Posts Tagged ‘community’
TL;DR version: This is a request for financial help. Donate some cash to me, if you can, to keep enabling me to pay my bills and keep writing. Thank you.
The long version …
So, Give Out Day came and went yesterday, a drive “supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) community through a new national giving campaign. … Give OUT Day will mobilize thousands of donors across the U.S. to contribute to 400 participating LGBTQ causes.” More than $500,000 was raised. I wanted to write a post about how I’m not a 501c3, but I need your donations, too, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.
Yesterday, I watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, The Art of Asking, again, which is up there with her piece Why I Am Not Afraid to Take Your Money, things I go read when I need inspiration. The artists going directly to the fans for financial support seems to be more and more of a common model. And yet … and yet. I don’t bite my fingernails anymore, but I start biting the inside of my lips when I think about money.
In March, I put a really weak little hidden sentence in the middle of a paragraph, “If you feel inspired to donate to me as I restart and recalibrate and transition into a new incarnation of myself, and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with Sugarbutch and my heart, that would be incredibly helpful.” Two people emailed me after that, saying that the donate link in my sidebar was broken and they wanted to help and how could they best do that?
I blinked. Really?
It was a weak request, buried and almost a sidenote, something shadowy I didn’t want to cop to. But I actually do need it. So I fixed the donate button in the sidebar. And I added a donate page in the top bar which includes a link to my Amazon wishlist, if you want to buy me practical gifts or books or other kinds of presents instead of sending money.
One of the biggest goals I have for my work, as I’m continuing to claw my way out of this fog, this year of grief, is to make it financially sustainable. When I started this site, I had a corporate office 9-to-5 job which made it possible for me to concentrate on writing all the time. When I was part of the jobs cut in their downsizing, I had unemployment compensation right after I left my corporate office job, but that ended last year. I used to have a tiny but regular income from affiliates, but as I am doing less and less product reviews, and as many sex toy stores have closed their affiliate programs, I have much less of that. I also used to have a long term partner with a day job, until she lost it last summer and, later, we split up.
All these things, all that financial support, enabled me to do this work.
Have you noticed that I have spent a whole lot more time on Sugarbutch in the last few years a) promoting workshops and events that I’m doing and b) promoting products? That’s because the workshops have been my #1 income, and the products often give me that affiliate kickback of $100-200 a month, which made a big difference. Workshops have been my most reliable income in order to keep paying rent and keep eating—and keep doing this work. I spend so many hours a day pitching and replying that sometimes I just can’t stare at a screen anymore, and that means I don’t write those exciting productive things.
This past year, I’ve been focusing hard on how to let this work make me money.
Not because my only priority is making more money, but because I need some money to survive. To eat, to pay rent, to attend the events that I write about, to travel, to buy a new suitcase. (Did you know that the wheels on my carry-on suitcase, the one I purchased in 2002 to study abroad when I was in college, are almost completely broken? I basically drag the suitcase along the ground now. It makes a terribly loud noise. It also makes me feel like everyone knows that I am that dirty, broke-ass kid, just like I’ve always been, and I can’t afford new things. The business people in the airport look when they hear my suitcase chunk-chunk-chunking down the moving walkways and look at my suitcase and give me that pathetic smile, eyebrows kind of raised, skeptical. I shrug, feel sheepish. I don’t need a new suitcase, because this one technically still closes and holds my clothes. But it’s on its last legs. I should add that to my Amazon wishlist.)
Part of my aim in leaving New York and moving to the west coast is to cut my expenses down significantly. I know the Bay Area isn’t exactly cheaper than New York City, but that is part of why I’m sublet-hopping and spending two months in Alaska with family this summer—to cut down on my expenses, to hopefully build up my bank account for a little while, have some cushion when I start having more regular bills again. I’m not sure I want to live in the city proper—I’m not sure I can afford to live in the city and still do this work.
I don’t quite know how to get from here to there, but I’m starting to formulate a plan. This homeless summer on the west coast where all of my stuff is in storage is part of that plan.
Since last weekend, I’ve noticed my traffic on this site has been up, both because I have written more here in the past week than I have in probably two months together, and because Rife spent many hours debugging and finding all the malware in the backend of this site. (So useful, that one.) I spent some time looking at my traffic statistics this past week, and I noticed that my traffic dropped by almost half between February 2012 and March 2012, and it’s been down in that almost-half range ever since.
