People Who Just Had Sex: A Domme and her BF

I’m hosting the new season of VICE’s series People Who Just Had Sex, yay! If you’re unfamiliar with the series, the idea is simple–we go to people’s houses and talk to them before they fuck, wait around while they fuck, and then interview them again after they fuck. In this episode we meet Samantha and Thomas–they’ve been dating since 2009, she’s a dominatrix, and they are both incredibly hot. Enjoy! 

Celebratory Masturbation

May was national masturbation month. If, unlike me, your Facebook friends aren’t almost exclusively feminist bloggers and people who make vagina-based art, your FB feed may not have informed you of that important fact. In celebration, my new article for VICE lists some of my favorite facts and musings on the subject. Read it HERE :)

Southern Sex Food

The below was originally written as part of my “Sugar Babies” column for VICE.

Tammy is 29 and lives in a suburb of Richmond, Virginia. As a day job, she works in the music industry, but she’s been been supplementing her income as a sugar baby for a few years now. We became internet friends about a year ago when she submitted an advice question to Ask Slutever, asking “When is the appropriate time to tell a guy you’re dating that you moonlight as a sex worker?”

God, being a modern woman is so hard…

What’s a first date with a sugar daddy usually like for you?
Tammy: First, we meet in public. It’s safer that way and it’s good to hang out, because I’m not going to commit to seeing someone once a week if I don’t like spending time with him. So it’salmost like a first date. But when you meet someone off a sugar daddy site, it’s an arrangement—it’s not a “regular” date—so you’re suppose to do something special for your SB. It’s normally a good sign if the guy brings you a gift on the first meeting—one guy gave me an iPad, a lot of guys will give you like $100 for showing up to eat with them, or maybe a nice bottle of liquor whatever. I have to drive to some of my meetings—either into Richmond, which takes 30 minutes, or to Northern Virginia which is over an hour—so if you’re not going to throw me something to compensate for the time and money it took to travel, then you’re not going to be a good sugar daddy, ya know?

When you started being a sugar baby, was being wined and dined part of the experience you were looking for?
Honestly, not really. I was looking more to meet in hotels, or at one of our homes. Most of the guys are married, so in a smaller, rural area like where I live, it’s hard for them to go out in public. And I don’t want to run into anyone I know, either. My friends all hang out at the local bars and restaurants downtown, so I normally suggest we meet at chain restaurants: Ruby Tuesday, Outback Steakhouse, Chili’s, etc.

Those places can be fun occasionally though. Like when I go visit my parents they always want to go to Applebee’s, and I don’t argue because once in a while, a giant plate of boneless chicken wings covered in bleu cheese dressing is a really good thing.
Yeah, exactly, I like eating at those places, and my friends would never agree to go with me because they’re not, like, vegan or organic and don’t have gluten-free options or whatever. Also, those chains are always well populated, so it feels really safe. I like Outback because it’s a bit darker in there; places like Ruby Tuesday and Applebee’s are always lit so brightly and it’s really unflattering.

Whats your favorite dish at Ruby Tuesday?
I love their fish tacos, and their “Ruby Relaxer” drink is probably the best thing on the menu. It’s some ridiculous pink rum drink. I like to order really awful, girly drinks on sugar dates, like expensive mai tais. I don’t like to eat anything that’s particularly messy because I dont want to be wearing my food when I leave, so I usually order something somewhat decent that I can eat with a fork and knife—a chicken entrée rather than a sandwich. Although I guess the fish tacos are an exception.

There’s definitely some food that’s just not OK for dates, like spaghetti or anything with tiny seeds that end up in your teeth. I’ve had some scarring experiences with tabbouleh.
Right, like I wouldnt eat wings. There’s no cute way to eat a chicken wing.

What are the must-haves at Chili’s and Outback Steakhouse?
At Chili’s, I love the chicken crispers. They’re totally packed with MSG and are so bad for you, but they’re amazing. And there’s something about a Bloomin’ Onion from Outback that will forever taste like my childhood. Outback also has a great ahi tuna appetizer that I love to get down on. If I go to Outback or Texas Steakhouse, I’ll get the best steak, like the filet mignon, and salad and a potato.

I know chain restaurants aren’t “trendy,” but overall do you think the quality is alright?
I mean, they’re not serving you something local and organic—it’s usually mass produced and brought in frozen—but that’s what most Americans eat. It’s decent, mid-level food like chicken and burgers. When my parents come to town, they don’t go to the smaller, local places that only serve organically farmed beef. They go to Olive Garden. And most Americans would consider that, like Red Lobster, upper-end food. That’s the best that most of small town America has to offer.

