The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Seven: The Journey, Smut, and Black Tee Shirts

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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I started reading Sugarbutch.net back in 2008 when I first started journaling online, and later writing. I love Sinclair’s honesty and realness in everything that is written on this site. Sinclair is always willing to dive deep and ask the tough questions, the risky ones, the ones that challenge everything. The questions that could risk it all. In the end, the reflection of their own journey, becomes inspiring.

The smut. I love the way Sinclair writes smut, with all the realness of human connection, desire, imperfections, and wavering thoughts. Connection, Sinclair is brilliant at it. I’d love to see more of it. Even short snippets.

—DeDe Deylnn, http://www.deviantdyke.blogspot.com

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‘m a fairly new reader. I’m trying to remember how I found your blog, but I can’t recall… I’m glad I found it though. You’re a great writer. You make yourself so vulnerable to your readers and I really admire that. Thank you for sharing such intimate detail with us!

—Daniela Amaya, http://witharmsakimbo.tumblr.com/

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I started reading Sugarbutch in 2009, which was the last summer I had a sustained crush on a straight boy. I think what I appreciate the most is the self-reflexivity; the approach to relationships as deeply valuable and also deeply educational, always. I suppose I’m interested in you doing more of whatever you find interesting and challenging right now. That’s usually what I want interesting writers to do!

—Helena Swann, http://www.cuntext.com

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i have been reading since just before Sinclair and K started dating. i’ve read all this time even though i don’t identify with daddy/girl or femme expression from a top or bottom perspective. i’ve been going through a lot of discover and changes around my gender expression and how i identify. i check in on his blog at least every couple of days, i love the way he expresses his journey, and his style of writing. i love his smut and the elements that focus on the D/s Authority exchange side. i’m looking forward to reading more about his dynamic with rife, since i’m now identifying as GQ primal masculine expressive, looking to find a dynamic/understand more about Sir/boy, Trans/butch dynamics. i wish you’d tell us more about what makes you tick, where you want your journey with rife to move forward towards, more smut.

—dylen, https://fetlife.com/users/592071

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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I’d tell my younger self to write about sex sooner. Eleven years ago I wrote with Jen Cross in her first workshop for Queer survivors writing about sex and it changed everything for me. Writing in this way and later performing changed everything for me. My attitude and experiences of sex and gender and relationships changed. It changed how I parented, how I interacted with my community and lovers. It changed my writing and my views about sexuality and survivorhood and drove me to become a sex educator and writing facillitator.

http://writingourselveswhole.org has had the most impact on me. I would not have become the person that I am without it.

—Renee Garcia, http://queerly.tumblr.com/

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I don’t feel like I’ve grown up enough to give my younger self advice. I kind of admire her for being so bold and kick-ass and take-no-prisoners. When I was younger, though, I figured all women were attracted to other women, and they just repressed all that to be heterosexual. I do still believe a lot of people play that game, but it wasn’t until I was well into my twenties that I realized all those straight women are actually *attracted* to men. Sounds dumb, but it was kind of a revelation.

—Giselle Renarde, http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com

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Relax. Your sexuality is more fluid than you realize. Being queer may or may not be about being sexually assaulted by your boyfriend in high school and either way it’s ok. Being poly will complicate your marriage in good and bad ways. Tread carefully.

—Theresa

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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This isn’t surprising: The Body Electric School’s introductory workshop Celebrating the Body Erotic has been the single most influential resource in my life. This weekend it has been six years (really??) since my first one, and I still find myself stopping to breathe, asking for what I want, and practicing the basic tantric breathing exercise with my partners (in through heart, out through genitals // in through genitals, out through heart). I can honestly say that I was able to handle some big issues in my life very gracefully because of my experiences with the Body Electric School – and not just sex & relationship issues, but various other life circumstances as well. There are just some experiences that have to be processed physically through body instead of through the mind – my first CBE taught me how to do that.

—Miss Avarice, http://missavarice.wordpress.com

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CBT sessions – I know it’s extended but it was where I learned that you are supposed to talk about feelings not just express them in actions and snark.

—john, http://www.facebook.com/jmwallach

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My Dangerous Desires by Amber L Hollibaugh has had the most impact on me and my identity as a queer femme. In one essay she talks about how living out queer desire is radical and subversive because it disrupts the idea that happiness/fulfillment is linked to heteronormativity. I think one reason it took me so long to accept that I was queer was because I wasn’t sure happiness was possible without a husband, a white picket fence and two kids.

—Erin, http://femmenistthought.tumblr.com/

Anything else to add?

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Sinclair, every time I see a black T-shirt I think of you.

—Giselle Renarde, http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com

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I love your reviews and have found so many things useful for my Mr. because of them.

—john, http://www.facebook.com/jmwallach

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I’m pretty excited to check out your other readers. Something deserthooker wrote in one of your open relationship mini-interviews was one of the first things that prompted me to start actively thinking about how, where, and when mental health and D/s relationships overlap, for example.

—Helena Swann, http://www.cuntext.com

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A huge thank you for continuing to share yourself online, there are SO many of that value this, and are here in spirit with you through the difficult times.

—dylen, https://fetlife.com/users/592071

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part Six: Stay for the Smut

Wow, you guys.

Between launching Submissive Playground and helping rife with The Gender Book crowdfunding and planning and executing the Best Lesbian Erotica 2014 release party (which HOLY SHIT was amazing), and then oh yeah the whole holiday thing, I have been swamped with projects lately, and have not kept up with publishing the mini-interviews. But they are very patient, and there they were when I went to sort the next series of answers.

And, you guys … wow. I just love what you have to say. And not (only) because you are saying such incredibly nice things about me and this project, but also because you are fucking smart and thoughtful and touching. I have been chewing a lot lately on how to post more advanced content, how I can talk about the Graduate Studies levels of D/s and cock confidence and healing from heartbreak and all those things I post about (somewhat) regularly, and your answers and engagement makes me think even more that I should step it up. Thank you for all that inspiration.

No wait, let me write that again: THANK YOU for all the inspiration. In these interviews, in emails, in conversations on Facebook & Twitter—with so much. I feel incredibly lucky.

And, that is the SECOND reader who said I should come visit London and they’d buy me a beer, so clearly I should go visit London. (Again. I did a brief study abroad there in 2002 in college, but I’d love to return.) If any of y’all have an idea about how we could put on some workshops there, get in touch!

Okay, on to …

More of the Reader Mini-Interviews!

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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I started reading in 2007-ish when I was at university and just discovering the whole blogging thing. I came for the gender talk, was beyond thrilled to find the smut, and have loved the personal blogging, particularly the ones where you seem so connected with nature and the world around you. Your blogging of your gender identity/journey is also fascinating and feels really important to me.

Oh, and the reviews! I got my first packing cock based on your reviews so there’s a special place in my heart for those – I’d love to see more of that kind of thing.

—ollie, http://ollieroberts.blogspot.com

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I started reading Sugarbutch in 2008 or so. I started for the politics, and stayed for the smut. Seriously, your smut has been hot, your writing about gender has been thoughtful, and your writing about relationships has been encouraging and timely. I’m a bit of a hermit, so have always been on the edges of the dyke and BDSM communities, and your writing has made me feel more connected to them.

—Avery Cassell, https://averycassell.wordpress.com/

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What do I like best? Each component of your writing appeals to me in one way or another. Of course you write exquisite erotica, but more than that, I like your writing voice. I like your willingness to be self-reflective (though I think you think readers think that’s boring? It doesn’t bore me at all.) because you unpack things like I do, you seem to have a need to understand things in a deep way (I identify with that like woahhhh), and I wonder sometimes if you wish you could turn it all off, the way I wish I could shut my brain off even once in a while. I’ve learned a lot about coping strategies from you, I even found the Fluent Self through you! And I loved your photo series (what is the plural of series? Seria? Serieses?) over the summer! I know you felt like you weren’t saying much at the time but I saw the proverbial thousand words through some of those shots. Thanks for sharing those.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

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[I’ve been] a girl who loves sex and has wild fantasies but has never had the guts to explore any of them. Always let others make the moves and lead the way, so girls were always going to be a late introduction to my life. But oh what a lovely addition! Kissing girls is like nothing else. So the past few years i’ve had my head down exploring women. Invariably women much like me and i enjoyed learning how their bodies worked and what makes them tick, and come of course.

And then online i met a woman. We were both looking for something casual. She was clear she doesn’t like to be touched. I didn’t really understand this to start off with and just assumed (in an ignorant arrogant sort of way) that this would evapourate as we went on, and i ‘worked my magic’. But of course, for her being touched intimately just does not work. Someone else touching her is not the exciting electric feeling; its just being touched. This has been a challenge for me as i love touching others. Although what i realise now is that i love giving others pleasure and for most that tends to be a form of touching. I have had to learn a lot about erotic energy and pleasure in order to feel that i was giving her as much pleasure as she gives me.

