Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, selected & introduced by Sinclair Sexsmith

I’m so excited to announce that I am the guest editor for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 published by Cleis Press and edited by Kathleen Warnock—and here is the amazingly hot cover!

It is due out in December 2011 and it has a fantastic line-up of well-written, gender-smart, dirty, smutty, hot stories (which are very queer, not just lesbian).

I’m sure you’ll hear endlessly about this volume as we get closer to publication, but in the meantime the best thing you can do to support it is to pre-order it on Amazon as Amazon takes pre-order numbers very seriously, and depending on how many are pre-ordered they keep a certain number in stock, which helps for the success of the book tremendously.

I’ll be doing as much promotion as I can, hopefully with a virutal book tour and some copies available for review. If you have any other ideas how I can get the word out about this book and market and promote it, I’m open to brainstorming! What do you think? What would make you run out & buy it?

Friday Reads: Better

Because there isn’t much else to do, I am working.

Reading books, going through to do lists. I’m webmastering for both Butch Voices national conference and

Cialis online orderingcgi?CA=929655-0003&PA=1694067&html=http://femme-cash.com/affiliates/feminist-porn-network/1514″>Perversions of Lesbian Lust, and I’m working on some freelance projects. I’m keeping my inbox as emptied out as possible (sometimes I use it as a place to hold information. I know, the GTD and time management people would not like that. But sometimes it really helps me find that info quick).

I have a lot of reviews to do. There are a lot of products on my desk waiting patiently for me to get ’em out and play with them. A lot of DVDs, quite a few books, some toys, especially from the new “Gender Expression” category at Babeland. I’m excited about these products, but it doesn’t make much sense to toss in a random review post now. I don’t even like that that piercing & body mod post is in the last page of updates. It doesn’t make sense here, not part of the narrative of the last week.

Has it really only been a week? Only barely.

I picked up and finished Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction edited by Sabrina Chapadjiev this week. It’s not quite the same as coping with grief and loss, but it was interesting to think about how creativity can be a tool. In a conversation with my tantra teacher recently, she said some of her most creative growth periods have come out of profound grief.

I picked up Live Through This—or rather, the fine folks at Seven Stories Press sent me Live Through This when they sent me Rose—but I was drawn to it because of the amazing writers included. Seriously, look at that lineup: bell hooks, Patricia Smith, Cristy C. Road, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Stephens, Carolyn Gage, Eileen Myles, Diane DiMassa, Bonfire Madigan Shive, Inga Muscio, Kate Bornstein, Nicole Blackman, Silas Howard, Daphne Gottleib—and more. I loved Inga Muscio’s piece, but I’ve loved her style and voice and words for ages now and that’s no surprise. I had no idea that Kate Bornstein draws, and I loved the insight into her life that she opened up in her very personal essay. Eileen Myles’s essay freaked me out because it was about teeth, shudder, but it sure was effective. I love Nicole Blackman’s poetry and her piece was incredibly moving.

I’ve also been reading It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living edited by Dan Savage & Terry Miller. I’m supposed to review it for Lambda Literary, but I don’t even know what to say about it; so many people have said so many things. It is such a stunningly successful campaign, and I love what it has done and what it has inspired. I’ve been watching It Gets Better videos this week, reminding myself that it does get better, even when sometimes it doesn’t seem like it will.

I didn’t realize what a stellar line-up the It Gets Better book had in it, either. Ivan Coyote! Kate Bornstein. President Obama. It’s amazing, the list goes on and on. And sometimes the ones that are the most moving aren’t from anybody in particular, just someone who happens to be articulate about their gay experience and what it was like for them to make it better, or how it got better.

I’ve also been mulling over Kate Bornstein’s Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suidcide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws, and over Kate’s addition to It Gets Better, which is the essay that closes the book. It’s still one of my favorites.

So I’m trying to remember to take care of myself, to do whatever I need to stay alive, to keep going. This weekend, I think that’s going to involve cherry picking and watching a movie or two and hanging out with good friends, going outside to feel connected to the earth, reading some more books, eating strawberry shortcake made with our very fresh, very ripe CSA strawberries. And continuing to breathe, one more breath at a time.

The Last Sideshow, July 12th

I’ve learned a lot over the last year and and a quarter of coproducing and cohosting Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival. I was seeking a place to regularly perform in New York City and combined with Cheryl’s reading series expertise, not to mention her own sparkling spoken word talents, Sideshow was born and bloomed.

It’s been an incredible experience. I loved each one.

The last few have been hard. When Cheryl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November, we weren’t sure what would change. For a while, nothing did. Then she went into the hospital in April, and she spent three months there, missing the last three shows. They were hard—not just because it was a lot of work and effort, but also because she wasn’t there.

I can’t imagine doing Sideshow without her.

So July will be the last Sideshow. I’ve put the call out to all of those who were scheduled to read through the summer and fall, and if they can they are invited to read at the July event.

I don’t know if there will be more in the future. I do know I have edited an erotica anthology which comes out in the spring, so there will be events for that. I’ve learned a lot about event production, and I do want to continue doing readings, putting people together, bringing audiences to hear queers tell great stories. But I’m not sure I will be running another monthly reading series.

I loved doing Sideshow at the Phoenix. I love the seedy bar, I love that there are only bar stools and no actual folding chairs, I love that there are guys picking each other up in the background, I love the clink of glasses behind the bar, I love the seedyness. It’s different than reading in a bookstore or a queer arts performance space, and I like the differences. I will really miss having a place to read my work every month. I will really miss Cheryl, especially every time the second Tuesday rolls around.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Tuesday, July 12th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Free sex toy giveaway, 8pm. Reading, 8:30pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook

For Cheryl

There are a few things coming up for Cheryl.

