Resiliance and Rebuilding: 2013 in Books, Music, and Writings

Top Writings on Sugarbutch from 2013

In order, from most read to least, these are the writings on Sugarbutch from 2013. Which were your favorites?

The quiz is here! What kind of s-type are you?
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“In preparation for a big project that Rife & I are creating, we looked around to find a really good online quiz that talked about the different kinds of submissive identity and what they meant, but the only ones we found were … well, not so great. So we decided to make our own!”

essay | Read the whole thing

Making Peace: in which I (attempt to) explain what happened over these last eighteen months
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“I want to make peace with you, my readers—and with my friends, many of whom experienced me being flaky, not following through with my agreements, and not showing up in the past eighteen months. I want the ease of interaction back. I want to tell you where I’ve been, to make sense of the significant changes I’ve been through. If I don’t tell you what happened, how can you understand where I am now? How can I understand where I am now? … So: what happened between me and Kristen? What is the matter of fact explanation?”

This post attempts to explain. journal entry | Read the whole thing

“Pick a hole. You know what happens next.”
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““Uhh no please Daddy.” My dick completely fills him. I feel him dripping already. The resistance is palpable as I push deeper, filling him up. His tight little young body tries to push me out, but it just gives you more to push against. I’ll force it in all morning if I have to. He’ll get used to it.

I fist his hair and hold his hole open. “You know I like it when you struggle. I can shove harder that way.” He’ll learn to open up for me, to give that hole, to open up and take it, in time. Right now I don’t mind shoving it in. I work it in and out. So tight.”

Trigger warning: Daddy/boy play, rough sex. dirty story | Read the whole thing →

How to Chomp: Erotic Biting for Pleasure & Pain
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“So, let’s say you have a green light of consent, that this person you’re messing around with in whatever way loves being bit. How do you do that? What are the safety risks? How do you cause maximum pleasure (or pain)?”

That image up at the top of this 2013 roundup post is the illustration Rife made just for this essay. advice / essay | Read the whole thing →

Queer Porn TV Free #PornParty January 31st
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“What is a #pornparty, you ask? Well, it’s a worldwide gathering on Twitter of folks who like queer porn. Simply tune in, press play, and then follow the hashtag #pornparty while you watch for commentary and discussion. … We’ll be watching something through QueerPorn.TV, and viewing this film will be completely free.”

No wonder it’s a popular post, huh? Lots of good free porn. There may be more #pornparty -ing in 2014, we’ll see … review | Read the whole thing →

Under the Desk
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“”Uh huh. I know you like it. You beg for it an thank me after, little one. But this isn’t for you. Just for me. Daddy needs this. Do it right. That’s good. Fuck. Good boy.” You start swelling up and moaning with each cool sucking breath. I know you want it. I know this is what you’re for, and so do you. I shove it in, feeling myself tighten, that delicious pressure building from deep.”

dirty story | Read the whole thing →

Coming Out Genderqueer: An Open Letter to My Family & Friends
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“Dear family & friends,

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

The whole letter was posted on my personal Facebook account, where I tagged most of my childhood friends, work colleagues, and relatives. It was kind of nerve-wracking. And, it’s been amazing what conversations have opened up from it. essay | Read the whole thing →

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Charlie Glickman: “Being poly doesn’t make you more evolved.”
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“[Poly] requires the ability to talk about and process feelings quickly and efficiently. Of course, that skill will benefit any relationship, but when there are multiple people, each with their own needs and desires, as well as their feelings about each other, there are a lot of moving parts. If I could, I’d tell my younger self that the best way to learn how to process well would be to build social networks full of people who are dedicated to open-hearted, honest communication. Yes, therapy helped. Yes, workshops and books helped. But getting to see how other people do it and getting to practice it with lots of friends made it much easier to develop those skills in sexual/romantic relationships.”

Remember the open relationship mini-interviews? They wrapped up very early 2013, it was more of a end-of-2012 project. I still want to make them into an ebook. This interview with Charlie was picked up by The Stranger’s online newspaper, and got a bit of attention. essay | Read the whole thing →

To the femmes on whom I’ve crushed this past year
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“If you think I’m not kicking myself for not making a move when I had the chance, you’re wrong. I wish I made a move. Although really, I wish I had had the capacity to make a move. Explain it through the spoon theory, call it the grieving process, call it heartbreak, call it post-poly trauma and fear—whatever it was, I was not in the place to play, fuck, open myself up, make an offer, make a move, or hell, sometimes even flirt. I wish I had been.”

journal entry | Read the whole thing →

Five Blow Jobs
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““Good boy,” I breathe as I watch your mouth, tongue, lips, my cock down your throat. I let you guide it. I let you slide it however deep you want. I push a little, because that’s what I do, but mostly I just concentrate on the feeling and the sight. I almost come but it’s too much, I get overstimulated and don’t have the right angle so I get up and take my jeans off, my socks and shoes and briefs, and spread my legs wider, get a better grip under the harness. You start in again and I imagine what your mouth would feel like. I know every inch of it, know every ridge of the roof and every tastebud on your tongue and every valley of your teeth with my fingers and my tongue, but fuck how I wish I could feel those with my cock.”

dirty story | Read the whole thing →

Back on the Path
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“These days, I rarely write here about my personal life. I know that’s been an appeal of Sugarbutch for a long time, but the last six months have proven to be the most difficult winter I’ve ever gone through, and I don’t even know how to write about it. Maybe I will, someday. Maybe things will start to make more sense soon. I’ve written about the precursor some, so perhaps some of you can guess the inevitable outcome. But I’m not ready to write about it all yet.

It’s strange to not write it. This place has been my first go-to for relationship changes and processing for years, and it has always been a comfort to reveal and work through things in this way. The biggest problem is that as my audience has grown, the things I am exploring have changed, and many of my own edges are controversial.”

journal entry | Read the whole thing →

This is how we wake up.
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“He drops and shudders again, slow and steady on his hands and knees, disappearing around the corner. I hear him shuffle on the wood floor. I have my cock on and hard when he gets back. He spreads the blanket out and I knock him forward onto the bed, on his stomach, bent over the side. Press my body up against his and he moans, calls out, his neck long, mouth open. Cock pressed between his legs. Feel it? Got me so hard, little faggot. Are you going to be a good boy and take it for Daddy? Huh?

Trigger warning: Daddy/boy play, rough sex. journal entry / dirty story | Read the whole thing →

Favorite reads from 2013

It was kind of a bad reading year for me. I remember early on in the year, wondering why I couldn’t seem to concentrate on whatever book I was reading, and my therapist commenting on how much hardship I’d been going through, and how it makes sense that my brain couldn’t concentrate on other people’s stories. I think it was too busy rearranging to my new reality. Still, I missed reading, so I tried to dial down my books, reading things that were just easy rather than complicated or full of big thoughts. I read a lot of dirty novels, and poems, and tried to get through gender theory (and sometimes did).

These were the very favorites of my year. Things I couldn’t put down, things that changed my world view, things that were notable and I would highly recommend.

     

How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn; Excluded, Julia Serano; Dark Secret Love, Alison Tyler; Ask the Man Who Owns Him, David Schachter & david stein; Rise of the Trust Fall, Mindy Nettifee; Slow Surrender by Cecilica Tan

     

Real Happiness, Sharon Salzberg; Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknovich; Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman; The Killer Wore Leather, Laura Antoniou; A Tale for the Time Being, Ruth Ozeki; The Big Book of Orgasms, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I keep track of books over on GoodReads, and so this list is based on my top rated books from 2013. I’ve put forward goals for the last four years on GoodReads, but I didn’t make it last year. I lowered my number again for this year, and am hoping to read more, now that I have more of my concentration back.

Most listened to music from 2013

Some are from 2011 or 2012, but I’m still playing them, or they’re new to me this past year.

I’m not going to put albums by Morphine, KD Lang, and Tori Amos on this list, but they were actually my very most listened to artists in 2013. They’re my top favorites I guess, I go back to their libraries all the time.

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Aims by Vienna Teng (2013); The Haunted Man by Bat for Lashes (2012); Baby Caught the Bus by Clairy Browne & the Banging Rackettes (2011); The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit (2012); The Highway by Holly Williams (2013); Smoke & Mirrors by Brett Dennen (2013)

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Last of the Great Pretenders by Matt Nathanson (2013); Weather by MeShell Ndegeocello (2011); Mojo Juju’s self-titled first album (2012); American Kid by Patty Griffin (2013); Coexist by The XX (2013); Wax Wings by Joshua Radin (2013)

I’ve been more into music in the past than I think I am now—I keep up with new releases less, and even listen to less music, moreso just going back to the artists I love and listening to my favorites. I still make a lot of mixes, though. This list is largely based on my last.fm account and my itunes and my brain.

Top posts of 2013 that were published in other years

Just in case you want more reads, and these weren’t enough to keep you clicking around the internet for a few hours, here’s some of the top posts on Sugarbutch in 2013 according to the number of times they were read, but they weren’t published in 2013. I’m glad that y’all still go back into the archives sometimes!

Y’all really like the dirty stuff, don’t you. Uh huh. Duly noted as I go forward in 2014.

I do actually have some resolutions this year … particularly, I have some resolutions for “blogging,” for writing here. I think I’ll go share them with the newsletter.

Comment Zen … Requests & Ideas

Oh hey! So you want to comment on this? I’d love that. Here’s some ideas for what you might want to say:

  • What was your favorite writing on Sugarbutch this year? What posts do you frequently go back to, from this year or from other years?
  • What were your favorite books from 2013?
  • What was your favorite new music album of 2013?
  • For that matter, I would love your favorite books or music recommendations of all time, especially books that are beautifully easy to fall into and stay up late reading, which for me is mostly really good fiction. But whatever you found yourself lost in recently, I’d love to know.
  • What do you hope to see more of in 2014?
  • Did you make any New Year’s resolutions?

That should be enough inspirational questions, right? Thanks for reading this far. I hope you found some good reads or some good musical inspirations.

Leave a comment

Masocast podcast features … me! Also: Fancy Package on #subplay!

I’ve been spending most of my time lately working on Submissive Playground. It’s kind of shocking to me how much time it’s taking to set up—I didn’t have a very realistic sense of the time involved on the back end. The past two days, I’ve spent close to 10 hours writing the main course landing page, and today, rife has already spent at least three hours designing it.

And that’s not even the curriculum! That’s just the copy describing the curriculum.

The course is getting close (pre-course materials launch in ten days!) and so I’m spending a lot of time thinking about submission, writing about assumptions, getting clear on what I want to know from the Players, and strategizing learning styles and games and tasks and fun things for people to do in the course.

I talked to an old friend from New York City, Axe, about the Playground and also my breakup, and D/s and M/s, and what it’s like to have left New York, on his Masocast recently. You can download it or stream it here:

The Masocast is community-run, so go donate to keep it going strong. I think Axe is an excellent interviewer, and a deep thinker about lots of kink things. This is my fourth time being a guest on his podcast, all the old ones are still available to download & stream too.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my motivations for putting something like this together, too. It was basically rife’s idea, and we brainstormed about it and bantered about it for a few hours before massaging it into the concept as it currently stands.

I think a big part of wanting to explore submission with people deeper is from the ways that the D/s in my relationship with Kristen went badly. The last two years, both as she and I were struggling to improve things and in the year since we split up, I have helped many people sort through their own struggles with D/s, and I know my perspective on these topics have really helped them come to a better place. In some ways, I don’t have a lot of range, having had only two major D/s partnerships, but I have a significant amount of depth in my studies of D/s.

And, when I floated around an idea of a Dominant course, the interest of learning to dominate from a dominant wasn’t as great as practicing how to submit with a dominant. I’ve been moving away from the me-as-know-it-all-teacher style of teaching anyway, so this experiential workshop is a good start to that.

