Ask Slutever (aka Ask Bunny)

Illustration by Merlin Mannelly

For this edition of Ask Slutever I’ve enlisted my BFF Bunny Kinney to answer some of your pressing/desperate questions. Bunny has shared his words of wisdom for Ask Slutever a couple times before, and TBH he’s impressively good at giving out relationship advice, especially when you consider that he’s a possibly asexual, gender ambiguous, socially awkward depressive. Bunny has also written some guests posts in the past, mainly concerning life in the London squat we once shared. And I’ve written like 500 posts about him, all of which can be found in the archives of this #relevant sex blog. Smile!

I’m a 20 year old gay guy, and to most people I’m the not-so-token borderline asexual gay, which I guess is partially true, because sex is something that rarely crosses my mind. Little do they know I love meeting up with middle aged men and giving them blowjobs. Really impersonal encounters in their cars and in parks, cruising online and stuff. Every time it’s the same: I meet up with a guy, he tells me how great I am at sucking dick, then I walk away feeling guilty and vow to myself to seek out more meaningful sex the normal way, but give me a month or so and I’m back to lurking cruising sites. What worries me is that I pretty much have no sexual attraction whatsoever for guys my own age and have never had any emotional attraction to anyone. I have never been in a relationship and am someone who likes being alone, but not forever. I worry that my behaviour is going to make me old, cold, and lonely like some of the guys I meet up with.  Help! Anonymous

Bunny: I’ve recently been talking to a lot of asexual people I’ve met through various online forums while doing research for a short documentary I’m working on. I actually tagged along on their march at London Gay Pride the other week – you might have seen us, walking awkwardly along and shouting things like “We’re here! We don’t want to have sex with you! Get used to it!” whilst wedged in between a group of middle-aged Christian transsexuals and a lesbian roller derby league.

Asexuals are people who feel no sexual attraction to anyone, but the asexual community encompasses a much vaster range of people who identify in different ways. And as I’ve learned from hanging out with some of them, in addition to “not sex”, their interests also typically include writing fan fiction, watching anime, using the internet, getting cartilage piercings, and talking about being asexual. So basically everyone I did theatre tech with in high school.

Some asexuals are in non-sexual romantic relationships; others eschew from relationships all together. Others hover in a realm called “greysexual” – people who might occasionally experience sexual attraction, or have a very low sex drive, or only experience sexual attraction for people with whom they have first experienced an emotional attraction. There are even a few non-romantic sexuals kicking around the forums – those who enjoy sex but do not want relationships. Kind of like the cokehead one on Two and a Half Men.

My point is, as I’ve found it, asexuality offers a sort of weird window by which to better understand the infinite complexities of stuff like love and sex, sexuality and intimacy. It also reinforces the fact that no matter what you’re into – or not into – it doesn’t make you any less valid as a person or necessarily limit your prospects in terms of finding ways in which you can achieve intimacy outside of the conventions of sexual and/or romantic relationships.

What you’re into now might change as you get older, but it’s also important to accept that there is nothing wrong with not wanting to be in a relationship or feeling turned on by older dudes. And although your psychotherapist might try to break it down for you, as I see it, if who you’re into is ready, willing, and not going to kill you or land you in jail – what’s the problem? And perhaps, if your fears of a future all alone continue, you might try to spend some time with a few of these guys somewhere more conducive to conversation than the bushes near the Arby’s parking lot at 3am and stumble upon that seemingly impossible combination of a person who attracts you physically as well as emotionally.

