Giveaway: Pleasure Panties

As of 2/8/16 This product is no longer available at Babeland

I go back and forth on the word “panties.” Usually, I think I use “undies,” and I do like “thong,” as a word, though my girl rarely (never?) wears those.

But, y’know, when Christina says it’s sexy, I listen.

“Panties is a wonderful word. When did you stop saying “panties”? It’s sexy. It’s girlie. It’s naughty. Say it more.” —Christina Hendricks in May’s Esquire.

So: I introduce to you, I introduce you to, to you I introduce, the Pleasure Panties. The idea is that the wearer gives the remote to someone else, and has to endure all kinds of turning-on and buzzing and vibration up against her clit while trying to keep her composure.

A lovely little torture indeed.

I’m not usually such a fan of little gimmicky vibes like this, but you know what sold me? Of course you do. You know me so well. Yeah, it was the ribbons. The ties on the side. That casual little bow that says, “Oops! I didn’t mean to come untied, silly me.” I even have a whole “ribbon” category over on my Tumblr. I’m easy sometimes, a sucker, it’s true. But hey, it’s good to know what you like!

Want these little Pleasure Panties? (It still sounds funny, sorry Christina!) Leave a comment on this post with one naughty thing you’ve done in public, or one thing you wish you’d done in public, or one thing you fantasize about in public, or, you know, something else entirely, and I’ll pick one random lucky winner on Monday morning.

PS: If you live outside the US, you’ll have to throw in a few bucks for shipping.

These Pleasure Panties were provided by Babeland for giveaway. Visit the Babeland website for more great sex toys like this one. Thanks, Babeland!

Happy 4th Anniversary, Sugarbutch!

Today, April 29th 2010, marks the fourth anniversary of beginning Sugarbutch! I’ve been going at this site nearly daily for four years straight, and it’s the first anniversary where I am not working at another job; Sugarbutch is my full-time job.

This past year, I’ve written 231 posts, received 2,798 comments, added one category for a total of 37, and added 1,267 tags. I’m kind of tag-happy these days. They’re a sort of footnote.

I’ve also started writing many other places, including the Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation, my Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend column on New York City for Eden Fantasys’s magazine Sex Is, and I even had a piece over on After Ellen this past week. I’ve started a reading series, with Cheryl B., called Sideshow! The Queer Literary Carnival, and I’ve been teaching workshops and classes more frequently. I’m keeping track of all of those things over on MrSexsmith.com, rather than here, so if you’re interested in where I’m performing or where else my work is appearing, subscribe to that RSS feed. I’ve also started keeping media (video, audio, and photographs, mostly) over on my mrsexsmith.Tumblr.com, which has freed up this space a little more for in-depth writing.

I have some more projects in the works for the near future! Stay tuned.

I have always reflected back on this very first post when I do these anniversary posts, and as many of you are new readers these days, here’s an excerpt from my very first post, bed death, standard variety:

What I’m trying to say is this: I’m not getting the sex that I want. No, scratch that: I’m not getting the sex that I need. My basic human needs, basic woman needs, basic self needs, include sex. If asked, I would say at least three times a week, though I can be a little flexible about that. I understand, having had some experience as a couple, that that can’t always happen. But I also know that it can, and does, when both people make the effort.

I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years. We met in college, in a Men & Masculinity class. It took another couple of quarters for us to get together; we had a slow start, easing into each other and into a relationship, which was wonderful. One of the great things about our relationship is how well we have been able to keep our autonomy – we never became one of those couples that you never see without the other person, we aren’t joined at the hip, we don’t constantly speak in first-person-plural. Of course, the greatest strength is often the greatest weakness, and in our case, the intimacy has fallen out of our relationship almost entirely.

We haven’t had sex in … longer than I care to admit. And in the last two years we have probably had sex five times. I stopped counting the days between.

I’m surprised at how clear that is, when I look back at it. It feels like such a murky, confused time, but I lay it out so clearly: I’m not getting the sex I need. I still believe sex is a basic human need, perhaps not for survival on the food-water-shelter level, but on the hierarchy of needs scale, certainly. It is something we need in order to feel psychologically safe, protected, comforted. Well, maybe saying “sex” is too broad. We don’t actually all need sex. I need sex, I need hot dirty queer kinky sex, but perhaps you need pretty music playing candles lit sex. Perhaps you are totally satisfied with the once-a-month quickie. Perhaps you’re asexual, and need companionship, partnership, friendship, intimacy in other ways.

That post is under password protection now, as is most of the things about my exes and personal life. If you want the password, join the (very very rarely occasional) mailing list, and it’ll be sent to you when you confirm your subscription.

The traditional gift for the fourth anniversary is fruit, flowers, and books, or, I’m told, the modern equivalent is electrical appliances. Umwhat? People don’t need fruit, flowers, or books anymore? Those seem way more important than electrical appliances. I mean, I like the next tech gadget as much as anybody (though I think I’ll buy stock instead of the iPad, even though I’m really coveting it currently), but it’s almost summer! I can’t wait for strawberry shortcake.

On Sugarbutch’s second anniversary, I reflected on where this blog started and began the tradition of “ask me anything,” which I did last year also. So, in the spirit of keeping up with traditions, let’s do it again: Got a question for me? Ask me anything. You can ask anything, from personal details about my life that you’ve always wondered, to questions about advice for sex toys or your relationship, to philosophical musings on identity, gender, or sexuality theory.

Read back on some of the former “ask me anything” questions, and add your own in the comments. What do you want to know? I’ll answer as many as I can.

There’s A Reason Why Sex Education is Radical

Most of the time, I exist in a pretty happy little liberal sex-positive bubble, and I don’t quite understand what the big deal is. “You’re brave,” people tell me. Yeah, sure, it takes some guts and shamelessness to put my sex life out in public, and more so to put my emotional life out in (password-protected) public, but generally, I don’t feel the wall I’m coming up against.

Sometimes, though, I feel it hard.

If you run in the same blog circles that I do, or if you follow me on Twitter, or if you’ve been following my Google Reader shared items, you probably know about the accusations made by Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks against the KinkForAll conferences in general and maymay in particular. I’ve shared many of maymay’s posts, re-tweeted many of his links and comments, and have generally just been sitting here staring at my screen with my jaw dropped, feeling like a bowling ball got dropped into my stomach.

Oh. Right. Standing up for sex education, sexuality rights, and sexual freedom can be fucking scary. There’s a reason why we have to stand up for it, and work for it: because it doesn’t exist en mass, because it only exists in small pockets, and because there is an entire system out there trying to keep it shame-based and repressed.

It’s not like this is the first time I’ve had this revelation. It keeps happening, over and over, yet somehow it surprises me every time.

This past March, for example, I attended KinkForAll Providence in Rhode Island at Brown University, and I heard the entire story of how Megan Andelloux’s Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health was barred from opening and kept in bureaucratic red tape for nearly a year. Megan told the entire story of how she fought and what happened, and how she finally did open the Center (which is beautiful and so much fun, by the way, I highly highly encourage you to stop by if you’re ever in the area), which again gave me that bowling-ball-in-my-stomach feeling.

I won’t recount the story here, I couldn’t tell it like she can anyway. Go watch the video, it’s worth it, seriously.

I’m so glad she opened the Center. I’m thrilled to hear the stories of how it’s working, who she’s been helping, how she’s been an open and honest resource for sexuality education. It made me so nervous to hear her story, to witness the amount of power someone in opposition of sexuality education could possibly wield, and to see, yet again, that it is a radical thing to promote happy, healthy sexuality.

God, that just makes me so angry.

I have no idea what an adequate response on my part could be. I feel a little paralyzed, to be honest. I know I should feel the fear and do it anyway but I can’t help but thinking, I was at KinkForAll Providence. In fact, I just had a workshop at Brown University last week! I could be targeted, too. And that is fucking frightening.

Maymay has been writing amazingly beautiful, transparent posts about this topic, and I highly encourage you to read them if you haven’t already. Or re-read them, if you have. I am incredibly inspired by his transparency, and his ability to summarize something clearly and consistently. Did you see the ways he broke down Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks’ concerns over the KinkForAll unconferences?

He’s been encouraging everyone to stand against stigma and others, like Essin’ Em, have written lovely pieces in response. I’ve had a piece of my own brewing for weeks now, but sometimes I can’t quite get past the fear involved in putting Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks’ names on my own site—it seems like an invitation to be on their hit list, doesn’t it? What if they come after me next?

I’m trying to be honest there, but I know it sounds pretty selfish. And to take it one step farther, to attack Megan and maymay—and Aida, who chairs The Sexuality Health Education and Empowerment Council (SHEEC) at Brown and is doing fantastic work up there!—and our beautiful, important community of educators and healers, is to attack me. I have already been attacked. Is there more they could do? Probably. Is that scary? Absolutely.

But will I let it stop me? No.

(Gulp.)

I guess my point is just, this work is hard. There are real consequences, in this conservative culture that can incite sex panic at any given moment, and what used to be a happy little PG project suddenly is misconstrued as the equivalent of child pornography and abuse. I want this work to be safer. I want it to be totally acceptable for sexuality educators to open a center, or for educators to host and (un)organize conferences around sexuality and the intersection with the rest of life. I want everyone to know how their bodies and parts and pleasure works. I want us all to have access to the kind of information we are curious to know about. Seems like a pie-in-the-sky dream sometimes, but instances like these attacks and accusations solidify my goals and purposes all the more. It continues to prove that we need this, this culture needs this, these people need this, and it can be transformative in beautiful, blossoming ways.

