Introducing View From The Top: My BDSM Journey

I’m so excited to have started writing a column over on Autostraddle called “View From The Top,” detailing my BDSM journey from being a bottom (before coming out) to being a master (and monogamish and partnered with a boy/boi and happier than I’ve ever been).

Over on the first column, which just came out and is called “I Started as a Bottom,” I kind of came out as a master. I mean, I know I’ve written about it here sometimes, but mostly kind of buried in posts and I haven’t written about it too too directly (yet). It’s scary! It’s a big word, a very loaded word to use and claim, and I hesitate to use it without a whooooole lot of back story to explain where I’m coming from, that I’m part of a community that uses those terms, etc.

So of course, in the comments of the article, there were questions about the use of the terms master and slave, particularly by someone white. I want to highlight my comment and rife’s, too, because I think this is a really interesting issue of semantics, language, and social justice, and I don’t feel 100% good about it, though it’s the best I have right now.

I wrote:

As the author of the post, to be honest, I’m completely uncomfortable with it. It’s something that I struggle with, precisely for the reasons you stated—primarily because I’m a white person and we have a particular, very very recent history of slavery in the US, where I live, the effects of which still benefit white people and me, specifically, and contribute to systemic racism.

There are quite a few folks who use pairings like Owner/property or Dom/sub instead of Master/slave, precisely because of their discomfort with those particular terms.

I’m about 5 years in to this exploration of what it means to be master and slave, and what it means to be part of that community, and it has been incredibly valuable to learn these skills and actually take part in that community. (Maybe I’ll go into this in a future column? Short version: This set of skills is something I’ve done in relationships unconsciously for a while, which was bad; and now that I’m doing it consciously, things are way better.) I resisted the particular words for a while, but after being part of the M/s world for longer and longer, I’ve grown more comfortable with it because of the difference in definition and usage.

I don’t see a lot of consciousness about this issue in the M/s world, which is predominantly white, though. Which I don’t like and am very uncomfortable with, and try to bring up and point out racist language and microagressions when I can (as I do in pretty much all communities I’m in, but I push myself to speak up a little more in this one).

For now, because it’s the most accurate words I have, I’m choosing to use them … but I’m not entirely unconflicted about that.

As a word lover, I think words can grow and change and morph definitions over time. While I do absolutely recognize the particular history that directly affects me, I also know that the words and concepts of master and slave are not a new invention in human history. The enslavement of African folks is just one of myriad examples throughout history. So I think that is one of the main arguments I hear about it—that the experience of ‘slavery’ is not so unique to that one part of history.

I use these words is because these are the most accurate words we have right now. I’m still new to this community and seeking to recognize others and find more friends who know about this stuff, so I’m using the words that are recognized by others so that we can find each other.

Identity words are complicated—some of them just *fit* better or differently than others. And these particular words fit what my boy and I are doing, particularly within the parts of the kink communities that practice them.

Also, if you ever have the chance to hear sex/BDSM educator Mollena do her workshop on taboos, which includes some of her philosophies about M/s languaging, I highly recommend it.

I think pursuing M/s is very complicated … There are many folks who don’t have an objection to those words based on race, but rather on the fact that enslavement is wrong. It’s complex to start unravelling fetishes that are on one hand, ‘morally wrong,’ but on the other hand, totally get you off and satisfy your life in a way that other things never have and in a bone-deep way you feel you need. I think in the RACK——”risk aware consensual kink”—camps, I understand that when things are done with full enthusiastic consent and taking responsibility for what happens, then it’s okay to fantasize and play. Personally, I want it to be done with a lot of consciousness and in a way that aligns with my values, but I also have to balance that with what sustains me, too.

rife wrote:

As a (white, American) who is identified as a slave, I initially struggled with the word, a lot.

What finally brought me around to it (I mean, other than my obvious erotic orientation to that kind of structured ownership fetish) was the realization that slavery has a long, long history. It has been around almost as long as humans. In some iterations, it was even consensual/contractual, like with certain Roman dynamics.

What I do has nothing to do with race play (although there isn’t anything *inherently* wrong with that). And honestly, if a black person told me they found my use of the word disrespectful, I would probably switch back to the more generic “property” descriptor. But here’s the thing: They haven’t, and I’ve had many soul-searching discussions with black friends, many of whom identify this way as well.

Let’s be clear: unconsensual slavery is abhorrent. Consensual slavery is fine. The two are very, very different. Just like rape is awful and consensual sex (even playing with faux-assault) is fine.

Here’s the other thing: it’s the best word for the job, despite its loaded cultural connotations. What else do you call a human who is owned? If we had another word for that, which wasn’t loaded with the unconsensual cultural history, maybe I would use that. But, we don’t. So I’ve made my peace with it.

I hear that it’s not a relationship structure you’d like to be in, fair enough! But be careful not to judge a relationship’s morals by how much you don’t want to be in it. :)

Though I’ve been stewing on this series for a while, and have already written 4 of the columns, I’m surprised and pleased at the impact it’s had so far and I think it’s bigger and more revealing than I expected. I kind of feel like I’m taking on the task of encapsulating my BDSM journey over the last, oh, 15-20 years, and trying to put it into ten or twelve columns to make a story. Feels a bit daunting, and very exciting. The folks at Autostraddle have been super supportive and the editing has been excellent, I so love working with good editors.

I really appreciate all the comments over there, and I’ve been replying to quite a few. (I miss that kind of comment conversation, where folks check back and actually reply—it’s been quite a few years since that’s happened on Sugarbutch, but I have some guesses as to why.)

If you have any particular questions or ideas of what you’d love to see me write about as I keep writing through this journey, I’d love to know. Questions or comments or ideas welcome.

Lying Down, Guest Post by Kathleen Delaney-Adams (excerpt from Dirty Dates)

Excerpt from Dirty Dates edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis Press. Reprinted with permission

She presents her back to me, unadorned and shivering in the early morning air. I know she loathes to being naked, the humility and vulnerability of it, so the fact that she’s offered it to me has moved me greatly, made me rock hard. She is spectacular, standing in the middle of the living room, her eyes blinking sleepily, her body already melting in anticipation.

I have surprised her with this, barely allowing her to finish her first cup of coffee before ordering her to take off her clothes and give me her flesh. Although this is our ritual, a Sunday morning play-date we rarely, if ever, miss, I am usually gentle with her. I allow her to wake slowly and warm up to the day, serve her coffee in bed, warm up to the day. The ways in which we arouse each other during these weekly assignations are myriad indeed, sometimes kinky, always juicy. This morning I want kink, demanded it of her. Although this is unexpected, she has scurried to please me, collecting my whips, the lube, the condoms, arranging them within easy reach on the coffee table before she stands before me and offered herself up. She is eager for my instructions, always. I run my hand down the skin of her creamy back and murmur, “That’s a good girl.”

She quivers in response and raises her eyes to mine.

“I didn’t say you could look at me, girl,” I hiss, and we are on.

She knows the drill, eyes now downcast as she slips into her submission. There is a smirk of pleasure and excitement playing about her lips. I should punish her for her sass, but her morning face is so pretty that I decide to allow it. For now.

The first licks of my galley whip are a tease, a flirt of leather on her skin. Kisses promise more to come and render her shaking with desire and a bit of fear.

I like the fear. I let it build slowly, increasing the intensity of the lashes she is receiving until she moves her body in expectation of them, a slight shifting toward the whip. I laugh and hit her pussy, not gently. She moans and spreads her legs open for me, for more.

“Ooh, you liked that, didn’t you, you whore?”

“Yes. Yes, Daddy.” Her voice is breathy.

I hit her pussy again, harder, first with the tails then the handle of the whip. She is moaning louder now, gasping. She blinks back the first sign of real tears—tears of pain or need, I’m not sure—but I give her more nonetheless.

When I stop abruptly her body jerks in response, stiffening, then softening and leaning back toward me. She sniffles, and I flick the whip gently through her hair, letting it caress her long red curls as if it were my fingers touching her.

She has told me it makes her feel cherished, when I beat and whip her flesh, when I fuck her hard and without lube, when I make demands of her. But I want to remind her she is also cherished now, in between the pain—that my whip can be both a brutal weapon and a tender one.

I reach around with my hands and squeeze her tits, rubbing my thumbs over her nipples, tugging them. I slide slowly down her belly, my fingers finding her slick wet pussy. She cries out and stumbles, losing her balance, when I shove three fingers inside her.

“Mmm, nice and wet for me, just the way I like you.”

Just as quickly I pull my hand away. My cock grows even stiffer when she cries out again and there is no mistaking her hunger.

I begin to whip her in earnest now, letting it build, slicing the whip into her skin with enough force to leave marks. That tender spot just under her ass is my favorite, the blood rising to the surface almost immediately in a sweet red welt.

She is fighting to stand still, moaning and sobbing, her entire body quaking. I land a series of intense blows on her back, and she sobs harder, in pain.

“Turn around,” I growl, and she obeys immediately.

Her teary eyes meet mine, her mouth swollen and quivering, and I want to tear into it, bite it, draw blood. I can see juice on her thighs, her pussy glistening. Her eyes are pleading. I know she wants more. She doesn’t have to beg—I’m not done yet—but I decide to make her anyway.

“Have you had enough, girl?” I ask. She starts to shake her head, than catches herself; she knows I prefer she answer me when I ask a question.

“N-no. No.”

“Do you want more then? Tell me you want more.”

“Yes. Yes, please. Please.” Her begging is not part of our play. I know she means it, and I am so stiff for her I might explode.

“Lift your arms for me.”

I demand full access to that delicate flesh. I want to devour her. Instead, I settle for my whip’s access, the ferocity of my own need barely restrained as I slice the tender skin of her breasts, her stomach, her thighs. Her nipples are hard, her breath rasping, her lips trembling. She bites her lower lip to keep from crying but she can’t stop the flow of tears, the sobs. When I lash out at her pussy, she again opens her legs for me, rocking her hips forward so I can better reach her clit, moving back and forth in time with the leather. This is a dance we have perfected over time, a dance not just of desire but of devotion.

I can’t wait a moment longer to enter that tight pussy, and I lay down the whip and grab her, pressing her against me. She collapses in my arms, simply melting, and I feel her wet cheeks buried in my neck.

Read the rest of the story in the anthology Dirty Dates edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, published by Cleis Press. Get more information about the Dirty Dates anthology here. Thanks for letting me reprint part of it!

The Tender Sweet Young Thing, Guest Post by Xan West

Dedicated to the members of the Church of the Movie Musical

As a heads up, this story includes descriptions of gender play, blade play, edge play, pain play, public sex, cocksucking and fisting.

Dax was raised by a second-wave feminist. Ze grew up reading books about girls who did stuff. Ze was pulled out of tap class because they were going to perform “I Love Being a Girl,” and hir mom refused to let Dax participate in something so sexist. Hir mother gave hir a gender-neutral name (to help hir get jobs) and had hir hair cut in a Buster Brown. For most of hir childhood, people were constantly asking, “Is that a boy or a girl?” They still asked that, actually. At least now ze chose hir own haircuts.

Dax didn’t change hir name when ze went on T. What was the point? Dax would work okay, and it’s not like ze wanted to pass as a man anyway. A gender-neutral name suited hir just fine. Guess mom got something right.

When Dax’s boyfriend Mikey got a ‘96 Volvo with a tape deck, Dax gave her some of hir old cassettes. They would drive around listening to tapes Dax had kept from back in the day. Their favorite was a childhood relic, Free to Be You and Me. They listened to it for probably the thousandth time on the way to a regular gathering of fat queers that involved two of Dax’s favorite things: potluck and watching musicals. That’s probably why Mikey was so quick to bring it up, when the pre-movie dinner discussion turned to early kink fantasies. (Which, let’s face it, was rather inevitable at this monthly event, which was now at Xóchi’s house because it was more accessible. No stairs meant that Dax and Mikey could be there, and that Jericho and Rusty came more often, too. Lee loved hosting, so even though it was now at Xóchi’s house and not her own, she was still in charge. Everything always went smoothly when she was in charge.)

“Want to hear one of Dax’s early kink roots?” Mikey asked, teasing.

Of course the group wanted to hear it. Dax was grateful Mikey was going to tell it, because hir migraine meds were making hir a bit loopy, and ze just wanted to watch the room and relax. It was nice to be back. Nobody did potluck like fat activist queers. The briscuit Rebecca brought was the best comfort food ever, especially with Mikey’s flan for dessert, and ze was looking forward to popcorn and Julie Andrews. Hir chair was comfy, the sun wasn’t in hir eyes, and ze was surrounded by kinky queers. Hey, who was that cute femme boy in the corner? Oh, was that Téo, the boy Mikey had been telling hir about?

“Well, I bet some of you know Free to Be You and Me?” Mikey asked.

Lee and Xóchi both nodded. Dax guessed the other folks were a bit too young to know it. Except Jericho, who looked at Rusty and shrugged, clearly having no clue what they were talking about.

Xóchi said, “Oh, wait. I bet it was that football player singing, ‘It’s Alright to Cry.’”

The whole room chuckled. Dax was well-known for being the kind of sadist that got off on tears. When Xóchi started to sing a bit of it, Lee and Mikey joined in. “It’s alright to cry. It might make you feel better!”

Dax was blushing. Ze reminded hirself that ze loved them. They were family. Family got to tease you. And, really, hadn’t ze crooned just that line to Mikey last month in the middle of a particularly brutal caning?

“No, it wasn’t that one, actually,” Mikey said, grinning at Dax. “You remember the one about the tender sweet young thing?”

Lee and Xóchi both shook their heads.

“Well, it’s about this girl who dresses impeccably, and always goes first in line, and gets basically everything she wants, and then she gets caught by a pack of lions.”

“Tigers!” Dax inserted.

“Oh, sorry, baby. Tigers. So they tie her up and sniff her a bit.” Mikey grinned.

“And she says, ‘I am a tender sweet young thing.’” Dax forgot hirself and got into it. “‘I am also a little lady.’” Dax grinned at Lee, who unconsciously began to adjust her shirt so that her considerable cleavage showed to better advantage.

“And she tells the lions to stop licking her,” Mikey inserted, watching Téo. Damn, the boy was so fucking cute. He had perked up, giving the story his full attention, a mixture of recognition and desire on his face. This confirmed it. Téo was the tender sweet young thing she’d had her eye out for.

“Tigers!” Dax insisted.

“That’s twice,” Lee said, holding up two fingers and looking sternly at Mikey over her turquoise cat eye glasses.

Dax continued, “My favorite part is when she says, ‘Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!’”

The whole group cracked up. Except for Téo, who was holding his breath.

“I’ve had a fashion safe word myself,” said Lee, eyes sparkling.

“So what happens to the tender sweet young thing?” asked Téo before he could stop himself.

“The tigers eat her,” said Dax, eying Téo again. Téo did something halfway between a preen and a squirm under Dax’s gaze. It was adorable. How had ze not noticed him before tonight?

“What?” said Xóchi. “How do I not remember this? They eat her?”

“Yep,” Mikey confirmed.

“And the whole story is told by the head tiger,” Dax added, grinning at Xóchi.

Xóchi grinned back, one predator to another, and then launched into a story of her own that involved her father’s knife. Dax hoped that Téo might share one of his own kink roots, but Lee soon ushered them over to the television for the much awaited showing of Victor/Victoria.

Téo couldn’t stop thinking about the tender sweet young thing. He could barely concentrate on Victor/Victoria, which he hadn’t seen before and was totally up his alley. He’d have to get ahold of it and watch it when he could pay attention.

He let himself work it out, as the others watched. It had been a while since he’d bottomed to a white person, and the last time had been a real mistake. That’s why he had been so careful with Rebecca. Their switchy thing was working out okay. But this was a different thing altogether because he kept thinking about being tied up and surrounded by Dax and hir band of tigers. That was serious bottoming, even from a power femme place.

But he’d been thinking about Dax all night, about that gleam in hir eyes as ze looked him over and told him that the tigers ate the tender sweet young thing. Anyone who could hang in this group was probably okay. Xóchi and Mikey clearly trusted hir. Jericho had made a point of saying that they wanted Dax and Mikey at their party next month, and that was a POC-centered space. I mean, they allowed white folks who acted right, but it was different to be invited special.

It’s not like he hadn’t known Dax for a few years; they’d been in that genderqueer showcase together, after all. He’d just never noticed hir in that way before. He’d been crushed out on Mikey for a while, as their friendship had grown, and been looking for a way to let her know he was interested. And it was clear that the scene he had in mind would mean bottoming to her, too. Yeah, he thought it was worth the risk, especially because he didn’t think he’d have to worry much about disability stuff with this group. Damn, this scene hit so many of his buttons in exactly the right way. Oh, was the movie over already?

It turned out that Rebecca was going home with Jericho and Rusty (which no one was surprised by after the kink root she’d shared about being constantly cast as the prince when she ached to be the evil stepmother instead). She had been Téo’s ride. So Dax and Mikey offered to drive the boy home. He had the cutest tempting blush on those fat cheeks of his when he accepted.

Dax made Mikey put on Free to Be You and Me, and ze watched Téo’s face as he listened to the one about the tender sweet young thing. As the girl described herself, Téo couldn’t resist running his hands through his shiny curls, blue sparkles on his nails picking up the dim light in the car. Oh, he was delicious. When Dax heard him gasp at the end when the tigers ate her, ze met Mikey’s eyes with a grin. Then ze asked Téo what he thought.

“I love the part where the tiger has ‘never seen anything quite like it before,’” he said, awe in his voice.

“Me, too,” said Dax.

“And that ‘tender sweet young thing’ is, like, her gender,” Téo continued.

“Told you he was a smart cookie,” Mikey murmured to Dax. She’d been eyeing Téo for some time. He was just her type: wicked smart, great politics around race and disability, and let’s face it—she had a weakness for sassy femme trans guys. And this one had those curls …

Dax grinned at Mikey. “You called that one.” Ze turned to the blushing boy. “So, Téo … are you a tender sweet young thing?”

“Who, me?” he drawled, winking at hir.

“I thought you might be.” Dax smiled into the boy’s eyes. “I can gather up a few tigers for Jericho’s party next week.”

“I have the perfect dress!” Damn, he was lit up like the Empire State Building.

“I can’t wait to see you in it,” Dax purred.

Mikey grinned at Téo. “I can’t wait to muss it up,” she said. She was already imagining it.

“I was hoping you might,” Téo gave Mikey a wicked smile and blew her a kiss.

***

Dax took hir time gathering the tigers. Mikey, of course. It was basically her idea, after all. Jericho surprised Dax by volunteering both themself and their boy Rusty. They might not be there for the whole scene because they were hosting, but they could be there at the beginning. Lee definitely wanted in, and Téo had agreed. Rebecca grinned wickedly and said she’d love to. Xóchi finally stopped chuckling long enough to say she’d do it, and that her girl would help hold space, fetch water, and have lube and snacks ready.

Negotiations went smoothly, and with this many disabled queers, it was a fucking miracle that there were no opposing access needs. Téo had been the one to bring up race, which meant he felt comfortable enough to raise the issue. Dax knew how important that was. They’d worked out the perfect bondage safe word. It was actually going to happen. Dax couldn’t really believe it.

What a band of tigers Dax had found. Lee honored the event in her turquoise tiger-print top, resplendent with matching glasses and cane. She was gleaming with top energy, regally driving her scooter around the party, grey curls streaming. Xóchi kept it simple in black jeans and her favorite boots. She planned to sit for most of the time, so it was actually possible to wear them, and nothing made her feel more powerful than those boots. Jericho’s bald head gleamed, and they were a gorgeous genderfuck mix of cues from dark lipstick to white button-down shirt and leather bowtie over a neon orange slip. The look was finished with knee-high lineman boots, a bootlicker’s dream, reserved solely for their boy as a reward for his silent service tonight. Their boy Rusty was clean and crisp in an A-line shirt and leather pants that showed off what he was packing. He looked delicious and untouchable all at the same time, a clear indicator of stone butchness if Dax ever saw one. Rebecca had laced a white boa around the handlebars of her scooter and slid her midsized curves into the tightest shortest thing in her closet, complete with fishnets, dramatic purple eyes that matched her glasses, and flats because her fibro had been flaring all week and heels were not fucking possible. Mikey wore a classic shirt and tie, her favorite top gear that she used to draw on a bit of Daddy magic for the scene ahead.

