Posts Tagged ‘butch/femme’

The Sugarbutch 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

December 9, 2009  |  miscellany  |  17 Comments

There are some standard gendered gifts – belt buckles, cuff links, handkerchiefs, pocket or wrist watches, ties & tie accessories, makeup, perfume, jewelry, lingerie – and while I do in general highly recommend them (though maybe not makeup and perfume unless you know what they like), I want to branch out to more than just gendered beauty products.

(You can of course find any and all of those things I just mentioned on Etsy, and they will be amazing and worth it.)

Consider some more important things while you’re buying your gifts this year: SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS. Buy from craft fairs. We artists & activists are the ones who have been hit hardest by these troubled economic times. Consider doing your best to put your money back into the communities you love to keep them strong and thriving. Try to avoid shopping from Amazon (but if you do, follow links from your favorite websites who are Amazon affiliates – like me – before you check out to help us get a small kickback from your purchase).

Consider giving less stuff. Always give less stuff. There’s a great anti-stuff holiday gift guide at Get Rich Slowly this year. Consider art memberships to art galleries, sculpture parks, web sites. Consider ordering from friends who make their living through their craft.

Pay artists. Support us with money. Donate, if you can, to Scarleteen – or me – if you want to see us continuing to do this work. See also: Why I am not afraid to take your money by Amanda Fucking Palmer, and The Season of Freaking Out by Susie Bright.

Alright: back to the gift guide. Here are some ideas for folks, regardless of gender.

For Writers

  • Tul pens – particularly the needle point (0.5) gel or rollerball. I know, I’m old school, but I still write a large part of my work by hand in a notebook. So I am always going through pens, and always finding new ones. The Tul pens are my new favorites, but others include Pilot Precise Grip (extra fine, black); Pilot Precise V5, Staedtler Liquid Point, Pentel Energel Liquid Gel Ink, and the Bic 537R.
  • Lined notebooks – I am constantly going through these, and it’s wonderful to have a backstock on my shelves. Writers tend to be superstitiously specific about their notebooks, but I am not – though I love nice paper (like the clarefontaine notebooks which are part velum), I can write in anything. It’s about the words, not the object.
  • New Yorker magazine subscription – after a couple different very impressive articles recently, I think I’d like to keep up with this more often than I do. It’ll be hard – it’s so much reading! – but I want to try. This is on my wishlist this season.

For Chefs

  • Salad Spinner – not quite a perfect wintertime locavore tool, but something I’ve been wanting to add to my arsenal for a while now
  • Dutch Oven – Kristen has one of these on her wishlist. Versatile and specific baking tool.
  • Cast Iron Pan – a really good one. I love mine, they are broken in and 100% vegetarian and beautiful. Highly recommend a nicely sized one for the aspiring chef or cook you know.
  • Good Knives – I have one, but I would like one more, perhaps more than one more. I’d like to retire my tacky beginner knife block, eventually. Always a welcome gift for those who work with lots of vegetables

For Lushes

  • Spirits – a lovely bottle of whatever they drink – or an upgrade of whatever they drink – is always a great holiday gift. Myself, I am a whiskey guy, preferably bourbon, and lately I have been loving Bulleit Bourbon, Hudson Baby Bourbon (going to the distillery for this one soon! So excited!), Makers Mark, and Woodford Reserve. Of course, Jameson, Jameson 12 year, and Gentleman’s Jack are quite welcome in my house at any time.
  • Wine – if you know what someone likes, why not give them a nice upgrade? A $20 or $30 bottle of wine is usually too much for me to spend on myself for dinner, but whoa it’d be a lovely and very welcome gift.
  • Bourbon glasses – I just bought a cheesy set of 4 for $2, but someday I would like to have some real bourbon snifters. Heavy ones, very plain design, very classic. Someday.

For Gadget Lovers

For Dapper Folks

  • Leather care – do you know this person has a fairly extensive leather collection, be it boots or harnesses or jackets or whatnot? Perhaps they could use a refill on some of their leather care products. I go through Saddle Soap, Mink Oil, and black polish pretty frequently, and some of my brushes could use an upgrade. I’m sure if someone sneaked into my shoe shine kit they could tell what it was I needed to replace.
  • Metal pocket comb – I’ve always wanted one of these. Retro, suave.
  • Pocket knife – someday perhaps, I’ll get a nice pocket blade. This is on my general eternal wish list. To be honest, I don’t know a lot about the craft that is pocket knives, but I bet I’d love to learn.

For Folks who Grumble About the Cold

  • Cozy Robe or a Kimono Robe – For those of you who don’t like to wear winter clothes (ahem, you know who you are), a nice cozy robe might be a wonderful wintery addition. The problem is getting one that is sexy and sleek instead of bulky, but still warm. I haven’t solved that dilemma yet, but I have some ideas …
  • Cozy hat & gloves & scarves- I’m thinking extra soft and warm. Who cares that ze has some from last season? These get old and worn through and threadbare, and upgrades are always welcome. Search your local craft fair for these, find some beautiful local soft soft soft wool.
  • Knee socks – Oh Sockdreams. They border on pornographic. Order the knee socks for the folks whose legs get cold in the winter. Check out their arm warmers & leg warmers and fishnets & fencenets too.

