Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Category: Sex Blogging Page 2 of 8

Tristan Taormino Uninvited By Oregon State University

This just happened on Wednesday and while there have been many blog posts about it recently I’m mostly writing this in case for some reason you haven’t heard about it. Tristan Taormino was originally invited to OSU to give the keynote at their Modern Sex Conference and was uninvited essentially because of her work in pornography, which is only a fraction of what she does. This was only after she purchased her own airfare under the promise of reimbursement (which will probably not be reimbursed now). The following information about the situation is taken directly from Tristan’s website along with my own feelings about it. For the full scope of the issue you can read about it directly on Tristan’s website.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tristan Taormino’s work. I have numerous books and DVDs of hers and had the fortune of meeting her and taking a workshop from her last year when she came to Seattle, so I admit to not being completely unbiased on this issue. My bias, however, comes from the fact that she is an amazing educator who works in numerous mediums to try to get the message of sex-positivity out to anyone who will listen.

The “problem” with Tristan speaking at the conference, according to OSU, seems to be because they are paying her to attend and give the keynote (the other speakers may or may not be compensated) with taxpayer money and she’s a pornographer. While I can understand the school’s reservations on some levels it also seems like ridiculous bureaucracy runaround at it’s finest. This is a conference called “Modern Sex” after all, how much more modern can you get than a feminist female pornographer?

It seems like the crux of the issue isn’t just that she is involved in pornography ingeneral, because there are other speakers who are, but it’s giving money to a known pornographer, someone who supposedly has a “significant online business in video pornography” (which isn’t really accurate). Maybe they think giving a pornographer money would be like saying you approve of their work. How horrible! Or something. Really, though, why is this such a big deal? It’s not like her work is illegal or negative. It’s not like she isn’t known for being an ethical feminist pornographer and we’re talking about her speaking at a sexuality conference!

Of course, it’s all because it’s tied to a public school who is given taxpayer money. Everyone knows those taxpayers hate pornography. Obviously.

OSU is trying to blame it on the organizers of the conference, however, saying that they provided a “partial description of the speaker in question as a writer and sex advice columnist.” What? Obviously it’s okay to give money to someone who writes sexy things and gives sex advice but once that moves into a video format that’s somehow wrong. Pornography is evil, even if it’s awesome positive sex education with some fucking on the side, which is what the videos of Tristan’s I’ve seen are.

The scenario I see in my head when reading about this is that someone decided to look on Tristan’s website, saw that she makes porn, and decided to complain about her inclusion in the conference to Student Affairs. This was only after many months of talking with Tristan and conveniently not long after she bought the airfare, probably because it was announced that she was definitely coming. I just don’t see the logic in where they’re drawing the line, though. Probably because there isn’t any.

You can read the original and updated information on Tristan’s website. There is also information there on how to contact OSU.

Kink Academy Student Blogging

Unfortunately I was unable to participate in the first round of Student Bloggers on Kink Academy but I eagerly read along with the first batch of students as the first semester progressed and came to a close. Every day since I’ve been watching their twitter stream for the important announcement: registration1 for semester two is open! This semester I have the time and ability to dedicate to this position and I’m really hoping to be given the chance to participate.

Aside from thinking that Kink Academy is awesome, why would I be interested in becoming a student blogger in the first place? I can’t say that I’m not attracted to being paid to blog, of course, since paid gigs are wonderful. But even if there was no money involved I would be applying. Why? Having videos I have to watch and a post I have to write every week about them and my experience after watching them not only gives me great blog fodder but also the opportunity to get even closer to Onyx. Let me explain.

Kink has been in my life for may years but has seemed to come in waves. The waves that kink has come in the last few years has more to do with my relationship status than anything else. For quite a while after the beginning of our relationship Onyx and I were pretty regularly engaging in kinky sex and in a D/S relationship. When I moved in with him something switched in our relationship dynamic, and then later we switched.

Relationships are constantly changing, and we both knew that, but we just weren’t fitting together the way we had before and so we tried out different roles and activities to try to fit together again. Through much communication and exploration we came back together, and then started drifting apart again, and it continued in that pattern for a few years. We would get closer, then we would get farther apart. In the last year, however, kink has been on an upswing due to the better connection we have after facing the possible end of our relationship and I’m dedicated to keeping it that way.

I’ve been talking a lot about kink around here recently since starting the 30 Days of Kink writing prompt. Looking at my kinky desires and activities in order to answer the prompts has lead to more communication with Onyx about it and has lead to greater kinky harmony in our lives. It has become something innate lately rather than something we have to work on, which is amazingly wonderful, and unlike some times in the past we aren’t finding ourselves in a rut. Part of the trick to keeping our dynamic exciting is partially our connection which has never been better and part playing and experimenting with new things. This is how Kink Academy would help us get closer.

