Posts Tagged ‘bed death’

March Book Roundup: Sex, sex, and more sex

March Book Roundup: Sex, sex, and more sex

April 3, 2014  |  reviews  |  No Comments

It’s been a review and work month for books, but I’m still eager to keep finding those titles that are breezy-easy reads, that engage me fully, and that are extremely fun and satisfying to finish.

Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.

partnersinpassionI wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love from Cleis Press to be part of the blog tour for this book, but I was immensely impressed. Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson have penned quite a few books on Tantra, and they teach extensively on the subject, but I believe this is their first more general book encouraging sexual engagement and interaction for couples ongoing. Bed death is another one of those topics that I am fascinated in, so I was very curious what they would say and what they recommend. It is an excellent read. I loved how they portrayed Tantra in that chapter, and the many chapters on experiments for couples, keeping sexy times alive, and ways to work through your own internal blocks are essential and fantastic. I appreciated the extensive amount of gender inclusion, including some testimonials and quotes from trans folks in very respectful and interesting ways, and of sexual orientation inclusion, too—I worried Michaels & Johnson would be very heteronormative in their work, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all. On the contrary, it felt like they were over for dinner at my house and they were just chit chatting about the very real challenges that I have faced in many relationships. (But in a deep, personal, open, insightful way, not in a superficial chit-chat way.) It was much more than I expected and I think everyone curious about enhancing your sex life, and your connection to your partner, should read it, and every one of us who teaches about sex, bed death, and maintaining erotics in a long term relationship should look to it as an excellent resource.

bigbookofsextoysThe Big Book of Sex Toys: From Vibrators and Dildos to Swings and Slings—Playful and Kinky Bedside Accessories That Make Your Sex Life Amazing by Tristan Taormino is not a new publication, but it’s new to me. I remember when it was released a few years ago and I just didn’t have time to pick it up and check it out, but because it’s Tristan, I knew it’d be good, and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I finally did, and glad I did. It’s not so much a bible of all available sex toys (perhaps you want Hey, Epiphora for that) but it’s an excellent primer on the types of toys available and highlights of some of the very best. Since the world of sex toys changes constantly (which is one of the reasons it’s fascinating, and one of the reasons it’s frustrating), the book is not comprehensive—but doesn’t claim to be. In addition, it is about SO MUCH MORE than just sex toys—it has excellent essays on communication, experimentation, and owning your own desires mixed in, almost disguised under the premise of sex toys, which is extra clever and a really good entrance point for people delving into more creative sexualities. It belongs up there with The Good Vibes Guide to Sex and Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind Blowing Sex.

daddyI was severely disappointed with Madison Young’s new memoir Daddy. I expected it to be the story of her life, highlighting the daddies she had along the way (as the back cover blurb implied), and including her rise to her pretty famous position of “feminist pornographer.” She wrote about her family-of–origin father, and her partner-cum-dominant-cum-daddy James, but virtually nothing was said about her feminist politics, and very little was depicted or delved into about the sex work and porn that she is particularly famous for starring in and creating. I thought the conflation of her “daddy issues” with her biological father and the daddy role and play that she and her lover take on was irresponsible and cliche. I would have hoped for something more in depth, more thought out, and more, well, feminist, in that it would depict power dynamics with awareness and consciousness and show personal agency. Maybe it’s just because I know Madison’s story has so much more to it than what was shown in this book, but the many claims (two of them being “feminism” and “the many daddies”) just didn’t deliver.

lesbiansexShanna Katz’s book Lesbian Sex Positions: 100 Passionate Positions from Intimate and Sensual to Wild and Naughty was one of those review books I mentioned, that I picked up because I have deep respect for Shanna, and because I have a kinda quirky fascination with sex positions. On the one hand, having sex in different positions seems like a kind of irrelevant thing to teach or know about, but on the other hand, it is an amazingly popular way that couples “spice up their sex life” and begin seeking more in the worlds of sexuality and toys and kink. It’s also incredibly useful to know about sex positions for people with different physical abilities, be that from injury or disability, and often useful for differing size issues, too, both “my partner is a full foot taller than me!” and “I weight a lot more/less than my partner.” Also, someone (Megan Andelloux I think?) once told me that she believed there are only four real sex positions, and all the others are variations of those four, and I’ve been trying to figure out which four those are ever since. So I was curious to see lesbian-specific ideas for positions. I was disappointed by the skinny-white-girl depictions of the positions, though I think I remember seeing Shanna say that herself too, and that she didn’t have any choice, it was the publisher’s decision. It doesn’t highlight Shanna’s extraordinary skills around disability and size and gender-diversity, so the book doesn’t feel like a very good representation of Shanna’s sex educator smarts. Still, her introductory essay is great (and probably the best part of the book), and I think it’s fascinating that there’s a market for gift books like this.

runningmeditationI’m really into Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham. I devoured it from the library and then went out and bought my own copy so I could follow along with the stages of running (and meditation) that he talks about. I miss studying Buddhism—I haven’t found my place here in the Bay Area yet (mostly because I haven’t really looked yet). I love looking at running through the teachings of meditation, and I was moved, inspired, and curious about the ways he interweaves the two. He does say explicitly that though running can be meditative, it is not a replacement for a meditative practice—”running is not your meditation,” (I’m paraphrasing), “any more than meditation is your exercise.” This book made me want to run better and meditate more. Which is just what I wanted it to do.

