Jan 022014

girl-with-suitcase-2I’m a clothes whore, take more than I need and rarely travel with less than six pairs of shoes. But I make it all fit. More importantly, I pack with a specific purpose and it isn’t getting it all in the bag. My purpose? Reduce stress and primping time. Here’s how I do it.

1. Document!
No more will I show up without an outfit for the Fetish Ball or Little’s Playtime because I didn’t prepare! No more will I forget the neon blue collar to go with my neon blue shoes.

I start with a list; plot out the days, including travel days; plot out what’s going on: vanilla plans, mini-events, play dates, etc.; plot out the outfits. I usually end up with three outfits per day, including gym clothes, something to wear to breakfast and so on.

Then I get to the fun stuff….

2. Start with one key outfit
I start with my outfit for the main event and build from there. Using the same pieces to make different outfits with different feels makes me ecstatic, reduces luggage and increases outfit changes.

My first instinct is to stick to two or three pairs of shoes and build around them. However, switching up your footwear keeps your feet fresh, in heels longer, and in less pain. If pressed, I always opt for the extra pair of shoes and leave out something else.

I find that it’s easier (and space efficient) to start with a basic bottom (skirt, leathers, etc) and add tops and accessories. Accessories take up less space than bottoms and the plaid skirt that rocked your punk outfit on Friday, will work with your school girl uniform Sunday afternoon. Don’t forget the Woolite and stain stick to do laundry in the sink.

3. Try it on
I don’t know how many times I’ve thrown my tried-and-true dress in my carry-on and headed off for a weekend frolic, only to find that that it suddenly didn’t fit, or – even though I’ve loved that sparkly skull appliqué for the past six months – I discover that I’m so ready to move on.

Trying it on also helps you put together the right accessories to make your outfit standout from every other person in black leather. Instead of, “Have you seen my friend in black?” your friends will say, “Have you seen my friend with the amazing feather collar?”

4. Wrap it up
The most useful, stress reducing, utterly amazing thing that I’ve discovered while packing for an event is to pack each outfit individually: from the panties, the earrings, even the cotton balls that I stick in the boots that fit a little funny. Extra-Large ZipLocks or disposable hang-bags work great. Then, label accordingly: school girl, traveling home, dinner with vanilla friends, etc.

It can get tricky is if you use the same piece for multiple outfits. What works best for me is to label the bag with where I can find the missing item: “gloves for this outfit are with school girl outfit” or “borrow pink hat from Gwendollyn for this outfit”. Too much? I can’t count how many times I’m taking off an outfit at the end of the day and realize, “grrrr…. I wanted to rock my new fake lashes with this outfit!”

Another option is to package outfits that share pieces together, remembering that after you wear your maid’s outfit, that the pertinent pieces need to make it back into the bag to make their encore with the steam punk outfit tomorrow.

5. Learn from your mistakes
I document, build from a key outfit, try it on and wrap it up. But, it never fails. I always have something to learn; some way to make my next experience less stressful and more fashion-tastic!! The key to learning from my mistakes? Write it down before I forget! Next month I pack all over again.

Originally posted September 1, 2010

Your Word is Your Bondage

 Posted by on December 31, 2013
Dec 312013

rope-heart-small-5176334If it’s happened once it’s happened a thousand times: You meet someone you think you might like so you make plans, or at least make plans to communicate again, only to have them fall off the face of the planet. The more bright-eyed & hopeful you were about getting to know the person, the worse the disappointment. Even if you do eventually encounter them again the magic of those first moments is gone. The momentum of what could have been great has fallen flat & your spirits with it.

Let me ask you though, just between you & me, have you ever been on the other side? The moment came for that phone call, e-mail or meet up you agreed to and for whatever reason you thought “meh” and didn’t follow through. Maybe you weren’t that into the person, you got cold feet, something important came up in your life or you were just plain old having a bad day. It didn’t impact you much in the long run, but it may have meant a whole lot more to the other person or people. No one likes to feel dismissed as unimportant, and if compounded by multiple occurrences it can really undermine a person’s self-image and emotional well-being.

The truth is that be we some sort of Toppish Domleh or otherwise, we can’t control what other people do. Sure, over time they may grant their consent & you can literally walk all over them, but until then we’re all vulnerable to some equal-opportunity disappointment.

What you can control is what you do. In the social strata of the kink world where we don’t have credit or background checks by scene name available reputation is all you have. What others may do or say in an attempt to disparage you is a topic for another column, but for the most part, your reputation is of your own making. When you give your word to do something – do it. Do what you agree to do when you agree to do it. If you can’t for any reason – be it physical or emotional – show the strength of your character by letting the other party know you can’t come through as soon as you know.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet many people who have impressed me since I have been in the scene (& many who have not.) Of course there were those who impress with their credentials, but that’s actually far less important to me than the content of a person’s character. Sounds strange to say but the best impression a person has made on me so far was when someone told me “no” rather than blowing off a play date.

