Aug 042011
 

For those of you who are unaware, one of the MANY issues with Google+ (in addition to having the big “male/female/other” requirement, and being SUPER hostile to adult content, including links to adult content marked NSFW) is that they are requiring you to use your legal name. If it is found that you are not using your legal name, your account can be deleted. If your Google+ account is deleted, that includes the Gmail account to which it is attached, which at least for me, would delete over 6 years of emails, files, etc and would really suck.

Why is this such an issue? Well, let’s start.

*Many trans folks have not had a legal name change (some states have VERY stringent requirements involving hormones, surgery, doctor’s letters, etc) based on their circumstances, whether it is a transition thing, a medical thing, a family/rights thing, a money/cost thing, etc. Requiring them to use their legal name rather than their real name is forcing them to out themselves. This can be dangerous.

*Adult stars and sex workers usually don’t use their legal names for a myriad of reasons. Requiring them to do so not only outs them, but puts them in danger from stalkers, being outed to their family, etc, not to mention legal repercussions if it is sex work that can be prosecuted (and keep in mind, not all sex work is illegal).

*Women often use different names online to keep themselves and families safe. Perhaps they’ve gotten out of an abusive relationship, or perhaps they have a more unique name, and don’t ant every asshole on a social network googling their home address.

*Lots of sex educators work under other names.  I did when I started out. Why? Because even now, my partner and I worry about people showing up on my door step. I get harassing phone calls sometimes. Luckily, most of my family is supportive, but not everyone has that privilege. Many great sexuality educators work under not their legal name; Midori, Ayden Fire, Sir Top and slave bonnie, Madison Young, etc. There are many others, but I don’t want to out them as not using their legal names.

*Most sex bloggers (and bloggers in general) blog under other names. Why? Safety; not just the physical danger issue, but losing their jobs, custody of their kids, their partners, and more. Has this happened when they’ve been outed? Absolutely.

*Many people just don’t go by their legal names. If your name is Katherine and you go by Katie, could Google+ delete you? Possibly. What about if you go by your middle name instead of your first name? Or you use your partner’s last name, but haven’t legally changed it?

The list goes on and on and on. Folks with disabilities. Celebrities (local, national and international). Whistleblowers. Authors. Gamers. There are so many incredible reasons someone would choose not to use their LEGAL name on a social media site, or on the internet in general, so how dare we force them to do so, at risk of losing their gmail and other google centric accounts if google deems their name not real?  Luckily, a group is creating a site with real people sharing their stories about why they choose not to use their legal name (you can use any name you want to post on the site), and they are looking for submissions. If you’re a person who would be affected by using your legal name online, or part of a group for whom you can speak, they’d love to hear from you. Their info is below.

Thank you for your help and understand on this issue, and sharing it with others so that they can understand why in fact this is a pretty big deal,

Shanna

From http://my.nameis.me/make-a-statement/:

Make a statement

We’re looking for more people to write for us about why they support the freedom to choose your own name online.

While we appreciate that thousands upon thousands of people worldwide feel strongly about this issue, the most valuable statements come from those who are famous or prominent in their fields, or those who can speak on behalf of populations who need to choose their own names.

So, we’re particularly looking for individuals like:

  • Performance artists (musicians, actors, etc), especially those who use stage names
  • Authors, journalists and other writers, especially those who use pen names
  • Politicians and prominent political activists
  • Sex educators and sex workers
  • Religious leaders
  • … and any other notable or famous person who supports people’s freedom to choose their own name online.

Or people who represent organisations like:

  • Domestic violence support groups
  • LGBT advocacy groups
  • Civil rights groups
  • Groups working with children at risk
  • Disability advocacy groups
  • … and any other organization working with people who commonly want the freedom to choose their own name online

If you fit the above descriptions, or can introduce us to someone who does, please get in touch with us!

