Sexuality is more than the act of sex, it is actually self-expression, who we are and where we are in society today.
Society’s different hangups on who we really are, what sexuality really is and perception of sexuality creates hurdles in the path to create equity for all. Stigma vs real life experiences instigates these hurdles and is reflected in the ways a better quality of life is made inaccessible to community members because of stigma and opinions about sexuality and gender. Policing around gender and sexuality, not only in this state but globally, is something we must actively work against.
Ceyenne Doroshow (pronounced Kai-Ann) is a compassionate powerhouse performer, activist, organizer, community-based researcher and public figure in the trans and sex worker rights’ movements. As the Founder and Executive Director of G.L.I.T.S., she works to provide holistic care to LGBTQ sex workers while serving on the following boards: SWOP-USA, Caribbean Equality Project, SOAR Institute and NYTAG. As an international public speaker, her presentations include The Desiree Alliance, Creating Change, SisterSong, Harm Reduction Coalition and the International AIDS Conferences. She was a featured emcee for Toronto Pride and MOMA/PS1’s Sex Workers’ Festival of Resistance, lifting her voice as a trans woman of color. Ceyenne has been heavily featured in the media, has performed on television in Showtime’s OZ, for the documentaries Red Umbrella Diaries and Miss Major. Known for her skills in the kitchen, Ceyenne co-authored the Caribbean cookbook Cooking in Heels, while incarcerated on prostitution charges. She is currently working on her second book, titled Falling Into the Fire. In 2020, Ceyenne was one of the leaders in the Black Trans Lives Liberation March, catapulting G.L.I.T.S. into receiving million dollar donations to procure sustainable housing for the LGBTQIA+ community: GLITS I SOUTH & The Leadership Academy. 12 individual apartments with leadership, healing and educational services – the catalyst of sustainability, never before seen. Ceyenne has been featured in GQ, Teen Vogue, i-D magazine and many more publications as well as being a Spokesmodel for AdoreMe.
Somatics and vagal toning are two known ways of reducing anxiety and regulating the nervous system. Somatics is, very basically, gentle movement and/or intentional bodily engagement, while vagal toning refers to the act of stimulating the vagus nerve, the 10th cranial nerve and a fundamental component of the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. Many BDSM (bondage and discipline, “sadomasochism” and/or dominance and submission) practices, including aftercare practices, focus explicitly on sensation play, ritualization, routinization, and other experiences that directly and creatively engage the body somatically and work to tone the vagus nerve. This presentation reviews what we know so far about somatic practices, vagal toning, and BDSM/kink play, and focuses on first-person narratives and auto-ethnographic accounts of the intersection of mental health, neurodiversity, disability, trauma recovery, and the kinky bodymind. Click here for the slides and here for the transcript and worksheet.
B. Ethan M. Coston is a White, queer, bisexual, non-binary, trans, disabled, neurodivergent activist-scholar, Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, and lifestyle Daddy/Domme. They are actively involved in reducing the impact of trauma on mental health outcomes to increase long-term resilience and bolstering the use of complementary health approaches in reducing health disparities for survivors. They also serve on the Board of Directors for the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood.
Somatic sexology is not a new concept to sexology (sex education & sex therapy), but often seen as fringe because it teaches client’s how to improve their mind-body connection (experience-focus) which is unlike traditional sex therapy’s sensate focus (i.e. outcome/orgasm-focus). Like many other helping professions, sexology must undergo a transformation to disrupt and de-center dominant narratives that assume heterosexuality and monogamy and challenge research that is framed in those dominant narratives, which are rooted in Euro-centric views and values (i.e. White supremacy). Centering Black Sexual Epistemology’s The Erotic Self (Gilbert, 2019) and grounded in the intersectional pleasure-manifesto, Audre Lorde’s Uses of the Erotic, Queen’s brand of Somatic Sex Therapy is an decolonizing, intersectional queer and trans-affirming approach to sexology that is an integrative, healing-centered, & body-based approach to sex therapy.
I am Queen (she/they) and where I am in my healing which began 17 years is a long way from where I started. That beginning also marks the beginning of my healing practice as both a practitioner and facilitator of healing. In my professional life, I am private practice clinical sexologist, cannabis educator, erotic coach, and transformational life coach. In my personal life, I am queer, gender fluid, polyamorous, kinky, Black hippie, sexual-spiritual, spiritual-sexual, and erotic human being.
