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Education Access Surveys Now Live!

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 8, 2017 in Research, teaching

In an effort to gain more information about the barriers to education within sex positive & alternative sexuality communities, I created two short surveys. The surveys, with ten questions each, ask for feedback from folks about their experiences as attendees and/or educators within these communities. This includes adult sex education, leather / kink / BDSM, tantra, polyamory, swinging, and other non-mainstream expressions of sexuality and relationships.

The Sexuality Education Access Survey is centered on the experiences of people who want to or who have attended classes, workshops, and events.

The Educator Experience Survey is centered on the experiences of people who have taught at least one class or presentation within the alt sex communities, regardless of size, methodology, or location.

All responses are anonymous (I have turned IP logging on solely for security reasons). You will not be asked to give any personally identifiable information during the survey. The surveys will stay open until May 1, 2017, after which time the responses will be aggregated and the aggregated survey results will be shared publicly without any further interpretation, to allow educators, organizations, events, and communities to use the response data to inform their own internal conversations about education access. I will also use the survey results to inform my own workshops and educational efforts.

Any questions? Feel free to drop me an email at sarah.sloane (at) gmail.com!

 
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Talking about sexual assault survival at The CSPH

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Oct 17, 2010 in Media Links, teaching

Many of you know Megan Andelloux, and some may remember her fight with the Pawtucket RI city council to open The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health as a resource for sexual education, health, and wellness information. What you may not know is that Megan is one of my absolute favorite sex educators and I’m honored to count her as one of my friends. So, when she asked me to fill in at the CSPH’s recent “Talking About the Taboo” conference, I was more pleased to help than I can begin to tell you. While I was there, Maymay and Emma from Kink On Tap were generously recording the workshops, and the recording of my brief workshop on surviving sexual assault was just uploaded. I invite you to go here to check it out! Please note that there may be some triggering language in this video; also, if you’re interested in the resources mentioned (or my handout for the full class) please contact me!

 
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Quickie Class Announcement

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Sep 22, 2010 in teaching

Next Thursday, September 30, I’ll be teaching an online class through Power Play Academy called “Entering the Scene”. At only $25 for 90 minutes worth of great info on how to find, get involved in, and impress potential friends & partners, it’s a total steal 🙂 Here’s the info:

Entering the Scene: Navigating the Waters of the BDSM Community
September 30, 9:00 – 10:30 PM EST
$25, Pre-registration required

If you’re thinking about stepping out of your home and into the real-life BDSM community—whether a party, a social group, or an educational event–you might find the process intimidating.

*How do you find a group that you’ll be comfortable in?

*How do you pick a BDSM event to attend that you’ll enjoy?

*How can you get to know great people?

*What are the “rules” for social & play events?

*How can you stay safe?

*And most of all… how can you make sure that you’re finding what you want?

Many people are held back by uncertainty and never muster the courage to step into real time. Braver souls who go to an event unprepared may have a negative experience and decide never to return.

That’s a shame on both counts—and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Join Sarah Sloane, long-time BDSM educator and former newbie, in this live webcast class and discussion created especially for newcomers to the public BDSM scene. She will guide you compassionately and intelligently through the critical information and self-exploration that will help you to venture into the BDSM community with the best results.

Through lecture, class discussion, and Q&A, you and your fellow participants will build realistic expectations, understand social nuances, and gain a sense of personal comfort & safety during your first steps into the kinky world.

Sound interesting? Check out the website for details, and to register!

 
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What We Did On Our Summer Vacation: First Jobs of Notorious Sex Educators

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jul 19, 2010 in teaching

Every sex educator I know has gotten the question “so, how did you get started doing this?” at least a hundred times. Unfortunately, our answers rarely seem to be the answers that people really want to hear. What they wish we could say is that there is a defined “career path” for sex ed folks; that we all went to college and got Bachelors degrees in Hot Sex Making, then got a Masters degree in Teaching Hot Sex Making. Alternatively, I think they’d like for all of us to have sprung, fully formed, from the heads of Kinsey, or Masters & Johnson. Unfortunately, there are very few universities that offer any degree in sex education or counseling, and often what makes us easy to relate to & learn from is the fact that we don’t use a lot of psychological or medical jargon.

