Porn Review: Crash Pad Series episode 196

I love Crash Pad Series because their porn is obviously made for the non-male gaze, unlike all mainstream porn – but it lacks the frustrating clichés that tend to show up in “female-friendly” porn.

Crash Pad’s founder and director, Shine Louise Houston, understands that just because women may not always like the rough-and-tumble, penetration-focused template of mainstream porn, that doesn’t mean we want our porn to depict only soft, “romantic,” gentle sex. We like rough and kinky sex too – we just want it to be geared toward our gaze.

Crash Pad’s porn is also racially diverse, sexually varied, and features folks from all the way across the gender spectrum. Basically, if you’re tired of mainstream porn’s boring template, by-men-for-men pandering, and racist tropes, you’ll probably dig Crash Pad.

This month I was allowed to review episode 196, which is based on a super interesting premise. Arabelle Raphael and Daisy Ducati are tired and overworked sex workers who have recently spent so much time catering to their clients’ fantasies that they haven’t had much time for the kind of sex they like.

Daisy is wearing the cutest pink sequinned halter dress, while Arabelle’s decked out in leopard print. Their friendship seems very genuine: there’s lots of giggling and finishing each other’s sentences. Arabelle complains about all the cis straight dudes she’s been boning lately, and whines adorably, “I wanna fuck something pretty.” Which, of course, leads to Arabelle and Daisy playfully starting to make out.

The ensuing scene is so much fun, and so unstructured, which is one of the things I love most about Crash Pad scenes. It always seems like the performers are just doing whatever the hell they want, instead of following some pre-ordained schedule of events like so many mainstream scenes do (kissing, BJ, 15 seconds of cunnilingus, then fucking in 3 different positions). Both performers alternate between finger-fucking each other, going down on each other, 69ing, using a goddamn leopard-print Hitachi on each other (!!), sitting on each other’s face, and so on. And they seem to do it in whatever order they feel like, for however long they feel like.

Although this clip is femme-on-femme like most mainstream lesbian scenes, it doesn’t feel like those at all. The performers are clearly actually attracted to each other, obviously have experience fucking other women and know how to do it properly, and they do acts that actually get them off (vocally and repeatedly!) instead of trying to make their scene appealing to a straight male eye.

The one mainstream-girl/girl trope that appears here is super-long fingernails, but Arabelle actually refers to hers and makes sure that she’s not hurting Daisy when she fingers her. This is such a nice touch! I am always terrified of the talons that women subject each other to in so many lesbian scenes.

As per usual for Crash Pad, this scene is shot beautifully. The cinematographic style captures the action without being distracting.

Some highlights for me: Arabelle telling Daisy, pre-cunnilingus, “This is gonna fuck up all your makeup.” Daisy going “Yesyesyesyesyesyes!” as she’s about to come. The aforementioned customized Hitachi. Daisy’s curly red pigtails. Arabelle’s backseam tattoos. The performers telling each other, “Treat yourself!” and “This is better than a spa day!” while they lie in the afterglow.

Episode 196 is damn cute and I think it could entertain and arouse anyone who’s a femme, a sex worker, or both. It’s incredible to see folks on screen who actually represent you and the sex you enjoy having, and that is something Crash Pad Series does exceptionally well.

Book Review: The Whole Lesbian Sex Book

I’ve wanted to read The Whole Lesbian Sex Book ever since a friend of mine brought a copy to an LGBT conference we attended in high school and the two of us pored over new-to-us information about different types of orgasms and different ways to achieve them. I was over the moon when Cleis Press offered me my choice of books to review, because I’ve always loved their smart, sexy, informative tomes. The Whole Lesbian Sex Book was first on my list.

Let it be said, first off, that I’m not a lesbian. I’m a bisexual, I’m in a long-term relationship with a cis guy, and I have passing-for-straight privilege for sure. Although my perspective might be different from the average reader of this book, there’s still a lot I can learn and have learned from it – and indeed, I think this would be a great read for anyone who has sex with women, is a woman, is interested in female sexuality, or some combination thereof. This isn’t so much a book about lesbian sex as it is a book about having sex with women or as a woman or both.

And let me tell you, it does a wonderful job of that. This is a huge departure from male-written or male-oriented sex guides. Emphasis is placed on things that matter to women: the clitoris is regarded as the centre of our sexuality, non-orgasmic sex is presented as every bit as viable and valid as orgasmic sex, and the emotional and psychological barriers to good sex are discussed in depth, just to name a few examples of how wonderfully woman-oriented this book is. (That’s not to say these things aren’t also important to men – just that they are traditionally excluded from male-directed sex education resources.)

Felice Newman is a fabulous writer: non-judgmental, caring, and obviously passionate about women’s sexuality. I love that she rarely uses words like “normal” – her book normalizes a whole host of healthy sexual behaviors that people often feel unfounded guilt about. That’s exactly what a sex-positive guide should do.

