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Naughty New York – A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City

Posted Apr 16 2012 6:25am

Naughty New York : A Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City  (January 2012) is a travel guide written for women by women with insider information on solo dining, bars, lingerie boutiques, female-friendly toy shops, burlesque shows and sensual classes and workshops to feed your inner kitty. So far I’ve learned:

  • Why we call it ‘The Big Apple’.
  • Some naughty lingo – ‘Do you want to share a cab?’ means ‘Let’s go home together.’
  • Where to find a romantic cruise – for free.
  • Sexy shoe sample sales and where to find luscious lingerie.
  • Where to go for same day, discounted tickets on Broadway.
  • When to visit MOMA for free.
  • The quiet, romantic areas in Central Park where Yoko and John used to go.
  • To pack flat boots. New Yorkers walk 4 1/2 miles a day on average compared to 1 mile for the rest of the country.
  • That hotels know exactly how much you’ve paid for a room and whether you’ve booked directly with them or via a discount reseller such as Expedia. You get what you pay for…
  • Where to find love spells and female lotions and potions. Ladies’ Mantle anyone?

It also gives you some historical context and background reading to gear you up for a trip: strong women of the city, literature and films, plus tips on dating, dining and travelling solo. The ethos behind the guide is that New York is about freedom to explore and experience pleasure on your own terms. It’s an inspiring read, written by a diverse group of women and beautifully photographed.

I chatted to the publisher and author of  Naughty Paris: a Lady’s Guide to the Sexy City , Heather Stimmler-Hall, to find out more about the Naughty brand and sensual pleasures in the city.

RM: What took you to Paris in the first place – was it work or pleasure? 

HSH: I first came to Paris as a student in 1995, studying Political Science for my third year of university. I did return to the US to graduate the following year, then came back to Paris the summer of 1997 “just for a few weeks” and ended up staying when I met my husband…an Englishman who lived here! I was too busy trying to figure out what everyone was saying and trying to make a living to worry about feeling “welcome”. When I divorced in 2005, I’d already been here a decade, so staying was no problem. It’s actually a great city to be a single woman; you can go out as much as you want and socialize, there are so many other single people to meet.

RM: How did the first Naughty guide come about? 

HSH: I was writing guidebooks and travel articles for about 5 years before I started giving tours (I started as a journalist, after all). There was simply a gap in the market that I saw when people kept asking me where couples could go out for a sexy night on the town. Guidebooks already existed in French, but not in English, and not specifically for women. As I had been the travel editor at ELLE.com for a year in 1999, I was used to writing travel articles for a more sophisticated audience looking to have fun à la Sex in the City. I don’t actually do any “Naughty” tours, as that would be awkward! But I can arrange for Hen parties, and custom itineraries for couples to explore on their own.

RM: What was the process like for shooting/writing the books? You had 10 days to shoot in NYC winter…did it all go to plan?

HSH: Ah, logistics. I was on the other side for so many years; I never understood why it took so long to publish a guidebook until I did it myself. The hardest part is getting all of the text completed. We had booked the photographer to shoot New York well in advance, but three of the seven writers still hadn’t given me their text, so we had no idea what to even shoot! Thank goodness Kirsten (the photographer) is flexible, creative, and has nerves of steel to shoot in the winter….not to mention the poor models! When we shoot the next guide, we’re not booking the photographer until the text is in my hand, all finished! After that, you still have to go through the whole layout and design process with the designers, who are on their own schedule. We ended up publishing the New York guide almost exactly a year later than originally planned. But it looks good, so it was worth it!

RM: How has writing and editing the two books affected your own sensuality? Has it opened doors for you to try new things?

HSH: The best part about being a journalist is learning about things for work you’d never learn about on your own. I enjoyed the many new places I got to visit while researching the guide, but I wouldn’t say any “new doors” opened. I think I was a pretty open-minded person from the start. You’d have to be to take on a project like this! And living in Paris seems to give women a different sense of sensuality just through osmosis. I really wanted to share how that is a way of life here, not just something one does on the weekends or on a date.

RM: Any tips on dating French men!?

HSH: I think I sum it up best in the book when I say that I can tell you where to find the French men and what to expect on a vacation-length relationship. Beyond two weeks, I’m still completely baffled. I’ve only managed to successfully maintain lasting relationships with American or British men. Perhaps I still have something to learn. ;-)

RM: Any other cities in the pipeline for the series? We talked briefly about London but you mentioned licensing restrictions.

HSH: I would love to do London next! It’s more a question of distribution than licensing. I’m running this company myself, and to tackle another country would mean I’d have to establish an entire distribution, sales and marketing network for the UK alone. I’m actually currently talking with larger publishing houses who might be interested in managing that end of the business, so I can concentrate on making beautiful books! After London, perhaps Sydney, Berlin, or Las Vegas.

RM: Where do you buy your lingerie and sex toys in Paris? Any favourite boutiques or must-do sensual classes?

HSH: If I had unlimited funds, I’d have my lingerie made at  Cadolle . Right now I tend to stick to the excellent lingerie department at Bon Marché, particularly during the sales, when brands like Aubade and La Perla are half priced. As for classes, the Burlesque scene in Paris has really taken off, with many classes offered for all levels in dance and striptease. If I had more time…sigh.

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