In the spirit of Anal Week, I’ll be doing some quick interviews with sexuality educators, porn stars, and anal lovers to get the conversation going. Here’s the first one, with sexuality educator Charlie Glickman.
A few tips:
1) try it out on yourself before doing it with a partner. If you’re going to be the giver, it’ll help you understand how sensitive and delicate the anus is. If you’re going to be the received, it’ll give valuable info about how you like to be touched.
2) do something else (simultaneously) that you enjoy. A vibe on the clit, a hand on the cock, whatever. Arousal makes anal play easier and it helps your body connect a familiar pleasure with new sensations.
3) pay attention to your mood. Anxiety and fear can cause the anus to contract, making anal play more difficult.
Lube: silicone, especially for external massage or getting started. Eros or Swiss Navy are nice. Thicker gels work better once you’re in the rectum because they give a bit more cushioning. Please Me Gel is a good one.
Position: hips above the head. Elbows and knees is good. Or on your back with a pillow or a Liberator Wedge under the hips. In that position, it can also be helpful to prop the knees up with pillows so the muscles can relax. Remember- anal penetration is about relaxing the anus, so the less work the other muscles are doing, the easier it’ll be.
Charlie Glickman has been a sexuality educator since 1989 and joined the staff of Good Vibrations in 1996. He holds a doctorate in Adult Sexuality Education and is certified as a Sexuality Educator by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. See more about Dr. Glickman or read his work at his blog, or on the Good Vibrations Magazine.
Guest post from Allison Blixt, a friend-of-a-friend whose personal writeup about gay marriage activism touched me. She said I could reprint it here. Thanks, Allison.
Law, Life and Love
by Allison Blixt
Some of you will think these comments are political, but to me they are just about my day-to-day life. Generally I can’t stand politics and I can’t stand politicians. Too many politicians are all about political rhetoric and promises they won’t keep. I always vote, as it is a right for which women worked very hard, but I often think of it as a choice between the lesser of two evils.
I hope that by writing this, maybe even one person will think of things in a different light.
I have been chatting with some people about the recent decision in Connecticut and Prop 8 in California. For me, the idea of Prop 8 is incredibly frightening, maddening and sad all at the same time. I just can NOT understand why people are fighting with such determination and paying so much money to support efforts to write discrimination into a constitution. Constitutions are generally for guaranteeing rights, not taking them away. How is giving equal rights to gay and lesbian people (that’s right, “PEOPLE” as in working, taxpaying, living, laughing, loving human beings that are sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews), in any way, affecting your rights? This I can not understand.
I try to be above it and know that whatever people think, I am OK with myself and my love and that this is all that matters. Unfortunately, the reality is that it is not all that matters. I had to leave the country because of people’s views of who I am and beliefs that I am not equal to them. Historically, people left England to go to the US for religious freedom and freedom from the crown. Look where we are today. It is almost worth laughing about, not quite, but almost.
I have had numerous conversations with people who don’t understand why “marriage” is the issue and why gay people can’t be happy with some other type of unions…domestic partnerships, civil unions, or something else. Domestic partnerships and civil unions are going in the right direction, BUT they are still saying it is socially and politically acceptable to treat gay and lesbian PEOPLE as something less than equal. Separate has never been equal.
Whether the unions are called marriage or something else, our federal government does not recognize any of them. This is a day-to-day issue for me, since I had to choose between my country and my love. My partner, soon to be recognized as my legal partner under UK law (we
can enter into a civil partnership here, giving us all the rights of a married couple for UK purposes only), is Italian. At least we were lucky that our circumstances allowed us to move to the UK to be together. She can live here without restriction, since she is a citizen of the EU. I was fortunate enough to have an employer that has an office in London and had opportunities for me to work here and continue my career. As much as I complain about the UK, it is one of TWO countries that we can legally reside in together at this juncture. For this, I am endlessly thankful to the UK. (We also could have lived together in Canada, if we had gone through a long visa process.)
