Sex & Love

Writers’ choice

Pulp Papery

Pulp Papery

Photo By Larry Dalton

Best spot to get the lowdown on sex in Sacramento

Sacramento Zone
Whether you want information on nude modeling or events for local swingers, you’ll find it at the Sacramento Zone. The Web site (at features a mixture of ads and locally written tidbits that will open your eyes to new turn-ons. Erotic employment opportunities and kinky contests abound (last year, we even wrote about the Toys for Tarts effort to provide underprivileged women with used—but sterilized—sex toys). The site’s volunteer staff rates local strip clubs, massage parlors and escorts, based on readers’ comments and staffers’ personal experiences. As one staffer put it, “We’d just always wanted a site like it, and it was sort of an experiment. Craigslist has the ads but not the information or contests. The contests made it kind of fun.” The Sacramento Zone is growing. It currently gets up to 3,000 visitors a day and plans to add a “Sacramento stripper of the month” feature as well as some new games.

Best place to get hip wedding invitations

Pulp Papery
It seems like as soon as you decide to get married, everyone (cough-Mom!-cough) has an opinion on how you should do things. Cool invitations are the perfect way to make sure your wedding expresses your style from the get-go, and Pulp Papery—an East Sacramento cards and paper-goods store that opened in April—does a great job of printing up announcements and invitations in customized, modern styles. Co-owners Amy Astone, Manpreet Bains and Sureena Bains (the latter two are sisters) go the extra mile to make sure you love what you’re ordering; they’ll cut paper to size or track down the perfect brad or ribbon for fastening invites. Pulp Papery also sells charming cards, stationery, note cards and lots of cute gifts, so you can stock up for all those thank-you notes and even pick out presents for your bridesmaids while you’re at it. 810 Alhambra Boulevard, (916) 930-0838.

Illustration By Leif Jones

Best way to update a romantic tradition

Giant boxes of unpronounceable European and Russian candies from L&B European Food
If your Valentine’s Day traditions include a pre-packaged box of assorted mystery chocolates, it’s time to step it up a notch. We remember fondly the cheap, heart-shaped boxes we got as kids; you didn’t know what was what, but you knew someone “loved” you enough to pick the box with the prettiest bow. Well, compared with the Eastern European and Russian varieties on hand in this town, the selection at your average American drugstore looks pretty tired. Try L&B European Food on Fulton Avenue for oversized and very colorful boxes of mixed chocolates from Belarus, Ukraine, Moscow, Poland and Croatia. Since you can’t read the packages, that’ll make the treats inside extra mysterious. On some boxes with rough English translations, we gathered that the ingredients included hazelnuts, fruit, whiskey and even applesauce. Choose the blue box with the pirate ship—or its sister products, with more romantic-looking designs—if you want to sample a variety of flavors. Or pick up our favorite: a box of cone-shaped chocolates with rich nougaty filling. While you’re there, grab a Latvian soda to wash it all down. 2751 Fulton Avenue, (916) 485-1286.

Best news for wedding planners (traveling to 2010)

California’s legalization of gay marriage
Throw the rice and pop the champagne! Tired of partisan bickering and fundamentalist lobbying, California’s legislators decided to let love shine by legalizing same-sex marriage in 2005, only to have Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger try to hold back history with his veto pen. It took the courts to shake things up, and when the California Supreme Court overturned the Knight Initiative as unconstitutional in 2006, and then found that same-sex couples were being unconstitutionally discriminated against in 2007, the Legislature got another shot. Once the law legalizing same-sex marriage went into effect in January 2010, gay and lesbian couples raced to tie the knot in a statewide display of matrimonial enthusiasm that dwarfed San Francisco’s historic Valentine’s Day weekend 2004. For weeks after the landmark decision, the Capitol’s World Peace Rose Garden saw a steady stream of brides kissing brides and grooms kissing grooms inside its heart-shaped pavilion. (We won’t even mention the riotous bachelor and bachelorette parties at Faces and Club 21!) Of course, there will be many more gift registries to pore over every spring, but that’s a small price to pay for affirming equal rights and supporting loving unions in our communities. SN&R congratulates all of California’s newlyweds!

Best sexologist online

Illustration By Leif Jones

Louanne Cole Weston, Ph.D.
While holding down a therapeutic practice in Fair Oaks, Louanne Cole Weston, a font of sexual wisdom, answers readers’ sexual questions for WebMD (at Gentle and respectful no matter what the subject, Weston, who was a columnist with the San Francisco Examiner for seven years before she went online with Sex Matters, has demystified seemingly every sexual curiosity related to sex toys, sexual dysfunction, issues of intimacy, pornography—and even the mechanics of the act itself.