Amazingly, the Star Player packages are sold out!, and I’m considering adding a few more slots to let the folks on the wait list in. (Want in? Email me, [email protected]) I allotted time in my calendar for three Fancy Players, who would meet with me every week, but those aren’t currently full …

Which brings me to …

There are still slots available for people who want to be “Fancy Players,” aka The Super Star Package. This package has some special things in it! The major thing, and the reason why it’s more expensive, is because it has FOUR one-on-one sessions with me included in the package, one during each week of the course.

Here’s what you get:

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  • Four 1-on-1 sessions with Sinclair (via Skype or phone)* — $500 value!
  • Customized Submissive Playground dog tags*
  • A letter to your current or future dominant, outlining your strengths and suggestions for further training*
  • A paper certificate of participation, mailed to you
  • Submissive meditation worksheets
  • Weekly tasks/assignments
  • Erotica to read!
  • Porn to watch!
  • Tasks for and feedback on your personal submissive journal
  • Weekly all-player sessions to discuss your experiences with the current topic of study

* Exclusive to the Fancy Package

Go ahead & sign up!

If you’ve already signed up, you can upgrade! (Or, perhaps your partner or Sugar Daddy or Sugar Mama or Sugar Butch (haay! See what I did there?) or Sugar Femme or WHOMEVER would want to upgrade you as part of your dark-time-of-the-year holiday gift? Have them contact me!)

Alright … I’m off to pack (no, the other kind, you pervert), and fuck my boy and probably go to the grocery store to bake cookies so we can be all ready to catch a plane tomorrow morning. We’ll be spending the next two weeks with family, and off on a retreat by ourselves.

All you Submissive Playground Players: I’ll be in touch!

Everybody else … thank you, for all of your wonderful support and comments and shares and clicks and for reading this year.

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 hottest parts of the hottest parts of the stories: The Big Book of Orgasms

If you’re a fan of reading erotica—and chances are high that you are, if you’re following Sugarbutch—you probably know Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s work. She’s one of the most prolific erotica editors and writers currently curating and creating dirty books and stories for us to read and explore, and I’m a huge fan of her work.

She’s included stories of mine in a variety of her anthologies, and I’m in a brand new book of hers called The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories which also features many of my favorite queer erotica writers, including BD Swain and Xan West.

The Big Book of Orgasms joins a few other “big book” anthologies of short-short dirty stories, including Girl Fever and Gotta Have It and Frenzy (the latter two I have stories in), and they continue to be some of my most favorite anthologies. They’re so easy to read. It’s like the “good parts” version of other erotica anthologies, where in this one, the writers only have a couple of pages to give you the point of the story, which is usually the hottest part of the story.

The hottest part of the story isn’t always the orgasm part (very often the tease is what does it for me, for example), but it’s definitely one of the hottest parts. So basically what I’m saying is, this book is the hottest parts of the hottest parts of stories. Amazing.

So next week, on Wednesday November 6th, I’ll be reading at the Polk Street Good Vibrations toy store in San Francisco, along with a handful of other contributors to the book, to celebrate the release of The Big Book of Orgasms!

Details:

bigbookThe Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories (Cleis Press) is editor Rachel Kramer Bussel’s latest and greatest erotica anthology. This climactic collection of pansexual short shorts are perfect for bedtime reading to a lover or on your own. Whether getting off from exhibitionism, voyeurism, hot wax, dirty talk or a very special pair of blue jeans, the characters in The Big Book of Orgasms go all out for the Big O. From vanilla to kinky, and everything in between, there’s something for all erotic readers here. At this special reading, Bussel will be joined by contributors Lily K. Cho, Malin James, Crystal Jordan, Donna George Storey, B.D. Swain, Virgie Tovar, Sinclair Sexsmith, Jade A. Waters and Xan West for an evening of steamy stories that’s sure to leave you hot and bothered.

FREE!
Time: 6:30 – 7:30pm
Where: Good Vibrations Polk Street Good Vibrations Polk St. store 1620 Polk Street (at Sacramento Street), San Francisco, CA 94109
http://events.goodvibes.com
https://fetlife.com/events/201391
https://www.facebook.com/events/186231794893318/

… The only problem is, I’m not entirely sure what to read. This book includes a story about Kristen, and traditionally, at book release parties, it’s customary to read the story that is included in the book. But I don’t think I can read a story about how good she is at sex and how much I loved fucking her, in public, right now. Maybe someday I can, maybe it’ll feel like fiction again, or like my own writing, but right now it just feels like ouch.

So what do I read?

Options are … well … I could read a different piece, something about rife or something more fictional. I could read someone else’s story from the book. I could write to Rachel and ask her what she recommends. I’m not sure what the best option is, for this one.

Suggestions?

And while you’re at it, if you’re in or nearby to San Francisco, why don’t you come see me read, and get a copy of the book signed by some of the amazing contributors? It’s been a while since I’ve had an erotica reading, I’m looking forward to it.

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

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Dominance & Power with Responsibility

As I’ve been exploring deeper into power theory, like D/s and M/s, and as I’ve been trying to understand how my relationship with Kristen went wrong and in what ways power played into that, I’ve been thinking more and more about responsibility.

I’ve been meditating on the basics: What is it? How does it work? How does one “take responsibility”? What kind of responsibilities does one have—as a partner, as a lover, as a Daddy, as a dominant, as a friend? How does responsibility shift and changes when circumstances are not ideal, such as when someone is grieving (you know, hypothetically)?

Raven Kaldera and Joshua Tenpenny, whose books on M/s I have been recently devouring and whose theories I astutely agree with, mention in one of their books that a dominant’s hunger for responsibility must be equal to or greater than their hunger and lust for power. That resonated deeply with me, so I have been chewing on how to act from a responsible place, how to behave responsibly, how to hunger for responsibility, how to be responsible with my power.

We commonly use “responsibility” to mean our obligations—the things we have agreed to do, or the things other people have put on us to do that we may or may not have agreed to—and how we cope with those obligations. It is my responsibility as a cat owner to make sure my cat is fed, for example.

But when it comes to interpersonal relationships, what our responsibilities are vary greatly from person to person, and from culture to culture. My responsibilities to my parents might mean, to me, calling them on their birthdays and going to visit once a year, but to another person, their responsibilities to their parents might be visiting them every day, or might be sending one holiday card annually. Same with lovers and partners: I might think my responsibility is to respond to texts or emails from lovers is to respond when I can get to it, but my lover might think it rude and irresponsible of me not to reply right away (especially when now, with iMessage, you can see when your texts have been read). I suspect some of the expectations in relationships are built on our love languages (quality time, acts of service, gifts, physical touch, words of affirmation).

The expectations we place upon responsibilities of those around us are often unspoken and unconscious, and therefore difficult to make clear. Making those clear is a key piece of good communication, I believe.

But that’s just one piece. We also use the word “responsibility” to talk about one’s behavior in any given situation, such as, “They’re not being very responsible,” or, “they’re not acting very responsibly.”

I started breaking down the word responsibility into its two parts: response and ability. Response-ability. And that led me to my first conclusion about it: responsibility is your ability to respond to any given situation. But how does one “respond”?

Most of the time, I think we are reacting, not responding. Reacting is the knee-jerk impulse our combination of body, mind, experiences, emotions, and self tells us to have. We get an email from a boss with some critique, we feel insulted. Our lover asks something taxing of us, we feel put out. Not everybody has the same reaction, of course—depending on our unique histories, unique bodies, unique patternings, we react in different ways; many of us have different reactions to the same emotions, too. Some people feel insulted and fight back, some people feel insulted and become paralyzed, some people feel insulted and run away.

I think that responsibility is your ability to take the reaction you have, process it through your thoughtful higher self who wants the best for everyone involved and can see many perspectives, and choose your response and your next actions intentionally.

Let me put that another way. My ability to respond well to a situation, to be responsible in my role or job or relationship, depends upon my ability to notice my knee-jerk reaction and use that as one piece of the data that I gather before I decide what to do next. Other pieces of data you could use as you analyze the situation include:

  • What would the high wise imaginary counsel inside your head, made up of all of your mentors and favorite people, advise you to do?
  • What would your counsel of very favorite people advise you to do? (Perhaps you should call them to ask?)
  • What would the best possible outcome for all people be?
  • What would you say if you were really telling the truth about this situation?
  • How do your ethics ascribe you to behave?
  • What would yourself in ten years say about this situation?
  • How do your spiritual or religious beliefs guide you in this quandary?
  • Where are the places where your ego, pride, or stoicism are getting in the way?
  • Where can you use your great strength to be more vulnerable in this situation?
  • Where do you feel this pain, sorrow, longing, anger, or frustration in your body?
  • What does your bodywork or therapy point you toward?

I’ve been chewing on this difference, between reaction and response-ability, for at least a year now, trying to figure out how to be sure I am exploring what it means to be responsible with the privilege and power that I hold. Because, as the cliche saying goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and as I’ve been seeking more and more great power, I want to make sure I have the great responsibility part down as well. I don’t think “responsibility” dictates a code of behavior specifically so much as it dictates an intentional response, and that is a comfort to me, as I try to continue to sort our my own wounds, heal my own heartache, and continue to pursue my lust for power.

“Let Them:” A Request To Help Keep Me Writing

TL;DR version: This is a request for financial help. Donate some cash to me, if you can, to keep enabling me to pay my bills and keep writing. Thank you.

The long version …

So, Give Out Day came and went yesterday, a drive “supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) community through a new national giving campaign. … Give OUT Day will mobilize thousands of donors across the U.S. to contribute to 400 participating LGBTQ causes.” More than $500,000 was raised. I wanted to write a post about how I’m not a 501c3, but I need your donations, too, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.

Yesterday, I watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, The Art of Asking, again, which is up there with her piece Why I Am Not Afraid to Take Your Money, things I go read when I need inspiration. The artists going directly to the fans for financial support seems to be more and more of a common model. And yet … and yet. I don’t bite my fingernails anymore, but I start biting the inside of my lips when I think about money.

In March, I put a really weak little hidden sentence in the middle of a paragraph, “If you feel inspired to donate to me as I restart and recalibrate and transition into a new incarnation of myself, and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with Sugarbutch and my heart, that would be incredibly helpful.” Two people emailed me after that, saying that the donate link in my sidebar was broken and they wanted to help and how could they best do that?

I blinked. Really?

It was a weak request, buried and almost a sidenote, something shadowy I didn’t want to cop to. But I actually do need it. So I fixed the donate button in the sidebar. And I added a donate page in the top bar which includes a link to my Amazon wishlist, if you want to buy me practical gifts or books or other kinds of presents instead of sending money.

One of the biggest goals I have for my work, as I’m continuing to claw my way out of this fog, this year of grief, is to make it financially sustainable. When I started this site, I had a corporate office 9-to-5 job which made it possible for me to concentrate on writing all the time. When I was part of the jobs cut in their downsizing, I had unemployment compensation right after I left my corporate office job, but that ended last year. I used to have a tiny but regular income from affiliates, but as I am doing less and less product reviews, and as many sex toy stores have closed their affiliate programs, I have much less of that. I also used to have a long term partner with a day job, until she lost it last summer and, later, we split up.

All these things, all that financial support, enabled me to do this work.

Have you noticed that I have spent a whole lot more time on Sugarbutch in the last few years a) promoting workshops and events that I’m doing and b) promoting products? That’s because the workshops have been my #1 income, and the products often give me that affiliate kickback of $100-200 a month, which made a big difference. Workshops have been my most reliable income in order to keep paying rent and keep eating—and keep doing this work. I spend so many hours a day pitching and replying that sometimes I just can’t stare at a screen anymore, and that means I don’t write those exciting productive things.

This past year, I’ve been focusing hard on how to let this work make me money.

