Apr 032012
 

I mean “aftermath” in the best possible way, but yet my brain is a freaking mess. “Overstimulated” is the best way to describe my current state. I go from leading a fairly boring life to a jam-packed weekend full of sex geek fun, feminist conversations, sex-positive atmospheres and 50-some hours with “my people”. It’s funny to me how different Mcon 2012 was from Mcon 2011 – a lot of the same people were present (but yet a lot of new faces) and a lot of similar sessions/discussions but my experience was very different. This year I co-presented a session on Blogging (the only session not to focus on anything sex-related, I think), I found slightly fewer sessions that interested me and/or applied to me personally, I hung out with different people.  Last year I think I really only spoke with 1 of the vendors but this year many hours of conversation was had whether it was in the vendors rooms or over drinks in the hotel bar. It was enlightening, empowering and validating. I think I have a better idea of what road I’m going to be taking now that my time in the sex bloggosphere has hit a multi-path fork in the road.

I will continue to remain “Lilly” and mostly anonymous. I will not be telling my family anything, unless it gets to a point where I simply have no choice. It’s not easy lying about my whereabouts but it’s been done so far. All that matters is that my husband is incredibly supportive of me and loves what I’m doing, loves that I care. That’s really all I need. He had a supremely shitty work week and was just depressed and exhausted; I felt guilty, a bit, for having fun at Mcon when I felt the pull to be a supportive partner to him but he wouldn’t let me go there. He insisted numerous times that I deserved this fun weekend and that I needed it, that he was proud of me and wanted me to soak it all up. And I did.

I was still my same socially awkward self, but less so. I started up more conversations. I put myself into conversations. Yes, I panicked when I realized that the “oh hey meet us at the bar for drinks” turned into “Oh, we’re sharing a table with Dr. Carol Queen, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, Lynn Comella and Metis Black” but hey, I didn’t speak. I let the grown-ups talk while I sat on the edges in awe with the lovely Jenna of Tantus. Crista (my amazing partner in crime for the weekend, and roommate) and I hung out with Ducky Doolittle, Jenna and Metis; had conversations and intelligent discourse on the ethics and practices of the sex toy industry. It was a dream. I got enough hugs from friends to last me weeks. I felt pretty in my big Victorian skirt. Nobessence is no longer an entity, a luxury company – I know them now to be a spectacularly amazing couple leading a fairly normal but wonderfully sex-positive life committed to making excellent sex toys. I’m trying so hard to keep all the memories and words said in all these amazing conversations fresh in my memory but my cursed brain is leaking out things. I hate that. I wish I could have just been wired all weekend, recording everything like a spy. For my own personal use, of course, nothing else!

You all know I’ve never thought much of the Big 5 companies of the sex toy industry, but I know think even less of them if possible. While I can’t repeat some of what was said, suffice to say you should just take my word for it. Support the smaller companies whenever possible, you’ll never regret it. But I also learned that I’m wrong sometimes and while I still say JimmyJane is overpriced, Jacq from Sugar in Baltimore told me things that changed my opinion a bit. I finally held a fully-charged Form 2 in my hands and noticed it only once had that wonky motor issue other reviewers had mentioned but I also noticed that it was perhaps a little more powerful than I expected and it certainly surpassed the (still hate it) Form 3.

I think I’d like to consider the possibility of hanging up my shingle as an official consultant. Now to narrow down who I can help and what I can do and how to go about making this a reality. But there are a number of smaller sex toy companies/manufacturers/adult industry people that need a better SEO presence and need more information on social media but don’t know how to get it. I think I have something to offer. I have the experience of being on both sides of the coin.

I can only hope and pray that there will be a Momentum 2013 because we all need more – more instruction, more discussion, more debates, more affirmations – and we’re not done learning. If you are reading this and read my posts about last year’s event and say “I wish I could have gone”, here is my advice to you: Do whatever you have to do to start saving up now and get yourself there next year. You have no idea how it will change you. It changes you. It’s amazing. Thank you, everyone, for making this weekend the best weekend I’ll have all year, hands down.

Oct 212011
 

If you thought I was intimidated freaked out excited by the list of presenters, you should have seen me when I viewed the list of sessions. The one that caught my eye and I Will. Not. Miss1. is just….oye I’m so verklempt. Read this.

The Dirty Business of Sex Toys
Metis Black, Greg DeLong, Rachel Venning, Dr. Carol Queen. Moderated by Lynn Comella

Sex toys, or “novelties,” are a billion dollar business. It’s an industry that thrives on creative (and not so creative) minds and ethical (and not so ethical) business practices. Get an insider’s look at a few company’s core values, and talk about material safety, creative rip offs, labor relations, financing and politics. Hear some stories on the challenges that have arisen and how very important you, the sex educators, bloggers and the consumers, are in moving and shaping up the industries ethics.

YOU GUYS.

I’ll probably have to be bound and muzzled so that the panelists and other people can actually have a nice session. I mean, you all know I have opinions on this stuff. Oh….opinions. I has them. I’ll be sure to pack a panty liner in case I piddle a little. Seriously now. The Founder of Tantus (yay silicone!), the Founder of njoy (yay Pure Wand!), a co-owner/co-founder of Babeland and Dr. Carol Queen. It’s like a goddamn sex toy reviewer’s wet dream.

