Posts Tagged ‘tristan taormino’
It’s been a review and work month for books, but I’m still eager to keep finding those titles that are breezy-easy reads, that engage me fully, and that are extremely fun and satisfying to finish.
Here’s what I’ve been reading this month.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love from Cleis Press to be part of the blog tour for this book, but I was immensely impressed. Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson have penned quite a few books on Tantra, and they teach extensively on the subject, but I believe this is their first more general book encouraging sexual engagement and interaction for couples ongoing. Bed death is another one of those topics that I am fascinated in, so I was very curious what they would say and what they recommend. It is an excellent read. I loved how they portrayed Tantra in that chapter, and the many chapters on experiments for couples, keeping sexy times alive, and ways to work through your own internal blocks are essential and fantastic. I appreciated the extensive amount of gender inclusion, including some testimonials and quotes from trans folks in very respectful and interesting ways, and of sexual orientation inclusion, too—I worried Michaels & Johnson would be very heteronormative in their work, but it didn’t feel that way to me at all. On the contrary, it felt like they were over for dinner at my house and they were just chit chatting about the very real challenges that I have faced in many relationships. (But in a deep, personal, open, insightful way, not in a superficial chit-chat way.) It was much more than I expected and I think everyone curious about enhancing your sex life, and your connection to your partner, should read it, and every one of us who teaches about sex, bed death, and maintaining erotics in a long term relationship should look to it as an excellent resource.
The Big Book of Sex Toys: From Vibrators and Dildos to Swings and Slings—Playful and Kinky Bedside Accessories That Make Your Sex Life Amazing by Tristan Taormino is not a new publication, but it’s new to me. I remember when it was released a few years ago and I just didn’t have time to pick it up and check it out, but because it’s Tristan, I knew it’d be good, and I figured I’d get to it eventually. I finally did, and glad I did. It’s not so much a bible of all available sex toys (perhaps you want Hey, Epiphora for that) but it’s an excellent primer on the types of toys available and highlights of some of the very best. Since the world of sex toys changes constantly (which is one of the reasons it’s fascinating, and one of the reasons it’s frustrating), the book is not comprehensive—but doesn’t claim to be. In addition, it is about SO MUCH MORE than just sex toys—it has excellent essays on communication, experimentation, and owning your own desires mixed in, almost disguised under the premise of sex toys, which is extra clever and a really good entrance point for people delving into more creative sexualities. It belongs up there with The Good Vibes Guide to Sex and Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind Blowing Sex.
I was severely disappointed with Madison Young’s new memoir Daddy. I expected it to be the story of her life, highlighting the daddies she had along the way (as the back cover blurb implied), and including her rise to her pretty famous position of “feminist pornographer.” She wrote about her family-of–origin father, and her partner-cum-dominant-cum-daddy James, but virtually nothing was said about her feminist politics, and very little was depicted or delved into about the sex work and porn that she is particularly famous for starring in and creating. I thought the conflation of her “daddy issues” with her biological father and the daddy role and play that she and her lover take on was irresponsible and cliche. I would have hoped for something more in depth, more thought out, and more, well, feminist, in that it would depict power dynamics with awareness and consciousness and show personal agency. Maybe it’s just because I know Madison’s story has so much more to it than what was shown in this book, but the many claims (two of them being “feminism” and “the many daddies”) just didn’t deliver.