Not because my only priority is making more money, but because I need some money to survive. To eat, to pay rent, to attend the events that I write about, to travel, to buy a new suitcase. (Did you know that the wheels on my carry-on suitcase, the one I purchased in 2002 to study abroad when I was in college, are almost completely broken? I basically drag the suitcase along the ground now. It makes a terribly loud noise. It also makes me feel like everyone knows that I am that dirty, broke-ass kid, just like I’ve always been, and I can’t afford new things. The business people in the airport look when they hear my suitcase chunk-chunk-chunking down the moving walkways and look at my suitcase and give me that pathetic smile, eyebrows kind of raised, skeptical. I shrug, feel sheepish. I don’t need a new suitcase, because this one technically still closes and holds my clothes. But it’s on its last legs. I should add that to my Amazon wishlist.)

Part of my aim in leaving New York and moving to the west coast is to cut my expenses down significantly. I know the Bay Area isn’t exactly cheaper than New York City, but that is part of why I’m sublet-hopping and spending two months in Alaska with family this summer—to cut down on my expenses, to hopefully build up my bank account for a little while, have some cushion when I start having more regular bills again. I’m not sure I want to live in the city proper—I’m not sure I can afford to live in the city and still do this work.

I don’t quite know how to get from here to there, but I’m starting to formulate a plan. This homeless summer on the west coast where all of my stuff is in storage is part of that plan.

Since last weekend, I’ve noticed my traffic on this site has been up, both because I have written more here in the past week than I have in probably two months together, and because Rife spent many hours debugging and finding all the malware in the backend of this site. (So useful, that one.) I spent some time looking at my traffic statistics this past week, and I noticed that my traffic dropped by almost half between February 2012 and March 2012, and it’s been down in that almost-half range ever since.

My dad died in March 2012. Maybe you remember that—I put up a request for donations then, too, and received enough that I could buy a last minute plane ticket home to Alaska and be with my family the week he died. (Thank you. Thank you.) I think that’s about when the spyware/malware issues first showed up, too, when readers started telling me my site wasn’t loading, and I didn’t have the emotional capacity to fix it. I limped along, this site limped along, my relationships limped along. And some other things happened then, too. I continued the year long Tantra training, and I went on tour for Say Please. My relationship with Kristen started falling apart, though I didn’t know it at the time. Everything changed that month last year. And the site statistics reflects that.

I want to build it back up. Keep including my personal struggles here, and write more poetry, write bolder, tell more rather than less, answer your questions, finish more videos, more advice, more theories. In order to do that, I have to be able to pay my bills. I don’t want to spend all my time hustling for college workshops—I want to spend time musing about power theories and what it’s like to grieve and what it’s like to be a Daddy when my dad died and how to make deeper bruises and how to fall in love and how to heal and of course dirty, dirty smut.

So I’ve been looking around, spending more time on this site, writing things, fixing up the sidebar, researching advertising. I received an email just this morning from a potential advertiser telling me that my site had too much “adult content,” even though they are an advertiser that is friendly to sex related stuff. Specifically, they had problems with the recent tags like “daddy/boy” and “my boy’s cunt” and “resistance play”, which, they said, “pushes the lines of what BDSM content we could accept.”

Hm, I thought. I could tone it down. I could take those tags off. I could stop writing dirty Daddy stories about force. Is that what I have to do in order to make money? Am I willing to compromise my art in order to have sponsors? No, probably not. But if I can’t have paid ads on this site, how can I afford it?

You could ask for help, my mind prodded. You could let people help.

I feel guilty asking for money. I feel failed. Amanda talked about how, as a street performer, people would drive by and yell, “Get a fucking job!” That’s what it looks like, right? That I don’t have a job, that I just play on the internet and live my life and do fun things like have a lot of sex and wear ties? But what’s underneath that is that I am an entrepreneur, even a business owner (I don’t want to be that, I didn’t aim to be that. I just want to be a writer. But if I want to keep it up like this, that’s what I now am). What’s underneath is that I am a figure, a mini-celebrity (very well known in tiny, tiny circles).

What’s under all of that is that I work so hard on the exchange between us—that moment where something I do connects with you.

Amanda talks about that moment as part of the exchange for the immense amount of help she’s had all along the way. Fans leap forward everywhere to offer home-cooked food and places to crash and entertainment for her fans. “Is it fair?” she asked in her TED talk. Is it fair to receive that back from her fans?

It’s an energy exchange. Is this energy exchange fair?

This site is free, always has been. You can read all of it—seven years of thoughts, musings, theories, my personal sex life, my best writings, poetry, breakdowns, ecstatic moments, feelings, recommendations for music, sex toys, books. And, yeah, smut. Lots and lots and lots of dirty stories to turn you on. I donate my time (and, when I can, my money) to my community, to people directly and to events and to products I support. I give away my time and my writing and my teaching. I give away hundreds of days of work on this site.

I don’t know how to ask for money. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had much of it. I’ve never lived anything but paycheck to paycheck, and now in my creative class/working artist life, I barely even have that, because the paychecks are so irregular.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make this work successful, how I can have enough space to write deeply. Do you want me to keep doing that? Is it worth it to you, to keep reading those things here?

“Don’t make people pay for music,” says Amanda Palmer. “Let them.”

So I’m letting you. I’m letting you help me, by letting you know that I need help—financial help. I don’t need a lot to cover my expenses, but right now, I’m barely making that from this work. I have to keep seeking other supplemental income, and I am and will. Anything you give me will enable to me keep writing.

I am so very grateful to have people I can ask, to have the privilege of even asking. Thank you. For reading, for sticking with me while I’m struggling to make this into something I can keep doing.

Oh, one last thing: everyone who donates $25 or more will receive a special sponsor smut story unpublished anywhere else. (It’s a good one, too.)

What Dyke Looks Like: Photographer Kristy Boyce is Visiting NYC

When Kristen & I were in Toronto for the Unholy Harvest kink conference in October, we had a photo shoot with Kristy Boyce who is doing a project called What Dyke Looks Like. She’s a professional who had a vision, and Kristen and I were at her apartment and out in an alley in many different settings in front of many different backdrops with all kinds of light and flashes and fancy things to help her complete her vision. We had a blast.

 

 

These are just a few of the shots—there are many, many more and I’m excited to show you even more. Kristen looked so hot and there are so many of her in lingerie and a bomber jacket and looking badass and epic.

All this is to say, Kristy is coming to New York City! She’s shooting folks here this week, 8-15 January, and is specifically in need of subjects who are dyke-identified. If you might want to have your photo taken, contact her directly to make an appointment: [email protected].

The Best Things I Wrote About Sex, Gender, & Relationships in 2012

Lily at Black Leather Belt is putting together the #SexReader, a new roundup of the best sex blog posts, and the first one is Best of 2012, so I have been looking over the past year.

I haven’t written as much, here, as I have in the past. I’m kind of sad about that, but that’s just the way 2012 was. My year was shaping up to be the Best Year Ever in January & February when Kristen and I were navigating the brand new openness of our relationship and I was falling in love with Rife, but in March when my dad died, everything got thrown off. I threw myself into traveling for my erotica anthology, Say Please, from April through August, and by the time I got back in August, Kristen had lost her job and I was a wreck. I’ve been working to pick up the pieces since then. Though I’ve continued to see Rife every other month or so, I haven’t written a lot about him here.

The combination of personal crises and traveling this year has meant that I have spent a whole lot more time in my inbox, and processing my fucking feelings, than I have spent writing.

Still, there were some notable posts in 2012.

I started the year by writing weekly love letters to Kristen. I didn’t continue them, but I wrote a couple dozen. From Love Letter #16:

It’s interesting to actually put the non-monogamy into practice. In some ways it feels like the most secure a relationship could be, that we both know to the core so deeply that our relationship is so good and solid that it’s totally okay for us to explore with other people. At our good moments that’s how it feels, anyway. In our harder moments, it’s a lot of reassurance—for both of us—that what we’re doing isn’t going to fuck up what we have. That is so, so important to me, to keep us safe and to not do anything that might jeopardize the foundation we’re building and the intensity between us and our sexual spark and all of those things, and if ever you feel like I am doing something that jeopardizes that, I want to know and I want to fix it as immediately as possible. I trust that, deeply; I have faith in us and I think we can figure this out. It’s hard, it continues to be hard, but I’m excited about the possibilities this is opening up and I’m glad we are exploring together.

I came out about opening up our relationship, and dating Rife, and how Kristen and I were dealing with that, in March 2012 with On Opening Up My Relationship With Kristen

I love you (I told her) and I don’t think this has to or does or will take away from that, from us. … Beyond that, I started asking myself and her: How can I love you well? How can I love you better than I do? How can I continue to make you feel special in our relationship, in ways other than exclusive sex? That is only one way, one fairly arbitrary way. What are the things we both need? How do we ensure that happens well?

We came up with some agreements about what I would or wouldn’t do with him, how we’d see each other, what kind of contact we’d have, and how my relationship and sexual connection with Kristen would be kept as the highest priority. It took a long time to negotiate that, to try some things and then try other things, and it’s a working document that keeps changing.

It’s still hard—there is still jealousy and insecurity and uncertainty, but the fighting has basically ceased. There are still complications, and we talk through it. We’ve been negotiating—fairly well, I would say—ever since.

I also wrote a few posts about Rife, like our adventures at IMsL, in Like a Faggot, published in June 2012:

“I like your cock in my ass. I like it. Please, Sir, fuck my ass. Please please please.” His pleading cries became whimpers and I groaned, my hips jerking hard against his in response.

“Good boy,” I muttered as my cock slid in and out. I wrapped my arms around him, held us together, breathing hard, and brought my hand between his legs to his clit again, thrumming it gently, sensitive now. “Mmm, fuck, you feel good. Your ass is nice and tight, feels good on my cock. I like to fill you up. Squeeze me harder, let me feel how tight you are, that’s it, yeah.” He came again, squirting, I could see it darken the blanket as his body thrust forward in contractions.

“Just a little more. Then I’m going to beat you.” I slid in and he moaned deep. He whimpered and shook, straightening his body upright until I pushed him back onto the table.

“Take it,” I growled. “Just a little more. Take it like a faggot. You can do it. Come on, dirty boy, I know you like it.” He didn’t stop shaking, barely holding himself up on his legs, and I thrust in again, and again. I rambled on as I worked up a slick sweat. I wanted to wear him out, warm him up before I started beating him. “Do it for me again, faggot. Come on, boy, come on my cock while I fuck you. Do it. Do it for me.”

Kristen and I had some really good scenes this year, too. The Three Minute Game, June 2012

“For my pleasure …” I swallowed. “I would like you to kiss my feet.” We’ve played with this a little. It is only recently that I have admitted how much I like it—to myself and others—enough to actually experiment with the sensation. It makes me nervous to ask for. But that is partly what this game is for, and it’s only three minutes. I can do just about anything for three minutes.

She nodded, looked at me a little coyly, chin down eyes up lips parted, and said, “And suck your toes?”

My breath caught. “Yes,” I think I managed to say. I think it was audible. So nervous. And it’s something that I wanted to feel, so much.

I set the timer again and she slid down the bed on her belly to take my right foot in her hands and deliver a sprinkling of kisses along the top of it. She ran her tongue along the instep, the most sensitive part, and sucked gently with her lips. She tongued the crease between my big toe and second toe before sliding the larger into her mouth.

I groaned.

Another good Kristen story got really dirty: Dirty Filthy Nasty, September 2012:

I bring the bottle of lube, twist my legs up onto the bed and get on my knees, grab her thighs with my hands and pull her hips toward me so she’s at an angle. I pump the lube twice—once over the lips of her cunt, once on the head of my dick. I rub it slowly with my hand, showing off a little because I know she likes to watch me jerk off. Her legs are open on either side of my knees. Her cunt is mostly bare, her lips are pink and swollen.

“Fuck.”

