taiWelcome! I’m Tai Scarlet Kulystin, the creatrix of Purveyor of Pleasure. I am a somatic sexuality educator, occultist, professional harlot, and gender & relationships coach. This blog is my personal exploration of gender, sexuality, spirituality, kink, and the pitfalls of an overanalytical nature.

I identify as a queer fat genderqueer polyamorous switch and prefer the pronouns ne/nem/nir or they/them. I spend a lot of my time thinking about sacred sexuality, sacred kink, relationships, the body, queer theory, depth psychology, erotic psychology, sexological bodywork, and so much more. I'm in a long-term live-in relationship with my partner Onyx, and I also have a few other relationships and lovers.
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Adventures in Amsterdam: Reflections and Declarations

Adventures in Amsterdam is a series of updates about my time in Amsterdam from July 12th-August 12th attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam. This is a four-week certificate program focusing on eight topics around sexuality and sociology.

Yesterday was the end of the first week of classes, which also means the end of the classes I’ve had this week. Next week the two classes we move on to “Adolescent Sexuality” and “Sexual Politics in the Netherlands.” Both will be fascinating, I have no doubt, but I’m expecting the third week to be my favorite. You’ll understand why when I get there, I think.

I seem to be more outgoing here. More confident. Less shy and more expressive. I go through phases, of course, and there are times when I need to be quiet and alone and introverted, but there is something about having something to do every day that helps me. It’s different than back home, where I can spend an entire day–or multiple days–at home without interacting with anyone except for Onyx.

The lesson of the trip so far, though really of the last few weeks including before the trip, has been one of “worthing” or worthiness. What I mean by that is life seems to be conspiring to remind me of how worthy I am to be in it, and how worthy and relevant my work is to the world. I have struggled with this for a long time, as long as I can remember. I have been working on this and working up to this for a long time as well, and I have been slowly chipping away at the walls I built up around me during childhood. Chipping away at those walls that kept my tender heart safe, that kept me safe from the pain and grief of rejection and ridicule, but those walls that also kept out joy and belonging. As Brene Brown says: “you cannot selectively numb emotion,” which I would extend to you cannot selectively numb experience (though that’s basically the same statement, isn’t it?).

I have allowed myself to be disregarded and walked on because I got used to it. I put on a strong facade well, but inside I have been terrified by life. I have been terrified at fucking up and doing the wrong thing, making the wrong decision, saying the wrong thing. Of course often this experience means I keep myself from doing what I need to or want to. Often this experience paralyzes me into inaction. Often this experience keeps me from showing my full and true self to those around me, even those close to me.

I am sick and tired of living my life this way. I’m done. I’ve been dedicating myself to opening up, to connection, to vulnerability, in an intentional and conscious way now for a couple of years, and working to find the right direction for many years before that, and now I’m ready.

I’m ready to stop selling myself short and really embrace my strengths, rather than just focusing on my weaknesses and where I need to improve. I will still recognize those things, I will still work toward improvement, but I do not need to ignore the strengths in order to change the flaws. (In fact, I believe embracing the strengths will help me change the flaws; funny how that works.) I’m ready to stop cowering in the face of my own abilities.

I’m ready to stop inconveniencing myself for other people in hopes it will make them like me. What is inherent in that is the assumption that I’m not worthy of being liked, that I have to trick people into liking me because I am not good enough. I still want to offer my help to people and inconvenience myself for them at times, but to make it a common practice when first getting to know someone is just not useful. The reasons behind it are not useful.

A lot of these realizations come out of a relationship that blossomed and then wilted before I began to talk about it on here. I’ve had a draft of that up for months now and haven’t known what to say about it, which may have been a sign in and of itself. These are realizations I have needed to make for a long time, and there are more where these came from, but it’s a start.

Adventures in Amsterdam: At the End of Day Four

Adventures in Amsterdam is a series of updates about my time in Amsterdam from July 12th-August 12th attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam. This is a four-week certificate program focusing on eight topics around sexuality and sociology.

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One of the many canals.

