Archive for February, 2011

Sideshow Tonight!

February 8, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Join us at Sideshow TONIGHT with readers Melissa Gira Grant, Rohin Guha, Aimee Herman, and Christa Orth.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival – Achilles’ Heel
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, February 8th @ The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street @ Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
Find out more about the readers!

Cock Confidence: Pack & Play

February 8, 2011  |  reviews  |  5 Comments

See also: My Packing Cocks 101 on Sugarbutch

Speaking of pack & play cocks: There just aren’t very many available right now.

The technology that enables cis men’s penises to soften and get hard (which is flesh & blood) is quite difficult to reproduce. You’d think we had better tricks for it, Batman-style tricks like how his cape gets taut to enable him to fly hang-glide. But as far as I know, we really don’t.

Maybe there are things available for thousands of dollars that I don’t know about? But there’s a reason I don’t know about them—that is really not accessible to me. And probably not to most other gender exploring queers, either.

So the problem is, either good soft packing cocks are too soft to play with, or good solid fucking cocks are too hard and big to pack with (and end up giving you a tent pole in the pants rather than a modest bulge).

Here are a few that you can actually do both—pack and play—because they are bendable enough and still hard enough.

Also, before I get to the cocks, here’s an important packing tip: Unless you’re going for the big bulge in the pants—which hey that can be fun, but most of us want it to be more subtle than that—make sure you wear loose, even baggy pants or skirts while packing. Your tightest jeans, though hot, will absolutely show off what you’re packing. Try loosening the harness just enough to tuck the cock under one of the straps, and wear tight undies to keep it in place.

So what’s available out there for packing and playing?

Tantus VIP SuperSoft

VIP SuperSoft by Tantus

The VIP SuperSoft by Tantus, Inc. is the newest pack & play cock that I’ve seen, and it works quite well in my opinion (and experience). I’ve heard that a few toy shops aren’t carrying them because it’s too obvious and not packable enough, and well, yes, it does create quite the bulge in your pants. But if you know how to wear that well, or if you don’t care if it’s obvious, this is a good option. Since it’s silicone, it’s fully sterilizable (top shelf of the dishwasher with no soap, boil it for 5 minutes, or a 10% bleach solution).

What makes this special: The curve is great for g-spot play, and the “SuperSoft” silicone material specific to Tantus is great. Love the shape for both stimulation of the wearer and the receiver.

Drawbacks: It is kind of floppy. Not great for the heavy pound-pound kind of fucking, it will slip out pretty easily, so make sure to stay in communication with each other if (when) it does. It’s not widely available (yet … perhaps it will be, eventually).

Specifications:
6.5″ (5.5″ insertable) long by 1.7″ in diameter
Silicone (sterilizable)
Made by Tantus, Inc
Available in vanilla, caramel, and chocolate colors
Cost: $60
My review on Sugarbutch
Buy it directly from Tantus, Inc.

Goodfella by Vixen

The Goodfella by Vixen Creations is part of their Vixskin line, which is my favorite material for cocks. It’s soft and touchable silicone, so it is fully sterilizable (top shelf of the dishwasher with no soap, boil it for 5 minutes, or a 10% bleach solution), yet it still has a strong inner core that makes it hard enough to fuck with.

What makes this special: The balls go in front of the O-ring! That is quite unique and awesome. Watch the video on how to back it into a harness, since you can’t put it in from behind like most cocks.

Drawbacks: It is slim and pretty short, especially when you take into account that it is really only insertable up to the balls. Pretty good size for ass play and blow jobs, but for folks who like anything sizeable, this one is going to be pretty small.

Because the balls sit outside of the O-ring, it’s pretty hard to pack comfortably. In order to pack it, the cock part needs to be bent under the harness strap to hold it back, which can make the base pinch your sensitive flesh.