Fast forward to this week, and I now hear that Aida has invited Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks to come to a panel at Brown University on Sex Panic! When Educators Are Censors. Here’s the information about the panel below. If you’re anywhere near Rhode Island, I highly encourage the travel, it’s going to be worth it. (I really want to be there, I’m trying to move some things around, I already have an obligation that day.)

Sex Panic!: When Educators Are Censors
a panel and Q&A session moderated by Brown Professor of History and Brazilian Studies Jim N. Green, author of Beyond Carnival: Male Homosexuality in Twentieth-Century Brazil

Free and open to the public!
Tuesday, May 4th @ 6:00 pm
in Smith-Buonanno Hall, Room 106
95 Cushing Street, Providence, RI 02906
This event is co-sponsored by: SHEEC and QCC

Panelists:
Aida Manduley: SHEEC Chairperson
Megan Andelloux: Certified sexologist and sex educator
Reid Mihalko: Brown alum and presenter on sex and relationships
Meitar Moscovitz: Community organizer and technology professional
Ricky Gresh: Senior director for Student Engagement at Brown University

What would you do if your organization were criticized for following through with its mission statement? What if you were publicly denigrated, misrepresented, and harassed for your work? What if educators themselves were trying to hamper your attempts at education? Finally, who should have a say in a college student’s sex education?

Read Aida’s direct letter to Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks, inviting them to the panel, and take a look at maymay’s mention of the upcoming panel, too.

I feel like this is so important. I don’t really know what my own path of sexuality education or sex writing looks like, I don’t know where this Sugarbutch job will take me, but I do plan to keep doing it. When panic like this comes up, when accusations and attacks are made, I want to be part of a community that can rally around each other, stand strong, and fight back if necessary. I want to be a part of that protection, to continue to protect my own work and the important work of those around me.

Because I know just how badly we need this work, and this is just further sign of how much work there is, still, to do.

Review: Moon Glass Plug, and How We Played With It

This, my friends and readers, is the Moon Glass Plug from Good Vibrations, and it is beautiful.

Can’t you tell already, just by looking at it? That blown glass with the gentle blue coming through it? (Maybe that’s just me. I do have a thing for blue glass. If I had it my way, all of my dishes would be blue glass.)

The other night, when Kristen and I were playing, I had her on her stomach in front of me, her chest down on the bed but her knees under her, ass up. We’d already been fucking for a while, she’d come three or four or eight times, who can keep track, and I slid my cock in from behind her while lubing up my fingers. For a while I just touched her asshole gently on the outside, I could feel her relaxing and starting to enjoy the feeling, opening up a little, pushing back against my finger and cock. I had the Moon Glass Plug out, ready to use, and touched it too against her asshole, but she wasn’t really ready for it, so I started with my fingers instead.

“Put your fingers on your clit,” I said.

She did, brought her hand down between her legs. I started sliding my finger into her asshole, just a little, really only knuckle-deep, just so she could feel it for a while. But it didn’t take long before she was getting all hot and squirming against me, bucking her hips harder, and I worked my finger a little faster in her ass, not deeper, just faster, which she liked, oh I could tell she liked it right away. I’m not sure what she did exactly, moaned maybe, or just responded physically in a way that was clear that was it, right there, perfect.

I noticed I’d kind of stopped moving my cock, so tried to get my hips going while she continued to work herself up. Now, this is a girl who can come by her own fingers in mere moments, so that it was taking much time at all was telling in that she must’ve been very worked up. I could feel her clenching hard on my cock, so hard in fact that she started to push me out, clenching her ass too, hand moving faster, gasping, as she came, hard.

So hard, in fact, that she ejaculated, gushed all over my cock and thighs. I silently thanked my Liberator Throe, and out loud, groaned. “That was so damn hot.”

I moved forward up to the pillow to hold her closer and kiss her for a while. She asked if I’d used the glass. “No,” I said, “that was my finger, just a little of it. Do you want to try it yourself?”

She took it from me and slowly worked it into her ass. For a while she said, “it’s too big, it’s too big!” but didn’t want to give up, and was certain she could do it if she moved slowly. I stayed next to her as she took the whole thing, finally, then brought her hands down to her cunt again to get off a few more times.

I told her I wanted to watch for a while, asked if she wanted my help.

“No,” she said. But then, later: “Lay on top of me?”

She likes the weight, holding her down. I spread my forearm across her breastbone and kissed her, my body slightly lifted from hers as she continued to work her hands between her legs. I like to watch the way her body gets all tense, then releasing as she comes.

I like to watch in general.

She came again, once nice and hard, then another for good measure, collapsing onto the bed. It took a little more work to get the plug out of her ass, since it’s pretty thick and spherical in the middle and has that skinny little neck before it flares to a plug. It’s only 3 1/4” long x 1 3/8” wide, but the shape makes a difference, and even makes it feel more thick than it actually is (though it is pretty thick).

And it’s gorgeous. Did I mention that it’s gorgeous? The most beautiful butt plug I own, though I don’t know if I usually describe them as “beautiful,” so perhaps that’s easy. The glass is smooth and hard, and very simple to clean. I haven’t tried it myself yet, but since it’s easily sterilizable, I will be. And I’m looking forward to seeing it in her ass again, too.

The beautiful Moon Glass Plug was sent to me for review by Good Vibrations. Get your own, or a different butt plug, or many other fabulous sex toys over at the Good Vibes website.

Anal Scenes in Queer Porn with Essin’ Em

Who comes to mind when I say “queer porn expert”? For me, it’s Essin’ Em, aka Shanna Katz, queer femme and porn lover extraordinaire. Since I’ve known her, she’s worked at Hot Movies For Her, Eden Fantasys, and now Fascinations, and she’s traveled the country doing workshops—even recently one on feminist porn. She was glad to offer some suggestions for anal scenes in queer porn; here they are.

Photo of Essin' Em by Half Moon Studios

There is the Vai/Jiz Lee scene in CPS that I LOVE because it’s Vai’s first time giving anal play (especially strapping it on and fucking someone) to someone, and it’s just fabulously fun to watch her love it and experience it.

Then of course, there is that super hot queer gang bang in Roulette with Rozen DeBowe, who just takes it in all three holes (including using the Njoy Pure Wand) from three hot andro/butch/genderqueer studs, on a pool table, in the middle of the Mission. Hot hot hot (especially because I’ve now met half the cast AND been to there it was shot).

I LOVED the sceen in Couch Surfers: Trans Men in Action where Dex Hardlove DOUBLE anal fists two of his greedy pigs…with lube boy coming it, bandana on the face and all to add lube as needed. It inspired me so much that I re-enacted it, with vaginal fisting with two bottoms and my lube girl (bananda and all) during a fisting class in Denver last year.

I love Dylan Ryan and Madison Young’s “Spa Day Gone Horribly Wrong” type of scene on Everything Butt. Is it technically a queer porn producer? No, but Madison and Dylan made it hot and sexy queer porn regardless, and really queerifyed kink that day.

Of course, how can we forget the hot anal in the original Bend Over Boyfriend with Carol Queen? This often gets left out of queer line-ups, but to me, it’s some of the first, hot queer porn, and in this case, specifically anal. Pegging your lover’s ass really fucks with so many expectations and binaries, and Carol was doing it years before people were even talking about it.

Thanks, Essin’ Em! Whew—I’m almost done compiling my own list, I will have that to share with you all soon. I’ve got a few more things to watch first.

Review: The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women (Book)

One of the first things I procured when Kristen and I decided to undergo an anal sex educational adventure was Tristan Taormino’s book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women. It is clearly THE definite guide on the subject, she is, as Time Out New York quotes on the cover, “the go-to girl on anal sex,” and she is a fantastic writer.

So we picked it up. Kristen tore through it quickly, absorbing what she needed to, but I took longer, picking it up and reading a chapter here and there for the past few months. I’ve been around in sex positive circles and sex education circles long enough that none of the information was particularly new, but regardless, it was really helpful to see it all laid out clearly again, in a quick and easy guide type of style.

It’s really well-constructed, too. It starts with Myths About Anal Sex and moves into Anal Anatomy, both very specific basics to cover. And since Kristen and I both are pretty (okay, extremely) analytical, we like to do our research. We like to have all the information.

Tristan’s third chapter was especially a good one for me, which is “Beyond Our Bodies: Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Anal Eroticism,” and covers talking about it, fear, and trust. I think some of what Kristen and I come up against is some hesitation around this, the fear and trust, and struggling with wanting to do something (like take a cock up the ass) and having that actually be uncomfortable, but feeling bad that it doesn’t feel better. Well, it’s certainly possible that it won’t actually feel better, that you just don’t like that sensation, that you don’t come more easily from anal than from vaginal penetration (unlike Madison Young, for example). But it’s also possible that we just keep going slow, and I know some of the things we do are very pleasurable, and perhaps eventually we’ll build up into something even more so.

