The Crush Letter No 16

. 15 min read

Hello Crush,

Happy Saturday to my beloved CRUSH Readers.

I hope that you've all been spending a lot more time outdoors soaking up the summer sun than I have. Becase even though I just returned from a lovely vacation at a Japanese wellness retreat on Long Island, I managed to get myself addicted to the television series Fauda days before I headed out.  (Yes, I just discovered Fauda.) So while "retreating" I actually snuck back to my little ryokan (eg, simple Japanese-style guest house) and BINGED THE SHOW ON MY LAPTOP whenever I didn't have a scheduled wellness sound therapy, massage or beach hike.  And by "snuck" I mean I left shit early.  Faked a headache, faked fatigue, faked everything but an orgasm. To watch Fauda.  Who does that?  Gets addicted to a hydraulic, steroid-infused geopolitical show that holds up a magnifying glass to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict days before heading off to an oasis of Asian calm?  I didn't take my ipad into my ofuro (eg, Japanese-style soaking tub), though. That was the one daily sacred ritual that I did not pollute.  Here it is - I think you can see why.

Okay, enough Fauda. We've got lots to share today so let's get you guys going.

In This Letter  +Solo at the Sex Party. The first in our new series "Reports from the Edge" by Jane Boon.   +BITE. Our new column from Ali Waks Adams, "Post Pandemic Party People," offers the blueprint for a fabulous gathering for friends.  Now that we can.  +F*ck Songs. Evie Arnaude gives it to us. A song that makes her wanna.  +LOVE/SEX/MOON/MAGICK, Lynn Eaton's column "Love Potion No. 9" tells us whether it is ethical to cast a love potion, and how to (if you agree that it is).  +Hook Ups. This time we're hooking up with Barrie Rosencrans, Dharma Yoga Instructor and Spa Director.  +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, listen to & know about this week.

Reports from the Edge: Solo at the Sex Party

By Jane Boon

Edge Play author Jane Boon’s stylish and witty column “Reports from the Edge” offers advice and encouragement on how to escape the bonds of convention, and how to pursue the unexpected and the exciting.

Have you ever wondered what happens at a fetish ball? A Parisian dungeon? A bisexual women’s sex party? A bondage seminar? I have. So, I’ve gone to all of them. By myself.

I tell most people I’m doing it for research, but I’ve learned a few things about being a solo woman in erotically-charged spaces, which is that most people don’t care why you’re there, but they do care that you’re respectful and polite. Of course, they also want you to have a good time. I prefer to watch, and that is acceptable and common. There are lots of first timers in these milieus who just want to observe what happens, and who are there to soak it all in.

Although these evenings might seem mysterious and inaccessible, they aren't hard to find. I've identified many amusing opportunities through, which positions itself as Facebook for BDSM enthusiasts. Don't be scared off by the site's emphasis on kink: BDSM is a broad spectrum of activities, from the mild to the wild. Moreover, it's easy to do a search by city, and then to see what events are happening (look under FetLife's events tab). I've found out about organizations like through magazine and newspaper articles. I follow many on social media, and there's almost always a mailing list to alert prospective participants to any forthcoming parties. My mailbox is filled with unusual possibilities, and even if I don't partake very often, it thrills me to know that others are out there doing outrageous things.

At the fetish ball (found via FetLife), I danced with men half my age and watched some BDSM scenes. I never felt pressured to do anything, and I never felt lonely, there was so much going on. At the Parisian dungeon, I watched the dominatrixes in action and made small talk about restaurants with a random gentleman in a PVC French maid’s outfit. At the bondage seminar, I watched Shibari enthusiasts practice their craft. And at the all women’s sex party -- I was the voyeur, serving the exhibitionists.

Perhaps it’s by dint of age—I’m now 53—but there’s never been any effort to push me beyond my comfort zone, even in the most outrageous spaces. I've gotten offers, sure, but a smile and a “No thanks, I prefer to watch,” is all it takes. The question of consent is taken so much more seriously and clearly now than when I was first visiting these outrageous spaces in my twenties.