They claimed their space. Jericho wanted to use the scene to get the party started, raise the kind of energy they knew would inspire an electric night for everyone. They wanted to do their part to keep Carter Hall solvent, and a hot group scene can make a party. Having an accessible space was so damn rare even in the Bay, and this was a dream of a space, complete with a full-size sling that was actually rated for supersize folks like Téo. That’s exactly where Dax wanted to put the boy … if he ever showed up.

Xóchi’s girl Lina set up the space around the sling, with banquet chairs ready for folks who wanted to get off their scooters and rest or play while sitting; snacks and glucose tablets for the diabetics who needed a food break; and water, gloves, and lube for everyone. Dax took out the tools ze wanted to use and set them on the chair next to the one ze was sitting on. Ze kept it simple: the claws that an ex had made for hir out of metal guitar picks and a wicked pair of scissors to muss up the boy’s dress with. Ze was ready.

Mikey had finished laying out the electric blue rope she’d picked out to match the boy’s nails. She scanned the party. Where was Téo? He knew that Mikey had limited energy and needed to start early. Why wasn’t he here already?

Queers had started to form a circle around the sling, hoping to get a glimpse of some action, which gave Téo a perfect opportunity. He scooted through the crowd, trilling, “Ladies first! Ladies first!” at the top of his lungs. “Hand over a whole mango, please,” he quipped to Dax, turning to wink at Mikey, who chuckled, recognizing the line immediately.

He did have the perfect dress on, Dax marveled. Candy pink with a white collar that showed off his tempting neck and big white buttons down the front. He had on white knee socks and patent leather Mary Janes, and his curls were adorned with pink ribbons that matched his dress. The boy twirled on his scooter in front of them, showing off bulging white briefs, and Dax was mesmerized. Hir tender sweet young thing was packing!

Soon, Mikey had Téo bound to the sling. Could he look more fetching than when trussed up prettily in blue rope? Dax stood between his legs, hir midsize frame insistent against the boy’s cock. Rusty loomed by Téo’s head. Rebecca chose a seat where she could see his face and reach him with her cane. The rest of the tigers started up their scooters, circling slowly. Every few moments, one of them would poke him with their cane. Their grins were menacing, and the whirring of the motors combined into a purring growl that had Téo a bit more nervous than he had expected to be. He tried to watch them circle, but there were just too many of them. And Rusty seemed so damn huge at his head, standing over him, eyeing his curves. Had he actually signed up for this? What had he been thinking?

Dax waited until the boy was distracted, focused on the circling tigers, before ze pulled on hir claws. The metal gleamed, and ze knew it would make pale scratch marks on the boy’s reddish brown skin. Ze breathed into it, pushing into the floor with hir boots, settling deeper into topspace. The claws felt perfect as they traced along the boy’s neckline. He shivered, and Dax smiled down at him, feeling hir inner predator wake up. Oh, this was going to be fun. Ze gripped Téo’s throat and ground hir cock into his. He went still, trying not to move, all his attention on Dax, as Rusty gripped his hair to hold him steady and whispered in his ear. His eyes were saucers, and his lower lip trembled.

Mikey grinned as she watched Dax get things started. This was one of the best plans she’d had in a long time. She rolled up closer as Dax lifted Téo’s dress to run hir claws along the boy’s thighs. Rusty had the boy’s curls in his fist, and that position gave her a perfect opportunity. She nuzzled Téo’s neck, beckoning to Lee and gesturing to his stomach. Lee slid up to the boy and scent-marked his stomach through his dress, purring.

He was surrounded. He didn’t think it would be so easy to think of them as tigers, but they sure felt like it. Lee pressed her nose into his stomach as Mikey sniffed his neck, grazing her teeth along his skin. The ropes helped him sink into helplessness. There was no getting away from this, and that was exactly what he needed. Had Mikey just told Lee he smelled nice?

Mikey stood and met his eyes, running her hand along his curves, teasing into the collar of his dress, as her other hand held Dax’s both to steady herself and, well, because.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” she drawled, letting the awe show in her eyes. “I wonder what it is?”

Téo knew his line. He’d been waiting for it, to claim this gender that fit so right, in front of queers who actually got it. He swallowed around the fear rising in his throat. “I am a tender … ,” he whispered, then stopped. It turned out it was harder to say than he’d thought.

Mikey met his gaze, gripped his face in her paw, and said, “What was that? Old tigers like me need it a bit louder.”

Dax took the opportunity to spread his thighs with hir claws, and Lee bit down on his stomach. Damn. Rebecca came over to hold his hand. That helped. Jericho came over to their boy and laid their hand on his shoulder. Rusty still hadn’t let go of his curls, but that felt grounding now.

“Looks tender,” said Xóchi, who had pulled up on the other side of his stomach with her knife out, and was tracing it along his collarbone, up toward his face.

Fuck, okay, he said to himself. You can’t talk when you aren’t breathing. You can do this. Let it out. It came out in a whimper, which only made Xóchi grin and press the knife deeper into his skin. Lee was nuzzling his stomach again, and Mikey held him captive in her gaze. Why couldn’t he look away? Why was it so damn hard to say?

Mikey’s eyes were warm and firm all at the same time. Her gaze said, Take your time. We are here. We know it’s hard. We’ve got you.

Dax saw the tears start rolling down those gloriously fat cheeks and knew what ze wanted to do. Hell, ze’d been thinking about it ever since ze saw the boy twirl. Ze pushed up the boy’s dress and worked his cock out of his briefs. Lina had a condom ready. (Damn, that girl was good.) Dax loved to suck boys off as they cried. It was such a fabulously twisted move for a top, and nothing tasted better than the power it gave. The boy went very still as ze worked the condom onto his cock. Ze slid hir tongue along the boy’s cock, watching his face. He was so damn sexy with his mascara running like that, a knife to his throat. Dax dug the claws into his thighs and feasted on Téo’s cock as the boy let go and sunk into fear, and helplessness, and sharp recognition.

It was too much, and he couldn’t keep still anymore, couldn’t stand to have Mikey look at him anymore. Not like that. His hands clenched, and his eyes scrunched up, and he was so damn frustrated that the words emerged without any censoring. “I wish you’d stop licking me!”

They all stilled. Xóchi put away her knife. Lee sat up, pulling her face out of his stomach. Dax raised hir head to look at him and smiled. Mikey came up next to hir and rested her head against Dax’s stomach.

“I got this,” Jericho said. “Me and my boy.”

They all moved to the chairs circling the sling, except for Jericho and Rusty.

Jericho said, “All that surface sensation is just too much, isn’t it? You need something deeper to show you how tender you are. I can do that.”

How did Jericho know that? It was scary how right they were. Deeper was exactly what he needed. He nodded helplessly.

Jericho handed their boy a condom and some lube. They picked up Dax’s scissors, getting a nod from hir, and cut off Téo’s briefs before he even registered what was happening. By then, Jericho had almost finished unstrapping Téo’s cock. They gestured to Rusty and moved around Téo, unbuttoning his dress to bare his chest. Téo loved, and hated, being beaten there. It was about the only kind of touch that felt right in that area, and it was so damn intense because, really, when you’re binding so many hours a day, your skin gets fucking sensitive.

Jericho had taken out their braided cat. Téo adored this toy, and was aching to get beaten with it again. Last time, it’d felt like light was bursting out the top of his head.

It was better than he remembered, probably because he needed deep sensation so much. He closed his eyes and let it drive into him. Sublime intensity concentrated where he needed to let go. Jericho was fucking magic. When Rusty slid into his front hole, it felt so easy and solid. Rusty was holding him steady with his cock, anchoring him here in this room so he didn’t float too far.

Mikey saw the shift before it happened. Jericho signaled to their boy, and Rusty started moving, holding the sling steady, and doing all the work himself, so that Jericho would have a clear target. They drove into the boy at both ends, watching him arc and writhe, and waited for him to scream. It was beautiful. They rode the boy together, building him up in spirals, and Jericho stopped beating him just in time to catch his scream in their mouth in a sweetly vicious kiss.

“Tender yet?” Jericho asked, poking Téo’s chest and grinning when he yelped.

“Yeah,” Téo managed to get out between yelps. Jericho motioned to Mikey and Dax.

“I’ve got host duties. Your turn to muss the boy up a bit.” They smiled down at Téo and tousled his curls. “You sure are sweet,” they murmured and, squeezing his shoulder, walked off on their boy’s arm.

Dax picked up the scissors and teased them against the boy’s cheek. Ze was going to enjoy this, and had been fantasizing about it for a long time.

Mikey slid on a glove, lubing it up. She nipped at the boy’s thigh, watching him squirm. She wanted him writhing on her arm, and soon.

Rebecca got her hand in Téo’s curls, and was doing that twisting-pulling thing that felt like sex. Dax snapped the scissors close to his ear, making him jump. Mikey was doing something slithery and twisty in his front hole. Damn, her paw was big. He wanted it inside him so bad, punching into his cervix with those powerful huge arms. Why was she going so damn slow? He was all-over impatient.

That’s when Dax began to cut into his perfect dress. He started to pull at the ropes, glaring at Dax, who seemed to get even bigger and more excited the more he glared. Xóchi and Lee began to pull at the tears Dax was making, and the fabric made a wet, almost breaking sound as they ripped it. Somehow, Téo was sobbing. Rebecca was stroking his hair, gathering him to her breast, and Mikey slid deeper into him and stilled.

Dax met his eyes, and he was held in the demand and witness of someone who got it. Got how helpless he needed to be, and how much he needed to let go, and how tender and new he was inside, and how scary it was to let others know that. Dax placed the scissors on his bare stomach, holding them firmly against him. They were cold and warm at the same time. How was that possible?

Dax reached over and stroked Téo’s cheek, lifting hir fingers to suck off his tears. Ze repeated Mikey’s question. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. I wonder what it is?”

This time, he could say it. “I am a tender sweet young thing.”

Mikey pulsed her hand inside him, and he moaned, repeating it, and getting rewarded by more twisting-pulsing yum that made his thighs quiver.

Lee and Xóchi growled, nuzzling his side. Rebecca stroked his curls, emerging with ribbons that she put in her own hair. He was getting stiff, and he wanted to move, so he said it: “Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!”

They all chuckled and began untying him. Mikey stayed where she was, writhing her fingers inside him. “So, you want to be free for this, eh? That sounds perfect,” she said.

“Oh yes,” he said and used his newly free hands to shift position. He knew if he hit the right spot, oh yes…her hand slurped in, and she grinned at him.

The rest of the tigers began to nuzzle his belly, and neck, and thighs. Mikey went to work in his hole, pulsing, then twisting, still going way too damn slow for him, and he told her so, began to work with her, thrusting on to her fist, telling her to punch him deep inside, he could take it, he wanted it, her fat fist was exactly what he needed. She caught on real fast and began slamming into him just right, and he lost control of his muscles and just let her take over. He was impaled on her huge and perfect fist, and he could feel it build in his chest. Damn…did he really need to cry again?

It seemed that he did, and as he began to sob, five tigers chose their spots and bit. Dax chose his belly, the soft part of him, the place where he was most tender. Rebecca went after his neck, sucking hard on the bite, wanting him to remember her teeth for days to come. Xóchi chose the inside of his arm, and that hurt the fucking worst. Damn, she was evil in the best way. Mikey bit down on the heel of his hand as she came because he felt so damn good spasming around her fist. Lee chose his thigh, and it mixed in with the sex to push him over into a sobbing orgasm that spiraled through him until he was spent. They all bit down and savored the sweetness of him, feeding on his tears, past his pleasure, until they were sated.

They gathered him up and found him a blanket, stroking his curls as he slurped down water, feeding him dried mango and chocolate on the huge round bed that was close by. Dax and Lee had a more substantial snack, being diabetics after all. Xóchi and Rebecca just shared his chocolate, each clutching their scrap of Téo’s dress. Lee admired the ribbons in Rebecca’s hair and stroked her neck, showing her teeth. No one was surprised that they wandered off. Xóchi’s girl was done cleaning and curled up at her feet, head on her boots. Jericho came by with his boy to claim scraps of the dress, kiss Téo’s cheek, and poke his bruises. He could tell he’d made Jericho proud and let that sink in.

After a while, Dax turned to Téo, serious. “You are brave and precious, and a delight to me. Thank you.” Ze gathered him close and twined hir fingers in his curls. Mikey nudged Dax and wrapped them both in her arms, nuzzling Téo and asking if he might like to come home with them. He had been hoping for that, and smiled sweetly, nodding. He was glad he didn’t need to put his armor back on just yet, content to have his tender spots showing for a bit longer.


This guest post is part of Xan West’s blog tour for hir new book Show Yourself To Me, available now from Go Deeper Press. Buy ebook or print copies at Go Deeper Press | Buy the ebook on Amazon

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

The stops on the blog tour:

October 1: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/
October 2: Book Birthday! Go Deeper Press http://godeeperpress.com/
October 3: Heather Elizabeth https://kinkopedia.wordpress.com/
October 4: Sinclair Sexsmith http://www.sugarbutch.net/
October 5: Hermia Swann http://www.cuntext.com/
October 6: Dilo Keith https://dilokeith.wordpress.com/ and Cecilia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/
October 7: Kinky Brits http://thekinkybrits.com/
October 8: Stella Harris http://stellaharris.net/
October 9: F. Leonora Solomon https://fdotleonora.wordpress.com/
October 10: Tasha Harrison http://tashalharrison.com/
October 11: Benji Bright http://www.theeroticledger.com/
October 12: Tamsin Flowers http://tamsinflowers.com/ and Karida http://submissionandthecity.com/
October 13: Cassandra Perry http://cassandrajperry.com/
October 14: Peep Scoop http://www.peepscoop.com/ and Radical Access Mapping Project https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/
October 15: Sugar Cunt http://www.sugarcuntwrites.com/
October 16: Emily Byrne http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/
October 17: Oleander Plume http://poisonpendirtymind.com/
October 18: K. A. Smith https://authorka.wordpress.com/
October 19: Giselle Renarde http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
October 20: Butchtastic Kyle http://www.butchtastic.net/
October 21: Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
October 22: Syrens https://syrens.wordpress.com/
October 23: Anna Sky http://www.iamannasky.com/
October 24: Jade A. Waters http://jadeawaters.com/
October 25: Kal Cobalt http://kal-cobalt.squarespace.com/
October 26: Rebekah Weatherspoon http://www.rebekahweatherspoon.com/
October 27: Malin James http://malinjames.com/
October 28: BD Swain http://www.bdswain.com/ and Jillian Boyd http://jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com/
October 29: Kaleigh Trace http://thefuckingfacts.com/
October 30: Kiki DeLovely https://kikidelovely.wordpress.com/
October 31: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/ and Annabeth Leong http://annabetherotica.com/

A peek inside Submissive Playground! The syllabus and Subplay “tracks”

So how come I, as a dominant, am running a course for submissives?
What are the goals of the Submissive Playground course?
What is on the syllabus of the course?

Let’s explore some of these questions that are asked frequently.

As a Dominant, I believe my job is not to teach you how to submit—other submissives and your own inner wisdom holds techniques and tips for that. (That’s why the course has sixteen guest educators who are mostly switches and submissives.)

My job as a Dominant is:

  1. To create a space for your submission to walk into and feel held, safe, and able to deeply explore.
  2. To set you up with rules to follow, protocol to practice, and goals to meet that are reasonable, clear, and manageable. I want you to go away from encounters feeling awesome, strong, bad-ass, energized, well-used, respected, and maybe, if we’re lucky, we’ll both feel a little bit transformed.
  3. To keep checking in to the Big Picture of our mutual goals, and keep tweaking our rules and protocol so that we are doing the best we can to move closer to them.

In Submissive Playground specifically, my goals for the submissive “players” who participate in the course are:

  1. To have fun! To identify and suspend some of the judgment we’ve accidentally absorbed about what “real” submission is and what it means to submit well, and to instead dive into myriad ways to do it, and figure out what works best for us right now.
  2. To do experiments with our bodies (and hearts and minds), to “collect the data” from the experiments, and to keep moving forward.
  3. To connect with community and witness the many ways a D/s path is possible, and to support each other in the different ways that we pursue these arts.
  4. To support you in identifying your “growth edges,” the places you’d like to transform and learn and grow, and to offer resources on your journey. (And to identify some of my own growth edges, too!)

These goals, and this premise, is what the whole Submissive Playground ecourse is built on.

The content in Submissive Playground keeps growing. This is the fourth time rife & I will be doing the course and we fine-tune it every time.

So let’s go over the Submissive Playground syllabus, so you know just what is going on in the course.

Each unit has two weeks between it to consume as many of the materials as possible, do the experiment, and fill out the homework worksheet.

Unit 0: PRE-COURSE MATERIALS

  • Read the Protocol document
  • Fill out the Foreplay & Negotiations questionnaire
  • Introduce yourself in the Sandbox (the course message board)
  • Sign up for the webinar service
  • Determine your course folder
  • Determine your course object
  • Take the What Kind of S-Type Are You? Quiz

Unit 1: BONDAGE

gbondage

  • Attend the live webinar introducing the course and opening the Bondage unit
  • Read “Tart Cherry” erotica by Kathleen Delaney-Adams
  • Read “Self Bondage” by david stein
  • Watch Lee Harrington’s video, “10 Things I Wish I Knew as a Bondage Bottom”
  • Watch Madison Young’s tips for bondage and the fetish of rope
  • Watch the guest video from Axe, about being more attractive to your dominant
  • Watch the guest video from Maisha Najuma Aza on submissive stereotypes
  • Watch Mx. Sexsmith’s demo of a simple bondage tie
  • Do the experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Fill out the BDSM Checklist
  • BONUS: video by rife about getting more kinky play

Unit 2: DISCIPLINE

gdiscipline

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Bondage and opening the Discipline unit
  • Watch the guest video from International Master 2011, Liza, on the types of punishments
  • Watch the guest video from International slave 2011, Jody, on what motivates us to submit
  • Watch the guest video from Princess Kali on punishment and “funishment”
  • Listen to an interview with Raven Kaldera about discipline and punishment
  • Watch a short video of SkinDiamond practicing the Kink.com slave positions
  • Watch an erotic video with Nina Hartley incorporating some discipline play and positions
  • Read a document describing all the 12 kink.com slave positions
  • Read the queer erotica story “Call Me Sir” by BB Rydell
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: A worksheet from the (out of print) book Discipline by Lily Lloyd about making new rules & protocol
  • BONUS: Integrated Life Matrix infographic

Unit 3: SERVICE

gservice

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Discipline and opening the Service unit
  • Watch the guest video from Sejay Chu, professional service sub and experienced switch
  • Watch the guest video from rife on cultivating a service mindset for more joy and less resentment
  • Watch the guest video from feminist queer master Andrea Zanin on receiving service
  • Watch the guest video from International Ms Bootblack 2009 kd diamond on bootblacking and other service skills
  • Read an excerpt from “Real Service” by Joshua Tenpenny on motivations
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Take the Lust Languages quiz and ponder the ways you express and best receive lust
  • BONUS: A porn poker scene from Tristan Taormino’s Rough Sex 2

Unit 4: MASOCHISM

gmasochism

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Service and opening the Masochism unit
  • Watch the guest video from Tina Horn, queer porn star, about spanking
  • Watch the guest video from Tillie King, switch and BDSM educator, on pain processing
  • Watch the guest video from Midori, on masochism
  • Listen to the interview with shiris about masochism and pain processing
  • Watch the short video “Impact” by Mollena Williams for fun
  • Read an erotic story with a cathartic pain scene called “Lost River” by Jeff Mann
  • Do your experiment!