The Last Sideshow, Tuesday, July 12th, at the usual time and place (8pm, The Phoenix, East Village, NYC). Lineup TBA.

A Memorial for Cheryl B (Is For Beautiful): A Celebration of Her Life, Because This Death Stuff Sucks. Saturday, July 23rd, 3pm at Dixon Place, NYC

I still don’t know what to say.

Here are a couple videos of Cheryl reading her work. I have some clips of her from an event of mine a few years back that I want to convert and put on YouTube too, haven’t done that yet. Maybe this weekend.

Hope you can make it to Sideshow or the memorial.

Cheryl B.

photo by Syd London

Cheryl B. died yesterday, Saturday morning. I’m not sure what I can say yet. A couple other people are able to be more articulate than me: Sassafras Lowrey at Lambda Literary.org, Kathleen Warnock at Too Many Hats. Edit: Here’s a few more, Anne Elliott on Ass Backwords, Rachel Kramer Bussel on Lusty Lady.

We made a little video for Cheryl at April’s Sideshow.

Sideshow Loves Cheryl from Sinclair Sexsmith on Vimeo.

I’d like to post some videos of her poetry soon. I miss her.

Piercing, Waxing, & Other Body Modifications as Sex Toys

EDIT: I scheduled this piece to publish today last week, when I was going through my drafts folder and discovered I’d never published it here (it originally appeared on Good Vibes Magazine). It seems a bit trite, after this weekend. More information about Cheryl is coming in the next few days, as we start planning what’s next.

Kristen and I drove to Philadelphia in February to see the piercing master Elayne Angel, to get Kristen’s nipples pierced and to have her pierce one of my cocks.

In all of the talk of piercing in the last few months since we both decided these piercings might be something we wanted to pursue, I started thinking about my tongue piercing again and that I would like to have it again. I had it pierced first in 2001 (ten years ago … is that right?! I think so) and then took it out in early 2006, only to have a piercer re-open the hole (which was only a tiny bit closed, so much easier the second time) in late 2007, and then took it out again in early 2009, which was before Kristen and I got together. So she never got the chance to kiss me with it. She said she’d kissed other people who have had one, but nothing more than that. And I had developed a few tricks with it, believe you me.

Of all the piercings I’ve had—and I’ve had 11 different ones, three below the neck, some of which I have had pierced more than once—my tongue is the one I like the most. But I have, as I tend to say, “a teeth thing,” which has in the past been a pretty serious dental phobia and now it just a former phobia (I think) and a general fear of breaking teeth or damaging teeth. So that doesn’t go very well with a metal bar through my tongue.

I took it out last time on a whim and then regretted it, wishing that I’d instead bought a spacer bar to keep it open instead of removing it entirely, or a bar with flat ends instead of the silver balls so it stays closer to my tongue and doesn’t click on my teeth when I talk or eat.

With all this talk of piercings, I started wishing I still had the bar in my tongue, and I decided about a week ago to see if I could get it through—and I could! It was quite easy, and while it was tender for a day or two it wasn’t more than adjusting, no actual damage. I found that I had actually bought a bar with flat ends (why didn’t I use that before? Not sure) and now that it feels back to normal, not swelling or sore, I slipped that in with the ball on top and the flat disc on the bottom just this morning.

It feels good. I like it.

I’ve noticed, in the week since I’ve had it in my mouth, that I am much more inclined to kiss Kristen with tongue, to touch it to her tongue, to get it into her mouth in some way than I was before. I wouldn’t say I dislike tongue kissing (at all!) but I do think generally people use their tongues too much when they kiss and that the lips are the good, best parts. But Kristen really likes tongue kisses generally … so this is a little bit different.

I’m also noticing that since Kristen got both nipples pierced that I want to touch them more. I can’t, really, yet, as they heal, for at least a week or so, but I find myself wanting to ask her to take her shirt off so I can see them, and wanting to touch or kiss or play with them already. She loves attention toward her tits, and probably generally I could do more of that, so this is a happy side effect of the piercing for her.

This morning, over breakfast, as we were discussing what we had to get done (on Kristen’s first real day off since her job started in early February), she mentioned she was going to get her pussy waxed. Which I love. Not because it’s something I expect her to do or require her to do or think is more feminine or part of any sort of beauty standard—I believe everyone has the right to sculpt or play with or explore their own body hair in whichever ways they want to, and that they can change that at any time—but because I love touching, kissing, playing with her pussy after she gets it done.

A friend of ours had hers waxed for the first time recently, and when I asked how it went she said, “My girlfriend could not keep her face out of my pussy for four days.”

Yeah. It’s like that. I see it all bare and I want to suck her lips into my mouth. Same with her nipples—I see them all pink and pert and I want to pinch them, lick them.

To Kristen this morning I said, “Between the waxing and the piercing, I’m going to have a hard time keeping my hands off you.”

Which, I expect, is at least part of the point! And which feels like a really good place to be in, given some of our recent complications.

It’s not that I expect any of these things—pierced tongue, pierced nipples, waxed pussy—to be something that anyone does, and if Kristen had showed no interest in nipple piercing or pussy waxing I never would push her to do either. But she was enthusiastic, interested in exploring what it would be like to modify her body in those ways, and personally, I think those are some significant ways to play with this amazing sexy tool of a body that we all have.

