Let’s talk about sex: workshops, panels, and discussions at SEAF

Can you forgive the Salt n’ Peppa reference? Maybe even appreciate it? I thought you might, you’re a gracious and forgiving collection of art enthusiasts. Anyway, the Seattle Erotic Art Festival encourages you to not only view art, but to embody art through conversation, education, and action. Over the course of the weekend, we’ll offer numerous discussions, art tours, workshops, and lectures on a range of topics related to art, sexuality, identity, and/or eroticism. So, let’s talk about the workshops, panels, and discussions at SEAF!

Opening the Curtain: When and How Should We Reveal Our Full Sexuality?

Saturday, 1:30 PM, The Corner
Sumu (Su) Tasib

You’ve just met someone new – the conversation is sparkling, the chemistry is amazing, and your next encounter is sure to lead to some delicious intimacy. There’s just one problem: you haven’t said a word yet about your kinks or even hinted at the full range of your sexuality. Should you keep it under wraps to avoid the awkwardness and just hope for the best? Or should you put it all out there right away so you can see if you’re on the same page? And what if you’re on the other end of this discussion: how can you make sure your needs and boundaries are expressed in this high-stakes conversation? Join Sumu (Su) Tasib, author of “A Boy Named Su,” for a brief reading about this topic, followed by an open-ended discussion on how to navigate these sexually charged waters.

Sumu (Su) Tasib is an author and scientist living in Seattle, Washington. “A Boy Named Su” is their first book, a collection of non-fiction stories and essays about their journey with genderqueerness; they also host the Queer Kahani podcast. They were recently accepted into the highly selective 2023 Jack Straw Writers Program. More information about Su and their writing is available at queerkahani.com.

The State of Porn Today

Saturday, 2:00 PM, Main Stage
Eunique Flow

A discussion about the realities of consuming porn.

Porn is a billion dollar industry which means more than a few of us are consuming it. And gone are the days of having to sneak and watch our parent’s vhs tapes. It’s all so readily available, in so many forms and mediums, affecting how, where, and when we engage with it. The lines between entertainment and education in adult content are varied and blurred, giving us ample room to explore how it affects people on their sexual journeys. Through thoughtful criticism and analysis, this town-hall style discussion will dissect how we engage with porn and its role in our culture. This discussion intends to come from a place of respect, celebration and sex positivity.

Facilitator: La Shonda is the founder of Eunique Flow, an organization that is working to reframe conversations around sex and consent using thoughtful reflection and sex positive analysis for young adults and offers classes and workshops for adults who want to better understand the art of sensuality and techniques to connect and or re-connect to their partner/s. Read more about La Shonda and Eunique Flow here or follow on IG @euniqueflow

Panelist: Dr. Taylor Nolan is a licensed psychotherapist in WA state, holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Sexology, and founded Counseling Ordinary Courage, PLLC. As a former reality tv star, Taylor created and hosted the award-winning Let’s Talk About It podcast from 2017-2021 which focused on mental and sexual health. She also speaks publicly about sexual health on her Instagram platform, @taymocha, and is passionate about humanizing clinicians through her content. Taylor is cisgender, pansexual, biracial black and white, and visibly able-bodied. When she isn’t seeing clients, she snuggles with her cat, laughs with her family, and throws all the money she makes at her forever fixer-upper of a home.

Panelist: Jim Duvall was born a poor white boy on the banks of the Sumas River. They started janesguide.com where their day job was to review porn for 7 years. They provided content for many online endeavors including bondage.com. Their art has been shown at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival and many other festivals around North America. They helped start The Betty Pages, an LGBT magazine, and was a writer and photographer for the magazine for 5 years. Currently, they work as a fine art photographer in Seattle, WA.

Activating the Senses

Saturday, 2:30 PM, The Corner
Lynne Ellis

Where does a poem live, within the body? How can we, as writers, use language to communicate pleasure and pain, drives and desires? This program takes a look at sensory-rich works, by established and emerging poets, in order to guide our writing and reading—erotic and otherwise. After a reading by poet Lynne Ellis, we’ll have time to write and discuss our lived experiences. Bring your favorite writing tools, sense memories, and most mindful presence.