The fact that I had to leave the US still saddens me everyday. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss Brooklyn. I miss being a 2 1/2 or less hour flight from almost everyone that I care about deeply. I miss the security of being regarded as a US citizen entitled to the same rights and protections as everyone else. I have been dealing with the reality of this for the past few years in trying to decide whether to move out of the country to be with my partner. I was often frustrated and sad and angry and 100,000 other emotions. It didn’t totally wallop me until I was already living over here and had gone back to NC for my sister’s wedding (funny that it was for a wedding, considering the situation). I moved over here in April and went back for the wedding in May. I was thoroughly moved and touched by the open-armed acceptance of my partner and me as a couple by friends, family, family friends and relatives. It has not been an easy road, but everyone was amazing. Friends of my mom that I see every once in awhile saw my partner in the elevator of the hotel, asked if they were correct in assuming she was who they thought, and gave her huge hugs. This was not in NY or CT, this was in Winston-Salem, NC. This is only one example, but everyone there was amazingly supportive. We had a wonderful time, and it made me really happy to feel so loved and accepted. Then we got on the plane to leave. That was the moment when it walloped me. I was flying away from all of these people that love me, respect me and accept me as me, because of the law; because of the religious right that is supposed to be separate from the law. I was flooded with emotion and left the ground in Charlotte as a bawling mess.
This is why I care about the politicization of my life and my love. I hope I have opened a few eyes to the real world impact of these measures on real people’s lives. I think one of the best ways to stop the spiral toward discrimination becoming the law is to talk about the impact of all of this with people that wouldn’t otherwise think about it: co-workers, friends of friends, random people that you meet, family friends, and others. When family friends and relatives realize what the stance of the federal government has meant to me, I hope it opens their eyes to what they would never have thought about otherwise. I hope that if anything like Prop 8 ends up on the ballot in NC, they will vote no. If they do, then that is one small way in which I have contributed.
A response to the girl who posted that awful rant against female masculinity on Craigslist from The Closet Musician, one of my very best friends. Thank you.
I feel like there’s no way to properly respond in this particular forum that would have much of a chance of softening the angry girl’s mind about any of the angry things she said. So, what do I do? It’s obvious that all of this hurt and fear is in her from somewhere, and her default reaction is to put it back out in a hateful, anonymous add that anyone, from anywhere, in any place or state of being can run into.
So, what do we do?
Personally, I tucked right back into that slightly tougher skin of mine, so not to have my heart impaled by a hateful, cowardly stranger on Craigslist. This is that thicker skin that queers, people of color, disabled people, anyone different from the “norm,” have been wearing since the dawning of time. The one that at some point, we all have to learn to throw on at the drop of a dime, at any moment, for an immeasurable amount of unpredictable moments of attack. In this case, the one that all of us queers grew or will grow at some point: when we first cut our hair short, the first time we shop in the clothing dept. that doesn’t coincide with our biological sex. This is the skin we put on before we go into a public restroom, or when we are awkwardly sir-ed in a crowded place, or spat at, or threatened, beat up, ignored, laughed at, or when a really close friend or perfect stranger or parent or lover says some of the same things that the angry girl on Craigslist posted. This is the skin we wear when we aren’t butch enough, too butch, faggy, not gay enough, wear makeup, wear a suit, when we are insulted, rejected, fired, not hired, gawked at, thrown out or any of the other plethora of things that happen to us because people like this girl cannot or will not deal with their own internal issues of hurt and insecurity and so shove it on us somehow, carelessly and spitefully in the form of hate and discrimination. This is nothing new, right? We are just taken off guard, angry and offended and confused and hurt … again … or maybe for the first time.