So, in an effort to give readers a real feel for the kind of work that is in sex educators backgrounds, I sent an email out recently asking people what their first job was. Please…read ’em and weep (laughing, of course)!

Audacia Ray: “I was a horse-crazy kid (and a bunch of other sex educators were/are too – that’s another story entirely!), so all I wanted to do was be near horses. I spent all of my teens working on horse farms – first mucking stalls, feeding, doing barn chores (I even learned how to drive a tractor!), then I became an exercise rider and eventually trainer and riding instructor for kids. I even spent a few summers traveling and teaching horseback riding. The year after I moved to New York, I spent the summer in Manhattan, Kansas (aka The Little Apple).”

Barbara Carrellas: While Barbara started acting at age 14, she says she wasn’t always paid – so she defaults to babysitting as the first paid job. Of course, as smart and talented as she is, she quickly graduated to stage managing…and then, took over the world.

Jacq Jones: Jacq tells me that her first job – at 3 years of age! – was as a model…and she modeled until she was 12. Her first “grown up” job was waitressing – and then she moved on to the Executive Director & Lobbyist for Common Cause in MN.

Lee Harrington: “Though I held a burger king job for about 4 months, my first “real” job at the age of 16 was as a receptionist at the Wizards of the Coast Game Center in Seattle, WA.  Wizards of the Coast are best known as the makers of “Magic: the Gathering,” the collectible card game that became affectionately and hatefully referred to as “Gamer Crack.” I was lovingly bombarded with a constant stream of Conan the Barbarian soundtrack music, while I would sit in my white shirt, black vest, black trousers, boots and slicked back hair underneath a 8ft tall Minotaur head. Giant beady eyes, they stare at me.  Between calls and answering sweaty gamers questions about Robotech and Vampires, I would paint Warhammer miniatures for the store.

The Game Center was open 364/5 days a year… we were open new years eve, Christmas day, it was a tad crazy.  But, on special event days where I was working head reception, I would wear 6″ silver stilleto heels under the desk.  I will have to say this for me and my co-workers… some of us were a kinky lot.  Warhammer measuring sticks made for mean canings, and one of my back alleyway blowjob partners and I are still causing trouble in the scene together 15 years after meeting through our gamer dorkiness.”

Midori: “My first pay for work was by a Japanese literary magazine for translation of an English nursery rhyme. My mother was a contributor and, if I remember correctly, the editor must have thought it would be delightful to have the well-known scholar’s bilingual daughter do a child’s translation of a piece meant for children. I was about 7 or 8 years old. The publisher paid me the same fee as an adult contributor and gave me a copy of the magazine. I have no idea what I spent the money on, but I know I was thrilled. To this day, when the publisher’s checks arrive, I’m thrilled – although the proportional work to pay ratio has changed considerably since then.”

Princess Kali: I don’t have a print quote from her, but she did disclose to me that her first job was at a McDonalds. I’m guessing that they didn’t let her wear her tiara, those jerks.

Reid Mihalko: “…my first true, file a W9 job was working at the Brown University cafeteria -the Ratty- to help pay for books and tuition. Then I worked for the Teamsters humping freight during the graveyard shift one summer, and, eventually, I began working security and barbacking at a local Rhode Island bar where I was finally given cultural license to talk about sex with strangers.”

Richard Wagner, PhD (aka Dr. Dick): “I was a Catholic Priest. Does that count as a first job?” (He’s serious, folks!)

Shanna Katz, M.Ed.: “My first job?  I had two actually. A combo of working 15-20 hours a week in a theatrical costume and make-up shop named Disguises, and teaching Hebrew at Sunday School for my temple. Odd? Yes. The Disguises job I got because I was a total theatre nerd, and love love loved anything to do with it. Being able to work with costumes, teaching people how to apply Ben Nye and Mehron, playing around with fake blood (I went home feeling like Lady MacBeth more than once), trying on outfits and wearing them to staff events? It was fabulous. Making $6/hr and occasionally working 9+ hour shifts (oh so illegal, as I was 15 at the time) wasn’t always the greatest, but being able to get a 20% discount on products I wanted was pretty awesome.  I worked there for almost a year until I graduate HS at 16 and headed to college.