sexpositionI’m not sure what it is, but I have a small collection of funky queer coloring books. I don’t color in them (though maybe I should—I try not to treat my objects as too precious to be used for their intended purpose), but I seem to collect them anyway. I picked up the Sex Position Coloring Book as a review item because I am—what did I write up there?—quirkily fascinated by sex positions as a thing that sex educators teach, and I’m trying to figure out how it’s useful to my own teachings and workshops, particularly since I teach strap-on workshops so frequently. The book depicts only heterosexual cis male & cis female couples, but that’s one of the fun things about a coloring book: you could always add harnesses or other bodily modifications. In full disclosure: I also picked this up partly to inspire rife to possibly do some of his own coloring pages, maybe of sex positions even. That secret covert plan hasn’t worked yet, but I still have some ideas up my sleeve.

farmcityI’ve just finished Farm City: Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter this week, so it just squeaked on to this list. I have TWO beautiful big photo books about beginning to grow food in your (urban) backyard, but I haven’t quite devoured them because, well, I’m still so intimidated by the process. I moved into the house I’m in now in August 2013, and we spent the winter prepping the yard and getting it ready to plant and grow more things. Now that it’s spring in the Bay Area it is clearly time to plant things and start planning. It’s exciting! The options feel limitless! And also, eek! We do already have quite a few things in the ground, kale potatoes peas tomatoes pumpkins, and some herbs, sage dill mint basil, and a wildflower patch and a jasmine bush and a satsuma orange tree in a container, but I want to know how to do it all better and want to play in the dirt. So, in order to get myself a bit more excited about these kinds of ideas, I picked up Novella’s book. She had an urban farm in Oakland actually not too far from my house, so I loved hearing about the changes in the neighborhood and the local events. She raised ducks, rabbits, and even pigs for meat, and I will absolutely not be doing that, but in comparison it sure makes growing kale seem easier. I love how extensively researched she is—every few pages she quotes another book, another writer, another hippie back-to-the-land philosopher who came before. I’m definitely more inspired to get out to my own backyard garden and see what I can help grow.

dreambizI’ve been devouring some business books lately, and Start Your Dream Business was one of them. It, unfortunately, is almost completely about motivating the reader to follow their dreams and pursue that wacky business idea that you might have, and it is not at all about the nitty-gritty how to do it. In fact, often the business profiles completely skip that part, going from “I had this great idea!” to “and now it’s a 6-figure business!” Great, good for you—and also, how’d ya do that!? Regardless, I picked up the book from the library because I was interested in the premise, and zoomed through it because it included so many people whose work I’ve been familiar with online (like Tara Gentile and … lots of others I can’t remember now). Sarah Wade is UK-based, so many of the references and business owners are not American, which honestly made it even more interesting, since I am mostly familiar with American methodologies of entrepreneurship. I still don’t feel like I’m a pro at this whole business thing, but it’s curious and I am enjoying the learning.

switchI picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles because it’s in that BDSM-novel genre of power dynamic romance that I have enjoyed picking up recently, because I zoom through them and sometimes they’re kind of fun and mostly I can ignore the problematic gender/power alignment assumptions. This one had a curious class premise—that the dominant the narrator meets and falls for is homeless and jobless at the beginning of the book—but other than that, it was pretty fluffy and not very memorable. I ran into a quote from this book about switching, which is what turned me on to it in the first place, but I might have put the book down before I got to the switching part, or just didn’t notice it. The writing is less than average, so I often skimmed through chapters.

Um okay so that’s all I have to say about that.

One more sidenote: I decided at the beginning of March that I would do my best to NOT read online, and to read books instead. It was interesting—it took a lot of discipline, and I noticed how many times, over and over, I clicked through to an article on social media or via email. I didn’t realize how much I was reading online every day, and how many of those articles had so much throw-away content—not things that were actually enriching my life, or teaching me things, but more sensationalized what’s happening in the world things. So that practice has helped me both focus on work more when I’m at the computer and read more books, which has been excellent. I aim to continue that habit.

You can support my reading habit, and encourage me to read and write book roundups like this one, by buying me gifts through my Amazon wish list! (Did I mention it’s my birthday today?)

Or, check out more books that I recommend:


What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?

I’m obligated by the blogger’s code to let you know that the Sex Position Coloring Book, Daddy by Madison Young, The Big Book of Sex Toys, Lesbian Sex Positions, and Partners in Passion were all sent to me by the respective publishers as review books. My opinions on those books are solely my own, however, and they did not pay me or influence me in any way to write them. Pick up these books at your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, on Amazon.

Review: Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (Book)

April 13, 2010  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

I’ve been reading Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel this past week, and it was an interesting enough read to mention it here. I have written quite a lot about my own path to pursuing and finding a fulfilling sexual relationship, as this site was started primarily because I found myself in a lesbian bed death relationship with my ex and was trying to write my way out of it, and to a new sexuality.

Though the cover looks all mainstream self-help-y, it isn’t. Perel is a seasoned therapist and it is mostly full of psychological examples of her clients’ complications in keeping their long-term relationship strong while still having their sexual needs met.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home. Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.

Perel quotes many authors I’ve read (and liked), has a very open minded view about kink and fantasy, and grew up largely outside of the US, which gives her a perspective on our achievement-oriented culture that I appreciate. She does include some gay and lesbian couples in her examples, and her examples and suggestions aren’t heteronormative.

