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Writing Ourselves Whole: Transformation, Healing, & Queer Sex

I am thrilled to share a beautiful interview with Jen Cross, author of Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma.

The first few times I cracked open the book, a writing exercise chose me, and I sat down to keep my pen moving for ten minutes, I ended up in tears. Since the national conversation about sexual assault has been so visible these past few months, I have — like many of us — been thinking more and more about assault and #metoo. I’ve seen the conversations about consent violations and consent accidents grow significantly in the kink communities in recent years, too, and I’m glad we’re both giving it more weight and talking about how it is that we as a community want to work with it, since the legal system isn’t actually helpful in resolving these complex occurrences.

(Jen has some excellent writings over on the Writing Ourselves Whole blog. Highly recommend.)

The beautiful personal memoir writing, the guidance through one’s own inner world through writing prompts and inspired quotes and sharing, the reclamation of sexuality and sexual flow and eros and erotic joy — this book moves me, shakes me up, soothes me. I haven’t worked through all of it. It’s intense. But I’ve picked it up when I need a kick in my writing voice, when I need to stop blah blah blah-ing in my journal entries and actually get down deep into something. Sometimes it has been a serious kick to the gut.

Be careful what you wish for.

Interview with Jen Cross

How did this project come about?

This book grew out of my own relationship (for the last 20-something years!) to freewriting as a healing practice and the work I did for my MA in Transformative Language Arts (Goddard College) — at that time, I was focused on erotic writing as a healing and transformative practice for survivors of sexual violence. It was through that program that I led my first writing groups, in fact. Over the years, I’ve expanded my work to writing about sexual trauma more broadly, as well. What I’ve found is that writing — either alone or in a community of generous and supportive peers — can be a way to find language for experiences of violence or trauma (or its aftermath) that were meant never to be expressed, a way to break down the isolation that is an inherent part of intimate trauma, and a way to reconnect with our creative intuition: that quiet, persistent voice within that we often had to ignore during the time that we were being abused. With this book, I wanted to share my experiences as a writer, survivor, and workshop facilitator, and offer support to trauma survivors (and others) who are seeking to find their way into words, as well as to anyone who would like to gather together a peer survivors writing group in their own community!

The work in this book is at the intersection of three topics/communities – survivors of sexual assault, erotic and sexual writing, and queer folks. How are these interwoven, and how do you see the potency of the intersection?

The spark for this work came out of my own relationship with my sexuality — at the same time that I was getting away from my stepfather and his abuse, I also came out as queer, so these two parts of my identity are intertwined. I found myself part of a couple of communities — an incest survivor community (which often seemed not to want to think or talk about sex at all, since that was the site of our wounding) and a sex-positive queer community (which, given our struggle as a community to get out from under the shame of homophobia and a sex-negative upbringing, seemed only to want to talk about how excellent sex was). What was true for me (and is still true), though, was that sex was complicated and messy, both a place of longing and desire, and a place of struggle and pain. What I wanted was a place to be able to connect with the fullness and complexity of my adult, lives, consensual sexuality, given my history and my identity as a queer woman.

So, when I got started in leading writing groups, I facilitated an erotic writing group for queer women survivors of sexual trauma. In this group, we mostly didn’t write our trauma story, but instead wrote fiction and fantasy; we wrote about the gorgeous complications of our lived sexuality, and gently wrote ourself into new possibility, into our bodies, into new desire, into sex.

I think a lot about Audre Lorde’s definition of the erotic, from her essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power” (in Sister/Outsider) as a knowledge and quality of embodiment that “flows through and colors [our lives] with a kind of energy that heightens and sensitizes and strengthens all [our] experience.” The erotic is connected to our sexuality, but, given this definition, I think about the erotic more broadly — as having to do with desire in all its forms. We have sexual desire, but we also have creative desire, we have desire for fulfilling work, we have desire for connection, social change, and so on — those of us who have experienced sexual violence (particularly as children or young people, but this can be true for those abused as adults, as well) are often trained to expend a great deal of energy paying attention to someone else’s desire; most of us who are socialized as women are, too. We don’t know what we want — in fact, we aren’t supposed to want anything. We are supposed to want to be wanted, to be the object of someone else’s desire, and that’s all. We are supposed to tend to the desire of the other. Folks on college campuses want their students to communicate clearly and directly about what they want, to say yes and no definitively; but what if we don’t even know what we want? How can we make such an assertion?

In my erotic writing groups, I wanted to push into that question: What if it were ok to want? What if I could want without anyone having any expectation of me? What if I could want without anyone taking advantage of it, or using that desire against me?

What do you most want people to take away from your work?

What I want, more than anything, is for folks to write! So many of us want to write, or to express ourselves creatively in another way, but we have been trained away from our creative expression, or we have been called stupid or dumb, or someone important to us told us we were bad writers because we misplaced a comma or didn’t capitalize a sentence correctly — or, we have feared putting into words how we were harmed or violated. I am always moved when any survivor of trauma, and particularly sexual trauma, manages to write (whether or not they write about the violence done to them), because they are claiming a voice that was shut down, claiming a creativity that was shamed or silence, claiming words that may have been used against them. What I hope is that, as folks are reading Writing Ourselves Whole, they allow themselves to put it down and write whenever they are called to write — in response to a prompt, or one of the chapters; maybe they wish I had said or worded something differently — I encourage folks to write down how they would have said it!

Anything else you’d like to add?

We are an enormous community, we survivors of sexual violence — when we come together, when we tap into our creative genius voices and raise our voices, we are a force to be reckoned with. Every time a survivor tells their story —as memoir, in fiction or poetry, in paint or dance or song or craft — we claim some small bit of what our perpetrators tried to steal from us; we reveal that it was ours, was in us, all along.


Go visit some more stops on the 2018 Writing Ourselves Whole blog tour!

3/5 – Interview with Kori Doty of Sex, Drugs, How We Roll podcast: Sex, Drugs and How We Roll – w/ Jen Cross, Writing Ourselves Whole

3/8 – Why I’m starting a writing practice to heal from grief and trauma, The Art of Healing Trauma blog, by Heidi Hanson

3/16 – sex, love, and all the feels:

3/20 – On Lauren Sapala’s blog (writing coaching for introverts and others!):
http://laurensapala.com/willing-leave-unfinished/

3/30 (or thereabouts) Sugarbutch

4/7 – laurietobyedison.com/body-impolitic-blog/

TBD – Kitty Stryker and Consent Culture

TBD – GoodVibes blog

TBD – Talking Writing Magazine


Pick up the book at your local independent bookstore, or if you must, on Amazon.

king of disks

it is enough to have gone through this ordeal
it is enough to have sought the diamond
hard and bright within
it is enough to have sat still and let the pain wash,
wash, wash, and drain away
it is enough to have been so giving, so for
giving that creation was made

raw creativity sprang forth
and with it, raw power
the ability to make
to survive
to quiet
to live

the rules come from the deep
they come from the pressure needed to aim
to fire, to be a ball shot from a cannon
the focus it takes to go this way instead of that
means denying, means confining

it’s not practice anymore
the earth lends all its power through the root
filling everything inside
the inner world rich and bright
the outer world finally catching up
finally reflecting
finally abundant
finally alive

family is manifest
rituals are ancient
authority is earned
protocols are purposeful
aim is strong and true
striving is over

find the peace that comes with surviving
relax in the trust of the heart of the master

I’ve been posting more of my recent tarot practice on instagram, go over there if you want to follow.

Back Seat Brat, Guest Post by Jack Stratton

All characters in this story are over 18 and consenting adults.

The first time I met Lola was in the backseat of my cousin Tommy’s black boat of a Lincoln Town Car. She was one of his friends. Tommy had a crazy crew of friends — hippies, stoners, punks, and musicians.

Tommy let me hang with him during the summer break before my senior year of college. As I sat in the back, he pulled up to a bar and a few of his friends jumped in. Lola opened the door I was sitting next to and climbed right over me to sit in the center of the back seat. She was this little firecracker. Around my age. Short, feisty, jet black hair with bangs, and lips that were always bright red. She dressed all rockabilly, like some modern take on one of the girls in Grease.

We drove around for a while. Visiting Tommy’s haunts. Picking up beer. She didn’t say anything, she just watched me. At around eight, we pulled up to a burger joint and she looked at me expectedly after tap tap tapping on her phone.

“My Daddy’s not here, so you have to pay for my fries,” she said plainly, looking bitchy and bratty at the same time.

“Is that so?” I laughed.

She didn’t laugh or even smile. She moved closer, sitting right on my hand, pressing her big ass down on it.

“Yeah it is. You have to or you can’t sit next to me,” she said threateningly. There was no irony there. It was a stupid juvenile thing, but it worked. She leaned back and stretched, pushing out her chest. I reached for my wallet.

Tommy left us alone in the car and went to talk to some friends inside. After eating her fries and most of mine, she chewed on her straw while she looked at me inscrutably. She unbuttoned the first few buttons of her navy blue dress, to expose a pink bra. I was hypnotized by her. She slowly traced the top of her bra with her finger, pulling it down a little, almost giving me a glimpse of more, all the time watching me.

“I think you like me,” she said with a self satisfied grin.

I laughed nervously.

“I bet you’d rob a bank for a taste of my pussy,” she purred.

