Feb 262014
 

Shanna-and-Vivianne1

This week on Sex Out Loud, I talk with sex educator Shanna Katz about her passions around sex and sex education, specifically making sex education inclusive of all communities and how to get the information to people who often are left out of resources. She’ll also discuss her new women’s sexuality book, Your Pleasure Map, a choose-your-own-adventure style guide to hotter, naughtier, more adventurous sex.

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!

Shanna Katz, M.Ed, ACS is a queer kinky disabled femme and board certified sexologist, sexuality educator and professional pervert. From topics like relationship communication skills to non-monogamy, and oral sex to how sexuality and dis/ability intersect, she talks, writes and teaches about the huge spectrum of sexuality, both from personal and professional perspectives. She’s using her Master’s of Sexuality Education to provide accessible, open-source sex education to people around the country, and is currently working hard to bring sex education and positivity to the Southwest as well as online.

A member of the One Colorado Queer White Allies for Racial Solidarity Caucus, the American College of Sexologists, the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality, and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, as well as on the board of The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (Pawtucket, RI) and Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (Denver, C), Shanna is actively involved in work towards equality and social justice for people of all identities. Teaching classes at colleges and universities (such as Brown University, Colorado College, SUNY-Purchase, ASU, Hofstra, U of A, etc) is one of her favorite ways to expand horizons. She also loves traveling to speak at conferences, sex toy stores, dungeons, women’s groups, LGBTQ centers, art galleries and more, and co-presenting with her partner on looking at privilege in sexuality education and LGBTQ inclusive medical practices.

She has written for many sexuality websites, had a sexuality centric radio show with widespread listeners, has had her erotica published in multiple anthologies, directed queer porn and three books; her first book “Oral Sex That’ll Blow Her Mind” is on cunnilingus for partners of all genders, her book Your Pleasure Map is a choose-your-own-adventure style of sexuality guide for women, and her book being released in February, 100 Lesbian Sex Positions. When not blogging, teaching, writing or tweeting about the oh-so-many interesting and awkward moments in her life, you can find Shanna drinking tea, eating cupcakes, and cuddling with her partner and their three rescued cats; Kinsey, Kali and Jasper. For more info, please visit her sexuality education site, www.ShannaKatz.com.

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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.

May 072013
 
Eclair Bandersnatch mural at Center for Sex & Culture

Eclair Bandersnatch mural at Center for Sex & Culture

As some of you may know, I was born on May 9, and this year, I’m thrilled to tell you exactly what I want for my birthday!

The Center for Sex & Culture (CSC) in San Francisco, founded by Carol Queen and Robert Lawrence, is a non-profit archive, library and community space for preserving and sharing information and artifacts of sexual identity, sexual products, and sexual ideas. It is a VITAL resource for sex-positive communities. CSC accepts donations year round, but May 9 is a special day. May 9, 2013 is the first national Give OUT Day for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer community. Give OUT Day is a new national initiative that aims to mobilize thousands of individual donors on a single day across the country to give in support of the LGBTQ nonprofit community. It is a chance for LGBTQ groups large and small, to work across the wide range of issues and activities that matter to the LGBTQ community from sports to policy change, families to the arts. It is a chance for members of the LGBTQ community and our many allies to stand up and show our support for our community together on one day. In addition, The Horizon Foundation (The Bay Area’s LGBT Community Foundation) is sponsoring a challenge (The “Bay Area Leaderboard Prize”): It will award prize grants ($5,000, $2,500 and $1,000) to the top three small Bay Area non-profit organizations with the greatest number of unique donors at the end of Give OUT Day on Thursday, May 9. That’s right, it’s not about how much money they raise, it’s about how many people they can get to donate in one day, which means that any amount helps, even $5, but you’ve got to do it Thursday, May 9. Go to the Center for Sex and Culture Donation Page on Razoo and donate there (it’s important to use this link since they are tracking all the donations through it). You can even go beforehand and schedule your donation for May 9 by choosing “On a Giving Day” from the drop down menu. I am encouraging you to celebrate my birthday, support the important work of the Center and get more bang for your buck while you do it. Isn’t that appropriate?

Here is more information about The Center for Sex and Culture in Carol’s own words:

In 1994 my partner Robert and I (I’m author and sexologist Carol Queen, PhD) were visiting our friend Betty Dodson, sometimes known as “the Mother of Masturbation,” in her NY home. Why didn’t she bring her fabulous Bodysex workshop to the Bay Area? we asked. There wasn’t an appropriate venue there, she said. And then she said the words that begin the story of The Center for Sex & Culture: “You kids should start a place.”

