Posts Tagged ‘reviews’
A few weeks ago, when one of my oldest and dearest and favorite-est friends, BB, was in town visiting, Kristen and BB and I had a night at home and sat down to watch a film. Having recently discovered the joys of both Paperback Swap and Swap A DVD, I have some DVDs that I haven’t seen in quite a long time, if ever.
Black Snake Moan was one of them, and we decided to put it on.
I saw it once before, as had Kristen, and I remembered liking it. But putting it on, I was nervous. What if it wasn’t feminist enough? What if they thought it was exploitive and weird? What if I thought it was exploitive and weird?
It sure doesn’t seem like a feminist, conscious film on the surface—it seems fucked up, about gender, race, and sexuality. Why would I want to see that? Why would I like that? But it’s more complex than it seems.
Here’s the basic premise: Rae (Christina Ricci) has an extreme sexual appetite. Rae’s boyfriend, Ronnie (Justin Timberlake) is off to the army and while they usually keep each other sane and balanced, she is losing her control and getting in dangerous situations, such as getting completely intoxicated, half-naked, and then beat up by a guy she occasionally sleeps with. Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), whose wife just left him for his younger brother, finds Rae unconscious on the road near his house and brings her inside, attempting to nurse her back to health. She, though, has all sorts of night terrors, which cause her to run around and scream—while pretty much still unconscious—so he chains her to the radiator. But when she comes to, two days later, he doesn’t unchain her, but decides she’s not healed yet.
I know, I know: I want to start yelling, NON CONSENSUAL! You can’t do that! But the thing is … she’s out of her mind, a little bit. I know it sounds like shaming a woman because she likes sex, but frankly I don’t think that’s what’s behind this. It isn’t that she likes sex too much, it’s that she is destroying herself through her pursuit of sex, which is clearly depicted as compulsive, and absolutely not something she is choosing from an empowered place.
Ricci is bone-thin in a very unattractive way, she looks so strange sometimes, so unlike her for this role. I wanted her to come over so Kristen could feed her baked goods and get a little bit of that glow back. But she plays the role amazingly—I even read a critique that said it was the highlight of her acting career. And Jackson is genius! I love the scenes where he’s playing the guitar and singing, the blues just dripping off of him. Healing music, no doubt.
All through the re-watch I kept thinking, why is this okay? Why is this not totally fucked up? Because it seems like it should be, on the surface—but it’s not, and I love this film. Maybe it’s because it’s so well written? Or well acted? Or well crafted, in general? I could go on and on about the layers of this film and the dozens of ways you could interpret the character’s actions (the Christian angle; the sex is bad angle; the men as savior angle), but really what I want to do is encourage you to see it for yourself, if you like to think critically about consent, feminism, character, and kink.
And oh yes, it is kinky. All the stuff with the chains, well …
I love the way she becomes attached to that chain. There is a part, after she regains consciousness but before she’s healed, where she consents to stay. Where she kind of doesn’t want him to take the chains off. And another part (in that photo, above) where she comforts herself with the weight and restriction of the chains, in part to get through her own triggers, and to break the automatic reactions in which she’s been stuck.
I would argue that hits on exactly what she needs: containment. Not in a repression kind of way, no, but in the tantric sense, that she is all energy and river and no riverbank. (Interesting, though, how she is able to be that container for Ronnie, as stated from the very beginning of the film when he says she saved him, onto the last scene.)
Plenty more happens in the plot after that: Lazarus teaches her things about life and living, she confronts some demons (including her mother), we get some abstract insight into the things that have been haunting her, and she seems to come to a stronger, more capable place. Personal growth, healing from trauma, and breaking through her own samskara: makings of a good film, if you ask me.
And, the chains …
Well, Kristen liked the chains. She has a thing for metal, more than I do I think (I’m more of a leather guy myself—not that I’m opposed to chains). I had, I remembered, received Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs from Sextoy.com that I’d never reviewed, nor had we, in fact, ever even used them.
I thought it might be time to break those out.
Yeah, so that was a good idea.
That image is from Griffin Leather & Metal, not the actual cuffs that came in my set. Mine are not nearly as gorgeous as these, but that’s basically how they’re set up. And the photo on the box that mine came in is pretty awful, it is something that would have steered me clear of buying it.
