And the Crash Pad Membership Goes To …

Oops! Sorry about that, I am just now getting the winner chosen for the Crash Pad Series Giveaway.

The winner is: #41, Morgs! Congrats! I will email you and set you in touch with the folks at The Crash Pad Series to get your membership.

Better luck next time, folks! Don’t forget, you can still go get your very own membership whenever you like … click on over to crashpadseries.com.

Welcome back from wherever you went for the holidays. If you’ve got a minute, read the holiday comments on the Crash Pad Series giveaway post, because they are full of details about what queers (especially) go through in dealing with our sometimes very un-understanding families. They’re comforting, actually, in knowing you’re not alone in dealing with some of the hardships of marginalization.

Happy Solstice Crash Pad Series Membership Giveaway

Though I did grow up celebrating Christmas, my family is not particularly religious. I’ve been to Christian church services probably less than a handful of times (I can think of twice, off the top of my head). The past few years, I’ve resolved to celebrate the holiday as winter solstice, rather than Christmas – we’re getting more and more broad in our “happy holidays” wishes, more inclusive, I think, in the mainstream, and the difference of celebrating on the 21st instead of the 25th is negligible.

My family still does gifts on Christmas morning, and that’s fine with me – tradition, familiarity, ritual. But being some form of pagan & buddhist, what I’m really celebrating here is the darkest day of the year, and the return of the light.

Winter solstice is an astronomical event. It has to do with the placement of our Earth in the solar system, the rotation of the Earth’s axis, how we spin around the sun. It is the day – in the Northern hemisphere – where the hours of daylight are the shortest, and from here until summer solstice, they build to longer and longer hours of daylight.

The Winter Solstice occurs exactly when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun [in the Northern hemisphere] at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the Winter Solstice lasts only an instant in time, the term is also colloquially used as Midwinter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this is the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun’s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time. – Winter solstice at Wikipedia

That last part is especially interesting to me – that most cultures have holy days around this time of year, that many of the festivals involve pretty lights or candles (to signify the darkness and cold days), family gatherings (to signify love and support despite the potential affects of SAD), gifts (to show how we are cared for), and resolutions (symbolizing rebirth and renewal). And to me, the ritual that is the least stripped of human prosthelytizing is the one that celebrates the earth, the seasons, the move around the sun, the changes in our relationship to light.

I’ve often mentioned the Wheel of the Year here on Sugarbutch, and have often said it is something that I’d like to more intentionally observe. And the combination of Kristen’s obsession with eating seasonal, local foods, means that I’d really love to throw four wheel parties next year, at the solstices and equinoxes. (There are four lesser holy-days too – candlemas, beltaine, lammas, samhain – that occur at the midpoint between a solstice and an equinox, and I would love to do something to acknowledge them, too, but I’m not sure what – probably not a whole dinner party, just lighting a candle and acknowledging the day – perhaps with a blog post – would be plenty.)

So, Kristen made dinner: butternut squash soup with ginger, garlic, and peanuts, kale with garlic and butter, baked sweet potato fries, and cardamom-orange sugar cookies, on Monday, December 21st, in celebration of solstice, and we talked about the rebirthing process, the things we wanted to allow to blossom in our lives as the days get longer through to the summer solstice.

This is the post where I wish all my best to YOU all, readers and visitors, friends and strangers. Thank you for reading, for following along, and I wish you the best and brightest in this dark time of year.

Oh, but my spiritual beliefs probably aren’t why you’re reading this post. What you really want to know about is the giveaway, right?

Well here it is: to warm your midwinter, I’m giving away one single two-month long level 2 membership to The Crash Pad Series, which I am constantly touting as THE BEST QUEER PORN available. Hands down. No contest. Anytime Kristen and I watch anything else, we usually say, “well, it’s not Shine, but …”

I made up this rule for myself oh, about ten years ago, that I would never pay for porn on the internet. And it’s pretty easy to keep that rule, with all those big amateur porn sites and an easy enough Google image search and all the trailers and freebies at the good porn sties, sure. But as soon as I got a Crash Pad membership, I kicked myself: why didn’t I do that sooner?! It really is that good. It might not even be the best queer porn, it might be the best porn, PERIOD. The skill and smarts and aesthetic and filmmaking … even the premise! I love it. I anxiously await the next episode.

There are so many different types of queer folks depicted in their scenes, no matter what kind of queer you are attracted to, or what kind of sex you like to watch, there is tons of it in The Crash Pad Series. Strap ons. Vibrators. Punky girls. Tattoos. Piercings. Shaved heads. Femmes. Butches. Long-term lovers. Skilled rope work. Belts. Flogging. Slapping. Fisting. Anal. Knives. Force. Negotiation. Melted wax. Punching. Threesomes. Squirting. Sweet lovemaking. Begging. Dirty talk. Oh yeah, there is a little bit of everything.

For some of my favorite scenes from The Crash Pad Series, check My Favorite Scenes in Porn Flicks. And if that’s not enough, watch this teaser, featuring Julie and Michelle Aston.

The Crash Pad Series also puts out DVDs, many of which I have reviewed here on the site, but for about the price of the DVD, I’d recommend instead a one-month level 3 membership, which has permissions to download the videos that you like. Then you can test it out, go through and find the ones you want, and download them. The DVDs generally have about 5 scenes on them, but with a site membership you get access to every episode, and can save your favorites.

Tell ’em Sinclair sent you. (That’s the same as using that link < —- to purchase a membership, since if you do it through my links on this site, I get a little bitty kickback from the purchase. I’ll even do my Elvis impression for you: thank ya, thank ya very much.)

How generous of The Crash Pad Series to offer a membership to one of you lucky folks! Thanks!

So, to enter this little giveaway:

Leave a comment with one thing about the holidays: why you love them, what your favorite family ritual is, how hard it is to be queer and deal with extended homophobic family (h/t Essin’ Em), the ways you keep your kinkiness under wraps in order to be “appropriate,” your blessings for brightness in the wintertime, your favorite thing about winter, the way you celebrate this time of year, or something else entirely. You get the idea. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments on Monday, 28 December, after we’ve all had a chance to eat with our families and come back to our queer lives.