Jul 252011
 

Surprisingly, sex education is a fairly thankless job. While there is often the bonus of fun work which I am passionate about, and the occasional free sex toys to test and review, overall, there is a lot of drama. You have to promote yourself constantly to get bookings, you usually have to work a full time just that is not connected to sexuality, or if it is, usually not the side that you’re passionate about. You have to deal with people (friends, family, co-workers and strangers) judging your choice of work, as well as treating you as a free sex therapist all the time. You have to have epic debates about whether to use your real name, give out your real phone number, etc, because of the fear of being unemployable in the future, or having stalkers…well, stalk you. It is not a job that makes much money (really), and it’s one that involves a constant fight for sex positivity in various environments, from the government funding Planned Parenthood to inclusion of gender in employment non-discrimination acts, to fighting for/with folks with disabilities to be allowed to embrace their own sexuality, to removing laws that make owning/buying sex toys illegal in certain states.

It is not easy, and there are days when I sometimes wish I had maybe chosen another route.

And then, you are reminded in a heart beat of why you do what you do.

Last week, I taught my final class (of pre-booked ones) at Fascinations. If they’d like to have me again, I’d be happy to do so, but this was my last planned one. The room was PACKED, standing room only (60+ people) for a class on cunnilingus, which is not frequently a sell-out subject. People were involved, asked questions, answered my questions, and were a truly wonderful group to teach to for 90 minutes. Afterwards, not one, not two, but over a dozen people came up to me, telling me how much I had positively affected my life. One woman was at a class for the first time, and cried, telling me she was so glad to have gotten to hear me speak at least once. Another women cried, telling me that over the last year or more, I had changed her life so incredibly, taking scary subjects of sexuality and helping her confront them, learn about them, and embrace them. Another group of 20 somethings (and a woman who had just turned 18, and was visiting a toy store for the first time) told me how much they’d learned from me, how comfortable they felt with their bodies and their sexualities, and how much they missed me. They all wanted to know when I’d be back, and they all hugged me.

THAT is why I do what I do. My goal in every class is for each person to learn 1 little thing that is new. One. This class, *I* learned how much my education has helped others truly embrace who they are, and have a more positive experience with sexuality. I could not ask for anything more than to have had such a positive effect in so many people’s lives, particularly in a state/area where sex is rarely discussed with a positive and pleasure centric bent.

It can often be a thankless job, but the occasionaly “Thank yous” that I get from people who have attended my classes, read my writing, watched my videos, or had counseling sessions with me? That is better than any easy 9-5 job, better than any big paycheck (though that would be nice too), and totally makes me reinvigorate my passion for this field. And to you all, I say thank you!

-Shanna

May 092011
 

Surprisingly, there are some trends that I tend to notice in sex educators, particularly those of us that do alternative/non-traditional education. Many of us identify as women (cis and trans). Many of us have red hair. Many of us are queer (and many of those queer educators are fierce queer femmes). There are quite a few who are Jewish (religiously or culturally). Quite a few have curly hair. A bunch of us majored in either sociology or women/feminist and gender studies. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to everyone, but to many of us.

Another trend I’ve noticed is that many sex educators are also suffering from chronic pain. Some of us also have other disabilities (such as me and my patella femoral osteoarthritis and debilitating migraines), and some of us are more open about it than others. However, a LOT of a us have it, and given the nature of this field, this can present more problems than one might think.

When I am booked, I don’t always have transit from the airport to the location, or the hotel. I’m not asking for every place I go to rent me a car, but to tell me (politely, of course) that there is great public transit in your city, and it will only take me 45 minutes (or sometimes up to two hours) by train/bus/lightrail/metro/walking/etc doesn’t always take into account the fact that my body is often screaming in pain by the time I get to the airport, deal with my luggage, go through security, take the underground train, wait in airport seats, squish into airline seats, carry my carry ons through the airport, struggle to get my luggage off the carousel, and make it to the curb. Some days I take a wheelchair through the airport just to be able to save my spoons. Some days I don’t, but that often means I don’t have the energy or pain tolerance to then cart my luggage (while walking with a cane), through public transit through a city that I don’t know, and argue with people for a seat because I don’t look “disabled enough” to need one, particularly as a younger person. A hotel with a shuttle is great, but often, because many toy stores and dungeons don’t cover accommodations, I am stay with a friend, or at a cheap motel that doesn’t offer this service. Asking me if I need a ride from the airport to the store/dungeon/center/hotel would be incredibly appreciated, and you’d get a much better presentation from me, as I won’t have to struggle between taking my pain meds, or pushing through the pain to do my workshop.

