Browsing posts tagged with Tristan Taormino
Mar
26

How to pick out porn

Finding the porn DVD or video that can turn you on, give you new ideas, or help get you off is not always an easy task. After all, the world is full of many different types of porn — and it’s not all created equal.

In The Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn, author Violet Blue suggests “creating a picture of what you hope to find in your porn, just as you’d order a meal in a restaurant.” So, start by asking yourself (and your partner, if you’re watching together) what sounds appetizing, and go from there. Want to see women in charge? A real life amateur couple who remind you of you and your sweetie? Anal sex? Whatever moods you might be feeling, jot them down. Then make a second list of things you don’t want to see. Do you get turned off by facial ejaculation? Distracted by vintage fashion or hairstyles? Not a fan of movies that have plots or try to be funny? Take note. This will help you narrow down your choices.

You can also ask yourself what style of film you like in general. Do you prefer movies with big budgets, set designs, and special effects? Maybe you would want to check out a film like Pirates. If you’re into documentaries or educational films, try watching an instructional porn film. Do you usually pick movies from the LGBT section on Netflix? Try one of the films from the queer porn section on our website!

Just like at a restaurant, if you don’t exactly know what you’re in the mood for, you can at least start by ignoring the things you don’t like. If you don’t eat meat, you would likely ignore the section of menu labeled “surf and turf” and search for menu items suitable for a vegetarian. The same idea can be used for pornography. For example, if what you’re hoping to avoid are the things you have seen in mainstream adult movies over and over again, try a different genre! Consult Erika Lust’s guide book Good Porn and then pick out some women-directed or indie adult films for a better fit. 

If you’re still overwhelmed by choices, use your eyeballs. If you’re in a store or online ordering DVDs, pay attention to what’s on the cover. We’re visual creatures, especially when seeking porn, so pay attention to that first impression you get from the DVD box or picture on the computer screen. If you think the people on the cover are all hot babes or you are drawn to the filmmaker’s aesthetic, that can be a good sign! If you’re turned off by the images on the front, skip that film. It may be true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but DVD covers and porn thumbnails aren’t books. It’s okay to base your porn selection on what is visually appealing to you.

Still undecided? You can always consult recommendations and reviews. Figure out which films have won awards or get positive reviews online. This is often how people choose which movie to go see in theaters, right? It may work for finding yourself some incredible porn too! Some of the DVDs we carry that have won industry awards are:

Whatever you end up deciding, go into watching with an open mind, a bottle of lube, and a fully charged sex toy! Even if every scene doesn’t do it for you, exploring pornography can expand your horizons, increase libido, and help you discover and share kinks safely. Whether you love a movie and want to watch it again and again, or you turn it off after the first two minutes, getting in touch with what turns you on and sparking conversations with partners about their desires and fantasies is always a win.

Feb
29

The Expert Guide to the G-Spot & Ejaculation with Tristan Taormino

Monday, April 25th — 7:30 p.m. — $25 — Q Center (3 blocks north of She Bop at 4115 N. Mississippi)

Tristan TaorminoThe G-spot is an important erogenous zone and here’s your chance to find out all about it, whether you don’t know how to find your G-spot or you’re an experienced G-spotter looking for some new techniques.

In this class, award-winning sex educator Tristan Taormino will cover G-spot anatomy, how to find your own or your partner’s G-spot, great G-spot positions and toys, and tips for orgasmic G-spot stimulation. Then she’ll delve into the world of ejaculation for people with vulvas, discussing myths and truths about this phenomenon. Learn what it’s all about, why some folks dribble and others gush, and tried and true techniques to help you learn to do it.

