Apr 29, 2011

I'm A Rocki Whore

I arrived home last night to find several packages containing porn on my doorstep, but I was most excited about the one from Wicked Pictures. I've been eagerly awaiting (and dreading) the release of their epic Rocki Whore Picture Show since sometime last year, perusing backstage photos, watching YouTube BTS footage, interviewing director Brad Armstrong, and generally making a fuss. I'm one of those horribly geeky, die-hard, midnight-show-attending, dressing-up-in-leather Rocky Horror Picture Show fans, and I'm trapped between terror that the Wicked version will be a let down and total cringe-fest of badly botched rip-off, and slobbering excitement and hope that it might be a well-executed musical tribute to the original, with hardcore sex inserted where it's always been skipped over before. I'm leaning toward the latter of the two options; Brad Armstrong informed me that he wrote and directed the film to be as respectful as possible to the original and to its rabid fans, and though they couldn't get the rights to the original music, he said they wanted it to be more of an homage than a play-by-play ripoff, so I'm optimistic this will be good. I'll watch the movie for next week's review in WHACK! magazine, and I've got fingers crossed!

In the meantime, I'm even more optimistic because Wicked obviously is giving this film a lot of love and a LOT of promo! Some photos of my elaborate "unboxing" process...






Fingers crossed and pelvic thrusts, my little whores!

Apr 27, 2011

Pondering Vibrations

So, readers, I have a weird issue I want to discuss with you. And by "discuss" I really mean discuss. Not just ramble on and on in my blog like I so often do--I want your responses and input, because I've noticed something about  myself that, in light of what I've heard from other women, seems very peculiar:

Vibrators don't really do it for me. I mean, I like them. And yeah, they feel pretty great, really. (Note: sex toy manufacturers, please feel free to continue to send me vibrators!) But I can count on one, or maybe two, hands the number of times a vibrator alone has brought me the whole way to climax, and I'm pretty sure that for every one of these occasions there was some pretty heavy visual stimulation being used to move things along.

But, according to pretty much everything I've ever read and heard about vibrators and women, the buzzing buddy of womanly genitals everywhere are supposed to be my best friend. There's a reason they were used to treat hysteria: doctor's hands got cramped up from manually masturbating their patients, and vibrators were able to get the demons out in a fraction of the time, with much less work. Some women can climax within a minute or two of applying a vibrator to their clits. Some women develop deep, intimate relationships with their vibrators.

But I don't. It's not that vibrators don't help me get to orgasm. And it's not that I'm under the misconception that vibrators alone are doing it for other women--I know that penetration, visual stimulation, fantasy, and many other things help vibrators bring women to orgasm. But I know that, for my part, when I'm trying to get off using a vibrator, nine times out of ten, at least, I will get very turned on but find the orgasm eluding me. I usually put down the toy and continue with my hand, which I find a much trustier toy. Every time I sit down with a new toy for the first time, I always hope that this will be the one that teaches me the magic of vibration. But I usually end up feeling tepid and going back to the good old reliable five-finger salute to my naughty bits.Which is fine. I don't mind. It's just that, given the praise I've heard heaped upon vibrators and the growing prevalence of the devices in stores and even on TV (now that Trojan and Lifestyles have gotten into the game), I wonder if maybe I'm missing out on something magical.

I wonder if I'm alone in this. I've talked to porn stars that say their Magic Wand gets them off faster and better than anything else, and I've wished I was the same way. I've wondered if everyone else out there is having magical ten-second masturbation sessions between shifts at work with their Pocket Rockets. I wonder if I'm built differently from other women... I'm just wondering... What do you all have to say about it? What's your experience with vibrators been like? Am I alone in a sadly nonvibrational world?

Apr 26, 2011

Superheroes, Sex Workers, and Spoils

I woke up today with a pounding headache, nausea, and low grade fever. Since I'm supposed to work all day tomorrow, I'm going to try to take it easy today and postpone my next post about the intricacies of showing consent in porn (a deeper look at the options), in favor of passing on these two INCREDIBLE stories:


1) The New York Initiative is a group of real-life "superheroes" trained in martial arts who are offering their services as vigilantes to sex workers in the New York/Long Island area as a response to the crappy protection the police force here has offered them from The Long Island Serial Killer! This is fucking amazing! I don't want to get too excited here, because I know it's bad form to support a gang of more-or-less thugs taking the law into their own hands... but the Long Island Serial Killer, aka the Craigslist Killer, (seriously? dude needs a better name--or I just have watched too much Dexter and expect "Bay Harbor Butcher" type witticisms now) has mangled far too many sex workers already, and the red tape around sex workers claiming police protection in this state is out of control. So I say more power to the NYI!

They're offering martial arts and improvised weapons training to any and all sex workers who want them, free of charge, as well as their confidential and balls-out protective services. And they're spreading the word: they want everyone to know they're out there protecting the safety and rights of sex workers, insisting, "We respect you as human beings, we believe in personal freedoms and think that you’re doing something that is absolutely your choice to do." Hopefully the message will be spread far and wide and cow the LISK into submission... Or kick the living crap out of him and drag him to a police station. That would be pretty cool, too.

2) Speaking of balls-out-ness and superheroism, I can't even imagine the courage it must have taken to post this blog about how to get through an unpleasant day at work with the least pleasant mental imagery ever. I don't think I could ever admit this kind of thing to anyone, much less the anonymous fathoms of the internet. But Danny Wylde isn't your average porn performer, and he went ahead and said it. Much respect for revealing a side of the industry and of humanity that gets pushed under the rug far too often, Danny. Let's talk.

Apr 25, 2011

Thinking About Consent Again: What's the Best Model for Porn?


A Newsweek article I read today about male-male rape in the military (seriously, only click on that link if you're in a pleasant frame of mind; if you start out unhappy, you'll end it wanting to go out and hurt someone) got me thinking about issues of sexual consent, and human ugliness, and how it relates to my favorite topic: porn.

Human sexuality is such a fraught and difficult arena for most of us that our ugliest bits and pieces, our most violent tendencies and irrational prejudices, tend to swirl around it. It's usually private, in the dark, and unpoliceable. More easily kept quiet. But pornography, as the public side of our collective sexual consciousness, doesn't get the veil of mystery around it that other parts of our sexuality do. And because so much ugliness often, unfortunately, centers on sexuality, some people find the ugliness they feel or have experienced about sex in what they witness pornography, and not without reason.

