Oct 042015

Tristan is headed to the Southeast in October, so catch her at one of these places:

October 13  
Florida Atlantic University
, Boca Raton, FL

October 15-17
Sex Down South, Atlanta, GA

October 18
Sex Educator Boot Camp 1.5, Washington DC

October 19  
Anal Sex for Everyone at Sugar, Baltimore, MD

May 272015


For five years, Cooper S. Beckett has written for the website Life on the Swingset. Now he has collected personal essays, stories, erotica, and prescriptive “how-tos” into this memoir of his life on The Swingset. Beckett may be biased when it comes to swinging, polyamory, and other forms of ethical non-monogamy, but he doesn’t sugar-coat it. He speaks honestly and earnestly about a unique way to live life, one that allows for sexual and loving growth and experimentation and a strong sense of community. This week we’ll talk social anxiety and shyness, recognizing the importance of touch in life, evolving feelings about love and expectations, having threesomes, orgies, and prostate orgasms, going through a divorce, and leveling up in life and sexuality.

Tune in to Sex Out Loud this Friday, May 29th at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET. This week’s show is LIVE so call in to Voice America with questions and comments at 1-866-472-5788, join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter, or e-mail me via tristan(at)puckerup.com and I’ll read them live on the air. Tune in to Sex Out Loud every Friday, you can listen along on your computer, tablet, or phone, find all the ways at SexOutLoudRadio.com!

cooper beckettAuthor of My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory, creator and host of Life on the Swingset, a website and podcast by and for the sexually open. In addition to writing for the site and hosting the weekly podcast about sexuality and non-monogamy, Cooper Beckett travels the globe throwing play parties and teaching classes to help people open themselves up and color outside the lines of their sexuality.

Nov 202014


This Friday on November 21st at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, I will be live on Sex Out Loud radio with Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert, the co-authors of the new book, More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, a hands-on toolkit for having happy, successful polyamorous relationships. They discuss their new book as well as their latest project, Thorntree Press a new, independent publishing company with a focus on rational, evidence-based approaches to sex and relationships, as well as sharing real-life stories. They’ll also answer listener questions about navigating non-traditional relationships.

This week’s show is LIVE so call in with questions and comments at 1-866-472-5788, join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter, or e-mail me via tristan(at)puckerup.com and I’ll read them live on the air. Tune in to Sex Out Loud every Friday, you can listen along on your computer, tablet, or phone, find all the ways at SexOutLoudRadio.com!

Franklin Veaux is the co-author of the groundbreaking new book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory, and the author of the top-ranked polyamory site on the Web, morethantwo.com. He is also the creator of Onyx: The Game of Sexual Exploration, maintains the sites xeromag.com and symtoys.com, which include extensive writings about BDSM, publishes erotic fiction under the pen name William Vitelli, and is the co-founder of the publishing company Thorntree Press and the sex toy R&D company Tacit Pleasures. Franklin started practicing non-monogamy from the moment he started becoming aware that boys and girls are different. He started writing about it in 1998. Over the decades, he’s made just about every mistake it’s possible to make in polyamorous relationships. Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from poor judgment. Today, he has five partners, lives in Portland, Oregon, and spends a great deal of time writing about everything from relationship ethics to transhumanism to computer security.

Eve Rickert is a professional writer, editor and mastermind, and the co-author of the the new book More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory. Until taking time off from life to write the book and go on a book tour, she co-organized a group for poly women in Vancouver, Canada, and she blogs at the More Than Two website. She owns a science communications firm in Vancouver, Canada, called Talk Science to Me, and she is the co-founder of the publishing company Thorntree Press and the smart sex toy R&D company Tacit Pleasures. Eve has been living poly since 2008, though her poly roots go back much deeper. Her approach to poly has changed radically over the years: from early experiences in high school, to first hearing the word “polyamory” in 1998, to first swingers’ party in 2006, to her current three long-term relationships. And being poly has radically changed her. She’s made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of hard lessons. She co-wrote More Than Two to share those experiences with anyone who is struggling to maintain ethical multiple relationships with integrity, compassion and courage.


