Episode 077: Kenton from Funkit Toys

Episode the seventy-seventh; wherein the Pageist talks silicone sex toys–the process of making them and the hows, whats, and wherefores–with Kenton from Funkit Toys.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Use the code pageist and get 25% off on Circlet.com ‘Erotica for Geeks’. The code is good until the end of March.
  • They also have a current call for submissions for asexual romance, the particulars of which are here. Bookmark their calls for submissions page and keep up with what they’re looking for here.
  • New countries! Bosnia and Herzegovina, Puerto Rico, Morocco
  • There has been some correspondence from some very kind people–the show was called ‘delightfully nerdy’, which warmed my heart.

4.06 Interview:

1.17.05 Closing Remarks:

Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker

(source)

{This is an extended version of the text of the book review from episode 74 of The Pageist.}

This episode’s book is Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker. It’s a collection of essays from a range of diverse authors concerning how consent is lacking in various areas of society. Basically all areas of society. In the foreword, Laurie Penny says:

This collection is unique in that it makes the essential links between consent at the individual and sexual level and consent at the level of law, society, and governance.

Consent doesn’t only happen in the bedroom—it’s not something that should only be taught once people attain the age of majority and begin negotiating sex. It’s about asking for a favour from a work mate, how doctors treat patients, how law enforcement treats the public and so on. It’s about respecting the word ‘no’ rather than trying to talk people into doing whatever it is they don’t want to do—go to a concert that will make them uncomfortable when they’d rather have a quiet conversation, for example.

We’re taught not to respect ‘no’. We’re taught to persuade people around to what we want—in everything. ‘It won’t take long, just help me out with this thing you just said no to.’

So you get a whole bunch of people doing a lot of things they really don’t want to—including sex. The goal is to wear people down—convince them to do the thing you want. Then you ‘win’. Congratulations. You overrode another person’s comfort level.

This book shows how ingrained non-consent or unconsensual behaviour is in Western culture and offers some solutions, but it will be a big job.

The book is broken down into sections focusing on consent in the bedroom, school, jail, workplace, home, hospital and community. Within the first six segments there are three essays, with four pieces in the final section.

The first essay is ‘Sex and Love When You Hate Yourself and Don’t Have Your Shit Together’ by JoEllen Notte

This entire piece spoke to me on a profound level, but there were a couple of quotes I wanted to share. This first one is:

Many people don’t love themselves. They can’t. They won’t ever. Simply telling them they have to do that before they can have the love of anyone else not only is cruel, but can backfire dramatically.

If your brain is wired for depression or some other delightful form of neurological hell, you are just not going to be able to find the warm fuzzies for yourself—no matter how many other people tell you how worthwhile and amazing you are. Someone saying you have to before anyone else will love you makes someone think, ‘Guess no one is ever going to love me, then. Just like I thought.’

The other quote is:

Going with the flow is not consent. Trying to be unobtrusive is not consent. Being afraid to bother anyone with your problems is not consent. Not wanting to cause drama is not consent. Not wanting to be a buzzkill is not consent. Not wanting your luck to run out with the awesome partner who is with you in spite of your mental illness is not consent. Not wanting the hot partner you’ve just met to think you’re high maintenance is not consent. Hiding yourself to make someone else’s life easier is not consent.

I lucked out in a big way in that my husband Walter is an incredible human who accepts me just as I am, but look at how I frame that—he’s incredible for accepting me as I am. People should just do that. They should just know that each other person is a collection of thoughts and quirks and issues and gifts and accept it as a full package. He’s never made me feel badly about all my stuff. Other people, though… I have to worry about all those things with other people. Other people make me tired.

The next piece is by A.V. Flox and is called ‘The Legal Framework of Consent Is Worthless’.

There are some great quotes here, too.

“people say yes in the moment for a myriad of reasons—because they mean it, because they mean it at the time, because they’re afraid of the consequences of saying no, because they’ve experienced trauma and saying yes makes them feel like they have some control over the situation, because they don’t think their no will be heard, etc. … We experience things in our past differently as we gain more information and grow as people—something that once made me angry might be funny years later, for example. Why wouldn’t consent be similar?”

One of the things the MeToo movement has pushed to the forefront are people who apparently know exactly how they would behave in every single situation ever. ‘Why didn’t she leave?’ ‘Why didn’t she punch him?’ ‘She should have said no more forcefully.’ ‘Why did she continue to spend time with the guy.’ These people come in both male and female editions and they can all get in the bin, frankly. Unless you have actually lived that person’s life and therefore have all of their experiences and reactions and are actually there for that specific interaction then you cannot judge what happened or the choices they made. They don’t owe you, armchair assaulter, an explanation. Stop re-victimizing people.

Sometimes you don’t even realise what’s going on or why it’s making you so uncomfortable until much, much, much later. And then, when you’ve started processing the trauma, someone says, ‘I would have left immediately.’
‘Not if you were me and had my whole life and experiences up to that point, because you wouldn’t have realised what was going on. That is what I am telling you.’

This particular essay addresses how, when people talk about their assaults, often, The Public isn’t interested if you don’t press charges or if there isn’t a conviction or otherwise centres the criminal justice system in a highly personal, traumatic experience. The author says:

I firmly believe that we have made a mistake in accepting a legal framework in our analysis of consent. The well-being of people in our lives is not a legal matter, but an ethical one.

The law is cold and mechanical and ethics are human. Someone tells you about their horrific assault and you say, ‘Charges or it doesn’t count!’ Like it has to go in some ledger somewhere that makes it Official. It happened to a human. It’s Official. There are no ‘UnOfficial Assaults’.

But there are twenty-two essays in this book and a great afterword so I don’t have time for a longer rant. There weren’t really any weak pieces in this—every one was thought-provoking in its own way—and the authors came from a diverse range of backgrounds. I’m going to have to skip some due to time constraints, but it’s not a snub.

Some of the pieces were more about things I was familiar with and ready to power fist and yell about and others opened my eyes to things that were right in front of me but that I hadn’t considered before, which is one of my favourite things about reading.

One of those was from the In the Jail section. The essay ‘The Kids Aren’t All Right: Consent and Our Miranda Rights’ by Navarre Overton. In this the author talks about the show Cops being on from the time she was six—it was everywhere—so she was very familiar with the Miranda warning ‘You have the right to remain silent and all that’ So when she was first arrested at fifteen she thought she knew what it meant. She says:

And it’s not that I didn’t understand that I could remain silent; I didn’t understand that doing so couldn’t be used against me. Pop culture discourages invoking your fifth-amendment rights. Crime dramas routinely paint suspects who do so as being guilty—remaining silent means a suspect has something to hide. I thought that invoking my rights would be as good as admitting guilt. So I participated. I answered their questions. I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. I was worried the truth wouldn’t be believed. So, I admitted to the crime hoping for leniency. I just wanted to go home.

I had never thought about how the media portrays cops before—I feel like a doofus. I know that—in life—you should always get a lawyer. I know that, in real life, people are likely to admit to things they haven’t done. It’s a well-known phenomenon and law enforcement know how to exploit it. And yet, I hadn’t considered that, on TV and in film, only the guilty lawyer up, as they say. Only they remain silent. And the cops are always the good guys.

More quotes from this piece:

As it currently stands, most warnings used across the country are only understood by those who can understand language at a college level. This puts not only juveniles at a disadvantage, but also older adults who for various reasons cannot understand college-level language. It’s another way in which the system fails to be just to underprivileged members of our society.

Well, who does that benefit? I guess the people doing the arresting. I’m grumpy.

Another quote.

Why isn’t the onus on law enforcement to make sure that a person being questioned really understands their Miranda rights enough to waive them? Could it be that the system wasn’t designed to be just, but instead to maintain and further the unjust system of privileges and disadvantages, keeping those at the top on top, and those at the bottom from ever working their way up? Because how could the criminal justice system actually be designed to protect all members of society equally when the system under which it operates doesn’t do the same? The truth is that the criminal justice system of a society can never be more just than the society it is built to protect; it will always work to maintain the status quo.

Man. So that was a moment. It wasn’t anything I didn’t know. I just.

Another essay that wasn’t anything I didn’t know, but I didn’t realise how bad it was fell under the In the Hospital section and it was Takeallah Rivera’s ‘Giving Birth When Black’.

The author was an assault survivor and made certain requests to help mitigate further trauma, which were egregiously ignored, as was her birth plan. She said:

Throughout my entire pregnancy, labor, and delivery, I noticed that virtually none of my needs, wants, or requests were listened to or respected.

After this experience, she decided to become a doula, to help other black women not have to go through the same thing and something she learned was:

many white doulas feel that offering pro bono doula services to low-income Women of Color would be “devaluing” the doula profession.

Because bringing healthy children into the world is devaluing their gift? White women gonna white.

Another quote from that piece:

Per a recent study, every forty-eight seconds a Black infant passes away in my hometown, Memphis, Tennessee. This is a city that is over 60% Black. Studies have proven that the African American infant mortality rate is four times higher than the white infant mortality rate.

That’s more than one every minute. But white doulas are worried about devaluing their profession. Phew. This is in the United States of America. To keep from devolving into a swearing rant, but it is unacceptable to throw away an entire section of society because you’ve decided they’re not worth investing in to begin with.

The final bit I want to talk about—well, I want to talk about much more, but don’t have the time—is Jiz Lee’s piece under the In the Workplace segment called “Ethical Porn” Starts When You Pay for It.

In this piece, Jiz talks about why people are reluctant to pay:

Prevalent sexual stigma also feeds the need for a quick and no-strings-attached search. The shame of seeing an adult company listed on a credit card statement or the sheer acknowledgment of paying for something that so many assume should be free is also a factor leading to people being reluctant to spend money. The perceived value of porn says as much about society’s outlook on sexual labor as the legal restrictions on sexual autonomy.

They then go on to explain how paying for your porn helps to ensure what you’re seeing is ethically produced:

Without a credit card processor overlooking distribution, there’s no way to know for sure if basic labor rights took place. There is no 2257 affidavit to prove performers were of legal age, no STI test results, and no IRS W-9 forms, and there’s certainly no model release form to ensure the people on film consented to have their image shared online.

The magic word ‘consent’ appeared in that last quote—what does all this have to do with consent in the big picture, though? Well, Jiz says:

As a performer, the only time I’ve ever felt exploited is when my work has been pirated. When I sign a contract, it’s between the producer and me. For someone else to assume that right feels non-consensual.

Basically, you’re sneaking in and watching an intimate act without someone’s permission when you watch porn illegally. Even if that’s your kink, it’s still not copacetic. Imagine if you consented to have a doctor’s appointment filmed for a particular specialist to watch, then you found out it had been pirated and lots of other people were watching it, too. Maybe they were using it for teaching purposes—entire classrooms of students were seeing you in the altogether, in quite the vulnerable positions—and you weren’t getting anything for it.

There were loads of other essays in this book with a lot of consider. Fatphobia and how thin people regularly ignore the consent of plus-size people, raising children to have solid boundaries and to respect other people’s boundaries, teaching sex education and consent to neuroatypicals—so much. This is a highly-valuable, thought-provoking collection and I recommend it. 5/5

Bonus content:

A piece by Cherry Zonkowski ‘The Green Eggs and Ham Scam’ brings up the power of the question—or who has the right to ask questions in the first place.

This is why street harassment… so often takes the form of questions. Why don’t you smile? What’s your name? What’s your number? Each question a reassertion of the basic right of (usually) male demand, male authority.

And later…

There are all kinds of things we need to be aware of when we have power over others. Whether that power is as a teacher or a parent, we should always think about how we are teaching agency. This means that we not make children kiss relatives they don’t want to kiss, or wear scratchy ugly pink nightgowns just because their grandparents gave them to them for Christmas.

A lot of the book was about becoming aware—it was simply, ‘Hey, look at how our culture and society works.’ You can’t begin to fix something until you’re aware of the problem in the first place. Just be aware of the power that exists in every exchange—that is bestowed by culture due to our race, gender, socio-economic status, myriad other markers. Whether you asked for it or not, whether you think it’s ‘fair’ or not, you have power over others and others have power over you and you have to be aware of that if you’re going to be an ethical human.

