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]oices.com 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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!

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]

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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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.

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

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

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].

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]

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.

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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).

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.

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: 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.

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!

First Time With Daddy, Guest Post by Kimberly Dark (Excerpt from The Daddies)

excerpt from The Daddies by Kimberly DarkBrill | Sense (October 24, 2018)
Content: Sex, daddy/girl language, bondage. All characters are 18 years of age or older.

I am interested in finding out what she means. She is articulate and open with a confident stance. She is tall, not particularly attractive, grey-blue eyes and ruddy white skin. Her hair is fluffy, not quite curly, as though it carries its own small wind. Still, she seems strong; she speaks with curiosity and good grammar. She has good posture. These things attract me. I react. I am a spasming muscle; she is the stimulant. We flirt – in that ambiguous way that can never convict us.

I meet her at a university where I am giving a talk. I am the expert on gender for this evening. She is in attendance. It could be any city, any university – but it isn’t. I used to live in this city – Colorado Springs. I have a history here, finished my undergraduate work at this very campus. I have connections here – and here she is, connecting to me.

After my talk on gender roles, she lingers to question, to hold my gaze, to touch my elbow in conversation as we walk together to the parking lot after the event. I want to know what she means when she says, “There are complexities to this butch/femme thing that I wonder how much you know about. Some things I don’t know who to talk to about. The sexual identities…” She pauses, and then continues. “I don’t know how much you know about the leather community …”

She pauses again. It wasn’t really a question; she intended to continue all along.

“In the leather community, I am a Daddy. But because I pass for femme, I don’t get much recognition, much respect. And I think, I could change my appearance, but I don’t want to. I like to be soft too.”

She seems to read my attentive silence, renegotiates her admissions and adds, “but you know, I also used to be a bottom, and I looked a little more butch then.”

This admission is unique – her timing, bold. I am nodding, pondering the creation of balance between appearance and behavior. I could say, “You’re so big and strong, so forward and in control of this conversation. I think you have the credibility of a Daddy, despite the long hair, the eyeliner.”

I don’t say this. I think it. Fascinating. And so it begins, an academic discourse. She is a seeker. I am a teacher. She is a Daddy. I enjoy a considered submission. And so it begins. She watches me, listens, responds, leans in. She uses the same tools of communication I use: disclosure, analysis, physical openness, negotiation, and re-negotiation.

Later, about 5 a.m., I ponder how she presented herself to me. I agreed to have coffee with her, so I will interview us both further on this theme. To what, in me, was she responding, in order to create this response in me? She is remarkably skillful, or perhaps, I don’t know that I am an easy mark for this sort of intellectual and erotic tension. I am an easy mark for curiosity about what “leather daddy” means to her, and how she does that role – what “femme” and “passing” mean to her – what “bottom” means to her.

A few years later, we are lovers – more than lovers – we are something like family. She asks me, “How did the Daddy thing start with us? Did you ask me for it?”

I stare, incredulous. “You brought it up the first time we met.”

“Right, but we were just talking about it. How did we get around to doing it? I mean, we were lovers for a few months before that came up.” She wobbles her hand around the word that, assigning it indescribable meaning.

I am fascinated that she really doesn’t remember, that she really doesn’t know what she chose in me, the first time she laid eyes on me. We have had time to think about this. I have thought about this, but apparently she hasn’t. I don’t recall my exact words – how I gave her permission to do what she did for the first time, but I know I gave permission – the soft, steady reassurance that a violation would be allowed, appreciated.

She stood on the balcony smoking her pipe, watching the light retreat over the city skyline. She was wearing her black bathrobe over her white boxer-briefs – the snug kind that keep the soft-pack in place, hug the thighs, the gluteal muscles. (“I’m developing an ass like a Clydesdale fucking you as much as we do,” she chuckled once, admiring her rear in the mirror.) She stood alone, smoking against the pink sky. We’d been lovers for a few months, but tonight, something was different. Before she walked out, she held me for a kiss, made sure I felt her cock, soft but assertive, against my pelvis.

She was quiet, and felt somehow unapproachable, enjoying her pipe in the warm night air. She was quiet and yet, entirely legible to me and I knew not to say much. I knew to wait patiently. I already loved her and had already begun making sacrifices. I tingled with anticipation that her inflexible ways would soon reward me.

I became small and quiet, a transformation prompted by her rigidity, prompted by my permission, prompted by her assertion, and prompted by my invitation. We fell like dominos, a brutal, beautiful cascade. With a different entitlement in her hands, she felt my breasts, held me around the waist and pulled me in. She kissed me differently, her tongue so deep down my throat, I couldn’t breathe for a moment and I liked it – knew not to speak of it, but I liked it. “Go get in bed, sweet girl. Take off your clothes and wait for me.” She patted my ass and I turned from her, obedient.

I saw moments of her, through the bedroom door, emptying her pipe, methodically stowing it away, washing her hands, and brushing her teeth. My skin tingled beneath the sheet. I saw her change the soft dick for the hard one, long and black, protruding beneath the bathrobe. This part was nothing new, but something was new – and I knew not to speak of it. She joined me in bed. I was on my back, her body next to me. She was propped on one elbow, gentle but assertive, touching my breasts, my belly with tender fingers, pulling me in occasionally for a hard penetrating kiss. The mutuality of our passion suspended, I became shy and waited, thrilled and a bit frightened – could I do it? Was she going to do it? We’d been talking more and more about Daddy. Still abstract, still talking. I could feel it coming. Could I? Stay present and genuine, really do it?

Deep breath. Let the body decide. Breathe. The body is deciding.

Her soft hand still on my breast, she leaned toward my ear and asked, “Are you going to give your Daddy what he wants?”

As she spoke, my throbbing thickened, slipped. The body is deciding. “Uh-huh.” I managed, and my willing embarrassment, face flushing, fueled her. She was on top of me in an instant, her hand holding my wrists above my head and pushing down, hard. I had neither the strength nor will to move and a fear of both truths fluttered gently in my stomach, the sensation drowned out by my slickening need. Her tongue down my throat, my wrists aching beneath her significant strength, she straddled me, pressed her hard cock against my belly. Her body held my legs shut.

“Daddy’s cock is going to be too big for you. Is that going to be okay?” She was speaking into my ear, between kisses. I managed a whimper and she said with a small chuckle, “That’s right, it’s going to be just fine. And afterward, when Daddy’s all done. When I’ve taken all I want, I’ll kiss you better.” She gently kissed my forehead. “I’ll clean you up with my tongue, where I hurt you. I’ll take care of you because every part of you is perfect. Every part of you is mine.” She kissed my cheek and released my wrists with a stern look and said, “Don’t move now.”

Indeed, my wrists were still bound.

My eyes wide, no words, the mind reeled briefly with astonishment. Could she not have started a little slower with the Daddy-thing? But I could feel the answer in her touch. It was too big. She was going all-in. And I would take it just as she gave it. The body was deciding.

