I just returned from the Woodhull Alliance for Sexual Freedom’s annual Summit and had a fantastic time. This is my second trip to the Woodhull Summit so I knew to expect some great conversation with interesting people, and I was not disappointed. Seven great things keep running around in my head as I reflect on the Summit, and I offer them here as a countdown to my very favorite moment of the event.
6. HUMAN RIGHTS ARE SEXY
Generally I have become quite bored with sex, because I see too often see it portrayed as something only available to young, slender, conventionally attractive people and focused on selling everything from toothpaste to cars. Unless I look hard, it is difficult to discover positive and diverse portrayals of sexuality that are respectful of the people pictured. This Summit reminded me how interesting sex can be when smart and creative people use a framework of consent and respect to push the boundaries of the Puritanical envelope that confines so much of society in the US.
5. HERO WORSHIP
As a major nerd, I love to geek out to smart people’s ideas and this Summit was full of them! From Charlie Glickman and Tamara Pincus to Nancy Polikoff and John D’Emilio, I was in smart and sexy heaven hearing my intellectual heroes talking about big ideas.
Each of the sessions I attended elegantly wove in awareness of the ways in which race, class, gender, (dis)ability, age, nationality, and other social factors shape the ways in which people can access and express their sexualities.
3. EYE CANDY
There were so many stunningly gorgeous people dressed in exotic and enticing attire that sometimes I had to just stand back and appreciate the crowd. With such an electric and convivial atmosphere, I found myself becoming much cuter than I have been in a long time.
2. BRAIN CANDY
Smart is the new sexy, and this was one sexy ass event! From an institute on aging and sexuality to parsing the social and legal distinctions between sex work and sex trafficking, each session was loaded with super smart people saying interesting and enlightening things. I love to learn, and the environment at the Woodhull Summit is saturated with fascinating people saying remarkable things that tickled my brain in new and exciting ways.
1. JAW DROP
My very favorite moment of the Summit came on Saturday night when the Summit goers shared the bottom floor of the Hilton with a ball for Army Computer Intelligence officers. It was easy to tell who was with which crowd – Summit attendees in corsets and fetish wear, and Army officers in uniforms with women (wives it seemed) in stunning ball gowns. Walking from the elevators through the Army ball lounge area back to the Summit ballroom was an experience, with both groups eyeing each other with interest. When the sizzling queen of smart porn, Nina Hartley, walked through the throng of military uniforms it was quite entertaining to watch recognition dawn on some of the men’s faces, and their jaws literally dropped as she passed by. Nina’s sassy humor won out and she ended up taking photos with some of the officers. In my own mind, I played a scene of the men recognizing another porn star and regular feature at the Summit, Buck Angel. Buck pioneered his own special quadrant of transgender porn and is famous as the man with a pussy. I did not see any of the Army officers recognize Buck, but in my imagination they all knew exactly who he is.