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  • vol. i

    Reclaiming Pleasure

    — vol. i

    Acknowledgment of the trauma associated with Black women’s sexuality and determination to move forward.


    Written · August 26, 2018

    Big Dick Energy: Black Femme Straps the Binary

    Will I be a grunter? Should I wear sunglasses? Timbs? Focus on speed or depth? Toss her into mad positions or excel in one?

    There I was, studying Pinky’s strap game on Pornhub.com - trying to compose my silicone dick persona.

    As a black cis queer femme and sexual assault survivor, I’ve been working through my problematic ideas about masculinity. My trauma has enabled extremist correlations: 1. Masculine = monster 2. Penetration = patriarchy. I know, I know...drag me.

    My aversion to strap-ons began with the fear of becoming a version of my cis-het male abusers. As if having and using a dick would ignite an uncontrollable violence within me. Patriarchy sold me destructive narratives about cis-het males and I bought it - then projected it onto anyone with a penis.

    Further sex education helped me discover that clitorial stimulation, not vaginal, was the key to my orgasm. This confirmation that my pussy wasn’t broken helped me liberate myself from heteronormative expectation. I took pride in being a “progressive” lesbian, thriving outside of the domme-femme paradigm, as all my lovers fell between the spectrum of high femme to stemme. I didn’t give masculine-of-center women the time of day. I assumed sex with them meant taking a strap and the last thing I wanted was some dick.

    None of the women I slept with wanted to be strapped either. Well, a few did but quality sex toys were never in a bitch’s budget. Watching “lesbian” strap-on porn meant looking into a world I couldn’t afford. I pretended to be too evolved to be interested. I needed to prove that dick-less sex was still valid.

    But as I returned to black hetero porn, curiosity transformed into arrogance: I could do better than these niggas. These niggas with their useless hands and their directionless strokes. I’m a dancer. I got abs. I could blow a back out proper.

    I had gassed myself up to outshine professional porn performers. So when one of my lovers asked me to help condition her newly purchased silicone, I had to get my shit together. Quick. Will I talk dirty? Should I bring condoms? What if I trigger myself?

    After crawling out of an anxiety spiral, I unlocked the mysterious secret behind bomb sex: I talked to my lover. I expressed my concerns and she listened. She revealed her desires and I took diligent mental notes. It was erotic. Talking about what she wanted and what I aimed to give became foreplay. My level 10 fear was knocked down to a smooth 6. Yes bitch, I was still scared. But the possibility of bringing her a new pleasure was exhilarating.

    I was distracted by my inner monologue when she helped me put on the harness. I repeated: you won’t be like them. You will be better than them. You won’t be like them. When the mantra finally trailed off I noticed how the harness gave me a natural booty lift. I felt sexy. When I began diving my pelvis into her warm parts I was surprised by how feminine I felt. Fucking her meant whining and gyrating my hips. Each thrust was a sensational brush against my clit. I was drenched every which-a-way, employing a kind of strategic stamina that could only be conjured by black magic, honestly. Truly.

    Witnessing her journey towards ecstasy was a breathtaking experience. No, literally. I was sweating, a nigga was tired. I laid there in awe of my discovery - and newfound appreciation of those who blow backs out. My femme suddenly had the freedom to look like a crimson bodycon dress AND a jet black dildo in a harness. Aggression was no longer a trait owned by masculinity. I began unpacking what femmeness actually meant for me and why I dubbed femininity superior.

    These questions birthed a pivotal agency. I was done countering narratives - trying to prove society right or wrong. Instead, I became fascinated with surrendering to my curiosities without a political agenda. Wondering if it would even be possible for my highly politicized body to compose a sexual identity from scratch. Or why I even needed to be a thing before I did a thing.

    I just wanted to be open to all the ways I can feel sexy, all the ways I can please my lover without the binary guise of masculinity or femininity.

    My initial goal of “femming the strap” got lost in the sauce. I didn’t want to move forward with the motive of being better than black male pornstars or vicariously rewriting my history with sexual abuse. Fucking her catalyzed finding my way out of a labyrinth of trauma’s cerebral cubicles.

    Don’t get it twisted - I’m still running into walls. My therapist is trying to help me demolish the big ones and I know time has a invaluable hand in healing. But sex. Mind-blowing, consensual sex isn’t a bad way to keep my hips busy.

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    As told by

    nicole shanté

    nicole shanté is definitely the quiet one yo mama warned you about. Currently residing in Brooklyn, this cluster of Midwest accents and Southern hospitality writes, dances, and teaches from a black queer womanist lens. The choreopoet is a recipient of fellowships from Poets House, Willow Arts Alliance, The Poetry Project, & Cave Canem. She was also a contributing staff writer for Sula Collective and a Writer-in-Performance at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Brooklyn Arts Council awarded her a 2017 Local Arts Grant to write, produce, direct, & choreograph another goddamn lesbian movie / a choreopoem. She believes Gucci Mane is the hood’s Shakespeare, yellow is your favorite color's favorite color, and ice cream.

    This story is part of Reclaiming Pleasure, a theme that the Black Girl Magik collective explored and invited the community to investigate with us through a practice of communal healing and coalition building.

    Disconnecting to Reconnect

    The Black Girl Magik collective supports each member in her healing journeys through our annual self-care break. During this time we disconnect from social media to the capacity our programming allows, the internet and other distractions to further reconnect with ourselves. Additionally, we take this time to re-engage with the mission of the collective and to return the root of what it means to organize and build collectively. We are now considering what this self-care break can look like when we invite transparency into our restoration process, and engage our community through physical programming.

    The main goal of our residency with Powrplnt is to provide resources for women of color to engage in restoration and healing and to define self-care on their terms. We aim to: 1) conjure the capacity to center the resilience of women of color; 2) provide resources for women of color to engage in restoration and healing with us, and to define self-care on their terms; 3) host programming, open studios and discussions for and with the community.

    Healing is a journey and we are honoring this journey as a collective by disconnecting from social media, the internet and other distractions to further reconnect with ourselves. We invite you to join us and can’t wait to share how you can meet us IRL.

    All Themes

    Reclaiming Pleasure
    Returning Home

    Reclaiming Pleasure

    "Reclaiming Pleasure" is the assertion of sexual power, alongside a period of recovery. It is a Black woman finding strength in her sensuality and grounding autonomy in the realms of pleasure and desire. It is the rejection of standards set on our ancestors and the distinction between agency and objectification.

    Our Stories (2)

    Conversations (1)

    Events (1)

    Vibes (3)

    Resident DJ: Alfafa Brown

    vol. i — Trunode

    Resident DJ: ON MOMMAS

    vol. ii — In Practice of Being

    All Themes

    Reclaiming Pleasure
    Returning Home

    Returning Home

    “Returning Home” is an exploration back to lands, rituals and traditions that we have always known. It is voyaging and feeling at home as soon as you step foot on the ground. It is hearing music and your soul perceiving the frequencies. It is seeing a familiar face and knowing that somehow you have met before. “Returning Home” is a return to self.

    Our Stories(3)

    Conversations (1)

    Events (7)

    Vibes (3)

    Resident DJ: Poetic

    vol. i — Coming Home

    Resident DJ: Diva

    vol. ii — Congo Calypso

    All Themes

    Reclaiming Pleasure
    Returning Home