Unfortunately, it is also very expensive. But it comes with a lifetime guarantee from Vixen, which means if it gets damaged, if your dog finds it and chews it up, you can replace it easily. Whoops, sorry—I’m wrong here, let me clarify. Or rather, let me quote you what Kitty from Vixen emailed me: “The Goodfella is one of the only products not covered by warranty (another is the Mr. Right) This is mentioned on the commercial packaging. It simply cannot take being bent back-and-forth on a daily basis as the Vixskin is rather delicate. Our warranty actually mentions NOT being able to return things since your pet ate them.”

You can read the full warranty statement, which says: “Vixen Creations, Inc. wants you to be completely satisfied with your silicone dildo, plug or attachment, which is why we offer an unbeatable lifetime replacement guarantee on damaged items. Please note that damage resulting from misuse of our products is not covered by this policy. For example, “My dog or cat ate it,” “I forgot it was on the stove,” “I bit it,” “My girlfriend left me and took the dildo,” do not qualify for product replacement.”

(Thanks for the clarification!)

Specifications:
7″ (5.5″ insertable) long by 1.5″ in diameter
Silicone (sterilizable)
Made by Vixen Creations
Available in vanilla, caramel, or chocolate colors
Cost: $100-120
My review on Sugarbutch
Buy it at Babeland, Eden Fantasys, The Stockroom, or directly from Vixen Creations.

Silky Pack & Play Cock

Silky aka Mr Bendy

The Silky by Vibratex is the first usable pack and play cock I ever found, and I love it. It’s my favorite of these three.

What makes this special: The internal spine means it is flexible enough to completely bend sideways (or down) for packing, but perk right up when it’s time to fuck. Great size, not too big or small, excellent for blow jobs and for fucking. This one is my favorite.

Drawbacks: Not silicone. The elastomer material is phthalate free, but it is not sterilizable. It’s easy to clean with soap & warm water, but do not boil it, and always use a condom since it cannot be sterilized.

Because it has an internal spine, which is bendable, it will probably break. Mine has—in fact, I’ve gone through probably eight or so of these, about one per year. The spine has never broken through the elastomer plastic, and it has never hurt anyone, and in fact I’ve never heard someone say that theirs has broken the skin, either (though many people who I know who have used this have broken the spine at some point). That’s just what happens when you bend a bit of plastic at the same place over and over—it weakens the plastic, and eventually breaks. But like I said, mine lasted about a year, and if I had not packed it in the exact same position every time it might have lasted longer. After breaking two, I decided it was worth it to keep investing in a new one every year or so, that I just had to look at the $40 cost as a temporary investment that would last me a finite amount of time, not forever.

Some folks have said that they keep using theirs, even after the spine breaks, and this works too—it’s just not quite as perky or bendable as it used to be. From my experience, after it breaks it is not dangerous, and the spine part probably wouldn’t poke through the plastic to harm your delicate parts.

Specifications:
7″ (6″ insertable) long by 1 5/8″ in diameter
Elastomer (Phthalates free, Hypo-allergenic, latex free)
Made by Vibratex
Available in pink, purple, blue, and black (the pink and blue seem to be the most commonly available)
Cost: $40-50
My review on Sugarbutch
Buy it at Babeland, Eden Fantasys, The Stockroom, or Good Vibrations.

So, am I missing any particular cocks that you think I should try out, or include here? Have you heard of others that work for packing and playing? Have you used any of these? What did you think? Any other recommendations?

Extra Sexy Valentine’s Day

February 7, 2011  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

So Babeland did this sweet Valentine’s Day gift guide, and it got me thinking about what sexy toys and gifts I would highly, highly recommend, above all others, for you to pick up for your sweetheart (and, uh, yourself) for this Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been reviewing products for more than two years, and these are some of my personal favorites. The queer porn is especially good as a Valentine’s Day gift I think … plus, if you get a year-long membership, or even a month-long, that will be an ongoing present, one you can enjoy together and that might help take your sex life to a new level. It’s much easier to point to some sex act or product on screen and say, “So what do you think of that?” in order to open up conversation than it is to say, “Hey, I want to try …”

Hope you find something you like, and that the day is fun, regardless of how you celebrate.

You can also check out more of my favorite toys over at Good Vibrations, where they have various celebrity picks.

