So… yeah.

Betty’s on her way to LA for her first NCTE board meeting, and I’m at home wondering how I’m going to occupy myself without my lovely partner around. That the board meeting was scheduled thoughtlessly on Valentine’s Day weekend just gives me more of an idea of how much trans-activists think about partners. Phooey.
On top of that, I just posted the very last entry I’d written in my trans-erotica story! (Don’t tell the CDs who are logging on just to read it, since I’m going to enjoy leaving them hanging.) When I first wrote it, quite a while back, I gave it to Betty, and she read it, and she said (and I quote), “It’s almost too literary to get off to.” So I stopped, since the whole point was for her to say “I madly want to make love to you right now, especially since I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to have a wife who can find my transness a turn-on.” Unfortunately, no-one had gotten Betty a copy of the script in advance, and she had to improv. Betty hates improv, for a reason.
So, on this lonely weekend when half of the world is taking time out to make love, I’m supposed to write more of a trans-erotic story that my own lovely tranny couldn’t get off to, for the sake of all you, whoever you are, out there.
Sometimes, life is all about timing. It’s very hard to come up with what happens next when I can’t go ask Betty to put on some thigh-highs for me, you know, to inspire me. Luckily Betty saw fit to leave me a rose, and arranged for two eunuchs* to share my bed, so I feel a little like a well-loved harem girl. Or something like that.
Buying things for your love for Valentine’s Day is nice (and is sure to be appreciated, no matter which gender you are), but giving your lover a few home-made “coupons” for “services” is even better. Best: give him or her or hir or ze a sex coupon, specifically for something you don’t love doing but that really turns them on! Unfortunately Betty forgot to leave mine with the rose she left, though I’m sure she’ll be bringing me one back from L.A. And no, I’m not telling what the coupon might be for. (But she better know!)
If you’re alone for Valentine’s Day, indulge yourself with a haircut, a bath, music you love (played as loud as you want, of course) and a phonecall to your most-recently-heartbroken friend, who probably needs to hear from you.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Continue reading “So… yeah.”

Thanks, Josey

Betty & I filmed a short clip for a Canadian television show called Richler Ink which showed on Book Television, which is an entire channel dedicated to books & authors (so you know it’s not American). They themed their shows “Naughty Librarian Month” for January and so focused on sexual topics. (Whether or not we all think crossdressing is a sexual topic is beside the point, since 1) the point is outreach and education, as long as it’s done respectfully, and 2) the rest of the world still thinks it is, and they’re not going to understand otherwise until they hear about and maybe read a book like mine).
I hadn’t seen the show ever before, but it was explained to me that there would be in-studio guests, and Betty & I would be a segment. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the two books used as segments (My Husband Betty and another on women’s orgasm called She Comes First) would be commented on by the in-studio guest. It was as if Daniel Richler (the host) and the in-studio guest – who was in our case Josey Vogels – were watching the video clip of us with the audience, and when it finished, they chatted about it.
I was pretty upset when Daniel Richler couldn’t seem to keep a smirk off his face, and started muttering things about “kinky” & the like. But Josey Vogels, I’m happy to say, is not only well-informed but a pro. She’s apparently talked to straight, nervous, vanilla guys about sex before! And she talked a little bit about the transgender movement, and otherwise made sure Daniel Richler didn’t get to go anywhere with his nudge, nudge, wink, wink crap.
I’ve already thanked Josey Vogels, of course, for being a first-class act, and for not allowing the show to sink into Springer-esque insinuations, and she’ll hopefully be writing one of her columns about My Husband Betty as a result of our correspondence.
And though I certainly don’t mind spending time praising Josey Vogels (who was on promoting her current book Bedside Manners), that’s not why I sat down to write this: I write this because I was suddenly reminded that the world still thinks crossdressers are funny, or kinky, or both. In more than a year of going to trans-conferences and the like, you start to believe that everyone is tuned into the finer debates about passing, or other standard fare that’s dicussed within the trans community, until you realize – maybe because of a nervous talk show host or because of something someone shouts from the street – that we’ve got a long way to go.
Going that long way is going to take working with the media where and when we can. Betty and I have had to turn down other television shows on advice from friends here in NYC who have been burned themselves or seen firsthand how disrespectful most of the talk shows are of their guests: from “surprise guests” to telling people the shows are themed other than they are, they actually trick people into coming on. Of course all the invitations seem respectful; none of them write to ask me if I’d be willing to portray a wife who’s been victimized by her crazy tranny husband.
And while I don’t even have cable TV because of the schlock that is American television, I’m well aware that most of America is informed via TV – depressing but true. Doing innumerable events like Trans-Week at Yale or speaking to a class at UVM are wonderful: talking to people who are intelligent and willing to learn and listen means a new generation aren’t going to become adults with the same uninformed notions in their heads as their parents.
The question is: what about the rest? How do we get to the rest of the people out there?
Doing publicity with a mainstream book helps. Knowing my book is in libraries where it can be found (not only by T-people and their partners but by any average, interested, curious reader) is something. People ask me all the time why we haven’t been on Oprah. After I ask them if they know anyone who works on the show who might get us on (no takers yet), I ask: why aren’t there more shows like Oprah?
Maybe those of us in the GLBT community can start pressuring networks not necessarily for more shows about us – but just for more intelligent shows, in general. We need to write to our local and cable stations and tell them we’re tired of schlock. The Jerry Springer-type shows wouldn’t hurt half so much if we had something to offset it. I was pretty amazed to find that when we did PBS’ In the Life, none of my friends in the red states could see it. Why? Their local PBS affiliate simply didn’t carry it.
But I’m sure that had nothing to do with why eleven states voted for banning gay marriage, or why we’re teaching Creationism in schools as if it’s science, or why no one seemed to notice that we’ve hung the whole of the guilt for the Abu Ghraib horror on guys who were following orders.
I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with it. It doesn’t, does it?