Shanna Katz’s book Lesbian Sex Positions: 100 Passionate Positions from Intimate and Sensual to Wild and Naughty was one of those review books I mentioned, that I picked up because I have deep respect for Shanna, and because I have a kinda quirky fascination with sex positions. On the one hand, having sex in different positions seems like a kind of irrelevant thing to teach or know about, but on the other hand, it is an amazingly popular way that couples “spice up their sex life” and begin seeking more in the worlds of sexuality and toys and kink. It’s also incredibly useful to know about sex positions for people with different physical abilities, be that from injury or disability, and often useful for differing size issues, too, both “my partner is a full foot taller than me!” and “I weight a lot more/less than my partner.” Also, someone (Megan Andelloux I think?) once told me that she believed there are only four real sex positions, and all the others are variations of those four, and I’ve been trying to figure out which four those are ever since. So I was curious to see lesbian-specific ideas for positions. I was disappointed by the skinny-white-girl depictions of the positions, though I think I remember seeing Shanna say that herself too, and that she didn’t have any choice, it was the publisher’s decision. It doesn’t highlight Shanna’s extraordinary skills around disability and size and gender-diversity, so the book doesn’t feel like a very good representation of Shanna’s sex educator smarts. Still, her introductory essay is great (and probably the best part of the book), and I think it’s fascinating that there’s a market for gift books like this.
I’m really into Running with the Mind of Meditation: Lessons for Training Body and Mind by Sakyong Mipham. I devoured it from the library and then went out and bought my own copy so I could follow along with the stages of running (and meditation) that he talks about. I miss studying Buddhism—I haven’t found my place here in the Bay Area yet (mostly because I haven’t really looked yet). I love looking at running through the teachings of meditation, and I was moved, inspired, and curious about the ways he interweaves the two. He does say explicitly that though running can be meditative, it is not a replacement for a meditative practice—”running is not your meditation,” (I’m paraphrasing), “any more than meditation is your exercise.” This book made me want to run better and meditate more. Which is just what I wanted it to do.
I’m not sure what it is, but I have a small collection of funky queer coloring books. I don’t color in them (though maybe I should—I try not to treat my objects as too precious to be used for their intended purpose), but I seem to collect them anyway. I picked up the Sex Position Coloring Book as a review item because I am—what did I write up there?—quirkily fascinated by sex positions as a thing that sex educators teach, and I’m trying to figure out how it’s useful to my own teachings and workshops, particularly since I teach strap-on workshops so frequently. The book depicts only heterosexual cis male & cis female couples, but that’s one of the fun things about a coloring book: you could always add harnesses or other bodily modifications. In full disclosure: I also picked this up partly to inspire rife to possibly do some of his own coloring pages, maybe of sex positions even. That secret covert plan hasn’t worked yet, but I still have some ideas up my sleeve.
I’ve just finished Farm City: Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter this week, so it just squeaked on to this list. I have TWO beautiful big photo books about beginning to grow food in your (urban) backyard, but I haven’t quite devoured them because, well, I’m still so intimidated by the process. I moved into the house I’m in now in August 2013, and we spent the winter prepping the yard and getting it ready to plant and grow more things. Now that it’s spring in the Bay Area it is clearly time to plant things and start planning. It’s exciting! The options feel limitless! And also, eek! We do already have quite a few things in the ground, kale potatoes peas tomatoes pumpkins, and some herbs, sage dill mint basil, and a wildflower patch and a jasmine bush and a satsuma orange tree in a container, but I want to know how to do it all better and want to play in the dirt. So, in order to get myself a bit more excited about these kinds of ideas, I picked up Novella’s book. She had an urban farm in Oakland actually not too far from my house, so I loved hearing about the changes in the neighborhood and the local events. She raised ducks, rabbits, and even pigs for meat, and I will absolutely not be doing that, but in comparison it sure makes growing kale seem easier. I love how extensively researched she is—every few pages she quotes another book, another writer, another hippie back-to-the-land philosopher who came before. I’m definitely more inspired to get out to my own backyard garden and see what I can help grow.
