Posts Tagged ‘amy butcher’

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Ready to explore “embodiment”? Three workshop offerings in Seattle & San Francisco in March & April

March 4, 2014  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

Two of my greatest queer erotic embodiment / sacred sexuality teachers, Alex Jade and Lizz Randall, are facilitating workshops at the end of March, and I have a collaboration with another mentor and friend of mine, Betty Martin, the first weekend of April.

So it’s shaping up to be an incredibly erotic and embodied spring!

I highly recommend ALL of these workshops, of course, but which one might work for YOU depends on where you’re at on your own journey, where you are, who you want to work with, and what kind of explorations you want to continue.

Lizz’s workshop Dedicated to Your Body will be an entry-level somatic embodiment experience dedicated, well, to YOUR body, where there will be a lot of temple time, deep ritual, play, somatic time, integration, and pelvic floor exploration. I just had a chat with her this morning about curriculum and I’m really excited it’s happening. I won’t be at this one, but I have known Lizz for many years and I know it’s going to be great.

Lizz’s Dedicated to Your Body workshop is for all women, meaning anybody who identifies as a woman or female and wants to do this work in a space for women-identified folks. It’s different to be in a women’s temple, and as someone who has been doing work in women’s temples for about 15 years, I highly recommend it. Because I know Lizz and her trans- and genderqueer inclusions, I know I would feel comfortable attending, as a genderqueer trans/ish butch who is probably female and definitely passes as a “woman.” Just, for the record. You butches and trans folks are invited, assuming you want to explore your connection with female and woman-ness in a women’s temple space. And, just in case it isn’t clear, it is explicitly inclusive of trans women, as the facilitator is very trans-aware and -versed, and since it’s inclusive of all women, that includes trans women. (Duh. But just being clear.)

Alex’s workshop, Tantra & SM, is in San Francisco through Flesh & Spirit. It’ll be a bit more advanced, I imagine, and delve into some kink things and shadow. I haven’t spoken with her about curriculum but I trust both Flesh & Spirit as a container and Alex as a gender-fluid SM player and as a teacher. I’m signed up and very excited to be there!

Tantra & SM is for any and all genders.

My workshop with Betty Martin is actually two linked workshops, Betty’s Learning to Touch on Saturday and my day-long workshop Playing with Power on Sunday. I am THRILLED to be playing with Betty and building off of her Learning to Touch workshop, and I’m really excited to offer some embodiment practice based in power dynamics and the embodiment of power. I can’t speak to Betty’s side as much, but my side will be about domination and submission, about power and surrender, about giving over and taking, about receiving and pulling out. It’s a combination of my Queering Power Dynamics workshop, which is more theoretical and talky-based, and my erotic ritual day-long workshops that include some small group and optional play parts.

Touch & Power will be for any and all genders and orientations, queer trans genderqueer masculine feminine straight d-type s-type, whatever. I’m hoping we’ll have a wide range of all of it, actually. I don’t expect it to be “power balanced,” meaning to have the same number of d-types as s-types, and as such we’ll ALL be exploring ALL aspects of power and surrender. It’s going to be delicious.

So, won’t you come join me in the Pacific Northwest for some erotic embodiment play this spring? I’d love to see you there.

Click on the big green plus (+) to expand the descriptions and see which one would work for you!


Dedicated to Your Body: A Retreat for Women

March 22-23, 2014, with Lizz Randall in Seattle


Tantra and SM: A Spring Equinox workshop


March 29 and 30, 2014, With Alex Jade in San Francisco


Learning to Touch & Playing with Power

Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA

Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, 2014, with Betty Martin and Sinclair Sexsmith in Shoreline WA

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Didn't you mention a marketing or business ecourse recently?

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: Didn’t you mention a marketing or business ecourse recently?

January 8, 2014  |  advice  |  1 Comment

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

This is a terribly mundane and sadly unsexy question but I swear I saw you post a link or a mention in the past few months of a marketing/PR/development website you had taken an ecourse with and I remember being really interested. Today when I went to scour the sugarbutch archives I couldn’t find it.

Am I making this up? And, if not, could you send me the information or maybe any sort of other similar information about ecourses you’ve been taking that inspired Submissive Playground? I’m particularly interested in those related to building branding or business at the moment but other suggestions are welcome. I am a big fan!

