Archive for October, 2009

Review: Nipple Clamps 101

October 14, 2009  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

A while back Kristen decided she’d like to try some different nipple clamps. I had one set, a very basic tweezer set, which she liked to wear but which slipped off fairly easily.

I started looking into other options and whoa there are a lot of different types. I didn’t even know where to begin.

So I approached Eden Fantasys and we picked seven different clamps from their wide selection for me to review, compare, and contrast. Kristen & I have needed about a month to get through all of them, but at this point the winners are clear.

As I go over the clamps I reviewed and some other clamps which are available, you might notice that most of these clamps are made by Spartacus Enterprise. I didn’t choose them on purpose, though I do know that their products are generally very high quality. They make great leather goods, too.

My rule is, if I can’t put the nipple clamp on my finger (usually my pinky finger, as they usually don’t have wide enough opening to get other fingers into), I won’t put it on my nipple. So two of them were unfortunately ruled out right away:

Endurance Clamps by Spartacus

The W-shaped Endurance Clamps are the worst here. They are two overlapping Us, and they meet in the center being held together by tension, as if they do not line up they’ll pop open. Not sure how to describe that exactly. They’re actually very difficult to open! The problem is, the metal that lines up is kind of twisted, and it is so damn painful to even attempt to release the pressure with my finger – my thumb – inside the clamp, I can’t even imagine trying it on a nipple. This would only be for people into EXTREME nipple sensation … and even so, there are others that pinch just as hard that aren’t as poorly made.

Butterfly Clamps by Spartacus

The other pair, also called Endurance Clamps, though they are higher quality, are also way too strong to be used. It just pinches so hard that I can’t bear to keep it on my pinky finger for more than the briefest moment. No way. I didn’t try these on any nipples, my own or Kristen’s.

Next, we’ve got some decent clamps, which work well, but have some flaws.

Tit Clamps by Pipedream

The Tit Clamps by Spartacus have a handsome thick chain and no black plastic caps on the end of the clamps, which makes them shiny and quite nice to look at. I thought they’d be too strong, but actually they’re quite nice. I like how they look and they’re quite comfortable.

butterfly

Butterfly Clamps by Spartacus

The Butterfly Clamps were highly recommended to me from various folks on Twitter when I started asking around about nipple clamps, and from what I’ve read the pinching actually gets tighter when they’re pulled on because of the way they’re constructed. That seems like a great idea! But in actuality, they are big and kind of bulky, not nearly as hot as they seem (though I’ve seen some fetish photographs which use them and they are perfectly lovely … perhaps they’re just too big for Kristen’s rather small breasts and nipples in particular?), and they slip off pretty easily. The tension isn’t quite tight enough and the pads which actually go on the nipple are circular and rather small, so they just don’t quite fit right. Seems like for the right person, these would be great, but they weren’t quite right for me.

Adjustable Clamps by Spartacus

The Spartacus Adjustable Clamps, the square-ish ones, are pretty simple and straightforward. Very adjustable, though a little bit slippery because they don’t get quite as tight as the others. The adjustability means that they’ll fit larger nipples which are very sensitive and don’t need a lot of stimulation, but these wouldn’t be great for smaller nipples that want tons of pinching.

What the hell: Last but not least, I threw in a couple nipple clamps with attachments because I thought they might be fun.

Y Style With Clamp by Spartacus

The first, the Y Style with Clit Clamp by Spartacus, is a basic tweezer nipple clamp with an extra tweezer intended to go down and pinch the wearer’s clit. The basic tweezer without the clit clamp is good for beginner nipples especially, and this is the only type of clamp I had before this big ol’ review try-out. Kristen and I couldn’t really get the clit part to work, it either pinched painfully or it slipped right off. We keep saying we need to practice with this some more, but we already tried twice and were disappointed, so I kind of doubt we’ll go back to it again. I wonder if this other Y-Style with Clit Clamp, which are adjustable and not tweezers, would be easier to use on the clit? I might have to get a set of these to try.

The biggest surprise was the Collar with clamps by Spartacus. Kristen doesn’t like her neck restrained and actually actively dislikes choking in porns, usually, so I knew this would be a bit of a stretch, and that she might not even want to try it, but I asked for it anyway because I think it’s damn hot. I know collaring means lots of things in BDSM scenes, but I was hoping Kristen would be willing to try it once, and from all her love of bondage and restriction I suspected that she would like the feeling of restraint.

