I Am A Gay Man

Hornboy and a friend recently delivered a piece of artwork to a man in LA, who happens to be Margaret Cho’s husband. When they told me about it I said, "I thought she was gay!?" Yet, I was wrong. When I mentioned this "new" fact to my gay friends, they acted like I lived in a cave, but all my straight friends, like me, were surprised. Apparently this is no secret, but us straight-ish peeps all seem to think otherwise. I wondered why.

At the same time I noticed that Tiny Nibbles was getting a lot of traffic from salon.com, and I traced it to an interview where my cunnilingus book is mentioned and they linked to me. The article is an interview with a new author who is claiming he’s written the "cunnilingus manifesto" ("She Comes First"), and seems to have got himself a nice fat contract with Reagan Books. In the interview I get a mention when the interviewer asks, "Did you speak with any lesbians about cunnilingus? Girl-girl sex doesn’t really come up in the book." His answer is:

"No, it doesn’t come up. Frankly, a lot of sex books that are written from a bisexual or lesbian or alternative perspective face the danger that they may alienate the average heterosexual guy or the average heterosexual couple. I was really conscious of bringing my message to mainstream America. There are already books out there, written by women, that deal with cunnilingus: "The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure," by Violet Blue; "Box Lunch: The Layperson’s Guide to Cunnilingus," by Diana Cage, coming out later this summer. I am a straight man and I deal clinically with straight couples. I think if this book were written from an alternative viewpoint, it might give men an excuse not to read it or not to take it seriously."

Yes, because straight men should definitely never ever ever take sex advice on female sexuality from lesbians seriously. Umm… but wait a minute. I’m not a lesbian. I’m barely a bisexual. Okay, I recently assumed that Margaret Cho was gay because her humor is inclusive, my bad. But I wonder, what does an author’s sexual orientation have to do with anything, especially when it comes to accurate sex information? What does this author think that straight men need to fear from lesbians? Why not include every resource on female sexuality available? Also, with six years of marketing experience in the sex business, I seriously differ on his notions of "average Americans." Straight men seem to be the opposite of afraid of lesbian sex, if you know what I mean. I had to wonder, was this the same guy who wrote the single negative review about my cunnilingus book on Amazon? The tone is strikingly similar:

"Also, this writer is lesbian, which I have nothing against, but her approach to the subject made me nuts. It is not written for men (in order to know more about pleasing women) but, instead, written by a lesbian for other lesbians, etc., but the book cover and copy try to make it look like it was written for both: men AND women."

It’s funny that in the years these books have been bestsellers, I have never once received an email or read or heard criticism from women (or gay men) about the fact that my fellatio book is written for straight *and* gay readers. (Well, except the few odd Christians who wrote negative reviews, but their problem was the whole enchilada, if you will.) I make a particular point in both books that same-sex advice is a gold mine for information on pleasure physiology and sexual response. Yet with the cunnilingus book there is the lesbian-phobic review on Amazon, and I received one email about eight months ago asking why my book "leaves out" straight men and where can he find information on female sexuality that isn’t "for lesbians."

Now, I understand inclusivity, and wanting to feel like a book’s sex information includes your sexual identity, and doesn’t purposely exclude your sexual orientation. Being left out of the sexual pleasure discussion seems like a form of discrimination to me. That’s how gays and lesbians and trans people have felt for decades. And think about it — as straight people, their vast sexual knowledge has been off-limits to us forever, unless we actually got in there and "got gay" ourselves. For some that sounds fun, and clearly for some that is a threatening nightmare, but now that we don’t all live in the 1950s all you have to do to access the information is open a book. But I think that if someone is hungry to know all there is to know about a topic, like oral sex, *everything and everyone’s* perspective should be researched. Why wouldn’t a straight man want to know what lesbians do — and how to do it well? And on a business level, with my knowledge that right now big publishers are trying to cash in on the "fringe" sex book boom, it seems like Reagan books blew it by pushing an author who tows that tired old homophobic line — all-orientations writing is what *makes* the fringe, and gives us the permission (and in many cases, the language) to talk frankly and intelligently about sex.

I find it all very interesting. Writing with sexual inclusivity is actually my job at Good Vibrations. Keep in mind that my next three sex guidebooks are written for straight and bi women, but with a warm welcome to readers of all orientations — does that make me gay, or the information any less helpful? Definitely both. I am a gay man. My boyfriends are lesbians. I checked out the rival book’s status on Amazon, and it’s selling quite well, no doubt with a big push from the monstrous mechanics of a big publisher behind it, and the mainstream palatability of couched homophobia. Read the book’s reviews on Amazon and you’ll notice a very striking similarity in tone in all of them, no joke (and four duplicates). I’ll read a review copy at Good Vibes, you bet — especially based on the author’s comments in the interview. "… female ejaculation has never been conclusively linked to physiological pleasure. Research has shown that most women don’t even know whether they’re ejaculating or not." Yeah, all the lesbians I know just sort of wake up in a big puddle and they’re like, "Fuck, I think all that organic brown rice and Indigo Girls gave me bad gas. Phew!"