  • Do your submissive journal homework
  • BONUS: Theory article, “Pleasure Not Panic: The Art of Processing Pain” by Joseph W. Bean

Unit 5: POST-COURSE

  • Attend the live webinar wrapping up Masochism and closing the entire course
  • Fill out the Aftercare worksheet
  • Say thank you to a course guest contributor
  • Book any remaining sessions you’d like to have
  • Further reading & resources PDF
  • BONUS: Wrap up any threads in the Sandbox
  • BONUS: Download any course materials you’d like for further study
  • BONUS: Join our Fetlife group for graduates
  • Update your submissive resume with your new training and anything else you’ve learned
 And that is pretty much covers the course!  

Ready to join us? Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

Of course, it’s a little bit different when we’re doing it live … a LOT of things can come up when we dig around in your relationship to submission! And there’s the community aspects, too.

Sound like a lot of materials? It is. But hey—I don’t want to add to your endless to do list! You’re busy! And you should be out making money and getting laid and changing the world for the better, I don’t want to get in the way of that kind of important stuff.

Remember: All the materials are optional.

Plus, many subs are the A+ student type.
You don’t need to put that kind of pressure on yourself on my behalf. You can still get TONS out of this course even if you don’t do half of it. And, you can always download the materials after the course if you want to keep them and do them later!

Check out the various contents, decide which one or two or three you are going to prioritize, and leave the rest behind. Sure, you can dig in to them if you find yourself inspired, but you will know you are totally on top of your commitment to the course when you finish up the work for your Track, and you don’t have to feel guilty about not doing more.

Maybe your work or home schedule is such that you just can’t make the webinars, for example. That’s okay! You can watch them later, or you can skip them altogether and dive into the materials yourself. (Sometimes I give a context or some content in those video sessions that I am encouraging us to explore during that unit, but you can do it on your own.)

Does that all make sense? I want this experience to be exciting, fun, and energizing for you, not a drain or an extra obligation. And rather than dropping off mid-course because you aren’t caught up, what if you set lower expectations on yourself and then felt AWESOME when you completed them? This is recreational, for your growth and pleasure.

Because remember: as a dominant, I want to set you up to succeed, and to thrive.

So here’s the different Submissive Playground “tracks” you can focus on

1. The Materials

That would be the dirty stories, how-to articles, and porn that I’ve already mentioned. It’s all the things to read and watch and interact with, the graphics rife has made, a custom-made Lust Language quiz, plus some BONUS materials when rife and I had too many good materials not to include.

2. The Experiment

This is the “go do this activity” part. There’s one per module (and four modules total—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism) and it’s the thing that you go try out in your life—there are ways to do it with a partner or by yourself.

3. Submissive Journals Homework

The journals part of the homework is thoughtful written responses to #1, The Materials, and #2, The Experiment. It is kind of like discussion questions in a class, a series of questions to get you thinking about and interacting with the materials and your experiment in a deeper way. This has been a big hit for journallers, folks who are into self-reflection and self-examination, and who like writing.

Doing #3 kind of requires that you keep up with #1 and #2, at least in part.

4. Webinars for each unit

This is the “live” part of the course. All the participants, plus me and rife, meet up every other week throughout the course to talk about all the #1 Materials, #2 Experiment, and #3 Homework, and to share our stories of discovery with one another. This happens in Spreecast, so there’s a chat function and you can come on video (but only if you want to) and talk to me and everybody in the course. These have been so very fun! They have set dates & times:

  • BONDAGE: Thursday, September 24, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • DISCIPLINE: Saturday, October 10, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • SERVICE: Thursday, October 22, 6-7:30pm PST / 9-10:30pm EST / 1-2:30am GMT
  • MASOCHISM: Saturday, November 7, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT
  • WRAP-UP: Saturday, November 21, 10-11:30am PST / 1-2:30pm EST / 5-6:30pm GMT

And they are all recorded so you can go back to them and watch them later if you aren’t able to miss the live calls.

Oh wait! Let me tell you about The Star Chart!
Throughout the course, Star & Mentor Players have access to the Star Chart, which is a place to keep track of the different pieces of the course and what you’re consuming. It’s like having your own sticker chart on the wall where everybody can see how you are doing your chores.

5. Submissive Community

This is the part, more than any of the others, that participants have said was really life-changing. Making connections to folks on a similar submissive path from around the world has been amazing! Friendships have been born and connections have been made. I firmly believe that identity explorations are easier when there’s a community context, because you have not only support but also many representations of how this particular identity manifests. In the course, we have a chat during the live video sessions, there is a message board available for your perusal and in-depth conversations, and you’re hooked up with a “subby buddy” with whom you can dive in and converse more deeply about the course.

6. One on One Sessions

Last but not least, the individual sessions track of the Submissive Playground course is where you and I get to dive deeper into your particular journey with submission and offer some support around whatever your growth edge is. One session is included with the Star Package, and FOUR sessions are included with the Mentor Package (which is why it’s called the Mentor Package, cuz you get some significant mentorship for your D/s path over eight weeks). Anybody in the course can add on additional sessions for a reduced rate, though, so just contact me if you want one. (Note: I’m not really doing 1-1 work with clients this year, instead I’m focusing on teaching and ecourses. So this is a great way to have some 1-1 time with me!)

Oh yeah, and rife is also limitedly available for sessions. After watching his videos in the course and hearing him speak about submission, you might really want some support directly from him and his brilliant submissive theory.

And that covers the entire course!

Come on and join us! It’s been an incredible journey so far and I learn so much every time I run it. I love talking to submissives from around the WORLD about what their D/s relationships are like, where they could use some support, and what they’ve learned. It’s taught me so, so much about D/s and power dynamics and how I want to build my own D/s relationship.

Click here and sign up for Submissive Playground!

7 Tips For Flirting As A Submissive

One of the most common questions I get asked from submissives is, “How do I flirt with dominants!?” And while learning some basic flirting tips (like: be curious and ask questions, give compliments, be honest) can be helpful, when you add D/s into the equation sometimes the rules are a little bit different.

Part of the confusion is that we associate flirtation with assertion—someone comes along, declares interest, and asks for what they want. Those can be seen as dominant traits. But it is absolutely possible for a submissive to do them, and to still come across as submissive and respect the dominant’s authority as a dom.

So, assuming that you’ve already established that you are submissive and the person you’re flirting with is a dominant, here’s some tips. (These are some of the things that would work for me.)

1. Establish whether or not they want to be flirted with.

This might seem obvious, but it’s multi-faceted. You gotta figure out if they are available or not—if their relationship allow for flirtation with other people. It might be as simple as figuring out whether or not they are single, but being partnered doesn’t necessarily mean that they can’t flirt—it just depends on whether their relationship allows for flirtation or not. And you might also see whether their relationship only allows flirting, and not going any farther than that—which may change your opinion on whether or not you want to flirt, depending on what the goal of your flirting is.

Secondly, you have to figure out if they are available or not right now, meaning if the timing is right. If I’m about to teach a workshop, for example, I am way less likely to respond well to flirtation than if I’ve just ended a workshop. How do you know if the timing is okay? Well, you can always ask—”So, is this a good time to flirt with you?” “Got a minute to flirt with me?” “Hey, if this isn’t a good time, could we set aside some time later and flirt maybe?”

2. If they have a submissive already, befriend them.

While you’re asking around about whether they’re available, also ask whether or not they already have a submissive—then, make friends with the sub. Ask if there’s any service you can do, if there’s some interesting talent or skill you can offer, or what other expression of interest would be welcome. If you establish yourself as aware of the hierarchy in the relationship that already exists, you’ll be a lot less threatening to the submissive, and they are way more likely to hook you up with tips and tricks to get the dominant’s attention.

3. Offer to be of service.

“May I ____ for you?”
As a friend of mine put it, “May I ____ for you?” This is where your keen observational skills can give you big points: if you notice some of the things they always do and offer to do it for them, you put yourself in the position of being very helpful. If being observational isn’t your strong point, offer some of your own impressive skills or talents: May I black your boots, may I gift you some peanut butter cookies that I made.

4. Use their title.

Using words that remind you both of the hierarchies that you like to play with can be a big turn-on, which is always a bonus when you’re trying to be flirtatious. Do some observation, and ask around, and see what kind of titles this person likes to use.

But, don’t use their relational titles. Some people have titles that they only use with a particular person, and those can be way too personal and intimate to use with a new person. Then again, some folks have “Daddy” or “Mistress” right there on their name tag or in their Fetlife user name, and everybody refers to them as such.

There’s no hard and clear rule about which titles are relational and which are respectful, so you kind of have to feel it out for yourself. In general, I’d say “Sir” and “Ma’am” are the most widely acceptable, but those are not universally liked by everyone. You can always slip it into a sentence and then ask permission: “I’d love to get your drink, ma’am—may I call you ma’am?” Hopefully, they’ll respond with the thing they would like to be called, if you guess incorrectly.

5. Be willing to be wrong.

Be willing to hear no. Be willing to be corrected if you make assumptions or mistakes. You might call them by a title and they might correct you—that’s okay. Say, “Sorry about that; thank you for the permission to call you sir.” Being corrected means you are worthy of correction, and it’s a good sign.

Putting yourself out there means taking risks, and when you’re the person who is initiating the flirtatious interaction, it’s kind of up to you to put yourself in a vulnerable position first.

6. Ask for what you want.

And be honest! Don’t ask to black their boots if that’s not your thing, don’t ask for them to beat you if you’re not into receiving sensation. Ask for what you actually want.

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask.
The context of your ask is important. If you can do that thing right there and then and it’s appropriate, it’s appropriate to offer it or to ask for it. So if you’re at a kink retreat, it is probably appropriate to offer a blow job or request to receive a spanking, but it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask for those things if you’re out at a bar (unless, you know, being crass and direct is one of your tactics—in which case, it could work! But know that it’s higher risk.)

It’s always okay to ask for something, but it’s important that you are willing to hear any possible answer to your ask. Of course, we want the answer to be an emphatic “yes,” but it isn’t always. If you’re going to get a little crushed if they say no, perhaps pre-plan the ask to have a friend around after who is willing to comfort you or perk you up.

Use your keen powers of observation and assess what kind of person this dominant is: Do they have public scenes at parties, or are they mostly private? Do they flirt and socialize a lot, or do they tend to keep to themself and their close people? Tailoring your asks to what you notice about the dominant makes it more likely for them to say yes.

7. Offer your contact information.

Assuming you are flirting now with the intention of following up for even more later, offer your info: Your Fetlife account, your cell number, your email address—however you want them to get in touch with you. Giving them your contact information gives them the power to follow up or not. Plus, it puts your vulnerability into a sexy framework: the potential to continue the flirtation, and possibly even more.


january-subplay

Submissive Playground
registration is open!

There are only 4 Star Package spots left! Registration is open until September 18; course begins September 24.

Click here to reserve your spot now!

Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode #188, Valentine & Ember.

100 Bedtime Strokes (Mistress Elise Winter & morgan #2)

“May I sit?” morgan’s voice surprised Elise; she hadn’t seen him approach. She looked up from her book and blinked, then composed her face and her answer at once.

“Are your chores complete?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Tell me.” This was their ritual every night, the way they loved to come back together. Elise’s eyes sparkle as she fights the urge to reach out and grab him, pull him into her lap. Rituals are important, she reminds herself. Not only to display her authority, though yes that too, but also to reminder her of all that he does, the many ways he is devoted. She stays more present in gratitude and strives more successfully to be worthy when she pays attention to their rituals.

He begins the list. “Your tea service is complete; the dishes are done and put away; your clothes and jewels are put away, and tomorrow’s are laid out for you. Sir Elvis Purrmeister has been fed.”

Elise feels a smile pull on the corners of her mouth, starts to suppress it, and lets it come. Her cat’s name is just Elvis, but morgan has taken to adding the honorific and surname, and Elise is too amused to have him change it. It is clear who is above whom in the hierarchy, anyway, so the proper respect is just one more thing to admire about morgan.

“Tomorrow’s schedules, both yours and mine, are next to the bed and the morning alarms are set. The bed is turned down. And, I have picked tonight’s implement, it is in the usual place on the nightstand,” morgan doesn’t look smug or tired, just pleased to be useful and grateful to be serving.

Elise sighs a little, with relief and relaxation, with the pleasure of being taken care of precisely as she likes it. “Good job, boy; you may sit.” She pats the side of her elegant thick leather reading chair and he takes his seat at her feet, leaning against her bare legs and cuddling into her with happy sighs, the tension from the day leaving his shoulders.

She takes another sip of her tea and goes back to her book—one of those classic English novels that she likes. This one is Pride and Prejudice, a favorite she re-reads once a year or so. This is the second time morgan has seen it in her hands.

Most nights, this is how it goes. Sometimes morgan has a book, or something to study, or some lines to write for training or task. Usually, Elise has a novel, something that feels indulgent but keeps her mind steady and her heart thrumming. She likes to be as far into the adult-land in the evenings as possible—spending all day with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners for her job is exhausting, and can take such a toll.

She fingers the hair on the back of his head absently, as if fingering a blanket on the chair or her own sweater. His presence is comforting, reassuring. The warm mint tea and honey soothes her and flows golden down her tongue. Everything is just right.

After a few more chapters, when Lydia elopes with Mr. Wickham, Elise closes the book with a small snap and stands. morgan blinks and quickly rises to his ready position—hands behind his back, eyes down—he does not stay seated when she is standing. She pulls him close, nuzzles her cheek against his forehead, and he wraps his arms around her waist. How well they fit together, their bodies’ contours so complimentary. She holds him there for a moment until she says, “Okay; bedtime, boy,” and they separate. She turns to the hall to go into the bathroom for some of her evening self-care, and he goes to the bedroom to strip. She takes her time—brushing and braiding her hair, applying cleansers and creams to her skin, brushing her teeth. He waits. The waiting is like meditation, but cleaner for him, as it is totally beyond his control and thus much easier for him to let go. (This is the kinds of things he tells his Mistress in his journal, which she reads weekly.)

He has picked out the thick wooden paddle, taller than her hand’s widest spread. One side is soft suede, the other is hard wood. The handle is wrapped so her hand is protected.

This paddle makes beautiful, deep bruises.

When she enters, he has taken off his tee shirt and boy short-shorts, the ones that almost show the bottoms of the cheeks of his ass. He’s down to a jock strap, the white one, on his knees, hands behind his back in his submissive meditation position next to the bed. He knows to wait there until he is released by her. He breathes in the smell of her evening lotions, now so familiar to him and so related to their evening beatings that he flinches when the sweet tangy scent reaches his nose, and his mouth salivates. He is a trained pet. She can see his arousal in the flushing of his nearly naked skin, the slight hardening of his nipples. She is nearly bare now, too, down to one thin cream-colored slip with nothing beneath it. Her feet are bare. She keeps her bedroom warm.

“Here.” She points to the bed. She is not cruel, not really—just direct, specific. She eliminates superfluousness. She does not believe in coddling in D/s; she believes in trust, agency, consent. She believes morgan’s deep desire to serve and to please, and she is grateful, yes, but she also feeds off of it. She consumes it like cotton candy, leaving her mouth pink around the edges and her fingers sticky. She needs it, just as he does. Her clipped tone is only for simplicity, and for intimacy, as she trust him not to need hand-holding. Not anymore.

Mistress Elise Winter is deft with a paddle. It was always one of her favorites when she was domming professionally, delivering such a satisfying smack and leaving such good bruises. Plus, it can be a key prop in any age-play scene: just a few words and it is suddenly a cutting board the bottom’s mom grabbed from the kitchen, or a sorority girl who stole a fraternity paddle or a headmistress’s prized discipline tool. Even more than obedience, Elise likes her subs small and little, with feigned (preferably not real) innocence. Something about the corruption just works with the way she is wired.

She whispers in her boy’s ear before she begins—something soothing, something that makes him relax, arch his ass in the air a little higher, and lean in to her just a fraction of an inch more. She rubs herself against his ass and thighs, her hand stroking the fine muscles of his back. When he whimpers a little, she knows he is ready. 

Starting with her hands, she warms up his ass and thighs and upper back. He is chest-down, his face kissed by her burgundy 1000-count sheets, his feet just touching the floor of her raised bed. When she moves from the quick light swats to the deeper fist-thuds, he asks her if it is time. 

“Yes; go ahead and start,” she replies. 

He begins counting aloud. She’ll do twenty or thirty more with her hands beofre bringing in the paddle to finish the hundred strokes. 

They don’t say much. It’s just one of those quiet nights. Elise tries to let her job fall away, the stresses of her vaninlla life out of sync with her kinky self, the projects for the non-profit board she sits on, the pressure of her mother’s struggling health battle with emphysema. Nothing precisely fills Elise’s mind, but she finds her inner world quite full when she quiets and focuses. The relief of a target, a victim, is almost enough to make her start crying, the release feels so huge, like a dam beginning to leak and ready to smash apart with the weight of what is held back. 

morgan is counting. “32 … 33 … 34.” He is diligent, and taking it for her. He is deconstructing and reassembling in front of her eyes in that way that power and sensation can inspire. She slides the paddle into her grip and opens a rain of blows on his tender flesh, already pink and warm to the touch. His breathing gets heavier and his voice gets more strained. She doesn’t care; they are only just barely to 50. She winds up like a baseball batter and swings. He screams into the sheets. Drops of sweat form and trickle at his neck, at the small of his back. His ass is a round handful and she takes her grip as it pleases her, kneading like dough. She leans down to bite his ass. He yells out, “Mistress, please, oh god, please, it hurts!” He squirms away, but her hands hold his hips. She leaves a dark ring mark from her teeth; that one will bruise up nicely.

She licks her lips, and swats with the paddle again.

“This is for me, not you,” she whispers, mostly to herself. “I need it, I don’t know why I need it, but I need it, need your ass like this, need my marks on you, need your ache to show in your face tomorrow when you sit down.”

“68 … 69 … 70.” He is panting between the numbers. She is taking her time, savoring each one. His ass is already purple—he won’t be able to sit. She focuses on his thighs. He is trying so hard not to squirm. She slips a finger between his ass cheeks to check on his hole: it flexes against her finger pad like a kiss, open and eager. “Hungry boy,” she murmurs, swatting again with her right hand. He whimpers, pushing back against her just a little, not wanting to be too eager or demanding, but showing he wants it.

His knees are getting weak. The bed holds him up. Elise strokes his hair and he turns so one cheek is on the bed and he can see her, just a little. Her thick braid is flying behind her like the tail of a kite, her hands moving quickly, opening his tight back hole as the paddle slams in to him. He tries with all his concentration to keep count. He misses a few, but she lets it go; he is doing so well. “So good, boy,” she coos. “You’re so good.”

He’s in the nineties now and they are both climbing. Her two fingers have dipped into the Boy Butter on the nightstand and opens his hole just enough to feel the pressure distracting him from the wicked paddle. She might let him get off. Will she? She can’t decide. She likes it when he does.

“98 … 99 … 100,” morgan is whimpering each number, tears down his beautiful cheeks, body shuddering in waves of release. Elise steps back and breathes, separates herself from him for a moment so they can both catch their breath. Her wrists throb, shoulders buzz with aliveness. A few hairs have strayed and she tucks them back into her braid.

“Morgan,” she says softly. “Get on the bed and turn over.”

He does, slowly, testing out how his muscles have been changed, wincing at the rawness. She slides her slip up her thighs and kneels on the bed, swinging her leg over him and sliding up his body.

“Oh god,” he says, muffled, before she has even lowered her cunt onto his mouth to feed it to him. Hers is a hungry mouth, too, swollen and wet, dripping. She never lets him enter her, but she uses his mouth when she wants. His stamina is impressive.

