Hard Handed Femme, Guest Post by Dena Hankins (Excerpt from Lysistrata Cove)

This story contains consensual BDSM play, including choking, punching, and foreplay.

As she circled the large structures for rope play in the middle of the room, she found him.

Jack stood with his feet spread like a sailor, arms crossed over a black chest harness that came together in the middle of his back at a shiny ring, probably stainless steel. His compass rose tattoo covered the bulk of his skin, with the light scribing of chart details radiating along his shoulders and sides, disappearing into his dark blue jeans. He was in three-quarter profile, and she could see the tattooed chain loop around his arm and cross his shoulders, but not the anchors on his forearms. His tousled hair caught the light over the scene he watched, giving him a nimbus that contrasted with the dirty-boy tone of his presentation.

She must have come into his range of vision, because he started and turned toward her. His arms dropped away from his chest, covered only with the leather straps and a buckle so that she could see his nipples harden. She’d planned to start aloof and make him work for her attention, but she couldn’t contain her sly smile. No reason to stick to a plan when an opportunity stared one straight in the face.

She wanted to walk right to him and grab him by the neck. She wanted to see his eyes widen and feel his breath catch, but, yes, a DM wandered close by. She’d have to give the impression of negotiating.

Eve stared into Jack’s eyes as she approached, daring him to look away. She stopped so close his short breaths warmed her neck. The couple of inches she had on him gave her the high ground and she took it. “I want to beat you with my hands, open and fisted, and fuck you with your granite cock. Do you agree to that and the conditions for play that we set out both the night at my house and in our video chat conversation?”

“Yes, Eve.” He didn’t hesitate.

“Are you ready to start?”

“Yes, Evrim.”

The joy burst through her. To be heard and understood, for him to remember and value her ways. What a gift.

Not that it softened her. Anything but.

“Get the cock and take care of any side trips you need to make. Meet me in that corner,” she pointed, “with two bottles of water and your cock as soon as you’re done. Don’t change anything you’re wearing.” She dropped her eyes to the lump in his pants, either a packing cock or stuffing. She’d find out later.

“Yes, Evrim.”

Evrim watched him walk away, nearly laughing out loud at the skip in his step. No second thoughts from this one. Evrim draped the sling with an absorbent pad and put another on the spanking horse for good measure. She turned to find Jack at her side and struck as swiftly as a rattlesnake.

A groan tore through her throat at the feeling of Jack’s throat under her hard hand. She squeezed the muscles on either side of his trachea and his wide eyes flickered. “Give me the cock.”

He handed it over and she put it on the table without looking away from him. He kept his hands down and stood still, waiting for her to do what she would.

Evrim drew out the moment. He flushed slowly, though she wasn’t cutting off his blood flow. She stared at him from inches away until his throat jerked hard against her palm and his eyelids fell to half-mast. That was the signal she’d been waiting for.

A hard, thudding blow to his chest with the side of her fist. He shuffled his feet to lean into the blows he correctly expected, and she tenderized him, beating him slowly, heavily, between his collarbone and his nipples. She switched sides, releasing his throat to do so, then used both hands, simultaneously and in a rhythm that drew the first sounds from him. Grunts, groans, signs that it was starting to hurt, that his reddening, swelling flesh was signaling its danger to his brain.

She kept going, finding the edge where he groaned without screwing up his eyes, then going over it. Her hands glowed, receiving just as much of a beating as they were providing, and Evrim gave herself a break by switching it up.

With her palms flat on his tenderized chest, she shoved hard enough that he swayed, then brought himself back with a flex of his stomach muscles. Fucking hot. She made him do it again, for the sheer pleasure of watching his body jerk, then dug her fingertips into the area she’d beaten. He flinched, his shoulders curving in as though to shield himself from the pain, but his hands remained by his sides.

“You may put your hands on my waist.”

His eyes darted to hers, his surprise clear. “Thank you, Evrim.”

Hmm. Telling, that. He wasn’t used to having permission to touch his top. What kind of services had he performed in the past?

“But keep your shoulders back. If you need me to slow down or wait, tell me.”

“Yes, Evrim.”

When his hands touched her corseted waist, she could barely feel him. Not at all what she was after. She put a finger out and pressed it lightly against the end of his nipple. He stiffened as though electrocuted and his hands tightened on her. Better.

Evrim stroked both his nipples, squeezed them, gathered them in her hands, and pulled. Everything she did brought him to a higher level of tension until he was strung far too tight to maintain it. She punched him hard with the sides of both fists, three times in a row, and he shouted.

At that sound of release, Evrim unleashed her craving. She beat and pulled and twisted and squeezed, moving too fast for Jack to process one sensation before another crashed over him. She overwhelmed him, and his cries became nonstop repetitions of two words that flew into her like thunderous rain.

“Please yes please yes…”

His unfocused eyes drifted with the rain of blows, then flashed their shock when she reached around to grab what she could of his short hair and pull his head back. She pinched his nipple hard at the same time she pulled him into her body. She bit the strong muscle of his shoulder, and the combination made him hold on to her as though he would fall otherwise. She pulled him in and squeezed hard.

Breath sobbed from his open mouth against her neck, hot and damp. His body shook and twitched in her arms, and she held them solid for him. When his arms went slack, she nudged him with her hip, got him moving backward, and bypassed the spanking horse for the sling. She’d beat his ass and thighs another day. He was primed for a deep, hard fucking.


Pick up Dena Hankins’s new book, Lysistrata Cove, and read all about the adventures of Jack and Evrim.

Femming the Strap-On, Guest Post by Artemisia FemmeCock

I used to think I wasn’t gay enough to have a cock.

I cringe at that now, wondering what the hell it even means to be “gay enough” for anything. My 16-year-old self had some very ingrained assumptions though, assumptions that formed an identity radically different from the one I inhabit so comfortably today.

It seems natural to introduce myself as a “queer femme dyke” now, but to my newly-out teen self, those were three very incongruous things: queer was a slur, femme was the counter-identity to masculine, and dyke was a term reserved for only the most visible, butch lesbians.

These were conclusion influenced by the community I found when I first came out as a freshman in high school, a community that assured me I was a lesbian without ever asking because I am a cis woman attracted to women. It was like a scratchy, ill-filling sweater, but amongst the many other discomforts of high school, it was warming to feel welcome somewhere.

However, this meant that an identity was crafted for me before I could even begin to claim one for myself. Part of that identity was my presentation as a femme woman who was dating a butch woman, which coded me as the submissive and receptive partner, while they were perceived as the dominant, the pleaser, the one who wore the strap-on.

We were swathed in binary stereotypes by others, queer or not, and there were endless jokes about how gay my partner was for being a visible butch woman. The most vivid being when a group of friends attempted to quantify our collective “gayness.” It was decided that my partner constituted two whole gays, while I could only claim one half. I don’t like math to begin with, but when that math is based on the idea that sexuality can be calculated from one’s appearance, I really don’t like math.

I played into this role of “half gay” though, laughing along with jokes that dismissed my sexuality because of my femininity, about being hit on by men or asked if I had a boyfriend because I didn’t “look gay,” and accepting generalized assumptions about my relationship and sex life.

I was so compliant because many of their assumptions were true: I could have had a billboard above my head that read “I’m fucking GAY” and I would still hear the dismissive rhetoric “but you’re too pretty…” and “are you sure?” In my relationship, I was submissive and my partner was dominant, I chose the cock but she always wore it, and she didn’t enjoy being penetrated while I did. Presentation and sex became linked in my mind, and I conceded to the stereotypes.

It wasn’t until I went to college and saw unabashed, gender fucking, non-binary femmes that I began to see my identity as more than half: the half gay, the receiving half, the other half of butch. I started to understand that my presentation isn’t complimentary, it’s individual and multi-faceted. I can like, do, dress, and fuck however feels right to me. So I took off the itchy sweater and all the assumptions that were pinned to it.

From there, I started playing with my femmeness, seeking to reclaim my body as strong and loud and queer. I grew out my body hair and dyed it pink, I gravitated towards bold lip colors and nails, and I found power in ritual: taking time to get dressed, do my hair, apply copious amounts of glitter. I embraced my femmeness in my sex life too, savoring snapshots of deep red lipstick smudged on a silicone cock, masturbating with nails that matched the color of my vibrator, and styling the cutest pony tails to be pulled on.

I found a partner who has shifted and changed with me over the past two years, and though our journeys of sex, sexuality, and presentation are undeniably different, we’re able to express our needs and wants in dynamic ways. For so long, I just didn’t have the language or references or support to communicate in that way, and a large component of my shift in understanding is centered around exchanging that sweater for a strap-on.

femmecock1

femmecock2

My first cock was a milky pastel pink that coordinated so well with my mint and pink lace harness. When I put it on, the wispy hairs on my thighs, two chubby bumps for knees, and slightly pigeon-toed feet all defocused, obstructed by that new view. I began to bob and sway as my hips swung and my legs lifted off the ground. I danced around in my new naked, the weight of my cock against my pelvis, brushing my skin as I shook and spun. It was like the queerest tampon commercial dance montage you’d ever seen, and I would have gladly accepted a trampoline to complete the image.

There was reclamation in that cock, feeling my queer femmeness in something that I had known as a symbol of masculinity and dominance. That was years ago, and since then, wearing a cock has become an ever present part of my life. Literally, it’s in my name, but it’s also my identity. Albeit, a very condensed identity, but it took me years of unlearning a selfhood formed by others in order to get to the point where it seems comfortable to join “femme” and “cock” together in a declaration of who I am.

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

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

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

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

She quivers in response and raises her eyes to mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“N-no. No.”

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

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

“Lift your arms for me.”

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

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

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

Getting Grown, Guest Post by BD Swain

BD Swain is a butch dyke who enjoys writing queer smut – not just because it’s fun, but because sex and pushing my sexual expression is what makes me feel most alive. I am turned on by trust and by pushing the boundaries of it. Follow me @redswain on twitter; @bdswain on instagram, bdswain.com.

“You expect me to suck this tiny cock? Your little girlfriends might like the size of this thing. Maybe. But look at me. Do you see me?” She grabbed my face, “You think this is good enough for me? I’m grown.”

I was shaking. I was lying on her couch, posed as if I’d just been thrown. My body splayed out like a belly up crab. My back tensed, I craned my neck to lift my head as high as I could. My hand floated in the air above my belt, half unbuckled. I was scrambling with my feet, pushing myself up on the cushions, kicking with my legs in a panic.

Let me go back. Start over. I need to tell this right.

I was a baby. I’d lived all my life in Tulsa, a rich kid with a Daddy in oil like everyone else I knew and I hated it more than anyone. I took my dad’s hair trimmer to the bathroom one day and walked out with a buzz cut that was never discussed at the family table. You don’t fuck up the family situation where I come from and if you do, you suffer in silence. Some families might have beat the shit out of me, mine just never spoke to me again. Fine by me. San Francisco. I knew where to go.

I want to tell you this story right, but I don’t need to go through every detail. Listen, I had fucked girls. I was good looking. I was cocky. Girls let me finger them after school behind the bleachers. I played the bad boy with the good heart I’d seen in all the movies. I was sweet with my soft cheeks and worn out jeans. We fucked in the back of our trucks and out on the rocks when we went camping. We took blankets and cases of beer out to the swimming holes. I played the boy for any girl who wanted. I was the boy who never asked for anything but to make you come. The boy who gave and gave and gave. The boy for a night when there wasn’t another boy, a real boy with a hard dick and demands. But that was the boy I wanted to be, who I thought I was.

I got to San Francisco and learned how to be butch. I was demanding and cocky, pushing a girls face down between my legs. Watching her lips curl around the tip of my cock. Wrapping my fingers in her curls to shove her deeper onto my hard-on. No one had a real name here and one girl took to calling me Tulsa. It felt good. I was where I wanted to be. A butch with femmes all around me in short skirts and low cut tops with their heels or their sexy boots. I liked the lipstick stains on my undershirts.

I thought all femmes were like this. Waiting for me to grab them. Watching my ass as I played a round of pool. I liked the back and forth of it. Sitting on the barstool with my back to the bar and a beer resting just inside my thigh, my thumb and finger loosely gripping the bottle’s neck, watching a girl walk slow in front me to the bathroom and back out again with her eye on me and her lipstick touched up. This was our dance. She would slide up to the bar next to me and I’d turn to listen as she ordered a cocktail. I could put my money on the bar and pick up her tab. She would smile and thank me. A lady and a gentleman; it was routine but not boring. Predictable in a way I had always hoped. We’d go back to her place. She’d suck me. I’d bend her over and fuck her. She’d come. I’d leave.

This woman I met, I thought she was that same girl. I’d been living here a few years. I had my own bedroom. I made a little money bussing tables and a little more selling drugs. I dated girls for a couple months before they caught me cheating on them and screamed and cried and told me what I dick I was. And I was. I wasn’t sure what else to be. I thought that was the whole point really. Isn’t that what everyone expects? This was the set up when I met her. This is what I knew. Nothing.

The first thing that threw me off was how we met. I was bussing tables. I hated the work. Everyone yelled at me at that job. I was always in someone’s way or worried that I was going to drop something. I felt like I was covered in other people’s food the whole time. I couldn’t wait to run home and shower after work but even then I couldn’t get the stink of deep fryer grease out of my skin. So I didn’t feel sexy when I caught her looking at me. I felt uncomfortable. Caught scavenging in the headlights. She looked so hot, too. I hated being seen like this but I knew that look she gave me and it still made me flush hot. I weakly strutted around after I caught her look, too tired to really make much of myself but feeling cocky as hell anyway. I didn’t look back again, but I felt her staring at me as I made my way through tables.

She caught my eye on her way out the door and I smiled to myself, sure she’d left her number for me on the table. I saw a small, folded piece of paper and slipped it into my pocket smiling. I didn’t look at it until I unlocked my bicycle to head home. I stared down at the paper like an idiot. “You should have asked,” was all it said. “Fuck,” I spat out, punching myself in the thigh. I felt so stupid. This woman didn’t look anything like the girls I’d picked up in bars. It sounds dumb, but the description that ran through my head was that she looked tall and clean. Those were the words that came to mind when I saw her. I wanted her. I wasn’t good enough for her. I squeezed my eyes shut and imagined bringing her into my dingy little room with the dirty, dank bathroom down the hall. I shook my head. I knew that wouldn’t do. I shouldn’t even try. But hell, I caught myself looking for her everywhere after that. After several days with no luck, I realized this was a woman who wouldn’t be seen in my usual haunts. Not regularly, at least. I decided to expand my territory without a clue as to where I should start. I tried the new wine bar and the coffee place with the line down the block. I felt crazy for even trying. I was out of my league.

It was three weeks later that I was locking my bike in the Castro when I looked up and saw her. She was alone, walking towards me but looking across the street at something. She looked stunning. She shone bright in the sun, standing out from all the jeans and leather in a cream-colored pencil skirt and jacket with a sheer beige top and matching heels. I sucked in my breath and stepped into her path, “Hey,” I said. The woman looked at me up and down, appraising me, clearly considering the goods in front of her. “I’m Tulsa,” I said with a smile and held my hand out to her. She stared for a minute and shaded her eyes from the sun before answering, “No. No you’re not. You have a real name, I’m sure.” I hesitated, not knowing where to go from here. “It doesn’t matter,” she sighed. I jumped at a second chance, “Let me buy you a drink.” She looked down at my boots. “No,” she said, “not a bar. I don’t think so. But why don’t I make you a drink at my place.” She walked past me briskly, clearly intending for me to follow, and I obliged. We walked a few blocks in silence until she glanced over her shoulder at me and walked up a few steps to her door, turning her key in the lock without giving me another look.

