Monthly Archives: April 2010

Memory Tapes: Best Make Out Music–Ever!

Make out music genius: Memory Tapes' Dayve Hawk

While Venus in Heels might be a relationship-centric blog, I think that there is a total intersect between music and love. I mean, c’mon! Most of the tunes that dominate the airwaves —or your headphones—are sonic tales of love, lust, loneliness, and desire. That said, I figured I’d use this opportunity to turn you on to one of my current favorite artists: Memory Tapes.

This dreamy project is the brainchild of reclusive New Jersey-based multi-instrumentalist Dayve Hawk, who has a knack for creating nostalgic dreamscapes with languid beats, wistful guitar strums, and layered synth tones that are simultaneously  beautiful and achingly melancholy. Since first hearing Hawk’s ethereal tracks late last year I haven’t been able to stop listening. Memory Tapes’ arresting debut Seek Magic consists of eight delicate yet dynamic tracks that bleed seamlessly into the next, making for a different kind of listening experience—one which can easily feel like a transcendent musical haze. rather than a typical headphone sesh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve idiotically missed my subway stop while being fully immersed in this album.

Memory Tapes is not only a great listen, but it’s even better make out music. There’s something inherently romantic in the drowsy keyboards and heartbeat-like percussion, and the lyrical content on songs like “Bicycle,” which recalls a tender yet naive coupling. If you’re searching for some new music to lock lips to, or just something to rock out to, why not try Memory Tapes on for size.

What’s the Temperature of Your Sex Life?

Photo by Diane Arbus

It goes without saying that sex is an integral part of any healthy relationship. But after watching this week’s intimacy-themed episode of Tough Love Couples on VH1, I was completely blown away by how many people (on the show and beyond) are dissatisfied with the all-important sexual component of their partnerships. Some of the couples never have sex (one boyfriend described his sex life as “ice cold”), and one very unlucky woman has never experienced an orgasm—which is not surprising seeing as recent studies report that around 10% of women have never had one. The bottom line: when the sex isn’t working there’s definitely larger issues at hand.

The sex-related problems of these televised twosomes range from trust issues and infidelity to communication and the understanding of each other’s unique desires, but something that struck me as odd was the fact that the couple dubbed the “Dramaramas,” who notoriously fight dirty, were the pair with the most successful sex life. Funnily enough, my boyfriend and I thought that comical title would be most apt for our own love story. While we are both lovers, we are also fighters, but this seems more like a personality thing rather than a fatal flaw—if you ask anyone they’d describe both of us as opinionated hot heads.

"Tough Love Couples" cast members, courtesy of VH1

In some cases though, frequent verbal sparring might be covering up for something lacking in the bedroom—I am always telling people that if I’m not fucking, I’m fighting—or it’s an indication that perhaps the romance is over and it’s time to move on. But honestly, I am really convinced that a healthy dose of conflict helps to keep you interested. Love and hate are so closely linked, and when you get your tempers enflamed it’s hard not to get all fired up, if you know what I mean. They didn’t call it “hate sex” for nothing.

While fighting isn’t a solution by any means, it is a good gauge for seeing the dynamics of a relationship. It forces you to ask questions like, “is there enough fire here to maintain this?” and “what exactly is the glue that’s holding us together?” If there’s still love and attraction between a couple the conflict most likely stems from sexual tension—I know this from experience. And, in reality, if I find myself in a situation with someone where all we do is fight and everything about them annoys me (which seems like the case with the couples on the show) then it’s obvious that there’s nothing left but animosity between us.

I did find myself in this situation with my ex-boyfriend of three-years. It became apparent that I was using him as a placeholder until I could come up with a better plan, or find a better man. It got to the point where the thought of having sex with him would literally turn my stomach (why did he always smell like sweaty balls?), and we would maybe see each other once a week for an awkward dinner outing and a chaste goodbye kiss in his car. When I finally broke it off with him, he was so blindsided it was painful for me to watch, but ultimately I knew that neither of us were growing or moving forward and I, myself, was far from happy.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that I think everyone benefits from taking action. Whether this means taking positive action and making an effort to love and respect your partner in a way that will make you both happier, learning to communicate what you both want so you will spend more time satisfied in the sack than fighting it out verbally, or to stand up and address what you truly want and need and if your needs aren’t being met then leave, dammit! It’s like what a wise man once told me, it’s better to be alone and happy then with someone and miserable

Quote of the Week: Rachel Shukert

photo courtesy of Guy Bourdin

Where do we draw the line between empowerment and objectification? It’s a wonderful feeling to be validated for our beauty and sex appeal, but it’s easy for men (and women) to take advantage and exploit this inherent need we have to be adored and admired. Writer Rachel Shukert wrote a great piece about this very subject on, in which she shares her own questioning of whether vanity is really worth the emotional and possibly harmful repercussions. Here’s a great quote from the piece. Enjoy!

