Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2013-02-20

FAT SEX WEEK: Three Books To Help You Have Better Sex While Fat (Regardless of Whether Or Not You’re Single)

After the success of GAY SEX WEEK on my blog in October 2011, I decided to produce FAT SEX WEEK to celebrate sex for all bodies. This is especially inspired to counteract all of the media about sex around Valentine’s Day that’s all heteronormative/couplehood-oriented/body hegemonic. It’s a week of body liberation and sex and it’s going to be really fun! Check out all of the FAT SEX WEEK magic!

(All the photos in this post are Safe For Work, as long as fat girls in lingerie are safe for your work.)

On Friday I discussed seven ways to be a good ally to your fat lover. Now I want to give some tools for folks to become better lovers to themselves–as in, learning to get in touch with your body so you can have better sex.

Growing up fat (or having a body that is in any way non-normative) in a fatphobic society is very damaging. It was very traumatic for me to feel like my body was always “wrong” and I definitely did not feel like I had access to owning my sexuality. In some ways I completely dissociated from my body and interacted with it as little as possible. (I write more about my experience of disembodiment in this post.)

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Look it’s me and my new pal Devin who was kind enough to loan me her ass for this photo when I saw how hot it was. Photo by Kelsey Dickey for Rebel Cupcake.

I used to feel afraid to leave relationships because I was afraid the sex would never be as good as it was with the person I was with–a deep scarcity mentality. “So and so knows my body so well, so and so does this trick how can anyone replicate that?” Those kinds of thoughts. It was as though all those years I wasn’t getting laid because I was checked out from my body I needed to make-up for by staying with the wrong kinds of partners. Like I might never get banged properly again.

I’m here to let you know, dear reader, that these fears were false. If anything, sex has gotten better and better as I’ve gotten older and I know the reason is that I am the common denominator in the good sex I have.

I think each break-up from a relationship with good sex is like getting a gift bag! You learned how to have new and improved sex with that lover. You learned how your body responds to different stimuli, you got to experience someone’s body in new ways and come up with more party tricks to bring to other lovers. Hopefully you explored more your capacity to flourish under someone’s touch. This partying gift is amazing!

You can keep the learning going, single or while in relationships, with a cadre of lovers or while between regular bouts of getting banged. Doing the work of getting to know your body and getting to know yourself sexually is a gift you give yourself for the rest of your life. There are lots of different ways to learn about sex–there is so much knowledge available to willing explorers. Below are three body positive resources that will help you get in touch with your sexuality from a body positive perspective!

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Holly Amory at Rebel Cupcake in February, NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Mind Blowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide by Diana Cage

For people who have bodies that are female in origin, or who have sex with people’s whose mechanics are female in origin, this book is an amazing resource. I’ve read a lot about sex and sexuality but I still learned so much from it.

“Desire, sexual satisfaction, and orgasm truly are fraught more often for us than for men… [T]he ways in which we have been taught to fuck don’t always serve our needs and desires.” Diana talks about the female body from a place of empowerment and learning about the mechanics of your body physically, mentally and emotionally.

It is written from an incredibly feminist perspective. It is woman-empowering and body positive. I didn’t realize how much of our eroticism and what we learn about sex is based on male-centered desire. Ugh, patriarchy is such a boner-killer!

The book includes lots of work book sections where you get to explore your desire and what turns you on. And physical exercises! I felt more in tune with my body and my desires after I read it. (I also got some funny looks on the train while reading it…)

You can get it through my amazon link here, but request it from your local feminist sex toy shop! I’m always surprised when I go into Babeland and I don’t see it on their shelves, mention it to the people who work there but they don’t stock the shelves.

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Me and author Diana Cage.

Fucking Transwomen Zine by Miranda Bellwether

For folks who have transwomen bodies or who partner with transwomen, this zine is incredible! So many great tips for sex and the ways to have fulfilling interactions in a body that is not taught in sex ed and is ignored in the vast majority of mainstream sex how-to literature.

I also think it’s great for anyone who has sex that involves a penis whether or not they identify with it presently. Miranda spends several pages of the zine talking about the soft penis, which is basically ignored in sexual literature but “You can actually do more with a soft penis than a hard penis–if you are creative.”

The zine is full of sex how-tos, body knowledge and autobiography.

Buy it here for only $5! All of the money goes to Miranda!

Ecstacy is Necessary by Barbara Carrellas

I did a book review of this book last year, but I wanted to give it special mention here. This is basically a body love “you are worthy of erotic pleasure exactly how you are” goldmine. It’s a workbook, so you’ll need a notebook to go along with you on your sexual exploration, but the work it gives you is worth it.

People of all body types and levels of sexual exploration, especially if they feel cut off from their own sexuality, will totally benefit from a trip into this book. I did most of the work in this book while not getting laid regularly and it really helped me feel more in touch with what I wanted from sex when I was having it again rather than be caught up in the ideas of what I wanted from sex. Really cutting through your own bullshit (and the bullshit we are fed from society about what we should want) and identifying what our desires are is incredibly liberating. It also makes it much easier to find the right partners to explore with!

