Politics and Sexual Shame

pointing finger

Content note: sexual shaming, the president-elect, passing mention of rape.

Please find a way to talk about the latest DT/ Russia/ blackmail story in Buzzfeed, without shaming consensual sexual activity.

If the activity being discussed isn’t your thing, please try to imagine what it’s like for people who do engage in it seeing it viciously mocked on social media. Or else, think about one of your own favorite sex acts, one that’s widely considered to be funny or weird or sick — and again, imagine seeing it widely reviled by your friends, neighbors, family members. And please act accordingly.

There are ways to discuss this news story, and to revile DT over it, without shaming or mocking this sex act. You can focus on the racism: how this act (assuming the story is accurate) was done as an act of racist dominance and white supremacy. You can focus on the blackmail aspect. You can talk about the grotesque hypocrisy of FBI director James Comey releasing a bullshit non-story about Hillary Clinton days before the election, but sitting on this story. There are lots of things you can say about this story other than “THAT SEX ACT IS GROSS! RIDICULOUS! DISGUSTING! LAUGHABLE! WEIRD! SICK!” — or making adolescent jokes rooted in the idea that the sex act is gross, ridiculous, disgusting, laughable, weird, or sick.

Remember when Rush Limbaugh made that comment about how liberals think any sexual activity is okay as long as it’s consenting, but any time something was non-consensual we wanted to call the “rape police”? Remember when we all collectively said, “Um… yeah, that’s the idea, what’s wrong with that?” Let’s live up to that now. If we want to be the better people, our sexual ethics need to be based on actual ethics — like consent, honesty, fairness, and harm. They can’t be based on which sex acts personally gross us out.

Politics and Sexual Shame
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The Invisible Naked City, or, The Dirty Story I Wish Calvino Had Written

invisible naked city illustration by Toeken
illustration by Toeken

Traveling south, you arrive at the city of Sex. Your road into the city is lined with cypress trees, their branches weaving together in a fragrant tunnel over your head; the ground is soft beneath your feet. Your road converges with others, thousands of them, and on your way to the marketplace you talk with the other travelers about how they arrived: the boulevard lit with hanging lanterns, the narrow trail through the forest, the caravan of traders and traveling musicians, the shimmering red bridge, the tunnel they clawed from out of the prison.

In the marketplace there are storytellers on every corner. Cut velvet is sold there, and rhinestones, and old photographs, and spices of every variety: cardamom, sweet basil, anise, vanilla, pepper in white and red and black. The spice vendors make proprietary blends, and argue hotly over them. Nothing essential is sold in the city: you can find spun sugar here, and chocolates dusted with gold, but must go elsewhere for bread. And yet its visitors find themselves sickening, withering, without the perfume they find here; the jeweled sandals; the jeweled collar; the mulled wine; the crimson sash embroidered with silver thread; the blend of spices from their favored vendor, the one under the silk canopy of cobalt blue. Even the absence of hunger is hunger here, and travelers drug themselves with pastilles and creams, not to stave off hunger, but to spark it. They will save their earnings for months for a visit to the city, and go without bread, and consider it a bargain.

*****

Thus begins my story for Persistent Visions magazine, The Invisible Naked City, or, The Dirty Story I Wish Calvino Had Written. To read more, read the rest of the story. Enjoy! (Illustration by Toeken for Persistent Visions. Content note: explicit sex, including kinky sex; brief passing mentions of suicide and murder.)

The Invisible Naked City, or, The Dirty Story I Wish Calvino Had Written

Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time Sat. Dec. 10 – Benefit for St. James Infirmary! EDIT: Now at Center for Sex and Culture!

godless-perverts-holiday-fun-time-csc

LOCATION CHANGE! The Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time party is now at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St. in San Francisco, between 9th and 10th Streets, near the Civic Center BART station.

Godless Perverts is throwing our annual Holiday Fun Time party on Saturday, December 10, 8-11 pm! Who says the holidays are only for the believers? Just as families don’t stop giving presents after the kids realize that Santa is a fake, the godless can have a great time during the holidays even without any gods, deities, angels, or spirits watching over them. And Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time is just the place to do it! It’s at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St. in San Francisco, between 9th and 10th Streets, near the Civic Center BART station. (Yes, the location has changed! This is the new, correct location.) And this year, we’re making it a fundraiser for St. James Infirmary, the health clinic for sex workers in San Francisco!

We’ll have:

Festive food and drink! It’s a potluck: we’ll provide food, but we’d love to add your holiday treats to the buffet.
Adorably ridiculous icebreaker games!
Atheist holiday songs, celebrating the improper, twisted, and just plain silly!
Door prizes, including books and DVDs that are godless, pervy, or both!

And this year, Donna will be doing debaptisms! In fact, she’ll undo any religious initiation ceremony you like. Baptisms, confirmations, Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, Wiccanings — you name it, she’ll undo it! Donna is a fully certified Humanist celebrant, so when you’re debaptised, you stay that way.

Blasphemous costumes, sexy costumes, awesome combinations of the above, and other festive garb are encouraged, but by no means required.