Most of us aren’t counting the hits anymore, but there are some of us that ran into this post and got hit in that soft unarmed place, where our true and fragile identities are trying to bloom, for the first time. Some of us just cut our hair really short yesterday and then walked down a busy street, some of us just admitted to ourselves that we’re queer and that this was okay, some of us braved our first gay bar last night, some of us just had our first queer kiss, some of us just came out to someone and it went ok, some of us finally went out in a tie or a skirt for the first time and were told we looked handsome or pretty for the first time ever, by a pretty girl or cute boy or a parent or a friend or a stranger – and then we read this post and got hit in that soft place for the first time – and that thicker, tougher skin, that I’ve been wearing for a few decades now, that filters what can and can’t get into your heart, started to grow. And this makes me mad, this makes me very, very sad.
I wonder, even though it’s pointless, I wonder why she wrote most of everything she wrote. It didn’t really have anything to do with anything and was so careless and aimless. She just opened fire on anyone who ran into it. She hurt a lot of people.
Regardless, it’s out there now, for most of us as a reminder, for some of us as a harsh awakening, that our identity, our self understanding is just that: it is our own and it is deeply personal and sensitive and pliable and impressionable, breakable, insecure, vulnerable, real and very, very… very important. And as you discover you, you have to wear it, claim it, right? It’s who you are.
And I think that when who you are is hit with hate, go ahead and feel it, give yourself permission to react, just chose your reaction consciously so that maybe the hatred going around will lighten up and so that maybe insight and acceptance can have some room to get somewhere, and so that maybe this girl, who, like it or not, is everywhere, might learn something from you … and …but … maybe she won’t. But, for all of us who are brave enough to be who we are and let our identities free to style our hair, dress us, create our stride, our speech, and any and all of the infinite possibilities of potential expression for the identities we claim – good for us!
Audre Lorde said, “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” As a boi, butchy, lesbian, dyke, girl, androgynous, top, bottom, sister, partner, writer, daughter, friend, gardener, Cher-loving, liberal, sexy, funny, handsome, cocky, fragile, political, sensitive, angry, kind, self-loving person, I really like that quote.
And now my comment directed to the girl that wrote the original ad on Craigslist:
Angry, Anonymous Girl,
If your misplaced hatred is at all removable and you are even slightly open to things that don’t make sense to you, I (by myself) or some of my friends and I (a lovely bouquet of butches, bois, dykes, fags, hags, trans, femmes, studs, bi’s, queers, and straighties) would be more than willing to have an open discussion with you. If you promise to leave your sword at the door, I’ll take off my thicker skin and talk to you from an honest place: girl to girl, lesbian to lesbian, boi to however you so choose to self identify at that particular moment.
If you are going to respond to this letter with hate, please warn me first, maybe in the title, so I can put on a layer first.
Thanks for listening.
Guest post from my best friend The Muse. We were discussing a post I found earlier today called “an argument against butch/femme,” which I may discuss more later, and she, brilliantly, sent me this.
That rhetoric is so frustrating. Why is it so hard for people to understand that for some, defining yourself can be liberating, not limiting. There’s so often a snobbery in queer women who feel they’ve transcended the societal expectations placed on them by rejecting femininity. Anyone who does it another way is clearly still oppressed, unenlightened.
I rejected my femininity too, for ten plus years, but that was mainly a rebellion against my hetero lifestyle. I was like, if men want me, they’re going to have to want me in spite of all this. I’m not doing them any favors, making it easy for them.
Realizing I was gay helped me back out of that contrary corner, but I still wasn’t sure where to go next. My first girlfriend was an andro dykey sort who really dug masculinity, and was a total bottom, so she often encouraged me to be more toppy, more masculine. “I like you so much better without makeup.” “Clearly you look femme, but your energy is very butch.” Haha.
After her, I knew I wanted a masculine girl. It turned me on. But I ended up with someone who rejected her masculinity, her butchness, and was deeply ambivalent about how she was perceived. One early morning she was going out for coffee, but first put on these dangly earrings. I remarked something like, “oh, aren’t you fancy, adding jewelry to your hoodie and jeans ensemble.” She looked at me, dead serious and a little sad, and said, “If I don’t wear them, sometimes people mistake me for a guy.”
