San Francisco lovin' - Page 4

The pros and cons of sex and romance in the city by the bay

Liberally mix together a world of sensory delights, a spirit of reckless abandon, beautiful exposed bodies everywhere, sudden sandstorms that send you scurrying into the nearest tent or trailer, countless peak experiences, exposure to a myriad of lifestyles and communities, and 40,000 people with time on their hands, goodwill in their hearts, and lust in their loins, and it's no surprise that people end up hooking up left and right. This place oozes sexual energy while stripping away our emotional defenses and leaving us exposed to Cupid's arrows.

Pros: Whatever you want, it's here, often with no strings attached. When people come back from the playa all blissed-out and saying how it changed their lives, that's usually not just the drugs talking. People do things they wouldn't do in the everyday world — and then they do it again and again. And if you follow the sound advice of veteran burners to leave your expectations at home and just be open to the experience, then you're also in the ideal place to not just get laid but truly find love. Believe it or not, I know of lots of lasting, loving marriages between people who met on the playa.

Cons: All the things that make Burning Man so conducive to sex and romance can also create problems. People get emotionally splayed by the often overwhelming nature of daily life on the playa. They're vulnerable to everything from small slights that get exaggerated to the predators who invariably exist in any town. Couples get tested. Singles can at times feel lonely and desperate. Everybody has a few hard mornings after. And as a practical matter, dust gets everywhere — and I mean everywhere. (Steven T. Jones)


The Bay has a long and luxuriously twisted history of female sexual empowerment, full of Brights, Queens, Dodas, Califias, Blanks, Chos, and other sparkling heroines of don't-do-it-and-die philosophy — some of whom have gone on to become heroes, even. The two major, classic phalanxes of gyno-horno-positivism to have arisen from the mists of all that groundwork are the Lusty Lady and Good Vibrations. The Lady, currently a worker-owned stripper co-op, has been baring a broad variety of intelligent, worldly-wise physical types for almost 30 years, and Good Vibrations, a women-centered chain of erotica shops that offer a plethora of workshops and training sessions for both women and men, has helped make vibrators the Tupperware of the new millennium. Despite the ubiquity of silicone enhancements and Girls Gone Wild antics in today's culture, the Lusty Lady and Good Vibrations try to keep it real by focusing on the pleasures inherent in strong, natural femininity. In an era when guys are being forced like never before to question their physical attributes and sexual virility, thanks to size-queen porn and erectile dysfunction spam, the gals — who've had to deal with that kind of shit forever — may have a bit of an upper hand, self-image-wise, thanks in part to these two affirming San Francisco institutions. Not that it's a competition.

Pros: Lusty Lady's the best place to take your gay friends for a fabulous girls' night out. Everything I know about labias I learned from Good Vibrations.

Cons: I have to hand-wash all my plates because my dishwasher's usually full of Good Vibrations dildos. I have to hand-wash all my clothes because I spend all my quarters in the booths at the Lusty Lady. (Marke B.)


Right up the Peninsula from Silicon Valley, we find ourselves in techie heaven. Most of the global advances in online technology burst first and foremost from our fertile area. The bust and boom that locked the Bay in a violent coital grasp in the early '00s exhausted us, but Web 2.0's got us all atingle again. This time we're sure we won't make the same mistakes. We'll keep it social, we'll keep it personal. Most of all, we'll keep it sexual.