My dad died in March 2012. Maybe you remember that—I put up a request for donations then, too, and received enough that I could buy a last minute plane ticket home to Alaska and be with my family the week he died. (Thank you. Thank you.) I think that’s about when the spyware/malware issues first showed up, too, when readers started telling me my site wasn’t loading, and I didn’t have the emotional capacity to fix it. I limped along, this site limped along, my relationships limped along. And some other things happened then, too. I continued the year long Tantra training, and I went on tour for Say Please. My relationship with Kristen started falling apart, though I didn’t know it at the time. Everything changed that month last year. And the site statistics reflects that.
I want to build it back up. Keep including my personal struggles here, and write more poetry, write bolder, tell more rather than less, answer your questions, finish more videos, more advice, more theories. In order to do that, I have to be able to pay my bills. I don’t want to spend all my time hustling for college workshops—I want to spend time musing about power theories and what it’s like to grieve and what it’s like to be a Daddy when my dad died and how to make deeper bruises and how to fall in love and how to heal and of course dirty, dirty smut.
So I’ve been looking around, spending more time on this site, writing things, fixing up the sidebar, researching advertising. I received an email just this morning from a potential advertiser telling me that my site had too much “adult content,” even though they are an advertiser that is friendly to sex related stuff. Specifically, they had problems with the recent tags like “daddy/boy” and “my boy’s cunt” and “resistance play”, which, they said, “pushes the lines of what BDSM content we could accept.”
Hm, I thought. I could tone it down. I could take those tags off. I could stop writing dirty Daddy stories about force. Is that what I have to do in order to make money? Am I willing to compromise my art in order to have sponsors? No, probably not. But if I can’t have paid ads on this site, how can I afford it?
You could ask for help, my mind prodded. You could let people help.
I feel guilty asking for money. I feel failed. Amanda talked about how, as a street performer, people would drive by and yell, “Get a fucking job!” That’s what it looks like, right? That I don’t have a job, that I just play on the internet and live my life and do fun things like have a lot of sex and wear ties? But what’s underneath that is that I am an entrepreneur, even a business owner (I don’t want to be that, I didn’t aim to be that. I just want to be a writer. But if I want to keep it up like this, that’s what I now am). What’s underneath is that I am a figure, a mini-celebrity (very well known in tiny, tiny circles).
What’s under all of that is that I work so hard on the exchange between us—that moment where something I do connects with you.
Amanda talks about that moment as part of the exchange for the immense amount of help she’s had all along the way. Fans leap forward everywhere to offer home-cooked food and places to crash and entertainment for her fans. “Is it fair?” she asked in her TED talk. Is it fair to receive that back from her fans?
It’s an energy exchange. Is this energy exchange fair?
This site is free, always has been. You can read all of it—seven years of thoughts, musings, theories, my personal sex life, my best writings, poetry, breakdowns, ecstatic moments, feelings, recommendations for music, sex toys, books. And, yeah, smut. Lots and lots and lots of dirty stories to turn you on. I donate my time (and, when I can, my money) to my community, to people directly and to events and to products I support. I give away my time and my writing and my teaching. I give away hundreds of days of work on this site.
I don’t know how to ask for money. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had much of it. I’ve never lived anything but paycheck to paycheck, and now in my creative class/working artist life, I barely even have that, because the paychecks are so irregular.
I’m still trying to figure out how to make this work successful, how I can have enough space to write deeply. Do you want me to keep doing that? Is it worth it to you, to keep reading those things here?
“Don’t make people pay for music,” says Amanda Palmer. “Let them.”
So I’m letting you. I’m letting you help me, by letting you know that I need help—financial help. I don’t need a lot to cover my expenses, but right now, I’m barely making that from this work. I have to keep seeking other supplemental income, and I am and will. Anything you give me will enable to me keep writing.
I am so very grateful to have people I can ask, to have the privilege of even asking. Thank you. For reading, for sticking with me while I’m struggling to make this into something I can keep doing.
Oh, one last thing: everyone who donates $25 or more will receive a special sponsor smut story unpublished anywhere else. (It’s a good one, too.)
IMsL, the International Ms. Leather contest and one of the biggest gatherings of leather dykes and queers I’ve ever been to, starts tonight! I’m really looking forward to this weekend, to being a part of the contest behind the scenes (I’ll be judging!), and to catching up with so, so many friends from all over the country who will be in attendance.
