From the BV press release:
BUTCH Voices third national conference has extended our call for proposals to June 21st, 2013. We are currently seeking workshops submissions of all kinds, and in all formats: films, performances, skill shares, readings, meditation, and movement—anything and everything that addresses the cultural, sexual, emotional, physical, and psychological relationships that arise in the lives of butches, studs, tombois, aggressives, machas, etc. We are open to all perspectives–queer, feminist, womanist, neither or beyond! We particularly encourage proposals by and for people-over sixty, under twenty-one, by and for the working-class, people of color, and persons with disabilities.
“We have incredible submissions so far,” said Joe LeBlanc, conference founder and board chair. “We have received so many authentic, solid, and heart resonating responses that we want to leave the window open just a bit longer.”
The BUTCH Voices National Conference, happening at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland, California on August 15-18, 2013, has happened twice before and boasted community conversations and regional conferences between national conferences. Each national conference has brought together hundreds of people to discuss issues related to masculine of center identities.
“There is currently a thread on our facebook page,” said Sinclair Sexsmith, media chair of the BUTCH Voices board, “discussing what kind of workshops the attendees would still love to see happen. Ideas range from latino/a butch identity to butch trans women to butch fashion to youth to allyship to hairstyles. We are expecting a wide range of offerings at the third conference. As always, the programming committee’s choices will center around our three initiatives: community building, social and economic justice, and physical and mental health. But there will be a lot of fun, playful things thrown in there, too.”
The full call for proposals is on the BUTCH Voices website at http://www.butchvoices.com/call-for-proposals .
BUTCH Voices expects more than 300 attendees for the weekend gathering in August. More information can be found at www.butchvoices.com.
I’m reading as a special guest for Amber Dawn‘s San Francisco book release party for How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir this Wednesday night, May 22nd, at 7pm at the Modern Times Bookstore Collective.
I haven’t finished How Poetry Saved My Life yet, in part because every time I start reading it, I read it slowly, taking time with each word, and I put it down often to jot down my own poetical thoughts. It’s inspiring.
“I’m asking you to entertain that wish I made earlier. To treat this like a two-way conversation. My dear reader, you’ve caught on by now that this is not really about sex work. Sex work is only one of many, many things we learn we are not to talk about. Sex work is only one of many things we’ve been asked (but never agreed) to keep silent.
This is about the labour of becoming whole … Locate yourself within the bigger, puzzling, and sometimes hazardous world around you. You are invited to do this work.”
I’m working on a new piece, chewing a lot on the connections between poetry and sex work, between gender and sex, between desire and language. I think there are so many overlaps and connections and I’m striving to connect the dots in a poem for Wednesday (tomorrow!) night.
If you’re near the Bay Area, please come! I won’t be reading much more before I head up north for June & July, so this’ll be a rare appearance. And you really want to hear Amber Dawn read from this new book—trust me!
Amber Dawn reads from and discusses her new book, “How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir”
*Joined by Special Guest Sinclair Sexsmith*
Wednesday, May 22nd: 7PM
Modern Times Bookstore Collective
2919 24th St (at Alabama)
Amber Dawn’s acclaimed first novel Sub Rosa, a darkly intoxicating fantasy about a group of magical prostitutes who band together to fend off bad johns in a fantastical underworld, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2011. While the plot of the book was wildly imaginative, it was also based on the author’s own experience as a sex worker in the 1990s and early 2000s, and on her coming out as lesbian.
“How Poetry Saved My Life,” Amber Dawn’s sophomore book, reveals an even more poignant and personal landscape―the terrain of sex work, queer identity, and survivor pride. This story, told in prose and poetry, offers a frank, multifaceted portrait of the author’s experiences hustling the streets of Vancouver, and the how those years took away her self-esteem and nearly destroyed her; at the crux of this autobiographical narrative is the tender celebration of poetry and literature, which―as the title suggests―acted as a lifeline during her most pivotal moments.
As raw and fiery as its author, How Poetry Saved My Life is a powerful account of survival and the transformative power of literature.
