The Crush Letter No 28

. 15 min read

Hello Crush,

Well it's been a doozy so far, this fall.  

I was too stunned to write last week about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to consider (eg, not to block) Texas's weird, restrictive law banning abortions.  Too close in time, too shocked, too upset.  Here I am writing a love-positive/sex-positive newsletter for a modern midlife audience, and right here right now in 2021 women and girls in the State of Texas are being thrown back to an unimaginable era where the government is controlling their bodies, choices and lives.  The weirdest feature about the law (structured to avert legal challenges) is that random people (who don't even have to know the pregnant woman and don't even have to live in Texas) could be rewarded by going to an online site set up to report the names of people who facilitated a termination - medical workers, uber drivers, etc.  And the one thing that gave me hope in this whole stunning, horrible development was the younger generation on tik tok, who propelled a fusillage of fake reports on the NARC site, shutting it down.  A minor victory, but it was reassuring to see.  Brooke Hammerling covered it in depth in her Pop Culture Mondays newsletter 9.7.2021 edition.  I just have to share one of the tiktokkers (in case you need it as much as I did).


It would be a shame if TikTok crashed the website. Real shame.

♬ Sure Thing (cover version) - Trust issues🖤

And now that I've gotten that out of my system, we've got another full Letter for you this week with a lot of fun and positive stories about love, connection, friendship and sex.  It's good, there's a lot of tv and a lot else, and I hope you enjoy it.  

If you're new here welcome!, I'm Dish, the Master of Ceremonies. For more about me and why we're here go here.  We bring stories and intelligence on friendship, love & sex in midlife to your inbox Saturdays to make your week end better.  To read the pieces our CRUSH community has loved the most go here.  To subscribe (we'd love to have you and everyone you love) go here.

In This Letter.  +Reports from the Edge:  Kinky TV.  PrimeCrush columnist Jane Boone, who was an “Extra” on Showtime’s Billions, gives us her inside take on its BDSM culture.  +F*ck Songs.  Crush Reader Christian Pan gives us a song that makes him wanna.  It's something new on us, I'm thrilled.  +Extended Encounters.  In her series exploring the magic in long-term relationships, Lisa Ellex speaks with a couple who have a 42-year running “no bullshit” policy. +DEVOUR.  What to do, read, watch, listen to & know about this week.  Read Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins. Reviewed by Lady Varity.  +Our Song of the Week.  The sun goes down, another dreamless night.  {Make sure you check this one out.}

Reports from the Edge: Kinky TV.  By Jane Boon

Our columnist — an “Extra” on Showtime’s Billions — gives us her inside take on its BDSM culture.

The perviest show on television is starting up again: Billions on Showtime. Its fifth season got interrupted by COVID, but as of September 5th, the second half of the season will be airing. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s basically a dick-measuring contest between Bobby Axelrod, the high-flying founder of a very successful hedge fund, and Chuck Rhoades, the Attorney General of New York. These men loathe one another, and every season features a new battle between the two, and new victims of their narcissism and ambition.

The show is very smart, slinging finance and game theory lingo around at a rapid pace. What it also does is offer one of the most nuanced and unexpected depictions of BDSM on television. Chuck Rhoades is an unrepentant sexual submissive and masochist.

I became a fan of Billions even before it aired. Several years ago, I took some improv classes in a bid to loosen up my public speaking style. My classmates were mostly young actors, eking out a living in New York, and some of them worked as background actors for TV. I was curious, and I love playing dress-up, so they told me how to find similar work.

Although I enjoyed period pieces—which meant wearing dresses from the 19th and early 20th centuries—even more, I loved fetish work. If some TV show or movie was shooting a BDSM scene, I always applied. And sometimes, I was even chosen. The chance to wear a corset, boots and gloves was irresistible.  

In September 2015, this meant I found myself at a nightclub in Brooklyn that had been transformed into a BDSM dungeon. The show hadn’t aired, but I was familiar with the lead actors, Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis. Since background actors are only slightly more important on set than furniture, we were all waiting quietly, slouched in our fetishwear, to see what would happen. Would the depiction of BDSM be laughable, as is so often the case, or something else? When I realized it would be Paul Giamatti who would be down on his hands and knees on the club floor, I breathed easier. The scene
would be interesting. To see someone with as much personal power and charisma portraying a submissive? The writers of Billions had made some fascinating choices.

That dungeon scene was in the middle of the first season. The first episode, however, began even more forcefully. We find Chuck lying on the floor, bound and helpless. He’s being tormented by a mysterious brunette who singes him with her cigarette, and then, to soothe the burn, she pisses on him. At the end of the episode the identity of the dominatrix is revealed, and it’s Chuck’s wife, Wendy.

