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

2017-04-11

FAT SEX WEEK XXL: Curvy Rope Bottoming

Welcome one and all (who are knowingly entering into this adult-themed conversation)! This is Fat Sex Week XXL, the second edition of QueerFatFemme.com Fat Sex Week where I explore many facets of fat sex. Named for Magic Mike XXL, which was even better than the first Magic Mike, I’m hoping this edition is louder and fatter than ever before! Check this tag for all of the posts!

I know so many people for whom kink and BDSM have been their gateways to body acceptance. I’ve been to lots of parties and seen rope suspension, whether for art or kink (or both!) and there is definitely an overwhelming amount of suspension that privileges young, thin, White bodies.

Evie Vane is an author whose forthcoming book, Better Bondage for Every Body, excerpted below, seeks to provide the support needed to diversify the rope bottoming scene.

For folks who don’t know, rope bottoming is the experience of being tied up. When you’re doing the tying, you’re the rope top! Not everyone who rope bottoms is a bottom all the time and likewise with topping.

Below are several excerpts from the chapter “For Curvy Rope Bottoms” in Better Bondage for Every Body (out in May).

The photos of fat rope bottoms in suspension in the book are really beautiful.

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As deviant as the rope world is, its public face often seems to share mainstream views about body image. Just look at FetLife’s Kinky & Popular page, all the rope groups on Facebook, bondage photos published in magazines and books…more often than not, the rope bottoms are thin, young, very flexible women—in other words, not representative of the majority of rope bottoms, who have a wide range of body types, whose ages run the gamut, and who include men and transgender people.

This is not to judge thin, young, bendy women, by the way, who deserve to be who they are without being shamed or judged, just like everyone else… This book is one small effort that I hope will take root and grow until every rope bottom sees their beauty.

Model: Terri F.
Bondage by Zetsu Nawa and Demonsix
Photos by Retrotie
Hair and makeup by Anastasia Panagiotidis

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Bri Burning offers this: “The biggest challenge I’ve faced being a rope bottom is the doubt of tops—whether that be doubt in my body and what it can do, or insecurities in their own skills.” That last part brings up another part of the challenge: incorrect assumptions about the limitations and capabilities of larger bodies. “I’m a very curvy woman who is extremely flexible,” Bri continues. “[But] most people assume that I can’t stay in stress positions for long or can’t bend a certain way.”

Let’s be clear: Flexibility is not related to size. Curvy bottoms run the gamut from having very limited flexibility to having very high flexibility, the same way noncurvy rope bottoms
do. (See Chapter 12 on ties for limited range of motion if you fall into the former category.) As Starberry says, “There may be some things I can’t do, but those are my limitations and not necessarily due to weight.”

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“An educated top is your biggest ally,” Kurious says. “Ask the questions…‘Have you ever tied up a big [person]? What do you do differently with someone my size versus someone that is half my weight?…Will you be prepared to catch me if I am falling?’”

If you just can’t find an educated top, consider creating
one! Do your own research and educate your partner. Learn together. “There are always workarounds to an uncomfortable tie,” WyldOrchi_soumi says. “My top has added wraps or changed the point of the primary pull, and it has made all the difference. Also, a good wrap clearing or cleaning can make a huge difference when you have a lot of fleshiness under those wraps. Hurts like a bitch in the moment but is worth the extra minutes I can hold the tie.”

Model: Terri F.
Bondage by Zetsu Nawa and Demonsix
Photos by Retrotie
Hair and makeup by Anastasia Panagiotidis

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Learning how to tie and even self-suspend can be helpful as well. “Self-tying has helped me the most physically and mentally to rope bottom,” thisgirl_m says. “I’ve gained knowledge about the technicalities of the ties that allows me to judge the safety of the ties I am in. I have learned my body’s ‘normal’ in rope so I able to tell if something is causing me harm.” Gnethys adds, “If someone tells you you’re too fat to fly, nothing will shut them up faster than self-suspending in front of them.”

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If you are wildly intrigued by rope bottoming, here are some great resources:

If you’re interested in topping for the first time, start with the Topping Book. Likewise, if you’ve never bottomed, start with the Bottoming Book.

Evie Vane’s previous book, The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up, is available now.

Better Bondage for Every Body
is coming out in May. Sign up on Evie’s email list to find out when you can get it!

Here’s Evie’s YouTube channel with rope bottoming videos.

Remember, all bodies are worthy of love/sex/rope bondage exactly as they are!