Sinclair Sexsmith (www.mrsexsmith.com) is an erotic coach, educator, and writer. They write the award-winning personal online project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net, have contributed to more than twenty anthologies, and edited Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. They travel frequently to teach workshops on gender and sexuality.
Amber Dawn is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Sub Rosa, as well as a filmmaker, and performance artist. She’s appeared at dozens of universities and literary festivals, both for readings and to sit on discussion panels. She is often invited to speak on topics such as “writing from the margins,” queer identities in writing, and sex-positive writing. She also leads creative writing classes with high-risk youth and/or sex workers populations. She has toured three times with the Sex Workers’ Art Show and is the former Director of Programming for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF). Her website is amberdawnwrites.com.
I had some new headshots taken, with the aim to actually capture some joy and pleasure and fun, instead of someone who has “been through the ringer” and “in the wars”. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about my business and what I’m doing and how I’m representing myself, in no small part thanks to the Catalyst Conference I attended in DC in March and Barbara Carrellas’s Urban Tantra training for sexuality professionals.
BD Swain (who is a butch kinky erotica writer—if you aren’t following her blog, you should be) hooked me up with Meg Allen, whose portraits immediately resonated with me. Meg is also working on a portrait project she’s calling BUTCH which features—wait for it—masculine of center folks.
Working with Meg and talking about photographing butch identity, what makes it different than photographing other gender presentations, how to encourage butches to feel more at home in our bodies through photography, and a dozen other things, made me think about all the other butch portrait projects that have been popping up lately, like BUTCH: Not like the other girls by SD Holman and the Butch/Femme Photo Project by Wendi Kali. I’m starting to put together a panel for the BUTCH Voices conference that is full of photographers of butches and I want to address exactly those questions.
BUTCH Voices call for proposals is open, by the way! Submit art, workshops, lectures, panels, or performance ideas before June 1.
I know for me, having my photograph taken changed significantly after I came to a butch identity. I actually started liking how I looked in photos. I actually kind of recognized myself. I spent some years obsessively taking self-portraits, from 1997 to about 2002, and maintaining personal photo blogs online, and one of the major reasons for that was experimenting with visual representations and markers of gender. After I came to a butch identity that I was pretty solid and comfortable with, somewhere in 2001 or so, I took fewer and fewer self-portraits and felt much more at ease having my photo taken by others. Having professional photos of me taken, starting in about 2006, has continued me on that journey of finding myself through visual representation and continuing to feel comfortable with the way that I look, my gender, and my body.
Which is yet another reason why I started craving new headshots for the summer. I want it to reflect where I am, and how I feel about myself and my work. They needed to be updated.
Here’s about 30 of my favorites from the shoot. I’m still experimenting with which will be my new avatar for Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and for the sidebar and my about pages, so I might pick one and then change it up in a week or so, test some of them out.
If you can’t see the photos, here’s a link to the full set on Flickr.
Here’s the other thing about these photos: they look like me. They don’t really look like “Sinclair,” they don’t look like some persona I’m putting on, they look like me, how I look on a pretty much daily basis, how I look when I’m hanging out with friends or teaching a workshop. Maybe if I would’ve dressed up more that would be different? Maybe it’s the sweater over the polo, too casual for this shoot somehow.
Not that that’s a bad thing, exactly. I am aiming for more integration. The difference between me and my “Sinclair” persona/character gets thinner and thinner. It’s just kind of … odd. Unexpected. Interesting.
What do you think? Which ones are your favorites? Any advice for headshots or representing my work?
TL;DR version: This is a request for financial help. Donate some cash to me, if you can, to keep enabling me to pay my bills and keep writing. Thank you.
The long version …
So, Give Out Day came and went yesterday, a drive “supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) community through a new national giving campaign. … Give OUT Day will mobilize thousands of donors across the U.S. to contribute to 400 participating LGBTQ causes.” More than $500,000 was raised. I wanted to write a post about how I’m not a 501c3, but I need your donations, too, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.
