The Best Uncut Strap-Ons (Review: Uncut #1 by Tantus & Ellis by New York Toy Collective)

Let’s go ahead and get it out of the way: There is no silicone strap on that I know of which has foreskin that actually slides and moves. None of these do that. Yep, I know. But since strap-on manufacturing is changing practically monthly, perhaps that’s something we can expect in the near future!

I’ve heard some sex toy aficionados posit that actually, pretty much all realistic-looking dildos are uncut and have foreskin — there’s so often a little wrinkle of skin beneath the head, and they said that was the foreskin, pulled back. Hmm. Not sure I buy it.

But either way, What I really want is one that moves. Because even still, after all these years, I am really cock-centric in my play.

This is a little personal, but when I first got the uncut packer by New York Toy Collective (featured as a little bonus at the end of this post), I was unusually drawn to it and it felt like mine and embodied in a new way. I thought about it, and given my parent’s politics, if they’d had a kid who was assigned male at birth, I actually think my parents would not have had him circumcised. So it actually felt closer to what, perhaps, my body would have experienced. That feeling kinda trips me out, even still. And I guess that’s why I am particularly drawn to these.

From left to right: CalExotics Uncut Emperor, Tantus Uncut #1, New York Toy Collective Ellis

Uncut Emperor Suction Cup by CalExotics

The Uncut Emperor came to me from She Vibe, which has an incredible collection of strap-ons. This is not silicone, its some sort of TPE — which is “thermoplastic elastomer.” Its very common for strap-ons to be made from this material, but you wont find it in most of the feminist, queer- and women-centered sex toy stores, because the material is porous. But on the other hand, TPE is much less expensive than silicone, so this one is about $30-40 in various places online, which is a big difference from the $100-150 pricetag of most silicone dildos. This one is “body safe,” meaning it does not contain any phthalates, which is a particularly bad type of processed plastic that is absolutely not body safe and known to cause cancer).

So, because it is body safe, because I was really looking for a great uncut dick, and because SheVibe highly recommended it, I was excited to give it a try. It is a handsome shape, and the colors work for my skin (though that means they are very white, so that’s not so great as an inclusive offering).

I can see that some of the photos of the Uncut Emperor have the foreskin peeling significantly back, but my model does not do that. Maybe it was just a slightly older design, and it’s been updated? Maybe mine was just more attached than others? So while it does peel back, it’s more like peeling a banana than sliding foreskin over the head. Which is what I’m actually looking for in the movement part.

And unfortunately, it was touching a packing cock in a dresser drawer that is also not silicone, and the two of them started melting and touching together, leaving indents on both of them. I forget that pretty much every kind of dildo that isn’t silicone does that, so I accidentally damaged both of them (and it was one of my favorite packers, too. Luckily, they are affordable, and I got another one!). Big bummer.

Overall: Not impressed. Very hard to wear in a harness, got damaged and warped by being in a drawer, skin doesn’t really pull back how I want it to. I did play with it a few times — and I’ve got to get a silicone cock with a suction cup! — but it’s not something I pick up anymore.

Tantus Uncut #1

Tantus makes an Uncut #2 as well, which is about 1” shorter in length but only about 0.15” smaller around. I prefer the bigger #1, but considering my most favorite cocks are quite a bit larger than the Uncut #1, it feels rather slender for me.

Which, for me, makes it a really great butt toy.

It’s slender, but it still has a pronounced head that gives some texture going in. The silicone is body safe and easy to clean, which is necessary to me for butt toys.

It’s part of Tantus’ dual-density line, which makes it much more squishy than their usual silicone, much of which is very hard. But even so, it’s hard to feel the difference in the two layers of silicone — they still both feel fairly solid, and it’s not quite as malleable as I’d prefer.

Overall: Great shape, great size. Excellent materials. Highly recommend.

New York Toy Collective Ellis

See this? This is why I’m spoiled with the dual-density type of materials. New York Toy Collective — and Vixen Creations — have raised the bar so high with the feel of strap-on dicks, that most other softskin or pureskin or silkyskin or whateverskin that other manufacturers make pretty much always falls short. I’ll admit, I’m spoiled. You spoil me, NYTC!

I love the Ellis. I love the whole NYTC line, to be honest. It doesn’t have the built in proprietary core that bends like the Carter and the Shilo do, so if you’re expecting it to be like NYTC’s signature dildos, you may be disappointed. But if you can take Ellis for what she is — a beautiful, well-designed, dual density silicone uncut strap-on — it’s fantastic.

Again, the skin does not move. Still bummed about that, but what can you do. I love the tapered head on this one, it also makes it a really good butt toy — or a really good blow job toy, because it can slip just a little farther since the tip is slender. It’s long, easily harnessable, with just the right amount of give.

You can get the Ellis either with a vibrating bullet that inserts into the base, or a suction cup! Personally I’m into the suction cup, but if you are someone who likes bullet vibrators next to your bits, go for it.

Overall: 12/10 will use again. And again and again.

Also! Use the code “SUGARBUTCH” at newyorktoycollective.com and you’ll get $5 off — basically free shipping!

Bonus: New York Toy Collective Pierre

This one isn’t an insertable (at least, not really), but the New York Toy Collective’s Pierre is one of the few silicone packing cocks out there, period — and it’s also uncut. It comes in two different sizes, small and regular, and four different lovely colors.

This one and the Masho are my favorites to pack with these days. I love how Pierre feels, and I love feeling the tip in particular. I have taken to starting blow jobs on a packer in my own sex play lately, and I really like that … it feels like starting at the beginning, and then watching the process of getting hard. It feels more intimate, to have my dick sucked when it’s so soft and vulnerable and small. And it feels sweet, and revealing.

Overall: One of the best packers on the market, period. It’s got a featured spot.

These toys were all sent to me for an honest, unbiased review. You can buy Pierre and Ellis over at New York Toy Collective, Uncut #1 and Uncut #2 from Tantus, and Uncut Emperor from SheVibe — or your favorite feminist, queer, women-centered sex toy. Find your closest sex toy store on this sex toy store map.

Don’t forget — Use the code “SUGARBUTCH” at newyorktoycollective.com and you’ll get $5 off — basically free shipping!

Five Blow Jobs on the Me & My Boi blog tour

Sacchi Green’s new erotica anthology Me & My Boi is finally out! It’s been multiple years in the making, and it includes one of my favorite stories (about rife), Five Blow Jobs.

The first part goes like this:

I.

After the workshop. I haven’t had enough of you (will I ever get enough of you) and strip you bare, glove my hand, slide two fingers inside you, sideways on our huge bed. The lamplight is different than the bright white of this room during the day, more warm, orange-yellow-gold and more full of shadows, and the shadows and the gold fall onto your skin like paint. In the car on the way back I couldn’t resist (can rarely resist, it’s so hard to resist when part of our dynamic is built around taking what I want) and slide your small fingers into my mouth. You miss the exit. Your fingers are blunt and I trace your jagged nails with my tongue, suck the salt from the pads, taste the day on your skin. I pull your wrist down to your pelvis and take two fingers in my mouth again when my two fingers are inside you, gently pressing, not a lot of motion, and I start to suck you off. Up and down your fingers like a cock. I hold your g-spot and feel it quiver in my fingers. I let your fingers out of my mouth so you can touch your clit, and keep my tongue on the back of your hand. You shudder and convulse against my mouth, your cunt grips my fingers. You slide your fingers back in my mouth, eager, and I taste you, just a little, at the tips, and I do it all over again.

The book is particularly special to me because there’s so little butch-centered erotica out there, and this is one of the rare ones. I believe it’s not exclusively butch/butch erotica, but includes masculine-of-center identities of all kinds, whether they use the word ‘butch’ or ‘boi’ or don’t use labels at all.

As Sacchi writes, in the introduction:

This book is a celebration of all things boi, butch, masculine-of-center, in those who include lesbian as a part of their identities. These are stories of people we love, and people we are, who put their own personal spins on the gender spectrum. Bois who like girls, bois who like bois, bois who like both; those who don’t label themselves boi or butch at all but can’t stand to wear a skirt; screw-the-binary free spirits of many flavors. Cool bois, hot bois, swaggering bois, shy bois, leather bois, flannel bois, butch daddies, and the femmes and mommas and tops and bottoms and even girls next door who wouldn’t have them any other way.

The anthology includes a lot of my favorite queer erotica writers with new works … I can’t wait to read the entire thing!

Blog Tour

June 12—Sacchi Green—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 13—Annabeth Leong—http://annabethleong.blogspot.com
June 14—Anna Watson— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 15—Sinclair Sexsmith—www.sugarbutch.net
June 16—Jove Belle— https://jovebelle.com/
June 17—Tamsin Flowers— www.tamsinflowers.com
June 18—Victoria Villasenor— https://breywillows.com
June 19—J, Caladine—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 20—Victoria Janssen— http://victoriajanssen.com
June 21—Dena Hankins—  http://denahankins.net/my-summer-of-boi/
June 22—D. Orchid— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 23—Pavini Moray— https://emancipatingsexuality.com/
June 24—Melissa Mayhew— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 25—Jen Cross— http://writingourselveswhole.org
June 26—Kyle Jones— www.butchtastic.net
June 27—Gigi Frost— www.facebook.com/gigifrost
June 28—Aimee Hermann— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 29—Sommer Marsden—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
June 30—Axa Lee—www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com
July 1— Kathleen Bradean— www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Oh and also, there’s a BOOK GIVEAWAY

Anyone who comments on any of the posts will be entered in a drawing for one free copy of the anthology. You can comment on more than one post and be entered more than once. The winner will be announced and notified by July 5, if not sooner.

Pick up Me & My Boi from your local feminist queer radical bookstore, directly from Cleis Press, or, if you must, from Amazon.

Review: 4-in-1 Natural—Pack, Pee, Play, & Pleasure from FreeToM Prosthetics

I don’t usually review or play with very many “prosthetics” because, well, I’ll be honest: they are usually incredibly expensive. But recently I’ve noticed a growing market of (what I’d call) strap-on cocks, pissers, packers, and other penis-like tools that are marketed to transgender men as prosthetics, and as someone very curious about strap-ons and strap-on technology, I eventually had to try at least one of ’em.

So, I did a bunch of research (on Tumblr, mostly) and found the one that intrigued me the most: The FreeToM 4-in-1 Natural.

This prosthetic is made of medical grade silicone, and designed to have four functions: packing, peeing, playing, and pleasure. It is very soft, more like a packing dick than the usual silicone strap-ons that are made for fucking, and it folds easily in the center to pack more easily. It comes with a small, hollow rod that bends, which is insertable into the back of the dick through the hole in the center of the shaft, which makes it harder and able to fuck (play) with. It has a cup-like structure that fits against the body with a hole through the center of the shaft, so it’s able to be used as a stand-to-pee (STP) device. And the side that sits against the body also has a “pleasure slide,” textured silicone on the underneath that is meant to stimulate the wearer.

freetomIt comes in all kinds of colors. In fact, that would be my number one suggestion for folks interested in making the investment and getting one of their own: definitely order the color samples pack so you can get the precise match for your body and skin tone. I made an educated guess based on holding my forearm up to the computer screen plus what I read online (particularly that most white folks are more pink than they think), and I’m pretty happy with the color I ended up with, but I think a different color might be even more accurate, especially because genitals are often darker than skin on other parts of the body.

(When I order another one, I’ll definitely order the color pack first. Note I said when, not if.)

FreeToM offers a Paint Plus Upgrade Service, and the photos of their prosthetics that have been painted are incredibly impressive. I wasn’t sure it would be worth it to spring for the extra $80 to get it painted, but considering the high quality and how this dick has been a pretty serious game changer for me, I think it might be. The veins look amazing, and the head of the dick is much more realistic.

I spent quite a while browsing through the FreeToM website before I decided on this particular model, the 4-in-1 Natural. They also have a pack-and-play model that doesn’t have a ‘pleasure slide,’ and a 4-in-1 that is circumcised, as well as some smaller packing versions. But this one had a little bit of everything, which is what I wanted.

So this is what I ordered:

All NaturAL: 6.5″ Pack, Pee, Play & Pleasure – Warm Rosy Skin

Want to see some photos?

ftm1

From the website’s description:

The All NaturAL 4 in 1 prosthetic is 6 1/2″ in length and tapers off to 5 1/2″ in girth. The testicles and foreskin on this prosthetic are everything! It’s functions are: pack, pee, play and pleasure. It was deliberately designed to fold in the middle, to make packing much easier and has a sturdy enough cup for urination. All of our prosthetics are molded off of volunteer cis males for an ultra realistic look an the All NaturAL is definitely the most realistic prosthetic we sell! The hollow rod that comes inside the prosthetic is acid, fungal and bacteria building resistant. All hollow rods inside are removable for proper cleaning and sturdy enough for play. The hollow rod inside also allows you to bend the prosthetic in whichever position you’d like and can also be bent downward for comfortable packing. The FtM Pleasure Slide is also molded into the prosthetic itself and was designed to slide up and down the FtM genitalia. The All NaturAL is the most efficient prosthetic we sell and because of that, it’s a tad more expensive.

Let’s talk about how it works & what it’s like

Pros

Holy crap, this dick. I’m not kidding when I said it is a game-changer … other strap-on models just aren’t as interesting anymore. I love the softness of this one, I love how it feels when I wear it, I love how much I can feel a blow job through the suction and the hole through the shaft of the dick.

I keep using the word “juicy” about this dick, and it’s not (only) because it makes me wet, it’s also because of the way some of the model is hollow, so it has this … squish to it that is just awesome.

The colors are amazing, the quality is high, the texture is fantastic. It is so good for blow jobs. If you are into blow jobs, I highly recommend this dick.

rife told me it’s his second favorite dick to suck, his first favorite being Shilo by the New York Toy Collective. He also said he particularly likes it because I can be as rough as I want with it, and because it’s so soft (but still silicone!) he can take it and it doesn’t poke him the way some harder silicone does.

Cons

Let’s not beat around the bush: It’s huge. I ordered the 6.5″ because it was the only one that came uncut, though there are a few other models of the 4-in-1 that are smaller, and I would highly recommend going for something smaller than 6.5″ if it is primarily going to be a packing dick for you.

It is hard to pack with. Not impossible, but it feels very different and very noticeable. The balls and the cup are very, very large, bigger than the palm of my hand, and very bulky. It sits well in my (baggy) pants, and it does fit between my legs, but wearing it in that place has been taking some getting used to (I’m much more used to wearing a packing dick in front of my body, rather than under my body).

It’s also kind of hard to strap-on and fuck with. Maybe I just haven’t used the right harness yet (I think the SpareParts Joque would be particularly good for it), but it’s been hard for me to keep it in place. Because it’s so squishy, it moves around a lot and edges its way out of the places I want it to be. Also, I like pretty rough sex, and because it’s so soft, it is not the best at that.

I need more practice using it as a STP device, and I think generally it does quite well with that, but because the space inside of it is quite large, it feels a little bit messy. My favorite STPs are still simple and sleek, and this one feels like it’d need rinsed every time, which is a challenge in public restrooms or when using elaborate harnesses.

The other major con for this dick is the price. It’s a serious investment. They do have some pre-made and pre-painted models, which are not custom made when you order them, which have the benefit of shipping faster and also of being a bit more affordable. They also have a clearance section, so if you have your heart set on something from FreeToM and you just can’t afford to get one, definitely stalk their clearance and pick something up there.

Rating it on a 1-5 star scale, 5 being the best and 1 being meh:

★★☆☆☆ 2/5 Packing
★★★★☆ 4/5 Pleasure
★★★☆☆ 3/5 Pissing
★★★★★ 5/5 Blow jobs
★★☆☆☆ 2/5 Rough sex/hard fucking

Regardless of it’s limitations, it is a pretty incredible tool and toy. If you’re even half as into blow jobs and packing and strap-ons as I am, I bet you’d love this.

The All Natural 4-in-1 prosthetic from FreeToM was not sent to me to review, it was purchased of my own free will because I wanted it for myself. If you buy one, tell ’em I sent you?

A Personal History of Best Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition is out now, and I’m part of the blog tour editor Sacchi Green has organized on it’s behalf. The story of mine that is in this collection, Luscious & Wild, is here on Sugarbutch already, so I thought I’d take you back into the Best Lesbian Erotica series in celebration of it’s 20th.

Personally, I started collecting them in 2001. I fancied myself a lover of smut and a sex-focused person, but frowned at my itty bitty erotica collection at home. So I started frequenting the lesbian erotica section of my favorite used book store, Twice Sold Tales, on Seattle’s Capitol Hill, which was an equally itty bitty shelf near the floor. The ‘Gay and Lesbian’ section towered in the shelves above it, but I was looking for the bottom-shelf stuff. The dirty stuff. I bought every edition I could find, eventually filling in my collection by ordering the few volumes I was missing online, and still order the newest edition the minute it comes out.

The series now spans 20 volumes with as many different guest editors. It can be hard to pick just which ones to read, or where to start. So, here are three of my favorites.

Best Lesbian Erotica 1998

ble98The first one that got me really hooked was Best Lesbian Erotica 1998. The story by Karlyn Lotney (also known as Fairy Butch, if you remember On Our Backs and other late 90s sex/dyke activism) called “Clash of the Titans” remains one of my favorite erotica pieces ever, and blasted open what I thought erotica could be or do. For example, it could be complex emotionally, it could contain activism and politics, it could show switching, it could show vulnerability. Not that I didn’t know that, exactly, I just didn’t … realize it until I read this story, and this whole book. (I wrote about it in this week’s new View From The Top column, titled The First Time I Knew I Was A Top.)

She cut a swath through my flat like Moses parting the Red Sea, and made me feel like a man: all big and dumb and panting. I felt my internal butch cock harden and start its invisible levitation, and the part of my brain that concerns itself with floral arrangements, oranges, and perfect living rooms fell away. Another part took over, the part that found its genesis in my father’s collection of late sixties’ issues of Playboy, benches two-ten, and answers to “Daddy.”
—”Clash of the Titans” by Karlyn Lotney, from Best Lesbian Erotica 1998

The other piece that made me speechless (and come) was “Ridin’ Bitch” by Toni Amato. That story—that includes a hard femme who jacks off a butch’s strap-on shamelessly while they ride from the bar to the butch’s apartment on a motorcycle—was part of what completely convinced me that I loved strap-on sex.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2006

ble06Best Lesbian Erotica 2006 included the first erotica short story I ever published. I have read that edition over and over, mostly because my story is in it, and it thrilled me to no end to see my name in print. (It’s under my legal name, by the way, not under Sinclair.) 2006 was the year I started Sugarbutch as well, but that actually came after this publication was accepted, and I thought Sugarbutch would be a little private side-project, not become my next big thing.

BLE ’06 also includes a beautiful story by Peggy Munson, and one of my absolute favorites by S. Bear Bergman, called ‘Silver Dollar Afternoon.’

I fall in love with her when anyone asks her why she doesn’t wear her beautiful long hair all the way down and she says, with just a hint of coolness: “A woman’s hair is for her husband,” which makes me remember every time she has unpinned her hair for my delighted eyes and even if I’m not quite a husband I still shiver in my blue jeans without fail.
—Silver Dollar Afternoon by S. Bear Bergman, Best Lesbian Erotica 2006

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012

ble12The 2012 edition is probably my favorite, but that’s because I’m the guest editor and so I got to pick all of the stories. I actually went back to Kathleen Warnock, the series editor then, to request more stories after I read all the picks she’d sent me and I didn’t have as many as we needed. They just weren’t dirty enough—she’d picked me really good stories, with characters and plots and development and such, but I want that AND a really excellent, dirty, kinky sex scene. It is largely butch/femme heavy, but I tried to get a good mix of other character types and pairings in there, too.

The introduction that I wrote for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is about why lesbian erotica is valuable activism, and it’s here on Sugarbutch if you’d like to dive into my thoughts on that more.

These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless. For queers coming out and into our own, they are a path.” —From Why Lesbian Erotica is Valuable Activism

And now: Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition

BLEOfTheYear_approvedSince Tristan Taormino left, the series has gone through a few different editor’s hands, and I’m excited that Sacchi is responsible for this one. She’s edited many of my favorite lesbian erotica anthologies.

Thanks to Cleis Press for keeping this series going all these years!

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition at your local queer, feminist, women-centric, activist-oriented bookstore, or, only if you must, from Amazon.

Here’s the rest of the blog tour, which features the different authors in the book and our story titles. Click around & follow along!

Feb 10, Sacchi Green, Introduction
Feb 11, Rose de Fer, “Dust”
Feb 12, Louise Blaydon, “Ascension”
Feb 13, Megan McFerren, “The Royalty Underground”
Feb 14, Harper Bliss, “Reunion Tour”
Feb 15, D.L. King, “Hot Blood”
Feb 16, Jean Roberta, “Tears from Heaven”
Feb 17, Sinclair Sexsmith, “Luscious and Wild”
Feb 18, R.G. Emanuelle, “Smorgasbord”
Feb 19, Rose P. Lethe, “A Professional”
Feb 20, Anna Watson, “Easy”
Feb 21, Valerie Alexander, “Grind House”
Feb 22, Annabeth Leong, “Give and Take”
Feb 23, Frankie Grayson, “Mirror Mirror”
Feb 24, Cheyenne Blue, “The Road to Hell”
Feb 25, Emily L. Byrne, “The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet”
Feb 26, Sossity Chiricuzio, “Make them Shine”
Feb 27, Teresa Noelle Roberts, “Tomato Bondage”

PS: Comment on any of these posts for a chance to win a free copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition. The drawing will be held by February 28th and the winner announced by March 5th.

Finally, an Ejaculating Dildo: The Semenette (Review)

There are very few options for strap-on dildos that ejaculate. There are quite a few “novelty toys” out there, but they usually have one of two things wrong: either 1) they are made with porous or toxic materials, or 2) they are manufactured such that the tube that squirts the liquid out is lodged firmly in the center of the base of the dildo, which makes it pretty much impossible to strap on.

(I’ve even gone so far as to order one of the intense non-human Bad Dragon squirt dildos, to try it out. I bet some folks would be into it, but it didn’t work for me.)

So when the Semenette became available in 2014, I was thrilled. Finally, finally! A strap-on cock I can actually use to squirt with.

brown

It came into being for personal reasons: the founder actually wanted something to use to get her partner pregnant (or so the urban legend goes). “Turkey basters? Ew!” are part of their marketing materials. Personally I don’t really have many feelings about turkey basters, one way or the other … not so sexy, sure, but I’m not sure actual insemination is exactly sexy, either. But that’s not to say that I don’t have a come or a body fluid fetish—I totally do. And I’ve wanted to be able to make a big mess of fluids in some of my strap-on play for quite a while. (Or to get a blow job and actually squeeze some liquid down my boy’s throat? I’d really like that.)