Sinclair you (maybe its fair to say Sugarbutch.net) have been my place of learning. I have learned about dynamics between people and how this can be as erotic as plain old sex. I have learned that i can give someone pleasure through my words. You have inspired me to write erotic stories to my lover. You have reminded me that the brain is the most powerful erotic organ and that the most intimate connection can be through words, or often in the spaces between words.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

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I started reading probably about a year ago, and while everything is good in its honesty and daring my favorite thing is probably the essays. I am sure it isn’t the common answer, but they are always interesting and well thought out even when I don’t agree with them which I rather love and find admirable.

—Taylor, http://mckownt.wordpress.com/

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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Go with your instinct… you don’t just “admire” her, you are “in” to her – attracted to her. Be yourself – don’t try to fit in with the other girls – you never will. Relax – every encounter with a woman doesn’t have to be a long term relationship.

—Susan

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Know yourself. Do the back-breaking, heart-wrenching work it takes to know your limits and set up boundaries, because that’s when you can start letting people in.

Stop stuffing your gender identity into a deep corner of the closet because the people you date are too afraid to talk about it. You’ll lose 15 years and end up in the same place where you started–having to acknowledge who you really are. Be honest with yourself the first time around.

—Ian Galeski, https://www.facebook.com/ian.galeski

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I’d tell my younger self–my high school senior self–to stop being such a nervous wreck about sex, to trust that her friends can make their own decisions and there is value in committed relationships and value in a one-night stand. I’d tell my younger self that it’s okay to have casual sex and okay if she tries things she wouldn’t repeat, things that teach her more about what she really needs. I’d tell her that she will have the person who makes her crack apart with every touch and the person who makes her scream “fuck!” and the person it feels too strange to kiss and the person who teachers her to fall in love with giving oral and the person who will never let her forget her fat body is both desirable and beyond the confines of desire and the person who she will want to take her cock and that some of these people will be the same.

I’d tell my younger self that if she ever doubted her pansexuality, she will meet and desire people in such incredible conglomerations of gender that she will never be able to again, that gender is fun, hard, playful, devastating. I’d let her know that every time she thinks she has something pinned down, the entire map will change.

Relationships…about that one, I don’t know what I’d tell her, because no words could have prepared me for the things love can do, and the things it couldn’t.

—Tamara, http://wordsonnapkins.tumblr.com

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I think I would tell myself to recognize the guilt I felt (over having sexual feelings at a young age, having feelings for women, and being interested in non-normative sex practices like bdsm) as symptoms of socially imposed values and not my own shortcomings or sins. I grew up very aware of my sexual self but also very ashamed of it. Now I know all that guilt was for naught and I embrace the healthy pursuit of self-knowledge and pleasure, but it’s been a long and difficult journey full of lots of unsatisfying or only semi-satisfying sex and relationships.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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http://www.stevepavlina.com. His work has always stoked the fire in me, the part that wants to live like a wild thing and channel all the strength and anger into something productive. It was because of his site that I had the courage to become a sex worker, which led to a more intimate understanding of things I’d always felt but never had words for.

—Katrina Elisse Caudle, http://www.faeriedark.com

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Sacred Pleasures workshop run here in London. Whilst i found it challenging to take part in exercises with strangers by the end of the day i had reconnected with a sacred sexual aspect that i thought i had lost. I also experimented with some impact play, which was a lot of fun! I would highly recommend this workshop to any Londoners reading. … Keep doing it Sinclair. Come to London and i’ll take you to my favourite bar.

—clarkeroyale, https://www.facebook.com/helen.clarke.58118

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A quote from Terence – ‘I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.’ This ever after encouraged me to try and understand the human processes by which seemingly incomprehensible things happened. In turn, that helped me untangle the incomprehensible in myself.

—Lilac, http://drinklilacwine.wordpress.com/

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I think somehow ending up in relationships with really amazing, self-aware people who have been willing to help me see a bigger picture of life has had the biggest impact on who I am and the path that I’m on right now, but that doesn’t make for a very good resource for other people ;) I’d say a great resource has actually been the Savage Love column – sometimes I love his advice, sometimes I’m ready to call and rant about it, but I do often find new resources because of his suggestions. And actually my college health center has had a huge impact – my first experience coming out to a health care professional was a disaster emotionally, but when I first went to the college clinic the intake form actually had questions about the sex and gender of past sexual partners. Not only did it avoid the awkward direct questioning by the nurse, but then the NP was able to walk in prepared to explain the kind of sexual health education I needed rather than a generic memorized paragraph that didn’t apply to my situation. And the best part is that the positive experience helped inspire me to pursue a career as an NP :)

—Jess, http://www.agirlandhercaronanadventure.blogspot.com

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When Someone You Love is Kinky…such a great pansexual resource when your partner is not as much into BDSM as you are…it helps you communicate what your needs are in a precise and sensitive way and honestly, is great practice for overall relationship communication. Great book, experienced authors, excellent resource.

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

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Because I’m thinking about sex and relationships, the website Scarleteen comes to mind. I come from a very conservative town in Texas with virtually no sex ed. Scarleteen was a haven of respectful discussion and factual information targeted specifically at young people in the scary world of the internet. If I had not had that resource growing up, I think I would be in a very different place right now, both physically and emotionally.

—Amanda, http://superblysituated.tumblr.com

Anything else to add?

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Just that I think the way you’ve been engaging with your readership over the past month+ has been really great to see, and I hope it’s been positive for you too! You’ve been going through so much hard stuff for so long now that (I imagine) it’s easy to forget that you have an entire support system built straight into your website, and you can lean on us, you know? We may be inside your computer but support and good vibes and advice and commiseration and empathy and comradeship are the same wherever you find them. On a personal note, thanks for acknowledging my comments to you. It was a lovely surprise!  I’ve really been enjoying this conversation.

—Jacks/JacksofHearts, https://www.facebook.com/jacks.of.hearts

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Please keep your postings and musings going. You are such a fantastic writer and your postings are relatable and heartwarming (or as of recently, heartbreaking). Writing is cathartic and from your most recent break-up, I think you could use a little catharsis right now and us, your followers, are more than happy to listen and sympathize. You strike a cord with me every single time, so thank you for what you do!

—Nili, https://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthRnHealthCoaching

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013, Part 5: In which you recommend Stone Butch Blues & Fried Green Tomatoes, and give good advice

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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I started reading about two years ago when I really started coming out as gender non-conforming and exploring my queer identity. At the time I was in a poly relationship and so a lot of the material resonated with me. I really have always appreciated the open discussions about sex and gender presentation and some of the more utilitarian posts about clothes, etc.

—Alison, http://a1tg.tumblr.com

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I stumbled upon Sugarbutch from a link in an Autostraddle post nearly 4 years ago and immediately spent every waking second that summer reading the entire archive. I felt like I had come home. Not only was someone writing about the sex I had always wanted to have (and that in and of itself had a huge impact on my sex drive and partners and play and whatnot) but they were doing it beautifully and well and consciously.

I still think some of my favorite posts are erotica, but I also know that the theoretical posts have changed my life in a completely literal sense and now that I am growing into my own versions of an alternative gender identity and kinky identity, they are more important to me. But mostly, it’s just the whole thing. Everything you do lets me know that somewhere in this world are people that think like me.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

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That would be “Handprints on the Hotel Window.” My girlfriend emailed it to me shortly after we began dating. On out first trip to New York City together, she booked a room that had floor-to-ceiling windows so we could reenact the story. Tres hot. I’ve been a fan ever since!

—Dawn, http://southernfriedfemme.blogspot.com/

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I started reading around 4 years ago? Right around when you started writing about Kristen. I was just starting to identify as a femme and was desperate for anything anyone was writing. I’d read your posts praising femmes over and over again, reassuring myself that this identity I was claiming was real and true and that someone, some day, would want me. And I mean your smut really helped me get through several stressful days during undergrad…

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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You’re allowed to want things, even if you feel like your partner doesn’t. That doesn’t make you bad or wrong or broken. There are other people who will like you and also enjoy those things. You don’t have to be perfect, and making mistakes can only lead to improvement and giggling. Gender is hard and exhausting, and you are never going to satisfy anyone but yourself. So have fun and try not to talk other people’s opinions too seriously.