I’m writing a little cryptically in the plural and second person here, but probably you already know that what I’ve been talking about is me fucking Kristen’s ass. And she (and everyone else on the entire Internet) knows that I’m interested in doing that … but I am, first and foremost, interested in it feeling good. (I know some of the things we play with don’t directly “feel good,” like getting slapped, but there’s a release there that is not about discomfort. That’s not the same thing.) I don’t care how soon, or if EVER, we get to the point of playing where I can actually be strapped on and fucking her ass.

On the other hand, I know she likes it, sometimes, when she’s really turned on and I work just one knuckle of my finger in … and I know she’s interested in exploring more, she’s told me such explicitly. I’ve got to remember to be clear that this isn’t about the destination, but about the journey, and about the exploring.

I’ve kind of successfully avoided talking about the, perhaps, elephant in the room surrounding anal week: what about my ass?

Yeah. Well.

That’s actually really hard for me to write about! Which is why I haven’t yet really gone there. Even with my review of Tristan’s Anniversary plug (ooh la la) last year, I avoided talking about how I actually used it and how it felt.

It feels pretty intimate to reveal, I guess … and you all know that I do bottom, sometimes, or at least, I used to. I have, in the past. Quite a bit, in fact. And I have a lot of experience with anal sex, my high school ex-boyfriend of five years (whom I think I’ve referred to as Mike here on this site?) used to love it and we had quite a good time with it.

I know, I know! Wait, what? Not only am I talking about things going into my own ass, I’m talking about being fucked by a cis guy! Maybe I’m deflecting. You know, “Hey Mom, I have cancer. Just kidding, I’m gay!”

Anyway.

My own ass has been pretty much left out of the equation here, mostly because, these days, frankly, I’m a little bit stone. Not entirely, and I don’t have specific rules about the parts of my body that she can or cannot touch, but usually I actually ask for things done to me, and she doesn’t usually assert what she wants to do or make requests. Which I very much like. Nine times out of ten, or maybe more like ninety-five times out of a hundred, I don’t want to be touched, don’t really want the focus on me. Or, I want it to be directed by me, and focused on me in the ways that I choose it to be. It’s taken me a while to get here, and I like it. I’ve never been so sexually satisfied with a partner.

But … that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like something in my ass on occasion. I wonder if having a butt plug in while wearing a harness would make me come easier, in fact. It’s a subject I haven’t talked to Kristen about much (ahem, really, at all), but something worth playing with.

Speaking of trust, and fear.

Back to the review:

Tristan covers freakin’ everything. Hygiene, shaving, enemas, safer sex, lube, toys, masturbation, analingus (or, as Dylan reminds us, rimming), penetration, anal pleasure for men, BDSM, long-term butt plug wear, anal fisting … everything! She has nice little sidebars featuring questions from readers, which she answers expertly and clearly. AND it has great cartoon-y drawings of toys, people doin’ it, gloves, and all sorts of things that need visual representation.

So nice to have such a great resource available, eh?

If you’re interested in anal sex, either a beginner or a frequent lover of the activity, this will deepen your play, offer you lots of support for any questions or qualms you’re having, and maybe even give you some new ideas of hot things you can incorporate and play with. Absolutely worth reading.

I hear she’s also got a great DVD series, Expert’s Guides, featuring The Expert Guide to Anal Sex, which I’m going to do my best to get my hands on next.

Sex toys - EdenFantasys adult toys store

The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women (2nd Edition) was sent to me for review by Eden Fantasys. Get more books, anal toys, or other sex toys over at Eden. Thanks!

Vote in AfterEllen’s Hot 100 & Increase Gender Diversity in Lesbian Pop Culture

AfterEllen.com has opened up voting for its annual Hot 100 list, which is largely a response to the “top hot list” time of year, and to give “lesbian/bi women a way to express what, or who, we find attractive, since our voice is largely missing from mainstream, heterocentric pop culture.”

A noble goal, to be sure, especially since AfterEllen’s major realm is in fact mainstream pop culture. To add voice to what queer women find sexy is a great place to start.

Last year’s list (has it been a year already?), though, is part of what got my boxers in a twist and why I put together Top Hot Butches, which is a list of 100 genderqueer, androgynous, and butch folks. The AfterEllen list has so far been extremely feminine, white, under 40, and straight. Last year, AfterEllen launched some supplemental lists, which were: women of color, women over 40, and out women.

But still, no gender diversity.

Though there are a few notable folks (Katherine Moenig, Rachel Maddow, Tegan & Sara, arguably), the majority of the list is still completely feminine.

And coming from someone who works in gender diversity, and who interacts with many, many queer women, many of whom, I know for a fact, are specifically oriented toward masculinity in their sexuality and partnering, I think that is missing a huge segment of the queer world.

So head on over and nominate some of your favorite butches for that list, willya? Need some inspiration? Browse through the Top Hot Butches, see who catches your eye. Who knows, they might not make it onto the final cut. But at least it’ll be an increase in votes from last year, and maybe next year they’ll finally do a genderqueer supplemental list, at the very least.

Aaaaaaand insert the nice segue here:

Speaking of encouraging more gender diversity in the mainstream pop culture, especially dyke culture:

I wrote a piece for AfterEllen recently, called Sugarbutch Says: Butches on Television, about the gender representation on television in the recent past. I was aiming for it to be current, but I just had to include some L Word folks in there.

Clipped from: www.afterellen.com by clp.ly

 

I didn’t include Tasha, played by Rose Rollins, from The L Word, though perhaps I should have. I was focusing on the actors (or TV personalities, in the case of Rachel Maddow & Ellen Degeneres), not necessarily the character, and it’s pretty rare for a butch character to be played by a straight woman, though I suppose it’s been done (Chloe Sevigny in If These Walls Could Talk II, or Hilary Swank as trans man Brandon Teena).

I also didn’t include Sue Sylvester and/or Jane Lynch. She’s out, right? And she’s butch-ish—at least, she’s not feminine. I’m still enjoying Glee, despite it’s occasional insanity and bad writing, and she really makes the show. Sue, her character, is not out, though, and again, I was kind of focused on queer butches who were somewhat explicitly queer and fairly masculine in appearance.

But there is more to explore here—I guess it’s time for a follow-up article already!

If this piece goes over well, I may be writing more for AfterEllen, and I already have some notes about butches in films and butches as characters in novels.

So, do you like the article over there? Comment and let them know, will ya, so I can keep going, trying desperately to inject some gender diversity into lesbian pop culture?

Casting Call: S.I.R. Productions

I am quickly interrupting your Anal Week posts to tell you some very exciting news!

This note comes from the Femmepress Shar Rednour herself, who wrote to me to let me know that S.I.R. Productions—Shar and her partner Jackie Strano, the amazing butch/femme couple who brought you Sugar High Glitter City, Talk To Me Baby, Hard Love/How to Fuck in High Heels, and Bend Over Boyfriend—is casting for a new film!

Read on for the details, what S.I.R. is looking for, and how to contact Shar if, perhaps, you’re interested:

Hey Sugarbutch: thought you should be the first to know that over here on the west coast, [S.I.R. Productions is] casting for a new movie. We did a general call a couple of years ago to see who was out there and interested. We got some hot and fabulous people. But the time just wasn’t right for us personally to make a movie.

Now we are ready and randy to go.

NOW: specifically we need a super hot in love in lust butch femme couple. NO EXPERIENCE needed. not at all. Jackie and I really like to work with people who are hard-workers, fun, NOT wendy-whiners, way into sex and bodies and love and lust and truth and art and feminism and beauty. Furthermore we would love to take your fm virginity. in the end though virgins or pros, just in love and hot. You do NOT need to live on the west coast. I would love nothing more than to cast fabulous folks from anywhere.

NEXT: we are collecting resumes and contact info for people who want to be in our next movie in general. again. NO EXPERIENCE necessary. What we have always done is putting puzzle together-finding the people who really fit a role in the script.

We are casting for a dyke movie and we always are on the lookout for the next Bend Over Boyfriend 3, so tell your freaky-deaky het friends.

And last but not least, I am the wife to Jackie Strano the C.O.O. of Good Vibrations and they are casting as well for Pleasure Ed. I help them out when I can too, passing on a contact that I like or think is appropriate. They are looking for super hot couples with one person who G-spot ejaculates.

So please, Sugarbutch, can you tell your peeps to email SharRednour [at] comcast.net, or befriend me on Facebook, with a note telling me you are interested in casting..

Anything for you, Shar. Hey peeps: want to be in a porn film? Are you a butch/femme couple in love and lust, or do you know one?

And Shar … if you ever want to swap for an evening, I know, ahem, Kristen’s got a mad crush on Jackie.


Shar & Jackie from March, 2004 (D. Ross Cameron/The Oakland Tribune)
via Flickr

Anal Scenes in Queer Porn with JD Bauchery

I’ve been compiling and asking around about the best anal scenes in queer porn, and I’ve got a bit to report.

If you’re one of those folks who thinks that lesbian porn is generally oriented toward men as viewers and producers, I encourage you to think again. Yes, there is plenty of bad lesbian porn, but the amount of queer and feminist porn that is getting made these days is a bit mind-boggling. Personally, I can’t keep up. I’ve got a long list of films to watch that I still haven’t seen, and directors like Courtney Trouble and Madison Young and producers like Good Releasing keep making films faster than I can keep up.

