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.

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!

Please., Guest Post by Jade A. Waters (Excerpt from The Assignment)

I’ve got an exciting mid-winter read for you: an excerpt from Jade A. Waters’ new book, The Assignment, from the 3-book Lessons in Control Series (part two comes out this spring). I love Jade’s writing and I can’t wait to read the whole thing!

“I trust you,” I said. The dig of the rope made it hard to focus, but when Dean bent over me, his crotch was so near my face I couldn’t resist.

I lifted my head and mouthed the bulge at his groin.

He stilled and closed his eyes, a growl pouring from his throat. “You minx,” he said. He surrendered to the heat of my mouth, not stopping me from cupping my lips around him through the fabric.

“I want to taste you.”

Dean ran a finger along my arm, then over my cheek. “You will.” He set back to work, locking my second wrist in place and pretending not to notice the hungry way I mouthed his covered erection. I wanted the fabric gone to taste his skin, but Dean kept right on working, captivating me with his focus. When he finished, he sat back to survey his handiwork.

“Not so bad,” I said. I fisted my hands. The pull of the rope was noticeable yet bearable, and as he grabbed my breasts and rolled my nipples between his fingers, I strained against the rough strands with a choked murmur.

“Oh, I’m not done yet.”

Dean lowered his face to my nipple and took it gently in his teeth while he kneaded my other breast. He clamped his teeth tighter, and I bucked beneath him, the sheets rumpling beneath my back. Dean sat upright.

“See, that’s why I’m tying you all the way down. Already, though, you look amazing.” He ran his hands along my waist before resting his fingers over the ridge that tented his slacks. He rubbed himself, and I moaned.

“No fair!”

“I love how eager you are.” Dean climbed off me to grab another coil, and when he returned, he pushed my legs up until I folded at the knees and my back rounded against the mattress.

The sensation of being moved—no, arranged and positioned, with my hands bound like this—made my blood rise. Dean’s jaw remained taut with seriousness, and yet his eyes glowed with a zealous enthusiasm when he settled between my thighs. My heartbeat clattered in my chest as he tied me with my lower and upper legs pressed together, the coils weaving multiple times around my shin and thigh, binding them tight. Dean finished the other leg much faster than the first. Then he spread my legs apart.

“You’re positively dripping,” he said, staring down at my groin. The wet spot beneath my ass was cold and alluring.

Fuck, this entire experience was alluring.

“Dean.” I didn’t understand the sensation in me. My body shook, and I felt euphoric without him even touching me yet.

Dean’s face brightened. He took a couple of fingers to my cleft, tracing my slippery opening and making me cry out. I started to close my legs but he shoved them apart, the muscles in my thighs quaking against his force. “Your legs stay open,” he said sharply, his fingers making slow, entrancing circles. He slid them up to pinch my clit and sank his thumb inside in rapid thrusts. I rolled my hips up with a groan. “If you want more, you must keep them open. Do you understand?”

I tugged on the ropes in affirmation, the tingling in my pelvis maddening. I was bound and trapped beneath this beautiful man, and so fucking turned on.

Dean didn’t cease the exquisite movements of his thumb and fingers, and his eyes slit as he watched my pussy flex. Heat showered me, threatening to knock every reasonable thought from my head. My vision blurred. Everything about this consumed me.

I’d never felt anything like it.

Dean raised himself on his knees. He eased down the zipper of his slacks, pulling them and his briefs off his hips in a quiet sweep. His cock leaped up to his belly, the crown bulbous and smooth, and all I could think of was my lust for him.

“Please.” I kept my legs wide like he’d instructed, overrun by burgeoning need so heavy even my lungs felt weighted. “Fill me, please …”

Dean took his shaft in his hand, squeezing until the head turned a lighter shade of red. Against the muscles of his stomach it looked like a dream—hard as stone and beckoning me, promising delight.

Dean wrangled his trousers off and took two condoms out of his pocket. He threw one of them onto my nightstand and dropped the other on the comforter, circling my hips with his fingers before dragging them back to my slit. Once he slipped both thumbs inside, I was delirious with pleasure. “Are you on the pill?”

