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Devouring Magic: January Book Roundup

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.

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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?

Why A Wrestler Will Beat A Boxer Every Time

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.

How I make my boy do the dishes

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!

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Eight: Creating an Active Fantasy Life, It’s Okay to Be Butch, and “You’re Fucking Gay”

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?

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I started reading your blog over a year ago. I had just come out to a dear friend– a very conservative straight female friend. Being the woman she is, she decided to google many things LGBT and found your site. She asked me about it, and since I hadn’t seen it before, she insisted that I read it and get to “know” you. A true friend.

—Annie Anthony, http://annieanthony.com

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I won a copy of Say Please at a burlesque show and it opened the flood gates. And I’m not just talking about how wet it made me. I realized what I had been missing and the kinky, leather, submissive, masochist inside me would be ignored no longer! After reading The Harder She Comes, and Sometimes She Lets Me and seeing your name in all three I landed here. So obviously my favorite parts of Sugarbutch are the naughty bits. I love erotica because I always get to play the leading lady in my mind when I read.

—Summer, https://www.facebook.com/summer.r.banks

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I have, as you know, been a long-time reader. I began reading Sugarbutch when I was in a hetero-relationship, maybe about 5 years ago (have you been publishing that long? I know you had been around for a little while already because I devoured the archives when I found you.) I was somewhat questioning my sexuality at the time, knew I was attracted to women- and so did my partner- but I was not out to many other people. … It’s been an interesting trajectory, to say the least, and I have also gone through some of the same stuff as you over the same-ish time frame, in terms of leaving my long-term partner and staying with a new partner who I met & started dating while in the long-term relationship. It was through being a reader of Sugarbutch that I first started to create this active fantasy life, including the desire for a Daddy/girl relationship (I believe you introduced this concept to me) which I now am living out with my partner.

Not only was your writing a great outlet for yummy lesbian smut and D/s dynamic when I was not getting any of that kind of sex, but your honest writing about your own relationships and your thoughtful introspection about power/self/learning/loving has been essential to my own growth and moving through what I needed to move through during that time in my life, in order to come out and to be comfortable with who I am.

—cravatica, http://titlesareeasy.Blogspot.com

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

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Don’t worry, it’ll all sort out, one thing at a time. Oh, and Lesbians do totally exist; so you are fu**ing normal.

(Just as a small explanation: as a teen I was kind of questioning my gender, since I am a woman attracted to woman but only knew (at the time) that it was not okay to feel this way (hello Homophobia). So I spend a lot of my time thinking about gender, power and such stuff. Which is okay, since it is a really fascinating topic, but I just wished that back than someone would have told me that it is okay to be butch. And that there are a quadrillion ways to express oneself, so you don’t have to become the girl next door stereotype.)

(I hope I made sense!)

—Max Vague, http://droemmelig.tumblr.com

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Don’t spend too much time in relationships with cismen because they aren’t really your thing. You know you’re not satisfied w just girls on the side and you’ll get to the good stuff if you stop cockblocking yourself with cisdudes. Don’t spend too much time with people who don’t want to help draw out & make real your dirtiest desires from your shy self.

YOU ARE (mostly) A BOTTOM; DON’T DATE OTHER BOTTOMS!!!

—keta, http://papismija.tumblr.com

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I would tell myself that there is less need to wait, that you are already whole and that the parts of yourself that feel freaky, incongruent, vulnerable and broken will be amongst your greatest beauties (especially when they awaken compassion). I would encourage my younger self to keep up the sexual self-exploration, that it will pay off in spades. I would encourage that younger self to honor that precocious gender-resistance and keep the girl-boy-girl-feral internal parts in conversation and alive; you’ll find others soon enough. I would also encourage my younger self to open up, share and to trust those few friends a bit more, that healthy, joyful, hot, loving relationships *are* possible, despite what you see all around. Oh, and PS, Austin is full of queers. Call OutYouth Austin, right now.

delightful wigglepuss, https://www.facebook.com/kim.lasdon

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Dear Baby Summer,

You are going to spend a lot of time looking for the right penis. You will be convinced if you just sleep with enough men you’ll find the one that does it for you. You want so badly to find the nice man to marry and make babies with in a gated community. Here’s the thing… you don’t ACTUALLY want that, it’s just the only thing you’ve ever known. The moment that you meet people who have a different model for love and life your eyes start to open. The reason you are obsessed with the movie But I’m a Cheerleader is you’re fucking gay. This was the first example of young, queer ladies you’d ever seen in film and you latched onto it like a fucking gay life saver in a sea of hetero. It still takes you a few years to realize you don’t just “think girls are pretty”. Even after fucking a few you aren’t convinced you want to be in a relationship with a lady. And that’s ok. All in good time my pretty. You will eventually realize the right penis is actually a strap-on cock and while you weren’t sure you wanted to be in a relationship with a lady, being a butch’s girl is right where you belong. You are going to be so happy when you open your mind and your heart. And you’re going to cum a lot more.

—Summer, https://www.facebook.com/summer.r.banks

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Fuck gender; do what you want. Pronouns aren’t the important things, or names, and breasts come off regardless of gender if you find the right surgeon. Love vintage hair cuts because they are comfortable and awesome, and your voice because it can do so much, and being a member of a community of women because there is similarity, strength, vulnerability and kinship there. Don’t worry what labels any of those things earn you; the labels matter to some people, but it’s okay that they don’t. Gender is a myth built around embodied truth, but still just a myth, and your truth can be something the myth-writers never imagined.

As for relationships, as wonderful as it feels to be someone’s whole world, that’s what puppies are for. There are things called “boundaries” and you really ought to develop some or you will lose yourself attempting the impossible. On the other hand, don’t be afraid of heart break. There are worse things than a broken heart.

Finally, there is no such thing as a “failed” relationship; there are just relationships that end (sometimes long after they stop being a positive force.)

—B., https://twitter.com/liminalgamer

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

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Hoffman Process, hands down. And I’ve done a lot of work in many forms. It helped me extricate and fundamentally alter the roots of old patterns that were lodged deeply in my somatic and neurological pathways. It offered me tools to continue the work on my own beyond the retreat. It also worked because I was fiercely ready to do the work and surrendered myself to the transformation despite and beyond the aspects that my rational, critical intellect would have dismissed.

—delightful wigglepuss, https://www.facebook.com/kim.lasdon

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Insight-oriented therapy with a smart therapist. It took nine therapists to find one who clicked, but it was so very, very worth it. In addition to the obvious up sides, therapy taught me skills of self-reflection and intellectualization that have been way more adaptive than my previous coping mechanisms. It taught me to listen to my emotions and body, letting them tell me what I needed to care about or work on or empathize with. Even if one is completely emotionally and psychologically healthy, I still think insight-oriented therapy can be useful [since] we aren’t teaching that kind of emotional intelligence to everyone.

—B., https://twitter.com/liminalgamer

Anything else to add?

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Ever think about coming to Ireland Sinclair? Plenty of LGBTQ groups to visit!

—CTD

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I really love your site and the information and passion you share with the world. I’d really love to see you promote yourself more, to a wider audience. I think some of your stories and blog posts are so intelligent that you can appeal to a very academic audience. Yet your subjects are so interesting and fun that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to enjoy the blog. I’d love to hear audio transcripts of some or all of your workshops and also see more interactive content, pictures, etc. Overall, highly entertaining and interesting work!

—Annie Anthony, http://annieanthony.com/

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I am awed and inspired by your bravery to share so much of yourself in a medium that can often feel completely one-sided, and I love that you opened up these questions to your readers in order to encourage a different kind of dynamic with your reader. Thanks for sharing yourself so openly for all these years.

I look forward to seeing you in person one day, if you ever come to do a talk in Phoenix, please let me know! I’m starting off my classes in gender and gay and lesbian studies this spring at ASU so if I ever come across an opportunity to bring you to campus for a speaking engagement, you can bet I will be trying to book you!

—cravatica, http://titlesareeasy.Blogspot.com

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Didn’t you mention a marketing or business ecourse recently?

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!

Ziggy

Hi Ziggy—

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:

Jennifer Louden & Michele Lisenbury Christensen‘s course Teach Now was highly influential for my identity as a teacher

and

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.
Sinclair

Resiliance and Rebuilding: 2013 in Books, Music, and Writings on Sugarbutch

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?

The quiz is here! What kind of s-type are you?
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“In preparation for a big project that Rife & I are creating, we looked around to find a really good online quiz that talked about the different kinds of submissive identity and what they meant, but the only ones we found were … well, not so great. So we decided to make our own!”

essay | Read the whole thing

Making Peace: in which I (attempt to) explain what happened over these last eighteen months
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“I want to make peace with you, my readers—and with my friends, many of whom experienced me being flaky, not following through with my agreements, and not showing up in the past eighteen months. I want the ease of interaction back. I want to tell you where I’ve been, to make sense of the significant changes I’ve been through. If I don’t tell you what happened, how can you understand where I am now? How can I understand where I am now? … So: what happened between me and Kristen? What is the matter of fact explanation?”

This post attempts to explain. journal entry | Read the whole thing

“Pick a hole. You know what happens next.”
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““Uhh no please Daddy.” My dick completely fills him. I feel him dripping already. The resistance is palpable as I push deeper, filling him up. His tight little young body tries to push me out, but it just gives you more to push against. I’ll force it in all morning if I have to. He’ll get used to it.

I fist his hair and hold his hole open. “You know I like it when you struggle. I can shove harder that way.” He’ll learn to open up for me, to give that hole, to open up and take it, in time. Right now I don’t mind shoving it in. I work it in and out. So tight.”

Trigger warning: Daddy/boy play, rough sex. dirty story | Read the whole thing →

How to Chomp: Erotic Biting for Pleasure & Pain
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“So, let’s say you have a green light of consent, that this person you’re messing around with in whatever way loves being bit. How do you do that? What are the safety risks? How do you cause maximum pleasure (or pain)?”

That image up at the top of this 2013 roundup post is the illustration Rife made just for this essay. advice / essay | Read the whole thing →

Queer Porn TV Free #PornParty January 31st
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“What is a #pornparty, you ask? Well, it’s a worldwide gathering on Twitter of folks who like queer porn. Simply tune in, press play, and then follow the hashtag #pornparty while you watch for commentary and discussion. … We’ll be watching something through QueerPorn.TV, and viewing this film will be completely free.”

No wonder it’s a popular post, huh? Lots of good free porn. There may be more #pornparty -ing in 2014, we’ll see … review | Read the whole thing →

Under the Desk
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“”Uh huh. I know you like it. You beg for it an thank me after, little one. But this isn’t for you. Just for me. Daddy needs this. Do it right. That’s good. Fuck. Good boy.” You start swelling up and moaning with each cool sucking breath. I know you want it. I know this is what you’re for, and so do you. I shove it in, feeling myself tighten, that delicious pressure building from deep.”

dirty story | Read the whole thing →

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends
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“Dear family & friends,

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

The whole letter was posted on my personal Facebook account, where I tagged most of my childhood friends, work colleagues, and relatives. It was kind of nerve-wracking. And, it’s been amazing what conversations have opened up from it. essay | Read the whole thing →

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Charlie Glickman: “Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved.”
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“[Poly] requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.”

Remember the open relationship mini-interviews? They wrapped up very early 2013, it was more of a end-of-2012 project. I still want to make them into an ebook. This interview with Charlie was picked up by The Stranger’s online newspaper, and got a bit of attention. essay | Read the whole thing →

To the femmes on whom I’ve crushed this past year
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“If you think I’m not kicking myself for not making a move when I had the chance, you’re wrong. I wish I made a move. Although really, I wish I had had the capacity to make a move. Explain it through the spoon theory, call it the grieving process, call it heartbreak, call it post-poly trauma and fear—whatever it was, I was not in the place to play, fuck, open myself up, make an offer, make a move, or hell, sometimes even flirt. I wish I had been.”

journal entry | Read the whole thing →

Five Blow Jobs
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““Good boy,” I breathe as I watch your mouth, tongue, lips, my cock down your throat. I let you guide it. I let you slide it however deep you want. I push a little, because that’s what I do, but mostly I just concentrate on the feeling and the sight. I almost come but it’s too much, I get overstimulated and don’t have the right angle so I get up and take my jeans off, my socks and shoes and briefs, and spread my legs wider, get a better grip under the harness. You start in again and I imagine what your mouth would feel like. I know every inch of it, know every ridge of the roof and every tastebud on your tongue and every valley of your teeth with my fingers and my tongue, but fuck how I wish I could feel those with my cock.”

dirty story | Read the whole thing →

Back on the Path
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“These days, I rarely write here about my personal life. I know that’s been an appeal of Sugarbutch for a long time, but the last six months have proven to be the most difficult winter I’ve ever gone through, and I don’t even know how to write about it. Maybe I will, someday. Maybe things will start to make more sense soon. I’ve written about the precursor some, so perhaps some of you can guess the inevitable outcome. But I’m not ready to write about it all yet.

It’s strange to not write it. This place has been my first go-to for relationship changes and processing for years, and it has always been a comfort to reveal and work through things in this way. The biggest problem is that as my audience has grown, the things I am exploring have changed, and many of my own edges are controversial.”

journal entry | Read the whole thing →

This is how we wake up.
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“He drops and shudders again, slow and steady on his hands and knees, disappearing around the corner. I hear him shuffle on the wood floor. I have my cock on and hard when he gets back. He spreads the blanket out and I knock him forward onto the bed, on his stomach, bent over the side. Press my body up against his and he moans, calls out, his neck long, mouth open. Cock pressed between his legs. Feel it? Got me so hard, little faggot. Are you going to be a good boy and take it for Daddy? Huh?

