The Tender Sweet Young Thing, Guest Post by Xan West

Dedicated to the members of the Church of the Movie Musical

As a heads up, this story includes descriptions of gender play, blade play, edge play, pain play, public sex, cocksucking and fisting.

Dax was raised by a second-wave feminist. Ze grew up reading books about girls who did stuff. Ze was pulled out of tap class because they were going to perform “I Love Being a Girl,” and hir mom refused to let Dax participate in something so sexist. Hir mother gave hir a gender-neutral name (to help hir get jobs) and had hir hair cut in a Buster Brown. For most of hir childhood, people were constantly asking, “Is that a boy or a girl?” They still asked that, actually. At least now ze chose hir own haircuts.

Dax didn’t change hir name when ze went on T. What was the point? Dax would work okay, and it’s not like ze wanted to pass as a man anyway. A gender-neutral name suited hir just fine. Guess mom got something right.

When Dax’s boyfriend Mikey got a ‘96 Volvo with a tape deck, Dax gave her some of hir old cassettes. They would drive around listening to tapes Dax had kept from back in the day. Their favorite was a childhood relic, Free to Be You and Me. They listened to it for probably the thousandth time on the way to a regular gathering of fat queers that involved two of Dax’s favorite things: potluck and watching musicals. That’s probably why Mikey was so quick to bring it up, when the pre-movie dinner discussion turned to early kink fantasies. (Which, let’s face it, was rather inevitable at this monthly event, which was now at Xóchi’s house because it was more accessible. No stairs meant that Dax and Mikey could be there, and that Jericho and Rusty came more often, too. Lee loved hosting, so even though it was now at Xóchi’s house and not her own, she was still in charge. Everything always went smoothly when she was in charge.)

“Want to hear one of Dax’s early kink roots?” Mikey asked, teasing.

Of course the group wanted to hear it. Dax was grateful Mikey was going to tell it, because hir migraine meds were making hir a bit loopy, and ze just wanted to watch the room and relax. It was nice to be back. Nobody did potluck like fat activist queers. The briscuit Rebecca brought was the best comfort food ever, especially with Mikey’s flan for dessert, and ze was looking forward to popcorn and Julie Andrews. Hir chair was comfy, the sun wasn’t in hir eyes, and ze was surrounded by kinky queers. Hey, who was that cute femme boy in the corner? Oh, was that Téo, the boy Mikey had been telling hir about?

“Well, I bet some of you know Free to Be You and Me?” Mikey asked.

Lee and Xóchi both nodded. Dax guessed the other folks were a bit too young to know it. Except Jericho, who looked at Rusty and shrugged, clearly having no clue what they were talking about.

Xóchi said, “Oh, wait. I bet it was that football player singing, ‘It’s Alright to Cry.’”

The whole room chuckled. Dax was well-known for being the kind of sadist that got off on tears. When Xóchi started to sing a bit of it, Lee and Mikey joined in. “It’s alright to cry. It might make you feel better!”

Dax was blushing. Ze reminded hirself that ze loved them. They were family. Family got to tease you. And, really, hadn’t ze crooned just that line to Mikey last month in the middle of a particularly brutal caning?

“No, it wasn’t that one, actually,” Mikey said, grinning at Dax. “You remember the one about the tender sweet young thing?”

Lee and Xóchi both shook their heads.

“Well, it’s about this girl who dresses impeccably, and always goes first in line, and gets basically everything she wants, and then she gets caught by a pack of lions.”

“Tigers!” Dax inserted.

“Oh, sorry, baby. Tigers. So they tie her up and sniff her a bit.” Mikey grinned.

“And she says, ‘I am a tender sweet young thing.’” Dax forgot hirself and got into it. “‘I am also a little lady.’” Dax grinned at Lee, who unconsciously began to adjust her shirt so that her considerable cleavage showed to better advantage.

“And she tells the lions to stop licking her,” Mikey inserted, watching Téo. Damn, the boy was so fucking cute. He had perked up, giving the story his full attention, a mixture of recognition and desire on his face. This confirmed it. Téo was the tender sweet young thing she’d had her eye out for.

“Tigers!” Dax insisted.

“That’s twice,” Lee said, holding up two fingers and looking sternly at Mikey over her turquoise cat eye glasses.

Dax continued, “My favorite part is when she says, ‘Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!’”

The whole group cracked up. Except for Téo, who was holding his breath.

“I’ve had a fashion safe word myself,” said Lee, eyes sparkling.

“So what happens to the tender sweet young thing?” asked Téo before he could stop himself.

“The tigers eat her,” said Dax, eying Téo again. Téo did something halfway between a preen and a squirm under Dax’s gaze. It was adorable. How had ze not noticed him before tonight?

“What?” said Xóchi. “How do I not remember this? They eat her?”

“Yep,” Mikey confirmed.

“And the whole story is told by the head tiger,” Dax added, grinning at Xóchi.

Xóchi grinned back, one predator to another, and then launched into a story of her own that involved her father’s knife. Dax hoped that Téo might share one of his own kink roots, but Lee soon ushered them over to the television for the much awaited showing of Victor/Victoria.

Téo couldn’t stop thinking about the tender sweet young thing. He could barely concentrate on Victor/Victoria, which he hadn’t seen before and was totally up his alley. He’d have to get ahold of it and watch it when he could pay attention.

He let himself work it out, as the others watched. It had been a while since he’d bottomed to a white person, and the last time had been a real mistake. That’s why he had been so careful with Rebecca. Their switchy thing was working out okay. But this was a different thing altogether because he kept thinking about being tied up and surrounded by Dax and hir band of tigers. That was serious bottoming, even from a power femme place.

But he’d been thinking about Dax all night, about that gleam in hir eyes as ze looked him over and told him that the tigers ate the tender sweet young thing. Anyone who could hang in this group was probably okay. Xóchi and Mikey clearly trusted hir. Jericho had made a point of saying that they wanted Dax and Mikey at their party next month, and that was a POC-centered space. I mean, they allowed white folks who acted right, but it was different to be invited special.

It’s not like he hadn’t known Dax for a few years; they’d been in that genderqueer showcase together, after all. He’d just never noticed hir in that way before. He’d been crushed out on Mikey for a while, as their friendship had grown, and been looking for a way to let her know he was interested. And it was clear that the scene he had in mind would mean bottoming to her, too. Yeah, he thought it was worth the risk, especially because he didn’t think he’d have to worry much about disability stuff with this group. Damn, this scene hit so many of his buttons in exactly the right way. Oh, was the movie over already?

It turned out that Rebecca was going home with Jericho and Rusty (which no one was surprised by after the kink root she’d shared about being constantly cast as the prince when she ached to be the evil stepmother instead). She had been Téo’s ride. So Dax and Mikey offered to drive the boy home. He had the cutest tempting blush on those fat cheeks of his when he accepted.

Dax made Mikey put on Free to Be You and Me, and ze watched Téo’s face as he listened to the one about the tender sweet young thing. As the girl described herself, Téo couldn’t resist running his hands through his shiny curls, blue sparkles on his nails picking up the dim light in the car. Oh, he was delicious. When Dax heard him gasp at the end when the tigers ate her, ze met Mikey’s eyes with a grin. Then ze asked Téo what he thought.

“I love the part where the tiger has ‘never seen anything quite like it before,’” he said, awe in his voice.

“Me, too,” said Dax.

“And that ‘tender sweet young thing’ is, like, her gender,” Téo continued.

“Told you he was a smart cookie,” Mikey murmured to Dax. She’d been eyeing Téo for some time. He was just her type: wicked smart, great politics around race and disability, and let’s face it—she had a weakness for sassy femme trans guys. And this one had those curls …

Dax grinned at Mikey. “You called that one.” Ze turned to the blushing boy. “So, Téo … are you a tender sweet young thing?”

“Who, me?” he drawled, winking at hir.

“I thought you might be.” Dax smiled into the boy’s eyes. “I can gather up a few tigers for Jericho’s party next week.”

“I have the perfect dress!” Damn, he was lit up like the Empire State Building.

“I can’t wait to see you in it,” Dax purred.

Mikey grinned at Téo. “I can’t wait to muss it up,” she said. She was already imagining it.

“I was hoping you might,” Téo gave Mikey a wicked smile and blew her a kiss.

***

Dax took hir time gathering the tigers. Mikey, of course. It was basically her idea, after all. Jericho surprised Dax by volunteering both themself and their boy Rusty. They might not be there for the whole scene because they were hosting, but they could be there at the beginning. Lee definitely wanted in, and Téo had agreed. Rebecca grinned wickedly and said she’d love to. Xóchi finally stopped chuckling long enough to say she’d do it, and that her girl would help hold space, fetch water, and have lube and snacks ready.

Negotiations went smoothly, and with this many disabled queers, it was a fucking miracle that there were no opposing access needs. Téo had been the one to bring up race, which meant he felt comfortable enough to raise the issue. Dax knew how important that was. They’d worked out the perfect bondage safe word. It was actually going to happen. Dax couldn’t really believe it.

What a band of tigers Dax had found. Lee honored the event in her turquoise tiger-print top, resplendent with matching glasses and cane. She was gleaming with top energy, regally driving her scooter around the party, grey curls streaming. Xóchi kept it simple in black jeans and her favorite boots. She planned to sit for most of the time, so it was actually possible to wear them, and nothing made her feel more powerful than those boots. Jericho’s bald head gleamed, and they were a gorgeous genderfuck mix of cues from dark lipstick to white button-down shirt and leather bowtie over a neon orange slip. The look was finished with knee-high lineman boots, a bootlicker’s dream, reserved solely for their boy as a reward for his silent service tonight. Their boy Rusty was clean and crisp in an A-line shirt and leather pants that showed off what he was packing. He looked delicious and untouchable all at the same time, a clear indicator of stone butchness if Dax ever saw one. Rebecca had laced a white boa around the handlebars of her scooter and slid her midsized curves into the tightest shortest thing in her closet, complete with fishnets, dramatic purple eyes that matched her glasses, and flats because her fibro had been flaring all week and heels were not fucking possible. Mikey wore a classic shirt and tie, her favorite top gear that she used to draw on a bit of Daddy magic for the scene ahead.

They claimed their space. Jericho wanted to use the scene to get the party started, raise the kind of energy they knew would inspire an electric night for everyone. They wanted to do their part to keep Carter Hall solvent, and a hot group scene can make a party. Having an accessible space was so damn rare even in the Bay, and this was a dream of a space, complete with a full-size sling that was actually rated for supersize folks like Téo. That’s exactly where Dax wanted to put the boy … if he ever showed up.

Xóchi’s girl Lina set up the space around the sling, with banquet chairs ready for folks who wanted to get off their scooters and rest or play while sitting; snacks and glucose tablets for the diabetics who needed a food break; and water, gloves, and lube for everyone. Dax took out the tools ze wanted to use and set them on the chair next to the one ze was sitting on. Ze kept it simple: the claws that an ex had made for hir out of metal guitar picks and a wicked pair of scissors to muss up the boy’s dress with. Ze was ready.

Mikey had finished laying out the electric blue rope she’d picked out to match the boy’s nails. She scanned the party. Where was Téo? He knew that Mikey had limited energy and needed to start early. Why wasn’t he here already?

Queers had started to form a circle around the sling, hoping to get a glimpse of some action, which gave Téo a perfect opportunity. He scooted through the crowd, trilling, “Ladies first! Ladies first!” at the top of his lungs. “Hand over a whole mango, please,” he quipped to Dax, turning to wink at Mikey, who chuckled, recognizing the line immediately.

He did have the perfect dress on, Dax marveled. Candy pink with a white collar that showed off his tempting neck and big white buttons down the front. He had on white knee socks and patent leather Mary Janes, and his curls were adorned with pink ribbons that matched his dress. The boy twirled on his scooter in front of them, showing off bulging white briefs, and Dax was mesmerized. Hir tender sweet young thing was packing!

Soon, Mikey had Téo bound to the sling. Could he look more fetching than when trussed up prettily in blue rope? Dax stood between his legs, hir midsize frame insistent against the boy’s cock. Rusty loomed by Téo’s head. Rebecca chose a seat where she could see his face and reach him with her cane. The rest of the tigers started up their scooters, circling slowly. Every few moments, one of them would poke him with their cane. Their grins were menacing, and the whirring of the motors combined into a purring growl that had Téo a bit more nervous than he had expected to be. He tried to watch them circle, but there were just too many of them. And Rusty seemed so damn huge at his head, standing over him, eyeing his curves. Had he actually signed up for this? What had he been thinking?

Dax waited until the boy was distracted, focused on the circling tigers, before ze pulled on hir claws. The metal gleamed, and ze knew it would make pale scratch marks on the boy’s reddish brown skin. Ze breathed into it, pushing into the floor with hir boots, settling deeper into topspace. The claws felt perfect as they traced along the boy’s neckline. He shivered, and Dax smiled down at him, feeling hir inner predator wake up. Oh, this was going to be fun. Ze gripped Téo’s throat and ground hir cock into his. He went still, trying not to move, all his attention on Dax, as Rusty gripped his hair to hold him steady and whispered in his ear. His eyes were saucers, and his lower lip trembled.

Mikey grinned as she watched Dax get things started. This was one of the best plans she’d had in a long time. She rolled up closer as Dax lifted Téo’s dress to run hir claws along the boy’s thighs. Rusty had the boy’s curls in his fist, and that position gave her a perfect opportunity. She nuzzled Téo’s neck, beckoning to Lee and gesturing to his stomach. Lee slid up to the boy and scent-marked his stomach through his dress, purring.

He was surrounded. He didn’t think it would be so easy to think of them as tigers, but they sure felt like it. Lee pressed her nose into his stomach as Mikey sniffed his neck, grazing her teeth along his skin. The ropes helped him sink into helplessness. There was no getting away from this, and that was exactly what he needed. Had Mikey just told Lee he smelled nice?

Mikey stood and met his eyes, running her hand along his curves, teasing into the collar of his dress, as her other hand held Dax’s both to steady herself and, well, because.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it before,” she drawled, letting the awe show in her eyes. “I wonder what it is?”