Some of the things we see in pornography these days is shocking, upsetting, and almost violent. From the corpophilia and bestiality of Ira Isaacs to the skull-fucking and pee-drinking of Max Hardcore to the relatively trivial exploitation of drunk co-eds in Girls Gone Wild and the various out-there doings of the Kink.com family, pornography can show consumers just about any corner of the spectrum of human sexuality they wish to sample. And, with the internet's annals of porn set up like the maze that they are, it can also show people corners they never wanted to venture into. As a writer on the topics of pornography and sexuality, I spend a lot of time thinking about these things and come into every experience I have with pornography with an understanding, however abstract, of how far-removed from reality the people I'm watching really are. Porn is performance. It's fiction. But I can't help remembering my first forays into the fray. They were terrifying. And they make me aware that, to the average consumer who doesn't spend all day thinking about the logistics and technicalities of a porn shoot, the acts one sometimes sees can come across as extremely degrading and upsetting.

Porn doesn't enjoy the high level of suspension of disbelief that Hollywood movies do. There's little in the way of special effects, no stunt people, no safety harness. Most porn we see, particularly online, is clearly fantasy, yet it's presented in a realistic way to encourage the viewer to put him or herself "in the action." To imagine that this could really happen. And to emphasize that for the people on the set, though they're performing in a controlled environment, this really did happen. Porn, for all its smoke and mirrors, implants and fake tans, isn't the kind of entertainment that consumers go into thinking that they're about to see a blockbuster masterpiece of fakery. They go in thinking that what they see is what really happened, and, in most cases, it kind of is. If they see a girl begging for mercy or being choked, the reaction isn't very often, "Oh my gosh what a crazy scene!" It's more along the lines of, "Oh my god that poor woman! Porn is awful!"

For those of us more in the know, this isn't a problem, however, because we understand the issues of consent that are tightly wrapped around every professional porn shoot. I know people who  have worked in the porn industry for years who laugh when they see women "tricked" into doing something or "forced" to do something on camera, because as professionals they understand that if the film they're watching is from any well-known, established company, the people doing the "forcing" and the people being "forced" knew exactly what they were getting into and consented to everything they did. While there can still be a cringe factor at the sight of someone doing something you'd never want to do personally, there's a level of removal from the emotional implications for the performers because, after all, they did At least in theory, of course.sign up for this. Not that that's a blanket to throw on any long-term consequences on all of our psyches, but it's at last a flame-retardant to spray on the, "Oh my god that poor person!" fires. There was paperwork. There was STD testing. There was consent. At least in theory.

But that's where it gets sticky. Theory and practice can be miles apart, and, as Julian Assange will no doubt attest, issues of consent are multi-tiered. Signing the paperwork up-front and understanding that today you'll be doing Act X does not mean that you'll actually be ok with performing Act X when it comes time to do it. Act X might end up being extremely uncomfortable, or your partner, who's doing Act X to you, might be disagreeable to you in some way. Anyone who's not in porn can attest that fantasy and reality rarely meet up in the middle, and even for porn performers whose fantasies are regularly fulfilled, the reality of Act X may not be nearly as pleasant as you'd imagined. You may want to stop. If you do, then is consent still present since you signed the paperwork? Is it ok for the director to throw you off the set without pay if Act X isn't completed? Where does consent land, and how is the consumer to know that it landed there?
There are many answers to this question. Some directors, mostly of the old school, take a stern approach: you said you'd do it, so if you don't do it, you don't get paid. You can go home. Others work with performers to make sure everyone is happy throughout and edit out the negotiations. Some keep the negotiations in the final product for the consumer to see, and some do before-and-after interviews to show that everyone is happy, healthy, and having fun. Others just try as hard as possible to make sure the performers are not just consenting, but chomping at the bit to do everything they're about to do, thus greatly reducing the risk of changed minds and withdrawal of consent.

Arguments can be made for all these models, and have been. I'm trying to figure out which is the best, if any. For instance, the standard model of cutting out any not-sexy moments and dismissing a performer who relinquishes consent disturbs me. Not only does it punish performers for having limits they didn't foresee, but it also puts out a finished product that misrepresents the actualities of having sex. While many would argue that fantasy is what makes porn worth watching, I'd argue that making porn in a world where everything is pirated and available to young and uninformed consumers at any time comes with a lot of responsibility that many pornographers just don't want to deal with. And that's fair: should one censor oneself or change one's product to cater to people one doesn't even consider as one's market? If one considers oneself an artist, then the response to that is no. If one considers oneself a businessperson, the answer is again no. Freedom of expression should give all producers of adult content the ability to make the sex they film look however they want it to look, and sell it to whomever they wish, as long as that "whomever" is of the age of consent.
And yet there's a problem there: if movies and images of adult sexual behavior portray it in an "everybody's always having fun and nobody ever gets uncomfortable" way, or an "it's ok to treat this person this way because look, this person is already doing degrading things and deserves to be degraded" way, then the message taken away from it by uninformed viewers can be frighteningly similar: sex is always fun for everyone, except for the people who are degraded by it, but that's ok because they should  be degraded.

Obviously I'm skipping over hours of philosophy and science here, drawing massively overgeneralized sketches of the human mind that can hardly fit into an accurate shape. But the ideas are worth pondering. After reading Cindy Gallops "Make Love Not Porn" Kindle book this weekend, I've been thinking about the issues of creativity, consent, and interpretation a lot. Should creativity and freedom of speech necessarily take the burden of responsibility off of people who make porn? Should they be able to make whatever they want and put it out into a world that's so confused about sexuality that their work can be misinterpreted to someone's detriment? Or should they be able to, like other businessperson in creative fields, do their job and not worry so much about how it's received? Should pornographers be held to higher ethical  standards than slasher movie directors simply because it's easier to pirate porn?

Young people, according to Gallop's book and many other resources, are being exposed to hardcore pornography very early these days, and if they watch a fantasy-oriented scene in which nobody needs lube, women all love anal sex and facial pop shots, men all love hairless bodies and blond hair... What will they come away with, then apply to their budding sexual repertoires? And worse, if they watch borderline violent content with kink or degradation in it without any context to put it into (ie, interviews, unedited content of safewords being used), what will they consider normal?

It's not that we all need to have the same idea of normal sex. Far from it. Everyone's sexuality develops independently and beautifully, hence the richly woven tapestry of human preferences. But to assume from an early age that slapping, choking, hair-pulling, unprotected sex, perfect sex... any of these things... is strictly normal is to paint over one's own idea of what's ok and limit oneself to a sadly narrow experience. And not just narrow--undereducated.

I believe that, although porn as fantasy certainly has its place and can be loads of fun, for the many people in this world, young and old and in between, who come to a porn site for the first time every day, it's important that the content they see shows some small bits of reality. If it's a pre-scene interview (or maybe a post-scene is better, to get into the viewer's brain during the afterglow) in which the performers are laughing together and showing their willingness to participate, great. If it's not editing out the part where the woman goes, "Ouch, that hurts, can you move a little to the left?" that's great too--it's important to those getting their education on sex through pornography that they understand that sex isn't always mind-blowingly pleasurable. There are times when it hurts to put that there, when this position isn't working, when that one thing isn't so much fun for everyone involved. Or even if it's just showing, as I can't say enough about Kimberly Kane in My Own Master doing, all the performers having such a fantastically good time that their enjoyment is easy to see and impossible to misinterpret, fabulous. But I think it's important that consent be actively shown in porn, fantasy be damned. Those who really thrive on the fantasy aspect can figure out a way to make a "ouch, that hurts" into a part of our fantasy, I'm sure. We've got pretty active imaginations, right?