The Amazon description reads: “Some of the proposals Perel recommends for rekindling eroticism involve cultivating separateness (e.g., autonomy) in a relationship rather than closeness (entrapment); exploring dynamics of power and control (i.e., submission, spanking); and learning to surrender to a “sexual ruthlessness” that liberates us from shame and guilt.” YES. Isn’t that precisely what I advocate here on Sugarbutch, in fact? Especially within lesbian cultures, the codependency that comes with the “merging” is so normal it’s practically expected, and I feel like we constantly have to fight against it to avoid it. Somewhere Perel has a line about keeping the spark going, how in order to have the spark you have to have friction, and in order to have friction you have to have a gap between you. That is autonomy, right there, and if one or both of the folks in the relationship don’t have enough of it, the spark won’t be cultivated. Obviously I explore a lot of the dynamics of power and control, and I write about why that stuff can be fun and liberating instead of reproducing some sort of dangerous power dynamic. And shame and guilt? I wish it was possible to just wave a magic wand and take away the shame and guilt about sex from this culture—wanting sex, wanting kinky sex, wanting more sex, our carnal desires in general.

To quote Tara Hardy: “This is the sweet glory reason for a body in the first place.”

I really believe that. Now, if only I can find a way to help teach the undoing of that shame and guilt. (I know, I know, that’s lofty. But hey, why not aim high?)

Perel has some great concepts around the conflicts between the dichotomy of love vs lust, stability vs passion, security vs adventures, occasionally misunderstood as a mutually exclusive binary, but, she argues, is really a “paradox to be managed” instead of a “problem to solve.”

It is a puzzle. Can you hold the awareness of each polarity? You need each at different times, but you can’t have both at the same time. Can you accept that? It’s not an either-or situation, but one where you get the benefits of each and also recognize the limits o each. It’s an ebb and flow. Love and desire are two rhythmic yet clashing forces that are always in a state of flux and always looking for the balance point. —p84

I’m not sure if “you can’t have both at the same time,” I think you can love someone and still feel passionate. But you can’t necessarily have security and adventure at the same time … though what if you’re on a backpacking trip with your sweetheart? You’re having an adventure, but you’re with your lover, so you feel the stability that that relationship can cultivate. And sometimes when I’m having kinky sex and talking all kinds of dirty with Kristen, what’s streaming through the back of my mind is I love you I love you I love you

Still, I get the point. And I really appreciate Perel’s encouragement of treating sex like a hobby, like something you pursue, like grown-up play—that’s what it is.

I was kind of hoping I’d come away with a better sense of how to “unlock” my “erotic intelligence,” but I can’t say I feel like that skill was cultivated so well. (Or perhaps I’ve already done that, for the most part, and while there’s more to do, a book aimed at a general audience might not be teaching me what I’m trying to learn.) I wouldn’t say I had any grand revelations from Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, but it’s very well-written, open minded, and articulate, and it feels very much in line with the work I’m trying to do. I will likely recommend it in the future.

Year One With Kristen (Happy Anniversary)

December 13, 2009  |  journal entries  |  13 Comments

Today, December 13th, marks the anniversary of my first date with Kristen. I didn’t actually tell the story of how we met, so here’s a short version:

I was invited by a friend of mine, Mr. M, to speaking on a panel at the university where he went to school, in Connecticut, in November last year. It was one of the first big speaking gigs I’ve done, actually. Kristen also went to school there, and they knew each other. Mr. M introduced Kristen and I at the panel before it was starting, we said polite hellos. I remember her smile, remember thinking she was cute and femme. As it got a bit busier, and Mr. M and I got comfortable at the front of the room, Kristen approached us again and stood in front of us.

“My ex just walked in,” she said.

“Want me to beat him up?” I looked up at her, presuming her ex was a trans guy.

“She’s a she,” she said, “and no.” She thought I didn’t know she was queer. Oh, I knew.

“Well then,” I shifted, “want to make out with me?” To make her ex jealous, of course.

She blushed a little, looked down, giggled, “Um … nooo.”

Oh yeah she did. Interesting.

I think we said some other things about exes and shared space and events, but she took her seat shortly after and the panel began. I was listed on this panel under my other name, so I introduced myself, saying, “I’m also known as Sinclair Sexsmith, and I run the online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles.”

There were a couple of gasps. One girl dug her nails into the arm of the girl next to her and widened her eyes. Kristen, meanwhile, had this little knowing smirky smile on her face (a smile I would later get to know quite well).

Later, she tagged along with the panel as we all went out to dinner after, and I knew there was chemistry. I’m not sure how it happened exactly, but eventually I took the empty seat next to her, and everyone else was at the opposite end of the long table.

“I have a confession to make,” she said.

I raised my eyebrows. Oh? Already?

“I read your blog.”

“Ah.”

“I have so much to talk to you about!” And so we did. I remember specifically a big conversation about books, and how much she loves reading fiction; I recommended The Book of Salt as something queer that my bookgroup had just read. She mentioned that she was planning to move back to New York City and that she came and visited Mr. M very frequently, nearly every weekend. She lived in Connecticut, but I gave her my email address, and we got in touch and made a date for the next time she was in New York. And, well, you already know all about that first date.

That she was familiar with my work online wasn’t a problem. That I wanted to write about her and the sex we were having wasn’t a problem, either – she has often said she likes to be written about, a lot. I have written less about her and the details of our relationship here than I have about other girls, mostly because I am busy telling her about my interpretations of our relationship, instead of everybody except her. I don’t want to write myself into a relationship I’m not having. Sometimes, I want to keep the things between us just between us.

