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Posts Tagged ‘gender’

One of the questions Sarah asked me in my interview for Good Vibrations is why I don’t do forced fem anymore.

I gave a rather politic answer:

I find it deeply problematic that there is such a rash of men who want to be turned into women because being a woman is somehow humiliating, less-than, shameful. It’s one thing to want to experiment with gender; it’s another to do it in a way that implies that doing “girly” things makes you ridiculous, stupid, or unworthy. It bothers me, and always has. I don’t want to deny anyone their kinks, but I don’t have to participate in them.

I also note that you never hear about women being forced to be dressed up like men and then made fun of. Somehow being female or feminine has gotten linked up with being submissive, and so a lot of men think that the most submissive thing you can possibly do is put on a bra and panties and get fucked with a strap-on. I’m okay with that in some cases, but I want to do it in a loving way, not a shaming one. A man giving himself to me wholeheartedly is a beautiful thing, and I have no interest in making it ugly.

I know how powerful humiliation can be, and how many taboos there are in our culture that you can tap into if you want to make someone feel that way. Women in our culture get a lot less flack for dressing in men’s clothes than men get for dressing in women’s; thus the power of that taboo. But I personally don’t enjoy perpetuating or eroticizing that taboo. Besides, I’ve never been strongly into humiliation; I think it’s one of the more heavy-duty tools in the kink arsenal, and I reserve that kind of play for people I’m very close to.

Source: magazine.goodvibes.com (http://s.tt/131Fx)

I was looking around Bitchy’s site last night for some reason (I still refer to it a lot), and found the best explanation yet for why she thinks forced fem is completely fucked up. As usual, she has slightly stronger opinions than I have. /understatement.

But in this particular post, she really put her finger on it for me. Some commenters were apparently comparing forced fem to race play or other “edgy” play where, say, a black person enacts fantasies of being a slave, or a Jewish person enacts fantasies involving Nazis. And here’s where she nails it:

Who has the power outside the bedroom is relevant. Taking something that oppresses you in daily life and making it your sexual power source is a valid and often useful thing to do. And hot. Taking something you use to oppress other people and then making some parody of it to stroke off some ideas you have that wouldn’t it be dirty to be a slutty woman, ain’t the same thing.

I could just leave it at that and be happy, but I must add this:

And that’s not even getting started on forced fem’s prevalence in femdom enforcing shitty little ideas about femininity and submission being, like, what, fucking interchangeable, or something. Just stop. Really. If everything we do in femdom equates the ideas that femininity is what submission really is and dominance requires a cock and no emotional engagement, femdom will never stop being a joke, a sickness, a wrong, wrong thing. You can come and ask me why I don’t like gender bending if you like, but the reason I complain about this stuff is because femdom just can’t stay away from it. Like the dominant paradigm of cock wins over cunt is so seductive that we, who think we are so fucking subversive, can’t unthink that shit even as we enact the opposite.

My own opinions on gender-bending in general are quite different, of course; a post is brewing for me on what it’s like when I boy up and go to a party that way. But I definitely find Bitchy’s points on this very, very relevant.

Now go read the whole thing.

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Through Orlando’s Tumblr page, which is already hot enough to keep me distracted, I’ve stumbled across the Leathermen Tumblr page, which might be enough to destroy my productivity forever. Particularly distracting thus far are this image of a top wringing a washcloth (presumably full of his own sweat) over the bound and bruised body of his boy, who looks out at the camera with the most glorious expression of mingled humiliation and challenge; this prototypical image of a couple in an alley in full leathers, where the top’s expression is rough with power and pleasure and doesn’t seem to be for the camera; and this shot of a man in uniform, casually enjoying a cigarette while he rests his booted feet on a boy who’s worshipping his leathers.

What can I say, I’m an old fashioned kind of gal.

Still other images I love for their simplicity and beauty in what they evoke, like this one of a leather pantleg, hand, and boot on some stairs, or this sweet one of a Daddy cutting his boy’s hair.

