Feb 272014
 

Mark your calendars:

I”ll be on Tristan Taormino‘s Sex Out Loud radio THIS Friday the 28th at 8pmET/5pmPT (6pm MST) talking about Your Pleasure Map, sex & disability, and why sex ed should be more accessible, as well as some other fun and fabulous topics.

Click here to listen to the hour long podcast/online radio show.

Don’t worry – if you miss it, you can download it on iTunes and listen to me forever!

More info:

http://tristantaormino.com/2014/02/26/feb-28-shanna-katz-on-passion-for-queer-sex-open-source-sex-education-and-the-intersections-of-sex-disability/

Feb 152014
 
Shanna Katz Point of Contact

Shanna Katz: Point of Contact

Some of you may remember how I was so excited a few years back (I think circa 2010?) to be involved in a new project through Pink & White called Point of Contact. The premise? New up and coming videographers were given a Flip camera, and a microbudget, with the concept of creating a four-part series of hot, new, queer porn videos. Many of the other participants decide to follow themselves having fabulously fantastic sexual times by themselves and with others; I took the challenge a little differently. While I love much of the queer porn out there, very little focuses on masturbation or self love. However, I spend a good amount of my time educating people that they SHOULD masturbate and get to know their own bodies before they try and let someone else know what turns them on. Therefore, I decided for my project, to fill four different masturbatory scenes; a queer cigender femme, two cisgender gay men in a kink relationship, a queer soft butch, and an adorable set of a cisgender queer person and a transgender woman mutually masturbating. In addition, I did a post-scene interview with each scene, because that is something I love and value about many queer porn studios, in letting people actually connect with the stars, and to allow the stars to share their identities and experiences.

Anyways, all the footage went into the vault for a while, but now? All of it is finally available on Pink Label VOD. They have now been released, along with the sets of movies from Minax, Cyd St. Vincent, James Darling and Tina Horn (OMG y’all — can you believe my name is up there with some amazing folks like that?!?!). You can read this little write up of the project here on Xbiz.

Wanna watch these awesome movies? Here is the link to all FOUR of my different scenes; choose what you like and check out all of the other folks’ work (and all of the other amazing queer, feminist, ethical and/or sex-positive films on PinkLable VOD) – note, this is 18 only!

Enjoy your exploration of self lovin’,

Shanna

Dec 082013
 

Lelo Gigi 2

Lelo is one of the best known “luxury” toy companies on the market, and in fact, the original Gigi vibrator was the first ever high end and re-chargeable vibrator I owned, almost eight years ago. Why? Because its design it brilliant. You can use it for internal stimulation, including almost perfectly for G-spot stimulation in most bodies that have G-spots (although not all, because everyone’s body is different and there is no one magical anything that will perfectly satisfy everyone sexually in the same way, period), or for external stimulation of the nipple, clitoris, penile shaft, scrotum; you name it. It’s made of 100% medical grade silicone, meaning that you can sterilize it by wiping it down with a 10% bleach solution, letting it dry, and then washing it off. Once you’ve sterilized it, you can share it with friends, lovers, etc without fear of transmitting STIs or bacterial infections. Plus, you just recharge it as needed, so you never need to worry about whether you have enough of the right size batteries with you.

All of these things made the original Lelo Gigi truly wonderful, so when they came out with a Lelo Gigi 2, I was excited to be one of the first to try it out. One of the benefits of the new model it that is is 100% waterproof, so you can take this delightful pleasure object with you into the shower, the hot tub, etc, to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Another is a slightly softer silicone, though to be honest, I had no issues with the silicone on the original Gigi. Now, supposedly, it is also 100% more powerful, but we didn’t find that; it seems to be perhaps slightly more powerful than the original, but it isn’t close to the Hitachi or the Mystic Wand. It really just depends on what your needs are; not everyone wants a weapons grade sex toy!

Make sure you get a bottle of good quality, water based lube to go with this, as silicone lube and silicone toys do not mix. I love that the Lelo sex toys all come with their own little adorable storage bags; make sure to make use of them to keep your beautiful new toy from sticking to any of your other amazing vibrators or dildos…that would be a very very very sad day.

Click here to get a NEW Lelo Gigi 2 for your very own!

 

Dec 022013
 

Minna Ola

I first saw this toy in its beta stages at the AVN Expo in Las Vegas, 2011. I was so excited because it was new and different, and really brilliant for a lot of the folks who had asked me for a sex toy recommendation.