Another thing frequently happens on college campuses. Students are often used to traversing college campuses as the bird flies; up and down stairs, across grassy and/or gravely quads, etc. When I have to do this, frequently while carrying a suitcase of sex toys, handouts, stuffed vulvas, etc, it is completely draining, and I feel guilty when I have to ask them to slow down, take ramps (especially given that I am not in a wheelchair, and don’t usually feel like explaining my medical situation to some 20 year old I’ve just met). The same goes for booking me in a historic building with lots of stairs and no elevator, or one with an elevator, but just assuming that I can take the stairs.

I love what I do. I’m ok with not being met with a limo at the airport. I’m fine with not staying in 5 star hotels — if my hosts can put me up on their couch or spare bedroom to make it more affordable, I’m happy to do that. However, the little things, like getting place to place, are what frustrate me. My last trip to San Francisco, I paid more using cabs to get to/from the places I was speaking than I actually made speaking at them. The idea that everyone is traditionally able bodies, full of energy, and doesn’t have any issues like disability or chronic pain making it more difficult to hop on public transit is an ableist concept. A wonderful sexuality educator recently experienced this on an international trip, where after 24 hours of air travel and airport waiting, she was then told to take another 2 hours on public transit to get to the city…for a workshop she was doing for free. I’ve been in similar (although not international…yet) circumstances, and I have to make the choice between breaking down in tears at the epic journey in front of me, or sucking it up and paying money for a cab or a shuttle, even though I often am in the red from presenting in general.

So please, if you’re someone booking an educator (or really, anyone), please think before you suggest. It’s ok to say something like “are you comfortable taking public transit?” to feel them out. But know that when you ask, you might hear no (for a plethora of reasons), and if you hear a no, that’s when it’s time to figure out another way. Ask your staff, ask your fellow students, use your resources, but figure out a way to get them from place A (usually an airport or train station) to place B (usually your store/college/center/dungeon/etc or maybe a hotel) that doesn’t involve an arduous journey that may end in exhaustion, frustration, and/or tears.

-Shanna

Feb 072011
 

For those who do not know, many sex educators, myself included, were recently attacked in a post/report that claimed that our education on the Brown University campus was a direct correlation of the recent four new cases of HIV within the student population. It stated that people such as myself (a “sex toy representative”) did not have the education to provide sex ed to students, to handle the emotional side of things, etc (of course, they neglected to mention my Master’s in Human Sexuality Education, which provided me with exactly those aforementioned skills). It also insinuated that I was a prostitute, that other educators are connected with obscenity charges and that some educators are contributing to STI transmission by discussion topics such as polyamory (multiple loves) and anal sex, despite our conversations about barrier methods, testing, and intimacy without exchanging bodily fluids.

I have always had a strong commitment to educating individuals and groups about safer sex, including but not limited to STI prevention, pregnancy prevention, consensual activities and emotional safety. As I continue to educate people about the spectrum of sexuality, I will keep including discussions about safer sex practices (including barriers and transmission prevention) for people of all genders and orientations, and also continue my commitment to distribute dams and gloves in addition to the more traditional condoms and lube freebies often provided. Please read and re-post/forward/desseminate the below press release if you believe the positive aspects of sex education, and refuse to condone the slanderous accusations put forth towards us.

-Shanna Katz, M.Ed

For Immediate Release
Sexuality educators set the record straight: “Talking about sexuality does not increase sexually transmitted infections” despite what non-experts report.

Contact: ?Megan Andelloux
HiOhMegan@gmail.com
401-345-8685

Contact: Aida Manduley
Aida_manduley@brown.edu
787-233-0025

In yet another attempt to shut down access to quality sex education, South-Eastern New England conservative advocates hit the sex panic button in a multi-state, email and phone campaign to colleges all over New England last week.

