By Suzie Gregory and HFC’s Sexual Joy Board Members
*Content Warning: This post discusses sexual abuse/violence.
As I’ve been trying to write this blog post, it’s been hard to come up with the words to capture the very fun and very important work we are doing as we build HFC’s new Sexual Joy Committee.
Two critical pieces of the work that we are doing can be summarized:
There aren’t words for the liberation that comes when someone begins to understand that their body belongs to nobody but themselves.
If more people were having good orgasms, then we’d have less problems.
But really, these don’t do full justice to the scope of our work. It is difficult to capture the amount of harm that is currently being done by a society that enforces anything other than sexual joy for so many (What’s the best term for this? Sexual anti-joy? Sexual suffering? I think it’s sexual violence). I can’t speak for all my committee members, but sexual joy is important to me because embodying it has changed my life. It’s all fun and games to talk about “sexual joy” when you’re familiar with healthy ideas and safe practices regarding your body, but when you’ve only known the hostility, policing, shame, and violence occurring to bodies across the globe, it’s hard to even imagine what can be meant by sexual joy.
The Sexual Joy committee is not just going to be a space where we advocate for knowing the anatomy of your genitalia and/or having the skills to talk about consent in all types of situations, although we will be doing our fair share of that. We want to create a place on Georgetown’s campus where we can be louder than the people, places, and things telling us that our bodies shouldn’t take up space, shouldn’t be heard, shouldn’t feel safe, and shouldn’t feel good. I grew up in “Mormon Country”, Utah, where I was raised by people that may never be able to make their own choices regarding their bodies. I imagine there are many of us who have tried to scrub our skin off in the shower because it is impossible to be good enough, loved enough, or confident enough to have real joy with your body so long as something else has the power to take it away.
If you’re like us, and you’re committed to promoting reproductive justice through exploring what it really means to embody “sexual joy”, my committee members and I invite you to join us as we build this space. As it currently stands, there are three sub-committees, each with their own leadership, goals, and events in mind:
Sexual Empowerment: Lead by yours truly and Nirvana Khan. Nirvana and I want to focus on the intersection of joy, safety, and overall crafting a positive sexual experience no matter the encounter. Some possible projects will focus on fostering positive sexual experiences after sexual violence, practicing confidence in your boundaries, needs, wants, desires, expectations, etc., and integrating your sexuality into your sense of self.
Sex Education: Lead by Brigid O’Connor and Sophie Burk. Brigid and Sophie believe that having a good foundational understanding of sex leads to being able to create positive sexual experiences. Fun plans so far are pin the clit on the vulva and hosting a sex toy raffle at the HFC table. Possible events will focus on creating affinity spaces, general sex education, birth control education, closing the orgasm gap, how sex differs for people with conditions like PCOS, anonymous sex Q&A, and much more.
Queer Sex: Lead by Sydney Abele and Malin Kint. Sydney and Malin observe that sex education and wellness training are predominately heteronormative, which is damaging to those who don’t identify as heterosexual, and takes joy away from queer sexual awakenings and experiences. This group will advocate for and provide educational experiences about non-heteronormative sex, provide a community to talk about queer sex safely and productively, and uplift and destigmatize queer voices in conversations about sexual wellness.
Overall, this committee believes that if we learn to embody real sexual joy, the game will change for ourselves, our peers, and our families, both present and future. It’s also going to be a lot of fun, and we can’t wait to get started.