But in fact, it’s very much worth having around.
They’re relatively cheap, but they’re sturdy, and they don’t feel like they’re going to break (unlike some of the other bondage toys I’ve occasionally reviewed). The chains could be a little shorter, especially the chain connecting the wrist cuffs to the ankle cuffs, but that also might be because Kristen is kind of short, so perhaps with someone a bit taller they would be the perfect size.
The product description reports:
Nickel plated heavy duty locking wrist and ankle cuffs. Includes 4 keys. Wrist size up to 7 inches and ankle size up to 10 inches. The chain connecting wrists is 3.5 inches and the chain connecting ankles is 17 inches. The chain connecting ankles and wrists is 16 inches.
Those dimensions don’t seem quite right (longer connection between the feet than from the feet to the hands?), but that’s what the website claims.
And I’d like to tell you all about what we did when we played with them, but the truth is, I can’t remember the details. I don’t know how it started exactly, I don’t know how it ended. I don’t remember how I put them on her, but I do remember holding on to the chain, choking up on it so she couldn’t move. I remember telling her to get up and walk to the other side of the bed so she could look in the mirror. I remember watching her touch herself for a while, while I watched. And I may have snapped a few photos.
You know, maybe.
The Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs were sent to me for review from Sextoy.com. Pick up the Metal Wrist and Ankle Cuffs or other bondage toys from sextoy.com, or your local queer feminist sex-positive independent shop.
I’m still thinking about this film sometimes, even now, two or three weeks later, and looking forward to watching it again.
I’m not going to write a blow-by-blow account of the film and all the complex, phenomenal moments (like, “You’ll have to ask the chef.” “Paprika.” And everything about the characters of Miss Angie and Ronnie both), or an elaborate argument on why it might border on offending my feminist sensibilities, but doesn’t actually. I’ve enjoyed the extensive conversations I’ve been having with Kristen about the film since we saw it, and I’m looking forward to seeing it again.
Have you seen it? What did you think?
If you haven’t, perhaps you’d like to watch the trailer for the film, and see if it’s something you’d try out. I was skeptical, but it is much more than what it seems. Read More
I haven’t been reviewing many products lately, on purpose. I’m getting a little bored reviewing products. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to have the chance to play with these toys, and I still have some things to tell you about, but I’m being pretty picky about what I consume and what I say I will write up here and what I won’t.
This one, though, is worth a mention.
This is the new VIP Super Soft from Tantus. It’s not quite available yet, but they are taking preorders. Tantus sent one to me (and one to Diana Cage) to make it’s debut at the Butch Voices NYC Regional Conference. They sent two other cocks to be given away during my Cock Confidence workshop, which was really fun to do, and I kept this one for myself.
Especially when I was single and dating, having a packing cock was extra important to me (remember my motto: It’s better to have a cock and not need it than to need a cock and not have it), and I did quite a bit of research about what could pack and play, and what was just for packing or just for playing. It turns out, there is very little out there that can pack and play comfortably.
In my opinion, I found the Silky to be the only cock that you can comfortably pack and play with.
Until now! The VIP Super Soft is exactly made for that. So I put it to the test. Does it work?
From the former comparison on pack and play cocks, I’ll talk about this one with four components: materials, packing, playing, and realisticness.
Tantus cocks are all made from medical grade silicone, and this one is no exception. It is also Tantus’s “super soft” material, which is somewhat like Vixen’s Vixskin, but a little bit softer, and feels less porous. It doesn’t have the hard inner core that Vixskin does, however, which is what makes it easier to pack.
Yeah, it packs. It’s easy to pack. Metis Black, president of Tantus, wrote on Twitter yesterday: “Just read a review of someone who thought the Super Soft VIP was “too large to be worn discreetly” as a packer.” But in my experience, that’s not true. Packing is half in the cock and half in the pants, though—if your pants are too tight, any packer is going to be really obvious. And if that’s not what you’re going for, I’m sorry, but you’ll probably have to get some baggier pants if you want it to be a bit more discreet. I tend to go a little baggy (a style I have adopted in recent years in part because of the packing, I’ll admit), so I had no trouble with discretion whatsoever.
