Femme Invisibility & Beyond

January 15, 2012  |  advice, essays  |  15 Comments

I’m still receiving questions in the Ask Me Anything form; most of the time I am turning them into pieces for my advice column over on SexIs Magazine, but sometimes they are things I’d rather tackle here at Sugarbutch. So here’s one of those.

As a very feminine femme, I pass for straight more often than not, and I’d like to know your thoughts on femme invisibility, and why every time I smile/greet/nod at butches I am largely ignored. Even when I am out with my (butch) lover, a polite nod of recognition, or “Nice tie …” coming from me is not acknowledged. What gives?

—Sweets

Oh, femme invisibility. This is a big, constant topic, and I have lots of thoughts about it. Probably mostly I’ll say the same things that I said in 2009 when I wrote this piece, “On Femme Invisibility,”, but I have a few new things to say, too.

Femme Invisibility Is Real

Femme invisibility is a real thing. It happens all the time. Queer women who are feminine get seen as straight—by straight folks, other queer folks, and sometimes even queer femmes themselves—because this culture expects dykes to reject gender roles automatically when rejecting a heterosexual orientation. As if those two things go together inseparably.

For many people, they do go together. But for other folks, they do not.

Assuming that they do go together—that a rejection of heterosexuality also includes a rejection of masculine/feminine culturally-defined gender roles—assumes that the only purpose of those gender roles is for heterosexual gain (attraction, stimulation, and reinforcing patriarchal dominance). One of the things I particularly love about the butch/femme dynamic is that it disproves this. It fractures the concepts of “gender roles” into multiple things, including archetypes and perhaps some sort of “inner gender” (a concept trans theories have been flirting with, but I haven’t seen articulated perfectly, yet). Meaning: yes, these gender roles are societally dictated, but they are also more than that, bigger than that, and if we can strip down the societal restrictions that keep us oppressed and marginalized and compartmentalized (for example, break our identity alignment assumptions and separate gender roles from our hobbies, interests, and personality traits), we can come to some understanding that gender is fun and more than just a way to keep wives subordinate to husbands or to keep men in power (over, among other things, the awe-inspiring phenomenon that is women’s ability to bear children).

Masculinity, femininity, genderqueerness, or any sort of gender presentation is not inherent to a sexual identity. Femininity is not just for straight women. We’ve accepted that masculinity is for dykes and femininity is for fags because, well, this culture is homophobic and sexist, and we assume that a rejection of heterosexuality is also a rejection of gender roles. But many combinations of gender and sexuality exist—probably more than I could even name, probably more than I comprehend. (This is one of the reasons why, when people look at a guy who is even slightly feminine and declare him a closet fag, I think: that’s sexist. He certainly might be a closet fag, but there are also many straight men who have feminine gender performances, and that does not mean he’s gay. Ditto for slightly masculine women—I mean, how many of us have said, how many dozens of times, that Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica must be gay? But why is that? Well, it’s because she has some swagger, never because she has displayed any sexual or romantic interest toward other women.)

Stop Arguing With Reality & Find Some Radical Acceptance

This culture tells us all these things, and this culture is wrong. It is not correct that feminine dykes are really straight girls. It just isn’t. In fact, it’s rooted in sexism and homophobia, and a little bit ignorant.

But also? It’s just real. It’s not right, and I channel all sorts of righteous indignation when I come across something that is just wrong and nobody seems to get, so I’m not trying to discount that it sucks. But if you expect it to be another way, you are simply arguing with reality, and you can (and, dare I say, should!) do some radical acceptance around this issue. That doesn’t mean you just passively accept that this is how things are and move on, it can certainly mean that you do your own work to make this issue less painful for the many people involved.

But it’s just true. In this culture, physical markers of queerness are accepted as certain things (like short hair, baggy androgynous or slightly masculine clothes, comfortable shoes—i.e., not femininity). Your struggle to be accepted as a queer person by visual sight alone is probably going to continue, as long as the culture continues to have those same queer markers.