The plusses:

The Semenette is high quality silicone, and available in three colors (fairly standard for “realistic” tones of strap-ons, these days, and yes, very limited, and not at all accurate for everyone’s skin tones). It is 6.25″ long and about 1.5″ in diameter, which is on the small side for a strap-on dildo (most of my personal favorites are more like 7×2), but it’s a perfectly fine size for most things. The base of it is specifically designed so the tube tucks into a little divot and then comes out the side, so it’s possible to use it in a harness. It comes with a tube and little bulb that you can fill with water, lube, or a home-made come-like substance (there are a variety of recipes for this online).

But, there are a few minuses:

The silicone is hard, not one of the “soft skin” or “real skin” kinds of silicone that a lot of strap-on dildos are these days. And I know, I know—you do have to overlook the name. I think there must be some folks who are into it, but for me, I really dislike it. I think taking a word and adding “ette” on it in order to make it more accessible or interesting to women to be … belittling, somehow. And while some folks might get off on the idea of ‘semen’ as part of their sex toy, a lot of folks will not. (The name is changing in their 2.0 version—more on that in a minute.) And, perhaps the hardest thing for me to overlook, the bulb that comes with it—which is the reservoir in which you can store the liquid you want to squirt—is really tiny. I suppose if you’re building a toy to be used for actual insemination, the quantity of liquid that you would use is actually quite small. But if you’re going for the whole, uh, effect of it, I would like to use more. It probably wouldn’t be that hard to find an adequate new bulb that is bigger and able to hold more liquid, but, well, add that to the small projects list, and maybe I’ll get around to it in 2019.

semenette
Despite some of these setbacks, there is absolutely no better strap-on dildo on the market for ejaculating. Literally every other option I have found is either made of dangerous materials or not made for strapping on, so this is the only good one I know of.

(If you know of some I don’t know about, please, let me know!)

I’m also thrilled to discover that Semenette is releasing a new version of this same concept, now called POP! Dildo. It’s a little bigger than the Semenette, and has an optional slightly larger bulb as well. I haven’t gotten my hands (heh heh) on it yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know how they compare.

The Semenette was sent to me for a review. Order the Semenette online here.

On the Importance of Queer, Women Centered, & Feminist Sex Toy Shops (Map)

When I was traveling around to toy stores and bookstores across North America for the release of Say Please, I started keeping a list of the best of the best.

And eventually, I made a map of as many as I could find.

This is a totally US-centric map! Mostly because that’s where I live & work. I’d love to add more—what shops did I miss? Which should I add? Tell me in the comments + I’ll include it!

Link to the Google map of queer, women-centered, & feminist sex toy shops (just in case it doesn’t load up there)

I came out in Seattle in 1999, and I was lucky enough to be in close proximity to the first Babeland brick and morter store, where I started attending their workshops and smut readings, and I would go in with my scrimped ten bucks and get the best vibrator I could find. It took a long time for me to fully invest in quality silicone, or a real leather harness, but eventually, Babeland (which also has two stores in Manhattan & Brooklyn), and other stores, like Feelmore 510 in Oakland, became places that I frequented and invaluable resources.

The staff at women-centric, queer-friendly sex toy stores are often not just paid sales staff, but educators. The folks who work there know about safer sex practices, what lubes are good if you’re prone to yeast infections, and what kind of toys go with what kinds of lube or condoms. They can recommend different toys based on your body and your needs. I often find that they have a lot of knowledge about people of size, differing ability, body support, and other kinds of access needs. They often have tried out the newest toys and are up on all the latest goodies, so they can recommend all kinds of stuff.

These kinds of stores are well-lit, honest, out in the open, and sex-positive. There’s no flickering florescent blubs and weird backlit rooms for previewing porn videos (I don’t know about you, but that kind of thing was the sex toy store of my youth—and the only kind of sex toy store I knew about, until I found Babeland).

These kinds of stores often have all sorts of knowledge about women’s pleasure, about owning your own desires, about sustaining longer orgasms, about whatever kind of little pickle (ha ha) you might be dealing with in your own sex life. If you bring them your sex puzzles, they will help, is what I’m saying.

Good Vibrations has a Customer Service 800 number—(800) 289-8423 M-F 8am-5pm PST—which has made it into some famous erotica stories (see: this Herotica volume 3 collection from 1994 that I may or may not have read over and over and over and over. MAY OR MAY NOT), and which is staffed by sex educators who will eagerly help you figure out what toy to buy or how to get what it is you’re looking for.

This stuff goes way beyond “retail store” and far into the purpose of “community center” and “resource center.”

Plus, there are often classes and workshops, or erotica readings, at stores like these. If one of them is in your area, I highly suggest you get on their mailing list and keep up with their goings on.

I’m hoping that creating a map like this will be an easy resource for folks who are looking for the great sex-positive sex toy stores near them, and that also it will inspire us to keep patronizing these stores. They are so important + valuable to the sex worlds, and I really want to see them thrive.

If you’re not anywhere near one of these, you could check out some of these amazing shops online, too: Good Vibrations which has many different shops around the San Francisco Bay Area, JT’s Stockroom in LA, Early 2 Bed in Chicago, She Bop the Shop in Portland, Oregon, or Babeland.

Here’s the link to the Google map of queer, women-centered, & feminist sex toy shops that I have so far. Did I miss any? Please leave info on them in the comments & I’ll check them out! Make sure that they are:

  • Welcoming to all genders
  • Discerning about what kind of toys that they carry (e.g., they don’t carry toys made of plastics that are bad for the body)
  • Inclusive of and centered around women’s sexuality
  • Bonus points if they are queer- or woman-owned!

Read These Books! (Perhaps Some Holiday Gift Ideas?)

I read a lot—and of course I obsessively read queer and sex-positive and revolutionary pleasure books all the time to figure out what’s going on in this field, to learn, to keep up with things (and because I stare at screens way too much and paper gives my eyes a break).

Here are some recent notable titles that I highly recommend you check out—and perhaps they’ll even be perfect gifts!

sexpleasureTHE Sex & Pleasure Book by Shar Rednour and Carol Queen.
Coming out from Good Vibrations, you KNOW this bible is going to have a little bit of everything. Here’s the description: Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist Carol Queen PhD and Author, Editor Femmepress Shar Rednour have collaborated on a tome that aims to demystify sex and offer enough fun, detailed knowledge to make solo or sociable sex fabulous for just about everyone. Covering everything from sexual identity to relationships, sex through the lifespan to pregnancy and health issues, disability to sex and tech, and tons of information about sexual practices, positions, and of course toys! … This book is for people of many identities, experience levels, and interests. Covering sexual changes across the lifespan, the identity spectrum, sexual anatomy, and of course sex toys and products, this ambitious compendium aims to inform and inspire sexual comfort and exploration!
GET IT FOR: the aspiring sex educator friend in your life, who still needs reference manuals.
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

fireWoman On Fire by Amy Jo Goddard.
Amy Jo is a genius empowerment coach who has worked with hundreds of women in intensive workshops. Throughout the book, she explores “the nine elements of a sexually empowered life:” 1. Voice: Excavate and rewrite your sexual story, 2. Release: Make space for the sexual self you’ve been waiting for; 3. Emotion: Show up as emotionally powerful; 4. Body: Know and radically accept your body; 5. Desire: Activate desire and create a sexual practice; 6. Permission: Give yourself permission to be erotically authentic; 7. Play: Develop sexual skills and remember how to play; 8. Home: Build sexual confidence and come home to you; 9. Fire: Use your dynamic sexual energy to live vibrantly. Amy Jo’s work doesn’t stop in the bedroom, though—the effects of her work reverberate out into more connected intimate relationships, more power in our work, and more pleasure throughout life. She reminds us that the more whole we are as sexual beings, the more fulfilled we are as human beings.
GET IT FOR: The woman who could use a kick to her power, and can do it through sex.
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

blush Enough to Make You Blush by Princess Kali.
Kali is the force de femme behind Kink Academy, and she’s been teaching erotic humiliation in dungeons and at kink retreats for a decade, but now she’s compiled all her suggestions, tips, and theory into a book! Going way beyond “lick my boots, worm,” Kali explores in depth psychology of domination and submission through embarrassment, humiliation, and degradation. Using both personal experience and extensive interviews she shares advice and detailed ideas for a broad range of embarrassing, humiliating, and degrading ways to enjoy consensual kinky fun. Also covered are important concepts such as communication, negotiation, consent, triggers, aftercare, and more.
GET IT FOR: the kinkster friend who already has all the books! (They won’t have this one, yet—it’s brand new!)
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

show Show Yourself To Me by Xan West.
Xan has been and remains one of my most favorite erotica writers. Not just because they include all sorts of kinky queer genderfuckers who do dirty things to each other (and talk about it) in ways that mirror my own favorite fantasies and (at its best) play, but also because they write so beautifully and skillfully, and I seriously admire their craft as a writer. Show Yourself To Me is a game-changer of a short story collection. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so rocked by a collection—probably since I read Macho Sluts or The Leather Daddy and the Femme. From the description: Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks. One of the stories from this book, The Tender Sweet Young Thing, is here on Sugarbutch in full, and Xan’s blogs is one of the Best Queer Sex Blogs.
GET IT FOR: The genderqueer friend who talks about hir sexcapades.
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

lovenot Love Not Given Lightly by Tina Horn.
Part memoir, part expose, part journalistic study—this is Tina Horn at her best, taking us deep into her world of sex work and spankings and showing us around, making it all seem perfectly normal and glittery. But not just that—human, too, and real, in a way that makes them seem like they could be our friends, our clients, our coworkers.
GET IT FOR: The sex worker friends you know, or folks who keep their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the sex & activism world. (They’re going to want to read this.)
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

comingoutlikeapornstar Coming Out Like a Porn Star edited by Jiz Lee
Features an amazing array of porn stars telling their stories—Joanna Angel, Annie Sprinkle, Betty Blac, Nina Hartley, Candida Royalle, Conner Habib, Dale Cooper, Christopher Zeischegg, Cindy Gallop, Drew DeVeaux, Erika Lust, Gala Vanting, Casey Calvert, Lorelei Lee, Stoya, Ignacio Rivera AKA Papí Coxxx, and many others. Coming out is never an easy process, and some folks have to come out over and over again; Jiz’s collection shows the heartbreak, the amazing points of connection, and the humanness of so many moments in different porn star’s lives. Everyone has been talking about this book—and using words like “life-changing,” “powerful,” and “intensely human.” It reveals so much about what a porn star’s life is really like, and gives the opportunity for these stars to speak for themselves, and share the complexities of their own stories.
GET IT FOR: the aspiring porn star you know. You know the one.
Get it at Amazon, or your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

sweetandrough-big Sweet & Rough: Queer Kink Erotica by Sinclair Sexsmith
Hey wait! How’d that get in this list?! Just kidding—I am making sure to tell you that the paperback version is now available on Amazon (because I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned that here yet, oops). Having a whole stack of ’em in my living room right now is so thrilling—it’s real! It feels so much more real than having a digital book. So, if you (or your loved one/s) enjoy reading the dirty writings on Sugarbutch, they’d probably enjoy this collection of some of my favorite stories that I’ve ever written. Hope you enjoy it. (Will be available in places other than Amazon soon; it is already available at Bluestockings Bookstore in New York City!)
GET IT FOR: the butch/femme queers who love reading dirty things.
Get it at Amazon, coming soon to your local feminist queer indie bookstore!

Review: What’s the Best Wand Vibrator?

In general, I’m not much of a fan of vibrators.

I used to be—small, buzzy egg vibrators were some of the first sex toys I ever bought, and I accessorized them with small silicone slip-on covers that fluttered, and loved it. I bought a rabbit vibrator, that one that oscillates and rotates and pivots and then also the bunny’s ears flicker.

But for me, those were mostly gateway sex toys, leading me into BDSM gear and impact toys and leather and harnesses and strap-ons. I’d occasionally use one, but not too often. (You’ll notice there are very few vibrators reviewed in the Sugarbutch archives.)

The “luxury” vibrators started getting more and more popular in the last, oh, idk, 10 years or so, and there are a ridiculous amount of options for fancy, upscale vibrators that pulse in different patterns, that are rechargeable, submersible in water, made of gorgeous materials, and incredibly sexy designs. Still, in general, for me, the $100+ price tag is just too much and they will, inevitably, break, as they have tiny motors and detailed innards that just won’t work forever (unlike a leather flogger, that just gets more valuable as you break it in, or a silicone strap-on dick, which have lifetime guarantees from places like Vixen Creations).

I’ll admit, too, that the luxury vibes are often a little too … well, feminine. So I suppose I have a small bias there.

Plus, there’s just the way that my body works: I tend to need a lot of heavy stimulation. And … there’s something sexier about a static object: an object that only moves as an extension of me, of my arm, of my will, rather than something that has it’s own movement and agenda and volition.

And yet … when I finally got turned on to the Hitachi Magic Wand (now known as the Magic Wand Original), I made a vibrator exception. It is so great. Magic Wand converts know what I mean … often if someone is a “Magic Wand kind of guy” (as I have been known to describe myself), it tells me a lot about what kind of sensation they like.

If you’ve never tried a “wand” type vibrator, here’s a round-up review of four of the very best out there, and how they’re different and similar. My boy and I did some vigorous testing and we have our favorites, but your favorites may be different depending on your body.

Generally, wands are not a “well, if I work really hard, then I can get off with this toy” kind of toy. They are lazy toys. They are sit-back-and-take-it toys. They are toys for deep relaxing. I mean, hell, you can even use it on other parts of your body, like your feet or your shoulders, for really good muscle release. (I know, so novel right?) They are, in general, very intense—they often have a much higher power than any of the hand-held small vibrators, with a much deeper vibration.

IMG_8505
The four different wands: The Magic Wand Original, The Doxy, The Magic Wand Cordless, and the Lelo Smart Wand

The Magic Wand Original

IMG_5737

Ahh, the Original. It used to be called the Hitachi Magic Wand, but Hitachi wanted to pull it from the market (as they make tons of things other than vibrators, and they don’t really like having their brand name associated with sex toys), but agreed to keep making them if nobody would call them “Hitachis” ever again. I have a hard time not casually calling it a Hitachi—because, that’s what it’s been called for a dozen years!—but I try to think about it as an intentional transition and call it what it wants to be called. (I am glad the company is still making them, after all.)

When I asked rife his opinion, he said: “Everyone knows what this one is. It’s the go-to, classic, mother of all wands.”

Yeah.

It’s not particularly waterproof, however—if you’re someone who squirts a lot, it can easily seep into the motors of the Original and damage it. (I think rife and I have gone through two of them, and my best guess is that’s what did ’em in.)

If you don’t know it, this is probably the place to start. It’s teeth-rattlingly buzzy, and it has two settings: high, and OMFG AHHHHH. If you like a lot of stimulation or a lot of vibration, this one is for you.

rife’s rank: #2
Sinclair’s rank: #2

Plus:

Plugs in—never runs out of battery
Reliable, consistent vibration

Minus:

Plugs in – you’re tied to a power outlet, plus it is hard to travel with as it’s a US standard plug
No low setting and no setting variability
Not waterproof, if you’re even someone who squirts a lot of fluid you will likely get that into the gears of the wand and damage it
The head is made of plastic, so if you want to share it with partners you aren’t fluid-bonded with, you’ll want to use a condom over the head

Buy it at:

Babeland Good Vibrations She Vibe JT’s Stockroom

The Doxy

IMG_5742

Erika Moen turned me on to the Doxy with her reviews on Oh Joy Sex Toy, saying that she loves the Magic Wand, but that the Doxy was even better. WHAAAT!? So I had to try it.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t do it for me at all. I don’t think I’ve ever actually gotten off while using this wand … I always get turned on, but then I just skip over the coming part and go right to the frustrated part, and I always end up wishing I was using the Magic Wand or even my hand.

It’s got a beautiful PVC head, which is bigger and softer than the Magic Wand, so I thought that would make the sensations less intense and therefore better, but somehow it is too soft and cloudy and not specific enough for me. It has a lot more settings than the Magic Wand—TEN of them total—but yet, they are too intense or not intense enough.

rife: “I got overstimulated WAY too quickly. Even the second to lowest setting was still way too much.”

Get this one if: You love your Magic Wand, but you want variable speeds or more power.

rife’s rank: #4
Sinclair’s rank: #4

Plus:

Ten variable speeds
High quality materials
Plugs in, so it won’t run out of battery
Comes in multiple colors!

Minus:

Plugs in, with a long cord
Soft head isn’t quite specific enough
Biggest of the 4 wands reviewed here, so it can be unweildly

Average cost: $135

Buy it at:

Babeland She Vibe JT’s Stockroom

The Magic Wand Cordless

cordless

The Magic Wand redesigned and re-released a new version just this year, and this time, they made it cordless! But although that’s notable, that’s not even the best thing about it—it’s the settings, the settings, the settings! The Original Magic Wand has just two speeds: High and OMFG. But the Cordless has four variable speeds AND four vibration settings, going from low to high. The buttons are completely intuitive and so easy to use.

The body and head are slightly redesigned, too, to be a little sleeker and slightly better materials.

rife says: “I don’t miss the Original. I want this one. I’m so into the settings, it really helps me not to get overstimulated. It has the most foreplay built in, all the variable speeds and settings make it more “believable,” more like a human interaction than a morse code machine.”

While I like it, I don’t like-like it, if you know what I mean. I find myself wanting the Original, and not that into the settings.

rife’s ranking: #1
Sinclair’s ranking: #3

Average cost: $125

Plus:

Four variable speeds!
Four variable buzzing patterns!
Cordless & rechargeable, OR you can plug it in!
Still as powerful as the Original!
Very intuitive buttons

Minus:

Cordless means that it can run out of battery power and die, just when you need it

Buy it at:

Maxi Wand Amazon Babeland She Vibe Good Vibrations

The Lelo Smart Wand

IMG_5750

This one wins, hands-down, for design. It’s so sleek and sexy. The silicone body is that velvety-smooth silicone like many of Lelo’s high quality sex toys, and it just begs to be touched. (I love that.) It also has this curve in it, unlike any of the others, and I am completely convinced that the curve makes it better. It can both curl under the pubic bone, just a little bit, and get the pressure just in the right spot, and for those of us who like to jerk things off in a hand-pumping kind of (dick) way? This is really good for that.

So if the action of jerking a dick does anything for you, or if you are really into curved g-spot dildos or internal vibrators, you’ll like the shape.

The vibration is my favorite, by far. It’s got more of a deep rumble than any of the others, rather than a superficial buzzy-ness. It also has a weird/interesting feature where it responds to pressure, which isn’t quite as cool as it sounds, but nonetheless makes it feel a bit more interactive. It seems to slow down when it receives more pressure, though, which is kind of strange—I want it to speed up.

It has 8 variable speeds, though I don’t find myself using those very often. I don’t quite have the overstimulation issue that rife reports. I just want it to be deep, rumbly, consistent vibration. And this? Yes, this. This is a major win for me.

rife’s rank: #3
Sinclair’s rank: #1

Plus:

Cordless & rechargable
Waterproof – fully submersible, which makes it easy to clean!
EIGHT different speeds
“Sense touch” responsive
Amazing, sexy design
Two different sizes – Medium and Large

Minus:

Because it’s cordless, it can run out of power
Rumbly, deep vibrations aren’t for everyone
Most expensive
“Sense touch” is kinda weird

Average cost: Large, $199; Medium, $159

Buy it at:

Babeland She Vibe Good Vibrations

And there you have it, folks!

I have definitely wondered if my body has just gotten used to the 12-plus years that I’ve been using the Magic Wand Original … I mean, how could it not? People definitely talk about getting “addicted” to it, or the ways that it makes other ways of getting off a bit harder. While I’ve seen studies that conclude that that’s not true, I also know people who swear by their own bodies that it is true for them, and I tend to believe the body’s truth over some study.

I hope that round-up is helpful. Honestly, I think they are all pretty incredible. I think the best way to really know if you’re into it or not is to go into a store and try them all out on your hands (or shoulders or other SFW place), and go from there. But I hope some of this background information was helpful for your decision making process. And hey, the holidays are coming up—might be time to put one of these on your wish list, or get one for your partner.

Last but not least …

IMG_8538It is really hard to try out and compare a bunch of wand vibrators. I mean—I know, boo hoo, but also: after using one for even just a little while, I’m already turned on that it’s hard to have an unbiased review of the next one. And if I haven’t used one since yesterday or this morning, it’s harder to compare the sensation.

So, of course, I had to tie up rife and blindfold him, and use each of them on him in turn, playing with the settings and the intensities, to help have a better taste test of them all. (Well, it helped with his review of them at least. For mine, I’ve been testing and retesting for the last three months since I got ahold of all of them.)

That scene was so fun—and he was so giddy and silly, trying to describe the sensation to me while I was buzzing away at his cunt, that I had to shoot some video and keep questioning him. It wasn’t quite an interrogation scene, but maybe had a little bit of that feel. I’ll be putting up some of the video on Instagram in the next few days if you’d like to see it, it’s pretty hilarious.

Also, my Instagram account is protected, but it’s not because I don’t want to share with you; it’s just because I don’t want my exes or my family to be able to browse through my personal photographs, and I want to be able to keep posting personal things there. So please do come follow me there, just send a request and I’ll add you.

Thanks to Doxy, Magic Wand Rechargable, and Lelo for sending me samples to review!

Review: Carter, The (Big!) Bendable Dildo by New York Toy Collective

The Carter by New York Toy Collective

Carter has joined the family of insertable silicone dildos from New York Toy Collective, which has quickly become one of my most favorite manufacturers of cocks. They have a couple of very distinctive features: 1) They are the only company to make a bendable dildo out of silicone, and 2) they are one of the few (along with Tantus and Vixen Creations) that make dual-density silicone. They’re also a queer-owned and -run business, which is always a bonus.

The Carter model is different from their other two, Shilo and Mason, as it’s much wider than either that came before. (I’ve reviewed the Shilo here.) It is one inch shorter than the Mason, and another 1/2″ thick, which makes a big difference. For those of you who like girth: This.

Carter finally feels like a desert-island dildo—like one that I would choose, above all else, to be my go-to dick for everything.