I’ve been devouring some business books lately, and Start Your Dream Business was one of them. It, unfortunately, is almost completely about motivating the reader to follow their dreams and pursue that wacky business idea that you might have, and it is not at all about the nitty-gritty how to do it. In fact, often the business profiles completely skip that part, going from “I had this great idea!” to “and now it’s a 6-figure business!” Great, good for you—and also, how’d ya do that!? Regardless, I picked up the book from the library because I was interested in the premise, and zoomed through it because it included so many people whose work I’ve been familiar with online (like Tara Gentile and … lots of others I can’t remember now). Sarah Wade is UK-based, so many of the references and business owners are not American, which honestly made it even more interesting, since I am mostly familiar with American methodologies of entrepreneurship. I still don’t feel like I’m a pro at this whole business thing, but it’s curious and I am enjoying the learning.
I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles because it’s in that BDSM-novel genre of power dynamic romance that I have enjoyed picking up recently, because I zoom through them and sometimes they’re kind of fun and mostly I can ignore the problematic gender/power alignment assumptions. This one had a curious class premise—that the dominant the narrator meets and falls for is homeless and jobless at the beginning of the book—but other than that, it was pretty fluffy and not very memorable. I ran into a quote from this book about switching, which is what turned me on to it in the first place, but I might have put the book down before I got to the switching part, or just didn’t notice it. The writing is less than average, so I often skimmed through chapters.
Um okay so that’s all I have to say about that.
One more sidenote: I decided at the beginning of March that I would do my best to NOT read online, and to read books instead. It was interesting—it took a lot of discipline, and I noticed how many times, over and over, I clicked through to an article on social media or via email. I didn’t realize how much I was reading online every day, and how many of those articles had so much throw-away content—not things that were actually enriching my life, or teaching me things, but more sensationalized what’s happening in the world things. So that practice has helped me both focus on work more when I’m at the computer and read more books, which has been excellent. I aim to continue that habit.
You can support my reading habit, and encourage me to read and write book roundups like this one, by buying me gifts through my Amazon wish list! (Did I mention it’s my birthday today?)
Or, check out more books that I recommend:
What have you been reading lately? Any recommendations?
I’m obligated by the blogger’s code to let you know that the Sex Position Coloring Book, Daddy by Madison Young, The Big Book of Sex Toys, Lesbian Sex Positions, and Partners in Passion were all sent to me by the respective publishers as review books. My opinions on those books are solely my own, however, and they did not pay me or influence me in any way to write them. Pick up these books at your local independent bookstore, or, if you must, on Amazon.
Laura Antoniou & I were guests on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud podcast this past Friday, and the show is now up & available to listen to online.
This week’s episode of Sex Out Loud has two different guests talking about their work giving voice to sexual minorities, specifically the leather & BDSM communities. Laura Antoniou, one of the most published female writers of the queer/BDSM erotic genre, will discuss her popular Marketplace erotic novel series as well as the publication of her first mystery novel, The Killer Wore Leather. Sinclair Sexsmith is the kinky butch top behind the the popular Sugarbutch Chronicles. They’re also a writer, storyteller, and performer who studies critical feminist & gender theory, sexual freedom, social change activism, archetypes, and the tantric and buddhist spiritual systems.
Check it out!
1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?
That no matter how progressive your family might be, they might have a very difficult time accepting plural relationships. In my adulthood, I’ve only had one protracted fight or falling-out with my mother, and it was over my concurrent relationships with two men. Her inability to understand came out as disgust and it hurt me tremendously for quite some time. Also, that you yourself must want that type of love in your life – don’t ever get into it because of someone else’s ultimatum.
2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and how have you overcome that?
Initially, when I began, it was pretty much a neverending onslaught upon my sense of security and self worth. Living in a world that upholds monogamy as the ultimate form of love really shapes the way you view loving and being loved — when someone doesn’t approach you and your relationship in the de facto ways, it can be very disorienting and scary. I struggled a great deal with jealousy, but much of that had to do with my (at the time) primary partner’s adherence to the old adage “it’s easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission”. I felt like a lot of stuff happened without consulting me first, and that my concerns about partner selection were not being heard. In the end, I suppose I overcame that by not remaining with that partner. He was a lovely person who was not a good partnership fit for me — acquiring the knowledge that you can love and respect someone a great deal but not “fit” with them was a real eye-opener.
