Tuesday, April 29, 2008

bend-over boss

Scene: Kinsey hard at work hanging lights for a show this weekend, with boss, and production manager.

Kinsey's boss: Did you know I'm an honorary lesbian?
Kinsey: No, what gave you that status?
B: I've dated more women that are gay than heterosexual women.
Kinsey: Really?
Production manager: It's you're feminine side.
B: Yeah, my backside.
pause for laughter
B: Isn't your boyfriend one of those guys?*
Kinsey: Somewhere in the neighborhood.

I kind of can't express how awesome and hilarious this is. My boss basically said to two of his employees "I date chicks who give it to me up the ass."

* I believe this was meant to imply 'who dates queer women, ' ie) me, as opposed to 'who likes it in the ass,' but it was not entirely clear.

On the road and in the air

Ok, so I know this is coming a week late, but that's the way it is sometimes.

The Tranny Road Show was fantastic!
It had that ability that only variety-type acts have to cross the entire board of emotion and entertainment. It was funny, it was touching, it spurred me to laughter, anger, and nearly to tears.
Highlights included an aerialist - sort of acrobatic dancing done suspended from ropes and/or hoops in the air. I'm pretty buff, but I come no where close to this woman in badassness. I would sell my left kidney for that kind of upper body strength and muscle tone.
There was a 'pupalelli' show, which is a combination of puppeteer and ukalleli. She had puppets strapped to her feet and legs which danced along to the song she played and sang. It was a truly impressive feat of coordination.
One woman in her 70's did a magic act. She had such an amazing 40's era broad kind of femininity, tottering about on her heels and making off color jokes while doing old-school magic tricks.
There was a guy who talked about his recent wedding, which had a circus theme. He changed into what he wore during the ceremony, which was a lion costume.
AND, one of the more adorable human beings ever, Kelly 'Shortandqueer'. He is precisely that. He's a tiny (shorter than me) little redhead who talked about performing masculinity and trying to control his hand gestures, which read as either feminine or gay. The whole audience was laughing and squealing about how cute and funny he was.

Things that were not great about it: The way in which one performer talked about her vagina. She said, 'Ask a tranny girl about her vagina, and she'll tell you how much it cost - $8,300 in Thailand.' Much of the rest of the theme of her piece was about the cost of her surgery and how much it put her into debt. That figure is approximately what it costs most ftms to get top surgery.* Bottom surgery for trans guys runs somewhere around $50,000. It is steadily improving, but not nearly as well perfected as sex reassignment surgery for mtfs. She also made this really horrible comment about 'girls who keep their penises' which just smacked of privilege. She was in the position to get surgery, even if it did take her some time to pay it off. She had such a strange combination of a victim complex and entitlement about it. She was also kind of creepy and gross and I really didn't want to hear another word about her vagina, sex with her girlfriend, or the orgasms she had. I spend half my life talking about, and listening to people talk about vaginas.

*That's also about a third of my current student loan debt, which is remarkably low compared to most people.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day of Silence

I'm warning you I'm not going to be funny and/or clever today, if you ever find me to be in the first place. I'm also talking about sexuality more than I am sex per se. It seems to be a week of events.

Today is the Day of Silence.
I'm wearing an official shirt. I am not being totally silent, as that's not really responsible or feasible at my job. Phones need to be answered, directions need to be given, and bosses need to be spoken too.
Tonight is the night of noise. Having represented the silencing of the GLBTQ community all day, said community and allies then let the fuck loose - speak, scream, sing, holler out what it is that's been kept quiet all too long.

I've been thinking a fair bit about how this phenomenon of silence has affected me. There are the obvious statements that I could make about having been queer and closeted in High School, but that seems rather redundant. Instead, I'm thinking about the silence around not being gay or straight - which most people understand or label as 'bisexual,' but doesn't quite fit for me. There's been a good bit of trying to understand exactly what this means and how it works in by life -do I like girls? do I like boys? do I like boys AND girls? Something about the polarity of 'bisexual' doesn't sit right with me. It seems to imply a certain equality of desire and attraction that also suggest to many ears exclusivity, as though one goes back and forth as a veritable sexual metronome. That is not the case, at least not my case.