Yesterday, I watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, The Art of Asking, again, which is up there with her piece Why I Am Not Afraid to Take Your Money, things I go read when I need inspiration. The artists going directly to the fans for financial support seems to be more and more of a common model. And yet … and yet. I don’t bite my fingernails anymore, but I start biting the inside of my lips when I think about money.
In March, I put a really weak little hidden sentence in the middle of a paragraph, “If you feel inspired to donate to me as I restart and recalibrate and transition into a new incarnation of myself, and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with Sugarbutch and my heart, that would be incredibly helpful.” Two people emailed me after that, saying that the donate link in my sidebar was broken and they wanted to help and how could they best do that?
I blinked. Really?
It was a weak request, buried and almost a sidenote, something shadowy I didn’t want to cop to. But I actually do need it. So I fixed the donate button in the sidebar. And I added a donate page in the top bar which includes a link to my Amazon wishlist, if you want to buy me practical gifts or books or other kinds of presents instead of sending money.
One of the biggest goals I have for my work, as I’m continuing to claw my way out of this fog, this year of grief, is to make it financially sustainable. When I started this site, I had a corporate office 9-to-5 job which made it possible for me to concentrate on writing all the time. When I was part of the jobs cut in their downsizing, I had unemployment compensation right after I left my corporate office job, but that ended last year. I used to have a tiny but regular income from affiliates, but as I am doing less and less product reviews, and as many sex toy stores have closed their affiliate programs, I have much less of that. I also used to have a long term partner with a day job, until she lost it last summer and, later, we split up.
All these things, all that financial support, enabled me to do this work.
Have you noticed that I have spent a whole lot more time on Sugarbutch in the last few years a) promoting workshops and events that I’m doing and b) promoting products? That’s because the workshops have been my #1 income, and the products often give me that affiliate kickback of $100-200 a month, which made a big difference. Workshops have been my most reliable income in order to keep paying rent and keep eating—and keep doing this work. I spend so many hours a day pitching and replying that sometimes I just can’t stare at a screen anymore, and that means I don’t write those exciting productive things.
This past year, I’ve been focusing hard on how to let this work make me money.
Not because my only priority is making more money, but because I need some money to survive. To eat, to pay rent, to attend the events that I write about, to travel, to buy a new suitcase. (Did you know that the wheels on my carry-on suitcase, the one I purchased in 2002 to study abroad when I was in college, are almost completely broken? I basically drag the suitcase along the ground now. It makes a terribly loud noise. It also makes me feel like everyone knows that I am that dirty, broke-ass kid, just like I’ve always been, and I can’t afford new things. The business people in the airport look when they hear my suitcase chunk-chunk-chunking down the moving walkways and look at my suitcase and give me that pathetic smile, eyebrows kind of raised, skeptical. I shrug, feel sheepish. I don’t need a new suitcase, because this one technically still closes and holds my clothes. But it’s on its last legs. I should add that to my Amazon wishlist.)
Part of my aim in leaving New York and moving to the west coast is to cut my expenses down significantly. I know the Bay Area isn’t exactly cheaper than New York City, but that is part of why I’m sublet-hopping and spending two months in Alaska with family this summer—to cut down on my expenses, to hopefully build up my bank account for a little while, have some cushion when I start having more regular bills again. I’m not sure I want to live in the city proper—I’m not sure I can afford to live in the city and still do this work.
I don’t quite know how to get from here to there, but I’m starting to formulate a plan. This homeless summer on the west coast where all of my stuff is in storage is part of that plan.
Since last weekend, I’ve noticed my traffic on this site has been up, both because I have written more here in the past week than I have in probably two months together, and because Rife spent many hours debugging and finding all the malware in the backend of this site. (So useful, that one.) I spent some time looking at my traffic statistics this past week, and I noticed that my traffic dropped by almost half between February 2012 and March 2012, and it’s been down in that almost-half range ever since.
