Romance and Discipline Burlesque's Girl Who Fell to Earth Sat, 13 Jul 2013 05:44:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 (My First Time) My first time taking my clothes off in front of 500 people by Madame Rosebud Sun, 30 Jun 2013 08:59:10 +0000 madamer Back in the day

Back in the day

My first time stripping in 2005 was really a long time coming, according to my mother at least.  She had told me my whole life that stripping might be something I’d have to rely on to make it through college and that, given my natural affinity for what is now known as twerking, I would probably be pretty damn good at it. My Mom had no idea that after moving to New York at 17 to attend an acting conservatory, I would turn to the art form known as the “Strip Tease” not to pay for school but to save my artistic soul.

After suffocating in rooms with other aspiring actors, doing place work, learning how to be in the moment and studying the method, I simply wanted to have fun. My school spoiled its students with the opportunity to go to innumerable free plays and musicals.  The only hitch was they were performed by the conservatory’s company (to which I would later graduate).  I saw many “things” performed, but there was only one show that truly moved me: a grotesque German piece from the Weimar era about a young gay man whose dalliances with his male and female friends eventually eroded all their friendships.  It ended in a spectacular scene of gore with his female lover begging him to fuck her as she lay on the ground center stage, rapidly opening and closing a pair of large scissors after cutting a hole in the crotch of her pants. The final image was the two of them tangled on the floor rutting as she begged for a grander climax (death) and he ripped the scissors from her hands and plunged them into the side of her neck, spraying viscera across the back wall of the stage.

I went to every possible showing of that play. Sometimes I was one of only a handful of people in the audience. It moved me. The longing, the fluidity of the sex on display, the jaded vibe of that particularly decadent era.  I saw that and I thought, “That’s me! That’s me, Mom!”  One of my favorite films, Velvet Goldmine, has a similar moment: Christian Bale looks at the David Bowie doppelganger on the telly all camped up in glitter eye makeup and screams to his bewildered parents, “That’s me Da!!!”  I found a lot of similarities between these two eras, the glitter rock age and the Weimar republic, both drenched in dilapidated glamour, androgyny, and theatrics. The feeling that compelled me to keep going back to that Weimar piece was the same feeling that compelled me to make my first Burlesque act.

Drawing on the Weimar era as my theme, I chose to make a tribute act to the infamous dancer Anita Berber, a woman whose fearlessness and vanity I envy to this day.  Women like her are rare.  Our modern day equivalent might be Tilda Swinton, but even that makes Berber sound tame.  Anita waltzed into restaurants wearing a monocle, a fur coat, a live monkey… and nothing else.  She routinely held press conferences in her private apartments fully nude.  She performed new, never-before-seen movements that bewitched and shocked audiences.  Her brazenness and eccentricity is the stuff of legend.  Even now, looking at stills of her dancing I feel the electric hunger of seeing something raw and new.

Gorgeous Anita

Gorgeous Anita

I chose to perform, with total fidelity to all available documentation, a recreation of her famous Morphine Act, in which she confronted audiences by actually shooting up on stage.  I prepared an all-black ensemble that updated her original look, I cropped my platinum hair into a graphic bob in reference to the period, and I bleached my eyebrows to give my eyes a hollow look.  I found a lovely song (also entitled Morphine by Jollie Holland) that evoked the mood I wanted, not overtly sexy but languid and sensual.  And then I rehearsed every day. For a month.

At that time in New York there was one show every Burlesque beginner wanted to be in, and that was The World Famous BOB’s New Girl Review. To this day, I love BOB and feel as though I owe a her great debt for giving me the opportunity she did.  I was nobody. And she remains one of the most incredible stage presences I have ever met. Nobody loves you like BOB loves you.  It’s just the facts.  And as I stood backstage, looking very different from all the other girls and feeling very out of place, she held me to her giant bosom and told me, “Poodle you’ll be great!”

Look at her!

Look at her!

At that time, a lot of the burlesque I saw around the city was neo and much more uptempo than the currently in-vogue classic style. My all black, moody, slow narrative was a bit out of step with the rest of the show, but it was the story I wanted to tell… and down to my electrical tape x’s on my nipples, I was proud to be different.  I was also totally about to pee myself. I wasn’t nervous about being almost naked in front of a sold-out house (I had already performed nude as Queen Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream). I wasn’t nervous about the fact that I performed the first half of the act completely blind because I wore a black sash over my eyes. I wasn’t nervous about disgracing my parents or ruining my acting career.