It is officially the end of day four in Amsterdam. There has been much getting to know people in my program and exploring the city. Went to a karaoke bar and queer club on Saturday night, both were great fun! We were celebrating the birthday of one of the other people in my program, which was lovely.

I bought a nice bike for dirt cheap that I will hopefully be able to sell when I leave next month. I spent more on locks for it than I did on the bike! I’m really excited about the idea of exploring Amsterdam by bike. It’s been a long time since I cycled, and I forgot how much I missed it. It’s definitely easier to bike here on many levels. First, it is almost entirely flat. Second, there are bike lanes everywhere and often include special traffic lights just for bikes, which just makes it really easy. Third, bikes have the ultimate right-of-way (functionally, not legally, I think, though I could be wrong); I was told it goes: bikes, pedestrians, cars.

Today was the first day of classes. Our two classes this week are “Introduction to Sexuality, Culture, & Society” and “Professional Identity & Values Clarification.” There will be six more classes (two per week) while I’m here, and only four days of each class (we have three-day weekends). I’m enjoying the program, the reading is pretty familiar so far, but good to have it packed into one place. I went and got the reading packet copied off and bound by week, which was over 900 pages including the readings that were too large for the .pdf packet! That was more expensive than I would have liked, and probably should have gotten that done in the states before I left, but having the readings is necessary; I can’t just do pdf reading.

My Mum1 and her new beau will be coming over tomorrow for a couple of days, which will be great! I haven’t seen her in over a year and I haven’t met him yet, so I’m definitely looking forward to this. I don’t have any other plans besides that for the upcoming week except for school.

It’s mighty pretty here. If I wasn’t already in a Masters program I would be really tempted to stay and do their Gender & Sexuality program (it’s only a year!). I could go on, but I should finish some reading and go to sleep. I’ll update again soon.

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My new bike!

  1. Not my mother; Dad’s widowed girlfriend–they were together for over a decade []

Adventures in Amsterdam: Settling In

Adventures in Amsterdam is a series of updates about my time in Amsterdam from July 12th-August 12th attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam. This is a four-week certificate program focusing on eight topics around sexuality and sociology.

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The view from my home for the next month

I’m all settled into my room here in Amsterdam. I arrived about 27 hours ago give or take. My day yesterday consisted of waiting for three other people in my program at Schiphol Airport (we met at a Starbucks of all places), then figuring out the train to Amsterdam Centraal, and catching a taxi to our new home for the next month. Then getting into my room and having a bit of down time before heading out to explore the city a bit. I walked around for a few hours, got a power converter (probably need another one), grabbed food with a couple people in my program, and then came back to my new home for the next month and crashed. I managed to find the red light district in my wanderings, which was fun and fascinating. Somehow I got a lot of sleep last night, thanks to melatonin and jet lag, I think. Thus was my first day in Amsterdam.

It’s about 11am right now. I am mostly unpacked now, though there is still a bit of organizing to do. Realized there aren’t many things I forgot, but I should go grab another power converter and some hand soap today. So far I’m one of the oldest people in the program, which I was not really expecting, but I haven’t met everyone yet.

I like my room, and it’s a pretty decent size! The person who checked me in said he gave me one of the best rooms because my application was one of his favorites (aww, yay). I have a private kitchen and bathroom, which I’m very happy about. The only snag is I have no kitchen supplies, but some of the other people have duplicate items, so I’ll get some things from them and hopefully not have to buy much if anything. I’m also on the third floor (they say second floor here, but third floor for those in the US) so I get to walk up a couple decent flights of stairs (the ceilings in this building are quite tall) to get to my room. Good exercise! I have wired and wireless internet in my room, but my phone isn’t available as a regular phone (I haven’t decided if I’m setting it up for that or not, so it’s staying in airplane mode for the time being).

The temperature is really nice (imo) and similar to Seattle. The opening ceremonies for the program are tomorrow, so I’ll have much more information about it tomorrow. I know it in broad strokes, but that’s about it. We were sent the reading packet a few days ago via email, which is over 800 pages, so I’m sure most of my time will be spent with that over the next few weeks! Today my plans are a birthday lunch for one of my fellow students, and then possibly heading to a volunteer-run queer nightclub where Casey (who checked me in) volunteers and is organizing tonight’s event. I’m sure there will be more wandering and probably at least one trip to the store for supplies, and I might figure out how to rent a bike.