So I was constantly conflicted about who I in was her context, since I was made to feel guilty for the very reasons I was interested in her. In turn, she gave me mixed messages about my femininity, sometimes rewarding it, sometimes rejecting it. Fairly often I was left hanging, frustrated and confused in the lingerie I’d bought for her amusement, feeling costumed and stupid.
After that one, I knew I wanted a self-identified butch, but I didn’t know how femme I was. Was I femme enough to get into the club? Would a real butch be satisfied with my level of overt femininity? I couldn’t really walk in heels and I defaulted to jeans 80% of the time, and I felt the need to apologize for that. I put up personal ads describing myself a “tomboy femme” or a “low-maintenance low femme,” which the butches I went out with tended to eschew. In spite of my ever-present jeans and my aversion to the huge collection of skirts in my closet, they thought I was femme. Definitely. “Just look at your perfect red toenails, and your cute little sandals,” one said. “That’s certainly not butch.”
But even dressing up for your reading at the Stain Bar that Sunday in September, I felt a little costumed. I had been in jeans at work and changed there, and walking down fifth avenue to the L train, I got lots of looks from people I passed. My gut reaction was to think, “oh, they think I look stupid, or like a slut, or maybe the tops of my stockings are showing…” It didn’t really occur to me that I might just look hot. It’s so much easier being under the radar in jeans, wow.
Two days later, though, I went on a date with a butch named Lee. For some reason, I decided to ditch the jeans and wear a skirt, tight busty sweater, fishnets, heels. I normally wouldn’t do that for a first date, preferring to set expectations low and give full disclosure that I’d usually be in jeans, that the dressing up was occasional. She even asked me, “so, do you normally dress like this?” and I responded, “no, I just wanted to look nice for you.”
Four hours later. After seeing the toppy look on her face that gets me instantly wet, makes me tilt my chin down and look at her wide and expectant through my eyelashes, my mouth dropping open a little, just before she leaned over and kissed me hard, interrupting whatever I was saying. After making out wildly in an overpillowed winebar, her hands running up my skirt and finding the baby pink band of my thigh-highs, looking at me surprised and saying, “oh, that’s nice.” After a shameless PDA marathon along 14th street, grinding up against brick walls and in the middle of the sidewalk and in dark corners and on subway platforms.
After all that, I was convinced of the utility of skirts. And heels, two and a half inches or more, that put her cock just below my clit when I’m up against a wall. Fuck yeah. A (high-minus? medium-plus?) femme was born.
So, it very much arose out of sex for me, this butch-femme thing. I finally had a context in which I made sense and felt hot, and I loved it. Still working out the details, but I feel more me than ever. And I got there without help from societal norms or heterosexual paradigms, which of course had been with me all along, and of no use whatsoever.
We definitely need to explain to these anti-butch-femme ranters that this is a subversion of the hetero masculine-feminine spectrum, not an emulation of it. The butch-femme identity is as queer as all get out, and other queers should respect that, and not hierarchize the “best ways” to be queer.
I’m on my way to the airport back to New York City from Seattle; the trip has been fantastic. I may post a few more guest treats tomorrow, but expect some writings of mine soon. Meanwhile, here’s something from lily on control and kink.
when i began playing with control, it was the ideas of being bound and hurt i liked. these were surrounded by a swirl of pleasing associations~ ribbons, bites on my skin, an underground of beautiful ones whose abuses heightened each other’s allure. what i had was sometimes like this, other times wonderfully improvised. a boy was begging to be gagged, and the closest fabric at hand was a washcloth- regardless of the tools, the emotional aspects were powerful. yeah, at times neither i nor the other knew the first thing about where this was going. we laughed, and made things up.