My dad died in March 2012. Maybe you remember that—I put up a request for donations then, too, and received enough that I could buy a last minute plane ticket home to Alaska and be with my family the week he died. (Thank you. Thank you.) I think that’s about when the spyware/malware issues first showed up, too, when readers started telling me my site wasn’t loading, and I didn’t have the emotional capacity to fix it. I limped along, this site limped along, my relationships limped along. And some other things happened then, too. I continued the year long Tantra training, and I went on tour for Say Please. My relationship with Kristen started falling apart, though I didn’t know it at the time. Everything changed that month last year. And the site statistics reflects that.
I want to build it back up. Keep including my personal struggles here, and write more poetry, write bolder, tell more rather than less, answer your questions, finish more videos, more advice, more theories. In order to do that, I have to be able to pay my bills. I don’t want to spend all my time hustling for college workshops—I want to spend time musing about power theories and what it’s like to grieve and what it’s like to be a Daddy when my dad died and how to make deeper bruises and how to fall in love and how to heal and of course dirty, dirty smut.
So I’ve been looking around, spending more time on this site, writing things, fixing up the sidebar, researching advertising. I received an email just this morning from a potential advertiser telling me that my site had too much “adult content,” even though they are an advertiser that is friendly to sex related stuff. Specifically, they had problems with the recent tags like “daddy/boy” and “my boy’s cunt” and “resistance play”, which, they said, “pushes the lines of what BDSM content we could accept.”
Hm, I thought. I could tone it down. I could take those tags off. I could stop writing dirty Daddy stories about force. Is that what I have to do in order to make money? Am I willing to compromise my art in order to have sponsors? No, probably not. But if I can’t have paid ads on this site, how can I afford it?
You could ask for help, my mind prodded. You could let people help.
I feel guilty asking for money. I feel failed. Amanda talked about how, as a street performer, people would drive by and yell, “Get a fucking job!” That’s what it looks like, right? That I don’t have a job, that I just play on the internet and live my life and do fun things like have a lot of sex and wear ties? But what’s underneath that is that I am an entrepreneur, even a business owner (I don’t want to be that, I didn’t aim to be that. I just want to be a writer. But if I want to keep it up like this, that’s what I now am). What’s underneath is that I am a figure, a mini-celebrity (very well known in tiny, tiny circles).
What’s under all of that is that I work so hard on the exchange between us—that moment where something I do connects with you.
Amanda talks about that moment as part of the exchange for the immense amount of help she’s had all along the way. Fans leap forward everywhere to offer home-cooked food and places to crash and entertainment for her fans. “Is it fair?” she asked in her TED talk. Is it fair to receive that back from her fans?
It’s an energy exchange. Is this energy exchange fair?
This site is free, always has been. You can read all of it—seven years of thoughts, musings, theories, my personal sex life, my best writings, poetry, breakdowns, ecstatic moments, feelings, recommendations for music, sex toys, books. And, yeah, smut. Lots and lots and lots of dirty stories to turn you on. I donate my time (and, when I can, my money) to my community, to people directly and to events and to products I support. I give away my time and my writing and my teaching. I give away hundreds of days of work on this site.
I don’t know how to ask for money. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had much of it. I’ve never lived anything but paycheck to paycheck, and now in my creative class/working artist life, I barely even have that, because the paychecks are so irregular.
I’m still trying to figure out how to make this work successful, how I can have enough space to write deeply. Do you want me to keep doing that? Is it worth it to you, to keep reading those things here?
“Don’t make people pay for music,” says Amanda Palmer. “Let them.”
So I’m letting you. I’m letting you help me, by letting you know that I need help—financial help. I don’t need a lot to cover my expenses, but right now, I’m barely making that from this work. I have to keep seeking other supplemental income, and I am and will. Anything you give me will enable to me keep writing.
I am so very grateful to have people I can ask, to have the privilege of even asking. Thank you. For reading, for sticking with me while I’m struggling to make this into something I can keep doing.
Oh, one last thing: everyone who donates $25 or more will receive a special sponsor smut story unpublished anywhere else. (It’s a good one, too.)
