Some programs (most notably amongst those I use firefox and pidgin) don’t work properly with shift-insert for pasting from the primary X Selection. If you’re like me and virtually live in the command line, this is a real pain in the ass. It became more of a pain in the ass recently because I’ve started using a graphics tablet instead of a mouse, so no longer have a middle click. I could no longer paste from IRC into firefox.
After some hacking around, I settled on the following solution. “xsel -o -p | xsel -i -b” dumps the primary X selection into the clipboard (xsel is a nice little application. You should probably have it installed). So I’ve bound this to a shortcut in xmonad and now can at the press of a magic key combination take the current selection and make it pasteable. Hurray.