Thank you for what you've offered me, but I'm leaving you now.
You've done a great job, in many ways, of bringing people together, and making the coordination of events particularly easy. There's been some genuine breakthroughs there.
And other things too - from birthday reminders to group suggestions - that you've done well. At times, you've brought people together - especially those that experience marginalisation through health, identity, beliefs, or interests - in a way that has probably saved them, or at least made the world more navigable. Thank you, for those things; they're not nothing, and you deserve credit.
But there are downsides to your service too, and I want to name some of them...
I don't personally mind the exchange of my data for your service - at least, now that I'm aware that that's what the arrangement is (it wasn't clear at first). But I feel for people for whom this has more dangerous consequences than it does for I.
I hate though that you've allowed this data to be used for nefarious purposes, such as changing elections. You've put your own profits in front of the greater ethical good many times, and avoided taking responsibility by saying that all you've done is created the tools, and it's up to others to regulate their use. That's technically true, but I feel every bit as good about that as I do when arms manufacturers say that guns are not the problem, people are. Stop welching on your ethical responsibilities, and stop protecting your clients.
I dislike the constant pings and reminders, across whatever device you can gain access to, constructed so carefully to get me back on your platform with the most seductive draw-cards you can find, then to keep me there by doing whatever it takes. It's so manipulative, especially when it masquerades as something you're doing to help me.
I am stunned that when anyone puts something to do with sex-positivity up, you manage to find it and take it down so quickly. And yet you're having so much difficulty working out what to do with actual threats or acts of violence. I'm sure it's complicated, and I know you're working on it, but it seems ludicrous that we're stopped from making love while making hate is apparently a grey area.
(Having said that, I appreciate that you got the unsolicited pussy-pics out of my in-box. For a few years there, I was getting at least a couple per week, from people that were only trying to scam me. You were slow to act, but got there in the end, and I appreciate that. I imagine it's hard to say yes to some parts of sexuality, but no to the less desirable parts).
It's an irony that Facebook has become so sex-negative, given its alleged roots. Kicking people off the social platform for merely having an interest in sex would seem to be the ultimate social shaming, and is doing nothing to further sex-education locally or globally. You are part of the problem with the way sexuality plays out, because in the absence of access to information, bad choices are made, and you're contributing to that. But there's more money in just saying no to it all, right?
But perhaps most of all, I hate the divisiveness. I hate that you've worked out that showing people something they totally agree with, or will totally react against, makes for better metrics for you. You've worked out ways to feed this back to your users, so that the most anger-filled and divisive are encouraged to write polarising and trauma-fueled tempests. These in turn garner a following and continue to destroy whatever the issue is and any chance of its resolution.
Somehow, you have made people that come to a conversation with compassion and understanding seem like they're apologists or that they're spineless. You have marginalised from your platform the very elders and leaders that can bring people together and create peace and progression of the issues.
But it's even worse than that - you haven't just quietened them down. Between you and Twitter (and others) you've managed to create a whole new form of social violence, where an angry mob comes together and bullies those that they don't agree with into submission. The left destroys individuals from the right, the right destroys individuals from the left. Your metrics go up, bodies are left in the middle, people are too scared to interact with the subject material, and we are not making progress.
You are not bringing us together, or anything like it. This... This is how you want to make money? This feels good to you?
Yes, the individuals involved in these processes need to realise what they're doing, and stop. But that'll be easier once you stop rewarding them, and stop telling them the polarising mess you're feeding them is 'news'.
You're like a boxing manager, with two players in a fight. So long as someone gets injured, you get paid, and all is good. It's a long, long way from being a 'social network'.
It's taken me an impressive amount of effort to get off you. Since I run a business, the process of setting up an alternative platform for our groups has taken months of work, and is now ongoing to maintain. In the process, we've lost a bunch of people, since not everyone's ready to be dragged onto yet another platform, which is fair enough.
But it's been an acceptable price to pay to have governance and agency over what happens. Our users are loving being able to control what they see, and how they interact with the platform.
And finally, knowing that everything I've set up is not about to be whipped out from under my feet because I said the word 'sex'... Well, let's just say you're out of the race now.