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Inside my room.

What Is Sexological Bodywork?

Ever since I decided to take the Sexological Bodywork Training and once I started talking about it I have been asked these questions over and over again: what is Sexological Bodywork? Who is it for? What does a Sexological Bodywork session look like? Here are my answers to those questions.

What is Sexological Bodywork?
Sexological Bodywork is somatic sex education that utilizes a variety of bodywork techniques in order to encourage the client’s whole erotic self to come forth. Sexological Bodyworkers are trained in breathwork, genital anatomy, masturbation coaching, sensual and erotic massage, and scar tissue remediation. We are educators rather than healers. Our goal as educators is to create a safe container within each session so that healing may occur when the client is ready.

Sexological Bodywork has been a certified profession recognized by the state of California since 2003. It was founded by Joseph Kramer and grew out of his work with The Body Electric School (which he also founded back in 1984). Since it’s inception it has spread beyond the California training to have Certified Sexological Bodyworker (CSB) Trainings in Austrailia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland.

There is an Association of Certified Sexological Bodyworkers as well as a professional code of conduct and ethics required by CSBs to follow.

Who is Sexological Bodywork for?
Anyone and everyone interested in having a deeper experience of their own erotic nature. Sexological Bodyworkers work with individuals, people in various relationship configurations, and groups in private sessions or within public workshops.

I believe everyone can benefit from a session or series of sessions with a CSB, as very few (if any) of us are fully embodied and having the type of sex and relationships we are desiring to have. Part of human nature is that we change. Our desires fluctuate and our bodily sensations change as our bodies change, as we change. We often get stuck in ruts with our own sexuality. We have a drive to continue to strive for improvement, but often our inner self is scared of change and grabs on to patterns that no longer serve us. Sexological Bodywork works at the basic level of humanity, with the body, in order to assist people to understand their own body and live more fully embodied lives. It is possible to have the sex life of your dreams.

It goes beyond sexuality and sexual functioning, though, as well. Joseph Kramer likes to say “if you want to change your life, change the way you masturbate,” though that also goes for the way you approach sex and sexuality in general. When we are receiving the kind of touch, love, and attention that we need deep down at our core both from ourselves and others we can truly blossom into all that we are meant to be and do our work in the world. That is what we as Sexological Bodyworkers help to facilitate in our clients.

What does a Sexological Bodywork session look like?
There is a wide range of possibilities for what a session looks like. It can be over the phone, on video chat, or in person. It can include discussion and coaching suggestions without touch, witnessing the client self-touch, erotic massage, and/or genital touch.

There is no one right way to do Sexological Bodywork, as long as it fits within the professional code of conduct and ethics. This includes the practitioner remaining fully clothed throughout the session; unidirectional touch, meaning the practitioner is touching the client and not the other way around; and the use of medical-grade gloves whenever genital touch is involved. All Sexological Bodyworkers bring their own personal background, experiences, and specializations to the table creating a slightly different experience from practitioner to practitioner, therefore a generalization outside of the professional guidelines is difficult to make.

Personally, while I have had some talk-only sessions, including the first session I have with any client, most of my sessions have included some form of touch with a focus on embodiment. This has not always included genital touch, but it is one of many options available. I begin and end most of my sessions with a practice from my spiritual tradition as a way to create a container of sacred safer space between us as well as to transition in and out of the session. After discussing the client’s experiences since our last session and goals for this session, we determine what we want to work with within the session to work toward their goals.

reclaimingsexbod

What’s Going On

Because I apparently can’t be bothered to write a proper blog post, even though I work on dozens of drafts in my spare moments (though those aren’t many at this time in the quarter, which is almost over), I’m going to list a few of the exciting things that have developed in my life since I’ve last written.