We were together four years, and had sex six times in the last two years. Six times! I counted! I was going crazy, tearing my hair out with desire and want, getting off in secret and feeling guilty, feeling depressed and anxious and unmotivated. I wasn’t writing. I couldn’t write anything without writing I want out of this relationship but I wasn’t ready to face that. I couldn’t get sex off my mind. So I decided that anytime I wanted to have sex, I would either go to the gym, or I would write erotica.
… So of course I wrote a lot of erotica (and didn’t really go to the gym). At first, the writings were all what I wished we’d done, what I was daydreaming about.
“You did this little twist with your hips this morning that made me want to press you to the wall, hard, and take you right then.” … “Mouth open eyes closed, fingers pinching your nipples, working every lingering inch of me inside you. It didn’t really happen this way but it could have.” … “I can’t even hold a conversation with you anymore because every word in my mouth is clouded with why are we not kissing right now?”
I started writing things, sentences, syntax that I actually kind of liked. And as I started breaking through, I started discovering what was inside the block: a deep unknowing—on both of our parts.
I was struggling to become butch, but I was also struggling to become myself.
So I did what I knew to do with writing I kind of liked and was afraid to own: I put it online. I wanted to study myself, more than anything else: to study sexualities, genders, and relationships. To make a graduate study of these things, to read all the books and read all the blogs and listen to all the podcasts and ask all the facilitators I could find what their best philosophies are for these tricky topics. It became a sanctuary, a writing prompt every day, a practice, a deepening of what I knew about myself and how to be me in the world.
It has been a personal study. This place has been the place where I’ve become me.Of course, my college girlfriend (here known as “The Ex”) and I broke up. When I started writing and telling the truth to myself again, I couldn’t stay. It was a mess. I didn’t know how to leave. I didn’t know that not having good sex in a monogamous relationship was enough of a reason to leave, but I now do believe it is. I fell in love, hard, and got burned. I started healing, and grieving. I dated and explored and studied, I wrote and wrote, I started teaching. I fell in love again. There’s a lot more to all of those stories, but you can mostly read those for yourselves in the archives.
Somewhere along there, I started asking myself: “Now that I got everyone’s attention, what do I have to say?”
I’ve been puzzling through that, trying desperately to make a living to enable me to keep doing my work these past few years, which is part of why you haven’t heard as much from me. I’ve been trying to come into integrity, into integration, bringing who I am offline together with the vision of myself I came to know through words. I’ve been struggling to create myself a life I can settle into, one that is sustainable, that can last, that can feed me and carry me into the work that I know I have to do in the world.
I haven’t figured that out entirely, yet, but I am getting closer. My life has been radically restructured in the past year, and I need some retreat and some quiet and some inner work so I can feel into what the new mission of my work is here beyond my own personal liberation. Telling my own story has been and will continue to be an important part of it, but there is more to it than that. I seek structure and vision in a bigger way, and I don’t quite know what that means yet, but I can feel that I’ve been moving steadily toward it.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for all of your comments and support. Thank you for your emails (even when I don’t have time to write back as thoroughly as I’d like). Thank you for coming to my workshops and buying my books. Thank you.
I love my job.
Some of the other anniversary posts:
- Sixth Anniversary
- Fifth Anniversary
- Fourth Anniversary
- Third Anniversary
- Second Anniversary
- Bed Death, Standard Variety: the post that started it all.
(The anniversary of Sugarbutch starting was Monday, April 29th, but that was my first day after a long 6-day training and the day before I left for a two-day trip to Madison, Wisconsin, so it took me a few days to get to it. Now I’m hitting “publish” from an airplane 30,000 feet up, zooming back to the Bay Area. We live in the future.)
IMsL, the International Ms. Leather contest and one of the biggest gatherings of leather dykes and queers I’ve ever been to, starts tonight! I’m really looking forward to this weekend, to being a part of the contest behind the scenes (I’ll be judging!), and to catching up with so, so many friends from all over the country who will be in attendance.