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning writer, editor, sex educator, speaker, feminist pornographer, and the host of Sex Out Loud, a weekly radio show/podcast. She is the editor of 25 anthologies and author of eight books, including Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open RelationshipsThe Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation and The Ultimate Guide to Kink. She lectures at top colleges and universities and teaches sex and relationship workshops around the world. She is the founder of Sex Educator Boot Camp, a professional training program for sex educators, and she provides business consulting and coaching to individuals and organizations.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Feb
29

Open Relationships 101 with Tristan Taormino

Sunday, April 24th — 7:30 p.m. — $25 — Q Center (3 blocks north of She Bop at 4115 N. Mississippi)

Tristan TaorminoAre you considering an open relationship? Does your current open relationship need some tweaking? There are few established scripts or visible role models for open relationships, so people in them can struggle without support and guidance. In this interactive workshop, Tristan Taormino (relationship expert and author of Opening Up) will give practical advice on how to craft responsible, fulfilling non-monogamous relationships.

Tristan will explore common myths, real-life benefits and challenges, and how to decide if an open relationship is right for you. She will share some of the most common styles of open relationships — from partnered non-monogamy to solo polyamory — and discuss how to customize them to meet your individual needs and wants. Through creative exercises, you’ll learn to articulate what you want, identify and negotiate limits and boundaries, communicate with your partner(s) in productive ways, and create relationships that work for you.

Tristan Taormino is an award-winning writer, editor, sex educator, speaker, feminist pornographer, and the host of Sex Out Loud, a weekly radio show/podcast. She is the editor of 25 anthologies and author of eight books, including Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open RelationshipsThe Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation and The Ultimate Guide to Kink. She lectures at top colleges and universities and teaches sex and relationship workshops around the world. She is the founder of Sex Educator Boot Camp, a professional training program for sex educators, and she provides business consulting and coaching to individuals and organizations.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

Apr
30

New product round-up for April

New books for April 2014

April showers bring May… books? 50 Shades of Kink, Tristan Taormino’s latest guidebook, is here and it’s everything you’d expect from her: snappy, smart, and accessible. We also added Smut Peddler, a collection of 24 dirty comics featuring Portland’s own Erika Moen (of Oh Joy Sex Toy fame), and The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships.

For our Gender / Politics section, we picked up the classic Gender Outlaw by Kate Bornstein, Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity, and a book with the most adorable child we’ve ever seen on the cover, Gender Born, Gender Made: Raising Healthy Gender Non-Conforming Children.

We added two more of whirlwind porn performer Madison Young‘s creations to our shelves: Tail of a Bondage Model and Bondage Boob Tube. Both feature an array of hot bondage activities, such as rope suspensions, medical play, cupping, face smacking, female domination, spankings, and much more.

Vixen Creations GemstonesBecause your butt deserves the best, take a look at Vixen Creations’ Gemstones, 100% silicone anal beads in a variety of sizes for any experience level. They’re perfect for fans of traditional anal beads, with enough space between each bulb to produce a glorious popping sensation as you pull them out. And because they’re made of medical grade silicone, they can be boiled or tossed in the dishwasher for cleaning.

Tenga 3DWe also have two new items for penises that we’re pretty excited about. The Tenga 3D sleeve is a sleek, less expensive alternative to Tenga’s popular Flip Hole series. It’s soft and flexible, with a couple internal texture options, and a display case that also serves as a drying rack. The CB-6000 is a well-loved, sturdy polycarbonate chastity device that comes with a brass padlock and five different rings and spacers for optimum fit.

Last but not least, sometimes it’s good when things suck. Case in point: our new See-Thru Nipple Boosters, Max Twist Nipple Suckers, and Max Twist Clit & Nipple Triple Sucker Set. Each set offers pleasurable suction in a compact package. So get to sucking!

Dec
26

A nuanced look at rimming

Six donuts with icing in two rowsIt’s probably too much to call an article about analingus hard-hitting journalism, but Amanda Hess did a great job in her piece for Playboy called “Tongue in Cheek: The Men Who Want This Sex Act Aren’t Kidding.”

While other sex acts (such as anal sex) have become more commonly accepted as the years have gone by, male anal play still lags behind. Yet when Esquire asked 500 men what they wanted more of during foreplay, 12% named rim jobs — two times the number who desired “a little rough play.”