And! I want to send out a serious congratulations to the 2012 IMsL family, IMsL 2012 Synn Evans, IMsBB 2012 Tarna Scyanne, and 1st runner up Angel Propps. I’ve been following some of the adventures and tours and travels of these folks this past year, and they’ve done fantastic things being representatives of the leather community, doing outreach, gathering support for causes, raising money, and generally raising hell. I’m proud of Synn and her efforts to reflect multi-dimensional, complicated identities and issues within these communities. Thanks, Synn, for your year of service and all you’ve done.
So badass, right? I’m excited for Synn’s roast on Friday night especially. I’m gearing up to say … some stuff.
There’s a queer happy hour from 7-9 at the host hotel (the Holiday Inn on Van Ness), and then there’s a drag show that both Rife and Lillith Grey are performing in (and others, I’m sure, but I’m pretty thrilled to watch the two of them).
You don’t need to have a ticket to the whole IMsL weekend in order to come for the happy hour—so if you’re in San Francisco and want to have a drink with sexy folks tonight, come on by!
I’m teaching a class on Flirting, Foreplay, and Fucking on Saturday at 2:30pm, so if you’re attending IMsL, come by and see me at that class.
I made a special stop at Cleis Press to pick up some more copies of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica (that I usually call “queer kinky smut”), the anthology that I edited that came out last year. I’m still incredibly proud of this collection and if you don’t have a copy of it yet, pick one up from me at IMsL and I’ll be glad to sign it for you! It’s got a pretty incredible lineup of stories and it’s dirty as hell.
I’ve also got the beautiful and “game changing” pack and play silicone cocks by New York Toy Collective, Shilo. I’ve got a couple different colors. They’re $135 each, which I know is a lot and can be preventative, but they are absolutely worth it. My Shilo has replaced two or three other cocks I used to carry around for different reasons (one for blow jobs; one for fucking someone who might not want to use my other favorite, the Maverick, because that one is sometimes too big; one for packing) and I love that it’s become my go-to cock. Maybe even my desert island cock, meaning the one I would bring to a desert island if I could only bring one. Depends on who I was on the island with, probably!
Here’s some other great things about Shilo:
- The way the spine can curve means that it conforms to a person’s body better, and that means it doesn’t slip out as easily
- It’s excellent for prostate or g-spot stimulation, since it can curve to any direction
- The internal spine is a “proprietary core,” which the NYTC tells me means they “can’t tell you what’s in it,” but it does contain metal (which means it might show up as a blip on an airport security scan). The core is also wrapped in layers of silicone, and they haven’t had any instances of the inner bendable core poking through the silicone. It could hypothetically happen, but the layers are very thick and seems very sturdy
- Of course, it is really good for packing and then fucking!
I’ll have my Square on me, so you can actually buy one with a credit card if you’d like to, or you can make sure to bring cash. Which color do you want? Let me know and I’ll save one for you!
See you at IMsL!
I’ve gone all over the country in the past year to promote the anthology I edited, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. In November, Kristen and I were in Dallas for Thanksgiving and Lillith Grey helped me to produce an incredible lineup at Ver Les.
Amy Price took photographs, and they are pretty amazing. It was quite a rockstar lineup and it was in fact so successful that Lillith has decided to create an ongoing erotica series! Check out Panty Raid on Facebook for more details.
The Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Dallas Edition featured live music by Ashely Boucher, and erotica readings by Lillith Grey, Kasson Marroquin, Cheyenne Cartwright, Artemis Rose, Morgan la Fae, and CD Kirven.
Thanks so much to everyone who was there last night, to Lillith and all the readers, for making it an excellent celebration. I still aim to do a couple more Say Please readings in 2013, and I hope to have a new book project with Cleis press soon, so certainly you can expect more of me in your city in the future.
So you’ve heard about Summer Camp, or at least, about how I met the boy there. And you heard about what happened at Fusion this year, which will give you a little more context (and a photo!) for the beautiful camp where the Dark Odyssey summer events are held.
Have you thought about attending?
In a purely selfish move (because I am completely invested in having very, very sexy hot queer, butch, femme, genderqueer, trans, and gender-aware folks in attendance) I want to extend you an invitation to come this year.
(And yes, that is the kind of come I mean, pervert.)
They’re starting to call it “Dark Odyssey’s intimate family reunion,” and aside from that, it’s the most queer of the four events that DO runs. Or at least, it seems the most queer to me—it’s the smallest, so the ratio of number of queers to general perverts is bigger.