Since Your Queer Identity Isn’t Portrayed Visually, You Have To Portray It In Other Ways

Since many femmes don’t have those same visual queer markers, since your identity isn’t constructed in a way that portrays your sexuality (according to the culture) visually, you will have to find other ways to construct and communicate your queer identity.

I don’t know how, exactly. Seems like many femmes do this in different ways. After the 2008 Femme Conference, which was called The Architecture of Identity, I compiled my notes and identified a few different ways of constructing identity, such as in contrast to butch, in community, through language, through fashion and style, and through theory, and I think those still hold true.

Language is a big one for me. I would much prefer to befriend and sleep with someone who doesn’t “look gay” but who can talk about queer history, culture, or theory to someone who you would visually peg as a dyke immediately but doesn’t have any context for her identity any day.

There’s constant talk about making some sort of universal femme marker—a tattoo, or a hanky flower, or some way that the pin-up look is queered so that everybody knows it’s not heterosexual, but as far as I can tell, there’s almost no way to universalize one singular symbol. At least, not yet.

And I’m not sure we really need one (though I’m not the one going through the struggles of this, I recognize). Because, let’s be honest: I see femmes everywhere. Whatever you’re doing with your visual markers, it’s working, when you know how to look.

Lots of People See You!

At the Femme Conference in 2008, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha said in her keynote address, “Femme invisibility is bullshit. You just don’t know how to look.”

Don’t forget: Lots of people see you. I feel like I can spot a femme on a crowded subway car even when there are three dozen people between us. It’s not just that she gives me an extra-long stare and big smile (though that happens, sometimes), but it’s also something energetically, something I can’t quite even put my finger on, that says to me, “Whoa, there is something special about her.”

There are lots of femmes out there. There are lots of butches and genderqueer folks and trans folks and other masculine of center identified people and femmes who love to date femmes, and who see the one femme in the dyke bar not as a straight impostor, but as our crush for the evening, our next girlfriend, our fantasy.

It is a real problem. And I know it causes mass frustration. But there are many people who get it, and who don’t question a femme’s identity as queer. And there are big movements adding on to the many, many conversations about femme invisibility that are already out there.

Know Your Femme History

Read up. Read blogs, read books. I suggest, to start: Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme, A Persistent Desire, Brazen Femmes, Femmes of Power, Visible: A Femmethology Volumes I & II, The Femme’s Guide to the Universe, The Femme’s Mystique … and oh probably two dozen others. Take strength and pleasure from knowing others have come before you, and have struggled too: that you are not the only one who has had difficulties with this.

Find some femme friends. Seek out femme community. There is tons of this happening online these days, for example, so even if you live somewhere kinda small or in a city that doesn’t particularly value the butch/femme dynamic, you can still talk to people about this.

If you don’t have a big community in your city, travel. No seriously, I mean that. Come to New York City. And for fuck’s sake, attend the Femme Conference in Baltimore this August. This is exactly what a femme conference is for: to make friends, to come together, to give voice to the common struggles and to start seeing our own experiences as valid and real.

This Is Your Struggle, But Remember: It’s Not Your Problem. It’s Theirs

Just as the main conflict in a butch’s identity—in my opinion—is sexism, misogyny, and masculine privilege (yes, I just said that), this is one of the main conflicts in a femme identity (others big things, from my perspective, being the mean girls thing, and escaping the beauty myth).

But if you really know and understand why other queers don’t see you, and why you pass as straight, and how to start constructing your identity in ways that aren’t reliant upon physical markers, you may just start to realize that it isn’t your problem. It isn’t something you are or aren’t doing right or wrong. It isn’t that if you just tried a little harder, smiled a little bigger, wore a different dress, that you would be recognize and validated as queer. It’s a cultural problem, a problem in our queer communities that is replicating gender norms and assumptions from the larger culture. It isn’t your fault, and it isn’t your problem. It’s theirs.

If someone doesn’t accept that you’re queer when you are a) in a queer space, b) with a visibly queer partner, or c) telling them that you are queer, well, then, fuck them, or rather don’t, because they don’t deserve to keep talking to you. Find somebody who does accept your combination of femininity and queerness. And keep working, yourself, on the reconciliation and supposed cultural conflict between the two.