Work Stuff:

  • My Sexological Bodywork Training Program is almost over. The end of module three of that will be this Thursday, and I am planning on being finished with all the work for it that day. Thus soon I will be a Certified Sexological Bodyworker. There will be a post more directly about Sexological Bodywork before Thursday, also.
  • I’ve begun seeing clients, primarily as part of the aforementioned module three. Currently I have three clients I’m seeing weekly, though that will shift a bit for the next couple of weeks for the end of the quarter rush-to-write period I always end up in. I’ve put up Embracing Pleasure, my professional site, but it is still under construction. I plan on seeing clients in a part-time way until I’m out of school.

School Stuff:

  • I’ve changed the name of what I’m studying since I first wrote about it. I’m now calling my degree Sacred Erotic Somatic Psychology. Technically it will simply be a Masters in Psychology, but my final project will reflect what I have been studying. I have a Paint-made venn-diagram of my degree program here (one of my degree committee members loves venn diagrams):
    psych-spirit-sex-venndiagram2
  • The current (Spring) quarter will be over June 21st, and then I’ll have a few weeks off before summer quarter starts. I’ll be taking only one class this summer at Antioch: an independent study focused on the work of Dan Siegel and Brene Brown. This is part of why I love my school. Still ironing out the details for it, even though the independent study contracts were due already (oops).
  • Also this Summer I will be attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture and Society at the University of Amsterdam! I have plane tickets already and will be heading over there on July 11th and returning to Seattle on August 12th. I’m so amazingly excited about this! It will be a fantastic experience, it feeds right into my degree (the credits should1 just transfer over), I get a neat certificate at the end of it, and I get to study in Amsterdam for four weeks! So much awesome.

Blogging Stuff:

  • I changed my online names from ScarletLotus to TaiKulystin2 in social media places (such as Twitter and Fetlife). Kind of working on a rebranding thing, I guess. It isn’t my “real” name, but it’s the name on my business cards and the name most people in the world know me by. Even at school I go by “Tai,” but not Tai Quyn Kulystin. Kulystin is the last name Onyx and I chose for ourselves quite a while ago, though we are not married and are not planning on getting married, but we go by the same last pseudonym online. This isn’t really that new of news, but I haven’t talked about it on here.
  • There’s a newish layout on this blog that I haven’t mentioned in a post. There is also a new layout on my sex toy review blog, which is now called Shameless Pleasure (used to be Wanton Lotus Reviews). I haven’t posted on there in ages, but I do have a number of toys to review. That will happen eventually.
  • There’s a new banner/navigation ribbon thing up at the top of my pages that link to each other. If you’re looking at the site, rather than reading through email or a reader, there should be a red ribbon up at the very top of the page linking to my professional site, my sex toy review site, pleasurists, and this site. I unashamedly stole the idea from Erika Moen‘s sites.

Other Stuff:

  • There have been some changes and shifts in my relationship with Onyx again (as per usual at this juncture). I’m still seeing three other people, some more frequently than others. He’s started seeing someone regularly. Life is going on as it goes. There will eventually be a blog post about all this. Probably multiple.
  • My birthday is coming up at the end of the month3. Two of my closest friends who both live in Oregon are going to be coming up here for it, which I’m quite excited about. I’m planning on a bit of a birthday bash out and about around Seattle, which will include dinner, table top games, and then dancing at the local private goth club. This may be the most excited about a birthday that I’ve been in years.

The finer details of all of these things will be shared as they happen… probably. I’ve got so much to write about and so little time! Hopefully you enjoyed this little update of my life.

  1. crossing fingers as I will have to have them evaluated once they’re awarded to me, but there probably will not be any problem with it. []
  2. though I’ve been contemplating using TaiQuyn or TaiQuynKulystin instead for the sake of continuity as I can’t have TaiKulystin on Facebook… Hmm []
  3. I would not say no to some items from my amazon wishlist if you are so inclined []

Why Do I Do It?

The day of my first public workshop on gender came and went so I’ve been thinking a lot about why I want to be an educator. It was just a couple months shy of a year ago that I wrote “I want to be an educator, to teach topics that are interesting, to help expand people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics.” In some ways I’ve been doing that for a while on here, expanding people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics, but it’s definitely not the same as teaching a class on gender or sexuality out there in the big bad world.