Whatever. I spent a nice week working down at SRL, sorting through boxes of gigantic rusty lag bolts and installing a "nice rack" behind one of our lathes. It hurt me to have to take down an ancient embattled "jesus is lord" sign, but we’ll put it somewhere nice, maybe in the Warning: Radioactive poster area by the milling machine. The rack was heavy and my framing job using an impact wrench was overkill, yet satisfying. My dear, dear friend (and fellow gay man) Xeni Jardin gave me permission to share her pictures from Wired’s Nextfest. Enjoy — the only thing I liked that is missing from her pics (though impossible to photograph) was the incredible 3D scanner and printer. Yes, it scanned a three-dimensional object and "printed" it in razor-thin plaster-like layers, resulting in an exact copy of the object (though I’m sure you could tweak with output size). Very cool.

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Sunday Blues

Today I was a bit depressed. That means I was out of sorts — depression is a total stranger to me. I kind of didn’t know what to do. I found myself on my bed at three in the afternoon really unhappy. I had a hideous to-do list of work waiting for me in my tiny closet-turned-office; half work for the day job that treats me like a non-person, the other half fun projects I desperately need more time for. I forced myself off my fake fur bedspread and onto my motorcycle. Whenever I am lonely and sad, I go work at SRL. But today I woke up alone, with back pain, and forced myself to visit SRL anyway, even unannounced.

violet blueI got stuck in traffic because I forgot it was Carnival. But I thought for a minute and realized that I know two sneaky back routes to the SRL compound. The fact that I know back ways to our secret compound comforted me; I do know the City like the back of my hand. When I got there it was hot and deserted. You can’t tell our shop is there; the front is metal buildings, a sloping driveway obscured by more buildings, and a gate lined with spikes and razorwire. It was padlocked — a huge chain welded onto a gigantic rusty lock. I felt the depression creep back… it would suck to have to go back home without talking to anyone all day. So I utilized another piece of secret knowledge: our hidden call box.

Inside a row of regular-looking objects near the sidewalk is an item that opens, and in the shadowy back of it is a button. Pressing that button signals a telephone ring inside the machine shop; there are two other buttons and I know one is for talking. I rang, and bingo! I announced myself (yes, it looks weird talking into this thing on the street but there’s usually only crackheads and whores around), and a warm voice said, "we’re on our way to get you, Violet!"

(This picture is from the last SRL show in Los Angeles July 4, 2003. That’s me on the left facing the flame from the Boeing jet engine and holding the controls that operate the Running Machine; Mark in the foreground, click to enlarge).

I got a big, big hug at the gate from Eric, and another hug and smooch from Mark. I said I was lonely and sad, and that’s why I came down, and both of them concurred. Mark excitedly showed me the new space where he tore out a wall and we can fill it with more machine art junk. Then I got to see the shop’s new toy: a wood welder. A giant box on the ground warms up and then through a clunky set of heavy cords and a scary antique-vibrator-looking electrode, it transmits low-level microwaves to cook glue when sandwiched between wood. The glue bubbles and voila — instant hard seal. And to my childish delight, I found out it can cook a lot of other things too! We conjured four-inch flames and giant arcs out of it by playing it against metal tables and big wrenches. It sets calculators on fire. Metal calculators just smoke. "Will it cook a sandwich?" "I want to cook a hotdog!" Mark demonstrated what it does to bugs by folding his arms, shuddering and rolling his eyes up into his head. Wow! I can’t wait to use it on things we really need. I got caught up on the states of various projects, and plugged right into what I need to do; the Inchworm needs to have a new hydro pump put back on, and the shockwave cannon needs some work. I think this coming week I need to spend more time at the shop, and when I left had the same feeling as when I slip into my favorite t-shirt before I get in bed; comforted, like I found a little portable piece of home.