Téo knew his line. He’d been waiting for it, to claim this gender that fit so right, in front of queers who actually got it. He swallowed around the fear rising in his throat. “I am a tender … ,” he whispered, then stopped. It turned out it was harder to say than he’d thought.

Mikey met his gaze, gripped his face in her paw, and said, “What was that? Old tigers like me need it a bit louder.”

Dax took the opportunity to spread his thighs with hir claws, and Lee bit down on his stomach. Damn. Rebecca came over to hold his hand. That helped. Jericho came over to their boy and laid their hand on his shoulder. Rusty still hadn’t let go of his curls, but that felt grounding now.

“Looks tender,” said Xóchi, who had pulled up on the other side of his stomach with her knife out, and was tracing it along his collarbone, up toward his face.

Fuck, okay, he said to himself. You can’t talk when you aren’t breathing. You can do this. Let it out. It came out in a whimper, which only made Xóchi grin and press the knife deeper into his skin. Lee was nuzzling his stomach again, and Mikey held him captive in her gaze. Why couldn’t he look away? Why was it so damn hard to say?

Mikey’s eyes were warm and firm all at the same time. Her gaze said, Take your time. We are here. We know it’s hard. We’ve got you.

Dax saw the tears start rolling down those gloriously fat cheeks and knew what ze wanted to do. Hell, ze’d been thinking about it ever since ze saw the boy twirl. Ze pushed up the boy’s dress and worked his cock out of his briefs. Lina had a condom ready. (Damn, that girl was good.) Dax loved to suck boys off as they cried. It was such a fabulously twisted move for a top, and nothing tasted better than the power it gave. The boy went very still as ze worked the condom onto his cock. Ze slid hir tongue along the boy’s cock, watching his face. He was so damn sexy with his mascara running like that, a knife to his throat. Dax dug the claws into his thighs and feasted on Téo’s cock as the boy let go and sunk into fear, and helplessness, and sharp recognition.

It was too much, and he couldn’t keep still anymore, couldn’t stand to have Mikey look at him anymore. Not like that. His hands clenched, and his eyes scrunched up, and he was so damn frustrated that the words emerged without any censoring. “I wish you’d stop licking me!”

They all stilled. Xóchi put away her knife. Lee sat up, pulling her face out of his stomach. Dax raised hir head to look at him and smiled. Mikey came up next to hir and rested her head against Dax’s stomach.

“I got this,” Jericho said. “Me and my boy.”

They all moved to the chairs circling the sling, except for Jericho and Rusty.

Jericho said, “All that surface sensation is just too much, isn’t it? You need something deeper to show you how tender you are. I can do that.”

How did Jericho know that? It was scary how right they were. Deeper was exactly what he needed. He nodded helplessly.

Jericho handed their boy a condom and some lube. They picked up Dax’s scissors, getting a nod from hir, and cut off Téo’s briefs before he even registered what was happening. By then, Jericho had almost finished unstrapping Téo’s cock. They gestured to Rusty and moved around Téo, unbuttoning his dress to bare his chest. Téo loved, and hated, being beaten there. It was about the only kind of touch that felt right in that area, and it was so damn intense because, really, when you’re binding so many hours a day, your skin gets fucking sensitive.

Jericho had taken out their braided cat. Téo adored this toy, and was aching to get beaten with it again. Last time, it’d felt like light was bursting out the top of his head.

It was better than he remembered, probably because he needed deep sensation so much. He closed his eyes and let it drive into him. Sublime intensity concentrated where he needed to let go. Jericho was fucking magic. When Rusty slid into his front hole, it felt so easy and solid. Rusty was holding him steady with his cock, anchoring him here in this room so he didn’t float too far.

Mikey saw the shift before it happened. Jericho signaled to their boy, and Rusty started moving, holding the sling steady, and doing all the work himself, so that Jericho would have a clear target. They drove into the boy at both ends, watching him arc and writhe, and waited for him to scream. It was beautiful. They rode the boy together, building him up in spirals, and Jericho stopped beating him just in time to catch his scream in their mouth in a sweetly vicious kiss.

“Tender yet?” Jericho asked, poking Téo’s chest and grinning when he yelped.

“Yeah,” Téo managed to get out between yelps. Jericho motioned to Mikey and Dax.

“I’ve got host duties. Your turn to muss the boy up a bit.” They smiled down at Téo and tousled his curls. “You sure are sweet,” they murmured and, squeezing his shoulder, walked off on their boy’s arm.

Dax picked up the scissors and teased them against the boy’s cheek. Ze was going to enjoy this, and had been fantasizing about it for a long time.

Mikey slid on a glove, lubing it up. She nipped at the boy’s thigh, watching him squirm. She wanted him writhing on her arm, and soon.

Rebecca got her hand in Téo’s curls, and was doing that twisting-pulling thing that felt like sex. Dax snapped the scissors close to his ear, making him jump. Mikey was doing something slithery and twisty in his front hole. Damn, her paw was big. He wanted it inside him so bad, punching into his cervix with those powerful huge arms. Why was she going so damn slow? He was all-over impatient.

That’s when Dax began to cut into his perfect dress. He started to pull at the ropes, glaring at Dax, who seemed to get even bigger and more excited the more he glared. Xóchi and Lee began to pull at the tears Dax was making, and the fabric made a wet, almost breaking sound as they ripped it. Somehow, Téo was sobbing. Rebecca was stroking his hair, gathering him to her breast, and Mikey slid deeper into him and stilled.

Dax met his eyes, and he was held in the demand and witness of someone who got it. Got how helpless he needed to be, and how much he needed to let go, and how tender and new he was inside, and how scary it was to let others know that. Dax placed the scissors on his bare stomach, holding them firmly against him. They were cold and warm at the same time. How was that possible?

Dax reached over and stroked Téo’s cheek, lifting hir fingers to suck off his tears. Ze repeated Mikey’s question. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it before. I wonder what it is?”

This time, he could say it. “I am a tender sweet young thing.”

Mikey pulsed her hand inside him, and he moaned, repeating it, and getting rewarded by more twisting-pulsing yum that made his thighs quiver.

Lee and Xóchi growled, nuzzling his side. Rebecca stroked his curls, emerging with ribbons that she put in her own hair. He was getting stiff, and he wanted to move, so he said it: “Untie me this instant. My dress is getting mussed!”

They all chuckled and began untying him. Mikey stayed where she was, writhing her fingers inside him. “So, you want to be free for this, eh? That sounds perfect,” she said.

“Oh yes,” he said and used his newly free hands to shift position. He knew if he hit the right spot, oh yes…her hand slurped in, and she grinned at him.

The rest of the tigers began to nuzzle his belly, and neck, and thighs. Mikey went to work in his hole, pulsing, then twisting, still going way too damn slow for him, and he told her so, began to work with her, thrusting on to her fist, telling her to punch him deep inside, he could take it, he wanted it, her fat fist was exactly what he needed. She caught on real fast and began slamming into him just right, and he lost control of his muscles and just let her take over. He was impaled on her huge and perfect fist, and he could feel it build in his chest. Damn…did he really need to cry again?

It seemed that he did, and as he began to sob, five tigers chose their spots and bit. Dax chose his belly, the soft part of him, the place where he was most tender. Rebecca went after his neck, sucking hard on the bite, wanting him to remember her teeth for days to come. Xóchi chose the inside of his arm, and that hurt the fucking worst. Damn, she was evil in the best way. Mikey bit down on the heel of his hand as she came because he felt so damn good spasming around her fist. Lee chose his thigh, and it mixed in with the sex to push him over into a sobbing orgasm that spiraled through him until he was spent. They all bit down and savored the sweetness of him, feeding on his tears, past his pleasure, until they were sated.

They gathered him up and found him a blanket, stroking his curls as he slurped down water, feeding him dried mango and chocolate on the huge round bed that was close by. Dax and Lee had a more substantial snack, being diabetics after all. Xóchi and Rebecca just shared his chocolate, each clutching their scrap of Téo’s dress. Lee admired the ribbons in Rebecca’s hair and stroked her neck, showing her teeth. No one was surprised that they wandered off. Xóchi’s girl was done cleaning and curled up at her feet, head on her boots. Jericho came by with his boy to claim scraps of the dress, kiss Téo’s cheek, and poke his bruises. He could tell he’d made Jericho proud and let that sink in.

After a while, Dax turned to Téo, serious. “You are brave and precious, and a delight to me. Thank you.” Ze gathered him close and twined hir fingers in his curls. Mikey nudged Dax and wrapped them both in her arms, nuzzling Téo and asking if he might like to come home with them. He had been hoping for that, and smiled sweetly, nodding. He was glad he didn’t need to put his armor back on just yet, content to have his tender spots showing for a bit longer.


This guest post is part of Xan West’s blog tour for hir new book Show Yourself To Me, available now from Go Deeper Press. Buy ebook or print copies at Go Deeper Press | Buy the ebook on Amazon

In Show Yourself to Me: Queer Kink Erotica, Xan West introduces us to pretty boys and nervous boys, vulnerable tops and dominant sadists, good girls and fierce girls and scared little girls, mean Daddies and loving Daddies and Daddies that are terrifying in delicious ways.

Submissive queers go to alleys to suck cock, get bent over the bathroom sink by a handsome stranger, choose to face their fears, have their Daddy orchestrate a gang bang in the park, and get their dream gender-play scene—tied to a sling in an accessible dungeon.

Dominants find hope and take risks, fall hard and push edges, get fucked and devour the fear and tears that their sadist hearts desire.

Within these 24 stories, you will meet queers who build community together, who are careful about how they play with power, who care deeply about consent. You will meet trans and genderqueer folks who are hot for each other, who mentor each other, who do the kind of gender play that is only possible with other trans and genderqueer folks.

This is Show Yourself to Me. Get ready for a very wild ride.

The stops on the blog tour:

October 1: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/
October 2: Book Birthday! Go Deeper Press http://godeeperpress.com/
October 3: Heather Elizabeth https://kinkopedia.wordpress.com/
October 4: Sinclair Sexsmith http://www.sugarbutch.net/
October 5: Hermia Swann http://www.cuntext.com/
October 6: Dilo Keith https://dilokeith.wordpress.com/ and Cecilia Tan http://blog.ceciliatan.com/
October 7: Kinky Brits http://thekinkybrits.com/
October 8: Stella Harris http://stellaharris.net/
October 9: F. Leonora Solomon https://fdotleonora.wordpress.com/
October 10: Tasha Harrison http://tashalharrison.com/
October 11: Benji Bright http://www.theeroticledger.com/
October 12: Tamsin Flowers http://tamsinflowers.com/ and Karida http://submissionandthecity.com/
October 13: Cassandra Perry http://cassandrajperry.com/
October 14: Peep Scoop http://www.peepscoop.com/ and Radical Access Mapping Project https://radicalaccessiblecommunities.wordpress.com/
October 15: Sugar Cunt http://www.sugarcuntwrites.com/
October 16: Emily Byrne http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/
October 17: Oleander Plume http://poisonpendirtymind.com/
October 18: K. A. Smith https://authorka.wordpress.com/
October 19: Giselle Renarde http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com/
October 20: Butchtastic Kyle http://www.butchtastic.net/
October 21: Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/
October 22: Syrens https://syrens.wordpress.com/
October 23: Anna Sky http://www.iamannasky.com/
October 24: Jade A. Waters http://jadeawaters.com/
October 25: Kal Cobalt http://kal-cobalt.squarespace.com/
October 26: Rebekah Weatherspoon http://www.rebekahweatherspoon.com/
October 27: Malin James http://malinjames.com/
October 28: BD Swain http://www.bdswain.com/ and Jillian Boyd http://jillianboydauthor.wordpress.com/
October 29: Kaleigh Trace http://thefuckingfacts.com/
October 30: Kiki DeLovely https://kikidelovely.wordpress.com/
October 31: Xan West https://xanwest.wordpress.com/ and Annabeth Leong http://annabetherotica.com/

100 Bedtime Strokes (Mistress Elise Winter & morgan #2)

“May I sit?” morgan’s voice surprised Elise; she hadn’t seen him approach. She looked up from her book and blinked, then composed her face and her answer at once.

“Are your chores complete?”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Tell me.” This was their ritual every night, the way they loved to come back together. Elise’s eyes sparkle as she fights the urge to reach out and grab him, pull him into her lap. Rituals are important, she reminds herself. Not only to display her authority, though yes that too, but also to reminder her of all that he does, the many ways he is devoted. She stays more present in gratitude and strives more successfully to be worthy when she pays attention to their rituals.

He begins the list. “Your tea service is complete; the dishes are done and put away; your clothes and jewels are put away, and tomorrow’s are laid out for you. Sir Elvis Purrmeister has been fed.”

Elise feels a smile pull on the corners of her mouth, starts to suppress it, and lets it come. Her cat’s name is just Elvis, but morgan has taken to adding the honorific and surname, and Elise is too amused to have him change it. It is clear who is above whom in the hierarchy, anyway, so the proper respect is just one more thing to admire about morgan.

“Tomorrow’s schedules, both yours and mine, are next to the bed and the morning alarms are set. The bed is turned down. And, I have picked tonight’s implement, it is in the usual place on the nightstand,” morgan doesn’t look smug or tired, just pleased to be useful and grateful to be serving.

Elise sighs a little, with relief and relaxation, with the pleasure of being taken care of precisely as she likes it. “Good job, boy; you may sit.” She pats the side of her elegant thick leather reading chair and he takes his seat at her feet, leaning against her bare legs and cuddling into her with happy sighs, the tension from the day leaving his shoulders.

She takes another sip of her tea and goes back to her book—one of those classic English novels that she likes. This one is Pride and Prejudice, a favorite she re-reads once a year or so. This is the second time morgan has seen it in her hands.

Most nights, this is how it goes. Sometimes morgan has a book, or something to study, or some lines to write for training or task. Usually, Elise has a novel, something that feels indulgent but keeps her mind steady and her heart thrumming. She likes to be as far into the adult-land in the evenings as possible—spending all day with pre-schoolers and kindergarteners for her job is exhausting, and can take such a toll.

