Thanks for all the comments and discussion on that last post, y’all. I wish I’ve had time to reply to each one, but this week has been nuts, mostly because of the Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 release reading last night, for which I have a few friends in town. And this was the week I decided to start a more strict training program at the gym to improve my running times, too. And the anniversary.
I have lots more to say and I’m still formulating thoughts. Meanwhile, thank you.
(If you want to read it, you can get the password here. Basically I request that you sign up for my mailing list in exchange—you give me something personal (your email address), I’ll give you something personal (access to my more personal entries). I do expect that when you comment on the password protected posts that you leave your actual email address so that I can get in touch with you and converse with you. Anonymous comments on the password protected posts are just rude—I’m giving you access to very personal thoughts of mine, so if you want to comment, you have got to own your comment and be accountable to it. I’m working on a comment policy, actually, because it’s way past time for that. More on that later.)
And now for something completely different!
“A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein is a stunningly original memoir of a nice Jewish boy who joined the Church of Scientology and left twelve years later, ultimately transitioning to a woman. A few years later, she stopped calling herself a woman and became famous as a gender outlaw. A Queer and Pleasant Danger will be published by Beacon Press on May 1, 2012.”
I am a little in love with Kate Bornstein. I mean every genderqueer binary-gender-smashing person out there probably is, I realize this is not really news, but oh mmm. I can’t wait for Kate’s new book.
“Buck Angel, master of redefining gender, brings you never revealed secrets of transmen sexuality. This groundbreaking educational adult film consists of interviews and jack-off scenes with four different transmen (aged 20-35). Each scene starts with an interview in which the performers share intimate details about who they are and why they transitioned from female to male. Removing their clothes, they take you on a thrilling journey as they show you how their sexuality has been supercharged by testosterone.”
Finally sat down with Kristen to watch this video. It’s not the kind of thing I would turn on to get off to—and that is generally what I look for in my porn—so I wasn’t sure how to respond to it, but now that it’s been a week or two, I am still thinking about it and chewing on it. I loved the honest, openness in each of the scenes. I love how bold Buck is to ask probing, intimate questions about gender, sexuality, orgasm, bodies, pleasure, transition, and more. And then I loved how each of the guys in this video answered his questions in their own way. I loved seeing each of them do their thing, touching their body in their own way. It’s quite an interesting study in trans male sexuality. Looking forward to seeing the other non-XXX version, and in seeing whatever Buck does next.
Here it is! The sixth annual holiday gift guide for those of you who need some inspiration for the holidays. You’d be surprised how many folks tell me that they (or their partners) are lousy at gift-giving … it is definitely a skill that, like any skill, gets better when worked on, and it’s something that I love being good at. Sometimes my gifts are duds, but I try and have had some good wins this past year.
A tiny piece of advice? The best thing to do is to hone your observation skills, and keep an eye out for things that they covet, and do a little poking around to see what it is about that shirt/dress/accessory/handbag that is so appealing. It took me a long time to figure out that what Kristen loved most about the purses we kept looking at was a kiss clasp (and then a little longer to figure out what the name for that metal closure dohickey really was), but then I found a really great purse for her last year during the holidays.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Occupy movement lately … I think it’s really important to put our money where our mouth is and to shop locally and buy from indie and queer artists as much as possible this holiday season. It really does make a difference to make some specific choices about what to do with your money. Spend the time to find things locally, if you can. Spend the time to shop at independent stores. I know it’s more time consuming, but sometimes it can be really easy.
I’ve tried to link to as many local, small business type of places as possible. Sometimes I’m linking to Amazon not necessarily because you should get it there (though if you do, and use my links, thanks for that—I do get a teeny little kickback), but because I’m trying to show you what the product is so you can go find it at whatever source you might have near you.
Hope it is helpful!
THINGS I’M WISHING FOR
‘Cause Santa, I’ve been a very good boy.