Also, some of the sex and power dynamics we’ve been exploring are hard to write about. The Daddy/girl roles, the d/s that we’ve taken outside of the bedroom are hard to explain and articulate – but I would like to try, and I do hope to keep challenging myself to articulate the things that we play with.

I am so, so lucky to have found someone to explore these things with, someone I trust deeply, someone who I know will tell me if things don’t feel right, someone who will push back on me and stand up for the things she thinks are important, someone who is not afraid to be honest. It’s hard to find someone to go this deep into sex play with, it’s hard to find someone stable, who knows themselves, who is strong and capable. I’m so, so lucky.

I’m actually writing this (and setting it to publish in the future) two days ago, because this weekend, right now in fact, Kristen and I rented a cabin out in the woods with a big fireplace and a well-stocked kitchen outside of cell phone range. I packed two of my For Your Nymphomation cases (the Flogger case and the XL Adult Toybox) with toys and ropes and cocks and restraints and the spreader bar and the throe and a particular special piece of jewelry I expect her to wear for part of the weekend. She’s packing some very nice things, the liberator lingerie, her red apron, and lots of food. She’s in charge of cooking this weekend, and she has an extensive, romantic menu planned, including fondue, peanut butter cookies, stir-fried vegetables, her famous buttermilk biscuits, bloody marys, brownies – all my favorites. She will also be providing me with wine and whiskey, as needed, on demand.

What a year it’s been.

I’ve never known myself as well as I do now, and I’ve never felt so good about a relationship. One year into my relationship with The Ex (who maybe needs a name at this point) we were already falling apart, already not having enough sex, already fallen into lesbian bed death patterns, already not talking to each other, already not being honest. None of my relationship/flings since have reached a year, none of them have lasted longer than six months, and most of them were much shorter. Not to compare her to others – really she is incomparable. The places we have reached are so far beyond what any of my past relationships have been able to get to. And things are just consistently good, consistently building – even when we have disagreements, or when we don’t understand each other, we are so good at talking through it, we are so good at being honest and kind to each other in ways that have been so important and impressive to me.

There are a lot more places I want to go, and she and I always have a list of things we want to do more of (rope and other restraints, anal, daddy/girl scenes instead of just talk), and this relationship just feels so full of potential, so full of promise, so full of love.

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August’s masthead: combating lesbian bed death

August 7, 2008  |  miscellany  |  9 Comments

August’s masthead is up. Late, I know. I’ve got some more elaborate ideas for photos that I really want to feature, which go with particular quotes, so I kept putting off updating the masthead thinking that I’ll actually take those photos, but now it’s been a week and I just dug through some old shots. This one was actually taken while I was in Mexico with Datedyke, and shows off the cufflinks Colleen gave me.

I’ve still go to finish “What happened in July,” too – that’s coming. This weekend, probably.

I was just this morning on my commute into the city thinking about my former relationship, the one I was in when I started Sugarbutch. We were together four years, and over the last two we had sex five times. Seriously, I started counting. And I, well, I have a little bit of a sex drive.

So one of the reasons I started writing erotica was to have a release for all the sexual energy and frustration I was feeling. And to continue my writing practice, in general. Go figure, there’s actually a lot of craft that goes in to writing erotica – character, dialogue, rise & fall of action.

I used to always get stuck at the part where the characters are having sex, going all hot & heavy, and then they’re just about ready to orgasm and have the whole scene end. I’d get so stuck there. Finally, Jesse James and I were talking one day, and she said, “well yeah, of course that’s the hard part, because you never really know how somebody comes until they do it, do ya?”

Reminds me of that scene in Amelie where she thinks “How many couples are having an orgasm right now?” And there’s a great montage of climaxes. [Can anybody find that clip on Youtube?] Here’s the clip (thanks Sun! I couldn’t access youtube from work). Each one is different.

I’ve been working on finishing this Sugarbutch Star chapbook lately, I’m getting it ready to be handed out at the Femme Conference next weekend, and I’ve also been thinking about how this used to be a major goal of mine – writing smut to get people off. Specifically, to get lesbians off. Even more specifically, to get lesbians to go fuck their girlfriends and to talk to their girlfriends about sex and to get more of what they actually want out of their sex lives. Sometimes I think Lesbian Bed Death perpetuates the prudish idea that women can – or want to – transcend those silly sexual relations and have some sort of deep, meaningful emotional connection, that that’s all that “really” matters.

Well duh, deep connection is important, but sex is important too. I gues that’s one of the differences between male & female sexualities, though, is that for women it does actually seem to be a case of “use it or loose it,” where the more we have sex, the more we want to have sex – as opposed to men, who while many have fluxuations in their sex drive, still tend to have sex drives independently of however much sex they are or aren’t having. I’m sure this isn’t true for all men or all women, but it tends to be true in many cases. (Y’all know of any sources on this? I’ve looked for articles but haven’t located any yet.)

What I’m trying to say is:

1. Still, one of the highest compliments folks can pay me about my smut writing is that they had to go get off after reading it, but also, that it made them want to go play with their partner or girlfriend or random first date or stranger or whomever. I love getting those emails or comments, thank you for that. Let’s make lesbians in future generations ask, “what is this ‘lesbian bed death’? Lesbians didn’t like having sex? They weren’t the most highly sexual creatures on the planet? I don’t get it!”

and 2 … Got ideas for stories you’ve always wanted me to write? The Sugarbutch Star contest is launching again. More details to come.

