Updates and Errata


Greetings to my dear readers,

You’ve probably noticed some serious posting silence over here. Or maybe you’re just noticing it now as I drag your attention towards  it. First, my apologies. I know how frustrating it can be when you find something you like on the internet and the content remains stagnant.

This is not due to a lack of content inside my own head; to the contrary, my little brain is bursting with ideas. Money is the main thing holding me back right now and I decided that unless the ad revenue on this page is filling my bank account then dealing with comment moderation is not worth it. Also, I want to expand this site to become more interactive and full of easy to navigate information. I got a side job to start saving up and paying to build up the site.

What I’ve been up to

Mostly reorienting what I’m doing with sex education. When I finished graduate school my career path was clear to me: work with youth. I saw adolescent sex education as one of the most important issues and someplace where I could make a difference. Unfortunately, when I accepted Cambridge’s invitation to speak in favor of pornography I didn’t realize how this would impact me being able to work with youth. I touched the porn monster and now I am tainted by that controversial association. (Don’t worry: I regret nothing).

I spent a few months grappling with this new reality and wondering if I should continue with sex education at all. I wondered if I was really making a difference and if the walls I sought to break down would yield to my meddling.

Regardless of what I was feeling inside, I kept trudging and trying to create new content. I kept giving workshops, teaching and speaking. But I wasn’t feeling it. And the stigma of being a female speaking about sex was wearing me down. I had nights where I wanted to set my diploma on fire and have a normal job.

Trinity College Porn Debate

I got another invitation to speak about porn, this time at Trinity College in Dublin. When I accepted I did so mostly because I wanted a vacation and nothing sounded better than visiting my friends in Europe. (I’m currently in Madrid and, aside from my stuffed sinuses, everything is awesome). The organizer also mentioned opportunities for other speaking engagements and I wanted time to speak on something other than porn. I wanted time to address what I think are the real issues impacting sexuality: restrictive ideologies, sexism, anxiety, shame and willful misinformation.

My visit to Dublin was a bit of a game changer. The night before the debate, I delivered a lecture on the human body as a source of pleasure and masturbation as a source of empowerment. Living in the Bay Area I forget what revolutionary concepts these can be. I could see little lights going off in students heads. After the lecture someone asked me, “What is your agenda?”

I thought about it for a moment and responded, “I grew up in a world where pleasure wasn’t something I thought I could have. My body was shameful and not really meant for me. When I was able to change my frame of reference and identify my own desires, I felt empowered. Being able to enjoy my own body changed everything I thought I knew about the world. I want to help people do that in whatever capacity works for them. I want to lift the social weights that preclude them from that experience.”

Where I’m going

I have loads of projects waiting in the wings right now. The rest of the video footage we shot in June is still in editing purgatory. I have a bucket of articles waiting to be written. I have so many ideas for classes and lectures that my brain feels weighted.

Most of what I do is bootstrapped together on one struggling little laptop with the help of my friends in their spare time. I want things to go faster so I’m doing admin work on the side to bankroll these projects.

The good news is that you’ll see much more from me in the coming year. The bad news is it’ll be slow going.

So, dear  reader, I want to thank you for your patience and thank you for all the times you’ve read or commented or passed something along to someone else. Changing the cultural conversation about sex is not an easy task. We’re up against deeply entrenched misconceptions and asking a person to change their worldview is akin to blatantly requesting their mental discomfort. I can only hope that the work I continue to do in the future will have some sort of lasting impact.

Thanks for your time, it’s worth more than you know. When this blog is ready to switch to a private server I’ll be writing here again and will be sure to send a notification that it’s back online. Until then, you can get all up in my Twitter.