Now, you may look at it, and say “Shanna, the Minna Ola looks nice, but it just looks like a fancy Lelo or Je Joue toy, even down to the similar coloring!” This is true. And, like the Lelo sex toys, Je Joue Vibrators and even the Jimmy Jane sex toys, the Minna Ola charges, rather than runs on batteries (better for the environment and better for you; you don’t have to take the batteries out to travel, and you are never in fear of having to rustle through your remotes because you’ve used up all your spare vibrator batteries). So similar, yes, but also different.

Why? Because you create your own vibration patterns and it remembers them. While some toys may have 5, 7 or even 9 different vibration patterns, the Minna Ola vibrates as you squeeze the pad. The harder you squeeze, the more intense the vibrations. Once you let go, the vibrations stop. You want it to go start, build up, wind down, build up, wind down? Done. You want it to go on/off/on/off/on/off? Done. On for 7.5 seconds, off for 3.2 seconds, on for 3.2 seconds, off for 7.5 seconds? Done. Whatever vibrational pattern you want, you can make it happen, and it will memorize it for you. Oh the experiments I hope will happen!

Minna Ola is made of silicone, so is shareable if you sterilize it (I’d recommend wiping it down with a 10% bleach solution, letting it dry and then washing it off — don’t boil or dish wash this type of toy because it has electronic parts inside). Its design allows it to be used internally or externally (although not really both at the same time). Overall, it is a brilliant design by some nerdy folks who broke into the sex toy industry (after doing something more traditionally technical) with this incredibly creative idea.

Drawbacks? It is complicated to figure out the first time or two, especially if you are in the middle of the action (rather than sitting on the couch and reading the accompanying book to figure out exactly what does what and how to make it work the way you would like it to). Compared to some toys, like the Hitachi, it doesn’t have as much power as some people need…and yes, it is at a higher price point. However, you can get 10% off by entering shannakatz2013 at checkout, to make it a little bit more affordable. And oh yeah; it comes with a one-year limited product warranty. Heck, that is more than I can say for my hot iron!

Head over to the Minna Life site to buy your own Minna Ola, and don’t forget that shannakatz2013 gets you 10% off!

-Shanna

Nov 272013
 

I did this first in 2007 and had great success.  I got some cool sci-fi and fantasys books from Candy Poses, a beautiful chain maile necklace from Lady Brett Ashley, a fan-freaking-tabulous day in New York City with Audacia Ray (and a stop to see Jamye Waxman!), and a fun trip to see Sweeney Todd on Christmas with my Jewish Queer sister from another mister, Butterscotch Cripple.  I did it in 2008, and while I got fewer things (including beautiful satin sheets from Curvaceous Dee), I was able to grant a lot of people’s wishes, so it was also rocking. In 2009, I received some beautiful plugs for my ears and fantabulous art supplies. The last few years have been hectic, so I stopped…but I’m going to do it against this year, because it worked so well for both myself and my community at large.  So please, read it over, and if you see anything you can help me with, I’d really appreciate it.  Also, please repost it with YOUR wishlist on your blogs/social networking sites, and leave a link here so I can see what you’re fiening for !

I know I’m posting it kind of early, but my birthday is December 9th (see, holiday and birthday season double up for me), and I celebrate Channukah, so I thought I’d get it done early.

-Shanna

Holiday givng-type meme: I’m all for it. Here’s the cut and paste:

Step One
- Make a post (public, friendslocked, filtered…whatever you’re comfortable with) to your blog, FetLife, Facebook notes, etc. The important thing is to make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
- If you wish for real possible things, make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it’s your address or just an email address at which you can be contacted by potential wish-grantors, real or imaginary.
- Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your post, so that the holiday joy will spread.

Step Two
- Surf around your friends list/blogroll/RSS feeds (or friends’ friends, or just random sites) to see who has posted their list. (Note: feel free to comment in the comment section with a link to your list)
- If you see a wish you can grant, and it is in your heart to do so, make someone’s wish come true. Sometimes someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you won’t use–or even know where you could get someone’s dream purebred Basset Hound for free–do it.

You needn’t spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn’t to put people out, it’s to provide everyone a chance to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not–it’s your call.

There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just…wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you’ll have the joy of knowing you made someone’s holiday special.

Wishlist If you happen to want to send me any of this gifts, please email me at ShannaKatz at gmail dot com or comment on here. Thanks in advance

1. Size 6g ear jewelry in metal, glass, stone, or wood. Especially rainbow, animal print, swirly or sparkly ones. Also, “regular” earrings; the more dangly and dramatic, the better!

