Countdown to the Femme Conference: Three Weeks

The Femme Conference 2010: No Restrictions is happening in Oakland, CA in just three short weeks. There’s still time to register!

I attended in 2008 in Chicago and it was a pretty amazing experience. I took away so many conversations about identity development and expression, about visible physical markers and femme fashion. I would love to attend again, maybe next time.

Recently, I was chatting with a femme friend who was in from out of town about being in leadership or facilitator positions within this gender world, and how many baby femmes and baby butches feel lost and alone when they’re coming to these identities. “I always tell them, read your history!” she said. There are lots of books out there, actually, that discuss the same things we are going through. Sure, they might be a little dated; sure, we might have a better sense of how to break identity alignment assumptions than those writing thirty years ago. But we do not have to reinvent the wheel: much of this work has already been done for us, and even has already been recorded and written about.

So, as a countdown to this fantastic conference, I’m going to feature a couple of different femme tomes that are really important in the heritage of the femme world—or that have been to me. If you haven’t read them, I highly recommend it.

The first, and most recent publication about femme identity (as far as I know) is the two-volume set Visible: A Femmethology edited by Jennifer Clare Burke and published by Homofactus Press.

Visible: A Femmethology is a collection of personal essays from over fifty contributors who explore what it means to be a queer femme. Award winning authors, spoken-word artists, and totally new voices come together to challenge conventional ideas of how disability, class, nationality, race, aesthetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, and body type intersect with each contributor’s concrete notion of femmedom.

Though the book launched more than a year ago, the book’s website still has some very valuable stuff, including a large list of contributors, if you’d like to look up some inspiring writers, and mini-interviews with them about what it means to be femme.

The cover was a bit controversial, when it came out, but there are some male authors in this book who explore their femme identity, so I can understand that they intended to show that femme is not something that exclusively belongs to cis women.

I’ll admit, I’m a little biased with this book, because I have a piece in Volume II called A Love Letter to Femmes. Dacia recorded it for me last year, when the book was coming out, so there’s an audio recording of me reading it, if you’d like to hear it. But even if I didn’t have a piece in it, the collection is a great read and will I think inspire any femme to feel less alone. Most of the focus in this anthology, probably because of the title, Visible, is on the invisibility of femme identity and the ways that, particularly, straight folks assume femmes are also straight. I have my own thoughts about invisibility, mostly about sovereignty and the outsider complex that many of us feel, but regardless of my own opinions, I know visibility is something that pretty much all femmes feel at various times, so it’s an important thing to study and bring light to and discuss.

Order the two volumes directly from Homofactus Press (if you’d like the small indie press to get the most benefit), from your local independent queer feminist neighborhood bookstore, or, if you must, from Amazon.

Define: Outsider Complex

“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” —Hafiz

I haven’t found an official psychological definition of the Outsider Complex, but I think it does exist in those circles. Maybe the phrase seems common sense enough that nobody feels the need to define it somewhere. You can tell what I mean by it already, right? The occasionally overwhelming obsession of being an outsider, which sometimes means either putting oneself in a position of being an outsider (be that consciously or unconsciously) and often lamenting “not fitting in” or not being part of the status quo.

Well, let me tell you something: the status is not quo. It seems like just about every marginalized group has their own sense of the Outsider Complex, but I think queers are susceptible to it in our own ways. Especially genderqueer queers. Especially kinky genderqueer queers. Especially kinky genderqueer queers who grew up in a place that insisted, over and over and over, that fitting in, climbing the social or corporate ladder, following along on the assembly line, is the only way to live one’s life.

And as usual, I believe that if we can name something, define it, study it’s parameters, that when it comes up in our own lives, it will feel easier to deal with, because we have some sort of Big Emotional Reaction and we can point our finger and say, “Outsider complex,” take a breath, and have some sort of context for what’s happening. I believe that making the process conscious will improve it.

I’ve been talking about the Outsider Complex a lot lately. Everybody’s got their own version of it, I think—even most straight white Christian republican cis guys, I would argue, still get their own healthy dose of it, perhaps it’s just an inevitable side-product of this individualist culture. But it’s been coming up for me because Kristen’s version of it and my version are very different. And sometimes, that has created some tension between us, because I just didn’t get where she was coming from.

See, I grew up in Southeast Alaska. If you’ve been following along with my column Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend, you know all about it; I’ve been writing about my relationships with places a lot over there. Not only did I grow up very much outside of suburbia, American cities, and even American farmland, I also grew up with hippie parents who don’t buy much into pop culture, I grew up vegetarian, I grew up with a lot of pagan influences. Combine that with my particularly unique name, and just those factors alone gave me a sense that I was different from the time I was little. But instead of feeling like that was a problem, I saw it as a badge of uniqueness. I like being different. I like being outside of mainstream culture.

So yeah, I do have an outsider complex, but it acts a bit differently than other people’s—in particular, than Kristen’s—and different than what I observe in the queer communities as a whole. Generally, I think the outside complex works more as a badge of shame, thinking ourselves inferior because we don’t fit it.

For many of us, hitting puberty and discovering that there’s something “different” about ourselves, even if we don’t quite pinpoint our gayness or butchness or transness until later, was the turning point, the place of no return, before which we were “one of the gang” and just going along like all the “normal” kids, and perhaps we have this deep-set feeling that if we could just get back to that, everything would be alright.

Perhaps that too is partially a loss of innocence process, where we learn something new and we can’t ever go back to when we didn’t know it, even if we wish we could.

Some of this Outsider Complex can also be growing up queer without any sort of queer influence. No older queers, no peers, no mentors, nobody who even said words like lesbian or gay or queer or kinky or butch or femme or trans or whatever. I think that’s changing, more and more, what with that little revolutional technological thing called the Internet, and with the advances in the gay rights and gender movements in the recent years, so perhaps kids today (oh my god did I just say that? I’m old) are growing up with much less of a sense of the Outsider Complex, just by their very different exposure to queer culture.

I continue to see this manifested, though, in so many ways with queers who are adults now, who have been out for a decade or more, who do take part in some sort of queer community: there’s still this sense of isolation, of being different than, of being not fully accepted or not fully understood for who you are or what you love.

I even think it is sometimes used by us in martyr-type ways: oh look how much of an outsider I am, oh look how different I am than everyone else, you couldn’t possibly understand me, woe is me woe is me. In the worst case scenario, perhaps.

It’s something personally I haven’t quite struggled with. And I don’t say that with any sort of hierarchy or judgment attached to it, one is not better than the other, it is just the way it is. Certainly I have my own complexes and issues, regardless of whether I have this one.

So to witness it in others is curious. What’s going on there? I want to ask. And when I see it in others, it breaks my heart a little. How would I ever explain how deeply you do belong? How common it is, to feel this way? How many thousands and thousands of other queers and kinksters and butches and femmes and whatevers just like you there are out there?

Maybe it’s because I spent years reading Wild Geese every single day, memorizing it, reminding myself, “Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, / the world offers itself to your imagination, / calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – / over and over announcing your place / in the family of things.” Maybe it’s because I was never indoctrinated into Christianity and have never believed in hating myself. Maybe I’m just really lucky, I don’t know.

So tell me, readers, Redhead Army Sugarbutch Fans, queers of all spots and stripes: Does this make sense? Do you witness this outsider complex in queer worlds? Is this something that you experience? How? Have you been able to address it and get past it? Or is it something you struggle with ongoing?

Live Tweeting Porn: “Fluid” Tomorrow

Along with @GarnetJoyce, @desireunbound, and @Sara_Vibes, I’m going to be live Tweeting some porn tomorrow, Wednesday the 28th, at 9pm EST.