Year One With Kristen (Happy Anniversary)

Today, December 13th, marks the anniversary of my first date with Kristen. I didn’t actually tell the story of how we met, so here’s a short version:

I was invited by a friend of mine, Mr. M, to speaking on a panel at the university where he went to school, in Connecticut, in November last year. It was one of the first big speaking gigs I’ve done, actually. Kristen also went to school there, and they knew each other. Mr. M introduced Kristen and I at the panel before it was starting, we said polite hellos. I remember her smile, remember thinking she was cute and femme. As it got a bit busier, and Mr. M and I got comfortable at the front of the room, Kristen approached us again and stood in front of us.

“My ex just walked in,” she said.

“Want me to beat him up?” I looked up at her, presuming her ex was a trans guy.

“She’s a she,” she said, “and no.” She thought I didn’t know she was queer. Oh, I knew.

“Well then,” I shifted, “want to make out with me?” To make her ex jealous, of course.

She blushed a little, looked down, giggled, “Um … nooo.”

Oh yeah she did. Interesting.

I think we said some other things about exes and shared space and events, but she took her seat shortly after and the panel began. I was listed on this panel under my other name, so I introduced myself, saying, “I’m also known as Sinclair Sexsmith, and I run the online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles.”

There were a couple of gasps. One girl dug her nails into the arm of the girl next to her and widened her eyes. Kristen, meanwhile, had this little knowing smirky smile on her face (a smile I would later get to know quite well).

Later, she tagged along with the panel as we all went out to dinner after, and I knew there was chemistry. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but eventually I took the empty seat next to her, and everyone else was at the opposite end of the long table.

“I have a confession to make,” she said.

I raised my eyebrows. Oh? Already?

“I read your blog.”

“Ah.”

“I have so much to talk to you about!” And so we did. I remember specifically a big conversation about books, and how much she loves reading fiction; I recommended The Book of Salt as something queer that my bookgroup had just read. She mentioned that she was planning to move back to New York City and that she came and visited Mr. M very frequently, nearly every weekend. She lived in Connecticut, but I gave her my email address, and we got in touch and made a date for the next time she was in New York. And, well, you already know all about that first date.

That she was familiar with my work online wasn’t a problem. That I wanted to write about her and the sex we were having wasn’t a problem, either – she has often said she likes to be written about, a lot. I have written less about her and the details of our relationship here than I have about other girls, mostly because I am busy telling her about my interpretations of our relationship, instead of everybody except her. I don’t want to write myself into a relationship I’m not having. Sometimes, I want to keep the things between us just between us.

Also, some of the sex and power dynamics we’ve been exploring are hard to write about. The Daddy/girl roles, the d/s that we’ve taken outside of the bedroom are hard to explain and articulate – but I would like to try, and I do hope to keep challenging myself to articulate the things that we play with.

I am so, so lucky to have found someone to explore these things with, someone I trust deeply, someone who I know will tell me if things don’t feel right, someone who will push back on me and stand up for the things she thinks are important, someone who is not afraid to be honest. It’s hard to find someone to go this deep into sex play with, it’s hard to find someone stable, who knows themselves, who is strong and capable. I’m so, so lucky.

I’m actually writing this (and setting it to publish in the future) two days ago, because this weekend, right now in fact, Kristen and I rented a cabin out in the woods with a big fireplace and a well-stocked kitchen outside of cell phone range. I packed two of my For Your Nymphomation cases (the Flogger case and the XL Adult Toybox) with toys and ropes and cocks and restraints and the spreader bar and the throe and a particular special piece of jewelry I expect her to wear for part of the weekend. She’s packing some very nice things, the liberator lingerie, her red apron, and lots of food. She’s in charge of cooking this weekend, and she has an extensive, romantic menu planned, including fondue, peanut butter cookies, stir-fried vegetables, her famous buttermilk biscuits, bloody marys, brownies – all my favorites. She will also be providing me with wine and whiskey, as needed, on demand.

What a year it’s been.

I’ve never known myself as well as I do now, and I’ve never felt so good about a relationship. One year into my relationship with The Ex (who maybe needs a name at this point) we were already falling apart, already not having enough sex, already fallen into lesbian bed death patterns, already not talking to each other, already not being honest. None of my relationship/flings since have reached a year, none of them have lasted longer than six months, and most of them were much shorter. Not to compare her to others – really she is incomparable. The places we have reached are so far beyond what any of my past relationships have been able to get to. And things are just consistently good, consistently building – even when we have disagreements, or when we don’t understand each other, we are so good at talking through it, we are so good at being honest and kind to each other in ways that have been so important and impressive to me.

There are a lot more places I want to go, and she and I always have a list of things we want to do more of (rope and other restraints, anal, daddy/girl scenes instead of just talk), and this relationship just feels so full of potential, so full of promise, so full of love.

Sometimes, I will never catch up …

Well hello! Hey look! I have an online-writing-project (aka blog)!

It’s not like I’ve forgotten. I never do. I am always writing posts in my head or taking notes or adding to the looooong list of things I want to write about, including reviews of porn films and books and silicone cocks and bondage supplies (and did you see that Kristen just got some lingerie from Liberator?).

The past week has been a total wash for writing, because Jesse James was in town, and we (and Kristen, more often than not) were completely booked, painting the town.

Jesse’s writing up her trip to New York in four parts, and Jess posted about the success of the top-surgery fundraiser party that we attended. I’m really glad I got to spend some time with Leo MacCool and Freedomgirl, Leo and I ducked out of the party to take a loooong walk. Jesse still hasn’t stopped talking about dinner with Greg, and I can’t stop talking about Kristen’s famous pizza-from-scratch and chocolate & butterscotch pudding.

