Vaginismus & Non-Penetrative Sex is Queer Sex

(Trigger warning: Sexual assault is mentioned)

It seems to me that for all the talking about how queer sex is more diverse or varied or open than the mainstream, it still shares a common marker: penetration as end goal.

Discussion of sex tips within queer circles often involves sharing tips on using dildos and strap-ons. Strap-ons and harnesses are celebrated in queer culture, portrayed as symbols of desirability especially amongst queer women. Fisting is a queer sex powermove.

This echoes more conventional ideas around heterosexual sex, where it doesn’t count as “sex” or “losing your virgninity” until there is vaginal penetration (though thankfully this
notion is being questioned more and more
).

As a queer person who cannot do penetration, for reasons I will detail below, I already find much of mainstream sexual discourse alienating - but the alienation is doubly so in queer circles. I don’t expect mainstream sex (like most of mainstream culture) to represent me at all, but it’s an extra special frustration to feel like a freak in your community. I do not buy into [Dworkinesque politics about penetration being oppressive and resent the implication that I am not sex-positive or somehow ‘frigid’ because I find one mode of sexual activity overly represented. Instead I ask that us fellow queer people broaden our thinking on what makes great sex, moving away from specific activities as highlights to building whole experiences.

[TRIGGER WARNING]
Penetration didn’t used to be a problem for me; it didn’t really do as much for me as other forms of stimulation, but it was doable. Long before then I got more out of various forms of sexual play; I would rather spend my sexytime smothered in touch or having intensely intimate conversation. Penetration? Meh.

Then in 2009 I was raped at an all-women’s play party, mostly by the coercive and forced use of overly large dildos. Ever since then I have developed vaginismus, a psychosomatic condition that has made me unable to deal with almost any form of penetration, even smaller objects such as tampons, menstrual cups, or fingers. Dildos - particularly oversize ones - became a major trigger for me, to the point of shuddering whenever I run into the sex toys section at an adult shop. (I am deeply grateful that the crew at Crash Pad respected this during my shoot with them in 2011 and kept the dildos out of sight for me, and that Kitty Stryker found plenty of good ways to have fun on screen regardless. Thank you!)

It was already hard enough to find validation or help in my assault experience, given that it was woman-on-woman — people were stuck on the idea of women not being able to be perpetrators because they do not have penises to penetrate. (Ironically, the use of dildos made my story more “believeable” in the eyes of many misogynists.) In re-exploring my sexuality post-assault I found it very difficult to find representations or resources that didn’t focus on penetration as the Big Climax that everything else builds up to. My preferred modes of sexual pleasure were dismissed as just "foreplay" or “warming up”. So much queer porn didn’t seem complete unless they ended with dildos or fisting (so much fisting). Ow!

This strongly affected my confidence with romantic and sexual relationships. I am lucky to have a (straight, cis) male partner who has grown to enjoy non-penetrative sex so much that he, like me, prefers it to penetration; however, for a long time I felt like I was holding him back from expressing his full sexual options. The joys of relationship anarchy meant that we didn’t have to be each other’s only sexual partner, and indeed he has found another sexyfriend to explore penetration with as he wishes. In the meantime I too have been relatively lucky to find other sexyfriends and partners that didn’t insist or penetration, but many times it felt like making a concession rather than an exciting opportunity to try something different.

I would hear stories about being wrist-deep in another person, or be amongst friendly group chatter around where to find harnesses for dildos in the city, and feel left out. No one else seemed to as rhapsodic about, say, being eaten out the whole night (and have it end there) or not being touched at all and instead having a purely mental orgasmic experience. The closest thing I could find to my experience was the idea of being a “stone”, which really did not describe me. I am often a rather Top-py Pillow Princess; I love receiving dedicated attention. I just didn’t want this to include penetrative activity. Yet I couldn’t find anything that spoke to my sexual preferences without making it seem like I was missing out on something. I felt inadequate, unsexy, broken.

I figured I couldn’t be the only person with vaginismus or an inability to be penetrated. Sexual assault and rape are highly prevalent around the world — up to 71% of the population according to WHO multi-country studies. According to Vaginismus.com, roughly 2 in 1000 women will experience vaginismus, but the number could be higher due to shame and stigma.

