Categories
Interviews

Shellie – Founder of Crystal Delights Toys

When did you first get the idea for Crystal Delights Toys?

Crystal Delights actually first started as a digital dildo in the virtual world Second Life that would make your avatar orgasm. We attended NELA’s summer fetish flea in Boston where we saw some stainless steel plugs with beautiful crystals in the end. I approached the lady who owned the business and told her she should make some in glass, she said she wasn’t interested in that and that we should do it so we did! LOL I worked for a large online sextoy company at the time so I had the platform to sell from and the first “real life” Crystal Delights toys were born.

How did you bring your ideas from concept to creation?

R&D is the fun part, there are always so many ideas and so much potential, the thing I like about glass over other mediums like steel and silicone is that we don’t need to develop molds, glass is more fluid and can be changed easily if a customer wants something just a little bit different than everyone else. We like to bring our customer base into R&D as well, after all it is our customers that know what they want and we find they are always willing to give us feedback and new ideas! It’s one of the things I love most about this business!

How have your products been received by customers & the sex positive community?

From the very beginning we have had an overwhelmingly positive response to our toys by both our customers and the sex positive community, we are so grateful! We believed from the start that what we wanted to do was build the business on a grassroots level, that we wanted to make a quality product in the United States and let it stand on its own and it has! We started out working from the old saying if you cant give it away you cant sell it, we have followed this in giving our products to bloggers for review. We are well reviewed and almost everyone has been positive! If you search the internet for Crystal Delights you will find many of our product reviews, we see this as success!

Do you have a personal favorite from your toy collection?

Currently my personal favorite is our new colored twist. It just looks so beautiful with the color twisted up the edge of the glass! But it seems my favorite changes with each new batch of glass we bring to market, they each have their own appeal!

I love that charity is such a big part of your business philosophy, can you share why you it’s so important to you?

Charity has always been important to us even before Crystal Delights was started. We participated in charity events within Second Life and it was just a given that we would continue it with our “real life” line. Everyone has either themselves or someone close to them that has dealt with cancer, myself included, Colors Against Cancer is the result of giving back. We also discovered that within the adult community it was difficult to obtain funding for important projects such as education, we joined together with some of the leaders in the industry, manufacturers such as ourselves and started Crystal Causes which we hope someday can be an actual charitable cause. We also support animal causes with the sale of our real fur tails. Because together we can make a difference…

What are your plans for the future of Crystal Delights Toys?

Wow that is a good question, we think that Crystal Delights has only just begun to show us what it is capable of! We have so many ideas on the drawing board and many more concepts coming. There might even be a special Kink Academy toy in the future! We are working on some floggers, a more kink focused line of plugs with attachments and you will see a very special announcement soon for a toy to go along with the hottest adult movie to come out in a long time! We are very much looking forward to the future with many more Crystal Delights toys.

Categories
New Members

Dirty Little Whipsers

Hey!

I go by the name Little Miss, for anonymous reasons of course! There’s nothing worse than your friends and family reading about your sex life online.

My personal blog is http://dirtylittlewhispers.com where I blog about sex, relationships, life and everything in between with the occasional guest bloggers.

L also features on the site with his fabulous photography.

You can follow me on Twitter @DirtyLittleW, or search Dirty Little Whispers on Facebook and Google+

Always up for a chat! :)

 

littlemiss@dirtylittlewhispers.com

 

Categories
Articles

Kink Academys “Support a Sex Educator Program”

As part of their ongoing mission to treat sexuality educators as the knowledgeable professionals they are, Kink Academy is launching the Support a Sex Educator Program. This program will work to raise funds for a variety of projects related to and initiated by sexuality educators.

Currently, their first project to start raising funds for is the Support a Sex Educator Travel Grant, which will help educators get to far-off events so that they can network and broaden the scope of their work.

It’s a sad fact that a lot of sexuality educators don’t get the monetary recognition they deserve for the workshops, classes and lectures. Kink Academy hopes to raise the bar for these hardworking professionals!

How You Can Help
There are several ways you can contribute to the Support a Sex Educator program.

Volunteer:
Kink Academy actively hosts live events, all of which will feature a fundraising aspect to benefit this cause. They can always use helping hands. If you see that they’re hosting an event in your area, and would like to help, contact Kali at Kali@kinkacademy.com.

Show Your Support:
Kink Academy is offering purple Support a Sex Educator bracelets, and 100% of the proceeds of bracelet sales go into the Support a Sex Educator program. Even for a contribution of $1, you will receive a bracelet and be able to literally wear your support on your sleeve. Bracelets are available at Kink Academy Live events, or can be purchased with any Crystal Delights order. 100% of all proceeds from bracelet purchases on the Crystal Delights site are donated to the “Support a Sex Educator Program.”