I was nervous that the audience wouldn’t be transported. I was worried they wouldn’t feel like they were right there with me in my macabre world. I wanted to do to them what the play had done to me. I wanted to take them away from this place.

But before I could work myself up into too much of a panic, the lights came up.  There I sat, heaped atop a folding chair with a blindfold on and a syringe in my hand.  The melody started (“give me that ol’ fashioned morphine….”) and away I went, just as I’d rehearsed. My mind echoed with the whispered advice of my old dance teacher while I attempted to project being high on a drug I’d never taken. For those few minutes, I was a beautiful strung out sloppy mess, one who took her clothes off because she just felt that good. Each clumsy move had been rehearsed over and over, and the effect was perfect. I ended where I began, sprawled in my chair, only naked in drug induced coma… to radio silence. Because I couldn’t hear the applause, which I have been told was deafening. But I do remember BOB saying, “Well, I just brought you some Broadway shit up in here!”

With that, I knew I would never be an actor. I was always meant to be an old fashioned stripper.


]]> 0
Happy Birthday Suit from The Birthday Flower by Madame Rosebud and Steve Prue Mon, 15 Apr 2013 15:44:23 +0000 madamer Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook Teamrockstar Road Trip - Lemonaid Lookbook image image-8 image-6 image-2 image-1

A birthday present from me on my birthday, a little peek at the birthday suit fun I had with the inimitable Steve Prue at Shangri-la Studios BK on Valentines Day of this year <3

Wall paper designs by the smokin hot Cliffton Creque- Please take and spank!






]]> 0
Hold, Please…. by Madame Rosebud 10.23.12 Tue, 23 Oct 2012 06:29:46 +0000 madamer

Hello, everyone.  I want to make my apologies for not updating the site on a regular schedule.  External factors have emerged that will make updating the site impossible til after the first week of November.  When that rolls around, I’ll be back to regular updates once again.  So once more, please accept my apologies and stay tuned!  I’ll be back before you know it.


]]> 1
AUTHENTICITY MONTH: I Love You and You and You… by Madame Rosebud 10.5.12 Fri, 05 Oct 2012 08:20:09 +0000 madamer

What makes true love real?  What makes it true?  What makes it authentic?

Is it sparks?  Is it longing?  Is it a foundation of friendship?  Is it all-consuming desire?  Is it that feeling, that ethereal whisper, “This is the one”?  If you’re lucky and you find that “one,” you live happily ever after, right?

Now what if you’re SUPER lucky, what if you have many great lovers over the course of your long life?  If they were all monumental loves, does that mean any one of them is less real?

Take that and condense it.  What if you open yourself up to love and you have many great loves all at once?  Not stretched out over time in a linear, monogamous sense, but spiraling out from you here and now.  Does it mean your love is flimsy?  Are you still a steadfast and true lover?

These were questions I often asked myself 3 years ago.  Was I an inconstant lover because I was…DUM DUM DUM…polyamorous?

That word, polyamory (“poly” for short), was not a part of my vocabulary until about four years ago, when a co-worker gifted me a book by radical love warrior Wendy-O Matik called Redefining Our Relationships.  The book was small, unassuming, really more like a pamphlet, yet it contained a whole world.  A world that sounded beautiful and wonderful, and definitely too good to be true.

Before we proceed, let me make this abundantly clear: polyamory is NOT polygamy.  The majority of plural marriages practiced in North America are a patriarchal practice, usually motivated by some fundamentalist form of organized religion.  The women in most plural marriages do not enjoy the same freedom as the men, and the lack of mobility is usually increased by a focused effort to procreate.  In poly relationships, both parties agree to honor and communicate the terms of their “openness,” negotiating conditions as they live and love together.

Back to a world that was too good to be true.  I felt like the book was taunting me.  You see, contrary to my history as a serial monogamist, I harbored a deep, dark dream that maybe someday someone would present me such a truth.  I burned that dream.  I beat it down into the ground of my consciousness.  I told myself that what I dreamt of was just a case of “the wandering eye.”  Because to think of loving more than one person at once is more than wrong.  It’s cruel.  Right?