Want to join us?

We’re going to be watching Fluid: Men Redefining Sexuality, directed by Madison Young and put out by Reel Queer / Good Releasing. And we will be talking about it on Twitter!

If you’d like to join in on the conversation, even if you don’t have a Twitter account, you can follow the conversation we’re having with the hash tag #pornoparty—so if you join in, please include that hash tag on your Tweets so we can see your comments!

If you don’t have the film, don’t worry—you can do the video-on-demand thing and watch it over at Hot Movies For Her. If you sign up for a new account, use the discount code SugarButch (not sure if the caps are required or not, that’s how they set it up, even though the B is not capitalized) for 20 minutes free. It’s only 90 minutes long, so it’s a start!

I’m sure there’s a way to live-update the Twitter feed on a post, and I’ll look into it tomorrow and see if I can make that easily happen, but you might have to just go check Twitter tomorrow. It should be fun!

Review: Heart 2 Heart Blindfold

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

Remember those Heart 2 Heart bondage cuffs? The ones made of red leather, that are perfectly fine, average, pretty, well-constructed? The Heart 2 Heart blindfold goes with them, as part of a set, along with the collar and whip, neither of which I have gotten my hands on yet, but I am curious to. There’s something about a set of matching things that is just so … cute. I like that idea.

Like the cuffs, the blindfold is pretty much as you’d expect. It’s leather, with an elastic strap, little hearts cut into the leather on the front side, red stitching, and black suede on the underside.

The thing about getting products off the Internet is that you can’t really try them on. I got it out the other day to play with Kristen, restraining her wrists to the bedpost, pulling the blindfold on, and then getting the hitachi out. The blindfold was a little bit big for her, she’s on the small side and it didn’t quite fit right on her face, the elastic wasn’t quite tight enough so that it didn’t slip and slide when she squirmed, and the bridge cut out for the nose was just a little too big, so she could kind of see through the middle. Not that I was doing anything that I didn’t want her to see, really, but just for the sensory deprivation, and I think sometimes it was a bit distracting.

(She didn’t seem to mind.)

I forget how much I like blindfolds. I don’t have any nice ones, just some cheesy ones that probably came in a fancy overnight traveler’s kit. I really like blacking out my eyes, though, both when I’m trying to calm down, like at night, going to sleep, and when I’m meditating, and when I’m getting off. Sometimes I even put a pillow or eye-pillow over my eyes to block the light.

Unfortunately, this one doesn’t quite fit me, either: It’s a little too tight, a little too small. It cut into my nose a little, the edges are just a little bit sharp where the leather is cut, and it wasn’t that comfortable.

I love the idea of a set, and I am now really craving an upscale blindfold, but I’m not sure this was the one. I’d love another leather one, the silky ones seem too flimsy I think, but I’ll make sure to try it on first.

The Heart 2 Heart Blindfold were sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

My Take on “The Kids Are All Right”

I spent almost a week on this after I saw the film. It turned out to be a bit of an opus, about six pages long, and AfterEllen.com graciously told me they would run it.

Here’s a little teaser of my thoughts:

What if this depiction of that trope, of that storyline of lesbian-sleeps-with-a-man, is actually a step forward? It’s actually a step away from the old versions of this story? It’s something new. We haven’t actually seen this before. What if it’s a sign that we’re actually getting farther from this trope, rather than recreating it yet again?

Untangling that trope means entering into some grey areas, unseeing the black-and-white of this issue and looking at some of the larger contexts and contents; reigning in our own projections a little bit to consider this with fresh eyes, from a place of a beginner’s mind, without quite so much anger directed at this trope. I know that sounds like you have to give up your very warranted anger, but that’s not quite what I mean. It’s just having enough looseness to be able to allow new information to be observed, even if we already think we know exactly what we’re looking at.

Because that’s really the problem here, isn’t it? We hear “a film in which a lesbian sleeps with a guy” and we roll our eyes and get that disappointed, sinking stomach feeling, and we pretend that we aren’t disappointed in yet another depiction of us, of me, of my life, my legitimate love, my legitimate orientation, in a mainstream film that had so much potential, so we squish that potential and we squish that disappointment and we try to sound so damn smart about the wrong that is this film that we might actually miss the film itself, what it’s saying, and what it’s doing.

Read the whole thing over on AfterEllen.com.

And go see this film. It is really beautiful.

Oh Hello, City of Roses

It’s a perfect temperature here in Portland, which means, yay, that button-down and tie I brought for my workshops tonight and tomorrow are going to work out just fine.

If you’re in the area, come by one of the workshops!

Gender & Rol

e Play
Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, 7:30pm
at She Bop, 909 N. Beech St, Portland, OR
SheBoptheShop.com

Strap-On 101
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010, 7pm
at Fascinations, 9515 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR
Free! And, pick up $10 gift card for all those who come! Now that just-right cock or harness will be even cheaper.

And of course tomorrow I’ll be visiting Powell’s. And seeking out amazing vegetarian restaurants or cafes … got any recommendations?

Sweat & Summer

1.

I was being a jerk. Not sure the details are all that important, I just got up on the wrong side of the bed and everything was bothering me and it was 95 degrees outside and I was mad at the world. I made the mistake of thinking that running errands in Manhattan would make me feel better. Get some things done, knock things off the to do list. Did I forget that I don’t deal with heat well? (Can I stop complaining about the heat already?)

Plus, the errands were unsuccessful. I’m only a recent Mac owner, my MacBook is about a year old, and I’ve never had to go into the Apple Store for service before. My power cord shorted out over the weekend (anybody out there have an extra one lying around? Will trade) and I didn’t know I needed an appointment at the Genius Bar, so i just went in. Plus, my iPhone 4G, which replaced my ancient 3G since I broke the screen when I dropped it on a playground in Alaska, is getting a terrible signal and I’d just heard about the booster cases Apple is giving to 4G owners. Of course, you have to do that on the website, not at the store, and they’re unavailable/out of stock. We shall see how that goes.

Combine my disappointment, my not working cell phone, my powerless laptop, with the heat, not to mention the crowds of Soho and then Union Square, and I was ready for a drink.

What I’m saying is, I was spending all my energy trying to keep it together as Kristen and I shopped for peaches and tomatoes at the Farmer’s Market.

By the time we got home I’d picked a fight, then started to backpedal out of it. We were both upset. I was being a jerk. I couldn’t seem to calm myself down or shake this “everything sucks” mood. I apologized; I knew I was off, and I said so. I tried to state what I needed, I tried to remove myself to give myself time to calm down. I could have done better. I gave up and took a nap.

2.

Hours later I woke up a little reset, Kristen and I had a decent evening, dinner and a movie, sitting close on the couch, being more careful with each other.

Later still, after we got in bed, I pulled her close as we snuggled in together and kissed her, a physical apology for my distance that I was trying to make up for with closeness. I wanted to be closer still, feel her everywhere, make it up to her, be inside her. I still felt fragile and a little thin, but the want was growing as we kissed. I got flashes of my forearm across her chest, holding her down. Adding some extra bruises to the two on her inner thighs, which are blooming nicely. I saw flashes of fucking her fast and hard and furious and it made me hot, eager.

I kissed her again, let my hands slip under her green tank top, one fingertip into the top of her undies. She sighed, kissed me back, hands in my hair, and I felt myself melt a little into her.

“Play with me?” I asked, quiet, our mouths still nearly touching.

Her whole body responded with a flush of heat that rippled through her. “Of course baby. What do you want to do?”