—kaj, http://distractionsandproblems.tumblr.com/

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Women appreciate authenticity. Don’t ever tone yourself down because you’re scared you’re too butch. Also, there is more than one femme in the world, even when it feels like the only one was the last one.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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The book Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. Something about that book grabbed me when I was in my early 20’s…I read it 5 times in one week after I bought it. It was the dynamic of Idgie and Ruth’s relationship. The people, place and setting of the book, drastically different from my life, but very similar in other ways. The way Idgie and Ruth lived, spoke to each other, the activities they participated in , the running of their cafe. I still read that book once a year (sometimes more) and it is always like visiting an old friend. In my mind I greatly embellished their relationship, which is left a bit ambiguous in the book, and maybe that is why I keep going back.

—April

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Stone Butch Blues. I was sixteen, not out to my parents, and it was the first queer book I’d ever read. It changed everything in my life. I learned that “butch” wasn’t a dirty word, that (somewhere?) there were women who might like me, and, most importantly, that people like me had a history.

—Meg, https://www.facebook.com/megan.mceachin

Anything else to add?

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I think you seriously underestimate the amount of people in this universe who have ridiculous crushes on you.

—Roux, http://www.queerlyroux.com

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I’m so excited to see where Sugarbutch is going to go in the next months and years. I’ve read this site for years and never commented-truly embodying “lurker syndrome.” But this website and your writing has meant a lot of important things to me at different times in my life, and I’m grateful to see a rededication to it from you. Thanks for all that you do and give. It does not go unappreciated-I promise.

—Emily, https://twitter.com/EmLuft

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Four: “Shut up and get hit,” Communion, and fun erotica

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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(As a brief addendum, I publish the above blog anonymously! I’d love others to see it, but am a little nervous, as I have a fairly conservative day life. How have you reconciled your public and private lives intersecting? I’m always curious.)

I’ve been reading you on and off for about four years now. I love your erotic writing and, as a fellow butch, have felt a kindred sense of discovery with you as I’ve come into my own. It’s refreshing to read your perspective as it mirrors some of my own experiences.

PS: I saw that you were attending QI in Hartford. So am I, and fuck, I’d love to suck your cock.

—J, http://camionneuse.wordpress.com

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Started reading 4-5 years ago. Most frequently repeated quote: “shut up and get hit.” Seriously, your life. Never stop writing about it for public consumption.

—Simon Hoardash

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I just came across Sugarbutch a week or two ago, and wish I’d found you sooner! I’ve been skimming through your archives whenever I have some free time. I’ve been thinking about sex/uality, gender, and relationships a lot lately, and thirsting for more discussion of them. I’m especially interested in the D/s dynamic since that’s something I’m currently exploring, from a framework of being queer, poly, and in committed partnerships with two people of different genders. And of course I love your dirty stories.

—elspeth, https://fetlife.com/users/2485909

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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ohgod. calm down. it’s okay to not know (anything). thinking too much about what other people are thinking (and inventing what you think they are thinking/feeling/doing) is the absolute fastest way to create totally unnecessary drama. if you don’t know, ask. when you can identify that you are making an assumption, especially about what someone else is thinking/feeing/wanting, STOP IT, and ask.

—Kat Heatherington — http://yarrowkat.livejournal.com

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That my pleasure in and relationship with my body is the starting point of sex, not an extra. That it should be closer to communion (with self and other) than performance (totally externally focused) in order to be nourishing. I would congratulate myself on not shaming myself about trying lots of things, and suggest not shaming myself about my body shape. I’d suggest trying less hard to please unattainable people, and know that such advice at that time in my life would have meant nothing to me.

—Shereen, http://twitter.com/ShereenSamuels

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Femme is not a bad thing. It’s actually really, really powerful. I know you’ve somehow fallen into the mindset that to be Femme is to be weak or not queer enough, but that’s utter bullshit, darlin. You’ll eventually embrace Femme as an identity, and you’ll finally start to feel as strong and badass as you are. And red lipstick is the best armor you will ever find.

—Ashlee, http://femmeandfists.tumblr.com

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I would leave a link to your website and other queer friendly spaces on my computer for my 18 years old self. I struggled a lot with desire to begin with. I struggled even harder to come to terms with my same sex desires. Feminist and queers spaces have really helped me become a person I much more like.

— Gladys, https://www.facebook.com/gladys.is.awesome

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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Body Electric. because it has opened me up to listening to myself in a way I have never really done before.

—Kat Heatherington — http://yarrowkat.livejournal.com

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The Artist’s Way. It was such a lovely, creative, non-prescriptive way into figuring out lots of things about myself. Many years ago in my early twenties, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah turned my whole world upside down – even though Richard Bach turned out to be something of a self-involved dick, the book changed how I saw and interacted with the world.

—Shereen, http://twitter.com/ShereenSamuels

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This might be a bit of a cop-out of an answer, but recently, Tumblr has had the biggest impact on me. I’ve found some amazing radical queer people and blogs who’ve all been a big part of helping me shape my activist identity. Tumblr also happens to be full of badass Femmes, gorgeous queer people of all identities, and some really, really fun erotica and smut in general.

—Ashlee, http://femmeandfists.tumblr.com/

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, Part Three: Personal accountability & self reflections, Kink, and Do Your Research

What’s your relationship with sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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I actually started reading Sugarbutch while I was still married to male. I had always known my sexuality was not what I was pretending it to be, and I knew that women that leaned towards the masculine side of the spectrum did something strange to me. I was completely naive to who I was deep down, and what it was I really needed in a relationship/partner. One day I was talking to a friend of mine whom I spilled the beans to, and she led me to this site. What I read on here was a beacon of light to me, and I finally started coming into my own. I have learned a lot about myself by reading your articles. I have most of all learned that I am not alone in who I am.

Keep doing what you are doing. I know you have had a tough run of it lately, but I admire you for staying true to who you are, what you want/need, and wearing your scars for everyone to see.

—Jennifer, https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.fitzgerald.92

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I actually like/enjoy your self reflection and journal entries. As PolyAnna, I spend a lot of time talking about personal accountability and self reflections. People who are successful at poly and find fulfillment in poly are those who take the time to reflect on their choices and actions. Please keep writing your journal entries. They are a joy to read. Truly.

— PolyAnna/Josette Sheridan, http://lookingthrough.us/

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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1. It’s okay to be monogamous, even if all the ‘cool kids’ are poly.

2. Don’t even bother trying to date somebody who isn’t kinky; it’s not going to work.

3. Being attracted to trans men, after some years of only being into butch women, is okay and doesn’t change your fundamental self. You can still keep your queer card and just love who you love. Most of your ex-girlfriends will eventually turn into men, anyway.

4. If you’re in a D/s relationship with someone who breaks down your self-esteem and violates your boundaries, that’s not D/s: that’s abuse. Even if they buy you shiny presents.

— Anne Campbell, https://www.facebook.com/riverbend

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Believe in love where you find it. Trust your senses. Be angry. Then let it go.

—Cathlin Star, http://cathlinstar.blogspot.com/

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Oh God. I think it would boil down to “Do your research, do lots and lots of research.” But more specifically: I would find my fifteen-year-old self and sit her down and tell her “Honey, you have internalized some really toxic shit about how sex is *dangerous* and some even more toxic shit about how *knowledge* about sex is dangerous. Neither of these things are true. You want a lot of stuff that you don’t know how to articulate — go do some personal exploration and I promise, you get to decide whether or not you will act on your desires, but first you need to be able to articulate them. Either way, I also promise that the world will not end.”

And then I would give her a hug and tell her that it was going to be ok.

— Clara S., http://thethirdrose.tumblr.com

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Don’t settle! Too many women (men perhaps also but I cannot write for them) settle for perceived security, “love”, to make a home for children. I was too hasty to get it all and follow the traditional norm of settling down before I got too old and have a family. As for sex, I tell my daughter (now 12) that if you are not sexually satisifed in a relationship and the other person is not willing to work on it then you need to reevaluate that relationship and if it makes you happy. I wish someone had told me this when I was younger. I never had the exposure to gender differences. I now teach a program to teens at my Unitarian Universalist (UU) church call O.W.L (Our Whole Lives) about sexuality & healthy relationships and one of the tag lines is “Sexuality is fluid” I so love that!

— Tonja Hewlett, https://www.facebook.com/EnterprisingFae

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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The Persistent Desire: A Femme Butch Reader (edited by Joan Nestle)

Maybe this is just as much about the book as the editor…. I’ve met Joan (she lives in Melbourne, Australia) and her partner Dianne and find her to be such a valuable elder to have in the community. I love the way her writing is so political, and that class and race are made so relevant. I also love that although Butch-Femme influences her whole life, it’s not in such predictable ways and has changed and morphed as she’s gotten older/grown.