And she did. We both liked the ways that the clamps fall and curve under her breasts and create this nice curl of chain, the visual is beautiful. I like to be able to pull on the chain and both pull her neck and her nipples. It’s incredibly hot when she wears it around without a shirt. The collar with clamps is the one we’ve gone back to most often, and it’s introduced the collar to us as an option, and as a potential symbol, something that I didn’t expect at all. We haven’t explored this in too much detail yet, but I can tell we both like it.

The clamps that came with the collar are probably the type I would most recommend – what they call the bull nose type, fully adjustable with a rubber tip to protect the nipple from the metal. These are available in clamps that do not include a collar, too.

There are plenty of other nipple clamps out there, but these cover most of the basic types. If I missed one or two, let me know! I’ll still be on the lookout for types I haven’t tried.

Dear Mr. Sexsmith: Packing

October 13, 2009  |  advice, reviews  |  4 Comments

Hi Sinclair,

I have a soft packer, which I can carry around in my briefs with no problem. But, when strapping with a cock like Maverick for later use with my girl… it was so uncomfortable because of the way it was pressed down or upwards and the pressure from the base of my cock (which now was at an angle) on my pelvic bone left me sore and bruised. Plus, it looked like I had a huge hard-on. My pants were fairly loose, but it was so obvious that ‘something’ was in my pants… I was very self conscious that it looked like I had a boner and it was extremely hard to relax. I even went so far as to wrap the thing with an elastic bandage around my groin to hold it down. Every time I sat down…pain from my skin being tugged by my cock and the bandage pulling it away from the strap. Not to mention the inconvenience of having to ‘unwrap’ so we could fuck in a bathroom… I have even tried Silky (minus the bandage) by just bending it up or to the side(still looking like a hard-on), and once again, the base doesn’t sit flush when bent and puts a lot of pressure on the pelvic bone. It sort of takes the fun out it, which sucks, because I really having my cock with me and ready to go.

Is hard packing comfortably a fine art or is there really a trick to it?

Thanks in advance!
WrencHer

WrencHer -

Yeah, I hear you there. That’s like the #1 issue of packing, nobody’s really invented a cock that is soft enough in your pants and hard enough to fuck with yet.

I totally know what you mean about packing with something hard and having the pressure dig into your pubic bone, ouch. That does happens to me sometimes. Packing is a bit of a fine art, might just take a whole lot of trail and error. I pretty much only ever pack with either a) packers, soft and not made for fucking or b) Silky/Bendy. The harder/bigger ones like Maverick just don’t work, in my experience – VERY rarely I’ll put one on before I’m at home watching a movie or something, but that’s for when all I’m wearing is boxers and nobody can see me (’cause hello, tentpole!).

I’ve been packing with Silky/Bendy for like four or five years now I guess, and I’ve figure out the angle pretty well for that one so it doesn’t dig into me anymore, I can wear it around easily for a day. I do have to readjust sometimes, but generally I can get it to stay put. I guess having it really tight in the straps around my waist helps, so then it doesn’t shift or move around, but then I keep the straps between my legs looser.

What kind of harness are you using? Maybe try a different one, that might help? I definitely think Silky/Bendy can pack comfortably, so it might just take some more practice. There are two that seem to be the most popular and recommended: the Jaguar (leather, though they also have a vegan one, by Aslan) and the Joque Spare Parts. The Joque & the Jaguar are not my personal favorites, actually, mostly because I really prefer the one-strap harnesses, though it seems like these are favored by most people. Personally I like the commando, and also the Jaguar G, which is the G-string version of the same Jaguar. The leather is SO beautiful and soft and buttery and I just love the design, super comfortable and incredibly hot.

Same with the cocks, it’ll be about a $100 investment, but Aslan Leather (and some of the other nice harness makers too) come with a lifetime guarantee, like Vixen does, so the investment is totally worth it.

Sinclair

Review: The Black Glove & The Elegant Spanking (DVD)

October 12, 2009  |  reviews  |  No Comments

I seem to be up to my chest in queer porn DVDs to review these days. Now that I’ve finished the two S.I.R. Productions DVDs, I’ve got Courtney Trouble’s Speakeasy, Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex, Bleu Production’s Post Apocalyptic Cowgirls through Hot Movies for Her, and I’m expecting some films from Buck Angel in the near future, too.

Queer porn is taking off like crazy!

I still constantly hear people say that there’s no “good” lesbian porn out there – that it’s all made for men or is girl-on-girl action, not by-and-for real dykes. That is just not true anymore! Dykes are making some of the most amazing, progressive porn out there, and, based on my recent reviews of a few DVDs which are actually almost 10 years old, I’d say we have been making damn good porn for quite a while.

beattyRecently, I had a chance to check out Maria Beatty’s Fetish Films Volume 1, The Black Glove & The Elegant Spanking from everybody’s favorite neighborhood sex toy shop, Babeland. I was intrigued by the film noir images and the heavy BDSM which includes hot wax torture, foot worship, pinwheels, roleplay, and spike heels, and actually my acupuncturist was the one who first asked me if I knew Maria Beatty or her production company, Bleu Productions. I wasn’t familiar with her work, but it didn’t take me long to become so.

