Feb 092013
 

People frequently ask me which sex toy stores I recommend to them. Lucky for everyone, I’ve been working on compiling a whole list of awesome toy stores that are feminist owned, or woman owned, or have a stated commitment to sex positivity.

Said list of awesome sex toys stores with body friendly items can be found here.

Am I missing anyone? Let me know, and I’ll add them pending me checking them out. While Amazon has its time and place, I would much rather you support your local sex toy stores and sexuality resource centers (and local bookstores!) over a large site like that. Buying a dildo from a big fancy site? Not a big deal for one dildo. Buying a dildo from a locally owned store? That is an investment in increasing sex positivity in our community. Which sounds more exciting? I thought so.

Enjoy the list, and enjoy your savvy sex toy shopping.

Shanna

Feb 082013
 

In the last week, there has been a ridiculous preponderance of racism within the “sex positive” community. Now, racism is ridiculous in and of itself. It has permeated every facet of our culture. However, this racism is beyond blatant, and yet, people within the supposedly allied gay leather community, and the porn community (including a “feminist” identified white cis male porn star) are saying that it is NOT racism, and wouldn’t it be so nice if those angry people of color (and white allies) who are calling it out would just shut the hell up about it, because it is making them uncomfortable that they support, and are amused by/turned on by, something that is racist.

Case #1: Yellow Face in the Burning Angel Parody of the Walking Dead XXX Parody.

First reported by Jezebel here: http://jezebel.com/5980498/walking-dead-porn-parody-relies-on-yellowface. Basically, director Joanna Angel (who has identified as a feminist, and actually done some great things to change the face of porn, and women’s roles in it) decides to put yellow face on actor Danny Wylde, including yellow make up and taped up eyes (yes, people actually do this). I’d assume that everyone would be like “whaaaaa? That’s fucking racist!” Until later, when I saw this: http://business.avn.com/articles/video/BurningAngel-Racist-What-Jew-Talkin-Bout-Jezebel-506028.html#.UQsvDjK_Tpg.twitter. Summation? Apparently, Joanna Angel cannot possibly racist because she’s Jewish. Um. I’m Jewish, and putting someone in yellow face is racist. Period. If for some reason, you couldn’t find a porn start who was ACTUALLY Asian, why not just throw a hat on the actor and call it a day. Since when is porn concerned about being 100% accurate to the script? Alas, it gets worse. Danny Wylde, the actor in question, writes this post: http://trvewestcoastfiction.blogspot.com/2013/01/where-i-try-to-explain-why-i-look-like.html?m=1 about why he looks like an asshole (which he does), and say he’s a feminist (which he’s not – racism is NOT a feminist trait), and then goes on to cisplain/mansplain/whitesplain about how it’s ok, because he plays a rapist on kink.com, but isn’t really, so it’s ok. He never even offers a full apology. A small faction of the porn and a larger faction of the sex positive community went (rightly) up in arms about this incredibly racist act, and they’ve been told that it’s porn, calm the fuck down, and it’s not really racism, because I mean, it’s not like black face or anything. ALERT: It IS racism. Period. And if you support racist acts, you are perpetuating racism. The end.

Case #2: The Portland Eagle leather bar books incredibly racist, classist and sexist drag queen, and then when the community calls them out, they support their decision, and invite folks to attend said performance for dialogue. 

Read all about it (including a video link to said fucked up performance) here on Mollena’s blog: http://www.mollena.com/2013/02/blackface-still-racist-yall/. Based on the previous case of yellow face where people flat out said that it wasn’t racist because it wasn’t black face, then clearly, this is flat out racism, right? Because it’s black face. And making fun of “welfare queens” and women, and mothers, and anyone of color, and the list goes on. CLEARLY, this one is racism and shouldn’t everyone in the marginalized gay community stand up to say this is unacceptable? HA. No. People speaking out against this are now classified as “oh, they’re just Angry Black Women” (um, which they have every right to be given this situation) as compared to community members who are calling out blatant racism. I’m Angry Woman about this issues, and I am not Black. I am white. And guess what, I still calling out fucking racism when I see it. And anyone who tries to defend this act as funny? Guess what. People also think sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc jokes are funny, but it doesn’t make them any less fucked up. It doesn’t make them any less sexist, ableist, homophobic, ageist, classist, etc. If you like racist jokes, fine – that is your right. But don’t pretend for one second that it ISN’T actually racist. And when your own community members (did I mention that Mollena was International Ms. Leather in 2010?) are telling you that this is messed up and unacceptable, telling them to be quiet, or withdrawing friendships, is not ok. Moreover, if you identify as inclusive, or feminist, or an ally of any sort, say that you’re not going to get involved, or you don’t “comment on these type of things” is ridiculously cowardly. Would you be silent if another type of club booked a comedian that talked about how messed up queer folk and kinky folk were? Would you be silent if someone was beat up for their identity? I would hope not. Remaining silent in this situation is no less cowardly. As Audre Lorde once said, Your silence will not protect you.

