The Stoned Chrysalis

For the Woke and Waking

Interview with Noni Cragg of The Rough Period

Aimee Vincent
Noni-Cragg.jpg
Noni Cragg: Noni is an incredible woman, artist, model, indigenous activist and now a not for profit grass roots organiser... Her newest venture ‘The Rough Period’ has a mission that is as simple as it is necessary: To provide Sydney’s homeless women with safe sanitary products

I know you are very aware of the systematic racism within this country - particularly towards First Nations People. I’d love to know what your experience been like within the art world and the general white washed world as an indigenous woman in this country? 

(Feel free to drop some much needed knowledge for those who are unaware of Australias deeply racist roots)

 

It isn't difficult to see that Australia is a deeply racist and sexist country and the the Art World within does not escape this fact. There are a lot of issues with gallery representation, press coverage, auction price differentials and inclusions in permanent-collection displays and solo-exhibition programs. 

"The more closely one examines art-world statistics, the more glaringly obvious it becomes that, despite decades of postcolonial, feminist, anti-racist, and queer activism and theorizing, the majority continues to be defined as white, Euro-American, heterosexual, privileged, and, above all, male. Sexism is still so insidiously woven into the institutional fabric, language, and logic of the mainstream art world that it often goes undetected." - Maura Reilly 

ArtReview’s 2016 Power 100 list of the “most influential people in the contemporary art world” was 32% women, 70% white, and 51% European. Currently over 75% of Students in the Arts in Australia are Female, but we are still not seeing equal representation or investment when we consider that in 2011 of the top 100 Auction Sales that year, all artists were male. Society still reveres predominately white, heterosexual, priviledged males in the arts and they get paid a lot. ANGSW even makes these attitudes clear when we consider The Indigenous Collection is pretty much in the basement and women artists only make up 34% of the collection in Australian State Museums.

Galleries like Boomali, Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency Aboriginal Corporation and collectives such as The Guerrilla Girls and The Ladies Network exist out of a necessity to provide a platform for artists who are otherwise severely under represented if at all. Also looking at Australian Media and News Outlets we see the damaging and disrespectful portrayals of Aboriginal People and people of ethnic backgrounds in Australia. If it is not straight up racism and sexism, it is people being passive and pretty much giving consent through their silence because they probably benefit in some way from the established system.

 

 

It is so important to show up for First Nations people whether it be protesting, sharing knowledge and making sure to always call bullshit when faced with racism and bigotry. What kind of role has this activism played in your life?

 

Activism is about being present in your community and taking action to bring about political and social change. Silence and inaction is consent to injustice. Protesting and sharing knowledge is so important for facilitating change. Activism has shown me that plenty of people want change and that we are capable of it but you've got to be willing to fight for it and be loud about it.

 

How have you weaved your culture into your artwork and has art helped you to explore culture or vice versa? 

 

Art has undoubtedly helped me explore not only my own culture but the culture of others, in particular that of first nations people. It is important to learn about not only your own customs, traditions, land, lore, religion/spirituality, history, celebrations and ceremonies but those of other cultures as well. I take most of my inspiration from these elements of culture of each person who sits for me.

waangengafinalpainting-686x1024.jpg

 

Modelling. Lets talk about it. You’re probably one of the realest bitches I know, whats your opinion on diversity within the modelling industry?

 

The Australian fashion Industry for the most part is not choosing models of colour for their runways, there are very few women of colour on the runway at Fashion Week each year. In 2014 the first Indigenous Fashion Week was held and the following year when interviewed whether the industry supported Indigenous women this is what Supermodel Samantha Harris had to say "Indigenous Fashion Week happened last year. I saw so many beautiful Aboriginal girls. I don't understand why there aren't more young [Aboriginal] girls on the catwalk,"  The fact the event was seperate from MBFWA is disappointing in itself. The Fashion Industry is more talented at appropriating culture often choosing tokenism over legitimate representation. Diversity and representation matter and many of the models and designers that are challenging industry standards are often neglected and rarely acknowledged by mainstream News and Media Outlets.

 

Now brings us to your newest venture; The Rough Period. Can you please tell us about this incredibly simple but so damn important concept:

 

The Rough Period consists of Jasmine Coronado, Amber Sisson and myself. We have a very simple objective and that is to provide women sleeping rough in Sydney with safe and clean sanitary items. No woman should have to choose between food and essential menstruation items due their period. We want our work to challenge the way Australian’s talk about periods and homelessness as well as hopefully remove some of the stigma and taboo status around issues of Womens Health and Homelessness.

 

What inspired this initiative and could you drop some knowledge about female homelessness within this country?