I've experienced a lot of what I now call 'lesbian wrath' for being in a relationship with a man.
I'm happy to say that not much of this has come from friends who knew me when I still thought I was gay. It has substantially been from people I've met since this relationship began in September of 2006.
Kinsey: Hey (name of girl) how are you? This is my boyfriend (name of boyfriend).
Boyfriend: Nice to meet you.
Girl: Boyfriend, huh? glowers
Kinsey: yep. smiles innocently

It would take a visually impaired, socially sheltered idiot not to clock me, especially in certain situations. I am a walking stereotype of outdoors-ey, riot grrly, animals and large vehicles, flannel wearing, furniture constructing dykiness. (Although I suppose less so now than when I was younger, and I clean up pretty darn good if I do say so) I can understand disbelief about my man-liking, but have been really surprised and dismayed by some of the accompanying anger, as though I am somehow the property of Sappho's sisters everywhere. Its exactly the same kind of attitude I saw in unenlightened heterosexual men when I did think I was gay, "But you're too pretty to be a LESBIAN"*

I find myself often not revealing the complexity of my sexuality, or my history with women because its easier to just let people think that I'm straight, have always been straight, and will always be straight. Its hard to let someone get to know me without including those facts, but I would much, much rather let me people think that I'm straight, and a devoted ally, than I would to give anyone whomsoever fuel for 'Its just a phase,' or 'She just needed to find the right guy.' kinds of attitudes.

So after all that, I will say a happy thing about perceived sexuality:
I was riding the bus in Boulder one day on the way to school. I was wearing, as I often do, a tshirt that said 'My girlfriend goes to Smith,' courtesy of the Smith College Debate Society. An older gentleman sat down across from me. He said,
"Does your girlfriend really go to Smith?"
Me: "Actually, my boyfriend goes to CU."
Older Man: "Oh, that's nice too."
It was so amazingly kind and well intentioned. He was asking the question genuinely, and it obviously wasn't pervy.

* I always hated that word.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Would you like some horseradish with that?

Today, in honor of Passover

Whilst I was in college debates would rage rampant across living rooms and dinning halls about about how kashrut applied to sex, specifically of course, oral sex.
My conclusions on the matter are as follows:
1) As strictly speaking, one is not eating the person on whom one is going down*, even though we commonly refer to it as such, the point may be moot to begin with. However, given that there is a high likely hood of swallowing at least some fluid if one is not using a condom or dental dam I can understand the concern.
2) The laws about what makes one clean or unclean, ie) fit to enter the House of the Lord acknowledge that some things are out of one's control*. Even if you've done all the washing and followed all the rules in order to make yourself clean to enter the Temple, there's still a pretty high possibility that wandering through the bustling streets of Jerusalem one will bump into someone who is not clean. This run-in does not negate one's cleanliness. I posit then, that sexual running into someone who doesn't keep a kosher diet, or has been gene spliced with shellfish, does not violate kosher law.

* I would therefore venture to guess that they have not been slaughtered in any manor, kosher or otherwise unless we're talking about oral necrophilia, in which case I have no idea where to begin.

*I feel the deep seeded need to mention that 'unclean' in this sense is not a moral judgment the way that it might sound to us now, but often has more to do looking out for one's own health and state to be out - and - about. My favorite example of this is of women during menstruation. They were considered 'unclean' at this time, which meant no heavy lifting, cooking, cleaning, or other Biblical Hebrew wifery they might otherwise be required to do. I firmly argue that this was all about not having to do house work with cramps as opposed to not contaminating anyone else.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

getting down and dirty with mother earth

In honor of Earth Day, I want to talk about sustainable/eco friendly sex toys and accouterments. After all, sex falls into the list of the top five most natural things for a human body to do.

If you stop to think about it, safer sex devices and toys have the potential to create an awful lot of needless waste: latex and non-latex condoms, gloves, and dams going in the trash.* For the toys, there are batteries and gross over packaging- remember when you unpacked your latest butt plug/vibrator/dildo? Wasn't it ridiculous how much plastic you had to dig through to get to your toy? If we were to get really big-picture about it, which we really should, there's a horrific amount of packing materials used if our toys/porn/lingerie come to us through the mail. That isn't even factoring in the fuel usage of shipping them.

Once upon a time, the only eco-friendly material out of which toys were made was glass. They make for absolutely beautiful toys. They are also expensive as hell and honestly, not all of us want glass shoved up our naughty bits, no matter how many times we've been assured that they're shatter proof.

Now, there are a range of sex toys made out of sustainable wood, also available from our friends at Babeland: "Meticulously created from sustainable organic hardwood and coated with gentle, surgical grade Lubrosity™ for easy care, the Flip combines art, pleasure, and conscience in one incredibly beautiful package. Each Flip is a unique piece of artwork, so the size of toy and color/grain of the wood will vary" Sustainable wood floggers and paddles are also available.

