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17 Mar 15:30

What is Holistic Feminism?

by -julia
This is one in a series of blog posts in which I discuss some of the concepts and terminology that I forward in my writings, including my new book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive.

Since my first book Whipping Girl came out, people have tended to call me a trans feminist. For those who are unfamiliar with trans feminism, it refers to transgender perspectives on feminism, or feminist perspectives on transgender issues. That definitely describes a lot of my writing and activism, especially during the time that I was writing that book. But in Excluded, I broaden the lens significantly and attempt to articulate how sexism, marginalization, and exclusion work in a more general sense. The term trans feminism seemed too narrow for this endeavor.



Furthermore, trans feminism tends to be centered on transgender perspectives—and for good reason, given that such perspectives had been overlooked or misconstrued in previous formulations of feminism. But the new approach that I forward in Excluded intentionally avoids being centered on any particular identity or perspective. So calling it “trans feminism” wouldn’t be appropriate.

The idea of calling this approach “holistic feminism” grew out of a line from a spoken word piece that I wrote in 2007 (just after I finished writing Whipping Girl) called Performance Piece—that piece has since become a chapter in Excluded. In that piece, I respond to the often-cited feminist slogans “all gender is drag” and “all gender is performance” this way:

Instead of saying that all gender is this or all gender is that, let’s recognize that the word gender has scores of meanings built into it. It’s an amalgamation of bodies, identities and life experiences, of subconscious urges, sensations and behaviors, some of which develop organically, and others which are shaped by language and culture. Instead of saying that gender is any one single thing, let’s start describing it as a holistic experience. [Excluded, p.107]

In Excluded (specifically Chapter 13, “Homogenizing Versus Holistic Views of Gender and Sexuality”), I flesh out this idea further, making the case that shared biology, biological variation, shared culture, and individual experience all come together in an unfathomably complex manner to create both the trends as well as the diversity in gender and sexuality that we see all around us. Why is this important? Well, past feminists and queer/LGBTQIA+ activists have explained why the idea that we are all biologically determined to be gendered or sexual in particular ways is both incorrect and can result in sexism and marginalization. But frankly, the same is also true of the strict nurture side of the nature-versus-nurture debate (as I address in more depth in my recent post What is gender artifactualism? I also discuss this in a radio interview I did for the Pacifica radio program Against the Grain).

So the “holistic” in Holistic Feminism refers, in part, to the way in which it transcends the traditional nature-versus-nurture debate, and recognizes that people are fundamentally heterogeneous with regard to sex, gender, sexuality, and other traits. But “holistic” also refers to other aspects of this approach:

...this approach recognizes that each of us has a rather specific (and therefore, limited) view of gender and sexuality, and sexism and marginalization—a perspective largely shaped by our own life experiences and how we are socially situated. Therefore, the only way that we can thoroughly understand these complex phenomena is through a multiplicity of different perspectives. [Excluded, p.6-7]

The notion that we all have different experiences with sexism and marginalization, and that feminism should be inclusive of our differing perspectives, comes straight out of intersectionality. But the holistic approach that I forward emphasizes several ideas that are sometimes overlooked in discussions about intersectionality.

The first is that we differ from one another not only with regards to the forms of oppression we face, but also with regards to our biology, bodies, personalities, predilections, and experiences. Thus, two people who are marginalized in the exact same way may nevertheless express very different desires and/or react very differently to their situations. I believe that this is crucial to keep in mind, as many activist movements have fallen into the trap of expecting all of its members to respond to their oppression in a uniform manner—e.g., claims that all women must avoid femininity, or all LGBTQIA+ people must come out of the closet and be visibly queer. Holistic Feminism recognizes that such approaches are futile and only lead to the exclusion of many people from the movement.

A second and related idea is that activist movements (even those that recognize intersectionality) tend to develop “fixed perspectives” that formally acknowledge certain identities, perspectives, and forms of sexism and marginalization, while overlooking or dismissing others. For instance, when feminists talk about fighting “the patriarchy,” or when trans activists talk about “shattering the gender binary,” those constructs only address a limited number of double standards. Fixed perspectives tend to portray the world in black-and-white, cut-and-dried terms, where specific expressions of gender or sexuality are deemed to be right or wrong, moral or immoral, natural or unnatural, attractive or unattractive, taken for granted or problematic. In this way, activist movements sporting fixed perspectives are just as rooted in hierarchies and double standards, and often just as invested in policing people’s genders and sexualities, as mainstream culture is.

Holistic feminism counters such notions by recognizing that expressions of gender and sexuality have no inherent fixed meanings on their own. Rather, we (the perceivers) consciously or unconsciously project various meanings and connotations onto them. Therefore, rather than policing how people “do” their genders and sexualities, we should instead challenge all forms of gender entitlement—when people nonconsensually project their personally-held assumptions, expectations, stereotypes, and value judgments onto other people’s genders and sexualities. After all, that is where sexism originates—at the level of perceiving, interpreting, and judging other people’s bodies and behaviors.

[For the record, I first forwarded this idea of gender entitlement in Whipping Girl—see pages  89-93, 112-113, 165-170, 226-227, 337-338, 359-362—but I more thoroughly explain the concept in Excluded, particularly in the Chapter 18, “Challenging Gender Entitlement.”]

Holistic Feminism attempts to move beyond the fixed approaches of the past, in part, by challenging gender entitlement and acknowledging that people are fundamentally heterogeneous. But it also does this by challenging myriad double standards, rather than taking the fixed approach of focusing on one or a few specific forms of sexism or marginalization.

How can one challenge all double standards, even ones we are not currently unaware of? Well, I argue that we can do this if we work to understand how double standards operate and how they are employed in order to invalidate people. If we learn to recognize the telltale signs of double standards and invalidations, it may allow us to notice and challenge instances of marginalization even if we are unaware of the particular “ism” that is driving it. In Chapter 20, “Recognizing Invalidations,” I describe this as a “bottom-up” approach that is meant to complement the current “top-down” strategies (i.e., centered on understanding the specifics of each individual ism) that predominate in current feminist, queer activist, and social justice movements.

In the final chapter of the book, “Balancing Acts,” I make it clear that Holistic Feminism’s bottom-up approach is not intended to challenge the usefulness of traditional top-down strategies:

This approach is not meant to replace all feminist and queer theories and analyses that came before it. Rather, it is meant to serve as a corrective: it contemplates myriad double standards whereas other feminisms have focused more on specific isms or monolithic gender systems; it highlights the many commonalities that exist between how different double standards are enforced and function whereas other feminisms have focused more on the very unique histories and consequences associated with each individual ism; it stresses individual differences in how we each experience sex, gender, sexuality, sexism, and marginalization, whereas other feminisms have tended to frame these matters solely in terms of collective categories and shared experiences of oppression. [Excluded, p.281-282]

When I give presentations on this holistic approach, I often make the following analogy: One can think of myriad double standards like stars in the sky, each star representing some kind of double standard. For every star (i.e., double standard) that we can see clearly, there are countless others that we cannot perceive from our vantage point. Top-down approaches centered on specific isms are akin to trying to teach people to recognize specific constellations. It is about pattern recognition and noticing how certain double standards are related to one another (e.g., learning all the specific invalidating assumptions, stereotypes, and double-binds faced by a particular marginalized group). Important information may be conveyed, but it tends to be fairly self-contained and not obviously applicable to other marginalized groups. Just as learning how to detect The Big Dipper doesn’t provide us any insight into how to recognize Orion, learning how to recognize traditional sexism tends not to offer us any insight into how to detect instances of heterosexism, or cissexism, or monosexism, or racism, or ableism—and of course, the same holds true for each of these (and other) isms too.

In keeping with this analogy, the holistic approach that I forward is much like teaching people how to notice stars rather than to pick out individual constellations. It teaches us how to recognize double standards whenever and wherever they occur, even if we are unfamiliar with whatever specific ism(s) (or lack thereof) may be driving it. Admittedly, this view (on its own) is incomplete, as some relevant information may be missed. But in other ways, it is more thorough. As I said, I believe that using both top-down and bottom-up approaches in concert together offers us the best chance of challenging all forms of sexism and marginalization, as well as eradicating exclusion within our movements.
14 Jan 02:20

Dominant vs Domineering – Relationship Red Flag List

by kinkylittlegirl

A while back, I found a great post on Fetlife by Twysted about red flags and dating tips for kinky people, and reposted it here on my blog with his/her permission.  Fast forward a few years, and I got a message from Robert Rubel the other day that the post was actually originally by Epiphany, citing a list that was written in turn by Saikiji Kitalpha on Second Life.

Upon looking at Epiphany’s post (which was actually posted after mine, I confess to being a bit confused about the actual origin of the list – and realized that the version that she has is actually a lot more extensive.

So, in the interest of completeness, and revisiting a topic that I don’t think we can ever overemphasize, I am here reposting the entire thing as seen on Epiphany’s blog.  Please do feel free to copy and repost the comments and list found below – but please make sure to include the correct attributions to Saikiji Kitalpha, and do not pass it off as your own work.  That’s plagiarism – which is not only dishonest but actually illegal.

=========================

The term “Red Flag” is used to describe a personal trait or behaviour that is common in people who are harmful to others. When getting to know someone new it is very important to look for these warning signs, as they may mean something is very wrong, even horribly wrong. Red flags can apply to any gender, or any role or relationship. Dom, sub, male, female, trans, switch, hetero, homo, bi, pan, friendships, d/s relationships, marriages, relatives, work relationships, etc. They are not specific to any gender, orientation, or relationship.

It is also important to understand that none of these red flags on their own are a sign of an abusive or dangerous situation or person, especially in isolated incidents. Anyone can make a mistake, have a bad day or simply misunderstand or misinterpret. Some red flags merely indicate a need for discussion, or discovery. Others indicate that it is time to get out of the relationship immediately.

What you are looking for are groups of repeating, negative behaviors. It is important to take your time in establishing new relationships as it may take time for these behaviors or patterns to emerge. When you see these red flags, slow down or even stop the relationship to assess your situation. Generally, the more red flag behaviors you observe in a person, the more often you see them and the quicker they emerge in a new relationship, the more at risk you are from being emotionally and/or physically harmed by this person.

CATEGORIES

Isolating

• Tries to limit your access to others in your life friends, family, BDSM community.
• Forbids contact with others or undermines relationships or activities with others.
• Is negative and un-supportive of other relationships you have.
• Monitors your communications (emails, phone calls, chats) with others.
• Controls finances, the car, and the activities you partake in.
• May want you to quit your job, give up your car or telephone.
• Always asks where you’ve been and with whom in an accusatory manner.
• Calls and visits unexpectedly on a regular basis.
• Refuses to allow you a safe call.
• Becomes angry if you show signs of independence or strength.

Deceptive

• Is reluctant to give you personal and factual information about themselves.
• Refuses to give their marital status before a meeting.
• Gives inconsistent or conflicting information or details about themselves or past events.
• When you ask personal questions, gets angry, changes the topic, ends the conversation or answers questions with questions.
• Gets mad if you ask for references or want ask others about them.
• Has very limited times/places/methods where you are able to contact them and gets angry if you try to contact them outside of those conditions.
• Does not give you their home and work phone number at the appropriate time.
• Has multiple online identities for interacting with the same communities.
• Cheats on you.
• Gives the impression of being very successful without any evidence of real success.
• Disappears from communication for days or weeks at a time without explanation.
• Are evasive about their activities, especialy unexplained absences.
• Only interacts with you in a kinky or sexual manner as if role-playing.
• Will not have normal everyday vanilla conversations.

Socialization

• Critical of the BDSM community.
• Critical of multiple respected members of the BDSM community.
• Has multiple interpersonal conflicts within the BDSM community.
• Refuses to participate in the BDSM community.
• Has bad relationships with most or all of their family members.
• Has no BDSM references or friends you can talk to, and becomes angry if you ask for them.
• Has no friendships or refuses contact with their family.

Insecure

• Is always exaggerating.
• Always puts blame on others for things going wrong.
• They resort to extreme measures to prove that they are not at fault.
• Does not take personal responsibility, or acknowledge their own mistakes.
• Their apologies feels insincere, phony, or is insulting in nature.
• Puts you down in front of other people.
• Is constantly comparing themselves to others.
• Brags excessively about their experience, scene credentials, mastery, training, scene name dropping.
• Will not discuss what your possible future relationship could be like, Tries to keep you in the dark about what might happen next in the relationship.
• Never shows you their human side. Hides their vulnerabilities or behave in an emotionless manner.
• Hides behind their D/s authority, says that their authority should not be questioned.

Disrespectful

• Does not respect your feelings, rights, or opinions.
• Is rude to public servants such as waitresses, cashiers and janitors.
• Displays little concern or awareness of the feelings or needs of others.
• Never says thank you, excuse me or I am sorry to anyone.
• Obvious and excessive displays of impatience.
• Believe that they are deserving of some particular reward or benefit even at the expense of others.

Manipulative

• Tries to make you feel guilty for not being “good enough”.
• Says that you are not a true sub/slave/dom.
• Belittles your ideas.
• Blames you for your hurt feelings.
• Tries to make you think that relationship problems are your fault.
• Yells or by threatens to withdraw their love/leave you if you do not do as he/she wishes

Inconsistent

• Consistently breaks promises.
• Makes plans then makes excuses for not meeting.
• Treats you lovingly and respectfully one day and then harshly and accusingly the next.
• Goes through extreme highs (behaving with great kindness) and pronounced lows (behaving with cruelty), almost as though they are two distinctly different people.

Domineering

• Pressures you into doing things you do not want to do.
• Does not respect your limits, negotiations or contracts.
• Pushes you into a D/s relationship too fast.
• Pushes you into a sexual relationship too fast.
• Pushes you into a poly relationship too fast.
• Overly demanding of your time and must be the center of your attention.
• Insists a safe word is not necessary.

Intemperate

• Conspicuous consumption: spending largely and inappropriately on luxury items.
• Abuses alcohol or other drugs.
• Gambles excessively.
• Is constantly asking for money or material goods from you or others.
• Falls in love with you way too fast and swears undying love before even meeting you.
• Begins saying things like, “I can’t live without you.”
• Deliberately saying or doing things that result in getting themselves seriously hurt.

Tempermental

• Loses control of their emotions in arguments. Raises their voice, yelling, name-calling and blame.
• Uses force or violence to solve problems
• Punch walls or throw things when they’re upset.
• Turns on their peers, going quickly from “best friend” to “arch enemy”, often for trivial or imagined reasons.
• Displays a disproportionately negative reaction to being told “no”.
• Holds excessive grudges against others and goes to great lengths to get revenge on people.
• Threatens suicide or other forms of self-harm.
• Hypersensitive and easily upset by annoyances that are part of daily life.

Conditioned

• Were an abuse victim themselves, and may be abusive as a learned behavior.
• May exhibit cruel behavior towards animals.
• Might admit to hitting a partner in the past, but claims the partner “made” him/her do it.

12 Mar 05:00

How To Become Rich and Famous On The Internet In 5 Easy Steps

by ittybizninjas

It is said that all things come in threes.

Twice this week I have been asked, by fairly random sources, what my favorite article is on IttyBiz.

Since someone else is going to ask anyway, I’ll just repost it.

I assume that you are here because you want to become rich and famous on the internet in five easy steps. Either that or you don’t speak English and you’re looking for dirty pictures. Therefore, without further ado…

1. Find something you’re so passionate about that people think you’re alarming and kind of creepy.

When I worked for Sprint, a Very Enthusiastic Man worked in the department next to mine. He was so Enthusiastic With A Capital E that when we spoke, which was fairly often, I was convinced he was hitting on me. But he wasn’t hitting on me in a normal way. Oh, no. He wanted me to fly a kite with him.

Every day, a new request to go kite flying. Every day, a new discussion of the type of kite that would be just right for me. Every day, another piece of kite tournament trivia.

Eventually, I had to tell him that I didn’t think the direction our relationship was going was appropriate. For one thing, I was engaged. For another, it was really weirding me out.

He gives me this totally perplexed look and says, “I’m not propositioning you. I’m married to the most beautiful girl in the world. I just really like flying kites and I thought you might like it too.”

That is a man who could make a lot of money on the internet.

2. Know or learn more about this topic than 98% of the world population.

This step can best be achieved by reading lots of books. An intelligent person could fake it by reading the table of contents of lots of books.

Somewhere along the way, we got the idea that “expert status” was granted by other experts. For tens of thousands of years, an expert was somebody who knew a lot about something. In the last hundred years or so, we got it in our collective heads that expertise could only be attained by years of school, paid experience, or ideally, both.

You don’t have to be Johnnie Walker to know which whiskey tastes like a harem full of honey-covered virgins and which one tastes like rat pee.

3. Choose a brandable attribute somewhere between Out Of The Ordinary and Outright Offensive.

Combine your love of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with your passion for harness racing and you have the recipe for making some serious bank. Do gambling podcasts and end them all with, “And I say these things in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.” That stuff gets you noticed.

Topless political commentary. Pajama-clad mommy vlogging while actually and exclusively clad in pajamas. Write under the pseudonym “Rufus” and bark when you get excited. Basically, be weird.

4. For the first 12 months, pretend you don’t notice the brand you chose in number 3.

Just do what you’re doing like there’s nothing strange about it. Just do your weird-ass thing. Do not mention it. Do not allude to it. Do everything you can to make people wonder if you’re so crazy you don’t even know you’re crazy.

Why? It’s a lot more fun to tell our friends about weird-ass crap we found on the internet when we feel like we discovered the weirdness ourselves. If we get a hint that you’re doing it as a publicity stunt, it’s not fun anymore. If I want to tell my friends I found this guy who screams his head off about wine, it kind of ruins the effect if his header says, “The Dude Who Screams His Head Off About Wine.”

(After 12 months, when other people have started talking about you, you may stop pretending you’re not a naked Mormon if you like, although I probably wouldn’t.)

5. Work your fool ass off at this and nothing else for somewhere between nine and 36 months.

Do not waver in your efforts, even when your website gets 6 visitors a day. Do not stop doing what you’re doing when you don’t get a comment on your blog for an entire month. Do not quit, even when any rational person would say you’re never going to succeed.

Continue being optimistic and gracious and charming, even though there is neither guarantee nor hope that you will make a damn dime from your efforts.

Bonus Step: Sell Them Something.

By this point, it doesn’t matter what you sell. You’re so insane that they’ll pretty much do whatever you tell them to.

Naomi writes more things like this in The Letter. Get it for free today. (It also comes with free marketing courses. You can’t move for free here.)

