August 13th-16th 2015 is the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit, a sexuality conference that I’ll be attending (and speaking at!!) thanks to the amazing folks at Shevibe. There’s a lot of good stuff packed into this long weekend, like workshops, academies, day-long institutes and more.
The panel I’ll be on is at 10:45am on Friday (whew, not too early!) and I’ll be sharing it with a freaking stellar line-up: Caitlyn Murphy who blogs at Sexational!; Metis Black of Tantus, and Jennifer Pritchett of Smitten Kitten and Badvibes.org. I’m pretty verklempt to be in such company.
Every adult retailer, manufacturer, and sex blogger has been, at some point if not regularly, inundated with questions about topics ranging from surviving and struggling with trauma, relationships, sexual pleasure and health, anatomy, and are asked to troubleshoot issues people are having with allergic reactions to materials and ingredients in sex toys, lube, and other items. Some have risen to this call and centered sex education- sexual pleasure and health- in their businesses. Some have also attempted to rise to this call and spread misinformation in an industry that has many murky areas and lacks research. Those who try to center sex education have also encountered people who would detract them for not being a “respectable” business or topic, or claimed that they’re just providing information in order to upsell people. How do we help people access inclusive sex education as people who are often not equipped with the degrees, certifications, and resources to do so? How do we gain recognition for this work? How do we help others answer this call? This panel’s goal purpose is to answer these questions and more.
This Summit really is going to be a combination of fun and learning. There are a bunch of fun social events that trigger extreme social anxiety in me, as much as I wish they wouldn’t, and a lot of really great topics in the workshops. If you can be in DC (specifically, Alexandria VA) that weekend, you should come learn and have fun with us! A number of bloggers are going – AFemmeCock, Bex, Reenie, Epiphora, Caitlyn, JoEllen, Crista, Joan Price, Lena, Mandi, DeAnn, and…there are likely a few I’m forgetting (please remind me in comments!), and a few that I am unsure if they’re coming (I’ve been so busy with the house thing that I’m a bit out of the loop and brain is just fried lately). The point is, there will be a lot of AWESOME people at the Summit. You’ll get to see the fine folks of Shevibe, of course, and TANTUS will be there. Also listed as speakers? Buck Angel and Nina Hartley! The speaker list is really impressive, honestly.
I’m equally excited for Woodhull and terrified. My social anxiety means that I assume most people don’t/won’t like me, and in an order to be a people-pleaser I sacrifice my own needs and comforts. I’m honestly already stressing about being the “difficult one” when it comes to meals, because of the gluten thing. I don’t want to miss out on social gatherings at meals just because everyone else wants to go to a place where I won’t be able to eat. Nor do I expect people to change what they want, just to suit me.
I hold such high admiration and mini-crushes for so many bloggers and am so excited to spend time in person with all of the bloggers who are going – but the social anxiety and low self-esteem that accompany it rear their ugly heads and threaten to ruin my good time with the negative voices in my head. I will do my level best to remember that normal society expects eye contact during conversation; I will force myself to remember that when my shyness wants me to look at the ground and go quiet, others take that as a snub. Also, spending so much time around beautiful people, some of whom I’ve perved on from afar because they post very hawt photos, makes me nervous because I don’t want to be inadvertently inappropriate. So here’s the thing if you’re also going to Woodhull: I’m far more likely to be comfortable if I don’t have to approach you first. Don’t mistake my shy and awkward self for disliking you; I’ll become more comfortable in short order. I’m more nervous to meet you than you are to meet me.