I asked JD Bauchery over at Hot Movies 4 Her for some of her personal recommendations for butt scenes in queer porn, since she is WAY more of a pro at queer porn than I am.

And here’s what she recommends:

Which of these have you seen? Any in particular that you recommend?

Dylan & Madison on Everything Butt

I don’t promo the kink.com sites very often, though I really like the work they do on The Training of O and The Upper Floor especially.

But … I ran into these promotional shots (hat tip to Essin’ Em) from Dylan Ryan and Madison Young—both of whom did Quick Anal Interviews with me for Anal Week here on Sugarbutch!—who were in a recent shoot on kink.com’s site Everything Butt, and I’ve just got to share them.

It is Anal Week (for a few more days), after all. And what better place to explore some photos of ass play than in Everything Butt?

They’re explicit (and fucking hot)—consider yourself warned.

Quick Anal Interview with Lissa

1 – Tip – I’d say the most important component of anal sex is trust. Trust your partner, trust yourself. If it doesn’t feel right, for either partner, stop, pause, back off a little bit, try again. Change positions, move around. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Don’t be afraid to make a mess! Trust is key.

2 – Lube – I’m not sure I have a favorite. Whatever we happen to have on hand, really. I like Probe for an all purpose lube.

3 – Position – On my side, with one leg up. For me, anal sex is very intimate. Being on my stomach takes away some of that intimacy for me. I love being able to see my partner’s face, reach out to her, talk to her. For more power/control exchange situations, bent over any piece of furniture is glorious, especially if there is a vibrator nearby and my hands are behind my back. Two favorite positions for completely different reasons.

Thanks Lissa! Follow her on Twitter at @swtlissab.

Quick Anal Interview with Sophia St. James

Sophia St. James

1. What one tip would you suggest (aside from the obvious: lube, communicate, go slow)?

I think a person needs to be mentally ready for anal sex. Many go into it thinking it’s not gonna be the much different than vaginal sex and the feeling IS much different. And though anal sex can be quite enjoyable, the feeling can be uncomfortable for many. Personally, when I first started having anal sex it wasn’t my favorite. It was a little hard to get pleasure from it. But over time, I have become a huge fan of anal play/sex. Another thing that can help is anal play. Rubbing, touching, and licking can all be very erotic and stimulating. It can also help relax the muscles and allow for easier insertion.

2. What lube do you recommend?

I personally love Liquid Silk and Pink. They are the least irritating to my tissues and they last much longer than any lube I have used.

3. What position do you find excellent?

My favorite sexual position for anal sex is doggie style. I am more on the rough side of play, so I find that in the position, more BDSM/fetish play can take play that I enjoy. Plus it seems to open things up a little bit better.

Any bonus perspective, tip, story, or thing that you’d really like to share?

I like the ‘work-up’ approach. Start with playful touching and rubbing, then licking, then fingers, eventually working up to something larger. It’s sensual and erotic, not mention it helps me to get into it more and relax.

Hope that helps some!

Thanks Sophia! You may remember her from such films as Bordello, which is where I first saw her. Visit her site at sophiastjames.com.

Quick Anal Interview with Madison Young

This Quick Anal Interview comes from Madison Young, feminist, art gallery owner, and porn star. If you haven’t seen her come on camera, you are missing out, it is a glorious thing to watch.

1. What one tip would you suggest (aside from the obvious: lube, communicate, go slow)?

When doing anal play its important to remember Jane Fonda’s advice “Don’t forget to warm-up.” Stretching isn’t just for yoga or before a morning jog. If I’m planning on doing anal play with my partner or for work I like to warm up before hand. First I like to warm up with lube and a finger or two. Slowly insert into your anus and relax your sphincter muscles and let you anus suck in and relax around your fingers. Then start to slowly move your fingers further into your rectum. This also helps to lubricate the inside of your anus and rectum. I also really love butt plugs and feel like it is a great way to turn on your partner in public as a form of foreplay to wear a buttplug on your date. This also gives your anus plenty of time to warm up and get stretched and ready for different types of anal play when you get home. I highly recommend the silicone b-bomb from GoodVibes.com from Tantus.

2. What lube do you recommend?

I’m a big fan of lots of silicone lube. Swiss Navy is my preferred brand right now. It provides the the perfect slick lubrication for anal play that doesn’t dissipate too quickly. They also have a neat pump so you don’t have to fumble with the cap to the lube when you are in the moment.

3. What position do you find excellent?

It depends on what type of anal play you are engaging in. If I’m fisting my anus, which I love to do, I like to be standing and raise one leg onto a table or chair so it opens my bottom up more and makes it easier for me to reach around. I also like a standing doggy for anal sex with a partner or doggy style. Usually I like to back up onto the hand or cock to adjust myself and have my anus relax around the hand or cock before lots of fucking ensues. Anal play can be incredibly pleasurable and is much easier for me to orgasm this way than through vaginal penetration.

You can see Madison’s work on many sites, including NoFauxxx, Hot Movies 4 Her, and her own domain, madisonbound.com. Thanks Madison!

Quick Anal Interview with Tawny

Tawny calls herself an enthusiast, and says, “It’s my favorite form of intercourse.” Here’s her quick anal interview.

1. What one tip would you suggest (aside from the obvious: lube, communicate, go slow)?

-Masturbate a little, or have a vibe in place on your clit if you’re being penetrated and are nervous. You’ll relax easier, and be less focused on whether or not you’re freaking out (as the penetrated, obvs.)

-Breathe slowly and steadily. Anal can almost be meditative in the right mindset, and if you’re focused on your breathing and relaxing your rectal muscles, you probably will feel pleasure rather than pain. That’s been my experience, anyway.

2. What lube do you recommend?

Maximus is great.

3. What position do you find excellent?

The best position for me has always been doggy style. If whatever cock/toy I’m taking is rather large, I prefer to be bent over something so I can relax as much of my body as possible and have a hand free for the masturbation I mentioned above. (My ex-boyfriend preferred to lay on his back, but that never worked as well for me.)

Any bonus perspective, tip, story, or thing that you’d really like to share?

Honestly, one of the coolest and most zen-like experiences for me has been getting better at anal stretching. It’s erotic, trust-building, and requires great concentration. I’ve never been much of a meditator before, but I can tell you that I definitely prefer my blank slate states with something in my ass.

And story-wise: One of the most ridiculous sets of orgasms I’ve ever had (and I’m easy to get off, so we’re talking a LOT of orgasms) was being fucked in the ass with a Crybaby vibe in my vagina and my boyfriend (doing the fucking, obviously) holding the remote. We were yelled at by the neighbors, who were inside their house next door. So, I definitely recommend combining anal with vaginal penetration and a vibrator, if you’re comfortable with that.

Quick Anal Interview with Bailey

These tips are from Bailey (@bailey21975), who wrote to me after seeing my call for interviewing anal enthusiasts on Twitter. More quick anal interviews coming up!

1. What one tip would you suggest (aside from the obvious: lube, communicate, go slow)?

I’d suggest gloves (or condoms, if you are using a toy instead of fingers/hand), for several reasons. Safety, if you aren’t fluid-bonded with your partner. Gloves make certain that any scratchy nails are not going to cause even incidental damage. In my experience, wearing gloves makes the lube last a bit longer without being absorbed. Also, wearing gloves means that if you decide to go from anal sex to vaginal sex on a whim, you strip them off, toss them aside and have at it! No risk of putting bacteria where you certainly don’t want it, and you don’t have to head to the bathroom to scrub your hands, potentially killing the mood. I’m a big fan of gloves for anal play, myself.

2. What lube do you recommend?

If you’re planning on buying just one lube for all purposes, my recommendation is Liquid Silk, all the way. It doesn’t get tacky, it lasts a long time, doesn’t have an unpleasant smell, taste or texture — which is important to me, because I never know where I might want to put my mouth later. Liquid Silk is best if you’re looking for an all purpose lube, but if you’re going to have a separate lube for anal, Maxxximus is the way to go.

3. What position do you find excellent?

Whatever position is the most relaxing for the bottom, ideally. For me, whether top or bottom in this activity, my preference is on hands and knees, head down, ass up. It makes for great visual presentation, and you can see exactly what you’re doing.

Thanks Bailey—follow on Twitter @bailey21975.

Quick Anal Interview with Dylan Ryan

The second quick anal interview features porn star Dylan Ryan, one of my favorite people to watch fuck on camera, and anal enthusiast herself. When I started brainstorming queer porn scenes to feature here (upcoming!), two of hers came immediately to mind. Here’s what she had to say about anal sex.

Photo of Dylan by Aslan Leather, as featured on Dylan's website
Lube:

Maximus. Hands down the best one I’ve found. Stays cushy without getting gummy. I feel like most people don’t know it… which is funny because it’s sooo good.

Position:

This is hard to describe, but I’ll try. Technically it’s doggy, BUT my upper body and chest is completely on the bed. And then the boy is on top, but he actually puts his legs on TOP of my legs, and moves his cock up higher, in a more downward and less directly into the ass angle. His hands are on the bed on either said with most his lower body on top of me. We call it the SUPER DOG!

Basically, it puts more of his body weight on me. And the angle … it feels less OOMPHy. That’s the one thing about anal, I love it really hard, but the direct right-into-the-ass feels too much like poop, like “I’m filling you up with air.” But with more of an angle that feeling goes away, and there’s more sensation, less blowing up like a balloon.