And! I want to send out a serious congratulations to the 2012 IMsL family, IMsL 2012 Synn Evans, IMsBB 2012 Tarna Scyanne, and 1st runner up Angel Propps. I’ve been following some of the adventures and tours and travels of these folks this past year, and they’ve done fantastic things being representatives of the leather community, doing outreach, gathering support for causes, raising money, and generally raising hell. I’m proud of Synn and her efforts to reflect multi-dimensional, complicated identities and issues within these communities. Thanks, Synn, for your year of service and all you’ve done.
So badass, right? I’m excited for Synn’s roast on Friday night especially. I’m gearing up to say … some stuff.
There’s a queer happy hour from 7-9 at the host hotel (the Holiday Inn on Van Ness), and then there’s a drag show that both Rife and Lillith Grey are performing in (and others, I’m sure, but I’m pretty thrilled to watch the two of them).
You don’t need to have a ticket to the whole IMsL weekend in order to come for the happy hour—so if you’re in San Francisco and want to have a drink with sexy folks tonight, come on by!
I’m teaching a class on Flirting, Foreplay, and Fucking on Saturday at 2:30pm, so if you’re attending IMsL, come by and see me at that class.
I made a special stop at Cleis Press to pick up some more copies of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica (that I usually call “queer kinky smut”), the anthology that I edited that came out last year. I’m still incredibly proud of this collection and if you don’t have a copy of it yet, pick one up from me at IMsL and I’ll be glad to sign it for you! It’s got a pretty incredible lineup of stories and it’s dirty as hell.
I’ve also got the beautiful and “game changing” pack and play silicone cocks by New York Toy Collective, Shilo. I’ve got a couple different colors. They’re $135 each, which I know is a lot and can be preventative, but they are absolutely worth it. My Shilo has replaced two or three other cocks I used to carry around for different reasons (one for blow jobs; one for fucking someone who might not want to use my other favorite, the Maverick, because that one is sometimes too big; one for packing) and I love that it’s become my go-to cock. Maybe even my desert island cock, meaning the one I would bring to a desert island if I could only bring one. Depends on who I was on the island with, probably!
Here’s some other great things about Shilo:
- The way the spine can curve means that it conforms to a person’s body better, and that means it doesn’t slip out as easily
- It’s excellent for prostate or g-spot stimulation, since it can curve to any direction
- The internal spine is a “proprietary core,” which the NYTC tells me means they “can’t tell you what’s in it,” but it does contain metal (which means it might show up as a blip on an airport security scan). The core is also wrapped in layers of silicone, and they haven’t had any instances of the inner bendable core poking through the silicone. It could hypothetically happen, but the layers are very thick and seems very sturdy
- Of course, it is really good for packing and then fucking!
I’ll have my Square on me, so you can actually buy one with a credit card if you’d like to, or you can make sure to bring cash. Which color do you want? Let me know and I’ll save one for you!
See you at IMsL!
I’m the national coordinator for the Body Electric School‘s women and queer programs, and I’ve been working hard on their growth in the recent months. We’ve got some exciting programming in 2013, and I’m excited to invite you to another Celebrating the Body Erotic for women workshop in New York City May 17-19, 2013.
Here’s the Spring 2013 BE Newsletter that just went out:
It’s spring! Can you feel the growth buzzing in the air? My friend Kat told me once that she believes another way to say “god” is to say “the force that makes a seed grow,” and I think of that frequently when I see the new baby-green color popping open on the trees. Amazing, how nature grows and heals and sleeps and blooms again. Sometimes those buds that are just so tight and ready to pop make me feel like I am looking directly at creation itself.
2013 is bringing some new growth in the Body Electric women’s programs. We have new coordinators in Atlanta, Austin, Toronto, and Seattle, we have the fifth anniversary of the annual advanced Pulse retreat in July, and we have decided to make our workshops inclusive of all women.
This is our new blurb about gender:
This workshop is open to all women (be they born women or have come to know themselves as such later in their life) who are interested in exploring erotic energy in their own bodies, in supporting other women on that same exploration, and in doing so within the context of a community of women. By doing this work in community we break down isolation, dissipate shame, mirror for each other, and expand our self-definition of what it is to be a woman.