What the show demonstrates is that for Chuck and Wendy, kink is basically a proxy for the health of their relationship. When things are going well between them, they get freaky together and they both take enjoyment from it. They understand one another, and their trust is deep. When their relationship is strained, Chuck seeks other outlets for his pervy inclinations, or hectors Wendy into topping him, when she’s really not feeling it.

We see what happens when an interest in kink is asymmetric. Chuck needs it. It’s an essential part of his erotic diet. Wendy? Her wiring is different. When their marriage falls apart, Chuck begins doing overnight sessions with professional dominatrixes to satisfy his cravings. His interest in kink is heightened, and he permits himself to pursue really hardcore kinds of play. And when he is threatened with being outed as a kinkster during a political campaign, he leans into it, and fesses up, practically basking in the public

Billions offers both a how to and a how not to of kink. Chuck is an obsessive and single- minded kinkster. He doesn’t respect his partner’s limits, and in a few instances, he doesn’t seek consent when undertaking a scene. The show also demonstrates how kink and its many flavors of play can be part of a healthy, hot and dynamic relationship.  

I can’t wait to see what the show does with Chuck and Wendy going forward. They’re going to be tortured by the writers for the sake of our entertainment, and that kind of sadism works great when you’re at home, on a Sunday evening.

Songs That Make You Wanna F*ck. By Christian Pan

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

Song Title

"Dead of Night"


Orville Peck

What about the song musically does it for you?

Orville's voice is smooth and sexy like brand new leather. He doesn't sing, but seduces, and his croons are rich and textured like the best of Roy Orbison and Elvis, only more mysterious and queer.

There's a vastness to the musical space of “Dead of Night”, and when I listen to it I feel like Im driving through those vast open landscapes in the Southwest. The lyrics seem simple at first, but are filled with subtle but distinctive double-entendres. Altogether, the song and how Orville sings it is utterly sensual and sexy, like your lover whispering directly into your ear while you try to keep your eyes on the road behind the wheel of your car while speeding through the darkness sometime before midnight.

Is there a memory you attach to this song?

It reminds me of the first time I met my lover, who introduced me to the song and this artist, and who spent childhood summers in Wyoming.

Who/What are you thinking of when you hear this song?

This song always reminds me of kissing my kinky librarian. :)

Anything else…?

I'm road-tripping to Pittsburgh next month to hear Orville live at the Roxian Theatre. I can't wait to see him and hear him in person!

Thank you to Crush Reader Christian Pan for sharing this exciting (new to me) artist.  Christian writes original & custom erotica for people "who like porn containing a plot."  Follow him on insta @christianpanerotica.

EXTENDED ENCOUNTERS: “Nadya and Bohdan.” By Lisa Ellex

In her series exploring the magic in long-term relationships, Lisa Ellex speaks to a couple of 42 years on their “no bullshit” policy, and what else keeps them happily fishing together.

“I want to spend time with him.”

In reflecting on the life partner choices of myself and many of my friends, I have
formulated my very own social theory. I refer to it as “The Pancake Theory”. Next time you make pancakes, notice how the first one doesn’t turn out quite as well as the ones to follow. This is a fact of my own scientific research.

There are, however, a fortunate few whose first pancake turned out fine. In fact, it
turned out extremely fine. It’s worth finding out how. So I asked Nadya and Bohdan. She teaches yoga and meditation, he is an electrical engineer. Each morning before her husband’s commute, Nadya wakes at 4 a.m. so that she and Bohdan can “chat, laugh, and sip coffee together” until she sees him off to the 4:30 a.m. bus and readies for her own work day. When I marveled at her sacrificing sleep for this selfless act of love, Nadya responded, “I want to spend time with him.”

They first met 42 years ago in a youth group of a Ukrainian church. For the first seven years, Nadya thought of Bohdan as “just one of the guys” and they enjoyed a relationship as close friends. Then came the night of the Halloween party. Bohdan
attended with a blind date. Nadya showed up solo.

“Bohdan’s date was not having me at all. After some time she asked, ‘Are you going to be here for the rest of the night?’ I said, ‘We’re all friends here,’ and with that, I turned to Bohdan and said, ‘I'm going down to the ladies room. Those stairs are dangerous for someone who's had a few drinks.’ Without missing a beat, he asked, ‘Would you like me to walk you?’ So we went downstairs and, like a gentleman, he waited for me. When I exited the ladies’ room, he smoothly backed me into the wall. I started talking, babbling, out of nerves. He put his hand over my mouth, not touching it, and said, ‘Shhh. There is no need for words,’ and planted our first kiss.

After college, I embarked on my career in television and it was really taking off. Suddenly, Bohdan saw this ‘girl’ from the youth group in a whole different light and it was a lot for him to handle. One night we were on the phone and he asked, ‘Why do you want to date me? Your life is so exciting and you know all these people.’ I said, ‘Because you’re nice.’ Bohdan manifested at a time in my life when I was surrounded with people who didn’t know who they were. I thought I would live a single life but when he came along with his kind and authentic heart, he broke through.”