Dark Odyssey '04

Or, How Helen & Betty Spent Their Weekend
When you arrive at a campgrounds for a conference, the last thing you expect is to be driven around in a golf cart by a service-oriented boi, and the first thing you don’t expect to see is a man walking along in leather chaps & not much else practicing the effective use of a bullwhip.
But that’s exactly what greeted us when we arrived at Dark Odyssey – DO for short – this past weekend. We’d driven four hours to a campgrounds somewhere in Maryland, and found ourselves at the end of a road: a weathered outdoor registration table set up a few yards from an old white house. I pictured camp counselors, bonfires, volleyball and smores. I’ve never been to a camp, not as a child nor an adult, but I’m pretty sure that camp hasn’t seen anything like DO before.
It was a celebration of kink in all its many forms – the sexualities about which we (especially as Americans) don’t speak. I’d brought with me a book called Sexual Anomalies by Magnus Hirschfield, and at some point I checked the Table of Contents to see if he mentioned any type of anomaly that wasn’t represented: nope. Hirschfield actually missed a few, from what I would learn.
We met a bisexual professor from VT, a D/s couple who met over the internet, a young het master and his beautiful female slave. We met Nina Hartley, well-loved porn star who has a brain that makes her boobs and ass look small in comparison, and we were led through a group meditation by a kind older man with a firm hand who a day later had a line of willing victims at his spanking station. We watched as an acolyte learned how to make smores for his domme, worried about pubic hair catching fire in a celebration of fire and trust, and wondered why a man with a drum had entirely waxed his genitals.
Now I think: we could have just asked. The variety of the sexual landscape was nothing in comparison to the open-ness of spirit, the willingness to ask questions and answer them about your particular kink. A swinger couple from the mid-west didn’t know why male-male sexuality wasn’t part of the swinger lifestyle even though female-female action is a regular part of it. A genderqueer FTM told us about fucking with his astral cock and his cunt, owning both his feminine and masculine sexualities.
I can’t even begin to describe what we saw at special events like the Mardi Gras party or the Garden of Carnal Delights. I have no vocabulary to tell you what it feels like to watch a beautiful woman realize a deep sexual fantasy right in front of you. The experience of standing in a hallway at the intersection of four rooms and hearing four simulteanous orgasmic yawps isn’t something you can describe. I can’t tell you the names of the equipment in the dungeon because I simply don’t know them. But I can tell you this: Betty & I were in a state of low-level arousal all weekend. So many naked bodies, so many well-placed piercings, so much love of the body, worship of both the yin and the yang. In a workshop led by Tristan Taormino (one of the organizers), a roomful of 50 people touched and kissed in blindfolds. I walked into that workshop feeling a little sick with nerves, and then Tristan announced we were either in for the whole of it, or should leave then. It took some kind of steel will for me to stay in my chair, but by the time we were halfway through, I was laying my hands on the inner thighs of a tranny I’d only met the night before, and enjoying the playfulness of it. (I was later glad I did, as Betty had the feeling that both men and women were unsure about how and where to touch a trans-person.)
I can say that we personally probably had the best sex of our lives – but in the privacy of our own room, of course. For a woman who was born clothed and a tranny whose body sometimes trips up both his and her sexuality, that was no small thing. We have been negotiating our own personal sexuality since we have been together, finding variations, positions, astral parts and appropriate lightning through arguments, standoffs, and weird backlashes of propriety. We have cried, screamed, and held each other in a kind of mutual sadness that we found ourselves so ill-matched sexually but so deeply in love. But at DO, there was no shame in the air, no misery over having the wrong body or kinks no one else understands. The overwhelming sense of the entire weekend was that everyone – no matter who you are, or what you like – can find someone to play with and others who like the same toys. And that no-one – not the transwoman, the dyke, the het female submissive, the bisexual bottom – should ever feel bad about what turns them on.
At DO, sex was pleasure, worship, love, catharsis, play. Celebration, desire, wholeness, and beauty. It was also dangerous, scary, unknown and unknowable. Acceptable, mystical, and good.
Betty later called Dark Odyssey ‘the Land of DO.’ As in, DO please yourself. DO please your partner(s).
I’m already thinking about next year, and whether or not I’ll be able to manage just standing somewhere – maybe by a bonfire – completely naked. I don’t want to do anything that is outside of what Betty and I want for us, as a couple and as individuals, and to me – that was the most important part of DO: no pressure to do what you don’t want, and only encouragement to do what you want. I have never experienced as profound a sense of respect for the body nor the individual as I experienced at Dark Odyssey.
Our thanks to the organizers, Tristan and Greg, and to all those happy campers, for a weekend that will inform and energize our sex life for many, many months to come.

