Jan 282013
 

jenniferclare
This week on Sex Out Loud I talk to two of the leading experts in the sex toy industry from The Smitten Kitten: founder Jennifer Pritchett and general manager Clare Jacky. What is a toxic sex toy? What are phthalates and why are they bad? How do consumers find out what a sex toy is made of? What is The Smitten Kitten’s philosophy about safe sex toys? They discuss the organization Jennifer founded, the Coalition Against Toxic Toys, new products and trends in the sex toy industry, and Clare’s report from the Adult Novelty Manufacturers Expo. Plus, Jennifer and Clare give their recommendations for some of their personal favorite toys and great Valentine’s Day gifts.

The Smitten Kitten is a hub of community activity. We consider ourselves sex-positive culture makers and community members. When we opened in 2003, there were only a handful of places like this in the country—in the world even. We were tired of scouring the internet for helpful and relevant information about sex, and we were totally exhausted by shopping online for toys and supplies that too often ended up being disappointing. So, for the better of our own sex lives, we opened our own sex toy store. What you’ll find at Smitten Kitten today is the place we wish we had when we were first adult retail consumers ourselves. Our store is welcoming. The folks who work here are friendly and honestly helpful. The products that we sell are well-researched, are good quality, and represent the best value in their class. Read some of our reviews online and you’ll see that it’s not only us who think we’re doing a pretty good job. What you will
find are wholesome, sexy Midwestern folks and visitors of all ages, races, abilities, sexual orientations, and genders shopping with common purpose: a happier, healthier, sexier and more inspiring love life.

tristan1114 copy

Jan 242013
 

50ShadesofKinkcover

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.

Dec 062012
 

My younger, much more experienced partner and I were discussing fantasies last night. I have this pair of 4″ pumps she is particularly fond of, and she mentioned she might like to be fucked in the ass with the heel. They are not stilettos, they are wooden heels, not completely rounded, albeit fairly slender. While I am not one to pooh-pooh anyone’s fantasy, I can’t quite bring myself to believe that this would be safe. Pain factor aside, this seems like it has the potential to be very damaging, especially in the hands (or feet) of someone who has no idea what they’re doing, like myself. Do you have any thoughts as to how I could incorporate her fantasy into our sex life without actually hurting her (and not “hurt” in the good sense)?

–Feeling Like a Heel

You mentioned that you’re inexperienced, so before you approach this shoe fantasy, you’ve got to get some experience with basic anal penetration and sex toys. Start out with dildos and plugs, experiment with different techniques and what your bottom likes until you get really comfortable with them. One of the earliest letters I received for this column was about shoe fucking. A woman wanted to fuck her submissive with the narrow toe of her shoe. You’re talking about the other end, so you’re wise to be cautious.

Whether stiletto or not, a high heel is usually pointed and inflexible enough to make it a less than ideal penetration tool, and since you’re a beginner, I am going to recommend a safe option: the bait and switch technique. Put on the shoes, taunt her, step on her, tease her, tell her how you’re going to fuck her in the ass with those terribly menacing shoes. Then blindfold her, tell her it’s because you want all her senses to be on alert and concentrating on this new and unique sensation. Hidden nearby should be a wooden dildo, selected because you said the heel was wooden. Wooden dildos can be hard to find, but they’re out there (my picks: NobEssence and Jildos). With the image of your shoe heel firmly planted in her mind, the dildo can be firmly planted in her behind! It will have a similar weight and texture, and if you’re good at it, she will never know the difference. When you’re done, drizzle some lube on the shoe heel, take her blindfold off, and everyone will be satisfied!

Oct 182012
 

 

I work at a lingerie/novelty store and we sell toy cleaners. We have customers ask us all the time if they can just use soap and water, but we tell them that the soap can leave behind soap scum and if they use soap with alcohol in it, it can damage the material of some of the toys. Are toy cleaners really best for toys, or is soap and water just fine?

Cleaning protocol depends on the material and structure of the toy. Soap and water and sex toy cleaner are both fairly universal options. However, the perk of the cleaner is that, unlike regular antibacterial soap, it is designed with your toy and your genitals in mind. Also, a number of cleaners do not need water, meaning that you can tidy up without leaving the comfort of your bed/couch/floor/sling/etc.

Here’s the down-low on how to keep your down-low (and the various types of toys that venture there) bacteria-free:

Jelly Rubber/Soft Plastic: These toys are generally porous, so much so that you can sometimes see little bubbles on the surface. Bacteria and dirt love setting up shop in these warm crevices. As a result, they are impossible to sterilize. However, even though complete sterilization is not an option, removing the debris, lube, and bodily fluids post-use is a must! Wash with warm water and antibacterial soap or with a sex toy cleaner.