2016-10-11

My Coming Out Story

Happy Coming Out Day! Every year on October 11th the LGBTQ community and our allies celebrate Coming Out Day as a way to commemorate and sanctify an important moment in the lives of queer people. It’s also an important way to help our children, families, friends, co-workers and communities know that you are a safe space for LGBTQ folks to come out to.

bevinchrisamandadamienFor this post I’m using photos I found in my archives from the Femme Family Pride Coming Out as Femme party that Femme Family produced in June 2009 at Stonewall Inn. L-R, Damien, Me, Amanda and Chris.

Coming out is such an intensely personal decision, since being queer is somewhat of a seemingly mutable way of being different. (“Passing” as straight is easier for some than others, and it is often tied to gender presentation.) I thought in honor of the occasion, and the fact that I told this story to my friends Jenna and Rick at my Epic High Holiday Shabbat dinner on Friday, I would share it here!

Coming out is easier said than done, and for me it was really difficult. I am 37 years old, which means I grew up in a pre-Ellen era. I noticed a pretty big cultural shift when Ellen’s character came out as a lesbian on her then sitcom in 1997. It was a watershed moment when, more and more, people were aware that LGBTQ folks were openly living their lives queerly. I feel like most kids who came of age after Ellen came out have a different experience within American culture.

bevinrachelsophieMe, Rachel (check out her work getting Queers, Women and POC into tech sales) and Sophie (check out her incredible body positive pin-up photography business).

I didn’t know gay was a thing that you could be until I was 14 years old. I had literally never understood that any of my mom’s friends were gay, that any celebrities were gay or that people throughout history had been leading queer lives.

I met the first lesbian that came out to me at Girl Scout Camp when I was a Counselor-in-Training. At the time that was a big no-no (even when I became a counselor a few years later it was very understood that lesbianism was don’t ask don’t tell) but we were friends and it came up. I felt a huge paradigm shift knowing that people were gay and it started helping me understand myself better. I wasn’t the kind of kid who grew up knowing I was attracted to other women, mostly I was attracted to gay men. (Hello, Keanu Reeves and George Michael.)

bevinbridgetMe and Bridget, who just launched her amazing business coaching! She’s been a little bird supporting me with branding, web stuff and business for years, so excited for her new venture!

I began questioning my sexuality when I was 15. I had no one to talk to about this so I just kept it as a running wonder in the back of my mind. My mom came out for the second time around then.* It was not a bonding experience for us. My Junior and Senior year of high school was really difficult for our relationship, since mom was going through a divorce and my grumpy selfish step dad was still living with us because we couldn’t afford to sell the house (recession) and mom didn’t want to risk me having to leave our great school district. Not a recipe for anyone to be at their most compassionate emotional self. In my perception at the time my mom was not a safe person for me to discuss my sexuality with because we were not safe people for one another emotionally. My mom is awesome and she has been a great safe space for queer kids for years and years as a teacher but we were very much water and oil in high school.

I know now that a teacher at my school was gay (she’s friends with my mom!) and if only teachers were allowed to be openly gay in the mid-90s, my life would have been a lot easier.

miasiaMiasia is an incredibly talented belly dancer from Washington, DC and whenever I possibly could get her up for a gig in NYC I did just that! You should check out her classes and performances!

I came out to myself for real when I was 16 years old and could actually articulate internally that I was attracted to another woman. I told three very close friends who were not in my day to day life. When I got back to high school for my senior year I shoved all of that internal realization deep inside, in spite of a low-level crush on a girl in high school, and tried to keep fitting in even though I never actually fit in.

katestonewallLaurence and Kate Huh, a really vital archivist photographer of NYC queer life.

I never dated anyone in high school, all dance dates were strictly platonic and even though I had some flirtations with boys here and there nothing ever happened. I knew how to keep my armor up as a trauma response to intense bullying I experienced in late elementary and middle school. To this day I still have to work to let my armor down where sex, attraction and flirtation are concerned.

damienstonewallperformanceOne of my favorite performances of Damien’s is “Femmes Bash Back” based on the Femme trans women of color who began the Stonewall uprising by throwing purses and heels at the cops raiding the Stonewall. Let that fictional Stonewall movie be forever proved wrong, since they rewrote history so some white cisgender gay dude threw the first brick. Stay tuned for Happy Birthday Marsha! It is important that our history be preserved accurately and not white-washed.

In college I met a lot more gay folks, especially gay men, and almost everyone was in the closet for some period and eventually came out. It’s so weird to think about that time because now it’s so normal for people to be openly gay that I forgot that I knew a lot of these folks before they came out formally. Even though I knew in my heart I was attracted to women (I identified as bisexual at the time because I hadn’t realized all my big crushes were on gay dudes) I didn’t think I should come out because I hadn’t dated or even kissed anyone romantically. It was all wrapped up in fat girl body self loathing and not feeling like I deserved access to my sexuality. Why bother coming out if I was inherently unfuckable?

shomidjingOur Femme DJ Shomi Noise.