While attending a BDSM event a couple of years ago I agreed to a scene between my boy & another person that the boy knew well but I did not. There was much excitement & planning of the scene as the play date approached. A couple of hours before the party the person pulled me aside. She said that she was very sorry but she had changed her mind and no longer wanted to keep the date. She told me her personal reason for her decision. I was disappointed and I knew that the boy would be too, but damn, I wanted to kiss her on the face. That conversation, even though it was bad news, made a very positive impression on me. I would have no reservations if she wanted to play with a partner of mine again. If asked by a peer for my impression of this person I would gladly extol her communication skills. (Yes, people do actually ask around about potential partners, play dates & clients – give us something good to say about you!)

No matter what your orientation, your word is your bondage. Giving your word and keeping it is the cornerstone of your reputation as a trust-worthy person. Trust is critical to any interpersonal relationship. With many activities in WIITWD, where you place trust is a matter of personal safety. Earn it well & place it wisely.

Originally posted May 23, 2011

Dec 292013

autumn-skye-morrison-425x211-9333436“Art can be a life shaking experience, or an intimate rendezvous. For me it is both.” – Autumn Skye Morrison

Autumn Skye Morrison is a Canadian painter whose nude art reflects a rare combination; female nudes swathed in broad strokes of color, some paintings set against a backdrop of stark gray, hips, breasts, and bellies, thighs and buttocks, hair flowing in abandoned grace, eyes gazing beyond, beckoning the viewer to admire unabashedly without the lens of salaciousness. Not that being aroused by art is a bad thing, simply that Skye’s visions appeal to our emotional centers as much as they tug at our primal urges.

“Through words, actions, thoughts, or artwork, I aim to share honesty and awakening.” Skye begins with just the “seeds of ideas,” before using her intuition, following where the paintings take her. “I am constantly surprised and inspired by what is translated by my imagination and hands.” That often includes symbols in the images that invite reflection and contemplation about our relationships to nature, time and space.

Born in Nova Scotia, her family gradually made their way West across Canada. Her father settled in the small town of Field in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, as well as Columbia Lake. Her mother and stepfather built their home ”off the grid” between Powell River and Lund on the Sunshine coast.

Skye spent her youth between the majesty of the mountains and the serenity of the ocean and lush forest. There, she developed an appreciation for natural beauty. Now, as an artist and environmentalist, she takes stewardship of her domain very seriously. Indeed, you’ll sometimes find surprising juxtapositions in her work – jester’s hats, feathers, swirls, owls, shells and other natural or playful artifacts – merging with the translucent colors of her paintings. There’s a reason for this.

“I believe that we have chosen the most challenging and exciting time to be alive on this planet. Humanity is being called to rise, and it is now an urgent matter. Every aspect of our lives is being shaken, and we are becoming aware of our careless impacts on the Earth and each other,” Skye explains.

Not all her images are bold, crystalline sensations. Those that are mostly black and white suggest a kind of somberness that still manages with a swash of color to tickle our sense of joy, hope and curiosity. “In general, pain sells easier than ecstasy, and fear is more contagious than joy. Throughout history, for most passionately creative people, it was vital that they tell the story of the collective struggle. People found beauty in the darkness around them by looking through the gaze of an artist.”

The colors, shapes and images in her work in the slideshow below reflect where she has traveled and found inspiration: North America, Mexico, South East Asia, and Hawaii. Spellbound by cultures, colors and the common spark – she calls it divinity, but one can use non-spiritual language too, such as humanity – her art is at once sensual and playful, innocent and beckoning, suggestive and pure.

“We are at the threshold of boundless possibilities. I want to shine a light, to connect to those around me through honesty and awakening, to celebrate this fantastic adventure.” Not surprisingly, that authenticity shines through to her growing fan base, even though the trappings of success do not motivate her. “Maybe I am making it harder for myself by not capitalizing on the morbidity of popular media. But then, maybe we are all ready for something different.” Indeed. Art that is truly sublime in times that sometimes seem otherwise.

To learn more about the artist, including private commissions, visit Autumn Skye Morrison at her website

Tinamarie Bernard is a regular contributor to Fearlesspress.com. You can follow her on twitter, @ModernLoveMuse and visit her at her blog, www.tinamariebernard.com.

Originally posted March 5, 2011

 Art Exposed, Arts  Comments Off on Innocent and Sublime Paintings of Autumn Skye Morrison  Tagged with:

Queer as Who? : Defining Queerness

 Posted by on December 27, 2013
Dec 272013

approve-or-reject-choosing-2Many years ago, as a bright-eyed and optimistic undergraduate college student, I attempted to join my university’s LBGTQ (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgendered, and Queer) organization. Notice I said “attempted,” not succeeded in joining. After a fairly lengthy conversation about sexual orientation, gender identification, and personal politics, the president of said organization very nicely told me such an organization wasn’t for me. After all, the group was designed to be a safe and inclusive space for the people represented by the letters in the LBGTQ acronym and I clearly wasn’t “part of this group” in his estimation. He politely thanked me for my interest, denied my request to join the organization, and recommended that I contact another organization on campus, Straight, But Not Narrow, that would be “more in line with [my] identity.”