CyberSkin: Most thermal plastic toys involve a multi-step cleaning process. You begin by rinsing the toy in warm water (NO SOAP) and letting it air dry. Once dry, douse the toy in cornstarch (the cornstarch prevents the toy from attracting debris) and place it somewhere away from other toys. Why the separate storage? Many materials melt when placed alongside thermal plastic. Keep in mind that not all thermal plastics have the same cleaning protocol, so make sure to read the instructions that come with the toy. Also, like its jelly rubber and soft plastic peers, CyberSkin is porous, meaning that it can never be fully sterilized.

Silicone (my personal favorite): Silicone is non-porous, thus making it a wonderful material for sex toys. Products made from silicon can be cleaned using hot water and antibacterial soap or a toy cleaner. Silicon toys that do not have batteries or an electrical system can also be boiled or placed in the top shelf on a dishwasher. When storing your toy, remember that silicone often acts as a magnet to dust, lint, and debris, so it is best to place in a clean location (a small, silky bag works best).

Hard Plastic: The specific make-up of hard plastics depends on the toy. Some are porous. Some are not. Unless the toy clearly states that it made from medical grade, non-porous plastic, assume that it cannot be sterilized. To clean, use warm water and antibacterial soap or a toy cleaner. Never boil or put in the dishwasher, as this can ruin the material.

Non-Porous, Rigid Materials (including glass and metal toys): These toys can be boiled, placed in the dishwasher, scrubbed with hot water and soap, or disinfected with a toy cleaner. Plus, they can be sterilized.

Last (but not least) always remember to use condoms when sharing toys that cannot be sterilized.
~~~

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.

Aug 282012
 

I have a shower-shot system hooked up in my shower to give myself enemas, and I like it a lot. I have even bought some different nozzles for it, which are cool. My question is this: have you ever seen any vibrating butt-plug nozzles or attachments for the shower shot? I think it might be fun to add some vibration to the experience but I am having trouble finding something.

–Wanna Make My Shower Shake

I’m a toy whore and love to find all the latest cool, kinky gadgets out there. I’ve seen (and I own) several different butt plug attachments designed especially for the Shur Shot shower enema, but never one that vibrates. In the past few years, there have been advancements in sex toy technology and today there is a wide selection of waterproof vibrators on the market. None of those vibrators, however, have water traveling through them like an enema nozzle does. I’m not saying it can’t be done, just that it hasn’t yet been invented (to my knowledge).

Until that day comes, my suggestion for now is to get an enema nozzle made of aluminum (or, even better, silicone) and a waterproof vibrator. Hold the vibrator against the base of the nozzle while it is in your ass. Since aluminum and silicone conduct vibration throughout the toy, it should feel great. Another option is to forgo the shower system and invest in what’s called a “Feel The Flow” spray nozzle for an enema bag system. It’s a hard-to-find nozzle made of resin (hard plastic) that has three water jets that spray backwards at a 45 degree angle making a unique tingling sensation that probably feels a lot like vibration.

Aug 152012
 

Artwork by Joe Newton for The Stranger

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

Aug 092012
 

Two thoughts went through my mind when I first saw the Trojan Twister: Helen Hunt fleeing air born cows (a la Twister, the 1996 disaster flick) and the pleasure potential of boomerangs. Once I got over the 90’s starlet and her barnyard, storm-tracking fiascos, I was left with my new toy. In its packaging, the Trojan Twister resembles a chunky boomerang. I made sure not to get too comfortable with this shape, because, as the name implies, this toy twists. And I was eager to get caught in its rotations.

The Twister has a light purple plastic handle and a dark purple silicone shaft. The shaft can be twisted into 4 positions, each one reaching a different erogenous zone. In theory, this is a great idea. One toy, four positions, endless possibilities. Right?

Sort of. The Twister’s initial position—let’s call it the boomerang—was incredible. Its upwardly curved shaft, gentle vibrations, and impressive girth made it perfect for g-spot stimulation. However, when I went to twist it, I got confused. Switching the Twister’s shape required my attention and both hands—two things I didn’t want to give up mid-masturbation. I needed to listen and feel for the slight “click” which signified that it had successfully transitioned into shape number two. This was challenging considering that the toy was vibrating, thus making subtle “clicks” difficult to decipher.

But I eventually got the Twister into shapes two, three, and four. Each provided a unique sensation, none of which was as magnificent as its original g-spot formation (which really was magnificent). This is largely due to the fact that the toy needs to be removed in order to be rotated. My pussy didn’t want to give up the toy! It was quite content with just experiencing the g-spot pleasure. Furthermore, the process of removing and rotating the Twister can be rather juicy. Whatever is on the shaft (bodily fluids and/or lube) inevitably ends up on your hands, making for a messy session. Speaking of messes, make sure to wash the Twister with warm water and natural soap or toy cleaner after every use. Dirty vibrators can have unpleasant side-effects. Trust me.

I give the folks at Trojan credit for addressing the dirty truth of silicone (the material which composes half of the Twister). Silicone attracts small particles such as dirt, lint, and sand. To avoid sandy vibrators, the Trojan Twister comes with a satin pouch for storage. It also comes with AA batteries and, when ordered online, two free vibrating rings.

The first time I used the Twister was okay. Not great, not horrible—a solid B of an experience. However, my perspective changed after I tried using the Twister with my partner. Its generous size and easy-to-hold, curved handle makes it the perfect toy for partner-use. When used with another person, someone else can take care of twisting the shaft and listening for clicks. Plus, its rotations allow you to find the perfect shape for you and your partner(s). In other words, Twister is a game best played with others.

