Sex-positive spaces present marvellous opportunities for women to explore sexuality--to open up and try out new things in a safe environment, and to break out of the dominant culture, which pressures women have to behave in very particular ways when they come into an intimate relationship or encounter.
Sex positive spaces can provide you with opportunities for deep opening and emotional transformation, but they can also bring up your insecurities, your fears and other challenges,
I've been corresponding recently with couples who are curious about attending our events. Several have said is that while one partner may be interested to play with other people, the other may not be, or is unsure. Personally, we think it's a big mistake to try to push your partner into anything. To open up in any genuine way, it is better to feel that one has permission to go at one's own pace without pressure or expectation. That one has the ability just to be oneself. Some couples may agree to not playing outside the couple. Some may choose to be intimate in public together or try something new.
If you are part of a couple, before coming to one of our events it can be helpful to discuss what each of you is ready for. This can sometimes be difficult. One might prefer to avoid such a conversation--or be less than completely honest. Nonetheless, we have found in our relationship that the more we communicate honestly and courageously with one another (and ourselves), the more we will remain in resonance, even if we find we have different wishes. And this will make the chances of any long term damage to our relationship much less. Of course, what we want can always change. But please remember, from our point of view you always have permission to make mistakes. This can be difficult territory. Compassion for oneself and your partner is de rigeur.
If you are interested in alternatives to monogamy, you can also have a listen to two interviews with Janet Hardy, co-author of The Ethical Slut, which she did while she was in Australia teaching at our festival in 2015. The first interview is with ABC Radio National; the second is a recording from a Skype interview she did with us during our first Melbourne RGS Festival in 2017.
In love and lust,
Natalia and Peter
As you know, everybody today has to market themselves, including us. You can fight against it, but one way or another you have to submit to this imperative. The question is only how to do it without losing your integrity? One day when we were deciding to make a promotional video, I sat down with the team at the School of Really Good Sex, Sarah Roffey, Oliver Damian and Ira Zev, and I asked each of them what their stand-out experiences were at the Festival. What I really wanted to know was why they were working with me, what is it that had made them so passionate about the School?
What was surprising was that they all pretty much said the same thing. The School of Really Good Sex had provided them with opportunities to confront their limits. For Ira, it was lying naked with three women while the audience poured wax over them; for Sarah, it was confronting her shyness; for Oliver, it was discovering the power of foot worship. Their boundaries of consent were in each case respected, but they were taken to an emotional and physical place they hadn't been to before. And in that place something opened up and changed them.
From listening to them, I learned that this is a large part of what our work is about. You can think of really good sex as a kind of yoga, i.e., as an informed way of learning to arrive at our limits and expand, without causing physical or emotional damage to ourselves or others. Such expansion, I believe, is healthy in a deep sense. As Ira Zev says, it can't just be all talk.
Peter Banki, Ph.D
School of Really Good Sex
A common misconception about our festivals is that it is just about going and having a lot of sex with strangers. This is not true. The purpose of our festivals is to create a sex-positive space, where, on the one hand, yes, people have permission to explore sexuality and eroticism in safety and security, but, on the other hand, it also means that people have the permission not to, if they so wish. Many people think that if they come into these spaces, they must engage in certain kinds of activities. Sometimes they think that if they don't manage to have lots of amazing sexual experiences, they are somehow deficient or a "loser". But this is not the point of what we're doing. The deeper purpose of our work is to help cultivate a certain maturity with these topics in all of us, such that one may come to realise that sometimes it can be just as valuable not to engage, that just being in a space where sexuality is allowed may change a great many things.
Recently, I did an interview about Into the Wild 2019 on 2SER radio, which elaborates further on this point. I think it also gives a good summary of what will happen at the upcoming festival and the philosophy behind it.
And if you're interested in the origins of the School of Really Good Sex, have a listen to a podcast from an interview I did in 2014 where I explain the vision and concept behind the first Festival we did under that name, which took place in January 2015 in Rushcutters Bay in Sydney.
In Love and Lust,
Peter Kimberly Banki, Ph.D