Now while I could rant about how unfair the whole situation was or the danger of allowing one individual the power to act as gatekeeper and deem who is and is not acceptable, I won’t. That minor rejection spurred me on to learning more about myself, the notion of queer identity, and the pleasures and pains for being able to “pass.” In hindsight, my disappointment was less about the rejection and more due to what amounted to a misunderstanding of terminology. I was attempting to join what I saw as my peer group based on my understanding of and association with queer identity. A problem arose when the group’s president failed to recognize my personal version of queerness and instead deemed me what I appeared to be in his eyes – a heterosexual, gender normative, non-queer woman.

Although the term “queer” has become more popular and arguably more accepted in mainstream society, the concept of queerness itself is still a murky one. The fluidity of queerness has been a hot topic of debate within academia, the media, and out on the streets. The same few questions seem to emerge again and again – What is queer? Who is queer? Who has the right to define queerness?

As Alexander Doty noted in his seminal work, Making Things Perfectly Queer, queerness is “an attitude, a way of responding, that begins in a place not concerned with, or limited by, notions of a binary opposition of male and female or the homo versus hetero paradigm usually articulated as an extension of this gender binarism.” In reality, queerness can only be defined by what is not; it is not the norm. In short, queerness is any state of being that falls outside the boundaries of society’s accepted norm.

No matter how “normal” one may seem on the surface, that doesn’t preclude being queer. While it is easy to see gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals as queer since at least one aspect of their lifestyle is deemed “alternative,” there are many queers that can and do remain “off the radar” either by choice or simply due to others’ failure to recognize the ways in which they defy the norm. Anyone who has ever identified as kinky, polyamorous, or heteroflexible could claim the queer label, as well as those that hold unusual views on gender, sexuality, race, politics, and religion.

You may be wondering, with such a broad definition of queerness, how do we decide who is and who isn’t. The answer is simple. We don’t, each individual chooses their own label. It’s not for any one individual or group to decide who can and cannot wear the queer label, but for the queer community to welcome all those that choose to accept and proudly proclaim their queerness. There is strength in numbers and allies should always be embraced into the fold. After all, we’re living in the Postmodern age and looks can be deceiving, that cute, normal looking chick just may turn out to be one of the queerest, kinkiest, most outspoken community participants you ever meet.

Originally posted February 28, 2011


 Posted by on December 25, 2013
Dec 252013

shower-head-water-small-2326106When I was in college and stuck in the middle of writing a paper, I would take a shower. I liked showering in the elegant bathrooms in the dorms – the stalls themselves were beautiful, white and gray marble that echoed the splattering of water, the black and white basket-weave tile carefully preserved on the floor. Each shower-head had a plastic card hanging from it with instructions on how to perform a breast self-exam. The cards were pink and purple, the women drawn in the small pictures curvy and full, their pen and ink forms demonstrating how to check for tumors while the bathroom filled with shampoo-scented steam.

I thought up my senior thesis in the shower, as well as the paper that acted as its catalyst. It was in the shower that I contemplated performative gender, heteronormativity, and deconstruction after first reading about them in seminar, and where I practiced the precise verbiage I would use on an upcoming genetics exam. It was comforting with the bathroom door open to the hallway with the familiar sounds of classmates; women shuffling from room to room who gossiped about boys from neighboring co-ed colleges, who were admitted to graduate school, who fell in love with each other. My mind always wandered to the answer, whether it was a reference to Milton’s “Paradise Lost” or a specific mutation displayed in the phenotype of the pea plants I was growing in lab.

I came out as femme in the shower after being the victim of a horrible haircut. The haircut itself probably wasn’t very bad, just very butch and reminiscent of 1997, when every boy in middle school had acne and a mushroom cut. In a valiant and noble attempt to be out and proud, I emerged not as a lesbian swan, but an androgynous, awkward duckling. My room was at the end of a long hallway, doors on one wall, the other with horizontally situated rectangular windows that acted as mirrors and accusatory provided me with my now hideous reflection as I walked to the shower, vulnerable in my towel and freshly shorn head. I cried in the shower that night, because I realized that all I wanted in the whole world was to have my boring, shoulder-length brown hair back. I wasn’t butch. I belonged in a pink sweater and a set of pearls. Why had I let myself get talked into this? Why couldn’t I have come up with a better response to “well, you don’t look gay”? Why was I now sobbing in the shower upon realizing that my bottle of shampoo would last until the end of spring semester?