A black leather belt (with a removeable buckle), also called a “belt strap,” usually comes all by itself for around $20. I love belt buckles. I have a bunch of belts, but somehow I am missing a good solid black leather belt—and I mean good leather, I bought one last year maybe that ended up being “man made leather” and has frayed and broken down and warped and feels lousy. So here’s some suggestions: Easy, simple distressed leather belt from Amazon. Beltmaster has some good ones in various styles. A nice one on etsy that comes with a buckle, very plain and simple, comes in nice color options, great to start somebody out with a belt buckle collection if they haven’t started that yet. And last but not least, if you’re looking at this for a kinkster, you might consider scrapping the interchangeable buckle belt and just going for a bondage belt from Aslan Leather. Don’t forget, you might have a local leather store! Shop locally! And if you want to get them started with a belt buckle collection, too, there is every kind of belt buckle imaginable on etsy. Whatever their interests, just put that + “belt buckle” into the search box and you’ll find something rad. (Bird + belt buckle; car + belt buckle; bicycle + belt buckle; you can even get ‘em customized.)
Neckties … Kristen at some point said she’d never know which to get me, since I have so many. I said, you know, it’s not so much about getting me some special one that I don’t have as much as it’s about picking out one that you like, which will remind me that it came from you when I wear it. She has since bought me two that I really like, a lavender one with filigree that I wear frequently and a striped bowtie that still needs to make its debut. I would love a few more bowties for my collection. I keep going back to thetiebar.com because they have great sorting options, but there are also plenty of local stores and discount outlets (Filene’s, Century 21) that are excellent tie sources. I tend to prefer non-silk ties these days because the silk ones are a little more formal, but then again a good silk tie is pretty darn great. A good tie bar is also a great thing for someone you know with a tie collection … I’d love one with something fun on it, like a personal message on the back (etsy has everything), or little flame.
A really good bottle of whiskey is always a good gift for me, right size and color, as they say. I like having a little bit of a whiskey collection around … and I haven’t tried the Maker’s 46 yet, though looking forward to that. I’ve been collecting a bit of the whiskey accoutrements lately and have some really nice glasses and a small bitters collection, but I’d still like a big ice cube tray that will make extra big ice cubes. If the whiskey drinker in your life doesn’t have any bitters yet, the Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic bitters are the classic. Pick up an awesome book about bitters while you’re at it.
My cufflink collection is still in progress, I don’t have very many, though the ones I have I really love. I went to get a pair the other day and realized they’re scattered all over the drawer where I keep all my accessories. I could really use a nice box to keep ‘em in. And of course, etsy is an amazing source for custom and indy artist cufflinks, they have every type of thing there you could want (and a few you—or I, rather—would certainly not want, like I just caught a glimpse of molar cufflinks). Cuff Daddy has great options, too—I’m still lusting after these Superman cufflinks.
On the more expensive side, I’d love a pair of leather chaps. But I don’t even know where to start to get those … probably the Leatherman here in NYC. That goes on the dream wishlist.
I’m kind of going back to the old staples of butch accessories here, I realize, but these are actually the things at the top of my list this year. I tried to give some ideas and options and not just say “a belt” and “a tie.” Hope that is helpful!
Toys that deserve to be in your toy chest
What’s that? You want to turn it up, buy some explicitly sexy stuff? Oh yes that is a great idea. Here’s a few suggestions for my favorite stuff.
Liberator silk binding sashes. Especially lovely if she (you) likes to be dressed up as a present you (they) can unwrap. Can also be used as a belt for a little black dress. You know, just sayin’.
Aslan Leather Handy Cuff. I am kinda in love with this thing right now.
The new Pete packing briefs from SpareParts (the ones who make that Joque harness that everybody loves). These are comfy and awesome and perfect for a little soft pack. Get ‘em at Babeland or your local sex-positive feminist queer sex toy store.
I’m in progress of building a Cock Confidence Product Guide, where I’ll have a bunch of cock-centric stuff listed, like harnesses and accessories, all of which I recommend highly. So if you’re wanting something in that arena as a gift this holiday, know that is coming soon (and why they’re left off here).
See also: 2011 Valentine’s day gift ideas for more sexy things.
things I’ve bought kristen that were a hit
I can’t tell you what I’m planning for her this year (obviously, she reads this site), but I can tell you some of the wins from the past year, and I’ll link to the places I got ‘em. Mostly Etsy.
