“Being a nerd is not about what you love; it’s about how you love it.” Wil Wheaton’s words ring true for many self-identified geeks and nerds. But what happens if what you love is “love,” or even “lust”?
On July 19, 2014, I presented a talk entitled “The Sex Geek as Culture Hacker” at HOPE X. Below the video, you’ll find my slides, references, and lots of additional resources.
Latest update (July 29, 2014): I’ve posted video of the talk as well as some resources to help answer the questions that were asked during Q&A.
- Talk Slides
- References and Resources for the first part of the talk (podcasts, cons, and information on sex-negative culture)
- Sex-Positive People who share their experiences & ideas and make things
- Additional Information about my work and experiences as a sex-positive entrepreneur
- Awesome vs. Awkward
- Questions & Answers
References and Resources
The Wil Wheaton quote is from this amazing video where he explains to a newborn girl why it’s awesome to be a nerd.
Some of these I listen to regularly and some are on my To Do list (so to speak).
- Audio Smut (@audiosmut)
- Bawdy Storytelling with Dixie De La Tour
- Death, Sex & Money with Anna Sale
- Open Source Sex with Violet Blue
- Polyamory Weekly with Cunning Minx
- Raw Sex Radio with Alicia
- Sex Nerd Sandra with Sandra Daugherty
- Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino
- Sex with Timaree with Timaree Leigh
Sex Geek Cons
- Arse Elektronika – sex and technology
- Catalyst Con – networking for educators, writers, business owners, etc.
- Sexual Freedom Summit – activism & politics
- …Not to mention a whole host of kinky cons and BDSM events! The Geeky Kink Event is one that specifically caters to nerds (although I’ve never been myself). You’re most likely to find me at the NELA Fetish Fair Fleamarket, since that’s local to me.
Mainstream Culture vs. Sex-Positive/Consent Culture
- A Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture by Zaron Burnett III
- The Madonna-Whore Complex and You by Dr. NerdLove
- Sex Needs a New Metaphor. Here’s one… by Al Vernacchio
- What I Mean When I Say I’m Sex-Positive by Cliff Pervocracy
- Consent Culture also by Cliff Pervocracy
Even in an hour-long talk, there isn’t nearly enough time to mention all of the amazing sex geeks that I know doing amazing, sex-positive work.
Sharing Experiences & Ideas
- Violet Blue (@violetblue) : Open Source Sex – investigative tech reporter, sex author and columnist
- Maggie Mayhem (@msmaggiemayhem) – artist, activist, and sex worker; read how she got into porn in Tales of Kink.com.
- Cliff Pervocracy (@pervocracy) – “Sex. Feminism. BDSM. And some very, very naughty words.” In addition to the posts above, don’t miss The Geek Social Fallacies of Sex.
- Kate Bornstein (@katebornstein) – “author, performer, and advocate for teens, freaks & other outlaws” to whom my TARDIS Tickler is dedicated. Kate’s memoir is A Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology, and leaves 12 years later to become the lovely lady she is today. Auntie Kate is fighting lung cancer and leukemia right now. If you like her work, consider making a donation towards her care.
- Dr. X. Treme of Orgasmatronics Inc (@Doctor_Xtreme) – Applied physics for sex toys! A while back, Dr. X. talked shop with me about using physics to build better sex toys. Here’s my take on his latest invention, the Ambrosia bionic strap-on. If you want one, you can pre-order on IndieGoGo until July 31, 2014.
- Micah Elizabeth Scott (@scanlime) – “one girl’s diary of improvisational engineering.” The hands-free vibrator controller that Micah built (“Hacking My Vagina”) was awarded a Golden Kleene Award at Arse Elektronika 2013.
- Tina Gong of HappyPlayTime (@happyplaytime) – “designer, developer, Pokemon master.” Tina designed HappyPlayTime as a sex education app to reduce the stigma around masturbation for cisgender women. Apple has rejected HappyPlayTime from the iTunes store — despite an appeal — so she plans to rewrite the code as a web-based game.
Additional Information About My Work
Below you can find additional information about my work and references to other relevant materials from the latter part of my talk.
