Is BlogHer the place for small blogs still?

I have been with BlogHer since 2010.  I remember submitting the application with my then blogging partner.  We were so nervous.  She was a HUGE Pioneer Woman fan, and adored everything Ree Drummond.  She found BlogHer by reading PW, and told me we should apply to BlogHer to have our blog published there.  She wasn’t sure she would be accepted by herself as she was a homeschooling blog, but thought that my GLBT emphasis would help.

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So we applied and waiting with bated breath to hear back from BlogHer!  We were sure being a part of BlogHer would propel us into blogger stardom.  Of course looking back on that now, it just makes me smile.  We were a very small blog.  We had a tiny tiny readership and only 500 page views per month. Becoming a huge success like PW or The Bloggess was a one in a million chance.  Not everyone is going to have crazy success.  Just like not everyone who auditions for American Idol or The Voice wins.  Only a small handful even make it to the show. People aspire for greatness, but in reality it only happens for a few, not the masses. But we crossed our fingers and waited.

Then I received the email.  We were in!!!  We were so excited.  We set up our site and started publishing on BlogHer.  We were involved in the Book Club and would occasionally be able to jump in fast enough to be able to join a book review (those things filled up in a matter of just a few minutes, so you had to be FAST).  We were paid a small fee for the  reviews, and we were able to keep the book, and we also increased our readership.  Those were exciting times.

Then unfortunately, as they sometimes do, our partnership dissolved and I became a lone blogger.  I reapplied to BlogHer and they were happy to have me back as just me.

I was so happy to be writing on my own again.  I was very small, as I was basically starting over. New blog, new blog name, new domain, everything.  But being on my own was exhilarating.

I had a slow start, but in 2012 and 2013 I had my heyday.  I had quite a few blog posts featured on BlogHer. This one on Perimenopause, and this one about my Homeowners Association, this one about how Facebook Changed my High School memories, this one one about Karol’s inoperable brain tumor, and this one about Sequestration, as well as others. Interestingly that was all in 2013.  It is almost August 2014.  I have not changed my writing style, yet I have not been featured at all this year.bher featureIn 2012 I published 48 blogs.  In 2013 I published 62 blogs and was featured at least 6 or more times.  In 2014 I have published 28 blogs, which is about the same as the same month in 2013, but have had NO blogs featured  I find that interesting. I have written about Lesbian Bed Death, Entitled teens, The Hobby Lobby case and the scientific reasons about why their view of the offensive contraception was incorrect. Aren’t these relevant?  Maybe I am just absolutely writing about the wrong things?  But I don’t want to change who I am or the way I write or what I write about in order to be featured.

Maybe I am putting the blogs in the wrong category for them to be “seen”?  Maybe I am just too small.  I really thought these pieces were relevant.  Maybe I am just not writing the way they want anymore.  In either case, I am surprised because just using basic statistics I should have been featured at least once. Now just for clarification, being featured is not being paid, but it does increase traffic to your site and therefore increases your revenue, even if only by a few cents.

Also, in 2013 I was invited to be involved in quite a few advertising campaigns where I wrote an article about a product or website, and then had to promote them on Facebook, or Twitter.  I did this at least 4 times, and was paid for each opportunity.  I have not been invited to participate in any advertising campaigns in 2014.

I found this surprising, so being a strong believer in “you only know if you ask”, I asked.  I sent an email and asked why I had been invited to participate so many times last year, but not at all this year.  The response I received was that while occasionally there are “very niche” programs that sponsors want small blogs for, you really have to have over 50k page views per month and “quality writing” in order to be considered for an ad campaign.  This is because the ad space has “matured considerably”.   However, my willingness to participate would be passed on to the proper people.  That did not make me feel better about the situation.

So it seems that if you don’t have at least 50k page views per month you will not be considered (except for “very niche” programs) to participate in sponsored programs for which you will get paid.  Instead of BlogHer being about small blogs and community it is now about reach and how many page views you have.

Just for statistical purposes, I averaged 3198 page views per month in 2013 when I was asked to participate in ad campaigns. In 2014 I average 5562 page views per month, which is an increase of almost 2400 page views monthly.