Around the same time, I made friends with a cute transguy (FTM). He walked to the shower fully dressed and left the same way, unwilling to pad through halls in flip flops and a skimpy towel. As he cut his hair shorter and shorter and encased himself in a binder, I learned to do amazing things with bobby pins, lipstick, and push-up bras. As a late bloomer, I was both ecstatic that I could fill out a bra from Victoria’s Secret and horrified by the lack of hair on my reflection in the mirror. We found each other at the right time, our own individual ugly duckling to swan transformations discussed at length over Judith Butler and instant miso soup, the intensity of the relationship tapering as he transferred to a school across the country and started T while my hair grew into a layered, chin-length bob. I returned to school the next fall with high heels and lost my virginity to the one and only leatherdyke I knew.

The shower in my apartment is a bathtub with a round curtain rod, as the wall next to the tub is only partially tiled. The bathroom is very much mine, as G’s glucosamine tablets and electric toothbrush are stored under the sink, as not to clash with the pastel-colored bottles filled with what G affectionately calls the “lotions and potions.” It is a femme bathroom, for sure, with delicate tile work, flooded with light filtered through the floral shower curtain. It is here that I begin the day and decide what to wear, rinse the dye out of my hair, shave my legs, and think of the next “Freak Flag” article.

I no longer cry about my now realized femme identity while lathering up, though I still think it’s important to establish and honor the need for a sanctuary of self, even within the confines of one’s own home. Perhaps it’s the solitude that I enjoy so much – the freedom to think beyond the chatter behind the gray marble walls, outside the sounds of my partner’s pancakes cooking on the stove – while still feeling connected, the water through my hair as a reminder of where I came from and where I’m going.

Originally posted October 7, 2010

Dec 252013

istock_000018623999xsmall-4499620At Burning Man this year, I went to a workshop called “What Is Tantric Sexual Healing And Is It For You?”  It was a Q&A discussion, with a panel consisting of two male healers, and a husband and wife who practiced as a pair.

The husband told a story about a woman who had been so ashamed of her sexuality she was unable to masturbate.  “So she went to one of our sessions,” he said, “and we talked about it for a bit, and then she masturbated in front of us, and — ”

His wife butted in.  “It was a little more complicated than that,” she said.  She retold the story with a bit more focus on emotions and less on the physics.

It was one of those classic Burning Man moments.

For the next topic, the leader of the group asked to demonstrate a concept by having each person find a partner and put a hand on their arm.

As luck would have it, I was sitting in a section of the crowd surrounded by … well, men.  The man sitting next to me, reluctantly, awkwardly, took hold of my arm.

It was a simple exercise, to see whether we noticed any changes in perception when the partner focused on a different series of thoughts.

It wasn’t remotely sexual or erotic.

But afterwards, the man turned to me and said, “I have to be honest with you, I’m … totally heterosexual, so I’m kind of uncomfortable with this.”

My first instinct was to agree — it had been a bit awkward, hadn’t it?  I too would rather have been paired up with one of the women in the crowd.

But then I thought: wait a minute — what does putting a hand on someone’s arm have anything to do with sexual orientation?

How was this exercise even remotely a sexual act?  Did he mean to say that he was “heterotouchable”?

The discomfort that I felt with the situation was that he was a stranger — not that he was a man.  That fact had nothing to do with it.

Had it been a friend, or someone I knew better, it would have been no big deal at all.

What is it, I wondered, that teaches us to fear intimacy and physical contact with other men?  Why does that fear itself seem to be a prerequisite to being a heterosexual male?

As far as I’m concerned, if you’re afraid to put your hand on another man’s arm, then you’re a fucking pussy.

If you can’t hug your friend, or tend to an injury, or rub a knot out of his shoulders, then you’re a coward.

And if you’re afraid of being naked in the sauna or locker room with another guy, then you’re an insecure loser.

Because you know what?  If you’re as straight as you say you are, then you’re not going to be turned on by it.

And even if you were, you would know that it’s not a big deal, that it doesn’t make you gay, that you don’t have to act on it.

You know what the squirrel monkey does when a stranger shows up?  He gets a hard-on.  Really.  Not because he’s into you, but as a gesture of dominance.

(I’m not saying you have to do that. In fact, don’t.)

The point is, being afraid of male intimacy doesn’t make you brave.  Putting your hand on another guy’s arm, or giving him a hug, isn’t a slippery slope to sucking his dick.

We have this idea that intimacy always leads to sex (or, worse, a relationship).  That if you get too close to someone, there’s nowhere else to go but the bedroom.

But maybe that’s not the case.  Maybe you’d just like to be able to talk openly with your friends about sex, to have someone you can confide in and express your interests and insecurities, without actually being attracted to each other.

    Maybe you want a friend who can help you exercise, or meditate, or do yoga, away from the distractions of the opposite sex.

Or maybe you need a tantric healer — or a couple, like the one I mentioned above — to help you work through your fears about intimacy.

    Being comfortable around other men in these contexts doesn’t make you weak, or less heterosexual.

If you give yourself the freedom — the trust in your own sexual identity — to let intimacy lead where it may, then you’ll find that it won’t go where you don’t want it to go.

You’ll arrive at your boundaries naturally, and not out of fear.

So no, I’m not going to be the kind of man who defines my sexuality by what I won’t do, or by what I’m afraid of.