Balanced On the Tip of My Tongue

June 5, 2008  |  dirty stories  |  20 Comments

Here’s a secret: I’m quite insecure about my ability to go down on a girl.

There are a few clear reasons for this.

The Ex, from the infamous LBD relationship, didn’t get off. I used to go down on her for hours, and … nothing.

Since she & I split nearly two years ago, I’ve been fucking around, and in my efforts to practice safer sex, I’ve only gone down either when we were fluid-bonded (rare), or with protection (also rare, actually).

And I hate to be “That Guy,” but going down on someone with protection just isn’t as fun. It’s hard to be detailed, hard to feel the right pressure or wetness or subtle, small ridges in the delicate tissue, which makes it all the more frustrating.

Going down on a girl, I think, is actually one of the most intimate sex acts. I will do all sorts of things before I’d go down, partially because of the fluid/safer sex issue, and partly because it takes a lot of vulnerability – for both giver and receiver – to have someone so completely focused with her face between your legs, your face between hers.

I also have a tongue piercing, and while I would like to think that it makes me more skilled at things like kissing and going down, but I don’t really have proof of that.  sometimes I am paranoid that I don’t really know how to use it, or that really it’s just getting in the way. I’d like to think it enhances what I do with my tongue, but I’m not really sure.

So because of these things, because it’s an intimate act for me, because I’ve been fucking around, because my ex couldn’t get off that way at all, I actually don’t have a lot of practice at it. No one’s ever told me I’m actually bad at it, don’t get me wrong – and once I know how to get a girl off, I can usually reproduce it in various ways: fingers, cock. It should extend to tongue, too, right?

But I’m insecure about it.

(I actually picked up Tristan Taormino’s DVD Guide to Cunnilingus at her launch party for her book Opening Up, but haven’t watched it yet. I should do that.)

So, on Sunday – after a lovely date with Penny on Saturday night where we watched the Sex and the City film, had dinner, drinks, dessert after, went to my place and kept each other up until 3am – we were lounging, satiated from a morning of breakfast and sex, talking about her plans to move to San Francisco.

Penny was lying tucked under my arm on the couch, and asked, “What’s on your mind?”

“Going down on you,” I said. I felt her body pulse in response.

We talked. Safer sex, my history, hers, why I don’t go down, that I wanted to with her. This conversation, inevitably, led to kissing, my mouth on her neck, clavicle, nipples, which was suddenly such a heightened sensation because we were both so aware of the idea of her clit in my mouth.

Pushing her into the bedroom, I stripped her bare swiftly, laid her out on the bed. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me to her in the sweetest gesture of vulnerability and desire; it was one of the strongest moments of the weekend.

“I want to taste you,” I murmured into the skin of her neck and cheek. “I want your clit in my mouth. I want to get you all wet, then fuck you, get my cock out and slide it in deep …”

(This was actually my backup plan in case I couldn’t get her off with my mouth. I had no idea if it would be easy or hard, if I was any good at it, if I could get her off this way at all. But at least I’m pretty good at getting her off with my fingers on her clit while fucking her, now, so that was the backup.)

Her back arched in response, pressing against me. Mouth opened, breath thick.

“You’re going to have to wait.” I said, pulling myself up and hovering over her. “Just for a minute, so I can get up and put my cock on.” She nodded, a tiny gesture, eyes wide and liquid and full, a look I see rarely on her. So sexy.

I rinsed my cock, fast, still sticky from fucking her that morning, and strapped on. She pulled me to her again, eager, kissing me open-mouthed and supple in a way that made me melt.

Softly, I slid my fingers inside her. Maneuvered down her body to touch my tongue to her clit. Light and soft with a wide tongue. I hadn’t had that close of a view of her cunt before, and she was beautiful.

She moaned. Whispered, “oh baby,” and I kept going. Looped my arm under her thigh and brought my hand to her pubic bone, pulled her cunt open with my fingers from above, leaving two fingers of my right hand inside, gently curled, light pressure and thrusting but not heavy. Just a little, just so she could feel it, just so she could feel stretched and full.

Her clit strained in my mouth, so clearly, so subtly but I could feel it, and I hardened my tongue and began moving it back and forth quicker. Pursed my lips around it to push the flesh away and let my tongue touch that one spot, that tiny spot, pulling back the hood and balancing her every nerve on the tip of my tongue.

Nude and strapped on, legs half-on and half-off the bed, I attempted not to let my hips shake and thrust involuntarily, but once she started pressing against my hand and mouth in rhythm I just couldn’t help it, my body responded accordingly. I wanted inside her, I wanted to fuck her, hard.

Of course, I didn’t move. Kept my mouth just where it was.

She tightened on my fingers and I pushed my fingers faster, a little fuller. Steady and thick with pressure against her gspot, pubic bone, the underside of her clit, I could feel it between my fingers – inside – and tongue.

And she came. Shuddering, gasping. Quickly, in fact. Sooner than I’d expected, thighs shaking, then her fingers around my wrist of the hand that was inside her and I pulled out slow. She pulled me up to her breast, pulled me to her.

I didn’t want to stop, not yet. I wanted her over and again, and again.

She laughed that little laugh that sounds like joy, the one that echoes in my mind after she’s gone. “I didn’t like that.” All sarcasm.

I laughed too. “I didn’t think so. Well good, because I didn’t like doing it.”

“I’m like a teenage boy,” she said, eyes open, skin bare, feeling exposed, referring to how fast she came. I pulled a soft throw blanket over us.