So, what calls me to it? It’s not the money. It isn’t exactly a wildly lucrative job. Sex educators are not making money hand-over-fist, in fact many of us do not make much money at all doing what we love. It’s not the fame. I don’t see myself becoming an internationally renowned sexpert or anything like that, not that I would be against it should that happen, of course. It really is all about spreading the knowledge.

I really love sharing knowledge. Turning people on to a new fact, concept, or idea and/or expanding their consciousness and awareness is extremely gratifying for me. It is something I’ve always wanted to do. It is something I am called to do.

Really, I’ve already been doing that on this blog and my other projects for years online and now I’m overjoyed at this new step in my path: actually teaching classes and workshops. I will probably be teaching about one class a month as part of The Living Love Revolution1 which is seriously fantastic. I have many ideas for the future as well, including teleclasses and doing more skype and phone consultations for those who want coaching from me.

Speaking of, I’ve been working on a new professional site2 in the last few weeks and I’ve been working on writing a mission statement. I want it to express what I’m about and my purpose for doing what I do. It’s still in the works, being crafted by my mind one word at a time, but when it is ready it will be up on Joyful Pleasure.

  1. I redesigned the site, also, have a look! []
  2. it’s not done yet, but you can go look if you want anyway []

Tristan Taormino Uninvited By Oregon State University

This just happened on Wednesday and while there have been many blog posts about it recently I’m mostly writing this in case for some reason you haven’t heard about it. Tristan Taormino was originally invited to OSU to give the keynote at their Modern Sex Conference and was uninvited essentially because of her work in pornography, which is only a fraction of what she does. This was only after she purchased her own airfare under the promise of reimbursement (which will probably not be reimbursed now). The following information about the situation is taken directly from Tristan’s website along with my own feelings about it. For the full scope of the issue you can read about it directly on Tristan’s website.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tristan Taormino’s work. I have numerous books and DVDs of hers and had the fortune of meeting her and taking a workshop from her last year when she came to Seattle, so I admit to not being completely unbiased on this issue. My bias, however, comes from the fact that she is an amazing educator who works in numerous mediums to try to get the message of sex-positivity out to anyone who will listen.

The “problem” with Tristan speaking at the conference, according to OSU, seems to be because they are paying her to attend and give the keynote (the other speakers may or may not be compensated) with taxpayer money and she’s a pornographer. While I can understand the school’s reservations on some levels it also seems like ridiculous bureaucracy runaround at it’s finest. This is a conference called “Modern Sex” after all, how much more modern can you get than a feminist female pornographer?

It seems like the crux of the issue isn’t just that she is involved in pornography ingeneral, because there are other speakers who are, but it’s giving money to a known pornographer, someone who supposedly has a “significant online business in video pornography” (which isn’t really accurate). Maybe they think giving a pornographer money would be like saying you approve of their work. How horrible! Or something. Really, though, why is this such a big deal? It’s not like her work is illegal or negative. It’s not like she isn’t known for being an ethical feminist pornographer and we’re talking about her speaking at a sexuality conference!

Of course, it’s all because it’s tied to a public school who is given taxpayer money. Everyone knows those taxpayers hate pornography. Obviously.

OSU is trying to blame it on the organizers of the conference, however, saying that they provided a “partial description of the speaker in question as a writer and sex advice columnist.” What? Obviously it’s okay to give money to someone who writes sexy things and gives sex advice but once that moves into a video format that’s somehow wrong. Pornography is evil, even if it’s awesome positive sex education with some fucking on the side, which is what the videos of Tristan’s I’ve seen are.

The scenario I see in my head when reading about this is that someone decided to look on Tristan’s website, saw that she makes porn, and decided to complain about her inclusion in the conference to Student Affairs. This was only after many months of talking with Tristan and conveniently not long after she bought the airfare, probably because it was announced that she was definitely coming. I just don’t see the logic in where they’re drawing the line, though. Probably because there isn’t any.