Because it’s soft enough to pack with, it’s kind of hard to fuck with. It is hard enough, sure, but only for some light play, nothing too heavy bang-bang-banging, because it’s going to be a bit too floppy and probably won’t stay in place. But for lighter stuff? Sure! And for blow jobs? Yeah, it’s really quite nice for that. Good length, good size (6.5″ long by 1.7″ in diameter), not so hard.
It is semi-realistic … the shaft is smooth, not veined or textured really, but it does have a head and balls, and it comes in three skin-tone colors of vanilla, caramel, chocolate (or whatever flavors Tantus calls them). I’m still waiting for a company to come out with more subtle shades of skin tones, but meanwhile we’ve just got these three basics.
It’s got a great curve to it so it stays a bit more erect than some other cocks which are just straight, and it hits some good spots while playing.
Any other suggestions?
It needs a slightly smaller O-ring than I usually keep on my harnesses, so it has popped out more than once at the top while I was wearing it. Pretty easy to fix, either by just shoving it back in there or by changing up the O-ring to something smaller.
This is the video by Tantus for the regular silicone VIP, that is not the super soft material. You can see the size a little better, and the curve, so it’ll give you a better feel for how it looks.
I’m glad to add this one to my collection, and I’ll definitely keep packing with it. I don’t think it’ll break quite as easily as the Silky, which will be a good change.
The Love Bumper Iceberg was not as exciting as I expected. I don’t have any sex furniture, but it’s making a big splash out there in the sex toy marketplace these days, and so I figured eventually I’d get around to trying one of the ramps or wedges or whatever else they’re called.
Good Vibrations sent me this one to review. It showed up and sat on my bed for a while, its microfiber faux-suade cover attracting cat hair and dust like a magnet. And it was really hard to clean, since the material is kind of textured, so it catches things. Eventually I cleaned it thoroughly and put a pillowcase on it, which helped, but it looked less sexy and more like an odd-shaped hard throw pillow.
Still, we didn’t much use it. I left it out to be inspired to do so, but just wasn’t. It seemed awkward to try to grab and move her into a different position in order to try it out. I couldn’t really work it into the flow of things.
We did try it, once, eventually. And I found, sadly, that the dimensions are kind of off. I was hoping it’d lift her just a little when she’s on her stomach, but the height is just a little short for the length of my thighs, I think. So someone shorter than me might find it’s the perfect size for them. I’m not that tall, though, and considering it’s mostly marketed toward guys, and most guys are taller than me, I think that’s a bit of a design flaw. It measures 13 3/4″ x 13″ x 7 1/2″, but unless you can really pull it down and try out a few positions with yourself and your sweetie to see if it will be the right size for you, I kind of doubt you’ll be able to tell from the dimensions if it will work or not.
Then again, maybe this is just the small model, and it’s made to make you want to go out there and try the bigger sizes!
But did it inspire me to do that? No, not really. I’m not impressed enough with the option of “sex furniture” that I’m interested in comparing or investigating other products. Worth a try, I suppose, because perhaps I would have always wondered, but to be honest, I wasn’t all that curious in the first place. I do pretty well with positions and support, and when I find myself wanting, I can usually just grab a regular pillow, and we’re good to go.
The Love Bumper Iceberg was sent to me from Good Vibrations for review. Check out more sex toys, vibrators, and other lovely items at your local feminist queer sex-positive sex toy shop, or online at goodvibes.com.
Laid: Young People’s Experiences with Sex in an Easy-Access Culture Edited by Shannon T. Boodram. Seal Press, 2009
Perhaps I had unrealistic high expectations for this book. “The basement smelled like sex,” the book starts. “That thick, musty scent that sits in the air and clings to everything it touches. I inhaled deep and hard, thinking about the heated moments that had just passed. The moments when I was too busy creating the odor to even notice its sticky presence.” Maybe I thought it’d be a bit more upbeat, positive. I have a skewed perspective of sex education and what’s going on with sexually active youth, after all, consuming places like Scarleteen.com and attending queer and kinky events occasionally open to young people.
Laid is separated into five different chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of sex: hookups, positive experiences, physical consequences, date rape, and abstinence. I expected “consequences” and “date rape” to be harder chapters to read, but in truth they were all hard. I kept cringing from the negative, stereotypical information being given out at every turn. But because these stories are full of people’s real experiences and opinions, they can’t exactly be “wrong;” but I cannot recommend this book as any representation of sexual education, as it sells itself as being. The honest, real experiences expressed are valuable to read, but I clearly do not agree with these contributor’s value systems, and many of them I would disagree as plain old bad information.