And there’s a familiarity to those chains that I think people really enjoy—like you live in Georgia and eat Red Lobster, then you go on vacation to Florida and eat there and it give you a sense of home. 
Exactly, and it’s going to be the same everywhere, so you know exactly what to get.

So is one chain thought to be classier than the others in the South?
The ones we talked about are all about the same. But there’s also a company called Great American Restaurants, which runs a handful of mini-chains and one-off restaurants all located in Northern Virginia. Those are more high-end—like an entrée might be $25. For example, there’s Coastal Flats, which is like a super high-end Red Lobster with amazing crab chowder, and Sweetwater Tavern, which has delicious bread and fantastic cocktails. And the decorations are amazing. They have giant black jellyfish everywhere. It’s great. But there’s way more money in Northern Virginia because it’s all government and people who work in DC, so they might not consider those restaurants to be as classy as people from Southern Virginia would.

Do you ever eat fast food on sugar dates?
No. Although I dated this one SD who I’d make bring me Chipotle whenever he’d come to my house.

How old are your SDs usually?
They’re usually in their 40s. Although I had one guy who was around 60. He was my first ever SD, and I met him in this small, traditional Southern diner. I had fried chicken, fried potatoes, coleslaw, and sweet tea. That’s the great thing about being chubby: You can go out and not worry about eating all the food and all the sides you want because the guy clearly want to be with someone bigger. Sometimes I even order dessert too, and they usually think it’s adorable.

What’s your craziest SD story?
OK this is strange: Last week I met a guy in Richmond who paid me $2,500, who says he wants to see me four times a month. It seems too good to be true, but he really weirds me out, honestly. He was really specific about wanting to see a bigger girl, but one who isn’t gross, and he wants to be able to say derogatory things to me, like having me to dance for him while he called me names.

Whoa, that’s crazy, but an insane amount of money. Can you get into the dominant/submissive element of it? 
I don’t actually like being called names. In the heat of the moment, yeah, sometimes I can get into you calling me names, but when you’re just text messaging me mean things at 2 PM on a Wednesday, it’s kind of weird. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with it, but then I was like, well… I wear a size 16, and you’re paying me to be here, so in reality I guess I am a fat whore, so let’s go with this…

Yeah, I guess it’s good to be rational in situations like that. So, living in the South, are a lot of your SDs very religious and conservative?
Not really. They probably identify as Christian, but the ones I’ve dealt with haven’t been too extreme. My friend—who was sort of my escort mentor when I got into sex work—has a long-term sugar daddy who’s super Republican and baptist, and she finds him so annoying and hypocritical. He once put her up in this bed and breakfast near his house over the Christmas holiday, and would periodically come over and have sex with her, even on Christmas day. But he’s been supporting her for years, so she deals with him. I had one SD who was pretty clearly closeted. We didn’t have sex—he just wanted company—but he was really fun. He’d buy my Jeffrey Campbell shoes and take me to Outback.

In the last sugar baby column I interviewed a girl who was referring to her sugar daddies as “clients,” which caused an angry commenter to respond “Sugar babies aren’t escorts. A benefactor isn’t a client.” What do you think?
I don’t know, it’s a grey area. The difference to me is that I communicate openly with my sugar daddies. They know where I’m from, where I work, and intimate details about my life, whereas hourly escort clients, who I’ve seen as well, don’t know anything about me, like not even my real name. With sugar daddies, you form more lasting relationships. We text  each other about what we’re up to. I definitely prefer it to straight-up escorting.

Jackass Presents: A Slutever Bad Grandpa Special

Finally! A new episode of the VICE Slutever show, yay! It’s been over a year since the last one, so it’s about time, really. This particular episode is a Slutever special, presented by Jackass and Bad Grandpa (aka the new Johnny Knoxville movie).

In this episode I move to LA to become famous, like my idol Anna Nicole Smith. Things take a random turn when I meet the world’s baddest grandpa, Irving Zisman, at a tantric sex cult meeting. Things get dirty… 

Many thanks to the wonderful crew of ladiez who I worked alongside to make this: director/producer Adri Murguia; editor Martina de Alba; editor Lessa Millet; graphics master Angie Sullivan

Darren Cullen’s Ridiculous Reality

I first met the British artist Darren Cullen back in 2006, when he was handing out flyers in London for a fake holiday he’d created called Violence Week. “Fuck seeing a therapist,” he told me. “Save your feelings up for Violence Week!”

Cullen’s work does a good job of continually outraging the conservative British press, who often use terms like “disturbing,” “grotesque,” and “freakish horror show” to describe his art. But they’re all clearly just right-wing stupid-heads who don’t understand that Cullen’s work is social commentary at its best, and most hilarious. While examining things like religion, advertising, and the existing moral order, his art pushes what we take for granted as being “normal” into the realm of the ridiculous.