Read more at my book review and interview with Barbara Carrellas.

Buy the book!

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Me, Barbara and her partner Kate Bornstein at Rebel Cupcake in May, 2012.

Stay tuned! FAT SEX WEEK wraps up tomorrow!!

2012-10-25

Book Review: Cheryl B.’s My Awesome Place

I am totally delinquent posting this book review since I read a preview copy from the publisher a couple of months ago during my Summer of Memoir. I’ll be honest, I’ve had a really hard time writing this review because Cheryl B., the author of My Awesome Place, was my friend and she is dead. This is not a spoiler alert, it’s in the first line of the foreward by Sarah Schulman. “Cheryl Burke died of medical malpractice in June 2011 at the age of 38.”

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Cheryl B., Diana Cage, Molly Equality Dykeman, Me and Kelli Dunham at Nerd Love in February 2011, Kelli and Cheryl’s Valentine’s Day show.

But the book is out and Cheryl’s friends and her literary executor put together her memoir work so that it could be published and we can know more about her life. Like what it was like to grow up in Staten Island and New Jersey in an alcoholic home with a controlling mom and a dad who broke a plate of spaghetti over her head when she told him she got into NYU. How she drowned her feelings in alcohol and drugs but also learned how to trust her creative spirit. How she became this amazing poet and performer and made a name for herself in the 90s on the slam poetry scene, touring the country and writing plays.

How she dealt with continuing a relationship with her family even though it wasn’t at all easy. Working through her father’s death. Watching her good friend go through cancer and acting as his caretaker. How she bounced back from a guidance counselor who told her to be a toll taker on the NJ Turnpike and clearly she is a genius artist (that part of the book actually made me angry).

It sounds like everything in the book is heavy stuff. And even though a lot of it is, Cheryl moves through the words with such energy it becomes easy to understand, move through it and laugh a lot. Cheryl’s really well known for her sarcasm and wit and that blankets the book.

I felt like it was such a gift, to get to know her better through this book. I had no idea what she lived through and how she managed to become the caring and wry person I knew. I knew she had been ten years sober but I didn’t know the extent of her survival.

I also enjoyed her journey to her sexuality. It’s trite to say it’s a coming out story, but it is a really compelling path to dating women and starting to have serious girlfriends and then having a boyfriend and navigating people’s reactions and judgments around queerness and bisexuality. I think folks who have experience dating across the gender spectrum will find this aspect very relatable.

Cheryl B

Similarly, she was fat as a teenager she talks about navigating in a world when she went to college and lost all of her weight and got skinny. I wish the book had gone into that more, but it is relevant to her story and dealt with sensitively and not like some kind of narrative where the main character gets skinny and suddenly everything is okay. Everything is certainly not okay with Cheryl when she loses weight.

Her cat is also a central character and I deeply appreciate that aspect. It seems sometimes that Sabrina the cat is the only thing keeping her alive.

Kelli Dunham, my friend and Cheryl’s widow, wrote the afterward about her cancer and finding the support network of her friends.

Cheryl B and Bevin at Speling B for Cheryl B.
Me and Cheryl at the Spelling Bee for Cheryl B. I organized with my fellow Re/Dress Shop Girls. She was heartily nerd identified and this was a great way for folks to show their support for Cheryl both monetarily and spiritually.

Writing this review I had a memory of Cheryl before the spelling bee coming to Re/Dress and changing behind the counter into these black patent leather stiletto boots and I remember thinking “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And there is a scene in the book where she walks up and down Manhattan in black stiletto boots looking for a job as a cocktail waitress and I thought “Man, Cheryl is such a bad ass.” And maybe that’s the message of this book. Cheryl was a bad ass and you can be, too.

It’s hard to promote a book when the author isn’t around to do a book tour or go on the Today Show or whatever. It’s also really awesome to support small publishers and Topside Press is really awesome and providing a venue for a bunch of queer and trans authors to get their voices heard. Buy Cheryl’s book! (If you order it before the end of Friday you can get a free ebook in addition to the paperback.)

2011-02-26

Valentine’s Day Weekend Non-Stop Queer Style

This year’s Valentine’s Day weekend was glamorous and non-stop. There was an intense agenda of queer happenings and what better way to get my feet back into the Brooklyn swing of things after my extended sojourn in San Francisco* than to try to do everything? It began with Rebel Cupcake 10: Erotic City on Thursday, February 10th.

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My friend Trent who is one half of That’s My Jam.

The theme selections for Rebel Cupcake are a truly scientific process.**
It goes like this: I thought Valentine’s day is four days later… fuck Valentine’s day, let’s get dirty. Erotic stuff…. Erotic City! I love Prince.

The cupcakes were vegan this time, orange/chocolate and cappuccino flavor, made by Rebel Cupcake fan Mannie.

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It was a wild show that involved an impromptu punching demo by traveling Portland punching Booth Wyatt Riot, the drag Prince stylings of fresh face LeRoi Prince and capped off by the incredible performance of Epiphany. She sang a couple of songs and her version of Fuck You brought down the house.

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LeRoi Prince.

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Epiphany.