On the one hand, I am very happy for BlogHer that they have increased their popularity and influence and are able to have such high powered advertisers want to be on their site, yet I am saddened by the fact that the place I thought was so good for small bloggers may not be that place anymore. So I am truly wondering is BlogHer the place for small blogs still?

I will continue to publish on BlogHer (if they still want me) because I do love the concept of BlogHer and the fact that I admire its founders so much keeps me an ardent supporter.

But BlogHer I don’t want you to forget your roots. Maybe you could at least think about at least trying to still be the champion of small blogs and bloggers.  Can you do that?

I Don’t Care About 50 Shades of Grey!!

Okay, I have a confession to make: I NEVER read 50 Shades of Grey.  Yep, I just googled it and realized it is 40 Shades of GrEy, not GrAy. See, I know NOTHING about these books.  According to Wikipedia it is a trilogy, and has sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

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I know that many of my friends have read these books.  Lots of giggles as they sat around talking about the books.  And hushed tones at certain parts of the conversation.

Interestingly, according to some articles I read this book’s fan base is primarily heterosexual married women over the age of 30. Hmmm, so what does that say?  Do married women harbor a secret desire to be dominated?

Do they harbor a secret desire for a handsome young entrepreneur to sweep them off their feet after making them sign a waiver?

Now I am just as interested in soft porn as the next gal.  I have read it, and am sure I will read it again.  I have read soft gay porn, and soft hetero porn.  Porn is porn.  Porn is not bad.  Bad porn is bad.  Good porn is not bad.  (I have NEVER written the word porn so much in one paragraph in my life.)

I suppose one of the reasons I have never read this series is the female lead character.  After reading the Twilight Series I promised myself I would never again read a series of books where the lead female character was weak, and simpering, and pining for her man, unable to take care of herself without him next to her.

And just to be clear I am on Team Jacob!  Jacob is warm and wolfy, and a beautiful Native American with history and culture.

Edward is a tool.  Cold, hard, pale, selfish…….. need I say more?

But I digress.

Please correct me if I am mistaken, but from what I understand the lead female character in these books is an awkward virgin who is self conscious and unsure of herself.  She is an easy target for this rich and  powerful man to control.  He wouldn’t need to ask her to submit, it seems as though that is built in to her nature. In fact, I heard from people who read the book that he ignored her use of her “safe” word on at least one occasion.  Now I have nothing against BDSM, and the way I understand it BDSM is all about trust, which is the whole reason for the safe word to exist in the first place. If he ignored her safe word, that just goes against everything about proper BDSM sex.  Also, the power differential in the relationship between the main characters is abusive in my opinion.  Whenever one person has the majority of power it is problematic. The man totally dominates this relationship.  That is no bueno.

So a couple of years ago all I heard about was these books and how I need to read them. I was told they are “so good”…..ummm, I’ll pass thanks.

Now all I hear about is the movie.  How it needs to be a “girls’ night”.  Go to dinner, then see the movie together.  I will skip that event.

My girlfriends were able to talk me into seeing “Magic Mike” (Tinkerbell is a HUGE Channing Tatum fan and she said I would like it). I did like it actually.  I am a Matthew McConaughey fan, and I just think he is sexy as heck…..however, I will not be talked into seeing this one.

So I suppose after Feb 2015, I will have to endure my friends giggling and speaking in hushed voices again (especially if the children or husbands are around) with pauses in the conversation to look up and see who might be in the room listening.


Lesbian Bed Death: Fact or Fiction

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Okay, so this is an article I have wanted to write for a long time, but as you can imagine with a title of “Lesbian Bed Death“, it has taken me some time to gather the courage to actually write it. So you might ask, “Then why even write it?”.  You have an argument, except for the fact that when I have these ideas churning around in my head (this one for years), I have to eventually get it out!

I first heard the term “Lesbian Bed Death” aka LBD when I was 18. Women would mention it and say that is was real, and it happened to women after they had been in monogamous relationships for many years.  I was never worried because I was quite young and was not in a monogamous relationship, so I didn’t even give it a thought.

Fast forward to me at age 38.  I was back in a relationship with a woman after being married to a man for 9 years, and having had two babies.  I met my partner while I was in the Navy and we were best friends for over a year.  Then one day I woke up and realized I was in love with her and lucky for me she was in  love with me as well.