Now I know that my identity has nothing to do with anyone other than myself. I know I’m Femme regardless of whether or not I am partnered with a Butch, I know that I am fuckable whether or not I’m presently having sex, I know that I am kinky even when my floggers are collecting dust.

bevionstagestonewallIf my college-aged self could know how I would turn out, coming out of the closet would have been way easier.

At the beginning of my Junior year of college, at 19 years old, I was really thinking about coming out for real in spite of not having kissed a girl, and then just days later I met my first girlfriend. I was her Resident Advisor, she was a resident on my floor, she had Ani DiFranco posters all over her room (a very late ’90s tell). She wasn’t out to her roommates but as we became friends she came out to me and then we held hands while watching Mary Poppins late one night and it became wildly easy for me to come out because I was young and in love and wanted to tell literally everyone I knew about it. Plus saying, “I have a girlfriend!” is way easier than saying “I need to let you know I identify as LGBTQ.” Since being Femme presenting is invisibilizing to many folks, coming out is Groundhog Day repetitive for me. I tend to drop a “My partner/my girlfriend” or when I was single “My ex-girlfriend” as a way to come out rather than just telling people directly. Somehow that is more seamless for me.

arielbevinEarly photo of me and my friend Ariel Speedwagon.

I’ve had a few more coming outs in my life, like when I got to law school and decided to come out as a lesbian instead of bisexual, when I came out as Fat and Femme, and when I shifted to using queer to identify my sexuality because it better encompassed non-binary gender identities. There’s also coming out as a medical marijuana user (as Melissa Etheridge says,”I believe anybody who smokes cannabis is using it medicinally, whether they consider it so or not”), and coming out as non-monogamous which for me just means I like to be a little free to ethically explore connections with people as they pop-up and adhere to agreements with the person I am partnered with.

melissasjMe and my friend Lissa and Sarah Jenny.

I just can’t endorse coming out enough. I was scared, so so so scared before I came out because I thought I was going to lose friendships, loved ones and access to my dreams. For me, living life authentically, and loving myself for all of me, allows me to feel so free and relaxed that I am more able to focus my energy on making the world safe for other people to do the same. I have had SO MANY DREAMS COME TRUE because I am openly 100% of the time my authentic self. I think global peace starts with inner peace, and we need to be committed to doing the self care and self expression we need to feel at peace.

femmefamilyintention

Our logo intentionally had wings hugging the heart. Sophie designed it and Chris designed our flier.

Queer allies: amplify queer voices on your social media. Tell people you are a safe space and show your support for LGBTQ people. Work to learn how to be a better ally. It’s still dangerous in many spaces to be out as a queer person. Queers who live in countries that are more accepting of queers, learn more and more about LGBTQ refugees and borders and how being queer is sometimes the fight for your life. Offer your resources. I’m hoping to amplify more ways to do that in the coming months as I learn more about displaced LGBTQ folks.

Let’s all make the world more survivable for LGBTQ people and work to make “coming out” obsolete. Wouldn’t it be cool if people got to just grow up to be whoever they really are and love whoever they love and do it to whoever they feel attracted to and have consent and all that stuff?

Happy Coming Out Day!

*It turned out that my mom herself had come out of the closet for a few years in the early 80s. She even rode in Dykes on Bikes in the San Francisco Pride Parade in 1980! After a really traumatizing relationship with a horrible woman, my mom went back in the closet when I was four, dated men and married said step father who started out cool and then got awful and selfish and then after her second divorce she dated a woman and came out for good. So complicated, right? I didn’t come out to her until I came out publicly when I was 19.

miasiaonstageI love that in this photo Miasia is holding herself much like the wings of our logo are holding the heart.

metaueretandjesseTaueret and Jesse were both at the Femme Family Coming Out Party but somehow not in my batch of photos so here’s a cute one I found at a party in the same time period when hunting through my archives. TT made that beautiful hair fascinator herself. She was so talented.

 

 

 

2015-09-21

Femme on Femme, Art and Inspiration: A conversation with GAYmous!

I wrote about the awesomeness that is GAYmous a year ago, when they released their first video (Let’s Pretend We Don’t Have) Feelings. Since then, they’ve released a new self-titled EP and we’re blessed with their newest video, Femme on Femme!

FOF_Bed-1-jpgPizza Cupcake (left) and FX Boi (right).