“[T]he moment I put my very human craving for admiration in someone else’s hands is the moment I lost what was worth admiring.” –Rachel Shukert

Please read her interesting take on female objectification on

Photo of the Week: Girl on the Motorcycle Redux

"Girl on the Motorcycle" redux. Image courtesy of Jacques Magazine

Question of the Day: Can You Forgive A Cheating Heart?

Is kissing NOT cheating? Can you forgive a cheating heart?

Cheating is a huge no-no in relationships—that goes without saying. But are there forms or different levels of cheating that are more forgivable? Many people believe that kissing is not cheating, or like on the most recent episode of VH1’s reality relationship show Tough Love Couples, a “harmless” rub-and-tug with the boys doesn’t constitute  adulterous behavior. We all have our own moral code, and different rules for fidelity, but if the tables were turned and you were the one who was cheated on, would you be able to forgive your partner? What would be forgivable cuckquean (or cuckold) practices and which things  would you not be able to get over? Is your partner’s sexual trespass harder to forgive than an emotional affair? Where do we draw the line with cheating, and what to you really constitutes infidelity?

Highways and Bi-ways, Part I

Girl-centric photography courtesy of Helmut Newton

If you were to ask me my sexual preference, my immediate reaction is that I’m straight. I have always envisioned spending my life with a male companion, having children in the traditional—but non-suburban—fashion, and getting old with a partner who will most likely need to pop a few little blue pills to get his ya-ya’s out. But underneath my straight girl exterior is a steaming libido for the tender touch of a woman. I would never deem myself a full-time—or even part-time—dweller of the Island of Lesbos, but I have had my girl-on-girl moments that, to me, felt far more serious than some people’s bullshit Liberal Arts college experimentation or feigned fantasies about lip-locking and cherry lip gloss.

In my wild high school days, I was always stealing kisses from girls. But not in the misogynist-centric Girls Gone Wild sense. It was never for shock value, or to say I did it, or to carve another notch on my proverbial bedpost. I have always acted on instinct, and what feels good to me at the time—an urge that has given me many colorful experiences, but has also caused me to hurt people and made me question whether I was living my life selfishly. But, as they say, no regrets. It’s all just free love, right?

In college I met Aja.* We were fast friends at the lame fashion school we both attended in downtown San Francisco. She was a half-Jamaican, half-Filipino firecracker with a pervy older boyfriend, and an energy that just made me feel warm whenever I was around her. While everything seemed very innocent at first, soon she was showing me explicit photos of her and her boyfriend’s raunchy sexcapades—cum shots, amateur blow job photography, and penetration snaps that would make even the jaundiced editors of Penthouse magazine blush. While I was majorly turned off by the very female-unfriendly subject matter of the photos, and the up-close-and-personal angles of my newfound friends, Aja was always a great friend and clothing construction mentor, who would help me sew and draft patterns when my extreme dyslexia took over.

One night everything changed. It was the evening before Easter Sunday, and she wanted to come over to give me a brand new sewing machine and help me with my sewing homework. I think we had to make a vomit-worthy poet blouse and I was getting stuck on the gathered Shakespearian-like sleeves. She arrived at my house in a circle skirt and cropped sweater, all of which she had made and altered herself. She wasn’t wearing underwear. We quickly got to setting up the machine and sewing my blouse. Afterwards we rewarded ourselves with a joint out on the back porch. I began to sense something in the air, like the thick tension when two dogs are about to fight or when firecrackers ignite in the muggy summer night sky. There was a perceptible shift, and it felt imbued with heavy masculine energy.

Photo courtesy of Photo Forum

Once inside she pounced on me. I was surprised but part of me just intuitively knew she wanted me. Aja was not a gentle or experienced lover of women. So accustomed to pleasing her porn-obsessed boyfriend, her touch was rough and her jabbing motions were incongruent with my soft form. Since I knew I wouldn’t find pleasure at her hands, I took over. I figured that if I knew what I wanted I could translate that to her unique urges and then guide myself from there.

In my experiences with men, I find great satisfaction in taking on the roll of the pleaser. But with women I find it to be an otherworldly thrill that moves my body in ways that I had never even fathomed. Watching her get-off was something I had never experienced with men. Their selfish whimpering at climax, and hair-grabbing moves never do much for me, whereas the giving-and-getting of pleasure with women is a mutual treat that has a different ebb and flow that is more wave-like and less like a rocket launcher.

