How can gender identity affect a sexual experience or a sexual relationship (even mentally)? How can we avoid gender identity becoming a point of contestation? We are both doms.
If you are trans* or your gender identity is complex, non-normative, fluid, genderqueer, or your body doesn’t entirely reflect your gender expression, it can absolutely affect your sexual experiences and relationships. As you begin to figure out your gender identity (knowing of course that it’s still not fixed and can change), share as much of that information as you can with your partner. This includes your relationship to your body, your preferred words for your body parts, how you want to be touched, and your sexual boundaries. Communicate with your partner about words that feel authentic and sexy in relation to your body and certain sex acts—words like dick, cock, cunt, pussy, as well as “fucking” or “making love”—can be loaded for people, no matter what their gender identity is, so ask your partner what words they use in regards to their own body and then respect those choices. It’s also helpful to stick to gender-neutral adjectives instead of nouns (hard, tight, wet, open, etc.). Your gender identity should not be a “point of contestation” between the two of you. The more comfortable you are with your gender identity, and the more you can talk about it with your partner, the more likely they are to understand it. Gender identity with regard to sexuality and sexual dynamics can vary for everyone, not just trans* and genderqueer people. For example, a straight man may want to be dominated and treated like a bad girl by his female partner, a lesbian may like to imagine she’s a straight man who’s seducing another man for the first time. We often get turned on by gender and sexual dynamics that don’t match our everyday gender on the street. Even when people aren’t explicitly roleplaying, there’s a certain energy dynamic that goes into the act itself that connects to our gender identity. Make a list of what gender identities you connect to in the bedroom (and which ones you don’t), share it with your partner, then have them do the same thing and find where you overlap and connect.
Recommended: Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, PoMoSexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality and Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation
My latest audio book Down and Dirty Sex Secrets: The New and Naughty Guide to Being Great in Bed, is part of the The Bright List. Susie Bright has this to say about it:
I’m picky about sex advice, but this is one of the must-have’s.
Whether you’re happily vanilla or the type who’ll try anything, this book will probably give you a few ideas to make it even more satisfying and fun, either alone or with a partner (or two).
If you’re a fan of audio books in generally, you definitely need to be following The Bright List, Susie’s blog on the topic is excellent.
The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure
is co-edited by Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Mireille Miller-Young, and me
and is published by The Feminist Press
The Feminist Porn Book brings together for the first time writings by feminists in the adult industry and research by feminist porn scholars. This book investigates not only how feminists understand pornography, but also how feminists do porn—that is, direct, act in, produce, and consume one of the world’s most lucrative and growing industries. With original contributions by Susie Bright, Candida Royalle, Betty Dodson, Nina Hartley, Buck Angel, Lynn Comella, Jane Ward, Ariane Cruz, Kevin Heffernan, and more, The Feminist Porn Book updates the arguments of the porn wars of the 1980s, which sharply divided the women’s movement, and identifies pornography as a form of expression and labor in which women and racial and sexual minorities produce power and pleasure. Check out the book’s official website to read the table of contents and see what people like Melissa Harris-Perry, Laura Kipnis, Jack Halberstam, Lisa Duggan, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, and other luminaries have said about it. I am so unbelievably excited that The Feminist Porn Book is here! This is a project that is five years in the making, and I cannot believe it’s in print.
Inspired by the book, I am producing The Feminist Porn Conference, a one-day event on April 6, 2013 at the University of Toronto during the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards festivities. Speakers include Lynn Comella, Ariane Cruz, Loree Erickson, April Flores, Kevin Heffernan, Tobi Hill-Meyer, Shine Louise Houston, Jiz Lee, Nicholas Matte, Mireille Miller-Young, Ms. Naughty, Nenna, Bobby Noble, Celine Parreñas-Shimizu, Constance Penley, Carol Queen, Dylan Ryan, Tristan Taormino, Courtney Trouble, Madison Young, and more to be confirmed soon. Registration is now open, and Early Bird Registration Rates are good through March 1, so register today! Our host hotel is the Holiday Inn; get our special discount code here. Special thanks to our sponsors Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, Good for Her, The Feminist Porn Awards, and The Feminist Press.