While I would say I know a good amount of tips and techniques related to kink as well as sex and sexuality I also have a lot more to learn. There is always more to learn. Even now our activities aren’t terribly varied, although they’re lots of fun, and being able to explore the vast amount of wonderful Kink Academy videos would help us explore new activities including those we have been wanting to do for years but haven’t due to lack of knowledge.

I’m really quite excited about this opportunity. I followed the first semester of student bloggers eagerly and enviously and now I’m hoping to be part of the second round. Someday, once I’m teaching sex ed classes of my own, I hope to work with Kink Academy as part of the faculty, but one thing at a time. For now, delving in to the wonderful wealth of sex-positive videos will help my knowledge and experience grow.

  1. or, perhaps more accurately: application []

Sex-Positivity

I don’t think I’ve read a better description or example of sex positivity before. It’s clear and concise and isn’t hinged upon using “positive” speech despite the sex-positive name:

Although fewer people would say that “I think anal sex is amazing” is a sex-negative statement, I consider it to be just as problematic as “I think anal sex is gross.” What makes something like this sex-negative isn’t whether one uses a positive or negative adjective. It’s that saying these sorts of things neglects the diversity of sexual experiences and pleasures.

Simply put, these sorts of things aren’t true. Anal sex is gross for some people and amazing for some people and boring for some people and exciting for some people. No matter what word you use to finish the sentence, you’re leaving out many people’s experiences and that is what makes it sex-negative.

On the other hand, when you say something like “I enjoy/dislike/fill-in-the-blank anal sex,” you’re practicing mindful speech. You’re explicitly recognizing that your experience is your own. You’re not making a sweeping statement and you’re not claiming that anyone else should have the same response that you have. It doesn’t matter whether the word you use is positive or negative in this example, either.

Sex-positivity isn’t about enjoying every possible way to have sex. Sex-positivity isn’t about only using positive words when talking about sex.

Sex-positivity is about making room for different people to have wildly different experiences. And in order to do so, we can practice using language that makes room for that. One of the best (and most difficult) ways to do that is to own our experiences and try to not make sweeping statements. It’s simultaneously quite simple and incredibly difficult, which is why so many people seem to not understand it. Well, that and the fact that there aren’t a lot of examples of mindful speech in the media- it doesn’t make for good soundbites. [emphasis mine]

This is from a post by Charlie Glickman on Good Vibrations Magazine called Owning Your Words: Sex-Positivity, Mindful Speech, and Why Some People Don’t Get It. I highly encourage you to read the entire article to get all of it in context, though what I quoted above is the crux of it. He has other awesome points that are just as important, however, so go read. I’ll be here when you get back.

Why does this matter? I’ve considered myself sex-positive for quite some time and this distinction is an important one. I’ve heard people saying that “sex-positivity” is some sort of trend word, which in some ways I think is true. There seems to be a big trend in those who write about sex and sexuality1 to adopt the term “sex-positive” even when it’s clear they know nothing about what it means.

Of course, being sex-positive and confronting your own internalized sex-negativity2 is a continual process, it’s not something you earn like a merit badge that you can then flash at people to prove that you are sex-positive. Saying you’re sex-positive only gets you so far if you don’t walk the walk. I love his point that it’s not about always saying something positive either, despite “positive” being right in the term itself. I think this is something people get hung up on and a very important point to make.

It may be some sort of trendy word to some, but for others of us it is something we strive for.

  1. as opposed to “sex bloggers” since I don’t really like that term []
  2. let’s face it, we all have some []

Lists

Most notably, Essin’ Em is putting together a list of Bloggers Who Make You Think and I wanted to bring it to the attention of my readers just in case, you know, you felt like nominating someone. Perhaps someone whose first name is also a color. Just sayin’.

Yes, this is me asking for nominations. I don’t do this often, but for this list1 I’m willing to do it. Why? Well, first, it’s not an ordered list, it will be alphabetical, which makes the most sense. Ordered lists just seem to be drama magnets and also not necessary. While it may feel awesome to be at the top of lists and there are some people who are happy just to be included there are also plenty of others who get offended by a low number. It’s just not worth it.

Second, it actually takes an effort in order to nominate someone. You’re not just supposed to link to their blog, oh no, you have to link to a specific blog post that made you think. You have to think about the nomination of someone who made you think. Yeah. That’s awesome.

So, if there’s a blog post (recent or old) of mine that made you think, please go nominate me. I’ll be grateful.