As I got further into the book, I even doubted the values and knowledge of the editor, as each chapter wraps up with a series of questions about that chapter’s content from the contributors. Questions from Boodram such as “What does lesbian sex include, since it’s not possible to have traditional vaginal/penile intercourse?” (p55), asking a bisexual woman, “Do you have a preference?” (p110), and asking a woman who authored a piece on her abortion, “Why did you decide to abort your child?” (p178) all got me hot under the collar, for both the content and the phrasing.
Boodram admits that a book agent wrote to her, “This book is too negative. Despite having some good information I think the chapter on rape really drags things down” (p185). First, including a quote from an agent’s rejection letter in your book seems like a bad idea. Second, the book is too negative: but not just because of the rape chapter. The “physical consequences” chapter reads like a warning: Don’t Have Sex Or This Will Happen To You. And while it’s true that there are real consequences to sex, and that young people need to be educated about safety and caution, sex is not all bad! Despite the “positive experiences” chapter, the prevalence of scary, negative, and frightening stories was so pervasive that I can’t help but think I would be all the more inclined to agree with Boodram’s encouragement of abstinence after reading through these stories. Boodram used to run the site SaveYourCherry.com, which seems to be down now, and knowing that bit of information makes it even easier to see Laid as an advertisement for her philosophies about waiting to have sex because the consequences are too risky. Save it for the one you love! every chapter seems to shout. Or you’ll end up like me. It seems like a cheap way to use the honest, rare stories that these teens and young adults shared about their sex lives.
Boodram did include some men’s voices and perspectives in this collection of stories, but I found myself disappointed in that, too. In the introduction to the date rape chapter, Boodram admits, “My biggest regret about this chapter is that it does not include the voice of a male who experienced rape or sexual abuse. Twice I was contacted by different men … both expressed that they were interested in sharing their stories, and neither ended up submitting. … I had to give up” (p186). There must be more than two young men out there who have experienced sexual assault and who may be willing to share their stories around it. Rape is more complicated than women as survivors and men as perpetrators, and while that is the most common scenario, I wish she’d looked a little harder to include multiple perspectives.
But that’s the problem with a “sexual education” book based on real experiences: it is much harder to include content to create a full, varied, and wide representation of experience, since the editor may be limited to the contributions she received. And it’s difficult, as a critic, to disagree with someone’s personal experience.
Contributor Anthony writes in his story, “Teenage Pregnancy,” that he “never saw abortion as an option. I also know how selfish it may seem because I wasn’t the one carrying the child, but I don’t regret how firm a stance I took” (p180). This is a tough position on which to take a stance, controversial even, and while perhaps it makes sense to include multiple perspectives on the same situation, there was no corollary young woman with a feminist stance, saying she has the right to choose over her own body and that her boyfriend (or one night stand or hookup) was supportive, but understood that it was more her choice than his. In fact, there was kind of the opposite: another abortion story by Lorie who writes, “I did not include my partner in my decision. This I regret. I truly felt that the child was as much mine as it was his: thus, the decision should have been as much his as it was mine” (p178). I’ll skip over the part where she calls a fetus a “child,” and give her the benefit of the doubt that he was a great guy who would have listened and negotiated with her about what to do after they both got into this situation together. Hopefully, he would not have taken such a firm stance as Anthony, described above, forcing upon Lorie that abortion was not an option for her.
Perhaps abortion decisions are never so simple. Perhaps if Lorie had had a partner she could trust and confide in, she would have felt that pregnancy and birth was an option. Perhaps she wouldn’t say things like, “I get sad when I see a little girl who looks like me, or when I see pictures of a fetus. … I almost feel as though I’m not worthy to have another child because I let one go” (p179). But what about the flip side of that experience? What about when women have abortions and they feel okay about it, even good about their decision? What about the women who do not feel guilt? What about the right to exercise one’s choice? Those women are out there, that perspective on abortion is out there, but the sad regretful stories are far, far more prevalent in cultural narratives.
