Review: Bondage cuff and bow tie by Rand Leather

November 19, 2013  |  reviews  |  No Comments

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

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

November 11, 2013  |  reviews  |  1 Comment

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.

lovebump

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!

November 6, 2013  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

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

October 27, 2013  |  reviews  |  6 Comments

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:

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.


Clipped from http://www.aslanleather.com/tg1chestharness

 

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!

September 8, 2013  |  advice, reviews  |  2 Comments

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, [email protected], 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

August 21, 2013  |  on butches, reviews  |  5 Comments

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

June 9, 2013  |  reviews  |  No Comments

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

May 21, 2013  |  essays, reviews  |  No Comments

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]

March 29, 2013  |  reviews  |  No Comments

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

March 14, 2013  |  journal entries, reviews  |  4 Comments

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.