Version 2.0 of the famous “What S-type are you” quiz has been released, with 2 new result options, and fancy illustrations for each type, along with your percentage breakdown of your submissive traits. Check it out!
Slave, submissive, service-oriented, bottom, kinky masochist, obedient little pet—what kind of s-type are YOU?
“S-type” is a broad umbrella term for the submissive side of the power dynamic. These identities are multi-faceted—complex and nuanced, and don’t fit into any one little teeny box. However, there are some similarities, too—and I’m interested in the places we overlap, the things we share and have in common, as well as our differences.
Is your favorite kind of sex…?
- the kind that leaves bruises
- full of dirty talk,
- or when you make someone come over and over … and over
Where would you *most* like to be at a play party?
- shining everyone’s boots
- writhing in pleasure/pain
- ..or at the end of your Dominant’s leash
If you had to give up one part of your sex life, it would be…
- kinky play. I’m not *that* much of a masochist.
- vanilla sex. It’s kinda overrated.
- role play. I never was good at theatre.
- or… my brain hurts. I’m safewording this question.
… These are just some of the examples of questions on the quiz. Remember, This quiz is for fun! A 12-question quiz could never truly capture your myriad identities. This is designed to measure things like your obedience, interest in BDSM, aptitude for sex, ownership fetish, and then funnel them into a unique s-type identity based on your answers.
I hope you enjoy it! I hope it’s sexy and fun and curious, and maybe, just maybe, it’ll give you a little insight into how you work, and remind you that there you overlap identities with lots of other folks.
Also: at the end, the quiz software (Hello Quizzy, which is part of OK Cupid) wants you to fill out some demographics, including inputting your gender. They only give you two options: Male and Female. And of course you know that I think that’s bullshit, and I suspect that you also think that’s bullshit. You can bypass that step, just skip it. I would’ve loved to have quiz software that didn’t have that stuck on there at the end, but there is no perfect quiz software, rife and I are absolutely not quiz programmers, nor do we have a budget to pay the perfect software to be developed, and this was the best one we looked at in terms of results, percentage answers, and analytics.
And yes, we know that sometimes you can get more than 100% in certain categories, and that that is mathematically illogical. It’s for fun. You really, really like that category. There’s a much more complicated explanation for how all of that works, but I’m not going to go into it here. If you want to talk more about it, come to the Submissive Playground live Q&A call this Thursday night and rife can tell you aaaaaaall about it.
Nine possible results, all are illustrated and shareable
Take the quiz to see all result types
It’s true! Submissive Playground is happening again!
And registration is open now, until June 30!
Got questions about it? Here’s a few brief answers, but I’m also doing a live Q&A video call this Thursday night to answer any more questions you might have. Read on.
What is it?
It’s an e-course, run entirely online, with four learning modules, five live calls, and eight weeks of creative, sexy explorations to take your submission deeper. And, you’ll get to explore it in community, making friends with other s-types through the course, and learning from each other. The entire course is within your own levels of comfort, as you choose any submissive experiments that you do.
Who is this for?
Well, it’s run by me, Sinclair, with the help of rife, who is a phenomenal designer and organizer, and an experienced teacher. It’s for people who want to explore their relationship to submission—regardless of how you identify, as a pet or a sub or a slave or a bottom or very submissive-curious or as a switch or queer or straight or poly or whatever, you just have to want to commit some time to exploring what it’s like to be submissive for you.
It helps if you are into assignments, tasks, homework, and getting stars for completing your work. If you are star-reward motivated, you’ll love this course. If you always liked school, you’ll like this course. If you like self-reflection and introspection, this course is for you.
“Structure and guidance with room for creativity is the perfect learning environment for me, and that’s what I got from this course.”
—Amanda, player from the January course
—Amanda, player from the January course
Okay, but what does it cost?
There are a few different options for cost. The Broke Ass Package includes all the materials, the live video calls, the experiments, and the journal prompts, and that’s $150. The next level up is the Star Package, which has all of the things the Broke Ass Package has, but it also includes one one-on-one session with me to set intentions for the course or to troubleshoot the hurdles that are coming up, and it includes feedback on your homework. The Fancy Package includes four one-on-one sessions with me, one for each module in the course, and it includes a Submissive Playground dog tag and a letter to your current or future dominant about your submission. Star and Fancy players also receive a paper certificate of completion in the mail (while Broke Ass players receive a digital copy, which you can print yourself). Here’s a big list of all the perks and differences in the packages if you want to know all the details compared.
If you’re so broke ass that even the Broke Ass Package is too expensive, contact me and we may be able to work something out. Please note that I don’t trade services for sessions, but I do have some trade spots possible for the Broke Ass Package.
Also … there will be some special sales this month. Keep an eye out and join the mailing list to be the first to know about them.
When is it happening?
The summer session of Submissive Playground will be in July & August, 2014. Registration is open through June 30th, but there are only three Fancy Packages and ten Star Packages, so if you want one of those, sign up now!
But wait! I have more questions!
Oh I thought you might! And I have lots more answers. In fact, I’m doing a live Q&A through Spreecast this Thursday night at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. Come ask questions and I’ll answer ’em live!
If you haven’t been involved with a Spreecast before, it’s pretty fun. You can log in to your own Spreecast account, connect your webcam, and come “on air” to talk to me through video, or you can stay anonymous and ask things in the chat box.
Okay so isn’t rife just so fucking cute? And sexy?
Yeah. I know.
You probably know all about San Francisco-based photographer Sarah Deragon’s queer Identity Project by now—I’m mostly saying that because she’s gotten a mountain of gay-stream press and is all over my Facebook feed all the time, so if that’s the kind of thing you read, you’ve probably seen it.
It’s pretty awesome. Dozens (hundreds yet?) of photographs, beautiful black & white portraits, with just a few key identity words listed underneath.
Y’all know me—I love conversations about identities, about words, about the power in the words that we chose to define ourselves, heck even in self-portraiture and images that make us feel aligned with our deep selves, if only for a moment. I love that shit. It is, in many ways, what Sugarbutch is based around, and what tons of my art focuses on: Identity theory building, formation, and liberation.
So seeing a project that is a kind of visual conversation is pretty stunning, I think. I’ve been really moved, watching The Identity Project’s social media streams, as the images come through. I don’t know if I can articulate quite why it matters, but it makes me feel like I’m part of something.
And, speaking of that, I feel really privileged to have been photographed (alone and with rife) as part of this project.
Sarah took some cutie shots of us together, too—these were the ones we used for the final project (which we got to pick), but there were others we liked too.
So far, the photos are almost entirely of people based in the Bay Area, and Sarah is raising some money to travel around and shoot in other cities, too. The Identity Project Indiegogo campaign ends at midnight on May 30th—tonight—so head on over and donate a few bucks (or a thousand) and support her for some national traveling so she can keep taking incredible portraits, capturing the current state of the queer community.
And who knows, maybe she’ll end up taking YOUR picture too!
JT’s Stockroom has been an affiliate with Sugarbutch for many years, and this month, they are the feature! I love how they are carrying more and more body-safe toys (and fewer things with phthalates), but even more than that, I love their selection of kinky things. Slings, extensive amounts of leather, anal hooks, pokey things, hitty things, things to put in holes, latex, medical play—they have it all.
So what was I going to request from them to feature this month? Hmmmm …
I never used to like breast play all that much. On me, well, I’ve got that whole gender-dysphoric issue, and on another person … I just kinda didn’t get it. Okay sure, breasts are pretty, but I was never a “boob guy.” (Always been much more into the legs.)
I’m not sure when it changed exactly, or why. (I have some suspicions about the why. Ask me on a Q&A chat sometime.) But it happened sometime around reading that short story called “Details” that Maria See wrote (which is no longer accessible on her now-defunct tumblr, boo. I’ll see if I can track it down for you to read, if you want to), and connecting nipple sucking to a form of nourishment, and to some extent, age play. There’s been a place for playing with suckling as both a … giver and receiver (hah, if you can use those words here—they seem awkward to me). I have plenty more to say about what it’s like to be in either role, but let me just say, for now, that it’s complicated to describe, complicated for gender reasons, difficult to feel comfortable, very private act, something I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I’m playing with, … and often feels really good.
I’ve done epic nipple clamp review roundups in the past, but with my new ideas about my own stimulation, I thought I’d try something new: nipple suction. And hey look! There’s a wide range of suction-based nipple stimulation toys available out there, so I figured I should start somewhere!
I’ll tell you about three of ’em now.
The Oxball Nipple Suckers—automatic bust.
First? The Oxball nipple suckers were a bust, so basically we’re down to two. (And two does not a good comparison make! But I’ll come back to that.) When I opened the package, the very clear smell of plastic off-gassing was released, and they were all greasy—so you know what that means: phthalates. I immediately emailed Monica, the Stockroom’s affiliate manager, and she apologized and proceeded to basically stop carrying those particular ones. Oxball is generally a brand that uses good plastics, so they hadn’t caught this yet. So, no picture, no review—they got tossed. (Not sure what else to do with bad plastics? Is there a way to green-ly recycle them?)
Next up, and the big winners: the KinkLab T Cups Nipple Suction Set. These are the reason I got turned on to nipple suction toys to begin with, actually, because Lorax, at their previous job as a dildo slinger (aka working as a sex educator in a toy store), pointed them out to me one time I was visiting. Oh yeah, I was intrigued!
But also, ugh I was put off by the pink flower design. I mean really. Why you gotta go ruin something like that? Look, there’s nothing wrong with pink flowers, but I generally don’t need them on my accessories, my sex toys, and definitely not on my nipples. Even if they went along with someone’s gender identity a bit better than they do with mine, I’m not sure who they look very good! They’re so big and bulky, and long and thing.
Often kink toys are not about how things look, however—they are about how things feel. And these absolutely deliver. They are strong, sturdy, and durable. Once you’ve got a good suction, they stay in place.
T Cups nipple suction set verdict: Recommended for function and sensation, though not highly recommended because of how they look pretty silly.
So technically, Stockroom did not send me the Snake Bite Kit to use as a comparison. I picked one up specifically to use in this roundup, because they tend to be cheap and accessible and because I was curious The Stockroom carries them (because they carry pretty much all things kinky. Pretty much).
Ive never owned a snake bite kit until now. They seem to be one of those common DIY “pervertables,” things from around the house (if, uh, you happen to have a snake bite kit around the house) that get made into stimulation during sexytimes. When I started talking about this nipple toy roundup I was working on, saying I was seeking out a snake bite kit, my buddy Amy actually found one and texted me a photo of it, asking if I’d already got one. Though I happened to be at REI that very minute (they don’t carry them!), I hadn’t, and she picked it up for me—but not before she was reminded at least three times by the different sales people and the clerk that they are NOT TO BE USED ON SNAKE BITES. I didn’t realize they’d been determined to be bad for that, so I’m glad that was clear. Because, you know, you never know when a snake will be in your bedroom? And what if I had used that snake bite kit for what I thought it was meant for!
So no—it is purely for pleasureable use now.
(I was just reminded of this yesterday when Lucy Bell’s comic on Oh Joy Sex Toy alllll about the snake bite kit came out. Which of course is rad, but you probably already knew that.)
Snake bite kit verdict: Not as suction-y as the flowers, above. Not as sturdy, doesn’t keep its suction if you move. Harder to get a good seal. More challenging, but still worth trying out. My kit came with two sizes, so you can actually do two on the nipples and one on the clit or labia (if that’s your thing)! Still not so aesthetically amazing, but it’s better than the flowers.
And one more bonus: Magnetic Nipple Balls
When the Stockroom sent me these toys to compare and try, they sent me one more bonus: the Magnetic Nipple Balls, which are, well, just what they sound like—tiny magnetic balls. I queried, “What about these things?” and the Stockroom awesome toy manager Monica wrote back, “The magnetic balls are super neat but really are SUPER strong, just for a heads up!” And whoa, she is right.
They are really strong.
I would not let them near my nipples. Rife told me how a sex toy store employee once told him to test out all the nipple clamps on the skin between his thumb and first finger, because that is approximately how sensitive one’s nipples are (depends on the person, of course, but on average I buy it—it’s a sensitive spot!). When I put these balls on that spot on my body, everything yells, “GET IT OFF!” and I don’t really have any desire to put them on my nipples. We played a little with using one of the magnetic balls and one random other little magnet from the fridge (we have some that look like pushpins that work pretty well, and aren’t so weird-looking), and that was … better.
Magnetic Nipple Balls conclusion: very sexy looking. VERY strong pinching. Kinda dangerous—doesn’t really stay in place. Does not deliver the suction I was looking for (duh).
But wait, there’s more! …
Here’s two more toys I didn’t review, but am curious about:
I’m interested in cupping in part because I’m curious about this pair of pump cylinders (pump sold separately), and it looks like the cupping kit is the pump and 10 cups instead of no pump and two cups, so may as well grab a few extras. (It was one of the Daily Specials this past month and I really should’ve bought it. And the anal hook. And the cock leash. This is why I have a Stockroom wishlist!)
I’m also interested in cupping because I’ve been having it done lately as part of some health care/wellness, for my damaged shoulder, and it’s been working incredibly well! More on that another time.
Whew, alright—this concludes your Stockroom nipple suction roundup. Hope you found something curious!
…. oh damn, wait, one more thing.
This might be pertinent to your interests: The Stockroom carries they have replacement nipple clamp tips—you know, for those little tweezer-like nipple clamps that always loose their little rubber tip, and then the tweezer part underneath is a mean tooth.
The magnetic nipple balls, t-cups nipple suction set, and oxball nip screw nipple suckers were sent to me from Stockroom to review. (The snakebite kit actually came from an outdoor store via my butt buddy.) Thanks! Post image photo from The Princess Bride.
An adventure for which I
have been preparing, long before
we met. A practice in honesty
with myself and others. A crow
bar opening my ribcage wider
than I thought it’d go. A pill I swallow
to make all the colors brighter.
A zipline I can’t let go of for fear
of plummeting back to where
I’ve already been. A breakfast
in bed, lazy, perfect on a weekend.
A heartbeat to which I can count out
a 4/4 rhythm and always
carry a bass line. A harmony.
A tune I can almost make out of
a song I know so well but can’t
quite remember. A return to
myself. An exercise in becoming
supernova without exploding.
A crazy idea that just might work.
An adoration. A prayer with my whole
body, starting at my lips. A midnight
candlelight canopy garden of treasure.
A menagerie custom made for me.
A secret I hesitate to share because
I want to cherish it enough for the
whole world. A promise, but I’m not
yet sure for what. An anchor in my
marrow. A pen full of ink and not
enough paper. The slick oil of finger-
prints on glass. A smooth river stone
large enough to balance on one
foot. Lit birthday candles that won’t
blow out. A hike into the shady forest
with a picnic and a fairy tale. Your skin
shined with sweat. A relief. A tribute.
An ache that fills me more than any
ache should. A symphony of leaves.
A choir of hiding places. A quilt from
old tee shirts. Look, that’s from my
first concert. You saw that same tour,
but we didn’t know yet
what that meant, either.
Do you want to play with strap-on sex? Do you want to feel more confident strapping on and playing?
Then head on over to the Cock Confidence Guide and see what kind of services I offer, from being your personal strap-on shopping guide to hands-on cock-on support and help. I also teach workshops, Cock Confidence and Advanced Cock Confidence!
www.sugarbutch.net/cock-confidence has all the info you need.
PS: I’m pretty excited that the Cock Confidence Guide debuted today on Erika Moen’s site Oh Joy Sex Toy, in her pegging/blog job review of the strap-on silicone dick Velvet!
Late. Because April was somehow nutso. Traveling to Seattle plus my birthday plus the boy’s birthday plus IMsL plus the Gender Book launch party at the CSC plus I took a temporary social media consulting gig plus it’s SPRING plus we took a swing class plus the new venture (now called Body Trust) had a strategic planning retreat and officially launched www.bodytrustcircle.com and the August Portals of Pleasure retreat and that took so much time and energy and planning. Also I am this close to having a space to do bodywork in San Francisco and I’m really excited to gear up for more one-on-one sessions.