Dark Odyssey

Betty & I went to an amazing pansexual conference called Dark Odyssey (DO for short) this past weekend, and I have so much to report it’s taking me longer than usual to collect my thoughts.
But shortly, folks, promise.

Dark Odyssey in less than a month!

Betty & I are going to an amazing sexuality vacation called Dark Odyssey (where I’ll be talking about trans-sexuality, gender role play in the bedroom and other wonderfully erotic things). It’s an amazing group of presenters, and look at this list of topics!
Finding Your Own Erotic Path – Polyamory and Other Alternatives to Monogamy – Erotic and Spiritual Rituals – Urban Tantra – Sexuality in Wicca & Neopaganism – The Path to Expanded Orgasm – Sensual Massage – Transgender Sexualities – Oral Sex Techniques – Anal Pleasure – G-spot Stimulation and Female Ejaculation – Becoming a Multi-Orgasmic Man – Fantasy Role Playing – Vaginal and Anal Fisting – Dominance and submission – Spanking and Flogging – Bondage for Sex – Fire Play – When Slap, Kick and Slam Meet Sex – BDSM Spiritualities…
There’s less than a month left to register, so do! Right away! Come with a partner, or solo. All sexualities (homo, hetero, queer, mongamous, polyamourous, etc) are respected.
All that, and Kate Bornstein!
(And if you look closely at the groups list, you’ll see that MHB group is listed so you can get a discount!)

MHB on SexTV

sex tv shootWith a little help from our friends (Minerva, Christine, Zoe & Kat) we filmed a segment with SexTV, a Toronto-based show.
It’s been seen in Toronto, and is expanding to Canada and internationally, but for now, you can see it on the web!

Dark Odyssey

Betty & I are going to be presenting at this year’s Dark Odyssey, a sexual vacation for all kinds of sexualities and people. This is not a huge orgy – more a place where couples or singles or the polyamourous can go learn new techniques, meet others of alt sexualities, and play.
Kate Bornstein will also be presenting, and transpeople are encouraged to attend!
Where: Northern Maryland
When: September 9 – 15, 2004
This will be a good safe space for anyone wanting to wander outside of their current sexual practices, who are exploring bisexuality, BDSM, gender role-play, etc.
For more information (pricing, registration, workshop descriptions, etc), visit the Dark Odyssey website.
Continue reading “Dark Odyssey”

Helen & Betty on SexTV

Hi everybody! I wanted to tell you that the story “My Husband Betty: Love, Sex, and Life with a Crossdresser” will be airing on Citytv’s Sextv on July 10th and July 11th (at 11:30 p.m.) in Toronto and throughout the province of Ontario.
Sex TV
From there it will air nationally (in most major cities across Canada) and then it will be sent out to international markets (via the Trio channel in the US). I’ll get more information as I receive it.
We’re joined by two other couples, friends of ours: Minerva & Christine, Zoe & Kat.