Category Archives: Austin

Diana J Torres- Vagaculation Workshop

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop

I didn’t really know what to expect from queer, anarcha-feminist activist and performance artist Diana J Torres’ Vagaculation ((I love the name vagaculation, btw. Vagaculation. Vagaculation.)) workshop at Forbidden Fruit Thursday night. Or rather, I kind of just expected it to be a class on techniques on how to ejaculate, but it was so much more than that–it was full of real talk about the social and political reasons why women (or people who have a vagina) don’t ejaculate.

Diana began by telling us her story–she’s always been an ejaculator, leaving a “lake on the bed.”  For years she thought she was peeing every time she had great sex, but something clicked for her after a time when she noticed a white ring around the puddle she’d left.

She had a feeling that she wasn’t peeing during sex but didn’t know what was happening, so Diana turned to science to try to figure out what was going on with her body, where she found bullshit and sexist ignorance at every turn. At the University of Barcelona, she found scientific diagrams of female anatomy with white space where the female prostate should be. Medical descriptions undermined women’s pleasure, calling the vulva a “secondary characteristic” and the clitoris an “incidental organ” (are you fucking kidding?)

I’d rather have my head cut off than my clit, she said in response to that.

Basically, women’s anatomy that isn’t related to reproduction or hetero sex is undermined or ignored within medicine and ignorance reigns. So much so, that in Spain and Mexico, if you go to a gyno and explain that you think you’re peeing during sex (ejaculating), that they’ll send you to a urologist, and then they’ll remove your prostate to “fix the problem.” Girls as young as 18 have come to Diana’s workshops and have told her about this happening to them. I know that cunt ejaculation is still very taboo, but I had no idea this was happening–it’s beyond infuriating!

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop3You may have noticed by now that I haven’t referred to the “g-spot” so far in this post, and there’s a reason for that. Another thing Diana talked about was what she considers the conspiracy or war against the (female) prostate. She explained that she thinks that Gräfenberg (the man who “discovered” the g-spot) couldn’t just come out and say that women have prostates because of his era, but that everything he discovered pointed to what he found (the g-spot) as being a prostate very similar to men’s prostates.

From that point on, according to Torres, the idea of the g-spot and especially its relation to orgasm was a money making ploy to get people to buy books and products about how to find the g-spot, while at the same time keeping women from actually knowing their bodies. Many of the books about finding the g-spot were aimed at men, as if women can’t find it themselves. In her opinion, the word g-spot is overly femme and misleading because in reality it’s a prostate, and there’s no reason not to call it that. ((I’m not condemning the term g-spot, but it’s definitely something worth thinking about.)) She explained that women can get prostate cancer, but that by the time it’s caught it’s often spread and is classified as vaginal cancer, and that the prostate isn’t a gendered thing–there aren’t a lot of differences between male and female prostates.

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop2Her ideas were reinforced by research of other cultures that mention female ejaculation as completely normal. Aristotle, Hypocrates, and Galenus all mentioned cunt ejaculation and the term sperm wasn’t gendered because they didn’t know yet that sperm are only present in male ejaculation. Female ejaculation is also part of a ritual in matriarchal socities called “kachapati” in Uganda, wherein older women teach young women to ejaculate as part of a rite of passage.

So if ejaculation was seen in history as a normal part of women’s sexuality (and is considered normal in some other cultures), what happened? Our western cultures and oppressive religion happened (namely, Catholicism.)

After talking about the ways in which female ejaculation has been systematically ignored, or worse, vilified as something that only whores do, Torres went on to explain how we can GET REVENGE (aka take back our sexuality) by:

-Knowing out bodies better than science does. Mistrust science always.

-Make up for lost time by practicing.

-Spread the word! You don’t have to tell everyone you meet on the street about cunt ejaculation (though that sounds kind of amazing to me.) Tell everyone you care about.

She also shared tips on how to start ejaculating (or become ok with it if there is shame associated with it):

It’s NOT pee. Repeat this like a mantra. She suggests cumming onto a black sheet so that you can see a white ring around it after it dries as she did, or ejaculating into a container to see that it’s not yellow.

