Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened On...

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to a Wedding

My girlfriend phoned with the news that we’d been invited to her best friend’s wedding on a cruise ship in Vancouver. “I hate weddings,” I muttered to myself. But knowing there was no way out of this one, I suggested we leave Chicago a few days early to explore some of the great northwest. We never did make it to the summit of Mt. Rainier or arrange tea and crumpets in Victoria with the Queen. But, to our great surprise, we wound up instead exploring our most intimate sexual biases.

“When you drip hot wax on the naked body,” Jennifer, the enthusiastic workshop facilitator and head of Vancouver’s “Libido Events” said as she demonstrated, “start with the candle held high, like this, so the wax has a chance to cool down a bit before it hits.” “YOW!” I lunged into the air as a few drops of molten wax splattered across my back. If that was “cooled down,” I didn’t need to find out what it was going to feel like up close and personal.

Neither Debbie nor I had ever before experienced any form of sexual “pain for pleasure,” S/M, bondage or the like. But here we were, naked among naked strangers being scalded, frozen, tied up, whipped and beaten – well…“paddled.” We felt a little guilty at first – not getting it – failing to connect with the potential erotic thrill of it all. But instead of being pressured by the group to go further until we felt “it,” we were made to feel appreciated for trying something new. The new activities continued to seem strange, but the strangers surrounding us soon began to feel like friends.

Debbie and I had stumbled onto what the workshop leaders called a “sex positive community.” Apparently unique to the northwest from San Francisco to Vancouver (a Google search of “sex positive Chicago,” LA and New York revealed nothing), sex positive communities are comprised of individuals who identify themselves as hetero, gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans-gendered, she-male, swingers, polyamorists and/or fetishists of all stripes who come together to learn from each other, play together and explore their erotic/spiritual potentials.

“In the early days, nobody trusted anybody else,” offered Allena and Jim, poly life-partners with Jennifer and founders of Seattle’s “Wet Spot.” “The gays wouldn’t mix with lesbians or bisexuals let alone straights. The swingers wanted nothing to do with the hard-core S/M folks. Everybody held on tightly to their own particular labels and group identities to the exclusion of everyone else. Nobody yet realized the political strength in numbers.”

Allena told us that early on, she had owned a coffee house which attracted, among others, sexual adventurers of several varieties. When the coffee house went out of business, those who had begun to dialogue over java and across sexual orientations refused to relinquish the opportunity they had created to explore and play together. Subsequently, a string of new locations were tried and abandoned until the Wet Spot was born.

“But even after the various groups began sitting down together,” according to Jim, “resistance continued with everybody defining themselves in terms of what they wouldn’t do. ‘I’ll attend a meeting or tie somebody up but I don’t do any of that gay stuff.’ There’s still resistance, but the labels and barriers are slowly coming down.” Continued Allena, “People came and loosened up and tried things they never thought they would ever try, simply because the environment was so friendly, safe and inviting.” “In a lot of cases,” Jennifer added, “they found that some of what they had been shutting out actually held erotic potential for them.”

Debbie and I marveled at what we saw as we looked around the smoke, drug and alcohol-free room, noticing two women of different racial backgrounds snuggling in one corner; an older male/female couple enjoying sex with a much younger woman; two men sharing a rope, a whip and a rack; a young “man” discussing the stages he was going through on his way to becoming a woman, and a dance floor filled with partially clothed and naked bodies of various ages, shapes and designs, revealing tattooed torsos and branded behinds.

Nowhere did we see people “coming on to” others or being offensive in any way. People politely brought each other lemonade and candy from the free community stash and demonstrated respect for each other in a hundred other ways. The activities people chose to participate in were those with the greatest potential for satisfying their particular sexual desires while all around them, others with differing sexual interests, were pursuing far different sexual pleasures. Everywhere we looked, people were busy going about the business of maximizing their own erotic/spiritual potential while respectfully acknowledging everyone else’s right to do the same. It was as if Debbie and I had landed in a little corner of sexual heaven. I surmised that in a world of erotic harmony, the only label needed would be “sex positive.”