My mind was racing. I’m always prepared for a date, for fucking, a cock in my pants. I’d been caught off guard here, but maybe that’s not what this was. Or maybe she had a cock I could use. I pictured her falling to her knees with her fingers on my belt. I pictured her bent over a creamy white sofa or a nice coffee table. Maybe in the dining room or leaning over the kitchen counters. I pictured her legs sliding apart as she begged me to fuck her. I felt more and more cocky with each image, each step into her place.

“What do you drink?” she asked me, walking towards a small bar in the living room. “I’ll take a beer,” I yelled out, a little too loudly. “I don’t have beer,” she said, amused, “I’ll pour you a whiskey. Do you take ice?” I nodded before realizing she wasn’t looking at me. “Uh huh,” I grunted, “Yeah, ice.” I tried to shake the nerves creeping up on me. Whatever, I thought. She wants me to fuck her. I swirled the whiskey around in the glass and took a deep sip before opening my mouth to say something, but she cut me off. “I don’t think there’s much to say, do you?” she said with a slight laugh. I smiled at her. I belted the rest of my drink and set the glass down as I swaggered over to her, grabbing the back of her head to kiss her. In my mind, everything was playing out a few steps ahead. I eyed the couch and started to lead her over to it.

Her kiss was cold, sterile. I didn’t understand where I was going wrong. I grabbed her hand and pulled it down between my legs. That’s when everything shifted out from under me. She shoved me backwards onto the couch and got down on her knees. I leaned back, pulling my hands behind my head, ready for something familiar but the look on her face stopped my smile. “Do you want something, little boy? Were you going to ask nicely or just shove my face in your crotch like you grabbed my hand? Didn’t anyone ever teach you good manners?” she seemed to grow larger in front of me. She shoved my boots, spreading my legs wide and grabbed my dick through my jeans. Or what would have been my dick. I felt her fingers grabbing and feeling around through my jeans.

She looked at me, mocking with a false puzzled look on her face. I could feel my cheeks turn red and hot. I stared back at her as long as I could but had to turn away. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I thought you had something for me here?” My insides burned. “Didn’t you just grab my hand and put it on your dick?” she went on, “I got the feeling you wanted to shove my face down there. Is that right? You want to show me?” She slowly brought her gaze to my belt and nodded her head at me. My hands moved, without thinking, to my belt. She grabbed me hard between my legs, “You’re so small, I can’t even feel you.” She punched my clit through my jeans several times.

Now we’re back where we started. The beginning of my story. The moment when everything shifted. “You expect me to suck this tiny cock?” she started to berate me. I felt sick. I wanted to disappear, run out the door and never look back, but I also wanted to play this out. What the fuck was going on? I’d lost my script and it turned me on.

“Let’s see what you’ve got here,” she said, unbuckling my belt and tugging my jeans down my thighs. She pushed my chest, sending me back against the couch again and grabbed me through the front of my briefs at the same time. I yelled out, more surprised than in pain. She kneaded me, starting to coo, her face held near mine, “Where did it go, big boy?” I froze like a frightened animal. She snarled in my ear, “Where’s that big cock you wanted to show me? Did you lose it somewhere?” I shuddered, my whole body convulsed, I could smell my own sweat as my instincts jumped from point to point. Did I want this or was I just stuck? I was scrambling to figure it all out. Then she pet the side of my head and cradled me in her arms for a moment, “It’s okay. We’re going to find a way to have fun anyway, aren’t we?” she whispered in my ear and I stopped shivering. I knew. My body told me what I wanted. Every muscle relaxed for a split second before tensing again. She punched my clit again and again, “I just don’t think we’re going to find it, baby,” she said, “but don’t worry, I don’t think that’s what you’re really here for anyway.”

She ran her fingers through my hair. I closed my eyes and let her pet me. I’d never been pet. I’d never allowed it. I had always acted so tough, unfeeling, never could let my guard down but somehow it was gone. “Please,” I said and I felt hot tears well up in my eyes. I squeezed my eyes and gulped down all this emotion about to pour out of me. “I know how to take care of you, baby boy,” she said, her voice teasing between soothing and sadistic.

She ran her hand under the collar of my shirt and over my small, hard tits. “Are you hiding something from me, boy?” she said. Her posture changed. She stood up tall over me and took off her jacket. She spoke to me as she unbuttoned her blouse, “Let’s cut the shit.” She slapped me hard. The impact made my clit jump. I looked up at her with a suckling mouth, wanting more. She looked at me hard and laughed, tracing her finger around my lips. I wanted her finger in my mouth, but she tugged my shirt out of my jeans instead. Her nails circled around my nipples, tracing little lines until she squeezed me hard, making me gasp.

I heard myself speak. “Thank you,” I said, my voice hollow and lost. I was so far away, so outside of myself. It was perfect. She was perfect. “Thank you,” I said again and she punched my chest, knocking the wind out of me. “Thank you,” I repeated. It was all I could say for a long time as she punched and slapped me, poked and prodded. I didn’t stop saying it until she returned to my mouth and stuck her fingers inside me. I sucked my cheeks in, my tongue curling around her knuckles, sliding along the ridge between her fingers. “At least you know how to suck, don’t you?” she said, petting my head. I nodded with her fingers held soft, but firm in my mouth.

“You didn’t need to pretend you had a big dick for me” she said, “I think you know better now, don’t you?” She slid her fingers out of my mouth, dragging them down my belly, into my briefs, feeling my swollen clit in her fingers. “You’re so tiny,” she said, “but it doesn’t matter. I know what you really want.” She looked at her hand in my pants, “Here. Hold this for me,” she said and shoved my own hand between my legs. I circled my throbbing clit while she stepped out of the room for a minute, coming back in only her bra with a large cock strapped on.

I winced. I don’t get fucked. I didn’t get fucked. I didn’t know who the hell I was anymore but it didn’t matter. I turned over and shoved my ass in the air towards her. She laughed. A beautiful, rich, caramel laugh that made my spine melt. “Oh, you’re too easy,” she said. I felt her dick press against my ass, “I get to choose what hole I fuck you in,” she said. I wanted to ask her to fuck my ass, but I only nodded. I was ashamed of my own pussy but nothing mattered anymore. She knew who I was, not me. I needed her to show me.

Her fingers slid, one by one, under the elastic band of my briefs. She tugged them down slowly, letting me feel her dick press harder and harder against me. I heard the lube, her hand, the ritual. Something that had been mine, but not like this. Everything was turned around and new. “Thank you,” I whispered, inaudible. She held my hips and slid her cock against my ass, between my legs. She held it in her hands and teased my holes. I didn’t care what happened, I just wanted her to use me.

“You’re a sweet little boy,” she whispered, “Have you ever been used?” I shook my head, “No, ma’am,” I answered, Tulsa coming out strong in my accent. “Don’t call me ma’am,” she said. “No,” I repeated, “There was no one before you.” She moaned, “That’s so good, baby. That’s just right.” She shoved her prick into my cunt and it hurt. It hurt but I wanted her deeper inside me. My hands reached behind me, grasping. “Yes,” she comforted, “I’m right here.” She was pumping me hard and my face kept hitting the back of the couch. My skin felt raw. My lip started to bleed. I instinctively pulled my shirt into my mouth to keep from dripping blood on her furniture. “Thank you,” I cried. Over and over again, I said it, “Thank you.”

“Grab your little dick,” she demanded, “Jerk yourself off while I fuck your hole.”

I obeyed.

I came, doubled over, with my legs shaking so hard she had to hold me and ease me back onto the couch. I was her pet. She told me so. And it was true.

Satiated (Mistress Elise Winter & morgan #3)

Content warning: mommy/boy play, breast and nipple play

Elise wakes slowly, her body a little stiff in places that were stretched and thrust and pounded and tightened last night, still nude under her silky sheets. The boy is still asleep, face relaxed, breathing light next to her, his butt snuggles up into the crook of her hips, his body curls and folds nearly in half. A faint cloudy morning light shines behind the lightweight curtains.

She doesn’t quite want to wake him, but she can feel a stirring in her cunt for more. When will she get enough of him? It would be so easy to take him, now, thrust her fingers into his hole, strap her favorite cock on and enter him again and again until she was spent. He is hers now, she has that kind of overarching permission to take him whenever she wants him—in fact, he likes it even more that way, when she uses him unapologetically, when she demands her own pleasure from his body. That is what gets him off the most.

Shifting, she pulls her arm out from under morgan where it is starting to cramp, slides it under his neck where it has more room, and wraps her arms around him. He moves too, sighing softly and turning to face her, sleepily nuzzling against her armpit and breast and the crook of her shoulder.

“Mama,” he murmurs, soft consonants and long vowels, kissing wherever his mouth has landed. He’s very close to her nipple and she wants him to suck for a while. “G’morning.”

She kisses his forehead. “Morning, my sweet boy.”

He sighs again, snuggling closer. His mouth is doing that suckling thing already, the leftover of how he grinds his teeth at night, and she shifts against him again, turning her body so she is a little more on her back. His hands are already tucked up next to his chin and he catches her breast in his hands, feeling the nipple against his lips before he opens his mouth to suck.

Soft, so soft at first, just the slightest pressure from his mouth. Just the hardness of her against the softness of him, just the way she grows thick against him, just the way he opens soft under her. And then more pressure, and more, how he urges her deeper, how he starts to swallow. She thinks about milk coming out and down his throat, she thinks about it filling his mouth and spilling down his chin. His hands squeeze a little too, almost unconsciously, like a kitten kneading. Her cunt is hot and starting to swell.

“That’s good, baby. So nice. I like how you do that,” she says quietly, the hand under his neck smoothing his hair, touching his cheek. She can feel his jaw and lips contracting under her fingers. She can feel the want of him sucking it out of her. Sometimes he uses his tongue, but mostly he just sucks. A little harder now, and she squirms, rubbing her legs together.

“You get mama all wet, boy,” she murmurs, so soft she is barely audible, but her lips are close to his ear and he can hear. He moans a little in response. They are in a sweet bubble here, wrapped around each other, his legs around hers, rubbing his hips against her. Her right knee is bent, lifted a little and draped open to the side, pressure building in her pelvis.

He keeps sucking, mouth fully open and hungry now, sucking down as much of her as he can hold. Little sounds from the suction and the skin, little murmurs from his throat. She slides her hand down her body and cups her cunt with it, feeling how her lips are swollen already, her opening slick and needy. She circles her hole with two fingers and brings them up to her clit when they are wet.

“Ohhh god,” she moans, arching her back and sliding her legs against his, just centimeters of movement but enough to feel their bodies pressed against each other, enough to feel the friction and heat building. Her hand tangled in his short hair. Mine, she tells herself. Mine mine mine.

Her clit is hard and hot and he is still sucking like a good boy, like a hungry sweet boy who will devour everything she pours into him, like he is oblivious to how it turns her on and just needs something in his mouth. He paws at her gently, holds her breast in his hands to get the angle right, works his jaw to swallow. Elise flicks at her cunt harder, faster. She’s close, she’s always close when he is like this. Feeling the hole of his mouth open up to pull it out of her is so different than using any of his holes to shove inside. Somehow equal and opposite, somehow the thing that lets her relax, receive, be taken, be used—but still be in charge. Feeding her boy, filling him up with her milk.

“Good boy, my good boy,” she murmurs, working her hand faster, that way that only she can do.

“Ummm,” he moans a little, rubbing against her, sucking harder now, so hard it almost hurts, she almost pulls away, but it’s good, he needs it, and she does.

Her clit pulses under her fingers, cunt contracting and thick with want. She’s close, and she holds his head with more pressure, feeling her stomach contracting as she pulses, her nipple hard, sore, so sensitive, her clit hard, it’s almost too much, almost too much—. Until it isn’t, and she’s coming, her mouth open and gasping, eyes squeezed shut, lifting her shoulders a little off of the bed as all of her focus pours into her clit and her nipple, the nipple in his mouth as her boy still softly laps.

She shudders—once, twice, four times—wringing the orgasm from her body, and kisses his forehead. He sucks deep a few more times, as if cleaning off her nipple, as if tidying up the mess he made. “Mama,” he sighs happily, cheek against her chest, raising his face to be kissed. She brings her mouth down and sighs back on the bed, zings of aliveness running through her.

“Baby,” she replies. Hollowed, satiated, awake.

Luscious & Wild (Asher & Jesse #4)

“Sexually, I have a fetish about truth telling. I find it profoundly arousing to watch somebody struggle to articulate their desires. One of the things my girlfriend and I say together is that you can have anything you want if you have the courage to ask for it. But having that courage to ask for it, wow! So we set up situations where you can have anything, honey—you just have to be able to ask for it.” —Dorothy Allison, from Writing Below the Belt

Jesse plunges three fingers into Asher’s cunt, splitting her open, pushing hard past any resistance. Asher is on the tips of her toes, back arched, ass out, legs long, hands and arms and cheek and even the tops of her breasts thrust against the glass of the floor-to-ceiling hotel window. She cries out. She drools and it slides down the glass, leaving a wet trail. Downtown Seattle’s skyline and Puget Sound are glittering beyond the glass, the night as clear as a realism painting, and just as romantically blurred around the edges with the damp ocean air salting the city’s lines.

“Oh fuck, oh my god …” Asher can’t much speak. She babbles words and mostly sounds, guttural and low, come from her throat. She is being taken apart from the inside out.

Jesse is sweating and so sweet on Asher she can barely stand it. Even Asher’s skin is sweet: she leans in for another nibble at Asher’s shoulders, and Asher gasps and leans back into her in response. Jesse reaches around her to twist and pull on her dark brown nipples, so hard and stiff after being pressed up against the cool glass.

The hotel is sleek, modern. Mostly grey, some black and white highlights dot the room. One whole wall is windows. It was a gift, this hotel weekend where they have been holed up, giggling on the pillows and fucking leisurely, with nowhere to be and nothing to do, for Asher’s Master’s graduation and her final completion of her practicum hours. Now that the summer is over, she’s even got an entry-level position at a clinic on Capital Hill. Jesse starts her senior year of college in a few days.

But for now, there is only each other, luscious and wild, so eager for the other and so hungry for more.

Now that Jesse has opened up this dominant thing, it is blooming in her like the Arboretum after the first stripe of sun growth in March: colorful and vibrant, and made to be there.

When they first settled into the hotel, Jesse tied Asher to the bed and blindfolded her, then left her, spread eagle, while Jesse put away their clothes and unpacked the bag of groceries they’d brought. She planned on spoiling Asher every minute of these three celebratory days and two nights. Asher kept talking, guessing, asking Jesse questions, but Jesse only answered simply: “Mhm,” or “Yes, I think so,” or “If you ask for it, honey, you can have whatever you want.”

When Jesse finally felt situated, she strapped on and slid inside Asher slow, fucking her gently and sweet, bodies rocking together, as Asher sucked Jesse’s fingers into her mouth and Jesse touched her clit, in that soft-fast way she’d learned Asher liked, until she came.

Jesse had big plans for the scenes in this room for the weekend. And what would they do with those amazing windows? A vision started coming to Jesse as she worked out her third orgasm since the elevator.