Carter has the same ability to bend—and, thus, to pack in your jeans—as the others, but the added girth makes it a wee bit more bulky, and not nearly as discreet.

You know what else is great with the Carter? NYTC’s love bump, aka detachable balls. I’ve come to really prefer to have balls on my dicks (ask me why at a Cock Confidence workshop sometime, and what it has to do with Tantra), and I love how I can swap the balls from one dick to another.

Stats:
2″x7.5″ insertable (8″ total)
Made out of: Silicone with a bendable core

The silicone material means that you can sanitize it quite easily, either by wiping it down with a 10% bleach (90% water) solution, boiling it for 8 minutes, or washing it in the top shelf of the dishwasher (with no soap!). You should not use silicone-based lube with silicone products, so make sure you pick up some water-based lube to use it!

Yes, this is what my tattoo is for.
Yes, this is what my tattoo is for.

Carter retails for $169.95 and is worth every penny. I know that seems like a significant amount of money for a whole lot of people, but I do want to (continue to) encourage you to invest in your own pleasure. It’s worth saving up for, and buying something that will seriously last.

I highly recommend any of the NYTC products, but especially Carter, which has become my all-purpose go-to dick. Regardless of your experience or interest or what your partner can take, NYTC has a dick that will fit for you.

The Carter bendable dildo was sent to me from New York Toy Collective to review. Get your own Carter from the NYTC website, or from your favorite feminist queer sex-positive sex toy store.

The Ten Sugarbutch Cock Commandments

I’ve been teaching strap-on workshops for about six years now, and I’ve been strapping on for about fifteen. I also coach people to have more cock confidence (and to find the perfect cocks & harness for what they need). With all of this experience, I have some pretty strong opinions and philosophies about strap-on cocks and strap-on sex, and I have a lot of knowledge about what works for people and what doesn’t work.

But hey, remember that these are just my best ideas for strap-on play and philosophy at the moment. I reserve the right to change my mind and evolve my opinions about them later. Your best ideas may be different, and you might disagree with some of these—that’s a-okay by me. Just take what applies to you, and let go of the rest. If by chance I missed your personal favorite Cock Commandments, I invite you to leave them in the comments!

So here they are …

The Ten Cock Commandments

1. All bodies have holes

Male, female, men, women, queers, trans grrrls, trans fags, genderqueer folks, butches, femmes, fairy boys, bears, leather daddies, lesbians, bend over boyfriends, pro doms—whoever we are, all of our bodies have holes. All of our bodies have things that can fit into those pretty little holes, too: like tongues, fingers, toes, or even factory-installed dicks (if by chance you have one of those). And, because technology is awesome, we have dozens and dozens of options of sexytimes tools that we can add to our adult play time that might possibly feel good in those holes. Playing with penetration doesn’t make you straight, it doesn’t make you gay, it doesn’t make you masculine, it doesn’t make you anything that you aren’t—it only means you like to play with penetration.

Though we all have holes, not all of us like the sensation of things in our holes, for whatever reasons. Some people like lots of big huge things shoved in all their holes at once; some people like only teeny tiny things in this hole, but big things in that hole; some people like only this one hole touched on the outside. The trick is to find what sizes and sensations are just right, for you and for your lovers, and then respect the shit outta that.

2. Use sexy words to talk about it

Just like our factory-installed genitals, we all have different words that resonate for us and that really, really turn us off. Figure out which words work for YOU, share that with your partner, and then call it what you (and they) like to call it.

Here’s some tips: I would suggest against using words like “fake,” “pretend,” “faux,” “plastic,” and “dildo.” While they might be technically the correct terms for the item, once it becomes an extension of your (or your beloved’s) body, let me assure you: it can feel very real, and using words that support that connection rather than separating it can be empowering and validating. Some people like to give it a name—I just heard a poem where a femme kept referring to her cock as “Miss Big Red,” and then later, just “Red,” which was really hot. Some keep the name that the cock came with (Vixen Creations has some awesome names, like “Outlaw” and “Buck” and “Maverick”). Talk about it with your lovers and use the words that you—and they—find sexy and exciting.

3. It is an extension of your body

This tool is more than a toy: It can become an extension of your body. My advice? When you put it on, take a few deep breaths and feel into it. Put your finger on the very tip and see if you can feel your energy all the way into the shaft and weight and length and girth of it. Wear it around the house when you are doing chores or doing homework to get used to it. Put it on and jerk off with it, play with it, include it in your solo explorations. The more you get used to having it on your body, the more easily it’ll feel like an extension of you.

4. Fake it till you make it

But what if you just don’t feel it, don’t feel connected to it? Well, for now, I suggest you just fake it. Don’t lie about it—but make up in your head what it would feel like if you could feel it, and go from there. Experiment. Channel your favorite porn star and the way they drive their beautiful tool with such grace and ease and respect. (Don’t have a favorite porn star who straps on and plays? Maybe you should do some research, and find one!) Really feel into it and see what kind of sensations you can feel, and focus on those. A lot of strapping on and playing and “feeling” a strapped-on cock is mental, so be curious and open to expanding what you thought was possible.

5. A cock can be a top OR a bottom

Just because you’re the one wearing the cock doesn’t mean that you have to be the one in charge of the fuck, or the top or the dominant. Bottoms wear cocks, too! Being tied down to the bed and watching your lover lower themself down onto your shaft, riding and thrusting away on your cock, which is all exposed and hard and ready for the taking? That can be a very submissive place to play with. And if your dominant wants you to strap on and fuck them, aggressively, hard, with fervor? Well, do your service really well and perform just how they ask. Just because you’re the one doing the penetrating doesn’t mean you’re in charge.

6. Wrap your tool

Safer sex protocol applies to playing with strap-ons, too. Know your status, get tested, and increase your awareness of STIs and how to talk to lovers and play partners about them. If you’re monogamous with your partner, you may not need to wear a condom every time, but it’s still a good idea to do a deep clean every once in a while, and make sure you do a quick soap and water wash before you use it, and preferably after, too, to keep your materials in good shape. If you’re a (self-proclaimed) slutty slut and like pick-up play, or if you play with multiple partners, wear condoms on your dick and clean them between partners. Make sure you get good silicone cocks that can be easily boiled. You might want to get harnesses that clean more easily, like rubber, or machine washable materials like spandex and cotton and nylon.

7. Get your own cock

Couples sometimes shop for sex toys together. It can be a fun, sexy outing to go visit the nearest (hopefully queer-friendly, feminist, independent—if you’re lucky enough to have one of those in your area) sex toy store and look at all the goodies. But that often means that the sex toys expire when the relationship does.

Cocks and harnesses can be a little bit different than that. Often it’s not just a cock, it’s your cock. Perhaps you want it to match your particular style, in color or decor or shape. Or you might want to get one that compliments your body frame, your weight, your size, or your skin tone. Keep in mind that making it match your body frame might actually mean that you get a much, much smaller cock than you might ideally want (which is one of the most exciting things about being able to strap on and store your dicks in a drawer—you can have more than one!). Same with harnesses: It is often best to get one that fits for your body, and what is best for your body might not be best for your partner’s body.

I know finance is sometimes a limitation to getting the exact right product for you when you’re in a partnership; of course it’s totally fine to share toys. These products are expensive! But when you do invest as a couple, be willing to have a conversation about what will happen to the dick and harness if and when your relationship ends. Whose will it be? Will you have a little ritual and recycle it through a sex toy recycling program? Will you split up the harness and the cock? Be clear about it. And if you have the means, invest in your own cock.

8. You have a dick, but don’t BE a dick*

Much of the sexual assault and violence perpetrated in this culture is about violating people’s holes. I don’t say that to be a downer and to ruin the sexytimes mood of all this strap-on fun stuff, but rather to encourage you to be mindful and sensitive about strapping on and playing.

It is a rare and intimate thing, to cross the barrier of someone’s skin and actually go inside of them. There are so few places where we do that, generally our skin is a very effective boundary. Doctors, dentists, health care, and sex play are really the only places that happens.

Keep in mind that you never, never have the right to enter another person’s body. When you are lucky enough to have the permission to do so, you better come from a place of deep respect and reverence. I don’t care if you have a 24 carat gold-plated dick, they are giving you a beautiful, intimate, vulnerable gift by letting you come inside their body, and you better respect that. Be kind, be aware, and be responsible.

* For the record, I think we should abolish using the words for genitals to insult people, because I think it tends to reinforce cultural norms that our genitals are dirty and bad. But please forgive me this one time, since I couldn’t resist the word play of that particular title!

9. Your orgasm is your responsibility

Your dick is not a magical instrument that will give people orgasms just by touching them, or just by putting it in and out of their hole. Most of us don’t have bodies who can come from penetration alone, regardless of the hole that is penetrated. Fuck yes, it can feel good, and can lead to a whopping big explosive orgasm, but most of us need some sort of other stimulation at the same time. Maybe it’s a vibrator on our clit, or a mouth on our factory-installed dick, or some dirty words whispered in our ear, or some physical restraint to struggle against. That’s the fun part: What do your lovers need in order to get them tipped over the edge? Ask them, discuss it with them, and experiment!

If you are the one strapped on, you probably won’t come just from having the base of a strap-on pounding against your pubic mound. Experiment with sensation and see if you can reproduce your favorite ways to get off. Do you need something inside you? Something in your ass? Some vibration? More direct stimulation on your clit? There are ways to make that happen and strap on at the same time. You just gotta be creative, and try some things out.

Either way, you’re the one who best knows how you get off and what feels good for your body. Ask your lover to help get you tipped over the edge, but know that your orgasm is your responsibility, and you are way more likely to get what you want if you’re able to articulate what would feel pleasurable for your body.

10. Use the right tool for the right job

Or, at least, make sure you have the right expectations. The different holes on our bodies have different capacities, and what one hole can take might not translate to what another hole can take. Same for multiple partners—some people can take a lot, some people can not take as much. Can you afford ten different cocks so you can pick and choose a long, slender one when you want to do some ass play with this person, and a different thinner, shorter one when you want to receive blow jobs, and a big giant thick one for that one lover who is a size queen? Then lucky you! But most of us can’t afford that. So get a really good, solid, average-size cock (I usually suggest something in the range of 1.25”x6.5”), and adjust your expectations: You might only get to use the tip of it in one hole, or the first half of it in another, and you might want to supplement with some fingers for the hungry holes (or start with your dick and upgrade to your fist, if they really need more).

There are dozens and dozens of cocks, harnesses, and accessories for strapping on and playing. I’ve got a huge archive of reviews here on Sugarbutch, so browse through those to get a feel of what might be the right tool for YOUR specific jobs.

The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing (Part 2)

Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2", small: 5-3/4", medium: 6-3/4", large: 7-3/4"
This is box title
Before we get too much into the products, I want to make it clear that this is by no means an exhaustive list of packing products. I wish I could keep up with them all, but there are many! Please leave links or your suggestions or recommendations or your experiences with different types in the comments.

What do I pack with?

Just about anything can be packed into your briefs and worn as a packer, but fear not! Plenty of queer genderfuckers have already done hours of research about what kind of DIY options work really well, and there are plenty great (and pretty affordable!) options out on the market, too.

If you’re looking for a packer, the first thing I recommend is to go check out your local feminist queer-friendly sex-positive sex toy store. There are dozens around the country, and more and more each year, so I hope you have a good one near you. The folks who work there are often sex educators themselves, with tons of knowledge on the particular materials of what they carry. They can recommend one based on your skin sensitivities or what other toys you want it to go with.

The Mr. Right soft packer made by Vixen Creations is silicone and beautiful. Pair it with the Aslan Packing Strap!
The Mr. Right soft packer made by Vixen Creations is silicone and beautiful. Pair it with the Aslan Packing Strap!

Generally, packers are made out of a composite elastomer plastic. These aren’t bad for you—most of the time, they don’t have the dreaded phthalates in them—but what it does mean is that you can’t boil the shit outta them to sanitize them. If you want to share a packer with a partner, if you have STIs, or if you have sensitive skin, I would recommend silicone.

Silicone is, when it comes to sex toys, pretty much always a better choice for ingredient: it’s hypoallergenic and good for those with sensitive skin, as often it’s medical grade silicone. But it’s more expensive and way less squishy, so it feels less like a soft penis and more like … a sculpture of a penis. What kind of material you choose just depends on your personal preference.

This is box title
Silicone Elastomer
ProsEasily disinfected
Sharable
Long lasting
More realistic
Squishsy and fun to touch
ConsNot as realistic
harder texture
Can’t be disinfected
Material will more easily tear
Won’t last as long

What size should I get?

Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2", small: 5-3/4", medium: 6-3/4", large: 7-3/4"
Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2″, small: 5-3/4″, medium: 6-3/4″, large: 7-3/4″

One of the most common versions of packers found at feminist queer-friendly sex-positive sex toy stores is often called Mr. Softy (also known as the Classic Packy or Mr. Limpy). They tend to come in mini, small, medium, and large sizes.

The Mr. Softy soft pack is the one I recommend most. Because it’s usually a fairly personal toy, the silicone material isn’t that important to me, and I’d rather have the more pliable material. It won’t last as long as silicone, but if you take good care of it, it will stick around a while—I’ve had mine at least ten years now and it’s still in pretty good shape.

Having a large packer is not important when it comes to packing—in fact, it can make your packer a little bit harder to pack, as it can be unwieldy in your undies. If you want the most realistic packer—by which I mean, if you want a packer that looks the most like a cis guy’s flaccid cock—go for the mini size.

If you want to make an impression, by all means, go for the medium or large sizes! I have found personally that I really like the weight and feel of the small sized packers.

This is box title

A note about color

Most of the packers come in colors like “vanilla, caramel, chocolate.” This vastly under represents the huge range of skin tone that exists. That sucks. I hope product manufacturers will continue to expand the colors they offer and stop centering whiteness as the norm.

Many of the packers that don’t come in multiple sizes are approximately the small size, 4-5” in length. This is plenty!

GoodVibes makes two different packers: Sailor (which comes in 2 sizes, or with a hard core), shown above
GoodVibes makes two different packers: Sailor (which comes in 2 sizes, or with a hard core) or Private (silicone)
Good Vibes silicone packer Private
…. or Private, the Good Vibes silicone packer, which comes in vanilla, caramel, and chocolate (photo from Early2Bed)

The other good thing about packers, however, is that because they are often elastomer, they are frequently $20-40, so even if you go for one particular size now, you can always save up or allot a bit more to try out the other size.

This is box title

What if it looks like I have an erection?

Or, oh hey, I want a big ol’ bulge!

If you’re trying to be read as a cis man, keep in mind that cis guy’s penises hang at different angles depending on what’s comfortable for the guy. If having it straight down isn’t comfortable for you, try it off to the side or slightly up.

If you want a big ol’ juicy package, and your packer just isn’t having the effect you are seeking, consider: a) tighter pants, b) stuffing your pants with extra bulge, or c) upgrading your packer to something bigger. You can always go for a hard pack, if you really want that very obvious bulge!

But if you’re more of a DIY kind of person, it’s pretty simple to make your own packer

Socks are sometimes so much hotter than anything else. Packing with socks and a having a black unbreakable comb in your pocket. For me, it’s the heightened artifice [of masculinity]. That teenage feeling. Having to roll up that pair of socks just so. Butch. And maybe it’s also an homage to the past. I’m old fashioned.” —@redswain

There are a variety of methods of making your own packers, particularly by filling condoms with hair gel, or through rolled-up socks. But just about anything can be made into a packer—I’ve heard of folks using beans for added weight, or building a custom shape with three ankle socks (for balls).

I made clay packer last year, wrapped it in a small sock and stitched it to a waist band I cut off a pair of boxers. Custom!” —@keyskiyl

Personally, I am not extra experienced at making my own (aside from the occasional rolled-up sock), so I’m not going to go into the DIY methods here. Be creative—I’m sure you’ve already got some extra something lying around that would be perfect to use to try it out.

What about Extra Special Packers?

There are a few packers on the market that do more than just sit in your pants—they could also be STP (stand to pee) devices, for example. Check out a few of the options for specialty packers.

I highly recommend all the toys from New York Toy Collective, but in particular I am very attached to my little Pierre. I never really thought about it much, but an uncircumcised packer fits me really well, and I really like how it feels to the touch. (Photo by Early2Bed)
I highly recommend all the toys from New York Toy Collective, but in particular I am very attached to my little Pierre. I never really thought about it much, but an uncircumcised packer fits me really well, and I really like how it feels to the touch. (Photo by Early2Bed)
Number One Models A & D
Number One makes some of the best STP packers (I tend to call them “pissers”) that I know of. They’re really comfortable, and I get a frequent secret thrill of being able to piss through it, even if I’m still sitting.

I also really love that Number One has their own packing strap built just for the Model A or D.

Speaking of packing straps …

Keeping your packer in place

I would love if my partner did this outside the home, but she is always worried it might fall out.” —@Colette

One of the most common fears about packing and packing-gone-wrong stories that I hear is about packing falling out of one’s underwear. And yes: this can and does happen to the best of us. It just does! The more room we have in our underwear or jeans, and the more active we are, the most likely it is for the packer to snake its way out of the careful place in which you nestled it, and the more likely it is to fall down your pants or shorts or skirt.

But there is a super easy, pretty much failsafe fix for this: A packing strap or packing pouch.

You can very easily make your own with a sock or little pouch and a safety pin, or, if you want to step it up a bit, affix a piece of velcro. But if you’re not the DIY type, there are lots of products out there to keep your packer in place, too.

TranZwear has all sorts of trans gear, but their collection of packers and packing straps and STP devices is fantastic. (You just have to ignore the ugly interface of the site.) Their modified boxers and briefs are excellent—they have basically sewn the Y-front shut so that the packer won’t fall out, and it works great.
TranZwear has all sorts of trans gear, but their collection of packers and packing straps and STP devices is fantastic. (You just have to ignore the ugly interface of the site.) Their modified boxers and briefs are excellent—they have basically sewn the Y-front shut so that the packer won’t fall out, and it works great.
Velcro Top Packy Sac
Velcro Top Packy Sac: A DIY product by a discreet trans guy who saw a need for somewhere to put his packer and made a product happen. I bought my first one at Babeland in 2002 and only recently lost it, and was very glad to see he was still around and making straps, so promptly ordered two more. I don’t love that my packer is affixed to my underwear rather than my body, but I prefer it to having an elastic strap around my waist all day. I use it often.
SpareParts Pete
SpareParts makes some of the best harnesses available right now (everybody raves about the Joque), and they have a line of packing underwear, too. These are particularly made to hold packers in a secret little pouch inside of the fly of the undies. Very cute, good material, good sizes. They are mostly spandex, so they feel a bit more like swim trunks than underwear. Very comfortable, machine washable.
DIY brief harness
You’ve probably seen the brief style harnesses around—you can easily make your own and use them as a packing holder! Very comfy, pretty cheap, quite easy to do. The only negative is that in this particular style, the packer would hang outside of your briefs, so there is extra risk of getting your packer caught in your zipper. Just be careful and you’ll be fine! Get an extra small O-ring if you want to particularly use it as a packer and that will help it stay in better.

The straps are mostly elastic and cotton, so they can easily be machine washed or washed by hand.

This is box title

A note about keeping your packer clean!

Silicone packers should be cared for like other silicone strap-on products: use soap and water to wash it down before and after use, and disinfect it on occasion (I usually do a big batch of cock soup and disinfect silicone toys I’ve used about once a month). You can immerse them in boiling water for 5 minutes, or you can put them on the top rack of the dishwasher (no soap!), or wash them in a 10% bleach/90% water solution—all of those will disinfect silicone.

You can’t disinfect elastomer, soft skin, and other composite plastic packers, however, so please don’t boil your packy … you’ll melt it. They need a simple washing of soap and water before and after use, and regular corn starch dustings. After they are dry completely, put them in a plastic bag or your storage bag with a tablespoon or so of corn starch and make sure the corn starch covers the whole thing. Corn starch will help it stay feeling velvety, and not be sticky to the touch.

From soft to hard packing

If you want to go out packing soft and then switch to something hard in order to get your play on, well, I salute you! Is there an easy way to do that, aside from taking off your pants, taking off your packer and strap, pulling on your harness and strap-on, and putting your pants back on?

Not exactly. While there are some really excellent pack and play strap-on cocks out there, none of them are universally loved, and none are as comfortable as soft packers like these.

Honestly, hard packing is a whooooole other subject, and one that I willingly and eagerly tackle. (You know. For science. For you.) Stay tuned for the next installation of Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence all about hard packing.

P.S.– This post is brought to you by readers like you, and sponsored by tranzwear.com, who have generously offered to give away cocks to three lucky commenters. You get your pick of size and color for the Mr. Limpy, Masho, or PackIT soft packers. Just comment with your favorite packing advice or product or story to enter. Winners will be drawn at random one week from today (Aug 14th).Good luck! The contest is over! Thanks to Tranzwear for providing the excellent packers.

pornparty-logo P.P.S. – If service and/or gangbangs are your thing, make sure you don’t miss the #pornparty AUGUST 13th at 6pm PST. It’s a free way to enjoy some sexy, feminist porn with your favorite internet friends. Learn more here, and I’ll see you on Twitter!

The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing (Part 1)

I don’t pack, but I love when my girlfriend wears her packer. It makes her stand a little taller and it really turns me on when there’s a little something extra to squeeze. Mmm.” —@Christina
“Packing” is short hand for stuffing something in one’s pants or underwear to make it feel or look as though the wearer has a factory-installed dick. As the trans movement and awareness has grown in recent years, there are significantly more commercially available products one can buy for that experience of packing, but there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to do it yourself.

But why do you want to do it?

There are plenty of different reasons to explore packing. It can be a turn-on! Or it can be something only you know about, that affirms your gender identity and expression. Or perhaps your dominant shoves your packer into your briefs before you’re going out and then you both know that your dick is right there. Or perhaps you can use it as a tool for passing as male, or for gender validation from others.

Trans and/or masculine-identified folks aren’t the only people who are experimenting with packing. You can be feminine or trans or butch or diesel femme or queer or sugar butch or defy labels or girly or all of the above or none of the above and still explore packing. I know plenty of femmes who pack, sometimes or all the time—one particular leather girl told me recently that she likes to use a Hello Kitty knee sock in a jock strap. Hot! I don’t know about you, but that gives me a very unique impression of her gender and sexual expression.

