The Crush Letter No 12

. 10 min read

Hello Crush,

I hope that we find you with a spring in your step this Saturday morning! I am writing from NYC, where I just took a beautiful stroll through Central Park after seeing the Alice Neel exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Honestly, it still feels so new (and nice!) to be out with the world.  And then, wasn't it fun for everyone (except some Lakers' fans evidently) to come back inside and end the week with LeBron James salsa dancing to "Come, devour me again"? (Video below if you haven't seen it yet.)

Welcome, new Crush Readers! The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter with curated intelligence on everything love, sex and friendship. If you're new here, thanks for joining us! I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.

Now that we are on No 12, it has been interesting to see what has taken off. For instance, the recurring column 5 Things That Turn Me On. I started it in No  9 with my 5 Things. Then in No 10 we had a hot 5 Things from Liza Lentini, a writer and editor who is the author of the recent long-form essay on the Indigo Girls here that we loved so much in No 8. In No 11 we had 5 Things from Bob Guccione, Jr, the Founder and Editor of WONDERLUST and the Founder of SPIN and other magazines. And this week we are going to STIR things up with 5 Things from Jane Boon, the author of Edge Play (more on her book below). Hint: it's criminal. Thank you Liza, Bob and Jane! And Crush Readers, we'd love to know what lights your fire, too!

We are DEVOURING more books this week. I could not be prouder (is that weird?) or more excited about sharing Part 2 of our Summer Reading List, put together for us by The Chatham Bookstore owner (and passionate Crush Reader) Sharon Weinberg. The theme is EroticLit, and Crush Readers, from classic literature to emerging writers, it is an exceptional list of masterpieces.  One thing that I particularly love that Sharon has done for us is let herself wander back and forth through time, while focusing her organizing principle on books that offer the most moving, creative, provocative and lyrically written stories. Enjoy!

STIR {it up}

"Criminal" by Fiona Apple. Jane Boon's 5 Things.

5 Things That Turn Me On: Jane Boon

Name: Jane Boon

Is this your real name: Yes.

Occupation: Engineer & Writer. Author of 2020's Edge Play, where 50 Shades of Grey meets The Big Short.

Current relationship status: Married.

Which generation are you in: Gen X.

5 Things That Turn Me On

“Criminal” by Fiona Apple: It’s got a jazzy sound, a throbbing rhythm, and Apple crooning about how she’s “been a bad, bad girl,” and discussing how “a girl can break a boy, just because she can.” The lyrics are dark and moody. They serve as a reminder of how intense love and lust can be, and how much power we give to the ones we love, and how much power they give us, in return.

Paris: I adore Paris. It’s not original, but the place just sizzles. I like the elegance of the city, the fact you can order a Kir Royale just about anywhere, and yet, there’s a dark underbelly full of intrigue. I enjoy the Pigalle, the traditional center of the city’s nightlife. From the Moulin Rouge to the seedy sex clubs, there’s an edge to the neighborhood that counterbalances the propriety and seriousness of Paris’ traditional cultural offerings.

Story of O by Pauline Réage: I remember first spotting the book in the “erotica” section of my local bookstore, along with various titles by “Anonymous.” In my teens, I was too timid to pick up a copy, but in my 20s, I indulged. The outrageousness of the fantasies presented in the novel stunned me, and I was intrigued that the author was a woman who’d written the book as a gift for a lover. The notions of sexual surrender and conquest resonated, and the novel left me eager to learn more.

{Note Bene to Crush Readers: we published a review of Story of O in The Crush Letter No 9 that you can read here.}

Men with really big brains!: I adore intelligence coupled with humor, but only when the humor is generous and not cutting. It’s a pleasure being around people who make me feel like I’m a brighter, faster, more fun and engaged version of myself.

Risky Business: The scene where Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay are on the train in Risky Business is one of my favorites. They get in the car, and the music heightens the anticipation. It feels like an eternity, for them and for us, before the train car clears of enough passengers and the gorgeous pair can begin to get intimate. There’s even a moment where Tom Cruise escorts the drunk man who has been eyeing the couple off the train, and deposits him on a bench and carefully arranges the guy’s coat so he’ll be warm. And then when they finally have privacy, he first looks at his partner reverentially and then with hunger.

{More on Jane Boon's novel Edge Play in our EroticLit Summer Reading List below; order it here.}

Hello, Crush! What turns you on? We are thrilled to introduce you to this recurring column where we share five things that light our fire. We'd love to hear from you! (Yes, you!) If you’d like us to send you a template to fill out, it’s really easy and fun, please email me at You must be a subscriber! (PS you can publish under your alias.)

DEVOUR {things to do, read, see & have}

CRUSH Summer Reading List: EroticLit

Crush Summer Reading List Part 2: EroticLit!

Last week we published Part 1 of our Crush Summer Reading List on the theme of Everything Love. It contained multitudes on love – from friendship to marriage to thwarted desire. Click here to see our "Everything Love" Summer Reading List with brief descriptions/reviews of each book.

Today we give you Part 2: EroticLit – Late Nights and Lazy Mornings.  Like last week's list, this one comes from Crush Reader Sharon Weinberg, owner of the Chatham Bookstore in Hudson Valley, NY.  We gave you a taste of how Sharon got started reading last week, but the following tidbit bears repeating:

"The first time I realized the power of literature was when I spent a happy, if confused, few hours surreptitiously reading my mother’s library copy of  Jacqueline Susann’s “The Love Machine.”  Hard to do better than that classic, but I'll try."  Sharon Weinberg

{Click here to see all of this week's EroticLit list with brief descriptions/reviews of each book on The Chatham Bookstore's Bookshop page, or click thru on each book below to read a fuller description/review of that specific book.}  

Sharon's "Late Nights & Lazy Mornings" Reading List

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos  1989 Pulitzer Prize Winner. The Castillo brothers make their way from Cuba to New York City's dance halls in 1949 to become the Mambo Kings. Their orchestra plays lush, sensuous, pulsing music by night; by day they are laborers. This is an exuberant portrait of the lives of the brothers, their families, fellow musicians and lovers, and their triumphs and tragedies. It recreates a tantalizing world and period in American life.