Speaking of lists of bloggers, I was also recently included in the Top 100 Sex Bloggers of 2010. I was included in 2009 and 2008 as well. There’s been some drama surrounding this year’s list which I don’t feel the need to go into. Ultimately, I’m glad to be listed, although I think there are tons of great blogs that aren’t.

  1. which seems the most sane list that’s been created thus far and far better than the list I did at the beginning of 2009 []

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology

Sinclair Sexsmith just put out this Call for Submissions on her blog and asked for it to be distributed. Since I like to post call for submissions on here to help spread the word here it is.

Call for Submissions: Lesbian BDSM Erotica Anthology [Title TBA]
To be published by Cleis Press in fall 2011

Editor Sinclair Sexsmith is looking for hot, sexy, well-written stories about kinky sex between queer women, from bondage scenarios to power play to role play to sadism and masochism to sensation play for a new anthology of lesbian BDSM erotica. Looking for characters with a range of age, race, sexual experience, gender identity and gender expression: butch, femme, genderqueer, gender-non-conforming, dapper, and others will all be considered. Cis women, trans women, and genderqueer characters who identify with the lesbian community are welcome. Stories should have strong literary voice, characters, tension, and rising action. All characters must be over 18. Prose only will be considered, no comics, graphic stories, or poetry. For examples of what I am looking for, see Tristan Taormino’s collection Best Lesbian Bondage Erotica.

Deadline: January 1, 2011

How to submit: Send your story in a Times New Roman 12 point black font Word document (.doc) with pages numbered of 1,500 to 5,000 words to lesbianbdsmerotica@gmail.com. Double space the document and indent the first line of each paragraph. US grammar required. If you are using a pseudonym, provide your real name and be clear under which you would like to be published. Include your mailing address and a 50 words or less bio in the third person. Publisher has final approval over the manuscript.

About the editor: Sinclair Sexsmith runs the award-winning personal online writing project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net. With work published in various anthologies, including the Best Lesbian Erotica series, Sometimes She Lets Me: Butch/Femme Erotica, and Visible: A Femmethology volume 2, Mr. Sexsmith also writes columns for online publications and facilitates workshops on sex, gender, and relationships. Find her full portfolio and schedule at www.mrsexsmith.com.

Scarleteen Blog Carnival: My Experience of Sex Education

This post is part of the Scarleteen Sex Ed Blog Carnival. What’s that, you ask? Click to read more about it.

The sex education I received in school was more than what was legally allowed for the state I was in. Alaska was (and is, I believe) an “abstinence only” state and I distinctly remember my health teacher in High School giving us far more information than we were “supposed” to have and telling us to keep it hush hush. At the time I was a Junior, though most people took health their Freshman year. I don’t remember any sexual education at all before that except for when the girls and boys were separated in elementary school and we watched a video about menstruation. Not exactly the same thing.

Even though what my health teacher taught was more than was considered acceptable by the state, it was still far less than teens need to know. Her great rebellion was to talk about condoms and birth control in addition to the scare-tactic teaching of the abstinence only curriculum complete with pictures of STDs and emphasis on the values of waiting. The knowledge she shared, however, was nothing that I didn’t already know about.

Really, a lot of my early sex education came from my sister who is seven years older than me. Our mother is very much a second-wave feminist and wasn’t as big on sexual education or sexuality in general, so she stepped in to fill that gap. She gave me books about my body, sexuality, and feminism. I read Cunt when I was twelve, for instance. She took me into Babeland Seattle when I was fourteen and bought me a vibrator. Most of this was long after I had discovered the internet and had already begun exploring sexuality, but she definitely guided me from afar as I walked the path.

I was first pointed toward Scarleteen in 2002, I believe, though not by my sister. I remember the situation quite clearly, actually, but the date is a little fuzzy to me. I was in a queer & kinky novelty shop (stickers, buttons, shirts, etc.) in Anchorage, Alaska that also sold a small smattering of sex toys and bdsm equipment. I was underage and asked the clerk directly about my ability to purchase items of a sexual nature. He said a cuff and blindfold set (I still have the blindfold) would be acceptable to purchase in addition to the stickers I had chosen, though not a few of the other things I was interested in, and asked me if I knew of a site named Scarleteen.

At that point I had already been interested in sexuality and had been exploring it for quite some time, though I was still a virgin. In fact, the reason why I was visiting Anchorage (I lived in Juneau) was for a queer youth leadership retreat. I was going to the retreat because it was the same year I was going to start the Gay-Straight Alliance at my high school. This incident was before the retreat and the suggestion lay dormant in my subconscious for a little while after I got back, but I made my way to Scarleteen soon after.