I’m an 18-year-old virgin starting college really soon. I’m really body conscious–I’m gangly and nerdy and just very shy. To make matters worse I went to an all boys high school and think I might be gay or at least bi-curious as all I watch to jerk-off is gay porn. I have been going through this vicious self-defeatist lifestyle, like I purposely did really badly in my final year, only just scraping through with my SATs. It might be depression but everyone has those days, right? Is there any life advice you can offer me? Life’s really just lonely and boring and I kinda hate the world as a result. Henry

The good news is: high school is over. Gone are the days of changing into your gym clothes in the locker room toilet stalls five minutes before all the other boys arrive. Never again shall you fear out over which table of mutants you’ll be forced to sit with in the lunch room. And no one who isn’t a complete twat will ever ask you about your SAT scores again. The last person who asked me about mine was this fat kid called Jeff Bus in my college freshman orientation group who bragged about his perfect score on the math section and then dropped out a few months later to became a full-time weed farmer. News flash, Jeff, we went to art school. We didn’t even have math classes. But we definitely had classes where you could learn to blow glass, so he probably crafted a few artful bongs and felt as if he finished learning everything he needed to in life and just got on with things.

Anyways, hurray! You are now officially free to be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do without feeling the wrath of a testosterone-charged bromocracy upon you as you attempt to inconspicuously cross the hallway between classes. When I reflect on my formative teen years, I feel as if I was not far off from where you are now. Life was the pits. Cowering underneath my Snoopy-embroidered kimono was nothing more than a clueless, 90-pound child of indeterminate gender.  As far as I was concerned, if the world that waited outside my conservative Christian high school in Texas did not prove to be any less evangelical, jock-saturated or prison-like, I definitely would put some rocks into my pockets and walked into the Rio Grande.

So, this is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that “it gets better” because that’s what Ellen told me to do. But the truth is, it doesn’t always. Life is quite often a complete piece of shit, but not without its redeeming moments that keep me interested enough to stick around and see what happens. Existence is plagued with things over which most of us have little control – stuff like who are family is or which high school we go to or our body type or all of the hormones rushing through our heads that keep leading us back to the “solo male J/O” section of xTube –  and although I have always been a bit on the depressive side myself, until recently I had never before considered that happiness itself might be a matter of choice. And I think that if you really want to choose to be happy, you first have to figure out what makes you happy, and then do it. Just be the gangly loser you are, and as long as you’re keeping yourself busy enough with the stuff you like to do and the people you like to do it with in a place that isn’t completely dismal so that you’re not bored and alone and miserable all of the time (just some of it), then you’re probably going to be alright. It’s what I tell myself every day.

I’m a fairly heavy heroin user. I’ve been doing it off and on since I was twenty-one (I’m turning thirty in a few months), and have been seriously addicted for the last five years. I do not use needles (I snort it), but my use is a good deal heavier than most junkies I’ve known. Most of my sexual life has been spent in relationships. From my high school sweetheart on I found myself losing my libido as the relationship progressed, to the point where I would not want sex even though I still found the person in question very sexy. My last girlfriend did not know I was using drugs and a huge part of our breakup revolved around my refusal to fuck her, even not being able to get it up sometimes. I found her very sexy and wanted to be with her but my libido just dropped off a cliff after the sixth month. I now have gotten down to masturbating about once a week just to release fluids and neither my mind nor body crave sex in the least. I enjoy sex and miss it and wonder if there is any problem with me other than the drug use, and if there is a possibility that I might be able to raise my libido without quitting my vice. Alexander

Like science and religion, or ketamine and jello shots, opiates and sex are simply incompatible. Drugs like heroin prolong orgasm – which might seem like a good thing, especially for Sting or males who ejaculate prematurely – but it basically makes it impossible to orgasm, and in the process manages to rid you of energy, pleasure, and the will to carry on. If you can even get an erection at all, after two hours of joyless, robotic humping, you will probably give up, unsatisfied and very sore. What’s a junkie to do? You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Well, at least not if you’re in the toilet puking up because you’ve taken too much smack.

I’m fairly libertarian in my view of other people’s drug use, so I’m not going to tell you to stop taking heroin if that’s what you want to do. And I have known other drug addicts who maintain a relative sense of normalcy and functionality in their lives without turning into complete shells of their former selves – although that’s rare and often temporary. But I’ve never seen anyone stick with their addiction without making some sort of sacrifice elsewhere in their lives.