I grew up in a home that truly valued monogamy.  My parents are still, to this day, deeply in love with each other, and part of how they demonstrate that is by practicing devotion strictly to each other. My father won’t even look at a Playboy because he feels it dishonors his relationship with my mother.  My mother likes to joke sometimes, but I know my father is the only one for her.  I look back with deep admiration and respect for their love.  They were truly destined to be together.  I also naturally mirrored this growing up.  I never cheated, not once.  When I tried to come out as pan-sexual to my mother, she informed me that in her opinion, “People who go both ways are really using it as an excuse to be promiscuous.”  So I sublimated everything but my hetero urges and vowed never to get married.  Even when I was stranded in the wasteland of monogamy, I never saw myself with just one person.  I could at least be truthful about that: I wanted to have many loves over the course of my life.  Never just one.

I will always think of my co-worker who gifted me that book as my fairy godmother.  And listening to her stories as the tried to navigate her new out status as both gay and poly in a committed relationship was invaluable.  She and her girlfriend provided me with a new model.  Her girlfriend identified as monogamous but supported my co-worker and her new poly status.  I worried, was my co-worker’s girlfriend a masochist?  How could she live with the knowledge that my co-worker saw other people?  I learned very quickly that the focus of a couple like this is communication.  A much deeper and fearless kind than I had ever heard before.  Transparency and a willingness to volunteer personal information were also key.  Even though they adapted quickly and easily to these new conditions, that didn’t mean there weren’t crying fights and nights spent alone.  But what mattered was that, drama aside, my co-worker’s girlfriend did not feel devalued or underloved.  In fact, as my co-worker grew into herself as poly, she was able to love better and bolder, and her girlfriend relished it.

Imagine being able to see with both eyes after being forced to look through a small hole punch in a sheet of paper your whole life.  The beauty, the color, the clarity…they might overwhelm you.  That is how I felt when I learned I wasn’t alone.  That my heart could roam free and the only thing that could limit it was my waking hours in the day.  I went right out with Bastard Keith’s blessing on several dates with many different girls, and got my heart broken a bunch.  I learned that whether you are alone after a breakup or you have a supportive primary or secondary lover, it doesn’t matter: a broken heart still hurts like hell.  I started dating men too, and I realized it was similarly fraught with the same old perils. Except with a new twist.

I would say that a third of the men I’ve dated since coming out as poly feel overly entitled to make assumptions about what I owe them sexually, since in their eyes I am more “free-spirited” than the average person.  On the flip side of that coin, Bastard Keith has had to deal with similarly offensive behavior from men who feel like because I’m poly they have the right to say outrageously inappropriate things to him about me.  I believe this is because somewhere deep in the collective subconscious, we have accepted the idea that it is a husband’s job to control his wife.  That means demanding her loyalty in the form of monogamy.  If a poly female-bodied person like me marries a monogamous man like Bastard Keith and I remain poly, he has not held up his end of the social contract in controlling me.  Therefore, respect for either of us is not necessary.  Frustration, of course, is not limited to just dealing with tone-deaf, horny idiots.  There are also the people who think I’m crazy.  I have, in fact, even been told I have a mental illness by someone who should know better.  I am strange, but not because I’m poly.  That is one of the most well-adjusted facets of my mental state.  Because it’s the truth, because it’s a real orientation, just like a sexual or gender-based one.

No, poly people are not crazy.  Just the opposite of monogamous people.  So many monogamists have said to me, “God, that just sounds like so much work!  One is enough!”  I feel exactly the same way, except in reverse.  To me, loving, caring for, doting on one person just makes me feel like I have a sliver of glass in my eye.  It legitimately feels wrong to me.  To me, growing what my lovers jokingly call my “harem” feels easy, comfortable and right.  Dividing up my week between them, planning special tailored dates for them, and being there for them as they need me feels like how life is supposed to be to me.  I love each one of them uniquely.  I would go with each of them to the ends of the earth, or shave a year off my life for each one.  Each of them, even the lovers I no longer see, are the “one” for me.  It just so happens that it’s “ones,” plural, instead of “one,” singular.

If it seems like I see this all through rose-colored glasses, that’s just because I don’t take telling my “truth” for granted.  When society wants you to live a lie, you learn to love having the freedom to tell the truth.  But it’s not all “love-ins” and “group dates.”  I’ve had my heart broken a lot, but I’ve also broken some hearts.  Because I have a career, and a job, and a dog, and a family I deeply love, and then many lovers, I don’t have a lot of time.  Even to Bastard Keith, I’m not a full-time lover.  I try my best, I spread myself thin; I like it like that.  But it doesn’t leave a lot of room for error, or for myself.