Ziggy

Hi Ziggy—

Sometimes the mundane and unsexy questions are the easiest to answer!

I think I mentioned the course on Twitter/Instagram—it was the IttyBiz “Fast Track to Fully Booked” course at ittybiz.com. They’re pretty amazing, definitely recommend signing up for their newsletter (and reading past issues) and keeping up with their blog—all of that is a ton of free content.

I have been studying ecourses for a few years now, partly with the idea of building my own eventually. I haven’t taken a “how to build an ecourse” course, but two things were massively influential:

Jennifer Louden & Michele Lisenbury Christensen‘s course Teach Now was highly influential for my identity as a teacher

and

I bought the Puttylike “Multipassionate Must Haves” bundle. I mostly bought it because it had so many different examples of ecourses in it, but many of the courses themselves are really good, and I recognized a lot of the teachers. I definitely recommend looking up the teachers included in that course, I’m sure many of them would be good examples of ecourses, and have ecourses themselves that would be inspiring and awesome.

Jennifer Louden also has a course in there called Creating Your Own Mastermind Group, which I took and then implemented last year. I’ve been part of an amazing queer creative business group, meeting since August, including Jen Cross of Writing Ourselves Whole, Sade Huron of Cariad Healing, and Amy Butcher of Amybutcher.com (you may recognize her as the author of Paws for Consideration or from, you know, around).

Other folks whose work has influenced me:

  • Tara Gentile – highly recommend for building your business things
  • Susannah Conway – love her photography and writings on grief, she has some courses but I haven’t taken them. she also has a “Unravelling the year ahead 2014″ ebook that just came out which is really great
  • Jennifer Lee – Right Brain Business Plan is awesome, and she’s got a product launch course which is great too
  • Marketing for Hippies
  • Heart of Business

I don’t know of ones that are specific about branding, mostly because I’ve been a brand consultant in the past, and a designer, so those don’t catch my eye, though I’m sure those are around. But marketing? Ittybiz is the best, hands down.

Hope that’s helpful.
Sinclair

Do you like queer smut? Next week, I bet we can make you blush.

December 2, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’m really excited about the Best Lesbian Erotica reading that Amy & I are putting together! We picked up two big boxes of BLE from Cleis Press headquarters today and are almost completely ready for the big day.

The books look beautiful!

Our lineup is incredible!

I’m working on getting someone to record video—I do have some leads, but if you are in the Bay Area and want a comp ticket to go in exchange for helping with video recording, let me know please. I would love that. I’m trying to get more videos of my work up online.

It’s an experiment, doing the release party with a kind of high cover price ($20 at the door) that includes the thing that the release party is for (a copy of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014). I’m not sure if that’s going to mean more people show up, or less, or people show up and want to donate instead of getting a book + ticket (which we’re allowing with our “no one turned away for lack of funds” policy). The general culture of book readings in New York and Seattle and (from what I can tell) San Francisco is that they should be free, and then that people will buy the book to support. But instead of that, we’re including some other goodies (like door prizes! And wine & snacks!) and making sure that everybody gets a book.

Here’s the details. I hope it’ll be an incredible turnout! I’ll be reading my story from the book, which also happens to be the lead (first) story, called “A Good Workout,” which is my first published butch/butch erotica piece.

It’s been interesting, changing my reputation and my perception to others as a “femme-oriented butch” to a faggot butch. I have pages and pages to say about that, but for now I just want to share that when I read this last year at an erotica reading, another butch who was reading after me stood up and declared, “I’m a REAL butch. I ONLY date femmes.”

!!!

I was kind of speechless and stunned. It was definitely for audience laughs, for impact, and to set her apart from me and my story, but it also kind of stung. Plus, ugh, I really don’t like anyone who uses the phrase “REAL ____” to try to describe how there is One True Way about just about anything, especially around gender.

I’ll write a bit more about that later, but for now, just know that I’ve got a controversial faggoty butch story (set in the locker room at a gym) and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you all in person.

1212reading

QUEER SMUT: BEST LESBIAN EROTICA 2014
READING & RELEASE PARTY

The holidays are upon us, and what better way to celebrate than with the brand spankin’ new Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 West Coast release party! Each year, the Best Lesbian Erotica series captures some of the best smut stories by well-known and brand-new authors. Come hear readings from 2014′s collection edited by Kathleen Warnock. Join us for an exciting reading from the new 2014 collection and beyond.