There it was, right in the description of the event itself: “Be creative.” We have taken the instructions very seriously. What does it mean to be creative and how does the idea of creativity apply to sexuality, sexual practices and sexual therapeutics. First, we need a definition of creativity that can be operationalized with respect to sexuality. Creativity has long been defined as an idea or practice that is both valuable and “unique, novel or even unexpected” (Sternberg, 1999, p.3). Both value and novelty are, however, slippery concepts, leaving us with criteria ranging from empirically impossible to dauntingly relativistic. Today, newer views of creativity have gained considerable traction. These approaches see creativity as socially and materially distributed, focusing on how people participate in change rather than just how they think of new ideas. This presentation will look at the views of “participatory creativity” (Hanchett Hanson & Clapp, 2020) and consider how it can be operationalized within the context of sexuality and once applied, help us think about emergent next steps.
Michael Hanchett Hanson is a developmental psychologist, Director of the Masters Concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Teachers College, Columbia University; a founding member and Secretary of the International Society for the Study of Creativity and Innovation (ISSCI); and President of Contexts R+D, a research and consulting practice. Michael is one of the leading advocates for participatory views of creativity. Working with colleagues internationally, he has helped articulate these views, which emphasize the diversity of roles people take up as participants in change and the limits of earlier views of creativity as decontextualized individualism. He has written on the history of the construct of creativity within psychology; the ideological uses of the construct; creative practices in the construction of the self, and the pros and cons of educators’ use of the construct of creativity. Michael received his BA in architecture from Yale University and his PhD in developmental psychology from Columbia University.
Eric G. Schneider, is a kink and poly friendly, licensed Mental health counselor and has been in private practice for the last 32 years. His career began during the height of the AIDS crisis here in NYC. He followed a calling to help, he began volunteering at the Manhattan Center for Living as a crisis counselor working with those directly impacted by AIDS. Within 6 months he was named the assistant clinical director. Soon after, he was asked to be the clinical director for Friends In Deed, another organization offering psycho spiritual support for those dealing with death, dying, grief and loss. In a study conducted by New York City, Friends In Deed was considered one of the best service organizations of its kind. He was there for 18 years. Concurrently, he started his private practice working primarily with gay men, their partners within the changing landscape of sexuality, dating and intimate relationships.
It is already well established that regression is a common behavior in response to prolonged stress. But what happens when this regression occurs in individuals who are already regressed? This presentation will explore the practices of ageplay, with particular focus on how these practices have played out during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcomes of these ageplay practices will then be compared against known mental health outcomes from the general population during this trying time. Finally, we will translate empirical research on psychedelics and altered states of consciousness to better understand the underlying mechanisms of littlespace within ageplay, and how these mechanisms have a therapeutic effect.
Matt Sevier is a clinical nurse specialist, Anglican priest, and psychotherapist from Nashville, Tennessee. He is currently engaged in researching the interface between ageplay and mental health, and is a frequent conference speaker on these topics. He has taught classes on the psychological foundations of ageplay, psychological self-care for ageplayers, ageplay and mental health, and ageplay and spirituality. A member of both CARAS and the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology (American Psychological Association division 39), he is also a student in modern psychoanalysis at the Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis in Livingston, New Jersey.
We are still not taught properly about menopause, and much suffering is caused by both its sometimes slow, yet constantly surprising, appearance, and its impact on the body and sexual desire. Unfortunately, the way menopause is portrayed in the mainstream media is highly cis het normative and ageist, and is alienating to many queer people (and to many cis het folk too). At the same time, we can’t ignore the impact of the changes that age and menopause bring. To continue to have sex, (if we wish to), people need to be creative and above all adaptive. This creativity can herald a new time of sexual exploration. There are positive things: no more periods, no more pregnancy (if wished), and for some the evolution of sexuality and gender identity. Thus menopause can invite the ageing human to welcome in a newly queered sexual self.
