Archive for February, 2010

Lezzy Finalist! Vote Daily Until March 2nd!

February 24, 2010  |  miscellany  |  6 Comments

Whoa! I’m a finalist for the 2009 Lezzy Awards in both the Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog & The Lezzy Lifetime Achievement Award categories! Thanks so much for the finalist nominations, everyone who voted!

Voting runs from February 22nd at 12:00 pm EDT to 12:00 am EDT March 2nd.

I’m listed up with some freakin’ amazing sites, many of which are my regular reads. First up, my buddy Jesse James is up in TWO categories—Humor and Personal. Dorothy Surrenders is up in Entertainment/Culture, as well as AutoStraddle and Fit For a Femme. And of course my favorite funny-because-it’s-true blog, Grace the Spot, is up for the Humor category. I haven’t read any of the Parenting or Engagement/Wedding blogs except for my good buddies Lesbian Dad and Don’t Let’s Talk, but I am loving checking out the others! Then of course there’s Sexuality Happens by Essin’ Em up against me (gulp!) in the Sex/Short Story/Erotica category, and my buddy Harrison at How To Be Butch in the New Lesbian Blog category and Dear Diaspora in Feminist/Political.

That’s a lot. It’s a great list of strong writers, check out ALL the finalists! And remember, vote DAILY until March 2nd at midnight EST. (Make sure you click the confirmation link in your email after you vote, or it won’t count!)

VOTE on TheLesbianLifestyle.com!

SXSW and Austin Bound in March: Update

February 24, 2010  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

I’m still heading down to Austin and will be there for a few short days, March 13-15 (with Kristen!). Thanks for all the fantastic suggestions for where to EAT while we’re there—I know we’ll be exploring many of those places. So! I’ll be on a panel on Saturday, the 13th, called Engaging the Queer Community, along with Trish Bendix of AfterEllen.com, Bil Browning of Bilerico, and Fausto Fernos of Feast of Fun.

Bil just said in a recent post that “[t]ens of thousands of people attend each year. My understanding though, they’ve never had a session that was explicitly queer.” Huhwhut? Seriously? Whoa. I didn’t realize that.

Feast of Fun is one of the most popular LGBT podcasts on the entire interwebs, and Bil recently was a guest, talking about the power of the group blog. I may be a special guest sometime soon too … will let you know!

I mentioned before that I was going to try to do a Sugarbutch meetup on the evening of the 13th (Saturday), but I just found out that Fausto is organizing a queer tweetup meetup at Oil Can Harry’s—apparently Austin’s oldest gay bar—on Sunday, March 14th at 9pm, so the four of us are going to co-host a little gathering. Come out and say hi, meet some folks, get some free drinks!

So that means there won’t be a Sugarbutch meetup on the night of the 13th. Sorry about that, I hope that’s still possible for all you folks who saw my last mention and said that you wanted to come by to still make it.

Details!

Engaging The Queer Community
Saturday, March 13 at 03:30 PM

A discussion on maintaining successful and active blogs and social networking sites that are geared toward the LGBT community and its niches.

Presenters:

Trish Bendix - MTV/AfterEllen.com
Bil Browning - Bilerico Project
Fausto Fernos - Feast of Fun (moderator)
Sinclair Sexsmith - Sugarbutch Chronicles

SXSW Queer Blogger Tweetup
Sunday, March 14 at 9pm
OilCan Harry’s
211 West 4th Street (walking distance from the conference)
Austin, Texas

  • Live tweetup using hashtag #sxswgay
  • Free wifi available
  • Your favorite viral videos from 2009 playing on the bar’s TVs
  • T-shirt and merchandise giveaways
  • Free drinks to all SXSW attendees and people who follow Oil Can Harry’s on twitter @oilcanharrys or show their SXSW pass.

Lesbian Sex Mafia Workshop: Revised (this Friday!)

February 15, 2010  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

I already mentioned that I’ll be doing a workshop at the Lesbian Sex Mafia this Friday, but I’ve got a revised workshop description, so I’m reposting it here.

If you’d like to RSVP for the event via Facebook, please do.