“I don’t know.” C’mon, I chided myself. Say something. “I feel the instinct to be mean. But I don’t know if I can do that. I don’t know if that’d feel good, after how I treated you today.”

“You could be my mean Daddy. I like it when you do that. It would be okay.”

I was quiet. Not sure it was a good idea. I’d rather not be so torn. I’d been torn all day.

“Or you could be small,” she whispered close to my ear, stroking my hair.

Even the words felt like a relief. I nodded. “Just … take care of me for a while?” She nodded back and kissed me again, a little more commanding than usual. Her lips were sweet, tongue soft, warm, and I started to get lost in the kiss, in the feel of her next to me, touching me.

“Give me your hand,” she said, and took it up and under her shirt, to her breast, firm and round and soft in my palm. I ran my fingers over her nipple like it was a fence I was walking by, brushing it as it grew more stiff, then pinching it hard, and the arch of her back made the growl return to my stomach. Strength. Power. Maybe I need some of that. She squirmed and let out a little cry as I twisted and pulled, then took a huge handful and kissed her.

I like her nipples in my mouth. Supple and soft. I have never been, as they say, a “breast man,” never quite got it like others seem to. Don’t get me wrong, I feel and play and suck and pinch, especially when I know that’s what she likes, but maybe it’s because my own aren’t very sensitive that I didn’t used to derive a lot of my own pleasure from playing with them. Recently, though, that’s been different. (Have I written about this before?)

I was starting to salivate, to get that itch for that feeling of smallness and sucking, when she said, “Will you suck on my tities, sweet boy?” I smiled, then bit my lip to hide it. Pushed her shirt up farther and took my arm out from under her neck, lying back down over hers, a little bit of role reversal, allowing her to give me some needed comfort for perhaps the first time that day.

I lowered my mouth down to her nipple, rested my head on her arm and against her chest as her hands pulled my head closer, and sighed. Her areola puckered in my mouth, against my tongue. Her skin was sweet with that salty wisp of sweat and summer. I sucked her in deeper and used my teeth to hold her there. She gasped. I flicked my tongue, then widened it and lapped at her nipple, thick long strokes over and over.

“Ohh that’s good … that feels so good.”

I let myself get lost in the sucking. Let it feel like nourishment, let myself be filled. I pictured energy pouring out of her, down my throat, pooling in my belly, and kept drinking it in.

After a minute I shifted, brought my mouth slowly off and over to the other, brought my weight slightly over her so I could free up my right hand. I cupped her tits and kept the angle in my mouth, then dragged my hand down her stomach and hips to her thighs, which she easily parted, a nonverbal request. I slid my hand into her panties and found her wet, dipped my fingers in slow.

I lifted my mouth and looked up at her. “May I?”

“Yes, mmm yes,” she murmured, leaning back into the bed and pressing her cunt toward my hand.

I wet my fingertips and traced her lips around her clit, flicked it, stroked it. Bit at her nipple. It didn’t take long; she started writhing, breathing, “Oh that’s good, that’s my good boy, my good boy,” and came, shuddering against me.

I kissed her mouth again and she stroked my neck, held me to her. “That felt good baby.”

“I like to feel you do that. Like to touch you.”

“You made me all wet, you made me feel so good.” She kissed me again. “Suck my nipples again, sweet boy?”

I lowered my mouth again, settled next to her as she kept me cradled.

“Did that make your cock all hard?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said quietly, not looking up. “A little.”

“Did that make you want to touch it.”

I murmured something between an “um” and a “mm.” Hesitant and feeling shy. That boy-feeling of exposure, vulnerability; you can see how much I want this by the strain against my zipper, the uncomfortable hardness, the pressure.

Of course, I don’t really have that. But there are moments, like when she starts talking about it, that this feeling comes up, and this is the best I can do to explain it.

“Touch it,” she said quietly. “Touch it for me. Tell me how it feels.” She knew I wasn’t packing. She meant my cock, my other cock, my little cock I sometimes call it, my dick, my clit.

I reached down to feel under the boxers I’d pulled on to sleep in, found my cunt wet and lips swollen, my clit—my cock—hard and slick. It felt good to touch. Like I had permission, like I could take my time. Like relief from the tension that had mounted in my body during my bad mood all day. Like release.

I dragged my fingers along lazily for a minute, touching, relaxing, with a massaging touch, building arousal. I thought she might ask me to go get my big cock, so I didn’t want to come quickly. Let’s let it build.

“How does it feel?” she asked into my hair, arms still wrapped around me.

“It feels good. Hard. Thick and big.”

“Mmm. I like it when it gets hard and big. Then you put it inside me, don’t you, my sweet boy? You like to put it in my pussy.”

Quickly, the flash of pushing my cock into her, her tight resistance, the way she opens up and wraps around me was in my head. My cock pulsed harder. I could barely respond, her nipples still in my mouth, still needing the distraction and permission of sucking.

I started rubbing my clit cock faster, jerking it a little, keeping my fingertips wet. My muscles got harder, too, contracting in my thighs and ass and stomach, starting to clench down and press into my hand. My knees straightening out, toes curling, then knees opening out to the side, legs splayed.

I let it build until I was almost ready to come and then backed off, took my hand away for a second, concentrated on sucking at her tits again, a little harder, a little deeper into my mouth, tonguing her nipples and swallowing as I breathed and concentrated on the heat building between my legs.

Only a quick break, a quick moment before I reached back down and started rubbing my clit again. Moaning through my full mouth, pressing myself against her, her arms pulling me toward her chest and keeping me close to her as I got closer, closer. Stroking up and down and, if I was being really honest, I would tell you I was thinking about my other cock, my big cock, the go-to one I usually use, and whose weight I miss hanging from my hips if I don’t wear it a few times a week. The girth of it in my hand, what it’s like to slip over the head and feel the ridges, feel its tip against my palm. What it’s like to slide inside of her.

More noise from my mouth. Growls and grunts and heavy breathing and convulsions as my chest and stomach contracted.

“Are you getting closer, sweet boy? Come for me. Come on, jerk that cock for me.”

I kept my fingers low and felt the tension hard and swollen under my fingers. Just a couple more strokes, just—there—just—closer, my fingers in fierce rhythm getting harder, quicker, as fast as I could go, “Yeah, yeah, fuck,” I started trying to exhale more, I’m holding my breath, pushing my hips up to meet my strokes.

“That’s good baby, that’s so good,” she keeps murmuring.

I’m ready and it burst out of me as I pulsed and thrusted, stroking fast and hard once more, twice, three times, my body convulsing in the microseconds between, shuddering as the shock waves faded, gasping as I calmed and tried to keep letting go, still feeling ripples of release through my whole body. I realized her nipple was still in my mouth, loosely held so I could suck in air, and I let up to take a full breath, let it out slow. Still shuddering. Still tingly all over. And as I relaxed I released even more, letting something out, some tension I’d been holding on to, something bigger, who knows what, something stored deep in my muscles, and tears started rolling down my face and toward my ears, I started gulping, soft sobs between breaths. Just a few before it passed, faded, and my breath smoothed.

I turned toward her again and sighed, rested against her, kissed her. I was spent. It didn’t take long to fall asleep (in a slightly wider embrace, still affected by the heat).

I woke the next morning feeling scrubbed clean, not a trace of that bad mood left in my system, pulled her close, smelled her skin, felt her shoulder with my cheek. Everything is much better when I remember how lucky I am to wake up with this beautiful girl every day.


Have you nominated your favorite sex bloggers for the Top Sex Bloggers 2010 list yet? Just leave a comment with your favorites before July 31st.