I was never heavily active on the Scarleteen forums, though I have been looking around them recently and wish I had been. I was always busy and a bit of an isolationist, so the community I found there would probably have been a better one than the online community I actually frequented. I would like to lie and say that Scarleteen was something I utilized to its fullest potential, but in all honesty it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean I didn’t use it, though.

I remember looking around the site for information and my exploration of sexuality was definitely influenced heavily by the articles I read. Scarleteen came rather late in my exploration as I had already discovered the internet, sexuality, and kink before it was introduced to me but even so it definitely made an impact.

It is a source of an amazing wealth of honest and accurate sex information that is an amazing resource for everyone. While it’s geared toward teens I know it has a thing or two (or more) that anyone and everyone would benefit from reading, and lots of information that most “adults” don’t know. With the state of sex education in general Scarleteen is an amazing resource that needs all the support that we can give it. Just the fact that something like Scarleteen exists is a blessing.

Scarleteen was a part of my sexual education, and has affected and continues to effect people every single day since it was founded. I have no doubt that the world needs the information and education that Scarleteen provides. We need it, and right now Scarleteen needs us.

What Scarleteen Needs:

Last year, Scarleteen needed increased donations in order to get through the end of 2009 and into 2010, in large part because private donations for a few years previous had been so low and left us in a very financially precarious position. We increased our financial goals to reflect the need for a minimum annual operating budget of $70,000. Thanks to generous contributions from our supporters in response to that appeal, while we were not able to reach that level, we were able to raise what we needed to not only get through 2009, but were able to use the funds wisely to sustain the organization through 2010. Our goal now is to continue to work toward that annual operating budget. Ideally, we would like to see a minimum of $20,000 in individual donations each year to combine with funding from private grants. In order for that to happen, we need for current donors to keep giving, and we also also need to cultivate new donors.

We’re asking for your help in either giving a donation of your own or encouraging your readers, colleagues, friends and family to donate. Given our visibility, tenure and traffic, with your help, meeting our goal should not be particularly challenging. A $100 donation can pay half of our server bill for a month, or half the monthly cost of the text-in service, or can fund any kind of use of the site, including one-on-one counsel and care, for around 10,000 of our daily users. However, we very much appreciate donations at any level. Read more about the support Scarleteen needs.

If you’re interested click here to donate now. Every little bit helps!

So you know I’m not just asking you to do this without doing anything myself: in addition to this blog post I set up a monthly donation to Scarleteen and I am working on filling out the volunteer application and will dedicate my time to it, given the chance that they want me. I’m dedicated to helping Scarleteen remain an amazing online resource, and I hope you are interested in helping as well.

More about Scarleteen:

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998, and has the longest tenure of any sex education resource for young people online. We have consistently provided free, inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and one-on-one support to millions, and have never shied away from discussing sexuality as more than merely posing potential risks, but as posing potential benefits, something rarely seen in young adult sex education. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have never stopped working hard to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget typically lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are and have always been fully independent media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily funded by people who care deeply about teens having this kind of vital and valuable service; individuals like you and your readers who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas. Read more about Scarleteen.

EdenFantasys: A Sex Shop I Don’t Trust

It’s taken me a while to get to posting about all the problems that have been going on with EF. I mentioned briefly when I stopped reviewing for them after all the crap that happened in 2008 but have never dedicated a post to it until now. I wasn’t going to, until I tweeted about EF and had people ask me what was going on, which made me realize there probably are people out there who haven’t heard about what is going on and would like to know. I think getting this information out there is important.

I would like to say, I don’t have any negative feelings about people who work for EF or who are continuing to review for/contribute to EF as long as you are making informed decisions. My problem is with the upper management of the company, the policy makers, and thus the corporate entity itself. I’m not advocating for anything with this post other than your right to make informed decisions. Reviews for EF will still be included in Pleasurists, just like they have been from the beginning, even though I have chosen not to work with them since 2008. I am actively encouraging you to read up as much about everything going on and make your own decision, even if that is contrary to my own.

What follows is a list of links regarding the controversy surrounding EF and my own opinions at the bottom.

Wilhelmina Wang has put together an awesome link round-up of the epic fail which is so awesome and amazing I am blatantly going to steal from it (and by steal I mean repost with permission). My own personal reactions are after the links (look for the line).

EdenFantasys History of Fail(s)

2008

– Sexblog giant Always Aroused Girl works on blogging & PR projects for EF, but is refused payment for her work, and so sues her employer and dukes it out in court, with little success.

– Another sexblog giant, Essin’ Em, works on developing a reviewer program and bringing in new products to the site. Her employer gives her a hard time when she leaves an IM conversation with him to take care of a friend who was just beaten up by her husband, then berates her for not mentioning EF in an interview she gave which had nothing to do with the company, and doesn’t pay her her affiliate commissions in a timely manner.