Whew! That’s a lot of little bits & ideas, but hopefully something useful. I’ve been thinking a lot about the separation of personality from gender lately, so this particular list reflects that – these gifts are not based on gender, but based on interest, for the most part.

What’s that? You want some books & media for the smarty pants gender theorist on your list? Oh! Well, check out my Amazon Sugarbutch store (then go buy your books at your local queer feminist activist bookstore, if you want them to be around next holiday season)!

If you need a little somethin’-somethin’ for the smarty sexy people in your life, consider one of my Sugarbutch Star Chapbooks. Only $10, and much easier to snuggle up with (and jack off to) than your laptop. Support your local, queer, feminist, sex-positive activist artists this holiday season! Send us support (in the form of money)!

If that’s not enough ideas for ya, go take a look at 2007′s holiday gift guide and 2008′s holiday gift guide. You’re bound to find something in there!

Oh yeah, one more thing: if you’re on Fetlife (and I am, under the user name mrsexsmith), you can sit on Santa’s lap over on Fetlife and tell him if you’ve been naughty or nice, and possibly win some pretty fabulous gifts.

I probably didn’t mention that one thing YOU really are wishing for – what is it? Which sex toys do you wish you could add to your arsenal? Which beauty products are you coveting? Are you desperate for new ties or new leather boots? What do you always wish someone would buy you, and never get? Femmes, help me out here: what should I get Kristen? (Shhh.)

Fucking & Making Love

November 11, 2009  |  dirty stories, essays  |  11 Comments

She looked so damn hot yesterday.

I don’t know what it was exactly. She was in an outfit I’ve seen, tight slim jeans, her girly black tank top with the silver star pattern, little yellow sweater with the clear buttons. Maybe it was her hair, she’s been letting it grow and it’s getting longer, almost to her chin, it’s thin so it’s starting to flip up at the ends. So. Fucking. Cute. Maybe it was the earrings, simple large silver hoops, the ones she’s worried are a cliche but I keep trying to assure her they’re classic, sexy.

Off hand, she said yesterday that I am obsessed with my hair. I said ‘obsessed’ was a bit strong, but I see her point. Maybe it’s not just my hair, either, but hair in general. Still, I don’t want to pressure her into doing things like growing her hair long because that’s what I like – I hope it’s okay for me to state my personal preference while at the same time accepting however she prefers to present. Because while it’s true, I do prefer long hair, even more than that I prefer her to make decisions based on her own wants and needs and personal expression, not on what I desire.

Still. Her hair was so much shorter when we met, nearly as short as mine is now; I’ve been growing mine too, going for that early Elvis look. I’d dye it blue-black like his but I really like the few strands of gray that are coming in at my temples.

I guess I really am obsessed with hair.

Point is: she looked so, so good. Fun, flirty. Femme.

We chatted on the couch after I got to her house. How are you, how’s your day, how’s your sister. Maybe it was that I hadn’t seen her in more than a day after spending many days in a row with her. I felt my appetite for her growing, bubbling up. At one point she tipped her head just slightly sideways, her hair doing this little flip on both sides, the lines of her silhouette so perfect, those big hoop earrings brushing her neck, and she gave me a little smile, eyes twinkling. If I’d been on a TV show, it would’ve cut to a shot of me, my spine becoming jelly, my hands to my face, crying OH GOD as I slide off the couch before springing up and throwing myself on her, wrapping around her and kissing her hard, my mouth wherever she’d let me put it, then the camera would snap back to the shot of us on the couch as we were before and nothing would’ve actually happened, just me, sitting there blinking, in awe, probably totally transparent and readable and ooey gooey in love. Am I so obvious? Moments like that I feel oafish, bull in a china shop, too big and awkward next to such grace and elegance, like I am certain how much she knows she’s got me wrapped around her little finger.

Oh and here I am being all dramatic and admirational again. Are you bored of this femme-worship yet? Three and a half years of Sugarbutch and I only love femmes more, I am only more certain of my orientation to them in such a specific way. Only three and a half years of Sugarbutch, but I met my first femme nine years ago, and I knew then … what? Something. The way she shocked me to life, lit up the night like a shower of sparks from fireworks.

And I’ve never had it this good. I tell myself that every day: every day of this relationship I am grateful, so appreciative of every minute we have together. I’ve not known a bliss like this and I’ve never known it to last this long.

When Jesse was here, she had a brief little snag with Violet, some conversation where it wasn’t quite perfect, but she didn’t let it phase her or lose her unwavering faith in their relationship. “We’ve always been able to talk it through, whatever it is,” she said. And so far, Kristen and I have that too – not big explosive fights and feelings getting deeply hurt, but conversations of honesty and self-awareness and accountability and care. There are some things looming, a little, I’ve felt their weight lately, our differences and complications and inadequacies and places where we need more support, but we have always been able to talk things through, even if the journey is more illuminating than the destination, even if the only conclusion is, “well, now we know, that’s how we work, that’s my particular quirks and assumptions coming up against yours in our unique relationship way. We’ll just have to watch how this plays out.” We still come back together, appreciate each other, speak the deep truths. I feel like I am heard, always. And oh how important that is, what a relief to have it in my relationship, with her.