Trigger warning: Daddy/boy play, rough sex. journal entry / dirty story | Read the whole thing →

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.

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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)

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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!

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.

Leave a comment

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Seven: The Journey, Smut, and Black Tee Shirts

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

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I started reading Sugarbutch.net back in 2008 when I first started journaling online, and later writing. I love Sinclair’s honesty and realness in everything that is written on this site. Sinclair is always willing to dive deep and ask the tough questions, the risky ones, the ones that challenge everything. The questions that could risk it all. In the end, the reflection of their own journey, becomes inspiring.

The smut. I love the way Sinclair writes smut, with all the realness of human connection, desire, imperfections, and wavering thoughts. Connection, Sinclair is brilliant at it. I’d love to see more of it. Even short snippets.

—DeDe Deylnn, http://www.deviantdyke.blogspot.com

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‘m a fairly new reader. I’m trying to remember how I found your blog, but I can’t recall… I’m glad I found it though. You’re a great writer. You make yourself so vulnerable to your readers and I really admire that. Thank you for sharing such intimate detail with us!

—Daniela Amaya, http://witharmsakimbo.tumblr.com/

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I started reading Sugarbutch in 2009, which was the last summer I had a sustained crush on a straight boy. I think what I appreciate the most is the self-reflexivity; the approach to relationships as deeply valuable and also deeply educational, always. I suppose I’m interested in you doing more of whatever you find interesting and challenging right now. That’s usually what I want interesting writers to do!

—Helena Swann, http://www.cuntext.com

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i have been reading since just before Sinclair and K started dating. i’ve read all this time even though i don’t identify with daddy/girl or femme expression from a top or bottom perspective. i’ve been going through a lot of discover and changes around my gender expression and how i identify. i check in on his blog at least every couple of days, i love the way he expresses his journey, and his style of writing. i love his smut and the elements that focus on the D/s Authority exchange side. i’m looking forward to reading more about his dynamic with rife, since i’m now identifying as GQ primal masculine expressive, looking to find a dynamic/understand more about Sir/boy, Trans/butch dynamics. i wish you’d tell us more about what makes you tick, where you want your journey with rife to move forward towards, more smut.

—dylen, https://fetlife.com/users/592071

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

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I’d tell my younger self to write about sex sooner. Eleven years ago I wrote with Jen Cross in her first workshop for Queer survivors writing about sex and it changed everything for me. Writing in this way and later performing changed everything for me. My attitude and experiences of sex and gender and relationships changed. It changed how I parented, how I interacted with my community and lovers. It changed my writing and my views about sexuality and survivorhood and drove me to become a sex educator and writing facillitator.

http://writingourselveswhole.org has had the most impact on me. I would not have become the person that I am without it.

—Renee Garcia, http://queerly.tumblr.com/

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I don’t feel like I’ve grown up enough to give my younger self advice. I kind of admire her for being so bold and kick-ass and take-no-prisoners. When I was younger, though, I figured all women were attracted to other women, and they just repressed all that to be heterosexual. I do still believe a lot of people play that game, but it wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I realized all those straight women are actually *attracted* to men. Sounds dumb, but it was kind of a revelation.

—Giselle Renarde, http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com

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Relax. Your sexuality is more fluid than you realize. Being queer may or may not be about being sexually assaulted by your boyfriend in high school and either way it’s ok. Being poly will complicate your marriage in good and bad ways. Tread carefully.

—Theresa

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

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This isn’t surprising: The Body Electric School’s introductory workshop Celebrating the Body Erotic has been the single most influential resource in my life. This weekend it has been six years (really??) since my first one, and I still find myself stopping to breathe, asking for what I want, and practicing the basic tantric breathing exercise with my partners (in through heart, out through genitals // in through genitals, out through heart). I can honestly say that I was able to handle some big issues in my life very gracefully because of my experiences with the Body Electric School – and not just sex & relationship issues, but various other life circumstances as well. There are just some experiences that have to be processed physically through body instead of through the mind – my first CBE taught me how to do that.

—Miss Avarice, http://missavarice.wordpress.com

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CBT sessions – I know it’s extended but it was where I learned that you are supposed to talk about feelings not just express them in actions and snark.

—john, http://www.facebook.com/jmwallach

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My Dangerous Desires by Amber L Hollibaugh has had the most impact on me and my identity as a queer femme. In one essay she talks about how living out queer desire is radical and subversive because it disrupts the idea that happiness/fulfillment is linked to heteronormativity. I think one reason it took me so long to accept that I was queer was because I wasn’t sure happiness was possible without a husband, a white picket fence and two kids.

—Erin, http://femmenistthought.tumblr.com/

Anything else to add?

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Sinclair, every time I see a black T-shirt I think of you.

—Giselle Renarde, http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com

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I love your reviews and have found so many things useful for my Mr. because of them.

—john, http://www.facebook.com/jmwallach

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I’m pretty excited to check out your other readers. Something deserthooker wrote in one of your open relationship mini-interviews was one of the first things that prompted me to start actively thinking about how, where, and when mental health and D/s relationships overlap, for example.

—Helena Swann, http://www.cuntext.com

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A huge thank you for continuing to share yourself online, there are SO many of that value this, and are here in spirit with you through the difficult times.

—dylen, https://fetlife.com/users/592071

Masocast podcast features … me! Also: Fancy Package on #subplay!

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:

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  • 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.

eLust #53 includes my “Pick a Hole. You Know What Happens Next.”

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.

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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 ~

Do Not Consent
Found poem – UR so SXY
Kink is not a dirty word!

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Being not doing; a thought about labels.
Take It For Daddy

~ 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!

Gender, Poetry, and Smut: Current Recommended Reads

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.

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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!).

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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?

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part Six: Stay for the Smut

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.

No wait, let me write that again: THANK YOU for all the inspiration. In these interviews, in emails, in conversations on Facebook & Twitter—with so much. I feel incredibly lucky.

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?

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I started reading in 2007-ish when I was at university and just discovering the whole blogging thing. I came for the gender talk, was beyond thrilled to find the smut, and have loved the personal blogging, particularly the ones where you seem so connected with nature and the world around you. Your blogging of your gender identity/journey is also fascinating and feels really important to me.

Oh, and the reviews! I got my first packing cock based on your reviews so there’s a special place in my heart for those – I’d love to see more of that kind of thing.

—ollie, http://ollieroberts.blogspot.com

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I started reading Sugarbutch in 2008 or so. I started for the politics, and stayed for the smut. Seriously, your smut has been hot, your writing about gender has been thoughtful, and your writing about relationships has been encouraging and timely. I’m a bit of a hermit, so have always been on the edges of the dyke and BDSM communities, and your writing has made me feel more connected to them.

—Avery Cassell, https://averycassell.wordpress.com/

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What do I like best? Each component of your writing appeals to me in one way or another. Of course you write exquisite erotica, but more than that, I like your writing voice. I like your willingness to be self-reflective (though I think you think readers think that’s boring? It doesn’t bore me at all.) because you unpack things like I do, you seem to have a need to understand things in a deep way (I identify with that like woahhhh), and I wonder sometimes if you wish you could turn it all off, the way I wish I could shut my brain off even once in a while. I’ve learned a lot about coping strategies from you, I even found the Fluent Self through you! And I loved your photo series (what is the plural of series? Seria? Serieses?) over the summer! I know you felt like you weren’t saying much at the time but I saw the proverbial thousand words through some of those shots. Thanks for sharing those.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

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[I’ve been] a girl who loves sex and has wild fantasies but has never had the guts to explore any of them. Always let others make the moves and lead the way, so girls were always going to be a late introduction to my life. But oh what a lovely addition! Kissing girls is like nothing else. So the past few years i’ve had my head down exploring women. Invariably women much like me and i enjoyed learning how their bodies worked and what makes them tick, and come of course.

And then online i met a woman. We were both looking for something casual. She was clear she doesn’t like to be touched. I didn’t really understand this to start off with and just assumed (in an ignorant arrogant sort of way) that this would evapourate as we went on, and i ‘worked my magic’. But of course, for her being touched intimately just does not work. Someone else touching her is not the exciting electric feeling; its just being touched. This has been a challenge for me as i love touching others. Although what i realise now is that i love giving others pleasure and for most that tends to be a form of touching. I have had to learn a lot about erotic energy and pleasure in order to feel that i was giving her as much pleasure as she gives me.

Sinclair you (maybe its fair to say Sugarbutch.net) have been my place of learning. I have learned about dynamics between people and how this can be as erotic as plain old sex. I have learned that i can give someone pleasure through my words. You have inspired me to write erotic stories to my lover. You have reminded me that the brain is the most powerful erotic organ and that the most intimate connection can be through words, or often in the spaces between words.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

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I started reading probably about a year ago, and while everything is good in its honesty and daring my favorite thing is probably the essays. I am sure it isn’t the common answer, but they are always interesting and well thought out even when I don’t agree with them which I rather love and find admirable.

—Taylor, http://mckownt.wordpress.com/

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

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Go with your instinct… you don’t just “admire” her, you are “in” to her – attracted to her. Be yourself – don’t try to fit in with the other girls – you never will. Relax – every encounter with a woman doesn’t have to be a long term relationship.

—Susan

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Know yourself. Do the back-breaking, heart-wrenching work it takes to know your limits and set up boundaries, because that’s when you can start letting people in.

Stop stuffing your gender identity into a deep corner of the closet because the people you date are too afraid to talk about it. You’ll lose 15 years and end up in the same place where you started–having to acknowledge who you really are. Be honest with yourself the first time around.

—Ian Galeski, https://www.facebook.com/ian.galeski

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I’d tell my younger self–my high school senior self–to stop being such a nervous wreck about sex, to trust that her friends can make their own decisions and there is value in committed relationships and value in a one-night stand. I’d tell my younger self that it’s okay to have casual sex and okay if she tries things she wouldn’t repeat, things that teach her more about what she really needs. I’d tell her that she will have the person who makes her crack apart with every touch and the person who makes her scream “fuck!” and the person it feels too strange to kiss and the person who teachers her to fall in love with giving oral and the person who will never let her forget her fat body is both desirable and beyond the confines of desire and the person who she will want to take her cock and that some of these people will be the same.

I’d tell my younger self that if she ever doubted her pansexuality, she will meet and desire people in such incredible conglomerations of gender that she will never be able to again, that gender is fun, hard, playful, devastating. I’d let her know that every time she thinks she has something pinned down, the entire map will change.

Relationships…about that one, I don’t know what I’d tell her, because no words could have prepared me for the things love can do, and the things it couldn’t.

—Tamara, http://wordsonnapkins.tumblr.com

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I think I would tell myself to recognize the guilt I felt (over having sexual feelings at a young age, having feelings for women, and being interested in non-normative sex practices like bdsm) as symptoms of socially imposed values and not my own shortcomings or sins. I grew up very aware of my sexual self but also very ashamed of it. Now I know all that guilt was for naught and I embrace the healthy pursuit of self-knowledge and pleasure, but it’s been a long and difficult journey full of lots of unsatisfying or only semi-satisfying sex and relationships.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

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

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http://www.stevepavlina.com. His work has always stoked the fire in me, the part that wants to live like a wild thing and channel all the strength and anger into something productive. It was because of his site that I had the courage to become a sex worker, which led to a more intimate understanding of things I’d always felt but never had words for.

—Katrina Elisse Caudle, http://www.faeriedark.com

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Sacred Pleasures workshop run here in London. Whilst i found it challenging to take part in exercises with strangers by the end of the day i had reconnected with a sacred sexual aspect that i thought i had lost. I also experimented with some impact play, which was a lot of fun! I would highly recommend this workshop to any Londoners reading. … Keep doing it Sinclair. Come to London and i’ll take you to my favourite bar.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

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A quote from Terence – ‘I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.’ This ever after encouraged me to try and understand the human processes by which seemingly incomprehensible things happened. In turn, that helped me untangle the incomprehensible in myself.

—Lilac, http://drinklilacwine.wordpress.com/

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I think somehow ending up in relationships with really amazing, self-aware people who have been willing to help me see a bigger picture of life has had the biggest impact on who I am and the path that I’m on right now, but that doesn’t make for a very good resource for other people ;) I’d say a great resource has actually been the Savage Love column – sometimes I love his advice, sometimes I’m ready to call and rant about it, but I do often find new resources because of his suggestions. And actually my college health center has had a huge impact – my first experience coming out to a health care professional was a disaster emotionally, but when I first went to the college clinic the intake form actually had questions about the sex and gender of past sexual partners. Not only did it avoid the awkward direct questioning by the nurse, but then the NP was able to walk in prepared to explain the kind of sexual health education I needed rather than a generic memorized paragraph that didn’t apply to my situation. And the best part is that the positive experience helped inspire me to pursue a career as an NP :)

—Jess, http://www.agirlandhercaronanadventure.blogspot.com

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When Someone You Love is Kinky…such a great pansexual resource when your partner is not as much into BDSM as you are…it helps you communicate what your needs are in a precise and sensitive way and honestly, is great practice for overall relationship communication. Great book, experienced authors, excellent resource.