I grip her inner thighs in my hands and poise my cock with my hips. Taking the cock in my fist, I use the head of my cock to rub the lube along her slit, rubbing it on her cunt, slick and smooth, and then smack her with it a few times, before I slide in. I reach up to her wrists and my hands fit so easily around them, she feels so small. She struggles against me, just a little, pushing back, but I have gravity and more than fifty pounds on her—we both know it’s for show. A request to hold her harder, a request to keep her down. We both shudder as I slide in deeper and put more of my weight down onto her, and she wraps her legs around me, her arms around my shoulders.

I vow to go slow, I keep repeating in my head, go slow go slow slow down go slow, but she feels so fucking good and she’s so wet and slick and pulsing around me so tight, and I’m so hard and deep, my hips start bucking and I don’t restrain them. She moans. I fuck her harder, reaching down with my right hand to lop my elbow around her calf and pull her knee up, her legs apart.

“Baby, baby, baby …”

I wish it was a given that I would fuck her like this until I shoot. I wish it was more consistent, to come inside her, to get off while she writhes.

There was a femme conference in August, and I wrote some about policing the femme identity and what it’s like to go to an identity-based conference: Are You Femme Enough for the Femme Conference? July 2012

I think the bottom line is that it’s incredibly complicated to occupy a socially-recognized identity like butch or femme, because while we have stereotypical versions of what those things “should” look like in our minds, we don’t necessarily have the complex deconstructions (and reconstructions) necessary to be able to see that person as butch or femme and all their other pieces of self too. Or, if the person doesn’t quite look like the stereotype, we don’t recognize them as “legitimate.” These queer cultures still see someone, recognizes them as butch or femme or neither, and draws all sorts of conclusions based on that.

People are probably always going to do this. I don’t mean that in an I-give-up kind of way, just in a this-is-probably-true-and-I-will-have-less-strife-in-my-life-if-I-accept-that kind of way.

And y’know, fuck that. I mean, I completely understand that that is a challenge and hard and sometimes makes me return home defeated after a night and just kinda cry and whine for a while, I also think part of the work of having these identities is recognizing that we are trying to rise them above stereotypes, and that the cultures we’re in still largely use big fat markers to draw pictures of these identities, not slim exact-shaded pencils. And part of our work, I believe, part of the work of occupying these identities, is uncoupling them from the heteronormative gender roles, and making them big enough and accessible to anyone who feels a resonance with them. They can be liberational, and the benefits of identifying with a gender lineage, a gender heritage, feels so important to me, putting me in a historical context with people who came before me, so I feel less alone in my forging forward. I’m not doing it exactly as they did it, I’m doing it my own way and in the context of my own communities and time and culture, but I am able to remake it and make more room for freedom and consciousness and liberation within it because I am on their shoulders, using the tools they left for me—us—to pick up.

That is all to say, you are femme enough to attend the femme conference. Or, you know, if you don’t identify as femme but you have some interest in learning more about femme identity and being around femmes and folks who are puzzling through femme identity, you can come too.

Though by far, the most viewed post was this one: Sugarbutch Star: blckndblue: The Pink Dress, January 2012, which is fiction.

“Was there something that you wanted? Sir?” She adds the last word in a low, sweet voice and my cock pulses. I drop my hand holding the glass to my side. Extending her arms around my neck, she draws closer to me. I can smell the sticky sweet of her lipstick. I lick my lips. Swallow again. My mouth is dry. I lift my arm, take a swig of the whiskey, and it goes down like a knife. She offers me her lips when I drop the glass again, whispering right up next to mine but not touching. She waits. I kiss her and her mouth is like candy, like being enveloped in silk. My knees go weak again and I lean against the wall to hold myself up. Her lipstick is a smear on my mouth and I don’t care. She leaves a trail of lip prints along my jaw and to the curve of my neck and I don’t care. She is devouring me one kiss at a time and I don’t care. My whole body shudders between her and the wall, held up by both.

She pulls on my earlobe between her lips before she whispers in my ear, “I would like to suck your cock now.” It’s almost a question, almost asking for permission, she knows that’s usually how it works, but this time it is more of a statement of intent. I notice she doesn’t say “sir” but I don’t care. She’s calling the shots now. She drags her body down mine and her skirt fans out around her legs as she kneels in front of me. She looks up, hands on her thighs, and waits, lips parted a little, lipstick smeared and thick which makes her mouth look even more swollen. I breathe deep, trying to focus. I’m supposed to do something. I manage to set the glass of whiskey down on the side table nearby and unbuckle my belt, unzip my pants, pull out my cock. She sits up on her knees to get it lined up with her mouth.

She holds the tip of my cock right outside of her lips, breathing, looking up at me, before dropping her eyes and extending her tongue, flat and soft, to lap the underside, and brings her lips forward to circle just the head and suck. She lifts her eyes again. I swoon, my head swirling, the bowl of my pelvis full and trying not to spill over. Her tongue plays down the shaft and leisurely flicks every little ridge. Her lips are soft and warm and I can feel every contour, every smooth curve.

I spent most of the last six months trying to untangle myself from grief. I wrote a little bit about that, like in Grief. Also, Trying to Find My Awesome Place:

Grief is not singular, it is not linear, it usually doesn’t even feel particularly knowable. It’s a mess, (or as I keep saying) a fog. Something engulfing that chokes and invades my lungs.

Grief it is not just about this one loss, either: it is about all losses, everywhere, ever, especially the ones I have felt. People keep reminding me of this, and yet I keep feeling surprised when I turn a corner and get sucker-punched by a memory of Cheryl, of an ex, of my fucking dog when I was seven, of every goddamn time I have to say goodbye to Rife, of those looks Kristen gives me when she’s angry and hurt and it’s my fault.

I know that what I’m feeling isn’t about that, except that it is. I know that what I’m feeling won’t last, except that it is seeping into every pore of me and I know that I am forever changed. (Fuck that sounds so dramatic. Forgive me the drama. It’s what drama was made for: loss, grief, feeling.) But it’s also true: Nothing is the same. It’s taken me months to feel that really sink in. March to August, I might argue. In August, I lost it. Since August, I’ve been trying to get it back. I don’t know how. Kristen doesn’t know how. We are both unsure what to do now, but it’s clear that we can’t quite keep going the way we’ve been going, spiraling down into something awful, me lashing out and angry, so angry. Why am I so angry? I know why I’m so angry. I probably need a punching bag daily.

We don’t know what to do, but also we kind of do. Or I guess I am starting to.

When I look back at the year, clearly the things that get the most visitors are the dirty stories. I’d like to write more of those in 2013. I like writing smut. It’s deeply pleasurable. I’d like to write more about Rife and the deep D/s that that relationship is developing. I’d like to write more about power and relationships and codependency and the ways that things can go so wrong. Mostly, I’ve just been waiting to get through these crisis months.

In this, the darkest time of year, the solstice, the time when we burn the Yule log, I keep thinking about the things I want to leave in the dark, the seeds I want to plant that will start to pop open under the surface in the next few months before pushing through the topsoil, the things that I want to grow.

I want more emotional resilience.
I want more self-confidence, less insecurity. To let go and be less controlling.
I want more radical acceptance of what is in front of me.
I want to date Kristen again.
I want to spend more time loving and less time fighting.
I want more sex. Goddamnit.
I want less railing, clinging, obsession, torture.
I want to leave the black hole of depression and grief here in the deep dark.
I want more love. More lovers. More exploration. More pleasure.

More pleasure. Yes—if I had to sum up my intentions for 2013, that would be it. More pleasure. Less grief.

Photos from the Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Dallas

I’ve gone all over the country in the past year to promote the anthology I edited, Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. In November, Kristen and I were in Dallas for Thanksgiving and Lillith Grey helped me to produce an incredible lineup at Ver Les.

Amy Price took photographs, and they are pretty amazing. It was quite a rockstar lineup and it was in fact so successful that Lillith has decided to create an ongoing erotica series! Check out Panty Raid on Facebook for more details.

The Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Dallas Edition featured live music by Ashely Boucher, and erotica readings by Lillith Grey, Kasson Marroquin, Cheyenne Cartwright, Artemis Rose, Morgan la Fae, and CD Kirven.

Thanks so much to everyone who was there last night, to Lillith and all the readers, for making it an excellent celebration. I still aim to do a couple more Say Please readings in 2013, and I hope to have a new book project with Cleis press soon, so certainly you can expect more of me in your city in the future.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Yarrow: Complex Organic Poly Web

On Friday, I sent a request for information from friends and acquaintances and smarty-pants folks in my life who I know have experience with polyamory and open relationships, as an attempt to mine my network for more insight and information about some of the difficulties of open relationships that Kristen and I have been going through lately. The interviews have been pouring in! I’ll be publishing them periodically in the next few weeks, and at the end of the series I’ll open it up for your input and thoughts on these questions too.

Open Relationship Mini Interview with Yarrow

Yarrow, sunflowerriver.org

I always feel like I should state my subject position when coming into this kind of dialogue, so, for full disclosure/context: I identify strongly as poly, and have been functioning that way since 1998. I’ve had exactly one monogamous relationship ever (though at the very outset, I didn’t have language adequate to describe my desires or lifestyle, besides “dating around”), and when we tried to open it up to polyamory, it didn’t go very well. That was 1998; a lot has happened since then. Presently, I have two long-term primary partners with whom I live in an intentional community (I’m married to one of them), and two friends-with-benefits relationships with other people. My partners also have other partners. This web changes regularly, in a highly organic fashion. Nobody has “veto” power over anybody else, and we all place a high value on communication and emotional integrity. We tend to describe ourselves as an organic poly network. There are lots and lots of ways to be poly in the world; this is what we do.

1. What insight about open relationships do you wish you had when you started?

I mostly wish I had had access to good role models, or any recognition that there is no single, one-size-fits-all, right way to do this. I knew very few other poly people when I began to recognize it in myself, and I developed all kinds of wrong ideas as a result. So: just because you’re dating someone, doesn’t mean you need to date the other people they’re dating. It also does not mean you need to love the people they love. It helps if you like them and you can all have dinner together, but it’s not required. This seems self-evident, but it’s not, and I see other people go through this as they move into polyamorous expression. Also: reality checks are vital, particularly with regard to one’s partners’ other partners. It is way too easy to tell yourself a story about what that person thinks and feels, to over-interpret casual actions or statements, to invest everything with excesses of meaning. And it’s very important to not do that. You want to know what they think or feel, ask them. And trust that they are honest with their response. Don’t try to “read between the lines.” Have integrity with your own responses to such things, engage in full disclosure (gently and tactfully, but with complete integrity), and other people will generally do the same.

Also: over-communication can be just as damaging as under-communication. Balance is important. Learning to identify when I am overwrought and will change my mind tomorrow, or feeling something too strongly to know what I will want the next day, was an incredibly important step towards functional polyamory. Another way to say that: sifting the apparent needs of the moment out from long-term needs is an extremely helpful step.

2. What has been the hardest thing about opening your relationship, and
how have you overcome that?

At first, when I was in a mono relationship opening to polyamory (about 14 years go) the absolute hardest thing was to be honest with myself about what I wanted. To have internal integrity. I believed strongly that I was supposed to want certain things: a single life-long love, that elevated my existance to a meaningful plane; a soul-deep connection with a single other individual that would permeate all aspects of daily life and make them extraordinary. (Culturally, we teach our children to want this. And I’m not saying it’s not out there, BUT: it’s very much not a one-size-fits-all solution to the idea of relationship; it doesn’t have to take place inside the context of externally-committed monogamy; and where it intersects with the abdication of personal responsibility, it can be completely unhealthy, and can create dangerously unrealistic expectations.) So, I was mired pretty deeply in an internal struggle with that paradigm. And I lied to myself that I wanted that level of daily-life-interweaving, instead of independence. And I lied to myself that I wanted to want only one partner. I lied to myself about what I wanted from that partner. Getting through that tangle took a couple years, and completely destroyed that relationship (I am very fortunate that we are still friends). The hardest part about it, was figuring out what I really did want, and then ACCEPTING that. Making it be okay to be who I am and want what I want. No matter what that looked like to the overculture. Figuring that out, and then being able and willing to communicate it to my partner, was earth-shatteringly difficult. But once that happened, and we recognized that we needed irreconcilable things in a partnership, we were able to move forward (by breaking up and letting each of us take our own paths), and each of us was able to grow emotionally and spiritually, to come into ourselves, much more fully. Getting past the self-deception was the most challenging thing.