2. A flight to Canada, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Philly, Mexico, Italy, Germany, Portland, etc.  Basically, if you somehow have a ton of extra miles, I’d love love love them. Small sex toy stores can rarely afford to bring me in, so I only get to speak there if I already am traveling there.

4. A weekend get away to the mountains, somewhere, sometime. I would to get away (preferably with my partner or a friend) and relax and process. A hot tub would be a huge bonus.

5. A way to get some of the tattoos I want. I especially would like this gorgeous squid on my leg, ideally from Molly Tsunami at Lady Luck, but being a grad student makes it hard to pay for things like tattoos that are not required for daily living.

6. A glass fire cupping set. Also, mini fire wands (made from leather/tanning poker things instead of full on skewers).

7. Pretty eye make up.  Esp MAC and Urban Decay.  And Estee Lauder Beyond Paradise perfume.

8. Leopard print floor mats, bucket seat covers and rear bench cover for my car.  It’s an HHR. I’ve had these amazing leopard print bucket seat covers for years and they are finally falling apart.

9. Tickets to local theatre productions. Tickets to hockey (the Avs or Cutthroats). Tickets to music. All of these things are on the “cannot afford, I’m a grad student” list.

10. A red, leopard print, polka dot or houndstooth, single breasted wool coat, size XXL (22-24).

11. A recumbent bike so I can get more movement in at home.

12. New windows in the basement of our house. They are pulling away from the wall, which lets in both spiders and the cold. New ones are not going to be affordable until I finish grad school in 4-5 years.

13. Concrete poured to make a ramp to our front door. We paid to put in a railing, but on high pain days, even those three steps can feel impossible.

14. Expansion packs for Settlers of Cattan (we only have the original, so pretty much anything else).

15. DVD of Murder on the Orient Express.

16. Leopard print, cephelodpod (Octopus, Squid, etc), cat or pumpkin anything.

17. Manicures/pedicures, hair cuts, etc in the Denver/Boulder area. Again, these are on the “frivolous” list until after grad school is done.

18. Books on sex, sexuality, gender, feminism, race, racism, White privilege, disability, ablesim, etc for my collection.

19. An adventure day to the Havana Health Spa (Korean Spa) or Lake Steam Baths in Aurora and Lakewood respectively.

20. Other things that you may have that scream “Shanna” to you and would be a treat for me that you don’t need anymore :)

Thank you a caboodle in advance. Please don’t forget to post your list too, so I can try and grants some wishes too!

Oct 142013
 

This is a post by one of my Summer 2013 interns, Kelsey. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

Sexual Consent is voluntary, sober, wanted, informed and mutual verbal agreement to be sexually intimate.  We can’t talk about sex without talking about consent, because sexual consent is not only the law, but it is a sexy and healthy part of a relationship. Why?

Communication simply makes relationships better.

Expressing your needs and concerns is healthy. Asking for what you want and asking your partner(s) what they want is sexy. The more you open you are with your partner(s), and the more you know about each other, the more creative and exciting sex is. Plus, communicating and listening means you respect each other, which promotes trust and honesty.

Remember, consent is verbal, not implied. Here are some consent conversation starters:

  • Share your fantasies, and see how your partner responds. Are they interested? Do they have common fantasies? If so, start exploring them.
  • Ask your partner what they want. If you are excited about what they want, talk about your mutual wants. If you are nervous or unsure, communicate this too.
  • Talk about boundaries and respect them.
  • Ask your partner how they’re feeling. If they reply with something like “good” or “okay” ask them what this means to them.

There are lots of ways to get consent, and consent will look different the more you get to know your partner(s). The most important thing is to listen and remember consent is never implied. Consent is a verbal yes.

 

Oct 112013
 

This is a post by one of my Summer 2013 interns, Iradele. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

It was stressed that the idea behind living the lifestyle is not about the individual, it is about the relationship. As opposed to neglecting all other sexual sources of happiness that do not directly involve the partner, what the lifestyle offers is the opportunity for partners to be open and communicative about their ambitions, and by doing so they are then able to explore these ambitions together. Listening to Carol and David talk about what the lifestyle meant to them diffused some of the stigma I harbored, and also helped me come to realize two important themes that have relevance in any kind of relationship.