Of Nadya, Bohdan says, “She’s the most dynamic woman I have ever met. As we were dating and becoming more (emotionally) intimate, I realized there were a lot more facets to Nadya than just the obvious. And it helped that we had a deeper connection by meeting through the youth group. When I was going through personal struggles in my academic life, she saw me through the stresses of it. But I really knew it would work when I discovered she liked fishing. Though we spent most of our dates fishing, it wasn’t about fishing. It was about being together and spending time in a natural setting. I felt a shift happen.”

Peeking in on this union so chock full of blessings, I wondered which aspect of their relationship they cherish most. Bohdan quickly responded.

“Honesty. How we communicate and how we resolve issues. Without that, it’s hard to have a marriage. There is no hiding anything from Nadya. She always knows if something is wrong. ” Nadya continues. “There is no bullshit with us. We say anything to each other and not hide our feelings, not hold back. We’ll talk about whatever it is and come up with strategies. But what I cherish most is our connection. Whether we are separated or together, we are each other’s home base. That the universe has gifted me with this man is beyond my comprehension.”

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

Remember that now we're doing a monthly "extended" DEVOUR column with a comprehensive list of everything you'd want to know about.  So that's coming at you next week, but we always have a thing or two I have to share right away.

Read.  Swan Dive: The Making of a Rogue Ballerina by Georgina Pazcoguins.  Reviewed by Lady Verity

Not your pink tutu ballerina in a pink musical jewelry box, Pazcoguin’s memoir provokes with some serious titillation. Readers might raise their eyebrows (whether with interest or dismay) when she describes her stint dancing naked on stage in a revival of Oh! Calcutta!’s nude pas de deux. Rehearsing with her straight male partner, she says, “boners happen.” She gets turned on while dancing and admits, “I got aroused at times, too, but it’s not like I was dripping on the floor.” Indeed, male ballet dancers are hot, embodiments of prowess that resemble the
physical ideal -- like classical Greek statues come to life. Pazcoquin describes the sexuality sans sensuality (most often) of some of the dancers’ relationships: one-night stands, drugging and drinking, partying and blackouts. Lest readers miss the point, she recalls smoking weed in Christiania, Denmark’s hippie enclave, and dining on potentially lethal blowfish in Japan.

Swan Dive doesn’t view the world of New York City Ballet dancers through ballet-pink colored glasses. It’s more like a minefield planted with constant fat-shaming and snarkiness, world class jealousies and cutthroat competitiveness. Dancers wait in the wings for their compatriots to slip up or sustain injury so they can pounce on a coveted role.

Walt Whitman famously observed that people contain multitudes. This might explain the telluric undercurrent of malcontent in the memoir. Georgina climbs the professional ballerina ladder of success, then turns around and complains about the ladder. She’s irked that star roles go to blondes because that’s Peter Martins’s “type.” She reveals that Martins is her abuser and clarifies in an asterisked footnote that the abuse is not physical but psychological. She accepts
parts he choreographs for her, for example, the role of nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and later objects to what she notes are humiliating moments like having a dancer reach into her bodice to retrieve Juliet’s note -- why not speak up during rehearsal? She says, “I knew voicing my displeasure about being harassed onstage would be viewed as ungrateful.” She arrives at the conclusion: “the nurse is finally like Fuck this shit, when she takes the note out of her dress dead center stage so he won’t touch my boobs.” If she weren’t a dancer, she could double as a rapper. Every expletive known and then some are wodged onto every page.

Ballet lovers should read this memoir. It’s a look behind the red velvet curtain and a primer on what it takes to get ahead. It’s also a primo example of how hard it is to write a memoir in an authentic voice if you’re not writing it yourself. Pazcoquin acknowledges her assistant, the writer Paula Balzer, who has a “brilliant mind” and “absorbed her voice.” No matter the writer, a new ballerina memoir is always reason to rejoice. It’s a welcome read for ballet enthusiasts and those little girls of long ago who once dreamed of becoming ballerinas.

Watch. The Fall TV Line-up.  I don't watch anything over the summer, so I'm particularly excited for this Fall's series line-up. I was trying to keep track of airing dates myself so I thought I'd pull this together for you.  I know that I'll be bingeing for days & nights & days ... I'd love to hear what you'll be watching, so please consider taking the poll at the bottom of this Letter. Thanks!

Billions Season 5 (Part 2) Just dropped.  Trailer here.

The Morning Show Season 2 Apple TV - Airs Sept 12.  Trailer here.

