Conflict exists everywhere and the sex community should not expect to be immune. We’re all human, after all. How we deal with it can vary anywhere on a scale of passionate but polished to horrid and humiliating. The past few weeks have been particularly challenging.

Who Is a Sex Educator?

There can be a very fine line of difference between clickbait and legitimate criticism. I firmly believe we should all challenge the status quo, particularly when it involves certain folks being placed on pedestals. If you’re going to write a scathing expose of a group of people, ensure you don’t sweep some who are legitimately deserving of praise in there, as Amanda Hess did in her challenge to the legitimacy of YouTube sex educators. I’m not going to disagree. There are some people on YouTube and some sex bloggers who take on the title of sex educator without having the right to do so. I feel strongly about this because I did it myself. I taught a few workshops so I included that honorific in my bio. It only sat there a short while before I cut it out because I had not earned it. I was an impostor.

However, one YouTube personality mentioned by Hess who is not an impostor is the inimitable Laci Green and her response is an important read. Ultimately, this isn’t necessarily about credentials, nor is it, necessarily, about real-life experience. It is about offering a balance between those two as well as the distinct art of teaching and, as Justin Lehmiller notes, the ability to present information with balance and without sweeping generalizations. This is something Hess definitely missed.

Oh Snap!

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve always been inclined to think that my body is, in fact, my body, regardless of where I am or what I am doing. Yet, there is a situation wherein I recognize that could be challenged - in the public space. If you’ve ever been to fetish or sex events that happen indoors, you’re probably familiar with fairly universal rules around photography; it is usually not allowed. But what to do when a fetish or sex event takes place outdoors? At Folsom Street Fair, some participants wore “Ask First” stickers that requested that photographers ask before they take photos of individuals. Shutter clickers were pissed. This has led to a controversy with people trying to determine the presentation of their individual bodies, while photographers argue that street photography in public spaces is legal. As someone who used to have a lot of unsolicited photos taken (not because I’m a beautiful magnet, but because my giant, green, spiked mohawk was an irresistible conversation piece), this one falls under respect, pure and simple. If you think your “art” takes precedence over a person’s autonomy, then you have no respect for your subject. How, then, can you think you are doing your subject artist justice?

Tick-eted Off

Having spent a lot of time in and around Toronto’s burlesque scene over the last decade, I was considerably shocked that tickets were handed out to burly performers in a city not that far away. Hamilton is a fairly big town of around 500,000 people with a strong artistic, music and cultural scene. I lived there for close to a decade, around the time that burlesque started its grand renaissance that has since swept North America. In that sweep, there has always been a clear distinction between burlesque entertainment and “adult services” entertainment. Yes, you’ll see tits and ass and legs and every once in awhile something below the belt. You’ll also see costumes and artistry and choreography and humor. I hope this ticket gets thrown out and that whoever reported these performers decides to stay home next time.

A Word to Live By

Language just might be the biggest playground of them all for anyone even tangentially related to the sex community. In one corner, the American Dialects Society chose singular “they” as their word of the year for two distinct reasons: it is already used everyday and widely recognized and because it is also emblematic of the growing acceptance of some transgender folks and their preferred pronoun. In the other corner, we have a university professor who refuses to refer to trans colleagues or students by the pronoun 'they' because he feels this is some kind of left-wing political plot to overthrow his language. Nope, Jordan Peterson does not believe society should be about accommodations of individuals or groups for their own comfort. Nor should should we “undermine the entire concept of binary gender in order to hypothetically accommodate a tiny minority of people.” However, it is interesting to note that in his vitriol over the use of “they” he used the singular "they" three times in his first response during this interview. He's been defending himself against being called a bigot, but I think hypocrite works pretty well too.

See Yourself

One of the most significant types of sexual conflict we all deal with in different ways is our own personal perception of sex. In an intimate and personal exploration of the ebb and flow of her own sexual consciousness, Cara Sutra eloquently offers a glimpse into her own struggles, realizations and affirmations, and how they affect her sex life. She also offers many great questions we can all ask ourselves not only in those moments of self-doubt and fear, but also in those times of wonder and joy. There is never a bad time to think about how you feel about yourself.

Remember - Life's a Gas

Oh and one last thing about potential conflict: if porn folks can deal with farting while shooting scenes, we should be able to deal with any embarrassing slips in our own sex lives.