So I didn’t read as much this month. Or at least it feels like that—my GoodReads account reports 8 titles, which is about as much as other months.
I picked up and read the Right Brain Business Plan book by Jennifer Lee a few months ago as part of my personal study through the queer creative business group I’m involved in, and found it useful. I picked it up again because the author was on Creative Live doing the Right Brain Business Plan workshop for three days, and I tuned in to it mostly in the background as I was working, but I’d go back and forth to the exercises as I was getting other things done. It was great to think hard about some of the business plan things and I do like her approach.
I’ve heard a lot about the film adaptation of the graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color, but I hadn’t heard as much about the book. I picked it up from the library as an ebook, which was interesting, to read a graphic novel on my iPad, and it worked pretty well. (Also I love the library!) I had heard a lot about the extensive 10 minute lesbian sex scene (“there’s rimming!”) but I also heard it was a) depressing and b) kinda by or for straight people, and not particularly by and for queer people, so I haven’t rushed to see it. I’d be curious to, now that I’ve read the book. Mostly I was really struck by how immensely fucking tortured the coming out process was/is for this particular young lesbian protagonist living in France. I am so lucky to have a supportive family, and have prioritized queerness in my life and thus lived entrenched in queer communities, so I have never experienced it so torturesome … but I do understand that people still go through that kind of process. It was a good reminder to me of the emotional depths that can happen in an identity formation, but also part of me, while reading, was more like, “Really? This seems awfully over-exaggerated.” I’d be curious what the relationship is of the story to the author—I don’t think it’s memoir.
The Edible Garden came from Cleis’s life imprint, Viva. Now that I actually have a backyard (first time in my adult life!) I am pretty excited to try to grow some stuff. Preferably some food stuff. So I’ve been doing a little bit of garden tending, getting it ready to plant, and this month kicked into for reals spring gear, so rife and I stepped it up a bit. We planted kale, cherry tomatoes, some spring onions, sugar snap peas, and a few other things.
I liked looking through The Edible Garden—and the other one, Grow Great Grub—but it didn’t have all that much useful information in it. For example, some bird keeps eating our sugar snap pea leaves and tops, but neither book said anything about how to keep pests from eating your delicious food. They are both more inspiration than practical advice, and while I still appreciate the pretty pictures and the inspiration to go dig outside, I am starting to get to the point where I need the reality advice part even more. Which is kind of a neat sign! Grow Great Grub came to me as a holiday gift from my aunt (via my Amazon wishlist).
I read the graphic memoir Pregnant Butch by AK Summers this month. I heard about it through a Lambda Literary review and was intrigued. I think it’s worth reading, but to be honest I was less interested in the pregnancy part than I was in the extensive commentary about butch identity, and sometimes the extensive commentary about butch identity was infuriating, heartbreaking, or depressing. The author—who I assume is the same as the protagonist, Teek, though their names are slightly different—is a bit older than me, maybe 10 years even, so they come from a slightly different generation of butches, and the content about younger butches being extinct, butch flight, and the prevalence of butches transitioning to men was hard to read. At one point Teek explicitly referred to herself as—and drew herself as—a dinosaur. It bugs me to see butch being presented as an antique, out-of-fashion, and outdated identity—I really don’t think it is. But then again, I kind of straddle the old school butch generation and the younger trans- and genderqueer-inclusive crowds, and kind of always have. But I don’t see butch disappearing! I do see it changing, revisioning, but I don’t think it’s as gone as is sometimes portrayed. I also think butch flight is a bit of a myth—but I do understand that there is more of a prevalence of previously-identified-as-masculine-of-center-women transitioning to men. (There are at least five people on my Facebook feed going through the early stages of transitioning right now.) I have lots and lots to say about that topic, but that’s all I’ll say for right now. I took some notes and hope to expand my ideas into more essays later. Or maybe a book.
I didn’t finish The Chaos of Stars. It’s kind of that YA fantasy/myth genre that I sometimes devour, but I didn’t get too deep into this one so I put it down after my standard try (of 65 pages, which is 100 minus my age, which is a rule I learned from Seattle librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl). The whole thing was full of Egyptian mythologies with a curious modern twist, which I was totally intrigued by but then couldn’t follow very well. If you’re into Egyptian mythologies, perhaps it’d be easier to get into.
I didn’t finish Love in the Time of Global Warming either. I love love love the Weetzie Bat books, and I have read a handful of Francesca Lia Block’s other novels and find them engaging and fun, so I thought she’d be a good one to pick up while I keep flexing my reading chops. I have a hard time with world-building sometimes though, and I didn’t get very deep in to this one. I think the biggest problem was that it became due at the library, but I certainly could’ve renewed it. It just didn’t grip me.
Michelle Tea’s newest novel, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, however—THAT gripped me. I read it fast, in just a few days, and I got really into it. I love the protagonist, love the girl power, love the pass-out game, love the symbols that thread through it. When I went back out into the world for a run the day after I finished it, I looked at flocks of pigeons very differently. It ends on a cliffhanger, which is a perfect way for the first of a 3-part book series to end, and I can’t wait to read the others.
I’ve already waxed poetic about the amazingness that is Indie Porn Revolution, so I won’t keep going into that here. So I’ll just put this here …
I know, it’s hard for me not to curate images that reflect my personal bias. I suppose I could’ve just taken ten images at random from the “Free Tour” page? But I wanted to look through ’em all and pick some of my very favorites for you. FOR YOU, you guyz. I looked at dozens and dozens of fucking hot sexy queer porn shots ALL FOR YOU.
Femmes, cocks, cleavage, tattoos, really nice legs, curves, more femmes, lingerie. I’m so predictable.
I really did try to grab a variety!
What I DO have is TWO Indie Porn Revolution trial memberships to give away. So riddle me this, folks, and I’ll be drawing two of you who at random and passing on your info to the inimitable Courtney Trouble so she can set you up an account.
I’m trying out a new experiment and using Rafflecopter to run this giveaway. You can enter one (or all!) of four ways.
Drawing will happen first thing Monday morning, April 28th, so you’ve got the weekend to tweet and share and look at the free preview images over and over again. Thanks Courtney & Indie Porn Revolution!
It’s rife’s 27th birthday today!
So far, we have stayed in bed late, toured the chalk art birthday greetings that I drew all over our sidewalks last night, had an epic “hash brown heaven” breakfast, looked over the composite astrological chart I had done (basically the astrological chart for our relationship) done by a queer dominant (so it includes a bunch of fascinating stuff about our power dynamic!), opened a few gifts, and returned home to do some work before we head down to the opening queer happy hour for International Ms. Leather weekend kink event & contest tonight.
Would you you wish him happy birthday over on twitter (he’s @rowdyferret) or here in this post for me? Mostly because I want him to know how deeply loved he is.
And, if you’re starting to get a little crush on this hot piece of ass, here’s a present for you: a little rife collage of some of my favorite photos of him from the past few years. Some are shots I’ve taken, some he took (with a timer).
There are so many different cities on this little collage … I see Oakland, Baltimore, Hudson Valley, NY, DC, LA, Houston, Seattle, Oregon, and Brooklyn at least. It definitely accurately reflects how much adventuring we’ve had even in the short two and a half years we’ve been together.
And, it reflects how damn sexy that boy is. Fuck. I feel really lucky to have him, that he chose me, that we are a good match.
If you’d like to do something else sweet for the birthday boy, go check out The GENDER Book’s store and buy some goodies! The ebook is a sliding scale of $0+, the hardback is $30, the posters are $12+, the GENDER Booklets are DIY free or $4 printed, the Safe(r) Spaces kit with resources and posters and etc are $0+. There must be somethin’ over there of interest! Check it out, & support his project and labor of love.
Oh yeah and also: The GENDER Book Release Parties!
If you’re in the Bay Area, there’s a book release party/shower on Sunday, May 4th, and if you’re near Houston, there’s another big release party on Thursday, May 15th. Perhaps you’d like to go pick up your book in person?
Happy birthday, beautiful special boy. I love you so much.
Once upon a time there was a boy who lived in sunny states like California and Texas and his beating heart of leather and gold, so big he had to be a lover with dimples and a dog. He liked berries heavy and ripe on the vine in the spring, bursting juice in his mouth. He liked to remember the shape of faces, hands, with his pen. He liked to feel the edges of his body thrown up against something solid.
Meanwhile, there was a poet who lived in northern states of Alaska and New York and their pine treehouse of aching fists. They were bursting open with gift and overspilling with a fountain of voice. They liked bergamot and the boy’s skin and tall mountains and sandwiches and smooth flat beach stones and getting fucked by the planet.
Their gravity together is undeniable. They make fingerpaintings of their inner visions on each other’s insoles, on each other’s tongues. They try on their places, their callings, in the haven of hotel room walls. Their pulses become synched.
On days in the north like this where the birds are flocking and the sky is clear, on days where the boy’s car is clean and ready for the yellow dotted line and return, there is little more than a single pane of glass between them. An arbitrary distance of separation, because the moonbeam pulled like taffy stretched between their chests keeps them imperceptibly drawn to the other’s orbital motion. The string between them keeps them ready to snap like rubber bands, ready to pounce like predators, ready to take their leather and gold hearts and suspend them on a chain to hang from the ceiling of their treehouse. They pull the ladder up and take it apart to use the rope, but put it back together anytime they needed kale or whiskey or tacos. Their bed is scraps of paper and scattered recordings of bliss and scars.
Happily ever after is many, many moments, strung together in lines of text and pressed leaves and sketches, and worn like a crown.
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
I am a strong, opinionated, sometimes bossy, lesbian. I have a huge passion for the empowerment, education and advocacy of women. I volunteer as a sexual assault advocate and have been involved as a Planned Parenthood educator. I am very vocal about breaking the cycle of female oppression in our culture.
I feel a personal conflict, as I also identify as femme and am very much a bottom in the bedroom. I like to be dominated and controlled in sexual play and I very much get off on fantasies that boarder on roughness and non-consent. I guess my struggle lies in the dichotomy between my feminist beliefs and my bedroom preferences. I do not consider myself to be a weak or oppressed female, but in the bedroom I love to be controlled, punished and made to serve. Is there a way for the two to be harmonious? I fight for women to have power and to stand up for themselves. Can you help me sort this out?
I hear you.
I too have come up within the lesbian feminist movements (and in their wakes) with a strong passion for smashing the patriarchy and a vehement dedication to working on less pain for the various gender minorities in the world. And I too like to do dirty, “perverted,” un-politically correct things in my erotic life. I struggle with reconciling my own feminist beliefs with my desire for sadism and wanting to physically cause “pain,” and with my masculinity and dominance and the ways that both masculinity and dominance are seen as corrupted ways of having power in some feminist’s views. I was asked just this morning about my consumption of porn, and my candid talk about how porn is fun and can be useful and good and valuable, and how I reconcile that with feminism. And, oh yeah, I forget that’s a part of that feminist reconciliation process too.
And all of these took a long time, and were long processes.
I have had lots of judgment about sadism, masculinity, dominance, and porn in the past. Some of it was a reaction formation, at least in a minor way, I think. I had reactions and judgment both about other people’s visible execution of these things, and the tendencies in myself—my own desires. I struggled to reconcile those tendencies and how they went with my feminist commitments to gender liberation and my sensitivities to surviving abuse and being in a rape culture.
I think it absolutely is possible to reconcile, to sort this out.
Here’s some of the ideas that I kicked around—for years and years, with trusted friends, at kink conferences, with lovers. It was not an immediate process. It required adopting a new kind of feminism, I think—a BDSM- and kink-friendly feminism that is rooted in agency and consent, and that understands the difference between play and abuse.
Consider these things:
1. Bottoming, service, and surrendering control, comes from a place of great strength and power.
[Bottoming] is absolutely making yourself vulnerable. But vulnerability is not about weakness—it comes from a place of great strength.
People have the idea in their heads that bottoming is weak, but I think that is not true at all. Bottoming is incredibly powerful. Being able to know where your own boundaries are, hold yourself safe, be able to speak up for your own needs, ask for what you want, and negotiate trust with a person who is going to assist your body and self on a journey takes a lot of skill and sovereignty. People who do it well have an extensive amount of intelligence, self-worth, and self-knowledge.
It absolutely is making yourself vulnerable. But vulnerability is not about weakness—again, it comes from a place of great strength.
The notion that bottoming, receiving sensation, and submitting to someone else’s desires is weak comes from a twisted version of what those things really are, versions that show only the completely non-consensual and abusive sides of these experiences. But when done consensually, the gift that is bottoming to another is precious and strong. It’s amazing to serve someone else; we serve community, family, friends, and other valuable relationships all the time. We give our power or authority, or cede our control, away intentionally in order to empower others in a variety of contexts, and we can get great pleasure from doing so. And when we find someone worthy of our trust such that we will put our body into their hands for intense sensation, cathartic release, and the deep pleasure of being in the present moment with whatever is happening … how does that not come from a place of power?
The difference, in my opinion, between it coming from power and strength or from oppression comes down to some simple traditional feminist concepts.
2. Consent makes all the difference. All of it.
When done within a framework of consent, I believe it is possible for just about anything to be empowering.
I would guess that you do not have a fetish for a scenario where you are forced to serve against your will, when you were thrown around aggressively and had your body played with when you didn’t want it. Fuck no! But what you do want is within a safe, negotiated relationship, to be “forced” to serve, to play with giving over your will entirely.
Consent changes experiences completely. In the activist cultures around female oppression, we often talk about consent in a “no means no” way, and stress the value of enthusiastic consent and the “just because they didn’t say no doesn’t mean there was consent!”
But I think an incredibly important piece of examining the feminist concept of consent is also that YES MEANS YES, and that the consent itself is what makes the act possible or okay.
Let me give you an example: I like playing with Daddy/girl and Daddy/boy role play in my sex life. I know that is something kind of extreme to some people, and many people misinterpret it as incest fantasies, which it is and it isn’t (more on that another time). Sometimes I hear people say things like, “But what if you/I/someone crosses the line with an actual young person!”
But for me, that would not happen.
I do not have a fetish for sleeping with and playing roughly with people under eighteen. I have a fetish for sleeping with and playing roughly with adults who adopt a younger persona (usually temporarily) with enthusiastic consent. It’s not about actual incest or actual under-18 youths. No no no no no. It’s about adults tapping in to other parts of ourselves, to open up new experiences.
The consent is actually an essential part of that fetish.
And likewise, I would guess that for you, Tara, you do not have a fetish for a scenario where you are forced to serve against your will, when you were thrown around aggressively and had your body played with when you didn’t want it. Fuck no! But what you do want is within a safe, negotiated relationship, to be “forced” to serve, to play with giving over your will entirely, to be punished for doing something “wrong,” to be used for someone else’s pleasure.
There is a huge, huge difference between the actual thing and some sort of play consensual version of the thing.
3. BDSM—and being punished, controlled, and made to serve—are completely different from abuse and oppression.
And consent is a key piece of that, yes, but there are a lot of other specific, clear, and measurable differences, too.
Read the “BDSM is Not Abuse” list released by the Lesbian Sex Mafia, one of the oldest women’s BDSM groups in the country, based in New York City. I think it articulates things very well:
Because they are so different, I sometimes think the hyper-articulation of different language is important. It’s one of the reasons that people sometimes use the phrase “consensual non-consent” instead of “rape play,” for example.
The difference between BDSM and abuse goes back to consent, yes; but it goes back to all sorts of other things, too. Like trust, and skill, and agency.
4. Trust in your own agency. Trust in your own experience.
If you negotiate with a lover to get what you want, have an experience, and then everybody feels good after … as long as the experience is “doing no harm” in the world, then I say FUCKING GO FOR IT.
Have some play. Have some ecstasy. Have some screaming release. Have a big bold messy weird experience that maybe other people would judge but it just felt so goddamn good for your body and your mind and your emotions and everything sings a little brighter the next day.
