Today I ventured to the Sexapalooza festival and I had a great time.
I saw several burlesque performances, a male strip show and a pole dancing demonstration. I spent time in the Dungeon watching various types of bondage demonstrations and a whipping/spanking demo.
It was a real eye opener. But the biggest eye opener was how open and accepting everyone was. Sex was on display as a part of life, no different from any other appetite. And it was assumed that everyone was interested in better sex, not just the young and attractive.
I understand but do not accept why sex is regulated to the sniggering backrooms of society. It's a natural part of our lives. We don't eat on the sly. We don't pretend to not sleep. I'm pleased to discover my attitude is not as rare as I once thought.
I was struck by one contradiction, though. The burlesque performers came in all shapes and sizes but every single one of them considered herself sexy and desirable. Watching them on stage made me feel powerful and beautiful, too. I came away energized and sensual.
The male strippers brought up women to interact with on stage. But the interactions made me feel uncomfortable. I enjoyed watching the men dance (beefcake is always a great meal for the eyes) but when they were simulating having sex with the women, I grew quickly distant.
Maybe it was because they tended to put the women down on all fours and simulate intercourse from behind. Two of them actually gathered up the woman's hair and held it while doing so. It made me want to retreat and cover up, leaving me feeling vulnerable.
To be perfectly fair, all of the volunteers looked like they were having a great time. So it may be more about me than any flaw in the male dancers' technique.
But if I have to pick, I will pick the strength and acceptance of the burlesque performers.
On a bonus note, at least one of the performers agreed to talk with me and be a source for my work on Revelations. She was an amazing young woman who got into burlesque dancing six years ago after a bad break-up. She overcame incredible shyness to become comfortable in her own skin and pasties. As someone who's struggled with my own inner critic, it's nice to see.
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