In this position I feel very mounted, too, which I personally dig. It feels nasty and taboo.

Tips:

I like to do anal after I’ve already cum. So, stick to what you know, get off, and then give it a shot. Usually I’m raring at that point: the body is relaxed, the adrenaline and serotonin are flowing.

I’m really into rimming these days, and I don’t see that suggested very often. Rimming is an AWESOME way to start anal. It feels AMAZING and relaxes everything, and there can be some tongue penetration to get things started.

People tend to get really cerebral about anal, and I understand that, but internalizing all the stuff about it hurting sets people up. If anal was more a regular part of sex in people’s lives, it would be easier to do. Approaching with caution helps with injury, but the anus is pretty damn elastic. If it was something that was less associated with pain, I think people would practice and explore it more. Especially for women, the concepts around it are “oh no, thats going to hurt” as opposed to, “lets find out what I do and don’t like about it.” Just like vaginal or oral sex, everyone has different likes/needs, and exploring those can be icky and painful and weird and not hot, but it can also be amazing and sexy and hot and illuminating. Anal should be part of that package in a positive way!

Dylan Ryan is making the world a better place, one porn at a time. Follow her on Twitter @thedylanryan and check out her new website, dylanryanx.com.

Quick Anal Interview with Charlie Glickman

In the spirit of Anal Week, I’ll be doing some quick interviews with sexuality educators, porn stars, and anal lovers to get the conversation going. Here’s the first one, with sexuality educator Charlie Glickman.

A few tips:

1) try it out on yourself before doing it with a partner. If you’re going to be the giver, it’ll help you understand how sensitive and delicate the anus is. If you’re going to be the received, it’ll give valuable info about how you like to be touched.

2) do something else (simultaneously) that you enjoy. A vibe on the clit, a hand on the cock, whatever. Arousal makes anal play easier and it helps your body connect a familiar pleasure with new sensations.

3) pay attention to your mood. Anxiety and fear can cause the anus to contract, making anal play more difficult.

Lube: silicone, especially for external massage or getting started. Eros or Swiss Navy are nice. Thicker gels work better once you’re in the rectum because they give a bit more cushioning. Please Me Gel is a good one.

Position: hips above the head. Elbows and knees is good. Or on your back with a pillow or a Liberator Wedge under the hips. In that position, it can also be helpful to prop the knees up with pillows so the muscles can relax. Remember- anal penetration is about relaxing the anus, so the less work the other muscles are doing, the easier it’ll be.

You might find these useful: Anal Sex and An Introduction to Anal Play at Good Vibrations

Charlie Glickman has been a sexuality educator since 1989 and joined the staff of Good Vibrations in 1996. He holds a doctorate in Adult Sexuality Education and is certified as a Sexuality Educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. See more about Dr. Glickman or read his work at his blog, or on the Good Vibrations Magazine.

Anal Sex Week Starts Today

It’s long overdue, I know.

Remember back in September, I posted something about how I’d like to fuck Kristen’s ass? Then there was a bit of controversy, people thinking I was trying to use the Internet to get her to do something she didn’t want to do. Clearly that is not the case.

(Not to open an old can o’worms or anything.)

Even so, there was a follow-up post with some more details about what this meant for us and what I was intending when I put the first post up. There are some great tips from commentors for folks interested in getting started or having more anal sex, too, which I do recommend you read.

We are far from pros at this whole anal sex thing, but it’s been working quite well between us, and we’ve both got comfortable enough with it that I can slip it in (ha, ha) at various times when we’re doing other things, already playing, and we do that somewhat regularly.

I did get out the lovely Tantus Silk cock, that I got from Babeland, and strap it on and fuck her ass with it, but so far that’s only been once. We both express interest in doing that again, I guess from my perspective it just takes a bit of warm up, and preparation, and I tend to stick with what works. I get impatient, is what I’m saying.

But clearly that should change if I want to continue to help push our sexual explorations into new territory.

In the past six months since I first put that post up, I have collected a host of anal toys and resources that I want to share with y’all. Some of them I’ve already mentioned or written up, like the Njoy Fun Wand and Tristan’s famous butt plug, but there are more goodies that we’ve explored since and I want to share them with you, too.

So, in the next week, I’ll have for you a review of the Tantus Silk cock, perfectly sized for ass fucking; a beautiful glass butt plug from Good Vibes; and Tristan Taormino’s legendary book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women, sent to me by Eden Fantasys. I’ll write up some lubes that are particularly good for ass play, some tips for beginners, some of my very favorite anal scenes in queer porn, and write up a dirty story or two about what the anal exploration has been like here at Chez Sexsmith.

What about you out there? What are your favorite anal scenes in queer porn? What are your favorite toys to use? What’s your favorite lube? What position do you just love to be in? Let’s get the conversation going while I focus on the upcoming posts.

Red Stilettos From Desire


“The gorgeous red stilettos that Daddy brought home to me. She loves to see me in my business skirt suits coming home from work with these on. My only task is to remain in only these and never once wobble as she does what Daddies do with their sweet and naughty girls.”—Desire

Hot.

Desire attended Sideshow and we had the chance to chat after about femme and gender and dating butches and families and coming out, and I saw some photos of her adorable kids. Thanks for sharing the photo!

Getting to the end of the birthday shoe photos … but don’t worry, there will be more goodies in April, including Sugarbutch’s 4th blogiversary celebration.

Go See Decadent Acts in New York City

In honor of President Obama’s newly announced policy on hospital visitation rights for gay and lesbian couples, I’m encouraging you to go see a play, Decadent Acts, here in New York City, set in the 1980s and facing precisely this issue.

The Washington Post reports, “Officials said Obama had been moved by the story of a lesbian couple in Florida, Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond, who were kept apart when Pond collapsed of a cerebral aneurysm in February 2007, dying hours later at a hospital without her partner and children by her side. Obama called Langbehn on Thursday evening from Air Force One as he flew to Miami, White House officials said.”

I remember that. I’m glad she got an apology, and acknowledgement, though of course that won’t really provide much solace after losing her partner of eighteen years. Still, that is a great example of something personal becoming political, with the tragic story being capable of moving people to action.

Perhaps someday plays like Decadent Acts will be artifacts, things that the next generation studies when they learn about the history of oppression, instead of current policies and struggles.

I hope you can make it to see it while it’s playing.


Decadent Acts
Written and Directed by Ashley Marinaccio
April 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th at 8:00pm
April 24th and 25th at 2:00 pm
Theater: Beckmann Theatre @ American Theater Of Actors
Address: 314 West 54th Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10019

Set in late 1980s New York City, Decadent Acts chronicles the story of a lesbian couple struggling against legislated discrimination. When television personality Farah White falls fatally ill, her partner, professor Jolene Shatila, along with their daughter Nicole, are faced with unexpected challenges that will change their lives forever. From child custody laws, to hospital visitation rights, Decadent Acts spotlights the harsh reality of discriminatory regulations against same-sex partners, plunging emotional and political depths with grace and searing honesty. At a time when the push for full equality is finally building real momentum across the country, this play couldn’t be timelier.

Cost:$18 General/$15 Valid Student ID
Buy Tickets Online or Call: SmartTix at 212-868-4444

Sideshow! Recap in Photos

I was incredibly moved by the turn-out and feeling of community that happened this past Tuesday night at the Phoenix Bar with the launch of my new reading series, co-produced and -hosted with Cheryl B., Sideshow. There were so many people there and such fantastic stories. I feel really grateful and lucky to be part of such a great literary community of readers and writers and community builders and friends. Thanks, everybody, for coming.

For some of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s a photo recap of the evening. Taken with Cheryl’s camera (though I think Whitney was the one actually pressing the button):


Cheryl B. opened the show with some spectacular poetry, and revealed a secret about the very bar where we’d all gathered.


Kathleen Warnock read an erotica piece about secrets we keep from ourselves. Beautiful. I’ve heard her do this one before and I hope to see it in print soon.


Seth Clark Silberman, aka PhDJ, read a vibrant sexy piece. The plan was for him to DJ, back when we had a different venue, but after the first venue fell through there was no DJ option. Would’ve been great to hear his music, but I’m glad we got to hear his story.


That’s me! I read a new piece detailing some of the reasons I’m a sadist. Which isn’t really a secret, I know, but it’s still not so widely known or articulated. The green tie matched my new hunter green handkerchief, which I also wore (flagging left of course), that Kristen gave me on my recent birthday.


The inimitable Kate Bornstein read about her twelve years as a scientologist, and how she left.


Sam J. Miller was perfect to close the show, everybody loved his eloquent turns of phrase.


The full cast of the kick-off of Sideshow! l-r: Kate, Kathleen, Cheryl, Sam, Seth, and me.


Bonus femme shot! Because, hello, there should always be a bonus femme shot. Here’s Cheryl with Kristen. Kristen made a few dozen special birthday cupcakes that we brought along and shared. They were car bomb cupcakes, in case you attended and were wondering what the amazing orgasmic thing in your mouth was.

Now don’t you really wish you’d been there?

There is video, too, that Cheryl is processing and I will most certainly let you know when it’s available (probably by posting it here and on the Sideshow blog and on my Twitter stream and on my Tumblr log you’re going to be sick of knowing that it’s available, believe me).