Teach It, Write It, Do It,

Jessi

10 thoughts on “Updates and Errata”

  1. I’m so glad to hear that you are continuing along this path, albeit for utterly selfish reasons. My daughter is now 14 and a high school freshman and she’s starting to realize (and be slightly embarrassed and bewildered by) my *ahem* strident endorsement of sex-positive education. We live overseas in a military community and I am painfully aware that I’m in a minority of one among mostly conservative (or silent when they are not) parents. Your blog is a huge source of affirmation for me, and helps me keep things in perspective! Thanks~

  2. yes it sounds like a dicouraging time for you. But you are on the cutting edging, and people have such a hard time with growth, but we have to start somewhere. Go for it.

  3. My amazing personal therapist confided in me that her biggest passion was working with troubled children and teens. She began her career this way, and after several painful and frustrating years, she had a realization: the most effective way to help children was to help them have healthy parents. It’s hard to reach a child who gets far more powerful and negative messages at home. What chance would her single hour per week stand against a troubled home life? Bring the parents in, begin the work there, and affect the childrens’ well-being this way.

    So your friendship with Porn Monster leads Soccer Mom to think you aren’t fit to work with children? Then reach out to Soccer Mom. She feels the conversation isn’t fit to have with her children? Then have it with her. Educate the parents.

    The general public might cringe at sending sex-positive messages to kids, but there are many parents out there who might just need a little push here and a case made there that IT’S OKAY (and it’s best!) to raise sex-positive / sex-savy kids. So many people who otherwise have sex-positive views (probably hard-won, overcoming their own negative programming, though they have forgotten) succumb to The Fear and revert to misinformation, fear-tactics, and shame in order to protect their kids from disease, unwanted pregnancy, emotional pain, or abuse. I believe these are the most reachable folks. They want their kids safe, and simply need to be beat over the head with the fact that these old ignorant tricks are more likely to hurt their kids than thorough sex education.

    While you might be black-listed from working with children professionally in the ways you’d like, no parent can be stopped from teaching healthy sex education to their own kids. That’s your in, Jessi.

  4. Jessi, I’m really sorry that we didn’t get to see you speak in Dublin. It’s very annoying the way they restrict the audience to members of the Trinity Historical Society. You did well on Pat Kenny though :)

    I actually moved here from San Francisco so I know exactly what you mean about how difficult it is to adjust to the different attitudes about sexuality. I think things are slowly starting to change but as long as the Church still controls 90+% of the schools it will be tough. It doesn’t help that Irish feminism is mostly lined up with the conservatives on sexual matters.

    Anyway, keep doing what you’re doing! Your work is a great resource for those of us also fighting this battle in our own way.

  5. Wish you luck on you path, whatever you end up choosing. But if I may I have an observation and a suggestion to offer for your consideration. It is probably a bit presumptuous of me to be offering life and career advice since I only know you from your site and Tweets. But I am on the edge of old and crotchety, so perhaps I am allowed.

    First, many older people struggle with accepting that finding pleasure in their bodies is a natural part of being human just as much as many young people do, perhaps even more. Second, watching the videos of the Cambridge debate and, more importantly, your demo where you discussed condoms and lube using latex gloves displayed a natural talent and grace for presenting a subject many people are uncomfortable discussing. You managed to produce a PG video with a PG-13 audio tract that included humor and totally presented the message. It was like a Ms. Wizard of Sex Ed TV segment :-) (perhaps before your time). I hope you find an outlet that allows you to use your talents and I encourage you to seek to educate not only young people but people of all ages.

    Is Still Here
    http://www.survivingsurvival.com

  6. Thank you for all your wonderful posts. They have been inspiring and thought provoking (so much so that I recently moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in sexology). I look forward to learning from and enjoying more of your work.

  7. You’re doing amazing work! I’m so happy to see another entry up and don’t give up on educating! Yes, kids need education but there are plenty of adults need education too. I’ve had thoughts of going into graduate school so that I can help the rural adult population in my state. Just keep working at it!

  8. Even if you aren’t doing what you thought you would be doing, I am really inspired by this post- seeing you develop your focus, present your ideas, and make some change for the better a hundred pairs of ears at a time.

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