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

2012-03-06

Get Me Embodied: Ecstasy is Necessary Book Review and Interview With Author Barbara Carrellas

Barbara Carrellas radically changed how I saw my sexual identity without even knowing it. I went to a workshop she gave at the Lesbian Sex Mafia on fire play. Even though I had existed in community with tons of kinky folks, I never thought it was for me. And then I saw how empowering and beautiful it was to set someone on fire for pleasure and connection. All of my fire safety skills from Girl Scouts were so thrilled about the care and attention put into the act, and I was immediately drawn to the kind of connection and trust created through those acts.

Barbara is an author, sex/life coach and sex educator. Her new book, Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide, is on a blog tour and today is my day! Welcome to the blog, Ecstasy! Would you like a cup of tea?

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Me and the Miracle Whips, a feminist performance troupe from LA.

I said hell yes to the blog tour mostly because I think Barbara is awesome and also because I want to learn how to have better, more fulfilling sex, I identify as being in the relentless pursuit of my joy and getting a galley copy of her new book is a pretty rad perk of being a blogger. This book was beyond anything I imagined it was going to be.

This book is an empowerment manual for embodiment. It is a road map to learn how to go into your body and get to know yourself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I spend at least 6 hours a week diligently working on these connections for myself and there was a lot I learned about myself within the first seventy pages.

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Photo and body paint by Camrose Artes Infinitae.

You begin to examine your values, needs and desires are right away. I was really surprised when I was working through my values, since this timing coincides with my thinking and talking about how I find balance and settle on my priorities. Distilling your core values to six main tenets tells you what your priorities should be, gives you some guidance as to how to align your life.

Get a cute notebook when you’re getting the book. You’ll need it for your work going inside and becoming the expert about your own body.

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It can be frustrating as a single person without many regular sex partners to want to improve your sex life and not really know where to start. I am a big believer in the power of attraction–that you attract what you put out. This book is a great place to work from within to draw to you what it is you want from a partner. I felt not once alienated by my single status. Barbara also begins the book by giving a shout out to “they” as a gender neutral singular pronoun and the book is explicitly queer positive.

I was able to ask Barbara a few questions that I thought the readers of Queer Fat Femme would enjoy and also really just wanted to pick her brain for things that were going to help me on my ongoing journey for body self-love. It’s win-win, we’re all on the same team!

What is one great thing that folks who feel disembodied can do to open themselves up to ecstasy?

Breathe-often and deep and full. Send your breath down into your torso so deeply that you can tickle your genitals from the inside. Use your breath to experience your body from the inside out. When we feel disembodied we often feel like we can’t place our bodies comfortably in the world. Go within. Try and sense the universe inside your own body. When you orgasm, instead of trying to blast out of your body, dive deep within. Revel in the love and dark mystery of your inner-verse.

Do you have any advice on learning to feel comfortable with a new sex or play partner?

I like the Tantric approach. Accept what is the way it is. Don’t fight it, use it. Sit across from your partner, gaze into their eyes and breathe. This will no doubt be uncomfortable at first. Don’t fight it. Giggle and squirm if you need to but don’t speak. Just keep breathing and eye gazing. As you breathe, gently allow your feelings of nervousness or fear to begin to move toward excitement and anticipation. You will both soon feel an emotional space open up that is safe and comfortable to occupy together. You might want to follow that with some wordless, safe sensual touch. Then you can begin to speak. Whatever kind of speaking follows (negotiation, limits, safer sex, desires, etc.) will be much more easily spoken and received.

How can we help ourselves feel worthy of joy & ecstasy?

Ask yourself, “If I did feel worthy of joy and ecstasy what would that look like? What would that feel like? What would I do or do differently if this were true? If you can’t imagine this for yourself, imagine how someone you admire would feel or act. Then fake it till you feel it. I mean it! Act “as if.” Think of this practice as your emotional rehearsal space and show up for rehearsal daily. You will eventually-probably soon-feel some measure of joy and ecstasy. That will lead to more joy and ecstasy. The joy and the ecstasy will eliminate any feeling of unworthiness. One caveat: this is not a one time transformation. It’s a skill. Once you’ve learned the process you can use it whenever the not-good-enough feelings threaten your joy.

