I wish a very happy birthday to Tristan Taormino, the writer of Pucker-Up, a long-time column in the Village Voice, and the awesome book, True Lust, which compiles many of the past articles as well as other essays on human sexuality. The articles and the book brought great joy to my life as it discussed a wrongfully stigmatized subject in western society in an educational yet witty manner the reflects the experiences of Tristan as explores these usually marginalized worlds and expresses them to readers.
Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Taormino’
Posted by invizweb on May 9, 2009
Posted by invizweb on September 12, 2008
Her latest movie offers a sex-positive approach to that oft-neglected subject
By Tristan Taormino for the Village Voice.
I flew to Minneapolis last month to celebrate the fifth anniversary of feminist-women-owned sex shop the Smitten Kitten (smittenkittenonline.com). Co-founder and owner Jennifer, with her partner Davis, just had a baby, who was then two and half weeks old. Usually they’re up to their eyeballs in dildo harnesses and butt plugs, but this trip, these two sex activists were all about cloth diapers and breast-feeding. Their baby was one of the most chilled-out infants I’ve ever met—he even slept as we partied at a local lesbian bar! The proud parents were so funny: They asked Penny Flame and Adrianna Nicole—stars of my porn reality series Chemistry and special guests at the store’s big anniversary party—to pose for some pictures with their son for the baby book! I mean, I’m sure there’s a page for “My First Photo With Porn Stars,” right? Several people I know have recently gotten pregnant, and as they pore through resources on every aspect of being knocked up, there’s one topic that’s still challenging to find clear, sex-positive information about: sex.
It makes me think of one of the first essays I read on the subject, in a book by Susie Bright (susiebright.com)—she talks frankly and specifically about some of the sexual changes she experienced while she was pregnant in the ’80s. For one thing, she found she couldn’t masturbate the same way: “I was stunned and a little panicky. My engorged clitoris was different under my fingers; too sensitive to touch my usual way, and what other way was there?” She theorizes that one of the reasons some couples stop having sex during a pregnancy is that they’re unprepared for some of the radical changes: “What happens is that your normal sexual patterns don’t work anymore. Unless you and your lover make the transition to new ways of getting excited and reaching orgasm, you are going to be very depressed about sex and start avoiding it altogether.” But who prepares you to cope with such a dramatic shift in your sex life? It’s not usually part of the typical birthing class, your mom’s advice, or the girl talk at a baby shower.
Finally, two of the most capable names in sex ed have created a resource unlike any other. Nina Hartley (nina.com) and Ernest Greene, her husband and the director of her video series for Adam & Eve, have produced Nina Hartley’s Guide to Great Sex During Pregnancy. As porn-industry veterans, this duo knows well how pregnant women are portrayed in the industry: They’re fetishized as Bare-Assed and Pregnant and Maternity Nymphos. (Notably, they’re also often featured alongside big girls and transwomen in series like Fuck a Freak and Perversions). Pregger porn has become a small but viable niche, but no one has ever represented pregnant women in a sensual and thoughtful way, or treated pregnant sex as anything other than a kinky turn-on. No one has made a video that addresses the many issues of pregnant sex. For the mom-to-be, there are changes to her body, hormone levels, and libido. Some women feel extremely sexy when they’re pregnant, while others struggle with their body image. Everything is in flux, from their sexual desires and fantasies to how responsive their bodies are and what positions are comfortable. Their partners can feel neglected, confused about how to interact with their partners sexually, or ambivalent about sex during the pregnancy.
Posted by invizweb on August 16, 2008
Tristan Taormino wrote:
I Iove a good sex survey, so when I arrived with my friend Denise to a preview of the play My First Time,we eagerly filled out the questionnaire left on each seat in the theater: Are you a virgin? How old were you when you lost your virginity? Where were you? What was your partner’s first name? Do you still keep in touch? Did you feel pressured by anyone to lose your virginity? Did you plan your first time? Did you use contraception? How would you describe your first time? Afterward, we swapped cards and read each other’s answers before an usher collected them from us.