Big thank yous—thanks Whitney for taking photos, Kelli for filming, John for the use of the Phoenix bar, Kristen for making cupcakes and being such a fabulous hostess. Thanks, Cheryl, for plunging forward on this project with me! And thanks, all you folks who came and listened and ate cupcakes and tipped the bartender (well) and tossed a little something into the hat for the performers.

Save the date—the next SIDESHOW! Queer Literary Carnival will be May 11th, and the theme is naval gazing (aka omphaloskepsis) in honor of National Masturbation Month. Full line-up and details to come!

Fucking With Gender 2.0 at Brown on Wednesday 4/21

New workshop!

This is just a quick little announcement, because I COMPLETELY forgot to post that I was going to be at Drew University in New Jersey when I was there earlier this month (hi Drew! I had so much fun with you all, Ryan and Kestin and Arielle and Paula and that talented Classics major who made amazing green tea cupcakes with coconut icing whose name I didn’t catch, thanks for inviting me!).

I’ll be at Brown University next week, April 21st, at 6pm. Kristen is coming with me and we hope to stop by and see the lovely Megan Andelloux and her Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health while we’re visiting.

Brown University
Providence, RI
April 21st, 6pm
on the Brown campus (exact location TBA)

And here’s the (new!) workshop description that I’ll be leading:

Fucking With Gender 2.0: Gendering Power

Fucking With Gender is an interactive workshop which begins with Sinclair Sexsmith’s basic gender tenets and follows up with a discussion of how to have the kind of sex you want to have. Gendering Power takes these gender tenets and puts them into action: playing with gender in the bedroom through role play and power play, with a discussion of how gender identity can grow and change through intentional intimate sex play. Bring a pen & paper, or something to write with and on, as there will be writing prompts.

I’m checking to see if this workshop will be open to the public, or if it is restricted to Brown students only. Will get back to you on that (check the comments).

Looking forward to being back up there—Kristen and I were in Providence for the Kink For All Providence Unconference in March, and the area was quite lovely. I’d never been up there before.

Any recommendations for anything specific we should do on our day trip?

Review: Talk To Me Baby (VOD)

Do you remember Hard Love & How to Fuck in High Heels and Sugar High Glitter City? They were the very first butch/femme dyke porn I ever saw, and I have a special little place in my, uh, heart, for the work of S.I.R. Productions, and the smokin’ hot couple behind it, Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano.

I never saw their third (or perhaps fourth?) film, Talk To Me Baby: A Lover’s Guide to Dirty Talk and Role Play, but it was just released by Hot Movies 4 Her as a video on demand! So of course I rushed to watch it.

It’s 57 minutes long and I think it is mostly clips of scenes from their other films—the last scene, for example, is one of the first scenes in Hard Love where Jackie is jacking off and talking dirty, which is incredibly hot. There are a few hetero scenes, but the talking is lovely, sexy, and interesting.

Here’s the HM4H description:

Talk To Me Baby: A Lover’s Guide To Dirty Talk & Role Play: This lovers’ guide to dirty talk and role play teaches and shows how having a smutty mouth can spice up your sex life. Sex educator and performer Shar Rednour reigns as the Diva of Dirty Talk hosting a bevy of lust-driven lovers who melt the screen with passionate pillow talk and scorching sexual fantasy in this XXplicit viceo by the creators of the AVN Award Winning dyke hit Hard love & How to Fuck in High Heels and the groundbreaking Bend Over Boyfriend series.

I haven’t actually seen the Bend Over Boyfriend series, and I think the first two came between S.I.R.’s first two dyke porns and this one, but if some of what’s in Talk To Me Baby is clips from that series, it’s pretty damn good.

If you’re Shar & Jackie fans, like Kristen and I both are, you might be a bit disappointed that this isn’t actually Shar and Jackie talking dirty to each other on camera. Kristen said that’s what she was hoping it would be. (Shar and/or Jackie! You could still make that video, ya know? Please add it to your list of possibilities, if you feel inspired to make it in the future I would absolutely buy it. Video or audio recording!) It still has a lot of very useful tips, and some great examples, and it’s a great place to start if you want to add more dirty talking to your sex life.

Review: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (Book)

I’ve been reading Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel this past week, and it was an interesting enough read to mention it here. I have written quite a lot about my own path to pursuing and finding a fulfilling sexual relationship, as this site was started primarily because I found myself in a lesbian bed death relationship with my ex and was trying to write my way out of it, and to a new sexuality.

Though the cover looks all mainstream self-help-y, it isn’t. Perel is a seasoned therapist and it is mostly full of psychological examples of her clients’ complications in keeping their long-term relationship strong while still having their sexual needs met.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.

Perel quotes many authors I’ve read (and liked), has a very open minded view about kink and fantasy, and grew up largely outside of the US, which gives her a perspective on our achievement-oriented culture that I appreciate. She does include some gay and lesbian couples in her examples, and her examples and suggestions aren’t heteronormative.

The Amazon description reads: “Some of the proposals Perel recommends for rekindling eroticism involve cultivating separateness (e.g., autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a “sexual ruthlessness” that liberates us from shame and guilt.” YES. Isn’t that precisely what I advocate here on Sugarbutch, in fact? Especially within lesbian cultures, the codependency that comes with the “merging” is so normal it’s practically expected, and I feel like we constantly have to fight against it to avoid it. Somewhere Perel has a line about keeping the spark going, how in order to have the spark you have to have friction, and in order to have friction you have to have a gap between you. That is autonomy, right there, and if one or both of the folks in the relationship don’t have enough of it, the spark won’t be cultivated. Obviously I explore a lot of the dynamics of power and control, and I write about why that stuff can be fun and liberating instead of reproducing some sort of dangerous power dynamic. And shame and guilt? I wish it was possible to just wave a magic wand and take away the shame and guilt about sex from this culture—wanting sex, wanting kinky sex, wanting more sex, our carnal desires in general.

To quote Tara Hardy: “This is the sweet glory reason for a body in the first place.”

I really believe that. Now, if only I can find a way to help teach the undoing of that shame and guilt. (I know, I know, that’s lofty. But hey, why not aim high?)

Perel has some great concepts around the conflicts between the dichotomy of love vs lust, stability vs passion, security vs adventures, occasionally misunderstood as a mutually exclusive binary, but, she argues, is really a “paradox to be managed” instead of a “problem to solve.”

It is a puzzle. Can you hold the awareness of each polarity? You need each at different times, but you can’t have both at the same time. Can you accept that? It’s not an either-or situation, but one where you get the benefits of each and also recognize the limits o each. It’s an ebb and flow. Love and desire are two rhythmic yet clashing forces that are always in a state of flux and always looking for the balance point. —p84

I’m not sure if “you can’t have both at the same time,” I think you can love someone and still feel passionate. But you can’t necessarily have security and adventure at the same time … though what if you’re on a backpacking trip with your sweetheart? You’re having an adventure, but you’re with your lover, so you feel the stability that that relationship can cultivate. And sometimes when I’m having kinky sex and talking all kinds of dirty with Kristen, what’s streaming through the back of my mind is I love you I love you I love you

Still, I get the point. And I really appreciate Perel’s encouragement of treating sex like a hobby, like something you pursue, like grown-up play—that’s what it is.

I was kind of hoping I’d come away with a better sense of how to “unlock” my “erotic intelligence,” but I can’t say I feel like that skill was cultivated so well. (Or perhaps I’ve already done that, for the most part, and while there’s more to do, a book aimed at a general audience might not be teaching me what I’m trying to learn.) I wouldn’t say I had any grand revelations from Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, but it’s very well-written, open minded, and articulate, and it feels very much in line with the work I’m trying to do. I will likely recommend it in the future.

Following Up: What’s Next? Queer Activism in the South

After hearing about the fake prom that Constance McMillen was sent to last week, I ranted a bit about what was next in that string of activsm. Many readers had fantastic comments and I want to highlight a couple here:

AllysonIvy said: “What can we do? Join in the movement that’s already happening. Work to get non-discrimination laws passed. ENDA would change so much on the federal level. My state (Tennessee) not only excludes LGBT people from protection against housing and employment discrimination, but has a Democratic candidate for governor who supports an adoption ban. We need federal protection, and we can all work for that. 150,000 people marched on Washington in October. Arrests were made recently when activists protested both DADT and ENDA in Washington. They were speaking up. We speak up in order to make a change. … We need to pay attention to her, sure.. but we also need to pay attention to DADT, DOMA, and ENDA. We need to pay attention to the fact that a man in Oklahoma who was denied the right to have a license plate that says “I’m Gay” was found dead a few weeks ago after having reported threats against his life. We need to pay attention to the fight for gay marriage in all states, not just California. … Southern queers are an amazing bunch. I can say with experience that we are strong as hell. We are strong as hell, and we fight hard. I welcome everyone to join us.”