Sideshow’s Erotica Show is August 10th

And it’s going to be delicious. I can tell already. Mark your calendars! And see the whole schedule over on queerliterarycarnival.com.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
August 10 @ The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
East Village, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free!
@sideshowseries

August’s theme is HEAT WAVE EROTICA, starring:
Tamiko Beyer (Drunken Boat)
Rachel Kramer Bussel (In The Flesh)
Mildred Dred Gerestant (OUTMusic Spirit Award)
Kit Yan (Mr. Transman 2010)

RSVP on Facebook!

About the performers …

Sober Stories at Queer Memoir 7/24

My Sideshow co-host and co-producer Cheryl B. is guest curating for another New York City queer literary reading series, Queer Memoir. Queer Memoir is a bit different than Sideshow (or In the Flesh or Red Umbrella Diaries or Drunken! Careening! Writers! or the Bluestockings Poetry Jam & Open Mic) as it features people who are not necessarily performers or professional storytellers sharing their lives and stories.

Cheryl’s guest theme is Sober, and it happens this Saturday, the 24th of July at the Queers for Economic Justice performance space in Manhattan. Come! I’m going to do my best to make it, and then likely go to Butch Burlesque at Dixon Place later that same night.

Guest curator and host Cheryl B. presents the sober-themed edition of NYC’s premier queer storysharing show, Queer Memoir, starring: Joshua Bastian Cole, Cora Leighton, Katie Liederman, Melissa Febos, Sophia Pazos, Terence, & Tina Goerlach

Queer Memoir: Sober
July 24, 8pm
QEJ Perormance Space
147 West 24th Street, 4th floor
$5 suggested donation (no one turned away)
http://queermemoir.com
Facebook Invite

About the storytellers … 

Snapshot: Sideshow’s Freak Flag

This week’s Sideshow: Queer Literary Carnival was the theme of Freak Flag, and the show was fantastic.

I’m not much of an event photographer (certainly not compared to last month’s beautiful shots by Syd London), but I got a few of the readers this time, and Kristen took some video that I’ll work on uploading also.

The rest of the shots are up over on the Sideshow blog, at the new domain queerliterarycarnival.com.

Get a Dominant to Dominate

About a year ago, Axe & I had a conversation for his Masocast podcast and it sparked the question, How do you get a dominant to dominate?

I wrote about it, thought about it, and the question has been bugging me a little bit ever since.

About a month ago, Axe and I decided to meet up again and have another go at this question. He’s since in a long-term relationship with the lovely mistress/dom Sade, and I’m since another year into my relationship with Kristen, so I figured that he and I would have some different takes on the conversation and the question now that we’re not swinging single anymore, but involved in relationships. Still, the question still applies: as a submissive, how do you encourage your lover to be more dominant? How do you ask for sex? Is asking for sex outside of the “role” of the submissive? How do you make yourself available? And as a dominant, how do you allow yourself to be seduced? What works to get you to be more dominant in bed? What encourages you to allow a little more grrr to come out of your body during play?

All these questions & more are in this conversation with Sade, Kristen, Axe, & me. Got thoughts about this subject? I’m very curious to hear other people’s take on this.

Tonight! Freak Flag at Sideshow

Now I just have to decide what I’m going to read. Oh, and what I’m going to wear!

See you there!

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
July 13 @ the Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A, New York City
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm.
Free

This month’s theme is FREAK FLAG, starring:
Sassafras Lowrey (Kicked Out)
Kate McCabe (Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow)
Vittoria repetto (Not Just a Personal Ad)
Thad Rutkowski (Tetched)
Charlie Vazquez (Contraband)

Review: Slick G Harness by Aslan Leather

Thank heavens, someone finally answered my prayers: I’ve been in search of The Harness for quite many years now, with some successes, but no amazing clouds-parting-rays-of-sunlight perfection. The Aslan Leather Jaguar G is my current favorite—or has been, up until now.

Aslan sent me two different harnesses to review: the Leather Pleasure Harness and the Slick G.

I jumped into the Slick G immediately. Couldn’t wait to try something other than leather or faux-leather or vinyl, which is all I’ve really ever tried. It just feels like leather never really comes clean, because, well, it doesn’t, it’s absorbent, and the kind of sex I have tends to be messy. Seems like my leather harnesses only last six months or so before I’m turned off by their … obvious wear.

So, rubber. I was a bit skeptical. But Carrie over at Aslan told me this the go-to favorite, so I wanted to try it out for myself. Would it be too thick? Too sharp around the edges? Not melding-with-my-skin enough?

And most importantly: would the shape and tension be enough to get me off?

Short answer: not quite. But I haven’t yet given up hope on the Slick G.

Here’s the harness breakdown factors:

1. Materials
Obviously, Aslan Leather uses really high-quality stuff. They make arguably the best harness available, and most people’s #1 choice, the Jaguar. (It’s not quite my favorite—mostly because I prefer 1-strap to the 2-strap style, but I do like the Jaguar G, as I mentioned.)

So: The Slick G is made of rubber. How does that work? Quite well, really. It’s a little bit stiff, not the pliable leather I’m used to, but it is such a relief to scrub it clean. It is pretty thick, it doesn’t really warm up and mold to my body like I’m used to with leather, but it doesn’t feel like a huge barrier. I am really fond of barely-there kind of harnesses, just three little straps and an o-ring (which is basically what the other harness, the Leather Pleasure Harness, can turn into), so this definitely feels like something there, but how could it not? It’s a slab of rubber. It does kind of cut into my skin around the edges, but not enough that I’m not into it. For the clean-up factor alone, I’m game.

2. Metal: the buckles + O rings
There is no O ring, so in theory some cocks would fit better than others through the opening, but it fits my favorite (the Vixskin Maverick, which is 2″ in diameter) quite well, so that’s all that really matters.

It’s beautiful, of course. Really nice work. The buckles on the waist strap are locking, and easily tighten. This is the ‘average’ size version, for hips from 25″-44″, and Aslan makes a slightly larger version too, for hips 36″-56″.

The strap that goes between the legs has three snaps for a choice of large-medium-small fit. At the smallest, it doesn’t quite go as tight as I like it (what can I say, I like it tight). This is the only problem I have with the harness, and I like it so much that I think I might actually try to get another snap installed, or move one of the snaps (I’m sure I don’t have the tools for it, but I think one of the local leather shops might).

I think because the center strap wasn’t really tight enough, I have yet to get off while fucking with it. Could it have been me, just a fluke, just need more times trying it? Yeah, maybe. But some other harnesses (like the Jaguar G) I can get off while using pretty much every time. Sometimes I know there are times when I just can’t do it, but times when I think it can happen, usually it can. And I thought it could happen, and couldn’t get the friction or positioning or feeling right enough, and I think that’s because it just wasn’t hitting at the right place. Everything else was so perfect! Perfect girl, perfect dirty words, perfect calmness and openness and sweet kisses and skin-to-skin and all of those lovely luscious things that happen when K & I are just in it, but: no go.

3. Style, shape, & padding
I like how the cock rides, I like how it drives, I like how low it rides. I like the shape of the harness. It doesn’t have much padding behind the base of the dildo, but I don’t mind that. It’s not very “padded” in general, since it’s rubber, but I’m not minding so much. I do wish the between-the-legs strap was a bit more narrow, though; especially in the ass cheeks area, it gets just a little bit pokey.

A slightly thinner center strap, and more options for the snaps in the center strap so it can sit tighter, and I think that’d be a winner.

Here’s how Aslan describes the Slick G harness:

This one strap harness made with sexy strong 100% water resistant rubber delivers the ultimate dildo control. Tough rubber stays in place when the fun get’s heavy let’s you play in the shower, tub wherever you choose! No “o” ring for greater intimacy.