3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?
It forced a great deal of introspection in my early/mid 20s. I learned myself, my emotional patterns and my weaknesses very, very well. Through a great deal of reading (I’m particularly partial to Tristan Taormino’s “Opening Up”), I learned a tremendous amount about non-violent communication. How to know what I wanted or needed and how to ask for it without resorting to passive aggression (or straight-up aggression) has been a boon to literally every other aspect of my life, too.
4. Anything else you’d like to add?
I’m no longer actively nonmonogamous. In short order, I’m marrying the person who was, for several years, my secondary partner. Meeting each other on the terms of an atypical relationship structure forced us to communicate on a different level than if we had met each other as single people. There was a lot of deep discussion that might not otherwise have happened at such early stages. The raw honesty that was required forged an incredibly solid bond between the two of us. We’re certainly keeping ourselves open in theory if not in active practice, as we feel it stops us from lapsing into bored complacency. There’s a bit of a safety valve built in there, too. If we become infatuated with someone else, knowing we can talk to each other about it and possibly negotiate for a very happy conclusion really takes some of the pressure off of a long-term commitment to each other. It’s very unlikely either of us would run off with a sexy coworker or what have you, if we acknowledge the truth fluidity of desire within a long-term relationship.
I have been so busy telling you all about Say Please that I have barely even mentioned some of the other recent notable books I’ve picked up. All are fantastic reads and have plenty to offer for the novice or the very experienced kinkster.
Ecstasy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas I’ve already mentioned on Sugarbutch, but it’s worth mentioning again if you haven’t read it yet. If you’re interested in exploring your own sexuality, getting closer to your own desires, having a lovely introduction to some tantric explorations, or taking a good, long reflective look at your sex life and relationship/s, this is an incredible place to start.
Queer & Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein is a beautiful, stunning memoir about Kate’s time as a scientologist (!), then being excommunicated and losing her family, then transitioning and coming out as a kinkster on the West coast, and finally moving to New York. It’s an incredible story and I loved every page.
The Ultimate Guide to Kink by Tristan Taormino really is the Ultimate Guide to Kink. There are essays in here from all sorts of mentors and experienced authoritative kinksters, and the book covers all kinds of fascinating topics. I’m especially excited about Barbara Carrellas’s chapter on kinky tantra, the age play chapter, and the “inside the mind of a sadist” chapter. I haven’t finished it yet (I’ve barely started it, actually) but I’m already thrilled. Cleis Press is contributing amazing things to the kink and sexualities worlds and I’ll read anything they put out.
Mind-Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage might look like some basic women’s sexuality book, but it isn’t. It’s a complex commentary on our sexual culture and includes tons of ideas, exercises, and prompts to get you digging into your own sexual self. Kristen read it cover to cover and pronounced, “I’m going to send a copy to my sister.” It’s the kind of book that all our younger sisters should have (after we finish reading it).
There have been so many great books released this spring! I’m also really looking forward to Are You My Mother by Alison Bechdel and Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson. I haven’t been all the way through the Lambda Literary finalists, though I like to pick through that list because they are often the best of the best. And of course I’ll be at the Lammys this year! Very excited to continue attending and being involved.
What have you been reading lately? Anything good?
As usual, series editor and reading series host Kathleen Warnock is hosting the New York City release party on December 15th at her Drunken! Careening! Writers! series at KGB Bar in the East Village. (When I have the Facebook invite and such I’ll let you know.)
Meanwhile, though, here’s my introduction to this year’s Best Lesbian Erotica. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, there are a lot of great (dirty!) stories included by many of my favorite writers. Pick it up if you get a chance. I really hope you like it, and I’d love to hear what you think after you get a chance to read it.
I know what I want.