Thanks for what we had. At times it was really fun, and I felt like part of the revolution.
I hope you can learn and change, and in the meanwhile, I hope the damage you're causing is contained.
SHORT VERSION: We are delighted to again be offering in-person sexuality workshops: The Forest, Fun Little Sex Games, Adventurous Touch and Intimacy, Roleplay Your Way, Sexuality Psychology and Movement, with more to come. To do workshops, our new application process only needs to be done once, takes less than five minutes, and can be done right now: https://www.curiouscreatures.biz/application.html
LONG VERSION: We've put a lot of effort into our workshop descriptions over the years to make sure you have an accurate idea of what to expect, what not to expect, and confirm if it's the right workshop for you.
This has generally worked very well, but occasionally, a detail gets missed (which is easy to do, even with the best of intentions) resulting in unaligned expectations.
As Curious Creatures reaches a wider audience, we've been aware that at some stage we'll need to transition to an application system for tickets, rather than simply having them open to everyone. As we come out of Covid lockdowns, we've decided now is the time to implement this.
Our new application process consists of a few questions, easily answered in less than five minutes. You'll then be put in one of three groups on our new online forum (based on your application and also ticket type availability), and will be able to attend as many workshops and events at that level as you wish. (Down the track, you may apply for a higher level of access; priority will be given to people that have participated in previous events).
We've set our forum categories up so that you can easily search for events based on what ticket type you're after (using 'tags'). You can use the forum (which has many groups & categories in addition to the ticket-buying ones) as much or as little as you want. By default we'll set it to just send you an email when we set up a relevant event, although you have complete control and can turn this off if you'd like.
We're quite excited about this new system. We believe it will make for a better and more enjoyable workshop experience for everyone, and it'll also give us more freedom as facilitators to target specific experiences towards the people that are a good match for those experiences. We regret that we've had to put another booking hurdle in place for you, but we're quietly confident that the improved experience will make it worthwhile.
~Rog and the Curious Creatures Team.
From our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Why don’t your workshop descriptions offer many promises?
A note on the language we use, and how capitalism clashes with our sex education.
‘Rape culture’ might be described as a culture that allows, ignores, belittles, or encourages the taking of a person’s sexuality or body without their informed consent. Curious Creatures exists in large part to provide an alternative that’s better for everyone.
Unfortunately, the nature of marketing and capitalism is in itself often a culture of manipulation and deceit – telling people what they want to hear, and playing on their emotions, in order to get what we want, often without proper informed consent. And sometimes, through what can only be described as outright theft.
We feel uncomfortable with the crossover between pushy marketing, and our aspirational targets: Clear communication, good boundaries, and honesty. So where it would be normal from a marketing perspective to promise many things, we try and use more tempered language – that something we offer might help some people, some of the time.
When you compare our language to the way things are normally done, it may sound like we lack confidence in our products and services. This is not true – we are actually very confident, and very proud, of what we offer. But we don’t want to trick you into something, and then have you feel like a failure if you don’t experience a level of change or improvement that should never have been promised.
In the same way that great relationships, and great sex, are built over time through the establishment of trust, we hope that you will come to have a level of trust in the words we use to describe what we offer.
This is a work in progress for us since we are so deeply immersed in a manipulative capitalist culture that we have many blind spots. We will welcome your polite drawing of our attention to any instances where we might not have gotten the language or tone correct.
Get ready for 2020!
Get ready for 2020; we're ramping it up for you big-time, by bringing additional presenters and tours to Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. We're excited to fill out the sex-education calendar, and support more opportunities and experiences for you.
From February 26-29, Myola Woods (from The Erotic Coach in Sydney) will be in Melbourne. Myola will be teaching Deepen Connection & Intimacy through Communication on Wed 26th, Activate your Orgasmic Body! on Fri 28th, and Vulva Magic, Tips & Techniques for Penis Pleasure, and the Three Circles ritual, all on Saturday 29th. Access all her workshops here.
Myola's work is accessible and well-rounded. If you'd like to hear more about her perspectives, check out episode 53 of Curious Conversations About Sex, where Rog interviews her on Modern relationship dynamics, sex education, affairs, and football comparisons. We've recently listed her workshops, and they're selling quickly.