I swallowed.

Her phone buzzed. She picked it up and read something, smiled, and then furiously typed a response. Then just like that, I was forgotten. She leaned over me, her hands pressing painfully into my shoulder and chest, rolling down the window next to me and sticking her head out.

“Tommy, we gotta pick up Frank!” she screamed.

With that, Tommy came back to the car and we headed for the bus station.

I saw him waiting there, leaning against a wall. Her “Daddy.” He wore a leather jacket, a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and boots. When we stopped he walked slowly to the car. He slid in the other side of the back seat, sandwiching Lola between us.

He was a little older than me. He had a chiseled jaw with some stubble. His hair was parted perfectly and slick with grease.

His hand went possessively to Lola’s knee. She turned and hugged him tightly.

“Hi Daddy,” she said almost breathlessly. Then she kissed him. I wondered if I should go sit up front, but we started driving. Lola and Frank whispered to each other. As they did, she became sweet and childish. Not the brat I had come to know, but some reflection of it. A brat who was put in her place.

“Him? The pretty boy?” I heard him ask her with a laugh as they both glanced at me. She cupped her hand to his ear and whispered more, with her eyes on me.

“Rob a bank, huh? I bet he would too,” he said with a chuckle. I blushed deeper, knowing what they were saying about me.

We drove to a pool hall at the edge of town and Tommy got out and went in. I got out too and took a few deep breaths of the night air. I heard Lola and Frank get out. I didn’t want to face them, but I couldn’t ignore them when I heard them whistle for me, as much as I tried. I turned to see them walking into the alley behind the pool hall. Lola was motioning for me to follow.

In the shadows of the alley I saw them making out. They stopped as I approached and looked at me expectantly. I walked to them, unsure of what else to do.

Frank grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and pushed me against the wall. “You been taking care of my girl while I was gone?” he asked, though he didn’t sound mad. “I’ll tell you what, kiddo, you want to play with her, you have to play with me a little first,” he said with bravado.

I looked around and laughed a little. He was joking, right?

He pushed me up against the wall again, the cold bricks against my back. His face was suddenly close to mine. “Come on, pretty boy, you said you’d do anything. She told me,” he growled into my ear. He smelled like aftershave and whiskey and cigarettes.

She was behind him, arms around him, lips near his ear, eyes on me. “Hit him, Daddy,” she begged and then bit her fat bottom lip.

He smiled at me, reached up and took my chin in his hand. It seemed like he was thinking about it, but then he turned away from me and grabbed her.

“What did we talk about, Lo? Good girls don’t make demands. What did we say?” he said, clearing his throat and walking towards her as she backed up and fidgeted with her dress.

“I’m not supposed to be a bossy little brat,” she said, looking down and fuming.

He grabbed her by the hair and spun her around. He flipped up her dress and smacked her ass. My eyes were glued to them.

He pulled up her dress a little more, exposing white panties with little hearts on them. He spanked her again, hard, and she let out a little yelp. A red mark the shape of his hand appeared immediately.

I followed his fingers on her skin, watching as he traced the mark he left, then the edge of her panties, slowly slipping just the tip of his finger under the thin material.

When his long fingers got to the crotch of her panties she arched her back and stuck her ass out as high as she could, standing on her on her toes. His fingers slipped between her thick thighs and I heard her let out a low whimper. I may have let out a similar sound.

I could see it, just barely. He pushed the fabric to the side just enough that a delicious little bit of pink was exposed and my heart was beating so fast it hurt.

“Well, kiddo, time to rob that bank,” he said, turning to with daring in his eyes. He slipped his finger across his bottom lip. I felt a scared little puppy whimper emanate from my chest.

My brain didn’t seem to command it, but somehow my body was moving forward.

He was tall. I felt small and clumsy next to him. He leaned down, then all I felt was stubble across my lips. It was embarrassing how much I wanted all of it, her taste, his mouth. He kissed me and I got light headed. My hand went up to his firm chest. I sucked his bottom lip and I could swear I tasted heaven.

He chuckled again as he let go of me and he reached up and grabbed my chin. He slipped one finger into my mouth and I sucked it greedily. His thick fingers pushed deeper into my mouth, two, then three.

“Look how much he take. Look at what a good boy he is, Daddy,” she whispered to him, right in my ear.

“What do you say, kiddo? You want to be my good boy?” he said, rubbing his hand through my hair.

“Come on pretty boy, don’t you want to suck my cock? Just think how much Lola would like to watch you. She’d probably do anything to see it,” he said pulling me closer by my hair.

I fought his grip a little, trying to pull away, but his hand tightened around the back of my neck. Did I want to suck it? It was complicated. It made me want to run out of the alley, but somehow I was sinking to my knees.

Lola was there with me, sounding excited. Then she was kissing my neck again. “Do it for me,” she whispered into my ear. “If you do it good, I can be your little girl tonight, too,” she promised

“Okay,” I choked out through a dry throat.

She rocked with glee and tugged at his belt. “You’ll be great, I’ll show you what to do. Maybe, you know, you can call him daddy too, if you want,” she said, and flashed a huge bright smile.

The smile of a spoiled brat that was getting exactly what she wanted.

The End of Innocence, Guest Post by Guy New York

Growing up, Vogue had more naked pictures than Playboy. Or at least they were more appealing to my budding teenage imagination. Maybe they spoke more to my aesthetic, or perhaps they felt illicit because they were so unexpected, but whatever the reason, I used to pour through my mother’s magazines almost as much as my father’s. I remember one ad, a double page spread I believe, of an elegant dinner party where the women were all stark naked while the men wore suits. And that was hotter than any centerfold had ever been.

But to be fair, I also remember flipping through the giant collection of New Yorker cartoons we had sitting on the coffee table in the old farmhouse. It was an oversized paperback of every single cartoon in the magazine over the course of thirty years, and I read it from cover to cover again and again. I have no idea how much my twelve-year-old self understood any of the jokes, but again, there were glimpses of nude bodies, albeit inked with a pen, that while I didn’t lust over, I relished all the same.

What is it about naked bodies that fascinated me? Was it more the dirty magazines or the sex-ed textbooks from my mother’s library? Maybe it was the naked girls and boys in my room as we played doctor, or possibly it was a trip to a nude beach when I was nine, where for the first time in my life I looked up to see a woman, spread eagle on a blanket, less than ten feet away from me. That image has stayed in my mind although it’s more the feeling of watching than it is a photograph. She was an adult, and she had a thick covering of pubic hair between two round thighs, but the rest is a blur as much as everything else. I know I wandered the beach after that, my own naked body irrelevant to my interests. I don’t remember feeling shame, in fact, the only thing I recall firmly is the desperate interest to see new bodies, new shapes, and new people.

But home from the beach I was left with the familiar images in my father’s house. But I had seen the National Geographics, and I had flipped through the one copy of Playboy dad had a photo in. I had explored the old photography magazines until I knew them by heart, and my mother’s sex-ed manuals all knew the shape of my fingers.

Which meant there was only one choice for a pubescent boy in the northern wiles of New Jersey. I had to head to the woods.

When I was maybe twelve or thirteen I spent as much time as I could in the woods not far from the house. Sometimes with a friend or two but often alone, I’d wander through the small nature preserve kicking rocks, climbing over streams, and searching out the hidden grottos where older boys might have hidden the greatest treasure known to man: a truly dirty magazine.

And lo and behold I would find them! As I’ve gotten older, I’ve met other men who also found porn in the woods, and it’s become something of a joke. Kids these days with their internet! When I was young, we used to have to look for porn under a rock or hidden in a hollowed out tree. We didn’t know what it would be. We couldn’t search for “Blonde Teens” or “Big Titty MILFS” like they do these days. No! We’d find something, often half a page, and we loved it for what it was. Most often it was a centerfold from a Playboy, or if we were lucky a few pages of a Hustler where you could not only see some bush but some skin as well! My god, is that girl holding her pussy open? I had no idea what that looked like.

And once, maybe in sixth grade, Matt and I found a whole magazine that must have been European. It was black and white, with photos covering the paper like stamps. And there, on those wrinkled, rain-soaked pages I saw a woman fucking herself with a carrot! My god, I had no idea that’s what women did! Why did I never think of it?

The truth is, the thrill of discovery was always more exciting than the final reveal. The long hours walking through the woods, the digging through our father’s closets or basements, and the channel surfing late-night cable in hopes of seeing some semblance of nudity was all the more exciting because of how rarely they panned out. But the searching got my heart beating, and the hope was a drug. And when the web finally appeared it was still the same. In those early days of surfing, it was a hunt to find good nudity, and sometimes we’d wait for an hour as the file downloaded only to discover a girl in a bikini from a sports illustrated we had already seen a hundred times. Often it was the same model, the same naked girl that popped up on every site, and some of those faces are still familiar even if I don’t know their names.

What I don’t remember is ever getting off to a picture. I don’t remember crawling under the covers with a stolen Playboy or jerking off fantasizing about Miss May. The New Yorker cartoons didn’t get me hard, and even the impossibly beautiful models in Vogue didn’t drive me to self-abuse. The longing was there, the desire for discovery was overpowering, but the sexual release was seemingly disconnected as if my lust for the images was separate from my want for release.

