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How does this "Fifty Shades of Grey" sandwich teach us about spanking?
2012 was provocative for the Sexy Feast column, with sex and food colliding

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Top 10 Sexy Feast Sex Lessons for 2012

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How does this "Fifty Shades of Grey" sandwich teach us about spanking?
2012 was provocative for the Sexy Feast column, with sex and food colliding with popular culture, politics, and pleasure in a presidential election year. As a sex educator and food writer, I like to look at the connections between sex and food, sometimes seeing both in a different way. The column takes food porn to the next level by taking me to one restaurant each week, where I try to figure out what one dish (or one aspect of the restaurant) teaches us about sex.

In the past year, I've been lucky to look for sexual lessons at restaurants from the likes of Columbia City Ale House to the Coterie Room, Roxy's Diner to Rainier BBQ, and Restaurant Zoe to Zippy's Giant Burgers. My eating experiences have led to stimulating lessons about deep-throating, escort services, breast implants, threesomes, squid vibrators, sex and Seinfeld, and much more.

Here I present (with links to the complete column) my top 10 Sexy Feast picks for 2012, each asking the weekly question: What does each restaurant teach us about sex?

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10. Blind Pig Bistro Is Where You'll Want to Fondle Your Food

Blind Pig Bistro in Eastlake makes my list, as it was one of my favorite new (to me, as it opened in late 2011) restaurants of the year. Diners' eyes constantly check the menu board, where I was captivated by a cuttlefish dish that led to a lesson about cuddling:

Some say that women prefer the afterplay of cuddling to sex itself, while men see cuddling as mere foreplay. Humans have natural need for touch. While American women can get their touch needs met with each other (there's less taboo about holding hands in public, for example), homophobia is more strongly at play for men. As a result, many men are touch-deprived, and quickly equate touch with sex. ("She touched me...she must want me.") But I believe that as much as sex can be spectacular, a lot of men like the cuddling afterward, even if they don't admit it.

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9. LloydMartin Tempts with the Come Hither Motion

LloydMartin in Queen Anne also makes the list as it's another restaurant I heartily recommend as one of my new favorites. With sex perhaps too much on my mind, I misread the menu one night I went, and a garlic pork sausage dish led to a lesson about fingering:

Unless you're perfecting the "come hither" motion that lends itself to G-Spot stimulation, most women prefer stimulation of the clitoris instead of the vagina. Fingering can also refer to stimulation of the anus, an activity that both genders can enjoy and find arousing.

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8. Marination Ma Kai Sweetens Life with Cool Sex

West Seattle was lucky to land the newest restaurant from the folks behind Marination Mobile: Marination Ma Kai. I look forward to returning in the summer when it will be warm, making the deck a perfect place to enjoy another shave ice, which this year led to a lesson about incorporating ice into sex play:

Similarly, you can bring the coolness of ice into your sex play. You can suck on some ice, a la a lollipop, tempting your partner with the promise of later oral pleasure. Or you can use ice as a contrasting complement to the warmth of erotic massage, running it from shoulders to butt, swirling the inner thigh, or pinpointing erogenous zones like the back of the knees or the nipples. And then there's the application of iciness to the genitals. The cold can simultaneously shock and stimulate, especially when countered by something warm, like the mouth.

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7. Collections Café Serves Up a Lot to Swallow

I'm glad to see some great new restaurants at the Seattle Center, and I especially enjoyed a meal at Collections Café at Chihuly Garden and Glass. The restaurant itself is full of art, and the plates serves as a canvas for some creative food preparation. It's here that a watermelon salad led to a lesson about spitting vs. swallowing:

The question about swallowing during fellatio comes up frequently when I talk with students. Many men want their partners to swallow, as they find the continuity of contact with the mouth stimulating. (That said, some don't. But that's all about technique.) Plus, swallowing makes clean-up easy. On the other hand, some people like to see themselves or their partners ejaculate, so swallowing would take away that visual climax.

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6. Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen's Gritty Lesson on Lumps

While Sexy Feast is so often about pleasure, prevention is of primary to concern to this sex educator as well. That's why a plate of shrimp and grits at Ballard's Kickin' Boot Whiskey Kitchen led to a lesson about lumps and sexual health self-care:

If you find new, unusual, unnatural lumps on the penis (any you've had your entire life are likely harmless), they could be a sign of genital warts or herpes. This holds true for the vaginal area as well. You'll want to go to a family planning center or doctor as soon as possible to seek treatment. And if you're not practicing safer sex to prevent lumps, your next stop should be the drugstore to buy condoms or the seat next to your partner to talk about how to give and receive pleasure without putting yourselves at risk.