3. What has been the best thing about your open relationship?

Self-actualization, and full actualization of each relationship I find myself in. Each new connection with another person can become whatever it is meant to become on the entire spectrum of friendship and intimacy. I am free to fall in love, and my partners are also free to do so. And we have each others’ full support in doing so, and in getting through hard times in relationships with each other or with others. Having several perspectives when something goes wrong is incredibly helpful; different people can offer fantastic insights into events and situations, and help the affected people see their way through difficult things. I have partners with whom my emotional relationship is profoundly deep, rich and complex, and others where our connection is more playful, and i get to have all of those things. Also, I get to *be* different things for different people; nobody around here has to be everything for anybody. If I really want something and it’s not going to happen in one relationship, it may come very naturally in another. I thrive on variety; this rich complexity satifies very deep needs in me. I am an independent agent who lives fully and deeply enmeshed in a strong, complex web of support, encouragement, and connectivity. I love everything about that.

4. Anything else you’d like to add?

I experience polyamory/monogamy as a type of orientation spectrum, not unlike gender or sexuality. This can be a really helpful way to think about it; some people are really wired to be happy one way or another, in a monogamous relationship only, or in open relatinships only, while lots of people live in the flexible middle ground somewhere, and could be happy with any of a number of relationship styles when things line up right. People’s relationship orientation can grow and change over time, just like their sexuality, gender orientation or gender presentation. Where a given individual falls on the spectrum at a given time is not something to attach value judgement to — you get a certain thread in the poly community that believes that polyamory is “more evolved” than monogamy. that’s bullshit. putting each other down to lift ourselves up only creates more division instead of creating understanding and community. there’s no right or wrong about wanting to be with a single partner or multiple partners, any more than there’s a right or wrong about being with a male or female or genderfluid partner.

One Year with Rife

There have been so many things going on with Kristen for the last few months, and I’ve been doing so much traveling, that I haven’t quite had the time or focus to put this up, but I’ve meant to since September.

In September, Rife and I celebrated one year together.

  

 

Clockwise from top: Picking raspberries near Summer Camp in September; surviving the Fusion hurricane at Ramblewood in the barn; playing guitar in the hammock at Summer Camp; looking at jacaranda flowers in LA in May; one of the first shots he sent me in January of this year when I told him I took boxing lessons.

We now have a formal contract about our D/s and power dynamics, and I’ve been really enjoying how that has pushed me as a Dominant to keep exploring, to get in touch with what I want, what would feel good for me, what I may need at any given moment, which, as much as it may seem like being the top or dom or daddy forces me to be in touch with that, it’s really easy for me to get caught up in being more of a service top, doing things for the other person, doing things I know they like, focusing on them and their pleasure. Especially because I still identify pretty strongly as stone.

He and I have seen each other almost a dozen times in the last year—our visit for our anniversary at Summer Camp in September was #10, and this visit in Houston is #11. Things keep deepening in beautiful ways, and he and Kristen are friends and metamours, and I feel incredibly lucky and blessed. He’s added so much to my life and sense of self and my style of topping and dominanting, and he’s so much fun to play with, so easy to be around.

As much as it is incredibly difficult to be in an open relationship, I don’t know if I could close it again and be monogamous—at least, not at this point in my life—and I’m so grateful to be exploring with both Kristen and Rife. This summer and fall have been incredibly difficult for me emotionally, and they have both been so important as I’m trying to navigate these surges of emotions and difficult readjustments in my family of origin. I’m trying to keep bringing my love and compassion back to Kristen, too, as she keeps deepening and exploring with other people. I’m so grateful to have survived this past year, to have learned all that I’ve learned, to be moving through it deeper.

And I’m so grateful to have this sexy leatherboy submissive creature who does things like bend a coat hanger into a long U shape or strip the thorns off of a branch and then put them into my hands and say, “please.”

Happy anniversary, my sweet boy. I’m very excited to see what our second year will bring.

Thanksgiving in Texas

I’ve been in Dallas with Kristen’s family for the last few days for the Thanksgiving holiday. We did a Dirty Queer Sex Tour reading on Tuesday that Lillith Grey helped put together, which was fantastic—it is so fascinating to me how each of the Dirty Queer Sex Tour stops have been so different. I think (hope aim for) it reflects the local culture well, which is great, because as much as I’d love to introduce the Say Please book around to all the different folks who might be interested in it in all the different cities, the cultures of BDSM and queerness are actually slightly varied depending on where you are. Having interacted with those cultures primarily on the internet for the last oh, fifteen or eighteen years, I didn’t really know that until I started touring more. And when I go around and visit colleges in various different cities, I get a small taste of local culture, but usually it’s more like the local college culture, which isn’t quite the same.

I wish I could explain how each of the readings were different, but it’s hard to put my finger on it exactly. Sometimes it seems like one is more butch/femme, one is more genderqueer, one is younger, one is old school, one is more trans focused, one is darker in material and content, but I also don’t really want to generalize that specifically about identities, because I don’t really need to draw the conclusions that therefore the city that that reading was in is therefore more trans or genderqueer or butch/femme. But the differences have been big, and are really interesting.

This particular reading was at VerLes, and they have a really great selection of leather goods and whips and percussion toys that I kept fingering and coveting while I was there. We did a giveaway for a beautiful photograph from one of the readers, CR Kirven, and a dirty cross stitch that Lillith made, and a copy of the book, and a few other goodies, and it was a blast.

Thanks to photographer Amy Price for these beautiful photos from the Dallas Say Please reading! I don’t know if that Facebook link will work but I think it will—check it out. We had a beautiful sexy lineup and the store looks so pretty.

Lillith and her partner Synn (who is the 2012 International Ms Leather!) took us around to the Dallas Eagle and to the Round-Up, which was a gay boy bar (with very mixed company) that has two stepping and line dancing pretty much every night. Kristen and I don’t really know how to two step (though I did okay following while Synn led, and I led Kristen around the floor in a circle at least once), but we have taken some east coast swing and it was so incredibly fun. She and Lillith and some of their friends also had so much fun line dancing. I did a few songs—but when they get really complicated, it’s so hard to keep up. We vowed to go out to Big Apple Ranch more frequently.

Oh and speaking of IMsL—it’s official, and I can announce it now: I’m going to be a judge for the 2013 International Ms. Leather contest! So I’ll be in San Francisco in April 2013. 2012 was the first year I attended, and it was very memorable and fun, and I definitely felt like the folks there were my people. I’m really looking forward to meeting more of the folks who make the contest run and to seeing behind the scenes a little bit—always my favorite way to see an event.

Kristen and I did a lot of other things in Dallas, aside from hang out with her family and eat delicious food, like go around to Kristen’s old haunts, her favorite restaurants, her high school, her old house. It was great to see where she came from. I love having a sense of a city. We rented this little zippy car, some Volvo sports car that I didn’t even know existed, not that I’m really a car person, and it was so fun to drive. Driving around a city gives me a much better sense of it and I loved that I got to experience it.

I didn’t get any gigs in Dallas, aside from the Dirty Queer Sex reading, but maybe I will get some interest from some of the local colleges and come back another time.

Kristen and I are better. Things have improved since that big explosion and I think that couple’s therapist will be helpful. I’ve been containing my feelings much more, haven’t been lashing out, haven’t been quite so wildly all over the map with my feelings. Or rather, I have still been, but I haven’t been showing it as much. This is not quite the same as bottling them up—it’s more like, I know that bringing things up to Kristen doesn’t result in greater understandings right now. I’m making note of things that are difficult or upsetting, and trying to breathe through it and put it aside at the moment, and work through it later with the couple’s therapist or some other moderator because Kristen and I can’t seem to get out of our patterns well enough to actually discuss things to a healing conclusion lately. It’s not a long term solution, this lack of sharing, but it is a temporary solution, and the most important thing right now is to stop fighting. It does seem to help to just not share my feelings—and to not talk about the other people that she’s dating. There are still some issues here, things I don’t know how to resolve, but our couple’s therapist basically said that right now isn’t the time to resolve them, isn’t the time to go into the deep patterns and try to rewire them, because we’re both feeling so defensive and attacked, both feeling pretty wounded, so we need some time to just be with each other and be kind and take time to do things that feel good before we can get to a place where we have enough energy and patience and flexibility to do more excavating and fixing of the patterns and ruts that we’ve developed.

I still don’t know where that will bring us, ultimately. But I am trying to breathe and focus on the “healing power of pleasure,” which is one of the core Tantra principles. I keep asking myself, and Kristen, whenever we are stressed or overwhelmed with all these emotions: What would feel pleasurable for your body right now? I think that focus has been helping us relax and enjoy each other.

I’m in Houston now, and I’ll be visiting Rice University on Thursday, but aside from that I’m visiting with Rife. We’re outside of the city actually, on his family’s ranch, and at the moment, he and his dog are out doing something with the horses, a little practice training, it looks like. I’m sitting in the very pleasant breeze looking out onto a pasture with beautiful old trees and a wind chime nearby. I have a cup of coffee and my pen and notebook and my computer (and wifi!), and the only things on my agenda today are some hours of work, some reading, some walking around this beautiful land, some play with Rife, some good food, some stargazing later if it’s clear. The more time I spend away from cities, the less I seek to go back to a city. I love the grass under my bare feet, love the sounds of the wind in the trees and the birds and the chimes. I’m soaking up as much of it as I can.

Nothing Makes Me Feel Better Like A Sharp Butch Haircut

Joey, my barber and the owner of Tomcats Barber Shop in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, took this shot of me on Friday after he gave me a shape-up (apparently that’s the word for a trim). They do classic and retro cuts primarily, though they have a whole bunch of new barbers there these days that do just about anything you could want. Kristen just got her hair colored and cut there and it’s darker and very pinup.

It always makes me feel better to get a good haircut. Thanks, Joey.

To Do While Grieving List

1. Shower ever day. Even if you have to cry through it.

2. Put on clean clothes, even if they aren’t your favorites. Or do laundry, and wear only your favorites.

3. Behave well toward Kristen. She loves you, you love her, even if you are numb and can’t remember.

4. Write. Because it heals you. Because you can’t do anything else. Because it makes the most sense. Because it is your deepest practice, your deepest craft.

4a. Take a class, make some art, take up time.

5. Run. When you want to get away from yourself and these emotions, get them out of your body. Go back to boxing class. Take out the anger on something else.

6. Grow the fuck up. Behave like an adult. Stop the self-pity. Stop the over-indulgence of your feelings. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

7. Read. Read poetry if you can’t get into long things. Read indulgently. Read grief memoirs and buddhist philosophy and ttantra and open up to healing. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to heal today. Read more.

8. Work. Set reminders in your phone for appointment times because you can’t keep track of time. Calendar everything. Make work a priority. Finish projects. Make art. Focus on this, if nothing else.

8a. Don’t publish over-indulgent blog posts that attempt to tell the “whole story” and draw some conclusion. Write poetry. Write about feelings. Write about love and sex and grief and loss and abandonment, how scary it is to watch Kristen bloom, and how much it matters to let her. Learn what over-indulgent blog posts look like, so that when you do write them, you don’t hit “publish.”

9. Go outside. Feel the earth. Drink water.

10. Pray. You are not alone, even though you feel you are. Faith is when you see no hope, and you do it anyway. Times like this are why we practice. Lean on your practices. Everything is temporary.