Just as the asexuals showed me, you can have love without sex. But if sex is something you and your partner want and need, then that kind of compromise is going to prove difficult, especially if you are substituting your shared sex life with your private addiction. I don’t think your relationships fuck up just because you can’t fuck your girlfriends – it’s because you can’t commit yourself to your girl if you’re already committed to something else. As Lou Reed once sang (and as I once dramatically reinterpreted for an 8th grade speech class assignment that led to my suspension): “Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life.” And you can’t love your girlfriend just like she really needs – completely, with all of you – if you’re going to stay wedded to your wife.

Danny’s Boys

All images by Danny Fields
I interviewed my friend and hero, Danny Fields, for the current issue of the radical sex mag, Richardson. The article is pasted below, along with a selection of Danny’s amazingly hot and beautiful Polaroids, which have never been published until now! I wrote a different article about Danny last year, but that was mainly about his rock n’ roll photography and his life as a punk icon, where this is an article about his pornography. Enjoy!

As the long-standing manager of the Ramones, Danny Fields was a legend of the New York punk scene. He was also the man responsible for signing the Stooges, MC5, and Nico, editor of the iconic 16 magazine, and the journalist who caused global hysteria when he quoted John Lennon saying he was “more famous than Jesus.” In the 90s, Fields catalogued the glory days with the release of Please Kill Me: an Oral History of Punk, but he’s yet to address his other passion from the era.

In the 1970s Danny Fields started making pornography. Production was straightforward: bringing back groups of boys to his apartment and giving scant direction, he captured whatever ensued on a simple Polaroid camera. Forty years later, his collection of images now reaches into the thousands. He keeps them in his closet, tucked safely away in a gigantic storage container, roomy enough to sleep two grown men with minimal discomfort.

“They were all prostitutes,” says Fields of the boys in the pictures. “Well, prostitutes sounds too glamorous; they were hustlers. I’d pick then up in the street or at prostitute bars, and then one always seemed to bring the others. You’d pay them forty dollars or something, and they’d pretty much do whatever you told them to. This was before AIDS and the internet, so people weren’t so paranoid. A lot of them are dead now, and a lot of them—I never even knew their names.”

Fields is less interested in the actual act of penetration and more interested in everything else—enemas, dildos, stretching, kissing, piss, etc. “You can see fucking in movies,” he explains, “so it’s not that exciting. I’d rather watch them play doctor.” As he reminiscences through a photo album, Fields points out a photo of two Native American boys sitting naked on a couch. “These two were brothers,” he says. “Well, one day they were brothers and then the next day they’d say, ‘Actually we’re not brothers, we’re just from the same tribe.’ And then the next day they’d be back to being brothers again. What was I supposed to do, give them a blood test? Either way, they made a great couple.”

When asked if he was ever in love with any of the boys in the pictures, Fields looks mildly disgusted. “I was never in love with any of these boys. Sure, I liked some of them more than others, but I’ve never been in love with anyone in my entire life. I believe that love exists—my God, I’ve read 800 pages of Proust on what it’s like to be in love—but I’ve never gotten there. I tried having a boyfriend once, but then he always wanted to talk when I was trying to read. It didn’t work out.”

Fields asserts that the photos are a testament to his belief that the best sex is the kind you pay for. “I just think it’s best to fuck whores,” he says. “I’ve never been in a situation where being emotionally involved with a person has made the sex better. While I’m fucking someone I care about them, and that’s enough for me—that’s where it means something. I want sex to be so intense that I’m not thinking about anything else. The loving part is distracting: who’s going to pay the rent, who didn’t clean the bathroom, that kind of stuff.” He shrugs, “After I cum I just want a trap door to open and whoever I’m with to fall through the floor.”

Hanging with SSION

I wrote a feature about one of my favorite bands, SSION, for the current issue of Twin magazine. That’s the Twin cover up there on the left. You can read the article below. All images aside from the mag cover were taken by the fabulous Jaimie Warren. SSION also did a “Day in the Life” post for Slutever a few months ago that you can check out HERE.

In a cluttered art studio in Brooklyn, a boy in a purple tuxedo applies a new layer of sparkly shadow to his eyelids. He’s hot, which is semi confusing considering he looks like a totally insane freak gender-fuck, and has a unibrow and a lazy eye, and his ratty wig is crooked and his teeth are covered in lipstick. But there’s something about this boy that’s overwhelmingly magnetic. Like you can’t help but want to put all of him in your mouth.