Categories
New Members

Sexuality Consultant & Educator

Hello everyone! So glad to have a free, community-based education site available. My name is Sarah, though I also go by the nickname of Lucy Lemonade. In the past I hosted a blog based on sex toy reviews and general sexuality fun, but now I’m concentrating on building my practice as a counselor, focusing on sex and relationships. I am also highly interested in trans issues and relationships for those in transition. I love attending conferences and building fun, informative workshops.

Categories
New Members

Epiphora

For five years now, sex toys have been my life. I have ogled, squeezed, and twiddled with so many that my mind has turned into mush a sex toy encyclopedia. On my blog, Hey Epiphora, I peddle relentlessly honest sex toy reviews — with a smattering of sex industry critique thrown in for good measure.

My opinions are trusted; I’ve been interviewed for XBIZ Premiere magazine and even quoted in Tristan Taormino’s book, The Secrets of Great G-Spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation. I don’t believe that wishy-washy sex toy reviews benefit anyone. Like everyone, I have certain preferences and pet peeves (my hatred for pink and love of VixSkin are no secret), but you will never read a review of mine and question how I truly felt about the toy. You’ll also never see the terms “marital aid” or “battery-operated boyfriend” in my reviews, because euphemisms give me hives.

My reviewing of sex toys began in 2007. I got my start writing reviews for an online sex toy shop. In 2008, I launched my blog — and have been rabidly collecting and reviewing sex toys ever since. I answer a lot of emails from folks needing sex toy advice, and I also pelt people with snark on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and in my monthly newsletter.

I’m a feminist, pansexual, in a relationship with a dude, and greatly prefer cats to children. My jack-off sessions are long and my cups of coffee are doused with creamer. My primary sources of visual entertainment are porn, bad reality TV, and documentaries about depraved serial killers.

hey.epiphora [at] gmail [dot] com

Categories
Events

Transcending Boundaries

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker this year will be lecturer/trainer, film maker and activist Ignacio Rivera.

The 2012 Transcending Boundaries Conference will be held at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.  This year’s conference will be Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28th.  We are extremely pleased to be returning to the MMC, where the 2011 conference was located.  Hotel rooms can be reserved at the Springfield Sheraton for $119 per night, and a special parking rate of $5 per day will be available to guests of the hotel.

Transcending Boundaries, Inc. hosts an annual community conference to celebrate the diversity of gender, sex, sexuality and relationships.  The 2012 Transcending Boundaries Conference is an open forum for people of all genders, sexual orientations and relationship statuses to teach, learn, debate and discuss the civics, issues, concerns and joys of these elements of our identities.  An immersive weekend of networking, education, entertainment and social time understanding these factors within ourselves, our individual communities, and the public world in which we work and live.

We seek to serve our ever-evolving communities, including bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, asexual, intersex, polyamorous, and kinky persons, as well as allies those who prefer not to use labels, and those who are questioning their identities.  Anyone is welcome to attend, regardless of how they identify.

Categories
Videos

Playing Well With Others! – by Mollena & Lee Harrington

Two kinkster dynamites have written a book to guide anyone who’s interested in joining the kink community, regardless of what level of involvement is being sought. Their book description is underneath the video!

Whether you’re a trembling novice or a jaded expert, there’s always something new to be discovered in the endlessly changing, complex and titillating world of kink.

While there are plenty of other books out there that explain how to give a spanking or tie a half-hitch, Playing Well With Others is the first book that explains kink culture — the munches, parties, leather bars, conferences, workshops, fetish nights, exploratoriums and all the other gatherings of kinksters that turn BDSM and leather from a bedroom predilection to a lifestyle and a community.

You’ll learn to:

Examine your own motivations, needs, wants and desires
Ease your way into established communities
Understand etiquette in different adventurous sex communities
Familiarize yourself with the many types of events available to you
Care for your relationships as you explore new territory
Negotiate for play and aftercare
Go back to the “world at large” without ruffling feathers

…and, of course, answer the all-important question: What do you wear?!

The team of Harrington and Williams offers 30-plus years of experience in diverse kink communities: top, bottom and switch; gay, bi and straight; female, male and trans; white and POC. Both former titleholders and international educators, they are an unbeatable pair of “sexual sherpas” with an inimitable voice and a great deal of wisdom.

Playing Well With Others is an unprecedented and essential guidebook for anyone who wants to explore or understand the “community” aspect of the kink lifestyle.

Categories
Videos

How to Be Kinkier – a book review

Kali Williams received the book “How to Be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime” (which is a follow up to “How to Be Kinky”) and shared her thoughts on why it’s a great book to add to your collection!

Categories
New Members

Greetings!

Hi y’all!

I’m Sinclair, and I’m excited to be part of this. I write for various places online, primarily about gender and sex. My specialties tend to be masculinity, strap-on hardware and software, power dynamics, BDSM, and erotic energy explorations.