Sarah quotes Izzy Pellegrine on Feministing: “My name is Izzy Pellegrine and I’m a founding member of the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition, a group that has been working for two years to promote LGBT student rights in MS. MSSC has been working with Constance for months to help organize her fellow students and educate members of her community. We’re hosting our annual Second Chance Prom in her city and opening it up to all young people in the state. (And this is no seven person event!!) Check us out at www.mssafeschools.org

ayellowdog said: “we MUST be aggressive with the government – especially at the federal level. We must make sure that the government is not allowed to forget that there is a huge portion of the citizenry of this country that is not being treated equally and thus is always at risk. We must demand to have it made clear that the 14th amendment includes us too. Legislation for the protection of our rights is crucial, obviously, and we should all work in whatever way we can to make it happen as comprehensively and quickly as possible. However, we will never be able to legislate the opinions of others. Opinions must be swayed, nudged, gradually overcome by the opinion-holders themselves. And this kind of change can only occur if we are strong enough to live among those who think they fear and hate us, usually because they don’t know any better, to befriend them in spite of themselves, to share a common world with them, highlighting for them our common ground. Our (legitimate) defensive outrage at how we are allowed to be treated should be directed towards our elected officials. Everyone else should receive a genuine offer of friendship and goodwill.”

EliDeep recommended GetEqual (on Twitter at @getequal): “GetEqual was founded by Kip Williams and Robin McGehee, who both grew up in the South. Kip’s from Knoxville, and Robin is from Mississippi. I first heard Robin speak at the National Equality March in October. Her speech was the most touching to me because she told all us Southern queers that we weren’t forgotten. Often, the gay community writes off the South as a lost cause, and tells us to just move to more gay friendly places. This is NOT a solution.”

You can still contact the school superintendent and high school principal:
Itawamba County Schools Superintendent Teresa McNeece: [email protected], 662-862-2159 ext. 14
Itawamba Agricultural High School principal Trae Wiygul: [email protected], 662-862-3104

And a few more things:

2010 Sex Blogger Calendar Giveaway Winners

Happy Friday y’all! Here are the winners of the 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar giveaway:

#2 Lia Sphere who loves Namio Harukawa
#9 Ash-a-Fresh who loves Kat Von D
#13 Alisha who loves Gil Elvgren
#14 ButchTay who loves The Pretty Things Peepshow
#18 Havi Brooks (and duck) who love Persinnamon

I liked seeing all the different pin-ups that people linked to! And was introduced to some new artists, too; thanks, everybody, for the comments and links.

And since the Marilyn Monroe shot of her lifting weights, specifically, got mentioned three times, I’m posting it here. (I like the ones of her reading, personally, but there are so many to love.)

Don’t forget, you can STILL order the 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar, in case you somehow don’t have one yet!

Will be in touch with you winners—just need your mailing addresses to send out the calendars.

Come One, Come All, to SIDESHOW!

(More details & information at SideshowReadingSeries.wordpress.com.)

New York City: home to some of the best performance art, spoken word, poetry, and literary culture in the world. Also home of the freaks, the queers, the outlaws, the weirdos, who have all sought refuge from their narrow-minded little towns across America—across North America!—by congealing at the big cities on the fringes of the country.

It makes sense that thus, this little town of mine houses some amazing queer literary reading series, though few of them are explicitly queer—rather they are run by queers and promote queer voices and perspectives. Vittoria Repetto runs the Women/Trans Poetry Jam & Open Mic at Bluestockings, Rachel Kramer Bussel runs In The Flesh erotica reading series at Happy Ending, Audacia Ray co-hosts Sex Worker Literati at Happy Ending with David Henry Sterry, Kathleen Warnock runs Drunken! Careening! Writers! at KGB Bar, Charlie Vasquez runs Panic! at Nowhere bar, Shelly Mars runs the Bulldyke Chronicles at Dixon Place, Kelli Dunham and Gene Murphy run Queer Memoir at Collect Pond in Brooklyn. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Why does New York City need yet another literary and queer reading series? Despite the many other series, very few of them are explicitly places for queer’s marginalized voices to express ourselves. Perhaps these are actually a newer wave of reading series, born out of earlier waves of explicitly queer series, and these focus on a particular theme or style of work as opposed to the gender or sexuality of those reading it. But still, we have not conquered homophobia, heterosexism, or transphobia, and though many in the queer literary scene might think we can have queers and straight folks reading right next to each other in a line-up, we still face sometimes insurmountable issues because of our sexualities or gender identities.

I’m grateful New York City is different, encouraging art and expression of all flavors. Still, in comparison to some of the medium- and small-sized cities, New York City’s collectivity can be fragmented. The queer literary scene in Seattle, for example, is teeny tiny, and everybody knows everybody, and thus we have to rally around each other and go to each other’s shows and be kind and embracing, because there are only so many of us. Seattle has an extra fabulous queer monthly reading series and open mic, the Seattle Spit at the Wildrose, Seattle’s only dyke bar, and I cut my performing teeth there, attending every month and wishing I was brave enough to read my own things until finally I did.

When I moved to New York City I wondered why there wasn’t an equivalent. Perhaps the communities and scenes here are just too large to sustain any single reading series, we need multiple perspectives, we need lots of different styles, lots of different reading series coordinators who all have different circles within the queer and literary worlds.

Kathleen is a playwright, for example, and there’s such a large play and drama world here in New York City that is very queer and literary, but since I don’t tend to run in those circles myself, I often don’t know of the writers who are on the Drunken! Careening! Writers! roster. But they are always a best of the best, skimmed off the top, extremely talented bunch, and I certainly trust Kathleen’s own literary discernment.

Shelly Mars’s new series the Bulldyke Chronicles is quite the phenomenon, if you haven’t attended yet—comedians, performance artists, and storytellers are primarily in her circles, and she has pulled some amazing folks out of the woodwork to come share where they’ve been and how they see the world. Her performers by and large are not folks that I know, but they are amazing and I’m so glad they’ve been brought together in a forum where I get to see them perform.

It’s amazing how many subtly different queer literary scenes there can be in one place. It still amazes me that a city can hold so many different worlds, so many different circles which do overlap, though sometimes only touch. After four and a half years in New York City, I think I’ve finally made enough contacts in many of the different circles that I could help to pull together some amazing artists, to encourage the lifting of their voices high.

And so, the lovely and talented Cheryl B. and I have teamed up to start SIDESHOW!: The Queer Literary Carnival, which will be spoken word, poetry, storytelling, comedy, and performances of all kinds. It is “serious literature for ridiculous times by freaks, jokesters, and outlaws,” as our tagline boasts. We are booking seasoned performers whose work explores what it’s like to embody and move through the world with marginalized identities, be it sexual or gender or something else entirely. This one particular series is explicitly queer, specifically to encourage the expression of that weird, freaky, perverted, marginalized, queer point of view.

Cheryl has run series in the past, most recently she was the producer at the Poetry Vs Comedy Variety Hour, which started at Galapagos and moved to the Bowery Poetry Club. It was a blast—and I don’t just say that because I was the first poet ever to win the two rounds, or because I won twice. It was so much fun to attend, the judges were always just as fun as the poets and the comics, and of course all the participants went home with a prize, because winning was not the point, and we’re all losers anyway.

When we ran into each other at a holiday party last year, I mentioned that I’d been kicking around the idea of coordinating a reading series, and she said she would love to co-produce and co-host. Since Cheryl has much more expeirence than I do at hosting a reading series, and since she’s a damn fine poet, I immediately thought this was a wonderful idea, and we got into the nitty-gritty planning details in the new year. We secured a home at The Phoenix (thanks to Charlie Vasquez, who I previously mentioned as running the Panic series at one of my favorite queer watering holes, Nowhere Bar), and we booked an amazing first show.

To add some cohesion to the show, we’re going to have monthly themes, and the very first SIDESHOW kicks off in April on Tuesday the 13th. April’s theme is SECRETS, starring Kate Bornstein, Sam J. Miller, Seth Clark Silberman aka PhDJ, and Kathleen Warnock.

Did you see that part where I slipped in that Kate fraking Bornstein is going to be reading at the kickoff of the series? Like it is all casual and not a big deal? Except that I’ve been reading her books for the last ten years, and she’s such a major pioneer not only in gender work but in queer memoir, and the re-valuing of queer lives and experiences in general.

Kathleen Warnock, too, I’m thrilled to have in the line-up; I mentioned earlier that she runs the reading series at KGB Bar, but she is also the new series editor for Best Lesbian Erotica, put out annually by Cleis Press. I’ve admired her work since I first heard it when I moved to New York City and began attending her series, particularly for the extra-special holiday celebration in December that always includes Best Lesbian Erotica writers reading their own work.

Sam and I met because he’s in the brother series, Best Gay Erotica, and we read together at a joint reading a few years ago, and my best memory of PhDJ is his story about getting an apartment through the power of The Secret. Hey, when the shoe fits, you may as well wear it!

Since April is my birthday month, I’m telling friends there’s no need for gifts or a party, just come to Sideshow on April 13th at The Phoenix. I’ll be there from 7pm on, taking photos, kissing Kristen, and trying not to drink too many Jamesons on ice. Can’t wait to hear what everyone has to read, and how this gathering of queers might bring us together in an open, supportive environment.

See you there, New York.

So What’s Next?: McMillen’s Fake Prom

While I was kind of slow to follow the story, mostly because I thought, okay, wrong-doing that has made national news, clearly everybody else is going to jump in and take care of this and I don’t really have to, I’m kind of outraged by the recent update on Constance McMillan’s fight to go to her high school prom. She was told there was a prom, showed up with her date, where there were only 7 students, and some faculty and teachers. The location and time of the “real” prom, privately held, was kept from her.