10 Mar 04:39

What Is Stone?

by xanwest

We say “stone” as if it was clear. As if it was obvious, immediately legible. As if you could read our nuances embedded in that one word, instantly. As if we all mean exactly the same thing. Most of the time, we don’t say it at all. But when we do, when we sit down with a lover and name ourselves as stone (usually a bit nervously), we often say that one word as if it could hold all the parts of us not seen. Almost as if it was magic. We don’t want to talk about it, pay attention to it, turn anyone’s gaze toward it, so we cross our fingers and hope we can boil it down to that one word, and that will be enough.

This post (and this whole blog series) attempts to talk about it. Which means it is already treading in uncomfortable places, and drawing attention to things we generally deflect from scrutiny.

I am going to attempt to lay out many of the things we may mean when we call ourselves stone, based on my experience and knowledge. This is intended to be a jumping off place for conversation; none of these are definitive, or applicable to everyone who identifies as stone. There are likely meanings I missed, or that I described in ways that don’t sit right. Attempting to put words to that which avoids language pretty much guarantees that.

What is stone?

“I found claiming ‘stone’ an enormous relief, and I like that. It’s upfront, it’s on the table, it’s a positive assertion of who I am and what I will or won’t do.” –Anonymous

Some of the things we mean when we identify as stone:

A.      Having emotional armor: being emotionally guarded, being emotionally self-protective, emotional stoicism, not sharing our emotions, not wanting our emotions recognized or discussed. Emotional armor is a range of protective strategies around emotions (showing them and feeling them), and can range in thickness and levels of stoicism.

B.      Limits on touch/penetration/nakedness: common limits can include things like: I don’t get fucked; I don’t fuck my lovers; don’t touch me there, I don’t take off my clothes during sex, don’t touch me in that way. This is the most common meaning of stone.

C.       Being a sexual top: the one who runs the fuck, or sometimes the one who does the fucking (often exclusively), and is not interested in being sexually receptive (getting fucked). This meaning is often tied to the prior one about limits.

D.      End of the spectrum masculinity/butchness: very butch, very masculine. Commonly, this meaning of stone also refers to specific traits associated with masculinity in Western culture (like toughness, physical strength, showing little or no emotion, dominance, etc.).

E.       Body experience of violation with [certain kinds of] touch: a visceral experience of violation with certain kinds of touch, any touch at all, being touched in certain places. This is about what it feels like to be touched, and can be separate from and sometimes the opposite of our desire for touch. (For example, I might really want to have a lover rub my belly, but might have a physical reaction to that kind of touch, where I instinctively pull away or tense up or it just makes my skin crawl, because even though one part of me wants to be touched, my body experiences that touch as violation.)

 F.      Sexual orientation– pleasure is centered on another: this is about a primary way we get off (though we may sometimes get off in other ways), where we get pleasure from creating intense responses in our lovers, and riding the waves of their experience.

What is stone not?

Stone does not equal having sexual/kink boundaries or limits. Everyone has those. (This has been a common source of confusion my classes on stone sexuality and identity.) Having boundaries or limits does not make you stone, whether they are temporary or ongoing. We all have things that we do not want, do not enjoy, or do not choose to do, and that does not make us stone. You don’t need stone identity to give you permission to have sexual and kink boundaries, or to have those boundaries treated with respect.

There are some folks who talk about stone as a role or skin you can put on and off. These folks often talk about sometimes being stone (e.g. when they top or take on a specific kink role), or being a “sacred stone”—someone who chooses to be stone for specific period of time for spiritual reasons, or stone as a form of spiritual asceticism, a way of giving up pleasure for themselves. Many stone-identified folks (including me) see this as co-optation. We feel like our experiences and lives as stone identified people are quite different from folks who do this sometimes as a tool (spiritual or otherwise). We wish that folks who don’t identify as stone would be more respectful of folks who do, if they decide to take up the idea of stone as a tool.

How does stone relate to gender?

““Stone butch” is a term with many connotations just as thick and craggy as their namesake. I sometimes find myself moving away from the label because those connotations can be so firm and unflinching, and because the history of the term is complicated, as social as it is sexual; strange how something can be so aptly named, since my main issue with the identity is that every time I try to fit it to myself, it’s all rough edges.”  –Kate

In U.S. queer communities, stone is often understood as something deeply (and often exclusively) tied to specific gender identities. So we often don’t just say we are stone, but use these identity names:

  • Stone Butch often refers to a butch who fits some or all of the meanings described above. It is most commonly used as shorthand for a specific set of boundaries around sex: not getting fucked, not getting naked, and sometimes areas of the body being off limits for touch.
  • Stone Femme has several common understandings that are in tension with each other. Some Stone Femmes are referring to a sexual identity and desire around being sexually receptive; these folks often have boundaries around not being the sexual top or not fucking their lovers. (That is by far the most common understanding of Stone Femme.)  Some folks identify as Stone Femme because they are both femme and stone, with some or all of the meanings of stone on the list above (e.g. emotional armor, limits around being sexually receptive and being touched, wanting to be the sexual top, bodily experiences of violation with touch). ETA: Some folks who identify as Stone Femme mean that they partner with stone butches or stone trans guys. This is a complex and contentious issue because it implies that Stone Femme is an identity based on who folks partner with. I don’t want to leave this meaning out as I have met folks for whom it rings true. That said, many Stone Femme identified folks are offended by this definition, because of the ways it is a reflection of misogyny in queer culture, and connected to other ways femmes in general are targeted by misogyny (particularly the ways that femme identity is depicted as secondary or dependent on butch identity and partnership).
  • Stone FTM and TG Stone Butch are two more common ways trans folks refer to ourselves as stone. These identities sometimes refer to any of the meanings described above, but are most often referring to similar sets of boundaries around sex and nakedness that stone butch is often shorthand for.

Stone butch and stone femme are terms that are rooted in dyke history, particularly working class dyke history. If you want to learn more about that history, I recommend Boots of Leather, Slippers of Gold ( a history of lesbian community in Buffalo based on oral histories), and Stone Butch Blues (a novel).

“I am stone femme because I have boundaries. It’s not really in relation to stone butches (though they are whom I partner with). I’m stone femme because I don’t go down on someone without a strap-on, because I don’t “fondle” breasts. I have zero interest in doing those things. So, to all those who say I’m not a *real* lesbian b/c I don’t eat p*ssy? F*ck you.” –laurynx

Do we want to tie stone to gender?

Right now, in most queer spaces, stone is understood to be inextricably linked to the specific genders listed above. This leads to a slew of assumptions about who can be stone and how stone works for specific genders.

It is often assumed that the only stone folks are stone butches. So, anyone else who thinks that they might fit these descriptions often figures they cannot be stone if they are not butch. Many people assume that straight folks and cisgender men cannot be stone. Many folks assume that stone is not a word that could apply to trans women, butch or femme or any other gender.

“i spent a long time worrying about what my disinterest in being touched sexually said about me before coming out [as a trans woman]. i ran into the word “stone” at some point but thought it probably didn’t belong to me.” -pinebark

I don’t believe that stone is something only butches can be, though I used to—it was what I learned from our communities. Because of that, I did not call myself stone, until I identified as butch. I didn’t think it could apply to me.

There are also a bunch of assumptions about stone femmes. Many folks assume that stone femme means femmes that partner with stone butches. This is an extension of the common misogynist sense of femme as not quite a separate identity from butch.

“Personally, I always thought of a stone femme as someone who isn’t herself “untouchable” but who prefers to partner with butches who are–i.e. stone butches. I wonder, though, does this take us down the road of defining femme in terms of who we partner with, rather than who we are?” –Sublime Femme

Sometimes folks assume that it means femmes that are exclusively sexual bottoms (folks who only get fucked and do not want to do the fucking and/or run the fuck). People assume that femmes cannot be stone in ways that are around emotional stoicism, and not getting fucked—that’s what stone means only when applied to butches. And yet I have met and talked to a number of femmes who would describe themselves as stone using those meanings. (That includes cisgender femme women, femme trans women, and femme trans men, by the way.)

“I’ve always wondered, as a femme-identified person who also identifies as stone/a top, whether or not I’ll ever be understood by partners, as the predominant assumption always seems to be that only butches can be stone, and no one has ever reacted positively when I’ve tried to explain that make-up and skirts does not automatically equate wanting to be touched.” –LionessYawn

There are also a host of assumptions about stoneness and trans men. There is a common assumption that when trans men are stone, it is because of their gender dysphoria. That it is temporary, until their body/gender dysphoria is somehow “cured” by surgery and hormones. So anyone who is medically transitioning is supposed to “grow out of” being stone.

I find all of these assumptions incredibly limiting. I am interested in talking about stone in a way that does not assume it is attached to specific gender and sexual identities. I think this identity can be useful for and accessible to a wider range of folks if we stop assuming that it is tied inextricably to specific genders. I want folks to be able to access the idea that they might be stone, because I think it can be a really helpful framework. It definitely has been for me.

For many years, I assumed I could not be stone because butch was not one of my genders. I did not have access to an identity that would have helped me understand my sexuality. I have found identifying as stone to be extremely liberatory for my sexuality. Understanding and accepting myself as stone made it possible for me to explore the kinds of sex I actually desired, and has helped me to let go of trying to do sex in ways that don’t work for me. Allowing myself to explore stone sexuality was like coming home. Finally sex made sense. Finally all the things I knew, all the things I could do, all the ways I wanted to act sexually came together. I did not feel like I was following arbitrary rules. I did not feel like I was “faking it” til I made it. I knew how to do this, I knew how to find my own pleasure in it. I knew how to take it where I wanted to go. And I knew how to manage my own bodily sensations in a way that just felt good.

How is stoneness perceived in queer communities?

Stones and our partners often experience prejudice. There are a lot of negative ideas about stone folks in our communities. Stone is often reduced to something to pity, or something to nod sympathetically about.

ETA: Folks often assume that stoneness is rooted in trauma, especially sexual trauma, and stone folks often get nudged to go to therapy or pressured to “work on their trauma”. The idea is often about “curing” stone; folks think that if you do the personal work you’re “supposed” to do about your trauma that you will no longer be stone, so folks that are stone are understood as not having done the work they need to do.

Stone is often understood as some kind of a lack, or an absence, or a problem. Sometimes it is simplified to serving another person’s pleasure or to giving up your own pleasure.

Common negative stereotypes are often broken down by gender and are deeply intertwined with misogyny. For example, the stereotype of the Stone Butch is perceived as a sad and dysfunctional figure who lacks desire, or does not experience pleasure. In this universe of stereotypes, a Stone Butch is understood to be the perfect match for a Stone Femme, who is often derogatorily called a Pillow Queen or Do-Me Queen (falling right in line with misogynist concepts about sexuality). A Stone Femme who likes to get fucked, enjoys pleasure, and gets off on her body being the center of sex, gets depicted as selfish, greedy, needy and too sex/pleasure oriented, while the Stone Butch is perceived as withholding (and therefore paradoxically also selfish), asexual, damaged goods. These stereotypes work in tandem with the (very common) stereotype that all butches are tops and all femmes are bottoms, another set of assumptions that is rooted in misogyny and does everyone a deep disservice.

The negative images of stoneness impact how we are treated in our communities and our intimate relationships, as well as how we see ourselves. Stone folks and our partners are often treated badly for being stone. People sometimes partner with us hoping to melt our stone or “cure” us of being stone. We often internalize the idea that our stoneness is a problem, needs a cure, means something is deeply wrong with us. We sometimes start thinking of our sexual boundaries as illegitimate or hurtful to others.

Stone can be a sexual orientation?

“My sexuality is not only about refusal. The silence into which I coax her murmurs and cries and maybe eventually screams: that is my sexuality, too. And the hundred ways she has of stoking my desire just by how she moves herself under me. The exquisite moment when my hips fall down into hers and our movements match. And those tiny fissures—the look on my face or the change in my breathing or the thrusts I’m no longer consciously controlling—out of which my love pours onto her. Those things are also my sexuality and my sexual freedom.” –Leo McCool

In my classes on stone sexuality, I concentrate on the idea of stone as a sexual orientation where pleasure/desire is centered on another person’s body and experience. I understand stone to be a sexual orientation much like queer, straight, bisexual, asexual, boot fetishist, exhibitionist, etc. can be sexual orientations. I find this framework to be incredibly useful as a way to talk about what is present, instead of solely focusing on what is absent or not allowed.

Stone is one of my core sexual orientations (along with queer, dominant, sadist).  Although many of the other understandings of stone also apply to me, when I talk about my sexuality, I don’t only want to name the things I don’t want (e.g. to get fucked, to be touched, to get naked during sex). I want to talk about how I do want to have sex. What kind of sex I like. How I express my desire. How I get off. And direct stimulation of my body is just not how I generally get off. I get off via direct and indirect stimulation of another person’s body/psyche/spirit. I get off on invoking strong responses in my lovers.

It is my experience and my firm belief that stone sexual expression can be a wonderful, transformative, glorious, positive, hot and complete experience for all involved. I’m going to talk a whole lot more about the pleasures of stone sexuality in my next blog post: Stone Dynamics: Where Pleasure Resides.

This post is part of my Stone Blog Series. You can find links to other posts in this series here.


Tagged: armor, butch, femme, gender, kink, queer, sex, stereotypes, stone, stone as a sexual orientation, trans
10 Mar 04:35

Stone Blog Series

by xanwest

I have been plotting a book on stone for several years, but that’s not the book I need to write right now. There are three long works ahead of it my personal queue (the novel, a retelling of the story of Janet and Tamlin that will likely become a novella if not a full length novel, and a collection of personal essays I want to edit).

It’s been over a year since I taught my stone sexuality class, and I’m not currently booked to teach it any time soon. After yet another request for resources, I realized that I want to make my thoughts and perspective on stone more widely available for folks to access outside of my classes, especially since the book is a ways off. So, I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts on stone sexuality.

Right now, these are in the works. (As they go live, I will put the links on this page.)

  1. What is Stone?
  2. Stone Dynamics: Where Pleasure Resides
  3. Unpacking Assumptions
  4. Letting Your Body Love What It Loves
  5. Where Stone Meets Kink
  6. Meeting Partners Where They Are
  7. Stones Pushing Our Edges
  8. Writing Smut from a Stone Place

This is intended to be a resource for stone folks, people who partner with stone folks, and people that are wondering if they might be stone or might have a stone partner, of all genders. If that does not describe you, tread carefully and think before you comment.


Tagged: kink, sex, stone, writing
23 Feb 06:06

Get In Me, Daddy

I don’t have time for the backseat. It’s now or never. I’m hunched over her, my tongue deep in her...
18 Feb 07:00

Why Don’t Time Management Techniques Work?

by webmanager

Why Don't Time Management Techniques Work?Do you ever feel panicked about not having enough time to do everything?

You’re not alone.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend more than 13 hours a day working, running their households, and caregiving in one form or another.  If you factor in time for eating and sleeping and we’ve reached our 24-hour time limit.

No wonder new time management techniques are popping up as often as new diets.  They’re also constantly failing, just like so many of the latest weight-loss fads.

Why?

The answer is simple.

Time management is a myth. 

Let’s consider my situation.

I’m responsible for running my own business, guiding a group of amazing entrepreneurs to create great changes in their businesses, and additionally, I’m the mother of a restless 3-year old, a household manager, and a wife who wants to keep her marriage thriving!

After trying countless time management methods, I came to the realization that there is only so much time management I can do.  I need to learn to manage myself and my energy—not my time!

5 Ways To Manage Yourself & Your Energy

1. Say No to Last-Minute Commitments

Saying no is never easy, especially if you are a people-pleaser like me.

Whenever someone asks something of me, my first reaction is to drop everything and accommodate their request.  It’s not something that I’d want to totally change about myself, but I have taught myself new, more effective ways of handling these situations.

Now, before responding to requests, I consult my calendar and contemplate whether or not they’re aligned with my priorities.

For example, a few days ago I received a request to write a guest post.  The request came from someone I respect.  Besides that, the piece that I was asked to create would bring visibility to the work I do, but the deadline was in only 3 days.

My first impulse was to accept it on the spot.  But I made myself walk away from my laptop and let the request set in.  I knew that if I agreed, certain things would have to get pushed back.  Was that acceptable?  In this case it wasn’t.

So I went back, thanked them for the opportunity and explained that I just couldn’t commit to writing this article in the time allowed.  I then apologized, but I deleted the apology and  in its place, I asked for 2 weeks of lead time if they wanted me to guest post.

I was immediately asked if I could write just one paragraph so that I could be quoted in the article.  Of course,  I said yes.

It was a win-win situation.

So a “no” is not always a rejection.  More often than not it’s a“not now” or a “not on those terms.”

Remember, it’s YOUR time.  You’ve got to use it on your own terms. 

2. Don’t Be Busy—Be Strategic

For small business owners who are responsible for everything in our businesses, it’s incredibly easy to fill our days with things that we know need to get done.

The problem is that being busy doesn’t always mean that we’re being productive. Tweet this!

Doing things just for the sake of checking them off our lists only leads to our feeling stuck, drained, and discouraged. 

You know what it’s like to slave away day in and day out only to realize that you’ve made very little progress.

Overcome this frustrating situation by making sure that you have a tangible goal in mind for each thing you do.

Do you want bring in more income?  Here are some tangible goals .  . . .

  • I need to sign 3 new clients in order to bring in $6,000 of additional income.
  • Approximately 7 sales conversations are needed to bring in these 3 clients.
  • To generate these conversations, I have to get in touch with about 12 people.

Assign your own numbers to these targets and start experimenting with them so that you can get clear about what is and is not working.

Maybe you’re struggling to generate the conversations in the first place.  If so, you might have to create more (or differently designed) sales offers to your list, ask existing clients for referrals, or create alliances with other service providers.

Having trouble with the sales conversations?  You might need to find a way to better understand the needs of your potential clients and ensure you’re selling a solution to their specific problems.

If everything is working in these two areas, but you’re not closing enough deals, you’ve got to look into what’s going wrong with your close.

I gave this actual advice to a colleague who was feeling stuck, and here is what she shared with me: “Thank you so much for your help! I decided to take action on what you suggested and have already had a shift—two new sign-ups to my newsletter today!”

Get clear on what you need to do, and why -then analyze the results.  This will not only give you a clear sense of direction, but you will accomplish more in less time.

3.  Your To-Do List Should Only Have 1-3 Priorities

Back when I was laying the foundation for my business, I was going absolutely insane because of the amount of things I needed to do.  I remember coming to my husband one day and asking for his advice for how to manage my laundry list of to-dos.  His advice was simple “Cut it in half.”  I gasped: “And what do I do with the other half??”