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

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Because I’m thinking about sex and relationships, the website Scarleteen comes to mind. I come from a very conservative town in Texas with virtually no sex ed. Scarleteen was a haven of respectful discussion and factual information targeted specifically at young people in the scary world of the internet. If I had not had that resource growing up, I think I would be in a very different place right now, both physically and emotionally.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

Anything else to add?

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Just that I think the way you’ve been engaging with your readership over the past month+ has been really great to see, and I hope it’s been positive for you too! You’ve been going through so much hard stuff for so long now that (I imagine) it’s easy to forget that you have an entire support system built straight into your website, and you can lean on us, you know? We may be inside your computer but support and good vibes and advice and commiseration and empathy and comradeship are the same wherever you find them. On a personal note, thanks for acknowledging my comments to you. It was a lovely surprise!  I’ve really been enjoying this conversation.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

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Please keep your postings and musings going. You are such a fantastic writer and your postings are relatable and heartwarming (or as of recently, heartbreaking). Writing is cathartic and from your most recent break-up, I think you could use a little catharsis right now and us, your followers, are more than happy to listen and sympathize. You strike a cord with me every single time, so thank you for what you do!

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

So what ARE the different kinds of s-types? And more about the s-type quiz

So, the quiz! “What kind of s-type are you?” quiz, that rife + I co-created, was launched November 30th as a fun game, and an interesting tool, and the beginnings of a conversation about how many different ways that submissive folks explore their own submission.

And what the heck do we mean by “submission,” anyway? Do I mean “the person receiving the sensation or sexual touch in a BDSM scene”? Or do I mean “the person who takes the orders in a relationship”? Well … both, or either. And that is precisely the point: To begin asking what it is we mean when we say these things, to think deeper about them, and, ultimately, to make better informed choices about the parts in these power games that we want to play.

Here’s the quiz, in case you missed it:

THANK YOU for all of your thoughts and feedback. It’s been so fun to read and engage with you about this. There are more than 50 comments on the thread where I posted the quiz the first time, and each one I read and thought about … I replied to some, but I get overwhelmed by that level of correspondence sometimes, so I didn’t reply to everyone. I did have quite a few people who identified as kitties or puppies tell me that they weren’t represented, and it’s true that I didn’t include very many “vanilla” or non-s-type options. There was a bit of an agenda with the quiz, which was to determine which of the six s-types we separated out best matched the answers you’d give when you took the quiz. We added the “Not an s-type” option, just to make it a bit more inclusive.

And of course, it’s impossible to actually determine how it is that YOU identify just based on ten questions with seven options each! There is much more nuance to each person than that.

But, overwhelmingly, the response has been that the quiz is fairly accurate! And I love that! I hope it begins some conversations about what the different types of s-types are, and where you fit and what that means to you.

If I did a quiz again, I’d look for a different quiz host that gave the answers in percents, rather than just showed you ONE answer. (70% submissive, 30% servicey, for example.) But for this time, we didn’t do that.

The quiz has been taken more than 2,000 times (wow!). Here’s the statistics about what results were given:

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I find it pretty fascinating. I never would have guessed that Slave would be so common of a result, or that Bottom and Service were the most uncommon.

For the sakes of THIS quiz, the “Slave” answer was determined by a lot of questions that were about ownership and possession, “Bottom” was determined by receiving sensation and play (kind of from a service top), and “Service” was … well, about service. I think many, many s-types incorporate service into other s-type identities, and the service part isn’t necessarily the strongest reaction for them—but that’s just a theory.

Here’s the descriptions of ALL of the s-types that we broke the quiz down into.

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Hey wait, you’re not an s-type!

“] You’re not submissive, a slave, a bottom, service-oriented, a slut, or a naughty minx—you much prefer to be in charge or in an egalitarian relationship. Or perhaps you’re a mix of all kinds of things, a switch, or something else, but for whatever reason, right now you are testing as not an s-type at all. But hey, you took this quiz, so probably you have a little bit of curiosity around receiving, bottoming, submitting, and service. Why don’t you sign up for the Submissive Playground in January and let your inner submissive come out to play?
[/toggle] [toggle type=”2″ title=”

Slut by day, slut by night.

“] You’re a slut. You like sex—and when I say you like sex, I mean you REALLY like sex. Giving, receiving, topping, bottoming, serving, whatever—you are happy as long as you’re getting your rocks off. Service, humiliation, pain—you may be into those things, but those aren’t the main course for you. The sexual play, attention, and pleasure is what matters most for you. If you want to develop more of your service skills, kink knowledge, and expand your palette of sexual adventures, come sign up for the Submissive Playground in January and take your sluttery to new places.
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Naughty, naughty, naughty

“] You love to entice. Teasing, testing limits, pushing boundaries, cajoling, begging, breaking rules—you love to see exactly how far you can go, and you love to be punished. But it’s not really punishment—“funishment” is the name of the game to get you to take a lot of physical sensation play. Sometimes, people call you a “brat,” but that’s because your naughty tendencies are misunderstood as disrespectful, when in fact they are part of how you like to keep things interesting. You love to push your top’s buttons, and they love you all the more for it. Naughty minxes like you are a challenge for Dominants and Tops sometimes—come sign up for the Submissive Playground course in January 2014, hone your naughty skills, and find the d-types that are the best match for you.
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Bottom’s Up

“] You are clearly a bottom. Though submissive s-types like psychological play, and slave s-types seek to be owned and controlled in addition to psychologically submit to another’s will, bottoms like you are driven by the love to receive sensation. You might love pain, you might love service, you might love sex—but primarily you like to receive. Bold, stingy, thuddy, feathery, light, soft, big, biting—you might have preferences, but it’s clear that you like it all more than most. Are you ready to expand deeper into the realms of psychological submission, and play deeper with giving up power? Sign up for the Submissive Playground in January 2014 and you’ll have lots of opportunities to expand your palette.
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Service

“] Alfred from Batman. Mr. Carson from Downton Abbey. Lurch from the Addam’s Family. Riff-Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. These (and other) butlers are like to be your service icons. You are a service-oriented submissive, through and through. You like show your love and affection by keeping up with the chores, making sure your Dominant’s favorite hot morning beverages are always perfectly made, and anticipating their next desire—sometimes even before they do. You have likely been working on this skill of giving service with all kinds of people in your life for many years, not just in your intimate, romantic, or sexual relationships. The Submissive Playground course in January 2014 has an entire unit on practicing service, and while you’re clearly already a pro at it, the Playground will give you a place to hone your skills, and to branch out into other realms of submission, and make sure your extraordinary service skills are being placed in the right hands.
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Slave

“] It’s not just a BDSM cliche—some of us, like you, are actual consensual slaves. You want to give over access to your entire self: body, time, will, and more. Though you may love to receive sensation, give good service, and submit psychologically, you also get off the very most by being owned, controlled, and possessed. Your deepest pleasure derives from someone else taking their deepest pleasure from encounters with you, and everything else is just icing on the cake. You love to be asked to do things that are not for your pleasure, just so you can have a chance to exercise your own devotion to your path as a slave. Come join the Submissive Playground course in January 2014—you can play with many aspects of a slave’s path and fine-tune your submissive toolkit while you’re practicing all of your skills.
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Classic Submissive

“] You clock in as a classic submissive. You like giving over to your Dominant’s will, not just submitting to a Top’s sensation. You have a few boundaries and limits to what you will or won’t do, but you are eager to do what it takes to please and pleasure the one to whom you submit. You may love pain, or love to give service, or adore sex, but your desire for giving over is what drives you the strongest. For a deeper dive into all of your submissive tendencies, join the Submissive Playground course in January 2014 for four weeks of creative, sexy explorations.
[/toggle]

Whatcha think? Do you still think the quiz results you got were the most accurate description of you? Do you agree with my write-ups of what each one means?

It’s been a fascinating experiment! Thanks for playing!

Why Lesbian Erotica is Valuable Activism

ble14I’m reading some erotica—along with Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Amy Butcher, Xan West, M’kali-Hashiki, Cheryl Dunye, BD Swain, & Jiz Lee—to celebrate the release of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 this Thursday night. (Details here and here and here.) I’m so excited to have helped curate an amazing lineup, and I am now sacrificing all the luck I have to get a good audience to show up. If you’re in the area, come!

I’ve been thinking about “lesbian erotica” lately, how edgy it is, how valuable it is. There’s a bit of controversy around this particular publication of Best Lesbian Erotica, and while I have a lot of thoughts about that article, I still have a lot of my own feelings about how important lesbian erotica is, and how it helps on the process of building one’s some people’s identities. (“One” here meaning someone FAAB who tends to prefer to sleep with other FAAB people, at least at some point in their life.) [ UPDATE: Katherine commented, “So, why don’t you feel that lesbian erotica is important to building the identity of trans-feminine spectrum lesbians?” And of course that’s a valid point. I’m sorry to have excluded trans women from that statement, and that was an oversight on my part. I was trying to be specific, and ended up being TOO specific. It doesn’t really matter who “one” is in that sentence above, all that matters is that some people use lesbian erotica to develop their own identities, and that’s my point. It is valid for all kinds of genders and orientations, and I never meant to leave anyone out. I’ll try not to write so hastily in the future, and be more careful. See my comment for a bit more of my thoughts. ]

I realized I wrote about my own experience with it, and why I think queer smut (“lesbian erotica”) is valuable activism, in my introduction to the 2012 Best Lesbian Erotica anthology, so I figured I’d share it with you here.

See you Thursday night, right?

Introduction to Best Lesbian Erotica 2012

I know what I want.

I knew exactly what I was looking for when I read the submitted stories for this anthology: dirty, smutty, smart about gender, smart about power, packed full of sex with the bare necessary descriptions of setting and context, and, oh yeah, good writing. It doesn’t have to be dirty in my personal favorite ways—with sultry accoutrements and costuming like stockings and strappy sandals, or with strap-ons and lots of fucking, or with blow jobs and dirty talk. I like stories where the characters are so turned on and lusty that I feel it too, even if it is not my particular kink or pleasure. I like stories with unique descriptions and rolling prose and insatiable narrators and rising and falling action. I like stories where I want to recreate the action for myself, when I am inspired by the delicious positions and settings and words.

Yes, and the words, let’s not forget the words. That’s what these kinds of books are all about, really. If you wanted a quick, easy turn on, you could load up any of dozens of queer porn sites—there is no shortage of real, good queer porn out there these days. But for some of us that is too crass, and a well-done turn of phrase gets us swooning and biting our lips and rubbing our thighs together even more than a dirty video.

I didn’t always know what I wanted. When I was coming out in the late 1990s, though there was a serious lack of queer porn in the video stores, there were plenty of people paving the landscape for what would become the blossoming queer porn of the 2000s. Diana Cage, On Our Backs magazine, Good Vibrations, (Toys in) Babeland, Annie Sprinkle, Susie Bright—and, of course, Tristan Taormino. It was Tristan’s 1998 Best Lesbian Erotica anthology that for me clicked something into place, something I could no longer pretend wasn’t there. I would hide the book in the back of the shelves at the bookstore where I worked so it wouldn’t get purchased, and I’d sandwich it between two others and sneak it into the stock room to read when it was slow. I wore creases into the spine with Toni Amato’s story “Ridin’ Bitch” and Karlyn Lotney’s story “Clash of the Titans.” I was genuinely confused as to why I liked these stories so much. What was this affect they had on me? Why did I love them so much? What did it all mean?

I began to find other books, short stories, and essays that helped move my budding baby dykery along: Nothing But the Girl—oh, swoon. That essay by Anastasia Higgenbotham in Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation. Cunt by Inga Muscio. Breathless by Kitty Tsui. And the Herotica series, which was erotica for women before Rachel Kramer Bussel’s prolific erotica editing career.

I bought one of the Herotica books at a little indy bookstore—now gone—on Capitol Hill in Seattle when I visited one summer, before moving there. But it proved to be too threatening to my boyfriend who, enraged some night after yet another argument about my sexuality, stabbed that book and two other lesbian erotica books with the wide-handled screwdriver which I’d used to masturbate since I was a teenager.

These books are filled with three powerful things: 1. women, who are 2. empowered, 3. about their sexuality (which, by the way, does not involve men). Even the books themselves are threatening.

These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless.

For queers coming out and into our own, they are a path.

Fast forward a few years and I’ve managed to snag myself a lesbian bed death relationship, going out of my mind with desire and disconnection. I stopped writing, because the only thing that I was writing was how miserable I felt, how much I wanted out of that relationship—a reality I wasn’t ready to face. I decided that to work off my sexual energy, I would either go to the gym or I would write erotica. Well, I ended up writing a lot of erotica, rediscovering this tool of self-awareness and self-creation that had led me to smut in the first place, and I began writing myself back into my own life, back into the things that I hold most important: connection, touch, release, holding, witness, play.

My first published smut story was in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006. Between the time I wrote it and the time the book came out, I was beginning to end the bed death relationship, in no small part because I’d reminded myself of the value of the erotic, of my own inner erotic world, of erotic words. Between the time I wrote it and the time it came out, I started Sugarbutch Chronicles, which has carried me through these last five plus years, often being my sanctuary, support circle, best friend, and confidant.

Writing these stories, for me, has not been frivolous. They have not been nothing. They are not fluff or useless.

For me, they were a path back to myself when I got lost.

When I was lost, I had no idea what I wanted, aside from the basic daily survivals: work. Eat. Pay bills. Sleep. Shower. But when I wrote, when I connected with my own desire, I felt a little piece of me bloom and become in a bigger way. I felt more like myself.