Shes so involved in movements around Israel/Palestine and I see her out at refugee rallies monthly. She’s so engaged with the younger queer community here still and puts in so much time, for this and many other reasons I really respect her and she has taught me a lot. <3

In an attempt to look more queer and attract more attention from people that I thought I wanted I really played down my femme side to look as “queer” as possible so I guess I’d like to tell my younger self that there would be someone who would love your femme side and wouldn’t read you as any less queer for it. More specifically, would know all the ways that you were sexy just for her.

—M, http://brownskinnedslut.tumblr.com/

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Scarleteen.com was the sex and relationship ed I hadn’t even known I needed. I found the word genderqueer there, and it was like my head breaking the surface of a lake I hadn’t known I was in so deep, coming up gasping clean, cool air and feeling full, real, awake, alive in a way I hadn’t felt before. It taught me there was space for me, that it was okay to ask for what I needed to feel safe, that my body had agency and value even though it existed in strange, queer, liminal spaces.

—Cricket, http://beatingthebinary.tumblr.com

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In 1999 I listened to Bikini Kill’s Pussy Whipped for the first time and it changed my life. Kathleen Hanna’s outspoken, feminist, intelligent, fuck the patriarchy, sexually freeing, in your face, revolutionary and progressive approach to grrrl punk music both inspired and entranced me. The riot grrrl movement impacted my life in so many ways, teaching me how to love myself and embrace my feminist identity. There has not been a woman since who has challenged patriarchy, sexism and homophobia so passionately and poignantly.

—Kachina Addison, http://www.facebook.com/kachina.addison

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, part two

What is your relationship to sugarbutch.net and Sinclair?

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My favorite part is probably the porn. My least favorite is probably the personal relationship stuff; it’s interesting but also cringeworthy and full of secondhand embarrassment, at least for me, and makes me shout “WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT” at the screen a lot.

—jay, http://www.twitter.com/jswaggerbk

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I most enjoy the smart and progressive gender theory. I love the ways Sinclair moves the conversation forward, and remains open to all ways of knowing. I also enjoy the erotica, a lot. I would also be interested in an exploration of the “butch bottom” — my partner would probably fall into that category, and I’m interested in teasing out the less obvious relationships between gender and power there.

—rachel, http://www.bellybuttongazing.blogspot.com

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I wish you would do more of exactly what it is that you are doing. I know that some of your readers have been sending you messages saying that they miss Kristen, or that they wish you would do more of this or more of that. But all I wish is that you keep writing what you want to write. It’s that which shows me your true colours, and its that which is real. SO very real about you that keeps me grounded in my shoes, in my reality, in my concepts of what Butch is. Of what Queer is. Of what Love is and what power is. The fact that you have remained true to yourself. The fact that you have listened to your heart, despite the whispers and the judgements; you are still moving in YOUR direction, and that’s fucking hot. That’s power, that’s taking the time that you have on this planet and making the most of it by not wasting it on doing what others want you to do. You follow your heart, and that, to me, is truth.

You and I went through a breakup at the same time. I found that your silence matched my silence and i never once questioned it. When you finally found words again I felt them with you. and I found myself speaking to you through the screen consoling, and sharing my experiences. I wanted to tell you that we would be ok. That even though things ended perhaps under different circumstances, we were feeling the same pain, the same stages of denial and rejection and loss, and I felt like you brought me home a lot. But I also felt like I wanted to bring you home with me too. It was therapeutic and it helped me out a lot.

—EK, http://instagram.com/ek_bo

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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It’s ok to be gay, go to church, believe in God, and live in the South all at the same time! I’ve been attracted to women since I was 4 years old. My first two kisses were girls! In South East Texas however, being gay isn’t even an option. I just thought I could easily appreciate another woman’s beauty. No one speaks about being gay. Thank you for putting out such straight forward information. I love that there is no beating around the bush on your site. Thank you for being a proud, intelligent, gay woman and not hiding it.

—Julie May Richardson, http://instagram.com/julie321

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I would tell my younger self to stop worrying about what everyone else is going to think, and say, and whisper behind your back and to just go flirt with girls already.

—Sara, http://somekindofsexy.tumblr.com

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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I can’t narrow done one source but I can give you a genre: books. I read everything I can get my hands on. Right now I’m interested in the Invisible Femme problem. Since I happen to be one.

—Michelle

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Probably reading Butch is A Noun, S. Bear Bergman. As stupid as it sounds, I didn’t really ‘get’ that there were other people that felt like me. But if I can slide another thing in, it’s been kind of amazing to find the web presence of butches, dappers, and all the other words that confuse me. Tumblrs, blogs, twitter accounts; it’s illuminating to think that I’m not weird. Finding a community of similar folks has actually really helped with my confidence.

—Zoe, http://dapperirishdyke.wordpress.com/

Anything else to add?

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Femmes have been my salvation. There have been 2 femmes who made me whole again. After being abused by my mother for years about my gender, I shut down. hiding even inside the lesbian community. These femmes brought me out with their wisdom and sight, their ability to see me and respond to me. I was lesbian for a long time but never fully me until I embraced and lived my Butch life.

— sumner, https://twitter.com/Butchkind

The Great Reader Mini-Interview, part 1: National Fisting Day, embracing gender complexities, and more

Oh hey there! I’m writing this from my sister’s house in Brooklyn, where I’m staying while I’m doing a couple of workshops for colleges this week. It’s been an incredible whirlwind lately, with college touring season starting and the Outside the Boxes: Celebrating the Queer Body Erotic workshop that happened in Oakland this past weekend. (It was incredible. You should’ve been there. Really.)

I love fall. I love fall everywhere, but fall in New York City is especially special. It’s stunning. The colors the trees the air crackling the people, the scarves! The coats! The boots! People are so well-dressed here. Honestly I miss the east coast “look” over in the Bay Area. (Granted, I’m mostly in Oakland, but the California / Pacific Northwest Casual look isn’t my favorite style.)

It’s the end of day 2 in New York, my first return since I left in April, and I’m starting to feel that deep New York exhaustion. I bought inserts for my boots. I keep taking off my leather jacket because it’s not really real leather (shhh) and the mostly-plastic of it is awful for the humidity that doesn’t allow my body to breathe. My skin sweats in the leather and smells musty when I take it off.

But, I took my sister’s big oaf dog to the park today, collected some fallen red leaves with bright veins, took some photographs, plotted out my Best! Sex! Ever! workshop for some cool queers at NYU and then hung out with them while we talked about what that might mean and look like, what really good sex is, what the barriers are to getting really good sex. And then we had a giveaway for some Pink & White queer porn DVDs.

I really like my job.

But! That’s not why I’m writing you. I’m writing to post the beginnings of the Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013.

I got 74 mini-interviews in response to that call. SEVENTY FOUR. Thank you, each of you, each of you seventy four people, for taking the time, for spending a few minutes and filling that out. I read each one as they came into my inbox. I laughed. I teared up. I was moved and touched and said, “really? Really??” at some of the praise about my work. I wrote notes about resources. I’m excited to share them with you.

And, as that many came into my handy-dandy google doc spreadsheet, I wasn’t sure how I was going to post them. 74 individual posts? Two a day for thirty seven days? That seems overwhelming and like I’d be flooding my site unnecessarily. Post ten and save the rest? Post them all as an e-book? (Who would read that, except me?)

I finally figured it out: I’m going to post snippets. Maybe that seems obvious, but it took me a while. I’m taking my favorite line or phrase or paragraph or answer from each interview. It might be hard because your WHOLE ENTIRE INTERVIEW is probably incredibly awesome, but I just don’t have the space to reproduce them all. So they must get cut.

I’m going to take 7-8 at a time and edit them down to one central quote for each person, and then post those all together in one post. So there’ll be about 10 of those. After that’s all done, I might (might!) put them together in a free ebook kind of thing, but we’ll see about that.

Ready? Ready! Without further adieu, here are the first seven interviews.

The Great Reader Mini-Interview of 2013: Part 1

What is your relationship to Sinclair & sugarbutch.net?

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I can’t quite remember but I think I was looking at dildos online and saw an ad for the Sugarbutch Chronicles. Everything about the site made me say “Woooooooooow where have you been all my life?”

My favorite part of the blog are the links to other queer sites/organizations. The most memorable email I’ve received was for National Fisting Day 2012. I’m lucky that I had opened the email on my phone because I was greeted with a giant picture from FTM Fucker. I had never seen trans men in porn before and it was amazing. Since I was following Sugarbutch for a while before that email I had already been exploring and realizing how queerness can be sexy and empowering. Basically I love how this blog has taken me on a journey to discover a community that I feel like I belong to.