Even though I ejaculate, and I know it’s not pee, I still stick my nose in my come almost every time, just to smell it and remind myself. I’ve also blotted the wetness with toilet paper to check its color. She also suggests checking your pee color right after sex, because if you don’t expel ejaculate, retrograde ejaculation happens and it ends up in the bladder, often changing the color of your pee to white.

-Get over the women are “clean” and their pleasure is “discreet” lies. LIES. LIES. LIES.

-Techniques: Relax right before orgasm instead of contracting, which is usually our reflex. If you do start to ejaculate, push to keep it going. You can’t contract and push at the same time, so if you push, you’ll stop your contracting. She also suggests using fingers (and putting your shoulder into it when your hand gets tired) though personally dildos work better for me. Either way, you can’t usually ejaculate when you have anything big inside of you, so it’ll have to come out at some point.

-Be patient.

-Protect your mattress. Get a plastic mattress cover (or if you want to be fancy, a Throe–I don’t know what I would do without mine!) This is actually a health issue, as fungus can grow on a wet mattress and cause health problems.

-Tell partners ahead of time that you might ejaculate. This can serve as a filter for good lovers and will help avoid people who may have unintentionally (or intentionally) negative responses when surprised by vagaculation.

Although her workshop was very different from the one Deborah Sundahl hosted here in Austin a few years ago, the core theme I took away from both of them was the same–that the reasons women don’t ejaculate are mainly psychological.

What does this mean for us though? It’s definitely not as simple as, “Oh, ok, I’ve been told that women are meant to be clean and proper, and that’s BS so I’ll just start ejaculating now!” As Diana said–you’re not going to erase centuries of oppression in one workshop (or one attempt.) It takes time and effort. And it may never happen, and that’s fine. Not being able to ejaculate doesn’t make you any less of a “real women” or a “real feminist.” You aren’t missing mind blowing orgasms if you don’t ejaculate (in fact, ejaculation isn’t even necessarily connected to orgasms at all.)

pennysblog_vagaculationworkshop1Another thing I found incredibly interesting during the class was that Diana told us about how once she tried to stop her ejaculation by putting her finger over her urethra, and she still ejaculated. So she looked into it more and discovered there are actually other holes besides the urethra that expel ejaculate–the Skene’s ducts.

This led to an interesting discussion that I started on Twitter. She said you can see the ducts if you pull the labia taught and shine a light directly in front of it. I have yet to see them on my vulva (I need a magnifying mirror stat!) but I am definitely going to explore this.

I could go on and on about the workshop. It was extremely thought provoking, and Diana was in your face and intense and at times hilarious. At first I wondered if I should share the things I learned in this workshop on my blog…since we did pay ($10 which was well worth it) to go to her workshop.

But that is the opposite of what her workshop was about. It was about fighting ignorance and spreading knowledge and breaking through the patriarchal bullshit and owning our sexuality. It was about explaining that the g-spot/prostate isn’t something you need to spend money to find or something mysterious you have to go mining in your vagina for.

And on the flip side–this is by no means an all inclusive explanation of her workshop. I took copious notes, but there was an energy in the class that I can’t explain by just describing her points. I may write more about some of the things she talked about in greater depth because there was so much to think about, and if anyone has questions or thoughts, I’d love to chat.

If you’re in Austin, Diana’s doing two more events this weekend, one tonight (Porno Terrorismo) and one on Sunday (Muestra marrana.) And if you ever get a chance to go to one of her workshops, GO. Just trust me. Also, she’s coming out with a book soon, so I can’t wait to read that.

*Thanks for hosting this awesome workshop Forbidden Fruit!

Cameryn Moore’s Austin Sidewalk Smut

Along with her slut (r)evolution show, Cameryn Moore performs other pieces as well as sets up her Sidewalk Smut stands in the cities she tours. The basic idea is that she sets up on a popular street in the city and sits with a sign and a typewriter. If you’re lucky enough to be walking along the street she’s at, you can give her a $10 or more suggested donation, and she will interview you for a few minutes, and then after 10-15 minutes she will read you your own custom piece of erotica.

After watching Cameryn’s amazing performance last Friday, I knew I wanted to get my own personalized story at one of these “smut stands.” Last night my friend Nicole was visiting Austin, and we went downtown, so of course we stopped by Cameryn’s stand on dirty 6th. When we first got there she was already working on a custom piece, so we had a drink before returning to where she was parked beneath Blind Pig. When we got there, she asked Jake and I a bunch of questions like,

“Hardcore or softcore?”