I knew exactly what I was looking for when I read the submitted stories for this anthology: dirty, smutty, smart about gender, smart about power, packed full of sex with the bare necessary descriptions of setting and context, and, oh yeah, good writing. It doesn’t have to be dirty in my personal favorite ways—with sultry accoutrements and costuming like stockings and strappy sandals, or with strap-ons and lots of fucking, or with blow jobs and dirty talk. I like stories where the characters are so turned on and lusty that I feel it too, even if it is not my particular kink or pleasure. I like stories with unique descriptions and rolling prose and insatiable narrators and rising and falling action. I like stories where I want to recreate the action for myself, when I am inspired by the delicious positions and settings and words.
Yes, and the words, let’s not forget the words. That’s what these kinds of books are all about, really. If you wanted a quick, easy turn on, you could load up any of dozens of queer porn sites—there is no shortage of real, good queer porn out there these days. But for some of us that is too crass, and a well-done turn of phrase gets us swooning and biting our lips and rubbing our thighs together even more than a dirty video.
I didn’t always know what I wanted. When I was coming out in the late 1990s, though there was a serious lack of queer porn in the video stores, there were plenty of people paving the landscape for what would become the blossoming queer porn of the 2000s. Diana Cage, On Our Backs magazine, Good Vibrations, (Toys in) Babeland, Annie Sprinkle, Susie Bright—and, of course, Tristan Taormino. It was Tristan’s 1998 Best Lesbian Erotica anthology that for me clicked something into place, something I could no longer pretend wasn’t there. I would hide the book in the back of the shelves at the bookstore where I worked so it wouldn’t get purchased, and I’d sandwich it between two others and sneak it into the stock room to read when it was slow. I wore creases into the spine with Toni Amato’s story “Ridin’ Bitch” and Karlyn Lotney’s story “Clash of the Titans.” I was genuinely confused as to why I liked these stories so much. What was this affect they had on me? Why did I love them so much? What did it all mean?
I began to find other books, short stories, and essays that helped move my budding baby dykery along: Nothing But the Girl—oh, swoon. That essay by Anastasia Higgenbotham in Listen Up: Voices From the Next Feminist Generation. Cunt by Inga Muscio. Breathless by Kitty Tsui. And the Herotica series, which was erotica for women before Rachel Kramer Bussel’s prolific erotica editing career.
I bought one of the Herotica books at a little indy bookstore—now gone—on Capitol Hill in Seattle when I visited one summer, before moving there. But it proved to be too threatening to my boyfriend who, enraged some night after yet another argument about my sexuality, stabbed that book and two other lesbian erotica books with the wide-handled screwdriver which I’d used to masturbate since I was a teenager.
These books are filled with three powerful things: 1. women, who are 2. empowered, 3. about their sexuality (which, by the way, does not involve men). Even the books themselves are threatening.
These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless.
For queers coming out and into our own, they are a path.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve managed to snag myself a lesbian bed death relationship, going out of my mind with desire and disconnection. I stopped writing, because the only thing that I was writing was how miserable I felt, how much I wanted out of that relationship—a reality I wasn’t ready to face. I decided that to work off my sexual energy, I would either go to the gym or I would write erotica. Well, I ended up writing a lot of erotica, rediscovering this tool of self-awareness and self-creation that had led me to smut in the first place, and I began writing myself back into my own life, back into the things that I hold most important: connection, touch, release, holding, witness, play.
My first published smut story was in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006. Between the time I wrote it and the time the book came out, I was beginning to end the bed death relationship, in no small part because I’d reminded myself of the value of the erotic, of my own inner erotic world, of erotic words. Between the time I wrote it and the time it came out, I started Sugarbutch Chronicles, which has carried me through these last five plus years, often being my sanctuary, support circle, best friend, and confidant.
Writing these stories, for me, has not been frivolous. They have not been nothing. They are not fluff or useless.
For me, they were a path back to myself when I got lost.
