Posts Tagged ‘carnal nation’

Happy 4th Anniversary, Sugarbutch!

April 29, 2010  |  miscellany  |  18 Comments

Today, April 29th 2010, marks the fourth anniversary of beginning Sugarbutch! I’ve been going at this site nearly daily for four years straight, and it’s the first anniversary where I am not working at another job; Sugarbutch is my full-time job.

This past year, I’ve written 231 posts, received 2,798 comments, added one category for a total of 37, and added 1,267 tags. I’m kind of tag-happy these days. They’re a sort of footnote.

I’ve also started writing many other places, including the Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation, my Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend column on New York City for Eden Fantasys’s magazine Sex Is, and I even had a piece over on After Ellen this past week. I’ve started a reading series, with Cheryl B., called Sideshow! The Queer Literary Carnival, and I’ve been teaching workshops and classes more frequently. I’m keeping track of all of those things over on MrSexsmith.com, rather than here, so if you’re interested in where I’m performing or where else my work is appearing, subscribe to that RSS feed. I’ve also started keeping media (video, audio, and photographs, mostly) over on my mrsexsmith.Tumblr.com, which has freed up this space a little more for in-depth writing.

I have some more projects in the works for the near future! Stay tuned.

I have always reflected back on this very first post when I do these anniversary posts, and as many of you are new readers these days, here’s an excerpt from my very first post, 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’ve been with my girlfriend for three years. We met in college, in a Men & Masculinity class. It took another couple of quarters for us to get together; we had a slow start, easing into each other and into a relationship, which was wonderful. One of the great things about our relationship is how well we have been able to keep our autonomy – we never became one of those couples that you never see without the other person, we aren’t joined at the hip, we don’t constantly speak in first-person-plural. Of course, the greatest strength is often the greatest weakness, and in our case, the intimacy has fallen out of our relationship almost entirely.

We haven’t had sex in … longer than I care to admit. And in the last two years we have probably had sex five times. I stopped counting the days between.

I’m surprised at how clear that is, when I look back at it. It feels like such a murky, confused time, but I lay it out so clearly: I’m not getting the sex I need. I still believe sex is a basic human need, perhaps not for survival on the food-water-shelter level, but on the hierarchy of needs scale, certainly. It is something we need in order to feel psychologically safe, protected, comforted. Well, maybe saying “sex” is too broad. We don’t actually all need sex. I need sex, I need hot dirty queer kinky sex, but perhaps you need pretty music playing candles lit sex. Perhaps you are totally satisfied with the once-a-month quickie. Perhaps you’re asexual, and need companionship, partnership, friendship, intimacy in other ways.

That post is under password protection now, as is most of the things about my exes and personal life. If you want the password, join the (very very rarely occasional) mailing list, and it’ll be sent to you when you confirm your subscription.

The traditional gift for the fourth anniversary is fruit, flowers, and books, or, I’m told, the modern equivalent is electrical appliances. Umwhat? People don’t need fruit, flowers, or books anymore? Those seem way more important than electrical appliances. I mean, I like the next tech gadget as much as anybody (though I think I’ll buy stock instead of the iPad, even though I’m really coveting it currently), but it’s almost summer! I can’t wait for strawberry shortcake.

On Sugarbutch’s second anniversary, I reflected on where this blog started and began the tradition of “ask me anything,” which I did last year also. So, in the spirit of keeping up with traditions, let’s do it again: Got a question for me? Ask me anything. You can ask anything, from personal details about my life that you’ve always wondered, to questions about advice for sex toys or your relationship, to philosophical musings on identity, gender, or sexuality theory.

Read back on some of the former “ask me anything” questions, and add your own in the comments. What do you want to know? I’ll answer as many as I can.

Radical Masculinity: Reinventing Our Icons

March 12, 2010  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

“Have you seen the Dockers ads?” someone asked me recently at a conference, after I told them I write about masculinity. “A friend told me he liked those ads, because he is so unsure of what it means to ‘be a man’ right now. Everything has changed. There are no icons pointing men where to go, what to be like.”

I hear this frequently, and I have asked myself this often, too, in my own personal identity development process of coming to a female masculinity as butch. Where are the feminist men? Where are the radical depictions of masculinity? Where are the examples of health and strength and skill and honor that I can admire and emulate? Who can I look to? Who will be a mirror showing me my reflection so that I can push myself in the direction that best fits me? I speak to this when I talk about depictions of healthy relationships in the media, too—where are they? What does that look like? Where are the heterosexual couples with men treating women with respect, value, care? Where is the equality? Where are the conscientious, thoughtful dads?