Nora Ephron wrote a book about being a Wallflower at the Orgy. It’s a great title and a funny idea, but there’s nothing wrong with going to the orgy and standing back. There’s something exciting about being in spaces where pleasure is prioritized and emphasized. And even if you don’t feel moved to participate, there’s plenty to soak in.

So, if you’ve ever been curious about what happens behind closed doors, open them and step inside! Sure, it can be fun to have a sidekick for an excursion into the demi-monde, but don’t let that stop you if you can’t find a suitable partner in crime. Go by yourself. See how it feels. Enjoy the energy and the outrageousness of it all. Be a gangster for the night, and go. And if you feel so moved, go again, because who knows what could happen the second time around.

BITE.  Post Pandemic Party People

“BITE" is a new, ongoing column by Ali Waks Adams, a chef and pop-up producer from NYC, living life the way it should be in Maine.

By Ali Waks Adams

A bunch of friends are finally coming over to hang out in person—in real time. I’ve been cleaning for…I think a month. There were bras and candy wrappers in the couch cushions, spiders in the corners and quite possibly we found an extra cat that we didn’t know about.

There are several people whose bottom faces I cannot wait to see and so, so many hugs I am dying to give and I am excited to feed all of them.  I am a food = love person, I was born that way, raised that way and have the therapy bills to back it up. It is my mission to feed people and to feed them to the best of my considerable (if I don’t say so myself) abilities.

Planning a menu is like putting together an outfit: You need the basics, then you figure out the combinations and add accessories. A concert tee and tulle skirt works, just like peanut butter braised chicken wings work—but maybe not for every occasion.

My theme for this soiree is a sort of European tapas bar vibe. I think we’ve all had just enough warm, soft, fatty comfort’s time for vegetable crunchiness, spice and crispiness, juicy and colorful and maybe a little bit challenging, unexpected. We need lots of flowers, string lights and pitchers of cocktails and loud energetic music. I’ve designed this menu specifically to allow for easy prep—some dishes are store-bought ready. Easy and breezy…nothing that requires too many fiddly bits. One cocktail, a sparkling wine sangria (plus beer and sparkling water) and platters of lovely things that required very little cooking. The focus here is reconnecting with friends (and maybe a little focus on the Smoke Fish Dip, because it’s that damn good.)

Our Menu

Spanish Olives

Rustic Bread with Herb Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

Sparkling Sangria

Spanish Cheese Platter

Cabrales Blue, Manchego Cheese, Marcona almonds, Guava Paste (Membrillo), Blackberries, Dates, Chorizo + Rosales Rosemary Cracker + sourdough toasts

Smoked Fish Dip*

Steamed baby purple potatoes, string beans, halved jammy egg, endive spears, blanched purple cauliflower, red carrots, artichoke hearts & radishes


Have your Spanish olives and bread with dipping sauce waiting for your guests to arrive. You can buy all of this at your local store. If you choose to make your own dipping sauce, I would suggest pouring two cups of fine extra virgin olive oil in a bowl with Herbs de Provence, or picking an array of your favorite fresh herbs, if that’s how your garden grows.

Sparkling Sangria

Most of the time I am a classic drink kind of girl, I like a martini (Stoli, up dry, twist and olive on the side), a Rye Manhattan, glass of Scotch (Macs or Glens please, sherry aged if you have it, rocks on the side) a margarita maybe, a gin and tonic (half soda, half tonic, please and thank you), but I do enjoy things that are pink and sparkly and I also love a pitcher drink for a party…you can batch out the mixer and when it’s time to refill, anyone can just open a new bottle and pour in the mixers (okay, not anyone, we all have that friend but mostly anyone). Prep ahead of time and put it in the fridge so that it’s ready and waiting for your guests to arrive.

For everything you'll need for the sparkling sangria and how to serve it up, go to the full article here on our website.

The Cheese Plate:

I suggest watching a couple videos online of people making fancy cheese plates and make this beautiful. Place the bowl of our lovely dip on the side of a big platter (with a damp bit of paper towel or paper bag underneath so it doesn’t slide) and pile the veg up next to the bowl in a potato pile, a quartered egg pile, a radish pile…etc. Look for the expected veg in a different color if you can find it…purple potatoes, red carrots, red endive, yellow wax beans, hot pink watermelon radishes—a lot of these can be found at local farmers’ markets, Whole Foods, and Trader Joes. It will keep at least a week in the fridge.

