• No categories

Sex Blog

Getting into it: ‘Vagina’ is still a book about vagina


If there is one thing that some feminists like to do, it is tell each other that they are not really feminist — or, judging from the Internet over the past weeks, that’s what newsmedia enjoys paying them to write about. Imagine that two competing “waves” at an NFL game crash into each other and their wavers begin hurling epithets involving biological primacy (“the wave’s appeal lies in the rolling motion of the womb experience!”) and unacknowledged privilege (“our wave does not rely on fancy running shoes for buoyancy, or expensive snack bar items for flourish!”) 

Naomi Wolf wrote a book called Vagina: A Biography, and is now being torn apart, bit by bit, by representatives of various feminist waves in nearly every vaunted publication in the land. I’m saying: she did write a book called Vagina, though.

Bongwater: Power of Pussy from DANGEROUS MINDS on Vimeo.

Recently, I did an email interview with Wolf about the merits of her book. I sent her the questions before most of the more scathing reviews of Vagina hit the Internet presses, so most of them revolved around which pieces of her research she found the most compelling. When asked to summarize the shortcomings of research publicized heretofore on vags, she wrote to me: 

It is stuck in the 1970s, when Masters and Johnson concluded that men’s and women’s sexual responses were basically the same proces (arousal, plateaue, climax, resolution) and when Shere Hite (admirably for the time) concluded that the vagina and clitoris were unrelated, and everyone thought the vagina has little innervation. 

New data show that women and men are very different in what arouses them and brings them to orgasm and that even their pelvic wiring is very different.

Men’s nerves in the pelvis and penis and fairly simple and regular — but women’s ‘pelvis innervations’ is like lace, compared to the male “grid.” There are neural terminio [sic] for women in the clitoris, as we know, but also in the walls of the vagina, the mouth of the cervix, the G-spot, the anus, the perineum — and every woman’s wiring is different! So the takeaway is that if you want to make a woman happy, whether you are male or female, you need to learn each woman’s patterns and responses anew and pay careful attention and engage is very attentive exploration. And listen to what she likes.

Read Wolf’s book and you’ll get an amazing lesson on female biology, and perhaps even more interestingly, the social history of the pussy. From ancient worship of goddess-whores up to references to the cunt in 20th century jazz in the US, this is stuff that really helps to contextualize our current struggles with those who would penalize us for having anatomy. 

Wolf visits 1900s dance routines choreographed by Lois Fuller in her exploration of the history of vaginal representation

But, as other reviewers have mentioned, she does founder a little when she starts hypothesizing. 

From a passage asserting that eye contact is important for sexual satisfaction: 

Page 299: “Might it be that some new mothers – starved of deep gazing from their husbands – are more at risk of being drawn into a charmed circle of mutual gazing with their babies, which leaves out the man?”

And on the loss of self-awareness during climax:

Page 284: “The findings could be read as hinting – not by any means confirming – that the ages-old fear that sex makes women into something like witches, or into maenads who have no moral boundaries at the moment of orgasm, may have a bit of truth to it.” 

No snap moral judgments made at the height of your climax, witches! You can imagine now, why people have been reacting poorly to some of Wolf’s “findings.” (I would love to see the owner of a penis make any kind of decision at all while climaxing. No really, send videos.)

Other charges leveled at Vagina have involved heterocentricity, although Wolf admittedly trys to explain why the book is focused on penis-loving women in her introduction. She says she thinks women of all sexualities deserve books focused on their vaginas. And next time she’ll do more, she said in the email: “in the next edition I will expand the info that there is for lesbian, bisexual, and transwomen, even given its scarcity, because of the extreme interest from my readers across the spectrum.”

I’m not denying the book’s got issues. But then, this weekend, as I lolled on Dolo’s Gay Beach shelf above that brave new Disneyland of a playground, I read my copy of Vagina. Muttering middle-aged men shot death glares at the spliff dangling from my fingers (I moved downwind as requested.)

And all of a sudden, I got weirded out. I think it had something to do with the big red “vagina” written in red cursive letters on the book I was reading. In Dolores Park, really! It felt like I was engaged in something untoward, and not to be dramatic but in that moment I realized that no matter the woman-stealing babies and witch-producing orgasms contained in the pages of Vagina, it is still: a feminist book. And a heavily-researched book about vagina, with history lessons on vagina, and a frank discussion of the importance of the female genitals.

Perhaps sadly, that’s still a big something. Not to get all maenad, but at Wolf’s upcoming SF dates I’d like to shake her hand and say thanks for putting it out there. 

Naomi Wolf

Wed/19, 7pm, free

51 Tamal Vista Blvd, Corte Madera



Thu/20, 7pm, $25-30

Jewish Community Center

3200 California, SF


Come see me tonight: The stars of the ASKEW Festival talk sex


We probably have Madison Young to thank that the festival is happening at all – the creator of wandering alt-sex gallery Femina Potens curated ASKEW, this weekend (Thu/13-Sat/15)’s YBCA smorgasbord of sexual politics, personalities, and pleasure points as expressed through film and performance.

So who better, we thought, to tell you why you need to lace up your thigh high latex and view ASKEW? And thinking even bigger, who better than the women-artists Young has assembled for three nights of screenings, their themes centering on sensuality, identity, and social justice? Read on for the voices of a sex worker documentarian, a MILF, and an activist examining BDSM and race.

Hiwa B: License To Pimp

“Sex work is in the fabric of America. San Francisco itself has a rich history of sexual revolution, so it makes sense that it leads the way in cutting-edge thinking about sexual politics. While the focus of my documentary is on strip clubs in San Francisco, the issues are national, even global. What labor rights do strippers have? Who determines whether they are enforced or needed? How are strippers responding to illegal labor conditions? These are some of the questions that I tackle in my film. I think that San Franciscans will find this film of interest because they most probably know sex workers who are confronting these issues.”

Screening at “Intersections: LOVE:SEX:PORN:ART: Our Intimate Identity” Thu/13, 7pm, $10

Madison Young: Down the Rabbit Hole: A Year in the Life of a Sexy Mama

“This is a very personal intimate autobiographical work that blends text readings, experimental performance, and video art. It’s an internal dialogue of a mother rediscovering her identity as both a lover and a mother. An exploration of pain, growth, body image, feminism, identity, public ridicule, and orgasms all structured loosely with in the frame work of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I don’t think that there has ever been such an intimate display of vulnerability on the subject of sexuality and motherhood as you will find in this performance. It’s a piece I’m really proud of, and it’s also my birthday.”

Screening at “The Birth of Something New: Explorations of Queer Home, Family & Community” Fri/14, 7pm, $10

Mollena Williams: Impact

Photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujoun

“As a presenter in the BDSM, kink, leather and alt-sex communities, I often find myself trying to explain why the hell we do what we do. And as a performer, I find the dramatic and visual elements of kink to make rather compelling theater. As a black woman and a masochist, I find it challenging to have my sexuality judged based on cultural assumptions, judgmental attitudes, fetishization of race, fear and ignorance.  It came to me that it might be interesting to see what it looks like when people witness something as straightforward as a spanking.  

“I’m fortunate enough to have friends I can email and say “hey, come by the house and we’re gonna video you beating my ass.” The only “No, sorry, I can’t!” responses were due to scheduling conflicts. The people doing the spanking in the short are all friends, but when you see them presenting, variously, as friendly, aggressive, and neutral aggressors in the context of BDSM, the role of voyeur really manifests in the way it does in our works: as an active participant. 

“Being in the room with viewers as they watch Impact allows me to heighten that anxiety and tension by physically bringing my presence to the experience of watching the film, therefore closing the gap between voyeurism and experience. There will be some invitation to interaction, and I am fascinated to see whether or not people in the audience feel empowered to interact with me in the performance, or hang back.”

Screening at “In/Visible: Women fighting for visibility & survival in a world that doesn’t always celebrate difference” Sat/15, 7pm, $10 

Slutwalk’s tomorrow! Whatcha not wearing?


It’s only a year old, but the international Slutwalk movement — born in Canada when a police officer affirmed that rape could be avoided if women could “avoid dressing like sluts” during a panel on crime prevention — has enraged the sexphobic, galvanized many feminists, and inspired thousands to yes, walk the streets. Tomorrow (Sat/8), the fun comes to Dolores Park.

Sick of the noise? Canadian organizers sure were — and their response to the officer’s comments led them to don fishnets, cake on the makeup, basically kit themselves out in whatever they were feeling that day, and take to the streets to show that women, and everyone else for that matter, should be able to wear anything they feel like without fear of being violated. 

The guest speakers at SF’s second Slut Walk tomorrow include Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen, queer activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca (who called out Pride on its lameness as a radical event this summer in the Guardian), and state assemblyperson Sally Leiber. You can catch the organized rally from 11am-noon, though there will be sluts all over Dolo from 9am-1pm. 


Sat/8 9am-1pm

Dolores Park

19th St. and Dolores, SF



How to be a sex-positive parent, from a woman who knows


“It’s almost a cliché to say that families come in all shapes and sizes, but they really do”

I’ve always found the expression “the birds and the bees” queer. As a child I somehow knew the expression had sexual connotations, but I could never understand why the birds and bees were having sex together. They seem like such an odd pairing.

Airial Clark, or as she’s known on her blog, the Sex-Positive Parent, could have explained to a prepubescent me that the expression was merely a metaphor about having a talk about sex with kids. More importantly, I’m hoping Clark will teach me how to explain to my future child how it is that one of their daddies used to be a little girl.

