Just Pleasure: Revolutionary Approaches to the Erotic
I find more and more women-identified-women brave enough to risk sharing the erotic’s electrical charge without having to look away, and without distorting the enormously powerful and creative nature of that exchange. Recognizing the power of the erotic within our lives can give us the energy to pursue genuine change within our world.
Audre Lorde “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”
What would decolonizing sex(ualities) feel like? Liberating ourselves, one orgasm at a time. Just kidding, but only a little. Because somatic wisdom. Because orgasmic justice. This course offers a survivor-centered space to unlearn pornographic propaganda, rape culture, and this society’s hyper-sexualization. We’ll address such concepts as the erotic as sacred, demisexuality, pansexuality, queerness, asexuality, celibacy, objectification, and sex work. We’ll move beyond both theological moralizing about sex and the limitations of ‘sex-positive’ reactions. Particularly in this political climate, it’s all the more important for us to learn anti-oppression & trauma-informed approaches to learning good consent and healing our relationships with our bodies and desires. Ultimately, the course seeks to encourage critical consciousness-raising at the service of erotic self-determination and the divine ecstasy of freedom.
Weekly Schedule (subject to change)
- Introduction to course
- The Uses of the Erotic The Erotic as Power audio Audre Lorde
- Why Sexuality is Work Silvia Federici
- Learning Good Consent zine (Consent Questions #1-83 on page 37, 44, & 55)
- Making Love & Relations Beyond Settler Sexualities Dr. Kim TallBear (video)
- Decolonizing the Roots of Rape Culture (podcast) Dr. Sarah Hunt
- Learning Good Consent zine queers, kissing & accountability essay (p 6-9)
- The Spirit of Intimacy Sobonfu Some
- The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm Anne Koedt
- Fucked Zine
- Celebration & Closing
Sept 15-17 Retreat in Bolinas
Curricular Note: It’s gonna get real, so please consider attending with intention and care. To make it plain, this work is deeply rooted and can potentially bring up A LOT of stuff. We’ll be very flexible with the schedule as our (un)learning processes unfold, centralizing self- and community-care.
Is Sex Positive Ever Negative? (article) Dr. Robert Jensen
Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma Staci Haines
Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others Laura van Dernoot Lipsky & Connie Burk
In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness Peter Levine, Ph.D.
I Heart Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide Dorian Solot & Marshall Miller
The Multi-Orgasmic Woman Mantak Chia & Rachel Abrams, M.D.
Promiscuities: The Secret Struggle for Womanhood Naomi Wolf
Female Chauvinist Pigs Ariel Levy
Assignments (All optional & strongly encouraged)
Feel free to bring plant-based nourishment to share during our weekly classes.
Please read as much of the assigned materials as possible before each gathering. Give yourself time, as some of them include suggestions for supplementary activities and they all merit close attention. If you’re not able to complete the entire assignment for a class, feel free to still attend, though. If there are words or concepts you’re unfamiliar with, try to look them up. Please consider watching the films with others (documentary night!) to spread awareness & dialogue. Feel free to jot down questions that arise while doing the work.
Optional assignments may include the following: Creating healing plans, exercises from Healing Sex, learning your ancestor’s approaches to the erotic, writing literotica, making your own personal somatic experiments
To ensure the potency of our collective knowledge-production, (un)learning, and community building, no new participants will be able to sit in after Week 2.
Please let me know at your earliest convenience if you plan to be late or miss a gathering so that we can plan accordingly. Also, please bring a journal and something to write with each week.
Recording* This course will be audio recorded, primarily for folks who may miss a class so that they can access the recordings before our next gathering. Feel free to take this into consideration as you share with whatever level of discernment you prefer.
Kwe loves herself despite all odds by Quill Violet Christie-Peters
This class and the instructor Anjali Nath were so transformative for my growth. At the time of this course I was processing deep sexual trauma that I had just acknowledged that I was holding, and this space not only opened my mind tremendously through a thorough and scholarly framework, but also helped to call into my awareness the knowingness of my being. This community class and space taught me how to be more deeply in tune with my truth and power. Anjali and the other participants did an excellent job in creating a space that felt safe and filled with so much authenticity and vulnerability. The discussions that we had were so rich and deeply personal, with each week it seeming like a new classmate was having deep epiphanies about themselves and their stories. It was so beautiful to heal together with women-identified folks around such a deep and often shamed part of ourselves that really ties into our whole humanity. To see myself reflected in women from different backgrounds and ages (myself and Ozichi Emeziem being the youngest participants) was so inspiring. –Fatima Nasiyr