I don’t get jealous, but my lovers sometimes get jealous of each other.  I do my best to help them understand that I make time for them because I love them.  I love their individuality, their spirit, and I want to honor their heart.  I also try to emphasize that it’s not the other lovers that take away what should be “their” time, but that the time I make for them is the time I’ve got.  I earn their trust as best I can.  Sometimes (especially when they fall deeply in love with me), nothing I do is enough, no amount of communicating or honest adoration can close the gap in either their needs or insecurities.

And even though it shreds my heart to do so, I have to let them go.  Because no matter how many times I say, “You need another lover,” I cannot make them put forth the effort and I cannot be something I’m not.  I can’t be anyone’s full-time girlfriend.  I also can’t force something to be functional when it isn’t.  Sometimes my encouragement to go out and take other lovers bruises their ego.  It feels like a rejection when it couldn’t be further from it.  The idea of them being loved and appreciated by someone else fills me with joy.  But I want them to come back because I adore them, because though I may not be their full-time lover, I love them with the intensity of 1,000 hearts.

You may be wondering a lot of things, like, what is the number of lovers I prefer to keep?  The answer: 4 is nice, 5 is perfect.  You may wonder, why did I get married after vowing not to?  Truthfully, even though it shocked my mother, I proposed to Bastard Keith because I wanted him to know I understood that he truly accepted all of me.  To me, he is the definition of an evolved being.  He understood that to love someone like me means desiring all of their truth.  I mean, he is the kind of person who enjoyed spending our wedding night sitting next to our hotel suite bathtub while Sovereign and I bathed together.  Also because he’s a genius.

You may wonder, how do I see myself in ten years?  Hopefully with 5 lovers who can all enjoy each other’s company enough to periodically share a table with each other.  I see myself cooking for them, traveling with them, and making art with them.  You might ask, “But would you commit yourself to a person other than Keith for the rest of your life?  Could a secondary or tertiary lover count on you for that?”  For me, the answer is an unequivocal “YES!”  I’m currently dating someone who, though he has real difficulties with my life, I hope is a lover for the rest of my life.  I hope I get to cook soup for him when we are old lovers together.  He is my warrior prince.  I hope to get to take Sov to the south of France for our 10-year anniversary.  I want to see who she becomes.  Yes, these are real lifetime commitments, true lifetime love affairs.

Yes, this is real, raw, authentic love.  I don’t know what else to say other than “Viva poly amour.”


]]> 0
AUTHENTICITY MONTH: 31 in 31 Challenge: PROJECT ORGASMATRON by Madame Rosebud 10.2.12 Tue, 02 Oct 2012 21:27:42 +0000 madamer

“That’s not where that’s supposed to go.”

“Yes, that is absolutely a vibe in my purse.”

(This challenge is for female-bodied readers, as their plumbing is designed for this kind of challenge, and there is debate about how healthy it is for the male body)

My mother and I have this joke that has become a source of much laughter in my adult years.  “When in doubt, do #4.”  It’s really an inside joke between she and my father.  You see, back when they were new parents they, like a lot of fellow baby boomers, became interested in holistic medicine.  They picked up a book full of DIY preparations, lists of things to cure common ailments…and sure enough, on almost every list, #4 was “sex with orgasm.”  My mother’s response to every health issue then for some time was, “Oh, well we better #4, then.”  She shared this with me years after I moved out of the house, partly to make me laugh and partly because she was shocked that even at the age of 23 I didn’t and wouldn’t masturbate.  I couldn’t figure it out, I told her.  “Why do people even do it?”

Really, I was hiding with humor the truth, which was: I really didn’t like touching myself.  Anywhere.  I had never reaped the benefits of either self love, or of love from another.  At 23 I still had not had an orgasm.  When I admitted to my mother that I didn’t ever indulge myself, I thought my abstinence would be a point of pride.  Instead, my mother was aghast.  “You never?!  Oh dear, you need to fix that.”  You see, even though I’d internalized a lot of my religious upbringing, my mother had always been very open and supportive of me having heteronormative sexual experiences.  I distinctly remember her telling me at age 6 that she didn’t want me to marry the first man I slept with.  I needed to, in her words, “check under the hood before buying the car.”