Some of Cullen’s recent creations include “Baby’s First Baby,” a pregnant baby doll complete with its own pregnant fetus; a topless Mayan calendar that counted down to the supposed 2012 apocalypse; and a “lost episode” of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos that explores the Meat Planet and its famous pork volcano. Yum? Cullen also writes for the satirical astrology column Mystic Mark,” where he basically just highlights everything that sucks about all those power crystal, yoga planet, “vibrations” people.

Oh, and he’s also shown in exhibitions alongside artists like Gilbert and George and David Shrigley, which means he’s #legit.

VICE: A lot of people seem to think you’re a monster. Your “Baby’s First Baby” piece particularly pissed people off. Why do you think that is?
Darren Cullen: Yeah, it’s weird. A lot of the press said the doll was disgusting because it encourages kids to have babies, and brought up the problem of teen pregnancy. But people couldn’t seem to see that there’s no real difference between my doll and a standard baby doll—they both encourage children to be mothers. I was trying to highlight this fact, but instead it just confused people. Everyone said, “This doll shouldn’t exist!” And I said, “Of course it shouldn’t, which is precisely why I made it!”

It’s strange how the majority of children’s toys are just unimaginative representations of the most boring parts of adult life.
Yeah, it’s like this 50s expectations of womanhood being marketed to children. Sometimes it seems like children’s toys are in a time warp, especially for girls, who get stuck with kitchen play sets, play makeup, and play ironing boards. With boy toys you can be an astronaut, a pirate, a scientist… The options seem slightly more open-minded.

They should be making little girls “Baby’s First Blog,” so they can learn to write about their feelings.
They’ve actually started selling toy computer terminals for kids, but they mostly just look like office cubicles. The type of thing that makes you want to commit suicide about your feelings.

While we’re on the topic of feelings, can you explain Violence Week?
I have no idea what Violence Week was supposed to be about. I just liked the idea of some level of government deciding to designate a week to citywide violence, under the impression that it would improve society. It’s kind of dystopian.

You recently tried to sell the Olympic flame on eBay, until moderators made you take it down, right?
Yeah, they said it was illegal to send anything through the mail that is “on fire.”

That’s too bad. Did you sell any before it was removed?
No, but I got a few inquiries.

A lot of your work concerns advertising, and the way it affects our society.
Yeah, I actually studied advertising at a point, so I sort of learned the language, and that language is the dominant visual medium that most of us are exposed to on a daily basis. Almost all advertising begins by telling you that your life is deficient in some way. So, for example, “You have dry, cracked heels and therefore everyone hates you!” And then it follows up with an affirmative message, which always involves buying something. And if you don’t follow the instructions of the second half of the ad, then you’re just left with this residue of inferiority.

And then you want to, like, kill yourself.
There was actually a pretty morally ambiguous psychology study done by Dr. Ewen Cameron in the late 50s where test subjects were broadcast messages through headphones or speakers for 15 hours a day. They’d hear a negative message, like—you’re worthless, you’re ugly, whatever—followed by a positive message. By the end of two months, some of these people were so psychologically damaged that they couldn’t remember their own names, they forgot how to eat, and a lot of them suffered from violent mood swings for the rest of their lives. It’s grim to think we’re getting something like this experiment performed on the whole of society every day through advertising.

It’s difficult because, living in a capitalist society, advertising almost feels like a necessary evil. Is there a more moral solution to advertising than the system we have now?
That’s the thing—advertising and modern capitalism go hand in hand, because as an economy we produce far more things than people need, and therefore we have to make people want things. So I’m not necessarily looking for advertising to be reformed, or for advertisements to stop lying—since the ad world is entirely based on lying—but I think people need to be wise to it, and aware of the damage it’s doing. But to be honest I’m kind of a pessimist in this respect, because the genius of advertising is that it works even if you think you’re above it.

Speaking of capitalism,you seem to be slightly obsessed with the idea of Santa Claus.
Well, I think it’s interesting that Santa is this modern myth that’s held almost as passionately as people hold religious myths. Like you can imagine a parent being just as mad if you told their kid Santa didn’t exist, as if you said the same about Jesus 50 years ago. It’s this massive, culturally mandated lie. Literally everyone over the age of nine is in on it and you can be ostracized, or even sacked or arrested, for not taking part.

Also, it’s traumatic when you find out your parents have been lying to you for no reason. You feel duped.
There’s actually an “anti-Santa” movement by groups of fundamentalist Christians who believe that Santa is Satan—“Santa” actually being an anagram of “Satan”—and that Santa was created to steal children away from Jesus.