Dacia has a piece she’s read in public a few times lately which has the lines, “I write about the relationship I wish I was having,” and “I buy my own bullshit.” I’ve done that, here, in the past. I’ve written myself into love, used this site to woo and court. I haven’t wanted to do that with Kristen. It’s too precious, too real; I’ve learned from my mistakes, or rather, I am learning, I am trying to learn. That is a major reason why I haven’t written about her like I have others.

Plus, I’m all the more protective of my heart these days. How many heartbreaks is one heart made to withstand, anyway? I love writing about my relationships, but it can also be a crutch – I become obsessed with micro-articulating my feelings and emotional landscapes in writing, sometimes to my own detriment, overdramatizing and letting the articulation of the emotion be more important than the experience, the story, the audience, the effects.

I don’t want to do that anymore.

So I am protective of this relationship, as it has swelled and sometimes burst, its ups and downs. I haven’t chronicled it all here, preferring instead to articulate it to her as best I can. And there are things, snags, places between us which are murky and lurking a little for me right now, things that have come up and we’ve said “we should talk about that more later,” but now it’s later and I don’t even remember what they were, so that makes me all the more nervous. The unknown rather than the known. I should’ve kept a list, I keep thinking. But I’ve got to calm my nerves about this, not let it affect the really good highs inside of which we still so easily slip. So far, we’ve been able to talk through everything, and for now I’ll rest comfortable on presuming we’ll be able to do that in the future, too.

Yes, I was high when I reached out for her upper arm and pulled her onto my lap, and she’d just told me about how she’d done her homework this morning by playing with her ass while getting off, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t also in love, wanting to make love, wanting to be inside of her, drinking her in as I sucked her nipples into my mouth and left bite marks on her neck and shoulders. She cried out and I thought, someone should be videotaping this she is so goddamn hot.

In the bedroom we slipped off her clothes. “Take off your shirt.” I slid her tight jeans down her legs. She was in this matching bra and panties I hadn’t seen her wear before – she does wear the bra, a little white one with pink polka dots and pink satin bows, very femme, but the matching panties have layers of ruffles. I’ve never seen her in them.

I didn’t take them off.

“I want to see your ass. Turn over.” She does, gets on all fours. “Show it to me. Get down on your elbows.” She parts her knees a little and arches her back, I run my hand over her curves and feel the outline of her cunt and ass under the thin fabric. I let my fingers trail over her softly, slowly. My mind raced. There’s so much I wanted to do to her, with her. All that ass talk earlier made me want my fingers in her there, to get out the little plug I’d brought to leave at her place (her further homework), wanted to plow her ass hard and make her scream. I won’t do that, yet, of course, it’ll take some time to work up to it. I wanted her to stay on her knees, ass in the air, while I gripped her hips and fucked her slow and hard. I wanted her on her knees, mouth full of spit eyes looking up at me as she sucked me down.

But most of all I wanted to be close, pressed against her, kissing her, wrapped around each other. So I strapped on, peeled off her pretty bra and panties, told her to turn over, slid inside, and got lost in her, got lost in the way we wind around and hold each other. We barely spoke, just felt each other, just took it all in with our bodies.

There were a few times I slowed down, savored her, looked at her, but the vibration was so strong between us, I couldn’t didn’t want to stop. Sometimes I wondered if I should, if her hips were okay, if she needed more of a break, but I kept getting so close and ultimately was able to come inside of her for the first time in a long time, I was glad I didn’t stop. (I don’t know why I haven’t been coming lately. I broke out the Spartacus harness I’d retired hoping that would help. It did, apparently.)

Later, she said, “I thought you were going to stop … but you didn’t. That was good.”

Yeah, that was good. And I’m glad she said that. Always affirming to know I wasn’t pushing her. I want to push her, I want to have that kind of power and trust and knowledge and skill, but that has to be earned, that has to be worthy. I want to do so much more with her, to her, want to take her to all sorts of dirty places and cradle her and worship her and honor her and fuck her and smack her around and force her and hold her and let go with her and trust her.

There’s time. It’s been almost a year, but I know enough to know that we’re in this. And that we’ll keep building, and exploring, as this keeps getting deeper and stronger.

Truer: Sophia Wallace’s work in NYC

November 11, 2009  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

Sophia Wallace, one of my favorite photographers, has a collection called Truer: An Autobiographical Love Story, which has been included in Slideluck Potshow XIV, a potluck and slideshow this Friday.

I love the photographs in Truer so much I actually purchased a print from Ms. Wallace. (Not this one below, a different one.)

truer11

Event Info:
Aperture Foundation
Slideluck Potshow XIV
Inside Out
Time: November 13, 2009 from 7pm to 11pm
Location: The Aperture Foundation
Street: 547 W. 27th St, 4th Floor
City/Town: New York, NY 10001
Website or Map: http://aperture.org
Event Type: slideshow, potluck
Organized By: Slideluck Potshow & Aperture

My Evolving Masculinity, Part Two: Yin & Yang

October 14, 2009  |  essays, on butches  |  3 Comments

Part Two in a series of five. See also: Part One, Introduction

Beyond the Concepts of Yin & Yang

I was introduced to many new concepts at the 5-day tantra retreat I attended over the summer of 2009, but the one I’ve been constantly chewing on and talking about and sharing and using to analyze myself and others has to do with yin and yang.