Anyway, all I'm saying is that for many of us in the real world, who may be young or conservative or survivors of sexual trauma or simply sensitive, consent is the biggest issue we face when we try to watch adult entertainment. Without the flag of performer consent flying high in one way or another, the incredibly delicate tissue of human sexuality that is put on the line when one watches porn can all too easily be damaged or warped, resulting in a disgust for porn in general or a skewed version of what sex should be like.

Just sayin.'

Apr 24, 2011

I'm Not an "Ordinary Person"

I really want to fill out the questions in this survey from Clarissa Smith, Feona Attwood, and Martin Baker about the ordinary person's use of and relationship to pornography. For maybe the first time ever, some serious researchers (in England) are getting together not to talk about how good or bad porn is, or whether it's destroying or elevating our sexuality, or where the moral line is drawn. Instead, they want to do a huge-as-possible survey of normal people who use porn and find out just when, why, where, and how people use it, how they feel about it, and how the actual, everyday use of pornography applies to real life.

From the site: "Our project is concerned with the everyday uses of pornography, and how the people who use it feel it fits into their lives. Pornography is of course a highly topical issue, subject to many opposing views and ‘strong opinions’. And we are not saying that there are no moral or political issues.  But we are saying that the voices of users and enjoyers have been swamped.  In fact, there is very little research that engages with the users of pornography, asking how, when and why they turn to it."

Oh my gosh! No finger-pointing, no soap-box standing, no preaching. Just an honest look at what porn really does and how it works at the ground level!

However, my problem is this: the questionnaire "will enable us to understand the patterns of use of porn by ordinary people." And, well, I'm not exactly your ordinary user/enjoyer of porn. I'm more of a professional porn viewer and thinker. I don't think the researchers are looking for my responses because I think WAY more about all the topics they're considering than your average porn consumer. Anyone who wants to Google me can find out my views on porn in no time flat. It's the REST OF THE WORLD they need to hear from. So I thought, "Since I can't participate, I'll try to get as many OTHER people to participate as possible!"

Please, readers, do what I can't! Help inform the world about porn and your life! Go fill out the questionnaire, and come back and tell me all about it in the comments! Your input is important; if the world is ever going to get a fair, even-footed, rational look at the realities of our "pornified" world and views about pornography, it has to come from data collected in a study like this. All this mumbo jumbo about smut's "damaging" nature or "immorality" or "morality" or "positive" nature is mostly hearsay at this point. Let's change that and start having a REAL conversation!

...Have you not clicked on the link yet? Jeeez, what's Easter Sunday for if not filling out 20-minute online porn surveys! Go! Do it!

Apr 22, 2011

In Case You Were Wondering About Space Sex...

...baaahahahahaaa! Thanks "Go2SpaceNow.com" for this excellent pic.

...you'll have to keep wondering. According to the Russian expert Valery Bogomolov, "There is no official or unofficial evidence that there were instances of sexual intercourse or the carrying out of sexual experiments in space." Well, poo. That takes all the fun out of my long list of Kosmonaut sex jokes. Or something. However, if you want more in the way of speculation on zero-g gratification might work out, I'll refer you to the capable hands of professional asking-weird-questions journalist, Mary Roach, whose book Packing For Mars not only examines the logistics of sex in space but also spends some serious time trying to track down anyone who's ever given it a try (unsuccessfully, alas; I think Bogomolov is right). It will also possibly split your sides open. When I first read this book, specifically the chapter on space doodie, I spent a good half hour alone in my bed at 2:00 am laughing hysterically with tears streaming down my face... sober.


In other news that's not nearly as much fun to think about, a bill that would ban any discussion of homosexuality in public school classrooms has just passed committee in the Tennessee Senate and will go to a full Senate vote soon. Really. Unofficially dubbed the "don't-say-gay" bill, the legislation would make it illegal for educators in Tennessee to make any mention of non-heterosexuality in their classrooms before ninth grade. Because there's already a law in place in that state that forbids any sexual education that doesn't fit into their "family life" curriculum to be taught, however, this seems entirely unnecessary. I doubt that "safer anal sex between males" falls under the auspices of family life. Just going out on a limb here.
Of course, I understand that most people don't exactly relish the thought of getting up in front of a classroom of twelve-year-olds and talking about safer sex practices, but... Tell me if I'm wrong here, because I was a particularly horny child and may not have had a representative experience, but... does ninth grade, when students are 13-15 years old, seem a little late to bring up these topics in today's world to anyone else? Tennessee may be in the South, but I don't think that "Southern" and "conservative" necessarily preclude "horny pre-teen experimentation" or "transmission of STDs" or the like. If kids are going to be experimenting--and they are--before their "family life classes" kick in, or even after they kick and kids are still left in the dark about how to have safer sex in homo- or heterosexual relationships, then how are we going to help them not get diseases and babies? ...oh, wait? We're not? Oh, right, well, whew, at least Planned Parenthood will still be around to educate and provide healthcare... oh, right. Well. Um.
So then what's the point of this bill? To keep kids in the dark about basic facts of life so they... will... make bad decisions based on ignorance? It... kinda seems that way.
I guess it's tough shit for queer kids in Tennessee. Then again, according to the basic level of logical thinking going on here, I think it's safe to assume that the brains behind this bill, Sen. Stacey Campfield, might hold onto the notion that if you just don't tell a queer kid what queer is, he/she won't end up being queer in the long run. Which is water-tight reasoning, obviously. How can you be something if nobody tells you it exists? I mean, it's not like humans are prone to individualism or innovation, particularly not the gay ones... Oh. Wait.

Goddammit. Moving on.

If you want to feel better about the world, like I do, I recommend Packing for Mars. Or, for more instantaneous gratification, check out Fleshbot's reprints of Edita Vilkeviciute's beautiful, spring-y, flower-y photo set. Breasts like that can make you forget your worries, at least until you realize your a girl and you find them lovely and you don't know how to get any information on what's going on with  your sexuality before your 15... Blehhh...


Apr 21, 2011

Did You Know I Rock? Also, read "Make Love Not Porn."

Ok, first of all: I am amazing. Wanna know how I know? Cause Jiz Lee just used one of my photos (of Jiz and also-uber-awesome director Shine Louise Houston) on their blog commemorating the Feminist Porn Awards! And Jiz Lee is, in case you're not aware, possibly the coolest person on the planet. AND they credited me. My stock is rising, bitches!