The first pornographic movie I ever saw was on a VHS, and I barely remember a thing about it. I’m sure it was enticing, and I have a strong sense of attachment to it when it somehow ended up in my possession, but as for the scenes? They’re as much a blur as anything. I’m reasonably sure there was a blonde but after that?

None of this is to say that I didn’t like to get off, that I didn’t get turned on, or that my love of dirty pictures was disconnected from my sexuality. But if I was going to touch myself to a magazine, it was going to be a Penthouse, because dammit if those letters didn’t do something for me! There were two magazines in the house that had stories in them, and I don’t know how many times I read them. Strangers fucking on a beach during a summer vacation, a young man picked up by a woman only to discover that her husband liked to watch from the closet and a road trip that ended with a beautiful hitchhiker getting fucked in the backseat of a truck.

I read them over and over again because while the pictures were enticing, the images in my mind were something else. Because when that husband came out of the closet to watch his wife have sex, the story was only beginning! I read it with my cock in my hand, and I’ll never forget my shocked delight when our hero knelt on the floor by the bed and learned how to suck the husband’s cock like a pro! It was a Penthouse, a magazine for straight men, and yet there he was, on the floor with a big dick in his mouth as he struggled not to choke.

And if they could put that in a Penthouse then where else could it appear? What else had I misunderstood about what was allowed and what was not? It was easy to look at the pictures of the pretty women and the nude models, but the men were something else. And if I was lucky enough to find a magazine with not just a man in it, but a hard cock as well, then my year had been made. Because in those days, men were rare in straight printed smut unless you read the words.
But the more I searched, the more I found them! Hidden in the middle, between articles, nearly every single men’s magazine had a letter about a man discovering a new side to his sexuality. Maybe he was “forced” into it for plausible deniability, but sometimes he jumped into it gleefully, as if to tell me that nothing was as it seemed.

No one is as straight as they look.

And the books were even better because in books anything could happen and often did. There were a few books in particular that worked in the same way, and I vividly remember the scene in Eric Van Lustbader’s classic novel The Ninja about two women in a bathtub fucking a pistol which turned out to be a shower attachment. But lo and behold, there are a man and a boy (can I possibly remember that right?) who fuck as well because nothing was off limits to Mr. Lustbader. I think there was a rape scene and possibly a sexy murder, all of which I slotted into my mind’s rotation or horrible jerk-off material.

Clan of the Cave Bear had a scene which got dog-eared as well as Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose because those were some graphic sex scenes. A girlfriend in high school revealed the secrets of Anne Rice, and at some point, I discovered hidden among my brother’s comic books the filthy ones whose names now escape me. And I’m sure there were others, although those are the only ones I remember this morning.

It would be easy now to jump forward to Literotica, but there’s a middle that’s even harder to ignore.
Because before that, there’s Innocence.

At that point, I had only recently come out. My senior year of high school I wore a skirt to school one day, which prompted a whole lot of questions from other boys and cemented my reputation as the gayest kid in school. We had one gay teacher who was barely out, and he was as close to a community as I had. Because when it came to the students, I was it.

But once I found my way to college, I discovered at least a few other queer men, which meant that thankfully I was no longer the expert. I attended a meeting of the alphabet soup committee and helped organize the Midwestern Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual College Conference which brought in a hundred queers to our tiny college in Indiana. And one night, I found myself in bed with two men, trying desperately to navigate my desire for one and my fear of the other.

As a newly minted bisexual, I had work to do, and since I only knew those two other gay men and they identified as full-on gay, I was still somewhat adrift. It was better than high school, but the pickings were slim, the community complicated, and room to explore negligible. Because let’s face it, all of us were awkward and confused, and that didn’t make anything easier.

There was one place, however, where I might have better luck. It was new, and it was confusing, but I heard enough rumors to believe something was out there. It wasn’t just a place to form community either; it was a place where stories were told, and sexuality was explored. And I was going to find it no matter how complicated and confusing this new-fangled Internet thingy was.

My first foray online came from an old friend of mine who shared the log-in to a bulletin board system out of the University of Chicago. I had to dial in via Telnet or some other technology I only understood well enough to make my way into the text-based heaven of chat rooms. And there, one afternoon, hidden deep in the basement of the school’s library, sitting in an imaginary hot tub in what was called the Bisexual Cafe, I met Innocence.

I found my way there through dumb luck and sheer force of will, and once I had arrived, I learned how to chat, how to use the basic commands, and how to interact with other perverts halfway around the world. Innocence was the handle of a girl in England who had also managed to Telnet into to the BBS and make her way through the ether to the Bisexual Cafe where she too climbed naked into a “hot tub” to chat with strangers. And my god was she enticing! I pictured her in my mind’s eye that very first day I logged on, and we talked for an hour as I fantasized about all the imaginary sex we would soon be having.

We flirted, her and the others as well, and in that one afternoon, I joined a small community of queer and questioning people desperate to find others like them. When I finally logged off, I felt alive and afraid. I had discovered something new, something foreign, and yet something that I was sure was unstoppable. It was just a taste of the future, a hint at how the world might be, but in my heart, I knew everything was about to change.

I just didn’t realize how quickly.

The next day I found my way back to the computer lab, worked out how to gain access to the BBS once more, navigated my way through the text-based interface, and then once again landed in the Bisexual Cafe, sitting in the hot tub. Which is where I heard the news.

“Hey, where’s Innocence?” I asked someone. There was silence on the board for a few moments until someone sent me a private message.

“Sorry, didn’t you hear? Innocence was hit by a car in London last night and was killed. Sorry to have to tell you.”

And my god, if right then, hidden in the basement with a broken heart, I didn’t realize the truth of it all. I had found the internet. I had discovered a brave new world that would soon change everything. And at that moment, after my initial discovery, right then as it all began, Innocence died.

What a fucked up metaphor, I thought to myself. What a completely messed up, disturbing, and in your face lesson to learn. And my god the poor girl! She was a teenager, maybe a year younger than me, and just as she too found her way into the new digital closet, her life was snatched away seemingly so that I could be hit over the head with a message from the future.

The internet is here. The world is changing. And Innocence is dead.

instructions on not giving up

the water from this storm pools in the streets
all those places the concrete
the asphalt
sinks and sags, so many cars
so many feet

the drops are so fat your shoulders
are up by your ears
protecting your neck
(you forgot your favorite
red and grey scarf
that usually keeps the shaved back of your head
protected)

you forgot other things too

like the lust in your eyes
like snapping your gaze to attention
when you see their ass
in those jeans
like the way fussili
with fresh garlic and white sauce
should not be expected
even once more
like the way peach juice drips
down their chin
like the bloom and blush
of their lust

the water runs in the sluice between street
and sidewalk
the wet sycamore, maple, ginkgo, gum tree leaves
mash together into that color of brown
that paint turns
when all the colors combine
and they block the storm drain

no movement
no release
just pooling

but you have boots

they’re even waterproof

you can drag your toe
through the muck
until the barrack of leaves bursts
the water flows brown,
flows clear

A Ten Year Retrospective: Portraits by Bill Wadman

I was in New York City in November and met up with Bill Wadman, an amazing portrait photographer and friend of mine. As we were catching up we realized that he’s been photographing me for ten years, so I started thinking back on the experiences with him, the way things have changed over that time, and how portrait photographs can be a powerful tool of identity reflection.

My first shots with him were in 2007 for his 365 portrait series. Many of the folks I was in community with were part of it, and I threw my name out to him, too … I didn’t know what to expect, but I went over to his home studio with some ideas. He spent a lot of time with me, through multiple outfit changes and my nerves and even a performed poem at his old-school microphone. These shots weren’t the one he used for his project, but these are the ones I like best.

These were the first professional photos of myself, I think … aside from school portraits. Definitely my first “photo shoot.” I’d been an avid self-portraiture explorer since 2000 or so, but I was coming in to my butchness in new ways in 2005-6-7, and so I was seeing myself anew. Having someone else see me like this was gratifying … and kind of shocking. I remember staring at these photos a lot. Is that really how I look? Are you sure? It seemed magical.

I did three shoots with him in 2012. That was one of the hardest years of my life, and it was one of those years where I reached out to a lot of different photographers and did many shoots. The first one, with the red flogger against the brick wall, has been used many places since. While I’ve used some of the photos from the shoot later in the year, it was also a time when I was in deep depression, and the photos, while technically beautiful and very accurate in their capture of me, are really sad. My face is … surprising.

There’s actually one more shoot from 2012 that is missing. I’d had this vision of a photo of me in a white button-down, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, next to a clawfoot tub with a femme covered in bubbles, and me shaving her legs. Bill said, “If I find a clawfoot tub, will you and Kristen model?” and made it happen. It makes me sad to look at it. I’m not including it here, but I’ve seen it make the rounds on Tumblr, and it’s over on my Flickr.

There’s one — the middle one from 2015 — that I think is my favorite photo of myself ever taken. That whole shoot, though, are some of my favorites of all time. I’m not sure what it was, but I felt confident and so like myself, I’d just had top surgery, I was getting healthier in my body, and I was appreciating being back in New York for a small trip.