What’s with making this a stigma anyway? Why do I or anyone else need to have a justification, medical or traumatic, to not want to involve penetration in sex? Maybe it just doesn’t do anything for you; most women (or female-assigned bodies) don’t orgasm from penetration alone anyway. Maybe you like everything else a whole lot more and would rather concentrate on the sex that feels great, rather than trying to hit arbitrary landmarks. Maybe you’re like me pre-sexual assault, and just find penetration middling.

I feel like we need to flip the Pareto principle around when it comes to depicting sexual possibility: rather than 80% of our attention being spent on 20% of our body (penetration of the genitals), let’s spend more time exploring the other 80% of ourselves: the rest of our body, the mind, the spirit. Here are some ideas for non-penetrative sexual pleasure:

Sensation play. The skin is the largest organ in the body - make use of it! As you can see on my shoot with Kitty Stryker, I’m a major feather fan (*snerk*) and go all melty on scratching. I’m also fond of food play — sweet toppings make me feel and smell so luscious afterwards! (Just don’t put them on genitals lest you get yeast infections). Play with textures, weight, pressure, even different ways of moving the object - slowly pulling a leather strap across the skin is far different than slapping that same leather strap. Remember to explore non-obvious sexual spots - perhaps there are certain points on the belly, or arm, or knee that make your paramour shudder in delight. My male partner got a lot out of [Bondassage, a lighter form of BDSM play that is sensation-centric - check their website out for ideas and training.

Creative sexytimes. I often say that art is my kink — I enjoy engaging my senses and erotic energy in creative outlets. Explore burlesque or pole-dancing. Head to a strip club and partake in a lapdance. Read erotic stories - or have someone read them out to you. Better yet, craft a highly personal fantasy for you and your lover! Try music too — the Sex Music tumblr has great recommendations. Have photos taken, make your own porn!

Oral sex or clitoral stimulation. Yes this is rather obvious, but it can be surprising how many people forget this as a viable sexual option, or overlook it in the rush to ‘fill that hole’. Enjoy the scenery, play around with it. Linger. Change your focus from “this is just foreplay for the big stuff”, a hurdle to get past, to enjoying the moment wholly and you will be very pleasantly rewarded.

Not willing to be penetrated doesn’t make us repressed desexualised people unworthy of love. Queer sex is as much about paying attention to individual desires as it is about moving away from heterosexist ideas. Let’s move the focus away from privileging various sex acts over others, and relish each other for the diversity of bodies and sexualities that we are.

Mendhi Henna has just moved to the Bay Area from Brisbane, Australia in the guise of starting grad school. Her real schemes remain semi-secret.

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April Flores - Animated Gif

April Flores

April Flores does an animated gif!

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Vespur’s Animated Gif!

Vespur does an animated gif!

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rife’s animated gif

rife does an animated gif!

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Cast Your Vote to Bring Our Panel to SXSW!

Kitty Stryker is organizing a SXSW panel and has invited Pink & White Director Shine Louise Houston to participate! The event is entitled “Principled Porn: Is DIY Changing the Industry?”. Along with Kelly Shibari, other familiar faces include Ned and Maggie Mayhem.

The 20th annual SXSW Interactive Festival takes place March 8-12, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The event draws some of the most inquisitive minds in technology/digital creativity. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Shine and the presenters, as well as SXSWi participants. Pink & White’s websites utilize open source technologies; we’re an independent, sustainable business creating unique online resources for marginalized queer communities. Over the years we’ve filled a much-needed void in the adult industry, earning recognition from top adult awards. Within our own communities, Shine’s work has inspired new projects by budding pornographers, paving the way for increased diversity and representation of sexuality.

"Principled Porn: Is DIY Changing the Industry?"

Porn prohibitionists assert that pornography is inherently destructive for both the performer and the viewer. Yet some studies suggest that with decreased institutionalized sexism in a society comes increased variety of pornographic imagery available and the increase of positive impact on relationships. In the age of internet video and conscientious consumption, independent porn is getting a leg up — direct access to consumers is increasing questions about how work standards being applied to the world of XXX.

With the blogosphere reflecting an increasingly diverse audience for adult materials, how is this changing the perception of who is the exhibitionist and who is the voyeur? And is this impacting the way we interact with porn on a personal, professional and academic level?

These panelists, some working within and some outside of the mainstream industry, will examine how porn is produced, marketed, and consumed, and if a fair trade option is in our erotic futures.