After looking for some answers online, I came across a suggestion from Ramit Sethi’s that sounded even more radical.  He recommended that you have no more than 3 things on your daily to-do list and they had to be related to moving your business forward.  Also, he advised getting clear on these 3 things the night before (or first thing in the morning).

It took me a while to switch gears.  I had to quiet the voice in my head screaming that I was not going to make any progress this way.  But after a couple of weeks of making more headway than in the previous two months, I was a believer.

I swear by this technique and always share it in my presentations.

After a recent presentation, a woman who is running her own business while also holding down a full-time job said, “I am now focusing on doing ONE thing each day (instead of 20 million like I usually try to do) and you know what, it really makes a difference. I am actually getting things done. So thank you, thank youuuuu!”

 4. Give Your Workflows a Makeover

As your Systems Chick, you know I have to mention the importance of systems.

But let me clarify something.

I’m not referring to software and gadgets.  Though technology is important and helps us automate/streamline many processes, business systems are more about the step-by-step paths we take to get from point A to point B and much less about the tools we use to do it.

For example, a few weeks ago I had a Chaos to Clarity session with a client who felt that she didn’t have enough time in the day to get everything done.

She’d create a to-do list in the morning.  However, she wasn’t able to concentrate on them because of all the other things that were floating around in her head, which needed to get taken care of but weren’t attached to any specific dates. Even simple tasks were taking her forever because these things would pop up in her head and totally interrupt her flow.

I recommended that she first created a map of her business using this worksheet.  It’s a list that covers most of the key activities for online businesses.  She applied those activities to her business.  Crossed out the activities that weren’t relevant for her, and added any activities that weren’t on the list.

Then she established priorities, i.e., activities that were most frustrating or that were having the most detrimental effect on her bottom line.  I suggested that she concentrate on each area for one week; creating a checklist of things that had to happen for the processes to flow, and blocking time in her calendar to take care of them or assigned them to her VA.

The day after our consultation, she said: “My entire day went so much better than usual after you shined the light on some simple steps I can take to get more organized.  I felt more confident and capable–it was empowering.  And that’s even BEFORE I really get going!!!!  Think about how it will be once I implement systems.”

5.  Listen to Your Body

Once you have mapped out your business you will find yourself much clearer on what activities you need to be concentrating on and why.  This is huge.

There is just one last skill that you need to master.

You’ve got to learn to listen to your body.

You’ve got to get attuned to how you feel during your highs and lows to take advantage of your productivity waves and give yourself a break when your body needs to replenish its energy supplies.

Go for a walk, workout, take a nap, or treat yourself to a healthy pick-me-up.

By listening to your body you’ll  learn to differentiate between fatigue and, what Steven Pressfield calls resistance.  By ‘resistance’ he means the internal self-sabotage that can be defeated only by working through the discomfort and honoring commitments you made to yourself and others.

Overcoming the internal resistance is the hardest thing of all.  For most people it’s a lifelong challenge.

But as you practice it more and more, you’ll start realizing that you don’t need more time.  You have plenty of it.  All you need is making the best out of the time that you do have by managing yourself and your environment.

Back to You

How do you manage yourself and your energy?  Which one of the techniques in today’s post resonate with you most strongly?

11 Feb 22:01

Independent Body Parts in Erotic Fiction

by xanwest

We have been having a lively discussion about Independent Body Parts (IBP) on an erotica listserv. What is an independent body part? It’s when your hand or cock or mouth, etc. move on their own. For example:

  • Her cock demanded that I pay attention; it was relentless and deliciously cruel, and I loved it.
  • His cunt grabbed my hand as he begged me to just stay still for a moment and let him feel, it was so fucking good to finally have my whole hand inside him.
  • Hir hands reached for anything solid that ze could hold onto as ze processed the pain from my quirt.

The discussion made me think about my own work, where independent body parts appear in it, and why. In erotic romance, IBP is frowned upon, partly from a history of misuse and overuse. But in erotica, I’ve had some success using it, and have not heard a peep from editors about it.

(Side note: As a leatherqueer, and boot fetishist I think of boots as connected to and part of the bodies of the leatherfolk that wear them, so some of my examples include things like boots with independent movement.)

As a heads up, what follows includes examples of cocksucking, ambivalent consent, group sex, leatherworship and bootplay, rough sex, pain play, breath play, and objectification.

I used IBP  a lot in “Nervous Boy”, first printed in Love at First Sting, which centers on a submissive transguy who is ambivalent about his desire, and a transguy top who grapples with his own ambivalence, and pushes for the boy’s active consent.

This is when the characters meet:

“He catches a glimpse of my eyes as I glance up in his direction. Unbidden, an image fills his head, my eyes looking down at him as I force his head down onto my cock. He tries to shake it off, but it keeps coming.

It’s this image that motivates his boots to cross the floor to me without his full permission. I have paused in my writing to watch the floor by my feet, checking for a nervous boy’s approach. Which is a good thing, otherwise I would not have heard the throaty tentative, “Sir?” And who knows if he would have the guts to repeat it.”

And another example from the first section of the story:

“My gloved hand moves steadily toward his face, knowing his eyes are mesmerized by it. It rests briefly against his cheek, and he breathes the scent of leather before he feels it grip him, thumb stroking his throat as the gloved hand presses against the back of his neck.

His heart leaps to his throat and I can feel it race against my thumb. It’s not fair, his mind screams. He wordlessly drops to his knees and looks up.

There is nothing like the first sight of a boy on his knees. I rake over him with my eyes, taking my time. My thumb strokes the pulse of his throat, claiming him. He is mine, under my hand, in my care, if only for the duration of this scene, he is mine.”

IBP is a tool I used throughout the first part of the story, to deliberately communicate internal conflict, particularly on the bottom’s part, which is the center of that half of the tale, and is transformed into internal clarity in the middle of the story, in this moment, which is where the language begins to shift:

“I thrust deep, watching his eyes, and the truth washes into him and over him through his throat and his ears, and his eyes spill over as that raw place inside him is opened, and filled with my cock and his desire and my cruelty and his tears and my relentless tenderness.

He is sobbing around my cock as I ruthlessly fuck his throat. The sight of his tears draws my cream in long spurts that rack my body as the gutteral growl from my throat wraps into the sounds of his sobs. He swallows every drop, taking it down and absorbing it. His eyes lift and ache for mine. I reach down and stroke his cheek, saying gruffly,

“Good boy.”

I smile down at him, ease out of his mouth and hug him to me. He reaches up and hold on, soaking in who he is, a boy on his knees, held by the man standing over him, the man he just pleased. Proud.”

After that moment, they go have a scene at a public dungeon and the language has shifted completely, where both characters are moving their bodies, the bodies are not doing it by themselves anymore:

“I drive my bootheel into the bruises on his thigh. I ram my elbow into the bruises on his pecs. He grunts, clenching his jaw. He’s not sure he can do it, but he’ll never admit it.

“Yes, Sir, I can take it,” he spits out, glaring at me, promising himself as much as me.”

“Nervous Boy” was one of the first I got published, which I know led at least one other editor to personally solicit my work, because he mentioned this story in particular. Not all editors hate IBP. The editor who printed this story and the one who sought my work because of it are both well known, very prolific erotica editors.

In “Please”, printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2008, a femme dyke picks up a transguy at a bar and bottoms to him in the bathroom. At one of the early peaks of this scene, she is struggling and not sure she can take it. (It being rough sex.) His hand anchors her, connects her to him, helps her stay with it. So, in this passage, it acts on it’s own:

“He bent me over the sink, unzipped his fly, slid on a condom, and then he was there, deep inside, in one quick thrust. The porcelein was cold against my nipples, and I was shakily gripping the sink, trying to stay balanced, but all I could feel was his cock. It was the hardest thickest cock I had ever been fucked with. I was biting my lip trying to keep quiet, and it was a losing battle.

I felt so full, and he just kept driving into me. The invasion was intense. Every time my cunt contracted it felt like it was too much, like I couldn’t take it I was stuffed too full of him. I started holding my breath to keep from screaming. The pounding in my cunt matched the pounding in my head until I felt like I was going to pass out. His hand was in my hair, pulling my head back, and I could feel his breath on my neck as he spoke to me.

“Breathe, damnit.”

I did. I breathed in and I felt my pelvis tilt just a bit, and then he was slamming into my cervix. His hand was still gripping my hair as he kept hitting my cervix just right and I knew I was going to come. I took my own fist into my mouth and I bit down to keep from screaming as I spasmed around his massive girth. He was still there, still so hard inside me. His hand still twisted in my hair, pulling it in these rythmic pulses that felt just like sex. It was too much. I couldn’t take it. I started to beg.”

Here is another example. “It’s My Job”, which was printed in Hot Daddies, centers a fetish for leather, with a long luxurious scene where a boy gets up close to his Daddy’s leather in multiple ways, and is objectified by his Daddy throughout the scene. In that context, the boy’s body acts on it’s own (and is brought in line by his Daddy). And, given the leather fetish, boots as an active partner in the play, and the boy being attuned to the boot he is not licking, makes sense:

“His other boot comes to rest on the back of my neck, driving my mouth into his boot, making me writhe, my cock pulsing as it rubs against the floor. Daddy groans as I press my mouth onto the toe, taking it in like a cock, sucking on it. His other boot forces me onto it in a rhythm of his choosing, as I strain to take him in.

“Your mouth feels so good, boy. Now pay some attention to the other one.”

I lunge for the other boot, taking the toe into my mouth immediately, my cock thrusting into the floor as I work my mouth onto it. The first boot slides between my legs and drives into my balls.

“The only dick that matters here is mine, boy. Daddy’s dick is the one to focus on.””

When his Daddy tells him to lick up his chaps to his cock, the leather fetish means that makes sense that the leather-clad legs and gloved hand act almost of their own accord:

“My sole purpose in life is to please Daddy with my mouth. I open my mouth wider, licking intently along the leather of his chaps. My head between his calves, I writhe on the floor, intent on savoring every inch. I lick up to the knee on one and then switch legs, worshipping with luxurious strokes of my tongue. I can feel myself flying, airy. It is trancelike, and yet I’m completely focused. He groans when my mouth reaches the back of his knee, and his other leg clamps down onto my head, holding my mouth there as I continue to stroke him with my tongue.

“That’s Daddy’s good boy. Use that tongue. Make Daddy happy. Your mouth feels so damn good, boy.”

His leg releases me, and I continue my journey up his thighs. Muscle shifts in response to my tongue. His hand snakes down and grips my hair before stroking my head. My cheek is against his leather jock. I can smell him. I am in heaven.”

Here is another example. Near the end of “Lucky”, which was first printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2009, a femme dyke bottoms to a half dozen other queer folks of various genders, and as that scene crescendos, she is surrounded by all of them, disappears into her body, and they all become connected. While throughout the story, all parties are linked to the actions of their bodies, in that moment, it’s just bodies and her taking them all in:

“I came, screaming and gagging around his cock as it rammed into my throat. My nipples were pinched, hands stroked my skin. I was covered in sex, dripping with it, on display for all. I joyously thrust back against the cock reaming my ass. I felt so lucky. The orgasm washed over me as it built and built and I began to fly, weightless, soaring on pleasure.”

One last example. My story “First Time Since”, which was printed in Hurts So Good and won honorable mention for the NLA John Preston Short Fiction Award, is about a dominant who is coming out of mourning for his last D/s relationship. The story uses his boots as a symbol for his dominance that he is struggling to reclaim, and they act on their own throughout most of it:

It begins with this:

“My dress boots rested in a neat line on the top of the bookcase. And waited. It had been months since I wore anything but my work boots. Months since they were taken down to be cared for by a loving hand. Months since my slave asked to be released. They waited.”

Later in the first part of the story, the theme is elaborated:

“Rebuilding came first. Reclaiming all the tasks I delegated to him. All of the opportunities for service that I created led to this sense that we were one unit—interdependent. So I began to take them back. From the preparation of food, to putting away my clothes precisely as I require. From keeping my glass full to shaving my head every week.

But not my boots. They gathered dust as I tried to imagine feeling powerful enough, strong enough, whole enough to wear them. They were patient. More patient than I was with this grieving.”

Late in the story, his boots begin to transform:

“I closed my eyes, feeling his hands on my boot and his breath against my cock. I could feel my boots springing to life as I casually stroked his face, my hand sliding against his lips. I breathed in slowly, feeling my dominance rising, a bittersweet sensation, and gripped my hand over his mouth, my eyes on his. His hands stilled on my boot, as I covered his airways, taking his breath. I watched that life surge, felt it against my palm, and held him, bringing him stillness. I released his breath and watched his eyes go starry as he found that lovely serene place. Then his hands resumed blacking my boot. I savored it, feeling myself surge, as I saw reverence fill him.”

The boy he plays with at the end of the story never becomes fully human and real in his eyes. As his boots come to life, he takes more charge of his own actions and body, while the boy continues to be (consensually) a symbol and an object, a tool to bring him back to life. So it makes sense that the boy’s body continues to be the one that acts, in the perspective of the dominant:

“I ground the sole of my boot into his back, using the heel to drive his mouth deeper into the leather, savoring the feel of a man on the floor under my boot. I could feel myself surging as his tongue stroked me, and I picked up and slammed my heel into his back, hearing his moan around my boot. I growled and rammed into his back, driving the heel in where I knew it was the sharpest, grabbing a yelp from him. I could see his hips thrusting into the floor, and I laid my boot heel on his lower back just above his ass, sliding the side of the boot into his crack as I wrapped his hair round my hand pushing his mouth into my boot until I had his breath again. His ass shuddered under my boot and I watched him come, waiting to release his breath until it was over. His arms wrapped around my boot as he sobbed, and I stroked his hair lightly.”

Like any tool, IBP can be used badly, overused, and grate when the entire genre is taken over by overuse. That doesn’t mean we throw it out though. Or at least I don’t.

I do get concerned about how to use it and communicate full active consent to the reader, as that is one of the things I personally want in all my work. (I’ve written about that here.) Body parts moving on their own imply lack of choice, so I try to be careful how I use this tool, as consent is a deep value of mine.


Tagged: Best Gay Erotica 2013, Best Women's Erotica 2008, Best Women's Erotica 2009, erotica, excerpt, faggotry, First Time Since, Hot Daddies, Hurts So Good, Independent Body Parts, It's My Job, kink, Love at First Sting, lucky, nervous boy, Please, queer, writer's tools, writing, writing erotica
08 Feb 15:56

My Trans* and Genderqueer Erotica

by xanwest

As a trans* reader of erotica, I spend a lot of time looking for representation of trans* and genderqueer characters, especially stories that center those characters. So I thought I might make it easier for trans* and genderqueer readers to find my trans* work, by providing a list of my published erotica that centers trans* and genderqueer characters:

“Strong”, from the POV of a transgender top playing with a genderfluid bottom, printed in Say Please

“Alley Obsession”, about two trans guys doing cocksucking in an alley, printed in Got a Minute?

“Please”, about a femme bottom who gets picked up in a bar by a trans guy top, which was printed in Best Women’s Erotica 2008

The sequel to “Please”, “How He Likes It”, where that same femme bottom and trans man top have a scene with the top’s former mentor, who is also a trans man, which was printed in Best Lesbian Erotica 2012

“A Lesson about Gender”, about a genderqueer (specifically genderfluid) submissive reminscing about a cisgender man ze used to play with, which is printed in Pleasure Bound

“Nervous Boy”, about a first date between two trans guys, printed in Love at First Sting and Bondage By the Bay

“Willing”, about a cisgender gay vampire who picks up an trans boy in a bar, which is printed in the collections Leathermen; Blood Sacraments; Men at Noon, Monsters at Midnight; and Coming Together: In Vein

“My Precious Whore”, about a transmasculine top doing psychological edgeplay with a longtime cisgender femme partner, printed in Best Lesbian Erotica 2011

“Missing Daddy” about an bear/cub couple who are both trans men, printed in Daddies and Best Gay Erotica 2013

“A Large Full Meal”, about two transmasculine tops getting it on in a bathroom, printed in Salacious Magazine and the collection Cruising for Bad Boys

“Baxter’s Boy”, about a cisgender femme fantasizing about playing with a trans gay dominant and his cisgender gay boy, printed in The Big Book of Orgasms

“Kneeling for Him”, about a trans guy bottom who picks up a cisgender top in a gay leatherbar in SF, which is printed in the collections In Plain View, and Bondage by the Bay

“What I Need”, about a transmasculine top and his intense desire, printed in Best Lesbian Erotica 2014


Tagged: A Large Full Meal, A Lesson About Gender, Alley Obsession, Baxter's Boy, Best Gay Erotica 2013, Best Lesbian Erotica 2011, Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, Best Women's Erotica 2008, Big Book of Orgasms, Bondage by the Bay, coming together: in vein, Cruising for Bad Boys, Daddies, erotica, faggotry, femme, for us by us, gender, gender play, genderfluid, genderqueer, Got a Minute?, How He Likes It, In Plain View, kink, Kneeling for Him, Leathermen, Love at First Sting, Missing Daddy, My Precious Whore, nervous boy, Please, Pleasure Bound, queer, Salacious Magazine, say please, strong, trans, transmasculine, What I Need, willing, writing erotica
06 Feb 04:29

Notes from the LoveSac.

by Mollena Williams
03 Feb 18:34

4 Ways to Push Back Against Your Privilege

by no1checksthisinbox.bgd@gmail.com

by Mia McKenzie

I’ve often said that it’s not enough to acknowledge your privilege. And, in fact, that acknowledging it is often little more than a chance to pat yourself on the back for being so “aware.” What I find is that most of the time when people acknowledge their privilege, they feel really special about it, really important, really glad that something so significant just happened, and then they just go ahead and do whatever they wanted to do anyway, privilege firmly in place. The truth is that acknowledging your privilege means a whole lot of nothing much if you don’t do anything to actively push back against it.

I understand, of course, that the vast majority of people don’t even acknowledge their privilege in the first place. I’m not talking to them. I’m talking to those of us who do. If we do, then we need to understand that acknowledgement all by itself isn’t enough. No matter how cathartic it feels.

