Archive for November, 2013

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Tomboi vs RodeoH brief-style harness?

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Tomboi vs RodeoH brief-style harness?

November 27, 2013  |  advice, reviews  |  13 Comments

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

Have you tried the Spare Parts Tomboi Harness? I saw your review of the RodeoH and agree with the lack of clit stimulation. I was wondering how the Tomboi compares. Would love your feedback before spending $80 on it if you have any!

Luke

Hi Luke!

Yes, I have tried the Tomboi harness. I think it’s better than the RodeoH in fabric and fit—the RodeoH is so much cut like girl panties, not like boy briefs, that drives me nuts particularly. But just like the RodeoH, there’s no particular tight fabric that goes near my bits like on a regular harness (of any fabric), and it really doesn’t do much for my own stimulation. The hole for the dildo to go through is also quite high—most harnesses are made for them to ride on the pubic bone, not get right aligned with the clit or lower, so it’s hard to have sensation from the back of the cock/base of the cock, too.

Your milage may vary, of course! And both the RodeoH and Tomboi leave pretty decent room for good access under a cock for your own bits to be stimulated, so that is a plus for a lot of people.

But for me, I know I need a lot of direct contact, kind of hard, and often repeated, so it’s really hard for me to use any brief or underwear harnesses to have enough stimulation to get off. I definitely think the Tomboi is better quality and will last much longer (I’ve had RodeoH’s fall apart after just one or two times through the washer). Still, it’s a lot. If you are going to invest, I’d wait for one of those sales days that Babeland or Good Vibes has—often online, often around the holidays—and at least cut it down in price.

I do think it’s super fun for packing and wearing a dick out. Oh—and I do think wearing a cock that has balls can sometimes increase the sensation, too, since sometimes the balls hang low enough to stimulate me a little more. Just one last thought

I hope that’s helpful! And hope you find a good harness that works well for you.

Sinclair

tomboi
The Spareparts Tomboi briefs harness

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends

November 26, 2013  |  journal entries  |  23 Comments

As published on Facebook, where I could tag at least 20 of ‘em.

Dear family & friends,

Especially friends from my childhood and high school years who have found me for whatever reasons on Facebook, and family with whom I’m not particularly close, and coworkers from previous jobs who I have perhaps never had this chat with:

THE “GENDERQUEER COMING OUT” PART

I have something to tell you: I’m genderqueer. That means I live my day-to-day life somewhere between “man” and “woman,” often facing all sorts of daily interactions where the general public doesn’t “get” my gender, from kids in the grocery store asking, “are you a boy or a girl?” and their mom hushing them and turning away, to little old ladies in the women’s room staring wide-eyed and backing out of the restroom slowly, only to then return with a confused and self-protective look on their face, to service industry folks saying, “Can I help you, sir? Uh, ma’am? Uh … ?”

That confusion, that in-between state, is precisely it. That’s who I am. I’m neither, and both. I’m in-between.

You may already know this about me, just from following me on Facebook and doing whatever sleuthing you’ve done about my projects. You probably know I’m queer. But, if you want to know, I’m going to explain a few more things about my gender for a minute.

ON GENDER

If you want to delve a little deeper into my particular gender, I consider myself butch, I identify as masculine, and I consider genderqueer part of the “trans*” communities, using trans-asterisk as the umbrella term to encompass, well, anybody who feels in-between. I’ve been identifying as “butch” for a long time—perhaps you’ve heard me use this word, an identity I consider to mean a masculine-identified person who was assigned female at birth. I consider myself masculine, but as I delve further into gender politics and theory and communities, the boxes of “woman” and “man” feel too constricting and limiting for me to occupy them comfortably.

I have for years thought that it was extremely important for people like me—masculine people with a fluid sense of gender and personality traits, who don’t feel limited by gender roles or restricted by gender policing—should continue to identify as women as a political act, as a way to increase the possibilities of what “woman” can be. That’s really important. And I still believe that is true, and heavily support that category.