There was an utterly fascinating piece on professional wrestling (‘Wrestling with Consent (and Also Other Wrestlers’) by Jetta Rae ) and how physically demanding it is, as well as how wrestlers wind up having to do highly dangerous moves whether they want to or not. The athleticism and improvisation involved is impressive. I have a new respect for people who go into the profession.

Then there was an essay on LARPing (Live Action Role Play) called ‘Games, Role-Playing, and Consent’ by Kate Fractal and it became obvious LARPing is a lot like kink scenes but with large numbers of people and boundaries set by whomever is running the whole show. In the piece Fractal says:

Players who trust that their boundaries will be respected are more willing to take a risk and play a more intense game.

Which is just like kink. You’re more likely to let yourself fall if you trust the people behind to catch you. People feel safer in life if they trust those around them.

There is an outstanding essay on how to be a better white person by Cinnamon Maxxine called ‘Trouble, Lies and White Fragility’. I don’t even know what to quote. You should just read the whole thing. The piece starts off with:

Here’s some advice for white people on how to center consent in their interactions with black and brown folks, by a salty queer black femme who’s tired of your shit.

And yup. It’s a lot of invaluable advice. If I had to include one quote, I’ll go with this one:

Instead of silencing someone who is already taking huge risk (the personal blow of being silenced by a white person you consider a friend is heart-wrenching) in talking to you, consider their words. Actually absorb what they’re saying. Take a minute to self-reflect on what is making you so uncomfortable and sit with that. Figure out why defending yourself is more important than the damage you’ve caused someone you claim to care about. Consider what happens when someone who is repeatedly silenced reaches out.

There’s still more in this book I’d like to discuss, but 3,000 words is probably more than anyone wants to read. Get this book. Start here.

Pushing Buttons: Puns, Phobias and Everyday Consent

Consent is regularly in the news lately—usually when someone has violated another person’s sexual boundaries. From the stories themselves to the reactions they elicit, the message is that the only time we need to ask for consent is during sexual situations.

Other people’s comfort and desires (outside the bedroom) are overlooked or disregarded in large and small ways, as well, as we’re taught to talk people around to do what we want, to get our way, to ‘win’. But there are seemingly innocuous, everyday ways people violate consent. Then it’s about taking control of a situation or another person without their permission.

For example, there’s a specific activity a certain sort of individual who fancies themselves hilarious, (well, let’s face it—it’s typically men) engages in.

It’s jumping out suddenly when someone doesn’t expect it, then laughing at their reaction.

They often say, ‘I scared you! Haha! You should have seen the look on your face!’

One. You didn’t ‘scare’ me. You ‘startled’ me. There’s a difference. Scaring someone requires effort and talent—it requires building atmosphere and characterisation not triggering someone’s fight or flight response.

Startling someone just checks the function of their amygdala. Mine works fine, thanks. (source)

Two. I have an anxiety disorder. It takes much, much longer for my adrenaline levels to return to normal after something like that. Hours of my life have been effected because you wanted to take control of my reaction and have a laugh.

Three. No, I’m not sorry for punching you in the throat. It took a long time to train myself out of freezing during a fight, flight or freeze scenario so that’s what you get, cheese weasel. You should have seen the look on your face when you were gasping for air, though—your eyes were bugging the fuck out. Didn’t see that coming, did you?

Real life jump scares—they’re lazy in films, too—are a consent violation. I did not consent to having a blood pressure and adrenaline spike just to amuse you. If I wanted to do that I’d negotiate a scene with you.

It’s a way of taking control over another human being, if only for a second, and then laughing at that person for losing control of themselves, if only for a second.

‘Geez, can’t you take a joke?’

It was only funny to you. It wasn’t funny to me so it wasn’t a joke. It was sadistic. You’re a sadist—but not a friendly, consensual kind. Humour is amusing to everyone witnessing the joke.

This is similar to people who find out you have a phobia or sincerely dislike something and immediately have to show you pictures of that thing to be ‘funny’.

They learn they can have some form of control over you because you’re frightened of or bothered by something they find innocuous and they use it against you. Even people who are supposed to be friends do this.

‘Wait… you think clowns are scary? Liiiike THIS clown? Or THIS one? But what about THIS one?! Surely not!’

What happened to you? Why would you do that?

Clowns don’t bother me, but I don’t talk about my phobias in public because I know what sort of jackasses are out there and I don’t feel like being bombarded by that nonsense.

Sometimes these delightful specimens of kindness and compassion will say, ‘You just need to be exposed to images of the thing you fear! I’m helping!’

Exposure therapy does work, but only in controlled environments—not being sprung up on a person without their knowledge or consent. That just makes it worse—that is the person’s fear. For example, a bitchy woman telling you how not to be an asshole is probably a fear for a lot of men and yet here I am. Boo!

There are certain things I would love to be able to have rational, grown up conversations about—why such-an-so bothers me and does it bother you and why do you think so—but there’s no way in hell I’m bringing up it in public because even people who are friends will feel the need to press my buttons.

Because that’s what it is. It’s pressing a button. Like a rat in a cage who learns if they press a certain button they get something. This time they get a reaction. Isn’t that fun? They have control over another human’s emotions! Never mind those emotions are pain, distress or anxiety. ‘I press this button over and over and this person I supposedly care about becomes increasingly upset! HAHA! This is great! I am the devil!

The absolute worst humans about this are punsters. The part of the brain that allows people to pun also shuts off their capacity for empathy—I’ve observed this for years. The nanosecond I make the mistake of telling people puns give me a twitch it sets them right off. And then, there will be an entire string of them, one after another. If I said, ‘I hate being punched in the face’ and people lined up to punch me in the face—you’d get that was wrong, right? ‘Ooh, is it my turn again?’ ‘Yes! Then mine again! I could do this all day!’

I say, ‘I don’t know why, I’ve just never liked puns.’ And holy shit, they form an orderly queue for the proverbial face-punching because they have to do the thing they enjoy even if it irritates the hell out of the other person. The irritating-the-other-person part is part of the fun, it seems. What’s wrong with you?

TL; DR: Don’t do things that may trigger the fight, flight, freeze response without consent. If someone specifically says, ‘I don’t like this thing.’ Don’t do that thing. They don’t need to explain why. Buttons aren’t for pushing.

[This piece originally appeared in a slightly altered form in episode 74 of The Pageist podcast.]

Episode 076: JoEllen Notte

Episode the seventy-sixth; wherein the Pageist talks with writer and mental health advocate, JoEllen Notte about depression and relationships.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Welcome and hello to the newest Patron, Richard!
  • Someone left a comment about the show on the Podbean app. Thank you!
  • Round one of voting for Smut Marathon is open (until February 17).
  • Get 25% off by using the code pageist at Circlet.com (good until the end of March 2018).

3.30 Interview:

1.00.21 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Kenton from Funkit about silicone sex toys–how they’re made and what to look for.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

What the Pageist Did in January 2018

I had tea from a very fancy silver tea pot one day.

January 2018 was something else. I finally got over my months-long mystery illness, only to immediately come down with a virus (deadpan face here). We also learned Walter’s brain tumour hasn’t been responding to the medication like we originally thought, so he’ll need to start radiotherapy soon.

Due to the uncertainty of the next few however long, I chose to pull out of teaching at Eroticon in March. It was something I’d really been looking forward to, and I had a schedule set for other classes to take, but there was no way to know how ill the husband would be by that time and I didn’t want to risk it.

THEN, after stressing out about that for a couple weeks, we found out they’d made the wrong call and perhaps things were progressing all right so I cancelled my London trip for no good reason. It’s been a roller coaster. I dislike roller coasters.

I’m ready for life to be boring again.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 73: The first interview in a series on sex toys–how they’re made, safety info and what different materials offer. This episode features wood toy maker Richard Carver.

Episode 74: My first rant in awhile & about some long-held peeves. The book reviewed is Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker.

Patreon Rewards

Monthly Greeting: ($1+) Well wishes for your year and info on the person behind the calendar most of the world uses.

Poetry: ($3+) A little gentle lesbian love poetry to start off this trip around the sun. Three by seventeenth century Anglo-Welsh poet Katherine Phillips. ‘To My Excellent Lucasia, on Our Friendship’, ‘Against Love’ (this one is pretty grouchy about the whole love thing), ‘L’Amitie: To Mrs M. Awbrey’.

Mix Tape: ($5+) A riff on Deadspin’s yearly What Did We Get Stuck in Our Rectums Last Year–this is the first Annual Orifice Report.

Vintage Reading: ($10+) Romance of Lust, Segment 9. A wedding! And lots of anal sex in this segment. It was also the end of the first volume of the four volumes. There’re hours to go.

Writing

I got my first rejection since I started writing under this name, which is always a big moment for a writer.

I also uploaded a few chapters in I’m Normally Perfect to Wattpad–there are over 1,000 pages up now so if you’re into slow burn lesbian romantic fiction. Well, there’s lots of it.

Episode 075: Master Jon

Episode the seventy-fifth, wherein the Pageist talks to Master Jon about books for a general audience that can benefit people into power exchange and a power exchange style based on the samurai code.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you and hello to the newest Patron, Stanton!
  • The show has been heard in Kazakhstan.
  • We have a new Facebook like–hello to Nickie!
  • Thank you in a big way to the survey responder. If you’d like to fill in the survey (it’s anonymous) you may do so here.

3.00 Interview:

  • Master Jon joins the show to talk about books written for a general audience that can benefit people interested in power exchange. We also discuss a power exchange style based on the samurai.
  • Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink
  • Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss
  • Ideals of the samurai: writings of Japanese warriors by William Wilson-Gregory Lee – Ohara, Black Belt Books – 1982
  • Bushido: the warrior’s code by Inazo Nitobe – Ohara Publications – 1983
  • The book of five rings by Musashi Miyamoto-William Wilson(tr) – Shambhala Publications – 2012
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu -James Clavell(tr) – Delacorte Press – 1983
  • I also enjoyed Thomas Cleary’s translation of The Art of War
  • Analects by Confucius -Edward Slingerland(tr) – Hackett Pub. Co. – 2003
  • One small step can change your life: the kaizen way by Robert Maurer – Workman – 2004
  • On Fet: LifeLessOrdinary
  • He will also be teaching at Beyond Leather in Florida in April if you’d like to say hello.

42.53 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing JoEllen Notte about mental health and sexuality.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be streamed or downloaded from an embedded player on this page.

Episode 074: Ask: Building Consent Culture

Episode the seventy-fourth; wherein the Pageist gets a long-held peeve or two off her chest, is tired of being tired and asks people to just… ask. The book reviewed is Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Circlet Press (‘Erotica for Geeks’) is offering 25% off if you use the code ‘pageist’ until the end of March.
  • One new Facebook like, hello and welcome to Dedria.
  • There have been a few survey responses. If you’d like to take the survey (it’s anonymous) you may do so here. It gives me lots of useful info about my listeners. Thank you!
  • A few people have reached out to say they’ve learned things from the show or they feel seen and that means a lot. Thank you. Thank you for letting me know.
  • Walter’s brain tumour isn’t responding to the medication the way we thought it was originally so they’re going to start radiotherapy soonish.
  • The website has been entirely rebuilt from scratch. Walter did it. 🙂

5.01 My Submissive Life:

  • A big ol’ rant about two pet peeves: cheese weasels who jump out and ‘scare’ people in order to get themselves knocked right out and ‘helpful’ souls who immediately bombard a person with images of their phobia that they’ve been misguided enough to share with their friends.
  • To both of those sorts of people: DON’T DO THAT.

11.46 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker.
  • The book contains twenty-two essays addressing how consent is (not) handled within the spheres of the bedroom, school, jail, workplace, home, hospital and community and proposes how we might improve communication skills in each of these areas, as well as some steps that are already being taken. Pieces come from an array of diverse and marginalised voices. This is a valuable, thought-provoking collection.
  • ConsentCulture.com
  • Consent Culture on Medium
  • JoEllen Notte
  • AV Flox
  • Navarre Overton
  • Takeallah Rivera
  • Jiz Lee
  • And many more I didn’t have the time to get to. I highly recommend this one.