I came to slightly. “Yes, but—”

He shoved his thumbs deeper. “I don’t intend to take off the condom. I’m simply asking to know. Backup is good.”

He came at me then, his tongue dipping in with his thumbs, the pressure of his touch profound as he lapped at me. I struggled to keep from clamping my thighs around his head, concentrating on the burn of the rope in the shifts of my thighs while he brought me to elevated planes of pleasure. My face grew numb, my breath ragged and I was floating in my mind, separating from my body. Dean dragged his tongue lower, his thumbs making hearty thrusts to match his tease of the tender ring of my ass.

I moaned, subjected to his touch and unable to move. His tongue penetrated me and he rubbed his nose against my cunt, his thumbs grazing my inner walls.

My reflex was to thrash, to jump away from this, but he’d pinned me in place. Dean groaned, his tongue bringing the orgasm close, and I felt such driving need I shrieked out his name.

With his eyes glassy and his face drenched, Dean pulled away from me. Feral moans escaped my lips as he found the condom and rolled it over his throbbing length. He crawled over me, his sexy body about to overtake me in this bound-up state.

“Please,” I breathed.


Pick up The Assignment by Jade A. Waters at your local awesome bookstore, or, if you must, through Amazon.

You can be your strongest self AND a power bottom

From the moment I met Casey*, it was clear that they were a powerhouse. They ran a non-profit, were involved with leather community events, managed a Facebook group for queer survivors that had thousands of members, and kept up an amazing vegetable garden. I saw them work a room at a kinky happy hour, and I was impressed. They were charming, funny, generous, and so welcoming — and it wasn’t even their event. Casey just naturally exudes confidence and ease, and it’s infectious.

I immediately thought they were a top.

“Everybody always thinks that,” Casey told me later that night, sitting next to me at the bar, both of us waiting for another drink. “I can’t tell you how many times bottoms have tried to pick me up. But I’m not. I’m submissive. But people don’t see that in me, because they expect submissives to be cowering in the corner waiting for a dominant to tell them what to do.”

Casey was so eloquent, speaking about their desires for submission. (And you know me, I’m a sucker for somebody who can use words to articulate what they want and how they work. Yum.) But still, I went away from that thinking, Casey is absolutely right … there is a huge difference between having a submissive personality and having the desire to submit to someone in bed. And I played into those social expectations, too, by assuming their outgoing behavior meant that they were a top.

(I try really hard not to assume people’s power orientation, though it’s pretty much human nature to speculate and put others into categories we understand. I try to lead with questions, rather than assumptions, and to keep any surprise to myself, as best as I can.)

I’ve heard this complaint about being assumed to have passive personalities from lots of other submissive folks, too: from leather girls who are worried that their job is too high-powered, that daddies are all scared off by it. From subs who are convinced that no one can ever tell they are submissive, because they are in charge of too many social groups. From bois who believe deeply that their masculinity will always be read as dominance, and that they will always have to explain that they’re not a top.

I call it …

The Bad-Ass/Bottom Paradox

Based on kinky stereotypes, it seems like being a bad-ass and being a bottom are contradictory. But they’re not — just like being a sweetheart and being a top are not contradictory. Having a core of concern and emotional care for someone else makes that person even better qualified to be a top, just like having a strong sense of self, direction, and desire makes someone an even better bottom.

Submissives are often seen as weak, passive little creatures who don’t have a brain of their own, and whose head gets filled with their dominant’s every whim. Or, perhaps worse, as doormats who are being taken advantage of, controlled, and manipulated.

While this might be true for some folks — toxic relationship behavior and abuse can and does happen in D/s relationships, just like any other — most submissives I know are actually bad-asses. They aren’t empty vessels; their heads are full of managing their own lives — car payments, asking for vacation time off, calendaring the next social events, keeping up with knitting trends on Pinterest (and often, parts of their dominant’s lives, too).

On the other hand, I heard from Jake*, a queer boy who took Submissive Playground, that he was pretty sure he was submissive, but he’d never done much psychological play, though he craved it, because he thought he’d have to give up parts of himself, or make himself smaller in order to be “good” at it.

No. On the contrary.