in the beginning i was the shy, the taken one. i’d enjoy certain pain and bondage, and the accompanying lust in my partner/s. then, after telling another these stories, it became apparent they wanted to be the tied one. they asked half with words and half with posture, and i took a deep breath and began to take control. it took a great deal of focus- i’m quiet, mostly, and unused to controlling circumstances. but when you’re intimate with someone, you can read their skin and face and cries to learn how they react to you. when someone loses conscious control, they can no longer play the social, kindly deceptive games people engage in together. they’re utterly honest- this was part of the appeal of topping, along of course with the sensuality of observing and drawing out lust-
and the giving and receiving of control. at some point, while being played with, i began to understand submission. i talked to someone who conflated passivity with submission, but these are quite different. submission is an active process, or it begins as one- to give someone control of you, you have to first gather this self-control. you have to trust the situation, give yourself to someone, and then- i suppose its like using an opponent’s chi against him, but this isn’t competitive. someone touches you, and in a submissive headspace you draw out the touch, move with it- if i can use a physics analogy, its like constructive interference. you move towards a peak or a well together.
i experienced submission first, and then its converse. it also takes a great deal of control over yourself to top someone and not only this, you must be strong enough and… have enough capacity… to hold them while they’re vulnerable and hurt. holding someone while they cry, or while you hit them in the face and growl abuses, takes understanding as well. you must be responding to their headspace every moment, not your own lust. you can’t become carried away, because guiding someone near their edges is tricky. you must be very aware, and connected.
being brought to my limits, and bringing others, shows me things i take into the rest of my life. playing with control, whichever side you are on- opens you up, brings you strength and self-awareness. you find not just edges, but centers. you’re left sometimes strong and immense, feeling able enough to cradle the entire world like a baby; at other times fragile and needing to be held. either way, the aftermath is delicately intimate. sweetness is at the end of all things, especially the cruel ones.
another lovely piece from tongue-tied blue … thank you for being my guest!miss scarlett in the library
and rosy red
she laid across my lap
on that welcoming sofa
her lovely black lacy panties
twisted at her knees
her slinky skirt up around her waist
and her supple comeliness
presented exactly so
and rosy red
::: contented sigh :::
she had been writhing at the end
of my insistent fingertip
gasping, sweating, gurgling
my other hand alternating between
strikes of varying speed & intensity
and then pressing down her lower back
accentuating that eager curve
that hungry opening
before that, there was a point
where the words erupted from me
they always do
where i’m coaxing her along my story line
tonguing honey and pepper into her
part of me listening along
we heard together
“i’ve never stopped wanting you”
and the air in the room sucked in
my ears popped
and i became only aware of the finer quality
the delicate threads weaving
and the nobler, the enduring spilling
spilling, the tears were right there
was she going to cry or come?
in that ethereal moment
even earlier, years before now
a rain forest of an afternoon
twilit and hot and green and raining and still
when i first took her up in my arms
when i gave in and really held her
the way she needed holding
the way i needed to hold her
when i looked down into her naked, nervous eyes
and said, “god, i want you”
as much as a surprise to me
as to her
the arc of surrender
finds no endpoint
I’m still in Seattle for one more day … meanwhile, here is a great piece from tongue-tied blue. Thank you!
against the door frame
space holding wonderland
my tongue tied blue
trying to out-dream in the front of my head
the suspicious lizard stem at the rear
the skull fulcrums, spins there
on my left hand i smell her still
her coming flash powder burned
brilliant into my breasts
my belly, my thighs, my ears
my kidneys are still astonished
the lizard licks her lips
her eyes and
the sweat that ran down
i never knew i could be
so rapt wide-eyed, secret door
This comes from Miss Avarice, and is an excerpt from The Gender Paper, a.k.a. “Bitch, I’m as queer as you, end of story!” Thank you for the guest post, Miss A!Femme, A Matter of Intent
Is gender innate?