I don’t believe it should be a double standard, either—I too am responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of my own body hair, and in doing things that make her want to touch me or pleasure me. I’ve started to think of my gym routine as directly related to our sex life, because while it not only helps me build strength and stamina physically, it makes me feel stronger and more alive, with more confidence, something that can only help in the bedroom.

And I’m interested in enhancing my own body for sexual pleasure. I’m not sure if I’ll get another piercing. If I do, it’d be a clit piercing of some sort, probably a triangle, though I’m not sure about that. I’m especially not sure what it would be like to strap on and have a clit piercing, though I would hope it would make things better, which would be part of the point.

I often think of piercing as a way to enhance both sensation and attention toward a particular body part. Similarly to getting a tattoo—You may not notice someone’s forearms, but if they have a ring around it or a visual symbol of some sort, it draws much more attention to it. Plus piercings certainly give exhibitionists an excuse to take their shirts off (or lower their pants), since people are generally interested in how these things look and eager to say yes to an offer of, “Would you like to see?”

She’s definitely more willing to let out her exhibitionist these days. And given that she quite enjoyed the needle going through her nipples, I think she’s coming along quite nicely as a masochist, too. I referred to her as such at the dinner table last night, after the experience, and she protested. “Okay, a masochist-in-training, then,” I responded. That might be more accurate.

Rachel Kramer Bussel has a great recent piece about her experiences with waxing. I like looking at things like waxing that our culture files under “obligatory beauty regimens” as things that we actively choose, knowing full well what we are choosing (like the amount of time it takes to maintain hair removal is quite a lot), and that we choose because we like the way it looks or feels or the way it enhances our sex life. That is a perfectly valid reason to choose something.

Quick Things for Your Weekend

A couple notes from around the blog world that you may be interested in. Have a lovely weekend, all. More updates here are in progress.

BUTCH Voices Conference Requests Blog Links

BUTCH Voices folks are gearing up for the second bi-annual national conference in August, and they are looking to put a list of queer bloggers in their program, “open to all our Masculine of Center and Queer allies much like the conference“.

To have your blog listed, DM or @-reply their Twitter account, @BUTCHVoices with your linkand contact information and they will be in touch with you.

Madison Young Launches “Perversions of Lesbian Lust”

Madison Young has launched her newest addition to her Feminist Porn Network, Perversions of Lesbian Lust. I’m helping her with the structure of the site and having a lot of fun with it so far.

Here’s a shot from one of the first galleries, featuring Bettina Doll:

I suspect you’ll hear more from me about Perversions in the future.

Review of Boi Meets Girl on Amazon

I wrote a review of Boi Meets Girl: Brett & Melanie on Amazon for Tony Comstock & Comstock films. I caught a screening of that film at the LGBT Center a few months ago and it was fantastic, as was the Q&A with Tony after. I highly recommend it if you’re a queer porn collector. It’s real and fun and hot, and the interviews with Brett & Melanie are so familiar. It almost felt exposing, but I think that meant that it was incredible effective.

Taormino’s new anthology Take Me There: Transgender & Genderqueer Erotica

Tristan Taormino’s latest anthology has been announced, and this time it features transgender and genderqueer smut stories.

In mainstream media, the erotic identities, sex lives, and fantasies of transgender and genderqueer people are often oversimplified, sensationalized, or invisible. Take Me There is an erotica collection unlike any other that celebrates the pleasure, heat, and diversity of transgender and genderqueer sexualities. The power of seeing and being seen is a central theme in the anthology; it’s not simply about passing or not passing (an idea often explored with transgender characters), but about being acknowledged and desired in a sexual context.

The book takes you from San Francisco to Israel, from heartache to lust, from stranger sex to a 10 year anniversary, from ballet shoes to butt plug bondage tables, from fumbling teenagers to leatherclad bears, from MTF and FTM—and in between and beyond.

There is an incredible line-up of writers who have contributed to this anthology, including Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman, Ivan Coyote, Patrick Califia, Julia Serano, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Toni Amato, and many more. I’m really thrilled to have one of my stories included in here. More details on the book are available on Tristan Taormino’s tumblr.

If you’d like to support this book, the best thing you can do is to pre-order it on Amazon. Amazon bases its in stock copies on the amount of pre-orders, so it would significantly help to make it widely available if you can spare the $11 on the pre-order copy.

Lesbian Sex Mafia kicks off Leather Pride Week with Laura Antoniou Tonight

At the LGBT Center, 8pm. She’s teaching Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want:

“Often, when we try to tell our partners what we like or want, those words are filtered through things like expectations, projection, fear, shame and verbal shortcuts. Play a little card game with Laura and push your flirting talents up a notch! Expand your creativity and verbal skills beyond “I like flogging” or “anything you want” through an interactive game and exercise. Learn how creative communication and courageous risk-taking can make your relationship and play more intimate, satisfying and fun. Say what you mean, and mean what you say – and make it seductive.”

Where: LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St. (7th/8th Ave)
When: Friday, June 17, 2011; 8:00-10:00PM (Leather Pride weekend)
Cost: $5/LSM members, $10/Non members

Laura Antoniou is the author of the well known Marketplace series of erotic novels. As a presenter, panelist, and keynote speaker, Laura has appeared at dozens of conferences over more than twenty years, both entertaining and delivering an occasional verbal indictment. She has also appeared at colleges and universities, including NYU, Rutgers, Columbia and the University of Washington. Laura lives in Queens, NY with her wife Karen, and happily serves as boy to Kim Attica. Friends have called her all sorts of names. Current favorites being “Renaissance Perv” by Midori, “Good Boy!” by Kim and of course, “best thing that ever happened to me” by Karen.