You can read the original and updated information on Tristan’s website. There is also information there on how to contact OSU.

Scarleteen Blog Carnival: My Experience of Sex Education

This post is part of the Scarleteen Sex Ed Blog Carnival. What’s that, you ask? Click to read more about it.

The sex education I received in school was more than what was legally allowed for the state I was in. Alaska was (and is, I believe) an “abstinence only” state and I distinctly remember my health teacher in High School giving us far more information than we were “supposed” to have and telling us to keep it hush hush. At the time I was a Junior, though most people took health their Freshman year. I don’t remember any sexual education at all before that except for when the girls and boys were separated in elementary school and we watched a video about menstruation. Not exactly the same thing.

Even though what my health teacher taught was more than was considered acceptable by the state, it was still far less than teens need to know. Her great rebellion was to talk about condoms and birth control in addition to the scare-tactic teaching of the abstinence only curriculum complete with pictures of STDs and emphasis on the values of waiting. The knowledge she shared, however, was nothing that I didn’t already know about.

Really, a lot of my early sex education came from my sister who is seven years older than me. Our mother is very much a second-wave feminist and wasn’t as big on sexual education or sexuality in general, so she stepped in to fill that gap. She gave me books about my body, sexuality, and feminism. I read Cunt when I was twelve, for instance. She took me into Babeland Seattle when I was fourteen and bought me a vibrator. Most of this was long after I had discovered the internet and had already begun exploring sexuality, but she definitely guided me from afar as I walked the path.

I was first pointed toward Scarleteen in 2002, I believe, though not by my sister. I remember the situation quite clearly, actually, but the date is a little fuzzy to me. I was in a queer & kinky novelty shop (stickers, buttons, shirts, etc.) in Anchorage, Alaska that also sold a small smattering of sex toys and bdsm equipment. I was underage and asked the clerk directly about my ability to purchase items of a sexual nature. He said a cuff and blindfold set (I still have the blindfold) would be acceptable to purchase in addition to the stickers I had chosen, though not a few of the other things I was interested in, and asked me if I knew of a site named Scarleteen.

At that point I had already been interested in sexuality and had been exploring it for quite some time, though I was still a virgin. In fact, the reason why I was visiting Anchorage (I lived in Juneau) was for a queer youth leadership retreat. I was going to the retreat because it was the same year I was going to start the Gay-Straight Alliance at my high school. This incident was before the retreat and the suggestion lay dormant in my subconscious for a little while after I got back, but I made my way to Scarleteen soon after.

I was never heavily active on the Scarleteen forums, though I have been looking around them recently and wish I had been. I was always busy and a bit of an isolationist, so the community I found there would probably have been a better one than the online community I actually frequented. I would like to lie and say that Scarleteen was something I utilized to its fullest potential, but in all honesty it wasn’t. That doesn’t mean I didn’t use it, though.

I remember looking around the site for information and my exploration of sexuality was definitely influenced heavily by the articles I read. Scarleteen came rather late in my exploration as I had already discovered the internet, sexuality, and kink before it was introduced to me but even so it definitely made an impact.

It is a source of an amazing wealth of honest and accurate sex information that is an amazing resource for everyone. While it’s geared toward teens I know it has a thing or two (or more) that anyone and everyone would benefit from reading, and lots of information that most “adults” don’t know. With the state of sex education in general Scarleteen is an amazing resource that needs all the support that we can give it. Just the fact that something like Scarleteen exists is a blessing.

Scarleteen was a part of my sexual education, and has affected and continues to effect people every single day since it was founded. I have no doubt that the world needs the information and education that Scarleteen provides. We need it, and right now Scarleteen needs us.

What Scarleteen Needs:

Last year, Scarleteen needed increased donations in order to get through the end of 2009 and into 2010, in large part because private donations for a few years previous had been so low and left us in a very financially precarious position. We increased our financial goals to reflect the need for a minimum annual operating budget of $70,000. Thanks to generous contributions from our supporters in response to that appeal, while we were not able to reach that level, we were able to raise what we needed to not only get through 2009, but were able to use the funds wisely to sustain the organization through 2010. Our goal now is to continue to work toward that annual operating budget. Ideally, we would like to see a minimum of $20,000 in individual donations each year to combine with funding from private grants. In order for that to happen, we need for current donors to keep giving, and we also also need to cultivate new donors.