This year’s party is a benefit for St. James Infirmary. St. James is a unique healthcare resource, even in San Francisco. Founded by and for sex workers, they provide free, compassionate and nonjudgmental healthcare and social services for current and former sex workers of all genders and sexual orientations. We wholeheartedly support the organization, and we want to help them out. So all donations collected at the party will go directly to St. James Infirmary.

We’re asking for donations of $10-$20 at the door — but please just donate what you can, whether that’s less than $10, or more than $20. (We’re also collecting funds now to cover the costs of throwing the party — please help make it happen if you can!)

Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time is at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St. in San Francisco, between 9th and 10th Streets, near the Civic Center BART station. (Please note the new, correct location!) Saturday, December 10, 8:00 to 11:00 pm. We hope to see you there!

Godless Perverts Holiday Fun Time Sat. Dec. 10 – Benefit for St. James Infirmary! EDIT: Now at Center for Sex and Culture!

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Dec. 6! Discussion topic: Participating in a Resistance Movement

godless-perverts-social-club-dec-6-for-website

Godless Perverts is having a Social Club in San Francisco at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th St., on Tuesday, December 6! 7-9 pm. Our discussion topic: Participating in a Resistance Movement.

How can atheists and alt-sex people participate in a resistance movement? What do we uniquely have to offer? Some of us have limited time, resources, abilities — what can we do? In the coming months and years, more people will be needing more help — how can we step up our game and help them, without burning out? What can we do to resist white supremacy, misogyny, anti-queer hatred, anti-trans hatred, and other forms of systematic oppression? What can we learn from the history of other resistance movements? How can we take care of each other?

Note: This meetup is open to all nonbelievers, and all believers supportive of our mission, who want Godless Perverts to be part of a resistance movement in the new world. If that doesn’t describe you, please consider whether this particular meetup is the right one for you, and please don’t attend just to argue against this goal. Thanks.

Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers.

So please join us! Hang out with other nonbelievers and chat about sex, sexuality, gender, atheism, religion, science, social justice, pop culture, and more. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. Continue reading “Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Dec. 6! Discussion topic: Participating in a Resistance Movement”

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Dec. 6! Discussion topic: Participating in a Resistance Movement

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Tues. Nov. 1 — Game Night!

godless-perverts-social-club-nov-1-for-website

Godless Perverts is having another game night on Tuesday, November 1! 7-9 pm. These are big fun, and they’re becoming some of our most well-attended events — so we’re making it a regular event. Wicked Grounds has a huge stash of games including chess and checkers, Cards Against Humanity, Scrabble, Fluxx, Slash, Gloom, Snake Oil, and much, much more. (If you decide to play CAH, please be cautious; it can be a really hard game between people who don’t know each other and aren’t familiar with each others’ limits and triggers.) Feel free to bring your own games if you’re not sure that Wicked Grounds has a copy of your favorite. So please join us at Wicked Grounds, the kink cafe and boutique, at 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month. Hope to see you there!

All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Tues. Nov. 1 — Game Night!

Greta Speaking in Houston Thursday, October 20!

rice-university-logo

I’m speaking in Houston at Rice University on Thursday, October 20! The topic: Atheism and Sexuality. It’s free and open to the public. If you’re in the area, I hope to see you soon!

CITY: Houston, TX
DATE: Thursday, October 20
TIME: 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
TOPIC: Atheism and Sexuality
SUMMARY: The sexual morality of traditional religion tends to be based, not on solid ethical principles, but on a set of taboos about what kinds of sex God does and doesn’t want people to have. And while the sex-positive community offers a more thoughtful view of sexual morality, it still often frames sexuality as positive by seeing it as a spiritual experience. What are some atheist alternatives to these views? How can atheists view sexual ethics without a belief in God? And how can atheists view sexual transcendence without a belief in the supernatural?
LOCATION: 119 Humanities Building, Rice University, 6100 Main St, Houston, TX
HOST: Rice University
COST: Free, and open to the public
EVENT URL: https://events.rice.edu/index.cfm?EventRecord=30466

Greta Speaking in Houston Thursday, October 20!

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF! Discussion topic: The Future of Godless Perverts

godless-perverts-social-club-oct-4-for-website-1

We’re having a Godless Perverts Social Club in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 4! We have a specific discussion topic this time: The Future of Godless Perverts. Where do you want to see Godless Perverts in a year, two years, five years? Godless Perverts is incorporating as a non-profit — and when we do, we’ll be able to take on new and different kinds of projects. What ideas do you have? What would you want to participate in? Chris and Greta will be presenting our own ideas, and taking suggestions from the community.

Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. So please join us! Hang out with other nonbelievers and chat about sex, sexuality, gender, atheism, religion, science, social justice, pop culture, and more. All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome.

We meet on the first Tuesday of every month at Wicked Grounds, 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, although we do ask that you buy food and/or drink at the venue if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce. Continue reading “Godless Perverts Social Club in SF! Discussion topic: The Future of Godless Perverts”

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF! Discussion topic: The Future of Godless Perverts

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Tuesday Sept. 6 – Game Night!