I actually think submission can help make someone even more of a bad-ass than they already are. Healthy, functional submission requires knowing oneself, holding boundaries, communication, being vulnerable about desires, having good recovery skills when things go wrong — and so many more advanced communication skills. Folks who do have submissive personalities can find themselves gaining inner strength, self-worth, and fortitude after exploring submission deeper.

Submission does not require someone to make yourself small, to turn off your desires, to cater to someone else’s every whim (you know, not unless you negotiate that — but that’s way down the line. Or, way up the power escalator**). It really is possible to be a total bad-ass, and turn your ass up to get spanked, or turn over authority to someone you trust and love. In fact, it’s not only possible — it’ll give you a leg up.

* Not their real names

** As related to the relationship escalator, I use the term “power escalator” to mean that in relationships based on authority exchange or power play that often, both parties assume that as trust builds, they will play with more and more power exchange, but that is not always what the people ultimately want. Stopping anywhere along the ‘power escalator’ is valid, and going all the way to total power exchange 24/7 M/s is not the most “real”, or better, or any more valid than any other place.

Thanks to Crash Pad Series for the image, from Episode 149 with Alani Pi and Nikki Darling


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Hard Handed Femme, Guest Post by Dena Hankins (Excerpt from Lysistrata Cove)

This story contains consensual BDSM play, including choking, punching, and foreplay.

As she circled the large structures for rope play in the middle of the room, she found him.

Jack stood with his feet spread like a sailor, arms crossed over a black chest harness that came together in the middle of his back at a shiny ring, probably stainless steel. His compass rose tattoo covered the bulk of his skin, with the light scribing of chart details radiating along his shoulders and sides, disappearing into his dark blue jeans. He was in three-quarter profile, and she could see the tattooed chain loop around his arm and cross his shoulders, but not the anchors on his forearms. His tousled hair caught the light over the scene he watched, giving him a nimbus that contrasted with the dirty-boy tone of his presentation.

She must have come into his range of vision, because he started and turned toward her. His arms dropped away from his chest, covered only with the leather straps and a buckle so that she could see his nipples harden. She’d planned to start aloof and make him work for her attention, but she couldn’t contain her sly smile. No reason to stick to a plan when an opportunity stared one straight in the face.

She wanted to walk right to him and grab him by the neck. She wanted to see his eyes widen and feel his breath catch, but, yes, a DM wandered close by. She’d have to give the impression of negotiating.

Eve stared into Jack’s eyes as she approached, daring him to look away. She stopped so close his short breaths warmed her neck. The couple of inches she had on him gave her the high ground and she took it. “I want to beat you with my hands, open and fisted, and fuck you with your granite cock. Do you agree to that and the conditions for play that we set out both the night at my house and in our video chat conversation?”

“Yes, Eve.” He didn’t hesitate.

“Are you ready to start?”

“Yes, Evrim.”

The joy burst through her. To be heard and understood, for him to remember and value her ways. What a gift.

Not that it softened her. Anything but.

“Get the cock and take care of any side trips you need to make. Meet me in that corner,” she pointed, “with two bottles of water and your cock as soon as you’re done. Don’t change anything you’re wearing.” She dropped her eyes to the lump in his pants, either a packing cock or stuffing. She’d find out later.

“Yes, Evrim.”

Evrim watched him walk away, nearly laughing out loud at the skip in his step. No second thoughts from this one. Evrim draped the sling with an absorbent pad and put another on the spanking horse for good measure. She turned to find Jack at her side and struck as swiftly as a rattlesnake.

A groan tore through her throat at the feeling of Jack’s throat under her hard hand. She squeezed the muscles on either side of his trachea and his wide eyes flickered. “Give me the cock.”

He handed it over and she put it on the table without looking away from him. He kept his hands down and stood still, waiting for her to do what she would.

Evrim drew out the moment. He flushed slowly, though she wasn’t cutting off his blood flow. She stared at him from inches away until his throat jerked hard against her palm and his eyelids fell to half-mast. That was the signal she’d been waiting for.