Because that is your struggle.

How are you going to deal with it? How are you going to own your history, understand the sexist, misogynistic ways that this culture sees femininity, and overcome? How are you going to reconcile that not every visible queer you see will see you? How are you going to learn to communicate with a look and a smile, which, six times out of ten, might work? How are you going to articulate your own identity to others when they question it? What are the words you are going to say? How are you going to build a group of people around you that you know you can turn to when all you want to do is go, “ARGHHHHH!” and be angry that the world doesn’t see you as queer enough? How are you going to help build your femme friends up when they go through this? What can butches do (aside from learn how to recognize you, I know that’s a big one) to support you? How will we all reassure each other? What can we learn, here? What alliances can we make?

And perhaps most importantly, how can we move beyond this?

Strive to Move Us Beyond Visibility

There is more to femme identity than being visible. There is nurturance and caretaking, there is internalized homophobia, there is the mean girls complex that pits femmes against each other, there is the pervasive understanding that femme is nothing more than lipstick and heels (um, wrong!), there is some sort of hierarchy in the femme world as indicated simply by the still widespread use of the phrase “high femme,” there is the identity alignment assumption that all femmes are submissive bottoms and whoa is that incorrect, there is transmisogyny and the still troubled dialogue between cis and trans queer women, there is racism, there is a classist element that says that femmes have to or should buy their gender, there are dozens of other gender stereotypes that still pressure femmes to drink girly drinks and be homemakers and bear the children and stay at home and bake cookies, and oh there are probably two dozen other things I could list if I kept going.

There is more to femme identity than visibility. In fact, today in New York City there is a big day-long event going on right now called Beyond Visibility: Illuminating and Aligning Femmes in NYC, featuring a skillshare, roundtable discussion, and caucuses, all of which are femme-only, and then later an ally-invited reading and dance party (and you bet your beatle boots I will be attending that).

Being and becoming visible as a queer femme is a real thing that, it seems to me, almost all femmes struggle with. But as I’ve known more and more femmes for more and more years, I’m also starting to see that many femmes don’t struggle with it after years of working on it. Many have some radical acceptance and some understandings of how the queer world works, and are working on fighting other things.

Tara Hardy, one of my major mentors and a queer femme poet, has this line in one of her pieces: “I no longer get sad if they ask me at the door if I know it’s dyke night: I get mad. I mean, how much pussy do I have to eat before you let me in the club?” It’s a subtle shift, perhaps, from sad to mad, but it matters. It is the shift from internalizing the culture’s sexist bullshit to fighting back against it.

How do we overcome this issue and begin to elevate the discussion? I don’t know, but I’m curious to do that. And it seems that we, as a community, are beginning to, if only by the title of today’s event. I’m really excited for the Femme Conference in Baltimore this year, I think and hope that will continue to elevate the discussion.

Last, But Not Least

Also, let me say: I’m sorry. I’m sorry you are not acknowledged by the butches you are reaching out to, making bids that go unseen or unacknowledged. I don’t know why you are largely ignored. Could be many things: many butches are kind of used to straight girls hitting on us and using us for attention, and if you are being misread as straight, these butches could be resisting that. Perhaps when you’re out with your butch girlfriend and attempting to be acknowledged, they see you with your partner and don’t want to step on any toes or get into some sort of “hey man, you looking at my girl?” confrontation. It seems unlikely, but it’s possible. Maybe they fear that acknowledgment of your “nice tie” or big smile would be seen as flirting (I don’t think that would be a bad thing, but other people seem to).

Maybe they are just in their own world and just aren’t registering their surroundings. I mean, I’ve had friends of mine show up on a subway platform and try to get my attention while I was commuting, and I just had all my surroundings blocked out until they were literally waving a hand in my face. If you’re doing this in a big city, they could just be in their own world and not very observant.

I don’t know why, exactly. That’s kind of just the way it is, I think. For all those reasons I yammered on about above. That’s not okay and it’s not right, and I’m doing my own part to encourage femme visibility and work on our sexism in queer communities.