From March 7-12, Dr Martha Lee (from Eros Coaching in Singapore) will be in Brisbane. Set the dates aside now, and stay tuned for more information - make sure you're signed up for the 'Qld' mailing list. You can also access all her workshops here.
Then, from April 18-28, Dr Martha Lee will be back in Melbourne, teaching a whole range of workshops. Stay tuned to the 'Vic' mailing list. You can also access all her workshops here.
Please note that when we presented Martha in November 2019, almost all workshops filled to capacity quite quickly, so if you're interested, you may wish to get in soon.
In mid May, Rog and Tess will be taking Curious Creatures to Singapore. Finally, the rest of the world will get to start to experience our fun little approach to solving the world's sexuality problems!
On the weekend of June 6, 7, 8, we're delighted to be bringing Deej and Uma to Melbourne. Deej and Uma are a core part of the Institute of Somatic Sexology, who bring us the famous Sexological Bodywork course, and who have been teachers to all other workshop facilitators on this page.
From Rog: "Deej and Uma are easily two of Australia's best sex educators and facilitators. Their work is academically grounded, accessibly presented, and just plain old fun a lot of the time. I'm proud to have participated in or supported many of their workshops, and am honoured to be bringing them back to Melbourne. I enthusiastically encourage people that like the Curious Creatures style to check these folks out".
Details are on the Curious Creatures calendar (now searchable by location and facilitator!).
Finally, in August or September, Rog and Tess will again take some Curious Creatures workshops to Brisbane and Sydney, including a few new ones. Stay tuned to the 'Qld' and 'Nsw' mailing lists.
In amongst all of the above, we'll continue to do our best to provide high quality learning and practical environments for you in Melbourne.
Warmly, the CC team
Addressing gossip and building strength within sex-positive communities
If someone comes to you to talk, discuss, debrief, or gossip about someone else, listen to them. Be there fully for them; support them with your ears and your heart... once.
If they come to you again, to talk about the same issue about the same person, find a way to say something like "I notice we've spoken about this before. I wonder if there's a way I can support you to bring these issues up with the person concerned, or process them in some way so that you can move on?". If they decline, respectfully let them know that you don't want to participate in gossip.
There's a lot of reasons why I like this policy, or some variation of it.
I first came across it when I was living in an 'Intentional Community' (which is essentially a group of people in some kind of intentional living arrangement; it's like a community development project running on '11', using yourself and your close friends as experiments, and also as housemates or neighbours).
Intentional communities - like all communities - need to get damned good at getting along well and resolving conflict, if they are to survive and be nice groups to be involved in.
Something that is counter to this, and that often rips communities apart, is gossip. When someone tells a story about someone else, it often seems so compelling that it's hard to imagine that there could even be another side of the story. Plus, as recent studies - search "effect of gossip on hormones" - have shown, if we don't act with awareness, we inadvertently use the very act of gossiping as a way of bonding and developing trust with the person we're chatting with - at the expense of the person we're chatting about.
One thing leads to another, and what started out as one person's passing comment can calcify and become the whole story. And even if the story was true, or has some truth in it, what we're falling for is the idea that one side of the story is all there is; that the issues can't be resolved and that justice can't be served.
Left to its own devices, gossip will cruelly expel the person that is being gossiped about, or it will create such division and mistrust that the community risks fracturing and become dysfunctional. And, in the process, people will get really hurt, and otherwise good communities and their projects die.
The "listen once policy" short-circuits this process. It moves us all towards resolution, rather than calcification. It puts value on getting all sides of the story, and sorting things out, which is profoundly good for community and friendships. It's also good for all of the individuals concerned, because even an aggrieved person is going to be happier if they can get something that bothers them sorted out or at least more well understood.
And it goes without saying that the policy is better for anyone being gossiped about; if that's ever been you, then you know the importance of things like the right to know what's being said, the benefit of the doubt, the right to reply, and the right to be judged fairly. And you probably also know the importance of having the right to apologize and make amends, if that's possible and appropriate.
It can seem easier and quicker to gossip. But it's also a high risk game, because when we allow gossip to flourish, on some level we have to accept that we might one day wind up as the subject of gossip - what goes around, comes around. Gradually, it doesn't feel like a community we want to be a part of any more.