A hard, thudding blow to his chest with the side of her fist. He shuffled his feet to lean into the blows he correctly expected, and she tenderized him, beating him slowly, heavily, between his collarbone and his nipples. She switched sides, releasing his throat to do so, then used both hands, simultaneously and in a rhythm that drew the first sounds from him. Grunts, groans, signs that it was starting to hurt, that his reddening, swelling flesh was signaling its danger to his brain.

She kept going, finding the edge where he groaned without screwing up his eyes, then going over it. Her hands glowed, receiving just as much of a beating as they were providing, and Evrim gave herself a break by switching it up.

With her palms flat on his tenderized chest, she shoved hard enough that he swayed, then brought himself back with a flex of his stomach muscles. Fucking hot. She made him do it again, for the sheer pleasure of watching his body jerk, then dug her fingertips into the area she’d beaten. He flinched, his shoulders curving in as though to shield himself from the pain, but his hands remained by his sides.

“You may put your hands on my waist.”

His eyes darted to hers, his surprise clear. “Thank you, Evrim.”

Hmm. Telling, that. He wasn’t used to having permission to touch his top. What kind of services had he performed in the past?

“But keep your shoulders back. If you need me to slow down or wait, tell me.”

“Yes, Evrim.”

When his hands touched her corseted waist, she could barely feel him. Not at all what she was after. She put a finger out and pressed it lightly against the end of his nipple. He stiffened as though electrocuted and his hands tightened on her. Better.

Evrim stroked both his nipples, squeezed them, gathered them in her hands, and pulled. Everything she did brought him to a higher level of tension until he was strung far too tight to maintain it. She punched him hard with the sides of both fists, three times in a row, and he shouted.

At that sound of release, Evrim unleashed her craving. She beat and pulled and twisted and squeezed, moving too fast for Jack to process one sensation before another crashed over him. She overwhelmed him, and his cries became nonstop repetitions of two words that flew into her like thunderous rain.

“Please yes please yes…”

His unfocused eyes drifted with the rain of blows, then flashed their shock when she reached around to grab what she could of his short hair and pull his head back. She pinched his nipple hard at the same time she pulled him into her body. She bit the strong muscle of his shoulder, and the combination made him hold on to her as though he would fall otherwise. She pulled him in and squeezed hard.

Breath sobbed from his open mouth against her neck, hot and damp. His body shook and twitched in her arms, and she held them solid for him. When his arms went slack, she nudged him with her hip, got him moving backward, and bypassed the spanking horse for the sling. She’d beat his ass and thighs another day. He was primed for a deep, hard fucking.


Pick up Dena Hankins’s new book, Lysistrata Cove, and read all about the adventures of Jack and Evrim.

The Case For Not Being A Good Submissive

Pretty much all the books (not that there are very many) about the theories of submission, and pretty much all the writings of various bloggers and folks on various message boards throughout the internet, say similar things, usually starting with: obey your dominant. Put your wants and desires after those of your dominant. That’s what submitting is. Don’t you want to be a “good” submissive?

But there are a couple of essential steps missing in that formula.

Obedience is, of course, important. Open defiance is often enough to get a submissive released from service entirely. I’ve known a Master who had a slave for ten years, and one day, the slave acted up, and the Master ended it, just like that. While Masters and dominants will have a variety of different reactions to that particular scenario (I probably would have sent them away for 24 hours with some assignments to cool off, for example), the point remains: obedience is important.

Don’t get me wrong— minor disobedience, in play kinds of ways, can be fun, and make more friction between folks. It can instigate more sadism in a dominant, and it can be used as “funishment”—faux-punishments which are more for pleasure than because someone actually did something wrong, like, “Oh look how wet your cunt is, you slut, I’m going to beat you now.” Yep, that is good fun stuff. Sometimes folks call this brattiness, though being a ‘brat’ is a debated hot topic in the D/s worlds, with many dominants saying they would never want a brat. Brattiness can be a really good tool — especially if dominant likes it, or if it creates more excuses for play. That kind of “disobedience” is more about obediently playing the game that’s been set up, and it’s legit.

But that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the importance of a submissive doing what they are told to the best of their ability in the D/s context.