Betty was right! Between us, we had connections in many sexuality-related communities. We both have doctorates in sexology; I worked at the legendary Good Vibrations and wrote for Spectator magazine, which had evolved from the old Berkeley Barb; I wrote stories and essays for zines and anthologies too, and was working on my first book, Exhibitionism for the Shy; we traveled around the US teaching, speaking, and meeting people from many sexual worlds, and were ourselves comfortable participants in many of these; and we’d both been directors at SF Sex Info. Together, we could relate and identify with much of the range of sexuality.

It took over 5 years of talking up the idea, but at last an angel donor helped us get over the fence: We corresponded with the IRS, got our non-profit status, and began looking for a space. Interns and donated materials came our way even before we had a room to house them. When we did get a place, we invited every sexually interested person over 18 to be part of it: as member, performer, teacher, patron, life-long learner. Academics and journalists began to visit to use our library and inspect our collections. Librarians descended on us, helping us to organize the many books and journals we’d amassed. (We believe we now have the largest publicly-accessibly sex library in the country — maybe the world!)

We host sex ed classes, and also cultural events. I deeply feel that, in the absence of good sex ed in the US, many of us learn about sex and develop our attitudes about sexuality via culture, and we want to participate fully in that discussion. We also support culture-making: through writing classes for sex workers; our award-winning Erotic Reading Circle; burlesque and dance classes; and our annual Nude Aid artmaking day. We also support community-based organizations, from BDSM/leather, to sex worker support groups, to the unique safer sex strategies of the SF Jacks. Our collections include Buzz Bense’s HIV/AIDS poster collection (these will hang in our gallery in Nov./Dec. 2013), materials from Pat Califia and Larry Townsend, a full run of On Our Backs magazine, Scarlot Harlot’s searchable database of sex worker interviews, and so much more.

We are all-volunteer, a labor of love and community for everyone involved. The next wave of core staff — a new librarian, a gallerist, archivists, and each year’s group of interns — came to us because of the cultural impacts of our collections; they are making them increasingly organized and accessible, and helping turn CSC into a venue for erotic artists who have few other places to exhibit their work.

We dream of publishing books, thus helping more non-Bay Area people join the conversation; and also want to put many of our events online, so we are even more a global community sex center than a local one. In the meantime, we hope you will visit us when you come to San Francisco! And thank you so very much for reading about our history and supporting us. Any donation helps us keep our doors open and take care of the materials our community has entrusted to us.

Wishing you pleasure and all the sex information you need!

—Carol, Robert, Dina, Marlene, Dorian, Anissa LibraryVixen, Tess, & the rest of your friends at the Center for Sex & Culture

Feb 042013
 

Feminist_Porn_cover
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.

Jan 152013
 

Sometimes She Lets Me: Best Butch/Femme Erotica
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!

Nov 282012
 

Dr. Meg Barker comes to Sex Out Loud this Friday to discuss her new book, Rewriting the Rules, which addresses our current climate saturated with contradictory love advice. They examine both the old and new rules of relating and questions how useful they might be to managing our relationships today. Then Tristan interviews queer storyteller, author, and educator Sassafras Lowrey about hir novel, Roving Pack, set in an underground world of homeless queer teens. Lowrey will discuss the process of writing the book, responses from the community, as well as give a sneak peek to hir next collection, Leather Ever After, an anthology of kinky fairy tales. Tune in this Friday, November 30th at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT and find out all the ways to listen here!

Dr. Meg Barker is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a therapist specialising in sexual and relationship issues. Meg has published books on relationships (Understanding Non-monogamies, Routledge), sexuality (Safe, Sane & Consensual, Palgrave MacMillan), and counselling (Understanding Counselling and Psychotherapy, Sage) and is co-editor of the journal Psychology & Sexuality. Meg runs many public and professional events about sex and relationships (e.g. Critical Sexology, Sense about Sex, BiReCon), as well as providing training for the UK College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists. Meg was first author of The Bisexuality Report about bisexual experience in the UK (www.biuk.org). Meg’s most recent book Rewriting the Rules (Routledge) tackles the common ‘rules’ around love and sex that people often feel they must adhere to (www.rewriting-the-rules.com).