I have so much more to say, but it is this is devolving into just a rant, and that is not helpful from me. The people who agree with it know how fucked up these two situations are. I call for other allies, particularly those with white privilege (like myself), to bring more attention to these issues, and to call our community out. It is our responsibility to call out racism and support our brothers and sisters of color. They should not have to be the ones putting themselves on the line about racism, but they almost always are. It is our turn to support them and make sure our communities know that this is absolutely not ok.

Nov 132012
 

I know this blog hasn’t had as many new and exciting posts as it used to, which might be heart breaking to some.  But good news – you can read my writings on a monthly basis at The Fearless Press over at my column entitled Unapologetic, and twice a month, you can get all of your sex, sexuality, and relationship questions answered in my Body Positive sex advice column.

Plus, my newest book, a Lesbian Sexuality and Sex Positions book, entitled She and Her, is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com, or ask your favorite local book retailer or sex positive toy store to order it in advance for you. Add that to Oral Sex That’ll Blow Her Mind, a 5-star reviewed cunnilingus guide, and you not only have fun reading, but some great gift ideas for the holiday season, and even Valentine’s day!

I’m also participating in a sexuality education project called What They Are Asking, where a group of sex educators, myself included, record video answers to popular questions asked by college students and other young adults, about the spectrum of sexuality. Check out the site, vote on questions, and watch the video answers!

Plus, I’m always available for sex coaching and relationship counseling (available in person in the Denver Metro area and via Skype for those out of that area), private workshops, and bookings for events, schools and more.

Nov 122012
 

For the 2nd year running, I’ve been nominated by and made the finalist round of the Westword #WebAwards. This awards grouping includes best local celebrities online, best twitter handles/uses by local businesses and much more. I’m in good company of the finalists with the Red Headed Slut (who won last year), Mistress Saskia (who runs the dungeon where I host a local queer kinky play party) and the Center for Sex Positive Culture (whose board I am on). All in all, a very competitive race!

To see the other finalists, both in the sex blog category, and all of the other categories, check out the #WebAwards finalist listings.

Nov 082012
 

For those who don’t follow me on Facebook or Twitter, I recently had some of my sex tips published, along side sex educators Megan Andelloux and Sadie Allison, in the November issue of Cosmo.

Unfortunately, that issue is already off shelves. Luckily, a friend scanned her copy for me, so if you’d like to check out some of our ideas on how to please your partner (let’s be real – this is Cosmo…so how to please a man) with your mouth, outside of “give him a blow job,” you can click on the pictures below. If you want to check out other Cosmo tips, check out their sex advice section. You can also read my sexuality advice column over at Out Front Colorado.

Page A – Click to Make Bigger

Cosmo Sex Tips p170

Page B – Click to Make Bigger

Cosmo Sex Tips p171

Cosmo Sex Tips p171

Sep 172012
 

magic banana

As those of you who know me are aware, I am all about supporting people in exploring and getting to know their own bodies. Ergo, when I was offered my own Magic Banana to review, my ears perked up. A kegel exerciser? Something designed for vulva owners to work on strengthening their PC muscles, which can result in stronger and longer orgasms, less incontinence during aging/postpartum, and easier vaginal birth? Heck yes I wanted to try it.

I’ve been a huge supporter of kegel balls and vaginal barbells for years. I helped JeJoue with developing Ami, their 3-in-1 set of kegel balls. I give kegel balls as gifts for bridal showers, baby showers, and just for the heck of it. I was quite excited to add the Magic Banana to my list of resources for people wanting to get in touch with their vaginal walls, and work on strengthening their muscles.

However, I was sadly disappointed. Underwhelmed beyond belief. I’m still not sure how one is supposed to enjoy using this — even with some water based lube, I found inserting it uncomfortable (yes, the “smile “was the correct direction, according to the instructions), and I couldn’t get it in very far. Unlike kegel balls, you don’t wear the banana for any period of time — you have to hold it inside you while you do your kegel exercises. I’m not sure how this is any different than inserting a dildo and doing your kegels around that…especially since the dildo is more likely to have additional uses. I found it not only less than comfy, but also quite unwieldy.  The shape and my vagina were not the best of friends, and the material isn’t sterilizable (although it IS body friendly and phthalate free), meaning that I can’t even foist it off on my friends, hoping that they have better luck.