Most of us are familiar with the concepts of yin and yang – and many of us who study gender may call bullshit immediately, saying it is a binaristic, dualistic system that does not account for the gray areas, just the black and white. But as much as postmodern theory wants to deconstruct the binary and create and celebrate a multitude of options, there’s a part of me that thinks outright dismissal of the binary is just unrealistic – we are bipeds, we have a long human history of constructing the world in twos, in binaries, in this-and-not-this. Yes, we need more than two options, do not get me wrong. Especially when it comes to gender, there are so many more expressions and experiences than ‘man’ and ‘woman.’ But that said, there is something basic about the binaries – light/dark, in/out, hot/cold – that is useful to structure the world around us.

Most of us are familiar at least in a broad way with the yin and yang concepts. Yin is receptive, dark, fluid; yang is penetrative, light, pointed. Yang enters, yin receives. Yang inquires, yin observes. Associating feminine and masculine with yin and yang is a challenge because I do not want to seem prescriptive – if you are feminine, you are not required to be yin, for example. Gender expression does not necessarily line up with these types of energy breakdowns.

Yin is traditionally associated with femininity, and yang masculinity. It’s probably clear why: the penis/vulva intercourse description inherent in the penetrative/receptive delineation easily dictates how the energies are divided. Together, yin and yang are called the Stabilizing Energies, as they need each other in order to be strong. Without something to hold, yin is empty; without somewhere to rest, yang cannot stand up by itself.

When broken down, yin and yang Stabilizing Energies are the Masculine Yang and the Feminine Yin.

The second type of energies, which was the part of this that is all new to me, are the Transformative Energies, which are the Masculine Yin and the Feminine Yang.

The Feminine Yang is also called spanda or shakti in tantra, the equivalent of ‘life force.’ But not life force in an ommmmm prana/breath way – more like a violent life force, the ripping open of legs and cunt to push a baby to be born. The spontaneous expressions of joy and energy that overcome us. A lava flow, a rushing river of rapids. Pure force, pure energy, intense and wild.

Her counterpart is the Masculine Yin. He is the riverbank to her river. He is the container, the thing that keeps her safe. But not in a controlling, overbearing way (that is perhaps indicative that the masculine yin in someone is imbalanced or poorly developed) but in the way a father coaxes a wild child to redirect their energy, like martial arts, taking the opponent’s force and deflecting it, using it against them. The Masculine Yin is a firm, nurturing hand, the container in which the feminine yang can rest and grow and feel safe. Without the container, she is explosive, sometimes wild. She needs the gentle guidance to be transofrmative.

Though these qualities are associated with gendered words, they are by no means prescriptive or restrictive, and in fact tantra presses that everyone needs to have a balance of all of these energies, and even has some methods by which to develop the areas where one is weaker.

Personal Revelations

Because, well, this is my personal online writing project (a.k.a. “blog”), I am going to take a minute to explore these four categories and how they relate to me and especially my evolving masculinity.

Feminine Yin – Growing up the child of two feminist hippies, and discovering things like Ms. Magazine, wicca, and feminism as a teenager, gave me a very strong base in the feminine yin. I did not grow up a tomboy like many transmasculine folks, I wore dresses and skirts and makeup (much to my feminist mother’s chagrin) in my teens. When I did begin taking on masculinity, my respect for femininity stayed steady and firm and did not really change – what changed was only my own presentation. I still saw a lot of value in the caretaking qualities of the feminine yin. In fact, perhaps more than feminism (which, one might argue, sometimes values the feminine yang over the feminine yin), my base with the feminine yin comes from my mother, who is an early childhood educator and extremely receptive, sometimes to a fault. And while there are some ways I could improve my feminine yin receptivity (i.e. sexually – though I’d rather have a different kind of sex, more on that later), for the most part my issue here is that I am too receptive, too hyper-sensitive, too eager to take in the world around me. I don’t necessarily have a deficit, then, but I do perhaps have an overabundance.

Masculine Yang – I have spent at least the last five years very intentionally developing my masculine yang. That is the energy that more than any others was left out of my family, so I didn’t know intuitively how to reproduce it, and the examples in culture are generally negative, overbearing, misogynistic, even dangerous. I took a lot of time learning how to penetrate, how to be inquisitive, how to investigate, how to externalize my desire. I even moved to arguably the most masculine yang city in the United States – New York. So much forced learning happens here, at times painfully. I don’t think New York creates problems so much as it exacerbates and explodes what is already there, and in my case, New York would not let up, would not let me turn away, and I had to develop and strengthen my masculine yang to keep myself safe and whole. I feel good about the changes I’ve made – I was clearly lacking some masculine yang, and I think I’ve adopted it in ways that are strong and stabilizing, not necessarily in offensive, violating external ways.

Masculine Yin – When I first heard about this concept, this is the one that clicked. Oh. Fuck. That’s what I need. In fact, that’s what I’ve been trying to develop recently, for a few years now even, though I never had a specific name for it. The funny thing is, I am very skilled at being a container and holding space in many aspects of my life – I would say this site does a lot of that, for example: creating a safe space for people to come and interact and explore complicated, personal ideas. I do it in my sex life all the time, pushing the girls I sleep with to a bigger, deeper release, and then holding them through it and bringing them back to a place of safety and care. This happens with Kristen especially quite often; I feel blessed and privileged that she trusts me that much, and that she’s willing to let me guide her through some of these dark, complicated, occasionally painful places, and as our sexual relationship continues to deepen I think we’ve both been able to explore the ways that I contain her and hold space for her experience in bed in bigger ways. And yet … and yet. I can’t seem to do this for myself in the ways that I want to. I sometimes get frightened of my own capacity for “big-ness” and hold back because I’m not sure I can contain it. I need to have better corral over many aspects of my life (my paperwork, my clutter, my calendaring, my obligations) and I know I need a firmer, heavier hand to come along with gentle strength and say no, no, no, to more things than I do now.