You get to say what happens to your body. You get to have your own experience, and then decide if that was pleasurable or not, enjoyable or not, and whether you’d want to do it again, with this person or with a different person or in a new way or not at all. You get to have your experience of a non-ordinary thing and then, if you feel like fuck yes that was amazing! More more more please! then you can trust that that is real and true. Agency is trusting the answer that you come up with, authentically, when you ask yourself: Does it feel good or bad? Am I left with icky residue or release and joy? Do I feel closer to my play partner, or farther away?
Of course, not every BDSM scene is that easy to evaluate—but some of them just are. Start there. Start with the ones that are easy to tell. Start with trusting your own consent, and agency, and your own deepest experience of what you like or don’t like.
If it matters to you that other people do sometimes see these things you want as contradictory, seek out feminist kink communities. They do exist! This was a topic that came up in the Submissive Playground ecourse quite frequently, actually, and we had a lot of lively discussions about the feminist reconciliation process.
I actually have a dozen more notes about things to say around this process of reconciliation, but this is already more than 2,000 words, so I’m going to call it good for now. Feel free to ask more about specific things in the comments and I’ll do my best to reply!
I hope that gives you lots of places to start. If you’re still stuck, remember, I do one-on-one coaching sessions, and I would be very happy to help you with resources, experiments, ideas, support, or just talking in depth through this reconciliation process. Contact me for more information and pricing.
Comment Zen …
Readers, do you relate to Tara’s question?
If you do, would you share your own story about your relationship to feminism and kink? Did you reconcile the two? What was the process like? Slow, fast, hard, simple? What kind of resources helped you on your journey? Books? Anything to recommend for others who are going through this? Do you have any recommendations for feminist kink Fetlife groups?
Leave your story anonymously if you like; your email address will not be published, and if you don’t want your usual “gravitar” picture of you to show up, just type “+sugarbutch” in your email address (like [email protected]) and I’ll know you want to be anonymous.
When did you first discover Courtney Trouble’s queer porn work? Did your BFF email you a link recently, now that her entire empire is under the Indie Porn Revolution umbrella? Were you following links in sidebars back in the day before search engines magically indexed every single page on the web, and you stumbled on NoFauxxx, back in the day? Did you notice some sexy sexy queer salivating at you from your favorite sex blog and follow the link to QueerPorn.TV or QueerPornTube?
I remember discovering Courtney through Bitch Magazine in the late 1990s when I still lived in northern Colorado. NoFauxxx had ads in the early issues, and I spent a significant amount of time online (trying to escape the life I was confused to find myself living), and I of course went to visit the site immediately. Being a cheapskate, and not yet understanding and feeling how important it is to support artists with money, and not having any idea how to really use my own money yet, I didn’t get a membership for probably almost ten more years, but you better believe I followed the work in that time.
And now, Courtney Trouble has an epic network of websites, hundreds of thousands of photographs, numerous Feminist Porn Awards, and a solid place in the porn world as a revolutionary. She’s not only changed queer porn—or, practically invented queer porn—her queer porn ethics and methodologies are radically effecting the mainstream porn world, too.
Just a quick tour around the FREE parts of Indie Porn Revolution and you’ll know that Courtney’s saturated color, penchant for sexy sexy queers, ladies, and artists of all kinds of stars and stripes, and authentically shown orgasms and laughter and fun and mistakes are absolutely worth diving deep into.
(And yes, that is exactly what I mean, pervert.)
So, April is Indie Porn Revolution month this year here at Sugarbutch. I’ve got a variety of ads up in the sidebar (come onto the site and check it out, if you’re reading this by RSS) and I’ll unveil and feature a few of my favorite scenes from Courtney throughout the month on my own social media networks.
So keep an eye out for those! And meanwhile, go check out Indie Porn Revolution!
From one of the early dates with the boy. The story contains some sensual knife play.
This is how it began.
Two hotel rooms, one park, one bookstore, two restaurants, two—no, three—cocks, eight gloves, who knows how many condoms, who knows how many orgasms, dozens for you, one for me plus dozens of moments of shuddering energetic overwhelm, twice we were barged in on, three dams, one blade you put in my hand, three times you got your waterproof blanket out, at least two pairs of my briefs you soaked through, one tight little fist, four sets of three minutes, hundreds of kisses.
I took myself to the airport moments after gathering you in my arms, our hearts lined up, pounding. Waiting for my flight, I sat still, closed my eyes, to harvest the myriad sensations running through my body, to sink down into it, to catch my breath after running for an airport shuttle, after gender panic through security, after rushing to my gate.
I could feel my blood pressure like waves through my veins, rising and swelling, back and forth in an internal rocking. Connected to my heartbeat, no doubt, which, I’ve read, syncs up after hours of sex. That thrum through my veins was the same one that thrummed through yours, or had been, half an hour ago. What was your heart doing as you drove that twenty minutes north, as you returned to your little city on the Bay, as you went back to your partner with my marks covering your chest and thighs? Mine felt heavy, sore, thick and red, pulsing, alive. My whole body feels alive, each nerve ending aflame and perked, awake and eager for the feel of our skins, slick, against each other.
Maybe this even more than any particular action is what I remember: the aliveness. The awareness of my body, of all my edges, of all my pieces, weaving together.
And I remember your eyes. How shy you were to look at me, even after I asked you for eye contact while you sucked my fingers down, how rare it was to hold your gaze. I remember how little you said, patient, knowing how interesting your thoughts are when you do share them. I remember waiting for you to calm and soften, wanting that before moving in to take, play, shove, hurt.
The three afternoons come back to me in snippets, treasures, a rock in my pocket I’d forgotten I put there, a poem in my notebook I forgot I wrote, tucked away in my memories and then surprising when it emerges—was that real? Was I really there? Did I really leave? Why am I not there right now?
I pulled you to me at every possible red light while you drove. Teasing you on my one-way trip to the last hotel, on the freeway, first your knuckles against my lips, then sliding one of your small fingers into my mouth to hear you gasp and shudder. My fingers on your tongue, my hand at your throat, just for a minute. Your heat. The way you squirm.
Eager and impatient within hours of arriving, making out in the sunshine and already drunk on your smell, your everything, I couldn’t help myself and had two fingers in you until you said gloves please and I had to unzip my suitcase, dig into my toy bag. It is different to keep my hand gloved, but I can still feel so much: how you liked it deep, that spot by your cervix I reached twice when I got deep enough and both times you said ohh right there.
That moment of sliding my cock inside you. Every time. The first day I thought I’d shoot and lose it the moment the tip of me touched your hole and I felt you give way, hips upturned, and a firework exploded up my spine. I thought I’m going to collapse right here and that will be that. Done. But that was when you opened your eyes, brought your arms around my shoulders, and I was so bolstered, held up, supported, that I could fuck for hours. And we did.
Look at me while you’re sucking my dick, boy; where are your manners. You can do it, just a little more. That’s it. Mm, nice. I like that. That’s what I wanted. That’s exactly what I wanted.
You kept shying away from me. Squirming, hiding, closing your eyes. I can tell you like to drink in the sensations, but I want that exposure that comes from your eyes open. From seeing. From knowing what your eyes are tracking and watching your responses. So I started calling you on it. Teasing. Pushing. Where do you think you’re going? Do you think your hand over your face really hides you from me? You like it. Tell me you like it. It doesn’t matter; I’m going to take from you whether you like it or not.
Thank you sir.
Good boy. You said I could. You said I could have you. You said you’re mine. Can you take it? I think you can. You keep squirming; lie fucking still. Trying to get away from me? Do you think you can? Go ahead, try. Let’s see what you’ve got. Go ahead and twist, try to get away from my punches, I can hit you other places, too.
I’m fucking yours.
Look at me while you’re sucking my dick, boy; where are your manners. You can do it, just a little more. That’s it. Mm, nice. I like that. That’s what I wanted. That’s exactly what I wanted.
I’m not shy about taking what I want, but you are. How many minutes did it take for you to sit back and pull that knife from your pocket? When I opened up my palm between us and the weight of it dropped, something clicked. Something clicked and I wanted to open you up, do some damage, mark you. Instinctively I could see the scar I wanted to leave, but knew better than to follow that. That didn’t mean I was going to hold back: I let it pour out of me, almost as good as the thing itself, watching that flash of fear come up through you: would I do it? Mark you, take you, own you like that? Not this time. Not yet. There’s more, so much more, to come.
Your hand in mine while I held you down and spread open your chest, blade to skin, I remember it was the fourth slice that brought the first beads of blood, your mouth open and swollen under mine, ankle turned around mine, entwined as we opened together.
Could you feel how I split open with your tongue on the pulse of me? Could you feel my heart in your palm when you curled inside me? (Go get a glove. A small one, for you.) Messy, red, bleeding out, nonetheless translucent and whole, and tastes like sugar when it touches your mouth.
When you touch my mouth you taste like fall. Like falling. Like I’ve fallen from whatever I thought I was reaching for and find myself at the mercy of gravity. I couldn’t keep my mouth off of you. I didn’t have to. Most of the bruises happened the last day, though there were a few in the afternoons before. But these, I didn’t hold myself back for, even though you squirmed and hissed through your teeth and gasped and cried out. I loved watching them bloom on your skin, marks so deep you could see the impressions of my crooked teeth.
I wanted to hurt you, and I did. My fists contract around you, hips shift and switch and I want to throw you up against walls, push you down to the floor, drag you by your hair. (Not enough of that yet. Just wait. I want to scare you.) Punch you. Use my knuckles. Leave bruises. I pulled your belt out from your jeans and the leather in my hands made my shoulders and cock ache. What are you going to do with that belt, you whispered. So eager, aren’t you. I hadn’t decided yet. Curl it around your wrists, around your throat. Snap it at your skin. Which is what I did, eventually, rolling the buckle and letting it fall from my hands onto your body. Oh the growl that comes up from somewhere low and dark in me. Then there were the boxing wraps, something to protect me as I threw. You took it so well, so nice and good. Every time I got heavy you tensed, shouted into the hotel sheets, braced yourself against the bed. Relax, I kept telling you. I’m going to keep hitting you one way or the other, you may as well relax. I can tell you want it. I can feel how wet you are on my thigh.
Another time I pulled out a glove and fucked you, watched you come, held you down, got you off five, ten, a dozen times, before I started really hurting you. Pain is easier to take when the pleasure comes first, and I’d learned from the first day that you get worked up and need release. Such whimpering, such desperation, I couldn’t tell if I should back off or go harder, but now I know: harder. More. You can take so much. After your eyes got starry and your smile got lopsided, I started in on the punching, the biting, the slapping. (It stings, you said. Take it, I said. You like it. And you whispered back, I do like it sir. I know you do.) Shoving your face with my open palm. Knuckles against your jaw bone.
Spitting onto my fingers and between your legs as I steadied myself to slide inside.
It was when I said my sweet boy and you said thank you … thank you … thank you (breathing out that missing word with your mouth shaped around it) that something in my chest cracked open. I didn’t know I was looking for you, didn’t know I was missing you, but now you are here and I’m not sure how I could have not seen this you-shaped space in my life before. I want to throw open my arms and show you the full body embrace you are invited to come into.
Maybe you should tell me what your limits are, you said. I can’t imagine anything you would ask for that I would deny you, I said.
Later you said fuck me sir fuck me sir fuck me and I spread my forearm across your sternum and what else could I do but everything you wanted.
And you’re fucking mine.[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/141578221″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Featured image from Indie Porn Revolution.
It’s been a review and work month for books, but I’m still eager to keep finding those titles that are breezy-easy reads, that engage me fully, and that are extremely fun and satisfying to finish.
Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love from Cleis Press to be part of the blog tour for this book, but I was immensely impressed. Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson have penned quite a few books on Tantra, and they teach extensively on the subject, but I believe this is their first more general book encouraging sexual engagement and interaction for couples ongoing. Bed death is another one of those topics that I am fascinated in, so I was very curious what they would say and what they recommend. It is an excellent read. I loved how they portrayed Tantra in that chapter, and the many chapters on experiments for couples, keeping sexy times alive, and ways to work through your own internal blocks are essential and fantastic. I appreciated the extensive amount of gender inclusion, including some testimonials and quotes from trans folks in very respectful and interesting ways, and of sexual orientation inclusion, too—I worried Michaels & Johnson would be very heteronormative in their work, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all. On the contrary, it felt like they were over for dinner at my house and they were just chit chatting about the very real challenges that I have faced in many relationships. (But in a deep, personal, open, insightful way, not in a superficial chit-chat way.) It was much more than I expected and I think everyone curious about enhancing your sex life, and your connection to your partner, should read it, and every one of us who teaches about sex, bed death, and maintaining erotics in a long term relationship should look to it as an excellent resource.
The Big Book of Sex Toys: From Vibrators and Dildos to Swings and Slings—Playful and Kinky Bedside Accessories That Make Your Sex Life Amazing by Tristan Taormino is not a new publication, but it’s new to me. I remember when it was released a few years ago and I just didn’t have time to pick it up and check it out, but because it’s Tristan, I knew it’d be good, and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I finally did, and glad I did. It’s not so much a bible of all available sex toys (perhaps you want Hey, Epiphora for that) but it’s an excellent primer on the types of toys available and highlights of some of the very best. Since the world of sex toys changes constantly (which is one of the reasons it’s fascinating, and one of the reasons it’s frustrating), the book is not comprehensive—but doesn’t claim to be. In addition, it is about SO MUCH MORE than just sex toys—it has excellent essays on communication, experimentation, and owning your own desires mixed in, almost disguised under the premise of sex toys, which is extra clever and a really good entrance point for people delving into more creative sexualities. It belongs up there with The Good Vibes Guide to Sex and Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind Blowing Sex.
I was severely disappointed with Madison Young’s new memoir Daddy. I expected it to be the story of her life, highlighting the daddies she had along the way (as the back cover blurb implied), and including her rise to her pretty famous position of “feminist pornographer.” She wrote about her family-of–origin father, and her partner-cum-dominant-cum-daddy James, but virtually nothing was said about her feminist politics, and very little was depicted or delved into about the sex work and porn that she is particularly famous for starring in and creating. I thought the conflation of her “daddy issues” with her biological father and the daddy role and play that she and her lover take on was irresponsible and cliche. I would have hoped for something more in depth, more thought out, and more, well, feminist, in that it would depict power dynamics with awareness and consciousness and show personal agency. Maybe it’s just because I know Madison’s story has so much more to it than what was shown in this book, but the many claims (two of them being “feminism” and “the many daddies”) just didn’t deliver.
Shanna Katz’s book Lesbian Sex Positions: 100 Passionate Positions from Intimate and Sensual to Wild and Naughty was one of those review books I mentioned, that I picked up because I have deep respect for Shanna, and because I have a kinda quirky fascination with sex positions. On the one hand, having sex in different positions seems like a kind of irrelevant thing to teach or know about, but on the other hand, it is an amazingly popular way that couples “spice up their sex life” and begin seeking more in the worlds of sexuality and toys and kink. It’s also incredibly useful to know about sex positions for people with different physical abilities, be that from injury or disability, and often useful for differing size issues, too, both “my partner is a full foot taller than me!” and “I weight a lot more/less than my partner.” Also, someone (Megan Andelloux I think?) once told me that she believed there are only four real sex positions, and all the others are variations of those four, and I’ve been trying to figure out which four those are ever since. So I was curious to see lesbian-specific ideas for positions. I was disappointed by the skinny-white-girl depictions of the positions, though I think I remember seeing Shanna say that herself too, and that she didn’t have any choice, it was the publisher’s decision. It doesn’t highlight Shanna’s extraordinary skills around disability and size and gender-diversity, so the book doesn’t feel like a very good representation of Shanna’s sex educator smarts. Still, her introductory essay is great (and probably the best part of the book), and I think it’s fascinating that there’s a market for gift books like this.
I’m really into Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham. I devoured it from the library and then went out and bought my own copy so I could follow along with the stages of running (and meditation) that he talks about. I miss studying Buddhism—I haven’t found my place here in the Bay Area yet (mostly because I haven’t really looked yet). I love looking at running through the teachings of meditation, and I was moved, inspired, and curious about the ways he interweaves the two. He does say explicitly that though running can be meditative, it is not a replacement for a meditative practice—”running is not your meditation,” (I’m paraphrasing), “any more than meditation is your exercise.” This book made me want to run better and meditate more. Which is just what I wanted it to do.