Featuring Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Carol Queen, Sinclair Sexsmith, BD Swain, M’kali-Hashiki, Cheryl Dunye, Xan West, and Jiz Lee!

$20 at the door includes the price of a book!

Buy your tickets EARLY from Eventbrite and receive an EXTRA ticket in the door prize giveaway, featuring fancy silicone toys from TANTUS and queer porn DVDs from PINK & WHITE.

Facebook & Fetlife

Books will be for sale—bring $15 extra and get yours signed by the contributors. As Kathleen always says: buy one for Grandma!

Queer Smut: Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 7-9pm
Center for Sex & Culture
1349 Mission Street between 9th & 10th, San Francisco
Cost: $20
Includes a copy of the book Best Lesbian Erotica 2014
No one turned away for lack of funds

Get tickets now! Eventbrite

Free eBook Download: BDSM murder mystery about dogs & neighbors

November 11, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

During the month of November, in celebration of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), author (and my good buddy) Amy Butcher is giving away ebook copies of her award-winning Nanowrimo novel Paws for Consideration.

Of course, if you get the ebook version, you will miss out on the awesome flip book—illustrated by Amy—in the upper corner of the book, which features Daisy the person zooming around in her wheelchair while Skittles the dog pees on the page numbers.

From Amybutcher.com:

Paws for Consideration won the Gay Category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. That now makes Paws for Considerationan “award-winning novel” . . . who knew?

It’s also National Novel Writing Month. Another cause for celebration not only for all the crazy writing happening but also because that’s where Paws for Consideration got it’s start.

So throughout November, you can download a free copy of Pawsthrough Smashwords. Enter your email in the form [on Amybutcher.com] and we’ll send you the download code. And if you enjoy, please give a shout out on Goodreads.”

Paws is an easy fun read, full of jaunts all over the Mission and Castro in San Francisco. I read it on a plane in basically one sitting last year when it came out, and I laughed out loud and cried when Skittles was found and was moved as the neighborhood characters found a way to come together and puzzle through someone’s death. I like how Daisy navigates through the heretofore unexplored world of BDSM in the Castro, the perspective is sweet and curious and accepting.

Oh yeah, there are play parties and sex and masturbation and flogging scenes and leather dungeons in this book too. And also lots of dogs.

It starts like this:

For the briefest of moments, a question hung in the air between two damp noses. Daisy-the-person joysticked her electric wheelchair a little closer to Daisy-the-dog. Daisy-the-dog danced one cautious step backwards in response, slid a long tongue across the tip of her nose and tasted the dampened air, trying to decide if this hulking combination of vehicle and person was to be trusted. Daisy-the-person snorted too, and wiped a sleeve across her own muzzle. “Come on over here, you cutie, and give me some love!” she said, beckoning low with an outstretched hand.

The voice of Daisy-the-person carried way beyond the dog in front of her. She was the morning wake-up call for her neighbors, as regular as the bells ringing out from the steeple of Mission Dolores, only higher pitched. She patted her generous lap again, encouraging Daisy-the-dog to come closer.

To the canine, it wasn’t clear where chair began and person ended. The way this creature moved, the wheels and the whir, were disconcerting. But she smelled good—of oily chicken scents and warm lint—and she wasn’t moving now. Daisy-the-dog decided to take a chance.

Now, don’t you want to read the whole thing? Go download it now.


Clipped from http://amybutcher.com/writing/writing_Mystery.html

 

New workshop in Albuquerque July 21: Pleasure Lab

July 1, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling toward the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?”

That’s the beginning of the description for my new workshop, Pleasure Lab, co-taught with Amy Butcher. It’s an “embodiment” workshop—meaning, feeling deeper into one’s own body, expanding the senses, getting in touch with desires and pleasure, and encouraging more aliveness. We will spend quite a bit of time creating a safe circle to play within, exploring our own boundaries, and really feeling into our yesses and nos before we build to offering some supportive, healing touch to each other.

That sounds less fun than it’s actually going to be, though. We’re going to offer all sorts of experiments that are juicy and thought-provoking and heart-centered and we’re going to take risks and dive deep into ourselves and learn all sorts of embodiment concepts that we can take home with us, to our partners or friends or lovers or whomever.