These experiences are clearly important, valid stories, real scenarios that these real people have gone through, and their real thoughts and feelings about them. I wouldn’t tell Lorie that her response to her abortion is “wrong” any more than I can tell someone else that theirs is “right”—I can only say that I know there are other responses out there, too, and when a book like this is touting itself off as an educational resource, I am not impressed.
There was one part I quite enjoyed: at the very end, almost as an afterthought with no bolding or italics, Boodram includes Ten Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier, and those points were right on. Those ideas, concepts, and general content I could get behind. “Sex is not just put it in, take it out. … Everyone thinks they’re good at sex without even really knowing anything about it. … Demand the truth about sex from your teachers and make sure they take adequate time to talk about myths verses reality. … Be confident and deliberate, especially when it comes to your personal life” (p278-279). She even includes Things the Contributors Want You To Know, a similar list of inspiring statements and personal revelations. Now this, this is useful. What would a book based on those ideas look like?
If it were simply a collection of essays on young people’s experiences with sex, it would have been an interesting essay collection. If it had been only a sexual education book written by Boodram, it may have stood up a bit stronger, and not had to answer to the long, real-life scenarios by her contributors. Regardless, there are better essay collections and much better sexual education books available; skip this one.
Good Porn: A Woman’s Guide by Erika Lust, translated by X.P. Callahan. Seal Press, June 2010
It’s difficult for me to critique this book: Lust consumes porn in similar ways that I do, and we have a similar history with viewing porn, so most of my responses to this consist of, “yeah, so what?” It’s not new information to me, nor would it be to anyone who is aware of the ways that the porn industry is rapidly changing to include more female directors, more perspectives from and by and about women, and more woman-oriented pornography.
Really we’re talking about films here. Porno films, from kink and gonzo to erotic documentaries: Lust writes about ‘em all.
If you’re a woman who doesn’t like porn, or who has seen some porn and thinks that it is all the same, icky, unrealistic, performance-y, useless, and not even sexy, this is a great guide to finding directors, stars, and content that you may enjoy. There is a world of new porn available, even in the last five years, and if you can suspend your judgment for a bit to open up to the new materials that Lust describes, you might be greatly rewarded, discovering some new ways to explore your own sexuality through finally some videos of sex that are actually made for your consumption.
I can’t imagine that readers of Sugarbutch—or Carnal Nation, where this review will be cross-posted—will find this new information, however. In my experience, most of the readers understand this new world of porn films, as I might argue that both Sugarbutch and Carnal Nation are part of that new world, perhaps on the fringe, as we don’t produce video content, but as cultural commentary, certainly.
So who needs to pick up this book?
Those women who, though they have already made up their minds about something, are willing to be surprised. Women who believe that porn could possibly be good, that the definition of porn is not “exploiting women” but that the industry has had a lousy history in the hands of repressed men who will sell any act of a penis pounding a vagina to make a quick buck, and that if women or queers or respectable men were making porn, it could be better. It possibly could be interesting, even. Women who believe that it is not porn itself that is the problem, it is not taking video of people having sex, enjoying their sexuality, and getting off that makes porn bad, it is the perspective and the industry in which most of these videos have been made that is problematic. And look—there is a whole industry and perspective popping up, thanks to the feminist movements, queer movements, and the rise in sexual information, sex education, and the Internet.
Ah yes, the Internet. It’s a challenge to write about the Internet in a book. Books are somewhat fixed documents, the Internet changes all the time. Long lists of web addresses in books are not so appealing, since they aren’t hypertext and I can’t click on them, and I have to be really inspired to actually go look up the URL on my computer from a book. Plus, I spend a lot of time online, reading information about sexuality, keeping up with the feminist- and queer-positive directors of porn, and following the new big releases from Blowfish or Good Releasing, so the information in Good Porn wasn’t new or shiny or opening my mind in any major (or minor) way. I was hoping Lust would tell us more about the worlds of women’s porn in Europe, since she’s Swedish and in fact this book is translated into English for it’s release on Seal Press, but there was very little content and description of films that I wasn’t previously aware of. It seems that the major impetus for this new women-centered porn world is here, in the US.
If you need some convincing that porn for women is real, happening, and, yes indeed, valuable, check out what Lust has to say on the subject. But if you are already part of this world, while I recognize that it’s good, solid information and important to write about, it may not keep your interest.
“Excuse me, could you pass me my penis?”
