I’ve been avoiding writing this post, because… it feels weird to single out just five people who affected my life in the sex-positive realm this year. There are so many of you, and all of you affect me in different and important ways. The world is full of badass sex educators, brilliant sex bloggers, and magnificent sex mentors. It was so, so hard to choose just five!
That said, it also wasn’t hard, once I sat down to really think about it. These are the five people whose contributions to my sex-positive endeavors meant the most to me this year. I’d love to know who your sex heroes were in 2015!
Sophie had a really tough year. She had a series of strokes early in 2015 that affected her mobility, eyesight, voice, sensation, and – yes – sexuality.
I haven’t known Sophie that long, but for the entire time I’ve known her, what I’ve admired most about her is her tenacity and how hard she works – all while managing to stay sweet and positive. She held onto those qualities even in the face of extreme adversity, and that is absolutely astonishing to me.
When I did the Miracle Worker course earlier this year, one of the exercises was to reflect on whose career makes you jealous, and why. Sophie was one of the names I wrote down (along with Piph – see below), because her work spans multiple mediums in sexuality and seems fascinating and fulfilling. She’s always busy and always hustlin’, and I admire the hell out of that.
Here’s sincerely hoping for a better 2016 for Sophie – she deserves it!
Samantha is the brains, brawn and beauty behind the Playground Conference. If you were there and (like me) had a fantastic time socializing, learning, and laughing, you owe all of that to Samantha. She worked tirelessly to make the conference happen and has done so for the past five years – and it’s paid off, in the form of an event that everyone loves.
Along with Sophie, Samantha also runs Tell Me Something Good, a local sexy storytelling event (more on that in my next post, which is all about events!). Obviously, she is a master community-builder, and that is a remarkable and rare skill.
I recently started reading Samantha’s book on ethical non-monogamy, Not Your Mother’s Playground, and it’s made me reflect on how much I owe to the polyamorous role models in my life, Samantha included. I can’t imagine viewing poly life as a viable choice for myself without the influence of those people, telling and showing me it’s okay if monogamy doesn’t feel right for me. Samantha’s contributions to Toronto’s vibrant sex-positive community are huge and shouldn’t be underestimated!
I don’t have a lot to say about this situation, because it pretty much speaks for itself. Stoya spoke out publicly about James Deen raping her, and this admission triggered an avalanche of similar revelations in the industry. She is singlehandedly responsible for toppling an insidious industry giant, and she should be revered for her bravery forever.
2015 was the year when Epiphora transformed from my far-away hero into my real-life friend – but, let’s face it: she’s still a hero of mine.
It was Piph’s blog that made me first want to start this one, way back in 2012. She widened my purview of what a blog could be, what sex toys could do, and what women are “allowed” to say about our own masturbation and sexuality. She’s one of my favorite writers in the whole world and certainly the funniest and most thorough sex toy reviewer on the entire internet.
Piph also deserves props for helping – by which I mean, forcing – me to move my blog from Tumblr to self-hosted WordPress this year. “Your blog is too good for Tumblr,” she said to me the very first night I met her, over mac and cheese and red wine. “You need to buy hosting. Like, now.” I had always been apprehensive about doing this because of my lack of back-end blog knowledge, but Piph saved the day: she got me a terrific deal on hosting, set everything up for me, and helped me with countless coding quandaries in the months to come. This blog would be nothing without her.
Piph is amazingly strong and outspoken, and she taught me a number of lessons along those lines in 2015: “Never apologize.” “Always get paid before you do the work.” “Believe in your vagina.” She’s like the cool, tech-savvy older sister I never had – who just happens to own more than 500 sex toys.
Welp. Let’s see if I can write this without crying…
I met Bex at the sex bloggers’ retreat she helped plan in Oregon this past June. Prior to that trip, she and I weren’t all that familiar with each other’s blogs – but as we got to know each other in Oregon and in the months that followed, it became abundantly clear that we are #SexBrainTwins. Seriously, I can’t even count the number of times that we’ve stumbled upon a similarity in our kinks, desires, or experiences, and shouted at each other, “TWINS!!” or “WE’RE THE SAME!!”
We get anxious about a lot of the same things, but we each have a nurturing, supportive streak that means we’re able to talk each other down in times of anxiety. I owe a lot of my sexual and romantic success this year to Bex, because whenever I wonder “Does [boy] really like me?!” or “Should I ask him out?!” or “Am I actually worthy of desire?!” my friend Bex is always there to remind me of my inherent value, and to calm my nerves.
We even had a threesome together with a cute boy we both like, and it wasn’t weird at all. Our relationship is platonic, but also not. “We have sex near each other, not with each other,” I remarked to her recently, while staying at her house, where I masturbated in front of her, spanked her, and told her what a babe she is, without any of that feeling strange.
Bex is one of the most organized, prepared, patient people I know. I never tire of talking about sex with her, but let’s be real: we could probably talk about anything and make each other giggle hysterically. She understands me and she also punderstands me. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful friend.
Thanks so much to all the sex-positive people I communed with in 2015, not just these five. I love you all and you add so much value and joy to my life on a daily basis. ♥