Archive for May, 2009

Review: Bandit

May 20, 2009  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

banditI’m pulling from my cock-review structure to give you the low-down on the Bandit, a Vixskin silicone strap-on cock.

Shape:
Immediately, the shape is what makes this unique from many other cocks, even many other silicone Vixskin cocks: it has balls, which are made to fit behind the harness’s O-ring. I was worried this would interfere with the strap of my harness (which, since it’s a single-strap like a g-string, hits my clit perfectly and makes me able to get off while strapped on & fucking), and though the extra material behind the O-ring does mean that the harness doesn’t quite hit me the same way, I’ve already gotten off twice while fucking with this cock, so if I’m not coming it isn’t the fault of the dick.

It does have a great head and shape to it, no particular curving, not a lot of veins but a little bit of realistic texture. Definitely very realistic in shape. It comes in three standard Vixskin colors – chocolate, vanilla, and caramel.

Size:
I thought it would be a little small. It’s 7”x1 3/4”, and my favorite (aka “desert island dick,” since I’d take it with me to a desert island) is 8”x2”, so I figured eh, I’ll try it out, but I’m sure Maverick will still be my go-to cock most of the time.

Turns out, the 1/4” width makes a big difference, especially for blow jobs. The cock is smooth and not too highly textured, which, Kristen tells me, makes it go down easily. She can take it deeper and for longer than she can Rick or another larger cock, so I have been picking this one up to use quite a few times since I got it, because, well, shit, she sucks my cock so pretty, I always want her to do more of that.

It is also much more floppy than the Rick cock, perhaps because it has such less girth, so the silicone is less dense in the center? Or maybe there’s actually another hard material in the center of the Rick, which is not in the Bandit? I’m not sure, perhaps someone from Vixen will be able to answer this for me (or someone who spends a lot of time dissecting sex toys, which, I’m just sayin’, seems like a waste to me). So, because it has a lot more give in the shaft of the dick, it is so much easier to pack with! I probably wouldn’t go out in public wearing this, it would just not be discreet enough and does get a bit pokey in the pants after a while, but for hanging out in the living room, watching another episode of Mad Men and drinking a martini, waiting for permission to fuck her again? It tucks perfectly into my jeans.

And goodness knows, I like to be ready when she is.

Material:
High-quality silicone, the special “vixskin” kind that Vixen Creations makes, which means it is more like cyberskin (malleable, kind of soft) than it is like the hard kind of silicone cocks which are predominant in sex shops. But, since it’s silicone, it can be completely sterilized.

I’m impressed with the Bandit. I thought because I already have a couple different silicone Vixskin cocks from their collection that it’d be something I liked, but not something I used all that often. But that hasn’t been true – I’ve picked this one up a lot in the past few weeks since it arrived. I love having my choice of cock for precisely what I want to do – I love being able to choose just the cock to fuck her right.

Protected: Tee Shirt

May 19, 2009  |  poetry  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Sugasm #165: All Five Senses in the top 3!

May 14, 2009  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

This Week’s Picks

More Sugasm | Join the Sugasm

My favorites this week:

F*cking with Gender: a workshop in Chicago

May 13, 2009  |  miscellany  |  4 Comments

I’ll be in Chicago next week on Tuesday night for a workshop with Northwestern University. If you’d like to join this lively discussion, the Rainbow Alliance is kindly opening this up to the public. Come say hi!

F*cking with Gender: Gender expression, identities, labels, transcending the mutually exclusive binaries, queer culture, and hot sweaty sex.

Join Sinclair Sexsmith in this interactive workshop about gender, sexuality, and sex. We’ll play with concepts of how gender identity and sexual identity intersect, butch/femme roles as a language of desire, how labels can be restrictive or liberating, whether gender is a fetish or a kink, and how to have more dirty queer sex. Mr. Sexsmith writes the 2008 #1 sexblog Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top, at www.sugarbutch.net.