Looking back, our birds and bees talks always focused on the interaction between me and my hypothetical male lover.  Self love, though not taboo, was never discussed because my mother assumed I would figure it out on my own.  I never knew that I should have just been doing it all the time.  People around me only ever talked about boys engaging in it.  When I was on the volleyball team in junior high, there was never a peep about it in the locker room.  Only who was a slut and who had the coolest sunglasses.

I will never know if, had it been openly advocated during my childhood, I would have practiced it with regularity.  But I do know that after I learned that I should be doing it, I couldn’t.  Whenever my hands trailed over my body to seek answers, I only ever felt one thing: disgust.  Old demons I thought I’d banished a long time ago awoke to threaten my fragile happiness.  “I’m too fat to feel good, I’m ugly naked, my vagina feels gross, and worst of all, I have to do this because no one else wants to touch me.  I’m pathetic.”  When these are the thoughts chasing themselves around in your head, having an orgasm is the last thing on your mind!

So I gave up for a few more years.  I focused on other things.  I came out, I fell in love with myself and am proud to have had many orgasms.  Now when I touch my body, I feel something that arouses me.  I excite myself, hopefully the way you excite yourself under the touch of your own hand.  I’m thrilled to be able to report this progress…and yet the act of masturbation itself still has not become a common part of my self love ritual.  I chalk this up to habit.  And what a bad habit to have.

In an effort to break this habit, for the month of October I will be committing to a 31 in 31 challenge.  I will masturbate to orgasm at least once a day, and document every Monday what the benefits, effects and difficulties of carrying out this challenge.  Sexual encounters with others don’t count, and stimulating oneself to multiple orgasm counts as 1.  If you feel compelled to give more to yourself, do!  But you can’t make up for a missed day by doubling up.

I know for a lot of my sex worker friends, this will seem passe.  I’m grateful to know so many female-bodied people now who love “loving” themselves, and regularly treat themselves to new toys and special “self date nights.”  But I know this behavior is not the norm, not yet at least…

If you like my idea, I urge you to take the challenge with me!  Come hell or high water, no matter if it’s a good or bad day, whether you feel sexy or not, make yourself feel loved.


(Next Monday I will discuss health effects for female-bodied people)

]]> 0
CONSENT ISSUE: ‘Dream Life’ by Madame Rosebud 9.20.12 Thu, 20 Sep 2012 23:05:53 +0000 madamer

Wake up with me. I swear it will feel good. XO

Hello readers/lovers.  I hope this finds you well.  As my last article was addressing a very literal and physical form of consent, with this piece I wanted to move into something a little more interpretive.  Since the publishing of the last piece, the word “consent” has been ever-present in my mind.  I find myself weighing each and every situation I’ve been in recently against the notion of “Do I or don’t I?”  I also coined the phrase “consent as philosophy,” which has stayed with me as well…haunting me.  I find myself devoting time each day to dissecting the subtle and nuanced ways in which a “philosophy of consent” can affect my life.  It is not really until one steps back from the entirety of oneself and bounces each and every thing off this concept that one can see how little of their own existence they’ve truly said “yes” to.  This butterfly effect is not confined to my present, either.  These small but magical shockwaves are reverberating through my memories, rearranging how I feel about things I’ve felt powerless towards my whole life.  This month has enlightened me to a very old idea indeed: that consent can equal catharsis.  If one empowers oneself enough to grant, it or revoke it.

I knew I wanted to be a seductress as far back as I can remember.  Even when I was very young, in pre-school, and saw myself as a son rather than a daughter, I wanted to play the role of siren.  Because it’s just that: a role.  Even though I felt like Peter Pan, that did not mean I couldn’t learn how to walk, talk and flirt like Jessica Rabbit.  Like so many flesh and blood sex goddesses, she was a creation.  And still to this day, whether or not I identify as female is of no consequence.  I can still follow in the footsteps of self-made vixens.

But until recently, this path has always held conflict for me.  There are so many things I’ve internalized over the years that impede my success and happiness.  I’ve passively consented to these conflicts of interest because I haven’t taken the time to consider whether I even believe in their legitimacy or ought to have engaged in them in the first place.  For example, one of my earliest memories of being humiliated for being myself (and parsing what “myself” was) was on the playground at age 6.  I basically conducted my own form of Drag School using Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman as my template.  A friend and I would perform walking, talking and hunting for each other, all with over the top, Mae West-esque affectations.  We had fun doing it for a while, until one day she threw down our homemade bullwhip and said, “You are sick!  You are obsessed with sex!”…and I went and hid behind a tree and cried.  I was not like the other kids, and because I had trouble making friends, I thought she must be right.  Even at that young age, I’d been Catholic long enough to feel physical shame at the mere mention of the word “sex.”  Even though that was not involved in the game, sensuality was just as evil a deed.