On the other hand, Sunday School Hebrew was a hoot.  I was too agnostic to teach the religious studies part, so they stuck me teaching Hebrew to the advanced 4th graders. Now, little kids love me, but I’m not so big on children, so going here on a weekly basis to teach a langauge I couldn’t speak fluently to 8 and 9 years olds was always interesting.  Good thing I’m more patient than I thought I would be…and my advanced group wound up out reading any group of 4th graders in the history of the temple, and got bumped up to the 6th grade Hebrew reading group.  It was a good way for me to be involved with my Jewish heritage without actually attending temple, which I wasn’t really into at the time. Like the Disguises job, I kept it until I was 16 and headed to college.”

Sarah Sloane (me!): “My first job was at a shop called “The Fudgery”, in Richmond, VA. We made fudge on big marble top tables, and had “Showtimes”, where we sang and made bad puns and poured & turned the fudge until it was solid. I was 16, working with a bunch of art school nerds & queer folk from VCU, getting a paycheck, and learning about The Big World. It was also my first lesson in public humiliation – there’s nothing like singing, at full volume, to total strangers, songs like “It’s a grand old fudge, it’s a high-flying fudge, and we want you to try some today…it’s the emblem of the work we love, the home of the weird and the crazed”.

 
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Sexerati Bed Death

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Jul 16, 2010 in communication, introspection, relationships, teaching

Sometimes, it gets a little old to me. I feel like I talk about so much about sex, but have so little of it, that I’m a fraud – an educator who is all talk, no action; who can’t do, so she teaches. The sad thing is that many of my friends who are long-term sex educators, sex workers, and performers all commiserate about it.

“How many of you are convinced that your customers have more sex than you do?”, I asked at a recent event held at a very sex-positive shop. Every one of the half-dozen staff present raised their hands.

“How often do you have kinky sex?”, I’ve asked my perverati friends. Some of them are getting it on, all the time; others confess (yes! confess!) in quiet voices that they have “vanilla” sex almost exclusively.

So, when I went through two years of libido coma, it didn’t occur to me that something was wrong. Really. I was teaching over 100 classes a year (which, while it looks great on the resume, is pretty craptastic on the free-time front). Of *course* I was too tired to be creatively kinky, especially from the top side of things. I was traveling too much to maintain much in the way of relationships.

And after sharing – nay, preaching – about the importance of personal boundaries when it comes to sex work of all kinds…imagine my shame and shock when I realized that I’d been screwing myself over for two. bloody. years. I let things that hurt push me back into the cavern of my sexual isolation – the loss of relationships and lovers, the stress of travel, the fear of being vulnerable, the ease with which I avoided possible entanglements involving lube or toys. And what I ended up with was feeling distanced not only from my lovers and from people who I really do like and really do want to play with…but also, feeling distanced from myself.

I started talking about kink & sex because it was such a valuable part of my life; a part that I’d shredded, examined, processed, raged at, ragged about, celebrated, denied, and reinserted into my psyche in my late 20’s. Empowering my own ability to be a sexual being, guiltlessly kinky and joyfully queer, turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. My self esteem took a ride up to the Mile-High Club when I realized that I could actually be externally who I was internally without being afraid of it. So, when this all took a back seat…I started feeling like a bit of an automaton. Like someone who talked the talk, but didn’t walk the walk. And that meant…time for a serious talking to with myself, and some reprioritization.