She gently knelt between my legs and spread them. “That’s my good girl,” she said, gazing at my glisten. “Legs up,” she said. I obeyed and as she nestled down onto my body, she put one arm around my back and held me, tighter than she’d ever held me, more lovingly than I’d ever felt her. The other hand found her cock, so she could move into me slowly, her forehead against my sternum, she was feeling every moment of her entry. Her first, in a way. She said, “I’m going to go slow at first, but because you’re so good, I won’t be able to hold back once I get started.” And in she went, little by little, “Are you my good girl?” And I was nodding against her head. “That’s so good. You are my good girl.”

And my mind was lost, belly fluttering. Already all in. My body was choosing this. My body was saying yes in every language it knew and she was listening so attentively. It was bringing her so much pleasure; I couldn’t conceive how exponentially mine was multiplied. How could I not have known this joy before? Her pleasure was amplifying and the mind went deaf in the soaring sound of it. Her fierceness and release became one and I felt the holiness of it. How could I not have known?

As soon as she pulled back and pushed all the way in, her restraint was spent. She was talking, as she started moving faster, not an apology, but an explanation. Not a request for permission, but a surety, a deservingness that was so beautiful, so beautiful, my mind was blinded by it. “Oh yes, good girl, that’s it. Remember, I’ll kiss it better after.” She said as she fucked me harder. “That’s it. I know it’s big, but you’re doing so good. It’s so good.”

I had to have something to hold onto. And though afraid of breaking the invisible restraints her hands had put upon my wrists, my arms sailed down and I wrapped around Daddy’s thick back and she moved to accommodate. Her one hand around my left breast, squeezing hard for leverage, the other arm still holding me close and solid, she affirmed me. She did not admonish my move to hold her. She affirmed it.

“That’s a good girl. Hold onto your Daddy while I fuck you.” Accommodating my need, she said, “You hold on.” And a warm, tingling light spread through my body, emanating from my pussy, emanating from her piercing. The point of her pounding ready to supernova, she was within herself and still with me. She was within her own pleasure, yet spurred by mine.

“Daddy needs to fuck you hard now, princess,” she said and how could it be any harder? I didn’t know, and everything felt right. I wanted to please my Daddy more than anything, more than anything and my body was choosing. My pelvis was tipping forward to give her all I could and then I had to hold on. The impact was so great, I had to hold on. I had never been fucked so hard before and she was commanding, “You take all of your Daddy.”

And I was screaming, “Yes!” And filling up. “Yes!” I had never felt so full of love before. “Yes!” Her anguish overflowed into joy, and I contained it all. I didn’t spill a drop of Daddy.

And by the time she was done closing my wound with her tongue, licking up her come and mine too, so no one would see, I was exhausted and wordless. I would’ve made my fortune on the business of sleep, if she hadn’t awakened my drifting, her eyes blinking at the ceiling, chewing her lip with worry.

“What is it, baby?” I said when I sensed the shift. I expected the post-Daddy-sex trauma to be mine. She had done this before with a lover. I had not. I was frightened by her urgency, looking for the right answers when she asked, “What do you think about what we just did.”

“It was good.” I offered, dumbstruck by the experience itself, this question, too much.

“Because you know, that’s not just sex for me.” She sat up, cross-legged on the bed, searching my face. I felt suddenly exposed, any move might be wrong and I knew no matter what we called it, I could not lose her. Right then I knew: I would do way too much not to lose her.

“I know.” I said, and I sat up too.

“No, I don’t know if you know.” She was shaking her head. “We have to talk about this, have a talk. Because we’ve been having good sex for the last few months, but that’s not just about sex for me.” She said that with bulging eyes and an emphatic glance toward where my body had lain. She continued. “I mean, I don’t know how that was for you. But for me, right now is the time to decide. We can still say ‘okay, we tried that out and we’re never doing it again.’”

My mind reeled. I had no words yet to discuss what we had just done – no words at all – and now something had to be decided? I chose words carefully and each felt like a failure in my mouth. “If you don’t want to do that anymore with me, it’s okay.”

Perhaps she saw the confusion in my eyes. “But you wanted it?” she asked.

“Yes, I was there with you.” I said, holding her gaze.

“I know you were,” she said simply. “But you have to be sure, because if I go there, it’s all the time. It’s not just sex for me. It’s all the time. It’s in our lives.” She was nodding while she was speaking. “It’s big. For both of us.”

I didn’t know what to say, so I crawled across the big bed toward her seated form. I crawled into her lap as best I could and I felt her worry soften.

“Yes.” I said.

She held me, and rocked me a little bit, soothing herself as much as me, I think. She kissed my forehead and we were silent for a time. Before she loosened her hold on me, she said, “Okay?”

I reiterated. “Yes.”

The gentle teacher, she added, “And you say, ‘Yes Daddy.’”

My whole body tingled. And I whispered it into her ear.

“Yes, Daddy.”

Get your own copy of The Daddies by Kimberly Dark, published by Brill | Sense

Sheltering 1: Things I Have Learned

1. More than twelve years of working from home as a freelancer / solopreneur / writer has prepared me quite well. I already have a home office set up, I already know how to divide my time and focus and still get things done, even though I’m at home. But this isn’t the same as “working from home,” of course. This is “working during a pandemic.”

2. Why do I wear so many things that are so uncomfortable? It’s hard to justify even “getting dressed,” so why bother wearing things that don’t improve my life? I actually like jeans, though I know not everyone does; I tend to buy the stretchy ones so they are very comfortable and don’t restrict movement. I’m still pretty much every day in a black tee shirt. I hope we can all wear more of what we want to going forward, and less of what doesn’t feel good.

3. Amazing all of the things that we thought we needed to get outside of the home, that we thought we needed to spend a lot of money on, that for me are actually just fine at home. Examples: Haircuts. Eating out at restaurants. Going to the movie theater.

4. I miss the gym. Road trips. Fruit picking at U-pick farms. Body work of all kinds, from massage and acupuncture to pedicures and facials. There’s a lot of overlap between beauty and health. But there’s a lot that I don’t miss.

5. I don’t miss driving everywhere. Being in traffic for hours. All the time between tasks, going from the gym to the grocery store to the cafe to the practitioner’s office.

6. I don’t miss all the time with friends. I miss my friends, sure, but I think I have a lot more socializing than I need or even want, in part because my partner needs it, and in part because I say yes when people ask. Noticing that I don’t really miss it and I’d rather be by myself most of the time is very interesting, very good information.

7. I have been remaking the plans that I made six months ago. It’s all different now. I can’t rely on what was true in November and December. Things I thought I’d do this year are no longer — so what am I going to do? I’m doing a lot of online work, that’s for sure, but that’s not it exactly either.

8. I’m struck by how different this experience is for folks in different situations. I’m sheltering with a partner and cat and dog — not with kids who are usually in school and can’t see friends and are somehow expected to get school work done. Not with roommates I don’t get along with. Not solo, starving for touch. Not working outside of my home at all, not on the front lines, not at a grocery store, not policing the public and whether they are following physical distancing or wearing a mask. I am very privileged in this and I’m aware of that, and I’m grateful for what I have.