If poppy new wave and contemporary radically inclusive queer politics had twin babies and they came out as a spandex clad fat genderqueer femme and an LHB (stands for Long Hair Butch), that’s GAYmous. GAYmous‘ sound is reminiscent of all of the magic I loved in the 80s. Do you like You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive? Or What Have I Done to Deserve This by Pet Shop Boys? Or Venus by Bananarama? You should give GAYmous a try!

FOF_Alex-in-Circle-jpg

Femme on Femme is important fat, queer art that gives us representations of fat queer femmes, including femmes of lots of gender presentations including genderqueerdo femmes, femmes of different abilities and racial diversity that is missing in a lot of media representations of queers. Its also full of crystals, glitter, bondage, great outfits (shout out to Size Queen Clothing), pizza tattoos, a queer porn star I recognized from Trouble Films, lingerie, garters, witchcraft, and the Collective Tarot. And an LHB on keyboards and servicing with popcorn and standing to the side while a femme coven does a cake bondage ritual.

I’ve written extensively about Femme on Femme action before and am super excited to see it come alive on screen in this fun and beautiful way!


Queer synth pop duo GAYmous takes you to the magical femme disco witch sex coven of your dreams as singer Pizza Cupcake seduces a sexy new witch recruit with spells, choreographed dances, and kinky rituals.

I took the opportunity to interview the genius duo about art, values and fat queer utopia.

What are your values as a band/queer artists?

Pizza Cupcake: GAYmous values unabashed queerness. We also want to create music and visuals where (gender) queer and fat people can feel seen and celebrated. We also worship at the altar of the synthesizer.

FX Boi: We want to make music that is political, sexy, and embodying. Something that opens up a dance floor. That makes people feel good, feel heard, feel sexy, and music that is very specifically queer.

What inspires you to make art?

Pizza Cupcake: I studied classical music for most of my life and even went to undergrad for vocal performance. I loved the drama of operatic singing but something was missing. I felt like I couldn’t be myself and there wasn’t space for a gender weird fat kinky queer femme in classical music. Starting GAYmous was a happy accident and I will be forever grateful to FX Boi for getting me out of my choir boy shell. It was so liberating collaborating to write original songs instead of singing German Lieder by an old dead white guy.

These days I am inspired by my friends, lovers, and community. I love taking an inside joke and turning it into a kinky queer vocabulary lesson for the masses. I was certainly inspired by your Queer Lexicon posts on your blog. I think I’m always creating art for younger me, a fat, closeted, suburban homo who was hungry for any representation.

FX Boi: I’ve been writing songs since I was 12. To me, it’s just a part of my life, always has been. It’s actually a bit of a compulsion. When I was a young rural queer, it was definitely my lifeline. I felt really isolated and would spend hours behind closed doors writing songs and attempting to create a multitrack recorder with two tape decks because I wanted to write many parts, not just vocals and guitar. Let me tell you, some of these songs were downright terrible, but they were all exercises and therapy for me. I’ve been in bands and done solo music all my life – indie rock bands, metal bands, math rock, punk bands, and now electronic music for the past decade or so after I fell in love with synthesizers and realized my palette could expand from a 5-piece rock band to an infinite number of sounds, shapes, textures and moods.

In reference to GAYmous, it’s about creating queer-specific pop music, by queers, for queers and creating spaces at shows that are specifically for queer people and queerdos. In my own solo project, Sapphic Lasers, I write songs about all sorts of things – alternative masculinities, radical butch-femme love songs, kink, celestial bodies, interrogating whiteness, being a small town country boi and jaded romantic at heart, etc.

gaymousfanartFan art from the GAYmous Facebook Page by Anna Archie Bongiovanni!

How do you carve out time to make art?

Pizza Cupcake: I’m a Gemini so I naturally get super excited about projects and then leave them all half done in tiny piles. I’ve been trying to curb this tendency my whole life and GAYmous has helped me figure out time management like a boss. I’m constantly jotting down ideas in a journal, leaving voice memos on my phone, and humming to myself. A lot of these ideas get crystallized together so I make band practice after my day job a priority. I’m also a big fan of those artist way type activities like morning pages to get all my ideas out.