This "listen once and once only" approach assumes that the person being gossiped about is open to feedback. That's not always the case, but in my experience, most people, given the opportunity, know what's best for them, especially if they're in ongoing relationship or community with you.
I was under the impression that I'd had a lot of participant diversity in my workshops in Australia - until I found myself teaching sex in Thailand.
I was there for a six-day training in large-group conflict-resolution, and had made a plan with two of the other participants to have dinner, because one of them was interested in polyamory and wanted to chat. Due to the language barrier, I thought it was just going to be the three of us, but word spread quickly, and about ~15 people were eagerly awaiting my 'workshop', which was a bit of a surprise!
They were enthusiastic, almost desperately so, for the glimpse into sex-positivity that I was able to represent. I think of Australia as being grossly under-serviced for sex education, but Australia feels like an oasis in comparison to the little slice of Thailand I found myself in.
To my right, was a monk, who had earlier explained that "If there is a conflict - and we don't like to call it a 'conflict' - we move away from the conversation as soon as we can, and meditate. We find peace, internally. Only when there is no internal conflict, do we come back together." The concept of sitting down with a partner and talking in great detail about sexual interests and differences was almost unimaginable to the monk, and my 'Joy of Accusations' approach to relationship conversations would have apparently been very counter to their spiritual training.
To my left, was a woman from Myanmar. She was missing one and a half digits from both hands, and a foot; although I didn't know the details of how that came to be, it seemed like it was too much of a deliberate pattern to just be an accident. I was also aware that rape and violence are very real and current methods of war in Myanmar; it made me want to cry, as I explained the subtleties of using the scale of 0-10 to control the level of touch you're receiving, or using safe-words to stop something you don't like. How do you explain those concepts to someone who you can tell is trying to hide their hands from your view, presumably due to their shame and trauma around whatever happened to cause the loss of their fingers?
In Australia, when I give out my Consent Cards, people generally respond as if they're a good idea - a handy thing, and probably something that should be shared more widely... Or something like that.
The people I shared them with in Thailand responded as if they were an artifact from another planet - like proof of alien life. At first, they looked at the cards like they were some kind of a joke, but then, as they took turns translating the questions for each other, their responses ranged from bewildered to ecstatic to confused to giddy.
One person said, "I just can't imagine that anyone would want to go through this card". I replied, "I can't imagine entering into a touch experience with someone that isn't willing to go through this card". Although I later qualified that I'm not representative of all of Australian culture, nevertheless, the difference in realities was pretty blunt.
At the end, they thanked me profusely. They said they'd never seen anyone who was able to be so free with their sexuality, and so happy to speak about it so openly - or even imagined such a person existed. They asked me if I had always been like this. I explained that no, for a long time, I was shamed by myself and others for my sexuality, and that some people still view me as a bad or dangerous person, because of my interests. But I was quick to point out that what I've experienced is nothing compared to what they're up against.
There were other similarly compelling experiences. I wound up doing two 'workshop dinners', like the one described above. I got chatting with a brothel owner, desperate for information about consent and bdsm for her and her staff - of which nothing is currently available, in her experience. And the operator of a sort of a sex museum wants me to run talks and events in their space - ironically, to help Thailand get back to what used to be some apparently rather sex-positive roots, before various waves of foreign invaders left sex-negativity and shame in their wake.
I love what I do, in Australia. I love those moments where it feels like I'm doing something good for someone, and perhaps the world.
But this experience in Thailand took my breath away. I feel like a beginner, again, in terms of making sex-positive material accessible. But I've also been made aware of what a wildly abundant, well-informed, and positive bubble we live in, at this time in Australia - at least, relatively speaking. I am grateful.
Fire alarms, lost kids, conflicting ethics ...
Roger Butler describes a tricky challenge they recently experienced – one where they’re not at all convinced they did the right thing. Here’s how they described it, about an hour after it happened:
“Wow - that was a difficult situation. And I think I might have failed.
I was just down at my local shopping centre. As I was walking in, the evacuation alarm was going off. People looked like they were becoming increasingly panicky.
