I’m on a little journey at the moment. It’s not quite a holiday, but I’d really like one if your holiday house in such-and-such is a little untended. A few days ago I began moseying up the coast from Melbourne to Sydney to attend Xplore in Sydney and to make some space in my brains. I’ve finally landed in a reliably-welcoming queer house in Newtown, having parked my van in the backyard of a whole bunch of people I’ve never met, cooking pasta on a butane stove at 7:30am. There’s a kitchen about three metres away, like a domestic one, in a house, but camping is romantic, yanno?
Xplore plays with a lot of different approaches to sexuality – some really pragmatic, and others much more spiritually-based. I think I might be a sucker for this sort of gathering, which I didn’t really know until I attended Barbara Carrellas‘ Urban Tantra training last year. I find that the spaces created by a whole bunch of curious souls coming together to seek personal and professional development around sexuality to be a pretty supportive environment for me. I like to be offered a perspective and to make the choice as to whether to try to adapt it to myself. What I hope to gain from this is a few technical skills to add to my BDSM toolbox, some good body-play, and to be provoked. Thus far, that’s happening.
One common criticism of these sorts of spaces, and one that I often hold myself, is that they can have a tendency towards the heteronormative, but I’m really finding that to be kept in check here by a few elements. There is definitely a substantial queer presence here, and I find that to ground things quite a bit. Having queer voices in these spaces keep things broad and open, and adds dimension to the understanding of every workshop on offer. Another element that seems to contribute to this space is that this is a kinky space, and if you’ve ever had anything to do with kink culture, you know that openness and frequent checkings-in with reality are essential. Last evening I found myself in the ‘practice space’ of Tristan Taormino‘s Female Ejaculation workshop surrounded by mostly-queer duos and trios going at their practice while other folks talked glands and ducts, and my heart swelled three sizes. I am not personally very plugged into queer community, but fuck I’m grateful that it exists.
Something that’s been coming up a lot lately in my work, particularly in professional BDSM, is the topic of ‘performance’ and performative identities. Stepping back from the sex industry for a couple of years gave me the opportunity to go light on that issue for a little while, which was most rejuventaing. But it’s reared its Medusa head again, proving itself to be a recurring theme, and one that is definitely addressed by the content of Xplore. I’m developing some thoughts and words on that now, so watch this space…