He’s stealing Jesus’s thunder.
Yeah, which he is, arguably. And also the fact that Santa fulfills many of the roles of God—he knows what you’re thinking, he knows if you’ve been good or bad…

A while ago you erected a billboard in Glasgow that said: “Santa gives more to rich kids than poor kids.” This made a lot of people very angry.
Yeah, but I wasn’t saying specifically, “Santa doesn’t exist.”I was just giving everyone a verifiable fact about the way Santa operates, and I was telling kids about it via this giant billboard. I wanted to draw attention to the fact that advertising targets your children with messages parents might not want them to hear. But also that the idea of Santa doesn’t exist outside of consumerism and debt; it’s central to it.

You also write a satirical astrology column for The Skinny from the perspective of a new age guru. Can you explain that?
Yeah, Mark Tolson and I write it.The column is basically just a platform for us to attack pseudoscientific, new age spirituality—things like crystal healing, homeopathy, The Secret, all that stuff.

That’s all becoming very trendy, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s becoming more and more prevalent. These new age beliefs are basically a mixture of science fiction, religion, and just wishful thinking, really. What scares me is that even rational people—people who would laugh at things like Scientology and UFO cults—are taking this stuff seriously, and somehow neglecting to bring in any critical factors. They’re just like, “Oh yeah, crystals heal people.”

But without any actual knowledge of crystallography.
Right, and there’s some amazing scientific information about crystals out there! Crystal radios, for instance, are amazing.But whenever I try to call people out on the fact that most new age beliefs completely contradict well understood, basic aspects of biology and physics, they just say, “Oh, you’re just not open minded enough.” But it’s actually the opposite. Being “open minded” in not about blindly accepting ideas. It’s about being open to ideas, and then figuring out whether they are real or not. But these people have closed their minds off to rational explanations.

Come on, Darren, have a little faith!
It’s like a religion for a scientifically semi-literate society—people who have heard of quantum physics, but aren’t really sure what it is. And then these quacks come in and say, “Well, crystal healing works because of quantum physics, and you’ve heard of quantum physics, and therefore it must be real!” Like a modern day snake oil salesman or something. And at the heart of many of these philosophies, like The Secret or the law of attraction, are very dark, sinister ideologies.

Just to get this straight, The Secret is the book/philosophy made really popular by Oprah, which basically says “good things will happen to you if you think positive thoughts,” and visa versa, right?
Yeah. And it’s not just a “keep your chin up” type thing. The idea is that your thoughts literally create reality whether you act on them or not. There’s actually a bit in the film version of The Secret where they say the anti-war movement creates more wars by sending out thoughts about war into the Universe. Also, when the author of The Secret was asked about the Christmas Day tsunami in South East Asia, she said that the disaster must have happened because those people there were on the “same frequency” as the event. So basically because they weren’t thinking happy thoughts, the 250,000 people who died brought it on themselves.

What a cunt.
I’m not denying that positive thinking or meditation work for people, but only in so much as they affect your brain and body, which can then affect the world through your actions. What’s happening in the consciousness of a human being is not a cosmic event, and to think so is completely arrogant and human-centric. Like if you believe in the law of attraction, and that good things are ordained to happen if you have positive thoughts, that implies the Universe cares about what some random human on an obscure planet thinks and wants. That’s asking a lot of the Universe!

Wait, so are you trying to tell me that the Universe isn’t happening AT me, specifically?
I think it’s possible to prove scientifically that it doesn’t give a shit.

See more of Darren’s work at

Vice Slutever Show: Gray Area

God, sexuality can be so #confusing, right?! Like, how are we supposed to tell if we’re gay or not? In this episode, my recent sex dreams about my gurl crush, Mistress Amanda Whip, cause me to ponder, “In sex, does everything have to be black and white–“straight” or “gay”–or can we be somewhere in between, like, in the gray area? Clearly, the only way to solve this dilemma is with a LESBIAN MAKEOVER!!!

This is my favorite Slutever episode to date, so I hope you like it too! I’m also extremely excited about the #all-star cast, including international playboy Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange); Lauren Dillard of the trending lesbian band, CREEP; and of course, the most powerful lesbian of all time and member of Le Tigre, JD Samson. (I had a poster of JD on my wall during that one year I went to college, so this is a pretty big deal for me.)

Later queers!

Special thanks to “the team” – Adri Murguia, Martina De Alba, Greg Eggebeen and Mariano Carranza

Hamilton Morris gives you Weird Science

Cover art by Philip Hood; right: Hamilton Morris being casually glamorous

I thought I’d do a favor for your collective minds and spirits, and let you know that the current issue of VICE mag was guest edited by the much-loved chemistry hottie, Hamilton Morris, and centers around the theme of Weird Science. You may recognize Hamilton from your favorite VICE series (after mine), Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia–an expansive investigation into the world of psychoactive drugs.