As I saw shops beginning to shutter, I realised it was a real alarm. I was about to leave when I saw a toddler by themselves. They had that "where's my parent?" look on their face, so I stopped to observe for a few moments. It quickly became clear they were lost, and had gotten it in their head to start walking towards the other end of the centre.
I asked a few nearby people if the child was theirs, and got blank stares in reply. So it was obvious to me from then that the child had become separated.
I went into a bit of dumbness at that point in time. What I wanted to do was pick the child up, take them back to where I first saw them, and trust that the parent/s would show up. But all I could think of was people accusing me - as an alone older male-presenting person - of kidnap or molestation. I am very aware that people of my demographic aren’t generally meant to be alone with children, especially ones we don't know, or even be near them, on account of all the really shitty things that go on in the world. It happens that just last night I listened to a podcast about how the dark-web is being used by paedophiles to coordinate their activities, so perhaps it was more on my mind than usual.
I was freaked.
I got the attention of a female-presenting person, who for a moment agreed to walk with me, and watch the situation. After a few moments she asked the child if they were lost, got no reply, and so then shrugged their shoulders and walked off.
I followed the toddler all the way to the other end of the mall, wondering how this odd little stand-off would end, hoping the parent would just spring out of a shop or something.
At the end of the mall, some women noticed what was going on. I told them the child was lost, and that they had walked here from the other end. One of the women immediately picked up the child, and headed back in the direction I pointed. The woman was treating me with a lot of suspicion, and initially wouldn't engage with me, but did eventually. I wasn't going to leave the situation unresolved, so I walked with the woman back to where I originally saw the toddler. About ten more meters further on was a very distraught parent, followed by tears of relief. They thanked the woman, who turned and left without any further exchange, probably unable to understand why I hadn’t done what she did.
What a dilemma. I think I failed, at least partially. My socialisation around never being a lone guy with a child is really strong, but I let that over-rule what should have been the focus: the child (and, to a lesser extent, the poor parent with whom I anonymously shared a few minutes of anxiety). I think I should have taken the risk, and scooped the child up. Even, in a worst-case scenario, me being questioned by police is better than me doing nothing. I also could have been more insistent that other bystanders helped.
And I didn't do nothing; I wasn't going to leave the situation. My actions probably just meant it dragged on for longer than it should of. I'm sorry to the kid and the parent.
What a bind. This was an hour ago, and I'm still adrenalised."
Ripple effects that I'm both proud of and very happy about:
This is a win for us all, but especially queer and trans folks. It's also a really good example of why we need to work together, and be in the same spaces.
When Curiosity started, I would have been happy for it to just turn out to be a half decent play-party. I underestimated how much self-development would come from it - I didn't anticipate that something that is on the surface just a sex event, would have so many ripples and positive knock-on effects.
I've heard from many sources about its influences, from the empowerment individuals in many parts of their lives, through to changing the ways consent plays out in wider communities.
I've insisted on keeping gender exploration as a part of the Curiosity workshop, even though it's perhaps not strictly necessary. One of the first things that happens at the workshop is that folks are asked their name, and the "gender pronouns you like using in relation to yourself". This frames gender, from the get-go, as an exploration or a discussion - rather than as a fixed or self-evident thing. (For the record, I like neutral pronouns like "they", but I'm happy with anything).
Later in the workshop, there's more content where assumptions around our's and others' gender identity is explored, about why that's important, and about how to respectfully engage with people different to one's self.
A person who doesn't identify as being part of the gender-fluidity movement came through the workshop recently, and felt welcomed and interested by the way gender issues were presented - even if they thought the topic was given a lot of time. They then happened to listen to an episode of our podcast (Curious Conversations About Sex - temporarily on hold, but more coming soon!) where myself and two guests discussed how rigid gender definitions exclude so many of us from so many facets of life, including government organisations.
It turns out that this person found themselves in a position of influence within a major state-government health organisation. As a person who identifies as more or less straight and cis, they used their position to lobby for a person's gender to be recorded as they wish - without reference to the binary if that's what they want, and without reference to whatever they were assigned at birth.