Unsolicited Advice to a New Butch (aka The Butch Poem)

There is more to you than this identity. It makes everything make more sense, and without it you might be lost, but with it you are only ever on one path. You contain more multitudes than that.

Dance. Cook. Read. Make peace with your body. Look at the stars.

Don’t make everything about you. Willingly admit you are wrong, even if sometimes you know you are right. Eagerly say “I’m sorry.” Easily say “I love you,” but learn to recognize your own worth. Keep the borders of your kingdom well-watched and flexible. Keep your muscles flexible. Climb mountains. Pick wild flowers, even though they wilt. Because they wilt. Don’t let people make you wilt. That’s doesn’t have to have anything do with you. Listen to their stories. Remember that we yell because we do not feel heard.

Make a list of ways you feel heard.

Learn how to partner dance so you can make your partner look beautiful, spinning and open-mouth laughing on the dance floor. Cook. Read. Make peace with your body.

Elevate the discussions over brunch with your buddies and use them to try out your date outfits. Downgrade your tee shirts to workouts and loungewear and upgrade your presentation. Make a list of places you can wear your very best suit that are not weddings or funerals. If you don’t have a suit, invest in a suit. There’s a reason it’s a classic. It’s okay to get it at a thrift store. It’s okay to stop shopping at thrift stores now that you know how to use money. Practice rocking a tie on special occasions. Make a list of special occasions. Thursdays can count as special occasions.

Remember that your lover craves your skin and friction and kisses not despite but because of your masculinity.

Dance. Practice cooking at least one impressive date meal and, if you like watching them put something you made in their mouth, teach yourself more. Read. Make peace with your body.   

Get a traffic cop vest, because you are stuck directing and deflecting in the middle of the intersection between male and female, and though the fifty-car pileups have mostly ceased, though they have cleaned the rubble from the ditches, though the seasons have faded the bloodstains on the concrete, you are still there, in the middle, while a pickup truck brushes past close enough to touch the hairs on your calf and a Mazda full of machismo is threatening you from the window.

Know you can survive this. Your body crosses borders most of them never question.

Dance. Cook. Read books like Stone Butch Blues and Dagger and Butch is a Noun and learn where you came from. Learn who else is out there in the world with you. Suspend your own stories and practice seeing another’s perspective. Make peace with your body.

Learn to recognize femmes, even if you don’t date them. They recognize you. When a girl on the subway gives you The Eyes, she’s a femme. When the only straight girl in the dyke bar says she likes your tie, she’s a femme. When your waitress jumps in on your conversation with your buddies to ask “so what’s a good drag king troupe?”, she’s a femme.

But two femmes in bed are not just waiting for a butch to come along (necessarily), so don’t laugh when someone tells misogynistic jokes in bad taste. Be a gentleman. Practice the art of consensual chivalry, always be on time, and remember: it’s better to have a cock and not need it than to need a cock and not have it. Always be prepared. 

When the girl you thought you’d spend your life with leaves you, know you can survive this. Pour the whiskey down the drain, keep your stovetop spotless, and delete her number from your phone. Move your best friend up to her speed dial spot and call just to say hi. Cultivate your friendships before your breakups so you are not alone.

You are becoming more like yourself than you’ve ever been. Trust in your own deepest experience. Trust in your own evolutions.

Dance. Cook. Read. Make peace with the supposed conflict between your breasts, your inner folds, your monthly bleeding, and your cufflinks, your swagger, your monthly boy-cut #4 and the razor-shave on your neck. You possess this innate ability to contemplate apparent opposites and hold them both; to dance with two seemingly contradictory things simultaneously—a talent most people can never perfect. But you can. And you are not alone. These mentors, this legacy, this lineage, this heritage, this style—this is where you fit, this is where you are not dismissed, this is where you finally get kissed exactly how you’ve always wished.

This is the process of blooming into whatever multitudes you are at the core of your being.

Look at the stars. Remind yourself how small we all are, how big your life is, how many paths you are exploring. You can do more than survive this—you can thrive in this.

Tonight! Butch/Femme Pride at Sideshow

Don’t forget! Join us at Sideshow TONIGHT, June 14th, for our second PRIDE month celebration of butch and femme. Readers include Rachel Kahn, Alicia Greene, & Maggie Cee from Boston’s Femme Show, Susan Herr from DapperQ.com, and Grace Moon from Velvet Park Media.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, June 14th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook

Must See Porn: Roulette Toronto & Crash Pad #6

I’ve had these two DVDs sitting around for months now and finally had a chance to watch ’em.

The first is Crash Pad Series #6, the continuation of the DVD releases of the Crash Pad’s online queer porn empire, crashpadseries.com. This one features Carson, Casey Grey, Cyd Loverboy, Dylan Ryan, James Darling, Jiz Lee, Princess Donna, Ray, Tina Horn, Syd Blakovich.

I particularly love Tina Horn’s scene in this one, she’s hot and funny and having a great time while not taking herself too seriously. And there is a reason she is famous for her ass—it is gorgeous, oh my Gaga.

Good Releasing has taken over (limited?) release of the Pink & White films, which I’m happy to see. Crash Pad, and Pink & White in general, are hugely cutting edge in the world of porn, but it can’t hurt to get a signal boost from the Good Releasing folks.

I’m really behind on the Crash Pad series! Clearly I should make more time to keep up with the amazing short films (but there are so many). Crash Pad #6 was nominated for the 2011 Feminist Porn Awards—as was Roulette Toronto, the next flick I’m going to mention.

