Posts Tagged ‘i kind of hate the word ‘blogiversary’’
Sugarbutch turned 6 years old on Sunday, April 29th. It was in 2006 at a corporate office job I’d just started, after obsessively reading every sex blog I could find for about a month, that I started publishing my own sexy fantasy writings.
I’ve told this story many times over the last six years, but here’s how it started. I was in a bed death relationship with my college girlfriend of four years, meaning for about the last two years of our relationship we had sex maybe six times (a few of which were when we almost broke up). I was going nuts, tearing my hair out, getting off multiple times a day. I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had stopped writing for a long time because all I was writing was about how I wanted to get out of that relationship, and that was a reality I wasn’t quite ready to face. So I decided that every time I wanted to have sex, I would either go to the gym, or write erotica, and I ended up writing a lot of erotica (and not really going to the gym much—this was before my gymbunny days). I started liking some of the work I was writing, and I went back to a medium that was one I had relied upon for many years: the online writing project, aka the blog.
I had kept personal writing projects online since 1996—for the last sixteen years, now—in various states of anonymous or semi-anonymous, but this one was the first one that grew to this caliber. Sugarbutch was completely anonymous for a few years, but as it grew, my identity became less and less hidden. (It’s not exactly anonymous anymore, it’s only been semi-anonymous for a few years now, and then I came out on Coming Out Day in October of last year.) I’ve had to deal with writing about the people I slept with without them knowing—and what to say when they later found out, and now I’m a lot more open and always get permission before I write about someone here.
So it started out as a place for me to get out of my bed death relationship, and quickly became a chronicle of that relationship ending. When it ended, I realized that I thought I knew what I wanted in a relationship, I thought I knew what my gender was and who I was attracted to, I thought I knew the kind of sex I wanted to have, but none of that had worked out. So how did I get that? Who was I, and how do I date the girl I want to date? How do I have the kind of sex I want to have? Can I really be who I am and get what I want?
These became the central questions I was exploring—and still explore—on Sugarbutch. It’s always been a personal exploration. As the blog grew, much of the more personal explorations have been put under a password (which you can get if you sign up for the mailing list—the idea is that you can see the more personal things in exchange for interacting with me with integrity).
The initial focus on this blog was where the subtitle of “kinky queer butch top” came from: a) my gender identity (butch), b) my sexual orientation (queer and attracted to femmes) and the process of seeking a serious partnership with someone, and c) exploring my kinkiness through my particular power orientation of masculinity and dominance. I wanted to figure out who I was in those contexts, who I would be to a partner, who I was in the butch/femme world, how I could continue to grow and push myself sexually, and how I could maintain all of those dynamics over a long-term relationship and not fall into another bed death situation.
The first three years of Sugarbutch were a lot of exploring and a lot of rebuilding myself. Early readers will remember the difficulty I had getting out of my relationship with The Ex and the box of darkness gift that one particular rebound relationship gave me.
Then I started dating Kristen, and the last three and (almost) a half years have been exploring with her. Having a steady partner meant that I had a steady sex life that I could explore, and I stepped up the product reviews. It was so much easier to review products frequently when I had a steady partner, it was much harder when I’d bring a new harness to someone that I hadn’t slept with before to try to figure out whether or not it worked for me and us (for example, was it the harness? Or was it the newness of the sexual partner that meant that I wasn’t getting off or fucking comfortably?).
Product reviews, of course, get old pretty quickly, and I never wanted this place to turn into an all-product blog. I’ve scaled back on products significantly, though I’m still interested in keeping up with the strap-on hardware that is being released.
Kristen brought some new sexual explorations, too. It was with her that I started exploring this Daddy identity of mine, a new space that I didn’t really see coming but that fits very well. We’ve also been exploring D/s and pushing our BDSM play to new places, and in the last year or so we’ve been deepening our relationship to the leather communities, being more involved with leather and BDSM retreats and culture. It’s been incredibly rewarding.
And for the past seven months, Kristen and I have been navigating non-monogamy in practice since I started dating rife. It’s been a challenge for our relationship, and while Kristen is totally behind this shift in our relationship (and recently wrote here about her thoughts on non-monogamy), it has not been without difficulty. It’s been very hard to write about because it’s been painful—for both of us—at various times, and it’s been hard to reveal the mistakes I’ve made, the pain it’s sometimes caused, and the ways that we are trying to move forward. I know there has been judgment about that decision from readers, too, so that’s made it harder to write about, but I’m trying to continue to stay open to chronicling my journey—our journey—as an open couple.
