Posts filed under Sex

Toy Closet NYC - Sexy Toys

ToyClosetNYC.com is a sponsor of #GoldenLadyBurlesque

ToyClosetNYC.com is a sponsor of #GoldenLadyBurlesque

I had a chance to chat with Janine of Toy Closet NYC.  Toy Closet has been a sponsor of Golden Lady Burlesque from almost the beginning.  

Read what she has to say about being in the sex toy biz:

1) Who is Janine of The Toy Closet?

I wear several hats outside of The Toy Closet. I am the owner of a natural skincare company, Ms Jannie's Baby. I do small business consulting and corporate infrastructure management. As if that wasn't enough, we recently decided to take our adult line of t-shirts to the next level. I'm also a writer. I released a collection of erotica in 2013 and I am one of the sex & romance writers for HelloBeautiful.com. I stay busy, but I do try to maintain a balance.

2) What keeps you driven to keep selling the sexy?

I started selling toys nine years ago. I joined a multi-level marketing adult novelty company, that has since gone out of business. From the first party I did, I was hooked. I loved sharing romance tips and tricks, talking to women about their sexuality, and educating my clients. Sexuality is a very important aspect of a woman's life. I realized that there were so many women who weren't being sexually satisfied either through self love or within their romantic relationships, and I truly wanted to see that change. Women confide in me. I've always appreciated how significant that is. I love my job.

3) What's your best memory from working events/parties?

I'll give two. Since we don't have a brick and mortar location yet, our business is basically mobile and online. Three to four times per year, we do large trade shows, where we set up our store. I love these events because we get to interact with thousands of people. We also use these events as a barometer for the climate in the adult industry. We get to see up close and personal how people are reacting to our products. It's also an amazing opportunity to share our business in areas other than New York.

I have spoken at several colleges over the years. My presentation at Medgar Evers University in Brooklyn was by far the most rewarding. My mother came to help out. Afterwards, she told me that she finally realized what it is that I do and that I'm good at it. That validation I received from her was priceless! She's my biggest cheerleader and supporter.

4) What advice would you give single folks out there about getting someone to share their toys with?

Women are often apprehensive about introducing toys into the bedroom. I truly believe that it is impossible to be fulfilled in a relationship if you don't know what it is that you truly need to be happy. That may sound like an odd way to describe the significance of toys, but think about how many women have never had an orgasm. Some don't know what they need to be sexually satisfied. Toys are a good and safe way to explore one's body and identify sexual appetite and desires. Once you have identified what turns you on, you will be able to relay your turn-ons to your partner. Have a new partner watch or let them use your favorite toy with you. This also helps alleviate the issues that some men have about toys being a replacement.

5) Anything else you want the people to know about?

*Be sure to check out my websites, ToyClosetNYC.com and MsJanniesBaby.com.

*Stay tuned for new products and my next book.

*We offer fun-filled ladies' night toy parties. Contact us to schedule yours today!

*We bring the store to your front door and we have something for everyone.

A Human, Being

I’m a human, being.  A human being the best way I can figure how day to day.  I've been thinking a great deal about the imperfection that it is to be human.  Yet, here we all are human, being.  Our spirits are housed in these bodies as we have our individual human experiences.  We are all that - spirit.  Somehow, there are those among us that refuse to accept or see that we are all one.  It boggles my particular mind why the people who most likely to miss these facts seem to be wielding the most control, resources and access.  Do they also hold the most power?

Some days, more recently than I care to admit, I truly do think so.  I wake up not wanting to do another day.  A world that can allow Trayvon Martin to be murdered and George Zimmerman to walk free surely has an imbalance of power.  This imbalance seems to be bearing down on our backs in such unbearable, sadness and awe inducing ways.  However, when I really stop and consider it, perhaps they see too much power in us.  Is it possible that the need to control and hoard come from the fact that they can see that we are powerful beyond our own recognition?  I think about a fraction of the humans I know personally.  I especially think of the ones I call friend.  Many of them are creative and caring to a degree way higher than I've ever experienced from people I've encountered with control, resources, access.