So, what does pushing back against your privilege look like? Well, here are just a few ways it can look (note: none of these is easy; that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try):

1. Relinquish Power

If you are in a position of power and you are able to recognize and acknowledge that at least part of the reason you are there is your (white, male, cisgendered, able-bodied, class, etc.) privilege, then pushing back against that privilege means sharing that power with, or sometimes relinquishing it to, the folks around you who have less privilege and therefore less power. I had a conversation recently with my friend about her terrible white woman boss who, when the women of color she supervises have strong feelings about the way things are being run, including the hiring of more white people over POC, pulls rank on them. Her “I understand your feelings but I am, you know, the boss and it’s my job to…” nonsense is exactly what not pushing back against your privilege looks like. On the other hand, “I was hired to supervise y’all, but I don’t want to perpetuate this type of effed-up power dynamic and also I recognize that y’all have a better understanding about why we should not hire another white man, so I’m going to go ahead and defer to y’all” is exactly what pushing back against your privilege does look like.


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2. Just Don’t Go

If you have access to something and you recognize that you have it partly because of privilege, opt out of it. If you’re an able-bodied person and that retreat you really, really want to go on isn’t wheelchair accessible, and the organizers of said retreat have been asked and supported in making a change and done nothing, and you realize how fucked up that is, don’t go. It works the same for women-only events that exclude trans women. Don’t go. Even if you really, really want to go because your, like, fave artist ever is gonna be there. Especially then. Pushing back against your privilege often requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is hard sometimes, homies.  If not being a dick were easy, everybody would do it! Acknowledging that something is messed up doesn’t mean anything if you still participate just because, dang, you really want to and stuff.

3. Shut up

This one is so, so important. If you are a person with a lot of privilege (i.e. a white, straight, able-bodied, class-privileged, cisgender male or any combination of two or more of those) and you call yourself being against oppression, then it should be part of your regular routine to sit the hell down and shut the eff up. If you can recognize that part of the reason your opinion, your voice, carries so much weight and importance is because you are a white man (or whatever combination is working for you), then pushing back against your privilege often looks like shutting your face. Now, of course, using your privilege to speak out against oppression is very important. But I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about chiming in, taking up space, adding your two cents, playing devil’s advocate, etc. when 1) no one asked you, 2) the subject matter is outside your realm of experience (why do you even think you get to have an opinion about the lives of black women??), 3) anything you say is just going to cause more harm because your voice, in and of itself, is a reminder that you always get to have a voice and that voice usually drowns out the voices of others.

4. Be careful what identities you claim

If you’re a cis dude who is only into women but you call yourself ‘queer’ because all your friends are queer and plus you kissed a guy once and also you feel more politically aligned with queer folks…rethink that. Consider how your privilege (and sense of entitlement) gives you access to claim identities even when your lived experience doesn’t support it. The same goes for white-presenting people who claim POC but by their own admission don’t experience oppression based on race. Just consider what it means to claim that and to then argue about its validity with people who do experience racism in their daily lives*, and who don’t have access to the kind of choices around it that you have. (I’m not saying you’re white or that you should call yourself that. I’m only questioning use of the term POC.) Think about what it means to claim a marginalized identity when you don’t have a marginalized experience. Really. Think about it. Don’t just get offended and start crying about identity-policing. Really consider what that means.

Just a suggestion.

The bottom line here is that if you acknowledge your privilege and then just go ahead and do the same things anyhow, you have done absolutely zero things differently from people who don’t acknowledge their privilege at all. Because the outcome is exactly the same. The impact is exactly the same.

It’s also worth saying that I think we need to talk less about privilege altogether and more about supremacy. But that’s another post.

In the meantime, when we do talk about privilege, I suggest we stop talking about “acknowledging” it and start focusing seriously on “pushing back against” it. Let’s maybe make it a goal in 2014.

*seriously, don’t send me a “woe is me, I’m a white-presenting POC and you’re hurting my feelings and/or I need you to answer these six questions about number 4″ message. seriously. think about why as a visible person of color who deals with racialized oppression on the daily, it’s not cool to expect me to hold space for your fee-fees.

All work published on BGD is the intellectual property of its writers. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission from BGD. For more info, go here.

bgdbwsmallerMia McKenzie is an award-winning writer and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous.

 

 

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03 Feb 21:37

On Frozen and Feminism

by GIRL'S GONE CHILD
Disney-Frozen-Movie-Poster
We have FROZEN at our house and have watched it ... oh I dunno, a dozen times? At least. We own the soundtrack. We sing the soundtrack. We sing "LET IT GO" every time someone needs to use the bathroom etc etc - best soundtrack ever. 

There weren't a lot of strong feminist films this year (understatement central) which is par for the course but I'm very glad Disney turned the tables and shattered the glass princess movie ceiling because, whoa, true love = sisterhood? Hell yeah, it does. I mean, the moral of the story was all very "sisters before misters" which is a beautiful thing. And considering that most Princess stories paint sisters/mothers/non-princess-y women as "mean" and "ugly," cruel and abusive/forever-out-to-get-you, Frozen was a light at the end of the antiquated tunnel of Princess culture. 


Cinderella? Sleeping Beauty? The Little Mermaid? Snow White? Hell, even Tangled! These were women held back by women only to be "saved" by make-out sessions with men. Eff that noise. 

(Mulan had to pretend to be a man/surround herself with men in order to find herself. Womp.)

But the other night after discussing FROZEN with a friend (who felt the film was faux-feminist/rooted in fear-based misogyny), I began to see things a bit differently... 


"Misogynistic? DUDE."


... And then I listened to said friend's explanation and he kind of blew my mind. 


He felt the film's underlying message was "a woman in power is a threat to the world." He felt that Elsa running off to the woods was all very red tent "women are less equipped to lead because they are hormonal and bleed out of their vaginas and OMG PMS" esque. 


And then my head exploded because, whoaAAAAAH. Was I so blinded by the "pro-sisterhood" ending that I missed all of that? 


And, sure, in the end (SPOILER ALERT!) Elsa learns how to HARNESS her power, but only when she's lost absolutely everything/ turned the world to ice/has nothing left to lose. 


FROZEN is basically about a woman who comes into power and effs everything up because she can't control her body. Because she has extraordinary power and is therefore a threat to her world.


That is some shit, man.


And then I thought about it and HOLD ON WAIT A MINUTE SO NOT EVEN CLOSE. I mean, yes, I was blinded by the "pro-siserhood" message that I missed all of that but ALL OF THAT is what MAKES Frozen the feminist dynamo that it is. 


The message that "with great power comes great responsibility" is a very human message that extends beyond feminism and into a more (progressive) HUMANIST space.

When a woman (or a man) has extraordinary power she/he CAN (if the power isn't properly controlled) be a threat. AND YET. Because we're not conditioned to see a woman in the highest position of power it feels... wrong? Confusing? Misogynistic? 


Which is, paradoxically, what makes FROZEN that much more feminist...


"With great power comes great responsibility" has always been the "hero's" dilemma. Anna's character represents the typical fearlessly-quirky sidekick-heroine-archetype but up until now, Elsa's character has been played by, well, a man. 

"Sisters before misters" is a refreshing message for sure, but there's a more nuanced takeaway from this film that extends beyond the importance of sisterhood and into a brave new world where women struggle with power the same way men do. I love me some Joseph Campbell but his "Hero's Journey" disqualifies women as heroines. Frozen challenges the monomyth. (Although I completely agree that we've had enough Whitey McWhiteywhite princesses/love interests to last us fourteen lifetimes. Come on, Dis! You can do better than that!

When it comes to our daughters (and sons - Archer is as much a fan of FROZEN as his sisters) and the kind of movies that are marketed to them, Frozen is a groundbreaker that I feel deserves to be discussed. It isn't a perfect film by any means but we're certainly moving in the right direction I think.

ED: I realize I am about as academic as a hangnail and my knowledge in feminist studies/film is slim pickings compared to most of you, which is why I'd love for you to share your thoughts on FROZEN, as mothers, fathers, feminists, humanists, people who love (and/or despise) Disney movies, all of the above, none of the above, etc... 


Or, if you'd rather, you can just enjoy this amazing multi-language version of Let it Go: 
GGC

03 Feb 15:51

What is subversivism?

by -julia
This is one in a series of blog posts in which I discuss some of the concepts and terminology that I forward in my writings, including my new book Excluded: Making Feminist and Queer Movements More Inclusive.

So the word “subversivism” pops up a couple of times in Excluded, but I first began using the term in my first book Whipping Girl, specifically Chapter 20, “The Future of Queer/Trans Activism.” While the word had previously existed (Merriam-Websterdefines it as “the quality or state of being subversive”), I began using it to describe a form of sexism that is quite prevalent within feminist and queer subcultures, albeit absent from straight mainstream society.


In Whipping Girl, I describe it this way:

Subversivism is the practice of extolling certain gender and sexual expressions and identities simply because they are unconventional or nonconforming. In the parlance of subversivism, these atypical genders and sexualities are “good” because they “transgress” or “subvert” oppressive binary gender norms. The justification for the practice of subversivism has evolved out of a particular reading (although some would call it a misreading) of the work of various influential queer theorists over the last decade and a half. To briefly summarize this popularized account: All forms of sexism arise from the binary gender system. Since this binary gender system is everywhere—in our thoughts, language, traditions, behaviors, etc.—the only way we can overturn it is to actively undermine the system from within. Thus, in order to challenge sexism, people must “perform” their genders in ways that bend, break, and blur all of the imaginary distinctions that exist between male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, and so on, presumably leading to a systemwide binary meltdown. [p.346]

There is nothing inherently wrong with celebrating and praising supposedly “subversive” and “transgressive” expressions of gender and sexuality (although the assumption that such activities undermine the gender binary, or patriarchy, or what have you, seem rather dubious to me for reasons that I discuss throughout the second half of Excluded). However, in practice, subversivism usually winds up creating a new sexist double standard:

On the surface, subversivism gives the appearance of accommodating a seemingly infinite array of genders and sexualities, but this is not quite the case. Subversivism does have very specific boundaries; it has an “other.” By glorifying identities and expressions that appear to subvert or blur gender binaries, subversivism automatically creates a reciprocal category of people whose gender and sexual identities and expressions are by default inherently conservative, even “hegemonic,” because they are seen as reinforcing or naturalizing the binary gender system.


Subversivism doesn’t merely target the heterosexual gender-conforming majority. In Excluded, I discuss how transsexuals (see Chapter 12), femmes (see Chapter 6), and bisexuals (see Chapter 9), in addition to other gender and sexual minorities, regularly face accusations of “reinforcing patriarchy/heteronormativity/the gender binary,” or of “not being queer/feminist enough” because of their appearance, dress, or partner preference. Indeed, subversivism is a common tactic that is used to marginalize and exclude these groups (and others) within these movements.

Anyway, to continue:

To me, the most surreal part of this whole transgressing-versus-reinforcing-gender-norms dialogue in the queer/trans community (and in many gender studies classrooms and books) is the unacknowledged hypocrisy of it all. It is sadly ironic that people who claim to be gender-fucking in the name of “shattering the gender binary,” and who criticize people whose identities fail to adequately challenge our societal notions of femaleness and maleness, cannot see that they have just created a new gender binary, one in which subversive genders are “good” and conservative genders are “bad.” In a sense, this new gender binary isn’t even all that new. It is merely the original oppositional sexist binary flipped upside down. So now, gender-nonconforming folks are on top and gender-normative people are on the bottom—how revolutionary!


Does subversivism truly constitute a form of sexism?


I define sexism as any type of double standard (e.g., an assumption, expectation, stereotype, or value judgment) based on a person’s sex, gender, or sexuality. In Excluded, I make the case that there are myriad double standards—some which are pervasive, and others which are more temporary or fleeting; some of which exist in mainstream society, and others which exist in specific settings or subcultures; some of which we are aware of, and others which we are oblivious to. And I make the case that, as activists, we should work to challenge all double standards, rather than ignoring some and reversing others.

Thus, while subversivism may not be prevalent in mainstream society, we should be concerned by it and we should work to eliminate it.

I have had a couple people challenge me on this. Their argument went something like this: People who are subversivist within feminist and queer settings constitute an oppressed group, and as such, they do not have the institutionalized power with which to oppress other people within their communities. I find such views to be quite short-sighted, as they ignore the very real material benefits that come from being considered a legitimate member of a community or movement.

Take people who fall under the bisexual umbrella as an example. Such people are often not fully accepted within queer movements and communities, in part, due to subversivist attitudes that malign bisexuality as inherently conservative and heteronormative. As I point out in Excluded:

This lack of community has had a devastating effect on [bisexual] folks. For instance, even though we outnumber exclusively homosexual people, we have poorer health outcomes and higher poverty rates than gays and lesbians, and we are generally not acknowledged or served by LGBTQIA+ organizations, even the ones that have “B” in the name.[Excluded, p. 85. In a footnote, I cite references for this: San Francisco Human Rights Commission, “Bisexual Invisibility: Impacts and Recommendations”; Shiri Eisner, Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, pp. 59-93; Massachusetts Department of Public Health, “The Health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Persons in Massachusetts”]

Similarly, as I discuss in Whipping Girl, within many feminist and queer women’s settings, the embrace of trans male/masculine folks and reluctance to accept trans female/feminine folks is largely driven by subversivism, in that the former are seen as “bold,” “rebellious,” and “dangerous,” whereas the latter are dismissed as “timid,” “conventional,” and “safe.” I can tell you first-hand that not having a community or movement that accepts you—whether it’s due to blatant monosexism or trans-misogyny, or occurs indirectly via subversivism—has a very real impact on one’s life and ability to survive in a world where we are already marginalized by mainstream society to begin with.

You don’t use the term subversivism that often in Excluded. Why not?


When I first used the term in Whipping Girl, I used it to describe how subversivist attitudes play out in contemporary queer/trans spaces, wherein trans male/masculine identities are viewed as more subversive than trans female/feminine ones, and where gender-blurring identities and expressions (e.g., drag, genderqueer) are viewed as more subversive than binary ones (e.g., transsexual women and men).

However, different activist movements and communities may deem different identities and expressions to be more (or less) subversive than others. So for instances, trans-exclusive radical feminists tend to view drag performers, genderqueers, transsexuals, and other transgender spectrum identities as equally conservative (as we all supposedly “reinforce patriarchal gender roles” in their eyes). Such feminists also tend to view BDSM and porn as inherently conservative, whereas in more sex-positive/sex-radical circles those same expressions may be celebrated as subversive and liberating.

So subversivism doesn’t function in the same way that we are used to thinking about “isms,” as it does not target a specific group of people. Rather, subversivism is perhaps better thought of as a mindset that often arises within activist movements, and which provides a convenient excuse for either perpetuating hierarchies that already exist within society, or to create newfangled hierarchies within that specific movement. Given this, I thought that it would be more fruitful to highlight the arbitrary nature of these subversivist hierarchies more generally—I do this in multiple chapters of Excluded, especially Chapter 12, ‘The Perversion of “The Personal Is Political”’ and Chapter 16, “Fixed Versus Holistic Perspectives.”
01 Feb 05:00

Randy's Little Faggot

It was a month before I graduated college and I hadn’t found a job in the city like I wanted....
23 Jan 00:14

Writing Dirty Omnibus!

by Jack Stratton

I’m selling one giant ebook with pretty much everything in it. Five novellas and 40+ short stories including some stories I haven’t been able to sell before because of copyright, some old old stories that are a little raw but definitely fun reads, a couple of non-erotica stories that I hope you will find charming, and a few surprises. It’s a little under 200,000 words.

I’m asking 20 bucks for this, but it’s a lot of smut!

tl;dr You can get all my stories and a bunch of stuff not on this site for $20 or more if you want to support me extra.

Purchase the omnibus
Jack Stratton collection:
$20
PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

19 Jan 05:34

Undiluted

I met her on a Wednesday. We kissed that night. I didn’t hesitate. I kissed her the way I wanted to...
16 Jan 23:06

Orgasm Control: For the reader?

by xanwest

I am thrilled about this review of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, which names the juxtaposition of the prior piece with mine as a stroke of editing genius on the part of Kathleen Warnock. It has been such a pleasure working with her over the past few years, as a writer and being part of her NYC based reading  series DCW.

When I read this edition of BLE I was struck by the way some of the pieces ended without climax, and have been thinking about what it means to do orgasm denial for the reader, to tease and taunt and bring you to the edge and not deliver. (And, after reading Nevada last month, re-reading The Fault in Our Stars, and thinking about Roving Pack again recently, I’ve been wondering about what it means to leave the reader in the middle of things, in a novel. Especially given that I’m contemplating writing my first one. What does it mean to leave in the middle, to not bring to a clean close, to not end the scene, so to speak, or provide aftercare? I like what Imogen Binnie and her reviewers have to say about the ending for Nevada. And…leaving en media res is not generally my choice. Though I do often start there.)

Orgasm control is a deep kinky love of mine, but I have been more of an overindulge, forced multiple orgasm kind of sadist (and sometimes a delay delay delay and make you keep on begging for it til you go crazy and then give it to you type), rather than one who is into outright denial. Perhaps that’s why I have a habit of bringing in orgasm early in a piece of smut, sometimes in the first paragraph, sometimes waiting til the second page, even if that orgasm is not the main show, so to speak, of the story.

“What I Need”, the piece printed in BLE14, is a piece that definitely starts in the intensity of desire and need. This most recent review sees it as a lovely answer to the unfulfilled yearning in the piece printed directly before it.

“Arabi focuses on the messy relationships between ethics and pleasure. It resonated with me on so many levels, as the character repeats her intense want of women and her simultaneous fear of ever making an unwanted advance toward a woman. She presents these tensions, makes them a part of the erotic content and ultimately, never resolves them. I love it.

This is where I find Warnock’s work as an editor to be quite remarkable. The piece following “Tongue in Cheek” begins with an unforgiving, relentless drive:

I need to be inside you. This minute, no waiting, no preparation. Fucking taking off any clothes, fuck finding an appropriate place, fuck finishing this conversation; I need to pull my dick out of my pants and be inside you immediately  (140).

Xan West’s “What I Need” begins with the crazy intense climax Arabi denies her readers; relieving the frustrations encountered by our last hero. West’s piece is a bold BDSM scene that manages to be so full of intense sensations and images, yet vulnerable and loving and comforting at the same time. It’s one that I re-read often.”

What a wonderful review. It made my day.


Tagged: Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, Kathleen Warnock, Nevada, orgasm control, reviews, Roving Pack, The Fault in Our Stars, What I Need
13 Jan 18:26

Heartbreak, Accountability and Other Stuff: What I Learned in 2013

by blackgirldangerous@gmail.com

by Mia McKenzie

2013 was a pretty great year for me. It definitely had its ugly parts, including heartbreak and betrayal (two of my least favorite things), but those were balanced out by loyal friends (shout out to my homies, without whom I could not have gotten through it), writerly successes (my first novel, The Summer We Got Free, won the Lambda Literary Award) and new love (hey, sweetie). The best thing about 2013 is that I learned A LOT.