Clark has a master’s degree in human sexuality from San Francisco State University, and is the proud parent of two beautiful children. She hosts a Youtube channel on which she provides sex-positive schooling. If you’re in town this weekend, you should check out her series of four workshops on sex-positive parenting at the Center for Sex and Culture. I caught up with her via email for a sneak peek at what she’ll be sharing. 

SFBG: What  have you told your children about sex and your own sexuality?

Arial Clark: When talking about sexuality with kids, the focus has to be on them. Where are they at in their development? What do they need to know? What are they comfortable hearing? What have they been observing? It shouldn’t be about me as the adult. 

SFBG: In interviews you often discuss the wide range of familial matrixes, or ways that families are configured. How do we go about cultivating acceptance among kids about the diversity of the family matrix? 

AC: This is a great question- especially in the Bay Area where respecting cultural diversity is a goal we are all striving for. It’s almost a cliché to say that families come in all shapes and sizes, but they really do. Families also change shape over time. The first step in cultivating acceptance and respect is to let kids know that not all families look like their own and that is just how the world works. This message works for kids in more traditional family structures as well as for kids in under-represented family structures too. 

SFBG: You also talk a lot about diversity among parents — gay parents, kinky parents, poly parents. What kind of parent would you describe yourself to be?  

AC: Like all parents, I have to maintain healthy boundaries with my kids and focus on what they need for their healthy development. I also have to respect their privacy. The important thing for parents to remember is that labels are secondary to your role in their life. Your child sees you a parent first and everything else second. When I refer to a certain type of parent, that is more about self-identification for seeking support. All parents need role models. Finding other parents who share your same concerns is vital so we have this system of identification around sexuality in order to combat stigma and prejudice of all kinds. 

SFBG: How can parents begin to identify some of the sex-negative and hetero-normative scripts they may be passing along to their children? 

AC: This is the first suggestion I make to parents who want to create a more sex-positive dialogue in their family: what are your beliefs about sexuality and gender? It takes some self-reflection and bravery to differentiate yourself from how you may have been raised. How do you talk about relationships in front of your kids? What language do you use about feeling desirable, or feeling protected, or feeling uncomfortable? Most parents choose silence as opposed to directly voicing their dissent with more traditional cultural norms, so kids depend on subtext. My suggestion is to start bringing it out into the open. 

SFBG: You discuss at length what a sex-positive parent should be. How would you describe a sex-positive child?

AC: A sex-positive child is safe, protected, and knows about consent and boundaries. They have access to accurate and age-appropriate information about reproductive biology as well as the emotional and social realities of sexuality. A sex-positive child is not a sexualized child. 

SFBG: What are some practical tools parents can start using to cultivate healthy conversations around sexual diversity with their children? 

AC: I always recommend asking questions first. Ask your kids what they think about characters on a TV show, or their friend’s parents. Begin by asking and then listen. Let them know that what they think matters. Ask them why they think people dress in a certain or way, or what they think the lyrics to a song means. Using media to distance the conversation can make both parent and child more comfortable. 

Also, sharing stories from when you were their age is a great way to know what to say and to relate to where they are now. Share anxieties you had, or weird situations you were in. You don’t have to tell them everything, you’re the adult so you’re in control of the narrative, but start with something true and go from there. As they get older the depth of the topic will increase. Remember these are life long conversations; it’s a gradual process in parallel to their maturation. 

SFBG: Is there an ideal time for parents to start having conversations about sex with their kids? 

AC: Before they become sexually active! Parents need to set the foundation way in advance. That is why age-appropriateness is so important. At every stage of development, there are conversations relating to sexuality to be had. 

SFBG: How does one create a sex-positive environment in such a sex saturated culture (with television, social-media, books, and conversations you may have with other adults)? 

AC: I remember being so overwhelmed by how much sexualized imagery and content was being directed at my kids when they were pre-school-aged. Everything around them had to do with gender and reenacting sexualized behavior. I felt inundated. All you have to do is take a step back to see how much sexuality is used in marketing to kids and in children’s programming. Placing that constant stream of sexualized information into a container, detaching it from the child, is something parents can do to cultivate sex-positivity. We can talk to our kids about what is being directed at them by problematizing the messages about sexuality. 

SFBG: You are hosting a sex-positive workshop this weekend. What can attendees expect?

AC: Saturday’s classes are tailored to parents with alternative sexualities- parents who often don’t see themselves in parenting books or online forums. In the morning we’re going to talk about stigma and finding support as both parents and members of sexual minority groups. In the afternoon we’ll work on coming-out strategies specific to non-traditional families. I’m going to teach parents how to both educate and advocate from a sex-positive perspective. 

Sunday’s workshops are designed for a broad audience. The morning workshop is about what to say and when to say it. The afternoon class is about how to communicate your sex education values with other adults in your child’s life. Maybe you and Grandma need to talk about how you plan to teach your kids about sexuality because it is going to look a lot different then how she taught you. Having those conversations are tough as well. 

SFBG: What is your favorite thing about being a parent?

AC: Watching my children grow into the people they are is pretty amazing. I am so proud of them, and I am consistently impressed with the things they come up with. Being a parent is the ultimate form of geekery for me. 

Sex Positive Parenting

Four sessions: Sat/25 and Sun/26, 10:30am and 1pm, $25/each, $75/four sessions

Center of Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF



Enter the abyss: Gay men draw vaginas (and you can too!)


A black whorl navigated by a rowboat. A luscious pair of pink lips, gaping wide. Earmuffs, a box of muffins, a crawling rodent and a wide-eyed kittycat. All at once. Such is Anthony of New York City’s intrepretation of female genitalia. Gay men draw the darndest things! Writer Shannon O’Malley and photographer Keith Wilson — the same team behind the macabre-beloved Apocalypse Cakes — have cobbled together a whimsical Tumblr of such images, donated from around the country. Plus, they invite all comers to draw vag imaginings of their own at Dolores Park Gay Beach art parties (the next one is Sept. 2, fyi.) 

Why is this happening? We emailed the two to find out.

SFBG: Why are you having the gays draw vaginas?

Shannon O’Malley: I want to know what they think of vaginas. No one really knows. Sometimes gay guys say they are afraid of them. But some of them revere the vag. It’s all so complex. It’s neat to tease out all this convoluted psycho-sexual-cultural stuff through drawing. We’re collecting lots of vaginas and putting them all in a book called Gay Men Draw Vaginas, which we are self-publishing by the end of the year. We are already enthralled with the drawings we’ve collected thus far, so I can’t wait to see what the entire collection is going to look like.

Keith Wilson: As a gay myself, I wanted to see what other homos thought about the lady part that baffles us. Aside from some amazing visual insights into the vagina, it’s also led to some entertaining (and important!) conversations about the vagina versus the asshole and how one is gross but the other is to be worshipped. Sometimes they turn into heated arguments about gay men’s disrespect for women’s bodies and gay male social power blah blah blah. Awesome.

SFBG: Where have you held the drawings?

KW: I hold them between my legs.

SO: Recently, we held a mass public collection at Castro and Market one Sunday. And we’ve had one at my house. That was a party that happened to be full of a lot of guys, so I put pens and markers in front of them and asked them to whip up some vaginas. But spontaneous vag art can happen at any time, at any place.

SFBG: How would you characterize the vagina drawings you’ve seen?

SO: A lot of them attempt to visually replicate a vagina. But a minority are more conceptual. We have several dentatas. Lots of flowers. Some are on the rag.

KW: The drawings so far have been way more diverse than I thought. As we build our inventory, I see some categories of inspiration emerging: animals, Georgia O’Keefe, the all-pink palette, floral, and gestural.


Gay Men Draw Vaginas Drawfest #2

Sept. 2, 1pm, free

Gay Beach, Dolores Park



Too $hort signs on for Cow Palace sex soirée


Too $hort luvs porn stars. In fact, sometimes he needs them. The Oakland rapper performed with a passel of them onstage at this year’s AVN Awards, and if you need more proof, this: he’s headlining next month’s Cow Palace pervfest (handily stepping in to replace the now-defunct Exotic Erotic Ball), the XO Ball and Expo.

He joins a list that also includes adult flick luminaries Tori Black, Chanel Preston, Stoya, and the puzzle tattoo-covered, chainsaw-to-the-face wielding Enigma. What else will you find at the open-to-all-sexualities soirée on Folsom Street Fair weekend, besides another change to wear your Mr. S pyramid swirl pouch? Burlesque, a freak show, aerial performances, and erotic art and fashion. No indiscriminate groping please.

XO Ball and Expo

Expo Sept. 21, 5-11pm; Sept. 22 11am-6pm; $20-35/day

Ball Sept. 22, 8pm-2am, $50-200

Cow Palace

2600 Geneva, SF


Shall we dance? Our review of Naked Sword’s SF sex party


“At this San Francisco sex party, service comes with a smile”

I watched his engorged, throbbing penis emerge at the opening of the glory hole. Staring felt awkward, but I couldn’t peel my eyes away. Men were all over the room, some casually looking on, some men lounging naked on the couch. One guy was doing a nude figure drawing of his next conquest.  

I hit pause on the video stream to cool down. Oh! I should mention I was watching Naked Sword’s newest release Private Party — the local production company’s stab at recreating a SF sex party. And as a queer local who has actually attended a SF sex party or two, I have to say Private Party is more of a fantasy of what an SF sex party would be like than a true-to-life recreation. 

Don’t get me wrong, you’ll definitely get off. Private Party all but guarantees it in its tagline: “At this San Francisco sex party, service comes with a smile.”And true enough, the shoot is chock-full of muscle-clad gay male porn stars with well-developed members in twosomes and threesomes, all happily ending.