I kissed her again, soft, deep, she was so supple in that way that only a long day of sex makes you, and I could’ve done anything, for hours, could’ve done whatever she wanted, felt a superhero strength, an inexhaustive dominance that could’ve gone on and on.

Then there was my mouth back on her skin and neck and soon my hand back between her legs, the eager way she parts. Between her legs I gathered lube for my cock, but she was sore, a little hesitant when I slid inside her.

So I brought my mouth to her again instead. Slight tongueful of lube in the beginning, but I didn’t care. I caught her clit between my tongue piercing and the tip of my tongue and flicked it, kept it taut.

After a minute, I nearly panicked. What if I couldn’t get her off again? What if that first time was just a fluke, what if she was already bored? What if I actually wasn’t any good at this? What if I was being cocky thinking I would do it again, just like that?

And then I heard her moan again, baby, ohhh baby, which she rarely says, rarely calls me, and I worked my fingers inside her again, not too much but a little pressure, gently, sweet, tongue hard against the soft folds of her, eager, lapping, the ball of my tongue piercing tracing her hood, sucking her into my mouth.

So sweet.

And she came again. Pelvis and spine rolling on the bed, thrusting against me, thighs clenching around me and shaking, stomach contracting. I wished I could see her from far away, all of her, observe, watch the way her body builds and releases.

I wrapped myself around her again, kissing her, fingertips feather-light along her body, bare skin flushed and heated.

“I’m going to have to practice that some more, I think,” I said. She laughed and sighed, rolled to her side as I pressed against her back, cradling, and she pulled my arm around her, held it against her chest.

call for interviews with lesbians

May 19, 2008  |  essays  |  1 Comment

Just got this from Felice Newman, author of the Whole Lesbian Sex Book (which is fantastic, by the way). She’s conducting interviews for her next book and is seeking lesbian, bi, and queer women couples who have been together for 5+ years to talk about your sex life.

If this is you, do it! We need more voices talking about our honest stories out there. Contact information and more detail follows.

Read More

sex and dealbreakers

May 6, 2008  |  essays  |  7 Comments

I want to add something to my response to the question about how to keep passion from waning in a long-term monogamous relationship. There were a few great comments in that thread, and I particularly want to echo what babygrrlfemme said: “Don’t be ashamed to make hot sex a priority in who you date!”

Man oh man. I should absolutely add that to the list: it’s okay to make sex a priority. It’s okay to ask for what you want (though you usually have to figure out what it is you want, first, which can be a barrier), and sex – or lackthereof – is a perfectly acceptable dealbreaker in a relationship.

That was a hard thing for me to learn, but the four-year LBD relationship taught me this lesson hard. I definitely understand that there is more to a relationship than just sex, and at a certain point, sure, sometimes sex isn’t an option for various reasons – and perhaps I’ll have to deal with that, if/when that happens in a long term relationship for me.

But meanwhile: my sex drive is high, and I want to find someone who will match me in that, someone willing to make sex a priority, someone who wants to experiment and explore. Friendship, intellectual compatibility, emotional communication – all that is important, of course, but the major difference between a lover and a friend is that sexual relationship – and because I am monogamous in my relationships, who I chose to partner with has got to be sexually compatible, pretty much all the time. I expect that relationship to have ebbs and flows, sure – but flat-out no-sex, especially for YEARS? No way. Absolutely a dealbreaker.

ask me anything: the answers, part 2

May 1, 2008  |  essays  |  4 Comments

I’m in Salt Lake City for the long weekend, so hopefully I’ll have some time to catch up on writing and these questions. Thanks for asking them! Some of them are very complex and I want to give them good thought. 

5. Mm asks: How does one (or more appropriately two) keep passion from waning in a long term monogamous relationship? It’s been done, but how?

Oh man – I won’t pretend to be the authority on this one. I have had two major long-term relationships, one for five years, one for four years, the latter of which was one of those LBD (lesbian bed death) situations. So I seem to be alright at sustaining some sort of time – though ultimately, all my relationships have ended, so I’m not sure I’ve got the secrets here.That said, I do think I have some ideas about what it is that I can and will do to sustain passion in a long-term relationship the next time I get the chance to practice.

  1. Talk about sex. Talk talk talk. It’s fun! It’s sexy, it’s intimate. Let go of inhibitions and let your partner into your dirty dirty mind. Make lists of things you’d like to do. Make lists of things you’ve never done and probably would never do. Fill out sex surveys – like  the purity test, or a BDSM checklist – together.  Fill out the fill-in-the-blank questions, you may be surprised at the answers. Make a list of things you’ve done and didn’t like but might be willing to try again. Maybe this is just my compulsive list-making, but it’s useful information, and it forms a common vocabulary for you two to both discuss your wants, desires, fetishes, interests. 

  2. Do sexy stuff together. Watch porn, or, if you don’t like porn (though I gotta say, dyke porn is getting better and better and better, you’re missing out if you haven’t tried out some of the recent stuff), read erotica aloud to each other. Go to sex toy shops together. Share your fantasies. Plan some elaborate fantasy scene. Explore!

  3. Figure out what turns you on, and don’t be afraid to own that. Look for someone with complimentary turn-ons, or discuss your newly discovered turn-ons with your partner. It amazes me how few people really know what deeply “does it” for them, or, even moreso, who are in relationships with people they can tell about this stuff. (Oh, you should see the email I get sometimes about this.)