This is something NOBODY wants to say, especially not in a men’s bathroom, especially not in a women’s bathroom, especially not in ANY bathroom to any stranger whatsoever. And if you, like me, have used those lovely cute little soft packers to have that extra weight and bulge in your undies, you may have experienced that little phenomena that happens when you pull your pants down and they roll and tumble right out of their nice little packed spot and … onto the floor.
Oops. Man that sucks. Not only do I not want to put it back in my pants before cleaning it (bathroom floors, ew) but now I might have to either ask someone in the next stall to pass it back to me, or go in there and fish it out myself.
(I don’t think I’ve actually ever lost my packer in a public restroom. But I will totally admit to having had that nightmare, and even the occasional jiggle when I am trying to piss makes me nervous as hell.)
Point is: I love packing straps! I’ve had the cock sock for many years now, it was an easy cheap investment for like fifteen bucks that makes me feel sooo much better about wearing a packer. The Mr. Right packing strap is out there, too, but only really works with Mr. Right, which is a little bit hard for me personally to pack with (see my review here), I like the squishier packers, they’re more comfortable.
I was kind of skeptical. It attaches with velcro to the front of your underwear, and that seems a little weird. I want my packer to feel like it’s attached to me, not to my underwear. And I wasn’t sure the velcro would be enough—is just a regular underwear elastic enough for velcro to grab onto?
Turns out, yes. It doesn’t go anywhere when you just give the velcro a little press. I tend to use not the smallest (mini) but the small soft packer, and it was pretty easy to get into the pouch and is comfortable to wear.
I think I prefer the other packing strap called the Cock Sock a little more than I like this one, just because I prefer that it’s attached to me and not to my underwear, but then again sometimes if I’m already dressed and decide that I want to pack it is kind of a pain to get it on (either I have to stretch out the elastic to pull it over my jeans, or I have to undress. Annoying), and with this Packing Pouch I can just slip it in whenever I think of adding it to my outfit. Both are easily hand washable, and while I can’t say how long the Pouch is going to last, I know the Sock has lasted for quite a long time and it seems that the Pouch is slightly higher quality material. Hm, it’s a toss up, I’m not sure which one I like better.
Definitely worth trying if you like to pack, and if you use the soft packers.
I don’t usually go for vibrators. I have my magical masturbation toy combination all figured out, and most other vibes pale compared to the Hitachi. I’ve tried lots of the fancy-schmancy ones that are all the rage these days, and I just don’t like them very much. I don’t really want to read a manual to figure out how to use it. I just want an “on” button.
Despite all my reservations, I wanted to give the G-Ki G-Spot Vibrator a try. Mostly because I thought, hey, that might be my two favorite products combined into one!
Turns out that was wishful thinking. It’s very pretty, and sleek, and I can see liking it if I liked vibrators. I like that it has some movement in the neck that can be angled any which way. It’s not one of those vibes like the Sasi which you have to understand complicated astrophysics in order to operate, the controls are pretty simple, but still strong.
Still, my reaction is like my reaction to most vibrators: “eh.” Nothing particularly impressive. Interesting design, perhaps, yes, and enough so that I picked it up to try, but not enough so to pick up again. Unless you’re someone who likes subtler vibration, I’d say save your money for a Hitachi or a Pure Wand.
The G-Ki G-Spot Vibrator was sent to me from Good Vibrations for review. Check out more sex toys, vibrators, and other lovely items at your local feminist queer sex-positive sex toy shop, or online at goodvibes.com.
I jumped at the chance to review a Jimmyjane massage stone from Babeland. It might seem a little cheesy, an odd thing to add to a leather and silicone arsenal of sex toys, like edible underwear or feather ticklers, but I am definitely a fan of massage. Ever since Babeland sent me Bongers (which I traded for a DVD player, I really must get some replacements), I’ve had my eye out for other sensual, relaxing toys that are easy to slip in to foreplay and settling our bodies, before or after or completely separate from sex. Plus, I’ve seen other Jimmyjane products (I have one of those, now), and I trust their high quality.