Now I’m home and have been working for several hours — I found a bottle of pinot noir and am hoping that’ll relax my back a bit. Well, okay, I did stop to have my own private masturbate-a-thon, with my favorite vibe and some new (rented) John Leslie porn. It’s weird that my own company doesn’t carry my favorite toys, or the porn I *like* to watch. I wish my company would stop discontinuing sex toys I like — I’m in an awkward position to buy toys form other companies, but what’s a girl to do when she needs to wank? I eschewed the GV work tonight and instead did a lot of updates to Tiny Nibbles, though I admittedly could spend days doing all I want to my little site. I could really use the new version of Dreamweaver. Has anyone out there tried it? I want to add several new sections, photo galleries, and I’d really like to add RSS feed to my blog. I have no idea how to do RSS, so if anyone has opinions on services such as Blogger, please let me know. Oh, and if you’re a sex writer who reads this, take a look at the call for submissions for my next book.

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A Damn Good Question

SFSI and they will talk you through it, though understand that in all likelihood you will have to go to the hospital to have the cheap-ass toy stuck in your ass removed by an intern. (I have interviewed a few of these interns, and entertained myself at the Good Vibes store by tugging on the bullet/egg vibe cords and watching how easily they come unattached.)

One solution is to slide the vibe into a condom, then insert, and pull it out by the condom. Just know that condoms can break on rare occasions, and oils of any kind will make condoms break *every* time. Another solution is simply to buy a slim vibrating toy made specifically for anal use, or to use something slim and highly pleaurable like the Aneros — because of its hard material, holding a vibrator against the toy will transmit the vibration nicely.

Thanks for your email — in future editions I’ll make sure I include this detailed information as a sidebar.
Best wishes,

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Practical Bestiality

I’m still catching up. Last Sunday I had the sheer pleasure of speaking at San Francisco Sex Information, the local (though national) sex hotline. They are one of the most needed and fantastic resources in the world — you can call or email them with literally *any* question about sex imaginable, and they have a staff of thoroughly trained sex educators to answer your queries. It’s totally anonymous and if they can’t answer you (which is rare, I assure you) they refer you to where you can find your answer. They should be a national treasure, and I think they are truly on the front lines of sex ed. So I got to talk to their students and feel like a sex ed badass. Or maybe that’s just "ass."

The interesting part was the panel of speakers I was on and the topic at hand: fetishes. I talked about fetish dressing (no, it doesn’t go on your salad), and the other panelists spoke about extreme pony fetish, furry (plushy) fetish, bodily fluids and sex (piss, shit, blood, and yes, vomit and a sentence or two on snot), bestiality, infantilism and necrophilia. Unlike any other forum, book or video, the discussion was about the attraction to these forms of sex, the practicalities involved and things to keep in mind when talking to callers about the subjects — no judgments involved, no psychoanalyzing, no ghettoizing.

It was fascinating to learn the practicalities of necrophilia, for instance; one should avoid cadavers deemed for medical use because of the high amounts of formaldehyde — ouchy on the genitals. And male cadavers do not get boners after death unless they died having sex, though formaldehyde can make penis skin firm feeling. Also, you cannot catch feline HIV from having sex with a cat (!). In fact, there are few things you can catch from sex with animals, save a jail sentence.

I could tell you more, but PayPal yanked my account today, so I’m feeling sheepish (no pun!). Apparently I’m in violation of their "Mature Use" guidelines, though I think they’re the ones acting immaturely. They’re retarded if they can’t tell a sex ed site from a hardcore porn site. I just hope they’re not closing my personal account for eBay use, because that wouldn’t be fair.

I was the most boring one on the panel, I think. I was there to speak as a fetish dress practitioner, a fetish model and someone who gets turned on by dressing in fetish clothes. I described my first experience trying on a corset. I bought it in a used clothing store in Upper Haight ten years ago — that I put it on when my boyfriend wasn’t around (he thought fetish stuff was for posers). And when I put it on I had a direct, immediate physiological reaction; I became aroused like a light switch had been flipped. And no, I had no experiences with corsets or binding as a kid, grandma never made me wear a corset while she spanked me, or any of that cliché BS. I have no explanation for it; it just is. It just worked for me. Now, it turns me on to wear rubber dresses and high heels — the outfit becomes a hyperextension of my feminized sexuality, sending a direct message to viewers, making my curves more obvious and jiggly, and the heels make my legs long, butt curvy, and the height gives me a feeling of erotic power.

That’s what I talked about, and it felt unusual because it was so personal. Anyway, it was a great class, I learned a lot, and afterward I got to entertain everyone with my LA trip descriptions, flapping my arms for emphasis and making faces of disbelief. I bet it would’ve been funny to watch me tell my story with no sound. It was nice to relate my experience to other sex educators, it felt good to hear their comments like, "was there, perhaps, a guy riding though the house on a unicycle, juggling?" The episode airs in September on Playboy TV, and it’s going to be awesome.