The issue is #fabulous, and includes such gems as a short story about the mutant anatomy of turtle boys by Motorman author, David Ohle; an article about an ancient herb that cured William Burroughs’s cat of feline leukemia; and excerpts from Timothy Leary’s currently unpublished, The Periodic Table of Energy. There’s also an interview by Hamilton with a clandestine chemist whose operation of an underground laboratory landed him in jail, which I pasted below for your reading pleasure.

But first, a note from the editor:

The days of the gentleman scientist have long since passed, the chemical-supply stores have shut their doors, and some states have made unlicensed Erlenmeyer-flask possession a criminal offense. Our collective mouths froth over evidence of an intangible boson while medicinal chemists found guilty of forbidden syntheses are locked in cages and forgotten. The promises of human cloning are squelched by a UN ban, leaving such investigations the sole province of UFO-worshiping sex cults. Science is confined to industry or university, where research is largely dictated by market demands or grant-writing abilities, and experimental freedom is a luxury some toil a lifetime to achieve. That is science—so what is weird science? I’m not talking about using Antarctic krill oil to decalcify your pineal or the guzzling of monoatomic gold. I’m talking about real science––that’s a little bit weird. The syringe of chimpanzee semen plunged into a willing human female surrogate; Darwin investigating insectivorous plants with a cane topped by an emerald-eyed, ivory skull; radioresistant tardigrades and the use of cesium-accumulating mushrooms to decontaminate nuclear exclusion zones. Not mad science, not pseudoscience, weird science.

I was denied access to the unpublished pages of Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis and declined by Ray Bradbury one month before his death. Harlan Ellison possessed not a single unpublished story, and chemists working in industry bridled at this publication’s name, stubbornly refusing to acknowledge that a vice is simply a tool, invented by the Greek astronomer Archytas of Tarentum, a disciple of Pythagoras. So I looked deeper and found newer, better things that palpate the tender abdomen of what we call science with a cold, ungloved finger. I also threw in a dash of science fiction for good measure. 

Inhale the alkyl nitrites of curiosity and penetrate the puckered sphincter of knowledge, scientia! – Hamilton Morris

Criminal Chlorination

An Interview with a Clandestine Chemist

by Hamilton Morris

In the popular imagination, the landscape of clandestine chemistry is a monotonous one, peppered with pastures of GBL saponification and bluffs of pseudoephedrine reduction. But there exist lone experimenters, tinkerers, gentlemen scientists, who seek to further the field of psychoactive-drug synthesis in the privacy of their own homes. For their participation in the ignominious marriage of proscribed neucleophile and electrophile they often pay a dire price: their freedom. Here I present an interview with a clandestine chemist acquaintance whose curiosity regarding forbidden molecules left him locked in a cage.

VICE: I wanted to talk about clandestine chemistry and what it’s like to operate an underground laboratory. How did you first get started?
Anonymous chemist: In the early 90s there was a massive outpouring of information on psychedelics. You had Terence McKenna parading around in a DMT T-shirt, talking about salvia, yet nobody knew where to get either salvia or DMT. It seemed criminal to have to go to a Grateful Dead concert or a rave—these awful scenes—to try to acquire interesting and unusual drugs, but there were few other choices. There were some compounds that had always been commercially available from chemical-supply companies, but most of the phenethylamines were really hard, if not impossible, to get.

I was a scientific kid, and I followed my curiosity to its natural end. My first actual synthesis was DMT. In retrospect that seems ridiculous, but it was something that I just could not find. Nobody was doing extractions; these were the days before the widespread availability of botanical sources. I studied the synthesis and decided to go the classical route via indole, but my first DMT synthesis was pretty shitty—literally, indole smells like crap—and it just reeked up the building I was living in. This was pre-meth-lab hysteria, so while it wasn’t normal to have your apartment smelling like shit and solvents, it didn’t ring any alarm bells. By the time I successfully produced DMT, I’d learned enough chemistry that I had a much broader synthetic palette to work with. This was probably 1993 or so and there was all this hype around MDMA. Like I said, the terrible raves were in full force. It started out as a very expensive hobby and I gave away whatever I made, but that’s not sustainable in the long term so I began to sell the material as well.

What was your motivation for distributing the chemicals in large quantities?
You hear all this messianic bullshit from chemists. My motive was very clear: I just wanted the opportunity to try drugs that were unobtainable otherwise. I tried MDMA and moved to DOM, mescaline, 2C-B, and various others. I really enjoyed watching the ripple effect of throwing these things out there, to see question marks stretched across people’s faces, and it became my primary source of income for about seven years.