9. But I’m also assessing what I have. For me it’s been a huge pause, a vast time of going inward and listening. Quieting. I love it. The opportunity for focus, for clarity. There’s also vast amounts of numbness and confusion, anxiety and stress and fear, of course. But in the moments I can rest in the safety I do have, I can go to another level of assessment about my life and the trajectory of my family and my capital-W Work in the world. Things were already starting to change, but the timeline was longer than it is now. Now, the timeline is different. In some ways, everything is different.

10. I hope we can keep the learnings we are getting from this. The pleasure from cooking at home. How little we actually need to shop or buy things. How much it matters that we have time in our gardens and with our puzzles and crafts. How lovely it is to connect with people long distance. How great our sweatpants are. I hope we can keep that, as we mourn and grieve the over 100,000 who have died in the US, as we work to protect ourselves from the news and the kleptocratic government, as we figure out how to go forward.

Will Anyone Else Want Strap-On Sex the Way I Do?

You might be worried that you love strap on sex too much.

You might be worried that you won’t find someone who wants to receive strap-on sex as often as you want to strap on. In general, as we get more aware of what our particular sexual interests are, it can seem like what we want becomes harder to find.

Which is true — we’re narrowing down what we want, so that means there are fewer things out there that will match our wants. But what’s also true is that our chances of being satisfied are getting higher and higher, because we better know ourselves and what we want.

In addition, we’re getting more specific with what we want, which actually means what we’re looking for becomes easy to find. If we’re looking for “someone to have sex with,” sure, there are lots of people who might fit into that scenario, but just anybody willing to have sex might not actually make for a satisfying time.

Getting more specific about our desires gets us more likely to get what we want, and also more likely to have a satisfying experience.

A Little Personal Story …

As I was coming into my own as a cock-centric person, I was worried that my interest wouldn’t match up with anyone else’s. I wanted to be strapped on when I had sex at least ninety percent of the time, and I didn’t know anybody who wanted that the same way I did.

I got a lot of push-back from other queer women I was dating at the time. One person even told me that if she wanted to have sex “like that,” meaning with some sort of penetrative instrument, she’d have sex with a man.

Associating strapping on with any particular gender is not only untrue, it deeply limits our abilities to explore and experiment with what our bodies do and the ways we can connect and play through sex. Wanting to play with penetrative sex, whether with fingers, a factory-installed penis, or a strapped on appendage, has nothing to do with gender and can be enjoyed — or rejected — by anyone of any gender. A few of the most cock-centric people that I know are high femmes, and I know a few gay men who do not want penetrative sex, giving or receiving, at all.

It took me some time to feel comfortable owning how frequently I wanted my sexual experiences to include me strapped on. It took talking to my friends, talking to lovers, and talking to other sex-positive educators to feel like I wasn’t the only one who wanted that, and to trust that I wasn’t a weird pervert freak because of it. It took trusting that someone was out there who wanted equal-but-opposite thing I wanted — for their partner to be strapped on for ninety percent of their sex life. It took experimenting and playing and being open about what I wanted.

Eventually, it has become one integral part of my personal sexuality, and if I was talking to a new potential sexual partner, it is something I would screen for.

On Stereotypes

It might seem like lesbians or queer women have rejected penetrative sex, because they are not attracted to men. It might seem like straight men would not be interested in being pegged, because they are heterosexual.

But liking the sensation of penetration and one’s sexual orientation are not the same thing. In all of my travels and coaching and teaching of strap-on technique, I have met with thousands of people, and I assure you: plenty of queer women enjoy penetration, and plenty of straight men enjoy pegging, and plenty of nonbinary folks and genderqueer folks of all kinds of genders enjoy things in their holes.

It might seem like you are looking for something that doesn’t exist, but I assure you: it does! You may have to just take it on faith for a little while, but if you look around and be open about the kind of sex life you want, you will find people who want the same things you do.

There are many, many people out there who want to receive. They might be looking for you, and thinking you’re hard to find, just as much as you are looking for them.

Happy 14th Anniversary, Sugarbutch

Sugarbutch started on this day, April 29, 14 years ago in 2006.

I had been in New York City almost a year. I was drifting away from my girlfriend from college, who moved to New York with me; she was in law school, and I was miserable. We weren’t having sex — we barely felt like partners, to me, just roommates, and I was having no luck repairing things.

I had no internet connection at my apartment. I went around the corner to the cyber cafe to apply for jobs. But I had hopped through some temp work long enough to get a job at a finance firm, doing layout & design, where I stayed for about 3 years, which meant I was in front of a computer all day for the first time since I worked at Microsoft — my schedule in Seattle before I moved to New York had been a patchwork mix of writing groups & performances, working at a bookstore, college classes, and homework.

So once I got in front of a computer, I started diving in to the online worlds of personal expression: creative writings, the “personal essay” (or, if men were writing it, the “essay”), and blogs. I stumbled into a just-born world of sex blogs, particularly New York City based sex blogs, discussing their sex-capades and life in New York. Most of these folks weren’t queer, though some were. I started writing fantasies and stories and started liking what I was writing, so I shared them.

I’ve had dozens of lovers online. My first long-term-relationship I met in a telnet chatroom in 1994, we were together five years. I’ve courted, fucked, and wooed women online when I was dating men and not really out as a lesbian. I’ve met for dates, one night stands, and courtships through the internet.

And so I’m turning to the internet yet again, in this anonymous blog, to detail my overspilling desire and try to curtail some of the want that is really painful for me, since my needs aren’t being met. And, ultimately, to decide how much more of my own pleasure and desire and needs I’m going to sacrifice in order to stay in this relationship.
from the first post on Sugarbutch: Bed Death, Standard Variety

The early stuff is all password protected now. It was such a journal, so much personal writing, so much uncensored writing. I’m not sure I’d want to re-read it, but it is still there, buried in the archives. (It’s the old password, btw. Join the mailing list and get the password used to be the deal. But now it’s join the Patreon.)

Toward the end of 2006, I wrote a piece after a foursome and it got some notoriety, and Sugarbutch started building a little tiny audience.

After that, it’s such a whirlwind … falling for someone else, breaking up with the college girlfriend, taking about a year to try to get my life together before going after the person I fell for, the magic of that six month relationship, then the trauma of the breakup and the realization of how damaging that relationship was. That was another peak, and I started getting asked to teach places, to be part of sex blogger meetups and groups. Writing beautiful, heart-wrenching, raw things through that breakup. Then healing, slowly. Dating. Meeting and courting Kristen. Opening that relationship and dating other people. That was another peak, and I had two books come out in the same year. Meeting rife, and then my dad’s death, and then the breakup with Kristen, and moving to Oakland.

There are other posts about the first 7 years of Sugarbutch, the first 7 anniversaries:

Hard to believe I didn’t write anything for the ten year anniversary, but April 2016 was the beginning of the relationship crisis rife and I have been in the past few years. I have written about it some here, but not a lot, for two reasons: 1) it’s ever difficult to share deep emotional things when they are currently happening, because this does have a lot of readers now and the feedback, comments, or criticism I get is just unnecessary and the opposite of helpful; 2) part of what I uncovered is how, when I journal, I tell myself a version of my story that I want to hear, and that can actually just reiterate and solidify my story, rather than be supportive of it. Generally that’s not true of my relationship to writing — I write to discover what I don’t know that I already know, I use it as a tool of self-inquiry and growth. But when I’m in a triggered state, it can just keep me spinning out, rather than helping me re-center. So I have journaled a lot less in recent years in general.