Here’s something you don’t know about me: I value growth as a human being above all other things. I’m kind of obsessed with it. And while I’m not a big fan of hard lessons (I mean, seriously, can I ever learn anything the easy way?), I’m grateful to be capable of learning at all. To be capable of growth and change. Because otherwise, what’s the point?

So, here are a few things I learned in 2013:

1. A broken heart means you had love, and that makes you lucky.

Heartbreak SUCKS. But one thing I realized in 2013, while dealing with my own heartbreak and the heartbreaks of several of my friends, is that some people never get to experience heartbreak. And while those folks may seem like the lucky ones when you’re going through it, the reality is that most people who don’t ever experience heartbreak don’t ever experience the love that creates the possibility for heartbreak.

Last year while I was in the last stages of nursing a broken heart, I had a revelation. I thought about the people I know, including family members and ancestors, whose lives have never been touched by the kind of passion and connection that makes you think you want to spend your life with someone, that you want to wake up and see their face everyday. Some people never know the pleasure of great sex or what it’s like to be held in the arms of a lover who whispers forever in your ear. And even if that forever wasn’t ever real, and even if you wish now that those whispers had never been spoken, it’s hard to argue that a life with passionate romantic love, however foolish, however painful, isn’t better than a life without it. And, shit-show that my love-life often is, I cannot deny that I have had a LOT of passionate love. And I’m grateful for it.  While I can’t look back on my last relationship with any fondness or good feeling now, I know that when I’m eighty, I’ll be happy that I had moments of great love, that I’ll cherish faded whispers from even my most regretted relationships. Because heartbreak comes with the territory. And the territory itself is pretty wonderful.

2. Acceptance is good. It makes you feel less crazy.

2013 provided a host of things I hated but could not change. Among them were being betrayed, losing my shit in a moment of overwhelm and making a bad decision and not being able to undo it (um, why are time machines still not a thing? Even short-term ones? Usually, I just need to go back a couple of hours and everything would be great. Aries need time machines!), having random people project themselves into my life and make themselves the subject of some imagined action against them (steeped in misogynoir, I might add), and several other instances of what-the-fuck.  The fact that I couldn’t change any of it was the source of a lot of bad feelings in me. The thing I wanted to change most, though, was how I was perceived (or imagined myself to be perceived) in relation to these incidents. Like having someone you barely know randomly project themselves into your work is bad enough (it’s awful, really), but being perceived as a villain because of it, because of someone else’s craziness, is even worse. Still, as bad as it was, as bad as all of it was, I couldn’t change it. I tried. And trying only made it worse. Because when someone makes up their mind to perceive you in a certain way, any and everything you do, no matter how well-intentioned, will be skewed to fit the narrative of you that the person has playing over and over in their head. It took almost the entirety of 2013 for me to figure out that acceptance leads to inner-peace. There are some things I can change. Many things. But there will always be things I can’t change, things that I just have to accept, no matter how much I hate it. Chief among these are what random people think of me. I am a confident black woman who isn’t afraid to say exactly what she thinks and who refuses take shit from anyone. I’m not supposed to exist, let alone be understood. If I spend my time worrying about how people who don’t know me feel about me, which is oftentimes based on little more than their own shit, I’ll drive myself crazy(er). No thanks.

There’s a saying: “What other people think of me is none of my business.” I’ll revise that to “What people who do not know me think of me is none of my business” and make that my motto in 2014.

3. The importance of clarity.

When I pray, which I do every day now, one of the things I pray for most is clarity. I ask for the ability to see what I need to see about myself (and about others, and about a situation) so that I can make good decisions, do less harm, and be a better person. In my struggle to be the best person I can be (and it is a struggle sometimes for someone whose protection instincts and defense mechanisms have been honed under the iron heel of oppression), clarity about myself is necessary. I can’t ever do better if I can’t recognize the things about myself that need work, if I can’t recognize the baggage that I’m bringing with me everywhere I go and how that baggage effects the way I walk in the world, the way I relate to people, the way I handle conflict. There are so many delusional people, people who convince themselves (and oftentimes others) that whatever the problem is in a given situation, it is never them. It is always everyone else. They are always the victim, always the wronged party. In their minds, it is always everyone else who needs to change. I used to be that way. I grew up in a family where self-reflection was a rarity. I never saw any examples of people looking inward in real ways to find the source of a problem, rather than just blaming someone else. So when anything bad happened in my personal life, it had to be someone else’s fault. It’s so hard to say. “Yes, I fucked up.” We fear the consequences of people seeing just how messed-up we are, we fear seeing it ourselves. But being able to recognize how and when I am the problem means being able to work on the things about myself that are creating the problem and then maybe I can actually have a shot at fixing the problem.

I realized most of this is my early thirties and changed a lot of blaming behavior then. But I never fully incorporated the practice of clarity into my daily life until 2013, when I was forced by so much relationship fuckery and sadness to say to myself, “Stop. What is it about me that is creating these situations? What am I doing to cause this? What do I need to see that I’m not seeing?”

The practice of clarity is essential, not just in our personal lives, but in everything we do, including social justice work, which, for most of us, is as personal as anything else. The first question we should always be asking is “What do I need to see about myself?”

Clarity is invaluable. Delusion, especially about ourselves, is counterrevolutionary.

4. The way I relate is broken.

I got a tarot reading in 2013 and was told that the way I relate is broken. Upon hearing that, I felt all kinds of things. There was probably some small part of me that wanted to push back against that idea. But mostly I wanted to understand it.

That’s a hard thing to consider about yourself. That the way you relate is broken. But it rang true. I am notoriously bad at maintaining relationships. For some of the reasons I will mention in a bit re: dickishness. But when I was told this, I thought I was at a point in my life where I recognized my shit and had pretty much fixed it. Or at least fixed a lot of it. The idea that with all of the work I had done, I was still “broken” in this way was a lot to hold. But when I looked at my life, at my relationships, I could not reasonably deny that something was still not working. The idea that it was me was actually comforting. Because the only thing I can change in most situations is myself and how I operate. If the problem is me, then I can fix it.

This meant I had to go back. It meant that I had to accept that as much work as I had done on myself, I still had not done nearly enough. That I was still fucking up. As someone who prides herself on doing the damn work, on being a little better every day, it was daunting to realize how far I was still from who I want to be. How much, despite my best efforts, I am still sometimes not as good as I want to be. Not as kind, not as considerate, not as careful with the hearts and souls of people I claim to love.

There are all sorts of reasons for why I am sometimes a dick. Many of them are easy to trace. Hurt people hurt people. But that’s not an excuse. Not for me. I want to be better. And in 2014, I’ll keep trying to be.

5. Accountability is the most important thing.

Accountability has been the most significant concept of the last year for me. I live in a place where everyone talks about accountability and almost no one practices it. This is maybe true in most places, but I’ve never lived anywhere where people talk about it so much while simultaneously never doing it. People get on stage here and recite poems about it. And then get off stage and do the opposite of it in their lives. Ah, the performance of goodness! It’s a huge thing here.

Now, I am flawed in many ways. I am mean when I’m angry, I am impatient, my ego is too big, and I have terrible impulse control, among many other things. I can be a real dick, frankly. But a lack of accountability is not one of my flaws. I value growth and evolution, and I don’t see a way to grow or evolve without accountability for one’s mistakes. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t love being called out for shit. It’s no fun. But I believe that the ability to admit when you fuck up is necessary on the road to fucking up less. It’s hard. It’s very hard. But it’s necessary if you want to be a better person and do less harm in the world.

What I realized in 2013 is that true accountability is hard to come by. Most people aren’t capable of admitting to wrongdoing, to doing harm, to fucking up. For the same reasons that clarity is so hard for us, accountability (which is basically clarity revealed to others) is so hard. And, just as importantly, often the act of “calling out” itself isn’t actually based on a desire for accountability from someone. I’ve both been involved in and been privy to incidents of calling out where the person(s) who were called out made every effort to answer the accusations against them and show up to make it right. But because the point was less accountability and more to shame the person(s) in question, more to express dislike and disapproval of them than to actually foster accountability and healing, their willingness to be accountable was either painted as manipulative (!) or just ignored.

It looks like this:

Betty: You need to be accountable for A and B things.

Gloria: Ok. Maybe you’re right. I don’t know. But I’m willing to show up and talk about it and own whatever I need to.

Betty: *crickets*

This kind of behavior almost made me give up on the entire concept of accountability in communities. Luckily, my close friends are people who also value accountability and seeing their examples make me feel like it’s maybe possible. Maybe. In any case, I continue to value it and practice it in my own life and will continue to seek out people who do the same.

So, yeah, that’s some stuff I learned in 2013.  I’d love to hear stuff that y’all learned. Share it in our Say That! section.

Here’s to a 2014 that’s full of more growth, more healing, more evolution and revolution. And more-easily-learned lessons.

All work published on BGD is the intellectual property of its writers. Please do not republish anything from this site without express written permission from BGD. For more info, go here.

bgdbwsmallerMia McKenzie is an award-winning writer and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous.

 

 

Get BGD creator Mia McKenzie’s debut literary novel, The Summer We Got Free. It’s the winner of the Lambda Literary Award.

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The post Heartbreak, Accountability and Other Stuff: What I Learned in 2013 appeared first on .

13 Jan 19:23

Our Winter Break: In 68979878 Photos

by GIRL'S GONE CHILD
photo 5
This morning, after three weeks of Winter Break, the big kids went back to school. In the past we've done day camps of some sort but this time they wanted to stay home so I took time off and hung out with them. Because even though I'm not supposed to admit this, I like having my kids home. I like hanging out with them. They're my favorite people. Hands full? Psh, of gratitude. (And, yes, also "full" of chaos/stress/shenanigans/sleeplessness but if I had a dollar for every "you really have your hands full" comment I get on the daily... I mean, geeze louise, yo.)
photo 2 (11)photo 3 (8)photo 2 (5)
And, yes, life must go back to normal and there is much that needs to be done but three weeks of outings and cuddling and watching Frozen way too many times (more on that later) felt really good, detaching from routine and just kind of lawlessly existing. We took full advantage of the weather (which we totally take for granted) and our memberships to gardens around town. (The Huntington and Descanso have become monthly haunts for us and I can't believe it's taken us this long to become members of such dreamboats.)
photo 2 (7)Huntington Gardens 
photo 1 (6)photo 5 (1)...and Descanso
photo 4 (4)photo 3 (5)
Now that everyone is here and getting older, there's this really interesting dynamic that's occurring... this partnering off and wandering as pairs. Sometimes it's Bo and Revi, mischievous... giggling in their hands. Sometimes it's Fable and Archer, arguing about names, places, telling each other jokes, congratulating each other on death defying stunts... Or Bo and Archer, who run everywhere when they're together. They run and they pull at each other's arms when they're trying to slow down... Sometimes Revi wants to be held like she did when she was a baby and then someone trips and falls and cries and she is the first one to climb down off my lap and hug them.
photo 3 (4)
...Anyway, lots of good times these past few weeks. Now to settle back into some semblance of a routine.
photo 4 (1)
In the meantime, biting off memories, sharing them here...
twins2
Elves on a... stoop. 
photo 3 (3)BARF with their second cousins, Ruby and Jade 
photo 3 (7)Train ride faces 
beachSwamis. 
dogbedtotally sleepingtrainfairyhouse2Auntie Roo made Fable a fairy house for Christmas.fairyhouse3revicribdavidreadnanaphoto 4 (6)***
photo 1 (11)(My mom made this chess set when she was a teenager.)
photo 3 (9)Nana's garden 
dearsantaDear Santa... 
photo 2 (13)photo 1 (4)threeagainI found these matching dresses on sale and, well... 
scienceI found these matching shirts on Etsy and, well... 
twins1 
***photo 3 (1)kidsphoto 4
Happy Monday, all.
photo 4 (2)
GGC
12 Jan 21:24

Permission to be human: granted.

by Mollena Williams

2014-01-10 01.30.17-1I was more anxious than happy when I received an IM from The Composer. It was the middle of the night for him, and he had responded to one of my e-mails letting me know he was only up for a bit and was going to sleep once he was done working. The anxiety stemmed from the fact that my message was less than cheery. I’m dealing with (yet more) dental issues and navigating Medicaid to get the care I need isn’t as simple a thing as one would hope. Being from Europe, the vagaries of our healthcare system are opaque to him, and being a poor kid, I careen wildly between irrationally ragey and then panicked reactions when I have to even TALK about this shit. Let alone do the research and phone calls and make appointments only to be told no, sorry, YOUR particular brand of poor folks healthcare isn’t the RIGHT kind of poor folks health care so just take your poor ass somewhere else, poor person.

But I digress.

Despite a message reassuring him I would be OK, and wishing him a good night’s sleep, The Composer logged on and IMed me. He was thinking of me, and of my situation, and was frustrated there wasn’t much he could do from where he was. And he started asking questions. This of course freaked me out because the more you tell people about your problems, the more they don’t want to be bothered. The more of a liability you are. The more of a whiney bitch you become. But I took a deep breath and said “Hey well, fuckit. I might as well be honest and if he is overwhelmed, better to know now.”

And eventually, as we typed back and forth, half of this planet between us physically, I realized it was Ok for me to tell what I was feeling. And his responses were supportive when they needed to be, and frankly annoyingly on point about the fact I HAD to do what it took despite the fact that it was uncomfortable to me. He was clever enough to even evoke the real specter of political privation as a means of keeping me from healthcare that was rightfully mine, and how could I let Them win? Yeah, fuckers!

But then the fear resurfaced. Don’t be too needy…oh no, he wants to know about your PERSONAL SHIT and if he KNOWS how tenuous your life is he’s gonna think you’re some kind of loser…if you express any need at all, really, you’re gonna be seen as work, as a fixer-upper, and he won’t want you any more…

I dug around to try to see why this irrational fear was chewing me so hard and then I realized it wasn’t irrational. Since I’ve pursued M/S and BDSM, I’ve wrestled the idea of the submissive or slave as something that only speaks when spoken to, that dare not take up space, and gods forbid they NEED ATTENTION or time or focus from the owner, dominant, master, whomever!

Do I know this in my gut to be some bullshit?

Yep.

Does it still nip at my heels?

You betcha.

The last time I was struggling with some personal shit and had to take it to a dominant type person in my life, I was anxious because I feared seeming like I was too much work. In an unfortunate choice, when I broached these concerns to my dominant, he joked “I thought slaves were supposed to make life EASIER, not add to your ‘To Do’ list!”

He insisted this was a joke I wasn’t to take seriously.

But it stung.

Ultimately, that one didn’t work out.

But The Composer simply reiterated that, as a Property Manager, it would be his responsibility to make sure I had the ability to take care of myself. Thereby making it possible for me to take care of him. And he would be sure to support me in that, so that I would be able to fulfill my calling.

And we would talk about what that looks like when he returns.

This is now precisely one week away.

And I can’t hardly wait.

It is quietly shocking to have the possibility of someone who truly understands what it means to own someone else, and willingly acknowledges the weightiness and beauty inherent in that exchange. And who doesn’t see my foibles and flounderings as a burden…simply as what is, and worthy of love and attention.

Hell. Yes.

10 Jan 03:34

Barely There

I can imagine everything except the way we kiss. I close my eyes and remember her hands on me. Her fingers inside me. I feel the weight of her body on top of me. I feel her ass, smooth under the palm of my hand. My tongue moves in my mouth, traveling the folds of her pussy in detail. I feel her. I taste her. But her kiss is lost to me. I cannot remember how her tongue feels in my mouth. I can’t touch the softness of her lips. Our wet kisses. Lost.

One week. Less. Five days.

Five days gone. I am five days gone and then I see her again. She writes to tell me that she isn’t jerking off. She writes to tell me that she tried to jerk off but stopped in frustration. I am jerking off every day, I tell her. I am desperate to touch her, I tell her. I need to bury my face between her legs. I need to press her down with all my weight.

I imagine myself on top of her. My cock tucked inside my briefs. Jeans unbuttoned. My worn, brown belt hanging loose. I imagine lifting her skirt above her hip bones. I feel her wet panties under my fingers. I rub her with my hand while my hips hover just above. I let my knuckles press the cotton of her panties between her wet lips. I crook my index finger and press deeper. I feel her wetness. I feel her hole open up for me. I feel her clit begin to swell. “Oh baby,” I whisper to her like I do, “Oh baby.” I close my eyes and see her underneath me. 

I lower my hips so that my palm cradles the still tucked away cock between my legs. My cock presses into my hand which presses against her pussy. I rub my cock and her pussy at the same time. I see her there. The sweat surfacing on her face. I see her flushed red chest. Her eyes widen as she waits for me. “This, baby,” I tell her, “Slow like this.” I can’t imagine kissing her. I can never feel it. So I keep myself raised above her. Slow. My hips moving against her. My hand between my cock and her pussy. Pushing the base of the cock against my clit. Feeling how wet I am now.

I move my hand and let the bulge of my cock push against her panties. My legs lie just inside her thighs. I feel the way she squeezes me. Holds me there. My hand meanders slowly over her curves. Her hips. Her soft, smooth belly. I can feel the way her shirt grazes the back of my hand. My fingers push up under her clothes. I pull her bra down low off her tits. I brush the full length of my hand across her nipples. One, then the other. I know how her body reacts. I can see her head tilt back. Her strong jaw. She glows. She writhes. We are getting hotter. Her belly burns hot against my own. I feel her heat against me when I put my lips on her neck. I grab a fistful of hair and my fingers are immediately wet with her sweat. We are hot. Sweating.

I realize that I’m drenched. I need this. I need her. Now. I rub my own clit so softly as I picture us. I want to come slow and hard. I want my clit as swollen as she gets me. I hold my swell between my thumb and forefinger. I push one finger inside and then drag it up, pulling my own slick wetness with it. I breathe deeply. I bury myself under the blankets. I soak the sheets with my sweat. Hot. Slow. Wet. I miss her like this. I miss her breath in my ear. I miss the burn I feel when I’m with her. When I can touch her and feel her fingers on me. I pull softly on my clit. I rub my swelling shaft. I can feel her. I whisper her name out loud. In my mind, my hand pushes her panties aside, now soaked. She reaches her hand between my legs and frees my cock. I pull myself up, kneeling, and move her hand away as I guide the tip of my cock inside. “Here,” I say, “Here baby.”