The series welcomes you  into a home where sexual escapades are happening around every corner. The title sequence of each episode sets the scene. You have just arrived at the sex party — cut to scenes of men on top of hot men. This is unfortunately were the sex party motif ends. 

Because at this point, the episodes breaks off into more intimate scenes — a twosome in Episode One, a threesome in Episode Two. 

In my opinion, a more realistic tale would have included men in all the various combinations having sex together in the same room. The camera would be panning across their naked, sweat-drenched bodies, and you wouldn’t be able to tell which limbs belong to who. I guess you would call that an orgy. Where’s the orgy scene, Naked Sword? 

Perhaps Private Party is holding out for future episodes to give us the big “O” scene. One more thing I have to call foul on: there was a dance party at the last sex party I went to. Where’s the dance party? 

If you’re looking for a porn with built and attractive gay male porn stars in pretty intimate — I would almost call them romantic — scenes with great lighting and artistic cinematography Private Party may be the porn series for you. Just don’t expect a dance party.


Local porn stars in Pussy Riot benefit show


Change the world one-handed!

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich of the band Pussy Riot have been jailed in Russia for months and face three years in prison for “hooliganism.”  They could be sentenced as soon as August 17, and their legal defense team is working their asses off.

That’s where Bianca Stone and Coral Aorta come in. On Monday, the local performers will do a cam show to benefit the defense team.

Stone said she was inspired by Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna and her fundraising support for Pussy Riot.

“It’s an act of raising awareness and solidarity and getting people involved,” said Stone.

“We need another riot grrrl movement. We need another mass art and cultural movement for young women and girls,” she said. “Imagine if every city had a pussy riot band?”

A hint of what’s to come: strip tease with a riot grrrl soundtrack and panties worn on faces as Pussy Riot-style balaclavas. And the first 30 minutes is free.

“Then, we’re gonna fuck the shit out of each other,” said Stone. You have to pay for that part.


Mon/13 2pm

Molded in his image: James Deen sex toys released


Perhaps you caught our cover story this week on crossover porn star James Deen. In it, I talk about how Deen has managed to bridge all kinds of genres in adult entertainment: BDSM furry porn to mainstream smut couplings to Brett Easton Ellis movies. Everything for everyone, non? Well not exactly — until mid-September, when Doc Johnson releases a new line of Deen-themed sex toys, including a nine-inch dildo molded directly from his member. We chatted with the company’s chief operating officer about what exactly that entailed. 

The full line-up of Deenware

It all seems pretty straightforward — realistic dick vibrator, an “anal trainer” kit featuring two sizes of butt plugs and lube, cock rings, and a suction-mountable dildo. But the James Deen Signature Pump? After seeing his movies, I doubt the actor has a signature penis pump. Just saying. We spoke to Doc Johnson’s COO to find out how they choose whose dicks get molded, and what the reach of a celebrity dildo is, anyway. Find the gear in your local adult store this fall.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Why James Deen’s penis? Who makes the decision about which celebrity gets immortalized? 

Chad Braverman: We strive to partner with the best and James Deen is just that. He is everything we look for in a partnership: extremely popular, loves what he does, loves what we do, and wants to create great product. We make that decision internally based on factors like fan base, and the performer’s reputation, as well as their interest.

SFBG: How does the fitting/molding process take place for the lifelike dildos? 

CB: James deen put his cock in a tube, we filled that tube with our proprietary casting formula. After it hardened, we pulled it out and then once it is confirmed a good molding, we use a harder casting material to fill the cavity left behind and that is our “cast master.” From there, it is a lot of hard work and a very detail oriented approach that makes the product as amazing and realistic as it is. 

Time for dick molding. 

We decided to manufacture and release James Deen’s nine-inch cock in two materials, each with their own unique benefits: our premium grade platinum silicone, which is the best silicone on the market and is completely hypoallergenic, nonporous, and body-safe — this silicone cock is firm and includes a three-speed powerful yet removable mega bullet that is waterproof and delivers intense vibrations throughout the cock. The other version is made of our fifth generation Realistic(R) which is the most lifelike material you can get, it truly captures every detail and feels truly like a real cock — this PVC material is also body-safe, as well as non-phthalate and features antibacterial Sil-A-Gel formula. 

SFBG: What has been your most successful celebrity model to date? How many copies did that sell? 

CB: This is hard to answer – we’ve had a beyond-successful partnership with Vivid for 25-plus years that basically created this market. No one was doing realistic casting before us. Jenna Jameson, Sasha Grey, and Belladonna have all been mind-blowing successes. It’s a great indicator of the success of these lines and the longevity of these stars that we still sell their products today — the demand is there and the products satisfy the customers. Exact numbers, I cannot say. However, we are very fortunate that we only want to work with the best, and it seems that the best only want to work with us.

Deen and Braverman: a job well done.

Donorsexual: One man explains why he spreads his sperm around


At this point, I am not one for making babies. Perhaps this has to do with the unpleasantness of cervix dialation, or maybe it’s the salary of an alternative journalist. At any rate, this week I had an email correspondence with a Fremont man that is very much one for making babies. 15 of them, in fact. But he is not one for having sex. He’s a virgin, with a strong and understandably conflicted relationship with Jesus. He loves to help gay couples have kiddos (check out his website!) On Sun/5, this Trent Arsenault will be profiled on TLC’s new TV show look at unique sexualities, Strange Sexalong with a woman who is able to orgasm sans physical stimulation, which sounds amazing. Trent, what’s up with you?

San Francisco Bay Guardian: So why be a sperm donor? 

Trent Arsenault: I’m donorsexual. I knew this was my identity as young as 10 years old. It’s kind of like asking someone why they were born straight or gay, I don’t really know why.

SFBG: How’d you get started? At what point did you decide that this is what you want to dedicate yourself to? 

TA: Growing up in a religious family, it was instilled in me to be a servant to others. I started out doing the normal volunteer things (soup kitchens, missionary trips, building playgrounds). The church that I grew up in didn’t believe that infertile couples should have children (other than adoption). I thought it was wrong to discriminate. So as a teenager I parted with the church’s ideas and hung up the hat on religion, but held onto the basic teachings. I knew there was something about my sexuality that was different, and when I moved to the Bay Area I had been searching for a way to use it to help others when I found out there were childless couples searching for sperm donors. I vowed to begin helping the very group that my church descrimated against, which was gays and lesbians. So the first 10 babies that I was the donor for were lesbian couples in the Bay Area. After my family back in Missouri found out, they haven’t  talked to me to this day because they say I am a servant to sinners. The Bay Area couples who I donate to have become my new family.

SFBG: What is involved in maintaining your top sperm donor conditioning? 

TA: Above all, sticking to your beliefs and making sacrifices for others.  For example, when Strange Sex was filming with me in Fremont, I received a call from Meg Whitman’s office. After almost 15 years working at Hewlett Packard’s HQ in Palo Alto, the corporate officers wanted to investigate my activity as a sperm donor, and asked me to out the families at HP who I had donated to as part of their investigation.   Knowing that Ms. Whitman was against gay marriage and gays having children, I felt it was worth me to sacrifice my job versus letting the HP board bully the families who I donated to (some who had newborns at the time). So my response to Meg Whitman was, I didn’t cave to the US government (the FDA) when they demanded I stop donating, so I’m certainly not going to cave to a corrupt politician such as yourself. Needless to say, I was fired by HP for not cooperating in their investigation of my activity as a sperm donor. My first thought was to sue HP, but the biblical scripture from Jesus “if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well” changed my mind. I’m remaining a sperm donor without my six-digit salary from HP. But I’m committed to hanging in there. And HP’s stock is hitting a multi-year low, so I have the last laugh.

SFBG: Have you ever thought about having a kid through sex with a woman or having a kid of your own? 

TA: I don’t see non-donor sex in my future. I’m probably the only virgin with over a dozen biological children, but this passage from Matthew 19:11-12 sums it up. Jesus said, “Some people were born differently to be celibate, so accept the fact and use it to further God’s kingdom.” I doubt anyone who ever read that scripture would have ever guessed how being a virgin can make you the person with the most biological children in California.  

It is wonderful to hear the stories from parents I have helped telling me how the children have brought joy into their lives and make them laugh every day. I guess hearing this feedback from the parents makes up for whatever else might be lacking in my life by not having my own children.

SFBG: Have you met any of your children? What was that like? 

TA: I just received a birthday invitation in the mail from the parents of a two-year old girl who lives in Sacramento. Never thought that day would happen! I think it’s going to be a little awkard for me to show up to the party, being the donor — meeting the grandparents, and sitting around having birthday cake, and chatting. I replied to the RSVP and said I would make it, so I’ll let you know how it goes!

Catch Arsenault on TLC’s Strange Sex on Sun/5 at 10pm


Inside a panda gang bang, from a woman who has been there


Last month, Kink.com director Princess Donna (perhaps you remember her Guardian advice column?) took a risk and made a gangbang movie featuring bad, bad pandas. Per usual, change was hard. Some members rebelled — “I haven’t even watched this because there is nothing about pandas fucking a girl that would make me get remotely aroused,” said one user in the video’s comments section.

“The reaction was exactly what I expected it to be,” Donna told us in a email interview. “Some people think it’s the best thing that ever happened, some people think it’s the worst porn ever made. That’s what happens when you take risks.” People, can’t a woman take risks every once in awhile? She didn’t get to be the director of three Kink.com subsites for nothing. “My ideas make money for the company, that is my role,” Donna said when we asked her about the part she plays at the Armory. “But my focus was never on what people would think, my focus was on feeling free to express myself creatively and allowing myself the freedom to create things regardless of what the response would be.” 