I turned again to the great books of smut to help me find myself, to help me find a way back to a partner, a lover, a one night stand—hell, even an hour with a Hitachi was sometimes enough. The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Mr. Benson. Switch Hitters: Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica and Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica. Back to Basics: Butch/Femme Erotica. Doing It For Daddy. And Best Lesbian Erotica, always Best Lesbian Erotica. I still eagerly buy it every year to see what the guest editor’s tastes are, to see what the new trends are, to read the emerging new writers, to get my rocks off.

I rediscovered what I wanted through reading smut and writing it. Through carving myself a path in connection with a lineage of sex positive dykes and sex radicals and queer kinksters and feminist perverts.

After six years of writing and publishing erotica, I am thrilled to be a guest editor for the series which sparked me into queerness in 1998, thrilled to be choosing stories for the same series that published my very first piece, “The Plow Pose,” in 2006, which helped spark me back to myself. It is so exciting to be contributing to this queer smut hotbed that Cleis Press has helped nurture all these years, and I’m so glad to continue to be part of it in new ways.

I know what I want, now. And lesbian erotica, or as I prefer to call it, queer smut, has helped me not only visualize what is possible, but create a path toward getting what I want.

The stories in tis book reflect my taste, my favorites, my personal hot spots, certainly, but also the best-written stories from a large pile of well-written stories by some of my favorite authors, like Kiki DeLovely and Xan West and Rachel Kramer Bussel. There are some less-well known writers in here whose work you may not be familiar with, yet, but who will leave an impression on you, writers like Anne Grip and Amy Butcher. I found dozens of moments of signposts, signals directing me toward myself, words illuminating my own meridians of ache. With each story, with each act of lust, with each dirty command or submissive plea, I rediscovered my own want.

I hope you find some of what you want within these pages, too.

You can still pick up print copies of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 via your local queer feminist independent bookstore, or, if you must, through Amazon.

And: Come see me & Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Amy Butcher, Xan West, M’kali-Hashiki, Cheryl Dunye, BD Swain, & Jiz Lee read smut from Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 this Thursday night, 12/12, in San Francisco at the Center for Sex & Culture. $20 at the door includes a copy of the book! Details here.

What’s in our sex den? Books, of course.

“I wonder if anyone will notice that our videos have the same background?”

“Well, I mean, we do live together.”

“Right, it’s not like it’s scandalous. You’d just have to be really paying attention to the details.”

“I love that we keep all the books in the bedroom. It’s such a sex den.”

“Haha yes! The reading nook, the alter, the huge bookshelf, the meditation setup, the sacred objects storage shelves, and then the sex toy shelves and the bed. Sex plus den.”

“Exactly.”

Welcome to the Submissive Playground! from Sinclair Sexsmith

the GENDER book Fundraising Update! from the GENDER book

The Gender Book’s crowdfunding campaign is funded! But you should still go buy a copy for yourself right now

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I am extraordinarily excited about the official launch of printed, finalized copies of The Gender Book!

The Gender Book is a project by Robin Mack, Jay Mays, and rife (yes, my rife), who have been working on it for years, literally years, along with hundreds of folks who have contributed and offered constructive criticism along the way. The whole project has been released one page at a time for anyone interested in commenting and giving feedback. Because of that, it’s more than just one book written and illustrated by three folks—it’s a community collaboration, one that has been generated (I mistyped “genderated,” hah) by the communities that the book attempts to explain.

This is a big deal.

I have never seen another book like this out there. There are no genderqueer or trans or nonbinary primers in the way that this book attempts—and in my opinion, succeeds—in being.

Robin, Jay, and rife don’t have any specific gender credentials. They don’t have gender degrees, they don’t get paid to study this stuff. This book was a community service. They looked around and saw that there was a significant lack of a clear, concise primer on non-binary gender, and decided to take on the project to make one. Partly because they didn’t have their own research to rely on, they turned to the communities, and launched surveys to get content for the book. Hundreds of people responded to the surveys, and the book has been slowly built from the data, and from the experiences of rife, Jay, and Robin’s lives in the genderqueer and trans and gender non-conforming communities—with their friends and lovers and acquaintances.

See first, they made a mini Gender Book, now called the Gender Booklet. It was just a quickie, but that was so successful they decided to make a full-length full-color book. The book has been available as a PDF download for free from thegenderbook.com since the first draft was complete, though it has never been available in print.

Drumroll please … Until now!

Pre-order the book now, and support their crowdfunding campaign to get this

Here’s The Gender Book’s origin story according to the creators:

Three years ago, my friends and I noticed a ton of discrimination and just a general lack of education around gender in our worlds. We said, “Why isn’t there just a book you can hand your therapist and say here, read page 29 and you will understand, see you next week.” Based on your site’s content, I think you know what I mean. We thought there should be a resource you can read in one sitting. It should be illustrated and as fun as a kid’s book while going into some real depth and true stories. The book should help people come out and educate their friends and family. Surely a book like that exists, right?

Nope … It didn’t at the time. We (a writer, an editor and a genderqueer artist-that’d be me!) decided to make our own book. After three years and countless hours of work, drawing, researching, editing and coloring pages, the manuscript is now complete and we’re ready to go to press.

The Gender Book is launching a crowdfunding campaign in December to get printed hardback and paperback copies of the book made available to those who want pay for one.

The final book is 94 pages, includes the original, updated Gender Booklet as a tear-out, some reprints of the original surveys the book is based on, and more. It’s made to be accessible to everyone—from queers inside the gender nonconforming communities to gay guys and lesbians who don’t understand the new politics of gender to your grandma.

Check out some of my favorite images from the book:


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There are other perks, too. Like for example, some prints of the creator’s favorite pages from the book, custom art, coffee the creators—all sorts of things.

And, if you are so enamored of this project that you want to support it and help out, you can become a Gender Scout, which is the super exciting Gender Book street team, who earns badges doing things like writing poems about gender, making videos, or writing articles (like this one) to help spread the word about the book. I’ve had fun contributing things like this:

This is one of my favorite videos from The Gender Book, which shows the processing of making a page from start to finish, and is basically rife’s creative process sped up 200 times to see it in fast-forward (make it full screen to get the full effect):

Also! As an added bonus, everything donated TODAY Dec 3rd will earn extra $$ from Indiegogo’s #givingTuesday campaign. Sweet!

OH WAIT! UPDATE: The Gender Book has been fully funded! Holy crap you guys. I’m so excited to hold a book in my own hands in the spring!

(Also, did I mention that I bought the very first copy?! I’m so proud.)

(Also, did I mention that after the first 100 donors, rife did 100 pushups while our friend read out the first 100 donors’ names? Hottt.)

BUT while that means that—whew—I won’t be posting every day about how you should fund The Gender Book, you still should STEP ON IT and donate to get your copy of the book. This is the main (only?) way to get a copy, I don’t know if it’ll be printed again.

So go donate, & get your copy!

Hole Hunger

Too much time away from you and I get hungry for your holes. There are so many metaphors for “fitting”—puzzle pieces and two halves, the children of the sun and moon from Hedwig—but that would be too trite and I’m too jaded to believe we’re “made for each other” or that it’s been you I’ve been searching for all along.

“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” a mentor of mine said just yesterday.

That doesn’t stop me from saying those things to you anyway. They are fictive truths, things I stretch to be more romantic, much like telling you you’re a filthy faggot slut or that you’re mine, all mine, and I don’t care what you want, I’m going to use you.

Of course the truth is, I do care.

Of course the truth is, we own ourselves the most.

Of course the truth is, well, you actually are a filthy faggot slut, so I have you on that one.

Of course the truth is, all relationships end, and who knows how long we’ll have for ours. What I do know is that I will do my best to love you well, and that for you, for us, that means the hole-hunger I get from not filling you recently enough.

When I fill you, it is the most singular act I can do. It is the only thing I am doing, this focus on how much your body gives, how strong your muscles are, which are holding you up, which are holding me up, and how sacredly redeemable all things are in that moment of sliding in. We start again, like every day every breath. We open deeper, and in that opening find more strength and more of ourselves to give.

I do not understand my craving for a tight fit, resistance to my entry, those moments of giving in and giving over. I only know the thing that drives me, still, after all these years, through all heartache and loss and grief and strife and insecure creative hustle, is the ever-present faith of loving, and being loved, just right.

Do you like queer smut? Next week, I bet we can make you blush.

I’m really excited about the Best Lesbian Erotica reading that Amy & I are putting together! We picked up two big boxes of BLE from Cleis Press headquarters today and are almost completely ready for the big day.

The books look beautiful!

Our lineup is incredible!

I’m working on getting someone to record video—I do have some leads, but if you are in the Bay Area and want a comp ticket to go in exchange for helping with video recording, let me know please. I would love that. I’m trying to get more videos of my work up online.

It’s an experiment, doing the release party with a kind of high cover price ($20 at the door) that includes the thing that the release party is for (a copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014). I’m not sure if that’s going to mean more people show up, or less, or people show up and want to donate instead of getting a book + ticket (which we’re allowing with our “no one turned away for lack of funds” policy). The general culture of book readings in New York and Seattle and (from what I can tell) San Francisco is that they should be free, and then that people will buy the book to support. But instead of that, we’re including some other goodies (like door prizes! And wine & snacks!) and making sure that everybody gets a book.

Here’s the details. I hope it’ll be an incredible turnout! I’ll be reading my story from the book, which also happens to be the lead (first) story, called “A Good Workout,” which is my first published butch/butch erotica piece.

It’s been interesting, changing my reputation and my perception to others as a “femme-oriented butch” to a faggot butch. I have pages and pages to say about that, but for now I just want to share that when I read this last year at an erotica reading, another butch who was reading after me stood up and declared, “I’m a REAL butch. I ONLY date femmes.”

!!!

I was kind of speechless and stunned. It was definitely for audience laughs, for impact, and to set her apart from me and my story, but it also kind of stung. Plus, ugh, I really don’t like anyone who uses the phrase “REAL ____” to try to describe how there is One True Way about just about anything, especially around gender.

I’ll write a bit more about that later, but for now, just know that I’ve got a controversial faggoty butch story (set in the locker room at a gym) and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all in person.

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QUEER SMUT: BEST LESBIAN EROTICA 2014
READING & RELEASE PARTY

The holidays are upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with the brand spankin’ new Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 West Coast release party! Each year, the Best Lesbian Erotica series captures some of the best smut stories by well-known and brand-new authors. Come hear readings from 2014’s collection edited by Kathleen Warnock. Join us for an exciting reading from the new 2014 collection and beyond.

Featuring Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Sinclair Sexsmith, BD Swain, M’kali-Hashiki, Cheryl Dunye, Xan West, and Jiz Lee!

$20 at the door includes the price of a book!

Buy your tickets EARLY from Eventbrite and receive an EXTRA ticket in the door prize giveaway, featuring fancy silicone toys from TANTUS and queer porn DVDs from PINK & WHITE.

Facebook & Fetlife

Books will be for sale—bring $15 extra and get yours signed by the contributors. As Kathleen always says: buy one for Grandma!

Queer Smut: Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7-9pm
Center for Sex & Culture
1349 Mission Street between 9th & 10th, San Francisco
Cost: $20
Includes a copy of the book Best Lesbian Erotica 2014
No one turned away for lack of funds

Get tickets now! Eventbrite

“Pick a hole. You know what happens next.”

Content warning: This story contains Daddy/boy play, lots of ownership/possession, force, and some humiliation. Everything depicted is between consenting adults, intentional, and previously negotiated to be well known that this is what we want to play with. The whole thing is based on an actual morning text message exchange with rife, and edited to make it more of a story.

I wake him slow in the morning. Light comes in easy through the blinds, gold on his skin and the bed. Our limbs are tangled as they often are while we sleep together. He is in small little boy briefs and nothing else, which is what I prefer he wears while he sleeps, and one of our rules is to respect my preferences and execute them to the best of his ability. (The flip side of that is that it is my responsibility to suss out my preferences, and to make them clear and known. It’s quite vulnerable, and transparent, more than I am used to being. And good practice.)

He shifts as I wake, getting out of bed to pee, drink water, and put my dick on. When I come back, he curls into my armpit and shoulder, snuggles his cute little boy butt up against me, pulls my arms around him tighter and sighs. Still drowsy and not really waking yet. He could cuddle for hours.

I let my mind wander to what I’ll do to him, getting hard. He is soft and warm against me. I slip the tip of my finger into his mouth and he suckles in his sleep. Sucking and then drifting into sleep slowly, pausing, then sucking again.

“Good morning, little boy. it’s not time to get up for school yet, but Daddy wants that ass of yours just for a little while. You’ve been wriggling against me all night.”

“Ohhh. Daddy …”

“I like the way all my soft warm skin feels. When I wrap around you all night and you writhe and press, you get me so hard. Feel that, little faggot? You get Daddy hard. Pick a hole, little one. You know what happens next.”

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

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

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

Luke

Hi Luke!

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

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

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

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

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

Sinclair

tomboi
The Spareparts Tomboi briefs harness

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

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

Dear family & friends,

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

THE “GENDERQUEER COMING OUT” PART

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

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

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

ON GENDER

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

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

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

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

ON PRONOUNS (This part is important.)

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

See? Easy.

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

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

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

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

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

Sinclair

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

Review: Rug Beater Paddle, independent toy maker on Etsy

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

Check it out.

rugbeater

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

Some of the marks this toy left on rife:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—Alison, http://a1tg.tumblr.com

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

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

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

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

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

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

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—April

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

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

Anything else to add?