On February 3rd and 4th , certified sexuality educator and sexologist Megan Andelloux (AASECT, ACS) received word that numerous colleges and university faculty received a document stating that colleges who brought sex educators such as Ms. Andelloux onto their campuses were linked to the increasing rate of transmission of HIV in RI. Furthermore, among other misleading “facts” that were “cited,” the author of this bulletin claimed that Brown University was facing an HIV crisis, which is false.

Citizens Against Trafficking, the face behind the fear-mongering, spammed numerous local institutions from a University of Rhode Island account with its latest malicious missive that targeted specific individuals as well as Brown University. The author of the letter, Margaret Brooks, an Economics Professor at Bridgewater State, suggested that colleges and universities that host sexuality speakers, including those who are professionally accredited, are partly to blame for the four new cases of HIV which have been diagnosed amongst RI college students this year.

Ms. Andelloux states: “My heart goes out to those students who have recently tested positive for HIV. However, there is no evidence of any link between campus presentations on sexual issues and the spike in HIV cases. Rather, I would suggest that this demonstrates a need for more high-quality sex education to college students.“ It is unclear why people at URI or Citizens Against Trafficking, a coalition to combat all forms of human trafficking, is attempting to stop adults from accessing sexual information from qualified, trained educators. What is certain however, is that this Professor of Economics miscalculated her suggestion that a correlation exists between increased HIV rates in Rhode Island and the type of sex education these speakers provided at Brown University: one that emphasized accurate information, risk-reduction, pleasure, and health.

Barrier methods have been shown by the CDC to reduce the transmission of HIV and other STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections). Research has shown that when individuals have access to medically accurate information, are aware of sexual risk reduction methods, and have access to learn about sexual health, the number of infections and transmission of STIs decreases, pain during sex decreases, and condom use increases. The CAT circulated bulletin is blatantly misleading about many issues, and often omits information that is crucial to understanding the full picture of sex education at Brown and in Rhode Island.

When individuals who do not hold any background in sexuality education speak out in opposition because of their fear or prejudice, society becomes rooted in outdated beliefs and pseudo-science that do injustice to people everywhere. Furthermore, when those individuals personally and publicly attack those devoted to providing sex education with false and misinformed accusations, it not only hurts those who are defamed, but also the community at large.

We ask for an immediate retraction of the vilifying and inaccurate statements made by Ms. Margaret Brooks and Citizens Against Trafficking in their latest newsletter. We also ask that esteemed local universities such as URI and Bridgewater State continue to hold their employees to ethical standards of normal scientific inquiry and require that their faculty hold some modicum of expertise in a field of education before raising the public level of panic over it.

Megan Andelloux is available to answer any questions the press, Margaret Brooks, University of Rhode Island or Citizens Against Trafficking holds. Aida Manduley, the Chair of Brown University’s Sexual Health Education and Empowerment Council and Brown University’s is available to discuss the upcoming Sex Week and sexuality workshops held at Brown University.

Signed,
Megan Andelloux, AASECT, ACS
Shanna Katz, M.Ed
Reid Mihalko
Aida Manduley

Jan 192011
 

Being a sex educator is hard. I’ve spoken to this before; there is the choice about how you answer the “what do you do” question, there are stalkers and creepers who follow you workshop to workshop or won’t stop calling/emailing, there is the fact that the education I do is not considered “real education” (even sometimes by the professional sexuality organizations to who I belong), there are very few degree programs in the country, jobs can be tough to get and freelancing doesn’t always pay the bills, the list goes on. However, one thing that has always kept me going is people who lead the field, like Jamye Waxman, Midori and Tristan Taormino. These three incredibly strong women have been sex educators for years, and have figured out how to approach the masses in a way that they are more accepted (even if sometimes protested), through books, movies, educational films, workshops, college lectures, performance pieces and more.

However, this morning, I woke to this in my inbox. The great Tristan Taormino, sex educator extraordinaire, has been uninvited by Oregon State University, after they had asked her to speak AND asked her to buy her plane tickets with the promise of reimbursement. Not only did they un-extend their invitation, but they are now refusing to pay for the plane tickets she has already purchased at their behest. I’m surprised, but not shocked. One of my favorite gender activists was censored at a local college after some conservative students claimed her used of the words “tranny” and “fuck” were detrimental to their mental well being.

