Posts Tagged ‘sex blogs’

Interviews about Sex 2.0

May 15, 2008

These interviews were conducted by me as part of an upcoming Huffing Post piece (will post link when I have it) about Sex 2.0:

Name: Amber Rhea
Title: Organizer, Sex 2.0

Why did you decide to organize Sex 2.0 and how did the event match up to your expectations?

Honestly, Sex 2.0 was borne out of frustration. I had been going to a bunch of social media unconferences, and there was always this persistent discussion about how to present oneself online. People – especially women – were very concerned with presenting a “professional image” of themselves and not doing anything to tarnish that image. Whenever they would give an example of what it means to be unprofessional, without fail it would be something sexual… for example, “…so I’m not going to go around posting nude photos online!” And everyone would laugh, because of course we all understand that being openly sexual online (especially as a woman!) it totally unprofessional.

I would push back on this assumption, and I always felt like the lone voice of reason in the crowd. I wanted people to question why being openly sexual is seen as unprofessional. I wanted the woman who declared, “If you work nights as a stripper, you deserve to get fired from your day job!” to examine where that idea comes from. But instead everyone would, basically, try to shame me into silence, and eventually I’d shut up, because it was too much to deal with.

So I wanted to have a conference geared toward people who have gotten past that very 101-level stuff, and who understand that “sexual” and “professional” are not mutually exclusive (especially if your profession is sex!). Women in particular are doing some really amazing things online in the realm of sexuality, and I wanted to highlight and explore those things.

Did the event accomplish this? Definitely so! It exceeded my expectations, and I think this was due to the energy and enthusiasm the participants brought with them.

What was your favorite part of the event?

It’s really difficult to pick a favorite part, but if I’m forced, I’ll say that my favorite part of the conference itself was Elizabeth Wood’s session, “Creating the Sex Commons: Sex Blogging as a Feminist Project.” There was some really great exploration of a variety of issues in that session.

My favorite part of the entire weekend was, without a doubt, Ellie Twittering while onstage during a somewhat sketchy “boob contest” at the Flesh and Fetish Ball. And with all of us sex nerds cheering her on, she won by a landslide!

I liked that there was a mix of people across professions, orientations, levels of outness, etc. What were you trying to achieve by bringing this group together? What can people who were there (or wanted to be there) do now to foster that sense of community both where they live and online?

I wanted to show that no matter what our various differences are in background, profession, age, race, gender, sexual expression, etc., one thing that we share in common is an interest in advancing the cultural dialogue about sexuality. I think it’s safe to say that no one at Sex 2.0 felt that people should be shamed (or fired!) for how they experience their sexuality.

How do you see the “sexual community” where you live vs. the community you’ve found online? What do online communities offer that offline ones don’t regarding sexual openness?

It’s not always a simple matter of delineating “online” and “offline” community; the beauty of social media is that those barriers are breaking down. My online community is my offline community. Maybe not all the time, when things like geographic distance comes into play; but all these people who knew of each other thanks to the internet came together at Sex 2.0 and had a really kick-ass time in Atlanta.

But speaking of geographic barriers, online community can fill the gaps when people aren’t able to get together IRL. If you live in an isolated area, you might feel pretty cut off from others who share your sexual interests; but with access to the internet, suddenly you’re not so alone anymore.

Also, online, people may feel more comfortable talking about things that are painful or embarrassing for them to discuss face-to-face. This is a useful facet of online community regardless of what one’s offline community looks like.

Is there any post-Sex 2.0 organizing going on?

Elizabeth Wood has created an online forum at Sex in the Public Square to continue the discussion begun in her session. And several people have been inspired to start new blogs, join Twitter, or get involved in others ways with social media.

Are there plans for another one?

Yes! Even before this one had ended, people were already brainstorming about next year. The idea is to move it to a different city every year, and have different organizers to put their own spin on it. Locations proposed so far for next year are Washington, DC and Burlington, Vermont.

Anything else to add?

I am blown away by the positive response to Sex 2.0. I’m still kind of in that post-orgasmic bliss stage! The only complaints I heard about the conference were that there were too many awesome sessions going on at once. So, next year, we’ll make it two days!