I’m going to be open to the appropriate level of intimacy for each friendship, knowing that in most cases I’ll never get even close to my boundaries.

The fact that I wouldn’t want to have sex with most men is because of a lack of attraction to the individual in question — not an inherent fear of maleness.

It doesn’t threaten or lessen my attraction to women to push at my boundaries.  It just makes me wiser, more confident, and more clear on what I’m looking for.

How can anyone claim to be truly comfortable with their own sexuality or their body if they’re so uncomfortable with somebody else’s?


“Saul Of-Hearts is a writer, musician, and videographer based in Los Angeles and Portland, OR.  He writes about work, travel, and community living at www.saulofhearts.com, and his work has appeared at Slate, Brazen Careerist, Puttylike, and more.  His latest project is an e-book on the Share Economy called ‘The Lateral Freelancer’.”

Previously posted on SaulOfHearts.com

 Living  Comments Off on How I Got Over My Fear of Male Intimacy (At A Talk About Female Masturbation)

The Sex Closet

 Posted by on December 23, 2013
Dec 232013

drawers-full-of-sexy-lingerie-2For a proper Fantasy Sex Life, you need to have your Sex Closet fully stocked and prepared at all times.

My husband and I have  spent years building up our Sex Closet.  Now it’s full of clothes and play things and costumes and other crazy good stuff.

We don’t put on full out costumes every time we have sex, but we pull something from the Sex Closet at least half the time.  It might be just a simple piece of lingerie.  Or maybe a gorilla suit, you never know.

We’ve learned some good sex clothes buying practices along the way, so I thought I would share some of them.

The Basics:  Sex Clothes
I consider sex clothes to be in three categories.

 bras, panties, tights, garters, socks, stockings, teddy sets, nighties, slips, and the like

Clothes:  sexy shirts, shorts, pants, skirts, halter tops, dresses…plus anything that qualifies as street wear but is in your Sex Closet, not your regular closet

Costumes: whatever you are into – ours range from coyboys and indians to rock stars to Helga and Hans wearing their best underground sex club vinyl wear (hint: we are Helga and Hans).

Starting with clothes…

I love knowing that I have everything I need to throw together a micro mini stripper skirt, a zany bra, knee high socks and crazy shoes, some black eye liner and purple lipstick, and then pull my hair into messy pigtails and voila!  We have goth girl on her way to a rave.

And of course, we have everything in the Closet we would need for her to encounter a mechanic on his way home from work, a professional banker on his lunch break, a biker dude on his way to the bar, or a dude from the Matrix who is the romantic fantasy ideal of the raver goth girl.  See how fun this is?!?

Goth girl is just one of hundreds of outfits I can pull together in a flash (and just to note, I am nothing even remotely resembling a goth girl, and that is why it is fun to pretend to be one).  To have many dress up options, you have to start building up your basics.

Bare minimum for my standards for women would be:

At least 5 cute but slutty tops

At least 5 slutty dresses

2 pairs of slutty pants

At least 3 slutty skirts

All clothes need to be washable and preferably made with cotton or other natural fibers.  Repeatedly having sex in clothes gets them extra filthy… what with the lube, body fluids, make up, spilled alcohol, candle wax, stuff from the floor where you might be rolling around, and who knows what else.  This isn’t every day laundry dirt.  This is Hardcore Sex Dirt.

Of course, you can use clothes from your regular wardrobe.  You might already have 5 slutty dresses (disguised as salsa dresses) and 3 slutty skirts (disguised as sexy work skirts) right there in your everyday line up.  But really…it is best not to use your main clothes because part of the real charge you get out of having a Sex Closet is that it is truly a separate closet, with a separate wardrobe.

I recommended those specific go to items listed above be your basic minimum because these items can end up representing just about any profession or situation you can think of.

Also, instead of sending it to Goodwill, if you get a little stain on a button down work blouse, send it to the Sex Closet and some night, pull it out for sex and have your lover RIP IT OPEN and BUST ALL THE BUTTONS off in a great show of un-repressed lust!!!  So fun!

It would suck to go through life without ever having had the buttons busted open on your blouse.  So recycle everything you can.

Next…Lingerie…obviously you need a good amount of it.  We have spent money accumulating decent quality lingerie over time.  We have found that the cheap flimsy stuff at stripper stores just doesn’t hold up, it doesn’t fit well, and it looks trashy.

If you’re on a budget, I suggest you buy the fewest pieces of high quality stuff you can afford and then build on your collection over time.

Costumes…you actually can piece together cheaper articles, as long as they look good on you and fit well.  The Halloween type costumes don’t tend to fit well and don’t hold up to rough sex…but you might find something really cool that is inexpensive at a thrift store.  costumes-150x150-5447647

Stockings and body stockings are WAY COOL and they can be very inexpensive. I recommend getting as many pairs of those as you want at any porn/stripper store, even the cheap ones will usually hold up for quite a while.  I just throw them in with regular wash and they don’t even get ruined.  They are not fragile, which is great when you are into rough sex.