Isn’t Barbara so smart and grounding? I feel calmer just reading her responses. Imagine how great it would be to see her live! Check out her book tour schedule here.

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Me, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Kit Yan, Drae Campbell, and Miss Mary Wanna at Cupcake Cabaret, a show about the radical act of self-love and empowerment I produced last winter.

The book is out and you can buy it! I, of course, as always implore you to get it from your local feminist sex toy store or indie book store. But if you want to buy it online you can do it through this link. Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide

And there’s so much to read about Ecstasy is Necessary all along the blog tour! Here’s the schedule below:

1 March Kate Bornstein : Kate Bornstein’s Blog for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.

2 March Viviane : Viviane’s Sex Carnival~A Blog about Sex and Sexuality.

5 March Betty Herbert : Love in the Long Run

6 March Bevin Branlandingham : The Queer, Fat, Femme Guide to Life (That’s me!!)

7 March Kendra Holliday : Striving to bring shy folks out of their shell, and offer a safe haven for those exploring their sexuality and creative side

8 March Sinclair Sexsmith : The sex, gender and relationship adventures of a kinky, queer, butch top

9 March Nancy L. Hill : Cultivating a Beautiful Life

12 March Andrea Zanin : Thought on Sex and Life

13 March Rubyyy Jones: Love Lust & Light

14 March Jill Boyd: Smart-ass Virgins Make Better Whoopie

15 March Heal Your Life: Live blogging with Barbara!

2011-10-18

GAY SEX WEEK: The Queer Fat Femme Guide to Better Sex

Hi friends and welcome to NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK, where each day this week I am going to talk about GAY SEX to increase LGBT presence in the media. Monday I addressed how to find other people to have gay sex with you. Today we’re chatting about how to have better sex.

I’m calling this GAY SEX WEEK in a satirical way in order to increase the presence of GAY SEX in the media (in reaction to a HuffPo article calling for less sanitized GAY SEX in the media) but really I mean queer sex.

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Miss Mary Wanna making it rain at the Zombie Queer Cabaret I produced in 2009.

I want to make explicit that my working definition of GAY SEX is any sex that a queer person has who wants to call it sex. What gets you off? That’s GAY SEX. What counts as GAY SEX to you today might not tomorrow and that’s okay. Variety is one of the very best attributes about GAY SEX.

Most of the links in this post are Not Safe For Work (NSFW) just so you know.

Here at QueerFatFemme.com I try to make it clear that there are no queer gatekeepers. For example, Femmes are still queer even when they are doing it to cisdudes. So when one of my Femme pals started doing it to a cisdude and reported back that the cunnilingus was surprisingly great (“Better than a lesbian! Best of my life!” she shockingly announced) I took my charm and talk show host realness to the source. Hanging out with this boy I asked him “So what made you so great at eating pussy?” (To be fair there was a lot of bourbon involved.)

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Talk show host realness. Zombie-style.

He told me he read a book! A pussy eating book.*

Mindblowing Sex: A Woman’s Guide

I heart Diana Cage and think you should buy all of her books.

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When this happened again to another friend who started dating a nerdy cisboy I knew there was a theme–some people are just naturally good in bed and others take that natural talent and add to it by studying ways to please their partners. To sum up–nerds are good in bed! You can study and get better than you already are!

So I asked around to my nerdy friends who are rumored to be good in bed what their favorite resources happen to be and created a little round-up.

One time on FemmeCast my friend Eden said that the key to being good in bed is to “never fall in love with your own line”–everyone’s body is different and you’re going to have to learn to pay attention to what your partner responds to and what they want. A trick that works on Femme A might not work on Femme B. (It might, though, so there’s always fun in trying.)