The submissive has to be able to mess up without serious blows to their self-esteem, value, and submissive identity.
But what about those times when an order is given, and the submissive thinks they completely understand it, and they go along steps one-two-thee and present the completed task to the dominant, and that was not at all what the dominant had in mind? What about those times when the dominant is completely unclear about the orders, but just doesn’t have time to explain themself thoroughly, and expects the submissive to fill in the gaps themself? What about when a submissive thinks they are doing precisely the thing the dominant would want, since they have wanted that thing before, but is not taking into account these new factors in this particular scenario?

It’s not open defiance, intentionally being disobedient, but it isn’t perfect obedience. Regardless of who is at fault (and finding the ways that both the dominant and the submissive can make sure this doesn’t happen again is perhaps more useful than finding the fault), the dominant often responds with disappointment, and the submissive often responds with deep sadness that they didn’t get it right.

Because that is most often what submissives want, right—to get it right, to be good.

When we find ourselves in that scenario—and we will, if we play with power dynamics, eventually be in that scenario—we have to allow the submissive some wiggle room with being “good.” The submissive has to be able to mess up without serious blows to their self-esteem, value, and submissive identity. Now, I’m not saying that the submissive shouldn’t be punished, or there shouldn’t be an increased amount of discipline next time, but hopefully those things can be done in ways that build up the submissive’s self-value and self-worth, and don’t tear it down.

No matter how much humiliation fetish we may have, having a submissive with no self-worth is bad for everyone. A submissive with no self-worth can stop trying, can stop expecting amazing things of themself, and can stop believing in their value to their dominant. At the core, it is best to have submissives who believe themselves to be strong, capable people.

Submissives who are strong, capable people also tend to have needs, wants, and desires. We all do, of course—dominants are expected to constantly mine their needs, wants, and desires, and find ways to use the submissive to meet those. But submissives are often expected to override their own needs, wants, and desires in deference to their dominant’s. This is often called being a “good” submissive.

For example, there might be some orgasm control rules in place, where the submissive can only have so many orgasms, or none at all. It can be really hot to deny them what they want: “Oh, I see you writhing around, trying to rub your dick on the sheets. Are you trying to come? You know you’re not allowed, little pet; you will get in so much trouble if you do that.” The need for sexual satisfaction is of course valid, but part of sexual satisfaction, for this particular submissive, is being denied and teased with what they want.

There can be other, less sexual, examples of denial, too; if the dominant doesn’t like a particular food, perhaps the submissive never has it at home (there are never mushrooms or cilantro in my household, for example). This is, generally, not a big deal, especially not at first. But denial of something pleasurable, even something the submissive just desires, and doesn’t “need,” can wear them down over time.

When we’re talking about 24/7 relationships, especially authority exchanges which are also primary partnerships, the submissive does have needs, wants, and desires. That’s just a part of reality, a part of being human. The submissive does have core values and core kinks which, if they don’t get met, at least sometimes, they may start feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and even unloved.

The dominant role has many components, but one of them is to monitor and support the submissive’s fulfillment and satisfaction. Many submissives are fulfilled and satisfied by being controlled and denied, but long term denial can break down a relationship. A dominant must pay attention to the submissive’s needs, wants, and desires in order to bolster the longevity of the relationship.

The submissive does have core values and core kinks which, if they don’t get met, at least sometimes, they may start feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied, and even unloved.
This means that the submissive must communicate their needs, wants, and desires—which means the submissive must know what their needs, wants, and desires are. Instead of shoving them aside when they come up, pushing them away, tamping them down like a “good” submissive is “supposed to,” pay attention. Put a little highlighter mark over them in your brain when it comes up randomly throughout the day, and make a list in your submissive journal. Perhaps you’ll notice some patterns. Perhaps you’ll identify something deep in you that is vying to get out.

Depending on the D/s arrangements that you have, it may be up to your dominant what they do with this information, or it might be your responsibility to assert your needs and boundaries, or to get them met outside of your relationship. My wish for you is that you can both figure out a way to honor your humanity, to acknowledge that submissives (and dominants!) make mistakes, have miscommunications, and differences in styles, and that everyone has needs, wants, and desires that are core to our long-term fulfillment and happiness. Hopefully, the dominant can fold a submissive’s needs into their own, and make them part of the power dynamic—another thing for the submissive to, enthusiastically, obey.


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