Charlie Glickman, author of The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, explains that the taboo surrounding male anal play has a lot to do with shame — and a perceived loss of masculinity. Rimming is much more prevalent among gay men, which probably explains the (untrue) myth that male anal play is solely a gay activity.

Michael reasons that rim jobs might be more common among gays because they are “a logical precursor to anal sex.” But they also just feel good. Psychological roadblocks to butt play mean that men who opt out are missing out, pure and simple. The anus has “got all of this exquisite sensitivity—it’s similar to the nerves in your lips,” Glickman says. When licked, “It kind of tickles,” Michael adds. “But it also stimulates other erogenous zones, like my penis and my nipples. It’s the whole body package.”

There is also a choice quote from Tristan Taormino: “The asshole is the most democratic of all orifices — we all have one!” It’s true: aside from the physical pleasure it brings, rimming can also empower partners and open up the lines of communication.

Read the whole article on Playboy.

Interested in learning more and perhaps trying out analingus? We suggest Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Anal Pleasure for Men, Charlie Glickman’s The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure, and dental dams always come in handy too!

Nov
1

Industry Spotlight: Carlos Batts

Carlos Batts (photo by Coagula Art Journal)Is 20-odd years enough to make a lasting impact with art? In the case of Carlos Batts, the answer is absolutely yes.

Since he was 16, he had the name of his company all mapped out: C. Batts FLY. At Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland, he ran with the goth kids, devoured horror movies, sported death metal band T-shirts, and cultivated an early love for photography.

Working a part-time job on the weekends, it took Batts weeks to save enough money to buy his first camera, a Pentax K1000, which he lugged to punk shows to take pictures from the pit. Soon he was shooting album covers.

Batts had always been inspired by the gothic aesthetic, so it was no surprise that his photography went in that direction. By his 20s, he was setting up lights in his house, shooting dark fetish photos of friends of friends. He landed freelancing photography gigs with fetish magazines Taboo and Leg World.

But like any good artist, Batts was rejected by every art gallery in Baltimore. So in 1999, he left for Los Angeles, where “there are more opportunities, and people are more willing to believe your bullshit.”

Little did Batts know, a chance encounter at a gallery opening in Echo Park in 2000 would change the course of his life. That is where he met then-barista April Flores, the woman who would become his wife and muse. But at first, he was just amazed by her flawless skin. He wanted — no, needed — to photograph her.

He had always been turned off by the women who saw posing for him as nothing more than a job — not art. When he shot Flores, there was an immediate spark. No matter how he lit her, or what he dressed her in, every picture was perfect.

Batts’ first book, Wild Skin, came about after he wooed a German publisher with a portfolio of kinky, garishly-lit photos of racially-diverse women of all body types. In fact, when his publisher flew in from Munich to edit the book, he just happened to choose a photo of April Flores for the cover.

The years that followed found him publishing two more books, Crazy Sexy Hollywood, and American Gothic. Along the way, he directed music videos and indie films, shot album covers and porn box covers, exhibited his work internationally, and even landed the cover for a UK edition of Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff. He drew, painted, designed sets, made collages, and sculpted.

He clung to his art fiercely; he once stated that he would rather shoot school yearbook photos or weddings than create something that he hated. And so, when his muse gained interest in expressing herself with moving images, he followed suit. But he always stuck with his own aesthetic, culled from years of experimentation with light:

My intent was never to do hard-core. I’m not even in the league. I wasn’t technically inclined to light a room like that. I didn’t even know how begin to light a big, shiny, bright white girl. I would set up four hot bulbs and let it go. Get some mood in there. Make her become more of a character, and not just like a thing.

Really slick porno is lit like you’d light a lawn mower. It’s like shooting a Sears catalog. There’s no depths as far as personality. You’re not engaged. She’s just a brightly lit vagina. I could never do that.

