Since I got back from my trip to the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking a lot about what to say in my post-conference post. Of course I thought of all the important things I learned and discussed in the sessions, and about spending time with Blog Squad, but I realized the most important thing I took away from it was more like a feeling. And I wasn’t sure how to describe it.
But one word kept coming to mind: validation.
It was validating to spend time with other like-minded people.
It was validating to share and discuss some of the things we struggle with, as well as the things we enjoy.
It was validating to reaffirm the importance of the work that sex educators and counselors and bloggers do.
It was even validating to travel alone and overcome my anxiety.
So I want this post to reflect that rather than focus on the specific details of the sessions. Honestly there were several sessions I wanted to go to but missed because I wasn’t feeling well, so unfortunately I can’t discuss them in-depth anyway. But thanks to the power of Blog Squad I was able to get recaps in the form of tweets! You can check them out too via Storify:
– Woodhull #SFS16 Highlights by Hedonish
– #SFS16 Highlights by Epiphora
– The Importance of Being a Trauma Informed Sexuality Professional panel with Ashley Manta
– Facing the Monster Under the Bed panel1 with JoEllen Notte and Stephen Biggs
– Embodied Consent & the Cultural Lie of Desirability panel with Elle Chase and Jaclyn Friedman
– Navigating Social Media Practices for Adult Businesses panel with Metis Black, Sandra Bruce, and JoEllen Notte
& I will add more soon!
So I usually struggle with social anxiety, and apparently so does a lot of Blog Squad, as we all declared preemptively before the conference… But I felt like everyone was so supportive and understanding and excellent at checking in with others and expressing their own needs, which made being around so many new people so much less anxiety-inducing. Basically Blog Squad is made up of the smartest, kindest, funniest humans ever.
The Woodhull folks and others involved with the conference were very supportive of bloggers as well which was very much appreciated by all of us. Tantus set up the Blogger Lounge again where we could hang out and grab some coffee or tea, and SheVibe hosted an amazing Blogger PJ Party. I also got to meet some people I’ve been working with and who have supported our blog since nearly the beginning like Sandra from SheVibe and Krista from Lovehoney, and both of them are as wonderful and sweet as I imagined they’d be.
Some other highlights include meeting Buck Angel, seeing Funkit Toys and hearing about Kenton‘s creative process, poetry at the Blogger PJ Party (psst you must read Girl on the Net’s poem!!), Lunabelle‘s impressive dildo gallery (and bringing home a couple of her “misfit toys”), seeing Lilly‘s jar of melted jelly toys in person, Crista Anne‘s and Ericka Hart‘s inspiring performances at Bedpost Confessions, all the late night hangouts with friends, and even the TSA agent’s excitement about all the sex toys in my bag that she had to check.
This post is shorter than I expected it to be based on the fact that I have so many feelings about my experience at Woodhull. At first this disappointed me, but then I realized a lot of those feelings don’t belong here and instead will be channeled into future posts and other projects.
The whole experience was incredibly empowering and, like I said, validating. Being around these folks was invigorating in the sense that it’s encouraged me to really step things up here and stay more committed to blogging. And to branch out and try other things, too.