I’m not sure what it is, but I have a small collection of funky queer coloring books. I don’t color in them (though maybe I should—I try not to treat my objects as too precious to be used for their intended purpose), but I seem to collect them anyway. I picked up the Sex Position Coloring Book as a review item because I am—what did I write up there?—quirkily fascinated by sex positions as a thing that sex educators teach, and I’m trying to figure out how it’s useful to my own teachings and workshops, particularly since I teach strap-on workshops so frequently. The book depicts only heterosexual cis male & cis female couples, but that’s one of the fun things about a coloring book: you could always add harnesses or other bodily modifications. In full disclosure: I also picked this up partly to inspire rife to possibly do some of his own coloring pages, maybe of sex positions even. That secret covert plan hasn’t worked yet, but I still have some ideas up my sleeve.
I’ve just finished Farm City: Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter this week, so it just squeaked on to this list. I have TWO beautiful big photo books about beginning to grow food in your (urban) backyard, but I haven’t quite devoured them because, well, I’m still so intimidated by the process. I moved into the house I’m in now in August 2013, and we spent the winter prepping the yard and getting it ready to plant and grow more things. Now that it’s spring in the Bay Area it is clearly time to plant things and start planning. It’s exciting! The options feel limitless! And also, eek! We do already have quite a few things in the ground, kale potatoes peas tomatoes pumpkins, and some herbs, sage dill mint basil, and a wildflower patch and a jasmine bush and a satsuma orange tree in a container, but I want to know how to do it all better and want to play in the dirt. So, in order to get myself a bit more excited about these kinds of ideas, I picked up Novella’s book. She had an urban farm in Oakland actually not too far from my house, so I loved hearing about the changes in the neighborhood and the local events. She raised ducks, rabbits, and even pigs for meat, and I will absolutely not be doing that, but in comparison it sure makes growing kale seem easier. I love how extensively researched she is—every few pages she quotes another book, another writer, another hippie back-to-the-land philosopher who came before. I’m definitely more inspired to get out to my own backyard garden and see what I can help grow.
I’ve been devouring some business books lately, and Start Your Dream Business was one of them. It, unfortunately, is almost completely about motivating the reader to follow their dreams and pursue that wacky business idea that you might have, and it is not at all about the nitty-gritty how to do it. In fact, often the business profiles completely skip that part, going from “I had this great idea!” to “and now it’s a 6-figure business!” Great, good for you—and also, how’d ya do that!? Regardless, I picked up the book from the library because I was interested in the premise, and zoomed through it because it included so many people whose work I’ve been familiar with online (like Tara Gentile and … lots of others I can’t remember now). Sarah Wade is UK-based, so many of the references and business owners are not American, which honestly made it even more interesting, since I am mostly familiar with American methodologies of entrepreneurship. I still don’t feel like I’m a pro at this whole business thing, but it’s curious and I am enjoying the learning.
I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles because it’s in that BDSM-novel genre of power dynamic romance that I have enjoyed picking up recently, because I zoom through them and sometimes they’re kind of fun and mostly I can ignore the problematic gender/power alignment assumptions. This one had a curious class premise—that the dominant the narrator meets and falls for is homeless and jobless at the beginning of the book—but other than that, it was pretty fluffy and not very memorable. I ran into a quote from this book about switching, which is what turned me on to it in the first place, but I might have put the book down before I got to the switching part, or just didn’t notice it. The writing is less than average, so I often skimmed through chapters.
Um okay so that’s all I have to say about that.
One more sidenote: I decided at the beginning of March that I would do my best to NOT read online, and to read books instead. It was interesting—it took a lot of discipline, and I noticed how many times, over and over, I clicked through to an article on social media or via email. I didn’t realize how much I was reading online every day, and how many of those articles had so much throw-away content—not things that were actually enriching my life, or teaching me things, but more sensationalized what’s happening in the world things. So that practice has helped me both focus on work more when I’m at the computer and read more books, which has been excellent. I aim to continue that habit.
You can support my reading habit, and encourage me to read and write book roundups like this one, by buying me gifts through my Amazon wish list! (Did I mention it’s my birthday today?)
Or, check out more books that I recommend:
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?
I’m obligated by the blogger’s code to let you know that the Sex Position Coloring Book, Daddy by Madison Young, The Big Book of Sex Toys, Lesbian Sex Positions, and Partners in Passion were all sent to me by the respective publishers as review books. My opinions on those books are solely my own, however, and they did not pay me or influence me in any way to write them. Pick up these books at your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, on Amazon.
The grass under our feet (as much as
your dimples) was responsible for offering
sacrifice, so we could slide smile, court
coy glances, and balance tenacity over
roots, rocks, sloping curves. We circled
each other, noticing, observing, that way
we do. Negotiation peeled off slowly
from my heartbeat heist as a ripe
cream moon cracked open dark. You
whispered, whimpered; my pen tore
through slick paper as soon as it could,
desperate for the inky release. How
could I know your upturned mouth
and skin would split open in me
such grace, such monstrous want,
such a taste for marrow? I keep
my own hungers in check, for fear
I will devour too much, open too wide
overstep, explode—myself or others.
What could happen, you asked. What
would you do? If only I had the beautiful
permission, perhaps I would find out.
Perhaps I will, when your heart is placed
under mine, under a bursting sky, again.
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
My butch girlfriend wants me to boss her around in bed. She wants me to think of it as just using her for my own pleasure and nothing more (just this once anyway!). I’m a bit shy about it though, and not sure how to go about it. Do you have any tips or advice for me?
Aiming to Please
I love this kind of play, personally, so I got a little grrr growl and chill-thrill when I read your question. It took me a lot of time, experimenting, sharing fantasies, and permission for me to come to loving this play, however. I have been a top hung up on whether or not to make a move in many, many scenarios.
So, my tips and advice kind of depend on where your stuck point is. Do you have trouble figuring out what you’re going to do to her, for your own pleasure? Are you worried that you’ll go “too far,” and will do something she won’t like? Or do you freeze up when you actually get to the point of actually doing the things you want to do (and know she’ll like) in bed?
I’ll give a few ideas for each of those.
And, before we go any further: A Note About Gender and Power
Just for the record, that she’s butch probably doesn’t factor into this. I love having these little details in the question, so thanks for including it, but for the most part throwing around your butch girlfriend isn’t different from throwing around your genderqueer girlfriend or your femme girlfriend or your trans girlfriend or your unicorn girlfriend. Ask yourself if, by any possible stretch anywhere in you, you believe that a necessary component of masculinity is topping or dominance, and wait to see what answer comes to your mind. Wait. Longer than the first “No of course not!” knee-jerk reaction. Maybe, somewhere buried in some crevice?
It’s okay if there is—I just want you to be able to have a conversation with that little piece, and assure yourself that this other piece of you knows that, through and through, her masculinity and gender identity are not contingent upon a certain position of power, in bed or socially.
Topping a butch (and using her for your pleasure, mmm) is only different because individuals are different.
If you’re having trouble figuring out what to do …
Do you want it to be all about your orgasm? Do you want to push her body through lots of sensation and stimulation? Would it give you a thrill to control her orgasms, not allow her to come? Do you want to toss her around physically so you can more easily get to the parts of her body you want to torture, play with, pleasure?
You probably already know these answers, if you’ve been fucking for a while, so ask yourself: Are there places she likes or doesn’t like to be touched? Which, if any, holes on her body does she like penetrated? Does she come over and over again, ping ping ping in a row? Or does she have a looong slow buildup to orgasm? Or does she not usually come, but likes being stimulated and finds sexytime play satisfying (outside of the goal-oriented limiting practice of orgasm)? Does she love receiving pain? Does she take stimulation better after she’s come a few times? Or does she crash after coming?
Once you have a good sense of the kinds of things she likes, and the things her body easily takes and enjoys, then you can go after the good stuff: what YOU like. Because yeah, it’s play, and you’re both pretending that you are using her for your pleasure, because of course it is for the pleasure both of you. But it would be even more awesome if the thing you were pretending was for your pleasure had some authentic pleasure in it for you.
So what of those things would be oh so delicious for you?
What do you want the scene to accomplish? Do you want it to be all about your orgasm? Do you want to push her body through lots of sensation and stimulation? Would it give you a thrill to control her orgasms, not allow her to come, or bark commands for her to come right now? Do you want to toss her around physically, moving her body with your body (or with your voice) into positions or placements (either comfortable or uncomfortable) so you can more easily get to the parts of her body you want to exploit, stimulate, pinch, torture, play with, pleasure?
So if you are starting to get an idea (or two or four or a dozen) of what you’d like to do (or maybe you already had a whole bunch of ideas and that wasn’t the hard part), here’s how you start to implement them.
If you worry that you might do “something wrong” …
“I love the idea of bossing you around in bed, I have been thinking about it since we talked about it. I think I want to make it all about me getting off, so you wouldn’t be allowed to. I come best when I’m strapped on and fucking you, so I’d want to strip you down, bend you over the bed, and just go at your hole until I come. So um can we have a date to do that soon?”
If you have any worry that you’d be going too far or doing too much or not doing something that she’d like, tell her about your plan. Say, “Hey, so that bossing you around in bed thing? I’ve been thinking about it. And I think I’d like to tie you to the bed, get you all worked up with my mouth and that toy you really like inside of you, then get up and go sit on your face and ride your mouth until you make me come. Would you be into that?”
Or, “I love the idea of bossing you around in bed, I have been thinking about it since we talked about it. I think I want to make it all about me getting off, so you wouldn’t be allowed to. I come best when I’m strapped on and fucking you, so I’d want to strip you down, bend you over the bed, and just go at your hole until I come. So um can we have a date to do that soon?”
(You can do this via text or gchat or email or snapchat or whatever newfangled technology you kids are using these days. It doesn’t have to be in person, if you are too nervous to say those words out loud.)
Getting her “Oh my god fuck yes please!” face in response will help you feel more bold and less shy, and figure out how exactly to go about it.
(Shoving your hand down her pants right then, just to check, you know, if she liked that idea, is not a bad idea either—assuming you have that kind of relationship where she’d be turned on by that and not triggered. Use your best judgment and smarts about what would be sexyhotfun for you and your beloved.)
You could also share some fantasies back and forth, asking her to tell you what she was envisioning, then telling her some of what you were visioning. Just to, you know, do some research. Brainstorming. Consider your options. (Getting all turned on by the ideas and having some wild sexting or actual sex right then is a bonus.)
Or, if you get stuck when it’s actually business time …
She really wants a better grade on that test, professor, and will do anything you ask to get it.
If it’s the actual bedroom time that is holding you back from going about it, consider putting it into a fantasy context. Doing some pretty simple role play scenarios (with lots and lots of dirty talk, and very minimal props and costumes) (for me growing up a theater kid, role play often seemed like way too much work because I thought it had to be theater, but I’ve found that a choice phrase here or there is more than enough to set the scene) has been an excellent way to alleviate some of my own internal nervousness about throwing someone around and topping for my pleasure. Because then, see, it’s not me doing those dirty dirty things, it’s my job as this particular character to do them, and then when it stops, I come back and get us ice cream and aftercare. Plus, a role play scenario usually should be agreed upon by both people in order to work best, so that means you and she would come up with a scenario that you would then both consent to, and all you’d have to do would be show up for your role.
For example: You’re paying her to use her for what you want, so you get to do anything. She really wants a better grade on that test, professor, and will do anything you ask to get it. You just found her getting off and are now going to punish her for it, and since you know she’s a slut already you know she’ll do whatever you want (though you might have to make her, a little bit).
You could push role play into consensual non-consent realms, too, or coercion, but that might be too much, especially for starting out.
If role play isn’t for you, you could also take a look at The Three Minute Game and consider doing it as a warm up—just three minutes of action for your pleasure. It’s excellent practice for longer scenes.
If I had to boil it down to just two things, I’d say:
- Communicate – tell her what you want to do, ask her what she wants to do, work out a vague rough plan on what you want to do together, and then
- Experiment – Do the plan, reflect with each other what went well and what didn’t go so well, brainstorm and make some suggestions for what you could do to improve it or if you want to toss it out and never do that again, and experiment some more.
I hope that gives you lots of places to start. If you’re still stuck, remember, I do one-on-one coaching sessions, and I would be very happy to help you through whatever might be in the way of getting to this particular fantasy, or fleshing out the scene in your mind, or actually drafting the email, or just talking it through. Contact me for more information and pricing.
“Come, now. Do it for me.”
He quivers under me: hips splayed open, on his stomach, lower back curled so his ass is in the air. He has been waiting. He has been holding back.
“Now, faggot. This is your one chance.”
He comes easily, so of course it is something I like to control, withhold. Our sexual play isn’t about his pleasure.
“Five … four … three … ”
He bucks back into me, buried to the hilt in his ass. I can feel his other hole convulsing just from having my fingers on the outside. He starts shaking, his tight faggot hole slick from lube and my come already pushed deep inside him. I’m not moving. I’m just buried deep, holding him.
He comes. Bucking, clawing at the sheets.
“That’s it.” I relax. “That’s what I wanted.”
Maybe it’s silly, and it’s probably 99% an issue of marketing and what the majority of the population knows, but every time I see a product that advertises that it’s “for the g-spot,” I think, “Really? Do we really have to have this magic “spot” on bodies that is named after a male doctor who “discovered” it?”
I resent that women’s bodies have been claimed.
The “g-spot” is a word and concept that symbolizes the “discovery” of and ownership over parts of women’s bodies, and it is a big ol’ pet peeve of mine.
Of course, there’s constant debate in the scientific health communities about whether the “g-spot” really exists at all—just like how there’s sometimes “official” debate about whether or not someone with a g-spot can ejaculate. Um hello? That just seems … ignorant. Based solely on my completely unofficial poll of my however-many lovers in the last fifteen years, ejaculation can happen and clearly there is some sort of area in the g-spot region that, for some people, when stimulated, is quite pleasurable and can result in either ejaculation or orgasm or both. Of course, for others, there is no pleasure (or sometimes discomfort or pain).
What does that tell me? Well, that our bodies are different.
The New View of a Woman’s Body calls that area the “urethral sponge” and I like that better, though it’s way less of a sexy phrase. Dentifrice vs toothpaste. It’s argued that the g-spot exists somewhere within the urethral sponge, so I suppose they are somewhat different things.
Anatomy is not my specialty, though I am fascinated by our genital parts and what they do. Even more than that, perhaps, I am fascinated by the social and political decisions made surrounding bodies, particularly marginalized bodies (people of color, trans and intersex and “other” genders, women).
So now that you’re Public Service Announcement about my annoyance about the concept of the g-spot is out of the way, let’s move on: This is a review of the Aneros Evi, a somewhat new (as it came out in 2013) g-spot massager toy.
The Aneros company is best known for its neat-shaped prostate toys, which I, not having a prostate, have often admired, though not had much excitement when trying. It seems not all that different than a butt plug, to my non-prostate-having butt. Still, the products are well designed, and that is always a turn-on for me.
So when the Evi was released, which is specifically for g-spot stimulation, I was eager to try it. I like toys that stimulate the g-spot, generally, and lately more and more I have wanted something inside, in that spot, while I’m getting off.
And as a bonus, Evi’s little foot (or, the engine of the starship Enterprise, if you are thinking what I’m thinking) is supposed to give the wearer some added clitoral stimulation too.
The stimulation is supposed to happen purely when squeezing. The kegel exercises (hey look! Here’s another man, Arthur Kegel, who has named a (genital) place on my body after himself) combined with this toy is supposed to simply be enough for this toy to massage my g-spot.
And, does it?
Well … it doesn’t suck. I
wouldn’t don’t kick Evi out of bed. But it’s not any sort of mind-blowing stimulation. I think for my particular body, the Evi isn’t quite the right shape. It’s too small, the foot is not long enough to reach my clit, it doesn’t stimulate my g-spot/urethral sponge enough, or the way I’d like it to.
