SEXx 3.0, which takes place May 11, is an innovative program mixing TED-style talks and entertaining performances. Kinky, queer and welcoming, it’s like the sex-ed class you always wished you’d had.
SEXx 3.0 begins at 7 p.m. with a series of brief presentations at William Way LGBT Community Center, 1315 Spruce St. That portion of the program will last roughly two hours. After a short pause, the fun resumes at 10 p.m. at Franky Bradley’s, where burlesque, music and performance art are sure to be on the bill. Organizers have created a Facebook page for SEXx 3.0 to keep the curious informed.
Tickets for SEXx 3.0 range from $5-$20. Best of all, the proceeds benefit William Way, which is appropriate given SEXx 3.0’s focus on the community.
“We are trying to have more of a grownup conversation that’s about what is interesting to the community and the people in it,” said Dr. Timaree Schmit, a local author and sex educator.
According to Schmit, SEXx 3.0 offers an alternative to mainstream media’s depictions of sex and sexuality. She described those depictions as objectifying, rigid and sexist. One goal of SEXx 3.0, she said, is “to offer space to have conversations about things that people have been thinking about, that they’ve been feeling about, that they’ve been researching.”
To do that, Dr. Schmit and her fellow organizers — Susan DiPronio, Elicia Gonzales and Katelyn Regan — are putting together what promises to be a diverse lineup.
Last year’s version, dubbed SEXx Interactive, may offer a clue. In addition to slideshows, workshops and videos, attendees in 2015 were treated to a history of the leatherman community, practical tips on how to bottom and a personal account of one woman’s initiation into Tantra, to name just three.
The original idea for SEXx was hatched in 2014. Gonzales, former executive director of GALAEI, returned from a local TED talk and wondered why there wasn’t a similar local event dedicated to sexuality. She and her colleagues quickly rectified that by organizing the first SEXx event that May.
That event drew a standing-room crowd and inspired the organizers to continue.
“We saw there was a really big hunger for substantive, interesting, challenging, fun, ridiculous conversation around sexuality,” Dr. Schmit said.
There was still something missing, though. The standard lecture format, Schmit explained, represents only one form of expression. But the organizers of SEXx wanted to represent as many approaches to sexuality as possible. So in 2015, they opened it up to performers who do burlesque, drag, play music — anything, really.
“Whatever performance style they have, if that’s going to be how they get to convey their information, the way that makes sense to them, then we want to give them that shot,” said Schmit, who, under the nom de plume HoneyTree EvilEye, does a bit of burlesque herself.
That openness with regard to topics and format, gender and sexuality, is no accident. All of SEXx 3.0’s organizers are queer to some degree, said Schmit. They have also all worked in some capacity for organizations that support the LGBT community. Consequently, there’s a strong queer influence at work in SEXx 3.0.
“Any time we’re talking openly about sexuality in an expansive, exploratory way, that’s to the benefit of queer rights, that is to the benefit of any sexual minority, anybody who’s been oppressed on the basis of their sexuality,” Schmit said.
That queer sensibility was one of the features of SEXx 3.0 that appealed to Amy Jo Goddard, a sexual-empowerment expert with 20 years’ experience. Goddard, who cheerfully said she is “out as a queer person, as a poly person, as a kinky person,” will be giving a talk during the first part of the evening called “Sexual Rocket Fuel.”
For Goddard, sexuality is a vital component of peoples’ lives.
“I see our sexual energy as creative energy,” she said, “and I think that when we work on our sexuality, when we develop it and give it attention and really step into our power sexually, it impacts every other part of our lives.”
Goddard also appreciates the fact that SEXx 3.0 is open to everyone, of all genders, ages and sexual orientations. After two decades as an activist and educator, she knows that people have more in common than they imagine. “It really doesn’t matter what people’s sexual orientation is,” she said. “People struggle with a lot of the same things.”
Perhaps the best part of SEXx 3.0, according to Schmit, is the fact that it’s also a blast.
“It’s not just for personal development and growth,” she said. “It’s also just a really fun time hanging out with cool people.”
So follow the doctor’s orders and check it out. Tickets for SEXx 3.0 are available online at www.sexx30.eventbrite.com.