When it was time, Jesse waited until Asher asked for it. It didn’t matter how—she just had to form the words. It was what Asher most wanted, most of the time: To be confronted with her own desire and made to look at it directly, befriend it, to stop pretending like it was someone else’s want that was driving the scene. It wasn’t that Jesse was overpowered by lust and just had to take her, right there right now, though that was fun too—it was Asher’s craving for being torn up, filled up, degraded, humiliated, and used that was the impetus for most of their play. Jesse loved seeing her so filled to overspilling with her own lust that she would draw courage from some unknown well and finally start bubbling with request after request. Maybe it’s why Jesse used so much bondage—to keep Asher still and seeping in it when she finally spilled open. Being tied up is restrictive, sure, but it can also be profoundly meditative, and take someone into a safe holding where more things are possible.

Jesse loved unlocking Asher’s tongue.

She had also discovered that one of Asher’s most favorite things is for Jesse to get off. Maybe it’s that fetish for being used, but Jesse to lower her own cunt down over Asher’s mouth, to fuck her, to jerk off over her chest or face or even right next to her cunt, and to have some spectacular orgasm, yelling and moaning, and then to leave Asher there, panting and waiting—that, that was what got Asher writhing and squirming, begging to be used again.

So it was with great mutual pleasure that Jesse wracked up orgasms like points in a pinball game during their hotel weekend. She kept track, telling Asher aloud how many times it had been.

In Asher’s ear at the hotel window, Jesse whispers, “Seven, Asher. I’m all the way up at seven, and how many times have you come?”

Asher whimpers. Her clit is hard and swollen, her lips puffy and thick. Her mouth is red from sucking.

“How many?”

“Once,” Asher whispers.

“That’s right, once. And you weren’t really supposed to be coming, were you? You just couldn’t help it?”

“I couldn’t help it! You made me do it, I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to. I like following your rules, I just, it was too much. I couldn’t help it!” She thrums the words in that husky low tone she gets when she is so turned on.

“Shh, it’s okay baby. I know. It was my fault, I don’t expect to fuck you that much and not have you come … at least sometimes,” Jesse laughs a little to herself, thrilled and giddy. She strokes Asher’s cunt, every contour, every swollen slick place. She gets juicy enough as it is, but Jesse still adds more lube, more wetness. She traces lines with the pads of her fingers and uses her fingers to pinch and apply pressure, catching the head of Asher’s clit between her fingers, palming her whole vulva, pinching her lips together, which makes Asher squirm and shiver.

Jesse slides her fingers in again, in and out, stopping in all the spots that she knows Asher likes. “How many times are you going to come for me now, if I let you?”

“How many … times? Two. Three. Five. How many do you want me to come?” Asher’s words aren’t quite making sense, but she thrusts her hips back toward Jesse and presses her chest and cheek into the glass, offering herself up, willing Jesse not to stop.

“Five, huh? That’s a lot. Could you come on demand, if I just tell you to come right now, could you do it?”

“Could I come … right now? I don’t … really know,” Asher puzzles a little, gets distracted by Jesse’s fingers, then starts thinking again, trying to figure out how much her mind has control over her body. “Maybe? I think so. Yeah, actually. Tell me to do it! Jesse, tell me, and I’ll do it, I’ll do it for you, whenever you say.”

“Really? You think you could?” Still, in and out, slowly, with Jesse’s thumb circling Asher’s clit.

“Yes! Oh yes I’ll show you, I can do it for you.”

“Okay, baby, ready? Come … right now.”

“Ohhhhhh,” Asher cries out, pulses her cunt hard, pushing and contracting and pushing until she gushes onto Jesse’s hand.

“That’s one. Can you do it again for me? Can I keep going?”

“Yes, yes keep going, don’t stop don’t stop …”

“You’re so fucking hot, Ash. I love watching you like this. Come again girl, do it, let’s have it all. Now!”

“Fuck, fuckfuckfuck!” Asher yells, arms sliding down the glass as if she can’t hold them up any longer. Her knees and thighs shake. Jesse pushes her hand farther inside and Asher gasps, pushing her hips open.

“Two,” Jesse growls in her ear. “Keep going. Ready to do it again for me, slut? Didn’t get all you needed yet, huh? Can you do it again?”

“Yes, yes yes yesssss,” Asher moans, wet dripping down Jesse’s hand and wrist.

“Three,” Jesse is practically giggling now, high and strong and she could do this for hours: keep Asher poised on her fingers, begging and coming.

“Four! Please four, Jesse please, four—” Asher begs. She squirms and tries to close her legs, trying to back off from the orgasms that still want to claim her cunt.

“Now. Do it,” comes Jesse’s reply, low and growly at Asher’s neck. Jesse bites at her earlobe and Asher throws her head back to rest on Jesse’s shoulder, sighing, breathing, still moaning those sounds from her throat.

“One more,” Jesse reminds her. “One more, and then we’re all done. Can you do it again?”

“Nooo, no Jesse, I don’t think I can, I don’t know … it’s too much, I can’t.”

“You can do it. Remember how you told me five? Actually, you said, ‘How many do you want me to come,” but I want five. So five it is. That’s one more,” Jesse makes the gentlest circles over Asher’s swollen cunt, soft and fast on her clit, that way that she likes.

“I can’t, I can’t Jesse … oh god, oh my god, oh my fuck fuuuuck …” Asher trails off and comes again, legs shaking, body humming, throat humming, practically sliding all the way down the window to the floor if it wasn’t for Jesse’s leg in between hers. Jesse holds her up for a moment, then lets them both collapse down, catching Asher in her arms and wrapping around her naked body as she shivers and settles.

“I can’t believe you made me! You. You! Are incredible. I love you,” Asher nuzzles into Jesse’s shoulder and Jesse braces herself against the bed to hold them both upright. They laugh and talk and stroke each other, doing that post-fucking haze-y loopy thing where everything is hilarious and important.

Eventually, Jesse says, “My foot’s asleep. And also, want some food?”

Asher lights up. “I’m starved. I feel like I have never eaten before ever. I want all the things!”

Jesse starts untangling, and moves to stand. “Oh that’s good, because we bought all the things at the grocery store before we came. I’m hungry too. C’mon, let’s get up. You okay to stand?”

“Yeah. Okay.” Asher reaches up for Jesse’s arms and accepts help to get steady on her feet.


Featured image from Crash Pad Series Episode 89: Hilt & Rusty Nails.

What is even DISCUSSED at a “femme conference”?

I caught sight that the 2012 Femme Conference dates and location have been announced—it’ll be in Baltimore, MD, August 17-19, 2012. I’m looking forward to attending and I think I can make it, at least for now I don’t have anything scheduled, so I’m adding it to the calendar. I haven’t been since 2008 so it’s time to go again.

The Femme Conference “provides a weekend by, for, and about queer femme-identified people and our allies. Every other year the Femme Collective co-creates a femme-centered space and brings you workshops, brilliant keynotes, glittering performances, resource sharing, community building and much more. Our 2012 event aims to explore how we grow, build, nurture, and align the many pieces of our communities and identities while building femme community and power,” according to femmeconference.com, which has (or will have) more details on the conference going forward.

I first saw this announced on the fuckyeahfemmes tumblr, which is brilliant in case you don’t follow it, and of course in true Tumblr style, some ignorant commentary got quickly added to the thread. Fuckyeahfemmes alerted me to that as well.

The original post:

“… really? is this an actual thing? what is even DISCUSSED at a “femme conference”…? how to continue reinforcing stereotypes and relegating people to specific, pre-determined categories based on SUPER out-dated notions on what it means to be a gay woman? laaaame.” —juliaperchance

And Fuckyeahfemmes wrote back:

Probably anyone who would attend a femme conference wouldn’t feel that they were “relegated” to that category, they would self-identify as femme (asserting their own sense of agency around their sexuality and gender identity) and they would probably want to discuss issues such as stereotypes about queerness and femininity, thus proving that “femme” is something that is constantly being redefined and redetermined, not something that is simply forced upon them. Not everyone who identifies as femme is gay or a woman either. The fact that people have such negative associations with femme identification, (even and especially within the queer community) is the reason that this annual event happens- providing a space to think through such issues in a non-threatening environment.

And of course lots of other folks on tumblr jumped in as well, including myself. I wrote back:

What is discussed? Femme invisibilitycreating femme identity in radical & responsible ways, community, queer markers …and tons of other stuff.

And by the way, femme identity is not “outdated.” There are thousands of people creating and re-creating femininity in queer contexts which are liberating and celebratory, not full of restriction or judgement, and which are created for the person to feel good in their body and with their gender expression. To lump femme identity in with some notion of the binary gender roles reproduced on “gay women” is to seriously miss the gender revolution that is happening right now.

Ohbettinadear responded:

yikes. it’s so seriously sad to me that some queer women don’t undertand that no one is asking them to identify as femme. but me? i AM femme. i know it in my bones. so please don’t be so myopic to assume that this is an outdated notion, because femme, to me, feels right. i’m so glad this conference exists, so that we CAN play with and celebrate that identity, so that we CAN recognize each other in the absence of a heteronormative lens.

and stefi-leekx.tumblr wrote:

I’m so sick of anti-femme bullshit. Shaming women for stuff like this is fucking counterproductive. Also “lame”? Nice ableism there.

I am really sick of anti-femme bullshit too, though my response is more “ugh, sigh,” than “omg !#$(@!&*.” It’s clear that most people really just do not understand how femme identity can be radical. It’s also clear that a lot of feminine-of-center queer women (and people who don’t identify as women, but very commonly women, I think) end up with a lot of flack, baggage, and bullshit around their femininity and the ways that this culture commodifies, consumes, degrades, and devalues women, queer women, femininity, and femme. And it’s even more potent when they are all in combination.

The ableist bullshit came to my mind, too. “Lame” is a loaded word, let’s remove that from our vocabulary as much as we can, like “retarded” and “gay” (as a derogatory slur, I mean).

Clearly, there are a lot of people out there who understand, embrace, and celebrate the need for a femme conference. It still surprises me to come upon folks who don’t get it, who reduce it to “makeup and dresses,” who devalue femininity. (Sidenote: read Whipping Girl, folks who don’t understand why this is femme-phobic. And anyone who cares about femmes. And everyone else.)

But let’s also not let comments like juliaperchance’s keep us away from answering equally important questions, like this one from cybercarnet:

I’ve been wanting to go to the femme conference for a long time, but I’m worried I will just feel inadequate the whole time, not “femme” enough. Have any of you gone? Is there a lot of femme policing? Like, for example, I think makeup looks great and all, but unless I’m dressing up for a costume party, I never wear makeup. I hate wearing makeup. I rarely have the spoons to get all dolled up anymore. How is the disability and fat-positive representation here?

I have so many questions! If I’m going to fly across the country and spent beaucoup bucks, I need to know I’m not going to feel like shit the whole time, you know?

First: YOU ARE FEMME ENOUGH. If you feel aligned with this identity in any way, even if it is a complicated issue for you, you belong there. You don’t have to be a sing-it-from-the-rooftops femme to attend. You can go and be reluctant, and curious about what this building community might have to offer for your own understanding of your place in this world and your own gender identity.

I didn’t go in 2010, but my answer is: GO. There is space for disability and fat-positive representation. Even if it isn’t executed the best possible way it should (and what is), it is there, and people are trying. I have known some of the folks who have been on the Femme Conference board in the past and they are great. I support not wearing makeup if that’s what you like (and/or do because it is better for you). There is not a lot of femme policing, in my experience (and from what I’ve heard from femmes, too). Other folks want to weigh in on this? Have you been to a Femme Conference? Would you recommend it to this person?

Last but not least, as long as I’m on a femme+tumblr kick, let me present you with this little piece I found from delisubthefemmecub, a trans femme boy, who has this to say about femme, and I think perfectly illustrates why we need this conference, why we need to do this work, and why I love femmes:

For me, femme is about healing

it is about the rituals of adornment that I use to calm my anxiety, and quell my tears after days where transphobia slips under my skin like stubborn splinters

it is about reaching across time, bridging the distance between the man I am and the girl I was.

it is about finding that girl in the recesses of my heart, holding him in my arms, and saying “it will be okay, we made it out alive.”

it is about finding a way to be a boy that doesn’t hurt.

it is about nurturing all the femme parts of myself that I suffocated, just so the boy part of myself might be visible to other people.

For me, femme is about resistance

it is about refusing to believe that there is a right way to be a man

it is about glitter armor and gestural fierceness coating my spirit so that I might just be strong enough to survive

it is about reclaiming and flaunting all of the parts of my femininity that have been used to say that the sexual assaults were my fault

For me, femme is about healing, resistance, survival.

Somedays, femme is all I have.

Thank you delisubthefemmecub. Finding ways to be us, in whatever gender we are, whatever part of the gender galaxy, without being hurt by it, is one of the biggest missions and purposes behind this work that I do. I think it’s possible, and I want us each to do our own exploration and our own discovery, and be uniquely ourselves in whatever ways help us heal, resist, and survive.

Happy 28th Birthday, Kristen!

It’s Kristen’s 28th birthday tomorrow!

I am as ever grateful for her in my life. I’ve never been so in love, I’ve never been in a better relationship, and though we are in some rocky growth struggles, I am confident we’ll get through it and be better people because of it.

This is the third birthday I’ve been able to spend with her so far, and I love the ways that she is growing and blossoming and stepping into her power and doing amazing things in the world, and I know it’s just going to be more exciting to be with her as all her adventures continue.

Love you, darling. Happy birthday.

The Birthday Shoes Tradition

I have a little bit of a birthday tradition around here, where I ask readers to send in photos of their sexiest shoes as a little birthday card, if you feel so inspired. “Sexiest” can mean whatever you think it means, though I am partial to the tall, delicate, girly ones that tie around the ankle, but big stomping boots are awesome too, and toe cleavage is pretty darn sexy. Your call, I’m curious to see whatever makes you feel the most sexy.

Here are a few of my favorites from the last few years:


From Sex in Power in 2010


violetwhite in 2010


J. from Toronto in 2009


Missy in 2008

Email me your photo sometime in the next week or so, or leave the URL here in the comments, and I’ll be compiling them and featuring in the next few weeks. Sugarbutch turns 5 at the end of April and I’ll be doing the Ask Me Anything tradition again, so let’s get this done before that starts.

If you’d rather not send in a birthday photograph, maybe you’d consider buying me a beer? I know it’s tough financial times, for many of us, and I so appreciate the support y’all are sending by way of emails and comments. If you’d like to treat me to a birthday present, I would so appreciate it. If you’d like to do something other than a donation, I will (this one time!) provide the link to my Amazon wishlist that has mostly books and a few kitchen things. I really want to keep writing here, and to stay afloat, and every little bit helps as I’m still struggling into this freelance career.





Sincere thank yous! Now, I have a big to-do list to get through before Kristen and I take off tomorrow, so I better go do some work and stop looking at the Mac store.

There Were Actually Two Porn Parties This Week …

The one on Twitter, and Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind release party. Director (and general badass hottie) Tristan Taormino posted some shots from it on her Tumblr and on Facebook, including this one of my firecracker fierce hot girlfriend.

Oh and she’s framed by butches Davis and Lori, the geniuses behind Sexquire, which provides professional business solutions for the adult sex industry.


Photo by Nate “Igor” Smith (drivenbyboredom.com)

(Regularly scheduled posts will return next week, I swear.)

Second Anniversary

Yesterday marked two years together with Kristen. You can read all about our first date, if you wan

t to, since I used to write up everything, and since that night was particularly notable and so hot.

This was my gift to her, yesterday. I’ll post a shot of what she got me later.

It’s a garter flask. And if you promise not to tell Kristen, I’ll tell you that it came from You-Nique Garters on Etsy and they come in lots of colors.