Closet Basics for men, this is my preference:

5 well fitted boy shorts, at least one in leather

2 or 3 tight muscle hugging shirts

At least one pair of really sexy pants…not an easy find in men’s pants but not impossible, try for vinyl or leather

Many more items can go into the Sex Closet for the men, but at least start with these items.  You have to start building from something.  All the same rules apply regarding natural fibers and re-purposing items from his regular wardrobe.


Shoes are their own category, of course.  Sex shoes can be those crazy tall hooker heels, or thigh high boots, even just simple regular daily shoes (depending on the outfit or costume).  I have many shoes that stay in the Sex Closet, but I will also raid my regular shoes for a certain look sometimes, or even sometimes depending on the type of sex we will be having.

Comfort during the sex experience is a factor to be considered before you even get dressed for it.  If I am going to be off my feet for most of the sexual experience, I can wear killer 6 inch stilettos, as they will be just for show anyway.  I can’t wear those though if we’ll be doing it standing up, or even if we will just be moving around a lot, because they’ll be killing me by the end of the night and it will distract me from the fun sexy stuff.  So when buying those huge tall stripper shoes, you need to keep in mind that they are not practical nor comfortable, but it can be worked around.  Don’t expect to be able to chase each other around the room in this type of shoe.

Of course, no shoes at all is how we usually end up, but there are some sex sessions that are all about just the shoes and shoes are the only item of clothing worn.

My husband has Sex Shoes in the closet, too.  Or sometimes I tell him to put on the motorcycle cop hat and his regular closet biker boots, a big feather boa, and nothing else.  Mmmm.

The Cherry on Top: Sexual Style

The rest of the items in our Sex Closet have to do with our specific sexual stylings and kinks.  These would vary so much from couple to couple, but here is a short list of some of ours…

cat-150x150-4973307Props: Hats, Glasses, Wigs, Capes, Spats, Jewelry, Special Make Up, Fake Eye Lashes, Boas, Temporary Tattoos, Masks, Wigs, etc.

Sex Gear: Whips, Chains, Cuffs, Leashes, Collars, Riding crops, Clamps, Tie Downs, Huge Fake Strap On Breasts, etc.

We like buying cool boxes and organizing containers for this type of stuff, so it isn’t just rolling around on the floor of the closet, you know?  Plus it is just fun…to sort and organize all your Sex Closet gear and props.

And one last note…if you don’t have a real closet that is available for use, consider buying a wardrobe or other type of separate storage furniture, you need a special place to put your Fantastic Fantasy Sex Closet.


avatar2forweb-150x150-2663422Marie Franklin is a sex writer, matchmaker and dating coach.  She has a blog called *I Married a Sex God* where she shares ideas about kink and monogamy.  She believes in equality and choice, but also feels that you can have as much intimacy in monogamy as you can in non-monogamy.  www.mariefranklin.blogspot.com

 Style  Comments Off on The Sex Closet
Dec 202013

legal-gavel-medium-425x283-4562001If you follow the world of sex and law (as I assume you do), you may have noticed that the internets are ablaze with enthusiasm over a judge in Utah taking a slice out of the bigamy law.  The short form of the long story is that the Brown family, featured on reality TV show Sister Wives, fled to Nevada in 2011 for fear of prosecution for Polygamy, and then filed a lawsuit against various officials (the DA, the Governor, the Sheriff) in Utah.  Some of the charges were thrown out, but one claim – against County Attorney Jeff Buhman – went forward.   On Friday, December 13th, the Federal District Court in Utah issued a 91 page decision holding that part of the Utah bigamy law is unconstitutional.  The Salt Lake Tribune said that the ruling “effectively decriminalized bigamy,” although the statute “technically survived the ruling.”  Nevertheless, zeal over the decriminalization is echoed coast to coast, though in different words (in some circles, it’s “sanctioned sodomy, same sex marriage, and now legalized polygamy.. HOORAY!” and in others, it’s “fire, brimstone, plague, and now legalized polygamy!!”)

In no way do I want to take anything away from this victory.  It is momentous that the court, especially in the context of a challenge to the bigamy law, should side with what we outside of Utah might call a “Poly family.”  This is a great moment and a great victory for the Brown family & for attorney Jonathan Turley.  Most importantly, with the victory The Browns won freedom from fear of prosecution.  And I heartily recommend reading the 91 page opinion of the court – or Attorney Turley’s great arguments in the filed documents.  Buried in the legalese of the opinion are nifty discussions of Lawrence v Texas and Sexual Freedom.  But I think it’s instructive to look carefully at what this opinion actually does.

