I just finished writing a newsletter to compile all the sex positive stuff happening in the Boston area. I’m hoping that the more people know about what others are doing to make the world a more sex positive place, the more we can all work together and inspire each other.
Check out the first issue of Boston’s Sex Positive Newsletter here!
and Subscribe here!
I came up with the idea for a sex positive newsletter when I started promoting my Pleasure Pie work online and a bunch of local sex positive people started coming out of the woodwork. I thought to myself, “These people are awesome and they’re doing awesome things! I’ve spent years being passionate about sex positivity and I’m just finding out about them now?”
I had the urge to introduce all of the great sex positive people I was meeting to one another. My thought process: “Should I have a sex positive (platonic) matchmaking party? There are probably way more sex positive people nearby that I still don’t know! How can I encourage local sex positive people to meet each other and find out about all the cool stuff others are doing?”
I came up with two ideas:
1. Make a newsletter of all the cool sex positive events, projects, and work going on in the area so that people who are interested can participate (and possibly even network and collaborate).
2. Start a sex positive meet up group that will meet once every few months, and have it be open to the public so all of the great people I don’t know yet can show up and share what they’re up to.
As you can see, the newsletter is now a reality!
(Update: The meet up group is also now a reality!)
Have a sex positive day!
I know I’ve written a lot of posts that include the phrase “first ever” and its starting to sound gimmicky. But lately Pleasure Pie has given me a lot of opportunities to try things for the first time. About a week ago, I did my first ever performance!
I wasn’t really sure how I could perform a zine, but the application specifically said that they were accepting zine performances, so I trusted that I could figure it out if I was accepted. I really wasn’t expecting them to accept my application because the description I gave of my performance didn’t sound at all smutty.
But they did! I was psyched because I’ve admired the CSPH’s work for a long time. And I was nervous because it was starting to hit me that I had never performed anything before, and I wasn’t that confident about the concept I submitted to them.
So I started practicing with Eric and we quickly came up with ideas for making it funner and sexier. But those ideas required that I have a second performer. Eric isn’t a performer either, but he agreed to do it with me, so long as I don’t give him many lines.
As the event neared, I started having flashbacks to the time I did a speech about polyamory at an event at Bridgewater State University. I was invited to speak by one of the event planners, but the other people in charge didn’t seem to want me there at all. Their approach to MCing was to goof around and tell borderline sex-negative and body shaming jokes. I think they thought that even a brief speech would be boring. They pretty much told me to get off the stage as quickly as I could. So I went up and started reading from my notes, and the (large) crowd kept chattering. I was really nervous, with it being possibly the first time I ever spoke in front of a crowd, and I felt completely unwanted. I rushed through what I had to say with little to no inflection in my voice, and left the stage wondering whether any of the 100+ people in the room got anything out of it.
In planning for Smut Night I was really worried that I would freeze up again once I got in front of the crowd. I kept telling myself, “Say things with feeling! Be dramatic!” But in our practice sessions, I continued to be monotone because I couldn’t get past the fact that no one was actually watching us.
When the night of the event finally came and Eric and I found ourselves in front of a real audience (which was a thousand times more welcoming and supportive than the one at Bridgewater, by the way) we both got so much energy from the crowd. We went all out with the over the top theatrics. My hands were visibly shaking with nervous and excited energy (someone from the front row later told me they noticed). I even knocked over the mic stand by pulling the microphone too far away during a chaotic fake-make-out scene. We improvised, goofed around, and ogled each other. I told people to buy the zine way too many times. We had a lot of fun, and I think the audience could tell. A bunch of strangers told me afterward that they loved our performance. :)
Also, someone called my zine “a Puritan’s nightmare.” That was fun to hear. I just looked up the definition of Puritan and found “someone who follows a strict moral code and who believes that pleasure is wrong.” I didn’t realize how accurate that review was until now.
Thanks so much to the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health for putting on a great event and giving us the opportunity to be a part of it!
I’m looking forward to possibly expressing my dramatic inclinations in future performances. Currently brainstorming new Pleasure Pie performance ideas.
4 Things You Can Do to Help a Friend Take Care of Their Health After a Sexual Assault (trigger warning)
1. Give them information on their risk reduction options.
For pregnancy, they could:
3. Go with them to the doctor, clinic, or pharmacy to get treatment and/or medication.
4. Force their rapist to get tested for STIs, and go with him/her/them (with your friend’s permission). (Note: STIs often don’t show up right away on tests, so if they got something recently it could show up as a false negative. But it’s useful information if they do test positive for something.)