Roulette Toronto features April Flores, Jiz Lee, Dia Zerva, Dylan Ryan, Courtney Trouble, Tina Horn, Drew DeVeaux, Judy Minx, Scout, Lascivia Liberty, River Turner, and Wordman—and many of these stars are my absolute favorite.

The scene with Trouble and Judy Minx is sultry and edgy and hot, with saturated color and sexy sensation play. The trio of Drew DeVeaux, Jiz Lee, and River Turner is in a dance studio where they all get to show off their moves, before moving on to every possible combination. April Flores and Dylan Ryan get it on femme-style, complete with high heels and April’s amazing bright red hair.

And the music! Queer and dirty radical goodness. It is an impressive collection of scenes from director Courtney Trouble (as if we’d expect anything less of her).

And if that description isn’t enough, here’s the trailer. Do I have to warn you that it’s NSFW?

We haven’t had a #pornparty in a while … do y’all miss it? If I did another one, would you come? What if it was free to tune in and watch that film at that particular time? Would you join us? Are you interested in that continuing?

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Crash Pad Series #6 and Roulette Toronto queer porn DVDs were sent to me from Good Vibrations for review. Check out more sex toys, vibrators, and other lovely items at your local feminist queer sex-positive sex toy shop, or online at goodvibes.com.

Mini Interview: Just Jess

Just Jess (From the Beaver Bunch)
mentor, vlogger, activist
www.youtube.com/user/beaverbunch, www.youtube.com/user/cautiousplay, @JessfromBB

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

I’m not sure that I identify with the word “butch”. I mean, people may see me as butch, but I wouldn’t say that I am. I absolutely love my butch sisters but I just don’t feel like it describes me the way that I see myself. I think that stems from the misconceptions that come with being labeled as butch. I don’t wear the pants always, nor do I want to. Although I do have a butch attitude… does that count?

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

I typically use “queer” to identify; sometimes I’ll go so far as to say genderqueer, but even that puts me in a box that I’m not completely sure of. Although I am sort of a guy and sort of a girl, so it does make sense. I’ve lived in and visited big cities and the queer/genderqueer communities are vastly different. I’ve felt more comfortable visiting Portland, OR than I’ve ever felt living in San Diego as a queer person and I’ve been here for almost five years.

When it comes down to it, I’m just a sensitive kid with a gang of bike tools and a love for romantic comedies. I’m just Jess. Mostly masculine on the outside and feminine at my core.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

I would tell my younger self to be more open to gender and sexuality. I came out very early and immediately called myself a lesbian before I really knew what that would entail. I love women and enjoy being a woman, of course, but it took me several years to come into my own as queer and to not feel the need to identify as a lesbian. I just wish that I had given myself more of an opportunity to learn about who I was at an earlier age – it gets harder once you establish yourself within a community.

I would also tell myself to slow down a bit and be more present. I was sort of a crazy kid when I first came out, always running around looking for a cute girl to kiss. I guess some things never change :)

Lastly: I love butches and the history that comes with them. The struggles and triumphs hold a beautiful place in my heart. And thank you, Les Feinberg, your words are inspiration.

My Favorite Binder (More On Butch Bras)

A few weeks ago, Autostraddle wrote a long post on bras: What the F Should I Do With These Boobs?—particularly, bras for folks who don’t really want the standard lace-and-bows versions that are the most common at stores. They linked to one of my old posts, More On Butch Bras, where I talked about getting properly measured and how life-changing that was. I’d like to write more about that—and I still think everybody, EVERYBODY, should go get properly measured, because there actually is a difference between a 34D and a 36C, and if you say you wear either one, you are probably not wearing the most comfortable bra for you that you could.

That’s my size, by the way. Or rather, that’s the size I thought I was for a long time. Turns out I’m more of a 34DD, though right now, given the amount of biscuits I’ve consumed in the past year, I’m probably more like a 36DD. Knowing that helped—though that’s also assuming that you’re buying bras which have separate ribcage measurements and cup sizes, which sports bras generally don’t.

I resisted sports bras for a long time. I didn’t like the uni-boob look, something I finally identified as left over from my first girlfriend, who used to say that all the time (who has since transitioned and had top surgery, by the way, so I suppose found a solution for that). But when I started doing “drag nights” in college and wearing more button-downs, the advice from my friend was to wear a one-size-too-small sports bra as a binder, and that ace bandages were really not the way to go.

Still, it took a while before I went through my underwear drawer and got rid of ALL of my traditional back-clasp two-cupped bras in favor of more of a binder. I found this Adidas back-clasp sports bra that gave me enough of a bind, and quickly bought four of them, tossing everything else out.

These dozens of suggestions that Autostraddle posted are great, but for larger breasted folks like me, there was not a single bra on there that I would wear. Though perhaps that’s not so fair, really, because there’s only one that I really wear anyway: the Enell bra (you can get ’em on Amazon too).

There is an Introduction to the Enell bra on YouTube, but it’s so cheesy that I can’t bear to embed it here. I will however embed the fitting and measuring video so you can see how to wear it:

It has significantly changed the way I look in shirts, and I have yet to find anything better. I used to have a size 1 that I would use for extra-tight binding and a size 2 that I wore for everyday stuff, but I can’t fit into the size 1 anymore. Hitting 30 really has changed my body, my metabolism. I’m trying to be more careful about what I eat and hope I can fit back into the size 1 someday … but that’s kind of another post.