So while Sugarbutch used to be an exploration of gender (specifically, how I would be butch), sex (and getting the sex life that I wanted), and relationships (finding a girl to explore and deepen with), the edge now that I’ve been writing about has been non-monogamy (and I’m sure there is tons more to write about that as this expands), Daddy and D/s dynamics, and our deepening relationship to the BDSM and leather worlds.
Those explorations are my personal explorations, my personal edges, my personal work. I know many readers aren’t following me into these worlds, not only because they are edgier, but also because those aren’t as reflective of what you’re going through personally, and it’s harder to follow and relate to. I know many of you don’t agree with or understand what I’m doing (and you’ve said so in comments and emails frequently), and I’m going to continue to do my best to explain what I do and how it comes from a feminist, open, consensual perspective, but I know sometimes those things are just beyond grasp. I find it fascinating to continue to reconcile feminist politics with heavier BDSM theory, and I hope that I can keep writing about that in ways that incite curiosity rather than judgment and hateful comments.
Of course, Sugarbutch is still an exploration of those things that sparked it—sex, gender, relationships. In fact, as I’ve been teaching more and more, leading workshops and writing advice columns and learning more about how to counsel people one-on-one, I am surprised at how much comes back to those three things. They are not simple, after all. Figuring out who we are in the world and what we want are basic, on one level, but they are also Our Life’s Work, and they are not small. Plus, they are ever in flux, constantly changing.
That’s the other major thing that Sugarbutch has evolved into over the last six years: It’s now more than just a place where I go to work out my own shit, it’s also a platform for my work. I’ve turned it into my full-time job (which still scares me), and so part of what happens here is promotion for my books (!), workshops, travels, appearances, retreats, and writing elsewhere.
As I’ve had more of a position of teaching, I’ve been going back to those basics—”basics”—of sex, gender, and relationships, and the things that I’ve learned through this journey to know myself, over and over. I have come to all of this work from a very personal perspective, never assuming that I know what’s best for anyone else, only putting forward what has worked for me and what I’ve discovered—through reflection, writing, and various research—with the hope that something in there might be helpful to you, too. I don’t expect 100% of what I do or say or write to apply to you. Hell, even I don’t agree with 100% of what I’ve said. I revise my ideas constantly, or sometimes someone will ask me, “You just said ___, what did you mean?” at a workshop and I’ll have to backtrack and say, “Yeah, I didn’t mean that at all.” (Or, more likely, “I didn’t articulate that very well, let me explain what I meant.”) I am in a constant state of revising how I understand myself and my relationship to the world, and how I understand all of this work.
These topics are huge, and central, to all of us.
(I debated saying “almost all of us,” but in actuality, I think those issues affect all of us, every one of us, whether we are aware of it or not.)
I have some goals for this sixth year: I want to publish an ebook (or maybe more than one). I want to keep working on my finances and figure out how to be able to afford this patchwork freelance life. I want to get my Cock Confidence Product Guide up and running (I was working on that over the winter but the release of Say Please has pushed it back). I want to continue to collaborate more with Kristen, since her voice hasn’t been heard much here and I hope to do more of that (we have some ideas about what she might do). I want to keep writing elsewhere, and keep publishing my own short stories in anthologies, and hopefully do another erotica anthology soon. I want to keep writing about the things that are pushing my own edges, the non-monogamy and the BDSM and the D/s and Daddy play, even though it is not always well received. I want to keep teaching and doing workshops. I want to keep traveling, and to figure out how to travel better so that I’m away from my girl less and so that my recovery time is easier. I want to write here more, which is frequently a challenge because of the challenging feedback and the personal reveals and the traveling that gets in the way, but I want to keep it up.
I am thrilled to be doing the work that I’m doing. I love that my personal explorations have turned into lessons and guides and ideas for other people to learn more about their own lives, their own genders and sexualities and sexual satisfactions, and I still sincerely hope that what I put forth can help, in any way whatsoever. I am so grateful that you are reading and listening and buying my book and attending my workshops.