I can't name the organisation yet, but it looks like this change is coming into play in the foreseeable future, and it's huge. A lot of people that have been otherwise marginalised have just had one barrier removed; this is especially important for trans-folk, but also for any of us that are more comfortable, more ourselves, when we get to define our gender. And as the gender-fluidity movement trickles down, a lot more of us are going to start wanting to be identified as something more than just 'male' or 'female' - I believe many of us are so much more than that.
I'm really proud of the way the person used their position and privilege to improve the world for others.
I'm also really proud that Curious Creatures played a role in facilitating this. I'm proud of the importance we place on gender issues, and especially happy that we manage to present it, at least some of the time, in a way that is accessible to both the bent and the straight, and beneficial to all. It's not a version of reality that's right for everyone, but there's something exciting about seeing everyone hang out together, in the same space. There's something hopeful about it, even if it can be more challenging than just hanging out with folks like one's self.
This particular achievement is something people have been lobbying for for decades. My hope is that once this particular government department changes, others will follow.
A big thanks to elders past and present - changes like this follow on from uncountable and often invisible previous efforts.
Hi curious friends,
Ever wondered what our play-party Curiosity is really like, from the perspective of a first-timer? ...See below for a really well-written, and accurate piece. All 2018 Curiosity dates (both workshops and parties) are now listed, and the next workshop for new folks is on Jan 7th.
So are the rest of our workshops, actually, all the way through until December. Enjoy!
If you're a part of Curiosity already, there's a Social on Jan 11th.
Otherwise, we don't really swing into gear until February, with Fun Little Sex Games on the 8th, and The Forest: Touch & Embodiment Ritual on the 15th.
The latest podcast episode features an in-depth chat with Seani Love, about the parallels between psychotherapy and well conducted kink practices. The links go way further than we'd imagined, and show just how much sex-work and kink sessions can be like, um... counseling? (Yes, we know that might sound a little odd).
Search for, and subscribe to, Curious Conversations About Sex on whatever app you use for podcasts.
Warmly, Rog and the CC team.
Review of Curiosity on Passionfruit: 'To Sex Party or not to Sex Party?'
Here's a snippet: "I’m a 30 year old professional woman, living in Melbourne, recently single, and I feel like my sex life has been a tad one dimensional. I keep falling into standard ‘sexual intercourse’ with guys. It feels based on ‘how quickly can I stick my thing in your thing’ and I want to know what else is available on the sexual menu.
So I went to a sex party. I did this on behalf of the Passionfruit Tribe (thank you Passionfruit!) in search for something a bit more sensual… (taking one for the team, so to speak).
’Curiosity’ is the name of the party. It is run by workshop organisers ‘Curious Creatures’ out of a venue in Brunswick. It describes itself as:
‘a very unusual exploration of sexuality, self-development, and liberation... an experiment in community and self-development that uses sexuality as a starting point.’
It sounds like an orgy with a personality and a degree. I’m nervous, but, as the label advises, curious…" Read More.
It's funny, how much we live in little bubbles, without having any idea just how isolated we are from the world. There's been lots of writing and podcasting lately about that in relation to Donald Trump, and how their election came as a surprise. (I, for one, was so confident about Hillary Clinton's success I was already celebrating the diversity they might bring...). We do the 'bubble' thing around a lot - especially around politics and opinion.
I got whacked out of my bubble again recently, when I bumped into someone from outside my normal world. They wound up accusing me of all sorts of things, because I believe that HIV is a real thing. I'll tell you about it below, but first, some recent (real) news about HIV.
I'm old enough that I had two people within my network die from HIV, back in the early 90's. Then, another two friends became HIV-positive, which we all assumed was a death-sentence... But the drugs and treatments just got better, and better, and they went from sick, to surviving, to surprisingly well. I've lost contact with one of those friends, but the other is alive and changing the world in the best of ways. They're a sex-positive pioneer.
And things have just gotten better and better; recent drugs are starting to get incredibly close to stopping transmissibility, and others are close to using the word 'cure' (at least, under certain lab circumstances). The World Health Organisation predicts that Australia will have achieved "effective eradication" by around 2030, with more challenging geo-political areas to follow five or ten years later. These numbers are based on the drugs currently completing their human-trials, and the likely time it will take for pricing to allow for a global trickle-down.