For folks who were assigned female at birth, we don’t have the experience of that weight pulling down between our legs unless we add something extra there. Particularly for trans and masculine-identified folks, having some sort of weight or bulge between our legs can be incredibly validating, both internally within ourselves and externally through how we are perceived. But it can be validating and useful for anyone of any gender, and can be a really interesting tool for self-awareness and expression for any body.

As someone who often fucks those who pack, it turns me on knowing what’s coming.. I love the swagger, the forcefulness it brings.” —@rexicon

I know for me, when I started playing around with packing around 2000, I found it kind of indescribably … Comfortable, and comforting. There was something about it that just fit, like a really cozy sweatshirt. The way it shifted when I did, the way my legs stayed a little more apart, how I led more with my hips than my shoulders … it just felt like me. I’m very internally motivated about most things related to my gender and sexuality, so feeling that internal click for me was more than enough to interest me into exploring it further.

While I am masculine and butch identified, I’m not male identified, so packing for me personally has nothing to do with passing as cis male. However, it’s a frequent reason that trans guys pack, and in circumstances where dicks are supposed to be or accidentally on display—like at a gay boy dance club, or at the beach or swimming pool—having one to actually display can be thrilling and validating. I’ve also heard trans guys say that it helps support them in walking, sitting, or holding themselves in more male ways, particularly since cis guys often walk and sit such that they don’t squash their penis.

Packing can assist with the feeling of dysphoria, of feeling disconnected from one’s body in part due to gender identity (or presentation or perception). But for other people, packing actually increases the feeling of dysphoria. Your milage may vary—and however it feels for you is just fine.

Let’s not forget: Even though it can be externally and internally validating and empowering, it can also often be very vulnerable to pack. It is a way to experience our genitals outside of our bodies … and those of us with most of our genitalia on the inside tend not to feel that very often. There’s a reason kneeing a guy in the groin is effective: those soft tissues are soft, and sweet, and vulnerable.

And if you’re like me, and you have a bit of a vulnerability fetish, you might love it even more because of that.

So wait: Is it about sex or gender?

Yes.

For me hard packing is about sex but soft is about swagger, how I relate to myself.” —@nicgreiner

Both, of course. But which it stimulates in you totally depends on you and how you relate to it. I have heard people talk about how they see their packy as completely platonic, not sexualized really at all, but more of a cross between a masculinizing accessory and a prosthetic. And I know some folks for whom packing is inherently sexual, all the time, and they immediately get turned on by it.

It just depends on you, your circumstances, your body, your relationship to your sexual and gender expressions.

I loved my ex’s. When he wore it he obviously was more confident. It also gave me something even bigger to squeeze and tease.”
—@frickfrackfate

It’s kind of like wearing a tie. When I was transitioning to and exploring my own butch identity around 2000, I started wearing ties when I dressed up. At first it was awkward and uncomfortable, but as I got more used to them, I made little rules for myself about where was “appropriate” to wear a tie. I wore them when I went on dates, and I wore them when I was doing a performance (usually reading dirty smut or poems in a dyke bar, so that was a particular association). I got really used to ties (and, later, suits) being an incredibly hyper-sexualized, externally validated, amplified masculine experience.

So when I was working at a finance firm in midtown Manhattan and we had a black tie holiday party, it was a given that I would wear a suit. The first time I went, I felt super uncomfortable because I had only worn a suit and tie in the context of, well, SEX and queers and gender-radicalism. Wearing it in this totally heteronormative environment (with coworkers looking at me just a little more sideways) was not sexual, but my association with the suit and tie was absolutely.

It’s a personal confidence thing for me, I don’t feel comfortable without it.” —@furswag

When your only context for a thing is sex and erotics, then it begins to perpetuate itself, like Pavlov’s dog. If the pack is only for going on dates and then getting it on, your system will start to associate it with getting it on. If it’s worn day-to-day like a special watch or favorite pair of shoes, it will be a slightly precious object for love and care. If it’s an every single day practice, it’ll become weird to not have it, and it’ll fade into the background, like brushing your teeth or putting on socks. I betcha those things happen most days, but can you really remember the details of teeth brushing or sock-putting-on-ing? Probably not—because it’s automatic, an ingrained habit.

Packing could be about your own private gender expression, or about others seeing you as male, or it could be about turning yourself and your lover on.

Let’s not forget: It’s hot!

[When my partner packs,] it’s one of my favorite things. it turns me on all day thinking about it, knowing what it’s doing to them to watch my reaction.” — @rexicon

Maybe your lover knows that you have a soft packer in your pants (because you revealed it as you were getting dressed), so they get to fantasize and squeeze and touch it while you’re going about your day. Or maybe you press up against them hard and take their hand and press their palm to your bulge. Maybe they don’t ever know that you have had a packer on all day, or maybe they find out. Maybe they don’t even have to know—maybe you knowing is enough.

I often pack when I want a little extra swagger or confidence, particularly to social events, parties, kink events, queer community stuff, or anywhere that I want to have a little more oomph to me. I often request my boy to pack if I want to work him up for a little while, if I want to have him squirming by the time I get him home and stripped. I try to always remember throughout the time I’ve asked him to pack for me and to touch it, reference it, and tease him about it—mostly because he likes that, but also because if I make a request, I don’t want to forget that I’ve made it.

Soft packing is mostly, for me, about turning me on and building up for later.” — @rexicon

So now that you know all about why you might want to pack … What kinds of products are out there? Can you make your own? How do you keep it in place? What if you’re a femme and you want to pack?

Such good questions! I’ll explore those all in next week’s post, part 2 of the Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence for soft packing.

Read it! The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing Part Two


Review: Butt toys from Adam + Eve

This may come as a shock to some of you, but I have never owned anal beads. I know not all of you have seen my toy boxes, but if you do some quick math about review posts over the years, you’ll probably get to the hundreds of toys number pretty quickly. Doesn’t that seem like something I would’ve already picked up and tried out? Well, it does to me.

Plus, I like ass sex.

And I have this faggot boy on my hands these days, so I figured I may as well go for it.

ae1AdamEveToys.com had these anal beads available for review, so I jumped on ’em. They are made of a beautiful silky-smooth silicone, which I really like the feel of. And they’re a great shape, starting out really small and going to more than an inch in diameter, which makes it quite a bit easier to insert than a regular butt plug.

The A&E website lists these in the description:

  • 7″ long
  • .25″ wide up to 1.25″ wide
  • Firm, yet flexible shaft conforms to body’s contours
  • Ribbed for extra stimulation, holds onto lube
  • Pull ring for easy control and retrieval
  • 100% silicone
  • Waterproof

Yes, yes, check, excellent—but hey wait. Notice where it says “ribbed for extra stimulation, holds onto lube”? Guess what else it holds on to? Because where are you putting these anal beads? That’s right, in the ass. And what’s in the ass? Well, sometimes ass-like things belong in the ass.

So these beads might need some extra cleaning time.

Luckily, the silky-smooth silicone is awesome, and it’s really easy to do a quick wash with soap and water, and then toss ’em in your cock soup next time you’re sanitizing toys in boiling water. Easy peasy, no big deal.

ae2
Adam & Eve also sent us this L’arque prostate massager. I mostly picked it up because it’s the exact same toy as the L’arque gspot massager, it’s just in black instead. I like this kind of silky-smooth silicone (how many times have I mentioned that already?), and lately I have really liked having something for g-spot while getting off solo. Unfortunately, the angle of this toy is all wrong. The internal part isn’t bad, but the vibration on the upper curved arm part doesn’t hit my clit at all. Maybe another person’s body would fit this better, but it’s a pretty specific angle and it’s hard to have the things touching that I want touching.

Still, it’s a pretty toy, and works well. I like the vibration options (pulse and heavier pulse and erratic pulse and all that), and I like the feel. It’ll hang out on the nightstand for a while.

And I am eager to try out the anal beads some more. Those are a major win. And less than $20, too.

The L’arque prostate massager and anal beads were sent from Adam & Eve for rife and I to review, but I have complete editorial control over what I say about ’em. This is just for full disclosure.

Review: Nipple Suction Toys (via the Stockroom)

JT’s Stockroom has been an affiliate with Sugarbutch for many years, and this month, they are the feature! I love how they are carrying more and more body-safe toys (and fewer things with phthalates), but even more than that, I love their selection of kinky things. Slings, extensive amounts of leather, anal hooks, pokey things, hitty things, things to put in holes, latex, medical play—they have it all.

So what was I going to request from them to feature this month? Hmmmm …

I never used to like breast play all that much. On me, well, I’ve got that whole gender-dysphoric issue, and on another person … I just kinda didn’t get it. Okay sure, breasts are pretty, but I was never a “boob guy.” (Always been much more into the legs.)

I’m not sure when it changed exactly, or why. (I have some suspicions about the why. Ask me on a Q&A chat sometime.) But it happened sometime around reading that short story called “Details” that Maria See wrote (which is no longer accessible on her now-defunct tumblr, boo. I’ll see if I can track it down for you to read, if you want to), and connecting nipple sucking to a form of nourishment, and to some extent, age play. There’s been a place for playing with suckling as both a … giver and receiver (hah, if you can use those words here—they seem awkward to me). I have plenty more to say about what it’s like to be in either role, but let me just say, for now, that it’s complicated to describe, complicated for gender reasons, difficult to feel comfortable, very private act, something I’m slightly embarrassed to admit I’m playing with, … and often feels really good.

I’ve done epic nipple clamp review roundups in the past, but with my new ideas about my own stimulation, I thought I’d try something new: nipple suction. And hey look! There’s a wide range of suction-based nipple stimulation toys available out there, so I figured I should start somewhere!

I’ll tell you about three of ’em now.

The Oxball Nipple Suckers—automatic bust.

First? The Oxball nipple suckers were a bust, so basically we’re down to two. (And two does not a good comparison make! But I’ll come back to that.) When I opened the package, the very clear smell of plastic off-gassing was released, and they were all greasy—so you know what that means: phthalates. I immediately emailed Monica, the Stockroom’s affiliate manager, and she apologized and proceeded to basically stop carrying those particular ones. Oxball is generally a brand that uses good plastics, so they hadn’t caught this yet. So, no picture, no review—they got tossed. (Not sure what else to do with bad plastics? Is there a way to green-ly recycle them?)

The KinkLab T Cups Nipple Suction Set

nipple1Next up, and the big winners: the KinkLab T Cups Nipple Suction Set. These are the reason I got turned on to nipple suction toys to begin with, actually, because Lorax, at their previous job as a dildo slinger (aka working as a sex educator in a toy store), pointed them out to me one time I was visiting. Oh yeah, I was intrigued!

But also, ugh I was put off by the pink flower design. I mean really. Why you gotta go ruin something like that? Look, there’s nothing wrong with pink flowers, but I generally don’t need them on my accessories, my sex toys, and definitely not on my nipples. Even if they went along with someone’s gender identity a bit better than they do with mine, I’m not sure who they look very good! They’re so big and bulky, and long and thing.

Often kink toys are not about how things look, however—they are about how things feel. And these absolutely deliver. They are strong, sturdy, and durable. Once you’ve got a good suction, they stay in place.

T Cups nipple suction set verdict: Recommended for function and sensation, though not highly recommended because of how they look pretty silly.

The (classic) Snake Bite Kit

nipple3So technically, Stockroom did not send me the Snake Bite Kit to use as a comparison. I picked one up specifically to use in this roundup, because they tend to be cheap and accessible and because I was curious The Stockroom carries them (because they carry pretty much all things kinky. Pretty much).

Ive never owned a snake bite kit until now. They seem to be one of those common DIY “pervertables,” things from around the house (if, uh, you happen to have a snake bite kit around the house) that get made into stimulation during sexytimes. When I started talking about this nipple toy roundup I was working on, saying I was seeking out a snake bite kit, my buddy Amy actually found one and texted me a photo of it, asking if I’d already got one. Though I happened to be at REI that very minute (they don’t carry them!), I hadn’t, and she picked it up for me—but not before she was reminded at least three times by the different sales people and the clerk that they are NOT TO BE USED ON SNAKE BITES. I didn’t realize they’d been determined to be bad for that, so I’m glad that was clear. Because, you know, you never know when a snake will be in your bedroom? And what if I had used that snake bite kit for what I thought it was meant for!

So no—it is purely for pleasureable use now.

(I was just reminded of this yesterday when Lucy Bell’s comic on Oh Joy Sex Toy alllll about the snake bite kit came out. Which of course is rad, but you probably already knew that.)

Snake bite kit verdict: Not as suction-y as the flowers, above. Not as sturdy, doesn’t keep its suction if you move. Harder to get a good seal. More challenging, but still worth trying out. My kit came with two sizes, so you can actually do two on the nipples and one on the clit or labia (if that’s your thing)! Still not so aesthetically amazing, but it’s better than the flowers.

And one more bonus: Magnetic Nipple Balls

nipple2When the Stockroom sent me these toys to compare and try, they sent me one more bonus: the Magnetic Nipple Balls, which are, well, just what they sound like—tiny magnetic balls. I queried, “What about these things?” and the Stockroom awesome toy manager Monica wrote back, “The magnetic balls are super neat but really are SUPER strong, just for a heads up!” And whoa, she is right.

They are really strong.

I would not let them near my nipples. Rife told me how a sex toy store employee once told him to test out all the nipple clamps on the skin between his thumb and first finger, because that is approximately how sensitive one’s nipples are (depends on the person, of course, but on average I buy it—it’s a sensitive spot!). When I put these balls on that spot on my body, everything yells, “GET IT OFF!” and I don’t really have any desire to put them on my nipples. We played a little with using one of the magnetic balls and one random other little magnet from the fridge (we have some that look like pushpins that work pretty well, and aren’t so weird-looking), and that was … better.

Magnetic Nipple Balls conclusion: very sexy looking. VERY strong pinching. Kinda dangerous—doesn’t really stay in place. Does not deliver the suction I was looking for (duh).

But wait, there’s more! …

Here’s two more toys I didn’t review, but am curious about:

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Mini nipple suckers & the 10-piece cupping set.

I’m interested in cupping in part because I’m curious about this pair of pump cylinders (pump sold separately), and it looks like the cupping kit is the pump and 10 cups instead of no pump and two cups, so may as well grab a few extras. (It was one of the Daily Specials this past month and I really should’ve bought it. And the anal hook. And the cock leash. This is why I have a Stockroom wishlist!)

I’m also interested in cupping because I’ve been having it done lately as part of some health care/wellness, for my damaged shoulder, and it’s been working incredibly well! More on that another time.

Whew, alright—this concludes your Stockroom nipple suction roundup. Hope you found something curious!

…. oh damn, wait, one more thing.

This might be pertinent to your interests: The Stockroom carries they have replacement nipple clamp tips—you know, for those little tweezer-like nipple clamps that always loose their little rubber tip, and then the tweezer part underneath is a mean tooth.

The magnetic nipple balls, t-cups nipple suction set, and oxball nip screw nipple suckers were sent to me from Stockroom to review. (The snakebite kit actually came from an outdoor store via my butt buddy.) Thanks! Post image photo from The Princess Bride.

Fantasy, Gardens, & Politics of Butch Identity in April’s Book Roundup

Late. Because April was somehow nutso. Traveling to Seattle plus my birthday plus the boy’s birthday plus IMsL plus the Gender Book launch party at the CSC plus I took a temporary social media consulting gig plus it’s SPRING plus we took a swing class plus the new venture (now called Body Trust) had a strategic planning retreat and officially launched www.bodytrustcircle.com and the August Portals of Pleasure retreat and that took so much time and energy and planning. Also I am this close to having a space to do bodywork in San Francisco and I’m really excited to gear up for more one-on-one sessions.

So I didn’t read as much this month. Or at least it feels like that—my GoodReads account reports 8 titles, which is about as much as other months.

rightbrainI picked up and read the Right Brain Business Plan book by Jennifer Lee a few months ago as part of my personal study through the queer creative business group I’m involved in, and found it useful. I picked it up again because the author was on Creative Live doing the Right Brain Business Plan workshop for three days, and I tuned in to it mostly in the background as I was working, but I’d go back and forth to the exercises as I was getting other things done. It was great to think hard about some of the business plan things and I do like her approach.


blue I’ve heard a lot about the film adaptation of the graphic novel Blue is the Warmest Color, but I hadn’t heard as much about the book. I picked it up from the library as an ebook, which was interesting, to read a graphic novel on my iPad, and it worked pretty well. (Also I love the library!) I had heard a lot about the extensive 10 minute lesbian sex scene (“there’s rimming!”) but I also heard it was a) depressing and b) kinda by or for straight people, and not particularly by and for queer people, so I haven’t rushed to see it. I’d be curious to, now that I’ve read the book. Mostly I was really struck by how immensely fucking tortured the coming out process was/is for this particular young lesbian protagonist living in France. I am so lucky to have a supportive family, and have prioritized queerness in my life and thus lived entrenched in queer communities, so I have never experienced it so torturesome … but I do understand that people still go through that kind of process. It was a good reminder to me of the emotional depths that can happen in an identity formation, but also part of me, while reading, was more like, “Really? This seems awfully over-exaggerated.” I’d be curious what the relationship is of the story to the author—I don’t think it’s memoir.



edible The Edible Garden came from Cleis’s life imprint, Viva. Now that I actually have a backyard (first time in my adult life!) I am pretty excited to try to grow some stuff. Preferably some food stuff. So I’ve been doing a little bit of garden tending, getting it ready to plant, and this month kicked into for reals spring gear, so rife and I stepped it up a bit. We planted kale, cherry tomatoes, some spring onions, sugar snap peas, and a few other things.



growgreat I liked looking through The Edible Garden—and the other one, Grow Great Grub—but it didn’t have all that much useful information in it. For example, some bird keeps eating our sugar snap pea leaves and tops, but neither book said anything about how to keep pests from eating your delicious food. They are both more inspiration than practical advice, and while I still appreciate the pretty pictures and the inspiration to go dig outside, I am starting to get to the point where I need the reality advice part even more. Which is kind of a neat sign! Grow Great Grub came to me as a holiday gift from my aunt (via my Amazon wishlist).



pregnant I read the graphic memoir Pregnant Butch by AK Summers this month. I heard about it through a Lambda Literary review and was intrigued. I think it’s worth reading, but to be honest I was less interested in the pregnancy part than I was in the extensive commentary about butch identity, and sometimes the extensive commentary about butch identity was infuriating, heartbreaking, or depressing. The author—who I assume is the same as the protagonist, Teek, though their names are slightly different—is a bit older than me, maybe 10 years even, so they come from a slightly different generation of butches, and the content about younger butches being extinct, butch flight, and the prevalence of butches transitioning to men was hard to read. At one point Teek explicitly referred to herself as—and drew herself as—a dinosaur. It bugs me to see butch being presented as an antique, out-of-fashion, and outdated identity—I really don’t think it is. But then again, I kind of straddle the old school butch generation and the younger trans- and genderqueer-inclusive crowds, and kind of always have. But I don’t see butch disappearing! I do see it changing, revisioning, but I don’t think it’s as gone as is sometimes portrayed. I also think butch flight is a bit of a myth—but I do understand that there is more of a prevalence of previously-identified-as-masculine-of-center-women transitioning to men. (There are at least five people on my Facebook feed going through the early stages of transitioning right now.) I have lots and lots to say about that topic, but that’s all I’ll say for right now. I took some notes and hope to expand my ideas into more essays later. Or maybe a book.

chaosstars I didn’t finish The Chaos of Stars. It’s kind of that YA fantasy/myth genre that I sometimes devour, but I didn’t get too deep into this one so I put it down after my standard try (of 65 pages, which is 100 minus my age, which is a rule I learned from Seattle librarian extraordinaire Nancy Pearl). The whole thing was full of Egyptian mythologies with a curious modern twist, which I was totally intrigued by but then couldn’t follow very well. If you’re into Egyptian mythologies, perhaps it’d be easier to get into.


loveglobal I didn’t finish Love in the Time of Global Warming either. I love love love the Weetzie Bat books, and I have read a handful of Francesca Lia Block’s other novels and find them engaging and fun, so I thought she’d be a good one to pick up while I keep flexing my reading chops. I have a hard time with world-building sometimes though, and I didn’t get very deep in to this one. I think the biggest problem was that it became due at the library, but I certainly could’ve renewed it. It just didn’t grip me.



mermaid Michelle Tea’s newest novel, Mermaid in Chelsea Creek, however—THAT gripped me. I read it fast, in just a few days, and I got really into it. I love the protagonist, love the girl power, love the pass-out game, love the symbols that thread through it. When I went back out into the world for a run the day after I finished it, I looked at flocks of pigeons very differently. It ends on a cliffhanger, which is a perfect way for the first of a 3-part book series to end, and I can’t wait to read the others.


The Longest Running Queer Porn Site, Courtney Trouble’s Indie Porn Revolution, is the April Feature

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When did you first discover Courtney Trouble’s queer porn work? Did your BFF email you a link recently, now that her entire empire is under the Indie Porn Revolution umbrella? Were you following links in sidebars back in the day before search engines magically indexed every single page on the web, and you stumbled on NoFauxxx, back in the day? Did you notice some sexy sexy queer salivating at you from your favorite sex blog and follow the link to QueerPorn.TV or QueerPornTube?

I remember discovering Courtney through Bitch Magazine in the late 1990s when I still lived in northern Colorado. NoFauxxx had ads in the early issues, and I spent a significant amount of time online (trying to escape the life I was confused to find myself living), and I of course went to visit the site immediately. Being a cheapskate, and not yet understanding and feeling how important it is to support artists with money, and not having any idea how to really use my own money yet, I didn’t get a membership for probably almost ten more years, but you better believe I followed the work in that time.

And now, Courtney Trouble has an epic network of websites, hundreds of thousands of photographs, numerous Feminist Porn Awards, and a solid place in the porn world as a revolutionary. She’s not only changed queer porn—or, practically invented queer porn—her queer porn ethics and methodologies are radically effecting the mainstream porn world, too.

Bad. Ass.

dorian-ipr-bannerJust a quick tour around the FREE parts of Indie Porn Revolution and you’ll know that Courtney’s saturated color, penchant for sexy sexy queers, ladies, and artists of all kinds of stars and stripes, and authentically shown orgasms and laughter and fun and mistakes are absolutely worth diving deep into.

(And yes, that is exactly what I mean, pervert.)

So, April is Indie Porn Revolution month this year here at Sugarbutch. I’ve got a variety of ads up in the sidebar (come onto the site and check it out, if you’re reading this by RSS) and I’ll unveil and feature a few of my favorite scenes from Courtney throughout the month on my own social media networks.