Though this DVD collection of Beatty’s two short films came out in 2003, the films themselves are form 1995 and 1996. They are explicitly lesbian and beautifully shot – if you’re into slow, slow buildup and lots of tension, pretty girls doing naughty things to each other, high femme drag, and strong power dynamics, you should consider this one.

I probably won’t watch it again for the purposes of jerking off or getting in the mood, but I can see possibly putting it on in the background at a party – it is beautiful to look at – and I’ve definitely never seen any porn like it. There’s some odd components, like for example a gas mask in The Black Glove. I’ve never really considered a gas mask sexy and while I understand the purpose of regulating breathing, I found it kind of hard to watch. Very interesting, though, and very elegant.

There is virtually no sound in these films – they do have some musical track to them, but they are for the most part silent, with dialogue cards (which are more like revealing the character’s thoughts) like in silent films. I think what I loved best is that Maria Beatty herself is the submissive bottom in both of these films, which I don’t usually expect of the filmmaker – but obviously she knows what she wants, and goes for it. I wonder if she’s in any other films that she made? I’ll have to research that, she was definitely very sexy.

Pick up Maria Beatty’s Fetish Films Volume 1, The Black Glove & The Elegant Spanking at Babeland, or your local feminist sex toy shop.

National Coming Out Day & Matthew Shepard

October 12, 2009  |  essays  |  2 Comments

October is my favorite month – I’m going to state it officially for the record. It’s got some significant gay activist dates, like October 11th (in the US – apparently it’s the 12th in the UK), which is National Coming Out Day, and the whole thing is LGBT History Month. And October 12th is the anniversary of Matthew Shepard‘s death.

And this year, I’m sure you’ve heard, was the National Equality March on Washington, and news about its success has been streaming through my reader all day.

Last year, on National Coming Out Day, I wrote about where I was when Matthew died (in the same city as he was, actually) and shared the poem I wrote about it years later.

I still think coming out is one of the very most important things we can do, as queers, as dykes, as butches and femmes, as andro genderqueer gendernonconforming gender rebels, as trans folks, as kinksters. Coming out claims the space we rightfully stand on, and says we accept who we are, and if you don’t, that’s your goddamn problem. Coming out is visibility, and completely overrides whatever the lesbian uniform currently is.

Whoever you are, I urge you to come out to just one more person this week, this month, this year. Come out as whatever particular identity you happen to be. Come out in support of gay rights, come out by calling your coworker on their homophobic jokes. Come out and claim your space.

I ran across this clip of Judy Shepard visiting The Ellen Show last week, on October 9, 2009. She talks about Matthew’s death, her own subsequent activism, what a hate crime is, and the amazing news of the US House of Representatives expanding the Hate Crime definition on October 8th (I know, I don’t usually report on current events, but this is important and relevant to the October Activism).

PS, check out Ellen’s short hair! It just keeps getting shorter! I would love to talk to her someday about her gender and how it’s evolving – has she always been butch, and now that she has some solid fame and notariety she finally feels comfortable expressing herself? Is it Portia’s influence? Is she a reflection of the current culture? (Seems like she always has had very timely hair.) I’m curious, I’d love to hear what she says about it. And I just love that she’s doing more gay activism through her show than she ever has.

A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity (on Carnal Nation)

October 12, 2009  |  essays  |  3 Comments

I’ve got a new column on Carnal Nation called Radical Masculinity, and the first one went up two weeks ago. Here’s an excerpt:

Remember back in the Spring of 2009 when two young boys committed suicide within a week of each other, both eleven years old? Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts and Jaheem Herrera of Georgia were both being subjected to unbearable anti-gay bullying at school. Whether or not these boys were actually gay, using homophobia to police masculinity is practically the oldest trick in the book. In the aftermath of these suicides, and in the discussions that ensued on the Web and in print, there was extensive lip service given to gender and the inevitable complaint that boys have it so hard, that feminism has stripped men of their manliness, that men don’t know how to be men anymore, that we’ve got a Crisis In Masculinity.

That might seem like anti-feminist rhetoric, but I agree with it—at least in part. I agree that masculinity is changing, for some in dramatic, drastic ways. I have witnessed and observed cultural changes around the masculine and male gender roles which are shifting, yes, as a direct result of the recent feminist and other gendered social change movements.

