The Summit is Coming! The Summit is Coming!
No two days are alike at my job at Good Vibrations — there’s always a different interview topic, customer question to answer, presentation to give. But this Saturday will be a rare one indeed, and even more fabulous than usual: I welcome eighteen terrific thinkers, writers, activists, academics, and inspiring colleagues to the first-ever Good Vibrations Sex Summit!
Coming just before an election that blesses — or maybe I should say curses — us with even more opportunity than usual to consider issues of sexuality and gender as inextricably threaded into the political process, the Sex Summit brings together great minds to consider sexuality-related topics from civil rights to media to medicine to popular culture. Of course you know that Good Vibrations and all our friends love sex — but we also take it seriously, and there’s more than enough to say about contemporary sexual issues to fill a day of delightful and brainy discourse.
When we started meeting almost a year ago to put this event together, we began by thinking about keynoters: speaker who’d bring something truly special to this day of sex-related presentations. My very first choice was Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sex research star of the 21st century who stands on the shoulders of the biggest star of the 20th, Alfred C. Kinsey — a member of the research team at the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, she and her colleagues are finally putting out well-done survey research so that people like me, who are asked every day for sex statistics that barely exist, will have much more information to work with. I’m so excited to welcome Debby!
And I wanted to work with journalist Brian Alexander again, with whom I once shared an interesting Commonwealth Club panel discussion — I loved his book America Unzipped and look forward to his brand-new one (authored with neuroscientist Larry Young), The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction. Since Brian started out as a science writer before he began traveling the country and investigating its sex cultures, writing about the neurochemistry of attraction must have been a homecoming of sorts for him.
And with so much to say about the politics of sexuality and sex as a politically-charged issue, we couldn’t ask for a more relevant and articulate keynoter than Dr. Marty Klein. His book America’s War on Sex is a must-read for anyone wanting to know what all the fuss is about, and his newest book, Sexual Intelligence, is among the smartest books about sex and relationships ever. Marty can explore the ramifications of large social issues in the relational and sex lives of individuals and couples better than anyone I know.
But that’s not all! We have four stellar panels ready to examine four fascinating topics.
Regulating Pleasure examines sex, politics, and censorship. While these topics didn’t come up in the presidential debates, everyone who’s paid a lick of attention to the political season knows that this is perhaps the most charged, fraught political moment in years for people who care about access to contraception, marriage equality, free speech, and many other issues. Moderated by my esteemed colleague Dr. Charlie Glickman, this discussion will feature Dr. Marty Klein, HIV and sex work activist Maggie Mayhem, journalist and Harmful to Minors author Judith Levine, and community intellectual, LGBT activist and passionate sex-positive thinker Carmen Vázquez.
Outspoken/Unsaid looks at sex and the media — the ways we learn about sexuality-related issues, the ways we do, and don’t, get an accurate read on sexual diversity and the many ways sex is dealt with by the press. Moderated by passionista Abiola Abrams, we’ll welcome Brian Alexander to share his experience in the media and his take on these issues; he’ll be joined by women’s studies professor Dr. Mireille Miller-Young, porn scholar Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, Ph.D, and Jaclyn Friedman, author and Executive Director of Women, Action & the Media.
Pills, Profits and Pleasures covers issues associated with sexual health and pharmaceuticals — essentially, the medicalization of sex and gender. I’m moderating this examination of the role of sexuality in health and the role of the medical model in shaping our understandings of “normalcy” and well-being. I’m joined by Dr. Debby Herbenick, Scarleteen founder Heather Corinna, filmmaker Liz Canner (whose Orgasm, Inc. explores these issues), and social justice activist and expert in transgender health Yoseñio V. Lewis.
Finally, Sexual Stargazing covers sex and popular culture. From TV to tabloids, mainstream movies to explicit video, pop culture also helps shape people’s understanding of sexuality, sexual norms and possibilities, and is a significant source, like it or not, of sex information. Salon columnist Tracy Clark-Flory will help us unpack these topics with professor Lynn Comella (whose work encompasses media and pop culture), love columnist Abiola Abrams, and Sex with Emily’s Emily Morse; the panel will be moderated by popular sex and relationship speaker Reid Mihalko.
And that’s not even all, because we expect the post-Summit reception to be the site of some of the most interesting conversations we’ll have in a day packed with very fabulous conversations and talks.
Come join us at the Summit! Get your ticket here; there are still a few left, I am told. And if you can’t make it to SF this weekend, follow us on Twitter — the Summit hashtag is #sexsummit, and our live-Tweeters, Jayme Waxman, William Winters, Laci Green, Sabrina Morgan, and Jaclyn Friedman (when she’s not onstage herself) will keep you apprised of all the most quotable quotes and interesting conversations. The next best thing to being there, except we can’t tweet you a drink at the after-party. Plus we’ll add video highlights and links to Summit press coverage on the website, so bookmark it to hear more about the event after the fact.
Good Vibrations would like to thank the following sponsors for making the Sex Summit possible: the conference and reception is co-presented by We-Vibe and sponsored by Glyde Condoms, Trojan Vibrations, Aneros, Vibratex, Blossom Organics, the Museum of Sex, and media partner the Center for Sex & Culture.