Thanks to Amy Butcher, the Bay Area coordinator, for the wordsmithing, and the faculty for pioneering new erotic energy territory and changing Body Electric’s gender essentialism.
There is a Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) workshop for women coming up May 17-19 in New York City. Perhaps you’ve done a CBE workshop before, but perhaps it is time to do it again. I find that I am so different every couple of years that I seek tapping into that inner wisdom of my body to tell me new things and remind me where I am now, and that a CBE is a wonderful tool to bring me back to myself.
CELEBRATING THE BODY EROTIC FOR WOMEN
May 17-19, New York City, with Lizz Randall
May 31 – June 1, Atlanta, GA with Alex Jade
In a safe, serious and playful space that respects boundaries, embrace pleasure and experience your body as powerful, expressive and sacred. The class expands awareness and sensation through a process of breath, movement and touch. Each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored and celebrated. This workshop is for women of all sexual orientations and ages who are ready to learn about their own power to illuminate and enjoy sexuality and sensuality within a community of women.
During the program of carefully designed embodiment practices women will:
- explore the innate wisdom of the body
- expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored
- learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit: to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
- learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
- learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities
Celebrating the Body Erotic starts Friday evening 6:30-10 and runs all day Saturday and Sunday (9am-7pm) in a studio in Chelsea. The nearest subways are the 1 to 28th street, the N/R to 28th street.
WORKSHOP FEE: $495
• $50 off if PAID IN FULL 4 WEEKS prior, by April 19th.
• $50 off if REPEATING THE WORKSHOP within a year (use code REPEAT50)
• $100 off for the YOUTH PROGRAM for those under 30 (use code YOUTH100)
OFFERS CANNOT BE COMBINED
If you are in need of special assistance, please discuss your situation with the workshop coordinator. There are limited stipends available to offset the cost.
GENDER: CBE for Women is open to all women—trans, genderqueer, cis—who are interested in exploring erotic energy in their own bodies, in supporting other women on that same exploration, and in doing so within the context of a community of women.
ACCESS: The New York City space is located in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, close to the subway and bus lines. The space is in an elevator building with no steps. The workshop can be adopted to your particular body needs, be that with chairs, pillows, or other accommodations.
I am in love with this work. Lately I’ve been describing it as “erotic energetic embodied experiential education,” and while that’s a mouthful, I think it’s also the most accurate description I have. I continue doing this work, seeking out attendance of these workshops and putting on these workshops not because it is a good job, but because I want to see this work continue. It’s so important to me that these opportunities are offered. I cannot express the profound healing I’ve experienced within these weekends, and I know it has the potential to offer healing and peace for others, too.
Happy spring, happy new growth, and happy brave baby-green to all of you.
I have so much to tell you about. My arrival in California, sunshine, really good kale and well all of the vegetables here really, my feelings and grief, surviving heartbreak, what it’s like to have skipped the very end of winter and the very beginning of spring and moved on to full-on blooming, how the fog rolls down the San Francisco hills, that I’m staying at a place without indoor plumbing and electricity and cell service and wifi, how I really like staying at a place that relies on candles and one small solar outlet to charge my cell phone, how I am grateful to be staying at a place with chickens and mud and daffodils and raccoons that stole my cereal last night but how much I marvel and am grateful for the two warm showers I’ve taken this week, how forget-me-not flowers grow everywhere here, how easy it is to keep falling in love, how I’ve been getting re-focused on work, how I recorded the first audio file that may become a podcast that might be called Butt Buddies with my good friend Amy yesterday, how many events I have coming up in the near future including University of Tennessee Sex Week (can’t believe I haven’t written a press release about that yet) and UW Madison and judging at IMsL and another tantra training and a Lambda Literary Award reading of Cheryl’s book since it’s a finalist and the IMsL Bawdy Storytelling and maybe that’s about it.
But I don’t have time to write a big feelings post about everything, so meanwhile I have a few small things to share.
I was at Smith College in Northampton recently and they—students, faculty, alumni, and community supporters—are fighting for trans inclusion. The group Queers & Allies (Q&A) has started a petition, and I encourage you to read about what’s going on and sign it.