11. Behave well toward yourself. Take care of your body. Eat well. Nourish. Buy a fancy new soap so showers suck less. Make a list of your favorite foods, then eat them. Start watching a new TV series when you can’t be in your brain anymore. Be alone when you need to be. Practice impeccable self-care. Forgive everyone, and maybe yourself most of all.

Say Please Reading Tonight in New York City, And Sadly I Won’t Be There

I’ve just arrived in Toronto after a loooong day of driving. Kristen and I are staying visiting for Unholy Harvest, and sticking around for a few more events and to visit with some friends, including Mr. Gray at Aslan Leather. I’d never seen Niagra Falls before, it was a thrill this afternoon! As per our usual style, Kristen and I had some good big-picture talks about life, love, and the Sugarbutch Empire on the long (10 hour!) drive up. She made some disco mixes (including lots of Jessie Ware, who Kristen is pretty into these days) and we generally amused ourselves.

As I’m getting ready to turn on the streaming NPR concert that I’m pissed is happening in New York City tonight, I’m reminded that there’s something else exciting going on in New York this evening: a Say Please reading!

The reading series Between the Covers at Happy Ending Lounge is featuring writers from Say Please and The Harder She Comes: Butch/Femme Erotica tonight. If you’re looking for something to do, go on out and say I sent you. (That & $10 will get you a stiff drink.)

Details:

We’re putting the spotlight on Cleis Press, long-time publisher of sex-positive erotica. How? By welcoming editor D.L. King and contributors to The Harder She Comes:Butch/Femme Erotica and Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica to the mic. Joining host Lori Perkins this month with their seductive, steamy stories, with D.L. King, Xan West, Aimee Herman, Elizabeth Thorne.

REMEMBER: Doors open at 7:00 so come early and socialize. Reading begins at 8:00 pm.
Enter our Dirty Word Draw at the reading for prize baskets filled with books, ebooks, and sundry kinky items! For your chance to win, write down your favorite dirty word and initial it (because great perv minds think alike). We’ll toss it in our basket and then it’s the luck of the draw!

RSVP on Facebook

Between the Covers
First Friday of the month. 7-10 p.m.
Free. Casual dress.
Happy Ending Lounge
302 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002
(212) 334-9676
www.happyendinglounge.com

I’ll aim to post some things from this trip, but if not, will talk to you next week when I get back.

Power Blow Job Demo with Me & Kristen at Submit on Saturday Night in Brooklyn

Have you ever been to the Submit play party? It’s a women and trans only play party monthly in Brooklyn at an undisclosed dungeon which has all sorts of great equipment, from cages to saint andrews crosses to a medical table to saw horses. There’s a social room and a bootblacking station and lots of gender-neutral bathrooms nooks and crannies if you want a little privacy and a swing and condoms and lube in every room.

I don’t go monthly, but I go often, and Kristen and I have had many great scenes there in the past (almost) four years we’ve been together. Red, the butch who runs it, is a good friend of mine and I love how they keep the space warm, welcoming, and monitored.

This week, Red asked if Kristen and I would do the demo. Usually there’s some sort of demo at 12:30am (last time we went there was a cutting demo, which was beautiful), and this time, we’ll be doing Power Blow Jobs. I don’t have a formal description for the demo, which will only be 20-30 minutes long, and more about a demonstration than about a formal class on technique, though we’ll both be piping in to talk about what we’re doing and give some tips. Or at least I will, Kristen will probably have her mouth full. Just kidding—her perspective is really valuable here and I’m looking forward to hearing what she has to say, actually, since often I’m the one talking about my experience.

It’s also been fun to, ahem, practice this week, leading up to it.

SUBMIT Party
Women & trans folks only
September 29th, Saturday, 10 – 3 am (doors close at 2 am)
$15 bucks before midnight, $20 after
RSVP on Fetlife & pre-cruise who’ll be there
for exact location call 718.789.4053 or email [email protected]

So hey, maybe we’ll see you there?

Unholy Harvest, Say Please Reading (Readers Needed!), & Bad Boys in Toronto

I’m going to Toronto!

I’m still working out the exact dates, but it looks like Kristen and I will be there October 5-10. I’ll be doing a few exciting things, including attending and presenting at Unholy Harvest, and hopefully getting a little tour of Aslan Leather, and seeing some friends.

Come see me! Here’s the details.

First of all, I still need readers for the Dirty Queer Sex night at Glad Day books! So, hey Toronto! I edited a dirty smutty queer book called Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, and I’m doing a book launch in Toronto on October 9th at Glad Day Books. I’m looking for queers of any stripes to read kinky queer stories—preferably stories they have penned. The dirtier the better! Readings should be 7-10 minutes. Email [email protected] with a sample of your writing ASAP. More details about the book: http://saypleasebook.wordpress.com

Where I’ll Be

Unholy Harvest
Saturday, October 6th, 10-11:30am

Cock Confidence
Many of us have experience with strapping on, packing, and playing, but there are lots of new products out there on the market that might be exciting and that you haven’t encountered yet. Writer and sex educator Sinclair Sexsmith talk about what cocks are good for packing, what options are out there for pack-and-play, which harnesses are the most loved, and which to avoid. Plus, she’ll delve into some cock confidence, getting into the psychology of penetration, and discussing what it’s like to shoot from the hip. Come get the nuts and bolts of strapping it on and fucking. You’ll learn about positions and lube, how different products work, what “cock confidence” means, and the psychology behind strapping on and playing with a cock with a partner, or with oneself.

Glad Day Bookshop
Tuesday, October 9th, 8pm
RSVP on Facebook

A night of DIRTY QUEER SEX!

Featuring readers from the SAY PLEASE: LESBIAN BDSM EROTICA, and many special guests! Performers include Andrea Zanin and other sexy queers TBA. Hosted by Sinclair Sexsmith, writer of the Sugarbutch Chronicles and editor of Say Please & Best Lesbian Erotica 2012.

In Say Please, Sinclair Sexsmith presents a cornucopia of queer kink—tantalizing tales rich in variety and saucy details of girls put in their place—and held there firmly. Whether readers dream of surrendering to a lover or of taking control, Say Please offers plenty of erotic inspiration and gives readers exactly what they want! Come hear authors from the book read their stories and celebrate the release of this kinky queer collection.

Bad Boys: Masculinity & Dominance workshop
at Come As You Are
Wednesday, October 10th, 8pm
RSVP on Facebook

Everyone loves a bad boy: they know what they want, and they take it … and probably ride away on a motorcycle afterwards. But how can you be a bad boy without being an asshole? How do you practice that potent combination of masculinity and dominance without misogyny or internalized homophobia and with respect for women? How can you enhance your dominance in consensual, loving ways? On the flip side, how can you bring that dominant side out of someone who may be nervous to let it emerge? How do you become – or find – the bad boy of your dreams? Learn from a pro: Sinclair Sexsmith, kinky queer butch top who’s been writing about dominance since 2006, will teach you how to get what you want.

I’m starting to work out my fall schedule … more details about that soon, I hope. You can always follow the newest news about my travel schedule at mrsexsmith.com/appearances.

Protected: Love Letter #26

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Kink-Centered Photo Shoot by Bill Wadman

Photographer Bill Wadman has taken numerous shots of me in the last few years. Most recently and notably, he took the photo of me against the brick wall with the black and red flogger that I’ve been using as my avatar on most sites. He also took the shot of me shaving Kristen’s legs with a pink razor in the claw-foot bathtub with my sleeves rolled up.

He came over yesterday to take some more shots of me, partly for my upcoming fall and spring 2012-2013 travel promotions, and he wanted to take some Avedon-inspired shots up on my roof against a white backdrop. These are the best of the best results, and I think they are amazing. There are a few more of me in front of my gender/queer bookshelves; those will be in the PDFs that go out to colleges next week.

Thank you, Bill!

   

Dirty Filthy Nasty

This story contains Daddy/girl language, rough sex, and lots of body fluids. This has been your trigger warning.

“Will you pause it for a minute? I have to pee.”

Kristen gets up from the couch and I grab for the remote, hitting pause on the second porn flick we turned on tonight. We’d shared a bottle of wine. I knew she was bleeding, since earlier in the first film, unimpressed by one of the girl’s one-finger banging techniques, I shoved three into her to illustrate that cunts can take more.

Well, maybe not all cunts. But hers, obviously.

She was wet, and moaned a little, making a little mewl of protest when I slipped them out. My fingers came away with just a little blood and I wiped them on her leg.

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Erotic Embodiment, Feminist Kink Workshops, Books to Read, and More New Things This Fall

Hello!

The summer has flown by and I have barely updated this place. I have been traveling tons since March, if you’ve been keeping up with me on Facebook or Twitter you probably know that I’ve been in Atlanta, Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Boston, Portland, Albuquerque, Baltimore (twice), and Los Angeles in the last few months.

I have been having a wonderful time promoting Say Please—if you came out to a reading or event, thank you! I met so many people and taught workshops on Cock Confidence and Writing Dirty and all sorts of other fun things.

I kept thinking that I have August and September off from traveling, but in truth I’ve got a bit more to go. I’ll be near Baltimore for Summer Camp and then back in Seattle for my very last Tantra training, then I’ll be back on the road visiting colleges. Want to bring me to speak at your school? I’d love to go! I’ll be posting more details about that soon.

I’m starting to gear up for the fall in a serious way. I’m getting some new workshops together (including So You Want to Be A Daddy, Feminist Kink: You Can Have It All, D/s Protocol, The Sexual Politics of Topping, Butch & Femme for the 21st Century, and others!), and I’m getting together my tour list for the fall. I’m aiming to be in Boston, San Francisco, Hartford CT, Springfield MA, Albany NY, Austin, Chicago, Durham, Dallas, and more.

The other new exciting thing for this fall is that I’m starting to see people individually for sessions. I know “sessions” is incredibly broad, and that’s also accurate—content for these sessions can be widely varied. In general, I’m starting to work with people who want more of a one-on-one approach to learning some of the things that I have been teaching about, things like embodiment, sexuality, sensuality, pleasure, shame, writing about sex, self-actualization, touch, energy, and the many facets of queer tantric lineage I have been learning through. I’m not sure how to talk about this or advertise it yet, really,

Exciting Embodiment Workshops You Should Know About

Celebrating the Body Erotic for Women in Seattle, October 26-28

    In a safe, serious and playful space that respects boundaries, embrace pleasure and experience your body as powerful, expressive and sacred. The class expands awareness and sensation through a process of breath, movement and touch. Each woman’s choices and rhythms are honored and celebrated. This workshop is for women of all sexual orientations and ages who are ready to learn about their own power to illuminate and enjoy sexuality and sensuality within a community of women.

More information about tuition, details about dates, how to contact the coordinator.
Facebook event!

Power, Surrender, and Intimacy for Queers in San Francisco, September 28-30

    This workshop explores techniques of BDSM practice, using the circle of women and men as a grounded, respectful container in which to discover and clarify edges of empowerment, liberation and embodiment.

Learn to recognize aspects of yourself that are continually engaged in power dynamics, and hence become more choiceful about how you can share power with compassion and skill. Learn ways that power and sensation can be wielded for a healing intention, and experience the intense fire generated by a surrender to trust. Expect heightened awareness of your body’s capacity for sensation, a greater sense of personal empowerment, and appreciation for the connection between the divine energy of power and the human energy of surrender.

The program begins on Friday evening 6:30PM-10PM and runs 9AM-6PM Saturday and Sunday.

Prerequisite: Celebrating the Body Erotic or equivalent experience. Contact coordinator to see if this workshop is right for you.

Tuition: $495
Event on Fetlife

Dirty Things For You To Read

Girls Who Score has my first butch/butch published erotica story included in it, about an encounter in a locker room. Check out my entry from the book’s blog tour for more about my process writing it. Anything For You: Erotica for Kinky Couples features a story about a threesome with Kristen and a (now good) friend of ours. Stripped Down: Lesbian Sex Stories reprinted the very first erotica story that I ever published, which was about packing to yoga class and staying after for some, ah, “adjustments.”

