Thursday, May 11, 2017

From Pleasure Pie: It's My Pleasure

Have I talked about Pleasure Pie here before? They're an awesome sex positive organization based in Boston. They put on incredible events (I've been to their sex letter writing workshop, their sex positive activism workshop, and a couple of their discussions), and they also put out a great collection of zines and stickers.

I'm proud to say that my work is in one of their recent products, the "It's My Pleasure" Masturbation Zine.

Nicole from Pleasure Pie invited me to read from my piece at the recent launch party, and I was shocked by how different that felt from reading the work I normally publish. Something about the style of the zine and of Pleasure Pie opened me up to writing in a way that feels more raw and vulnerable than usual. My work often makes me feel a little vulnerable, but this was like handing over a nerve ending.

Here's the description of the zine:

This is a collaborative zine about masturbation! It consists of short, personal writings that describe the specifics of how different people masturbate (from a first-person perspective), and what their relationships to masturbation are like. Submissions include people from a variety of gender identities, sexual orientations, races, and ages.

This zine is 26 pages long and measures 4.25" x 5.5". It is printed in black and white ink, with a collage background, and a hand illustrated cover.

My piece is about an experience of change I've been having over the last few years. Masturbation has always been very important to me, and a huge part of my life. I used to feel a lot of shame about it, but erotica reading and writing helped me to embrace myself as I am and to stop feeling bad. At that point, I thought, great, this problem is solved. However, as with many things in life, I did not at that point get to live happily ever after. As questions piled up for me about my sexual orientation, and what I do and don't want to do sexually, I found that they affected my experience of masturbation. My piece in the zine is about my mixed feelings about that change. There are ways I'm honestly happy and excited about the need for more exploration, and there are ways that my emotions around this include a lot of grief and confusion.

All the pieces in the zine are incredibly moving and honest, though, so I'm in amazing company. I really admire Pleasure Pie's project here—one part of the goal was to demystify this often secret and shame-filled practice and talk about how a variety of people experience it. I think this is a really powerful thing to do, and it makes me love Pleasure Pie even more than I already did.

The launch event was a wonderful party, where, aside from listening to readings, I really enjoyed the masturbation-themed coloring activity (you can play along at home by getting the pages from Pleasure Pie's Etsy shop).

The It's My Pleasure Masturbation Zine is also available from Pleasure Pie's Etsy. Pleasure Pie sells it on a sliding scale between $4 and $8—please pay what you can.

If you do check out the Etsy, take a look at other zines if you have a chance. I'm particularly interested in "That's Okay," which Pleasure Pie describes like this:

A very sweet little zine about consent told through the story of a knight who rescues a princess. The knight goes through hardship to get to her, but she refuses to live happily ever after with him. He respects her decision, no questions asked. If only more fairy tales ended this way!

A student wrote this zine at a zine making station that I had at a college in Boston, and I loved it so much that I asked if I could publish it. He said yes, and a wonderful Pleasure Pie volunteer illustrated it to look like an old video game. Now you can buy the finished product that resulted from their collaboration!

DETAILS: This zine measures 2.75" x 4.25" and is printed on standard white computer paper, using color ink.

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