Scary Old Sex Arlene Heyman  A work of "bliss that lifts right off the page." (Dwight Garner, NYT) A beautiful young art student embarks on an affair with a much older, married , famous artist. A man finds that his father has died while in the midst of extra-marital sex and wonders what to do about the body. A woman goes about certain rituals of sex with her second husband, living with ghosts of her sexual past. This is a stunning, taboo-breaking debut of short stories by a practicing psychiatrist, who gives us what really goes on in people's minds, relatinships and beds.

The Transit of Venus Shirley Hazzard  A literary masterpiece that is considered one of the great English-language novels of the 20th Centurey (The Paris Review). The story of two beautiful orphan sisters who leave Sydney, Australia for London in the 1950s, who experience seduction and abandonment, marriage and widowhood – and whose fates are as moving and wonderful, and yet as predestined, as the transits of the planets themselves.

Fear of Flying Erica Jong  A 1973 publishing sensation that tells the uninhibited story of Isadora Wing and her desire to fly free. After thirty years, it stands as a timeless tale of self-discovery, liberation and womanhood.

What Belongs to You Garth Greenwall  Named One of the Best Books of the Year by more than 50 publications in 2016. An American teacher working in Madrid enters a public bathroom where he meets Mitko, a charismatic young hustler, and pays him for sex. A stunning novel of desire and its consequences, written with lyric intensity and startling eroticism.

Chelsea Girls Eileen Myles   This groundbreaking autobiography by "a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant garde" has been recently republished.  The poet Myles tells her story of being raised Catholic by an alcoholic father, her volatile adolescence and ultimately her riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s New York.  A funny, cool and intimate account of a writer's education suffused with sex, drugs and alcohol.

My Education Susan Choi  Though Regina had been warned about her Professor, nothing prepared her for his exceptional physical beauty. Or his charismatic, volatile wife. This story is an education in Regina's mistakes, which begin in the bedroom.

Edge Play Jane Boon  A universe beyond Fifty Shades of Grey and The Big Short, Edge Play is a novel set in the most elite, fetishistic underground circles of Wall Street mega-power and BDSM.  As the primary character, Amy Lefevre, moves from investment banking to the world of an elite S&M dungeon, she explores obsession and ambition with a fetishist's eye.

The Group Mary McCarthy  A dazzling, outspoken novel about the social history of America between the wars, McCarthy's most celebrated novel follows the lives of eight Vassar graduates through the years.

The Swimming-Pool Library Alan Hollinghurst  An enthralling, darkly erotic novel of homosexuality before the scourge of AIDS; an elegy, possessed of chilling clarity. The story of a young gay aristocrat who leads a life of privilege and promiscuity and an elderly Lord, searching for someone to write his biography and inherit his traditions.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera  A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and his womanizing; one of his mistresses and her faithful lover – these are the two couples whose stories are told in this classic, masterful novel.  An exploration of how lives are as shaped by irrevocable choices as by fortuitous events.

Tipping the Velvet Sarah Waters  Set in 1890s London, the title is a euphemism for cunnilingus – the story is a graphic and lushly told story of lesbian sex against a dangerous and thrilling world of the theater.

Henry and June: From A Journal of Love Anais Nin  From Nin's diaries, this is an intimate account of a woman's sexual awakening, which occurs over a single momentous year in Paris 1930s, when Nin meets Henry Miller and his wife June. Nin falls in love with his writing and her beauty, but begins a fiery affair with him when June leaves Paris for a year.

Call Me By Your Name  Andre Acimen  A sudden, powerful romance blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest on a cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. The novel that sparked a major motion picture.

Brideshead Revisted Evelyn Waugh  The fuel of desire and the impediments to love come brilliantly into focus in Waugh's masterpiece, a novel that immerses us in the glittering and seductive world of English artistrocracy in the waning days of the empire.


Sign Up. Esther Perel's The Art of Foreplay.  Perel is offering a free workshop that starts on May 20th on the Art of Foreplay. Much more than just the immediate wind-up for sex, "foreplay is the energy that runs through a relationship," says Perel. Read more about it in her latest blog here. And read about (or sign up for!) the free foreplay workshop here. Note that she offers a version for those currently in a relationship, and also one for those who are solo.

Go! Or Dream About. The Wonderlust 100 is Wonderlust's Annual List of the 100 Most Exciting Places and Experiences on the Planet. A list as inventive and exciting to ponder as it would be to work your way through, Wonderlust has got everything covered from Miss Wong's Cocktail Bar in Cambodia to Skrova Fishing Center in Norway.

Read. Pearls, David Sedaris Latest in the New Yorker. "After thirty years together, sleeping is the new having sex."

Watch. Lebron Dancing Salsa. In his latest Mountain Dew commercial, LeBron moves to "Come, devour me again," the biggest hit of Puerto Rican salsa singer Lalo Rodriguez.

And for our song of the week, Crush Readers, I'm feeling so very NYC having spent the week here, and so very thankful for you:

May your week end shine like Alicia Keys and John Mayer do here. But really, Alicia, you're lighting us up with this performance.

Dish Stanley XO,

PS I'd love to grow the Crush community so if you like The Crush Letter please pass us on.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from the Dish curating intelligence & stories on everything love & connection - friendship, romance, self-love, sex. If you’d like to take a look at some of our best stories go to Read Us.


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