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6 Kink Books by Black Authors

In honor of Black History/Futures Month, Here are some books about kink, BDSM, and power dynamics written by Black authors.

I’m listing links to Bookshop.org and to Amazon, but please do order them from your local independent (feminist, queer) bookstore, if you can. They’re happy to special order for you, and it helps them stay in business. Might take a little longer than Prime, but to me, it’s worth it to support the special places that are indie bookstores.

These are primarily nonfiction books, and definitely NOT a complete list of all books with kink content by Black authors — just some of my personal favorites. I’d love to hear more recommendations in the comments, if you have any.

Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism by Amber Jamilla Musser

Buy it on Bookshop | Amazon

This one is academic and intense, quite dense, but an incredible read. There are so few books written about kink from an academic context at all, and this adds the lens of so many different types of theory over it. I’m still working my way through it, to be honest, but it has been worth reading.

In everyday language, masochism is usually understood as the desire to abdicate control in exchange for sensation pleasure, pain, or a combination thereof. Yet at its core, masochism is a site where power, bodies, and society come together. Sensational Flesh uses masochism as a lens to examine how power structures race, gender, and embodiment in different contexts. Drawing on rich and varied sources from 19th century sexology, psychoanalysis, and critical theory to literary texts and performance art Amber Jamilla Musser employs masochism as a powerful diagnostic tool for probing relationships between power and subjectivity. Engaging with a range of debates about lesbian S&M, racialization, femininity, and disability, as well as key texts such as Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, Pauline Reage’s The Story of O, and Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Musser renders legible the complex ways that masochism has been taken up by queer, feminist, and critical race theories. Furthering queer theory’s investment in affect and materiality, she proposes ‘sensation’ as an analytical tool for illustrating what it feels like to be embedded in structures of domination such as patriarchy, colonialism, and racism and what it means to embody femininity, blackness, and pain. Sensational Flesh is ultimately about the ways in which difference is made material through race, gender, and sexuality and how that materiality is experienced.

The Color of Kink by Ariane Cruz

Buy it on Bookshop | Amazon

Though Cruz’s work primarily focuses on pornography and BDSM, this book still has a lot of interesting things to share about Black women, sexuality, and kink. Fairly academic, so I found it rather challenging to read, but I appreciated how she is writing from a very kink-positive perspective.

Winner of the MLA’s 2016 Alan Bray Prize for Best Book in GLBTQ Studies. How BDSM can be used as a metaphor for black female sexuality. The Color of Kink explores black women’s representations and performances within American pornography and BDSM (bondage and discipline, domination and submission, and sadism and masochism) from the 1930s to the present, revealing the ways in which they illustrate a complex and contradictory negotiation of pain, pleasure, and power for black women. … Based on personal interviews conducted with pornography performers, producers, and professional dominatrices, visual and textual analysis, and extensive archival research, Ariane Cruz reveals BDSM and pornography as critical sites from which to rethink the formative links between Black female sexuality and violence. She explores how violence becomes not just a vehicle of pleasure but also a mode of accessing and contesting power. Drawing on feminist and queer theory, critical race theory, and media studies, Cruz argues that BDSM is a productive space from which to consider the complexity and diverseness of black women’s sexual practice and the mutability of black female sexuality. Illuminating the cross-pollination of black sexuality and BDSM, The Color of Kink makes a unique contribution to the growing scholarship on racialized sexuality.

The Toybag Guide to Playing With Taboo by Mollena Williams

Buy it on Bookshop | Amazon

Intense little book, all about roleplaying and taboo kink. I have attended her workshop on playing with the taboo multiple times, so I often think of this as her workshop in a tiny, accessible book (though I’m not sure if she thinks of it this way). Excellent resource for pushing psychological limits and diving into your own taboo, safety, and psyche.

For those turned on to giving or receiving power, the hottest fantasies are often those that are the least acceptable — those that mirror historical oppression (Nazism, plantation slavery), crime (incest, ageplay, rape), and other “unacceptable” behaviors. Because these fantasies are deeply charged, they are among the riskiest and most challenging to enact. Yet it is possible, and often very rewarding, to do so. In this guide, Mollena Williams, a Black woman who enjoys roleplaying racism and slavery with the right person, explains ways to safeguard these difficult scenes to ensure the emotional and physical safety of all concerned. With sections on playing with sexual taboos like age and rape, cultural taboos like race and identity, and physical taboos like scat play, this is a thorough and responsible guide to BDSM’s furthest regions.

Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities by Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington

Buy it on Bookshop | Amazon

Co-written by Mollena and Lee Harrington, this book is such an excellent welcome to the kink communities. It’s a compilation of the best things someone could share with you at your very first kink event, all in a lovely book form. Wish I’d had it when I started out!

Whether you’re a trembling novice or a jaded expert, there’s always something new to be discovered in the endlessly changing, complex and titillating world of kink. While there are plenty of other books out there that explain how to give a spanking or tie a half-hitch, Playing Well With Others is the first book that explains kink *culture* — the munches, parties, leather bars, conferences, workshops, fetish nights, exploratoriums and all the other gatherings of kinksters that turn BDSM and leather from a bedroom predilection to a lifestyle and a community. You’ll learn to: • Examine your own motivations, needs, wants and desires • Ease your way into established communities • Understand etiquette in different adventurous sex communities • Familiarize yourself with the many types of events available to you • Care for your relationships as you explore new territory • Negotiate for play and aftercare • Go back to the “world at large” without ruffling feathers • …and, of course, answer the all-important question: What do you wear?! The team of Harrington and Williams offers 30-plus years of experience in diverse kink communities: top, bottom and switch; gay, bi and straight; female, male and trans; white and POC. Both former titleholders and international educators, they are an unbeatable pair of “sexual sherpas” with an inimitable voice and a great deal of wisdom. Playing Well With Others is an unprecedented and essential guidebook for anyone who wants to explore or understand the “community” aspect of the kink lifestyle.

Unequal Partnership: a dating guide for loving non-egalitarian relationships by Aisha-Sky Gates

Buy it on Bookshop | Amazon

This is a great text for folks new to consensual authority exchange and setting up relationships with different intentional hierarchies. Amazon claims it is one in a series, but as far as I know, this is the only one so far. Looking forward to more!

Do you want to create a long term and sustainable intimate relationship? Are you already dating or married and want to strengthen what you have? American society assumes that an egalitarian relationship is for everyone but the divorce rate is higher than fifty percent. The Unequal Partnership model has a deliberate consensual power imbalance as the main element of a strong foundation for the couple’s love. It’s an alternative option that might be a better fit for some. Unequal Partners set up a deliberate, consensual power imbalance in the relationship. Their agreements create mutual respect, relationship sustainability, and continuous support for individual growth. Their agreements create a strong foundation for their love and romance. Get your copy of Unequal Partnership now and see what a difference it can make in the pursuit of your and your partner’s personal happiness. Sometimes, an alternative lifestyle choice can be the key to creating a healthy, loving relationship.

To Love, to Obey, to Serve: Diary of an Old Guard Slave by V. M. Johnson

Buy it on Amazon (no actually please don’t, they’re listed at $900+)

Vi Johnson is quite well known and very well respected in leather communities, and this book is an incredible telling of her story. Unfortunately, it’s out of print! But I’ve heard rumors that they are going to re-release it, hopefully soon.

Within these pages are the real life experiences of an extraordinary woman as recorded in her journal. Vi Johnson is one of the most loved and respected women in the leather community. She entered the Leather s/m scene in the 1970’s as a slave. A slave’s duty was to Love, Honor, Please, and Obey, sometimes blindly, often at great personal cost. To own or life the life of a full time slave is, and has been, the stuff of s/m fantasies and erotic stories. The life recorded here reveals the realities, which are quite different from the fantasies. Most of all this is the journey of a woman following her dream.

Got any more recommendations for me? I’d love to hear them.

Have you read any of these books? Let us know your opinions on them in the comments.

essays

Fearless Relationship Inventory, Guest Post by rife

This has been such a difficult year for relationships.

Sir and I have been going through some stuff and decided it was time to take a “fearless relationship inventory.” So while we were off the grid camping at a cabin for two nights with no power or cell service, we sat down and asked each other questions back and forth, with a spirit of open hearted bravery.

I was thinking about how all the cells in your body are refreshed every 7 years. We’ve been together for over 9 years, so it seemed only right to pause and check in and see, since we’re new people, if we were still well suited for each other.

To be honest, it was a scary process to go through, not knowing what we’d find out. But now that we’re on the other side of it, it feels really good to know.

So, i thought the questions we came up with might be useful to others in a similar spot. Feel free to use them and share if you’d like (just make a note of where you found it).

Download the PDF of the questions here.

Some tips to support your process:

  • When you notice defensiveness come up, take a break.
  • When you notice fear come up, take a break.
  • Best if you can devote a couple days to this, with the fewest interruptions possible.
  • If you’re poly, print multiple copies and do it with each of your partners.
  • Turn off the wifi and hide your phones. :)
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What’s Happening in March (and Beyond): Best Lesbian Erotica Readings!

I’m so excited to share this book with you!

Virtual reading with Glad Day Books, Toronto

Sunday, 28 February, 2021 4-5:30pm PT / 7-8:30pm ET
Details on Facebook

Online reading of stories from Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5, published by Cleis Press, Hosted by Glad Day Books, Toronto.

Zoom login information:
https://zoom.us/my/gladday
PW: 1970

Hosted by Glad Day Books, Toronto
Readers include:
Amy Butcher, GB Lindsey, Kathleen Lamothe, K.J. Drake, and Sinclair Sexsmith

Free! Please buy the book! Support your local bookshop or get it online.

Readers include (click for bios):

Amy Butcher
AMY BUTCHER is a writer, artist, bodyworker, business consultant, and liminal guide who lives and works in San Francisco. Her award-winning novel _Paws for Consideration_ was published in 2012. Her short story “Touched” appeared in _Best Lesbian Erotica 2012_. Follow her many adventures at www.amybutcher.com.
K.J. Drake
K.J. DRAKE is a genderqueer writer dyke who lives in Chicagoland. When not writing queer fiction, they like making out with their partners, walking through the prairie, and ruminating. They can be found on Twitter @nerdwen.
Kathleen P. Lamothe
KATHLEEN P. LAMOTHE is a white, able-bodied, kinky, femme, transsexual performance artist living with the simultaneous gift & curse of an ADHD brain. She currently resides on unceded Coast Salish territory (Vancouver), after having been raised in occupied Mohawk (Montreal) & Algonquin (Ottawa) territories. When she’s not pissing off the gaygeousie or aiming her hyperfocus superpowers towards dense journal articles about cognitive neuroscience, she can be found going to 12-step meetings, getting tattooed, practicing mindfulness & compassion meditation, and ultimately challenging people’s notions about what a “good” or “respectable” trans woman is.
G.B. Lindsey
G.B. LINDSEY’s first love has always been writing: as a child, she cultivated such diverse goals as becoming “a cowgirl and a writer” or “a paleontologist and a writer.” Aside from her salacious affair with the horror genre, she loves to write sci-fi, romance, historical fiction, and short stories. Her day job is in kidney transplant, but other interests include singing, reading voraciously, and period drama movie nights. She lives in California with her absolutely phenomenal cat.

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual Reading with Queer Leather Happy Hour, San Francisco

5 March, 2021, 7-8pm PT / 10-11pm ET
Details on Facebook

LIVE QUEER EROTICA READING! Listen to steamy tales by award-winning smut editor Sinclair Sexsmith, plus author readings by their latest edited collection of queer storytellers: : Mary Burns, Kiki DeLovely, G.B. Lindsay, Tobi Hill-Meyer, and K.J. Drake. Zoom login info will be posted day-of.

Virtual Queer Leather Happy Hour will host its usual monthly 1st Fridays social time, as well as a breakout room throughout the event in case anyone wants to simply chat in the “SF Eagle back porch” as before. This is a queer-dedicated space. Basic Zoom instructions and expected Code of Conduct will be posted on this page for reference. The event is free to attend, and if you’re in a good place to, please consider donating to our usual host bar: the SF Eagle, at https://www.gofundme.com/f/sf-eagle

Readers include (click for bios):

Mary Burns
MARY BURNS is a long-time resident of New York City. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Playwriting from Columbia University in 1991, after which the muses departed for points unknown, leaving no forwarding address, so she carved out a career as an executive assistant. When happenstance left her with the opportunity for some major time off, she sharpened her pencils and hoped for the best. Luckily, the muses returned, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her first novel, _Forging a Desire Line,_ was published by Bold Strokes Books in May 2020. You can reach her at [email protected]
Kiki DeLovely
KIKI DeLOVELY (kikidelovely.wordpress.com) is a kinky, witchy, non-binary femme who moonlights as an erotica writer when she’s not helping others through energetic healing or spiritual coaching. Their work has appeared in dozens of publications, including _Getting It: Female Sexual Agency, The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, Vol. 3_, and _Corrupted: Erotic Romance for the Modern Age_. Kiki strives toward erotica that reads as fine literature and connects us with our highest selves.
G.B. Lindsay
G.B. LINDSEY’s first love has always been writing: as a child, she cultivated such diverse goals as becoming “a cowgirl and a writer” or “a paleontologist and a writer.” Aside from her salacious affair with the horror genre, she loves to write sci-fi, romance, historical fiction, and short stories. Her day job is in kidney transplant, but other interests include singing, reading voraciously, and period drama movie nights. She lives in California with her absolutely phenomenal cat.
K.J. Drake
K.J. DRAKE is a genderqueer writer dyke who lives in Chicagoland. When not writing queer fiction, they like making out with their partners, walking through the prairie, and ruminating. They can be found on Twitter @nerdwen.
Tobi Hill-Meyer
TOBI HILL-MEYER is an indigenous chicana trans woman with 15 years experience working in nonprofits, serving on boards, and consulting in nonprofit management. She is editor of the Lambda Literary Finalist anthology _Nerve Endings: The New Trans Erotic_, author of children’s books _A Princess of Great Daring_ and _Super Power Baby Shower_, and director of the award winning erotic documentary series _Doing it Online_. Currently, she serves as Co-Executive Director for Gender Justice League.

Title Stepdown

Saturday, March 13, 2021, 5-6pm PT / 8-9pm ET
Details on Facebook
rife & I officially step down from our leather title! Official description: “Come reflect on one of the wildest title years we could never have imagined, and could never have gotten through without you. We’ll have (byo) snacks, a quick video, and maybe do a few icebreaker games. No long speeches, we promise. Just sharing fond memories and making new ones with some of our favorite folks (that would be you!).” It would mean a lot to have y’all there to celebrate with me.

Seducing Your sub: How to Create Erotic Tension and Keep Your sub Coming Back For More with Marla Renee Stewart

Thursday, March 18, 2021 6:30-8:30pm PT / 9:30-11:30pm ET
RSVP on Crowdcast

We’ve been producing D/s webinars each month for the past year as part of our title year, and this will be the last one. Out with a bang!