ASLAN Rear Strap adjustment system ensures a comfortable fit for all body types! Low rider dildo placement provides excellent control and lovely clitoral stimulation. Discreet one strap design can double as a ANAL plug holder. No “o” ring for greater intimacy and less chance of bruising your partner from heavy thrusting.

The folks at Aslan know what’s up, know the kind of sex I’m having and even (I suspect) have some of that kind of sex themselves, and build wonderful tools that are some of the highest quality sex toys available. I’m thrilled to be reviewing some things for them. This isn’t quite The Harness, but it’s close. It’s damn close. And I am almost totally sold on the rubber, I would definitely try another one, or slightly modify this one, to try to get it closer to perfect.

Maybe The Perfect Harness doesn’t actually exist out there, I know, I might be kidding myself. But I have found pretty much The Perfect Cock, and The Perfect Leather Wrist & Ankle Restraints, and The Perfect Butt Plug—can’t I have a perfect harness, too? If there’s one to be found, I think it’s probably made by Aslan. Can’t wait to review more for them, I’ll let you know what I think of the Leather Pleasure Harness as soon as I have a chance to adequately review it.

Aslan Leather sent me the Slick G harness for review. Pick it up over on Aslan’s site, or at your local independent feminist queer sex toy store.

Review: Heart 2 Heart Cuffs

I don’t have a lot to say about the Heart 2 Heart Cuffs Babeland sent to me for review. They work exactly as you’d expect them to work. They are comfortable. They are made of very high-quality leather, very smooth and buttery and pliable. Pretty cute, too, with the red bands around the middle. They’re a great price, and they are part of a set, so you can pick up the matching blindfold (which I’ll be reviewing soon) if you like that kind of thing.

So here’s a shot of the easy way I rigged my bedposts to be easily bondage friendly.

I used a pair of plain black leather wrist cuffs and tightened them as much as I could around the bars of my headboard, then attached a snap hook. Those basically just live on my bed now, and all I have to do is put a second pair of cuffs on Kristen and reach over to the snap hook to connect them.

In the past, I have almost always associated bondage with rope work, and while I love rope, sometimes I just want a little easy restraint without having to pause and tie knots and secure someone. Midori’s Expert Guide to Sensual Bondage helped me see a whole lot of other possibilities, and sometimes less time-consuming, options for restraint play.

Definitely recommend these cuffs. Kristen really likes the other wrist cuffs we have, the scalloped cuffs, because of how they look, I think, but they’re not quite as wide and they feel a little different because of the padding on the inside. I think these Heart 2 Heart Cuffs will get a nice place on the top of the bondage drawer.

The Heart 2 Heart Cuffs were sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

Review: Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture (Seal Press)

Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture Edited by Shannon T. Boodram. Seal Press, 2009

Perhaps I had unrealistic high expectations for this book. “The basement smelled like sex,” the book starts. “That thick, musty scent that sits in the air and clings to everything it touches. I inhaled deep and hard, thinking about the heated moments that had just passed. The moments when I was too busy creating the odor to even notice its sticky presence.” Maybe I thought it’d be a bit more upbeat, positive. I have a skewed perspective of sex education and what’s going on with sexually active youth, after all, consuming places like Scarleteen.com and attending queer and kinky events occasionally open to young people.

Laid is separated into five different chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of sex: hookups, positive experiences, physical consequences, date rape, and abstinence. I expected “consequences” and “date rape” to be harder chapters to read, but in truth they were all hard. I kept cringing from the negative, stereotypical information being given out at every turn. But because these stories are full of people’s real experiences and opinions, they can’t exactly be “wrong;” but I cannot recommend this book as any representation of sexual education, as it sells itself as being. The honest, real experiences expressed are valuable to read, but I clearly do not agree with these contributor’s value systems, and many of them I would disagree as plain old bad information.

As I got further into the book, I even doubted the values and knowledge of the editor, as each chapter wraps up with a series of questions about that chapter’s content from the contributors. Questions from Boodram such as “What does lesbian sex include, since it’s not possible to have traditional vaginal/penile intercourse?” (p55), asking a bisexual woman, “Do you have a preference?” (p110), and asking a woman who authored a piece on her abortion, “Why did you decide to abort your child?” (p178) all got me hot under the collar, for both the content and the phrasing.

Boodram admits that a book agent wrote to her, “This book is too negative. Despite having some good information I think the chapter on rape really drags things down” (p185). First, including a quote from an agent’s rejection letter in your book seems like a bad idea. Second, the book is too negative: but not just because of the rape chapter. The “physical consequences” chapter reads like a warning: Don’t Have Sex Or This Will Happen To You. And while it’s true that there are real consequences to sex, and that young people need to be educated about safety and caution, sex is not all bad! Despite the “positive experiences” chapter, the prevalence of scary, negative, and frightening stories was so pervasive that I can’t help but think I would be all the more inclined to agree with Boodram’s encouragement of abstinence after reading through these stories. Boodram used to run the site SaveYourCherry.com, which seems to be down now, and knowing that bit of information makes it even easier to see Laid as an advertisement for her philosophies about waiting to have sex because the consequences are too risky. Save it for the one you love! every chapter seems to shout. Or you’ll end up like me. It seems like a cheap way to use the honest, rare stories that these teens and young adults shared about their sex lives.

Boodram did include some men’s voices and perspectives in this collection of stories, but I found myself disappointed in that, too. In the introduction to the date rape chapter, Boodram admits, “My biggest regret about this chapter is that it does not include the voice of a male who experienced rape or sexual abuse. Twice I was contacted by different men … both expressed that they were interested in sharing their stories, and neither ended up submitting. … I had to give up” (p186). There must be more than two young men out there who have experienced sexual assault and who may be willing to share their stories around it. Rape is more complicated than women as survivors and men as perpetrators, and while that is the most common scenario, I wish she’d looked a little harder to include multiple perspectives.

But that’s the problem with a “sexual education” book based on real experiences: it is much harder to include content to create a full, varied, and wide representation of experience, since the editor may be limited to the contributions she received. And it’s difficult, as a critic, to disagree with someone’s personal experience.

Contributor Anthony writes in his story, “Teenage Pregnancy,” that he “never saw abortion as an option. I also know how selfish it may seem because I wasn’t the one carrying the child, but I don’t regret how firm a stance I took” (p180). This is a tough position on which to take a stance, controversial even, and while perhaps it makes sense to include multiple perspectives on the same situation, there was no corollary young woman with a feminist stance, saying she has the right to choose over her own body and that her boyfriend (or one night stand or hookup) was supportive, but understood that it was more her choice than his. In fact, there was kind of the opposite: another abortion story by Lorie who writes, “I did not include my partner in my decision. This I regret. I truly felt that the child was as much mine as it was his: thus, the decision should have been as much his as it was mine” (p178). I’ll skip over the part where she calls a fetus a “child,” and give her the benefit of the doubt that he was a great guy who would have listened and negotiated with her about what to do after they both got into this situation together. Hopefully, he would not have taken such a firm stance as Anthony, described above, forcing upon Lorie that abortion was not an option for her.

Perhaps abortion decisions are never so simple. Perhaps if Lorie had had a partner she could trust and confide in, she would have felt that pregnancy and birth was an option. Perhaps she wouldn’t say things like, “I get sad when I see a little girl who looks like me, or when I see pictures of a fetus. … I almost feel as though I’m not worthy to have another child because I let one go” (p179). But what about the flip side of that experience? What about when women have abortions and they feel okay about it, even good about their decision? What about the women who do not feel guilt? What about the right to exercise one’s choice? Those women are out there, that perspective on abortion is out there, but the sad regretful stories are far, far more prevalent in cultural narratives.

