Her Guide To Life

An Unofficial Guide to Staying Sane(ish) in your 20s

Monday, 17 April 2017

Females 'Fess Up: Sex and the Scarlet Ladies #SLTpanel

A couple of weeks ago I headed from my workplace to the Duke and Duchess in central London to my first ever Scarlet Ladies Talk panel. If you haven't heard of them before, Scarlet Ladies Talk is a female members club that holds panel talks and events that frankly, openly and honestly discuss sex, femininity, 'femaleness' and everything in between in a safe, non-judgmental space.

The panel on this occasion was made up of Franki Cookney, a married and pregnant polyamorous journalist, Catherine Dunworth, boss at all things tantric, Alyssa Black, kinkster and trans activist, and Jannette Davies, a masturbation evangelist and half of the founding team behind Scarlet Ladies. The panel was moderated by Alix Fox, who is an absolutely hilarious sex educator and journalist.

L to R: Jannette, Catherine, Alix, Alyssa and Frankie
The title of this panel was 'Females 'Fess Up'. The idea was simple - females (and, for the first time ever, there were also some men present in the audience) sharing stories, ideas, and questions around sex and sexual experience. Topics discussed included polyamory, the different types of orgasm, kink, porn and the role of technology, lube, masturbating before/after sex, consent, having different libidos with your partner, sex education in schools, and so much more.

Cocktails that looked like boobies were drunk
Holy shit, guys - I learnt SO much. I learned what a cervical orgasm is. I learnt what a urinary orgasm was. I was made to think more complexly about the idea of consent - like, if you're not in the mood for sex at the start of your partner getting kissy with you but then become turned on, is that coercion? I learned from a porn director sitting in the audience that icing sugar is used for cum sometimes. I learned that you shouldn't use coconut oil-based products as lube (it disrupts your natural bacteria). And the list goes on. If I thought I was clued up on sex before I went in there - damn. I don't even know the HALF of it (and really, now that I think about it, as an able-bodied, monogamous, mostly straight cis woman - of course I wouldn't).

Every single one of the contributors (plus Alix, who is an ambassador for Brook) spoke candidly about their experiences, what they wanted from female sexuality, how the conversation around female sexuality was changing and what we could each do to help this shift in a positive way. It was so great to be around so much positive energy and informed, smart women who were all working towards the same goal.

And look, I'm not a prude. I'm really, really not. But I'll admit straight up that I was a bit nervous about being dragged into something I didn't feel comfortable with. And this just wasn't the case AT ALL. You wanted to ask a question, raise a topic for discussion, or add something to what's already being said? You go for it. You wanna sit there, drink a cocktail, and literally just listen to the conversation around you? Fair. That's cool too.

At the end of the night, despite arriving there in a somewhat shitty mood, I really didn't want to leave. It just felt like thirty or so friends in a room together, hanging out, talking about orgasms. You know. Like a big sleepover almost. Everybody was respectful of everybody else, opinions were listened to, stories were shared, and a giant vibrator was included in a tombola at the end of the night.

It was just a really open, honest, inclusive, and FUN evening. We also all got given a box of goodies at the end, including condoms, lube, and bath oils. Plus, there was a HUGE picture on Frida Kahlo on the wall behind us the whole time. Bonus points.

Anywhere that has a mural of Frida Kahlo is OK in my book
The next panel being held by Scarlet Ladies is on May 2nd. If you're looking for an alternative to a night in the pub, on the sofa or in a club, and you're interested in sex and body positivity (the next panel is titled 'Body Positive Sex'), I seriously recommend you get a ticket. You'll have a lot of laughs, listen to some seriously smart women talking positively and openly about sex, and hey, maybe you'll even come away with your own mains-powered vibrator.

You can follow Scarlet Ladies on Twitter to keep up with what they're doing here.

Hannah x

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