Things are changing. That is my entire premise of this series of articles on Radical Masculinity: that we are at a precarious time, in transition, finally studying what it means to “be a man” in this culture, much like feminists and gender scholars have been studying femininity and women in the past forty years. Underneath the question of what it means to “be a man,” as queers and butches and trans and genderqueer folks are also asking, is what it means to be masculine. The concepts of masculinity have changed, and is still changing, and while there is no singular meaning (like perhaps the fictional version of the nuclear family and breadwinner in the 1950s), I’m finding that there is no shortage of masculine icons.

Read the whole thing over at my column on Radical Masculinity at Carnal Nation: Reinventing Our Icons.

Year In Review On Sugarbutch: 2009

January 19, 2010  |  miscellany  |  5 Comments

Remember when I used to do monthly roundup posts? I only did the first three months of 2009, which I actually kind of miss. Perhaps it’s something I’ll bring back.

So: what happened in 2009 here on Sugarbutch?

I’ve been dating Kristen, and in fact we were together all of 2009. Some of the dirtiest Kristen stories are here grouped together, though most of those occur in the first half of 2009, before my particularly difficult late summer and started playing with Daddy/girl play. I guess I wrote a little too vividly about Kristen, at times, because I got enough snarky comments and emails that I finally wrote some clarifying statements about what she represents in on getting girls off.

At the end of the year, I started giving Kristen homework, which prompted some questions about our d/s dynamic. I’m still working out the details on

(I did actually sleep with a few other girls aside from Kristen in 2009. Early on in the year, when we were starting out, our relationship was open. And, in the spring, Kristen and I had a threesome, which I did not write about here. I had hoped it would be our first of a few … but perhaps 2010 is the year for that.)

Aside from Kristen …

I won some awards in 2009! I got TWO Lezzy awards, for Best Gender Bender Blog and Best Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog. I was also named to the Top Sex Bloggers list of 2009 for the second year in a row!

I launched Top Hot Butches in June, and that exploded in both good and painful ways. I initially included about a dozen trans men on this list, and that was a fairly poor choice, so I took them down, and wrote why I did so in on removing trans men from the Top Hot Butches list. I also contacted or was contacted by many of the trans men on the list, and in the end about half of them remained on the list (the other half I have not been in contact with; I did not hear from any trans men who were included on the original list saying that they wanted to be excluded).

After I went on a particularly transformative tantra retreat, I lost my job in July, though it didn’t officially end until September, when I was on administrative leave for the last few months of 2009. That meant that July and August were particularly I’m using the few months of cushion to launch my freelance work, which will be graphic design (like flyers, postcards, business cards) and web design (banners, ads, blog headers, blog templates) and writing.

I wrote a series called My Evolving Masculinity out of some of the difficulties and growing of the summer. Part One: Introduction, Part two: Yin & Yang, Part Three: “Daddy”, and Part Four: Personal.

I wrote a particularly vulnerable piece about what it’s like to come inside your lover as someone strapped on, and a piece asking, “is it a trans characteristic to wear a cock?” about cock-centricity and gender identity.

Apparently I didn’t write all that much on femme identity in 2009, but I did write a rather long, thorough piece On Femme Invisibility that I like quite a bit. I was also published in the Femmethology! Dacia recorded an mp3 version of my Love Letter to Femmes, and I kicked off the Femmethology blog tour.

I kept writing the Sugarbutch Star stories, but only wrote four out of five. In theory, there is one more coming, which I have started by not finished.

I tried to step up my posts on sexuality, bdsm theory, and domination and submission, and wrote some things I quite like, such as Sadism & the Study of PainHow do you get a dominant to dominate?, and Yes, No, and Consent.

Some more miscellany, from Sugarbutch and me around the web …

  • I curated the 15th Carnival of Sexual Freedom & Autonomy, which was my first major curation for a carnival, and I quite enjoyed it. I asked some specific questions about sexual freedom and sexual autonomy, and many different folks responded with beautiful essays on their own blogs. This was a lot of work, but I loved curating and recruiting and pulling various essays all together.
  • I launched MrSexsmith.com! This will be a place to keep track of my upcoming events and projects, outside of Sugarbutch. A portfolio of sorts.

  • I started a few different tumblr logs, but am focusing on one now: mrsexsmith.tumblr.com. The working description is something like “the personal media collection – images, video, songs, quotes – of Mr. Sinclair Sexsmith. Often featured are ribbons, pigtails, fishnets, lingerie, butches, and radical masculinity.” Generally, it’s all sorts of media and images that I like. The latest photo is currently featured over there in the sidebar.

  • I got a booking company! Phin Li Bookings is now representing me, and I am so thrilled to be doing more workshops and speaking engagements through them. What’s that? You’d like to bring me to your college or community center or local queer group? Well gosh, I’d love to! Let’s be in touch. You can find out about some of my workshops over on PhinLi.com and contact Seraphin of PhinLi Bookings, LLC at (646) 418-5152 or bookings (at) phinli (dot) com.

Other big news! Oh yeah, I write a column now!