  
I’ve read a couple great books lately that you should check out.

  

Elsewhere:

I’m still writing elsewhere online, primarily for Fearless Press and Lambda Literary Foundation these days. Here’s a couple recent articles.

 

 

I’ve got a long list of writing ideas, and I really want to actually write soon instead of spending all my time on marketing and promotion. I miss writing. I have so much to tell y’all about my poly experiment data collecting, sex, my dad and family, my ecology of desire, and all sorts of things.

text your ex back freehow to text ex girlfriend back How To Get Ex Boyfriend Back how do i win my boyfriend backmake your ex girlfriend want you back

The Femme Conference in Photos


Kristen’s Friday Femme Conference outfit


Jessica Halem hosts FemmeSpeak, the spoken word night


Fran Fucking Varian reads at FemmeSpeak


my outfit for Saturday


Kristen + Liz from Rhino Girl Media + B


Maggie (of the Femme Show) & Dora, both organizers with MadFemmePride in Boston


Shilo McCabe’s hanky flowers for flagging at the vendor room


flyers for Summer Camp at the femme conference play party, featuring artwork by rife


Bulldagger caucus, organized by Sasha T. Goldberg


butch butts after post-bulldagger meetup coffee


Kristen + Jessica Halem in lace at the FemmeWerq performance night


wait, how’d that photo get in here? our hotel bed was comfortable …

See You At the Femme Conference

So I got my hair cut at Tomcats, Kristen painted her nails with black-white-and-blue stripes and a red heart (wonder what that means?) on her fourth finger, the car is full of gas, I’ve perused the schedule, I’ve got a list of folks I want to make sure to connect with, the catsitter is booked—I think this might mean I’m ready for the Femme Conference tomorrow.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my goals in attending, or my purpose in going. I’m not presenting anything, not doing any official workshops or meetups or events near the conference. So aside from going with the intention of having fun (which I definitely am), and supporting my femme girlfriend by both showing up, participating, and learning things about identity (which I am eager to do), what do I want to get out of it?

I adore identity theory. I love the way we construct ourselves. I love these labels, despite the fact that labels seem oh-so-gauche right now. I love the history of butch and femme (and butch/femme) and I love how the queer communities are exploding gender in all 360* directions right now.

The first Femme Conference I went to in 2008 was themed “the architecture of identity” and I wrote up just about everything I learned about that when I got back. I am still so curious about what constructs femme identity. Earlier this year, in New York, as preparation for the Femme Conference, there was a femme event here called Beyond Visibility, and I am really curious about that, too—about what femme identity issues there are beyond the ever constant issue of being recognized and visually categorized as queer.

I’ve written On Femme Invisibility & Femme Invisibility & Beyond—I don’t want to give the impression I’m not sympathetic to that issue, I get that it is a huge hurdle. And I also know, from femmes in my own life who have been exploring femme identity for a while, that they get bored with that issue and want to move on.

So what are the other issues around femme identity? What is beyond visibility? What else gets discussed at a Femme Conference, anyway? I know plenty of that stuff isn’t exactly for me, as an ally and someone not femme identified, but as someone who loves the construction of identity and how these identities in particular work in this current culture in this current era, what else is going on?

I suspect the Mean Girls topic is a big one, considering some of the conversations I’ve had leading up to the conference. I know there are some topics like cultural and racial diversity, sex positivity, and parenting that have come up, but those seem fairly universal and not necessarily femme specific—then again, what is the take on those through a femme lens? I’m sure there will be many, many other interesting things. I have been kicking around a theory about the connection between masculine privilege and femme invisibility, maybe I can see if I can hash that out any further. Autostraddle has a great write up today called Beyond Lipstick that I want to read over again and think through. And I’m sure there will be dozens more things to ponder and chew on, once I get there.

My goal is to have fun, first and foremost. To support my girlfriend. To connect with the people that I know and adore and don’t get to see very often. To hopefully attend some good sessions and have some good conversations, to meet some new folks with interesting things to say. And to continue being curious about identity building theory in general, and about femme identity construction in particular; I’ll do my best to take copious notes and write up some thoughts about what happened and what I learned when I get back. (You can always follow my twitter feed @mrsexsmith to hear my immediate thoughts.)

And, oh yeah: to appreciate the brilliant firecracker amazingness that is femmes.

See you at the Femme Conference!

Are You “Femme Enough” For the Femme Conference?

I’m in Chicago this week, I return back to New York City tomorrow, and I keep talking up the Femme Conference that is coming up in Baltimore in just a couple of weeks—August 17-19.

I’m not sure why it keeps coming up—maybe because it was an all-femme lineup at the Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Chicago Say Please reading last night, and so all three of the femmes who read with me came out with their various friends and posses last night? Maybe because the friends I have here are primarily femmes, so naturally the conversation rolls around to femme identity? Maybe because I think these folks are cool and I am curious if I’m going to run into them again at the Femme Conference? Or maybe because my only experience of attending the Femme Conference, until this one upcoming that is, was the 2006 Femme Conference which was held in Chicago?

Whatever the reason, it keeps coming up.

And while some folks are well aware of it and (usually) have strong reactions to it, either “Hell yes! See you there!” or “No, uh uh, absolutely not,” there seems to be an even bigger group of folks in the middle who are obviously intrigued by the idea of attending, but are skeptical.

“I don’t know,” they say, hesitating, but sparkling a little bit at the mention of an entire conference devoted to this complex femme identity. “I mean, would I fit in there? Is it going to be a big judge-fest? Would they even recognize me as femme?”

These questions are so common. I mean, I remember hearing some of that around the BUTCH Voices conferences too, but the fear around one’s identity being policed didn’t feel quite so … panicked.

I think the bottom line is that it’s incredibly complicated to occupy a socially-recognized identity like butch or femme, because while we have stereotypical versions of what those things “should” look like in our minds, we don’t necessarily have the complex deconstructions (and reconstructions) necessary to be able to see that person as butch or femme and all their other pieces of self too. Or, if the person doesn’t quite look like the stereotype, we don’t recognize them as “legitimate.” These queer cultures still see someone, recognizes them as butch or femme or neither, and draws all sorts of conclusions based on that.

People are probably always going to do this. I don’t mean that in an I-give-up kind of way, just in a this-is-probably-true-and-I-will-have-less-strife-in-my-life-if-I-accept-that kind of way.

And y’know, fuck that. I mean, I completely understand that that is a challenge and hard and sometimes makes me return home defeated after a night and just kinda cry and whine for a while, I also think part of the work of having these identities is recognizing that we are trying to rise them above stereotypes, and that the cultures we’re in still largely use big fat markers to draw pictures of these identities, not slim exact-shaded pencils. And part of our work, I believe, part of the work of occupying these identities, is uncoupling them from the heteronormative gender roles, and making them big enough and accessible to anyone who feels a resonance with them. They can be liberational, and the benefits of identifying with a gender lineage, a gender heritage, feels so important to me, putting me in a historical context with people who came before me, so I feel less alone in my forging forward. I’m not doing it exactly as they did it, I’m doing it my own way and in the context of my own communities and time and culture, but I am able to remake it and make more room for freedom and consciousness and liberation within it because I am on their shoulders, using the tools they left for me—us—to pick up.

That is all to say, you are femme enough to attend the femme conference. Or, you know, if you don’t identify as femme but you have some interest in learning more about femme identity and being around femmes and folks who are puzzling through femme identity, you can come too.

I’m not going to promise that nobody is going to give you shit about your identity, about being femme enough, about whether or not you belong there, or about what you wear (because as much as I’d like to say it’s not true, there is a particular focus on aesthetics in femme communities). I don’t know if they will or not. But I’ll also say this: By the end of the conference, you probably will not care as much.

That, more than anything else, has been such a key piece of learning around these identity conferences, the Femme Conference and BUTCH Voices.

And I’ll be honest with you: there will probably be drama. There almost always is at small, incestuous community conferences, and this is definitely one of those. There are not that many people who self-identify as femme. There are not that many people who date and are into and fall in love with and are fascinated by people who identify as femme. There will probably be people there that I don’t want to run into. There will probably be people there who have particularly bad opinions of me, even. I don’t anticipate that being easy. But I care more about the philosophies of this identity, the many folks in my life who identify this way now, and the forward movement of radical genders in this era than I do about being worried that someone will talk shit. I’m bored with that. I’m sick of letting that affect what public spaces I’m involved in.

I submitted a workshop proposal to the Femme Conference—so did Kristen. Neither of us were accepted. I could let my mind roam and draw conclusions about why, but who knows what the actual reasons were. I chose instead to brush it off as not fitting with the conference, for whatever reasons, and I’m still planning to go and have a great time. So many amazing people I know are planning to be in attendance, so many more than I knew when I attended in 2008 (can’t believe it was that long ago!), and I am so looking forward to seeking out the ones that I think have amazing philosophies, meeting new folks, talking about new ideas, and enhancing the ideas I’m already chewing on.

I don’t really know how to explain all of that to people who say, “Would I fit in there? Am I femme enough?” Maybe you would feel like you found your people. Maybe you would be super excited to be around all of the talking about femme identity, but only really connect with one or two other people. Just because we’re all talking about femmes doesn’t mean we’ll get along! But maybe you’ll find a sense of self, in between all of that, that you didn’t know you were seeking, that missing piece that caused you to ask would I fit in there in the first place. And maybe, after attending the conference, you wouldn’t ask that again, because somewhere, deep down, in a soothed and solid place, you’d know.

Registration is still open: The Femme Conference happens August 17-19 in Baltimore, MD.

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Kristen & Sinclair Answer Your Questions, Episode 3: “How Can I Be More Open About Kink?”

Kristen & I answered Laura’s question on video this morning from Seattle … hopefully our colds don’t make us sound too weird.

Laura asks: “I am a kinky queer femme bottom/sub and have read your blog for a long time. The thing that strikes me most is how open you, and also Kristen, are about your explorations and your celebration of your gender and sexuality. I am only 23 but have known I was queer and a submissive since pre-adolescent years, and it feels like I will never be comfortable fully expressing myself or finding my voice except with my partners, because I still get ashamed/embarrassed about all of it sometimes, especially when I think about my family or straight and/or vanilla friends finding out. How did you overcome those feelings to be more open, if you ever had them?”

Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Next Stop, Atlanta!

Holy cats, Hotlanta! It’s like 100* today. But at least Kristen and I have had some grits and really good biscuits already (Flying Biscuit cafe, folks, dang that was good). We flew out of New York at 6am this morning and have been slowly melting in the heat ever since we got here … but we’ll be in Atlanta until Monday morning, when we fly to Seattle for a little memorial for my dad with my family.

Meanwhile, though, I’m very excited to be visiting friends and seeing the queer version of Atlanta, I’ve never been here before and I’m looking forward to getting a sense of the city. I hope I will get a sense of the city, given the heat! Any recommendations for local things that we just must do?

Hope to see y’all out at Charis books tonight or tomorrow night, Friday the 29th or Saturday the 30th. Saturday we’ll be doing a Dirty Queer Sex Tour appearance with an all-femme lineup (except for me, of course)! And Kristen is going to read one of the dirtiest stories in the book. Here’s the info about the events.

Join us for a two day Stonewall weekend extravaganza celebrating queer sexuality and embodiment with butch blogger and sex writer Sinclair “Sugarbutch” Sexsmith. On Friday night Sinclair will take us on a wild ride towards body confidence for folks on the self-identified queer masculine side of the gender spectrum (butches, bois, transmen, studs, FTMs, Masculine of Center, genderqueer, gender non-conforming, or anybody in between!) .