Communicating with your partner is the best reference guide. Listen to what they have to say about what feels hot to their bodies, how they like their bodies referred to and respect their boundaries. I firmly believe this is a conversation to have outside of the bedroom. Over dinner, perhaps, or over cocktails. It’s just a lot less vulnerable than getting a critique while you’re all naked and sweaty. Also, ask about fantasies and things they would like to try out. And bring some fantasies about what you would like to do to them to the table. I never even considered the magic of female ejaculation until a partner had studied up on it and brought it as a suggestion.

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Heather and Damien as Zombie Femmes. Genius.

One friend suggested these basic tomes to learn how to be a good and versatile lover.

Orgasms by Lou Paget.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex: An Indispensable Guide to Pleasure & Seduction by Barbara Keesling Ph.D.

This same friend also suggested “The occasional men’s magazine, astrology guide, watching queer porn like QueerPorn.TV and the classic Crash Pad.”

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Me, one of my favorite porn stars Lorelei Lee and Bambi Galore.

Since I am engaging in some sex Real Talk from my own life this week, I will fully admit to having been the grateful recipient of a lot of sex tips from Maxim Magazine. Like everything geared towards heteros and not queers, take what you like and leave the rest, but those men’s mags round up some good advice, much of which is interesting to women. Some of the best sex I’ve had started with a tip a lover read in Maxim.

Her final recommendation was Urban Tantra by Barbara Carrellas, who is a queer femme. I’ve been very curious about this book since I took a class given by Barbara–I like the link between sex and spirituality.

I can’t recommend Urban Tantra highly enough!

I asked a gay boy friend where he goes to learn more about sex. He said “I’ve always learned new things from other gay men. They’re really willing to teach you–hand’s on. It’s a great way to pick up boys.” In fact, he said, men rarely won’t or don’t talk about sex. (I am sure this is different for lots of folks but I thought it was a neat way to combine a thirst for knowledge with getting laid.)

My favorite place to go for information about sex and sex techniques is Autostraddle. If I want to know more about something or try something new I’ll google [the sex act I am looking for] + Autostraddle.com. They have hard working editorial staff publishing round-ups at the end of each week on NSFW Sundays.

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AfroTitty. Meow.

It was via Autostraddle I found KittyStryker’s “F*ck Me, I’m Fat: A Hot Guide to Fat Sex.” It is a pretty exhaustive round-up of fatty sex tips. I was ready to have more to add but by the end I was like, “Well, that’s most of it.” My addition to the fat sex round-up is to consider wearing a strap-on on your belly instead of closer to your crotch for better leverage. I had a lover pull that on me once and we were able to change things up a lot.

Zines are a super rad resource and there is an amazing zine called Fucking Trans Women. Issues are available on the website as a PDF and I think it is well worth it–how-to guides, sex stories, told by trans women for trans women and their lovers.

It can be sort of alienating to read all this stuff about becoming a better lover when you don’t have someone handy to try things out on, so I suggest learning how to be a better lover to yourself. This is a set of skills that will never expire. My friend Matie’s store Self Serve Toys in New Mexico has a great guide to trying out what works for you sex toy-wise and it’s a locally owned queer and feminist business that ships worldwide. You can even call them at the store and ask questions and get recommendations.

I just stumbled across some good FREE EDUCATIONAL PORN on another feminist sex toy store website, the Smitten Kitten. They star queer femmes Tristan Taormino, Courtney Trouble and Dylan Ryan among others and seem pretty rad. (I am having trouble loading them on my macbook so I can’t get them to go past the first minute.) Check them out and let me know what you think!

Also, don’t forget now and again QueerFatFemme.com has the good sex tips. Lola Dean’s time-tested blow job tips are really great!

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Lola Dean!

So, okay, I hope you acquired new resources from this post and have some really great new stuff to learn about GAY SEX for NATIONAL QUEERFATFEMME.COM GAY SEX WEEK.

*Here I am linking to Amazon for book buying but I think that you should get your sex ed books from your favorite feminist sex toy store. However, if you want to buy online and use my linky to get anything at amazon (whether I link right to it or you go rogue and buy a Wii) I get a tiny referral fee and it helps me buy more queer books.

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