Cheers Sexy People!
Wow guys, I am dealing right now with some overwhelm of all of the awesome that I have experienced lately! My brain and heart are just overflowing and I’m so excited to share with you today about what I’ve been up to, some of the things I’ve recently learned, and how we can all keep the love and energy flowing! Last weekend I had the great joy and opportunity to go to my very first Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. This event just blew me away! How lucky am I that this event happens to be right in my own hometown of Alexandria, VA. Whoot! Not familiar with the event? In a nutshell, Woodhull Freedom Foundation works to affirm sexual freedom as a fundamental human right! The Summit itself is a human rights and sexual freedom conference that is attended by a wonderfully diverse collection of human beings.
Here’s an excerpt from the president Ricci Joy Levy’s letter:
Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit is a time of contemplation, conversation, celebration, and action. We encourage each attendee, whether speaker or workshop participant, to be fully engaged in the vibrant exchange of ideas and strategies for which the Summit has become known. We want these exchanges to create shared visions for social change, and to build strategies for achieving the full recognition of all of our human rights.
We have the opportunity over the next four days to have those conversations in an environment characterized by good faith and mutual respect. We have the opportunity to practice compassion and empathy, to be constructively critical of one another, and to step into places that are not always comfortable, but where we need to do hard work.
In that spirit, I ask you all to take the risks required to engage in difficult conversations. I ask you, too, to be active participants in creating a safe space for these conversations.
I attended the event in full (workshops all day, social events Friday and Saturday night) from Friday to Sunday. It was exhilarating, educational, moving, and overall just an amazing experience. Each workshop, panelist team, and lecture had something spectacular and often transformational to offer.
There was just so much amazing information shared, it is literally impossible to share it all here. But let me offer some highlights:
“Social media is magical and you are entering people’s homes – which means it’s powerful and a Big Responsibility! It is an honor and a privilege to use our voice to serve others. Take that seriously, treat it with respect, and block the shit out of people.” (in regards to the “creepers” who stalk those of us who speak about sex.)
Sebastian pointed out some of the MYTHS of male sexual assault:
- under 18 = rape. Over 18 = not rape (due to assumed consent)
- Men always want sex
- All sex is enjoyable
- If you don’t do it, you’re gay
Macho males reinforce this by saying “Yay, you got laid!” whether you wanted to get laid or not. We are socialized this way. It’s important to note that “giving in” to repeated and demanding sex requests may still be coercion. Eg. “I won’t leave until you have sex with me”. Sometimes rape isn’t physical force. A man may acquiesce with “let’s get it over with” as in a psychological breakdown of the human spirit. All so eye-opening!
Experiencing and surviving trauma can have lasting effects. At this workshop, I learned that trauma is highly prevalent in the U.S. where exposure to multiple traumas in a lifetime is the norm (89% of the population). Trauma reactions can happen at any time. Self-care is paramount in getting through these experiences.
A definition that was provided of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is an occurring intrusion or recollection of a traumatic event. Some of the ways many manifest dealing with PTSD is to “numb out”, avoid any triggers in a self-protection attempt, or feeling persistent “fight, flight or freeze” experiences in general.
It’s important to note also that trauma, like grief, is not a linear experience. Oftentimes many can get “stuck” in trauma. Why? Sometimes we don’t get to “complete” going through the feelings, such as not letting it physically out (by screaming or shaking to release the feelings). Or we can get “shut down” when trying to disclose our trauma to people who are uncomfortable or don’t want to hear it.
So how can you support someone if they are telling you, a trusted friend, about something extremely upsetting that happened to them? One way is to remember that we ALL experience trauma at different points in our life. So help “normalize” it for the other person. Say things like:
“Thanks for your bravery in sharing that with me, and for your trust in me by confiding in me. How can I support you through this?” This fosters connection, creates trust, and warm feelings of love.
“You poor thing” as this implies this experience only happens to them and creates disconnection, separation, and possibly resentment. And if the disclosing person is not given a safe space to talk about their troubles, remember that this essentially “shuts down” their healing process, prolonging their pain.
Some ideas on creating resilience in your life around healing are:
- Have supportive friends and loved ones in your support network that you trust to confide difficult experiences with.
- Reach out for other support networks and free resources that are available.
- Practice various “grounding exercises” and have those in your toolbox. One grounding exercise is to close your eyes, take a deep breath, think of a calming place vividly and of your own worthiness to lead a life you are proud of… or whatever thoughts are comforting to you.
- Applaud yourself for taking positive action in your own self-care!
This roundtable truly just blew me away, partly because my boyfriend just finished moving in yesterday (Yay!) and we are creating our own unusual, non-biological modern family. I could not take notes enough scribbling feverishly in my notebook. Here are some highlights:
“Children want loving adults and don’t care about what kind of sex their caretakers are having. Care and attention is what kids want.” — Dr. Elisabeth Sheff
“Family is where our heart first starts beating. But it’s also where it is first broken. Rejection by family is the #1 suicide killer for trans kids. Family is the people that take care of us and we want to take care of.” — Carman Vázquez
“Polyamory is a form of emancipation and rehabilitation. When learning to practice consensual non-monogamy, it is necessary to re-actualize your entire mindset.” — Christopher Smith (sociology student at Howard University studying consensual non-monogamy)
“The LGBT movement spent millions to get marriage equality, BUT it’s at the expense of domestic partnership rights (when individuals demonstrate interdependence as domestic partners and therefore get some rights). There is a troubling reality of “Get married or too bad” if you want any legal rights – which is far from ideal. Marriage equality was never framed as FAMILY but more legal rights. Expand the idea of family beyond biology and law.” — Various including Ricci Joy Levy
This event was one of my favorite of the entire weekend. Some great connections and conversations happened from it. Chris Smith will be joining me on my podcast in the coming weeks! And I have THREE podcasts coming up with Dr. Sheff, so stay tuned for that. Also meeting Carmen (whom I feature a quote on my upcoming new website launch) was just awesome. So inspiring and amazingly fantastic! I also was blessed by meeting Billy Holder finally in person throughout the weekend. What a rock star! So cool.
The conference was truly transformational! Now I can’t imagine NOT going! I have it on my calendar for next year. Consider joining me. Mind = BLOWN! Also I was humbled by not only getting to know and befriend Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, but I was able to assist her on her national speaking tour by hosting an evening with “Eli” at my home in Alexandria, VA. About 14 wonderful, lovely and highly interesting people attended and were graced with her amazing words, experience, and good humor where she shared insights from 15 years of research. What a splendid and spectacular evening! And what fun! I absolutely love spreading the word of realizing that we all have CHOICE in how we create our own happiness, our own families, and our own relationships. Love is in the air! So is the ability for all of us to strive for equality and human rights for all! Would you like to join me next year at the Summit? Please consider it.
Wishing you peace, love and happiness!
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)