It’s Friday, Jesse left on Tuesday, and I am just starting to feel like I have adequately recovered enough to get my strength back. I’ve got some deadlines (hello, Carnal Nation), I’m so behind on reviews, my email inbox is overflowing (I’ll get to it, I promise!), and my room is still a mess, but I downloaded The Gossip’s newest album Music For Men and thanks to Dita Von Teese I am really into Mayer Hawthorne, so I think I’m going to turn up my speakers and try to get some shit done. Your regularly scheduled Sugarbutch Chronicles will return soon.

PS: Edit! I forgot to mention the ah-may-zing tee shirt that Jesse custom made for me, which is my new favorite thing ever. Here’s the photo.

Champion DVD Giveaway – Winner!

Thanks so much, everyone, for the bits of feedback in the Champion DVD giveaway. I have asked for feedback on the site, what you think or what you’d like to see more or less of, before, but I’ve never had this great of a response. I so appreciate it.

I’ve got some things to say in response to the critical feedback especially, but perhaps not now. I was surprised to see the mentions of “I don’t always agree with you, but” – I’m glad that it’s still useful to engage with my work, even if you don’t agree, and I’m very curious about the things you don’t agree with me on! Please do consider this an invite to dialogue more, if you feel so inspired. Also, someone mentioned safer sex, especially in my fiction, and I hear you. I have some thoughts on that, but it’s also duly noted.

Many of you mentioned that my introspection is some of what you really like. I haven’t been writing a ton about my personal struggles here lately; as the audience of this site grows, it feels too revealing for me to have my struggles so much in public. I still want to write about that stuff (and journal on my inner personal workings daily). I appreciate hearing that the self-awareness struggles are useful, though, and I’ll try to include those here in ways that are safe for me, and still telling the story for you.

Oh, right, the winner! #56, femme in butch clothing. Congrats! (I sent you an email.)

Gratuitous Syd Blakovich as Jesse in Champion photo:

champion1

Those of you who didn’t win, sorry … you should consider picking up the Champion DVD anyway, because it’s HOT.

Thanks, Babeland!

Sugarbutch Hits 1,000,000! Champion DVD Giveaway!

champion2

If you don’t know about the queer indy porn flick Champion by Pink & White Productions, I bet you haven’t been spending much time around the queer/porn blogosphere lately, because it has quickly risen to the top of many all-time favorite lists. I wrote my own review of Champion back in January 09 if you’d like to see how I enjoyed it.

If you haven’t seen this, you’re missing out.

And now’s your chance! Because see, Sugarbutch’s visitor counter hit 1,000,000 last week. One million! Can you believe it? Stat counters aren’t exactly rocket science, I think that number is probably give-or-take-a-thousand, but still, to see it roll over to seven digits was kinda mind blowing.

Thank you, for visiting, for stopping by, for reading whatever it is you’ve read here on Sugarbutch, for your comments and emails, for clicking through on the reviews or the affiliate links, for clicking through the advertisers, for coming back, for sharing these links with your friends or lovers or girlfriends or wives or boyfriends or mistresses or whomever you might send them to. Thanks for reading. Thanks for thinking about these things. Thank you.

So I’m doing a very special giveaway, thanks to Babeland: the Champion DVD itself. All you gotta do is leave a comment (with a valid email address) and give me one piece of feedback about Sugarbutch, either something you like or something you don’t like or something you wish I did more often or something you miss that I used to do or something I’ve never done or a question you have or a comment about the process or how you found this site or ANYTHING.

I’ll pick ONE single winner at random on Monday morning.

Define: Sovereignty

A few weeks ago, Miss Calico tweeted about the craziest thing in her feedreader. For obvious reasons, neither she nor I would call most of the sex stuff that I’m sure we both read on a daily basis “crazy,” so what does that leave really? LOLcats? Perez Hilton?

Well … one of my indulgences, which I’ve mentioned before, is that little stepchild genre of self-help (which I stand by is a combination of spirituality, psychology, and philosophy, some of my favorite topics), and there are of course an abundance of blogs writing on those kinds of subjects. Most of them never stick around in my reader for more than a few weeks. I get bored, I get the idea, I move on.

A recent addition to my little indulgence via RSS has been The Fluent Self by Havi Brooks. The Fluent Self might be the “craziest thing” in my reader. I mean, she co-owns her company with her duck, Selma, and often talks about being the pirate queen of her pirate crew. So you have to be the kind of person who appreciates someone else’s slightly wacky reality in order to connect with what she’s doing.

Havi mentioned “sovereignty” in an entry the other day, and then again today, and it’s so relevant to my emotional work, I’ve got to write on it for a while.

Sovereignty […] is the quality of owning your space. It’s feeling so safe being you, that you can’t be shaken from yourself. […]

Your most important job? Take care of yourself. Because when I’m looking out for my physical and emotional well-being, I can do my best work. And when I’m depleted and exhausted, it sucks for everyone. My external systems — just like my internal practices — keep me grounded so that I can keep working on the sovereignty thing. It all comes back to taking care of yourself. And safety. And finding ways to access that canopy of peace.

Sovereignty cassarole. And more about shoes. By Havi Brooks on The Fluent Self

I love discovering words to explain emotional states that I’m working on. If there’s a word for it, it feels like it’s a real thing, like it’s a little button I can push to dispense that particular kind of strength or flexibility or whatever that I’m working on. I mentioned “grace” recently, too, and the new definition of that word that I came across (also in a self-help book). If I’m having a strong reaction to something, having the shorthand of “have some sovereignty here” or “just need a little grace, a little grace, a little grace,” is really helpful. It’s the ability to take a whole big giant concept and distill it into a single word, which makes the mantra easier to grasp in moments of need.

This state of sovereignty is one I’ve been working on extensively. I don’t know why exactly (though I have some guesses), but for whatever reason, I have been really prone to giving that up – to letting others make choices for me, to allowing myself to be imprinted upon, to be taken over. I didn’t know I was doing this. If you asked me five years ago, I would have probably said I had no idea what you were talking about and of course I don’t do that. But, sigh, that’s what Saturn Return is for, after all.

