Earlier this year, in February, my book The Dot Spot – Adventures in Love and Sex was published by Jacana and MF Books. The feedback from readers was phenomenal and quite surprising. Many parents who read the book were passing it on to their teenage daughters and sons. Since it reads a lot like a textbook on love, sex and self this shouldn’t have been surprising, but it was.
A few months ago, one of my nearest and dearest friends, Sarah, suggested book talk evenings at her home. She hosted two private functions where friends and friends of friends came to listen to me chat about the book and the conversations it plugs into. I say ‘came to listen to me talk’, but really it was ‘came to listen to me, and then talked and talked’.
Unsurprisingly, women were looking for a safe and helpful space to ask questions and explore topics they didn’t feel comfortable addressing in their own circles. It was very reminiscent of the talks I did at UCT with women’s res students.
It wasn’t a long shot to the idea of opening these talks up to a wider audience, with more targeted topics. Of course, I couldn’t expect Sozzie’s lounge and kitchen table to accommodate total strangers, so I approached Bonnie, owner of sensuality store The Bedroom, to use her gorgeous space for these events. She graciously agreed and so the ball was rolling.
Beyond The Good Normal
Beyond The Good Normal is a set of five talks covering the greatest areas of concern that I hear from people with regards to sex, sexuality, dating and relating, body, love and self.
Those who have read the book will be familiar with the term ‘the good normal’, my phrase for the set of heteronormative and conservative values, expectations and stereotypes that we are all expected to conform to if we are to be considered good, normal people by greater society.
The idea of ‘the good normal’ extends to how society constructs everything from dating to relationships, love to sex, sexuality to body awareness, and in these talks I want to take us into a conversation about how it looks outside – beyond – these narrow parameters of expression.
The 5 talks…
So over the course of the next few weeks I’ll be promoting each talk separately, but this is the ‘well hello there’ for the entire talk series. So here’s what I’ve got lined up…
15 September – Tips on Flying Solo [DATING] [SINGLE]
Single for years or just getting into the scene now? We’ll chat about the first and second laws of dating, what the deal-breaker conversation is, when to have sex, how to say no to the heartbreakers and when to say yes to the good stuff – and much, much more depending on what we can squeeze in. Attendees will choose by quick (and anonymous vote) which topics we’ll make a priority. Book here.
29 September – How to Bake an Orgasm [BODY]
Find out how your body is wired for pleasure – and how best to access what good Mama Nature gave you. Confused about G-spots, A-spots, U-spots and how to orgasm like a superstar? We’ll cover why none of this really matters, the wonder of your clit and vagina, and how to do penetration right – with or without a penis. Most importantly, we’ll chat about why orgasm and pleasure may elude some women, what to do if it does, and when to approach the people who can help. Book here.
13 October – Love, Love is a Verb [RELATIONSHIPS]
Most of us fall into relationships and monogamy not really ever having been taught that we can have a choice about either. I always like to joke that I came to healthy relationships – and how to do them well – by first doing a number of terrible relationships very, very badly. In this talk we’ll look at what it means to choose a relationship, how to foster a healthy relationship culture and, very importantly, how to create a relationship model that suits you. Book here.
27 October – Shaking the Tree [EMPOWERMENT]
Stepping into your personal and sexual power as a woman is an act of revolution against the heteronormative patriarchy. Want to know what that means? Then this talk is for you. We’ll cover what it means to challenge everything we probably weren’t taught as kids: body autonomy, boundaries, self-care and being Self centred, the power of ‘why’ and ‘no’, communicating your needs, being ok with feelings and what you need… The list is endless, but we’ll keep it dynamic within the group and what comes up as a priority to cover. Book here.
10 November – Notes From a Kinky Life [SEX]
The difference between living a ‘kinky’ life and a ‘vanilla’ one is the ability to communicate what you want and the chutzpah to make your fantasies a reality. But what does that even look like and how to you start? We’ll talk about this and cover all the different ways people express themselves sexually, where to find like-minded folks, and how to practice expressing your needs and desires. Book here.
How it’s going to play out…
Each talk will be tailored for the topic and tailored, even, for the audience attending, since each presentation is structured to include Q&As throughout my discussion. I’m looking for this to be a safe, intimate space for people, so online tickets are capped at 25 seats per talk and cellphones will be off during the course of the talk.
Beyond The Good Normal is open to everyone who is respectful of the space and the people attending.
Talks are from 7.30 to 8.30, but you’re welcome to arrive at 7 and relax into the space and stay after for chat. There are complementary drinks on arrival, a goodie bag, a little give-away at the end of the evening, signed copies of my book on sale (R200), and Bonnie has offered to take any interested parties on a tour of the store. This latter may be particularly fun for sex toy newbies who may otherwise be too shy to visit.
I’m very excited about this, largely because I know how exhilarating it is to be part of something that energises and connects people. I’m nervous, of course. It’s my first shot at this and I worry that zero people arrive. But I’m doing it anyway. Because one life and all that. So make the circle beega, buy a ticket and come be part of one of the most niche conversations in SA today.
Love and tugs,