Me five years ago would never have imagined that sometime in my life I would pull up to a campground after a six hour drive with a person I had only met once before, scuttle through the pouring rain, and be lectured on how the little bottle that was being presented to me was NOT lube, but hand sanitizer and please do not put it on your genitals, but hey, there I was.
This campground was Abrams Creek Resort and Campground in West Virginia, and the event itself was Sex Geek Summer Camp, a five day retreat for sex educators and professionals to learn business skills. Rose of Hedonish.com is the wonderful human without whom I couldn’t have made it through the week, and Cathy Vartuli is the caring soul so concerned about not accidentally sanitizing one’s genitals.
Me five years ago would be flabbergasted at the debauchery I got up to at camp, and floored by the amount I learned: from funnel models to storytelling, to experiencing a play party. Whether you’d call these experiences “popped cherries” or “lost virginities”, here are just a few of the “firsts” I experienced while at Sex Geek Summer Camp:
1) I went to a massage party! I am a shy lil’ peanut. Generally I don’t like it when strangers touch me, so I was surprised to find myself comfortable while being massaged by ten hands at once. I say first massage party because when final exams come ‘round you can bet your butt my teensy apartment is going to find itself packed with less-than-clothed oiled up bodies enjoying giving and receiving the loveliest of massages.
2) I attended a play party! I entered that play dome all nervous and shakey, and left inspired in awe and wonder (and more than a little turned on from all the beautiful folks doing beautiful things). I could write a whole post about my thoughts and feelings about that play party (if you’d want to read something like that, let me know in the comments!). I felt so comfortable and so safe. Maybe it was the fact that everyone there was a consent-savvy sex educator, maybe simply because play parties might be a thing I’m into (who knew?). All I know is that I am feeling very inspired in all sorts of ways. Oh, and also there was a giant inflatable unicorn thanks to Dirty Lola and Liz Powell. Amazing.
3) I went skinny dipping! I had planned to wear my bathing suit, but when I arrived at the swimming hole no one else was clothed and therefore choosing birthday-suit over bathing suit seemed more comfortable, even if my pubes weren’t in their usual neatly trimmed heart shape. This was one of the many times at camp where I thought I was stepping out of my comfort zone, but instead I realized I was just expanding it. Bodies are great and nudity around these folks felt natural, not shameful. I even went back and took an impromptu nakey photo shoot with Rose and a lovely person named Rhonda.
4) I camped alone. Well, I sort of camped alone. I had my own tent (and my cozy nest in the car when it was pouring). Of course, I was definitely too much of a weenie to camp totally by myself, so Rose conveniently placed her tent right next to mine. Sharing a campsite, not to mention the entire experience of camp, with Rose was wonderful. I’m so glad she was there for support and hugs and comfort.
5) I used they/them pronouns! Sex Geek Summer Camp offered quite a bit of personal growth as well. It’s the first place I felt comfortable writing “they/them” next to the “she/her” on my name tag. After seeing a whole bunch of other folks using they/them, and discovering the campground owner themselves used they/them, I felt okay testing out my own new wonky gender-feels in the space.
6) I got to be a guest on a podcast! If you want to listen to my dorky voice talk about my dorky experiences at camp, give episode 17 of Sex on the Brain with Amory Jane a listen! I was super nervous to put my voice out there in the world, and even more nervous that I’d say something less-than-intelligent. Turns out that sure, perhaps I’m not the most eloquent speaker, but I found myself enjoying podcasting just as much (and possibly even more so) than I enjoy writing.
At Sex Geek Summer Camp I stepped out of my comfort zone, and by doing so I not only learned a whole buttload of new information about the business of sex education, but I also expanded that comfort zone and learned more about myself as well. Thank you Rose, Rhonda, Amory Jane, and Cathy for always checking up on me if I looked smol and shy and sad, Reid, of course, for all your wonderful knowledge, and thank you to all the Sex Geek Summer Camp sponsors: Sybian, njoy toys, Uberlube, Kama Sutra, We-Vibe, b-Vibe, and UVee for keeping camp affordable as well as donating all the new treasures I got to bring home with me! Sex Geek Summer Camp was an amazing experience, and I would recommend it to any newbie sex educator venturing out into this big sexy world. Thank you everyone who made it such a great experience!