In all, he directed just over 10 erotic films, including Behind the Red Door and Dangerous Curves, as well as the porn documentary trifecta of Alter EgoVoluptuous Life, and Glamazons. Batts’ films are all about style, using sound, mood, atmosphere, lighting, wardrobe, and diverse talent to tell the story. Dangerous Curves won “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” at the 2010 Feminist Porn Awards, and April Flores World won “Sexiest Star Feature” in 2013.

In 2009, when April Flores’ vulva was molded for a sex toy, Batts came up with the ingenious idea to have famous artists paint plaster molds of her vulva for an art exhibit called the April Flores Toy Show. It was yet another example of how, for many, it became hard to imagine Batts without Flores, or Flores without Batts. His unique point of view and love for his wife shown through every time he collaborated with her.

Calling art “the strongest form of activism,” Batts believed whole-heartedly in the transformative and important nature of what he did. Yet, he was soft-spoken and never pretentious. Tristan Taormino recounted a conversation she had with him about his place in the feminist porn movement.

. . . he wanted to be respectful and was especially wary of taking up space as a guy in this growing revolution . . . We had this amazing discussion where he talked about what he believed, what he valued, and how he could claim the label ‘feminist.’ He didn’t want to say it until he was clear about what it meant to him and what he could bring to the party. He was beginning to shape and articulate how the art he was creating could be specifically feminist, and it was pretty cool to be in on that process.

He thanked me later for helping him talk it through, but what he didn’t realize is that our talk was just as enlightening for me. It made me more aware of my own place in the movement as a white woman who identifies as a feminist. That was Carlos: he pushed me to look at my privilege simply by his openness and willingness to talk about his struggles and beliefs. He gave me gifts like that a lot. He wasn’t always the loudest voice in the room, but when he opened his mouth, it was clear how fierce and brave he was about challenging the status quo.

Batts and Flores were guests on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud radio show last year, speaking about how they met, why they loved making art, and the April Flores Toy Show.

Batts’ last major artistic contribution to the world was a monumental one: a photography book — his fourth — entitled Fat Girl. Released in July of this year, the book chronicles twelve years with April Flores. Reclaiming the phrase “fat girl,” it offers an exceptional look into the fearless, intimate, playful, and romantic relationship the two shared.

Carlos Batts passed away on October 22nd at the age of 40. Donations can be sent to the Carlos Batts Memorial Fund.

Sep
26

AVN salutes female entrepreneurs in adult industry

A recent article from AVN caught our eye: “Game Changers: 30 Women Power Players in the Adult Industry.” Long overdue? Probably! With so many highly accomplished women in the adult industry, it’s no wonder they found it difficult to narrow the list down to just 30:

The whittling-down process turned out to be tougher than we thought — but also very inspiring. At virtually every major adult studio, there are female directors making movies informed by aesthetics that may not always be feminist, but are certainly feminine. And there are the superstars who are such natural entrepreneurs that they’ve made themselves into brand names, creating their own lucrative deals. Add to that the dozens of women who were “founding mothers” but have since gone on to other endeavors, and you end up — as we did — with a list of some 100 talented, ambitious and tenacious businesswomen.

The final list includes many folks we really love, such as Joanna Angel (“porn’s female counterpart to Mark Zuckerberg”), Tristan Taormino (credited with, among quite a few other things, “put[ting] the phrase ‘feminist porn’ on many mainstream lips”), Courtney Trouble, Nina Hartley (“a force of nature”), and Carol Queen. Another unsurprising inclusion is E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

The list also includes several sex toy gurus such as Metis Black (president of Tantus) and Suki Dunham (founder of OhMiBod). Black has been instrumental in shifting the industry focus toward 100% silicone, non-porous sex toys, starting her company in 1998 when there were fewer than ten manufacturers of silicone sex toys worldwide — and very little knowledge about toxic toys.

