What did you do on the evening of February 11, 2023? We ask mainly because we are itching to tell you what we did that night, which was host the Reproductive Justice Salon! Our goal in hosting this event was three-fold: 1) raise money to donate to abortion funds across the country 2) speak out about pressing issues regarding abortion and reproductive justice and 3) create a space of community for activists and supporters of reproductive rights for people of all genders, everywhere.
There is no universal definition of what it means to be financially accessible. What is accessible for one person might be very different from what is accessible for another.
I’ve talked to sex-positive event organizers who see a sliding scale ticket price that starts at $15 as being very financially accessible. My feeling is that even a scale that starts at $1 can be exclusionary for some people. If you’re broke and you’re figuring out where you’re going to spend money in a day, you might have $3 to spend on lunch, and if $1 of that is required for admission to an event that you are really interested in attending, then you're forced to decide between having some crackers (or whatever you can find for $2) and going to the event, or having a bagel (or another $3 lunch) and skipping it.
2017 was a tough year for the United States. Like many of you, we here at Pleasure Pie asked ourselves, "WTF should we do?" as things spiraled downward on a national level. Should we drop the sex-positivity stuff and do more direct political engagement? Should we stick to what we know, and push for a culture of consent and healthy sexual expression at a time when the need for this is even more visible than usual (with the "locker room talk" and allegations of sexual assault against so many politicians and celebrities)?
In November, we made this “Oh God, Oh God, Trump Is Our Next President” zine making station at the local theater company Company One’s production of the feminist play REVOLT. Here are some photos of the zines people made.
By Nicole Mazzeo
You, too can put on a workshop! You don’t need to be an official “educator” or have certification (or even a college degree).
You do need passion for the subject and willingness to put time and effort into it. And you should know a good amount about the topic you’re going to cover. I recommend reading things on the internet (or, you know, books) – and fact checking anything you want to use. You can do it!
This August I traveled to Maryland and Virginia to be a part of two sexuality conferences, Amorous Revolt and the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. It was awesome to meet so many people who are passionate about creating a more sexually accepting culture!
My friends at The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health let me use some of their table space for Pleasure Pie zines, and I am eternally grateful! It was a great opportunity to put my work out there in a community of enthusiastic, supportive sex geeks. Also, I put up the Thoughtful Penis Series on the wall behind the table, because why not? Photo from the CSPH Instagram.
Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any photos at Amorous Revolt, and I haven’t seen any posted on the internet yet. But I’ll post some if I find any!
Thank you so much to everyone who donated to our Sex Positive Summer Tour fundraiser for making this all possible!!!
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.