In New York one can be privy to experiencing numerous worlds at once.  I know I have. Sometimes, it happens all in the same night.  I remember one night being in a bar uptown that was filled to the brim with people who had big titles in big companies, their own or internationally recognizable brands.  I sat quietly listening to them talk at each other about the things these types go on about: material possessions, vacations in the trendy places, clothing from labels I know nothing about, real estate locations, etc.  A woman I was sitting next to exchanged cards with me saying that we should meet up for lunch or drinks soon.  That never happened.  She LA’d (a term I coined for when people flake) me every time I followed up.  We would all know the brand she helms if I named it.  Anyway, off I went to a poetry open mic downtown.  This was also filled to the brim but with people happy to have a space to share the words they’d written.  People talked to each other about ideas, current events, and plans for future creative projects small & large.

That lady from uptown did not see me fit for her level of human after a quick Google search, I’m guessing.  Strippers are not human at all as far society is concerned.  If we are human, we certainly aren't respectable ones.  People who are involved in any kind of sex work or sex education work are for sure hugely flawed humans.  Add to the equation all of the things that these people with control, access, resources deem value-less.  I personally can add quite a few marginalized communities into my own human basket – person of color, queer, female, 1st generation (I guess I would be what they call an “anchor baby”) for example.  So what if we are all skeletons beneath it all?

Yet, I exist among a great big wide network of people creating beautiful things despite.  It is one of the reasons that I lend my talent, time and abilities to projects like The Red Umbrella Project.  I’ve certainly benefitted from being a part of the memoir writing class that they offer to current and former sex workers.  It is an amazing experience to sit in a room full of people who can see each other for the spirits we all are as opposed to the flawed human experience we exist as a part of.  This experience has led to two literary journals which tell the stories of sex workers (Prose & Lore).  Prose & Lore 2 was recently launched on July 10, 2013.  It is my hope that through sharing our stories (sad, happy, shocking or fun) all work toward the end of educating the world of sex worker’s humanity.  I think about the world before the internet where sex workers only knew the sex workers at their club or on their stroll or with their agency or, worse, in hiding going it all alone.

Skulls

I am grateful to be a part of different communities which strive to share with the world the stories of our humanity despite and in spite of our flaws (women, people of color, queer, managing mental illness, survivors, I could go on.  You get the point.).  They are not perfect worlds.  Even within this world, issues of marginalization breed ignorance and callousness.  There is an unwillingness to simply empathize without feeling threatened or becoming needlessly defensive.  I personally find myself in a space that is never enough for anyone.  I’m not militant or loud enough for the activists or feminists.  I’m not gay enough for the queer community.  “How dare you say you’re a sex worker,” say the strippers.  “How dare you say you’re a stripper,” say the burlesque performers.  Daggers for being thin though I’ve worked out like an athlete since the age of twelve (for years with trainers).  Mind you, I’d also get daggers were I overweight.  “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  There’s no such thing as depression,” say the "positive" thinkers.  It never ends.

At least, however, even with that, we are able to harness true power by creating, community building and bringing awareness to society at large.  This tribe which is not cut from mainstream cloth has issues.  It is surely not utopia.  But every merry band of misfits I know finds their own chosen family within which they can build no matter what lack of control, resources or access society at large imposes.  It’s because the things we do, we do because we HAVE TO for our own survival and peace of mind.  Those of you in the tribe know exactly what I mean.  To those of you not in this tribe it probably makes no sense.  Yet, when we serve it to you as only our creatively unique selves can, you get it a little more each time.  I hope.  I have to believe that these are the things that change the world.  This is the power within us that is feared and attempting to be extinguished.

  ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She's been published in two anthologies: Pros(e)Prose & Lore 2,  &  Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chicken Hawks.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

 

Brown Girls Talk Burlesque

During the first BGB All Stars Show, we took some time to chat about burlesque. :-D

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Also, I recently shared some of my thoughts with Corset Magazine (The Go To Magazine for All Things Sexuality)  too.

 Check it out HERE!!

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She's been published in two anthologies: Pros(e) &  Johns, Marks, Tricks & Chicken Hawks.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.  Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Female Empowerment

Transient

When I was an undergrad I became a Sexual Health Advocate.  Honestly, I think this is where my interest in helping people talk freely about sexual topics began.  We were put through training and sent off on campus to do various workshops with different groups of fellow students.  It's there that I met Amy Jo Goddard.  I secretly had a crush on her and her girlfriend at the time.  I don't know that I ever told her that.  Hey, Amy Jo, if you're reading out there, yes, it's true :-).  I got to lead workshops about safer sex, sex toys, contraceptive options and I even owned my own plastic speculum which I used in workshops about GYN exam related topics.  We gave people tools to use when communicating about sexual topics with new partners.  We taught  facts and stigmas around STI's.  I even got to teach people how to put a condom on with no hands.  Yes, I've been talking about sex with strangers for a while now.