FX Boi: I’m an Aries, which means I have a lot of gusto and energy. I’m very busy and time-challenged, but I make sure to make “art dates” with myself where I will work on editing, songwriting, creating. I also have found that I don’t feel balanced or healthy without carving out this time. Sometimes I squeeze in an hour or so of songwriting in between things (which often makes me late) or I dedicate a whole night or afternoon to working on things. A lot of songwriting actually happens in my head. Melodies or ideas will come to me and I’ll record them walking down the street into my phone and often get weird looks. My ridiculously talented friend, Nomy Lamm, and I actually compared voice notes on our phone once – it turns out she does the same thing! We thought it might be fun to trade phones and finish writing each other’s songs or do a compilation of these funny, fragmented voice notes. Writing GAYmous songs is usually pretty fun and seamless and collaborative with Pizza Cupcake. Whereas I often get more stuck on songs I’m writing for myself. Sometimes I just chew on a song I’m working on in my mind for a while and take it in different directions.

gaymouscasualdonut

What would be your idea of utopia?

Pizza Cupcake: No one ever says the phrase “good fatty” and the only trolls live under bridges. Touring internationally is cheap and easy. All the gym bros have gone missing. Dating scarcity feels doesn’t exist. Everything good feels abundant. Breakfast tacos are found everywhere not just in Texas. Femmes reign supreme. All plus size clothing is cute.

FX Boi: Capitalism, white supremacy, ableism, patriarchy, queerphobia, transphobia, fatphobia, classism, etc. comes crashing down; we destroy all clocks and use their remains to make art projects and have tons of “leisure” time to work on our passions, grow things, cook things, eat things, love people, fuck, lounge, swim, explore, feel sun on our cheeks, lay in grass, try new things, read, sleep, make things, collaborate. It’s like one, big long, eternal queer potluck/skillshare/sex and pool party. And everyone brings stuff like mac n cheese and cookies instead of kale salad. Oh and utopia has no bosses. Except #femmebosses.

gaymousepPlease throw dollars at this amazing queer band and buy their EP!!

2013-10-25

FEMME SEX WEEK: Femmes Behind the Sheets

After the success of FAT SEX WEEK and GAY SEX WEEK it only made sense to round out the trifecta with FEMME SEX WEEK. Check out the tag to see all of the entries in this topic and check back soon for more amazing Femme sex talk!

People who are not Femme are often mystified by Femmes in this kind of reverent and beguiled way. There’s some good mystery in the classic Femme tropes that even I sometimes fall under the spell of (like, “How does she get her hair to look like that?” I wonder with stars in my eyes) but I have a tag on my blog about the secret lives of Femmes for a reason–to kind of take the intimidation factor down a couple of notches.

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Weird anonymous photo series I took in Vegas.

For FEMME SEX WEEK I wanted to talk about masturbation and desire in a way that kind of pulls back the sheets on what turns Femmes on. There’s no one way to be Femme (there’s, in fact, approximately 1,467,987 ways to be Femme) so obviously there’s no one kind of sex or fantasy that turns on all Femmes.

I’ve collected a sampling from some anonymous Femme sources, some I know personally, some are friends of friends, and I’ve put them together below. They represent a cross section of race, sexuality, body size, Femme presentation and gender, with about a fifteen year spread on age. From a Latina Hard Femme Switch to a Cis White Straight Femme.

In response to the question What do you think about when you masturbate:

All sorts of things! butch & femme & genderqueer daddies punishing me for being bad, humiliation, face riding, all manner of power dynamics (locker room scenes, the overwrought trope of teacher/student, once I even thought about my boo & I playing out some kind of kinky red riding hood scene in which they were the big bad wolf & I was “fleeing” from them.. hot!). Femme on femme action: glitter, messy lipstick everywhere, those beautiful glass octopussy dildos, big heart pillows, a canopy bed. Shower sex: with those suction handcuffs! sex in a big ass clawfoot tub full of bubbles & petals sometimes rocks my self-fucking world.

I often think about a scene I want to be in. Being tied up, getting so close to coming, then not getting permission to. In my hottest masturbation sessions I’ll edge so close a few times then finally “get permission” to come in what will be a all over convulsing, feel the bottoms of my feet throb, shattering orgasm. I’ll sometimes think of a sweetie that I have a crush on and what making love to them might be like.

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What I think about when I am masturbating depends on the day and the mood. I don’t watch much porn anymore. If I am watching anything it’s medical videos which have always done the trick. I’ve always been turned on by the physiological responses of arousal, in particular. The quickening of someone’s heart – It’s something that just can’t be faked.

Without multimedia, I think of physical sensations. The tickle of coarse beard hair on my inner thigh. The drag of tightening rope against my skin. The surge of power I feel when a cock hardens in my fist. Hands all over me. Arms and chests and necks and smell, that drunk feeling I get putting my face against someone’s skin and breathing in.

Sometimes I think about what I hear too. A sharp intake of breath. The plaintive sound of a man begging, and when words disjoint themselves and turn into unintelligible sound. I love and adore and get off on the pleasure of others.