The guide itself was pretty good — I appreciate the diversity of the women in pictures, including different ages and women of color (although I would love to have seen a trans man, as they too have kegel muscles that could use strengthening). The instructions were pretty good about the care, upkeep and use…except I was put off by the part where they talked about cleaning things put in the anus before putting them in the vagina. Well, yes, you should do that. However, you should NEVER put the magic banana in your butt. Two reasons: a) it doesn’t have a flanged base that is significantly wider than the rest of the toy, meaning it could easily get lost in your butt, and send you on a trip to the ER, and b) it is NOT sterilizable, ergo, if you put a material like that in your butt, you CANNOT sterilize it, meaning that you CANNOT put it into your (or anyone else’s) vagina. I get really frustrated about misinformation in sexuality product guides, and so, like the issues with Jimmy Jane suggesting you try the Form 4 anally (NO), I shall have to call this out too. Butts are for things that have properly sized flanged basis, and are made of materials that can be truly sterilized. And/or fingers, hands and penises (which all technically follow the aforementioned guidelines anyways).

So alas, I’m not sure I can really recommend the Magic Banana. As someone who has tried a LOT of toys, exercisors, etc, the fact that this didn’t feel good and seemed like a lot of work made it not really worth the cost. If you’re into yellow tubing, and well, bananas, this could work for you. However, I’d rather suggest Smart Balls (duo or uno, depending on your comfort), or the Ami set. If you’re really into bananas, perhaps the Sex-A-Peel would be a good fit for a vibator.

Best wishes,

Shanna

Sep 062012
 

I know that many of you (like me) love supporting local and independently owned books stores, toy stores, etc. Here are some of the local places that are carrying Oral Sex That’ll Blow Her Mind. Please buy local to thank them for supporting a sex positive feminist author! If I’ve missed someone, please comment and I’ll update to include them!

Tattered Cover (Denver, CO)

Romantix (Denver, CO)

Powell’s (Portland, OR)

Early to Bed (Chicago, IL)

Self Serve (Albequrque, NM)

Smitten Kitten (Minneapolis, MN)

The Tool Shed (Milwaukee, WI)

Kama Sutra Closet (Ventura, CA)

Sugar the Shop (Baltimore, MD)

Bookwoman (Austin, TX)

Blue Stockings (New York, NY)

Good Vibrations (San Francisco and Berkley, CA and Boston, MA)

Aug 232012
 

As many of you know, one of my identities is as a SOFFA (a significant other, friend, family or ally – or all of the above) of trans folks. As a woman who is cisgender (meaning the sex I was assigned at birth by the doctors matches my gender identity), I receive cisgender privilege in this world. I don’t have to wonder if people are questioning my gender I’m presenting, I don’t have to worry about which bathroom is less dangerous for me, and while I may have fights with the image in the mirror occasionally, it isn’t even about whether the person looking back at me embodies the gender I feel fits me best.

I have a trans partner, and many trans friends and colleagues. As someone known in the sex ed community to be trans-friendly and trans-inclusive, I am often asked where people can get StP devices (these allow you to Stand to Pee, meaning trans men can use them to pee in urinals in public), binders (which allow trans masculine folks of all identities, including butch, gender queer, trans male, etc, to bind their chests to look flat under clothing), packers (which are like soft dildos that give a nice feel and appearance of a flacid cock in someone’s pants), etc. While I have always directed people to this store for certain things, and this store for other things, and then another store for something specific, I am proud to introduce FtM Essentials: The Gear You Need from a Shop You Can Trust. Run by a trans-friendly woman (who also owns a feminist sex toy store), FtM Essentials sells much of the stuff needed by trans and gender queer folks to help their bodies line up with their identities. I’m happy to point people in this direction for a mostly one-stop-shop for your FtM needs. Leaderboard_ftm_gear_ad_2012

This being said, I still don’t have a ton of great resources for MtF folks and trans women. if you know of a similar one-store-carries-it-all (or most) site or store front I can direct people to for trans women’s needs, I would be happy to post that as well. Please comment with it, and it’ll get its own separate blog post and link on my side bar!

Also, for youth under 21, check out In a Bind, which is a binder exchange program where you can get a pre-worn binder for free or cheap, based on your needs!

Aug 202012
 

Want to know how much lube to use? How to tell if someone is gay? How to bring up conversation about having a threesome? Which strap on is right for you? How to have anal sex without pain? What is the best way to pick someone up for casual sex? How to spice up your sex life after decades of love?

I have been writing a sexuality & relationship Q and A column for Out Front Colorado (as well as other posts on sexuality in the community – click here to read all of my writing) and am always looking for anonymous questions, from folks all across the country, to answer as part of this column that is published every other week.

Have a question you’d like answered? Shoot me an email at ShannaKatz at gmail.com and I’ll make sure to answer it AND email you the link when I do. I will not name you or your actual location, and no question is too mild or wild. You can also comment with questions you’d like answered, tweet them to me @shanna_katz, or send them via carrier snail.

Looking forward to helping assuage your curiosity!

-Shanna

Aug 182012
 

Hey y’al!

Men’s Health Magazine has done a write up about my book, and while not every quote is exactly how I’d phase it, it’s pretty well written, and has some good pointers about approaching cunnilingus with your partner.

Click here to check it out!