I have been kinky for a long time, since before I was really out and queer even, but my experiences with the leather and kink communities when I was young led me to believe that that world wasn’t really for me. Seems a lot has changed in the last ten (gulp—fifteen) years, though, and I’m really glad I took the chance and went to Summer Camp last year. It’s introduced me to the leather world in a way that I didn’t even know I was missing, but of course that’s part of me and what I do. Being immersed in it for a whole weekend has changed how I interact with kink and leather worlds, and I’ve attended a lot more events, meetings, workshops, and conferences in the past year than I have before.
But, want to know a secret? Summer Camp is still my favorite.
Not only because of that cute boy and that we met there (and will be celebrating one year together there this year), but also because it’s queer, casual, so gender-accepting, full of sexy people, full of amazing workshops (that I swear I will attend more of this time), full of tons of equipment to play on … and OUTSIDE! I love listening to the trees and watching folks wander around outside topless (or completely nude), love the fire pits in the evening.
Details from Dark Odyssey:
- Beat the heat and the rate increase and bring your summer to a climax with Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp 2012! Our Early Registration rates are still available if you register this weekend!
Summer Camp is Dark Odyssey’s intimate family reunion. A place where, surrounded by other experienced players, you can go deeper and more intense than anywhere else. All happening in an immersive play-centered atmosphere that blends our darkest desires with the fun and whimsy you’d expect from someplace called “Summer Camp.”
We’ve got a fabulous line up of events, presenters and workshops that you won’t want to miss:
Events Include: The Full Monte Carlo Kinky Casino & Auction ~ Cruising in the Dark ~ Whose Kink Is It Anyway – a lifestyle improv show ~ The Asylum of Love & Lust ~ Kinky Crafting Fair ~ Explore & Taste ~ Jim Deuder’s Bootblack Hour ~ Switch It Up! ~ Erotic Massage Party ~ Sex-O-Rama Night ~ Bare Stories ~ Breakup Bonfire ~ Guided Anal Self Exploration
Presenters: Capt. Gordon ~ Del ~ Finn ~ Fire Tashlin ~ Jefferson ~ Jim Deuder ~ Lee Harrington ~ Lolita Wolf ~ Murphy Blue ~ Slutress ~ Sinclair Sexsmith ~ Sir C ~ Strap-On-Jo ~ Vesper ~ Wintersong
Selected Workshops: Water Wrasslin’ ~ Needleplay as S/M ~ Sewing It Shut ~ Art of the Not-So-Deep Throat ~ Chewtoy – Erotic Biting ~ Going Deep ~ Shapeshifter: A Journey in Astral Gender and Desire ~ Sensory Deprivation & Control ~ Hojojutsu and Take Down for the BDSM Practitioner ~ Fucking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships ~ Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Sex Ed ~ Plays Well With Others ~ Rough Housing & Kinky Wrestling ~ Improv in the Dungeon: From Roleplay to Dirty Talk ~ Event Survival ~ Hands-On Caning ~ GenderQueer Bondage ~ Hot Stuff: Fire Play ~ Predicament Scenes ~ Cock Confidence: Strap-On 101 ~ First Impressions: How Not to be a Douchebag ~ David vs Goliath: Rough Body Play for Tops and Bottoms of Different Sizes ~ Talk Dirtier ~ Speed Bondage ~ And Plenty More …
Did you spy my workshops up there in that list? I’ll be teaching:
Fucking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships
New relationship energy can propel a couple into a phenomenal experiential phase of sexual energy—bursts of passion, exploration, and intensity. Long term relationships, however, face the day-to-day life navigation of bills, scheduling, job and career difficulties or changes, disappointments, changes, and grief. How do we build a long term relationship that keeps the passion alive? How do we ensure we have enough time for our partner(s), and for ourselves? How do we both separate from our partner to have our own rich inner life and come back together to build a loving bond? And what kind of kinky play can be used to keep the fire going? We’ll explore all of these concepts and more at this interactive workshop.
Cock Confidence: Strap-On 101
Many of us have experience with strapping on, packing, and playing, but there are lots of new products out there on the market that might be exciting and that you haven’t encountered yet. Writer and sex educator Sinclair Sexsmith talk about what cocks are good for packing, what options are out there for pack-and-play, which harnesses are the most loved, and which to avoid. Plus, we’ll delve into some cock confidence, getting into the psychology of penetration, and discussing what it’s like to shoot from the hip. Come get the nuts and bolts of strapping it on and fucking. You’ll learn about positions and lube, how different products work, what “cock confidence” means, and the psychology behind strapping on and playing with a cock with a partner, or with oneself.