When “Gender Expression” Means “Masculine”

So you’ve heard about Babeland’s new “Gender Expression” category, which I for one thing is awesome. But I want to call your attention to a couple comments on that post, because I think it’s important, and it crossed my mind as well:

Perry wrote:

Not to be rubbish, but shouldn’t it be called “female-assigned or potentially mtf-post-op-folks-i-suppose expression” instead?

And Krista from Babeland responded:

It is our intention to make this category a place to find products for expressing any and all gender possibilities. We welcome suggestions of other products that you think might fall into this category. I hope that helps. Feel free to contact us with any other questions.

To which perry replied:

thanks for your comment, Krista. I don’t really have any suggestions per se, I’ve just been noticing that often when female-assigned queers talk about “genderqueer” and “transgender” they often seem to be talking about female-assigned folks who express a certain masculinity via clothes, hair, and yes, toys. I rarely meet male-assigned folks id’ing as genderqueer. 20-30 something college educated white female assigned people who have sex with the same seem to be “the” face of trans/gender and genderqueer movements in a way (if you look at profiles on genderfork and on lots of tumblrs you’ll see what i mean), and i think it’s important to make other identities visible. Thanks for selling great stuff babeland, this is not a dig at you.

And I really see perry’s point here. I don’t really mean to drag Babeland into this, because really this is just something to point to indicative of a larger issue, and, well, I like to link to the gender expression category, which is why I’m using this conversation as an example.

Thanks, by the way, to perry and to Krista for this conversation. I don’t have a lot to add, but I want to highlight this issue because I’ve thought about it frequently myself, and I’m interested what we can do about it. I guess this is the part where I ask for your opinions on the subject. Thoughts?

I do want to say, in Babeland’s defense and in defense of many other sex toy stores which have “gender expression” type of categories, that I think there are just a lot fewer sex products for trans men and masculine of center folks than there are for trans women. Maybe I’m wrong about that and I just don’t know as much about it—correct me if I’m wrong—but my understanding is that a lot of the products for (feminine) trans women are things found in traditional feminine departments, like bras and lingerie. I suppose there could be binding underwear or stuffed bras? I don’t know much about those products, and I certainly don’t see a lot of that—hey Babeland, maybe you should look into those.

I have met some men who identify as genderqueer, though not many. I’ve often mused about this subject, mostly in terms of the myriad words we have for masculine of center identities, and how frequently it seems that people who identify as genderqueer or androgynous are people who were assigned female at birth, who would not express traditionally feminine markers like make-up and dresses—folks who “express a certain masculinity via clothes, hair, and yes, toys,” as perry put it.

I think there might be some misandry in that, to be honest. Or, at the very least, some feminist and queer skepticism about masculinity and maleness in general. And probably some internalized misogyny, as a commenter pointed out.

Let me state for the record that I think people should identify however they feel most comfortable, and I’m not trying to change that, for anybody. But I have noticed it as a trend and I’m curious how we, as people who are doing work on expanding gender categories, can support the widening of these identities, and to continue to build movements that include ALL gender identities and expressions, and not just masculine of center queer folks assigned female at birth.

So, what other products should Babeland add to their gender expression category that are not aimed at masculine of center folks? Any ideas for what they can add to their category?

Ask Me Anything: What To Do With Old Sex Toys?

Q asked:

do you have any ideas for what to do with lightly used sex toys and accessories? They don’t seem like the kind of thing you just sell at a yard sale! But it seems a shame to just chuck something so expensive and that someone else could get a lot of pleasure out of. If you don’t think it makes sense to give them away (and I mean give, I certainly don’t want to sell), is there a way to recycle them or otherwise dispose of them properly?

Thanks!

Yes, generally you’re right, people don’t want used sex toys, even if they can be sterilized. There are some—glass, metal, silicone—that I would say you can offer to good friends, or people you might think could handle a little use. Some leather/BDSM gear you might be able to swap or give away, but it depends on the condition. But if they’re very broken in (you know how silicone gets after it’s been used a bunch, it kind of starts disintegrating) I think it’d be best to recycle them.

The jelly plastic or other plastic insertables or vibrators … probably there’s nothing to do with them except recycle them.

There is a sextoyrecycling.com place, but it looks like it’s not legit. I haven’t been able to contact anyone from there to get confirmation that they are running.

I did hear from ScarletGirl.com, they have a sex toy recycling program that will give you $10 credit, but more importantly, they won’t end up in the landfill.

Dan Savage has recommended sending your old sex toys to representatives in states where sex toys aren’t legal, which I think is a good idea for activist purposes, but what happens after the politicians receive those toys? Probably they will end up in a landfill. So if your purpose is to be green moreso than to have some impromptu activism, you might want to just write a letter (or an email! Save paper) and send your sex toys off to be recycled.

Some of the sex bloggers who do a lot of toy reviews have set up the Toy Swap Network for toys that are not old, broken, worn-out, etc., but are new and that you just don’t want to keep around.

It is by invitation only, so you can send in a request, and the network itself is on Ning.

Any other recommendations for what to do with old sex toys? Perhaps Folsom East has some leather swap events, anybody know?

What’s Going on in June

Oh, hello June, I almost didn’t see you there. I’ve been kind of out of it since the retreat, though I finally feel like this week I am actually catching up and getting ahead of my to do list. Finally.

So—June is pride month! And as such, there are thousands of things going on in New York City and elsewhere. Thankfully, most of them are NOT things that I am doing, and I am attempting to get my loose ends tied up such that I can take as much of the summer off as possible and do some serious writing.

Here’s the stuff you really should not miss.