Still, it’s a great toy to have at arm’s reach in my arsenal. I bet it’s going to be great for a little extra added front hole stimulation while doing some ass fucking. I hear it’s a pretty decent butt plug, and I suspect it’d also be comfortable to wear out in public. So I still have some ideas about and things to experiment with my new Evi friend.
Aneros Evi was sent to me by Good Vibrations to review, but this review consists completely of my own opinions and ideas and is not influenced by anyone else (except maybe rife). Pick up your own Evi at goodvibes.com, & see more of my very favorite recommended sex toys at Good Vibrations here.
Two of my greatest queer erotic embodiment / sacred sexuality teachers, Alex Jade and Lizz Randall, are facilitating workshops at the end of March, and I have a collaboration with another mentor and friend of mine, Betty Martin, the first weekend of April.
So it’s shaping up to be an incredibly erotic and embodied spring!
I highly recommend ALL of these workshops, of course, but which one might work for YOU depends on where you’re at on your own journey, where you are, who you want to work with, and what kind of explorations you want to continue.
Lizz’s workshop Dedicated to Your Body will be an entry-level somatic embodiment experience dedicated, well, to YOUR body, where there will be a lot of temple time, deep ritual, play, somatic time, integration, and pelvic floor exploration. I just had a chat with her this morning about curriculum and I’m really excited it’s happening. I won’t be at this one, but I have known Lizz for many years and I know it’s going to be great.
Lizz’s Dedicated to Your Body workshop is for all women, meaning anybody who identifies as a woman or female and wants to do this work in a space for women-identified folks. It’s different to be in a women’s temple, and as someone who has been doing work in women’s temples for about 15 years, I highly recommend it. Because I know Lizz and her trans- and genderqueer inclusions, I know I would feel comfortable attending, as a genderqueer trans/ish butch who is probably female and definitely passes as a “woman.” Just, for the record. You butches and trans folks are invited, assuming you want to explore your connection with female and woman-ness in a women’s temple space. And, just in case it isn’t clear, it is explicitly inclusive of trans women, as the facilitator is very trans-aware and -versed, and since it’s inclusive of all women, that includes trans women. (Duh. But just being clear.)
Alex’s workshop, Tantra & SM, is in San Francisco through Flesh & Spirit. It’ll be a bit more advanced, I imagine, and delve into some kink things and shadow. I haven’t spoken with her about curriculum but I trust both Flesh & Spirit as a container and Alex as a gender-fluid SM player and as a teacher. I’m signed up and very excited to be there!
Tantra & SM is for any and all genders.
My workshop with Betty Martin is actually two linked workshops, Betty’s Learning to Touch on Saturday and my day-long workshop Playing with Power on Sunday. I am THRILLED to be playing with Betty and building off of her Learning to Touch workshop, and I’m really excited to offer some embodiment practice based in power dynamics and the embodiment of power. I can’t speak to Betty’s side as much, but my side will be about domination and submission, about power and surrender, about giving over and taking, about receiving and pulling out. It’s a combination of my Queering Power Dynamics workshop, which is more theoretical and talky-based, and my erotic ritual day-long workshops that include some small group and optional play parts.
Touch & Power will be for any and all genders and orientations, queer trans genderqueer masculine feminine straight d-type s-type, whatever. I’m hoping we’ll have a wide range of all of it, actually. I don’t expect it to be “power balanced,” meaning to have the same number of d-types as s-types, and as such we’ll ALL be exploring ALL aspects of power and surrender. It’s going to be delicious.
So, won’t you come join me in the Pacific Northwest for some erotic embodiment play this spring? I’d love to see you there.
Click on the big green plus (+) to expand the descriptions and see which one would work for you![toggle type=”3″ title=”
Dedicated to Your Body: A Retreat for Women
Dedicated to Your Body: A Retreat for Women
March 22-23, 2014, with Lizz Randall in Seattle
Our bodies need tending, away from lovers, partners, children and media. This retreat gives you that time.
In a safe, respectful and fun environment of women discover and connect with the aliveness and potency of your body. This workshop is designed for women interested in the conscious cultivation and exploration of embodied presence and sexuality. You will slow down enough to listen to what your body really wants and needs, to be witnessed and to witness, to receive on your terms, and go with your own flow. This retreat offers you full choice, presence, honor and permission to be where you are and go where you want.
Learn about clear boundaries and self-trust.
Connect with your erotic energy as a source of generative power
Learn how to ask for what you want.
Uncover the power of giving and receiving without losing yourself.
Explore states of embodiment, from subtle to bold, through conscious touch, movement, meditation and ritual.
Develop a relationship with your whole body that serves as a foundation for everything in your life.
Experience the potency of connecting with your eros
Come experience the healing and transformative power of this experiential work.
March 22-23, 2014, with Lizz Randall in Seattle[toggle type=”3″ title=”
Tantra and SM: A Spring Equinox workshop
Tantra and SM: A Spring Equinox workshop
March 29 and 30, 2014, With Alex Jade in San Francisco
Once again, Alex Jade returns to us to share her unique alchemy of classical Tantra and SM. Those who have been to one of Alex’s workshops know that it is difficult to describe the magic (and fun!) that we create in our time together with Alex. We will conjure the healing power of pleasure through Tantra, SM, and more! Drawing on the power of the spring equinox as a balance point between day and night, we will explore the fertility that emerges from the riches of the dark. We will go from stillness to activation as we uncover the inner marriage of polarities.
This workshop is designed for those who have had erotic ritual or community erotic gathering experience, and who have some level of comfort and/or skill with SM. Previous experience with Tantra or with another flesh and spirit workshop is not necessary. We are happy to speak with you to explore whether this workshop would be right for you.[/toggle] March 29 and 30, 2014, With Alex Jade in San Francisco [toggle type=”3″ title=”
Learning to Touch & Playing with Power
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA”]
Learning to Touch & Playing with Power
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA
~ Women, men, genderqueer, trans folks, singles, couples, queer, straight –
any and all genders and orientations
~ Inexperienced, wildly experienced or anywhere in between
Saturday: Learning to Touch, with Betty
Learn how to notice what it is you want, why it matters, when to bring it forward and when to set it aside. Feel the difference between receiving a gift and giving one, and what they have to do with touch, and what they don’t. And fall in love with both of them – completely and equally.
Find each of the 4 Quadrants of Receiving and Giving and what each of them can teach you. Each one is inherently pleasurable but often misunderstood and therefore sometimes difficult to find. Each of the 4 is innate to who you are as a lover and as a person, and the more you discover about yourself in each of the 4, the more freedom you have to be yourself, fully and authentically.
Sunday: Playing with Power, with Sinclair
Take what you have just learned about desire, consent and the dynamics of receiving and giving, and now expand it to play in the realm of power and power exchange. We take the skills and dynamics, and dive in a little deeper into this fascinating, fun and potentially erotic playground.
For beginners in this realm, this is the perfect way to gain a solid footing of awareness and skills. For experienced players, discover what the 4 Quadrants have to teach you that clarify your dynamics let you go even deeper.
MORE ABOUT THE CLASSES:
Saturday, April 5: Learning to Touch
At this workshop, you will:
~ Get crystal clear on Receiving and Giving – what the difference is and why it matters
~ Fall completely in love with both of them, equally
~ Find the surprising source of your confidence and creativity
~ Bring a new level of presence and sensuality to all your touch
~ Learn the Circle of Consent and the 4 Quadrants, a sensual practice that will clarify your relating on all levels
~ Learn real, tangible skills to ask for what you want, with ease and generosity
This workshop is for you if you:
~ are seeking the next level of ease, confidence and joy, wherever that is for you
~ love and care for each other, but can’t quite find the key to loving your love life
~ know there is something deeper, more meaningful in sex, but have no idea were to start looking for it
~ have been experimenting with Tantra but find it awkward and contrived
~ are not comfortable ‘receiving’ and don’t know why or what to do about it
~ want to have more fun!
Sunday, April 6, Playing with Power
At this workshop, you will:
– Practice principles of giving and receiving touch
– Feel in to your consent and agency, and more feminist foundations for power play
– Learn and explore some of the basics of domination and submission
– Experience what it’s like to tap into the great strength of vulnerability in being seen, asking for what you want, and giving yourself over
– Feel into the inherent power that is in all of us
– Deepen your connection with your own calling
This workshop is for you, if you:
– Have some experience with giving and receiving consensual touch in groups
– Trust yourself to feel in to your yes and no in the moment, and vocalize that
– Want to take your power play to a deeper, bigger, bolder, playful level
– Want to increase your capacity for asking for what you want in the moment
– Want to get more in touch with your own surrender to another’s desires, or
– Want to get more in touch with your own desires, to request them of another
– Are eager to play with power and touch
Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA
Sometimes I just think of the simplest of things.
Your mouth. That look on your face, that look, when you’re giving over even more, just a little deeper, giving in to the sensation, giving in to wherever I’m moving your body, however I’m touching you. Your skin. The way your hands feel in mine. The way my fingers close around your wrist or throat or earlobe. The back of your head in my palm.
I think of these little flashes of your body, of us.
Other times, a more elaborate story.
What happens when I pick you up and drive you somewhere deserted and quiet, an empty kind of creepy parking lot where no one is around, no other cars, and lock the doors before I force your head into my lap. You struggle against me, but you know I will have my way, no matter what you do. You know it’s better to go easy, but not too easy, because then I’ll beat you for liking it.
I don’t really need an excuse to take you, or to hurt you, or to use you. It is so comforting, so deeply validating, to be able to have you in this way. To know that if you are in arm’s reach, I can use you for anything I may need, from fetching me a glass of water to your hands as an ashtray to your holes for my cock or fingers or tongue or whatever I might want to do with them.
Lately, I think a lot about rough sex. Pressure and strain and resistance and using my weight against gravity to hold you down. I think about going too far, pushing too hard, making you gag, spit, sputter, making you cry out and bleed, bruises under my fingers holding you so tight, making you beg and cry, making you take it anyway. There’s something about the release on that level that is different—deeper?—than most other releases for me … knowing I can just pour into someone else and they can hold it, they have to. I love how you do this for me.
You release me in so many other ways, too, though. Moments of energetic intensity come to mind, times we’ve been outside with your hand in me in some way, the earth underneath shooting up and connecting me with … everything. I miss being somewhere with grass, with places to fuck outside.
Can you believe it’s the last day of February? I know there are literally fewer days in this month, but it always seems to zoom by, more than other months. Maybe it’s the beginnings of spring coming back and my eagerness for more spring. Fall is my favorite, really, but that baby-green color that the brand new leaves are? And the first signs—the magnolias, the crocuses, the daffodils? I love that so much.
Aside from it being a quick month, I traveled a lot. Which meant I did have some good time on airplanes and transit to read, but that I was usually using it for other things (like going over my notes for workshops). I’m learning that I can’t really multi-task effectively when I travel. I tend to think of the verb “to travel” as something I do in the background, and other things happen at the same time, but really when “I am traveling,” that’s sometimes all I can actively do.
(I know touring artists have said this kind of thing all the time, but it’s still interesting to discover for myself.)
So, this month, I read:
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I picked up a few books by him because his work has been recommended many times over the years, and I thought it’d be an engaging, somewhat light read. This was the one I started with (though I did read Fight Club a while ago, after an ex of mine said it was her favorite book). I can’t say I liked it. At one point I tweeted, “I’m not supposed to like this main character, right?” I didn’t, but I understand he’s supposed to be an anti-hero. I guess I didn’t even like him enough for the anti-hero to work, I wasn’t that sympathetic to his stories and I didn’t like his level of manipulation. I don’t know if I’ll pick up another by Palahniuk. If I do, which do you recommend?
Then, because the first one was such an easy and fun read last month, I picked up Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, I thought it was the second book in the series, but it was actually the third, and because it’d been about a month since I read the first one (and it was light breezy skimmy reading for me, not deep attention), I was a little lost at the beginning but just went with it. I didn’t even realize until about halfway through the book that it was building up to The Big Reveal of the series. A variety of folks who saw I was reading this series recommended to stop with the second one, because the third was so bad; I didn’t think it was bad exactly, and the twist was somewhat interesting, though of course the science is not sound at all. “Because genes!” is not good. I kinda blew the wad with reading the third one second, so I probably won’t go back to the second one. Still, it was a fun read.
I picked up Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marsha Pessl because I read Night Film last month and loved it, but it was what stumped me. I was totally on a fiction roll until I started this one, and then it was just a liiiiiittle too dense and just a little too smarty-pants for me, and I put it down and stopped. I didn’t finish it, though someday when my attention span is a little better, I’d like to try it again.
After an absence, I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles again, which I’d seen some smart quotes from on Tumblr I think and figured it might be a promising BDSM novel. Uh, not really. Thin and trite and not very good writing and not very hot. Still, it’s written from a submissive girl’s perspective, with a lot of dominant worship, so I like that part. Enough to finish the book, though not really enough for it to have made an impression.
I’m constantly in search of really good power dynamic writings, so I picked up two. The first was Protocols: A Variety of Views (Power Exchange Books Resource Series) by Robert Rubel, which was a disappointment. It’s a collection of essays from a variety of well known M/s and D/s folks, many of whom have excellent credentials and have been instrumental in the leather communities for a long time. I suspect that they as people are amazing, and that they have lots of great ideas that I would love love love to learn from, but they didn’t translate very well to these short essays. A number of the essays started with, “What is BDSM?” which could be useful if you’re writing an entire book about BDSM, but these are short essays on protocol specifically, so I suspect the average reader already has some knowledge. I would’ve loved more advanced ideas and less beginner, and more editing so that the writing wasn’t quite so clunky.
Along with Protocols, I finally picked up Erotic Slavehood by Christina Abernathy, which is actually two books together: Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual and Training With Miss Abernathy. The first, the slave training manual, is quite good. It is a bit elementary, a beginner-to-intermediate level, but I really liked the writing style, the knowledge, and the smarts of Miss Abernathy, and I don’t say that about very many d/s books. The second half of the book is a training guide with exercises, suggested readings, journal prompts meditations, and all kinds of things for a submissive/slave/s-type to explore. I loved it! I wish I’d read it before Submissive Playground, though perhaps it’s good because it could have been influential. I highly recommend it to s-types, and I promptly passed it off to rife to work through.
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by Susan Anderson … I don’t have much to say about this. I am still grieving, and on any given day somewhere from 10 to 70 percent of me is in some sort of despair process. I assume it’s temporary, I trust it will keep evolving, but it’s been hard lately. So I am trying to learn about the grief process, to lean on the teachings and helpers who have done this kind of thing before, and not just dwell in my own heartbreak hotel.
Sexy Sailors: Gay Erotic Stories edited by Neil Plakcy was so much more than I expected. Not just better (though yes, better writing than many of the other books I’d read this month) but also more engaging, more interesting, more fascinating. I’m not really into sailors or boats, but there’s a whole language associated with it, and in addition to the language, an entire men’s culture that is quite curious to glimpse into. And, I really liked all the cock-centric dirty parts. I don’t read much gay boy smut, but I think I should change that. I fucking love Cleis Press—any time I pick up an erotica anthology by them, it never fails to have high quality writing, dirty scenes, thoughtful characters, and so much sensual, smokin’ hot language (which is exactly why I pick up erotica instead of watch some dirty scene). It’s so good for sex geeks like me.
Last but not least, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. I was hoping this had business advice in it, but it reads much more like The Four Hour Workweek, which is useful for motivation but not so much for detailed infrastructure implementation, which is the phase I’m currently in. I’m looking to make some business decisions and studies in the near future, so I took a shot in the dark and started here. Not so much. But I’ll keep shooting—I have some other ideas.
If you have any book recommendations, I would love to know them! What have you read lately that’s been amazing? What do you think I’d love?
One of my biggest challenges as a top—and as a feminist dominant, and as someone who is well versed in and vehemently requires agency and consent in my sexytime play—is making assertions of what I want. This is especially hard if I’m meeting or playing with somebody new. I want to be bold, domineering (in good ways), bossy (also in good ways), sexy—toppy. I want to demand and take and get just a little more rough than expected.
But: I won’t do that, until I have consent. Until I have a very, very clear green light that my advances—my dominance, my toppy-ness—is wanted and desired.