29.41 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Master Jon about books written for a general audience that are useful for people interested in power exchange.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be streamed or downloaded from an embedded player on this page.

Episode 073: Richard Carver

Episode the seventy-third; wherein the Pageist talks sex toys–making them and the pros and cons of wood ones–with Richard Carver of Lumberjill.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • At the start of the third year of the show, a sincere thank you to my patrons and all of the show’s listeners.
  • Thank you to Joanna for the generous PayPal donation last month–it was enormously helpful.
  • If you use the code ‘pageist’ (without quotes) on Circlet.com you can get 25% off (offer good through the end of March 2018.

3.13 Interview:

  • This episode’s interview is the first in a series with sex toy aficionados.
  • Richard Carver makes high quality sex toys, art pieces and 3D models by hand out of wood. Wood is light-weight, warms to body temperature quickly and can be used with condoms. It’s not easily sterilisable, however, so once you use it, it’s yours.
  • His work is available at SheVibe under the Lumberjill tag.
  • You can purchase directly from him, as well as make custom requests from his Etsy shop, Lumberjill.
  • There’s much more to see, as well as videos of his work on Instagram, where his handle is @lumberjill_leisurecrafts.
  • You can also follow him on Twitter: @ShouldaWooda
  • And support his work on Patreon: patreon.com/lumberjill
  • Richard also joined me for a few bonus questions, which will be part of the Mix Tape next month.

58.38 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing (really) Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
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The Cleis Press Sextionary

(source)

[This is the text of the book review (with added information) from episode 72.]

The review this episode is The Cleis Press Sextionary from the Editors of Cleis Press.

Oh boy, this is going to be a mixed review and it saddens me to say so because I love Cleis. The press is inclusive and educational and they employ outstanding writers so I bought this one rather than asking for a review copy because I was beside myself with excitement—it’s a dictionary of terms to do with sex, kink, polyamory, sex work and more! The sexy nerdage was going to be off the charts!

Before we get started I want to talk about how the human brain works. (Talk about nerdage…) Our brains have developed to notice the negative before noticing the positive—it’s why the news is full of all the bad things that happen in the world rather than the good deeds that are being done. When we lived on the savannah, what mattered was when things were a little off—when something was wrong. Because that something was probably a large animal about to eat you. So our brains have evolved to focus more on the negative. It’s why you can hear a hundred compliments but that one criticism is the thing that is burned into your mind forever and always.

I needed to give that disclaimer of sorts because I did enjoy some of this book, but I’m going to spend a larger portion of this review correcting misinformation and that will make it sound like I hated it. It takes longer to correct inaccuracies than it does to say: ‘I liked that bit.’ So it sounds like there were bigger problems than there may be—it depends what you’re looking for.

To balance out what may sound like me being the pickiest, grouchiest, most pedantic person ever, I’m going to take positivity breaks and talk at length about what I liked and why in a way I may not usually do with most books. Because, again, there were some genuinely useful things about this book, depending what you were after. If there was nothing redeeming about it I wouldn’t review it. I no longer have an editor forcing me to review books I don’t want to—thank god. That was years ago, but it was bleak.

All right. Here we go. This book covers myriad topics of interest to the sorts of people who listen to this show. LGBTQIA, kinky people, sex workers, porn performers, ethical non-monogamy people, people into general sex education. The one group that wasn’t covered was non-binary folks. Anyone on the gender spectrum. This seemed odd, because the group is included in the QUILTBAG umbrella (that’s another way of saying Questioning Intersex Lesbian Transgender Bisexual Asexual Gay). Yes, gender isn’t sex, but kink isn’t about sex, either. Polyamory isn’t about sex, either. It’s about relationships, which are sex-adjacent. Kink is about all sorts of things, but it’s sex-adjacent, as well. How people express their gender is related. I was just expecting definitions of two-spirit and demigirls and such and was surprised. Anyway.

I got the book because I love paraphilias, which are scientific definitions of sexual fetishes. They’ve been pathologised in the past but some people like John Money have tried to bring them into the mainstream. I wasn’t disappointed—there were lots listed in this book.

Doing research on paraphilias, I came across this bit of information: Anil Aggrawal wrote a textbook on the historical, legal and medical basis for fetishes across cultures in 2009 and he included 547 terms. He cautioned that:

Not all these paraphilias have necessarily been seen in clinical setups. This may not be because they do not exist, but because they are so innocuous they are never brought to the notice of clinicians or dismissed by them. Like allergies, sexual arousal may occur from anything under the sun, including the sun.

As I like to say—everything is a thing. His book costs a hundred pounds because it’s so massive the text version won’t fit on my Kindle and it’s a textbook and super academic, but I’m saving up for it but I need it in my brain.

The Sextionary doesn’t have 547 fetishes, but it has many of them and I loved learning about new ones. It would have been useful to have an index of those at the back so if someone wanted to know what their interest in religious relics was called (hierophilia), they could have found it easily. Me being me, I wanted to memorise all of them so when people ask me if the thing they’ve been into since they were eight has a name (and I know it does) I can just tell them without looking it up. If you’re looking for a book with the most common paraphilias—I would recommend this. More about those later.

There were also lots of sex positions, but no diagrams and I am terrible at visualising spatial design or… there’s probably a term for this. If someone describes where one thing is in relation to another, I can’t see it easily. So I usually had to read the description a couple times and make hand motions. If you’re like me in this regard, don’t read this book in public.

Some of these position are from Urban Dictionary—they have to be. Others are… I have an idea for a book. Sex positions as work outs. Rated by difficulty and by what muscle group is being worked out. Listen to this one, it’s called the Little Dipper.

A penetrative sex position in which the giving partner [the one penetrating] lies on the floor between two piece of low furniture (such as a couch and a chair). The receiving partner [the one being penetrated] puts their hands on one piece of furniture and their legs on the other and lowers themself onto the giving partner, inserting the giving partner into themself.

Look… I may be able to lower myself onto you—a biodick or strap-on—one time, but I’m not getting myself back up again. Forget any sort of repeated movement. I absolutely know there are people fit enough to do it, though. The book could be called The Fuck Olympics. There could be recommended exercises to get you in shape to do each of these positions. You’d be training for the Fuck Olympics.

I’ll come back to some of the positions in a bit.

Unfortunately, there was a lot of incorrect information, particularly about kink. The good news is, I contacted the publisher and the person who wrote the definitions is absolutely onboard for corrections–some are being added to the digital version already–so I’m going to be putting together a list of items that need to be looked at again. They even sent a physical copy—I’d purchased the digital version and said that I’d still liked it enough I wanted to get a physical copy so I could write in it and add my own definitions as I learned new terms—and the author sent a copy, which arrived the day I was writing the review.

I’m discussing pros and cons by topic, though the book is arranged alphabetically, as a dictionary typically is.

There are several health-related entries and essays—some of which are correct and some of which aren’t. This quote is useful and I was glad to see it was included.

Hymen: Many people believe that those with vaginas who have sex for the first time will (or should) experience hymen breakage. However, this is not supposed to happen; the hymen is not a barrier to the vagina, like the seal on a yogurt container. Rather, it consists of fringed bits of skin that circle the outside opening of the vagina, and it is just another part of the organ. Sometimes it does stretch all the way across the vaginal opening, but typically it does not. It can tear during sexual intercourse, and this can hurt and cause bleeding, but it takes a lot of pressure for this to happen. The bleeding and pain typically associated with losing one’s virginity are likely due to forcefulness, lack of lubrication, or not being relaxed, which can cause the body to tense up. (Because of the myth that those with vaginas always feel pain with their first penetrative experience, most of them come to expect it). And of course, the stigma around not bleeding or not feeling pain can make people feel guilty or that they’ve done something wrong, when the truth is that the experience will be different for everyone.

Accurate and helpful! Yes!

Then, under the entry for spermicide, it said you can use it in ‘any orifice’. Oh boy, oh no, oh please don’t. Spermicide is made to kill sperms, which are resilient, so enough of it will cause cell damage and makes a person more susceptible to STIs. The Mayo Clinic website recommends using spermicide only in the vagina and with a latex barrier like a condom or cervical cap.

There’s also an entry for a V-steam. You can’t steam your vagina. Well, you can, but there are no genuine health benefits. Dr Jen Gunter has a whole, hilarious article about this. People, leave the vag alone. It’s perfectly fine the way it is. Don’t douche, either—you’re messing with the natural balance in there.

The entry for thermoplastic elastomer, which is something some sex toy companies use as a replacement for silicone, as it’s less expensive, is incorrect, but they’re fixing it in the digital version. They list it as being body-safe because it’s non-porous, but it is porous, so if you’re using a toy made out of TPE you should use a condom on it because it’s not easily sterilised.

I’ll chuck this under unsafe information: the definition of plasticuffs is:

Plastic handcuffs that are cheap, durable, and disposable. These are a favorite item of the BDSM community.

I consulted my trusty …consultants on Twitter and some of them tagged other people in to answer questions about specific entries I wasn’t sure about. Which is why this episode has an acknowledgement section in the show notes.

What the author is talking about here are what most people would refer to as zipties—Tristan Taormino specifically warned against them in 50 Shades of Kink. When I consulted who I’ll call The Board of Experience, the overall response ranged from ‘I’ve been doing this for more than a decade and have never seen anyone use them’ all the way to ‘They’re pretty rare and difficult to get but I have seen them.’ In the middle was, ‘They’re banned in many dungeons—they don’t belong in scenes.’ I’m going to go with they’re not a favourite item and people shouldn’t use them.

Now let’s do a positivity break and I’ll thank some people for being on The Board of Experience. Naiia and Graydancer—who’s been on the show and has the Ropecast were both a big help, Mollysdailykiss and DomSigns—the incredible people behind Eroticon, Kayla Lords, who hosts the Loving BDSM podcast. I’ll do a few more in a bit. Check out their links if you’re looking for knowledgeable people to follow.

Let’s talk about paraphilias!

I’m a big word nerd so something I found interesting is what they—‘they’ being clinicians who took the time to name fetishes—decided needed to be named.

For example, if you have a shoe fetish, it’s called having a shoe fetish. People, well, men, have been fetishizing women’s shoes for … awhile now, and they haven’t given it a specific name? If, however, you’re drawn to high heels, that’s called altocalciphilia. There’s not a name for people into ballet flats, clogs or espadrilles. But that also tells us something—that those aren’t prominent fetishes. If they took the time to name the fetish for very high heels then it must be marked.

Speaking of specificity—there’s a fetish for insects called entomophilia. But! There’s then also a fetish specifically for any insect with a stinger—bees, wasps, whatever. That’s called melissophilia. The fetish can be for holding, looking at or even eating them. I’ve very curious now. For that second one—is some of the appeal fear? We like things that scare us—it’s why we watch horror films and ride roller coasters. Holding a wasp is pretty damn scary.

(I got curious and checked—there’s not a lay book just on paraphilias and people into them. So I’m going to write one. It’ll include interviews and indexes and some historical factoids and fun things. That’s my over-arching project for… Oh god. Who knows how long.)

With most paraphilias, the interest is fairly broad. For example, maschalagnia, which is the fetish for armpits. This includes touching, smelling, licking, or seeing one’s own or a partner’s armpit. That’s about as all-encompassing as you can get. And that’s how many fetishes are defined.

Occasionally, though, a fetish will be precise. Like mastigothyma, which is the fetish for being flogged, but it only refers to the person receiving the flogging. It doesn’t applying to watching other’s being flogged. There’s no vicarious joy there, interestingly.

Back to other thoughts.

A blanket note was that everything was about sex. Yes, it’s a sextionary, but kink doesn’t have to be about sex. There were multiple definitions of types of kink play where the definition was, ‘such-and-so is engaged in in order to elicit a sexual response.’