“Public or private?”

“Surprise or no surprise?”

“Pain or no pain?”

“Cake or pie?”

“What do you call his/her junk?”

Etc.

After the short interview, we went to another bar while she created our custom smut, and when we returned she read us a sexy story about Jake spanking me during a tipsy game of truth or dare at a party. We were both turned on by the story and had a good laugh at her autograph that read, “To Penny & Jake–it’s not a good sex party until someone is crying!”

We loved it, put it in the car so it wouldn’t get messed up throughout the night, and went back to Shakespeare’s. Before we  left for the night, Nicole decided she wanted a custom piece also, and she too loved her story that explored her submissive side, with another awesome autograph, “To Nicole, just remember some holes need more lube than others!”

I’m so glad Jake, Nicole, and I all got some custom smut from Cameryn’s smut stand. But I was also very upset when I later saw her Facebook post about the night because apparently some guy stole $20 from her box while she was hugging an excited customer. I like to think Austin is a pretty friendly place, but dirty 6th (East 6th Street where the long stretch of cheap bars are) can get pretty damn seedy at night, unfortunately.

I took this last photo of her stand from across the street on the balcony at Shakespeare’s. I didn’t have my camera just my phone, hence the blurry camera photos.

Sabra johnSin’s Back to Burlesque Show

Sabra slowly peels off one silky white glove and then the other, and the increasingly vocal audience cheers as more pieces of her vintage style lingerie fall to the floor, revealing her petite yet curvy figure and smooth, ivory skin. After more teasing, dancing, and wicked looks, stripped to only a tiny double string thong and sparkly pasties, Sabra stands beneath the giant rainbow on stage, and shimmies and shakes as it begins to rain, water cascading over her near naked body and her fiery red curls. This was the elaborate finale for Sabra johnsin’s Back to Burlesque show at Haven, an event put on to not only entertain but also to help raise money for Q Austin, a nonprofit organization that strives to help prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.

I met Sabra a few years back when I modeled a bikini in her Visions of Virgos fashion show, and ever since I’ve been a big fan of her modeling. I noticed early on that she definitely isn’t your typical mainstream model, and one of the images that initially attracted me to her work was a bloody horror image of her “dead” in a bathtub.  Since I’m a big fan of Austin burlesque, I’ve been meaning to catch one of her shows, and I’m glad I braved the rain last Friday night to go see her acts for the first time.

The show started later than expected (as do most burlesque shows it seems) and opened with a performance by the up and coming drag sensation Phearia johnSin, who was also the emcee for the night. In my opinion the definition of a true performer is one who can overcome an occasional slip up graciously, and Phearia proved she is here to stay when she tripped on her heel during a dance move and turned what could have been a disastrous and disruptive fall into a seductive floor roll. The audience yelled with extra enthusiasm as she then threw off her heels, embracing the situation and finishing her playful and sexy routine.

 

Next up was Goldie Candela, who brought the storm from outside into the club as she shivered under an umbrella and began dancing to “Pennies from Heaven” with her classic pin up expressions and fluid, gypsy like signature hip and arm movements. Goldie is always striking with her ornate outfits and glamorous look, but what makes her one of my favorite performers is her aurora and stage personality; it’s obvious that she’s really enjoying the show, and her adorable smile and enthusiasm make me want to get up on stage and dance with her.

After Goldie’s act, Sabra entered the stage in glittering black lingerie and heels, dancing to classic burlesque music as she effortlessly unlaced her corset and threw the rest of her costume to the floor. After she climbed into her 6 foot, rhinestoned Absinthe glass, Sabra splashed and teased and spun around the in the water with skill that would have made Dita Von Teese proud. My favorite moments in her performance were the subtly suggestive ones, like when she licked her wet finger and when she thrusted her hips towards the ceiling as she balanced on the edges of the sparkling glass.