(I’m trying to get back into journaling, now that I have a different relationship to the c-PTSD. But that’s still in progress, and offline.)

It’s more valuable to write a summary of the last seven years, since I have a lot of summaries of the first seven years. I’ve been with rife that whole time; I’ve been in Oakland, California that whole time. This is the most stable that I’ve ever been, probably my whole life. We had a collaring ceremony, we got married, we ran for two leather titles and won.

We started teaching online — we launched Submissive Playground, Mastering Dominance, Dom Club, which has now evolved to be D/s Playground (which is an on demand, downloadable course, free to the folks on Patreon who support at $5+).

I have traveled to do guest lectures and workshops at colleges, but in 2015 I re-entered the workforce and have had a few different jobs since. I’m looking for a full-time job now.

After rife and I had a major relationship conflict starting in 2016, we started couple’s therapy, which we’re still doing. I don’t know if we would have stayed together if it wasn’t for her — and for our stubborn commitment to each other. The conflict ignited all kinds of past traumas in both of us, and I have spent the last few years really teasing apart my history of relational trauma, my complex PTSD, and dealing with the wounds that happened because of a lot of emotional neglect in my childhood. We’ve been in a much more solid place in the past year and a half.

Making a full account of those seven years is more than I can do at the moment, but that’s a start of a summary.

I’m constantly thinking about how I’m going to evolve this space. In some ways, it is a ball and chain I carry around, rooted in the me from 2006 who was so naive, so young. Some of the peaks of this project have revolved around relationships and break-ups, and instances where I am not only not proud of my behavior, I am at times deeply ashamed. I’m working on forgiving myself for all of that. It isn’t easy. Sometimes I think: if I was starting a project today, would I write about my sex life on the internet? The answer is, emphatically, no. It’s a laughable idea. Too intimate, too vulnerable. I know that’s part of what makes it radical, but I’m also just more private than I used to be — and the internet is a lot less private than it used to be.

The last four years have been laying the foundation for a huge leveling up. Mostly laying the emotional foundation, but also the financial foundation, relational foundation, and spiritual foundation. I’ve been building three things in a much deeper, more intentional way: 1. roots in a geographic place – where do I want to live? 2. financial security, particularly having my own income that actually supports the life I want to live; 3. building a family, both as a head of household Dominant to my boy, but also expanding it.

I’m frustrated that it has taken me so long to prioritize these kinds of stability — my 20s and 30s were so much about transformation and not about the usual adult things of career path and saving money and “settling down.” I got a lot of value out of my deep studies of embodiment, leather, kink, queerness, gender, polyamory, relationships, and sex in general, but wow if it wouldn’t be nice to have some savings. I guess my mid-life crisis at 40 has been about reprioritizing things like that.

I believe in the ability to reinvent myself, and to make this space serve me. Ultimately, it’s a personal writing project about writing myself into the next phase of my life, using writing to level up myself, and it has served me well for that all along.

So, thank you, Sugarbutch, for fourteen years of support. Thank you for the structure. Thank you for the place to process and express and create and share.

Thank you, readers, for reading, commenting, engaging, sharing your stories, bringing me to your colleges and towns and community centers, buying my books, reading my books, sending links of my dirty stories to your lovers and folks you wish were your lovers.

Thank you, patrons, for casting some financial support my way. The last five years of Sugarbutch have been completely different because my expenses are paid. I feel more motivated. Thank you. Sign up on Patreon if you’d like to support my work.

Thank you, rife, for being with me on this journey, for letting me write about you, for trying out sex toys with me, for sharing your ideas and stories. Thank you for sticking with me, even when things were/are hard.

Much gratitude out into the world tonight.

Hello, It Is Spring, Let’s Bloom (Playlist)

I was working on this through most of January & February but finally got it done in March. Our adventures leading up to the International contest were really meaningful to me, and I think that was a really valuable ordeal for our relationship to go through. And we came through it much stronger for it.

That is all to say, here is my latest in a long series of playlists of love songs for rife.

1. When Will I Learn – Rob Riccardo
“I guess I forget that I got all the answers.” trust the process, I’ve got this. I tell myself these things a lot these days, and to be honest I trust it all a lot more than I used to. something feels tethered to myself in a way that feels strong. the closing lines, “when will I learn that I’ve got all I need / when will I learn that I’m already free” gets so easily stuck in my head, it’s such a catchy, natural chord progression that really clicks.

2. bad guy – Billie Eilish
it’s just sexy. I can’t believe it took me so long to be introduced to her vocals, I really like her. I think she cheapens the line by adding the “duh”, but I try to just ignore that part.

3. You and I – Reuben and the Dark
the story isn’t quite our story … but the metaphor of it, the running and problems and being scared, and then “you and I are gonna be alright,” and the sweeping epicness of the chorus and the beats, it just feels like a sweeping last scene of a movie where things work out.

4. Indigo – Daniel Champagne
there’s something about these acoustic guitar instrumentals that always feel like they belong on mixes to you. they’re uncluttered, analog, and just happy to be just what they are, a simple acoustic instrument.

5. Golden – Becca Mancari
“there you go again turning golden.” reminds me of the “stay gold” line in the outsiders, a classic butch root for a lot of us, and reminds me of how we can keep coming back to ourselves and each other over and over, that neither of us has tarnished for the other — or rather, that you haven’t tarnished with me. even when things get rough and scratched up, we polish it back up, you do the work, we both do, and you turn golden, stay golden.

6. I’m Just Waiting for Your Love – Tomemitsu, Steady Holiday
you could read it like a solo person asking for a lover, but for us it feels like the waiting time when things are hard between us and I’m waiting for us to come back around and back together. we do that, you know? feels like it’s expand-contract, the nature of the universe. dreaming about your love, waiting for your love. sometimes it’s me that’s in the way of receiving it, but even then I’m still waiting for it to come back to me, and I know it will.

7. Light of a Clear Blue Morning – the Wailin Jennys
I love their harmonies so much. “everything’s gonna be alright / it’s gonna be okay.” I finished this mix in march so it was kind of before the worst of the covid sheltering in place, but it’s interesting how many of my choices are reassuring mantras.

8. You Mean the World To Me – Freya Ridings
it’s the lines “I know that I can be pretty mean / but you mean the world to me” that got me … it’s almost a breakup song, or could easily be read that way, but I think it doesn’t have to be; it’s more about a rift in a relationship, and it’s easy to assume that’s the end, but not necessarily. either way, her core message to the person is how important they are.

9. Swoon – Rising Appalachia
I love “drape me in jasmine vines in this crescent city swoon.”

10. Shine On – May Erlewine
feels like another mantra song, reminding myself and us to just keep shining. “it ain’t easy living in hard times.” (also, the tabs are on her website with the lyrics, might be a fun one to learn.)