Jul 302014

partners in passion

MarkandPatricia high resThis Friday at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT on Sex Out Loud radio, Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson return to the show to discuss their new book, Partners In Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love. We’ll talk about non-monogamy, communication, passionate long-term relationships, and the controversy around their recent article on Alternet, “Life-Long Sexual Monogamy Just Isn’t Natural“. They’ll also join in answering listener questions.

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson are a devoted married couple. They have been creative collaborators – teaching and writing about sexuality and Tantra together – since 1999. Michaels and Johnson are the authors of Partners in Passion (Cleis 2014), Great Sex Made Simple, Tantra for Erotic Empowerment, and The Essence of Tantric Sexuality. Their books have garnered numerous awards: Independent Publishing (IPPY), ForeWord Reviews, and USA Book News Best Books, among others. They are also the creators of the meditation CD set Ananda Nidra: Blissful Sleep. To support the pleasure-positive community in New York, they co-founded Pleasure Salon in 2007. www.MichaelsandJohnson.com

Sex Out Loud airs every Friday at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET on the VoiceAmerica Variety channel. You can listen on your computer, phone, or tablet, find all the ways here!


May 242013
Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2

Madison Young as a pony girl on the set of Rough Sex 2

Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of those questions.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

I asked my friend and colleague Felice Shays, a sex and BDSM educator, to take this one on. Listen to my fantastic interview with her on Sex Out Loud here. Felice says:

So, you are afraid to try things other than missionary positions, kissing, and other sexy acts because pot always leads to crack? And spanking always leads to bestiality? No, friend, don’t worry about escalation, as you call it. When you try out different things you’re figuring out what you like. Keep experimenting—add to what you and your partner enjoy; keep what works and don’t keep what doesn’t feel so good. But don’t be afraid to try something again down the road—what may feel eh today might feel off the charts next week. Watching lots of porn isn’t a bad thing unless it interferes in the healthy functioning of someone’s life (see Hernando Chaves’ discussion of sex addiction). People don’t get desensitized when watching lots of porn, hopefully they keep getting turned on. Their interests might shift over time, so what may have been a fantasy last month, may not be as hot this month. And yet other people love to watch the same kind of images throughout their lives. The good news is that sex is not like a runaway car, careening down a side of a mountain into the tiny town about to destroy the innocent townsfolk who live there. No. Instead, you get to make decisions about what you want, and when you want it. That includes if you want to gently kiss someone on their neck or press your teeth in a firm way against that flesh. Or if you want to be on top or you want to give or get it from behind. The other good news, is that no one gets to hold the truth to what vanilla or kink actually is. I can hear you say, “You know what I mean. Like spanking and dirty talk and like that.” And I say, what is someone’s “vanilla” may be someone else’s ‘you’ve gone a bit too far, pal’.  And vice versa. My friend says she and her husband are vanilla, yet he holds the back of her head as she’s sucking him off. He’s not forcing her or choking her, just getting off on how pretty she is, how good he feels, his hand in her hair, his cock in her mouth. And she loves it too; feeling just the right amount of pressure on the back of her head that makes her feel high and hot.

That’s playing with power right there. And they consider themselves vanilla—not kinky.

So I can’t tell you what vanilla is. And frankly, I don’t really give’s a rat’s ass. I want you happy and turned on, not bored.

It’s about what turns you on and what your desires are.

Desire, like other tastes, change and morph as we gain experience in the world.  And just because you love pizza, doesn’t mean you want to eat it every night.

Worry less and EXPLORE and EXPERIMENT more.

So when you add new ways of being sexy and sexual to getting it on, you might want to keep those new ways—plus any of the other ways you used to—whatever make you happy. And you probably won’t want to make love or fuck exactly the same way every time either. Mood, partner, time of day, if you’re high or drunk, all these things will affect what you want.

So if you try slapping someone’s face and realize you both really like it, the doors to vanilla are still yours to walk through. Cuddling, sex without an edge or ferocity, are still yours whenever you want it.

Keep open and curious—and don’t let fear run your sex, or your life, for that matter.

You are allowed to experiment explore and discover what you like.

ADD to your sexual vocabulary, don’t limit it.

Just think of the stories you will tell with all that new language.

It’s worth repeating: Worry less and EXPLORE more.