But like many minor miracles…the one step of saying “that’s it – I’m done with this bullshit” started making the changes happen. Within weeks, I found out my libido had shaken off the scent of the mothballs that it had been packed in, and was off on its own making sexy play plans with folks. Don’t get me wrong – I’ve had to push it a little. I made a decision to engage in some sort of play with someone at every event that I’ve been to this year, and so far, I’ve been quite (suprisingly, to me) successful at it. And the play has been good – really good. I feel released; I feel more in touch with my whole body and my libido than I have in a very long time.

Lesson acknowledged, Universe. Don’t become so focused on what I am that I forget about who I am. Gotcha.

 
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New Class Alert!

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Apr 11, 2010 in teaching

I just finished up a brand new class, especially for those of you that are interested in dicks of all sizes, shapes, colors, and consistencies!

Tantus_VIP_1· Full Body Fellatio
There’s more to sex than just “Tab A into Slot B”…and there’s more to fellatio than deep-throating! Regardless of the kind of cock you’re working with – big, small, silicone, flesh, cut or uncut, there are hundreds of things you can do as part of a blow-job to make your partner’s toes curl, fingers clench, and brain explode. We’ll talk about erogenous zones, the right mindset for giving head, integrating some extra added bonuses into what you’re doing, and even how to make safer sex practices (like barriers) work to help, rather than hinder, the pleasure. We’ll even talk about how to work around physical limitations to make showing off your oral expertise more pleasurable for you, too!

This class is geared for sex positive events and stores, and can be done as a Love U Class/Party, as well! Please email me if you’d like to book this class at your location…I promise it’ll be fun, informative, and ultimately mindblowing 🙂

 
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Questions and answers

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Mar 13, 2010 in relationships, teaching

I get asked a lot of questions. I get asked a lot of similar questions. So why not answer them here? Then I can just point and say “Go Look!”.

1. My mother knows I’m dating multiple guys. She doesn’t know that I date people that are not guys, or people that are not guys by her own 1950’s biological definition. She doesn’t need to know that, but if she finds out, I’m okay with it. I figure she’s lived long enough to not have to deal with information that she may not really want (and my mother is the queen of denial – come on, after 5 months of living with my future ex-husband, she toured our tiny apartment with it’s one bedroom, and then asked me “well, where do YOU sleep?”)

2. No, I don’t make a living from speaking at BDSM events. I don’t make a living from any of my speaking engagements; in fact, after it all added up, last year I spent thousands on traveling to events, covering my expenses over the weekend, and doing crazy wild stuff like grabbing a $4 coffee from the hotel because I was groggy. There’s one major reason why this year I’m saying no more often. I really hate to do it, but there ya go.

3. Yes, you can ask my partners to play. No, I don’t mind (unless you have teh crazy in which case I’ll have a side talk with my sweeties, then deal with it, because it’s really their decision and not mine). They are fully aware of the information that I want, and I trust them to abide within whatever agreement they and I have set up.

4. Of course you can become a successful presenter! The real stuff that it takes? The guts to put yourself out there constantly and take risks (see: Lee Harrington), wacky charisma that leaves attendees at your classes wanting more (see: Graydancer), amazing teaching ability (see: Lochai), a willingness to talk honestly & compassionately about the really tough subjects (see: Mollena Williams), and the ability to gracefully recover from looking like a horse’s ass (see: me). Also, the ability to negotiate and beg for money, OR a lot of money so you can actually go everywhere that asks you.

5. Yes, I’m in alcoholism recovery. Yes, you can drink around me without me feeling uncomfortable. Yes, I will kick your ass out in a New York Minute if you’re drunk or obnoxious. Yes, I’d REALLY prefer that you ask me before lighting up some weed. And yes, I’d be happy to join you for a cigar.

6. Barriers for everything. Yes, really. No, not even if you’re tested and clean. Kthxbye.

7. My cats are like my kids. Really. I don’t care how pathetic it sounds. Call them anything derogatory or treat them callously, you’ll never come back to my house again.

8. I hate talking on the phone, for the most part, unless there is a serious reason for doing so. I don’t know why – I used to chatter for hours with friends on the Bell system. Now, it’s texting or quick calls, unless I’m out of town and just miss the hell out of you (in which case, you’ll know).

