For those of you who don’t know, I recently got back from a training in Cancun. The training is called a SAR, standing for sexuality attitude reassessment. A SAR is designed to expose sexual health professionals to confront internalized oppressions they have surrounding alternative interests within one’s sex-life.
I’ve had so many people ask me how it was, what I learned, and so on; it’s much easier to send them to a writing than to explain myself multiple times over. As some of you may know, I like to write, so not only is this writing for reference but it is also a way for me to do some post-processing and share what I learned with anyone who might be interested in pursuing the field or questions for me.
1. I might be using ace/aro-identity as a security blanket
Sometimes, it’s just easier to say, “Oh, no. I’m not being selective, it’s just my orientation”. It’s also easier to avoid working through my sexual trauma by just rejecting my sexuality in its totality. And finally, it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to tell people I’m ace than admitting that I just don’t like people.
2. I have never felt more validated in my chosen profession than surrounded by other sexuality professionals
No offense to anyone who might be in my inner circles, but talking about the science, philosophy, physiology, or psychology of sexuality with ya’ll just doesn’t feed that hunger like it does when I engage with people who also have committed their lives to the profession.
3. The lines of consent are easily influenced by our environments
Ya’ll might not like me after this one, but whatever. So, consent came up a lot over the course of this SAR; not only did it manifest in a formal setting within the training, but it also manifested itself at different times due to the environment we were in–this environment happened to be a topless resort in Cancun during a swinger takeover week. Even though we may hold steadfast to our boundaries in environments we are familiar with, it can be more difficult to do when you’re in an environment that is designed to push those boundaries. Another thought, and I’m gonna keep this short and sweet for the sake of the post though: beastiality. Most people would say that an animal can’t consent to have sexual relations with another human, but an animal also does not consent to be worn as a fur coat, eaten and drizzled in a peppercorn sauce, or bred just for babies to be profited off of. That particular example really had me thinking of consent in a different light. Keep in mind, none of us are advocating for the right to fuck an animal, but it brings up a good question: where does consent begin and end? Or, is it that we are taking advantage of their vulnerability?
4. Even though we are professionals, we are also sexual beings, and we shouldn’t have to give either one up
Ahh yes, this was a beautiful moment: blurring the lines between professionalism and sexuality. It begs such an important question! Why are professionals required and expected to be less-than-sexual beings? And what kind of sexual light, or how bright, are we allowed to see our professional supervisors, colleagues, coworkers, or peers? I for one thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see all the beautiful, confident, naked, intelligent, and professional bodies around me; by creating such visible vulnerability, the space became one of deepened acceptance and exploration.
5. I’ve never thought of my intelligence, beauty, and confidence as something that might create an unequal balance in power between myself and any given individual, but it totally does
We talk a lot about power differentials in the kink world, and how when a newbie enters the scene, there are people who will utilize their power, social capital, knowledge, whatever you wanna call it, to basically manipulate the newbie into feeding their own selfish desires. Well, I walked away from this SAR with a new understanding of the kind of power that I have over someone who might see my beauty, confidence, disposition, and intelligence as something to be looked up to. This is something I want to be more conscious of when I’m interacting with people who may not know me very well, or have heard of me. It’s almost impossible to create a completely balanced power exchange in a situation like that, but by acknowledging it we begin to take steps towards a more balanced goal.
Overall, I am proud of myself for choosing this profession in addition to being incredibly blessed with the privilege to do so. I look forward to developing the professional relationships I created during the training, as well as, developing my own professional practice to serve my community as best I can.