May 19th, Tuesday, 7:30PM

Space is limited, please RSVP through Jessie, Princess of Vibe for the Rainbow Alliance at Northwestern University in Chicago (jessicapkaiser[AT]gmail.com)

sinclair1

Poll: What do you think about labels?

May 12, 2009  |  essays  |  37 Comments

You might want to vote in the poll before you read me yammer on about my own thoughts on labels and identity, so I don’t unfairly influence your answers.

[poll=3]

I realize this is a very non-scientific poll, somewhat limited to the visitors of this site, and therefore not a very good sample of the queer communities’ attitudes toward labels … but hey, you gotta use what you got, right? And this is what I got.

So please, leave comments with more explanations (or feedback on why my poll sucks) about your relationship to labels, and read my own thoughts about labels and identity below.

In pursuing this work of identity, specifically gender and sexual identity, one of the first and deepest and most difficult things I come across is the concept of labels.

I see questions about these things all the time: why do we have to label ourselves? Why is the lesbian community so into labels? Why can’t we move beyond labels? What good are labels? Why do I have to conform to someone else’s idea of what I am or am not? Why can’t I just be me?

One of my “gender rules” (something I’m working on, hopefully more on that in the next few weeks) is that everyone is the expert of their own gender, and so thus to always respect however another person feels about their gender. So if you want to reject labels, and that is the way you feel most like yourself, most liberated, most outside of this confining system of gender, then I say go for it and more power to you.

That’s not the case for me, though, not really. I find a lot of liberation inside of the labels – I don’t feel restricted by them, I feel more free to be more myself than I was before.

So I find this curious. I don’t want to be prostelytizing about how everyone needs labels, and I don’t assume that what works for me works for everyone – or anyone – else. But I do know it works for me, and as I’m developing my own gender theories, I’m struggling a bit to explain why.

There is a perception, espeically of the lesbian communities I think, that lesbians are really into labels. From the outside, a lot of words are thrown around connected to lesbianism and queer women, like butch and femme, dyke, homo, queer, bisexual, I actually think the dominant attitude in lesbian communities is very anti-label, very much a rejection of gender identity and sexual identity words. It seems to me that the heat of the community – the visible folks, the young and activist-oriented – are embracing the word “queer” very strongly, which is a much more inclusive term than many of the others, a huge umbrella under which bi, poly, trans, gay, kinky, genderqueer, non-conforming, et cetera, all can come together and find a place.

What I’m saying is, I think it’s interesting that from the outside, this community appears overly obsessed with labels, but once you get inside of it, there are a lot of ways that the dominant discourse discourages labels and micro-identity development.

But when I started thinking through that, I wondered: maybe that is just true for me and not necessarily a truth about the community as a whole. Perhaps that’s just unique to my experience (and, to be fair, the experience of many other butches and femmes, as I’ve heard stories of gender identity development from many of us and they are similar) and perhaps the dominant community thinks something else. But, I thought, it’s not like there is a study I can turn to about what percentage of queers embrace labels!

And, gee, if I can’t use my blog for research like this, then what the heck is it good for?

I hope the options give a wide enough range of your relationship to the concept of “labels” that one of them fits pretty well for you. If it doesn’t, please do leave a comment and tell me, more specifically, what you think about labels, identity, and you personally.

Personal favorites, and more answers

May 12, 2009  |  advice  |  3 Comments

More answers to questions (from bzzzzgrrrl of City Mouse Country).

What’s your favorite bit of smut you’ve written in the last three years?

The Sugarbutch Star stories in general, and probably Diner in the Corner (last year’s winner) and The Girl in the Red Dress (from this year) in particular.

I also really like the stories about Kristen, go figure (have I mentioned I kind of like this girl?) – like My slutty little girl and Wait for me on your knees. Look in the sidebar under the “popular” tab for more of the very top posts on this site – usually the readers and I agree about which ones are the hottest.

I’ve been working on getting a “best of” collection together, the page is still not up, but you can look through the “best of” tag if you want to get a sense of some of the other favorite things that I’ve written.

What’s your favorite bit of smut you’ve read elsewhere in the last three years?