9. Yes, I am unashamed about my FarmVille habit. Please send free gifts.

10. Die hard liberal with a dollop of fiscal conservatism and an occasional streak of anarchy. Yes, I voted for Obama. No, I never voted for Ross Perot.

11. Please, yes, leave me with the illusion that I sing well. I still harbor a secret desire to win a Grammy or a Tony for my vocal stylings.

12. Speaking of which, Bette Midler and Madeline Kahn are my primary role models. Others of the “star” variety are Gilda Radner, Queen Elizabeth I, a few Catholic saints, Mother Teresa, and Sting.

13. “Coaching” is not my secret code for pro-domination. I’m a coach, business and personal (which does include BDSM but is not all that I do). I’m not a prodomme; I’d be happy to refer you to some great ones, though!

14. I limp because I was born with a disorder called Congenital Pseudoarthrosis in my left leg. I had a lot of surgeries in my teens, and was in a cast for years. Trust me, I barely notice the limping and often don’t even notice that I’m in pain for it.

15. …what questions did I miss that you wanted the answer to?

 
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What Is Leather Worth?

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Oct 22, 2008 in Leather, relationships, teaching

My friend, Edward Dain, is one of those people that I love to listen to, and to read. I hang out at his home a few times a year with his family, we mutter on the phone about the trials and tribulations of life, and I send him adult movies from my collection to share with his partners…so I guess you could say that we’re friends. He’s also one of my more thoughtfully prolific FiendsList members on my ComatoseJournal, so I get to read his processing on occasion, and a while back, I asked him to expand on one of his posts. He graciously agreed to do so, and he sent it to me a few days back. I wanted to share it with you all, so this week, he is going to challenge your brains, instead of me. I’m putting his bio & contact info below the essay, so if you’d like to contact him and carry forward the discussion, please feel free to do so!

What Is Leather Worth

Without falling prey to some sort of fannish worship of that which never was, I do find some of the values of “Old Guard Leather” (as a variety of people describe them) to be important on a personal and a community level – and congruent with the values held by the people who had a strong impression on me when I was first entering the Scene. These values continue to be equally, if not more, important to me now as well. Some people might say that this makes me an elitist. I say that it takes more than words or a membership card to be part of the tribe.

And before anyone thinks that I am in any way or sense claiming to be “Old Guard Leather”, let me give them a virtual slap upside the head. I would likely give an Old Guard Leatherman hives – I am so far afield from that community (or even the not-so-New Leather either) that it is rather amazing that I even identify as a Leatherman. But that’s also a function of time and space. There is no Old Guard now. The few that survived passed through a hell of blood and tears and were irrevocably changed as a result.

It is a different world now, the community that defined them is gone, and I was never part of it.

For those of you who want to follow along at home, I would suggest reading Guy Baldwin’s essay, “Old Guard”: It’s Origins, Traditions, Mystique and Rules“, his presentation at the 6th Leather Leadership Conference, and Joseph W. Bean’s essay “Old Guard? If You Say So”. Those are decent enough places to start.

These values are what speak to me-

Clothing: Leather was the marker, but you had to earn it. Collars, Covers, Flagging, it all has its roots here. Oh – and don’t scare the old ladies.

Do you know why I don’t wear more Leather? Because unless I’m riding, I haven’t freaking earned it yet. Boots and belt are the basics, and I skate by with the jacket and gloves because I ride and do rough body play. My slave Keris has been in my service for over almost two years now and has one piece of Leather other than her chain – though truth to be told, she deserves another piece at this point. I’ve just been looking for the right one.

And if you can’t wear it where you work, it has no place on the street. If you have a question, then change when you get to where you’re going.

Chain? Yes, you read that right. Not all Leather is made of dead animals. Instead of a collar, she wears a custom-made chain around her waist. Much easier to explain, hide, or otherwise pass off in a vanilla setting – instead she gets complimented on her “industrial jewelry.”

And I still flag the way I learned 20+ years ago. It’s hard-coded into my kink – but that is a whole different story.