LSM Presents: Gendering Power: How to Spice Up Your Role Play
with Sinclair Sexsmith

Where: LGBT Center, 208 West 13th Street (bet 7th and 8th Ave.)
When: Friday, February 19, 2010 at 8:00-10:00PM
Cost: $5/LSM members, $10/Non members
Who: Women & trans folks only

Perhaps gender roles are just a construct. But that doesn’t mean they’re not hot! Lots of queers come to our own unique expressions of gender, and it can be a powerful way to explore many sides of ourselves with each other. Adding gender dynamics to sex play can encourage self-discovery, to solidify or express identities which are budding, or to further express identities already in progress. In this interactive workshop we will explore the addition and power of gender roles in sexual role play scenarios to increase desire, vulnerability, self-knowledge, and intimacy. Bring a pen and your notebook, we’ll do some writing exercises to get us thinking.

Consent Obsession

February 15, 2010  |  essays, journal entries  |  6 Comments

I’m realizing that I’m a little bit obsessed with consent, in perhaps a way that is too much. I mean, it is not a bad thing to get someone’s consent in sexual play, and there are many ways to do so. But I’m starting to see ways that I’m conscious of consent or non-consent in many other aspects of my life.

For example:

One of the reasons I don’t really like sex in public is because of the other people who may witness it. Some people find the getting caught part the part that is thrilling, and some folks find the threat of getting caught (though not actually getting caught) thrilling. I do like being in such lust and desire that you can’t keep your hands off the one you’re with long enough to get home and really have to take them, have to have them, right now, right here, but I don’t want that to have anything to do with being in public or potentially watched by strangers, because the strangers are not consenting. No matter how sex-positive (or sex-negative) they might be, they are not consenting to seeing someone else having sex right now, right here, and I guess that I feel like doing it, then, is a little bit rude.

Now, consenting strangers, like at a sex party? Sure. No problem. I’m glad to have sex in front of other people, though I’m more of a voyeur than I am an exhibitionist, I do like showing off my partner and what she can do, how she looks, how I can make her scream and gasp and cry and come.

When I perform at a reading series and decided to read some erotica, I try always to warn folks at the beginning of the reading, to tell them what the content will be (just broadly—a blow job, some fucking—without ruining the “plot,” of course). Sometimes one is just not in the mood to listen to explicit sex, certainly I am not in the mood sometimes, and have been at events where someone busts into some really explicit sex (or violence, or something else a bit controversial) and often the audience gets very uncomfortable. It’s not that I don’t sometimes want the audience to be uncomfortable, when listening to my work, or that I think anyone who has a problem with sex should necessarily leave if given a warning, just that it’s easier to kind of brace yourself if you have some vague expectation of what’s upcoming.

This consent obsession happens in my own apartment, too. I noticed it just recently, when I was, yet again, shushing Kristen as we were fucking, probably in the morning, possibly when either my roommate was around or when my new neighbors with their young child were loud enough to hear through the walls. I know my roommate knows that I have a lot of sex, and I know he doesn’t really mind, but still, I try to be respectful.

I was discussing this with Kristen a little bit lately, this particular one about being quiet when we have sex at my place, and she pushed me a little to think about it. Especially in terms of the neighbors. “That’s just something that happens in New York City apartments,” she shrugged. The walls are thin, we live close together, cramped in this big ol’ city. And sheesh, there are way worse sounds to hear than your neighbors having good sex—hell, maybe they’re pervy enough to really like hearing their neighbors get it on, and it ends up inspiring them to have sex, too. Sometimes I really do let it get in the way of really letting go when we’re fucking, and I don’t want that to happen.

(Hey look, Sinclair is putting other people’s perceived—not even actual!—needs in front of her own. Surprise, surprise. Yeah, working on it.)