She lifts her slip just enough to it is out of the way, not restricting the openness of her thighs. Its hem kisses his forehead. He laps with his tongue, sucks with his lips and throat. Her clit is huge and bursting with need, angry and red like the palms of her hands, like his ass. She needs it, this release, maybe even more than he does—though how can they compare? But her want is monstrous, never-ending. She almost feels like herself again. She rocks her hips over his mouth and steadies herself on the headboard, arms outstretched. She barely remembers there is a person under her right now, she just grinds down and against this beautiful boy, this toy who always does it just right, just right there.

“Come when I do,” she orders, low and fast, not giving much warning—but he won’t need it. He’s been ready to come since she fingered his ass. And he knows what she sounds like, what it means when she starts clawing at his hair and suffocating him with her hole.

“Fuck, that’s it, there, god oh god oh GOD!” Elise is sitting on a volcano and erupts through her mouth with words and grunts and screams when she comes, heavy, filling his mouth with liquid, pushing it into his throat. He opens wide and takes it, shuddering under her and swallowing.

“Thank you, Mistress, thank you,” he repeats, breathless, still only breathing small sips of air. She moves off of him and collapses onto the pillows, he curls up in her arms.

“Stay in my bed tonight,” she says, stroking his hair.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he sighs, happy, pulling the covers up over them both as they drift off to sleep.

Queer Masculinity in Porn: Heavenly Spire, Stepfather’s Secret, & More

Weekly, rife and I have a private little ritual on Saturday mornings where we make pancakes and watch porn. I’m not sure exactly how it started, we probably did that one Saturday and decided we should do it again. (I have discovered that I don’t really like watching porn while I’m eating, it makes my mouth feel all weird. So the porn and pancakes are separate. Just in case you were wondering.)

I don’t have much of a history of boy-on-boy action, but being involved with this boy has made me more curious about gay porn. I’ve watched a lot of queer porn over the years, with lots of trans folks and genderqueer hotties and butches and femmes, but not a lot of cis guys. (Also, have you noticed that porn with trans women is kind of booming? Maybe it’s just because I started following Chelsea Poe, but I am really inspired by the activism and visibility that’s been happening. And the fucking hotness.)

So the boy and I have been exploring all sorts of fag porn, looking into the things we think we’d like, from leather BDSM porn to daddy/boy explorations.

So far, Stepfather’s Secret on men.com has been my favorite, though “Sexual Education” with James Darling and Allen Silver on Pinklabel also stands out.

I’m surprised how much tenderness is depicted. I suppose partly it’s because of the genres I’ve been primarily watching—leather and daddy/boy—I think those tend to be more tender than average. But I’ve been really touched by the variety of depictions of masculinity.

I’ve also noticed the wide range of types of bodies. Perhaps it’s that the big-ness of men and masculine bodies is what’s fetishized, while with women (and feminine bodies) usually the slightness, thinness, and smallness is fetishized, but I’ve been enjoying seeing the sizes depicted as desirable and sexy.

(I still struggle with this, personally, around my own body. Sometimes I can fetishize the size—that I’m kind of big, thick, heavy, whatever word you want to use—but most of the time I feel bulky and awkward. I know rife and other lovers I’ve had have specifically commented on my size or shape as desirable, so it’s not that I don’t exactly see it reflected, but I don’t feel it. I remember the relief of starting to shop in the men’s department: I went from an XL in women’s to a M or S in men’s, and that just felt like such a more accurate size for me. Plus, the clothes fit my body better, or fit my energetics better, or something, and wow it was such a relief. It’s been more than 15 years now since I officially made that transition to butch.)

Maybe the tenderness in gay porn shouldn’t be surprising, particularly as most of my critique of masculinity comes from the male gender role that tends to be heteronormative, but as a queer feminist butch dyke, I’ve often been critical of the gay depictions of masculinity too, and made assumptions that it was more like the normative male gender role than it was radical and transgressive. But hey, I like to be wrong about things like that! (And certainly there’s plenty of gay porn that reinforces normative gender roles—I just happened not to pick it up during porn and pancakes, apparently. I’ll try harder.)

Really my first introduction to depictions of masculinity in porn was through Heavenly Spire, launched in August 2010 by filmmaker Shine Louise Houston, the director and producer behind the revolutionary queer porn Crash Pad Series. Heavenly Spire is short films, released on Sundays (get it? Spire? Heavenly?) devoted to all kinds of men and their sexuality.

At the time, it was new, raw, and beautiful—and it still is. I don’t know about you, but watching it over the past few years has changed the way I think about male sexuality and erotics.

I interviewed Shine for Carnal Nation when it was first released, but Carnal Nation has since folded and the interview is now only found in the wayback machine. So here it is, reprinted, because the first volume of Heavenly Spire has been compiled and is available from PinkLabel.tv—and it is stunning.


Heavenly Spire: Interview with Shine Louise Houston

Reprinted from Carnal Nation, August 2010

Filmmaker Shine Louise Houston, who brought you the queer porn Crash Pad Series web episodes and the feature-length films Champion, The Wild Search, and Superfreak, has started a new online web project depicting masculine sexualities in a visual medium. Heavenly Spire began in late July. I gladly sat down for a long-distance chat with her about the new site, masculinity, the personal things that had to happen in order for her to embark on this project, and what’s next for her and her growing companies.

Sinclair: I’m excited about Heavenly Spire, the new project! I haven’t seen behind the scenes yet, but the stuff that’s up is lovely.
Shine: The format is different from Crash Pad Series; there are no interviews, no behind the scenes. I’m not too sure if I’m going to do that, I’m going to see how the site goes. We shoot lean on this project, there’s not a whole lot of extras.

What do you mean by lean? You don’t spend a lot of time sitting around, hanging out with them, asking them what they think about sex?
Yeah. The interviews I do for Heavenly Spire are more really about delving into what their sexualities are, what their turn-ons are, has it changed over the years, what do they do now, physically what do they like about themselves, or physically what do they like about each other. I’m approaching it from a totally different angle than I approached Crash Pad Series.

Is that angle also about a focus on masculinity?
Yeah, I really wanted to start thinking about masculinity, and asking whether masculine sexuality is different. Heavenly Spire is a personal project for me. Accepting my own masculinity has really allowed me to feel okay with desire for masculine people. Exploring it on the site really looks at male bodies the way I want to. Maybe not everybody feels the way I do, but this is good for me. For a long time, I just didn’t get guys. But as I got more comfortable, I realized they’re not that different, and they’re not all that scary, and actually they’re pretty cool. And actually, penises are pretty cool. But it’s been a long process, and eventually bringing that to the screen is just where the process is supposed to go.

It makes sense that you would take your own creative medium to explore that sort of thing. What about your own personal masculinity process? What has that looked like for you? Has it been a long time coming, have you always been a tomboy?
It’s been a long process, definitely influenced by time and location. I grew up as a tomboy, but I also remember having favorite dresses. In my twenties, I definitely knew that I liked girls, and I was into the dyke/lesbian identity, but at the time – this was the early 90s in southern California – it was very much anti-butch/femme, pro-androgyny, and that had an influence on me. It was a very cool scene, and things were very open about sexuality. But right after that, mid-90s, I moved to San Francisco, and at that time, it was this huge butch/femme revival.

I knew I was definitely not femme, but I felt a lot of pressure to be one or the other. So the kind of masculinity I kept bumping into within that community was this really intense macho masculinity. I realized trying to put on that performance, that I’m not very macho. I’m really a fag. I went through my fag period, where I dated other fag dykes, but then I think the next big jump for me was realizing that I was into femmes! I remember looking at this girl, and her earrings, and they were kind of … bouncing. And it clicked. So that started me exploring a more masculine, pansexual identity. I’m definitely on the more masculine side, I’m kind of swishy, and I definitely like femmes. In the last six or seven years, I’ve really become comfortable with where I am: my masculinity, my sexuality. I needed to have a strong root in masculinity in order to take on a project and not be freaked out.

Freaked out by worrying about what you were going to be depicting, or not being solid enough in it?
And just not being intimidated by guys! At this point I’m so comfortable with myself, I’m not intimidated to ask guys to take their clothes off.

Do you think the recent work on masculinity has set the stage for this kind of project to be launched? It seems time-specific to me, that maybe we didn’t have enough radical depictions of masculinity, especially not of male sexuality, even four or five years ago.
Yeah, the queer movement, the trans movement – all of the work is completely reshaping what we think about sexuality and how we manage that in our lives. There’s a lot more acceptance for genderqueer and performative genders. The project is a lot about timing—a lot of people have done tremendous work at softening up the ground for it to come along.

Going back to my personal experience, I’m affected by all the waves of thought that have been coming through the Bay Area. There are a lot of people in the porn community who are really changing how they depict sexuality, whether it’s gay, straight, lesbian, bi. This is a drop in the bucket of a larger movement that is sweeping across the porn industry. When I went to Berlin for the porn film festival, I really felt that. I’m not alone, this is going to explode across the industry. And when I got back to the United States, it seemed like maybe it wasn’t here yet, but it’s coming.

It definitely seems like we still need work on the depiction of masculinity in porn.
Definitely. There’s also a new project I’m going to start working on in August that’s definitely going to challenge male homophobia while at the same time satisfying homosexual desire in men who might not otherwise get to experience it. There’s going to be some interesting stuff happening in the next year.

Do you expect some backlash for this? Have you had backlash for including cis men, like Micky Mod, in Crash Pad?
We have a very polite question in the forums in Crash Pad Series, and before I even had the chance to respond, other members of the site said pretty much everything I would have said. And the person who asked the question responded, “Oh, okay.”

And that was it?
Yeah, that was it! I was at the last Feminist Porn Awards, in Toronto, and they screened that scene, Mickey and Shawn. And I answered some questions about them, everybody seemed to like it. But then it won the Viewer’s Choice Award! So I thought, okay, the audience is listening! They loved it.

I also wonder if this is more part of queer women’s culture, not necessarily gay culture. A lot of butch women are watching fag porn. When I started out watching porn, my favorite pornos were fags. This community has been able to really transcend their fantasies, so they can apply to any type of body. They aren’t restricted to just one. In gay culture, which I’m learning more about, they don’t watch dyke porn. We watch fag porn, but they don’t watch dyke porn. So there’s a realm that they haven’t gone into yet, they haven’t applied their fantasies to different bodies yet. Heavenly Spire looks at masculine people, but not every male has a dick. So this is about pushing their boundaries, pushing the male viewer boundaries. I bet they’ll think it’s hot. We’ll see—the site’s been up less than a month.

I’ve only seen the clips so far, and the clips are teasers, but it seems a little less focused on cock-centricity than I would have imagined.
Well—it’s definitely about cock. But what I really want to capture is a person having a good time, really having genuine pleasure, and to translate that into a visual medium. And it’s about building a narrative about the person’s relationship to their own body or to the other person that they’re having sex with. And I’m just having fun with visual language. It’s true, the trailers are very much teasers, and they don’t give you much.

But they’re beautiful.
The clips are, according to porn standards, a little short, but I’ve been struggling with length. So with this, I decided I’m going to cut it the way I think it should be cut, and I’m editing it so the viewer doesn’t get bored. Really picking out the best parts, and splicing the best parts together into a narrative. Sometimes I feel like, yeah, this thing is half an hour long, but is it pretty, and is it working? So this is a bit of a self-indulgent project, because I’m really letting myself go with my ideas, asking myself, how long should it be? What makes it good?

Do you anticipate it having lots of episodes, like Crash Pad does? Or is it a different structure?
No, we update every Sunday. It’s different from Crash Pad, because each week is something new, there’s no behind the scenes, just something new once a week.

If a new performer is coming in, how do you tell if they’re going to be a good porn star? Did you have a sense that Mickey Mod was going to stick around and be amazing?
Not really. Mostly, we have model applications and if we can make a date, we go for it. Some people who work with us find it fun and want to do it again. Dylan Ryan, Jiz Lee, Shawn [Sid Blakovich] all did Crash Pad, and are now doing awesome stuff. We’re the launching pad! Shoot with us, we’re good people, we’re a good place to start.

Is it easy to pair people together? Or do they do that themselves?
For Crash Pad, I work with a booking company who does all of that now. I used to do that, but it’s work. But Heavenly Spire is a different approach. With men, and a gay site, I’m really interested in getting couples who already know each other and already have that connection. People apply, so if you apply by yourself you’re going to be solo. If you want to perform as a couple you have to apply as a couple. I want to make sure the couples like each other. Especially since so much of the gay male porn is all about fucking, I want this to be about connection. I want to see two big dudes who are totally tender with each other.

Are you finding that guys are interested?
As viewers or as participants? We’ve had a decent amount of model applications. We paused the project for a while, but we started to get this influx of models, both trans men and cis men alike, both solo or couples. I have some speculation about viewers, but I’m not 100% sure who is going to be our audience for this new site. I kind of wonder if it’s not going to be straight guys. I think they’ll like it. But gay men, I’m not sure if they’ll like the format. Possibly straight women as well. I’m not sure how it’s going to shape up.

What else do you still want to film?
I have three features I’d like to do, but right now the company is growing, expanding, changing. We’re kind of in the teenage phase, not super big, but not tiny either. So in the future that’ll help us get more what we want with big features. Right now, we’ve got the web projects going on, short videos, and that’s setting the foundation to create these larger features. We’ve really pushed the limits of what porn is. It’ll be self-evident, when I actually announce those projects.

Do you have an over-arching mission for your work, or goals you set out to accomplish? Or was it born out of a love for filming people fucking?
When I first started filming I didn’t realize this was how the mission statement was going to be, but the mission statement came later: We’re dedicated to making really well produced, beautiful images that represent queer sexuality. That was the driving force, but I continue to push myself as a filmmaker, and pornographer (though I identify less with that word). I want to make good stuff, and I want to make good stuff about sex. Everything I do is moving in that direction.

Do you see it as political and social activism?
It is … and here’s the weird thing. I feel that if I approach it as social activism head on, I’m going to do it wrong. I’ll stick my foot in my mouth! So I internalize my own politics, and turn them to the creative mill, and then spit them out and use them in a project. And that way I fulfill certain goals. But if I say, first, that I’m going to do political activism, then I miss the mark of what I really wanted to accomplish. So I take the personal and churn it through my internal politics, and that moves me in the right direction.

Have you had trouble with BDSM being misconstrued as abuse in your work?
Not from people on the site, but at the film festivals. I was at the Hamburg festival, and people walked out. It seems like that’s prevalent in places where they’re not doing the same things we’re doing here. I get really weird stuff about race, and violence. But I feel like ten years from now, it won’t be a problem.

Do you struggle with taking the criticism personally?
I try not to … I think maybe every six months I Google myself. I can’t do it on a regular basis, I have a fragile ego and I’m harder on myself than anyone. There can be fifty great reviews for what I do, but if there’s one bad one, that’s the one I remember. I try to focus on what’s working. If we keep showing at festivals, and people keep downloading it, somebody must like it.

And if you’re satisfied with the work you’re putting out there, how your art is growing, and if you’re continuing to get opportunities, that might be a better scale. But it’s hard! Especially when the work is so personal, when the work we put out into the world is about our own bodies, and our own desires, and our own deepest, splayed open selves, it can be really easy to take in the criticism.
Yeah.

I ask about the problem with BDSM and abuse because I have actually seen queer porn that triggered me—I’m not easily triggered, it really surprised me. But I don’t see that in your work at all.
It might just be because I have such intense aversions to bleed over. Things stay very clear in my own life. I definitely pay attention. If I ever see something that makes me wince, I know it’s not quite right.

I think that exhausts my questions. Is there anything else I should know?
Check out the site! Check out Crash Pad Series, and the new Heavenly Spire.

I’m looking forward to seeing more on Heavenly Spire. It’s a pleasure to talk to you, thanks so much.

Bored Kinkster Blues

You’ve been an out and proud kinkster—a submissive, let’s say—for years and years. You’ve done all the things. You’ve tried everything. You’ve done all the events. You’ve been done at all the events. You’re bored. Or jaded.

Or both.

But … you still love kink. You still love playing. You wish you could get that thrilling high from scenes like you used to. But you have so many things to do, a job, a life, hobbies, kids maybe, a demanding cockatoo. How can you prioritize your submission now, with all of that? Especially when you’re basically done going to the play spaces and you teach workshops dammit (or used to) so you don’t really want to attend them and “the scene” sucks anyway and is full of people young enough to be your children or jailbait or you just run into all your exes that you have no bad blood with but you’d just rather not.

What do you do? How do you get back to it?

Well, if you want my opinion—and you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this—that’s it, exactly. You get back to it. You re-prioritize your kink identity. You go back to basics. You schedule time (if that is the only way!) to fuck or play, and you make it happen.

You cultivate what the buddhists call a “beginner’s mind,” a place of newness and neutrality where your pride in your well-developed kink identity can be set aside for you to discover what’s real and new and true right here, right now.

At one point, this kink identity was a seriously important part of you. You grew it from a tiny seed in a culture that does not support alternative sexuality identities. You built a little cage around it for it to grow safely and not get smushed. You tended to it. You fed it with nutrients and leather contests and safety classes and play partners and safer sex supplies and yummy-smelling gear. You plucked the fruits and ate them hot from the vine. You paved the way for others. You made an impact.

Maybe you found a Big Love, maybe it didn’t last. Maybe it did. Maybe you’re broken hearted and single and miss your submission like a friend. Maybe you miss it and you’re still with a Big Love lover, but the world has you both pulled in all kinds of directions and when did you decide a mortgage was more important than new floggers? But yeah that happened.

Here’s my advice: Keep going. Start where you are, which is not some new baby-green sprout but a sturdy tree, something with glory and wood and shade. Something with shelter and structure. But each spring you still have to figure out how to leaf again, how to flower, how to dance with the bees and spin seed down down until it finds a divet of soil in which to nestle.

Start where you are, start over. Start again. Go back to basics. What’s it like to kiss for hours? How much can you feel your body when you are touched, when you touch? What nerves have fried from overuse, what nerves need a jolt to be awakened? What’s it like to be deprived of senses and have every hair follicle on every patch of your skin lovingly caressed, tickled, suckled?

What do you need to awaken that submissive desire that used to course through you like spring runoff as the winter thawed? What needs to heat up? What needs to aliven, envigorate?

Sit down and ask yourself. Take the time to interview that part of yourself that is sleepy-tired and now small: how would you like to grow? Use a guide (this is what people like me are for, this is why I take appointments with people, I have ideas, I can support you). Use a buddy. Give it a go with your Big Love and rediscover those parts of you that are different now, are no longer fresh and unknowing, but are wise and kind. Be kind. Especially to yourself. Ease your toes in the water, ease your ankles in the water, ease your whole self down into the water and rest. Submerge for a rebirth.

What really matters now? This is where you are. You are anew, you are invigorated with the knowing of life and of self, you are eagerly ready for your playful submission to come up and out in new ways. Now is not before. You are not who you were. You are better, more full. You are years and hundreds of sleeps and hands worn down and skin gone long unbruised. You are ready for something new. You have all the answers already, I don’t need to tell you what to do, I don’t need to give you advice.

You just need to act.

Submissive Playground’s summer session is almost sold out, and today is the last day to register! There are limited spots left—sign up now and reserve your spot: submissiveplayground.com

PS: The image is from rife’s “Prioritize Your Preference” kinkster roadmap. Download the full image in the Submissive Starter Kit.

Free download: Submissive Starter Kit

Since I know some of you aren’t the type to make the first move, I’m going to be bold.

Here’s a taste, a little tease, just for you.

What’s in the Submissive Starter Kit?

Okay, so maybe you’ve completed these first five steps and you’re still pretty damn sure that you’re submissive or want to play that way sometimes, and you are still looking for more.