Description: If you’ve been in the D/s world, you know that some subs can be finnicky on their search for the right Dominant. Finding the sub that works for you takes patience, but most of all it takes the Dominant to pick up on the right cues that would draw the sub in. In this workshop, you’re going to understand how to use seduction to your advantage to get your subs to not only do what you want when you want it, but for them to beg you for more attention and more erotic play time. Whether you are a beginner or a professional, this will help you run the long (and successful) game when it comes to your kinky endeavors.

And coming up after that …

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual Reading with Charis Books, Atlanta

March, 2021 Date TBA

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual reading at International Ms Leather/Bootblack

Sometime during the IMsLBB online event, 16-18 April, 2021
Details TBA

essays

9 Ideas to Support Your D/s During Hard Times

I’m writing this in February 2021, eleven months after the start of the global COVID pandemic. So when I say “hard times,” of course I am thinking about particular “hard times” — but this could be applicable to other kinds of hard times, too, like going through a grieving process, or when someone has a huge career change, or goes back to school, or a new person comes in to your lives. There are so many kinds of change that can create stress on a relationship.

I’m writing this for myself as much as for you. I have struggled, hard, with staying connected to the authority exchange dynamic that rife and I have, even though I love it dearly, cherish it, and always want to protect it and foster its growth.

Because it’s been such a struggle, I’ve been thinking about and talking a lot with friends about how to support my dominance specifically and our D/s dynamic more generally during this time.

Here are some ideas, mostly aimed at folks who are in a relationship. Hope they’re helpful.

1. Reconnect with your “why”

Why are you in an authority exchange dynamic? Journal about it, dance about it, ponder about it, write love letters about it, make art about it. Re-read your contract (if you have one), revisit the active protocols you have, and perhaps even try some new ones. Why do you have the contract? Why do you have protocols? Set aside some time and really dig in to why you do this. If you can, come up with an affirmation, or a shorthand explanation, that can stand in for your “why” so you can connect to it as needed.

2. Join a group. Don’t have a group? Create one.

Support and discussion groups for authority exchange are so important. Personally, I would not want to participate in authority exchange dynamics outside of community. I need that identity perception and validation from other people, and I also want people to witness how our dynamic is working and what it’s like as part of helping to keep it healthy. Authority exchange in isolation can be dangerous, I believe.

The good news is, so many groups have moved online! There are more things available online now for kinky folks than there ever have been. If you can’t find a group you want to go to, consider making a small group for yourself. Call up a few friends and ask if they want to meet every few weeks or once a month to just support each other and share about your dynamic.

3. Study. Read books, read articles, watch films

There are films, books, and other kinds of art out there about authority exchange dynamics that you haven’t seen yet. Check them out! Perhaps you can listen to an audiobook or a podcast with your partner (if you have one) and talk about it. Perhaps you might want to start a kinky Pinterest board or an Instagram account full of inspirational photos. Perhaps it’s time to re-read the Marketplace series, or check out other erotica or nonfiction writings on kink that you haven’t already read. And maybe you’re the kind of person who would also like to write a short summary of the thing you read or watched or listened to, along with some of your key takeaways and a-ha moments. Having a little film club or writing a book report can be a great way to synthesize and integrate the information.

4. Set aside a date night

If you’re in a relationship, and you don’t already have a date night, make it happen. Set aside time for just the two of you to be together. Maybe you want to have a particular dress code, or particular goals. What do you love doing together? What makes you feel strong in your power dynamic? Make a list. Do some of those things.

I realized recently that I spent quite a lot of time in erotic rituals receiving touch and moving energy through my body, and in the pandemic, I’d primarily been a top. I needed more ritual sex time specifically, not just sex and play time. We have been setting aside time to do that lately, and it has helped.

5. Set aside a check-in

Aside from a fun, play, connective date night, set aside a check-in for your dynamic. Questions I like to ask are things like:

  • What has been the best thing about our dynamic (since our last check-in / recently / this week)?
  • What has been the hardest thing?
  • What protocols are you loving?
  • What protocols are very challenging?
  • What, if anything, could I do to feed this dynamic better?
  • What could you do?
  • Is there anything you’re not telling me that you want to share now?

We like to have check-ins connected with something very pleasurable, like a fire in the fireplace, or a nice walk outside, or special ice cream, or ordering take-out, since sometimes they can be hard conversations. But I always feel better the next day, and it can help to keep the dynamic active and conscious.

6. Attend kink events or classes online

There are so many kink events and classes online now! Check out Wicked Grounds, the BDSM coffee shop based in San Francisco; they are hosting many classes every month. There are multiple groups on Fetlife and Facebook specifically for online BDSM events. I’ve seen people teaching everything from psychological mind games to cigar play to impact to DIY sex toys. It can be fun, educational, and connective. If you don’t see anything coming up that interests you, there’s always Kink Academy — they have literally hundreds of videos already uploaded and ready, in a huge archive.

Perhaps even consider teaching a class or two — there is no better way to get to know a subject than to teach about it.

7. Recommit to your dynamic

Have you been together for a while? When was the last time you updated your protocol, your contract? You could think about having a recommitment ceremony of some sort, either on your own or with friends. Think of it as “renewing your vows” to each other and to the dynamic. Sometimes, looking over things, getting fresh and current with where things are, can infuse new life in to the authority exchange.

8. Ask yourself: What do I need to get into more headspace?

These ideas are mostly relevant to me and my own dynamic, and they might resonate for you, but they might not. Ask yourself: what is it that you specifically need to get into a more dominant or submissive headspace? Is something really weighing on you? Is there anything you can do to lift that burden? Can you get some more support for certain parts of your life that aren’t working so smoothly right now?

9.Consider the Protocol Game

If you use protocol in your dynamic, take a look at the Protocol Game, a simple structure of making 52 protocols (some of them can be duplicates), then pulling one randomly each week for a year. That protocol is the thing you do (or your submissive does) for the week. They can be one-shot tasks, or something to do every day, or at a specific time of the day or week. Take a look at the Fundamentals of the Protocol Game for how to play, and check out the difference between tasks, protocols, rituals, and rules (at least how we define them). If you’re on the Patreon, you already know that there’s a secret Protocol Game project in the works!

Hope that’s helpful, y’all

I’d love to hear from you. How’s your dynamic going? What have you found that has been really helpful during these particular hard times, of the COVID pandemic in 2020-2021?

journal entries

Leather Community During a Pandemic

I attended the FLAME Conference, a general BDSM/kink/leather online gathering, last weekend. rife and I taught one class (“Ownership As A Spiritual Path”), and attended a few others.

It meant so much to be in leather community, to hear people talk about their experiences, to see people dressed up in leather and following protocols (even simple ones). I have a couple of different groups I’m part of, and rife and I are still producing monthly D/s webinars (join the Patreon for more info on that), and I am keeping in touch with various kink friends. But even still: the effect of not being in leather community in person, nor as often, this year has been strong.

It was really helpful to hear other people in authority exchange dynamics talk about how hard this year has been on them. It’s been a hard year on everybody, no surprise there — but there have been particular effects on authority exchange relationships that are harder to talk about with non-kinky people.

The pandemic, generally, has meant that we either see way less of someone, or way, way more. Some folks who were in D/s dynamics with someone but had a different nesting partner haven’t seen their D/s partner in months, maybe even almost a year. That can put all sorts of extra stress on the household, with increased COVID risk and more negotiations (which aren’t always smooth). Plus, the D/s partners end up with no place for their D/s identities to get expressed, which can come out with other partners, or other relationships like work, accidentally and unconsciously. They can end up longing for the part of themselves that used to have expression but is now (hopefully temporarily) stunted.

I know we are all feeling this, kinky or not. But I’m particularly curious about the effects on authority exchange dynamics.

On the other hand, there are couples or dynamics like mine, where we live together (and have for a while). We both already worked from home, and have for many years, so we even had an advantage in that we were familiar with coworking from home, cooking at home, and many other skills that others had a huge crash course in this past year. But authority exchange dynamics thrive on having some distance between the people in order to maintain the power imbalance. (Read up on the “power distance index” if you’d like to study this, it’s a well-documented phenomenon. I first saw it in Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers [Amazon | Bookshop.])

Being together 24/7 for a year has given us virtually no distance, which has impacted our authority exchange greatly. It’s easy for us to drop the formalities and act as more of an egalitarian couple. But as I’m sure many of you out there in dynamics know: that can be a huge warning flag, and can build resentment, frustration, and trouble for the stability of the relationship.

It’s been hard, y’all. My dominant headspace has been poor at best, our dynamic has suffered. I often feel completely disconnected from it. This has been one of the hardest years of my life, absolutely; though also a year filled with adventure and support. I’m still thinking about (and working about writing on) the impact of the pandemic on authority exchange dynamics, and pondering how I can support my own, and others.

It means so much to me to be part of a community that practices authority exchange, and I desperately miss the connections and support I — we — used to have. I don’t know if there’s any way to actually replicate it, but I hope we can try.

Featured photo by Teagan

cock confidence

In Search of A Magic Carpet Sex Toy

A few months ago, a friend came to me with a mysterious sex toy and wanted to know if I knew what it was, or, perhaps more importantly, where to get another one. All they knew is that it was probably called something like a ‘magic carpet.’

I did some deep, deep diving into the internet, and I found a reference to a magic carpet from a 1992 article

[image text:] Wildlife was a little lukewarm about what she called “esoteric” sex toys. Like vibrating eggs. And strings of beads that could be inserted into orifices and pulled out. She also had a little maroon-colored pad that reminded me of a flat sponge for washing Teflon or a shoe insert to kill odor and prevent bunions. She called it a “magic carpet” and said it was good for a particular kind of stimulation somewhere, but I didn’t catch it exactly.

… but I could not find this toy. Don’t you want it though!? I got invested in having one for myself as I was researching it. After some pinging of various sex toy aficionados, Metis Black from Tantus recognized it!

It was made by D4D (Dils 4 Does) and you can even read some of that in the picture… and I agree it was a Magic Carpet. It was a brilliant toy to wear when you were strapping on a harness. You wore the small toy inside you against the harness with the “carpet” rubbing your clit. Meanwhile you would of course put another dildo in the harness for the partner you were penetrating.

Unfortunately, with the realization that it was Dils 4 Does brand, we also realized that it’s not being made any more. So, after figuring out the first part of the clue, the next question was: is there any other option? Is there anything still being made that would be a similar design?

Here’s some ideas:

Bumpher Dildo Base

https://shevibe.com/bumpher-soft-silicone-dildo-base-for-harness-play-midnight-blue/#oid=1151_1

Royale Mustang

https://shevibe.com/royale-mustang-vixskin-realistic-silicone-dildo-with-saddle-base-by-vixen-chocolate#oid=1151_1

Fuze Velvet

https://shevibe.com/fuze-velvet-silicone-purple-dildo.aspx#oid=1151_1

Rubbies Max

https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/816990403/rubbies-max-adult-toy-sex-toy-silicone

poetry

Preparation

wherever there is a place for you
to rest, to weep, to jerk off

in the middle of the night, or
to get to sleep, I will do everything

I can to make the bed after you are done
to draw your bath, to tend your shoes

at the door. you probably do not know
how much I monitor your moods,

your anxieties, your wishes. I want
those too, sweet and sultry, in the depth

of the dark when you cannot admit what
you want. you can, to me. I won’t judge.

I won’t wish you to be other than what you are.
come. come again. come to me and let’s do

something entirely new. neither of us can
even comprehend it now. we are living

into it, making it up, all we have is raw
dough. make it with me. we can be something

else. who do you want to be? I’ll be
someone else, too. I’ll be new. I’ll be

ready to receive you.

journal entries

Survival Tools for a Pandemic

It’s kind of hard to write about your regular sex, gender, kink, and relationship content, when to be honest, I’m primarily spending my time on hobbies and art and expression.

I’ve heard multiple people talking about how essential hobbies are during sheltering in place and the COVID pandemic, and it’s been absolutely instrumental to me. I’d already started developing a serious study of the Tarot, but that has continued to deepen this past year, and I started to research (and purchase) fountain pens, too. I have written off fountain pens for a while because my handwriting is very small, and the tips tend to be bigger than is comfortable for my handwriting. A few years back, I started asking, are there any smaller options? And ended up with a Pilot Vanishing Point, which, I was told by pen experts at the art store, was the smallest tip possible on a fountain pen.

Now, almost a year after starting to research the fountain pen world on my own, I know that isn’t true — there are a lot of extra-fine tip options. And, beyond that, there are flex nib options, which allow line width variation, and are the 14-year-old in me’s dream come true about calligraphy options. I’m still learning how to write fancy script, but I’ve been spending quite a bit of time on drills and exercises.

I also bought a typewriter recently. Someone (hi) gifted me a typewriter when I lived in New York, and I sold it when I left, which I somewhat regret now but that’s just part of it all. I found a 1936 Smith Corona standard on Etsy recently and bought it, paying the extra shipping to send it all the way to Alaska. It’s been such a pleasure and I’m so excited to use it for more art journaling.

Here’s a video clip, mostly for fun. It literally is just almost fifteen minutes of me writing on it.

Other than the typewriter, the fountain pen and inks, and the tarot (which I’ve written about here a bit before), I’ve been adding more art elements into my journal, particularly with washi tape and a pile of Tim Holtz papers and “ephemera curiosities”, and some other additives, that get glued in to the journal. I’m still “bullet journaling,” as the kids are calling it these days, and while I’m learning a lot from the general “bujo” community (and stealing their ideas), I still struggle to call it that since I was making my own weekly spread before it was commodified like this, and I wish there was another name for it (that didn’t attribute it to a white man “inventing” it). I’ve got a personal Instagram account that has some of these things posted, in case you are interested in this type of art, too.

Some examples:

This is definitely the first time I’m sharing journal pages without sharing what’s on them! But mostly I’m blurring them out not because they’re too personal but because they’re just a lot of me blah-blah-blah-ing, I’m saying “I like this ink in this fountain pen but I wish the line was thinner” or “I don’t know what to write about”. After writing here for almost 15 (!!) years, there is little that is too personal, but this is too … casual? Too much blah.

As someone who has dabbled in the solopreneur-entrepreneur-creativepreneur-make-your-entire-life-into-a-business thing, it was years ago that I realized I needed hobbies in addition to my work, and I’ve been actively pursuing things that weren’t just related to this website and my online projects. But COVID has been a new level of
focusing on hobbies, for me, not just because I’ve had a bit more disposable income (yay!) because I’ve been living in a family home since July (yay for no rent, boo for no community). I am grateful to have this as an option, though it’s been very hard to be far from my queer chosen families in Seattle and San Francisco, and I miss … everything.

I have loved paper crafts and hobbies about pen and inks for a long time, since high school, or even before, but I’ve been taking it to a new depth this year, and that’s felt really good. I’m leaning on them, creating things, writing, putting colors and styles together in a way that I’ve never done before. I don’t know if they’re going to “lead anywhere,” or if they’ll be useful here, or if I’ll ever use them for something, or even share them. But I’m really glad to be practicing these skills and hobbies, even still.

event

What’s Happening in February (and Beyond)

Here are the upcoming events!