She fingers the hair on the back of his head absently, as if fingering a blanket on the chair or her own sweater. His presence is comforting, reassuring. The warm mint tea and honey soothes her and flows golden down her tongue. Everything is just right.

After a few more chapters, when Lydia elopes with Mr. Wickham, Elise closes the book with a small snap and stands. morgan blinks and quickly rises to his ready position—hands behind his back, eyes down—he does not stay seated when she is standing. She pulls him close, nuzzles her cheek against his forehead, and he wraps his arms around her waist. How well they fit together, their bodies’ contours so complimentary. She holds him there for a moment until she says, “Okay; bedtime, boy,” and they separate. She turns to the hall to go into the bathroom for some of her evening self-care, and he goes to the bedroom to strip. She takes her time—brushing and braiding her hair, applying cleansers and creams to her skin, brushing her teeth. He waits. The waiting is like meditation, but cleaner for him, as it is totally beyond his control and thus much easier for him to let go. (This is the kinds of things he tells his Mistress in his journal, which she reads weekly.)

He has picked out the thick wooden paddle, taller than her hand’s widest spread. One side is soft suede, the other is hard wood. The handle is wrapped so her hand is protected.

This paddle makes beautiful, deep bruises.

When she enters, he has taken off his tee shirt and boy short-shorts, the ones that almost show the bottoms of the cheeks of his ass. He’s down to a jock strap, the white one, on his knees, hands behind his back in his submissive meditation position next to the bed. He knows to wait there until he is released by her. He breathes in the smell of her evening lotions, now so familiar to him and so related to their evening beatings that he flinches when the sweet tangy scent reaches his nose, and his mouth salivates. He is a trained pet. She can see his arousal in the flushing of his nearly naked skin, the slight hardening of his nipples. She is nearly bare now, too, down to one thin cream-colored slip with nothing beneath it. Her feet are bare. She keeps her bedroom warm.

“Here.” She points to the bed. She is not cruel, not really—just direct, specific. She eliminates superfluousness. She does not believe in coddling in D/s; she believes in trust, agency, consent. She believes morgan’s deep desire to serve and to please, and she is grateful, yes, but she also feeds off of it. She consumes it like cotton candy, leaving her mouth pink around the edges and her fingers sticky. She needs it, just as he does. Her clipped tone is only for simplicity, and for intimacy, as she trust him not to need hand-holding. Not anymore.

Mistress Elise Winter is deft with a paddle. It was always one of her favorites when she was domming professionally, delivering such a satisfying smack and leaving such good bruises. Plus, it can be a key prop in any age-play scene: just a few words and it is suddenly a cutting board the bottom’s mom grabbed from the kitchen, or a sorority girl who stole a fraternity paddle or a headmistress’s prized discipline tool. Even more than obedience, Elise likes her subs small and little, with feigned (preferably not real) innocence. Something about the corruption just works with the way she is wired.

She whispers in her boy’s ear before she begins—something soothing, something that makes him relax, arch his ass in the air a little higher, and lean in to her just a fraction of an inch more. She rubs herself against his ass and thighs, her hand stroking the fine muscles of his back. When he whimpers a little, she knows he is ready. 

Starting with her hands, she warms up his ass and thighs and upper back. He is chest-down, his face kissed by her burgundy 1000-count sheets, his feet just touching the floor of her raised bed. When she moves from the quick light swats to the deeper fist-thuds, he asks her if it is time. 

“Yes; go ahead and start,” she replies. 

He begins counting aloud. She’ll do twenty or thirty more with her hands beofre bringing in the paddle to finish the hundred strokes. 

They don’t say much. It’s just one of those quiet nights. Elise tries to let her job fall away, the stresses of her vaninlla life out of sync with her kinky self, the projects for the non-profit board she sits on, the pressure of her mother’s struggling health battle with emphysema. Nothing precisely fills Elise’s mind, but she finds her inner world quite full when she quiets and focuses. The relief of a target, a victim, is almost enough to make her start crying, the release feels so huge, like a dam beginning to leak and ready to smash apart with the weight of what is held back. 

morgan is counting. “32 … 33 … 34.” He is diligent, and taking it for her. He is deconstructing and reassembling in front of her eyes in that way that power and sensation can inspire. She slides the paddle into her grip and opens a rain of blows on his tender flesh, already pink and warm to the touch. His breathing gets heavier and his voice gets more strained. She doesn’t care; they are only just barely to 50. She winds up like a baseball batter and swings. He screams into the sheets. Drops of sweat form and trickle at his neck, at the small of his back. His ass is a round handful and she takes her grip as it pleases her, kneading like dough. She leans down to bite his ass. He yells out, “Mistress, please, oh god, please, it hurts!” He squirms away, but her hands hold his hips. She leaves a dark ring mark from her teeth; that one will bruise up nicely.

She licks her lips, and swats with the paddle again.

“This is for me, not you,” she whispers, mostly to herself. “I need it, I don’t know why I need it, but I need it, need your ass like this, need my marks on you, need your ache to show in your face tomorrow when you sit down.”

“68 … 69 … 70.” He is panting between the numbers. She is taking her time, savoring each one. His ass is already purple—he won’t be able to sit. She focuses on his thighs. He is trying so hard not to squirm. She slips a finger between his ass cheeks to check on his hole: it flexes against her finger pad like a kiss, open and eager. “Hungry boy,” she murmurs, swatting again with her right hand. He whimpers, pushing back against her just a little, not wanting to be too eager or demanding, but showing he wants it.

His knees are getting weak. The bed holds him up. Elise strokes his hair and he turns so one cheek is on the bed and he can see her, just a little. Her thick braid is flying behind her like the tail of a kite, her hands moving quickly, opening his tight back hole as the paddle slams in to him. He tries with all his concentration to keep count. He misses a few, but she lets it go; he is doing so well. “So good, boy,” she coos. “You’re so good.”

He’s in the nineties now and they are both climbing. Her two fingers have dipped into the Boy Butter on the nightstand and opens his hole just enough to feel the pressure distracting him from the wicked paddle. She might let him get off. Will she? She can’t decide. She likes it when he does.

“98 … 99 … 100,” morgan is whimpering each number, tears down his beautiful cheeks, body shuddering in waves of release. Elise steps back and breathes, separates herself from him for a moment so they can both catch their breath. Her wrists throb, shoulders buzz with aliveness. A few hairs have strayed and she tucks them back into her braid.

“Morgan,” she says softly. “Get on the bed and turn over.”

He does, slowly, testing out how his muscles have been changed, wincing at the rawness. She slides her slip up her thighs and kneels on the bed, swinging her leg over him and sliding up his body.

“Oh god,” he says, muffled, before she has even lowered her cunt onto his mouth to feed it to him. Hers is a hungry mouth, too, swollen and wet, dripping. She never lets him enter her, but she uses his mouth when she wants. His stamina is impressive.

She lifts her slip just enough to it is out of the way, not restricting the openness of her thighs. Its hem kisses his forehead. He laps with his tongue, sucks with his lips and throat. Her clit is huge and bursting with need, angry and red like the palms of her hands, like his ass. She needs it, this release, maybe even more than he does—though how can they compare? But her want is monstrous, never-ending. She almost feels like herself again. She rocks her hips over his mouth and steadies herself on the headboard, arms outstretched. She barely remembers there is a person under her right now, she just grinds down and against this beautiful boy, this toy who always does it just right, just right there.

“Come when I do,” she orders, low and fast, not giving much warning—but he won’t need it. He’s been ready to come since she fingered his ass. And he knows what she sounds like, what it means when she starts clawing at his hair and suffocating him with her hole.

“Fuck, that’s it, there, god oh god oh GOD!” Elise is sitting on a volcano and erupts through her mouth with words and grunts and screams when she comes, heavy, filling his mouth with liquid, pushing it into his throat. He opens wide and takes it, shuddering under her and swallowing.

“Thank you, Mistress, thank you,” he repeats, breathless, still only breathing small sips of air. She moves off of him and collapses onto the pillows, he curls up in her arms.

“Stay in my bed tonight,” she says, stroking his hair.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he sighs, happy, pulling the covers up over them both as they drift off to sleep.

On Gender Perception, or: Break Your Eyes Open to Genderqueers

This essay, as with pretty much everything I write, is purely my own experience and my best understanding. I’m not trying to tell you what you should or shouldn’t care about, just sharing what my process has been around gender perception and genderqueerness.

For a little more than three years, I’ve been using they/them/theirs/themself pronouns. Notice that I’m avoiding saying that I “prefer” they/them pronouns, because, as many gender activists have been discussing lately, it’s not exactly a “preference.” I prefer green grapes to red grapes, I prefer almond milk to soy milk. But the accurate pronoun for my gender identity is they/them/theirs/themself.

Using a pronoun outside of the standard gender binary is a lot of work on a daily basis. Sure, I do spend most of my time inside of genderqueer and trans communities, and many of those folks are super smart about gender and either ask about pronouns or already know mine, and like to call people what they like to be called. I’m surprised how good it makes me feel when people get my pronouns right, actually. And because often I don’t hear people talking about me—which is the only time they really refer to me in the third person—I don’t hear it very often. The recent Sweet & Rough blog tour is a thrilling example: it pretty much brought tears to my eyes every time the folks on the tour referred to me using they and them. My inner kid—you know, the one who thinks I’ll never be understood or seen or valued—gets all hopeful and touched, and feels vulnerable and seen. I think things like, “Really? You see me like that?” and “You get it! Omg you get it!” and “Are you just humoring me? Or do you really get it?” and “Ergh, I hope it isn’t too much trouble for you to understand that!” and … I feel such relief. My shoulders relax and my body lets go of just a little bit of the tension I always carry.

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Am I mad at the system? Fuck yes. Am I working on changing it? Absolutely.
Every day I encounter a world that doesn’t see the in-between, and that either addresses me as “sir” or groups me in as part of the table full of “ladies,” aka queers of sometimes five different gender identities. I suppose worse still is “miss,” but that just gets me on a feminist rant about women having multiple honorifics dependent on their marital status and all men are addressed as “mister.” And then I remember that the second wave popularized “Ms”—oh right, we already fought this fight, except that clearly it hasn’t permeated society enough because this guy in front of me is still calling me “miss.”

Am I mad at the system? Fuck yes. Am I working on changing it? Absolutely. Are these moments microagressions? Fuck yes. Do the little needles that are microagressions add up, becoming a seeping wound by the end of any given day? Yeah. Could I just take my toys and go home and become a hermit to avoid dealing with this? Yeah. And sometimes I do, and sometimes I really want to.

But after three years of really claiming the identity of genderqueer … honestly? Being misgendered doesn’t bother me as much anymore.

I rarely correct the pronouns people use for me. I tell them if they ask, absolutely. I have lots of conversations about why they/them is the best choice for me, why I use it rather than ze/hir or other gender neutral pronouns, or why it’s grammatically correct despite the rules saying it is plural.

(Short version: I believe language is fluid, and our uses of it change over the years. I find it to be the least awkward in speech and written flow because we’re already used to it as a pronoun in other contexts. If people want to prioritize holding tight to grammar rules instead of smashing the gender binary and evolving our language to reflect the changes and include thousands of folks who are in-betweeners, well then, I guess I have to reevaluate just how close I want to be with that person. As much as I get a boner for really strict grammarians, to see the rules as so rigid that they cannot be malleable to include folks who are marginalized out of our language is not the kind of poet activist I want to be.)

When all those folks out there in the world out there misgender me, calling me sir or ma’am or ladies or she or bro or miss or whatever they might be using, I let it go. It might prick me for a moment, so I store that away as fuel for my activism, and then I try to remember: I don’t need their validation.

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It might prick me for a moment, so I store that away as fuel for my activism, and then I try to remember: I don’t need their validation.
I have so much validation from my genderqueer and trans communities, from my family of origin, from friends far and wide, and from folks I never would’ve expected to step up and be an ally. I feel so seen and honored, so often. I recognize that my position is possibly a unique one, where I really haven’t had any fallout from coming out genderqueer to my family or at my job (which, ahem, is what I’m doing right now). I know many folks don’t have that kind of acceptance from their families of origin, or their closest friends, or coworkers, or the communities in the cities where they live, or even sometimes their partners. But many of us do get lots of support, too.

Because I have so much validation from my close, inner circle communities, and even validation from broader queer worlds, and hell, from more and more people even outside of my inner circle, I don’t need the validation of the bus driver or the guy at the deli counter or the barista at the coffee shop. I just don’t. They don’t see me as genderqueer? Okay, whatever. Or hey, maybe they DO see me as genderqueer, but they don’t really have language and words for it, and even though they’re feeling that hey-you’re-not-quite-the-usual-kind-of-person-with-breasts thing, it doesn’t occur to them that that means not to use the term “lady” to address me. I am interested in doing more activism to educate folks in service professions to use words that aren’t so starkly gendered to address people who are in-between. (I even have a super secret project in the works about this.)

But I don’t need them to understand my gender in order for my gender to be real, seen, valid, and honored in the world.

It’s the difference I suppose between “gender identity” and “gender perception.” It’s only in the last 100 years that the concept of one’s “sex” has been divided into “sex and gender.” As gender theory has evolved, there are many words within the concept of “gender” and what it is. Gender identity is generally (I mistyped it as “genderally”) the identity that I see myself as. For example, I see myself as genderqueer, trans, and butch. Gender expression is usually how you’re expressing your gender verbally and with energy, and gender presentation is usually how you have decorated your body and the visual presentation of it. For me, that’s usually butch and masculine.

Gender perception is how others see your gender.

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“Gender Perception” page from The Gender Book

I do understand that gender perception is a serious source of distress for many folks, feeling that if the world doesn’t see and reflect that I am a certain gender, then I am not that gender. It can be devastating to not be recognized, I do understand that. But for whatever reason, it’s not that important to me.