But now, you’re asking yourself:

  • How do I get more kinky play?
  • What kind of skills do I need to have or bring as a bottom?
  • How do I flirt with tops?
  • What are my next steps as a submissive?
  • … and more.

So I’ve put together a video (from the Submissive Playground Bondage unit) and submissive journal prompts to support it.

Hey wait! What’s a submissive journal?

It’s the place where you keep all your reflections on being submissive, on service, on scenes, on aftercare, on what things worked and didn’t work, on what to try next time. If you’re in service to a specific person or people, you could keep lists of their preferences in it. I suggest you also bring it to classes or conferences and take notes in it, to keep them all in one place.

You might also keep a list of resources in the back, like books or websites to check out, or people to contact on Fetlife. You can easily tuck some of your cards (if you have them) into it to carry around at events, or tear out a little corner of a piece of paper to write your name and Fetlife profile or contact info on if you meet someone interesting.

Or, in this day & age, you might just designate a page in it to be your “digital business card” with your contact info and name, and invite people to take a photo of it with their phone (assuming they have one that takes photos).

Sometimes, if you’re really lucky, your current or future dominant may give you writing assignments or art tasks, and your journal will come in handy for those things, too.

Oh yeah—I highly, highly recommend dominant/top/D-types have journals, too, where they record pretty much the same things. This isn’t something unique to submissives. I just happen to be focused on submissives at the moment and in this kit.

Start here: Watch the video

Time to get out submissive journal and take some notes of the things in rife’s talk that speak to you.

Here’s your Submissive Journal Prompts for this video:

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PROMPT #1:
Rife detailed these four tips for getting more kinky play. Write your notes on each- Have you tried this already? How can you use this in the future more? Which is your favorite and least favorite?

  1. Go to classes and workshops
  2. Buy your own toys
  3. Approach tops you’re interested in
  4. Consider switching

PROMPT #2:
Write your own 4 best flirting tips in your submissive journal, and share your favorites in the comments.

This is only one example piece of the homework for the Bondage unit. In the course, there are a variety of questions about the erotica assigned, the other guest videos for the module, and the experiment that players are conducting.

Here’s a little ZIP package of two PDFs & an image:

  • The transcript of rife’s video
  • Select submissive journal prompts for the Bondage unit, including some of your history with bondage and rife’s video above (three pages of prompts!)
  • The full image of rife’s illustrated “Prioritize Your Kink” identity development roadmap
DOWNLOAD NOW

You’re welcome! Hope you enjoy.

There are FOUR days left to register for Submissive Playground’s summer session, and there are limited spaces left! Sign up today and reserve your spot: submissiveplayground.com

Ask Mr. Sexsmith: I struggle with my feminist beliefs and my bedroom preferences … help!

Dear Mr. Sexsmith,

I am a strong, opinionated, sometimes bossy, lesbian. I have a huge passion for the empowerment, education and advocacy of women. I volunteer as a sexual assault advocate and have been involved as a Planned Parenthood educator. I am very vocal about breaking the cycle of female oppression in our culture.

I feel a personal conflict, as I also identify as femme and am very much a bottom in the bedroom. I like to be dominated and controlled in sexual play and I very much get off on fantasies that boarder on roughness and non-consent. I guess my struggle lies in the dichotomy between my feminist beliefs and my bedroom preferences. I do not consider myself to be a weak or oppressed female, but in the bedroom I love to be controlled, punished and made to serve. Is there a way for the two to be harmonious? I fight for women to have power and to stand up for themselves. Can you help me sort this out?

Tara

I hear you.

I too have come up within the lesbian feminist movements (and in their wakes) with a strong passion for smashing the patriarchy and a vehement dedication to working on less pain for the various gender minorities in the world. And I too like to do dirty, “perverted,” un-politically correct things in my erotic life. I struggle with reconciling my own feminist beliefs with my desire for sadism and wanting to physically cause “pain,” and with my masculinity and dominance and the ways that both masculinity and dominance are seen as corrupted ways of having power in some feminist’s views. I was asked just this morning about my consumption of porn, and my candid talk about how porn is fun and can be useful and good and valuable, and how I reconcile that with feminism. And, oh yeah, I forget that’s a part of that feminist reconciliation process too.

And all of these took a long time, and were long processes.

I have had lots of judgment about sadism, masculinity, dominance, and porn in the past. Some of it was a reaction formation, at least in a minor way, I think. I had reactions and judgment both about other people’s visible execution of these things, and the tendencies in myself—my own desires. I struggled to reconcile those tendencies and how they went with my feminist commitments to gender liberation and my sensitivities to surviving abuse and being in a rape culture.

I think it absolutely is possible to reconcile, to sort this out.

Here’s some of the ideas that I kicked around—for years and years, with trusted friends, at kink conferences, with lovers. It was not an immediate process. It required adopting a new kind of feminism, I think—a BDSM- and kink-friendly feminism that is rooted in agency and consent, and that understands the difference between play and abuse.

Consider these things:

1. Bottoming, service, and surrendering control, comes from a place of great strength and power.

[Bottoming] is absolutely making yourself vulnerable. But vulnerability is not about weakness—it comes from a place of great strength.

People have the idea in their heads that bottoming is weak, but I think that is not true at all. Bottoming is incredibly powerful. Being able to know where your own boundaries are, hold yourself safe, be able to speak up for your own needs, ask for what you want, and negotiate trust with a person who is going to assist your body and self on a journey takes a lot of skill and sovereignty. People who do it well have an extensive amount of intelligence, self-worth, and self-knowledge.

It absolutely is making yourself vulnerable. But vulnerability is not about weakness—again, it comes from a place of great strength.

The notion that bottoming, receiving sensation, and submitting to someone else’s desires is weak comes from a twisted version of what those things really are, versions that show only the completely non-consensual and abusive sides of these experiences. But when done consensually, the gift that is bottoming to another is precious and strong. It’s amazing to serve someone else; we serve community, family, friends, and other valuable relationships all the time. We give our power or authority, or cede our control, away intentionally in order to empower others in a variety of contexts, and we can get great pleasure from doing so. And when we find someone worthy of our trust such that we will put our body into their hands for intense sensation, cathartic release, and the deep pleasure of being in the present moment with whatever is happening … how does that not come from a place of power?

The difference, in my opinion, between it coming from power and strength or from oppression comes down to some simple traditional feminist concepts.

2. Consent makes all the difference. All of it.

When done within a framework of consent, I believe it is possible for just about anything to be empowering.

I would guess that you do not have a fetish for a scenario where you are forced to serve against your will, when you were thrown around aggressively and had your body played with when you didn’t want it. Fuck no! But what you do want is within a safe, negotiated relationship, to be “forced” to serve, to play with giving over your will entirely.

Consent changes experiences completely. In the activist cultures around female oppression, we often talk about consent in a “no means no” way, and stress the value of enthusiastic consent and the “just because they didn’t say no doesn’t mean there was consent!”

But I think an incredibly important piece of examining the feminist concept of consent is also that YES MEANS YES, and that the consent itself is what makes the act possible or okay.

Let me give you an example: I like playing with Daddy/girl and Daddy/boy role play in my sex life. I know that is something kind of extreme to some people, and many people misinterpret it as incest fantasies, which it is and it isn’t (more on that another time). Sometimes I hear people say things like, “But what if you/I/someone crosses the line with an actual young person!”

But for me, that would not happen.

I do not have a fetish for sleeping with and playing roughly with people under eighteen. I have a fetish for sleeping with and playing roughly with adults who adopt a younger persona (usually temporarily) with enthusiastic consent. It’s not about actual incest or actual under-18 youths. No no no no no. It’s about adults tapping in to other parts of ourselves, to open up new experiences.

The consent is actually an essential part of that fetish.

And likewise, I would guess that for you, Tara, you do not have a fetish for a scenario where you are forced to serve against your will, when you were thrown around aggressively and had your body played with when you didn’t want it. Fuck no! But what you do want is within a safe, negotiated relationship, to be “forced” to serve, to play with giving over your will entirely, to be punished for doing something “wrong,” to be used for someone else’s pleasure.

There is a huge, huge difference between the actual thing and some sort of play consensual version of the thing.

3. BDSM—and being punished, controlled, and made to serve—are completely different from abuse and oppression.

And consent is a key piece of that, yes, but there are a lot of other specific, clear, and measurable differences, too.

Read the “BDSM is Not Abuse” list released by the Lesbian Sex Mafia, one of the oldest women’s BDSM groups in the country, based in New York City. I think it articulates things very well:

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The Difference Between BDSM and Abuse

SM: An SM scene is a controlled situation.
ABUSE: Abuse is an out-of-control situation.

SM: Negotiation occurs before an SM scene to determine what will and will not happen in that scene.
ABUSE: One person determines what will happen.

SM: Knowledgeable consent is given to the scene by all parties.
ABUSE: No consent is asked for or given.

SM: The “bottom” has a safeword that allows them to stop the scene at any time should they need to for physical or emotional reasons.
ABUSE: The person being abused cannot stop what is happening.

SM: Everyone involved in an SM scene is concerned about the needs, desires and limits of others.
ABUSE: No concern is given to the needs, desires and limits of the abused person.

SM: The people in an SM scene are careful to be sure that they are not impaired by alcohol or drug use during the scene.
ABUSE: Alcohol or drugs are often used before an episode of abuse.

SM: After an SM scene, the people involved feel good.
ABUSE: After an episode of abuse, the people involved feel bad.

Souce: lesbiansexmafia.org

Because they are so different, I sometimes think the hyper-articulation of different language is important. It’s one of the reasons that people sometimes use the phrase “consensual non-consent” instead of “rape play,” for example.

The difference between BDSM and abuse goes back to consent, yes; but it goes back to all sorts of other things, too. Like trust, and skill, and agency.

4. Trust in your own agency. Trust in your own experience.

If you negotiate with a lover to get what you want, have an experience, and then everybody feels good after … as long as the experience is “doing no harm” in the world, then I say FUCKING GO FOR IT.

Have some play. Have some ecstasy. Have some screaming release. Have a big bold messy weird experience that maybe other people would judge but it just felt so goddamn good for your body and your mind and your emotions and everything sings a little brighter the next day.

You get to say what happens to your body. You get to have your own experience, and then decide if that was pleasurable or not, enjoyable or not, and whether you’d want to do it again, with this person or with a different person or in a new way or not at all. You get to have your experience of a non-ordinary thing and then, if you feel like fuck yes that was amazing! More more more please! then you can trust that that is real and true. Agency is trusting the answer that you come up with, authentically, when you ask yourself: Does it feel good or bad? Am I left with icky residue or release and joy? Do I feel closer to my play partner, or farther away?

Of course, not every BDSM scene is that easy to evaluate—but some of them just are. Start there. Start with the ones that are easy to tell. Start with trusting your own consent, and agency, and your own deepest experience of what you like or don’t like.

If it matters to you that other people do sometimes see these things you want as contradictory, seek out feminist kink communities. They do exist! This was a topic that came up in the Submissive Playground ecourse quite frequently, actually, and we had a lot of lively discussions about the feminist reconciliation process.

I actually have a dozen more notes about things to say around this process of reconciliation, but this is already more than 2,000 words, so I’m going to call it good for now. Feel free to ask more about specific things in the comments and I’ll do my best to reply!

I hope that gives you lots of places to start. If you’re still stuck, remember, I do one-on-one coaching sessions, and I would be very happy to help you with resources, experiments, ideas, support, or just talking in depth through this reconciliation process. Contact me for more information and pricing.

Got a question for Mr. Sexsmith? Ask it here!

Comment Zen …

Readers, do you relate to Tara’s question?

If you do, would you share your own story about your relationship to feminism and kink? Did you reconcile the two? What was the process like? Slow, fast, hard, simple? What kind of resources helped you on your journey? Books? Anything to recommend for others who are going through this? Do you have any recommendations for feminist kink Fetlife groups?

Leave your story anonymously if you like; your email address will not be published, and if you don’t want your usual “gravitar” picture of you to show up, just type “+sugarbutch” in your email address (like [email protected]) and I’ll know you want to be anonymous.

Free eBook Download: BDSM murder mystery about dogs & neighbors

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:

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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.

Queer Porn TV Free #PornParty January 31st

QueerPorn.TV & I are throwing another FREE #pornparty on January 31st. Want to watch some smutty queers doin’ it with us?

What is a #pornparty, you ask? Well, it’s a worldwide gathering on Twitter of folks who like queer porn. Simply tune in, press play, and then follow the hashtag #pornparty while you watch for commentary and discussion. If you want to join in, make sure you have your own Twitter account, too (and make sure it’s unlocked for the evening if you want others to see your tweets!) and tag your posts with the hashtag so we’ll all see them.

We’ll be watching something through QueerPorn.TV, and viewing this film will be completely free. You don’t have to buy it or download it or purchase VOD minutes to watch it with us. You simply login using the access code (to be announced) and that will give you access to these scenes.

Here are the scenes we’ll be watching!

QPTVbanner

About Queer Porn TV: Our porn reflects the true sexual desires of our performers, the Queer Porn Stars of the world, when we ask them to choose who they want to work with, what they want to do, and how they want to do it. We believe we don’t need to order our performers around in order to make hot, marketable porn – we think the fantasies, and realities, of these incredible people are better than the stereotypes and formulas of your run-of-the-mill porn. We are QueerPorn.TV, and we think that anybody can be a Queer Porn Star!

Sara Vibes & Deana

In this highly anticipated QPTV NYC scene directed by Tina Horn, Sara Vibes brings Deanna Cannonball to the edge in an intense and beautiful play piercing scene. This video is edited into three vignettes: First, Sara puts her knife all over Deanna’s body and punches and flogs her to warm her up. Then, the middle of the scene focuses on the piercings, as Sara punctures Deanna’s skin up and down her entire arms to create a beautiful bind. Deanna experiences the edge of consent, and begs Sara to take them out and fuck her. The third portion of the scene has Sara fucking Deanna with her hands and a giant strap on – the orgasms Deanna shudders through seem to be laced with the pain and pleasure of being edged and bled by one of the absolute best in the BDSM community, Sara Vibes.

James Darling, Tina Horn, & Quinn

So a trans male fag, a cis male femme fag, and a lady fag walk into a living room … I can’t remember the punchline but I think it has something to do with stilettos, sucking, spanking and squirting.

Courtney Trouble & Mr Gray

Courtney Trouble tries her hand at retail, working for leather king Mr Gray at Aslan Leather. Mr. Gray is an unforgiving boss and soon Courtney finds herself in the middle of a new kind of training day.

Mr. Gray demonstrates the use of a leather arm binder, leather wrist cuffs, and rope bondage on his trainee, taking full advantage of her in these compromising positions. Courtney is forced to her knees to suck Mr Gray’s big cock, then gets hand fucked until she squirts all over the floor. Mr Gray also deals out plenty of tit torture, ass punching, and rough handling, getting off in his leather pants over and over.

This scene is heavy on BDSM, bondage, impact play, humiliation, and verbal domination. Stay tuned for Part Two, in which Courtney is fucked until she squirts all over the leather sling.

So how do you tune in and watch this video for free with us?

NOTE! If your Twitter account is private, we won’t be able to see your #pornparty tweets show up under the hashtag. If you want to join in on the conversation (hope you do!), you may have to unprotect your Twitter account.

So all you have to do is:
1. Log in with the QueerPorn.TV access code (TBA before the 31st)
2. Tune in Thursday night, January 31st at 6pm PST, 9pm EST
3. Enjoy the film with us!
4. Follow & contribute to the Twitter discussion with the hashtag #pornparty

You can also follow me (@mrsexsmith) as well as some of the porn stars in the film, like @courtneytrouble, @aslanleather, @tinahornsass, and of course our fabulous #pornparty host, @queerporntv on Twitter.

So, are you game? Who’s in?

Reconciling the Identities of Feminist & Butch Top

Queer Memoir: Butch/Stud Through the Years was fucking EPIC on Friday night, and I’m so honored and thrilled to have been there and to be a part of it. There was the story of the kid’s game “hide and go get it” in Kentucky! There was the revelation of belonging somewhere and that “here take a sticker” moment—”because even though you’re in New York City, you might still be isolated.” There were discussions about feminist topping! There was deep appreciation for butch friends and community and support! There was a fucking marriage proposal!

This is the piece I read, slightly updated from the December 2009 version, about reconciling the identities of feminist and butch top, and what it means to be a masculine person who is also dominant. It is relevant as ever and I still struggle with the intersection of these identities. I have a lot more to say about it, and reading this piece again made me think about what I’d add and what more there is to say, so I’m working on it. Meanwhile, here’s the text of what I read.


A few years ago, a girl I dated wanted me to slap her. To hit her face. She asked for it specifically, I still remember the conversation on the subway and the precise way that she looked over at me and said, I want you to hit me. Something big swelled in me and I wanted to, I wanted to feel the sting of impact on my palm and see her recoil, to do it again before she was ready, to push something so sensational onto her experience that she was jolted to the edges of her skin and had to feel, to feel herself, to feel me, to be fully present.

This girl and I had already done some other light percussion play, using my hand, or even a paddle, me hitting her ass and thighs, the fleshy parts that I couldn’t possibly do damage to beyond some light bruising. She liked it, we both did. It made sense to escalate, at the time, to something new; we were deepening both our romantic relationship – our trust in each other – and our power dynamic, and it was time to push a little, to see where we could go.

I was terrified. After she asked, after we talked about it extensively, I even tried, a few times, when we were in bed and she said, hit me, now, please, and I couldn’t, I’d bring my hand up and chicken out.

I was terrified of what it would mean for me, as a masculine person, as a butch, to be more dominating in bed. To like it. To like to cause someone pain. To like to cause a woman pain. To hit someone in the face. To hit a woman in the face, to sexualize that act and that power dynamic specifically.

I was paralyzed by that terror – I wanted to do it, the idea, the very thought of it, the discussions with her, turned me on, the girl I was dating wanted me to do it, but I couldn’t.

Beyond wanting to do it, this was the kind of sex act that was in the sex life I was dreaming of having. This was what haunted my fantasies and what I looked for in porn that I watched and erotica that I read. And I was on a very serious quest to figure out how to have the sex that I wanted. I’d just gotten out of a bed-death relationship. I was committed to studying sex hard, to figuring out: what I wanted, how to get what I wanted, how to build a relationship with that as an element, how to maintain something sane and hot over a long period of time. That’s precisely why I started Sugarbutch.

I now know that I’m a sadist, and a top. That means I like to dominate. And already there are conclusions being drawn by some of you out there who think well of course you like to dominate, you’re masculine, and that’s prescribed for you or in other words you misogynistic asshole, I already knew you were one of “those” butches who needs to make up for your inadequacies by dominating women. Because that’s what we think, isn’t it? Maybe not consciously, but a little bit, somewhere in our brains, we associate these particular identity alignments – butch equals masculine equals top equals dominating equals men’s prescribed gender role. We’re relieved when they line up how we think they will, or maybe we are challenged and uncomfortable – though perhaps in a stimulated way – when they misalign.

There’s something supposedly anti-feminist about wanting to dominate. There’s something in the feminist rhetoric which says we are all equal especially in bed, so that means I-do-you-you-do-me, or that means we have sex neither above nor below each other, and with no reproduced heteronormative misogynistic patriarchal power dynamic.

But I didn’t want that. I’d had that, with other girlfriends, but it didn’t keep things hot enough to sustain a relationship. And secretly, I wanted to top and control and hit and demean and humiliate and restrain and force and take.

Power dynamic theory—stick with me for just a paragraph here—has many similarities to gender theory. Like the gender identities of butch and femme are not reproductions but pastiche copies at best of prescribed societal gender roles, putting on and taking off power roles in power sex play is a pastiche reproduction of power in our lives, of which there are thousands of examples of interaction on a daily basis. And when we can put on and take off these roles intentionally, the act of adopting becomes further proof that the power positioning in our lives is not inherent, or “real,” or immobile, or prescribed, or “normal,” but part of a hierarchical society of social power that can be deconstructed. In that, we can more easily have more power and control in the beneficial ways, and less power and control in destructive ways, as we play with it and engage with it.