I bend over her, propped up on one arm. One hand stays wrapped around the base of my cock. I want to guide it slowly into her pussy. Just the tip. Just barely there. I want to watch her reach for me. I want to see how she shifts to feel my cock move more deeply inside. Her hands pull at her skin. I watch her fingers on her neck. “Yes,” I say as she cups her breasts in her hands, “I want to see you touch yourself.” She looks up at me. Mouth open, eyes wide. A quick nod of her head. She’s so good. “You’re so good,” I whisper. Everything is hot. Logy. Thudding and dull. My clit so swollen. I want to feel her need. I pull my cock out and push two fingers inside her. Hooked and pulling. I feel the way she grips me tighter. I feel her need to keep me there. I feel it and I want to make her come. Now. Right now. 

My cock slips back inside her. I push a little deeper, still gripping my cock. Moving sluggishly. Lazy in love. My thick tongue. Spicy. Liquored.  We are wet. Our skin, a shade darker. Fucking through a thickness. Ropey muscles. “I want you to touch yourself, baby,” I tell her, “I want to watch you come.” I say this and open my mouth. I reach my tongue so long that the root of it aches. She slips her fingers into my mouth and my spit pools around them. Wet and dripping, she reaches her hand down between her legs. My eyes follow. “Touch yourself,” I say again but she is already rubbing her clit. I follow her rhythm with my cock. Up and down. In and out. I adjust and push so that my cock presses upwards inside her. “Come,” I beg her. I feel her staring at my face. I am staring at her fingers. At my cock inside her. At our bellies, so shiny and close. Sweat drips down my thighs. Sweat drips inside the crook of my arm. “Come,” I whisper with tears welling up in my eyes. 

I feel my own clit in my fingers again. I feel it swollen beyond belief. I come and clench my stomach. I double over. My mouth opens wide. Gasping. Silent. 

Five days. I need her. I need this.

24 Dec 19:26

Staple

by Jack Stratton

The first page of a story was stapled to the back of a paper on economic reform in post soviet Russia.

Jason wasn’t sure if the story was for him or the professor or simply a mistake. He assumed the students knew that Jason was the one who really marked all the papers. Hell, he gave the lectures for the majority of the semester. Big name professors don’t do very much, teaching assistants do all the real work.

Still, the single page was like nothing Jason had ever seen in the context of Russian history, or more accurately contemporary Russian economic history. This was a snippet of a dirty dream. A little fragment of someone’s fantasy.

Jason carefully opened the staple with his fingernail and pulled the single page from the rest of the paper and then closed the staple back up.

Like most of Sophia’s work, the paper was a solid B. The story on the other hand was far more difficult to quantify.

I couldn’t see what he was doing because I was facing the window. The open window. The red curtain was fluttering in the evening breeze. I was just far enough away that no one could see my naked body, I hope. Maybe I didn’t hope that hard.

“Is this a come on?” he pondered as he thought about the astute if quiet girl who had sat in the front row for every lecture that term. After two years of being a teaching assistant the plethora of twenty year old faces became a blur and she was indistinct. Young, short, well dressed, well-mannered, a decent but not outstanding student, shy, unremarkable. She wasn’t the sultry redhead who wore low-cut tops and studied Jason with smoldering eyes. She wasn’t the girl in the fourth row who licked her lips and crossed and uncrossed her legs. This was just Sophia, a slightly neurotic girl with a penchant for long skirts, slightly old-fashioned sweaters, and adjusting her glasses too much.

When he came up behind me I realized he was naked. His arms slipped around me and the smoothness of his cock slipped across my ass, nestling between her cheeks neatly.

His chest was hot against my back and I shuddered as he kissed up my neck and then slowly traced my ear with his tongue.

“Will you do whatever I want?” he whispered.

I nodded my head quickly.

“Say it.”

Nodding was one thing but saying it was torture. I felt my face go red. My hips pushed back against my will. I was moaning.

He pulled my hair and I felt the stubble on his face rub against my earlobe. The words bubbled in my throat but got stuck there. He spun me around and-

“Jason, how are the papers coming?” Professor Hendricks said offhandedly as he walked into his office.

Jason slipped the single page into his bag as he collected the papers.

“Just about done Frank,” Jason never quite felt comfortable calling the professor by his first name, but he insisted.

The professor nodded with a look that said that he couldn’t care less.

Jason finished grading the last few papers in a cafe near his apartment. The single page of dirty words was folded in his messenger bag, zipped securely in an inner pocket.

At home, that night, he was teased by a few more paragraphs, wherein the unnamed protagonist and her lover started getting far more interesting .

When he pushed me down, my hands on the windowsill and my back arched so that my ass was in the air, I knew what was coming. I’d been waiting all day for it. His fingers slipped up my spine and fitted in my hair, where his hand belonged. He pulled tight and my scalp burned and I was owned, owned by him.

Then came the first slap on my ass.

Before bed Jason stared at the paper and then at his laptop. The email seemed to write itself.

“Sophia, I have some questions about your paper, could you please stop by my office tomorrow before class.”

“In the morning” she had replied with a sterile affirmation.

In the office, Jason had practiced how to sit, looking serious but he hoped sexy. He wore the jacket he had bought when he first got his assistanceship; brown tweed with leather elbow patches.

He had placed the page of tasteful smut on his desk, facing out, in front of a chair. Then he sat and sweated and waited.

Sophia was five minutes early. She wore a pretty robin’s egg blue dress, with a white belt fastened just under her breasts, and thick off white knee socks. Her somewhat short hair was held back with a barrette and she wore thick dark rimmed glasses. She held her laptop to her chest as she walked in.

“Um, you wanted to see me?”

Jason swallowed. He straightened in his chair. He nodded.

“Yes, come in, close the door and sit down,” he said with as much gravity in his voice as he could muster.

She looked nervous and shy and she pulled the chair back and sat in it. As she did, the paper he had called her in about fell on the ground. She picked it up and put it back on the desk, though as she did he saw her eyes grow wide with recognition.

There was a beat of silence in the tiny office.

“Did you write this?”

She sat still and silent and scared, but she nodded in the affirmative.

In his mind the meeting was going to be erotic. She would demurely acknowledge being the author and some seduction would ensue. Instead she looked scared and confused.

“It was stapled to the back of your paper. Did you mean for me to find it?”

She shrugged.

“Did you mean for the professor to find it?”

She looked up incredulously, torn from her silence by the implication.

“Ew, no.”

Jason laughed and their eyes met. They lingered. There was some confused want in her stare that was so potent he wondered how he couldn’t have seen it before.

She bit her lip and folded her hands in front of her, shoulder tilting in, as if she was trying to fold up into a ball so that she could hide from him.

“Well, you’re in big trouble,” he said, his voice wavering, but strength starting to grow, somewhere inside of him.

“Oh,” she whispered.

In the silence that followed she continued to shrink as he grew taller and bolder.

“I’m sorry,” she squeaked.

“Sir,” she added in almost a whisper.

The sound that came from his lips was almost a spitting. He shook his head at the ridiculousness of her apology.

“Sorry? This is a university. People come here to learn. People pay thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars to be here and it’s a joke to you?”

She was shaking as he stood up. He walked around his desk and descending on her. She sat there, laptop held tightly like a shield.

“I can’t believe your nerve,” he said, now standing inches from her, looking down at her.

“Pornography,” he spat the word out, shaking his head.

He turned around and walked a few steps away.

“Stand up and bend over to the desk, pull your skirt up and your undergarments down,” he said without looking at her.

There was silence, again, and he wondered if he had gone too far. Then he heard her shuffling feet and turned enough to see her standing in front of his desk, pushing her white underwear down to her knees and then leaning forward on his desk.

“And your dress up,” he said sharply.

She pulled her dress up and it lay on her back, her ass exposed. Her underwear fell to her ankles and one of her knee socks had fallen slightly.

He walked to her slowly, glad she couldn’t see his smile.

Looking down at the roundness of her bottom he wondered how far he could go. He wondered what she was expecting of him. He wondered where her fantasy and his lined up. As he pondered this he slowly knelt down and took her errant sock, pulling it up so that it matched its twin. He lifted one of her legs up enough to retrieve the white panties.

He stood and dropped the panties next to her hand, which was laid palm down on the desk, fingers spread.

He put his hand on the naked small of her back. It was the first time he had ever touched her. Her skin was hot, startlingly so. She seemed to slither under his fingers. Her body was muscular, like a dancer, but her ass had a lovely fullness.

He held her to the desk with the hand on her back and spanked her once on the ass with his other hand. She flattened herself onto the desk and let out one slow hissing breath.

It had been a while since he had spanked someone. There was a tinge of nostalgia and longing somewhere in his head. The girl he had loved and lost. He pushed the thoughts away as he spanked the girl in front of him.

He enjoyed a rhythm. He liked the symmetry of giving each cheek its due. He started slowly and somewhat lightly until it was almost like a massage. He watched her eyes close and her body relax into his swift little swats and then, when he felt she was ready, he hauled back and hit her once, twice, thrice, hard. The whole of his hand meeting the very bottom of her ass and striking up.

He visualized the vibrations, feeling them like little waves directed right at her pussy.

Her head went up on the third hard hit and she glared back at him.

What came next he had almost forgotten; the laugh.

“The laugh” was a bubbling gravelly chuckle that came to him when he got in the head space to be mean. It was a little mocking and a little playful and seemed to put the person he was spanking in a very specific place very quickly.

Sophia’s face was flushed, her eyes were a little glazed, and she pouted as he laughed at her.

“We’re not done,” he said looking directly into her eyes.

“Face forward,” he said in a voice that was far deeper than it had been a moment before.

He wasn’t a spiritual man, he was a man of science, a man of research. Still as he closed his eyes and his hand smoothed over the now hot skin of Sophia’s ass he imagined energies flowing from his hand to her body. He felt her tense, waiting for the next blow. He felt himself harden with want.

He hit her sixteen more times, he counted in his head. Two rounds of four slaps on each cheek, then he rested. She was panting. He felt her nearing the edge of comfort, when the pain would peak through pleasure and become something truly unpleasant. He wanted to keep her there though; keep her in the cycle of transposing pleasure and pain.

His hand moved across her ass again, this time his fingernails dragging. Her back arched and she hissed again.

The next four hits were heavy and solid, her whole body rocking and the desk moving slightly. He listened as she breathed deeply, processing the pain, trying to manage it.

“So, little writer, why don’t you tell me how the story ended,” he said with the mocking laugh still in his throat.

She looked back at him confused.

“The story. The reason you’re getting spanked. The page you turned in with your paper,” he explained with a disapproving shake of his head.

She turned away again and let out a little sob.

“I don’t know,” she whispered.

He hit her twice, harder than before, so hard it hurt his palm.

“You don’t know?” he spat.

“Did you write the story?”

She mumbled something and he leaned down and pulled her up by the hair.

“Speak clearly,” he said into her ear.

“Yes, I wrote it,” she said, her face wet with a little trickle of tears and her mouth unsure if it wanted to snarl or pout.

“Then you do know how it ended. So enlighten me. I was not given the whole story, just a dirty preview.”

She struggled against his hand in her hair, but he shook her by it once and she stopped.

“I don’t-I mean, the guy, he spanks her and then, like, had sex with her,” she said between gasps of breath and little sobs.

He slowly pushed her back down against the desk.

“Did he force himself on her?”

“No,” she said just before Jason spanked her hard again.

“So she enjoyed being spanked?”

“Yes.”

Jason let his fingers spread out over her ass once move, the moved his hand down to the back of her thighs. Her ass pushed out and her body moved snake-like again as she let out tiny moans.

He fingers moved up to the tops of her inner thighs and she froze. He edged there, fingers feeling heat emanating from between her legs.

Her hands were spread out on his desk, her fingers tightening into fists and then stretching out as her breath got louder and more ragged.

“Have you learned your lesson yet?” he said in a kinder voice.

Her eyes were closed and, seemingly without her control, her ass pushed back against his curious fingers.

When his fingers finally slipped across the wetness of her pussy he failed to hold in a long moan, just as she failed to stifle a single drawn out “fuck.”

He let his wet fingers moved forward, edging across her feather-like, just grazing the hardness of her clit. He circled a few times. His head had passed the place where he could just spank her. The want had permitted every part of his brain and so he stopped.

“If you have any other dirty stories you wish to share, please hand them to me personally, and don’t staple them to class assignments,” he said pulling away from her and straightening his pants.

She didn’t move as he walked back around and sat at his desk. They were facing each other than, her body hungry for his hands and his hands shaking with need for her body.

Their eyes locked for a beat, then another.

“That will be all, Sophia.”

She swallowed and stood up, her dress falling back around her red ass and wet thighs. She picked up her laptop and straightened herself.

“Thank you, sir,” she said, mouselike but clear.

They both looked down at her panties, a little ball of white on his desk, and then back at each other.

He cleared his throat and opened his laptop. She throbbed and wondered what to do. His look told her she was excused and so she turned and walked to the door.

At the door she turned and gathered her strength.

“Jason,” she said in a stronger voice, the voice he was used to hearing in class.

He looked up at her.

“Would you like to go out on a date sometime?” she asked, holding in the begging her body was demanding her to express.

Jason smiled.

“I think that would be very nice, but perhaps after this class ends next week.”

She smiled brightly.

“Yes, that’s a good idea.”

He pictured kissing her and his body shivered with want.

“Why don’t you email me. We can plan something.”

She nodded and opened the door.

“Yes, sir.”

23 Dec 22:36

This

I have become a woman who cries. When we fuck, I cry. When I wake up and feel her pressed against me, I cry. When I try to tell someone what she means to me, I cry. I’m so filled with these emotions that I can’t contain them. I was never like this. This has never been true. I cry now.

When we fuck, I like to stare into her eyes. She stares at my mouth. I whisper to her. Soundless. She nods her head. I mouth simple words, “This. Yes. Right here. Now. Yours.” I love her.

I hold her all the time. Suddenly. We walk down the sidewalk and I stop to hold her tight against me. At the gas station. Waiting in line. I need to feel her. She lays on top of me. Her back pressed against my belly. Her ass sinks into my hips. Her head rests next to mine. We stare at the ceiling.

I wrap my arms around her. I slide my hand under the hem of her dress. I rub against her panties, pulling them tight. She moves. Her body moves. It’s immediate. Fast breathing. Wet panties. A deep sigh. Her hand in her hair. I shove my hand under her bra and squeeze her nipple hard between my fingers. I push my hand under the damp cotton and slide two fingers into her pussy. She grabs my wrist and thrusts me deeper inside her. Her weight on me is everything. “This is what I wanted,” I groan, “This is what I need.” I let my thighs fall open and hold her between them. She’s mine. I tell her this. “You’re mine.”

I love to get her off like this. Lying on top of me. Back to belly. I rub her the way I’d rub my own clit. I feel it intensely. I feel the way it builds inside her. I talk her through it. “Here,” I tell her, “This. Like this.” She turns her face into my cheek. I feel her lips moving against me. She’s telling me something I can’t hear. I don’t need to hear her. This. Like this. I know this.

I hold her so tight. I rub her off with my fingers slow. Intent. I’m talking in her ear. I’m telling her everything. Tears run into my hair, over my temples. I cry for her. I cry for this. “I’m ready for this,” she said to me, “I’m so ready for you.”

It’s the end of the year. Everything feels easy. Everything unfolds in front of us. We turn over one card at a time. I want the slow reveal. Persistence. A lazy river.

I will fuck her again tonight. A cock with just the tip inside her. My chest lifted up above her. Slow. She’ll see my eyes grow wet. She’ll see me. I want to be on that edge with her. Right on the edge. I like to sit up on my knees with my cock held in my hands and move so slowly in and out of her pussy. I pet her thighs. I kiss her belly. I drag my fingers up to her breasts. Tears roll wet and fat down my cheeks. My tongue finds the crease behind her knee. Still slowly moving inside her. The knuckle of my first finger strokes her clit. This. Yes. Now.

My name is BD Swain. I have so many stories to tell you. I can’t fucking wait.

22 Dec 19:08

Erotica Writing and Responsibility

by xanwest

Lisabet Sarai has a post up about kink erotica and responsibility, especially about a sexual assault case in NZ that involved adapting scenarios from Fifty Shades of Grey, without other kink knowledge or education. (To be clear, and serve as a trigger warning: the sexual assault involved a stalker ex who disguised himself to act out scenarios they learned from FSOG with his ex, who did not know it was him; this is described in more detail in the link.)

Sarai grapples with the question of erotica and responsibility: “Our books are not how-to manuals. We’re writing to challenge, engage, and arouse our readers, not teach them about sex. Yet clearly our readers do learn from our books – sometimes not what we intend. Should this bother us? Or should we just shrug off the people who take us literally, even when they might come to physical or emotional harm? Is it really their problem? Or is it ours?”

I’m glad we are grappling with these questions as erotica writers, and there is a public forum to discuss them.

I wrote a brief comment summarizing what I wrote at length in this post, saying that I do assume that folks might learn about kink from my erotica. I learned about kink from books first. So I take that into account when I publish erotica, and make sure that my work reflects my kink ethics and knowledge, especially around negotiation and consent.

She responded, and it’s a response I will cherish, because it is a sign that I may be accomplishing these goals in my work:

“Your stories are among the more extreme that I’ve read, but I recognize and respect your emphasis on consent. You’ve managed to crack the riddle – how to maintain the heat while still emphasizing personal responsibility and the relationship between the Dom and the sub.”

There’s the beginnings of a lively conversation on the ERWA blog on this subject. Perhaps you would like to lend your voice to it?


Tagged: consent, D/s, erotica, kink, writing erotica
01 Nov 10:34

Seven (Random) Suggestions for Submissive/Slave Types!

by Mollena Williams

respectThere is no one rulebook for how to do this thing we call BDSM, Power-Exchange, Master/Slave relationships, etc., etc. One of the things I most enjoy about perverts is our limitless capacity to forge our own damn path, thank you very much! I’ve done a lot of weed-whacking through the jungles of kink in order to find ways that work for me.

This is the counterpart to Seven (Random) Suggestions for Dominant Types! Submissive and slave type people, hopefully some of the following bits will resonate for ya. As I mentioned before, these are hardly anything like hard and fast rules. My hope is that, regardless of whether your reaction is “Holy shit totally, this makes so much sense!” or “Meh.” or “Holy crap, you are so full of…of…crap!” that your reactions might spin you off into a deeper process around your own submission, and how you can best navigate the wide, wide seas of submission!

Be realistic, honest and transparent about your (emotional, physical, mental & spiritual) needs & motives

It is very tempting to start submitting before you even submit. When faced with the prospect of a potential dominant, it can seem like you’ve finally, finally found the pot of gold at the end of the leather rainbow! As the submissive, it’s your duty to adhere to the needs, wants and desires of that potential dominant, right? I mean, you gotta prove yourself worthy of them and their dominance!