Dunham did something else: she paired sex with music, creating arguably one of the most innovative sex toy lines in the industry. AVN writes:

Some might think it was fate that Suki Dunham got the idea for OhMiBod after one Christmas morning. Her husband and company co-founder, Brian, got her two significant gifts that year: An iPod and a vibrator. Dunham knew that music impacts so many areas of people lives, so why not their sex lives? A former Apple employee, Dunham not only revolutionized the technological aspect of sex toys — OhMiBod has created products that vibrate when hooked up to MP3 players, as well as respond to ambient sound, such as music in clubs — but also the look. OhMiBod was a company that dared to break away from the traditional pink and purple color scheme and offer items in bright greens, blues and even white.

One thing’s for sure: female entrepreneurs have been pivotal in moving the adult industry forward, and this article illustrates exactly how pivotal. We only wish the list hadn’t been narrowed down to just 30!

Aug
14

August is Anal Pleasure Month!

Good Vibrations has declared August Anal Pleasure Month, and who are we to argue?!

Together with Tristan Taormino, the staff at Good Vibes put together an anal pleasure timeline that recounts milestones and depictions of anal pleasure in pop culture, media, and society, with nods to many groundbreaking books, DVDs, and toys we carry: Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to PeggingThe Ultimate Guide to Prostate PleasureThe Adventurous Couple’s Guide to Strap-On SexTristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Anal Pleasure for Men, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Men, and the Aneros line of prostate toys.

This milestone is also great, from 1977:

On an episode of the popular game show The Newlywed Game, host Bob Eubanks asks, “Where’s the strangest place you’ve ever had the urge to make whoopee?” A contestant named Olga replies: “In the ass.” Her answer is bleeped when it airs on television…

If you want to read chronologically, start at the bottom and work your way up.

Anal History Timeline

Want to celebrate Anal Pleasure Month in style? Peruse our anal toys and books on anal sex!

Nov
23

Tune in to Sex Out Loud radio!

Have you listened to Tristan Taormino’s new radio show, Sex Out Loud, yet? If not, you’re missing out! The show, which debuted in June, has become the most popular show on the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network Variety Channel, and has surpassed one million downloads. And for good reason! This is the kind of show that never gets boring — each week there is a new and interesting guest with a specific area of expertise and knowledge to be explored on air. Plus, if you’ve ever seen Tristan speak, you’ll understand just how whip-smart and fun of a host she can be.

So far, Tristan’s guests have included Shine Louise Houston, Mollena Williams (co-author of Playing Well with Others), Kandi Burrus (designer of the Kandi Kisses vibe), April Flores, Courtney Trouble, Hanne Blank (author of Big Big Love), Buck Angel, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Kate Bornstein (author of Gender Outlaw), Susie Bright, and Dan Savage. There was even a special episode taped in Mexico City at the very first ever Latin American feminist porn film festival!

With discussion topics such as kink and BDSM, sex ed, feminist and queer porn, polyamory, body acceptance, sex worker activism, and tons more, there are a lot of exceptional past shows to enjoy — and upcoming shows to look forward to!  There is also a fabulous list of episode resources on Tristan’s site, so you can quickly and easily find links to all the stuff mentioned on the show.

Feminist sex toy shop the Smitten Kitten, a fellow Progressive Pleasure Club member, is a sponsor of the show. We love the peeps at the Smitten Kitten for always speaking out against toxic sex toys.

Listen to Sex Out Loud every Friday at 5 p.m. Pacific, or find past episodes here and on iTunes! Follow Sex Out Loud on Twitter as well — they livetweet during the shows!

  Musings       
May
22

Industry Spotlight: Tristan Taormino

In college, Tristan Taormino thought she wanted to be a lawyer. During her time at Wesleyan University, she participated in LGBT activism, lived in a special interest house called Womanist House, and wrote her thesis on lesbian sexual identity, but it took thirteen law school application rejections and an astute advisor to really clue her in. “I don’t think you want to go to law school,” her advisor told her. “I think you want to write about sex. And I think you’re really good at it.”