~~~

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.

 

Jul 312012
 

I have only recently discovered the joys of anal sex and have been having fun with a set of butt plugs. I have heard of vaginal Ben Wa balls, and that you can wear them for a prolonged amount of time. I understand that they are somehow weighted and movement increases the sensations. I like the idea of an anal equivalent to the Ben Wa balls, balls that can be left in place while going about one’s normal life. Is there an anal toy like this or can a vaginal toy be used in this way?

–Bouncing Balls

As a general rule, you should never put a toy in your ass that doesn’t have a flared base or some kind of handle for easy retrieval. Toys without this kind of base can get lost in your ass if you’re not careful, especially if you are playing by yourself. I don’t recommend that people put any sort of balls in their ass besides anal beads or anal bead toys, which are either on a string or have a ring on one end or a flared base — so I’d say “no” to putting Ben Wa balls in your butt. I have seen very heavy metal balls marketed for anal play, and one retailer told me that because they are so weighty, they can’t get lost. That may be true for some folks, but I still hesitate to recommend them. However, if what you want is simply something to put in your butt for an extended period of time that will stimulate you as you move around, try a butt plug.

Jul 242012
 

We’re starting to review feminist porn titles on the site, and here is our first one. I had the chance to see a screening of some excerpts of Sexing The Transman XXX on the big screen in Toronto during the Feminist Porn Awards. I remember when I first heard Buck’s voice on film as he talked to his interview subjects from behind the camera, I thought, “Buck sounds like some creepy dirty old man.” Then I watched, and along with this dialogue were these long, lingering camera shots, following the ripple in a guy’s chest, the muscle definition of his arm. Buck and his camera were ogling these men – objectifying them even. It was all so lascivious and voyeuristic. It even reminded me of some of those old straight porn movies where the camera guy checks out the woman he’s filming in a really leering way. And then it struck me: we never see transmale bodies objectified or sexualized. We rarely see them naked or represented in erotic contexts. Buck’s camera was not simply ogling, it was worshipping these trans male bodies and his voice reinforced this adoration. The whole thing is incredibly subversive. Now, here’s Raybear’s take on the film. —Tristan

Since 2005, Buck Angel has proven himself to be a tenacious and consistent porn star in representing who he is and how he likes to fuck on screen, without a trace of shame or apology. In fact, he displays quite the opposite – absolute confidence and pride in his body and sexuality. His latest move, Sexing The Transman XXX, is an educational porn that expands his trademark attitude into the bedroom of other transmen. Buck is primarily behind the camera in this film, playing the role of sexy interrogator who asks each guy provocative questions about their gender, their body, their transition, and most importantly what turns them on, which leads them to strip down and show us how they like to get off. Sure Buck quizzes the guys about hormones and surgery, but he asks with even more enthusiasm about tattoos and working out.