(1) If you have a preference that is important to you, then let it be known!
In the context of swinging, a preference might be voicing your desire to be sexually intimate with multiple partners. Why is this something that is much easier said than done? Perhaps part of the taboo surrounding non-monogamy is this idea of it being ‘unnatural’. I beg to differ! The acceptance of multiple roles has been well-documented from biological, historical, political and psychological perspectives, all adhering to theories that explain so much of our everyday behavior. Indeed, the literature I’ve looked into indicates that the human race evolved under slightly polyamorous contexts, which explains the disparity of muscle mass and body size between men and women. This is due to the different sexual strategies that have evolved extensively over the years, and exists for a variety of reasons, one of which include the benefit of genetic variation multiple partners have to offer. Furthermore, both men and women have shown to have fantasies involving other people outside of their present relationship, particularly around the time when the individual is most fertile (for example, those with vaginas experience both an increase in attraction towards multiple people and will feel more attractive personally just around the time of ovulation). To add, there exists still many religious and cultural beliefs that value the union of multiple partners, and so much of our art and literature has been fueled by deconstruction and understanding complex relationship dynamics. I would argue that it is just as ‘natural’ to have fantasies about other people as it is not to, and it’s quite unfortunate that the normative social construction of western culture hasn’t conditioned us to think of this lifesytle with a little more warmth. Why is that?

Perhaps the answer might be related to the idea that people perceive themselves as the protagonist in their own glorified movie, and thus see themselves as the central theme driving the narrative. The self-perception of being the foundation of the social network is essential to human survival despite the notion appearing to contradict to the examples mentioned before. Some may argue that multiple partners may be appealing in theory, but let’s talk logistics; How important am I really if my partner is openly attracted to others? How do I stay special and keep my self-esteem intact? David and Carol argue that when we shift the focus on feeding the relationship instead of feeding the individual, then it can be possible to satisfy both answers in a way that’s not incongruous. When fueling a health relationship becomes a central theme to both parties, there leaves a space for the needs and demands of both parties to be open, heard, and explored, and perhaps to find reward in exploring them together. Oftentimes, the space you create for you and your partner reinforces the acceptance of yourself. By doing so, you are exploring the boundaries of the relationship you have with your partner together, much the same way one might decide to explore a new country or learn a new skill together. As much as one appreciates the individualistic lone-wolf personal narrative, ultimately there are few greater things in life that derive as much pleasure as participating in activities that you love with those you love.

(2) No one can feel all the happiness you need (and deserve).
Drawing from personal experience, most of the pitfalls I found in my past relationships were due in part to my intense desire to make my partner the source of all my growth and support. This is problematic for a multitude of reasons, but for now I’ll just highlight two: (1) It’s impossible role for your partner to fill (2) It’s an impossible expectation to put on yourself as a partner. This mindset is particularly volatile, and can fester into all emotions I’m sure we we are all familiar with such as guilt, shame and jealousy. When asked about non-monogamous relationships, jealousy is a question that often gets asked. Of course there will always be jealousy in your life with or without non-monogamy, but I think it should be encouraged to try to tease apart jealousy that is healthy and constructive, and jealousy that is bitter and demeaning. For the purpose of this argument, I believe that distinguishing the two has relevance, because it could be cultivated as a useful resource, and motivates one to be a better person.

“Why am I jealous right now? How intense it is? What can I do to change this feeling? Can I talk about it? How can I talk about it? Is this related to my personal insecurities?” All of these questions make us stop and reflect, which could perhaps lead to learning something constructive about ourselves and our relationship. Jealousy is such a tricky emotion simply because the nature of it’s precariousness. It germinates so quickly and stubbornly, and blinds our logic and reasoning with incredible ease. If one could work on identifying, and acknowledging jealousy in a constructive way, it might lead to taking less criticism to heart when we feel the demands are too much, and perhaps make room for more positive emotions to filter through. Because we can only give so much of ourselves, would it not be fair to work towards giving what we can with complete integrity, and let the rest of life fulfill our loved one’s desire? This may be a more constructive alternative to running your love thin by chasing after a fantastical role in their relationship that is unobtainable.

In my mind, what makes the theme so compelling is that these life lessons are something we can practice is any relationship, even those outside of a non-monogamous context. Relationships exist for many different reasons, and communicating, and exploring and respecting the relationship is a central component to it’s vitality. It creates this beautiful circular chain of events, where support can be generated as well as internalized and influenced by both the provider and the receiver. All of these things helps create a healthy space between you and any partner(s), leaving room for compassion and surprise and ultimately attributes to a more coherent sense of self, and above all, a more coherent understanding of your relationship.