Also, btw, when Ryan G, the emcee, introduced April Flores to present the night's big "Heartthrob" award, that intro bio he used? Yeah. I wrote that:



Nobody knows it yet, but I apparently OWN feminist/queer porn. And yeah, it feels good.

I've set up, and am working on setting up, interviews with some of the people I met/reconnected with at the Awards over the next few weeks and months, both for the blog here and for WHACK! Magazine, so we have that to look forward to, my lovelies!

Anyhoo, I should probably endeavor to write something meaningful on here about the awards, but it's hard to pick just one thing to focus on when you've had such an incredibly, overwhelmingly positive experience. I'll be working on these ideas and putting them together intelligently, but right now I have to go review a Lelo toy for WHACK! I know, it's a tough existence I lead. Check out the review on WHACK! tomorrow, and stay tuned for interviews and musings, news and more here on conflicedeXXistence.

And before I go, let me recommend to all of you a little something I picked up last night: Cindy Gallop's new book for the Kindle: "Make Love Not Porn." It explains the reasoning behind Cindy's lovely site of the same name and explores her ideas for how we, as adults, can help guide young people through the newly pornified universe so they don't grow up thinking the sex acts they find for free online, filmed by professionals, are how real people in real life need to have sex. The titles may sound a bit anti-porn, but never fear, good blog-rollers, I would never actively promote anything anti-porn, because I love it and I love the people who do it! Cindy loves porn, too, and makes no secret of it. What concerns her, however, is that young people are often growing up knowing porn first, sex ed second, and sex itself third, and as such are carrying what they've seen online directly into the bedroom with them, which is maybe great for some, but she finds it worrisome. She's got ideas and insights worth paying attention to, and she'll make you laugh while she's offering them. Check out Ms. Gallop's site and/or download her Kindle book. Read it, and then we'll talk.

Apr 18, 2011

Vice Versa: The Best in Cooze Coverage from the Feminist Porn Awards

It seemed only fair that, since I wrote a blog here and then reposted it on WHACK! Magazine, I'd take some of the piece I put up on WHACK! about the Feminist Porn Awards show and repost it here this time around. Behold, my photos and videos! The awards ceremony, which offered snacks, booze, fabulous raffle prizes, drag queens, burlesque, BOYlesque, porn clips, glitter, queers, freaks, geeks, dykes, fags, and more, was held at the Berkeley Heritage Center... aka the old Berkely Church. Swear to god, I watched porn on a big screen and saw more platform vinyl boots than I could shake my camera at, all while getting drunk... in a church. I've never felt so wrongly right in my LIFE.

AVN, you guys are gonna have to pull out ALL the stops next year to make me even want to come back after having partied with the Good For Her crowd. Just sayin.

Anyway...

Carlos Batts and the stunningly beautiful April Flores, pre-awards ceremony!


April, who took home the coveted "Heartthrob of the Year" award last year, presented it this year...


...to the Toronto-based androgynous sexpot and one of my personal faves, Drew Deveaux!


We might have been tipsy when this was taken. I KNOW I was.



Of course, Tristan Taormino was on hand to accept her award for Best Kink Movie for Rough Sex II, present awards, and generally remind everyone how awesome she is.


Lux Alptraum of Fleshbot spiced up the evening by presenting several awards in a hot-pink punky dress!



She also succumbed to my pleading for a photo with her and the gorgeous Bobbi Starr!



Bobbi accepted the award for Steamiest Romantic Movie for A Little Piece of Me, in which she starred. A, what a star! Oh god, I'm on a really pathetic roll. Anyway, she also spent some time talking to the night's FABULOUS emcee, Ryan G!



And my favorite-est favorite, the indomitable Jiz Lee, was nominated for no fewer than 12 awards!



Jiz and my if-I-were-to-direct-porn idol, Shine Louise Houston, were both on hand all evening.


Toronto's only all-male burlesque group, Boylesque, performed a hilariously hot striptease to everyone's favorite mid-90's pop dance track as the crowd went wild:



Alas, other performances were caught even MORE badly by my point-and-shoot camera, but someday, my lovelies, I'll have a nice Canon and we'll celebrate with lots of sexy photos.

Till then, find a complete list of winners from Friday night's events here on GoodForHer.com!

Apr 17, 2011

A Slight Detour into Dinosaur Sex

Yesterday's trek back to NYC was rather epic: 10.5 hours in the car, no less than four detours (one to take pictures of windmills, one by accident, one looking for maple candy, and one extremely disappointing search for a "Silver Lake Sea Serpent" which seems not to really exist but led us on quite a journey, which I will someday title in my memoir as "Insufficient Sea Serpent Signage"), and torrential downpours most of the way. We're now somewhat rested and ready to go, but I have too much work to catch up on for a comprehensive blog. Instead, why don't you go to Slate and read about how dinosaurs had sex? I'll catch you up on the news and gossip tomorrow.

I dunno how they had sex, but this video sure shows how they terrified children...


Apr 15, 2011

The Feminist Porn Awards: Update the First

Wow, guys. Wow. The trek to Canada has been really... something. It was a beautiful drive through rural New York yesterday and across many lakes and rivers into the Maple Leaf country. But there have been some hiccups. First we got stuck behind the ONLY person crossing the Canadian border to ever get stopped and looked into. Must have sat there for ten minutes feeling stupid and sure that they would search my car and demand to know why I was going to a PORN festival. Then the rental car's EZ-Pass thing didn't work and I had to back up out of the toll gate to get into the damn country, looking like a complete idiot the whole time!
THEN when we got to our hotel and checked in and started to prepare for the excellent feminist porn screening at the Bloor Cinema last night... I realized I'd left ALL my makeup sitting on my dresser in NYC.
Now, I realize I was about to go to a feminist porn gathering. And I realize that I had nothing to fear from being less-than-usually made up. But as an incredibly pale, freckly, blotchy-skinned redhead with red/blonde eyelashes who had slept for five hours before driving for almost nine and who was completely exhausted, who usually only approaches beautiful porn stars when feeling at her most beautiful (ie, with the help of foundation, eyeliner, and mascara), the idea of walking into a theater where there were not just some porn stars, but actually a gathering of some of my favorite, most admired porn performers and directors and etc... I didn't want to show them my REAL face!
However, having just driven for nine hours, I refused to be deterred. So I got my unadorned ass over to the Bloor Cinema for last night's screening of some of the best feminist porn around, Public.Provocative.Porn: The Year's Best in Feminist Porn. I was a bit late, so sadly, I missed Tristan Taormino's opening remarks, but I did manage to make it for the panel discussion with CoCo LaCreme, Carlos Batts, Drew Deveaux, Jaiya, and Cheryl Dunye. It was short, sweeet, and utterly fabulous. It's kind of incredible how articulate a group of pornographers can be, really; I'd be willing to place money on the assertion that some of the panels I've seen at porn-related events had a higher IQ tally than most 100-person, packed-full subway cars in New York.
Before we were allowed to watch scenes from Carlos Batt's Artcore and Sola, Courtney Trouble's Seven Minutes in Heaven: Fuck Yeah!, Oral Sex for Couples, Mommy is Coming, and a few other movies whose titles elude me at the moment, we listened to these fap philosophers discuss their art.