We’re asking for your help in either giving a donation of your own or encouraging your readers, colleagues, friends and family to donate. Given our visibility, tenure and traffic, with your help, meeting our goal should not be particularly challenging. A $100 donation can pay half of our server bill for a month, or half the monthly cost of the text-in service, or can fund any kind of use of the site, including one-on-one counsel and care, for around 10,000 of our daily users. However, we very much appreciate donations at any level. Read more about the support Scarleteen needs.

If you’re interested click here to donate now. Every little bit helps!

So you know I’m not just asking you to do this without doing anything myself: in addition to this blog post I set up a monthly donation to Scarleteen and I am working on filling out the volunteer application and will dedicate my time to it, given the chance that they want me. I’m dedicated to helping Scarleteen remain an amazing online resource, and I hope you are interested in helping as well.

More about Scarleteen:

Scarleteen has been the premier online sexuality resource for young people worldwide since 1998, and has the longest tenure of any sex education resource for young people online. We have consistently provided free, inclusive, comprehensive and positive sex education, information and one-on-one support to millions, and have never shied away from discussing sexuality as more than merely posing potential risks, but as posing potential benefits, something rarely seen in young adult sex education. We built the online model for teen and young adult sex education and have never stopped working hard to sustain, refine and expand it.

What you might not know is that Scarleteen is the highest ranked online young adult sexuality resource but also the least funded and that the youth who need us most are also the least able to donate. You might not know that we have done all we have with a budget typically lower than the median annual household income in the U.S. You might not know we have provided the services we have to millions without any federal, state or local funding and that we are and have always been fully independent media which depends on public support to survive and grow.

You also might not know Scarleteen is primarily funded by people who care deeply about teens having this kind of vital and valuable service; individuals like you and your readers who want better for young people than what they get in schools, on the street or from initiatives whose aim is to intentionally use fearmongering, bias and misinformation about sexuality to try to scare or intimidate young people into serving their own personal, political or religious agendas. Read more about Scarleteen.

The Big Question

Found here, it’s actually a shirt (and I bought one)

That is, What Am I Doing With My Life?

Oh, yes, that question.

My last protected post (leave a comment here to get the password) was all about my unsuredness regarding going back to school in the fall for theatre at Cornish here in Seattle. I discovered that because I already have an undergrad education I would not be eligible for financial aid at Cornish and since a year there is ridiculously expensive1 there was no way I could go there. They do not have graduate degrees.

So, I’ve been wandering around somewhat aimless for the last month and a half, applying for jobs, looking into places to volunteer, but ultimately without a greater goal in mind like I had with going to Cornish or, before that, getting my Body Piercing License. I need a goal to work toward. I need a five-year plan. This is how it’s always been and, I think, why the last two years since I graduated (it’s really been two years hasn’t it? Damn.) have been so weird and aimless.

I tried to fill that void with a new relationship, threw myself in to that with abandon and although it didn’t work out I learned a lot in the process. I have been applying for jobs like crazy but am in that fun limbo of overqualified to jobs I have experience in because of my degrees and inexperienced in jobs my degrees may qualify me for. It, in a word, sucks.

Being in this strange limbo and without knowing people here in Seattle who would be able to help find me a job I have been defaulting to making money however I can. I should mention, while I was in Juneau I was working part time and offered a full time position as well. While I don’t regret leaving as being with Onyx trumps everything else I do wish I had the same opportunities here that I did there.

I would still love to get my BP License or do theatre, I have strong interests in both, but they’re less of an option right at this moment as I don’t know a reputible piercer here in Seattle and a relationship like that takes time to develop and the grad theatre programs around here are already full-up this Fall. I like these careers in theory more than in practice, though, I think, because I can still do both of them on an amature level (I love play piercing, and I’m hoping to volunteer with GreenStage here in the summer). So, this brings us back around to the original question.