Hold on tiger. If you don’t advocate for yourself…who exactly is going to do it?

If you do not step up to the plate when negotiating your D/S or M/S relationship, you’re fucking yourself over, big time. Plain and simple.

It is absolutely necessary for you, as a submissive, to be your own chief advocate. First and foremost? Be honest with yourself. When I first explored my role as a submissive, I assumed I needed to be an intense and full-bore as I could in order to be a “real” slave. When I met a dominant with whom I had great chemistry, I listened to what he was looking for, heard about his needs, what he sought in a slave, and said “OK, yes, I want to be that and I will do everything I can to be the slave you desire.” And I did! I worked very hard to make sure I met his needs, his wants and his desires. I had the idea that, since being a slave meant putting my needs behind those of the dominant, it meant I had to focus on him, first. I will say that I feel it is the responsibility of the slave to please the dominant and within that responsibility lies the duty to make sure you are having your needs met.

If you are someone who needs affection, love and support and you are being courted by a dominant who favors a strict, hands-off, formalized approach that doesn’t include affection? No one is being done any favors by suppressing these desires. Hold out until you feel comfortable, safe and accepted for who you are now, not who you think you might want to be.

It can be terrifying to say “I need, I want,” but if you do not do it? You have almost no chance of having your needs met. List for yourself what you want, stand by your choices. Don’t let anyone else’s bullshit and posturing interfere with you getting what you need. Be true to who you are. Know that your motives inform your service and being transparent with potential partners means you have a better shot at blending your energy with someone who has motives that align with yours.

Honor your dominant’s humanity.

It is often very tempting to think of your dominant or master as an infallible, flawless, godlike creature. I mean, shit, you’re agreeing to obey them! How nerve-wracking is it to consider the possibility that they (gasp!) may just be human, like, you, and subject to the vagaries of human imperfections?

But by putting that much pressure on the person you serve, you increase the risk of them disappointing you by being human. This is not a good thing. Part of what makes this dance of dominance, that samba of submission, so breathtaking, is that there is always a chance for missteps, arrhythmic glitches, and toe-stepping. When that happens, it behooves us to take a deep breath, embrace the gorgeous humanity of imperfection, and carry on. Remembering that they are human, giving them space to be so, and lovingly accepting their flaws empowers them to be the very best master and owner and dominant they can be! And then everyone gets to roll around in the awesomeness!

Respect yourself.

The whole lowly, subservient thing absolutely cannot spill over into and color your self-esteem. It is critically important for you to have a massive stockpile of self-respect before you engage in power-exchange relationships. I cannot stress this enough: If you do not value yourself highly, if you do not know, in your gut, in your heart of hearts, that you are a creature if inestimable value and intrinsically worthy of respect, you will never ever find a way to engender that response from others.

All too often, the appearance of subservience is equated with a reality of mitigated value. Personally? I become monkey-hopping-mad when I see people who identify as submissives shitting away their power by bowing and scraping before anyone with a keyboard calling themselves a dominant. Once you have indicated you expect to be treated like chattel by any and everyone who sets you in their sights? You will quickly find you’ve dug yourself into a hole out of which it is difficult to climb.

In addition to healthy self-respect and esteem being critical from the inside out? The reality is that the Default World will be a rough place to navigate feeling good about your submissive self. If you aren’t able to stand with your head held high and feel secure and powerful in your choice, those doubts have hold-fasts with which to begin to dissolve your foundation.

And even within the so-called “community” there are plenty of people ready, willing and eager to talk the kind of shit that has the potential to generate that discomfort and conflict. They are the other submissives who will question your commitment, the “Twue Doms” who will insist you “don’t seem very much like a real sub / slave” because they don’t like the way you behave. And let me tell ya, fellow slaves, bottoms and subs? I firmly believe we are responsible for some of this treatment. I think we have devalued ourselves, and over the years, the energy of emotional poverty has pervaded our minds. Don’t devalue yourselves to the point of compromising yourself away because you don’t think you can do any better. Be the most magnificent you that you can be, and treat yourself like the singular being that you are. A healthy attitude and a strong sense of self is a cornerstone to healthy power-exchange relationships.

Adhere to the Prime Directive. No matter what.

I wrote about it here.

I usually avoid hardline blanket statements. But I feel so strongly about the Prime Directive that I will come as close to one as I possibly can when I say that any dominant, top, master, trainer, whomever…any of them who eschew the PD as a vital pillar of power exchange relationship are…how do I put this diplomatically…flagrant fucking flounderheads.

Self-care and self-protection is the shit. Even when it means you are compelled to walk away from those you love. Because all of the love, service, transparency, submission and slavish behaviour can NOT erase your absolute responsibility for self-care. Believe me, I know how difficult this adherence can be. I know the pain of having to leave the all-consuming crucible of an m/s dynamic because I was suffering from an emotional deficit that was never going to be met. It hurts it STILL hurts, some times, However? I am healed in the knowledge I did what I had to do to protect the property. And THAT is NON-NEGOTIABLE,

That is all.

Be authentic and play to your strengths.

Many of us who discovered we are kinky did so after a great deal of soul searching, and maybe we even did a little bit of research. I’m willing to wager a lot of that “research” involved sticky-fingered fantasies as we ready hot and heavy kinky porn over which we sighed and cooed and wanked, hoping someday to find that perfect indomitable dominant of our fervent fantasies. By the same token, we probably envisioned ourselves as the willful but beautiful slaves of myth, legend and purple prose. It is likely you ran across some pretty unrealistic ideas about mastery and slavery and what it takes to bring these fantasies to life. Back when I first started my research into kink, I was confident that I would find nothing more fulfilling than kneeling silently in blissful obedience at the feet of my master for hours on end. Funny thing: kneeling is stressful. And kneeling for hours on end might not be your potential dominant’s idea of exemplary service.

I see a whole lotta one-upmanship among submissives, playing passive-aggressive “subbier than thou” reindeer games. This is damaging for several reasons: first it erodes what has the potential to be an important support system, additionally it can set unrealistic expectations, and furthermore it creates a culture of competition that doesn’t do anyone any damned good.

Modeling your behavior after the behaviors or the elaborate fantasies of others is a recipe for disaster. I mean, really. Even the people who write the stuff of which our lurid kink fantasies are made of understand it is just this: fantasy.

Nowhere is it written that you have to push yourself to be the person you aren’t. Or some goddamn doppelganger of a creature from a fictional wankfest! Or even to emulate the very real slaves who have gone before you. Find who you are, who you need to be, and present that with pride. This is the only way to engage with a dominant who will be a good match for your needs and desires.

Provide your dominant with feedback and positive reinforcement.

Inasmuch as it is vital for you to receive a “good job!” from your dominant or master? It is also important that they know how they’re doing in the work of managing you and your dynamic. It can be very easy to forget that providing feedback is also a service to them! Let’s say I’ve been given an assignment, some research to do, and I bring back my findings and my dominant then makes a decision based on my work. A nod of the head and moving onto the next task might be all that is needed at that time. But I suggest that sharing your joy is helpful, too. Letting them know that “It really helps me to feel useful, acknowledged and fulfilled when I see how my service benefits you, thank you for trusting me to help you in your decision-making!” is a great way for them to note what works, and tuck it away for future use.

But what happens when the dominant type…gasp…does something that causes distress? Well, again, by dint of The Prime Directive it is absolutely your responsibility to let them know you are having difficulty. Freaking out and throwing shit and screaming “You’re a doodoo head, ma’am!” might not avail you of the level-headed problem-solving you seek. However a system needs to be in place to ensure that difficult issues are also embraced with compassion. I find that writing about my stuff helps. If I’m having a tough time in my relationship, I will write a message and ask for time to address it. I might even go into depth about it. Or I might just need to vent. Whatever the ultimate solution is, honoring that the dominant needs to know about the issue, so that it can be addressed, is key. A simple “thank you for listening” or “I appreciate you taking the time to connect with me.” can be a show of your gratitude as well as a gentle reminder of how important those communications can be.

Put that potential dominant “Under Consideration.”

This “consideration” movement is something I heard of only rarely before the explosion of the Internetz. At that time, the idea of slaves being placed “under consideration” was one I’d heard of here and there among people who modeled themselves on a very rigid tradition of master / slave relationships. That is, I rarely heard of it until the advent of FetLife, currently a very popular social media and networking site for kinky folks. Placing someone “Under Consideration” was a way for the dominant or master to “test run” the submissive / slave to verify that they were “worthy” of ownership.

Which is great.

However.

S-types? I strongly bloody suggest you put the dominant or master you’re thinking of owning your ass “under consideration,” too. I believe that power exchange can be absolute. And I absolutely believe it must be a mutually agreed-upon dynamic. I hold the somewhat controversial belief that human property is human first, and as such are fully responsible for making sure that they are giving their power to someone who is capable and worthy of holding it. I’m not sure how well you are doing that when you don’t hold them accountable for that power.

For some people, relinquishing their power with no accountability except acceptance is just fine. If it doesn’t ring true for you, think about how you may best self-advocate until such a time as you have carefully considered the person to whom you are offering yourself, found them to be someone with whom you truly wish to engage in this particular manner, and discovered the depth of trust needed to create a healthy power exchange dynamic.

And then….and ONLY then…let go.
28 Oct 17:29

Final Meal

by Jack Stratton

He sliced the exotic fruit with a huge knife on the perfect cutting board. Furry greenish gray splitting to show vivid green and neat circles of black seeds.

She sipped her coffee and watched him with annoyance. There was some kind of distracting formality he put into things that should be simple, like cutting up fruit. It was one of the million things that once seemed charming, but now annoyed the shit out of her.

She couldn’t watch any more as he took his oh-so-sharp knife and pealed the fur off of the thing. She went into the bathroom to finish putting on her makeup.

There was something about her silent huffy irritation with everything. She acted like a teenager irked at the fact that her parents existed. That’s what their relationship had become, something akin to parental, maybe sibling, which made the fact that the sex was still so potent something rather awkward to think about.

She came back from the bathroom to find a plate with six neat slices of the fruit fanned out in a half minimalist half elaborate statement on the little white plates they had gotten from her grandmother.

“We need to break up.” she breathed out.

*

Her red pea coat was oh so New York. She buttoned it numbly as he sat in some kind of catatonic state on the couch in the living room. He got this whole shtick from his father; the whole emotional detachment under stress. He would probably sit there for hours, trapped in this overwhelmed autistic-like trance of introspection and self loathing. She had to be a grown up and go to work.

It was the adult version of a temper tantrum. He wouldn’t talk, he wouldn’t cry, he wouldn’t do anything but just shut down and shut up.

*

The house smelled like oranges and honey and a roasted bird of some kind. She sighed as she pulled off her coat and stomped the snow off of her boots. The house was half lit by the kitchen lights above the stove. Everything in the living room looked neat as if someone just fluffed the pillows. She wondered if this was the “I want to make up” dinner with the candles and the red wine and the long talk.

In the kitchen there was a note on the refrigerator.

“Duck and risotto in the oven, set on warm. I’m going out, not sure when I’ll be back.”

She would miss the food. Living with a chef had many perks. She would miss being in love. For what it was worth she loved him, but probably wasn’t in love with him. He was an easy guy to be in love with. He did romantic things and he was handsome in his way, but in the end he never really let her in. He never really got inside of her either.

She took the plate out of the oven and looked at the glossy skin of the duck leg and thigh. The mushrooms poking out of the rice. The bright green of the asparagus. It was a very “him” kind of meal. Maybe this was his heart. Maybe this was all he could give her. Hors d’oeuvres not connections.

*

She was in bed when he came back. He smelled like the city in the winter, which made her smile into the pillow. She kept her eyes closed and pretended to sleep as he listened to him take off his shoes and clothes and finally slip into bed. His body radiated cold and without really wanting to she found herself rolling over and into him. Their familiar spoons. He was cold, she could feel the goose bumps migrating from his skin to hers.

His lips were on her neck and they fell into the old rhythm. The break up was some kind of new spice in an old dish that she still enjoyed. It made him just a little more like a stranger.

Her body felt unmercifully hot after his long walk home in the cold. Now in the bedroom barely lit by the lights of the city coming in from the half drawn shades she was a different woman. There was no talking, there was something urgent and forbidden about this. It was rough and they both surprised themselves with how potent it was.

*

“I still want…” the words just got tangled in the sheets as he turned and the spoons rearranged themselves. His arms around her body which was now as hot as an oven.

“It’s all going to be a pain. One of us has to find a new apartment. I’ll go, it’s all mostly your stuff.”

Her hot tears on his shoulder made him anxious. A woman crying next to him made him confused, unsure how to help, how to make it stop.

*

She remembered their first date. He was poor, then.

“Can I pay half with my credit card and half with cash?” he asked the waiter, but she pushed his wad of money away and insisted on paying her share.

In the cab they kissed and somehow his hand ended up in her pocket. There was a hole in that pocket and his finger found the edge of her underpants. She wasn’t the blushing type, but it made her blush.

She’s miss those ways he made her forget herself. He had a way of making her feel girlie, the way she’d forgotten she could be. She knew it would be a while before that side of her would turn up again. She felt herself getting scared, worried in that way she got worried when she knew she would have to be alone again.

He would be fine. He would always be fine. It almost made her feel superior because at least she could feel things deeply, even hurt. He was anesthetized against this kind of hurt, but all the swells and valleys of emotion were clipped in this broken heart.

The Friday before he moved out he turned to her in bed and kissed her forehead.

“I’ll be gone on Monday,” he whispered.

She nodded. The anger was gone, so was most of the annoyance. It was over, but the love was there. So was the knowledge that they weren’t going to fix it.

“Can we be in love this weekend? Just go to the park, kiss under a tree, hold hands?” he asked, his voice cracking.

She nodded and kissed his cheek.

“I’ll always love you. This weekend is our goodbye. I’ll kiss you under a tree,” she said.

He broke for a little while, crying in front of her for the first time since when he father died. She held him and remembered all the good things.

Saturday night they crawled into bed after a long day of laughing and walking and white wine. The sadness came in the silent in between moments, so they tried to keep talking, keep laughing.

They both sighed under the covers. For some reason there was a little charge of giddy excitement in the air. It was implied, in their strange break up logic that the weekend of mourning would probably involve sex; something that had always been the sort of unacknowledged cement of their relationship.

She turned to him and smiled a sort of silly grin and then burst into a fit of giggles.

“What?” he asked with a laugh.

“I got a silly idea,” she said waving it away.

“What was it?” he said, still smiling.

Her smile faded a little. She took a deep breath and turned to him, putting her hand on his chest.

“I don’t know. I just…” she bit her lip.

She had never been shy about what she wanted, so her hesitation piqued his curiosity.

“I want you to fuck me like you don’t know me. You’re always good to me. I mean, you know how my body works, what makes me come. That’s never been a problem for us. I just-I just want you to take me, like I’m just some slut you met at a bar. I want you to be rough and I want you to just, fuck me. I want you to use me. I don’t know why I want that now, I just do. Will you?” she asked getting closer to him with ever word.

He thought that they had never been particularly gentle lovers, but he knew what she meant. In a lot of ways he was a giver. He wasn’t that comfortable taking control. Still, there was a new energy at that moment.

“Okay,” he said trying to hide his smile.

Her request made him hard and hungry to take her.

They sat there for a moment, unsure of how to start and then they both laughed simultaneously.

He rolled over after a moment, right on top of her. He kissed her hard, brushing her hair out of her face and kissing each of her lips roughly and pressing his hard cock against her, through their layers of clothes.

She wore sweatpants and an old t-shirt. He wore nothing but boxers. She could feel his cock, half hard as he kissed her. She felt all of her thoughts turn off one by one, like switching the lights off before leaving.

It felt good to have his weight on her body. It felt good to feel his hands on her wrists and know she couldn’t pull away. His stubble on her lips didn’t annoy her the way it usually did.

I pushed and pulled her suddenly, pulling her sweatpants to her knees and lifting her legs into the air. His hands grabbed her breasts hungrily and he leaned down and kissed her neck, pulling her hair with one hand, keeping her head straight so he could kiss her again.

Their eyes locked for a moment, but he pulled away. He didn’t want her eyes, he wanted her body. It was a lie, but he sank into it, letting sex become a sublimation for screaming or for crying or running away.

“Please,” she whimpered.

His cock found its way through the fly of his boxers and brushed against her wetness as he wrestled her further down into the mattress. As he kissed her again, harder so that her lips burned from his beard, somehow his cock was pushing inside of her.

Her legs couldn’t open wide because of the sweatpants around her knees, so he pushed her knees against her chest and her feet pressed against his shoulders and then he was so deep he seemed to be waking up some part far inside of her she’d forgotten.

He fucked her hard and didn’t stop. He didn’t wait for her little cycles of orgasm the way he always did. He didn’t reach down between her legs to find her clit with his thumb the way that she liked and somehow that made her even more turned on. She was fucking some new man or maybe the man she’s fallen in love with, before they loved each other and were only in love.

She let herself get fucked. She let the orgasm come from deep inside of her, very different that the illusive feelings she had to chase and corner.

His ten fingers dug into her hips, into softness that he liked and she cringed at. He pulled her to him as he fucked her, pistoning, hard and fast but oiled by her seemingly unending wetness.

Her orgasm was already passing when he started to come. She watched his face, red and tense jawed, growl and gasp. She thought for a moment that no one would come inside of her for a long time. She liked it a lot, the warmth and the dirtiness and the safety too. They had been together so long that they could do the things that were forbidden and unsafe for others.

He kissed her hard as the last ripples ran though him. Their eyes met and they both knew that there was so much love there, so much love it could only be shared in locked eyes and sex and tears, because all the real life stuff had fucked everything else up.

He held her for a little while, their bodies far too hot, their hearts unsure of what else to do. He fell asleep and somehow, even in the emotional turmoil, her fingers found her dripping sex and those fingers moved until she came again, alone but next to him.

In the days that passed they grew distant. There were no repeats of that moment of passion. They exchanged being strangers as a game in bed to being strangers passing in the hallway.

He took his smattering of things and left a few weeks later. She heard he found another girl, not as smart but maybe a little prettier.

In a dream she imagined herself like a tiny rare fruit in his hands, laid out on a cutting board. He towered over he with his cold knife. She imagined him dissecting her and taking her apart, poking the pieces with disinterested curiosity. She dreamed he laid her own on a plate in such a lovely way, prettier than she had ever been in life.