Sassafras Lowrey is an internationally award-winning storyteller, author, artist, and educator. Sassafras is the editor of the two time American Library Association honored, and Lambda Literary Finalist Kicked Out anthology (www.KickedOutAnthology.com) which brought together the voices of current and former homeless LGBTQ youth. Hir prose has been included in numerous anthologies and magazines recently ze received an Honorable Mention from the 2011 Astrea Lesbian Writers Fund. and Sassafras regularly lectures and facilitates LGBTQ storytelling workshops at colleges and conferences across the country. Hir debute novel Roving Pack (www.RovingPack.com) will be released October 2012, and ze is currently editing Leather Ever After an anthology of BDSM fairy tale retellings to be released by Ravenous Romance. Sassafras lives in Brooklyn with hir family. To learn more about Sassafras and hir work, visit www.SassafrasLowrey.com

 

Nov 212012
 

Photo by Don Sir Photography

This Friday we have a special encore presentation on Sex Out Loud of one of our most popular episodes, featuring Mollena Williams. Mollena Williams is simply one of the most intelligent and articulate BDSM educators of her generation, and we get to spend the entire hour picking her perverted brain! We will talk about the two chapters on roleplay she wrote for my book The Ultimate Guide to Kink: BDSM, Role Play and the Erotic Edge. She’ll explain the complex elements of race play, where kinky people play out racist scenarios, use racial epithets, or eroticize racial power dynamics. Mollena will reveal why she is turned on by this controversial kink and other kinds of taboo fantasies. Plus, I’ll ask her about what it’s like to be a woman of color who enjoys being a submissive and a collared slave. Read all about Mollena Williams below, including a list of appearances in the next few months.

This “Delicate, Trembling Flower of Submission” © is a NYC born and raised writer, actress, BDSM Educator, Storyteller and an Award-Winning Executive Pervert. She is extremely proud to have served as International Ms Leather 2010. She is also thrilled to have been named Ms. San Francisco Leather 2009 after that contest’s decade long slumber.

She is deeply honored and profoundly humbled to have been selected to receive the 2012 Jack McGeorge Award for Excellence in Education by Black Rose, and is thrilled to have won the National Leather Association’s 2012 Cynthia Slater Non-Fiction Article Award. She was a finalist for the 21st annual Pantheon of Leather’s Woman of the Year & Northern California Regional Awards. You can watch her being interviewed for the Women’s Leather History Project, as curated by the Leather Archives and Museum.

Her latest project, co-authored with Lee Harrington, “Playing Well With Others: Your Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities” hits the streets September 1, 2012. She is the author of the “Toybag Gude: Taboo Play.” Her essays appear in 2 anthologies curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel: “BDSM and Race Play” appears in “Best Sex Writing 2010,” (you can read the Jezebel review here!) and “Kiss my Boots” is featured in “The Lust Chronicles.” Her challenging essay on “race play” is featured in“Spirit of Desire: Personal Journeys in Sacred Kink” edited by Lee Harrington. Not one but two essays commissioned by Tristan Taormino appear in the groundbreaking anthology “The Ultimate Guide to Kinky Sex.” Mollena is pleased and delighted to be a featured educator with The Kink Academy, where you can see clips of her speaking on various and sundry topics! She is also a columnist for SexIs Magazine, where she lets loose twice a month on just about anything.

Exploring kink since 1993, active in BDSM and the Leather Community since 1996, and presenting classes since 1998, she speaks at Leather, BDSM and Kink events across the US, Europe and Canada on many Leather and BDSM focused topics. She also brings the knowledge on Kink, BDSM and Leather to such august institutions of higher learning as SF State and Cal State, Harvard, Princeton,Yale, Stamford, and Brown for IvyQ. She has been invited to present this fall for MIT.

Mollena’s been sober since 3-14-2007 and in December that same year, she founded “Safeword,” a 12-step based recovery group for all kinksters seeking recovery from addiction.

International Ms Leather 2010 was truly an international title year with visits to the Pride Festival in Stockholm, Sweden, where she made history as the first Leatherwoman ever invited to march with the venerable Scandinavian Leathermen’s Association! She’s also done her thing in Dublin, Ireland, Berlin, Germany, the UK: toured Amsterdam, Netherlands for Leather Pride, as well as teaching and performing in Vancouver, Canada. A roll-up of her epic IMsL 2010 title year can be found here!