Later, Havi writes, one of the things that helps stay in this state of sovereignty is to know your triggers. “For me and my HSP self, it’s loudness that sets me off.” She’s mentioned this before lately, as she’s currently battling jackhammers, and I was thinking about this just the other day. I went with Kristen and my sister to a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and they were having some technical difficulties, so it was more of a wait than usual, and they had the music completely cranked up so loud I could barely hear Kristen sitting next to me, and I started to panic a little. I wanted to leave. Suddenly I felt so claustrophobic and anxious and like I would rather be anywhere else. This feeling calmed down and left as soon as they turned it off – but it just got me thinking, and made me remember, that when my senses are assaulted, I don’t deal well. There are times when it’s okay, I guess, I like going dancing in clubs, I like concerts (though not all concerts – ask me about the AC/DC story sometime). My senses are just so often under assult here in New York City, it’s hard for me not to have that panicked assaulted feeling constantly. Earphones help. Books help. Using my commute and transportation as a meditation helps. I guess I just have to keep building in self-care around this overload of the senses, and try to get some systems – internal and external – in place to keep myself grounded and unshaken – in sovereignty.

Winners! Two Blowfish DVDs

Aaaaaand the winners of the The Crash Pad Series Volume 4
#47 – Birdie: The Barcelona Sex Project

Y’all are some kinky readers, damn! I mean I knew that already, but I loved hearing about your summers. Thanks for sharing what you did, or want to do, or wished you’d done.

Congrats to the winners! I’ll get in touch via email and request your addresses for shipping.

Blowfish Giveaway: Two DVDs

Blowfish is simply “good products for great sex,” and they are the producers of some of the best queer porn and experimental sexuality DVDs currently available. They want to start doing more giveaways through Sugarbutch … so here’s your chance to win something awesome!

I’ve reviewed both Crash Pad Series Volume 4 and The Barcelona Sex Project here on Sugarbutch, and they are both very much worth watching. I go back to the Crash Pad Series especially quite often.

I’ll select TWO different folks at random on Tuesday September 1st to win one or the other of these DVDs. To enter, leave a comment on this post, and tell me some awesome sexy thing you did this summer, or plan to do this summer, or wish you would’ve done this summer. Easy enough, right?

Thanks, Blowfish!

A Thousand Kisses

I mentioned that last weekend marked six months that Kristen and I have been together … one of the things I did was to finally finish the lovesong mix that I’ve been working on for a and have felt particularly resistant to doing with her, exactly because of the ways that it is romantic and sometimes intense, but it made sense; we finally gathered enough songs to while. Mixes are one of those courtship things that I have often done too quickly in the past, make a whole CD, and it felt good to compile.

Just to further illustrate my reluctance to make a lovesong mix, the first draft of this CD was called “If Love Was a War, This Is How You Win,” a reference to the Feist song I chose, the lyric is “now I know I’m gonna win the war.” Kristen saw this title over my shoulder and was like, no. You can’t call it that. The second draft was called “Happy Through Rain or Whatever,” another lyrical refernece, this time to the Alice Smith song, and that too she wasn’t thrilled about. A Thousand Kisses, yes, romantic, but also a reference to the Mil Besos song by Patty Griffin.

Also: funny thing about the cover. I spent a few hours working on the image, searching for photos of famous kisses, finally using the Rodin sculpture. I printed everything up and got the CD and cover and insert all together … and was practically gagging with the sweet gross romanticness of it.

So I rebuilt the cover.

1000kisses_splatter

Ahh, so much better. Still a bit romantic, but no longer over the top. Whew.

So here’s the mix!

8tracks.com is a legal way to upload and share music in mixes like this (I found out about them through Bitch Magazine), so here’s the mix in its entirety. The only negative is that after you listen to it once, it has to shuffle the songs, so they’re out of order – and the order does mean something, in fact I spent a lot of time on the order, the precise space between the end of one song and the beginning of the next, so I don’t really love showing you the mix like this, but what can I do, seems like the best way to share music. (If you’ve got other suggestions, let me know.)

Winners! FYN cases giveaway

In addition to four small condom cases and one foot long, I also have two five-inchers. Here are the winners, drawn at random:


sizematter_condoms

Four (black) Size Does Matter Condom Cases

8 – Mr. Smith
11 – Bucking Bill
34 – CG
16 – Alisha

5incher

Two (brown) Five Inchers

37 – Kelly
2 – Amber

10incher
And the winner of the single red Foot-long

30 – Jacket’s Girl

Congrats! I’ve emailed you all individually also; please email me your mailing addresses so I can get them out to you. If you’d like a copy of the Sugarbutch Star Chapbook along with your FYN case (no pressure! but if I’m putting something in the mail for you anyway, it’s an easy addition) they’re $10.

I’ve got two more giveaways in the next few weeks; check back to see what they’ll be.

ALSO!

The talented designer of the For Your Nymphomation cases, Vera, left a special note on the comment thread:

If you are not lucky enough to win a case offered in this contest, you can shop our online store and enter coupon code “SINCLAIR” at checkout until Aug 31 to save 10% off your online purchase!

And for additional savings, our Rolling Toy Trunk is on sale for only $199.99 until the end of June! Hurry- it goes back up to full price $319.99 at the end of this month!

If you’ve ever wanted some of these cases (and it sounds like some of you could seriously use a toybox or two), now’s a great time to do it! Thanks Vera.

For Your Nymphomation sex toy cases giveaway

For Your Nymphomation makes “private storage for your pleasurables,” faux leather cases with water-resistant nylon lining, which is easily wiped clean with mild soap and a damp cloth. All the bags have quality locks, which means your private toys (or documents, or manuscript, or whatever!) stay private.

Vera, the lovely owner and designer of FYN, gave me some cases to show off and give away.

10inchersizematter_condoms

I’ve got one cherry red ten-incher (10″ wide x 2.5″ high x 2.5″ deep) to give away, and several smaller size-does-matter condom cases (2.75″ wide x 2.75″ high x 1.25 ” deep).