Best free birth control for your pit bull

The SPCA’s We Pay to Spay program
Birds do it, bees do it … but dogs really do it. Sex has its consequences for all species, and since horny canines can’t just stroll to the corner pharmacy for a pack of Trojans, it’s up to humans to make sure that they don’t litter the city with thousands of unwanted puppies. Owners of pit bulls and pit-bull mixes can get their dogs permanently “fixed” for free through the We Pay to Spay program at the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). Free spay and neuter surgeries are offered one day a week by appointment only to residents of Sacramento County and West Sacramento. 6201 Florin-Perkins Road, (916) 383-7387.

Best romantic mixer (traveling to 1849)

The Christmas Ball on Mormon Island
A quick stop in this bustling community on the south fork of the American River secured your faithful time-traveler an invitation to the social event of 1849, the Christmas Ball, the first formal dance in the area. A ticket set me back $20—a pittance, it might seem, but equal to approximately $400 in 2005. Of course, many of these newly rich miners thought nothing of spending large amounts of cash for a bit of entertainment, and the ball itself was dazzling. The men were quite taken by the women in attendance, who were described as “hale and buxom maidens with short dresses, grey woolen stockings, and brogans with soles a half inch thick.” Every ball must have a belle, and the Mormon Island Christmas Ball was no exception; by far the most admired among the dainty ladies was a 189-pound damsel, barely into her teens, whom the gentlemen referred to as “the infant.”

Illustration By Leif Jones

Best strip club for couples

Pure Gold Showgirls
Of the numerous strip clubs in town, only two advertise as being especially couple-friendly. Of course, most strip clubs welcome women, but both Club Fantasy and Pure Gold Showgirls offer regular discounts for couples—a good incentive for first-timers who don’t know where to start. Club Fantasy’s all-American sports-bar vibe may put you at ease, but you’ll have a sexier time at Pure Gold. The small club is dark and intimate, and the enthusiastic dancers offer a lot of personal attention. Couples get in free from 6 to 8 p.m. nightly with an ad, and there’s even an adjoining “love boutique” if you decide you want to spice things up at home upon leaving. And ladies, the dancers at Pure Gold look like us—well, gym-toned, tanned, shaved versions of us. But still, rather than a dozen blondes with fake boobs, you’ll find women diverse in height, look, ethnicity, dance style and breast size—a nice reminder that “sexy” can mean a lot of things. 3000 Sunrise Boulevard in Rancho Cordova, (916) 631-3520,

Best place to make up

The Melting Pot
Once grievances both major and petty have been settled, it’s time to remind each other why you fell in love in the first place, so make reservations for this wonderful fondue restaurant. The romantic lighting, cozy tables, incredible wine cellar and helpful but unobtrusive staff would be reason enough to choose The Melting Pot for your “aren’t we glad we’re back together” dinner, but there’s more. The art of a fondue dinner lies in its pacing and intimacy; it’s not something to be hurried, nor is it something to do alone. Most meals at The Melting Pot have four courses: a cheese fondue, salad, one from a variety of meat and vegetable fondues, and dessert. (What else? Chocolate fondue.) As you reunited lovebirds slowly wind your way through a scrumptious dinner, there will be plenty of time to share sweet nothings—and nibbles. Nothing says “I love you” like sharing the last chocolate strawberry. 814 15th Street, (916) 443-2347,

Best hotel for a secret tryst

Illustration By Leif Jones

Sacramento International Hostel
Last year, SN&R readers voted the Hyatt Regency Sacramento (located at 1209 L Street) the best hotel for a secret tryst. But think about it: L Street is a busy thoroughfare. You could be spotted by anyone attending an event at the Sacramento Convention Center, taking a stroll in Capitol Park or heading to Downtown Plaza for a day of shopping. This year, we recommend you head to the more secluded Sacramento International Hostel. The 19th-century Victorian mansion offers a variety of amenities (think fully equipped kitchen and after-hours access) that will help keep your visit on the down-low. Private rooms (with private baths) are available for $40-$45. Plus, hostels tend to attract international visitors, decreasing your chances of being spotted by anyone you know. For the extra cautious, we suggest investing in a ski mask. 925 H Street, (916) 443-1691.

Best way to romance your paramour

The annual rondalla concerts
Rondalla music hails from medieval university life in Spain, when students would stroll about the campus, playing guitar and singing. It evolved into intensely romantic music filled with longing, beauty and passion. Francisco Mondragon, leader of the local band Rondalla de Guadalupe, travels to Mexico to search for the best bands to feature in the annual rondalla concert he produces in Sacramento. The next concert is scheduled for April 2006 at the Memorial Auditorium. Warning: Take someone you love or be prepared to be in love by the concert’s end.

