Richard Evans Lee
As fascinating as Richard is, he's yet to appear here officially at Sex-Kitten. We had to remedy that ~ and quickly.
Born in Savannah, GA, now living in Durham, NC with LA, SF, NYC in between, Richard's not only 'been there,' but he's 'done that' too.
He came out as gay at 18 and fell in love with a woman at 25, helped edit an early gay newspaper in Atlanta, ran an escort service and sold himself a couple of times too. He eventually identified himself as pansexual: body parts and clothing don't matter. (But admits he's mostly, strongly, drawn toward very nelly gay men.) His current partner is a MTF transsexual which he regards as a woman. Richard currently owns a used bookshop, Books Do Furnish A Room, and spends time creating quality sex blogs.
Your bio alone is worthy of many questions! I'd love to hear more about the escorting and the journey to discovery of pan sexuality... That could require a book lol But what elements, lessons or experiences in those areas do you think have made you the blogger that you are? Obviously you are a more open and accepting person when it comes to sexuality; but what sort of stories are you naturally drawn to as a result of your life experiences?
I grew up in a background that was somewhere between lower middleclass and white trash. Through some weird quirk of luck I grew up without a lick of sexual guilt and free of sexism. Pretty odd considering my parents. I claim no virtue in this: it just happened.
Having been in sex work probably made me aware of how decent many people who engage in it are. So at times I've tended to note their struggles and even written in praise of professional dominatrices. I whored myself couple of times and the experiences were more tedious than anything else. I've never paid for sex though I meant to: just to see what it was like.
Realizing that I wasn't just attracted to guys but girls as well and then transsexuals and transvestites has left me with a sad awareness of the bias and incomprehension transgender people experience. The normative masculine part of me often wishes I could reach out and give them all a universal hug. There was a long stretch where most of what I wrote about focused on the "ambiguously gendered."
Two important examples: Nelly gay guys (and the history of my love for them) and Gay transvestites (learning to appreciate their beauty).
My lover is a British MTF transsexual so issues of legal gender status, right to marry and immigration that leave me in impotent rage.
I know you have several sites (though I may not know all of them), but for starters, let's focus on the blog, Amorous Propensities. When & why did you start the blog? How would you best define it?
H.L. Mencken published a collection of weird snippets from newspapers called American 1925. Astounding statements like no one who brushed their teeth everyday could be immoral. I'd started a scrapbook of such items years ago but never maintained it. But I did on Live Journal in late 1999 (I think). And created Amorous Propensities in 2002.
I'm fascinated by the hypocrisy and clichés with which most people fill their lives. Part of me laughs at it, another feels that the inability to achieve sexual self-realization is one of the most consistently hurtful things in our ostensibly self-aware society. Erotic fulfillment doesn't really require more than honesty with yourself and your partners. But so many people seem to find that as difficult as they would designing a nuclear particle accelerator.
Mostly I see myself as taking snapshots of self-delusion and social repression.
In my opinion, you do very little editorializing ~ How do you avoid getting on that soapbox?
Honestly I think that is one of my flaws. I should be investing more of myself. But much of what I'll reluctantly call my creativity has come out in my more personal sites - Pansexual Sodomite and Down On My Knees. I've poured out tens of thousands of words on each trying to share the sexual self-discovery that happily never seems to end.
You refer to your blog as taking 'snap-shots' ~ and we've discussed that you mainly post the news or link, rarely commenting. Combined, this is rather like what a journalistic photographer does. Do you see yourself as impartial, or is there a noticeable viewpoint in what you do?
Amorous Propensities and Sex is Funny are mostly link blogs. My choices are mostly stories that evoke some emotion in me: disgust, pity, amusement. Often I'm hoping to draw attention to something buried. Particularly if it is on a scholarly, tech or SEO site where people don't normally look for stories about sexuality.
When I started there were few others doing the same thing. Now there are zillions. That has led me to try to add something personal, a bit of history or context to those entries. Not that I don't just do a quick grab of something I think is funny. If I can I try to translate the context into the most interesting aspect, which may not be what the news sites are emphasizing. Anymore if I see that lots of sites are covering something I'll probably just ignore it.