Events with Mr. Sexsmith

Tuesday, June 14th, 8pmSideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival: Join us at Sideshow on June 14th for our second PRIDE month celebration of butch and femme. Readers include Rachel Kahn, Alicia Greene, & Maggie Cee from Boston’s Femme Show, Susan Herr from DapperQ.com, and Grace Moon from Velvet Park Media.! Details on QueerLiteraryCarnival.com, RSVP on Facebookat The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street at Avenue A in New York City

Events in New York City You Shouldn’t Miss

Thursday, June , 8pmRed Umbrella Diaries, www.redumbrellaproject.comHappy Ending, 302 Broome Street between Forsyth and Eldridge, Manhattan, NY

Friday, June 17th, 8-10pmLesbian Sex Mafia presents: Tell me what you want, what you really, really want with Laura Antoniou, lesbiansexmafia.orgLGBT Center, 208 West 13th St. (7th/8th Ave) Manhattan, NY

Saturday, June 25th, 10pmSubmit Party, submitparty.com, a BDSM play party for women and trans folks onlyBrooklyn, NY. For exact location call 718.789.4053 or
email [email protected]

Queer Memoir is still on hiatus, and it looks like Ruckus might not be happening this month, but keep an eye out for their date if they announce it. is back! And happening on June 24th.

I’m also looking forward to the FREE NYU Queer Social Theory class this month, and the Sophisticated Agressive Gents meeting at the LGBT Center. If you need a pride kick-off I recommend the Dykes on Bike-Cycles party. The Lesbian Herstory Archives, located in Brooklyn, is having a book sale the same day as Brooklyn Pride, Saturday, June 11th, so that I must stop by and see. I’m sure I can find at least a dozen or so $1 books that I must adopt. There’s a cocktail party How Long Til My Soul Gets It Right: Benefiting Trans Women Belong Here, which is “an informal organization of past, present, and future attendees of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) who are taking active steps towards welcoming all woman-identified women to the festival.” This event will benefit their scholarship fund. And there’s Folsom Street East on June 19th!

I am also really stoked that Kristen’s and my Community Supported Agriculture share is starting this month. And … if you promise not to make fun of me, I’ll tell you that I have tickets to see The Monkees in concert on June 16th. People seem to have mixed reactions to my coming out as a Monkee fan, which I am … we had all the good episodes from the MTV marathons in the ’80s on VHS and my sisters and I would watch them over and over. In fact, my sister and her boyfriend are coming with me & Kristen to the show. I’m really excited. I have quite a few tracks on my “if I ever do drag” playlist, and She is at the top of that list. I always liked Mickey best.

My favorite pride event, thus far, aside from Sideshow’s epic Butch/Femme Pride, was hanging out in the air conditioning, drinking my perfected white wine sangria recipe and ordering take-out. I hope to replicate that this year.

Also! I am now booking fall events for colleges and traveling nationally. I’ll be working at home and writing through June, and then doing more travel in July, August, and September, including some travels to Seattle in early July, the Butch Voices national conference in Oakland in August, and Dark Odyssey Summer Camp in September. My schedule is kept up on mrsexsmith.com/appearances if you want to see if I’m coming your way.

Last but not least, here’s my 2011 workshop offerings in a PDF so it is easy to download, you can also download my one sheet PDF or high res photos in my press kit). Get in touch if you’re interested in booking me, you can contact me directly—mrsexsmith(at)gmail—or my booking company, PhinLi, at bookings(at)phinli.com.

“You’re Into That?” and Another Photo of Me

Somehow in May I had two beautiful photographs of me, both taken by professional photographers, published. And in case you aren’t following me in the regular social media places, or by my RSS feed on mrsexsmith.com, I figured I’d share ’em here.

Photo by Bil Wadman, ontakingphotos.com

The first is by Bill Wadman who first took my photo for 365Portraits.com in 2007. (I wasn’t ‘out’ as Sinclair then so I kept it under my other name.) A few weeks ago, he tweeted that he was bored and wanted to take portraits, and I replied, how about me? And it was on. He came over and we chatted about what I was planning to do that weekend, which was to attend a BDSM erotic energy retreat. He paused a second: “You’re into that?” Me: “Yep. In fact, I have some good equipment if you’d like to see it …” and out came my flogger. After he saw my new (since his last shot of me, anyway) tattoo, the shot soon made itself.

Speaking of the tattoo: many people have asked me what it is. It’s a ruler, it measures 6″, and if you measure from the flat palm of my hand, it measures 8″. There are numerous meanings to it (as with all the best tattoos, don’t you think?): I’m a graphic designer, for one. I’ll always have 6″ with me (ha ha) and I can measure high heels a lot easier this way. I can now measure how far into you I can reach. I’ve been thinking about this tattoo for a while, since I saw a photo of someone who had one on Flickr years ago, but the thing that made me go and do it was taking the Buddhist Refuge Vow in spring 2010. During the meditations, it came to me that this path, the Buddhist path, is actually incredibly linear, and has been walked hundreds of thousands of times for thousands of years. Considering that so, so much of my life is about forging my own path, making my own direction, this felt so incredibly comforting and I knew it was time to get the tattoo.

Photo by Yi Ching Lin, www.yichinglin.com

This next shot was for the DapperQ He Said/We Said May edition, the shoot for which happened in April, with photos by Yi Ching Lin. I was there with four other models, all of whom were reinterpreting a current high-fashion men’s runway look in our own way. The photos turned out beautifully. Susan Herr, DapperQ hirself, has called this photo “the best butch photo of all time,” and I am very pleased with how it turned out.

There are others over at DapperQ.com from this shoot, and there’s a video of all 5 of us models talking about our fashion inspiration as well.