I’ve read so much … if you follow my Google Reader shared items, you’ll see many, many of my favorite things that I’m reading in the sexblog circles. I am still reading a lot of smut and erotica books, too, but they are slower, and often not as good, as the good sexblogs – the online stuff seems more cutting edge, more real. Also probably because I get to start developing deeper relationships with these blog writers, I follow their stories through identity development or heartbreak or growth, so I become more invested.

So: what jumps to mind, and a story that I frequently come back to (and jack off to), is Jack Stratton’s story A Life Exposed and Amplified from his blog Writing Dirty.

I’ve also been really into Patrick Califia lately, and re-reading Doing it for Daddy and Macho Sluts. I also often re-read some parts of Carol Queen’s book The Leather Daddy and the Femme (like the gangbang, gawdamn).

What’s your favorite comment?

I don’t know if I could pick one single comment. I love the ones where people say they understand something about themselves, or about their lovers, better, because of what I’ve written. I love the ones that say someone is coming to a new identity, a new understanding, a more solid and improved place. Those tiny moments of transformation are huge, and I’m so thrilled to have any part of it, so glad that my stories resonate, at all.

What comment caused you to stop and think most?

I don’t know about which comment overall for the site caused me to stop and think the most, but lately, someone has asked about putting a warning label on potentially triggering stories (especially regarding BDSM and the ways that can possibly trigger survivors) and I’ve been thinking a lot about that. It’s why I put up the warning (“If you’re new here, you should know that this site contains BDSM, kink, gender explorations, and explicit queer sex. You may want to subscribe to my RSS feed, or not. This warning will self-destruct.”) which will go away after you visit the site 3 or 5 times or something, but I’m still wondering if individual posts need to be more contained and protected too. I have a lot of thoughts about why to do this, or why not to do this, and I’m still asking around and chewing on it.

What perspective do you wish someone else would write about, well?

I find it fascinating that women are the primary authors of sexblogs. I think this is for a few reasons, like for example that depiction of men’s sexual desire is not rare and perhaps perceived as not even interesting enough in this culture to read about or consume, and also that men do not have to create and re-create spaces for their desire to be explored and heard the same way women do. But I also think we’re in a transformational point in masculinity, which I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and I think it’s really important for men to be writing about “the new male” gender stuff, defining it for themselves, talking about it. Like Figleaf’s Real Adult Sex for example, which is incredibly thoughtful and cutting edge, and always one of my favorite blogs.

Other perspectives I’d love to read more of: guys who identify as femme, butches (we seem to be on the rise, but there still aren’t as many as there are femme blogs out there), guys who identify as butch, gay guys (where are all of those sexblogs? I must be just totally out of the loop), butch bottoms, femme tops … there are so many different ways to identify and navigate and explore sexuality, I’m interested in just about all of them really. Especially the ones that are underrepresented.

Protected: Becoming more myself

May 11, 2009  |  journal entries  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Sadism, and the Study of Pain

May 7, 2009  |  advice, essays  |  9 Comments

i have noticed elsewhere online that you have added ’sadistic’ to your lineup of adjectives. i was very interested in your explanation of how you came to claim those words as part of your identity (forgive me if this is not accurate), and would be interested in hearing a similar description of how you came to claim sadistic as well.

Yes, I have added “sadistic” in a couple of my taglines or bios or descriptions recently, and it is an identity label that I claim, at least to a degree. I think the identity of “sadist” is understood much less – outside of kink communities and circles – than the other identity tags I use (queer, butch, top), and it can be incredibly off-putting for folks who don’t understand it.

There’s just so much stigma around it – you like to give others pain? You enjoy that, you get off on it, it turns you on? That’s seen as, well, kind of fucked up by a lot of people.

And it kind of is fucked up, if that’s the way you’re looking at it. But the details of how sadism works a lot more complicated than that – at least, it is for me.

It’s taken me a long time to come to claim a bit more of a sadistic identity, and it’s still something that I say with a little bit of reservation or even shame, partly because I don’t want it to come on too strongly and freak someone out.