Lynne Ellis (she/they) writes in pen. Their words appear in Poetry Northwest, the Missouri Review, Sugar House Review, Pontoon Poetry, and elsewhere. Currently writing from a large city in the Cascadia bioregion, her work focuses on monarch butterflies, surgical experiences, sexuality, classical music, daughterhood, and geological time. Ellis serves on the editorial board at Nimrod International Journal and is co-editor at Papeachu Press—supporting the voices of women and nonbinary creators.

A Brief Primer on Writing Sexy Times

Saturday, 4:00 PM, The Corner
Clea Salar

Incorporating sex and sensuality into your writing is fairly straightforward – OR IS IT!? Are you writing erotica, erotic romance, or romance? How many sex scenes are too many? How long can a sex scene play out before the reader starts forgetting which characters are on the page and how they got there in the first place? Does a sex scene automatically make something erotica if it’s explicit? Should you use euphemisms or just be straight forward? When does language get too clinical?

If these questions plague you and prevent you from crafting the sexy stories of your dreams, come to Clea Salar’s Brief Primer on Writing Sexy Times! We’ll cover genre, expectations, spice levels, and more!

Clea Salar is a bi femme writer, Chaotic Good rogue, and specialist in all things fantastic. She currently lurks in the shadow of a mountain, where she spins tales of a decidedly saucy nature. She likes bubble tea, role-playing games of all varieties, and the Oxford comma. Clea is the proud owner of a shiny Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, with an accompanying graduate certificate in Professional Writing. She doesn’t necessarily think any of this matters for writing sexy times, but understands that when you’re teaching a class it’s nice to have credentials. She also wrote this class description, and thinks she’s funny.

What’s in a word?

Saturday, 6:00 PM, The Corner
Eunique Flow

Semantics, in general, usually tends to get tricky.  A lot of factors go into how a society adds meaning and weight to certain words. And, unfortunately, this tends to seep into our relationships as well.  As the “girl” who never “gets” the guy, I have often felt less valued than say a “wife”, “partner” and/or “girlfriend”.  I generally chalk it up to bad manners, but as a sex educator I want to go deeper.  This workshop will allow us to do just that.  We will take the time to break down why a “spouse” garners more respect than a “one night stand”.  We will explore ways that we can all be more mindful of each others’ bodies and time, and leave with considerate practices to help us build better relationships with folks, no matter what we call them.  

Facilitator: La Shonda is the founder of Eunique Flow, an organization that is working to reframe conversations around sex and consent using thoughtful reflection and sex positive analysis for young adults and offers classes and workshops for adults who want to better understand the art of sensuality and techniques to connect and or re-connect to their partner/s. Read more about La Shonda and Eunique Flow here or follow on IG @euniqueflow

Sexual Health After Trauma

Sunday, 1:00 PM, The Corner
Elizabeth York

Dr. Elizabeth York is an artist, psychologist, writer, costume designer. She is also certified in trauma therapy.  As a traumatic brain injury survivor, she is well versed in many challenges of recovery. And as so many trauma survivors know that sexual health can be affected by trauma, she shares her expertise to help others find joy in pleasure.

Reclaiming Flesh

Sunday, 2:30 PM, The Corner
Lily Pond

After brutal bereavement(s) and more than six years alone, Lily Pond (aka Michèle Adams) found herself — step by awkward step — navigating long-forgotten physicality and sexuality, a strange journey . . . one that she (along with lots of others, it seems) had never envisioned. The sense of being dead yourself when you have lost your beloved is ultra common, and inherently precludes a great many things, including most aspects of truly human life. Yet, though she consciously desired nothing but non-existence, in time Lily discovers that incarnate vitality can come back, even insists on coming back, in a range of curious, cunning, sometimes cruel, and sometimes droll ways. Join her to explore/discuss how life can sometimes surge back despite isolation and crushing grief.