Problem is, “woman” has never fit me. I had bottomless depression as a teenager (perhaps some of you remember I was sent to the principal’s office once for “wearing too much black”), plagued often by the idea of “woman” and adult womanhood. I could not understand who I would be in that context. And honestly, I still can’t.

But—even though it is in some ways harder, living outside of the gender norms—this in-between makes so much sense to me.

ON PRONOUNS (This part is important.)

For a few years now, I’ve been stating, when asked, that I prefer the third-person pronouns they and them when referring to me. That means, if you’re speaking of me in a sentence, you’d say, “They are about to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail, it’s true,” or “Did you hear they just published another book?” or, “I really like spending time with them.”

See? Easy.

Lately, when people ask what my preferred pronoun is, I have been saying, “I prefer they and them, but all of them are fine and I don’t correct anybody.” I don’t mind the other pronouns. They don’t irk me. But when someone “gets” it, and honors the they/them request, it makes me feel seen and understood.

There are other options for third-person pronouns which are gender neutral—or rather, not he or she. “They” is the one that I think, as a writer, is the easiest for me to integrate into sentences. I completely believe in calling people what they want to be called (that has always been one of my mom’s great mom-isms), so I always do my best to respect pronouns, but I still struggle with the conjugations and the way those words fit in a sentence.

Some people—particularly those (ahem like me) who were English majors and for whom grammar rules are exciting—think the “singular they,” as it’s called, is grammatically incorrect. But it’s not. It’s actually been used in literature for hundreds of years. Here’s one particular article on the Singular They and the Many Reasons Why It Is Correct. Read up, if that intrigues you.

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

I haven’t sat any of my family—immediate or extended—down and said, Hi, I’d like you to use they/them pronouns for me. I don’t generally tell people that unless they ask. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I haven’t told you, what I’m afraid of, and what is keeping me from this conversation.

I’m not particularly afraid that you won’t “get it” or that you won’t honor it. If you don’t, that’s actually okay. I am part of some amazing trans* and genderqueer and gender-forward communities full of activism, respect, advocacy, and understanding, and I’m very lucky to feel whole and respected in that work.

And really, I believe that the very vast majority of you actually really wants to know, wants to honor my choices. I think you are probably curious about this. But for whatever reason, my (and probably your) west coast sensibilities are keeping us from having a direct conversation.

So, here ya go. It’s not particularly personal, but it’s the beginnings of something, and it’s my offering to you to talk about this, if you want to.

See the thing is, by not having this conversation with you, by not giving you the opportunity to respect my gender and pronouns (even if you think it’s weird-ass and strange and don’t get it), I’m limiting our intimacy. I’m not giving you all the chance to really know me. And maybe … you want to. Maybe this will open up something new between us.

Or maybe you’ll just go, “Huh. Okay. Whatever.” That’s fine too.

If you have questions, or want to talk about all this gender stuff, I am open to that. Ask away. (You don’t always get a free pass to ask weird questions, so you might want to utilize this opportunity.) But before you do, you might want to check out The Gender Book for some basic terminology, concepts, and ideas.

Sorry I haven’t told you yet. I’ve been telling myself that it “isn’t that important,” but actually it’s been a barrier between us, in some minor big ways.

Sincerely,

That kid who was in English class with you in high school,
Your former coworker,
Your cousin,
Your nibling (did you know that’s the gender neutral term for neice or nephew??),
Your grandkid,
The older sibling of your childhood friend,
Your best friend from 6th grade,
That queer who was crushed on you before they knew they were queer,

Sinclair

PS: Feel free to steal this idea for your own Facebook pages.

Review: Rug Beater Paddle, independent toy maker on Etsy

November 22, 2013  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

The first thing that comes to mind when I consider what to tell you about this handsome Rug Beater Paddle by Kink Nerd Toys is something rife said recently: “I wouldn’t give it to a beginner.” It is a mean, intense instrument that hurts—more than you would expect—and can do some serious bruising.