I’ve been empowered to express my gender and sexuality is ways that I’ve never even anticipated. At his moment I genuinely feel like I am attractive and loved. That is something that I haven’t felt before and I know many queers around me are struggling with themselves. Being a kinky butch bottom is a badge I wear with honor.

—Sarah Garnett, https://twitter.com/lohidoesnttweet

What advice would you give your younger self about sex, gender, or relationships?

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Hey 19 year old self. It’s Feb 15, 1997, and you are going to meet the woman who will become your wife. You will live, laugh, and love together. You will fight together and against each other. You will have 2 sons, a house, and numerous animals together. She will be your first, and (so far) only love.

She will get breast cancer and it will change you. Walking alongside your wife will be the hardest, most sacred journey you will ever take. You will want to run away. You will want to quit. But, you won’t. Because, YOU are strong. You are fearless. You are fucking awesome!

After 8.5 years of fighting, she will die, in your arms. At first, you will think that you are going to be lost and drift. But, you will be found, and you will be fucking AMAZING! Trust that you DO have the strength. When the community you weren’t looking for, finds you, embrace them, for they will get you through.

There will be a second act. I am just starting it now, but trust me – it’s gonna be rad!

—Dree, http://motherbutch.tumblr.com & http://dreesdaydream.tumblr.com

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Go with it, go for it.

You already embrace your gender … “issues” isn’t the right word … complexity, now embrace others, as they have needs and their own complexities too. It’s too easy to get lost in yourself, as others lose themselves within themselves too, so go out and play!

“A person not improving him/herself, endlessly becomes him/herself.” Self discovery is good, gaining insights from others sharing as they go through it is also good; not sharing is bad, not growing/developing/improving is worse.

—randy, https://fetlife.com/users/309032

What one resource has had the most impact on you, and why?

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The Usual Suspects because it’s a wonderful example of how you can’t just look at someone and know everything. Getting to know someone may or may not tell you the full story or even tell you the truth. Sometimes you don’t see the real truth of a thing until it’s too late.

— Cookie

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I suppose my general college experience opened up my world quite a bit. I was exposed to very smart people, very dumb people, and a lot of opinions that I had never known. Sexually, I got to go to the Fetish Flea Fair every year, and met some really amazing sex educators. I’m back in school now, getting another degree, and my goal is to share my experiences with as many people as I can.

— Elise, www.ehmworks.com

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Therapy. I lucked out with a therapist who’s a shorthair who can keep up with me when I get to talking fast, believes the woo when I suspect I might just be crazy, and is slowly encouraging me to trust myself. I avoided going for years, but agreed to give it a try when things got really dark in my life and I was considering far more final options. The trick is to find someone whom you respect, who seems to have some good ideas about life, and who is similar enough that you can manage good communication.

Plus, for me, someone who laughs about life with me and lets me argue it out out loud.

—Roxy, http://uncommoncuriosity.wordpress.com

Anything else to add?

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These past posts, when you did all the hand-wringing about comments and reading, I felt a bit guilty. I’ve been reading for years, I never stopped reading and yet I’d never written a comment (although I did send you an e-mail once, showing you a Greek singer I like, to which you were kind enough to reply).

I thought therefore that it is time that I speak to you directly and let you know that I am still here, and not going anywhere, and that I am sure that there are a lot more like me, faithful and interested readers who are just too shy to comment, or believed they have nothing of substance to add.

We read you, we like you, and we’ll be here.

PS If you ever make it to London, England, I’d love to buy you a pint and meet you in person.

— GL, https://twitter.com/GenovevaLondon

What kind of comments you could leave

In keeping with the Comment Zen idea, here’s some things you could reply to this post with:

  • The places the mini-interviews resonated for you
  • Whether you’d like to see all of the mini-interviews in entirety or if the best quotes are enough
  • Your favorite thing about New York City
  • What you’ll be doing on National Fisting Day October 22nd

Thank you!

Hey You! Want To Bring Me To Your Town?

Dear friends & fans & folks who just happened across this website and have no idea who I am:

As I gaze longingly at my ever-filling fall and spring schedule, I can’t help but wonder: Is there somewhere I’m missing? Is there somewhere I should be aiming to go that I don’t even know about yet?

That’s where you come in. Where would you like me to travel this year? Do you have any contacts for colleges, arts venues, spoken word nights, queer/feminist toy shops, or queer/feminist bookstores in your area that you’d just love to help me book?

I’ve got quite a few workshops aimed at college students and ready for community centers and toy shops, like “Radical & Responsible Gender” and the acclaimed “Fucking with Gender,” and I’d love to get out there and meet more of you, chat, learn about what’s going on, and talk to you about my ideas for all of this stuff.

If you have any thoughts about where you’d like to see me perform, or what kind of workshops you’d like me to do, I would love your input.

Your buddy,

Sinclair

SINCLAIR SEXSMITH: NOW BOOKING 2011-2012

For booking contact: [email protected]
Phone: (917) 475-6316
or:
PhinLi Bookings, LLC at [email protected]
Phone: (347) 829-7446

Press kit and materials available upon request

Please forward to colleges, universities, students, and organizations.

Represented by PhinLi Bookings, LLC, in New York City, SINCLAIR SEXSMITH is a writer, performer, student, and teacher of sex, gender, and relationships. Visit Sinclair online at sugarbutch.net, mrsexsmith.com, or on Twitter @mrsexsmith.

“Sinclair Sexsmith writes with such rare clarity and passion that she is one of the best reminders we have that sex and gender are not abstractions of theory, but essential to our everyday humanity.”
—Chris Hall, editor of CarnalNation.com

Speaks, performs, and facilitates on the issues of:

Creative writing, social justice, LGBTQ activism, intentional gender, feminism, healing, sexual liberation and enlightenment, communication skills, accessible feminist theory, queer liberation, archetypes, social change activism, sexual freedom, and writing as a tool for self-awareness.

Past performances and workshops of note:

Butch Voices National Conference, Oakland, CA
The Center for Sex and Culture, Seattle, WA
Rainbow Book Fair at the LGBT Center, New York, NY
Lesbian Sex Mafia, New York, NY
SXSW Interactive, Austin, TX
Chapbook Festival, New York, NY
Sex 2.0, Seattle, WA
Butch Voices NYC, New York, NY
The Center for Sexual Pleasure & Health, Pawtucket, RI
Columbia University, New York, NY
Smith College, Northampton, MA
NYU, New York, NY
Hamline University, Minneaplis, MN
UW Madison, Madison, WI
Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
Harvard University, Boston, MA
Drew University, Madison, NJ
Brown University, Providence, RI

“The Complexity of Butch and Femme”

Perhaps you remember: about two summers ago Esther D. Rothblum, Ph.D., who is a Professor of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University, was conducting an extensive survey about butch and femme identities, both independently and in relation to each other.

I put the call up here and she let me know that many of the participants interviewed were from having announced it here.

The article is finalized and now out, published in Psychology of Sexualities Review, Vol. 1, No. 1.

Dr. Rothblum sent me a PDF copy and said it was fine to reproduce here, so in case you’d like to read it, here it is: The complexity of Butch and Femme among sexual minority women in the 21st century.

Nominations Needed for Top Hot Butches

With the relaunch of the Top Hot Butches project, I am including different people than last year, in a totally different way.

I think this is some of the confusion about including cis men. The Top Hot list is not a top 100 butches list like it was last year. I’m not that interested in hierarchizing everyone based on hotness. Hotness is all relative, anyway.

What I am interested in is community, and bringing people together who experience similar gender identities. I’m also interested in the word “butch” itself, and how it scares many people, how many of us have such a strong reaction to it, like it’s a slur, as it has been used against many of us for lifetimes. And how it becomes a strong, defining word for others, a major hook on which we hang ourselves and by which we define ourselves. Many different kinds of people use this word to talk about who they are, and I’m curious about that.

The new site is more community-focused, with a whole blog component, Tumblr site, and Symposium, as I mentioned the other day. And there is still a Top Hot section. It’ll be more like a database of people you can go browse through and find their work and be inspired by, not a numbered list. Just people, doing good work, going about their lives, with a butch or masculine of center gender.

I’m much more inclined to include women than men, and it will be harder to find men to include, since I am restricting the men included to being butch-identified (more about that below).

I am especially looking for trans women who identify or present as butch, men (cis or trans) who self-identify as butch, and people of color along the masculine spectrum. It’s been easier to find the white butch dykes than anyone else, but I know there are a lot of other folks out there!

Check last year’s list to see who was on it before you nominate somebody. Everyone from the list last year, unless requested otherwise, will be included in the new project.