Read the whole thing over on CarnalNation.com.

The premise of this first article is to introduce some of the concepts of this so-called “crisis in masculinity” and my perspectives on them. I think there’s some stuff brewing behind changes and evolutions in masculinity, and I want to tease them out. I also had a pretty tough time coming to my own masculinity, but I feel like I have come into my own, and I want to attempt to explain how that worked for me and how I adopted a masculinity that was both intentional and actively works to not be painful or hurtful, to me or others.

It’s a really complicated topic and I’m looking forward to exploring it. The second column is in progress – they’ll be monthly. If you have any particular requests for topics I should explore, I’d love to know.

Do you take it in the ass?

October 12, 2009  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

Because I’ve been talking about ass sex lately, and because I’ve never posted this, and because the queer activism of October is sometimes a bit weighty, here’s The Wet Spots doing Do You Take It.

Warning: this will probably get stuck in your head. But don’t worry, you can always think of Cher and it’ll be gone.

Dear Mr. Sexsmith: Harnesses

October 8, 2009  |  advice, reviews  |  8 Comments

Dear Mr. Sexsmith:

Can you recommend a company or a website that makes strap on dildos for plus sized women? i’ve seen this one on adameve.com, but it’s not aesthetically pleasing at all (i’m not really a fan of the leather diaper look) plus the dildo it comes with is purple, and I would much rather prefer a more realistic looking cock. If you can recommend anything, please let me know. I’m a size 24/26 if that will help you at all. Thanks so much!

Lauren

Lauren -

There are definitely some harnesses out there that would fit & be comfortable, much better than a “leather diaper.”

I tweeted your question the other day and got a lot of ideas. Responses were:

I can definitely speak to the Joque (aka Spareparts) – that’s the one everybody loves these days. it’s not my favorite personally, but it’s extra comfortable and really easy to use, and machine washable. Lots of good things. Outlaw is a fantastic company, they make both the Syd and the Missy-G, and those are kind of feisty, lots of personality.

Eden Fantasys has very good data on all their products in the “overview” part in the left-hand sidebar, including the maximum waist size.

Hope that helps! And hey, readers: what’s your experiences with harnesses for folks who have a bit of extra girth? Got any recommendations, or comments about the harnesses that were mentioned?

Bucking the System: Buck Angel Q&A

October 8, 2009  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Buck Angel, the FTM transsexual porn star known as “the man with the vagina” (who has given his permission to be included in the Top Hot Butches list as #62), has started a new show called BUCKING THE SYSTEM where he is taking all sorts of gender and sexuality questions.

The video is also interpreted in ASL by Elayne Angel, who I believe is Buck’s wife and also a master piercer. In fact, I have entertained the idea of traveling to her in order to get a triangle piercing (do I have to warn you? that link is NSFW), which is a kick I get on every year or two. I would really like one, but the healing time (which probably means no strap-on sex) and the things that could potentially go wrong have been preventative so far. I hear she pierced Dacia recently. Also, I want to read her new book.

I haven’t actually seen a lot of Buck’s porn films, though I’m curious – my impression is that it’s mostly gay male porn, not very lesbian, and while I appreciate the, erm, gusto, with which gay men have sex on camera, it’s not what I tend to turn to when I want to get off. But he’s got many, many of his videos over on the Sugarbutch VOD through Hot Movies For Her and I look forward to taking some of them for a spin.

Did you catch Buck on episode #124 of the Savage Love podcast earlier this year? I was impressed with what he had to say about gender and sexuality. I’m looking forward to this Bucking the System series. Subscribe to Buck’s YouTube channel or follow @BuckAngel on Twitter.

Review: Sugar High Glitter City (DVD)

October 7, 2009  |  reviews  |  6 Comments

Oh, Shar. Oh, Jackie. I’ve already waxed poetical recently about my love for the super hot porn pioneer butch/femme couple behind S.I.R. Productions, but here’s another one for you: their second production, Sugar High Glitter City, from 2001.

Like Hard Love / How to Fuck in High Heels, I watched this over & over. My roommate owned a copy of the VHS I used to watch when she wasn’t home. In fact, the first time I saw it, I’d rented it at Babeland‘s Seattle store (not sure they still do rentals) to watch with my first girlfriend, and when finally we had some time alone in my apartment together, I went to the VCR and popped the tape that was in there out – and suddenly I was holding two copies of it, as my roommate had actually purchased it already. That was weird.

sugarObviously it wasn’t just me but many dykes who were excited about Shar & Jackie’s second release!