Not really. People do fire play, age play, fear play, control scenes, rope, bondage, sensory deprivation and everything else for all sorts of reasons. Control, dominance, submission, to explore different aspects of their persona, to be creative, to play, yeah, some of it is about sex. That can overlap, but it doesn’t have to be.

The definition of aftercare was:

A BDSM term that refers to the period after intercourse.

Aftercare should happen after every scene if the people involved have said they need aftercare and kink scenes don’t have to include intercourse.

The definition of polyamory included this sentence:

Polyamorous people tend to need sexual interactions with multiple people in order to achieve sexual happiness.

I would say polyamorous people like being able to define each of their relationships on their own terms, rather than one person being your chief emotional, romantic, sexual and spiritual focus forever and ever.

Then there was this:

Sapphic: An adjective for any sex act involving two women. The word is an homage to the Greek poet Sappho, who was believed to be a lesbian.

Sapphic is just a literary term that means lesbian. A piece of poetry can be sapphic if it pertains to love between women. A painting of two women cuddling can be called sapphic—it doesn’t have to portray a sex act.

While I’m talking about there being too much sex in the book of sexual terms, the definition for asexuality included the word ‘arousal’, saying that asexuality was:

A lack of sexual attraction, arousal or interest in pursuing any sexual experience.

It’s just a lack of sexual attraction. Arousal is a physiological function and many asexuals have no issue with that—there are a few asexual sex toy testers, for example. Some asexuals pursue sexual experiences for reasons other than sexual attraction.

I’m in the area of sexuality, so let’s talk sexualities. Two that were left out were heteroflexible and homoflexible. Heteroflexible is fairly common to see on the sex positive dating apps and forums and means a person who is sexually and romantically attracted to people of the opposite gender, but is sometimes interested in the same gender for sex or kink play. Homoflexible is the inverse of that.

The definition for LGBT was:

The acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. “LGBT” is a blanket term for any sexuality or gender that is considered to be “outside the norm.”

It’s people who either don’t identify as the gender they were assigned at birth (cisgender) or are not heterosexual. Labelling that group ‘outside the norm’ is problematic. But I’m going to move on.

The definition of Vanilla was:

A person (typically heterosexual) who prefers basic sexual intercourse within a committed romantic relationship. Vanilla people have no interest in “unusual” sexualities or kinky behavior.

Vanilla just means non-kinky. Gay people can be vanilla, poly people can be vanilla, kinky people can do vanilla things. ‘I know these people from my vanilla life and I don’t know if they could handle info about my kinky life.’

I think part of the issue is that this sort of information isn’t easily accessible. There isn’t a textbook and anyone can put anything online so just doing a search isn’t going to turn up the most accurate or up-to-date information. The only way to find out how people are using terminology is to ask people who are actually out there…well, using it. These are groups of people in cultures and sub-cultures that are both right there online and also miles away if you don’t know how to contact them.

Sometimes I would do a search on a term I was unsure of and the only return would be Tumblr or Urban Dictionary. Never a good sign.

Let’s do some more acknowledgements and fun stuff, though. Cooper S. Beckett, who’s been on the show and who runs Swingset.FM, was on The Board of Experience and he brought in Franklin Veaux, who’s been around forever and wrote More Than Two, amongst other things. Mistress Matisse answered some questions about kink, as well as some about sex work and also gave me a link of terms about sex work she wrote for the Sex Work Outreach Project, which is on my resource page now. There was also someone who asked not to be mentioned, but they know who they are. Thank you. And Lorax of Sex, who has a sex toy review blog and does hilarious dildo holiday posts with Hey Epiphora, also helped out.

Let’s talk sex positions.

So the book arrived and Walter was lying on the bed, flipping through it—reading a bit and asking me questions about things. Eventually he said, ‘A lot of the positions are the same.’ Then he mimed. ‘Lie on your back and put your legs like this. Or like this. Or like this. You move your leg five degrees and it’s an entirely new position. Do they need so many names?’

Pppffftt! Asexual shade! I think he’s unimpressed with your attempts at variety, sexuals.

I hadn’t even noticed that. What stood out to me were the positions that seem like you’d do it just to say you’d done it. They can’t be pleasurable. Stunt positions, I call them. Not necessarily difficult like the Fuck Olympics, but just… awkward.

I give you, the poles apart position:

A penetrative sex position in which the giving partner will lie on their side, and the receiving partner will lie in front of them, facing the same direction but with their head by their partner’s feet. The giving partner can then enter vaginally or anally.

Where does the receiver put their feet? If you’re really into it how do you avoid kicking the giver in the head? It seems like traction would be difficult.
It seems like some of the positions would just be thrust-thrust-thrust ‘Okay, that counts, we did it. Tick it off the list and we never have to do it again.’

There are two I would like reports back on, please.

First,

Nirvana position: A penetrative sex position that is a variation on the missionary position. In the nirvana position, the receiving partner will lie on their back, but instead of spreading their legs, they will keep their legs close together and stretch their arms above their head. This position leads to better clitoral stimulation for receiving partners with vaginas.

Does it? Yes? No? I can see how it might, but I’m curious about actual results. For science.

Second,

Surf’s up: Sex in the doggy style position on a surfboard while on the water. Only recommended when the water is calm, so there’s no chance of being flipped off the board.

I would put all twelve pence I have to my name that no one has actually done this—are surfboards wide enough for one person to have their legs apart and another person to be between their legs and do their thing? And what kind of balance do people have to achieve this? It probably really works out your core muscles for both people. If you can do this you win a gold in the Fuck Olympics. Actually, I think AliceinBondageLand may be a surfer—I can ask her if she thinks it’s feasible.

I don’t need a report back on this one, but the idea of it amused me:

Snake charmer: A challenging fellatio position in which the receiving partner goes into a handstand, with or without an object for support. The giving partner is then able to perform fellatio while standing up.

Yes, but, can the person receiving maintain the handstand? For safety’s sake, you should probably have some support.

Let’s do some more notes about kink. There were many. The most egregious issue was the continual use of the words ‘dominant’ and ‘submissive’ to mean ‘top’ and ‘bottom’. Generally, a Dominant is a person who leads a relationship or is in charge of part of a relationship and a submissive is the follower. A top is a person who does an activity in a kink sense or in the bedroom and a bottom receives an activity. A Dominant can be topped by a submissive and not all tops and bottoms identify as Dominants and submissives. For example, a sadist can top a masochist and neither will identify as a dominant or submissive.

Nearly all of the definitions to do with power exchange were incorrect to one degree or another. I don’t have the time to go into each one, but The Board of Experience was as confused as I was.

The definition for play party was:

A BDSM orgy at which attendees participate in BDSM

A play party isn’t an orgy. People have a bite to eat. They negotiate. They may play. They may sit around and watch or socialise. In some places no sex happens—only play. If I’d read something that said a play party was an orgy prior to going to one I would have never gone to one. It sounds like Caligula. Except Helen Mirren probably isn’t going to be there so I’m not interested.

There were several definitions of furniture used for kink that was correct. So it was a mixed bag. Just overall, this book is a mixed bag if you’re not looking for sexual positions or paraphilias. I do recommend it if you’re looking for those, though.

Let’s cover some rope stuff.

A rigger was defined thusly:

A person who celebrates the art of bondage. Riggers are often called upon by BDSM couples to bind a submissive, though the rigger may not participate in any sexual activities.

That’s part of the definition. A rigger is a rope top. People just learn to tie themselves or use other forms of bondage. They don’t get a whole other human in to tie someone up then stand aside.

This definition nearly gave Gray a heart attack:

Rope Bondage: Any BDSM, kink, or sex act that uses rope to restrict or bind a participant. There are many styles of rope bondage, including partial rope bondage (binding of one part of the body), Western-style rope bondage, shibari (which originated in Japan and tends to be more sensual and ritualistic), and suspension bondage (in which rope is used to suspend someone from an elevated object).

Shibari was originally called kinbaku in Japan and Westerners started calling it Shibari, which means ‘decoratively tie’ (thanks, naiia!). It was adapted from torture techniques from the Edo Period—that comes from the guy who taught me my first ties, Bodhi. Shibari can be done on one part of the body or in suspension. It’s not all separate types. There’s a lot happening with that definition.

This episode needs to be wrapped up now, but there’s lots more to cover. I’ll close with some fun things, though. Here’s a definition I loved:

Sex geek: A term for individuals who are obsessed with the nuances of sex. These people take great pride in learning all there is to know about sex, including positions, sexualities, media, and more.

Well, I don’t know anyone like that. Ahem.

Under the definition for ‘orgy’ was this extra piece of information:

in 2006, a group of people in Japan actually set the world record for the biggest orgy ever recorded! The event was called “500 Person Sex,” and as the name states, the orgy featured five hundred people all having sex at the same time in one room. The event was choreographed, so all of the couples moved in tandem. The filmed event was also released on a DVD which is available for purchase, making it not only the biggest orgy, but one of the largest scale pornography films ever made.

So if that’s your thing and you didn’t know about it—go forth, find it. Good luck.

Speaking of Japan:

Under the definition for agalmatophilia…

Also known as statuephilia or mannequin love, this is the term for a sexual attraction to statues, mannequins, dolls, or other inanimate objects that resemble humans.

There is a growing phenomenon, mostly found in Japan (though it has made its way to the United States and other parts of the world), of people who date, love, and have sex with body pillows that have images of fictional animated characters or celebrities (often pornographic celebrities) on them. Referred to as dakimakura in Japanese, or “love pillows” in English, these pillows are often readily available at anime and comic stores in Japan, and in many online stores. The phenomenon is called “2-D love” in reference to the characters printed on the pillow, but because the pillows are physical objects, it does fit into the realm of agalmatophilia.

I could do a whole other episode on these but I must wind it down now.
Thank you, again, to all the people who helped with information, I’m sorry I couldn’t get to everything in the episode. The various communities’ willingness to share was heartening, though not surprising. Marginalised, misunderstood groups generally do want more people to simply know basic terminology. I’ll include a bit more info in the text version on the website next week.

My overall rating for this is 3/5 and it kills me to say it. I had really high expectations, but there were some basic words missing, some basic information was incorrect and some unsafe information that was easily accessible. The author seems interested in listening to feedback, but it’s going to be a lot of work with all this extra energy I have, and the print version is out there giving people the wrong idea about some things.

Bonus Info!

I forgot to thank Camille Beaujolie of Stereo-Typed! Mea culpa! She has an enormous amount of practical experience and book knowledge.

Under sex work, there’s a term: privates-to-privates, which is defined thusly:

A type of erotic massage that involves rubbing one’s genitals on one’s partner, aiming to bring them to climax through that stimulation alone. This is commonly requested from sex workers.

My sex work contacts had not heard of this by that name, instead knowing it by ‘body-sliding’, which I have to say sounds like fun.

In the realm of polyamory, I was surprised the words metamour and compersion were left out. A metamour is your love’s love so if my husband had a girlfriend it would be the girlfriend. They do have the term OSO or Other Significant Other, but that was new to me.

Compersion is being vicariously happy for someone you care about. Your love is having some incredible new relationship energy–they’re bubbly and floating around and it makes you smile to see them like that.

While I’m on about poly, none of my people had heard of the first definition of puppy-pile poly, which was:

A polyamorous relationship in which everyone involved is female.

The second definition was where everyone is involved romantically and sexually with one another and that was familiar to The Board.

The start of the book has this bit, which was an excellent observation:

Gender and Sexuality: It can be a little confusing, because in today’s world there are many people who identify with their sexuality as much as with their gender, but this strong sense of identity tends to come from confrontation and oppression from outside forces. If you ask most “straight” (heterosexual) people who they are, they will not respond with “I am a straight person”; they will likely say “I am a man/woman/person” or describe their career, race, or nationality, because heterosexuality is still considered the “neutral” state of sexual being. Heterosexuals do not have to fear punishment or cultural shame for their sexual orientation.

It’s also why ‘white’ isn’t included as a race and ‘man’ isn’t included as a descriptor when describing certain people or professions. So you’ll hear about a ‘female doctor’ or ‘female pilot’ did whatever or a ‘black person’ did something, but if it’s a man or a white person, the default human, you don’t need a modifier.