Best use of Jerry Falwell’s money (traveling to 1986)

Lambda Community Center
It doesn’t take a time traveler to know that Jerry Falwell has a long history of speaking without thinking, but a trip to 1986 Sacramento allowed me to join a celebratory party with some happy gay and lesbian citizens. On a visit to Sacramento in 1984, Falwell appeared on KCRA 13’s Look Who’s Talking program. The head of the Moral Majority, Falwell long had made a habit of gay-baiting, but on this appearance, he denied ever having referred to Metropolitan Community Church (MCC)—which ministers primarily to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) folks—as “vile” and “Satanic,” with members who were no better than “brute beasts.” Further, Falwell said he’d pay $5,000 to anyone who could prove he’d ever said such a thing. A local MCC minister, the Rev. Jerry Sloan, was watching. He produced not one, but two audiotapes of Falwell’s Old Time Gospel Hour radio program in which the mouthy evangelist had said precisely that. But Falwell refused to pay up, so Sloan took him to court—and won. Finally, in September 1986, following both a judgment in his favor and an appeal decision that upheld the judgment, Sloan received a check from Falwell. Sloan, who was a classmate of Falwell’s at Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo., turned the money over to the Lambda Community Fund for use in acquiring a community center to serve GLBT people in Sacramento. Who says the Lord doesn’t work in mysterious ways? 1927 L Street, (916) 442-0185,

Best place for a country wedding

The Gathering Place at Emma’s Bed & Breakfast
The rolling foothills of Loomis are peaceful and still on most summer evenings. In fact, the scene is so tranquil and breathtaking that it’s reason enough to go off and get married! Conveniently, the Gathering Place, located behind Emma’s Bed & Breakfast, is ideal for those who want to get hitched in a nearby but country-feeling locale (you’ll probably have to make reservations well in advance, however). Weddings take place behind the spacious reception hall amid the oak trees on a sloping hillside, a perfect place for an intimate ceremony. Guests will enjoy imbibing and socializing in a veritable country B & B setting, and family or close friends can splurge for one of the luxurious overnight suites. Moreover, what’s great about Loomis is that locals and designated drivers will only have a 25-mile ride back to downtown! 3137 Taylor Road, Loomis, (916) 652-1392,

Best new place for butches and femmes to mingle

Butch-N-Nellie’s Coffee Co.
They say that whenever one door closes, another opens; the week that Midtown said farewell to that venerable institution The Open Book was the same week that Butch-N-Nellie’s opened in a comfy space on I Street between 18th and 19th streets. Billing itself as the place “where the bold-n-sassy meet,” it’s a low-key, high-value coffee shop with a complete line of lunch choices (soups, salads and panini); a wide variety of coffee and soft drinks, including smoothies; and pastries to die for. Imagine sharing a personal chocolate-mousse cake with the butch—or femme—of your dreams. In addition to its Second Saturday celebrations, Butch-N-Nellie’s hosts movies on its large-screen TV on Monday nights and trivia on Thursday nights. The table-bound can play board games; who knows what sort of games those of us on the overstuffed couch and chairs will play? 1827 I Street, (916) 443-6133,

Best place to throw a co-ed bachelorette/bachelor party (traveling to 2050)

Sex Positive
My, how things have changed in the mid-21st century. Gone are the days of the sleazy triple-X theater. Gone are the surgically enhanced strippers in ridiculous shoes. Sacramento’s newest adult venue, Sex Positive, puts those turn-offs to rest forever, bringing the physical act of love into the healthy mainstream with diverse offerings reminiscent of a pride parade or passion party. The large club is split into a number of themed rooms, making exploring the place an exciting adventure. In the SexEd room, experts lead nightly seminars on topics like role-playing, anal health, the female orgasm, rekindling romance and safer sex. In the ShowMe room, singles and couples are treated to visual demonstrations of S&M techniques and toys. The Sensations room offers treats for all your senses: erotic art installations, a perfume bar, a tasting table for aphrodisiacs and sensual massage. The Dance room features strippers of both genders sharing several stages—sans the narrow aesthetic limitations of yesteryear. What’s more, the workers are unionized, the “extras” (such as tickling by two staffers in costumes of your choosing) are listed on a formal house menu, and hard alcohol and smoking (not just tobacco) are permitted in the Lounge room. 214 15th Street.