I’ve been noticing this lately in terms of my email inboxes, too. I have a public email inbox, and twitter stream, and thus sometimes I get things in my inbox that I don’t consent to, that I don’t ask for, from products and ads and offers to hate mail. One of the things about email is that it’s really hard to receive an email, see who it’s from, see the subject line, and then either not open it or delete it without reading it, and thus I have ended up reading all sorts of things that I didn’t really want to. I’ve kept this in mind when sometimes writing long sappy emails to my exes in my mind, too, thinking, are they consenting to receiving this email? Do they want to hear from me? It’s different to send a note saying, hey, thinking of you, hope you are well, verses sending a two-page long story-of-my-life and pouring-my-heart-out emotional letter.

Perhaps it’s a form of containment.

That’s not to say that I don’t love and appreciate the occasional emails in my inbox about my work, folks pouring out their hearts and emotions and sex lives, telling me about gender and their partners or exes and how my work has changed how they are relating to their relationship, sex, or gender issues. I do love that. I’m so glad my work isn’t going out there into some big black void. And I know that when I reveal this kind of personal stuff about my own gender, sexuality, sex life, relationship, and emotional life, it makes it easier to open up about yours in response, and I cherish that opening. It’s inspiring and beautiful and I love that kind of connection with other folks.

I suppose that’s just one of the side effects of having a public email address—and I’m starting to really envy folks like Leo Babauta of Zen Habits and Havi Brooks of The Fluent Self who have shut down their email inboxes entirely. I know that wouldn’t exactly solve the problem, and I do like to have a place where folks can write to me. And the only thing I can do about this is to note the ways that I sometimes throw things in other people’s inboxes that they don’t consent to, and be aware of that.

I still have my own issues with trusting the agency of my partner, too. My relationship with Kristen was kinda tough over the holidays, and one of the things that came out of that was some distrust on my part of the D/s dynamic that I’d come to love and cherish. I second-guessed myself and her to the point that I wasn’t trusting what either of us were saying, I was (subconsciously or unconsciously) convinced that there was something else I wasn’t seeing, something I didn’t know about that would come bubbling up (again) and … be scary. But, so what if it does? That could certainly happen! There’s always more stuff to figure out that comes up and demands to be dealt with. So what. More and more, I trust that I—and Kristen and I together—have the tools to deal with that stuff, whatever it is. And when I can bring this all into articulation, it’s very clear that I haven’t been trusting our dynamic enough and have needed to relax and let go a little more (instead of gripping tight and trying to keep control and protect and help, yet again).

Maybe my “consent obsession” is slightly more accurately described as an obsession with control—or perhaps that’s related, though not entirely the same, like an overlapping Venn diagram. Regardless, it’s something I notice coming up in various places in my life, and I want to be more aware, mindful, and intentional with what I choose to do with it when it arises.

Bulldyke Chronicles, Saturday 2/20/10 in NYC

February 15, 2010  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Thanks to Kelli Dunham (who is currently in Haiti being all awesome and saving the world and stuff) and Phin Li Bookings (who has a new website, have you seen it?), I’m going to be appearing in Shelly Mars’ new venture Bulldyke Chronicles at Dixon Place in New York City this coming Saturday night, February 20th, 2010.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 20 AT 9:30PM
THE BULLDYKE CHRONICLES
Tickets at the door, $6 (cash only)
Shelly Mars & Kirby (DP’s mascot) offer a night of bull-dyke bullshit, artistry & edgy performances. Shake your tails off. Performing will be Elizabeth Whitney, Lea Robinson, Sinclair Sexsmith, Susan Jeremy, Shelly Mars, and Kirby!

Dixon Place, dixonplace.org
161A Chrystie Street, between Rivington and Delancey

Nominate Sugarbutch for a 2009 Lezzy Award!

February 15, 2010  |  miscellany  |  5 Comments

I was so flattered to win the Best Gender Bender Blog and Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog categories in the Lezzy Awards, run by the Lesbian Lifestyle, last year. Help me defend my title, will ya? Nominate me again!

Nominations will last from February 15-22 at 12:00 am EDT. The top 3 nominated blogs will then go on to the final voting round which will begin on February 22nd at 12:00 pm EDT. If you nominate blogs, you MUST click the confirmation link in your email, otherwise your nominations won’t count!