Her background includes a lifetime of training and involvement in the performing arts, which include spoken word, classical theater, dance, performance art, and all manner of stagecraft. Performing professionally since the age of 5, her credits include singing on the soundtrack for the movie The Wiz and co-starring with Danny Bonaduce in the underground cult-classic America’s Deadliest Home Video. Her first solo show,69Stories: One Pervert’s Tale has been re-revived and was a hit in Vancouver BC in November 2010 and Madison, Wisconsin July 2012. You can see an excerpt from it here (“Kiss My Boots” part One, and Part Two) as performed at Rachel Kramer Bussel’s In the Flesh storytelling series. She is a favorite at Dixie De La Tour’s Bawdy Storytelling, has performed for many storytelling venues including Bare! Stories, Tiny, Dangerous Fun Audacia Ray’s Red Umbrella Diaries, Carol Queen’s Perverts Put Out, and was a guest on Kevin Allison’s Risk! Podcast. She has also thrown down onstage for Porchlight Storytelling and is looking forward to an upcoming appearance on NPR’s Snap Judgement.

As a model, Mollena has been featured on the Folsom Street Fair 2010 Poster, as well as modeling for Stormy Leather. She has worked with many well-known and renowned kink, Leather and fetish photographers, including Stacie Joy, Laren Leland, Aeric Meredith-Goujon, Melvin Moten, Don Sir and Michele Serchuk: who’s photograph of Mollena posing with fellow educator Graydancer was featured in the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival 2010.

She is chuffed to have been interviewed for the Leather Archives & Museum’s Women’s Leather History Project. Recent interviews with Mo can be found on Jezebel and on Princeton University’s Equal Writes website. You can also read her 2010 interview with SexisIs Magazine. She was featured in a groundbreaking interview at TheGrio.com on BDSM and race, and also interviewed by Sharon Glassman for the Huffington Post. Her work’s also been published by the Society Of Janus Newsletter, The Eulenspiegel Society’s magazine, Prometheus, as well as the online magazine at ALT.COM and Bondage.com. She has been interviewed for The Bottoming Book, ColorLines Magazine, Bitch Magazine, Abiola Abrams: Love, Sex & Dasting, The Playboy Advisor, Sexploration with Monika and The Reverend Mel Show, SexIs Magazine, The Huffington Post, Jezebel and Racialicious to name a few! She is featured in the award winning documentary “Vice & Consent”. You can also see her all tied up in the instructional video, “Jay Wiseman Teaches Rope Bondage”

A founding member of Crowded Fire Theater Company, and former co-host of San Francisco’s Queer Open Mic, Mo blogs on http://mollena.com. Her blog, The Perverted Negress, has been a featured blog on Fleshbot (not Once but TWICE!) as well as the pick of the week for The Sugasm. And boy howdy, the venerated Jane’s Guide thinks The Perverted Negress’ Blog is pretty rad! Mollena is also a member of Mama’s Leather Family (#1231) , formally dubbed “Mama’s Perverted Negress” and pinned in at the SF Eagle by Mama Sandy Reinhardt herself. She Twitters incessantly over on http://twitter.com/mollena, so follow her there!

 

Oct 072012
 

 

[Attention folks near NYC! This Friday, October 12th, 2012, there will be a book release party for Roving Pack at Bluestockings. Details after the review. ]

Roving Pack, the debut novel of writer Sassafras Lowrey, follows a year in the life of Click, a trans kid in Portland navigating the meaning of family, love, longing, and belonging within circles of queer homeless and transient youth. The novel gives voice to a sea of characters that ring so true and familiar to those heard in our queer lives , but are so rarely depicted on LGBT pages. Click’s story begins with a heartbreak and keeps them coming; we follow along in the search to find a stable home for Click’s pack made up of daddies, boys, dogs, cats, and rats (with an occasional femme*) that come and go from Click’s life with the blazing hot intensity that often accompanies our exploration of new adult desires. Click’s sexual desires are honestly depicted by Lowrey in way that is deeply validating – this book fiercely shows the hotness, the complications, and the everyday details of leather and BDSM, as well as transitioning and genderqueer living – but the similarly complicated desires of home and loyalty are the main focus of Click’s story. Every moment is an opportunity for a character to disappoint or surprise both us and Click.