While I’m on the feminism train, the definition for feminist porn was that it was produced specifically for female viewers.

Feminist porn is ethical porn–it follows ethical consent practices both in front of and behind the camera and makes sure everyone is paid fairly and treated humanely. I hope to everything holy that is produced for and appeals to more than just women. It’s not all soft focus and endless talking. Crash Pad is feminist porn and it’s kinky and hot as hell.

Since we’re in the area of porn–the definition of ass-to-mouth was:

The term for any sexual activity where a mouth makes contact with someone else’s backside, specifically on the anal opening.

It’s called ATM for short and is when a person goes from anal sex to fellatio. It’s also an outstanding way to ingest e. coli or other parasites if you’re not changing condoms between the two activities.

A mouth making contact with an anus is anilingus or rimming. Well, if you’re hanging out there and enjoying the visit. Just giving it a smooch probably doesn’t count. Either way, barriers are your friends.

File under, things I learned about myself:

Psycholagny: The ability to have an orgasm without any physical stimulation, using only mental stimulation or the viewing of pornography or erotic media.

I can have an orgasm by just thinking–I knew I wasn’t alone in this ability, but didn’t know the name of the phenomenon. There were a few instances of ‘Oh, THAT’S what that’s called,’ which is always fun.

Another one that falls under this category was:

Odaxelagnia: A fetish for being bitten or for biting someone. This can involve bites anywhere on the body, and is not limited specifically to erogenous zones.

And finally, here’s a freebie for some people, who I’m sure will identify strongly:

Pygophilia A fetish for buttocks, including looking at butts or feeling butts.

Happy Playtime Butts gif

What the Pageist did in December 2017

My first snow in Oxford & in December, too!

In December 2017, I experienced my first snow since moving to England and also my first time being in a house that nearly caught fire. So, a little of the good and a little of the bad happened.

I also celebrated a winter holiday for the first time in over a decade, Walter’s brain tumour turned out to be benign and the house didn’t burn down, so, on balance, things turned out well.

Here’s what I got up to when not freezing or nearly being ablaze.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 71: Some great news, more hormone fun times and what it’s like being a regular customer in one of my bookshops. This one had 30 mini book reviews on a variety of sex related topics. The text of this review is here.

Episode 72: How my inner world reflects my exterior world, an eye-opening experience on Christmas Eve and the most collaborative book review yet. The book reviewed is The Cleis Press Sextionary. The text of this review will be up later today.

Patreon Rewards

Monthly Greeting ($1+): How the holiday traditions (deciding to celebrate them or not) a bit like kink.

Poetry: Catullus ($3+): This was so much fun! A Roman poet who lived 2,000 years ago and wrote some filthy, sexy and still relevant poetry.

Mix Tape: Erotica: ‘A New Evening Routine’ ($5+): Erotica I wrote about a lesbian power exchange couple. The submissive is having a difficult time meeting certain goals so the Dominant is setting new boundaries. Brief, minor urine play in this one.

Romance of Lust, Segment 8 ($10+): Pretty much wall-to-wall sex. So much sex.

Writing

Lessons From Meeting My Ultimate Hero: What I learned from meeting my childhood hero.

I also wrote two pieces to be submitted to external places (a website and publisher). Considering how little energy I’ve had lately, this was quite the accomplishment.

While working on episode 72 of the show, I was inspired to writing a book on paraphilias and started the preliminaries for that. It will be a long process, but also educational, entertaining and rewarding. I’ve been fascinated in paraphilias (sexual fetishes) for as long as I’ve known they existed, so this book is a no-brainer, in some ways. I’ll be tweeting nerdy facts from research and writing progress at @paraphiliasftw on Twitter.

Website

The new version of the website, built by my husband, was launched. Comments, critiques, bugs can be sent to thepageist@gmail.com and I’ll pass them to him.

Episode 072: The Cleis Press Sextionary

Episode the seventy-second; Wherein the Pageist reflects on the relationship between fantasy and reality and consults a passel of humans to write this episode’s book review. The book reviewed is The Cleis Press Sextionary.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • Welcome to the newest Facebook person–Ashley!
  • Thank you to the survey-responder for your kind words. If you’d like to take the brief, anonymous survey, it gives me useful info and makes my day. The link is here.
  • The show has a new Patreon supporter! Hey there Bednar! Welcome and stuff!
  • There are many exciting things coming up in the new year–including a series of interviews about sex toys–how they’re made and what to look for in body safe products for yourself or someone you care about.

3.20 My Submissive Life:

  • Currently accepting applications for a Mom/Mum in the Oxford area who wants to take care of us. Walter and I are tired.
  • Our house nearly burned down on Christmas Eve. Thank goodness for smoke alarms. We’re moving when our lease is up. So the goal of 2018 is to build the business so we can afford a decent place and moving fees.

6.42 Book Review:

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41.51 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
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Lessons from Meeting My Ultimate Hero

Growing up, there was a particular celebrity (entertainer-type not famous-for-being-famous-type), who I idolized. I had been a fan of this person since I was quite young and because my childhood and teen years were, frankly, shitty, I spent a lot of time in my fantasy world and put a lot of energy and focus on entertainment. I was one of those delightful people who knew everything about the media I consumed and celebrities I liked. Because it was something that had nothing to do with my terrible life. This was before the internet so you had to collect magazine clippings and memorize that stuff old school style. It was hard work.

But there was this one entertainer who was my number one hero. Ultimate Hero. I could lose myself in their art for hours and that’s what I would do.

I’m being vague about who it is because they’re still very famous and on social media I don’t want do deal with them. Their fans are…rabid. If their fans felt I was attacking or criticising the person they would… I don’t need that in my life. But I do need to use social media for work.

Anyway, this person had an important role in my life for years even though they didn’t know me.

When I was twelve, my parents and I went to Disney World and I saw Ultimate Hero there. With their family. Their kid talked to me. I wasn’t paying attention—the kid started the conversation and we chatted, then they walked away and I realised who it was and I decided to leave them alone. They were on vacation with their family and probably didn’t want to be bothered. I felt very grown up about making this decision.

When I was nineteen I was auditioning for the North Carolina School of the Arts—I was going to be an actress, largely because of this person. I had been doing theatre for some time and this was a big deal. The NC School of the Arts was a prestigious school at the time and they held auditions all over the country. I chose to do the one in New York, because I was in love with the city. My mother was going with me because I was nineteen and it was in Manhattan.

Shortly before we were supposed to leave I found out Ultimate Hero was going to be at an AIDS benefit that same weekend and if you paid a certain eye-watering amount you could attend an after party and meet the various celebrities at this thing.

Well, this was the 90s and AIDS was a very big deal and I cared a lot about it. This was also back when I believed in fate and the universe having a thought process. I believed the universe was rewarding me for leaving this person alone when I was twelve.

This was my Ultimate Hero. I was doing my big audition for a prestigious acting school and they—the reason I wanted to act in the first place—just happened to be at a benefit that same weekend? What are the odds? Something good was finally happening to me after nineteen years of bullshit.

So I talk my mother into paying… We were not wealthy. It was… The hotel room we stayed in was a closet. But I didn’t care. I borrowed an evening gown and cloak from the costume department at the local university and bought a Donna Karan bag on clearance once we got to Manhattan.

I was so nervous about meeting Ultimate Hero I blew the audition. Just toast. There were I think fifty spaces for several thousand applicants and I knew before I left the room I’d fucked it up. We had to do three monologues—classical, contemporary and comedy—and none of them were up to par. I’d worked with a professional director friend prior—I mean, I’d worked.

But I was so looking forward to meeting this person that I didn’t care. I did not care about screwing up the future I wanted so badly because I was going to meet another fallible human being.

So off we go to this benefit thing.

I’m beside myself. This is it. A culmination of fantasizing about what it would be like to meet this person. What if after the main event I can’t find them? Maybe I can be witty and make them laugh! I’m going to tell them about meeting at Disney! I’m going to explain how we came all the way from North Carolina and they’ve kept me sane. How they inspired me to act and I did my audition that day!

Briefly: Ultimate Hero looked at me like I was something they’d stepped in. I didn’t get to tell the Disney story. We didn’t have much of an exchange at all. I don’t know if I came across as too excited, though I was trying to be calm. I don’t know if they just didn’t want to be there, but they treated me like crap without my having to say anything. I’m not going to get into precisely what happened, but I can still see the look on their face.

When you’ve idolised a person—first, don’t do that. Don’t idolise people. But, when you have—that person looking at you like you’re inferior. That stays with you. Particularly if every other person in your life has treated you as an inferior human in one way or another up to that point.

Idolising a person gives them more power—this person must really know things. And if they think you’re worthless. Well… the jury’s in.

This was twenty years ago. So … Whatever.

I look at how this individual is now—I used to think they were hilarious, but now I see their humour is incredibly mean-spirited. At the time—I fell completely apart. I told my mother I couldn’t wait to be famous so I could be terrible to people.

It’s good I didn’t become famous in my early twenties because I would have been one of those people you read about who is horrible just to be horrible.

Now I look at that person and think, ‘That is not a happy individual. Happy humans don’t behave that way.’ I don’t want to be that person.

The experience… changed me very quickly and taught me a lot—like people don’t owe you anything and don’t meet your heroes, though I have met many incredibly nice celebrities since then. So being a complete jackass isn’t a requirement to being famous. That is not an excuse.

But from the other side of the creator vs consumer line—without consumers, fans, listeners, readers, whatever word you want to use, you have no job as a creator. You’ve made a difference in someone’s life. That’s a big deal. How frequently do humans say to other humans, ‘Hey, you mean something to me. Your existence is important to me.’
(Caveat—send me a dick pic and you’re getting blocked, we’re talking about general correspondence, here.)

The experience made me more aware and critical of celebrity in general–why do we idolise certain people and not others? No one thanks the air traffic controllers who guide planes in safely. If there were a show about air traffic controllers then the people on the show would become famous. There’s something about seeing people on a screen in our house or a cinema that confers an otherworldly aura on humans.

Decades ago Ellen was talking about how, after people see you on their screens in their living room for a while, it’s like they feel like they know you–because you’ve been in their house. I think there’s something to that. When people are projected huge on a big screen they’re bestowed larger-than-life qualities. It’s all effects and make up and lighting and a script, which is then edited to the best possible version. Everything is orchestrated to make these people better than the average person.

I’m not saying don’t admire people with the ability to pretend or make certain sounds with their vocal chords or throw a ball with precision, but be more aware–more critical. Why is it important to you? What does being in the same room with a particular person mean and why? What people who make your day-to-day life safe and happy and worth living have you made feel as important as you would your favourite celebrity?

Everyone wants to feel loved–why have we decided the people who should receive the most adoration are the ones with attributes that can be faked and manufactured?

[This writing originally appeared in a shortened format in episode 68 of The Pageist podcast.]

The Bookshop Experience

My kinky bookshop would absolutely look like the library in The Duke of Burgundy.

[This is text of the book reviews from episode 71.]

As mentioned in previous episodes, I worked in independent bookshops for years—if you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be one of my regular customers who’d ask for recommendations for yourself or for gifts this piece will give you an idea.

This writing will include the books I read about sex and sexuality prior to having The Pageist blog and podcast, as well as books I’m currently reading that are worth considering for the sex geek in your life for the holidays.

Back in episode thirty-six I went over the books I’d reviewed on the site before starting the show, but this is a bit different. These are books from before I could have met any of you wondrous humans. I’ve kept a reading journal and notes for years, but those notes aren’t as comprehensive as what I usually do here so these will be brief summaries to give you an idea of if you’d like to check out each one for yourself.

The Bookshop Experience

First, if you came into the shop looking for a recommendation I’d ask, ‘What was the last thing you read that you really liked?’ Or ‘What sort of books does the person you’re shopping for like to read?’ Then go from there.

Hey, friend! Welcome back to The Library (which would totally be the name of my kinky bookshop), grab a coffee or tea. Let’s find some books.