Butches, transmasculine folks, genderqueers, and all you other visible queers out there: listen the fuck up: LEARN TO RECOGNIZE FEMMES, even if you don’t date them, because they recognize you.

It’s the least we can do.

Ask Me Anything! No Really

September 28, 2011  |  advice  |  No Comments

I’m starting to write a new column on SexIs Magazine, this time it’s an advice column called Mr. Sexsmith Says. The first one came out today, about stone identity and butches, and they’ll be published every other week.

I have a pretty decent stack of index cards from my workshops, as well as some unanswered questions from emails and from the Ask Me Anything Sugarbutch anniversary thread, so I already do have a lot of fodder for this new column.

However! I still get questions pretty frequently, and now that I have a place to put them, I invite you to ask me about things you’d like to know. No seriously, ask away. I can’t promise to answer all of them—I have no idea if I’ll get two or two hundred, so you know, I’ll have to do some experimenting here—but I will do my best.

So now there’s a sugarbutch.net/ask-me-anything URL, and a place specifically to submit questions. Please feel free to ask away.

Ask Me Anything: What to Wear to a BDSM Weekend?

September 14, 2011  |  advice  |  1 Comment

Via email, Katy asks:

I will be going to my first BDSM convention next weekend … I have a question. I’m not particularly a fetishwear kinda guy… What would you wear? I feel like you and I have similar style and kinks.

I would probably wear jeans, a button down shirt, a tie, and nice shoes, because that tends to be what I wear. Definitely a belt, I never wear a button down shirt without a belt, I always think you need a belt if you’re going to be tucking in a shirt, and these days I wear a belt with everything, it makes the outfit seem much more pulled together.

Sometimes I fetish that up by wearing a bondage belt or wrist cuff, but generally a tie is enough. Oh, but if it were me, I would definitely get the right color hanky and flag according to the hanky code.

I’d say that you should wear what makes you feel most sexy and hot, not necessarily something fetish-y but something that makes you feel attractive and confident.

(If I was fancy, I’d do up an image for this outfit dooce-style, but I have to get some workshop prep done. Next time!)

Ask Me Anything: How to Give Blow Jobs Without Feeling Stupid

August 4, 2011  |  advice  |  3 Comments

Newbie asked:

My partner and I are new to strap-on sex. We both love the idea of blowjobs, but I have no idea how to go about it without feeling supremely stupid. Help please! Could Kristen maybe give her perspective on learning to do it well?

Here’s Kristen’s answer:

How to suck butch cock: some advice.

Here’s the thing about sucking silicone cock: you have to pretend it’s real and remember that it’s not, both at the same time.

1. Pretending it’s real. This is most important: you have someone’s cock in your mouth, and you need to take care of it. Treat it like the beautiful and powerful instrument that it is, regardless of whether it came from a factory. Start slow. Put your lips on the tip. Lick around the head. Lick all the way down one side. Put it in your mouth for a minute, then take it out and lick it again. Eventually, once your mouth produces more saliva, you can suck it in deeper. Look up at your partner so they can see that you like it, so they can see the pleasure you’re giving them, even if they can’t exactly feel it. Act like you know what you’re doing, whether you actually do (hello, grateful college boys you might have practiced on) or you’re making it up as you go along. Vary your speed: don’t just repeat the same movement over and over, unless your partner gets into it and wants that. (Face-fucking is great, once you’ve gotten the hang of a basic blowjob.) Watch porn: even the free crappy stuff on Youporn is helpful here, because you can see facial expressions and technique and just mimic that.

2. Remembering it’s not. You’re not going to get physical indicators that tell you you’re doing a good job. You won’t be able to feel it getting harder (or limper) in your mouth, you’re not going to be able to feel when your partner is close to coming, you’re not going to know if you’re using your teeth too much. You have to do that work yourself: listen to your partner’s breathing, pay attention to their muscle contractions/their hands on your head/gasps of pleasure. You have to do the work of making it the most amazing blowjob they’ve ever gotten, even if they can’t feel every movement of your tongue. But that’s the fun part: you can do pretty much whatever you want to make that happen.