Or wait—let me rephrase that. It’s very, very important to me to be seen and recognized and understood by my communities and my lovers and my family, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to educate and inform and correct and encourage folks to do so. But it’s not that important to me that the world at large understand and get my gender identity and pronouns right this minute. I just understand that the majority of people haven’t deconstructed the gender binary in a way where they can even see beyond it.

Remember that part in the HBO series Six Feet Under, where Claire, in art school, is trying to “break her eye open,” to see new perspectives and outside of her habits? Most people haven’t broken their eyes open to see more genders, yet.

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Most people haven’t broken their eyes open to see more genders, yet.
When it comes to my communities and inner circles, seeing me and reflecting that they see me is important to me. And that’s partly because of validation, yeah, but it’s also because of intimacy. The more they really see me, the more I feel like we are close and that they really get who I am and how I work in the world. That makes me feel vulnerable, touched, and honored. So really, my genderqueer identity and in-between marginalized place and pronoun use mostly matter for intimate relationships and moments.

I want to encourage that process of breaking your eye open to see more genders for everyone, not just within my communities of radical sex and gender minorities. But the frustration I feel when the larger society doesn’t get my gender stems from my unrealistic expectation. In a way, it’s just arguing with reality.

I’d love to figure out a way to address those misgenderings more easily in the moment, but usually it takes more than just, “hey, don’t call me lady,” for someone’s eyes to break open.

Right now, I can’t change this thing—this problem that the larger culture hasn’t broken their eyes open to more genders yet. I’m doing what I can, and being part of movements that are trying to get that culture broken open, and it is happening right now, the effects are huge and frequent. I can’t change this thing, but I can change my relationship to this thing. I can choose to funnel the pinpricks of not-belonging into more activism and work. I can keep encouraging people to break their eyes open to myriad genders, and I can look to my communities as a source of my validation and intimacy around my gender identity.

Illustration of “Gender Perception” by The Gender Book, reprinted with permission

Let’s Talk About Bleeding While Butch

I have always had very heavy periods. Lots of blood, serious cramps that vary from keeping me flat on my back watching movies until I can stand up again to drugging myself heavily to throwing up from the pain. They’ve always been very regular (which is one of the things that rules out PCOS), and because any conventional doctor I have had wants to put me on supplemental hormones (like the pill form of birth control, usually containing heavy doses of estrogen), and I immediately say no, I’ve never been treated for this well. (I must not be adequately expressing how much pain I’m in when I’m actually talking to the doctor. They dismiss it so easily.)

I’ve tried all the things—from hot baths to raspberry leaf tea, from supplements to hot water bottles to yoga to orgasms. (The orgasms kind of help.) None of it really hurts, but all of them only take the edge off, they don’t actually help the pain. Menstrual pain is kind of like curing the hiccups: everybody has an opinion on how best to do that, but your body may or may not take to any of them. I have routines, my best ideas of what work (most of which involves taking lots of Aleve and watching favorite childhood movies and not talking to anybody), but I’m coming to realize that it’s not enough.

Things have changed a lot for me lately. In the past year and a half, since moving to the San Francisco Bay Area from New York City, my system feels very different. My grieving process has mostly passed, at least the most intense of it has, I’m pretty sure; and I’m no longer in a very high-stress and high-conflict relationship. I’m also no longer living in one of the most high-stress cities on the planet, trying to make it on a shoestring artist budget. Now that my day to day life is significantly less anxiety- and depression-producing, I’m noticing this other thing happening: I am significantly affected by hormonal mood swings. Depression, anxiety, and wacky all-over-the-place emotions in the few days up to when I start bleeding. (Usually, when the bleeding actually starts, things settle a bit.)

I’ve tracked my monthly cycle on and off for the whole twenty years that I’ve had it, and it’s almost always very regular and consistent. It’s also almost always been like this: heavy, with big repercussions on my mood, outlook, energy, and body. The feminist communities I ran around with when I was in my teens and early 20s were very encouraging of things like charting one’s cycle against the moon phases, which I still do and find very fascinating and comforting. It helps me see the Quiet Days coming, the days before I start bleeding when sometimes I am entirely too sensitive to be interacting with people in any significant way.

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So lately, the past year that I’ve lived in this sweet little house with my boy and my cat and the boy’s dog and a little garden and a really good kitchen and a bedroom slash temple, I’ve been tracking. I started being treated by an herbalist in May of this year and that has helped, that has changed things. But even after three solid months taking herbs, my cycle hasn’t really changed, and my periods are still harsh, interruptive, heavy, and affect me deeply.

A few weeks ago, the last time I was bleeding, when I was in tears on the way to an event (and eventually ended up staying in the car crying instead of going to participate because it hurt less to lay flat), I said to rife, “I don’t think I can do this anymore.” I’ve been exploring some other options, and I keep worrying about the side effects, but really? The side effects might be worth putting up with if it helps me with the heavy bleeding and the pain and the moods. I’ve been doing a bunch of reading on the menstrual cycle since I’ve been looking into this lately, and it’s funny: I can’t quite tell what is off-balance in my cycle. Too much progesterone, too little? Too much estrogen, too little? Something other than hormonal releases? I just don’t know, and most of the primary care type of OBGYN doctors I’ve seen aren’t hormone experts enough to be able to tell me.

And then there’s the trans/genderqueer thing, too. I went to get an annual pap exam a few weeks ago (thank you, Obamacare) and as I was waiting in the Women’s Clinic, I thought: What if I didn’t have to go to the “women’s clinic” anymore. Why am I still going to the “women’s clinic”? Am I still not trans enough? What is worth it to me that I don’t go out of my way to go to the places that have good trans care? I almost always went to Callen Lorde, the gay community health center, in New York City, and honestly I got (and witnessed) some pretty shitty care there around my (and others’) gender identity, so it’s not like it’s exactly a given, but it’s a step at least. (I found out after my appointment that the San Francisco clinic, Lyon Martin, takes my insurance and has openings next week. So, yeah, I’ll be there from now on kthanksbye.)

(I could so easily slip into a rant about health care and trans-ness and my experiences and what I’m struggling with, but I’m trying to keep this on topic to bleeding while butch.)

I’m considering an IUD—an “intrauterine device” that would be inserted into the uterus and affects the menstrual cycle. It’s primarily used as birth control, as it’s very effective at getting the egg not to implant, but it’s also good for a variety of other things: like significantly reducing the blood flow during a menstrual cycle (because the uterine walls don’t get a chance to build up blood) and reducing cramps. I’ve been doing research about forms of birth control that don’t interfere with hormones like estrogen and testosterone that the body produces, and long term birth control options that are safe for trans men (or genderqueer folks like me) to use. (I’m not taking testosterone, but I don’t necessarily want to change the hormones in my system. I like my goatee and my sex drive, thanks.)

I’ve come across one in particular that seems to come highly recommended these days: Mirena. It’s progesterone-only, which doesn’t interfere with the estrogen or testosterone in the system, and it’s based in the uterus (as opposed to the implant in the arm or pills, which affect the whole body) so it’s localized. I’m seriously considering it, especially now that I have health insurance (thank you, again, Obamacare).

Aside from that, I have also found a couple of really good tools that I want to recommend if this by chance resonates for you.

Recently I bought a new menstrual cup. This is the third I’ve had in about fifteen years, having started using them when I was about twenty, when the only option was the Keeper, made from rubber. It lasted me about six years, until it started having a smell that I could not boil or tea tree out of it, which seemed to be a common problem. I upgraded to the Diva cup, the only other option on the market (that I knew of, anyway) around 2006. It was better—silicone, and absorbed less scent, but after about eight years it too got a little too stained. It is almost clear silicone, so it started getting stained, which visually started being … just not good enough to continue using. I tolerated the stain for a while, but when it started building a scent, I was done.

So I went online to possibly reorder the Diva cup, and while I was researching it, I realized that the landscape of menstrual cups had changed significantly since 2006 when I last bought a cup. I found a few other options like the Lunette and the Fleur, but the one that got me this time was the Sckoon. I LOVE it. I like that it’s marketed in significantly less feminine ways, and I like the design: They really took into account some of the other design flaws in the Diva and Keeper and Fleur, and they made bigger air holes (so it creates less suction) and fewer ridges (which are hard to clean). I like that it comes in colors, too (mine is red).

The thing about a cup, however, is that I don’t have to buy menstrual products every month. That might seem like kind of a small thing, but the process of buying them really was sometimes dysphoric for me. It’s not that I don’t acknowledge and celebrate that my body and sex is female—I do—but having to engage in realms that are marketed for the socialized feminine gender role just makes me so frustrated and angry and sad sometimes. On my best months, I roll my eyes and just do it, like paying a parking ticket or overpriced gas bill. Argh, but okay. It’s just part of it. But on the bad months … it can send me into a tailspin. Especially with all the hormone-induced mood sensitivities (see above)!

Menstrual cups generally come in two sizes: before childbirth, and after childbirth. The “after” is slightly larger, as you can imagine. But until I saw the Sckoon literature about the difference being how much liquid the cup holds (23 vs 30 ml), it didn’t occur to me that getting the larger size cup would, perhaps, enable me to sleep through the night without having to get up to empty the cup (sometimes more than once). Of course! Heavy flow = more blood! And if I have a slightly larger cup, I don’t have to change it as often!

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Even the small size cups you don’t have to change as often as tampons. But this new larger size of cup has been making a big difference. I didn’t really think about it as one of the things that supports genderqueer and trans folks who have a menstrual cycle and don’t want to deal with all that “feminine hygiene products” crap, but it has been a really excellent tool for me to use.

Yes, I have to use my fingers and touch my cunt (and the blood). Yes, I have to deal with emptying it in public restrooms, so I have to either be willing to bring the cup to the (communal) sink and empty it and rinse it, or to make do in a stall with a toilet paper wipe. Yes, it is not the most comfortable thing in the world, but whatever—my public bathroom experiences are already full enough of weird looks that I’ve just said fuck it, and gone for it. People are kind of trained to keep to themselves in bathrooms, so I’ve never had a problem, and very rarely has anybody even really looked at what I was doing. Yes, they are kind of expensive—but a $30-40 investment has lasted me 6-8 years in the past, so it’s definitely worth it.

So now you’ve got a couple of my secrets to how I have this monthly blood ritual of bleeding while butch:

  • A moon chart
  • A menstrual cup
  • Quiet Days

… And maybe Mirena, the IUD, in the near future, though I’m still weighing my options. I had some bloodwork done and will hopefully be able to talk to some folks who have more expertise about hormones and the cycle and trans stuff than I do. That stuff is fascinating to me, but come on, my main knowledge is my own body and that one Psychobiology of Women class I took in college—there must be experts I can talk to.

What about you? What are your secret tools for bleeding (while butch, or otherwise)?

The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing (Part 2)

Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2", small: 5-3/4", medium: 6-3/4", large: 7-3/4"
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Before we get too much into the products, I want to make it clear that this is by no means an exhaustive list of packing products. I wish I could keep up with them all, but there are many! Please leave links or your suggestions or recommendations or your experiences with different types in the comments.

What do I pack with?

Just about anything can be packed into your briefs and worn as a packer, but fear not! Plenty of queer genderfuckers have already done hours of research about what kind of DIY options work really well, and there are plenty great (and pretty affordable!) options out on the market, too.

If you’re looking for a packer, the first thing I recommend is to go check out your local feminist queer-friendly sex-positive sex toy store. There are dozens around the country, and more and more each year, so I hope you have a good one near you. The folks who work there are often sex educators themselves, with tons of knowledge on the particular materials of what they carry. They can recommend one based on your skin sensitivities or what other toys you want it to go with.

The Mr. Right soft packer made by Vixen Creations is silicone and beautiful. Pair it with the Aslan Packing Strap!
The Mr. Right soft packer made by Vixen Creations is silicone and beautiful. Pair it with the Aslan Packing Strap!

Generally, packers are made out of a composite elastomer plastic. These aren’t bad for you—most of the time, they don’t have the dreaded phthalates in them—but what it does mean is that you can’t boil the shit outta them to sanitize them. If you want to share a packer with a partner, if you have STIs, or if you have sensitive skin, I would recommend silicone.

Silicone is, when it comes to sex toys, pretty much always a better choice for ingredient: it’s hypoallergenic and good for those with sensitive skin, as often it’s medical grade silicone. But it’s more expensive and way less squishy, so it feels less like a soft penis and more like … a sculpture of a penis. What kind of material you choose just depends on your personal preference.

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Silicone Elastomer
ProsEasily disinfected
Sharable
Long lasting
More realistic
Squishsy and fun to touch
ConsNot as realistic
harder texture
Can’t be disinfected
Material will more easily tear
Won’t last as long

What size should I get?

Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2", small: 5-3/4", medium: 6-3/4", large: 7-3/4"
Mr. Softy packer comes in four sizes: mini: 3-1/2″, small: 5-3/4″, medium: 6-3/4″, large: 7-3/4″

One of the most common versions of packers found at feminist queer-friendly sex-positive sex toy stores is often called Mr. Softy (also known as the Classic Packy or Mr. Limpy). They tend to come in mini, small, medium, and large sizes.

The Mr. Softy soft pack is the one I recommend most. Because it’s usually a fairly personal toy, the silicone material isn’t that important to me, and I’d rather have the more pliable material. It won’t last as long as silicone, but if you take good care of it, it will stick around a while—I’ve had mine at least ten years now and it’s still in pretty good shape.

Having a large packer is not important when it comes to packing—in fact, it can make your packer a little bit harder to pack, as it can be unwieldy in your undies. If you want the most realistic packer—by which I mean, if you want a packer that looks the most like a cis guy’s flaccid cock—go for the mini size.

If you want to make an impression, by all means, go for the medium or large sizes! I have found personally that I really like the weight and feel of the small sized packers.

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A note about color

Most of the packers come in colors like “vanilla, caramel, chocolate.” This vastly under represents the huge range of skin tone that exists. That sucks. I hope product manufacturers will continue to expand the colors they offer and stop centering whiteness as the norm.

Many of the packers that don’t come in multiple sizes are approximately the small size, 4-5” in length. This is plenty!