The video is kind of gorgeous, especially (and perhaps this is our ignorance showing but) for a gang bang porn. You get a full storyline — panda hallucinations! Freakouts at the bank! — before porn starlet Ashli Orion is subjected to five panda penises. Well, human penises (including that of porn crossover star James Deen, whose participation is the subject of our cover story next week) sticking through custom-designed cock holes in panda suits, but you get the idea. 


 What would it be like to be in a Kink.com panda gang bang? To the best of Donna’s knowledge this was the first, so really only one woman knew the answer to our question: the baby-faced Ashli Orion, star of PANDAMONIUM!!! PANDA LULLABY!!! PANDA PORNO!!!!! So duh, we called her up. 

SFBG: So tell me about how you found out about the panda porn.

AO: I didn’t find out I was doing the panda porn until I got to Kink that morning. I got off the plane and I saw Princess Donna and she was like “guess what, we’re going to do a panda porn!” and I was like are you serious? Oh my gosh. Because it was Gang Bang, so I was like pandas? This is gonna be great. I was so excited, I was so stoked. 

SFBG: Have you shot for that site before?

AO: I have actually, I shot a scene with Lily Labeau – James was also in that one, we were actually just bound up. It was Bound Gang Bangs, there was no panda suits. 

SFBG: Damn. What was it like shooting the panda porn?

AO: You know what, it was really fun. We got to do an intro, kind of like a movie monologue, like montage at the beginning. I saw the pandas, they’re so cute, and I totally forgot I was there for bondage, and then they start smacking me around. I was like oh fuck, I forgot I’m getting beat up now. I’m like, I thought pandas were nice! 

SFBG: Right, I watched the movie and your lines in it were the best. 

AO: I haven’t watched – only the trailers. 

SFBG: You haven’t watched the thing?

AO: I watched the beginning, but I hate watching myself. You know, I don’t know I hate seeing myself naked. 

SFBG: Yeah, I hear you. That’s unique, though.

AO: It was pretty cool and crazy because all the guys, they’re, you know, they’re all fit, but they have these big [panda] bellies so their cocks couldn’t come out all the way. And there was hair everywhere, in my mouth, on their cocks, in my pussy, in my ass. It was nuts, it was just like – I don’t even know how it turned out. It was like, whoa pandas!

SFBG: Pandas everywhere. Did Princess Donna tell you why she wanted to shoot with pandas?

AO: She just told me she wanted to do something crazy, like out of the box. Is there a real reason I don’t know?

SFBG: No no, I was just asking. 

AO: Yeah, she just wanted to do something different because she was sick of doing the same old thing. She used me because I’m down for anything usually. 

SFBG: Yeah totally. When you were shooting it did you think at all of what the audience reception was going to be like?

AO: I was actually really excited. I don’t know, I thought it was funny. I figured if I was younger and not in porn I would show it to my friends, like viral porno. Look at these pandas fucking this girl!

SFBG: Have you kept track of the member comments on the website?

AO: Yeah, I did actually. I saw how horrible they were because they were like “we want to see a Bound Gang Bang, not pandas. This is a different site, I’m canceling my membership, I’m not into furries.” And then other people were like “ooo I have a new fetish. I love furries.” Everyone has their opinions, mine is just like, we created something creative and cool and I was down for it.

SFBG: Are you open to these types of projects in the future?

AO: Oh, totally! 

SFBG: Kitties!

AO: Oh my gosh, I would love kitties. I’m a crazy cat lady. 

Ejaculation conversation: An interview with Billy Castro


“I watch some straight fisting and some gay male fisting. I guess all types of fisting”

Female ejaculation can be about as mysterious as the Loch Ness Monster. Looking to do a little underwater exploration? Sexy SF transman porn star Billy Castro’s Naughty Squirters is a revealing 60 minutes of hot femmes coming here, there, and everywhere, brought to you by the folks at Good Vibrations.

Castro — sans his infamous silicon dick — and I meet up early one morning to talk about his newest film, which happens to be his directorial debut. He caresses my arms and periodically squeezes my biceps throughout our interview. I’m not complaining — Castro’s chiseled jaw, altar boy face, and jock muscles make him desirable to just about everyone.

But he’s got more going on than just his good looks, this boy’s gone Ivy League. Castro wants to tell me about the seminar on making queer porn that he co-hosted with Jiz Lee — at Stanford University.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: How did Billy Castro get into the porn business?

Billy Castro: Courtney Trouble asked me if I wanted to do a scene with Laurel Ly Lee and I really wanted to fuck her. So I did it. At first I was really shy when being filmed. Then Courtney asked me to do [full-length feature] Billy Castro Does the Mission and then I started to get really comfortable shooting porn.

SFBG: Is it easy to make someone squirt?

BC: It’s not always easy to make someone squirt, especially if they’ve never done it before. There’s this moment where you feel like you have to take a piss, but if you push past that moment then all of a sudden you’re gushing all over the place. I think that nearly everyone has the capacity to ejaculate. I became obsessed with it after Jiz Lee gave me a facial, so I went out and learned as many techniques as I could.

SFBG: What is your favorite scene in Billy Castro’s Naughty Squirters?

BC: I really loved all of them, but I really liked the lighting and the squirting showed up the most in the scene with Chloe Camilla. She hadn’t ejaculated very much before, so we had a lot of fun making it happen together.

SFBG: You’ve acted in several porn films, even have your own feature film. But you’ve never directed before. How did you like it?

BC: I found directing to be simultaneously challenging and exciting. I had very minimal experience directing. So I just sort of fumbled my way through it, and I learned a lot. I’ve always been set in my ways in [terms of] how I want a scene to look, and who I get to perform with. So it was an amazing experience to be able to decide what an entire movie looked like. I would love to do it again and again.

SFBG: What kind of porn does Billy Castro watch on his personal time?

BC: I watch almost all fisting videos. I surf for it on Extremetube. I watch some straight fisting and some gay male fisting. I guess all types of fisting. I love it so much. There is something incredible about having an entire hand inside you. You are stretching a person to their limits. I like the feeling of filling someone up.

I’ve gotten the majority of my girlfriends to get really into fisting. I’m really into ass fucking too. I think it’s my new favorite flavor. I think ass fucking like fisting can be really invasive. And that’s what I find so hot. I mean it also feels really good. And I love putting my hands and dick into someone’s ass.

SFBG: Tell us about your dick.

BC: I love my big dick and my small dick. I love fucking with my big dick. I’ve had the same harness since I was 21. I also love fucking with my hands or sometimes a combo, my big dick in someone’s ass and then my hands inside their other hole.

SFBG: Tell us something most people don’t know about Billy Castro.

BC: Most people don’t realize I’m a switch. I’m an active switch. The reality level is I’m not so comfortable showing my junk on film, and no one’s offered me enough money. There is something about showing my genitals that feels really intimate. I don’t have any dysphoria. I just like to save my genitals for the people I’m dating.

SFBG: Queer porn is still a niche market. How do you think it can become more mainstream?

BC: I think queer porn needs to become more marketable to straight people. We can do that by making higher quality porn and bringing in mainstream porn stars. I brought in Ashley Blue for Billy Castro’s Naughty Squirters. It’s queer rough sex with that mainstream quality. I want to show mainstream people that they too can have queer sex. And hopefully grow the queer sex porn industry, thus making queer porn stars more money.

SFBG: Any final words for our interview?

BC: Yeah, being a queer porn star has made my sex life so much better. Queer porn stars are artist and they are really good at having sex. They have this intellectual component to the way they have sex. Queer porn stars have sex with so many different types of bodies and are very aware of the aesthetics of the porn they do, which makes it quite artistic.


Hollie Stevens lived a big life that was tragically cut short


When a slowly unfolding tragedy strikes the young and energetic, fate seems especially cruel, a notion I haven’t been able to shake since learning that my friend Hollie Stevens, a 30-year-old porn star, died this week after a year-long bout with cancer that had spread from her breasts to her brain.

Hollie moved here from the Midwest in her early 20s for a career in porn that included more than 170 films, and she had an infectious zest for life and a strong and expansive sense of her community. She was proudly living her dream, parlaying her film career into an entertaining column on porn life in Girls and Corpses magazine, art projects, and speaking gigs.

I met Hollie in 2008 when working on “Cue the clowns,” a Guardian cover story on the burgeoning local indie circus scene, a memorable meeting that I even included in the article. Dressed as a clown at a Bohemian Carnival event, I asked this statuesque blond if she liked clowns, and she responded that she was a clown and had starred in a film called Clown Porn, a cult classic in this admittedly narrow porn genre.

Hollie combined a fun-loving free spirit with a down-to-earth confidence that made her easy to befriend, as other friends of mine at the time also found. While doing often-extreme BDSM porn shoots at the Armory for Kink.com and live shows at Lusty Lady, she also became a regular in the tight crew that gathers on the north side of Baker Beach and a volunteer with How Weird Street Faire and other community events.

We’d lost touch when I heard last year that she was diagnosed with stage three metastatic breast cancer, which first claimed those beautiful breasts and then her luscious life. But our mutual friends said she was a fighter who maintained her spirit and sense of humor throughout, an inspiration to friends and admirers who held a series of fundraisers around San Francisco to help pay her medical expenses. Just last month, she married her love, artist and comedian Eric Cash, while in the hospital.

Hollie was one of those classic San Francisco transplants, who made a real home and family of her adopted city and lived an unconventional life to its fullest potential. She will be greatly missed by many admirers and kindred spirits.