Felice Shays, Sex and BDSM Educator. Follow Felice on Twitter @FeliceShays

May 242013
Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2

Mark Davis, Chayse Evans & Adrianna Nicole from Rough Sex 2

Last month, I gave a talk as part of an evening called
The Truth Behind Fifty Shades of Grey at University of Maryland in College Park. There was a lively audience discussion, and we gave students the opportunity to ask questions anonymously. Here are those questions with my responses. Note: I asked several of my colleagues to chime in and answer a few of the questions. Because several of them inspired longer answers, I will post those separately under Ask Tristan.

What is caning?

I’m going to quote an expert, Lolita Wolf, from her chapter, “Making an Impact: Spanking, Caning, and Flogging” in The Ultimate Guide to Kink:

Caning was traditional for severe punishment in the Victorian era and in the British school system, so canes can be the center of some great role play opportunities. Because of their perceived severity, canes have developed a reputation as the “scariest” of all BDSM impact toys, but a caning can be light and sensuous or heavy and painful—it’s all about how you wield the cane… Traditional canes are made of rattan, not bamboo or wood, and should be able to bend significantly.

Are there any races/ethnicities/religious groups that are members of the BDSM community?

People of all races and ethnicities practice BSDM, although some people of color have critiqued kink communities for being overwhelmingly white. Mollena Williams writes eloquently and teaches about the challenges of being a person of color in the BDSM community. There are some organizations and groups that cater specifically to kinky people of color including Poly Patao Productions and BlackBEAT.

Does the BDSM community have a higher percentage of LGBT people than mainstream sex?

People who practice BDSM comes from all walks of life and represent a diverse sampling in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, class, age, ability, and sexual orientation. LGBT people have varied sex lives, just as heterosexuals do; some are kinky, some aren’t, and some fall in between.

Do BDSM people date and marry, or just hook up?

BDSM folks are like everyone else in with regards to their sexual, romantic, and emotional relationships: they hook up, they date, they marry, they divorce, they have kids. In my research for my book Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, I found that there was a lot if overlap between BDSM communities and non-monogamous communities, so I think it might be that a higher percentage of BDSM people practice some form of consensual, ethical non-monogamy than the general population.

Has BDSM been shown to lower divorce rates?

There is limited research about BDSM and the people who practice it. There is no data that I know of that correlates BDSM with lower divorce rates. What I can tell you from personal experience is that many kinky folks have open, expansive views on sex, pleasure, relationships, and love plus above-average communication skills, and those elements can all contribute to the success of a marriage or relationship.

In the book Fifty Shades of Grey, when Christian and Anastasia communicate on a daily basis, Christian is always in charge. Do BDSM couples talk like that normally?

It depends. Some people adopt the roles of dominant and submissive during a scene (a scene is when people practice BDSM), but once the scene is done, they interact without those roles. Others may stay in role for a weekend. In those cases, when they are in role, the dominant takes charge and dictates how things go. Some people have dominant/submissive relationships where the power dynamic is always (or almost always) present. In all cases, as part of the negotiation process, dominants and submissives may agree to certain rules or protocols which dictate behavior. One such protocol could be that the dominant is in charge of what the submissive wears or the dominant decides what they eat for dinner. Another protocol could be that the submissive has to ask permission before speaking or always use an honorific when speaking to the dominant, like Sir. Protocols vary wildly, are particular to the people involved, and make sense to them; they are meant to represent and reinforce the power dynamic.

Is there a book or books that are more accurate to the BDSM community than Fifty Shades of Grey?

The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and The Erotic Edge, 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM, SM 101: A Realistic Introduction, Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring, and Navigating The Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities, The New Topping Book, The New Bottoming Book, Screw the Roses, Send Me The Thorns, as well as books by Jack Rinella, Lee Harrington, and Midori.

How do you find kink friendly professionals like doctors or therapists?

There are two great resources I recommend: Kink Aware Professionals and The Open List.

Is rape performed by BDSM people?

The word “performed” threw me a little because my interpretation of that word could lead me down two very different roads. On the one hand, are you asking, “Do BDSM people act out consensual rape fantasies?” The answer is yes, and a stellar resource all about those kinds of fantasies is Mollena Williams who wrote the chapter “Digging in the Dirt: The Lure of Taboo Role Play” in in The Ultimate Guide to Kink. But the other interpretation is, “Do BDSM people commit rape?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is also yes. While the vast majority of folks who practice BDSM consider consent the cornerstone of their kink, that doesn’t mean that every kinky person is immune from sexual coercion, trauma, abuse, and violence. These things are still far too common in our society. For an excellent discussion about consent, sexual assault, and BDSM, I recommend Thomas’ series of posts on the blog Yes Means Yes.