The first clause of the Utah law reads: “A person is guilty of bigamy when, knowing he has a husband or wife or knowing the other person has a husband or wife, the person purports to marry another person or cohabits with another person.”  Emphasis added.   I daresay that most of us think the ‘crime’ of bigamy involves being married to more than one person, and claiming some kind of legal status for each marriage.  But who knew: in Utah, you could be found guilty of bigamy if, married to someone, you cohabit with another.  The court calls this “religious cohabitation,” which they say occurs when “those who choose to live together without getting married enter into a personal relationship that resembles marriage in its intimacy, but claims no legal sanction.”  (Brown decision, p. 35).  No religious tradition invoked, no ceremony, no party – merely a secondary relationship that ‘resembles marriage in its intimacy’ was a felony under Utah law…. as long as there was also cohabitation.

This gets ludicrous with only a bit of effort.   If someone is married, but has an “intimate relationship” with another person, they’re OK as long as the other person doesn’t move in with them…in which case, by literal reading of the statute, they are guilty of bigamy (a felony, punishable by up to five years).  If the parties in question have any kind of private ceremony – anything from hand-fasting to collaring – then they’re in real trouble, because then it’s certainly “religious cohabitation.”  In his opinion, the judge draws out the absurdity of this by posing a number of hypothetical situations to one of the attorneys (Brown decision, p  59-62).  You can almost hear the poor attorney squirming as he fumbles each situation in turn.  It becomes very obvious that this ‘prong’ of the statute is not “operationally neutral” in other words, this part of the law cannot be applied to everyone equally without ridiculous results.  And so this part of the law was declared unconstitutional.

In the end, the court removed the cohabitation part of the statute, but left the bigamy part intact.  It also defined bigamy specifically as more than one purportedly legal marriage (Brown decision, p  90-91).  The Utah statute now reads very much like the bigamy statutes that still exist in most other states.   So… the court removed the part of the law that said that you can’t be married to one person and live with another (with or without your spouse).  In other words:  the court has stepped in and sanctioned relationships that have nothing to do with the legal system – that were created entirely outside of its jurisdiction.    Gee.. thanks, courts.  But I have a question: why is it that every time you stick your nose into relationships that are not legally created, you sound like your legislating from the 1950s?  Why must the legal system lag so far behind cultural reality?  Don’t get me wrong: decisions like this one, or like Lawrence, are vital for framing sexual freedoms in legal terms.    But it seems to me that consensual sodomy  – for example – was culturally acceptable long before the Lawrence Court gave it the legal stamp of approval.  If we are going to allow the legal system to pour cement  over our cultural mores, we’d better keep pushing it into the future – one day it may even catch up to where we are now.

Public Sex

 Posted by on December 19, 2013
Dec 192013

public-sex-8694166Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex (Pat Califia 1994, Cleis Press. San Francisco)

Public Sex is a series of articles that Pat Califia wrote prior to the mid 1990s. If you are not familiar with Pat Califia you are either new to contemporary queer literature or you have been living under a rock. Califia is one of the leading queer writers of modern times.

Public Sex address issues that form something of a modern history of the queer movement. The political construct of what constitutes the acceptable practice of sexuality is explored in depth. Califia walks the reader through several pressing issues from conservative feminist separatism, sex laws based on fear, age of consent laws, politics of pornography, kinky sex, and what it means to be a sex radical. Califia guides the reader through the politics of queer sexuality and points out how we went “from being isolated freaks and psychiatric case histories to members of an above ground, powerful subculture that lobbied for increased protection and civil rights” (Califia 1994, 18). Reading Public Sex will help you to understand the conservativism that has swept the queer community over the last three decades.

This book confronts many of the issues that cause tension, fear, and hatred within our community. Califia is able to write critically about issues that we fight over, who counts as real, what acceptance means, and the way we really find sexual pleasure. There are a lot of things that you will not agree with in this book, you might get pissed off and thrown the thing on the ground, call it names, storm off and not want to finish it. If this happens I urge you to pick it up again, finish it. Challenge your own sexual politics.

Though I would rather not touch this issue with a ten-foot pole I need to mention the kiddy porn panic, the age of consent laws, and the outrage that a lot of people have expressed about Califia’s views on sex with minors. Califia writes about a group of gay men who are known as boy lovers. This article will almost certainly push your comfort zone. Califia is examining a part of gay history that has been defined by men who love boys. In this article Califia defends boy lovers and calls age of consent laws into question. The article was written some time before the internet porn community was inundated with 2257 laws. The age of consent laws and the kiddy porn panic that President Regan initiated put 2257 laws into motion. Most of how this happened was based on fear mongering and a moral code that should be examined closer. I understand that Califia later changed zirs position on sex with minors though I never actually saw that piece. I do wonder if Califia was bullied into a public change of opinion because suggesting that ‘sex with minors’ is part of queer history is a political minefield.

The articles in Public Sex shine a light on how the queer community tackles issues of sexuality. Califia examines how the queer agenda has been staunched into a single cause. In the mid 1990s that cause was to find a cure for HIV. In subsequent years that single cause has been transformed into marriage equality, as though the homonormative ‘straightening’ of queer sexuality through hegemonic monogamy could actually prevent HIV transmission. “We need to stop indulging the ridiculous fantasy that if we could just get legally married like heterosexuals, we could all be monogamous, and then we would be safe” (Califia 1994, 21).

