Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Astrology is a funny thing to me. I have met so many creative, put together, and seemingly intelligent people who are really into horoscopes, charting out signs and the like. Moon risings (or is it sun rising?), water signs, planetary crossings. My personality instinctively reacts against such concepts. I mean, it just sounds like so much mumbo jumbo. Yet I have to admit that the descriptions I've heard about my sign all seem pretty groovy, and much of it aligns with how I am.


Scorpios are the most intense, profound, powerful characters in the zodiac. Even when they appear self-controlled and calm there is a seething intensity of emotional energy under the placid exterior. They are like the volcano not far under the surface of a calm sea, it may burst into eruption at any moment. But those of us who are particularly perceptive will be aware of the harnessed aggression, the immense forcefulness, magnetic intensity, and often strangely hypnotic personality under the tranquil, but watchful composure of Scorpio. In conventional social gatherings they are pleasant to be with, thoughtful in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous; they sometimes possess penetrating eyes which make their shyer companions feel naked and defenseless before them.


So perhaps I should stop rolling my eyes every time I hear people go on about the zodiac. I mean, they do say Scorpios are the most powerfully erotic of them all -- how could I complain about that? ;-)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

My latest guilty pleasure: American Curves magazine. I actually came upon the hard copy version in a Safeway magazine rack, of all of places. You should have seen the checkout boy when I brought it to the counter. He was flipping through the pages of "glorious glutes," holding it up and shouting to the other checkers to take a look. It was pretty funny.

I love how hard-bodied these fitness models look -- it takes me back to She-Hulk and all those sexy, buffed out comic book superheroines. It's nice too because these models look like mature, knowing women as opposed to emaciated little girls.

I'm not one to embrace one aesthetic over another. After all, I used to get constantly teased at a tender age for being all skin and bones. And while I definitely believe in the power of exercise, I still have a more slender body than these uber-muscular hotties. In this case, I say "Vive la difference!"

Promising developments on the transgender front...

Recently, the Supreme Court let stand a ruling that a transsexual police officer was wrongly demoted for dressing as a man at work but a woman off hours (and sometimes wearing makeup and long nails while on duty). He'll receive over $300,000 in restitution and have his legal bills paid. Impressive!

Hollywood continues to increase its coverage of transgender issues. This season, several new movies -- some generating Oscar buzz -- will feature prominent actors in gay or transgender roles. Breakfast on Pluto is by the director of The Crying Game and tells the story of an Irish transvestite and an Irish Republican Army militant. In Transamerica, Felicity Huffman of Desperate Housewives fame plays a transsexual who meets her teenage son for the first time. Capote, Brokeback Mountain and Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang also deal with these themes. It will be interesting to see how balanced a portrayal these films will pull off. Hopefully, shining light on the issue will bring us closer to acceptance and understanding.

On cable television, Sundance Channel’s reality series TransGeneration follows the lives of four transgender college students over the course of the 2004-2005 school year as they face academic, social and family challenges and confront their gender identity. Though I am not a big fan of the reality show format, I think this show will help illuminate the everyday concerns of transgender youth by giving us a view into their first-hand experiences.

In the realm of porn, transgender features are really hitting their stride. A series I highly recommend (and which is currently ranked #2 in AVN's specialty films rankings) is She-Males Invade Italy. Produced by Rocco Siffredi for Evil Angel, this series is a revelation. Seriously, this is some of the best porn I have ever seen. The scenes bring together hot Italians of 3 distinct persuasions: men, women and male-to-female transsexuals. There is one orgy scene with at least 15 people and everyone plays with each other. There is something so liberating in seeing this, the melding of gender, the tossing away of tired hang-ups, the pure joy of unadultered eroticism. If I were the director, the one tweak I would make would be to add a stronger femme domme element by having the women don strap-ons and have the men fully switch in and out of the receptive roles just as the women and TSs do. Now that would be hotter than hell ;-)

On a final note, a friend of mine gave me a copy of Alice in Genderland, psychiatrist Dr. Richard Novic's memoir of his triumphant struggle to balance wife and kids while at the same time fulfilling his ever-present desire to live life as a woman. By having an understanding spouse who allows him the freedom to explore his feminine side on his own (and even have a boyfriend), Dr. Novic finally finds peace and happiness.

I initially read Dr. Novic's story with the intention of gaining a better understanding of my cross-dressing submissives. Yet in the end, I found inspiration to be honest and assertive about my own needs and desires. We may not all look the same or have the same "parts," but I truly believe we can all learn from each other.