Ask Me Anything: Strapping On For the First Time

ExperimentallyCurious asked:

What was your first time strapping like? What advice do you have for strap-on virgins? My butch just placed the online order for her first cock, and I have no idea of what to expect.

Go slow. Use lots of lube. LOTS of lube. More than you think you might need, especially at first. It’s just a little messy, which is always better than having not enough. DON’T use silicone lube, as it’ll screw up your silicone toys.

Talk to each other, be as vocal as you can—even “ooh yeah ooh yeah” type of vocalizations will help give cues to each other about what feels good and what is not quite working.

Don’t be afraid to slow each other down or stop. It might just click and work and be amazing, but you also might want to just do it as something to try and to play with, at least for now, so don’t expect one or both of you to get off, especially not at first.

If you’re not used to penetration during sex, you might want to mess around with getting yourself off (or her getting you off, using her hands on your clit I mean) while she’s inside, but without much in-and-out motion, at least for now, while you’re getting used to the feeling of her cock.

The typical porn positions are the best, in my opinion, which is why they are so frequently used—missionary, and doggy style from behind (in various incarnations, like leaning over the bed, or with your head down on the bed instead of on all fours). In missionary, also try it with her sitting up on her knees, with her thighs under your thighs, that is often a really good angle.

Don’t be afraid to touch it, kiss it, lick it, suck it—that stuff can be really hot, though that can also be kind of delicate, so see how your girlfriend feels about it. Sometimes it seems to me, as the strap-on wearer, that I am expected to be the one who does all the action once I put it on, but my point is that you can do things, too. If you aren’t sure if she wants you to touch it (or kiss it or suck on it), ask. “Would you mind if I …” “Wow, I didn’t expect to want to … , but I do, please may I?”

Personally I think just about any sex act is all the more hot with someone saying what they are doing (or want to do), regardless of what it is. Maybe that’s me—I really love language.

Most women can’t come from penetration alone, which I assume the two of you know, but just a reminder that you both might want to start practicing touching your clit while she’s fucking you, either with your hand or, if she can reach comfortably, with hers. It takes some practice to be able to fuck with a cock and use your hand at the same time, but it’s possible! And worth figuring out how.

And from her side … it is possible to get off while strapped on, but that might take some time and practice. For me, I like the harness to be VERY tight, tighter than is all that comfortable around my hips, because I like to be able to feel every stroke against my cunt while I’m fucking. I like the stimulation of a one-strap (g-string style) harness better than a two-strap (jock strap style) harness, but that seems to be the minority opinion, so your milage may vary. She can try adding bullet vibes or butt plugs or the We-Vibe to increase stimulation, though I find those are more distracting than helpful. But if she really likes a vibration on her clit or something in her ass, that might be just the push she needs to be able to fuck and come.

Other than that, in my experience, to be able to come while strapped on, just following the sensation—when you find a spot that feels good, rub up on it, over and over, and see how far that can take you.

Consider anything you do in playing with it an experiment, and collect the data of that experiment. Did it work? Would it work better if one variable was different? Would you try it again? Or was it a complete fail and did not feel good? Gather the data and figure out what you like and don’t like, what was luke-warm and what you might try later if things were a little different.

Did I mention lube?

And … the first part of that question was, what was my first time strapping on like? Well, to be honest, my first time strapping on was to peg a guy, my boyfriend of about 5 years that I was with in high school. I bought a strap-on when we broke up, and I came out as a lesbian, and it was a tiny silicone thing that was very hard silicone and black and narrow. I do still have it, actually, I keep thinking it might be a good size for anal sex, but then again, now that I have the Spur why would I use a cock that was so hard?

We then went cock shopping together and bought a cock that was roughly the size and shape of his, which was what I pegged him with. It was fun enough to peg him, but it also made me realize that I was (really really for sure) a dyke and wasn’t that into it.

I did fuck my first girlfriend with a strap-on, but we were more of the I-do-you-you-do-me type of couple, so we took turns. It took quite a few more years before I felt like I had a cock that was mine—really not until I ended the relationship with my college girlfriend and started dating femmes exclusively. Which I have widely chronicled here!

It’s been a long journey to claiming my cock-centricity and cock confidence. Actually, I teach workshops on Cock Confidence now, in case you’d like to attend one—I’ll be doing it next at Good Vibrations in San Francisco in August.

Anything else y’all would recommend? Any other tips for first-time strap-on users?

Ask Me Anything: My Favorite Spanking

A.A. asked:

Can you tell us about your most favorite spanking you have ever given?

Hm. I’m not sure I have a favorite spanking that I’ve ever given. That’d be like choosing the best time I had sex or something. Some of the spankings that come to mind were early on in my kink life, when I started figuring out how to be kinky with women (after spending much of my teens being kinky with men. Or rather, boys). I went to a spanking workshop at Babeland once, probably in 1999 or 2000, which was very memorable and awesome, and I very strongly remember the Power & Surrender workshop (much like the recent one) that taught me how to flog. That was probably 2002.

Recently, though … well, I did some flogging at the recent Power & Surrender retreat, which was lovely. I like to spend a long, slow time on warm-up, then use my whole body to whomp for a while. I noticed I was even doing a little bit of a jump to get more of my body weight behind the flogger. I still want more practice flogging—every time I see Lolita flog I want to take classes from her.

Also, Kristen’s birthday was last weekend.

So of course there were spankings. I even got my heavy wooden paddle out. But there could perhaps be more spankings. I’d like to figure out how to leave big heavy bruises on her ass, I don’t tend to do that, but I think it’s time to try.