Feminine Yang – I’m not sure I trust my feminine yang. I feel it bubbling up in me sometimes, but I’m not sure I – or the world or my partner or my friends or my community – can hold the bigness and chaos that I fear will spill out of me. At the tantra retreat, for example, when I was thinking beforehand about my intention and what I wanted to get out of it, I really wanted to leave my New York crazy life behind, to forget my to do list and the million things that were weighing on my mind, and really find some deep calm and be able to be present in that new delicious space. That, however, wasn’t a problem at all – the whole world and my whole life dropped away from me as soon as I entered the beautiful zen center hot springs space, and I stepped into a deep calm and sense of self that was just under the surface. The challenge, however, was with what came out of that deep calm – this overwhelming power and strength and WHOOSH that sometimes took my breath away. I always felt like I had to back off from it, to not indulge or give in to it, but to contain and control it. I don’t think I ever quite let it out. So I do need more practice with this one, definitely.

If I think about it, it seems to make sense that in a butch top/femme bottom sexual relationship the butch top would occupy more external, explosive yang and that the femme bottom would take in the receptive, containing yin. But in our case, she is feminine in both ways, in both the reception and the explosivity, and I am masculine in both ways, in the penetration and simultaneous containing. I think this is at times one of the frustrations of our sex life, one of the ways it limits us, because I’d like to be able to be more explosive and big in the feminine yang, and for her to be able to hold me through her own masculine yin. We’ve had this conversation, we’ve discussed it in depth and it continues to come up as we explore all sorts of other things, and as I explore my evolving masculinity.

How I Need To Grow

One of the tantra teachers on the retreat shared with me this story, when I went to her specifically about the Masculine Yin, saying, that. Yes. That is what I need. How do I get that?

She said that as her masculine side was pretty weak when she began this work, and specifically did some rituals to strengthen it. At some point, after a ritual, she was so heavily embodied in the Masculine Yang that she felt like she would just fuck anything that moved. She immediately went back to her teacher and said: “help! I am definitely embodying masculine yang, but it feels like I am an out-of-control teenaged boy! How do I control and contain this? What happens between the ages of sixteen and thirty, for men, in their masculine development, that they can handle this wild energy?”

Her teacher said: we grow our balls.

That was such an A-ha! moment for me. Yes, of course: Masculine Yin is all about balls, and, as a dyke, I have a particular aversion to balls, and most of my strap-on cocks don’t include them.

Balls are the literal counter-weight to the cock, the thing that keeps the cock grounded and balanced and in check.

I know my Masculine Yang. I feel pretty good about the ways I occupy it, too. But as my masculinity is evolving, I need to move into a more adult, grounded, Masculine Yin sense of masculinity, and I think if I could embody that more completely and wholly, my masculinity would feel better, and I would feel better.

The next part of the My Evolving Masculinity series is Part Three: “Daddy”, to be posted in the next week.

Definitions of Butch & Femme

September 11, 2009  |  essays, on butches  |  22 Comments

Way back in April, for Sugarbutch’s third anniversary, I offered up an “ask me anything” thread where readers could ask any burning questions that they’d like for me to answer. Given that I’m writing so much these days my pencils are worn down to nubs, and that this summer has been a challenge, I’m behind on answering many of those questions.

Here’s one that I’ve thought about since I read it.

What are your working definitions of “butch” and “femme”?

I know that’s a tricky and possibly annoying question; I ask because I’m currently moving into the recovery phase of a recent gender panic/gender identity crisis. I’m in the process of moving to a more masculine gender presentation and (hopefully?) social role (thank God), and my girlfriend is femme (and I pretty much only like femmes), but then I don’t feel like my gender issues and vibes are very similar to those of the butches I know, and… I’m just really confused.

- Daisy

I do have somewhat of a working definition of these terms: usually I say, in the broadest sense, butch and femme are intentional reclamations and recreations of gender. There’s more to it than that, of course, and these identities are policed by all sorts of social and gender forces. But that’s a start.

But that’s just my brief two cents. I want to know: what are your interpretations of these butch and femme? What are your working definitions?

Say you run into someone who has no knowledge of what being part of butch/femme culture and what identifying as butch or femme means (which, I don’t know about you but, is very frequent for me). Or someone who has only come across these terms as pejorative? What do you tell them?

Or, think about it this way: living in New York City has taught me the strong value of the elevator pitch. Everybody’s busy, everybody’s got somewhere else to be, someone else to talk to, which is more interesting than you. So you’ve got to hook them in with something strong and solid.

So what’s your butch/femme elevator pitch? How do you explain the basics in one sentence?

I’ll have to keep thinking about mine. I’ll chime in in the comments.

Review: Hard Love & How to Fuck in High Heels (DVD)

August 17, 2009  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

This was absolutely the first butch/femme porn I ever saw, and it blew my mind. I had a VHS version until a few years ago – not sure what happened to it exactly, actually, haven’t seen it since my cross-country move four years ago.