Rules for nominations:

ALL nominees:

  • Must be active in the public sphere of some sort, or a leader, and well known, in their field. Performers, writers, and activists are particularly easy to point to, but anyone notable in any field is applicable. Yes, this means your girlfriend/boifriend/boyfriend might not qualify. No, having a blog is not necessarily qualification enough.
  • Must have been doing work at some point in the last decade. There are plenty of people we can dig up who are no longer alive, or who were notably butch or visibly masculine women from decades past, but this project is about what’s going on now. Perhaps at some point in the future we’ll tackle Top Hot Butches pre-Stonewall, but for now, let’s focus on who is around now.
  • Can be of any age, though generally we’re talking about folks who are post-puberty, and even more frequently folks who are post-Saturn return, as it sometimes takes quite a bit of time to really know oneself enough to come to an alternative gender identity and expression like these. Age doesn’t matter.
  • Can be of any race, religion, ethnic background, or sexual orientation. That probably goes without saying, but I’ll make it clear anyway.

Inclusions of women, cis or trans:

  • It would be GREAT if they self-identify as some some of masculine of center identity: butch, macha, stud, ag, tomboi, genderqueer, etc.
  • If they do not self-identify this way (or they have a level of fame where they wouldn’t reply to an email asking if they do or not), they will be considered for inclusion based on these things: 1. rejection of traditional femininity, including but not limited to dress, style, and hair; tendency to shop in the men’s department and display a masculine gender expression most of the time; 3. swagger, meaning some sort of masculine energy in their movements; and 4. are out as queer. Some exceptions will be made to the requirement that they are out as queer, such as in the case of Katherine Moennig, where she is very clearly queer but has not made official statements regarding such.

Inclusions of men, cis or trans:

  • Must self-identify as butch. Either you know that they identify as butch, because they’re your friend or you’re aware of their work, or they have made some sort of public statement that says they identify as butch.

Inclusions of genderqueer folks that identify as outside of the binary:

  • Should self-identify as some of masculine of center identity: butch, macha, stud, ag, tomboi, etc., and be interested in being included in a database of butches.

How to nominate:

Email me, or comment on this post, with the following:

  • Name of the person you’re nominating
  • What they do (writer, performer, activist, lawyer, whatever)
  • Link to or attached recent photograph, at least 640×480 (landscape) and better yet, cropped to 700×400
  • Link to their website, Myspace, Twitter, or other web presence for more information about their work

Aside from Top Hot Butches, I am also compiling a list of butch-identified bloggers. If you are a butch-identified blogger, or if you read a blog by someone butch-identified who you like, will you please leave a link to them here and I’ll add them to my list. I have quite a few that I know of, of course, but I’m sure I don’t know you all! Even if you think I probably have yours, leave it anyway just to make sure?

And a huge thank you for your help with this project! It is coming together, and I’m really excited to show it to everyone.

Nominations Open For the 2010 Top Sex Bloggers

Two years in a row now Sugarbutch Chronicles has been included on the annual Top Sex Blogger list, put together by Rori at Between My Sheets (and a team full of judges).

This year, Rori will be retiring sex blogs that have been in the top ten three times. So let’s retire Sugarbutch Chronicles, shall we? Will you please consider nominating this blog?

To nominate bloggers for this list, just leave a comment on Rori’s nomination post. You can also email Rori at [email protected] or DM @SweetRori if you want to keep your nominations private.

This site hasn’t actually been behaving like a sex blog as much lately as it used to be. Remember back in my swingin’ single days when all I did was write about sex sex sex with a little bit of gender and kink thrown in? Oh yeah, and there was all that personal whining about my trauma and how much I don’t trust anybody ever. Well, I don’t really miss that part. And I promise I do still have a very active sex life, and sex and play with Kristen is incredibly fun and fulfilling. I don’t write about it quite as frequently anymore for a couple reasons, but I do still write about it.

Check out my stories to turn you on category, that’s usually where I put the good stuff. And glancing over it, there has been some pretty good stuff this year already …

Lipstick Blow Job:

In my bedroom, I slip on my cock while she reapplies her lipstick. I pull her on top of me as I lay down on the bed and kiss her neck, her face. She gets breathless. Sucks in air as her mouth waters and tongue swells, I can see it, despite her lips already being darkened. I slide two fingers into her mouth, feel her tongue, push them just past the first knuckle so she can lick around the pads with her tongue. She closes her eyes and moans.

Desperation & Dominance:

“I was thinking about … you using me,” she starts in a small voice, quiet, by my ear. I can feel her breath. “Filling me up. Fucking me and fucking me without caring how it was for me. I was thinking about tears streaming down my cheeks, and you not stopping, just … taking me, until you get what you want, and you come.”

Waking Up:

“I woke up with my cock all hard,” I say, low, into her ear. She stirs. My fingers find her cunt, her soft skin and folds, and caress sweetly. She convulses the moment I slip my fingers in. “That’s what I wanted, yeah,” I continue to murmur. “That tight little hole, oh you feel so good.”

And then of course there was the Anal Week series, which was more than a week really, but that I had a lot of fun researching and practicing and playing. I hope those kinds of projects are useful and interesting for you!

If that’s not enough to convince you to nominate Sugarbutch, you can always go back over some of the top posts of all time:

That first one, the most-read post on this whole site, My slutty little girl, has been viewed almost 12,000 times, can you believe it? You readers like it dirty. Dirty dirty dirty. I always suspected that about you.

I haven’t decided entirely who else I’m going to nominate, but if you look through my shared items I’m sure you can see which blogs I read frequently and love. That’s my equivalent of a link list these days, I can’t keep lists of links updated so I’m just using my reader for it. You could call that laziness, but I call it efficiency.

So head on over & nominate me, please, by leaving a comment on Rori’s nomination post and include Sugarbutch’s URL or title. (You can also email Rori at [email protected] or DM @SweetRori if you want to keep your nominations private.) And hey, did I say thank you yet? Thank you!

Quick Anal Interview: YOU!

Okay folks, Anal Week is coming to a close, you’ve had a chance to read Quick Anal Interviews with Dylan Ryan, Bailey, Tawny, Madison Young, Sophia St James, and Erudite Hayseed. Perhaps you read through some of those thinking, jeez, they left out this really important thing!

Well, here’s your chance: I’d like to hear YOUR answers to the quick anal interview questions! Here are the questions, add your answers to the comments.

1. What one tip would you suggest (aside from the obvious: lube, communicate, go slow)?
2. What lube do you recommend?
3. What position do you find excellent?

Any bonus perspective, tip, story, or thing that you’d really like to share?

Anal Week has been a really fun project, I’ve learned a lot in collecting all this data, Kristen and I have had some great conversations, and I’ve had some great comments and emails from folks saying they have had similar reservations, but that these tips and perspectives are encouraging.

Please do chime in, if you’d like to add something.

Definitions of Butch & Femme

Way back in April, for Sugarbutch’s third anniversary, I offered up an “ask me anything” thread where readers could ask any burning questions that they’d like for me to answer. Given that I’m writing so much these days my pencils are worn down to nubs, and that this summer has been a challenge, I’m behind on answering many of those questions.

Here’s one that I’ve thought about since I read it.

What are your working definitions of “butch” and “femme”?

I know that’s a tricky and possibly annoying question; I ask because I’m currently moving into the recovery phase of a recent gender panic/gender identity crisis. I’m in the process of moving to a more masculine gender presentation and (hopefully?) social role (thank God), and my girlfriend is femme (and I pretty much only like femmes), but then I don’t feel like my gender issues and vibes are very similar to those of the butches I know, and… I’m just really confused.

– Daisy

I do have somewhat of a working definition of these terms: usually I say, in the broadest sense, butch and femme are intentional reclamations and recreations of gender. There’s more to it than that, of course, and these identities are policed by all sorts of social and gender forces. But that’s a start.

But that’s just my brief two cents. I want to know: what are your interpretations of these butch and femme? What are your working definitions?

Say you run into someone who has no knowledge of what being part of butch/femme culture and what identifying as butch or femme means (which, I don’t know about you but, is very frequent for me). Or someone who has only come across these terms as pejorative? What do you tell them?

Or, think about it this way: living in New York City has taught me the strong value of the elevator pitch. Everybody’s busy, everybody’s got somewhere else to be, someone else to talk to, which is more interesting than you. So you’ve got to hook them in with something strong and solid.

So what’s your butch/femme elevator pitch? How do you explain the basics in one sentence?

I’ll have to keep thinking about mine. I’ll chime in in the comments.