Also, if you are in or near Vancouver, BC, there is an amazing exhibit coming up. SD Holman has been collecting a series of butch portraits—she took my photo at the BUTCH Voices Portland regional conference in 2010—and now, her photos are displayed on Vancouver bus stops everywhere with the caption, BUTCH: Not like the other girls. She’s also got an exhibit of these portraits April 9 to 25. Here’s an article and more information about that.
Wish I could be there, but April is pretty damn busy in my world. I’ll be all over the country and working a lot. I’m really excited to keep refocusing on work and writing, and I have so many ideas and things in store for Sugarbutch.
Oh hello there Internet, I know you’re still here, and I love you. I’ve been quiet, but I’ve been working behind the scenes, diligently, trying to get things back in order so I can write more smut. I miss writing smut. Do you miss reading my smut writing?
And hello out there in person too! I’ve been teaching so many things in person these days. I feel stronger about my teaching skills, but I am definitely still learning. After eight workshops in seven days in February, I feel like I’m starting to feel like I’m getting closer to my 10,000 hours of teaching. (Ten thousand hours is actually about ten years, so goes the theory, and I’ve only been teaching sexuality and gender for about five years, but I did train to be a writing teacher ten years ago, so maybe my ten thousand hours are probably close to complete.)
Here’s where I’ll be in the coming weeks, and what’s going on for me this summer.
- Tuesday, March 26 – Smith College, Northampton, MA — Radical & Responsible Gender workshop
- Wednesday, March 27 – Oh My! Sensuality Shop, Northampton, MA — Cock Confidence workshop
- Friday, March 29 — Wellesley, near Boston, MA — Fucking with Gender workshop
- Saturday, March 30 — The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, Pawtucket, RI — Talking Dirty workshop
And then, the big news is that on Monday, April 1st, I’ve got a one-way ticket to San Francisco. I’ll be there for April and May, and then I’ll be heading to Alaska to visit family for June and July. I’ll be back in the Bay Area in August, and then … honestly, I’m not sure what will happen after that. I hope between now and then I’ll find a plan. If you feel inspired to donate to me as I restart and recalibrate and transition into a new incarnation of myself, and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with Sugarbutch and my heart, that would be incredibly helpful.
Here’s the rest of my summer schedule:
- April 7-12, University of Tennesee Knoxville, Sex Week! … And there’s so much to say about that that I’m going to start another post.
- April 18-21, San Francisco — International Ms Leather competition — I’ll be one of the judges!
- April 23-28, San Francisco — Urban Tantra training with Barbara Carrellas
- April 30 - University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI – Fucking with Gender workshop
- May 17-19, New York City – Body Electric’s Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women
- June 14-16, Anchorage, AK – Northern Exposure kink conference
- July 21, Albuquerque, NM – Owning Your Birthday Suit workshop, details TBA
- July 24-28, Albuquerque, NM – Body Electric’s annual Pulse advanced women’s retreat
- August 16-18, San Francisco, CA — BUTCH Voices National Conference
… After that, I’m not sure. I’m taking a leap of faith and trusting that I’ll figure it out along the way. I’m kind of looking for a job, at least maybe a part-time something, to get my feet back under me and have more consistency.
I was walking home the other day, and my neighbor, this small bald Puerto Rican guy with a handlebar mustache who I’ve made friends with over the five years I’ve lived here, said to me, “Haven’t seen you lately! Where you been?”
“I’ve been traveling, working,” I said. “I’m moving in April, actually.”
He said, “You’re moving!? Where you going?”
“To California,” I said, not wanting to go into the longer story of I’m-not-sure-Alaska-who-knows-about-the-fall.
“California!” he exclaimed, and proceeded to rant a little about how high the rent is in New York. I agreed.
“Well, I hope you have a happier, easier life out there in the California sunshine,” he offered. I teared up. I really hope I have a happier, easier life out there, too. And thanks, universe, for sending me a little reminder of the pleasure of my new adventure.