So keep an eye out for those! And meanwhile, go check out Indie Porn Revolution!

March Book Roundup: Sex, sex, and more sex

It’s been a review and work month for books, but I’m still eager to keep finding those titles that are breezy-easy reads, that engage me fully, and that are extremely fun and satisfying to finish.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.

partnersinpassionI wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love from Cleis Press to be part of the blog tour for this book, but I was immensely impressed. Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson have penned quite a few books on Tantra, and they teach extensively on the subject, but I believe this is their first more general book encouraging sexual engagement and interaction for couples ongoing. Bed death is another one of those topics that I am fascinated in, so I was very curious what they would say and what they recommend. It is an excellent read. I loved how they portrayed Tantra in that chapter, and the many chapters on experiments for couples, keeping sexy times alive, and ways to work through your own internal blocks are essential and fantastic. I appreciated the extensive amount of gender inclusion, including some testimonials and quotes from trans folks in very respectful and interesting ways, and of sexual orientation inclusion, too—I worried Michaels & Johnson would be very heteronormative in their work, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all. On the contrary, it felt like they were over for dinner at my house and they were just chit chatting about the very real challenges that I have faced in many relationships. (But in a deep, personal, open, insightful way, not in a superficial chit-chat way.) It was much more than I expected and I think everyone curious about enhancing your sex life, and your connection to your partner, should read it, and every one of us who teaches about sex, bed death, and maintaining erotics in a long term relationship should look to it as an excellent resource.

bigbookofsextoysThe Big Book of Sex Toys: From Vibrators and Dildos to Swings and Slings—Playful and Kinky Bedside Accessories That Make Your Sex Life Amazing by Tristan Taormino is not a new publication, but it’s new to me. I remember when it was released a few years ago and I just didn’t have time to pick it up and check it out, but because it’s Tristan, I knew it’d be good, and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I finally did, and glad I did. It’s not so much a bible of all available sex toys (perhaps you want Hey, Epiphora for that) but it’s an excellent primer on the types of toys available and highlights of some of the very best. Since the world of sex toys changes constantly (which is one of the reasons it’s fascinating, and one of the reasons it’s frustrating), the book is not comprehensive—but doesn’t claim to be. In addition, it is about SO MUCH MORE than just sex toys—it has excellent essays on communication, experimentation, and owning your own desires mixed in, almost disguised under the premise of sex toys, which is extra clever and a really good entrance point for people delving into more creative sexualities. It belongs up there with The Good Vibes Guide to Sex and Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind Blowing Sex.

daddyI was severely disappointed with Madison Young’s new memoir Daddy. I expected it to be the story of her life, highlighting the daddies she had along the way (as the back cover blurb implied), and including her rise to her pretty famous position of “feminist pornographer.” She wrote about her family-of–origin father, and her partner-cum-dominant-cum-daddy James, but virtually nothing was said about her feminist politics, and very little was depicted or delved into about the sex work and porn that she is particularly famous for starring in and creating. I thought the conflation of her “daddy issues” with her biological father and the daddy role and play that she and her lover take on was irresponsible and cliche. I would have hoped for something more in depth, more thought out, and more, well, feminist, in that it would depict power dynamics with awareness and consciousness and show personal agency. Maybe it’s just because I know Madison’s story has so much more to it than what was shown in this book, but the many claims (two of them being “feminism” and “the many daddies”) just didn’t deliver.

lesbiansexShanna Katz’s book Lesbian Sex Positions: 100 Passionate Positions from Intimate and Sensual to Wild and Naughty was one of those review books I mentioned, that I picked up because I have deep respect for Shanna, and because I have a kinda quirky fascination with sex positions. On the one hand, having sex in different positions seems like a kind of irrelevant thing to teach or know about, but on the other hand, it is an amazingly popular way that couples “spice up their sex life” and begin seeking more in the worlds of sexuality and toys and kink. It’s also incredibly useful to know about sex positions for people with different physical abilities, be that from injury or disability, and often useful for differing size issues, too, both “my partner is a full foot taller than me!” and “I weight a lot more/less than my partner.” Also, someone (Megan Andelloux I think?) once told me that she believed there are only four real sex positions, and all the others are variations of those four, and I’ve been trying to figure out which four those are ever since. So I was curious to see lesbian-specific ideas for positions. I was disappointed by the skinny-white-girl depictions of the positions, though I think I remember seeing Shanna say that herself too, and that she didn’t have any choice, it was the publisher’s decision. It doesn’t highlight Shanna’s extraordinary skills around disability and size and gender-diversity, so the book doesn’t feel like a very good representation of Shanna’s sex educator smarts. Still, her introductory essay is great (and probably the best part of the book), and I think it’s fascinating that there’s a market for gift books like this.

runningmeditationI’m really into Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham. I devoured it from the library and then went out and bought my own copy so I could follow along with the stages of running (and meditation) that he talks about. I miss studying Buddhism—I haven’t found my place here in the Bay Area yet (mostly because I haven’t really looked yet). I love looking at running through the teachings of meditation, and I was moved, inspired, and curious about the ways he interweaves the two. He does say explicitly that though running can be meditative, it is not a replacement for a meditative practice—”running is not your meditation,” (I’m paraphrasing), “any more than meditation is your exercise.” This book made me want to run better and meditate more. Which is just what I wanted it to do.

sexpositionI’m not sure what it is, but I have a small collection of funky queer coloring books. I don’t color in them (though maybe I should—I try not to treat my objects as too precious to be used for their intended purpose), but I seem to collect them anyway. I picked up the Sex Position Coloring Book as a review item because I am—what did I write up there?—quirkily fascinated by sex positions as a thing that sex educators teach, and I’m trying to figure out how it’s useful to my own teachings and workshops, particularly since I teach strap-on workshops so frequently. The book depicts only heterosexual cis male & cis female couples, but that’s one of the fun things about a coloring book: you could always add harnesses or other bodily modifications. In full disclosure: I also picked this up partly to inspire rife to possibly do some of his own coloring pages, maybe of sex positions even. That secret covert plan hasn’t worked yet, but I still have some ideas up my sleeve.

farmcityI’ve just finished Farm City: Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter this week, so it just squeaked on to this list. I have TWO beautiful big photo books about beginning to grow food in your (urban) backyard, but I haven’t quite devoured them because, well, I’m still so intimidated by the process. I moved into the house I’m in now in August 2013, and we spent the winter prepping the yard and getting it ready to plant and grow more things. Now that it’s spring in the Bay Area it is clearly time to plant things and start planning. It’s exciting! The options feel limitless! And also, eek! We do already have quite a few things in the ground, kale potatoes peas tomatoes pumpkins, and some herbs, sage dill mint basil, and a wildflower patch and a jasmine bush and a satsuma orange tree in a container, but I want to know how to do it all better and want to play in the dirt. So, in order to get myself a bit more excited about these kinds of ideas, I picked up Novella’s book. She had an urban farm in Oakland actually not too far from my house, so I loved hearing about the changes in the neighborhood and the local events. She raised ducks, rabbits, and even pigs for meat, and I will absolutely not be doing that, but in comparison it sure makes growing kale seem easier. I love how extensively researched she is—every few pages she quotes another book, another writer, another hippie back-to-the-land philosopher who came before. I’m definitely more inspired to get out to my own backyard garden and see what I can help grow.

dreambizI’ve been devouring some business books lately, and Start Your Dream Business was one of them. It, unfortunately, is almost completely about motivating the reader to follow their dreams and pursue that wacky business idea that you might have, and it is not at all about the nitty-gritty how to do it. In fact, often the business profiles completely skip that part, going from “I had this great idea!” to “and now it’s a 6-figure business!” Great, good for you—and also, how’d ya do that!? Regardless, I picked up the book from the library because I was interested in the premise, and zoomed through it because it included so many people whose work I’ve been familiar with online (like Tara Gentile and … lots of others I can’t remember now). Sarah Wade is UK-based, so many of the references and business owners are not American, which honestly made it even more interesting, since I am mostly familiar with American methodologies of entrepreneurship. I still don’t feel like I’m a pro at this whole business thing, but it’s curious and I am enjoying the learning.

switchI picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles because it’s in that BDSM-novel genre of power dynamic romance that I have enjoyed picking up recently, because I zoom through them and sometimes they’re kind of fun and mostly I can ignore the problematic gender/power alignment assumptions. This one had a curious class premise—that the dominant the narrator meets and falls for is homeless and jobless at the beginning of the book—but other than that, it was pretty fluffy and not very memorable. I ran into a quote from this book about switching, which is what turned me on to it in the first place, but I might have put the book down before I got to the switching part, or just didn’t notice it. The writing is less than average, so I often skimmed through chapters.

Um okay so that’s all I have to say about that.

One more sidenote: I decided at the beginning of March that I would do my best to NOT read online, and to read books instead. It was interesting—it took a lot of discipline, and I noticed how many times, over and over, I clicked through to an article on social media or via email. I didn’t realize how much I was reading online every day, and how many of those articles had so much throw-away content—not things that were actually enriching my life, or teaching me things, but more sensationalized what’s happening in the world things. So that practice has helped me both focus on work more when I’m at the computer and read more books, which has been excellent. I aim to continue that habit.

You can support my reading habit, and encourage me to read and write book roundups like this one, by buying me gifts through my Amazon wish list! (Did I mention it’s my birthday today?)

Or, check out more books that I recommend:


What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

I’m obligated by the blogger’s code to let you know that the Sex Position Coloring Book, Daddy by Madison Young, The Big Book of Sex Toys, Lesbian Sex Positions, and Partners in Passion were all sent to me by the respective publishers as review books. My opinions on those books are solely my own, however, and they did not pay me or influence me in any way to write them. Pick up these books at your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, on Amazon.

Review: Aneros Evi G-Spot Massager

Maybe it’s silly, and it’s probably 99% an issue of marketing and what the majority of the population knows, but every time I see a product that advertises that it’s “for the g-spot,” I think, “Really? Do we really have to have this magic “spot” on bodies that is named after a male doctor who “discovered” it?”

I resent that women’s bodies have been claimed.

The “g-spot” is a word and concept that symbolizes the “discovery” of and ownership over parts of women’s bodies, and it is a big ol’ pet peeve of mine.

Of course, there’s constant debate in the scientific health communities about whether the “g-spot” really exists at all—just like how there’s sometimes “official” debate about whether or not someone with a g-spot can ejaculate. Um hello? That just seems … ignorant. Based solely on my completely unofficial poll of my however-many lovers in the last fifteen years, ejaculation can happen and clearly there is some sort of area in the g-spot region that, for some people, when stimulated, is quite pleasurable and can result in either ejaculation or orgasm or both. Of course, for others, there is no pleasure (or sometimes discomfort or pain).

What does that tell me? Well, that our bodies are different.

The New View of a Woman’s Body calls that area the “urethral sponge” and I like that better, though it’s way less of a sexy phrase. Dentifrice vs toothpaste. It’s argued that the g-spot exists somewhere within the urethral sponge, so I suppose they are somewhat different things.

Anatomy is not my specialty, though I am fascinated by our genital parts and what they do. Even more than that, perhaps, I am fascinated by the social and political decisions made surrounding bodies, particularly marginalized bodies (people of color, trans and intersex and “other” genders, women).

So now that you’re Public Service Announcement about my annoyance about the concept of the g-spot is out of the way, let’s move on: This is a review of the Aneros Evi, a somewhat new (as it came out in 2013) g-spot massager toy.

evi2The Aneros company is best known for its neat-shaped prostate toys, which I, not having a prostate, have often admired, though not had much excitement when trying. It seems not all that different than a butt plug, to my non-prostate-having butt. Still, the products are well designed, and that is always a turn-on for me.

So when the Evi was released, which is specifically for g-spot stimulation, I was eager to try it. I like toys that stimulate the g-spot, generally, and lately more and more I have wanted something inside, in that spot, while I’m getting off.

And as a bonus, Evi’s little foot (or, the engine of the starship Enterprise, if you are thinking what I’m thinking) is supposed to give the wearer some added clitoral stimulation too.

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The stimulation is supposed to happen purely when squeezing. The kegel exercises (hey look! Here’s another man, Arthur Kegel, who has named a (genital) place on my body after himself) combined with this toy is supposed to simply be enough for this toy to massage my g-spot.

And, does it?

Well … it doesn’t suck. I wouldn’t don’t kick Evi out of bed. But it’s not any sort of mind-blowing stimulation. I think for my particular body, the Evi isn’t quite the right shape. It’s too small, the foot is not long enough to reach my clit, it doesn’t stimulate my g-spot/urethral sponge enough, or the way I’d like it to.

Still, it’s a great toy to have at arm’s reach in my arsenal. I bet it’s going to be great for a little extra added front hole stimulation while doing some ass fucking. I hear it’s a pretty decent butt plug, and I suspect it’d also be comfortable to wear out in public. So I still have some ideas about and things to experiment with my new Evi friend.

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Aneros Evi was sent to me by Good Vibrations to review, but this review consists completely of my own opinions and ideas and is not influenced by anyone else (except maybe rife). Pick up your own Evi at goodvibes.com, & see more of my very favorite recommended sex toys at Good Vibrations here.

Sex & Business (isn’t that what it’s always about?) February Book Roundup

Can you believe it’s the last day of February? I know there are literally fewer days in this month, but it always seems to zoom by, more than other months. Maybe it’s the beginnings of spring coming back and my eagerness for more spring. Fall is my favorite, really, but that baby-green color that the brand new leaves are? And the first signs—the magnolias, the crocuses, the daffodils? I love that so much.

Aside from it being a quick month, I traveled a lot. Which meant I did have some good time on airplanes and transit to read, but that I was usually using it for other things (like going over my notes for workshops). I’m learning that I can’t really multi-task effectively when I travel. I tend to think of the verb “to travel” as something I do in the background, and other things happen at the same time, but really when “I am traveling,” that’s sometimes all I can actively do.

(I know touring artists have said this kind of thing all the time, but it’s still interesting to discover for myself.)

So, this month, I read:

chokeChoke by Chuck Palahniuk. I picked up a few books by him because his work has been recommended many times over the years, and I thought it’d be an engaging, somewhat light read. This was the one I started with (though I did read Fight Club a while ago, after an ex of mine said it was her favorite book). I can’t say I liked it. At one point I tweeted, “I’m not supposed to like this main character, right?” I didn’t, but I understand he’s supposed to be an anti-hero. I guess I didn’t even like him enough for the anti-hero to work, I wasn’t that sympathetic to his stories and I didn’t like his level of manipulation. I don’t know if I’ll pick up another by Palahniuk. If I do, which do you recommend?

allegiantThen, because the first one was such an easy and fun read last month, I picked up Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, I thought it was the second book in the series, but it was actually the third, and because it’d been about a month since I read the first one (and it was light breezy skimmy reading for me, not deep attention), I was a little lost at the beginning but just went with it. I didn’t even realize until about halfway through the book that it was building up to The Big Reveal of the series. A variety of folks who saw I was reading this series recommended to stop with the second one, because the third was so bad; I didn’t think it was bad exactly, and the twist was somewhat interesting, though of course the science is not sound at all. “Because genes!” is not good. I kinda blew the wad with reading the third one second, so I probably won’t go back to the second one. Still, it was a fun read.

specialtopicsI picked up Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marsha Pessl because I read Night Film last month and loved it, but it was what stumped me. I was totally on a fiction roll until I started this one, and then it was just a liiiiiittle too dense and just a little too smarty-pants for me, and I put it down and stopped. I didn’t finish it, though someday when my attention span is a little better, I’d like to try it again.

switchAfter an absence, I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles again, which I’d seen some smart quotes from on Tumblr I think and figured it might be a promising BDSM novel. Uh, not really. Thin and trite and not very good writing and not very hot. Still, it’s written from a submissive girl’s perspective, with a lot of dominant worship, so I like that part. Enough to finish the book, though not really enough for it to have made an impression.

protocolsI’m constantly in search of really good power dynamic writings, so I picked up two. The first was Protocols: A Variety of Views (Power Exchange Books Resource Series) by Robert Rubel, which was a disappointment. It’s a collection of essays from a variety of well known M/s and D/s folks, many of whom have excellent credentials and have been instrumental in the leather communities for a long time. I suspect that they as people are amazing, and that they have lots of great ideas that I would love love love to learn from, but they didn’t translate very well to these short essays. A number of the essays started with, “What is BDSM?” which could be useful if you’re writing an entire book about BDSM, but these are short essays on protocol specifically, so I suspect the average reader already has some knowledge. I would’ve loved more advanced ideas and less beginner, and more editing so that the writing wasn’t quite so clunky.

eroticAlong with Protocols, I finally picked up Erotic Slavehood by Christina Abernathy, which is actually two books together: Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual and Training With Miss Abernathy. The first, the slave training manual, is quite good. It is a bit elementary, a beginner-to-intermediate level, but I really liked the writing style, the knowledge, and the smarts of Miss Abernathy, and I don’t say that about very many d/s books. The second half of the book is a training guide with exercises, suggested readings, journal prompts meditations, and all kinds of things for a submissive/slave/s-type to explore. I loved it! I wish I’d read it before Submissive Playground, though perhaps it’s good because it could have been influential. I highly recommend it to s-types, and I promptly passed it off to rife to work through.

journeyabandonmentThe Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by Susan Anderson … I don’t have much to say about this. I am still grieving, and on any given day somewhere from 10 to 70 percent of me is in some sort of despair process. I assume it’s temporary, I trust it will keep evolving, but it’s been hard lately. So I am trying to learn about the grief process, to lean on the teachings and helpers who have done this kind of thing before, and not just dwell in my own heartbreak hotel.

sexySexy Sailors: Gay Erotic Stories edited by Neil Plakcy was so much more than I expected. Not just better (though yes, better writing than many of the other books I’d read this month) but also more engaging, more interesting, more fascinating. I’m not really into sailors or boats, but there’s a whole language associated with it, and in addition to the language, an entire men’s culture that is quite curious to glimpse into. And, I really liked all the cock-centric dirty parts. I don’t read much gay boy smut, but I think I should change that. I fucking love Cleis Press—any time I pick up an erotica anthology by them, it never fails to have high quality writing, dirty scenes, thoughtful characters, and so much sensual, smokin’ hot language (which is exactly why I pick up erotica instead of watch some dirty scene). It’s so good for sex geeks like me.

startupLast but not least, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. I was hoping this had business advice in it, but it reads much more like The Four Hour Workweek, which is useful for motivation but not so much for detailed infrastructure implementation, which is the phase I’m currently in. I’m looking to make some business decisions and studies in the near future, so I took a shot in the dark and started here. Not so much. But I’ll keep shooting—I have some other ideas.

If you have any book recommendations, I would love to know them! What have you read lately that’s been amazing? What do you think I’d love?

PS: Photo of me at Feelmore 510 in Oakland is by Lauren Cohn-Frankel.

It’s Valentine’s Day, so here’s some Desert Island Toys

It’s Valentine’s Day this week! You didn’t forget it, did you? Well, you’re lucky—if you place an order before noon on Wednesday, they’ll upgrade your shipping to next day air, with some other goodies thrown in too.

Whether you’re single, or have one or two or more hotties you want to share some sexytimes with this V-day, I’m sure you can find a way to … work this to your advantage.

Here’s some of my very favorite desert island toys. Maybe it’s time to add them to your toy box!

Vixskin Maverick shilo tristan

jaguarg SpareParts Joque Harness tomboi

1-1-AB-BE01-2 Liberator Throe Njoy Pure Wand

underbed Crash Pad Series queerpornrevolution

What’s that? You still want more?

Well, okay then. Here’s even more of my favorite products of all time over at Good Vibrations. ‘Cause you’re gonna need some condoms, gloves, and lube to go with those toys, aren’tcha?

Order by noon today (Wednesday) & get free next day shipping, free vibrator, free gift card, & other goodies!

February Feature: Crash Pad Series & strap-on queer porn scenes you gotta see

Hello! This is your monthly affiliate feature, where I share with you some of the reasons you should indulge in a particular product or service. This month, February 2014, it’s going to be Pink & White, fine makers of such queer porn as the Crash Pad Series, Pink & White Productions, Pink Label (streaming on demand), and Heavenly Spire.

I’ve had a Crash Pad membership for years. Shine Louise Houston makes some of the fucking finest queer porn currently available—and I don’t just say that because she features queers of all genders, all body sizes, all races and skin tones, and all kinds of kink. I also say that because I’ve seen boatloads of queer porn, and her stuff is, quite frankly, the very best.

Remember back when the internet was a baby wee “net” and so of course was 65% full of porn? I drew the (mistaken) conclusion that all people who made porn were somehow exploitative, so therefore I would never pay money for it.

But then, a few years later … I saw this:

And I watched it over, and over, and over and over and overandoverandover. It was the. Hottest. Thing. I’d. Ever. Seen.

(And because it was such a significant moment in my sexy timeline, and I watched it two twenty thousand times, I STILL think it is incredibly fucking hot.)

It took me a while before I actually saw the full-length DVD. A year or two? But I didn’t forget this trailer. And then after I saw the actual DVD, I thought … this is a game-changer. You know what this means? There is actually good queer porn.

I’d never seen that kind of queer dyke porn with that kind of intensity and strap-on play in any place other than, well, SIR Productions (like Sugar High Glitter City and Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels). I was impressed. I mean like really impressed.

And … well, then I started paying for porn.

I started interacting more with the folks who were creating the porn—the filmmakers, the porn stars, the photographers—and I wanted to support their work. I thought it was important for them to be able to get paid to do this work, so that they could keep doing it and not have to go do some day job they didn’t really like and then stop making porn.

(You can rent the original Crash Pad: Director’s Cut film on Pink Label, and if you’ve never seen it, you’re in for a treat.)

So! Fast forward a few years, and I’ve been watching the online Crash Pad Series religiously. (I mean really: my boy & I have a tradition of watching porn and having pancakes on the weekends, which I consider another form of worship.) I get really behind and don’t always keep up with the new episodes, but because sometimes reviewing porn is part of my job, I love excuses to catch up. Like this one!

So I started watching backwards from the most recent season, and picked some of my favorite more recent scenes to feature and share with you. These all have strap-on play in it, because, well, that’s kinda my thing.