Check it out.

rugbeater

I highly recommend bottoming to any impact toy before you use it on other people. Of course, everyone’s reaction to a toy is different, so you may love it or hate it and someone else may feel the opposite, but regardless, you’ll have a better sense of how it feels, what kind of impact it has on your body, and then how you would use it on others.

Some of the marks this toy left on rife:

photo 1A few of my thoughts and tips about this toy:

* Start slow. Really slow. Much slower than you think you should. Wait until they arch into it and are really ready for it to go any harder.

* Try beating in some small patterns: five rapid very soft, then three slower and medium hard, then five more soft. Or five soft, one hard. Or fifteen soft, three hard. Experiment.

* It’s quite hard, so I would only use it on pretty dense, fleshy parts of the body. I’ve used it on rife’s ass and thighs primarily. Using it elsewhere seems too intense, and that there’s not enough muscle or flesh to absorb the strong impact it makes.

* It leaves beautiful marks. If you have someone who marks easily, this might make little knotwork patterns in their flesh. Gorgeous. Rife doesn’t particularly mark easily, and it leaves marks on him fairly well.

* Great toy to explore sadism and masochism. It definitely got my inner sadist riled up to see him squirming in pain, trying to take the beating well, both of us testing out the limits of what we can give and receive.

I love having this toy in my toy box, and will definitely use it again. Particularly when I want to give a painful beating, when I want to leave marks, when I want to go slow and work up the bottom to taking a lot.

It’s a great price for something this mean. If impact play, pain, sadism & masochism, and beatings are the kinds of things you like, I highly recommend the Rug Beater Paddle.

And hey, isn’t some consumer holiday coming up really soon? Check out all the stuff by Kink Nerd Toys—Kimber makes all kinds of things and they’re quite affordable. Excellent way to build a more varied toy bag without spending a whole lot of money!

Thanks for the paddle, Kimber! I’ve been getting lots of use out of it.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part 5: In which you recommend Stone Butch Blues & Fried Green Tomatoes, and give good advice

November 21, 2013  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

I started reading about two years ago when I really started coming out as gender non-conforming and exploring my queer identity. At the time I was in a poly relationship and so a lot of the material resonated with me. I really have always appreciated the open discussions about sex and gender presentation and some of the more utilitarian posts about clothes, etc.

—Alison, http://a1tg.tumblr.com

I stumbled upon Sugarbutch from a link in an Autostraddle post nearly 4 years ago and immediately spent every waking second that summer reading the entire archive. I felt like I had come home. Not only was someone writing about the sex I had always wanted to have (and that in and of itself had a huge impact on my sex drive and partners and play and whatnot) but they were doing it beautifully and well and consciously.

I still think some of my favorite posts are erotica, but I also know that the theoretical posts have changed my life in a completely literal sense and now that I am growing into my own versions of an alternative gender identity and kinky identity, they are more important to me. But mostly, it’s just the whole thing. Everything you do lets me know that somewhere in this world are people that think like me.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

That would be “Handprints on the Hotel Window.” My girlfriend emailed it to me shortly after we began dating. On out first trip to New York City together, she booked a room that had floor-to-ceiling windows so we could reenact the story. Tres hot. I’ve been a fan ever since!

—Dawn, http://southernfriedfemme.blogspot.com/

I started reading around 4 years ago? Right around when you started writing about Kristen. I was just starting to identify as a femme and was desperate for anything anyone was writing. I’d read your posts praising femmes over and over again, reassuring myself that this identity I was claiming was real and true and that someone, some day, would want me. And I mean your smut really helped me get through several stressful days during undergrad…

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

You’re allowed to want things, even if you feel like your partner doesn’t. That doesn’t make you bad or wrong or broken. There are other people who will like you and also enjoy those things. You don’t have to be perfect, and making mistakes can only lead to improvement and giggling. Gender is hard and exhausting, and you are never going to satisfy anyone but yourself. So have fun and try not to talk other people’s opinions too seriously.