What do you think? Got any other advice for how to give blow jobs that don’t make you feel supremely stupid?

Ask Me Anything: What To Do With Old Sex Toys?

June 7, 2011  |  advice  |  2 Comments

Q asked:

do you have any ideas for what to do with lightly used sex toys and accessories? They don’t seem like the kind of thing you just sell at a yard sale! But it seems a shame to just chuck something so expensive and that someone else could get a lot of pleasure out of. If you don’t think it makes sense to give them away (and I mean give, I certainly don’t want to sell), is there a way to recycle them or otherwise dispose of them properly?

Thanks!

Yes, generally you’re right, people don’t want used sex toys, even if they can be sterilized. There are some—glass, metal, silicone—that I would say you can offer to good friends, or people you might think could handle a little use. Some leather/BDSM gear you might be able to swap or give away, but it depends on the condition. But if they’re very broken in (you know how silicone gets after it’s been used a bunch, it kind of starts disintegrating) I think it’d be best to recycle them.

The jelly plastic or other plastic insertables or vibrators … probably there’s nothing to do with them except recycle them.

There is a sextoyrecycling.com place, but it looks like it’s not legit. I haven’t been able to contact anyone from there to get confirmation that they are running.

I did hear from ScarletGirl.com, they have a sex toy recycling program that will give you $10 credit, but more importantly, they won’t end up in the landfill.

Dan Savage has recommended sending your old sex toys to representatives in states where sex toys aren’t legal, which I think is a good idea for activist purposes, but what happens after the politicians receive those toys? Probably they will end up in a landfill. So if your purpose is to be green moreso than to have some impromptu activism, you might want to just write a letter (or an email! Save paper) and send your sex toys off to be recycled.

Some of the sex bloggers who do a lot of toy reviews have set up the Toy Swap Network for toys that are not old, broken, worn-out, etc., but are new and that you just don’t want to keep around.

It is by invitation only, so you can send in a request, and the network itself is on Ning.

Any other recommendations for what to do with old sex toys? Perhaps Folsom East has some leather swap events, anybody know?

Ask Me Anything: Strapping On For the First Time

June 1, 2011  |  advice  |  5 Comments

ExperimentallyCurious asked:

What was your first time strapping like? What advice do you have for strap-on virgins? My butch just placed the online order for her first cock, and I have no idea of what to expect.

Go slow. Use lots of lube. LOTS of lube. More than you think you might need, especially at first. It’s just a little messy, which is always better than having not enough. DON’T use silicone lube, as it’ll screw up your silicone toys.

Talk to each other, be as vocal as you can—even “ooh yeah ooh yeah” type of vocalizations will help give cues to each other about what feels good and what is not quite working.

Don’t be afraid to slow each other down or stop. It might just click and work and be amazing, but you also might want to just do it as something to try and to play with, at least for now, so don’t expect one or both of you to get off, especially not at first.

If you’re not used to penetration during sex, you might want to mess around with getting yourself off (or her getting you off, using her hands on your clit I mean) while she’s inside, but without much in-and-out motion, at least for now, while you’re getting used to the feeling of her cock.

The typical porn positions are the best, in my opinion, which is why they are so frequently used—missionary, and doggy style from behind (in various incarnations, like leaning over the bed, or with your head down on the bed instead of on all fours). In missionary, also try it with her sitting up on her knees, with her thighs under your thighs, that is often a really good angle.

Don’t be afraid to touch it, kiss it, lick it, suck it—that stuff can be really hot, though that can also be kind of delicate, so see how your girlfriend feels about it. Sometimes it seems to me, as the strap-on wearer, that I am expected to be the one who does all the action once I put it on, but my point is that you can do things, too. If you aren’t sure if she wants you to touch it (or kiss it or suck on it), ask. “Would you mind if I …” “Wow, I didn’t expect to want to … , but I do, please may I?”

Personally I think just about any sex act is all the more hot with someone saying what they are doing (or want to do), regardless of what it is. Maybe that’s me—I really love language.