I wasn't studying anything having to do with human sexuality.  I just was very interested in freeing myself from a very strict up bringing & healing as a sexual abuse survivor.  I was fascinated by the fact that so many people seemed uncomfortable talking about sexual topics.  Volunteering and community service was at the core of who I was.  This was a perfect fuse of all these things.  Amy Jo however was actually studying Human Sexuality.  "How cool was that!" I thought.

I had the opportunity to work with her in a play she wrote, produced and directed called Vulvalution.  It is one of my favorite projects to date because I got to play a very butch character named Blue, *b-boy stance* ;-).  I think it was around that time that she  had a book called Lesbian Sex for Men coming out.  We lost touch soon after that I believe.  Then the Facebooks happened and re-connection happened and lo and behold she was a full-blown sex educating star-uh!  She's even been endorsed by Justin  "Bringing Sexy Back" Timberlake.  Whaaaaat?!?!  Needless to say, this is a totally biased plug but a totally honest evaluation:  Amy Jo Goddard is doing the dern thang.

She has a free class coming up April 3rd at 8pm EST:

Coming Home to Your Sexual Self... When You Didn't Know You Had Left

Free Call on Wednesday, April 3rd with Amy Jo Goddard, Sexual Empowerment Coach Register here.

It can happen so easily -- when sex falls to the bottom of the priority list, when the relationship plateaus, when you look in the mirror and can't remember when the last time was you had amazing sex, powerful orgasms, deep intimacy, and truly satisfying pleasure.

Or when something happens with a partner and you feel knocked off your center, disconnected from your sexual confidence and power.

Could this be you right now? Is it possible that you've left yourself somewhere along the way… perhaps without realizing it?

My friend and colleague Amy Jo is a sexual empowerment coach who does amazing work with women and couples on their sexuality and relationships. And she's offering a free 75-minute call, no strings attached, for people who feel like they've gotten off track sexually and want to find their way back home to a place of radical self-love, authenticity, and openness to all the pleasure, abundance and rockin' great sex that life has to offer. It's called "Coming Home to Your Sexual Self... When You Didn't Know You Left."

What a great topic!  To get on the list for this free call, go here. Come home, beautiful! It's time!

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.  Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Vibrator Review 2 - Lelo INA 2

INA 2 Lelo

Guess what?  I got another sex toy to review from The Toy Closet.  I was excited to do my homework, but I had to get ready to go to a show.  One thing that was especially interesting about this toy is that it's ReChArGeAbLe!  :-D  I got home from the show.  I opened the package and looked at the box.  I thought it was so pretty, so, so pretty.  And it was my favorite color, purple.  Yep, I was biased from the start!  What I did not do was plug it in to charge before I left for the show.  Which was fine because I was tired and wanted to get to bed anyway *side eye*...  *Sigh*.  I plugged it in.

While it was charging, I checked out what was in the box.  A carrying case, lube (glycerine & paraben free), a warranty and an instruction manual were in the box.  A charger was, of course, in there as well.  I promise, I have never before thought about registering a toy.  Now I have.  There was a product registration card.  I also, don’t typically use toys with penetration.  I had to wait until the following night before I  had time to test it out.

Transient

For the sake of research, I pushed through, so to speak.  I was curious about that shape.   There are 8 vibration settings as well as intensity control.  Is this the "luxury vehicle” of sex toys?  I can say that whether you do use penetration or not, it is a fun toy to have.  It’s like a sex toy, video game controller and you are in the command center.  You know, in a sexy time kind of way.  Yes, it is fully water proof as well.  Perhaps, one of you could test it out in water and let me know how it was?  In the bath, perhaps?  I always think that fully water proof  is a great option, especially if you take showers with your partner.  I don't need details: a yay or nay will do!!!

The battery life seems to be excellent.  I haven’t charged it for days and have been able to use, I mean, test it out a time or two or three or...  Thumbs up to the Lelo.

Transient

Guess what else?  The Toy Closet will be available at the Brown Girls Burlesque "She's A-Shake-A-Ning" show in Phili, Washington DC & New York City this weekend Mar 21st - 23rd.  If we won’t be in your city Toy Closet can be reached 24/7 online.

Looking forward to seeing you this weekend!