I started writing for Carnal Nation in October, a column called Radical Masculinity. This is a major accomplishment, and a goal that I’ve wanted for a long time. I LOVE Carnal Nation and I love my editor, Chris, over there, and the pieces we’ve published so far are some of my favorite things I’ve written. I’ll always

I wrote a couple other things for Carnal Nation first, including being on their Perv Panel, which is on a hiatus. I wrote various pieces of advice, but I’m coming stronger to not really thinking I will pursue being an advice columnist. I like it, but I really don’t have time to get everything done that I’d like to as it is.

Oh yeah – I wrote product reviews, especially for sex toys. I think that might be a separate post, though – a roundup of all the products I reviewed, or a list of my favorites, might take a little time.

Whew! That’s a lot! Did I miss something? Also, what would you LOVE to see here in 2010?

Radical Masculinity #3: When Men Wear Skirts

December 31, 2009  |  essays  |  7 Comments

… is up at Carnal Nation!

A little taste of what I discuss:

One of my basic tenets of gender is the deep belief that gender should not dictate one’s personality. Personality traits are made up of hobbies, interests, and activities; one of the classic ways we police gender in this culture is to require that men only do “manly things” and women do “womanly things,” and when a man does a womanly thing, we get all up in arms about it. Ask my sister’s boyfriend: he’s a cop, the man carries a gun for goodness’ sake, but when he started growing sunflowers, he got teased incessantly by his best friends and coworkers alike. Someone—anyone—is extra quick to criticize when one of the activities we like to do is outside of our gender assignment.

Yet it is more socially acceptable for a woman to cross over into seemingly masculine hobbies than for a man to cross into feminine ones (at least at the amateur level—men still dominate fields traditionally seen as “female” such as cooking, baking, and sewing at the professional level, but that is a slightly different topic). The advances that the various feminist movements have made in the last 100-plus years have made it more acceptable for a woman to get really obsessed with NASCAR racing, or World of Warcraft and video games, or pro-wrestling, or environmental engineering, or the stock market, or any of those other supposedly “masculine” interests and hobbies. She may be insulted for these interests, she may be called a dyke (equating her gender identity with sexuality), but she has support. She has other women who have gone through this, she has documents, she has a feminist history to call upon to tell herself—and others—that she can like these things and still be a “real” woman.

However, if a man wants to grow sunflowers or bake cupcakes or learn how to needlepoint or host fancy dinner parties or make greeting cards, there are consequences: the people around him, friends and strangers, will police his hobbies, words, and actions around things seen as “unmanly.”

Head on over to Carnal Nation for the whole thing.

Radical Masculinity: How to Make Masculinity Stop Hurting

November 11, 2009  |  essays  |  No Comments

It’s up!

My second Radical Masculinity column for Carnal Nation is titled How to Make Masculinity Stop Hurting. Here’s the beginning:

radical-masculinity-hurting-big

My dad’s best friend died last week. Heart attack. He was 60, barely older than my dad, not old enough for his heart to give way. They’ve been friends for 35 years, longer than I’ve been alive. I got a heartbreaking email from my father about how they met, where they’d traveled together, and his favorite joke (What did the Buddhist say to the hot dog vendor? Make me one with everything).

In his eulogy, his son wrote that he was “a devoted family man, one who extended the term to cover a great many individuals, supporting and caring for those who needed him.”

And I thought, that’s radical masculinity.

How does one learn how to be that? How do you grow up into a masculinity, a maleness, an adult manhood, despite this culture’s obsession with bad boys and lunkheads, to be a caring protective provider, to make effective, positive changes in this world, to build something that will last, to be generous with your heart and mind and love and time?

Traditional, limitational masculinity says don’t talk about your feelings. That masculinity says be strong all the time. It says a “real” man is tough, and the worst thing you can be is a sissy, a pussy, a girl, feminine, weak.

Radical masculinity says: I am listening. Who do you want to be?

Read the whole thing over at Carnal Nation, and read my other pieces there, too.

Suggestions or requests for the third column are very much welcome! Got any good ideas? What were your favorite parts of the first two that I could perhaps expand upon? Anything about masculinity that you’ve been dying to hear my opinion about? Please do let me know.

A Manifesto for Radical Masculinity (on Carnal Nation)

October 12, 2009  |  essays  |  3 Comments

I’ve got a new column on Carnal Nation called Radical Masculinity, and the first one went up two weeks ago. Here’s an excerpt:

Remember back in the Spring of 2009 when two young boys committed suicide within a week of each other, both eleven years old? Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover of Massachusetts and Jaheem Herrera of Georgia were both being subjected to unbearable anti-gay bullying at school. Whether or not these boys were actually gay, using homophobia to police masculinity is practically the oldest trick in the book. In the aftermath of these suicides, and in the discussions that ensued on the Web and in print, there was extensive lip service given to gender and the inevitable complaint that boys have it so hard, that feminism has stripped men of their manliness, that men don’t know how to be men anymore, that we’ve got a Crisis In Masculinity.