It’s interesting how things have changed. Now most of these drugs can be obtained without much effort, but the precursors for their syntheses are closely guarded.
It’s different. Back then, trying to get any of the substituted benzaldehydes was a serious bitch; those aren’t exactly linchpins of chemical commerce. The straight-to-consumer international chemical trade was in its infancy. But now there’s also a lot more heat on certain things—back then you could buy a 55-gallon drum of camphor 1070 or ocotea oil for $3,000. There’s just no way you could do that kind of thing anymore. I wouldn’t say it’s harder or easier, it’s simply different and it’s always evolving.

I’ll give you an example: Around 1998 there was a group of us that were trying to work on some of Shulgin’s thio-compounds, the 2C-Ts. They were a lot more difficult than the standard phenethylamines and we just couldn’t do it effectively. So eventually a private group of chemists and investors pooled their resources and commissioned a laboratory in Poland to produce a kilogram of 2C-T-7. It was ridiculously expensive, and the entire process felt like a really extreme measure. To the best of my knowledge, that group effort was the first instance of custom syntheses of a gray-market drug by the end users. Less than two years later, the chemical took off and was introduced as Blue Mystic in the Netherlands, and then as a pure chemical in the States. 2C-T-7 was one of the first “research chemicals” in the modern designer-drug sense, and I think some of its initial popularity came from the fact that it had been totally unavailable due to the difficulty of producing it in a clandestine lab.

Back then the internet served to disseminate knowledge about drugs. There was less emphasis on disseminating the drugs themselves.
Starting in the 90s, there were a series of forums where chemists would convene to discuss their work. One of the results of these discussions was that a lot of these syntheses got translated into plain English anyone could understand. To people without formal training in organic chemistry, the terminology used in chemical journals and pharmaceutical patents is so technical that it is effectively a foreign language. PiHKAL made things a lot easier—Shulgin speaks in a language closer to what the average dude can understand. But the online discussions took things even further, and the result was that a lot more people decided to try their hands at synthesizing MDMA.

The biologist Eva Harris described a simple technique that allows people in developing countries to run PCR via manual thermal cycling, and the work is widely considered to be a masterpiece of science communication. What struck me while reading her book is that she was effectively doing for genetics what clandestine chemists had done for amphetamine synthesis—they’re both results of the same impulse to simplify, increase accessibility, and bring technology to the people who need it.
I used the proceeds from my work to get proper equipment, but some of my fondest memories are from when I was just starting out. I was trying to make remarkable things using completely unremarkable tools. Everyone was doing mercury amalgam reductions or lithium aluminum hydride reductions, and that was it. There was this meth-lab lore about bikers who would supposedly take an aluminum keg, pump methylamine and phenylacetone inside, and throw the keg into a river to keep the reaction cold enough to prevent it from exploding. It was certainly a bullshit story, but some dudes actually ran with it and began using 55-gallon PTFE kegs as reaction vessels in the reductive amination of MD-phenylacetone and nitromethane. This is a violent reaction on the small scale, so they’d just throw in a kilo, hook up a pressure-relief valve, and hope for the best! Everybody thrived on improvised equipment.

I can understand improvising certain things, but without any analytic equipment you are essentially working blindfolded. So much chemistry revolves around figuring out exactly what you’ve got sitting in your flask—working without access to sophisticated analytic equipment is like traveling back in time 50 or 100 years.
Even in university labs, analysis was more difficult; there were no references for most of these chemicals, especially not the phenethylamines. It was really a guessing game. I had no recourse other than thin-layer chromatography to monitor reaction progress, and then taking a melting point of the final product. That’s why the forensic reports were so fascinating to me when I was raided. Of course, it’s unfortunate that the first glimpse into the true chemical identity of my products was occasioned by my arrest, but even as I was having my freedom taken away I was totally fascinated by what the forensic chemists had found.

What exactly were you charged with?
My first charge was actually for the manufacture of methamphetamine. For reasons I won’t get into, I wasn’t arrested at the time of the raid and promptly fled overseas to await the forensic report. I was charged in absentia with manufacturing methamphetamine because that was all the cops knew how to process. They were taken aback by my laboratory. The 2C-C I was making was just not in their chemical lexicon. They thought it had to be methamphetamine and were determined to prove it. That charge stuck for the better part of a year. At one point, my defense attorney and I said, “Let’s go for this meth thing. We can beat that one.” The field tests came back positive for methamphetamine, but the narcotics officers knew something else was going on, so they sent for a private contractor to test for traces of scheduled compounds. These guys tested everything; they were quite literally analyzing the paint on the walls of my laboratory. Then they outlined possible synthetic routes based on their findings, and I must say they hit every fucking nail on the head. I was halfway hoping when I was hiding out overseas that they might not find anything. Not a fucking chance!