And sometimes I think about nothing at all — like a sky without clouds. Sometimes when I masturbate I am a body, not a brain. That’s the mindset I need to be in to come with a partner as well. I remember the first time a boy went down on me (my second partner, but the first one who ever cared if I had an orgasm). I was putting on a big show but I couldn’t quite get there. He stopped and looked at me, and said, “I don’t care what happens because I am enjoying myself. So don’t worry about me. Just think about you.” I stopped trying to fake it and cleared my mind completely. That was the first time I came in front of someone else and I realized the blank mind is what I do when I am alone. I have nothing to worry about and no one to perform for. It’s just me.

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My fantasies can change a lot from day to day, but I fantasize a lot about power play. Being raised Catholic, I still have a lot of mental blocks to asking for sex or making choices about what I want in the moment, as doing those things can immediately put me on a path of self-shaming (how dare I actually want sex?!) that shuts me down. So when I’m masturbating I tend toward scenarios where one player (it’s rarely “me”; I don’t actually think of my own physical body when I fantasize, instead choosing to mentally inhabit one or more characters in my fantasy) is enjoying being sexually dominated or even coerced into sex that they end up enjoying.

During the course of a fantasy, I usually switch perspectives multiple times. I may even align myself with both/all the players in quick succession, which might sound confusing, but plays out mentally a bit like some good camera work in a well made porn.

I also read a lot of fan fiction, and must admit that it has influenced my masturbatory fantasies. I’ve recently become quite enamored of tentacles, lately. They fit in well with the “you don’t want it until you’re getting it, and it’s suddenly the only thing you want” theme of my fantasies, and I love that thinking of them makes masturbating feel a bit like a sci-fi novel.

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FEMME SEX WEEK continues through next week with some exciting interviews, toy reviews and porn!

Does my artwork help you feel better in your body and more alive? I’m doing a fundraiser to help sustain my website, blogging and finishing my memoir. If you can donate at the $15 level I’ll send you a postcard with an affirmation on it! There are lots of other prizes, too, check them out here! Thank you for reading and being part of this community.

2013-06-28

Eight Things to Keep in Mind For Your First Sex Party

There are a couple of not safe for work photos in this post…

It’s Pride Week and the close to Gay Stamina Month and what better thing to talk about that makes us really gay than… sex. My friend Elisabeth even addressed it in her wedding column!

A few friends of mine are preparing for their first ever play party, so I’ve been doling out advice right and left. It’s called “play” but sometimes folks interchange the word “sex” or the acronym “BDSM.” Whatever you call it, it is a social occasion in which folks are free, perhaps even encouraged, to engage in public sexual or kink behaviors. It’s a good place for people who are exhibitionists and voyeurs, as well as people who want a dose of sexual energy in their lives. There are a bunch of different reasons folks might want to go to a sexy party, a few of which I’ve addressed below. I believe being good in bed is one third chemistry, one third listening to your partner and one third skill. Sex parties are great places to learn new skills and better sexual communication.

I only attend sex parties sporadically and rarely play with strangers–and I don’t play unless I really feel like I want to. When I want to feel agency over myself as a sexual being I like sex parties a lot for that. The energy is usually really good and liberating and it often feels like a way to reclaim my body after a break-up, even if I don’t play at all. And I’m always looking for ways to do that.

My first play party was about a decade ago. I was still living in Philadelphia when I made the trek to Throb on the Lower East Side. It was a queer women & trans play party, the likes of which I had heard about in dyke literature–Michelle Tea books, On Our Backs magazine–and the fringes of my sex positive friend groups. I was in a monogamous relationship (with some make-out freedom) and I’m not sure entirely why Seth was okay with me going without her but I think it was an adventure I felt in every part of my twenty-four year old heart that I needed to have.

I think it was a release party for Sugar High Glitter City and I was too shy to ask Shar and Jackie to sign my copy. I found that first party intimidating but liberating, and not as scary as I thought but still scary in a this is a really new thing I don’t know how to be sort of way. Over the years I’ve become really fond of parties that hire a good DJ (nothing kills my boner like bad music) and have at least one room that feels like a regular party and isn’t very serious. I like to chat with folks and sometimes people are very serious about kink. I’m not. I remember having folks tell me “I heard you were flogging so and so at Switch and making her recite Britney Spears lyrics.”

Like I said, I don’t go to play parties often but I enjoy them. There are some folks who make this a huge part of their life–taking weekend trips all across the country to go to parties. So this list is just some suggestions from my perspective and I encourage you to ask other folks for their ideas as well.