But: it was made in 2000. And I was OBSESSED with it in 2001. So when Babeland offered it up, I jumped, but wondered nervously: would it hold up? Would it be outdated?

Hard Love & How to Fuck in High Heels consists of two different films: Hard Love, which stars Jackie as directed by Shar, and How to Fuck in High Heels, starring Shar and directed by Jackie.

What’s that? “Who are Shar & Jackie?” Oh, right. I talk about them both on a first-name basis as if I know them, but really I don’t. (I did meet Shar once though. She asked me if I was packing. I was. It was hot, and I blushed hard. Did I ever write that story up on Sugarbutch?) They are a queer butch/femme couple, Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano, who I’ve known of since their porn company, S.I.R. Productions, put out both this film and others (such as Sugar High Glitter City – full review of that one coming soon too). I was obsessed with On Our Backs, too, and I vaguely remember them being featured in there at least once or twice. They were a high-profile visibly queer butch/femme couple when I was a babydyke, and I saw them as mentors and roll models, even if I didn’t actually know them.

They’ve now been together 16 years. There was a great article in the The SF Chronicle recently about them and their three kids, which mentioned Sharlene’s Babycakes.


(Photo reprinted without permission from The SF Chronicle)

Okay, back to the review:

Hard Love is not just a porn – it attempts a plot, a pair of former lovers who are still intertwined, and the two others they are now currently fucking. There were a few arguments between the characters – which, though I expected them, I found myself asking my computer, “really? I mean I know this is realistic and all, but can’t I have my porn lesbian-drama-free? Must I deal with lesbionic relationship bullshit? I just want to get off …” yet I found myself invested, identifying with the characters (Jackie especially).

I admire the attempt by S.I.R. productions (which apparently stands for Sex, Indulgence, and Rock ‘n’ Roll) to put together a story, but also find it generally unnecessary, and sometimes distracting.

How to Fuck in High Heels is the shorter, second part of this video, consisting of one of Shar’s performance poetry pieces of the same name. It is smutty, and showcases some great femme wear and cocks and heels, but it isn’t porn the way Hard Love is. I do love it, because it’s Shar, because I’ve seen it a hundred times, because it reminds me of queer performance poetry open mics. But it too is dated, and f I didn’t have the history, the relationship, with S.I.R., I would probably be more critical. Still, in the interest of, ah, the evolution of dyke porn, this is a significant piece. And if you dig hot blonde femmes and strong sexy butches, you’ll love it.

I was thrilled by it when I popped in the DVD and saw the familiar opening scene. You know how some movies are just forever embedded in your consciousness? Yeah, this one is. I studied the sex scenes with Jackie, though I wasn’t certain wy she fascinated me so much. Did I want to do her or be her?

I love the scene when the femme is getting fucked in the kitchen. I love the scene where Jackie’s ex meets up with her boi and does a striptease. I love watching Jackie jerk off while her lover eggs her on with dirty talk. I love Jackie’s enthusiastic jump into the tub to be with her, later.

I loved it, but I hesitated to show it to Kristen. The clothes and hairstyles and shoes were dated. The camera work wasn’t great, either – not compared to the recent high quality dyke porn. I worried she’d be critical of it, and I worried I had too much invested in it, given that it’s imprint is burned on my brain like the burnt in ghostly imprint of text on an old monitor.

Eventually, Kristen and I did sit down to watch it, and her reaction was much as I suspected. We didn’t make it through the first scene, but I insisted we forward it to the dirty talk/jerk off session. “Don’t you want to watch Jackie come?” I enticed, knowing how much she appreciates a butch orgasm. She watched with interest, lips parted. I watched her. Then she insisted we turn it off and go fuck.

I’d say it’s still got it’s charm.

Stay tuned for reviews of Sugar High Glitter City, S.I.R. Production’s 2nd butch/femme porn, and a porn giveaway of both of those DVDs!

You should buy Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels at Babeland.

Sugarbutch Star: Green-Eyed Girl

July 31, 2009  |  dirty stories  |  11 Comments

Here is number 4 of 5 of the 2008 Sugarbutch Star stories! In case you need a reminder of the the Sugarbutch Star contest is reader-submitted outlines of fantasies which I then turn into full-length smut stories. I plan to run the contest again in August. Read up on the past stories at Sugarbutch.net/sugarbutch-star-contest.

This submission comes from Green-Eyed Girl – yes, the Green-Eyed Girl.

Sugarbutch Star: Green-Eyed Girl
THE STUDY DATE

I push her back against the door of the classroom the second she closes it, catching her jaw by surprise, my hand over her mouth. “Is this what you wanted? You want me up against you like this?”

Corinne’s knees go weak and her eyes widen, looking up at me softly under her short red hair which curled around her chin in a blunt bob, the bangs across her forehead making her look like a model from the thirties. Her ivory blouse is loose and silky against her skin, a bit fallen to one side, showing the edges of a lace camisole.

I bet she’s already wet.

“You’ve been trying to get me alone all semester. Did you think I didn’t know what you wanted, when you asked me to study with you after class?” I speak softly against her neck, let her feel my breath, hot, against her skin.