I really do have some awesome pictures from Wired’s Nextfest to post, but I’m too swamped to wrangle the 100 or so photos I shot — I will. I’ve been finishing the final edits on my next book The Ultimate Guide to Sexual Fantasies (due in a few days, release end of July), which has the world’s best cover. Okay, I got to pick the cover photo, so I really like it — but it rules over the covers of my other sex guides, whose covers I don’t really like. But they weren’t up to me, so what can you do? I am thrilled with the new book — it’s everything I want in a how-to book on sexual fantasy. I’m not going to go into the details yet, but it’s really a practical guide to making sexual fantasies come true, every fantasy you can imagine, all the ones in Sweet Life, etc., and I’m pretty proud. After having writer’s block for two days I finally wrote the introduction last night, and now can move on to the other books on my plate… The wonderful hour-long conversation I had yesterday with Tony Comstock surely helped, as did his offer to send me a nice bottle of Scotch — now *that’s* the light at the end of the tunnel.

In fact, it’ll be the perfect reward; I don’t drink or party when I’m on deadline, and I’m especially not drinking because I’m doing some fetish modeling this weekend. I’ve been dying to do some modeling, and my pal Thomas Roche has entered into a new phase as an erotic pin-up photographer. And his photos are stunning — check them out. It’s not a paying gig, but will get my ya-ya’s out, and I’ll be styled by a really cute and sassy gal-pal of mine who teaches at SFSI.

I can’t wait for this week to be over. My problems never went away at work, they got worse, and now I’m being CC’d on emails as a way of communicating with me — it’s an awful feeling. Maybe it’s time to find another sex ed magazine to edit — or here’s a new concept; maybe I could work less? I don’t know if it’s physically possible, my brain might explode. I might miss something fun, or have to stop writing and reading and thinking about sex. Gasp!

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30 Hours in LA

Carly, but missed her. I got a call from Stacy — she quickly understood that my life had turned into a desperate reality TV show and I was about to vote myself out of the sanitarium; to my rescue came the sexy gals at Grand Opening!. They drove all the way to the boondocks to get me and brought me back to their adorable sex shop, where we spent at least an hour talking about the store, their terrific product selection and swapping weird customer service stories.

Next we drove around North Hollywood and I saw the Viper Room where River Phoenix died, and made a special trip to the Hustler Hollywood store, which was so cool and so much fun we spent hours there being sex nerds and hanging out. In true sex educator fashion, we wound up helping customers simply by winding up in the vibrator section and sounding knowledgeable — a hazard of the profession. The lingerie selection was sleazy and to my liking, porn and book selections vast, and of course they have every stupid and offensive novelty you can imagine (read: their sex toy selection). Lots of things you should never stick up your butt, midget blow-up dolls ("With three pleasuring orifices!"), and pocket pussies that bizarrely consisted of a severed pair of flamingo pink feet with a pussy grafted between them, or a pair of tennis-ball-sized and -shaped boobs with a pair of disembodied lips growing from between them like some kind of David Cronenberg sex toy. It makes me wonder if this is what guys will make when you can buy at-home cloning kits at the drugstore fifty years from now. I was stoked to see that Hustler carried my books, all looking well thumbed and prominently displayed near the cafe counter. In Hollywood I learned that "microdogs" are accessories, fifteen-word entrees are tiny, and buttrock is serious, not cynical.

I got a few hours of sleep at my hotel, then after a crappy cup of coffee that made me miss SF like it was my mommy (it is) and a dry power bar, I was whisked groggily at 9am to a mansion on Mulholland Drive for a full day of shooting. The house was a true LA cliche, and one of the guys remarked that he was waiting for Crockett and Tubbs to jump out at any time. Incredibly, the premise of the shoot was that a TV personality was talking a sexually dissatisfied couple through the answer to their problems… my guidebooks and personal oral sex instruction from me! They were going to re-enact scenes and oral sex techniques from my fellatio and cunnilingus books, and I was going to direct the sex — a dream come true for a sex guide author and a porn watcher like me. It was so very cool to be able to say, "no — don’t lick like that; put your hands here, flatten your tongue and press on the upstroke." After years of watching clearly unsatisfying and bogus oral sex in porn, I felt like I got a little comeuppance, if you will. I can’t wait to see the segment; if it gets the green light at Playboy (it’s a very explicit segment for them), I’ll post all the viewing details.