Califia writes about feminists and pornography, the perception that porn is degrading to women, and the laws that have been implemented in many places around the globe to staunch pornography production and distribution. Califia questions the propaganda of censorship as a safety mechanism. Public Sex calls on readers to examine their own bias. Califia opens up in a way that makes you feel as if you are having an exciting conversation with a good friend. The articles are smart, thought provoking and sexually charged.

To be a sex radical today you need to question the propaganda. To be a sex radical you need to make it a priority to learn the history of the LGBTQQIIKAP&GQ movement, you need to be wiling to toss out your politically correct, white washed view of the queer agenda and think critically about the issues that have helped to define our people. Radical sex isn’t about following the herd, radical sex is about creating a political climate where people don’t have to live in hiding because they prefer to have orgasms in a taboo way.

Califia’s position of equality and sexual freedom have been seen as edgy even in the queer community, a community of people that considers themselves to be an edgy bunch. Califia has received a lot of criticism for zir work over the years. From hir position on kinky leather sex to the article about the history of boy lovers in the gay community Pat Califia has often been a very hated author. I admire this and think that you owe it to yourself to read Califia’s work, rethink your own preconceived notions about what constitutes good and acceptable sex. If you believe in equality, in the right to make your own choices about your body and the genre of sex you wish to have, read this book with an open mind.

It is easy to think that people who enjoy a sexual practice that is different than the one you enjoy are dirty sinners (or at least claim that you just don’t understand them). “Unfortunately most people’s sexual tolerance ends at their own bedroom (or dungeon) door” (Califia 1994,19). It is much more productive to stand up and claim a sexuality that the right wing would still like to demonize, claim it, own it, defend it, fight for equality not hegemony. Your sexual politics and identity don’t matter one bit to me. What matters is your ability to critically analyze the disinformation we have all been fed about the rights, the responsibility, and the kind of sex we should be allowed to have. In a world where equality for some (but not all) still flies I urge you to read Public Sex, it will push your limits, I promise.

Originally posted March 13, 2011

Where to start?

 Posted by on December 17, 2013
Dec 172013

five-stars-service-2Dear Sarah,

My partner and I are just starting to explore service-giving & receiving, and I must confess that I’m stumped as to how to start. Yesterday, I helped her dress and tied her shoes, and I enjoyed it greatly, but I’m not sure where else to go. Please help?


Dear A,

Service is a big topic. Very, very big. It can encompass everything from tying shoelaces to repairing the car’s engine, and beyond – so it’s no wonder that it’s a bit overwhelming for you!

Take a little time – both separately and together – and think about what kinds of service might be meaningful to you. Does she enjoy not having to worry about the little things, like whether the trash is taken out or the mail is sorted? Or does she like to have big, complex projects managed, such as redecorating the bedroom or planning a dinner for twenty? Would she prefer to have personal service – such as dressing her – or does she also want more general service, like making the bed or weeding the lawn?

And while she’s chewing on those questions, ask yourself the same thing. What kinds of things would you like to do for her, to show your love and devotion? Do you prefer to do things that directly impact her on a personal level, such as opening car doors or drawing her bath, or do you like the idea of having things “just so” for her so that she can simply relax and enjoy her surroundings, without concerning herself with things like cleaning, upkeep, and management?

In order to be meaningful, service has to be really wanted by the top; some submissives make the mistake of thinking that their efforts will be appreciated without asking the top if it’s desired. Finding out from her what she values and what makes her feel more dominant towards you is the key to coming up with a plan of action – a list of tasks & ways to offer your service to her that positively drive the cycle of dominance and submission that people who enjoy service crave. And in order to be fulfilling, the results of these acts of service must provide joy to the person in service; whether it’s a feeling of a job well done, the pleasure of working with fetish objects (like bootblacking or hair brushing), or direct appreciation, it’s important to have the exchange of power go in both ways.

You already know (I assume) that your personal service to her gave her pleasure – this indicates to me that she enjoys having you in a role of lady’s maid or butler, so exploring other tasks in that realm (such as hair brushing, bathing, and so on) might be a great place to start. You also may want to try expanding the tasks that you know work – for instance, if you know that she likes to be dressed, you may want to add putting lotion or powder on her before dressing her, or ironing her clothing the night before. These can be some great places to start generating ideas for tasks that you can do for her that will help her feel well served.

Finally, make sure that you communicate as you explore with her, especially to let her know what kinds of praise or reassurance that you need. We may begin our path thinking that we don’t need to have our service acknowledged, only to find out that we deeply need to hear that our work is appreciated and valued. Some people find BDSM play to be a wonderful way of feeling valued; others feel most fulfilled when their work is not commented on, but simply enjoyed. Making sure that you let her know what you need, as you discover more, will give her more tools to use to ensure that you both get what you want (and more!) out of your service for her.

Originally posted October 20, 2010