Most women can’t come from penetration alone, which I assume the two of you know, but just a reminder that you both might want to start practicing touching your clit while she’s fucking you, either with your hand or, if she can reach comfortably, with hers. It takes some practice to be able to fuck with a cock and use your hand at the same time, but it’s possible! And worth figuring out how.

And from her side … it is possible to get off while strapped on, but that might take some time and practice. For me, I like the harness to be VERY tight, tighter than is all that comfortable around my hips, because I like to be able to feel every stroke against my cunt while I’m fucking. I like the stimulation of a one-strap (g-string style) harness better than a two-strap (jock strap style) harness, but that seems to be the minority opinion, so your milage may vary. She can try adding bullet vibes or butt plugs or the We-Vibe to increase stimulation, though I find those are more distracting than helpful. But if she really likes a vibration on her clit or something in her ass, that might be just the push she needs to be able to fuck and come.

Other than that, in my experience, to be able to come while strapped on, just following the sensation—when you find a spot that feels good, rub up on it, over and over, and see how far that can take you.

Consider anything you do in playing with it an experiment, and collect the data of that experiment. Did it work? Would it work better if one variable was different? Would you try it again? Or was it a complete fail and did not feel good? Gather the data and figure out what you like and don’t like, what was luke-warm and what you might try later if things were a little different.

Did I mention lube?

And … the first part of that question was, what was my first time strapping on like? Well, to be honest, my first time strapping on was to peg a guy, my boyfriend of about 5 years that I was with in high school. I bought a strap-on when we broke up, and I came out as a lesbian, and it was a tiny silicone thing that was very hard silicone and black and narrow. I do still have it, actually, I keep thinking it might be a good size for anal sex, but then again, now that I have the Spur why would I use a cock that was so hard?

We then went cock shopping together and bought a cock that was roughly the size and shape of his, which was what I pegged him with. It was fun enough to peg him, but it also made me realize that I was (really really for sure) a dyke and wasn’t that into it.

I did fuck my first girlfriend with a strap-on, but we were more of the I-do-you-you-do-me type of couple, so we took turns. It took quite a few more years before I felt like I had a cock that was mine—really not until I ended the relationship with my college girlfriend and started dating femmes exclusively. Which I have widely chronicled here!

It’s been a long journey to claiming my cock-centricity and cock confidence. Actually, I teach workshops on Cock Confidence now, in case you’d like to attend one—I’ll be doing it next at Good Vibrations in San Francisco in August.

Anything else y’all would recommend? Any other tips for first-time strap-on users?

Ask Me Anything: My Favorite Spanking

June 1, 2011  |  advice  |  3 Comments

A.A. asked:

Can you tell us about your most favorite spanking you have ever given?

Hm. I’m not sure I have a favorite spanking that I’ve ever given. That’d be like choosing the best time I had sex or something. Some of the spankings that come to mind were early on in my kink life, when I started figuring out how to be kinky with women (after spending much of my teens being kinky with men. Or rather, boys). I went to a spanking workshop at Babeland once, probably in 1999 or 2000, which was very memorable and awesome, and I very strongly remember the Power & Surrender workshop (much like the recent one) that taught me how to flog. That was probably 2002.

Recently, though … well, I did some flogging at the recent Power & Surrender retreat, which was lovely. I like to spend a long, slow time on warm-up, then use my whole body to whomp for a while. I noticed I was even doing a little bit of a jump to get more of my body weight behind the flogger. I still want more practice flogging—every time I see Lolita flog I want to take classes from her.

Also, Kristen’s birthday was last weekend.

So of course there were spankings. I even got my heavy wooden paddle out. But there could perhaps be more spankings. I’d like to figure out how to leave big heavy bruises on her ass, I don’t tend to do that, but I think it’s time to try.

Ask Me Anything: Queer Despite the Straight Relationship

May 31, 2011  |  advice  |  6 Comments

rhapsodyblue asked:

I’m a FAAB genderqueer pansexual in a long-term monogamous relationship with a straight cissexual guy. I adore him, he accepts who I am and we have a wonderfully fulfilling and communicative relationship overall, but I occasionally feel strange and almost guilty that I’m in a relationship that masks my queer identity, one where I can “pass” as a straight girl.

