Home' LOTL : June 2005 Contents THE FIRST TIME I SAW DYKE
SEXPERT TRISTAN TAORMINO IN
THE FLESH WAS IN THE EAST
VILLAGE AT A READING FOR BEST
LESBIAN EROTICA 2005. SHE
REMINDED ME OF A LIBRARIAN --
THE REALLY HOT LIBRARIAN OF
MY YOUTHFUL FANTASIES. WHO IS
SHE REALLY? THIS INTERVIEW
ANSWERED MY QUESTIONS.
BY DARLENE DOWLING.
You wanted to be an activist lawyer.
How did you find your way into your
current career path as a sex educator,
writer, performer/director and film
I did my share of rabble-rousing in
college, mostly in the form of queer and
sex-positive activism. Through my
activism, I decided that I wanted to go to
law school and become an activist lawyer.
Ah, youth and idealism! I had the grades,
the recommendations, the over-achieving
extracurricular activity list, and some
mediocre LSAT scores. Everyone assured
me not to worry about the standardised
test numbers, so I was shocked to receive
ten rejection letters, two "you're on the
waiting list" letters, and no acceptance
letters. I was devastated. I remember
going to my professor and senior thesis
advisor, crying in her office about what to
do. She said, "Tristan, I don't think you
want to go to law school, and I don't
think you want to be a lawyer. I think you
want to write about sex. I think you're
good at it."
senior thesis, about butch/femme lesbian
sexuality, under her guidance. In the two
hundred and fifty page project, I talked a
lot about lesbian identity, sadomasochism,
pornography, and, yes, sex. I even used
lesbian porn stories, magazines, and videos
as some of my primary source materials ...
I had written my first piece of erotic
fiction, a story called Bombshell, as a part
of the thesis, so I fine tuned it and
submitted it to a few magazines and an
anthology. I began to write more, attend
readings, and meet other writers whose
primary interest was sex.
For me, sex is the most interesting area of
our lives. It is a source of ecstasy, pain,
discovery, and inspiration. It's a space
where we connect, learn about others and
ourselves, where we hope, where we heal.
It can be a microcosm of life itself, a
mini-drama of politics, identity, and
power. The bed (literal or symbolic) is
where we shed clothes and inhibitions,
where we put our bodies on the line,
where we show ourselves to others in
unique ways. I couldn't think of richer
territory to read and write about.
Photos: Richard Mitchell
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