Categories
New Members

Introduction

Hello,

I’m Nymphetamean, a BDSM and Sexuality educator from Toronto, Ontario (Canada). I’ve recently started down this path, after getting so many requests to share my knowledge from my local community. I love teaching and sharing with others, watching them explore and discover this wonderful, kinky world I live in! Teaching has given me a new passion and direction in life, I’m very excited to see where it all leads.

Categories
Articles

Equal Education, Equal Pay: Closing the Gender Wage Gap

This infographic was originally posted here and is re-posted with permission

equal_education_unequal_pay

 

Categories
Events

Embracing the Sensuality of Diversity in Identities and Cultures

The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) is a not-for-profit, interdisciplinary professional organization. In addition to sexuality educators, sexuality counselors and sex therapists, AASECT members include physicians, nurses, social workers, psychologists, allied health professionals, clergy members, lawyers, sociologists, marriage and family counselors and therapists, family planning specialists and researchers, as well as students in relevant professional disciplines. These individuals share an interest in promoting understanding of human sexuality and healthy sexual behavior.

This is their annual event, don’t miss out!

 

Categories
Interviews

Playing Well With Others: an interview with Lee and Mollena

Your new book Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities is soon to be released, why did you two decided to co-author it?

Lee –  I was at a kink conference where a guy who was new to the scene showed up and was complaining about the event… that it was so “spiritual” and not “play” oriented enough (though he was a tad ruder than that).  I asked him if he had looked at the website and seen that the event described itself as a relationship and energy focused kink event.  I then asked him why he was at the event, and he said it was the one nearest to him. He had no idea that there were a wide variety of events, and he could have gotten his needs better met at a different conference.

I realized then that no one had written a book on the topic, so I started doing so.  After working on it for a chunk of time, I gave up. I felt too burned out on the topic. I asked a number of folks if they might be interested in collaborating, and they were all so excited about what I had already done, and wanted to help finish it.  Mollena on the other hand said it was a good idea, but had great ideas on different directions it could go, and brought her own vision to the project. I knew she had to be my co-author on the project :)

Mollena  – Lee approached me having already embarked on a search for a collaborator on a very ambitious topic and project. Upon seeing what he’d written, and after getting my feedback on where I felt we could take this and managing to help dissolve some of the overwhelming nature of an undertaking this massive,  we both agreed we would work together well and had similar enough passion and dissimilar enough experience to really make an impact with this project.

 

Bringing a book from idea to print is a commitment of creativity and discipline, how did the process go?

Lee – I showed up to the first multi-day session that Mollena and I had scheduled to do with 70+ pages of notes. No, really.  I had been working for a while, and it was insane.  She and I took topics and rearranged them, cut notes into pieces and threw the pieces of paper into different piles, weeded stacks of stuff that did not need to be in the book out – it was an intense process. After that it was days at a time of writing retreats, rounds of back and forth on google documents, too many hours pouring over notes, and of course lots of cupcakes.

Mollena – It was delightful. It was far less lonely than working on my previous project. I felt like I had to up my game, as I was challenged by someone I respected to make this project happen. I had to find out how to communicate my ideas not just on the page but to the other person with whom I’d embarked on this journey. Ultimately it was an unparalleled chance to work on something with another person who was also in there for the long-haul. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

As the ‘kink community’ grows and more people discover their interest in exploring BDSM, it’s important for them to know how to navigate the different ways to be involved, how will your book help readers out on that journey?

LeePlaying Well is a great way not only to learn about the wide variety of paths available within the kink community, but also figuring out *your* right path through the exciting choices out there! Plus, getting to find out about how to avoid social pitfalls, and wipe out a stack of myths that pervade about the kink communities before you even get involved, is such a stress relief.

Mollena – Hopefully it will help folks have an opinion about what acceptable behavior looks like. I hope that people who read the book will be less likely to take everything they see and hear about the community at face value, and have a reference that is trustworthy and reliable. I think it also helps serve as a reminder for those who have been around for a while to refresh and level-set and remember what brought us here and what keeps us coming back.

 

I love that you encourage readers to find the right experiences for them, do you have any recommendations if someone has a bad first encounter? 