Here’s the categories this year:

Best Lesbian Entertainment/ Lesbian Culture Blog
Best Lesbian Humor Blog
Best Lesbian Parenting Blog
Best Lesbian Engagement/Wedding Blog *New in 2009
Best Lesbian Feminist/Political Blog
Best Lesbian Personal Blog
Best Lesbian “Out later in life” Blog *New in 2009
Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog
Best NEW Lesbian Blog (Posting for a year or less) *New in 2009
Lesbian Blog Lifetime Achievement Award *New in 2009 (This award is replacing the Lesbian Blog of the Year Award. This Award can only be won once. The award represents longevity, excellence, and overall greatness in lesbian blogging. Nominated blogs need to have been posting for a year or more.)
Best Lesbian Podcast *New in 2009

Hmmm … who will I vote for? I’m not sure yet. Probably Lesbian Dad, Just Like Jesse James, Grace the Spot, and Dorothy Surrenders, as they are four of my favorite reads. But who else? Want me (and the Sugarbutch readers) to nominate your blog? Add it in the comments, and tell us which category you’d like to be nominated in. And please, nominate Sugarbutch Chronicles for Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog!

My Hands Are My Heart (Valentine’s Day)

February 12, 2010  |  journal entries  |  13 Comments

So … what are you doing for Valentine’s Day this Sunday?


“My Hands Are My Heart,” Gabriel Orozco, 1991

Remember what Kristen and I did last year? I planned a little surprise trip up to a winery, which was lovely. This year, though, I’m broke and Kristen doesn’t like spending money, so we’re taking swing dancing lessons through February (which we both LOVE) and staying in this weekend, cooking and holing up with each other.

All I really want to do lately is get lost in her, talk to her, touch her, explore her. I’ll probably make a little card or love note too … I’d love to write a perfect poem for her, one of these days. I ran into this lovely haiku the other day, and you know how sometimes you read things and they are just like so fucking perfect that you feel like you’ll never write something that good? I kind of love that feeling. And I really love this haiku.

I have never felt
more completely like myself
than when I hold you.

Daily Haiku on Love by Tyler Knott Gregson

Not that I’ll stop trying to write her a perfect poem. I will, I am. Just that I keep running into things that are so perfect. Like this: “She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.” — J.D. Salinger (posted on my tumblr media log recently). Maybe I just need to do some sort of collage or compilation.

On a related note, I was listening to Dan Savage’s podcast Savage Love, which, if you don’t listen to, I highly HIGHLY recommend, he’s sometimes a bit of a jerk, yes, and occasionally has some bad slips of the tongue about plenty of hot-button things, but he’s honest, and very sex-positive, and I’ve learned a LOT from his work over the past ten years. Last week, at the beginning of his podcast, he had this to say:

Valentine’s Day is a week and change away, and when you’re a sex advice professional, as I am, you get a lot of calls on the run up to Valentine’s Day, asking for boiler-plate love and romance advice from bullshit publications that the rest of the year pretend that sex doesn’t really exist. And what they want is usually this bullshit deep-fried funnel cake sugar coated romance crap, and not real romance: you know, “how do you sex up your Valentine’s? How do you make it more erotic?” And what they want to hear is candles, and dinner, and wine, and flowers.

What’s crazy about all the standard Valentine’s Day gifts is that they all have narcotic effects, really! Go out and have some wine, and eat a big rich meal, and you’re really not going to want to fuck when you get home! You’re going to want to fall the fuck asleep. And then you get all these letters—if you’re a sex advice professional, as I am—the day after Valentine’s Day, from people who are worried about the health of their relationship, or whether their partner is really attracted to them, because they went out and had this big romantic Valentine’s Day date and dinner, and then they didn’t fuck because they fell asleep, or he fell asleep. Well of course he fell asleep. He had a gut full of steak and booze and rich crap.

You know, if you want to spice up your sex life, on Valentine’s Day, stay the fuck home, do something that gets your blood pumping, like move your ass, don’t feed your face, and then bone each other! Done! The end, right? Don’t make reservations. Don’t fall into the restaurant industrial chocolate complex conspiracy that is Valentine’s Day, and think you have to mark it by pouring money into … whatever! You need to pour your own bodily fluids into each other (if you are fluid bonded, if not please use condoms and barriers and whatever)! And you can do that best if you stay the fuck home!