The 2017 photo shoot was for his second 365 portraits project. rife is also in this year’s portrait series, from the summer when Bill and his wife Heather were in San Francisco, but I waited until I was visiting New York to do a portrait with him. We met up at the gay boy bar Therapy because I remembered their all-gender bathroom as kinda epic, so we took some photos in there at the urinals. They show a different kind of me than the others, I think. More grown up. Maybe a little more wise. More playful. More … solid. More something.

Thank you, Bill. Here’s to another 10 years of friendship!

2007

2012, early

2012, late

2015

2017

PS: I used to keep a lot of photos over on Flickr, and I still upload galleries from photoshoots there. You can browse through more of the photos from these shoots (and others) if you’d like.

Erotica, Journal Entries, and Feminist Kink: What I Wrote in 2017

The Novellas!

Getting these ebooks compiled, uploaded, and released into the world was a HUGE accomplishment of 2017. They weren’t actually written in 2017, but the publication is part of the writing process, so it definitely counts.

View From The Top on Autostraddle

While my column about topping, View From The Top, over on Autostraddle ended in the spring, there were still quite a few pieces that are notable.

  • Topping While Butch: The reconciliation between being masculine and being a top, the questioning of the assumption of the power alignments and coming to my own conclusions.
  • The Thing About Sadism: This one was quite controversial, and generated some of the more … colorful comments. I’m particularly proud of the writing on this.
  • I’ll Take That Risk, And That Knife Play: The trust of dominance and submission, the believing that is necessary for the tension to take place.
  • Where I’ve Been: The penultimate piece, a retrospective of the series but also of my topping journey.
  • Where I’m Going: The finale of the series.

Cock Confidence

In addition to publishing half a dozen posts about strap-on technology & psychology, I updated the Cock Confidence page here on Sugarbutch to be a better list of ALL of the posts and reviews I’ve written in the past. It’s fun to see them all together!

Private journal entries

I started publishing private journal entries on Sugarbutch again in 2017. After writing private entries for almost two years for the folks on Patreon, I moved the private entries over to Sugarbutch (about 30 of them) and made them visible to the world. They’re still only readable by the folks who are part of Patreon. This has been a big focus and growing edge of my writing this year.

Guest post

My Dog by Avery Cassell is the top guest post of the year. I’ve been publishing a few things by authors I admire here and there, which I’ve liked doing … there are so many good erotica authors out there. Thanks to Avery for sharing this one.

Body Trust

I write monthly over on the Body Trust blog on a theme connected to the wheel of the year and my personal journey with spirit and connection and resilience.

One more thing: #2017bestnine

How I’ve been using Instagram and posting photos publicly has changed this year, and I mostly keep my Instagram account private, but I still really enjoy posting there. It’s kind of funny, I used to have such a huge photography habit and eye, and carry a complicated camera with me everywhere, but as smartphones have taken over my (and everyone else’s) life, I feel less inclined. I guess snapshot photography became more accessible, and I got a little less interested. But the self-portraiture used to be so valuable to me. Not sure why that’s changed exactly.

Here’s my top nine photos from 2017 over on Instagram. Come on over and follow me.

Two of the nine are (professional portrait) photos by Bill Wadman from November — I’m working on a sort of retrospective post with a lot of the photos he’s taken of me over the years. More of his work soon.

Looking for a good dirty read? Here ya go

Partly because I’ve been having/recovering from an emotional breakdown, and partly because I have a day job these days so I haven’t been obsessively reading either marketing books or sex/gender/relationship/kink books, I’ve been reading for pleasure a lot more lately. Goodreads says I read 86 books this year, and I’m not sure I recorded all of them.

I’ve found some particularly good erotica lately, too. I’ve been using the Kindle “read a sample” feature a lot — sometimes I just follow the recommended books on Amazon and get a sample of dozens, then read a whole bunch of them in a batch. The ones that I actually want to continue reading after the sample, I’ll buy. Honestly, it’s quite rare that I buy anything, particularly the erotic titles, but occasionally I find something!

So, looking for a good dirty read? Here ya go.

How Not to Fall, by Emily Foster

The first thing you need to know is that Emily Foster is the pen name of Emily Nagoski, PhD, who wrote the amazing book Come As You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life, which I would include in a different post about “books that have changed the way I think about sex and should be essential reading for anyone who studies sex or wants to be a sex educator or has genitals or ever thinks about sex.” She’s a brilliant researcher and educator, and a big nerd about sex (she’s lots of fun to follow on Twitter). She’s also a really good writer. So when a nerdy sex educator/theorist writes erotica? I’m in.

The characters are a professor (the dominant, of course) and graduate student (the sub). Annie isn’t experienced, but of course Charles is, so they go slowly and cautiously. Lots of negotiation, lots of witty fantastic writing, lots of science (science!!), lots of rock climbing (as metaphor and literally). I couldn’t put it down.

See also: The next book in the series, How Not to Let Go.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

How to Bang a Billionaire, by Alexis Hall

This is in the bildom genre, meaning “billionaire dominant” — a genre Fifty Shades of Grey certainly popularized, but has existed long before that book. I think what’s hot about it is that the dominant has even more power by having lots of money, control, and business prowess, therefore seeming all the more dom-ly. I have plenty of critiques of that — I’d much rather have dominants who have their inner sense of power all worked out, who don’t lean on capitalism or other forms of hierarchies (like teacher/student, boss/employee) to have the dominance that is sought — but I also have to admit: I like reading ’em.

And I especially like reading them when it’s written by one of my favorite erotica authors!

So this follows a random encounter with a gorgeous and famous billionaire and a writer (both cis guys). The writer becomes a bit of a kept boy, being put up in the billionaire’s fancy London apartment while he works and travels the world. The dominant is a bit self-loathing, and had a bad experience with an ex, so has trouble being very dominant and breaking out the kink toys, but the submissive really wants him to, so they navigate how to play with that and stay emotionally safe.

See also: The next book in the series, How to Blow it With a Billionaire, and For Real, which has a 19-year-old dominant and a 30-something year old sub, and plays deliberately with the hierarchy of age often also used to create power distance in erotica.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

The Prince’s Boy, by Cecilia Tan

Cecilia Tan is well-known in the erotica world, and has written dozens of books — so you’ve probably read something of hers before. This is a fantasy m/m novel which was originally written as a serial, and she explains a bit of that in the beginning, but because of how it was originally published, when the stories are all back-to-back they become one sex scene after another, rather than a novel with a flow and an arc. Still, it works.

The prince went to an orphanage and chose a whipping boy when he was young, because “nothing can strike the royal flesh,” and the whipping boy and prince become close. Quite close. And then intimately close, exploring sex and their bodies for the first times. But! Oh no! Then the prince is kidnapped, and there’s an evil magician putting spells on people and taking over the kingdom, and it ends up that the only thing that the prince can eat is cum, so he gets so hungry and has to suck someone off at least a few times a day. (Maybe it doesn’t make sense here, but it does in the book. Plus it’s really hot.)

Fantasy isn’t usually my genre, but the sex was so fun and it’s so well written that it was completely a page-turner.

See also: The Prince’s Boy Volume 2, and the Struck by Lightning series, which is in the bildom genre and is so well written (and kind of a parody of the genre) that it’s fantastic.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Cub, by Jeff Mann

The 17-year-old in this gorgeous novel is in West Virginia, and likes it that way. He isn’t one of those young queers who wants to run away to the big city — he loves his country roots. He just doesn’t quite fit in, and he doesn’t know how to get the queer culture and play that he wants. But along comes a guy who helps him explore, and even introduces him to a whole new image of gay men and culture than he’s ever explored, one with hairy chests and big bellies … and finds out that maybe, he’ll grow up from being a cub into a bear.

Love the body positivity in this one. The way the appreciation and fetish and sexiness of bears are talked about made me love my own body more, and made me see more what others see in my belly and hair and body. That was really moving.

Not a lot of BDSM, but fantastic romance and real feelings and characters … loved it.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Untouched, by Annabeth Leong

The protagonist in this one is practically a nymphomaniac — she loves sex, loves everything about sex, reads about it all the time, thinks about it, talks about it — but she can’t stand to be touched. Of course, the first place any new lover goes is to figure out how to “help her” out of her “disability,” and while part of the book explores that, it also hits home that this is just the way she is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s exciting to work out new ways to have sex and play with kink with these particular limitations.

It’s such a unique premise, and it was so interesting to see the negotiations, conversations, and depth of thought about this limitation.

See also: Annabeth Leong has written so many good books and stories, you could basically pick up any of hers.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Risk Aware, by Amelia C. Gormley

The protagonist of this m/m romance is a serious masochist, but also a serious hemophiliac. One hard whack could literally kill him. He and the top he falls for have to find new, interesting ways to torture him — and they do. But the protagonist also has to forgive himself and come to accept that he has plenty to give, even with his limitations.

Excellent examples of negotiation and working with physical limitations. Made me think a lot about creative scene-building, and ways to get to the feeling of a scene, rather than negotiating the content of the scene.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Nighthawk, by Artemis Oakgrove

Recommended by Xan West, I’m so glad I picked up this book. I think this is the only f/f book on this whole list, but that’s partly because the full-length lesbian (queer/afab/”lesbian”) erotica novels aren’t that common. Hey, if you have any to recommend, I’m all ears.