This is Cody Critcheloe, the brain behind the unhinged art beast that is SSION. Since its genesis in 1997, Ssion has released three albums, toured with the likes of Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Fisherspooner, made a feature film, directed music videos for artists like Peaches and the Gossip, exhibited art in cities all over the world, and has shocked, awed, and confused thousands in the process. Last spring, Cody performed a week of shows at MoMA’s PS1 museum in Queens to debut Ssion’s third album, Bent. The show–which included more than 30 performers, a live band, half-naked cowboy backup dancers, and massive video projections in SSION’s signature deranged pop art aesthetic–was an epic extravaganza of music, performance and film, and confirmed Cody’s place as a true art revolutionary. A punk prophet to a global army of freak disciples.

“I think a lot of people know about SSION, but they’re ultimately confused about what it is or what it’s supposed to do,” smiles Cody, “but I actually think that’s sort of cool. Most often people think SSION is a band, but it’s not really. There are times when I play with a live band, but it always changes depending on what kind of music I want to make at the time. Who I collaborate with depends on the nature of each individual project. So SSION is essentially just my thing, but there are other people involved at different stages who are hugely important to what it sounds like and what it looks like.”

The spectacle that is SSION (pronounced shun) began getting attention in the early 2000s. Cody was living in Kansas City at the time, studying at the Kansas City Art Institute. It was there that he formed a group of friends who would soon become infamous for their collective creativity, their outrageous costumes and make-up, and their twisted sense of humor. The close knit art collective, which also included photographer Jaimie Warren (who took the photos that accompany this article) and performance artist Collin Self, spent their time putting on performances, organizing parties and exhibitions, and making public access TV shows. From an outsider’s perspective, their lives seemed totally fantastical, extreme, and enviously cool. “People always ask me if Kansas City was as crazy as it seemed,” explains Cody, “and it was and it wasn’t. We were always doing stuff and making things, but most of the time it was purely for pictures to be taken, or to make a video that we’d put on Youtube. A large part of what motivated us was creating an illusion for people outside of KC, and I guess it worked.”

Cody’s Kansas City crew were also largely involved in the artwork and videos connected to SSION’s first two albums–Opportunity Bless My Soul (Version City Records, 2003) and Fool’s Gold (Sleazetone Records, 2007). They also took part in the creation of Boy, a feature length film comprised of SSION’s previous music videos strung together with mockumentary live footage, which premiered at Peres Projects in LA in 2010. “Something that’s really strange,” says Cody “is that since I moved to Brooklyn last year people will check me out the street, which is so crazy to me because that never happened in Kansas city. It’s such a different mindset here. People in KC thought I was such a freak. The thought of getting laid or hooking up wasn’t something I consumed myself with while I lived there, because it didn’t even seem like a possibility. I almost stopped thinking of myself as a sexual being, and I think other people in our group felt that as well. The scene was so small–it was really just our group of friends–so we weren’t going to date each other, and no one from outside the scene would have even looked twice at any of use, because we were just too far gone for them. So it sort of removed any need or desire we had to be sexually attractive. I think that was part of the reason we all looked so crazy and dressed up so much, because no one cared about looking hot.”

The very first incarnation of SSION, however, dates back to Cody’s pre-Kansas days, when he was still in high school in rural Kentucky. “I released a tape on a 4-track called SSION when I was about sixteen,” he remembers. “I did it all myself but when I played live I had my friends from the town play backup. This girl Rachel would be reading spoken word poetry and screaming, and we didn’t have a drum kit so we used pots and pans as percussion. You know, just sounding as horrible as we possibly could. After I made the first SSION cassette tape I sent it out to all these indie labels, thinking I was going to become part of the whole Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear movement. They were my idols. From my small town perspective they seemed extremely famous.”