Lee – Consider looking at how to *not* repeat the patterns that happened last time. If it was meeting a solo person off the internet, look into meeting folks at a local Munch instead. If it was the fact that that big kink conference was too overwhelming, examine what smaller events might be a good fit for you. There are a lot of choices out there for how to pursue first steps, and why do the same steps a second time?  Also… be kind to you as you figure it all out.

Mollena – Take a look at what was difficult in the encounter: was it miscommunication? Was there intentional overstepping of boundaries? When scenes are difficult (I don’t use the term “bad” because I feel it makes pejorative something that could be a learning experience) often there is the desire to lay blame. Rather than point fingers, see what your part In the issue was: inexperience? Communication? Was it just a bad day? Or was it negligence? If it was a situation where you were treated poorly or deliberately injured, this is a very different situation. If something criminal is perpetrated, it is my opinion that pressing charges is always an option. However, most problems encountered are due to mis-communication and decompressing after the experience and then communicating with the involved party helps to salvage the situation and bring it back around to something that can help you grow.

 

Both of you have been long time leaders in the kink scene, what is a favorite memory of a time when you “played well with others”?

Lee – I think the opportunity to act as an “interpreter” between the different parts of the kinky sex communities has been one of my favorite experiences in the scene(s).  Helping Leathermen talk to cuddle party folks, swingers talk to BDSMers, fetishists to sex nerds – those moments when folks go “oh, I get it” totally light me up.

 

What advice would you give to others who would like to publish a sexuality related book?

Lee – Figure out why you really want it out there.  Assess if anyone has written a book on the topic already by doing a *lot* of research, and ascertain whether your book will add something new to the catalogue out there. And find a great editor, even if you are self-publishing, please. Our community, and your vision, deserves excellence and correct grammar.

Mollena – Write what you are passionate about. And don’t expect to get wealthy from it.

 

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about “Playing Well With Others”?

Lee – Whether you are a wide-eyed explorer or a jaded veteran, there is something for you to check out with the book. Let’s get the conversation going on how to create a healthier, sexier, sustainable commUNITY!

This article was originally posted on Fearless Press

Categories
Articles

Services Rendered: Fair Compensation for Educators

By Sarah Sloane

New educators, there is one simple fact that I want – nay, I NEED you to understand: nobody gets rich from teaching about sex and kink. Even the most successful sex educators in the US aren’t what most of us would call “wealthy”, and the great majority of us – even those that do this on a full time basis – aren’t making a substantial income out of our teaching & writing. Sex education is not something that is culturally valued in our society, and without that cultural sense of importance we will likely find that most organizations & stores will be unable to pay us what they (and we!) wish they could.

Now that my pessimism has been aired, let me tell you what’s important to understand: as an educator, your business sanity will become contingent on your ability to balance your own desires and needs with the ability of the group that you’re teaching for to compensate you. Yes, we’d all love to get paid hundreds of dollars for every class we teach; and yes, we’d all love to be given a room in a five-star hotel and unlimited room service at the events we attend…but those are highly unlikely.

Novice educators – you will have to pay some dues. Until you have a proven track record of classes on your CV, understand that, for many groups, you are a genuine risk to bring in. The more prestigious the organization that is inviting you to speak, the more that they have to lose if you do a poor job – and that can be anything from speaking offensively to giving unsafe information. What this means financially is that our initial forays into presenting may require us to pay our own way to and from the event, cover our expenses, and occasionally even be asked to pay for our own registration in full. Is this bad? It depends on your outlook. If you see it as an investment in building your resume, it may be a perfectly acceptable (and perhaps even desirable) situation that you’ll want to take advantage of. However, if money and time are a challenge and the benefits don’t outweigh the expense, it’s likely to not be worth it to you – and if you opt to do it, you’ll need to check your resentments about the terms at the door before you walk in, or else you can be assured that you won’t be invited back.

That does not, however, let the organization off the hook for being respectful. Even if you’ve never presented before, your time and energy are valuable, and acknowledgement of that is an (unfortunately) unspoken part of the exchange. Some organizations who are financially poor will write you a thank you card, or bring cookies; I’ve had groups surprise me with a gift of some lovely yarn (I’m a notorious knitter), a bag of healthy snacks and bottled water to keep me going, or even passing the hat at the end of the meeting to help me cover my transportation costs. And honestly? The groups that go to that extent of trying to say thank you in meaningful ways are the ones that most educators clamor to teach at, because they know that their work is both welcome and appreciated.