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.  Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Strip Clubs, Why Do Men Go?

English: Signage on the exterior of a strip cl...

I was recently asked why men go to strip clubs.  It was a text message and I was responding in way too many parts.  So, I decided to write it out here.  I think this question is similar to what kind of woman strips?  There is no "typical" customer as there is no "typical" stripper.  There are many reasons why the men who enjoy strips clubs go.  I suppose, though, the short answer is in the same way that the kind of  woman who strips is the kind of woman who needs to earn money, men go to strip clubs to see T & A.  Some more A than T and vice versa but you get my drift.

1) Men are highly visual.  The Club, the endearing nick name for strip clubs, are chock full of visual stimulation.  There are beautiful women.  The attire depends on the club.  It could be long evening gowns.  It could be nothing more than coordinated bra's and panties.  Then there is everything in between.  At any rate, it's a sight to see.  Numerous women dressed up with full hair and make-up.  Nails done and, hopefully, smelling good.  There are usually big screen televisions showing sporting events.  There are cocktail waitresses bringing you your cocktail of choice.  Or if you choose to sit at the bar you'll be catered to there.  The folks at the door welcome you with open arms, if the club is doing their business the right way.  No one is going to tell a strip club customer that they are being disrespectful for looking at numerous beautiful women.

Strip Club Customers Seated at Tip Rail

2) A break from societal expectations is enjoyed.  The conversations had with dancers and staff can range from sports & current events (personal or news worthy) on down to sharing the raunchiest of stories, jokes and fantasies.  It could be a conversation about the divorce that he's going through right now.  No one at the club knows the people in your life so you can say what you want.  There is no need to worry about what type of talk is socially acceptable.  There's the company of beautiful women and dances.  I've spoken to guys who enjoyed coming to strip clubs because they are shy and they know dancers will approach them first.  This is another nice change of pace for men.  Traditionally, men are expected to be the initiator in the real world.  (Though, ladies, I hear that you making the first move is more than welcomed contrary to traditional beliefs.)  And after a conversation, she may seductively take off her clothes just for you.  If a dancer isn't digging your chat she most likely will politely walk away.  A.  Why would she want other potential customers see her be hostile.  B. A successful night often depends on attitude so why would she want someone to take her away from her happy space.  C.  There's the dressing room where dancers can vent, share experiences, give warnings or accolades, etc.  So the main floor is like a safe zone unless he gets way out of hand.

Transient

3) He's treated like king of the castle.  One thing you can expect to be stroked is your ego.  One night, I sat talking with a customer while he ate his steak.  At one point he stopped and said, "You know, I go to work, my employees don't appreciate me.  I go home and I'm taken for granted.  I come in here and I get treated like a king.  The door men know my name.  Beautiful women talk to me.  Everyone wants to make sure I'm having a good time..."  He shook his head then continued with his meal.  After being in relationships or a marriage for a while, messages go from "I wanna do xyz (insert sexy, flirty action here) to you..." into ,"Can you get some milk on your way in?"  I know I've been guilty of it.

Need we say more?

If  a guy with expendable income is into strip clubs, this can be a very welcomed part of his day.  However, the reasons why are wide and varied.  Some may go because they had a good day and want to celebrate.  Perhaps, he had a hard day and wants to get away for a moment.  Maybe his partner is sick and he doesn't want to cheat on her.  Maybe he cannot stand his partner and wants an escape.  It could be a business meeting, birthday or a bachelor party. It could be "boys night out".  It could be he enjoys the conversation and company of a particular dancer(s). One thing is clear.  Either it is a man's thing or it is not.  But for those who enjoy it, you never can pin the reason why on just one thing...  Well, except the T & A of course!

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.  Help Essence get to the Milan Burlesque Awards!

Posted on March 18, 2013 and filed under Essence Revealed, Sex, Sexuality.