No more fast food: Slow Sex Symposium proposes a love beyond capitalism


After a hectic Pride weekend, it’s about time to slow down. A Sat/30 performance-workshop (part of this week’s stellar This Is What I Want performance art fest — read Guardian theater critic Robert Avila’s enlightening interview with artistic director Tessa Wills here) should fit the bill nicely. Introducing “Slow Sex Symposia” and its curator, internationally-acclaimed writer and dancer Doran George. George is planning an afternoon exploration into alternative sexual practices, lifestyles, and unique relationships. Slow sex is a term the artist coined to serve as counterpoint to today’s fast-paced, commercialized notions of sex. Last week, George and I spoke about what it was like to work with a blockbuster lineup of artist, “the economics of queer desire,” and a childhood solo of  “Yankee Doodle.”

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Tell us about the slow sex movement. What makes it important?

Doran George: Slow sex is not a movement as far as I know. It’s a term that I coined for the symposium because I like the idea that communities of alternative sexual practice are engaged in the long-term process of cultivating a culture of sex that takes time, in contrast with the immediacy of practicing conventional ideas about sex. 

Setting up a good SM scene, negotiating non-monogamy, negotiating racist ideas about the sexuality of non-white bodies while still claiming the space for pleasure, these all take time. There is also a parallel [between slow sex and] the slow food movement, in the sense that I believe the radical pleasure community provides a model of sexual practice that is more nourishing, [similar to how] slow food is better than its fast equivalent. 


SFBG: In your artist statement you reference accessibility to touch, conceptualizing new models of relationships, and the complexities of race in the sex industry. Can the slow sex movement move into mainstream and can queer forms of thought (around sex) be integrated into popular culture?

DG: There are many examples of alternative sexual practice entering mainstream culture. Unfortunately most of them are bitterly disappointing. Mainstream culture constantly needs new images and ideas to make it seem exciting, but at the same time it is usually committed to sustaining convention. Take Madonna’s use of SM imagery in the late 20th century as an example. Although some of the aesthetics were tantalizing, the bodies and constructions of gender were incredibly conservative. There were no sexy butch leather dykes on Madonna’s stage or in her videos. 

I think this is partly because the real power of alternative sexual culture is located in the fact that it is something you have learn and practice — it often entails carefully unpicking and rethinking relationships.. All of this takes careful work that is difficult for the fast consumer culture to contend with. In this sense I’m not sure that existing structures for the production and distribution of mainstream culture are very well designed for alternative sexual culture because radical sex depends upon local economy rather than global corporations. 

SFBG:  You are working with a blockbuster cast of queer artists, sex educators, and performers. What was it like working alongside all these influential queer people?

DG: I first heard about radical sex culture when I was in the fourth year of my dance training, nearly 20 years ago. Rachel Kaplan came to my dance academy and gave me a copy of More Out than In which was writing that came out of 848 space about the intersection between art, sex and community. 

A few years later I came to San Francisco from London with an artist’s grant to research diverse sexual cultures. It was 1999 and I was refusing to use gendered pronouns and regularly getting harassed on those big red buses for looking like a freak. When I first arrived in the Bay Area I felt like a queen. Susan Stryker showed me the hot-spots of transgender history and bought me my first\-ever burrito in the Mission. Pat (now Patrick) Califia and Matt Rice took me out for sushi. Annie Sprinkle gave me a pin badge that said “metamorphosexual” on it, and I met with Carol Queen and a host of other San Francisco folk. 

I was overwhelmed by the culture that had emerged in this city, the ideas and practices that people had pioneered, and the history that was being recorded. Returning to the UK I carried on making my own dance works that were influenced by the knowledge I had gleaned from people in the Bay. Being able to create a symposium that looks at how the unique sex culture of San Francisco has informed and been informed by the practice of art is therefore my own way of honoring the people and the gifts I was given as a young queer artists. 

SFBG: What does the term “the economics of queer desire” mean for you?

DG: I’m interested in how conventional economies of desire are queered, or how the queer dimensions of economies of desire become visible. Someone said to me recently that the extra-marital affair is the straight way to play. It made me laugh and struck me as a beautiful queering of heterosexuality, although Carol Queen’s Bend Over Boyfriend is still my all time favorite queering of straight sex.

SFBG: Where does art, desire, and sex intersect in your opinion?

DG: I don’t think that art, desire, and sex ever don’t intersect. Artistic practice has been involved in representing ideals of gender, desire and sex for centuries, and they inform the way that we practice sex. The symposium provides two different frames in which to think, one of them is

performance, and the other is sexual practice, but in reality these things are not separate. Having two frames is useful because it helps to start a conversation by giving us two different ideas to talk about: Performers make their work to represent or express something, and sex radicals do their practice to connect with people erotically (in all the different dimensions that the erotic can exist).

SFBG: How should attendees of the Slow Sex Symposia expect to walk away feeling? 

DG: I hope that attendees will walk away thinking about their feelings, and feeling about their thinking! I also hope their thinking and feeling moves in lots of different directions. My desire for the symposium is that it will provide a space for discourse about sexual and artistic practice to proliferate. A strong culture is one that can contend with diverse opinions being voiced.

SFBG: I enjoyed reading your bio on the This is What I Want website. You are quite an accomplished artist and scholar. Can you tell us something about yourself most people don’t know?

DG: My first major stage performance was a solo rendition of “Yankee Doodle” at the age of nine in the scout gangshow at the amateur dramatic theatre in a working class hosiery town in the British midlands. I don’t think the audience or I ever really recovered! 

Slow Sex Symposia 

Sat/30 noon-4pm, free with reservation

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF


Lady in red: What this year’s Pride leather marshal wore


Typically, the afterparty is the thing for Sunday Pride fashion. But if you weren’t at the big parade this year, you might have missed out on one of the more striking ensembles of the weekend. Leather co-marshal Leland Carina sent us photos of her eye-popping latex gown — not to mention what it was like to wear the thing on one of the more hectic days in San Francisco.

Carina — one-time president of SF girls of Leather and correspondent for Leatherati, among about a thousand other roles she plays in the kink community — was sporting a floor-length red-and-black number by Lust Designs. Lust is a San Francisco company run by local kinksters Penny and Blaine McClish that does ready-to-wear and custom design pieces, which are apparently surprisingly wearable (except for the hobbling effect, but that has more to do with it being a bondage garment.) Says Carina: 

Wearing latex is, for me, a fetish in and of itself. It feels nothing like more common fabrics, but rather like a sensation-enhancing apparatus that completely encases my entire body. For optimal presentation, it requires that I am rubbed down multiple times a day with silicone lube. This enhances not only the shine, but also the color. When people come into contact with the dress, it amplifies their touch for my skin. This particular dress also included an element of bondage, as I was only able to wiggle forward, taking very small steps throughout the entire afternoon.

Highlights of wearing it among so many people (beyond the staggering amount of flattering comments) include the variety of questions I was asked. Contrary to what many think, I was actually quite comfortable in the sun. The parasol helped for sure, but I also find latex to be a lot less hot than leather, for instance. Every time a breeze went by my entire body was chilled. 

Did she mention she was being pulled along the route by human ponies? She was. Check out Carina’s back story in last week’s Guardian interview with her and co-marshal and leather community lynchpin Race Bannon. And if you just can’t get enough latex fashion, you could do a lot worse than check out Kelly Lovemonster’s talk with Mr. S’s Seven Mitchell, also from last week.  

Never underestimate the importance of lube: Fetish fashionista Seven Mitchell on life in latex


Modeling by Karma Zabetch

“I have to tell my grandma I make clothes for rock stars.”

The Tenderloin neighborhood’s vivid street culture and its residents’ bold use of alternative sexuality makes it a perfect home for fetish designer and performer Seven Mitchell. Mitchell, a six-foot tall beauty, is a latex designer at Mr. S Leather, not to mention the host of Ice Queen Sundays, a weekly drag and performance night at Truck.

Mitchell greets me at the door and quickly goes into the infamous and gruesome story of a murder that took place at his TL apartment. He describes how the victim was kidnapped and goes into further details I’ll spare you from. “And it happened right behind this wall!” he exclaims as I follow him through the front door. 

Mitchell’s dark tale is juxtaposed by his warm demeanor and kind hospitality. He performs double duty as stylist and makeup artist for the photoshoot we’ve arranged to take place during our interview — a queer renaissance man. We talk about his performance persona Aurora Switchblade, the utility of lube for lovers of latex, and the casual fibs we tell our family about our profession. 

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Where are you originally from?

Seven Mitchell: I was born in Twentynine Palms, California, and I moved and lived in Ohio till I was 10. My family moved to Tampa, Florida next. I went to graduate school at the University of South Florida where I studied anthropology. 

SFBG: How did you go from anthropologist to latex designer?

SM: I had just separated from my long-term partner and wanted to follow my dreams of being a performer and artist. Needless to say, there wasn’t very much in the way of an artistic life in Tampa. So I left graduate school and moved to San Francisco. 

I had tried to make latex apparel on my own prior and wasn’t very successful. When I got to SF my curiosity led me to Mr. S Leather. It had a well-known reputation in the fetish community. I started volunteering for Mr. S during Folsom Street Fair in 2010. They really liked me and took me under their wing. 

I’ve worked for Mr. S Leather for two years now and love it. It fits my personality very well. My boss Skeeter is really amazing — the power dynamics feel quite balanced. She makes really great suggestions as opposed to telling us what to do. I also love working with latex. The longer you work with it the easier it is to design and manipulate.

SFBG: Does latex play a big role in your sex and sexuality?

SM: I have used latex as an element in my sex, but I don’t use it on the regular. It’s not a requirement for me. I am not a hardcore fetish person who has to have it, and I like it when it’s there.

SFBG: What type of fetish person are you?