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I consulted my friend Felice Shays about her tips as a long time player, author of Brutal Affection, and the person who flogged me for the first time during a demo carnival at Throb the second or third time I went. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

1. Brush up on consent practices.

Just because someone is at a party doesn’t mean they want to engage in play or sex, or engage in it with you. They might just be there testing the waters or just not that into you or what you want to do. Remember, without no there is no yes. But also, they might just be shy and want to, so it is worth asking and being prepared to hear “No” or “Yes” and remember that asking is the victory, not the outcome.

Some parties have explicit consent policies and practices–you should read all of those before you get there so you have an idea of what to expect. I suggest reading the Learning Good Consent Zine to any person who wants to engage in sexual activity with another person ever (i.e. everyone), but it’s especially good to do this before you go to an explicit play space. Also my tips on How to be an Ally to Your Fat Lover are relevant here, too. Be body positive!

The Myth Party is one of my favorite play parties ever and I suggest cruising their “rules and security” section. They are very thoughtful and awesome. I appreciate that everyone there adheres to these consent policies because it makes me feel comfortable as a queer woman who has sex with folks of non-normative bodies and genders to know that the multi-gendered partiers are all on the same page as I am with consent.

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Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

2. Brush up on your talking to strangers.

I’ve written extensively here about how to get over shyness and ask people out on dates. The same principle applies at a play party–nobody ever died of awkward.

Felice suggested making it a goal to talk to at least one person you don’t know. I had the goal to talk to five people I didn’t know at the single’s mixer I went to a couple of months ago. It’s hard to talk to strangers (even for some extroverts) especially in a sexually charged/awkwardish environment. But probably everyone else is feeling a little nervous, too. Even experienced players get nervous, awkward and consider leaving. Best just to dive in and get through it so you can get to the good stuff!

Felice also said, “If you see something or someone interesting talk to them. Wait until they’re done w whatever or whomever they’re doing.” It’s normal to feel like a weirdo in unfamiliar social settings but remember a play party is just like a regular party. Use a little grace and finesse about when and how you talk to people. Be appreciative not creepy.

Take advantage of cruising wristbands and use that as your opening with people. “I notice you’re looking to engage in S/M play as a top…” Submit party here in Brooklyn has a whole cruising wristband system.

The one-liner that works best in my experience at play parties is, “Would you like to negotiate something?” An ex of mine said going up to people at parties is like shooting fish in a barrel because most folks at women/trans events are too shy to make the first move. Be bold, the rewards are plentiful!

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Felice is a mega-tron babe. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

3. Go with a specific desire in mind but no expectations.

This was from my roommate, Damien Luxe. I think it’s a great idea to have a desire so that way when you do talk to someone or they talk to you and the question comes up whether or not you want to negotiate something, you have things in mind. Examples might be, bondage, flogging, spanking, sex, making out, cuddling, watching porn together, watching scenes together, doing each other’s make-up, learning how to do something.

But going with no expectations is really important. If your getting laid is the only way you’ll feel successful at the party, you probably won’t be successful. Going with the flow and being open to genuine connections is probably better. I learned how to just let expectations go and be appreciative of the experiences I’ve had and wound up much happier (be this at conferences I thought would be total boink fests, and dates I’ve thought were sure things but then there was no chemistry).

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Felice giving a glitter spank demo at Rebel Cupcake. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

4. Interact with the host!

Felice suggests “Find the host and ask for a tour and or offer some help.” Getting the lay of the land is really helpful right away. Often volunteering at events is a really great way to meet people you may want to negotiate play with. It’s a good ice breaker, too, and can help you feel more brave, as these parties are all about stepping outside your comfort zone.

I was the Mistress of the Parlor for a play party my friend Trent threw a few Pride weekends ago called “Transaction.” I got to greet people and play matchmaker and ice break. I loved that job! It didn’t get me laid but I think I was secret monogamous at the time so I wasn’t really looking for action.

If you think the host is hot (and probably they are, and very good at what they do), Felice has some specific advice. “Don’t wait til an hour before closing time to ask the party host to flog you or fuck you – they’re possibly cleaning up condoms or wiping down equipment or fucked or flogged out already.”

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I was searching desperately for a photo of LeRoi Prince in Captain Kirk drag to illustrate a point later on in this blog entry but I had to settle for this insanely hot photo of them in a vest and shirt. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

5. Dress in a way that makes you feel confident and sexy.

I’m not so into the leather scene aesthetic of black tank top/tee shirt and black jeans and black boots. Or camouflage anything. Sure, I like 90s style on the right person, but I just think that’s a “safe” look and good style really makes you stand out. How about gray skinny jeans? Your boots should be fabulous. If they were two-toned cowboy boots that would really turn my head.