Name: Viviane, librarian
URL: www.thesexcarnival.com

You host teas in New York for what you lovingly call the “perverts” amongst us. Why was it important to you to foster this sense of community, largely bringing online personalities together in real life?

Why did I start this? Because there’s so much nuance that’s missing if you only engage with a person online. I started my blog in May 2005. By early 2006, thanks to what I was contributing to the Fleshbot Sex Blog Roundup, I knew there were a lot of bloggers in NY, was curious about who they were, what they were like in real life. With a blog, you only see what the author wants you to see. At the first gathering, we were all pretty nervous – it was a big risk. I remember scouring my living room and hiding everything with my real name on it! We may be sexual outlaws, but it’s important to know we’re not alone.

Also, when I travel, I make it a point to try and meet the bloggers I’m in touch with or read online.

What is the relationship between the online and offline sexual communities you’re part of?

There’s lots of cross pollination. Being a part of the online communities led me to check out what was available in NY. For me, the catalyst was going to Dark Odyssey in 2006 (with Jefferson, Selina Fire, and Marcus), where I met Lolita Wolf, who’s a NY based BDSM educator. Through her, I started reading her Livejournal, joined The Eulenspigel Society (TES.org) and Lesbian Sex Mafia. And the Pleasure Salon, created and hosted by Mark and Patricial Michaels (www.tantrapm.com) and Selina Fire. I was just at Dark Odyssey Winter Fire and there were a number of sex blogger who I’d convinced to attend – including you.

How did Sex 2.0 fit into this vision of sexual community?

I didn’t know what to expect. This conference was a year in the planning and Amber Rhea had invited me to give this talk when we met at BlogHer in Chicago last year. Many of the sessions I attended were about activism and learning how to represent yourself online. Turns out my talk was one of the few nuts and bolts sessions and was the last session of the day. The vision and energy are there, but people need help understanding how to use the tools to get them on there and how to protect themselves online.

Speaking of tools, many of us were on Twitter, before and during Sex 2.0. I used Twitter to ask questions of my following me when I was updating my presentation, to learn more about my co-presenters, to follow everyone during the day and to coordinate when we were traveling somewhere.

What would you want to see at the next Sex 2.0?

I wanted to go to all of the sessions – perhaps scheduling less sessions in each slot, for longer time periods. And if the wireless is as good as it was at 1763, we could do more hands-on tech sessions, similar to what you do in your erotic writing workshop.

Name: Twanna A. Hines
Title: writer | editor | blogger | sexpot

Why did you attend Sex 2.0 and what did you get out of it?

I attended Sex 2.0 because I was giving a presentation titled “A Brief History of Sex.” I blog FUNKYBROWNCHICK.com, and I have an online column over at Nerve magazine. I also write freelance articles about sex, dating and relationships. So, I wanted to meet other people who were penning and keystroking pieces on the same theme. Of course, I already knew you and some of the other New Yorkers such as Elizabeth from “Sex in the Public Square” and Viviane from “The Sex Carnival.” I had yet to meet Valleywag’s Melissa Gira Grant, Wired.com’s Regina Lynn and others.

What would you like to see at a future event?

I’d like to see even more people of color and additional folks who self-identify as “vanilla” sex lovers, that is, people who practice so-called boring sex. From sodomy laws that are still on the books to discrimination against our LBGTQ friends and laws governing reproductive rights, this stuff effects all of us. Every sexually active person — regardless of kink, or relative lack thereof — could benefit from further discussion about the politics, laws and social dynamics of sex.

Do you feel you’re part of a “sexual community,” online and off?

I’m definitely a sexually active, heterosexual single woman. If we define the term community as a group of people sharing a collective social environment, yes, I think we’re all part of the sexual community. I’m not a fan of segmenting public discussion. For example, I’ve never believed conversations about race should be limited to people of color — nor, for that matter, should women be the only folks talking about sexism or feminist ideas. Likewise, why should sex positive discussions be restricted to our lovely perverts?

Sugasm 111

December 26, 2007

More Sugasm for you

Julie Ordon courtesy of TGP.

The best of this week’s blogs by the bloggers who blog them. Highlighting the top 3 posts as chosen by Sugasm participants. Want in Sugasm #112? Submit a link to your best post of the week using this form. Participants, repost the link list within a week and you’re all set.