Oct 092013
 

We’re giving away 10 COPIES of Lesbian Sex Positions, by yours truly. It comes out November 19th, and you’ll be one of the first owners. Information below on how to enter!

-Shanna

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Lesbian Sex Positions by Shanna Katz

Lesbian Sex Positions

by Shanna Katz

Giveaway ends November 19, 2013.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Oct 082013
 

This is a post by one of my Summer 2013 interns, Iradele. Find more posts from her and other current and former interns under the Intern Corner section.Shanna

In the spring of 2013, I attended my first ever Sexual Attitudes Reassessment (SAR) seminar, which was hosted in Montreal, Quebec. When I first showed up, I was unceremoniously handed a box of condoms, a courtesy Diva Cup, and a small folder that contained a skeleton version of the weekend schedule. This marked one of the more underwhelming introductions I’ve encountered, as the workshop quickly proved to be one of the most comprehensive, insightful and innovative learning experiences I’ve ever encountered. Every panel discussion brought incredible stories, filled with equal flavors of awe, sadness, connection and desire. A space was created where I could sit and really think about what sexuality meant to me, and to discuss it with those who bring so many different perspectives to light was wonderful. On a professional level, I felt like I had learned more about sexuality and sex education during those four days than I had in my 22-year life.

On a personal level, however, I was in total emotional turmoil from start to finish. Part of the workshop provided a list of questions you could ask yourself that could potentially bring to focus some of the sweeping generalizations or stereotypes one may inadvertently attached to specific topics, and to realize that you (the liberal and open-minded individual that you pride yourself to be) has unknowingly pocketed and perpetuate some stigma… well my guttural reaction to it was quite intense, and lead to all sorts of behind-the-dumpster-outside-the-metro breakdowns, which quickly transitioned into a healthier paradigm shift and fundamentally changed how I approached sexuality in both myself and in others.

With that said, I really wanted to highlight a particular panel discussion that was given by Carol and David, who came in to talk about swinging. For those who don’t know, swinging could be loosely defined as “A lifestyle of non-monogamy where sexual relations occur outside the established couple”. It’s important to note that swingers tend to refrain from emotional attachments with their outside partners, which generally differentiates their relationship from a polyamorous one, although for the purpose of this post, the idea could apply to any non-monogamous relationship, romantic or not.

My knowledge about swinging prior to the panel discussion was embarrassingly fragmented, taken from a myriad of here-say stories from friends-of-friends, and movies starring Nicole Kidman. Truthfully, it was a topic I never gave much thought to, because I wrongly believed that the justification for openly having sex with other partners always came from a place of guilt and insecurity, or that it implied that there was something wrong or damaged with the relationship. Of course both were false assumptions, as it was very quickly understood that swinging had much less to do with sex, and more to do with supporting and exploring the relationship boundaries you share with your partner.

Carol and David were nothing short of spectacular; they were tall and graceful, clean cut, brightly-smiling and above all, confidant. Their confidence exuded from their body, was knit in every word they said, and soaked in every gaze they gave one another. As impressive as it was to see attraction and commitment conveyed so openly, I found it most striking that their lifestyle – The Lifestyle, as they called it—could be explained so effortlessly, and discussed with such coherence and eloquence.

Oct 022013
 

Hey all –

Note: this is NOT my study, just passing on a call for transgender and/or transexxual identified participants. Please see the information below for more info (and address your questions there). Thanks!

Shanna

Are you, or do you know someone who is, a part of the trans-community?  Please participate in the Trans Study!

This is a valuable research study on the effects of discrimination/victimization in the trans-community.

My name is Sean Robertson and I am a trans-affirmative graduate student pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Francisco.     

The requirements to participate in the study are:

1.     You must be at least 18 years of age and live in the United States

2.     You must speak English with intermediate or advanced fluency.

3.     You must self-identify as transgender or transsexual.

This study is a questionnaire that can be completed over the Internet.  The questionnaire will take approximately 45-60 minutes to complete.  Participation in this study is anonymous, and your responses are confidential.  Participation in this study is voluntary.

To access the survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/transstudy.  

If you have any questions, please email me at srobertson@alliant.edu.

Dr. Shawn V. Giammattei and Dr. Valory Mitchell are co-chairing this study and are trans-affirmative as well.  If you would like to verify that this study has been approved, you can contact the Institutional Review Board at the California School of Professional Psychology, San Francisco at 1 Beach Street, Suite 100, San Francisco, CA 94133; irb-sf@alliant.edu; or at (415) 955-2151.