Other sessions that I am really looking forward to:

So yeah…I’m seeing all this serious but awesome stuff and thinking “Gosh these are some intelligent people” and yes. I’m intimidated.

Our session is a lot different; Blogging 202: Take Your Site to the Next Level is definitely more “teach” than “discuss” although there will be a lot of discussion and questions. The geek in me will likely overprepare and have way more info than we can squeeze into our 40? minutes. A little less than 40. We want to let brave souls share their site link and get our un-sugar-coated 30 second opinion on it *grins*

(I might need a bodyguard)

I’m really excited to work with AAG on our presentation and see what we can teach people.

Now accepting volunteers to sit in the front row in their undies to help break the ice and my fear of public speaking!

  1. I am not above bribing the ladies who make the schedule with rich chocolate cakes to ensure my session isn’t going on at the same time
Apr 072011
 

So Sunday I had both breakfast and lunch with AAG and her awesomely funny roommate Heidi (I first mentioned her here) and others. More good conversations and laughs. And coffee. Jesus we drained pots of coffee that morning.

The Sunday sessions started out with the Feminist Connection by Lillith – she’s also a really great educator. I went into that session thinking “I’m not really a feminist” but yeah. She changed me. She changed my whole outlook on things. Again though, that’s a whole other post. But I want to say here (and will repeat) a fact that hit me hard from her session:

Research has shown that you get more of a happiness-boost from being with a group of your friends once a month than having your salary doubled (obvs paraphrasing here as I can’t recall the exact wording, and note that the salary thing doesn’t apply to poverty or the rich).

YES. This is what’s been wrong with me and why I haven’t truly enjoyed the last couple NYC events like I feel I should have AND why I’ve been feeling disconnected from the blogging/twittering community lately. At those events I didn’t get the cerebral connections – it was too loud, too chaotic, and too triggering to my anxieties. They were parties where it felt kind of like a collision of egos and pomp; where being dramatic and trying to hit on everyone was all but expected. That’s not me. But this? Momentum was like a dream. It changed me. And yes, it recharged me. It made me happy. I now more than ever need this move and need to surround myself with sex-positive, supportive, nurturing friends who care about me, who include me, who make me a better person and vice versa. Not once at Momentum did I feel like I was outside of a circle looking in, tagging along, invisible. I’m at the point where yeah….I’m a sex blogger and I love sex just as much as everyone else but Momentum wasn’t *about* filling up your fuck card and I liked it like that. I’m not dissing those other events; if that’s your thing and you feel comfortable in that, great. But it’s not for me anymore.

Another panel I went to that day was the Ethics & Responsibilities for Sex-Positive Writing; the panelists brought up some really good points. (broken record time: this will get it’s own post) I learned a lot from them and will be making some changes with my blogging and my blog itself.

The time for check-out and the closing remarks came too soon. I needed to get home to my hubs and take care of him and his poor impending root canal the next day but yet I wanted to stay in the bubble of the con. It was actually a good thing that I rushed to leave right after the closing remarks because if I lingered on the goodbyes I’d have cried.

[box]I can’t stress this enough: No matter what you do online, no matter how big or small a fish you are….if you read the #mcon tweets and wished you were there… GO NEXT YEAR. Get over your fears, save up your money and GO. It’s the best thing that happened to me in a long time. I want these people I spent time with to be in my real life and see them more often; I got all mopey yesterday as con-drop started to wear off and my irritation with those surrounding me in real life hit fully. I miss all of you. I want back in the bubble of happiness. This conference changed me, for the better. Diva and Tess did a huge huge amazing thing in creating it.[/box]

I am usually very introverted and prefer to blend in. But this conference did something else…..I feel like I want to be part of it next year even more. I’m truly considering submitting a session proposal. However I’m still not entirely convinced that I have enough to share that people would actually want to listen to. I keep bouncing around a few ideas but I’m afraid they fall short or wouldn’t fit in with the conference. And of course I couldn’t possible do it alone, no way in hell would I stand up in from of a room full 7 people by myself no no I’m draggin somebody else’s ass up there with me. Or maybe someone else will create a panel type session on which I might have something to add to. Who knows.  Any thoughts?

Also: If you took notes at sessions I didn’t go to, can you email me? I might be interested in reading your notes.

Apr 062011
 

Like so many others, going to Momentum has sparked a lot of things in me. There is so much I want to talk about; the conference itself, the people I met; the discussions we had; the things I learned in sessions. It’s almost overwhelming, really.

It wasn’t just a conference for bloggers, or sex workers, or feminists. Sure there were a lot of niche-related sessions going on but it was about more than the sessions, even. It was about being in a place where you looked around and felt….normal. Welcomed. Accepted. Understood.