– EF agrees to sponsor the 2009 NYC Sexblog Calender, then backs out at the last minute.

– The Google Spreadsheet that contains reviewers’ confidential information (full name, physical address, along with their blog name and URL) is made public due to an ex-employee’s fuck up. EF claims that using Google Spreadsheets is not how they typically run their business, which Essin’ Em points out to be a blatant lie.

2010

That Toy Chick blogs about how she was also forced to legally fight for pay that was her right.

Epiphora, one of the most prolific sextoy bloggers out there, is banned from EF’s forums for no apparent reason. EF says that she was banned for “drama, rudeness and overall negativity”, but it appears that she was banned merely for stating her honest opinion. She was banned without being contacted about it first, without any of her posts being flagged, and EF goes on to publicly humiliate her in their forums under the guise of “being transparent.” One contributor decides to leave EF for good over this issue, and a whole bunch of posts are written in Epiphora’s support:

~ Essin’ Em: EdenFantasys, Not a Place I Trust

~ AAG: Problems with EdenFantasys, Take Nine Thousand

~ Garnet: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

~ Sarah Sloane, who used to be on the editorial staff of EF’s SexIs magazine: Money, ethics and real sex-positivity

~ Britni: Bad Move, EdenFantasys

~ Carnivalesq: EdenFallacys

~ The Blogging Slave: EdenFantasys.com Debacle

~ Toys in Love: When Push comes to Shove…

~ Woman’s Tribune: Eden Fantasys, A Sex Shop No One Can Trust

~ Erosblog: Edenfantasys.com Shoots Itself in the Balls… Again

– Maymay, who runs Maybe Maimed, Kink on Tap and Male Submission Art, and who also happens to be a professional computer programmer, discovers that EF’s linking practices are unethical. (This post has been cross-posted here, here, here, here and here, and Maymay is encouraging people to re-post the entire entry, or excerpts of it, in case he gets a Cease and Desist notice.) Basically, EF pretends to link back to its reviewers, contributors, people who they’ve done link-exchanges with, even companies whose products they sell… but they actually don’t. The links don’t work. This prevents others from getting traffic from all of EF’s sites, and ensures that EF will appear higher in Google search results. Google specifically points out that behavior like this is unethical. In his post, Maymay also outlines actions you can take in response to this. You can report EF to Google here.

Internet sex toy retailer Web Merchants, Inc., which bills itself as the “sex shop you can trust” and does business under the name EdenFantasys, has implemented technology on their websites that actively interferes with contributors’ content, intercepts outgoing links, and alters republished content so that links in the original work are redirected to themselves. Using techniques widely acknowledged as unethical by Internet professionals and that are arguably in violation of major search engines’ policies, EdenFantasys’s publishing platform has effectively outsourced the task of “link farming” (a questionable Search Engine Marketing [SEM] technique) to sites with which they have “an ongoing relationship,” such as AlterNet.org, other large news hubs, and individual bloggers’ blogs.

Articles published on EdenFantasys websites, such as the “community” website SexIs Magazine, contain HTML crafted to look like links, but aren’t. When visited by a typical human user, a program written in JavaScript and included as part of the web pages is automatically downloaded and intercepts clicks on these “link-like” elements, fetching their intended destination from the server and redirecting users there. Due to the careful and deliberate implementation, the browser’s status bar is made to appear as though the link is legitimate, and that a destination is provided as expected.

For non-human visitors, including automated search engine indexing programs such as Googlebot, the “link” remains non-functional, making the article a search engine’s dead-end or “orphan” page whose only functional links are those whose destination is EdenFantasys’s own web presence. This makes EdenFantasys’ website(s) a self-referential black hole that provides no reciprocity for contributors who author content, nor for any website ostensibly “linked” to from article content. At the same time, EdenFantasys editors actively solicit inbound links from individuals and organizations through “link exchanges” and incentive programs such as “awards” and “free” sex toys, as well as syndicating SexIs Magazine content such that the content is programmatically altered in order to create multiple (real) inbound links to EdenFantasys’s websites after republication on their partner’s media channels.

A similar slew of posts crop up in response:

~ Garnet: Business Ethics

~ She Posts: EdenFantasys Accused of Hoarding Links

~ Rayne: We’re Just Waiting, Hoping… Giving the Benefit of the Doubt

~ Sarah Sloane: Beyond Disgusted… Partly with Myself

~ Tom Allen: Beast of Eden

~ Figleaf: Web Merchants, Inc and EdenFantasys Unfortunate, Unethical, Link-Hiding Policies

~ Menstrual Poetry: EdenFantasys: Crumbling Community

– Britni posts to EF’s forums, linking to Maymay’s entry. The post is removed in less than a day. So much for EF being transparent! Luckily, both Britni and AAG took screencaps of the forum thread.