As in my experience with coming to a butch gender identity, when I finally came to a power identity that really deeply aligned with something inside me that just clicked and make sense, I felt like I was coming home to myself in a way I hadn’t experienced previously. Through my personality and tendencies and psychology I have my own set of quirks and workings and functions, and for whatever reason, it makes a lot of sense to me to let out some of my power and control issues in the bedroom by being dominating. It is deeply satisfying the way a glorious meal or a delicious book is satisfying, one of my life’s greatest pleasures. I’m not sure I understand why I like what I like, but what I like does not harm others, and is consensual, and I know myself well enough to accept what I like as what I like – and to let that be a simple truth.

How did this change for me? What happened between the time when I was terrified to slap a girl in the face and today, now, where I am fairly comfortable in my identity as a top, and even as a sadist, as someone who enjoys causing extreme sensation (aka hurting) someone else?

Little by little, I had lovers who pushed me, lovers who were more experienced as bottoms than I was as a top, lovers who wanted more from me and who could take more than I was able to give who made enough space for me to walk into a bigger version of myself and occupy it, try it on.

I did come to a reconciliation with my feminist self and my top self. Phrases like men should not hurt women or rather masculine people should not hurt feminine people, or even more broadly that people should not hit each other and violence is bad bad bad … I had accepted those phrases as Ultimate Truths, and I started to understand deeper the ways that sensation was not violence, and hitting was a way to be sparked into the present moment, to release whatever our musculature was holding onto, and to deepen trust between people and in a relationship.

I didn’t realize how little trust I had in others until I started playing deeper with BDSM. Because I would tell myself, it’s okay, she wants to do it, but then I would think, does she really? Maybe she wants to because I want to. Maybe she wants to because society tells her she should want to. Maybe she wants to for fucked-up reasons, like she thinks it’s okay for her to feel humiliated and less than me because of her own internalized misogyny … but that was me not trusting that what she said was true. That she wanted me to hit her face. And that was me, further controlling both myself, her, and our relationship, in unhealthy ways, because I didn’t trust her.

This was an issue of agency, in feminist terms – my not trusting my lover to communicate with me what she wanted, to explain to me how far I could go, and my not trusting that she would let me know if I was going too far or too hard, either with her physical communication or her words or both, was me not trusting in the agency of my lover. I have to trust that she will tell me, she will let me know, if I am going too far. And I have to listen, apologize, understand what I did, and trust that she will accept that it was an accident, a mistake, and that I’ll do whatever she needs to feel safe again.

When I started playing out my control issues in BDSM, in the bedroom, in sex play, the control issues I had in my relationships began to heal.

In learning my way into being a top, I had many, many conversations about consent and intention and communication, I talked to my lovers when things broke down or didn’t seem to work and I learned more about my own tendencies when things went well. I figured out that sometimes, it was really hard for me to be with someone who bottomed so well, and who I trusted so deeply, that I did harder, scarier, bigger things with them that took me even deeper into my topping and dominance and sadism and power, and sometimes that meant I needed to be comforted afterward, to be told I liked that, and that wasn’t too much, and you didn’t hurt me, and that was what I wanted and thank you. Hearing those things is always a relief.

(I give good aftercare too, of course. But top aftercare is less common in the BDSM world – we don’t frequently talk about the toll it takes for the dominant to dominate.)

I practiced, a lot, to be bold and trusting through my topping. I tried scary things and it turned out they weren’t so scary, they were in fact incredibly hot. I got to know myself, and I learned more about the things I wanted to play with, and I talked to smart people whose experiences were similar to what I was going through and who assured me it was possible to come out the other side of it a masculine, queer, butch, sadistic, feminist top.

On Bruises and Lasting Marks, Guest Post by Kristen

Written by Kristen. Follow her on Twitter @kitchentop.

I love getting marked up. I love the little dark fingerprints that fade to yellow on my upper arms, the purple signs of a shoulder bite, the teeth marks on my inner thighs. I don’t crave pain the way some masochists do. I like rough sex and I like when Sinclair brings it all to me, when they hold down my chest with all their weight while their cock’s inside, when they pin my arm behind me without worrying about whether they’re yanking too hard. I like deep, hard punching, especially across my wings, my shoulder blades and upper back, and I like a spanking, and I like when the feeling of floating, when I know I can handle more.

But what I really like are the bruises, bigger and more colorful in the light of day. I like the memory of what we did last night blooming on my skin as I strip for the morning’s shower. I like a big bouquet of them, spread across my shoulders and neck and thighs, proof that someone wanted me so badly they had to grab and bite and sometimes break skin. I like to show them off; when we lived apart, I would text Sinclair pictures of my bruises and we’d both shiver a little at the memory, and sometimes they post them here for the rest of the world to see.

There’s a funny competitive thing among kinky people – “Look how badass I am! I can take more pain than you – just look at the bruises!” – that I sometimes fall prey to. But it does feel like a badge of honor, a symbol of how far I went, how difficult it can be to let your mind go so that pain and pleasure meld and you can’t tell the difference anymore.

And for me it’s something more: yes, I chose this. My feminist boyfriend gave me bruises because I explicitly consented to them, because they made us both feel good, and I am allowed to choose that if I want to. In fact, with informed, aware consent, I can choose whatever I want. It might not be something you would choose for yourself, but that’s real choice, isn’t it? If I can choose to satisfy my desires with freaky shit you’d never want to do, or get a full-sleeve tattoo or plugs in my earlobes, I’m actually thinking through what I want – and getting it – instead of going along with what the world says I should want.

Bruises take work, to give and get. That giant purple mass on my upper arm required consent, negotiation, and enough endorphins (probably generated by some orgasms) that my body was primed to receive pain, courage, and hard biting. That splay of dark angel wings on my back probably took an hour, strong arms, a carefully timed warmup, and significant exertion. They are not evidence of anger or victimhood; they are evidence of skill.

Say Please! April Blog Tour & Reviewers Needed

A big ol’ box of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica edited by ME and published by Cleis Press has arrived on my doorstep! I am so thrilled to hold this book in my hands and pet it and flip through it, after more than a year of working on it behind the scenes, on my computer, alone, jerking off in bed with the manuscript I mean uh, editing and copy editing and re-editing.

And now … comes the exciting part! The birthing it into the world part! The part where I figure out how to get it into your hands and on your nightstands and between your boxspring and mattress and on your kinky bookshelves. So I’ve got a few things up my sleeve, including six inches a virtual blog book tour and some extra copies for reviewers.

The official promo blurb:

Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica is a fiction anthology edited by Sinclair Sexsmith, to be published by Cleis Press in April 2012. It is available for pre-order at Amazon and will be available for the Kindle and Nook. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com if you have any questions; to request a review copy, email Brenda Knight at bknight at cleispress.com. For more information about Say Pleaes series, visit saypleasebook.wordpress.com.

Item the first! Reviewers needed for Amazon

Apparently, book sales on Amazon set the standard for many other buyers these days, and reviews on Amazon (even clicking “like” on Amazon) make a big difference in possible sales. So I’ve got 20 copies of the book to give to folks who are willing to write a review on Amazon. To do this, you must: have an Amazon.com account you’ve made a purchase from, have a US mailing address, promise to review it by April 31st and actually follow through. Will send one to the first 20 people to request it. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com with “Amazon” in the subject line, your mailing address. I’ve got more than enough Amazon volunteers! Thank you!

Item the Second! Blog Tour

In April, surrounding the book’s official April 10th release date, I’ll be conducting a virtual blog tour for the book! That means: If you are a blogger, and you’d like a copy of the book to review on your blog on a particular day of the tour, I’ll send you one in exchange for your participation. To participate, you agree to post on your corresponding day; posts can be your thoughts about the book, an excerpt, or an interview with me or another contributor. Email lesbianbdsmerotica at gmail.com with “Blog tour” in the subject line, and include a link to your blog and any pertinent information about the site you run. Deadline is March 31st, but I will fill it as I go, so please email me asap.

Item the Third! Preorder the Book!

If you do plan to buy it, as with all books, pre-ordering them has a dual impact on the book’s sales, meaning your sale counts not just for one book, but means that the bookseller your purchasing from will stock extra copies. All sales are great, but pre-orders are extra special, a heads up as a way to support your favorite authors.

Item the Fourth! In Person Tour in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, NYC, and More to Come (So To Speak)

I am trying to get all over the place to read from this book … I still hope to visit Durham, Chicago, and Portland, and possibly Philadelphia and DC. If you’re a coordinator or event producer in any of those places, or in a different place!, and you’d like to help me with a reading, I’d love that. Get in touch.

Here are the current planned dates:

April 1 5pm, San Francisco at GV (with Salacious)
April 13 7pm, NYC at Bluestockings
April 22, Boston at a bar (with The Femme Show)
May 2, Seattle at Babeland
November 29, Toronto TBA (Facebook invite to come)

Item the Last! Get the Word Out, Buy a Copy, Let me Know What You Think!

I am beside myself with curiosity about how this book will be received. What do you think of it? What is your favorite story? Which lines stand out? Which authors were particularly impressive, whether you’ve read them before or will seek them out to read again? What themes did you love (or hate)? What did you wish there was more of? I would love feedback about this. After all, it’s the first anthology that is wholly mine, cover to cover, and I would love to do more of these in the future (hope hope).

I hope you’ll find a way to get in touch and tell me your thoughts, I am so very curious.

Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology: Submissions Due January 1st

Reminder! I’m editing my very first anthology for Cleis Press of lesbian BDSM erotica to be published in fall 2011, and submissions are due January 1st.

I’m especially interested in some play stories, with impact toys, floggings, knife play, bondage, leather gear, whips and chains, play parties, saint andrew’s crosses, role play—things like that.

If you haven’t submitted yet, or written a story for this anthology yet, there’s still time and I’d love to read what your dirty minds can come up with.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology
[Title Forthcoming] To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18, prose only will be considered. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.

Payment: USD $50 and two copies of the book upon publication.
Deadline: January 1, 2011
Unpublished stories preferred.

How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to [email protected] Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at www.mrsexsmith.com.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology

As if the project (re)launch of Top Hot Butches wasn’t enough, I’ve got some other exciting news: I’m going to be editing an anthology for Cleis Press focusing on lesbian BDSM erotica!

I adore Cleis, I’ve been following their catalogues for years and I frequently jump at their new titles. They’ve published many of my short stories in other anthologies, and I am thrilled to be working with them as an editor. It’s a new venture for me! And I hope it goes well.

There is definitely a lack of the dirty stuff out there—so many of the erotica anthologies I pick up lately have lacked kink. And hoo boy I’ve been reading a lot of erotica lately. Did you know I am now the lesbian erotica editor for the Lambda Literary Foundation’s recently relaunched website? True story. I’m doing a quarterly roundup of the current lesbian erotica, so I’ve been getting all sorts of fun packages in the mail, but unfortunately most of them are just awful and I really hope the authors intended the book to be a joke. But if I can’t tell, then it wasn’t exactly a successful joke.

I can’t wait to turn up the dirty stuff and stick it all out there in a book with actual pages that you can wank off to—that’ll be a nice change from cuddling up to your laptop in bed, or wanking off at your desk, hmm?

A note about the word “lesbian” … it is pretty much necessary to use that word in the publishing world. So it was kind of not negotiable. I don’t feel great about it, and while I don’t not identify as a lesbian, it certainly wouldn’t be my first sexual identity label of choice (I tend to call myself queer).

Ultimately, though, it is an anthology focused on female characters, but any and all gender expressions are welcome (and encouraged!) to be represented in this anthology—cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community. I will absolutely consider stories with trans men in them, assuming they identify with the lesbian communities, but know that the publisher has the final say over the manuscript and I’m not too certain how they would treat that.

If you’re a writer, please do submit a story. You don’t have to be a published writer, you don’t have to have any credentials, what matters is the quality of your story. You’ve got a few months to come up with an awesome scenario and send it in to me … really looking forward to reading all the submissions.

Please forward this call widely.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology [Title TBA] To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18. Prose only will be considered, no comics, graphic stories, or poetry. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.

Payment: USD $50 and two copies of the book upon publication.
Deadline: January 1, 2011
Unpublished stories preferred.

How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to [email protected] Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at www.mrsexsmith.com.

Chains and Containment in “Black Snake Moan”

A few weeks ago, when one of my oldest and dearest and favorite-est friends, BB, was in town visiting, Kristen and BB and I had a night at home and sat down to watch a film. Having recently discovered the joys of both Paperback Swap and Swap A DVD, I have some DVDs that I haven’t seen in quite a long time, if ever.

Black Snake Moan was one of them, and we decided to put it on.

I saw it once before, as had Kristen, and I remembered liking it. But putting it on, I was nervous. What if it wasn’t feminist enough? What if they thought it was exploitive and weird? What if I thought it was exploitive and weird?

It sure doesn’t seem like a feminist, conscious film on the surface—it seems fucked up, about gender, race, and sexuality. Why would I want to see that? Why would I like that? But it’s more complex than it seems.

Here’s the basic premise: Rae (Christina Ricci) has an extreme sexual appetite. Rae’s boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) is off to the army and while they usually keep each other sane and balanced, she is losing her control and getting in dangerous situations, such as getting completely intoxicated, half-naked, and then beat up by a guy she occasionally sleeps with. Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), whose wife just left him for his younger brother, finds Rae unconscious on the road near his house and brings her inside, attempting to nurse her back to health. She, though, has all sorts of night terrors, which cause her to run around and scream—while pretty much still unconscious—so he chains her to the radiator. But when she comes to, two days later, he doesn’t unchain her, but decides she’s not healed yet.

I know, I know: I want to start yelling, NON CONSENSUAL! You can’t do that! But the thing is … she’s out of her mind, a little bit. I know it sounds like shaming a woman because she likes sex, but frankly I don’t think that’s what’s behind this. It isn’t that she likes sex too much, it’s that she is destroying herself through her pursuit of sex, which is clearly depicted as compulsive, and absolutely not something she is choosing from an empowered place.

Ricci is bone-thin in a very unattractive way, she looks so strange sometimes, so unlike her for this role. I wanted her to come over so Kristen could feed her baked goods and get a little bit of that glow back. But she plays the role amazingly—I even read a critique that said it was the highlight of her acting career. And Jackson is genius! I love the scenes where he’s playing the guitar and singing, the blues just dripping off of him. Healing music, no doubt.

All through the re-watch I kept thinking, why is this okay? Why is this not totally fucked up? Because it seems like it should be, on the surface—but it’s not, and I love this film. Maybe it’s because it’s so well written? Or well acted? Or well crafted, in general? I could go on and on about the layers of this film and the dozens of ways you could interpret the character’s actions (the Christian angle; the sex is bad angle; the men as savior angle), but really what I want to do is encourage you to see it for yourself, if you like to think critically about consent, feminism, character, and kink.

And oh yes, it is kinky. All the stuff with the chains, well …

I love the way she becomes attached to that chain. There is a part, after she regains consciousness but before she’s healed, where she consents to stay. Where she kind of doesn’t want him to take the chains off. And another part (in that photo, above) where she comforts herself with the weight and restriction of the chains, in part to get through her own triggers, and to break the automatic reactions in which she’s been stuck.

I would argue that hits on exactly what she needs: containment. Not in a repression kind of way, no, but in the tantric sense, that she is all energy and river and no riverbank. (Interesting, though, how she is able to be that container for Ronnie, as stated from the very beginning of the film when he says she saved him, onto the last scene.)

Plenty more happens in the plot after that: Lazarus teaches her things about life and living, she confronts some demons (including her mother), we get some abstract insight into the things that have been haunting her, and she seems to come to a stronger, more capable place. Personal growth, healing from trauma, and breaking through her own samskara: makings of a good film, if you ask me.

And, the chains …

Well, Kristen liked the chains. She has a thing for metal, more than I do I think (I’m more of a leather guy myself—not that I’m opposed to chains). I had, I remembered, received Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs from Sextoy.com that I’d never reviewed, nor had we, in fact, ever even used them.

I thought it might be time to break those out.

Yeah, so that was a good idea.

That image is from Griffin Leather & Metal, not the actual cuffs that came in my set. Mine are not nearly as gorgeous as these, but that’s basically how they’re set up. And the photo on the box that mine came in is pretty awful, it is something that would have steered me clear of buying it.

But in fact, it’s very much worth having around.

They’re relatively cheap, but they’re sturdy, and they don’t feel like they’re going to break (unlike some of the other bondage toys I’ve occasionally reviewed). The chains could be a little shorter, especially the chain connecting the wrist cuffs to the ankle cuffs, but that also might be because Kristen is kind of short, so perhaps with someone a bit taller they would be the perfect size.

The product description reports:

Nickel plated heavy duty locking wrist and ankle cuffs. Includes 4 keys. Wrist size up to 7 inches and ankle size up to 10 inches. The chain connecting wrists is 3.5 inches and the chain connecting ankles is 17 inches. The chain connecting ankles and wrists is 16 inches.

Those dimensions don’t seem quite right (longer connection between the feet than from the feet to the hands?), but that’s what the website claims.

And I’d like to tell you all about what we did when we played with them, but the truth is, I can’t remember the details. I don’t know how it started exactly, I don’t know how it ended. I don’t remember how I put them on her, but I do remember holding on to the chain, choking up on it so she couldn’t move. I remember telling her to get up and walk to the other side of the bed so she could look in the mirror. I remember watching her touch herself for a while, while I watched. And I may have snapped a few photos.

You know, maybe.

The Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs were sent to me for review from Sextoy.com. Pick up the Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs or other bondage toys from sextoy.com, or your local queer feminist sex-positive independent shop.

I’m still thinking about this film sometimes, even now, two or three weeks later, and looking forward to watching it again.

I’m not going to write a blow-by-blow account of the film and all the complex, phenomenal moments (like, “You’ll have to ask the chef.” “Paprika.” And everything about the characters of Miss Angie and Ronnie both), or an elaborate argument on why it might border on offending my feminist sensibilities, but doesn’t actually. I’ve enjoyed the extensive conversations I’ve been having with Kristen about the film since we saw it, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.

Have you seen it? What did you think?

If you haven’t, perhaps you’d like to watch the trailer for the film, and see if it’s something you’d try out. I was skeptical, but it is much more than what it seems.

BDSM is Not Abuse

I recently went through the Orientation process for the Lesbian Sex Mafia, and we went over this list of The Difference Between SM and Abuse, which is also available on the Lesbian Sex Mafia’s website.

I am still surprised how often BDSM gets equated with abuse, and this list makes the distinctions so very clear, I like it. I have the feeling I’ll be referencing this quite a bit in various things. Hope the LSM doesn’t mind that I am reprinting it here!

The Difference Between SM and Abuse
A Statement from the Lesbian Sex Mafia

SM: An SM scene is a controlled situation.
ABUSE: Abuse is an out-of-control situation.

SM: Negotiation occurs before an SM scene to determine what will and will not happen in that scene.
ABUSE: One person determines what will happen.

SM: Knowledgeable consent is given to the scene by all parties.
ABUSE: No consent is asked for or given.

SM: The “bottom” has a safeword that allows them to stop the scene at any time should they need to for physical or emotional reasons.
ABUSE: The person being abused cannot stop what is happening.

SM: Everyone involved in an SM scene is concerned about the needs, desires and limits of others.
ABUSE: No concern is given to the needs, desires and limits of the abused person.

SM: The people in an SM scene are careful to be sure that they are not impaired by alcohol or drug use during the scene.
ABUSE: Alcohol or drugs are often used before an episode of abuse.

SM: After an SM scene, the people involved feel good.
ABUSE: After an episode of abuse, the people involved feel bad.