If I haven’t mentioned it in this space before, I’m something of a leather slut. I’m not too excited by the kind of leather female dommes are expected to wear, though I’m happy to wear it because hey, leather. But the gay leather iconography gets me so hot it sometimes feels like I’m one of those fetishists I see from time to time whom I feel sorry for because they can never truly fulfill their fantasies: giantess fetishists, for example, or people into vore.

But from time to time I butch up and treat my girl nice, and from time to time I boy up and get kicked around by my Daddy a bit. And those are times when I feel my gender dissolve into something new and mythical and beautiful. It’s painful, too, though: I know the unreality of it, and I also embrace the femme side of me, and wouldn’t want to change. There’s something terribly poignant about this type of play, and something godlike to me about these images of men doing terrible, wonderful things to each other without shame or doubt.

One time, I got to go to Provincetown with my Daddy, and watch him get picked up, picked over and appraised by a number of men. We went cruising and drinking with these guys, hung out in front of Spiritus after closing, got shown the infamous “dick dock.” I felt like Goldilocks surrounded by all these warm and loving bears, and at the same time I felt like a squealing fangirl, a fag hag, the least interesting person in the room. Still, there was something freeing about it: I didn’t have to perform, only to admire. Only to wish I were one of them.

It was a night when I got to face down my high school demons at last, in a way I never expected. I was in love with a gay boy in high school, and I always thought it was because I wasn’t ready to have a real sexual relationship. My crushes on gay men continued through college – particularly when I didn’t know someone was gay. Later in college I dated a bi man, and would continue to stumble into queer space for a long time to come.

It’s only recently that I’ve come to recognize that fag haggery isn’t part of my sexuality: it’s more that I’m part gay boy. My attraction to gay men and leathermen isn’t entirely unrealizable: my own Daddy proves that, as do my interactions with other amazing bi men who see fit to draw me into their worlds. I’ll never be a real boy; I’m a bit like Pinocchio in all this. But I’m proud to be a part of what seems to be an ever-expanding definition of queer leather.

And still totally distracted by that Tumblr account.

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I saw The Slutcracker a couple of weeks back, for its second annual run. For those of you unfamiliar or reading from your RSS feeder at work (naughty, naughty; I love it), The Slutcracker is a burlesque version of the classic Nutcracker ballet; a filthy fantasia of dirty old grandmothers, vibrator princes, stripper queen fairies and Bacchanalian beauties.

Burlesque has seen a massive revival in the past ten or so years, and has been widely hailed as a celebration of sex-positivity and expressive sexuality on women’s terms. In its original days, burlesque was home to women of all shapes and sizes, and big girls were all the rage. These days, the nouveau-burlesque troupes are tooting that horn again: the women in this production are thin and flat chested, fat and curvy, athletic and supple, and everything in between. The big things they have in common are talent, and an enthusiastic engagement with the work they’re doing that you’ll rarely see on a stripper bar stage. One of my favorite moments was watching a bevy of women do a Busby Berkeley move, forming a circle facing outward and spinning. I could not believe the incredible variety of breasts that passed my eyes, all wearing identical pasties. Not to mention the massive, genuine smiles.

All this being said, I find myself somewhat discouraged by the burlesque revival as I’ve so far experienced it. I’ve not seen many shows, but the ones I’ve seen have a major thing in common that I find distressing, and yet which largely explains the revival’s mainstream success: male sexuality is still wildly underrepresented, and the female sexuality presented is largely for the benefit of the male gaze.

It must be difficult, I imagine, reviving an old form, comedic and sexy as it is, and changing too many of the rules. But I couldn’t help but notice that in The Slutcracker, the first year I saw it, the few men involved either kept all their clothes on, or, if they stripped at all, did so only to comedic effect. This year, there was a nice concession to those of us who might want to see something different: two tango couples emerged, then switched partners so that the men danced together and so did the women. This, to me, was the sexy highlight of the show this year: the two men were both masculine and beautiful, shirtless with pasties (fairness!), and their plain sexual tension in the dance was not played for comedy. (It is notable, however, that they also put a female dancing couple on the stage so that the straights wouldn’t be too put off.)

