Friday, November 21, 2008
If our body is our temple and people are paying to visit..
Last month I had the great pleasure of making my way to Minneapolis. It was a perfect time to be flying back to the mid-west. The leaves were turning beautiful colors the air was crisp and the sex toys were a buzzing at Smitten Kitten where I was flown in to do a reading from my forthcoming book The Tail of a Bondage Model and a workshop on DIY Activism and Queer Porn. Usually trips back to the mid-west mean being unhinged from my queer community and implanted into a conservative town in Ohio where I was born and raised. But not this trip. I was pleasantly surprised and taken in by this city and the Smitten Kitten community.
Smitten Kitten is a small women run sex toy store in Minneapolis that holds educational workshops, carries fabulous sex positive porn, and educates the public on toxic toys.
They have started a non profit organization,coalition against toxic toys and a web site, www.badvibes.org. Coalition Against Toxic Toys or CATT aims to educate the public about the toys that they are using and how to detect safe toys that are not full of unsafe chemicals that shouldn't be in contact with mucous membranes and intimate areas.
Things to watch out for include toys that have a chemical or plastic like scent. Also toys that are made of materials that are not hypo-allergenic such as "jelly" toys. Looking for non-porous sex toys, as porous sex toys can harbor bacteria and fungus that can lead to infections. Non-porous toys that are "good vibes" are made of materials such as silicone,glass,surgical steel,ceramic and medical grade plastics. Avoid toys that are marketed as "novelties".
I remember being in LA for the first time and educating a fellow model about toy safety. I explained to her if the director was going to use a porous dildo that I wanted to use a condom over it because it could easily spread bacteria and lead to infections. I believe what she told me was the director doesn't even shoot real cocks with condoms he is going to laugh in your face if you ask him to put a condom on the dildo.
After that shoot I made sure to come with my own arsenal of dildos and insisted on either using my own or dildos with condoms.
If you've ever had a bacterial infection in your "who ha" you understand my concern. And why shouldn't we be concerned? The biological cocks and cunts that we are exchanging fluid with that are entering into our bodies are tested..so why shouldn't our toys be at least that safe?
I'm currently working with Smitten Kitten to get a psa for CATT on my dvds and to get their dvd psa to AIM medical clinics, to performers, agents, and producers..as well as the toy buyer for production companies.
Since my discussion with the wonderful people at Smitten Kitten, my mind has been on overdrive on how to get women and men in the industry the information they need regarding their health - physical,mental,spiritual well being. Many girls enter into the industry at 18 or 19 and no very little about their sex or sexuality. They are unaware of what stds they are at risk for. They aren't thinking about a career path. I'm interested in building a web site that can act as a resource to models entering the business that assists with everything from FAQs on how to prepare for an anal scene, how to avoid dehydration when shooting in the heat and doing multiple enemas a day,financial planning, sex tips on ways they can tap into their sexual power, ways to communicate on set to assert there sexuality and presence, therapists and doctors that are sex positive and sex worker friendly, bulletin boards in which to post questions, mentorships available by porn performers who have asserted themselves and been in the business for a while. Meditation, tools for mental processing and stress relief. Harm reduction, tools for how to deal with addiction, and a whole section on career counseling and how performers can figure out where they would like to go from here. I'm hoping to collaborate with Sharon Mitchell and the AIM Clinics on this project to bring the greatest awareness and use of the site by performers.
I'm constantly surprised at how as performers we are given so little information on how to care for our mind and body when those are the materials we are working with, sharing intimately with our collaborators and making our livelihood from. I hope to change that.
PS... If you visit Smitten Kitten you should grab some amazing vegan chow at Bryant Lake Bowl across the street after you get some hot porn and fabulous sex toys.