GoodVibes makes two different packers: Sailor (which comes in 2 sizes, or with a hard core), shown above
GoodVibes makes two different packers: Sailor (which comes in 2 sizes, or with a hard core) or Private (silicone)
Good Vibes silicone packer Private
…. or Private, the Good Vibes silicone packer, which comes in vanilla, caramel, and chocolate (photo from Early2Bed)

The other good thing about packers, however, is that because they are often elastomer, they are frequently $20-40, so even if you go for one particular size now, you can always save up or allot a bit more to try out the other size.

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What if it looks like I have an erection?

Or, oh hey, I want a big ol’ bulge!

If you’re trying to be read as a cis man, keep in mind that cis guy’s penises hang at different angles depending on what’s comfortable for the guy. If having it straight down isn’t comfortable for you, try it off to the side or slightly up.

If you want a big ol’ juicy package, and your packer just isn’t having the effect you are seeking, consider: a) tighter pants, b) stuffing your pants with extra bulge, or c) upgrading your packer to something bigger. You can always go for a hard pack, if you really want that very obvious bulge!

But if you’re more of a DIY kind of person, it’s pretty simple to make your own packer

Socks are sometimes so much hotter than anything else. Packing with socks and a having a black unbreakable comb in your pocket. For me, it’s the heightened artifice [of masculinity]. That teenage feeling. Having to roll up that pair of socks just so. Butch. And maybe it’s also an homage to the past. I’m old fashioned.” —@redswain

There are a variety of methods of making your own packers, particularly by filling condoms with hair gel, or through rolled-up socks. But just about anything can be made into a packer—I’ve heard of folks using beans for added weight, or building a custom shape with three ankle socks (for balls).

I made clay packer last year, wrapped it in a small sock and stitched it to a waist band I cut off a pair of boxers. Custom!” —@keyskiyl

Personally, I am not extra experienced at making my own (aside from the occasional rolled-up sock), so I’m not going to go into the DIY methods here. Be creative—I’m sure you’ve already got some extra something lying around that would be perfect to use to try it out.

What about Extra Special Packers?

There are a few packers on the market that do more than just sit in your pants—they could also be STP (stand to pee) devices, for example. Check out a few of the options for specialty packers.

I highly recommend all the toys from New York Toy Collective, but in particular I am very attached to my little Pierre. I never really thought about it much, but an uncircumcised packer fits me really well, and I really like how it feels to the touch. (Photo by Early2Bed)
I highly recommend all the toys from New York Toy Collective, but in particular I am very attached to my little Pierre. I never really thought about it much, but an uncircumcised packer fits me really well, and I really like how it feels to the touch. (Photo by Early2Bed)
Number One Models A & D
Number One makes some of the best STP packers (I tend to call them “pissers”) that I know of. They’re really comfortable, and I get a frequent secret thrill of being able to piss through it, even if I’m still sitting.

I also really love that Number One has their own packing strap built just for the Model A or D.

Speaking of packing straps …

Keeping your packer in place

I would love if my partner did this outside the home, but she is always worried it might fall out.” —@Colette

One of the most common fears about packing and packing-gone-wrong stories that I hear is about packing falling out of one’s underwear. And yes: this can and does happen to the best of us. It just does! The more room we have in our underwear or jeans, and the more active we are, the most likely it is for the packer to snake its way out of the careful place in which you nestled it, and the more likely it is to fall down your pants or shorts or skirt.

But there is a super easy, pretty much failsafe fix for this: A packing strap or packing pouch.

You can very easily make your own with a sock or little pouch and a safety pin, or, if you want to step it up a bit, affix a piece of velcro. But if you’re not the DIY type, there are lots of products out there to keep your packer in place, too.

TranZwear has all sorts of trans gear, but their collection of packers and packing straps and STP devices is fantastic. (You just have to ignore the ugly interface of the site.) Their modified boxers and briefs are excellent—they have basically sewn the Y-front shut so that the packer won’t fall out, and it works great.
TranZwear has all sorts of trans gear, but their collection of packers and packing straps and STP devices is fantastic. (You just have to ignore the ugly interface of the site.) Their modified boxers and briefs are excellent—they have basically sewn the Y-front shut so that the packer won’t fall out, and it works great.
Velcro Top Packy Sac
Velcro Top Packy Sac: A DIY product by a discreet trans guy who saw a need for somewhere to put his packer and made a product happen. I bought my first one at Babeland in 2002 and only recently lost it, and was very glad to see he was still around and making straps, so promptly ordered two more. I don’t love that my packer is affixed to my underwear rather than my body, but I prefer it to having an elastic strap around my waist all day. I use it often.
SpareParts Pete
SpareParts makes some of the best harnesses available right now (everybody raves about the Joque), and they have a line of packing underwear, too. These are particularly made to hold packers in a secret little pouch inside of the fly of the undies. Very cute, good material, good sizes. They are mostly spandex, so they feel a bit more like swim trunks than underwear. Very comfortable, machine washable.
DIY brief harness
You’ve probably seen the brief style harnesses around—you can easily make your own and use them as a packing holder! Very comfy, pretty cheap, quite easy to do. The only negative is that in this particular style, the packer would hang outside of your briefs, so there is extra risk of getting your packer caught in your zipper. Just be careful and you’ll be fine! Get an extra small O-ring if you want to particularly use it as a packer and that will help it stay in better.

The straps are mostly elastic and cotton, so they can easily be machine washed or washed by hand.

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A note about keeping your packer clean!

Silicone packers should be cared for like other silicone strap-on products: use soap and water to wash it down before and after use, and disinfect it on occasion (I usually do a big batch of cock soup and disinfect silicone toys I’ve used about once a month). You can immerse them in boiling water for 5 minutes, or you can put them on the top rack of the dishwasher (no soap!), or wash them in a 10% bleach/90% water solution—all of those will disinfect silicone.

You can’t disinfect elastomer, soft skin, and other composite plastic packers, however, so please don’t boil your packy … you’ll melt it. They need a simple washing of soap and water before and after use, and regular corn starch dustings. After they are dry completely, put them in a plastic bag or your storage bag with a tablespoon or so of corn starch and make sure the corn starch covers the whole thing. Corn starch will help it stay feeling velvety, and not be sticky to the touch.

From soft to hard packing

If you want to go out packing soft and then switch to something hard in order to get your play on, well, I salute you! Is there an easy way to do that, aside from taking off your pants, taking off your packer and strap, pulling on your harness and strap-on, and putting your pants back on?

Not exactly. While there are some really excellent pack and play strap-on cocks out there, none of them are universally loved, and none are as comfortable as soft packers like these.

Honestly, hard packing is a whooooole other subject, and one that I willingly and eagerly tackle. (You know. For science. For you.) Stay tuned for the next installation of Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence all about hard packing.

P.S.– This post is brought to you by readers like you, and sponsored by tranzwear.com, who have generously offered to give away cocks to three lucky commenters. You get your pick of size and color for the Mr. Limpy, Masho, or PackIT soft packers. Just comment with your favorite packing advice or product or story to enter. Winners will be drawn at random one week from today (Aug 14th).Good luck! The contest is over! Thanks to Tranzwear for providing the excellent packers.

pornparty-logo P.P.S. – If service and/or gangbangs are your thing, make sure you don’t miss the #pornparty AUGUST 13th at 6pm PST. It’s a free way to enjoy some sexy, feminist porn with your favorite internet friends. Learn more here, and I’ll see you on Twitter!

The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing (Part 1)

I don’t pack, but I love when my girlfriend wears her packer. It makes her stand a little taller and it really turns me on when there’s a little something extra to squeeze. Mmm.” —@Christina
“Packing” is short hand for stuffing something in one’s pants or underwear to make it feel or look as though the wearer has a factory-installed dick. As the trans movement and awareness has grown in recent years, there are significantly more commercially available products one can buy for that experience of packing, but there are plenty of easy and affordable ways to do it yourself.

But why do you want to do it?

There are plenty of different reasons to explore packing. It can be a turn-on! Or it can be something only you know about, that affirms your gender identity and expression. Or perhaps your dominant shoves your packer into your briefs before you’re going out and then you both know that your dick is right there. Or perhaps you can use it as a tool for passing as male, or for gender validation from others.

Trans and/or masculine-identified folks aren’t the only people who are experimenting with packing. You can be feminine or trans or butch or diesel femme or queer or sugar butch or defy labels or girly or all of the above or none of the above and still explore packing. I know plenty of femmes who pack, sometimes or all the time—one particular leather girl told me recently that she likes to use a Hello Kitty knee sock in a jock strap. Hot! I don’t know about you, but that gives me a very unique impression of her gender and sexual expression.

For folks who were assigned female at birth, we don’t have the experience of that weight pulling down between our legs unless we add something extra there. Particularly for trans and masculine-identified folks, having some sort of weight or bulge between our legs can be incredibly validating, both internally within ourselves and externally through how we are perceived. But it can be validating and useful for anyone of any gender, and can be a really interesting tool for self-awareness and expression for any body.

As someone who often fucks those who pack, it turns me on knowing what’s coming.. I love the swagger, the forcefulness it brings.” —@rexicon

I know for me, when I started playing around with packing around 2000, I found it kind of indescribably … Comfortable, and comforting. There was something about it that just fit, like a really cozy sweatshirt. The way it shifted when I did, the way my legs stayed a little more apart, how I led more with my hips than my shoulders … it just felt like me. I’m very internally motivated about most things related to my gender and sexuality, so feeling that internal click for me was more than enough to interest me into exploring it further.

While I am masculine and butch identified, I’m not male identified, so packing for me personally has nothing to do with passing as cis male. However, it’s a frequent reason that trans guys pack, and in circumstances where dicks are supposed to be or accidentally on display—like at a gay boy dance club, or at the beach or swimming pool—having one to actually display can be thrilling and validating. I’ve also heard trans guys say that it helps support them in walking, sitting, or holding themselves in more male ways, particularly since cis guys often walk and sit such that they don’t squash their penis.

Packing can assist with the feeling of dysphoria, of feeling disconnected from one’s body in part due to gender identity (or presentation or perception). But for other people, packing actually increases the feeling of dysphoria. Your milage may vary—and however it feels for you is just fine.

Let’s not forget: Even though it can be externally and internally validating and empowering, it can also often be very vulnerable to pack. It is a way to experience our genitals outside of our bodies … and those of us with most of our genitalia on the inside tend not to feel that very often. There’s a reason kneeing a guy in the groin is effective: those soft tissues are soft, and sweet, and vulnerable.

And if you’re like me, and you have a bit of a vulnerability fetish, you might love it even more because of that.

So wait: Is it about sex or gender?

Yes.

For me hard packing is about sex but soft is about swagger, how I relate to myself.” —@nicgreiner

Both, of course. But which it stimulates in you totally depends on you and how you relate to it. I have heard people talk about how they see their packy as completely platonic, not sexualized really at all, but more of a cross between a masculinizing accessory and a prosthetic. And I know some folks for whom packing is inherently sexual, all the time, and they immediately get turned on by it.

It just depends on you, your circumstances, your body, your relationship to your sexual and gender expressions.

I loved my ex’s. When he wore it he obviously was more confident. It also gave me something even bigger to squeeze and tease.”
—@frickfrackfate

It’s kind of like wearing a tie. When I was transitioning to and exploring my own butch identity around 2000, I started wearing ties when I dressed up. At first it was awkward and uncomfortable, but as I got more used to them, I made little rules for myself about where was “appropriate” to wear a tie. I wore them when I went on dates, and I wore them when I was doing a performance (usually reading dirty smut or poems in a dyke bar, so that was a particular association). I got really used to ties (and, later, suits) being an incredibly hyper-sexualized, externally validated, amplified masculine experience.

So when I was working at a finance firm in midtown Manhattan and we had a black tie holiday party, it was a given that I would wear a suit. The first time I went, I felt super uncomfortable because I had only worn a suit and tie in the context of, well, SEX and queers and gender-radicalism. Wearing it in this totally heteronormative environment (with coworkers looking at me just a little more sideways) was not sexual, but my association with the suit and tie was absolutely.

It’s a personal confidence thing for me, I don’t feel comfortable without it.” —@furswag

When your only context for a thing is sex and erotics, then it begins to perpetuate itself, like Pavlov’s dog. If the pack is only for going on dates and then getting it on, your system will start to associate it with getting it on. If it’s worn day-to-day like a special watch or favorite pair of shoes, it will be a slightly precious object for love and care. If it’s an every single day practice, it’ll become weird to not have it, and it’ll fade into the background, like brushing your teeth or putting on socks. I betcha those things happen most days, but can you really remember the details of teeth brushing or sock-putting-on-ing? Probably not—because it’s automatic, an ingrained habit.

Packing could be about your own private gender expression, or about others seeing you as male, or it could be about turning yourself and your lover on.

Let’s not forget: It’s hot!

[When my partner packs,] it’s one of my favorite things. it turns me on all day thinking about it, knowing what it’s doing to them to watch my reaction.” — @rexicon

Maybe your lover knows that you have a soft packer in your pants (because you revealed it as you were getting dressed), so they get to fantasize and squeeze and touch it while you’re going about your day. Or maybe you press up against them hard and take their hand and press their palm to your bulge. Maybe they don’t ever know that you have had a packer on all day, or maybe they find out. Maybe they don’t even have to know—maybe you knowing is enough.

I often pack when I want a little extra swagger or confidence, particularly to social events, parties, kink events, queer community stuff, or anywhere that I want to have a little more oomph to me. I often request my boy to pack if I want to work him up for a little while, if I want to have him squirming by the time I get him home and stripped. I try to always remember throughout the time I’ve asked him to pack for me and to touch it, reference it, and tease him about it—mostly because he likes that, but also because if I make a request, I don’t want to forget that I’ve made it.

Soft packing is mostly, for me, about turning me on and building up for later.” — @rexicon

So now that you know all about why you might want to pack … What kinds of products are out there? Can you make your own? How do you keep it in place? What if you’re a femme and you want to pack?