Nighthawk is edgy. Published in 1987, and it’s sometimes obvious, it includes lots of non-consent, (borderline?) kidnapping, strict butch/femme gender roles with tons of flaming masculinity, some violence … it’s edgy. I loved it, but particularly the non-consent and the cliche and turned-up gender roles bugged me sometimes.

Still, it’s not every day you come across a lesbian novel this dirty. Yum.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Haven, by Rebekah Weatherspoon

City girl goes on a camping trip with her brother, but a serial killer (!) finds them, kills her brother, and nearly kills her — luckily the sexy, dominant, very attractive man who lives a very solitary life in a cabin in the middle of nowhere is there to save her. And that’s how it begins.

This has another self-loathing dominant, where he has had a bad experience in the past and is now hesitant to play again, even pushes away the beautiful, willing, experienced submissive who is in front of him. Not sure why this is such a common theme in erotica — because it shows the sub really wants it? Assures the reader she isn’t being taken advantage of? — but it’s compelling.

Rebekah Weatherspoon has written many books, and she’s queer and black — she often brings race, size, and identity into her books in ways I love.

See also: The Fit trilogy, which manages to be fat-positive while still detailing a woman who wants to lose some weight, finds a gym, and falls for the trainer.
Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Dark Secret Love, Alison Tyler

Alison’s writing is widely published and she’s edited dozens of anthologies — but I believe this is her first novel, and it’s one of a 3-part series subtitled “A Story of Submission.” It’s semi-autobiographical — or at least, that’s what the author wants us to believe, since the character is named Alison and it’s all in first person. It explores Alison’s progression as a submissive through college and her early 20s, finding out what kind of things she likes and dislikes, and searching for the dominant of her dreams. Things become complicated when her dominant is both polyamorous and bisexual, though … she isn’t sure how she’ll navigate it. The series is close to being in the bildom genre, too.

Pick up anything by Alison, really. Her anthologies are highly curated and this series is particularly good.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Unrestrained, by Joey W Hill

Joey W. Hill is well known in romance circles … and I don’t know about you, but when I see something categorized as ‘romance’ I usually (in the past, anyway) tend to think that it’s not dirty enough for me, and that I want more sex. Calling it “romance” makes me think of “his throbbing member” and “her delicate pearl” and other euphemisms, or, even worse, chapters that end with the characters heading off to bed, but without any actual descriptions of the sexytimes.

The more romance I read, though, the more I have my stereotype busted open. But isn’t that the way it is?

So, I hadn’t picked up Hill’s work before, but it’s clear why she’s a big success — characters and writing are great, which will get a book really far in my … book. What made this one particularly interested was that the woman has a history of being a dominant, but it turns out that’s because her husband was submissive, and she so wanted to please him that she learned how to dominate. It’s almost as if he was the Master and she was the slave, except that the slave was the dominant and the Master was submissive, because that was the Master’s will. But her husband has now passed on, and she discovers she wants to bottom and submit, but it’s a new world of exploring for her.

I should read more of her work.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Writing Dirty, by Jack Stratton

Jack is my kind of erotica writer, filled with short skirts and age play and over the knee socks and bisexual explorations and dapper attire. This collection is the anthology version, the best-of-the-best of his ebooks and blog, and it’s a fantastic book to flip through and explore.

Jack has a million other books, though, if you want to start with something more specific, and lots of other stories published on his blog.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

QNY: Quickies in New York, by Guy New York

Guy New York writes fantastic dirty explorations of bisexuality, sensation, and pleasure indulgence … and this is the amazing anthology of ALL of it. There are over 1,000 stories and it’s listed at 814 pages.

You will find something in here that you love.

Tons of examples of his writing are on his blog, along with a lot of his beautiful dirty photographs. And if you’re in New York City, he throws some lovely parties sometimes, you should check it out.

Buy it at your local independent bookstore, or on Amazon.

Announcement! The Novella Series is Here

I finished the novella series!!

You might remember the stories when they were released on Sugarbutch, in early 2015 — but now you can have them on your very own kindle or ipad, and snuggle up with them in your bed, read them aloud to your honey, read them in a hammock at a cabin, or all sorts of other places that it’s harder to read a laptop.

A little backstory:

Perhaps you remember I did a fiction experiment on Sugarbutch (in 2015!!!) and was writing ~4 stories per month, for six months, all with the same characters. I did a variety of different gender combinations and types of sex that the characters explored — butch/femme, boi/boi, femdom/boy, daddy/girl, femme/femme. The goal was to compile them into a quickie little ebook at the end of each month, and end up with a series of 6.

But in April 2015, about a month before this project was supposed to end, I had a bit of a mental breakdown. That’s kind of a dramatic phrase to use, but I think it’s accurate. Maybe something more like “my mind broke a little bit” or “my trauma pattern reoccurred and I’ve been digging myself out ever since” or “I don’t know what the fuck happened but pretty much all my emotional energy has gone to working with this break since then.” … I guess my particular neurodiversity (such a kind way to say it, isn’t it) and developmental trauma allows me to be very high functioning — which I’m grateful for, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also meant I have been suffering for years before getting a diagnosis and actually working on long-term treatment strategies rather than temporary coping tools.

There’s a lot more to that story. Some of it is on the mentalkink posts, for which you can get the password if you support me on Patreon.

So needless to say, I didn’t finish the project. I finished the writings, but I didn’t finish the novella publications. In fact, there are a few big projects still “open” on my to do list from 2015, and while I’m compassionate and forgiving of myself, I still want to complete them, feel committed to them, and know they should be out in the world.

Here’s where you can get ’em — either on Smashwords (epub and mobi) or directly from Amazon (mobi for Kindle). If you’re a Patreon patron, you’ll get the code to download all these books for free.

If you can, please leave a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Smashwords (or all three!). It really helps to get the book in search results and “you might like…” kind of suggestions.

I appreciate every single book you buy and read, y’all. Thank you.

Daddy in the Morning

All that follows depicts characters who are adults in a consensual age play relationship, and is fantasy and fiction.

Daddy sneaks in to the girl’s room while she’s still sleeping. It is barely light out. I wake up hard again, try to take care of myself in bed but can’t quite get there, tension and frustration building. Thinking about my girl usually does it, the way she crawls into my lap and sucks my fingers, but this morning, it isn’t enough. I crave … more.

I creep down the hall and open the door to her room. She’s sleeping hard, belly down on the bed, her arms curled under the pillow. The blankets are almost completely off the bed, sheets are only partly covering her legs; she has one knee up and her legs gently open. The big tee shirt she wears as a nightgown rides up and barely covers her butt. I don’t even notice putting hand on my dick but it’s there, stroking. The skin of her thigh is exposed and I want it. Want to feel it, grab it, lick it, bite it. Want to hold each thigh in my big hands and pull her up and down.

I pull the sheets away from her legs even more. Just a little more. She won’t wake up. She won’t even know, I tell myself. I can almost see the curve of her bare ass. The outline is usually enough. Her ass is full and round, plush; I dream about squeezing it, opening her cheeks to tongue that little bud, gripping her hips as she bends forward for me. I see it jiggle and her hips wiggle when she walks and it drives me wild, every day. Her breasts are full and swollen, she is so grown up, my little girl. I keep ahold of myself. Most of the time.

She stirs when I move the sheets. I hold my breath. The tee shirt has come out from under her and it’d be so easy to lift it up off her thighs, over her ass. It’s not cold in here, she’d never know. She wakes up with it riding up all the time, I’ve seen it. I slowly kneel next to her and pull it up a little, then a little more. Her panties are cream and thin, almost a thong, and they show off her ass, framing it. I can see how her skin gets pinker between her legs.

My dick is out in my hand and hard now, so hard, straining and aching and I need the relief. Finally she is giving it to me, it feels so much better with her nearby, I know this time I can come. Hopefully before she wakes up.

I pull it all the way out of my boxers, my balls too, feeling the elastic of the shorts tight underneath, a little extra pressure. I would prefer her hand there, prefer her mouth to my fist, but this will have to do. My other knee is on the bed. When did I do that? In between her legs now. I can do it like this, she’ll never know. Just beat off here and leave my mess on her sheets, it’ll dry before she wakes up, or not, but I’ll just come get her sheets later and wash them today. Getting close. Closer.

But not close enough. Frustration builds and I can’t get there, I’m hard and thick and pre-come beads on the tip, my balls are tight, but my hand is not enough. And she’s right there. Right there. And she’s my girl, dammit. Maybe just a little more. Daddy wants you, I whisper under my breath. Daddy loves you, daddy wants you to feel good. I move a little closer. What if I just feel the softness of her panties on the tip. What if I just rub the tip against her slit. No one will know. It’s our special game.

I brush my fingertips along the edge of her panties and push it aside just enough to see her folds. So pretty. Pink and velvety, nearly bare. I use the tip of my finger. Not too soft or it will tickle, but soft enough not to disturb.

She sighs and moves her legs farther apart.

I can’t take it. It’s an invitation, I have to. I run the tip of my dick against her folds. She’s warm and wet, open. I’ll just use the outside. Daddy will just put the tip in, just a little. It won’t hurt, pretty girl. It’s going to feel good. Just the tip while I jerk it. I won’t come in you, I’ll pull it out and spill on the sheets. Daddy needs it. Do it for your daddy.

I pump my hand harder, getting close. She stirs again, lifts her head. “Daddy … ?”

