I just returned from an exciting weekend at a conference in DC called Momentum: Making Waves in Sexuality, Feminism and Relationships. It was attended by a couple hundred students, sex educators, therapists, sex workers, writers, sex toy manufactures and sex toy shop owners (as well as others I probably missed here).
I had the great joy of getting to see or meet in person many of the sex shops owners that are part of the Progressive Pleasure Club (of which we are members) and also shaking hands with or hearing speak so many awesome folks in the world of sex, porn and feminism.
Two of the panels that most inspired me work-wise were Ready, Sexy, Able: Building Collective Knowledge About Sex and Disability and Senior Sex Out Loud. Both workshops gave me some new ideas on how we can work better to serve these communities and how to choose and make available sex toys that are more user-friendly.
I attended some other really inspiring and informative panles but the closing address (Sex in America: Changing the Conversation Beyond Smut and Sanctimony) was one of my favorite parts of the conference. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Esther Perel and Lara Riscol spoke about sex education and the state of sex in America today (I’ll give you a hint.. it is kinda sad). It was a fantastic talk that had people on their feet giving a rousing ovation on more than one occasion.
I was particularly thrilled to see Dr. Elders who I quote all the time when I talk about masturbation. She was fired from the Clinton administration (she was the Surgeon General) after responding to a question about masturbation with “I think that it is part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught.” FIRED for saying that. Such a sad statement about sex education in our country, and still freakishly relevant.
(to top it all off, I sat next to Dr. Elders herself while waiting at the airport! I was like a tongue-tied school kid, but managed to make small talk and tell her how inspiring she was)
If this peaks your interest and you want to read more about all the presenters, you should check this out. It is a like a yellow-pages of awesome sex folk and will give you lots of bios and links to people who are radically changing the way we talk about, think about and “do” sex in this country.
There is also an anthology (in ebook form) you can get at Amazon that has selected essays by some of the presenters.
If you are on twitter search the hashtag #mcon and you read what was happening and some of the awesome quotes people were dishing out (one of my favs came from Dr. Elders – “If you can’t control your reproduction, your can’t control your life”)
I still have to go through all my notes from the weekend, so I may be popping back in with more details and inspiration but for now I’m off to work really hard to make ETB more accesible to all folks and to keep “making waves” in feminism & sex positivity!