Feminist Erotica Podcast Book Club featuring Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5

Friday, January 29, 4:30pm PT / 7:30pm ET
featuring Rain DeGray, Mary Burns, June Amelia Rose, and Sinclair Sexsmith
Details on Facebook

Ownership as a Spiritual Path – workshop at the FLAME Conference

February 19-21, 2021
FLAME Conference is an online general kink gathering with a focus on power dynamics. We’ll be teaching Ownership as a Spiritual Path, which we’ve done multiple times now and it’s been really fun and insightful.

Description: Some submissives describe their journey as being “monks for love.” Some owners are worshipped. Considering all of the protocol, ritual, symbology, traditions, and ordeals that we pursue, there are many parallels to spiritual traditions. Let’s talk about ways a spiritual path can be incorporated as a model or tool to strengthen your dynamic, and ways that you both can find spiritual value and deep soul satisfaction on the path of your relationship, no religion required! We will share our personal experiences with Buddhism, energetic embodiment, Christianity of many flavors, and spiritual animism and welcome discussion from the group’s diverse belief systems. Ownership can be a vocation; for those of us who feel the pull, it can be a powerful engine for spiritual growth and meaning.

Sex & D/s Discussion with rife & Sinclair

Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 6:30pm PT / 9:30pm ET | Details on Facebook or Fetlife

part of the Leather Couch series we’ve been doing for our title year. Come join us to talk about sex and D/s, how it can be hard to maintain a sexual connection while in a D/s dynamic, or how sex can fuel the D/s dynamic. Let’s talk about sex and libido in D/s relationships: the challenges, the joys, and everything in between.

Virtual reading with Glad Day Books, Toronto

Sunday, 28 February, 2021 | Details on Facebook

Online reading of stories from Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5, published by Cleis Press, Hosted by Glad Day Books, Toronto. Readers TBD

Leather Together, Virtual Ms SF Leather Celebration

Saturday, March 6 | Details on Facebook

rife & I sent a short video in on behalf of out title year, so be on the lookout for that. Description: “We want to CELEBRATE our Vibrant, Alive & Kick-Ass Women’s Leather Community! Join Us for our Online VIRTUAL Zoom Celebration. Highlights include videos from Amazing Clubs & Titles throughout the US, PLUS Video Messages from Past Ms SFL Titleholders, Women’s Porn, SF Snapshots, Socializing & More. LINK TO ZOOM CELEBRATION Event is ASL Interpreted. 12-DAY ONLINE AUCTION from January 28th – February 8th, 2021. Ms SF Leather is NOT having a 2021 Contest due to the Covid pandemic. HOWEVER, we still want to CELEBRATE Caity & her title year. CELEBRATE that we will be back in 2022 with a whole new exciting Contest. CELEBRATE & socialize with our community.

And Beyond …

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual Reading with Charis Books, Atlanta

March, 2021 Date TBA

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual Reading with Queer Leather Happy Hour, San Francisco

5 March, 2021. Details TBA

Title Stepdown

March, 2021, exact date TBA
rife & I officially step down from our title! There will be parties, or something!

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 – Virtual reading at International Ms Leather/Bootblack

April, 2021

Photo taken by me in Southeast Alaska, of the Mendenhall Glacier, in January 2021

guest posts

Meeting Jason, Guest Post by Marcel Yeung

Content note: rough sex, name calling (faggot, slut), D/s play.

I looked up at him, trying to read his face. I couldn’t tell if he seemed pleased with my performance, but his eyes held mine with an intensity that both reassured me and frightened me. My hand stroked his cock again, a shimmering strand of saliva still connecting it to my lips, red and thick from my efforts. I gasped involuntarily as he roughly jerked me to my feet and bent to kiss me. His tongue invaded my mouth, claiming it again as he had with his cock. The girl part of me fluttered and squealed inside, so happy to have his attention, to receive his dominance. I would do anything he wanted at this moment, absolutely anything, despite the fact I had just met him.

“You’re my kind of boy,” he growled, a smirk playing at the corner of his lips. “Follow me.”

I did as he commanded, following meekly but bursting with excitement. My cunt was slick with anticipation, my mind racing with possibilities. I was swooning over his broad shoulders, his jeans skimming over narrow hips that I had just gripped as he pounded his cock into the back of my throat. This is so what I want, I thought, I am such a lucky fag. The street lights laid an amber glow over the quiet city. I had no idea what time it was. Hopefully plenty of night left, I thought, and chastised myself for being such a dirty slut. I desperately wanted to give my every fiber to this beautiful trans man, to let him fuck all my holes, to submit to his desire to tear into my willing flesh and use me for his pleasure.

The jangle of his keys jolted me from my fantasies. “We’re here, boy,” he said, fixing my wide brown eyes with his. I must have been completely transparent in my lusty excitement, because he chuckled as he looked back at me.

“You were born for this, faggot,” he grinned. “Get in here.” He shoved me against the wall of the entryway as he locked the door.

“You came here willingly, and by that I’m going to assume that you are mine to use tonight.” I nodded, my breath coming quickly through parted lips. I was getting scared, but my clit was throbbing insistently in my jeans. God I wanted this man like I had never wanted anything else. His face was serious as he pressed his palm to my chest, his thumb lodging under my collar bone, pinning me hard to the wall.

“Here are the rules, boy. I do whatever I want to you. You might not like it, but you’re here to please me, so you will do what I require. You will call me sir. If you want me to stop, you have only to say ‘stop’. That is the one directive you may give me, and I will do so immediately. But if you do not say stop, you are mine to do as I please. I won’t do anything that will hurt you for more than tonight. But I will fuck you, hard. Do you consent?”

I swallowed, consumed by his rich brown eyes. “Yes, sir,” I whispered, feeling energy zinging crazily inside me, like my skin could barely contain it.

He smiled a full, stunning smile and released me from the wall.

The apartment was small and dark, and he led me through the cramped living room to the bedroom in the back. Light from a streetlight painted the shadows of burglar bars onto the curtains covering the one small window. He turned and looked at me, but the smile was gone. I felt a sudden chill raise the fine hairs on my arms. This might have been a colossally stupid idea. What had I gotten myself into? He suddenly grabbed my shirt and pulled me close to him. I was off balance and under the spell of his muscular body.

“Let’s see what I get,” he murmured, “let me see this boy, my very own boy, my dirty cocksucking faggot slut.” His long fingers were nimble as he unbuttoned my shirt, button by button. I trembled under his touch, eyes down. He slid his hands lightly under the shoulders and lifted it off me, letting it fall to the floor. He made a sound of approval, tracing my jawline with his fingers, dropping them to the hollow at my throat and along my collarbone, slowly down across my bra, where my nipple strained against the cotton fabric. One arm around my back, he grabbed my breast with his other hand hard, eliciting an involuntary moan as my back arched into his hand, lust crashing over me. My knees abruptly went weak and I was glad for his support otherwise I might have collapsed. He pulled the bra off over my head and bent to take my nipple in his mouth, sucking and pressing with his lips at the same time.

He walked me backward a few steps and pushed me onto his bed. “You are mine, boy, all mine,” he said. The weak light from the window cast him all in angles. Cheekbone and jaw, shoulder, tricep.

“Yes sir,” I gasped, “oh, please sir,” and he was upon me, claiming my mouth with his as he ripped my pants open and shoved his hand inside my briefs. It was all I could do not to come at the first touch of his fingers, as he opened my dripping wet cunt and pressed my throbbing clit against his hand. I bucked against him, crying out.

“Take these off,” he commanded, and as fast I could, I stripped off my jeans and underwear to be naked for him. He pulled his cock out, forcing my legs open with his knee, moving on top of me like a tiger on top of its prey.

“You’re gonna take my big cock, boy,” he said, “I can tell this is all you want, to be a hole for me to fuck. Give me everything, you slutty little faggot. It’s all mine, you’re all mine to take.”

I gloried in his words, lifting my hips to meet his thrusts, crying out as he pounded into me. His cock was so big, so hard, it was overwhelming and I couldn’t help myself, I came in huge convulsions around him, my nails digging into his back.

“Oh fuck, sir, ohmygod, fuck, please sir!” My words disintegrated in the torrent of sensation, eroding into sounds I didn’t recognize. He didn’t stop, but fucked me hard and fast, his cock ravaging my hole. Colors exploded in my vision and I thought I was going to pass out, gasping unintelligibly my adoration of him. He pulled me to the edge of the bed, standing up and lifting my legs to his shoulders. He held my hips up and rammed his huge cock into my swollen pussy, his furious pace accelerating impossibly until he roared his orgasm like a nuclear reaction fusing his body to mine.

Afterward I clung to him, surprised by the sobs that he had wrung from me. I shuddered as hot tears ran down the sides of my face, tickling my ears. He held me, his cock still lodged inside me, crooning, “That’s my good boy, you didn’t hold back, you gave me everything. Your tears are beautiful, I accept them. Yes, you’re mine, you’re mine. I’ve got you, boy.”

And I am still his, after all these years.

media, starred

Content Notes for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 (Warning: Spoilers)

There are 17 stories in Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5, and here’s a little bit about each one. Hopefully this will give you a sense of the types of stories to see if it’s the type of things you like. If your favorite thing is missing, would you let me know in the comments, or send me an email — I’d love to know about it, and maybe I can get something into the next volume.

Needless to say, this will contain spoilers and details about the stories! Stop reading now if you want to be surprised! Included are the genders of the characters, types of sex acts, types of issues that they grapple with.

Let’s get to it.

1. Max and the Things I Couldn’t Say — Heart

Narrator and lover both use she/her pronouns and narrator is called “girl.” Butch/femme. Narrator ponders her submissive, masochistic fantasies, but the lover is mostly vanilla. They play-fight. Very sensual.

2. On a Hot and Humid Night — Mx. Nillin Lore


Threesome with the narrator (they/them), Max (they/them), and Kate (she/her). Polyamorous, exhibitionist, outdoors. The narrator is nonbinary AMAB person who uses the term girl cock (as does Mx Nillin for themself). (Note: I’ve seen critique of the book saying that “nobody uses the term “girl cock,” but that just isn’t true. This is an #ownvoices piece, coming from the perspective of someone who has come to use that term for themself.)

3. Whatever I Want, Whatever I Say — Sinclair Sexsmith

Butch/femme, D/s. The characters genders aren’t described in depth, but you could read this as the “Sinclair” character as the narrator, so that person would be nonbinary and the submissive is a femme. Open relationship, “borrowing” another person’s submissive for a scene, some dirty talk, mostly teasing.

4. Pure Energy — Giselle Renarde

Bisexual, two women characters, polyamorous. The erotic scene happens through energy rather than direct touch.

5. Three Options — Nicole Field

D/s with the characters called “Miss” and “angel,” using she/her pronouns. Asexual spectrum, with some discussion about what that means for the characters and how they navigate sex.

6. Blood — Anita Cassidy

Both characters use she/her and are described as women. The scene starts with a call and request to come over, and then it’s discovered that both women are menstruating, and they explore what it’s like for blood to be present during sex.

7. A Night Out — Amanda N

The narrator is wearing a dress and the lover is wearing a strap-on, but their gender isn’t clearly identified. You can infer butch/femme from it, though it could easily be two nonbinary people. (Ask Amanda, when we do an author Q&A.) The scene includes going out into public at a bar, flirting with someone else, and having jealous, possessive sex together at the end. Some D/s components.

8. The Supplicant — Michelle Osgood

Narrator is described as a girl. Lover’s gender isn’t specific. Sex takes place in a shower, and it seems like stranger sex, but one gets the impression they do this a lot. Lover has a strap-on, and a straight razor, and shaves the narrator.

9. Torrent and Tumult — June Amelia Rose

Author is bipolar, and both main characters in this piece are bipolar as well. D/s story with two trans women; the dominant is called Mistress. Includes punk rock, Brooklyn, AA/sobriety, chastity, spankings with a paddle, blood. Descriptions of kink as a healing practice.

10. The One Penis Policy — Tobi Hill-Meyer

Narrator is a trans woman, dating a cis woman. The cis woman lover has a husband and is bisexual, and their open relationship agreement is a “one penis policy.” The characters sort out what that means for them. Descriptions of sex and orgasm. Written by a trans woman.

11. The Summer of Strap-Ons and Sodomy — Rain DeGrey

The two characters are professional dominatrixes who meet through a client, and fall for each other, having a short and intense relationship. Descriptions of the sex work session, an orgy, pegging, a Hitachi magic wand vibrator, rope bondage. Written by a former sex worker.

12. Strand of Pearls — Mary Burns

Narrator and lover are described as women, using she/her pronouns. Colleagues-to-lovers. Features strap-on sex, butt plug, a straight razor, shaving, and alcohol.

13. Restraint — Kiki DeLovely

D/s, Sir/girl, butch/femme. Service, blow jobs, cock sucking, spanking, masturbation, permission for orgasm, orgasm denial.

14. I Wouldn’t Be the Same Without Her — Kathleen Lamothe

One night stand. Narrator and lover are trans women, lover is a little older and more experienced and teaches the narrator. Some scene-based D/s, bondage, orgasm control; lover requests to be called Ma’am. Some discussion of alcohol and AA.

15. Yes Ma’am — K.J. Drake

Narrator is called ma’am in the D/s context but admits to being uncomfortable with other gendered words, I would classify as non-binary (but we should ask KJ). Lover has she pronouns and generally reads as a woman. Sex scene includes restraints, oral sex, strap-on. A safeword is used, and characters check in about it. KJ included this content note: implied consent within an existing relationship, dominance, breath play, orgasm control, fluid-bonded sex.

16. The Estranged — GB Lindsey

Two women, she pronouns. Narrator identifies as grey-ace, on the asexual spectrum. The story is former lovers processing feelings, and reunited sex, including fingering.

17. Owning a Cock — Amy Butcher

Opens with a Dr. Seuss-like poem! And proceeds into a meditation on dyke cock of all kinds. Descriptions and memories of a blow job, and brief descriptions of sex.

Well, there you have it: Volume 5.

I’m really proud of the different kinds of nonbinary and trans representation, and of the asexual and greysexual content in this book. What is probably obvious to you, and it’s definitely obvious to me, is that there are some voices missing, particularly Black women and nonbinary authors, but also people of color in general. There are a few authors and characters who identify as POC in this anthology, but not nearly as many as I would prefer. I’ve been working hard this year to build up my connections with BIPOC erotica authors, and to do research and read the BIPOC authors who are out there already. If you have any favorites, please let me know, I’d love to read more and I’m still learning. I am working hard to get more of that to happen in Volume 6 and I would appreciate any suggestions you have for connecting in with Black queer women and women of color who are writing erotica.

media, miscellany

Countdown to Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5!

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 comes out on December 8th!

Here’s what’s out there so far.

Talking to Bex & Kate on the Dildorks!

I’ve been on the Dildorks podcast before, and Bex and Kate are always so fun to talk to. I feel like we could chat much longer than we do — always a good sign. Here’s our chat specifically about Best Lesbian Erotica, but also about a dozen other things.