SM: Well I used to run the Rubber Men of San Francisco. So, I guess I’m into rubber and latex, but after Aurora and Ice Queen Sundays started taking off, I gave it over to this guy Rick Holt, and he’s doing a fantastic job.

I participate now in leather and fetish events like Dore Alley and Folsom [Street Fair] as a participant. I’m looking forward to attending the rubber party this year at the Powerhouse.

SFBG: Where does latex and sexuality meet?

SM: Well for some they don’t meet at all. I think it can meet in that place where your sex becomes your entire body.


SFBG: Can you describe Aurora Switchblade?

SM: She’s a cunt. I mean drag is a hyperbole, and I like to exaggerate all aspects of my drag. Aurora does lots of reading. It’s important for people to know that I’m always kidding. Aurora is a punk, goth, activist. I feel like drag should have a message. So there is a lot of politics in my numbers.

SFBG: Tell us something people should know about latex.

SM: There is a lot of information a person should know about navigating latex. It’s actually like vampire skin. It can’t be exposed to light and it can’t touch metal. When you buy a piece you need to know that it isn’t going to last forever. It will last a long time, but it’s not like textiles.

Oh and you need lube for latex apparel! Latex is under the umbrella of rubber. So you need to use silicone-based lube to get it own. And you do sweat in latex. Your body reaches an equilibrium eventually. Most people who wear latex for the sake of wearing it let’s say at an event like Folsom usually get dehydrated from sweating, drinking alcohol, and partying in latex. 

And if you like your latex to shine use a polish like Black Beauty.

SFBG: Have you gotten any negative feedback for being a latex designer. Do people equate what you do to being a sex worker?

SM: I mean, not in San Francisco. I have to tell my grandma I make clothes for rock stars, but I’m sure she has gone to the Mr. S Leather’s website and knows all about what I actually do. It does change conversation in an instant. A lot of people in SF know about fetish and latex apparel. I find it harder to date in this city. I think people find it intimidating to be with someone who is super knowledgeable about fetish apparel.

Ice Queen Sundays

Every Sunday, 8pm, $5 includes icecream


1900 Folsom, SF


Pride leather marshalls hail a “kinky renaissance”


It was almost Pride Week, I’ve had two leather luminaries hanging out at kink coffeeshop Wicked Grounds – it just seemed like an opportune time to start waxing philosophical about the possibility of a kink renaissance in San Francisco. 

“There just seems to be this general coming-out,” said Leland Carina, who as a member of the SF girls of Leather has done her part to increase the inclusiveness and malleability of her kink community. She likened this expansion to the capital-R Renaissance, which happened after the threat of bubonic plague had been mitigated. Likewise, she said, the kink community in San Francisco is finally hitting a point where the fear of AIDS no longer rules people’s sexual encounters. 

Race Bannon, Carina’s co-leather marshall in this Sunday’s Pride parade, hadn’t thought of it that way – but Carina’s theory resonated with him. “We’ve figured out how to deal with [AIDS], and we’ve moved past it. I call what’s happening a kinky renaissance.”

The two of them should know. Bannon and Carina are connectors in the leather community. In our chat at Wicked Grounds, the two surmise that they were chosen to be Pride’s leather marshalls based on their approachability and connection with their playmates and community members. They are both very good at creating community on the Internet through social media — but are both rather accomplished perverts off the web as well. 

Brief descriptions, for those of us that thrive on bullet points:

Leland Carina

  • Founding member of SF girls of Leather
  • Now retired from SF girls, but works to promote and brand the movement in other cities. To date, there are girls chapters in Arizona (the original group, SF was the second), Seattle, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Tulsa, New York, among other regional chapters
  • Until recently, Carina was a graphic designer at Kink
  • Correspondent for leather news blog Leatherati
  • Leader in the SF Bay Leather Alliance

Race Bannon

They are the Miss Universes of the leather community, if that’s not too distasteful to say. “It’s mainly a wave and smile sort of thing,” says Carina – who will be wearing a red latex dress for her pageant moment made by an ex “roller derby sister” who runs Lust Designs. But be that as it may, Bannon and Carina are determined to make what they can of it. The two have pledged to do what they can to raise attendance numbers in their contingent so that the Pride hoards can see for themselves the growing scope of the leather community. They’ll be towed in the parade by human ponies, expertly trained by human pony mistress Liliane Hunt. 

In the spirit of a true pageant host (I was channeling Sinbad in 2000, which I chose because Montell Jordan was the musical guest that year. My second pick would have been Jerry Springer in 2008 because Lady Gaga was his musical guest. You really need to read this list), I end our meeting with a truly corny question. What is the biggest challenge facing the leather community today?

“Right now we have a very kumbaya status,” Bannon smiles, as Carina grimaces a little from across the table (surely, a girl of Leather has a bit different view on schisms in the community than an established older gentleman). Bannon also said that finding space for playtime is always a challenge in a city as dense and expensive as San Francisco. 

For Carina, the challenges have more to do with the forces outside the community. In an era when Rihanna boldly displays her kink proclivities in her music videos on MTV and 50 Shades of Grey is thrilling the harnesses onto Middle America, she says, “I’m interested in how that’s going to affect the community. After queerness becomes accepted, BDSM and polyamory becomes the next big thing.”

Pride parade 

Sun/24 10:30am, free

Begins at Market and Beale, ends at Market and 8th St., SF


Your love: Open SF conference teaches, showcases polyamorous community


“I have a partner that I live with, two girlfriends, and a number of lovers” 

In my San Francisco, it’s not uncommon to know someone who identifies as polyamorous, or who participates in multiple loving and intimate relationships. 

In fact when I talked to Pepper Mint, conference organizer for OpenSF, he told me that the non-monagamous community in the Bay Area has finally reached a critical mass. His reasoning? Over the weekend of June 8, Open SF was attended by over 500 of the poly-curious and practicing. 

As his community expands, Mint thinks it is necessary to recognize the multitude of voices that compose polyamorous San Francisco. “I feel it is important to highlight our similarities while acknowledging our differences,” he told me as we sat on the floor outside of one of the many conference rooms at the Holiday Inn where OpenSF was in full swing around us. 

The weekend started with the Pink play party at Mission Control. There was a keynote address from trans-identified sex educator Ignacio Rivera and trans-gendered health educator and social justice activist Yoseñio V. Lewis. The two also hosted a lecture entitled “Kink, Race, and Class.”

The lecture sought to inspire dialogue about how race, racism, and class appear in the world of kink. It was one of many unique talks over the weekend that both celebrated and critiqued the diversity and spread of the polyamorous community.  Other offerings available to OpenSF attendees included “Sex Work and Non-Monagamy,”  “Fat Sluts, Hungry Virgins,” and “Trans-Queering Your Sex.” 

In another hallway that weekend, Sonya Brewer — who facilitated the “Cultivating Healthy Boundaries” lecture on Sunday — suggested the conference was well attended due to Mint’s effort to include a diversity of individuals, including sexual minorities and other oppressed groups on the planning committee. Brewer, a somatic psychotherapist and queer woman of color, has been a practicing polyamorist for 15 years. 

“It’s about finding out where your yes’ and no’s are to really connect with other people,” said Brewer. “In our culture we get taught not to listen to our bodies. It’s about teaching people their forgotten skills of connecting to themselves.”

Mint described himself to be a straight-leaning bisexual with some gender variance. I watched him push back his shoulder-length purple hair to kiss one of his female lovers hello as he confidently navigated our interview and managed the conference. 

When I asked him to describe his poly structure Mint said, “I have a partner that I live with, two girlfriends, and a number of lovers.” He was raised in a polyamorous home, and talked openly about how his childhood environment help him grow into a healthy, sex-positive community leader. “When creating a sex-positive polyamorous space there is an importance to two things; skills — communication and transparency — and building community connections. People who participate in community usually succeed in polyamory.”

For my own itinerary, I settled on two lectures: Kathy Labriola’s “Unmasking the Green-Eyed Monster: Managing Jealousy in Open Relationships” and “Second Generation Poly,” a panel featuring porn couple Maggie and Ned Mayhem and members of their family. 

Labriola’s hour-long talk examined jealousy from an anthropological perspective, highlighting it as a universal experience that manifests itself depending on one’s cultural upbringing. Her bad news? Jealousy is unavoidable. Her good news? It’s a learned behavior, and you can learn to manage it. During the lecture, she provided us with a handy checklist to use in determining whether insecurities are based in fact or freak-out. 

“Identify a situation that makes you jealous and ask the questions,” Labriola said, breaking down the checklist. “Number one, [do] I have a resource I value very much and I’m fearful of losing? Number two, [does] another person want that resource? Number three, [do] you believe you are in direct competition for something you want? Number four, [do] you believe if push comes to shove you will lose out?”

This list was one of the practical tools Labriola gave the auienced to manage their jealousy. She also discussed guided imagery, treating jealousy as a phobia, and boundary setting. The audience had several questions for Labriola once the lecture was over. My personal favorite was when an audience member asked how to deal with a jealous partner. Labriola simply replied, “Just  shut up and listen.” 

Maggie Mayhem — dressed in a fluorescent orange space suit, a representation of her “out-of-this-world situation” — sat on a panel with partner Ned, his father, and his father’s “second partner” (a non-hierarchical term, Maggie clarified for me later.) They discussed negotiating boundaries at sex parties, raising children with more than two parents, and the stigma many parents of sex-positive children can encounter. Mayhem encouraged the audience to, “Be the author to your own happily ever after.”