I’ve been keeping an eye on these ever since I saw Natalie Portman’s Lolita clutch while she was promoting Black Swan (remember that? I remember looking it up and it was like $258052) and I found an amazing Etsy store I kept checking back on periodically. Eventually I saw a cookbook, with a checkered cherry lining, and it was perfect. Book purse by prettytheory.
Hanky flowers by Shilo McCabe, aka kinkycraft—she’s on vacation until 2012! But you can be notified when she comes back and this is a necessary gift.
Custom door knocker earrings by bestnamenecklace. Kristen’s say “feminist.” (Sadly, I don’t have a great shot of them and she’s working late today, so I’ll have to get her to model them later.)
Glass cake stand. Tons of places make these, I think I found the one I gave Kristen at Century 21. Here’s one on Amazon. I worried it’d be frivolous and just take up space, but we use it all the time, kind of as a bread box.
Don’t forget the dirty books! Makes great stocking stuffers, if, you know, you’re into that.
You may also want to check out the gift guides from years past, since often they aren’t date-specific anyway and there might be some good ideas here: 2007 gift guide, 2008 gift guide, 2009 gift guide, and 2010 gift guide.
Alright! That was all I wrote—now tell me, what do you really want this holiday? Any gifts you are particularly lusting after? Any gifts you gave in the past year or so that were particularly well-received? I’d love to know more gift-giving secrets or tips, if you’ve got ‘em.
As usual, series editor and reading series host Kathleen Warnock is hosting the New York City release party on December 15th at her Drunken! Careening! Writers! series at KGB Bar in the East Village. (When I have the Facebook invite and such I’ll let you know.)
Meanwhile, though, here’s my introduction to this year’s Best Lesbian Erotica. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, there are a lot of great (dirty!) stories included by many of my favorite writers. Pick it up if you get a chance. I really hope you like it, and I’d love to hear what you think after you get a chance to read it.
I know what I want.
I knew exactly what I was looking for when I read the submitted stories for this anthology: dirty, smutty, smart about gender, smart about power, packed full of sex with the bare necessary descriptions of setting and context, and, oh yeah, good writing. It doesn’t have to be dirty in my personal favorite ways—with sultry accoutrements and costuming like stockings and strappy sandals, or with strap-ons and lots of fucking, or with blow jobs and dirty talk. I like stories where the characters are so turned on and lusty that I feel it too, even if it is not my particular kink or pleasure. I like stories with unique descriptions and rolling prose and insatiable narrators and rising and falling action. I like stories where I want to recreate the action for myself, when I am inspired by the delicious positions and settings and words.
Yes, and the words, let’s not forget the words. That’s what these kinds of books are all about, really. If you wanted a quick, easy turn on, you could load up any of dozens of queer porn sites—there is no shortage of real, good queer porn out there these days. But for some of us that is too crass, and a well-done turn of phrase gets us swooning and biting our lips and rubbing our thighs together even more than a dirty video.
I didn’t always know what I wanted. When I was coming out in the late 1990s, though there was a serious lack of queer porn in the video stores, there were plenty of people paving the landscape for what would become the blossoming queer porn of the 2000s. Diana Cage, On Our Backs magazine, Good Vibrations, (Toys in) Babeland, Annie Sprinkle, Susie Bright—and, of course, Tristan Taormino. It was Tristan’s 1998 Best Lesbian Erotica anthology that for me clicked something into place, something I could no longer pretend wasn’t there. I would hide the book in the back of the shelves at the bookstore where I worked so it wouldn’t get purchased, and I’d sandwich it between two others and sneak it into the stock room to read when it was slow. I wore creases into the spine with Toni Amato’s story “Ridin’ Bitch” and Karlyn Lotney’s story “Clash of the Titans.” I was genuinely confused as to why I liked these stories so much. What was this affect they had on me? Why did I love them so much? What did it all mean?
I began to find other books, short stories, and essays that helped move my budding baby dykery along: Nothing But the Girl—oh, swoon. That essay by Anastasia Higgenbotham in Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation. Cunt by Inga Muscio. Breathless by Kitty Tsui. And the Herotica series, which was erotica for women before Rachel Kramer Bussel’s prolific erotica editing career.