Cast your Vote!

Click on over to SXSW PanelPicker and log on to cast your vote! It only takes a moment and you’ll help bring a conversation worth having to one of the nations’ largest conferences.

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Questioning Subjectivity & Representation in Queer Pornography

We received a message from a fan on subjectivity and representation in pornography.

Rather than answer the person ourselves, we have decided to post it here on our blog and allow anyone from our company as well as our audience — and especially our models themselves — to answer the question.

I am writing a MA thesis in Gender Studies on yaoi manga (Japanese comics written by and for women about male-male romance/sex). One particular thread of my research suggests that the production and consumption of these male characters represents a great feeling of discomfort at displaying a sexualized female body. While characters within the narrative can act as fully realized sexual subjects, the characters are objects of desire for the readers. Thus, portraying and representing heterosexual or lesbian sexuality places the female body as an object, problematizing any representation of female sexuality. I was wondering if anyone at Crash Pad could offer some insight as creators/actors of queer/feminist pornography.

Does the process of objectification became less problematic in a context where diverse bodies and identities are represented? Is the concern over representation and objectification still valid?

What do YOU think?

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Things We Like: Saint Harridan Makes Men’s-styled Suits for Women, Transmen, & Small Genderqueers

Saint Harridan

Our director Shine Louise Houston has applied to be a model for Saint Harridan, a new company that makes Men’s-styled suits for people who might not be able to find a good fitting suit.

You can apply to be a model, too! Saint Harridan says: We’re looking for fly Saints of all genders, shapes, sizes, ages and colors to kick it with us while we design the clothing we all wish somebody would finally! finally! make.

For more information, visit http://www.saintharridan.com/be-a-saint-harridan-model.html and check out their model application page!

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Behind the Lens: J-Bird & Lyric

Here’s a sneak peek from today’s afternoon shoot — with J-Bird and Lyric!

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Behind the Lens: Kitty Stryker & Betty Blac

Quick sneak peek at today’s morning models, Kitty Stryker and upcoming Crash Pad star Betty Blac!

Flowers and lace.

Kitty Stryker

Betty Blac

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Live Shoot Saturday, August 4th

Queer Porn Website CrashPadSeries.com Shoots LIVE on August 4th!
Shine Louise Houston’s Award-winning Website Live-Streams with Stars Betty Blac & Kitty Stryker and J-Bird & Lyric

The popular queer porn website Crash Pad Series has a new voyeur… YOU!

Ever wanted to sit-in on a porn shoot? Fans, film buffs and feminist porn academics across the globe can now log in and observe as award-winning director Shine Louise Houston films installments of the popular queer porn site CrashPadSeries.com, from Pink & White Productions.

Based on the original “Feminist Porn Best Dyke Sex Scene” smash hit “The Crash Pad”, the website carries on the film’s hot sex scenes week after week, with diverse genders and fluid sexualities soaking the camera in all manners of toys, kinks, and tricks. With over 12,900 photos and 260 mobile-compatible Video Episodes and exclusive Behind the Scenes interviews with over 160 models, Crash Pad Series is the largest and most diverse queer porn site on the web. Now, viewers can log on and watch the action unfold in real time through a Level 3 Membership.

Live-shoots attract fans of queer porn stars and Shine Louise Houston, as well as those interested in feminist and queer pornography such as womens’ studies scholars, graduate students, researchers and journalists. On August 4th, we welcome scholars, filmmakers and journalists to join us online in real time for the creation of our unique queer, indie video site.

Lyric

Images right to left: Kitty Stryker (photo: Todd Hartman), Betty Blac (photo: Don Sir), J-Bird (photo: Tristan Crane), Lyric (photo: image courtesy Lyric). For more images and information, please contact alliance@crashpadseries.com

The live-streaming happens Saturday August 4th, 2012 at approximately 11:00am and 3:00pm PST.

Our first shoot of the day welcomes returning Crash Pad star Kitty Stryker and budding porn starlet Betty Blac, live-streaming at 11:00am PST. “I’ve had an amazing time when I’ve worked with CrashPadSeries before — it’s exciting to get to have playful, kinky sex the way you enjoy with a co-star you have chemistry with, and having that on film to enjoy again later? Even better!” says Kitty, adding: “Betty Blac is a rock star, and she’s hinted that she’s a bit submissive — for a top like me, that’s music to my clit. I feel quite lucky!