As female-bodied beings, we are taught in society that if other women don’t cotton to you, you are doing something wrong.  And if you have an easier time making friends with boys, you are most likely a slut.  Well, I’ve never had an easy time making female friends, and I’ve bent over backwards debasing myself at different points in my life to maintain friendships with women just because I wanted to prove to myself that I was good.

Evaluating this memory against my current meditation brings me to this conclusion: my life revolves around sex, yes.  Sexuality in its many media has been my artistic topic of choice since I could draw and play dress-up.  I grant consent to that as the truth.  And I revoke my consent to internalizing all the shame that surrounds it.  I have the power to do this.  With that simple choice, I have the objective clarity to see that all the things I ever thought mental/spiritual flaws about myself are really all the things that are right about me.  By actually seeking my own consent, I set myself free.

I was recently with a lover who drove this home for me like a railroad spike.  I placed them naked in a chair with a blindfold on.  They easily consented to these things.  But every time I went to touch them, they jumped with a start.  “I think I do that because I’m trying to keep you at arm’s length, and myself from feeling good,” they confessed to me.  I wondered to myself if they will ever consent to their own pleasure in themselves, because until they do, I will always be far away.  I hope they do, because they deserve pleasure.

I wonder how actively seeking one’s own consent as a life philosophy may improve the lives of the people I love.  Rather than spending years debating the impact of events  and feelings, one might improve one’s quality of life by placing themselves in a position of power and saying, “Yes, this happened, I can’t change that, but I don’t consent to suffering as a result of it anymore.”  Or, “Yes, I feel self-conscious but I consent to these good feelings because I don’t want to waste this opportunity.”  Because as an argument of consent, all things irrational quickly become logical.  Though one may not feel powerful or worthy of power, if one is not actively consenting or non-consenting throughout their lives, then they are asleep.  And who really wants to say “yes” to sleepwalking through life?XO
Photo: JM Darling

]]> 0
CONSENT ISSUE: ‘This One Goes Out to the Boys’ by Rosebud 9.6.12 Thu, 06 Sep 2012 21:26:25 +0000 madamer

Hey, boy. I wanna do this to you. Is that okay? And then later, we’ll talk about what you can do to me. Shit’s about to get real.

Verb: to permit, approve, or agree, comply or yield – to agree in sentiment.

Noun: permission, approval, or agreement, compliance…

When I was informed by my lady love Sov that the topic for this month’s issue would be “Consent,” I had a fairly visceral reaction. I have issues around consent. Because in my life, my own is so rarely thought of. The way in which I can interpret this topic in any important fashion is to share my own experience. Some of this article will be painful, and some of it might unravel my glamorous persona. But if it is helpful to some or gets others to think, then I count it as a triumph. I believe we currently live in a socially and sexually diseased culture. In my experience, that disease is the overly entitled and narcissistic feelings most straight hetero-normative males have towards all women. I cannot comment on how this may or may not mimic behavior in the gay (male) community, though I can say I’ve rarely experienced it in the lesbian community myself. But this examination is not of the LBGTQ community, it is of my experience as a female-bodied queer person in generally straight world.

In this world, I have had one painful lesson thrust into me over and over and over again. To be perceived as female means you forfeit your right to consent. If you have a vagina (or look like you might), then how you identify, what you say, how you feel, do not matter. Even to the men who say they love you. I will say that I have come to learn that this is because most men (who I’ve spoken to) have honestly never though about it. Ever. They haven’t had to. I’m here to say that’s not my fault and it’s not an excuse anymore.