I am just amazed; these developments are going to have a profound impact on a significant portion of the human population.
I bumped into someone around six years ago, at a festival. We got into a conversation, where they revealed they thought HIV was a hoax.
Sometimes the tantra community - especially the older guard - are accused of having poor ethics and practice around safer-sex; at its worst, young adherents are told not to use condoms and other strategies in sex, but rather, to "surround yourself with pure, clear energy, give yourself fully to the moment, and the strength of our combined spirit will keep us pure" or something like that. I knew that to be the case, but it was still fucking weird coming up against a real life representative of that perspective.
I was kind of gobsmacked for a little while, but eventually I stated that I thought this person's views were not just wrong, but deeply dangerous, and that I didn't want them to leave the conversation thinking that my silence could be assumed to be support.
What else can you do? I wandered back into the festival and my usual bubble.
Fast forward to the present tense, when someone made some inquiries about coming along to Curiosity (the rather progressive sex-positive play-party I run once a month). They had a slightly unusual name, and on a hunch, I remembered the HIV-hoax conversation and thought it couldn't hurt to ask if it was them...
Me (as part of a broader, polite conversation in response to their original question):
"Also, unless your views on HIV as a hoax have changed, if I’m being honest, I don’t think this is the right event for you."
I'd expect a more professional un-emotive attitude from someone who claims to be a sexuality teacher.
There is a huge amount of scientific evidence (just as there in the vaccine scam industry) that these supposed modern diseases and supposed cures are figments of imagination for corrupt and arrogant corporate and political gangsters, hell bent on inventing new diseases and supposed cures to keep us all as sick as possible.
If you don't do some research on these important subjects (checkout youtube for starters), I'd suggest you stop advertising yourself as a sexuality teacher since in my opinion, your just another stupid ignoramus following the party line.
God gave you a brain. Use it.
Yes, people get sick. Yes, people die of illnesses. People generally die because our immune system is incapable of overcoming the causes of our illness.
A lot of modern illnesses are cause by drugs. I hope you're not one those who take recreational drugs, because if you do, you are placing yourself in danger of compromising your immune system.
So called 'HIV/AIDS' arrived from the gay community in San Francisco in the 70's who were taking sexually enhancing drugs for sexual recreation.
Wake up and smell the roses buddy.
When I saw you [at a public daytime event] you looked pretty fucked up to me.
At this point, the temptation is to scream.
In part, I want to scream at the personal attack, and how it seems to be such an apparently integral part of being a sexuality / gender / relationships / kink advocate. Fortunately, in this case, it's pretty hard to take it too seriously, because it's so crude.
In part, I want to scream on behalf of the attitude in the background of this person's thinking - that if you've got HIV, it's because you're bad and / or not looking after yourself. This line of thinking is disgusting to me.
And in part, I want to scream about people's inability to intelligently apply skepticism. There's actually some well-intentioned stuff in this person's response; the criticisms about big-pharma are not too far from the truth of some different situations - just not this one.
The thing with this, as a conspiracy theory, is that there must be tens of thousands of science-minded people actively engaged in HIV research or treatment, and to think that it's possible to get each and every one of them to act in collusion and rally behind a lie is beyond what humans are capable of. It's hard to get a small number of people on the same team to keep a secret, let alone tens of thousands of very different people.
This thinking (or lack thereof) is what makes me want to scream; it's in the way of our progress on so many fronts, and it keeps us from coming out of our insular little thought bubbles and exposing ourselves to new and different information.
Unfortunately, screaming doesn't help. Screaming at humans almost never helps anything. So instead...
"I’m so glad I asked; you would have very much not enjoyed the culture of Curiosity, and the way safer-sex protocols are described and handled. This outcome is better for us both.
Since your response [to me] is a rather personal attack, please don’t get back to me again. I’ll remove you from our mailing list so you’re not bothered by our spam.
Them (this is just one line from an otherwise mostly polite response):
"Talking of personal attacks, for you to ban me from your meetings because of my personal very well researched and scientifically backed knowledge of HIV/AIDS is pure unprofessional ignorant cultish nonsense."
I've laughed and I've cried about this exchange, just in terms of what it says about the human condition (which is normally something I'm pretty positive about).