Such good questions! I’ll explore those all in next week’s post, part 2 of the Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence for soft packing.

Read it! The Sugarbutch Guide to Cock Confidence: Soft Packing Part Two


Is genderqueer (or butch) a stepping stone to transitioning?

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Question: if you had been assigned male at birth, all else remaining constant, do you still think you would have identified as genderqueer? i.e. how much of it do you think is an innate identity inherent to who you are, and how much of it political? In a hypothetical society where we actually had full gender equality and the boxes of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ were much wider than they currently are, do you think you would still consider yourself genderqueer, or would you then be comfortable being one or the other?

I’m a trans guy who used to identify as genderqueer, but for me it was more of a stepping stone because I was afraid to come out all the way (like gays who falsely identify as bi at first). A lot of what you’re saying resonances with my own gender history, so I’m curious where the difference lies, given that I’m someone who continues to be uncomfortable with misogyny and male privilege but still wants very much to be seen and treated as male. Or is *that* the difference?

—ASQ, on Coming Out Genderqueer

It is definitely true that I don’t have investment in being seen and treated as male, but I DO have investment in not being seen or treated exclusively female. There’s a subtle difference there. And sure, maybe that is the difference between me and a trans guy. Definitely a few of my close trans guy friends have a very similar gender history to mine, too, and then at the final step 128 or whatever, mine says, “and that’s why I’m butch!” and theirs says, “and that’s why I’m a guy!” Being seen or treated as male doesn’t feel important to me or my sense of self, at least not currently. I reserve the right to change my mind on that at any point, if and when it shifts, but that’s been true for almost fifteen years now, so I am starting to relax into thinking it will remain true for a while. Butch feels good. Genderqueer feels good. Trans feels good, but mostly as an umbrella descriptor, as a community membership. More trans-asterisk (trans*) than capital-T Trans, but either are okay. (Kind of like how lesbian and dyke are okay, too, almost good, but mostly just adequate, though not quite accurate.)

I have a LOT of thoughts about all of this—especially how I identify, and my own gender journeys—that are way more complicated than the “Coming Out Genderqueer” article above. That article is purposefully distilled, attempting to talk to people who aren’t in any gender worlds. It’s a rough sketch beginning of all of that, at best, and sometimes broken down more simply than I mean to for the sake of accessibility.

Honestly, there’s no way I could answer “if I had been born male would I still be genderqueer” etc etc. I have no idea. For as much as I study gender constantly, I’m not really sure what being born male would have changed. Everything? Nothing? I just don’t know. I have speculations, but it seems unnecessary to entertain to me. And “if we had full gender equality and the boxes of ‘man’ and ‘woman’ were much wider than they currently are, do you think you would still consider yourself genderqueer, or would you then be comfortable being one or the other?” I have no idea. A society which had wider expression of gender than ‘man’ or ‘woman’ wouldn’t be where I live, so how many other things would have to change too? I’m a buddhist, I believe in interdependence—I don’t think we could change one big thing without a whole lot more changing, too.

I’d say that my most important identification is in being in-between, or outside of, a binary system. Would that still be true if I was male? I don’t know—probably. Assuming that I would have roughly the same personality, would still be a writer, would still really love satsuma oranges, would still crave the ocean, would still get stunned looking at the stars, would still find so much joy in swing dancing—assuming all those personality things were still true, then yes, I assume I would still crave being on the outskirts of things, the margins, where the weirdoes live, on the borderlands (to borrow from Anzaldua). I like the view from here. I get a better view, though it disenfranchises me a bit, too. The edges of things, more than anything else, seem to be where I am drawn. Not to one particular thing—masculinity, or genderqueerness, or transness. It isn’t about those things so much as it’s about being on the edge, for me.

And, a part of me is softly hurt by your comment, of yet another person asking me yet again, basically, if or when I am going to transition. Or rather, if butch is a stop over on the train to maleness. Or, if I was male, would I “have to” be genderqueer. I can’t tell you how many dozens (hundreds?) of people—butches trans men femmes, genderqueer agender androgynous queers, all sorts of genders, over the years, friends and lovers and people who talked about me rudely behind my back, so many of them at one point or another said something, either directly or indirectly, about my—and often, EVERY butches’—inevitable transition. I think butches get this all the time.

I think it’s quite a common story for many trans guys to spend some time presenting as butch, or as masculine identified women in some way, or as genderqueer, or as rejecting gender in some way. Like you wrote—(like gays who falsely identify as bi at first). Yes, that is sometimes part of the story. But it doesn’t apply to everybody all the time, and just because it happens sometimes doesn’t mean that there aren’t people who find a butch identity and stay there, people who never transition to male, who never secretly wish for maleness, or to be seen and treated as male.

Folks in the bisexual identity—to continue to borrow your example—get this all the time too, with people around them assuming, at least for quite a while in the beginning, that bi will be a stopover to gay town. Sometimes it is. But sometimes, it isn’t.

So, is genderqueer a political identity for me? Fuck yes it is. Is it an innate identity? Uh I mean how can we know what’s “innate” and what’s learned, especially when it comes to gender? But say, for a minute, that I do know—I would answer, Absolutely yes. Which one is more powerful? Fuck, I have no idea. That’s like asking me to rank my oppressions, or tell you whether I identify as an Alaskan or a writer first. I can’t hierarchize those. It is a radical, political act to reject the two-party binary gender system, and I like radical acts. I get off on ’em. It also feels like home in my body in a way my body never felt like home when I was dressed up more femininely, and never felt/feels like home when people refer to me by he/him pronouns. They/them and genderqueerness and in-between feels like all kinds of parts of me can be acknowledged—not “the man and the woman,” because for the most part I feel like those don’t even apply. None of the above. But the writer and the Alaskan, the swing dancer and the cockcentric top, the pretty good cook and the freelancer, the stargazer and the reader, the masculinity and the love of ice cream. The traits that I have that are traditionally masculine, the traits that I have that are traditionally feminine, and whatever in between.

I want to be able to pick + choose whichever ones suit me from whatever possible category. And I want others to have that ability, too, should they want it. I think it’s possible.

Also, I’m sorry—I don’t mean to be snappish about this, and I explicitly DID say, go ahead and ask questions. So, thank you for asking. I’m trying to answer honestly as best as I can, and honestly? Part of me is frustrated with that question, and the commonness in the queer worlds. I am heavily invested in butch as an identity all its own, regardless of the other genders or identities that that person carries too. I am invested in butch identity not only politically, not only for other people, but for my own sake. I am invested in my butch identity. Am I going to always be butch? I don’t know. Do I have secret longings to be male that are unrealized? Not currently, from the best that I know about myself, no.

Do I reserve the right to decide otherwise in the future? Fuck yes.

But … I hope, if I do decide I want to transition, to identify as male, to be perceived as male and treated as male, that I will honor the 35+ years (or, I suppose, arguably, the 15+ years, since I was mostly some other figuring-out-puzzling-frustrated version of me until I was about 20) I spent as a female genderqueer trans masculine butch. One of my most touching moments at BUTCH Voices in New York City in 2010 was when someone, during our ritual/keynote, held up a stone and offered: “My commitment to my trans voice is to honor the butch woman I was for 40-some years.” I know that many trans men were never butch, that if they were a masculine-presenting-woman for some length of time it might’ve been part of their transition, part of their path to male, part of survival, the only option they had, or who knows what kind of other things, and perhaps they never fully occupying the claimed identity of butch. And, similarly, some butches are never secretly wishing to be men.

I only speak for myself, but I, for now, am eagerly comfortable and loving the in-between of genderqueer.

The Gender Book’s crowdfunding campaign is funded! But you should still go buy a copy for yourself right now

tgb-dec

I am extraordinarily excited about the official launch of printed, finalized copies of The Gender Book!

The Gender Book is a project by Robin Mack, Jay Mays, and rife (yes, my rife), who have been working on it for years, literally years, along with hundreds of folks who have contributed and offered constructive criticism along the way. The whole project has been released one page at a time for anyone interested in commenting and giving feedback. Because of that, it’s more than just one book written and illustrated by three folks—it’s a community collaboration, one that has been generated (I mistyped “genderated,” hah) by the communities that the book attempts to explain.

This is a big deal.

I have never seen another book like this out there. There are no genderqueer or trans or nonbinary primers in the way that this book attempts—and in my opinion, succeeds—in being.

Robin, Jay, and rife don’t have any specific gender credentials. They don’t have gender degrees, they don’t get paid to study this stuff. This book was a community service. They looked around and saw that there was a significant lack of a clear, concise primer on non-binary gender, and decided to take on the project to make one. Partly because they didn’t have their own research to rely on, they turned to the communities, and launched surveys to get content for the book. Hundreds of people responded to the surveys, and the book has been slowly built from the data, and from the experiences of rife, Jay, and Robin’s lives in the genderqueer and trans and gender non-conforming communities—with their friends and lovers and acquaintances.

See first, they made a mini Gender Book, now called the Gender Booklet. It was just a quickie, but that was so successful they decided to make a full-length full-color book. The book has been available as a PDF download for free from thegenderbook.com since the first draft was complete, though it has never been available in print.

Drumroll please … Until now!

Pre-order the book now, and support their crowdfunding campaign to get this

Here’s The Gender Book’s origin story according to the creators:

Three years ago, my friends and I noticed a ton of discrimination and just a general lack of education around gender in our worlds. We said, “Why isn’t there just a book you can hand your therapist and say here, read page 29 and you will understand, see you next week.” Based on your site’s content, I think you know what I mean. We thought there should be a resource you can read in one sitting. It should be illustrated and as fun as a kid’s book while going into some real depth and true stories. The book should help people come out and educate their friends and family. Surely a book like that exists, right?

Nope … It didn’t at the time. We (a writer, an editor and a genderqueer artist-that’d be me!) decided to make our own book. After three years and countless hours of work, drawing, researching, editing and coloring pages, the manuscript is now complete and we’re ready to go to press.

The Gender Book is launching a crowdfunding campaign in December to get printed hardback and paperback copies of the book made available to those who want pay for one.

The final book is 94 pages, includes the original, updated Gender Booklet as a tear-out, some reprints of the original surveys the book is based on, and more. It’s made to be accessible to everyone—from queers inside the gender nonconforming communities to gay guys and lesbians who don’t understand the new politics of gender to your grandma.

Check out some of my favorite images from the book:


tgb-1

tgb-2

There are other perks, too. Like for example, some prints of the creator’s favorite pages from the book, custom art, coffee the creators—all sorts of things.

And, if you are so enamored of this project that you want to support it and help out, you can become a Gender Scout, which is the super exciting Gender Book street team, who earns badges doing things like writing poems about gender, making videos, or writing articles (like this one) to help spread the word about the book. I’ve had fun contributing things like this:

This is one of my favorite videos from The Gender Book, which shows the processing of making a page from start to finish, and is basically rife’s creative process sped up 200 times to see it in fast-forward (make it full screen to get the full effect):

Also! As an added bonus, everything donated TODAY Dec 3rd will earn extra $$ from Indiegogo’s #givingTuesday campaign. Sweet!

OH WAIT! UPDATE: The Gender Book has been fully funded! Holy crap you guys. I’m so excited to hold a book in my own hands in the spring!

(Also, did I mention that I bought the very first copy?! I’m so proud.)

(Also, did I mention that after the first 100 donors, rife did 100 pushups while our friend read out the first 100 donors’ names? Hottt.)

BUT while that means that—whew—I won’t be posting every day about how you should fund The Gender Book, you still should STEP ON IT and donate to get your copy of the book. This is the main (only?) way to get a copy, I don’t know if it’ll be printed again.

So go donate, & get your copy!

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends

As published on Facebook, where I could tag at least 20 of ’em.

Dear family & friends,

Especially friends from my childhood and high school years who have found me for whatever reasons on Facebook, and family with whom I’m not particularly close, and coworkers from previous jobs who I have perhaps never had this chat with:

THE “GENDERQUEER COMING OUT” PART

I have something to tell you: I’m genderqueer. That means I live my day-to-day life somewhere between “man” and “woman,” often facing all sorts of daily interactions where the general public doesn’t “get” my gender, from kids in the grocery store asking, “are you a boy or a girl?” and their mom hushing them and turning away, to little old ladies in the women’s room staring wide-eyed and backing out of the restroom slowly, only to then return with a confused and self-protective look on their face, to service industry folks saying, “Can I help you, sir? Uh, ma’am? Uh … ?”

That confusion, that in-between state, is precisely it. That’s who I am. I’m neither, and both. I’m in-between.

You may already know this about me, just from following me on Facebook and doing whatever sleuthing you’ve done about my projects. You probably know I’m queer. But, if you want to know, I’m going to explain a few more things about my gender for a minute.

ON GENDER

If you want to delve a little deeper into my particular gender, I consider myself butch, I identify as masculine, and I consider genderqueer part of the “trans*” communities, using trans-asterisk as the umbrella term to encompass, well, anybody who feels in-between. I’ve been identifying as “butch” for a long time—perhaps you’ve heard me use this word, an identity I consider to mean a masculine-identified person who was assigned female at birth. I consider myself masculine, but as I delve further into gender politics and theory and communities, the boxes of “woman” and “man” feel too constricting and limiting for me to occupy them comfortably.

I have for years thought that it was extremely important for people like me—masculine people with a fluid sense of gender and personality traits, who don’t feel limited by gender roles or restricted by gender policing—should continue to identify as women as a political act, as a way to increase the possibilities of what “woman” can be. That’s really important. And I still believe that is true, and heavily support that category.

Problem is, “woman” has never fit me. I had bottomless depression as a teenager (perhaps some of you remember I was sent to the principal’s office once for “wearing too much black”), plagued often by the idea of “woman” and adult womanhood. I could not understand who I would be in that context. And honestly, I still can’t.

But—even though it is in some ways harder, living outside of the gender norms—this in-between makes so much sense to me.

ON PRONOUNS (This part is important.)