Nothing wrong with that, right? I want to do dirty things with the people I date and play with, and I want them to want me to do those things, otherwise I don’t want those things. In fact, one could argue (and I do) that my wanting to do those things is contingent upon them wanting me to do them. I won’t get it up for somebody who doesn’t want me.
But see, sometimes because I am not making big bold moves, or acting with brassy ballsy swagger, people think I am not flirting with them, or don’t like them, or aren’t interested, or am “not that dominant.”
(Well, in terms of that last one, they can suck it—I believe in consensual dominance, and I don’t believe doms (or anybody) has a right to go around spewing their swagger on anybody they come across. I take up my space, you take up yours. Unless we’re in a explicit power dynamic, I don’t assume that I get to be dominant with you. I guess that’s called boundaries.)
But those other things … that depends. Sometimes I really, really, really, like somebody, and I want to do things with them to them for them, but I am not getting a clear green light, so I do nothing.
And this can be crippling! This can mean that a perfectly good top wrings their hands and wonders, wonders, wonders, whether or not they should make a move, but that the other person is simultaneously thinking, I thought they were a top? Aren’t they going to do something?
That sucks, right? Here’s a few ideas.
1. Make it clear you are (kinda sorta completely) inclined to topping
Talk about it. Bring it up. “I tend to like to be in charge in bed.” Talk about topping and bottoming. Talk about the kind of things you like to do. Do you like rough sex? Extensive amounts of bondage? Strap-on sex nine times out of ten? Always being the one who orders at a restaurant? Opening doors? Holding someone down while they struggle?
And … ask them what they like. Talk about it. Get their Fetlife fetish list from their own expressive mouth. Ask again. Ask about specific things. Be fascinated by their answers. Listen closely.
This might be elementary for you, but I find that just about everybody doesn’t talk or communicate about their own desires enough. ‘Cause here’s the thing: They change constantly. Most of us don’t want the same thing all day every day. So it is a constant practice to be in the moment, figure out what we want, and communicate it clearly.
2. Make it clear you are waiting for a green light
Or, explicitly ask for a green light. Many people who are inclined to bottoming or submission, or, often, those who would be into going out with a top, are frequently waiting for the top to make the move. Perhaps they think that the way they’re batting their eyelashes, or the way they shined their leathers, or the way they are rubbing their thighs together, is so fucking obvious that of course you know they want you. But still, you are waiting for that green light.
So tell them that.
“I would so love to kiss you, but I’m waiting for the right sign / you to ask me / the perfect moment.” “I know I said I’m a top, but the only way I get all … toppy with somebody is if I am clear they want me to. Are you into that?” “I have this thing about consent—it’s super important to me. So I tend to wait until I get a really really clear green light to make any sorts of moves. But after I get the green light … ”
(Then do that sexy-ass sly top grin you practice in the mirror. Come on, I know you do.)
And then, pay attention to their reaction.
So if you growl, “I really want to throw you down, right now,” and their eyes get all huge and they start thinking about all the grass stains they’ll get, and they say, “Uhhh…” you will know that is not consent. But when they take a step closer to you and say, “I have a really good mattress at my house,” you’ll know they are at least interested.
I hesitate to talk about how consent can be expressed non-verbally, through physical communication, though I do believe that it can be. It’s just harder to pinpoint and talk about, and much easier to misconstrue, miscommunicate, or mistake. For the sake of nervousness or fear or making big bold topping moves, it is always, always safer to get enthusiastic verbal consent specifically.
Regardless of how much explicit consent they give you, always be paying attention for hesitation in their body language or speech. That probably means it’s time to back up, and slow down, and check in.
This can be used when escalating all sorts of play, by the way, not just the first kiss. It could be useful for that moment when you want to get your strap-on out, or when you want to put them in spread eagle bondage, or when you want to hold them down and rough them up, or when you want to ask them—tell them, demand them—to go into the bathroom and take their panties off and give them to you. Sometimes you just don’t know if it’s the right time to do something new, or to escalate, and you don’t know if you have their consent for it. So ask. Make it clear what you’re looking for, so they can give it to you (or not). They just might not know that’s what you’re waiting for.
Sometimes, when I start getting the feeling that it’s time to move in for a kiss or to escalate physical touch with somebody, I make a move kinda like I’m about to do the thing I want to do, but then I catch myself, and say, “Oh, sorry—I really want to kiss you / put my hands on your stockings / grab your belt / take you down right now. That okay?” (Sometimes I say this in a sexy growly voice near their neck or ear while I decidedly do not touch or kiss them because I don’t know if that’s okay—yet.)
And I wait. For their reaction, response, and enthusiastic consent made clear.
3. Still afraid you’re being an asshole?
Here’s the thing: Asking somebody for something, or asserting a decision or a preference, is not being an asshole. You’re not being an asshole when you say, “I’d love to take you out. How about we meet at this great cafe I love on Sunday for brunch?” You’re not being an asshole when you’re on a wandering-around-the-park date and you say, “I’d love a coffee. Want to duck into this coffee shop for a bit?” You’re not being an asshole when you point at a shady spot under a tree and say, “Let’s go sit there.” You’re not being an asshole when you get back to your place and they are on your couch all sexy and biting their lips and you say, “I can’t wait to play with you.”
You absolutely are being an asshole when you don’t honor their response to your suggestion or offer or preference.
If you say, “Let’s go to this great steakhouse!” And they say, “I’m a vegetarian …” When you say, “Great! Meet you there at 7,” you are being an asshole.
Wah waaaaah. Sad trombone. Don’t do that.
But making the offer? Not an asshole. Suggesting a change in place? Great! Shows your flexibility and thoughtfulness. Requesting a date at a particular place? Not too much (until, you know, they tell you otherwise).
Sometimes, being assertive and suggesting things is a relief to the other person. We often defer to each other (especially people we like), saying, “Whatever is fine!” And we mean it! But when someone drives the social decisions, it can be very useful. What’s not useful (have I made this clear yet?), and is firmly in asshole territory, is overriding what someone else expresses they want or don’t want.
So make suggestions. Request—and get—the green light, so you can be confident that your glorious toppy-ness is fully desired and wanted.
PS: I hope this is clear, but just in case it isn’t: This has absolutely nothing to do with getting someone to do what they don’t want to do. Fuck that. This has to do with communicating enthusiastic consent. Okay, clear? Cool.
It’s Valentine’s Day this week! You didn’t forget it, did you? Well, you’re lucky—if you place an order before noon on Wednesday, they’ll upgrade your shipping to next day air, with some other goodies thrown in too.
Whether you’re single, or have one or two or more hotties you want to share some sexytimes with this V-day, I’m sure you can find a way to … work this to your advantage.
Here’s some of my very favorite desert island toys. Maybe it’s time to add them to your toy box!
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Well, okay then. Here’s even more of my favorite products of all time over at Good Vibrations. ‘Cause you’re gonna need some condoms, gloves, and lube to go with those toys, aren’tcha?
Order by noon today (Wednesday) & get free next day shipping, free vibrator, free gift card, & other goodies!
Hello! This is your monthly affiliate feature, where I share with you some of the reasons you should indulge in a particular product or service. This month, February 2014, it’s going to be Pink & White, fine makers of such queer porn as the Crash Pad Series, Pink & White Productions, Pink Label (streaming on demand), and Heavenly Spire.
I’ve had a Crash Pad membership for years. Shine Louise Houston makes some of the fucking finest queer porn currently available—and I don’t just say that because she features queers of all genders, all body sizes, all races and skin tones, and all kinds of kink. I also say that because I’ve seen boatloads of queer porn, and her stuff is, quite frankly, the very best.
Remember back when the internet was a baby wee “net” and so of course was 65% full of porn? I drew the (mistaken) conclusion that all people who made porn were somehow exploitative, so therefore I would never pay money for it.
But then, a few years later … I saw this:
And I watched it over, and over, and over and over and overandoverandover. It was the. Hottest. Thing. I’d. Ever. Seen.
(And because it was such a significant moment in my sexy timeline, and I watched it
two twenty thousand times, I STILL think it is incredibly fucking hot.)
It took me a while before I actually saw the full-length DVD. A year or two? But I didn’t forget this trailer. And then after I saw the actual DVD, I thought … this is a game-changer. You know what this means? There is actually good queer porn.
I’d never seen that kind of queer dyke porn with that kind of intensity and strap-on play in any place other than, well, SIR Productions (like Sugar High Glitter City and Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels). I was impressed. I mean like really impressed.
And … well, then I started paying for porn.
I started interacting more with the folks who were creating the porn—the filmmakers, the porn stars, the photographers—and I wanted to support their work. I thought it was important for them to be able to get paid to do this work, so that they could keep doing it and not have to go do some day job they didn’t really like and then stop making porn.
(You can rent the original Crash Pad: Director’s Cut film on Pink Label, and if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat.)
So! Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been watching the online Crash Pad Series religiously. (I mean really: my boy & I have a tradition of watching porn and having pancakes on the weekends, which I consider another form of worship.) I get really behind and don’t always keep up with the new episodes, but because sometimes reviewing porn is part of my job, I love excuses to catch up. Like this one!
So I started watching backwards from the most recent season, and picked some of my favorite more recent scenes to feature and share with you. These all have strap-on play in it, because, well, that’s kinda my thing.
Without further adieu …
Five Amazing Crash Pad Strap On Scenes
I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I kind of have a foot fetish. (Turns out, all those years of adoring shoes? I guess that was a gateway drug.) And finding queer porn with lovely foot play is, well, pretty rare. And two super hot trans queers? Unh I’ve never quite seen anything like this. And I liked it. Um a lot.
Okay, okay, you got me: This isn’t exclusively a strap-on scene, though lots of these have other things in addition to their strap-on play. Though there is an appearance, this is more of a take-down kind of scene. Courtney Trouble & Dylan Ryan are two of my favorite queer porn stars, and Chelsea Poe is so fucking hot in this, and they are fantastic together. So consider it a bonus.
PS: As a teeny little aside, I ran into this interview I did with Shine from 2010 while I was working on this article, which talks all about her homage to masculinity, Heavenly Spire. I love what she has to say about being a queer and masculine of center / butch pornographer who is interesting in pointing her camera at cis and trans men. And I really love the artful films in that project, too.
PS: There’s a Valentine’s Day sale going on for new members.
I’m dotting my i’s and crossing my t’s and fucking the boy one last time and packing a bag (as soon as I can find my suitcase? How did I misplace that?) and having a few meetings and setting up the last week of the Submissive Playground and fighting with the airlines about last minute tickets and getting ready to leave on a round-the-country adventure tomorrow!
FIRST: I will be in Portland at Lewis & Clark tomorrow night, doing my signature college class FUCKING WITH GENDER.
THEN: I’ll be hopping a plane (hopefully after visiting Erika) and heading over to IvyQ, held this year at Princeton. Last year was a blast, and though we all got snowed in at Yale, I got to spend some lovely extra time with Mollena and Charlie Glickman and Erika Moen and it was fantastic.
So this time, I’m doing a new workshop that is based on my Advanced Cock Confidence and my Fucking with Gender classes, called FROM PRAXIS TO FETISH: ADVANCED GENDER FUCKERY
I’m nervous AND thrillingly excited to be visiting IvyQ again—they haven’t even announced who else is doing workshops there this year, but I’m sure there will be awesome amazing folks and I’m looking forward to hanging out, meeting a bunch of students, and talking to them about what’s going on in the worlds of gender and queerness in colleges these days. I always learn so much when I get to actually hang out and talk to people!
Plus: I’m bringing these little brochures that rife made (he’s such an incredibly talented designer, I had no idea that having a designer as a service submissive would be so incredibly useful to my business, but hey, it really is)! They are super cute and kind of based on my “Unsolicited Advice to a New Butch” mini-book poems, but they have a bunch of quirky text and photos and information about my workshops and how to contact my booking agent, Ripley.
(Ripley decided to get his very own phone number and it’s (512) 93-SEXED, which I kind of think should be (512) 93-SEX-ED, but he likes that it says “sexed!” as in “I am so thoroughly sexed, baby.” These are the kinds of things we have meetings about.)
Aren’t they cute?
I’ll miss being at home in my little Oakland house where I’m trying to grow some things in our yard and have a routine and train for a 5K run (gulp) and write a bunch of things, but I also really love my job. I feel so lucky.
So hey, want to come out and chat with me? I’d love to meet you. See you in Portland, or at Princeton.
It is definitely true that I don’t have investment in being seen and treated as male, but I DO have investment in not being seen or treated exclusively female. There’s a subtle difference there. And sure, maybe that is the difference between me and a trans guy. Definitely a few of my close trans guy friends have a very similar gender history to mine, too, and then at the final step 128 or whatever, mine says, “and that’s why I’m butch!” and theirs says, “and that’s why I’m a guy!” Being seen or treated as male doesn’t feel important to me or my sense of self, at least not currently. I reserve the right to change my mind on that at any point, if and when it shifts, but that’s been true for almost fifteen years now, so I am starting to relax into thinking it will remain true for a while. Butch feels good. Genderqueer feels good. Trans feels good, but mostly as an umbrella descriptor, as a community membership. More trans-asterisk (trans*) than capital-T Trans, but either are okay. (Kind of like how lesbian and dyke are okay, too, almost good, but mostly just adequate, though not quite accurate.)
I have a LOT of thoughts about all of this—especially how I identify, and my own gender journeys—that are way more complicated than the “Coming Out Genderqueer” article above. That article is purposefully distilled, attempting to talk to people who aren’t in any gender worlds. It’s a rough sketch beginning of all of that, at best, and sometimes broken down more simply than I mean to for the sake of accessibility.
Honestly, there’s no way I could answer “if I had been born male would I still be genderqueer” etc etc. I have no idea. For as much as I study gender constantly, I’m not really sure what being born male would have changed. Everything? Nothing? I just don’t know. I have speculations, but it seems unnecessary to entertain to me. And “if we had full gender equality and the boxes of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ were much wider than they currently are, do you think you would still consider yourself genderqueer, or would you then be comfortable being one or the other?” I have no idea. A society which had wider expression of gender than ‘man’ or ‘woman’ wouldn’t be where I live, so how many other things would have to change too? I’m a buddhist, I believe in interdependence—I don’t think we could change one big thing without a whole lot more changing, too.
I’d say that my most important identification is in being in-between, or outside of, a binary system. Would that still be true if I was male? I don’t know—probably. Assuming that I would have roughly the same personality, would still be a writer, would still really love satsuma oranges, would still crave the ocean, would still get stunned looking at the stars, would still find so much joy in swing dancing—assuming all those personality things were still true, then yes, I assume I would still crave being on the outskirts of things, the margins, where the weirdoes live, on the borderlands (to borrow from Anzaldua). I like the view from here. I get a better view, though it disenfranchises me a bit, too. The edges of things, more than anything else, seem to be where I am drawn. Not to one particular thing—masculinity, or genderqueerness, or transness. It isn’t about those things so much as it’s about being on the edge, for me.
And, a part of me is softly hurt by your comment, of yet another person asking me yet again, basically, if or when I am going to transition. Or rather, if butch is a stop over on the train to maleness. Or, if I was male, would I “have to” be genderqueer. I can’t tell you how many dozens (hundreds?) of people—butches trans men femmes, genderqueer agender androgynous queers, all sorts of genders, over the years, friends and lovers and people who talked about me rudely behind my back, so many of them at one point or another said something, either directly or indirectly, about my—and often, EVERY butches’—inevitable transition. I think butches get this all the time.
I think it’s quite a common story for many trans guys to spend some time presenting as butch, or as masculine identified women in some way, or as genderqueer, or as rejecting gender in some way. Like you wrote—(like gays who falsely identify as bi at first). Yes, that is sometimes part of the story. But it doesn’t apply to everybody all the time, and just because it happens sometimes doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who find a butch identity and stay there, people who never transition to male, who never secretly wish for maleness, or to be seen and treated as male.
Folks in the bisexual identity—to continue to borrow your example—get this all the time too, with people around them assuming, at least for quite a while in the beginning, that bi will be a stopover to gay town. Sometimes it is. But sometimes, it isn’t.
