Our society is confusing – we’re OBSESSED with sex, but we’re SO AFRAID of it.
Just about everything thing you see in the media is ignorance or fear-based. Sex is censored, controlled, sensationalized, misconstrued… no wonder we’re confused!
That’s why access to sex-positive education is SO critical.
EVERY city should have a sex-positive organization where people can learn about sex in a factual, guilt and shame-free zone.
Here are the steps detailing how SEX+STL became a success. Take some of these tips and create something positive in YOUR community!
My friend Anna Bent approached me in 2010 and asked if I wanted to start a sex-positive organization for St. Louis. The idea started with one person. Anna is the Founder. Then grew to two. I am Co-Founder.
We both agreed to choose someone to join us in the cause. She chose Johnny Murdoc. I chose David Wraith. Now we had four Co-Founders, all with diverse backgrounds. We joke that Anna is the smart one, Johnny is the nice one, David is the cool one, and I am the popular one.
We looked for a role model and mentor – an established sex-positive organization on the West coast – The Center for Sex-Positive Culture. Allena Gabosh, Development Director, was super kind to share best practices with us. We took what worked for us and ran with it.
We started a rudimentary website and had an online presence. We wanted to be a local resource for anything sex-related. We didn’t claim to be experts, but made it our goal to connect people with whatever they are seeking.
Expanding our online presence, we created a Twitter account and Facebook page.
We reached out to the community asking for suggestions for a name for our new group. One woman suggested Sex-Positive St. Louis. We loved it and adopted the name, despite many people expressing confusion at first and thinking we were an HIV/AIDS group. We figured the term “sex-positive” would catch on. We were right.
We announced a networking meeting to the community, and immediately met some like-minded people who wanted to also make a difference. Luckily for us, Shameless Grounds was created around the same time.
Then, we decided to have our first mixer. 100 people showed up! So, within a month, we went from one, to two, to four, to 100 members!
From there we slowly grew. We made a logo and t-shirts. We improved our website. We added more events to our calendar, kept networking and sharing resources, created a Meetup group and tried all sorts of creative ideas. Some worked better than others. Our membership grew to 500.
We shared tasks and came up with duties. We opened up to volunteers. We had people in the community badmouth us, jealous of our success. We kept looking forward and remaining positive. We refused to be petty or competitive, recognizing that there are plenty of opportunities for success, and the main objective is to help promote health and happiness. Not only did we grow, but so did our community. We collaborate with SO many great local organizations – just look at our Links page for examples!
We learned that creating safe spaces for women is paramount to the success of a sex-positive organization, so we started offering women-only events and sex-positive etiquette classes for men.
We got burnt out a few times. We took breaks. We got back in the saddle again, dedicated to our mission. We could see the difference we were making in our community, and it felt GOOD!
Anna resigned and moved out of town for her career. We found a replacement – social justice activist Emily! Now we had a new Co-Leader.
Johnny resigned to work on other projects. We found a two-for-one replacement – a young couple named Nick and Nikia! Now we had MORE Co-Leaders!
Five years later, we’re going STRONG, with more than 4300 members! Our members are becoming more comfortable and confident with their sexualities, and we’re having so much fun exploring new topics and event ideas.