Kristen’s Burlesque Debut

Remember the Butch Burlesque that happened at Dixon Place a few months back? Well, the instructor from that series did a series for the more feminine-id

entified folks, goddess burlesque, and Kristen decided to take part. Take her clothes off? In public? And have people admire her sexiness? Sure why not!

So she’s making her debut this weekend, Saturday November 20th at 9:30pm here in New York City, as Lavender Menace (look it up if you don’t get the reference). Come!

Crones, Ducks & Babes
Presented by Dixon Place & Victoria Libertore

Saturday, November 20th at 9:30 p.m.
Dixon Place
161 Chrystie Street (btn Rivington & Delancey)
$15/$12 (students & seniors)
GET TIX HERE

An evening of variety, merriment & surprise hosted by Howling Vic (as her alter ego Liza). Enjoy music, burlesque, clowns and free gifts! And the topper is five of Howling Vic’s students are making their burlesque debut! Audiences have said their faces hurt from laughing so hard!

Performers: Jessy Carolina & The Hot Mess 6 piece Old Time Jazz Band, James & JF: Emily James & Ishah Janssen-Faith and making their debut: Aqua Vulva, Crystal Balls, Lavender Menace, Sunshine Bloomfade and Priestess Moon Feather.

Manipulated by Victoria Libertore

Femme Conference Begins Today! & Countdown to the Butch Voices Conferences

It’s happening right now! Well not quite right now, since it’s earlier in New York City than it is over in Oakland, on the other coast where the sun sets over the water just like it’s supposed to.

The 2010 Femme Conference: No Restrictions begins today and an extravagance of femmes have gathered, including Kristen.

The hashtag for the conference is #femme2010 if you’d like to follow along on Twitter.

How do you like that collective noun, by the way? An extravagance of femmes? Not bad really. There’s a fascinating collective noun site connected to Twitter so that when you tweet your suggestion for the collective noun with the hashtag #collectivenoun it gets automatically updated and counted on the site. Plus, you can “like” other people’s suggestions (which also goes to Twitter). So what say you—what’s the best collective noun for femmes? Tweet it, or leave it in the comments. And check them out as they come in.

Okay, enough of that. You’re dying to know what the femme book is for today, right? Since we’ve got the Butch Voices regional conferences to count down to now, in NYC (September 25), Portland OR (October 1-3), and LA (October 8-10), I figured I’d do a butch/femme joint anthology.

There are other good femme books out there, though, don’t let me mislead you into thinking that Visible: A Femmethology, Femmes of Power, and The Femme Mystique are the only ones. There’s also:

And there’s Glamour Girls: Femme/femme Erotica by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Harrington Park Press; 2006) and With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn by Amber Dawn and Trish Kelly if you’re into erotica. Which, you know, you might be.

So now that I’ve recited pretty much every femme book that I know of and think are worth knowing, let’s get back to today’s feature. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle, published by Alyson Books in 1992. It looks like it’s out of print, but you can probably still get it used in various places, like Powell’s online or, of course, Amazon (but only if you have to. Don’t you want independent bookstores to stay in business?).

The description of The Persistent Desire from Library Journal is as follows:

This anthology of stories, poems, and nonfiction accounts pays homage to a host of femme and butch lesbian relationships that have flourished over four decades. The narrators recount their experiences, describing how they met, how they took care of one another, and how they tried–or defiantly tried not–to fit in. The selections themselves bubble with passion and pain. Some dive beneath the surface to explore the varied meanings of gender roles, but most describe highly ritualistic manners of dress, hairstyle, and gesture that at times left the protagonist open to ridicule. In collecting these pieces into one volume, Nestle has made sure that the integrity and diversity of femme-butch relationships will not be lost. She has included narratives from women of many backgrounds and ethnic groups and from outside the United States.

This book was for me, as it was for many people, eye-opening, validating, breathtaking. I found it while I was still trying to articulate my own butch identity, and come into my orientation of dating femmes, and it blew past most of my doubts as if doing 80 on a motorcycle. I wanted to be part of that, I felt so connected to it. It changed the way I thought about myself and the way I thought about femmes.

It’s dated now. It was published almost two decades ago, and it reflects a different era of thought about gender identity and alignment assumptions. And while the trans movements were alive by then, much has happened on that front in the past 18 years since it was published and much transgender theory has affected gender theory deeply in wonderfully deliciously complicated ways.

We’re really due for an update.

And how about that, one is just on the horizon! Partners and butch/femme couple Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman have been working on an anthology titled Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme (see the connection to the first anthology’s title? Smart!) that is due out from Arsenal Pulp Press soon. Not sure what the exact date of publication is yet, but you can be certain I’ll be mentioning it here again. It looks like Ivan just picked up the postcards for the book from her publisher the other day, so it must be coming fairly soon! I will report back as I know.

There are more books, especially more butch/femme books, and more books just on butch identity by itself (look for more of those featured on the upcoming Fridays as we countdown to the Butch Voices NYC conference). I’ve made a new section in my Amazon Store exclusively for butch and femme books, so if you’re curious what else is out there, that’s a good place to start. And if you’ve got suggestions for what I missed, I’m glad to hear ’em!

UPDATE! Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme has a webpage on Arsenal Pulp Press, a description, and is due out in the spring of 2011. Isn’t that cover great? It’s done by Elisha Lim, who also has a book of her own newly out from Alyson, 100 Butches, Volume 1.

If you see Zena at the Femme Conference, she supposedly has postcards for Persistence, so that’ll give you an excuse to say hi. She’s aka “The Silver Fox” because (guess) of her hair, so that should narrow it down for ya.

(Don’t you just love the Internet? I do. Thanks, Arsenal, for answering those questions.)

“Sexy birthday wishes from sunny California”

Soooooo I asked some of my friends & mentors to do me a little favor and call up and record a voice mail of birthday wishes for Kristen, and I’ll be publishing a few of them today. Here’s the first one, from S.I.R. Productions’ and Good Vibes COO Jackie Strano: “Sexy birthday wishes from sunny California.”

[display_podcast]


Photo borrowed from Jackie’s Facebook account.

On Femme Invisibility

G at “Can I Help You, Sir?” asked about femme invisibility recently, and the topic has gone around the gender/queer blogs a bit, with some great posts and thoughts.

First, and probably most obviously: I am not femme. So I am writing from a perspective of having dated and known many femmes in my life, but I do not experience visibility directed at me, but through stories and my witnessing. I am only an indirect, at best, expert on this. But these are my thoughts on femme invisibility, i.e. femmes not being recognized as queer because of their gender presentation.

This is a real thing. Femmes everywhere and from all parts of my life have told me this. One of my first femme mentors, Tara Hardy, has multiple poems about femme identity, one of which quotes: “I no longer get sad if they ask me at the door if I know it’s dyke night: I get mad. I mean, how much pussy do I have to eat before you let me in the club?”

And early on, I knew I was attracted to femininity, knew I wanted to date femmes (though I wasn’t quite sure how). The revelation that there are gay women who like to be feminine, and that I don’t have to chase straight women who will, probably, by definition, leave me to date men, was a relief. But I know that that’s not so easy to grasp for many people.

At the Femme Conference in 2008, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha said in her keynote address, “Femme invisibility is bullshit. You just don’t know how to look.” And I wanted to stand up and scream FUCK YEAH, because sometimes when femmes say “I feel so invisible” I want to say, but I SEE YOU! But I know I don’t always, not every single time, and I know I don’t make up for the other thousands of people who don’t see you, or for the discrimination and rejection from the queer communities that seems to continue, despite that femmes are a very significant part of queer communities.

One of the bottom-line issues about femme in/visibility, for me, is that it is a form of gender discrimination. When someone refuses to recognize a femme as queer, that person is saying, straight women are feminine, dykes are not, therefore your gender presentation trumps anything that might come out of your mouth about how you identify or who you are, and I am more right than you are about your identity. The sex-gender assumption is too strong and too fundamental for many people to be allowed to be overridden.

And gawd if that doesn’t get my boxers in a twist.

Especially since, let’s be honest, I fetishize the theorization of gender a little bit (or, um, maybe a lot), so the verbal explanation of gender and sexuality that femmes are pretty much required to do (because the sex-gender assumption is so strong) is all the more hot to me, and even sometimes MORE valid than the androgynous or rejection of femininity presentation of many other dykes and queers. Because, I mean, your strappy sandals are really hot, don’t get me wrong, but if you can’t use words to talk about femininity and sexuality and dykeness and a claim to queer culture and an acknowledgment of the complications of living in a culture which heteronormatizes femininity, are you going to get my blood pumping? Probably not. The femininity without the intention behind it is less appealing – to me, personally – than the ability to explain it.

From what I can tell, the issue of femme invisibility is at least threefold: visibility to straight folks, visibility to queer folks, and visibility to femmes themselves.

Passing: In/visibility to the Straight World

Not being seen as queer and recognized as radical by straight folks is a common complaint I hear from femmes. There is an added burden of constantly having to come out verbally, constantly having to remind the folks around you that you are queer, constantly having to deflect and defend yourselves against unwanted straight male attractions, since in this culture the display of femininity is presumed to be for the attraction of men, men’s gaze, men’s sexual advancement. It is seen as an invitation to being hit on, in fact. A girl out on the town and all dressed up in heels, dresses, lipstick, must be trying to “catch a man.” Of course, this isn’t true. Whoever this girl is, she could be wearing those things for all kinds of reasons, for her boyfriend, for her friends, for herself, for her wife.

And this is constant. Walking down the street, catching a cab, on the subway, at work, at a party, at a play, at a concert, in a bar – everywhere a femme goes, her femininity is assumed to be for men and to attract a man.

(This is also, in fact, one of the reasons femme-ness is subversive, and feminist: it re-creates femininity not as a tool to catch men, but as an authentic mode of expression for onesself and for queerness, disrupting this idea that femininity is “natural” for women.)

This is also called “passing,” and though I have had femmes tell me they like that they get to hear what people say when they don’t know someone gay is listening, I think generally passing carries with it a great burden, not privilege. The burden is that of constantly coming out, constantly having to argue with folks, constantly having to defend one’s orientation as gay when the sex-gender assumption does not line up.

There is also, as some femmes have mentioned to me, the problem that, after coming out verbally to someone (especially a man who is attempting to hit on you), you are sometimes in more danger than you were before, or than someone masculine- or androgynously-presenting is, because the person feels “tricked.” (I’ve written about this before, a little.) This defense is often cited in trans hate crimes, also – this notion that the trans person was presenting some other way than how they “really” are, therefore the hater was “duped” in some way.

Honestly, I don’t know what femmes can do about this particularly, aside from continue to come out. We – if I may speak for queer and gender and feminist activists – are trying to reach the straight world, we are trying to raise visibility and disrupt the idea that femininity is an invitation, but that is going to take some time. I hope there can be some assurance, regardless, that femme femininity is valid and not intended to be a tool of attraction for everyone, but for whomever it is you choose for it to be for. You can’t choose who sees you when you walk down the street – you put yourself out there in a semi-public domain and you can’t pick who you interact with on a daily basis. But you can choose what those interactions mean. And here, you just have a more advanced sense of this sex-gender assumption than they do. You are right. They are not.

Recognition: In/visibility to Queers

The second issue here is the visibility of femmes to queer communities. This, I think, is more personal and more of a vulnerable topic, since femininity (and expression of gender), to some degree, indicates desire and sexual signaling, and when those symbols of gender are not recognized as being symbols of attractiveness or attraction, that can be incredibly invalidating and disheartening.

It is a vulnerable process to put oneself out there, to make oneself available for rejection, to get dressed up for an event, to walk in and think, “my people!”, only to have them not recognize you as one of them. It hurts. It is a constant struggle.

It’s also frustrating to be hitting on people you are interested or attractive to and to have them not recognize what you’re doing as an invitation, or to resist or be skeptical of the validity of the invitation.

I understand the resistance, being on the other side of that equation, of a masculine-presenting person who has been taught over and over not to get caught up with straight women. I know a lot of butches and transmasculine folks who have a history of dating straight women, and the heartache of that inevitable loss is one we learn early. It is also dangerous – plenty of societal factors will jump in to police any attempts to “convert” a straight women to our lecherous queer ways, be it the girl’s boyfriend, friends, parents, or complete strangers, and because of the masculine presentation, the threat of violence is implicit or, sometimes, direct.

Not that this is an adequate excuse for the refusal to recognize femmes as queer, especially after a femme says “I’m queer” in some form or another.

I mean HELLO – butches and transmasculine folks and all of you queers and fucking everybody, while I’m on the subject – can we please just start to practice believing a feminine woman when she says she’s queer? Stop questioning her agency. Stop forcing her to defend herself. Stop being an ignorant idiot and realize that femmes exist and are real and valid queer identities. Any time you call a femme’s queerness into question, that is what you are doing.

Yeah so some of you might’ve had your heart smashed by a feminine straight girl in the past. I know. That sucks. You might be skeptical that you could get hurt again. Yep, okay, that’s valid. Entering into any relationship requires you to put yourself out there a little, and involves some risk. But regardless of her orientation, you might get hurt. Regardless of whether you marry this girl or date her for ten years or one year or just have a one night stand or just buy her a drink or walk away in one minute, she could hurt you. (No wait – she could reject you. You can choose whether or not that rejection is painful. But that’s a slightly different topic.)

Also: I’d like to put out there that, when in a queer space, it is okay to assume that the people in attendance are queer. Now, this does not mean that everyone is there for your own personal pleasure, and that it’s okay to blindly hit on anyone and everyone, so the “don’t be an asshole” rule obviously still applies. But if there’s a feminine person over by the jukebox at the dyke bar, it is more likely that she is gay than not. She still might not be – but if she’s in a dyke bar, and you are nice and thoughtful and polite and reasonable and respectful, it isn’t a problem to assume that she’s gay and to ask her if you can buy her a drink or tell her that you like her shoes. If she’s not gay, okay, depending on your goals of the evening (to pick someone up vs to converse with interesting people vs something else), be polite. If she is gay, that still doesn’t mean she’ll sleep with you. You might not be her type. She might be taken. You might be her type and she might not be taken, but she still might not sleep with you because for whatever reason, she doesn’t want to. Oh well! If you can, don’t take it personally, and move on.

Proof: In/visibility to Oneself

In the post Alphafemme wrote about femme invisibility, she touched on something very interesting:

It starts with not being able to see myself. That must be at the very root of it. As a little girl … I loved tea parties and dollhouses and dresses and patent leather shoes, I loved American Girl dolls and dress-up and imagining my future wedding. I was obsessed with … figure skaters and ballerinas. I fit snugly into my gender box. No questions asked. … it took me quite a long time to come out to myself. … There was no way I was gay. It just didn’t make sense. I was a girl. I was supposed to like boys. That was that. … Understanding of sexuality is so, so so tied up with gender. That’s really what makes femmes so invisible. To ourselves as well as to others. There often aren’t any outward signs that we digress from the norm. They’re all inward. And society tells us (all of us, not just femmes) all the time that the inward things? Are figments of our imagination. … So unless you look different, unless there’s some physical proof of it (whatever it is), there’s plenty of room for people to doubt you. And judge you. And feel justified in doubting and judging.