Teasing the full book …

With some lovely images from Cleis Press! Thanks for making these pull quote samples from each story in the book.

Interview & Review on Between Our Thighs

Check out the podcast interview over on Between Our Thighs, and read their review, too:

While the apparent observation of Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 5 is that it offers an overall feel of sexual exploration, it goes beyond just that. As Sexsmith describes in the collection’s introduction, “The characters in this book explore all kinds of erotic encounters, finding refuge, finding connection, and finding themselves.” Each new story, each new character introduced to, provides you with a new outlook on sexual exploration, personal desires, and the many facets of human sexuality and attraction.

Happy Hour and upcoming Book Club on the Feminist Erotica Podcast

I joined Princess, Karen, and Jera from the Feminist Erotica podcast on one of their happy hour chats, and though I was embarrassingly late, it was a great conversation and I’m grateful for all their questions and thoughtful ideas. Looking forward to digging in to their whole season 1, where they explore what “feminist erotica” even means. Best Lesbian Erotica will be their January book club pick, so get a copy and come join us!

Speaking of getting a copy …

Want your copy signed? Get it in my own store.

I set up a shop here on Sugarbutch which includes my books, the things rife has made, and some other goodies. It doesn’t have everything, it’s still missing the pronoun magnetic pins that we made with leather vests in mind, and it’s missing items from The Kink Store that we set up on Etsy through Printful. I’ll get those imported eventually. Meanwhile, though, if you want a copy of BLE v5 autographed, you can get it in my little store, and if you want to add on BLE v4, it’ll be a discount for both of them.

More to come!

Including some online readings for the book. Stay tuned!

event

What’s Happening in November (& Beyond)

Suddenly, there is a LOT going on! Here are the upcoming events for November, and a few important dates to save in the next few months. I’m still looking for blogs who want to participate in a blog tour for the new Best Lesbian Erotica release, sign up here.

Polyamory & Power Dynamics, workshop with Raven & Joshua

Thursday, November 12, 5:30-7:30pm PT
RSVP on (and hosted on) Crowdcast

The practice of polyamory – multiple honest nonmonogamous relationships, especially long-term ones – has its own community, proponents, and theories, some of which are incompatible with deliberately inegalitarian relationships. On the other hand, people in power dynamics often try to leap directly into polyamory with no concept of how to make it work … and we’ve all seen their failures littering the Internet forums. How can we combine these relationship styles in ways that are functional and sustainable, and not become just another statistic? What can we learn from the decades of polyamory research, and how do we adapt it in a way that is right for us as masters and slaves? Come with your questions!

Leather Reign Conference

Saturday, November 14 – Sunday, November 15
All the info is at leatherreign.org | Register here

“Leather Reign is a Leather/BDSM/kink conference located in the Seattle/Puget Sound region of Washington.
Expect 2 incredible days of exploring why we do what we do, and what is in it for us? This may involve some technique, but the focus will be on WHY it is done and less of the how.”

Ownership As A Spiritual Path
3-4:30pm PT
Some s-types describe their journey as being “monks for love.” Some owners are worshipped. Considering all of the protocol, ritual, symbology, traditions, and ordeals that we pursue, there are many parallels to spiritual traditions. Let’s talk about ways a spiritual path can be incorporated as a model or tool to strengthen your dynamic, and ways that you both can find spiritual value and deep soul satisfaction on the path of your relationship, no religion required! We will share our personal experiences with Buddhism, Energetic embodiment, Christiantiy of many flavors, and spiritual animism, and welcome discussion from the group’s diverse belief systems. Consensual total authority exchange is truly a vocation; for those of us who feel the pull, it can be a powerful engine for spiritual growth and meaning.

Dirty Queer, Virtual Edition

Saturday, November 14, 6-8:30pm PT / 9-11:30pm ET
Facebook event
Run by Sossity Chiricuzio, Dirty Queer is a Queer/Trans curated open mic & journal focused on sex/sexuality/gender, prioritizing BIPOC, disabled, trans & otherwise marginalized folks. Open mic held online (it used to be in Portland, Oregon), w/ ASL interpreting. About this particular online edition, Sossity wrote: “Like so many of you, I have been socially isolating, and am sorely missing the magic of gathering with queers and celebrating our many flavors of weird and wonderful. Also like so many of you, I have been missing the particular magic of Dirty Queer that we made together. So let’s join together and make that beautiful freaky magic and set the cyber space alight!”

International Ms. Leather / International Ms. Bootblack Telethon

Saturday, November 14, 9am-9pm PT
Fetlife event | Held on www.imslbb.org

Feminist Erotica Happy Hour with Sinclair

Friday, November 20, 3:30pm PT / 6:30pm ET
Facebook

Live on their Facebook page, I’ll be joining the folks from the Feminist Erotica podcast for a chat about all kinds of things. Come join. The Feminist Erotica podcast explores feminist representations of desire. We also showcase sexy stories that stay true to your values and help you find more sultry reads.

BUTCH Voices Virtual Community Gathering

Facebook
Saturday, November 21, 12pm PT / 3pm ET

This isn’t my event, but I love BUTCH Voices and if you want some MOC hangouts, you should definitely attend.

BUTCH Voices is inviting you to an online community gathering space where butches and masculine of center folks, and our allies can connect virtually! During this pandemic we see the need for community now more than ever. We hope that you and your families are as healthy and safe as you can be. We send our gratitude and appreciation to the front line workers helping to keep us healthy and safer, keeping our food systems going, providing mutual aid, and all of the ways that we are supporting our communities during this time. We send love out to those who have lost loved ones to COVID-19, and those navigating healthcare. We want to do virtual community gatherings periodically. So tell us what content you’d like to see happen. Send us your topics! Email [email protected] with your suggestions. These virtual events will have butch/MoC folks at the center of the conversations. Allies are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please be mindful about the time and space we each take up during the event.

Also, you may want to save the date …

December 8, 2020 – Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 is released!
January 8-10, 2021 – Holy Fire Conference, focused on spirituality & power dynamics
January 29, 2021 – The Feminist Erotica podcast is hosting a book club for Best Lesbian Erotica Volume 5
February 19-21, 2021 – FLAME Conference, general kink with a focus on power dynamics
March, 2021 – we officially step down from our title! There will be parties.

Subscribe to the events calendar on Google if you want

I keep the events we’re doing updated in this calendar.

If you want to follow this calendar in your own calendar program, you can use this link.

Got any events we should know about? Leave the info in the comments.

nonbinary diaries

Is “Butch” A Nonbinary Identity?

My own short answer to the question of whether butch is a nonbinary identity or not is, of course, it depends. Identities are personal. Someone butch might identify as nonbinary, or might not — both are legit. Of course. I wouldn’t ever tell someone that the way they choose to identify is wrong.

Ultimately, identities are very personal.

We contain many, many identities, never only one, and to reduce someone to one is to hyperfixate on one particular part of someone — usually a marginalized part — and overlook dozens of others. And yet, holding marginalized identities is very difficult when the cultural hierarchy so overly values those with power and close to the centralized identities. So, forming a chosen, intentional, conscious identity surrounding a marginalized trait can be an empowering process.

Generally, I use “identity” rather than “label” because to me, labels are what other people put on you, and identities are what you choose to use for yourself. Identities have socio-political context, lineage, and community agreements about meaning and significance. Labels are usually stereotypes, reductive, and excuses for discrimination. There’s more room to play around inside of identities — identities conform to us. We expand them in order to fit all of our complicated multitudes inside. But with labels, generally we are expected to conform to it, and there is social pressure to stay within the confines of the label, within all its rules and regulations.

The words we use for identities, and the subtle definitions of them, change and morph over time, sometimes a lot. In the last 20 years since I came out as queer and started exploring a not-feminine identity, I’ve used all kinds of words, like: androgynous, masculine of center, butch, nonbinary, transmasculine. Some of those have fallen out of fashion. Some of them go together, some people think some of them are roughly synonymous. But there are differences in how they’re used and what meanings they convey.

The other day, I was musing to myself about two of the strongest identity words for myself: butch and nonbinary. Is it an oxymoron to use them together? Do they compliment each other? Has what we used to call “butch” morphed into “nonbinary” now, in 2020?

So I put this up on Twitter:

A poll, asking “Is butch a nonbinary identity?” The results, after two days, were Yes 18.4%, No 11.2%, Could be, it depends 70.4%, out of 206 votes.

My opinion? It depends. Identities are personal. If an individual butch identifies as nonbinary, then yes. Are all butches nonbinary? Not really, no.

But also, yes. I’m interested in the relationship between butch and nonbinary identities as a cultural phenomenon. When looking at butch as a socio-political identity, in general, not about one particular person, I would argue yes: it generally exists outside of compulsory binary gender identities of “man” or “woman,” and that’s one way to define nonbinary.

Though I suppose you could also dig in here and say “it depends on your definition of nonbinary,” which is also true. A lot of folks are using nonbinary to be just about any gender identity outside of the conventional gender roles of “man” or “woman,” which means that pretty much any conscious gender expression could be nonbinary. I’m okay with that — I think it suits us to have a broad umbrella term under which many things can be explored and expressed.

I’ve used nonbinary to describe myself for that reason, too — that I don’t fit the conventional definition of “woman,” both on purpose and by design. But my gender identity is, at the same time, a fairly conventional expression of masculinity. In some ways, it is a very binary expression. But I do still think I exist outside of the very limiting two-gender cisheteronormative system, so it’s just fine to use nonbinary to express that.

In short, yes and no, identities are personal, and words matter. Generally, I want to use the words that people use to describe themselves, and not ever force a label on someone from the outside.

kink, reviews

DIY: Create Your Own Fist Dildo

Missed National Fisting Day? Rife here with a storytime DIY fun bonding or gift idea, as the gift giving season is around the corner. So the year is 2018, and Sir gifts me the present of this “Clone-A-Willy” kit, with the thought that we would clone their fist, so i could practice fisting anytime!

The idea was simple, sexy, and sweet. The execution … not so much.

So, we wanted to share our experience with our pervy friends (you) so when you want to clone your lover’s fist/hand/whatever you might have an easier go of it and learn from our mistakes. :)

Assemble Materials

  • To do a Sir size fist, you’ll need two Clone-a-Willy kits.
    For a boy fist you may be able to get away with one kit.
  • In either case, you’ll also need some bonus mold making material
  • … and a container big enough for your fist (we used a cylindrical glass vase and it wasn’t ruined)
  • Plus warm water, scissors, etc… plan for this project to be a two day thing
  • Oh yeah, and throw down some newspapers or something

Read the Instructions… twice

Because you need more space in the mold-making container, we used the bonus mold making material instead of the powder that came with the Clone a Willy kit. So follow the instructions for the mold-making powder for the mold-making process, and then once that’s dry and ready (we waited overnight), go back to the clone a willy directions.

Making the Mold

This was the trickiest part. We started with the Clone a Willy kit but immediately realized the tube would be too small for Sir’s very well-endowed hands. So we found a bigger tube around the house that would fit without being too much bigger than we needed, but it ended up that we ran out of mold-making material. So we went back to Amazon and waited for the bonus mold-making stuff to come in the mail.

Crap… Starting Over, Making the Mold Again

The second try worked better… we had plenty of molding materials and the color-changing helped tell when it was ready. The hardest part is getting your Daddy to stay perfectly still while fisting a vase for 30 minutes while it hardens.

Tell your Sir to really squeeze the tips of their fingers together, if there’s any space at all between them it will not go in as smoothly later. Also you may want to fist it a bit deeper if you want more of a forearm handle. I think forearms are sexy but Daddy thought that might be a little weird so we made a piece of plastic tube to extend a little handle out of the wrist.

Pouring the Silicone

Once your mold is all dry and looking good, prep the silicone as the package recommends, but double up the amounts of everything since we’re using two packages.

Be patient and let it harden all night before you peel away the mold with a utility knife (very satisfying).

The Final Result

Honestly, this thing is pretty amazing. I love that I can recognize every little tiny scar and the fingerprints are really accurate (though they won’t unlock Sir’s phone, don’t know why not). It’s a little impractical for me to use just yet (the hand not curling once inside is a bit uncomfortable), but I think might be awesome for anal play once I get more practiced at that … but until then, it is a really fun and slightly freaky nightstand sculpture that reminds me of them always.

Have fun making your own, would love to see photos!

media

Ahead of the Curve: The Documentary Film About Curve Magazine

“With a fist full of credit cards, a lucky run at the horse track, and chutzpah for days, Franco Stevens launched Curve, the best-selling lesbian magazine ever published. AHEAD OF THE CURVE tracks the power of lesbian visibility and community from the early ‘90s to the present day through the story of Franco’s founding of Curve magazine. Decades later, in the wake of a disabling injury, Franco learns that Curve will fold within the year and questions the relevance of the magazine in the face of accelerating threats to LGBTQ+ community. To forge a path forward, Franco reaches out to women working in today’s queer spaces to understand what queer women need today and how Curve can continue to serve the community.”

That’s the description of the new documentary Ahead of the Curve, which has been playing in queer film festivals this year. Here’s the trailer:

I watched it through the Frameline Film Festival last month.

It follows how Franco started the magazine — literally betting on racehorses! — then called Deneuve, though it was eventually sued by Catherine Deneuve in 1996 and they changed the name to Curve. Curve became THE lesbian glossy magazine through the 90s, with all kinds of major celesbians on the cover, and reporting on a wide range of gay news, activism, and visibility. It eventually changed owners in 2010.

It was interesting to see the conversation about the word lesbian in the film especially — y’all know how much I like identity evolution and theory. They asked the question of whether “lesbian” is even a relevant term anymore, or if we have moved on from it.

It’s true that most of the folks I know favor the word “queer” over “lesbian”, so I can see how that question comes up. However, lesbian is still the most widely accepted word for queer women specifically, and that identity is still marginalized and sometimes feels invisible within the larger LGBTQIA+ communities. For many, it’s just the exact right word, and that’s valuable.

While Curve Magazine specifically often felt way more mainstream than my particular experience of queerness and butchness, it was a major source of lesbian information for me as I was coming out, and I value the magazine as a piece of queer history. I’m curious to see how it continues to evolve as a media source.

Check out CurveMagMovie.com for the screenings — there are a few more coming up.

identity politics

Happy #InternationalPronounDay!

it’s #InternationalPronounsDay! And in honor, I’ll just gently remind you that my pronouns are they, them, theirs, themself. I prefer the honorific Mx., but Mr. works too, and calling me “sir” is also great (though preferably not in a D/s way, unless we have that kind of thing).

As in:

  • Have you seen their latest post?
  • Did you go to the workshop with them?
  • I like their work!
  • They really look like themself away.

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me all that much when people call me by another pronoun … I mean, not much, though it does still bother me. But I am always thrilled when people get it right. Like, always. It continues to make me feel so seen, even vulnerable, in a way that surprises me. I mostly don’t expect people to get it right, I suppose, because I’ve had so many experiences with people getting it wrong, that I don’t want to get my hopes up.

So, thanks, to all of you who get it right.