Carlos told the crowd that he makes feminist porn because, in porn, he "got to show authentic people: people of color, and with stretch marks and tattoos... You can't allow corporate people to tell you what to do; they don't know what's cool. Onced you become a gear in the machine, you can bring down the machine." Wild clapping and cheers erupted from the audience at this observation. Clips from several of his films, shown later, brought on a similar reaction. April Flores and Drew Deveaux, both starring in his work and in the audience that night, must have been beaming and blushing all at once. And let me state, once again, that I am pretty much in love with April Flores. My god, she's beautiful.

Jaiya said that she makes erotic films because, "There are jobs for the musicall gifted and the artistically gifted, but what do you do when you're erotically gifted?" She said she'd fought with a love of teaching and her own erotic gifts for a long time before finally deciding, "I am a pornographer. I am the tantric pornographer. I'm owning it. I'm coming out! I'm a pornographer!" Even more wild applause followed, and the frank, beautifully filmed pieces of Oral Sex for Couples that followed helped us all understand what she meant... and helped us out at our hotels later that night. Or, maybe that's just me. Who knows.

Anyway, Drew Deveaux, one of my favorite super-smart sex peformers, took the mic to say that she sees "the bedroom as the last frontier of social justice." An activist in academia, on the streets, and now in performative sex, Drew continues to blow my mind with her every word. Last night, after the rapt audience wast treated to clips from several of her scenes showing her powerful, intoxicating sexuality, she added that after queer and trans people have found a place to be accepted in porn, the next thing for all of us to do is just, "Be allies. Honor all bodies and all sexualities." What more can we do?

Cheryl Dunye was a completely new face to me when I walked into the theater last night, but by the time I left I had a new idol. Cheryl, who is now putting the finishing touches on her film Mommy is Coming, is a genderqueer director and performer whose erotic film, of which the crowd was treated to about a third last night, made me laugh uproariously and squirm in my seat with desire at the same time. How many times can I say that's happened to me? Not many. It takes a lot to make this lady squirm. But the even more incredible thing was her speaking: "I made independent films for a long time, but I wasn't seeing people like myself," she said. "I wasn't seeing bodies like mine. So I decided to find them... I think porn is the only real indepenent cinema now." Porn, she said, has gotten so fantasy-heavy that it's necessary for those of us who want to see authenticity in sexuality to turn to the indie side. "Instead of having fantasy," she said, "let's... you know... see it." On that note, I agree. When Mommy is Coming is released, you all have to go see it. That's all I'll say for now.

More later, live from Toronto!

Apr 13, 2011

Well, That Was Scary

Whew! I have been refraining from posting because I was so worried that I wouldn't, after all, be able to get to the Feminist Porn Awards tomorrow in Toronto. My partner's passport expired a while back, but neither of us realized they've changed the rules so that you need one to get back into the US from Canada... until last night. Today was a mad clusterfuck dash to figure out what other paperwork we could use, and we managed to get a temporary EDL for him. As of right now, all paperwork has been sorted out and yes, my darlings, I shall be there! I'll do my best to post pictures and info as the festivities unfold. Canada, here I come!

Apr 10, 2011

Poly Fi!

I've been thinking about all the things the Momentum conference brought up in my mind, and as it's officially an entire week since the conference was over, I'll try to put an end to my musings specifically related to it here and move on a bit with the blog. So let me try to state this simply and not-too-long-windedly:

I'm polyamorous.

Whew. There, that was pretty easy. Funny I was hung up on it for so long. But I was. I feel like I just "came out" to my readers, but that's silly, since I've been pretty open about the fact that I have at least one female and male lover for a while now, both here on the blog and on WHACK! Magazine, and though I doubt many of you have been following along all that closely or thinking a whole lot about it, it's not exactly particle physics. It's kind of out there.

But I've long held onto this "I don't want to put labels on it" mentality, partly out of, I think, fear. Fear that, as someone who's already labeled a porn and sex writer with a past in go-go dancing and researching swinging here in New York, I'd be easy to kick into the "weirdo" corner. Fear that if my relationship status were public along with my thoughts on performative sex, sex work, feminism, and etc, I'd lose some of my "everyman" appeal and become just another sex-crazed bohemian whack job. And, well, maybe I am. I guess I can't very well judge that for myself. But the sad truth is that people who live alternative lfiestyles and who openly label themselves to fit into a category are easier to write off as lunatics, nut-jobs, and so on.

I didn't want that. I've been told that a lot of my appeal as a writer is that I'm normal, but I talk about things that a lot of normal people don't like to talk about. My voice is understandable, approachable. I'm just a regular person who got caught up in this world of sex and porn and found it rather interesting. And I was afraid that if I announced it to the world, I'd no longer be a "regular person" people wanted to listen to.

Also, I think I wanted to be able to tell myself I wasn't living this way because I wanted to be part of a group or follow some ideology that someone somewhere set up. I didn't want to be a follower of Heinlein or subscribe to some set of rules that I didn't know existed just because a lot of poly people do that. I wanted to be doing this on my own terms, because there are two people I love and respect and want to be intimate with, and I didn't want to end up beholden to a meet-up group or a set of principles that had nothing to do with me. I want to be my own person, dammit!

But at Momentum, I attended a panel on non-monogamy where we discussed the in-fighting that goes on the sex-positive community. Swingers often dislike poly people and vice versa, master/slave couples are often contemptuous of more causal sub/dom people, and so forth. And I realized that in order to be proudly poly, I don't have to follow a group or a leader or a set of rules, but I do have to respect people who do and be happy that they are living their lives in the open as much as they can. The more of us in non-traditional relationship models who stick together and help each other out in public, the stronger we are! The important part is that we are doing it and being unashamed of ourselves and our lives, providing public models of non-standard relationships that people can see, and maybe gawk at, but at least be exposed to. Even if they're laughing at us or terrified by us, our presence in the world, out and open and happy and living ethically and responsibly even in our fringe lifestyles, can make people think about relationships and the many ways they can form and grow and thrive. I never expected to be a poly person, really. I just give all of myself in every relationship. I form deep, attached friendships and even more attached romances, and I find that I feel more fulfilled and able to fulfill others when I give that love more liberally. Love is, as they say, a never-ending resource. The more you give, the more you have to give. And I find that to be true. And so maybe I'm not as "normal" as I wish I was, but as a writer and thinker who's here to help other people open their minds, hearts, and lives up to an acceptance of sex and pornography and alternative lifestyles, it would be hypocritical and damaging for me to continue to hold back my whole truth. I'm poly. And I'm happy to be so.