The Jimmyjane Massage Stones come in three different designs: the I, a barbell for rolling; the M, this one pictured above and the one I received, which is good for broad strokes; and the Q, a smaller node for fine pressure points. They’re all porcelain, and very elegant. Here’s the blurb:
Contour Ceramic Massage Stones offer a modern take on traditional hot stone massage. Made of double-fired porcelain, they’re bio-compatible, durable, and easy to clean. With smooth, polished surfaces, they glide over the skin, relieving tension as they go. Use them individually, or pair the stones for different massage techniques. Warm them up to soothe, or cool them down to refresh.
It’s kind of hard to tell they’re porcelain, actually—the one I have feels a bit like plastic. But it’s hard to tell, it’s very smooth. I think I just expected it to be heavier. Since it’s porcelain, it could be warmed or cooled, which I haven’t tried yet, but I think that sounds lovely. Now, I just need to get my hands on some decent massage oil so the stone can go a bit deeper into the muscles. Makes me want to watch a bunch of the “how to massage your lover” films available on Netflix’s instant watch (though I suspect most of those will be too cheesy to get through).
The M fits very nicely in the palm of the hand, and feels great on the tight spots in my shoulders and back. I have some ongoing problems with my shoulders, actually, mostly from bad posture (read: early breast development) and from all the computer work I’ve done for the last fifteen years. Anything that can get in there and start lightening the knots feels great, I won’t ever turn that down.
Funny, I was just thinking last night about acts of service that I would always accept. A shoulder massage is pretty much always welcome. Glad I’ve got this little convenient tool around to make it easier.
The Jimmyjone Natural Contour Massage Stone M was sent to me from Babeland for review. Pick up other sex toys from Babeland, still my favorite feminist, queer, friendly, educational neighborhood sex shop, in Seattle, Brooklyn, two Manhattan locations, or online.
One of the first things I procured when Kristen and I decided to undergo an anal sex educational adventure was Tristan Taormino’s book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women. It is clearly THE definite guide on the subject, she is, as Time Out New York quotes on the cover, “the go-to girl on anal sex,” and she is a fantastic writer.
So we picked it up. Kristen tore through it quickly, absorbing what she needed to, but I took longer, picking it up and reading a chapter here and there for the past few months. I’ve been around in sex positive circles and sex education circles long enough that none of the information was particularly new, but regardless, it was really helpful to see it all laid out clearly again, in a quick and easy guide type of style.
It’s really well-constructed, too. It starts with Myths About Anal Sex and moves into Anal Anatomy, both very specific basics to cover. And since Kristen and I both are pretty (okay, extremely) analytical, we like to do our research. We like to have all the information.
Tristan’s third chapter was especially a good one for me, which is “Beyond Our Bodies: Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Anal Eroticism,” and covers talking about it, fear, and trust. I think some of what Kristen and I come up against is some hesitation around this, the fear and trust, and struggling with wanting to do something (like take a cock up the ass) and having that actually be uncomfortable, but feeling bad that it doesn’t feel better. Well, it’s certainly possible that it won’t actually feel better, that you just don’t like that sensation, that you don’t come more easily from anal than from vaginal penetration (unlike Madison Young, for example). But it’s also possible that we just keep going slow, and I know some of the things we do are very pleasurable, and perhaps eventually we’ll build up into something even more so.
I’m writing a little cryptically in the plural and second person here, but probably you already know that what I’ve been talking about is me fucking Kristen’s ass. And she (and everyone else on the entire Internet) knows that I’m interested in doing that … but I am, first and foremost, interested in it feeling good. (I know some of the things we play with don’t directly “feel good,” like getting slapped, but there’s a release there that is not about discomfort. That’s not the same thing.) I don’t care how soon, or if EVER, we get to the point of playing where I can actually be strapped on and fucking her ass.
On the other hand, I know she likes it, sometimes, when she’s really turned on and I work just one knuckle of my finger in … and I know she’s interested in exploring more, she’s told me such explicitly. I’ve got to remember to be clear that this isn’t about the destination, but about the journey, and about the exploring.
I’ve kind of successfully avoided talking about the, perhaps, elephant in the room surrounding anal week: what about my ass?
That’s actually really hard for me to write about! Which is why I haven’t yet really gone there. Even with my review of Tristan’s Anniversary plug (ooh la la) last year, I avoided talking about how I actually used it and how it felt.