Without further adieu …

Five Amazing Crash Pad Strap On Scenes

Episode 152: Chocolate Chip & Nikki Darling

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This is box title
“Back so soon, Nikki Darling? And with one of our favorite flavors, Chocolate Chip – a face long-time fans are sure to recognize. After spending a little time cuffed to the bed, Nikki ends up on top of Chocolate’s RodeoH-secured cock. Vigorous cock-sucking ensues, before it’s Chocolate’s turn to bend over for some hot rimming and a magic wand ride. I like the way that cookie crumbles.” – Keymaster

Episode 164: Nikki Hearts & Rizzo Ford

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This is box title
“When Nikki Hearts brings green-haired, giggling Rizzo Ford to the Pad, things heat up fast. Rizzo has orgasm after shivering, shouting orgasm thanks to Nikki’s strap-on skills before returning the favor with her tongue. Come for the hot queer sex, stay for the gorgeous tattoo eye-candy!” — Keymaster

Episode 165: Kimberly Kills & Brittany Bendz

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I don’t know if you guys know this about me, but I kind of have a foot fetish. (Turns out, all those years of adoring shoes? I guess that was a gateway drug.) And finding queer porn with lovely foot play is, well, pretty rare. And two super hot trans queers? Unh I’ve never quite seen anything like this. And I liked it. Um a lot.

This is box title
“Why measure your pleasure by mere inches? For Kimberly Kills, fun comes by the foot. Brittany Bendz’ foot, to be precise, as they close 2013 with a most impressive game of footsie.” – Keymaster

Episode 160: Odile & Daisy Ducati

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This is box title
“Some boots are made for walkin’. Daisy Ducati’s black vinyl skyscrapers are made for licking, and that’s just what Odile’s gonna do, providing service with a smile for Daisy’s boots and cock. These two fuck with delicious symmetry, however, and Odile takes a turn on top after trading bejeweled buttplugs. I hate to speculate, but I think we’ll all enjoy the mutually satisfying conclusion.” — Keymaster

Episode 148: Courtney Trouble, Dylan Ryan, & Chelsea Poe

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Okay, okay, you got me: This isn’t exclusively a strap-on scene, though lots of these have other things in addition to their strap-on play. Though there is an appearance, this is more of a take-down kind of scene. Courtney Trouble & Dylan Ryan are two of my favorite queer porn stars, and Chelsea Poe is so fucking hot in this, and they are fantastic together. So consider it a bonus.

This is box title
“Dylan Ryan and Courtney Trouble were two of the first Keyholders, so I decided to give them a gift… a little something special to break in the new Pad: Chelsea Poe, tied up with a bow. They immediately put her to good use, taking turns with her face between their thighs. Then Courtney finger-fucks Chelsea while getting fucked by an nJoy-wielding Dylan, until Dylan decides to put on a cock and fuck Chelsea’s mouth. Something for everyone as we break in the new digs!” – Keymaster

PS: As a teeny little aside, I ran into this interview I did with Shine from 2010 while I was working on this article, which talks all about her homage to masculinity, Heavenly Spire. I love what she has to say about being a queer and masculine of center / butch pornographer who is interesting in pointing her camera at cis and trans men. And I really love the artful films in that project, too.

PS: There’s a Valentine’s Day sale going on for new members.

crashvday

Coupon Code: 50E expires 2/15/2014. Sign-up!

Devouring Magic: January Book Roundup

Little note: I use Grammarly’s plagiarism detection software because duplications, while sometimes necessary, are never as good as the real thing.

I read seven books in January! I’ve had such difficulty focusing on reading the past few years. I think at first it was because of my weird fogged-out grief-brain, but then this past year I think I was just out of the habit, going instead to my Facebook feed or Twitter feed or Tumblr feed if I wanted things to read.

I’ve also been realizing that the massive stacks of books that I read for work are sometimes really hard to get into and not exactly “pleasure reading.” While I love love love to read relationship theories and gender theories and gender memoirs & narratives and sex education things in general, I also don’t necessarily curl up with those before I go to bed. I used to—but I guess that’s the difference between doing that kind of stuff as a JOB and reading them all for fun.

So around the holidays, I put out the question to friends and started accruing a huge list of indulgent novels to try out and read. I wanted to start with some easy page-turners, those “unputdownables” that I bring to the dinner table and wake up wanting to read. I got some fantastic recommendations.

13335037 8490112 12812550 18360128 18007140 10112885 11395597

I started with Divergent, the first in a YA dystopian trilogy. The narrator, Tris, is in a society that measures by value, and at 16 they are sorted into the faction where they will stay. They do have some choice, but they also take an aptitude test to determine where they would best fit. Excellent premise! I was into it, and excited about the story, and devoured it quickly, but the writing was not so great. Thin and definitely plot-based. I would absolutely watch the film, though, and I may pick up the other two books in the series, especially when I need to remind myself that books are easy to read and I can zoom through them in a couple days.

Tiny aside: Do y’all read through a Kindle or Kindle app? I think it’s kind of fascinating that it tracks how many hours you’ve spent reading any particular book, and then it also tells you how many more hours you have to go in reading it. I don’t track time very well, I am coming to realize, so that was really interesting.

After Divergent, I almost picked up book #2 in the series, but decided to try another YA fantasy-type series instead, and I picked up Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. Holy crap, I thought that book was amazing. From the introductory chapters that normalize Karou’s strange life to her romance and the profound reveal toward the end of the book, I was hooked. I read the second,Days of Blood & Starlight, and then was so ready to pick up the third, Dreams of Gods & Monsters, when I discovered that it’s due out this spring! Noooo! So I picked up the #2.5 novella, Night of Cake & Puppets, which was charming and sweet and fun, and I am even more into Karou’s best friend Zuzanna. I hear it’s going to be a movie, and they are going to be big hits (if Twilight and Hunger Games have any precedence, which they do). I would absolutely cast Kenzi from Lost Girl as Karou, and if they cast anybody else I might hold a protest.

I took a little break from YA fantasy after that series, because I am not sure it gets better than that, at least for right now. So I picked up The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission, Alison Tyler’s second in her recent trilogy. If you like Fifty Shades type of erotic romance fantasy novels, I highly recommend Alison Tyler. She’s the real deal, with actual experience and solid writing talent.

I picked up Night Film by Marisha Pessl on recommendation from an old friend, one whose fiction opinions I usually trust. I couldn’t put it down. It was more dense than the others I’ve been reading, but I got so deeply engrossed in the story of the eccentric horror film director and the narrator investigative journalist dead set on exposing whatever real horrors the director was up to. The strange cast grows, and I was so impressed with the world that Pessl built. I don’t usually read such suspense or mystery, but it reminded me of the years in high school where I used to read book after book of Christopher Pike and Dean Koontz. Maybe I should try some of their more recent books again.

That is precisely the kind of reading I’m looking for these days—something somewhat light, that I can devour, but with some magic underneath it that keeps me enraptured and entranced.

I finished off the month with Jeanette Winterson’s latest memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?. I have read almost all of her books, I think I read everything up to The Stone Gods, though I’m a few behind now. I love her intense writing, her experimental style, the ways she is obsessed with love. Oh, and this book, this book. This book made me want to go back and read all the classics of English Literature A-Z that she talks about discovering, it made me want to theorize about love and loss and the lost loss and healing and grief and how we can ever recover from trauma. I marked all sorts of quotes and cried and wrote things down. I had to put it down and read some of it slowly, connecting deeply to the amount of feeling she is able to convey. After reading it, I feel like I just took a big deep breath. It made me want to pick up many more things of hers, or to re-read some of my favorites, like Gut Symmetries and Written on the Body.

Thus concludes my January book roundup! Follow me on Goodreads and see which books I’ll be reading in February.

What have YOU been reading? Anything amazing lately? Anything to recommend?

This month’s roundup is sponsored by Grammerly. I will receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for that link placed up top, but they had no say over the content that I posted. So that’s only half selling out, right?

Gender, Poetry, and Smut: Current Recommended Reads

I have stacks of books on my lists to tell y’all about, and so many other things to write to you about that I often don’t update you with what I’m reading. But, I know some of y’all are book nerds, so here ya go. Some beginnings of my attempt to get through this backlog.

And hey, who knows, maybe it’ll be a perfect last-minute dark-time-of-the-year holiday gift for somebody.

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Butch Geography by Stacey Waite (Tupelo Press). A poetry collection … I read the review over on Lambda Literary and ran out to snag my own copy. It really is as beautiful as the review says. Waite writes with precise language and beautiful turns of phrase and enjambment about gender, navigating the world as a masculine of center person, and love. If you’re into gender and butch things and poetic words, this is for you.

Troubling the Line: Trans & Genderqueer Poetics TC Tolbert & Tim Trace Peterson (Nightboat Press). This anthology includes a wide range of poets, some examples of their work, and some statements (“poetics”) of their purpose and intentions behind their poetry. I find those essays in particular so compelling. The whole thing strikes me as very academic, so there is a lot of theory and big, fancy words that I feel like I could squint and strain to understand but I just kind of don’t bother (unless, you know, I really want to), but even so, I love reading the words and seeing two of my favorite genres—genderqueer theory and poetry—come together. Fascinating—and, as far as I know, the only book of its kind.

Poets include Samuel Ace, Julian Talamantez Brolaski, Micha Cardenas, kari edwards, Duriel Harris, Joy Ladin, Dawn Lundy Martin, Eileen Myles, Trish Salah, Max Wolf Valerio, John Wieners, Kit Yan, and more.

Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive By Julia Serano (Seal Press). I’ve said for years that I consider Serano’s first book, Whipping Girl, required reading, and this, her sophomore publication, is likewise just as essential. Feminist and queer movements can be so exclusive, can reproduce all sorts of misogyny, racism, transphobia, transmisogyny, classism, and dozens more -isms—I have experienced and witnessed so much of that first-hand, and it frustrates me, as someone who is deeply committed to feminist and queer movements. And yet … sometimes I have no idea what to do about it. Serano puts forth all kinds of theories and concepts that I really like—the first one that comes to mind is explaining feminism through the concept of double standards. Keep up with Serano through her blog, where she’s got information about book signings and readings, and where she’s been posting excerpts and definitions of terms she coined or is using extensively in this book. It’ll give you a good sense of the tone and concepts included in Excluded (see what I did there? Ha ha!).

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Best Bondage Erotica 2014 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press). Oh! It looks like this is technically released January 1st, though I did just see that Rachel received her box of copies to send out to Amazon reviewers (get in touch with her and get a copy of the book in exchange for writing it up on Amazon!). I’m not sure what the last Best Bondage Erotica collection was that I read … maybe I haven’t read any of them? I’ll be honest, I’m not very into bondage—but that’s partly why I absolutely loved Laura Antoniou’s introduction to this book, which basically said, “Uh, I’m not that into bondage.” Hah! Cracked me up, and also, I identify with that. “I’m much more into power,” Antoniou writes. Yeah, me too. And yet … and yet. She goes on to explain the value of these stories, and I admit they kept me turning pages. I particularly loved Kathleen Delaney-Adams story “Tart Cherry,” but that’s because I am a sucker for a kinky femme bottom who knows what she wants. Still, it’s beautifully written and sweet and dirty, and it stood out.

Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, edited by Kathleen Warnock (Cleis Press). There was a bit of news about this year’s BLE collection, and while I have a lot of questions and confusion and thoughts from that article, I don’t really need to go into that here. I mean, I am kind of the lesbian erotica cheerleader (despite having complicated relationships with both the words “lesbian” and “erotica”). But still, I come back to BLE year after year, I submit my stories, and I always, always look forward to reading it. This year, the story I submitted is the kick-off piece, the first one in the book (thrilling!), and I was lucky enough to be part of the release party here in San Francisco and hear almost ten of the stories read aloud. I think this year’s is a good collection, well-written and well collected, though there aren’t very many stories in here that I’ll be going back to for jerk-off material, mostly because they aren’t Daddy/girl or heavy BDSM based (which tends to be what I seek out these days—I know, SHOCKER). Still, Cheryl Dunye & Sarah Schulman’s script for the full length campy porn Mommy is Coming is included, and that’s fascinating.

Actually, speaking of Mommy is Coming, here’s the trailer:

Um yeah. Definitely recommend that one.

Aaaand that concludes this current book round-up! What have you been reading lately? Anything good to recommend?

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

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

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

Luke

Hi Luke!

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

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

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

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

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

Sinclair

tomboi
The Spareparts Tomboi briefs harness

Review: Rug Beater Paddle, independent toy maker on Etsy

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

Check it out.

rugbeater

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

Some of the marks this toy left on rife:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Review: Bondage cuff and bow tie by Rand Leather

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

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

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

First: the bondage cuff!

  

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

It works exactly like a bondage belt, only miniature!

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

Now: the bow tie!

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Detachable.

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

2. Silicone.

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

3. Vibrator.

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

4. Juuuust right.

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

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

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

Big Book of Orgasms: Blog Tour!

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

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

Fuck.

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

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

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

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

aslan2

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

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

Here’s the Aslan description:

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

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

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

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

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


aslan2 aslan aslan1

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

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

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

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Help! I want a decent pack ‘n play cock!

coaching-buttonHello Sinclair,

My girlfriend and I have been looking for a decent pack ‘n’ play cock but can’t seem to find any that seem decent, and it’s hard to choose over the internet.

I read your 101 on packing cocks, which was useful and helped me know what to look for. Unfortunately, all your recommendations have been discontinued.

Do you have any more recent cocks you could recommend? (If it’s a UK website, that would be a huge plus as postage can be really expensive to get it over here.)

Thanks very much. Regards,
Sian

In recent years, there have been generally three cocks that are considered “pack and play”: The Silky (aka the Bendy), the Goodfella, and the Tantus VIP Supersoft. All of those are outlined in my Cock Confidence: Pack & Play article here.

However …

Not to be all dramatic about it, except that OMG IT IS JUST BASICALLY THE BEST THING THAT HAPPENED TO PACK AND PLAY COCKS EVER, a company called New York Toy Collective rolled onto the scene in 2011 and they are producing a brand new pack n play silicone cock called the Shilo.

And it is really, really good.

shilo

I think it’s so good, in fact, that I have teamed up with NYTC and I have a few of their cocks that I carry around with me and sell myself. That started because I kept RAVING about them in my workshops, but they weren’t in toy stores yet. Now, they’re in many stores, like Good Vibes and Babeland and Smitten Kitten. I don’t know if they’re in the UK yet, though (I don’t think so).

So, wait, backing up. Let me introduce you to the Shilo:

shilo2 shilo3

Made out of silicone, with a “proprietary core” (which apparently means “we can’t tell you what’s in it, but it has layers of silicone and other plastics”) that makes it bendable. BENDABLE. So you can tuck it down into your pants and then bend it back up straight and fuck with it well. I mean well.

It is 6 inches of insertable length, and 1.5 inches in girth. Which is a great size. A really really good size. A slightly larger than average size when it comes to cis penises, but perhaps slightly on the small side when it comes to strap-on cocks. Let me assure you that it is excellent for a) blow jobs, b) anal sex, and c) um all the other holes and fucking too. I often switch to a slightly (or massively) bigger cock when I want to really go at it for a while, but it is excellent for fucking. And because it’s very bendable, you can get it right to the g-spot or p-spot really easily.

Clean it like you’d clean any silicone: place in boiling water or on the top shelf of the dishwasher (no soap!) or wipe down with a 10% bleach solution.

Shilo is available in 4 skin tone colors, because more choices help you pick a shade that is closer to your skin tone. AND it now comes in blue/black, pink/blue and fierce pink!

So you can buy them online from various stores now, or from nytoycollective.com, or you can buy them right from ME. I’m selling them for $135, and I would much prefer to sell them in person, but I am willing to mail them to you. That’ll be $135 plus shipping (which varies depending on where you live. If you’re in the US, it’ll be flat rate priority mail).

Email me, mrsexsmith@gmail.com, if you want one with the color and your address, and I will bill you via Paypal.

Or, of course, you can pick it up at your local queer feminist sex-positive sex toy store, which hopefully you already patronize frequently and support in many ways, or online from NY Toy Collective directly.

Review: Jam Body Tank, aka Compression Tank, aka Faux-Binder

jamrws01-tank_1Rounderwear contacted me offering products for review, and while their bubble-butt gay boy underwear is pretty cute, I wasn’t sure it was for me exactly. Then, the Body Tank sections caught my eye, and I requested to take a look at the Jam Body Tank.

Glad I did. I’ve worn it frequently since it arrived.

I really don’t like full-on compression shirts. They make it hard for me to breathe. They knock the wind outta me after walking a block or two, or up one flight of stairs. They shove my chest up into my collarbone and sometimes make me feel like my neck isn’t free enough, like I’m suffocating. They make my stomach feel all weird (and some other digestion things you probably don’t want to know about). I don’t like the feeling of wearing one.

I sure do like how my silhouette looks when I do, however.

So, I picked up a “muscle shirt” a while ago, which is basically a regular tee shirt on top and then an elastic band that covers the stomach, and I wear that over my usual binder (aka sports bra—my current pick being Enell) when I want to have a smoother silhouette, or when I want to wear a button-down. It’s not as intense as my compression shirt, but it still makes a difference.

This Jam Body Tank is a lot like that, except instead of being half-shirt half-elastic, it’s all elastic. It’s a lot more comfortable than a compression shirt, but it’s not quite as effective. It doesn’t create the same straight(er) lines that a compression shirt does, but it does still help, AND I can breathe! Yes!

Here’s the description from the Rounderwear site:

Seamless compression tank that provides back support and definition to the muscles. Its detailed design and construction help pull back the shoulders, straighten the back and slim down the waist.

92% Polyamide Sorbtek 8% Elastane

• Improves shape and posture
• Slims down
• Reduces back pain
• Controls body temperature
• Machine wash

I don’t feel it pulling back the shoulders or straightening my back, but maybe I already have good posture? Kind of doubt it, since I’ve got a long history of shoulder trouble. I also haven’t noticed any sort of “body temperature” control, but maybe it knows something I don’t.

What does seem to be true is that it “provides support” and “improves shape” and “slims down.” Basically, it’s Spanx for men. And butches, and whomever might want to slim down their curves into a more linear shape.

I’m very glad to have something other than that compression shirt to wear to “slim down” my shape and make it a bit more masculine, especially for long conference days like I had this past weekend. Wearing the compression shirt for a whole day (or two or four days in a row) is hard on my body. I’m glad for the chance to review it, I didn’t realize products like these are out there and I’m going to keep an eye out for more like this.

Beautiful & horrible: Cheryl’s book won the Lammy

Kelli Dunham was in New York City last week at the Lambda Literary Foundation‘s annual award ceremony, the Lammys, to honor the latest best in LGBT literature. Cheryl’s book My Awesome Place won the lammy in the bisexual literature category.

Kelli wrote that it was “beautiful and horrible:” “Beautiful, of course, because it was well deserved and because it was made possible by all of you, who have worked and loved the book into existence. And horrible because Cheryl wasn’t there.”

I just keep hearing Cheryl’s voice in my head, in the sentence after she told me that the odd medical things she’s been looking into were the worst that they suspected, that it was cancer. “I am getting a book deal,” were her exact next words.

Here’s what Kelli said at the award ceremony:

“My Awesome Place details Cheryl’s long and sometimes difficult search for community, the very community that brought this book to life; the forethought of her friend Sarah Schulman to prompt “tell Cheryl I’m willing to be her literary executor, to get her book out” This was a query answered with “yeah duh of course” accompanied by classic Cheryl eyeroll; the community of Cheryl’s writers’ group, Anne Elliott, Maria Luisa Tucker and Virginia Vitzthum who had worked with the manuscript for years and put together a largely completed version for Sarah to edit; community in the form of Tom Léger and the brilliant folks at Topside Press, Riley MacLeod and Zoe Holmes, who took a chance on an author they knew would not be doing anything to promote her own book, and Julie Blair whose design made My Awesome Place as beautiful as Cheryl herself; community in the form of her friends, who have blogged and posted and emailed to get the word out about the book knowing that there is an artsy freak teenager trying to escape New Jersey, a women somewhere struggling with sobriety, and a smarty pants bisexual girl living on Staten Island, all who think they are alone, and who will read My Awesome Place and know they are not. Every day when Cheryl was her sickest, I prayed to a god I no longer believe in for a miracle. Perhaps this book is the miracle, the miracle of like minded, similar souled people, who believed that her words matter and cared enough to be present through the beautiful discomfort of bringing her words to life.” —Kelli Dunham

Please do read the book if you haven’t already. There’s an easy Kindle version, if you do that kind of thing, and the hardcover is beautiful. I’m grateful to Topside Press for publishing it, and grateful to Cheryl’s writer’s group who put together the final manuscript.

Congratulations to all of the Lammy winnersThe Harder She Comes: Butch/Femme Erotica, which has a story of mine in it, won the Lammy for lesbian erotica!

Writing your story is “an investment in one’s self,” and more from Amber Dawn

howpoetryI published a note about me & Amber Dawn reading some poetry this week earlier today, but I forgot that I have this lovely little interview from Amber Dawn’s publisher, Arsenal Pulp Press.

Interview with Amber Dawn

Q: The format of How Poetry Saved My Life (prose pieces mixed with a variety of poetry forms) deviates from what readers might have come to expect from the literary memoir form. Sections “Outside,” “Inside” and “Inwards” hint at a narrative arc, though the overall structure remains more loose and thematic than chronological. Why did you choose to tell your story this way?

Amber Dawn: I have a great deal of admiration for authors—especially ex-sex workers—who write their memoir as a chronological journey. Some books I’ve had the pleasure of reading recently are Whip Smart, by Melissa Febos and Candy Girl: A Year in the Life of an Unlikely Stripper, by Diablo Cody. I doubt I’d have the wherewithal to sit down and write my own story in this manner. How Poetry Saved My Life encompasses nearly fifteen years of collected writing. I wrote each piece for different reasons. Some poems had more therapeutic or cathartic beginnings, harken to the book’s title. Some prose I wrote to present at sex worker conferences or forums. It took a while before I realized I had an entire book’s worth of writing, and a bit longer still before I felt brave enough to release these collected stories and poems publicly. I view the account of my experiences as more of an emotional journey, rather than a chronological one. Through this approach I hope readers will make there own personal connection to the book, even if they’re life experiences are different from my own.

Q: The book represents nearly fifteen years of collected writings. You’ve had a very diverse writing career—you’ve edited horror and porn anthologies and dipped into the magical realist genre with your first novel Sub Rosa. How did you come to write a non-fictionalized memoir?

A: I believe a voice is a powerful and privileged resource to possess, especially when it comes to something like sex work, which is constantly silenced and stigmatized. Through performing on both small and larger stages, I’ve found that in every audience there is at least one woman (or man) who not only relates to my story, but feels almost desperate to have silence around sex work and survivorship broken. I feel a duty to speak up.