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

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

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

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

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

Hello I’m back!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Bondage cuff and bow tie by Rand Leather

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

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

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

First: the bondage cuff!

  

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

It works exactly like a bondage belt, only miniature!

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

Now: the bow tie!

 

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

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

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

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

How things start to melt open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Detachable.

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

2. Silicone.

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

3. Vibrator.

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

4. Juuuust right.

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

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

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

Free eBook Download: BDSM murder mystery about dogs & neighbors

During the month of November, in celebration of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), author (and my good buddy) Amy Butcher is giving away ebook copies of her award-winning Nanowrimo novel Paws for Consideration.

Of course, if you get the ebook version, you will miss out on the awesome flip book—illustrated by Amy—in the upper corner of the book, which features Daisy the person zooming around in her wheelchair while Skittles the dog pees on the page numbers.

From Amybutcher.com:

Paws for Consideration won the Gay Category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. That now makes Paws for Considerationan “award-winning novel” . . . who knew?

It’s also National Novel Writing Month. Another cause for celebration not only for all the crazy writing happening but also because that’s where Paws for Consideration got it’s start.

So throughout November, you can download a free copy of Pawsthrough Smashwords. Enter your email in the form [on Amybutcher.com] and we’ll send you the download code. And if you enjoy, please give a shout out on Goodreads.”

Paws is an easy fun read, full of jaunts all over the Mission and Castro in San Francisco. I read it on a plane in basically one sitting last year when it came out, and I laughed out loud and cried when Skittles was found and was moved as the neighborhood characters found a way to come together and puzzle through someone’s death. I like how Daisy navigates through the heretofore unexplored world of BDSM in the Castro, the perspective is sweet and curious and accepting.

Oh yeah, there are play parties and sex and masturbation and flogging scenes and leather dungeons in this book too. And also lots of dogs.

It starts like this:

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For the briefest of moments, a question hung in the air between two damp noses. Daisy-the-person joysticked her electric wheelchair a little closer to Daisy-the-dog. Daisy-the-dog danced one cautious step backwards in response, slid a long tongue across the tip of her nose and tasted the dampened air, trying to decide if this hulking combination of vehicle and person was to be trusted. Daisy-the-person snorted too, and wiped a sleeve across her own muzzle. “Come on over here, you cutie, and give me some love!” she said, beckoning low with an outstretched hand.

The voice of Daisy-the-person carried way beyond the dog in front of her. She was the morning wake-up call for her neighbors, as regular as the bells ringing out from the steeple of Mission Dolores, only higher pitched. She patted her generous lap again, encouraging Daisy-the-dog to come closer.

To the canine, it wasn’t clear where chair began and person ended. The way this creature moved, the wheels and the whir, were disconcerting. But she smelled good—of oily chicken scents and warm lint—and she wasn’t moving now. Daisy-the-dog decided to take a chance.

Now, don’t you want to read the whole thing? Go download it now.

Big Book of Orgasms: Blog Tour!

bigbook Today’s my day on The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories blog tour … BUT I am running around like a crazy person getting ready to

1. Zoom into San Francisco and read at The Big Book of Orgasms release party (where I’m going to read Five Blow Jobs, FYI)
2. Go right from the reading to the airport
3. Catch a red-eye overnight plane to New York City, where I will
4. Teach a writing workshop at Columbia tomorrow, Thursday, and then
5. Perform a spoken word set in the evening (also at Columbia), and
6. Host an open mic to encourage the students to share their own work.

Fuck.

Maybe I shoulda waited to put up the hottest parts of the hottest parts of the stories post. Oh! Hey, those of you who are here for the blog tour? Go read that post. It has some good quotes in it.

So, consider this my Big Book of Orgasms placeholder until a) my schedule dies down, and b) I actually read more of the book (oops). Which I will. I love the short-shorts.

Your Body Remembers

Your body remembers
how to split open a peach
on the seam
with your teeth. With
your determination
and another slice of whiskey.
Cleaved palm heart
like a matricide, nothing
the silence and side-eye
can ever overcome. Ever
is a long time. More
like to be for now,
as the universe spins
her giant eye
of centrifugal force
like a tilt-a-whirl. None
of us fall off. None
of us split open
until we are forced
to. For some reason
we value our innocence,
our intact virginity.
But there is a method
of pottery mending
that fills all cracks
and breaks and repairs
with solid gold
,
and proves then
that by breaking a thing,
one makes it even more
beautiful
than before. On a good day,
healing
could be like this. We
could be even
stronger
at the broken places.

Your body remembers
back before your feet
touched the floor
when you sat down,
after your first hairs
began to grow, what
it felt like to sit
down after the first
curious penetration.
Like a gap that
wouldn’t close.
Innocence is unnecessary
for worth, wisdom, and
wiles. Scars are required.
All those risks and
failings. Finding
homes, nesting
in our rafters,
making us try harder,
do it again, better
this time. Your body
knows what to offer.
Knows where your
place of power lives.
Knows how to exchange
breath with the earth.
Knows how to pray. Not
like a night hawk stalking
a shrew but like
the holiest of holy wells
and a thousand-year trek
of your people
that allows you
to reach one
perfect pocket-worn pebble
out over the very center
of the mystery, and
let go.

Dirty Queer Sex Workshops in Seattle November 14-17

I’m coming to Seattle November 14-17, and I’m teaching FOUR classes in a row at Wild at Heart and also at the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture.

I would absolutely love to see all of you in the audience, and I’d so appreciate all the wisdom you would bring to whatever topics you were interested in discussing. my classes are much less about me telling you all the smarty things I know and more about facilitating a guided discussion with the intention to elevate the conversation to whatever the next level may be for you. I love learning new things in the conversations about these topics—and many of these are my very favorite things to teach and talk about!

Rife will be coming with me. He’ll be demo bottoming for the Leaving Marks class, and for Advanced Cock Confidence. (That means we will probably be demonstrating a rough blow job. And you’ll get to see him receive some bruises, and show off his cuttings and burn marks.)

PS: I’ll be bringing porn DVDs from Pink & White to give away!

PPS: I’ll be doing individual sessions, too, if you are interested in 1-on-1 time with me.

Schedule!

November 14: 7pm, Cock Confidence at Wild At Heart
https://www.facebook.com/events/526260387452761/
$20/Individual, $30/Pair, $40/Triad – pre-registration
$25 per-person – at the door
Registration through Brown Paper Tickets: http://cockconfidence.brownpapertickets.com/

November 15: 6:30pm, Advanced Cock Confidence: Graduate Level Strapping It On at the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture
http://www.strangertickets.com/events/9766535/workshop-graduate-level-strapping-on-with-sinclair-sexsmith
https://www.facebook.com/events/242492232565198/
Cost: $25, $20 in advance.
https://fetlife.com/events/203795

SinclairSexsmith_120906-307November 16: 6pm, Leaving Bruises: Biting, Punching, & More at the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture
http://www.strangertickets.com/events/9766549/workshop-leaving-bruises-by-sinclair-sexsmith
https://www.facebook.com/events/579409645429597/
https://fetlife.com/events/203798
Cost: $25, $20 in advance.

November 17: 7pm, Queering Power Dynamics
https://www.facebook.com/events/228303217325079/
$20/Individual, $30/Pair, $40/Triad – pre-registration
$25 per-person – at the door
Registration through Brown Paper Tickets: http://queeringpower.brownpapertickets.com/

How to Chomp: Erotic Biting for Pleasure & Pain

“I’m surprised more people don’t talk about biting. It’s pretty practical – I think it should be a conscious part of a dom’s tool kit. When I first apply pressure, her whole body goes tight like a bowstring. It makes me feel like I control every inch of her in that moment, and she’s balanced, waiting for my next decision. All this without any equipment, with both hands free? Awesome.” —K

I love biting during rough sex. Love it.

It’s something I do so automatically that I’ve learned I need to make sure to explicitly ask anybody I mess around with in a BDSM/play context or a sexytimes context a) whether or not they like to be bit and b) if it’s okay for me to leave bite marks. And if it is okay to leave bite marks, to be clear precisely where those marks should or rather should not be left. This negotiation is also about the time that I request that if I do leave marks, that they send me pretty pictures of them the next day. (That’s my favorite part. Well, that, and the actual biting part.)

I basically learned all of that the hard way—messing around with girls and starting to bite, then having them stop me mid-bite with some anger or frustration or safeword. Don’t do it that way. Ask if you can bite. You don’t have to sit them down before you start kissing and say, “So, I really like to bite, preferably somewhere on the fleshy part of your chest or on the top of your shoulder, how do you feel about that?” You can do it while you work your mouth on their neck, shoulders, fingers, mouth. You can do it when you start to go get gloves or condoms or your cock or flip the lights off (or on).

You should ask about hickeys and leaving marks from sucking on someone’s skin, too. Don’t leave marks unless you know you can. Figure out how to suck to leave marks and how to suck to not leave marks. Practice on someone who will let you practice on them. And remember, each person’s skin is different, and marks differently. What marks on one person may not mark the next, and vice versa. So go slowly. Learn to recognize the way skin looks when it starts changing, and be smart about it. Stay within consent.

Okay, enough of that leaving marks / consent PSA. You get the point, right?

Oh! Another thing I love about biting is that I always have the tool with me, my mouth, and I can use it anytime anywhere. I don’t need to set it up or get it out or do anything special, it’s just right there, and conveniently placed. It’s a wonderful tool for a sadist, or for someone who wants to display some possession—either by leaving marks or by making them squeal and squirm and stay in a submissive space through some masochism. A good bite at the right time can tip somebody over the edge and make them come that much harder. But, there are some things to be cautious about.

So, let’s say you have a green light of consent, that this person you’re messing around with in whatever way loves being bit. How do you do that? What are the safety risks? How do you cause maximum pleasure (or pain)?

Where to Bite

Technically, you can bite anywhere on the body, but some places are more suited for deep bites than others, and some places are pretty dangerous if you bite hard. You can cause internal damage, and nobody wants that. Generally, if you know about impact play and where to hit somebody, you can translate that to biting: The places on the body with big muscles and lots of flesh are best to bite, the places with less flesh and more bone or less padding on the organs are not good to bite.

If you haven’t taken a beginner BDSM class that teaches the places on a body to impact, I highly recommend that. Most BDSM groups have a Safety Orientation type of meeting. Go to it! Meet some cool people, while you’re at it.

And because I couldn’t find a decent image of the Where To Impact Body Map online anywhere, rife made a beautiful drawing and color coded it to indicate where and where not to bite.

wheretohitabody

Click to make it bigger! and/or Click here to buy a print!

This is not necessarily meant to be a comprehensive chart, and please consult a BDSM educator AND YOUR PLAY PARTNER for the places their body likes and doesn’t like to have heavy impact. Each person is different. Use caution and your best judgment.

Personally, I find the places that my mouth kind of naturally lands to be the best places to bite, and for me that tends to be the upper chest, shoulders, and upper arms, and the inner thighs and butt. I have a tendency to bite when I’m coming while strapped on and fucking someone, so that often means their my mouth is in line with their shoulders, either their upper chest if we’re face to face or their upper back if I’m behind them. I know how to gauge my bite in this position, either biting a little recklessly and hard or just a slow close down of my mouth so I have something to do with my jaw while coming.

But, those are all examples of biting for my pleasure. Perhaps you’re doing it as part of a display of possession or more from a service topping perspective, which is also awesome. The first thing you want to do there (after the 0 step of CONSENT of course) is to find the bite.

“Finding the bite” is something kd diamond spoke of when we talked about biting tips when I was hanging out with her in New York City last weekend. The idea being that while you explore their body with your mouth, you start upping the impact of your teeth, starting with some nibbles, and if they seem responsive to that you keep going, and you find the spot on their body that yields well, and that they give you a very noticeable response (moaning, sounds of joy and pleasure, leaning in to your mouth). Once they do that, you know you’ve found a good spot, and rather than moving on, bite deeper right there.

How Hard to Bite

Deeper? How much deeper should you go? As with everything else, it depends on the person, so always listen to them and their body.

I attended Felice Shays’s Playing in Dangerous Neighborhoods: Advanced Rough Sex workshop through LSM in New York City when I visited last weekend, and she had some great things to say about biting. We talked about it a bit after, too, and I took notes.

First, she stresses the difference between speed and intensity. Most of us tops or sadists or dominants or D-types want to have maximum impact when we’re doing something thrilling like biting, and so often we do that by going really fast, but that actually taps out the receiver much quicker than if we do something slow and deep. Slow and deep can open up new channels and let the s-type bloom into the submissive space. Quick and hard can be shocking, cause flinching and even panic. Felice highly recommends intensity over speed.

Which is not to say that speedy hard bites are never okay to do—they can be, sure. Just know that it’ll be a different impact on the person you’re biting than if you go slow and deep. Depends on what the purpose of your bite is.

So once you’ve found the bite, and you want to go slow and deep, what do you do with your mouth?