So, is genderqueer a political identity for me? Fuck yes it is. Is it an innate identity? Uh I mean how can we know what’s “innate” and what’s learned, especially when it comes to gender? But say, for a minute, that I do know—I would answer, Absolutely yes. Which one is more powerful? Fuck, I have no idea. That’s like asking me to rank my oppressions, or tell you whether I identify as an Alaskan or a writer first. I can’t hierarchize those. It is a radical, political act to reject the two-party binary gender system, and I like radical acts. I get off on ’em. It also feels like home in my body in a way my body never felt like home when I was dressed up more femininely, and never felt/feels like home when people refer to me by he/him pronouns. They/them and genderqueerness and in-between feels like all kinds of parts of me can be acknowledged—not “the man and the woman,” because for the most part I feel like those don’t even apply. None of the above. But the writer and the Alaskan, the swing dancer and the cockcentric top, the pretty good cook and the freelancer, the stargazer and the reader, the masculinity and the love of ice cream. The traits that I have that are traditionally masculine, the traits that I have that are traditionally feminine, and whatever in between.
I want to be able to pick + choose whichever ones suit me from whatever possible category. And I want others to have that ability, too, should they want it. I think it’s possible.
Also, I’m sorry—I don’t mean to be snappish about this, and I explicitly DID say, go ahead and ask questions. So, thank you for asking. I’m trying to answer honestly as best as I can, and honestly? Part of me is frustrated with that question, and the commonness in the queer worlds. I am heavily invested in butch as an identity all its own, regardless of the other genders or identities that that person carries too. I am invested in butch identity not only politically, not only for other people, but for my own sake. I am invested in my butch identity. Am I going to always be butch? I don’t know. Do I have secret longings to be male that are unrealized? Not currently, from the best that I know about myself, no.
Do I reserve the right to decide otherwise in the future? Fuck yes.
But … I hope, if I do decide I want to transition, to identify as male, to be perceived as male and treated as male, that I will honor the 35+ years (or, I suppose, arguably, the 15+ years, since I was mostly some other figuring-out-puzzling-frustrated version of me until I was about 20) I spent as a female genderqueer trans masculine butch. One of my most touching moments at BUTCH Voices in New York City in 2010 was when someone, during our ritual/keynote, held up a stone and offered: “My commitment to my trans voice is to honor the butch woman I was for 40-some years.” I know that many trans men were never butch, that if they were a masculine-presenting-woman for some length of time it might’ve been part of their transition, part of their path to male, part of survival, the only option they had, or who knows what kind of other things, and perhaps they never fully occupying the claimed identity of butch. And, similarly, some butches are never secretly wishing to be men.
I only speak for myself, but I, for now, am eagerly comfortable and loving the in-between of genderqueer.
Little note: I use Grammarly’s plagiarism detection software because duplications, while sometimes necessary, are never as good as the real thing.
I read seven books in January! I’ve had such difficulty focusing on reading the past few years. I think at first it was because of my weird fogged-out grief-brain, but then this past year I think I was just out of the habit, going instead to my Facebook feed or Twitter feed or Tumblr feed if I wanted things to read.
I’ve also been realizing that the massive stacks of books that I read for work are sometimes really hard to get into and not exactly “pleasure reading.” While I love love love to read relationship theories and gender theories and gender memoirs & narratives and sex education things in general, I also don’t necessarily curl up with those before I go to bed. I used to—but I guess that’s the difference between doing that kind of stuff as a JOB and reading them all for fun.
So around the holidays, I put out the question to friends and started accruing a huge list of indulgent novels to try out and read. I wanted to start with some easy page-turners, those “unputdownables” that I bring to the dinner table and wake up wanting to read. I got some fantastic recommendations.
I started with Divergent, the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. The narrator, Tris, is in a society that measures by value, and at 16 they are sorted into the faction where they will stay. They do have some choice, but they also take an aptitude test to determine where they would best fit. Excellent premise! I was into it, and excited about the story, and devoured it quickly, but the writing was not so great. Thin and definitely plot-based. I would absolutely watch the film, though, and I may pick up the other two books in the series, especially when I need to remind myself that books are easy to read and I can zoom through them in a couple days.
Tiny aside: Do y’all read through a Kindle or Kindle app? I think it’s kind of fascinating that it tracks how many hours you’ve spent reading any particular book, and then it also tells you how many more hours you have to go in reading it. I don’t track time very well, I am coming to realize, so that was really interesting.
After Divergent, I almost picked up book #2 in the series, but decided to try another YA fantasy-type series instead, and I picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Holy crap, I thought that book was amazing. From the introductory chapters that normalize Karou’s strange life to her romance and the profound reveal toward the end of the book, I was hooked. I read the second,Days of Blood & Starlight, and then was so ready to pick up the third, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, when I discovered that it’s due out this spring! Noooo! So I picked up the #2.5 novella, Night of Cake & Puppets, which was charming and sweet and fun, and I am even more into Karou’s best friend Zuzanna. I hear it’s going to be a movie, and they are going to be big hits (if Twilight and Hunger Games have any precedence, which they do). I would absolutely cast Kenzi from Lost Girl as Karou, and if they cast anybody else I might hold a protest.
I took a little break from YA fantasy after that series, because I am not sure it gets better than that, at least for right now. So I picked up The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission, Alison Tyler’s second in her recent trilogy. If you like Fifty Shades type of erotic romance fantasy novels, I highly recommend Alison Tyler. She’s the real deal, with actual experience and solid writing talent.
I picked up Night Film by Marisha Pessl on recommendation from an old friend, one whose fiction opinions I usually trust. I couldn’t put it down. It was more dense than the others I’ve been reading, but I got so deeply engrossed in the story of the eccentric horror film director and the narrator investigative journalist dead set on exposing whatever real horrors the director was up to. The strange cast grows, and I was so impressed with the world that Pessl built. I don’t usually read such suspense or mystery, but it reminded me of the years in high school where I used to read book after book of Christopher Pike and Dean Koontz. Maybe I should try some of their more recent books again.
That is precisely the kind of reading I’m looking for these days—something somewhat light, that I can devour, but with some magic underneath it that keeps me enraptured and entranced.
I finished off the month with Jeanette Winterson’s latest memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. I have read almost all of her books, I think I read everything up to The Stone Gods, though I’m a few behind now. I love her intense writing, her experimental style, the ways she is obsessed with love. Oh, and this book, this book. This book made me want to go back and read all the classics of English Literature A-Z that she talks about discovering, it made me want to theorize about love and loss and the lost loss and healing and grief and how we can ever recover from trauma. I marked all sorts of quotes and cried and wrote things down. I had to put it down and read some of it slowly, connecting deeply to the amount of feeling she is able to convey. After reading it, I feel like I just took a big deep breath. It made me want to pick up many more things of hers, or to re-read some of my favorites, like Gut Symmetries and Written on the Body.
Thus concludes my January book roundup! Follow me on Goodreads and see which books I’ll be reading in February.
What have YOU been reading? Anything amazing lately? Anything to recommend?
This month’s roundup is sponsored by Grammerly. I will receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for that link placed up top, but they had no say over the content that I posted. So that’s only half selling out, right?
Because my instinct is to punch
to keep arm’s length
while yours is to hug close
which for a boxer means safety
and for a wrestler means takedown.
I have no technique for body
slams, no low center of gravity,
my strength is my arms shoulders
wrists knuckles, my strength in my
fearless slams against a wall. See—
even there—I am too careful
with my skeleton to have ever sought
a singlet, a blue plastic mat, and
I use walls instead, ropes, gloves.
But I let you tackle me, buck-eyed
in Santa Monica ferris wheel lights
in front of the crash of ocean that
slowly, slowly laps away stone
mountains, even though the first
sideways takedown whiplashed
my neck and I never learned
how to fall, because somehow
I knew how you’d hold me
against your heart
(after the fourth time)
and how I’d let you.
We’ve been working on discipline and service over in the Submissive Playground course, so I’ve been thinking a lot about both.
Earlier this week, rife didn’t want to do the dishes. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was being “naughty” (though he did apologize for being so later). It was getting late, and I gave him a direct order—”Go do the dishes”—and instead of heading into the kitchen, he hopped onto my lap, kissing me, flirting.
“What if you can’t resist my boyish charms?” He giggled, and I laughed and kissed him back, and he gave me that dimpled smile that I can never resist. But … I’d been thinking about discipline. About order. And, about what it’s like to be a Daddy to someone who grows up, and what it’s like to be a Dominant who is firmly In Charge.
His task this week is to get off every day, and as such I lifted all orgasm restrictions that are usually in place: he can touch himself, he can use any toys he wants, he can come anytime I touch him—he doesn’t have to ask. I did leave one restriction in place, and that’s that he cannot use any toys in his ass without my permission, that hole being my domain exclusively for almost two years now. Having all this permission lifted seems to have made him a bit more bold this week, a bit more playful.
I like it.
(It has also helped that we both are finally, finally recovered from the Holiday flu, which lasted almost a month.)
He rocked his hips on my lap a little, and immediately I felt myself getting hard. He wanted to play. I wanted to play.
I caught his wrists with my hand and said, “I gave you a direct order: “Go do the dishes.” You think you get to just play whenever you want? You think you don’t have to do what I say?”
He backed off a little, sweet and shy, and started to defend himself with a comment, but I pulled his body up and started shoving him toward the bedroom, with a plan. He tried to dig his feet in to the floor and resist, but I slid him easily just by pushing. (Halfway through the kitchen, he mumbled, “Stupid socks!” and we both burst out laughing.)
I know from experience that he can take me. He was a wrestler, he plays rugby. I am a poet who likes to hike. He pinned me five times in a row when we wrestled on an LA beach. I’m bigger than him, so sometimes my size can pin him, but he’s fast and strong and knows the tricks. But that’s part of what makes it fun—I know, on some level, that he doesn’t want to win. That he resists because he likes me to push him.
When I shove him face-first onto the bed, I pull his pants down to his knees, his shirt over his head. We’re both laughing and breathing hard. I gather a few things from the shelves and use them, one by one. First the gag. Then the hanky tie around his wrists. Neither of us are laughing now. Then the little tube of lube to fill up his ass, followed by my fingers—”You may as well relax, boy, it’s going in one way or the other”—and finally, the thick butt plug.
I leave him there for a minute, pressing against him. I whisper some things in his ear … things like, you’re not actually in trouble. I like it when you flirt with me. But I like it when you do what I tell you to do even more. I love the way you make me want you, make me pull in the reigns. I love you. Good boy.
He softens and lets out a couple little moans. I feel our bodies line up, then pull his briefs back up and say, “Leave your jeans. And go. Do. The. Dishes.”
He lifts his head and there’s a pool of drool on the bedspread. He gets up, still with the gag and the wrist tie and the plug, goes to the kitchen; I heard the water start to run and the clink of dishes in the sink. I sit on the small couch in our bedroom and write, thinking about power, thinking about what I am going to do to him when he was done. After a page or so I hear some clattering in the kitchen, and it doesn’t stop, and I know the tie on his wrists are in the way of his task, so I go to remove it, playing with the plug in his ass as cost for this convenience. He bends over the sink to give me his ass, moaning and drooling around the gag. I leave him, briefs now wet, to finish the few things left and go back to writing a little longer.
When he comes into the bedroom, I barely look up. “Down,” I point next to me, our signal for kneeling, and he does, leaning his head on my thigh. I finish my thoughts in my notebook and stand up, strip my pajama pants and briefs, spread my legs around him and pull his head to my cunt.
“Ohh, you still have that gag, isn’t that unfortunate,” I tease. He moans, trying to rub against me, feeling that I’m already hard … and dripping. I let him struggle for a minute, but want his open mouth too much so I undo the gag and toss it aside.
“Thank you, Sir,” he says, and lowers his mouth to my dick, tongue cupping and sucking. In the right mood, I can let him do this for a long time, but I’m a little too eager to relax tonight. I want his fist, I want a thrashing come, I want to shove in, I want to be shaken at my core.
I start working his head on my dick, then holding him steady while I move my hips so I thrust into his mouth. “It’s been a while since you came with my dick in your mouth,” I lean down so my mouth is close to his ear. “Do it for me.” I pull his head away and hold him by his collar, bring my hand down to jerk myself off. “Can you do it if I come all over your face and I make you watch?” He strains at his collar, stretches his tongue to lick me. I can feel his body taut and getting close. He’s straddling my leg and I can feel him rock the butt plug against me. The denial will tip him over the edge. Maybe I’ll just shoot down his open mouth, maybe I’ll not let him touch me. I feel … something … building in me and I want to use him to get myself there, to work it out of me. I jerk it and he gasps, shakes, thrusts forward. I feel his body tighten, and open, then relax, and he collapses against me.
I say some little reassurance things, telling him he’s a good boy and I like using him, and we sit for a minute, touching softly, that sweet pillow talk kind of mood, until I stand up. “Come on,” I say, lying on the bed; he follows me, and I shove him where I want him. “Inside.” I say. “Your fingers. Now.” He works in one, then two; I hand him the bottle of lube and he works in more. I float, working myself up, sliding my fingers around my clit and feeling my tissues swollen and hard, needing, eager. Sometimes it is hard for me to come, but I am determined to tonight. I barely notice when he slides his fist all the way in, just feel that full pressure of being stretched inside.
It is hard to describe my own orgasms. Maybe they have become increasingly internal and complex over the years I’ve done more bodywork, maybe because I’m shy. Sometimes I see kaleidoscope colored patterns, or have visions. Sometimes I feel like I’m scrunching up my face and trying so hard, never quite sure if I’m actually going to reach the kind of release my body is craving.
But sometimes, like last night, it all just comes together, and I have someone so perfectly willing to do precisely what I need, that I can have transcendent experiences in my own bed, with my boy, with just our bodies and our love and our power.
He pulled his fist out when it was too much, and teased just the right spot with his fingertips while I jerked my small dick. Every part of me tensed and gathered. The climax was a relief, a release I can never quite control, where I yell hard, my throat chafed and voice horse afterward, and I groan, and I squeeze out everything I can, until it’s just all flowing so smoothly that I burst open, and the yells turn into sobs, those full-body, chest heaving, I’m-not-sure-I’m-going-to-stop-crying kind of sobs. I breathe. I cry. I trust the sweet feeling of my boy’s body, resting gently on mine, know that he’s there if I need anything. Grateful that he’s there. Grateful that he can hold me the way he does, that he can serve me, that he can take my need for controlled behavior and instructions and tasks and turn it into a way to make us closer together. Lucky to have found him. Lucky that he chose me.
I pull him up to me and wipe my face, catch my breath, as my crying stops. We hold each other in the quiet for a little while. “Thank you for doing the dishes,” I say.
“Thank you for motivating me,” he says.
I fell asleep thinking, That, right there, is the kind of discipline and service that I like.
Featured image borrowed from The Crash Pad Series. More about the featured images is coming soon!
And thus concludes the Great Reader Mini Interview series of 2013!
Thank you, everyone, for your comments and engagement and ideas. I have loved reading every one of your responses and recommendations. I have dreams of compiling a big list of blog URLs and recommended books and sources that changed your lives. We’ll see if I can get that done. I have such limited time and SO many project ideas, ya know? Everything I choose to do means choosing NOT to do something else.
And likewhoa, the Submissive Playground has taken up way more time than I expected. I mean, of course it did, doing a course for the first time always takes so much work to create the curriculum, and having something ongoing means I have even more room to tweak it and change it based on what the participants need, as it goes on. Which has been amazing, but also a lot of work. I am almost seeing the end of the course now, though, since there’s only one more full week of materials to prepare, and then the wrap-up call! (I’m still behind on grading homework, however. That’s on my MITs for today.)
If you sent in a mini interview for this series, and you haven’t seen your name here, I’m sorry! I very well may have overlooked it, somehow. Or maybe it didn’t get into the Google forms spreadsheet, somehow. I promise it was an accident—the only folks I didn’t include were those of you who wrote to me and specifically asked not to be printed. I would welcome you writing me with, “Hey, I submitted a mini-interview, but I didn’t see it; do you still have it?” kind of question if you want to (you probably know how to reach me, but my email isn’t really on the site anymore because I’m trying to get my inbox under control).