Q: Is there a piece of prose or poetry in the collection that was particularly difficult for you to write or realize, and in turn share with readers?

A: “Lying is the Work” is a personal essay that juxtaposes a bad date I had during the last year of working in the sex trade with my grandfather’s story of joining the Navy at age 17 to fight in WW2. This is one of very few examples where I bring my family history into my work. I love my family and want to protect and spare them of triggers or “digging up dirt.” While I’m proud of who I am, I acutely understand that survivors and sex workers are stigmatized and that this stigma can impact families and loved ones.

Case in point, recently, my grandfather disowned me when I married my wife—a ceremony that everyone in my family attended but for him. Therefore, I feel I can tell a bit of the story between my grandfather and I—in a dignified and objective way—without worrying about him reading it. As an Italian-American immigrant and Navy veteran he has a tremendous story of survival. It’s bitter sweet that I relate to him as a survivor and yet we have no present-day relationship. This makes the personal essay very difficult for me.

Q: RADAR Productions recently awarded you the 2012 Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Chapbook Prize for “How I got My Tattoo.” How does the title poem of that particular collection fit into your personal narrative in How Poetry Saved My Life?

A: What an honour to win the Eli Coppola Memorial Poetry Prize, and just before I launch How Poetry Saved My Life! I have a quite a few titles like How Poetry Saved My Life and “How I Got My Tattoo” that are posed like answers to questions. Sex workers and survivors get asked questions all the time. I could over-simplify all these questions to essentially, “How did this happen to you.” I hate that question—the question implies that being a survivor or being a sex worker is outside the norm and needs explanation—when in fact these experiences are very common. Nonetheless, I also sympathize that people need to ask questions and discuss. The titles that I’ve written as answers to questions are there to promote discussion in a proud and creative way.

Q: In the book you cite author Jeanette Winterson and “powerful women whose voices have been cut short” among your inspirations. Would you tell us more about how you have been influenced by literary and activist voices in your life?

A: I was in my teens and early 20s in the 1990s, and was gobsmacked by the Riot Grrl movement. My first serious girlfriend introduced me to the feminist music and zine culture and listing to Team Dresh and Bikini Kill gave me the idea that I too had something to say. Not only where these voices powerful, but they were accessible. I didn’t need education to understand the feminist politicking of Riot Grrl. But after being introduced to feminist art and literature, I wanted to learn more. This was probably the first time I ever wanted to learn or read anything. I began reading Jeanette Winterson, Beth Goobie, Larissa Lai, Evelyn Lau, Sharon Olds, Lucille Clifton, Michelle Tea, Sarah Schulman. Finally, I understood the comfort and solidarity that could be found through books.

Q: You’ve toured with the Sex Workers Art Show, created short films, as well as performed at a variety of venues including the Vancouver Art Gallery. How does your performance and film background compliment or deviate from your writing?

A: Performing at galleries or appearing in my own films has helped me get into my body. Like many survivors, I’m inclined to live in my head, my imagination is a real sanctuary. Performance art has allowed me to embody the themes and emotions of my work and connect more closely with audience. I really feel the work when I’m hurling my body around a stage. In turn, this has helped me sink into a deeper connectivity to my written work.

Q: You now teach creative writing classes—some to queer and at-risk youth. Can you say more about the potential of art to be a survival skill and lifeline to others?

A: Something very palpable occurs when a person writes their story. It doesn’t have to be for future publication, but simply to put memories on paper and/or to read them in a room full of safe, supportive listeners. It’s an investment in one’s self. It’s an act of acknowledging one’s worth. It’s making the unspoken, heard. This can have life-changing impacts on people who have been shut down or silenced. Each time I run a creative writing workshop I see a little bit of change happen. “Thank you for listening,” my students always say to me. They don’t need to thank me; they should thank themselves. They do transformative work when they use their voices.

A Dirty Excerpt from Carrie’s Story [Blog Tour]

carriesstoryToday is my day on the Carrie’s Story blog tour. I devoured this book in the beginning of March as some escapist fiction, hoping for something easy to read that was easy enough to digest without a lot of deep thinking. And while it is easy to read and easy to digest, it isn’t without it’s deep thoughts. Carrie has very little experience with kink and submission at the beginning of the book, but by the end she is an auctioned slave, having gone through trainings from her (temporary) master and trainings from the Madame of the slave auction herself.

I love the little moments where Carrie submits, not because she is comfortable being taken by this person or that person, but because she trusts the woman who created the entire system. And by submitting to the system, she is submitting to that woman in particular. It’s a beautiful explanation of how M/s is larger than D/s, and how M/s is not about individual interactions.

I’ve been more and more interested in M/s theory lately. I’ve got a lot of thoughts about how D/s and M/s are different, and I’d love to write about that more soon here—mostly I’m still chewing on the differences and formulating thoughts. I’ve read through Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny’s book, Dear Raven and Joshua: Questions and Answers About Master/Slave Relationships, which is amazing and which I may turn around and re-read from the beginning right away. It’s long and detailed, well-organized and easy to read in a Q&A format. Unfortunately (and fortunately) it’s been teaching me a ton of things that I’ve been doing wrong … but I’ll leave that thought for the moment and share you some more details about Carrie’s Story. I highly recommend the read.

Excerpt from Carrie’s Story

Day one had begun with the very chic fortyish woman holding me tightly by the nipple and telling me, “We will all want to use you during these trials, but first, we will want to know how obedient you are, how much self-discipline you have. You are accustomed to being in restraints?”

“Yes, Madame Roget,” I said.

They all laughed a little at this, and she told me that they didn’t believe in that sort of thing for these trials. “We would not mar the woodwork of this pretty room with any of those little hooks and eyes, I think you call them. You will do everything we command, and you will be beaten, and bear it beautifully, without any collars or cuffs, without being tied or held in any way.”

I gulped. “Yes, Madame Roget,” I agreed, though I was terrified at the thought of not being tied down while being beaten. Too bad we couldn’t rig up something using all the hardware hanging off the jacket of her Chanel suit.

Quel jour. I had no idea if I could really do it, and I wasn’t perfect by any means. Twice, that I can remember, and maybe more times than that, my hands flew up to my breasts to protect them. This was at least one of the “technical” things Jonathan hadn’t thought of. He, of course, loved to think of crafty ways to embed hooks and eyes all over his house and so, stupidly, hadn’t realized that the rest of the world might not. I think what got me through it was that I was so pissed at him for not considering that this might happen, and so determined to best the situation in spite of him. Thanks a lot, coach, I remember thinking, seeing him out of the corner of my eye, over there on his delicate little chair. I thought of that creep who brought those terrified little four-foot-eight-inch American gymnasts to the Olympics, to be entirely outclassed by the Russians and Romanians.

That day ended very abruptly, or at least I thought so. I was on my knees in the center of the room, having just thanked the board, one by one, and very sweetly and clearly, though in a bit of a choked voice, for a brisk beating they’d just administered to my breasts and thighs. (Oh, and in French—we switched to French for the afternoons.) And, no, they didn’t hold up any cards with little numbers on them to rate my performance. They hardly acknowledged me at all, in fact, but Madame Roget turned to Jonathan and curtly said, “Bring her around tomorrow at ten, and we’ll continue.”

“Thank you, Madame,” Jonathan replied, getting to his feet and hurrying to help me up. “I will. Thank you all.” He spoke like the well-brought-up little boy he must have been once. And I realized that part of the entertainment, for him, and maybe for me as well, was that he was on trial too.

When we got back to the hotel room, he grabbed me, and, very uncharacteristically, pushed me onto the bed practically into a backward somersault, pulled up my skirt, and started fucking me. My shoes went flying, and I felt a garter unsnap painfully against my thigh. Against my cunt, my belly, my legs, I felt his pants zipper and a million buttons and buckles digging into me. It was silly, clumsy, uncomfortable, but I understood. It was what I needed, too. The long, horny, ritualistic day of trials, subtleties, pain, performing, and politesse had gotten to both of us, and what we both wanted was mindless, exhausting, low-tech vanilla fucking. In and out. Bang bang bang. Friction. I closed my eyes and came a lot, moving however I pleased and making lots of noise and trying to forget that there were such things as rules or form or sensibility.

Still, you don’t forget a year of slave training just like that, so a long while after, when I had recovered enough, I crawled to the foot of the bed and knelt there at attention (although I was unsure what to do about the skirt that was still up around my waist and the stockings down around my ankles). Jonathan looked at me for a while. Then he frowned, sighed, and finally said, “Oh hell, Carrie, I don’t think I can maintain any rules tonight, not after watching those pros do it all day. Let’s just take showers and zone out. Are you hungry? Want to do room service?”

Which was how we passed the next three evenings. We’d come back from the trials, pull off our clothes, fuck real hard, and then eat. During some break in the second day trials, Jonathan had gone out, found an English-language bookstore, and scooped up a shopping bag full of mysteries and sci fi. We weren’t following rules anymore, which meant we could say anything we wanted. But we were afraid of saying wrong or embarrassing things to each other. At least I was. So the books kept us busy during those weird, wired, exhausted, polite, and oddly companionable evenings. We’d dive into them, every so often one or the other of us finishing one, maybe briefly recommending it, or tossing it across the room, proclaiming it a “turkey, guessed it halfway through, don’t bother.”

On the fourth evening, the rock ’n’ roll/cyberpunk story I was racing through reminded me of thrash music and I thought of my Primus T-shirt, packed up with my stuff at Stuart’s. I decided that if I passed the trials I’d tell Jonathan he could have it as a good-bye present. Thanks for the memo- ries, I guess, and for the strange intimacy, even if we’d only had about four real conversations in the space of a year and a half. Good-bye, and thanks, also, for finding me a job that was not just a job but an adventure. So long, accomplice, collaborator, coconspirator.

Just then, there was a knock at the door. Jonathan went to get it. There were two European guys in suits and short squared-off haircuts, looking like the cops in La Femme Nikita. They were from the auction committee, though, and they were here to tell us—well, Jonathan, really—that I’d passed the trials. I could hear that much anyway, though the one of them who was doing the talking, the only one who knew English I think, was speaking very softly. I heard Jonathan tell him, “I’ll fax them the papers within an hour. And I’ll get her for you now.”

I hadn’t known they came for you in the middle of the night. And I don’t know if Jonathan had either. He walked over to me—I was sprawled on the bed in a hotel bathrobe and a pair of his socks—and pulled me to my feet. “You’re in,” he said, “and you’re not allowed to speak anymore.” So much for the T-shirt idea. Or for even a so long. “Take off your clothes,” he continued in an expressionless voice. “You’ll go with these gentlemen.”

They were standing by the door watching without much interest. I felt a little sorry for them; this had to be the dullest master/slave scene they’d ever barged in on. I pulled off the socks and robe, folded my glasses on top of the open book, and walked over to them. They produced a pair of high heels and a trench coat and helped me into them. Then, silently, they hustled me out of the room and shut the door behind them.

 * * *

From Cleis Press: 

Carrie’s Story is regarded as one of the finest erotic novels ever written—smart, devastatingly sexy, and, at times, shocking. In this new era of “BDSM romance,” à la Fifty Shades of Grey, the whips and cuffs are out of the closet and “château porn” has given way to mommy porn. Carrie’s Story remains at the head of the class. Imagine The Story of O starring a Berkeley Ph.D. in comparative literature who moonlights as a bike messenger, has a penchant for irony, and loves self-analysis as much as anal pleasures. Set in both San Francisco and the more château-friendly Napa Valley, Weatherfield’s deliciously decadent novel takes you on a sexually-explicit journey into a netherworld of slave auctions, training regimes, and enticing “ponies” (people) preening for dressage competitions. Desire runs rampant in this story of uncompromising mastery and irrevocable submission.  

Molly Weatherfield, the pen name of Pam Rosenthal, is also the author of Safe Word, the sequel to Carrie’s Story. A prolific romance and erotica writer, she has penned many sexy, literate, historical novels. She lives in San Francisco. You can find Molly on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MollyWeatherfield and on Twitter at @PamRosenthal (https://twitter.com/PamRosenthal).

Blog Tour Schedule

March 24 – Shanna Germain
March 25 – Lelaine
March 26 – Alison Tyler
March 27 – Romance After Dark
March 28 – Romance Junkies and Amos Lassen
March 29 – Sinclair Sexsmith
April 1 – Rachel Kramer Bussel
April 2 – Kissin Blue Karen
April 3 – Dana Wright
April 4 – Erin O’Riodan
April 5 – Lindsay Avalon
April 6 – Laura Antoniou
April 7 – DL King

Carrie’s Story, Slow Surrender, and Other Things I’ve Been Devouring To Distract Myself

So. Yeah.

slowsurrender carriesstory

I’m reading a lot. Light things, but well-written things, because I need something to completely occupy my mind that I don’t have to really think about. I’m journaling most days, but not writing anything worth reading, just a lot of purging. Emotional vomit. Navel-gazing, which I used to sometimes think was a good thing, self-insight, self-reflection, but now seems trite and self-indulgent. I’m waking up and most of the time going to sleep. I’m staying up late and then not being able to wake early. I’m waking early and not being able to get back to sleep. I’m reading reading reading on the subway at the cafe on my breaks when I can’t sleep anytime I need to try to stop thinking all the thoughts that are circling circling circling like predators. Like hawks. Like something big and heavy that you see from far away and it doesn’t look that bad but when they get close your pores start to shake. You start sweating and your pupils dilate. Those kinds of thoughts are still stalking me. All the things I did wrong. All the ways I have doomed myself. All the things that I could’ve changed didn’t change am never going to be able to change. Reminding myself that I am not doomed. Telling myself over and over again that I did the best I could we did the best we could no one is at fault no one is at fault. Sometimes I even believe that. Loss happens. Errors of judgment happen. Perfect storms of chaos happen, all the best movies know how if any one factor in the plot would have slipped out of place, it wouldn’t have happened that way, but that the universe conspired somehow to shatter that rain of misunderstandings and missed connections and opportunities down upon our heads. But I try to remember that sometimes all of creation is conspiring to shower us with blessings too. Could that be true? Could I really believe that people are fundamentally good, at the core? It’s what I say I believe, and most of the time that belief is not tested. This is when I need faith. Hope.

Hope is when you look out the window and you go, ‘It doesn’t look good at all, but I’m going to go beyond what I see to give people visions of what could be.’ —Anna Deavere Smith

I don’t think I can tell the truth yet, because I don’t yet think I know what the truth is. There’s not just one capital-T Truth anyway. There are many truths. My truths and your truths and our truths are perhaps three different truths. I think I’m done believing in objectivity. I don’t think it’s possible. I distrust people who start sentences with, “Objectively speaking …” How can anyone see objectively? Sometimes I can squint and look at things sideways and sometimes, just sometimes, I can take myself out of the way of the experience for a glance, a frame, a whisper of smoke. But usually only long enough to get one thought, one perspective, not long enough to really grasp the three-sixy view.

I don’t know what happens next. I know I keep trying. I know I keep writing and striving and crying on my sister’s couch in the mornings. I know I stare at the tree’s brittle branches scraping against this window in the wind and wondering which will break off and which will make it to bud and which buds will pop open to that baby green spring. Oh right, it’s springtime now, isn’t it. When things long dormant start to wake. When things waiting waiting for this freeze to thaw start to tentatively uncurl and test the air.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. —Anais Nin

It’s such a risk. Everything is, from this cup of coffee to that service I just cancelled to the appointment I made for next week. No one really knows if next week will exist, but now that this week is here, we proved last week that next week existed, and I am trusting that’ll keep happening, until it doesn’t. That’s all I can do, anyway. I think I have some more trust in me, though it’s thin. I’ve been paving the roof of my mouth with it for months. It leaves a coat all sticky like too too sweet honey. Makes me crave mouthwash, some salt water gargle to cut the aversion of the over-sweet. Some crumbs of sourdough bread. Good thing I’m heading west, back to the salt water where the sun sets over the ocean instead of over the land. Somehow, it has always seemed more correct. And in the absence of light, I’ll look east.

Power in the silence. Power in the sound of a lover’s name.

*

Book notes: Excerpt from Carrie’s Story, when her dominant says he’s going to sell her at a slave auction. Cleis calls Carrie the “thinking readers’ submissive.” Cecilia Tan about the Slow Surrender series: “I would call it the “BDSM billionaire” genre, also known as BDSM romance, also known as “If you liked 50 Shades of Grey, you might like this book.” Buy them through my Amazon store and you’ll toss some pennies my way—see the store for more of my erotica recommendations, too.

Review: Shilo, the Bendable Silicone Packing Cock by NY Toy Collective

150x250new ad The New York Toy Collective is a new labor of love company born out of Chelsea and Parker’s frustration at the lack of a really good packing cock, chemistry/polymer brilliance, and ambition. Their first cock is Shilo, a bendable silicone packable cock. They don’t have exact dimensions on their site, but I’d guess it’s about 6.5″ by 1.25″ in diameter. It’s an excellent standard size.

And it packs so well.

And it is sterilizable!

Maybe y’all aren’t obsessed with all the options for packing and playing cocks like I am, but this is a big deal. There are no other cocks out there with the capabilities that Shilo has. It is very flesh-like, squishable with a good give to it, and has a harder inner core that is flexible. No more tentpoles when you want to go out packing and be ready to fuck after! Yes!

shilogroup

It comes in four colors, cashew, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate. NYTC told me that’s because they scoured the Pantone Project for the most widely used colors and came up with these four. So hopefully they will have something that at least closely matches your skin.

Here’s a couple promo videos about the product, so you can see the magicness that is Shilo:

And the description:

Dare we say Shilo is the dildo revolution- a fully functioning silicone pack & play dildo. Shilo was designed to allow the user to pack and play with control. We can say with confidence that Shilo is stable and bendable beyond the capacity of any other product on the market.

Shilo is available in 4 colors—cashew, caramel, hazelnut, chocolate. Why four? because more choices help you pick a shade that is closer to your natural skin tone.

To clean, shilo place in boiling water or on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

They are also selling The Love Bump, which is basically a bonus pair of balls that you can add on to any cock up to 1.5″ in diameter.

The Love Bump works in tandem with Shilo to provide extra sensation and realism. The Love Bump comes with a removal vibrator so when rotated upwards it can provide stimulation for the receiver. The Love bump can also be rotated downward for extra sensation during anal penetration. Users have also reported the benefit of extra cushioning, as it reduces pelvis bruising. The Love bump will work with other dildos or devices at least 1.5″ in diameter. To clean, remove vibrator and place in boiling water or on the top shelf of the dishwasher.

Aside from being a supporter of my work and willing to let me try out their products, NYTC is also letting me sell their cocks. They are still working on their distribution and aren’t at all the sex toy stores yet, so you can get it online—or you can get it from me! So the next time you see me at a workshop or event, just ask if I have ’em. And if you want to make sure I have one with your name on it, contact me before hand and let me know you want one, and I’ll make sure to have one for you. In fact, I’ll have a few with me next week when I’m in Northampton and Pawtucket. Claim it now to insure I won’t sell out of ’em before you get your hands on one.

I’m so very excited about Shilo! Highly recommended.

“One True Thing,” Girlyman’s Tylan’s Solo Debut

As things have been pretty tumultuous and full of change for me lately, I’ve been leaning on music a lot. I’ve seen Girlyman in concert a few times, and mentioned them in posts a few times

Tylan, one of the band members, has a new solo album called One True Thing that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately. Here’s one of the tracks from the new album.

The album is really lovely, I’ve been listening to it a lot.

More information is at TylanMusic.com and you can preorder One True Thing directly from that site. Tylan is also on tour for this album—I highly recommend a live show!

Review: Leather Ever After edited by Sassafras Lowrey (book)

leather-ever-aftercover1I’m back in Texas, visiting Rife, and we have had a great time reading Leather Ever After aloud to each other in the hammock.

Once upon a time, in a dungeon far, far away the kinkiest writers in the land were summoned to pervert beloved fairy tales with tales of dominance, submission, bondage and surrender. In these stories twisted princesses take control of submissive princes, witches play with power and fairy tales come to life in our homes and dungeons …

In Leather Ever After, celebrated queer author Sassafras Lowrey brings together some of the most beloved leather writers in an enchanting collection published by Ravenous Romance with a foreword by Laura Antoniou! Leather Ever After is Learn more about about Leather Ever After at LeatherEverAfter.wordpress.com and to get more information about Sassafras and hir work visit www.SassafrasLowrey.com.

It’s a star-packed anthology: the forward was written by Laura Antoniou (if you haven’t read The Marketplace series, I highly recommend them!), and also features stories by Lee Harrington, Miel Rose, DL King, Ali Oh, Raven Kaldera, Sossity Chiricuzio, Mollena Williams, and of course the anthology’s editor.

My favorites have been the ones set with modern language—Lee Harrington’s piece was unexpected and fantastic. I won’t ruin it by telling you which story it is, there’s kind of a slow reveal toward the end as the clues start adding up, but I loved the leather twist on it. It’s been much fun to read and discuss and get turned on and talk about fantasy and fairy tales.

Pick up Leather Ever After on Amazon or order it from your local awesome bookstore.

Fisting Day, Featuring Cyd & Essex

And now for something completely different …

Fisting Day was October 21st, and I’m not sure exactly what I was doing, but I didn’t get something up before it. I think Courtney Trouble did a great job with it, I love the resources collected on the Fisting Day blog. So if you’re curious about it, you should check it out.

Courtney sent along a fisting scene with Cyd and Essex from the new site FTM Fucker, from which I snapped that still above. I’ve been kinda out of the queer porn loop lately, but I am loving that there are more cis men and more depictions of masculinity.

Review: Roving Pack by Sassafras Lowrey

I feel so lucky to know a lot of artists, to consider myself part of the larger community of queers who live brazenly and create art out of our heartbreak, growth, struggles, and lessons. Roving Pack, Sassafras Lowrey’s first full-length novel, is a beautiful, fun, and poignant read, and it makes me excited to be part of these queer artist communities.

Roving Pack follows Click, a homeless teenage genderqueer creature struggling with hir relationships with family of origin in addition to hir crushes and relationships with butches and trans guys who are lovers and Daddies and friends. Set in the punk underbelly of Portland, Oregon, in the 1990s, the book is an honest look at the queer youth center, navigating housing as a homeless youth, squats, testosterone injections, straightedge politics, D/s, and a deep love of dogs.