The afternoon shoot live-streams at 3:00am PST and welcomes the return of Crash Pad hottie J-Bird who looks forward to initiating Crash Pad newbie Lyric, who says, “I’m so excited about shooting with Crash Pad and Shine Louise Houston because I think Crash Pad is all so tender and fun and raucous and real. I was shown Crash Pad by a good friend four years ago and it’s changed the way I make art and sex ever since.”

About shooting with J-Bird, Lyric adds: “My costar is a big crush of mine on the site and was one of my original top choices. I feel so good about him being my Crash Pad first. J-Bird is sexy and in the interactions we’ve had, I’ve found him able to laugh so well with people. Also the conversation we had about our wardrobe in trying to plan our scene was great. Our shoot is going to involve queer party outfit prep crisis, biting, cocksucking, nails, and hopefully ICE.”

Like most porn professionals, these stars are all over social networks. All are on Twitter: @kittystryker, @Bettyblac1, @JBirdstar and @FancyLyric. Additionally, you can find Kitty Stryker on Facebook and KittyStryker.com. Betty Blac and J-Bird are on tumblr at bettyblac.tumblr.com and j-birdporn.tumblr.com respectively.

Level 3 Memberships are $37/month and include full access to the site. Members unable to make the live-streaming event can watch the finished edited episodes to be posted in updates a few weeks after the shoot. Visit CrashPadSeries.com or for press passes or other information, contact alliance@crashpadseries.com. Crash Pad Series boasts a competitive Affiliate Program of 30% recurring commission for webmasters.

CrashPadSeries.com is based on director Shine Louise Houston’s award-winning film “The Crash Pad”, which won Feminist Porn Awards’ Best Dyke Sex Scene. The website continues from where the film left off, portraying a clandestine San Francisco apartment where a voyeuristic landlord (played by Houston herself) supplies keys to the pad’s pleasure-seeking occupants so that she can observe their sexual escapades through hidden cameras.

Sign up or Log in on Saturday August 4th to join us… LIVE!

$37 Level 3 Membership, unfettered access to site, 1 month subscription, best value


About CrashPadSeries.com

CrashPadSeries.com is based on director Shine Louise Houston’s award-winning film The Crash Pad, which won Feminist Porn Awards’ Best Dyke Sex Scene. The website continues from where the film left off, portraying a clandestine San Francisco apartment where a voyeuristic landlord (played by Houston herself) supplies keys to the pad’s pleasure-seeking occupants so that she can observe their sexual escapades through hidden cameras.

Nominated 2010 AVN Award’s “Best Alternative Website” and honored as the 2012 Feminist Porn Awards’ “Best Website”, CrashPadSeries.com was created in 2007 and has included professional and first-time performers alike in high-quality video episodes and smart behind the scenes interviews. The site features a diverse cast of amateur and professional porn performers in a variety of pairings that transcend normative gender binaries and sexual orientations. The series has quickly become the top recommended site for audiences seeking high quality feminist porn and authentic queer sexual chemistry. As much of a queer cultural documentary as it is a hot porn destination, episodes from the series are often screened in colleges and universities by sex educators and campus LGBT groups interested in authentic and explicit examples of queer and trans sexuality.

About Pink & White Productions

Founded by Shine Louise Houston in 2005, Pink & White Productions is known for portraying authentic queer desire and fluidity of sexuality and gender in adult cinema. The company’s featured films and projects have screened world-wide, and presented at academic institutions, most recently at Standford University. Houston has been honored at the PorYes Feminist Porn Awards in Berlin and was noted Toronto’s Feminist Porn Awards’ Visionary, as well as Curve Magazine’s Sex Curator. Her work adds representation to queer sexualities, spanning communities of color, gender expression, sexual desire, body politices, BDSM and other marginalized experiences with strikingly beautiful cinematography, humor, and realism. Following the popular best-selling movie “The Crash Pad”, the company’s website CrashPadSeries.com portrays an illustrious San Francisco apartment where queers go to have the best sex of their lives. Houston’s newest site, HeavenlySpire.com explores masculine sexuality in her signature style. For more information about Shine Louise Houston and Pink & White Productions, visit PinkWhite.biz.

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