First: playing with sadism, for me, must be consensual and intentional. I do not enjoy being cruel in general, and actually it is sometimes very difficult for me to treat someone I love with humiliation or damage, to hit them, to slap someone in the face. I’ve had to go through the feelings of top guilt and, to a greater extend, sadist guilt, when I started exploring this. Those feelings aren’t completely gone, but I know what I’m doing more now and I have more confidence in my perspective and standpoint, so I don’t have as much guilt about it.

I remember precisely when I realized I was a sadist: it was 2002, and I was in a Body Electric workshop called Power, Surrender, and Intimacy. (This is going to get a little bit sacred sex/spiritual, just to warn you.) We had been discussing power, dominance, and sadism – and receiving that with surrender, submission, and masochism – and had been doing exercises all relating to tapping into those feelings. We were in the middle of a ritual (I won’t go into details) when someone had a very strong reaction, and began crying. I was going through my own experience and starting to really feel myself come into some power and dominance in a new way, and I was flooded with the witness of her release. It was a solo ritual, so we weren’t working together or touching, and she probably wasn’t even aware of me, she just started sobbing, loudly, in her own world of release, and I felt the energy as the grief and emotion flooded through her, I was so attuned to the shifts of energy in the room, and started realizing that I was incredibly turned on by her release. It was beautiful – pure and unhindered, just letting go of some really deep things that she’d been carrying and holding on to for who knows how long. I wanted to coax her through it, support her, and in my mind I was soothing her, cradling, holding the space around her so that she herself could have room to be safe and release. I loved the feeling of doing that for someone (even though I wasn’t really doing that for her, I was just imagining the scenario where I would do that) and I got such a rush and release myself from witnessing someone else get into that space of deep release, deep surrender, and then come back, smiling and whole.

So there’s a lot of psychology to it for me: we carry around all sorts of grief, pain, shame, anger, rage, distrust, disassociation, and guilt, especially about our physical bodies and our sexualities. And one of the ways that BDSM and power play and pain play taps into that is through acknowledgment and, ultimately, release – which is why we can feel renewed, refreshed, energized after a deep scene.

We also just don’t have very good tools for release and replenishment available to us. We’re not exactly taught how to remake ourselves and let go of some of our deep grief, and I believe this kind of emotional release is one of those ways.

Aside from the psychology, I also like pain. And as much as I talk about being a sadist, I have spent many years as a masochist also – I’ve been beaten, flogged, caned, whipped, pierced, cut, and slapped; I’ve had 13 piercings (only one of which I wear anymore); I’ve had some experience submitting and surrendering, and using pain as a way to get more present in my body, and then to let go.

There’s a degree to which, though, at this point, I feel like I’ve had enough of that kind of release, I seek something else now. I know how to get myself into a state of deep body release, mostly through yoga or meditation or masturbation or running, and I wanted to explore other things related to that kind of bodily release – namely, guiding it in others. I get more out of the experience of taking someone through it than I do going through it myself, these days. I don’t expect that to be permanent, but I don’t expect it to change either – for now, I know I’m a top who really likes to play with my sadistic side, and that really works for me.

So, after this series of revelations and after some further investigation, and being very sure that I wanted to get deeper into this kind of play, I began studying it more intentionally: how to get someone into that state, how to keep them safe when they’re there, how to encourage the release (but not overwhelmingly so), and how to bring them back from it.

There’s also that moment … how do I describe it. Where put your hand in water and you can’t tell if it’s super hot or super cold – how our senses cross-fire sometimes when sensation is so deep and heavy and stimulating that we can’t tell if it’s pain or pleasure.

I love playing with that line, partly because it is a way to practice pain without suffering – a way to practice pain without being hurt, but to experience it as a release, change, and growth. I think pain play can do a lot of that, too, and it is very interesting to me, as someone who is interested in algology (the study of pain), and someone who studies the cessation of suffering, how to encourage these moments of transformation where pain becomes pleasure, useful, and a methodology of study.