When I was lost, I had no idea what I wanted, aside from the basic daily survivals: work. Eat. Pay bills. Sleep. Shower. But when I wrote, when I connected with my own desire, I felt a little piece of me bloom and become in a bigger way. I felt more like myself.
I turned again to the great books of smut to help me find myself, to help me find a way back to a partner, a lover, a one night stand—hell, even an hour with a Hitachi was sometimes enough. The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Mr. Benson. Switch Hitters: Gay Men Write Lesbian Erotica and Lesbians Write Gay Male Erotica. Back to Basics: Butch/Femme Erotica. Doing It For Daddy. And Best Lesbian Erotica, always Best Lesbian Erotica. I still eagerly buy it every year to see what the guest editor’s tastes are, to see what the new trends are, to read the emerging new writers, to get my rocks off.
I rediscovered what I wanted through reading smut and writing it. Through carving myself a path in connection with a lineage of sex positive dykes and sex radicals and queer kinksters and feminist perverts.
After six years of writing and publishing erotica, I am thrilled to be a guest editor for the series which sparked me into queerness in 1998, thrilled to be choosing stories for the same series that published my very first piece, “The Plow Pose,” in 2006, which helped spark me back to myself. It is so exciting to be contributing to this queer smut hotbed that Cleis Press has helped nurture all these years, and I’m so glad to continue to be part of it in new ways.
I know what I want, now. And lesbian erotica, or as I prefer to call it, queer smut, has helped me not only visualize what is possible, but create a path toward getting what I want.
The stories in this book reflect my taste, my favorites, my personal hot spots, certainly, but also the best-written stories from a large pile of well-written stories by some of my favorite authors, like Kiki DeLovely and Xan West. There are some less-well known writers in here whose work you may not be familiar with, yet, but who will leave an impression on you, writers like Anne Grip and Amy Butcher. I found dozens of moments of signposts, signals directing me toward myself, words illuminating my own meridians of ache. With each story, with each act of lust, with each dirty command or submissive plea, I rediscovered my own want.
I hope you find some of what you want within these pages, too.
A couple notes from around the blog world that you may be interested in. Have a lovely weekend, all. More updates here are in progress.
BUTCH Voices Conference Requests Blog Links
BUTCH Voices folks are gearing up for the second bi-annual national conference in August, and they are looking to put a list of queer bloggers in their program, “open to all our Masculine of Center and Queer allies much like the conference“.
To have your blog listed, DM or @-reply their Twitter account, @BUTCHVoices with your linkand contact information and they will be in touch with you.
Madison Young Launches “Perversions of Lesbian Lust”
Here’s a shot from one of the first galleries, featuring Bettina Doll:
I suspect you’ll hear more from me about Perversions in the future.
Review of Boi Meets Girl on Amazon
I wrote a review of Boi Meets Girl: Brett & Melanie on Amazon for Tony Comstock & Comstock films. I caught a screening of that film at the LGBT Center a few months ago and it was fantastic, as was the Q&A with Tony after. I highly recommend it if you’re a queer porn collector. It’s real and fun and hot, and the interviews with Brett & Melanie are so familiar. It almost felt exposing, but I think that meant that it was incredible effective.
Taormino’s new anthology Take Me There: Transgender & Genderqueer Erotica
In mainstream media, the erotic identities, sex lives, and fantasies of transgender and genderqueer people are often oversimplified, sensationalized, or invisible. Take Me There is an erotica collection unlike any other that celebrates the pleasure, heat, and diversity of transgender and genderqueer sexualities. The power of seeing and being seen is a central theme in the anthology; it’s not simply about passing or not passing (an idea often explored with transgender characters), but about being acknowledged and desired in a sexual context.
The book takes you from San Francisco to Israel, from heartache to lust, from stranger sex to a 10 year anniversary, from ballet shoes to butt plug bondage tables, from fumbling teenagers to leatherclad bears, from MTF and FTM—and in between and beyond.