This Week’s Picks
Fighting The Dominatrix Stereotype
“She wanted a man for a boyfriend, not a doormat.”

From afar
“Say my name, over and over.”

Steely Dan*
“My body is flexed, and held in place, and the onslaught is relentless.”

Mr. Sugasm Himself
Pic(k) of the Day

Editor’s Choice
A Brief History of (My) Fucking

More Sugasm
Join the Sugasm

See also: Fleshbot’s Sex Blog Roundup each Tuesday and Friday.

(Sugasm participants should re-post all the links above within a week. The following links may be excluded as long as you include all the above links.)

Erotic Writing and Experiences
Catalina loves the Best of Catalinaloves.com
Dirty
Dirty (A Fantasy)
Dream…?
Following dreams part 2
In-Car Entertainment – EastEnders vs Cake
Kitty
“Life is a bowl full of cherries”
Lines In The Sand
Lunch Date
Raw Pussy
A safe-harbor fuck for the holidays
Skin on Skin
Tingle Belle
“We”….(the final Part)

NSFW Pics & Videos
Cock Size
Defiance
Do whatever you want, but…
Happy Holidays From HotMovies
Julie Ordon

Sex News, Reviews & Interviews
Fuckingmachines.com
Headshot – Blue Artichoke Films
Interview with Jill Eisenstadt about wedding night sex
Sex Toy Review: Hitachi Magic Wand
Slave Bells Ring, Are You Listening? XXX-Mas Looms.

BDSM & Fetish
Bad Girl II
Blood Red Saturday Night
Control and Letting Go – The Wife
Long Distance Scenes
My Delicious Fetish

Sex Work
Sex Worker Solidarity: Dallas From Babeland

Thoughts on Sex and Relationships
All About “Squirting” (Female Ejaculation)
Good Sex Hunting
Lists
One year on
Three Christmas Wishes
Was she turned on?
Yikes, Groupies!

Sex Advice
How to Give a Tantric Lingam Massage

Interview with Greta Christina about hiring a professional submissive

December 13, 2007

Greta Christina‘s wonderful essay “Buying Obedience: My Visit to a Pro Submissive,” originally published in Other magazine, closes out Best Sex Writing 2008. Here I interview about her experience hiring a pro sub, writing about it, and how that affected her sex life and fantasies subsequently.

Greta Christina has been writing professionally since 1989. She is currently editing the annual Best Erotic Comics series, the first volume of which comes out shortly. She is editor of the anthology Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients, and author of the erotic novella Bending, which appeared in the three-novella collection Three Kinds of Asking For It edited by Susie Bright. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, including Ms., Penthouse, the Skeptical Inquirer, and two volumes of the Best American Erotica series. She blogs at http://gretachristina.typepad.com/

When you visited the professional submissive, was it with the purpose of writing about it, or did that come later? How long afterwards did you write
the essay and did your thoughts about the experience change as you wrote it?

I definitely visited Rachel with the intention of writing about it. It’s how I justified the expense to myself, actually. I’m a freelance writer, I’m not exactly raking in the big bucks, and I’m not generally in a position to drop $300 on a one-hour luxury splurge. But as a professional expense…that’s a different story.

I started writing about it almost immediately afterwards. In fact, much of the essay talks about my planning and thought processes before visiting Rachel — and I started writing that before I even saw her.

Writing about the experience didn’t change my thoughts about it, exactly. But it did clarify them. And more importantly, I’m not sure I would have had the experience at all if I hadn’t planned to write about it. I don’t think I could have justified the expense; but I also don’t know if I would have had the nerve to go through with it. If it had just been for my own pleasure and curiosity, I might have chickened out.

You write, “Touching the naked skin of someone whom I’d paid for the pleasure, squeezing her flesh while my clit throbbed and then squeezing it harder to make my clit throb again…that is what made me feel like I’d done something I couldn’t take back, become somebody I couldn’t change. It was unnerving — but it was also exciting, in the way that adventure is always exciting.” Why do you think it was this act of touching her, versus booking the appointment and going there, that was so powerful?

Touching her was the moment I became a person who had paid for sex.

That’s a big taboo. That’s a big cherry to pop. Until I actually touched her, I could have backed out, said, “Forget it, I changed my mind, keep the $300″… and still thought of myself as a person who had never paid for sex. Touching her was the moment that, in my mind, I became a sex work customer.

