Panel Recap: Sex Geeks Mobilize!
GeekGirlCon ‘16 dove into new territory with the addition of sex geek content for the eighteen-and-over crowd. Over the past few years, sex education has become more peer-oriented and pleasure positive. With these great evolutions to modern thinking in mind, we created the panel Sex Geeks Mobilize!
Our panel was comprised of several important voices in the sex community:
Allison Moon, Author
Liz Andrae, Sex Geek Comics Artist
Sandra Daugherty, Podcaster at Sex Geek Sandra
Tobi Hill-Meyer, Creator of Doing it Online and Author
SEX POSITIVITY AND NEW MEDIA
The focus of this panel was in large part about new media and how it has contributed to their sex-positive work. Sandra jumped on the topic immediately, saying that her work at was made possible by new media. Her podcast, Sex Nerd Sandra, is part of the Nerdist studios, and all of their work has grown from these new media arenas.
Allison’s work has also been tied to new media through the self-publishing of her book, Girl Sex 101. She also Kickstarted the book, which was an interesting experience because not only was she using new media to fund the work, but she was able to hear what people were hungry to learn. In this way the author and the audience could engage in a dialogue even during the funding of a project.
There are drawbacks, as Tobi pointed out. Kickstarter, Paypal, and other e-commerce sites have very strict rules on sex-based media. This means that some content is unable to be featured on or bought through these sites. It can be a frustrating setback for indie artists.
SEX POSITIVE (R)EVOLUTION
Another big topic of discussion surrounded the evolution of sex positive communication. How had their thinking on sex positivity changed over the years?
As a geek and comedian, Sandra said that she has learned much about the tricky job of blending sexuality and comedy. Her interactions with her fans has helped her opinions evolve on how and what she jokes about. “Sexuality,” she has learned, “is not a punchline.”
Liz’s consent comics started out as something meaningful for her and her individual growth. When others began to see her comics, they took off and quickly became very popular. She this re-enforced to her how meaningful thoughtful conversations around sex and sexuality were to others.
Although she admitted that it may seem a bit surface, Allison thought it was awesome to see so many women reading 50 Shades of Grey in public. She’s not a fan of the quality of the book, but she thought it was awesome that so many women were unashamed of consuming pornography in public.
Tobi mentioned that the “education piece to the sexual content is important.” In many of her projects importance is placed on verisimilitude toward sex. Actors asking for a moment to collect themselves, laughter, even funny noises are all left in the final cut. “Depth is given to the stories because it’s real, ” she said. She feels it’s important to emphasize that sex can be really funny, and that you don’t have to say “now it’s grown-up time.”
GIVING AND RECEIVING
The topic turned to sex positive messaging. What are they sending out into the world and what are they receiving back?
It’s important to remember that sex positivity and social justice are one in the same. Allison brought this concept to light when she said, “Sex positivity can’t happen without racial justice.” Without respect for all races, genders, and creeds, we will not be able to have a truly sex positive society.
And yet, it must go deeper than social justice, says Tobi. On a human level, it’s about acting ethically and being conscious about how your actions are affecting others.
IDENTITY AND CONTENT
Sex positivity celebrates individual identity. The next question explored surrounded how the panelists identity informed their work.
Tobi spoke to her experiences of oppression. Although they were negative experiences, they helped her to see when a situation is not something that affects her. This helps her let things go more easily.
When Sandra started podcasting there was no such thing as a “sex nerd.” Now, after spreading her message, she runs into people all the time who identify with the term.
Allison said collaborating on Girl Sex 101 helped her see different perspectives. “No matter how good I think I am at my job, there will always be someone who can help me fill in the blanks.
SEX POSITIVITY IN MEDIA
As visible sex positivity continues to evolve in our time, the question of who was doing good work in media today.
Doctor Who was brought up as a show grounded in its portrayal of relationships and sexuality. The show seems committed to showing relationships of all kinds no matter the sexuality or gender identity.
And yet, as Tobi pointed out, there is a split between mainstream work that’s doing an OK job at representation and independent content that’s groundbreaking but no one knows about. For example, she loves Star Wars and is a big gamer who plays Overwatch. But it doesn’t change the fact that mainstream media could, and should, push further. She believes that supporting independent artists whose work we believe in will have the greatest impact.
Thanks to current social platforms, mainstream media is no longer the only opinion. “I spend a lot of time on Youtube,” says Liz. Many artists and activists are using the site to inspire change and start important conversations.
Wanna know more about these sex positive super heroes? Make sure to follow them and their work! Check out Girl Sex 101 by Allison Moon, A Princess of Great Daring by Tobi, Sex Nerd Sandra podcast on Nerdist, and lizandrade.com.