Manners & Protocol: Bottoms defer to Tops, but “time in grade” is worth more than titles, offices, and leather worn. You give your respect to your elders because they’re your elders “unless and until” they prove that they don’t deserve it. Be polite. If you aren’t then you’re not worthy of respect yourself (even if that other guy was an asshole). The titles that matter don’t come with a sash. Keep your hands to yourself unless given permission otherwise. Don’t be stupid and overindulge in substances, and don’t give the community a bad name for that or any other reason.

Yeah, this sort of thing struck home is a humorous manner when a mutual friend put some tooth-marks on Keris without asking permission soon after she started wearing my chain and my blood-pressure went through the roof. I laughed at myself as I watched the reaction, but it was still there.

And it would be there again if it happened again.

Values and Characteristics: Honesty. Reliability. Honor. Integrity. Generosity of time and spirit. Trustworthiness. Responsibility. Respectful for self and others. Being of sound mind. “A life that worked” aka “Financial Stability”. “Genuine and Personal” “Sense of humor”. Camaraderie. “A sense of appropriateness and good manners.” Wanting to do more than just watch.

Another piece that many people don’t seem to get is the notion that your behavior reflects on those people around you. If Keris acts poorly in public, it’s a poor reflection on me, on our Household, on my Leather Family, and on the Scene. Same thing for me. Same thing for Phoenix, my spouse. We’re part of an organic, dynamic network of Leatherfolk – in a way that many, perhaps most, people in the Pansexual Community just don’t relate to.

What you say and what you do is who you are.

It is just that simple.

Your place in the Leather Community is only as strong as the Leather Family you have. They are the ones who decide if you belong, not you.

It’s more than going to the local Eagle and owning a full set of leathers, a flogger and some nipple clamps.

Leather doesn’t end at the door to the dungeon. If you can take it off at the door to the dungeon, then it’s just a sexy costume – and that’s not Leather.

All of this created and creates a culture of exclusivity instead of the false inclusivity of much of the modern Scene. In theory, and often in practice, there was little or no place for the Five Geek Social Fallacies – because it was dangerous to let the wrong people in. You couldn’t be a member of the in-group until you proved that you were worthy of membership by displaying these characteristics. It also required hunting out the right places and the right people – something that wasn’t anywhere near as easy as it is now.

Similarly, attitude and experience trumps technique. As Gayle Rubin puts it, “Paint By Numbers BDSM” isn’t Leathersex – and that certainly isn’t what I learned I learned and it isn’t what I practice. For those of you who might be wondering, I had never read through or owned a “how-to” book on BDSM or Leathersex until I started graduate school. Aside from a handful of passages from The Leatherman’s Handbook that I had read over the years, all my learning came from three places – doing, being done, and reading porn (I read The Story of O and the Kama Sutra when I was around 10 or 11, I bought a copy of a Marquis de Sade reader when I was 16). Oh, that’s right – I also had the entries, such as they were, on kink from The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex. They were certainly informative… not! There was also a big book titled Erotic Art of the East – lots of nice shunga in there as I tend to recall.

Technique is the most easily learned and the least important part of Leather and BDSM. You can teach a monkey technique. You can memorize safety acronyms until you can recite them in your sleep. Attitude is part of an intrinsic learning process not any sort of extrinsic validation of skill.

Sweat. Blood. Tears. Cum. Screams. Moans. Laughter. Growls.

This is where you learn attitude.

Not in a book.

Not taking a class.

Not watching somebody else.

By having your life in someone else’s hands.

That’s what Leather’s worth.

Your life.

The life of your partner.

The lives of your Leather family.

Copyright 2008 by Edward Dain

“Edward Dain” is the long standing pseudonym for a “squicky, neoshamanistic, Ordeal Path, Leatherman.” Also known to describe himself as “so Queer I can curdle milk”, he’s been actively and knowingly kinky long enough to be embarrassed when people ask him when he started – given his tender age of 39. Currently holding a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology, he just defended his doctoral dissertation, an interdisciplinary clinical guide to BDSM for mental health counselor. You can reach him at edain (at) squirrelsnest (dot) org.