They say gender is a set of learned behaviors that make “man” and “woman” out of “male” and “female.” They make it out to be such a victory because “finally” we are not born with masculine and feminine personalities already in place. I find it difficult to agree because I have always been femme in the way that my butch friends have always been butch, regardless of any gendered upbringing. They were still butches in their Easter dresses. I was still femme with the grass stains on my jeans. When some of these butch friends were little girls, they squeezed and contorted their boyishness into a feminine mask because they were punished for it. In that very same way I tried to compress and disfigure my girlness because I was punished for it too – although not by my parents, but by boys. Later on I learned to de-emphasize my womanly shape when I grew it, and I tried to play tough. Finally, somewhere in our teens or twenties, we realized our true genders and have discovered the bravery to act them out publicly. I cannot deny that some part of gender is (or at least feels) innate, but must not mistakenly think that any one gender is meant for any particular sex. Femme, my femininity never felt comfortable until it was queer.
What it feels like for the girls.
But femmes are the epitome of what you see is (not) what you get – they are the very definition of “too good to be true” for heterosexual males because femme is sexy, womanly, and kisses other girls – what more could he want? But it’s a dirty trick he plays on himself. The fact that a femme kisses other girls means that she is not sexually available to him. To him, this is a cruel sabotage.
I almost wish I could actually have that proverbial “dyke card” which I could flash if I ever need to become visible at a moment’s notice. Do they let you into the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival without your membership card? And if I am ever alone at a bar again, trying to swat away that polite but determined gentleman, hellbent on winning my affections, then I will be able to put a stop to his insistent, “But why? What does she have that I don’t have?” [ hullo: a vagina! go figure!] simply by showing my smiling face on a shiny laminate card labeled “Dyke // Class: Femme // Name: None of Your Business.” But it is not that simple. I think maybe the only way femme queers can become visible is to redefine femininity, otherwise it is not possible.
The gentleman I met at the bar last month had to ask me how long I have been a lesbian and why I decided to “change” before he could be convinced that I truly was not interested in him! I guess he thought I was lying? Imagine if I had not had such an effective alibi – imagine if I had been a straight woman. What would I have said? I want to live in a world where femmes and other feminine people can say “no” and not have to repeat or explain themselves to heterosexual men, regardless of their own sexual orientation. I want to be taken at my word; no means no, not yes. We must have an effective way to ward off unwanted sexual comments and advances from people we are not interested in. Females must be allowed to choose their gender and present it accordingly without facing discrimination or erasure of their significance as part of queer society.
I want to encourage the people who revel in contradictions to continue to do this revolutionary work, and not to limit themselves to like-minded communities – go out and become a missionary to the masses and show them that some dykes are girly, and many gay men are masculine, and that transgender and genderqueer people exist! That is an extravagant dream, and I wonder how many brave souls there are who will actually pursue it despite the prejudice and discrimination that persists. Femmes themselves will be the most important catalysts in changing the “female = feminine = straight” thought process by putting on their big girl panties and going out, loud and proud, into the world. Femme must start speaking up for herself and writing herself back into the history of women’s movement and into lesbian history, where whoever’s in charge has made her existence insignificant.
Oh – I forgot – this is the point of what I just wrote out:I’m extremely busy, and heading out of town for the next week. I need a few guest posts while I’m gone. I’d love the writing to be in the general area of sex, gender, and relationships, but I’m quite flexible as to the exact content.
Email me – aspiringstud at gmail.com – and include a link to your blog, or a writing sample, or writing idea, if you don’t have a blog.
I’ve got some ideas for suggested topics, if you’re interested in writing a short (couple paragraphs is all) essay or two for Sugarbutch, but are not sure where to start. If you’d like to do all ~5 days while I’m gone, I could take just one person, but I’d love to have five or so different people writing one per day, that’d be more conversational. It’d be like Coffee Talk: “talk amongst yourselves … I’ll give you a topic: a blow job is neither a blow nor a job, discuss!”
In exchange, you will get my gratitude, of course; and promanent links on the posts which will drive some traffic over to your blog.
And, for what it’s worth, you’ll be able to say you’ve been on Sugarbutch …