Sinclair will return on Saturday night for a raucous reading from Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. Sinclair will share stories from the anthology, talk about the state of sex blogging today, and offer tips to ignite your inner erotica writer! Learn more about Sinclair at www.sugarbutch.net. This event is sponsored by Charis Books and Atlanta Pride. There is $5 suggested donation each evening but no one will be turned away.

Friday, June 29th, 7:30-9pm: Radical Masculinity workshop
Saturday, June 30th, 7:30-9pm: Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Atlanta Edition

Charis Books and More
1189 Euclid Ave NE , Atlanta, Georgia
Facebook event

Performing on Saturday night will be:

Adriana Chiknas is a multifarious femme who is drawn to intensity. She loves her partner, crazy conventions, costumes, heavy metal, food, fantasy, and fucking. Adriana writes the stories of her life…primarily so that she doesn’t forget them. She believes in the power and importance of stories…and wants to hear yours too.

Big Red is an equal opportunity gender queer, fierce femme, who is a performance and Spoken Word Artist celebrated for her ability to “wear many different shoes”. In one pair of those shoes she is dedicated to facilitating personal and communal connection and healing, and in another equally empowering and self-embracing pair of red stilettos she works on various ways to encourage, support, and evoke opportunities to accept and create verbiage, experiences, and culture that is raw, creative, authentic, sensual, deeply intense, just, and intent on empowering, healing, and transforming self, relationships, and communities. With a proven and long standing commitment to education and training, one of her current passions is creating new connections while presenting at various Community events.

Kathleen Delaney is a Queer High Femme spoken word writer whose provocative & smutty performances ignite, shock, challenge, and eroticize Butch/Femme, Queer, and BDSM dynamics. A National touring veteran, Kathleen is the founder & producer of BODY HEAT: Femme Porn Tour, a collective of Femme porn performance artists. A 1950’s Housewife at heart, Kathleen is celebrating day 49 as a newly-wedded bride.

Kristen is a kinky queer femme bottom who occasionally contributes to Sugarbutch.net. She enjoys bruises, disco, and wearing as little clothing as possible. Follow her on twitter @kitchentop. You should try her cookies.

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The Act of Creating Something

“Initially, I entered the field of writing through a desire to heal, but what’s been surprising is that while sowing my own transformation, my work seems to aid others’ healing,” Tara Hardy says in GO Magazine’s 100 Women We Love. “And what a privilege to be part of people healing themselves. Call me a zealot, but I believe this is a central opportunity offered by the act of creating something.”

Yeah. That.

Meditating on that today, sitting with it, swishing it around in my mouth to get every last flavor burst. I’m losing sight of my goal, my intentions, in doing this work a little bit these days. I struggle to find the right words. My life is so full, always so much going on … but I am so called to this, this writing, this way of working out my world, this way of making sense of what’s around me. The Internet and communities online are so rapidly changing, I can’t keep up, though I am trying. I’m moving toward more coaching and one-on-one work with people, and doing more workshops and teachings, but I want to keep up my writings here. I know—and Kristen is constantly reminding me—that the only way through is through, but still I struggle with being stuck.

So thanks, Tara, for that quote, and reminding me that there is a “central opportunity offered by the act of creating something”: that it aids others, as well as my own, healing.

I’m thrilled to see Amber Dawn, Miss Indigo Blue, Patricia Manuel, Jessica Halem, Sassafras Lowrey, and Shanna Katz—in addition to Tara Hardy—and other folks in my communities on the GO magazine hot 100 list this year. Congratulations.

The Three Minute Game

Warning: This story contains some references to Daddy/girl, because that is what we usually call each other while playing. The story before the cut is an explanation and example of the three minute game, something the Body Electric School explores in their workshops, and does not contain the specific Daddy/girl words; the Daddy/girl play is behind the cut.

I returned home from LA, from four days with Rife, and I was ecstatic to see Kristen. She picked me up early, early at the airport on the red eye, and we fell back asleep at home for a few hours, made some lunch, talked about what we’d been doing.

In the afternoon, we returned to the bedroom.

I know when I travel it’s best to come back to her sweet and slow, and even more so when I’ve been off seeing my lover. I was turned on (she felt so good in my arms, under my hands, her feminine curves, her sweet soft skin) and had some ideas, but we needed a way to reconnect playfully, slowly, first.

“Want to play the three minute game?” I asked.

“Okay,” she said brightly, smiling like I’d offered to make her favorite meal for dinner. “But remind me of the rules?”

“Each of us gets a turn, and each turn is three minutes, carefully timed. There are two turns, so—four rounds. The first is, ‘this is what I would like to do to you for my pleasure.’ Then, ‘this is what I would like you to do to me for my pleasure.'”

“Got it.” We’ve played before, but only a few times, and the last time didn’t go so well—she’d asked me for some touch around my chest and we both got uncomfortable and had to stop, but neither of us handled it well. I hoped we wouldn’t do that again.

“You go first,” I said (being a top is useful sometimes).

“Alright … for my pleasure, I would like to sit on your lap, and for you to kiss my face and neck and suck on my nipples.”

“Mmm, I’d love to,” I said. “Take off your shirt.” Part of the point is to respond well—with eagerness, or with suggestions of something else related if you are uncomfortable with what they request.

I shifted up to the head of the bed so I could support my back against the wall, and Kristen curled up over my lap. I set the timer on my phone for three minutes.

At first, I barely made contact. I let her feel my breath and nose and the heat of my skin; I closed my eyes and remembered the contours of her jaw and cheek with the tiny invisible hairs on my face. Then I let my lips touch her, just brushing, gently, gently, as light of a touch as I could manage, as slow as I could tolerate. Feeling her weight on my thighs and the curves of her waist and back and spine in my hand made me want her, but I resisted.

I traced her jaw, cheek, throat with my mouth, kissing now, using the soft insides of my lips, keeping my mouth supple. She made that soft mewling moan that slays me and a shiver ran down my spine. I kept going, working that spot on her neck by her earlobe that she loves, then where her neck and shoulders meet, and down to her collarbone. I kissed along the curves of the tops of her breasts, making my way between the cleft of them, down to one nipple and then the other, sucking them into my mouth, teasing gently with my teeth and tongue, suckling, nibbling.

Just as I was getting into it, drawing her closer to me with my arms around her back, burying my face in her, just as she was starting to drop her head back and thrust her tits forward, the timer went off, and we both laughed.

I shifted my position a little and she sat more on the bed than on my lap. I kissed her lips. She said, “It’s your turn.”

“For my pleasure …” I swallowed. “I would like you to kiss my feet.” We’ve played with this a little. It is only recently that I have admitted how much I like it—to myself and others—enough to actually experiment with the sensation. It makes me nervous to ask for. But that is partly what this game is for, and it’s only three minutes. I can do just about anything for three minutes.

She nodded, looked at me a little coyly, chin down eyes up lips parted, and said, “And suck your toes?”

My breath caught. “Yes,” I think I managed to say. I think it was audible. So nervous. And it’s something that I wanted to feel, so much.

I set the timer again and she slid down the bed on her belly to take my right foot in her hands and deliver a sprinkling of kisses along the top of it. She ran her tongue along the instep, the most sensitive part, and sucked gently with her lips. She tongued the crease between my big toe and second toe before sliding the larger into her mouth.

I groaned. It is so vulnerable and makes me so nervous to give over, to feel her mouth in that way. The sensation is so close to tickling but is ecstatic, and so close to getting my cock sucked but is very different. She worked her mouth over all the crevices she could reach. She sucked and licked, moving her tongue up and down, holding my heel and ankle in her hands.

Then she switched to my other foot.

(It is so hard to write about this! And words like toes and foot seem so inherently unsexy, somehow—but I know the feeling absolutely turns me on. I don’t think I’ve written about it here before. I don’t know if I want to, except that I like to challenge myself to make myself vulnerable, to Kristen and to myself and in this writing project, and this feels very edgy.)

Those three minutes felt like an hour. I lost myself in the sensation, but I didn’t lose my body: moreso the opposite. I felt my whole self down to each toe, where so much stimulation was concentrated. I felt my cock quiver and my nipples harden and my throat go dry as I tried to swallow. I watched her mouth move and lips darken with blood and sensation and she smiled and giggled a little as she showed me what she could do. My eyes rolled back. My wrists went slack. I almost begged for her to stop, almost begged for more. I was overwhelmed and ecstatic and so turned on.

The timer went off and I breathed out, both a sigh of relief and disappointment that it was over. “For your pleasure, what would you like to do to me?” I asked.

She rose to her hands and knees and crawled forward toward me on the bed. “I would like to suck your cock.”

“Mmmm, gladly,” I said, and swung my legs over the side of the bed. “Give me just a minute to put it on.” I slid my jeans and briefs off, tossed my tee shirt into the laundry basket, pulled on my cock and harness from the small jersey bag I tend to keep it in, and returned back to the bed. She crawled over me. I barely had time to restart the timer before she had my cock in her mouth, tongue eager again, her lips soft and sucking me down. It’s a big cock, the Maverick, my favorite one, the one I use only with her.

She’s still warming up, but I want to push her.

The 24th Annual Lammys Brief Sugarbutch Recap

 

Kristen and I attended the Lammys on Monday night, the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony to celebrate excellence in LGBT literature. I’ve attended the past four years and while neither book that I edited was a finalist this year, I hope Say Please will be next year!

And, in addition to attending and being a judge, which I was last year also, I presented the erotica category with Emmanuel Xavier, and got to rip open the envelope and pronounce the winner of the Gay Erotica category. There were beautiful speeches by Kate Millet and Armistead Maupin, who were awarded the lifetime achievement award, and by Stacey D’Erasmo (one of my favorite writers ever) for the mid-career award. I was thrilled to celebrate Tristan Taormino’s anthology Take Me There, which I have a story in, that took home the Lammy for Transgender Fiction, and I was sad to see Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme not win.

Some notable winners:

  • Lesbian Debut Fiction: Zipper Mouth, by Laurie Weeks, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Fiction: Six Metres of Pavement, by Farzana Doctor, Dundrun Press
  • Lesbian Memoir/Biography: When We Were Outlaws: A Memoir of Love & Revolution, Jeanne Córdova, Spinsters Ink
  • LGBT Drama: A Menopausal Gentleman: The Solo Performances of Peggy Shaw, by Peggy Shaw, University of Michigan Press
  • LGBT Nonfiction: A Queer History of the United States, by Michael Bronski, Beacon Press
  • LGBT Studies: Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, by Lisa L. Moore, University of Minnesota Press; Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality, by Margot Weiss, Duke University Press (was a finalist but didn’t win, but I am going to look this one up)
  • Transgender Fiction: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, ed. by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press
  • Transgender Nonfiction: Tango: My Childhood Backwards and in High Heels, by Justin Vivian Bond, The Feminist Press
  • Lesbian Erotica: Story of L, by Debra Hyde, Ravenous Romance
  • Lesbian Poetry: Love Cake, by Leah Lakshmi Piepza-Samarasinha, TSAR Publications

I tossed ’em into my Amazon store if you’d like to sort through them over there:

I am really excited to read these. I’m thinking I might make it a Lammy summer and just go for it. I’m definitely going to send this list to my book group and see what interests them.

It felt a little different this year … it was sold out, I think there were more people in attendance, and I think there were more trans folks, genderqueer folks, and people of color than I’ve seen at previous Lammy ceremonies. I hope that’s true. It also seems like the Lammys are getting way more press than they used to. The first year I attended, I went online after to confirm my notes and couldn’t find any article covering it from any publication, and now there are quite a few online publications covering them. They have definitely stepped it up and it seems to be paying off.

As a former bookseller, they have always been on my radar, but I think they are getting a little more widely noticed. Or maybe I’m just more and more involved in the queer literary scene? That could be true too. Regardless, I had a fantastic time, it was great to run into friends and to meet authors I didn’t know of before.

Here’s a full list of the winners, and I’ll keep an eye out in case they post more photos.

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