Talk Dirtier: How to Let Your Tongue Go
Talking dirty in the bedroom can be terrifying at first, but once you unlock your tongue, you’ll find yourself saying all sorts of delicious things! Come to this workshop and we’ll figure out what’s tying our tongues in the first place, what’s holding us back from being more free with our language in the bedroom, and what the heck we should say to enhance our sex and intensity our sensation. The brain is the biggest sex organ, after all, and the more we can turn on our minds, the better our experiences will be.
Flirting, Foreplay, & Fucking
We all want to get laid. But making it happen in real life can be a lot harder than we want it to be. Do you wish more people would hit on you? How do you make yourself more available? We can all use some practice asking for what we want, but how do you escalate from flirting to foreplay and foreplay to fucking? Learn to perfect the art of the tease, draw out your potential lover’s interest, and make sex even hotter in the process.
What do you think? Want to come? Early registration rates end on Monday. darkodyssey.com/summercamp
Thanks, e[lust], for featuring my recent story about the Tantra “three minute game.” I like thinking about it spreading throughout the sex blog readers and queers and kinksters, and how we can all get a little more of what we want.
Welcome to e[lust] - The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #39? Start with the newly updated rules, come back August 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
~ Top 3 ~
Wrong On Every Level – “If you wouldn’t ask them to borrow $20 bucks, how the fuck is it ok for you to ask them to fuck you? Oh right, it’s not.”
Good Girl – “She nearly melted into me. When I finally released her, she exhaled–she had been holding her breath.”
The Three Minute Game – “The timer went off and I breathed out, both a sigh of relief and disappointment that it was over.”
~ Featured Post (Picked by Lilly) ~
Bitch- “I don’t let her run the show…but she’s always around. She’s in the background saying: Bullshit”
e[lust] Editress: Dangerous Lilly
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy! Read More
Kristen & I answered Laura’s question on video this morning from Seattle … hopefully our colds don’t make us sound too weird.
Laura asks: “I am a kinky queer femme bottom/sub and have read your blog for a long time. The thing that strikes me most is how open you, and also Kristen, are about your explorations and your celebration of your gender and sexuality. I am only 23 but have known I was queer and a submissive since pre-adolescent years, and it feels like I will never be comfortable fully expressing myself or finding my voice except with my partners, because I still get ashamed/embarrassed about all of it sometimes, especially when I think about my family or straight and/or vanilla friends finding out. How did you overcome those feelings to be more open, if you ever had them?”
Welcome to e[lust] - The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #38? Start with the newly updated rules, come back July 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
Coming to Terms with Being Gay – From the time I was seven I was raised Mormon, which meant I wasn’t allowed to have a girlfriend until I was 16 or to have sex until I was married.
What I Want – I want to be humiliated. Call me a slut. Call me a whore. Slap my face. Expose me.
Dinner Party Entertainment – At that moment, J’s eyes went wide–he finally realized I was leaving him there, tied to the bed.
Featured Post (Picked by Lilly)
My Abstinence Only “Sex Education” – The speakers were a married, Christian couple, and the man told us about how he had pledged to stay a virgin until he was married.
Your Crappy Writing Turns Me Off – Your written words are your clothes, your power, your voice, your facial expressions and that by which we measure intelligence, personality and even attractiveness.
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy! Read More
So I have really a lot to say about my experience at the International Ms. Leather contest in San Francisco last weekend—about how it was pretty phenomenal to be in a hotel space filled with leather women (and those who love them), about the BDSM & anal workshop that Tristan Taormino led, about the 10 rules for happy non-monogamy workshop that Andrea Zanin led, and the single tail workshop that had me inspired, and the “parade of colors” and the leather sashes that made me, from the audience, go, “oh my gosh this is such a thing,” the royalty that leather title holders have, the awesomeness that are our new titleholders: the butch from Texas is our new IMsL and the femme bootblack is the new IMsBB! I’m thrilled that they’re representing this community and I wish them so many amazing adventures and fun travels.
And I kind of don’t know where to start, with what to tell you. I am extremely crunched for time these days (turns out, the week that your book comes out is kind of busy, who knew) and I don’t want to just give you a play-by-play (though you might be interested in that, I know, ya pervs).
So instead, I just want to send lots of love to IMsL and IMsBB 2012, KD Diamond and Sara Vibes, with this shot of them I snapped while Sara was feeding KD peeps off of her knife.
And yeah, this is just the kind of thing that happened, right in front of me, when I didn’t even expect it, all weekend long. If you’re kinky and queer and into women, this is one of those gatherings you don’t want to miss. You bet your ass I’ll be there next year.