Can BDSM be addictive?

This question inspires a longer response, so it has its own post here by therapist Dr. Hernando Chaves.

Can it be hard to enjoy “vanilla” sex once you’ve escalated [to BDSM]? I’ve heard porn indulgence can desensitize people until they keep needing to escalate–is this the case with BDSM?

For this one, I asked my friend BDSM educator Felice Shays, and here is her response.

Feb 192013

christopher ryan

This Friday on Sex Out Loud at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT, I’m live with Christopher Ryan, the renegade researcher behind the New York Times bestseller, Sex At Dawn, a controversial, idea-driven book that challenges everything you know about sex, marriage, family, and society. We’ll discuss the ideas behind the book including monogamy, sexual orientation, and family dynamics, as well as his latest project, KoTango.com. Kotango is an ethical non-monogamy site, a global community dedicated to modern relationships, and the culture that surrounds them.

Christopher Ryan received a BA in English and American literature in 1984 and an MA and Ph.D. in psychology from Saybrook University, in San Francisco, CA twenty years later. He spent the intervening decades traveling around the world, living in unexpected places working at very odd jobs (e.g., gutting salmon in Alaska, teaching English to prostitutes in Bangkok and self-defense to land-reform activists in Mexico, managing commercial real-estate in New York’s Diamond District, helping Spanish physicians publish their research, Ebonics to English translation for a Spanish film festival…). Along the way, he decided to pursue doctoral studies in psychology. Drawing upon his multi-cultural experience, Christopher’s research focused on trying to distinguish the human from the cultural. His doctoral dissertation analyzes the prehistoric roots of human sexuality, and was guided by the world-renowned psychologist, Stanley Krippner.

Christopher has lectured at the University of Barcelona Medical School, consulted at various hospitals, contributed to publications ranging from Behavioral and Brain Sciences (Cambridge University Press) to a textbook used in medical schools and teaching hospitals throughout Spain and Latin America. He’s been featured in major national media, both conventional (e.g., MSNBC, Canada’s CBC-TV, Oprah Radio, CNN, NPR, The Washington Post, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, Outside magazine) and Internet-based (e.g., Salon.com, Seed.com, Big Think, and Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog over a dozen times). He and his work have also appeared in many international newspapers (e.g., The Times of London, Toronto Globe and Mail, Israel’s Ha’aretz, The Sydney Morning Herald, SonntagsBlick) and television (U.S., Spain, Russia, Canada, Australia).

Jan 062013

tristan1114 copy

This week’s episode of Sex Out Loud has two different guests talking about their work giving voice to sexual minorities who are often marginalized in the community. Dr. Eli Sheff will talk about her new book based on her groundbreaking work with Polyamorous Family Study, a 16 year project. The mission of the Polyamorous Family Study is to provide high-quality, research-based information about poly families with kids using sound research methods based in years of sociological study. Sinclair Sexsmith is the kinky butch top behind the the popular Sugarbutch Chronicles. They’re also a writer, storyteller, and performer who studies critical feminist & gender theory, sexual freedom, social change activism, archetypes, and the tantric and buddhist spiritual systems.

dr eli sheffA pioneer in research on polyamory, Dr. Elisabeth “Eli” Sheff is the foremost academic expert on polyamory in the US, and the worldwide expert on poly families with children, having conducted the only longitudinal analysis of poly families with children to date. After teaching Sociology for 15 years at three universities, Dr. Sheff established the Sheff Consulting Group (SCG), a think-tank of academicians and professionals who specialize in legal and educational services for unconventional populations, and those who need to know about them. As the Senior Legal Consultant at SCG, Dr. Sheff specializes in families of sexual minorities, providing expert witness services, home evaluations for unconventional families facing child custody issues or attempting to adopt kids, andcontinuing education to lawyers, educators, counselors, and therapists. Her book The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple Partner Relationships and Families is being published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2013.

sinclair sexsmith
Sinclair Sexsmith (MrSexsmith.com) writes the award-winning personal online project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at SugarButch.net. They have contributed to more than a dozen anthologies, and is the editor of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. They teach workshops ongender and sexuality throughout the US, including at various colleges.