And what did they find?
Well, one thing they didn’t find was methamphetamine. I was extremely careful not to keep large quantities of anything scheduled in the laboratory while it was active—it looked simply like a well-equipped organic-chem lab. I think they chose to pursue the 2C-C because it was the only material present in quantities large enough to warrant a serious charge according to the sentencing guidelines. I was experimenting with various procedures to chlorinate 2C-H. Shulgin’s original method was a bit messy and low-yielding. I used sulfuryl chloride, which resulted in better yields, but there was a problem with not being able to separate polychlorinated impurities with recrystallization or distillation. The trick I found was to chlorinate the benzaldehyde, which made for easy separation. It was really cool to look postmortem at the lab report and see exactly what had come out of it. I actually got a thank-you card from a few of the staff at the forensics lab for giving them what they said was the most interesting work they had done in ages.

Wow! How did their report play out in court?
A jury of your peers often isn’t the greatest thing, as apparently my peers are not that bright. A bunch of talk about differing functional groups just confuses them; all the prosecutor needs to do is get up there, point out the laboratory equipment and chemicals, and talk about the tragedies of the meth epidemic, and you’re fucked. It was amazing to me how idiotic it all was. They were claiming that my 2C-C intermediates were 2C-B, of which there was not a nanogram in my lab. When we tried to point out that the two chemicals contained an entirely different halogen, they just rolled their eyes as if to say, “Oh, here you come with this chemistry goobledygook again.” And I had to plea out of that charge. The whole thing was like tending an apple orchard and being charged with running an illegal orange grove. I ended up with a few years. Arguably, I was lucky.

Yes, arguably. Do you feel as if you garnered more respect from the police and prisoners than the typical inmate because you had committed an intellectual crime?
I found it easier in jail to just lie and say, “Yes, I was cooking meth.” That went over so much better than trying to explain, “Well, I was working on an unusual halogenated psychedelic phenethylamine.” Other prisoners come up to you and want to talk about chemistry—all the other purported meth cooks assault you with these totally fantastical syntheses that they swear were working. You just stop arguing and say, “Yup, that’s awesome, I also did that when I was cooking meth.”

After your release, how did you reconcile your relationship with chemistry? It’s rare, but some people involved in chemistry crimes have gone on to successful academic careers.
If you’ve figured out a way to transmute mercury into gold then it’s really hard to ignore that. You never forget how to ride the bicycle that is synthesizing MDMA. Of course, it’s a vicious cycle: You receive a prison sentence for illegal chemistry, and when you are released the illegal income is even more attractive because you’re unemployable. It’s a bitch to replace all of your reagents and equipment, but that’s nothing compared with the difficulty of learning organic chemistry in the first place.

What did you do when you were released?
An unanticipated thing happened while I was in prison: The market changed dramatically, and my job was effectively outsourced to China. By the time I had returned to normal society, things were unrecognizable. I was blown away. The research-chemical market was going full speed ahead, and all it took was mephedrone to really blast that into the public consciousness. In retrospect, those early days of 2C-T-7 seem so quaint. The synthesis community has fractured; there are some pockets out there, but the original need no longer exists. I have mixed feelings about the increased availability of these chemicals. In today’s climate I might have never become a chemist. Half the chemicals that motivated me to sit down with a chemistry textbook can be purchased online with a debit card. Strangely enough, the research-chemical market put scores of hardworking American clandestine chemists out of business. I can’t compete with China, so I’m yet another victim of globalization!

So what now?
For me, I still have a great interest in chemistry—perfumery has been something that’s really been exciting me lately. So yeah, perfumery. Maybe.

Vice Slutever Show: Orgasms: Where R They?

As we all know, sex is really fun. But then sometimes it can randomly be a frustrating nightmare. Did you know that only 30 percent of women achieve orgasm during sex? TRAGIC! In this episode, I take matters into my own crotch and investigate the ins and outs of female pleasure, speaking with Dr. Barry Komisaruk, who has been studying the science of orgasms for over a decade; celebrity sex therapist Sari Cooper; and porn superstar, Bobbi Starr. You’re welcome.

Vice Meets Andrew Richardson

In light of the interview I posted a few days ago with Andrew Richardson, the man behind the sex magazine Richardson, I thought I would share this video with you. It’s the newest episode of the VICE Meets series (which is made by my friend Adri Murguia, who also makes the VICE Slutever show), and it features Mr. Richardson talking about sex, love, porn stars, ass-less skirts and lots of other good stuff. Watching this makes me want to spend the rest of my life wearing latex and smoking cigarettes (even though I know they are very bad for you).