Smoked Fish Dip

This is one of those godsend recipes…easy to throw together at the last minute, super yummy and pretty easy, and it works with almost anything,even if all you have is half a box of club crackers that’ll do just fine, heck even cut up toasted English muffins would work (and may be the next genius level crostini—keep an eye out for that recipe).

If you don’t do smoked fish…fret not, I’ve added two options: A smoky meaty one and a vegetarian one at the end.

For our Smoked Fish Dip recipe, go to the full article here on our website.

*If you hate smoked fish, but like smoky meats, replace the smoked fish with chopped smoked bacon, replace the lemon with red wine vinegar, and the capers with diced pickled jalapeno.

If you don’t eat animals, replace the fish with a tablespoon of miso, a half a cup of crushed smoked almonds, and replace capers with chopped, roasted red peppers and add 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar.

P.S. Makes a FAB omelet filling for day-after breakfast and is also very good on a bagel.

Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck

By Evie Arnaude

An occasional pop-up where we share the songs that make you want to bang. Got one?  Send it to me at

Song Title

“I Hate Myself for Loving You”


Joan Jett

What about this song musically does it for you?

I confess—I debated whether or not to choose this song or Joan’s cover of “Crimson and Clover”, but because the category is “Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck” and not “Songs That Make You Wanna Have Steamy, Sultry Lovemaking To”, I chose this one. There’s simply something relatable about hating yourself for loving someone, because, let’s face it, the feeling generally comes from a place a white-hot passion.

Is there a memory you attach to this song?

Hmmm…nothing I can think of, only the deep—very deep—desire to find someone to grind with whenever I hear it.

Who/what are you thinking of when you listen to this song?

Something hard and satisfying.

Anything else...?

The absolute truth is: Anything Joan sings becomes an anthem for sex. Because it’s Joan Jett, and she’s the sexiest woman in rock ‘n roll.

Love/Sex/Moon Magick.  Love Potion No. 9

By Lynn Eaton

For those of us who have attained a certain age, “Love Potion No. 9” is iconic. The rhythmic beat, the smooth vocals and lyrics combine to form the magickal elixir for an excellent make-out session in the darkened corners of the park—but it’s also a cautionary tale of what happens when a love spell goes sideways.

So, are there really love potions? An elixir to make someone fall in love with you? To make your sex really, really hot? Yes. There are. Aphrodisiacs have been around for thousands of years. Oysters, chocolate, wine to name a few. Wait. Wine? Chocolate wine? Mmmmm.

As a practicing witch, many friends and acquaintances have asked me to weave a love spell for them. Not happening. Too many variables. I cannot make anyone fall in love with you. Well, maybe I could, but it’s not ethical. (Free will and all that…) But there is a plethora of magickal things that you can do for yourself to attract a new love interest. Here’s a simple one, but DO NOT DO THIS WITH A SPECIFIC PERSON IN MIND. It will always go sideways.

Friday nights, ruled by Venus, are the best for love spells. After a soothing bath or a cleansing shower, put on some romantic music. “Something” by The Beatles. “Sexual Healing” by Marvin Gaye. Or anything Barry White gets me all mushy. But that’s just me. You know yourself best. Play that.

I recommend a pink candle for love and friendship. With your fingernail or even a toothpick, carve images or words that represent love to you. It could be hearts, runes, the word love. Anything that symbolizes love to you.

In a small bowl (I’ve even used a shot glass for this!) mix together a small amount of olive oil, lavender, ground ginger and dried rose petals.  As you’re combining the ingredients together, clearly envision what a love pairing means to you. Rub the candle with your concoction while continuing to focus on your intention of attracting a new love into your life.

Calm your breathing. Say these (or similar) words as you light the candle: With this candle, I release my desire for a new flame. Into the Universe, I request the perfect romantic partner to enter my life. I usually add: As I will, so more it be! As you feel the energy being released, allow the candle to completely burn down in a safe place.

Once it’s burned itself out, combine any of the remaining oil and herb mixture with the wax. Put it into a small piece of pink cloth and keep it under your pillow. Release the energy into the Universe and dream sweet dreams of new love!