That might seem like anti-feminist rhetoric, but I agree with it—at least in part. I agree that masculinity is changing, for some in dramatic, drastic ways. I have witnessed and observed cultural changes around the masculine and male gender roles which are shifting, yes, as a direct result of the recent feminist and other gendered social change movements.

Read the whole thing over on CarnalNation.com.

The premise of this first article is to introduce some of the concepts of this so-called “crisis in masculinity” and my perspectives on them. I think there’s some stuff brewing behind changes and evolutions in masculinity, and I want to tease them out. I also had a pretty tough time coming to my own masculinity, but I feel like I have come into my own, and I want to attempt to explain how that worked for me and how I adopted a masculinity that was both intentional and actively works to not be painful or hurtful, to me or others.

It’s a really complicated topic and I’m looking forward to exploring it. The second column is in progress – they’ll be monthly. If you have any particular requests for topics I should explore, I’d love to know.

Queer Books Saved My Life

September 2, 2009  |  miscellany  |  3 Comments

I have a new piece on Carnal Nation called Queer Books Saved My Life. An excerpt:

I have always been a reader. I don’t remember learning to read: I was three, my mother says Sesame Street taught me. Books have always been my go-to when I don’t understand something. Even now, in this digital age, though I do utilize Google faster than you can say “you should Google that,” my second go-to is nypl.org/books and finding a title to put on hold, to pick up at my nearby Mid-Manhattan library.

I don’t remember a time when that wasn’t my answer to any given question plaguing me.

Before I was out, and before I was an “adult” with one of those “real” jobs, I worked in independent bookstores. My specialty and sections were always social sciences. When the shelving had been done, when the desks were tidy and the isles were mostly empty of customers, I would sneak into the slightly secluded corner with psychology, eastern religion, relationships, sex, and gay & lesbian studies, and pull the queer books off the shelves.

Read the piece in its entirety over at Carnal Nation.

The piece is basically the story of my coming to a queer identity, and the ways that books influenced that process. During that time I was living in Fort Collins, Colorado, working at an independent bookstore, and with my high school boyfriend of four years. We split after we both moved to Seattle and I left him, and came out. Meanwhile, I bought the biggest bookshelf I could afford and read everything I could on queer culture and lesbian fiction, and finally felt like I fit in, like I belonged, like I made sense.

I’ll be writing a column for Carnal Nation monthly in the future on Radical Masculinity, which I’m really excited about! If you’ve got topic suggestions or comments, I’m compiling my first few in the next few weeks, please let me know.

Pioneers, Visionaries, Safe Havens, and Glitter

June 19, 2009  |  essays  |  No Comments

My article on the 2009 Lambda Literary Awards is up on CarnalNation, and I’m proud of it. I loved going to the awards and I am grateful to CarnalNation for sending me – and to Seal Press for sending me a couple of the books that were finalists!

It’s amazing how little news coverage the awards got, really. I was looking around as I was drafting this and all I saw were bitty little mentions on blogs, no major news coverage. I guess that’s not surprising, just a little sad.

Here’s the beginning of my article, to entice you to read it:

The 21st annual Lambda Literary Awards returned to New York City for the 2009 ceremony at the New School for Graduate Studies in midtown Manhattan, after presenting last year’s awards in Los Angeles. It seems appropriate that the awards would come of legal drinking age in Gotham, amidst solid grey skies and a drizzle, where writers stoop over bourbon in dark East Village bars. Writerly brooding just isn’t the same on the beach with bikinis and sunshine.

The Awards began in 1988, and though the specific categories have evolved since then, with the addition of bisexual and transgender categories and, eventually, the fizzling of the AIDS-related category, the Awards reflect the movements of the queer community for the past twenty years, and the best of the best new and seasoned authors are recognized and awarded. It is one of my life-goals to read all the winners—at least for the lesbian fiction category, if not all the others.

As someone whose life was changed and saved by queer books, I was thrilled to be attending the awards ceremony. I sat in the back so I could see the authors jump up when their name was announced after “and the winner is…” so I could see their lovers’ and friends’ faces as they hugged, clapped their hands, kissed on the cheek. And then the long walk to the stage and the acceptance speech: “I know it’s cliché to say that I didn’t prepare anything because I didn’t expect to win, but it’s true!”

Read the whole thing over at CarnalNation.

The complete list of winners is at the end of the article; pick out just one of them, at least, and read it, will you? These are amazing books which have been honored, and deserve reading.

standing on glass

April 10, 2009  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

theresa

From Theresa, Editor-in-Chief of Carnal Nation, a great new site with all sorts of writings on personal, political, & perverted human sexuality.

Don’t worry, there are still more shoe photos coming.