SEX-PO: An Oakland Organization Talks about Pleasure
Boys have a Penis and Girls Have a Vagina…
WRONG! This weekend I learned from Lisa Smusz, the Executive Director of P.E.E.R.S, that this analogy would be more accurate if it went “girls have a vagina and boys have a testicle,” since the Vagina is actually only a part of the female genitalia (the baby tunnel\canal that insertion of sorts can take place in) and the age old saying should instead state “Boys have a Penis, and Girls have a VULVA.
is an Oakland based organization that “continue(s) to overcome adversity and defy the status quo” to show “that mental health recovery is possible.”
Kelechi Ubozoh, Lisa Smusz and Jenee Darden ran a workshop during UC Berekeley’s Empowering Women of Color Conference
which they unofficially dubbed “Sexpo” and schooled me and a room full of people on pleasure, anatomy, erotica and the power of sharing personal stories.
Kelechi, poised and welcoming, stood up to start the workshop. She started speaking about her own experiences, which concluded in the assertion that women deserve pleasure and that they can and should seek out their own paths to that pleasure. A natural storyteller, Kelechi set the stage for the content to follow by sharing and embodying her own truth and sharing
Then, Lisa, a Liscenced Proffesional clinical counselor offered an approach to finding a self-directed pleasure. She spoke the truth about the uncomfortable taboo of women finding pleasure or enjoying sex, which has unique factors of intersectionality in minority populations as well as the mental health community, but especially in groups of women labelled as survivors of sexual abuse or trauma. Society has trouble thinking about “these” women as sexual and she points out that it is extremely difficult to find authentic example of women survivors seeking pleasure. Lisa provides therapeutic approaches that could be beneficial, including EMDR, and Somatic Therapy
to rid the physical body of the trauma it is holding as well as an at home approach to systematic desensitization and sensate focus.
She moved on to anatomy and we looked at larger than life pictures of spread open VULVAS, at which point I learned the British word for Cunt is Cunny and that our clitoris is actual mostly internal. It is a much bigger organ, which has internal parts called vastibular bulbs, located under the outer labia. When arroused sufficiently, a process called “tenting” takes place. This is when the uterus and cervix move back. If this doesn’t happen, sex hurts! It turns out that foreplay has a physiological function! The G spot is “not bigfoot” myth and 75% of women do not orgasm from sexual intercourse alone. Additionally, of those 25% that do, there are studies suggesting these orgasms are a still a combo of clitoral and vaginal due to internal clitoral stimulation.
Jenee read an erotic poem and asked us to contemplate who we are as sexual beings. She spoke to the legacy of black female sexuality in the light of hyper-sexualization and slavery, the stereotypes of black women we most commonly see in media, and her journey to what she suggested as a possible path towards discovering your own pleasure: erotica. She quoted Audre Lorde as saying, “When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”
A bit of comic relief came from artist Colleen Clark and then Jenee crushed another myth for me by siting studies that show women to have similar physiological responses to porn\erotica as men! Jenee talked about the importance of female directors and women artists who produce art for the female gaze and suggested taking a look at Nenna Feelmore Joiner’s movies of Feelmore Adult Gallery , Tracie Collins’ upcoming rendition of The Vagina Monologues , the films by Candida Royale http:// and the site www.hotmoviesforher.com.
She closed with a poem by a Punany Poet
entitled “Woman to Woman” and urged us to check out her personal blog at www.cocofly.com, which she emphasizes does not reflect the views of her place of employment 🙂