Vibrator Review

English: The glowing red neon sign spells out ... I've been living in NY for quite some time now.  This is my first vibrator review.  Anytime I wanted to get a new sex toy I'd just dip into one of the many sex shops open all hours of the day and night.  At an erotic poetry event that I had performed in recently I met Janine.  I mentioned to her that I was doing a show called Shades of Burlesque and Shades & Friends.  I also half jokingly mentioned that I'd love to review products for quality assurance purposes only, of course.  She will be selling her goodies at both shows AND I got a product to test out.  Ya know, because I care about the people that deeply ;-)

This is the first time I've had one delivered to my door via mail.  It was really nice to have a discretely packaged toy handed over to me.  I loved having that secret from the delivery person.  The toy I got was called the Heavenly Heart.  It is Water Proof people!  Fun, fun, fun!!!  I thought the heart design was really nice.  Let's be honest, not everyone wants a phallic looking toy.  The ten speed/pulse pattern options are a definite win in my book.  Sometimes, a lady likes to meander towards the road to the big O for a bigger, more intense pay off so to speak :-D.  It takes a double A battery which is easily found everywhere.  I've had vibes with watch batteries and that it not as convenient to replace quickly.  Ever had that awkward moment when the battery dies mid session?  No?  Only me.  Fine.  I hear tell there are even  rechargeable vibes out there.  Sounds like a great idea, right?

English: Two identical LR44 button cell alkali...

The only cons I can come up with is that the battery is not included.  I opened the box ready to do my *ahem* work and alas no starter battery was in there.  Luckily,  I had an extra double A battery on hand or I would have had to raid a remote control.  The other con is that I thought that some of the pulse patterns could use a bit more power.  However, that is a personal preference, isn't it?  It may be the perfect intensity for others.

Go check out the Toy Closet to find the Heavenly Heart vibe and more!

wonderlandheart

As I mentioned earlier The Toy Closet will have tables of goodies on sale at Shades and Shades & Friends on Feb 15th & 16th at WOW Cafe Theater.  Get tickets in advance for $15/$20 at the door.  Showtime is 9pm for both nights.

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

Sexy Dirty Talk

Sex Sexy dirty talk is Not always welcomed.  Recently, I've had several conversations with people I know who are related to the world of sex: maybe they’re sex educators, maybe they’re former or current sex workers, maybe they write about sexuality & relationships or they could be burlesque performers.  The common thread of the conversation is that they encounter people who take liberty about what kinds of things they can say to them.  This is especially the case when it comes to sexual topics.  Just as sexual attraction is complex so is how an individual in the realm of sexuality chooses to engage with other people.  After a conversation over dinner last week about this very topic, I went into my blog drafts and I found this list:

1)      Just because the sexplorer (this is what I’ll use as an all-encompassing term for writers, performers, educators or anyone working in the sexy realm) is comfortable talking about sex does not mean that they’re interested in hearing, in detail, what you would do to them sexually.  Their comfort with sex does not automatically make them available to YOU sexually.  Yes, this includes sending them pictures of your “personal private particulars”.  YES, even if you once had intimate relations with said sexplorer.  Shocking, I know, because who the heck would not want to be sexual with you?  I’m willing to guess quite a few people, so check if it’s OK  first. M’kay?

2)     You may find your friendly neighborhood sexplorer amazing for your spank bank, for example.  However, they do not need to hear about it ad nausea.  Perhaps, a mellow sexplorer can bear to hear it as a passing comment once.  However, if this becomes the sum total of your correspondence to said person.  Stop.  It steps off of awkward compliment land into plain creeps-ville at an alarming speed!  No seriously, approximately right after said first mention in passing.  It’s creepy.

Photo credit: mzacha from morguefile.com

3)     It is probably safe to assume that your sexplorer acquaintance is not too interested in being met by your insults or explicit language in their e-mail or social media inbox.  If you don’t appreciate what they are up to, you have the option of not looking.  No one is forcing you to peruse their social media pages or personal websites.  It’s a great big world wide web out there and only twenty-four hours in each day.  Try only focusing on sites and social media that you are interested in or curious about.  It spares everyone involved a great deal of agita.

4)     Is your sexplorer a personal friend or just an acquaintance?  Here are some questions to think about.  Can you call/text this person on their personal phone line?  Are you in contact with this person about more than just business?  Do you see this person for brunch, tea or french fries?  Do you check in on this person to see of they are ok during life’s bumps?  If the answer is no then they may not be your personal bud in real life.  It doesn't mean they don’t like or respect you.  There’s just a different type of decorum that goes with knowing someone in real life vs. only on the interwebs.