That was setup. My question is, how can I best nurture and feel fulfilled and at peace with my queer identity within the context of my relationship with my straight, cissexual sweetie?

Cultivate and celebrate your queerness and queer identity in contexts other than your monogamous relationship, since that is not visibly queer. Become involved in other ways, with a queer book group or queer activism or queer arts or whatever particular flavor of queer culture strikes your fancy. Make friends with other folks who have this difficulty so you can compare notes and identify with each other.

I bet there’s a Fetlife group or two out there for folks in this position.

The guilt and the “passing” is an indication that you’ve got a little bit of privilege, even if you don’t want it. It’s not real privilege, but it is perceived and therefore given to you. This culture will validate your relationship and see you as a certain kind of person in the context of your partner—call it a sort of orientation attribution, the orientation that others attribute to you, even if that’s not how you identify.

So the trick is a reconciliation of the orientation attribution that others perceive and your true orientation, which are different.

There are two big pieces to it, I think: internal and external. Externally, in order to have some peace with this, you’ll need to accept that you will get critique and criticism from queers, who constantly police identity (sad but true). It’s not that you are wrong, though; it’s that they are going along with some very superficial understandings about how queer identity works. And being that you are trying to broaden and radicalize this queer identity label (as being more than just who you sleep with), you will probably be in the position of being attacked for that, for a long time. I think in order to make peace you’ve got to radically accept that, decide how you’re going to react when folks do this, and then let it go. If it really bugs you and gets under your skin every time it happens, you won’t get to a place of peace about it.

Internally, aim to cultivate a place in yourself that deeply knows how queer you are such that their critique won’t knock you off center when it comes, which, sadly, it inevitably will. Practice a couple quick and easy responses when someone criticizes your identity or claims that you aren’t “queer enough” for one thing or another—to be in this queer space, to be consuming queer culture, whatever. If you can stand firm in your response—that they are the ones with a mistake, not you—they’ll look silly. But when you waver and let their attacks bother you, you will appear as if they have a reason to critique and question your queerness.

Internally, ultimately, you’ve got to deeply know that it is their problem, not yours. There is more to a queer identity than just who you’re sleeping with, and while many people don’t understand that, many others do, and you’ve got to understand that deeply in order for others to take what you’re saying seriously.

This is part of being in a (perceived) privileged position: the constant correcting of those around you, and the constant use of passing as a tool for change and deeper understanding. And there are ways to use passing as a tool, despite that it is also incredibly frustrating and invisibilizing.

The bottom line, I think, is that you’ve got to build some Radical Acceptance around your identity: to deeply accept that you are in a radical position, that you are pushing the edges of what it means to be queer, and that most people probably don’t and won’t understand that, so you’re going to get attacked and critiqued because of it. So cultivate your queer identity in areas other than your relationship, since no matter how queer the sex between you or gender roles within that relationship, you’ll probably have an orientation attribution of straight. Cultivate all the dozens of other areas of your life that are and can be perceived as queer, and build those up strong and solid. Work on your own sensitivity around your queer identity, too, so you can feel strong in it.

Ask Me Anything: How Not To Slip Out When Strapped On

May 24, 2011  |  advice  |  3 Comments

MSE asked:

Like Tuesday, I also have a question about strap-on sex. Whenever my girl and I use a strap-on, the cock always falls out because I move entirely too much. We’ve tried numerous positions and restraints (we rarely have sex without them). Got any additional solutions?

The first thing that comes to mind is that you might want to get a bigger cock—at least a longer one. Which one are you using right now?

And maybe she would say she doesn’t want or need any more length inside her, but that’s okay—just because it is 8″ or 10″ doesn’t mean you have to put all of those inches in her. And if you have a longer shaft, you can pull out farther and move around (which is what it seems like you want to and like to do) and still not pull all the way out.