I am a psychotherapist and counsellor based in London UK, working in private practice. My main focus is on Gender, Sex and Relationship Diverse clients. I also have a strong interest in somatic sexology. In 2019 I carried out a research study into the LGBTQ+ experience of menopause, and how therapists and other healthcare practitioners can better support and validate their queer menopausal clients. My paper is currently (as of October 2020) making its way through the peer review system. Since qualifying in 2013 I have written for the Lancet and Lancet Psychiatry. Before studying psychotherapy my work was mainly in the creative arts and media, and I have had three books published.
Many relationships that want to integrate D/s dynamics outside of sexually explicit situations are likely to experience their Dom/sub/switch selves as an integral part of their own and/or their relationship’s identity. As such, they may wish to integrate it into their daily lived experience in a way that feels affirming, authentic and sustainable. Professionals can support these clients to establish ways of embracing and practicing their power dynamics outside of sex and play in the bedroom into a more “24/7” relationship through the use of desexualized rituals.
Tex Gibson is a queer, non-binary, kinky, poly identified and practicing person and affirming therapist who has been a member, mentor and educator in the kink and sex positive communities in New York for almost 20 years. She uses those lived and witnessed experiences to help people own who they are and embrace what they love. Tex provides holistic, strengths-based and non- judgmental psychotherapeutic counseling that affirms the diversity of consensual, adult sexuality. Specializing in working with LGBTQI, kink positive, sex positive, poly/ethical non-monogamy, and sex work communities, Tex works with individuals, couples, and multiple partner relationships to help facilitate a deeper understanding of the self, needs and desires, and to cultivate self- and partner acceptance in order to have a life to not only live with but to thrive in.
Shared social and socializing spaces remain critical sites of validation for sexual and gender identities. Who is permitted through the door and which bodies are taken into consideration of site specific design and instrumentation informs their legibility and subsequent legitimization. These constituting dynamics are even more imperative for non-hetero and/or non-cis communities whom the public realm often interpellates through violent surveillance practices and normative enforcements. Drawing on data from interviews with attendees and facilitators, I argue that the queer sex party (QSP) offers a creative environment through which non-conforming sexual subjects may find not only needed refuge but spatial opportunities to be made visible, acknowledged, and validated, both within and beyond its borders. I conclude by noting that while providing for productive inclusions, queer sex parties simultaneous create space for the reproduction of social inequalities as well.
Stephanie Bonvissuto (she/her/hers) is a 6th year doctoral candidate and instructor from the Dept. of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Stony Brook University, where she teaches Feminist Theory and the sociology of sexual and space. Her research focuses on non-conforming identity and spatial formations, especially at the intersection of genders and sexualities. The cumulation of this is her interdisciplinary dissertation project, which explores the potential political benefits and harms found within the mutual relationship between all-gender spaces and its non-conforming users.
3:15 to 4:15PM — LArtemisia de Vine and Allen Turner
Playing in Purpose: The Art of Designing Adult Play
What do a professional dominatrix/somatic sexologist and a game designer have in common and what can we learn form their art forms for our own date nights? Join Allen Turner, Afro-indigenous game designer/dancer and Artemisia de Vine, retired sex worker, turned erotic psyche specialist and purposeful play date choreographer as they discuss the intersections of sex, creativity and adult play. At its core, eroticism revolves around our ability to play and make spaces that give permission and allowances for the needs of participants individual psychological impulses and desires. Both game designing and sexual scene building are art forms in container building that allow these explorations. World building, role play, fantasy are all creative ways in which we discover and process all it means to be human, both the big medicines and terrible toxins.
A game designer, storyteller, artist, dancer, and author of Black/Lakota/Irish descent, Allen Turner believes in the power of play and story as fundamental, powerful medicines which shape our sense of self. He worked in the video game industry, and freelance storytelling, for over 15 years. He is the author of “Ehdrigohr: The Roleplaying Game.” which pulls from the myths and folklore of indigenous and tribal peoples from all over the world, while exploring allegorical battles with depression, solitude, identity, and erasure. Allen teaches game design at DePaul University as faculty for the School of Design.
Artemisia de Vine is a retired sex worker, professional dominatrix and somatic sexologist turned writer, speaker, artist and mentor, specialising in embodiment, the erotic psyche and teaching the art form of creating intentional adult play dates. Founder of The deVinery: online School of Eros.
4:15 to 4:30PM — Panel Discussion: Sexuality and Creativity
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