What a complicated, heartbreaking, turning-ourselves-inside-out that coming to a new identity process is. And when it is not marked by physical proof, when someone looks the same, there is no particular indication that Something Big Has Changed, so how do we know? By speaking of it, by talking about it, by documenting it in some form. Still, so much of the data we take in is visual, so even when our minds take in that something is different, if we don’t see the physical proof, it might not register the same way. I think this is also partly why the process of coming out as a dyke often involves things like cutting one’s hair off – which is the rejection of femininity and the association that femininity is performed for the attraction of men, yes, but also a physical marker that something has changed.

These are just things that are “true,” according to our culture: femininity is a tool for the attraction of men; dykes reject this and therefore don’t have to perform femininity; if you are a dyke, you also come to a more androgynous gender identity as part of your dykeness. Sexual orientation and gender presentation are so tied together – that is the sex-gender assumption in a nutshell.

It is a radical and subversive thing to occupy an identity that disrupts these social “truths.” It is hard. It is a constant battle. I think it does change, though, in two ways: we come to a more accepting, understanding place about our own identities, with a lot more sovereignty, so we don’t have to constantly feel defensive and at war with the world; and culture is changing, too. Culture is not a static fixed thing. Queer culture is advancing like mad. We are pushing the edges of it, calling into question the sex-gender assumptions in big ways. I think society is getting more accepting and understanding, as time goes on, and we do come to more solid places within ourselves, and we do get to know more and more people who are like us the longer we explore these identities.

A few more things …

Femme invisibility is gender discrimination based on the sex-gender assumption. It is not about you, it is about a culture-wide unspoken societal rule that says femininity is for the attraction of men and feminine women are straight.

Don’t take it personally. I know that’s more easily said than done, but I still think it’s true. There is not some magic femme symbol that, if you were wearing it, or if you were more gay, or “really” gay, they would have recognized it. This is their problem, not yours. There are many, many of us who recognize femme as a completely legit queer identity, as one of the cutting edges of queer identity in fact, and who know how difficult it is and how deep it runs. Your experience is valid, your orientation is valid.

Of course, femmes don’t always go through the process of invisibility. Lady Brett wrote a piece about the relative newness of invisibility in her life, and growing up a tomboy. There are so many ways to experience femme-ness and queer community involvement and recognition, and while claims to overarching truths can be called into question, our own experiences are always valid and real.

Chime in on this conversation, if you like. What do you think about femme invisibility? What has your experience of it been? What’s it like for you? How do you transcend these frustrating moments of invisibility, both to other queers, the straight world, and yourself? What have you witnessed in your femme partners or lovers or friends? How do you give a secret nod or wink to other queers?

What’s On My Mind

You in stockings and a garter, pussy bare, black bra, your lips and eyes darkened. Heels strapped around your ankles that I take off, or maybe not. Black and red silk ropes around your thighs, under your knees, around your ankles, around your wrists. Smooth ropes on the smooth stockings and I love the texture, run my hands all over you. I slip a blindfold over your eyes and kiss you. Smear the lipstick across your cheek and lips. You get still and quiet, waiting.

Your fist in me deep. Hard. The look on your face when you’re between my legs, that awe and desperate look I know I get too. Sweating. My hand on my clit, hard, rubbing hard, getting close until I grab you by the hair and push your mouth down on it, yeah, like that, suck it, don’t slow down, fuck me, until I’m hard and bursting in your mouth and I lift you by the hair again, take my clit in my fingers again to come, hard, around your fist. I wish I could squirt as easily as you do, I would, I would come in your mouth and watch you swallow it.

Your new thigh high boots, your little black dress. I’d like you in an alley, maybe, a dirty one, street-lamp lit and bricked and you’re nervous about the dinginess but you want me, you trust me. I push you up against a wall, slam your shoulders back, bite your neck, suck your tongue. You’re wearing fencenets between your boots and the tight hem of your dress but nothing underneath; I get my fingers between the wide holes and into your tight one, and hold you there, until your knees buckle and your fencenets rip.

You coming in my mouth again. Last time your knees on either side of my head, dipping your pussy into my mouth while I licked and sucked, tongued your hole as deep as I could. “You want to do it?” “Yes.” Your fingers on your clit and I held your hips (how you like it) and watched you squirt all over my face, dripping down my chin and cheeks, into my ears, and I laughed, mouth filled.

Blindfolded, on your hands and knees, mouth stretched open, pussy, ass, holes stretched open farther than you thought they could go and you like it, you like being filled like this, you like taking me in. A gag maybe. Breathing tight around the edges. Touching your smooth skin in easy strokes and thrusting inside you, my mouth by your ear: no, don’t come yet, don’t come yet, let me do it first, don’t do it baby, just take it.

My hips are heavy this morning and I remember the weight and swing of my longest cock between my legs, the swagger of it, the thrill of filling it, the thrill of filling you, that squeeze and tightening and then the ease when we work into our rhythm and press, thrust, push against each other.

I’m biting at my lips, remembering yours, remembering the way you kissed me when I got off in bed earlier this week, we’d woken early to fuck but I hadn’t gotten off, pulled out and rolled beside you, annoyed. “What’s wrong?” “Frustrated. I want to … ” “I know.” So I did it, put my hands on me, slid my cock off and held you tight to me, wanted your body next to mine, the way you kiss me when I am not in charge of the kiss. That mouth of yours.

I am tempted to get out the little digital video camera and set it up in the corner to make a record of how we fuck. Would we be too self-conscious? Would we get into it like we usually do? Would we be loud enough to hear on the recording? I could tell you louder. Louder. Say that again. Say it louder. Say fuck me. Say fuck me, Daddy. Say I want your cock. Say fuck my little pussy. Say it. Say it. Take it. My sweet girl, my lovely little girl, my darling. What would we capture? What would we look like? Will we look back at this in ten years, wonder how we were ever that young, that in love, that passionate? Or will we look like amateurs compared to whatever we’d be doing then? I want to find out.

Answers to some questions

Do you have a top five list of toys/accessories that you love and recommend?

People’s sexualities are so different, so what’s best for me might not be best for you, so this isn’t so much what I recommend as it is my personal favorites. My top 5 desert island toys – meaning the ones I would absolutely have to have if I was stuck on a desert island – are:

  • Hitachi – the lesbian grandmother of all vibrators. Because hey, if I’m going to have a vibrator, it may as well be the best. We’ll just have to pretend my desert island has power outlets.
  • Silky aka Mr Bendy – best & only cock on the market that you can pack with, then fuck with. Not sterilizable (always use a condom). A little small for hours & hours of fucking, though, so I need an upgrade.
  • Vixskin Maverick aka Rodeo Rick – The upgrade. This might be the most perfect cock ever made. (I do wish it had balls though … I think that’s the Bandit? But balls sometimes create distance between harness strap and my clit, which would make it harder for me to get off.) Silicone, realistic, excellent size.
  • Spartacus harness – my current favorite. Simple, versatile, comfortable. I removed one of the two straps to make it a one-strap instead (which makes it easier for me to get off).
  • Maximus lube – because my sex life is so cock-centric, and because I like to go for hours, lube is a necessity. Regardless of how wet she gets and stays, I use it, if only because then I won’t have to wonder or worry if she’s getting dryer. Maximus is thick, stays slick, comes in a pump bottle, is kind of gel-like and won’t slide around your hand while I’m getting it from the bottle to my cock.

Aside from the Hitachi (and the lube), those are toys for partner sex; so I’d also add one bonus, which would be a very hard, g-spot curved insertable, either glass or metal (Pure Wand, maybe – I’d put the Pure Wand on there in a second, except I don’t actually own one).

Why do you list fingernails as a ‘turn off’ for you?

Perhaps I should explain, so thanks for asking. I like painted fingernails, I like the classics (of course) of red and pink and French tips. I love them femme-length, as short as they can be and a little squared off. I like how it enhances someone’s hands, so delicate and feminine. The part I don’t like is if they’re long. I don’t like scratching, I can’t stand it when someone taps their nails on a desk or counter, that tick-tick-tick sound makes me cringe. Maybe it’s from being in New York City where everyone’s are fake and thick and long, or maybe it’s just too much of a straight association.

How, exactly, do you determine what makes a bathroom in a bar “fuckable”?

  • Privacy of stalls – are they ceiling-to-floor? Huge gaps under the door? Short doors that a tall person could see over?
  • Strength of walls in the stalls – are they all hinged to each other in one unit, or are they individual? Would they shake if you knocked into them?
  • Size of the stalls – are they wide enough for two people to stand comfortably side-by-side, or is it hard to walk past each other and open the door?
  • General ambiance – is it harsh bright florescent lights, or recessed lighting? Are the stalls plastic, or hardwood? Is there some particular accents of decor, or is it as plain as a public park bathroom?
  • Cleanliness – in general, how is it kept?
  • Whether or not it’s monitored – some (many) gay boy bar bathrooms have signs – “one at a time ONLY” – or people who will actually knock if you manage to slip a 2nd person past them.

Personally, I like the bathrooms that are clean, with some slightly unusual ambiance, good lighting, nice décor, wide stalls so I can navigate, privacy … but others might prefer it to be more seedy, hinges loose and grubby floors, perhaps the naughtiness of the dirty scene would be their preference.

While I’m at it, here’s three amazing bathrooms to fuck in New York City:

  1. Therapy, gay boy bar in midtown east. Hands down the best bar bathrooms I’ve ever fucked in. gay boy bar, fantastic décor, good drinks, great snacks. If you date me, I will probably fuck you here at some point. Tricky to get past the bathroom guards, but it’s possible.
  2. Song, thai restaurant in Brooklyn. Not always super clean (especially during dinner, they are very busy) but the restaurant is incredibly loud and the bathrooms are shadowy and kind of swanky.
  3. Whiskeytown, east village. Straight bar, not my favorite clientele, but fantastic drinks. Bathrooms are private with the sink outside, good lighting.

Got any other recommendations?

Have you ever entertained the possibility of breathplay? (I’m NOT talking autoasphyxia, but the choking/restraining your loved one kind of breathplay.)

Sure. I don’t have much experience with it, which is why I have never written about it in my fiction. I’ve never come across a lover who said she was interested in playing with it, and as a top it seems like the kind of thing that I wouldn’t necessarily impose on someone else, since it isn’t an act that is ‘for me’ the same way other toppy things are (fucking, cocksucking). I’ve noticed that Kristen often holds her breath while she’s about to come, though, so maybe eventually we’ll get to more breathplay between us – but she doesn’t seem into it when we’ve seen it in porn we’ve watched. So, it’s not something I would probably seek out without someone else being into it, but I’m GGG, if it came up and someone was interested I would give it a try.

Since 2003, have you ever heard anyone utter the words, “Do you…(fill in the blank)?” and not thought of Cher? If so, how is this possible?

Maybe not “Do you…”, but “Do you believe in … “ yes certainly, the only way to end that sentence is “life after love.” And, not that you asked, but yes, I do believe in life after love.

A Love Letter to Femmes

Maria See put the original call out for the Femmethology literally years ago, and ever since I first saw it I knew I wanted to contribute something to this unique anthology on femme identity. But what? I didn’t feel like I could necessarily speak from a place of authority on What Femme Is, there are hundreds – thousands! – of versions of femme, and no matter what I know about femme or how many femmes I’ve interacted with, I am an observer, a witness of femme, I don’t feel like I create it myself.

So what would I write?

I wrote a few pieces, brainstormed, but nothing I really loved. Nothing really got to the heart of what I was trying to say, which was … what? I wasn’t sure.

But it hit me on the very last day the editors were accepting submissions, and I sat down and wrote this Love Letter in one long sentence, and spent the rest of the day editing and polishing. I’m not going to reproduce the text here (you’ll have to buy the book for that) but I will present you, here, with a recording of me reading the love letter that appears in Visible: A Femmethology Volume Two.

Hope you enjoy it.

Download the mp3 here if you’d like to keep it.

Thanks very much to Audacia Ray for recording and producing this mp3!

In case you missed it, see more information about the Femmethology here.

Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom & Autonomy #15

carnivalWelcome to the 15th Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom & Autonomy! I’m your host, Monsieur du Sexsmith, as we wander around the sex, feminist, queer, and gender blogospheres to bring you some amazing reading, writing, introspection, self-reflection, and inspiration on the subjects of sexual freedom and sexual autonomy.

[If I missed your link, I’m so sorry – it was a challenge to keep all of these organized! Email it to me, aspiringstud at gmail dot com, or leave a comment with your link in this post. Thanks!]

I’m going to start with a reproduction of the entire poem from pomegranate pen called temararious. Don’t worry, I won’t reprint everything in its entirety, but this was particularly beautiful and I have such a soft spot for poetry. It’s so incredibly sexy and I really felt the inner conflict of BDSM, of coming to one’s own with power and surrender. Make sure you leave comments over on pomegranate’s blog. (ps: I had to look up temerarious. What a fantastic word.)

    you make me want to do
    what i shouldn’t,
    which is to give

    in. to stay up all night
    for the company of your warm and breathing body,
    to keep my eyes open in case

    you should want to meet my gaze.
    you make me want:
    to succumb. to surrender, hands above my head.

    (reckless abandon,
    they call it,
    i think.) you

    force me to my knees and
    you
    make me feel every second
    in my body –
    we are connected –

    every atom suddenly becoming
    something of us
    the sharp focus of my eyes
    and your breath filling my lungs
    my own blood pounding
    faster with each place you touch and
    my hips leaning slowly

    in –

    these are the things you do to me
    from across rooms and rivers
    (you make me want to do
    what i shouldn’t
    and you make me want to whisper

    please.)

I asked some very specific questions about sexual freedom and autonomy, and these are the 18 particular responses to that question. I know that’s kind of atypical of these feminist carnivals, but I have long thought that this carnival was full of fascinating concepts and was hoping to get some of the folks in my queer sex & gender circles to participate.

I was incredibly touched reading each one, witnessing people’s stories of coming to their own sexual power and understanding their own sexual journeys. Writing and examining our own stories is such an incredibly powerful way to witness our own lives unfold, and that is one of the reasons I adore the writing medium of blogging so much.

I have so much to say about each of these contributions, each of which held revelations for me. But I’m going to let them speak for themselves, with a small excerpt from each piece.

Without more fanfare: let’s get on with the contributions and excerpts.

When or If: When Your Heart Holds You Back

A friend asked that I write about sexual freedom, and being as I am a pretty sex-positive queer kid I figured I’d write about how I got my freedom. What obstacles I’ve overcome to reach the place in my life where I feel free to express my sexual desire, show off my sexuality. … But I couldn’t. I can’t write about that, because it hasn’t happened.

Running Away with the Spoon: Crossing Over

Earlier in our relationship, after we have talked about fucking, we wander into a conversation about how I am her woman, and I say, uncertain of her response, “I want you to be my man.” She pauses for a second, a little surprised, and then says evenly “I am your man. You are my woman and I am your man.” My heart jumps. I have so longed for this, someone willing to cross over into that genderfucking territory with me. but I can see that this is new for her to vocalize, new words for her to speak. So we tread slowly.

Butch Girlcat: Sexual Freedom, Autonomy, & Stone

I accepted the label of stone around the same time I embraced the identity of butch. In both cases it seemed like a matter of accuracy. I’ve written pages and pages now about being butch but very little about being stone. Which only makes sense. We do silence well. She does give me pleasure, oh my god she does, but you won’t hear about it from me, not even if you’re standing next to the bed. I know my face gives me away to her. That’s my version of surrender.

