(I’m away from the computer for about a week, so I’m sharing some posts I wrote a couple of years ago after my interview with Britt Bravo and the Arts and Healing network, about the writing workshops and writing as a transformative process. – xox! Jen)
5. What inspired the workshops?
For this week, I’ve got another (longish!) excerpt from an as-yet unpublished work (my book about transformative erotic writing, which I wrote for my MA degree) – there’s a bit of explicit discussion of sexual trauma in here, so just be easy with yourselves, ok?
My friend K and I were always talking about sex. Both of us survivors of sexual abuse as well as women who had been known to enjoy an erotic interlude or two (to put it mildly), I think we each reveled in sex talk with a friend who viscerally understood some of the complicating factors of our sexuality and erotics.
We’d discuss sex toys, orgasm, sex with men versus sex with women, noise, and technique. We talked about triggers and how to get through them, and how deeply frustrating it was to have triggers to get through at all: that is, how aggravating it was to be both a survivor and sexual.
We talked about how sad it was that we didn’t have more of these kinds of conversations with other women. Both of us believed that we would feel less lonely, isolated, crazy and abnormal if we could hear what other women thought and felt about sex. We also figured more women’s sex would be better–more relaxed, playful, satisfying on any number of levels–if they had access to safe, friendly, spirited and non-judgmental sexual and erotic conversation. We bemoaned the fact that sexual information was so restricted, regulated to particular conversational settings, despite the fact that every type of media is hyper-(hetero-)sexualized.
It was during these early “how do we create a better sexual landscape for ourselves and others?” conversations with K. that I began developing the idea of a writing group for women where the writing exercises would focus on sex and sexuality. Women would have the chance to write about sexuality and desire, have the experience of being heard by other women, and get to be exposed to rarely-discussed aspects of other women’s sexual lives and desires. We would learn that we weren’t so crazy after all, or so alone–that, in fact, many others shared our unspoken fears, concerns, fantasies. We would speak aloud all the things we’d been trained from infancy never to say–and find ourselves more fully alive due to our being less afraid. We would publicly and more fully inhabit our erotic intricacies.