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5. Li'l Woody's, a Lotta Crack, and Some Intellectual Foreplay

This restaurant makes my list because when we all debate the best hamburger in town, Li'l Woody's in Capitol Hill is currently my top recommendation. The fries are good here, too. You can get those fries in a dish known as "crack," which comes with a cup of your choice of Molly Moon milkshake for dipping. This crack led to a lesson about how to handle cracks in a relationship:

There are certainly steps you can take before cracks develop. There are many books that explore compatibility in a relationship, determining whether you're with the right partner. For many years, I've been a fan of Intellectual Foreplay. Subtitled "Questions for Lovers & Lovers to Be," the book includes discussion-starters to help partners communicate about tough topics like money, home, and children; romance and sex; and general values and beliefs. The book not only helps people find the right partner, but can also help committed couples deepen their relationships.

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4. Katsu Burger Will Make You Want to Bend Over Its Knee

Speaking of burgers, I highly recommend going beyond beef by making a trip to Katsu Burger in Georgetown and partaking in a deep-fried pork burger. In a year when Fifty Shades of Grey showed how easily we are titillated (and how desperate we are for such titillation), watching the preparation of a katsu burger led to a lesson about spanking:

Why do people like spanking? Some like the sense of role-play, imagining boss/secretary and teacher/schoolboy or schoolgirl scenarios. Domination and submission play a part (and you thought you'd never be into BDSM!), with vulnerability building trust. And physically, it's all about the many nerves which connect to the genital area. (Ever had a butt massage? It can be both relaxing and stimulating.)

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3. Mashiko Will Make You an Eco-Sex Warrior

Hajime Sato (how can Sexy Feast ignore someone who calls himself a sushi pimp?) makes my list again, this time for Mashiko. When he's not making katsu burgers, Sato is behind the counter as his West Seattle sushi restaurant. And with awareness increasing about sustainable seafood, a meal at Mashiko led to a lesson about sustainability:

Watch what you're wearing. If donning clothes, consider the material. Organic cotton is great, but how about boxers made of bamboo fabric, or perhaps hemp lingerie? If you're dressing up a penis for protection, dispose of latex condoms properly, and note that polyurethane is tough to decompose (it's also toxic), but lambskin is biodegradable (though not effective against HIV). Shop for certified organic massage oil, and go green with lubricants as well, avoiding artificial flavors, scents, and colors--as well as petroleum-based products. Also think natural when it comes to sex toys. Many have PVC and phthalates to soften the feel of hard plastic, whereas you'll feel good using glass, metal, and silicone.

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2. How a Thali at Poppy Celebrates Sexual Diversity

Capitol Hill's Poppy was long perched at the top of my list of restaurants I was neglecting. About the time of the Democratic National Convention, I finally made time to try a thali, which led to a lesson about diversity:

Members of the GLBT community weren't just talked about; some did the talking on the DNC stage. Among the higher profiled: retiring Representative Barney Frank and aspiring Senator Tammy Baldwin. Lesser-known but no less powerful in message was Jared Polis, a gay father and Congressman who proclaimed that "diversity is America's strength." (Watch the clip and you'll see that Newman approves.) All this led self-identified pansexual State Representative Mary Gonzalez of Texas (yes, Texas!), a former Republican, to proclaim that the DNC was "a space that felt like home." The DNC experience to her was affirming and empowering.

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1. Palace Kitchen Presents a Burger and a Decision About Sexual Politics

And speaking of politics, I found myself solo at downtown's Palace Kitchen close to election day. For the sake of the sexual health of all people, I'm glad the election turned out to be a victory for reason over repression. Ordering a burger royale led to a lesson about the American way, and the need to be an informed voter:

In its war on women and war on sex, the GOP--the party of the transvaginal ultrasound--wants to reduce access to abortion and contraceptives, prevent same-sex marriage, and promote religiously influenced, abstinence-only education. Asked about Planned Parenthood, Mitt Romney said, "We're going to get rid of that." Running mate Paul Ryan, who says "I'm as pro-life as a person gets," has sponsored extreme "personhood legislation." This presidential ticket, if elected, will likely choose at least two of the next Supreme Court justices, leaving a legacy of court conservatism that will turn the clock back on sexual rights. While touring the college circuit from 2001 to 2008, I was tempted to call my lecture "Bush, Dick, and the Politics of Pleasure." If the presidential election turns out poorly, I just might have to name it "Romney, Ryan, and the Return to Repression."

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