Here’s my current bio, a bit more about me:

Sinclair Sexsmith has been writing online since 1996 about identity, queer culture, feminism, and self-awareness, and teaches workshops on BDSM, gender, and getting the sex life you want. They produce the award-winning website Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at sugarbutch.net. Contributing to more than fifteen anthologies, including five Best Lesbian Erotica editions, Persistence: Still Butch and Femme, and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Mr. Sexsmith is also on the board of the upcoming 2013 BUTCH Voices conference, and serves the Body Electric School as a coordinator. They are the guest editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 and editor of Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, both from Cleis Press. More information about their events, workshops, and projects at mrsexsmith.com.

It’s been fun to expand my interest in sexuality education past my middle-school peer-educator trainings and into queer, BDSM, leather, and gender theories. I love talking to people about this stuff, and I’m excited to be a part of Kali’s project!

Categories
Articles

Why Pay for Porn?

[cross posted at my blog, Long Live the New Flesh]

So, when I do a google search for “Why Pay for Porn”, there’s not much in the way of real, substantial answers to this question. There’s a whole bunch of good reasons why you should pay for porn, but first let’s start with some background information. Let’s look at why people might pirate porn:

Privacy

If you go to a tube site or torrent site, there’s usually not a process to sign up. No email, no credit card, no personal info entered anywhere. This makes the process of finding and consuming pornography a fairly anonymous activity. This is especially important to people who do not tell their partners about their pornography habits. However, this belief is not particularly well founded… There are plenty of ways to track online activity, and just because you don’t enter a credit card number doesn’t mean you’re anonymous.

Security

Porn is often linked to viruses, Trojans, phishing, and other malicious activity. This is not completely unjustifiable. Go to any Black Hat forum, and you’ll likely see quite a bit on creating porn related exploits. However, according to the 2011 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, pornography is #10 on the list of website categories that delivered malicious code. It accounts for only 2.4% of websites delivering malicious code, well below shopping and business sites.
Anything you do online entails a degree of risk, but if you employ some basic security processes the risk can be manageable.

Price

I’m skeptical about this one… I think there are a number of issues at play. Due to the widespread presence of piracy, the price of porn is somewhat inflated. If someone produces a clip that only 10 people buy, they have to charge considerably more than if they had 1000 customers. Let’s say they charged $5 for the clip and made $50. If they had 1000 customers, they could charge $.05 for the clip and make the same amount. This is just an example- but you can scale it a lot of ways that still make the price quite reasonable. Should producers start charging .05 per clip right now? Of course not. It doesn’t make sense. The question is- would people pay the .05 per clip if it were available? I’d like to think so. If they would feel comfortable paying that if the conditions, why not at least buy 1-2 clips per month now? The more people pay for porn, the lower the prices will go. It could create a more stable environment for performers by allowing them to focus more on content production than on marketing. Personally, I enjoy independently produced porn, which would be more financially viable if there were a higher volume of folks paying.

Portability

When porn is pirated, it’s usually 1 of 3 ways- posted to a tube site, posted to a file sharing site with a link posted to a forum, or through a torrent site. All 3 of these options offer a high degree of flexibility when it comes to access and portability. Tube sites can pretty much be accessed anywhere, and torrents/file shares usually convert videos to standard AVI or MP4, which work well with most Operating Systems. That said, there is an increasing degree of portability present in independent porn sites. Clips4Sale allows a wide array of formats for their content, and sites like Streamate are easily used on iPads. People increasingly pay for convenience, which the Adult industry is quickly catching on to.

Male Entitlement

I feel like this is a bigger one than is usually acknowledged. Men tend to be conditioned to see women as pleasure objects, and this is heightened by porn and the anonymity of the Internet. They feel entitled to women’s bodies, and typically get insulted or violent when they’re not freely given. I’ve outlined how this plays out in the Fart Fetish community, but it appears common across the porn spectrum. It appears to be especially prevalent when it comes to pirating porn produced by women of color, as they bear the brunt not only of patriarchy but racism and colonialism, which presents a unique form of hyper sexualization.

If I had a hammer... I'd SMASH Patriarchy
We should all find our hammers…

For some reason, lots of guys see porn seeking as a form of dating… Which is fine, if you’re aware of the fact that it’s fantasy, but I get the sense a lot of guys don’t really see it that way… It doesn’t help that a bunch of cam and porn sites use misleading ads about dating sites, then send you to some performers room. That said… what guy really believes there’s some random attractive woman waiting around on her webcam in a chat room full of guys getting naked and looking for… a boyfriend? It’s an absurd delusion! Props to those who can play through this delusion, but it’s still kinda messed up that it exists in the first place.