There are a lot of options now for vibrators that plug in or recharge like the gigi,if one doesn't always happen to be getting down conveniently close Again, the major draw backs being the high cost.

And of course, a sexy Earth Day celebration wouldn't be complete without a complete eco-sex kit.

I haven't yet managed to come upon a condom, dam, or glove that is made in an environmentally friendly way, but as Hank Green points out on ecogeek.org thanks to various forms of birth control, we've been able to cut down on human population, thereby preventing a greater strain on non-renewable resources. I shudder to think about the possible campaigns by pro-lifers about fetus dumping as medical waste. Let's compost!

treehugger has some great guides to buying green lube and sex toys.

Alas, as Dan Savage recently addressed, there are not currently good options for recycling sex toys, and honestly, there are limits to buying vintage.

*I've yet to hear of a reusable barrier...ew

Friday, April 11, 2008


The Lovely Lauren brought this to my attention, after I talked about another iVibrator towards which Dan Savage pointed me.
Now, I’ve been trying to explain, to relatively little avail the commodification and ‘coolification’ of sex toys for a while now. Vibrators among certain young and hip sets are akin to bags and shoes in terms of status and indie cool to others. It isn’t really about how much you spent on your sex toy(s) it’s about having them, shopping for them, knowing about them, and talking about them. It’s a culture of ‘if you know you know’ much the same way as the rest of idie/hipster culture is.

At my lovely Alma Mater, it was quite common for groups of friends, social clubs, etc to make jaunts both to the local sex store downtown, and to make day-trips to those further a field, to the sketchy warehouses along the highway in Connecticut, or big-name stores like Good Vibrations and Babeland in Boston and New York respectively.

I think these good people hit the nail on the head in saying: OhMiBod harnesses the iPod movement and popularity to bring a higher level of acceptance and openness about sexuality in a fun and liberating way. By ‘harnessing the iPod movement’ they mean ‘cashing in on brand power-cool’. Since when does a music player constitute a movement? Yes, they’re everywhere, yes, almost everyone has one, (including, I’m told, her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II) and I have no idea how I ever lived, or could live without one again. But can we really believe that by putting the ‘i’ in front of a sex toy, this thing is going to change the way that people think about sex, and the use of sex toys? I’ll grant you there are most likely a fair number of people who wouldn’t otherwise really consider buying a sex toy who will feel at liberty to do so because now it has the white silhouetted figure endorsing it. I don’t think that these people will be prudes, just boring suburbanites who somehow haven’t yet caught on to pleasure parties (the Tupperware of sex toys) who have dangly shit on their phones and will buy pretty much anything with the right logo.

There are nifty accessories available for the OhMiBod as well! My favorite accessory is the garter holder, seen above. It’s like the strap I wear on my arm at the gym, but pink, and goes around one’s thigh! The only problem is that it seems as though the only models are built to fit nanos and minis. What about all of those larger iPods, the third, forth, and fifth generation ones that are far too wide for the strap? Maybe the gym armband will have to do in a pinch.

Along with accessories for the toy itself, there are OhMiBod blogs, and playlists. It really is creating a whole elite culture around a sex toy. I’m having a hard time believing that this is really people being open about their sexuality, and not people trying to show the world how cool and liberated they are, because they have sex toys, and blog about them.*

*I'm totally aware of the fact that I'm blogging about sex toys and thereby trying to prove how cool and liberated I am in regards to sexuality

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

sex toys and celebrities

According to Self magazine, 4 times as many women between the ages of 18-60 have tried using a vibrator as have tried yoga. Which surprised me, as in Northampton, we definitely have more yoga studios than sex-stores. But then, I suppose that the two aren't mutually exclusive.
Personally, I started yoga when I was 17. I was 20 when I bought my first vibrator.

I'm not sure if I love that or hate it. I'd sort of like to see a masturbation v. exercise poll- and if there is any correlation between the two. Evidently, Self seems to think so, as they bill their publication as a health and fitness magazine.

Eva Longoria managed to get herself some negative attention for being so vibe-positive in that same publication when she was quoted in an interview as saying that she gives the pocket rocket to all her friends.

Missy Elliot sings about Sex toys on The Cookbook.

I could talk about vibrators on Sex and the City, but there really isn't anything else to be said.