EF posts a response to Maymay’s entry, which basically reads: bullshit, bullshit, placating-PR-speak, more bullshit. They claim that they’re using linking practices that many other big websites use, in order to prevent viral links. Hmm.

– Maymay explains why, exactly, their explanation is bullshit. (Cross-posted here.) (More information can be found here.)

– When EF forum members start questioning EF’s practices, voicing their concern, or, in some instances, doing nothing at all, EF responds by locking their accounts and deleting threads and posts, even though they claim to support freedom of speech and claim to not censor their membership. Again, with no warning or contacting of the members who posted the comments in question.

~ Juliettia: EdenFallacys

~ Britni: EF Continues to Dig its Own Grave

~ Woman Tribune: EdenFantasys: A Sex Shop No One Can Trust

~ DarlingDove: What I Tried to Say On EF

~ Forum Discussion Screenshot via Mistress Kay uploaded by AAG

~ Forum Discussion Screenshot via Of Sex and Law uploaded by AAG

– EF explains that they are disabling these accounts and posts as a “cooling off period.” They go on to add a FAQ thread, where they elaborate more on the locked accounts, as well as their linking practices, claiming that “there has never been an intention, or agreement, or any commitment to link back to a writer,” “there is nothing illegal or even suspicious in our business practices” and “if you read negative posts about us, look a few lines below or to the side, you will always find our competition’s promos,” none of which makes any sense.

– Sex educator and writer Violet Blue comments that EF may be looking at a reputation crisis, and says she will be writing more about the scandal shortly. Tristan Taormino re-tweets about the debacle, and sex toy stores such as myticklespot begin commenting on it, as well.

– In spite of it all, a number of people are deciding to stay with EF because of other factors.

There’s a good amount of discussion, re-tweeting, etc going on on Twitter under the hashtags #EFLies, #EdensFallacy and #EdensFucked.

Epiphora has put together a (much more well-written) post about these events, with more past-employee-horror-stories, here.

To summarize: the biggest issue some people are taking with EF is that they claim to want to foster a community, but their actions indicate that they could care less.

All the info above (after “EdenFantasys History of Fail(s)”) is from Wilhelmina’s awesome post!


My Opinions

When I first started reviewing sex toys I reviewed for EF. I stopped in 2008 when they screwed AAG over, when Essin’ Em posted about her experience with EF, and when the owner made some an extremely backhanded comments basically saying “we don’t need the sex blogging community so you should praise us for letting you in to our club.”

I get that EF is doing reviewers a favor in supplying toys to review, in trying to build a community, etc. But that doesn’t mean they should say one thing and then do another. While, yes, I highly appreciate any site that is willing to send me (or anyone) free products in exchange for a review, that doesn’t mean I should not hold them accountable for unethical practices. I do appreciate the fact that EF seems to want to build up the sex blogger community and sponsors sex toy reviews, (notice I said “seems”) but that doesn’t mean they should snub their noses at us, the reviewers, contributors, and bloggers, because if they didn’t really need us you wouldn’t see dozens of sex toy related websites looking for people to write reviews for them to drive traffic to their sites and up their pagerank.

I found Garnet Joyce’s post on “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” to be extremely spot-on as far as my feelings for EF, especially in her comparison of EF to SuicideGirls. Essentially they are trying to use sex-positivity as a marketing tactic rather than an actual philosophy they agree with. I highly encourage you to read it, especially if you know the controversy related to SG (and if you don’t, then you should definitely read it).

For the full list of things EF has done see above. The biggest thing recently (not counting the massive crap in 2008) is MayMay’s, discovery of their incredibly unethical linking practices. As it mentions above, EF responded to these claims extremely poorly, silencing anyone who dared speak against them by locking or banning them from EF.

MayMay tweeted about a TED Talk on How Social Media Can Make History by Clay Shirky which is extremely relevant to the situation, if you don’t want to watch the entire thing (it’s about 16 minutes long) I suggest you skip to 12:26 where he talks about the Obama campaign. Basically, instead of shutting down a controversial and negative group on MyBarackObama or simply ignoring the concerns being raised Obama issued a press release saying “I hear you, I understand your complaints, but I am still going to vote the other way.” While people were upset that he did not change his mind they ultimately respected this because Obama actually addressed the issue they were talking about and clearly showing that they were heard.

Clay Shirky says (I’m paraphrasing) the mature use of social media is to realize your job (as an administrator) is not to control the content of your supporters/contributors/etc. but to convene them together so they can talk amongst themselves. EF does not understand this.

