The Shared Experience of Watching Sex (or Sexy Stuff)

Wed, 11/21/2012 - 16:53
Submitted by Marisa Black

The collective gasps, laughter, nods, and the rustling of audience members crossing and uncrossing their legs delight me. Attending something sexy, whether a film festival or a play or an event that is billed "sex-positive," inevitably has me smiling in appreciation at my fellow attendees. We are all there for the same reason: we are interested in sex.

In some circles, that's remarkable. Publicly admitting one is interested in sex - shocking! Or not. To me it feels like the most natural thing in the world.

At times I find myself holding back, not sharing relevant and interesting experiences here at Dodson & Ross and over at darkGreeny. I suppose the root of my self-censorship is not wanting to be overly smug about the awesomely sex-positive, kinky bubble that is Portlandia. I mean, we can't all live in Portland, Oregon. Besides, plenty of folks wouldn't even want to live here. (Which is fine, really; it does rain a lot during the winter and it's hard enough to find work.)

But oh goodness, we do have options for public celebration of sex.

Last weekend I was enthralled when I saw Inviting Desire 2012: The Dawn of Sex from Dance Naked Productions. Now in its fourth iteration, Inviting Desire was originally an adaptation of monologues from My Secret Garden, a book of women's sexual fantasies. According to the website, this year's version "explores relationships, in all their delightful permutations.  Taking our cue from the bonobos, we’ll explore group sex, play on the poly playground, and make monogamy the hottest thing since strap-ons."

The scenes were interactive and thought-provoking, the topics poignant, and the mood was definitely sexy. One of the sponsors was Sesso, Ron Jeremy's swinger's club in downtown Portland, and after the show, cast members were giving away VIP passes to the club, for those who wanted to continue the sexy frolicking with hands-on participation.

Two weekends ago I saw HUMP! Sitting on the second row for one of the Portland showings of this Northwest amateur porn film fest, I listened dutifully while Dan Savage explained the two festival rules:

  1. If your telephone is out of your pocket, it will be confiscated (since these porn shorts are for public viewing only, not the internet), and
  2. Don't be an asshole (as in, the person who made the film very well may be sitting next to you; don't be an asshole about bodies or sexuality or anything you see on the screen; "We're here to see assholes on the screen, not to hear assholes in the audience" we were told.).

The films came fast and furious, and I was reeling and titillated. Next year I'd like to buy tickets to two different showings, to better savor the remarkable and often quirky locally-made porn gracing the screen.

Earlier this summer I delighted in Tristan Taormino's Feminist Porn Show, followed by Bike Smut (which I've already told you about here) and the EcoSexuality Symposium. In August it was CineKink. I'm grateful for venues like Mississippi Studios and the Clinton Street Theater, who help make public porn-watching possible. I'm especially grateful for businesses like the female-friendly sex boutique SheBop, who sponsored many, if not all, of these events I've mentioned, and the Lotus Heart Center, which holds space for and sponors events.

There is decidedly something thrilling and empowering about taking my private and personal enthusiasm for sex to a public space. Instead of my norm, watching porn on my laptop or my phone (!), seeing it on a big screen,  or seeing a sex-centered live play, in a venue with other people, is inherently connective. I am not the only one who likes to watch, who gets a thrill out of sex, and who dares publicly acknowledge the joy I find in and around sex.

The conversations afterward (what was your favorite film/scene? what did you like? what did you think about x? would you ever want to try z?) - to me, that's fertile ground. Whether we have those conversations in person, or online, let's keep having them.

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What is Ron Jeremy's club

Sat, 12/01/2012 - 20:26

What is Ron Jeremy's club like!!!!

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