Corinne can’t speak. She had been taking up all the air in the room every day in our evening literature class, feisty and talkative, and I’ve finally caught her unprepared. I like the way she keeps glancing at me, then glancing around the room, at the windows, at the door, the small individual desk-chair sets in messy rows, as if she isn’t sure she wants to be here, now that she created this situation.

“You like the way I feel, don’t you?” I bring my hand to her waist, to the curve of her hip, to the front of her thighs, running it up her belly, to her breasts.

She gasps. Nods slowly. I let my fingers find the hem of her black pencil skirt and start tugging it up her thighs. She looks surprised and shifts her weight, her heels of her black pumps clicking on the hard classroom floor. She squirms and whimpers a little behind my hand. She’s breathing heavier and I have to let her have her mouth again in a moment.

“Getting shy now? I thought you knew who you were playing with.” Her skirt is tight and it’s hard to get it to move along her legs with just one hand, I don’t want to rip it or stretch it out, but I’m getting impatient. I push my hand between her thighs and spread my fingers to get her to open them, shove at the fabric. She sucks air in through my fingers, brings one hand to the wrist that is holding her mouth and the other to my shoulder, my chest, almost like she’s pushing me away but she’s not, she’s leaning into me. She wants more.

She sets her jaw, gets her footing, spreads her legs, locks my eye contact. Getting bolder. Caught off-guard for only a moment, she’s regaining that fierce self-resolve I’ve been fantasizing about for months: how I would unravel it, thread by thread.

I move my hand up her skirt for a surprise of my own: no panties. Her cunt is not shaven but trimmed, I can feel the soft hairs around her lips before I explore the inner contours with my fingertips. I want to plunge in. I want to catch her between my hand and the wall, feel her from inside, see how she shudders when she comes, if she can stay upright against this wall, right here.

I let up with my hand over her mouth and feather touch my fingers to her lips, red and full, her mouth gently parted, breath sliding in and out, hot, it’s getting warmer in here, I’m starting to sweat. I can feel it at the nape of my neck, on the small of my back. I’m in my favorite deep red tee shirt and broken-in jeans, but none of the windows are open and it was warm today. Temperatures are rising fast.

Her tongue is swelling in her mouth. She swallows, watches my face, I can tell my features are getting more shadowy as she’s started giving over. I tease her lips with my fingertips and slide inside her mouth and her cunt at the same moment, two fingers each, she’s wet and warm and strong and tight.

Shuddering just barely, she leans her shoulders against the wall and tilts her pelvis toward me, an offering.

You can have me.

I know.

Slow and deep, filling every inch as I move inside her. She opens and blooms between my hands, reaching into her as though I could pull some jewel out from her core, as if excavating a mine.

Show me those precious things you hide inside.

Corinne swells, clit and tongue; I wet my thumb to thrum against her. I’m holding her up and back with my hands, she’s pressing her weight into me, opening deeper. Her desire rises and I think she’s going to come, she tightens so strong around my fingers and sucks me in deep, I can barely move either hand inside her, but she doesn’t, she gasps, goes limp, releases, leans her head against the wall and opens her mouth, opens her eyes, slides them sideways to look at me. Swallows a few times.

I slide my fingers out of her beautiful tight body. We both catch our breath.

I wipe my hands on my jeans and run my fingers through my hair which is falling in my eyes. She rolls her shoulders forward and her knees together shyly, then straightens up, pulls at the hem of her skirt, and takes four swift steps over to the teacher’s desk in front of the chalkboard still covered with notes from our lit class and from the day’s use, ghostly outlines of letters.

Her hard heels against the floor click, click, click, click, and she balances perfectly on the thin tapered heels, effortless (or so it seems to me) black straps buckling around her ankles. Much too fancy for some night university class. She regains her poise and she is all grace, all pressure and granite.

Turning to look at me, she shifts her hips side to side as she works her skirt up her thighs and bunches it around her waist, watching my face as I try not to stare, then she turns, and bends over the desk with her elbows on it.
I don’t make a move. I barely breathe. I let my hungry gaze take in the curve of her ass, her pussy laid out for me, wet and open, her asshole pink, the lines of her shapely legs.

This girl knows what she wants. I love that.

She glances back over her shoulder at me hesitantly, a little shyly. I can see her wondering if she’s made a mistake, been too bold, or if I’ll give it to her.

Of course I will.

My brown loafers click too, but softer than hers, the leather warn down and smooth. I don’t go slow this time, easily shoving three fingers into her, hard enough to tip her forward farther over the desk. Her mouth opens with a quick “ah!” but she takes it. I grip her hip and slide out easy, slick, she’s so wet, so wet and easy, she guides me in and out, takes it hard, rocks against me.

In a flash she reaches down between her legs with her left hand and lays deeper onto the desk, breasts against the cool slick top of it. She lets out a moan as she flicks her clit and tightens around my fingers. I slow down, deepen, expand my fingers to fill her more. She gasps, yeah ohhh yeah yeah and I grin. There’s that tongue of hers working again.

I’ve got her perfectly at hip height and wish I had a cock with me – how was I to know she’d accost me like this? – her ass is luscious and I want to take a bite of her cheek, leave a bruise, wet my fingers and work them into her ass as I plunge my cock into her cunt. Maybe she’ll let me do this again. My free hand travels up, pulls her blouse free of her skirt and finds her nipples, one and then the other, smashing my hand between her and the desk as I keep thrusting and she keeps rubbing her clit, I’m closer to her and can hear her gasping, her hair is falling in her face and she is deliciously disheveled.