In the meanwhile, I hope my friend of 25 years - the one with HIV - doesn't have to read this, and instead continues doing what they do in the world unencumbered. I hope the *cliche warning, but it's true* kids in South Africa that get raped (because it's believed their virginity can cure HIV) get let off the hook as soon as possible, as this next wave of medicines trickle down.
I hope we all get out of our comfortable little bubbles, and I hope that Google comes up with a magic 'truth' algorithm (even though I know that's not possible). This might sound weird, but I think the old-guard tantra person I was chatting to has good intentions - I just really wish they would align with good science.
In the meanwhile, I will get back to sharing my take on sex-positivity, which for the moment will continue to be informed by the 'hellish cult of mainstream science'.
Go well, Rog.
The September Curiosity play-space is going to be during the day (4-8pm), since the recent experiment was so successful. This is only for folks who have already done the full Curiosity workshop, the next one of which isn't until Sunday the 8th of October.
Also we've relaunched our Curiosity website and made it sparkly! It's now specially tailored to walking new folk through the Curiosity experience. Recommend it to your friends who are curious but unsure, and check it out yourself at http://curiosity.curiouscreatures.biz/.
Fun Little Sex Games (for all couples) is on September 23.
Kink 101 (for all couples, and male/female identified pairings singles) is on September 24.
Kink 102 (for all couples, and mixed gender pairings singles) is on October 7. It's preferred that you've done Kink 101 but if you have a good grounding in consent (which we'll review) and know you enjoy kink, come along!
Upcoming Sydney workshops - tell your friends!
We'll be in Sydney for the first time ever this September. Exciting stuff, please let your friends and contacts know. We're filling up fast, so encourage them to book in soon.
Fun Little Sex Games (for all couples) is on September 16.
The Forest Ritual (for male/female identified pairings) is on September 16.
Kink 101 (for all couples, and mixed gender pairings singles) is on September 17.
Podcast: Curious Conversations About Sex
In Ep 17: I notice my orgasm potential dropping off over time; what's sex like for aging people? Rog and Dr Linda Kirkman explores sexuality questions especially relevant to those of us who are aging (or planning to do so in the future).
In Ep 18: Is sex a slippery slope of addiction? Does the pursuit of sex inevitably lead to...? We've been taught sexuality is a wild beast waiting to consume us. Rog interviews two people: one interested in football, and the other interested in sex. Find out the amusing results ...
In Ep 19: I have Vaginismus - any advice welcome Anne Hunter, Niyati Evers, and Rog have a special conversation from the personal perspective of three people with direct experience of this condition.
In Ep 20: What do you wish you were told at the start of your sex journey? Dr Linda Kirkman and Rog have a frank discussion about what it was like growing up and navigating sex.
In Ep 21: How do you train a submissive? Aerie, Beejay and Rog discuss consent (for a change!), safety, techniques, and the psychology of the way different people learn.
In Ep 22: Polyamory: Do you believe in tight or loose agreements? ...Strict rules, or relationship anarchy? Dossie Easton, Anne Hunter and Rog get deep into the subtleties of polyamory (and open relationships and non-monogamy in general) and share their combined wisdom of 70+ years of personal experience.
In Ep 23: What's your number one sex move? Cath Carter, Maureen Matthews and Rog reveal their number one sex moves!
In Ep 24: How do I learn to be a dominant (BDSM/kink)? Aerie, Beejay and Rog talk honestly from their wealth of experience about what makes a good dominant, and what power-play is all about.
In Ep 25: Consent is not sexy Dossie Easton, Anne Hunter and Rog discuss consent as a human right. Saying it's sexy confuses the issue.
In Ep 26: The Consent Cards: A primer in great sex and consent! (Part 1 of 3) Aerie and Rog go through the juicy questions on the Curious Creatures consent card, in detail. And they share their personal stories on lessons learned the hard way.
Rog is the driving force behind Curious Creatures, and the main author of this sexuality blog in Melbourne. They were brought up white, middle-class, mostly heterosexual, and male. They now identify as kinky, tantric, polyamorous, queer, and very, very curious. Are you curious? Read more about Rog and Curious Creatures.