These experiences are clearly important, valid stories, real scenarios that these real people have gone through, and their real thoughts and feelings about them. I wouldn’t tell Lorie that her response to her abortion is “wrong” any more than I can tell someone else that theirs is “right”—I can only say that I know there are other responses out there, too, and when a book like this is touting itself off as an educational resource, I am not impressed.

There was one part I quite enjoyed: at the very end, almost as an afterthought with no bolding or italics, Boodram includes Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier, and those points were right on. Those ideas, concepts, and general content I could get behind. “Sex is not just put it in, take it out. … Everyone thinks they’re good at sex without even really knowing anything about it. … Demand the truth about sex from your teachers and make sure they take adequate time to talk about myths verses reality. … Be confident and deliberate, especially when it comes to your personal life” (p278-279). She even includes Things the Contributors Want You To Know, a similar list of inspiring statements and personal revelations. Now this, this is useful. What would a book based on those ideas look like?

If it were simply a collection of essays on young people’s experiences with sex, it would have been an interesting essay collection. If it had been only a sexual education book written by Boodram, it may have stood up a bit stronger, and not had to answer to the long, real-life scenarios by her contributors. Regardless, there are better essay collections and much better sexual education books available; skip this one.

Thanks to Seal Press who sent me this book for review. Order it from them or from your local, independent, queer, feminist bookstore, or, if you must, from Amazon.

a new “I believe” poem

well, new to me. not by me, but by Rob Brezsny, who writes and sends out Free Will Astrology weekly. I always love my horoscopes through him.

this week’s:

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Have you added some bulk and stability to your foundation any time recently, Aries? Have you grown your roots deeper and asked for more from your traditional sources and recommitted yourself to your primal vows? I hope so, because this is a perfect time, astrologically speaking, to strengthen your link to everything that sustains you. You have a sacred duty to push harder for access to the stuff that builds your emotional intelligence and fuels your long-range plans.

in his newsletter this week he included an excerpt from his book Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings, which I still haven’t read or picked up yet, but would like to eventually. the excerpt, below, is an example of an “I believe” poem, a list of deeply-held beliefs or commands for one to live by, like whitman’s preface to leaves of grass.

I like this one. I like this format, too. inspires me to write another one myself.

LUMINOUS TEASE

Change yourself in the way you want everyone else to change
Love your enemies in case your friends turn out to be jerks
Avoid thinking about winning the lottery while making love
Brainwash yourself before someone nasty beats you to it
Confess big secrets to people who aren’t very interested
Write a love letter to your evil twin during a lunar eclipse
Fool the tricky red beasts guarding the Wheels of Time
Locate the master codex and add erudite graffiti to it
Dream up wilder, wetter, more interesting problems
Change your name every day for a thousand days
Exaggerate your flaws till they turn into virtues
Kill the apocalypse and annihilate Armageddon
Brag about what you can’t do and don’t have
Get a vanity license plate that reads KZMYAZ
Bow down to the greatest mystery you know
Make fun of people who make fun of people
See how far you can spit a mouthful of beer
Pick blackberries naked in the pouring rain
Scare yourself with how beautiful you are
Simulate global warming into your pants
Stage a slow-motion water balloon fight
Pretend your wounds are exotic tattoos
Sing anarchist lullabies to lesbian trees
Plunge butcher knives into accordions
Commit a crime that breaks no laws
Sip the tears of someone you love
Build a plush orphanage in Minsk
Feel sorry for a devious lawyer
Rebel against your horoscope
Give yourself another chance
Write your autohagiography
Play games with no rules
Teach animals to dance
Trick your nightmares
Relax and go deeper
Dream like stones
Mock your fears
Drink the sun
Sing love
Be mojo
Do jigs
Ask id

Nominations Open For the 2010 Top Sex Bloggers

Two years in a row now Sugarbutch Chronicles has been included on the annual Top Sex Blogger list, put together by Rori at Between My Sheets (and a team full of judges).

This year, Rori will be retiring sex blogs that have been in the top ten three times. So let’s retire Sugarbutch Chronicles, shall we? Will you please consider nominating this blog?

To nominate bloggers for this list, just leave a comment on Rori’s nomination post. You can also email Rori at [email protected] or DM @SweetRori if you want to keep your nominations private.

This site hasn’t actually been behaving like a sex blog as much lately as it used to be. Remember back in my swingin’ single days when all I did was write about sex sex sex with a little bit of gender and kink thrown in? Oh yeah, and there was all that personal whining about my trauma and how much I don’t trust anybody ever. Well, I don’t really miss that part. And I promise I do still have a very active sex life, and sex and play with Kristen is incredibly fun and fulfilling. I don’t write about it quite as frequently anymore for a couple reasons, but I do still write about it.

Check out my stories to turn you on category, that’s usually where I put the good stuff. And glancing over it, there has been some pretty good stuff this year already …

Lipstick Blow Job:

In my bedroom, I slip on my cock while she reapplies her lipstick. I pull her on top of me as I lay down on the bed and kiss her neck, her face. She gets breathless. Sucks in air as her mouth waters and tongue swells, I can see it, despite her lips already being darkened. I slide two fingers into her mouth, feel her tongue, push them just past the first knuckle so she can lick around the pads with her tongue. She closes her eyes and moans.

Desperation & Dominance:

“I was thinking about … you using me,” she starts in a small voice, quiet, by my ear. I can feel her breath. “Filling me up. Fucking me and fucking me without caring how it was for me. I was thinking about tears streaming down my cheeks, and you not stopping, just … taking me, until you get what you want, and you come.”

Waking Up:

“I woke up with my cock all hard,” I say, low, into her ear. She stirs. My fingers find her cunt, her soft skin and folds, and caress sweetly. She convulses the moment I slip my fingers in. “That’s what I wanted, yeah,” I continue to murmur. “That tight little hole, oh you feel so good.”

And then of course there was the Anal Week series, which was more than a week really, but that I had a lot of fun researching and practicing and playing. I hope those kinds of projects are useful and interesting for you!

If that’s not enough to convince you to nominate Sugarbutch, you can always go back over some of the top posts of all time:

That first one, the most-read post on this whole site, My slutty little girl, has been viewed almost 12,000 times, can you believe it? You readers like it dirty. Dirty dirty dirty. I always suspected that about you.

I haven’t decided entirely who else I’m going to nominate, but if you look through my shared items I’m sure you can see which blogs I read frequently and love. That’s my equivalent of a link list these days, I can’t keep lists of links updated so I’m just using my reader for it. You could call that laziness, but I call it efficiency.

So head on over & nominate me, please, by leaving a comment on Rori’s nomination post and include Sugarbutch’s URL or title. (You can also email Rori at [email protected] or DM @SweetRori if you want to keep your nominations private.) And hey, did I say thank you yet? Thank you!

Sideshow’s Freak Flag is One Week Away

… and we’ve added another reader! Kate McCabe is touring with the Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow and squeezed us in. Really looking forward to her work.

Kate McCabe has been from all of the following places at one point or another: Erie, PA,—New York, NY—Los Angeles, CA—Baltimore, MD—Rochester, NY—Oban, Scotland—and most recently Manchester, England. A graduate from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she studied at the Stella Adler Studio and suffered the indignity and emotional pain of being constantly belittled and berated by crotchety old acting teachers–mostly to legitimize a career in comedy. Turns out that being ashed on by Virginia Slims and wearing Capezio character heels is good for the soul. She has subsequently performed long-form improv with The Hester Prynns, written sketch for The Ralph Show and Free Range, and performed stand-up in The States and The UK. She loves comic books, travelling, snacking, karate-chopping things, and napping. Proudest moments include offering Gina Gershon a smoked-mozzarella pizza whilst working as a cater-waiter and the one time Kate Clinton gave her a hug.