Godless Perverts Social Club Game Night Sept 6

Godless Perverts is having another game night in San Francisco on Tuesday, September 6! These are big fun, and they’re becoming some of our most well-attended events — so we’re making it a regular event. As you may have noticed, Wicked Grounds has a huge stash of games including chess and checkers, Fluxx, Slash, Scrabble, Snake Oil, Gloom, and much, much more. Feel free to bring your own games if you’re not sure that Wicked Grounds has a copy of your favorite. So please join us at Wicked Grounds, the kink cafe and boutique, at 289 8th Street at Folsom in San Francisco (near Civic Center BART). 7-9 pm. Admission is free, but we ask that you buy food and/or drink at the cafe if you can: Wicked Grounds has beverages, light snacks, full meals, and milkshakes made of literal awesome sauce. We meet at Wicked Grounds on the first Tuesday of every month: we also meet in Oakland at Rudy’s Can’t Fail, on the third Thursday.

All orientations, genders, and kinks (or lack thereof) are welcome. Community is one of the reasons we started Godless Perverts. There are few enough places to land when you decide that you’re an atheist; far fewer if you’re also LGBT, queer, kinky, poly, trans, or are just interested in sexuality. And the sex-positive/ alt-sex/ whatever- you- want- to- call- it community isn’t always the most welcoming place for non-believers. Godless Perverts is committed to feminism, diversity, inclusivity, and social justice. We seek to create safe and welcoming environments for all non-believers and believing allies who are respectful of the mission, and are committed to taking positive action to achieve this.

Godless Perverts presents and promotes a positive view of sexuality without religion, by and for sex-positive atheists, agnostics, humanists, and other non-believers, through performance events, panel discussions, social gatherings, media productions, and other appropriate outlets. Our events and media productions present depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities — including positive, traumatic, and complex experiences — focusing on the intersections of sexuality with atheism, materialism, skepticism, and science, as well as critical, questioning, mocking, or blasphemous views of sex and religion.

Godless Perverts Social Club in SF Tuesday Sept. 6 – Game Night!

“We are a miniscule piece”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

"We are a miniscule piece of the matter and energy of the universe, looking carefully at some of the rest of the matter and energy, and asking, "How would you like to get off?""

“We are a miniscule piece of the matter and energy of the universe, looking carefully at some of the rest of the matter and energy, and asking, ‘How would you like to get off?'”
-Greta Christina, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life
(from Chapter 50, “To Give Itself Pleasure: An Atheist View of Sexual Transcendence”)

(Image description: above text, superimposed over image of bed)

I’m making a series of memes/ inspirational poster thingies with my favorite quotes from my new book, The Way of the Heathen: Practicing Atheism in Everyday Life. Please feel free to share this on social media, or print it and hang it on your wall if you like. (The image above is pretty big: you can click on it to get a bigger size if you like.)

Way of the Heathen cover
The Way of the Heathen is available in ebook on Amazon/Kindle and on Smashwords for $7.99. The audiobook is at Audible. The print edition is at Amazon and Powell’s Books, and can be ordered or carried by pretty much any bookstore: it’s being wholesaled by Ingram, Baker & Taylor, IPG, and bookstores can buy it directly from the publisher, Pitchstone Publishing. Check it out, and tell your friends!

“We are a miniscule piece”: Meme from The Way of the Heathen

Godless Perverts Story Hour in SF, Saturday August 27!

Godless Perverts Story Hour Aug 27

We have a Godless Perverts Story Hour coming up in San Francisco on Saturday, August 29! The Story Hour is the performance/ entertainment/ literary reading branch of the Godless Perverts empire — we’ll be bringing you depictions, explorations, and celebrations of godless sexualities, as well as critical, mocking, and blasphemous views of sex and religion. And we’re very excited to be bringing in an out-of-town performer — Heina Dadabhoy!

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy spent their childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in their right mind would have believed that they would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist and a pansexual genderqueer switch to boot. Heina has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007, and on the national stage since 2011. You may have heard them at Skepticon, the American Atheists National Convention, the Huffington Post Live, and Have Your Say on the BBC World Service or read about them in the New York Times.

Our other readers and performers for the evening include Donna Jay, Juba Kalamka, Ember Atwell, Michaela Goldhaber, and co-hosts Greta Christina and Chris Hall.

Juba Kalamka 100
Ember Atwell 100
Michaela Goldhaber
Greta Christina 100
Chris Hall 100

So please join us at the for an evening about how to have good sex without having any gods, goddesses, spirits, or their earthly representatives hanging over your shoulder and telling you that you’re doing it wrong. The evening’s entertainment will have a range of voices — sexy and serious, passionate and funny, and all of the above — talking about how our sexualities can not only exist, but even thrive, without the supernatural.

The event is at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St. in San Francisco, near Civic Center BART. It’s on Saturday, August 29, starting at 7:00 pm. Admission is a sliding scale, $10-$20, with no-one turned away for lack of funds. Proceeds go to the Center for Sex and Culture. Hope to see you there!

Godless Perverts Story Hour in SF, Saturday August 27!