The show also featured diverse acts from former Queen of Burlesque Coco Lectric, Gemmi Galactic from Head Over Heels Burlesque, and Kierstin johnSin, Sabra’s younger sister. Coco stunned the audience as always with her luscious curves as she feverishly danced to Lady Gaga’s Marry the Night. While many burlesque performers have that cute, cheesecake vibe, Coco has a fierce, dominant, unapologetic seduction, and her raw sex appeal combined with her pro choreography and execution make it no surprise why she is so popular. Gemmi Galactic, a petite brunette with a playful smile, performed a classic and captivating boa routine, and even though her music messed up and paused for a minute, she kept moving and teasing. Kierstin premiered her balloon act, and she looked confident, polished, and absolutely ravishing as she teased us with each “pop.” After the show, there was a raffle for paintings, a piercing, and tattoos from Austin Dermagrahix, and I won the free piercing!

Sabra’s Back to Burlesque Event had everything I expect from a good burlesque show: a variety of acts, elaborate theatrics, intricate costumes, and of course gorgeous, talented performers. Every detail of the event was alluring, from the acts themselves to the sexy panty wrangler to the impromptu spanking of an audience member by Phearia. The only thing I wasn’t in love with was the setup at the venue; it wasn’t ideal for a burlesque performance since the girls were at the same level as the audience, which made it hard for everyone to get a good view, and the lighting was a little off at times. I prefer the setup at other venues with raised stages like Antone’s or the ND, but it was still an amazing show regardless.

Photos courtesy of Steve DeMent Photography

Bedpost Confessions Intimate Salon with Cameryn Moore’s slut (r)evolution

Jake and I didn’t know what to expect as we waited in the lobby area at Salvage Vanguard Theatre in East Austin last night. We had been to two Bedpost Confessions so far, and after those amazing performances, I felt like kicking myself in the ass for not going sooner. This wasn’t a typical Bedpost show though; it was a special “Intimate Salon.” I didn’t really know what that meant, other than that it was at a smaller venue, it was $20 instead of $10, and it was a collaboration with Cameryn Moore’s slut (r)evolution. I knew Julie was the emcee, Sadie was reading a new story, and Etta Strawberry was performing an interactive piece. But who on earth is Cameryn Moore? And what is slut (r)evolution? The description on the Facebook event page was vague, so I searched the program for more clues, but found nothing other than a “for mature audiences only” along with production credits etc.

After the show, I’ve found three important reasons why there isn’t a definitive description on either the event page or program, and they are:

1. How the hell would you describe exactly what the show is? Yes, it was a solo act. Yes, it was a sex related story, or rather series of stories. Yes, it was a theatric performance, complete with scenes, characters, lighting, and props. But it was also so much more…

2. How could you describe the show’s awesomeness? It’s a daunting task. After the show, I met Cameryn at Butterfly Bar and stuttered a clumsy, “I just wanted to say I loved your show, it was the best show I’ve ever seen, oh my god” sort of thing. It wasn’t the most well thought out compliment, and no, I haven’t really been to a ton of shows, but it was all I could come up with on the spot. After more thought, I would like to revise my reaction to this: I was completely captivated from beginning to end, not to mention nervous, aroused, confused, angry, excited, frightened, and laughing my ass off all at the same time.

3.Describing Cameryn’s show is a futile effort. Even though I think my revised description captures more of its essence than “it was the best show ever,” to really see what slut (r)evolution is about, you need to get off of your ass and go see it yourself. Period.

As if Cameryn’s show wasn’t enough, combining it with Sadie and Etta Strawberry made for an incredibly sexy, stimulating night. I don’t want to spoil Miss Strawberry’s act, but I will say that I will never look at a strawberry in the same way after her tantalizing performance. I’ve seen Sadie read various times, but this one was definitely my favorite. Her story, “Climax” about a dusty, mid-day sexcapade she had at Burning Man just a few short weeks ago, was hilarious and arousing, and it felt especially intimate in the small theatre, as if we were actually there with her in the desert, feeling the heat and dust on our skin, smelling the sweat, and watching her necklace swing frantically in the “pleasure dome.”

Austinites, I can’t stress enough that you need to go see the Bedpost/slut (r)evolution show tonight. Unless you’re scared. Actually, if you are, all the more reason to go. After Austin, Cameryn is continuing her tour with shows in New Orleans, Nashville, Huntsville, Philadelphia, and New York City; you can check all that out on her website. While she’s still in Austin, Cameryn will also be creating custom “Sidewalk Smut” from her typewriter on Thursday at South Congress, and of course I will be there waiting for a piece of her action.