Jasmine Coronado and myself discussed an image I reposted on Facebook of a handbag with a caption suggesting that rather than throw away old handbags you could fill them with essential items for ladies and give them to women sleeping rough in your city. We got chatting to some our mates and had them donate pads, tampons and toiletries. Later that month the week before Christmas Jasmine and I went out to distribute these care packages and found that the issue was even larger than we initially imagined. Part of the problem I think is due to the fact our government doesn't prioritise or value its female citizens the same way it does men. There are not only more services and beds available to the male homeless population but also facts such as the Government being happy to provide free condoms but not tampons or pads, and that these are taxed as a luxury item suggests these issues of gender imbalance are low priority. Also I feel there is a misconception that homelessness primarily effects men but this is total bullshit when you consider that statistics from an RMIT University study revealed that about 1.4 million of us have slept rough while homeless, revealing that around 11 percent of women had experienced sleeping rough at some point in their lifetime. “We found about 900,000 men and 500,000 women – or 7.8 per cent of the population – have slept rough in parks or improvised dwellings, in their lifetime,” - RMIT’s Emeritus Professor Chris Chamberlain.

 

How has the Rough Period been received by sisters around Sydney?

The Rough Period has seen almost only positive comments from the ladies we provide care packages too, we occasionally hear comments from a disgruntled bloke or two, but once we explain what we are doing they are generally quite supportive. and will often then point out where there are more ladies for us to reach. The Aunties and Uncles that are respected within these communities are often the ones most vocal about pointing the importance and value of a project such as this.

Have you had much support from the community?

The support from the community has been outstanding and just increases constantly. We’ve seen businesses show their support to our project in so many different ways. Daisy’s Milkbar in Petersham currently has a donation bin. We’ve had the Courthouse Hotel in Camperdown support us through their fundraising efforts with Young Henrys as well as The Cricketers Arms Hotel who will be hosting us this International Womens Day for a Fundraiser. Supporters of these events include Grifter, Camp Cove Swim, Service on Oxford St and Sydney Label Serpent and The Swan.

How can we help?

There is a donation bin at Daisy’s Milk Bar 340 Stanmore Road Petersham. You can donate Tampons, Regular pads, Overnight pads, Wet wipes, Tissues, Paw Paw, Roll on deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Soap/body wash, Hair ties, Moisturiser andShampoo/Conditioner. We encourage the purchase of ethical brands and travel sizes for toiletries to keep care packages light for the ladies.  You can drop products for care packages at this location during business hours. Supporters can also direct message the Instagram page for a postal address to send donations.

We also have a fundraiser at The Cricketers Arms this International Womens Day 8th March. Supporters can bring products to donate as well as cash donations. We will also have a raffle where you could win a voucher for Camp Cove Swim or Service. You can also buy merchandise or a drink as all proceeds from these will be going towards care packages and helping The Rough Period on its way to becoming a legal Not For Profit organisation.

 

Where can people contact you?

Supporters can contact us through our Instagram page and direct message us for further information. We hope to have a website available in the coming months. @theroughperiod

Thank you so much for your time and for sharing a little part of yourself and the amazing things you do x

 

You can find more via Noni's website here 

 

 

HEAVY METAL SEX, BABY

Aimee Vincent
For some women ovulation is the horniest time of their cycle, for others menstruation can see them gagging for sex but struggling with the taboo nature and stigma of making love during this time. Period sex can be a bonding and erotic experience for both men and women, so as we aim to break down the social stigmas surrounding one of the most natural things in a woman's life - I recently interviewed a man about his growth from being anti blood to a lover of what I like to call Heavy Metal Sex...

As a male how did you feel about having sex with women during menstruation? 

Initially I felt grossed out, unsure and confronted. I guess you think its gross because you associate blood with pain or being unhygienic. 

 

Had you ever discussed it with friends?

Yeah and the general feeling between mates was that it was a no go zone, and even with ex partners a trace of blood would be enough to halt anything sexual happening. 

In your experience how have women felt about it?

I guess they got embarrassed and it was just something that we never really spoke about too openly which just added to the taboo nature of it. Nothing really ever got resolved by shrouding it in secrecy, so it just became even more taboo and even more of a “no go” zone.

Can you remember your first experience with heavy metal sex?

Yeah I was with an old girlfriend one of the first times I can remember it happening, we were having sex and I pulled out and saw there was blood on my dick so I brought it to her attention, she got really embarrassed so we immediately stopped having sex. My ex girlfriend would completely abstain from any sexual interaction until there was no sign of blood so we'd go like a week at a time without having sex.

How did you feel about that?