But what you really want to know is why, after such a positive experience, I want to soak my brain in Purell. After crusading against stereotypes in porn for years, I enjoyed the wonderful Karma of having to work with porn performers that embodied every negative stereotype of porn performers — and more so than anyone could believe. The production staff were the utmost professionals; smart, hilarious and skilled — and as the behavior and comments from the porn performers grew stranger and less professional, our humor and disbelief rose with the tide. I can’t go into details, but I will share what I learned:

* The AIDS "moratorium" has resulted in more work than most of these performers could handle. They each claimed they’d had more porn work than ever since the "halt in production."
* The type of work is the same extreme sex acts, business as usual
* These porn performers know nothing about sex, human anatomy, safety, identifying infections or disease transmission
* "Prizewinning idiots" should be a porn category
* Stereotypes exist for a reason
* Open minded sex educators can still get waaaay grossed out
* Never touch genitals unless you know where they’ve been for the past few years
* Pretty girls transform into nightmarish ghouls when they giggle like ten-year-olds and reveal their penchant for performing shockingly repulsive and life-threatening sex acts
* Someone is teaching these women that this behavior is desirable
* Sex ed books should come in versions that are only pictures, with tests at the end that read like Playmate of the Month data sheets ("Turn Ons: apple pie, guys with muscles, and taking a shower!!! Turn Offs: mean people, double anals, and drinking fluids from a stranger’s asshole!!!)
* I love boundaries like sunshine and kittens and happy butterflies, and now know how to cling to them like a life preserver
* I hate AVN magazine for making inhumane sex acts look glamorous
* TV is fun and I hope I can do more (definitely) much-needed sex instruction
* Directing porn is the one of the most unerotic experiences I’ve ever had (and I know it doesn’t have to be that way)
* In the future we will all have sex in full-body condoms
* I have now had one of the strangest experiences of my life
* I could really use a vacation; or at least a case of delicious wine and no deadlines — problem is, I have a manuscript due next monday

Enjoy the pictures, and know I absolutely did not touch anyone’s genitals — not even my own for a few days. Today I went to Wired’s Nextfest and had a blast — more pictures coming soon.

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Countdown to LA

All right: my bags are packed, my last-minute list is on the kitchen table and I’m really wondering if I’m going to get any sleep tonight. Tomorrow morning I leave for LA — for exactly 30 hours in Los Angeles. I get picked up at the airport by a Playboy van, will be whisked to the studio for shooting, then I have a night free. Thursday I’ll be on set all day long, from 9 to 5 and I have to be ready to go on camera at 9. The whole experience is making its way to the top of my "surreal things I did this year" list. To top it off, the woman who will be doing my makeup will be at another photo shoot and I’ll need to go there first — and in a true "I can’t believe it’s LA" fashion, she’s doing makeup at a "busty beauties" African-American photo shoot, poolside. Welcome to the city of bright lights, broken dreams and weighty mammaries.

I couldn’t be more delighted, of course. My mind is on fantasy overdrive about what trouble I might be able to get into in 30 hours. I hope Playboy gives me a bunny. In my fantasy, I am a stunning, charismatic, magnetic young sexpert who takes the Playboy sets and mansion by storm. Security guards and silicone-stuffed blondes all whisper about me as I move around the set — who is she? Everyone wants to sit by me in between takes. They laugh hysterically at all my jokes, causing one mysterious set-visiting celebrity (is it Steven Colbert?) to literally shoot a half-caf nonfat latte out his nose at the sheer hilarity of my caustic wit. Who knew oral sex could be so funny? My clothes are to die for — straight men even admire my sharp, keen SF fashion sensibilities in an almost-jealous way. "Japanese platform boots with an Extra Action Marching Band sticker stuck on the heel, fishnets, tube socks and liquid paper nail polish — she’s a genius!" Bunnies flock — hop — to the mall for tube socks and Office Max for accessories. Word gets back to Hef that there is a funny, sexy oral sex expert in the house whose riotous wit and beauty is keeping everyone from getting their jobs done, and he immediately extends my stay, moves me from the Motel 6 to the mansion, and puts me in charge of teaching oral sex classes to his giggly, jiggly blonde harem. In turn, they give me waxing tips. We all become close girlfriends, a tight-knit family that shops religiously and practices oral sex on each other. Hef becomes jealous; this sassy tattooed brunette with a penchant for robotics and oral sex has upset the warren. And her 40 friends, the Marching Band, have broken all the stemware and peed in the pools. We strike a deal; I get a lucrative deal writing a hip, upbeat accurate sex information column in Playboy and a six-picture porn deal directing porn for couples — as long as I limit my visits to LA to 30 hours at a time. Oh, and I have to take the Marching Band back to SF with me.

Well, it seems likely, don’t you think? Wish me luck. I’ve never done anything like this in my life, and never, ever thought my life would wind up here.

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