Different Ways to Bite

Let’s distinguish between a couple different kinds of bites:

  • Slow bite: Close, then sink your teeth slowly. You can go deeper with this kind of bite, because you are slowly upping the intensity and letting the receiver of the bite get used to it. If they start having more of a pulling away reaction than a leaning into it reaction, that’s your cue to back off a little (or stay right where you are) and not up the intensity any more.
  • Dragging teeth: This was a good tip that Felice mentioned specifically about biting genitals. Genitals are amazing sensitive places and some people really like them being bitten, like a lot. A) Consent (duh), and B) every body is different, and C) if you’re going to be putting your teeth directly onto someone’s genitals, you should have some conversations about being fluid bonded. But after that: Go for it. This is probably not a very good place to chomp, and not a very good place for a deep slow close (though some places, like the inner thighs or the pubic mound, might be okay for that). But delicately clasping their bits in your teeth, and then dragging your teeth, could be immensely pleasurable.
  • Chomp: That’s the speedy hard bite I was just mentioning. With little or no warning, you just open your mouth wide and chomp down on someone’s body. This can be lovely and have a wonderful effect, particularly if the person you’re biting likes to be surprised, likes the big adrenaline spike of pain, and likes to feel the bruise throb after you remove your mouth. But generally, I wouldn’t suggest this with someone you haven’t played with much, and with someone that you don’t know likes this kind of bite. The people who like it really like it, but I think I’d argue it’s the least universally enjoyed type of biting.
  • Other kinds of bites? I imagine there are many more kinds (like “love nibbles”), but these are three of them. Got more ideas?

As the Receiver of Biting …

You can help the person biting you by being honest about your reactions, not enduring things you don’t like (unless enduring something is your fetish, but that’s a slightly different conversation), and giving lots of feedback, either verbally or with your body language.

If you can, use the numbers or colors systems to give feedback, by rating a bite 1-10, 1 being “I barely felt that” and 10 being “that is as much as I can take bordering on STOP RIGHT NOW.” Remember that what feels like a 6 today might feel like a 3 tomorrow and a 9 next Thursday, and depending on where you are in the scene, and how erotically stimulated and aroused you are, bites (or any kind of body impact) can feel different. Keep your feedback coming, however you can.

The colors system is using the words red-yellow-green to let your biter know how you’re doing, like a traffic light: Green means go, yellow means caution (and often means “pause / back off / please stop what you’re doing but don’t stop the scene”) and red means STOP everything now and check in. It’d be very useful to hear “yellow!” if a bite was getting waaay too deep and you needed it to stop, or if you were really enjoying a deep slow bite to hear “green green greengreengreen,” as an indicator that you are requesting the biter keep going.

When During Sex to Bite

Depends … people like different things, of course, so check in with the person you’re playing with. (I know, I know, that’s my constant disclaimer, but it remains true. For that matter, you probably shouldn’t ask me when during sex or where on their body they want to be bit—ask them. Ask them. No seriously, ask them. I know it’s hard to bring up, but talking about it is so important.)

I’d say there are two main times during the sexytimes act that I’d encourage biting: Toward the beginning, during the ramp-up to bigger, rougher, deeper play, and during orgasms.

In the beginning of the play, biting can be a great way to explore someone’s body. Often as we’re warming up and making out and getting into more and more foreplay, we do a lot of kissing of the neck and shoulders, sometimes the chest, so that can be a great time to try out some light biting and to slowly ramp it up.

And if you know you have someone who likes moments of sensation or release as a way of tipping them over the edge, you can strategically place a bite on one of those places you found before when they are getting closer and closer to orgasm, and it could sometimes be the thing that sends them over the edge. It probably takes some practice to do this, but the reaction and release (and beautiful bruise you may get to see later or the next day) is an amazing reward.

bruises
Bruises from biting on rife. Left: bite marks on his upper chest and upper arm (bruises on his chin are not from biting). Top: Bite marks on his upper back. Bottom: Bruises on his ass from punching and paddling, and one big dark bite mark.

Dangers of Biting & Safety Tips

There are some places on the body you don’t want to bite hard, both for safety (like the possibility of damaging an internal organ or tendon) and for pleasure (biting down on the tendons of the neck is not pleasurable for most recipients, for example). Take a Where To Impact On The Body kind of class, ask your local BDSM pervert educator, and know the person you’re playing with.

Do not bite arteries or tendons. That is unpleasant, and dangerous. Aim for the fleshy, meaty, bite-able parts of the body.

There is also the risk of breaking the skin if you are a hard biter. Breaking the skin is bad. The human mouth is generally a very dirty place, with all sorts of bacteria, and a human bite can be more easily infected than a dog bite.

Know your mouth. Notice if your teeth are generally completely flat on the bottoms, or if some of them have edges or chips or points. Those teeth are more likely to break skin. For example, I’ve never full-on broken skin with a deep bite, but I have one particular tooth that is very pointy (my “vampire tooth” canine) and it often leaves more of a red mark than the others and has drawn a teeny tiny bit of blood in a puncture on a rare occasion. Know which teeth are sharp. Do you have braces? That’ll change your impact as well.

If you do break the skin, clean it well and monitor it closely. If anything looks out of the ordinary, see a doctor. Get it checked out. It’s an easy treatment, but it can be bad if not treated.

What about bruises?

Bruises are not necessarily bad for you, not harmful to you or your muscles, and will heal well on most people without much specific care. But again, know your body. If you’re anemic, you may bruise a whole lot easier than someone who is not, for example.

Some people swear by things like Arnica, a homeopathic cream meant to help heal bruises and bumped tissue. After Miss Calico did a bruising and Arnica experiment a few years ago I’ve been more skeptical of Arnica’s value, but as the kid of some hippie parents, I still often take it orally if I’m trying to heal my body from bruising.

Keep an eye on the bruises as they heal. Usually, healthy bruises will go from a slightly red mark at the time of impact to dark purple or black as they bloom, and then fade to shades of lighter blue, sometimes green, yellow, and back to your regular skin color. It’s harder to see the fading process on people with darker skin, easier to see the fading process on people with lighter skin. Know your body. Get to know the process of how you bruise and how you heal. If anything looks out of the ordinary, get it checked out (preferably with a kink-friendly doctor so you can say things like “happily consensual!” with a big smile and they will get it). It is normal for a bruise to “travel” a little bit as the tissues and blood vessels slowly repair.

If the bruise gets lumpy or hard, get it checked out. If it stays dark and doesn’t seem to be fading, get it checked out. If anything seems out of the ordinary, get it checked out. And share the knowledge that you learn with the people/person you are playing with—it’s helpful for them to know your body, too!

In Conclusion ….

Biting is one of my favorites. For control, sadism, possession, sensation, and leaving marks, it’s a fantastic tool, and one I use often. Get consent. Know your body, and get to know your play partner’s body. Every body is different, but if you get to know each other you can figure out what will cause maximum pleasure (or pain) (or both) and impact and beautiful bruises. Know the risks that you’re taking and keep yourself and your partner as safe as you can.

That about covers my thoughts on bruising! What are your thoughts? Do you love it, hate it? Agree with my tips, or think I’m wrong? Did I leave something critical out? Any other types of bites or safety tips or things I’m missing? I’d love to know.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Four: “Shut up and get hit,” Communion, and fun erotica

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

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(As a brief addendum, I publish the above blog anonymously! I’d love others to see it, but am a little nervous, as I have a fairly conservative day life. How have you reconciled your public and private lives intersecting? I’m always curious.)

I’ve been reading you on and off for about four years now. I love your erotic writing and, as a fellow butch, have felt a kindred sense of discovery with you as I’ve come into my own. It’s refreshing to read your perspective as it mirrors some of my own experiences.

PS: I saw that you were attending QI in Hartford. So am I, and fuck, I’d love to suck your cock.

—J, http://camionneuse.wordpress.com

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Started reading 4-5 years ago. Most frequently repeated quote: “shut up and get hit.” Seriously, your life. Never stop writing about it for public consumption.

—Simon Hoardash

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I just came across Sugarbutch a week or two ago, and wish I’d found you sooner! I’ve been skimming through your archives whenever I have some free time. I’ve been thinking about sex/uality, gender, and relationships a lot lately, and thirsting for more discussion of them. I’m especially interested in the D/s dynamic since that’s something I’m currently exploring, from a framework of being queer, poly, and in committed partnerships with two people of different genders. And of course I love your dirty stories.

—elspeth, https://fetlife.com/users/2485909

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

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ohgod. calm down. it’s okay to not know (anything). thinking too much about what other people are thinking (and inventing what you think they are thinking/feeling/doing) is the absolute fastest way to create totally unnecessary drama. if you don’t know, ask. when you can identify that you are making an assumption, especially about what someone else is thinking/feeing/wanting, STOP IT, and ask.

—Kat Heatherington — http://yarrowkat.livejournal.com

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That my pleasure in and relationship with my body is the starting point of sex, not an extra. That it should be closer to communion (with self and other) than performance (totally externally focused) in order to be nourishing. I would congratulate myself on not shaming myself about trying lots of things, and suggest not shaming myself about my body shape. I’d suggest trying less hard to please unattainable people, and know that such advice at that time in my life would have meant nothing to me.

—Shereen, http://twitter.com/ShereenSamuels

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Femme is not a bad thing. It’s actually really, really powerful. I know you’ve somehow fallen into the mindset that to be Femme is to be weak or not queer enough, but that’s utter bullshit, darlin. You’ll eventually embrace Femme as an identity, and you’ll finally start to feel as strong and badass as you are. And red lipstick is the best armor you will ever find.

—Ashlee, http://femmeandfists.tumblr.com

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I would leave a link to your website and other queer friendly spaces on my computer for my 18 years old self. I struggled a lot with desire to begin with. I struggled even harder to come to terms with my same sex desires. Feminist and queers spaces have really helped me become a person I much more like.

— Gladys, https://www.facebook.com/gladys.is.awesome

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

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Body Electric. because it has opened me up to listening to myself in a way I have never really done before.

—Kat Heatherington — http://yarrowkat.livejournal.com

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The Artist’s Way. It was such a lovely, creative, non-prescriptive way into figuring out lots of things about myself. Many years ago in my early twenties, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah turned my whole world upside down – even though Richard Bach turned out to be something of a self-involved dick, the book changed how I saw and interacted with the world.

—Shereen, http://twitter.com/ShereenSamuels

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This might be a bit of a cop-out of an answer, but recently, Tumblr has had the biggest impact on me. I’ve found some amazing radical queer people and blogs who’ve all been a big part of helping me shape my activist identity. Tumblr also happens to be full of badass Femmes, gorgeous queer people of all identities, and some really, really fun erotica and smut in general.

—Ashlee, http://femmeandfists.tumblr.com/

The hottest parts of the hottest parts of the stories: The Big Book of Orgasms

If you’re a fan of reading erotica—and chances are high that you are, if you’re following Sugarbutch—you probably know Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s work. She’s one of the most prolific erotica editors and writers currently curating and creating dirty books and stories for us to read and explore, and I’m a huge fan of her work.

She’s included stories of mine in a variety of her anthologies, and I’m in a brand new book of hers called The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories which also features many of my favorite queer erotica writers, including BD Swain and Xan West.

The Big Book of Orgasms joins a few other “big book” anthologies of short-short dirty stories, including Girl Fever and Gotta Have It and Frenzy (the latter two I have stories in), and they continue to be some of my most favorite anthologies. They’re so easy to read. It’s like the “good parts” version of other erotica anthologies, where in this one, the writers only have a couple of pages to give you the point of the story, which is usually the hottest part of the story.

The hottest part of the story isn’t always the orgasm part (very often the tease is what does it for me, for example), but it’s definitely one of the hottest parts. So basically what I’m saying is, this book is the hottest parts of the hottest parts of stories. Amazing.

So next week, on Wednesday November 6th, I’ll be reading at the Polk Street Good Vibrations toy store in San Francisco, along with a handful of other contributors to the book, to celebrate the release of The Big Book of Orgasms!

Details:

bigbookThe Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories (Cleis Press) is editor Rachel Kramer Bussel’s latest and greatest erotica anthology. This climactic collection of pansexual short shorts are perfect for bedtime reading to a lover or on your own. Whether getting off from exhibitionism, voyeurism, hot wax, dirty talk or a very special pair of blue jeans, the characters in The Big Book of Orgasms go all out for the Big O. From vanilla to kinky, and everything in between, there’s something for all erotic readers here. At this special reading, Bussel will be joined by contributors Lily K. Cho, Malin James, Crystal Jordan, Donna George Storey, B.D. Swain, Virgie Tovar, Sinclair Sexsmith, Jade A. Waters and Xan West for an evening of steamy stories that’s sure to leave you hot and bothered.

FREE!
Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm
Where: Good Vibrations Polk Street Good Vibrations Polk St. store 1620 Polk Street (at Sacramento Street), San Francisco, CA 94109
http://events.goodvibes.com
https://fetlife.com/events/201391
https://www.facebook.com/events/186231794893318/

… The only problem is, I’m not entirely sure what to read. This book includes a story about Kristen, and traditionally, at book release parties, it’s customary to read the story that is included in the book. But I don’t think I can read a story about how good she is at sex and how much I loved fucking her, in public, right now. Maybe someday I can, maybe it’ll feel like fiction again, or like my own writing, but right now it just feels like ouch.

So what do I read?

Options are … well … I could read a different piece, something about rife or something more fictional. I could read someone else’s story from the book. I could write to Rachel and ask her what she recommends. I’m not sure what the best option is, for this one.

Suggestions?

And while you’re at it, if you’re in or nearby to San Francisco, why don’t you come see me read, and get a copy of the book signed by some of the amazing contributors? It’s been a while since I’ve had an erotica reading, I’m looking forward to it.

Review (& Photos!): Aslan Leather TG Chest Harness

Last year, Carrie Grey, creator and owner of Aslan Leather, custom built me one of his leather TG Chest Harnesses. I’ve worn it a few times over the past year, like at IMsL and to a couple of smaller play parties, but just this month I wore it to Folsom Street Fair—and whoa that was quite the experience!—with rife and his dog.