I was single and therefore available for a relationship, and this one flourished! When our relationship started we were both on the verge of turning 40, and there was definitely NO LBD in our lives.  We lived apart (she in Pennsylvania, me in Virginia) for the first two years of our relationship so the lack of physical contact definitely lowered our ability to be intimate, but the desire was not lacking.

Then my partner developed cervical cancer.  It was sudden and shocking and she had to undergo a radical hysterectomy.  She had her uterus removed, and the surgeon said she was left with only one functional ovary.  She recovered well, and is currently 6 years cancer free!

However, she had a physical consequence to the surgery that saved her life.  Due to the fact that she only had one viable ovary her hormones were lowered, and as a result she entered Peri-menopause. When this happened her libido dropped tremendously.  It wasn’t that she no longer loved me, or was no longer attracted to me, there was just a decreased interest in sexual intimacy due to her hormone levels being low.  She was 41 at that time. Then the next shoe dropped.  I entered Peri-menopause, and my hormones also changed.  I was 43, and began experiencing hot flashes, mood changes, difficulty sleeping and loss of libido.

As these changes affected our lives, and I noticed our intimacy getting less and less frequent the though of LBD returned to me.  But I suddenly realized LBD isn’t about not loving your partner or lack of desire for your partner, or even the sexual intimacy not being up to snuff.  It had to do with hormones and loss of libido.  It all made perfect sense to me.  LBD was never talked about with young women, it was always said to happen to women who had been together for “a long time” because they had become bored with each other and therefore the sex stopped.  I now know from personal experience this is untrue.

I think there is another reason for LBD.  It has been my experience  that women in relationships with women have deep emotional intimacy.  I have been in relationships with men and women.  The ones with women have always had a deeper emotional connection.  It is my opinion that the deeper emotional connections can at times preclude the need for physical intimacy required to make a connection.

When I did some research on this topic, I found that others also believed hormone fluctuation was the cause for lesbian bed death.  I am 48.  Most of my friends are in heterosexual relationships and most are approximately my age.  They talk about “not being in the mood” as often as their husbands/boyfriends.  This is because men do not have the same hormone fluctuations as women do.  This would also account for the fact that we don’t hear about gay men having a “bed death”.  Think about it, if the female half of a a heterosexual partnership is less interested in sex, what do you think happens when both partners are women?  The libido drop due to hormonal changes is 100% in the relationship.  Hence Lesbian Bed Death. So I wondered if Lesbian Bed Death was Fact or Fiction?

In my opinion Lesbian Bed Death is not a myth, it is a fact.  However, I think the true reason is different than what the “rumor mill” would have us believe. Interestingly there have been many studies done and quite a few articles written about LBD and I was fascinated with one theory about why women in lesbian relationships have sex less frequently.

A survey conducted by the Institute for Personal Growth (IPG) in New Jersey with 104 self described lesbians and 89 heterosexual women found that although lesbian couples did have fewer sexual experiences than the heterosexual women, the lesbian women reported fewer sexual problems than the hetero women, and  90% of the lesbian women stated they achieved orgasm during their sexual encounters as compared to 73% of the heterosexual women.  In addition, the lesbian women not only achieved a high rate of orgasm, they experienced multiple orgasm most of the time they had sex.  Also, the sexual encounters lasted 30-60 minutes while the heterosexual encounters were generally 10-30 minutes.

So while hormone fluctuations can definitely account for a percentage of why Lesbian Bed Death is a reality in lesbian relationships, maybe another part of the reason for this phenomenon is that women in lesbian relationships have such excellent sexual experiences (encounters lasting longer, higher percentage of orgasm, and multiple orgasm) that the sexual relationship is healthier and more satisfying. IPG significantly linked these facts to the women being more satisfied with the sexual,emotional, and affectionate aspects of the relationship.

Therefore it is entirely possible that as a lesbian relationship lasts through the years, although lesbian women have some hormonal issues that stand in the way of sexual encounters, overall they are quite satisfied with their relationships, and one could even argue that since the sexual encounters they do experience are so satisfying the need for them is lessened.  When one looks at it that way, we should be proud of Lesbian Bed Death, not afraid of it.