You know what you should do, if you do go to the restaurant—and you probably should go the restaurant, waiters gotta eat, I put myself through school waiting tables, I don’t want to like kill the restaurant industry (I don’t think I have that power)—FUCK FIRST. Fuck at four o’clock, if you have dinner reservations at eight. Fuck twice if you have dinner reservations at eight, then go to the restaurant. And toast the awesome relationship you have, and the amazing sex you just had, and then go home and collapse into bed, and fall the fuck asleep.

—Dan Savage, Savage Love Podcast episode 172 (transcribed by me, errors are probably my fault)

Now, I’ve always been a sex-at-night kind of person, probably because I like staying up late, but my days are often so jam-packed lately that I’m finding Kristen and I do this quite often—we go out to some awesome event, or for a great meal, then we end up crashing. This definitely made me think about planning the evening (and the sex play) with a little bit more intention.

I know, I know, Valentine’s Day is a cheesy corporate and capitalistic holiday, and we shouldn’t need excuses to show our loved ones that we care. But, to be honest … I’m a romantic, and I like the excuses. I also fight with my tendency to over-shower, over-give, over-love someone, and an event gives permission to channel those tendencies into gifts or romance.

So the question remains: what are you doing for Valentine’s Day this Sunday? What do you wish you were doing? What’s the romantic Valentine’s Day that you will always remember?

Word of the Day: Antevasin

February 12, 2010  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’m not one who tends to read bestsellers. In fact, when I do pick up—and like—a bestseller such that I actually want to carry it around with me and read it, I am often way embarrassed to be seen reading it on the subway. As if I am one of those people who only read popular books.

But of course, sometimes bestsellers are bestsellers for a reason: they are very, very good. I would argue for the Harry Potter series, and for The Time Traveler’s Wife (though against the Twilight series).

What made me pick up Eat, Pray, Love by Elisabeth Gilbert, aside from my sister‘s strong recommendation, was her talk on creativity from the TED lecture series.

I’ve probably watched this four times now, and a new part of it sinks in every time. This really jives with many of my conceptions about creativity works, and I really appreciate the shared responsibility of creation. YES.

So I picked up Eat, Pray, Love. And … it’s beautiful. Seriously. I hesitate to call it One Of My Favorite Books because who knows, I haven’t finished it yet, maybe it’s just speaking to me at a particular time about a particular thing and everything is just so resonant and perfect right now.

Like this:

Maybe the best thing to do with favourite films and books is to leave them be: to achieve such an exalted position means that they entered your life at exactly the right time, in precisely the right place, and those conditions can never be re-created. Sometimes we want to revisit them in order to check whether they were really as good as we remember them being, but this has to be a suspect impulse, because it presupposes is that we have more reason to trust our critical judgement as we get older, whereas I am beginning to believe that the reverse is true. —Nick Hornby, Shakespeare Wrote For Money

I had it out from the library, and I ordered my own copy from paperbackswap.com (my current guilty pleasure, though I suck at getting to the post office to do the mailing-out part). I’m looking forward to reading it again, and marking it up.

Yesterday, I came across this:

So I saw it during my last week at the Ashram, I was reading through an old text about Yoga, when I found a description of ancient spiritual seekers. A Sanskrit word appeared in the paragraph: ANTEVASIN. It means, ‘one who lives at the border.’ In ancient times this was a literal description. It indicated a person who had left the bustling center of worldly life to go live at the edge of the forest where the spiritual masters dwelled. The antevasin was not of the villagers anymore-not a householder with a conventional life. But neither was he yet a transcendent-not one of those sages who live deep in the unexplored woods, fully realized. The antevasin was an in-betweener. he was a border-dweller. He lived in sight of both worlds, but he looked toward the unknown. And he was a scholar.

—Eat, Love, Pray by Elisabeth Gilbert, p203

And oh my god that word is just so … potent. Perfect. I immediately saw it as an elaborate cursive tattoo over my collarbone or on my upper arm. That’s my word.