If you have further questions regarding domestic abuse, please call the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP). They are educated in the differences between BDSM and abuse.
AVP, the Anti-Violence Project
24 hour hotline: 212-714-1141
240 West 35th Street, Suite 200 New York, NY 10001

Yes, No, and Consent

In much of the workshops and trainings around sexuality and sexual expression that I have attended, we have often started with one basic concept: saying no.

For example, I have been part of a circle of pairs where the instruction was for the person on the outside of the circle to think of a place on their body that would really like to be massaged right now. Hands, feet, wrists, scalp, shoulders – wherever there might be some great tension released. And the instruction was to ask the person on the inside circle, politely, “would you please massage my ____.” The person on the inside was instructed to say “No.” They could say, “I’m sorry, not right now.” Or, “I really can’t, no.” Or to couch it in some other softer “no,” but the instruction was specifically to practice saying it – even if they actually wanted to give the massage! (There would be time for that, later.)

The point of that exercise is to practice saying no. To know that it’s okay to say no. To have permission to say no – to have instruction, even, to say no. It’s actually really hard! But it’s so, so important, especially when building trust, especially when deepening a relationship, especially when working to assert your own needs and desires, as I feel probably all of us struggle with, in some ways.

The idea behind this, in erotic work is without no, there is no YES. And the YES is what we’d like to get to. The delicious, hungry YES, which is so excited and juicy and ready for what’s coming.

Without the ability to say no, the yes is virtually meaningless. Without the reassurance of my partner or girlfriend or lover or wife or toy or submissive saying no to me every once in a while, how can I be sure that she really can say no? It feels good, to me, to hear someone create limits on something, because then I have a better idea of how far I can go. I hate to discover dealbreakers in the middle of something, that is not good.

That’s pretty explanatory, right? The no-gives-yes-value thing?

This happens in relationships, too, not just with sex. For example, my friend and her girlfriend were planning to do something, one of those big relationship things. The details are a bit unimportant, but it’s something her girlfriend had expressed skepticism about in the past, and my friend was really into it. At the last minute, her girlfriend decided no, actually, it isn’t something she wanted to do. Oops sorry! My friend was mad, for a while. We talked and talked and she was upset. After the dust cleared a little, though, my friend said she was really grateful to her girlfriend for being honest. She was really grateful that her girlfriend wouldn’t be the kind of person who would just go along with something her partner wanted, even if it wasn’t something that she truly wanted herself. How much worse would the resentment build up if she had gone and done it anyway, secretly knowing she didn’t want to! How much more tension and stress would their relationship be under! My friend’s girlfriend risked hurting my friend’s feelings, and risked the consequences of being honest, but also has a lot of trust and faith that they will be able to talk through things, to reach some sort of mutually appreciated conclusion. And my friend has said, many times, since, I value honesty over consistency any day.

They are closer, as a result. Telling the truth doesn’t have to mean being disappointing or disappointed, it doesn’t have to mean steps back in a relationship. I would rather be with someone who I could trust to tell me no when they felt no and tell me yes when they felt yes. And if she never tells me no, can I be sure she really can?

Audacia Ray has said that working in the sex industry taught her to say no. She’s also said, “‘No’ is a complete sentence!” (especially when she and I have talked about how overcommitted we are), which I find myself saying to myself in my head frequently. Lots of the productivity blogs talk about turning things down as a way to really take control over your own time and owning your own sovereignty. This is important in sex play and relationships, too.

I know lots of these concepts around “saying no” are taught in sexual assault, survivor, reclaiming sexuality, and power play workshops all over, but I want to reiterate where it comes from, because the next part is this: about saying yes.

As I have been writing about a bit lately, I have struggled with being a top and dominant in bed. Sometimes, upon expressing to my lover something that I’ve wanted to do, and after they say, excitedly, that they have always wanted to do that too, I still have trouble, I still doubt that it’s okay, I still hesitated.

It’s like what J. said, in a comment on the Reconciling the Identities of Butch Top and Feminist essay:

Recently, my partner and I have been experimenting with some new things in bed and I was constantly asking her if she was okay with what we were doing. I was so worried that I asked her several times in a row, not taking her first yes for what it was. She told me that if I’m going to trust when she says no, I also have to trust when she says yes.

Bingo. I love that explanation of this process – so succinct. Yes, exactly.

As the dominant, I think I can ask whether my submissive is okay with what we are doing (or going to do), even more than once, until I am satisfactorily convinced of her consent, but – BUT! – it is also my job to trust her answer, to believe her, and to let that be enough.

If she consents, and uses it against me later, that is, most likely, NOT MY FAULT and she is a jerk. (See Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast Episode #165 where a guy gives his boyfriend permission to fuck other guys, then gets completely pissed and refuses to see him again after he does. Not okay!)

If I have chosen to date this girl, then personally I do have some sort of assumption that her consent means that she knows herself, and she is able to gauge her own reactions, and has enough self-knowledge that she will know whether being in whatever situation we’re discussing will make her freak out or not.

I can, of course, check in with her during the scene (hopefully in ways that do not break the scene entirely – see The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book for more about that), but I also have to accept that if something was wrong she would tell me or communicate it to me somehow, and that it is not my job to be a mind reader. It is my job to ask when I notice something, it is her job to communicate with me actively.

This is one of those ways that BDSM is actually Relationship Communications 401, way beyond the basics. And this is why I personally have had a tough time playing with people who were not self-aware, people who were not impeccable communicators, and people who were not afraid to be honest and assert what they needed.

This stuff is really damn hard, I know. Sometimes I don’t even know what I want, let alone being able to articulate it. But if we can’t trust each other to say yes, and no, and mean it, then we can’t go farther, we can’t play with consent and force, we can’t establish deeper trust to be able to get to the darker, juicy stuff, like domination and submission outside the bedroom, and role play, and deep, late night conversations untangling some of our control issues. Ideally, a good relationship works to bring parts of you to light that weren’t quite visible before, and supports you as you work through them, and possibly enhance or change them – and I have found no better tool for that than the many varied practices of BDSM.

How To Begin Playing with BDSM

Recently, this came into my inbox:

I’m in a relationship now with a wonderful person and I’m really intrigued and turned on by BDSM, but have very little idea of where to start. I’ve put up a plea on my blog for help from people who know more about these things, you can read my post for more background, but basically, where do we start? How can we segue into BDSM play? Dominance, submission, pain? How can we bit by bit, toe first, test the cold water and then gradually get used to it and then eventually just dive in and revel in it? I just have no idea. I live in San Francisco, so I don’t expect you to know of any local resources, but do you know anyone in San Francisco who I might be in touch with? Anything like that? Internet resources? Early blog posts of yours about your first forays into BDSM?
Alphafemme

So I figured I’d write a little about it, tell you what I think, then also open it up to you lovely readers who might have specific San Francisco resources, your own stories, or more suggestions to share in the comments.

How do you start playing with BDSM? You jump in somewhere that feels exciting and hot, you talk about what you want to do, at least a little, then you do it. I don’t actually have any early blog posts about BDSM because I’ve been playing with it for a very long time – my first high school boyfriend and I used to do some light BDSM, like spanking, a little bit of topping & bottoming, and tying-to-the-bedpost kinds of bondage. My “kinky queer butch top” identity labels are roughly in order, actually, of when I came into them; I’ve been playing with kink (albeit lightly) for a long time.

I do suggest starting out light – though “light” for some people is heavy play for others, so just pick something that seems accessible and doable and try it out.

Some more specific suggestions:

  • Take a class on something (like spanking) from Babeland or your local feminist sex toy store. In San Francisco, I’m sure Good Vibes has events all the time.
  • Read The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book. Both of you should read both of them, even if you already know which role you are more likely to occupy, since learning about the other will teach you even more about yours. These books significantly changed and formed the ways that I think about dominance and submission and many incarnations of BDSM. Highly highly recommended.
  • Fill out the BDSM checklist and compare answers. Highlight the things you are most excited about and see what you have in common! (Hopefully you’ve already been talking about this kind of thing, you might even have an idea of what each other would like to explore.
  • Make a shared Google doc and brainstorm a list of what you’d like to try. (Kristen and I actually have one of these … )
  • Check out the BDSM section of the Sugarbutch Amazon store for more books you might want to pick up, or check out of the library, or borrow.

There are some more simple, less risky, very playful, and safe things you might want to try if you’re new to BDSM to begin to whet your appetite, such as:

  • Spanking. Don’t worry, your hand is WAY more delicate than her ass – think of all the little tiny bones in there, as compared to the lovely muscle & flesh. Her butt can take way more you’re your hand can give, actually – your hand will hurt and get tired and sore way before you will do any real damage. But, you still should be a bit careful – here’s how to start: 1. start out slow, make sure to warm up her flesh (and mind) so she can take deeper, harder slaps. 2. DO NOT slap or hit her sacrum, that triangle bone above the crack of her ass. That can bruise and be very painful. Keep it to her ass cheeks and thighs, the fleshy parts. 3. Make sure she is relaxed, and keep going softly until she starts writhing and moaning and liking it.

  • Bondage. Try some light bondage with whatever you’ve got lying around the house – clothesline, men’s ties, scarves … you can look up Two Knotty Boys on youtube for MANY great videos on how to tie knots, but really you can just tie with a plain ol’ granny knot, like you tie your shoes. Don’t leave her tied up for extended periods of time, however, and make sure to get the rope tied tight enough so that she can’t escape, but not tight enough to cut off circulation.
  • Dirty talk. Sometimes adding speech to your sex play is incredibly erotic, highly sexually charged, and very dirty. Sometimes you can keep going with whatever you “normally” do, but add some verbal descriptors of what you’d like to do, and it adds a great element of play and gets the minds going. Whisper in her ear while your fingers are inside her: “You know what I’d really like to do? I’d like to tie your ankles to the footboard so you can’t move your legs. I’d like you to struggle against the ropes so you can feel how you’re opened up for me. I’d like to feel how wet that makes you. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Yeah, I thought so …” and ask her about it later, outside of the moment, and see if it’s something she’d like to perhaps try.
  • Power & Surrender. Hold her down, pull her hair, hold her wrists above her head, bite her shoulders, bite her breasts, hold your knees on her thighs to force her legs open, push her onto the bed, get a little rough with her. Maybe she wants to fight back and see if she can take YOU down, instead – wrestling for who gets to be in control could be fun, too.

For me, things like elaborate role play – and even dirty talk – was a lot harder than some of these basics. And these are practically endless – I’m sure one could play with various elements of just these four things and have a very exciting sex life.

A little bit about safewords: Unless you are playing with non-consensual play, you probably don’t need a safeword. That is to say, you can use, “slow down,” “wait,” “back off,” “hold on a minute,” “don’t,” and “stop,” and things like that to indicate that something’s going wrong, instead of negotiating one special specific word which would stop the scene. Unless you want “no” or “don’t” or “stop” to be part of the play, those words will work just fine.

So, what do you think? What is your advice for beginning to play with BDSM? Anything you’d like to add or correct from my list? Any suggestions you have? Are there resources in San Francisco you’d like to recommend? Let her – and all of us! – know in the comments.

A Resplendent Image

Some days just the memory of her is enough to drive me wild.

I’ve been holding on to the image of her in my bed last Sunday all week, rolling it over in my mind like I roll my ring on my finger.

We’d already been fucking, all day really. Woke and I couldn’t keep my hands off her, stayed in bed until hunger forced us up after one. Back home and I wanted more. Cradled her, fucked a while, until I wanted to watch.

I’m perhaps more of a voyeur than even I know. And she is such an expert at her own body, I love watching her as her skin flushes, fingers move, hands hover above her own pussy as she shakes, then opens her eyes to look at me: “want me to do it again?”

This time, she was on her back, on my bed. I wished aloud for a spreader bar and then made one, makeshift, from a white-tipped straight black cane and black rope, her ankles as far apart as they could go, she couldn’t close her knees.

Then: clamps on her nipples. Tighter than I expected, but I know she likes the pressure, likes it when I bite hard.

Then: I got a cock out, a big one, the widest I have, I can’t even get my thumb and forefinger all the way around the narrowest part. It is short, so, hard to strap-on. I keep it in my hand as I watch her writhe for one, two orgasms on her own, as she can’t take something that big until she’s warmed up.

I tug at the chain of the nipple clamps, twist them around for more of a pinch. She moans. She likes it.

I watch her come and lube up the cock, slide it in without much resistance, watch her face change, her hips open, as she starts working her clit again right away.

And these are the images that flash in my mind: that thick red cock shoved all the way in; her hands, both, between her legs, upper arms pushing her breasts together as the clamps and chain accent her nipples and swollen aureole; knees up and rocking back and forth, straining against the bar holding her ankles apart.

I’m kneeling at the foot of the bed, knees apart, stroking my cock, still strapped on, watching from slightly above as she writhes and moans.

Then: next to her, my hand working the cock in and out, my mouth at her neck, shoulder.

“Kiss me,” she whispers, as I refuse to close the distance and keep her straining to reach my mouth.

I grin, and slap her instead, three four five six times in rapid succession. She moans, I hit her again. “Or slap me, that’s good too,” she breathes, nearly under her breath, as I continue to make her cheek pinker, and I do, again, and she starts coming, harder, so I slap her a few more times before leaning in to kiss her, until she starts jerking as she comes and nearly knocks me in the nose with her forehead.

“Fuck me, please,” she is unhinged like this and asking for just what she wants, and I love that.

I shift between her legs, the bar holding her ankles apart now behind my knees and I keep some pressure on it so she can strain against it, and slide inside easily, wrap my arms around her, kiss her hard, and we lose ourselves in it, rocking against each other, going deep.

learnin some new rope tricks

Lately, I’ve been thinking about rope.

I have tied Penny, spread-eagle, to my bed, and she has said she would not be opposed to doing that again (actually, her words were probably more like, “I didn’t like that at all. I’d hate it if you did it again” because she’s so damn snarky like that).

And, the Body Electric School course on Power, Surrender, & Intimacy is coming up in a couple weeks, and I received the supply list:

1. One (1) length of 40 feet of ½ inch thick soft rope (nylon, polyester, or mixed cotton/nylon)
2. Two (2) lengths of 13-15 feet of ¼ inch thick soft rope
3. Sex toys of any kind that you would like to use are welcome including cuffs, feathers, floggers and spanky toys.

I did PSI years ago – maybe 2002 – and had such revelations (I’m a top? Really? And other people perceive me as butch?) that I’ve been watching for it ever since. You have to complete the Celebrating the Body Erotic – level one – course in Body Electric to do PSI, so all of you who are currently salivating, to you I say, you should’ve done the CBE! (There are CBEs coming up in Seattle and Oakland in 2008, it’s not too late.)

So, I’ve been thinking about rope. And I’m a big fan of Two Knotty Boys, so here ya go – a fun little rope trick for handbinding.

Fucking a Porn Star

This Sugarbutch Star submission comes from Avah of Designing Intimacy. Thanks Avah!

Fucking a Porn Star

The girl knew how to submit.

Even before Avah had her clothes off, even before they entered the hotel room, there was something, some lowering coyly of her eyes, some demure way she kept fluttering her wrists like dinner napkins, something in the way she would purse and slowly lick her lips that made Avah feel strong. Powerful. Wanted. Something that gave Avah permission to take.

With a girl like this, Avah knew how to dominate.

The girl knew what Avah brought along in her carefully packed bag. They had negotiated the contents cautiously, both clearly able to navigate the world of online NSA personals.

Avah’s ad read “ISO sweet, submissive girl that loves rope and flogging.” The girl was her only decent reply – and she was a redhead.

Once in the hotel room, lights still off, Avah told her to undress – revealing milky white, near translucent skin, thin and hiding nothing – then kneel in front of her. Avah parted her own pussy lips with her fingers, standing before the girl who, stripped nude and kneeling, began lapping and sucking tentatively at first, then eagerly, deeper, suckling, making small mmm noises like she was savoring some satisfying desert.

The night of subtle, easy communication at the bar, and the girl’s sweet eyes looking up at her, mouth full, made Avah so hot, and the girl’s expert tongue and pressure brought Avah surprisingly quickly to a thick state of desire and bliss. Coming in the girl’s mouth easily, Avah rewarded her accordingly: she unzipped her toy bag.

The date moved quickly. Avah took this sweet, submissive girl every way she could think of: bent over the coffee table. Against the wall. Elaborately hog tied on the bed, wrists and ankles pulling each other in separate directions (that was especially lovely). Wrists tied behind her back. Fingers in her cunt, then fist in her cunt, then fingers in her ass. Beautiful.

There was something Avah couldn’t pinpoint about this girl: some familiarity about the way her bones shift when she moves, the way her small, tight muscles pulse and ripple, that look in her eyes each time Avah turns to her, palm open, to bring a new sensation to her body. There was some way she led Avah, with tiny, subtle movements, to know exactly what to do next. So skilled at submitting.

Hours later, the two girls were flushed, skin sheened with sweat, exhausted and still wanting each other. The hotel room is dim with candles and the nighttime city lights filtering through the curtain. The bedspread, sheets, and pillows, have been torn from the bed and discarded on the floor. The couch too has been attacked, pillows strewn about, even knocking over a vase that they both ignored.

Avah’s rope proved to be the favorite accessory of the evening. Wrapped around both of the girl’s wrists, it was now tied to the hotel headboard, immobilizing the girl, face down, stretching her arms long above her head. Her ankles were tied, too, to the feet of the bed, but the rope had enough length that the girl could nearly raise to her hands and knees. Her ass was in the air, increasingly pink.

Raising her hand beyond her shoulder, Avah brought her cupped palm down onto the flesh her ass meets thigh: a delicate sound. The girl’s muscles clenched gently, then release.

Again, and again, Avah slapped and stung the girl’s ass and inner thighs, her hand hitting against her crack, swatting her clit and swollen labia, red and slick and smooth as glass, steady, and then faster, the blows coming closer together until the girl started whimpering and straining at the ropes, inching forward to escape, and Avah let up, soothed her hand over the girl’s reddened skin and cunt, fingers exploring the crevasses of her labia and hood, slow circles, slow lazy circles around her clit, and the girl relaxed again, leaned into it, moaned.

The girl’s back arched, knees and feet straining farther apart.

Avah pulled her flogger from her bag: deerskin. Long. She draped it easily over the girl on the bed and it tickled, massaged, gently caressed her skin.

Until – thud. Avah let it fall using only gravity. Again. Thud. A gentle sound. More like thhh. A shushing noise through the air like a librarian.

The girl arched her head back. It was a request. Four, five swats and Avah had her aim. Eight, nine and Avah had a comfortable build of pressure: each time she brought the leather down it hit a little harder, a little deeper into the muscles.

The girl squirmed and writhed against the bed.

Avah climbed between her knees, on the bed and, erect, brought her flogger down again. Onto her shoulder blades. Onto her sides. Onto her tiny ass. Finding a rhythm. One two thud. One two thud. Gathering the tails together over her shoulder, into the palm of her hand, then back down. Precise. Their breaths matching. Gasping when the tails hit skin, moaning when they leave.

“Oh god,” the girl whispered. “Oh god.” She cringes, cries out.

“You like that?” Avah growls, a little harsh, acutely aware of the ferociousness building in her stomach, under her ribcage, creeping up to her heart and throat and shoulders. She hit harder. Harder. The girl arched her back, nearly collapses on the bed.

“Relax,” Avah said, caressing the girl’s skin with her palm. The girl crushed into the bedspread and brought her arms under her, tensing her entire body briefly before releasing, opening again, looking up at Avah with soft eyes. Her limbs were all sinew and bone and skin, lanky and long, thin. She tilted her head but kept her eyes on Avah, responding to Avah’s soothing touch with arches of her body, breathing in. She relaxed onto the hotel sheets, then took her arms out from their tucked position under her and bent her knees, arms and torso laid out long on the bed, ass to ankles.