What I’m saying is: sadism is the intentional use of pain, discomfort, and other dark emotions to find deep release, move energy, and renew the self. As someone who is deeply interested in dark emotions, the messy stuff, the hard stuff, and personal transformation and self-awareness, this is a tool that I find incredibly useful.

Sugasm #164: Slutty little girl.

May 6, 2009  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

This Week’s Picks

My picks this week:

My post My slutty little girl. was included, which, despite not being in the top picks, is one of my favorite real-life stories that I’ve written in a while.

Let’s Get Gay Married!

May 6, 2009  |  essays  |  6 Comments

postcard-m

I’ve been wanting to write a post about the changes in gay marriage legistlation that have been happening in the US lately. I’ve even started drafting some notes. But by time I get back to writing it, I find that yet another state has put something new into law.

Suddenly, it’s like a domino effect: Yesterday, the Maine House of Representatives voted to legalize same-sex marriage.

Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and now Maine; DC also passed legistlation to recognize gay marriages performed in other states (something New York and New Jersey also do).

postcard-mPlus, there’s Massachusetts, which was the first state to let gay couples marry in 2004, who is I’m sure just sittin’ back going, “Whut? What’s the big deal? Oh, gay marriage? Yeah, we did that like five years ago. You guys haven’t done that yet?” (Apparently Massachusetts speaks in a lot of slang.)

Oh, and Connecticut, which began performaing gay marriages last fall.

Not only that, but Nate Silver, genius statistician behind FiveThirtyEight (which kept me sane during the 2008 election, along with Dr. Maddow), developed a model to estimate when other states will follow suit and pass gay marriage rights: “The model predicts that by 2012, almost half of the 50 states would vote against a marriage ban, including several states that had previously voted to ban it.” He recognizes that there could be a backlash, or a paradigmatic shift in favor of permitting gay marriage, and these could be completely off, but it seems quite possible that they are at least going to be partly accurate. And seeing it all in print like that is just … thrilling.

Sugarbutch is definitely not a news source, really, but as long as we’re making some serious headway, I think it deserves mentioning.

Wait, what? Sorry, what did I just say? THE number one gay civil rights issue is … succeeding? I feel like I’m in a cartoon where I have to shake my head and it gets all blurry. Really?

postcard-mSo now we’re equal, right? We’re the same, we’re going to be treated with respect, 11-year-old kids aren’t going to committ suicide because they are being bullied, taunted about their sexuality? Harassment is over, workplace discrimination is over – oh yeah, nobody can get fired for being gay anymore, right?

And don’t even get me started with the transphobia and genderphobia – where genderqueer folks are getting murdered through blatant hate crimes. At least “surprise” is less of a defense these days.

I have issues with the marriage focus of the gay rights movement. I understand that marriage is pretty much the ultimate symbol of a legitimate relationship (in this culture & society), so I understand why it’s important to work for, and I understand that perhaps for many people, it will be an important symbol in the step toward acknowledging the legitimacy of homosexual relationships.

(I could go on here about other legitimate forms of relationships that also deserve governmental tax breaks, the normalizing and construction of monogamy, the question of where is the separation of church and state in this issue, the belief that marriage is the ceremony and civil union should be the legal part, that marriage is also a class and privilege issue … lots of people are having this conversation lately, it’s all been said before.)

postcard-mBUT: gay marriage is not THE END of the gay rights movements. It really hurts to read that gay advocacy groups are closing their doors because hey, we can get married now! There’s nothing else to fight for, is there?

Look, don’t get me wrong, I am SO GLAD that we’re gaining movement with the gay marriage issue. Thank heavens. Maybe we can now move on to some of the OTHER issues of the movement, like, oh, I don’t know, PEOPLE DYING.

Part of me wants to be snarky and say, “So you think this makes up for all that discrimination? Huh? Huh?” But hey, you’ve come around now, and that’s what matters. So: thanks, Maine. And thanks, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, DC, and all the other states who are helping make history, create change, support equality, justice, and validate all kinds of love.