Cody’s description of his childhood is like something out of s movie: boy raised in a small, Southern Baptist town by a teenage mother; boy grows up to be a gay, dog collar wearing goth freak; boy escapes to become an internet celebrity, etc. “My town was really tiny,” he says, “like there were only 50 people in my graduating class. It was a dry county, so there was no alcohol, and it was in the middle of nowhere so you had to drive over 30 minutes to get to the nearest mall or movie theater, or to do anything really. It’s a really meth-y town too, because there are so many factories. Like there’s a paper mill, an aluminum factory—everyone has these long shift kind of jobs, so it makes sense. I didn’t realize how druggy it was until after I left. On some level I was really clueless about my surroundings there. I knew more about what was happening in other places than most people, but I was sort of separate from that town in a weird way.”

While his peers were huffing glue in fields wearing Korn hoodies, Cody spent his high school days reading queercore zines and listening to Riot Grrrl. “Suckdog, Dame Darcy, Pussy Galore—those were the biggest deals for me, and I would send always send them the various tapes and fanzines I made. When I was nineteen I wrote Lisa Carver [of Suckdog] a letter every single day until she responded. For some reason I just wanted her to acknowledge my existence. Then when I started making videos I would send them to Vaginal Davis and Bruce LaBruce. I wanted them to critique my work, and sometimes they actually would. When I met Bruce in person thirteen year later he remembered the zine that I sent him. Man, he’s so cool.”

When asked if he’s close with his parents, and if they are fans of his work, Cody gives a halfhearted shrug. “I talk to my mom every now and then,” he says. “She’s an odd mix. When I was growing up we had a satellite dish and we would always watch MTV together. She was into Def Leopard and Poison and all the hair metal stuff. So she sort of gets it, and she thinks I’m pretty funny, but she’s also Southern Baptist. Deep down I think she likes what I’m doing, but she would prefer not to know too much about it because it’s too much for her to handle. I just went off the deep end in her world.”

On the day of this interview, Cody is in the process of editing together the music video for Bent’s first single, “Phy-chic”–a euphoric dance track with a chorus that croons, sometimes I think about you every day. The video sees Cody in a neon computer universe, sashaying about amid flying peace signs, acid smileys and puppy dogs. “I wanted to make something really commercial but also really gross and fucked up,” he says. “I wanted it to reference all that internet art, but also sort of make fun of it because I actually hate that aesthetic. I think it’s disgusting.”

The video will be premier this Summer, alongside the physical release of Bent. [The album will be released through a Brooklyn based indie label which at the time of publication Cody wished not to disclose]. However, most SSION fans are already familiar with the record, as Cody put it up as a free download on the SSION website last Summer to coincide with his MoMA performances. Working along artists like Fischerspooner, Teengirl Fantasy and Azari & III, SSION’s new material is anthemic, empowering, and apologetically gay–a guilty pleasure you don’t have to feel guilty about. At its purest, Bent is an incredible pop album. Think Prince meets a Richard Simmons workout video meets a children’s TV show from the 90s where everyone is tripping on DMT. “I feel like over the past couple years I’ve gotten more comfortable as a song writer, both lyrically and musically,” Cody explains, “and with Bent my ambition was just to write good pop songs. I once made a record during a weird period where I was trying to prove to myself that I was a ‘serious songwriter.’ It totally backfired, and since then I’ve tried to approach music in a genuinely punk way, where you just doing give a fuck, and you do exactly what you want. And if what you want is to make a cheesy pop song, then fucking go for it.”

SSION has grown from Cody’s gay-disco-meets-punk-rock experiment into an internationally renowned art machine. Many people have contributed to building the myth that surrounds the project, and helped to actualize Cody’s pure vision. Truly original, SSION is redefining the way we think about punk and about modern pop music, and has turned Cody into a cult hero in the process. “Sure, I know gay kids and weird kids are into what I do, but at the same time there are people who are into Dungeons and Dragons and Frank Zappa fans who get the SSION,” Cody laughs. “But, I try not to think about that stuff too deeply. My only job is to create the best art that I can, because if I’m making music that I love, then I know I’m doing the right thing for myself and for other people.”