For a few years now, I’ve been stating, when asked, that I prefer the third-person pronouns they and them when referring to me. That means, if you’re speaking of me in a sentence, you’d say, “They are about to walk the entire Pacific Crest Trail, it’s true,” or “Did you hear they just published another book?” or, “I really like spending time with them.”

See? Easy.

Lately, when people ask what my preferred pronoun is, I have been saying, “I prefer they and them, but all of them are fine and I don’t correct anybody.” I don’t mind the other pronouns. They don’t irk me. But when someone “gets” it, and honors the they/them request, it makes me feel seen and understood.

There are other options for third-person pronouns which are gender neutral—or rather, not he or she. “They” is the one that I think, as a writer, is the easiest for me to integrate into sentences. I completely believe in calling people what they want to be called (that has always been one of my mom’s great mom-isms), so I always do my best to respect pronouns, but I still struggle with the conjugations and the way those words fit in a sentence.

Some people—particularly those (ahem like me) who were English majors and for whom grammar rules are exciting—think the “singular they,” as it’s called, is grammatically incorrect. But it’s not. It’s actually been used in literature for hundreds of years. Here’s one particular article on the Singular They and the Many Reasons Why It Is Correct. Read up, if that intrigues you.

WHY THE BIG DEAL?

I haven’t sat any of my family—immediate or extended—down and said, Hi, I’d like you to use they/them pronouns for me. I don’t generally tell people that unless they ask. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I haven’t told you, what I’m afraid of, and what is keeping me from this conversation.

I’m not particularly afraid that you won’t “get it” or that you won’t honor it. If you don’t, that’s actually okay. I am part of some amazing trans* and genderqueer and gender-forward communities full of activism, respect, advocacy, and understanding, and I’m very lucky to feel whole and respected in that work.

And really, I believe that the very vast majority of you actually really wants to know, wants to honor my choices. I think you are probably curious about this. But for whatever reason, my (and probably your) west coast sensibilities are keeping us from having a direct conversation.

So, here ya go. It’s not particularly personal, but it’s the beginnings of something, and it’s my offering to you to talk about this, if you want to.

See the thing is, by not having this conversation with you, by not giving you the opportunity to respect my gender and pronouns (even if you think it’s weird-ass and strange and don’t get it), I’m limiting our intimacy. I’m not giving you all the chance to really know me. And maybe … you want to. Maybe this will open up something new between us.

Or maybe you’ll just go, “Huh. Okay. Whatever.” That’s fine too.

If you have questions, or want to talk about all this gender stuff, I am open to that. Ask away. (You don’t always get a free pass to ask weird questions, so you might want to utilize this opportunity.) But before you do, you might want to check out The Gender Book for some basic terminology, concepts, and ideas.

Sorry I haven’t told you yet. I’ve been telling myself that it “isn’t that important,” but actually it’s been a barrier between us, in some minor big ways.

Sincerely,

That kid who was in English class with you in high school,
Your former coworker,
Your cousin,
Your nibling (did you know that’s the gender neutral term for neice or nephew??),
Your grandkid,
The older sibling of your childhood friend,
Your best friend from 6th grade,
That queer who was crushed on you before they knew they were queer,

Sinclair

PS: Feel free to steal this idea for your own Facebook pages.

Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic in Philadelphia March 1-3

boxesI’ve been working with The Body Electric School since 2000, since I was just barely out and hadn’t even slept with a girl yet, since the year after I left my high school boyfriend of six years right before I had an abortion and decided that was how certain I had to be in order to become the me I was meeting in dreams.

Body Electric changed and formed and forged my adult sense of both sexuality and spirituality. It has interwoven the two of those things, my callings and my desires, my body and my understanding of god, such that I can almost not untangle them anymore—my sexual explorations are a way to deepen my spirituality and sense of energy and self on the planet, my love of and relationship with the planet is a way to fuel my relationships with and energetic exchanges with (read: fuckfests) other people.

Since I got involved almost thirteen years ago, the work has been divided into “men’s workshops,” “women’s workshops,” and “men and women’s workshops.” But the teachers that I’ve been learning from and am coming up under—Alex Jade and Lizz Randall, namely, who are both queer and genderqueer, Alex being on the dandy masculine side of things and Lizz being a femme—along with my friend and butt buddy (long story) Amy Butcher, the coordinator in San Francisco, and I have all decided that we want to bust open the binary gender system within BE, create more room for trans and genderqueer folks to be able to be included in this work, and to start doing more work with those populations.

And voila, the Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic workshop was born.

It is based on the Celebrating the Body Erotic (CBE) workshop model, which is a finely honed workshop that builds on itself from very gentle interaction on Friday night to an intense community experience on Sunday afternoon. It is a clothing-optional workshop where some erotic touch is invited and possible. Everything is done with deep consent, with lots of checking in with one’s self and lots of trust that the others in the workshop are doing that too, and the work is deeply trauma-informed, meaning that we know and expect that we hold a lot of trauma in our bodies, and when we are working specifically on our bodies and our genitals and our relationship with them, we know many things come up. Feelings of shame, fear, being threatened, memories. Lots of things that we may have the ability to actually bring up in a safe enough container that we can let it go. That, to me, is part of the essence of the healing.

But, the integration of new gender policies into the larger Body Electric School has been very hard. The organization is majority run by gay men and serves gay men, probably 80% of the workshops are men’s workshops, and yes, that pretty much means cis men.

We are trying to change this.

The women’s teams have made the decisions to go forward with the women’s workshops as including ALL WOMEN, all trans women regardless of body or surgery or whatever, and all people born female who can bring our female or women-identified parts into the circle. There will be an ALL MEN’s workshop coming soon, hypothetically, that BE is working on. And as we are offering more “mixed gender” workshops, like the Power, Surrender, and Intimacy workshop I’m doing in New York this fall, we are making it “all genders” instead of “mixed,” and inviting anyone with a body to come.

And of course, there’s the Outside the Boxes workshop. It (or another CBE or equivalent) is a prerequisite for any of the more advanced or intermediate workshops. It gives an amazing introduction to how this work is done and what we do with it. It teaches all sorts of basic tools, like consent and breath, and encourages deep embodiment.

I am so in love with this work. I have been working so, so hard to bring this work to my people—you genderqueer trans queer genderfluid gendernonconforming folks whom I adore and whom I am dying to be in erotic circles with. Please come. There are still spaces available in this workshop, though we are going to cap it at 24 to keep it a manageable and good size. Please come. I know it’s expensive, but it is worth every dollar and probably more, and we made it a sliding scale so that we can get as many people there as possible. Please come. Prove to the Body Electric School that this work is worth it, is lucrative, is needed in the world, and is received when we offer it. Please come.

Dear universe, please send a full, abundant, explorative group of people to explore this work in Philadelphia in March. I cannot wait to meet them all. I want more colleagues on this path, and I want more playmates, and I want more support as I pursue this work. I believe so deeply in the power of this to heal us, and I know that my people need this healing as much or more than anybody. It is my calling. I know it’s important in the world. Please send abundance. Love, Sinclair.

Are you buzzing? Are you intrigued? Get in touch with me, even if you aren’t sure if you’ll do it or not. I can tell you more about it. I want to give it to you, want to give you this gift of this work. Are you feeling called? Listen to that place beyond the “oh I can’t make that happen logistics logistics” “ugh it’s too expensive” “I don’t know I’m so scared!” chatter, and see if it’s time.

Here’s the details on the workshop. Please share this widely with friends and folks you might know near Philadelphia!

Facebook event

Qcbe postcard 2013 rev

Your gender. Your body. Your energy. Your beautiful self. How often has the world tried to force you into the gender binary, asked you to assure it that your pronouns matched what it saw rather than what you felt, required that your genitals conform to expectations, demanded that you deny the complexity of all that is you?

What if you could come into a community in which all expressions were possible? Where gender, sexuality and expression were aligned according to your truth? Where no one assumed what parts would go where? Welcome to Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic!

Come explore your erotic potential through the mind, the body and the heart using conscious breath, movement, process work and massage. Awaken the erotic energy that lies within all of us. Through a queer tantra lens, explore archetypal masculine and feminine energies and the myriad ways they can be expressed. Break down silos of gender and sexuality.

This workshop focuses on the entire body and is conducted in a container that is playful, safe and reverential. Using carefully designed experiential embodiment practices participants will:

  • explore the innate wisdom of your body
  • expand awareness, sensation and pleasure through conscious breath, movement, touch, and communication, where each person’s choices and rhythms are honored
  • learn how to more deeply tune in to your body, mind, heart and spirit
  • to receive more fully from yourself and others, and to give without losing yourself
    learn to give and receive full-body massage and to focus on the healing potential of sensual/spiritual energy
  • learn from your own and others’ unfolding, and feel awed witnessing and supporting our uniqueness and commonalities

Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic is a 2 1/2 day workshop (Friday evening, all day Saturday and Sunday), often clothing-optional, for those who are ready to vigorously explore new levels of feeling and aliveness, both within themselves and within a community of queers. Space is limited, so please register early.

NOTE: Couples are welcome to attend Out of the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic and have the option of working together or with the other participants.

WORKSHOP FEE: $250-495. This workshop offers a sliding scale fee dependent upon personal financial circumstances. We believe the work is important and those who need it be considered. Please contact the Coordinator to discuss.

March 1-3, Philadelphia, PA: contact Sinclair Sexsmith, mrsexsmith@gmail.com
October 11-13, Oakland, CA: contact Amy Butcher, bayarea@b-e-school.com

Register on the Body Electric website.

Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary

Do you remember the Impossible Couture series, where Najva Sol took portraits and Molly Crabapple added embellishments? Najva did another series of portraits, this time genderqueer (mostly) nudes, and Molly did another series of drawings over them.

The result is Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary, and I’m one of the models in the show. I might have gotten naked on my rooftop in Brooklyn. Maybe. Just sayin’.

The show opens next week, Thursday June 7th, from 6-9pm in New York and San Francisco Lomography stores.

Swiped from Najva’s blog:

Transmography: Thirteen Fairytale Portraits of Queers Beyond the Gender Binary
by Molly Crabapple and Najva Sol
Transmogrify, Verb: To transform, esp. in a surprising or magical manner

From poets to porn-stars, computer nerds to community gardeners, artists to activists: these portraits capture some of the real gender warriors today. They are trans, genderqueer, or just gender-fabulous, and they deserve their own magical realm.

Each portrait was shot by Najva Sol with a lomo camera, then embellished by Molly Crabapple. Show sponsored by Lomography.

Show Opens At Lomography stores in New York AND San Francisco
June 7th, 6-9pm

New York Lomography Store
41 West 8th Street
Manhattan, NY 10011
212-529-4351

San Fran Lomography Store
309 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94108
415-248-0096

I’m going to do my best to at least stop by the New York show, though it does make me a little nervous to see myself (naked!) on a wall. But the shots I’ve seen so far are stunning, I love that one above. Can’t wait to see them all.

Mini Interview: Jiz Lee

Porn star, JizLee.com, @jizlee, Facebook

Photo by Nikola Tamindzic (homeofthevain.com) for Fleshbot.

1. What is your relationship with the word or identity “butch?”

My relationship to the word “butch” was integral to my current identity as genderqueer. It’s a verb I like to visit now and then to describe my experiences within androgyny. My butch is generally easy-going, and brings me closest to my casual, gender-neutral life-style. Dress-up occasions tend to bring out the more flamboyant parts of myself, depending on the context, my butch helps me stand apart and express genderqueer visibility.

2. What kind of words and labels, if any, do you use to identify yourself?

Lately I have been enjoying the flexibility of the words genderqueer and queer. I feel like the fluid nature of identity can allow me to feel free and open with others about the complexities of my gender as well as the variations of my lovers’ genders. Also, I’m falling in love with the word “androgyne” again.

3. What do you wish you could tell your younger self about sex, sexuality, or gender?

I wish I could teach my younger self about sex ed and open relationships, so that my younger self could not only be more responsible, but also help my peers around these issues. I don’t regret anything of course because it’s all added to who I am now, however I wonder what might have changed had I even known the difference between sex and gender as a youth. I’ve met some young adults who were raised in progressive educations and it is so wonderful to observe this openness. It makes me optimistic for a more sex-positive culture.

Lesbian Sex Mafia Presents: Genderqueer Tantra May 12th

It is my pleasure to invite you to another event this May in NYC: Genderqueer Tantra at the LGBT Center through the Lesbian Sex Mafia.

One of my favorite mentors, Alex Jade, is going to be in town doing a retreat through the tantra school with which I study, and I asked her to make a stop off in the city and do an event with the Lesbian Sex Mafia before she heads out to the retreat center. I’m thrilled she’ll be doing an introduction to tantra.

A lot of folks aren’t quite sure what tantra is, or a cliche and stereotype comes to mind. Broadly, it’s about energy, often as applied to sexuality—but it is bigger and deeper and much more complicated than that. I’m not a tantra teacher (yet) so I’m not even sure how to describe or explain it, but hey, that’s why workshops like this are fantastic.

Plus, it’s tantra in a queer and BDSM context, which makes it all the more awesome. Hope you can come.

Genderqueer Tantra with Alex Jade

Thursday, May 12 8:00pm
LGBT Community Center
208 W 13th St, New York, NY
RSVP on Facebook

Tantra is a school of thought and spiritual practice that allows us to explore the multi-dimensions of spiritual energy in our bodies. Though it often emphasizes the relationship between masculine and feminine, Genderqueer Tantra allows us to PLAY with masculine and feminine energies without getting caught up in rigid gender limitations. Join Tantra and SM practitioner Alex Jade for an interactive workshop that will introduce yo…u to the basic Tantra concepts and invite you to deepen your sexual experiences, increase awareness of the body and mind using sensations from subtle to bold.

Alex Jade, MSW is an erotic educator, sacred intimate, psychotherapist, and student of Tantra. She is on the faculty of the Body Electric School and she has produced and taught independent workshops in Seattle for over 15 years. She has mastery in clothes-off hands-on experiential erotic education and the use of ritual as a healing tool. Alex’s specialties are gender exploration, classical Tantra, SM, and exploring with an open heart and mind.

