It’s been a while, Crash Pad.
For a while, my breakup turned me into a sleeps-at-8, never-dates-never-masturbates, prudish hermit-spinster. Nay, those words are too nice. Perhaps a sex-negative curmudgeon would be a better descriptor. I didn’t even touch a vibrator for months on end. And I’m a sex blogger. For shame.
I did watch one episode to review during that time, the one featuring Nic Switch and Iona Grace. I did okay, I think. But as hot as they were and as much as I tried, I don’t think I was yet ready to jump back into the insatiable desires I once had.
I saw the signs that I was on the come-back. I am currently sleeping with my nubby-g vibrator in bed with me every night, because that’s just about how often I use it. I am once again the sex-toy guru for friends and co-workers. I bought the Daily Candy deal to use at Babeland. And I participated in two readings for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012. I’ve been ready.
I didn’t watch the newest episode to ease back into the Crash Pad swing of things. I wanted a familiar face. Someone who I’d watched before, someone who I’d chatted with (even if just on Twitter.) Someone with a smile like pure liquid sunshine–
And there they were! J-Bird is back and better than ever with their new episode and they’ve brought a new face into the mix, Rose Waters (adorbs!) And as I’m getting off (multiple times) to this amazing queerness, this wonderful pleasure that I’m seeing before me, it hits me.
This shit is fucking subversive.
Well duh, it’s queer porn. It’s Crash Pad. Subversive is kinda their thing. But having really been divorced from porn, Crash Pad, and even this part of me for a while, it really gave me a renewed appreciation for exactly how “dangerous” it is. In those readings I mentioned earlier, Kathleen Warnock said in her MCing something to the effect of “these stories are important–they are activism” and hearing it said aloud gets me every time. This is activism. Sinclair Sexsmith writes in their intro to that very same book “These books of lesbian erotica are not fluff. They are not nothing. They are not frivolous or useless. For queers coming out, they are a path.” This is creating a whole new system in which new and different things are valued. This is instruction. And I feel the same way about the work that Crash Pad does. Let’s talk about why.
I am coming (coming!) at this particular episode having just taken a trip down memory lane to visit the L Word, in which lesbians are given permission to be shallow human beings. Lesbians are given permission to be just as neurotic and terrible to each other as every other human being in television shows is. While that’s all well and good, it hit me this time, as it has multiple times in the past, how Crash Pad gives queers permission to be deep and nuanced instead of being over-sexualized or stereotyped due to race or gender expression. It just hit me harder this time, perhaps because of the clear juxtaposition between two types of queer. And I am so glad to have had both examples in my life.
These particular Crash Pad wonders, J-Bird and Rose Waters, give female-bodied queers permission to enjoy themselves, to tell their sexy-time-partners to wait to take their underwear off, to have a goofy, sunshiny smile after being fucked, and to enjoy themselves without cisgender men in the picture. Holy shit! And in 1960 McCalls printed in large print because they thought women were about as complex as first graders! In some parts of the world, these two could be put to death for expressing outside the norm! The very existence of this punches holes in mainstream white male culture’s idea that every woman needs the right biological penis! Holy shit this is subversive! This is threatening to mainstream everything and yet, with a smile like J-Bird’s, it’s not. You look at these two people, clearly buzzing with caring and respect for each other, clearly electrified by orgasm, and it’s not threatening. It’s relatable. It’s hot. You want it for yourself and, if you’re searching for a path–a path to queerness you may not have figured out yet, it’s here. Crash Pad subverts, yes, but it also instructs. It blazes that path Sinclair Sexsmith was talking about. It makes people think about identity and also about how best to touch their clit.
The premise of this episode is that J-Bird has a surprise for Rose Waters, and they bring a blindfold into the works and say “your surprise is coming in a minute.” My surprise came in a couple of ways. As I bit down on my sheets to keep the entire apartment complex from hearing me come, hearing my pleasure spill from my lips, I was surprised that porn can make me think this much. I was surprised that I had gone this long without watching it. And I was surprised that I had reaccessed this part of myself that can both analyze and enjoy at once. And mostly I was surprised by how subversive this thing is that these wonderful queers made. And I was surprised that I was surprised, because thinking outside the box (even when filming one) is par for the course when it comes to the Crash Pad Series.
Thank you to everyone involved in this episode. It changed me back.