  4. If things are working, we’ll both be growing, individually as well as together. In theory, our values will be so tightly aligned that the interests and pursuits that we meander through will keep each other interested, rather than putting distance or difficulties between us. But, that said, don’t assume the relationship will be between the same people in two, five, ten years. One of my favorite novels of all time, The Sparrow, has a quote in it that goes like this: “I’ve been married five times over the last fifty years to five different people, all of whom were named George.” We should grow and change. We just gotta give each other the freedom to grow, and recognize that that means, potentially, that we may grow apart. 

  5. Ultimately, I think, it’s all about sexual openness. The people I’ve seen who have been able to sustain things long-term have been deeply open. Experiment! Try something you’ve never done, then try it again – just because you tried it once and didn’t like it doesn’t mean you’ll never like it. See which edges you can push. Take a class, take a workshop. Open up, let go.

All this advice is sounding very cliché. I don’t like giving general advice as a rule … wish I had some more specific answers for you here. Other readers? Tips for sustaining a long-term passionate relationship? Hell, if you are IN a long-term, passionate relationship, how do you do it? What makes it work?

6. Dosia asks: What would you say is the best way for a girl to approach a hot butch in a bar/at a dyke march/behind the counter in a cafe/in class? How do we make those connections — not just for sex, but for friendship? Hell, it doesn’t have to be specific to butch/femme dynamics, how does it work, this meeting other queer women?

If there’s only one piece of advice to give about starting – and maintaining – conversations with strangers, dykes or butches or femmes or friends or potential hotties or whoever – it’s this: find common ground and elevate the discussion.

My mom told me that once upon a time about my (former) hostile work environment. And I tell ya, it fucken worked.

Find common ground: that is, when you hit upon a topic with which you are both familiar, attempt to deepen it. When you discover you both like art, go inside of that – elevate the discussion. Ask another question: “what kind of art do you like?” “Have you been to that exhibit at the Met?” “Do you paint?” “What kind of medium do you use?” “What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever done?” “What do you wish you could do?” “What made you get into that?” …see what I mean? Once you hit a common topic of interest, deepen the discussion by asking as many questions as you can about the different aspects of it. It’s hard when you don’t know anything about the topic – it’s hard for me to bullshit sports, for example – but when I actually know something about it, I can ask intelligent questions that, who knows, may even compliment my own understanding of the topic.

That said: there are a few good books I’d recommend here. The Art of Conversation and, cheesy as it may sound, The Game, a memoir about pickup artistry.

Certainly there’s not just one way, and the trick is to find your own way, the way that works for you with your unique set of interests and talents. My way and your way are probably different. I know, that’s a lousy answer, but unfortunately it’s also true – what makes you interesting, what do you love to talk about? I am often talking to girls about their gender presentation at bars, and I quickly discover in that conversation which girls share a similar vocabulary for gender that I do (major turn-on), and which are performing some sort of femininity out of some sort of compulsory default (major turn-off).

Lesbians travel in packs, especially to bars, dyke marches, cafes, so it’s really difficult to actually a) gain one’s attention, b) keep one’s attention, and c) have an actual conversation of connection. That’s where the find common ground comes in, but I definitely understand that it’s hard to actually say something, hard to “break the ice,” to make contact.

I mean, I think this is hard for everybody, but particularly difficult because of the ways that lesbians stay huddled with their friends when out at social events, in public. Why do we do that? Maybe it’s a predator-pray kind of instinct, where it used to be so much more dangerous for us to be out on the town, and we remember that, as a community. There is safety in numbers, after all.From the specifically butch perspective, these are some things that would make me seriously take notice:

  • Ask me to light your cigarette (even better if you then say “I don’t actually smoke, I just wanted to talk to you,” because for one, I’m an ex-smoker, and for two, smoking, as romantic as it is (sigh), will severely damage your body and that is, ultimately, a turn-off. I should add that to the list.)

  • Compliment me on my gender (no, I’m serious!) – “hey, I noticed your gender from across the room.” “hey, you look like a old-school butch / faggy butch / dapper dandy / prettyboi – do you have a particular word for what it is you do?” “Your gender is quite noticeable.  You got a gender philosophy?” 

  • Offer to buy me a drink. It’s an easy excuse to get somebody talking. Say, “I wouldn’t want to presume to insult your possible dominant or chivalrous abilities, but can I buy you a drink?” Boy howdy, that’d definitely get my attention. (I’d say: “No. But you can allow me the pleasure of buying you one.” And then you’d giggle, and we’d talk and flirt until I eventually took you back to your place and fucked you in the foyer. Hey wait, how’d this become a sex story?)

These are things that would absolutely appeal to me, not sure how butches-as-a-whole would really respond. But that’s all I can speak to, really, is my own experience – other butches (and any folks who don’t identify as butch): what would get your attention? Don’t be afraid to be a little bold. Lesbians rarely are, but it’s my experience that we respond extremely well to boldness.Also, after you get to talking, it’s okay not to have a plan. And it’s also okay to let your nervousness come through as charming. “Uh, that was my one idea for a conversation. Now I’m drawing a blank ‘cause you’re kinda cute.  Got any topics for discussion?”

7. Cyn asks:

(see the first batch of answers)

8. Duck asks: Could you explain how the remaking of femininity has been “successful?”

Still working on this one ….

9. Miss Avarice asks: Have we yet figured out the subtle differences between straight girls and femmes at first glance? Does it really come down to a hunch in the end? Also, has writing SB changed you?