After truly getting down to a Prince-heavy dance party (the floor was still packed at 2:45 AM, definitely the latest I’ve seen the dance floor at Rebel Cupcake thrive at that level), my weekend kept rolling.

Friday night was the closing party/ritual for Into the Neon, a group collaborative show between many queer artists I know and some I don’t. The exhibits were incredible. I was especially moved by Daniel Lang/Levitsky’s piece about the murder of a gay man in a park in Newark. I loved Amy Agony’s reading nook with a zine library to pore through. I was honored to be included so many times in Quito Ziegler’s exhibit, she pointed out to me that me and my posse were especially prevalent on her row themed “tenderness.”

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Daniel’s piece was a hand-cranked movie with a soundtrack you listened to. It was very haunting.

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Quito’s exhibit.

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Drag station.

There was a tree in the middle of the room surrounded by foam and blankets, which was the best place for me to enjoy the evening considering my long Thursday night dancing and nine and a half hour Shop Girl day.

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With Marcy and Natalie.

Glenn Marla decided to have an all day open house for his birthday party, where I rolled in at 9:30 (another nine and a half hour Shop Girl day). My thoughts are in this episode of the Lesbian Tea Basket. I went home to get ready for Hey Queen, my favorite dance party that isn’t Rebel Cupcake. I decided to change because Wyatt Riot and Jessika Fancy were planning to wear spandex and I knew I needed to up my fashion game. I did pretty well considering I dressed in 5 minutes.

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With my friend LJ. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

I chatted with Justin Vivian Bond a bit about Femme fashion and wearing two pairs of tights on the brutal party nights (it has been an especially horrible winter in NYC). V performed a three song set at 1:30 that was just glorious.

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I love Justin Vivian’s storytelling. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

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Accompanied by Nath Ann. Photo by Jose Figueroa Fotog for Hey Queen.

The next day was another Shop Girl day that found me sharing a leftover cunt cupcake from Glenn’s birthday party (made by Damien Luxe) with plus size super model Tara Lynn. She’s really nice and fun and was shopping the vintage racks at Re/Dress. Even a work day can be glamorous!

Sunday night was a work night, where I met up with my neighbor and co-creator Heather. She is directing and I am producing an all queer 10 minute staged reading of the Outsiders at Rebel Cupcake on March 10. We needed to watch the movie and prepare for the auditions.*** My BFF Brian just moved in around the corner from both of us and we used his big tv and our friend Michael made us chicken parm. It was perfect.

Monday was Valentine’s Day/Validation Day. I was asked to be a celebrity judge for a Nerd-Off competition at Nerd Off Production’s Nerd Love event. Since my current relationship status is Window Shopping**** I thought it would be fun to ask one of the other celebrity judges to be my Valentine.

Molly Equality Dykeman
is a piece of work. She’s a poet, butchlesque performer, a security guard, a lady chaser. I thought it would be fun shtick to banter about while we were judging nerds. Having a celebrity date was pretty awesome.*****


Maybe everything you need to know about Molly is in this video?

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I required Molly to wear her finest butch accessories (in this instance a Love tie from the dollar store) and bring me a flower from the dollar store or a bodega. After exchanging gifts we took photos with Syd London for Time Out New York. She gave me a box of chocolates, a card that complimented my boobs and the flower.

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Photo courtesy Molly.

I brought for her scratch-off lottery tickets, a diet coke and a cookie decorated with haiku by Kazi, a poet who works inside a Lotto stand on 53rd and Lexington.

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Photo by my BFF Brian.

The nerdiness of the Nerd Off was ridiculous. It was hosted by Kelli Dunham and Cheryl B. I had to ask a lot of nerd to English clarifying questions. It was a joy to be part of and award prizes with the other celebrity judge, Diana Cage, for such talents as “Best Use of Math Teacher Blog to Perform Erotica.”

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Photo courtesy Molly.

Check out more photos from the event on the Time Out New York website.

Some of you might be wondering how I can maintain this stamina. The key is that I don’t drink much (one or two well-timed drinks max) and I wear flat shoes when I intend to dance a lot. At the end of this whirlwind weekend my feet were actually quite sore, but I felt deliriously happy and incubated in this amazing community of artists and friends that make Brooklyn my home. A community kind of love, really.

*I have been in the Mission so much in the last 9 months that Yahoo news (benignly) falsely reported that I live there.
**April’s theme is I Love Lucy (an old school show biz style line-up) because I scored a great vintage dress that is very Lucy. I just have to work on the hair style.
***Watching that movie is sort of like watching porn. It’s so hot and bromantic!
****Window Shopping is my current approach to dating given the amount of emotional work I’m doing on myself. After being totally off the market for several months, I am approaching dating again with extreme caution. I’m not going into any stores, I’m not asking how much something costs. But if something pretty catches my eye and the shop keeper comes outside I might ask about it. If the shop keeper is willing to transact right there on the sidewalk, okay. Basically, I’m not doing any pursuing and I’m letting things happen if they happen but not concerned one way or another.
*****I’m still open to a date for March 14th’s Steak and Blow Job day.

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