Want one? Leave a comment here with one of the following answers:

What do you keep your toys in?
or
If you could have any of the For Your Nymphomation cases, which one would you pick?

I’ll randomly pick the winners (based on comment number) on Friday morning. If you are outside of the US I might ask you to throw a couple bucks my way for shipping costs, but please don’t let that stop you from entering!

Happy birthday, Kristen!

Today is Kristen’s 26th birthday! She’s planning a very elaborate 5-course meal for some of her favorite people this weekend (she is quite the top in the kitchen, remember) and I get to play bartender, so I spent some time researching the appropriate wine pairings. The signature cocktail of the evening will be a dirty slut birthday girl gimlet. (It was a dirty dirty dirty martini, but since the cocktail hour is coming after dinner and before dessert, we decided the extra-spicy olives and pickles she likes in her martinis wouldn’t go that well with the almond birthday cake with sherry-lemon buttercream icing. So, gimlet. I’ll share the recipe if it turns out perfectly.)

I’ve got some secret plans for the weekend, too, which definitely includes birthday spankings, gifts, and a few other things …

vettriano
Game On by Jack Vettriano, one of my favorite artists

Happy birthday, baby. I’m so glad I get to celebrate this day with you, and so glad you’re with me. I’ve never had it so good, it just keeps building and building, getting better and better – I know how lucky I am, and I am so grateful. Hope this day is joyous in every way.

Wish her a happy birthday for me, willya? She is a huge part of why the smut writing has been so good lately, after all …

Holding Back

I’m restraining myself. Holding back. In so many ways that feel so unnatural, like stopping an object already in motion, changing trajectories when the path is already clearly cut in front of me.

A runner in a crouch waiting for the gun to go off.

A horse behind the racetrack doors, hoofing at the ground.

Even my friends are commenting on it lately. “You’re really restraining yourself here, aren’tcha,” my buddy from Seattle commented last week. He’s not used to seeing the emotions so heavy in me without the extensive expression.

“She’s just … I have such … I think I …” I swallowed, started again. Can’t finish those sentences. “Ilikeherlots.”

He laughed. “I can tell!”

It’s hard, I continued. Scary. Frightening when my body remembers what happened last time these emotions ran through me, what happened the last time I thought I could be with someone, last time I saw the future stretch out in front of me, paths parallel and touching and intertwining. I know how that ends. My brain knows that is still possible and wants it to be possible and aches for it to be possible and pretends like I can operate from a place where I still believe that is possible, but my body stops me cold. No, no, danger, danger. Don’t feel this, don’t like it, don’t fall, don’t.

Especially when my instinct is my chest broken open, heart wide and deep wine red, bursting, fingers spread wide, arms spread wide, head thrown back and laughing, five-points spread, everything aligned.

But part of me thinks, I know better now. I can’t do that, yet.

So instead I say, “I’m holding back. I can feel myself holding back.”

Kristen wrote to me yesterday: “The thought occurred to me that you might not be able to open up to the extent that you want to with me, that I might have to be “heart practice” or something, but that you wouldn’t ever get all the way there.”

But that’s not it. I know I can open up how I want to. I’ve done it before and it feels like my natural instinct here, like I am fighting against it constantly. I can do it. It’s just not time yet for me to unleash what I know I’m capable of, the full expression of the feelings I am already feeling.

I looked yesterday, I have ten emails to her in my drafts folder, from heartsore ramblings about missing her to links that I think she should read to poems I haven’t finished to lists of what I want to do to her. Instead, all I say is, “I’m holding back.”

But what that means is this: desire. I can’t say I want to hold your heart on my tongue, poised, sweet and succulent, so I say I’m holding back. I can’t say I am catching the first train to your house right after work and I know I’ll have to turn right around and go back home in order to get any actual sleep tonight but I have to, I have to, see you, even just for a few minutes, to see the light behind the blue of your eyes and smell your skin and taste your mouth, so I say I’m holding back. I can’t say I’m ready, I can hold you, bring it on, so I say I’m holding back.

But I aim for that expression of these feelings. And every week, every month that goes by [we just passed the four months on the 13th, officially the longest since], every weekend of deeper exploration of each other, I get closer. There is a softening around my heart. There is more confidence in my own space, more healing of the old wounds still weaving and seeping.

I can’t not hold back right now. But I’m also moving forward with lightning speed, thick walls cracking and falling into rubble, shaking sometimes with fear but looking it all right in the face, eyes wide open, wide open.

Birthday calendar giveaway!


Perhaps you remember that I was Mr. August in the New York City Sexbloggers 2009 Calendar which came out last year. Indeed there is some incriminating evidence of me spanking a particular lusty lady in order to get a perfectly pink handprint on her ass. I was packing. I wore black & white wingtips. All the pinups looked incredibly hot, the heels … oh, the heels at that photoshoot, gah. Amazing.

 
Outtakes of me from the photoshoot by Stacie Joy

Have I tempted you enough with the Calendar yet? You want to win it, right? Well, for my birthday, the producer of the calendar, Tess, is letting me give away some calendars, just for fun. But don’t worry – if you don’t win, you can always mosey on over to http://sexbloggercalendar.wordpress.com and  buy yourself a calendar – all the proceeds go to Sex Work Awareness, which is having its first day-long seminar Speak Up! Media Skills for the Empowered Sex Worker in New York City this month.

But! If you’d like to win one of my fancy-schmancy [meaning: signed with the famous silver pen] birthday calendars, leave a comment in this thread. It can be anything – I’ll choose the winners at random – but if you’d like to leave me a blessing for my 30s, put in a request for some sort of hot dirty kinky queer sex act that you’ve never seen me write about, or tell me your favorite birthday song (I’m partial to the John McCutcheon one myself), that would be lovely. Fuck it, there have been waaaay too many birthday wishes posts already here – just leave your name & email address at the beep. Mmkay? Merci!


