Over the last few weeks we’ve talked about many of the great things about sex. How it makes your skin clearer and younger-looking, how fantasies can be oh-so-fun and sexy, and generally how sex is fun. However, you may have also noticed that I’ve subtly been clarifying points and adding in words like ‘consensual’ when talking about relationships.
Over the last year the harsh realities of sex have been at the forefront of my mind. They’ve been utterly impossible to ignore. My grad classes focused on topics like the pervasiveness (and antibiotic resistance-ness) of STIs, my volunteer work is teaching sex ed to survivors of sexual violence, and numerous friends have disclosed their stories of sexual assault. As I’ve had these experiences, I’ve started to feel increasingly inauthentic in my work.
How could I talk only about the pleasures of sex and ignore the other, less happy-go-lucky aspects?
I believe that sex is neither fundamentally good nor bad. Instead, its nature is determined by how people use or abuse it. When I did presentations from the assumption that everyone’s experiences with sex were consensual, fun, and loving I wasn’t acknowledging the many other experiences you might have had.
To that end, I decided to jump headfirst into the world of sexual violence prevention. When I first started Passion Parties I read about every fetish and kink I could find so that I would never react negatively to a client. This week I began my training in prevention with a similar goal: to provide a compassionate + supportive response to anyone who discloses a history of violence to me.
My training was with a a bystander intervention program called Green Dot. The basic premise is this: red dots are acts of violence, or tolerance, justification, or perpetuation of this violence. Green dots promote safety and communicate intolerance. The goal of the program, then, is to provide actionable steps for people to make more green dots.
It’s about changing cultural norms one tiny step at a time…without asking you to change yourself. Green dots are meant to be simple ways to prevent sexual violence. Think calling the cops if the situation next store sounds sketchy…or knocking on the door and asking to borrow some sugar for the cookies you aren’t really making. Its checking in with friends before ya’ll head out to see if they want to head home with someone who seems interested…and calling people out when they lose their cool.
I write all this to say two things.
1) Every action counts…you don’t have to do it all but you do have to do something.
2) Things will be shifting a bit here at PbK. While we’ll still chat about orgasm and sex toys and all the wonderful and beautiful sides of sex, you’ll find it balanced with some talk about preventing violence and reducing shame. I’ve already started to do this over on Facebook and Twitter and I am so grateful that your response has been incredibly positive.
A passionate life, to me, is one in which freedom from violence is the norm and fear is not the constant state.
What might a green dot look like? Here are some super easy ideas:
Share this post with a friend.
Talk to your partner/friends/family about violence.
Post a quick message to social media about ending violence.
Check in with a loved one who might be having a hard time.
Simple. Easy. Quick. I truly hope that you’ll join in my exploration of the full spectrum of sexual experiences. I’m so excited to have you along for the journey.
Know someone who is passionate about ending sexual violence? Share this email. They’ll thank you and so will I.