I had a really good roommate, too. He is more outgoing than me and so by proxy I let down my social anxiety guards more and through his easy-going friendliness I had meals with people I didn’t really know and one hour (or two) later knew I’d gained another friend or three. The event was kicked off on Friday first with an ice cream social – where people sat at big tables and either knew some, or knew of a person, or knew no one. And we sat there and probably each privately wondered and worried if we’d be liked. (I was actually shocked when someone else admitted it to me the next day because I’d pegged her for being a fearless, confident woman. Knowing she’d felt intimidated at first made me feel better.) Then things kicked off with a wonderful comic who does sex ed talks to colleges and comedy clubs, Maria Falzone. She had me laughing so hard I was crying. Then there was the perfect opening keynote panel of Tristan Taormino, Carol Queen, Jenny Block, Reid Mihalko and Lynn Comella. The discussions and stories from the people on the panel further opened everyone up. At some point after that a group of us stumbled off to a nearby diner where we relaxed and had good food. Unfortunately, my brain was so wired from the night and for looking forward to the next day that I stupidly didn’t take my sleeping meds – I thought I was exhausted enough to sleep without. So I didn’t get much sleep that night, and ended up looking exhausted most of Saturday (and oh joy, I retained my “I just woke up 5 minutes ago” hoarse voice all day, too).

Saturday’s sessions for me kicked off with awesome sex educator Megan Andelloux‘s “Odd Girl Out: Straddling the Fields of Sexual Health and Sexual Pleasure“. I learned a lot, and I think some of what I learned I’ll be able to use when I host my sex toy education parties – I’ll have to realize that the people I’ll be talking to aren’t toy reviewers like us who are fully at ease discussing sexual pleasure. After that, I had an interview with Tristan fuckin Taormino and her partner, Colten (for a job that I don’t actually expect to get, realistically, but it was fun to talk to her and god she’s amazing!!). Afterwards, a last-minute replacement session where Greg from Njoy rattled off on tangents about the toys he’s created. Guess what? Those who know and love the Pure Wand and are all enthralled at how it feels like the weight and the weight distribution perfectly aid and enhance the toy? It’s a fluke. He was simply trying to design a better dildo for G- and P-spot stimulation, thought that the curve would make it more accessible to people with different bodies (like me!) and would aid in massaging those spots. He thought it was dumb to have both sides be the same size, which just happened to lead to the weight balance thing. We finally got to see at the end some really interesting prototypes that I hope he gets to work on, soon!!

Jay and I then went out for lunch with an amazing couple he met in a session, they’re on Twitter as _Uncensor and _missalex_ and I just love them to bits. Between Friday night and Saturday I got to meet/hug/love so many people that I hope I don’t miss any. Crista.Ann is SO cute and sweet and so is @spunquee, who’s shirt topped me on Saturday. We hugged and laughed and bonded. Lillith Grey and her partner, Synn (I think I have a crush on them both) were amongst the Saturday night dinner companions. The food wasn’t great but the conversation fucking rocked so we stayed there 2 hours – talking about so many facets of gender, butch/femme identity, perceptions, cooking, sex, disabilities…wow. So much sexybrain intelligence and laughter and fun. @b_playful and Ten and others for Friday’s late night dinner and Ten was passed around like a doll on Saturday night in the bar, lol. I met AAG! Famous AAG! Saw my NYC friends Mia and @Insomnias_Bitch and N (her and Lillith did a Fabulous session on Burlesque) and Missy and Brandon. Finally met SilverDreams and oh! Shanna Katz! Another Famous! She’s so adorable and funny and a great teacher. (her and Lillith fuckin made me blush during the keynote speech twittering about my boobs) She gave Lillith a lesson on how to store things in your bra while we were at the hotel bar. Shanna was also responsible for numerous people being caned on the ass (or tits) in the bar, too. Of course by then many of us had started drinking (some more than others, ahem) and things got a little rowdy, a lot sexy and terribly fun even if I was half asleep for the last hour of it.

*deep breaths, Lilly*

whew. That’s a lot! And there’s more. I didn’t even get to mention the session I attended Saturday afternoon on anonymity  & blogging, but that’s going to be a whole other post. The panel was awesome and gave me a LOT to think about. I’ve never been to a conference of any sort so it was just…unreal. And the twittering! jesus! I sucked at twittering during sessions because I’m not a good multi-tasker like that. I left it to the pros. Shanna tweeted a lot of really great tidbits, so did Reid and others.

That was all so rambly and disjointed, I’m sorry. But there’s just so much. So many wonderful people, wonderful conversations, jam-packed into 48 hours that it felt like it was longer than that (in a good way). The “real world” felt so foreign to me, even my own kitchen felt foreign when I got home Sunday night. But my point.

My point. It’s epic.

A good friend was assuring my stupid social anxiety nerves on Friday evening (he wasn’t there, I was just hyperventilating via IM) by telling me to just relax, lighten up and have fun – that these were my people and it would all be okay. That sunk in Saturday. YES omg THESE ARE MY PEOPLE. *wistful sigh* YOU are my people. Don’t you all see that? Sure, as a collective we may disagree with each other be it one on one or bigger events. But we are all intertwined and like-minded; we should be building each other up and supporting the collective as a whole, not competing and eating our own.

Part 2 will come soon, as will a number of other #mcon related posts. More sexy people to tell you about, more wonderful conversations. To be continued…..