“Shhhh, girl. Almost done.”

“What are you … ?” She starts to twist and her pussy brushes against me, pushes me a little deeper. “Oh!” she cries out a little, feeling it there, hard against her special place. Her movement makes my dick pulse in my hand, I can feel it jump.

“Just a little more for your daddy,” I grunt, pushing on get back with the other hand, making her stay on her belly. “Almost .. done …”

“Daddy,” she whimpers. She brings her hand close to her face, starts sucking on her thumb. The tip is in and she’s so wet and warm, I want to slide it in all the way, I’m trying to restrain. So close. Keep yourself together. I’m so hard. My hips jerk forward.

“Daddy, no,” she cries, lifting her hips. She wants it, the little slut. She doesn’t even know she does.

“Pretty girl, Daddy is almost done. You can do it. Just stay still for me. Almost done.” My balls are getting high and tight and I can feel the pressure building. Her folds are so soft. She pushes back against me and I slip in a little more as I continue to jerk it, my hand knocking into her pussy on each stroke. She cries out. I want to finger her, want my mouth on her, want to feel her come with my dick all the way in her, want her up and down on it sitting on my lap.

“Daddy no, Daddy, you can’t,” she cries.

“Shhh, almost done baby girl, Daddy needs it, you can do it for me.”

She squirms but it just feels even better, she tightens and her pussy grips my the tip of my dick and slips it in even deeper, I can’t hold back, I don’t think I can even pull out in time, the little Lolita is going to get it, that’s what she deserves, I can’t help it, look what she makes me do.

“Doesn’t it feel good, babygirl? Does it feel slick and nice between your legs?” I move slowly, caressing her, close to coming. Her breath quickens, she gasps a little, back arching, spine rippling.

“Yes Daddy, yes Daddy I like it. It does feel good Daddy, it does,” She moans, pushing back against me. She grips the sheets, cries out, tightens again.

“Good girl,” I say. I try but I can’t help it, I push in all the way to the hilt. She’s so wet and open and sweet and warm, she pulls it all out of me as I explode inside her. I can feel the pulses of come as I throb. I hold myself up by my arms, barely, kissing the back of her neck and her cheek.

“My good girl.”

Liquid Smoke

Liquid Smoke
or, Dad’s favorite foods to make and eat

slicing apples with a knife on the couch
spiraling the peel

tuna rice
turkey burgers on the grill
pickled garlic cloves right from the jar

halibut and chips out the road
at that tiny diner behind the auto shop
that nobody knows is there

jojo potatoes and chimichangas at foodland’s deli
popcorn and the veggie lover’s supreme pizza at bullwinkle’s

all you can eat chinese buffets,
especially the spring rolls and general tso’s chicken

grandma joan’s zucchini bread
his signature lemon bars
coffee with irish cream
mike’s hard lemonade

chocolate cake
the gluten-free dairy-free kind
and the glutenous dairy-full kind

baked brie with crackers
baked halibut with yogurt dill sauce
cheese and refried bean dip
clam chowder, especially ivar’s in seattle

lead balloon soup
a carrot/potato/onion kitchen soup kind of thing
that he says ‘goes over like a lead balloon’

nathan’s hot dogs in new york city
on his ‘must do’ list the one time he visited me

his signature chili
with liquid smoke as the secret ingredient
on family dinner sunday

The Personal Blog Is Not Dead

I’ve been writing personal journal entries online again. For a while, it was on a completely different WordPress subdomain, but recently I imported all those posts to Sugarbutch — about 30 of them from the last two years. Since I brought them in to Sugarbutch, I’ve had more supporters there, and sharing them again has been inspiring me to write even more of them.

The new password is available for people who are Patreon supporters. You can be a supporter at any amount. (There are other benefits, too! Like free ebooks and giveaways and following my work in all the places I’ve been writing and personal updates and musings.)

I understand the frustration of someone you follow putting their (arguable best) work behind a paywall … but at this point, 11 years into writing on Sugarbutch, and with the death of personal blogs, things have changed so much. I just can’t share like I used to. A big part of the challenge of publishing personal things is the vulnerability, and the overexposure. There are just too many people reading, and when things are very fresh, when the things I’m writing about are still happening, it can be crippling to have comments or even acknowledgment.

So I am narrowing my audience. I tried to narrow it before, offering the password to the mailing list. But the mailing list is over 10,000 email addresses now. So now, it goes to the Patreon folks. I know that they are invested in me, in my art and expression, in my journey, and that feels like buy-in in a different way than folks who consume my writing as more of a reality tv show. Sharing it with the Patreon folks is a new experiment, and I’m not even sure how long it’ll last.

When I met rife, and Kristen and I started breaking up and having deep challenges between us, I started writing less about what was happening for me personally. Kristen requested me not to — but also, I was shutting down, struggling. Maybe I’d call it a sort of writer’s block, but really it was because I didn’t want to read or admit what I was writing. As I started writing less personally, I also started building Sugarbutch as more of a ‘brand,’ studying entrepreneurship, and trying to turn my work into a more serious business. That too took my focus away from sharing the personal. And in lots of ways, it was good for me; I learned a lot and it moved me forward. And I kept struggling. Those years were a major depression for me, and it’s taken a lot to get out of it … but maybe I am out of it? It’s certainly different now.

Plus, I have a job again. My grip on survival and money is not quite so terrified. I’m not working on my brand, my work, my websites, my marketing for every spare minute of every day, and collapsing when not working on it. It’s taken about a year of this new job (and 18 months of therapy) to get back to myself in this way, but it’s been a relief now that I’m writing more.

And yet, it still incites panic in my stomach to think about publishing those very personal things. But the Patreon has been deeply supportive … I love that it gives me hope that my writing is actually a valuable addition to the world, and it gives me financial proof in exchange. I love getting to know folks more and recognizing their names and having deeper conversations — it feels like I’m building friendships, not ‘readers.’

Money isn’t the only kind of exchange for my work, though. I know sometimes money is just not an option at all — my finances have at times been that tight, where it’s just impossible to spend even a dollar. I get it. I’m open to other ideas. As many of my friends have said, “I can’t pay my rent in vegan cupcakes,” so there are plenty of things I don’t really need and that won’t help me to exchange, but I’m sure there are even more which are useful and lovely. I’m not sure what they are? Perhaps folks who are interested in trading for something other than money can let me know and we can talk about what we could do?

I often hate it when people put their (arguably best) work behind a paywall, and I have in the past refused to give them money on principle. Even through all of the work I’ve done in the entrepreneur world, and knowing how little artists and activists get paid, it still feels arrogant or self-righteous to me — though I know it shouldn’t. But now that Patreon has rolled around, it feels very easy to support artists in that way. At first, as research, I pledged $10 a month to be divided among different folks on Patreon, and I’ve kept with that for the past few years, moving around the money depending on whose work is speaking to me right then. I’ve loved seeing behind the scenes and getting to know the struggles behind the creations. It really is a wonderful platform for creators online.

There’s also news that Patreon has changed their terms of service to exclude certain kinds of adult content. Violet Blue has been following this and investigating very closely, and I’m sure there’s still many updates to come, but it has made me panic much more than I expected. Will this support that has become so important to my work suddenly be taken out from under me? Will my CONSENSUAL explorations of fantasy cause me this circle of friends and support that has become an essential piece of my work? They aren’t saying that all adult content is banned, but I know my content with consensual non-consent and age play sets off alarm bells. I don’t really want to remove all of that from my site, but what if they say I can stay if I do? Would I do it?

I don’t know what’ll happen next with that. But for now, please come join my inner circle, and tell me you support my writing not with your words, but with a little bit of energy. For the price of a cup of coffee once a month. For a dollar. For a hundred dollars. For whatever you can spare. It tells me you want me to keep going, that you get value from this. And I’ll be glad to bring you in and share some of the harder, deeper truths that I’m struggling with, and learning.

PS: The old password still works for the older journal entries. The new ones tagged with mentalkink have the new password, the older ones have the password you got via email on the mailing list. I probably would go back and change all the old ones if I could, but that will be a deep to-do item for the site, since it’s so time consuming.

2017 Sex Blog Lists

A couple big news sex blog roundups came out today — 

Cosmopolitan listed this site at #2 on their “7 Best Places To Read Literotica Online” article!

“Sugar Butch Chronicles features well-curated smut from Sinclair Sexsmith, a non-binary feminist. Like good visual queer feminist porn, Sugar Butch Chronicles makes sure to include notes on consent and erotica that features a variety of body types, gender, and orientation. Along with dirty stories, the site, visually designed with a classic mahogany template features informative essays on getting your period as a butch lesbian and explainers on what it means to be genderqueer. But back to the dirty stories. “Cruising in the Woods” introduces us to Kai and DJ, a queer couple with a knack for getting one another (and you) off with outdoor oral sex.”

I love that it mentions rife’s fantastic web design skills. (And just in case YOU need a website, go to Rowdy Ferret Design and check out his work and contact him.)

I’m also on Kinkly’s top erotica sex blog list at #4! thank you!

I’m also on the general top sex blog list at #46. The top blogs are majority white cis straight women (with some notable exceptions!) … but I suppose that is the general demographic of sex blogs.