At Momentum, I also realized that it's important for "normal people" like me, and most other poly people, most likely, to be voices for our little corner of the population. I won't make any radical declarations about being "the voice of the community," since I'm still not sure I want to get deeply involved in a group mentality about a very private part of my life. I may very well not be poly forever, and I don't want to go around now saying things I'll regret later. But that's the beautiful thing about being open to these ideas and recognizing that applying a label to myself doesn't meant the end of individuality: I am myself and I am this way now, but that doesn't mean that I can't be something else later on. And what I know myself to be, after having heard it many times, is a "normal" person who happens to believe in non-monogamy. The idea of polyamory, polyfidelity, and hundreds of other non-typical lifestyle models can be daunting to most mainstream people, but in the end these models aren't difficult to figure out or to then respect. One just has to be open to hearing about them. And as someone who believes that everyone should be able to decide what relationship model fits them best, and that some people may never try anything new if they don't know it exists, I want to share my life and my experiences in a "normal" way. I want to be able to field questions if people have them. I want to make this part of my life accessible to anyone who's curious, interested, or even appalled. Because it's not what I am or what defines me, but it's part of me, and you know what? Since I've thought about this, I've introduced myself to several people as poly. I've casually mentioned my girlfriend and my boyfriend in the same breath. And hardly anyone has batted an eye.

So here I am, in the sunlight! It feels pretty good.

Apr 8, 2011

Phone Whore, Cameryn Moore, and Musings onf the Sex Industry

Moving on with my week of reviews and thinking about Momentum, I wanted to talk about Cameryn Moore for a minute. Cameryn is a phone sex operator and actress who, on Saturday, April 2, performed her one-woman show, "Phone Whore" for all of us oversexed writers. And she kind of blew my mind.

"Phone Whore" is a short, kind of funny kind of not funny, fascinatingly candid look into the life of a phone sex operator. Eminently normal, slyly humorous, and so honest that the viewer feels immediately comfortable even in an off-kilter world of incest fantasy and homoerotic rape play, Cameryn lets the audience into her daily life as a phone whore. And it's fascinating.

I don't know about the rest of you out there, but at various times in my life I've considered becoming a phone sex operator, dungeon mistress, stripper... pretty much anything that seems like quick and easy money using sex as the tool. You know, sex work. What's usually stopped me is a petrifying fear of making an ass of myself. The phone sex operator, particularly, scared me off because just as I was about to call the company to apply, I realized, "Wait a second. I'm going to have to act all this out with just my voice. I'm going to have to talk dirty and come up with scenarios, all on the spur of the moment. I can't even write erotica well--I'd be terrible at this! The guys will end up calling my supervisor, furious that I didn't know enough about their fetish..." I'd have to have a "phone sex voice" which maybe I didn't have naturally, so I'd have to talk funny, and maybe my accent would be bad... And on and on. I always wondered if maybe I was overestimating the difficulty of the job. I mean, I could sit around in my bathrobe and do this for a living... Maybe I was just being a fraidy-cat.

But watching Cameryn glide about her "apartment" (read, one of the meeting rooms in the hotel's conference area, set up like a living room for the show) in her green silk robe, doing things I'd be doing in her place (making a PBJ, working for a few minutes on her art installation, going to the bathroom [ie, the closet, in our case]), then instantly dropping into her quiet, self-assured, not-too-different phone sex voice, I realized I'd been right. Phone sex is not for the faint of heart, nor for the unpracticed improv actor. Cameryn was, in some ways, made for this job: she can tell a story with her voice, as her acting career has shown, and yet remain calm and centered the whole time. And the most important thing: she doesn't judge her clients. Just from the four phone calls she "took" during Phone Whore, one could tell that this is a job where the weird quickly becomes normal and the outrageously bizarre becomes only eyebrow-raising. I might have been game to deal with the lonely guys on the other end of the phone line, but the masochists? The mommy-issues? The closeted homosexuals? The violent pedophiles? I don't know if I could do it. Much less recreate it faithfully in front of a room full of people, sitting there narrating a floridly criminal fantasy for seven minutes, straight-faced, without wiggling around uncomfortably in her chair, without a hint of irony... Far beyond my ken.

It was impressive and scary at the same time, and it made me reflect for a few minutes on my own career. In this line of work I've written fantasy stories about women I've never even seen a picture of, reviewed porn movies that disturbed me and turned me on at the same time, pondered the unknowable aspects of human sexuality, interviewed people who have done things I can never agree with but must respect.... The daily work of someone in the sex industry at my level is fraught with moral grey matter. I sometimes go to bed at night thinking, "Is this really ok with me?" Learning not to judge people for their sexual proclivities is one thing, but actually forcing oneself to get over one's own prejudices and look at the world realistically is another. Tolerance is easy--it's engaging with the things you tolerate and learning to respect them that's difficult.

And Cameryn highlighted this set of issues unique to sex workers, sex writers, and those of us who want to open our minds and the minds of others. Where does my comfort level stop? How far can I push it? How far should I push it? Just how far is too far? Is there a too far? Is there a right and wrong in the realm of fantasy? In the realm of consensual adult sex? The lives of sex workers are rich and varied, incredibly entertaining, and filled every day with the kinds of questions some people may go their whole lives without asking, and thank goodness Cameryn is out there to pose those questions through her art.

She's now touring with Phone Whore and a new show called Slut (R)evolution, and I really encourage any of you who can possibly make it out to see her: GO. Your mind and horizons are begging for it!

Apr 6, 2011

A Review: The Rechargeable Slimline G

Well, it seemed to me that after the last few posts about Momentum Con, some readers might be feeling a little alienated. After all, not ALL of us can be cool enough to attend such things and take home a  brand new Rechargeable Slimline G vibrator from California Exotic Novelties in their shwag bag... for TOTALLY free! And I certainly don't want to hold my readers at arm's length simply because they're less fortunate. So here, guys, let me bring you into the inner, vibrating circle, and share with you my experience! I tried my Slimline G last night, and I'm going to tell you how it went so you, too, can feel like you went to Momentum!

To be perfectly honest, I didn't have a lot of hope for the Slimline. I mean, sure, it looked nice enough, but how high quality can a vibrator they're giving away dozens of? I mean, true, maybe they weren't all Slimline G's--the bags were zipped shut, so for all I know everyone else got Rabbits or something. But I assumed we all got the same things, and though the Slimline G isn't cheap-looking, it's not one of those super-fancy designer vibes, either. It's a simple long, thin, red wand with a g-spit tickler tip. Mine is red and just see-through enough that one can spot the actual vibrating mechanism inside. It's kind of cool. But I wasn't expecting much.