Some of the chapters in this book offer practical advice on sexual techniques – “Breast Play,” “Clitoral Play,” “Vaginal Penetration,” et cetera. Some of them cover more abstract or complex topics – “Desire and Fantasy,” “Communication and Finding Sex Partners,” “Gender (Not Destiny),” and so on. In every chapter, you’ll find information that would be useful to sexual novices (“Many women enjoy clitoral stimulation combined with vaginal or anal penetration”) as well as information that will interest a more advanced reader.

Newman’s writing is interspersed with quotes from real queer women who responded to her surveys. These, too, have a normalizing effect: it’s fun and validating to see that one’s own experiences, even the weirder ones, have been shared by other women.

I was surprised to note that the book is pretty inclusive of trans people – both trans men and trans women. There is an entire chapter about gender but trans-relevant information is also sprinkled throughout. The lesbian feminist community has sometimes been known to exclude trans folks from their discourse, but this book is on the ball about that stuff, providing info about what kind of stimulation might work for different types of bodies and what the partners of trans people ought to know about how to have sex in a way that respects and pleasures their partners.

Likewise, the book also welcomes with open arms people with disabilities and queer women who have sex with men. I always love when lesbian sex resources acknowledge that some queer women have sex with men, because different considerations need to be taken into account for those women and it can suck to feel excluded because of who you have sex with.

Overall I’m really thrilled with The Whole Lesbian Sex Book. It’s one of the most exhaustive sex guides I’ve ever read (second only, perhaps, to The Guide to Getting It On, which is comparatively very heteronormative). If you like sex with ladies, or you’re a lady who likes sex, or you want to better understand lady-sex, this is undoubtedly the book for you.

Thank you so much to Cleis Press for the book!

Sharing the Sexy #4

• Some dudes on Sexxit discuss autofellatio. Interesting to see a straight male perspective on this. (Have you seen the autofellatio scene in Shortbus?!)

• Rachel Rabbit White attended a lesbian cougar meetup. I love the way Rabbit writes. “Judith’s eyes glitter and wrinkle at the corners. She looks like someone you might find yourself in an orgy with at an acid-fueled pre-Burning Man loft party.”

• Also by Rachel: a feature on agender people. (For more discussion and resources related to genderqueer or agender identities, Genderfork is terrific.)

• Evil Slutopia comments on Snooki’s baby and some anti-choice hypocrisy among conservative critics of Snooki.

• K wrote sensitively and thoughtfully about her break-up with her long-term poly boyfriend.

Shit twinks say during sex: “Your dick is so fierce!”

• Someone discovered a creative way to use a Fleshlight. (By the way, the generous people at Sex Toys Canada sent me a Fleshlight which I’ll be reviewing on behalf of my boyfriend soon… Stay tuned!)

• Here’s a massive resource on intactivism. Important stuff to know, given the AAP’s recent statement about circumcision.

• Looks like a bill banning “ex-gay” therapy might get passed in California. Gasp! Are people finally realizing that changing sexual orientation isn’t possible and leads to horrific results?!

• Female Sexxitors weigh in: what’s the best thing about having a vagina?

Public Service Reminder: Sexual Orientation is Internal

I’ve been engaging in a lot of conversations lately about various aspects of queer sexuality – what else is new? – and it occurred to me that a lot of people hold a huge misconception about sexual orientation.

Many people think you can tell a person’s sexual orientation from how they look, move, or speak. This could not be further from the truth.

In fact, you can never actually know someone’s sexual orientation unless they tell it to you in no uncertain terms. It’s just not something that can be definitively read. Doesn’t matter how good you think your “gaydar” is, or how much you think you know the “signs” – there’s literally no way to know for sure how someone identifies, unless they tell you themselves.

This extends to gender identity and trans* status, too. I’ve heard all too many people claim they’ve “never met a trans person,” but the thing is, they don’t know that. There aren’t any foolproof, telltale signs. Thinking you know whether someone is trans is as ignorant as thinking you know someone’s STI status just by looking at them – you don’t. There’s no way you could.

As a queer femme in a relationship with a dude, I get misread all the time. I understand perfectly well why it happens – I “look straight” (i.e. girly and not particularly “alternative” in any way), and I’m often holding hands with a member of the opposite sex. But that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I recall the time I got booed at a Pride event for kissing my boyfriend, and how hurtful that was. That person assumed I was straight. They don’t know me and they don’t know what’s in my heart, but they thought they did, and that hurts.

But the thing is, practically everyone does it. I did it myself, the other day. A guy I volunteer with, who I’d always assumed was gay because he’d been telling me about the man he was seeing, suddenly mentioned that he doesn’t identify as gay. I still don’t know how he does identify, but it was a great reminder that we all need to stop making so many assumptions and just have the courage to ask if we’re curious. It’s been my experience, in queer and trans* communities, that asking someone “What do you identify as?” or “What pronouns do you use?” or “What kind of person are you usually attracted to?” is not frowned upon, but instead, almost always welcomed. People love to talk about themselves, especially if asked in a respectful, genuinely interested way.

