Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 29, 2011 in Uncategorized
***2/3/2011: EDIT – So far, the donations are over $200 – mostly because so many of you donated more than the $13 suggested! THANK YOU! The upshot? I still have a bunch more books that are waiting to find new homes – and Speak Up can certainly use more funds. So? I’ll keep going – and am revising the goal up to $400! If you haven’t donated already – please consider doing so today!***
Speak Up! is a media training weekend for current and former sex workers to empower them to take control of their interactions with the media; it gives them the skills to target their messaging, understand and drive media interactions, and become more effective communicators in the realm of advocacy & activism. The past two years, Speak Up has done some amazing things; they’ve empowered attendees who have been thrust into the limelight to create a more realistic dialog about sexuality and sex work, they’ve created public service announcements about sex work and harm reduction, they’ve brought together people who have gone on to start other efforts to further educate and create change for sex workers…and much more.
Speak Up! is run by Audacia Ray and Eliyanna Kaiser, and is funded through Sex Work Awareness and the Red Umbrella Project – exclusively through private donations. It takes money to make it happen – and to help attendees who cannot afford to come by assisting with travel and offering a stipend for incidentals. Tied Up Events is doing a fundraiser in NY – but since I’m not there, I’m doing a little fundraiser here.
Audacia wrote a book called “Naked on the Internet: Hookups, Downloads, and Cashing In on Internet Sexploration”. I happen to have a box of them here, at my house. And if you donate at least $10 plus $3 postage, I’ll put one in the mail to you, along with a few safer-sex goodies I have here, as a thank you for your donation.
Interested? Just paypal me (the button is to the right, or direct to payments (at) equilibrium consulting . com) with your name, mailing address, and I’ll send it out to you. I’ll also send a note of your donation to the folks at Sex Work Awareness & Red Umbrella Diaries so that they can thank you, as well! If you’d rather not paypal me, feel free to email me and I can give you alternet methods of payment.
My goal is to raise $200 for Speak Up. I hope you can help!
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
I’ve been listening to three conversations in the past week (one spurred by one of my favorite email lists) about labels. People who want clarity of meaning from them, people who want to rework and reclaim labels that they choose, and people who use them as reasons to opt-in or opt-out of a conversation have been speaking their thoughts. And it’s gotten me thinking about how I use labels – both assigning and understanding – and how they both limit and inform. I’ve been wondering how integral to me that they are, and as a result, how much I let my labels define or speak for me. And most of all, I’m wondering what the internal effect of living with those labels is, and how much it either frees or limits me.
So…I’ve decided to challenge myself to live without labeling my sexuality, gender, or relationship orientation(s) for a week. I’m leaving anything on this site “as is”. But everywhere else? I’m going to pull the references and see if I can go a week without referring to them. I’m curious about what the effect of removing labels would be for me – not necessarily socially, but in my own concept of myself.
We’ll see how successful I am…
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
Today, my friend, role model, and favorite adult director Tristan Taormino announced that Oregon State University, which scheduled her to keynote at their Modern Sex conference in February, retracted their invitation because of concerns over her website & resume.
For those of you who don’t know Tristan’s work, she’s written and edited over two dozen books, spoken at more colleges than I can count (many of them Ivy League-caliber), and has produced an incredible body of articles for publications such as the Village Voice, where she worked as a columnist for years. She’s also…an adult film director & producer.
Now, I can’t see why they’d object to a published (and widely acclaimed) author speaking to college students – so my only guess is that, because she is involved in the adult industry, she’s been demoted to “not professional enough” to speak about sexual empowerment. Which is odd, because her work in her movies (and not just her Expert Guide series, but her Rough Sex & Chemistry series as well) promotes the values of ethical, healthy, self-directed sexuality – choice, consent, honesty, and of course, pleasure.
Mainstream culture has a hard enough time with basic sex education – we can’t even decide how we will tell our children and teenagers about sex, pregnancy, non-heterosexuality, and STI’s. It saddens me tremendously that our culture marginalizes sex-positive educators who actually know about the realities of sex in the 21st century, preferring instead anti-sex, anti-empowerment educators whose guidance starts and ends with “keep your legs shut until you’re married”.