You write that “being sexually selfish turned out to be much harder than I’d anticipated.” I know you talk about it in the essay, but can you explain a bit about why that is? Do you think it’s easier for men vs. women to be “sexually selfish” (whether in a paid setting or not)?

Whether it’s by my nature or my nurture or both, I’m a person who is very concerned about other people and my affect on them. The positive side of that is that I’m compassionate and ethical and socially responsible; the down side is that I can be very anxious and self-conscious about whether people like me, to the point where it’s hard to just relax and be myself.

And sexually, a lot of what I get off on is my partner’s pleasure. So even though I was paying Rachel, in part, so I could just do what I wanted (within her limits, of course) and not worry about what she was getting out of it, paradoxically a lot of what I selfishly wanted was her pleasure.

I don’t know if it’s easier for men to be sexually selfish. I know that’s
the stereotype…but I don’t know if it’s really true. I do know that sex work customers are overwhelmingly male, so maybe that’s an argument for men being more sexually selfish, more willing to have sex with someone who’s primarily getting money out of it and not necessarily sexual pleasure.

But on the other hand, it’s very common for sex work customers to become very attached to their sex workers. Many customers want their workers to think of them as special, and many even fall in love with them. And almost any sex worker will tell you that a lot of what they give their customers — whether honestly or faked — is affection and reassurance. “I really like you, I really like doing it with you, you’re my favorite customer,” etc. Even the most jaded sex workers fake pleasure and orgasm as part of their job. None of that would be true if men were completely selfish.

You write in the essay about worrying about whether Rachel’s (the pro sub) reactions are real or faked, but then say that you’re not sure you’d ever spanked someone as hard as you’d wanted before. Was there a point where you stopped worrying about what her “real” feelings were and simply trusted her (and yourself), or was this thought still in the back of your mind?

I’m a good, safe top — and I think if you’re a good, safe top, the bottom’s feelings are always in the back of your mind. So it’s not like I let go of any concern I had for her and just became vicious.

I think what happened was this: When I’m spanking a lover or a fuckbuddy,
I don’t just care about whether I’m spanking them harder than they can take. I care about whether I’m spanking them harder than they like. (This is actually one of my weaknesses as a top: I tend to pull my punches, it’s hard for me to push people to take more than they think they really want. See above re: wanting people to like me.)

When I was spanking Rachel, it finally occurred to me that it was okay for me to spank her harder than she might have actually liked or gotten off on…as long as I respected her limits and stopped if she safeworded. That’s what I was paying for. Because she was a pro, I knew that (a) she’d have no hesitation about stopping me if she had to, and (b) she’d almost certainly taken harder spankings than I was giving her. I think I just decided to trust her professionalism.

You say that “[n]one of this weirdness or anxiety had anything to do with Rachel. Rachel was great. She knew her stuff, and she responded beautifully to my orders, and she was lovely to look at and luscious to fondle and spank.” Based on your experience as a client, what qualities would you say make for a good professional submissive?

She was very clear about her limits. In our negotiations ahead of time, she was very clear about what was and wasn’t okay. And because she was so upfront about what was off-limits, that made me feel more confident and safe about doing the things she’d said were okay. That was important — probably more important than anything else.

She was very obedient. She did what I asked her, without hesitation. That was what I wanted; I’m not into brattiness or disobedience. I get off on the feeling of power I get from telling someone to do something — something sexual — and having them do it. That’s what I was paying for, why I hired a submissive instead of another kind of sex worker: the feeling of pulling the strings. And she did it beautifully.

She was very responsive. Especially when she was getting spanked. It’s certainly possible that she was faking it, of course. But when we were negotiating, she made a point of saying — several times over — that it was okay to spank her. She talked about spanking a lot. I don’t think she was faking how much she liked it. And regardless of whether she was getting off on any particular thing I was doing, it seemed as if submission in general was a genuine pleasure for her. I think that’s a big difference between pro subs and other kinds of sex workers; very few people go into submission professionally if they aren’t into it personally. In any case, if she was faking, she did a bang-up job.

And she was hot. She was pretty, and she had a nice body — voluptuous, not too skinny, very much my type — and a nice ass, round and fun to spank. That sounds shallow, I know. But physical chemistry is important, especially when you don’t have time to get to know someone.