Kristen & I sat down to watch this a few weeks ago, and it was even better than Hard Love / How to Fuck in High Heels and better than I’d remembered. The film narration by Honey Lee Cottrell explains that we’re in a different world where sugar is outlawed and sex workers do all sorts of things to get a taste. Then, of course, there are the corrupt cops who shake down the sugar hos for both their sugar and their sex. The outfits are glittery and over the top, lots of makeup and fun really performative costumey items.

Since the whole setting is way over the top anyway, it’s way easier to suspend disbelief and enjoy the occasionally slightly awkward dialogue and scenes, which makes it much easier to get into than Hard Love.

Those who love sugar will especially get a kick out of this film … I don’t love the sexual fetishization of sugar so much because so much of the film treats sugar as a drug (as it basically is), and I don’t think it’s a good idea to sexually fetishize drugs. But I do like it as a play, as a performance of drug culture, as a commentary even on sex & drug desire.

The other thing of note is the fabulous dirty talk from butch Jackie, especially in the beginning scene “Sugar Cop Shakedown.” Kristen turned to me and said, she sounds like YOU to which I responded, actually, I probably sound like her. Where else do you think I learned it?

Worth it.

Pick up Sugar High Glitter City at Babeland, or your local feminist sex toy shop.

“Whoops! Where’d my job go?”

October 3, 2009  |  miscellany  |  9 Comments

Followers of my @mrsexsmith Twitter account will know that my 9-to-5 day job is pretty much over. I’ve worked as a graphic designer at a firm in midtown for nearly the last four years, and they spun off two of the three divisions of the company, which were the two I worked for, and now I am technically on leave through December 1st. That means if they call me I have to go in, but I can’t accept another job until December 1st. Meanwhile, I have some t i m e o f f.

The million dollar question is, of course, what are you going to do now? Well, I’m not quite sure. I’ll be doing freelance graphic design and writing for a while, and building up my own artistic career. I will be looking for another job, but I’d like to have some down time before I begin a serious search, and I think I can live on a lot less than I thought was necessary.

I’m also hoping to make some appearances and do some workshops – so far I am scheduled on October 16th, Friday, at Bluestockings Bookstore, speaking on a panel about Feminist Sex, and also on November 16th at Conversio Virium, Columbia University’s BDSM student group, where I’ll be giving a lecture on Gendering Power: How to spice up your role play.

I’d love to do a bit of traveling to colleges nearby, too – Smith, Bard, back to my alma mater the University of Washington. I’m hoping that some of those gigs will work out, my booking company Phin Li has been helping me with my scheduling, and if you’d like to book a date with me, you can contact me at my regular email address or Phin Li at bookings at phinli.com.

(Also, Jesse James is coming to visit, and we are so going to paint the town. Can’t wait. She hasn’t met Kristen yet and it’s going to be a blast.)

I’ve noticed that July and August were two of the quietest months I’ve ever had here on Sugarbutch, for some reasons I’ve already explained, and because work changed their corporate access policies which meant that I couldn’t access this site from there.

I will be going back to the minimum of one-time-a-day five-days-a-week posting on Sugarbutch that I used to do, for a while, while I’m in this transition. I have about twenty topics I need to write on, and half a dozen drafts. If you have topical requests, now’s the time to chime in. And as always, if you have specific questions for me, I’ll be glad to address them as well as I can. I try hard to keep up with my inbox.

The ending of this job is a huge transition. It was absolutely time for this job to end, and it has worked so well for me – really, this job has been the major funding behind Sugarbutch for the last 3.5 years, since I started this site shortly after I got that job and I spent many hours working on Sugarbutch from that position. (Why else do you think my Sugarbutch Star chapbook is by “On Company Time” productions?) I basically got out of debt through this job, and I saved up quite a bit in my 401K, and it has afforded me to get on my feet in New York City in a way that seemed impossible a few years ago. I had been planning to leave this job in the beginning of next year regardless, and the way that this position was eliminated was probably the best possible way to lose a job. Still, it’s a huge change … I’ve commuted to Midtown Manhattan every weekday for nearly four years! I’ve had full access to all sorts of beautiful paper and color printers and supplies! I know my way around that neighborhood so well, in fact, that I don’t know where to get many things in my neighborhood near my house, since I knew I could just pick whatever it was up during my work week.

Meanwhile, though, I’ve had some amazing conversations with Audacia Ray about the future of the Sugarbutch Empire, and where I’m going, and how best to use my time with my artistic career. And I finally, finally, will have a good amount of time to get some of my shit in order and really meditate on where I’m going.