In general, think about any sexplorer as a person first.  Their work is work.  Would you ramble on to your doctor in inappropriate ways?   Probably not.   No matter what field involving the wonderful world of sex they are involved in, they are human beings.  They have full lives, hobbies, other passions/careers, families and concerns.  Yes, that escort you think is so cool online is indeed someone’s daughter/son.  The really great blogger you think is so amazing could be someone’s big sister/brother.  Your favorite strip tease artist may have a 9-5 career as well.  They are people who have both good and bad days.  The possibilities of who they are in the world are endless.  As fun, freeing and important creating the space for open dialogue around sexual explorations may be, it does not negate the sexplorer of choice.  They still get to decide what is acceptable for them (including use of their images and body) individually.

So, the moral of the story is:

Don’t assume anything just on the basis of someone being involved in any realm of sex and sexuality work.

ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

Sexual Attraction

The Kinsey Scale attempts to show that sexual attraction does not go only one way for everyone. While extremely limited, it is a start. There are many people attracted to multiple genders. However, the treatment they get within the LGBTQ community is enough to chase a person back into the closet. Some women who are attracted to women are repulsed by the idea of dating men. That then translates into the ill-treatment of women who are attracted to more than just women. If someone is a male who is attracted to multiple genders then the level of disdain raises even higher. A friend and I joke that the B in LGBTQ is silent.

Kinsey's scale of heterosexual and homosexual ...

It took years for me to allow myself to even be open to the idea of dating women. However, all it took was a few weeks being out as someone attracted to two genders for me to believe that I had to "choose a side". At that stage of life, I was fine with dealing with heterosexual people who no longer wanted to talk to me.  I was not at all prepared for the level of passion filled mean this  brought out of some people within the LGBTQ community. I was not strong enough to want to deal with it then.

People that are attracted to more than one gender are judged for being greedy, confused, selfish and unable to be in one relationship.  It's acceptable for them to be the butts of jokes, snubs and downright disgust.   I completely understand, for example, the idea that someone not attracted to men would not want to sleep with someone who does.  I also, though, support people loving who they love no matter the sexual orientation, race, culture, religion or spiritual way of  life, for example.  Someone choosing partners differently than I personally would, doesn't make them bad people.  I always wonder what the point of creating Us Vs. Them dynamics within already marginalized communities is?

Like many people, I have a long list of ways in which I could be marginalized in society (race, sexuality, gender, child of immigrants, burlesque dancer, etc.). However, on an emotional level, the biased treatment pales in comparison to that from some  of the LGBTQ community.  Unlike, say, race attraction to multiple genders cannot be visually determined so it's easier to hide from that judgement.  Or is it?

It was like coming out of the closet all over again when I started dating men and women.  There were people who suddenly stopped talking to me, treated me differently or would do their best not to acknowledge my presence. It was upsetting because all of my relationships have been real.  It was as if they, were now rendered into nothingness.  The good news is that I have grown strong enough that other people's opinions about me hold little weight.  That's their business.   The esteem that I have for myself is what truly matters as I navigate life day-to-day. That's way more than enough for me to wrangle with on some days.  I don't really have the space for entertaining the opinions of others. Most of the labeling doesn't really work for me.

 

Even outside of the LGBTQ community the fun doesn't stop.  Some people assume that because someone is attracted to multiple genders, they are attracted to anyone.  Couples feel free to proposition you with invites to a threesome without any mutual attraction ever being there. Somehow, the person attracted to multiple genders is suspected of being attracted to any and everyone. Women who think it's cool to "mess around" with women but never be in a serious relationship with one pop up everywhere. No thanks. There is an assumption that a monogamous relationship with one sex isn't possible.  Lovers become paranoid:  "I have to worry about you being attracted to men AND women."  Uh, wrong. The only worry is making sure that we are both getting what we need within the relationship. Then there doesn't have to be a worry about anyone. Where does it say that having multiple attraction to humans means no choice in what type of person to date and an attraction to everyone?  Was there a memo, a meeting, an e-mail that I missed?

Things have certainly changed for the better in some ways. For one, I now see queer teen age couples arm and arm on the subway and walking around openly. I realize, though, that I live in a major city with a great deal of LGBTQ support.  So, for the person who does not live in a major metropolis, I pray for a world with acceptance.  For the person who wants to speak their sexual truth, I pray the right circumstances and strength for you to do so. For all of us I pray for the ability to treat people with love or at the very least respect no matter who they love.