There is an incredible line-up of writers who have contributed to this anthology, including Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman, Ivan Coyote, Patrick Califia, Julia Serano, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Toni Amato, and many more. I’m really thrilled to have one of my stories included in here. More details on the book are available on Tristan Taormino’s tumblr.
If you’d like to support this book, the best thing you can do is to pre-order it on Amazon. Amazon bases its in stock copies on the amount of pre-orders, so it would significantly help to make it widely available if you can spare the $11 on the pre-order copy.
Lesbian Sex Mafia kicks off Leather Pride Week with Laura Antoniou Tonight
At the LGBT Center, 8pm. She’s teaching Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want:
“Often, when we try to tell our partners what we like or want, those words are filtered through things like expectations, projection, fear, shame and verbal shortcuts. Play a little card game with Laura and push your flirting talents up a notch! Expand your creativity and verbal skills beyond “I like flogging” or “anything you want” through an interactive game and exercise. Learn how creative communication and courageous risk-taking can make your relationship and play more intimate, satisfying and fun. Say what you mean, and mean what you say – and make it seductive.”
Where: LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St. (7th/8th Ave)
When: Friday, June 17, 2011; 8:00-10:00PM (Leather Pride weekend)
Cost: $5/LSM members, $10/Non members
Laura Antoniou is the author of the well known Marketplace series of erotic novels. As a presenter, panelist, and keynote speaker, Laura has appeared at dozens of conferences over more than twenty years, both entertaining and delivering an occasional verbal indictment. She has also appeared at colleges and universities, including NYU, Rutgers, Columbia and the University of Washington. Laura lives in Queens, NY with her wife Karen, and happily serves as boy to Kim Attica. Friends have called her all sorts of names. Current favorites being “Renaissance Perv” by Midori, “Good Boy!” by Kim and of course, “best thing that ever happened to me” by Karen.
The one on Twitter, and Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind release party. Director (and general badass hottie) Tristan Taormino posted some shots from it on her Tumblr and on Facebook, including this one of my firecracker fierce hot girlfriend.
Photo by Nate “Igor” Smith (drivenbyboredom.com)
(Regularly scheduled posts will return next week, I swear.)
It occurred to me while I was thinking about the Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind party that is happening in New York City tonight that I still haven’t commented on Rough Sex 2. So hey, let’s do that.
I never wrote up Rough Sex 1 with Sasha Grey and Derrick Pierce (as well as others, but they stood out), but I remember it well. Especially Derrick’s scene, though the premise of the whole film series by feminist queer pornographer Tristan Taormino is also awesome, and I love the way it unfolds on screen.
The scenes are based on the female performer’s fantasies, where they get to choose what they do and who they do it with. The interviews and descriptions about what the porn stars want to do, how they establish trust, and why they like to play rough are interspersed with some clips from their scenes before you watch the whole thing. It’s great—what an intentional, articulate way to not just explore but also record this kind of rough play.
Here’s the description about the series from Tristan’s website:
The scenes are based entirely on the real fantasies of female performers, which run the gamut from dominance to submission. Through deeply personal interviews, you’ll discover their definitions of rough sex, why they love it, how they establish trust with their partners, and what they need to feel safe to play on the edge. With scenes that are part documentary and part erotic vignette, Rough Sex dares to challenge conventional wisdom about the fantasy lives of women.
They create the scenes. They choose their partners. They control what happens. Each woman shares her most intimate desires, tests her own boundaries, and rides the seductive line between pleasure and pain. Witness female sexuality at its most extreme: raw, rough, and real.
Rough Sex 2 is directed by Tristan Taormino, starring Claire Adams, Chayse Evans, April Flores, Sinnamon Love, Adrianna Nicole, Dylan Ryan, Bobbi Starr, Madison Young, Mark Davis, James Deen, Shane Diesel, Richard Mann, Nathan Menace, and Orpheus Black. The scenes are described as: Mistress Claire takes her pet April on an unforgettable ride. Bobbi tastes total submission at the back of her throat. Ponygirl Madison gets trained. Chayse and Mark double team slave Adrianna. Madison bakes a cake for her Mistress with interesting results. Sinnamon serves her Master (and his friends) at a poker game.