I was cool about it, it was her choice and I respected that. In hindsight I feel her feelings about it definitely added to my feelings that it wasn't ok to have sex during that time. 

Can you remember your first positive experience?

Yep. My most recent girlfriend had started taking the contraceptive pill and was bleeding pretty heavily and wasn't embarrassed or ashamed about it at all, she basically said “Who knows how long i’ll be bleeding, i’m not going without sex” and was completely comfortable with it which made me more confident to explore it with her. I was able to ask questions and know more so it didn't feel like such a taboo thing. She was also really horny during this time so there was no way I was getting out of having sex even if I wanted to *laughs*

There was definitely a different smell about which was kind of arousing. I remember one of the times when she was ontop and I could feel the blood drip down my balls which was actually really sexual. I guess with any taboo it kind of turns you on more because it feels more naughty or whatever so then being with a partner who was totally fine with something others had been embarrassed about just helped me to embrace the sexiness of it.

Can you explain in detail the experience or if anything was different?

There was definitely a different smell about which was kind of arousing. I remember one of the times when she was ontop I could feel blood dripping down my balls which was actually really sexual. Every time we'd do it we'd end up with blood on us and afterwards would go have a shower together and wash eachother which was a pretty bonding experience.

I guess with any taboo it kind of turns you on more because it feels more naughty or whatever so then being with a partner who is totally fine with something others had been embarrassed about just helped me to embrace the sexiness of it.

Thoughts on heavy metal cunnilingus?

Well, its definitely not like i'd ever expected it to be with, like, coming up to find blood all over my face *laughs* I mean you don't have to be getting right up in there with your mouth while she's bleeding heavily if you don't want to, you can stimulate externally, focus on the clitoris rather than intense penetration if you want to avoid the blood. But at the end of the day it's just blood, like any other bodily fluid you're sharing while fucking and if you trust each other and know you're both healthy and what not then what's the problem? It's actually an educational experience, you get to learn more about clitoral stimulation techniques and how to work with her body. If anything it just adds to your skill set *laughs*

 

How do you feel about it now?

It's heaps raw and primal and my experience with my partner definitely flipped a switch inside me and made me realise hey this isn't weird or gross, it's human and actually pretty erotic. I remember one time watching her finger herself and seeing blood on her fingers and realising what a sexy and raw thing it was I was seeing. 

Also learning more about the role periods play in women's lives and that it’s a pretty powerful thing added to the eroticism of it. It's also just basically an added lubricant which feels fucking good *laughs*

 

How does your partner feel about it?

She fucking loves it! She's all for it and encourages it, gets off on the kinkiness of it. 

 

What would you say to your old self who wouldn't have engaged in heavy metal sex and to other men who still wont?

Don't be so suburban bro *laughs*.  If you've never done it you don't truly know what the experience is like, don't make women feel ashamed for being their natural selves and you should feel lucky a woman even wants to fuck you ! *laughs*

Witch: Sexual Deviance and Feminine Autonomy By A. Keighran

Aimee Vincent
During this time, witchcraft accusations often focused on lurid details of ‘sexual depravity’ of the accused with accounts often detailing adultery, fornication, and sex with Satan or other women. The focus on the carnality or inherent eroticism of women in this passage highlights the strong link between witchcraft and the expression of autonomous sexuality in women; for a witch’s sexuality was essential to her enigmatic power, abhorrent corruption and her menacing allure.

We are all familiar with the Western cultural icon that is the Witch. The mythological female that possesses magical powers and hidden knowledge most popularly depicted in black or nude, flying on a broomstick through the nocturnal sky or in the midst of a preternatural, and sometimes orgiastic, gathering with her coven.

 

We may, or may not, all know that the concept of witchcraft and its practitioners has existed throughout recorded history in diverse forms amongst various cultures and religions worldwide, yet this western idea of witchcraft, that is ubiquitous today, was born by the church during the rise of Christianity in the Middle Ages.

 

In an attempt to either convert or condemn the Pagans that practiced a different polytheistic religion during this time, the Catholic Church – and later the Protestant church – launched an ideological attack on Paganism that transformed the multiple gods and goddesses that were worshipped into devils and demons. Essentially ensuring the Pagan belief system became one of devil worship that was treated with suspicion and hostility, turning their practitioners into witches (or warlocks) who consorted with the devil (as an aside: prior to this point in time, there was no mention of devil worship among Pagans until the church decided it so). Unsurprisingly, witch persecution became rampant during this religiously stringent time and lasted until the era of Enlightenment in the 18th century.