Scenes from a Marriage HBO - Airs Sept. 12.  When this miniseries directed by Ingmar Bergman first aired in 1973 it was considered a very frank look at how love, marriage and sex unfolds for one couple over a 10 year period.  This HBO remake stars Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac and is directed by Hagai Leve, a co-creator of The Affair and In Treatment, so we know that he does this kind of emotional terrain very well.  Trailer here.

Sex Education Season 3.  Netflix - Airs Sept 17.  Trailer here.

Seinfeld The entire library.  Netflix - Starting October 1. Trailer here

Succession Season 3.  HBO Airs - we have to wait for October.  Trailer here.

Help Us Test Sex Toys/Products, So We Can Recommend What Turns You On.

Want to Test Sex Toy/Products For PrimeCrush?   We Need You.  

Remember our DEVOUR piece from Letter No 6 about arousal gels?  (Reprinting it below, in case you missed it.)   Given the feedback on that (and other articles we have run on vibrators), we want to expand on our recommendations with more products and more testers.  We are looking to put together a CRUSH group that we can reach out to when we line up something to test.  You can be solo or partnered, need to be 40+, won't pay for any of the products and must agree to fill out a survey after testing on the timeline that meets our publishing dates.  Your "real name" will never be published in connection with a revew.  You will have to indicate that you are "conflict free" and have no financial interest in the companies whose products we test.  Interested in learning more?  Please email me at  Thank you!

From the Crush Letter No 6:

Arousal Gels, Babe. Arousal gels for women have been piling into my ad space lately, so I ordered three from natural brands I trust: Dame Products, Simple Jane and Foria. They all feel good (not at the same time!), amplified the feels, made me tingle, heightened the experience and felt more "organic" than a lot of lubes (but they don't replace lubes).  Here's my quick take: I like them all, but Temptress from Simple Jane and Awaken from Foria both have CBD in their formulas (and I really liked that). Temptress (with CBD) has a spicy/clove smell that was perfect for a cold night (and, let's be real, also has the best name). Foria's Awaken (with CBD) had a subtler taste and smell (and I preferred that on a warm night) (and Foria has a version called Pleasure that also has THC in it, which I'd like to try but couldn't get). Dame Product's straightforwardly named Arousal Serum had the most tingle, my favorite smell and taste (mildly minty) and is the least expensive (and if you prefer it without CBD, this may be your pick). Pro Tips for all of them: start with a very small amount because the sensations can be strong. And they might take a few minutes to rev up (especially the CBD products).

Song of the Week.

Dead of Night by Orville Peck. Thanks to Crush Reader Christian Pan submitting his F*ck Song, I learned about the enigmatic and talented Peck (a pseudonum).  He's a country/alt rock musician based in Canada with two albums out, Pony (2019) and Show Pony (2020).  He always wears a fringed mask and has never shown his face while performing, including in his live performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2020.  When asked about his identity and mask, the Peck told Carena Liptak of the Boot that he has played a lot of musical genres and when he started playing country, with the full mask and cowboy hat, he found that he was making his most honest music.  The mask, he said "helps eliminate pretense, and this idea of having to go onstage and perform as someone or something I'm not."  He goes on "I think that's my only agenda now, is just forcing myself to be as sincere as possible ..."  Read more about Peck here.  Enjoy -

Happy, happy fall everyone.  What will you be watching?  Want to see what the rest of the PrimeCrush community will be watching?  

Take our poll here!  Thanks so much.

Reminder that next week we run our Extended DEVOUR section with what you want to do, read, watch, listen to & know about, so you won't want to miss it.

Dish Stanley XO,

The Crush Letter
The Crush Letter is Dish's weekly newsletter on everything love & connection in midlife - 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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'Merci'! to Emily in Paris for one of the most riverting women in pop culture "Divorce, Baby, Divorce" by Liza Lentini "Don't Touch My Hat.*" Midlife Men & Loneliness "This is a Tale of Modern Love ..." 2022 2024 Hit List 3 things I'm crushing on 5 Books to Help You Chill TF Out 5 Great Boutique Hotels Around NYC. By Jeanne Bosse 5 things that turn our crush readers on A Book That Could Unf*ck Your Relationship: I Want This To Work By Elizabeth Earnshaw. Reviewed By Angela Kempf. A Circle of Crones. By Elayne Clift A Roman Love Affair. By Lady Verity A Turntable and a Candle: F-ing Classics About Face: Skincare Essentials for Men An Upbeat Playlist for the Divorce-curious And I Wondered ... Do We Really Need A SATC Reboot? And Just Like That... Who Are These People?? By Jeanne Bosse And so this is Another brother gained and lost. By Jeanne Bosse Anything But Dull Ask Dish Bedtime Rituals for Couples. By Lauren D. Weinstein Bisexually Anxious Among the Noodges. 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