Two of those really stand out: Madison Young’s pony play scene, and Sinnamon’s poker game. I don’t have any interest in pony play, myself, but watching that scene was fascinating, in part precisely because I don’t have much interest in it, and because Madison Young is such an amazing performer that we can actually watch the desire grow and build in her facial expressions and in her body, which gave me a different understanding about why that kind of play would be intriguing. See some shots from that scene on Tristan’s tumblr if you are intrigued. Sinnamon’s poker game was intense, and I can clearly tell why she chose that dom. He was precise and deliberate, and so obviously experienced. Here’s some shots from it on Tristan’s tumblr, where she also says, “There is so little black on black BDSM in mainstream porn that I am especially proud of this scene for its groundbreaking representation.”
Rough Sex 3: Adrianna’s Dangerous Mind I haven’t seen yet, but I have been following Tristan’s tumblr as she’s posted many shots from the scenes: Adrianna Nicole & Jiz Lee, “Cash” starring Adrianna Nicole & Ramon Nomarxxx, Adrianna Nicole & Jada Fire, and “Jock” Nat Turnher, Danny Wylde, Keni Styles & Evan Stone give Adrianna Nicole a workout.
The release party is tonight in New York City and features free hard cider from 7-8pm, gift bags, a raffle when you buy a copy of the DVD, and more. Stop by if you’re around. It’s FREE tonight, Tuesday, March 22, 7-10 pm at Fontana’s, 105 Eldridge Street (between Grand & Broome) in NYC. No RSVP Required.
Okay, maybe I spoke too soon. Of course, as soon as I call something the “ultimate” anything, I’m going to find something missing. Hello? Sinclair? Did you not just host Anal Week (which lasted at least two weeks)? You make an Ultimate Masturbation Toys list, and forget something for the butt?
Whoops, my bad!
Well: good thing I can remedy that right away, cause I’ve got the Tristan Plug right here, not just waiting to be reviewed and written up but waiting to be used. And Kristen’s off at her baking apprenticeship …
You know who Tristan Taormino is, right? Her column in the Village Voice (largely compiled in the book True Lust: Adventures in Sex, Porn, and Perversion) changed my life and changed the way I think about sex. I’ve admired her work for many years, and still follow her everywhere I can.
Tristan has two—not one, but TWO—butt plugs named after her. The second and most recently produced plug is the Tristan Plug Anniversary Edition, which is, of course, a bit thicker. I got my hands on it and reviewed it about a year ago, but reflecting on it now, a year later, it’s not something I use very often. It’s kind of intimidating.
The original Tristan Plug was a bit slimmer and longer, measuring 3-1/4″ x 1-1/2″. And finally, I’ve added one to my arsenal, thanks to Babeland. What makes the Tristan Plug unique from all the other dozens of perfectly adequate silicone butt plugs on the market? Babeland describes it quite succinctly:
Designed by the Anal Sex Queen herself, Tristan Taormino, this power plug is ample in size and features. The combination of the bulbous head and pronounced elongated neck make this plug easy to keep in place. Rectangular flange makes retention a little easier by allowing a bit more room for your butt cheeks. Regal in shape and short on length, pop in the Tristan for anal satisfaction and play everywhere else.
That’s just it: the head and neck, plus the “flange” at the bottom, the shape of the flared base, mean that it stays in place easily. I haven’t tried it as a toy for longer wear, I know sometimes people like to wear a plug in public, but I’ve never tried it for that kind of thing. I hear it works very well, though.
So, while Kristen is still off and I’ve got the apartment to myself, I’m going to spend a little extra time with my favorite toys, and add the Tristan Plug to that list.
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!