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!
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.
The Spareparts Tomboi briefs harness
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.
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:
A 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.
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!
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.There are a lot of things that make Shilo’s Balls really cool. Like:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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,
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.
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.
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:
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.
Rounderwear 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.
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.
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.