Photo taken by Norman Blake at the calendar release party

And thank you, for all the birthday wishes so far. There are many more fabulous shoe photos in the queue to be published this week – it’s not too late to send one in, if you feel so inspired.

The two Crash Pad memberships go to …

#5, Becky
and
#22, Bettina!

Thanks, everybody, for commenting and starting this discussion about our favorite porn stars. I know it was a completely informal poll, but I may make up a list from it so we who are very unfamiliar with queer porn can do a bit more, ahem, “research” …

You can always head over to Hot Movies For Her and download 20 minutes of hot queer porn — that’s 10 extra minutes than you usually get when opening a new account at HMFH. I don’t know how much longer that special link will last, so get in there while ya can!

Also: still two more give-aways to come (and then NO MORE for a long time): sex toy cases from For Your Nymphomation, and a gift basket from Come Together.

and the winner is …

The envelope please:

Thanks to the random number generator, the winner of the DVD of Good Dyke Porn is … samantha!

Bevin Branlandingham, fabulous host of the FemmeCast: Queer Fat Femme’s Podcast Guide to Life, came up with the idea of asking y’all what your 2009 sex goals were, and as all the responses (54 of them!) came in, she and I kept talking about how increasingly moved we were. “I was overwhelmed at their commitment to visualizing and actualizing their sexual goals,” Bevin just chatted to me. “The first step to good sex is to know what you want, or at least know what you want to try. Then to communicate that.”

And she wanted to throw in a little extra sumthin-sumthin: a fabulous comedy CD Almost Pretty by butch comic Kelli Dumham! Kelli is the Butch Dyke Comedian in Residence for the FemmeCast and performs all over the country.

Hope you enjoy them both, Samantha!

Samantha’s shared with us her Goals for 2009:

1.) Do NOT fuck any clingy/needy people. This is an absolute, and must be followed. More of a rule, actually.

2.) Fuck a girl that actually knows how to top. You might think this would be simple, but D.C. is severely lacking in the dykey, top department.

3.) Get restrained. I’ve done the whole multiple-uses-of-a-handcuff thing. Now im extremely interested in being tied up with rope, and being a complete submissive. Pushing the pain/pleasure bounds.

4.) Lastly, watching more porn….preferably with a partner. I normally don’t watch porn, nor do I own any….this is where this whole video thing would come in handy Mr. Sexsmith ;)

Damn good goals, if you ask me.

Samantha, I hope you very much enjoy the Good Dyke Porn and the fun dyke comedy. If you feel like writing up a paragraph of your review of it, I’m sure other Sugarbutch visitors would love to know how you find it!

December is now unofficially the give-away month, and I’ve got a few more things for y’all in the next few weeks. Hey, it’s a dark time of year, we need a little extra lovin’! Keep an eye out for locking sex toy cases from For Your Nymphomation, two subscriptions to the Crash Pad Series website, minutes for video-on-demand downloads at Hot Movies for Her, and Come Together Gift Baskets!

L Word Box Set Winners!

Okay folks:

#4 denise
#13 bzzzzgrrrl
#14 Emilie
#27 Miss Avarice
#29, Bevin
#37 Blythe
#63 MsF
#69 Ari
#80 s.c.
#84 jh

You are now the proud owner of the L Word Season 5 Box Set. Email me – aspiringstud (at) gmail.com – your address and I will send it out to you sometime in the next two weeks. If you’re outside of the US, let me know and I’ll figure out how much it’s going to cost to get it to you.

Congrats!

Announcing, at last, that it is fall

Oh, femmes.

Damn you and your hotness, and the ways it undoes me to see you retire your flirty ballet flats for tall boots, to watch the scarves and pashminas and oranges and browns be pulled from closets, announcing, at last, that it is fall.

Fall is my favorite season. Partially this is because summer is my least favorite: I don’t do well in heat, and my best wardrobe is not shorts and A-shirts (or “consentual partner beaters” as Rose has dubbed them) but rather blazers, boots, vests, jeans. And all those burnt, dying, brilliant fall colors are my signatures – reds, blacks, browns. Classic, simple.

Fall seems to be the season I most stop and remember the wheel of the year. It is the pagan new year, the time when the dark stops creeping in slowly and is solidly here. Where the veil becomes thin.

I like this. I’d even say it is one of my defining characteristics: I like the dark stuff, I like the shadow. I like going into all that messy-ness and attempting to turn on the light, look around, sort through things, make sense of it all. The darkest stuff is often the richest – dense, telling, deep, intense, formative. Perhaps it is part of why I like the nitty-gritty of relationships so much: I am eager for those small moments of revelation about myself or another that can happen when sorting through the dark.

Fall also means the nearing of the end of the yearly calendar, so this is the time when next year’s calendars start to come out. There’s the Brooklyn Girls calendar, which, I admit, the first time I looked at the 2007 calendar when it was released in late 2006, I thought, “these girls can’t all be femmes. Really? They are? Clearly I live in the right city …” This year, I’m wondering where they all are. Reflecting recently on the smallness of the queer communities and cirlces I’m involved in has been making me wonder where the OTHER queer circles are in New York – there must be some.

Also, I’m a pinup in the New York City Sexbloggers 2009 Calendar – but you already know that probably. Looks like the launch party will be in November, but there’s no firm date yet. I’m also one of the designers for that calendar (thank the gods Jack is co-designing) and I am up to my chest in calendar days and pinup photos.

Hey, there are worse jobs, I know!

It’s been a big couple weeks, too, with a lecture in Conneticuit on Tuesday, my mom visiting town, Muse’s birthday, dates with Rose – no shortage of events in this crazy Gotham city.

I seriously need some R&R (and maybe a bj or two or five). To quote Pearl, “I need to get my drink on.”

when waitresses are kinky

If you didn’t see it in my Google Reader shared items or on my shared items sidebar (over on the left), There are a few photos of me & Jesse James over at Jesse’s blog from my recent visit to Seattle. I didn’t have much time with Jesse, but it was enough to go get tipsy at some swanky bar and then go shopping.