Every other moment involving a man, though, was: even the romantic Slutcracker Prince – essentially a life-size Rabbit Pearl vibrator in a tacky pink tuxedo, complete with ruffles – never got down to skivvies or did anything other than present Clara as the object of the gaze, just as in classical ballet. And the other men were basically buffoonish – if very funny – stereotypes of straight guys ogling the women.

Now, granted, these stereotypical characters are shown as insensitive, and only are rewarded in the end when they are able to open up to their women’s broadened sexuality. But as yummy as the huge pile of women of all sizes and shapes (with a few guys) at the orgiastic curtain-call was, it was still frustrating to see the same tropes play out as they have for centuries: women are for looking at, men are there to look. (Men who are there to be looked at, of course, are meant to be looked at by men.)

The few moments of queerness in burlesque that I’ve seen, other than the tango described above, have been disappointing: I was very put off when I watched an apparently butch/femme duo perform in a Boston showcase not long ago, and they both stripped down to identical femme underwear. Why not a jock for the butch, and bound breasts or pasties matching her butch attire? Or, why not flip the femme as well – have her strip to butch nethers? Something, please, other than defaulting them both to the endless burlesque finale of the frilly breast reveal.

I know that this is one of Maymay’s big hobbyhorses, and it’s one of mine, too: I want to see men’s bodies sexualized more. I want to see real queer sexuality, and I want to see the variants on straight sexuality, too. It’s rather unsurprising that the burlesque revival is so successful under these circumstances: for the most part, it’s entirely unthreatening to the status quo. It’s likely I’m showing my ignorance, though, of the larger picture: can anyone point me to burlesque that showcases more than heteronormative sexuality as a matter of course, or that showcases male artists without being directed specifically at gay men?

Do TraniWreck and All the King’s Men count as burlesque?

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“Now when I look at myself I feel like a woman,” says Ngozi, who says she has even experienced orgasms for the first time in her life. “It’s beautiful, I just love it, it feels like you’re melting. Before it irritated me when my husband tried to touch me, now I reach out to him.”

A doctor in Colorado is performing surgeries to restore sensation to women who have been genitally mutilated.

The doctor is herself a transgender woman, and learned the technique from a doctor in France (Genital reconstruction surgery is fully covered by insurance there: why don’t I live in France, again? ) who regularly receives death threats from radical Islamist groups for his work in this area and his other efforts to reduce violence against women.

I’ve always been despondent about the issue of female circumcision, as I am someone who is devoted to a life of pleasure and can’t imagine how awful it must be to have your sexuality violently stolen from you forever. I didn’t think there was any recourse once this was done to a woman. Now, with a combination of labiaplasty (if needed) and exposing the deeper parts of the clitoris, women are having sensation and a sense of normalcy restored.

Dr. Bowers does the surgery free of charge. Today, I’m inspired to do more for the cause of female pleasure and health.

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Someone just friended me on Facebook whom I haven’t seen in a while: an adorable, pigtailed, somewhat gender-queer boy I’ll call Paul. Paul is younger than I am, very smart, but generally demure around me in a way that drives me crazy. In that good way.

Looking at his picture, I’m reminded of a certain party I attended – not even a play party, but attended by many a freak – where, under the influence of several lovely cocktails, I spent some time with him kneeling at my feet while I pulled his hair. The sounds he made were absolutely delicious.