Also, drumroll please: Sideshow now has its own domain! www.queerliterarycarnival.com is up and running. We don’t have an official Sideshow mailing list, join either Cheryl’s or mine to get monthly reminders, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

It’s going to be a fantastic lineup—See you there!

Review: Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide by Erika Lust (Seal Press)

Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide by Erika Lust, translated by X.P. Callahan. Seal Press, June 2010

It’s difficult for me to critique this book: Lust consumes porn in similar ways that I do, and we have a similar history with viewing porn, so most of my responses to this consist of, “yeah, so what?” It’s not new information to me, nor would it be to anyone who is aware of the ways that the porn industry is rapidly changing to include more female directors, more perspectives from and by and about women, and more woman-oriented pornography.

Really we’re talking about films here. Porno films, from kink and gonzo to erotic documentaries: Lust writes about ‘em all.

If you’re a woman who doesn’t like porn, or who has seen some porn and thinks that it is all the same, icky, unrealistic, performance-y, useless, and not even sexy, this is a great guide to finding directors, stars, and content that you may enjoy. There is a world of new porn available, even in the last five years, and if you can suspend your judgment for a bit to open up to the new materials that Lust describes, you might be greatly rewarded, discovering some new ways to explore your own sexuality through finally some videos of sex that are actually made for your consumption.

I can’t imagine that readers of Sugarbutch—or Carnal Nation, where this review will be cross-posted—will find this new information, however. In my experience, most of the readers understand this new world of porn films, as I might argue that both Sugarbutch and Carnal Nation are part of that new world, perhaps on the fringe, as we don’t produce video content, but as cultural commentary, certainly.

So who needs to pick up this book?

Those women who, though they have already made up their minds about something, are willing to be surprised. Women who believe that porn could possibly be good, that the definition of porn is not “exploiting women” but that the industry has had a lousy history in the hands of repressed men who will sell any act of a penis pounding a vagina to make a quick buck, and that if women or queers or respectable men were making porn, it could be better. It possibly could be interesting, even. Women who believe that it is not porn itself that is the problem, it is not taking video of people having sex, enjoying their sexuality, and getting off that makes porn bad, it is the perspective and the industry in which most of these videos have been made that is problematic. And look—there is a whole industry and perspective popping up, thanks to the feminist movements, queer movements, and the rise in sexual information, sex education, and the Internet.

Ah yes, the Internet. It’s a challenge to write about the Internet in a book. Books are somewhat fixed documents, the Internet changes all the time. Long lists of web addresses in books are not so appealing, since they aren’t hypertext and I can’t click on them, and I have to be really inspired to actually go look up the URL on my computer from a book. Plus, I spend a lot of time online, reading information about sexuality, keeping up with the feminist- and queer-positive directors of porn, and following the new big releases from Blowfish or Good Releasing, so the information in Good Porn wasn’t new or shiny or opening my mind in any major (or minor) way. I was hoping Lust would tell us more about the worlds of women’s porn in Europe, since she’s Swedish and in fact this book is translated into English for it’s release on Seal Press, but there was very little content and description of films that I wasn’t previously aware of. It seems that the major impetus for this new women-centered porn world is here, in the US.

If you need some convincing that porn for women is real, happening, and, yes indeed, valuable, check out what Lust has to say on the subject. But if you are already part of this world, while I recognize that it’s good, solid information and important to write about, it may not keep your interest.

Thanks to Seal Press who sent me this book for review. Order it from them or from your local, independent, queer, feminist bookstore, or, if you must, from Amazon.

Classes in Portland, OR in Late July

I’ll be heading to the lovely City of Roses in late July, and I’ll be teaching two different classes on July 21st & 22nd at She Bop and Fascinations sex toy stores.

Gender & Role Play
Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, 7:30pm
She Bop
909 N. Beech St, Portland, OR
SheBoptheShop.com

Join Sinclair Sexsmith for this workshop focusing on the ways that playing with gender in role play can be liberating for our gender expressions or identities outside of role play too. This class will include Sinclair’s basic gender tenets & philosophies, how to play with gender in role play, how play can deepen understandings of our own personal gender presentations, expressions, & identities, and also some details for playing with masculinity & femininity.

Strap-On 101
Thursday, July 22nd, 2010
Fascinations
9515 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, OR

Interested in strapping on a cock? Not sure where to start? Come to this interactive workshop with Sinclair Sexsmith, experienced strap-on aficionado, for tips and suggestions on what kinds of dildos and harnesses will be right for you, and how to strap it on with gusto. We’ll talk about how cocks can be played with and experienced by every gender, and how to have more cock confidence.

As usual, check out my Appearances page at mrsexsmith.com to keep up with where I’m going to be and what I’m teaching.

And hey, college students, high school seniors, and other folks who are returning to your college in the fall and may take part in student organizations such as the queer clubs, sex clubs, or feminist clubs: Want to bring me to your campus to speak this fall? I’m planning some travel dates now, and they’ll be solidified in August and September when school is back in session. Please get in touch with me or my booking company, PhinLi Bookings, to see when I can come do one of my workshops at your school.

On Masculinity, Mine

From the Ask Me Anything questions from Sugarbutch’s 4th anniversary:

I’m interested to know how you feel your masculinity and your perceptions of masculinity have changed over the time that you have been writing here, and by this name.—Miss Avarice, of Miss Avarice Speaks her Mind

My masculinity and perceptions of masculinity have significantly changed since I started Sugarbutch four years ago. Or, wait. Maybe it hasn’t exactly changed as much as bloomed, you know? It is different than it used to be, both my own presentation and my understandings of it, but I had the seed of it then, even the bud, I just couldn’t quite manifest it the way I wanted to. (I’d be curious what some photographs of me look like from four summers ago, to do a side-by-side contrast. A lot has changed since then!)

So, first part, yes, it has changed. But you asked how has it changed? That’s harder to pinpoint.

I’m not so apologetic about it anymore.

I’m a lot more confident in the differences between masculinity and misogyny and chivalry. I’ve learned to differentiate between consensual chivalry and forced chivalry, and actively read the (verbal or physical) communication around chivalrous attempts and acts.

I wear more vests and suit coats and belts and suspenders and french cuff shirts. I own a (small) cufflink collection and a (kind of unnecessarily large) necktie collection. I don’t receive flower-smelling bath products as gifts anymore. I donated that box of feminine clothing that I was keeping around because I never bothered to toss it out.

I pay attention to men’s style icons and got (more) serious about my haircut. I stopped feeling guilty for wanting my hair short and liking it short, I stopped saying I was going to grow it out again because wasn’t it compulsory for lesbians to be short-haired? and I didn’t want to be compulsory.

I claimed some firm ground on which I feel comfortable standing.

I researched butch icons and butch history and butch characters in tv shows and on films and in novels. I pay attention when the word butch gets used in articles. I challenge the way the word butch gets used in (many) articles.

I started dating femmes.

I always knew I wanted to, but actively partnering with femmes changed my masculinity, finally gave it something strong to forge itself against, to nuzzle into, to be protected by. Gave it a reason to be the protector, sometimes. Gave me a compliment, an understanding of the ways that I-in-this-form am received.