Interesting that sex blogs have a ‘demographic’ now, when they were once so radical and bold and felt *important* … now they feel like an industry, a job that college students aspire to.

I’d love to see a little sub-list of the best queer sex blogs, though there really aren’t very many [that aren’t focused on sex toy reviews]. I built one a few years ago, but I’m sure there are more? There must be, right? Let me know if there are any more to add!

Speaking of queer sex blogs and promotion and getting our work out there:

There’s been some difficulty with Patreon lately — they adjusted their terms of service to exclude [risky] adult content. I’m pretty nervous that they’re going to shut down my account. Since launching mine in 2015, it’s been a HUGE piece of what’s kept me going and motivated and writing online — it’s so easy to feel unsupported and taken advantage of when giving away free writing online. It feels great to have a (small) audience again for personal current journal writing.

(And you can join the Patreon to get the password for the recent protected posts where I’m writing more journal entries again. It feels good, it’s starting to infuse my writing online more lately.)

Violet Blue is doing an amazing job of cataloguing and reporting about these Patreon changes. (Follow her on Twitter.) She notes that this is just one in a long line of online censorship, and says: “Since censorship of sexual expression is at an all-time high, I’m going old school: Here’s a sex blog roundup.”

I LOVE THIS! So old school. Remember when the round-ups were around? The search engines weren’t nearly as reliable and the way to find other good blogs was in bloggers’ sidebars, and in roundups, and carnivals, and things like e[lust].

I guess my point is … Thanks for following sex writing, dears. Thanks for following me all these years or just discovering my work now … thanks for reading.

Which harnesses work with double dildos?

Featured image l-r: Feeldoe Realdoe; Injoyus; Double by BS Atelier; Fuze Tango Double-Ender

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

My girlfriend is visiting soon and is buying a Share dildo for her visit. She is looking at getting a RodeoH harness to use with it, but the folks there have conflicting opinions about what will work with the Share. Do you have any advise on a harness that will work with the Share, or for that matter, advise on double-headed cocks?

— Avery

Hi! Glad to help …

The trouble with advice about these things is that they’re all so subjective, ya know? So what works for me may not work for others. Still, here’s my best ideas, from my own experiences and from talking to a lot of other folks.

First: Can’t double-ended dildos be used alone?

Yes! Absolutely. However, they do have a tendency to slip out, especially in certain positions (like if the wearer is on top with their legs apart, for example). Using a harness with a double makes it more secure while still giving the wearer extra sensation.

My favorite uses for the double-ended dildos are: 1. receiving blow jobs, 2. when fucking, being on the bottom with the receiver’s legs spread over my hips, so my legs can squeeze together, 3. jerking off. In that order.

Which double-ended cock to choose

Personally I like the Feeldoe Realdoe the best of the double-headed ones. It has a variety of sizes and colors (though the colors correspond to the sizes, so you can’t just get whichever color you want in any size), and I particularly like the (white person) skin tone color because it’s relatively close to my own. (It only comes in one “flesh tone” though, which is unfortunate. And by “unfortunate” I mean “normalizes whiteness”). The angle is really good, the side that goes inside the wearer stays put better than others, it rubs up against the wearer’s bits better than others. It’s pretty hard silicone, so it doesn’t feel the best in someone’s mouth — it doesn’t have any give (especially after being spoiled by NYTC and Vixen). This is particularly noticeable for blow jobs, though sometimes also penetration.

The Share is pretty good, though I’ve found the part that goes inside is super uncomfortable for my body. It’s a lot larger than others, and that doesn’t work for me. Others have told me the same thing. But if your girlfriend likes that feeling of being filled, it may not be an issue!

Edited to add: Vixen has just come out with a new vixskin (their ‘realistic’ line of silicone) double, called the Peacemaker. I haven’t tried it yet, but given their superior material, it basically automatically goes to the top of my list as The Best. (I can’t speak to why it has the dual-color thing though. Maybe it’s to make sure you know which end goes inside you? Maybe the creator just really likes purple? The other end comes in their usual vanilla, caramel, chocolate colors.)

Which harnesses to try

Personally I’m not a big fan of the RodeoH because I like really rough sex, and I like my harness to rub against me to keep myself the most stimulated. The RodeoH is too elastic-y for that. It might be a great one to start with, though, and one can always change it up to a material which is stronger! I know it is extremely well liked by most folks, particularly because it can be very comfortably worn under clothes. It works okay with double-ended cocks like Share + Feeldoe, but the o-ring is limited on the RodeoH. It still accommodates up to about 2″ (which tends to be the largest girth that most queer/women companies make their cocks), but the o-ring sits pretty high, which makes it hard to get the o-ring lined up with the double. But it’s stretchy, so some folks have no trouble making it work!

Part of the issue about harnesses and doubles is that the o-ring is in a very particular place, and the double comes out of a very particular place, and often they are not the same. So the best fix for this is to have a harness where you can change the length between the straps, the part that goes between the legs. Mostly that’s leather and other non-leather, rather than the underwear-type harnesses. Highly recommend: the leather pleasure harness, and the commando harness, both by Aslan Leather. Commando rides very low, which is helpful for doubles. Leather pleasure is highly convertible; the “driver pad” behind the dildo base comes off, it’s convertible to a 1-strap, and all the strap lengths and o-ring are changeable.

However, both those harnesses are a little harsh for bigger bodies — it can sometimes dig into my sides and that can be painful. For bigger bodies I highly highly recommend the spareparts Joque, it’s stretchy enough to be comfortable but still firm enough for rough sex … the straps (like a jock, not like a g-string) are changeable easily to move the hole down for doubles.

Hope this helps!

Purchase these toys at your local favorite women-positive queer-positive sex toy store, or at through these fine links. Most links in this post are for She Vibe, because they have an amazing selection. Some links are elsewhere if She Vibe doesn’t carry it. I get a little kickback if you buy anything through my links, but none of this was officially sponsored by She Vibe.

“Even between the closest people infinite distances exist.”

rife and I are getting married next week.

I’ve been keeping it close to my chest. Private. Sharing it with my closest folks, but not really even sharing the photos online. I feel protective of them, like I don’t really want to scroll through Tumblr someday and see one just randomly on some queer reblog. I mean don’t get me wrong, it’s thrilling to see my work being passed around the internet … but sometimes it feels like something personal is now public property.

So I’ve been quiet about it. And working so hard to make it happen. I’ll be writing through it, no doubt, and I’ll share more with you after I’ve had some time for it to settle.

Meanwhile, here are some of our “engagement” photos.

Najva Sol is a photographer we love, and have shot with before, and she’s now all fancy over at a big wedding site. She happened to be in San Francisco for a work trip a few months ago, so we carved out half a day to shoot some photos.

These are some of the slightly more power-dynamic-y ones, the ones we didn’t send to family.

These next few have a special story. rife woke up from a dream, a few months before we took these photos, about frolicking through the woods in a dirty wedding dress and then being in this very specific pose with me, where I had my boot on his thigh. He woke up, told me about it, and drew it that day, excited to recreate it in a photo. He knew I was wearing red with black suspenders, he knew what kind of dress he wanted and ordered it online. So we did it.

All photos are by Najva Sol. Thank you!

Oh, the quote above? It’s from Rilke, in a little piece about marriage, individuation, and the journey of walking two paths together. We’re going to read it as part of the ritual. I see it as a reminder, since I can often lose sight of myself and my own needs in relationship, and a wonderful goal to aim toward as we take next steps forward.

On Marriage

Rainer Maria Rilke

Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.

The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky. For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is.

And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.

Thanks for being part of this journey y’all <3 You’ve seen this relationship since the beginning really, and while I’ve been more quiet about it (here, anyway — you can still get some of the more nitty-gritty through the Patreon), I still share a lot and I appreciate your witness and reflection. Sincere gratitude to you all.

PS: Because people have asked, here’s the link to our wedding registry.

Review: Sam STP from New York Toy Collective

Yep, it’s pretty much everything you want it to be.

Sam, the new STP from New York Toy Collective, is a cute little fat soft-ish packing dick with a wide opening in the back to press against the wearer’s bits and a hole through the middle so pissing through it is easy. I love how the urethra is a little bit narrow, and squeezing it controls the stream a little bit. I love how short and stubby and chubby it is. I love the design, it sits so easily in underwear.

Details:

100% Platinum Silicone and available in 4 skin tones Cashew, Caramel, Hazelnut, Chocolate, Sam is easy to use and reliable. We suggest wearing Sam in snug underwear like briefs boxer briefs. Sam does not require specialty underwear. As with any stand to pee product- practice makes perfect. Size: Total length: 5 5/8 inches from testes to urethra opening. Girth: 1.5 inch shaft.

There are quite a few STP models out there, and it seems like there are new and better ones released every year now. I love how many queer and trans folks are involved in the production of toys like this! Seems like it wasn’t always that way. But now, the color ranges are bigger, the function is greatly improved.

Sam, like all of New York Toy Collective’s products, is made out of medical grade silicone, body safe and very durable. (I mean, if your dog gets ahold of it I can’t vouch for it. But it’ll stand up to all kinds of wear & tear.)

It’s excellent for STP — standing to pee. It’s easy; with the wide opening, I feel confident that the pee isn’t going to spill out, and I like how squeezing it a little controls the stream. I’ve been keeping this dick in the shower for some convenient golden showers play while I’ve been getting used to using it.