Dominance is a bit like Spanish for me: I do it better when my inhibitions are down. This isn’t to say that I generally play when I’m drunk; I hardly ever do, in fact, and I know that the party line says it’s a Bad Idea. It is to say, however, that at actual play parties, where drink isn’t allowed, I’m likely to spend a lot more time subbing. You’d think that someone who was a professional for four years would be better at asserting sexual dominance when the opportunity presented itself, but it turns out not so much. It’s a lot easier to be and do that without self-doubt when there’s someone paying you – it’s a fairly clear indicator that they want what you’ve got on offer.

Now and then I wish I had a sweet boy like that to play with from time to time. His relationship status says “It’s complicated.” A promising sign?

I’m often amused by how predictable my desires are. On the one hand, I’m a polyamorous switchy bisexual: it could be said that I don’t even have a type. But it turns out I have several, and what’s entertaining and occasionally distressing to me is how subversively heteronormative they are.

Bet you haven’t seen those two words next to each other very often.

What I mean is this. I am fairly femmy in appearance – very femmy, in fact, aside from the fact that I’m six feet tall and have a large frame. I like to be dominated by men who are manly: handsome, square-jawed men who look terrible in drag. I like commanding voices, sharp words, and cock.

I like, also, to be dominated by women who are manly: butch, short-haired women and bois in suits and ties who grab and take and twist and initiate. I like commanding voices, sharp words, and cock.

I like to dominate women who are more femme than I am. Girls in frilly dresses, with long hair to tangle my hands in and full breasts for me to alternately suck on and slap around, women who let their heads loll back and close their eyes as they part their lips. Makeup to mess up. Little intakes of breath and noises of pleasure. They bring out my butch, and I like to wear leather and strap on my silicone with them.

And I like to dominate men who are a little femmy, too. Not the humiliated sissy slut; as I’ve mentioned before, the kink of self-loathing is not my thing. But boys who look androgynous and sweet in skirts. Boys who can pull off pigtails, but still look like boys. Boys who blush and cast their eyes down when I flirt with them, and who turn to butter when I pull their heads back by the hair. Boys who start out demure but scream and buck and beg when they’re being fucked in the ass.

Growl. Now I’ve distracted myself.

But seriously. It almost bothers me. I’m queer in so many ways, and yet in my sex I continually enact the traditional binary in non-traditional ways.

What do you notice about the ways your sexuality recapitulates, or doesn’t, the expected norms?
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So it may come as a surprise to no one that now that I’ve quit the pro-domming business, I’ve been having wicked fantasies about doing terrible, terrible things to lovely boys and men. I mean, it’s like the old joke about the gynecologist, right?

Well, sort of. See, I’ve had a thing about Not Doing Strap-On Sex At Work for the entirety of my tenure as a pro. It was just something I didn’t do. Now, part of the reason I didn’t do it was because it crosses the line into sex: in the state of Massachusetts, if you penetrate an orifice with anything, it’s defined as sex. Good law, for a lot of reasons: it was developed in order to make rape cases where some Neanderthal fucks stuck a shot glass into a woman prosecutable. But problematic law for people doing domination, where one of the most popular items on the menu is being fucked in the ass with a dildo.

For the most part, though, the legal thing was more of an excuse for me not to have to address the real issue, which was that doing strap-on sex was too intimate for me. It was one of the boundaries I set for myself early on, because I didn’t want to be having sex with my clients. I was aware that the other things I was doing were sexual, but I didn’t realize until later the subtle effects that it would have on me. I was prescient enough to know, however, that having strap-on sex with clients would be too much for me.

Why, you might ask? Well, here’s where I break from the crowd completely. I fully appreciate Bitchy’s complaint that strap-ons are not only weird because they imply that power and sexual dominance = having a cock (which I agree is a crock of shit), but that they don’t provide any pleasure to the wielder. I also am pleased with Eileen’s reply wherein she sings the praises of strap-ons as separate from gender identity and recommends them as a tool of dominance comparable to a singletail, a needle, or a fist. But nobody I’ve yet stumbled across (except for, perhaps, Sinclair, but the butch perspective there isn’t one that gets a lot of play in BDSM circles) has gone into anything resembling my own experience of the act.