11. Don’t Give Up On Me – Andy Grammer
“I’ll hold onto you / no matter what this world’ll throw / it won’t shake me loose,” I guess I have really needed to hear reassurances. it feels comforting, because they feel true. this one feels cheesier/pop-ier than the others, but I still get it stuck in my head and it feels right.

12. Face Your Fear – Curtis Harding
“by the way / maybe / don’t worry / it’s okay.” adding “just” to “face your fear” makes it sound easier than it really is, but in a way it IS that easy, too. well — simple, but not easy.

13. Servant of Love – Patty Griffin
kind of reminds me of the servant master archetype, but also the sweeping progression of her vocals and piano in this I find so incredibly emotional and intense. plus “I long to live by the ocean” … and “words from the deep calling to me.” I long to live like this.

14. Somebody Loved – Kina Grannis
it’s a cover of the Weepies, which I might have actually put on another mix, or maybe you did. they can be a little bit heavy on the twee cutsieness, but I love her voice and it’s such a sweet song. reminds me of the transformative power of a relationship: “you turn me in to somebody loved.”

Rest Is Important, You’re Right It Isn’t Fair, and Other Things I Need To Hear Right Now

Things I need to hear:

It doesn’t matter if you’re not being productive, and also, it does. It is okay to take a break, to focus on resting, to lay in shock on the sofa eating cookies and drinking wine for a week. It is okay to be in pajamas that have been worn for just a few too many days such that you would feel guilty shoving your lover’s face down into them. But also, it’s good to keep going. It maybe even feels better to fold the laundry and put it away, to put on not only fresh pants, but pants at all. It maybe even feels good to do up your hair and wear a nice shirt, put something fancy together just because it’s Tuesday.

You have spent time focusing on feeling good, but you need to mix in some things that are good for you. Wine and cookies and lamenting is not particularly good for you. (You have learned these lessons so many times in so many ways. Yes. Here it is again.) It is extremely hard to go after the things that are the best for you, because you have to actively break some patterns, and breaking patterns is one of the hardest things of all to do, even though they are psychic and not physical. Maybe especially because they are psychic and not physical. Do it anyway.

And then rest. Rest rest rest. It’s okay to do that, too.

Old ways are crumbling, have been crumbling, and we don’t even know what these new ways are yet. What color they’ll be. What flavor. We don’t have any sense of how deep the change will be, how big the loss.

Log off of the social media, even Instagram, the one you say is the better one because people are actually sharing their lives on there and not just parroting headlines. Too much input is too much input. It feels better to write and create, even though it doesn’t seem like it. Even though it feels impossible to put pen to paper and you end up writing “I don’t like this pen” a dozen times before you write any other words.

It’s okay not to write, but it’s also good to write. It’s good to step up and do the hard thing, to practice discipline. To identify that which you are actively avoiding doing and do it. Do it.

Holding the line – long-term discipline – feels better than going after the short-term comfort. Maybe that doesn’t feel true right now, but try it for a little while and see. Does it feel true? If not, then stop. But when you’ve done this before, you remember how good it feels to hold the line.

You cannot solve capitalism by thinking thinking thinking. It isn’t fair. There are people working to make it better. How can you deeply accept the world, even in this state? How can you deeply love the world, even in this state? Keep going. You will make things that will help — yourself if no one else. You will find your feet again, find your grounding again, feel forward into the future again. It makes sense that this is hard, this is the hardest, this is so unusual, this is so unknown. So you get to make it up.

What is your best day? Let’s make that day tomorrow. What is your favorite way to spend an hour? Spend it on this next one. You have more control than you act like you do, and less. You have more power than you act like you do. Spend it. Coax it. Create it. Let’s go.

Some Notes That May Turn Into A Sex Manifesto

Because the boy & I have been together for 9 years, and because we are also adults with jobs and families and obligations and bodies that aren’t always in the mood for sex, and because even the most compatible people have phases of being mis-matched in their desires and drives.

Because it is of incredibly high priority to me to have a rich erotic life.

Because I crave sex frequently. Because I struggle to feel close without the addition of pheromones and the alchemy of fluids. Because I want the physical closeness of losing ourselves in each other, of getting skin-drunk, of the intoxication that comes from tasting you. Because I use it to let my guard down. Because I let my guard down to have it. Because I want my guard down but I don’t always know how to take it down. Because my guard goes up so intensively automatically that I don’t always even notice it’s there. Because I still think about the boner preservation society and what would be on my list.

Because sex is the best way I know how to pray. Because sex is the best way I know how to see god. Because I need the release of orgasm like some people need a workout, to wring things out of my body, to shake and release. Because I have no better way to experience the holiness of my body. Because I start feeling floaty when I don’t have someone on top of me for a little while. Because I crave the feeling of all my senses activated, and you feeling every one.

Sex Manifesto (first draft)

1. The boy should assume that all sexual and erotic play is intended to have some pleasure in it for him. If it is not pleasurable, he is not only invited but expected to speak up about that and let that be clearly known.

2. It is possible that the Dominant will want to engage in erotic play that is not pleasurable to the boy, and the boy should do his best to accept that. However, this play should be intentional and with full knowledge that it is not pleasurable.

3. The boy can expect to have basic needs met before engaging in erotic play, including: hunger, using the bathroom to relieve himself, temperature (especially being too cold), and tiredness. If those needs are not met, he is expected to speak up and let them be clearly known.

4. We have long engaged in erotic play without a safeword, but we do have certain code words and phrases that can and should be used. a) “Mercy” is an accepted code word, and the Dominant will always consider mercy when the boy asks for such. b) “If it pleases you,” can be used to mean “I don’t particularly want to do this, but I will do it because you want me to.” c) “Only if it pleases you,” can be used to mean, “I do not want to do this, but I will because you want me to.” d) “I am a tool for your pleasure,” can be used to mean, “I am focused on servicing you,” meaning, “this is not about my pleasure right now.”

5. Masturbation is encouraged, orgasms are not restricted, and there are no particular requirements for how either should be done. Asking permission to come pleases the Dominant, but is not required at this time.

6. Fantasies are encouraged, porn is encouraged, and other erotic explorations are not just allowed but encouraged.

7. Having sex with other people during dreams is allowed. (Let’s just make this explicit, since the boy’s dream-self sometimes feels guilty.)

Take My Whip: Fantasy Date Night, Guest Post by rife

It’s Friday night and we keep this night blocked off on the calendar. 5:30 rolls around and you send me around the block to walk the dog once I wrap up my work for the day. When I come back, you’re sitting on the porch in your jeans with the leather crotch, a tight new black t shirt and the chest harness. All the deck furniture has been pushed off to the side and your Bluetooth speaker is playing a mixture of jazz and romantic pop music. You are wearing your heavy harness boots and you let your goatee grow out a little.

I giggle, suddenly feeling underdressed in my daytime pajamas and sneakers. I prance over and get up on my toes to kiss you. You let me. “Hi, Daddy! What’s all this?”

“I’m taking you dancing, boy. Go get dressed.”