Even with its flaws, Fifty Shades of Grey has become a worldwide phenomenon that simply cannot be ignored. It has sparked broad discussion and exploration of BDSM among mainstream media and everyday folks. My book, The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge came out at a perfect time last year just as the Fifty Shades craze was taking hold. But I realized that The Ultimate Guide to Kink is not necessarily geared for beginners, so I wanted to write a prequel to it. That book was just released by Cleis Press: 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM. It’s an e-book available for the Kindle and the Nook. It’s the perfect book for anyone who’s been inspired by Fifty Shades of Grey, is curious about kink, wants more information, or is just beginning to explore it. 50 Shades of Kink is a practical guide that moves beyond the fantasy and gives practical advice and techniques based on real world experience. You’ll learn techniques and creative ideas for bondage, spanking, flogging, sensation play, and rough sex and how to eroticize power, cultivate deeper connections and incorporate kink into your sex life.
UPDATE! The show is currently re-airing, here is a full schedule:
January 22, 9:00 pm; January 26 at 3:00 am; January 28 at 8:00 am; January 31 at 9:00 pm; February 3 at 3:00 pm; and February 5 at 9:00 am
Bestselling author and sex educator Tristan Taormino is a featured expert in “The Real 50 Shades of Grey,” the latest edition of the E! Special series, which premieres on E! Entertainment Television on January 22 at 9:00 pm. This documentary special looks at the lives and relationships of real dominants and submissives and features commentary from BDSM experts. Taormino is a sought-after speaker and commentator on a range of sexuality issues, including alternative sexual practices and communities. Her groundbreaking collection The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge published by Cleis Press in 2012 features the work of leading kink experts from around the country. Dan Savage calls it “more than just a guide to kink, more than just a sex manual…everyone can learn from this collection.” Her latest book (also from Cleis Press), 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, offers readers practical advice and techniques based on real world experience about how to eroticize power, cultivate deeper connections and incorporate kink into your sex life.
Here’s the full show description:
Whether shock, excitement or simply curiosity, it seems that everyone has a strong reaction to the bestselling erotic book trilogy that includes Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Having sold more than 60 million copies worldwide, the series set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time. What is it about the provocative lifestyle of the protagonists that has readers throughout the world riveted? Is it the non-traditional sex, the excitement of the unknown, or simply the story of love between two people expressed in a unique way? Hosted by E!’s Alicia Quarles, this one-hour special features commentary from therapists, authors and other experts about the practice, and also profiles the real-life experiences of couples who follow this lifestyle. Don’t miss a fascinating look at what used to be a very secret world in the E! Special “The Real 50 Shades of Grey” premiering Tuesday, January 22 at 9:00pm ET/PT, only on E!
In this special, real-life practitioners open up about the BDSM lifestyle. Viewers find out how they got involved, what the challenges of this lifestyle are and what they tell their families and friends about their choices. The show also looks into a high-profile case in which the sex game turned dangerous for the players, and experts weigh in on the risks and dangers of the lifestyle, and what participants must do in order to remain safe, both physically and psychologically. Find out how the “business” of bondage is growing too, as an instructor discusses the popular classes that are filling up with individuals and couples eager to enter this sexually-charged world. E! Entertainment Specials explore the hottest trends, the biggest stars and breaking stories, and “The Real 50 Shades of Grey” is part of its White Hot Winter programming in January.