But the cool thing about the Slimline G is that, even if it's not the most powerful or versatile or fancy-schmancy of vibes, it IS rechargeable! And that's pretty sweet. I hate going to buy batteries. Even though I'm perfectly aware that there are a multitude of household items requiring AAA and AA batteries, when I hit up the Staples down the street (as I do fairly often) for a 20-pack, I always feel as if the woman behind the counter knows exactly what they'll be used in. Of course, my flushed face, mussed hair, panting breath, and badly-buttoned shirt usually don't help things, but hey, you can't just give up when your vibrator does! But with the Slimline, I won't even have to go face that lady, EVER. I can just plug it in when it peters out (hehehe.... peters)... for 10-12 hours. Ick. Now that's not so cool, but hey, when it's plugged in it works like a charm, and the cord is rather long. So really there is no time when I am at home and I will not be able to use my Slimline G, so long as I'm willing to lay down on my back near an electrical socket now and again, and hey, it's good to switch things up!

But anyway, the real point of this review is to say this: after I'd plugged in my Slimline overnight, I was eager to try it. I was, again, not expecting much in the vibration department, but woah, I was wrong! I mean, a Magic Wand would certainly beat out the Slimeline in power, but then again, you can't insert a Magic Wand to hit your G-spot, now can you? Well... Ok let's not get into the nitty-gritty of that question. But you get my point. Turns out, the Slimline G is a packs a pretty powerful punch to the pussy (or butt, I'm sure; it's designed so it'd probably work in there, too, but I haven't tried that yet). It has only one setting, which was a bit of a disappointment, but, again--you can put it inside yourself to hit your G-spot. Once that's been arranged, you don't really have much to worry about.

And furthermore, the Slimline G is waterproof! I took that baby in the shower and then with me to bed last night, I enjoyed it so much! So folks, if you're looking for a simple, not-too-pricey, powerful and stimulating vibe that won't send you running to the store mid-jill-off for batteries... here's a fabulous option! Thanks, Momentum!

Apr 4, 2011

MOMENTUM: Recaps and Reflection

I can't put my finger on what it was about this weekend that made me so introverted, but suffice it to say I found myself arriving at Momentum feeling very awkward and unconfident and quiet. It's been a while since I found myself in a group in which I had to explain myself as a writer/blogger/thinker, and in the midst of people who have devoted their lives to sex writing, education, and positive activism, I think I felt a bit under-achieving. A little like a wannabe or a poser in a house full of truly dedicated, wildly passionate players.

I found myself constantly exposed to the very end of the tentative tendrils the sex-positive community is stretching out into the mainstream, and I realized that in my writing I have been unconsciously pushing myself away from the mainstream, using complicated terminology and assuming a level of familiarity with my subject matter on the part of my reader. I'm not sure why, except that maybe it seemed to my ever-longing-for-legitimacy subconscious that using big words would make me seem more official. That throwing around language almost inaccessible to most people about things that the vast majority of readers don't quite understand or even care about would make me sound smart. Academic.

But sex isn't about academia. Trying to crack open people's minds and extract from them, sometimes gushingly and sometimes haltingly and painfully, their contributions to an open dialogue about human sexuality in performance and in private life is about doing. It's about going out there, talking openly and in words that anyone can access. Hoping that through my talking, by sharing, by exploring ideas surrounding our most taboo topics, a few people will have "a-hah!" moments and dive into the dialogue isn't enough. I need to be challenged rather than simply sit here and pretend to challenge myself in a bubble. The sex-positive community does exist in a bit of a bubble, as it was pointed out at several panels over the weekend, but it's our responsibility to make that bubble as friendly and inviting to anyone who wants to get inside as possible. To make it transparent, accessible, and open to all.

I think I walked into the midst of a crowd of people so far advanced in their thinking about topics I've only pondered abstractly, so devoted to promoting the message I've reluctantly held up as I realized that, yes, I'm involved now and no, I don't want to stop being involved, but damn, it's kind of scary out here in the spotlight... and I froze. I felt outclassed, outsmarted, out-activist-ed. The fact that I initially started writing about these things essentially by accident seemed to be shining directly in my face, like a cop with a flashlight demanding, "What are you doing here?" Was I passionate enough to be in this company? Was I willing to risk what Susie Bright and Dr. Carol Queen and Reid Mihalko and Dr. Ruthie have risked to get my point across? ...and, for that matter, what was my point?

Truthfully, I spent a lot of my time at Momentum sitting quietly, alone, in corners and watching everyone around me with a mixture of fear and fascination. I realized over cigarettes outside (I usually don't smoke more than the once-a-month-bummed-from-a-friend-while-drinking cig, but on the way to DC I found a half-empty pack of Marlboro Lights in my seat, and figured it was a sign) that I haven't been thinking nearly enough lately about just what it is I'm trying to do here. I have a lot of thinking ahead of me. I need to decide just what it is I'm trying to contribute to the conversations I heard started and continued at Momentum, and I need to decide what I can do contribute as loudly and positively as possible.

It's going to be an interesting few weeks... I'll keep you all filled in.

MOMENTUM; Overdue Day Three

Well folks, I apologize for promising something without delivering it on time. That's not like me. But let me tell you something: sitting in various rooms in a hotel for two and a half days straight, listening to people you admire talk about their personal theories on sex-positivity, new media, and other things dear to your heart is really surprisingly exhausting. I wasn't prepared for this. Of course, staying out with a dear friend until at least 2:00 every night drinking, then dragging my ass out of bed before 9:00 each morning before sitting in said room and listening didn't help, but my brain and blogging heart have been seriously put through an endurance test this weekend. When I got on the train (an hour and a half late--again with the drinking, except this time at 6:00 pm) back to NYC last night, I had every intention of writing an effusively worded blog about how much I loved Momentum! Instead I passed out and didn't wake up until almost Trenton, at which point I was so confused I just stared out the window for the next hour until NYC came into view.

So, dear readers who were not lucky enough to attend Momentum this weekend, I apologize for my laziness. I will try, over the next few days, to make up for it in small, reader-friendly bits about what I learned and pondered this weekend.

But first: business.

This was the first time the Momentum conference was ever held in the history of the universe. Ever. One might reasonably expect, therefore, that there'd be some hiccups along the way, maybe not enough seating, breaks in the schedule, confusion about exactly who's supposed to be doing what and where and when, not enough water or coffee... You know, first timer mistakes. But no. There weren't. On behalf of all the attendees I talked to about the topic of first-timing, and all those I overheard discussing the same topic, I'd like to tell the organizers of Momentum that we were all astonished by how well the proceedings went. I only attended one session that had even the slightest of technical glitches, and that was only because the presenter had planned to use a Mac and didn't have the right adapter to plug into the projector, which was made for PCs. And she still (Jamye Waxman, by the way) NAILED her presentation about female masturbation, using a PC that wouldn't show any of her pictures or videos. That's professionalism.