Freedomgirl: Some Thoughts on Sexual Freedom

The word ‘freedom’ is incredibly powerful and meaningful to me, hence the title of this blog. I titled it, and myself, at a moment when my life changed completely; I was realizing just how unfree I had been, for a stretch of time in my relationship, and more largely during my whole life. Unfree to be me, unfree to want the things that I oh so much wanted, unfree to express my sexual desire. […] it’s more than just opening the chains of my relationship; it’s also removing the limitations that I imposed on my own mind and my own desires. Sexual freedom is the new joy in my own body that I’ve found this year. It’s claiming my sexuality for myself, not for my partner or in opposition (or conformity) to some societal ideal.

Miss Avarice: Sexual Autonomy & Sexual Freedom

For me, Sexual Autonomy means having age-appropriate access to the wealth of information that exists about different types of relationship styles, different sexual activities, fetishes, and interests, as well as safer sex practices and contraception. I think this will only happen when we live in an environment that encourages open communication, mutual respect, and an understanding of the important role that sexuality plays in every person’s life.

Uncommon Curiosity: Straight Talk

At this point, keeping track of all the gradations of gender involved in living my life would take an accountant, three maps and a well-trained sheepdog. But I only say “pretty much” because there is still a small spot in my heart that yearns to join the club, to earn my queer patch – if only so the 11-year-old inside me could make it right.

Tina-cious: Freedom is Rarely Free

I thought, at first, [this was] a no sweat kind of question. Turns out, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Truth is — my sexual “freedom” hasn’t – for the majority of my life – been mine at all. What it had been was the will of my lovers. … All of a sudden I knew what it meant to be allowed to have a say in what sex meant to our relationship. My ideas for new things to try all of a sudden were met with enthusiasm. EVERY sexual deviance I could come up with was open to me for the taking. I just had to vocalize them. Games, role playing, toys, positions, apparatus, anything. All of a sudden I actually felt sexy. Wanted. Lusted after.

Jess I Am: Then And Now

True sexual freedom came to me when I started fucking women. I was the initiator, the aggressor, the top. I felt like a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me and soon after, it did. I discovered the online queer community and before I knew it my inner perv resurfaced and I began to own my sexuality and my body once again. I started to come to terms with my gender identity and understand that sex was going to be something I would only enjoy if I was doing things that I desired. I realized that I could experiment with role play, kink, and even a bit of pain. To this day, there is still so little that I am not open to trying, and there is nothing about sex to fear because everything I do is on my terms, and I am 100% in control of it all, even when I choose to surrender that control.

Femme is my Gender: Shame

When I came out in my twenties I felt myself very liberated. And in some ways I was. However, shame was certainly preventing me from exploring my sexuality freely and in its entirety. I did make progress in some areas though. … Now in my forties and in the ridiculously late flowering discovery of my essential sexual nature, I feel less shame than ever before. That is not to say I am freed from it, but it certainly withers as my confidence grows.

Packing Vocals: What If

So what does “sexual autonomy” and “sexual freedom” mean to me? It means that I can enjoy, appreciate and express my sexuality and gender without fear of rejection or ridicule. It means that I finally have the access to knowledge, the experiences of others and the support to explore my emotions, fears and desires. It means that instead of standing still and stagnating, I can move forward, learning and growing as a person. It means I can be me.

Don’t Let’s Talk: “One of the virtues of not being puritanical about sex is not being embarrassed afterwards.”

[H]aving sex with girls has given me the freedom to access other aspects of my sexuality. Because coming out as gay was easy, but being gay is what gave me the ability to come out (at least to myself) as slutty, kinky, and maybe a little less than gay.

Butchtastic: Don’t fence me in

For me sexual/gender autonomy and freedom are ultimately about self-determination. We should each have the freedom to not only choose our identity labels at any given time, but change them as we wish. I don’t know about you, but my notion of who I am has changed a helluva lot since I came out as a lesbian at seventeen. For the first part of my sexual life, that label and the expected behaviors associated with being a lesbian fit me. I had no desire or need for men in a sexual way. At the same time, I also didn’t relate much to ‘butch’ because of what I saw as a restrictive set of behaviors associated with that label: being less open sexually and emotionally, and taking on what I saw as mostly negative masculine behaviors.

The Verbosery: Finding my Pieces

A woman who personifies the masculine spirit but still craves being fucked like a woman? To me, personally, that’s just about hotter than the surface of the sun. … Part of my journey in understanding my personal relationship with femme was coming into the realization that the stereotypical femme bottom role did not apply to me. I had to come to terms with the fact that femmes top, too. Not only that, but I had to revisit my own personal understanding that I don’t, have never, fallen neatly into given categories. I have always endeavored to forge my own trail, to find the pieces that fit best and felt right for me, personally.

Three-hole Punch Me: On Sugarbutch Chronicles, Sinclair Asked …

To me, sexual autonomy and sexual freedom are synonymous with “owning” my sexuality. This means that I am responsible for putting myself into sexual situations as well as removing myself from those situations when I need to. It means that I decide when I want to have sex, and what kind of sex I want to have. No one else pressures me into it, and I am not forced to do things that I don’t understand or don’t want to do. It means that I am honest with myself and honest with my partner(s) and that we communicate openly and honestly about what we will do together and what the boundaries are. It means that my partner asks for my CONSENT and I do the same for the other person.

Green-Eyed Girl: Sexual Freedom

If asked a couple of years ago what my thoughts on sexual freedom were, I would have laughed and said, “A whip, silly. A whip in one hand and my fingers wrapped around your hair, pulling tightly – that is when I feel most sexually free.” That’s the person I used to be – very much in control & a touch on the violent side (sexually). I don’t know when it changed, I can’t give a specific time when I came to the realization that I am no longer that person. I am fully aware of it though, this huge difference in my sexual behavior. I am also fully aware that it is because I trust her and that is the reason why I have shifted from being a top to a bottom.

A Feminist View: Freedom & Autonomy, Part 1: All Places are Not Alike

[M]y journey to sexual freedom (and autonomy?) is synonymous with my discovery of consensual and safe BDSM sex, and of consensual D/s relationships. With reference to my own past, it is clear that I had no freedom or autonomy as I grew up, and it was only when I came to understand other ways of seeing what was innately in me that I came to have any sense of having control over my own sexuality – that I could own it in every sense of the word. [Also check out part two.]

Sugarbutch: Sexual Autonomy & Freedom

I’m supposed to be writing about sexual autonomy and freedom – so let me tell you this: I cannot untangle gender from sex from power. They are all the spiraling sugar-phosphate backbone in the DNA of my sexuality, and it wasn’t until I unlocked my gender that my sexual liberation truly lived in my body, that my sexuality was truly realized and in practice. It wasn’t until I had a cock – no: it wasn’t until I had a girl who knew what to do with my cock. My gender is the language of my desire, my attraction. The ways I communicate physically. Say gender is a drag, but also say this: I wasn’t me until I discovered my own gendered space.

… and yes, I know this is the longest post in the history of long posts on Sugarbutch, but it’s worth it, I promise.

Read about 20 more posts after the cut.

I Love LDN Girls too

I Love London Girls has also released their 2009 Calendars, and this time there are three: the traditional I Love LDN Girls, the new I Love Film Girls, and the new I Love Drag.

I’ve got my I heart Brooklyn Girls femme pinup calendar AND my New York City Sex Blogger Calendar up – hey, it’s 2009! Didn’t you notice?

If you were one of the people who complained to me that both the Brooklyn Girls calendar and the NYC Sexblogger Calendar didn’t have enough butches in it, well, the LDN Girls Calendar might be the one for you – there are couples, ladies in masculine drag, and all sorts of range of gender explored in beautiful photographs. (Well, I don’t actually have any of these calendars, but from what I can tell, the shots are great.)

A girl: my future wife

She never leaves my side at parties. People come up to talk to me or her or both of us and she has impeccable control over the conversation, a complex harmony of our varied voices with a beautiful baseline that she keeps with her heartbeat. She knows when and how to release us from a topic or person. She does most of the talking. I listen. I like it that way.

She puts her lovely hand on my elbow, my arm, the back of my neck, at small moments: a reassurance and support for which I am always grateful.

She leans in to give me a peck on the cheek near my ear and whispers, “I’m watching the clock. We’re leaving in thirty minutes so you can take me home and fuck me.”

I grin and sip a drink. Finger a pocketwatch, cufflinks, the knot of my tie.

She lets me drive her car. I spin the wheels on wet pavement and work the clutch like a lover: pressure, friction, demand, take. She has her hand on my inner thigh and we both want her to touch the bulge in the crotch but she resists. Her eyes sparkle watching the road.

(This is what I want.)

She sleeps in later than I do on the weekends. I get up, make coffee how she likes it, write for a few hours as she slumbers. Sometimes I take photos of the golden morning sun on her skin.

When she stirs I crawl back into bed with her and we make love, fuck, play until we are satiated and laughing, until our bodies edges are blurred into each other and our heartbeats are synchronized. Her long legs folded, knees touching her nipples. My hand in her thick long hair. Rocking her on the curve of her spine, rocking together.

We make food, replenish, drink coffee over ice and she cooks in the kitchen in only an apron until I lift her onto the counter, arms above her head holding onto the cabinets, bend her over the back of the couch, then again against the cool linoleum.

When I go back to work in the evening she lets me, she directs her energy to her own work, whatever that might be, something physical to balance my mental swirling. We keep each other balanced. She kisses the top of my head or trails her fingers on her shoulders as she walks by, but does not interrupt. She lets me be.

And then there is the reverence, mine.

I sit at her feet for hours and watch her brush her hair. I catch moonbeams in jam jars in an open field in Montana and bring them home to her to use as ribbons to tie around her wrists. I write her poems and she folds them into origami fireflies and strings them around our bookshelves. I tell her every day how stunning she is, how strong; I am breathless with my good fortune at ever gaining her attention.

I stoke the fire inside that shines behind her eyes to keep her lit, keep her going.

I buy her jewelry, not because I know her taste but because I want her to sparkle at her delicate places: her throat, her wrists, her ankles, her fingers, her ears. Every time she shakes her head or signs her name or pulls her hand from her pocket or reaches her arm or places her foot carefully onto the ground she glitters, and she and everyone around her are reminded that someone loves her (and it’s me), that I see everything she does as beautiful, that every time she moves I want everyone to know the immeasurable amount of spark she lends to those of us privileged enough to witness what she does with her extraordinary life.

I [heart] Brooklyn Girls 2009 Calendar

The I [heart] Brooklyn Girls 2009 calendar is about to be released, and it looks like a good one. I loved 2007 – twelve decades of pinup styles featuring hot hot brooklyn femmes – but I thought 2008 was a bit of a disappointment. The Coney Island photo shoot just didn’t compare. Maybe I had high standards from the fabulous ’07 shots, but I really didn’t care much for last year’s.

2009, though, looks fantastic. It plays with pinup girls in “campy career” shots, like “Baking Beauty,” “Chemist Queenie,” “Literary Lady,” and “Stitching Sweetie.” They describe the calendar images as “fashioned after images made popular by pinup artists Elvgren and Vargas. The calendar showcases a dozen campy career girls in authentic vintage garments, lingerie and swimwear. From the Head of the Class to the Chemist Queenie, Women at Work pays homage to classic pinup while poking fun at traditional gender roles.”

(You can see some of the shots at their I [heart] Brooklyn Girls website, but they haven’t released the 2009 calendar overview yet.)

Tonight is the calendar launch party in Brooklyn.

I *Heart* Brooklyn Girls 2009 Calendar Launch
Friday, Oct. 10th, 9pm
Southpaw, 125 5th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

www.iheartbrooklyngirls.com
$15 (includes a calendar)

The Femme Show in Boston

Announcing: The Femme Show’s Second Annual Boston-Area Appearance

October 10 and 11, 8:00 PM
Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre, 820 Mass Ave in Central Square
$11 in advance, $12 at the door

After a summer of East Coast touring, the femmes et. al. of The Femme Show are back in the Boston area with an all new show. From Barbie dolls to garter belts, from 1950’s dyke bars to suburban back yards and late night taco joints, from hula hooping to clowning, this show takes audiences on a wild ride. The Femme Show offers a variety of diverse perspectives on femme identity with subject matter that is at times thoughtful, sad, sexy, funny, and fun, with film, dance, storytelling, burlesque, drag, and performance art.

Visit www.thefemmeshow.com for tickets, volunteer opportunities, preview shows, and femme community.

In Praise of Femmes: The Architecture of Identity

This is what I learned at the Femme Conference.

Oh, the Femme Conference. I have so much to say about what happened there, both personally and in relation to this gender work. Oh yeah, and I have some hot stories to tell y’all, too.

First: THANK YOU, everyone who donated money to help me attend. I was able to go because of this website. I may not have gone otherwise because I really can’t afford to travel. Thank you.

The theme of the conference was The Architecture of Femme, and as such many of the panels explored the construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of femme identity. As my background is in social theory and social constructionism, I tend to come from the place that says femme is constructed primarily physically, on the body, that all gender is performative. This means through symbols of femininity – shaving, long hair, skirts/dresses, heels, jewelry, makeup, etc.

One of the major themes I’ve come across in running Sugarbutch is femmes who feel invisible – that they are not read as queer because lesbians are not feminine, femininity is a constructed gender role within the heteronormative paradigm, and the perceived notion that a femme is really either bi or straight.

This misconception has to do with physical symbols of gender, and required alignment of sexual orientation and gender.

The first keynote speaker at the conference, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, said: femmes are not invisible, you don’t know how to look.

And this is point number one that I want to make. I’ll pause here to let that sink in for you.

Femmes are not invisible, the lesbian community just doesn’t know how to look.

That deeply resonated with me. I feel I’ve been trying to say that to femme friends and lovers for some time now – “well, I found you, didn’t I? Do you not go to the clubs, do you not get dates? Of course you’re queer.”

I know it’s not this simple, really – I know there is much difficulty when someone is not recognized by their own community because they are being true to their own sense of gender. That’s not an easy contrast to reconcile, and I don’t move through the world that way so I can’t really speak to the daily experience of what that’s like.

Before the conference, I started a conversation about femme eye candy – remember this? I’ll get back to that in another post more fully, but the relevance is that Muse & I were discussing requesting photos along with some text about how the femme in the photo queers femininity – how her femme-ness is coming through in any particular way that indicates that she’s femme, not straight.

[TO BE CLEAR: this is NOT be about proving queerness whatsoever. I am working on the details of how to write this up, and will explore this much more in-depth in another post soon.]

The point is to use the femme eye candy as a visual lexicon of physical symbols, as an attempt to notice any emerging patterns and begin to record the physical markers of femme identity.


DEFINE: Markers: physical details which indicate that the person is using their fashion and style to construct a queer identity. Examples of usage: Femme markers, butch markers, queer markers, hippie markers …


I have some ideas about what these markers might be – vintage and pinup clothes, hyper-femininity, high contrast, for example – and I must thank Sam and Maggie from Toronto who did a wonderful workshop at the conference on the construction of femme identity through fashion and style, where many of my thoughts on this were refined.

The discussion at the workshop quickly went from “what are some of the femme markers” to “what are ways that femmes construct identity besides through physical markers?”

I kept thinking about these things throughout the weekend at the conference: the markers, and the ways femme is constructed besides markers.