I can’t imagine this would work for any sort of insertion/fucking someone else, since it’s basically hollow and not very stiff, plus I’m not sure how it would work inside a harness. Maybe a little bit? Especially in the underwear-style harnesses, since they’d keep it tucked up against the wearer’s body.

But you know what it is amazing for? Blow jobs. The hole through the middle creates some suction, and that can feel veeeeeeery gooooooood. (If you’re into that kind of thing.) (Which I am.) It’s short and kinda stubby but still fat enough that it’s real pretty to watch someone get their mouth around it, and it’s great for some play with force, since it’s not going to actually choke them (very much).

Plus, it lends itself to some great dirty talk: “You want that dick, boy? Get it all nice and hard then. Look, it’s still soft and small. If you want it, you’re going to have to make it hard. Go on, do it right. You’re not going to get it until you make it big and hard.”

Or, you know, whatever works for you.

Conclusion: This is a really fun and versatile toy with many uses. NYTC makes some of the best silicone dicks on the market, and so of course their STP is extremely high quality as well. It’s a fantastic addition to the NYTC family of toys. I’ve already used it often, and it’s easily earned a space in my frequently-used-dicks-drawer.

Use code SUGARBUTCH on the New York Toy Collective website for $5 off!

This toy was sent to me from New York Toy Collective in exchange for an honest review. Pick up SAM at your local feminist queer-positive women-positive kink-positive sex toy shop. Don’t know where your closest one is? Check out this map.

#SexEdPornReviews: Episode 235 of Crash Pad Series, Featuring Mr Pink and Unkle Daddy

Folks? Please stop what you’re doing and go watch this Crash Pad Series episode. Or, if you really can’t watch porn wherever you are right now — idk you could be driving, or at work, or having dinner with your mom or something — then schedule a time to watch it later. I mean seriously. WATCH. IT.

I know you are interested in butches, at least in some way, because you’re reading this. So yeah, you there, I have your number.

I’ve never seen porn like this! The two queers do things that made my head spin. They put a clitoral pump on and cover it with a sleeve (I’m not sure exactly what it is — for cis dicks? A trans man jack off tool?), and proceed to suck that off. Then — THEN — there is a hitachi with a kind of O-ring attachment which goes AROUND the dick/pump/attachment.

And really that’s just the beginning. I mean do you see them kissing? The tenderness and meanness in here is so good. And the dirty innovative fun kinky play … that somehow is also really masculine and honoring of masculine bodies … I’m not sure how to explain that, but it really struck me throughout. Maybe it’s because Mr. Pink and Unkle Daddy are just embodied and comfortable in their own skins? Maybe they have amazing chemistry? Maybe they just know how to use their bodies and each other’s?

Whatever it is, UNHFFF. It’s really good.

Go watch Episode 235, Mr. Pink and Unkle Daddy, on the Crash Pad Series here, and visit the whole Crash Pad site here. The subscription is so worth it.

Episode 235, Mr. Pink and Unkle Daddy was provided for me to watch as a reviewer from Crash Pad Series. Check ’em out and support their work. Pay artists! Pay writers! Pay for porn!

The Best Uncut Strap-Ons (Review: Uncut #1 by Tantus & Ellis by New York Toy Collective)

Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way: There is no silicone strap on that I know of which has foreskin that actually slides and moves. None of these do that. Yep, I know. But since strap-on manufacturing is changing practically monthly, perhaps that’s something we can expect in the near future!

I’ve heard some sex toy aficionados posit that actually, pretty much all realistic-looking dildos are uncut and have foreskin — there’s so often a little wrinkle of skin beneath the head, and they said that was the foreskin, pulled back. Hmm. Not sure I buy it.

But either way, What I really want is one that moves. Because even still, after all these years, I am really cock-centric in my play.

This is a little personal, but when I first got the uncut packer by New York Toy Collective (featured as a little bonus at the end of this post), I was unusually drawn to it and it felt like mine and embodied in a new way. I thought about it, and given my parent’s politics, if they’d had a kid who was assigned male at birth, I actually think my parents would not have had him circumcised. So it actually felt closer to what, perhaps, my body would have experienced. That feeling kinda trips me out, even still. And I guess that’s why I am particularly drawn to these.

From left to right: CalExotics Uncut Emperor, Tantus Uncut #1, New York Toy Collective Ellis

Uncut Emperor Suction Cup by CalExotics

The Uncut Emperor came to me from She Vibe, which has an incredible collection of strap-ons. This is not silicone, its some sort of TPE — which is “thermoplastic elastomer.” Its very common for strap-ons to be made from this material, but you wont find it in most of the feminist, queer- and women-centered sex toy stores, because the material is porous. But on the other hand, TPE is much less expensive than silicone, so this one is about $30-40 in various places online, which is a big difference from the $100-150 pricetag of most silicone dildos. This one is “body safe,” meaning it does not contain any phthalates, which is a particularly bad type of processed plastic that is absolutely not body safe and known to cause cancer).

So, because it is body safe, because I was really looking for a great uncut dick, and because SheVibe highly recommended it, I was excited to give it a try. It is a handsome shape, and the colors work for my skin (though that means they are very white, so that’s not so great as an inclusive offering).

I can see that some of the photos of the Uncut Emperor have the foreskin peeling significantly back, but my model does not do that. Maybe it was just a slightly older design, and it’s been updated? Maybe mine was just more attached than others? So while it does peel back, it’s more like peeling a banana than sliding foreskin over the head. Which is what I’m actually looking for in the movement part.

And unfortunately, it was touching a packing cock in a dresser drawer that is also not silicone, and the two of them started melting and touching together, leaving indents on both of them. I forget that pretty much every kind of dildo that isn’t silicone does that, so I accidentally damaged both of them (and it was one of my favorite packers, too. Luckily, they are affordable, and I got another one!). Big bummer.

Overall: Not impressed. Very hard to wear in a harness, got damaged and warped by being in a drawer, skin doesn’t really pull back how I want it to. I did play with it a few times — and I’ve got to get a silicone cock with a suction cup! — but it’s not something I pick up anymore.

Tantus Uncut #1

Tantus makes an Uncut #2 as well, which is about 1” shorter in length but only about 0.15” smaller around. I prefer the bigger #1, but considering my most favorite cocks are quite a bit larger than the Uncut #1, it feels rather slender for me.

Which, for me, makes it a really great butt toy.

It’s slender, but it still has a pronounced head that gives some texture going in. The silicone is body safe and easy to clean, which is necessary to me for butt toys.

It’s part of Tantus’ dual-density line, which makes it much more squishy than their usual silicone, much of which is very hard. But even so, it’s hard to feel the difference in the two layers of silicone — they still both feel fairly solid, and it’s not quite as malleable as I’d prefer.

Overall: Great shape, great size. Excellent materials. Highly recommend.

New York Toy Collective Ellis

See this? This is why I’m spoiled with the dual-density type of materials. New York Toy Collective — and Vixen Creations — have raised the bar so high with the feel of strap-on dicks, that most other softskin or pureskin or silkyskin or whateverskin that other manufacturers make pretty much always falls short. I’ll admit, I’m spoiled. You spoil me, NYTC!

I love the Ellis. I love the whole NYTC line, to be honest. It doesn’t have the built in proprietary core that bends like the Carter and the Shilo do, so if you’re expecting it to be like NYTC’s signature dildos, you may be disappointed. But if you can take Ellis for what she is — a beautiful, well-designed, dual density silicone uncut strap-on — it’s fantastic.

Again, the skin does not move. Still bummed about that, but what can you do. I love the tapered head on this one, it also makes it a really good butt toy — or a really good blow job toy, because it can slip just a little farther since the tip is slender. It’s long, easily harnessable, with just the right amount of give.

You can get the Ellis either with a vibrating bullet that inserts into the base, or a suction cup! Personally I’m into the suction cup, but if you are someone who likes bullet vibrators next to your bits, go for it.

Overall: 12/10 will use again. And again and again.

Also! Use the code “SUGARBUTCH” at newyorktoycollective.com and you’ll get $5 off — basically free shipping!

Bonus: New York Toy Collective Pierre

This one isn’t an insertable (at least, not really), but the New York Toy Collective’s Pierre is one of the few silicone packing cocks out there, period — and it’s also uncut. It comes in two different sizes, small and regular, and four different lovely colors.

This one and the Masho are my favorites to pack with these days. I love how Pierre feels, and I love feeling the tip in particular. I have taken to starting blow jobs on a packer in my own sex play lately, and I really like that … it feels like starting at the beginning, and then watching the process of getting hard. It feels more intimate, to have my dick sucked when it’s so soft and vulnerable and small. And it feels sweet, and revealing.

Overall: One of the best packers on the market, period. It’s got a featured spot.

These toys were all sent to me for an honest, unbiased review. You can buy Pierre and Ellis over at New York Toy Collective, Uncut #1 and Uncut #2 from Tantus, and Uncut Emperor from SheVibe — or your favorite feminist, queer, women-centered sex toy. Find your closest sex toy store on this sex toy store map.

Don’t forget — Use the code “SUGARBUTCH” at newyorktoycollective.com and you’ll get $5 off — basically free shipping!