So let’s hear it: what are you getting your sweetheart, or yourself, this year? How, if at all, are you celebrating? What are your very favorite toys that I might have left off this list?

Syd London: Mini-Interview

February 7, 2011  |  on butches  |  2 Comments

"Butch is beautifully mind blowing to me. It's the contrasts of masculinity and hardness in a person who still has the soft skin of woman that drives me crazy. It's the refusal of butches to kowtow to society's "should's" that I continually admire. There truly is nothing sexier than butch to me."

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Friday Reads: Gotta Have it: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

February 4, 2011  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

It’s out!

I just received a copy of the newest erotica anthology, Gotta Have It, which includes my work, this time it is The Dirty Things She Says which is a piece in a lot of dirty talking dialogue that’s only about two pages long. All the pieces are extra-short, which is why they’re called “sudden sex” stories in the title—they’re short-short stories, which in my opinion make the erotica extra-condensed and hotter than usual. Not nearly as much wading through character and plot. And personally, I like that kind of thing in erotica.

Well, I mean, I still think the literary elements are important, but generally I think people spend way too much time being sure to establish those things in an erotica story. Most of the time, why are we reading the erotica? To be turned on, to get off. Of course, that’s just my opinion—plenty of other people really want to have context and plot and non-sexual build-up. But have you ever read Micro Fiction, or another short-short anthology? It’s a brilliant example of how literary you can be in very, very few words, embedding plot and character into every phrase, having each sentence hold two or three or four levels of meaning for the story. I still find them fascinating.

And the good stories in this anthology do that, too.

It includes some of my favorite erotica writers, including Cecilia Tan, Kiki DeLovely, Teresa Noelle Roberts, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Kristina Wright, D.L. King, and Maria See, and I’m sure once I read through it I’ll have a few more favorites to add to the list. So, I know what I’ll be doing this weekend.

Rachel Kramer Bussel edited this anthology (I haven’t mentioned that yet), and put together another one of her brilliant and fun book trailers for it, this one including video or audio of many of the contributors reading a piece of their own story.

Lots more information about Gotta Have It is over on Rachel’s Gotta Have It official book website, including a copy of her introduction, the table of contents, the author’s short bios, and announcements about readings.

Cleis Press, who published this anthology (and who publishes all of the best erotica anthologies, in my opinion, and I don’t just say that because they’re putting out my forthcoming lesbian BDSM anthology), has a special going on: “To celebrate this February 14th, receive 14% off all orders! Enter discount code HEARTS14 on your web order to receive your discount.” So pick up Gotta Have It over at www.cleispress.com, or at (or order it from) your local independent bookstore (assuming you want them to be around next year).

Ivan E. Coyote: Mini-Interview

February 4, 2011  |  on butches  |  1 Comment

"After many years of rambling and banging around in the "identity and labels" aisle of the english language, I have happily settled on butch. It is a big and beautiful enough category for me, and includes enough other folks that I can identify with and see as my family, my blood."

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What’s Happening in February

February 2, 2011  |  miscellany  |  3 Comments

Events! Here’s what’s going on in February, exciting New York City events that aren’t mine but that I highly recommend and my own events in both New York and elsewhere. Come on out and support queers and sex activists doing exciting, entertaining stuff.

Events with Mr. Sexsmith

Tuesday, February 8th, 8pm Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival: Achilles Heel featuring Melissa Gira Grant, Rohin Guha, Aimee Herman, and Christa Orth at The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street at Avenue A in New York City

Tuesday, February 22nd, 8pm Cock Confidence: Strap-On 101 Workshop: Many of us have experience with strapping on, packing, and playing, but there are lots of new products out there on the market that might be exciting and that you haven’t encountered yet. Plus, she’ll delve into some cock confidence, getting into the psychology of penetration, and discussing what it’s like to shoot from the hip. Good Vibrations, 308A Harvard Street in Brookline, MA