Aug 152012

This Friday, Sex Out Loud will be coming to you LIVE from LA! I’m talking to adult film stars Danny Wylde and Lily LaBeau about what it’s like to be performers in a relationship. They’ll reveal the best part of dating another porn star, what they fight about, and the difference between sex on screen and off screen. I will ask them about monogamy, their favorite directors, interacting with fans, and what they think about the recent condom mandate in LA. Plus, we’ll hear about their latest venture together: HotelLaBeau.com.

Lily Labeau is an AVN-nominated actress and model named “Next Star of the Year” by CAVR. She is the creative force behind LilyLuvs.com, InsideLilyLaBeau.com, and soon, HotelLaBeau.com. Danny Wylde is a pornographer, writer, musician, and filmmaker living in Los Angeles, California.

Jul 252012

Welcome to our newest feature: Ask The Intern, where each week, our intern answers your questions about sex, dating, and relationships (and sometimes Tristan chimes in as well). Our interns are smart people interested in working in the field of sexuality in some capacity, and you can find out more about the current intern in the byline below. Got a burning question, problem, dilemma, or issue for our intern? Email intern at puckerup.com.

I met this guy, really liked him, and we spent three days together—no sex, but did things that would lead to it. The first day, he told me he was talking to a girl. I assumed he meant dating a girl and it wasn’t serious. The next day, he said he was dating her for a year. But, that didn’t stop me from pursuing what I wanted—him on the third day. On Monday, he went back to New York, in love and intact.

And I’m in Chicago—confused. I really liked him and vice versa. Perhaps I’m mislabeling my confusion for nostalgia or anger? I let my guard down, and I never do that with guys. I told him private things and vice versa. A part of me despises myself for portraying myself as a sex object. How could I do that—to me and his girlfriend? I feel cheap, used and empty handed. I fell too fast. I want to believe he’s a nice guy but…I feel robbed of my own words and experiences. But there’s this quote: “Sharing doesn’t make you charitable, it makes you free.” Perhaps I don’t feel that way because I felt obliged into opening up. Or, perhaps I’m just thinking too much into this? Bottom line is will I ever be someone’s girlfriend and not some girl for the moment? How can I be a girlfriend? 

First things first—take the idea of being someone’s girlfriend off a pedestal. It’s not worth it. Despite what fairy tales tell us, there is no simple formula to being a significant other. Relationships are amorphous, confusing, DIY activities. So, instead of striving to be “a girlfriend,” ask yourself what you actually want from a romantic relationship. Stability? Monogamy? Consistent sex with a familiar body? Consistent sex with a handful of familiar bodies? The best part of real life is that you get to make your own relationship formula.

But there is one thing that most people want from a relationship, the glue that holds this DIY project together—trust. Unfortunately, it was this crucial puzzle piece that was missing from your weekend tryst. He wasn’t being honest with his long-term partner, which, in turn, made you question his motives. Moreover, he wasn’t being honest with you! Saying that you are “talking to a girl” sends a very different message from dating someone for a year.

At the same time, sneaking around can be exhilarating and sexy, so this “other woman” feeling might be part of what drew you to him in the first place. And that’s okay. It is natural to lust over what is off-limits. Red tape—both literal and metaphorical—is an incredible aphrodisiac.

But don’t feel cheap. Don’t feel like a sex object (unless you enjoy objectification, but it doesn’t sound like that’s your thing). Don’t judge yourself for letting your guard down. You opened up to someone you enjoy spending time with. That’s a skill you should value. It’s natural for you to feel bad for his girlfriend, but that is his problem. He should (and probably does) feel guilty and confused.

However, keep your letter to me. Use it to remind yourself how these situations make you feel in the long run. Next time you find yourself in a weekend love affair ask yourself: is it worth it? I think the answer will be pretty clear.

Abby Spector is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where she majored in Feminist/Gender/Sexuality Studies. She is currently interning for Tristan, a job that allows her to write about sex, research feminist porn, and play with dogs (among other, equally awesome things). When she isn’t working, Abby enjoys comfortable nudity and salty foods. Her dream? A world where she could sit around naked and eat overly-salted french fries. Her blog is Sexy Awkward Times.