—kaj, http://distractionsandproblems.tumblr.com/

Women appreciate authenticity. Don’t ever tone yourself down because you’re scared you’re too butch. Also, there is more than one femme in the world, even when it feels like the only one was the last one.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

The book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Something about that book grabbed me when I was in my early 20′s…I read it 5 times in one week after I bought it. It was the dynamic of Idgie and Ruth’s relationship. The people, place and setting of the book, drastically different from my life, but very similar in other ways. The way Idgie and Ruth lived, spoke to each other, the activities they participated in , the running of their cafe. I still read that book once a year (sometimes more) and it is always like visiting an old friend. In my mind I greatly embellished their relationship, which is left a bit ambiguous in the book, and maybe that is why I keep going back.

—April

Stone Butch Blues. I was sixteen, not out to my parents, and it was the first queer book I’d ever read. It changed everything in my life. I learned that “butch” wasn’t a dirty word, that (somewhere?) there were women who might like me, and, most importantly, that people like me had a history.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

Anything else to add?

I think you seriously underestimate the amount of people in this universe who have ridiculous crushes on you.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

I’m so excited to see where Sugarbutch is going to go in the next months and years. I’ve read this site for years and never commented-truly embodying “lurker syndrome.” But this website and your writing has meant a lot of important things to me at different times in my life, and I’m grateful to see a rededication to it from you. Thanks for all that you do and give. It does not go unappreciated-I promise.

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

Video: Sinclair reads Five Blow Jobs (And oh yeah, hi)

November 21, 2013  |  journal entries  |  No Comments

Hello I’m back!

I’ve returned from Seattle, after teaching a handful of classes and visiting friends and having a day-long meeting for a new exciting collaborative adventure (more news of that coming soon).

Rife came with me and we brainstormed all sorts of things for another new exciting thing that he and I are going to be running in January (if you’re signed up for my newsletter, you already know that I revealed the first inkling of what I’m planning there at the beginning of November. And I’ll be sending out an invitation via the newsletter before posting it here generally, so if you want to know, sign up!).

What these new exciting 2014 goals also mean is: my fall 2013 touring is OVER. I loved visiting everyone in so many places and having so many great conversations (Hi Lauren! Hi Aaron & Lila! Hi Taffy! Hi Stephanie! Hi Che! Hi Katie aka the girl that won the porn! Hi Adriana & Appy & Ebony! Hi Jing!). I’m traveling—for pleasure!—for winter solstice, but aside from that, I won’t be back on the road until the spring.

I have a love-hate relationship with traveling/touring. I know it looks all glamorous from the outside, and I know for years I’ve always heard musicians (especially, since we always had Rolling Stone in my house growing up) saying it isn’t all that great, you spend so much time alone on a bus. And that’s one of those things that I’ve always said, Ya know, I believe you, but I’d also kind of like to experience that for myself. Not that I expected them to be wrong, just that I still wanted to see what that was like.

It was easier to tour when I was based in New York. I wanted out of that city as often as possible. Now that I’m in a city where (I think) I actually want to be for a while, it’s harder to leave, harder to be far away. I want a routine at home, I want a workout schedule, I want a work schedule, I want the same thing for breakfast every day for a week because it’s easy and filling and good. I want to get up and have my morning routine all set and go for a run and shower and meditate and write something before I even look at Facebook.

So that’s some of my goals for the rest of November (which is only ten days! Ahh!) and December and January until I start traveling again. I want to write more. Hone my routine. (And hopefully fight off this cold that I can feel is brewing.) I have a pile of questions to answer and ideas to follow through with. I’m really looking forward to being at my desk and figuring some of this stuff out.

I’m going to try to get more videos up in general—more of my spoken word performances, more of my teachings, and more Ask Mr. Sexsmith questions answered by video. Amazing the quality that some little hand-held phone device can record these days, isn’t it? I just keep saying, “We live in the future.” The things we can do right now … I just think it’s really cool.

