When it comes to sex, should I always avoid the things that make me uncomfortable? How do I know if the person I’m flirting with is safe to date? Is hooking up always damaging? What do I say to a friend who’s making sexual choices I think might be bad for her? What if that friend is questioning my choices? How do I encourage others to be safe and sane about sex without teaching them shame?
All women have questions at the intersections of sex and safety. And it’s no wonder: our culture bombards women and girls with mixed messages every day. We’re supposed to be innocent virgins who excel at stripper-pole workouts. We’re failures if we don’t act sexy, but we’re sluts if we actually pursue sex. We need to be protected from rapists lurking in bushes, but deserve “whatever we get” if we have a drink at a party and wear a skirt.
In her anthology Yes Means Yes, Jaclyn Friedman laid out a vision of a world in which we all have the right to experience the pleasure of our bodies without shame, blame or fear. Her second book, What You Really Really Want, due out next Fall, will help readers create that world for themselves, in their own lives. Using research, reality-based advice, revealing quizzes and creative exercises, What You Really Really Want will show readers the way to separate fear from fact, decode the damaging messages all around us, and discover a healthy personal sexuality. We’ll build new skills for safely expressing that sexuality with lovers, explore effective ways to talk about tricky issues with family and friends, and learn how to make the world a little safer for everyone else’s sexuality along the way.
But before the book can reach the page, Jaclyn is looking for a dozen volunteers to be the very first people to ever read the book, engage with the exercises, discuss the process with each other and with Jaclyn, and help shape the finished book.
The twelve-week workshop will be run by Jaclyn herself on Sundays at 3PM EST, from January 9 to March 27, 2011. We’ll use the unreleased first draft of the book as our text, and we’ll rely on the internet and conference calls to bring together women of a variety of backgrounds.