Monday, November 7, 2005

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My birthday cake! We decided she needed a little something extra and added one lit candle to simulate a flaming strap-on. Fire walk with me!

I am actually still recovering from my wild celebration. I lost my voice amidst the revelry, slowly coming back (though I know some of you like that husky sound ;-).

I'll be at The Gates on Wednesday. Take care all. . .

Friday, November 4, 2005

Last night I saw the documentary Writer of O, which was featured in the San Francisco version of the NY-based CineKink film festival. I'm sure many readers are familiar with Story of O,which was published in Paris in 1954. The beautifully written tale of a woman's sexual and sadomasochistic submission -- shocking even by today's standards -- was an instant sensation. It was an immediate bestseller which sparked a literary revolution, becoming the most read French novel in the world by the 1960s. The book's official author was Pauline Reage, but the true writer remained hidden for many years. Only after reaching a ripe old age did Dominique Aury, an outwardly prim and proper editor of an influential French publishing house, reveal herself (She states in the film that she had waited until after her parents died. She then waited even longer because she felt her geriatric status would make it all a bit less scandalous!).

Though the documentary focused on the liberating qualities of Aury's novel, I was more struck by how her anonymity liberated her. It allowed her to truly express herself without censorship from herself or others. She states that what each of us is drawn to as a reader is something in the text which reflects the self. In this vein, I was seeing parallels with my own writing as Mistress Xia.

In the film, Aury says that the truth cannot be hidden in one's writing; that writing is truth. Indeed, I feel that my best work neccesarily involves an element of soul-baring. It is ironic that by having a pseudonym -- as well as not showing my face in photos --I actually feel more free to reveal myself. I don't have to think twice. I can simply write in peace.

Another interesting aspect to the film was the focus on the heroine of Story of O's destruction in terms of her desire to dissolve the self. To surrender completely to something greater than the individual will. To me, this sounds very similar to the spiritual notion of no self and of the oneness of all things. O's drive to lose herself can be seen within this larger context. She was searching for a greater meaning. Those who arbitrarily label such explorations obscene and immoral simply because of the sadomasochistic eroticism are not awake to the spiritual underpinnings.

I find the Story of O a powerful, erotically charged novel which arouses the complexity of life, love and womanhood. It is interesting to note that before she revealed herself, many people assumed that only a man could have written such a story. I attended the screening with a friend. She and I both said the same thing to each other,"I told a few people I was going to this tonight and they couldn't believe that Story of O was really written by a woman."

Love or hate it, this story of a woman's sexual subjugation was written by a woman -- an intelligent and established member of French literary society at that. In the film, Aury scoffs at the idea that women are supposed to be the upholders of a "greater morality". It is this thinking which blinded almost everyone to the truth of the work's authorship.

For myself, my initial fantasies often did involve an element of submission. But unlike the author of Story of O, who apparently had a vivid imagination but did little in real-life, I have lived out many of my fantasies. One's secret yearnings, once realized, change and evolve. Through my experiences, I progressed to an erotic headspace more in alignment with my core personality. I suspect if Dominique Aury actually had the opportunity to re-create some of her fantasies, that she would also have journeyed to another level. Perhaps then we would have a sequel, say the Story of X ;-)

I continue to appreciate Story of O as a whole, without overly identifying with any particular role or gender. Yet ideologically I have always been drawn to the femme domme. When I started my career as Mistress Xia, I saw the pursuit of female dominance professionally as the final piece of the puzzle for me. My head and heart were already there. I wanted my erotic center to be there as well. Why was this the last to come around? Skeptics may say that truly dominant women are born not made. And of course there is some truth to that. The challenge comes in finding oneself amidst the constraints put upon us as the "fairer" sex.

In this way, I see the bedroom (and the dungeon) as the final frontier. Even the strongest woman feels the tug of those deeply ingrained messages: "To be pretty is to be valuable as a woman. To be too assertive is to be unfeminine. To be unfeminine is to be ugly. And to be ugly is to have no value." So you can imagine with this line of thinking underlying so much of what it supposedly means to be a woman, even the most naturally dominant woman can be paralyzed in the erotic realm.

It reminds me of the strong conditioning boys and men experience about what it means to be masculine, especially the fear of being seen as weak, feminine or gay. In this sense, my dominance has been a coming out. It's strange because at times I have surprised myself by how well the role suits me. At first, it was as if I was just trying it on for fun. And now it so much more than that. I realize it is central to who I am and has always been. Accepting it now, I no longer have to be the angry feminist ranting at the vanilla world. I have crafted a little alternative universe with wonderful people all around me. And it feels great :-)