Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: Tristan Taormino

Tristan Taormino Uninvited By Oregon State University

This just happened on Wednesday and while there have been many blog posts about it recently I’m mostly writing this in case for some reason you haven’t heard about it. Tristan Taormino was originally invited to OSU to give the keynote at their Modern Sex Conference and was uninvited essentially because of her work in pornography, which is only a fraction of what she does. This was only after she purchased her own airfare under the promise of reimbursement (which will probably not be reimbursed now). The following information about the situation is taken directly from Tristan’s website along with my own feelings about it. For the full scope of the issue you can read about it directly on Tristan’s website.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Tristan Taormino’s work. I have numerous books and DVDs of hers and had the fortune of meeting her and taking a workshop from her last year when she came to Seattle, so I admit to not being completely unbiased on this issue. My bias, however, comes from the fact that she is an amazing educator who works in numerous mediums to try to get the message of sex-positivity out to anyone who will listen.

The “problem” with Tristan speaking at the conference, according to OSU, seems to be because they are paying her to attend and give the keynote (the other speakers may or may not be compensated) with taxpayer money and she’s a pornographer. While I can understand the school’s reservations on some levels it also seems like ridiculous bureaucracy runaround at it’s finest. This is a conference called “Modern Sex” after all, how much more modern can you get than a feminist female pornographer?

It seems like the crux of the issue isn’t just that she is involved in pornography ingeneral, because there are other speakers who are, but it’s giving money to a known pornographer, someone who supposedly has a “significant online business in video pornography” (which isn’t really accurate). Maybe they think giving a pornographer money would be like saying you approve of their work. How horrible! Or something. Really, though, why is this such a big deal? It’s not like her work is illegal or negative. It’s not like she isn’t known for being an ethical feminist pornographer and we’re talking about her speaking at a sexuality conference!

Of course, it’s all because it’s tied to a public school who is given taxpayer money. Everyone knows those taxpayers hate pornography. Obviously.

OSU is trying to blame it on the organizers of the conference, however, saying that they provided a “partial description of the speaker in question as a writer and sex advice columnist.” What? Obviously it’s okay to give money to someone who writes sexy things and gives sex advice but once that moves into a video format that’s somehow wrong. Pornography is evil, even if it’s awesome positive sex education with some fucking on the side, which is what the videos of Tristan’s I’ve seen are.

The scenario I see in my head when reading about this is that someone decided to look on Tristan’s website, saw that she makes porn, and decided to complain about her inclusion in the conference to Student Affairs. This was only after many months of talking with Tristan and conveniently not long after she bought the airfare, probably because it was announced that she was definitely coming. I just don’t see the logic in where they’re drawing the line, though. Probably because there isn’t any.

You can read the original and updated information on Tristan’s website. There is also information there on how to contact OSU.

Making Open Relationships Work

On Sunday after the rest of our weekend fun Onyx and I walked to Babeland here in Seattle for a workshop by Tristan Taormino. She called it Poly 201, basically the next level of information after her book Opening Up.

She talked about what does and does not make poly/non-monogamy work and started with a T-chart listing only what doesn’t make poly work on one side which included: New Relationship Energy, Time Management, Miscommunication, Agreement Violation, Jealousy, and Change. She then proceeded to address each factor individually and give the tools and skills to use to combat each of the potential issues. The following is her information both from my notes and as I remember it.

What doesn’t make poly work and the tools we can use to combat each of those issues:

  • New Relationship Energy: patience, compassion, communication
  • Time Management: organization, (google) calendars, negotiation skills
  • Miscommunication: honesty, full disclosure, self-awareness, communication
  • Agreement Violation: checklists, commitment
  • Jealousy: reality check, self-awareness, self-esteem, confidence, security, non-attachment, support/therapy

She stopped there to unpack jealousy a bit for us. Jealousy can be broken down into envy, competitiveness, possessiveness, excluded feelings, insecurity (fear of abandonment, not good enough, not valued, etc.), obsessiveness. Essentially “all roads lead to fear.” Jealousy isn’t about reason or using our intellect it’s about our reptilian brain overtaking us and it takes a fuckofalot to get us out of it. There is a lot of debate as to whether jealousy is innate or learned, but most likely it is some combination.

The following two situations can be both good or bad depending on the situation.

  • Change: the tools needed to cope depends on what kind of change is occuring
  • Love: compersion

Change can be welcome, or it can be difficult and unexpected. New love (and old love) can be a source of great happiness or something that catches us off guard. As Tristan said, there’s a reason why it is called “falling in love,” because most of the time you “fall on your face.” Or perhaps something came into your path that made you stumble and fall, not always in a good way.

When new love comes along specifically it can often trigger “old monogamous programming,” or the socialization that we all get in this culture to believe in monogamy. The best way to combat this is compersion. Compersion is finding joy and happiness in the happiness of your partner with another. It is the opposite of jealousy and a goal in most non-monogamous relationships.

Tristan offered “the selfish person’s guide to compersion” which essentially is for you (the selfish person) to remember that eventually the energy and excitement of the other relationship will come back and help to fuel your relationship. When a relationship is going well for someone they will feel good and that feeling good will bleed over into every relationship that person is in.

That’s the bare bones of what was covered. There was also a Q&A session at the end and after that we said hello to Tristan and got our copy of Opening Up signed. It was a wonderful workshop and was absolutely wonderful to see and meet Tristan Taormino. I highly encourage you to go to a workshop of hers if you ever have the chance!

Looking Forward

Onyx and I are making lots of plans for this coming year, places and events we are going to go to and people we want to see. Lucky for us there are many awesome events right here in Seattle this year that we are going to, and one in our former home of Salt Lake City. Once I get a job and start making money we may be able to afford other events (there are plenty I would love to go to, kink conferences especially), but for the moment we are sticking to mostly local events.

We are also extremely excited about Amber (of Divergent Dance) and Em (of Life in Transition) heading up our way in April. Onyx got to meet them in November (I think, maybe December?) while I was in Juneau which I was highly jealous about, and now it’s my turn! I’m sure I’ll be writing about the experience.

I also forgot at the time of posting this that Nadia West is coming our way in April. Lucky for us all she happens to be coming the same weekend that Kyle and Roxy are also planning on visiting the Emerald City and seeing us! The wonderful CoyPink lives nearby as well and I haven’t seen her since I left to Juneau, so the six of us are planning on going out. It should be an absolute blast!

Some of these events are small workshops and such, some of them are bigger conferences. I will probably be writing about all if not most of them, so here’s a taste of what might be coming up post-wise. You can find information about each of the events by clicking on their titles (they’re all linked), or checking out the FetLife event page for each of them. I was going to write a little blurb about each of them, but I figure if you’re interested you can click the link!

I’m also interested to know if anyone of you are planning on attending any of these events, if so comment or drop me an email! (lotus AT

BDSM and Anal Play
March 27
CSPC (Seattle)
FetLife Event

Making Open Relationships Work
March 28
Babeland (Seattle)
FetLife Event

Seattle Erotic Arts Festival (SEAF)
April 30 – May 2
FetLife Event

Sex 2.0
May 22 – 23
FetLife Event

Element 11
June 10 – 14
Salt Lake City
FetLife Group

Servant’s Retreat I
June 25 – 27
Kenmore, WA
FetLife Event

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