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I really don’t like crowds, or hot weather, so being in an extremely crowded blocked-in couple city blocks on a sunny day was not my ideal situation. But it was really fun to see so many kinky people in one place. Fascinating, really. (I particularly liked Vivian Fu’s photo essay of this year’s Folsom.) We eventually made it to the women-and-trans area, and then promptly camped out and didn’t leave that space until we were ready to head back to Oakland. I liked their gender policy: the women-and-trans tent included anybody who does identify as a woman, has identified as a woman in the past, or will identify as a woman in the future. Clever, I thought.

I got a lot of compliments on the Aslan Leather chest harness. It’s hot and comfortable and unique for someone with a chest like mine (36DD) to be wearing something like that. I left it over my binder and tee shirt all day, but had it as a possible option to wear it bare chested.

Here’s the Aslan description:

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Ever wish you could wear a chest harness out to a party or event without a T shirt underneath? ASLAN’s new TG chest harnesss is designed to function like a binder and a chest harness. The 3- 4″ wide leather chest strap can effectively flatten up to a C cup chest. The harness pictured has a 4″ wide strap. This harness is made with comfortable heavy weight glove leather, wich allows you freedom of movement for all types of play situations, and because it’s an ASLAN you can be sure it is guaranteed for life!

To order please provide the following measurements: Chest, cup size (if applicable), height. This is a custom piece made to order so please remember to include your measurements.

Please note! The measurements part is important. When I wrote to Carrie requesting this piece, I gave him my measurements, but I was wrong. Very wrong. I gave him old measurements that I thought were accurate, but did not account for the weight I have recently gained (lots of which, let’s be honest, ends up in my chest). That sucked—the first binder he built for me didn’t fit, and he had to go back and basically remake the whole thing.

Don’t send the wrong measurements. Get someone who knows how to measure bodies for outfitting well to measure you, and get a current measurement.

Carrie snapped a few photos when I tried it on in the Aslan studio in Toronto last fall:


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I kept hoping to wear it during a photo shoot and get more better photos of it, but I haven’t had many (any?) photo shoots since I picked it up (oh except for that one with Meg Allen, but we were taking professional shots and not really kinky ones, which is why I didn’t wear it then). I’d still like more better photos of me in it, but I don’t want not having the perfect photo to hold me up in telling you about how awesome this is. And hey, the holidays are coming up, right? Don’t you need a great present for somebody in your life, or yourself?

I like the way it looks! And it feels really good and fun to wear. I even like the way my chest looks naked underneath it. I wouldn’t have expected that.

Thank you, Aslan Leather & Carrie Grey! Pick up your very own Aslan Leather TG Chest Harness over on Aslanleather.com.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Three: Personal accountability & self reflections, Kink, and Do Your Research

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

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I actually started reading Sugarbutch while I was still married to male. I had always known my sexuality was not what I was pretending it to be, and I knew that women that leaned towards the masculine side of the spectrum did something strange to me. I was completely naive to who I was deep down, and what it was I really needed in a relationship/partner. One day I was talking to a friend of mine whom I spilled the beans to, and she led me to this site. What I read on here was a beacon of light to me, and I finally started coming into my own. I have learned a lot about myself by reading your articles. I have most of all learned that I am not alone in who I am.

Keep doing what you are doing. I know you have had a tough run of it lately, but I admire you for staying true to who you are, what you want/need, and wearing your scars for everyone to see.

—Jennifer, https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.fitzgerald.92

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I actually like/enjoy your self reflection and journal entries. As PolyAnna, I spend a lot of time talking about personal accountability and self reflections. People who are successful at poly and find fulfillment in poly are those who take the time to reflect on their choices and actions. Please keep writing your journal entries. They are a joy to read. Truly.

— PolyAnna/Josette Sheridan, http://lookingthrough.us/

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

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1. It’s okay to be monogamous, even if all the ‘cool kids’ are poly.

2. Don’t even bother trying to date somebody who isn’t kinky; it’s not going to work.

3. Being attracted to trans men, after some years of only being into butch women, is okay and doesn’t change your fundamental self. You can still keep your queer card and just love who you love. Most of your ex-girlfriends will eventually turn into men, anyway.

4. If you’re in a D/s relationship with someone who breaks down your self-esteem and violates your boundaries, that’s not D/s: that’s abuse. Even if they buy you shiny presents.

— Anne Campbell, https://www.facebook.com/riverbend

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Believe in love where you find it. Trust your senses. Be angry. Then let it go.

—Cathlin Star, http://cathlinstar.blogspot.com/

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Oh God. I think it would boil down to “Do your research, do lots and lots of research.” But more specifically: I would find my fifteen-year-old self and sit her down and tell her “Honey, you have internalized some really toxic shit about how sex is *dangerous* and some even more toxic shit about how *knowledge* about sex is dangerous. Neither of these things are true. You want a lot of stuff that you don’t know how to articulate — go do some personal exploration and I promise, you get to decide whether or not you will act on your desires, but first you need to be able to articulate them. Either way, I also promise that the world will not end.”

And then I would give her a hug and tell her that it was going to be ok.

— Clara S., http://thethirdrose.tumblr.com

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Don’t settle! Too many women (men perhaps also but I cannot write for them) settle for perceived security, “love”, to make a home for children. I was too hasty to get it all and follow the traditional norm of settling down before I got too old and have a family. As for sex, I tell my daughter (now 12) that if you are not sexually satisifed in a relationship and the other person is not willing to work on it then you need to reevaluate that relationship and if it makes you happy. I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. I never had the exposure to gender differences. I now teach a program to teens at my Unitarian Universalist (UU) church call O.W.L (Our Whole Lives) about sexuality & healthy relationships and one of the tag lines is “Sexuality is fluid” I so love that!

— Tonja Hewlett, https://www.facebook.com/EnterprisingFae

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

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The Persistent Desire: A Femme Butch Reader (edited by Joan Nestle)

Maybe this is just as much about the book as the editor…. I’ve met Joan (she lives in Melbourne, Australia) and her partner Dianne and find her to be such a valuable elder to have in the community. I love the way her writing is so political, and that class and race are made so relevant. I also love that although Butch-Femme influences her whole life, it’s not in such predictable ways and has changed and morphed as she’s gotten older/grown.

Shes so involved in movements around Israel/Palestine and I see her out at refugee rallies monthly. She’s so engaged with the younger queer community here still and puts in so much time, for this and many other reasons I really respect her and she has taught me a lot. <3

In an attempt to look more queer and attract more attention from people that I thought I wanted I really played down my femme side to look as “queer” as possible so I guess I’d like to tell my younger self that there would be someone who would love your femme side and wouldn’t read you as any less queer for it. More specifically, would know all the ways that you were sexy just for her.

—M, http://brownskinnedslut.tumblr.com/

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Scarleteen.com was the sex and relationship ed I hadn’t even known I needed. I found the word genderqueer there, and it was like my head breaking the surface of a lake I hadn’t known I was in so deep, coming up gasping clean, cool air and feeling full, real, awake, alive in a way I hadn’t felt before. It taught me there was space for me, that it was okay to ask for what I needed to feel safe, that my body had agency and value even though it existed in strange, queer, liminal spaces.

—Cricket, http://beatingthebinary.tumblr.com

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In 1999 I listened to Bikini Kill’s Pussy Whipped for the first time and it changed my life. Kathleen Hanna’s outspoken, feminist, intelligent, fuck the patriarchy, sexually freeing, in your face, revolutionary and progressive approach to grrrl punk music both inspired and entranced me. The riot grrrl movement impacted my life in so many ways, teaching me how to love myself and embrace my feminist identity. There has not been a woman since who has challenged patriarchy, sexism and homophobia so passionately and poignantly.

—Kachina Addison, http://www.facebook.com/kachina.addison

I want more.

I want more.

Crave it. Seek it. For every inch you give, I want two. For every mile you run, I want five.

It’s not that I’m never satisfied. I am. Maybe the satisfaction comes in the wanting, the striving. The way I give you a new edge and you nod and work and sweat and labor and your best comes from you, just a little more than you expected. That’s when I relax, and ask for it again. Again. Until your best striving is normal and I ask you for more. Always more.

That’s the point, more than the individual acts. I don’t really care if my house is kept precisely or if my water glass has ice and lime. I care if you’re trying. I care if you’re working for it, paying attention.

It’s not that I’m proud of this, exactly. I don’t say this to brag. This tendency often makes things quite complicated, adding unnecessary layers of needs and request—unnecessary to our day-to-day immediacy, but more necessary to my long term satisfaction. It’s why I moved to New York City, remember—I wanted things to be less easy.

It’s not that the work is the point, either, but that striving is the best way for me to stay on the edge. The brink of something new. The cusp of growth. And that is the broader purpose. When I keep you carefully balanced there, I keep myself balanced there too, in that place of holding your safety ropes, not certain exactly how far to push, exactly when to force just a little more, try just a little harder, you can do it, you can take it for me, just a little more, just for me, just for me. And when you do, when I push through that last resistance to open you just a little further, it opens up something in me to meet you, and we swirl, double-helix vortex, touching the infinite, touching god.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, part two

What is your relationship to sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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My favorite part is probably the porn. My least favorite is probably the personal relationship stuff; it’s interesting but also cringeworthy and full of secondhand embarrassment, at least for me, and makes me shout “WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT” at the screen a lot.

—jay, http://www.twitter.com/jswaggerbk

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I most enjoy the smart and progressive gender theory. I love the ways Sinclair moves the conversation forward, and remains open to all ways of knowing. I also enjoy the erotica, a lot. I would also be interested in an exploration of the “butch bottom” — my partner would probably fall into that category, and I’m interested in teasing out the less obvious relationships between gender and power there.

—rachel, http://www.bellybuttongazing.blogspot.com

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I wish you would do more of exactly what it is that you are doing. I know that some of your readers have been sending you messages saying that they miss Kristen, or that they wish you would do more of this or more of that. But all I wish is that you keep writing what you want to write. It’s that which shows me your true colours, and its that which is real. SO very real about you that keeps me grounded in my shoes, in my reality, in my concepts of what Butch is. Of what Queer is. Of what Love is and what power is. The fact that you have remained true to yourself. The fact that you have listened to your heart, despite the whispers and the judgements; you are still moving in YOUR direction, and that’s fucking hot. That’s power, that’s taking the time that you have on this planet and making the most of it by not wasting it on doing what others want you to do. You follow your heart, and that, to me, is truth.

You and I went through a breakup at the same time. I found that your silence matched my silence and i never once questioned it. When you finally found words again I felt them with you. and I found myself speaking to you through the screen consoling, and sharing my experiences. I wanted to tell you that we would be ok. That even though things ended perhaps under different circumstances, we were feeling the same pain, the same stages of denial and rejection and loss, and I felt like you brought me home a lot. But I also felt like I wanted to bring you home with me too. It was therapeutic and it helped me out a lot.

—EK, http://instagram.com/ek_bo

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

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It’s ok to be gay, go to church, believe in God, and live in the South all at the same time! I’ve been attracted to women since I was 4 years old. My first two kisses were girls! In South East Texas however, being gay isn’t even an option. I just thought I could easily appreciate another woman’s beauty. No one speaks about being gay. Thank you for putting out such straight forward information. I love that there is no beating around the bush on your site. Thank you for being a proud, intelligent, gay woman and not hiding it.

—Julie May Richardson, http://instagram.com/julie321

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I would tell my younger self to stop worrying about what everyone else is going to think, and say, and whisper behind your back and to just go flirt with girls already.

—Sara, http://somekindofsexy.tumblr.com

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

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I can’t narrow done one source but I can give you a genre: books. I read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I’m interested in the Invisible Femme problem. Since I happen to be one.

—Michelle

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Probably reading Butch is A Noun, S. Bear Bergman. As stupid as it sounds, I didn’t really ‘get’ that there were other people that felt like me. But if I can slide another thing in, it’s been kind of amazing to find the web presence of butches, dappers, and all the other words that confuse me. Tumblrs, blogs, twitter accounts; it’s illuminating to think that I’m not weird. Finding a community of similar folks has actually really helped with my confidence.

—Zoe, http://dapperirishdyke.wordpress.com/

Anything else to add?

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Femmes have been my salvation. There have been 2 femmes who made me whole again. After being abused by my mother for years about my gender, I shut down. hiding even inside the lesbian community. These femmes brought me out with their wisdom and sight, their ability to see me and respond to me. I was lesbian for a long time but never fully me until I embraced and lived my Butch life.

— sumner, https://twitter.com/Butchkind

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, part 1: National Fisting Day, embracing gender complexities, and more

Oh hey there! I’m writing this from my sister’s house in Brooklyn, where I’m staying while I’m doing a couple of workshops for colleges this week. It’s been an incredible whirlwind lately, with college touring season starting and the Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic workshop that happened in Oakland this past weekend. (It was incredible. You should’ve been there. Really.)

I love fall. I love fall everywhere, but fall in New York City is especially special. It’s stunning. The colors the trees the air crackling the people, the scarves! The coats! The boots! People are so well-dressed here. Honestly I miss the east coast “look” over in the Bay Area. (Granted, I’m mostly in Oakland, but the California / Pacific Northwest Casual look isn’t my favorite style.)