My First Time (myfirsttimetheplay.com), which opened July 28 at New World Stages, is billed as “a play in the style of The Vagina Monologues,” where four actors share both brief snippets and detailed stories about first-time sexual experiences without costume changes, props, or sets. The stories are culled from more than 40,000 posts on myfirsttime.com, a website launched in 1998 by Peter Foldy and Craig Paddock. The duo originally created the site to do research for a teen-movie script they were working on, and it quickly became a phenomenon. Ken Davenport, who adapted the play from the site and produced and directed it, told me, “I’ve clipped things out and fixed some grammar, but otherwise not a single word has been changed.”
The stories range from funny and touching to sweet, sexy, and silly to downright disturbing. In fact, the darker tales—of date rape, coercion, and incest—are the most complex and compelling. “It’s one of the very few things that almost every single person has experienced no matter where you come from or where you live,” says Davenport. “To me, it’s a unifying experience. But for so many reasons, it is one we rarely talk about.” He has clearly made a conscious effort to represent a fair amount of diversity, with stories from both straight and queer voices of different ages, backgrounds, and abilities. The two men and two women in the cast embody the imagined identities behind the very personal postings with skill and grace. One actor, Josh Heine, was so convincing in both his recounting of the first time with his cousin’s pretty friend in a basement on a pile of laundry and the first time with a boy he sat next to on the bus ride home from school that I left the theater questioning his sexuality. I was struck by the range of feelings and emotions on display in the narratives: love, hate, lust, curiosity, ambivalence, anger, confusion, denial, anxiety, and hope—all of which we still can experience through sex beyond that first go around.
The most crafty and powerful part of the play was the juxtaposition of two stories: One is by a sweet high schooler telling the story of his girlfriend going to the prom with the boy her parents hope will be her future husband, the bishop’s son. The bishop’s son rapes her in a car and leaves her bruised on the side of the road. The other is told by a sleazy bartender played with a brilliant mix of subtlety and terror by Bill Dawes. The bartender gets his friend’s girlfriend drunk and high and fucks her, even though she clearly says no. This play has the potential to make people not only reflect on their first time, but to see what complicated terrain sex can be. “I thought it would attract a hip young crowd, but the audiences are much more diverse than I expected,” says Davenport. “I have seen families with their teenage daughters, all filling out the survey side by side. Hopefully, the play will start a discussion between parents and kids.”
Posted by invizweb on July 14, 2008
I spent Memorial Day weekend reading submissions for the latest edition of Best Lesbian Erotica, the annual anthology I edit. Each year, I like to spot the trends in storytelling; it’s like taking an informal poll of what queer women (and others who write about them) are jerking off to. There was a year when lots of stories were about butch/femme dynamics in the bedroom. Another year, everyone left the bedroom—literally—for erotic escapades in unique settings. Then I got an overwhelming number of strap-on stories with lots of genderplay and cock-sucking.
I have stepped down as editor, so this collection will be my last, which has had me thinking about what, if any, themes have remained constant in the 14 years I’ve been doing it. One narrative tops the list by a mile: sex with a stranger. This theme really stood out this year; it seemed like about half of the stories were about women getting it on with someone they’d just met. Of course, most of their strangers—in addition to being drop-dead gorgeous—were sexy, available, and highly skilled lovers. Many of the scenarios were romanticized: the “she knew just where to touch me” or “it was like she could read my mind” kind of thing. In other words, no awkward silence in the conversation, no insecurity or doubt, no fumbling with bra straps—everything was smooth and perfect. (Well, they are, after all, fantasies.) Stranger sex is not just a dominant fantasy among lesbian-erotica writers or dykes themselves—it’s pretty universal regardless of gender or sexual orientation. So what is it about sex with someone you don’t know that gets so many people so hot and bothered?
Before I go there, I want to acknowledge that there is a spectrum when it comes to how people define “stranger.” Some are purists and want a truly anonymous hookup with someone they’ve never seen before, whose name and history they don’t know. Others have a looser definition of “anonymous”: They will exchange first names, and maybe a few pleasantries or e-mails, but then it’s right to the sex. Still others need to have just enough information to feel comfortable that the person is sane and safe.