Thanks to all of you who are working to get it right, and don’t always, but who try, and who correct themselves and others.

And to all the nonbinary babes out there: I see you. Your pronouns are real and valid and I promise to always do my best to honor them. I screw them up, sometimes, but I want to get it right, and thank you for correcting me.

To all the cis folks with your pronouns in your email signature and Instagram bio and business cards: thanks. Thanks for showing that you understand that if you “look like a girl” you still might use pronouns other than she/her. Thanks for showing that you understand that gender identity doesn’t necessarily match your presentation. Thanks for making it easier for me to share mine.

I don’t think anyone should be forced to share their pronouns, because sometimes it isn’t safe for someone to be out as trans or nonbinary. But for folks who are comfortable and able to share theirs, it helps folks like me who don’t always know how it’s going to be received if we share our pronouns. It helps me be more open, be more vocal about being nonbinary, about being outside of the norm. And it helps me to trust other people more, because I see that they’re trying, and that they know something about gender.

Image: glitter knuckle face paint by a lovely queer clown at Lesbians Who Tech conference in 2019.

journal entries

I vote in every election because …

wrote 200 letters (with hunter’s help) for the Vote Forward campaign and mailed them today to voters in Texas, Alaska, and South Carolina. pretty simple: write a letter to a voter who, by some algorithm, was found to be unlikely to vote. they provide a little template and some blank spots to sign the letter and write in a little bit about why you, the letter writer, vote.

I’ve found it to be meditative, and a positive place to put my anxiety during the lead-up to the election, but also a very curious practice connecting to 200 strangers throughout the country. what would make this particular person vote? I would wonder. what could I possibly say to them that would encourage them to vote, if they’re thinking that they won’t? and why *do* I vote, anyway? how do I narrow that down into two or three sentences?

I ended up writing things like: I believe participating in the process to choose our elected officials is an important way to ensure democracy. I want a say in who makes laws that affect all of us. I care about climate change, health care, and education, and I want to make sure those in government care about it, too. I want to ensure that the people in government know what we, the voters and citizens, care about. I believe voting is an important part of my job as a citizen.

I don’t know if this will encourage any of the folks that I wrote to, but I found myself a little surprised at the answers.

I’m so curious about *why* we vote and why we don’t, and what would inspire more of us to do so. I remember hearing that in australia, voter registration and attendance at a polling booth have been mandatory since the 1920s, and their voter turnout is around 91%; australians can be fined up to nearly $80 AU if they fail to vote. but why would voting not be mandatory? I know: politics. but. things don’t have to stay the same; change is possible.

I know there are many things this country could do to help voter turnout long before voting is made mandatory — we could, for example, not actively try to disenfranchise and prevent people from voting, for example, which seems to consistently be happening through all the elections I remember paying attention to. voting day could be a holiday. we could have more polling places so people wouldn’t have to wait in hours-long lines.

a TED talk I watched the other night talked about the joy of voting, and the question of what we, as a culture, make of voting. is it a cool thing to do? is there social pressure? there certainly is in my circles, but I am in a bubble inside of counterculture radical justice communities — I don’t think I really see the mainstream.

right now, I’m mostly just asking the questions. being curious. open.

preparing 200 letters felt useful, and I’m thrilled to be part of a campaign that sent 16.8 million letters today. between this and also seeing all the news about early voting coming in, I’m feeling hopeful, actually. haven’t felt that way in a long time, maybe not since march.

I might do some text banking next … I also filled out a form to work the polls day of, I’ve never done that, but I never heard anything so I’m unclear if I’ll do that. we’ll see.

what are y’all doing in the next 17 days before november 3 to support people voting? what’s your plan to vote yourself?
media, starred

Announcing: Table of Contents for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 5 (2021)

I have been eagerly waiting to share with you the work from the next Best Lesbian Erotica volume — and I can’t, yet, because it doesn’t come out until December — but here is the table of contents!

Here’s the book write-up:

Testing the boundaries of pleasure and pain… To be so full of longing you ache for release… Coming to climax without a single touch.

The fifth volume of the Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year anthology series explores and expands on the very definition of eroticism with a diverse mix of queer, non-binary, trans, and polyamorous #ownvoices that will have you quivering with delight and wondering what more you can explore—no matter how you identify. More than just steamy sex stories, this volume offers the quiet sexuality of emotional security, the overwhelming thrill of discovering something new, and a tale for every taste—from vanilla to kink to strap-ons and sodomy.

Now more than ever, it is crucial to see unique, underrepresented viewpoints across the literary spectrum. Award-winning author and editor Sinclair Sexsmith delivers in an anthology that is both tender and tantalizing, emotional and evocative.

Here’s the Table of Contents for Volume 5!

1. Max and the Things I Couldn’t Say — Heart
2. On a Hot and Humid Night — Mx. Nillin Lore
3. Whatever I Want, Whatever I Say — Sinclair Sexsmith
4. Pure Energy — Giselle Renarde
5. Three Options — Nicole Field
6. Blood — Anita Cassidy
7. A Night Out — Amanda N
8. The Supplicant — Michelle Osgood
9. Torrent and Tumult — June Amelia Rose
10. The One Penis Policy — Tobi Hill-Meyer
11. The Summer of Strap-Ons and Sodomy — Rain DeGrey
12. Strand of Pearls — Mary Burns
13. Restraint — Kiki DeLovely
14. I Wouldn’t Be the Same Without Her — Kathleen Lamothe
15. Yes Ma’am — K.J. Drake
16. The Estranged — GB Lindsey
17. Owning a Cock — Amy Butcher

I love each & every of these stories. They are very different from each other, but the thread through is a personal empowerment through playing with sexuality, eroticism, power, and BDSM.

Can’t wait for you to read the whole thing!

event

Pen Play: Online Erotica Writing Workshop Series

Quarantine and sheltering in place has been intense this year, and as we move into the fall and winter, it looks like we will be continuing to shelter.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I have struggled with both my writing practice and with my erotic life this year. At times, I haven’t had any energy for either. But as I have started actively feeding them both again, and tending to them anew, I am finding my interest in them stronger and more dedicated than ever.

Come join me and dive into writing erotica. Bring your desires, your kinks, your pleasures to the page and play around.

About Pen Play:

This is a four week class on constructing erotic stories. Part classroom, part writing group, we will explore the craft of short erotic stories, focusing on the craft of storytelling and how erotica is different than stories without erotic content. You will have something short to read and a writing assignment each week to turn in. Participants will have the opportunity to share their work with each other and give constructive feedback on it. We will meet weekly on Zoom to discuss the readings, workshop selected participant pieces, and answer your questions.

In the class, we will cover some of the fundamentals of a writing life, such as: giving and receiving feedback, techniques to strengthen your writing practice, how to get published, tools for editing your own work, and more. At the end of the class, you will have rough drafts of four short stories ready to polish and submit.

This class is made for folks who are beginners to intermediate writers and who want to hone their craft and publish more work. You do not have to have published anything. All genders, all sexual orientations, all experience levels welcome — no specifics required. Queer characters and kinky acts not required, but this will be a queer-focused and kink-positive space. It will also be kink-positive and trauma informed (to the best of my ability).

Webinars will be recorded and available to download; you do not have to attend live.
Sliding scale available, email [email protected]

Dates:

Sundays, October 18, October 25, November 1, November 8
4-6pm PT / 7-9pm ET

How to sign up:

1. Venmo $150 to $Zed-Sinclair with your email in the text (the email part is important!). (If it asks to put in the last four digits of my phone number, just click at the bottom where it says “skip this step”.)

2. If you can’t pay via Venmo, email me [email protected] and I’ll send you a different way to pay.

3. Once payment is received, I will send you an email with next steps, which include signing up for the Google Classroom and filling out an intake form.

Last day to register is October 14.

I believe stories matter. Telling our stories matter. Sharing how we as queer, kinky, gender radical people live, love, lust, and desire, helps to support others like us, to feel less alone. We still don’t have enough depictions of our truths out there in the world! And I believe we all have stories to tell. Writing isn’t the only way to share them, but it is the craft I know best, and I am excited to share what I know with you all.

Questions?

Do I have to write erotica?
Nope. You can be working on any kind of writing — poetry, plays, short stories, a novel. It could include erotic content, but it doesn’t have to. We will be talking about the things that are different about writing things with explicit sex in them, but what you turn in as your writing assignments is up to you.

Will the webinars be recorded?
Yes! Webinars will be recorded and available to you to download after they are live.

Will you have an ASL interpreter for the webinars?
Yes; please get in touch at [email protected] I will do my best to accommodate different access needs.

Do I have to publish my work?
No. There’s no requirement to publish, but this class is intended for folks who are pursuing writing with some seriousness and are interested in sharing their work more broadly. We will spend some time going over tips and procedures for publishing.

What kind of feedback will I get?
We focus on giving feedback in the Amherst Writer’s Method, which enhances what is working in the piece and gives the author feedback to encourage them to play to their strengths. The feedback will focus on what’s working, what we love about it, and what stays with us.

Do I have to share my work with the class?
No, it’s optional to share your work. Participants will be encouraged to share their reactions to each other’s work in a particular framework, using primarily positive feedback, and all participants will be able to ask for the kind of feedback that they would like to receive, which could be things like some critique, positive feedback, or just to witness with no feedback at all.

Will there be content warnings? Is this trauma-informed?
Yes, we will use content warnings in this workshop, to let everyone decide what they are equipped to read and make decisions with agency. More details about how to use content warnings will be in the class guidelines. I have studied trauma, restorative justice, and community safety in various form, and I will do my best to keep the needs of survivors forefront in the structure of the workshop.

More questions?
Email me, [email protected]

poetry

Sobriety Sestina During COVID-19

you want to get away from yourself.
you tell yourself it’s because of all this, feeling
sure you are more sensitive than the rest of the world,
so you research all the ways to transform
and you become good at them. even disciplined.
you convince yourself you are alive,

even though you’re not certain what alive
really feels like. you don’t feel like yourself
when you aren’t drinking fucking, numbing. discipline
is stopping after two, then three, then five. feelings
fall away like your nice jeans, a button down, transforming
to a pile of hope on the floor. your whole world

is pussy, is a buzz, is a sense of power. the world outside
is on fire, is danger, is a fist. you’re not alive
unless you’re in charge, looking for a way to transform
into anything else, as long as it isn’t yourself.
you used to think you were just so good at feeling
your feelings, but since more therapy, you’re undisciplined

about sitting with instead of giving in. discipline
isn’t enough to keep you motivated. the world
wants you to stuff it all down, ignore your feelings,
turn yourself inside out convincing everyone you are alive
when you’re a shell, a hollow version of yourself.
you’re desperate. the more you drift, the more you transform

into someone unrecognizable. can you ever transform
back? can you stop? do you have enough discipline
to return to some former semblance of yourself
even though the addictions and desperations of the world
are so easy to indulge? do you want to be alive,
experience the ecstasy of the range of human feelings,

or knot? there is only one answer: feeling
everything, embracing, accepting, transforming
one thing into another through practice. aliveness
requires consciousness, not numbing, and not discipline
so much as kindness, softness, looking into the world
and accepting it all. there is a way to come home to yourself

hope is not a feeling, not a date outfit, but a discipline
we practice every day. it is possible to transform the world
by transforming yourself. I dare you to be fully alive.

miscellany

Does Volunteering Make You Feel Better? PS: Ready to Vote?

I’ve been really inspired by what Ethan Nichtern has been doing in his social media lately; he’s posting a lot about strategy for getting through election season. I knew him when I lived in New York City — he ran the Buddhist sangha I belonged to there. 
 
My main take-away has been that he’s saying the more you volunteer for the election, to encourage voter turn-out or just for anything, the less anxiety you’ll feel about the election. honestly, I’m not sure I believe that — but I figured, let’s try it and see. 
 
He turned me on to Vote Fwd — a letter-writing campaign encouraging people to vote. I’ve done about 100 letters so far and I’m hoping to get another 100 done before all the letters are mailed on the 17th of October. Their goal was 10 million letters, and so far they have 9.8 million, so they’re expanding the goal. Pretty incredible! According to Vote Fwd: “In a randomized controlled trial in the special election for U.S. Senate in Alabama in 2017, turnout among letter recipients was 3.9 percentage points higher than turnout in the control group. (3.4 percentage points after controlling for gender, age, and other factors). This is big! It appears to be one of the most effective known tactics to boost turnout.”
it’s easy to sign up and adopt voters, and Ethan & his crew are holding letter-writing parties on Sundays if you want to do it with some other people around. I will root you on too!
I also signed up to volunteer to be a poll worker, though I haven’t heard anything about that yet.
Are you writing letters? Are you volunteering in some other way? Ethan has been talking about switching to phone and text banking in the weeks closer to the election, and though I’ve never done that, I might see what the options are. 

PS: You’re ready to vote, right?

I like this ACLU checklist and have been working through mine. I just re-registered in a new state, so I still have to do a bit of research on the local races.

event

What’s Happening in September, 2020

Here are the events upcoming in September!

I’ve been kind of terrible about calendaring lately. Is this a side effect of the global pandemic and uprising for anyone else? A lot of my friends are struggling with it, even folks who are usually pros at calendaring, scheduling, keeping their priorities straight. Personally, I’ve been up and down through the last few months, which seems to be pretty normal, given the circumstances. I’ve still been writing, publishing, and teaching, and producing events, but often it’s been a struggle. Sometimes I think it’s improving, but it seems to be a pretty frequent swing back to less improvement.

At the moment, I’m just trying to be okay with that, to help take care of my close friends and family, and to go easy on myself. Hope y’all are doing well … and I hope some of our offerings are helpful for connecting in to D/s and kink community.

September 14: Nonbinary D/s Discussion Group: Roles & Responsibilities in D/s

Facebook event | Fetlife event

Anyone is welcome who wants to discuss nonbinary identity and D/s dynamics.

Come join for conversations and support about what it is to be nonbinary in the leather/kink/BDSM community, and how our nonbinary identity affects and intersects with D/s identity.

Topic: Roles & Responsibilities in D/s. What are our roles? What are the responsibilities of each role? What do we do when we can’t meet our responsibilities? How do we keep ourselves, and each other, motivated? What do we do to get ourselves back into our roles when we feel like we have slipped out of it? What can we do to support ourselves, and each other, when there are other external pressures affecting our abilities to show up in our D/s relationships?

September 20: D/s Book Group – Sensational Flesh: Race, Power, and Masochism by Amber Jamilla Musser

Fetlife event

Join me to discuss the book Sensational Flesh. Here’s the description for the book: “In everyday language, masochism is usually understood as the desire to abdicate control in exchange for sensation–pleasure, pain, or a combination thereof. Yet at its core, masochism is a site where power, bodies, and society come together. Sensational Flesh uses masochism as a lens to examine how power structures race, gender, and embodiment in different contexts. Amber Jamilla Musser employs masochism as a powerful diagnostic tool for probing relationships between power and subjectivity. Engaging with a range of debates about lesbian S&M, racialization, femininity, and disability, as well as key texts such as Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs, Pauline Réage’s The Story of O, and Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality, Musser renders legible the complex ways that masochism has been taken up by queer, feminist, and critical race theories. Furthering queer theory’s investment in affect and materiality, she proposes “sensation” as an analytical tool for illustrating what it feels like to be embedded in structures of domination such as patriarchy, colonialism, and racism and what it means to embody femininity, blackness, and pain. Sensational Flesh is ultimately about the ways in which difference is made material through race, gender, and sexuality and how that materiality is experienced.”