It feels pretty intimate to reveal, I guess … and you all know that I do bottom, sometimes, or at least, I used to. I have, in the past. Quite a bit, in fact. And I have a lot of experience with anal sex, my high school ex-boyfriend of five years (whom I think I’ve referred to as Mike here on this site?) used to love it and we had quite a good time with it.
I know, I know! Wait, what? Not only am I talking about things going into my own ass, I’m talking about being fucked by a cis guy! Maybe I’m deflecting. You know, “Hey Mom, I have cancer. Just kidding, I’m gay!”
My own ass has been pretty much left out of the equation here, mostly because, these days, frankly, I’m a little bit stone. Not entirely, and I don’t have specific rules about the parts of my body that she can or cannot touch, but usually I actually ask for things done to me, and she doesn’t usually assert what she wants to do or make requests. Which I very much like. Nine times out of ten, or maybe more like ninety-five times out of a hundred, I don’t want to be touched, don’t really want the focus on me. Or, I want it to be directed by me, and focused on me in the ways that I choose it to be. It’s taken me a while to get here, and I like it. I’ve never been so sexually satisfied with a partner.
But … that’s not to say that I wouldn’t like something in my ass on occasion. I wonder if having a butt plug in while wearing a harness would make me come easier, in fact. It’s a subject I haven’t talked to Kristen about much (ahem, really, at all), but something worth playing with.
Speaking of trust, and fear.
Back to the review:
Tristan covers freakin’ everything. Hygiene, shaving, enemas, safer sex, lube, toys, masturbation, analingus (or, as Dylan reminds us, rimming), penetration, anal pleasure for men, BDSM, long-term butt plug wear, anal fisting … everything! She has nice little sidebars featuring questions from readers, which she answers expertly and clearly. AND it has great cartoon-y drawings of toys, people doin’ it, gloves, and all sorts of things that need visual representation.
So nice to have such a great resource available, eh?
If you’re interested in anal sex, either a beginner or a frequent lover of the activity, this will deepen your play, offer you lots of support for any questions or qualms you’re having, and maybe even give you some new ideas of hot things you can incorporate and play with. Absolutely worth reading.
I hear she’s also got a great DVD series, Expert’s Guides, featuring The Expert Guide to Anal Sex, which I’m going to do my best to get my hands on next.
The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women (2nd Edition) was sent to me for review by Eden Fantasys. Get more books, anal toys, or other sex toys over at Eden. Thanks!
It’s long overdue, I know.
Remember back in September, I posted something about how I’d like to fuck Kristen’s ass? Then there was a bit of controversy, people thinking I was trying to use the Internet to get her to do something she didn’t want to do. Clearly that is not the case.
(Not to open an old can o’worms or anything.)
Even so, there was a follow-up post with some more details about what this meant for us and what I was intending when I put the first post up. There are some great tips from commentors for folks interested in getting started or having more anal sex, too, which I do recommend you read.
We are far from pros at this whole anal sex thing, but it’s been working quite well between us, and we’ve both got comfortable enough with it that I can slip it in (ha, ha) at various times when we’re doing other things, already playing, and we do that somewhat regularly.
I did get out the lovely Tantus Silk cock, that I got from Babeland, and strap it on and fuck her ass with it, but so far that’s only been once. We both express interest in doing that again, I guess from my perspective it just takes a bit of warm up, and preparation, and I tend to stick with what works. I get impatient, is what I’m saying.
But clearly that should change if I want to continue to help push our sexual explorations into new territory.
In the past six months since I first put that post up, I have collected a host of anal toys and resources that I want to share with y’all. Some of them I’ve already mentioned or written up, like the Njoy Fun Wand and Tristan’s famous butt plug, but there are more goodies that we’ve explored since and I want to share them with you, too.
So, in the next week, I’ll have for you a review of the Tantus Silk cock, perfectly sized for ass fucking; a beautiful glass butt plug from Good Vibes; and Tristan Taormino’s legendary book The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex For Women, sent to me by Eden Fantasys. I’ll write up some lubes that are particularly good for ass play, some tips for beginners, some of my very favorite anal scenes in queer porn, and write up a dirty story or two about what the anal exploration has been like here at Chez Sexsmith.
What about you out there? What are your favorite anal scenes in queer porn? What are your favorite toys to use? What’s your favorite lube? What position do you just love to be in? Let’s get the conversation going while I focus on the upcoming posts.