The Most Glorious Bamboobas in the World

Kitten Natividad has some of the most infamous boobs in the history of Hollywood. Perhaps best known for her 44-inch chest and her ability to cum while doing a striptease, Kitten is one of Russ Meyer’s legendary ultra-vixens and his former girlfriend. And for realzies, you know your tits are some of the best in the world if Meyer—the supreme auteur of sexploitation flicks—is your main squeeze for 15 years.

Kitten was born in 1948 in Juarez, Mexico. Following a sketchy Tijuana boob job at 21, she moved to LA and worked as a go-go dancer. Her career as a stripper led her to Meyer, who cast her in films such as Up! and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens.

Kitten’s aggressive sexual prowess has cemented her reputation as one of the most influential women in cult erotica. Some of her many naked achievements include: stripping at Sean Penn’s bachelor party before his marriage to Madonna, becoming a queen of burlesque, acting in a bunch of (questionable) 80s porn movies, and starring in Eroticise—quite possibly the trashiest, most ridiculous workout video ever made. Sadly, in 1999 Kitten was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy. However, she has since gotten new boobs (again) and says, “Any guy who says he doesn’t like a pair of plastic tits can go fuck himself.” You said it, Kitten!

What was Hollywood like in the 70s? Watching films from that time make it seem like it was a totally different deal back then.
Kitten Natividad: It was fucking fabulous. Everybody did cocaine and lots of drugs—you’d go to a party and you could smell the amyl nitrite in the air like dirty socks. And lots of orgies. That was the time before AIDS, so it was very open.

How did you meet Russ Meyer?
I was introduced to him by my friend I stripped with, Shari Eubank. She was the star of his film Supervixens. Russ liked to use strippers in his movies because they don’t have issues with running around naked. When he’d get an actress she’d say, “Do I have to be naked? It might be bad for my career, blah blah blah.” And he’d be like, “Fuck this, I’m getting a stripper.”

What was it like working under him? And I mean that in terms of his directing.
It was great, but we fucked during all of our lunch breaks. He was a horny dude, a dirty old man.

Were you in an open relationship?
Oh God, no! He was very jealous—very possessive and controlling—which is why I never married him. He always wanted to be the director—where we ate, what we did, everything. I’d say, “I’m going to visit my mother,” and he’d say, “Why? You’ve got me, you don’t need a mother.”

I read somewhere that you introduced him to anal sex and he didn’t like it.
No, he didn’t, he found it weird. I think some guys get freaked out because they feel like they might be gay. I’d say to him, “Does it make you feel like you’re fucking a guy, is that what’s wrong?” He was pretty white-bread.

Have you boned any other interesting famous people?
I feel bad kissing and telling, although most of them are dead. Um… Tony Curtis, Tom Selleck, who was fabulous in bed, Don Adams… He had a big one.

Why did you get into porn in the 80s?
I got into alcohol, and I was just drunk and didn’t know any better. I needed the money, but I looked terrible. If I was going to do porn, I should have done it when I looked my best. I ruined that shit! But it was part of my journey, so I don’t have any regrets. I did what I did.

Did you enjoy doing it at the time?
It was such hard work! You know, for one hour of tape it takes eight hours of fucking. Who the fuck does that?! It’s painful, and you just want to get it over with, but then you have to get shots from behind and underneath and move the bed and move the camera—just fuck fuck fuck fuck. And by that time the money wasn’t that good and it wasn’t glamorized anymore, so it was just horrible.

After your double mastectomy, did it feel like you lost part of your identity?
Yes! It’s like a singer getting throat cancer—they were taking my moneymakers! The doctors told me, “Everything’s going to be OK—we have to remove them, but you can have reconstruction.” I said, “Then I don’t give a shit, just throw them out the window!”

So they just chucked them out and gave you new ones like a pair of socks or something?
Yes, but I had them made a little bit smaller, because when they get too big they become uncomfortable—like you roll over the wrong way and your elbows pinch them, or you’re walking around and they accidentally knock over a lamp. It’s a pain in the ass.

I hate when that happens. So, the cancer was a result of your Tijuana boob job, right?
Yes they were loose, silicon injections. I didn’t get implants because I didn’t like the way implants looked–like toilet plungers. But I found out later that it was not industrial silicone. It was like gasoline or something, and it rotted my tits! A lot of my friends have gone through the same breast cancer as I have for that reason. But Russ was great and paid for my implants, and paid for me when I had my cancer. He was always there for me. And then when he became an old timer and got Alzheimer’s I took care of him. It was one of those relationships that lasted a lifetime.