It’s the end of day 2 in New York, my first return since I left in April, and I’m starting to feel that deep New York exhaustion. I bought inserts for my boots. I keep taking off my leather jacket because it’s not really real leather (shhh) and the mostly-plastic of it is awful for the humidity that doesn’t allow my body to breathe. My skin sweats in the leather and smells musty when I take it off.

But, I took my sister’s big oaf dog to the park today, collected some fallen red leaves with bright veins, took some photographs, plotted out my Best! Sex! Ever! workshop for some cool queers at NYU and then hung out with them while we talked about what that might mean and look like, what really good sex is, what the barriers are to getting really good sex. And then we had a giveaway for some Pink & White queer porn DVDs.

I really like my job.

But! That’s not why I’m writing you. I’m writing to post the beginnings of the Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013.

I got 74 mini-interviews in response to that call. SEVENTY FOUR. Thank you, each of you, each of you seventy four people, for taking the time, for spending a few minutes and filling that out. I read each one as they came into my inbox. I laughed. I teared up. I was moved and touched and said, “really? Really??” at some of the praise about my work. I wrote notes about resources. I’m excited to share them with you.

And, as that many came into my handy-dandy google doc spreadsheet, I wasn’t sure how I was going to post them. 74 individual posts? Two a day for thirty seven days? That seems overwhelming and like I’d be flooding my site unnecessarily. Post ten and save the rest? Post them all as an e-book? (Who would read that, except me?)

I finally figured it out: I’m going to post snippets. Maybe that seems obvious, but it took me a while. I’m taking my favorite line or phrase or paragraph or answer from each interview. It might be hard because your WHOLE ENTIRE INTERVIEW is probably incredibly awesome, but I just don’t have the space to reproduce them all. So they must get cut.

I’m going to take 7-8 at a time and edit them down to one central quote for each person, and then post those all together in one post. So there’ll be about 10 of those. After that’s all done, I might (might!) put them together in a free ebook kind of thing, but we’ll see about that.

Ready? Ready! Without further adieu, here are the first seven interviews.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013: Part 1

What is your relationship to Sinclair & sugarbutch.net?

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I can’t quite remember but I think I was looking at dildos online and saw an ad for the Sugarbutch Chronicles. Everything about the site made me say “Woooooooooow where have you been all my life?”

My favorite part of the blog are the links to other queer sites/organizations. The most memorable email I’ve received was for National Fisting Day 2012. I’m lucky that I had opened the email on my phone because I was greeted with a giant picture from FTM Fucker. I had never seen trans men in porn before and it was amazing. Since I was following Sugarbutch for a while before that email I had already been exploring and realizing how queerness can be sexy and empowering. Basically I love how this blog has taken me on a journey to discover a community that I feel like I belong to.

I’ve been empowered to express my gender and sexuality is ways that I’ve never even anticipated. At his moment I genuinely feel like I am attractive and loved. That is something that I haven’t felt before and I know many queers around me are struggling with themselves. Being a kinky butch bottom is a badge I wear with honor.

—Sarah Garnett, https://twitter.com/lohidoesnttweet

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

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Hey 19 year old self. It’s Feb 15, 1997, and you are going to meet the woman who will become your wife. You will live, laugh, and love together. You will fight together and against each other. You will have 2 sons, a house, and numerous animals together. She will be your first, and (so far) only love.

She will get breast cancer and it will change you. Walking alongside your wife will be the hardest, most sacred journey you will ever take. You will want to run away. You will want to quit. But, you won’t. Because, YOU are strong. You are fearless. You are fucking awesome!

After 8.5 years of fighting, she will die, in your arms. At first, you will think that you are going to be lost and drift. But, you will be found, and you will be fucking AMAZING! Trust that you DO have the strength. When the community you weren’t looking for, finds you, embrace them, for they will get you through.

There will be a second act. I am just starting it now, but trust me – it’s gonna be rad!

—Dree, http://motherbutch.tumblr.com & http://dreesdaydream.tumblr.com

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Go with it, go for it.

You already embrace your gender … “issues” isn’t the right word … complexity, now embrace others, as they have needs and their own complexities too. It’s too easy to get lost in yourself, as others lose themselves within themselves too, so go out and play!

“A person not improving him/herself, endlessly becomes him/herself.” Self discovery is good, gaining insights from others sharing as they go through it is also good; not sharing is bad, not growing/developing/improving is worse.

—randy, https://fetlife.com/users/309032

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

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The Usual Suspects because it’s a wonderful example of how you can’t just look at someone and know everything. Getting to know someone may or may not tell you the full story or even tell you the truth. Sometimes you don’t see the real truth of a thing until it’s too late.

— Cookie

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I suppose my general college experience opened up my world quite a bit. I was exposed to very smart people, very dumb people, and a lot of opinions that I had never known. Sexually, I got to go to the Fetish Flea Fair every year, and met some really amazing sex educators. I’m back in school now, getting another degree, and my goal is to share my experiences with as many people as I can.

— Elise, www.ehmworks.com

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Therapy. I lucked out with a therapist who’s a shorthair who can keep up with me when I get to talking fast, believes the woo when I suspect I might just be crazy, and is slowly encouraging me to trust myself. I avoided going for years, but agreed to give it a try when things got really dark in my life and I was considering far more final options. The trick is to find someone whom you respect, who seems to have some good ideas about life, and who is similar enough that you can manage good communication.

Plus, for me, someone who laughs about life with me and lets me argue it out out loud.

—Roxy, http://uncommoncuriosity.wordpress.com

Anything else to add?

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These past posts, when you did all the hand-wringing about comments and reading, I felt a bit guilty. I’ve been reading for years, I never stopped reading and yet I’d never written a comment (although I did send you an e-mail once, showing you a Greek singer I like, to which you were kind enough to reply).

I thought therefore that it is time that I speak to you directly and let you know that I am still here, and not going anywhere, and that I am sure that there are a lot more like me, faithful and interested readers who are just too shy to comment, or believed they have nothing of substance to add.

We read you, we like you, and we’ll be here.

PS If you ever make it to London, England, I’d love to buy you a pint and meet you in person.

— GL, https://twitter.com/GenovevaLondon

What kind of comments you could leave

In keeping with the Comment Zen idea, here’s some things you could reply to this post with:

  • The places the mini-interviews resonated for you
  • Whether you’d like to see all of the mini-interviews in entirety or if the best quotes are enough
  • Your favorite thing about New York City
  • What you’ll be doing on National Fisting Day October 22nd

Thank you!

To the femmes on whom I’ve crushed this past year

If you think I’m not kicking myself for not making a move when I had the chance, you’re wrong.

I wish I made a move. Although really, I wish I had had the capacity to make a move. Explain it through the spoon theory, call it the grieving process, call it heartbreak, call it post-poly trauma and fear—whatever it was, I was not in the place to play, fuck, open myself up, make an offer, make a move, or hell, sometimes even flirt. I wish I had been.

These past eighteen months, there were moments my life continued on without me, me being pulled along behind the autopilot me who somehow managed to eat and sleep (no small feat). Sometimes, I had no idea you, beautiful kick-ass femme, were there, making a move on me, giving me The Eyes, putting yourself out there. Sometimes, three months later I found your email in my inbox and felt puzzled, where’d that come from? Why didn’t I even see that before? Wtf? Sometimes, I got so excited and turned on and pleased to receive an offer from you, and I plotted scripted wrote schemed what I would say back, and by the time I actually went to reply, it’d been too long and the connection felt broken.

Time is wonky in grief, in heartache. I wanted to be in an open poly playful place, and so I think sometimes I came across that way. But in retrospect, I was more shell than soul, more fear than fire. I couldn’t bring myself to our interactions—maybe you didn’t know. I didn’t know, either. Rather than defend myself, I just want to tell you that our moments, whatever we had, were special to me, and let you know that I wished I’d been there with my whole self instead of the half-ghost version you got of me.

To D:

Who took me out on a walk and talked so sweet of flowers and foliage, who held my cheek so gently in your palm before we kissed. Who wrote me a tender-hearted letter that broke my heart a little with kindness. Thank you.

To N:

Who fed me the most amazing wine and cheese and pot and smiles (that way your eyes smoke your lips part velvet you toss your bangs), you nourished me when I was incredibly dark. I’m sorry I didn’t know it better at the time. I still feel I owe you an apology. I still think of your hair falling in my face and on my skin, and how your lips felt when you whispered in my ear. Birds and photographs and more wine, and I hope you found an amazing place in New York to shine your gifts.

To A:

Your legs for miles and the way you move, your laugh and quick wit and ease. We’ve basically co-topped, more than once even, and when you made it clear you wanted to play (I think your text said, “I’d like to suck your cock,” thank you for being direct) I froze. Saw you the next day and neither of us spoke on it. Didn’t even text you back until later. In another context, I would’ve begged for the chance. I still feel like a dunce for that one. I’ve learned so much about poly watching your relationship(s) from a friendly far, and I admire how you play and hold people in such high respect. I can’t wait to see you perform again. The way you move your body … I can’t take my eyes off of you.

To C:

And your curls and handfuls of ass and knee socks and drag act. I still have your dirty story in my inbox and I feel stupid for not writing you back. I hope that wasn’t our only chance to play, because I can fuck better than that. Maybe someday I’ll work up the courage to ask you if I can prove it.

To J:

My beautiful (temporary) canvas, thank you for letting me mark you up, paint bruises and scratches and teeth marks into your gorgeous skin. And thank you for the photos after, they came at a time where it helped to be reminded of my own power, and the ways stunning creatures like you will sometimes allow me to borrow some of yours.

To T:

My fellow judge, the only one who asked me about my pronoun, the one I knew was ‘my people,’ particularly when you dipped your head just a little and then egged me on in writing: “And then what happened?” I barely remember the dirty fairy tale we started to tell, but maybe sometime we’ll get to finish it.

To D:

A kind of femme I almost don’t recognize in writing, but I recognized your markers. I recognized you in person. Your ferocity calls me still. I wish I’d had time energy spoons spunk to write you languid sexy stories you would read over your tea, slitting open the envelope with a dirty knife. I’m intimidated by your politics and youth and clarity. I ache to think of your mouth, my hands on your skin. How will I get another chance? I hope to be more ready when I do.

To L:

And perfect crisp white hotel sheets, and joints in the park, and your lipstick that never came off, and the way your hair looked in curls on the pillow in the mornings, and how much I wanted to stay sequestered with you, and your patience empathy understanding holding, and your gentle fist, and your heart-shaped mouth, and your jeans on the grass by the airport. I got a piece of myself back because of that weekend, a piece I didn’t know I was missing. Watching your hands speak I remembered those words I’ve hidden deep, wondered if you were speaking to those places when you slid inside me. I have already mailed you a dozen little ‘thinking of you’ packages in my mind, but in reality I have had no follow through. (Not just with this. With everything. Unopened mail unpaid bills unorganized paper.) I know you understand grief. Do you also understand how much I am grateful for you taking your time with me? How rare it has been for me to let someone explore those inner canyons? Thank you for being strong enough to offer to hold me, and for letting me return the exploration of your own folded in secrets. I want more of you, want to fist your hair again, bruise your knees against the floor, hold you down. Want to kiss your ankles and make an offering on my knees, though nothing really compares to what you gave me when you plucked me out of my chest and handed me back to myself. Thank you.

And to you:

You who attended my workshop in Noho or DC or Seattle or Chicago. I noticed your eyes, the way you bit your lip, how you looked me up and down, how you checked out my package, how you waited your turn and didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know what to say either. There is often a performer/audience teacher/student power dynamic I try not to exploit (unless, you know, I have permission). But let me be clear here, now: I noticed you. Fuck, I wanted you. My mouth watered at that glimpse of your skin. Maybe I was particularly worked up that night before I even arrived, but more than once I didn’t wait to get back to my hotel before remembering your mouth and twinkle and just-barely-too-long of a glance, and I got myself off. Coming with a grunt and a sigh in a stalled bathroom, keeping someone waiting, licking off my fingers and thinking of your lips.

At another time, in a different year when I was not so lost, I would have tried to ask, to flirt, to be bold, to make it clear I was game if you were, to have boundaries, to ask for yours, to try things, to write you back, to be curious, to connect, to feel our hearts beat together (if only temporarily). I may have missed my chance, but I still want you to know that I think you’re extraordinary, and whoever did get the chance to feel your fingertips roam, to taste your skin shined with sweat, to read the book of your scars, to hear your breathing shallow and release, to be anchored down by your weight, was lucky. I barely know you, but it seems clear to me that you are luminous.

Hey readers! I want to (mini-)interview YOU!

Partly because I want to encourage this Sugarbutch space to be more conversation and less me prosthelytizing or preaching or complaining, I would love to deepen some of my relationships with my readers. That would be YOU. And the first way I know how to begin to do that is to get to know y’all a little bit better.

So, would you like to do a little mini-interview? Here’s the questions below.

If you read through this and decide you don’t want to do the mini-interview, or if you never get around to it, that’s cool. I’d still love to start following the blogs of many of my readers. So, if you have a blog, and you read Sugarbutch regularly (or often or sometimes), I’d love to know where you write, too. Leave your website URL in the comments and I’ll create an RSS feed of all of them and start keeping up with y’all.

Now, on to the Great Reader Mini-Interviews of 2013!

Answers can be as long or as short as you’d like. Here’s the form! If you prefer to fill it out in a separate window and keep perusing Sugarbutch, or if the embedded iframe below is acting up for whatever reason, here’s the link to the Google form unembedded.

I’ll collect responses until October 10th, and will start publishing them that week for everybody to read.