The Help Desk: Erotica tips from a bag of hair

Do you need a book recommendation to send your worst cousin on her birthday? Is it okay to read erotica on public transit? Cienna Madrid can help. Send your Help Desk Questions to

Dear Cienna,

I know you're not that other Seattle advice columnist, but here's the thing: I used to read those Nancy Friday books about sexual fantasies all the time. They're, like, the hottest things ever to be published. Now, mostly, I read dirty stories online, but those confessional fantasies remain a kind of bedrock of my sexual imagination.

I'm kind of hooked on this idea of confessional fantasies, and my appetite for them is never ending. I've tried writing dirty notes on Reddit (okay, seriously, Dirty Pen Pals can get pretty steamy, but you have to fend off all the "A girl? A girl? A real girl!?" bull crap.) And, frankly, I have a relationship and I'm not looking for another, I just want to hear other women's dirty inner thoughts. Any suggestions on where I can go to find material?

Nancy, Friday Harbor

Dear Nancy,

Fortunately for you, I still have sandwich bag full of that other advice columnist's hair – a charming remnant of my career as a journalist. Mostly I wave it around at strange homosexuals in bars to prove that I am an ally or use it as bedding for spider nests, however, your question has left me at a loss for weeks now, so I decided to ask the hair.

(Some people will scoff at asking a sandwich bag of old hair for advice but put a microphone in front of it, get it talking about chemtrails and I dare you to tell it apart from popular radio commentator Alex Jones.)

While that Seattle advice columnist is best known as a gay man, only his close friends and family are aware that his hair was proudly lesbian in the late 90s, when these clippings were harvested and bagged. The bag of hair says the problem with female confessional fantasies on the internet is that they're often poorly written and, as you've discovered, are either geared towards the male gaze or interrupted by men. The bag of hair says you should give lesbian romance novels a try – they're written by women, for women, and feature female protagonists focused solely on female pleasure.

Here are a few popular suggestions: Silver Wings by HP Munro, Fated Love by Radclyffe, and Keepers of the Cave by Gerri Hill. And if you want a titillating nonfiction book centered on sexuality and the porn industry, a la Nancy Friday, the bag of hair suggests you try Talk Dirty to Me by Sallie Tisdale.