I love reading your advice and resources, so much. Thank you, everybody. I would really love to keep the conversations going … do you think if we had a monthly chat, in an online IRC kind of chatroom, y’all would come and talk to me? Rife & I were talking about it like a “fireside chat” kind of thing, so there should be tea or cocktails or something, but y’all would have to provide those for yourself.
Okay! On to the mini-interviews:
What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?
What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?
What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?
Anything else to add?
Dear Mr. Sexsmith,
This is a terribly mundane and sadly unsexy question but I swear I saw you post a link or a mention in the past few months of a marketing/PR/development website you had taken an ecourse with and I remember being really interested. Today when I went to scour the sugarbutch archives I couldn’t find it.
Am I making this up? And, if not, could you send me the information or maybe any sort of other similar information about ecourses you’ve been taking that inspired Submissive Playground? I’m particularly interested in those related to building branding or business at the moment but other suggestions are welcome. I am a big fan!
Sometimes the mundane and unsexy questions are the easiest to answer!
I think I mentioned the course on Twitter/Instagram—it was the IttyBiz “Fast Track to Fully Booked” course at ittybiz.com. They’re pretty amazing, definitely recommend signing up for their newsletter (and reading past issues) and keeping up with their blog—all of that is a ton of free content.
I have been studying ecourses for a few years now, partly with the idea of building my own eventually. I haven’t taken a “how to build an ecourse” course, but two things were massively influential:
I bought the Puttylike “Multipassionate Must Haves” bundle. I mostly bought it because it had so many different examples of ecourses in it, but many of the courses themselves are really good, and I recognized a lot of the teachers. I definitely recommend looking up the teachers included in that course, I’m sure many of them would be good examples of ecourses, and have ecourses themselves that would be inspiring and awesome.
Jennifer Louden also has a course in there called Creating Your Own Mastermind Group, which I took and then implemented last year. I’ve been part of an amazing queer creative business group, meeting since August, including Jen Cross of Writing Ourselves Whole, Sade Huron of Cariad Healing, and Amy Butcher of Amybutcher.com (you may recognize her as the author of Paws for Consideration or from, you know, around).
Other folks whose work has influenced me:
- Tara Gentile – highly recommend for building your business things
- Susannah Conway – love her photography and writings on grief, she has some courses but I haven’t taken them. she also has a “Unravelling the year ahead 2014” ebook that just came out which is really great
- Jennifer Lee – Right Brain Business Plan is awesome, and she’s got a product launch course which is great too
- Marketing for Hippies
- Heart of Business
I don’t know of ones that are specific about branding, mostly because I’ve been a brand consultant in the past, and a designer, so those don’t catch my eye, though I’m sure those are around. But marketing? Ittybiz is the best, hands down.
Hope that’s helpful.
Top Writings on Sugarbutch from 2013
In order, from most read to least, these are the writings on Sugarbutch from 2013. Which were your favorites?
Favorite reads from 2013
It was kind of a bad reading year for me. I remember early on in the year, wondering why I couldn’t seem to concentrate on whatever book I was reading, and my therapist commenting on how much hardship I’d been going through, and how it makes sense that my brain couldn’t concentrate on other people’s stories. I think it was too busy rearranging to my new reality. Still, I missed reading, so I tried to dial down my books, reading things that were just easy rather than complicated or full of big thoughts. I read a lot of dirty novels, and poems, and tried to get through gender theory (and sometimes did).
These were the very favorites of my year. Things I couldn’t put down, things that changed my world view, things that were notable and I would highly recommend.
How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn; Excluded, Julia Serano; Dark Secret Love, Alison Tyler; Ask the Man Who Owns Him, David Schachter & david stein; Rise of the Trust Fall, Mindy Nettifee; Slow Surrender by Cecilica Tan
Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg; Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknovich; Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman; The Killer Wore Leather, Laura Antoniou; A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki; The Big Book of Orgasms, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
I keep track of books over on GoodReads, and so this list is based on my top rated books from 2013. I’ve put forward goals for the last four years on GoodReads, but I didn’t make it last year. I lowered my number again for this year, and am hoping to read more, now that I have more of my concentration back.
Most listened to music from 2013
Some are from 2011 or 2012, but I’m still playing them, or they’re new to me this past year.
I’m not going to put albums by Morphine, KD Lang, and Tori Amos on this list, but they were actually my very most listened to artists in 2013. They’re my top favorites I guess, I go back to their libraries all the time.
Aims by Vienna Teng (2013); The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes (2012); Baby Caught the Bus by Clairy Browne & the Banging Rackettes (2011); The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit (2012); The Highway by Holly Williams (2013); Smoke & Mirrors by Brett Dennen (2013)
Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson (2013); Weather by MeShell Ndegeocello (2011); Mojo Juju’s self-titled first album (2012); American Kid by Patty Griffin (2013); Coexist by The XX (2013); Wax Wings by Joshua Radin (2013)
I’ve been more into music in the past than I think I am now—I keep up with new releases less, and even listen to less music, moreso just going back to the artists I love and listening to my favorites. I still make a lot of mixes, though. This list is largely based on my last.fm account and my itunes and my brain.
Top posts of 2013 that were published in other years
Just in case you want more reads, and these weren’t enough to keep you clicking around the internet for a few hours, here’s some of the top posts on Sugarbutch in 2013 according to the number of times they were read, but they weren’t published in 2013. I’m glad that y’all still go back into the archives sometimes!
- The Three Minute Game dirty story
- I’d Like To Fuck Her Ass dirty story / journal entry
- Pumping: How to Grow a Dick review / essay
- Sugarbutch Star: blckndblue, “The Pink Dress” dirty story
- Ask Me Anything: Strapping On For the First Time advice
- Like a Faggot dirty story
- Ask Me Anything: Strap-On Positions When Someone is Taller advice
- Review: Packing Cocks 101 review
- “I’m kind of … insatiable.” My First Date with Kristen dirty story
- Review: The Tantus Realdoe review
- Her dirty talk got me off. Twice. dirty story
- How to take butch cock seriously essay
- Cock Confidence: Pack & Play review / essay
Y’all really like the dirty stuff, don’t you. Uh huh. Duly noted as I go forward in 2014.
I do actually have some resolutions this year … particularly, I have some resolutions for “blogging,” for writing here. I think I’ll go share them with the newsletter.
Comment Zen … Requests & Ideas
Oh hey! So you want to comment on this? I’d love that. Here’s some ideas for what you might want to say:
- What was your favorite writing on Sugarbutch this year? What posts do you frequently go back to, from this year or from other years?
- What were your favorite books from 2013?
- What was your favorite new music album of 2013?
- For that matter, I would love your favorite books or music recommendations of all time, especially books that are beautifully easy to fall into and stay up late reading, which for me is mostly really good fiction. But whatever you found yourself lost in recently, I’d love to know.
- What do you hope to see more of in 2014?
- Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?
That should be enough inspirational questions, right? Thanks for reading this far. I hope you found some good reads or some good musical inspirations.
What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?
What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?
What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?
Anything else to add?
I’ve been spending most of my time lately working on Submissive Playground. It’s kind of shocking to me how much time it’s taking to set up—I didn’t have a very realistic sense of the time involved on the back end. The past two days, I’ve spent close to 10 hours writing the main course landing page, and today, rife has already spent at least three hours designing it.
And that’s not even the curriculum! That’s just the copy describing the curriculum.
The course is getting close (pre-course materials launch in ten days!) and so I’m spending a lot of time thinking about submission, writing about assumptions, getting clear on what I want to know from the Players, and strategizing learning styles and games and tasks and fun things for people to do in the course.
I talked to an old friend from New York City, Axe, about the Playground and also my breakup, and D/s and M/s, and what it’s like to have left New York, on his Masocast recently. You can download it or stream it here:
The Masocast is community-run, so go donate to keep it going strong. I think Axe is an excellent interviewer, and a deep thinker about lots of kink things. This is my fourth time being a guest on his podcast, all the old ones are still available to download & stream too.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations for putting something like this together, too. It was basically rife’s idea, and we brainstormed about it and bantered about it for a few hours before massaging it into the concept as it currently stands.
I think a big part of wanting to explore submission with people deeper is from the ways that the D/s in my relationship with Kristen went badly. The last two years, both as she and I were struggling to improve things and in the year since we split up, I have helped many people sort through their own struggles with D/s, and I know my perspective on these topics have really helped them come to a better place. In some ways, I don’t have a lot of range, having had only two major D/s partnerships, but I have a significant amount of depth in my studies of D/s.
And, when I floated around an idea of a Dominant course, the interest of learning to dominate from a dominant wasn’t as great as practicing how to submit with a dominant. I’ve been moving away from the me-as-know-it-all-teacher style of teaching anyway, so this experiential workshop is a good start to that.
Amazingly, the Star Player packages are sold out!, and I’m considering adding a few more slots to let the folks on the wait list in. (Want in? Email me, [email protected]) I allotted time in my calendar for three Fancy Players, who would meet with me every week, but those aren’t currently full …
Which brings me to …
There are still slots available for people who want to be “Fancy Players,” aka The Super Star Package. This package has some special things in it! The major thing, and the reason why it’s more expensive, is because it has FOUR one-on-one sessions with me included in the package, one during each week of the course.
Here’s what you get:
- Four 1-on-1 sessions with Sinclair (via Skype or phone)* — $500 value!
- Customized Submissive Playground dog tags*
- A letter to your current or future dominant, outlining your strengths and suggestions for further training*
- A paper certificate of participation, mailed to you
- Submissive meditation worksheets
- Weekly tasks/assignments
- Erotica to read!
- Porn to watch!
- Tasks for and feedback on your personal submissive journal
- Weekly all-player sessions to discuss your experiences with the current topic of study
* Exclusive to the Fancy Package
Go ahead & sign up!
If you’ve already signed up, you can upgrade! (Or, perhaps your partner or Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama or Sugar Butch (haay! See what I did there?) or Sugar Femme or WHOMEVER would want to upgrade you as part of your dark-time-of-the-year holiday gift? Have them contact me!)
Alright … I’m off to pack (no, the other kind, you pervert), and fuck my boy and probably go to the grocery store to bake cookies so we can be all ready to catch a plane tomorrow morning. We’ll be spending the next two weeks with family, and off on a retreat by ourselves.
All you Submissive Playground Players: I’ll be in touch!
Everybody else … thank you, for all of your wonderful support and comments and shares and clicks and for reading this year.
In addition to another edition of eLust, you can also take a look at the top 100 sex blogs of 2013 if you need some more dirty readings.
Welcome to e[lust] – The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #54? Start with the newly updated rules, come back January 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~
~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~
~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~
*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!
I have stacks of books on my lists to tell y’all about, and so many other things to write to you about that I often don’t update you with what I’m reading. But, I know some of y’all are book nerds, so here ya go. Some beginnings of my attempt to get through this backlog.
And hey, who knows, maybe it’ll be a perfect last-minute dark-time-of-the-year holiday gift for somebody.
Butch Geography by Stacey Waite (Tupelo Press). A poetry collection … I read the review over on Lambda Literary and ran out to snag my own copy. It really is as beautiful as the review says. Waite writes with precise language and beautiful turns of phrase and enjambment about gender, navigating the world as a masculine of center person, and love. If you’re into gender and butch things and poetic words, this is for you.
Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetics TC Tolbert & Tim Trace Peterson (Nightboat Press). This anthology includes a wide range of poets, some examples of their work, and some statements (“poetics”) of their purpose and intentions behind their poetry. I find those essays in particular so compelling. The whole thing strikes me as very academic, so there is a lot of theory and big, fancy words that I feel like I could squint and strain to understand but I just kind of don’t bother (unless, you know, I really want to), but even so, I love reading the words and seeing two of my favorite genres—genderqueer theory and poetry—come together. Fascinating—and, as far as I know, the only book of its kind.
Poets include Samuel Ace, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Micha Cardenas, kari edwards, Duriel Harris, Joy Ladin, Dawn Lundy Martin, Eileen Myles, Trish Salah, Max Wolf Valerio, John Wieners, Kit Yan, and more.
Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive By Julia Serano (Seal Press). I’ve said for years that I consider Serano’s first book, Whipping Girl, required reading, and this, her sophomore publication, is likewise just as essential. Feminist and queer movements can be so exclusive, can reproduce all sorts of misogyny, racism, transphobia, transmisogyny, classism, and dozens more -isms—I have experienced and witnessed so much of that first-hand, and it frustrates me, as someone who is deeply committed to feminist and queer movements. And yet … sometimes I have no idea what to do about it. Serano puts forth all kinds of theories and concepts that I really like—the first one that comes to mind is explaining feminism through the concept of double standards. Keep up with Serano through her blog, where she’s got information about book signings and readings, and where she’s been posting excerpts and definitions of terms she coined or is using extensively in this book. It’ll give you a good sense of the tone and concepts included in Excluded (see what I did there? Ha ha!).
Best Bondage Erotica 2014 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press). Oh! It looks like this is technically released January 1st, though I did just see that Rachel received her box of copies to send out to Amazon reviewers (get in touch with her and get a copy of the book in exchange for writing it up on Amazon!). I’m not sure what the last Best Bondage Erotica collection was that I read … maybe I haven’t read any of them? I’ll be honest, I’m not very into bondage—but that’s partly why I absolutely loved Laura Antoniou’s introduction to this book, which basically said, “Uh, I’m not that into bondage.” Hah! Cracked me up, and also, I identify with that. “I’m much more into power,” Antoniou writes. Yeah, me too. And yet … and yet. She goes on to explain the value of these stories, and I admit they kept me turning pages. I particularly loved Kathleen Delaney-Adams story “Tart Cherry,” but that’s because I am a sucker for a kinky femme bottom who knows what she wants. Still, it’s beautifully written and sweet and dirty, and it stood out.
Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, edited by Kathleen Warnock (Cleis Press). There was a bit of news about this year’s BLE collection, and while I have a lot of questions and confusion and thoughts from that article, I don’t really need to go into that here. I mean, I am kind of the lesbian erotica cheerleader (despite having complicated relationships with both the words “lesbian” and “erotica”). But still, I come back to BLE year after year, I submit my stories, and I always, always look forward to reading it. This year, the story I submitted is the kick-off piece, the first one in the book (thrilling!), and I was lucky enough to be part of the release party here in San Francisco and hear almost ten of the stories read aloud. I think this year’s is a good collection, well-written and well collected, though there aren’t very many stories in here that I’ll be going back to for jerk-off material, mostly because they aren’t Daddy/girl or heavy BDSM based (which tends to be what I seek out these days—I know, SHOCKER). Still, Cheryl Dunye & Sarah Schulman’s script for the full length campy porn Mommy is Coming is included, and that’s fascinating.
Actually, speaking of Mommy is Coming, here’s the trailer:
Um yeah. Definitely recommend that one.
Aaaand that concludes this current book round-up! What have you been reading lately? Anything good to recommend?
Wow, you guys.
Between launching Submissive Playground and helping rife with The Gender Book crowdfunding and planning and executing the Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party (which HOLY SHIT was amazing), and then oh yeah the whole holiday thing, I have been swamped with projects lately, and have not kept up with publishing the mini-interviews. But they are very patient, and there they were when I went to sort the next series of answers.
And, you guys … wow. I just love what you have to say. And not (only) because you are saying such incredibly nice things about me and this project, but also because you are fucking smart and thoughtful and touching. I have been chewing a lot lately on how to post more advanced content, how I can talk about the Graduate Studies levels of D/s and cock confidence and healing from heartbreak and all those things I post about (somewhat) regularly, and your answers and engagement makes me think even more that I should step it up. Thank you for all that inspiration.
And, that is the SECOND reader who said I should come visit London and they’d buy me a beer, so clearly I should go visit London. (Again. I did a brief study abroad there in 2002 in college, but I’d love to return.) If any of y’all have an idea about how we could put on some workshops there, get in touch!
Okay, on to …
More of the Reader Mini-Interviews!
What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?
What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?
What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?
Anything else to add?