“Oh god oh god,” she mutters. No need to involve him, I want to reply, and bite my tongue thinking this is the most holy thing I’ve done in weeks, I can feel her expanding and enlivening under my fingertips, can feel her chest sweeten and swoon as her heart beats red and strong. The buttons on her blouse are popping open and her skirt is all twisted, her hair swings next to her cheeks and ears, red as the flush on her forehead and between her legs.

I want to keep her here, poised, open, fine-tuned and sailing over waves of breath and pulse. Here, it is nothing but bliss and beauty and possibility and healing, nothing but filling the cracks and broken-down machines that are our bodies, that run us, both her and I, I’m flooded with it too, she’s spilling out of herself and into me and I catch it, drink it, push myself inside her deeper to spill and capture even more. I love this part, this dance, this exchange, when we are no longer separated, one big electrical circuit, raising energy from our own bodies, flowing through us, picking up speed and momentum and density and purity as it travels between us.

But of course it doesn’t last. Like all moments of ecstasy, it is short-lived: it spills over and explodes and she comes, hard, gasping and thrusting back against me, pushing her clit so hard I can feel it inside, knees shaking, one of her feet lifting off the floor as she slides her body nearly all the way over the desk.

Her cries quiet, but I notice they bounce around the bare, hard classroom; I wonder if anyone has heard.

I’ve pressed hard against her as she collapsed and after a moment I disentangle, breathe, feel my own body attached to my own hand, contain myself again. She hums with pleasure and pushes herself up from the desk, pulls and twists her tight skirt back into place, sits on the desk and crosses her legs to rebutton her blouse and smooth her clothes. Her ankles touch and kiss, shoes barely held onto her slender feet, just a few fine straps and buckles.

She runs her fingers through her hair, tucks it behind her ear, in a gesture so sweet I stop what I’m doing and reach for her, slide my hands around her waist and she brings her arms around my neck as we kiss, soft and sweet and slow, tender, and I realize we hadn’t done this yet, am I so professional about my fucking that I don’t even kiss anymore? The kissing is the best part. I sigh into it and she grins, I feel her mouth move up at the corners.

“So,” she says, pulling back arms length from me, eyes sparkling. “No cock?”

I laugh, a low puff of air. “Caught me a bit unprepared, I guess.”

“Mmmm.” Corinne doesn’t press it.

I do. “I’ll bring it Wednesday. We are going to have to, you know, ahem, study, again, before the final on Monday, after all.”

She’s amused, still grinning. “I’ll be sure to wear a skirt,” she says, and kisses me again.

A Butch Roadmap

July 16, 2009  |  on butches  |  8 Comments

Ivan Coyote (#6 in the Top Hot Butches list), has just released a piece on his column for xtra.ca called A Butch Roadmap, and it really is a must-read. Here’s a snippet (reprinted with permission):

The word for you is butch. Remember this word. It will be used against you.

The word for you is butch. Your history is one of strength, and survival, and largely silent. Do not hide this word under your shirt. Do not whisper it, or sweep it under the basement stairs. Let it fill up your chest and widen your shoulders. Wear it like a sleeve tattoo, like a medal of valour.

Learn to recognize other butches for what they really are: your people. Your brothers or sisters. Both are just words that mean family.

Other butches are not your competition, they are your comrades.

Be there when they need you. Go fishing together. Help each other move. Polish your rims or your chrome or your boots together. See these acts for what they really are: solidarity.

Do not give your butch friend a hard time about having a ponytail, a pomeranian, nail polish, or a smart car. Get over yourself. You are a rare species, not a stereotype.

Trim your nails short enough that you could safely insert your fingers into your own vagina, should you ever want to.

It makes me want to write my own butch roadmap, my own tips and tricks and suggestions and ideas for being butch and pursuing this identity. I’ll have to think on this idea for a while, let it percolate.

What about you – what kind of things would be on your butch roadmap? Or femme roadmap?

Cynthia & Chris: butch/femme couple engaged!

May 22, 2009  |  miscellany  |  10 Comments

I’m a week late on this news (but what can I say, this isn’t a news blog): Cynthia Nixon announced last week at the New York City Action=Marriage Equality rally that she and her girlfriend, Christine Marinoni, are engaged.

After hearing this, I did some searching for some photos of the couple, because, well, they’re butch/femme! (At least in adjective, if not in identity.) And they are so fucking cute together! I get touched in a different way when I see dykes who have gender that is similar to mine … I just recognize them and it really makes me happy.

It got me thinking a little bit about the celebrity world, and why it isn’t a bigger deal that Cynthia Nixon is gay – she’s a major star of Sex & the City! The film only came out last year, it should still be relevant. Reminds me that the 2009 After Ellen Hot 100 list just came out, and I was frustrated that there aren’t more a) butches or genderqueer folks (I count 5), and b) women who are actually out and queer, instead of women whose characters are gay on tv. I know this is kind of another topic, and I’ll follow up on this later (eventually).

Congratulations on the engagement, I wish you two the best.

cc6

    

[ Largest image from The Insider. Thumbnail image sources, l-r: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ]

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