Then I started thinking: this is everybody’s word. That’s why this book is a crazy insane-o bestseller. Everybody thinks they live on the borders. Nobody thinks they fit in. And, sure enough, when I searched for “antevasin” online, many of the results are from personal blogs saying, “I recently read a book that described the word and I felt like it was describing me,” and “In one of the many books I am reading at present I came across a word and an idea that really resonate.” (Funny how they don’t necessarily identify the book. Or perhaps it’s just obvious enough that they don’t have to.)

Maybe not everybody thinks they are at the borders, not fitting in. Maybe there are some people, like my girlfriend claims, who know they are the status quo and average and buying in to pop culture and like it that way. I guess it’s mostly just that “my people”—the queers and the misfits and the artists and the writers and the thinkers—are the ones who surround me, and of course we all tend to have this deep, deep belief that we never fit in, that we probably never will, and that we’re straddling multiple worlds, being border-dwellers.

But I guess my question is … if the majority of us are the ones who think we don’t fit, aren’t the ones who ‘fit’ actually in the minority, making them, by definition, not fit?

And also … how do we truly, deeply, believe that we do in fact fit, perhaps not into a problematic hierarchical oppressive society like this one, but in our own communities, in our own subcultures, in our own families, in our own lives, in the larger universal human family? I really do believe that we all belong, we are all valid, we are all just where we are meant to be: right here.

“On Dichotomies that (No Longer) Jail Me” and More From KinkForAll Providence

February 9, 2010  |  essays  |  1 Comment

I really admire & adore Maymay.

He is one of the big minds behind both KinkForAll, which is an “unconference” of folks coming together to skill-share and discuss topics relating to kink and bdsm, and also Kink on Tap, which is a weekly internet video show where participants and special guests discuss the week in kink and what’s been going on in the media, as well as dozens of other things (tune in live at 8pm EST/5pm PST on Sunday nights at live.kinkontap.com and chat with other folks watching it in the chatroom!).

And like I mentioned, I attended KinkForAll Providence this past weekend. Kristen and I drove up from New York City for just the day, and we co-presented a workshop on Gendering Power (the short version—only twenty minutes—and I’ll be doing it full-length at the LSM here in New York City a few weeks!). And of course I saw many fantastic workshops—they are only twenty minutes long, in unconference style, very compact and specific, so you gotta really be precise about what you want to get across, and go for it.

Maymay’s was phenomenal. It’s called “On Dichotomies that (No Longer) Jail Me” and it kinda blew my brain. Now that I’ve re-watched it (and read along), I think it’s even more brilliant, and I highly urge you to set aside just twenty minutes, sometime today, and watch it.

The full text is available over at Maymay’s blog, which you should possibly follow along with in a side-by-side window situation when you finally watch this video of his presentation. There were so many parts that I loved, but in particular, this quote:

People speak of ’sexual morality,’ but that is a misleading expression. There is no special morality for sex. No matter what you do with yourself, whether you go to bed with girls or with boys, and no matter what it occurs to you to do with them or with yourself, no moral rule applies to that sphere of activity other than the principles that govern every aspect of life: honesty, courage, common humanity, consideration. —Jens Bjørnboe

[And then Maymay goes on to say:] What Jens understood that I think is so valuable is that people who dichotomize consensual sexual activity into obscene and decent acts also tend to approach morality as a dichotomy; they couple obscene with immoral and decent with moral. Indeed, Jens sees that the failure to recognize one false dichotomy actually blurs one’s view of which other dichotomies are true and which are not. On the other hand, when you begin to see the gradations between things you once simplistically believed were absolutes, you empower yourself to break out of all false dichotomies.

Now, before I go any further, it’s important to mention that false dichotomies are not inherently bad things; they can be useful, as I mentioned, and they can be a lot of fun. Case in point, I think dichotomies of power are really fucking sexy! Specifically, I have always loved (and still love) playing—but not being—powerless. That is, I enjoy being sexually submissive.