You’ve probably already heard this. Jesse James had a nice post on it, Dorothy Snarker posted something too.

I can kind of comprehend that that happened. I mean we’re talking about a school district, a small town, a state, which denied her access to the prom in the first place because of her sexuality and gender expression (with her request to wear a tux). I am not too surprised that they would hold another prom, that students—her peers and classmates and (supposedly?) friends—and parents would deliberately deny her access.

What I can’t comprehend is the shock of it all. Because when something like this happens, the experience of realizing reality isn’t quite what you expected it to be is what is shocking.

She won her court case. She was told there would be a (private) prom she could attend. She walked in, expecting that to be the case (at least, from what I can tell in the statements released so far, she expected that), only to find that she had been cast out, ostracized, again. That is such a shock for a person to sustain.

It’s like losing your job or having someone break up with you—you might think, yeah, we weren’t really that good together, but just the act of NOT SEEING IT COMING can make you feel nutso, and that reality somehow didn’t line up with your expectations is enough to make you lose your mind, just for a few minutes. But the recovery from that momentary loss can really be difficult. Because hey, if you didn’t see THAT coming, what else won’t you see coming? What else is going to just blindside you completely unexpectedly? And of course there’s no way to prepare for that kind of thing, but the mind doesn’t really comprehend that, only that if it happened once, we can learn from it, and prepare, in case it does happen again.

Here’s my question, now, though: what the hell can we do about this? What is the piece of adequate activism here? My first thought is that they MUST be doing something illegal, they must be crossing some line or committing some act of discrimination, because HELLO, they so clearly are.

But they threw a “prom.” Teachers and school administrators showed up at it, so it was a “real” event. That all the other students went somewhere else doesn’t have any legal ramification, somehow, right?

Because it is TOTALLY LEGAL to hold a separate prom. It is totally legal for people to hold private parties and not invite certain people, regardless of whether it is due to their gender identity, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, or if you just simply don’t like that person. This is, in my understanding, how many of the segregated proms still exist and operate in the South: because they are private. And of course these events are products of a culture that makes it normal to have a segregated prom.

Okay, so: if the students were all making a fuss about this, if the students were saying, “we don’t want two proms, of COURSE this really outta-sight gay lady is included, we all want to go to the same prom, yay differences!” then perhaps we would have one prom, yeah? But the students aren’t really going to do that when it is their parents who are throwing the separate prom in the first place. The kids of those parents are probably elite, privileged, and have, to some degree or another, grown up with discrimination in the water, in the air they breathe. They are probably not very likely to stand up and support Constance.

So what next?

No I mean really, what the hell can we do about this, given that technically, TECHNICALLY, somehow, even though it is so fucking obvious that it is blatant discrimination here, technically it seems to me that they have done nothing wrong. Technically they “threw” a “prom” and invited McMillen, and therefore did what they were told. And given that the students are blaming McMillen (I have heard about that terrible Facebook group, blaming her for ruining their “best high school memories,” nevermind that a) those for whom prom is their “best high school memory” are those who are the ones running the school, in a privileged, elite, and often very hierarchical system that discriminates and puts down others, and b) usually, those for whom prom is the best thing that ever happened to them end up stuck in their own home town, with kids and mortgages and dead-end jobs instead of attending colleges. Not always, of course, but often), they are not going to stand up for her.

So what next? How does the queer community rally around her? This is the time when Kristen and others I’ve been talking to all say, Constance, GET OUT. Leave your teeny little narrow-minded town, like we all did, come to the liberal havens, come to the gay meccas, come find your people. You got handed a nice fat check on the Ellen show and now can go to college wherever you want. Or you could harness this opportunity and make a documentary out of your hardship and ride on this ten minutes of fame all the way to a job in the gay-for-pay queer nonprofit world.

If I had her address I would say that we should all send loving letters of support, signed, your queer family, the one that awaits you and already embraces you. And while it might be comforting to Constance to know that there are people who support her, what about the other students (who will be voting adults soon enough), what about their parents, what about the school officials, what about the school board? What about the town who is blaming her for such an OUTRAGEOUS attempt at doing something like dancing with her loved one at a school dance oh mah gawd what is she thinking!

Is there anything anyone can do about the homophobia that is so clearly deeply embedded in them all already? Aren’t there more options than her just up and leaving?

This is where the question of education comes in. How on earth can one—or, more accurately, can this movement of queer activism—possibly continue to chip away at bigotry and hatred and homophobia? Is it actually possible to reach people, to help change their minds?

Generally, activists say no. Activists aim at that same populace as politicians: the Movable Middle, who could kind of be swayed either way, depending on the day or what they had for breakfast or what was on Oprah yesterday.

Thus this is the part where I vow to continue to do the kind of activism I do, and where I continue to encourage the kind of activism you do, in whatever way you participate in the queer community, even if it’s just by being out and keeping your private life private. Perhaps especially then. Perhaps it really will trickle down, that the general culture will disgrace and shame homophobia such that, at least, it can no longer be done openly, and there will be consequences.

On the good days, I believe we’re already there, or at least got quite a good map and we’re in a nice easy stretch of open road. But on days like this, with news like this, my jaw just drops a little, and I wonder what can we do? What can I do?

April’s Pin-Up Giveaway

It’s April again, and you already know that means it’s my birthday, and Sugarbutch’s blogiversary. But did you also know that this year, I am the April pin-up in the 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar?

ss_cal
Me, my photo in this year’s calendar with Audacia Ray (photographed by Amanda Morgan), and Kristen at the Sex Blogger Calendar Party, November 2009. Photo by Nick McGlynn

I wrote about the process behind the photo and what Dacia and I had in mind when we started planning our own “vision of sexual freedom.” I still don’t have a good digital version of the photo by itself, but this shot of me holding the calendar will have to do.

Tess and Diva have graciously let me give away FIVE of these lovely calendars to celebrate my pin-up month. Want one? Leave a comment with a link to your favorite pin-up photo, or just one that you really like, or your favorite pin-up photo model or photographer (Marilyn Monroe? Dita von Teese? Hilda? Gil Elvgren? Les Toil?). Don’t worry if you don’t have one—it’s not very hard to Google pin-up photos and waste some time looking through for one you like.

Since you’ll show me yours, here are some of mine: photos tagged “pinup” from my mrsexsmith.tumblr.com log. Not my all-time favorites, but some of the notable ones from the last year or so of tumblr. Maybe I’ll spend some time adding some of my favorites!

There are not very many calendars left, but I bet if you run over to the Waking Vixen store you can still order one.

Here’s why you want one: you’ll be told of your favorite sex blogger’s birthdays and blogiversaries, you’ll get special discount codes from the fabulous sex toy companies who sponsored the calendar, you’ll get to stare at some gorgeous sex blogger’s pretty faces all year round, and, of course, you’ll be supporting Sex Work Awareness with your money.

Five winners of the New York City Sex Blogger 2010 Calendar will be chosen at random Friday morning, April 9th.

The Seal Says Happy Birthday

We al

l know who this is, right? Jesse James‘s dawg The Seal (who is on Twitter, @justliketheseal) who probably had some help in borrowing Violet’s shoes. Jesse said, “You don’t have to post this one!” but hel-LO, like I wouldn’t. It is awesome.

The Seal says: “You is a good dyke. Please bring more rubber chickens in your suitcase next time you come visit.”

The Sugarbutch Birthday Tradition

April 3rd is my birthday, I’m turning 31 tomorrow. I love being in my thirties (fuck those who-am-I finding-myself-bullshit twenties, I’m so ready to be solidly where I’m at). April is also Sugarbutch’s birthday month, I started this site 4 years ago on the 29th. Will have a giveaway or something exciting later this month for that.

Did you flip your 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar to my pinup photo with Audacia Ray yet? I bet there are still calendars to purchase, if you don’t have one yet. WORTH IT, if not only for the blogiversaries and birthdays of your favorite sex bloggers and the sexy photos, then for the discount codes to the best of the best online sex shops!

And those of you who have been following for a while will remember: in the past few years, I have requested for you to send in photos of your most fabulous shoes as a birthday card, if you feel so inspired. “Your most fabulous shoes” can mean anything, the ribbons-around-the-ankles are not required (though oh so hot, gahh). I am really quite partial to the ones that lace up and tie and wrap around, probably it’s a bondage related thing, I’m not quite sure why they are SO DAMN HOT but they just are. Strappy sandals are also awesome. The smaller and more delicate, the better. Mmmmmm.


J. from Toronto, one of my favorites from last year.


Missy, my favorite from 2008.

Oh, and don’t forget the birthday coloring page from Illustrocity!

I’ll post my favorites, with your permission of course. (If you prefer I don’t post them, please let me know.) Send them to or post them on your own blog and leave a comment, so I can be sure to see them & link!

Kristen and I have some birthday plans this weekend, including New York City’s best bloody mary, swing dancing, some small birthday adventures, and drinks with friends. I did have daydreams of getting 30 blowjobs for my 30th birthday, last year, but that didn’t really happen. I should come up with something fun I can request from her this year, though I’m not quite sure what it will be (she does so much for me already!). Suggestions?