If you’re not on Fetlife but you want to join this discussion, send me an email and I’ll get you the info: [email protected]

September 27: Folsom Street Fair online

The world famous event is moving online! This is definitely not to be missed. We will be part of a brief titleholder’s event, and there will be workshops, performances, and other ways to connect to kinky community. I’m looking forward to it.

Save the Dates:

Here are more upcoming events where we’re hosting, teaching, or doing workshops. Hope you can make it!

October 15 – Jesbian & Teagan – Leather Lust
October 22 — Feminist Sadism is Not an Oxymoron (And Other Things We Feel Guilty About)
November 13-15 — Leather Reign Conference online
November 19 — Mental Health & D/s Discussion
December 3 — TBD
December 17 — The Protocol Game: Set Up 52 Protocols for 2021
January 28 — Kinky Virtual Game Night
February 18 — TBD
February 19 – 21 – FLAME Conference online
February 25 — TBD
March 18 — TBD
March 25 — International M/s Step Down Party

cock confidence

Are Ejaculating Dildos Even A Thing? Yes!

Question:

Hey, so I just wanted a recommendation for a strap-on that ejaculated. If that is even a real thing. I don’t want it to be weird but as “natural” as I can get. My wife gets really turned on by the “cum inside me” situation so any advice you can give would be awesome. Thanks in advance! You were my go to! Thanks for all you do for the community!

Answer: Ejaculating dildos totally exist!

Ejaculating dildos totally exist! Unfortunately most of them are made out of porous materials that are not body safe, so I can’t recommend them. They’re more like “novelty” items made from plastic which off-gasses, producing an intense smell. But there are still a few options.

The Semenette was the first one that came on the market that is realistic and body safe (and made by dykes!), but it is VERY hard — it’s that old-school silicone and many folks who have tried it internally report that it’s pokey, not very comfortable. plus, the bulb that comes with it is quite small, like a teaspoon, which doesn’t necessarily work with those of us who want a lot of fluid to be involved too. Here’s an old review from 2016.

Doc Johnson has a variety of products, but I can’t vouch for the materials. They claim to be silicone and body safe, but they’re still porous. If you’re only using them with one person, they’re probably okay, but sometimes they go through that plastic off-gassing period where they have a big plastic smell, and that is such a turn-off personally. It is not particularly safe to be inside a body, so it does not make me want to use it!

But if you’re game to try out something from them, they are usually not too expensive (because the materials are not very high quality).

There’s a growing market of strap-ons that are hyper realistic and geared toward trans men, so I suspect something with squirting capacity will come on the market soon. But as far as I know that’s the best we have right now — for realistic cocks, anyway. There are some by the company Bad Dragon that squirt and are very well designed, but they’re made to be, well, dragon-like, not human.

If you find anything else, I would love to know about it!

identity politics, kink, starred

This Is A Conversation About Duties: On M/s Language

Sinclair’s note: rife & I have been gathering and publishing anonymous statements about the impact of using the words “master” and “slave” in a kink context. This one is longer than most others, and elaborate, and I wanted to ensure we all get enough time with it, so I am putting it in its own post.

Thank you to the person who wrote it, who wishes to remain anonymous.

This is not a conversation about rights. It is a conversation about duties.

This whole conversation hurts my heart so deeply because I don’t think it is a conversation about the validity or value of M/s relationships, and yet we seem to have turned it into one. I have been engaged in M/s dynamics since I came out in the public scene in 2006. Before then, I didn’t have language for what I was doing. So much of who we are and what we do is wrapped up in this dynamic and I, for one, am not willing to give up such an inherent piece of myself and my identity. I am and intend to fully continue living, loving and thriving within the depths of the power exchange dynamics that have become the bread and butter of my daily life. However, this conversation has nothing to do with my dynamics. This conversation has to do with the feeling that I, and my brothers and sisters, get every time a white person introduces themselves to me, or expects me to address them, as Master. For me, this is where things get difficult. You are not my Master and I am not yours. So why is this even a part of our interaction?

As a historian, I have understood that the honorific “Master” in the community used to be an earned one. That is how I reconciled the expectation that I would use this very triggering word with the gut wrench it evoked when I was first expected to use it. “This is about the mastery of a craft,” I told myself. Sort of like the master classes I had seen in school. I certainly didn’t feel the same gut wrench when the word was employed to describe a Master Chef or a Master Painter. I rationalized the word this way and went about my Leather life in deluded bliss.

Then I met a Black boy who wished to be my slave. Even as a Black person myself, I knew that it wasn’t the same, so I set about speaking with my fellow people of color to ask for their aid in teaching me what it would mean to own a Black slave in America. I worked hard and listened to so many voices. Everyone had different opinions that spoke to their kinks and life experiences. Some of the most interesting conversations came from my fellow M/s lifestylers who deeply crave and enjoy the M/s life 24/7 but have had to struggle with how to reconcile that with the awful history of this country and the very real, very raw feelings that that history evokes. Not one person on this journey ever questioned our desires to relate to one another this way, nor to build a 24/7 dynamic surrounding those desires. The only things that emerged remained true, across all conversations, were: 1) “I should not be expected to address anyone (but *my* Master) as Master” and 2) “I would prefer not to have to be triggered constantly by the casual use of the word Master in my company”. These held the ring of truth for me and felt like easy fixes. I began to look into other words and other languages spoken by my people. (I am a native French speaker, while one of my boys is a native Spanish speaker.) I found Maîtresse, Maîtriser, Dominate, Domina, Lady, Lord, Liege and Sovereign that worked for me. I even considered using the phonetics of M/s to create the word Emess to describe my dynamics. Words are flexible and I want to be able to employ that flexibility to fully express myself without the side effect of causing harm.

I will not change the way I relate to my partners, practice my kinks or devote myself to my dynamics and I don’t believe that anyone is asking me to. No one is asking that the practices of our life long love in power exchange change. Members of our Community, our brothers, sisters and siblings, are simply telling us that the use of A WORD is harming them.

Why am I getting the feeling that we don’t seem to care? That the pain and suffering that the word evokes is not enough for us to do something about it? We have been harmed by words before. Words like faggot, dyke and freak have harmed many within our Community. When these times came, we gathered ourselves together and we forced change. We reclaimed these words and made them our own. The problem with this situation is that white people cannot reclaim the word Master in America because they aren’t the ones that it hurts. We need to find a different way to do this this time.

I will admit that the task of changing our verbiage can appear to be a daunting one. It is not, however, impossible. An NPR Article entitled “The Journey From ‘Colored’ to ‘Minorities’ To ‘People of Color’” put it well: “Language is and always will be an essential element in the struggle for understanding among peoples. Changes in the words and phrases we use to describe each other reflect whatever progress we make on the path toward a world where everyone feels respected and included.” We have to ask ourselves, how important is it to us that every member of our Community feels respected and included?

I accept that words cause harm and know that words can be changed. We, as a Community, have the power to make that change. The only thing anyone is asking here is that we care enough about the impact of our word choices on our members to enact that change. For that to happen, however, we need to find a place of agreement that we can start from. Can we find such a place?

American history will not take away my right to experience and express my deepest kink and Leather desires in the ways that work for me. I will not allow it to take more from me and my people than it already has. I will not stop engaging in M/s dynamics. But again, I recognize that no one is asking me to do that. Not one person has attempted to take away my right to have my relationships the way I desire to have them. This is not what this conversation is about, and so, I am struggling deeply because I am continuously seeing this conversation reduced to that. Asking for semantic change does nothing to effect my self or my dynamics. The power I wield is not somehow lessened if I am called Domina instead of Master. My identity will not change or be reduced because I introduce myself as Maîtress. My rights to love, fuck and play in the ways that feel right to me are not being called into question.

This is not a conversation about rights. It is a conversation about duties. Of course we have a right to define our dynamic as we please and use monikers that work for us and turn us on. Of course we have the right to express our leather and kink as we wish. However, if we want to be inclusive, if we want to be a safe space for the next generation, if we want to grow and adapt to the needs of our marginalized family members and if we want to pledge ourselves to making the community better, then we have a duty to engage this conversation from a different lens. We have a duty to shed our need to defensively protect a word that is causing harm and take on instead a need to find a way to enjoy the dynamic that word represents without causing harm. Leather has always been a step ahead in subverting the norms and there is no reason that we cannot do that again here. Let us set the example by taking down our defense walls and trying to really listen to and get to the heart of the pain of our fellow Leather people. Let us really work hard to allow the voices of our hurting members to sink in and truly be heard. Let us try our very best to remember that this isn’t personal, it is institutional… Together we can find the answer, but not until every member at the table feels heard without judgement. The right answer will preserve our sacred kinks, identities and dynamics at the same time as making our spaces more inclusive and safe.

poetry

The First Time With A Girl

she asks
if I want to come over to her house
after class
and she will make us lunch.

after a week of flirting
hands brushing thighs under the table
testing ripeness, testing tenderness
leaning close to whisper things like
what page were we on again
learning the smell of her shampoo
the millimeter thinness of her hair,
I blink at her — can you just
do that? invite someone over?
her boyfriend won’t be home until 3,
she says, but he knows she’s bi, they’re poly,
he knows she wants a girlfriend, too

I’ll be honest, I’d written her off
as straight: but the purple streak in her hair
and short painted nails said femme,
and she flirted back
as much as anyone ever had

she used to sit behind me. I noticed her
because I noticed every girl in class,
trying out my brand new gaydar
at every chance, to make sure it worked.
I overheard her say, it’s my birthday,
but clearly the dumb boy she was talking to
didn’t hear, because the only proper
response to that statement is, of course,
happy birthday, but he didn’t say it.

I did. it’s my birthday too, I said,
and she pinned me with her gaze,
looked straight at me. after that,
she sat next to me in the second row
on the far right, offering her knee, her thigh
brushing my arm with her fingers

my tongue is so swollen, I can barely reply.
yes, I say. I got my tongue pierced, I say,
but I can’t pronounce the r’s. I brought a smoothie
for lunch — but I’d love to see your place
.

her couch was white
her boyfriend came home early
my swollen mouth could barely
form words, ached for more
flexibility, to be able to extend
the tip of my tongue
past my teeth
but I didn’t care

I’d waited so long to do this
to know for certain for sure
for confirmation
that every throbbing kiss was a relief,
a relief, a deep truth surfaced,
a secret no longer unknown.

essays

I’m Voting Biden/Harris, But I Still Want A Dyke For President

Am I excited about voting for Kamala Harris and Joe Biden? No.

Am I going to vote for Kamala Harris and Joe Biden? Abso-fucking-lutely. Of course.

Am I excited there is a Black woman as the democratic vice president nominee? Yes! I’m excited about anybody who isn’t a cis white man. That we are starting to have possibilities, options, is fantastic and I absolutely want to see more of it and I’m excited about it.

But: Kamala Harris was a police officer. I, like many folks in the past year or so, have been learning more and more about the movement to abolish police entirely, and I’m in support of that. There are many arguments about whether more strict regulating or defunding would be steps toward abolition, and some say no, that we’ve been regulating for years and it hasn’t changed the amount of killings of innocent (particularly Black) people and police brutality. And at a time like this, when the Movement for Black Lives is stronger and more active than it ever has been, I am kind of shocked Biden chose someone with a such a police history. Then again, of course he did — he’s a moderate, centrist democrat and perhaps radicals will still vote for her because of her radicalness (being a Black woman), but more conservative folks will still vote because of her police history.

Kamala Harris also had a serious hand in SESTA/FOSTA, and if you don’t know what that did for sex work and freely distributing information about sexuality in general, definitely look into it. Her history as a DA is intense and generally bad. There are many criticisms — what I’ve mentioned here is by no way exhaustive, not that I’m trying to be. Point is: there is reason to critique her.

Either way, I was going to vote for the democratic nominee. I’m not necessarily excited about it … I don’t particularly believe that the nominees for president in this country are ever going to represent my actual beliefs and values.

I want a dyke for president. (Image text by Zoe Leonard, transcribed below.)

Still, I’ve voted in every election that I have been able to since I was 18. I do believe it’s important.

I was talking to rife today about my frustration with the state of the world — particularly the US, but corporate greed and profit over people over the earth are everywhere, not just here. I feel angry, disappointed, and helpless — which can and does sometimes turn to apathy. I’ve heard many of my friends talk about how actually volunteering for a local election or doing work on a presidential campaign has helped them feel like their anger has somewhere to go, so I’ve definitely been thinking about that part, too — how to turn the anger and frustration outward into action rather than inward into hopelessness and apathy.

I’m curious how you all out there are doing. Are you eligible to vote? If so, are you planning to vote? Did you vote in the 2016 election? If not (and assuming you were eligible), why didn’t you? Are you disappointed that Bernie or Warren didn’t get the nomination this time around?

And perhaps most importantly: What kind of activism are you doing? How have you funneled your rage, apathy, frustration, give-up-ness into something productive?

I write about voting and politics on here sometimes, sure, but I’m not a journalist and so it’s more rare to write about ‘current events’ type of happenings. I tend to assume that everybody is seeing a lot of the same media I’m seeing, because we’re all in a similar queer feminist liberal urban bubble of media — though I know that’s not true. Internet algorithms change what everybody sees extensively. I mean, have you been saying the same things I’ve been seeing this week — the extensive essays about why Kamala Harris sucks, but the resolve to vote for her anyway? The feelings of disappointment, and the barbed wire around being allowed to feel our feelings of disappointment, asking folks not to please jump on them about feeling bad because of course we will vote blue? And the smattering of folks who are saying, simply, ‘hurrah, a Black woman’? That’s what my news feeds and timelines are all full of.

I’m thinking about how I can use Sugarbutch in the coming months, if there is anything I can actually do to support getting Biden/Harris elected. I can write about it more, I can share my thoughts as we get closer … which isn’t my favorite thing to do, because it veers close to journalism, which doesn’t excite me. But how can I use the platform AND come up with something exciting? Not sure yet, but I’m thinking about it. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them.


Text of the above image:

“I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia. I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying. I want a president with no air-conditioning, a president who has stood in line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office, and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gaybashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape. I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a Black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who crossdresses and has done drugs and been in therapy. I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown. Always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker. Always a liar, always a thief, and never caught.” ― Zoe Leonard

miscellany

Call For Submissions: Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 6 (2022), due October 31, 2020

ETA: Extended deadline! December 31, 2020

The deadline for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 6 has been extended to December 31, 2020, for Black queer women authors specifically.