When you approach (or are approached by) a group or event, make sure that you know what you need to get in order to feel good about the agreement, and be ready to state it clearly.

Once the group says “Yes, we’d like to bring you in”, it’s time to have the conversation – and I suggest you have it in writing, and that you follow up with a final agreement email. You’ll want to make sure that your responsibilities are detailed – the number of classes you’ll teach, when you will arrive & depart, what you will bring with you (handouts, resources, assistants, etc), and any other tasks or appearances that you’ve been asked to fulfill. You will also want to detail what the event is offering you in compensation – registration, hotel, expenses, pick up & drop off at the airport, meals, etc. The more clearly that you can list these and ensure agreement, the easier (and friendlier) that both you and the organization will be able to communicate prior to and during the event, and the happier everyone will be about the experience.

The goal of the business side of the negotiations is twofold: it’s to make sure that everyone’s expectations are managed – which avoids unnecessary confusion and drama – and to make sure that a good relationship can be built between the educator and their community. When that’s taken care of, the end result is an event that is a pleasure to teach at, and invitations to do so again in the future – which makes everyone happy!

Categories
Articles

Why do condoms get a bad wrap?

sourced from www.Condommonologues.com
sourced from www.Condommonologues.com

I am not sure if this should be posted as a forum topic or an article in it’s own right.  In any case, I am writing this here because I seek more opinions on the topic and would love some insight and constructive criticism from the sex community….

A reoccurring issue for me and my colleagues is the negativity towards condoms and what to do about it.  When I talk to people about condom use, and particularly during discussions about contraceptive choices, I usually hear negative claims like: ““It keeps my partner and me from getting close”, “…It’s unnatural”, “…a mood killer”, “I can’t feel anything with a condom on”, “it hurts”.  These account do not come from a particular cohort.  From my experience, negativity towards condoms spans across age brackets, genders, and sexualities.

Alternatively, I know plenty of individuals and couples whose only form of contraceptive and STI protection is the condom.  Overall, these are healthy, happy sexual beings and there are many reasons the condom is primary choice.  It may be because it is the most effective and reliable non-hormonal contraceptive, or because it is the less-expensive, less fuss, institution-free choice, or because it feels good when you know you’re taking care of yourself and others.  Overall they choose the condom because it suits them best for their circumstances compared to what else is available on the safer sex market.

It is no surprise that there are conflicting views about how the condom influences sexual pleasure.  Sexual “zest” is something that changes and is contextual, specific to each individual and relationship, personal histories and places.  So there are some major challenges in attempting to empirically measure the source of sexual dissatisfaction.  But I wonder if it’s fair to say that negative attitudes towards condoms are far more prevalent than positive ones in North American culture.  After all, rarely do I hear “Condoms make me horny!” or “I love using condoms!”  And rarely does one witness positive representations of condoms in popular how-to magazines or in mainstream porn.

To what extent do negative views towards condoms reflect problems with the technology?  When someone says, “I can’t get off on condoms”, is this a symptom of condoms in general, or the individual not knowing how to find the right condom, how it should fit, what lubes to use, or how to use it well?

From our peer-reviewed literature review, we found that attitudes greatly influence one’s experience with condoms.  I go into more detail about our research findings here on our website.  Basically, those who complain about condoms tend to be people who have little-to-no experience using them.  While many people do report that unprotected sex feels better than protected sex, in general, people who use condoms frequently and are confident about how to use them well tend to experience greater satisfaction then those who do not use condoms.  This implies, of course, that there is far more to sexual pleasure that cannot simply be reduced to basic physics of vaginal/penile sensation.

How then, do we improve the reputation of condoms?  Perhaps it’s a matter of changing the discourse on condoms and how to use them properly- and young sex education is a key spot.  When discussing condom use, for instance, there could be more emphasized about the different types of condoms that are available to suit different sizes and preferences, and how to navigate those options.  There can also never be enough emphasis on the importance of lube and the best ways to use them.  Also, tips on how to put a condom on in sexy, more fun ways- such as the partner putting it on for you- are important steps to curing condoms woes.

What do you think?  Are negative views towards condoms a product of a greater stigma in our culture?  What should be done to alleviate misunderstandings and negative beliefs?