I left OpenSF feeling newly inspired, and informed about the diverse landscape of the Bay Area’s poly community. The conference encouraged its participants to create doctrines of love while keeping a critical and open perspective. And it provided a place for the polyamorous to come together. “People who try to create their own non-monogamy usually fail,” said Mint. “People who participate in community usually succeed. Being a part of non-monogamous community greatly increases the chance of being successful with non-monogamy, because the skills required are simply not provided by mainstream culture.” 

Lusty for the Ladies? Worker-owned strip club still open, but needs your help


I have to apologize for not frothing up the waters with my own account of everyone’s favorite (and only) worker-owned strip club the Lusty Lady being in peril of having to shut its doors. I was gallivanting about on a world tour — find my list of illegal places in Berlin to trespass on here — and re-emerged on this side of the bridge to hysterical accounts that the classic, unionized titty joint was going under.

It’s no secret that the Guardian has a tawdry, longstanding affair with the Lusty — so I made a quick call to long-time Lusty Lorelei. Upshot: the club is kind-of safe for the moment, but it’s ready to grind it out for your singles.

“We would like to keep going, we would like to improve the business,” Lorelei told me. “We are looking for investors, but if that doesn’t work we’ll have to look for buyers.” Anyone willing to support their local, female-empowering, size-positive, all-inclusive adult club?

Here’s what happened: the Lusty has been struggling with finances for awhile. “It’s been funky and we just weren’t doing that great,” said Lorelei. The club has struggled, she continued, with perceptions that the private peep show booths were unclean, staff was unfriendly, and that dancers just weren’t working it out enough. “You can’t just go up there in your Payless heels and no makeup. Customers would come in and it would be like, sad trombone.” 

So when a company called Millenium Group offered $25,000 for the beleagured club, some staffers thought their ship had come in. Not Lorelei. “$25,000? That’s insulting. Really? We could come up with that!”

Nonetheless, a hasty employee vote was convened over email one weekend, side-stepping (Lorelei says) the informal co-op protocol that such matters necessitate a couple weeks for employee-owners to think them over. The Lusties decided against selling, and in the decisive moment many of the staff members who had been in favor of the sale split. 

Previous press accounts that reported that the employee-owners would be held financially liable if the club went bankrupt are erroneous, says Lorelei, who actually sees this moment of high drama as an opportunity. The mediocre service and hygiene reflected a complacency that a passel of new hires, she hopes the club has left behind. “The girls are hot, the theater is clean,” she laughs. 

The club is looking into starting up webcam shows, and has already started offering lapdances at specified times. Some of the dancers have started up a radio show Wednesdays from 9pm to midnight on 107.7 The Bone called Ask a Hot Chick, a great customer interaction tactic. Check out the Lusty Lady’s Indie Go Go page (side note: Kickstarter is not down with “adult” causes) to donate towards the club’s continued existence — the campaign will be active for the next day or so.

Or here’s a better plan: head down to the club this weekend for the club’s brand-new lapdance parties. You know the drill — see you a sex-positive, well-proportioned hottie and let her take you for a spin in a booth. 

Lusty Lady lapdance parties

Fridays and Saturdays, 9pm-2am

The Lusty Lady

1033 Kearny, SF

(415) 391-3991



Key lime hair with a side of porno: the Brande Baugh story


“My job is really weird. I think about that all the time.”

The Mission is a neighborhood accustomed to eccentric individuals. One would think Brande Baugh’s key lime hair and vintage Misfits t-shirt would make her fit right in. Yet her presence in a neighborhood cafe still elicited several stares when she walked in — with her perfectly-curated face, pastel pink lipstick, and evenly-powdered face, Baugh looked like one of Warhol’s Marlyn Monroe silkscreens. Though Baugh stays pretty busy living and working in Los Angeles, she also has regular gigs at Kink, a San Francisco-based pornography website that specializes in bondage and BDSM

I’ve often imagined what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at Kink, so my talk with Baugh was particularly illuminating. Sample quote: “I’m about five inches away from a person’s face. People start to break down their barriers and tell me things. And when you work with people in the sex industry all bets are off. People just say anything.”   

San Francisco Bay Guardian: How did you start doing makeup at Kink?

Brande Baugh: It started off as a fluke. I did makeup for Pink and White’s first episode of the Crash Pad Series. A talent on that production was starting to work at Kink. The talent identified more with a butch aesthetic and needed to do a femme look for her shoot. So she asked me to do her makeup. After the shoot, Princess Donna, a director at Kink, asked who did the talent’s makeup. The next thing you know, they were calling me in for an interview.

For my interview I did Princess Donna’s makeup. She told me to go all out, so I made her look like a drag queen. Donna said she loved it. It’s really funny in retrospect because I would never do someone in porn’s face like that now. I’m sure Donna in part really liked me. In her mind I was hired, and I could have probably done anything.  

SFBG: What is it like doing makeup for porn stars?

Brandy’s girls: Kink.com looks by Baugh

BB: There are simple differences in doing makeup for a porn production as opposed to a mainstream movie. A lot of the porn shoots I do are gonzo. I don’t have to stay on set all day, and it’s ok for people to see the makeup degrade over time. It seems like people feel like that’s more real. Also, I have to be really conscious about the makeup products I use. I have to use gloss lipstick and things that wear for a long time. I couldn’t use red lipstick. You have to keep in mind where this person’s lips are going to go. My job is really weird. I think about that all the time. 

I have found people in the sex industry to be very open and non-judgemental. I can say whatever I want while I’m at work. We can talk about the type of sex we like, our sexuality, and our gender freely. There is so much less ego in porn. That’s not to say there aren’t some divas. There are a wide range of people who work in porn. Some of the people go to school, some are moms, some are teachers. I’m doing makeup to make them look like they are all the same type of person, but they are all very different. Porn stars are producing something that there is an audience and a large market for, and it’s crazy how much shit they take for doing that.

SFBG: Where does sexuality and makeup intersect?

BB: As a makeup artist I’m creating characters who play out fantasies. Several of the people who work in porn are not the characters they portray. So I have to help transform themdon’t think most people would recognize porn stars if they saw them in the grocery store. There is a certain safety and anonymity behind having people wear this mask of makeup, and there are some porn stars who actually do look like porn stars. There are a lot of ways everyday people use makeup to express their sexuality as well. Sometimes you have to throw on a little red lipstick because it makes you feel sexy.

SFBG: Are you currently working on any other projects?

BB: Yeah, I’m working on a television show called Hollywood Nailz. It’s a show about my friend, a hair stylist, and I, and our interactions with all the people we meet in the beauty industry. We will finish filming at the end of June. I’m really excited.


Hollywood Nails: A different shade of Brandy.


SFBG: How do you identify with your gender?

BB: Well I’m a girl. I’m a lady. I’m a real butchy femme. I feel like I can be anything — I mean I’m a makeup artist, and I also went to school to be a mechanic. I like that dynamic quality. 

SFBG: What does creating a sex-positive space mean for you?

BB: For me, it’s a place where you can be whomever and not feel judged. People in a sex-positive space are interested in being progressively more open and aware. It’s about educating one another, but never in a negative way.

Sipping lattes with the transmale program specialist


“People at sex clubs are looking to hook up. It’s usually my safe sex practices that get me turned down more and not the fact that I’m transgender” 

I thought it would be cute to conduct today’s interview in a bathhouse sauna. Instead I found myself sipping a soy milk latte in one of the Mission’s many hip coffee shops — not as intimate of an option, but probably better for my note taking. For once, I was on time, and I patiently awaited San Francisco sex educator Niko Kowell.

I love Kowell’s official job title, transmale program specialist. It sounds so glamorous, and in truth, it is. Kowell is the creator of San Francisco’s Transmenformen night, held every second and fourth Thursday at Eros, one of San Francisco’s most innovative gay bathhouses. At TM4M, as the event is nicknamed, Kowell facilitates group dialogues for queer and transmen who want to have sex with other males. He teaches bathhouse cruising tactics (coy glances over one’s shoulder among them), screens transgender and queer-related films, and puts on an almost-naked yoga class. 


During our morning together, Kowell and I talked about bathhouse culture and fucking transmen. He also debunked the rumor that all transmen who sleep with men are bottoms. 

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Tell us about your experiences with gender and sexuality, particularly within gay male cruising and bathhouse culture.

Niko Kowell: It’s been interesting learning about gay male cruising. I come from a really communicative, consensual background when it comes to sex. And I have had to learn how to pick up men in a bathhouse in a completely different way. It’s a lot more to do with eye contact. Being too verbal can be seen as a turn off. I’ve also had to think of creative ways to disclose the fact that I’m transgendered. Recently I’ve taken to towel flashing hot guys I’m attracted to. 

I had a lot of assumptions of what male cruising spaces would be like. People at sex clubs are looking to hook up. It’s usually my safe sex practices that get me turned down more and not the fact that I’m transgender. It’s been good for me to learn that my trans-ness isn’t always the reason why people aren’t interested. There are are a number of reasons why someone wouldn’t be interested. I’ve also had to learn how to be my own best advocate. It’s important to know what your boundaries are and be willing to stand by them. 

SFBG: Take us through the series of events that led to your position as a transmale program specialist. 

NK: Five years ago when I was in college I came to San Francisco and did an internship at Eros. I was studying psychology, and I was working on a paper entitled the “First Timers’ Guide to Playing With a Transguy.” I went back to Ohio, graduated, and promptly returned to SF.

Upon my return, I was working part-time at Eros when Luke Woodward, the previous program supervisor at Transthrive, hired me as a private contractor to do Transthrive events. Last October our program got funding, and now I get to focus predominantly on transmale programing. TM4M is a collaboration between Eros, Trannywood Pictures, and Transthrive, a program at the Asian Pacific Islander Wellness Center

Showing them tats, flashing those biceps: Niko Kowell in the Transthrive offices.