It’s a half-day workshop, from 12-5pm, Sunday, July 21st in Albuquerque, New Mexico. $50 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Details below.

pleasurelab

PLEASURE LAB: An embodiment workshop with Amy Butcher & Sinclair Sexsmith
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
12-5 pm in Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $50 donation requested (no one turned away for lack of funds; please contact Kat at [email protected] to discuss) space is limited; pre-registration is encouraged.

Pre-registration available at: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6909818453# or contact Kat.

What is the Pleasure Lab?

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling into the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?

Come explore with us.

Come to this master workshop and begin to harvest the erotic knowledge in your body. Through experimentation, we’ll learn tools to be deeply present in our bodies, to feel the powerful connection between genitals, heart, and mind.

This program will help you tap into the nutrient rich soil of erotic play which will help fuel your erotic self-discovery, compassion, and self-confidence. Explore a variety of playful experiential exercises to increase embodiment while respecting everyone’s boundaries. Learn some simple games and tools to feel erotic energy, build connection to your desires, and feel more alive and at home in your body, and experience the taboo power of sharing this exploration within community. All exercises will be clothes-on, and any touch is optional and always consensual.

When completing this workshop, participants wishing for more will have a grasp on the skills used in the Celebrating the Body Erotic workshops offered by the Body Electric School (thebodyelectricschool.com).

The Pleasure Lab workshop is open to women, trans, and genderqueer identified people, regardless of ability, ethnicity, class, or experience. The Source is fully accessible. Food will not be provided but we will have breaks; bring a snack if you may need one. Please wear comfortable clothes that are easy for you to move in, and bring a water bottle and a journal.

About the Facilitators:

Amy Butcher (amybutcher.com) and Sinclair Sexsmith (mrsexsmith.com) met at a tantra retreat in 2009 and have worked together for deeper embodiment and gender liberation ever since. They both work with the Body Electric School, study erotic energy, and write smut.

About the coordinator:

Kat Heatherington is poet, artist, polyamorous ecofeminist pagan, with a background in literature, who lives in a sustainable intentional community south of Albuquerque, Sunflower River. She has been studying with the Body Electric School since 2010.

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic in Philadelphia March 1-3

February 4, 2013  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

boxesI’ve been working with The Body Electric School since 2000, since I was just barely out and hadn’t even slept with a girl yet, since the year after I left my high school boyfriend of six years right before I had an abortion and decided that was how certain I had to be in order to become the me I was meeting in dreams.

Body Electric changed and formed and forged my adult sense of both sexuality and spirituality. It has interwoven the two of those things, my callings and my desires, my body and my understanding of god, such that I can almost not untangle them anymore—my sexual explorations are a way to deepen my spirituality and sense of energy and self on the planet, my love of and relationship with the planet is a way to fuel my relationships with and energetic exchanges with (read: fuckfests) other people.

Since I got involved almost thirteen years ago, the work has been divided into “men’s workshops,” “women’s workshops,” and “men and women’s workshops.” But the teachers that I’ve been learning from and am coming up under—Alex Jade and Lizz Randall, namely, who are both queer and genderqueer, Alex being on the dandy masculine side of things and Lizz being a femme—along with my friend and butt buddy (long story) Amy Butcher, the coordinator in San Francisco, and I have all decided that we want to bust open the binary gender system within BE, create more room for trans and genderqueer folks to be able to be included in this work, and to start doing more work with those populations.

And voila, the Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic workshop was born.

It is based on the Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) workshop model, which is a finely honed workshop that builds on itself from very gentle interaction on Friday night to an intense community experience on Sunday afternoon. It is a clothing-optional workshop where some erotic touch is invited and possible. Everything is done with deep consent, with lots of checking in with one’s self and lots of trust that the others in the workshop are doing that too, and the work is deeply trauma-informed, meaning that we know and expect that we hold a lot of trauma in our bodies, and when we are working specifically on our bodies and our genitals and our relationship with them, we know many things come up. Feelings of shame, fear, being threatened, memories. Lots of things that we may have the ability to actually bring up in a safe enough container that we can let it go. That, to me, is part of the essence of the healing.