Rife took video of my performance at Good Vibrations for The Big Book of Orgasms release party last week (last week! Was that only last week? Feels like a month ago), so it’s here for your viewing pleasure. It’s me reading the rife story Five Blow Jobs, which as you may or may not remember is dirty story.

DailyCal wrote up a review of the reading and said this about me:

The signal of literary dominance in erotica, Sinclair Sexsmith (yes, that’s Sexsmith — as in someone who works in the medium of sex), swaggers to the front of the room and reads not from the book but rather from a newer first-person piece off an iPad. Sexsmith reads the most edgy story by far, delivering it in exactly the low and loaded tone of voice one uses on a lover in the act.

That would be this story. “The most edgy story by far”? I’m not so sure about that—many of them were awesome and intense. Though I guess not a lot of them were kinky, most of them were about straight-up sex, so maybe that’s why this writer said that about mine.

Okay that’s enough introduction, don’tcha think? Thanks rife for recording this. Hope y’all enjoy.

Protected: A poem I’ve been writing for eighteen months

November 20, 2013  |  poetry  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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Review: Bondage cuff and bow tie by Rand Leather

November 19, 2013  |  reviews  |  No Comments

Rand Leather (on etsy or on follow on tumblr) is a one-man-show out of Maine where Matthias Rand makes all kinds of leather goods from scratch. In addition to these bondage cuffs and bow ties (which I’ll tell you more about in a minute), I’ve also seen chest harnesses, suspenders, and even leather dresses that he’s made.

If you liked that Aslan Leather binder harness that I posted recently, but you want something a little differently shaped, check out Rand Leather’s binder harnesses. They are custom built and beautiful.

The cuff and bow tie were the items Rand Leather sent to me to check out.

First: the bondage cuff!

  

I love it. I wear it often. I love that it is an accessory that is also a toy and tool. See, it unwraps from around the wrist to have two square-rings (what do you call them? Square o-rings? Square metal bits?) along the leather that, when you snake the other end through in an S shape, makes a pair of handcuffs.

It works exactly like a bondage belt, only miniature!

It’s become one of my staple outfit pieces at recent leather events and I’ve worn it at IMsL, Northern Exposure, and Queer Invasion (to name a few this year). (Also, that tells you I’ve been really behind on reviewing. Sorry!)

Now: the bow tie!

 

It has not become the staple to my fancy leather dress collection that I would have expected. I think mostly that’s because I’ve discovered that I just don’t like wearing bow ties that much. I love the look on other people, and I keep thinking that I could rock it if I just had the right one, but it doesn’t quite fit. Too nerdy? I mean, I am pretty nerdy. Maybe it’s the proportions.

I think part of it, too, is that I have a pretty large chest and I don’t like having things on my neck or upper chest. It’s hard enough just binding, which often pushes my breasts up higher in order to flatten them and makes wearing a tie right under my chin really uncomfortable.

The bonus is, it looks really really adorable on rife. So here he is modeling the beautiful leather bow tie.

These pieces are both available on Rand Leather’s Etsy store, and both the bondage cuff and the leather bow tie come in other colors!

How things start to melt open

November 12, 2013  |  poetry  |  3 Comments

After the poem “The Last Time I Slept in This Bed” by Sara Peters

If you’ve ever ripped apart your own body
in order to find the missing sugar cubes
you are certain you once stored
in your throat, you know what it feels like
to stay too long in a bed that no longer
comforts and enshrines you in a velvet
black sleep, allowing your individual
download and collective restart.

Once you find the point of entry,
pray it open until it is a gaping maw,
a cavern as wide as the world, that could
fit all of your broken hearts in just
one glimmer of rainbow. A silver needle
can stitch that right up. Every scar
on the right side of your body, every
stretch mark on your left. You have
no reason to stay, unless you are
secretly tied to the moon and unable
to stop her shine from creeping
toward your wrists when the velvet curls.