I am so thrilled to announce the release of the audio book version of my Lambda Literary Award-winning anthology Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica. It’s available on Amazon and Audible (you can even listen to a sample at Audible). First, I am just excited that the audio book market has really exploded recently, and audio book versions of several of my books have already been produced, including Best Lesbian Erotica 2007, Best Lesbian Erotica 2009, Best of the Best Lesbian Erotica, Hot Lesbian Erotica, and Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (and coming soon: Down and Dirty Sex Secrets!). I think erotica books make especially good material for audio (of course) and queer erotica is where I got my start so it’s close to my heart. But what makes this one extra special is that I co-produced and narrated it! That’s right, here’s your chance to hear more than 7 hours of me talking dirty to you, reading smutty stories by folks like S. Bear Bergman, Toni Amato, D. Alexandria, Peggy Munson, Sinclair Sexsmith, Elaine Miller, Amie M. Evans, Alison Smith, and more. You’ll hear tales of the new femme in town and the butch pastry chef, the cop who passes as a guy and picks up straight girls at hip hop clubs, porn-watching butches who can’t keep their hands off each other, a sexy game of hide and seek in the woods, what happens when a femme trolls the personals for a date, one girl’s revenge on sweet-talking butches, a threesome with a power couple, girl-on-girl lipstick smearing, poetic public sex and some particularly incendiary roleplay. The stories are filled with dominant Daddies, butches with swagger, fierce femmes, strippers and sex workers, longtime lovers, femme tops, and plenty more. I promise you: it’s a good time! My producer and engineer on this project is a superstar in his own right: Dylan Keefe. Dylan is part of the team of geniuses who work on public radio show Radiolab and the bass player for Marcy Playground, an awesome 90s band famous for the song “Sex and Candy.” Dylan and I had so much fun in the studio together recording this, and we hope to collaborate on more projects together. I hope you’ll check it out, tell your friends, and enjoy this porn for your ears!
This Friday, August 24th, I’m thrilled to welcome Jessica Valenti, writer and founder of feministing.com to Sex Out Loud. Jessica Valenti will talk to us about her latest book, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity Is Hurting Young Women, which was also turned into a documentary. We’ll discuss abstinence-only education, recent attempts by legislators to control women’s reproductive health care, and long term effects of the current climate on women and sexuality. I will also talk with Jessica, author of Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, about her experiences as a feminist writer and activist, and where she thinks the next generation of online organizing will lead us. Tune into our show at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT.
Jessica Valenti – called one of the Top 100 Inspiring Women in the world by The Guardian – is the author of three books: Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, and The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women which has been made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation. She is the editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, which was named one of Publishers Weekly‘s Top 100 Books of 2009.
Jessica is also the founder of Feministing.com, which Columbia Journalism Review calls “head and shoulders above almost any writing on women’s issues in mainstream media.” Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Nation, The Guardian (UK), The American Prospect, Ms. magazine, Salon and Bitch magazine. She has won a Choice USA Generation award and the 2011 Hillman Journalism Prize for her work with Feministing. She has appeared on The Colbert Report and the Today show, among others, and was profiled in The New York Times Magazine under the headline “Fourth Wave Feminism.”
Jessica is also a widely sought-after speaker who gives dozens of speeches at universities and organizations in the U.S. and abroad. She received her Masters degree in Women’s and Gender Studies from Rutgers University.
While Dan Savage was on vacation, the “Savage Love” Letter of the Day—a.k.a. SLLOTD—had to go on! So Dan asked three different guest columnists to field his readers’ questions while he’s away. I was the guest columnist August 13-17! You can read each of my questions and answers on the SLOG, along with readers’ comments which were diverse and very opinionated here:
August 13: Even Less Kinky Than Plain Vanilla, about incompatibility, kinkiness, and communication
August 14: Fetishes, Porn, Meatballs, and Eggs, about women’s fetishes, a gyno sex fantasy, and gossip
August 15: Hungover and Hurt, about a partner’s boundary violation (trigger warning)
August 16: Maybe I’m More Vanilla Than I Thought, about crossdressing, anal, and sexual compatibility
August 17: Less Face, More Fuck, about a new Dom/sub sex partner who’s avoiding intercourse
- As you may recall, I was on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show on MSNBC a couple weeks ago, which prompted anti-pornography crusader Gail Dines to complain that she was bumped from the show. Marisa Black wrote a piece for Betty Dodson’s site called “Feminism and Pornography Can Coexist” which I highly recommend reading.
- Glorified Love Letters wrote a review (aka a love letter) to Ultimate Guide for Kink and Sinclair Sexsmith featured the book in Lambda Literary’s Cliterotica 2012, a quarterly lesbian erotica review roundup.
- And speaking of Lambda Literary, Donuts and Desires did a great write-up of Take Me There winning a Lambda Literary Award last month.
- Finally, Boston Magazine mentioned me in a short piece on queer heterosexuals. Check it out!