That person you’ve been dating is into some hardcore nerdage along with their sexiness? Congratulations! Let me show you to:

The Science of Sex. Non-fiction books about how sex actually works.

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I’m currently reading Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that will Transform Your Sex Life by Emily Nagoski. It’s incredible—it’s one of those books that challenges all sorts of things about the way we view sex; particularly female sexuality. The full review will be in depth and super nerdy, but I want to give people the chance to get it for their favourite sex geek before the holidays. It should be required reading for high school seniors. Basically—everything we’re taught is inadequate or inaccurate.

If you’re looking for something a little less heavy, but no less educational, I recommend Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach. Everything Mary Roach writes is hilarious, well-researched and informative. If you enjoy trivia—did you know pig farmers sexually stimulate sows because it’s been shown they become pregnant easier if turned on during insemination?—then this is for you.

She goes to a lot of really cool places like Albert Kinsey’s attic and laboratories where they study how sex works and reports on what she finds and learns—she has a passion for new information that comes through in her writing. She also had a great TED talk about orgasm called 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasm.

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Most of Mary Roach’s book is about human sexuality, but if you’re looking for more about how sex works in the animal kingdom, I recommend Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex by Olivia Judson. This one is very fun. It’s about the utterly bizarre sex lives of animals and insects, explained in the form of letters. So some creature will ‘write’ in to Dr Tatiana about their problem and she’ll answer the question. (I really want to re-read this one and Bonk, but who knows if I’ll ever have time and I need new copies, as I jettisoned mine at some point.)

The entries that stand out in my mind from over fifteen years ago were one about an insect where the female had no vaginal entry so the male had to stab his penis into her abdomen to implant semen, which just seems like an egregious design flaw, and another where the sperm was some ridiculous number of times longer than the insect or being. I can’t recall if it was a worm or what. Basically, if you’d like some trivia to scare people off at cocktail parties, this is the book for you.

Who else are we shopping for?

Oh, your brother’s got a one track mind, but he’s also into history? What about some:

History of Sex. Non-fiction about what people have been getting up to. (They’ve been getting up to a lot.)

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Sex with the Queen: 900 Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers and Passionate Politics by Eleanor Herman. This was a follow up to Herman’s successful Sex with Kings, but I wasn’t interested in what insanely wealthy, endlessly powerful dudes got up to. Women who still had ridiculous rules to abide by, even when monarchs, were interesting, though. Some got up to some seriously sexy shenanigans. Others did a little and then paid for it with their lives. Some beheadings happened. History isn’t as boring as your teachers tried to make it.

Which was pretty much the theme of History Laid Bare: Love, Sex and Perversity from the Ancient Etruscans to Warren G. Harding by Richard Zacks. This one is only available used now, but it’s inexpensive, easy to find and fun as hell. It’s a chunky little book chock full of bits and bobs your history teachers left out. I’m kicking myself for having got rid of it and it’s on my wishlist as part of an effort to rebuild my library. It’s a great bathroom book (or coffee table book, depending on the age of people who hang out at your house). People don’t mind waiting for you to get ready to go out, if they have something interesting to flip through.

Another one of this type is Sexy Origins and Intimate Things by Charles Panati. (Why did I get rid of these books? I do not know. Ugh, self.) Anyway, this one is a fat reference book of over 400 pages of words to do with sex and sexuality that is also mostly out of print, though it’s available for Kindle for just a few dollars. It was originally released in the late nineties so I would be curious to see how they handle transgender and sexuality terms since those have changed so much in the intervening nineteen years.

Now what?

Your niece has decided to pursue a degree in sexuality? Well, there are worse ways to annoy your conservative siblings.

General Sexuality – But very specific types. Non-Fiction about less mainstream facets of sexuality.

A History of Celibacy by Elizabeth Abbott is great. I took so many notes when I read this one. Sexuality isn’t sexuality if someone isn’t trying to repress it—their own or someone else’s. This well-researched book covers a very long time and a wide-range of people who practise celibacy for various reasons. From the religious to the athletic; from the famous to the anonymous.

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If she wants to study relationships between women, I highly recommend Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love Between Women from the Renaissance to the Present by Lillian Faderman. Romantic Friendships would now look (from the outside) like gay relationships. They were highly emotionally passionate relationships between same sex couples (they existed between men, too) and could often be physically affectionate. They were encouraged because men and women were segregated except in marriage. Once men realised women could support themselves financially and have sex, romantic friendships became a threat and the dreaded word ‘lesbian’ was invented and that was that. This book is an excellent chronicle of real life romantic friendships between women, how they were portrayed and how people lived them.

The title is a paraphrase from the Christian Bible, 2 Samuel 1:26: where David says “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.”

If your niece is really interested in romantic friendships—I mean really interested, I recommend Between Women: Friendship, Desire, and Marriage in Victorian England by Sharon Marcus. This is a densely academic piece about these sorts of relationships in a specific time period. I can only recommend it if she’s into what it would be like to be from a certain socioeconomic class (well-off) in Victorian England or enjoys reading academic work, but if she is into swooning letters from women who kept their beloved’s hair in their lockets then she’ll love it. I did.

If she’s looking for something specific to study, Boston Marriages: Romantic but Asexual Relationships Among Contemporary Lesbians by Esther D. Rothblum and Kathleen A. Brehony. There aren’t many books out about asexuality, and this may be the first. It’s quite academic, but not entirely unreadable for a lay audience. I’d still probably only recommend it for people studying asexuality—if so then it’s a must read and a classic.

Who’s next?

Whoa, your highly conservative aunt who finally got out of the soul-killing, decades-long marriage has started dating? That’s great! Three guys at once?! AWESOME. She gets a memoir, I think.

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A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance by Jane Juska. At 66, Juska placed an ad in the New York Times to find someone to have ‘a lot of sex’ with. This is a memoir of how that went. This book was pretty open about the good times and the bad—she didn’t pretend it was all a fun time. And she spent a good amount of the book talking about other aspects of her life, like her damaged relationship with her son—I mean, you don’t get to 66 without having lived some life—but it was nice to see someone taking control of her life at any age. I was reading this in the bookshop I was working at at the time and my manager was side-eyeing me with a fierceness. What? Like she was never going to be sixty. Women deserve sexual happiness at every age.

If that one doesn’t sound good, a classic is Nancy Friday’s My Secret Garden: Women’s Sexual Fantasies. This could possibly be the first sexuality-related book I read. It was originally published in 1973 and is a collection of actual fantasies of women from diverse backgrounds, taken from hundreds of personal interviews. It was groundbreaking and taboo-busting. It’s a great way to let women know their fantasies are normal. The author has other books that follow on from this one, as well, though I haven’t read those.

Who else are we shopping for?

Your friend is new to the kink scene and needs information on Dominance and submission?

Let’s hit up the:

BDSM Section

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I’ve already talked about Anton Fulmen’s The Heart of Dominance, but it’s still on my excellent books list. I put it down when Walter got his tumour diagnosis and haven’t picked it up again, through no fault of the book. I just started other books instead—it happens. I’m looking forward to finishing it and having the author on the show. It is great for people who are at any place in their Dominance—and especially if they don’t consider themselves to be a ‘natural Dominant’. It’s going to be a regular go-to resource.

I’m currently reading a couple books for submissives. The first is Erotic Slavehood: A Miss Abernathy Omnibus. This is two collected books by Christina Abernathy. I’ve finished the first, which is Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual. I’m currently reading the second one, which is full of training exercises for s-types, Training with Miss Abernathy. These exercises can be done on your own or with a D-type. There’s a foreward by Laura Antoniou, because of course there is. These books read very much like something Antoniou would use as reference materials for The Marketplace and then take to the n-th degree. If you’re interested in self training or helping your s-type improve, I highly recommend this one.

Another one I love, but am taking a break from thanks to 2017 being a year of illness is Where I am Led: A Service Exploration Workbook by Christina Parker. It’s a year of writing prompts and activities to help service-based people improve their abilities and learn about themselves that can be done with or without a D-type. The activities and prompts would be good to add to a submissive resume to demonstrate your commitment to growth and continual learning.

Also, in the wider realm of kink, I’m currently reading Ask: Building Consent Culture edited by Kitty Stryker. It’s a collection of essays about how consent is (or is not) part of everyday life and what we need to do to be more aware of it in every way. I’ve just started it, but it’s already provided a great deal of food for thought and I’m looking forward to doing a full review. The essays are by people from diverse backgrounds and they write about consent in ways we may not even usually think of. It’s really thought-provoking.

Who’s next?

Your twin niece and nephew who just went off to university have come out as gay? Boy, this Christmas is going to be a rollicking good time. No, it’s not that unusual, I’ve known several families where the siblings were gay.

Let’s sidle on over to

Gay and Lesbian Studies

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For your nephew I’d recommend a few things. Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, which is a set of nine books that follow a group of San Franciscans from the 1970s through to the present day. Colourful characters, laugh-out-loud shenanigans. They’re light reads but also tackle the concerns of the day. You can get them separately or in three omnibus collections that have three books in each. You get really involved in the characters’ lives and want to continue reading at the end of each book so I’d recommend the omnibus editions. They’ll crack you up and break your heart. Really hard to put down.

Another fiction sort of comedy of errors is Blue Heaven by Joe Keenan, who was one of the writers on Frasier, and it shows. The plot is a down-on-his luck, gay songwriter decides to marry his friend—a woman—for the gifts (this was decades before gay marriage was ever going to be legal). They were going to throw a fabulous wedding and make off with all the goods. Well, it all went to hell in a handbasket, but it had me in tears at times and full of Frasier-worthy one-liners. This one is mostly out of print, but easy to find and very affordable. (I also see, looking this one up that Keenan has several other books to his name. I don’t have time to read them and I despair!)

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For non-fiction I would recommend Michael Thomas Ford’s collected essays, which are hilarious and sometimes a bit wrenching true-life portraits of life as a gay man in the world. He’s arch and someone I wanted to hang out with as an older teen, young twenty-something. The books of his I’ve read and recommend are Alec Baldwin Doesn’t Love Me and Other Trials From My Queer Life, It’s Not Mean If It’s True and That’s Mr Faggot to You.

Finally, two autobiographies. Both are by Andrew Tobias, though the first one was originally published under John Reid, because the author was in the closet. It was called The Best Little Boy in the World and the part that I still remember was that he never farted as a child. He just decided he wasn’t going to because it was ‘bad’. He didn’t masturbate or have wet dreams, either.

The first book was about a person coming to terms with their sexuality and it’s a classic—it’s important for people to know what it was like from a sort of weirdly boring, non-traumatic, bizarrely logically ‘I’m just never going to act on these feelings’ — yeah that didn’t go so well–sort of way.

The book originally came out in 1973, which was groundbreaking. I would also recommend the follow up The Best Little Boy in the World Grows Up, which was published under his own name in 1998 and is about how embracing who you are is, you know, good. Tobias has a MBA from Harvard and was treasurer of the Democratic National Committee from 1999 to 2017, so he’s been a successful human.

Onto your niece.

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There’s this thing about lesbian fiction—for a very long time one or both of the women had to die or go straight before the publishers would agree to publish a piece. Like one of my favourite books—Radclyffe Halls’ The Well of Loneliness. Great title, right? Originally, Hall wanted to give the women-loving-women a happy ending, but the publishers said nope! So it has this depressing-ass ending. This is not a spoiler—if you’re reading any lesbian-based book over a certain age, this is a guarantee. Still, it’s a classic and there’s some swoon-worth bits in it, particularly if you’re into butch-femme roles, which were heavily in play. It was published in 1928 so the language is a bit flowery.

Happy endings for the ladies were so rare, they caused quite the waves—for example in The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith (they made it into a film called Carol) no one died and that was a big deal for something written in 1952. I mean… it’s not an entirely happy ending, but I’ll keep it spoiler free. It’s still fairly blatant lesbianism—it’s not The L Word or anything, but you’d have to be blind not to see it—and, again, no one died, and the ladies ending up happy. Crazypants! It’s a classic. Kids should know their classics—we had to walk uphill both ways to read our stories where the lesbians died twice each just to make meaningful eye contact and we were happy about it! It’s about a married woman with a child who sees a young woman who works retail and just falls for her. Swoon.