So, we’ve outlined some reasons that might motivate someone to pirate porn. Some are more legitimate than others, but they can all be addressed in a way that’s fair to both consumers and producers of porn. Let’s get to the heart of the matter:

Why should you pay for porn?

Quality

You get what you pay for. If you order clips through a reputable site, you will be rewarded with a well thought out clip that caters to your interests. The producer will have thought out the lighting, sound, outfits, scenarios, and other aspects of porn that, if done well, are hardly noticed but greatly enhance the experience. Good independent producers do their research, and provide high quality services at reasonable prices.

Intimacy/Personalization

When you pirate porn, the last thing you want is to interact with the models who you’re pirating, because they’ll probably be pretty pissed that you’re stealing from them. When you buy porn, you get to know a lot about the performers! You get to see their career evolve, and learn about other services they offer that wouldn’t be available to you through tube sites. Have a foot fetish? How awesome would it be to buy a pair of socks you saw in your favorite clip? You can also follow your favorite models on Twitter, so you get to know when they have new clips available or they’re available on cam or Niteflirt.

Security

Despite the issues listed in the previous Security section, most porn sites are fairly secure. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I don’t believe in 100% secure websites, but reputable porn sites do a good job of ensuring security. I was especially impressed with a job posting I saw for NaiadDev, the company that runs Streamate. In their posting for a customer service rep, the first required skill is “Able to detect and handle social engineering calls.” Humans are usually the weakest link in a security system, so I was happy to see social engineering in the description.

In contrast, tube sites make their money off high volume traffic. They don’t have an incentive to offer good support or prevent the delivery of malicious code. The lack of oversight of these sites is appalling to me- their presence is comparable to Google or Facebook, but they don’t receive anywhere near the same level of scrutiny when it comes to protecting users and their information. Which leads to…

Privacy

Tube sites and torrents which make money off traffic are much more likely to view you as the product rather than the consumer. The content they post on their sites is essentially designed to be a minimal quality tool used to record your browsing habits, personal info, search terms, browser usage, and other information that can be easily mined through websites. This information is the commodity these sites sell, in addition to banner sales and other forms of ad revenue. When you’re the product, it becomes very hard to safeguard your information.

Not Being a Dick/Supporting Women

Again, this has to do with male privilege, and the sense of entitlement men feel towards women’s bodies. There’s a whole bunch of stuff you should read up on to educate yourself if these terms are foreign to you. I’d start with:
http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2011/11/nerds-and-male-privilege/all/1/
http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2011/12/dont-be-a-creeper/
http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2011/01/supply-side-rape-prevention.html
http://pervocracy.blogspot.com/2011/03/rape-culture-defending-indefensible.html
http://www.shakesville.com/2010/01/feminism-101.html

This deserves its own post, and I will do my best to get one up in a timely manner. There are so many ways that patriarchy and misogyny effects pornography consumption… Not something that performers need to be “saved” from, but more ways that guys act that are messed up. I just don’t have the brainpower to go into it in the depth it deserves right now. The above links are a good starting point, though.

Price

I’ve gone over this already, but will add a few more points. Porn is a luxury item, like cable TV, a Netflix subscription, a magazine or newspaper subscription, a trip to the movies, etc. These aren’t exactly human rights, but things that are nice to indulge in when you have the disposable income for it. You shouldn’t have to go into debt to buy porn, but you should pay when you can. Even buying 2 clips a month is better than not buying anything. Performers are generally understanding of financial difficulties, but when you say you can’t purchase a $3 clip, it begs the question- why are you wasting time on the Internet? Time is money, and the time you use begging for free stuff could be used finding a new or better job, selling some old stuff on eBay, or browsing Craigslist for odd jobs. If you’re not going to make the effort, why should they?

Ease of Use

It’s sooo much easier to find paid content than it is to find quality tube sites or torrents. Once you find a few sites you like, you can count on those sites to reliably supply quality content. This is especially true for niche producers. The sites are usually pretty straight forward, though I have to say the My Free Cam token system drives me nuts… Some cam sites also have daily spending limits, so it makes containing your spending much easier.

Content Curation

You really don’t get this from tube sites, and torrents usually do a crappy job of it. Content curation, when it comes to porn, is about the skill a producer has in creating content that caters to their audience. They listen to what people want, research different fetishes and sexological acts, and incorporate this knowledge into how they package/present their material.

What does this all boil down to?

Adult performers deserve to be paid for their time and effort. Most independent porn producers do much more than model. They typically are a one stop shop, needing to be proficient in photography, videography, photo/video/audio editing, choreography, marketing, sales, psychology, social networking, social media, accounting, PR, presentation skills, HTML, computer security, identity protection, fetishes, law, sexology, and time management… to name a few! To suggest that they don’t deserve to be compensated for their skills in these areas is sexist and insulting. If people don’t pay for porn, they will take these skills and go elsewhere. Let’s not let that happen!