Please read the press release on Tristan’s website, and if you’re so moved, send an email to the administrators listed there.
Edit: Other responses include one from Shanna Katz, another popular sex educator on college campuses around the US.
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 14, 2011 in Uncategorized
I’m finishing preparations for my new Strap-on play class, and as a part of my research I’ve been talking to a lot of people about harnesses, and getting creative about how they can be used. I’ve been a fan of two, in particular – The Sportsheets plus-size harness for it’s amazing size range, stability, and quick clean up, and the SpareParts Jocque harness, because it’s sturdy, comfortable, great for packing, and makes everyones ass look amazing. SpareParts has a few other harnesses that I wanted to check out, and so I test drove the Theo harness to see how it handled.
-Expected high quality from SpareParts – sturdy seams & attachments
-Washable fabric, so you can clean it easily. They recommend hand washing, but gentle cycle in a mesh bag may work for you. Do *not* put it in the dryer – just hang it up to dry.
-Comfortable fabric front with split rear panel keeps the toy base from being directly on the skin, yet allows for dual-pleasure toys like the Share and Feeldoe dildos to be used with it.
-Totally snap-adjustable thong means you can comfortably wear it high or low (there is an extra loop of snap strap that you can use if you need an extension – it’ll be attached to the hip strap when you get your own Theo).
-Amazing size range – my slender cismale partner and I (with my hippy body) could wear the same harness, and I had no binding around my curves. Bonus? The size B fits my size 16 hips with enough room to put an extra person INTO the harness with me, so I feel comfortable recommending it for people looking for a good fit in the larger size ranges.
-The loop that connects the pouch to the thong strap is a little iffy looking, and makes the bottom of the pouch bunch up a bit (which could be fun if it’s near your clit or perineum, but where I usually center my harness, it was a little bulky)
-Same as usual concern with the fabric covered ring – over larger silicone toys it can be a challenge to get in (though I saw a video showing how the user could cover the toy with a bit of plastic wrap or grocery bag, which allows it to be pushed through the ring easily & the bag pulled off for use – which is a cool new trick for me!).
-Not quite as stable for me as the Jocque for more vigorous play – I prefer having the lower “under-ass” straps for hard thrusting.
-Really wish it came in more colors – black and pink are nice, but damn I’d kill for this in green or camo!
This harness is going to become my go-to for play when I’m doing less vigorous thrusting or getting head. It comfortably rides both low and high, and will be great for packing when I feel a bit more femme. I likely won’t be packing with it when I’m wearing jeans, as the thong is less comfortable for me under the center seam of my Levis and I prefer the way I feel wearing the under-ass straps of the Jocque when I’m in jeans & boots. Overall? Based on the fabric thong-type harnesses on the market, this is the absolute best I’ve used.
If you’re shopping at Mid-Atlantic Leather’s vending area this weekend, I’m almost positive you’ll see this at a few of the vendors tables. Check it out, try it on, and see what you think!
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 8, 2011 in Uncategorized
My day improved immensely with the arrival of a package from the folks at Salacious Magazine, a brand spankin’ new glossy mag that makes everything I’ve seen since On Our Backs look tawdry. I was fortunate enough to have a few extra bucks and was able to donate towards their seed money fund on Kickstarter, and as a special thank you I got a piece of personally-drawn artwork by Katie Diamond, the magazines art director (which you can see peeking out from behind the magazine in the photo) along with a copy of the first issue.
What I love about this (and yes, I saw a pre-press .pdf of it, as did some other backers, as part of our thank you) is that it’s not queer as in “dyke”, or queer as in “gay boy”, or queer as in “butch/femme”, or queer as in “leathersex”. It’s queer as in “all of the above, thank you very much, and more please!”. Artwork, photography (I love the spread with Ludella Hahn & Lord Byron, by Titus), poetry, erotica, and even the advertising really are about diverse images and orientations; this isn’t your mother’s namby-pamby zine – its for hot fucking (both body and mind) and the energy that is created when lust meets authenticity.