“Mmmhm. I mean, yes, Sir.” I say softly and pad inside to feed the dog and put on that slinky grey dress you like and my combat boots with the soles that have worn down to slick nothing and the chain wrist cuffs that match my collar that you like to see on me. I wash the work day off my face and scrub dry until I’m pink.

You raise an eyebrow at my outfit choice but you’re smiling underneath it.

We dance for days and days on the porch as night falls and the bats come out to play. Sometimes the tempo is slow and our feet barely remember to shuffle while we kiss with lots of tongue and you run your fingers through my fresh soft buzz cut. The smell of wisteria finds its way to us across the breeze and if our neighbors see us, they pretend not to.

Sometimes the tempo is faster and you throw me across the boards in controlled chaos. It takes every ounce of concentration to just follow, to listen for the cues in your palm on my back, to remind myself of the rock step-triple-step beat, to give over to the music and your direction. There are moments when it is effortless and we are just flying, one creature.

Finally it is fully dark and you press me back against the one oak tree, breathless and sweaty on the warm summer night. Ed Sheeran or some other sensitive white guy is still crooning on but all I can feel is your dick hard against the fly of your jeans against me.

You press me hard enough that I’m sure the rough bark will leave marks, pinning my hands over my head, looping the chains around my wrists into that hook that usually holds the wind chime. I’m impressed by your forethought but the nation is quickly swept away my your hands doubled up on either side of my rib cage, stroking the length of me up and down from exposed armpits to the bottom curve of each hip. I shiver and swoon under your firm big hands that make me feel so small. You inch the bottom of the dress up teasingly slowly. I really hope the neighbors aren’t watching now.

Just when I can feel myself start to squirm and rub my thighs together anxious of the wetness I can feel coming on… you pull back. I whimper a little and sigh involuntarily, which of course is what you want.

“Not now, pet. You’re going to wait.”

“Mmmrf. I mean, yes, Sir.”

Inside, we make pizzas — yours pesto and salami with a cauliflower crust, mine sourdough and jalapeños and onion. They are delicious, but I am distracted thinking of the packer still between your legs. After dinner you tell me to ignore the kitchen mess and follow you, so I do.

You strip my dress off like someone who has done it a hundred times before and nod approvingly at what is revealed: just mounds of tight exposed flesh with no underwear. I feel you press up against me from behind and your arm wraps around my throat.

“You’re going to take my whip, boy, and then you’re going to take my dick.”

“Mmmmmm… ! I mean, yes, Sir.”

The wood of the coffee table is shockingly cold at first and my nipples flinch against it, but I relax into it as you layer gentle strokes with your big fat deerskin flogger all across my back. I moan despite myself as you ramp up in intensity and land a few solid strikes across the curve where ass meets thighs. You always were a leg person.

You pause to lean over me and grow into my ear. “Mmm, beautiful. Good boy. Ten more. Count for me.”

This time, I do not hesitate. “Yes, Sir.”

You step back but your fingers trail across my reddening back like it pains you to be separated. I can still feel the energy of you reach out to me across the room.

Until it is concentrated into a fiery pinprick of the kiss of your single tail.

“One, Sir.”

I try to remind myself it is just sensation. I try to erase pain from my vocabulary and just feel it. Easier said than done.

“Two, Sir. Three, Sir. Oh…! Four, Sir.”

Now we are both flying, drunk on your power. You push me harder to see if you can draw blood and break in this whip. Make it bound to me like i am to you.

The lash falls hot across my shoulder and i squirm hard, but the trickle raised is just sweat.

“Five, Sir..!”

You love me but you quiet that part of yourself with reserve to get what you want. No, it’s not want. You will be nice later. You need blood.

“Fuck! Six, Sir. Seven! Ah!”

I squeak out with difficulty eight and nine. You tell me a hundred times i am a good boy for taking it so nice and it lands every time.

Finally the warm droplets are pooling for you and you can feel your dick hard and straining in your jeans. You laugh aloud as i flinch hard out of habit while you barely tease me with number ten.

“Ten, Sir. Thank you, Sir.”

You run the tails and your fingertips over my back and ass, drawing in the red, savoring my flinching as you pass over the already raised welts. My breath is heaving and so is yours, in time, I think.

In a moment your fly is open and you are crammed against me, sliding in easily to the hilt of your open jeans. You pull my hips back into you with both hands and groan as you start thrusting slow and deep the length of you. You wrap your hands around my face and shove your fingers hard against my tongue. You are growling a steady stream of filthy words but my brain isn’t even processing it anymore. I am overwhelmed by you.

“Fuck, that’s so nice. That’s right. You just take it for me, you little whore. That’s Daddy’s slut. Unh, you feel so good. So tight baby. Daddy’s going to give it to you. Fuck…!!!”

I guess I came too, because the next thing I remember: I am in a puddle, dripping into the carpet and high and there is no pain anymore.

You scoop me up and guide me into the shower, lather down my dully aching back with peppermint soap and wrap me in your big soft Daddy robe.

We eat Girl Scout cookies and watch Steven Universe until I fall asleep on your shoulder.

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“There Are Others Like You:” Interview with Rowdy, rife’s Puppy

Recently, Betty Butch was doing some research for an article, and did a small interview with me about my puppy persona.

How shall I refer to you?

my pup name is rowdy and pup pronouns are he/him, but if you’re referring to me as the human, you can call me rife, property of Mx. Sexsmith, pronouns he or they.

Tell me about yourself

My pup is a husky-corgi mix named Rowdy. He is super friendly and loves wrestling and human attention. He enjoys the outdoors and– OMG BALL!!

When did you first hear about puppy play, and how did you come to participate?

I probably saw it first at Folsom street fair about ten years ago, and thought, cute! that looks fun. But was much more on the giving scritches side than getting them for a long time. I played one time with a pup who did a whole sled dog team and that was pretty inspiring.

What does puppy play mean to you? What does your experience of puppy play look like?

For me, it is a playful, nonsexual way to be extroverted in kink spaces without the anxiety of having to be verbal. It can look like wrestling or cuddling or playing fetch.

Can you tell me about a scene or moment that encapsulates your love of play / pup headspace?

I like to be told I’m a good boy, so training with my dominant/handler can be fun… but the most memorable was after my cis-pup died in a kind of tragic way, I happened to be at a kink event at the time and couldn’t bear people asking me how i was doing because i was devastated. So that was the first time I was in full pup mode in public, and it was healing… it felt like a way to be closer to my dog who had just passed, remembering her body language and enacting it. And after, we did a piercing ritual still in pup space.

Would people be surprised to know you engage in puppy play? Why or why not?

Depends on where they know me from. ;) We don’t talk about it much on the blog or as titleholders, but my pervert friends would not be surprised. I love animals and am a dog walker part time as one of my vanilla jobs.

If you could give advice to someone curious about puppy play (whether private play, or going to events/moshes), what would that advice be?

You don’t need any gear, just have fun. Practice nonverbal consent a lot and have a plan in place if your boundaries are pushed (standing up or saying “no” works). Pups come in all shapes, sizes, ability levels, and genders, so don’t sweat it if you’re the only one not on your knees or with your particular plumbing. I paw-mise, there are others like you!