When I was still pretty new to kink stuff and going out a lot after the end of my engagement, my bestie Rachael came to town to teach me to flog. When deciding what to wear to the party we went to (I think it was Switch at Paddles, may it rest in peace) she highly endorsed me wearing a gold dress. “It’s important to stand out,” she said.

Lots of folks default to the standard slip dress or lingerie, which is fine if that is your aesthetic. But I don’t shy away from a costume and was pretty proud of what I wore to do that hostessing gig at Transaction, which is the same outfit I wore to Femmecee Rebel Cupcake a couple of months later.

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From Rebel Cupcake, August 2010. The fact that I was 31 at the time is sort of startling because it doesn’t feel that long ago and I still have all of the elements of that outfit in my wardrobe. Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

Corsets are good, wear great underwear and “consider shaving your personal bits or whatever else you consider primping before you get there,” says Felice.

Most play parties have a place to change, and people often make use of this. No one expects you to arrive “ready.” This is one of those great examples of a place where you can bring multiple outfit changes. At a party I went to with a sweetheart in service to me (and I was performing) I had three pairs of shoes and took advantage of having someone to lean on while I changed heels several times.

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Finding that photo of me meant finding a photo of my darling Miss Mary Wanna from 2010, too. What about wearing a hot apron and fishnets to a play party? Photo by Nogga Schwartz.

6. Mindfully imbibe.

Lots of parties are BYOB. Some are sober (keep your eyes out for that). But be mindful of using alcohol and other drugs when you’re playing. It really messes with consent and boundaries and you don’t want to do something you wouldn’t soberly decide to do with your body or to someone else’s body. There are many other chances in life to get fucked up and a play party doesn’t need to be that place.

But, you know, if you need a beer or a makers on the rocks to ease into things, go ahead. Just be forewarned that there are people who won’t play with you if you have been drinking or using other drugs.

Also, drink lots of water. Felice: “Drink water. Use lube. Drink water.”

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I’ve worn this outfit to play parties, too. This is my dear friend Anne!

7. Pack your toys!

Lots of parties have the big equipment, like beds, crosses to lay someone on, cages, etc… But you have to supply the flogger, canes, dildos, vibes, whatever. What you might want used on you is a great thing to bring because not all tops come carrying all that they have in their repertoire of skills. And if you have something you want to use that’s a good thing to maybe flag with casually in a back pocket. Just a thought for cruising purposes.

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Drae Campbell at Rebel Cupcake NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

8. Kiss somebody.

Felice says simply, “Kiss somebody!” Making out is fun and no big deal. I used to throw make-out parties all the time and they were really fun. I had all these games and got people in huge groups (50 or so) to play where it forced them to interact with people and either kiss, make out or friendly handshake and it was a way to negotiate play and also meet new folks.

In summary, sex parties are totally a fun way to play with energy and get really into your body and your desire. I highly endorse a couple of them before you decide they aren’t right for you. And if they are, you might find yourself on Fet Life getting all up in it every weekend like the sex hobbyists I know.

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The time we had a makeout contest at Rebel Cupcake NO PANTS NO PROBLEM. Photo by Kelsey Dickey.

Folks in New York who want to give play parties a try I suggest:

July 11th–the hardly ever happens so catch it while you can Myth Party. It’s like the nightclub of the future, where folks are dancing and mingling but also fucking and playing and wearing Star Trek costumes.

It’s a great answer to the problematic nature of “who exactly is women and trans” because it’s not. It’s a fluid gender party where the needs and comfort of queers of all bodies, genders and ethnicities is privileged. You have to apply to get an invite and it’s definitely, definitely worth it. Especially if you just go to be at a party with sexual energy and aren’t sure whether you want to play. I went as a performer last time and was super impressed with it and felt no impetus to get down with my sweetheart, but felt welcome to. She and I had fun playing with a new dynamic, and briefly playing fetch with one of my roommate’s houseboys who was playing the part of Rover that evening. Pet play may not be my thing but it’s all play, and sometimes fetch is fun no matter who is doing the fetching. These parties are about experimenting and being free.

July 13thUnchained. It’s new, I’ve never been, but a trusted friend of mine went and gave it their stamp of approval so I am passing it on.

Every last SaturdaySubmit. It’s a Women and Trans party I’ve been to many times. They have a great in-house DJ (Angel Boi). The space is a basement, which sometimes smells like basement and is not my favorite olfactory experience but it’s a fun group of folks that seem to change every year or so I make the trek to the basement.

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