Details for the call are below. Please submit your work through this Google form: http://bitly.com/blev6

Editor: Sinclair Sexsmith

Publisher: Cleis Press

Deadline: October 31, 2020 (earlier encouraged)

Payment: $50 and 1 copy of the book within 90 days of publication

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish the story in this anthology in print, ebook and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.

Sinclair Sexsmith is editing the next volume of Best Lesbian Erotica, and is looking for your best sexy stories about queer women.

Representations of queer women, non-binary, and trans women’s sexuality that are not as frequently seen — with ability, race, ethnicity, class, neurodiversity, ace-spectrum, age, religion, or other marginalized viewpoints — are particularly of interest.

Writers who have not previously published are encouraged. Writers of color, particularly Black writers, are encouraged.

#Ownvoices stories are encouraged and will be prioritized.

The anthology is not limited to certain kinds of sex acts. “Vanilla,” BDSM, fetish, ace, and all kinds of sensual and sexual expression are welcome. I will be looking for a wide variety of sexual identities: mommy, mistress, sir, puppy, girl, servant, etc.

I will consider a few reprints published in 2020, but prefer unpublished stories. No simultaneous submissions. No poetry or speculative fiction.

Up to two submissions per author. Stories should be between 2500-4000 words.

Submissions in English required; American English not required, but we will edit it to be in American English eventually. If there are cultural specifics, we’ll work on how to translate them into American English during the editing process.
 
Characters must be a minimum of 18. All stories have to be within legal guidelines, including no incest, beastiality, necrophilia, consent violations, or other illegal acts. If something illegal happens in the story, it should be within a context where it’s understood it’s illegal in some way. 
 
No specific requirements for formatting the text, but the closer you can be to standard publishing formatting, the better for us during the editing process.  
– legible, standard font (times, arial) in a typical size (12ish)
– no underlines or bold, use italics for emphasis
– no specifications for indentations & spacing, as long as it’s legible. I usually do no indents at the beginning of paragraphs and double space after paragraphs, but the final manuscript will be set up by editors at Cleis Press based on their specifications. 

Please submit your work through this Google form: http://bitly.com/blev6

If it does not work to submit your story via this form, please contact Sinclair directly at [email protected] with the subject line “Best Lesbian Erotica submission” and include your story as an attachment in .doc, .docx or .rtf format (not PDF). Include the story title, your legal name, pseudonym (if applicable), 75-100 word bio, whether the story was previous published or not, email address, phone number, and mailing address.

Queries are welcome; contact [email protected].

identity politics, starred

The Impact of M/s Language: Voices from the Community

rife and I are starting to compile different statements and quotes from people in the leather, kink, and M/s communities about the use and impact of the terms “master” and “slave,” particularly for Black people.

This is part one of probably many; I hope to continue to compile these stories and talk about the impact of the language. The images at the beginning are pull quotes; the full statement is after.


From the perspective of someone who isn’t in the BDSM community but who wants to learn more about everything that the practices can offer- the terminology behind Master and Slave is entirely a turn off and stops me from even being able to open up to bdsm. As a black person, seeing those titles and seeing the bdsm community defend them so fiercely makes it feel like they’re the gatekeepers keeping me out for being uncomfortable. I recognize that it’s a deeply institutionalized phrase that means more to those who are already so ingrained in the community. But when I’m invited to m/s events, it makes me uncomfortable because I can’t get past the name.

It’s exactly the same feeling as when a friend is super into NASCAR, but there are confederate flags everywhere. They’re not intentionally there to hurt anyone. It’s ingrained in the experience to have the flags there. People who aren’t affected by those symbols don’t even see them anymore, they’re just in it for the fun. But I can’t walk into a stadium full of confederate flags and be expected to not feel minimized or unvalued the entire time.

The concept behind modern m/s relationships is intriguing, but I’ll never get to be into it without the constant reminder of our very recent history/ daily life as a society. I hope that people will be open to my perspective, because it’s entirely hurtful to be shut out.

— Aubrey

When I first joined the leather community, every chance I got I pulled aside any black person to bend their ear. I asked them how they dealt with white people using words like Master and slave. A lot of them looked at me with sadness because no one had a real answer. It hurt but they got used to it. When trying to encourage black people to explore the leather community and come in to these spaces, they have asked me how I could stand hearing words like that. The truth is, I don’t. I cringe. The first time a white man introduce himself as Master so-and-so, I was shocked that someone would look me in the eye and ask me to call them Master. The thought running thru my mind was that I will NOT call you Massa. Since then I have learned to grow a hard shell against this language because a part of me has lost hope that it will ever change.

— Anonymous

Your post made me feel… at ease. I have had conversations with those in the past about how the title of Master and Slave can be so hurtful. There is a whole community of people who I may not ever meet because of those two words. Not because I don’t think they are good people. Just clueless and prideful. When I walk into a ‘kink’ dungeon or event and someone asks me if I top or bottom, there is a level of safety implied. If someone were to ask me if I was a Master or Slave, it would scare me. The terms Master and slave to me brings about visions of slavery, shackles, abuse and death. If in that moment I say slave, it brings down hundreds of years of oppression onto my shoulders. The term immediately turns the askers face into a twisted confusion of misunderstanding and a lifetime in the death grip of systemic racism. It is confirmation, for some. Confirmation of where they think people who look like me belong. In shackles, collared, and beneath their boots. When Y/you both posted that statement, it was relief I felt. There is a level of wariness I have always had around you both. I have spent some great times and created awesome memories with you. It doesn’t dismiss the feeling of concern I have as a black person aspiring to an M/s type relationship talking to two white queers who don the label and embody the values of those words in their everyday lives. I often wondered if you would/could understand the immensely heartbreaking swim through the weighted mud of identifying with those terms. If you as white queers could ever understand what it feels like to bare the brunt of the mountains of hatred those two words hold for me. The weight of two words that would see me relive the destruction of my ancestors souls every time it left my lips. You made that post and I sat back in my chair and exhaled. My shoulders relaxed. My jaw unclenched. And I knew then that you understood. Even just a little bit… and some of the mountain crumbled away… and I exhaled. I hope you don’t lose the title. If you did it would mean that people are more attached to the words than the actual traditions and rituals it represents. It would mean the death of the M/s community for me. I am currently looking at those who are responding negatively to your post with an eye of possible danger. Making notes on whom to stay away from.

— Anonymous

There are more over in the “Voices From the Community” album on Facebook. We’re still compiling statements, and if you have opinions about using the terms, we would love to hear from you; please email [email protected]

identity politics, starred

On Representing the M/s Title

There’s been a lot of conversation around our statement about our choice to not use Master/slave language for ourselves. Many are wondering how we can fulfill the obligations of our title without those words. Some even ask if we’re breaking up or (gasp) transitioning to a vanilla relationship (spoiler alert: we aren’t!). So, in the interest of transparency, we want to put your mind at ease about a few things:

1. Of course, we affirm you can identify yourself however you like, it’s your identity. We are sharing our relationship journey,not kink shaming anyone.

2. We can not and do not speak for Black folks on this matter, and recognize a great diversity in opinions on this. We are sharing our own relationship journey. As queers and dykes, we understand the beautiful important work of reclaiming words.

3. We know what we do is not trying to replicate or look to chattel slavery, it is a beautiful deep calling that for us is spiritual and profound. The words happen to be the same.

4.We have learned that despite our good intentions, these words can cause hurt, and we care about that hurt.

5. We decided to drop the Master and slave from our titles (you can just call us Mx. Rook and little, hunter, boy, or just rook). We’re also going to be way more careful about using those words in general leather spaces. This doesn’t mean we will stop our education or visibility in those spaces, our classes will just be rephrased to talk about “Ownership dynamics” instead of “M/s dynamics.”

6. We take our titleholding commitment seriously. We feel it would be dishonorable to step down before the year is complete since we have committed to serving. Part of that commitment is to sharing our personal authority exchange relationship journey.

7. We have been in conversation with the South Plains producers since before making any announcements, and they have been incredibly supportive of our personal journey around this. We appreciate their insight as folks who have been in the M/s community for many years.

8. We love our lineage and our community. We are passionate about hierarchical relationships and have deep respect for the title system. Nothing about our relationship has changed except the words we call each other.

9. We want to continue this conversation and apologise for any hurt feelings, shock, or discomfort you felt watching our initial brief statement. We are learning and growing all the time. We wish we could be having these conversations in person, we wish we could have told you individually first. Thanks for being understanding of our strange and unprecedented times that push everything so social media.

10. We appreciate that this community values respect, integrity, and inclusion. Thank you for respecting our way of practicing our ownership relationship though it may look different from yours.

So, how will we represent the title?

According to the IM/s Judges Handbook, the International M/s pair is chosen to be visible as one individual healthy M/s or O/p relationship. We were proud to be chosen as International Master/slave 2020 by a panel of judges whom we admire. We are committed to sharing what is happening behind the scenes in our dynamic, not just on the surface. Sharing our thoughts about the impact of using the words “master” and “slave” has been a way to be transparent about what is really happening in our relationship right now. We don’t know what the answer is; we don’t yet know what other words we’re going to use in the long run. There aren’t great, easy answers here or the community would have found them already. But we are asking the questions, and curious and open about what everyone has to say.

We are proud to be in an authority exchange relationship. We are not embarrassed or ashamed. We are oriented this way, and living better lives because we are in this partnership.

We are proud to be rooted in the M/s community, and we love being part of the traditions, leather values, and embracing of change that happens in radical communities. We would not have such a strong dynamic if it weren’t for the support from and knowledge in the M/s community, and we are extremely grateful for all that we’ve learned and continue to learn. We are in this for the long haul and plan to continue our title journey with you.

We are excited to continue teaching workshops on authority exchange dynamics. We are gearing up to visit more MAsT chapters too; it is exciting that online meetings make visits more accessible. Our class “The Art of Ownership” is about the wide range of authority exchange relationships, from Victorian to Leather, from something you do on the weekends to 24/7 long-term ownership. It is designed for general leather events and folks new to authority exchange, but is full of theories and charts that are fun for experienced folks, too.

So how will we serve this title system without those words? We will continue to share our journey on Facebook and Fetlife, just with other language to describe ourselves. That’s the only thing that’s changed. We will continue teaching classes and creating support groups and fun activities online.

Our schedule for the next few months is:

August 3 – Unlearning White Fragility through BUTCH Voices (rescheduling for September)
August 16 – Unlearning White Fragility for Leatherfolks through Portland Bad Girls
August 20 – Kinky Virtual Game Night
August 27 – Leather Couch: Topic TBA
September 10 – Leather Couch: Jack Thompson – IML AMA
September 24 — Roles & Responsibilities webinar
October 15 – Leather Couch: Jesbian & Teagan – Leather Lust
October 22 — Feminist Sadism is not an Oxymoron webinar
November 12 – Leather Couch: Raven & Joshua – Polyamory & Power Dynamics
November 13-15 – teaching for Leather Reign – Ownership as a Spiritual Path
November 19 — The Protocol Game
December 3 – Navigating Family & Authority Exchange Relationships
December 17 – Goal Setting For D-types
January 21 – Leather Couch: Tomo – Navigating the M/s Relationship Plateau
January 28 – Kinky Virtual Game Night
February 19-21 – FLAME Conference (we will apply to teach again)
February 25 – The Satisfied Submissive webinar
February 2021 – Leather Couch: Master Jim, slave marsha, Sir Cougar, Topic TBA
March 2021 – Leather Couch: TBA
Monthly Nonbinary D/s Discussion group – dates TBD

We are still available for workshops, panels, and discussions; please email us both at [email protected] if you’d like to invite us to your event or group.

identity politics, journal entries, starred

On Stepping Away From M/s Language

Content: Discussion of the uses of the words master and slave in a consensual kink context, the politics of using them in community, and the harm they cause.

A few weeks ago, I put this note out on social media:

“Hi everyone; some of you may know that with my boy we are the International Master/slave 2020 and Northwest Master/slave 2019 titleholders in the leather community. We have been planning a conversation about the impact of the words master and slave for a long time, and we want to dive into it more now. We understand that when used by non-Black people, these words cause harm. Personally, we are stepping away from using the words. I’m sorry for the harm they’ve caused, and I’m sorry it’s taken us so long. I’ll detail more about what we’re going to do in a full statement forthcoming; I’m taking some time to consult with community and figure out the way forward. We will have a full statement out within the next week.”

rife and I then published this note on the Facebook page for our leather title:

Running for and winning this title has been an incredible journey, and this is not the title year anyone expected. We’re heartbroken to see our events being cancelled or, at best, moving online. We miss you all and wish we could be having this conversation with you in person.

The changes we are making with our relationship titles reflect our personal journey; our relationship structure itself hasn’t changed. We still want to talk with you about all the nerdy power theory stuff. We’ve just decided that for us, as white folks living in the racist United States, we aren’t going to use the terms “Master” and “slave” any more.

This was a hard choice to make because it has been so valuable to find community around these words, and to be part of a lineage of people exploring conscious, consensual power exchange.

We recognize and affirm that Black leatherfolk have many different views on consensual ownership dynamics, and we honor Black leadership in the M/s community. There are Black people who have done the hard, beautiful work of reclaiming these words and as queers we understand the power behind that. We cannot and will never tell a Black person what to do — many Black folks have chosen to use these words for themselves. These are their words to reclaim. Everyone has a different journey with these words. There are many white folks in M/s community who are aware of the potential impact of these words and use them with care.

We are not judging others’ choices about their use of the words Master and slave. We affirm that your words are your choice. Total power exchange dynamics are psychological edgeplay, and everyone gets to decide for themselves what their comfort level is.

The words Master and slave helped us find this community — our people — where we are validated and seen. At the same time, there have been multiple Black people in our lives – dear friends and leather family- who have told us they are harmed by these terms. We can’t and would never speak for Black people, but we know some Black folks experience our use of those words as violent and triggering. Because they have told us so.

We apologize to the Black people we have harmed in the use of these terms. Whether it was intentional or not, it caused harm and we’re sorry. We know finding new language for our relationship will not solve racism, but it’s a small thing (among many others) that we can do to reduce harm.

In the past, we have been careful with usage when not at M/s events, because we want those around us to consent and opt into hearing M/s language. Just like I wouldn’t highlight my Daddy/boy fetish if I knew someone around me was a survivor of child abuse, our intention was to be respectful and cause less harm to those around us. We would try to cover our back patches when walking through hotel lobbies, and include content warnings on published essays. We didn’t do this perfectly.

Currently, we are:

1. Stepping away from using those words for ourselves and considering other options.
2. Apologizing for the harm we have caused in the past.
3. Creating more conversations about this, and researching and listening to better understand the changes that Black folks are calling for.
4. Supporting Black liberation movements in concrete ways, including financial donations, political action, and volunteer work.

We have many thoughts about using M/s language as white people — currently we have a 17 page document full of notes, and have had countless conversations about it. We want to talk about the intersection of power exchange and anti-racist work, and we want to find more folks who want to do that, too. If you want to be in this conversation with us, please like this post and let us know.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had an M/s community that everyone felt they could belong to? What would it be like if we knew that nobody was being left behind because of unintentional impacts of our words?