The only way I can say that I know the femmes from the straight girls is that, sometimes, I “just know.” And hell, I’m not even right all the time! I err on the side of caution, though, assuming someone is straight until proven otherwise – although “proven otherwise” is a broader and broader category, often as broad as “she’s talking to me, must mean she’s queer (in some form).” So yeah, it comes down to a hunch – it’s more than just a hunch though, it’s an energy. It’s gaydar, it’s a sixth sense that I can’t put my finger on. I wish I knew! I’m working on some writings on “gender energy,” we’ll see how those go.

Writing Sugarbutch has absolutely changed me. I was just looking back at where I was two years ago, and while I knew I was butch, I was so much less articulate and able to claim it in ways that I do now. Sugarbutch has been key and essential to my own personal development of gender identity. It’s plateauing a little bit, in the last year or so, but I still have some realms to explore (the “sex” part and the “relationship” part, namely). One big way Sugarbutch has measurably changed me, especially in terms of gender identity, is that I – as Sinclair – exclusively go by male pronouns. I write “Mr. Sinclair Sexsmith,” and in the few interviews I’ve had, I’ve asked to be called by the set of he/him/his. I don’t go by male pronouns in my non-pseudonymed life, though I really love being able to play with both.

It’s changed me in other ways, too, though; I’ve been able to let a persona wander free and explore lots more of that toppy/butch identity, and it’s definitely strengthened my own expression of it.

10. Zoe asks: How did you develop boundaries for your blog? How do you decide what to write about vs what to keep private? Who would you be most worried about finding it?

I established the boundaries early on, with the tagline “sex, gender, and relationship adventures” – that’s what I write about. Occasionally I get the impulse to post links, or media, or general bitchy writing, but I ask myself: is this about sex, gender, or relationships? Otherwise, no. Axed. (I suppose I should add “self-awareness” to that list, though really, usually it’s self-awareness about sex, gender, or relationships, so it applies.)

I don’t have hard rules about what to write vs what to keep private. Sometimes, a date or a situation or a new revelation just begs to be written about, and I do. It’s instinctual, I guess. Occasionally, I hesitate – usually in those situations I write it all out anyway, and then ask one of my trusty advisees to tell me whether or not it’s appropriate to post. Most often, they say no, for whatever reasons, and confirm my suspicions.

Who would I be most worried about finding Sugarbutch … I suppose I wouldn’t want my boss at work finding this blog, especially considering how many hours I spend on it while I’m at work. And while there are many of these entries I’ve written that I would send to my mother, I wouldn’t particularly wish her to find it, either – though, my family being what it is (completely non-confrontational) I’d probably never know she’d run across it.

I would never want to get an email from Callie with her comments about what I’ve said about her on this blog (note to self: when are you going to get around to password protecting the old Callie entries?). I don’t actually know for sure whether or not Callie knows about this blog. My logical self says yes, of course she does, how could she not; but, on the other hand, I can’t imagine she wouldn’t have mentioned it. I guess we had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” thing going on. 

I’m really open about this stuff – sex, gender, relationships – and most people in my life know that I write here. I used to keep it much more of a secret, but as it’s been developing from a personal journal blog to a more thorough non-ficiton-essay blog, I share it more and more. Plus, I spend so much time on it, I like to talk about it and bounce ideas around.

sugarbutch’s second anniversary

April 29, 2008  |  miscellany  |  13 Comments

2nd birthdayToday celebrates the second anniversary of the beginning of Sugarbutch Chronicles. Two years ago, I was stuck in a Lesbian Bed Death relationship and felt like I was withering away – we were together four years, and we’d had sex five times during the last two.

That relationship is why I started writing smut. I had to do something with all the sexual energy built up, so I decided I’d either a) write it down or b) go to the gym, and while I did develop a nice workout habit, the smut started growing more and more.

This is how Sugarbutch Chronicles began -discussing  Bed Death, Standard Variety:

What I’m trying to say is this: I’m not getting the sex that I want. No, scratch that: I’m not getting the sex that I need. My basic human needs, basic woman needs, basic self needs, include sex. If asked, I would say at least three times a week, though I can be a little flexible about that. I understand, having had some experience as a couple, that that can’t always happen. But I also know that it can, and does, when both people make the effort.

I’m not exactly sure how I let it get as far as it did - I can’t ever imagine letting it get to that place again.

It wasn’t until Callie came along that I was shocked out of my complacent unfeeling depressed stupor and back into a sensual, feeling reality. I’ll always be grateful to her for that. For the six months Callie & I were together, this writing project turned into two main things: writing about the sex Callie and I were having, and then processing through the difficult emotional “conflicts” that kept coming up. I didn’t have community in New York when we were together, so I had very few friends to go to and talk to about her. Sugarbutch became a major outlet for my psychological explorations of our relationship.

But after that ended, it became something else: exploration of my single sex life, mostly. And as that has developed into something more intentional and less, uh, free-for-all, I’ve been writing less about my own personal dating and sex than I am about gender and sexuality in general.

Going into Sugarbutch’s third year, that’s the general direction I’m going to continue to aim. I’ll still going to write about my own personal processes and developments, but I’d like to focus on more personal essay styles with distinctive reoccuring features (like eye candy) and, of course, smut.

Is there is anything specific you’d like to see more or less of? What’s most useful to you here? What’s least useful? What do you love, what do you skip over without reading? If you have ideas, if you have general praise or critique, I’d love to know.