Wednesday, February 23nd
8-10pm
Afternoon Delight: A workshop on sex toys and getting what you want in bed with Girlspot, the queer women’s group at Harvard. We’ll explore how to turn up the heat on our sex lives, what gender expression and performance has to do with sexuality, and all the fun tools we can use in the bedroom—from vibrators to strap ons to butt toys to light bondage and sensation. Includes a sex toy giveaway! Open to the public. Harvard, Boston, MA
Ticknor Lounge in Boylston Hall (right by Mass Ave) for 8-10PM

Saturday, February 26th
1-4pm
Radical & Responsible Gender Masculinity, Misogyny, and Feminisms: Academics break down and deconstruct gender. How do we build it back up radically and responsibly? How does one adapt masculinity or femininity “positively?” How do we become responsible about gender? How do we continue to break down the gender role restrictions that are hurtful and traumatizing? How can queer communities and spaces be improved by gender reflection? Open to the public; RSVP to Lauren Hannahs at [email protected] Syracuse University
Hall of Languages 102 Syracuse, NY

I’m still booking spring events! Would you like to bring me to your college or local queer center or somewhere else? Check out what kind of workshops I offer, and get in touch with me or my booking company, PhinLi.

This post will be updated with any new events added and further details, as I get ‘em, and it’ll stay at the top of the blog until the March event schedule is posted. RSS readers probably won’t notice the difference, but if you’re reading here on the site, scroll down for the updates. Read More

So, Hi. I’m Back.

February 2, 2011  |  journal entries  |  4 Comments

January is over, so my official hiatus is through. I had a very particular writing schedule for myself in January (that if I was being really honest I’d tell you I rarely adhered to) and some specific goals, very few of which were met. But it was a start, and I do feel like I have a better idea of how to grow this manuscript that I’m working on and what I need to do. Which is, mostly, work my ass off.

So I wrote some, I went to the writer’s space that I rent out, I worked at home, I focused, I cut out all sorts of unnecessary distractions except for Sideshow and the sacred sex coordinating and the weekly column and the porn party. Which I know sound like a lot but were actually relatively easy to coordinate and still write. Amazing how many of the things I do that fill my days are actually superfluous, extraneous, unnecessary. It’s a good thing to remind myself.

For the last week of January I was on a DIY writing retreat up at a nearby retreat center, which was an interesting experience too. I’ve never done that before, never taken myself somewhere else to just focus on writing. The internet was out for two of the four days I was up there so it was really just me and my words. I would’ve liked to have gotten farther than I did, but I do like what I did do, so that’s good. It wasn’t completely successful but I think it’ll be easier to do next time, and it is something I’d like to do more regularly than I do.

January was not without challenges, though. I wrote about the snowstorm at the very beginning of this writing leave of absence, and the weather has been a factor, since feet (feet!) of snow, ice, and rain are often a good enough reason to stay at my lovely little home office and not trek to the writer’s space. But aside from the weather, Kristen and I have had some kind of awful fights. It seems like January hit and everything changed, though of course it’s not everything, it’s just a couple key things, things to which I’m still adjusting. That was part of the point, and part of the reason I started this month-of-writing leave-of-absence in the first place, that I was getting itchy and dissatisfied and she was going through her own stuff, so we both decided that separately and together we needed to shake things up, make some significant changes in what we do daily and, to a certain extent, our emotional landscapes too.

I don’t want to get too much into that. Partly because some of that belongs to Kristen and partly because I don’t have a good grasp of it in my head yet, so I’m not ready to write through it publicly. But we’ve been fighting. And it has at times completely thrown off my writing.

And then, on top of the weather and the fighting, I’ve been sick. It’s actually kind of rare for me to get sick, I generally take good care of my own health, but somehow this cold has gotten away from me. I’m still sick, actually, and this is the third wave of the sickness, I’ve gotten better twice before and then had some sort of relapse where it seems like it started all over again. I went to the doctor when it started up the second time, which I rarely do, and of course they just told me it was a cold, but I guess it’s good that it wasn’t bronchitis or something. But I thought I was getting better! I even went to the gym! And I went on that retreat! I was okay! But now: sore throat, congested sinuses, which is how it started the other times. This time I’m so congested that I can’t taste anything, or smell anything. Isn’t that weird? I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything and had absolutely no taste of it before, it is kind of freaky. I’m sure it’s just temporary, and I really should remember that, both about the taste thing and about the sickness, since I can be a kind of lousy patient and just sit around moaning about how sick I am. That’s not very attractive or fun or Daddy-like. Not that I’m saying I should “take it like a man” or anything, just that I could probably have a bit more self-control and that would be fine. It’s just so annoying to be sick, it’s hard not to express that annoyance.