On my more personal sites almost all of the words are by me. Or if I'm quoting sources it may take me an hour or two to dig out the information from places most web surfers don't know exist. With the latter finding material worth citing takes longer than writing something original.
In looking at all the snap-shots, standing a bit away from them and viewing them as a total, like a mosaic, what do you think you've documented from 2002 to present?
Nothing that we don't already know. Intolerance is a destructive force. Sexual self-realization is a necessity for a happy life. While our prehistoric forebears doubtlessly had different sex lives we wouldn't be alive if sexual fulfillment weren't a key part of our genetic heritage.
Even if you aren't preaching from that soapbox the selection of what news & other stories to mention is still an editorial process. Tell us a bit about how you evaluate or select what to note at your blog.
Originally it was anything that I though was funny. But I've tried to move most of that to a separate site called amazingly enough Sex is Funny.
I'm very drawn to sexual research. Both the bad, glib crap that where researchers often seemed determined to defend old clichés. And the interesting new stuff in brain research that, say, shows men and women have more in common sexually than people often think. And examples of suppression and repression.
Often I ignore big stories because I know everybody will mention them. But in a weak moment I'll grab whatever I see.
Through the years of writing/publishing at the blog, what strikes you the most about the experience?
The surprises. I mentioned a junk herbal supplement that promised to revive women's libidos. I heard from over a hundred women who felt they'd been ripped off. Likewise an old entry consistently gets comments from men who feel a need to share their pleasure in wearing bras. You can never really anticipate what will resonate with your readers.
Are there re-occurring themes that surprise you?
The persistence of sexism. I guess I've done a good job of surrounding myself with men and women who don't believe in these ancient stereotypes. The illusion that teenagers are asexual or should be. Extended adolescence is a fairly modern invention. People were often married in their teens long ago.
Have the comments/reactions changed over time? If so, how?
It is harder to get comments nowadays. Probably because there are so many of us. (And in my case I know Google doesn't love me as much as it once did.)
What do you think makes your blog so popular? Is it the 'looking for oddities' factor, the news factor, the fact that it's 'sex' or something else?
Though Google giveth and taketh away. At one point Google was sending Amorous Propensities 300,000 visitors a day. Then the search engine decided I was a bad person and 90% of that vanished. Similarly Down On My Knees was getting well over 3,000 a day from Google but that changed when Google penalized sex blogs. Thankfully they've all come back up.
On my more personal sites that what I write is heartfelt is probably a real draw. As is that I'm smart, obviously individualized and write distinctly if not always clearly. That sounds terribly immodest but people don't read you because you are generic. And it isn't an unequivocal win. I'm probably too often abstract. And - honestly - I've had more than one dominant women allude to when they felt "brave" enough to comment on something I've written. That doesn't flatter me. I must be doing something wrong if my words discourage responses.
Sex? Sure. I'd have fewer readers were I writing about floor lamps.
Our current issue is on "Resolutions" ~ I myself am working on a column about what I resolve to change about the world this year (and yes, my list is regarding sexual issues) ;) If you could make one resolution for the world, one mission that your blog would fit in with, what would it be?
And end to religion and superstition. But that isn't sexual.
An increase in sexual empathy. Being able to put yourself in the other person's heart would curb everything from infidelity to homophobia. I can't think of any other quality that makes it harder to lie to yourself and hate others.
You've been doing this a long time, in Internet Years ;) Many "sex blogs" have come and gone during this time. To what do you attribute the longevity of your blog? Any advice for sex bloggers?
I enjoy doing it. While I do run ads I never expect it to support me. Too many bloggers start in search of profit. They usually fall by the wayside.
If you don't get some sort of personal fulfillment and pleasure from having a sex blog - or any blog - it is best to not bother.
What's most rewarding about blogging?
I know more about myself. Self-discovery is a positively voluptuous thrill. I've written about certain topics repeatedly. With each attempt I get steadily closer to truths about myself. I've learned why I am biased toward androgynous people. And why - in BDSM scenes - I like being degraded by someone who loves me. Either knowing yourself is important to you or not. One of the ways in which we can divide the human species.
For more, check out Richard's websites ~ this is just a partial list of those not already linked to:
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