Something @JulianArancia  said at Sex 2.0 keeps coming back to me, especially in relation to EF: “In the PR world it’s always the cover-up that kills you”. There’s even an EdenFallacys.com now because of all the shit they have been pulling. If they had apologized and stopped their unethical linking once it was brought to their attention? It probably wouldn’t have been as big of a deal. Still a problem, but they would have addressed the concerns in a better way. If EF let us know that they were listening to our concerns and actually addressed them without lies, that would be a whole other issue.

Now, I’ve been on the wrong end of things before, said things that was taken wrongly and offended people. I get how defensive that makes you, I get how hurt you feel when people start attacking you, I get it. However, companies have PR people trained to deal with this kind of stuff, or at very least can hire one when they need one. There is no excuse for a company to react defensively or make backhanded comments, there is especially no excuse for trying to cover up their unethical behavior.

I also get that EF is a business, that they can do whatever they like in terms of that, but that doesn’t give them license to go against Google Webmaster Guidelines and do something completely unethical (and then say they aren’t in violation of GWG). It also doesn’t give them license to not pay people who have worked for them like they did with AAG.

(Also, as a sidenote regarding linking practices, I’ve heard people mention that WordPress (WP) automatically sets “nofollow” to links and saying that is just as bad or the same as EF’s javascript redirects. This is not the case. WP does set “nofollow” to comment links (ONLY comment links) to try and discourage spam. This is not the same as using sneaky javascript redirects that look like real links but aren’t. Setting links “nofollow” is acceptable to GWG, javascript cloaking links is not. It’s not like every link on a WP site is set “nofollow,” but if you are worried about it there is a plugin called DoFollow which corrects this.)

EF has proven time and time again that they do not do what they say, they change their policies at a moment’s notice once it doesn’t line up with the way they actually are running the business. They use the guise of transparency to be rude and negative and then turn around and cover up an issue without actually addressing the fact that what they are doing is highly unethical. They do not have the best interests of their contributors, employees, or customers at heart they are just in it for the money. While this is an understandable business policy what I am opposed to is the fact that they promote themselves as community-oriented, woman-friendly, and sex-positive while clearly using these terms as a business tactic and not an actual philosophy.

Call for Submissions: Spirit of Desire

From Lee Harrington’s LJ, he’s compiling an awesome anthology about sacred kink!

Spirit of Desire: Personal Journeys in Sacred Kink

In 2009, Lee Harrington’s “Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond” opened up the dialogue around altered states of consciousness, sexuality with intent, sex magic, and BDSM and its intersections with faith to an audience hungry for information. Now, it’s time to tell your stories.

Have you experienced catharsis, ordeals, transformation or a rite of passage in your erotic edge experiences? Do your perceive your consensual slavery as an ascetic path, find depth in your fear play, or dance in delight at the end of a lash? Do your fetish objects hold actual power? Does your connection to the divine manifest through your kink, engaging you through possession in or through scenes or as a sacred consort? Perhaps you have a different tale to tell?

Authors are invited to write 2-10 pages (approximately 1000-5500 words) about their own personal experiences with Sacred Kink. Anthology contributions need to be about a specific encounter or theme/concept within the life of the author, not on Sacred Kink in general. Fiction is not appropriate. Poetry will be considered on a case by case basis.

Who Should Contribute:

We are looking for a variety of contributions- Tops and Bottoms, Masters/Mistresses and Slaves, Fetishists, Voyeurs, Swingers, Male, Female, Genderqueer, Straight, Queer, Monogamous, Polyamorous, Monotheist, Pantheist, Atheist, God-Owned… and everyone else. English-language contributions preferred, but multi-lingual entries accepted on a case by case basis.

How To Contribute:

Send a one-paragraph summary of the concept of what you want to write about to Lee@PassionAndSoul.com with the subject line “Spirit of Desire Anthology” before August 1st, 2010. Also include up to one paragraph about yourself as the author.

Why the summaries first? A book of only one type of entries would not show the diversity of Sacred Kink encounters and experiences taking place in our community and behind closed doors.

Once summaries have been accepted, authors will have until September 7th to get their rough draft in. New authors will be worked with throughout the process to help share their unique story with the world.

Are you ready to tell your tale of Sacred Kink? Drop us a line.

Compensation:

Authors will have their biographies listed in the book, have wholesale rights to the project, and receive 1 finished copy of the book upon completion.

Sex 2.0 Update

Sex 2.0 is an unconference about the intersection of social media, feminism, and sexuality. This is my second year attending. Much like last year’s Sex 2.0 update I’m updating in the middle of the conference, though unlike last year the middle of the conference is Saturday evening (it was only one day last year). There are a few sessions tomorrow, including quite a few I’m interested in and excited about.