How To Begin Playing with BDSM

Recently, this came into my inbox:

I’m in a relationship now with a wonderful person and I’m really intrigued and turned on by BDSM, but have very little idea of where to start. I’ve put up a plea on my blog for help from people who know more about these things, you can read my post for more background, but basically, where do we start? How can we segue into BDSM play? Dominance, submission, pain? How can we bit by bit, toe first, test the cold water and then gradually get used to it and then eventually just dive in and revel in it? I just have no idea. I live in San Francisco, so I don’t expect you to know of any local resources, but do you know anyone in San Francisco who I might be in touch with? Anything like that? Internet resources? Early blog posts of yours about your first forays into BDSM?
Alphafemme

So I figured I’d write a little about it, tell you what I think, then also open it up to you lovely readers who might have specific San Francisco resources, your own stories, or more suggestions to share in the comments.

How do you start playing with BDSM? You jump in somewhere that feels exciting and hot, you talk about what you want to do, at least a little, then you do it. I don’t actually have any early blog posts about BDSM because I’ve been playing with it for a very long time – my first high school boyfriend and I used to do some light BDSM, like spanking, a little bit of topping & bottoming, and tying-to-the-bedpost kinds of bondage. My “kinky queer butch top” identity labels are roughly in order, actually, of when I came into them; I’ve been playing with kink (albeit lightly) for a long time.

I do suggest starting out light – though “light” for some people is heavy play for others, so just pick something that seems accessible and doable and try it out.

Some more specific suggestions:

  • Take a class on something (like spanking) from Babeland or your local feminist sex toy store. In San Francisco, I’m sure Good Vibes has events all the time.
  • Read The Topping Book and The Bottoming Book. Both of you should read both of them, even if you already know which role you are more likely to occupy, since learning about the other will teach you even more about yours. These books significantly changed and formed the ways that I think about dominance and submission and many incarnations of BDSM. Highly highly recommended.
  • Fill out the BDSM checklist and compare answers. Highlight the things you are most excited about and see what you have in common! (Hopefully you’ve already been talking about this kind of thing, you might even have an idea of what each other would like to explore.
  • Make a shared Google doc and brainstorm a list of what you’d like to try. (Kristen and I actually have one of these … )
  • Check out the BDSM section of the Sugarbutch Amazon store for more books you might want to pick up, or check out of the library, or borrow.

There are some more simple, less risky, very playful, and safe things you might want to try if you’re new to BDSM to begin to whet your appetite, such as:

  • Spanking. Don’t worry, your hand is WAY more delicate than her ass – think of all the little tiny bones in there, as compared to the lovely muscle & flesh. Her butt can take way more you’re your hand can give, actually – your hand will hurt and get tired and sore way before you will do any real damage. But, you still should be a bit careful – here’s how to start: 1. start out slow, make sure to warm up her flesh (and mind) so she can take deeper, harder slaps. 2. DO NOT slap or hit her sacrum, that triangle bone above the crack of her ass. That can bruise and be very painful. Keep it to her ass cheeks and thighs, the fleshy parts. 3. Make sure she is relaxed, and keep going softly until she starts writhing and moaning and liking it.

  • Bondage. Try some light bondage with whatever you’ve got lying around the house – clothesline, men’s ties, scarves … you can look up Two Knotty Boys on youtube for MANY great videos on how to tie knots, but really you can just tie with a plain ol’ granny knot, like you tie your shoes. Don’t leave her tied up for extended periods of time, however, and make sure to get the rope tied tight enough so that she can’t escape, but not tight enough to cut off circulation.
  • Dirty talk. Sometimes adding speech to your sex play is incredibly erotic, highly sexually charged, and very dirty. Sometimes you can keep going with whatever you “normally” do, but add some verbal descriptors of what you’d like to do, and it adds a great element of play and gets the minds going. Whisper in her ear while your fingers are inside her: “You know what I’d really like to do? I’d like to tie your ankles to the footboard so you can’t move your legs. I’d like you to struggle against the ropes so you can feel how you’re opened up for me. I’d like to feel how wet that makes you. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? Yeah, I thought so …” and ask her about it later, outside of the moment, and see if it’s something she’d like to perhaps try.
  • Power & Surrender. Hold her down, pull her hair, hold her wrists above her head, bite her shoulders, bite her breasts, hold your knees on her thighs to force her legs open, push her onto the bed, get a little rough with her. Maybe she wants to fight back and see if she can take YOU down, instead – wrestling for who gets to be in control could be fun, too.

For me, things like elaborate role play – and even dirty talk – was a lot harder than some of these basics. And these are practically endless – I’m sure one could play with various elements of just these four things and have a very exciting sex life.

A little bit about safewords: Unless you are playing with non-consensual play, you probably don’t need a safeword. That is to say, you can use, “slow down,” “wait,” “back off,” “hold on a minute,” “don’t,” and “stop,” and things like that to indicate that something’s going wrong, instead of negotiating one special specific word which would stop the scene. Unless you want “no” or “don’t” or “stop” to be part of the play, those words will work just fine.

So, what do you think? What is your advice for beginning to play with BDSM? Anything you’d like to add or correct from my list? Any suggestions you have? Are there resources in San Francisco you’d like to recommend? Let her – and all of us! – know in the comments.

What do you call your butch?

Specifically, when she’s a top, what do you call her in bed? Sir? Daddy? Master? Boi? If she’s a bottom, what do you call her?

What do you call your butch in more casual flirtation? Slick? Handsome? Cowboy?

If you are butch: what do you like to be called? What greeting makes your knees weak, or makes you feel like king of the world?

I’m sure there are others, but these spring to mind. There are so many cute pet names for a romantic partner, but when playing intentionally with gender in a relationship, sometimes “baby” or “honey” or “sweetie” or “darling” are too feminine.

So: how do you address someone masculine in a pet-name kind of way? And why?

Two Lezzys!? Really!?

It was all the promised photos of my ass that did it, wasn’t it? I knew it! You all are perverts.

Seriously though, tons of thanks to Kelly at The Lesbian Lifestyle for organizing the Lezzy Awards, to all the finalists, with special shout-outs to Jess I Am and I Am Not Afraid of Winter in the Best Gender Bender Blog category and Geek Porn Girl and Tongue-tied blue for Best Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog. Tongue-tied Blue and Jess I’ve known for a while, but Geek Porn Girl and Carrot Quinn are new to me, I’ve already got ’em on my reader and I look forward to watching their stories unfold. I’m also a big fan of Weese in the Over-50 category, so, shout-out to her, too.

And congrats to Grace the Spot for taking Dorothy Surrenders in the Humor category – squeaking ahead with 48 votes! (Dorothy got two other awards and was clearly a shoe-in for Entertainment/Culture, I wanted to see Grace with ONE at least!)

Winners were:

Best Lesbian Entertainment/Culture Blog
Dorothy Surrenders

Best Lesbian Humor Blog
Grace the Spot

Best Lesbian Parenting/Wedding Blog
Lesbian Dad

Best Lesbian Personal Blog
This Girl Called Automatic Win

Best Lesbian 50 and Over Blog
just eat your cupcake

Best Lesbian Gender Bender Blog
Sugarbutch Chronicles

Best Lesbian Sex/Short Story/Erotica Blog
Sugarbutch Chronicles

Lesbian Overall Blog of the Year
Dorothy Surrenders

It is now your duty to add us ALL to your blogrolls and/or your readers, because these are some of the best dykey-homo-lezbiotic writings on all of the internet.

2008gender-bender-blog 2008sexshort-story-erotica-b

accessing the protected posts

So the former password protection post is spilling over with requests. With the intention of me not missing requests for access to the password protected posts, this is the new post where you leave a comment.

It would be best if you left your website, too, even if it’s your myspace or facebook address, as I’d like to know you’re a real person. You can email that to me if you’d rather it not be published publically. It’s not a requirement, if you don’t have one, but I’d appreciate it, as these are very personal writings.

About the password protected posts:

They are primarily my personal journal entries: reflections on my relationships, and my real life sex stories. Sugarbutch started so that I could have a place to reflect on my relationship difficulties, which included the problems with my relationship with my ex where I wanted to be more butch (and wanted her to be more femme) but felt unsupported to explore that, and the problems we were having with sex, which was that we were having none. It evolved into a place where I processed my relationship with another girl that I immediately got involved with, and when that relationship ended spectacularly awfully, it has been chronicling my evolution back to myself, my committment to myself, my “aspiring stud”-ness in trying to get laid, and trying to get my shit together such that I can enter into a healthy, stable, positive, committed relationship again.

Meanwhile, though, it has been lots of gender theory. Lots. And some smut stories. Which are also fun.