A variety of toys to stimulate different parts and holes for each solo scene, including such favorites as a Feeldoe dildo, a Hitachi vibrator, and NJoy anal plugs. The film focuses on four different transmen, each at different stages of their own transition and with their own sexual predilections – MJ identifies himself as flamboyant, Eddie Wood is a hairy squirter, Sean sports ink and muscles. During the James Darling interview, he informs us he’d been on hormones since he was 18 and Buck Angel was the first transman he’d ever met, and in that moment I was able to really appreciate the reach of Buck and his work. This movie answers a lot of common questions posed to transmen, such as effects of hormones, body changes, and surgical procedures, but is done with the respect and understanding of a fellow transman and not in the least bit dry and boring. It’s also a well-edited film, both visually (picture-in-a-picture orgasm shot!) and sonically (opera arias and rock music that don’t drown out the sexy live sounds of the performers). After the four solo performances, Buck finishes the film with a fuck scene between himself and Fallen in a seedy basement romper room complete with wood paneled walls.

Sexing the Transman is an informational PSA that’s sexy, so folks interested in bedding a transman get both educated and titillated, while those of us who already appreciate the joys get to see trans bodies eroticized on screen in ways rarely shown.  Lucky for us, the sequel is already in the works with more types of transguys, so here’s to a much-needed series that will keep expanding the diversity of sexual experiences and bodies, and just keep getting sexier.

—Raybear

Watch the trailer for Sexing the Transman XXX here.

Buy Sexing the Transman XXX at these fine retail sites:

Hot Movies for Her (VOD)
The Smitten Kitten (DVD)
AEBN (VOD)
Sexing the Transman

Listen to or download Tristan’s interview with Buck Angel on Sex Out Loud.

May 182012
 

Author, Sex Educator, Filmmaker Tristan Taormino to Host Show on VoiceAmerica Radio Network

Tristan Taormino, internationally acclaimed author, sex educator, college lecturer, and feminist pornographer “Sex Out Loud” on VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network. The show debuts June 1 at 5 pm Pacific Time, 8 pm Eastern Time.

PHOENIX, AZ, May 21, 2012 – VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network, Internet broadcasting pioneer, producing and syndicating online audio and video, today announced the debut of Sex Out Loud, hosted by internationally acclaimed author, sex educator, college lecturer, and feminist pornographer Tristan Taormino on the VoiceAmerica Variety Channel on Friday, June 1, at 5 pm Pacific Time, 8 pm Eastern Time.

Sex Out Loud explores the world of sexuality from every angle. Tristan Taormino will interview leading authors, educators, artists and icons and give listeners an uncensored, inside look at alternative sexual practices and communities. She’ll delve into topics from the popular to the taboo, including sex education and sexual health, erotic fantasies, BDSM, non-monogamy, the adult industry, and more. Tristan and her guests will also answer listeners’ questions live. Her first guest will be Dan Savage, sex advice columnist, author, co-creator of the “It Gets Better” campaign, and star of MTV’s “Savage U.” Upcoming guests include Kate Bornstein, Buck Angel, Jaclyn Friedman, Jessica Valenti, Bobbi Starr, Susie Bright, and her daughter, Aretha Bright.

Tristan has been educating and entertaining people for over fifteen years. A former columnist for “The Village Voice,” Tristan’s sex-positive attitude and sharp wit have made her a sought after guest on radio and television shows across the United States and abroad including “Howard Stern,” “Loveline,” “Ricki Lake,” and HBO’s “Real Sex.” Most notably, she was a recurring guest on “Ricki Lake” for two seasons, gave sex advice to Danny Bonaduce and the late Dick Clark on the NBC talk show “The Other Half,” and debated Dr. Drew Pinsky and Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. She is a widely recognized expert on sex education, GLBT issues, alternative relationships, and feminist pornography. She frequently lectures at top colleges and universities, including Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, UCLA, and NYU.

“Tristan Taormino is known around the world for her honest, down to earth, sex-positive advice, books, and films,” says Karen Dana, Executive Producer of Sex Out Loud. “We are so thrilled that she’s joining the VoiceAmerica Network, and her show is sure to inform and inspire our listeners.” Sex Out Loud follows Sex with Jaiya, the Variety Channel’s most popular show, giving listeners two hours of exciting, informative sex education.

Sex Out Loud is sponsored by The Smitten Kitten, an award-winning progressive sex toy retailer; Astroglide, one of the leading personal lubricant brands; and We-Vibe, the most popular rechargeable vibrator for couples in the world.

Sex Out Loud airs live on Fridays at 5 pm Pacific / 7 pm Central / 8 pm Eastern on The VoiceAmerica Variety Channel. To read more about the show, go to sexoutloudradio.com. To access the show, log on at http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2096/sex-out-loud. All shows will be available in Tristan Taormino’s Content Library on The VoiceAmerica Variety Channel for on-demand and podcast download.