4 minutes ago
Katherine Standefer ( @girlmakesfire )
Earlier this fall, one of my trauma writing students raised her hand. She was interested in my upcoming personal sex essay class, she said. "But what if you haven't had many good experiences with sex because of trauma?" It was a question that struck me, immediately, as one many people are probably carrying-- a reason some probably dismiss the idea of taking a sex writing class out of hand. And yet a sex life that is marked by trauma is still a sex life, and it's not just good sex we convene to write about. However humans have sex (or don’t have sex) is what we need writing about--whoever we have sex as, in our real bodies, imperfect and beautiful and sometimes battered by the world. Sex writing isn't a gloating, although some of us write with joy. Sex writing isn't necessarily porn and it isn't necessarily inspirational. Sex writing, like science writing or nature writing or sports writing, merely takes a particular act as its focus. And within that act lies the whole messy truth of being human. Any time we gaze upon a thing, of course, it shifts. To commit to writing sex in a personal way is often to see it transform before you. Because what happened in the past is not the limit of what might happen yet. Because despite how the mark of trauma can obscure our small pleasures, when we look for them we often find the tracings of trust. We find hilarity, endearing bumbling, slight empowering shifts in identity. Studying how a story can be told, in terms of craft, sometimes changes the what we see of our own story. Reading about sex and hearing others' stories of it might be what inspires us to live into the next version of our story, the next version of our sex. To step into the joy we are most afraid of. To attend to our inborn capacity for pleasure. To acknowledge authority where we have earned it. And if it doesn't, if all we do is haul our baggage into the room and open the side zippers together and describe this in crisp and gorgeous ways, our eyes meeting across the top of the bag, well, that is enough. ❤️// There’s still room in my November 8-10 intensive in #Tucson, “Owning the Nasty: Writing the Personal Sex Essay,” and I would so love to have you there.