Another surprisingly happy ending with actual sex this time was Patience and Sarah by Isabel Miller. It was published in 1969 and is set on a New England farm in the nineteenth century. Two women—a painter and a cross-dressing farmer—live as a couple. It was tender and realistic and I couldn’t put it down. I read it in one sitting.

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Speaking of actual sex—Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters. A lot of Sarah Waters’ books have queer characters and themes, but Tipping the Velvet is lesboriffic. It’s a Victorian picaresque so we get to see everything from the slums of the era to high society and there’s lots of graphic lesbian sex. The over-arching story is of Nan, who goes from being an oyster shucker in a village on the coast, to a male impersonator on vaudeville to a kept woman (by a very Dominant type lady I had quite the thing for) and on to another relationship around the time women were trying to get the vote. It’s lush with description, as well. It was made into a quite excellent mini-series.

Another book of Waters’ with Victorian detail galore and a lesbian storyline, though not nearly as much sex, is Fingersmith, which is what pickpockets were called back then. Densely plotted and full of the sorts of things you’d expect in any Dickensian story (except, you know, the lesbians)—orphans, schemers, thieves, backalleys, smog… this one has twists and turns like you wouldn’t believe. It’s compelling, well-written stuff.

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Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend Jeneatte Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, which is autobiographical fiction based on her own upbringing by a highly (and I mean highly) religious adoptive mother and what the process of coming out was like in that environment. Winterson’s writing is at times lyrical and evocative and, at other times, I didn’t know what the hell was going on. But it was still weirdly beautiful. It’s a classic and not to be missed.

Who’s left?

Ah, the season and entire year is literally draining your will to live and you need a break from all of civilisation?

Fiction, then.

A friend of mine recommended I read The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel, and it’s immersive. It’s about a Cro-Magnon child who loses her parents during an earthquake in the Ice Age and manages to find her way to a Neanderthal tribe. They take her in, though they find her paleness and blonde hair ugly, and she grows up with them.

Auel had to do all of her research by hand, as it was originally published in 1980, which makes the detail that much more impressive, but it’s easy to sit and read hundreds of pages at a time. There are clearly delineated male and female roles in the Neanderthal tribe and it’s a wonder people haven’t created some power exchange styles based on the Earth’s Children books they way they have with Gor. This book was recommended to me because it was the first sexually explicit book my friend had read, but I haven’t got to that bit yet, even though I’m a few hundred pages in.

That’s what I have for you this time, friend. I hope it was helpful. I’ll leave you with this stack of books to look through—when you’re ready, just bring what you want to the till and I’ll check you out.

Episode 071: My History of Sexy Reading

Episode the seventy-first; wherein the Pageist has some very good news, some potentially interesting news and gives her listeners the Bookshop Experience. This episode includes 30 mini book reviews.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

  • A big thank you to my patrons! You’ve kept my head afloat and my sanity intact this year.
  • There was one new iTune rating–it must have been five stars! Thank you!
  • There was one new survey response with some very kind feedback. Thank you, thank you. If you’d like to take the (anonymous) survey, the link is here and I curtsey in your general direction.

3.07 My Submissive Life:

  • Walter’s tumour is benign! He’s no longer on one hormone, but is on another at least for a bit.
  • I talked about the incredible things various hormones can do to a person in episode 61.

7.25 Book Review:

33.55 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing The Cleis Press Sextionary
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

What the Pageist Did in November 2017

The Pageist Christmukkah bush. First one in ten years.

Podcast Episodes

Episode 67: I believe in magic! But only the bad kind, apparently. The book reviewed was Jealousy Survival Guide: How to Feel Safe, Happy and Secure in an Open Relationship by Kitty Chambliss. The text version of the book review is here.

Episode 68: What happened when I met my Ultimate Hero and also some good news. The book reviewed was Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner. The text version of the book review is here.

Episode 69: Why comedians are not to be trusted, technology continues to hate me and fun news. The book reviewed was 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. The written version of the book review is here.

Episode 70: The hosts of Red Light Library, Gavin and Jackie, joined me to discuss the horrors and joys of reviewing less-than-stellar erotica. It was hilarious.

Patreon Rewards

November Greeting ($1+): This month was all about controlled explosions and patriotism and what in the world they have to do with one another.

Poetry for Patrons–The Pearl pt 2 ($3+): Three poems from The Pearl. One about a naughty dancer, one that’s a poop joke (classic!) and another about how the people condeming the sexually free are usually the biggest hypocrites.

Mix Tape–‘All Five Senses’ by Sinclair Sexsmith ($5+): A section of my favourite story from Sinclair Sexsmith’s very sexy lesbian tale featuring packing.

Romance of Lust pt 7 ($10+): In this instalment, our narrator finally gets it together with his long-time love–his governess. With his todger. A lot.

Writing

Over on WattPad, I’m Normally Perfect is up to chapter forty-two and over 900 pages. If you’re interested in lesbian vanilla, age gap relationship fiction, this one is free to read. And it’s nearly half up!

Website

The Zazzle shop for the site was finally open with an initial set of designs. This post highlighted the collections and important information.

The Book Recommendations page was updated with lots of new information to help readers make decisions about holiday book shopping.

Also updated the Gift Guide and added quite a few sections and recommendations.

The Worthy Causes page was also updated.

50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 69.]

This episode’s book review is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. I received it for free from the generous people at Cleis Press, but that’s never stopped me from being honest.

First bit of honesty—with this title, if it hadn’t been by the illustrious Ms Taormino I would have never asked to review it.

Recently, though, another sex blogger, Amy, from Coffee & Kink, wrote about how high quality 50 Shades branded things—toys and such—were important because people new to kink would no doubt be overwhelmed by the quantity of gear out there. A lot of it being non-body safe. And if we scoff at these people due to how they found the scene they’ll go away and practise kink in unsafe ways—ways that probably look like what happens in the trilogy. If we welcome them and say, ‘Here, try this other thing/book/this is how consent actually works in the scene…’ Everyone will have a much better and safer time. Let these people come in in the way they’re most comfortable.

This book is written for beginners—if you’ve read 50 Shades (or know someone who read it) and wants to know more about the basics—it’s excellent. Taormino has been writing and teaching about BDSM for years and knows her stuff. She covers a wide range of topics concisely.

It’s the precursor to a book she edited called The Ultimate Guide to Kink, which is for more experienced practitioners—there probably won’t be a lot of new ground here if you’re not brand new.

Particulars of the book. It’s 140 pages so it’s not dauntingly long. I was surprised how much was covered.

In the introduction the author defines ‘kink’ thusly:

I use kink as a catch-all term that includes BDSM, sadomasochism, kinky sex, dominance and submission, role play, sex games, fantasy and fetish.

She further defines the word:

Kink is an intimate experience, an exchange of power between people that can be physical, erotic, sexual, psychological, spiritual, or, most often, some combination. People who practice kink explore the territory between pleasure and pain, eroticize the exchange of power, experience intense physical sensations and psychological scenarios, and test and push their limits.

That’s a pretty all encompassing definition. I like it.

Something else she said in the intro that is one of my favourite things about BDSM is:

BDSM can be a lifelong learning process and way of getting to know ourselves and our deepest, and sometimes darkest, fantasies and fetishes.

I love, love, love that kink is about being encouraged to play and grow and learn about ourselves rather than stifling creativity and stagnating and being a grown up and behaving and being just one way that is defined by very dull people. I love the entire concept of seeing where certain dark (and light) paths go and being with people who will protect you and celebrate those journeys. Once we’re past a certain age we’re no longer supposed to explore our inner worlds—we’re supposed to focus on what the outer world wants of us all the time. Kink says, ‘Lighten up! You’re no good to anyone if you know nothing about yourself! Put on that Minnie Mouse frock and jump in a vat of applesauce, if you want!’

After the introduction, Taormino starts off with a chapter called Embrace Your Inner Kinkster: Myths, Truths and Communication.

Much like it sounds, it covers a lot of the myths surrounding kink—nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve been around awhile—and dispels them succinctly. This book would also be good for a vanilla person in your life who was just confused by what it was BDSM was about and would sit and read 140 pages.

The chapter also covers how to have a conversation—whether in person or some form of writing or another way—about your new kinky desires. There’s advice on what to do if that conversation doesn’t go well.

Chapter two is BDSM Basics: Terms, Roles and Principles. It covers all the basics I’ve ever heard of so you should be set for the new people, at least.

In this section there’s consent, as well as a Yes-No-Maybe sample checklist. I read the digital version and it would be easier to make a physical copy of the physical version for you and your partner(s) to make checkmarks on than having to draw out your own version of the spreadsheet. Though with your own version you could add extra activities you had thoughts about.

There’s extensive information on good ways to communicate both before, during and after play and examples of how to incorporate communication into play if you’re doing role play or trying to maintain a certain atmosphere.

She stresses that it’s important for tops to remember to take care of themselves after scenes, as well. The focus is often solely on the person having something done to them, but tops are important, too.

Contracts are discussed in this section and a sample contract is given.

Chapter three is Dominant/submissive Role Play.

This chapter includes this quote:

A power exchange of some kind is nearly always present in human relationships. There are people all around us in power exchange relationships who don’t acknowledge the dynamic or call it anything. Consider a husband who gives his wife an allowance but not credit card in her own name. A woman who controls her coworkers, making them eager to please her even though she’s not their boss. That’s right—there are plenty of people wearing collars and others tugging at their leashes, but the gear is invisible and the dynamic unexamined.

The more I’ve embraced my submissive side, and considered it, the more I’ve noticed how power works in the world in general. I prefer the acknowledgment of unequal power and intentionally playing with it.

In this section the author talks about how Dominants don’t have to be tops—a Dominant could order their submissive to flog them, for example.

Then there was this:

But there could also be a sadistic submissive who enjoys piercing masochist bottoms.

Yes? Hello? Hi. Hellooooo.

People don’t have to be just one thing, basically. Which goes back to being encouraged to play and learn about yourself.

This chapter also addresses how, for some people D/s is role play—people exploring playing with power—and for others their Dominant or submissive side is as ingrained as their sexual orientation or their eye colour.

Chapter four is Sexual Power Games: Pleasure and Orgasm Control.

This covers things like tease and torment, forced masturbation, orgasm control (which AliceinBondageLand taught us all about a few episodes back) and sexual service. What these things are, what’s appealing about them and how to do them safely.

The next chapter is on Sensory Deprivation: Blindfolds, Hoods and Earplugs, which is what it says on the tin.

Chapter Six is Sensation Play: Massage Oil Candles, Nipple Clamps and More. ‘And more’ is right. Feathers, edible body paint, stimulating gels and creams. There was also lots of safety information here. People tend to think that you need to be careful most when using pain or hitting someone, but a too hot candle can involve an explanation at the hospital, which ruins everyone’s good time.

There are two chapters on bondage. The first is Basics and DIY.

This chapter is about what you can use around your house and the author starts off by warning not to use athletic tape or duct tape, as well as zip ties. She then goes into what are good choices and why and how to use them safely.

The second bondage chapter is stuff you purchase: Restraints, Bondage Tape, Gags, and Collars.

In this chapter Taormino discusses the hazards of the classic handcuff (keys get lost, they can close too tightly, they can cut into the wrist) and then covers the other basic types of items out there and how they might be used, as well as makes recommendations for quality manufacturers of said items.

Then we’re onto a chapter called Smack!: Spanking, Paddles and Crops. There are instructions on how to give a spanking, including how to spank genitals, in case that’s something you’d like to try. Then there’s the various implements that can be used and how and why. In this section she recommends trying a slapper if you’ve enjoyed a hand spanking, but:

…crave something more intense or with more of a ‘bite’.

The follow up chapter is Smack Harder!: Floggers and Canes. This covers the array of materials a flogger can be made of and how that effects its sting or thud, as well as how to use a flogger. Taormino always stresses education and safety and urges the reader to learn to flog properly before ever throwing it at a person.