I bought one of the Herotica books at a little indy bookstore—now gone—on Capitol Hill in Seattle when I visited one summer, before moving there. But it proved to be too threatening to my boyfriend who, enraged some night after yet another argument about my sexuality, stabbed that book and two other lesbian erotica books with the wide-handled screwdriver which I’d used to masturbate since I was a teenager.
These books are filled with three powerful things: 1. women, who are 2. empowered, 3. about their sexuality (which, by the way, does not involve men). Even the books themselves are threatening.
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.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve managed to snag myself a lesbian bed death relationship, going out of my mind with desire and disconnection. I stopped writing, because the only thing that I was writing was how miserable I felt, how much I wanted out of that relationship—a reality I wasn’t ready to face. I decided that to work off my sexual energy, I would either go to the gym or I would write erotica. Well, I ended up writing a lot of erotica, rediscovering this tool of self-awareness and self-creation that had led me to smut in the first place, and I began writing myself back into my own life, back into the things that I hold most important: connection, touch, release, holding, witness, play.
My first published smut story was in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006. Between the time I wrote it and the time the book came out, I was beginning to end the bed death relationship, in no small part because I’d reminded myself of the value of the erotic, of my own inner erotic world, of erotic words. Between the time I wrote it and the time it came out, I started Sugarbutch Chronicles, which has carried me through these last five plus years, often being my sanctuary, support circle, best friend, and confidant.
Writing these stories, for me, has not been frivolous. They have not been nothing. They are not fluff or useless.
For me, they were a path back to myself when I got lost.
When I was lost, I had no idea what I wanted, aside from the basic daily survivals: work. Eat. Pay bills. Sleep. Shower. But when I wrote, when I connected with my own desire, I felt a little piece of me bloom and become in a bigger way. I felt more like myself.
I turned again to the great books of smut to help me find myself, to help me find a way back to a partner, a lover, a one night stand—hell, even an hour with a Hitachi was sometimes enough. The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Mr. Benson. Switch Hitters: Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica and Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica. Back to Basics: Butch/Femme Erotica. Doing It For Daddy. And Best Lesbian Erotica, always Best Lesbian Erotica. I still eagerly buy it every year to see what the guest editor’s tastes are, to see what the new trends are, to read the emerging new writers, to get my rocks off.
I rediscovered what I wanted through reading smut and writing it. Through carving myself a path in connection with a lineage of sex positive dykes and sex radicals and queer kinksters and feminist perverts.
After six years of writing and publishing erotica, I am thrilled to be a guest editor for the series which sparked me into queerness in 1998, thrilled to be choosing stories for the same series that published my very first piece, “The Plow Pose,” in 2006, which helped spark me back to myself. It is so exciting to be contributing to this queer smut hotbed that Cleis Press has helped nurture all these years, and I’m so glad to continue to be part of it in new ways.
I know what I want, now. And lesbian erotica, or as I prefer to call it, queer smut, has helped me not only visualize what is possible, but create a path toward getting what I want.
The stories in this book reflect my taste, my favorites, my personal hot spots, certainly, but also the best-written stories from a large pile of well-written stories by some of my favorite authors, like Kiki DeLovely and Xan West. There are some less-well known writers in here whose work you may not be familiar with, yet, but who will leave an impression on you, writers like Anne Grip and Amy Butcher. I found dozens of moments of signposts, signals directing me toward myself, words illuminating my own meridians of ache. With each story, with each act of lust, with each dirty command or submissive plea, I rediscovered my own want.
I hope you find some of what you want within these pages, too.
Back in August, when I was in San Francisco for the Butch Voices National Conference, I took an afternoon tour of Kink.com and it was rad. I dragged along two butch buddies, BB Rydell (who has a piece in my forthcoming anthology Say Please!) and Amy Butcher (who has a piece in Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, and with whom I’m teaching Owning Your Birthday Suit on December 5th).
We were excited.
The armory building that kink.com occupies is HUGE and incredible! The most amazing part of seeing the inside of the kink.com empire, aside from actually standing in all those places where all those beautifully hot scenes are made, was finally understanding all the work that goes into making the place look so old, dirty, and distressed. That’s all done by their art department—as they said, you could actually lick the walls, because everything gets sterilized after every scene. It doesn’t look like it, but all the rust and wear is all an elaborate paint job. Check it out:
I particularly liked the Upper Floor, which looks like an upscale club and is on a live feed 24/7. You can probably tell as I took about a dozen photos up there, more than the other rooms. I want one of those toy cabinets! And maybe a bar and poker table, too, while I’m at it.