Roving Pack is told in the first-person by Click, with a blend of public online journals, inner friend filters, and the private diary. For those of us who came through the early-adopter Livejournal years, this book is like being included on EVERY filter, and seeing as much in the public face Click presented for the sake of loyalty as you do the private pains of difficult love. This intimate voice pulls you immediately inside the vividly depicted communities of trans and queer youth in Portland and the book soon becomes a compulsive read that quietly devastates you all the way to the end. Immediately upon turning the final page, I missed Click. I still want to hit refresh on my browser to see if another post will appear. And while steeped in contemporary culture and online narrative styles, the novel also reminded me of the smart and ragged intensity of Sarah Schulman’s early novels about dykes and fags in 90s NYC. There’s a universality to Click’s desire to belong, as well as the wish for home and looking for it within the faces of our queer loved ones who are supposed to understand us more than any one else in the world. There is also a shared devastation in those moments when our new queer families let us down. Roving Pack is an emotionally difficult read at times, but I couldn’t turn away from Click, nor from Lowrey’s elegantly rough and direct storytelling. Ze’s writing pairs the passion and authenticity of Click’s voice with sharp observations and strong narrative momentum.

*This book is for every member of the pack, though femmes be warned, Click and various other characters are very butch- and fag-centric, so there are occasionally some opinionated moments of ignorance. While they made me wince, they also felt true to the characters and the community.

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Please join us at the official NYC release event for “Roving Pack” to celebrate the publication of this highly anticipated debut novel by Sassafras Lowrey (editor of Kicked Out)

OCTOBER 12, 2012
Bluestockings Bookstore – 172 Allen St. NYC
7pm

 

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A. Raymond Johnson is a writer, shiatsuist, DJ, and karaoke aficionado. He received his MFA in Fiction from Antioch University in Los Angeles and has been awarded writing residencies at Ragdale and Millay Colony for his novels-in-progress. He has blogged since 2000, including at Out Magazine’s Popnography and I Fry Mine In Butter. His short story “Tammy Faye” is part of the upcoming book, The Collection (Topside Press, 2012).

 

Sep 242012
 

This Friday, September 28th on Sex Out Loud radio, USC Professor and Cultural Critic J. Jack Halberstam joins me for a discussion as part of my “Live in Los Angeles” series, recorded in studio in LA. We’ll talk about Halberstam’s new book Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Queer Ideas Book) and how the well-renowned academic Halberstam brings sex and gender theory to a mass audience. Hear Halberstam riff on the lesbian baby boom, the divide between academics and activists, and gender representations in pop culture from Lady Gaga to Bridesmaids. Plus, Halberstam will confess how the Occupy Movement informed and inspired this book, how reproductive technologies have shifted the landscape of the family, and what “gaga feminism” is.

Jack Halberstam is Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity, Gender Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. Halberstam is the author of five books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (a John Hope Franklin Center Book)(Duke UP, 2011) and Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Queer Ideas Book) (Beacon Press, 2012) and has written articles that have appeared in numerous journals, magazines and collections. Halberstam is currently working on several projects including a book on Fascism and (homo)sexuality.

Halberstam has co-edited a number of anthologies including Posthuman Bodies (Unnatural Acts: Theorizing the Performative) (Indiana University Press, 1995) and a special issue of Social Text with Jose Munoz and David Eng titled “What’s Queer About Queer Studies Now?” Jack is a popular speaker and gives lectures around the country and internationally every year. Lecture topics include: queer failure, sex and media, subcultures, visual culture, gender variance, popular film, and animation.

CONTEST TO WIN a copy of Jack Halberstam’s new book GAGA FEMINISM:

It’s simple: listen to Friday’s episode of Sex Out Loud. Listen either live at 5 pm PST/8 pm EST or on demand as a podcast. Then post your FAVORITE quote from the episode on Facebook or Twitter.

For Facebook: post on your public page in a public post. Tag my public page, Tristan Taormino, in your post so I can find it AND include this link to the show: http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2096/sex-out-loud. (Note: you cannot use a shortened URL or FB will block it.)

For Twitter: include @SexOutLoudRadio and the link http://tiny.cc/SOLoud

You can enter a maximum of 5 times. Each quote posted during the live show will be entered twice, giving you up to ten chances to win! All posts must appear before this Sunday (Sept. 30) at midnight Pacific Time. Winner will be announced on Monday at 12 noon Pacific Time.