Jesse took the afternoon off work to come play with me. A little snippet:

Sinclair to Cute Waitress: I’d like a Knob Creek on the rocks please.

Cute Waitress: Certainly.

Jesse: Hmmm, what do I want, what do I want. I can’t decide. Something fun.

Cute Waitress: Like a Manhattan? A — eeee!

Leggy Blonde Waitress walks by behind Cute Waitress.

Cute Waitress: She just pinched my butt! [Laughs, a little flustered and blushing.] Oh gosh, I’m sorry.What did you want?

Jesse and Sinclair exchange significant glances and try not to laugh.

Jesse: Can I have a bloody mary with tequila instead of vodka?

Cute Waitress, still laughing: Sure, got it.

Exit Cute Waitress to behind the bar.

Jesse: Dude, I am so totally in lust for you!

Ah yes, good times are had with good friends in Seattle. Jesse tells the story about what we did after that, which was basically have a little party in the dressing room and buy Jesse an entirely new fall wardrobe.

It was hard to come home this time, I needed the down time of being away from my life and obligations and freelance and writings and work and social life, but I didn’t get the real rest I need because I was running around with family so much. So really one of the very best parts of the trip was seeing Jesse for an afternoon, and then having a lovely dinner with about half a dozen of my closest friends in that city. I got my favorite black bean burger at my favorite brewery-slash-pub, made a visit to the famous lesbian bar, and slept on Jesse’s (very flat) futon while the Seal dozed in her cute dog bed nearby. I didn’t see Violet much but she was quite lovely and warm, and I so appreciate them letting me crash their place for a few nights.

upon returning, a small complaint

I was out of town last week, and now have returned from the other coast, the coast where the sun sets correctly into the water rather than over land, where I was in the Pacific Northwest primarily visiting my very large extended family for five days. I have all sorts of ideas about family and heritage and where I come from, about having kids and having a traditional structure, about how much my sisters and I are the freaks of the family.

Also strange to be referred to as niece, daughter, sister, granddaughter. Those words have never felt so ill-fitting. At some point I went to the bathroom and the door was labeled LADIES and I nearly stopped right there and turned around.

I am not a “lady,” not really. It’s not that I’m necessarily offended by it – I feel lucky to be part of groups of ladies at times, I love that I’m in women’s circles and women’s groups and women’s friendships, but even that word – woman – I’ve never quite felt right about it. I never refer to myself as such.

It’s not that I’m offended by it, it just doesn’t fit. Like too-big clothes or trying to put a hippie in black goth lipstick.

I have a friend who tells childhood stories that always start, “When I was a little girl …” and it struck me when I noticed it that I never refer to myself that way. I’ll say “kid,” as in “when I was a kid.” These days, I say “guy” – “I’m that kind of guy” – when referring to myself. Sometimes I use dyke or queer or butch I suppose, but I don’t ever use woman, lady, girl, or even sister, daughter, niece.

Still, it’s not that I’m transitioning – I’m not – and it’s not that I don’t identify with the lesbian/feminist communities – I do. Maybe I’m too much the poet, too much the semantics theorist, but some of these words just don’t fit.

I suppose this is just one of those frustrating gender binary things, and yet another of the reasons why butch is a trans identity of sorts. And yet another reason why I am still, continuously, inspired to keep doing this work, to understanding gender and creating new language to adequately describe myself and others, to contributing to the community and lifting each other up.

So there was a wedding in the Pacific Northwest, which is what prompted the large paternal family reunion. There are few events that are more gendered than a wedding. I thought it was going to be a small family wedding, as a few of the others had been, but the 20-something family members were actually in the minority and the community of friends and colleagues were abundant. At the church, I got sneered at by the small-town strangers. I was a bit flamboyantly dressed – pink button down, black argyle vest, no tie (I didn’t think it was going to be so formal!). But certainly I was not the only one dressed up, it was a freakin’ wedding!

Just served to remind me that I’m an outsider. I forget that, in New York City, where I don’t generally get noticed walking down the street unless I have a particularly good hair day. I fit in, I don’t stand out really.

The throwing the bouquet / throwing the garter felt like very strong gender-defining moments in the evening. No way in hell I was going to go out there and catch the bouquet – and actually I’m not sure I have ever been to a wedding where one was thrown, now that I think about it. But I did get out there when it was time to throw the garter. I couldn’t stay, though – I was too much on display in a room-full of too many people who had been giving me too many bad looks throughout the day.

I was little more than The Dyke From New York City all weekend.

I’m lucky, I suppose, is what I should take away from that experience – if I lived there, I would not dress as I do, would not have the fun I do with my hair and pink button-downs and vests and ties and belt buckles and cufflinks and jackets. I’m glad I have that opportunity, that I live in a place that not only accepts it, but encourages and, at times, demands it.

I didn’t expect it to be the reason, but really, I came to New York City so I could learn how to dress. Nothing has taught me fashion or style like this place.

Sometimes it is so uncomfortable to not conform to gender roles.

PS: I’m tremendously behind on email and correspondance, forgive me as I catch up.

femme conference roundup, & links

Now that I am finally putting my thoughts together about the femme conference, here is a small roundup of other posts I’ve seen out there in the blogosphere about others’ experiences.