- Here’s my sugru hack to make my favorite vibrator more durable.
- I demo the newest version of The Hammer (Burning Man 2013 Edition), which was also featured in Dig Boston. I gave a tech talk at Arse Elektronika 2012 about the original Hammer.
- I run a Boston-area meetup group for sex/kink-positive makers and crafters called teasecraft. (It was inspired by dorkbot, but for sexy/kinky stuff.) We have an email list, or you can find us on FetLife (free membership required).
- Most of my time for the past couple of years has been on making a startup, currently located at PassionateProduce.com. All of the behind-the-scenes startup wrangling is at effingfoundation.tumblr.com . I’ve talked there about my bigger goals beyond making toys and re-launching as a nonprofit.
- The yak photo I use when discussing yak shaving is Yak_Yama.jpg by Pongratz, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.
- Tina Horn (@tinahornsass) has written an excellent article on how the financial system screws over sex workers and sex-positive entrepreneurs. See also the tale of my thirty-minute bank account and YKINMK (Your Kink Is Not MasterCard’s Kink).
Awesome vs. Awkward
- A couple of months ago, I read the entire archives of Captain Awkward (@CAwkward), and it was absolutely amazing. I was really struggling to figure out how to frame this part of the talk until I thought about all of her great posts on boundaries.
- You can check out the whole story of my first partnered sexual experience, along with the comments — it’s called “‘My Bad First Time’: How I Learned To Love My Sexuality”.
- I’ve written about some of the awkward experiences I’ve had as a sex geek, particularly regarding how many sex-positive spaces are essentially public. This affects how I will react to people and how I expect them to treat me.
- I’ve also found Captain Awkward’s piece Notes from a Boner to be spot-on.
Questions & Answers
Here are some of the references I promised to folks during the Q & A for this talk:
- I pointed the first questioner to A Gentlemen’s Guide to Rape Culture by Zaron Burnett III. If you’re a guy and you want to learn How to Not Be Part Of The Problem, this is a great place to start.
- If you’re looking for information on sex-positive parenting, I would start with the work of Airial Clark, M.A. (@airialclark) — her ebook The Quck Start Guide to Sex-Positive Parenting is available as pay-what-you-choose.
- For the person who wanted to know what alumni can do about rape culture and sexual violence on college campuses, you might want to:
- Check out the SAFER (Students Active For Ending Rape) resource page for alums.
- Ask the folks at KnowYourIX.org if they have ideas or resources for alums.
- See what other alums have done. Here’s an article about withholding donations and another about an alumni group formed to address sexual assault policy reform.
Pingback: "The Sex Geek as Culture Hacker" video available! | The Toymaker Project
Kristen, as one guy said it simply during the talk: you are awesome.
excellent talk, very interesting, entertaining, reassuring, and easy to understand. I really appreciate your wish of reaching and helping the greatest number of people.
greetings from france (internet has no frontiers)
Thank you so much! :) It really means a lot to me that you took the time to write. I honestly did not know how it would be received — it’s not easy to ask people to think about the potential Awkwardness of their own behavior.
In terms of my vision: Thanks for the warm wishes! While I’ll probably have to focus initially on the US, eventually I want my nonprofit to offer support to sex-positive educators, social activists, artists, writers, crafters, and entrepreneurs all over the world. Hopefully I’ll be giving talks in France someday, too!
where do I get a glow penis?
Alas, this is just a prototype, and I’m not selling them. If you want to keep up with my adventures, which will definitely include announcements of any toys I do manufacture, you might want to sign up for my email newsletter. Thanks for your interest!
I came across your site by chance when looking for some information on D.I.Y. items. I have to say, I love the wealth of information here and especially the addressing of the “rape culture” in the world and what can be done to stop it. I’m also glad to know I’m not the only nerd out there who wants to apply his brains to something of this nature. Thanks for being awesome!
I’m glad you’re finding the resources here helpful. :D Thanks so much for the kind comments!
Pingback: Meet Boston’s Newest Sex-Positive Nonprofit: The Effing Foundation - Fabulously Feminist : Fabulously Feminist