Go to one of their launch parties. If you can’t, then order it. Seriously. Go now. This blog will still be here when you’re done. I don’t get anything from you buying it, by the way, but you’re certain to get a lot out of it. And make sure the lube is handy.
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 6, 2011 in Uncategorized
After posting yesterday’s blog entry about bullying & clique behavior, a dear friend sent me this email. She’s been active in various parts of the alternative sexuality communities, and has been very active as a volunteer and staff member for a number of groups & events. She’s also decided to use her own work skills to benefit the various communities, both in her previous job and with her current work studies. In other words – she’s the kind of person that the kink scene needs to be involved, for our own long-term growth and well being. And yet…
“Thank you for your blog today. Just this past month, I was a “victim” of bullying on FL. I sent a message to a frequent writer on FL asking for a friend request, and he posted my request on his blog, pointing out all the mistakes that I made and how I don’t deserve to be added as his friend. His clique of play partners immediately slammed everything about my message, and by the time it was all over, there were about 50 comments about how stupid I was for even suggesting that I deserved to be his FL friend. He didn’t post my name, but it was still really hard to read all of those nasty things.
I was so hurt by the whole thing that I stepped away from FL for a few weeks, and I contemplated whether I wanted to be in the kink scene anymore. I ended up reconceptualizing the situation as a humiliation scene, but it was still crappy.
Thanks for making me realize that I wasn’t wrong for sending a message; he was an asshole and a bully for acting like that.”
To the writer: thank you for allowing me to post this. You have always inspired me to think outside the box; you’ve helped me rethink concepts of consent and authenticity through conversations we’ve had (as well as through watching you play with your partner) and I’m very, very grateful you’re active in the community. And my offer still holds true to call this person on his behavior 🙂
Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jan 5, 2011 in Uncategorized
I’ve been waiting to post this for a few weeks – pretty much since I found out that my twitter friend & confidante AliceSinAerie had written an article on her dislike of the word “community” for Fearless Press.
What sparked it – as is often the case with my posts – was a conversation that she and I had about public behavior of people in the kink community. I watched one day as a group of people ganged up on someone who was exhibiting the much-bemoaned “clueless wanker” behavior on a social site – and not only bitched about their profile and their impressions of it, but also gave out the name so that their (over 1000, collectively) followers could join in on the bitching. And I felt…disgusted. Putting that kind of info out there in public, solely to engage in making fun of someone, made me feel ill.
Before I go any further – yes, I’ve done that before. I joined in on the criticism of a person (or people) because doing so made me feel clever, made me a part of the clique, and made me feel vindicated in my own current status as someone who has a better handle on the social aspects of group behavior. It’s standard behavior – every group in the pecking order needs someone else to peck on.
It’s also full blown bullying. I know – I’ve been on the other end of it. So have most everyone that’s reading this. If you’re kinky – you likely started off feeling (like I did) totally clueless and overwhelmed by the opportunities for exploring your fantasies (coupled with the mindlessness of hormonal overload). You may have done things that weren’t so awesome – like writing a profile on a personals site that screamed “please play with me!” in all the wrong ways, or taking a DomlyDom(tm) attitude because you believe that was what you, as a top-leaning person, were supposed to do. And you probably got the metaphorical equivalent of having your nose smacked or touching a hot burner on the stove – you realized that some things were not appropriate, based on societal rules, and you stopped doing them.
What bothers me the most is that folks that bitch the hardest about how the community isn’t open enough, or strong enough, are in many cases the same people that engage in the bullying. Part of clique behavior is that, once your place is established, you must protect it – and the clique – from change, so that your place is not jeopardized. Of course, part of belonging to a clique is that eventually it breaks down, often with negative attitudes from those not involved aimed towards the people in it that will take years to go away – if ever.
So – quit your bitching. Ask yourself if your words are helpful before putting them out into the general public (and folks, social media is as much the general public as your local munch group). If you see someone doing something that you feel is thoughtless or inappropriate, let them know (quietly, and with respect for their humanity). If you see someone engaging in self-sabotage, let it go (or let them know, if you’re close to them). If you see someone taking advantage of others, speak out. And if you feel bullied or left out in the cold by a clique – don’t worry. So are the rest of us. Even the people that appear to be in them.