I've had more difficulty accepting myself as bisexual than I ever did accepting that I was a lesbian. It felt traitorous. A few years ago, I admitted to myself that I was still interested in men in more than a "Brad Pitt is slick hot sexy" kind of way. But I worried what my friends, exes, and the Community would think. I never even broached the subject with my parents. Because what bothered me the most was that people would think that being a lesbian had been a phase for me, when that was so very not the case. What I feared was that I would no longer be part of a community, that I might be seen with my boyfriend and not be recognized as something not the same. ― R. GayFirst Person Queer: Who We Are (So Far) 

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ESSENCE REVEALED - Essence Revealed is first generation Bajan born & raised in Boston.  She got her BFA at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and MA at NYU's Steinhardt School of Education.  Her writing has appeared places such as $pread Magazine, Corset Magazine, BurlesqueBible.com and 21st Century Burlesque.  She now performs & teaches nationally and internationally both solo and as a member of Brown Girls Burlesque.  Her favorite thing to do besides reading is to lay on the beach in Barbados to rest up for a night of calypso dancing.

Safer Sex

Safe sex Do you practice having safer sex?  I am pro-choice but I have never had abortion.  I have always chosen to have safer sex.  Yet, I've had people with unwanted children judge me for having periods in my adult life where I have chosen to have more than one intimate partner.  I can't help but think, wait, you have a child you didn't plan.  That means, in many cases, that you had unprotected sex.  Don't judge me!  It boggles my brain how many women I hear say, "Well, he's my man so we don't use protection... or Oh, We've been dating/known each other  xyz amount of time."  Last I checked, the number of years we've known someone has no bearing on HIV/AIDS status.  I could be wrong but I don't believe it to be an indicator of the status of any other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) either.

I prefer know.  I prefer know for sure.  Therefore, in addition to barrier methods, knowing the status of my partner is a huge part of practicing safer sex.  When we initially meet someone there are numerous bits and pieces of new information about them that we learn.  We know little about them so learning a great deal of new information is par for the course.  There are also an intense collection of  "feelings" (also know as endorphins) that are released when we first fall for someone.  So many of us mistake these "feelings" for love.  It is not love.  It is chemical.  Love is an action verb not a feeling (but that's an entire other blog post).  Love would lead to the action of protecting oneself and one's partner.  I refuse to be led by chemicals.   I must have cold hard facts.  I actually have a rule of not sleeping with someone until I see paperwork of HIV/AIDS status.  I often suggest going to get tested together.

AIDS Awareness

This practice does wonders for sobering the effects of the chemical "feelings".  I've experienced many reactions that have blown me away.  I had people get upset with me for wanting them to get tested.  Did I think they were dirty?  I had people accuse Me of having an STI.  That MUST be why I wanted us to be tested before having sex.  I had one person bluntly tell me they just did NOT want to know.  This person had been trying to convince me to have unprotected sex with them just only moments before.

HIV Testing AD2

Do you trust this new sexual partner with your life?  Remember that the accuracy of testing also depends on honesty.  When was the last time your new partner had unprotected sex?  It can take 3-6 months for HIV to show up in an infected person.  Different STIs have different rates of when they show up in tests.  We no longer only have unwanted pregnancy or STIs that can be healed with antibiotics as potentialities to manage.  Sex and so many topics around sexuality have been so stigmatized in our world, that people rather forego the awkwardness that they project will arise from bringing up safer sex or knowing a partner's status.  It also prevents people from wanting to disclose if they even have an STI for fear of being stigmatized.  Some people say it will kill the mood.  Better the mood killed than you killed, I say.  Besides, these conversations are better had way before the mood is in full effect, right?  While living with STIs and even HIV/AIDS has come a long way, I vote that avoiding transmission is still the best way to go.  In fact, because some people may not see living with HIV/AIDS as a death sentence anymore, we must protect ourselves even more.

HIV Particle

There is freedom in knowing the status of one's partner and vice-versa.  Partners can become closer and sex can become hotter with this knowledge.  While many people who I told about my "test before sex" rule balked at the idea, most admitted to feeling relief and having an added respect for me because of my demand to know for sure.  I won't put the HIV/AIDS/STI stats in this post.  Get thee to Google to see stats and numbers galore.  What I will tell you is that it is sexy and speaks to our high level of self-love to demand a test and at the very least the consistent use of safer sex methods.  Let's start a trend where is it not at all awkward to have these discussions and take these actions.

HIV Swine Flu mask

Here in NY you can get tested for free!  Here is a link for National HIV and STI testing resources.  Here is one more link to an organization called Test Together.  Here's to getting some and being safer  about it ;-)