So after earning her Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies in 1993, Taormino landed a gig with Cleis Press, editing the Best Lesbian Erotica series, one of the first anthologies to focus on lesbian sex. Her relationship with Cleis Press spurred her to write her first book, The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women, in 1997. While conducting anal sex workshops in support of the book, participants started asking her when a companion movie was going to be made.

Taormino could not resist. She had never taken a film class or picked up a camera, but she believed in bringing (hot) anal sex education to the masses, so she rounded up some friends, borrowed some equipment, and shot her first porn film.

From there, things just snowballed. Now, Taormino, a self-described workaholic, divides her time between being an author, columnist, sex educator, speaker, and feminist pornographer. When she’s not immersed in one of her projects, she loves to dote on her dogs and sample new and interesting desserts (especially if they involve chocolate).

Taormino owns her own production company, Smart Ass Productions, and has produced dozens of films. Her Chemistry series follows a reality TV format by inviting a handful of porn stars to a house for 36 hours and allowing the sex to happen organically. Chemistry Vol. 1 earned her an AVN Award for Best Gonzo Movie, a category that had never before been awarded to a female director.

She also continues to pump out installments of her Expert Guide film series, tackling anal sex, cunnilingus, fellatio, the G-spot, positionsthreesomes, male anal pleasure, female orgasms, and most recently, pegging. This series has earned her the Smutty Schoolteacher of the Year award at the Feminist Porn Awards — three times!

In 2009, she broke new ground by releasing Rough Sex, the first in a documentary/vignette hybrid film series in which female performers indulge in their taboo rough sex fantasies.

Taormino’s filmmaking philosophy has always been feminist. She casts performers who want to work with each other, does not negotiate with their set rates, and works tirelessly to address performers’ needs (she is known for bringing their favorite lubes, sex toys, food, and beverages to set). She wants her performers to be seen as three-dimensional people and to participate in their own representation, so her movies often include interviews.

Taormino’s films are characterized by a combination of close-up and further away shots, unabashed inclusion of sex toys, and an attention to the intricacies of sexuality often missing from mainstream porn. She says,

I feel like lots of porn represents male sexuality as hard, aggressive, and robot-like, and female sexuality as merely a vehicle/receptacle for men’s pleasure. To me, a lot of porn does a disservice to men and women, and I want my porn to be different. The first thing is that in my movies, you can see the men . . . Visually, in the majority of porn, men are literally CUT OUT of the frame, and they are reduced to an erection only. We never see the rest of their bodies, let alone their faces while they are fucking. I love to see an expression wash over someone’s face as they experience pleasure . . . One of the complaints I hear a lot from female performers is that they are not given time to reach orgasm, because when things start to heat up for them, the director calls for them to change what they are doing. I let performers pace themselves and never tell them to stop what they are doing, and I find that it leads to more real female orgasms, which are still lacking in a lot of porn.

In addition to shooting films, Taormino has managed to pen seven books, including Opening Up — a book that many refer to as the bible of non-monogamy — as well as The Big Book of Sex Toys, The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation, and The Anal Sex Position Guide. She continues to edit collections as well, such as The Ultimate Guide to Kink and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica.

Her other achievements include designing her own butt plugs (the Tristan and Tristan 2 from Vixen Creations), participating in an unsimulated orgy scene for John Cameron Mitchell’s 2006 film Shortbus, and answering every sex question under the sun in columns for The Village Voice and Taboo Magazine.

Taormino can often be found touring the country (and even the globe), giving talks and conducting workshops at colleges, conferences, community events, and retail shops. Her latest endeavor is a brand new radio show called Sex Out Loud. She is also co-editor of The Feminist Porn Book: The Politics of Producing Pleasure, a collection of essays on feminist porn, which will be published in 2013.

Tristan Taormino can also be found on her website, FacebookTwitter, and Tumblr. Plus, don’t miss her workshop on open relationships and class on the G-spot presented by us in Portland in April 2016!

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