It is not an original practice to wallow
in grief, to become stuck thigh-deep
in tar wearing cement boots. Don’t
smash your own feet with sledgehammers
to move on. Maybe instead just insert
the tip of the parasol, let it sink
until you can work it deep
under the surface of all that has you
held back, and open it. You can use it
as the easiest magic carpet. You can bet
that spring will come as the world turns,
as she always has, for the entirety
of this planet’s thoroughest days.

Review: Love Bump, aka Shilo’s Balls by New York Toy Collective

November 11, 2013  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

I have long ranted and raved about Shilo, the pack and play dildo by New York Toy Collective, but I haven’t much mentioned Shilo’s Balls, offically called the Love Bump.

lovebump

I had my hesitations about the Love Bump. It’s kind of odd to be able to add and remove the balls from the dick, kind of … disembodies them in a way that is weird. I have had mixed feelings about balls in general, through my 15+ years (!!) of using a strap on for sex. In the beginning, I was often shamed by my partners for wanting dicks with balls, or for wanting anything that looked realistic. It was deemed “not lesbian enough” and only very non-realistic looking dicks were approved in that relationship.

Now, there is nothing wrong with wanting a dick that doesn’t look realistic. If that’s what you want, I totally support that. But in my book, it’s not okay to shame someone for wanting something that you don’t want. I’d love to encourage us to talk about things in terms of “our personal likes and dislikes” rather than “why someone else liking something that I don’t like is bad and wrong.”

As the trans movements have grown in the recent decades, so too have the options of realistic looking strap on dicks in feminist and queer toy stores. More and more of the dicks are realistically shaped and colored. I’ve heard a lot of folks wanting for less realistic colors lately, actually. (Which is why it’s exciting that NYTC is offering the Shilo in other colors!)

And as the options have shifted, and my own sexuality has evolved, and as I’ve had more permission to be cock-centric and cock-based in my sexual play, I’ve been gravitating more and more toward strap on dicks that roughly match my (white) skin tone, realistic shapes, and balls.

I like how the balls feel. I like the weight. I like how my underwear cups them a little bit, and holds them, cradling. I like having them sucked on and played with. I like how they hang and smack against the person I’m fucking.

Photo from SCW

Photo from SCW

There are a lot of things that make Shilo’s Balls really cool. Like:

1. Detachable.

I’ve never seen “balls sold separately” on a dildo before, so this is new. It seems a little odd and, like I said, disembodied, except when you realize what some of the perks are: a) removing them to have a more discreet package (or adding them to juice up your package, if you want that), and putting them on when you are ready to play; b) turning them upside down when fucking face to face in order to stimulate the person’s clit (assuming that they have a clit that wants to be stimulated in that way); c) adding them to other dildos.

2. Silicone.

Like NYTC’s other products, the balls are silicone and can be sanitized in a 10% bleach/90% water solution, on the top shelf of the dishwasher (with no soap! Assuming that your dishwasher gets hot enough for sanitizing, check your model), or in cock soup boiling water for 5-7 minutes. It’s beautiful quality silicone, too. Mostly matte, not shiny, pliable, soft to the touch, feels good. I think NYTC has some of the best silicone offered.

3. Vibrator.

I have to be honest and tell you that I haven’t played much with the vibrator. I get pretty over-stimulated, so I don’t tend to turn it on. I’d like to try it out a little more, though. You know. For science. And for my thorough review to report to y’all.

4. Juuuust right.

Their size is excellent and matches the Shilo so, so well. They—both Shilo and the balls—feel like a good size for my body, too. Not too small, not too big.

So, in conclusion: Highly recommended if you’re interested in adding some balls to your strap-on play, regardless of whether or not you have the Shilo. It can be a really fun addition for more sensation, for gender play, or for other role play during strap on sexy times.

Pick up The Love Bump from the New York Toy Collective, or at your local awesome feminist sex-positive queer sexuality resource shop.