“Please, a few more?”

Avah grinned, stepped off the bed behind her to get a larger swing, then tightened her grip on the flogger’s thick handle and let more blows fall onto the girl’s back and ass and thighs, tips of the tails snapping at her skin, not fine enough to leave individual marks but turning her entire backside darker and darker pink, in some places flushed red. She may be bruised tomorrow.

Working her entire body into the blows, Avah swung and hit. Swung and hit. She is a true sadist: she is turned on by the witness of someone else’s pain. She knew her cunt was wet, could feel it between her thighs. The girl moaned and cringed and breathed with each contact. Avah worked up into a wonderful beat, so satisfying, a wrist turn that looked like a baton twirl and a rhythm like timpani, steady and slow, working the flesh and bones of this girl, this gorgeous girl, so willing to give over, so eager to receive.

Avah built up speed and the girl whimpered. Harder, and she yelled, pulled against the ropes, thighs cringing together. Avah gathered her strength and let a last few blows hit.

The girl cried out with the intensity. Screamed, then quieted.

Gently leaning into her, Avah floated her hands above the girl’s skin as she lay still with the aftermath of the flogging, writhing and cringing, body melting and settling back into its former shape. Avah softly began moving her hands, hovering just above the skin, not touching yet and then – until – just a fingertip, just the softest brush of the pads of her fingers over the girl’s smelting skin, red and stinging and sensitive to even the minute changes in the air. Avah set each finger, then her palm, oh so gently, barely even touching, like a paintbrush making the finest softest strokes against the exposed canvass of the girl’s back and ass and thighs.

The girl drew breath in hard with each brush. Arched her back. Strained against the ropes.

The reverberation of every contact rippled through her body like a firework exploding, another touch in another spot would simply further illuminate the smoky leftover of the first, still hanging on her skin.

“You feel amazing,” Avah said, completely caught up in the buzz of energy between them.

The girl whispered something, groaned, into the pillow.

“Uh sorry?” Avah said, both hands on the girl’s hip bones, leaning forward to hear her better.

Fuck me,” the girl said again, clearly this time, turning her head to the side, red hair falling over her face. “Please, oh god please.”

“Mmm,” Avah agreed, drawing back down the girl’s body to her ass and exposed cunt, two fingers running over her lips and clit, swollen from the long night of sex, from the sensory overload, from the submission.

The girl moaned deliciously with each touch.

Avah grinned and kept her grip on the girl’s hip bones, slid two fingers inside her slick cunt easily. The girl sighed, heavy, and opened deeper. Avah slid out and added another finger, a little tighter with three, the girl inhaled and squirmed a little, so eager, so open.

“Damn, that’s good,” Avah mumbled, fingers sliding in and out easily, thumb on the girl’s hard clit. Avah felt her opening deeper still, pushing back onto Avah’s hand, gripping the rope that held her wrists to the headboard, rocking on her knees. Avah added her fourth finger.

The girl’s clit swelled, g-spot swelled – Avah could feel it from where her hand hit inside, the upper wall thick and juicy and swollen and she fingered it, pressed against it tenderly, pet it with little laps of the pads of her four fingers.

Cries from the girl’s mouth, directly in a line connected to her cunt. Pressure here and she cried out. Pressure there and she gasped. A little harder, a little faster, and her knees shook, thighs pressed apart, ass pressed back, back arched, head bent and her cunt opened to swallow everything, to take it all inside her, hard, to suck Avah’s hand in, to the palm. Then she burst: it started in her cunt and then radiated out in waves, in ripples, thick quakes of bone and muscle and the girl made such delicious low moans, oh-oh-oh god, oh-oh-oh god, and Avah slowed, changed pressure to let up, and the girl folded back into herself, collapsed forward on the bed, and Avah’s fingers slid out as her body calmed.

Avah unties the ropes and they collapse together on the bed, the girl holding Avah close against her, sharing caresses, giggles, as they came down from their bodies’ highs. They lay eye to eye on the pillows.

“You just look so familiar, I can’t shake it,” Avah said. “It’s weird. We haven’t met before, you’re sure?”

The girl grinned. “Well, I told you my name. I figured if you knew my work you’d recognize that.”

Avah, embarrassed, couldn’t remember it. Michelle. Marilyn. Something with an M.

“Madison,” the girl said. “Madison Young.”

“Oh,” said Avah, and then she realized: she’d just fucked a porn star.

ask for what you want

I want you to only address me as Sir.

I want you to start playing with your clit ten minutes before I arrive, but under no circumstances are you allowed to come.

I want you wearing high heels and a short skirt with nothing underneath.

I want your safeword to be carnation, which means, you can yell no all you like, but I will not stop.

I want you ready to bend over my lap struggling as I spank you. Lift your dress up and turn your ass-cheeks red until my hand hurts. And then you’ll kiss it, suck my fingers, make it better. I’ll scold you for making me all hard and wanting, and you’ll straddle me and ride.

I want your explicit consent. I want your permission and submission.

I want you to know how to draw it from me. I am afraid of my own power. I want you to pull these cruelties from me, to beg for them. I want to take your energy and mine into one huge fireball that I will weild and you will receive. I want your surrender. I want you to make me feel like the biggest, baddest top in the room, even if I’m not.

Can you do that for me?

things I’ve never done, but would like to try

  1. Fuck a girl’s ass with a strapon (is it still called pegging if it’s two women, or is pegging unique to a woman strapped on fucking a guy?). I’ve done plenty of ass-play, but somehow the women I’ve been with have never actually been comfortable enough with it for me to be strapped on. I have, however, fucked a guy this way, once upon a time.

  2. Stingy toys, like a cane. I’d like to leave some marks. I’ve used a cane before, actually, but I don’t own one, and I’d like to experiment to feel more comfortable with it

  3. Receive – and give – a cutting

  4. Role-play out in a bar, pretend we don’t know each other and pick each other up. I suppose that has a lot of variations (resistance, convincing).

  5. Sex in central park, sex in every girl club in new york city (the bathroom, the back room, the alley, the deserted dancefloor, wherever), sex at work. After hours, in an empty office, wherever. I’ve done that, actually, though not at my current job.

  6. Play with knives. And yes, I think I’d like to be the one holding the knife, although that could be negotiable.

  7. And, last but not least, recent events have told me that I need to practice my flogging & rope bondage.

Gender Dynamics in the Sexblog Community

Welcome to the community, Colleen and Jake. Even just a few months ago the dyke-run sexblogs were few and far between, but this little empire (car tires & chicken wires) of ours is growing. Have you seen my “Playin’ for My Team” sidebar list recently? Not all of those are exclusively sexblogs, but most of them are. But here’s a funny thing … almost all of these dyke-run sexblogs, though, are from self-defined femmes. Hey, all the better for me, really, but where are the butches?Similarly, I was at the Pervert’s Saloon Tea Party this past Sunday, and it was me, Jefferson, and six other women – Tess, Viviane, Calico, Selina, Rachel, and Lolita. (I missed Madeline, who has been there every other time I’ve been to a tea party, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one.) We were interviewed by Craig Collinson of Nobles Gate for his documentary “A Sex Bloggesy” about, um, sexbloggers.

That’s us. Anonymized in the interviewer’s monitor. Photo borrowed from Viviane.There was a question at some point about the imbalance of genders in the room – At one point, Jefferson said (about me), “Well hey, you’re the only man in the room …” This imbalance is in the sexblog community in general, too. We did some speculation as to why this is. The interviewer even brought up the idea that women are not as sexual creatures as men. I think, honestly, he was playing TO the stereotypes intentionally, though he was also asking us to defend/discuss it. I spent much of the interview biting my fist to keep from jumping up on the table and start proselytizing.

And, what is that about, anyway? That it is primarily women who are running sexblogs? Oh, I have some ideas.

  1. The mainstream audience for porn is, of course, men, so women are better able to get a handle or corner on the potential marketability of a sexblog.

  2. Because of the way patriarchy works (gasp, the P word), men don’t have to examine or question or explore sex in order to figure out how to get pleasure, how to get validation, and how to reconcile their identity as a sexual person, because it’s socially acceptable and, in fact, encouraged, for a man to be sexually explorative. This is still not true for women.

  3. Women, as a whole, do tend to be more verbal (whether it’s nature or nurture, we can have that argument another time), and also attach more emotion to sex, probably for biological purposes (and this has been proven by sociobiological scientists, not just stereotypes). Therefore the act of sex is potentially more complicated and problematic for women (?? … I’m brainstorming here, don’t mind my generalities).

  4. There has been a lot of work done by women on the gender of femininity in the last forty years (holy smokes, second-wave feminism was forty years ago?) because of the sexual and gender revolutions of the 1960s and 70s. Therefore, many many many of the limitations and constrictions that were previously placed upon women and femininity have been deconstructed and revalued, and, generally, quite successfully I think. This is NOT to say that I think feminism is over, or that we are now in a post-feminist state – only that women and the feminist movement have done a lot of work on the feminine gender, which may actually be leading to how women are able to take control of and elaborate upon their various sexualities via writing on the Internet. However, that work has not been done in the same way by/for masculinity and men. I would argue, in fact, that that is where the next gender revolution needs to come: from and for men, revaluing and deconstructing masculinity and the mandatory tough guise. However, because we are STILL in a patriarchy, and STILL value maleness more than femaleness, men haven’t been forced to do this – yet. I don’t know how I can help fuel this revolution-to-come, but I sure would like to.

  5. Hmmm … anything else? (I’m digging this list format. Feels like my ideas are more organized this way.) I’ll keep thinking about this question. So, riddle me this, folks: Why is the sexblog community dominated by women? And why are the queer women sexblogs primarily femme? Where are the gayboy sexblogs, anyway?

So, after the interviewers left, we went back to our regular fabulous Tea Party, catching up with each other, discussing and processing and catching up.Viviane, always the amazing host, made strawberry shortcake and mint juleps, along with watercress & goat cheese tea sandwiches. And delicious tea, of course, both iced and hot. Selina brought beautiful cups & saucers for our tea, Rachel ran out to get the proper milk, and looked gorgeous in her summery dress. Selina had some pretty fantastic heels on that she’d discovered in London, and Tess … well, Tess had heels on too. (Oh I’m such a sucker for stilettos.) Lolita had a beautiful new cutting by Jefferson Sharrin Spector (who wasn’t there, but Lolita gave me her link so I figured I’d include it. I’m kinda jealous, I want a cutting). Calico I met for the first time, who is a newcomer to this scene but is already making quite the impression. And Jefferson, of course, infamous Jefferson, was showing off his rubber ducky boxers by the end of the night.

What else happened at this tea party, you ask?

Well … After the girls said they’d gotten pedicures just so they could wear their fancy shoes, I mentioned that I cut my fingernails just for the party … to which of course Jefferson retorted, “What, did you think you were going to get laid?” … which was the beginning of the shenanigans.

Jefferson told me “what gender is” while we were in the kitchen devilling eggs. To be fair, I thought he was saying “ginger,” because of his cute little southern accent, which prompted me to ask what the hell he was talking about. Although ginger wasn’t actually that out of context considering we’d been discussing ginger butt fucking (apparently called figging?) just shortly before.

It’s true what they’re saying, I did get a little lesson in flogging from Lolita, as did Tess and Selina. I felt out of practice and incredibly embarrassed, actually. Because I am good at flogging. Actually, quite good. And I hated being seen, in front of a roomful of experienced people, of whom I was one of the youngest, as not experienced in something I am good at. It was very frustrating. Really, it made me draw the conclusion that I need to flog more, to be sure to keep my skills fresh. … perhaps I should seek volunteers.

Viviane did a bit of a roundup, Tess wrote about it, and Lolita did too.

One last thing: I really have NO idea what I said on camera, what quotes of mine (if any) will be used. The one thing I did really want to press was how much I believe that our discussions of sex, relationships, and gender in these online communities is actually an act of social change and revolution. That it helps and encourages open communication about pleasure, identity, and of course sex, all of which are still taboo. We’re makin’ history here, we’re paving the way for a more sophisticated, more particular, safer, happier, much improved cultural dealings with sex. And I am oh so grateful to be a part of that, even in the smallest way.

Bully

You are face down, ponytail bobbing, wrists and ankles tied to my bedposts, the simple steel I won from my last breakup. Since then, I have fucked five women in this bed. You are the sixth.

Does it matter how I got you here? Whether I wined and dined you, bought you indulgent fruity mixed drinks, a delectable dinner, your body now satiated but wanting other fullness, wanting me to stop fingering my fork spoon knife glass napkin ice cubes and begin placing my hands carefully on your skin.

Or perhaps I simply ordered you over here, sent a car to your apartment and was waiting downstairs when you arrived at mine, paid the driver, removed my dark tie from the tight collar of my baby-blue button down and slipped it over your eyes. Leading you up two flights of stairs without your sense of sight.

No matter. You’ve been here before. Nothing really to see.

I am tempted to rip seams, pop buttons open with force. You know how you bring that out in me.

Instead, I make you wait. Drag the thin fabric of your shirt along your skin, slow as I can. You can’t see, but you can feel me, my breath on you, my hands, my rough thumbs waiting to dig bruises into your upper arms, stomach, hips.

My collection of floggers hang from a swirl of Victorian iron on the wall next to my bed. I choose my favorite: black, thin leather, red deerskin flanks in the center. My name is carved into the handle: s. i. n.

You’re stripped, aside from my dark blue schoolboy tie around your eyes. I know it’s not foolproof, other blindfolds are more efficient. I don’t mind the glimpses you steal.

You see me strip down to loose, soft cotton jersey boxers and an a-shirt. Have to have my arms free if I’m going to beat you, after all. My cock pokes through the single button in the boxers. You like it when it does that.

I smell like summer and sweat, and I’ve been drinking tequila again, on the rocks, just a little. You smell sweet. Fresh. Clean like linen. My mouth waters and I imagine my tongue tracing the curves of your lower back, up to your shoulder, the back of your neck.

I stand gazing for too long, and you begin to squirm.

“Be still,” I say, and put one hand on your ass, trace it down to the back of your knee. “I’m going to hit you now.”

You let out a puff of air that is a whimper and a sigh. Your skin tenses and you try to counter by keeping your muscles calm.

“Relax,” I say, “or it’ll just hurt more.”

I want you to count to fifty, but wonder if that’s too many. I like flogging with an end in sight. Otherwise I go into that physiological trance state where I find rhythm and forget to stop.

I begin counting in my head. One – thump. Two – thump. Your muscles begin to open but still wince just before the leather makes contact.

Five – thump.

Six – thump.

The leather makes a small whoosh through the air. I’m being gentle, mostly just a tap, letting gravity pull the tassels to your skin, your ass, your thighs.

Whoosh – ten – thump.

Whoosh – eleven – thump.

I begin to throw a little more arm strength into the flogger and you grunt with an “uh –“ wincing a little stronger.

At fifteen I pause, run my hand, fingers, palm, along your skin. Tender where I’ve hit you hardest. You inhale sharply and arch your back to the touch, like a cat.

“Your skin looks beautiful,” I say. “It’s beginning to pinken, a little, at the edges.” My mouth is at your neck and I kiss you a few times, find you panting, tongue swollen.

“More, darling?” I ask, an offer and a question. You turn your face toward the sound of my voice, bite your lower lip, and nod.

“Oh – yes – please – ” you manage.

You do beg real pretty. I’ll never forget your legs wrapped around me that night I refused to slide inside you until you begged.

You’d said, finally: “Oh baby, your cock is so sweet, so sweet and hard, fill me up with it, baby, shove it in me, please, pump it in me, let me milk it, let me squeeze it hard till you come inside me, oh please I want it – I need it – I wanna be filled up – please put it in, please.”

It was the way your eyes flashed on that last please that did it to me. Finally sent me over desire’s edge to where I had to take you.

Tonight, I’m ready to hold out.

I switch up my rhythm so the flogger first hits my back over my right shoulder, then your back and exposed ass, then I catch it with my left hand. Easier on a Saint Andrew’s Cross than lying down, but I like the way it stings my palm. Plus I can gauge the strength of the blows this way.

Shoulder – ass – hand. Twenty.

Shoulder – back – hand. Twenty one.

Shoulder – ass – hand. Twenty two.

You’re writhing a bit, whimpering at the blows, occasional head back open-throated gasp when I land somewhere particularly hard.

Shoulder – back – hand. Twenty five.

I decide to go to thirty. Your skin is reddened to how I like it, ripe, your hips are making these nice S-curves and I want to fuck your ass.

I increase not just the muscle power I’m putting behind the flogger but also the velocity. Harder. Faster. You cry out. Twenty seven. You gasp and cry out again. Twenty eight.

I grab your hair, a neat twist in a ponytail, and lift your head slightly, my mouth by your ear. I drag the flogger along your inner thighs.

“Quiet,” I mutter.

You sigh and shudder. “Bully – “ you whisper, not intending for me to hear you.

I want to growl, but instead I push your cheek to the soft sheet and hold you there by the back of your neck, aiming a few blows between your legs.

Leather on labia. My favorite.

You’re whimpering again. I loose count and take five, six quick whaps to your cunt and inner thighs. You are making noises that sound like exquisite agony.

I step out of my boxers, they’re in the way, lube up my cock from the pump on the bedside table and moisten two fingers, then kneel between your thighs and lube your asshole, fingering the crack of your ass. I slide the thumb of my left hand into your slick wet cunt and can feel your clit under my index finger, so I set it there and rock it gently back and forth. The heel of my hand spreads your labia and tilts your pelvis back and up. Serves you to me like a feast.

You moan. The blindfold has slipped over your head and you’re watching me from over your left shoulder.

I slide one finger, then two, into your tight asshole while leaving my other hand still, fingers inside you. You groan a little and press into me a bit harder. Slide those fingers out and I touch the tip of my dick to your tight hole and you swallow it, open to it, and I can feel the muscles stretch and pulse when the head of my cock pops in, the shaft of it sliding easier through the tightest places.

You are still moaning. Sounds from your mouth as you grind back into me and wiggle your hips against mine. You’re almost on your knees and elbows now, hands gripped around the ties that hold you to the headboard. Lower back arched, still a little pink.

I let go of the cupped grip on your cunt and find your hipbones with my palms. Push you from me and pull you back so I don’t have to clench, just you, pulling your ass down onto my cock, feeling the resistance in your tight hole. It’s so good fucking you this way. Thighs and ass clenched, clit rubbing against the base of my cock every time I thrust inside. Easing forward so my thighs hit yours. Working in and out faster, a little, harder, my body an S-curve from knee to stomach, not just in-out but rolling against you. You are open-mouthed screaming into the pillow and asking for more, harder, oh god, fuck me, fuck my ass and I slap against you, once, twice, both of us groaning.

My head rolls back, my back curves, slapping against you harder as my orgasm comes closer, the resistance of your ass offering me tight pressure every time I thrust inside. My hands still hold your hips, your ass, the sitbones of your buttocks as my cunt pulses, cock fucks.

You can feel it in me. “Do it,” you say, “come in my ass, fuck me till you come, do it harder, thrust inside me –” and I groan, yelling oh god oh god yes, fuck, and shudder against you until I’m spent, throw my arm around your waist and collapse on top of you, kissing your neck, your shoulders.

I breathe heavy as my body calms, then slip out, untie you. You curl next to me, knees and arms between us as we both lay on our sides and I gently finger your wrists, ankles, the places you were bound, and your back, shoulders, ass. Places I hit you. Tender.

“Alright?” I ask. We gaze at each other.

You smile. “Course.” You hold my cheek in your palm and I kiss your thumb. “You?”

“Mmmm.” I manage. Spent. You didn’t come, this time. “I’ll make it up to you in the morning,” I promise, grateful you’ve let me take what I’ve been craving. I’ll give you whatever you want.

You run your fingers through my short boy hair. “Damn right you will,” you say, and pull the covers up over us both.