One more thing: When you are gifted that new partner, remember to thank the Universe for them. Take that charm from underneath your pillow and scatter it into the wind, or into a stream as a token of your gratitude. Blessed Be!

Hook Ups: Meet Barrie Rosencrans, Dharma Yoga Teacher & Spa Director

“Hook Ups” is an ongoing feature to introduce our readers to some of our favorite entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Humorously explain your job.

I help clients “get happy” and feel their best from the inside out.

For how many years?

I have been Spa Director for three years and a yoga teacher for 10.

How important is self-care for a good sex life?

Sexual vibrancy and sexual vitality definitely can be enhanced with a healthy mind, body and diet. Healthy blood, cardiovascular system and skin are all enhanced with great nutrition and physical fitness. Taking care of your body with massages relieves tension, promotes relaxation. Additionally, relaxing your body through meditation and yoga can help you to feel more confident, self-aware and mindful, which can lead to better intimacy and relationships.

Can spa treatments for couples help to build intimacy?

Yes, of course, absolutely they do! Massages during foreplay even lead to better sex! The sensation of the human touch is very sensual, which can even turn to sexual. It depends on where the mind takes it.

Are there any yoga poses that help with good sex?

Yoga is an amazing way to connect with a partner, physically, spiritually and, yes, even sexually. Yoga tones up your body, softens your mind, brings energy force inside, increases circulation, relaxes both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Many poses in the yoga philosophy require the yogi to pull up the perineum muscle, and engage by pulling the belly button to spine upon exhalation. These techniques of inner-muscle engagement strengthen the core of the body. When the inner muscles are stronger the orgasm can be enhanced. One other thought regarding intimacy, yoga is a one-pointed, mindful activity that brings your focus to the present moment, as if this moment was the best moment in the world and nothing else matters. If one can exercise that mentality with themselves, then they can also duplicate the sensation with a partner during sex. True focus in the present moment can make for a more intimate moment.

Best way to reach you?

Instagram @barrieroseyoga or via email I offer private Zoom classes in person classes and all the services at the spa. Visit for more info.

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

Listen. Comfort Eating with Grace Dent. I can not get enough of this British podcast and the host Grace Dent and her very comforting and not so posh British accent. To give you a sense, she starts this first episode of the series by eating toast covered in "fish paste" which she thrillingly (somehow) inhales even though she admits it smells like cat food. The gist of the show is that Dent, a restaurant critic, asks famous people to admit to what they eat "behind closed doors."  She gets nosy. We all know that what you fix for yourself when nobody is watching reveals more about you than what you order "in public."  This will make you feel okay with your own weird shit.

S1 E1: Russell T Davies, screenwriter - podcast
Grace Dent and Russell T Davies discuss love at first sight, recent loss, and how Woolworth’s pork and egg pie is a metaphor for life itself

Read. Kelly James on Why She's Not Remarrying. In the "been there, done that" ledger, I loved this well-written piece by Kelly James in NextTribe on why marrying the man she loves is not for her.

I Love Him But Not Enough to Get Married Again
Kelly James has been there, done that. Now after divorce, she’s happy to have a good man in her life, but not enough for remarriage.

Listen. This story from the Moth. In which a fabulously articulate 53 year-old woman does the online dating thing and meets an unexpected match.

The Moth | Stories | Fragile
Aleyne Larner meets a man 20 years her senior.

Read. D.C. Has Sex Parties Too. And evidently everyone's going.

Inside the D.C. Kink Scene
If you’re in D.C. right now, chances are you know someone who’s been to a sex party.

Read. CRUSH Summer Reading List. Reader Sharon Weinberg curated an exquisite Summer Reading List for us. If you missed it from a previous issue, catch it here.

To take us into the rest of the week end, we can't do better than Bill Withers singing Use Me on SoulTrain circa 1970s. There are better live versions of Withers getting used up, but they don't feature a stage of SoulTrain dancers in circa 1970s bell bottoms. Enough said.  "If it feels this good getting used, then use me up."

Dish Stanley XO,

PS: Socialize with us on instagram, facebook & twitter.

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is a weekly newsletter from Dish Stanley curating articles & intelligence 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. Want the Dish?


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