How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I believe that one of the only ways to combat ignorance is through experience and exposure. Children, especially, are being left to their own devices to figure out the barrage of messages coming from our culture and the media. As a mom who also works in the sex industry marketing products, I am constantly thinking about the messages I put out to the world. Looking for ways that I can help others to learn, grow and stay positive to counteract a culture of negativity and judgment.
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
When I was in school I lost an amazing friend to domestic violence. She had a bumper sticker on her car that read “your silence will not protect you”. Susan was an activist with a gigantic heart and we lost her to violence from someone who she was attempting to help and care for. This was a catalyst in my life to pursue what I enjoy wholeheartedly, as opposed to working within a framework that I couldn’t agree with. It also has taught me to always speak up, you never know if it will be our last chance.
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
Perpetuating Sex Positivity, acceptance of all sexual variations and orientations including asexuality and all forms of gender expression and body acceptance, in a hyper-sexualized sex negative, body negative and shaming culture. Our culture’s sex obsession reinforces stereotypes and perpetuates confusion and shame amongst young people and adults as well. Informative and realistic conversations about sex and sexuality are not happening on a large scale. The cultural framework of secrecy, shame and ideals of perfect lust for the deserving leaves many people feeling left out and insecure, because they don’t see themselves in these images of popular culture. The biggest challenge right now is convincing the general population that realistic and in-depth sex education is important for everyone. As well as the challenge of continuing to critique advertising and mass media for feeding into stereotypes and ideals out of fear of change.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
I feel that the conversation around marriage equality is a big one. The president has even taken a stance toward equality and more and more people are standing up to say that second class treatment is not an option. Also I feel that trans issues have been brought to a forefront with more well known trans men and women coming out proudly. Like it our not, 50 shades of grey has also brought a sexual awakening to its many adult (mostly female) readers. This phenomenon has people talking about sex and bdsm more openly than ever before.
Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, How (and Why) to Be a Sex Positive Parent, to CatalystCon East?
It’s not luck that I have a very open line of communication with my daughter, it’s years of facing hard conversations knowing that this is my chance. I want her to know that when she has a question or a concern I will always tell her the truth. And I want to be the one who helps her to understand the complexities of being an adult. Most adults and kids are not really comfortable talking about sex and sexuality, at least with each other. Children learn about sex from their peer group more often than their parents. I believe it’s part of our job as parents in preparing our children for the world to give them all the tools they need to build a happy and fulfilling life, even if our own parents weren’t able to do that for us. This includes knowledge of sex (for both reproduction and pleasure) and sexuality.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
When I was young I wanted to be a supreme court justice, then I saw how sausages are made…