Friday, April 20, 2012

Next best thing to being in 5 places at once: The Momentum Conference e-book.

A few weeks ago, I went to the 2nd Annual Momentum Conference outside Washington, D.C. Subtitled "Making Waves in Sexuality, Feminism, and Relationships," I found the conference to be even better than the first one in 2011.

One drawback to successful conferences like this one is the inability to be in multiple places at once. Considering all the sessions I attended were great, I knew I was also missing wonderful stuff in the other sessions. Unfortunately, one must make choices.

But this year, Tess Danesi, Dee Dennis, and Inara de Luna have edited an e-book of "Selected Essays by 2012 Speakers Advocating Change in Current Sexual Dialogues," which allowed me to not only sit in–well, in a manner of speaking–on sessions that I'd had to pass up, but also gave me really good notes for the ones I did go to. As soon as I got home from the conference I bought it (though it has to be on my husband's PC Kindle since I have a "vintage" mac that doesn't support hardly anything anymore).  When I saw Tess asking if folks wanted to write about it on their blogs, I jumped at the chance.

But this e-book isn't just for folks that went to the conference, or even for those that missed it even though they wanted to go. From the foreword by Dr. Joycelyn Elders to the lovely closing poem, "Easy Does It" by Leela Sinha, this book is filled with fascinating essays. There are a few weird blips (blank spaces in lines, what might have been a few missing words), but nothing horrendous. I do wish I had an e-reader for this though.

I know I'll go back and read the essays by the folks I heard in the various sessions and the opening and closing plenaries: Dr. Elders, Esther Perel, Rebecca Chalker and Lara Riscol, Allison Moon, Charlie Glickman, Audacia Ray, and Joan Price among others. What I was interested in was what the folks I didn't get to hear were writing about.

I jumped around a bit. I loved Ned Mayhem's "Sexual Science, Academia, and the PSIgasm Project" and it's 4 1/2 pages of notes at the end. He brings up the good point that if legislation and medicine are based on sexual science, then we better be sure it's good science.

Stef Woods' piece, "Sexuality and Social Media" resulted in my first jotted down quote: "The movement from cave paintings to provocative Calvin Klein billboards to a blog about sexual expression is merely an evolution of delivery, not concept."  Yes!  And she talked about a "Sexual Genogram" that I'm going to have to go back to, because I was very interested, but lacked time to think about it when I read it.

Then I had a "wow" moment while reading "Self-Expression & the Contemporary Media: A Call to Action" by polyamory advocates Lisa Speer, Brian Ballard, and Jasmine Goldman. I hope they don't mind me quoting this - but it meant enough to me that I wrote it all down longhand in a journal. I intend to pondering why it got to me so in a future blog post. And if you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know why this hit home for me.

"We'd posit that a large portion of shame stems from not owning who you are and your choices. This type of self-censorship afford and individual some comforts: not feeling odd or standing out poorly amongst peers, not facing a barrage of scrutiny and doubt concerning your personal choices in life. The cost of these comforts, however, are staggering. The perpetuate behaviors such as hiding, being purposefully unclear or only revealing half-truths, and most alarmingly, living in a constant state of fear of discovery and anxiety... all frames of mind that chip away at one's joy and self-expression [emphasis mine]."

I also enjoyed Avory Faucette's "An Exercise in Sexual Orientation" with its discussion of sexual scripts,  why gender?, and designing your sexual orientation. "Some of the things I like have a relationship to gender, and some of them don't."

Even though I'm only familiar with Fetlife through hearing about it from other folks, I thoroughly enjoyed Cunning Minx's very practical guide to "How Not to Be a Douche on Fetlife."

The last piece I got to read (in other words, yes, I haven't read the whole book, which I like, there's more to look forward to!) was Maggie Mayhem's "How Your Sex Community Can Combat Sexual Assault (Without Forming a Lynch Mob). All I can say is I love her wisdom.

If you're wanting a great summary of all the essays, go here to check out what Rebecca Chalker had to say, since I've yet to finish the book. Oh, and rather than infest this post with a bajillion links, go here to read about the presenters and find links to their own sites.