That is, I fucking love it and it makes me come, in a way that nothing else can.

Because get this: I have a cock. I always have a cock, whether I’m strapping one on or not. It’s non-corporeal, of course, but it’s part of, if you will, my energetic anatomy. Without getting too deeply into spiritual experience, it is a simple fact that at times, I can feel myself penetrating another human being, even when I am not physically doing so. And yes, they feel it too – the force of my will and intention pressing into their bodies, invading them.

For me, the energetics of topping someone will sometimes bring out the hidden masculine in me. I suppose if I wanted to be all Jungian about it, I’d call it my animus. I become more aggressive, my voice deepens, and the desire to possess rips through me. When I strap on a cock, it becomes a very real extension of my body, and when I fuck with it, I don’t want a vibrator inside the harness or anything penetrating me – I just want to fuck. It’s usually not too long into the action that I start to come and come, in a way that even feels distinctly masculine: unlike the internally focused waves that thrash through me when, say, I’m being fisted, I feel energy shooting out from me, into the other person, as white lightning shoots up my spine.

Now. I’ve been reluctant to talk about this, in part because it seems a bit woo-woo, but also in part because I don’t want to give the impression that I think dominance is essentially male, or that penetration is essentially dominant, or any of those bugaboos that come up when we talk about female dominance and try to separate it from gender.

But I do want to record my experience here, because I don’t see a lot of women out there talking about how intensely pleasurable strap-on sex can be for the woman wielding. I also know that my experience is not every woman’s experience – far from it.

But I am out here, feeling this, experiencing this genuinely as part of my rather complex sexuality. For the record, I also often come sympathetically when fisting someone. But this experience is entirely different, separate. It is, at least in part, about awakening my masculine self, my butch self, which is buried deep in a seriously femme facade.

And this is why I didn’t do it at work. I couldn’t fuck men I didn’t know any more than I could let them fuck me. And there weren’t many men (not any, by my last count) that wanted me to fuck them while I wore jeans and a leather vest and boots.

But incidentally…if you are such a man, comment here. I’ve been having the most remarkable fantasies lately…

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WTF of the day

So, I’m looking for places to post news of my clips going up (like ya do), and my videographer points me to Mistress Destiny’s Femdom forums.

I’m reading along in the rules of the forum, which all seem relatively reasonable, until I come across this little gem:

Do not dispute the sex of another member on an open Forum. If you are transgendered you are expected to ensure that the membership knows this [emphasis mine]. If you believe a member is misrepresenting his or her sex then bring it to the attention of a moderator in a private message or e-mail.

Wait, what? So, we all know that 47-year-old guys who live in their mother’s basements along with a stockpile of weapons go around on the Internet all the time pretending to be nubile 18-year-old girls. I can understand where this might be a problem if folks on the forums are trying to get together with members of their preferred gender group, and I admire the moderator for suggesting that such disputes be handled privately outside of the boards. I’m sure there’s some great story for why this rule became necessary, though it still irks me in some weird way.

But did I just read that right that transgendered people are expected to disclose their transgenderedness to the members of the forums? What kind of damnfool asshattery is that supposed to be? So, your gender identity is protected from public discussion/dispute so long as you are a cisgendered male or female, but if not you’re expected to tell everyone about it up front?

Um. Okay, this is supposed to be a community about alternative sexuality, yes? Specifically femdom? Right. So…maybe you could be just a tad bit more open-minded than that? And maybe, oh, I don’t know, stop discriminating against people who are a vital part of your community?? You of all people should know that gender is a sticky subject at best, and while I understand your desire to keep the subject of the boards mainly in a femdom context (i.e., no posting male dom videos or whathaveyou), what reason do you have for “expecting” that any of your membership reveal his, her, zir or hir gender to anyone?

I don’t think I’ll be spending much time over there. Or at the least, I’ll be writing an angry letter to the moderator.

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