When it comes to sex, should I always avoid the things that make me uncomfortable? How do I know if the person I’m flirting with is safe to date? Is hooking up always damaging? What do I say to a friend who’s making sexual choices I think might be bad for her? What if that friend is questioning my choices? How do I encourage others to be safe and sane about sex without teaching them shame?
All women have questions at the intersections of sex and safety. And it’s no wonder: our culture bombards women and girls with mixed messages every day. We’re supposed to be innocent virgins who excel at stripper-pole workouts. We’re failures if we don’t act sexy, but we’re sluts if we actually pursue sex. We need to be protected from rapists lurking in bushes, but deserve “whatever we get” if we have a drink at a party and wear a skirt.
In her anthology Yes Means Yes, Jaclyn Friedman laid out a vision of a world in which we all have the right to experience the pleasure of our bodies without shame, blame or fear. Her second book, What You Really Really Want, due out next Fall, will help readers create that world for themselves, in their own lives. Using research, reality-based advice, revealing quizzes and creative exercises, What You Really Really Want will show readers the way to separate fear from fact, decode the damaging messages all around us, and discover a healthy personal sexuality. We’ll build new skills for safely expressing that sexuality with lovers, explore effective ways to talk about tricky issues with family and friends, and learn how to make the world a little safer for everyone else’s sexuality along the way.
But before the book can reach the page, Jaclyn is looking for a dozen volunteers to be the very first people to ever read the book, engage with the exercises, discuss the process with each other and with Jaclyn, and help shape the finished book.
The twelve-week workshop will be run by Jaclyn herself on Sundays at 3PM EST, from January 9 to March 27, 2011. We’ll use the unreleased first draft of the book as our text, and we’ll rely on the internet and conference calls to bring together women of a variety of backgrounds. Because this breadth of perspectives is crucial to the process, participants won’t be selected on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, please write a brief (no longer than one page) statement, describing yourself and your interest in participating. Be sure to include the following info:
- your age
- where you live
- your racial, ethnic, and gender identities, your sexual orientation, and your class background/economic situation
- any mental or physical conditions that impact on your sexuality
- if you feel comfortable sharing, any experiences with sexual violence, harassment or abuse that have impacted the way you experience (or don’t experience) your sexuality
- any particular questions or challenges you’re grappling with that you’d like to address in the workshop
- whether or not you’d feel comfortable being quoted in the book. You’ll have the chance to approve individual quotes before they’re included, and you can absolutely use just your first name, a pseudonym, or contribute them anonymously, as your comfort level dictates
- if you can commit to making every Sunday conference call, plus doing approximately 3-4 hours of weekly reading, exercises, and class interactions between Sunday calls
Email your statement to [email protected] Statements are due by Friday, December 10. You’ll be notified by Friday, December 17 whether or not we’ll be able to offer you a space in the workshop.
What You Get:
- A free in-depth 12 week workshop on discovering and pursuing your own healthy personal sexuality, facilitated by the editor of Yes Means Yes.
- The chance to help shape a groundbreaking book that women will be using to get more in touch with their sexuality for years to come.
- Complete anonymity – use whatever name you like with the group, and where/if you’re quoted in the book. Only Jaclyn will know your actual name if you don’t want anyone else to know it.
- Two signed copies of the book once it’s published.
- Your name in the book’s acknowledgments if you want it there.