Five things stand out greatly from the discussions as ways to construct femme:

  1. In contrast to butch – the classic in some ways, the stereotype in others. We all talk about how butches lend visibility and how different a femme is perceived and treated alone verses with a butch. The conference brought up the issue of femme history, too, and how hard it is to find femmes, and one of the ways to do so is to find the butches’ visible queerness and search for their partners.I think this is an incomplete, problematic, and outdated construction of femme identity generally, but it is relevant historically and it still applies at moments. Plus, for some of us our own sense of identity is so greatly magnified when in contrast to our particular desire orientation – I am not just a butch, for example, but I am a butch who loves, desires, and partners with femmes, and that is also a key component to my identity.
  2. In community – Maggie, the beautiful dancer and wicked smart femme behind the Femme Show (who has a wonderful girlfriend, I was disappointed to hear, as I developed quite the crush on her over the conference) spoke of how when she is in queer spaces, she expects that she should be read as queer. It should just simply be a given. It is not a given that the feminine girl at dyke night is queer, because the lesbian community is still closed off to the ideas that feminine girls are lesbians. I mean, in some ways that is being shattered – maybe that’s one good thing the L-Word has done for the lesbian communities – but in practice, many many queer women still don’t recognize femmes.(I could also speak to how this is probably engrained in butches especially, in butches who are attracted to femininity, from a young age, because we do tend to go for the straight girl or the L.U.G.s and end up getting our hopes up and our hearts broken when she, inevitably, leaves us for a guy, because, well, she’s straight. I still watch butches go through the realization that femmes exist – that femininity exists in a queer context – and wow that sure can be a revolutionary realization. But this is another topic to discuss later, too.)
  3. Through language – Someone commented to say she has no particular physically queer markers, and in fact she prides herself on that, and would rather constantly construct her queer identity by constantly coming out verbally. But even if a femme does see herself as using many queer fashion and style markers, there is still always an element of constructing identities verbally and through language.This brings up one other idea, which is that I think all of these ways of constructing femme identity happen for everyone, that it isn’t just one or another, that some are stronger for some femmes than others, that there are many different combinations of them that make up each unique femme expression of each person.
  4. Through fashion and style and through markers. There are hundreds – thousands probably – of ways to construct femme through physical feminine presentation. The conference was amazing that way, to see as many different representations of femme as there were femmes in attendance. I loved seeing the similarities, the differences. There was such an amazing array from the fanciest drag-queen femme to the pencil-skirt-and-glasses femme to the pinup girl femme to the punk rock femme to the tomboy femme to the sundress-and-cardigan femme.And the SHOES! Oh good lord, I could write an entire post on the shoes at the femme conference. (Swoon.)Honestly, I never cared for fashion until I began discovering, uncovering, and creating conscious and intentional butch/femme gender understandings. I wish I had a better grasp on fashion and the history of fashion sometimes, some folks were saying very interesting things about the evolution of women’s clothing options during the conference.
  5. Through theory – feminist theory, gender theory, power theory, BDSM and kink theory, postmodern theory, historical contextual theory. The intellectualizing of my own gender has been a key component to constructing my own gender identity, and this resonated strongly at the conference.

I’m going to have to work on the butch version of this idea, the ways butch identity is constructed, though I imagine it is in many ways similar: in contrast to femmes, in community, through language, through markers, through theory. But perhaps there’s more to add, perhaps butch and femme are constructed differently? Ill keep thinking on that; please do add your two cents if you’ve got ideas on this topic.

Two specific questions for you, at the end of this looooong summary of what I learned at the Femme Conference about the architecture of femme:

  • What are some other tools with which you construct your identity, femme or otherwise?
  • And what do your markers look like?

femme conference roundup, & links

Now that I am finally putting my thoughts together about the femme conference, here is a small roundup of other posts I’ve seen out there in the blogosphere about others’ experiences.

  1. fatgirl femme: femme conference 2008: “I left the conference feeling energized and excited, and like I can totally have the femme community I want. I feel really committed to making it happen here in Seattle, and also really blessed that even if it DOESN’T happen in Seattle, I have some really valuable femme community in the blogosphere, and that’s still pretty fucking remarkable.”
  2. the femme show – some first thoughts: “… what I want to share with you now … is how much I want to go back. How I want to be part of two hundred or so femmes and allies telling each other we’re beautiful, strong, sexy, survivors of misogyny and worse, capable of loving and fucking and building a movement and changing the world. How when I was alone on a street in some Chicago neighborhood I can’t even name, waiting for a bus, I looked at groups of women carrying purses and diaper bags and birthday presents, women in dresses going out to dinner, and I saw them as friends because I’d just spent 48 hours surrounded by people in dresses who were friends. How I want to keep seeing all feminine people that way, to let go of the idea that femininity in queers is subversive and special and superior and make this about chosen femininity, not about special us queers are with our big glasses and big earrings or whatever it is this year.”
  3. femme FATale: post 1 of lord knows how many others: “who knew … being around people of various shared communities that are separate at times and converging at others could so quickly feel like home, that i’d go to chicago excited and leave with a heart full and achey with missing? to answer the questions i’ve received from readers and from friends: the femme conference was amazing. it was validating and caring, but it was also intense and hard. there was support and there was community, as much as there were the reminders of how much further we need to go to be good to each other as femmes. as loving and thoughtful and supportive as we are to our butches and our bois and to our allies, we need to be good to ourselves and to each other.”
  4. coffee and gender: the architecture of femme: “In the workshops and keynotes we attended the discussions were so closely focused on femmes that allies often were relegated to sitting and listening: which is exactly what allies should be doing 80% of the time. However, there are always times when workshops or lectures are really meant for the self-identifying members of the audience and not for allies or family members/significant others. I don’t believe in “safe space” but I strongly believe in “safer space”, and it can be hard to tell when a lecture or workshop might be more easily received and understood if the attendees all belonged to that one identity group.”

If you know of other posts or wrote one yourself, please leave the URL in the comments + I’ll add them to the roundup!

There is a Femme Conference 2010 in the works, I hear it’ll be in Atlanta. There are some specific folks that I would really like to see at the conference in 2010, and I’m going to call you out publically because I can. Please consider coming. Please make your life revolve around creating the ability to come to the next conference. You will not regret it. You need to be there: sublime femme, Miss Avarice, Lady Brett, Green-eyed Girl, and Essin’ Em.

Speaking of femme community and links to what’s happening in the blogosphere, Hussyred recently posted on her fabulous blog about the concept of a femme archive, specifically positing this challenge: “Let’s post the who, the what, the where, the when of how we got to call ourselves “femme.””

There have been some lovely responses being kicked around: Sublime femme writes on what makes me a femme, Green-eyed Girl says who am I, Lady Brett Ashley rides around with her rag top down, and Belle (yep, she’s back) discusses supporting other femmes and her own femme competition.

It’s a great question, this idea of where we came from, how we our gender identities developed, when we called ourself by our chosen identity labels and why. If you’d like to explore this in the comments, please do so. If you post about this on your own blog, please do leave a link!

In Praise of Femmes: Hair & Shaving

Thanks, all, for your thoughtful responses and life stories about butch hair in the last post.

Here’s a few of my thoughts about femmes and femininity and hair, and then I’ll ask some questions and open it up to whatever you’d like to say about the subject.

I want to distinguish here between options and personal preference – I talk a lot on this site – especially in terms of femmes and femme identity – about what I like, and I want to make it clear that those are usually my personal preferences, and I’m not trying to say that I think that’s what all femmes should be or that femmes who are not like that are not valid or are not “real” femmes or any of that crap. I hope that’s not how it comes across.

So, let me first say this, about my basic philosophies on hair: hair is a personal choice. It is also a major marker on the physical body used to distinguish gender differentiation in contemporary culture. Short hair on men, long hair on women; shaved legs and underarms on women, hairy men. This of course was not always the case; it used to be seen as very masculine for men to grow their hair long. Hair presentation, length, and social conformity are based largely on culture.

In my (unofficial, limited) cultural observation in the recent years, these differences are just getting more pronounced, although with the inclusion of gay male culture in mainstream men’s fashion, the rise of beauty products for men, the addition of “manscaping” and the metrosexualizing of fashion and beauty, beauty standards for men and masculinity are on the rise. It is not unusual for hetero/cis-women to expect their hetero/cis-men to keep their chest hair under control, to get eyebrow waxes, to keep their hair groomed.

But just because the beauty standards for men are raising doesn’t mean it’s okay for us to keep unobtainable beauty standards for women – or for anyone, for that matter. Honestly I believe we’ve got to turn the beauty culture inside out on our own personal journeys into our own gender identities, whatever flavor they may be, whatever area of the gender galaxy, to really examine what the culture dictates and unlearn the compulsory standards that can be exhausting, unobtainable, and even harmful to our bodies.

What the body does is natural, normal, acceptible, sexy – where hair grows, the stretchmarks, the veins that show through the skin, the moles and freckles, the thickness of the muscles or the tendons or the thigh or the waist or the hair. All these things are beautiful, and real.

And, in my humble opinion, are also turn-ons: the celebration of the beauty of the human body.

If you’ve never explored the potential damage and compulsory standards of beauty culture, take a look at:

So: once we start undoing society’s standards, and treating every possible option as valid and valuable for different reasons in order to make a true choice, we can start exploring what it is that we personally prefer. What turns us on, how our bodies feel the most sexy, what the soft animal of our body loves.

My initial thoughts about femme hair always go to the hair on your head, and the ways it’s worn. Being that I am very attracted to femininity, I do like long hair generally, though I know plenty of femmes who totally rock the chin-length cuts or the boycuts, I’ve even known a few with shaved heads.

I wrote once upon a time about how much I love it when femmes wear their hair up, and specifically the idea that “a woman’s hair is for her husband.” I wrote, “I know there are deep problems with this idea of a husband owning a wife’s hair, but I love the idea of it being so sexual, such a turn on, when a femme lets her hair down, that it’s private, saved for me and me alone.” And that’s just it exactly.

About body hair on femmes … honestly, my personal preference is basically bare. Very little hair, everywhere. I find shaving sexy, I find the rituals of beauty sexy (when they are done with intention and sexual connotations especially). I like to shave my lover’s legs, actually. That’s a scene I haven’t played out in a long time, but I find that intensely erotic.

I do have some guilt about liking the reproduction of traditional femininity. I know I could write pages about how it’s not compulsory, it’s resistance, celebratory, and intentional, but still sometimes I wonder if what my block is that I wouldn’t find hair particularly attractive. But I suppose I can attempt to justify this by saying that I absolutely think it should be culturally acceptible – I hate that it’s dictated as necessary by the beauty rules – but that my personal preference is skin, skin, skin. Is that because of the dominant cultural beauty rules? Yeah, probably. I can’t escape it, I was raised in it, I live in it every day. But I recognize that it exists, what it means, how it operates, and I fully support people who reject that rule and who prefer to have their hair wild and free, or trimmed and neat, or completely bare. All options should be valid.

So, now you:

I know you’ve already got a ton of things to say about femme body hair, but here’s some questions to get started:

If you’re in the transfeminine area of the gender galaxy:

  • Do you shave, wax, pluck, shape? Underarms, legs, thighs, stomach, chin? Why or why not?
  • What was your process in coming to do the hair sculpting and
  • How do you make choices about your hair? Based on sexual preferences? Cultural standards?What your lovers like?
  • How do you keep your pubes? Trimmed, waxed, shaved, au naturale?
  • What comes to mind when you see women who don’t shave?
  • Do you sexualize shaving or body hair removal?

If you are someone who tends to date transfeminine folks:

  • Do you have personal preferences when it comes to hair on the femmes you date?
  • Do you sexualize shaving or body hair removal?
  • Do you prefer hair on her head worn a certain way? Do you tend to be attracted to very specific hair cuts, styles, colors?

I’m also very curious about folks who live outside of the US – clearly my perspectives are very US-centric, and I’m not really sure what gets culturally dictated or compulsorily reproduced in other places. I have impressions, but being an outsider to culture in other places, I won’t presume to speak on it.

Please do elaborate however you’d like. And thank you, for reading and for your comments, I really like that we’re conversing here more and more, getting input from all kinds of people who live in all kinds of ways.

Telling Her What to Wear

I have in the past thought it kind of funny that girls would ask me to tell them what to wear. My feminist/analytical brain would pipe in with interpretations of beauty, insecurity, self-worth – but I really don’t see it that way anymore.

I see it as part of the larger conversation of gender as a fetish, as a performance, as a subversive display of sexualized gender presentation. And I see it as a very specific toppy/bottomy play, more specifically butchtop/femmebottom play.

It has also at times made me uncomfortable when girls wear things – or buy things – specifically for my tastes. I do have a couple particular enjoyments when it comes to femme clothes & shoes, and it is quite a gift when girls work to dress up for me.

I’m not sure why it’s hard to accept. Possibly because it’s hard for me to accept gifts in general, that giving is easier for me than receiving (I am resisting the connection here to my top identity, though I’m sure you already went there). Possibly also it is hard for my desires, and for me, to really be seen, heard, witnessed, acknowledged, because if I never let you know what I really want, you can never withhold it from me.

But my heart is more open than that old wound and lesson, generally. I like to practice revealing myself. I like to practice being vulnerable, I do find great strength and connection there.

And lately, I’ve had much better language, palette, for my particular desires. This website has helped that tremendously, as has playing with multiple girls over the past two years. I’ve been actually trying to notice and articulate when I find myself aroused into a state of desire; to be mindful of when my internal butch cock stirs and to ask why, to take note of the answer.

So when a girl asks me what kind of femininity display I like, I try to tell her. I explain – without pressure or expectation – what really does it for me, what gets me going, turns my crank. Underlying this conversation is also both of our acknowledgment that femininity – and indeed masculinity – is performed for the purpose of attracting and turning on your partner/lover/date.

And taking it a step farther by telling her what to wear is a step saying, this is how to turn me on. This is how to drive me wild all night. This is how our clothes are tools for flirting, this is how gender is subtle cues and clues and a language for sexuality.

It is a top/bottom game, if looked at this way, and I see it as very empowering to a bottom (you know, assuming being told what to wear is a game she likes playing, and doesn’t feel like it is controlling or patronizing or condescending behavior).

So, where is a bottom’s power? At least in these two places: 1) in enticing desire, and 2) to (actively) giving her power over to her top. In enticing desire, she turns on her top to the point of excruciation, to the point of bottomless desire and power. And when she gives over of her power, she places her power on a silver platter and presents it to her lover on her knees.

(This is why power play is deliberate: the bottom gives her power to the top, the top does not take it without permission. Unless, you know, that’s part of the scene, in which case there is still some sort of underlying permission, some level of giving freely.)

So: I (as a butch top) tell you (as a femme bottom) what to wear on our date (a short skirt, bare legs, strappy sandals, something white). You give power to me by giving up your own choice in what you wear, by obeying a request of mine (something that always turns me on), and by wearing something enticing that follows an aesthetic I particularly enjoy.

This is perhaps where power and surrender for the top and/or bottom gets blurred. Who has the power here? She does – the bottom – because all night I am uncomfortable and turned on because I got what I wanted, writhing at the sight of her in those lovely clothes, turned on by our gender and power foreplay. And then comes a turning point in the night where I stop feeling so reactive and (have to) surrender to the power she’s giving me, to the power and sexual energy I feel building. I give over to it, let it flow through me, let this be a way to tap into my particular well of it.

I love these kinds of power exchanges. I love the push-pull, giving in, giving back, empowering each other to feel sexy, desired, wanted, powerful, beautiful.

[ What I’m really trying to say here is: I have a blind date with a girl who sent me a wonderful photo of her in strappy sandals, and this was my complicated reaction. ]

in praise of femmes: fishnets

Some meditations on fishnets, and femmes:

Alison spoke of fishnets once upon a time, and well, speaking of fishnets … it got me thinking. I have a bit of a fetish.