And as I’ve gained a larger and larger readership, the personal stuff is entirely too exposed, so they have gone under password protection. I still want a place to write about my relationship evolutions, and I still love having writing and blogging as a medium to explore my own sense of self, so I tend to write a few of these a month.

So, if you’d like to read the personal posts, leave a comment at the beep and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Beep.

top 100 sex bloggers

Uh … wow. I am kind of at a loss here. Rori at Between My Sheets emailed out last night that the Top 100 Sex Bloggers list she’s been compiling was up, and I was shocked – I am still shocked! – to have come into the top 5, let alone the #1 spot. Wow.

Thanks, Rori, for compiling this list, and thanks to everyone who nominated me. Thanks for reading, thank you for contributing, thank you for writing your own stories on your own blogs and for sharing your adventures and explorations of sex and gender with me, too. It sounds kind of cheesy to say, but I’m not doing this alone, I owe so much thanks to being situated and surrounded by and in conversation with this amazing community.

I’m including some of Rori’s announcement post because I really love what she put forward, and the Top 100 Sex Bloggers 2008 complete list. Visit these folks, they’re great.

[E]very day, as I read your blogs, I’m humbled. Everyone in this community has so much to share, so much to teach. … We’re writing personal stories about our lives and opinions about sexuality. This is about sharing our hearts. Everyone is so deliciously different, too. I love it!

1. Sinclair Sexsmith http://sugarbutch.net
2. Radical Vixen http://www.radicalvixen.com  
3. Curvaceous Dee http://curvaceousdee.blogspot.com
4. Always Aroused Girl http://aagblog.com
5. Ellie Lumpesse www.lumpesse.com
6. Catalina http://catalinaloves.com
7. Selena Kitt http://selenakittyn.com
8-9. Wifey and Hubby http://wifeytalk.com
10. Roger http://wwww.dirtyboy2.blogspot.com
11. Shanna Katz http://essinem.blogspot.com
12. Amber Rhea http://www.beingamberrhea.com
13-14. Richard and Amy http://247richardandamy.com
15-16. MJ and MJ’s Slave http://www.aslavestruenature.blogspot.com
17. Thursday’s Child http://thursdayschildhasfartogo.blogspot.com
18. Narration by D http://narrationbyd.blogspot.com
19. Andrea Zanin http://www.sexgeek.wordpress.com
20. The Provocateur http://theprovocateur.wordpress.com
21. Violet Blue http://tinynibbles.com
22. Autumn http://dreamsofaneroticaqueen.sensualwriter.com
23. SSS http://sweatshopsissy.wordpress.com
24. Storm http://ambientstorm.blogspot.com
25. Sub lyn http://longdistancesub.blogspot.com
26. Tara Tainton http://www.taratainton.com/tarastrysts/index.html
27. Jake http://factsandfriction.blogspot.com
28. Cherry Bomb http://cherrybombnyc.blogspot.com  
29. Lakey http://fairelaffaire.blogspot.com
30. Scarlet http://feministfucktoy.com
31. Glenpreece http://lastbreath.wordpress.com
32. Lolita Wolf http://www.leatheryenta.com
33. Vixen http://blue-eyedvixen.com
34. Tom Paine http://perverselypoly.blogspot.com
35. Tongue Tied Blue http://tonguetiedblue.blogspot.com
36. Maymay http://www.maybemaimed.com   
37. Miss Bliss http://blog.blisswarrior.com  
38. Mistress Maeve http://7d.blogs.com/mistress
39. Nadia http://www.kinkylibrarian.net
40. Luka http://barbedwireboudoir.blogspot.com
41-42. Odysseus and Penelope http://marriedexploits.blogspot.com
43. Eileen http://bloodylaughter.com
44. Calico http://dominatrixnextdoor.com/blog
45. Caroline Shepherd http://feministsexcarnival.blogspot.com
46. Kathleen http://polyspace.wordpress.com
47. Packing Vocals http://packingvocals.blogspot.com
48. Audacia Ray http://www.wakingvixen.com
49. Axe http://unspeakableaxe.com
50. Baccus http://www.erosblog.com
51. Chelsea Summers http://prettydumbthings.typepad.com/chelseagirl
52. Debauchette http://debauchette.wordpress.com
53. The Butterfly Temptress http://thebutterflytemptress.com
54. Dirty Little Girl http://dirtylittlemind.blogspot.com
55. Sexy Whispers http://sexywhispers.wordpress.com
56. Wendy Blackheart http://www.heartfullofblack.com
57-58. Padme and Anakin http://darkside-journey.blogspot.com
59-60. Him and Her http://sexcakes.blogspot.com
61. Slip of a Girl http://aslipofagirl.blogspot.com
62. Blowjob Babe http://strokesuckswallow.blogspot.com
63-64. Dirty Debbie and CJ http://dirtydebbie.blogspot.com
65. Scorpio http://adventuresofascorpio.blogspot.com
66. Charlotte http://charlottethorpe73.wordpress.com
67. Bitchy Jones http://bitchyjones.wordpress.com
68. Anastasisa http://www.chaosnoir.com/anastasia
69. Alice http://anonymous-alice.blogspot.com
70. Anita Wagner http://practicalpolyamory.blogspot.com
71. Jack http://roughwords.blogspot.com
72. Mistress Matisse http://mistressmatisse.blogspot.com
73. Mariella http://wannaplaymariella.blogspot.com
74. O http://eros-logos.blogspot.com
75. Shasta Gibson http://shastagibson.com
76. Gwen http://www.pop-shot.blogspot.com
77. fivestar http://www.iamfivestar.com
78. Lilly http://dangerouslilly.blogspot.com
79. Penny http://birdsaresmart.blogspot.com
80. Figleaf http://www.realadultsex.com
81. Tony http://www.comstockfilms.com/blog/tony
82. Viviane http://www.thesexcarnival.com
83. Six http://sixelaborates.wordpress.com
84. Bob http://bobsbestboobs.com
85-99. Fiammetta, Jill, Robyn, Scarlot, Melissa, Kitten, Karly, Holly, Surgeon, Stacey, Tara, Jessica, Gina, Wendy, and Tori http://deepthroated.wordpress.com
100. _________________________ Why is #100 blank? Because I know there are dozens…hundreds…of other amazing sex bloggers out there, and I want everyone to be a part of this list.

The 2008 Sex Bloggers page has further profiles of the Top 100 Sex Bloggers, check that out for recommended posts and more information about the folks behind these great blogs.

In Praise of Femmes: Hair & Shaving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, now you:

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

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

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

If you are someone who tends to date transfeminine folks:

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

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

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

with what and where? ‘spanked’ winner

The winner of the delicious new anthology by Rachel Kramer Bussel is saintchick, with this submission about a great time she was spanked:

My ex had to work late one evening at school, so I thought I would surprise her by showing up. Her fave black dress, no undergarments except for the black and red garter, and black patten leather stilettos. Knocked on her classroom door and walked in, she was expecting me and from the look on her face I was in for some trouble. We made some small talk, and by small talk I mean she grabbed my hair and brought me close to her. Her lips barely touching my ear, telling me the exact things she had in store for me. I had only one rule to follow since I had already been a good girl. It was not to look back.

With that said I pretty much flung myself onto her desk, knocking off books, term papers, paper clip holders. She lifted my dress just so my cheeks were visble. Then I heard it, the sound of her opening her desk drawer. My legs started to quiver. I knew better to look back, but I so wanted to see the look on her face. She then placed her hand on the middle of my back to hold me down, and I felt the ruler graze my cheek. She then began alternating between the wooden ruler and her hand. She has this way about her. She would bring me just to the edge when I thought I could not take anymore and then would bring me down gently just to work me up all over again.

Once she admired her work and let her fingertips move over the fresh red marks, she let me up. With one long deep kiss, and one perfectly placed hand I came. On her and her desk. It was one of the best times ever.

Once I straightened out her desk, wiped her desk off (Thank God for Clorox wipes). I kissed her goodbye and just walked out of the classroom. As my stilettos clicked down the hall, a smile on my face, the security guard just looked up at me and managed to say nnnnight ma’am.

Good lord that’s hot. Makes me want to fuck in a classroom, or buy a fabulous ruler, or perfect

(Thanks to the anonymous semi-famous guest judge, you know who you are.)

Sorry I was so behind last week! My ‘real’ work is getting hugely in the way of my posts here. (Want to help me make Sugarbutch my full-time job?) Many posts on their way, including, of course, some butch eye candy, the call for femme eye candy, writings about the architecture of femme identity or what I learned at the Femme Conference, a post about strap-ons, follow up to the Spanked review about the ick factor, more poems, and oh gosh just a whole bunch of stuff. If only the day had more hours.