 
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Audacia, Dark Odyssey, and Tulsa

Posted by Sarah Sloane on Sep 10, 2008 in teaching

Just a quick promo: Audacia Ray’s Live Girl Review this week (Episode 3) discusses Tristan Taormino’s book, Opening Up (which I’m quoted in); she also talks about Jenny Block’s “Open” as well, and has fast tips for a three way.  It’s downloading to my player even as we speak!  I have her book, Naked on the Internet, in my reading list, too…

I’m packing tonight to leave for Dark Odyssey in the morning; I’ll be picking up my friend Lee Harrington and heading north into the wilds of Maryland for four days of teaching, learning, relaxing, spending time listening to some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known…and hopefully playing a little, too.  Last weekend’s event was an amazing chance for me to be in a place that was totally unfamiliar with a smaller group of people; I learned that I’ve gotten better about taking care of myself and respecting my needs, even if they diverge from the social flow of the event.  Dark Odyssey is usually a weekend of finding my core as a queer, kinky, polyamorous, spiritually aware woman in a community of family and friends and lovers.  I have planned at least one “first” for this weekend; I want to suspend one of my lovers with rope from one of the trees at camp, and it will (if it works!) be my first full suspension as a top.  I also will be getting my arm marked again by my friend Bobby, who I share a love of cigars, handsome men, and heart-centered intelligent conversation.  Beyond that, the weekend is wide open to allow me to embrace the moments as they come, without plans or expectations.  This is the only way that going to an event really works for me, and I have only come to that point by finding many other ways that decidedly didn’t work for me first.

Finally, I got the sad news that the event sponsored by Tulsa Dungeon Society, scheduled for September 19-21, is being postponed until next year due to loss of venue. As soon as I hear, I will let you know when it’s being rescheduled to.  I had planned to be there to teach, along with Ms. Cynthia Wright & Allena Gobasch, and hopefully all three of us will be able to attend on the new date!

 
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Role Models, or "What Would Barbara Do?"

Posted by Sarah Sloane on May 7, 2008 in teaching

This past weekend at Beltane I had the joyful pleasure of having some long, intimate talks with a few sexuality / relationship / BDSM educators who I greatly respect.  I’ve been in a place for a while now where I am questioning how best to serve the universe and the community of people who attend my classes, and part of that is listening to other educators and watching them as they do their work.  My friend Barbara suggested that, when in doubt, I think of someone who is an educator in a way that I want to emulate, and then asking myself, “What would they do?”.  Role models aren’t just for grade school kids anymore!

What is my utmost?  What do I want to be?  Do I want to be a slave that gives impeccable service to their owner, and yet is able to maintain their sense of self in relation to the world?  Do I want to be a shamanic top whose ultimate bliss is found in guiding their partners through the world of their own fears and emotions and celebrates their journey?  Do I want to live fulfillingly in relationships that are healthy, affirming, and joyful, even in the midst of the day to day chaos?

Create the visual of what you want.  See it.  Feel it.  Touch, taste, and smell it.  What would your life be like, look like, and unfold like?  Embrace it.  And then…open your eyes and look around.  Wait and watch for the person(s) to come around who embody those qualities.  It doesn’t need to be a single person; it doesn’t even need to be a living human being.  Fictional characters, Gods and Goddesses, mythical beings, Bella Abzug, your favorite artist, your eighth grade teacher…they’re all fine to look towards!  The key is that you are able to envision in your mind their qualities that you’d like to emulate.  Once you’re able to visualize them, you can meditate upon that quality with that person in mind; you can act “as if” you already possess the qualities you desire at the level you’d like them.  You can even ask yourself, in a moment of confusion, “What would they do?”.

I figured that my friend Barbara would write it down, and pass it along to others…so that is what I’m doing right now.  And my heart is joyful with the idea that maybe, just maybe, I’m taking another step on the path towards becoming the woman that the universe is encouraging me to be.

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