I have a thing for legs anyway, which is why I try not to surf sites like Sock Dreams at work, because it really does get me hot & bothered in the way that porn does. Photos like this one of the raw-edged fishnet are so very erotic to my gender-fetish brain … I’m not sure exactly what it is about fishnets, but they are just so sexualized in this culture. They’re practically fetish gear, except that they can be worn by women to offices, to fancy parties, to the opera, as dress-up, and it’s also totally appropriate. Maybe that’s it – they can be good-girl stockings, can be fancy and seen as totally normal and even some sort of traditional femininity, but they can also be so dirty, in such a delicious way.

Then there’s that little criss-cross that the net actually does, and the way that garters – if you’re using them, and oh, that’s an entire other bit of lingerie to be in praise of – tug on the net and show just a little bit of strain in holding them up. The way that the stocking gets pulled, which is so very visible on nets where the little diamond shapes get pulled. I like the subtle force there. I like the subtle strain.

I think it might be also why I like corsetry and lacing and the criss-cross ribbons that are on some lingerie, too – it’s an implied little bit of bondage, this implied ribbon that I could use to restrain your wrists or ankles, that I could use to tie your knees up and back.

Plus there’s the idea that perhaps with just one little tug, the whole thing will unravel, and leave you bare.

It’s the hint of bareness that is so much more sexy than the bare revealing itself. There’s really something to that idea of leaving something to the imagination.

And then the skin. Because the thing about fishnets, which is not true of other stockings, is the bare skin that is exposed. I can feel these tiny spots of smooth under the pads of my fingertips, the direct contact is intoxicating. You’re not actually protected by these nets, not actually held in or hidden, your skin is revealed, fishnets aren’t about control-top or nude tinting or hiding, they’re about decoration, about texture.

And oh the implied force of it all. Because fishnets rip, they get holes, they just beg to be destroyed. The stockings are layer I can (possibly, maybe, if permitted, if our relationship allows it) rip through in order to expose your skin bare, use a sharp blade against your skin and pop through the tiny tied nets, use my teeth and pull until I hear the ripping.

rufflebutt: call in fancy to work the next morning

RUFFLEBUTT: a night of femme performance at dixon place

One night only, featuring:

* the world’s hottest hula-hooping duet, Bitches with Barettes (Elizabeth Whitney and Lea Robinson);
* the Larry Flynt of avant-cabaret, Erin Markey
* the moral guidance of the Society for the Preservation of Promotion of Sapphic Social Mores (Rachel Kahn and Maggie Crowley);
* some anti-misogyny moustache advocacy from Ariel Federow.

Come one, come all: rufflebutts, fans of rufflebutts, the rufflebutt-curious, and everyone else who loves a good time.

at Dixon Place, the 10pm show on July 9th — call in fancy to work the next morning!

www.dixonplace.org * 258 bowery, 2nd floor * $15/12 students and seniors


 

This Is How I Want You Next

In lingerie like tonight. Black stockings, seamed. Strappy sandal heels. Fresh red predicure. Pushup bra.

But unlike tonight: hair tight up off your neck. A clip would be good, chopsticks would be better. A wrap-around dress with no buttons, only ties.

Greet me at your door like this. Have my drink ready – you know what it is. Be ready to bend over for me. Be ready to get on your knees. Be ready to say please in that lovely aching way you do – with desperation, longing.

femme conference 2008

The Femme Conference 2008, taking place in Chicago in August, is put on by the Femme Collective. Take a look at their mission statement: Femme Collective is committed to creating conferences by Femmes, about Femmes, and for Femmes and their allies. We understand that Femme is more complex than just being a queer person who is feminine; it is a part of how we interact with and shape our world as queer academics, activists, artists, homemakers, parents, professionals, students, teachers, etc.

I really hope to attend the conference … we’ll see if I can make that happen. More information at femmecollective.com.

Here’s the press release:

Queer Femmes from all over the Globe to Gather for Conference
Femme 2008: The Architecture of Femme will take place August 15th-17th in Chicago

(CHICAGO, IL – JUNE 12, 2008) The Femme Collective proudly presents “Femme2008: The Architecture of Femme,” an international conference celebrating queer femininities August 15th through August 17th 2008 at the Chicago Wyndham O’Hare: 6810 N. Mannheim Rd. near O’Hare International Airport. The conference will feature three full days of programming, including keynotes, workshops, panels, performances and even a film festival. Regular registration is $75 through July 15th, 2008 and then registration will go up to $95 for late registration, which is open through the conference. Registration covers all of the conference events and can be made by going to www.femmecollective.com.

On misperceiving someone as femme or butch (again)

A couple heated comments about my last post already, and I want to make a couple things clearer.

First:

I believe it is absolutely okay to not identify with the labels of butch or femme – or any label, for that matter. I think identity categories should be chosen by ourselves, not by others, and if a label is not chosen, it should not ever be imposed.

Period.

(Sometimes I feel like that should be written at the top and bottom of every post, just to make it clear. I want to write it in all caps, in bold, in italics, underlined: I support your identity, whatever it may be, even if it isn’t mine. And I also expect you to support mine.)

Also:

I’m not trying to say that, when someone is called butch or femme and does not identify that way, that that is not a misperception of your own personal identity – of course it is. That’s why the post was called “on misperceiving someone.”

It is insulting and difficult to be misperceived, to be misrepresented. As Daisy put it: “the person saying that doesn’t understand me, and like I’ve failed at gender expression.” I totally understand that – I hate being misperceived (as Daisy also points out, I said it bugs me when people told me “you’re not really butch”), but ultimately, that too is about the other person, not about my own identity. And just because one person misperceives me does not mean that I am not butch, if that is what I am choosing to call myself.

This clarification is important to me because I see many, many folks around me, many readers of this site, many of my friends, who tell me that they deeply want to identify as butch or femme, but are holding back for whatever reasons. Are suspicious of the identities, and are making their way down those paths of understanding how it will play out for them, in their own unique ways. I want to encourage that, when I can, share my knowledge of this identity process, and make it easier for someone else.

Now, on a related sidenote – being misperceived as butch or femme, or as not butch or not femme, is about the social policing of gender. The ways we, as a society and culture, enforce standards of gender on each other, on our friends and communities and lovers and strangers.

Miss Molly commented: “As much as we’d like to say there aren’t different rules in the queer community for butches and femmes, there are many of the double standards that exist for straight men and women.” Sure – there are standards out there, but they’re the same perceived cultural standards that enforce heterosexism and homophobia.

What I find most interesting here is who is doing the enforcing of these double standards. For example, I was in my favorite dyke watering hole not long ago and ordered a vodka cranberry with my usual bartender (who, at this point, calls me “dude” affectionately and shakes my hand when I walk in), and she actually leaned in close to me and said, “Are you sure? That’s awfully … sweet, you know.”

I cringed. Yes, I usually order beer and whiskey. Yes, the drink I ordered was “girly,” and my gender was insulted there, underneath that comment. But: this is about her, not about me. As I joke, sometimes: “I’m man enough to wear pink” – I’m also man enough (ahem, “man” enough, I should say) to order a cosmo or a midori sour or a vanilla vodka cranberry with a cherry if I want one. Yes, I know it’s a sweet drink. I’m aware of what I ordered, and I wouldn’t have ordered the drink if I didn’t want it.

Ultimately, that comment was about the bartender, and her ideas about how gender framework operates, not about me or how I operate. It is not her – or anyone’s – responsibility to police what they perceive to be my gender performance, and I’m at a point in my gender process and identity won’t let anyone else do it for me.

My point about that is this: Who is it that is making these “double standards?” Who enforces them? I read all sorts of things from all sorts of personal online diaries, articles, personal ads, queer media, books, gay culture – and everywhere I hear the same stories about butch and femme: those who don’t identify with butch and femme feel like they are being pushed to do so, and those who do feel like outcasts, like gender freaks who don’t fit in.

That’s a little heartbreaking to me, every time I get my Google alert with gender keywords in my inbox: yet another email full of “Femme women are noticeably less deviant and have a socially acceptable appearance,” and “a rigid and artificial dichotomy of male/butch/top/dominant and female/femme/bottom/submissive” and “the idea of ‘butch‘ and ‘femme’ is as frakked up as Albuquerque driving” and “all butches want to become men” and “I’m butch I suppose, but I’m no guy” and “all that boy/girl butch/femme crap – it’s not real!”

All over the lesbian/queer/dyke communities – my communities – I see people railing against this, from many perspectives. All I’m trying to do here is share my own stories and my own perceptions, illuminate the process a little bit, discuss it, open it up

I want to also echo Lady Brett’s comment: “If it does piss you off, it’s probably a matter of misperception. So, please, tell me. Give me the chance to fix it before you get offended.”

Yes. Please do tell me if I misperceive your identity. Tell anybody, when they misperceive any sort of identity of yours, not just in your gender identity. I’m not trying to blow off the misperception and to encourage you to just let them go on thinking you’re butch/femme/whatever – it is insulting! and, ultimately, inaccurate. Which makes us not feel seen, not feel acknowledged, not feel validated.

What I’m really getting at with that last post is the times when someone is misperceived, really in any way, and they are deeply insulted by it. There’s more to it than just “you don’t see me as I really am” – there’s this big set of implications because of those loaded words.

But again, I want to stress, I really believe that any misperception and insult is about the other person, not about me or my identity – and I do believe this goes both ways, being perceived as butch or not butch or femme or not femme or foreign or local or a hippie or a punk or bi or trans or anything that we don’t actually identify as.

Maybe I’m getting too Buddhist in my philosophies here. I was just reading Be the Person You Want to Find by Cheri Huber, and I’m feeling those philosophies seeping into my opinions on these subjects.

Identity categories are so personal, so intimate – and the theory around them is so slippery! I mean, if anyone can identify as anything, if social policing means nothing, then what is the real meaning of an identity label? Some theorists would say, ultimately, it’s all basically meaningless. I can get there, can understand those arguments – but I also know what it feels like to be inside of these identity categories, and to know precisely how it works for me, how it’s given me a beautiful structure in which to tinker and fuck around and play.

These topics are really difficult, and anytime I post something that gets heated and emotional, I always take the comments very seriously, and consider my points even harder. I am not claiming to speak for everyone here – man, that is one of the best things about blogs, is immediate discussion and feedback and comments like this. I’m only speaking from my own perspective about my own experience, with hopes that it occasionally is helpful to others. Speaking of the round-bellied-guy, I want to echo a quote from the Buddha that I’ve got hanging on my fridge, and was reminded of this week:

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.

On misperceiving someone as femme or butch

I often have conversations with folks who say that they have been perceived femme or butch, and they really don’t like it. That tweaks me a bit, for various reasons, not the least of which is that I spent years flat out telling people, “I identify as butch,” and I would still get the response, “oh, you’re not that butch,” or “you’re not really butch.”

These identities are deeply socially constructed and policed, on all sides – those of us who do claim them, those of us who don’t. They’re loaded, complex, and largely misperceived.

Calling someone femme or butch is not necessarily intended to be insulting – sometimes, it is meant with much love and praise. But if you don’t identify as such, it can feel insulting, regardless of the intention.

This happened again recently, and it got me thinking: here’s why it doesn’t have to feel insulting, regardless of the intention.

1. This is about them, not you

Maybe you don’t identify as “femme” or “butch” at all, maybe you see those labels as confining to who you are and how you want to express yourself. Great! Good for you. Celebrate your whole self, in any way you like, you betcha.

[Hopefully you simultaneously realize that it’s possible for others to find liberation and freedom inside of those categories, too, and that you don’t force your philosophy of rejecting gender identities onto others. But that still never means that you have to work within that framework.]

This other person calling you these things may simply be working within the framework where they see everyone on the feminine side of the gender galaxy as femme, and everyone on the masculine side as butch.

But ultimately that is not about you – that’s about their framework. That doesn’t make your framework wrong, and that doesn’t make your perspective, presentation, or philosophies any less valid.

This is about them, and their worldview, not about you and yours.

2. Misconception of the terms

My gender-activisty self gets my boxers in a twist, because being called femme or butch is NOT AN INSULT.

These words are loaded – I get that. And sometimes, it can actually be intended as an insult – but we don’t have to take it that way.

But think about what we perceive someone else to be implying when they call us butch or femme. Where is that coming from? Who is filling that in?

It’s like someone calling you a dyke or a fag or a queer. The person slinging the insult could mean deviant, sinner, immoral, freak, but those of us who have reclaimed these words can look beyond that to laugh it off and say, “yep, that’s me. Gotta problem with that?” (Clearly, they do have a problem with that. But that’s not your problem, it’s theirs.)

Same with butch and femme: these words have deeper, personal meaning to some people, and it’s possible to take the time to go inside of the words and figure out what they hold, figure out their power and their detriments. If we knew more about the way these words worked from the inside, perhaps we would get to a place when calling someone – who doesn’t identify as one of these terms (more on that in a second) – femme or butch doesn’t make us bristle and cringe.

Because it doesn’t have to.

Here’s my basic thoughts on what we think it means when someone calls us femme or butch:

a) Femme does not mean whiny, controlling, manipulative, vulnerable, stupid, weak. Butch does not mean insensitive, thick-headed, macho, violent, emotionally stunted, controlling. Those are sexist misconceptions, and we don’t have to use those categories that way.

b) Just because you look one way one day, doesn’t mean you can’t look a different way another day. Gender is fluid, identity categories are fluid. Unless you’re chosing to identify as one of these categories, no one else can put you into these categories for you.

So, maybe this person calling you “femme” actually does mean that they think you’re weak, controlling, etc – well, then, so what? They are inaccurate on two accounts – i) that’s not what femme means, and ii) that’s not who you are (I am assuming).

They might be implying that they think you’re a high-maintenance bitch, or a thick-headed lug, but that doesn’t mean that you are. That’s just a downright insult couched in genderphobia, and you can call them on their ignorance, not take it so personally, and move on with your life.

3. Identity vs Adjective

We severely lack language to describe gender, and since we largely perceive gender to be a spectrum of masculine/feminine, butch/femme, male/female, calling someone femme or butch is simply an adjective – a way to describe which side of the binary gender scale they are perceived to fall on.

(I wish we had names for all the gender galaxy quadrants and solar systems and orbits and such, but they’re almost too big, too multi-faceted, to categorize and map. Goodness knows that won’t stop me from trying …)

In my opinion, identity categories can only be chosen by those they are describing. I think this applies in various socially charged identities – race, gender, sexuality, class, nationality.

The only time someone calls me butch and it is an identity, not an adjective, is when I myself have chosen butch as a way to describe me.

Again, the speaker here could actually mean it as an identity – but that’s about them, not about me.

Often, describing someone as femme or butch is a simple observation of their physical style – short hair vs long hair, slacks vs a skirt, heels vs boots. (Sometimes it’s much more suble, of course, as someone wearing short hair, slacks, and boots can be seen as femme.)

Usually, I’ve found the use of this word as an adjective is not entirely inaccurate (at least, not at that particular moment). The problem is that it is implying all these other things about behavior and gender performance that are then perceived to be ongoing and permanent within that person, and that’s just not true.

This is precisely the reason why I use the words to describe someone that they chose for themselves, and if I don’t know how they identify, I don’t assume.

So, in conclusion:

It really doesn’t have to be an insult, and using those terms as an insult is, in my opinion, a sexist misunderstanding.

Just because someone else doesn’t understand these categories, doesn’t mean that you don’t – even if you reject them. No need to take it personally, no need to educate them in their misconception – just let it go, don’t let it bother you, move on.