I would suggest one like this one, Bandit, which is 7″ long. It does have balls, but they are very flat, so I think it’s still about 6 3/4″ insertable. It’s made by Vixen Creations and it is one of my favorites.

But, if getting a new cock is not an option, for whatever reason (her comfort, your wallets, etc), here’s a few other ideas.

Try keeping your hand on your cock most of the time while you’re fucking. I do this a lot, also because I don’t want to slip out and can easily do that sometimes, especially when I get going. I find it’s most comfortable for me to either have my hand loosely on the base, or up against her, where the cock is going in, loosely. Sometimes it is very good in this position to be able to stimulate her clit, too (or finger her asshole, or whatever). This is so you can feel when you’re about to come out, you can feel the ridge of the head of your cock if you pull out that far, and you can keep yourself inside.

Try moving less! Seriously. I understand it probably feels good when you do that, but there are other ways to move so you can still feel good and you aren’t slipping out as much. See if you can get a side-to-side movement working well. Practice moving your hips in a circle rather than in-and-out. Or go in-and-out but use a different angle, so you don’t pull out so far. Try five quick strokes in-and-out at about half-length, not all the way, and then five excruciatingly slow strokes where you pull pretty much all the way out.

Try tightening your harness so you can feel any movements better, maybe you won’t need to move around so much that way.

You said you’ve tried other positions, but try more. If she’s on top, she can control the depth and it’s a lot harder to pull all the way out. If you’re on top, try drawing your knees up instead of having your legs splayed out straight so you have more control with your hips.

If none of this works to prevent slipping out, well, maybe you can just accept that you’re going to fuck and buck wildly, and you’re going to slip out. I mean, does that really matter so much? Just put it back in. You might want to create a script that you say—or a couple different scripts—so that it becomes part of the play, and also so that she has a way to tell you that you’ve slipped out without embarrassing you or you feeling silly for having continued to fuck without being actually inside (it’s one of the downfalls of not actually having nerves there). She can say, for example, “Wait, I want you inside me, come back, you’ve slipped, put it back in.” You can tease her and say, “Do you really want it?” and make her beg or say please. Or she can order you around and make YOU beg to put it back in, if that’s more like your dynamic.

Okay, what say you out there reading this? Any other ideas for staying inside? Any more thoughts or suggestions?

Ask Me Anything: Strap-On Positions When Someone is Taller

May 23, 2011  |  advice  |  4 Comments

Tuesday asked:

What’s your advice on positions that work for strap-on sex between people of very different heights? especially taller person receiving

Well, if your torsos are different lengths, especially if the one receiving is much taller, it’s going to be pretty difficult to be in the missionary position—or just about any position where you are strapped on and fucking and also simultaneously kissing (on the mouth) and holding each other close.

If your thigh heights are different, then fucking from behind on hands and knees is going to be difficult too. If both your torso and your thighs are different heights, it’ll be almost impossible to get into a position where your entire bodies are pressed up against each other and fucking at the same time.

There are still many other positions you can fuck easily in, but that one is going to be hard, maybe impossible.

Try these:

1. Strap on wearer (giver) seated, receiver on top, straddling

2. Receiver bent over a bed which is at the giver’s hip height

3. Receiver with their knees tucked under them, but leaning forward, so they can hold themselves up at the right height by their thighs; giver behind them

4. Giver on their knees, with the receiver on the bed (or floor or etc) on their back, receiver’s thighs up over giver’s knees; giver stays upright. (I particularly like this one for rough and deep penetration because I can grab on to their thighs and move them against me.)

You may just have to try any or every position, until you find a few that seem to work most of the time, and go for those. Try glancing through one of those positions for sex books—you probably don’t need to buy it, just glance through it—and see if any of them strike you.

You also might want to think about getting some sex furniture. They’re much more solid than regular bedroom pillows, and the microsuade material means that you don’t slip or slide. Sometimes those are excellent for angles and positioning, it might be worth trying (though they are expensive). Take a look at the Liberator Wedge, Ramp (which is the best for multiple positions), or the Ramp & Wedge combo.

Anyone else have suggestions?