What kinds of reactions did you get to the piece? Did they differ markedly amongst sex workers and non-sex workers?

I can’t really answer this question. The piece didn’t get very wide circulation, and I didn’t get any response to it at all. It’ll probably get more widely read in this book than in the original magazine.

How do you feel about the essay when you reread it now? Have you gone for any more pro sub sessions?

I love the essay. I think it’s one of the better and more interesting things I’ve written, and it’s on a topic that doesn’t get much attention. A lot has been written about sex work, but very little has been written from the customer’s point of view. And very little has been written about pro submission.

Plus I think the essay is just hot. Re-reading it now reminds me of what a strange experience this was…but also of how erotic it was.

I haven’t gone back for more pro sub sessions. But the only reason for that is money. If I could afford it, I’d definitely do it again. Especially because so much of that first time was about it being the first time: getting over my nerves, figuring out the lay of the land, etc. I’d love to go back and have the experience just for the experience, without all the first-time jitters.

And I’d love to try other kinds of sex workers, too. I’ve been feeling very bottomy lately, and I’m curious about what hiring a pro dominant would be like. I’m sure there would be a whole other set of interesting, weird paradoxes. How do you feel subservient and helpless when you’re paying someone to make you feel that way? I’d love to find out.

You start off the essay talking about how you’ve fantasized about visiting a professional submissive, and end it by saying you still fantasize about it. How did the reality differ from your previous fantasies, and why do you think you had/have such intense fantasies about this, as opposed to topping someone where money isn’t involved?

The reality differed from my fantasies in the same way SM reality always
differs from my SM fantasies. In my SM fantasies — my toppy ones, anyway
— I’m cruel, I’m selfish, I take pleasure in another person’s suffering, I have power over another person which I unscrupulously abuse, etc. In reality, I’m a nice, thoughtful person who cares about other people. So the reality of SM play isn’t that I get to be the cruel, selfish, power-hungry control freak. The reality is that I’m the nice, thoughtful person, letting my inner sadistic control freak out to play for a while — on a very short leash.

And that was true with Rachel as much as with anyone else. The only difference was in my expectations. Before the session, I’d somehow imagined that, because I was paying for it, I’d feel more comfortable letting my inner selfish sadist out on a longer leash. That was somewhat true…but it wasn’t nearly as true as I’d thought it would be.

Why do I have intense fantasies about paying for submission? I think it does have to do with the fantasy of getting to be selfish, getting to pull the strings and have my way. It feeds into my “molesting the servant girl” fantasies very nicely.

More realistically, it’s a way to make the scene be about what I want, about my fantasies and desires — not the overlap between my fantasies and another person’s. It’s like therapy. When I’m in therapy, I’m paying, at least partly, so I don’t have to stop and ask, “So enough about me – how are you doing?” That’s a big part of what makes paying for sex appealing: as long as I respect the worker’s limits, I can make the session be about what I want. I know now that that’s less true — and more complicated — than I’d originally imagined…but there’s still a truth to it, and
there’s still an appeal.

Of course I also love to play in the overlapping areas between my fantasies and another person’s. That’s what I like to do most of the time, in fact — just like most of the time I like to have back-and-forth conversations that aren’t only about me. And I do have fantasies about topping people without paying them. It’s not like this is my one obsession. It’s just one thread in a whole perverted tapestry.

Did the experience of visiting a professional submissive affect the rest of your sex life in any way?

Not really. It changed my fantasy life a little — my fantasies of hiring a pro sub are more based in reality now, they’re more an imagining of what the experience might really be like instead of a pure fantastical fantasy. But it didn’t really affect my real-life sex life.

What are you working on now?

My new anthology, Best Erotic Comics 2008, is about to be published — it should hit the stores in January. I’m extremely excited about it; we just got the advance copies, and it came out beautifully. It’s exactly what I’d imagined and hoped for: it’s artistically solid, wildly varied, and very, very dirty indeed.

And I’m blogging up a storm. I do a lot of sex blogging, but I’ve also gotten deeply involved in the atheist blogosphere, and am focusing a huge amount of my time and energy on that. My blog where I’m doing some of my best writing, I think. http://gretachristina.typepad.com/ – Come check it out!