I love what I do. Almost every moment of every day. However, the fact that it is not only hard to book events, but now sex educators (who are far more well known and published than I am) are being uninvited? It’s ridiculous. According to them, it was due to her website and resume…which hasn’t changed since the booking. Because she shoots feminist/ethical pornography, they are turning her down.  Yet other schools bring in anti-gay speakers for “their side of the story” and porn legends like Ron Jeremy (who does not identify as being in the feminist porn or ethical porn genres).  Thank goodness for schools like Brown University, Hofstra, University of Arizona, Colorado College, SUNY–Purchase and more that have welcomed me (as well as other sex educators), as we are, with the understanding that lectures and workshops about healthy sexuality do nothing more than provide information to students, and can only serve to help improve their lives.

I say shame on OSU, and on other schools that are capitulating to conservative legislatures and mores. Education is about gaining knowledge and opening students eyes to the world, not about censoring based on social constructions of what is “appropriate.” It would be one thing if you chose to ignore her letter of interest; I sent out about 200-300 a year, and rarely hear back from a dozen schools; it’s part of being a sex educator. But to invite her, and then change your mind after telling her to buy her tickets, and now choose not to reimburse her? That is low, OSU, and it shows a lack of class, a lack of educational and open-minded spirit, and I am quite disappointed. I assumed a school in a place like Oregon would be a little more forward thinking.

With that said, I am currently booking schools and universities for fall 2011/spring 2012. I am sure other educators are as well.  If you (whether student, staff or faculty) are interested in learning more about sexuality, sex and disability, ethical pornography, kink, LGBTQA issues, communication, safer sex and more, please contact me. Fascinations has agreed to pay my airfare to college/university gigs starting in May, so I can be more affordable and accessible to schools with smaller budgets. I’d love to show OSU what immense good a sex educator can do on campuses.

-Shanna

SEX EDUCATOR AND SPEAKER TRISTAN TAORMINO, SET TO GIVE CONFERENCE KEYNOTE, UNINVITED BY OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY BECAUSE OF HER ‘RESUME AND WEBSITE’

January 19, 2011

Contact:
Tristan Taormino
tristan@puckerup.com

Award-winning author, columnist, sex educator, and filmmaker Tristan Taormino was set to be the keynote speaker at Oregon State University’s Modern Sex conference, scheduled for February 15-16, 2011. Yesterday, she was uninvited by a university representative, who cited her resume and website as the reason.

On October 28, 2010, organizers of the OSU Modern Sex conference booked Taormino to give the keynote talk; they confirmed the date and agreed to fees, and Tristan’s management received a first draft of the contract on November 1. That contract was incomplete and sent back to OSU for revisions. As with many negotiations, the contract was pending as all the paperwork got done, but in late December, OSU again confirmed Tristan’s appearance and conference organizers told her manager to purchase airline tickets, for which OSU would be reimburse her.

On Tuesday, January 18, 2011, Steven Leider, Director of the Office of LGBT Outreach and Services contacted Colten Tognazzini, Tristan Taormino’s manager, to say that the conference had come up short on funding. Tognazzini told him that since the travel was booked and the time reserved, they could work with whatever budget they did have. Leider said that would not be possible: “We have to cancel Ms. Taormino’s appearance due to a lack of funding. It has been decided that OSU cannot pay Ms. Taormino with general fee dollars, because of the content of her resume and website.” At OSU, ‘general fee dollars’ include taxpayer dollars given to the University by the Oregon State Legislature to defray various costs. They differ from ‘student activity dollars,’ which are part of every student’s tuition and help fund student groups and activities.

Taormino’s resume includes her seven books on sex and relationships, the 18 anthologies she has edited, numerous television appearances from CNN to The Discovery Channel, and her award-winning adult films. She was a columnist for The Village Voice for nearly ten years and has given more than 75 lectures at top colleges and universities including Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, NYU and Columbia. Her website, puckerup.com , includes sex education information, advice, and information about the films she directs for Vivid Entertainment, one of the largest adult companies in the country.