Then we’re onto canes—she doesn’t have a great deal to say about canes outside of what they’re made of, what parts of the body they can be used on and how painful and dangerous they can be if not used properly.

Chapter eleven is Rough Sex. I learned something about myself reading this. Rough sex is triggering as hell for me—big hard limit, so that was useful. I didn’t even know what that phrase meant (it’s not exactly descriptive) and thought it meant someone likes bondage or spankings with their sex. Nope. It’s a whole thing of its own and I have a visceral reaction to it. Okay. So, the author talks about how some people don’t consider rough sex kinky—Taormino says:

Rough sex is another kind of dominant/submissive role play where you can explore power, control, and surrender, and use intense physicality to push limits and break taboos.

She talks about the various acts involved in this activity and how, though it’s incredibly intense, there are still ways to communicate and get consent for the specific ways you want to be roughed up or rough someone else up.

The rest of the book is resources. The Epilogue is Fifty Items for your Toy Bag–not all of which are physical. The first three are consent, communication and honesty, for example. Then there’s an entirely decent reading list comprised of both fiction and non-fiction books. A list of films is back in an earlier chapter, so you’ll finish this book with a nice little syllabus to begin your studies.

Overall, 50 Shades of Kink is a great introduction for complete beginners to BDSM or those who are curious about what it is we do and how we do it. It’s straightforward, inclusive and covers a wide-array of topics. I definitely give this one a 5/5.

Episode 070: Red Light Library

Episode the seventieth; wherein the Pageist tests new recording software for a bit, has a fun announcement and talks reviewing smut. The interview is with Gavin and Jackie from Red Light Library.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • The show is in Afghanistan, Fiji and Guatemala
  • One new Facebook like: Hello to Drew!
  • Thank you to Just Erik for the audio normaliser recommendation! If we all work together we’ll eventually get the interviews to a professional quality.
  • A post about the grand opening of the Pageist shop. And a link to said shop. If you’re not logged into Zazzle you won’t be able to see some of the designs, as they’re ‘adult’ since they’re tagged ‘bdsm’. Insert eyeroll here.
  • A few survey responses, which are valuable and sometimes confusing. If you’d like to be one of those things, you can take the survey here (it is anonymous).

4.37 Interview:

(swiped from their Twitter)

  • This week I interviewed the hosts of Red Light Library, Gavin and Jackie, about reviewing the weirdest, wackiest erotica out there. They are heroes, subjecting themselves to some seriously questionable writing and unconventional fetishes to find work worth discussing on their show. It was hilarious and filthy and I learned about a fetish I hadn’t heard of before.
  • Books and authors they recommend:
  • Captain Future and the Corn Dildo from Outer Space by Tabatha Houston
  • Daddy Longlegs by Brixton Atwood
  • Approaching the Swingularity by Cooper S. Beckett,
  • Bound to the Mast by Miranda Burns
  • Their most popular episode: Bloated Beach Bunny Butts – Molly Coddles available here.
  • Their twitter is @RedLightLibrary and their podcast is RedLightLibrary.libsyn.com
  • Support them on Patreon: Patreon.com/redlightlibrary

1.07.39 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing… We’ll all be surprised!
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

The Pageist Shop

The Pageist shop is open with an initial set of collections for power exchange, s-types, kinksters, poly individuals and those with a Victorian bent. All apparel comes in multiple colours–express yourself! Notebooks (black, white or Victorian) can be modified with either blank, lined, grid or checklist pages.

Important note: because several items are tagged ‘bdsm’ they are rated PG-13 or R and will be invisible unless you log in to the site.

Collections

Perversion & Normality

Notebooks and apparel featuring the site’s unofficial motto.

 

(link here to choose light colours–hit the Perversion & Normality link for other styles and color options.)

What Would Your D-Type Want?

Notebooks and apparel to help s-types keep in mind what’s important. Whether you have a Ma’am, Sir, Mistress, Master or something else, there’s a version of this design for you.

 

 

Reminders for s-types

Notebooks and apparel that serve as reminders to be the sort of s-type that would make your D-type proud. A variety of s-types and D-types available.

(link here)

Resources for s-types

Supplies (binders) to assist s-types in their submission. These come in a variety of colours & two faux textures. Choose which size binder that’s best for you–1″, 1.5″, 2″. [Note: These are American size 3 ring binders.]

Butler’s books are useful for service people who need to keep up with the preferences of several people or who enjoy entertaining. Keep favourite recipes, cleaning secrets and other bits and bobs, as well as specific likes and dislikes of guests and Dominants. SubmissiveGuide has a handy guide for possible pages.

Owner’s Manuals/submissive resumes/slave resumes are documents for prospective D-types containing all the information they could need to know about an s-type. Compiling it is an excellent learning experience for a submissive and can highlight the areas where they excel and where they could focus a bit more. I’ve written about them here.

Victorian Lifestyle

Several William Morris designs on pocket notebooks for power exchange people, and a couple extra titles (milady and milord) for good measure. Also, swanky canvas journals with William Morris prints laser etched on. You’ll want to hit the link to see everything.

This is the back of the notebook when open. (link here)

 

 

The canvas journals have pockets for an ipad mini, business card and notes. (link here)

The Stealth Collection

Binders and canvas notebooks useful for flagging your kinky or poly side in a lowkey way. You can always say, ‘Oh, I just like the design.’

We can make the binders in different colours–just ask. Be sure to choose which size binder you’d like 1″, 1.5″, 2″. Note: these are American size 3 ring binders.

The canvas notebooks all come with a Moleskine journal and are refillable.

 

 

 

 

Sapiosexuals

Notebooks and apparel about the people who want to fuck with your mind, but only consensually and in all the best ways.

 

Episode 069: 50 Shades of Kink

Episode the sixty-ninth; wherein the Pageist reveals why comedians are not to be trusted, despairs over technology and enthuses about the new shop. The book reviewed is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino.

.44 Intro and Announcements:

  • Thank you to Mark for recommending an alternative to Skype! Here’s to clearer interviews in future.
  • Several survey responses, which always makes my day. If you’d like to take the (brief, anonymous) survey, you may do so here.
  • The site’s old theme is no longer nice to look at on desktop so has been jettisoned for this one until Walter can build a new site from scratch. At least this is classy.
  • Our Zazzle shop is nearly ready to launch! Just in time for the shopping season.
  • Kate Lister (@WhoresofYore) is writing a book called A Curious History of Sex. You can help fund it here.

5.15 My Submissive Life:

  • Thanks to Arthur Chu (@arthur_affect) for reminding me of some things I had forgotten about comedy. One of his threads inspired this week’s segment.

11.24 Book Review:

(source)

  • This episode’s book is 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to BDSM by Tristan Taormino. The precursor to her book The Ultimate Guide to Kink, which is for more experienced people, this one is an excellent beginner’s guide. Covering everything from common myths to how negotiation and contracts work to a wide array of actual kink practices succinctly, this one would also be a good choice for a vanilla person who was curious about what kinky people actually do.
  • Amy from Coffee & Kink talks about why 50 Shades branded materials are useful and important in this blog post.
  • AliceinBondageLand joined me to talk Chastity and orgasm control, which is covered in the book.

25.08 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing the hosts of Red Light Library about reviewing erotica.
  • Support the show through PayPal!
  • Support the show and site on Patreon and get bonus content each month!
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Quora, Medium, and Instagram and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to the website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • The libsyn feed is here and can be used in your favourite podcast feed reader.
  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Poly Land by Page Turner

(source)

[This is the text of the book review from episode 68.]

The review this episode is Poly Land: My Brutally Honest Adventures in Polyamory by Page Turner. A more apt title for a book there has never been.

I received this book for free, but you know me. Get set for what I think.

Do you enjoy reality television?

The kind where they find people you wouldn’t want to spend time with but are weirdly compelling to watch? The kind that have entire threads on Twitter with their own hashtags—maybe you have a pool at work to see who’s going to flame out first?

Then this is the book for you!

Seriously, I did enjoy it, but talk about a dumpster fire in the middle of a clusterfuck.

While I was reading it someone on Twitter asked if every book on poly was an example of what not to do and I was like: The one I’m reading is. I like it but everyone needs an interpersonal communication class.

The author, @PolydotLand, liked that tweet and agreed, saying she thought everyone could use several communication classes.

It reminded me of Dan from Erotic Awakening. He says that he and dawn spent their first two years of polyamory just doing polyamory all wrong. Reading this book was like watching that unfold before me and being powerless to stop it or help.

People. Books are your friends. Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton. Jealousy Survival Guide by Kitty Chambliss. They can help you.

I wanted to live tweet it. Seriously. ‘Oh, NOW this has happened. … I mean, of course.’

It would be an interesting read for a poly group. The discussion would be… lively. It was definitely an object lesson in the variety of ways to avoid communication and the disastrous consequences of doing so.

Between chapters about the author’s life, which charts a course from a less-than-stellar monogamous, patently unhappy marriage to something infinitely better after going through reality television-worthy hell, there are chapters called Poly Signposts, which cover important things to know about ethical non-monogamy. Including things like the difference between the poly scene for dudes and for women (because it’s very different). And New Relationship Energy—or NRE.

I’d be reading these signposts thinking, ‘All right, clearly you’ve learned a lot—are we going to see that growth in the book because the people in your life are yeesh. Run awaaaaaay. You’re better than this.’

I’ve never heckled a book before. I’m telling you, the Twitter hashtag would be incredible.

But it was very, very useful. And entertaining. I looked forward to getting back to the drama (something I avoid like the plague in real life) to see how else people could communicate badly.

There are some bad communicators out there. In ways I hadn’t imagined.

Look folks—if you want to be in the ethical non-monogamy crew, you have to talk to other people about your needs and wants. I hate talking about my feelings, too, but I just have to suck it up. That’s the ethical part.

Speaking of ethics. This book demonstrates that it is possible to cheat within polyamory. And it’s not cool.

There’s also a sexual assault near the end of the book. It’s handled delicately and isn’t graphic and it’s recounted briefly, but it’s there—the author does mention it in the copy so it’s not a surprise. Props to her for that.

The people in her life dealt with it better than I would have ever imagined. So it wound up being… not positive, but it turned out okay. About as okay as anything of this sort could turn out. It was a demonstration of the best way to handle a terrible situation.

Earlier in the book something happened where someone had to … well, they didn’t have to, but they had sex with another person’s wife into order to be able to have sexual access to the husband faster because the wife was strict about access and it was a faster route. Maybe I’m being asexual over here, but … The wife in question was a real piece of work, let me tell you.

The author is a bisexual woman with a high libido and a kinky streak and an interest in telling people what she feels so, you know, she should be having the time of her life in the poly scene, but the initial bunch of humans she’s dealt are some seriously entitled dudes and women who refuse to have straight up conversation using understandable language.

She has her own flaws, which she doesn’t hide, but in many ways, Turner seems made for polyamory, and just needed to get through the initiative test of the first few years.

Yes, it’s one of those ‘here’s how not to do poly’ books, but it’s entertaining (if enraging because who ARE these people) and if you’re already in healthy relationships it will make you appreciate them more.

Granted, this book sort of made me not want to try to date… so that’s bad. But I certainly know what to look out for when I get out there. I also know what I won’t stand for and what I need—two things that weren’t in abundance when the author started her poly journey.

Style-wise, the author is real. It reads like someone telling their story and sharing occasional letters and chats. It’s not highly polished, but also not so ‘human’ so as to be unreadable.

If you’re looking primarily for information on how to do healthy ethical non-monogamy, go for Opening Up by Tristan Taormino. If you’re looking for help dealing with specifc, difficult emotions, try Kitty Chambliss’ Jealousy Survival Guide. If you’re looking for what happens if you fling caution to the wind and date whatever random shows up—what it’s like out there for people who don’t prepare themselves—go for Poly Land. It was a ride and a half. If she writes a sequel, I would absolutely read it. I give this 5/5.

[The author has a website, Poly.Land, with quizzes, resourses and writing about polyamory–it’s pretty cool.]