We had a really excellent time seeing behind the scenes and asking questions about what goes on at kink.com. My impression from all the models and porn stars I’ve talked to about it is that kink.com is really ethical and treats their folks really well. I certainly got that impression from the tour and meeting some of the staff.
A tour gift certificate might be the perfect thing for that person on your holiday list, hmm?
I returned home from the (very long and amazing) two week trip out west to this book waiting on my desk. I love that shit like this shows up at my house. (Today I got a box full of cocks with HITACHI in huge letters printed on the side of it—more on that soon.)
My job is rad.
This book piqued my interest because Buck Angel on his Twitter stream (the exact tweet I can’t find, but it was probably a month ago) mentioned that he’s featured in it, and I was curious. His interview is in the last chapter, the 2000-2011 decade, and he’s featured in a wig and heavy makeup and fishnets, goatee covered in all of the photos except one. Still, the accompanying text makes it clear who he is, and the interview is pretty good.
Here’s the description of the book:
Editor Dian Hanson delves into the historical significance of this humble os, to show how the yoni has been coveted, feared, reviled, and worshipped by civilizations worldwide, from New Guinea to old Ireland. The text is supported by playful photographs of women exposing their vulvas, from 1900 to the present day. Because depiction of this body part has long been wrapped in unwarranted shame, The Big Book of Pussy reframes the subject, featuring models who expose their most private part enthusiastically, happily, with smiles spread wide as… well, you get the picture. And with 400+ photos the point is made emphatically, in images both naturally furry and stylishly groomed.
Included are interviews with the auteur known as Pussyman, the ex-cop who turned masturbation into millions with a toy called the Fleshlight, Vanessa del Rio, squirter Flower Tucci, vaginal performance artist Mouse, and the singular Buck Angel. Contemporary photographers Terry Richardson, Richard Kern, Ralph Gibson, Jan Saudek, Guido Argentini, Ed Fox and others share their favorite pussy photos, so that by page 372 even the shiest reader will be calling, “Here, kitty, kitty!”
Worth flipping through the next time you’re at Good Vibes or Babeland or whichever local bookstore might be carrying such a thing. Or in my living room, if you ever come over, since I can’t imagine a better thing to leave on my coffee table.
“An answer to the question that plagues the flagging femme: How does one creatively flag without back pockets on your outfit (or without an outfit on at all)? How about a hanky flower in your hair, belt, boot, or anywhere else you can think of? Wear it on the right or left to show your colors!”
So of course, I ordered one for Kristen.
I decided hunter green wouldn’t quite look right as a flower, so I went for light pink. (Don’t know the color codes? Look ‘em up. I’m sure you can find a few that would suit your interests.)
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but they look great. Kristen gets a lot of compliments on hers when she wears it. Shilo also just mentioned to me that she will be putting up a smaller size, so keep an eye for those in her Etsy store soon.
Hot on the heels of my RodeoH harness review, I was chatting with one of the two girls from the good ol’ Mission District of San Francisco behind RodeoH, and talked ‘em in to making a RodeoH harness available to Sugarbutch readers via a giveaway.
Your choice of size and color: Black/red, black/dark gray, or black/gray, in waist sizes 23-24″, 25-26″, 27-29″, 30-32″, 33-35″, 36-38″, 39-41″.
Leave a comment in this thread with something about your first strap-on harness, the most exciting place you ever had strap-on sex, if you’ve ever packed out in public, the name of your favorite harness, or why you want to win this … or something else entirely. You must enter a valid email address to win (otherwise, how can I tell you that you won?).
One commenter will be chosen at random on Monday, 24 October.
If you can’t wait, you can go right now to the RodeoH online store and enter code “SexSmith” to get $10 off your purchase. They’re only $45, so that’s a pretty good deal.
It seems like such a good idea, right? A cute pair of briefs with a hole in the middle to double as a harness? So of course I had to try out the new RodeoH.