“In my ten years of booking Tristan at colleges and universities, of course there has been some controversy. But I have never had a university cancel like this last minute,” says Colten Tognazzini, Taormino’s manager. “It’s not unusual for contract negotiations to drag on. Once they confirmed we should book her travel, I felt comfortable the event was a done deal. I continued to work with them in good faith that a signed contract would be forthcoming. I believe that the conference organizers’ hands are tied, and this decision came from much higher up. They have cancelled with less than a month’s notice during Tristan’s busiest season. She gave up other opportunities to go to Oregon. Without a signed contract, we may have no recourse, and were told we will not be reimbursed for her travel.”

Tognazzini spoke to a source at OSU who speculated that the University feared that when it went before the legislature in regards to future funding, legislators would use OSU’s funding of a “pornographer” on campus as ammunition to further cut budgets. This source, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Tognazzini, “I think they’re uninviting Tristan because they don’t want to have to defend her appearance to conservative legislators.”

“I’m extremely disappointed that OSU has decided to cancel my appearance. I’ve been protested before, but never uninvited. I have never misrepresented who I am or what I do. I am proud of all the work I do, including the sex education films and feminist pornography I make,” says Taormino. “The talk I planned to give at this conference, titled “Claiming Your Sexual Power” has nothing to do with porn, but the porn is such an easy target for anti-sex conservatives and censors. I find it ironic that one of the missions of the conference is to understand diverse perspectives of sexuality. Apparently, my perspective—one of educating and empowering people around their sexuality—isn’t welcome at OSU.”

If OSU students and others still want to hear Taormino speak, she will be teaching two workshops at She Bop in Portland on February 13 and 14. “She Bop supports a healthy perspective on sex and sexuality and we are proud to have Tristan Taormino present two years in a row at our shop in Portland. Tristan is a leading educator paving the way for others to help break down the stigma around sex in this country. It is part of our mission as a female friendly adult shop to support sexual empowerment and growth,” say co-owners Jeneen Doumitt and Evy Cowan.

Jan 142011
 

A good friend of mine and fellow sex educator is researching the process of certification in the field of sex education, and wants to learn about people’s feelings, opinions and experiences with the certification process, whether they’ve been certified, etc. If you identify as a sex educator, I encourage you to take this survey to help create positive change in our community.

Hi Folks,

I’m trying help delineate what future applicants to the field should know about process of obtaining professional certification.  While requirements for sexuality educator certification such as work hours, SAR exposure, or participation in trainings are quite clearly laid out, there seems to exist a group of activities that could disqualify applicants from obtaining certification.  Anecdotes are abound of individuals who have been denied certification due to past experiences with  sex coaching, sex work, porn performances, independent sex education workshops, etc.  I want to put to rest these rumors and rely on facts.

I am a passionate advocate for quality sexuality education but I personally believe we need and wish to hear your thoughts on your decision to become a sexuality educator, what professional decisions were made, how you have felt with organizations and such.

I wish to help future educators who desire to become certified, know the qualifications and disqualifications to certification and so, I have created this survey.

It is my belief that open dialogue leads to better choices; I think that public discourse on what professionalism does and doesn’t look like in the field of sexuality education will make sexuality educators and the future of sex education stronger and more respectable professional society in the public eyes.

If you could please forward this to survey to sexuality educators, it would be deeply appreciated.  This survey will close on the 28th of this month and so I hope to have a respectful amount of answers in which I can include for further discussion.   Rest assured, your identities will be unregistered so I will not know who wrote what.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/certificationforcse

Thank you so much for your help-
Megan

Jan 132011
 

Jamye Waxman

This afternoon, fabulous sex educator Jamye Waxman will be joining me on my Let’s Talk Sex with Shanna Katz radio show on 1100 AM KFNX. You can either listen live on the radio if you’re in the Phoenix area, or go to www.1100KFNX.com to stream it live. The show goes on at 4pm MST, and we’re going to talk toys, positions, masturbation and more, plus as always, we’ll have great giveaways! You can always call in toll free, so we hope to hear from you.

-Shanna

Jan 102011
 

I’m baaaaaack!

