Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit: These people are cool… and I’m one of them?

I keep finding little artifacts as I slowly organize after the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit last month, and it’s bringing back so many of the experiences I had: spanking Nina Hartley‘s glorious butt (if my hand had a resume, this would be at the top), seeing the Mr. Man in action and plotting how it can live again, drawing on Penny’s butt, burlesque and drag king hotness, hearing the inspiring speeches of the Vicki Award winners, receiving the almighty steel dildo of righteousness and orgasms: the Njoy Eleven, squishing all the new Tantus dual density and uncut beauties, pool party take over, and watching Buck Angel strip.

On top of fun, unique moments like those, there are monumental thoughts and feeling that I can’t sum up in a list or even a post because they are special in ways that break me into a oversensitive pile when I think about how to explain them. This is my attempt.

People I’d Share Birthday Cake With

Meeting people from the companies I love in person is the difference between writing their names in hearts on my binder and sitting on a table with them over a birthday cake (that’s a Sixteen Candles reference, in case it was unclear), and I would definitely share my birthday cake with these people. SheVibe’s Sandra and Thor made me laugh with stories of burglars swimming through dildos and comics of puritanical politicians. The sweet, witty, queer power babes of the Smitten Kitten turned my heart eyes on full blast, and Cas from Lotus Blooms taught me the proper way to fist bump. Then there was Metis Black and Peyton from Tantus: Metis is a powerhouse with a stripe of white in her hair like Rogue, but arguably better mutational abilities: creating fantastic silicone sex toys, and Peyton has such a warm and contagious smile (and personality). Greg and Marla from Njoy were charming as hell: Greg is a story telling treasure trove, a sex toy lending library, and a dildo mad scientist, and Marla talked to me about Amish pretzels and proper steel cleaning (both very important). Essentially, all of these people solidified my crushes on their companies by generally being outstanding humans.

Tantus dildos from the Bloggers Lounge (AKA magical caffeine land and the place where I spanked Nina Hartley)

Blog Squad / Family of Babes

Then there is the Blog Squad. Imagine I’m writing this from a bathtub full of sentimental tears. I’ve been hung up on this post for weeks because I want to encapsulate every fellow blogger I met in some perfect description of their personality and unique human brilliance. I’m realizing now, as the fatigue from a draft hanging over me for too long sets in, that the personally important moments we had mean more to me (right now) as mental health food and even more motivation to stay connected. When I said goodbye to the blogsquad, I said “see you on the internet,” in a semi-depricating way like when people use the term “real life” to describe going back to a home and job outside a conference like this. But it’s an honest goodbye. Becoming so close, first online, has led me to seamless relationships that exist over so many platforms, including outside the internet, and the feeling is tremendously comforting and communal. So thank you to all of the amazing, inspiring, quirky, babely bloggers I met this trip; I’m so happy to know you on and offline. P.S. I would absolutely share birthday cake on a table with all of you too, and it would likely look like this.

(top) Reenie and Bex, horrified by the Rockbox Finger vibe that Lilly graced us with and I defeated by ripping out the batteries it was holding hostage. (middle) A group selfie of part of the blogsquad taken by Penny. (bottom) Bex and Mandi dancing with Nina Hartley

Furious Note Taking Ensued

My one wish from Woodhull is that I had attended more sessions. I packed my first day with The Hows and Whys of Sex Education in Blogging, Retail, and Manufacturing; The Monster Under the Bed: Starting the Conversation About Sex and Depression; and Lube! An In-Depth Look at Personal Lubricants. By the end of the day, my mind was buzzing with tearful stories of people being united with toys that changed their lives, Lilly’s call to action: “DON’T SHUT UP!”, self awareness and inspiration, and more lube science than I could properly soak in at once. All of these feelings are still lingering, inspiring new projects and posts as I keep going back to notes and Storify pages.

Woodhull Summit PanelsAbove: (top right) Sarah Mueller getting serious about lube; (bottom left) Metis Black of Tantus, Jennifer Pritchet of SmittenKitten, and Caitlyn Murphy (and Lilly, not pictured) at the Sex Ed panel; (bottom right) JoEllen Notte, Stephen Biggs, and Crista Anne at Monster Under the Bed

Something I appreciated about Woodhull was the selection of underrepresented topics like sex and aging, sex and relationship discussion for young women of color, and sex and faith. On Sunday, I went to What’s Spirituality Got To Do With It? Facilitated Discussion of the Role of Faith and Spirituality in Advocacy for Sexual Freedom. I don’t have any articulate spiritual or faith-based connection, but knowing people I care about do, and hearing how religious communities have influenced their sexuality and perceptions of sex, makes that relationship interesting and important to me. This session was more of a free-form personal exploration than I expected: we each drew a sexual/spiritual timeline, and comparing them left me with some new questions and ideas.

Beyond the scheduled sessions, the atmosphere and safe space of the conference itself facilitated so many discussions. Talking about relationships, toy safety, genital anatomy, body positivity, and safe sex was part of regular conversation. It was freeing and enlightening, and I’m honored be part of a community that normalizes and continues these conversations.

There are many more things I could talk about, but I can’t finish this post without speaking about Ricci. Ricci Levy is the Executive Director of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance and the starting force behind the summit, which began as a one day celebration of Sexual Freedom Day and is now a huge four-day event. Ricci is sweet and approachable and has a contagious laugh. She shared a funny and vulnerable story at Bedpost Confessions and personally welcomed us bloggers. To Ricci and the great team beside her (Justyn’s ability to always have the correct information, Gwen’s superpower tweeting skills, and everyone else I didn’t meet who helped make the event possible), thank you!

Hover over the image for more info on all the things!

10 thoughts on “Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit: These people are cool… and I’m one of them?

  1. It was so great meeting you, hopefully we will be seeing you next year. I feel like you are so much more cool than I, so I would be honored to eat cake with you on a table. We all had so many amazing conversations that I don’t get in everyday life.

    Also that Thinglink is amazing, how did you find this tool?? I love it!

    • I was so glad to meet you too and I absolutely hope to be there next year!
      Right!? It’s great. I first saw it on Caitlin (sex-ational)’s old site, so I asked them what it was.

  2. Too sweet and powerful for me to offer anything trite or witty. Thank you. It’s the folks like you and the rest of the #blogsquad who inspire us to do better and better! Please come back next year!

  3. Pingback: 5 Reasons Why Woodhull Was an Amazing Experience | Penny's Dirty Thoughts

  4. Pingback: Good Lube: How to Find the Safe Stuff [#lubescouting Part 1] | AFemmeCock

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