On Receiving a Full Scholarship to College, Twenty Years Later

Twenty years ago, in 2000, the Martin Family Foundation changed my life by giving me a full academic scholarship to the University of Washington.

I was 20. I’d cut my hair off the year before, split up with my high school boyfriend, and was now figuring out what it was to be out and loud and really really queer. I was struggling to afford community college and rent, and while I did have some support from my family, I was also an emancipated minor and had been living on my own for 3 years at that point.

I remember filling out the application. I remember, on the day of the interview, I missed my bus by mere moments and went to the pay phone outside of Pagliacci pizza to call the school and let them know I was going to be late. I was sure I had no chance of receiving the scholarship, based on being late, but they said no problem and switched my time slot with the person after me (who was early). (I think of this often when I’m late, the lesson being: just let them know.)

I blazed in to the interview, at a table full of silver-haired white men, a few of whom were taking notes on laptops (it was 2000, that was uncommon), and I talked about how I wanted to make queer art and write about liberational stories of sex and desire and the transformative potential for feminism to change the world.

When I left, I thought, well, there’s no way that room will give me money for my mission. But I was proud of myself for telling them what I really thought, what I really wanted to study — it was very vulnerable, to be so honest about something that felt so radical.

I remember that much more than I remember getting the call that I’d been accepted.

It meant so much to me that the Martin family heard my young adult queer ambitious heart and said, yes; not only do we believe in what you’re trying to do, we’d like to give you money so you can do that. It still means so much to me.

I never thought I would actually be a professional sexuality, gender, relationships, and kink writer — I didn’t expect to use my women, gender, sexuality studies degree so directly. (I just thought I’d be able to articulate the sexism & homophobia in whatever publishing company I worked at very well.)

In so many ways, my career started with this moment, when this group of men said yes. It gave me the opportunity to believe in myself a little stronger, a little more vigilantly. Someone else listened and said *yes, I’d like to give you money so you can do that* and they did, and I can honestly say it changed my life.

Happy 30th Anniversary, Martin Family Foundation. thank you for all you have done for me and for others at UW & beyond.

I’m Still Not Tired of Your Company, aka A Valentine

Happy Valentine’s Day! To all of you: beloved friends, community acquaintances, readers, family, old friends, and new.

I appreciate you and I’m grateful we have this weird, modern medium to use to keep us connected. Valentine’s day is weird and can be isolating and too full of Hallmark for comfort, but I still think excuses to celebrate love, tell people we love them, and spend quality time together (well, that’s my love language anyway), are all generally positive and I gratefully accept an excuse to focus on it, and let you know that I am glad to know you all.

and:

To this incredible person, my partner, my spouse, my boy of almost 9 years, rife: I love you.

I’m grateful for our intense, beautiful, swoon-worthy courtship, grateful for our years of struggle to figure out how we fit together and what we are really going to do together and how we, two flawed humans, are going to make a life together, and grateful that we are looking forward into the future again with a vision for our partnership that stretches long beyond the horizon that I can see. I adore you. I never get tired of your company — ?? Which still confuses me, because I get tired of almost everybody else, massive introvert that I am. But I love you next to me on the couch, in the woods, crafting and listening to podcasts, or watching another episode of the Great British Baking Show when we should be sleeping. I love the way you take care of your chillest dog and my grouchy old lady cat, and how determined you are to make the world a better place by tending the earth, and how you are so patient and kind, and how you make art out of everything, even the flaws and things I used to label as decay or destruction. that you are in my life inspires me to be better, motivates me to step up and dream bigger, and makes me want to impress you.

I love you — today, & all the days we get to will have together, and the 3,072 days we’ve been together already.

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Sinclair & rife Are Leather Paper Dolls (& You Can Download Us!)

Since May 2019, rife & I have been leather title holders.

There are many outfits involved.

rife, being the artistic and very efficient boy he is, decided to make paper dolls of us, and all of our leather, so we could look through the outfits without having to try them all on.

Honestly, I’m not sure it saved any time, but it is damn cute!

(Yes, he can make a set for your, but he’s not cheap, and it takes about ten hours.)

If you want your very own Sinclair & rife Leather Paper Doll set, rife made a PDF for you to print and cut out.

If you have any outfit ideas for us, we’d love to hear your suggestions!

Feeling Yourself: Getting Acquainted With Your New Strap On

So you bought a strap on harness and dildo — great! Exciting! Congratulations on choosing from the dozens of excellent products that are out there, and I hope it’s everything you wanted and more.

Ready to use it?

Sometimes, the distance between bringing the new toy home and actually using it with another person be a lot. Some of that might just be scheduling, and carving out the time for you and someone else to get sexy and lube up.

But some of it is fear, anxiety, or nervousness — and that can be harder to correct for. Sometimes our minds create barriers when there is none, even if — or perhaps especially if — it’s something we really want. If we don’t try, we don’t fail. We remain safer. But, in kink, and in sex toys and pleasure, taking a risk is very often where the pleasure is.

So perhaps it’s good to root out what kind of fear is happening. Actually listen to those voices in your head the next time they show up and rage at you: What if I screw up? What if I look ridiculous? What if I don’t know what I’m doing? What if I freeze? What if it slips out and I keep going and don’t notice because I can’t feel it? What if I like it, like, really a lot?

Just listen, and see what they’re saying. If it works to reason with yourself, you might be able to counter some of the concerns with facts or likelihood, but often, those kinds of voices don’t really run on fact-based logic, so it might not help.

And ya know, the fears might be founded. Some of those things might turn out to be true — but with time, and more confidence, and more experience, not only will there be less fear, but there will be more ability to shake off whatever potentially embarrassing things happen.

So. Let’s go.

Experiment with some of these things and see what feels best for you. These aren’t in any order, and they might not all work for you. That’s cool — just take what helps, & leave the rest.

And please — add your own ideas, if you have suggestions, in the comments.

1. Set It Up

First things first: Get it out of the packaging. Wash it thoroughly with mild soap and water. Sanitize it, if you like, by wiping it down with 10% bleach and 90% water, or running it through the dishwasher in the top shelf with no soap, or by boiling for a couple minutes.

Follow the directions about the harness that you bought and do a quick once-over clean of it. You don’t need to wash it in the washing machine, if it is machine-washable, or do a whole leather-safe soap and coat of oil, but you might want to wipe it down with a damp cloth.

It’s not so much because they are “dirty” and you should be worried about how they’ve been packaged so much as it’s about getting to know it’s care and feeding.

Depending on the harness you purchased, and what kind of body you have, you might also want to trim some of the excess off of your leg straps. Some of them come extra-long so to accommodate all kinds of body shapes, but if your body has been about the same size for a while, it’s probably safe for you to customize it to you, and trim it to fit. Assuming you’re not going to share it, of course.

2. Put It On

Yep, just put it on. Take some time for yourself and put it all the way on. Wear it around the house. Do the dishes. Answer some email.

You don’t have to stay in it too long — though it is useful to figure out where the harness might chafe, where the weight of the dildo pulls the harness, and how easily the straps slip. Plus, it’s excellent practice for putting it on and taking it off, for figuring out the fastest way to get the buckle and straps all in the right places, and for how to beat get it off.