So far it’s a very different conference than the one I attended last year, but partially also because it’s where I currently live as opposed to being far away, not to mention this time it isn’t overshadowed by meeting a long-distance partner (though Onyx just left for Norway today–not for a fun reason, though, to go to a funeral). I’ve been very flattered a number of times so far this weekend, people knowing who I was when I didn’t think they would, or being actually excited by my presence. It’s been a great experience so far.

I’ll for sure be writing a longer more detailed post about the conference. You can check out my twitter feed to read what I have tweeted thus far about it (which has been a lot, I’ve basically been tweeting my conference notes rather than taking them any other way) and to follow what I will be tweeting tomorrow.

The sessions I attended today:

  1. Standing Up to the Neighborhood Bullies of the Internet by @JulianArancia
  2. Media Whoring – Tips from the Pros a panel with @ReidAboutSex, @veronicamonet, @maymaym, @cunningminx, the PR manager for @castlemegastore, and @fiercekitty
  3. Out: the Challenges and Rewards of Being Sex Positive to Your Family, Friends, Job, and Culture by @ropecast/@graydancer
  4. Online Sex Coaching and Education by @inaradeluna
  5. The Need for “Peermanship” In Meat-Time: Flying Your Freak Flag At Conferences, Why It’s Important to Hit On Your Peers, and How To Handle Your Conference Crushes…” by @ReidAboutSex

I figure you can click-through their twitter pages to their websites more easily than I can link all their websites and twitter names and make it look good.

Just like last year I will have a more detailed post up after the (un)conference is over!

Amazing Weekends

The last three weekends have been pretty spectacular, really ever since I got back to Seattle things have been, but that’s beside the point. As I have written about, three weekends ago we played with Terra and Storax and saw Tristan Taormino. The last two weekends have been sex blogger filled and exceptionally fun. I briefly mentioned these as upcoming on my events list post, but now they have happened!

Two weekends ago Amber and Em made their way up to us. I made my famed curry bake at Amber’s request and she gave me a bike which she doesn’t use anymore! It needs a little bit of fixing up before I can actually ride it, but that fixing up should be cheaper than getting a new one, so I’m extremely happy with how that worked out.

There was much cat petting game playing, and fun that was had. Next time we’ll have more of a structured outing in mind, I think, what happens when four easygoing people go out is that no one makes solid decisions! It was amusing, really. They brought two Wii controllers with them so the four of us played quite a bit of Mario Kart, a game Onyx and I have become rather addicted to (it’s not all sex and relationship babble here all the time). When we first got our Wii and tweeted about it both Amber and Em enthusiastically told us that they love Mario Kart so we all knew we would play it when they got up here.

We all went first to Cupcake Royale and shared a six-pack of delicious cupcakes before heading to one of our favorite dive bars slash mexican places Bimbos Cantina for some drinks and, eventually, nachos. It was definitely a delicious food-filled evening. After a bit of indecisive wandering in the sprinkling rain we headed back to our place for more Mario Kart. They were both amazingly adorable the entire time and I loved meeting them. After breakfast the next morning they were on their way back home.

Our exciting blogger meet-ups didn’t stop with them.

Last Saturday Onyx and I had the pleasure of going out with a group of other sex bloggers: Nadia West, CoyPink, Alec (CoyPink’s husband), Kyle, and Roxy. Nadia was visiting from her side of the country (she already wrote about her weekend here. ) and Roxy was up visiting Kyle, it just so happened they would be here at the same time so we all could go out together. We had met CoyPink, her husband, and Kyle before, but hadn’t seen them in a long while, and had not had the opportunity to meet Nadia or Roxy so it was exceptionally exciting.

We all met at The Honey Hole for dinner and drinks (a perfect place for sex bloggers to meet up at, no?). After much chatting about all manner of things we meandered our way to The Crypt to fondle sexy outfits and peruse sex toys. CoyPink found a couple of sexy pieces of clothing for the amazing photos her husband takes of her, one of which she has already posted photos of: Black Vinyl and More Black Vinyl. (CoyPink also has pictures of Nadia and her up which you should check out.) I picked up a red leopard cuff and a red and black houndstooth fedora, both of which will probably be making their way into photos here soon as well.

After The Crypt we all parted ways, but it was a wonderful evening to be sure. It was so great to meet both Nadia and Roxy, and it’s always a blast to spend time in the company of other like-minded sexually open people. I was, perhaps, a little too reserved, I’m just not all that good with this socializing thing, but I really enjoyed myself and hopefully they did too.

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