  1. fatgirl femme: femme conference 2008: “I left the conference feeling energized and excited, and like I can totally have the femme community I want. I feel really committed to making it happen here in Seattle, and also really blessed that even if it DOESN’T happen in Seattle, I have some really valuable femme community in the blogosphere, and that’s still pretty fucking remarkable.”
  2. the femme show – some first thoughts: “… what I want to share with you now … is how much I want to go back. How I want to be part of two hundred or so femmes and allies telling each other we’re beautiful, strong, sexy, survivors of misogyny and worse, capable of loving and fucking and building a movement and changing the world. How when I was alone on a street in some Chicago neighborhood I can’t even name, waiting for a bus, I looked at groups of women carrying purses and diaper bags and birthday presents, women in dresses going out to dinner, and I saw them as friends because I’d just spent 48 hours surrounded by people in dresses who were friends. How I want to keep seeing all feminine people that way, to let go of the idea that femininity in queers is subversive and special and superior and make this about chosen femininity, not about special us queers are with our big glasses and big earrings or whatever it is this year.”
  3. femme FATale: post 1 of lord knows how many others: “who knew … being around people of various shared communities that are separate at times and converging at others could so quickly feel like home, that i’d go to chicago excited and leave with a heart full and achey with missing? to answer the questions i’ve received from readers and from friends: the femme conference was amazing. it was validating and caring, but it was also intense and hard. there was support and there was community, as much as there were the reminders of how much further we need to go to be good to each other as femmes. as loving and thoughtful and supportive as we are to our butches and our bois and to our allies, we need to be good to ourselves and to each other.”
  4. coffee and gender: the architecture of femme: “In the workshops and keynotes we attended the discussions were so closely focused on femmes that allies often were relegated to sitting and listening: which is exactly what allies should be doing 80% of the time. However, there are always times when workshops or lectures are really meant for the self-identifying members of the audience and not for allies or family members/significant others. I don’t believe in “safe space” but I strongly believe in “safer space”, and it can be hard to tell when a lecture or workshop might be more easily received and understood if the attendees all belonged to that one identity group.”

If you know of other posts or wrote one yourself, please leave the URL in the comments + I’ll add them to the roundup!

There is a Femme Conference 2010 in the works, I hear it’ll be in Atlanta. There are some specific folks that I would really like to see at the conference in 2010, and I’m going to call you out publically because I can. Please consider coming. Please make your life revolve around creating the ability to come to the next conference. You will not regret it. You need to be there: sublime femme, Miss Avarice, Lady Brett, Green-eyed Girl, and Essin’ Em.

Speaking of femme community and links to what’s happening in the blogosphere, Hussyred recently posted on her fabulous blog about the concept of a femme archive, specifically positing this challenge: “Let’s post the who, the what, the where, the when of how we got to call ourselves “femme.””

There have been some lovely responses being kicked around: Sublime femme writes on what makes me a femme, Green-eyed Girl says who am I, Lady Brett Ashley rides around with her rag top down, and Belle (yep, she’s back) discusses supporting other femmes and her own femme competition.

It’s a great question, this idea of where we came from, how we our gender identities developed, when we called ourself by our chosen identity labels and why. If you’d like to explore this in the comments, please do so. If you post about this on your own blog, please do leave a link!

what happened with Penny

We split up; we ended things a little more than two weeks ago.

It’s more complicated than that, but I’m not going to go into it here, for a few reasons. She could be reading, she knows I run this place, so I won’t be writing things here that I wouldn’t say – or haven’t already said – to her directly.

I respect Penny; I think she’s wonderful and there were many great things about dating her. This is probably the most sane breakup I’ve had in years, and I’m grateful to her for that – likewise, it was probably the most sane relationship (and, duh, as you know, some of the best sex, too).

I’m working through unraveling my understanding of what’s happened, my responsibility, my part in things. This ending – this whole relationship interaction – has shed some new light on my own ongoing story, pulled on old wounds, brought up some new ideas, and I am spending time exploring them, writing about them privately. I do miss having this place as a space in which to do that, because a lot of you readers have been following my relationship adventures for the last two years, and a lot of you know a whole lot about where I’ve come from, how things have been for me, what I struggle with, and my conversations with readers via comments are often very illuminating.

My understanding (so far) is that we wanted different things from each other and out of a relationship. It does feel like a loss, I’m sad about losing the things that were beautiful. But sometimes it’s just not a match, I guess.

in praise of femmes: fishnets

Some meditations on fishnets, and femmes:

Alison spoke of fishnets once upon a time, and well, speaking of fishnets … it got me thinking. I have a bit of a fetish.

I have a thing for legs anyway, which is why I try not to surf sites like Sock Dreams at work, because it really does get me hot & bothered in the way that porn does. Photos like this one of the raw-edged fishnet are so very erotic to my gender-fetish brain … I’m not sure exactly what it is about fishnets, but they are just so sexualized in this culture. They’re practically fetish gear, except that they can be worn by women to offices, to fancy parties, to the opera, as dress-up, and it’s also totally appropriate. Maybe that’s it – they can be good-girl stockings, can be fancy and seen as totally normal and even some sort of traditional femininity, but they can also be so dirty, in such a delicious way.

Then there’s that little criss-cross that the net actually does, and the way that garters – if you’re using them, and oh, that’s an entire other bit of lingerie to be in praise of – tug on the net and show just a little bit of strain in holding them up. The way that the stocking gets pulled, which is so very visible on nets where the little diamond shapes get pulled. I like the subtle force there. I like the subtle strain.

I think it might be also why I like corsetry and lacing and the criss-cross ribbons that are on some lingerie, too – it’s an implied little bit of bondage, this implied ribbon that I could use to restrain your wrists or ankles, that I could use to tie your knees up and back.

Plus there’s the idea that perhaps with just one little tug, the whole thing will unravel, and leave you bare.

It’s the hint of bareness that is so much more sexy than the bare revealing itself. There’s really something to that idea of leaving something to the imagination.

And then the skin. Because the thing about fishnets, which is not true of other stockings, is the bare skin that is exposed. I can feel these tiny spots of smooth under the pads of my fingertips, the direct contact is intoxicating. You’re not actually protected by these nets, not actually held in or hidden, your skin is revealed, fishnets aren’t about control-top or nude tinting or hiding, they’re about decoration, about texture.

And oh the implied force of it all. Because fishnets rip, they get holes, they just beg to be destroyed. The stockings are layer I can (possibly, maybe, if permitted, if our relationship allows it) rip through in order to expose your skin bare, use a sharp blade against your skin and pop through the tiny tied nets, use my teeth and pull until I hear the ripping.