But, the integration of new gender policies into the larger Body Electric School has been very hard. The organization is majority run by gay men and serves gay men, probably 80% of the workshops are men’s workshops, and yes, that pretty much means cis men.

We are trying to change this.

The women’s teams have made the decisions to go forward with the women’s workshops as including ALL WOMEN, all trans women regardless of body or surgery or whatever, and all people born female who can bring our female or women-identified parts into the circle. There will be an ALL MEN’s workshop coming soon, hypothetically, that BE is working on. And as we are offering more “mixed gender” workshops, like the Power, Surrender, and Intimacy workshop I’m doing in New York this fall, we are making it “all genders” instead of “mixed,” and inviting anyone with a body to come.

And of course, there’s the Outside the Boxes workshop. It (or another CBE or equivalent) is a prerequisite for any of the more advanced or intermediate workshops. It gives an amazing introduction to how this work is done and what we do with it. It teaches all sorts of basic tools, like consent and breath, and encourages deep embodiment.

I am so in love with this work. I have been working so, so hard to bring this work to my people—you genderqueer trans queer genderfluid gendernonconforming folks whom I adore and whom I am dying to be in erotic circles with. Please come. There are still spaces available in this workshop, though we are going to cap it at 24 to keep it a manageable and good size. Please come. I know it’s expensive, but it is worth every dollar and probably more, and we made it a sliding scale so that we can get as many people there as possible. Please come. Prove to the Body Electric School that this work is worth it, is lucrative, is needed in the world, and is received when we offer it. Please come.

Dear universe, please send a full, abundant, explorative group of people to explore this work in Philadelphia in March. I cannot wait to meet them all. I want more colleagues on this path, and I want more playmates, and I want more support as I pursue this work. I believe so deeply in the power of this to heal us, and I know that my people need this healing as much or more than anybody. It is my calling. I know it’s important in the world. Please send abundance. Love, Sinclair.

Are you buzzing? Are you intrigued? Get in touch with me, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll do it or not. I can tell you more about it. I want to give it to you, want to give you this gift of this work. Are you feeling called? Listen to that place beyond the “oh I can’t make that happen logistics logistics” “ugh it’s too expensive” “I don’t know I’m so scared!” chatter, and see if it’s time.

Here’s the details on the workshop. Please share this widely with friends and folks you might know near Philadelphia!

Facebook event

Qcbe postcard 2013 rev

Your gender. Your body. Your energy. Your beautiful self. How often has the world tried to force you into the gender binary, asked you to assure it that your pronouns matched what it saw rather than what you felt, required that your genitals conform to expectations, demanded that you deny the complexity of all that is you?

What if you could come into a community in which all expressions were possible? Where gender, sexuality and expression were aligned according to your truth? Where no one assumed what parts would go where? Welcome to Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic!

Come explore your erotic potential through the mind, the body and the heart using conscious breath, movement, process work and massage. Awaken the erotic energy that lies within all of us. Through a queer tantra lens, explore archetypal masculine and feminine energies and the myriad ways they can be expressed. Break down silos of gender and sexuality.

This workshop focuses on the entire body and is conducted in a container that is playful, safe and reverential. Using carefully designed experiential embodiment practices participants will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of your body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each person’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit
  • to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
    learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic is a 2 1/2 day workshop (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday), often clothing-optional, for those who are ready to vigorously explore new levels of feeling and aliveness, both within themselves and within a community of queers. Space is limited, so please register early.

NOTE: Couples are welcome to attend Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic and have the option of working together or with the other participants.

WORKSHOP FEE: $250-495. This workshop offers a sliding scale fee dependent upon personal financial circumstances. We believe the work is important and those who need it be considered. Please contact the Coordinator to discuss.

March 1-3, Philadelphia, PA: contact Sinclair Sexsmith, [email protected]
October 11-13, Oakland, CA: contact Amy Butcher, [email protected]

Register on the Body Electric website.

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

August 29, 2012  |  miscellany, reviews  |  2 Comments

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

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

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

Details:

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

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

    Scavenger Hunt—How to participate:

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

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

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

Watch this video for more information.

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

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

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 is Here! My Introduction & the NYC Release Party

November 28, 2011  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

BLE is here! Kristen’s copy from Amazon arrived last week and we had a toast, read the first and last story out loud, and of course found a few typos. (Can’t have everything!)

