Today, my friend, role model, and favorite adult director Tristan Taormino announced that Oregon State University, which scheduled her to keynote at their Modern Sex conference in February, retracted their invitation because of concerns over her website & resume.
For those of you who don’t know Tristan’s work, she’s written and edited over two dozen books, spoken at more colleges than I can count (many of them Ivy League-caliber), and has produced an incredible body of articles for publications such as the Village Voice, where she worked as a columnist for years. She’s also…an adult film director & producer.
Now, I can’t see why they’d object to a published (and widely acclaimed) author speaking to college students – so my only guess is that, because she is involved in the adult industry, she’s been demoted to “not professional enough” to speak about sexual empowerment. Which is odd, because her work in her movies (and not just her Expert Guide series, but her Rough Sex & Chemistry series as well) promotes the values of ethical, healthy, self-directed sexuality – choice, consent, honesty, and of course, pleasure.
Mainstream culture has a hard enough time with basic sex education – we can’t even decide how we will tell our children and teenagers about sex, pregnancy, non-heterosexuality, and STI’s. It saddens me tremendously that our culture marginalizes sex-positive educators who actually know about the realities of sex in the 21st century, preferring instead anti-sex, anti-empowerment educators whose guidance starts and ends with “keep your legs shut until you’re married”.
Please read the press release on Tristan’s website, and if you’re so moved, send an email to the administrators listed there.
Edit: Other responses include one from Shanna Katz, another popular sex educator on college campuses around the US.