If you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you’ve picked up that I have begun working as a professional dominatrix. Diving deeper into the world of BDSM has given me more insight into this topic than ever before. Because when a client enters my room, I gain their trust to do sometimes unspeakable things to them by agreeing to their boundaries and requiring their consent. I respect that it is integral to the industry to be “safe, sane, and consensual.” I take great care to dominate in a thoughtful way that accurately reflects this level of concern. Because I have the power to ruin this for them forever. I have had a few clients come to me because they’ve had traumatic experiences with other Dommes, and this to me is a great spiritual crime. One which, if I can, I would like never to inflict. And yet even with these gentlemen whose consent I try so carefully to consider, they feel entitled to push. Some of them come by it honestly in the heat of the moment, and then I have to teach them a lesson. But more frequently it’s a general disregard for women and sex workers. Sometimes it’s that they feel such a deep emotional connection, they then feel like I owe them my consent to some kind of deeper commitment (one that doesn’t involve pay). I recognize their behavior for what it is: symptoms of this disease.

I see my BDSM interactions as a microcosm of the broader world. One where women have to play the game of “nice” to accommodate men’s egos. But unlike a child’s game, the stakes couldn’t be higher. This can be a fellow you pass on the street: your smile, your dress, your good day are all your consent to abuse. It can be an acquaintance: your social etiquette might be your consent to being dumped for all their personal problems, to mothering them, or being an easy target for them to project their desires on. It can be a friend: your friendship alone is your consent to being shamed or bullied into a co-dependant relationship, or treated like a blow-up doll, one that is selfish if it doesn’t put them first. Worst of all to me, it can be your lover, who you share your most intimate self with. And yet no matter how clear you are about boundaries, your needs are never truly as valued as theirs because you (and all women) are seen as a self-sacrificing caretaker. Or, worse, as a creature whose rights over its own body are forfeit. Because you’ve said you love someone, you therefore consent to being a 24 hour cum receptacle without feelings or opinions as to how/when/where you are used.

I say this because I’ve personally experienced all of these things. My sex being what it is has gotten me harassed in the street and chased down dark alleys in broad daylight. My social nature and my sex have obligated me against my will. My friendship and sex have gotten me humiliated for being selfish with my both my time and personal space. And my love and my sex have gotten me beaten, terrorized, and raped.

I have only ever been raped by men who say they love me. Because while my vagina implies consent to all men all over the world, my love is explicit consent to those who say they love me to take whatever they want, whenever they deem it appropriate. Growing up, I was taught not to trust men, and this was correct. It is true that a minority of men are well-versed and educated in these socio-sexual topics. But most think that because they know what feminism is, or because they buy their girlfriend flowers, they’re not part of the problem. That because they tell their gal-pal that she’s hot without seeming to pressure her, they deserve a pat on the back. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Until they put themselves in the same position and follow it all the way through to its dark and tragic end, they don’t know. And if they have experienced the violation of their consent, there should be no praise, only empathy. I heard a truly great but dark joke recently told by Ever Mainard: “Every women in her entire life has that one moment when you think, “Oh! Here’s my rape!” Those are the stakes. By a stranger, by a family friend, by co-worker, by religious leader, by your own husband – just to name a few.

This topic hits close to home for me at this very moment more so than it did two weeks ago. I have been very open in this blog about the fact that I am a rape survivor. It happened to me a long time ago. But being a rape and molestation survivor (I include domestic abuse victims) doesn’t exempt you from further abuse. Its not like a vaccine, where once you get pricked it will never happen again. Even though I know how to set boundaries, and have had largely wonderful experiences since coming out a few years ago, reality can come crashing down at any moment. I recently woke up from some truly un-fun shenanigans (in a place I considered safe) only to think those four words no one should ever have to: “I have been raped.” By someone I love. I didn’t remember what happened, I didn’t know if he used protection, I didn’t know why I was bleeding. The greatest slap in the face was that he felt like this was normal behavior. This is an all-too-terrible symptom. I see it everywhere from frat humor to the words of supposedly enlightened men. Though I don’t remember how I acted, I had apparently consented to being possibly impregnated and never offered an explanation. The entitlement one must feel to assume any of these things, including that a female-bodied person will lightly take Plan B, is indicative of what’s wrong with our society.

My story is not unique, it is common. His reaction is not unique, it is a dramatic example of what is far too acceptable. Nearly all of the men who have exhibited behaviors like those I list above, I have known to be otherwise good. All of these men cared for their families, their pets, were educated, articulate, ambitious. Men valued by society. And yet in my mind they all have this in common. This is the dirty,secret, unspoken legacy of the modern man: that while he may pay lip service to equal rights, grudgingly accept fair pay, and playfully roll his eyes when his girlfriend says “respect me,” ultimately he has never contemplated/meditated on/defined consent for himself. And he has certainly never pondered it as a philosophy.