About LSM

Founded in 1981 by Dorothy Allison and Jo Arnone, the Lesbian Sex Mafia (LSM) is the oldest continuously running women’s BDSM support and education groups in the country. We are located in New York City, with a membership primarily in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. However, we also have members along the East Coast, across the country and even in Europe!

LSM is a support and information group for all women 18 years of age or older, including transexual and intersexed women who live their daily lives as women and all female-born transgender people who feel they have a connection with and respect for the women’s community. And, who are interested in fantasy and role playing, bondage, discipline, S/M, fetishes, costumes, alternate gender identities and uninhibited sexual expression in a safe, sane, consensual and confidential way.

www.lesbiansexmafia.org

What does ‘Genderqueer’ mean?

On Gina Mamone’s mini-interview, a commenter named MS wrote: “Can you post a definition of or primer on what gender queer means?Kyle Jones was kind enough to comment in reply and explain a bit, and I proceeded to ask him to write up his own primer on genderqueer. Here it is.

This is a guest post from Kyle Jones, Butchtastic.net

Genderqueer people, by definition, are united by their rejection of the notion that there are only two genders.

Beyond their rejection of the gender binary as the sole way to describe gender, there is much diversity within the group of people who call themselves ‘genderqueer’—it’s a catch-all term that includes sometimes contradictory identifications.  For example, some genderqueers identify as neither male nor female, some as both male and female.  Some see ‘genderqueer’ as a gender in and of itself, some may identify this way because they feel they are beyond gender—genderless or a-gender.

I led a discussion on genderqueer identity at Butch Voices Portland 2010 and almost everyone who attended came to this identity from a different place.  There were those who described a fluidity of gender, a sense that they were a mixture of male and female.  Some people wanted to move beyond the terms ‘male’ and ‘female’ entirely.  They didn’t see genderqueer as being a region along the gender binary axis, instead many described it as independent of that spectrum.   Based on the diversity of personal definitions expressed in that session, we started to talk about a gender cloud rather than a gender spectrum.  Because ‘genderqueer’ is an umbrella term, to really know how an individual relates to it, you’ll need to know their personal definition of genderqueer.

The term “genderqueer” can also be used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity.  And some genderqueer individuals also identify as transgender, because their gender identity does not completely correspond to their physical sex.  Genderqueers may have any sexuality/sexual identity, any physical sex.  There is also diversity in the way genderqueers relate to pronouns.  Some prefer gender neutral pronouns such as ‘they’ or ‘them’ or the alternate forms “ze,” “per,” “sie” and “hir,” “zhe,” “hir.”  And some prefer to stay with traditional male and female pronouns, though they may use them in less traditional ways.  Other terms similar to genderqueer are genderfluid, gender-variant, bi-gender, third gender, two-spirit and gender non-conforming.

If you find all of this a bit confusing, you’re not alone.  When I come out to people as genderqueer, I’m more surprised to find people who are familiar with the term than those who aren’t.  And when I’m asked to define genderqueer, as I was for this article, I find it challenging, especially with people who aren’t comfortable or experienced in considering gender beyond male and female.  In my experience, most of the world is still not ready to go beyond the gender binary.  It takes a lot of work and effort to learn the new vocabulary and open your mind to alternative ways of seeing gender.  One challenge I still have is trying to get my head around the idea of being ‘genderless’.  I know that much of the way my brain has organized information about the world is still ruled by the existence of distinct genders.

As I mentioned, I identify as genderqueer.  Butch describes my appearance, genderqueer describes my gender and queer describes my sexuality.  My personal genderqueer definition is that I am not male or female, I am male and female.  I have two distinct gender identities, each with a name, a set of pronouns and sexual preferences.  Sometimes the distinction is obvious and sometimes more fluid and combined. One visualization I use is that of a tree with two trunks, each coming from the same root structure and base.  My male and female identities have some shared history as well as some that is separate.  As I visualize my ‘tree trunks’, they start together, then grow apart, come close again, intertwine and grow together, then diverge again as you look up the tree.  My male side has a distinct personality, accent, sexual drive and issues.  It has also been suppressed more, being less accepted by the outside world and, as a result, is the less developed and mature of my two identities.  My female side, having had more time at the forefront, takes the lead in most situations, although my goal is to become more balanced.

You may be thinking, this person has multiple personality disorder.  Though I’m not a professional, I know that’s not the case.  I have multiple genders, which means I also identify as transgender, because the male side of me does not match my female body.  I’ve had some awesome and unexpected experiences lately where strangers have seen my male side.  It’s hard to describe the feeling of being recognized and acknowledged as male—something like a rush of adrenaline combined with a strong sexual charge—a big ol’ ego boner.

This is a frustration I share with other genderqueer and transgender people—the feeling of being partially invisible, of spending most of my days being partially unseen.  I think we all share a common need to be seen and celebrated for who we truly are, and not just the easily understood fragments, but all our wonderful complexity.

This article is meant to be a starting point for people new to the term ‘genderqueer’, but it’s by no means the last word.  If you’d like to learn more about variant gender identities, here are some excellent starting places:

Kyle Jones runs Butchtastic.net and was interviewed on Butch Lab earlier this year.

Review: Packing Cocks 101

One of my particularly favorite sex toy stores sent me a slew of packing cocks to review – cocks that aren’t necessarily hard enough to fuck with, but which you can wear around and feel that weight between your legs, to tuck into jeans and rub up against your honey when you go out dancing, to get a little squeeze on the ride home, to fuck with gender, to feel more complete, to feel more powerful, just for fun.

Even before I begin this review, here are two cocks that Eden sells that I discussed with the fine sex educators at Eden which we decided that were not even worth reviewing because they’re awful toys.

  • The Soft Touch Penis: appears to bend like my favorite Silky, and is realistic, so I was curious. I’m told it is made of awful material which has pthalates (which can cause all sorts of bad things), smells funny, doesn’t really bend, and is not harness compatible.
  • The Blush: Though it has a slew of reviews at 5 stars (?!! Who are these people?), the material – Ultra Realistic – is awful. If it comes into contact with your skin, it can give you yeast infections. Just reading the descriptions of the material makes me nervous: “extremely porous, dirt can easily hide.” “Dusted in a powdery material” to keep it soft, but that means it needs constant maintenance. “Store each toy separately in a plastic zip bag or thin sock because the porous surface can absorb dyes from other materials. These materials are also very incompatible with many substances.”

The Futuristic Flexi-dong I did receive to review, but it’s made with this same substance. As soon as I took it out of its packaging I knew I could never insert it, and I didn’t even want to slip it into a harness and see how it packed because I didn’t want the material anywhere near my cunt. I didn’t even want to hold it in my hand! I stuck it back in its plastic bag, and I’ve barely even played with it. Sorry, Flexi-dong, but that’s a great big FAIL.

Moving on, though, to the fun stuff.

I am reviewing these packing cocks in four different categories: material (of which the above FAILED), packing, playing, and realisticness.

Mr. Limpy – I know, I know, stupid name, it’s as if they have to camp-up the fact that people without penises are making their own, you know, because that’s a step UP in the hierarchy of gender power. Mr. Limpy is pretty darn cool. This material is Superskin, which, though porous, is non-allergenic and doesn’t leak chemicals like the Ultra Realistic. So that’s the material.

Mr. Limpy packs excellently. Mwah – it’s practically perfect. It’s very limp, obviously, but that means it fits so comfortably in just about anything I wore, from tight tight briefs to loose boxers by themselves. I’ll speak to packing straps when I talk about Mr. Right, below, but I do want to note that the easiest way to use Mr. Limpy is to just tuck him into some tight briefs. You just have to be slightly cautious if you go to pull your briefs down, for whatever reason – it’s possible that Limpy will tumble out, and that wouldn’t really be good. Not only might it tumble onto some dirty floor (public restroom), but it also might be very embarrassing to have your penis roll around on the floor.

I love the way this one feels; it’s lightweight, but still has enough of a tug when it sits in my briefs that every once in a while, I remember it’s there, and I feel … comforted by my little secret tucked away.

This is the packing cock that I reach for most weekends, it’s become part of my undergarments, like a binder.

Playing … uh, no. Unless you get a particular enjoyment of receiving blow jobs on a totally flaccid cock, this is not a cock to play with.

Mr. Limpy is realistic, to a degree, but it only comes in this funny cotton-candy pink color. I don’t mind the pink terribly, but partially that’s because it’s fairly close to my beige/caucasian color, close enough that when the lights are low it doesn’t look completely detached from my body. Still, people of color would probably be disappointed with the lack of flesh-tone, and some folks who don’t like pink (I know you’re out there) would probably be put off by that.

Next up is Mr. Right & his packing strap. This is, in many ways, the packing cock that everybody’s been waiting for, and of course it was made by the amazing Vixen Creations, who make some of the very best cocks out there, and are very gender-forward.

The material is silicone. That’s right, silicone. Silicone is pretty much the gold mine of sex toys, because it can be completely sterilized, it doesn’t carry funny leaking chemicals, it can be used with multiple people (because you can sterilize it in between). Aside from Silky, which is not silicone (sadly), I haven’t spent money on a cock that wasn’t made out of silicone in many years. It’s a really great material, it’s got a little give to it, though not as much as the ultra-realistic or elastomer or “vixskin,” but enough that it’s a little bit floppy.

It is very easy to pack with Mr. Right because you can pick up this fantastic packing strap by Aslan leather that was specifically made for Mr. Right. It’s elastic around the waist, so it has some give, and the back of the little pouch is leather. The problem with the strap is that the leather backing is quite wide. I prefer my balls to hang fairly low, almost between my legs, and because the leather is wide, it doesn’t fit there, it has to be worn higher. That’s a bit annoying, I’ve found.

You don’t need the packing strap to pack with Mr. Right, though – you can tuck it into your (semi-tight, I’d recommend) briefs and be good to go.

Also, because Mr. Right is silicone, it doesn’t have the give that the Superskin of Mr. Limpy does. I also find that I hang right, by which I mean, my cock tends to get tucked on the right side of my body at the crease of my hip. Mr. Right is much more rigid and can only really comfortably pack the way it looks in the photo, because that’s the way it’s molded

All that said, though, if you’re new to packing, you can probably get used to how Mr. Right feels – it’s just because I’ve been packing with other products and prefer my cock to feel certain ways that I have a bit of a hesitation here. Despite my critique here, though, It’s still probably the best packing cock out there, and I wouldn’t give it up, I’m so glad to have one in my toybox.

It’s kinda hard to play with Mr. Right. Sure, he’s a bit harder than Limpy, but he’s still not hard. At best, you could probably give/receive a blow job, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to ask someone to suck such an unhard cock, even for a review. Sorry, just too awkward and a little ridiculous of a request.

Mr. Right is the most realistic of all the cocks I reviewed. It comes in vanilla (pictured, with a nod to acknowledging the race-hierarchy), caramel, and chocolate colors, which are a pretty good range of human skin-tone. The flexibility isn’t perfect – it doesn’t have the hardness of Silky or the softness of Limpy – but it’s a great middle.

Last, but certainly not least: my buddy the Silky. Those of you who have been reading me a while know how much I love this cock, so it’s kind of biased of me to even attempt to review it here, but I’ll try to put it in terms of comparison against the other two.

The material is elastomer, which is pthalate-free (whew!) but still porous, and must be used with a condom every time, because it can’t be sterilized. Keep it clean, people!

It packs well. It doesn’t pack as comfortably as either of the other two cocks, meaning it is bulky in the trousers, and sometimes the base is kind of awkward. It’s semi-hard because it has an internal spine, but that’s also part of what makes it great. The elastomer material is actually quite squishy and gives a little at a squeeze of a hand or mouth, it’s just the spine which makes it a little more awkward to pack with, because it doesn’t mold against the body in the same way. The spine, though, means that it can bend in just about any direction that you like, so I can (and often do) hang right and tuck this under whatever harness strap I’m using to hold it on.

Oh, you do kind of have to use Silky in a harness. It wouldn’t really sit in your briefs comfortably, and it doesn’t fit in packing straps (usually packers are held in packing straps by their balls slipping into a little pouch). I recommend a really small harness like Bare as you Dare because it’s such small material under clothes. Many of the leather ones are hot and uncomfortable when wearing under slacks or jeans.

It plays – oh gosh, does Silky play. It can be bent slightly up to have a wonderful g-spot curve, which I like. It’s a fabulous size for a blow job cock, not too big, but still significant. I’ve found that it’s a very easy size for most girls to take, not too big, not too small (though for marathon sex days I tend to find that girls want something slightly bigger, eventually).

It’s the only cock in this review that you can actually strap on and fuck with. Thank you, oh internal spine of Silky!

Here’s the catch though – the elastomer material combined with the internal spine means that the spine breaks, or even, sometimes that it actually rips through the material. I have never had the spine rip through the material, and I’ve been packing with this cock for about 4 years. I have had the spine break – in fact, I’m currently on my fourth Silky – but I have never had it break during sex. It’s broken when I’ve been packing (probably bending it the same way over & over doesn’t help), and broken when I fell asleep wearing it. But don’t let this discourage you: at this point, I just accept that the cock will last about a year, and then I’ll probably have to replace it. Yes, it’s more expensive than a silicone cock which is pretty much a lifetime guarantee, but you can’t pack-n-play with a silicone cock like you can with Silky.

There’s just nothing else out there that is comparable.

Silky is only somewhat realistic – it is fairly realistically shaped, I like the ridges on the cock, the head. But it has no balls (boo), and it only comes in funky colors – Eden carries blue and purple only. It also has a teeny little smiley face on the underside of the head, which I forget is there and tend to completely ignore. I’ve seen that commonly in from toys made in Japan.

Alright folks, there you have it – six cocks, three useless, three on a very nice scale of pack-to-play, all having their own pluses and minuses. Any questions?

If you pack, what do you use? If you decide to buy one of these to test out, leave a comment or write it up on your blog and share how it goes. We could use more discussion of this type of stuff in the genderqueer sex-positive blogosphere.