Experiment with some different things to see what works best.

That means: put it on and wear it around a few times, not just once!

3. Get to Know It – aka, Masturbate, Masturbate, Masturbate

Jerk off with it! Read erotica, watch porn, or just let your mind wander. Thinking about the use of your strap on will help it be realistic, feel more like a part of you, and maybe even give you some insight about the kind of fantasies you might enjoy.

Take it in your hand and explore it. Imagine yourself feeling down into every inch of it, down all the way to the tip. When you touch it with your fingers, feel it where your fingertips meet it, but also try to feel it from the inside. Try a little harder. Strain for the feeling. You might find it more sensate than you expected.

Belladonna has a porn series called Strapped Dykes that could be inspiring, and of course there’s the Crash Pad series. Say Please and Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 have some of my favorite strap on stories in them. Give those a try.

4. Expand Your Proprioception

“Proprioception” is the felt sense of the edges of your body, and it’s changeable, possible to incorporate inanimate objects into your sense of yourself.

For example, consider when you’re wearing a big backpack. For a little while, for most of us, we will knock into things somewhat awkwardly when we first put it on. But if we wear it for a while, we can develop an expanded awareness and start to sense how far out behind us and to the side that it extends.

Same thing happened with driving a new car, or a bicycle.

This can happen with a strap on — or a whip, a flogger, a paddle — too.

Keep feeling into it. Keep trying it on and playing with it, feeling it in your body. It can take time, but it’s possible.

Add your own ideas, if you have suggestions, in the comments.

Thanks!

Ready to Make Waves: Two Recent Inspirational Leather Speeches

I’ve heard more speeches in the leather community lately than I have ever in my life, and I gotta say — I’m moved. There is some beautiful oratory happening, some strong inspiration, some insight and sharing and vulnerability and power that I haven’t seen in a long time.

It’s how I used to feel, in feminist and queer activist circles. At all those rallies and meetings and events. But I haven’t felt that way about queer and feminist events in a while. Leather feels more at home, and more edgy, and like more relevant topics.

Here are two examples from this past year: Bianca Spencer, current Ms Rubber San Francisco, at the Ms Powerhouse Leather San Francisco contest, and Jack Thompson, at International Mr Leather in May of last year, delivering what became his winning speech.

Bianca Spencer’s speech from Ms Powerhouse Leather SF contest

Bianca, the current Ms Rubber San Francisco, gave this speech during the Ms Powerhouse Leather San Francisco contest — and I was moved. I mean, I think we all were. I haven’t been so inspired by a speech in a long time. Thank you, Bianca!

Jack Thompson’s speech at International Mr. Leather

I haven’t found the transcript for Jack’s speech yet, though I think I saw one at some point so I do think it’s out there somewhere. Jack is breaking down boundaries as an out, bi-racial, bisexual, HIV-positive trans man, and there has been some push back from the cis men in leather, but equally powerful support. It seems clear to me why he won, when I heard this. #JackIsMyIML

Resources For Sex & Chronic Pain

A friend of mine recently asked me if I had any resources for chronic pain and sexuality. I knew of a few off the top of my head, but I started looking around, and querying in a few of the sex educator groups I’m in, and on Twitter, and compiled this list.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in and made suggestions!

What else do you all recommend? Please leave them in the comments.

Spoon Theory

Y’all probably know about the spoon theory — it is very widely popular in many circles, not only when talking about ability, written by Christine Miserandino. If you don’t, highly recommend you familiarize yourself with it — here’s the sweet article that started it all, over on ButYouDontLookSick.com.

Websites

Chronic Sex – & their Podcast
KinkAcademy.com – Shanna Katz & Wintersong Tashlin have series on sex & disability
Sexability.com – Rafe Biggs
Disability After Dark – Andrew Gurza
SexAbled – Robin Wilson-Beattie

Twitter

SexAbled – Robin Wilson-Beattie

Corey Alexander

Articles

Books

Partners in Passion – short section starts p374, but there are resources throughout the book
The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, & the Conversations We Aren’t Having – JoEllen Notte’s new book, forthcoming March 2020
Am I Ugly? – from the author: “First third talks about chronic illness, and the last third talks about sex in relation to surgery scars.”

D/s Books

Kneeling in Spirit: Disabled Submissives

Conference

Sex & Disability conference – happened in 2017 but there are listings for presenters and resources here

Which D/s Webinars Should rife + I Produce in 2020?

I didn’t expect the launch of the D/s webinars in 2018 to be such a big deal. The monthly webinars have become the primary way rife and I teach online, and I’m very excited to continue to have that platform to explore D/s topics, connect with other folks who are in D/s relationships, and talk about queer, nonbinary D/s.

This year, we did so many amazing topics:

  • Art of Ownership
  • Ask Us Anything
  • The Protocol Game
  • Fundamentals of Dominance
  • Self-Growth Through Dominance
  • Doctor D/s: Troubleshooting the Hard Stuff
  • … and more!

And, of course, we produced D/s Playground!

We turned our 8-week course Submissive Playground into an on demand ecourse for all kinds D/s orientations. It’s now online & live at dsplayground.com and you can sign up now! (Patrons get access to the course for as long as they are a patron.)

Now, it’s time to plan 2020

I took a poll over on Patreon early in December, and I have narrowed it down to some topics. My ideal is to do four webinars about D/s dynamics in general, four on submission, and four on dominance.

On Submission:

  • Actually I’m not sure yet. I didn’t break out many topics in the poll I did on Patreon, and rife & I haven’t sat down to talk about what topics for submissives would be best
  • Got any ideas?

On D/s dynamics in General

  • D/s as a Spiritual Path
  • Top/bottom vs Dominant/submissive
  • Nonbinary D/s
  • Feminist Sadism is not an oxymoron (and other things we feel guilty about)

Though, to be honest, I want to continue to do the Protocol Game in December as a way to prepare for the new year — it’s such a good time to do it! Maybe that’ll be a special bonus webinar? Hmm.

On Dominance

  • The Vulnerable Dominant
  • Self-Growth Through Dominance
  • Decision Fatigue & Other Responsibilities (receiving as a dom, giving orders, commanding presence, dominant aftercare – things like that)
  • ??

Secret Plan: Dominant Fireside Chats

I mentioned “dominant fireside chats” in the poll on Patreon, and it got quite a bit of votes! I love love love this idea, I’ve been thinking about it for years. So, I added it as a goal on Patreon — at a certain level of $, I’ll host one fireside chat a month (or maybe every other month? Is once a month too much? I’ll consider) and sit down to talk about dominance with another dominant, and take questions. That would be so much fun. There really aren’t enough dominant resources out there, I’d love to contribute to that conversation.

Support me on Patreon if you want to help me meet this goal and make this happen!

So, what do you think?

Got any other requests for 2020 webinars? What topics are you itching to explore? What are the kinks (hah) that come up in your D/s dynamic frequently? What kind of topics do you find yourself discussing with your friends all the time? I’d love to know.