Aja and I spent a few more warm spring nights discovering each other’s bodies and staying up all night laughing. I cut her off when she mentioned that her slime ball boyfriend wanted to join in our innocent fun. I didn’t want his grubby paws anywhere near me or my newly discovered sexual identity and autonomy. I think that is also the reason why I come back to—or dream of—being with women: there is so much inherent power and magic in finding arousal without the presence or aid of a man. And while Aja fucked like a man, she was all woman.

* Names have been changed.

Threesome, Anyone?

Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in the movie "Performance" indulging in a little group fun.

Super Sexy Tip of the Week

Maggie Gyllenhaal, courtesy of Agent Provocateur

With Mercury in Retrograde until May 11 it seems like everything that can go wrong most definitely will. Volcano, anyone? If you’re having a long string of bad days, try mixing things up by wearing your best lingerie on a banal-seeming weekday. Donning a little Agent Provocateur under your business casual will spice up your workday (how can your spirits not be lifted when wearing seductive underpinnings?) and it will also help get you in the mood for an inspired mid-week romp in the sheets. Consider this the antidote to your mid-week sex slump and a cure for the Retrograde blues!

Date Like A Hunter: Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move

Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt.

Over a remarkably great pizza dinner last night in Brooklyn, my girlfriend and I talked about the two distinct types of lady daters—those who pursue, and those who prefer to be chased—and how this all ties into rejection, or the fear of it.

Being part of the former category myself, I find that in dating I pretty much always get what I want. I would encourage all women to try their well-manicured hand at pursuing, if only just once. Being the hunter-dater (even just for one night) is empowering, rewarding, and an instant ego-boost. I quickly learned that rejection is less like being turned down and more like not being a right fit; like a pair of too-narrow vintage snakeskin heels or that practically child-sized Herve Leger dress that just ain’t gonna fit! Remember, rejection is what you make of it. When actually faced with rejection—which rarely happens the way you’d think it would—I would consider it to not be an end-of-the-world dramatic situation and something more along the immortal lines of the king of the compulsive daters, Mick Jagger. The notoriously salacious singer—who most likely never experienced rejection—famously sang: “you can’t always get what you want/but if you try sometimes you might find/ you get what you need.” While this might seem trite or cliche, following this as your mantra will help you see the benefits of being romantically rebuffed, and to view it as a way to weed out the people who aren’t right in the first place. Like a biological imperative where if two single people don’t share that intangible pheromone-driven instant attraction to each other, then it’s just plain and simply not meant to be. Darwinist dating, anyone?

In reality, women rarely get rejected. This is something that us ladies really need to recognize. Because, let’s face it, men have an extremely hard time saying no to the mighty va-jay-jay. Unless you have a peg-leg, or some kind of flesh-eating disease it’s almost guaranteed that you can make a successful move on a man—given that he’s flashed you those telling signs that he’s game for a rendezvous, and isn’t gay, taken, or celibate. Men are transparent, easy-to-read, and pretty much defenseless when an attractive woman offers up the possibility of sex—because in the mind of a man that’s what all this courtship/dating hoopla eventually leads up to.

Armed with the knowledge that the rejection percentage is in your favor, some of the fear related to asking a dude out should diminish. While it’s still nerve wracking to put on the moves, there are some sure-fire signs to detect whether he’s feeling you. If you’re in a bar or group setting, ask yourself a few questions: has he’s been buying you drinks, or has he been attentive to you most of the night? Are there other girls around that he has been ignoring to talk to you? Has he touched you? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, or feel a spark of interest on his end, I would totally go for it. For example, it might seem silly, but even a seemingly innocuous tap on the shoulder or playful punches on the arm can equal an implied sexual tension that you can capitalize on. Playfulness usually translates as unactualized interest. Like the whole notion of why characters in Shakesperian plays fought so much amongst themselves: sexual frustration. Think of these love taps as a phenomenon that harkens back to our elementary school days when the boys would chase the girls around the playground, hurling insults and pulling at our perfectly coiffed hair or pulling at our pink garden party dresses. This was merely a primordial—and brutish—stage of flirtation. Men, and boys alike, have a hard time coherently expressing interest sometimes, and if you can locate the signs or have an intuitive sense of when a man is vibe-ing you sexually, you have the advantage and I would whole-heartedly encourage you to maximize on this.

Perhaps one night you should take this hunter-dating mentality out on a test drive just to see what it feels like, and to see if your inherent guy-sense is working or not. Remember, dating is like anything in life, the more you do it the better you get. If anything you’ll have an exciting time honing your hunting, er, dating skills.