listen to it instead of reading my original blog post, because the edited version is more articulate (although Cleis Press did let me keep the phrase “that’s kind-of shitty”) and also I’m cute.

If you ever run into me on the street and happen to be toting a copy of Best Sex Writing of the Year, Volume 1, ask me to sign it. I’d love to be E.L. James in that moment.

Purchase this book at Amazon, GoodVibes, CAYA (Canada), or She Bop!

Check out reviews of the book on Live and Let LovePeep’s Scoop, Lynsey G, and Horny Geek Girl.

  • gqbrielle

    Wow, congratulations!

  • shels

    Oh, Epiphora, you are just the best! I recently got this book, and reading was fun, but hearing you read… priceless! So great to see you in this collection, where you absolutely belong.

  • Lia Heavvymetalqueen

    Congrats! You deserve it 😀

    you are very cute and I’m deadly jealous of your reading out loud skills. I always trip into my own tongue when I’m reading out loud!

  • Congratulations! Once again you’re spot on and also you’re cute as fuck.

  • Spangle

    I love how you visibly shuddered after saying “dilly.”

  • Congrats Piph–what an accomplishment! I love your piece and the video (you are the cutest), thanks for sharing it! Also, I just ordered the book…will you sign it?! 🙂

  • Oh, you know, maybe… if I find time in my busy schedule. 😉

  • AceDenise

    Congratulations, you deserve it!

  • FieryRed

    I spent a ridiculous amount of time downloading and uninstalling shit to try to solve the problem of not being able to play this video. Whew – my video problems are solved now, thanks to your being published! 😀

    I’m really glad they published your piece. It must be a great feeling, and I think what you wrote is very important to our society. I, too, think the choice of words is important and meaningful, and can have farther-reaching impacts than we might expect. (This is one reason I cringe every time my U.S. Gov’t prof refers to “gay marriage” instead of “marriage equality,” or at least “same-sex marriage.”) Hopefully this book will be read far and wide!

  • Awesome…Congratulations my friend. 🙂

  • FieryRed

    Ps. I am totally with you on “dong.” Always hated that word. Just sounds like a cheap, smelly, toxic, overly “realistic” piece of crap that would be best used for beating on home intruders.

  • Dannicula

    Congrats on being published! Must be a great feeling!

    I love that you managed to use your video opening again 🙂 (Though seeing the Ella reminds me to tell you that it appears to in fact be discontinued all over, specially in Canada).

    I am 100% with you on “dong” btw. When I hear that word, I think “bong”, and while I don’t think that’s a bad thing, it’s not something I want in me, thank you very much. It sounds like some frat boy terminology somehow. It’s gross.

  • CrystalTippedWings

    Nice speech, I really enjoyed it. I like how insightful your opinion was in this. 🙂

  • CrystalTippedWings

    Just wondering, is there anything about toxic toys in there? Or is there anyway for you to make suggestions for what they should put in next year if they continue? It’s just that as important as being able to talk about sex openly is one of the main things that stood out for me the instant I started learning more about sex toys was safe sex. Not just in regards to sexually transmitted diseases through direct, vanilla sex (I guess I could call it since ‘regular’ doesn’t really fit) or rather the sex between two people that people talk about but rather safe sex in regards to toys, safe sex in regards to the different type of lubes, even the different types of condoms that wouldn’t work with different lubes, safe sex in regards to toy sharing. I read a post about someone using someone else’s sex toy then putting it back unwashed and laughing about it, imaging it was themselves having sex with that person next time they used the toy. Such a story made my skin crawl, made me feel sick at the implications of what such toy sharing could do to the unknowing victim. Not to scare people but as much as I think sex toy awareness and the ability to talk about sex is important I also think ‘safe sex’ in all forms, toxic toys and otherwise is important or rather they are just as important as each other. The ability to comunicate openly and the information people desperately need to protect themselves and stop them from making innocent mistakes from misguiding advertisement or the wrong advice in sex stores.

    Ahem, that turned into a bit more of a rant than I meant to and I really do appreciate the many steps forward or influences this book will bring, basically what I meant to say or suggest was that it would be nice if someone like Dangerious Lilly could write about sex toys and toxic safe toys and safety. Because as one of those people who were almost caught out by toxic sex toys if not for a timely intervention by reading Lilly’s blog, I really feel that ‘safe sex’ in all forms, especially sex toys for those who use them is important.

  • squeeeeeee!! congrats! 😀

  • Maddy

    Oh my god at the end I thought a dildo floated by but then I realised it was your cat’s tail! Heh. Lovely video!

  • I think you’re misunderstanding what Best Sex Writing of the Year is about. It’s not a comprehensive sex ed guide. It’s more for making people think than educating them explicitly.

    Of course someone could totally write about toxic toys in a way that is less prescriptive, but the book relies solely on submissions. They can’t publish something if someone doesn’t submit it.

  • I love that your first thought was dildo.

  • CrystalTippedWings

    Hmm…I see that makes sense. ^^ My apologies these days whenever I consider something informing about sex toys I automatically don’t consider it complete unless it warns about toxic sex toys in some way. Of course as you said information is not what the books about so thanks for clearing that up. 🙂

  • CrystalTippedWings

    Actually that was exactly what I thought as well. XD I was actually wondering if you were using a dildo as a stress ball/toy for a second before you ended up showing both hands a moment later. XD Also now that I know it’s a cat tail my mind immediately jumps to an image of a cat tail but plug o.o …… Well it’s obvious that we have sex toys on the mind while listening to the video at least. XD

  • Lovely video..I enjoyed it.. One more thing I have also read ‘My Vagina is a Black Hole’ in this blog and also enjoyed it.

  • Tzipora

    Congratulations! I’m a writerly type and dream of being published and hey, I LOVE Cleis Press so much. I write lesbian erotica for fun, the kind of erotica I want to read without euphamisms and where sex is fun and playful (we are of the same mind, sister!) And I’ve been thinking about submitting to them. I know while I’m proud of what I write there’s a little part of me just like the little part of you that while completely unashamed about sex and what we write, that little part in my head will go “it’s not a literary story” or whatever. Or I too think we’ll, this isn’t what I’d be showing my professors and teachers. But seriously how many people try for decades to publish anything? So woot! Major congratulations!

    Secondly, I’ve so been saying your name wrong along (and I’ve been a long time sporadic reader although I’ve only recently made my first few comments and am reading more regularly) because as you can see I have a semi-unique name that doesn’t look so far off from yours. I was losing a ‘P’ in there and making your name rhyme exactly with mine. Oops. But wow your name is beautiful and I love the way it sounds! And hey at least your name doesn’t start with a Hebrew letter that has no direct English equivalent leaving many to not even attempt to pronounce it the way mine does. Lol. But I have sort of a favorable bias to you because of our name similarities, not gonna lie. 😉

    Thirdly, you are adorable and I love your curls!

    Fourth, keep rocking on with your badass published self! I’m totally gonna pick up a copy of the book too. 🙂

  • Tzipora

    Oh I third this! That’s immediately what I thought too. Then I thought it was just your hand. So feline fail then? Well, its a shame you didn’t mention the word pussy in your list of annoying euphamisms because well, there’d be an irony to the cat tail then. And I only use the word pussy when attempting to make awkward jokes about cats and vulvas but anyway, this was all funnier in my head.

  • Thank you so much! From one weird name to another.

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