This post is brought to you buy these four fabulous companies. Without them, I could not have made this trip and I would have missed out on all of the awesome.
Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit 2015… where do I begin? At the beginning, I suppose. I was so nervous about the idea of going that I almost psyched myself out of it. I wondered if I should even try to reach out for sponsorships. I wondered if I could handle traveling when I usually only leave the house a couple of times a week and hadn’t flown since before 9/11. I wondered if I could tolerate being around so many “strangers”. But something shifted in my mind and I told myself I HAD to do this. I had to prove to myself that I could.
Now that it’s all over, I feel a bit silly about how nervous I was. There really was no reason at all for me to feel any anxiety because everyone I met was warm and welcoming and many of the other bloggers I met had similar anxiety issues so, I didn’t feel like a freak. Everyone seemed to understand where I was coming from.
But what I really think helped to put me at ease was the lovely Blogger Lounge sponsored by Tantus. It was a safe place to retreat to and meet up with other bloggers that I kind of already knew from the internet. The Lounge was a fabulous idea and I thank everyone at Tantus for providing a comfortable place for us timid folks. And shout out to Tantus for keeping me hydrated through the entire event with all that bottled water. Bless.
Then to the Lounge where I met one sex blogger after another. Some I recognized because their pictures are out in cyberspace. Others, I had to ask who they were, while trying to read their badge.
I really feel like I hit it off with everyone very well but especially Luna (@) and Lena (@forsplooshssake). They seemed to understand my need for social lubricant on a fundamental level. Speaking of imbibing, the always resourceful Luna brought a mobile bar, complete with vodka, cranberry juice, shaker and snacks. Genius, really.
I loved having the opportunity to meet and chat with other blogger/sex toy reviewers like, Lilly (@dangerouslilly), Piph (@Epiphora), Penny (@pennysblog), Bex (@BexTalksSex), Artemisia (@AFemmeCock), Beck (@BeckAndHerKinks), Reenie (@NaughtyReenie) and DeAnn (@allthepassion). If I’m forgetting you, I really am sorry. I talked to so many people in an environment outside of my comfort zone so, bits and pieces are a little hazy. Feel free to remind me that we met.
It was great to talk to Sandy and Thor from SheVibe, one of my favorite retailers. Metis and Peyton from Tantus were fun to hang out and chat with. Peyton was so nice, checking on me to see if everything was OK. I guess I looked a little overwhelmed at times. Though my usual method of operation is to mostly sit quietly and observe, I really was enjoying myself.
I think the best part was that nobody thought I was or treated me like the social misfit that I think I am. And I was floored when people, like Erin Basler-Francis from CSPH, told me that they read my reviews. It’s such a compliment to know that people in the sex positive community value my opinion – little ol’ me.
I met so many other people briefly or in passing, like Nina Hartley and the fine folks from the Smitten Kitten, who treated us to pizza. I also learned about how much of a commitment they have to selling safe sex toys and promoting sex positive education. They’re definitely a company that I’d love to support more. Maybe if they had an affiliate/review program. Wink and hint.
So yeah, meeting so many of these people I’ve known online for almost 3 years now was, for me, the best part of #SFS15. But there was also some pretty rad education to be had in the workshops that I attended.
The first one was The How’s and Why’s of Sex Education in Blogging, Retail, and Manufacturing, #SFSSexEd, presented by Lilly, Metis Black, Jennifer Pritchett and Caitlin Murphy. It was so interesting to examine the role of education in the sex toy industry. Hearing about how passionate everyone on the panel is about sex education in the sex toy industry was seriously refreshing. It’s nice to hear a manufacturer say that they use negative reviews to improve their products. That’s how it should be. I also learned that the Smitten Kitten is not only committed to sex ed and safe toys but they treat their employees right. As Jennifer said, “It’s good business to do good business”. Check out the Storify by Lilly.
The next workshop was The Monster Under The Bed: Starting the Conversation About Sex and Depression , #SFSMonster, presented by JoEllen Notte, Stephen Biggs and Crista Anne. It was such a poignant discussion of how depression and the meds used to treat it can affect our sex lives. The personal stories told by the presenters really resonated for me. It was like, all the same things I’ve been through while living with depression for over 20 years – sometimes medicated, sometimes not. Check out the Storify by JoEllen.
Probably the most intense workshop I attended was Lube! An In-Depth Look at Personal Lubricants, #SFSLube, presented by Sarah E. Mueller. It was packed with so much scientific information and words that I can’t spell, that I had trouble keeping up to live tweet it. It was like a nonstop barrage of info – but in the best way possible. I did learn some very important things about lube, which will probably be incorporated into a future post. Though I will share a tidbit of info: KY Jelly is apparently vag poison and the other widely sold water-based lubes you can find at the drugstore aren’t any better. If your lube’s first ingredients are: water, glycerin and propylene glycol then throw it out and get something from Sliquid or Good Clean Love’s Almost Naked. Check out the Storify by aida manduley.
The final workshop I sat in on was Let’s Talk about Senior Sex!, presented by Joan Price. I figured that since we’ll all get old someday, if we’re lucky, it would be interesting to learn about how sex and bodies change as we age. Hilariously, a guy in the group tried to mansplain (I never use that word but it so applies in this situation) to us about how a $45 battery operated toothbrush, with the tip dipped in liquid rubber, was the same thing as the Eroscillator. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over too well in a room full of sex toy reviewers with clitorises. Even Joan tried to tell him that it wasn’t the same but he knew better…. because of course he did. So while that little interaction was entertaining, Joan did manage to teach us young-uns something that none of us knew – how to use your mouth to put a condom on a soft penis. She described the procedure and I think I understand how it’s done but I’d love to see her publish a post about it.
#SFS15 was certainly not all work and no play. Some of the best stuff happened after the workshops, hanging out in someone’s room, by the pool or at one of the scheduled evening events. Luna packed a suitcase full of her impressive collection of silicone dildos. Reenie had the privilege of opening the suitcase and her reaction to the silicone spectacle was priceless.
Here are some #blogsquad folks who don’t mind their pictures being in cyberspace. Those of us who did not want our picture taken had our wishes honored. Luna took this picture for Penny out on the balcony1. I was hanging out in the room being my introverted self.
The big gala Saturday night was not really my thing – fancy clothes, dancing and ridiculously overpriced drinks. The plan was to hang out for a bit and then go back to someone’s room for a blogger pj party. I was really looking forward to that but everyone kind of got swept up in the energy of the dance party and I had to go back to my room and crash before the pj party began. I was seriously bummed that I missed out on that. Maybe next year.
This is my badge for #SFS15. Notice the distinguishing “Blogger” ribbon. That’s something that truly amazed and humbled me. Throughout the entire Summit the bloggers were constantly being acknowledged and thanked for our efforts to spread the word about Woodhull. Yeah, us… the bloggers. They made us feel like we mattered.
Also, don’t pay too much attention to the name of the company that donated the lanyard. As a wise woman at the Summit once said, “We might not like everything they do but we have to bring them to the table.”
In all, I had a wonderful time. Friends were made and information absorbed. I think I’ll definitely be going next year and the best part is, I won’t be as nervous because I’ll know a bunch of people and I’ll also kind of know how everything flows.
I know many bloggers really wanted to go this year but couldn’t. I seriously suggest ya’ll start saving now for next year because it is totally worth it and I have a feeling that #SFS16 will be even bigger and better. I can’t wait to see my blogger friends again at #SFS16 and I want to meet all of you who couldn’t attend this year.
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