Bonus thing you can do: Talk about it with them. Read 6 things to say if your friend tells you they were raped.
You want to show your support and say the right thing, but sometimes it’s hard to know what will help and what will be triggering.
Here are six ideas for the right things to say from a survivor who has had dozens of these conversations.
1. “I’m sorry that happened to you.” Simple as that. It’s the “I’m sorry for your loss” of the rape conversation. It doesn’t matter if everyone else saying it too. It’s validating, sensitive, and it shows that you’re taking your friend seriously and that you’re on their side. If you’re not that close with your friend, you can stop here.
2. “How are you doing?” Acknowledge that your friend is probably in a healing process, and that self care is especially important for them right now. Also point out that there are places for them to get help with this process. If you don’t know resources offhand, offer to look into free/affordable counseling services and/or support groups, ideally specific to sexual assault survivors. If they’re not interested, let it go. If they are, research it later and remember to get back to them! Following up is a great supportive gesture.
3. “What he/she/they did to you is not okay.” It seems obvious, but it’s really important for your friend to hear. Even if they seem like they know it already. Explicitly confirming that they were mistreated is validating and it helps to combat any shame they might be feeling.
4. “Is there a chance of pregnancy or STIs?” While it isn’t normally your place to take charge of your friend’s health, they might be overwhelmed by the trauma, so ignoring the health risks of sexual assault might feel like the easiest option right now. If they’re not seeking treatment for any possible health risks or unwanted pregnancy, it could be really helpful for you to be the annoying, pushy friend who won’t leave them alone until they do.
5. “I’m here if you ever want to talk about it.” Make it clear that they are welcome to trudge through every detail with you, or not share any details at all. But only say this if it’s true.
6. “In the future, is it okay if I ask you how you’re doing in regard to this? Or would you rather I wait for you to bring it up?” Your friend might want to talk about this with you in the future (i.e. the next time you talk), but if they’re the only one who ever brings it up they might feel awkward and think you’re sick of hearing about it. Or they might not be ready to talk about it more yet. Ask them to find out how you can continue to support them on their terms.
**They might not be clear on what their feelings are, or they might be in shock and not have any feelings about it yet (even if it’s been a while since the traumatic incident). These are both okay. Be supportive of your friend wherever they are in their healing process.
I found a sticker maker (the orange X-shaped thing) on the side of the road a few years ago. The other day I was thinking about how cool it would be to make stickers for Pleasure Pie, so I fiddled with it for a while and finally figured out how it works! I have a feeling this is the beginning of something beautiful.
I just found these photos of Pleasure Pie stuff on the BDCwire!
Last night was the much-awaited Pleasure Pie Launch Party! Honestly, I was pretty nervous about the event. It didn’t occur to me until a few days before the night of the party that I had never put on an event before (other than purely social holiday or birthday parties). Fortunately, my very supportive love partner and similarly supportive sister agreed to help with making copies and preparing food (respectively). Though they just agreed to help me complete these tasks, they actually ended up doing them pretty much single-handedly, while I ran around doing a million seemingly crucial things that I can’t even remember now.
But it all came together (THANK YOU Melissa and Eric!) and it was a really good time! There were so many awesome people in one room, so how could it not be great?
The zine making station was a hit, and people made some amazing stuff! I loved one person’s zine so much that I suggested repeatedly that she let me sell it for her with my Pleasure Pie merch. So you might have the opportunity to see this zine that I can’t stop raving about sometime soon.
(Update: You can now buy this zine here!)
The open mic was really great. I think of Pleasure Pie as a way for me to share the lessons that I’ve found helpful in my journey to reclaim my sexuality and overcome sexual shame, and it was really moving to hear about the things that have been important to others in their own journeys. Thank you all for being awesome!
We ended the night with sex trivia, which was as ton of fun. It was an interesting mix of activists, bloggers, poets, sex educators, and people who just came with their sex geek friends, so there were a lot of very interesting conversations (and team names). And I love giving presents, so I was psyched to hand out prizes to the winning team (go Butt Plugs / The 5%)!
I’m thinking about planning another Sex Letters open mic in the coming months. Let me know if you would be interested in reading a letter!