The dream somehow made her feel better.

18 Oct 11:00

How to Let Yourself Off the Hook

by Cynthia Kane
Source: E InterventionI’ve heard a lot of people verbally beating themselves up. “I just feel stupid for doing that” or “I feel like I’ve made some poor decisions." We want to honor all of the feelings that we feel, but it’s healthy if we let ourselves off the hook for feeling whatever it is we’re feeling. Letting yourself be as you are is hard, but it’s also possible. Here are some techniques to help you through.
16 Dec 22:13

This Girl is on Fire: Queer Misogyny and the Consumable Queer Femme Body

by Fran
Note: 

Because I am a poet  it will probably serve me to start with the facts  since I am bound to get lyrical up in here eventually.  I am a white cisgender working class crip queer femme woman.  I have been a writer, performer and activist for twenty years.  I love my community very, very much though every time I critique the tremendous and rampant misogyny and transmisogny embedded within my community I am accused of the opposite.  

 I will not begin to pretend that what I am about to write is true for all femmes or that my experience can really speak for anyone but myself.  But I like to think of the act of writing as similar to getting a plane off the ground.  You pull up and back long enough and suddenly the entire world is within view.  My great hope in crafting this is that other femmes might read it and be encouraged to write their own truths down or dance their own truths out or find one of the many gazillion ways of expression and use it to hold a light to their own lives which I  would like to know more about.  I write because I am ever-weary of femmes being written about by folks who do not live our lives or honor our lives.   I write this because I love my community very, very much and I know for a fact that we can do better.}
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"Nobody told us: The path divides, and divides again, in many directions....How many ways can gender expression multiply - between home and work, at the computer and when you kiss someone, in your dreams and when you walk down the street? No one asked us: What is your dream of who you want to be?"  -Minnie Bruce Pratt


*It's the early 2000s and I am sitting in a darkened audience assembled for a night of performance to cap off a conference for FtM  and masculine identified queer folks.  I'm sitting there at the request of a  femme friend  of mine who had been asked to perform that evening by her partner who is the organizer of the event.   It is no secret in my community that the organizer has a history of beating his femme partners.  He has publicly admitted it, in fact.  I know as I sit there waiting for the show to start that my friend, a classically trained singer,  had wanted to sing that night but she had been told it would be better if she stripped.  As the music starts - My Heart Belongs to Daddy, of course - and she starts to work her tease I can tell that she's high.  Her beautiful dead, dead perfectly made up eyes.  I know that her back has not been  the same ever since he picked her up and threw her against that wall - something for which he apologized to the community.  I recognize her awful, hollow smile as guys all around me start whistling and yelling at her.  She is beautiful and she is taking off her clothes.  Yes, they say, hungry for the sight of her body and oblivious to her pain.   I watch the conference's keynote speaker, Patrick Califia, stand up and walk slowly to the front of the stage where he makes sure everyone can see him staring directly up her skirt  before he throws $1 at her.  Afterward, in the lobby, I watch as people jostle to get up closer to her and touch her without permission.  All the while her perfectly made up eyes were dead. No one cared that she wanted to sing - no one was curious about her voice. No one asks the hot femme what she thinks or feels or dreams of - she is here to serve and arouse.  This is not the first or last time she and I will be on the receiving end of this message.

*It is 2006 and I am living in San Francisco.  Rumors start to fly that photographer Kael T. Block has raped a femme and was beaten up for it by one of her friends.  Block, who photographs some of the most well known trans*men and masculine identified queers in our community, is about to have a show.  The gallery is besieged with calls and they revoke that show from him.  Block is publicly defended by some of the most famous queers in the city.   They say what will become an enduring refrain for well known masculine identified queers who are called out on vicious acts of misogyny and transmisogyny:  You are just jealous.  We are popular.  We are significant.  You are haters and you are trying to tear apart "our" community.  Why can't we support each other? Why are you so hurtful?  So hateful?  It is so much easier to tear something down than to build something and we are the builders.  Why can't we support him and his artwork while we figure out if this charge has any merit?  Block is a French citizen.  He promptly flees the country before legal charges can be brought against him.  In the ensuing months and years it comes to light that he has viciously and sadistically raped and assaulted many femmes on both sides of the Atlantic.  Not long after he flees the country Block makes a "Top 100 Butches" list.   This is not the first or last time the sexual assault of a femme will be deemed far less important than the reputation of her rapist.  I personally know dozens of femmes who have been raped, assaulted and/or abused by butches and FtMs and not one of them feels safe enough to report or even ask "the community" for help and support.  Many of their perpetrators use this fact to continue to torment and stalk them.

*It's February 2011 and I am opening for two well known trans*men who are on tour.  I am a poet.  An essayist.  A performer.  I have been reading and performing in my community since 1999.  I have never been a burlesque dancer.  Not once.  It's winter and the guys I am opening for are wearing jeans, t-shirts, flannels, work boots.  I am wearing a thin satin mermaid skirt and a cloth embroidered corset.  I open for them.  They do not bother to introduce me.  Later I make a joke to one of them that I am probably getting too old to read in bars - that I grow weary of trying to shout out words to audiences who care more about drinking and flirting.  He reaches out and puts his hand on the top hooks my front-hook corset.  He rubs them and says: "Maybe if you undid a few of these people would listen to you more."

I have so many examples of misogyny and femmephobia at my disposal that it is almost difficult to sort through them and figure out which ones might help illuminate the nature of this epidemic in my community.  I've been trying to write this for days and, honestly, it makes me feel like puking.  I know from experience that some femmes will read this and feel appreciative but that challenging dominant misogynistic institutions rarely encourages the people who most benefit from those institutions to divest themselves of any privilege or unfairly acquired power.  One of the more insidious ways that dominance asserts itself is by proclaiming the feelings of the dominant group to be far more important than the physical, emotional and societal well-being of everyone else.   It does not matter that we have lovingly explained, gently asked and downright pleaded for years and years to be listened to or that we have been repeatedly ignored.  What matters is that we respond to inexcusable behavior with anger - and that anger makes people who participate in that behavior feel badly for a little while;  and that is not ok.

It does not matter that femmes are constantly made invisible inside of our communities as punishment for our femininity.  It does not matter that the fact of refusing to publicly acknowledge the existence of femmes to the point where we cannot even be served in dyke bars we have frequented for years without a butch by our side amounts to nothing less than emotionally abusive gaslighting.   It does not matter even when they know we have been here fighting since Stonewall and before.    It does not matter that femmes have been writing about femmephobia and misogyny and transmisogyny for years and years and years - when a new femme asks to see herself reflected in our world she is almost always directed to one of a handful of masculine identified queers who have written marginally-positively to positively about femmes and have been praised and rewarded significantly (both financially and in terms of social status)  in the community for doing so.

So here's the most honest and loving and vulnerable thing I can say at this stage of my journey as a femme:

My Beloved Community,

A. Your lack of commitment to ending femmephobia causes femmes harm.  Even if you are not actively one of the people who say and do horrible things to us your lack of standing up beside us publicly when that happens causes us harm.

B.  Wearing leggings for a day and noticing, for a few hours, the brutal emotional/societal abuse that is the public shunning of femininity by queers toward queers does not actually give you insight into my life.  At best, it only provides insight into how little you have ever had to notice this  in your own life.  http://www.autostraddle.com/fat-booty-butch-wears-leggings-confuses-world-confronts-self-204824/

C. Please stop telling me that I experience "femme privilege" because as a cisgender woman I can use public bathrooms more safely than you.  Femme is a gender and it is most certainly not limited to cisgender women.  Lots and lots of femmes also face danger when they use the rest room.  What I have in those situations is cisgender privilege and I am actively working toward alleviating myself of that privilege.  Femme privilege does not exist.  If it did butches who wore leggings for a few hours would not feel compelled to write whole essays about how hard it was for them.  If it did femmes who were assaulted and abused by their masculine identified partners would have resources for help that were community supported and driven.  If femme privilege existed it would not be my job as a writer to explain to the countless people who ask me to take my clothes off for "community" fund raisers that that is not what I do.  Femme Privilege does not exist.  Period. The following quotations introduce Maura Ryan's essay: "The Femme Movement: Why We're Here, Why We're (So Damn and Beautifully) Queer, and Why You're Gonna Get Used To It" in Visible: a femmethology Vol 2.  Please read and consider them the next time you wish to embark on a treatise about femme privilege.

"There's nothing worse than a femme girl who's basically a straight girl in disguise-one of those girls who wants to settle down, be wifey, be a lazy-ass bottom, and then pretend that she gets some sort of queer credit for wearing red lipstick.  When it comes down to it-hell! I think I just described all femmes."
-A queer stranger's response to hearing about my dissertation topic.

"That's great! Can you figure out a way to get rid of them for good?"
-A queer stranger's reaction to hearing that I am researching femmes in queer communities

"Could you tell me why femmes are such selfish bitches?"
-A genderqueer-identified person who said he was in love with me.

"Femmes are always selling out lesbians."
-A genderqueer-identified friend of mine who dates femmes.


D. Please feel less comfortable talking and writing about femmes in essentialist ways, even when your intent is to flatter us.  When you are tempted to do so please take a beat and read or study the work of any or all of these critical and necessary femmes instead.  Encourage people to go to femmes to learn about what femme is.*: Minnie Bruce Pratt, Dorothy Allison, Amber Hollibaugh, Pratibha Parmar, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarsinha, Tara Hardy, The Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins, Jewelle Gomez, Joan Nestle, Peggy Munson, Alex Holding, Cyree Jarelle Johnson, Krista Smith, Ryka Aoki,  Ulrika Dahl, Courtney Trouble, Julia Serano,  Heather McAllister, Nomy Lamm,  Emi Koyama, Kate Bornstein, Michaela Grey,  Ms. Victoria Cruz, Amanda Piasecki, Sossity Chiricuzio, Tanisha Johnson, Chaia Milstein,  Jac Stringer, Shawna Virago, Evan Emerson, Dr. Carol Queen,  Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Cherry Galette, Jessica Halem,  Annalise Ophelian, Amber Dawn, Alex Cafarelli, Zoe Whittal, Debra Anderson, Cindy Emch,  Hanne Blank, Rosie Lugosi, Jen Cross, Meliza Banales, Dulce Garcia, Gina de Vries, Mia Mingus, Kathleen Delaney-Adams, Maggie Cee, Asha Leong, Kiki DeLovely, Damien Luxe.   These names are but a trickle in the bucket.  This is an infinitely expandable list.

E. Please stop asking me to respond to a world that does not see, value or center my life with vulnerability and love.  I wear armor because my world is not safe.  I use my tongue as a sword because I am a survivor and I have to fight to make my voice heard in every world I walk into.  I fight because I love myself.  I love femmes.   I am protective of young femmes and desperately want a better queer world for them than the one I inherited.  Prioritizing your feelings over the well-being of femmes is not what solidarity looks like.

F. Please stop equating my legitimate anger and frustration in the face of injustice with destroying the community I have devoted my life to.

Many years ago I wrote the following poem.  I tell you with all of the love and vulnerability I possess that I wish it did not withstand the test of time so well.


Stone Sculptor

They walk each other
past the end of the tether they

go out walking after
midnight                  it is a two-step love affair

then dawn comes on,
a sweet persistent cramping
of every muscle they have ever flexed

for one another

They are a dance in black and white
Fred and Ginger with a twist

look at the girl

swaying red nailed stone sculptor
she is a tone poem                call her by her name

call her land and set sail

Her badge of courage read as blood smeared
across lips

before lowered to his ears

she whispers into the granite
of his night

"go on home boy."

She is the house of cards that
mercy built

she is a harder stone
for sure

so hard he cuts his teeth on her
and when she drinks his blood
he is the body

She says:

Boy, if you were your charm
I would take these potato picking baby shelf
hips & turn tornado for you

I am hypnotized by the music of
your scent which I carry on my tongue

Boy,

you damn the serpent who
sees you

as though she lost you paradise by
way of the fruit

we are a two-step love affair
we are a dance

I am no less for the lipstick
I am no less for the lipstick
I am no less

for holding the music
like I hold you

up in the granite of
the nights we tumble through together

and when I arch my back to the work
of you

you are the body you were
born to be

I am a house of cards
impossibly built to
shelter your fickle intentions

Boy,

I may be charmed
and I may be dancing for you
but I've got a mouth full of venom
I am a hard thing to break

so look at the girl

swaying          red nailed        stone sculptor

she is part of the dance
whether you claim her  or not

call her by her name

call her            hard blood smeared thing

who cuts through the granite of your night
like a diamond









*This is not a complete or fully representational  list by any stretch of the imagination but it is one constructed with the help of many femmes I admire and respect when I asked them who their personal femme heroes are.  Their assistance and brilliance are infinitely and lovingly appreciated.











  

  


15 Dec 23:57

Fuck Me

I love it when you fuck me. I crave your fingers jammed inside me. We wrestle for control. I only win when you let me. I know this. You know I know this. And when you win, my breathing slows. I stare at you. You pin my shoulders down. You look up at me with your mouth sucking on my nipple. I grab a fistful of your hair, holding it out of the way so I can watch your lips curve around me. You grab my cunt through my jeans, pinching me. I wince. I need you to fuck me. I need to be fucked.

You like to talk. You tell me I can’t stop you. And I can’t. I can’t stop you. I won’t stop you. I arch my back off the mattress. I feel my face turn red. I get so hot. Burning. My cunt is still in your grip. I reach down and try to unbuckle my belt but you shove my hands away. You grab my belt and lift me, shake me a little, and drop me back down. You tug my jeans low and the denim scrapes my hip bones. “Fuck me,” I whine. You’ve made me whine. I’m panting. Gulping the air. Desperate to take you in. “Fuck me.” All I hear is your laugh. You taunt me. You throw my desire back in my face. You sneer and twist my nipples in your fingers before you roll me over onto my belly.

I clench my fists, grabbing the sheet. I know. I know this. You reach beneath me and unbuckle my belt. You whip the worn leather strap out of the belt loops and jerk my jeans down, exposing my ass. You wrap the belt back around me and pull it tight just below the curve of my ass. My thighs are smashed together. Everything stings. Quick stinging slaps on my ass. The leather of the belt stings as it cuts into me. You slap, sting, rub. You blow cool air on my hot skin. You tell me I’m so good. You tell me I’m growing so red. You tell me I’m glowing. You tug my jeans down further to expose more flesh. My upper thighs are yours. I’m yours. I tell you this, “I’m yours.” You answer, “Yes.”

I tell myself I won’t cry. I won’t ask you to stop. It’s not the stinging. It’s not the pain. It’s the submission. It’s giving this to you. It’s the letting go. It’s knowing that I love you. Knowing that I’ll let you give me this, take care of me, love me. That’s what breaks me. That’s why I cry when you fuck me. "I won’t cry this time. I won’t," I tell myself. But of course I will. I know that I will. You know that I will. You look for it. I will cry because it overwhelms me how you love me. How I let you love me. How I want it.

I try to get away when you pull the belt between my legs, against my clit. It hurts. The pain is almost too much. The leather feels like it’s cutting me. I can’t get away. You ask me if I want you to stop and the question only makes me angry. “Fuck you,” I yell. “Poor baby,” you coo. I feel the tears well up in my eyes. I spit the words softly into the sheets, “Fuck you.” I go limp. You feel it. Or maybe you see it. Roll me over. Do what you want.

What you want is to wake me up again. Your fingers shoot into my cunt and I double over, grabbing for your head. You move away from me quickly and shove me back against the mattress. You fuck me so hard it’s beyond pleasure. This is pain. It hurts. I’m fighting it. I grit my teeth. I’m yelling. You don’t relent. Pounding into me over and over again. Repeating the words you last said, “Poor baby.” Again, harder, you don’t let up. “My poor, poor baby. Don’t you want it? Yeah. I see you, baby. I see what you want.”

My whole body resists until the moment your spit hits my clit. I feel it drip. Then your finger or your thumb. Everything, everything, all of me, suddenly on fire. So warm. My head is fuzzy. I feel so good. I couldn’t possibly stand up steady. I’m crying now. Crying hard. I’m staring at your lips. They hang open above my bent knees. You look at me now and again. You shake your hair out of your eyes. We nod at each other. Whispered yeses. Uh huh. I don’t care about coming. This is everything. But I do come. I come and I scream and I shake. I pull you to my face and hold you. You press down on top of me. I cry into your neck.

I won’t fuck you tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Tonight I’ll just take and take. I’ll open my thighs for you. I’ll pet your head as you suck me off later when I’m sleepy and drunk. I’ll tell you over and over again how much I love you. How you have me. “Fuck me, baby,” I’ll plead and roll over on my belly. “Here, baby. Come here,” I’ll say and pray that you’ll take me again.

11 Dec 18:07

Breakups and transitions suck, but they’re really helpful

by aggiesez

The upside of breakups/transitions, I’ve learned, is that they build my relationship & solo skills.

I was just reflecting: Over the last few years, I’ve had a few very bad, painful, jarring breakups from highly emotionally invested relationships where I felt profoundly betrayed by those partners; and one unacknowledged, unexplained abandonment by someone who’d been one of my closest friends for years; and one very gentle, amicable transition from a long-term former primary partnership to a close nonsexual but still deep and affectionate connection. Plus several fairly quick and painless transitions out of budding relationships with people who proved themselves incompatible with me.

Going through a lot of relationship endings and transitions has taught me much about how to be more rooted and stable in myself (regardless of my relationship status); how to make better decisions at the appropriate times; the importance of nurturing a robust network of loving, supportive connections (including nonsexual and nonromantic ones); and how to communicate more clearly with lovers, friends, partners and metamours. Plus, how to appreciate what I have, while accepting and not fearing (too much) that someday that will change/end.

I used to assume that the “right” thing to do was to hang on to my important relationships at nearly all costs, including sacrificing myself, trying to control others, or living in pain or denial. As much as breakups and transitions can suck, they’ve taught me that even though I don’t necessarily like change, and getting through change can suck, I am actually pretty good at dealing with it. I even thrive because of it. That makes me a better person — and partner, and friend, and lover, and family/community member.

And I’ve also learned to enjoy less emotionally intense or deeply invested connections, because they’re also wonderful. Not every connection needs to be a Major Romance (TM) in order to be wonderful. There are lots of kinds of wonderful. I’m not saying I don’t fear loss, get jealous, or possess 24/7 equanimity. But painful, stressful feelings and resentments are a much smaller part of my life today. I’m much happier much more of the time. That’s a major win.

What have you learned through shitty, painful breakups that’s made you better, especially in terms of thriving in solohood/autonomy?