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.

Introduction
Sinclair Sexsmith

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.

Talk Dirtier, Own Your Birthday Suit, & More Workshops With Me

November 21, 2011  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

I’ve been working my ass off getting gigs and performances this fall—posting my potential schedule for the next six months or so has helped. I’m still booking things in the spring and right now hope to get to Mills College in Oakland, American University in DC, International Ms. Leather in San Francisco, Smith College in Northampton, Atlanta, Chicago, Durham, New Orleans, and a few other places. It’s going to be a big year.

But, more immediately, here’s what’s coming up in the Northeast in the next few weeks.

Talk Dirtier: How To Let Your Tongue Go Tonight!
Monday, November 21, 2011, 9pm
Conversio Virium, Columbia’s BDSM Student Group, in 316 Hamilton, New York, NY
Free, open to the public

Talking dirty in the bedroom can be terrifying at first, but once you unlock your tongue, you’ll find yourself saying all sorts of delicious things! Come to this workshop and we’ll figure out what’s tying our tongues in the first place, what’s holding us back from being more free with our language in the bedroom, and what the heck we should say to enhance our sex and intensity our sensation. The brain is the biggest sex organ, after all, and the more we can turn on our minds, the better our experiences will be.

Radical & Responsible Gender Workshop
Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 6:30pm
Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA

Academics breaks down and deconstructs gender. How do we build it back up radically and responsibly? How does one adapt masculinity or femininity “positively”? How do we become responsible about gender? How do we continue to break down the gender role restrictions that are hurtful and traumatizing? In this interactive, engaging workshop, we will cover some basics about what gender is, what gender roles and stereotypes are, and how they work, then cover basic gender theory, breaking things down into small parts, in order to build them back up again “responsibly,” by which I mean thoughtfully and intentionally, with feminist principles and anti-sexist perspectives strongly in place. Participants will go away from the workshop with a better sense of how to use labels as liberation instead of limiting, as celebrations rather than restrictions, and be able to more fully embody whichever gender roles they choose.

Owning Your Birthday Suit: Embodiment for Queers, Genderqueers, & Other Outlaws
Monday, December 5, 2011, 8-10pm
$20 suggested donation, sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds
LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St. (between 7th & 8th Ave), New York, NY.
RSVP on Facebook

If you’ve been curious about all this erotic energy stuff that I do with the Body Electric School, or the tantra concepts I sometimes talk about, this workshop is a great one to attend to start getting some introductions to the concepts and foundational principles we use in that erotic energy work. It’s also about getting more connected with your breath, body, senses, and connection with yourself and others. I’m thrilled to do it with one of my favorite people, Amy Butcher.

Queer, genderqueer, trans, and outlaw folks often find it hard to be present in our bodies, to feel the powerful connection between genitals, heart, and mind. Explore a variety of playful experiential exercises to increase embodiment while respecting stone sexualities and everyone’s boundaries. Learn some simple tools to feel erotic energy, build connection to your desires, and feel more alive and at home in your body. Experience the taboo power of sharing this exploration within community. Amy Butcher and Sinclair Sexsmith met at a tantra retreat three years ago and have worked together for deeper embodiment and gender liberation ever since. They both study erotic energy and write smut.

Speaking of Body Electric: The schedule for 2012 has been announced. We are offering more workshops for women and queers than we ever have in a single year since I started doing Body Electric in 2000. Mark down the dates, and I’ll tell you all sorts of more information soon.

BODY ELECTRIC IN 2012:

Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women – 3-5 February, New York City
Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women – 27-29 April, Seattle
Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic – 18-20 May, New York City
Pulse: Advanced Women’s Retreat – 1-5 August, Albuquerque, NM
Power, Surrender, & Intimacy for All Genders – 14-16 September, San Francisco
Tantra for All Genders – 2-4 November, Albany, NY
Celebrating the Body Erotic 2 for Women – 16-18 November, Albany, NY
Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic – 30 November – 2 December, Toronto, ON

I know the “for women” part can be a little off-putting—I’ll write more about that soon, too, and the trans/genderqueer policies we’re working on. Bottom line is, though, don’t let that be a deterrent, and I mean that. Glad to chat with you about it in more detail, just email me.