Now more than ever it has become clear to me that any man I allow into my inner circle will have to supply a thoughtful and loving answer to this question: “How do you define consent?”

The conversation surrounding consent, and all the ways it affects the lives of women, must always cross into the companion conversation of “the cunt”: the idea that when you (the female) revoke your implied consent, you then automatically become the villain (deserving of whatever punishment soothes the male ego). I cannot count the number of altercations I’ve had where a man turned on me because I employed healthy boundaries. I became the bitch, the crazy skank, the ugly whore. My favorite punishment is the clean and simple shut down. Rather than being openly insulted or humiliated, I’m just told to be quiet. Because I did not consent to making their life easy, they in turn refuse to consent to my existence. It’s such an awful place to be with a friend or lover, because if you push further, if you break the silence again, you give him ammunition to nullify you in total. It’s an unforgivable form of emotional blackmail. One that nearly every female bodied person I’ve ever spoken to about this topic, be she young or old, black or white, gay or straight, has suffered.

There is nothing that exempts a female from this treatment. The mere fact that she is female, be she trans or biological, will initiate her into this lifelong dance, eternally tiptoeing on eggshells. The prize is being able to say, “I was one of the few who did not have something forced into me against my will.” Fear is an accepted condition.

I can say that my love and respect of the “traditional” man, as we shall call him, has in fact grown over the years, though my trust has gone largely unrewarded. I love loving a good man, and as I fumble through my life, I know there will be more disappointment. If the men I bring into my life are willing to listen, respond with respect, employ empathy, and know fundamentally that I owe them NOTHING but the same, then I will be willing to grow with them past what society has taught them about how to value my sex.

The rest, the ones who don’t become my lovers: I urge you to question every action and contemplate every motive. Just as we (the female-bodied) have to. “Did she want this?” If you assume she did without ever obtaining her consent, your diagnosis is not good. “Would I want my daughter treated this way?”. If you are so high and mighty as to think “my daughter would never dress/behave/date/drink/talk/dance/walk/work/talk/fuck/smile/look/love that way”…then I’m sorry to say your diagnosis is frightful.

You have the disease.


(Photo by: Cliff Weiss)

]]> 5
“Girls” having fun being “Girls” Madame Rosebud by Ellen Stagg 8.9.12 Wed, 08 Aug 2012 20:38:03 +0000 madamer I had the pleasure of posing recently for Ellen Stagg of both the Stagg Party ( and Stagg Street ( I have been a fan for some some time, and was honored that Ellen made me one of her chosen for her anniversary show/site promotion. We spoke of shooting for two whole years, which is wild for me to contemplate! But things happened when they were meant to, I’m glad she caught me in this incarnation. Ellen is a lovely photographer, and an even lovelier woman. I felt so comfortable throughout the shoot I forgot we were working, the conversation was as pleasurable as the product. For that I consider myself very lucky. Fun fact about Ellen: she is known as “the Brooklyn Barbie Doll” for her love of the platinum icon. Soon I will post some fun glam shots she did of me as a blondie in keeping with her Mattel fetish.


017 003 019 014 ]]> 0
Ladies and Gentlemen…I Give You My First Commercials, by Madame Rosebud Thu, 05 Apr 2012 04:36:14 +0000 madamer I’d like to say thank you to Jason, Todd Robbins, Alan and Bruce for such a wonderful shoot.

This is my first time on television since I did Style Me with Rachel Hunter.  And boy, am I proud that I got to be the psycho nurse for EPIX Drive-in.  H0w much more awesome can you get?

]]> 0
Roses are Red and so is the Devil… Tue, 20 Mar 2012 01:24:48 +0000 madamer Red: The color of love, wine, sin, periods, shark attacks, scandalous districts, lipstick, hot cars, rare steak, southern style velvet cake and the devil itself.  As I’ve said in earlier posts I’ve been called the Devil quite a few times in my life and whether it was by a Christian or a lover I can’t help but enjoy it.  This set was also done by my friend Matt Schectman, who provided me with this lovely dress.  I was thinking a little Marylin and Jessica Rabbit wrapped up all shiny.  I discovered that Matt has some truly devilish things in my wardrobe future and I can’t wait to share them with you! But until then enjoy… XO









]]> 0