And it really is getting in the way of writing!

I guess this is something I need to learn: how to keep my writing steady even if other shit is going on. How to let writing be my refuge from all the other shit, instead of needing the other shit to be calm and fine and in place in order to do the writing. Problem is, my brain really has not worked for the last four weeks! So of course the writing I’m producing has been pretty, well, thoughtless. And extremely frustrating.

Even if these distractions weren’t going on, this writing project would still be hard. I’m kicking up some memories and trying to wade through them, organize them, and write about them eloquently. I’m not sure if this will end up where I think it’s going, but for now I’m just trying to generate content, and have something to edit and improve.

So, my point is that my hiatus may continue in February—I’m going to keep focusing on this manuscript. But I also hope that I’m going to write here, too, and use this place as my morning pages. And of course I still have some events I’m hosting, and I need to get the manuscript together for the lesbian BDSM erotica anthology, so there is much to work on. Oh yeah, and I have some events too, so I’ll be doing some traveling to Boston and Philadelphia and upstate New York to Syracuse. (More about those soon, I’ll post a full event schedule.) And you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been posting some reviews lately; I still have a few in my back-log but I’m not taking on nearly as many as I used to. It’s great to have access to new products, and I’m enjoying building up my porn collection, but I don’t have the time to review all that I used to, and I have a very specific wishlist of products I’m picking from these days.

It’s a new year, and things are changing. Time to pick up the pace and jump over the hurdles and accomplish some shit. Which for me, first and foremost, means writing a book.

Review: Aslan Silicone Ball Gag

February 2, 2011  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

I’m totally sold on Aslan products in general, so it’s no surprise that I love this Aslan silicone ball gag. Aslan’s leather is beautiful, finely made, soft and buttery, and consistently high quality. Their toys are superb. I don’t really have anything bad to say about the company, or their toys.

Years ago I picked up one of those cheap, typical red ball gags with the single-buckled nylon head straps. It basically did what it was supposed to do, to keep someone’s mouth open and impede their speech, but it wasn’t particularly pretty and it would slip. It felt cheap in my hands.

Which is the complete opposite of this one. It feels high quality. It looks pretty buckled around my girlfriend’s jaw. It is adjustable and it stays in place. The ball is just the right size, maybe even a little bit small.

Though Kristen is very oral, she hasn’t expressed much interest in gags and early on even said that she didn’t like them and didn’t want to play with one. I didn’t expect her to like them—but it turns out that her sexual interest continues to evolve (as does mine, but that’s a slightly different post). I would’ve thought that it’d be too much for her, even a year ago, but she’s more interested in having her body parts restricted and restrained than she used to be, and combined with her continued oral fixation, playing with a gag makes a lot of sense.

Though to be honest, I really like it when she talks, so I don’t get this gag out very often. But I’m happy to report that when the urge strikes, this beautiful gag is right there waiting for us.

I didn’t expect to like it as much as we both do, but upgrading from that former cheap red gag opened up the new possibilities of playing with gags that neither of us expected. I’m even interested in another type of gag, one that has an o-ring instead of a ball gag, so things (fingers, cocks) can be inserted into her mouth while it has to stay open. It’s a bit more intense, and I’ve seen o-ring type gags that are made of metal, too, which I think are called spider gags?, that look even more intense and less attractive, but that might be something worth exploring eventually as well.

I had no idea this would become a thing for us to explore, but I trust Aslan’s products, so it was easy to pick up and try out.

The Aslan silicone ball gag was sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.