Oh yes, that question.

How am I supposed to answer this? I read an article about the 20something (white middle-class) youth of today viewing career as not just something you do for a paycheck, viewing it as a core part of self-expression, and I instantly related. I see my time as valuable and think if I’m not doing something I love than I shouldn’t be doing it. This is definitely a position of privilidge, and that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t jump at the chance to work at a coffee shop tomorrow for minimum wage so I was making some money although I know that is unlikely to happen (though, luckily, I do feel like I’m contributing something to our income since I’ve started selling ads on my websites).

What I have a passion for, though, is sex education. More broadly I have a passion for teaching. I don’t want to teach in a school, though, too much politics and I’m not all that big on kids. I love the idea of sharing knowledge and helping others learn and grow. I said a few years ago that my ideal work situation would be to do workshops and classes, travel all over to do so, go to conferences, etc. Presenting in front of an audience is kind of like doing theatre work. I feel mildly awkward with this desire as my sister is currently doing the same thing in similar/the same field.

At Sex 2.0 this weekend, though, there was a lot of talk about sex educators and the need for them as well as some specific advice I needed to hear2. The weekend previously Onyx and I went to an astrology workshop which had already sparked some ideas into my head. Those two experiences combined with various other ideas has made me come to the conclusion that I need to stop talking about it and start doing it. If I want to teach workshops and classes I need to write up an outline for a class, find somewhere to do it, and do it! What have I been waiting for?

I guess I’ve been waiting for something to inspire me, something to point me in the right direction, even though I had the initial direction down all along I just didn’t know how to do it, or the timing wasn’t right, or something. I also have a deep interest in astrology and have taken many classes on the subject. I also have the great opportunity to go to the Northwest Astrology Conference (NORWAC) this weekend here in Seattle, so I’m hoping to gain lots of information there.

I have some ideas on how to go forward with this. I am also interested in learning hypnosis, there are a number of interesting schools to get certified in that. There are also a number of astrological certification programs, not many that are accredited anymore (RIP Kepler College), but lots of options there as well. All of these things seem to go right along with my degrees as well, funny how that happens.

On the other side of things, I started working on a professional portfolio-type site, I’m writing up ideas for classes and workshops I would be interested in and able to teach3 and once the ideas are done I will start working on outlines. I want to start presenting in the next few months, maybe start doing some free introductory audio classes and then some paid ones, maybe start doing teleconferencing lectures which could then be archived and downloaded (an idea from Sex 2.0). I could also doing personal sexuality coaching, one-on-one emailing/chatting/phone conversations answering sexuality related questions for a small fee.

I have lots of different ideas and interests brewing inside me, including a class/lecture on Sex-Positive Astrology or maybe just Sexy Astrology, combining both sides of these money-making ideas into one.

I want to be an educator, to teach topics that are interesting, to help expand people’s minds and knowledge base on a wide variety of topics. I feel like I have knowledge enough to do this on a basic level plus I am open to learning more each and every day.

Honestly, it is scary for me to express this desire, to admit to these plans I have in my head. The other ideas I had were comfortable, becoming a body piercer or going back to school for theatre, there wasn’t much personal risk involved. Just the idea of announcing this publicly on my blog scares the shit out of me4, and that’s one of the many reasons I know it’s right.

[EDIT: I just wanted to add, I know it won't be easy and I know it will be a lot of work, and I don't expect it to happen immediately either. This is my five-year (or longer) plan. This is just the start of the process, the beginning spark of deciding What I Want To Do, marking it out, going for it, and starting to think about how I can make this happen. I'm ready.]

  1. read: $27,000 []
  2. “How do you get into sex education? You just teach a workshop!” []
  3. and apparently I think that every class/workshop should have a title with a subtitle. It has to be something like “Oh My G: Getting to know the G-spot & Female Ejaculation” gotta have that colon in there! []
  4. I was going to have this password protected, but it’s more of a risk to do this publically, maybe you will hold me accountable to my own hopes and dreams if nothing else []