Plus there’s all those other identity labels I have been actively not only identifying with but developing, challenging, studying, and attempting to embody: like kinky, sadist, top, daddy, dominant. Even non-sexual words like misanthrope, HSP or highly sensitive person, buddhist. Plus that ever-evolving one: writer. And now, trying to make a living as a writer. Interacting with all of these various identities, spaces, versions of myself, and weaving them into each other, has all affected my masculinity and gender identity.

Studying tantra has changed the ways I think about masculinity, too. I’m far from an expert at tantra, I’m just beginning to study it seriously and take it on as a path, but I know that what we in the west have usually been presented as the concepts of yin and yang as feminine and masculine are too simplified and a bit misleading. It has very little to do with men and women, but rather different types of forces of life and energy, and it’s much more complicated than yin/yang = feminine/masculine.

Being in a new, serious relationship has changed my masculinity, has I think softened my edges, has inspired me to open up in challenging and messy ways. It has brought things to question, made me wonder how or if they are connected to my masculinity, and how or if they should change.

Just talking about my masculinity on a regular basis, through spaces like Sugarbutch, through my Carnal Nation column on Radical Masculinity, and through my friends and lovers in recent years, has changed my relationship to my own masculinity and to my observation of others’ masculinity. According to quantum theory, observing an object changes it (I can’t find out if that theory or principle has a particular name, though, and I’ve been reading through Einstein quotes and Googling “copenhagen interpretation” for a while now. If you know what this is called, pass it on, please? I have a whole theory about blogging based around this and I’d like to know what it’s called!)—and I think that’s true of gender and sexuality, too. Just the very act of observation, of watching oneself, of taking note of how one works, will bring about some change and movement and, inevitably, growth.

(Oh, also: For more on this topic, take a look at My Evolving Masculinity series from a few months back.)

“There’s a Man in the Woman’s Room NOT” by Kelli Dunham

I can’t resist posting this. Kelli Dunham, comic, former nun, friend of mine, and nerd extraordinaire, posed a question on her Facebook page about what genderqueer folks do when needing to pee at Penn Station: go into the woman’s room, and get yelled at? Or brave the men’s room’s grime and row of urinals?

In response, a friend of hers suggested she write a catchy song, and voila, she did. Here’s the whole explanation, and the song, in the video:

Check out more Kelli Dunham online at kellidunham.com and on Twitter at @kellidunham.

If you’d like to see her live, she’s got a show coming up with Cheryl B. (who you may know as my co-host from Sideshow), Katie McCabe, Elizabeth Whitney, and Lea Robinson, aka the Famous Lesbian Comedy Roadshow* (*famous lesbians not included) at Stonewall Inn this Tuesday, July 6th. It’s the DIRTY FILTHY RED HOT SUMMER SHOW, clearly not to be missed.

Lesbian Cowboys Erotica Giveaway … The Winner Is:

Winner of a copy of the sexy new erotica book Lesbian Cowboys: Erotic Adventures by Sacchi Green and Rakelle Valencia, which recently won the 2010 Lammy for Best Lesbian Erotica, is #13, a.!.

Thanks to Random.org who always supplies me with a “true” random integer when doing these giveaway contests. And thanks to Cleis Press and Lambda Literary Foundation who provided me with two copies of the book such that I could give one of ’em away.

Thanks, everybody, for adding your favorite role-play ideas or reasons why cowboys are hot into the mix, that was fun to watch as the comments came in. Consider picking up a copy for yourself at your own local, queer, feminist, independent bookstore (assuming that you’d like it to be there next time you need a book) or, if you must, order it from Amazon.

Consuming Porn of Other Orientations

From the Ask Me Anything questions from Sugarbutch’s 4th anniversary:

My question is more on the philosophical/political side of things.

Do you feel that, as I am a male, it is exploitative for me to enjoy queer porn so much?

Porn is filled with many different dynamics, and it is within it’s nature to exploit the ‘exoticism’ of anyone who appears in it. We’ve seen this a thousand times, especially with Asian-American women ( forced to play up an exaggerated stereotype in order to get work ), and I wonder if I myself am guilty of such a thing. Queer porn is this amazing, foreign thing to me. I love it dearly. And I understand that, as far as the exploitation from the production side goes, it is nearly nonexistant, but I worry.

I’m always on the road to improving myself and trying to further myself from the patriarchy, and this question has kind of been tickling my brain as of late.

And, since we’re on the subject: Favorite porn star? Like, if you’re given the chance to have one night of just no holds barred fuck, who are you choosing?—Erudite Hayseed, Confessions of a Southern-Fried Kinkster

I think only you can answer whether you’re being exploitive by enjoying queer porn. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying porn where the people in it are an orientation or sexuality or gender identity that you are not—I have watched my fair share of gay male porn, and I don’t think that makes me exploitive of them or their sexualities at all.

I think the exploitation comes in perhaps about how you interact or react or treat queers outside of consuming our porn. If you look at queer people and see nothing but our sexualities, that might be a bit of a problem. If someone was consuming queer porn in secret and feeling guilty and gay-bashing, uh yeah, that’s a problem. But paired with some understanding of queer culture or history or struggle, and as an ally of this movement, I don’t think anyone should feel guilty about watching the kind of porn they like to watch.

Being the analytical & processing person that I am, I would probably ask myself what it is about this kind of porn that is so appealing. Other folks in the kink community might disagree with me about this—some people say we just like what we like and do not need to come up with an explanation for it, and in fact should not examine it too hard, nor ask others to explain the ‘source’ of where their desires come from. Plenty of desires don’t have a ‘source,’ so perhaps that’s a worthless pursuit, regardless. But when it comes to really loaded play, or the consumption of certain types of porn, like for example, as mentioned above, exclusively watching Asian-American women in porn, I think it’s probably worth asking the question of why. Why is this something that I am consuming? What do I get out of this? What am I projecting? Someone may uncover the racial assumptions or associations they are making, which may be good to untangle.

This could also be true of consuming queer porn, or porn of other orientations. Perhaps a queer person always consumes straight porn because they have some hang-ups about their own sexuality. Perhaps a lesbian always consumes gay male porn because gay male porn tends to depict no-strings-attached fucking, and this lesbian has experienced lesbian sex as too emotional and not hot and lusty enough. These are untrue assumptions, however; they are based in stereotypes, and though they may be

I don’t know if I want to speculate on what a straight cis male consuming queer porn could mean. I do know plenty of “lesbian” porn is geared toward straight men, and often those porns are pretty gross, in my opinion, and I could take a few guesses at what the straight men who consume that type of porn are looking for. But I’m not sure what a straight, kinky, cis guy consuming the recent smart queer porn means … aside from that that is some of the very best porn available, in my opinion. Don’t discount the possibility of the answer being “nothing,” too—it might just be what you enjoy, and that’s fine.

Also, take a look, if you don’t already, at Jack Stratton’s Writing Dirty, since he’s a mostly-straight kinky cis guy who does occupy some space in the queer worlds, and does it quite well, and respectfully, in my opinion. (Besides, his writing is just good, and hot.)

And to answer your second question …

That’s a tough one. Madison Young, Dylan Ryan, Carson, and Joline Parton all come to mind. How could I choose between them? Carson is pretty damn toppy, so probably I’d rather chose someone who is a bottom. Dylan is quickly becoming a friend of mine, and after a certain point, fucking a friend is kind of weird for me. So that leaves two beautiful, curvy redheads, Madison & Joline. Madison would probably be incredibly intimidating, since she’s so experienced and so into pain, so I might go with Joline, she seems a little more shy, and I like that. It seems like she’d be great to throw around, she’s got great curves, great legs, and that cute mouth. Okay, final answer.