How do you identify? Where do you lie on the Kinsey scale? Do you ever get misread for an identity that doesn’t fit you? How do you deal with that?

Porn Review: Live Sex Show

Live Sex Show is a film by Courtney Trouble, the mastermind behind QueerPorn.TV, among other filthy hot projects. It was shot at a Masturbate-a-Thon in front of an audience of 200 people, so it’s quite different from any other porn I’ve seen. There is crowd interaction, there is an almost theatrical dynamic sometimes, but mostly, there’s just a lot of really hot fucking.

The film opens with Kimberlee Cline performing a sensual striptease. Once her pussy’s exposed, she reclines on the big, colorful sofa that all the performers will fuck on, and gives herself a cute little clitoral orgasm with her fingers. The crowd cheers; Kimberlee giggles. It’s a good scene but it’s nothing mindblowing.

Next up is a fairly traditional girl/boy scene starring Jolene Parton and Peter Devries. They make out, exchange oral sex, and then fuck romantically in various positions. Jolene’s got a gorgeous, voluptuous body, and Peter makes noise (yay, man-moans!) while his handsome uncut cock gets sucked, but this is otherwise an unremarkable scene.

The next scene is where things start to pick up a bit. It features BBW hottie April Flores and her real-life lover, who goes by The Matador. April looks foxy in a velvet jumpsuit and pink fishnets, masturbating on the floor until her man shows up and puts his dick in her mouth.

The Matador wears a mask over his face for most of the scene. At first I thought it was to maintain his anonymity, but then I saw that he takes it off midway through the session to go down on April, so I guess privacy isn’t that important to him after all? I’m not sure what’s up with this.

Weirdness aside, it’s a good scene, made up of equal parts oral, fucking, and groping. April is her usual enthusiastic and sweet-faced self, and the pair are obviously very attracted to each other. One particularly lovely moment: the Matador rips April’s fishnets open to get a better grip on her juicy ass. Nice touch. The only major problem with this scene is that it’s not very well lit, so there are plenty of moments where I feel like I can’t see the best part of what’s going on.

Next comes the kind of genderfuckery that I’ve learned to expect from QueerPorn. Tina Horn, who I’ve written about before, acts as sub to her real-life partner (I think?), Roger Wood. In researching Roger to check on pronouns for this review, I found out that he identifies not as FTM but as “F to James Brown,” but that his porn persona is decidedly male.

I find Roger very attractive, and he certainly has a great connection with Tina, but I don’t think he makes a very convincing on-screen dom. His spanking, roughness, and domination just don’t seem wholly impassioned to me for most of the scene.

The turnaround comes when Tina and Roger take a bow, thinking their time is up. Someone tells them from off-camera that they’ve got more time if they want to continue, so they do, dropping all pretences and fabricated characters. They just fuck, and it comes off as way more authentic and pleasurable than the rest of the scene up til then.

The next scene is the crowning glory of this film, because it features two huge stars of the porno galaxy: Nina Hartley and Jiz Lee. (Don’t get confused when I use “they/them” pronouns in this part of the review; those are the ones Jiz prefers for themself.)

My boyfriend doesn’t think it’s sexy at all how Nina starts out this scene with an anatomical explanation of what she’s doing to Jiz, and I have to agree – but it is kind of endearing how Nina looks for opportunities to educate people on sex. The pair talk about their preferences, desires, and what’s off-limits (for example, Nina abhors being bitten), having never met before this performance.

This scene is fantastic because both of the performers clearly admire each other and are excited about fucking each other (and indeed, Nina liked the experience so much that she ended up working for Crash Pad Series solely for the opportunity to have sex with Jiz again). Nina fists Jiz to an orgasm with the help of a Hitachi. Nina’s a pro dirty-talker, telling Jiz that their pussy is “tight and slick and strong” while holding their throat and pumping her fist in and out like the expert she is. It’s astonishing to see two seasoned professionals clearly delighting in one another, not blasé or routine in the least.

Then they switch roles and do the exact same thing the other way: fast finger-fucking and a helpful Hitachi. When Nina finally orgasms, she grabs Jiz in a fierce kiss of gratitude and the audience goes wild.

The last scene of the film is an impromptu gangbang. Nina crows, “Let’s everybody get on Courtney!” and all the female-bodied performers proceed to pile onto the filmmaker, Courtney Trouble. Tina Horn straddles Courtney’s mouth wearing a strap-on, April blindfolds her and starts playing with one of her nipples, Roger handles the other breast, Nina puts her magic hand to work in Courtney’s pussy, and Jiz takes care of the clit stimulation. What results is an epic, if slightly repetitious scene, the likes of which I’ve never seen anywhere before.

Live Sex Show has its fair share of problems – it’s sometimes poorly lit, there are moments that come off as awkward and faked, and the first few scenes are unimpressive. But I still think it’s worth the price of admission, by far. The bodies are real, the orgasms are real, the attractions are real, and the second half of this film is some of the best on-screen sex I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.