I suspected they would not be tight enough to fuck with, that I wouldn’t have enough control—but I’m glad to report that’s not true, I didn’t have any trouble. Perhaps after a bunch of times in the washing machine the fabric will stretch a bit (probably worth it to avoid the dryer, to keep the elastic tight, note to self), but for now, it’s great. I am annoyed, however, that they aren’t really brief-cut, they are more like girl-cut undies that look like boy briefs, which, considering I haven’t worn women’s underwear in nearly ten years, feels really weird on my ass. I think I ended up with size L, so possibly if I had an XL pair they would cover a bit more, but that would probably sacrifice the tension and the tightness. Babeland recommends going down a size if you’re between sizes, since having them extra tight is part of what makes ‘em work well.
Babeland’s write-up also says “just imagine how close you’ll feel to your partner with only a thin layer of fabric between you,” and I gotta say, I didn’t love that feeling—I much prefer a harness. It felt like I was still wearing underwear, which just doesn’t quite feel like sex. But maybe that’ll just take some getting used to.
Unlike leather or rubber or vinyl, the briefs really absorb liquid! They are easier to wash than other harnesses, so that’s not a big deal, but I really noticed how much lube and spit and come was absorbed.
They seemed to work just fine for the giving part and, according to Kristen, for receiving, but I missed the stimulation on my clit that my one-strap harness provides. It’s hard (if not impossible) for me to get off without some stimulation on my clit, and this harness provides absolutely none—though I suppose it provides easier access to my clit from underneath it than some other harnesses, if that’s what you want. Me, I would prefer the harness do the stimulating so I can actually fuck and get off simultaneously.
It might be a great harness to use something like the we-vibe underneath. I haven’t tried that yet, but I have a shiny new we-vibe (thanks, Babeland) waiting for me to try it out, so that might be a great combination. More on that later, when I have a full report.
Because of it’s design, there’s no way to change the placement of the cock, either, so I can’t bring it lower in order for the base to hit my clit, which I also like, and which helps with stimulation. The O-ring on the harness is not very stretchy, and is built in, so it won’t work with cocks that are particularly big, like my favorite, the Maverick. It’ll still work with others, like my favorite packing cock Silky, but I often want something bigger than that, so it won’t replace my other harnesses anytime soon.
Not sure it’s a harness I’d go to on a regular basis (we’ll see), but I can see wearing it out so I would be ready to slip a cock into it without disrobing once I got home. And I’m glad there’s some new ideas and technology happening in the strap-on world. Worth trying, for sure.
RodeoH has a current contest to win a pair of these new briefs, as well as other prizes. Check it out.
Syd Blakovich & Justine Joli in Taxi Volume I
Finally getting around to telling you about Taxi, which is a web series as well as now two released DVDs. I watched the first volume DVD by myself a while ago and never wrote it up, and Kristen and I watched it last night. I remembered being impressed by it, that it was hot and sensual, and upon the second watch-through I agree with myself about that assessment, but it was so … very … slow. The scenes were longer than necessary and not heavy enough. But don’t get me wrong, they are beautifully filmed. They just could be a little (ahem) tighter, quicker paced. There is absolutely no introduction to the two characters and why they’re fucking in a taxi, though the web series page gives a little bit of backstory about the two. That might’ve been good to read before I watched the scenes.
It features some of my favorite porn stars: Madison Young, Jiz Lee, Syd Blakovich, Justine Joli, and a few newcomers who appear to me like a real-life couple, who were all excellent. There was a lot of your-turn-my-turn sex in the Volume I DVD, and while I’m sure that’s great for some folks, it was a little too switchy. I don’t really care who is topping and who is bottoming, but most of the time I’d like them to make a choice about it, even if it’s only for these five minutes. Many of these scenes went back and forth which felt a little distracting.
I would’ve liked to see more cocks, more rough-and-tumble, less sensual skin touching. But hey, don’t I say that about most of the porn? Taxi is well done, and I’m looking forward to seeing Volume II, or watching the rest of the series online—that three-way DP scene with Nic Switch, Madison Young, & Jiz Lee looks pretty delicious, for instance.
Taxi Volume I was sent to me from Girlfriends Films to review. Thanks!