SFBG: Eros is already known to be a queer masculine and transinclusive space. Why have a night specifically geared to transmen?

NK: It is important that TM4M happens at Eros because it gets transmen into a male space. It begins to build community between cismen and transmen, and it teaches everyone how to have casual sex with different types of bodies safely. TM4M is a space where transmen can talk about what it was like to transition and still be into the same gender. I want to reduce shame around the issue of transitioning and participating in one’s sexuality.

SFBG: What other events and projects are you currently working on?

NK: I’m working with Trannywood Pictures on a documentary project about transmen and their relationships to their penis, whether that be the cock they strap on or the cock they grew while on testosterone. The project was inspired by the 1999 documentary Private Dicks a special about cisguys and their relationships to their penis. 

SFBG: How do you identify with your gender today?

NK: I identify strongly as transgender. I use male pronouns, and I strongly feel genderqueer. I’m really proud of my female history. It’s important to me. I guess I identify as queer in general in regards to my sexuality and gender.

SFBG: Are you currently dating anyone?

NK: I’m in a nonmonogamous relationship with a ciswoman. I almost predominantly play with men, and she almost predominantly plays with woman. It works for us.

SFBG: Tell us something interesting and sexy.

NK: I’m versatile. It’s hard for me to find cismen who want me to top them. I just want to dispel the rumor that all transmen who sleep with men are bottoms. That’s why I wrote the top five reasons to fuck a transguy:

1. Transguys are hot

2. Trans cock is any shape or size you want, and it never goes soft

3. Three holes are better than two

4. Small hands make small fist(s)

5. Curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back

I’m in part being cheeky with my list, and I acknowledge that every transguy is unique in the way they want to experience sex and their sexuality. I want people to keep in mind some transmen may not agree with these reasons. 

SFBG: What does creating a sex-positive space mean for you?

NK: A sex-positive space should be free of judgement. There is no certain way to be a man or be sexual. You should be sexual in a way that makes sense for you. When I’m facilitating dialogue about sex it’s important that everyone in the room remain open and supportive.

As a facilitator I’m open and honest about my experiences. I sleep with men and women. I’ve done porn. The people who keep coming back to my events are committed to cultivating a sex-positive space. It’s about diversity and really connecting with the diversity of queerness. People should have the space they need to share their personal experiences, and we need to really be in support of each other as a broader GLBTQI community as well. 

“Men on the Mat”: A queer guy yoga class

Thu/24, 7pm, $5-10 suggested donation


2051 Market, SF



Sex Talk with Princess Donna: Squirting and the ass icon


You have to have communication skills if you’re going to responsibly wield the amount of sexual power that Princess Donna holds in her sexy little hands in the depths of the Mission District’s very own porn palace, Kink.com. The director-actor of such sites as Kink’s Ultimate Surrender, Bound Gang Bang, and Public Disgrace knows about expanding sexual horizons — which is why it’s so rad we’ve tapped her for this new love and sex advice column.

Submit to it! Really — the email address where you can send questions of your own is at the end of this post. 

Dear Donna, 

I’ve heard a lot about female ejaculation, but I haven’t seen much evidence of it in real life. Is this something that anyone with a vagina should aspire to?

Signed, Hot Springs

Dear Hot Springs,

I am not in the business of telling people what specific sexual acts they should aspire to. I think what’s important is finding out what fulfills you sexually and doing that. So yes, if squirting is something you think looks fun, go for it!

I personally think squirting orgasms are rad. As for the conversation about whether it is piss or ejaculate I would like to quote my dear friend Jeremiah Finklestein Brown, “I don’t care if it’s chicken salad coming out of there, it’s still awesome!”

xo, Donna

Dear Princess, 

I am from Turkey. 33 years old a doctor. I love your movies but it is very hard for me. Because i want to have sex only with you.

I have never fuck an ass, but after your movies sex is only your ass for me. I am far away, but i must fuck u. Please answer me anything. I need you.

Dear Turkish doctor,

Hi! I don’t see a question in there, but it seems you have excellent taste in women.

xo, Donna

DON’T MAKE DONNA RELY ON LOVESICK TURKISH DOCTORS FOR MATERIAL — ASK HER A QUESTION YOURSELF! Sex, love, a combination of the two, a lack of both? Email sextalkwithprincessdonna@gmail.com for the best possible solution


In bed with the cuddle expert


“I’ve been enveloped and swimming in love the last few years”

It’s early Saturday morning, and I’m quickly putting fresh sheets on my bed. The door bell rings before I can finish, and I run down the stairs to a incredibly punctual, smiling, and shirtless Travis Sigley, the cuddle therapy practitioner.

Sigley is a San Francisco-based, specializing in private appointments, group sessions, and workshops on non-sexual intimacy. I invited Sigley over to have a conversation about his line of work — and to find out why this beautiful man is always shirtless. He greets me at my door with a big hug. His handsome face and sun-kissed body make it easy to imagine spending an hour in my bed wrapped in his loving arms.

San Francisco Bay Guardian: Before we get started about life as a cuddle therapy practitioner, can you tell us why you don’t wear a shirt? Don’t you get cold?

Travis Sigley: I haven’t worn a shirt in five years. There are some social situations where I have to wear a shirt, like going on a plane. I would say, I live about 98 percent of my time without a shirt.

It started on a beautiful sunny day in Santa Cruz. I was headed to the beach to hang out with some friends, and I really didn’t see why I was putting on a shirt to travel there. So I didn’t put one on. The next day I asked myself, “Why are you putting on a shirt on yet another beautiful sunny day?” And since then, I really can’t seem to have an answer to putting on a shirt anymore. I’ve been enveloped and swimming in love the last few years.

In regards to getting cold, I’ve changed my relationship to weather. My body really embraces the change of season. I find myself eating more in the winter because my body knows it’s going to have to produce more heat. All in all, I have a pleasant experience feeling the change in weather. 

Shots from Sigley’s snuggle scene

SFBG: How did you begin your journey as a cuddle therapy practitioner?

TS: My first professional cuddle client was in the back room of a strip club when I first moved to San Francisco. As a stripper, I found myself spending a lot of my time cuddling with my clients in that back room. It really dawned on me that people are really seeking love and touch more than a sexual experience. And I realized there was no place to really seek this form of non-sexual intimacy. So this inspired me to start an educational and practical forum. A space for people to have intimate experiences and touch. 

SFBG: Where does sex intersect with cuddle therapy — if it does at all?

TS: I started cuddle therapy because I saw a discord between how people understood non-sexual affection and sex. This is a service to help people understand that difference and articulate what their needs are. I facilitate a space for my clients to explore and differentiate between their sexual desires and intimate non-sexual desires. I believe understanding the difference really allows you to live your life more fully..

SFBG: Do you cuddle both men and women?

TS: Yes, I absolutely cuddle both men and women. Every single human deserves love and affection. As long as you are willing to accept my boundaries of hygiene and sexuality I will happily cuddle you.

SFBG: Can you articulate further what your boundaries are around hygiene and sexuality?

TS: I’m referring to general hygiene maintenance. I cuddle lots of people. And in regards to sexuality, I think it’s really important that my clients understand the space we are cultivating is a non-sexually expressed space. I also want my clients to be open to moving whatever sexual energy may arise through conversation, and other ways of expression. 


SFBG: How do you respond to clients who get aroused during one of your cuddle sessions?

TS: I understand that the body communicates things. It’s about acknowledging the sexual energy in the space, and realizing that you are in control of your sexual energy. Communication is always the best method to move sexual energy during my sessions. It is a great way to help my clients articulate how they can channel their sexual energy in a non-sexual context. 

Some of my clients love doing a meditation. And we meditate on moving the sexual energy up the body, and enlivening their entire body. So the sexual energy is not concentrated in one particular place. I find doing breath work with people also works. Feeling the sexual energy fill their bodies and moving the sexual energy through breath. Singing, humming, and toning are all other methods I’ve used to help move sexual energy.

I’ve even done dream work with one client. She requested we both doze off and move our work to the dream world and the world of the subconscious. That was actually one of the most powerful session of cuddle therapy I’ve ever done. It requires a lot of trust to leave your body and do work from the subconscious. It’s really powerful knowing that you are going on a healing path through the subconscious to change and facilitate positive growth in a person.

SFBG: How do you identify your gender today?

TS: I believe gender is really fluid, and I have a felt sense of both feminine and masculine energies. I am particularly feeling more in line with embodying a masculine energy. And let’s not forget gender is constructed. Being a male to me today means being respectful, mindful, conscious, attentive, and  explorative within the spectrum of masculinity. 

SFBG: What does being sex-positive mean for you?

TS: Well for me being sex-positive has more to do with one’s perspective on sexuality. One who is sex-positive has the expression of health and is open to the spectrum of sex and sexuality. A sex-positive being is mindful to their physical body interactions with others, and they are sensitive to the traumatic experiences of others. Being sex-positive means being educated about sex, being a good listener, and being comfortable with all facets of what sex can look like.

Catch Travis hosting group cuddle workshops at the OmShanTea tea temple, which will be setting up poles at these feel-good festivals across the region


May 17-21, $280-$320 three day camping pass; $40-$60 car pass; $35-$60 early entry

Pyramid Lake, Nevada


Lightning in a Bottle

May 24-28, one-day pass $85-$100; four-day pass $215-$240

Oak Canyon Ranch 

Silverado, CA


Movement Play

June 22-25, $260

Willits, CA



July 26-29, $99 one-day; $155 two-day; $395 three-day; $475 four-day yoga-music passes; $20-$34.50 music-only day passes 

Squaw Valley, CA