That’s right. After having spent five days in the city of sin (being incredibly NOT sinful), I’m back in slightly warmer Arizona, with my nose to the grindstone.

First and most important announcement: I am now the proud owner of an Njoy Eleven, thanks to Greg and Deanna, two of the wonderful Njoy gang. I cannot wait to try it out, and then give it an important and prominent place on my bookshelf d’art.

I was so happy to get to see many of my old friends, including Jamye Waxman, the JeJoue Crew, Tess and Diva from Tied Up Events, Clare and Riley from Smitten Kitten (and FINALLY got to meet Jennifer, the owner), Molly and Matie from Self Serve in New Mexico, Tres from SpareParts, Jackie Strano and Carol Queen from Good VibrationsGram Ponante (who I forgot to tell that I DO teach blow job classes!), Jacq Jones from Sugar, Shine Louise Houston, Syd Blakovich, Dylan Ryan, Tina Horn, Courtney Trouble, April Flores and more.  Also, I got to meet the Jimmy Jane Crew, folks from Sliquid, more folks who will be presenting at Momentum in April, Laura and Hudson from the Tool Shed in Wisconsin, Buck Angel and his wife Elaine, and more. The sheer number of sex positive folks at the show this year was phenomenal, and continues to grow, making me happy, and making it totally worth going to what has traditionally been a very mainstream porn convention.

The awards show itself was only entertaining because I sat with Deanna from Njoy and Jamye. Except for Joanna Angel winning best solo girl site, there were very few surprises, and most all of the porn awards went to very traditional mainstream companies and movies. I was happy for JeJoue, Good Vibes, Babeland, Tristan Taormino and New Sensations for their wins. For the most part, it was same old, same old. I wonder how long it will take for it to change…and I know it will, because sex positive, queer AND ethical companies got nominations the last two years…it’s just getting that trend to continue and go further into actually winning awards.

All in all, the trip was totally worth it, albeit exhausting. Shout out to Kimberlee Cline for letting me stay with her father for the second two nights, and to Lynn Comella for hosting a wonderful party of smart people on Friday night, as well as to everyone who made time to say hello to me, and helped me to welcome and part of the community.

And there is no sleep for the sex educator; I’m back in the office today, trucking away.

-Shanna

Dec 202010
 

I’ve just found out I’ll be teaching the National Collegiate Leadership Conference in Tucson in February 2011, at the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in March 2011, at KinkFest 2011 in Portland in March, as well as hopefully visiting Come as You Are in Toronto in April 2011 for two rocking classes. If you’re in the area, keep apprised for further info…or, if you’d like to have me come speak while I’m already near by and help save on costs, that would be great too!

I still have some spring openings, especially for colleges, universities and toy stores, so drop me a line, and I’ll see if I can present at a location near you!

Oct 052010
 

I was recently quoted in the online news source The Daily Beast in an article on Google Instant. This isn’t the first place to write about it — Violet Blue has talked about it, Carnal Nation wrote about it, and of course, there is the infamous Google Instant Blacklist.

However, this is a good look at some of the absurdness of what Google Instant chooses to block (such as Latina and lesbian) and what it doesn’t (such as fag and “how to commit genocide”).

Responding to a user query in a help forum post on September 14, a Google employee named “Kelly F” tried to go into the specifics of the word “lesbian.” It was the result of a bug, she said, and the company was working to see if it could be fixed. “These results are available but require you to hit Enter,” she added in clarifying the problem struck only when using Google Instant.

“It’s important to note that removing queries from autocomplete is a hard problem, and not as simple as blacklisting particular terms and phrases,” said a Google spokesperson.

Still, the blacklist is more than a computer glitch for those who found themselves on it.

Shanna Katz, a Phoenix-based sex educator whose results were deemed offensive, finds the whole episode incredibly frustrating and arbitrary. “This means that people looking for me as a sex educator may feel that I’m ‘violent’ or ‘pornographic’ because I don’t show up,” she told me, adding that even her Facebook and LinkedIn profiles were blocked. “It’s completely random.”

Click here to read the rest of the article.

-Shanna