Furthermore, for the price of attending (a very negotiable, and tax-writeoff-able $55), the amenities were fantastic. Not only did the price of my ticket put me into a room with virtually the entire North American sex-positive blogging and educational community and give me an open forum in which to talk to as many of them as I wanted, but it got me snacks and coffee throughout the day, ice water in fancy cups as often as I wanted it, $10 off the price of a ticket to FetFest this summer, incredible performance art, movies, and comedy, and a schwag bag the likes of which I have never seen anywhere. I'm talking a vibrator, a vibrating cock ring, lube, a dental dam, a male condom, and a frickin pen, all in a complimentary bag from Fascinations. Like. WHAT! That's at least $55 right there! Momentum, I salute you for making an insanely inspiring, worthwhile conference on a shoestring budget. You did GOOD!

The only major glitch I can name from the weekend's festivities was not the fault of Momentum itself, nor its attendees. It was the hotel. The Crown Plaza was very gracious to host such a possibly-controversial conference, and they provided us with nice accommodations, but they weren't so excited about hosting as they could have been. As a matter of fact, the management saw fit to host not only our sex-crazed (but very professional, let it be said) group... but also a youth group there for some kind of Church Thing during the same weekend! We were actually very specifically asked to please behave ourselves so as not to offend the church people! On the one hand, as the organizers pointed out, this was an excellent opportunity to prove to everyone involved that even--gasp!--sex bloggers, educators, and workers can be civilized and stay for a weekend in a hotel without throwing a chandelier-swinging orgy (or at least if we did, we cleaned up afterward very nicely and didn't wake anyone up), and it's important to show the world that though we may be horny, we're not complete degenerates. But seriously, who would book both these groups and then ask one not to be too sexy? Why would that seem like a good idea? And hey, why not ask the church group not to be too churchy? "Please, youth group leader, can you make sure to keep your children away from the sex-positivists? We don't want any offensive proselytizing or confrontations." That would have been nice. And anyway, we all know what goes on at Youth Group retreats in hotels away from home... let's not be coy about this: sexual experimentation in the wee hours! Whether it's a single-sex or coed youth group, you can count on at least one room being "the makeout room" where a bunch of budding breasts are fondled for the first time. Frankly, I think it would've done the young things a lot of good to sit in on some of our sessions at Momentum! They'd have learned more about how to be safe, responsible, and healthy than I bet their prayer leader taught them.

Anyway.

I'm off to work, and here I'll leave the logistical analysis of the conference behind. Next up: the amazing fucking panelists, presenters, and moderators. Like holy crap, people. Stay tuned!

Apr 3, 2011

MOMENTUM: Day Two

I'm gonna get a jump on this blogging thing by posting tonight instead of tomorrow morning when I'm tired and confused and running late again. Of course, I may be a bit inebriated, but that shouldn't stop me.

Guys, for serious, Momentum is amazing. You should come next year. You really really should. I spent all day being constantly amazed and impressed by the people around me--actually so impressed that I got a little intimidated into being quiet and introverted. And that's embarrassing for me. I'm usually pretty confident. But, really, these people are incredible.

The first panel I made it to this morning, "Defining Non-Monogamy: Bridging the Gap in the Community," included Mia Martina, Cunning Minx, Anita Wagner, and Brian Ballard, and it really got me thinking. A lot. I think I'll have a long blog coming up about these issues, but suffice it to say that they brought up the very important idea that the sex-positive community, whether it be the poly sector, the kink sector, the swinger sector, the anything-else sector... must be respectful of the rest of itself, or the important work of bringing the message to the rest of the world will get lost. More to come on that.

Jamye Waxman, sex educator extraordinaire, then educated us all on the history of female masturbation in grand style, considering the technical difficulties she was experiencing. She brought light to the boatloads of money that people have over the centuries made on this undeniable human habit, from "Onania" in 1712 to the female "hysteria" that dominated the gynecological community in Victorian times (and remained in the DSM until 1980!?!) to, I would argue, the current "porn addiction" mania.

N, the only letter in Burlesque, proceeded to blow my mind with the sexiest size-positive striptease I've ever seen, and then "Phonewhore" absolutely blew the lid off of everything I thought I could rightfully expect from one-woman shows.

A reprise of some of my favorite short films from Cinekink rounded out the night, and... well...

I failed at encapsulating the wonder of my day here, but I promise I'll do better later! I promise! Seriously!

Apr 2, 2011

MOMENTUM: Day One

You know, I'm just a late kind of person. I rush out of the house at the last minute, bitch and moan the whole way to wherever I'm going about the public transportation system so I can blame my tardiness on it instead of me, get lost when I surface, and am generally miserable at showing up looking put-together.

MOMENTUM Con, it seems, is no exception. I almost missed my train to DC yesterday afternoon, dawdled at Union Station to meet a friend, showed up at the convention ten minutes after registration ended (but thank goodness Tess and Diva are way cool and were still registering people when I got there), and then couldn't find a seat at a table in the ballroom because everyone else already had their drinks and ice cream sundaes. In short, I was a mess.

But even though I got to the party late and left early to meet a friend for drinks in Dupont Circle, I still was blown away by the short time I spent at Momentum last night. For serious. First, Maria Falzone, the Italianest of the Italian comedians, warmed us all up with her comedy routine, "Sex Rules." I wanted to hug the woman. Her platform is, "For Christ's sake, talk to your kids early about sex!" She made a series of valid points, including (and I heart this) that the outer part of the female reproductive system is called, collectively, the vulva, not the vagina. I've been twerpily telling people this for ages now, and getting nowhere. Thank GOD someone else is out there spreading the good word about spread legs! Her daughter's third word was, she says, "vulva," and she wishes more women grew up knowing their own bodies and feeling less shame about them and about sex. "Predators feed on shame and ignorance," she said, before launching into a great line about how when she's called "cunt," she turns around and says, "That's juicy cunt to you!" Hearts!

Then the opening panel. Look, when you can say that you're sitting in a room with some of the people you admire most in the world for their outspoken activism and brains... and then Tristan Taormino, Dr. Carol Queen, Reid Mihalko, and Jenny Block took the stage for the opening panel... that's a fantastic night.

More on the details and thought-provoking discussion later! Gotta get coffee, some greasy food to cut the hangover, and head to the convention center. I'm already an hour and a half late. Sigh. Someday I'll learn to be a real grownup and get up at 7:30 after drinking till 2:00. Someday.