After three days of amazing sexual exploration, we finally made it to the wedding which of course turned out to be a bigger challenge of my endurance than anything Jennifer had to offer. But now, better able than before to access my spiritual core, I placed everything in loving perspective, and as a result, was able to rise nicely to the occasion. Later that evening, drawing on all we had learned, Debbie and I made love spectacularly for what seemed like hours. As we held each other in the afterglow, I couldn’t help but wonder if the newlyweds were having it this good.

Copyright 2006 Craig
Reprint with permission

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


today I taught a class for Opt in Vancouver
(short for: Options for Sexual Health, formerly Planned Parenthood)

I was brought in to do a presentation on bisexuality and polyamory, the class went very well and once over, I was asked to return again later this month to teach as part of their educate the educators series. Thoroughly enjoyed the chance to share my experiences with individuals who were hungry for ""real life" sex education and whose attention was focused on learning for the sake of educating oneself, not for titillation.

There were a number of people in the room who they themselves identified as poly or bi, the hands shot up about me as I asked the question. I found each hand to be a powerful reminder that our numbers are on the climb.

Five years ago if I was in a room full of people and asked for a show of hands for either bi sexuality or polyamory, one hand, if any may have been raised. (and a whole room full of people would have looked at me with a puzzled look as those words were once foreign to most people) Now, all these years later, we are growing in numbers and we're everywhere. I'm proud to be bi, polyamorous and out about who I am.

This afternoon was spent on the phone taking care of final planning details with the Tyra Banks show as they've been working with me for about a week and a half trying to negotiate terms and such for an upcoming episode that I'm to be on.

Like Opt, the Tyra Banks show wants me for my identity and a huge part of it.

Monday, July 31, 2006


This evening I teach SM 101 - A Little More Than A Slap & A Tickle at the Love Nest on the North Shore. Bags are packed and I've already had a soak in the tub to relax.

A few minutes ago I found myself with some serious pent up sex energy that needed to be let loose, so off I went into my bedroom and laid myself out on the bed for some solo play.

(door locked and music playing to drown out the noises as child is home on summer holidays and the Hitatchi is not a quiet source of pleasure ALTHOUGH an amazing source of pleasure and orgasms for yours truly)

The hunt for the big O was on. Successfully I coaxed a delectable, eye popping orgasm out of myself and it was a WET one...

Sunday, July 30, 2006

the big question

Of all the years I've been out about my sexuality and out about my chosen profession as a sex-activist & educator my mother has never permitted me to tell her what I do for a living.

Don't think I've not wanted to tell her, tried to tell her, pondered how to drop the info into her lap, had her run across it, sent her my biography, something ...anything. But not without her permission, I couldn't.

I have wanted her to know, but my mom has always said no. I have wanted to share myself to help our relationship and because I know that in being known by her in this way I can let go of some of the fear that I have about her finding out about me from another source.

She has chosen not to know. Realize though there have been signs of my passion everywhere, my mother has just over looked them, all!

But really, did I have the right to tell her before she was ready, before she wanted to know? No, not in my books.

I've waited patiently for years with this huge section of myself not known by my mother and waited for the time when she was ready to know.

This evening in a phone call she asked me the big question. "Exactly Jennifer what DO YOU DO for a living?" The emphasis was there finally that she needed an answer.

Knocked the wind out of me for a second her question did. Then with composure gained I told her that I looked forward to the opportunity when we next see one another for us to sit down and discuss my occupation together. It needs a face to face conversation, I said it with a smile in my voice.

She knows so much with all the tid bits exposed subtly and accidently over the years, but has not allowed it ever to be said out loud or pieced together to make something whole.

Her daughter, her child, me, I'm a sex activist and educator whose living a passion and joy filled life that is rich with friends, lovers and opportunities.

Until our upcoming date to talk, I thankfully have some time to find the right words and language necessary to make this eye opening conversation feel safe for my mom, non threatening and smooth.

love is

returning late from work in another country, my cell phone rings.

"Good night mom, don't forget to eat a snack and have a drink of milk when you get home."

Words and sentiment that tugged at my exhausted heart strings, making me drive all that quicker, to reach her, faster.

Arrived home to my child almost but not quite already asleep in my bed, awaiting me. Tucked her in safe and planted kisses all over her. Cuddles, love, hugs and we stopped long enough to allow our breathing to sync up.

Before bed I opened the fridge and there was a note that says "Love ya".

And a coupon for a FREE HUG.

Life couldn't be any better than this.

my daughters mother