Most importantly, how can we, as white folks committed to both the M/s community and to racial justice, reconcile the awful history of these words with the beautiful relationships we have? We don’t have the answers, but I hope through conversation we can start to puzzle this together.

It’s not about the relationship structure; we love this way of building relationships and will fiercely defend our heart-soul calling towards it. We are Owner and owned with a total authority transfer dynamic, just like we have been. It’s not about the M/s community; finding y’all has been life changing for us and we love you dearly like the family we always needed. We are not trying to police anyone else’s language or tell you how you should identify. We just want to make sure our words are not harming the Black folks in our leather family (and beyond).

We are invested in the health and longevity of this community. We want to see our spaces thrive and grow for years to come, and will be here producing online events, workshops, and discussion groups for those committed to the path of structured relationships.

With love & in leather,
the Rooks

There is now elaborate conversation happening both on Facebook and where rife published the statement on his personal Fetlife.

If you want to talk to me or both of us about this, I am open to discussion and available. You can contact us both at [email protected] or me at [email protected]

I would love to talk to people who are particularly at the intersection of 24/7 authority exchange and anti-racist work, who are interested in engaging with ideas for supporting the M/s community and leather community in general to work to be a more accessible space for Black folks specifically and POC folks in general. If you’d like to collaborate and discuss, please reach out and let me know.

We are also now collecting other statements and quotes from folks discussing the impact of the words master and slave for them, and publishing them on our Facebook page here. They can be anonymous, with your name, or with a pseudonym. Send them to us at [email protected], or get in touch if you have questions about them.

What about here on Sugarbutch?

Here on Sugarbutch, I’ve taken down posts that use master/slave language. Some of them I’ll be editing and putting back up, but some will stay down because they were primarily about M/s and wouldn’t be the same to edit. I won’t be using M/s language in erotica or in posts about my relationship going forward.

I am however interested in writing about the many, many things which are coming up in response to this statement — things about reclaiming language, about what level of comfort different people have with using them, about other issues of racism in the M/s and leather communities, and more. I haven’t figured out if I can/should post that here, or if I will publish that on Medium or somewhere else — but either way, I will be putting content notes at the beginning of the pieces so people can opt in or out to what they are reading if they wish. Feel free to let me know your preference in the comments, and I will take that into account.

Last, but not least

It has taken me some time to come to not using these words.

We both had reservations about using those words when we started finding the M/s community, but the M/s community has many explanations for why those words are used and has done a lot of work reconciling their history. There are many Black leaders in the M/s community, and I have learned much from them. I hope it’s clear within the statement above, but we are not trying to make commentary of any kind about what it means for Black folks to use these words — only for US, personally, as white folks.

I needed the teachings about authority exchange relationships that the M/s community presents, and they have completely changed my life for the better. I would not have as strong and healthy of a relationship with rife as I do if it were not for that community. I’m incredibly grateful, and I do want to see that community thrive, grow, and continue. I also hope to have a conversation about the use of these words, who it leaves out, and the harm they cause — which is already happening.

I have many other things to share about this process, and I’m slowly gathering my resources to write more about it. I am talking to Black and non-Black leaders in the leather and M/s communities about next steps, following the guidance of what Black folks want. We’ve been having dozens of hours of conversations. I’m doing my best to listen.

I welcome folks to join me and rife in visioning, as we said in our statement, a leather community that is truly inclusive, where all feel safe to show up as their full authentic selves. If you’d like to join the conversation that is already happening, check out on the Facebook page for our title years and the statement on rife’s Fetlife (which has many more comments).

essays

6 Black Educators to Follow & Support on Patreon

One of the things I’m hearing a call for out of this uprising for Black lives is to pledge ongoing support and donations and redistribution of wealth, not just one-time donations. Patreon is a great way to support artists and educators — y’all know I’m a big fan of their model.

Here are a few great artists, activists, and educators I am pleased to support there, and I highly recommend you do, too — not just to make donations to smart, creative, life-changing people, but also to get access to all their amazing work! Personally, I’m inclined to folks who are incorporating some element of sexuality or embodiment into their work, and if you’re reading here, you may be, too.

1. Eclipse is creating a cosmic home for Black Queer Erotica

2. Sassy Latte is creating Education & Art about Body Politics & Racial Justice

There aren’t a lot of folks doing work at the intersection of sexuality and racial justice, and she shares great resources, thoughts, and images. With recent posts such as “6 Ways White People are Causing Harm with Their Attempts at Allyship” and “Let’s Stop Trying to Use White Privilege for Good,” her longer writing through Patreon is worth diving in to. Check her out on Instagram, where she is very active.

3. QueerWOC is creating a digital community for queer women of color

I found them through a Patreon article about Black creators to support, and they wrote, “The Podcast started as a Tumblr page back in 2013. Now it has grown into a community space for lesbians, bisexual, queer and trans women of color to come together and celebrate their “lives, loves, and laughs”. Hosted by Money and Nikeeta, a family therapist and community organizer respectively, the two hope to leverage Patreon to sustain the podcast and also grow the brand by producing merchandise and hosting in-person meetups.”

4. Rachel Cargle is creating resources and critical discourse to aid in unlearning

Recently, she posted templates for holding your local school district or academic institution accountable for racial justice, and she posts ongoing inspirations and thoughts about on The Great Unlearn Instagram and Rachel Cargle Instagram.

5. Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla F. Saad is creating interviews with change-makers & culture-shapers

Layla F. Saad is the creator of Me & White Supremacy, “A 28-Day Challenge to Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor leads readers through a journey of understanding their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too.” Her Patreon supports her work and her podcast, and keeps us updated with what she’s developing.

6. Nicole Cardoza is creating conversations and tools to reclaim wellness – for all of us

Nicole Cardoza publishes the Anti-Racism Daily newsletter, “your daily reminder to dismantle white supremacy.” I have some of her recent newsletters still in my inbox: Capitalize the B in Black, Defund the Police (Beyond the Slogan), Protect Essential Workers, Rally to Celebrate Juneteenth. They are relevant every day and offer actions to do to support anti-racist work. Go to the website and add your email here: https://www.nicoleacardoza.com/anti-racism-daily.

There are many ways to support the Movement for Black Lives, but if you’re into supporting creators who are putting their good work out into the world, hope these are a few who are inspiring.

Who are you supporting on Patreon, or in other places? I’d love more recommendations.

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Breath as a Healing Tool During COVID-19 with M’kali-Hashiki

M’kali-Hashiki is an erotic breathwork facilitator whose work has been transformative for me personally. She is a leather dyke, polyamorous, and a BDSM practitioner, and, to quote, “I have personal experience achieving mystical states during sex.” She has many skills in many intersectional erotic realms.

Her work focuses on breath as a healing tool in an erotic context. What does that mean? “It’s a series of breathing techniques that allow you to access and circulate your erotic energy,” she says. But “erotic” is not a euphemism for “sexual” in this case — “Erotic energy is your life force, your creative energy. The purpose of erotic breathwork fundamentally is to deepen your embodiment: to strengthen your connection with your body.”

Doing erotic breathwork now, in the midst of both a pandemic and uprisings, is particularly important. “People use these techniques for many reasons: deal with stress, remediate chronic pain, enhance physical/energetic/emotional intimacy with partner(s), to deepen their meditation, to practice dying,” she said. “In these times we know that stress and pain and fear and panic can weaken the immune system. So having the space to process these emotions will help to strengthen our immune system. Also we need to a space for our grief. We will be grieving something, if not a person/people, then a way of life. Repressing grief also weakens our immune system. We need to feel all of our feelings instead of just swallowing or repressing them. Here in this circle we get to feel whatever and however we feel. And lastly we need to make space in our bodies for joy & pleasure. Erotic Breathwork is a great tool for that.”

She has two special community offerings through the end of August: community erotic breathwork, and BLM Protesters’ sessions.

BLM Protesters’ Community Erotic Breathwork Sessions

These sessions are for any Black folks involved in the recent protests (and any Black healers supporting them).

For all the Black folks who’ve been in the streets protesting our murders: I’m offering a virtual space to come commune with your body. To croon songs of love & thanks to it for allowing you to make your voice heard; to remind it of its sacredness at a time when the US wants to ram it’s lie that you are not of value down your throat; to purge the fear & adrenaline that your body sustained while you were out there; to strengthen your soul’s endurance. A space carved out of time to feel however the fuck you wanna feel, to let those emotions run through you and create a river connecting you with our Ancestors who protect you, and our Descendants who will benefit from the holy work you’ve done. To feel all of our heartbeats in the sound of your inhale & exhale. To just be.⠀

Fam. Words right now really fail to grasp the breadth of the situation we’re in, so I’m not even gonna try.

Our rage, our grief, our fear, all of it is valid. Let us come together and hold each other with our breath and feel whatever the fuck it is we want to feel, outside of the White Gaze, outside of the Media. Let us circle and remind ourselves how precious we are, how valid our emotions are, how much we have overcome, and how far we will go together. Let us gather together and find what comfort we can from one another. Give your body a space to purge all that adrenaline, to thank your body for making your voice heard. To remind your body that you have not & will not swallow the lie that it is of low value, To fall into our connection to the Ancestors who protect us and to our Descendants who will benefit from the holy work you’re doing. To feel all of our heartbeats in the sound of your inhale & exhale.

Starting June 6 at 4pm PDT—and then every following Saturday at 3pm PDT—join me in a cybercircle with other BLM Protestors (and the Black Healers supporting them).

Shelter In Place Community Erotic Breathwork Sessions

Times are scary right now. We don’t know for sure what the outcome of this pandemic will be. No matter where we are on the globe, our society will be transformed. And transformation can be chaotic, both outside and inside our bodies. Every day brings more frightening news, and if you live in the US, it’s clear that our federal government is not up to the challenge.

All of this turmoil & uncertainty causes anxiety, stress, and panic; which not only affect our ability to stay healthy, but also make it harder to hold to make & keep space in our lives for joy.

Starting March 22 until the end of California’s Shelter In Place, I’m offering Erotic Breathwork Drop-In Sessions twice a week (Sunday at 12:00pm PDT & Thursday at 6:30pm PDT). These sessions are “Pay What You WIsh”, and no-one turned away for lack of funds. These sessions are designed to take you on a journey of excavation, of renewal, of integration. They can provide you with a container to dump some of the panic, fear, and grief so you can go about your life as well as a regular opportunity to re/connect with your body and/or access joy in your physical and energetic body.

Panic & stress weakens our immune system, joy & community strengthen it!

“We’re in a chaotic time, and chaos just means change,” said M’kali-Hashiki. “We are poised to create the world of justice and beauty and love that we have been dreaming of. We need to get through this time, we need energetic stamina, but we also need to be ready for this new world, to divest ourselves of the stories and ways that have not served us, we need to welcome the body’s wisdom & erotic Breathwork helps us to hear what the body wants to tell us.”

Head over here to sign up for one of M’kali-Hashiki’s erotic breathwork sessions for BLM protestors or for community breathwork sessions.

Sign up for her mailing list, and follow her on Instagram to keep up with her work.

cock confidence

Cock Confidence: The Sacred Act of Going Inside Someone Else’s Body

It is a sacred, intimate act to go into someone else’s body.

When I say ‘sacred,’ I mean rare, precious, and done to help us remember our divinity and humanity. Done to connect us to something bigger than us, each other, and ourselves.

It is a very unusual for us to do, generally. Kissing, and other erotic acts. Doctors, dentists, some bodyworkers like acupuncture. Very few things pierce the barrier of our skin. Very few things actually go inside of our bodies, actually into one of the holes in our bodies.

Generally, our skin does what it is supposed to: it keeps our insides inside and it keeps everything else out. Generally, it is successful, and when something goes in that we don’t want, it is a violation. It is a virus, a parasite, a wound, an act of violence.

It is very, very common for us to have experiences with acts of violence in our past. For people with vaginas, it is extremely common — and it is common that that violence is particularly related to genitalia, to sexual history, to something entering unwanted.

The statistics vary: 1 in 8, 1 in 4. But ultimately,

You could call this part of “cock mindfulness.” When it comes to penetrating someone else’s body, we never have a right to be there — no matter how much we play that we own them, control them, or force them (meaning, in a consensual non-consent way). We are there because, underneath our agreements, they consent to that happening.

Going inside someone else’s body also has the added complexity that trauma lives in the body. When something traumatic happens to someone, it is stored in the body, and it can flare up to the surface suddenly and without warning. The hips and pelvis are also huge storage depots (to quote one of my favorite yoga teachers) for stress, tension, and trauma. The body remembers and keeps track of things in deep ways that the study of somatic is just beginning to understand.

Going inside someone else’s body is a deep intimacy that is a privilege, not a right. It is something I encourage us all to deeply honor, any time we have the option, and to use very, very wisely.

Perhaps it’s partly why food is such a big part of courtship, comfort, and romantic gestures — because we take something into our bodies, inside of our whole systems, that someone else prepared lovingly with us in mind.

miscellany

Announcing: D/s Book Group & Nonbinary D/s Discussion Group

I accidentally started two groups this month!

I say “accidentally” because I intended to create one — a D/s Book Group — but the discussion rife and I held about Nonbinary D/s this past Thursday was so successful that many folks requested we keep doing it. And so, I think, for now, we shall.

D/s Book Group

To join: Keep an eye here, on Patreon, on my social media, or on this Fetlife group for the dates and times. Or the mailing list. I’ll be shouting about it everywhere y’all!

What is it: we’ll be meeting monthly on Zoom to discuss a book that is focused on D/s. We’ll alternate one fiction, then one nonfiction; we won’t read two of the same author in a row; and we will choose books which are in print (unless we can somehow get a digital copy of an out-of-print book that we can distribute).

The first book will be in July to give us all a solid month to order it and read it.

Vote on the first title here! It’ll be nonfiction.

Nonbinary D/s Discussion Group

This one is still in progress.

This month’s D/s webinar, through the Patreon, was rife and I hosting a discussion about nonbinary D/s. In my mind, there were two main topics: 1. people who identify as nonbinary in power exchange relationships or orientations, and 2. using the principles of being nonbinary and applying it to power dynamics as a politic.

We spent most of the time talking about the latter, but we explored all kinds of other topics, such as gender fluidity and D/s fluidity; behaviors aren’t gendered just like behaviors aren’t powered; how we can use skills of gender theory inside of our D/s theory; studying intersectional kyriarchy as a way to be more consensual; understanding D/s roles before identity and sexuality; gender as a fetish; expectations of consistency when it comes to D/s and gender and most other roles; identity alignment assumptions, assuming that our identities line up a particular way; assumptions based on gender, race, size, class; and last but not least, we talked about honorifics and gendered language within D/s.

I’m committing to holding a group like this monthly for the next six months. The next one will be Thursday, June 11th, 7-9pm PT. (I’ll have that in the full schedule which is my next post.)

If you want to get in on that … follow my social media, get on the mailing list, follow me on Patreon (you don’t have to support to get the notifications of the public posts, but please do support if you have the means), check back for the June schedule (which I’m posting now).

See you there!