I read it quickly, devoured it really. I came out as queer in the late 1990s in Seattle, and came to a queer identity in a very similar culture. Though I was a bit older and not homeless, the tone and characters and place really resonated with me.

Order it online at rovingpack.com, and read more excerpts and thoughts about the book over there.

Review: Lelo Tiani 2

Lelo sent me the Tiani 2 vibrator to explore with over the summer (quite a long time ago, I admit) and I am finally getting around to writing a review of it.

Here’s my problem: I often forget about vibrators. I think it’s easier for me to embody toys that rely on the motion of my body to animate or be used, which, when I think about it, seems really obvious, but I hadn’t really articulated that until recently. Which is why I like cocks and floggers and canes and paddles, bondage if necessary, my hands, my belt.

But. I fuck with my cock a lot, and I really like to get off while I do that, and I seem to never quite have the magic combination of what it takes to get off while fucking with a strap-on, so I have been eager to try some of these newfangled fancy vibrators to see if that would support getting off more easily.

This one, the Tiani 2, is a little U-shape that is made to have the bottom part inserted into the cunt and the top part sitting over someone’s clit. It is marketed primarily to hetero couples as something the woman would wear while being penetrated, and hey maybe that is awesome, I’m not sure. I didn’t try it out that way (yet). (I mean I probably won’t try it out that way in a hetero way, but I could share it with whoever I’m fucking and see if they like that kind of vibration while being penetrated.)

It is covered in silicone, so a quick 10% bleach solution will sterilize it such that it is shareable. By the way.

I’m particularly interested in using it underneath a harness, on myself, to see if that helps me get off. The harness holds it easily in place, and the vibration is lovely. It fits well. I like the stimulation.

But I still didn’t get off very easily. I got really overstimulated really quickly, actually, and then couldn’t quite calm my body down to get off after that. That has been happening to me a lot lately, though, so I don’t think it’s the fault of the toy, though it is frustrating that this isn’t the perfect solution for me to getting off while strapped on.

Your milage may vary, however! I have heard from many folks who strap-on in classes and via email that this is an excellent tool for them, and they like it a lot. If you like vibration stimulation, this might be something worth exploring.

So one of the things marketed about Tiani 2 that is supposed to be amazing is the “SenseMotion™ technology” remote control. Having a remote I can get behind, since that also means someone can wear it under their clothes out in public and someone else can control the stimulation they receive (hot!). But the “SenseMotion” part means that if you tilt the remote, the vibration is supposed to go up or down, which is very inconvenient for, well, lots of things in lots of ways. You can’t really hold it in your hand while you’re fucking, for example, or you’ll mess up the settings that you may’ve just determined were awesome. I also don’t really love vibrators where I have to read the user manual before I know how to use it—I don’t want it to be that complicated! Just give me an on/off button, that’s all I really need. Maybe a few options for speed settings, but that’s enough.

Conclusion: Impressed with the design, great for use under a harness. Remote was awkward. Didn’t blow my mind, but I’ll keep trying it.

The Tiani 2 was sent to me by Lelo to review. Thanks Lelo!

Paws for Consideration: BDSM Mystery Scavenger Hunt Party Tomorrow in San Francisco

One of my best friends, Amy Butcher, published a mystery novel this summer called Paws for Consideration. It’s about a wheelchair-bound woman named Daisy who lives in the Castro and loves dogs (more than people, most of the time). She stumbles upon a dog whose owner is dead on the street and vows to solve the mystery of his death when nobody else seems to be doing much about it—and stumbles into a world of BDSM play parties and leather and queers.

It’s such a fun read, pretty quick, hard to put down, and full of San Francisco references and internal dog dialogue (I have a theory that pretty much all that any/every dog thinks is, “I’m a dog I’m a dog I’madog,” but Ames is convincing me otherwise). I highly recommend it—it’s on Amazon!

This Thursday—tomorrow!—Ames is doing a big release party/scavenger hunt in San Francisco at the women’s building for this book. I wish I could be there! I was trying to figure out some way that I could, but it didn’t work out. Please go in my place and say congratulations to her for me—you can say I sent you, then you’ll have an excuse to talk to her. (She’s a hot silverfox butch, if you hadn’t noticed that yet, so you might want an excuse to say hi.)

Details:

    Thursday, August 30th
    Audre Lorde Room, The Women’s Building
    (3543 18th Street, San Francisco)
    6:00-7:00 optional scavenger hunt
    7:00-8:30 awesome event!
    RSVP on Facebook

    Join us in celebrating the publication of Paws for Consideration, the debut mystery novel from former Women’s Building board member Amy Butcher. Performers, readings from the book, an optional scavenger hunt with prizes, premier of the book trailer video . . . and more! All proceeds from book sales will go to support The Women’s Building.

    Scavenger Hunt—How to participate:

    The scavenger hunt will take you to real locations straight out of the mystery novel. In order to participate, you’ll need a QR code reader for your smart phone and an old-school paper Clue Sheet. Links for both of these are below.

    At each site you’ll find a placard with a QR code (that’s how you know you found the right spot). Scan the QR code and it will bring up a video. The video will tell you about where you are, pose a challenge to solve, and then provide clues as to your next destination. In all, it should take you about 45 minutes and it should be fun!

    The placards will be in place by 6:00 pm on Thursday, August 30th. Remember to bring your completed clue sheet to the party no later than 7:15 to qualify for great prizes. Doors open at 7:00.

Watch this video for more information.

More details, links, suggested QR code readers, over on amybutcher.com

Does that not sound like SO MUCH FUN? How often do you have the opportunity to attend a scavenger hunt around San Francisco? Hope you can make it, and hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Review: TranZwear Packing Undies

TranZwear sent me three different packing undies—their most popular models—to check out: two different models of boxers, and one jock strap type. TranZwear alters already existing briefs, boxers, and jock straps to get them to more securely hold packers. In this case, the Dockers are the TSW PackRight Harness with the secure packer, which means it’s got elastic bands and an o-ring sewn into the front of the briefs that will keep a packer in place. The Champion black boxer briefs are the PackNGo athletic boxer briefs, so instead of cotton they’re “moisture wicking” and have that slick nylon feel. Instead of a harness inside these, the front pocket is sewn shut. TranZwear describes it: “Modified performance mesh interior pouch provides support and ventilation, and holds your packer secure without any movement during the day.” The jock strap has a security strap to hold the packer in place.

I’m totally in love with the Dockers briefs and they fit so perfectly well that I’m going to look them up and get some more of the same in the same size. The others aren’t quite as much of a perfect fit, though I do like the sewn-shut “interior pouch.” After losing a packer because it rolled out of my briefs into an East Village toilet, I pretty much never pack without attaching it somehow, either in these briefs, in the SpareParts Pete undies, or with a packing strap or pouch, and I do go back to these TranZwear products frequently. They’re simple, and high quality work. I frequently forget I’m wearing anything modified or special and just feel like I’m wearing regular undies—which is exactly how it should feel.

I kind of prefer having a packing strap or harness, something that keeps the packer attached to my body rather than attached to my underwear, since it feels more like clothing or an attachment when it comes off, but I would still much rather have it secure than not, and these are great options. Thanks, TranZwear.

The 24th Annual Lammys Brief Sugarbutch Recap

 

Kristen and I attended the Lammys on Monday night, the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. I’ve attended the past four years and while neither book that I edited was a finalist this year, I hope Say Please will be next year!

And, in addition to attending and being a judge, which I was last year also, I presented the erotica category with Emmanuel Xavier, and got to rip open the envelope and pronounce the winner of the Gay Erotica category. There were beautiful speeches by Kate Millet and Armistead Maupin, who were awarded the lifetime achievement award, and by Stacey D’Erasmo (one of my favorite writers ever) for the mid-career award. I was thrilled to celebrate Tristan Taormino’s anthology Take Me There, which I have a story in, that took home the Lammy for Transgender Fiction, and I was sad to see Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme not win.

Some notable winners:

  • Lesbian Debut Fiction: Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Fiction: Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor, Dundrun Press
  • Lesbian Memoir/Biography: When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution, Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink
  • LGBT Drama: A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw, by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press
  • LGBT Nonfiction: A Queer History of the United States, by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press
  • LGBT Studies: Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press; Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, by Margot Weiss, Duke University Press (was a finalist but didn’t win, but I am going to look this one up)
  • Transgender Fiction: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, ed. by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press
  • Transgender Nonfiction: Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels, by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Erotica: Story of L, by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance
  • Lesbian Poetry: Love Cake, by Leah Lakshmi Piepza-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications

I tossed ’em into my Amazon store if you’d like to sort through them over there:

I am really excited to read these. I’m thinking I might make it a Lammy summer and just go for it. I’m definitely going to send this list to my book group and see what interests them.

It felt a little different this year … it was sold out, I think there were more people in attendance, and I think there were more trans folks, genderqueer folks, and people of color than I’ve seen at previous Lammy ceremonies. I hope that’s true. It also seems like the Lammys are getting way more press than they used to. The first year I attended, I went online after to confirm my notes and couldn’t find any article covering it from any publication, and now there are quite a few online publications covering them. They have definitely stepped it up and it seems to be paying off.

As a former bookseller, they have always been on my radar, but I think they are getting a little more widely noticed. Or maybe I’m just more and more involved in the queer literary scene? That could be true too. Regardless, I had a fantastic time, it was great to run into friends and to meet authors I didn’t know of before.

Here’s a full list of the winners, and I’ll keep an eye out in case they post more photos.

Review: Aslan Leather Pleasure Harness (Customized) & Jaguar G

I’ve been searching for The Perfect Harness for a long time.

I think at a certain point I gave up, and gave in to the fact that there’s no one singular perfect harness, and that I’ll just have different ones for different things or for different cocks. I haven’t been reviewing harnesses as much lately (though I do still try to keep up with what’s new out there).

Recently, though, my beloved Jaguar G harness reached its last days, and I replaced it with two other harnesses from Aslan Leather. I know some folks really don’t like leather because it is an animal product, and as a former vegan I understand that, but as someone obsessed with the best possible materials I can find, I just haven’t found anything better—or even comparable. There are quite a few vegan options for Aslan harnesses, for the record, and I do really like the Slick G.

And while I love Outlaw Leather and many of the other companies who make great harnesses, I think Aslan is the best, hands down. Their leather is buttery and feels already broken in, and so easily becomes a second skin, conforming to the heat of my body and wrapping me in it so I can barely tell I’m wearing anything at all.


The Jaguar G

The Jaguar is one of their most popular harnesses, and I would say is one of the most popular harnesses period, based on the dozens of Cock Confidence workshops I’ve conducted and based on a totally informal survey of everyone I meet who partakes in strap-on sex. It comes in various colors—like white, black, and cherry.

I prefer the Jaguar G, the g-string one-strap version (because of the way the one strap hits my clit while I’m fucking). But there are many variations to the Jaguar, and I bet you can find one that is perfect for you.

I frequently go back to my Leather Pleasure Harness, which I also frequently recommend to folks who are starting out with strap-on play because it easily converts from a one-strap to a two-strap and back, so you can experiment with both and see which one you prefer, and because it’s relatively affordable, much cheaper than a lot of the other fancier leather harnesses anyway.


The Leather Pleasure Harness

I’m not sure how many of these harnesses I have basically worn through in the last five years or so. Three, four, maybe? Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to take good enough care of my leather—but I clean it with saddle soap, have experimented with mink oil, and nothing I do can quite make it waterproof enough that eventually, it doesn’t end up soaking into the leather and unable to come clean. I’m the kind of person who will use a thing until it is pretty much unusable, I wasn’t exactly raised middle class, maybe more like upper-working-class or lower-middle-class or with middle class aspirations, so it sometimes pains me to retire one of these harnesses, but I care a little bit more that my sex toys are attractive and safe to share, and after a certain point, my leather harnesses are neither.

So this time, when I asked Aslan to send me a new Jaguar G, I also asked for a new Leather Pleasure Harness, but this time with the leg straps in rubber instead of leather. Because that’s the piece that gets all … beautifully juiced up, anyway, that’s the piece that becomes uncleanable after a while.

And I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love this new harness, and it is so much easier to keep clean. I’ve reviewed the Leather Pleasure Harness before, so check that out if you want more details about the harness specs.

Between the Jaguar G and the Leather Pleasure Harness, I think my search for The Perfect Harness might be over. If nothing else, any other harness definitely has a lot to live up to. Thank you, Aslan!

Aslan Leather sent me the Leather Pleasure Harness and Jaguar G for review. Pick it up over on Aslan’s site, or at your local independent feminist queer sex toy store.

The Harder She Comes edited by DL King (Book)

I’m part of the virtual blog tour for The Harder She Comes edited by DL King which just came out from Cleis Press. It’s a butch/femme anthology specifically, which to my knowledge is the first one released since Sometimes She Lets Me, also from Cleis. There aren’t very many butch/femme erotica anthologies out there (is Back To Basics the only other one?), and this adds an excellent new addition to one of my favorite little teeny subgenres.

Here’s the description of the book:

What is it about a pretty girl in a tight skirt bent over to adjust her stockings? Or that hotter-than-hot butch, swaggering into the bar like she owns it, eyes undressing every pretty girl in the place? Some butches worship at the altar of their femmes fatale and many little girls have a need to serve their big, strong daddies. In The Harder She Comes, we meet girls salivating at the sight of well-filled and packed jeans and bois dreaming of having a beautiful girl’s red lipstick smeared across their mouths. D. L. King has curated a singular set of stories filled with sexy sirens luring unsuspecting butches to their demise on the rocky shores of love and hot, confident women in silk and lace during the day who will do anything to serve their daddies’ needs at night. The Harder She Comes is great writing with characters that will stay with the reader for a long, long time —sometimes sweet, always sexy, often romantic, and more than a little dangerous.

I would love to tell you what I thought about each individual story, but sadly I have no time to put that together. I’m at a training all weekend and writing this while I should be sleeping. So please accept my apologies, and here’s an excerpt from my piece in the book, a story called Good Girl, Bad Girl.

Part I.

Sometimes, I am a Bad Daddy: I hate it.

I hate it and I want it and I crave it and I hate that I want and crave it, this, this girl, this way that I use her, this way she uses me. Sometimes I resent it. Her, me, my own desires. Why do they run this way? Where did these wounds come from, or are they scars now?

I have to remind myself not to ask myself too many of those questions. That it’s okay to want what I want. That after the flash of feminist guilt, as Karlyn Lotney once wrote, it is quite the handy little fetish.

And it is a fetish, or maybe rather it is many fetishes wrapped up and tied with a big pretty satin red bow. Power. Gender. Age.

I hate it, but I have never loved any play more.

This is what happens.

I sit on the couch reading a book and drinking tea after the dinner she made. For me. She finishes the dishes, brings her book out too, sits next to me. I don’t watch her as I take another sip of my tea. This is what I practice: Not paying attention. But in not paying attention I still pay attention, I just don’t let her know that I’m paying attention. When I notice I’m focused on her, I try to turn the focus inward. What do I want right now? And I feel something stir.

She inches closer to me. I turn a page. She sighs inaudibly. I turn my eyes to the pages of my book, move them along the words, not reading.

“Daddy?”

I don’t look up, yet. “Yes?”

“Can I …”

“May I.” I correct.

“May I … sit on your lap please?” It comes out in one quick string.

I pull the bookmark out of the back of the book and slide it in between the pages, close the book, set it on the coffee table, look up at her. Her eyes gleam gently. Hopefully. Like she just asked for candy at the grocery store. Her dress is pushed up from how her legs are crossed on the couch and I can see a hint of her inner thigh, and I want my cheek on it, want to bite it, want to feel her squirm and hold her there between my teeth as I leave marks. I breathe in. Keep it under control.

“Yes, sure darling.” With the Good Daddy voice.

She climbs over, sits sideways on my lap, knees bent over my thighs. Wraps her arms around my shoulders and her face buried into my neck and collarbone. Her hair smells faintly of shampoo, clean and bright with a gently fruit-flavored hint. It’s soft and thin and I bring one hand up to the back of her head, play with the gentle curls there.

She settles in and drops one hand to my chest, resting it on my waist. I shift a little, a growl rising in my belly. My arms fold easily around her. I don’t notice the sigh I let out, a low hum, the precursor to the growl.

“Daddy?”

“Yes, darling.”

“I like to sit on your lap.” She snuggles a little closer. I can feel a tightness spreading in my groin. I don’t say anything. “Do you like it?”

“Yes, darling.”

“Does it feel good?” Her voice drops softer.

“Yes.”

“Does it feel good …” she’s whispering now. “In your pants?”

I stir. My cock stirs, jumps. The growl grows. My arms tingle and tense, a sensation I want to let out with a fist. “Yes.” I whisper too. Our mouths are close.

I am a Bad Daddy. I want my girl to do dirty things; I want to do dirty things to her. I know she’d let me if only I asked, but sometimes the desperation is more fun. The arguing with myself. The attempts at holding myself noble, resisting her sweet girlish body. Feeling dirty for wanting it so much that my palms ache.

There are a lot of Daddy/girl stories in this book in particular … the original title was Daddy’s Little Girl so it drew a particular, um, flavor. So if that’s your particular flavor, you’ll find plenty of it in this collection. It’s definitely worth picking up.

Here’s the rest of the blog tour, check it out:
May 1  D. L. King  http://sacchi-green.blogspot.com/
May 2  Anna Watson  http://dlkingerotica.blogspot.com
May 3  Evan Mora  http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
May 4  River Light  http://sapphicplanet.com/blogtour_sapphicplanet.php
May 5  Sinclair Sexsmith  http://www.sugarbutch.net/
May 6  Crystal Barela  http://kathleenbradean.blogspot.com/
May 7  CS Clark  http://bethwylde.wordpress.com/
May 8  Valerie Alexander  http://pomofreakshow.com/
May 9  Andrea Dale   http://lulalisbon.wordpress.com/
May 10  Beth Wylde  http://adrianakraft.com/blog/
May 11  Kathleen Bradean  http://cyvarwydd.blogspot.com/
May 12  Teresa Noelle Roberts  http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
May 13  Shanna Germain  http://lantoniou.blogspot.com/
May 14  Charlotte Dare  http://madeofwords.com/posts/
May 15  Rachel Kramer Bussel  http://lustylady.blogspot.com/

Pick up The Harder She Comes edited by DL King at your local feminist queer bookstore, or over on Amazon.

Recent Other Books of Note: New Works by Barbara Carrellas, Kate Bornstein, Diana Cage, & Tristan Taormino

I have been so busy telling you all about Say Please that I have barely even mentioned some of the other recent notable books I’ve picked up. All are fantastic reads and have plenty to offer for the novice or the very experienced kinkster.

   

Ecstasy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas I’ve already mentioned on Sugarbutch, but it’s worth mentioning again if you haven’t read it yet. If you’re interested in exploring your own sexuality, getting closer to your own desires, having a lovely introduction to some tantric explorations, or taking a good, long reflective look at your sex life and relationship/s, this is an incredible place to start.

Queer & Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein is a beautiful, stunning memoir about Kate’s time as a scientologist (!), then being excommunicated and losing her family, then transitioning and coming out as a kinkster on the West coast, and finally moving to New York. It’s an incredible story and I loved every page.

The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino really is the Ultimate Guide to Kink. There are essays in here from all sorts of mentors and experienced authoritative kinksters, and the book covers all kinds of fascinating topics. I’m especially excited about Barbara Carrellas’s chapter on kinky tantra, the age play chapter, and the “inside the mind of a sadist” chapter. I haven’t finished it yet (I’ve barely started it, actually) but I’m already thrilled. Cleis Press is contributing amazing things to the kink and sexualities worlds and I’ll read anything they put out.

Mind-Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage might look like some basic women’s sexuality book, but it isn’t. It’s a complex commentary on our sexual culture and includes tons of ideas, exercises, and prompts to get you digging into your own sexual self. Kristen read it cover to cover and pronounced, “I’m going to send a copy to my sister.” It’s the kind of book that all our younger sisters should have (after we finish reading it).

There have been so many great books released this spring! I’m also really looking forward to Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. I haven’t been all the way through the Lambda Literary finalists, though I like to pick through that list because they are often the best of the best. And of course I’ll be at the Lammys this year! Very excited to continue attending and being involved.

What have you been reading lately? Anything good?

Review: Double Agent Dildo

As of 7/28/15 This product is no longer available at Babeland

I kind of hate the word “dildo.” But I didn’t let that stop me from checking this one out, after I heard that it’s extra-flexible—flexible enough for packing and playing, maybe?

 
From the description:

Available exclusively at Babeland, the Double Agent is ready to go anywhere, anytime. Made of premium-grade silicone and harness ready, this flexible dildo is designed with a firm base and silicone core that runs up a third of the shaft. The realistic phallus delivers a feeling of fullness during penetration and is flexible enough to bend into truly twisted and unexpected positions. The Double Agent is designed for both packing and strap-on sex. Available in one color, more colors coming soon.

See that part about how it’s “designed for both packing and strap-on sex”? Intriguing, I thought! But in practice, it has the same problems as both the Goodfella by Vixen and the VIP Supersoft by Tantus, which is that when it is bent to one side or the other, which is required in order for it to be pack-able, the base of it really digs into my pubic bone because of the pressure.

It’s a good size, though, and great materials, decent shape I think. The Double Agent would be great for putting on before a play party when I know I’m not going to be wearing it (in my zipped-up pants) all night, but I wouldn’t put it on to go to dinner and dancing and be ready by the time I got home after the date. For that, I go back to the Silky, which still is my go-to cock for packing.

The Double Agent was sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop.

The New Album By Lindsay Fuller, “You, Anniversary”

I caught Lindsay Fuller playing with Amy Ray a few weeks ago at Housing Works in New York City, and they are both on tour now supporting Amy’s newest solo album Lung of Love and Lindsay’s album You, Anniversary which comes out today.

Ever since seeing her in concert I have been eagerly awaiting this album, especially so I could hear the title track again, which is based on a WS Merwin poem “For the Anniversary of My Death. The idea is that every year, we pass the date of our death, but we won’t know what day that is. Her chorus repeats, “Ohh, when’s it gonna be.”

Speaking of her voice, I really love it. She sings on four tracks on Amy’s new album, but I’ll admit I’ve been listening more to Lindsay’s back catalogue than to Amy’s newest. She’s got this great low southern croon, and she was so sweet and fantastic on stage. She had a few other songs that she gave us the backstory to, based on I already pre-ordered You, Anniversary on Amazon and it’s only $5.99 for the mp3 download, and out today. I also found it streaming on soundcloud if the title track above didn’t already convince you.