Trouble is, I’m a man. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: DUH! Thing is, the fact that I’m a man wasn’t always clear to me. In fact, thanks to this really strong tendency that false dichotomies, when we incorrectly believe they are true, have of reinforcing one another, for the longest time I thought I was actually a woman! Yeah! Let me tell you why.” —Read the full text over at Maymay’s blog!

Maymay goes on to explain what I’ve called identity alignment assumptions, though in a much more illustrative and specific way than I ever did in that post. Dichotomies can be so jailing, so harmful, so specific—but we also have an infinite number of tools we can use to break out of those and come into ourselves, fully.

Watch it. Seriously. This is really good stuff.

On Dichotomies that (No Longer) Jail Me – KinkForAll Providence from maymay on Vimeo.

And because Maymay has been working probably non-stop since Saturday to get these videos working and live, here are a few more talks from KinkForAll Providence which were PHENOMENAL.

In this KinkForAll Providence presentation, Marty, Brown University Alumn (Class of 2008), reads from his impassioned graduate college application personal statement. “One reason I have chosen to out myself is to legitimize my identity and the identities of those I care about,” he says. By the end of obtaining his linguistics undergraduate degree at Brown University, Marty was already an accomplished sexuality freedom advocate. While in high school, he started a date-rape awareness theatre troupe, he helped found and run an ongoing male sexuality workshop at Brown University, and wrote a sex education and advice column for a local newspaper. Now, he works at Planned Parenthood in Boston and volunteers for Men Against Sexism.

I’m looking forward to talking to Marty more, especially about masculinity and his work as a sexuality freedom advocate. I think that might make for a great Radical Masculinity interview, don’t you?

How and Why I Came Out as Pan/Poly/Kinky on my Law School Applications – KinkForAll Providence from maymay on Vimeo.

If you were following my twitter stream over the weekend, you also know that Kristen and I got to spend some time hanging out with Megan Andelloux, and her two talks were fantastic. She recently opened The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, Rhode Island—and she showed us around! It is such a cool space, if I lived closer I would go hang out there all the time, read a book on the comfy couches or browse my RSS reader and chat with the visitors about what’s going on in the world of sex. If you’re anywhere nearby, I urge you to check it out.

But it wasn’t as easy as just “hey, I’m going to open a center, kthxbye!”—Megan was threatened and barricaded from opening for more than five months. In her second talk at KinkForAll, she explained what happened, and how she fought it—and won. Check it out:

When Megan Andelloux wanted to open the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Pawtucket, RI, “freaked out” residents barricaded her opening for 5 months and the local police threatened to arrest her. At KinkForAll Providence, 1 week after Megan’s education center opened, she gives a talk about the “sex panic” that swept the state and captured national headlines. Megan tells of a University of Rhode Island professor who waged a “war” to stop her from educating adults about sex, how locals demanded that “we should outlaw sex!” and how Megan fought for your sexual freedoms—and won! Learn more about Megan Andelloux at OhMegan.com and about the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health at TheCSPH.org

Sex Panic in Pawtucket – KinkForAll Providence from maymay on Vimeo.

I hear there’s talk for a KinkForAll NYC3 sometime soon. And as always, find out more than you probably need to know on the KinkForAll wiki.

Masculinity Icons: Happy Birthday, James Dean

February 8, 2010  |  miscellany  |  11 Comments

Today, February 8th, James Dean was born in 1931.

I’m working on a piece for Radical Masculinity about masculinity icons, particularly American icons (though I do have some plans to explore masculinity in other places too, in other columns).

James Dean comes up frequently as an icon, both as a traditional icon of American masculinity and as a personal icon. Take a look at the James Dean Lives tumblr for more photos and information about him, if you’d like. Good stuff over there.

I’m gathering ideas and statements for my in-progress (and vastly overdue) column currently, so I have a question for y’all: Who, in your opinion, are traditional icons of masculinity? Who are your personal icons of masculinity? What kind of traits do these icons portray? What kind of traits do you think icons of masculinity should portray? What makes someone (a guy, a cis-gendered guy in particular) a butch icon, or a radical masculinity icon, or a traditional masculinity icon?

I love pondering this stuff.