Thank you for reading over these last six years, thank you for commenting, thank you for your emails and your questions and your praise and your critiques. I couldn’t do this without you, and I am so grateful that I get to keep doing what I’m doing.
Some of the other anniversary posts:
- Fifth Anniversary
- Fourth Anniversary
- Third Anniversary
- Second Anniversary
- Bed Death, Standard Variety: the post that started it all.
Today, April 29th 2010, marks the fourth anniversary of beginning Sugarbutch! I’ve been going at this site nearly daily for four years straight, and it’s the first anniversary where I am not working at another job; Sugarbutch is my full-time job.
This past year, I’ve written 231 posts, received 2,798 comments, added one category for a total of 37, and added 1,267 tags. I’m kind of tag-happy these days. They’re a sort of footnote.
I’ve also started writing many other places, including the Radical Masculinity column at Carnal Nation, my Mr. Sexsmith’s Other Girlfriend column on New York City for Eden Fantasys’s magazine Sex Is, and I even had a piece over on After Ellen this past week. I’ve started a reading series, with Cheryl B., called Sideshow! The Queer Literary Carnival, and I’ve been teaching workshops and classes more frequently. I’m keeping track of all of those things over on MrSexsmith.com, rather than here, so if you’re interested in where I’m performing or where else my work is appearing, subscribe to that RSS feed. I’ve also started keeping media (video, audio, and photographs, mostly) over on my mrsexsmith.Tumblr.com, which has freed up this space a little more for in-depth writing.
I have some more projects in the works for the near future! Stay tuned.
I have always reflected back on this very first post when I do these anniversary posts, and as many of you are new readers these days, here’s an excerpt from my very first post, bed death, standard variety:
What I’m trying to say is this: I’m not getting the sex that I want. No, scratch that: I’m not getting the sex that I need. My basic human needs, basic woman needs, basic self needs, include sex. If asked, I would say at least three times a week, though I can be a little flexible about that. I understand, having had some experience as a couple, that that can’t always happen. But I also know that it can, and does, when both people make the effort.
I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years. We met in college, in a Men & Masculinity class. It took another couple of quarters for us to get together; we had a slow start, easing into each other and into a relationship, which was wonderful. One of the great things about our relationship is how well we have been able to keep our autonomy – we never became one of those couples that you never see without the other person, we aren’t joined at the hip, we don’t constantly speak in first-person-plural. Of course, the greatest strength is often the greatest weakness, and in our case, the intimacy has fallen out of our relationship almost entirely.
We haven’t had sex in … longer than I care to admit. And in the last two years we have probably had sex five times. I stopped counting the days between.
I’m surprised at how clear that is, when I look back at it. It feels like such a murky, confused time, but I lay it out so clearly: I’m not getting the sex I need. I still believe sex is a basic human need, perhaps not for survival on the food-water-shelter level, but on the hierarchy of needs scale, certainly. It is something we need in order to feel psychologically safe, protected, comforted. Well, maybe saying “sex” is too broad. We don’t actually all need sex. I need sex, I need hot dirty queer kinky sex, but perhaps you need pretty music playing candles lit sex. Perhaps you are totally satisfied with the once-a-month quickie. Perhaps you’re asexual, and need companionship, partnership, friendship, intimacy in other ways.
That post is under password protection now, as is most of the things about my exes and personal life. If you want the password, join the (very very rarely occasional) mailing list, and it’ll be sent to you when you confirm your subscription.
The traditional gift for the fourth anniversary is fruit, flowers, and books, or, I’m told, the modern equivalent is electrical appliances. Umwhat? People don’t need fruit, flowers, or books anymore? Those seem way more important than electrical appliances. I mean, I like the next tech gadget as much as anybody (though I think I’ll buy stock instead of the iPad, even though I’m really coveting it currently), but it’s almost summer! I can’t wait for strawberry shortcake.
On Sugarbutch’s second anniversary, I reflected on where this blog started and began the tradition of “ask me anything,” which I did last year also. So, in the spirit of keeping up with traditions, let’s do it again: Got a question for me? Ask me anything. You can ask anything, from personal details about my life that you’ve always wondered, to questions about advice for sex toys or your relationship, to philosophical musings on identity, gender, or sexuality theory.
Read back on some of the former “ask me anything” questions, and add your own in the comments. What do you want to know? I’ll answer as many as I can.