 

In a time where magical, scientific and religious thought were not separate philosophies but intrinsically linked, the witch was born. Whilst both men and women were subject to accusation and conviction of practicing witchcraft, historically it was a condemnation that was deadly to more women than men. This was due to the strong belief that a woman was more likely to be a witch; as she who was made from the bent rib of Adam, was herself twisted, weak, and an abomination by her very nature.  This idea was perpetuated by the now infamous text Malleus Maleficarum, an historic witch hunter’s handbook published in 1486 by two Dominican inquisitors, Heinrich Kramer and James Sprenger, during the early stages of the witch hysteria. The book itself had a profound impact on witch trials in Europe for about 200 years – it was second only to the Bible in sales until 1678 and is now considered the most important treatise on persecuting witches during this time. Tellingly the Latin genitive Maleficarum translates literally to ‘of female evil-doers’. One of the most famous passages reads:

 

"As for the first question, why a greater number of witches is found in the fragile feminine sex than among men . . . the first reason is, that they are more credulous, and since the chief aim of the devil is to corrupt faith, therefore he rather attacks them . . . the second reason is, that women are naturally more impressionable. . . . But the natural reason is that [a woman] is more carnal than a man, as is clear from her many carnal abominations . . . All witchcraft comes from carnal lust, which is in women insatiable." (Kramer and Sprenger, (1486[1972])

From the viewpoint of 2017, such drug use and sexual autonomy like self-pleasure, sexual experimentation, and sexual preferences are not shocking acts, in fact they are both celebrated and liberating today. Yet, at that time, a woman choosing to do what she wished with her own body or mind was so inconceivable that it was considered evil doing or synonymous with the devil himself. Many women were tortured and killed because they dared to explore what we now know as personal liberties.
Hans Baldung Gruen "Witches Sabbath"

Hans Baldung Gruen "Witches Sabbath"

During this time, witchcraft accusations often focused on lurid details of ‘sexual depravity’ of the accused with accounts often detailing adultery, fornication, and sex with Satan or other women. The focus on the carnality or inherent eroticism of women in this passage highlights the strong link between witchcraft and the expression of autonomous sexuality in women; for a witch’s sexuality was essential to her enigmatic power, abhorrent corruption and her menacing allure.

 

In the Later Middle Ages, witches began to be depicted with broomsticks, particularly in art and literature.  While the idea of witches and broomsticks was often thought to relate to earlier pagan fertility rituals, there are some explanations that are imbued with sexual meaning and symbolise sexually autonomous females subverting their societal stereotypes. The broom is a symbol of domesticity, representative of the home and hearth that women were relegated to. Yet, given its phallic nature, riding the broom became a symbol of female sexuality and protest against the confinement of the domestic space. This presented a challenge to the strong patriarchy of the time: the idea of a woman using a socially oppressive object such as the broom to explore her own sexuality was a form of untamed domesticity!

 

Around the same time as the first reports of witches flying on broomsticks emerge references to ‘flying ointments’. According to a 1563 book, Praestigiis Daemonum, the hallucinogenic plants of henbane, deadly nightshade, mandrake, and rye mould containing ergot fungi were readily accessible during that time and were principal ingredient’s in any witch’s flying ointment. We now know the effects of these plants are similar to those of LSD and can simulate a sensation of flying, among other things. Yet, swallowing these ingredients can cause sickness or sometimes death, so better forms of absorption were experimented with. Particularly effective techniques were achieved by ingestion through the mucous membranes, such as under the armpits, through the anus, or for women, through their vaginas.  What better way to apply an ointment intravaginally than with a phallic shaped staff such as a broomstick?!

 

The 15th century records of Jordanes de Bergamo states ‘the witches confess, that on certain days or nights they anoint a staff and ride on it to the appointed place or anoint themselves under the arms and in other hairy places’.

 

And in 1477, Antoine Rose, known as the Witch of Savoy confessed under torture, that the Devil ‘gave her a stick, 18 inches long, and a pot of ointment. She used to smear the ointment on the stick, put it between her legs and say ‘Go, in the name of the Devil, go!’’.

...the depictions of these socially deviant women also refute the contingency
of sexual stimulation being dependent on a man’s participation and promote the idea of
female eroticism and sexual independence from men.

 

This strong association of witches with broomsticks could also potentially express the cultural anxiety about women having sex with one another using ‘instruments’ such as dildos. Witches in art are often depicted holding a long stick perhaps used as a sexual instrument or are depicted in the engagement of a variety of women-to-women genital acts suggesting mutual and solo masturbation. Importantly this highlights the sexual discourses of the period where discussions of sexual behaviours and ethics were rampant and particularly restrictive for women. It is also a time where any sexual activity outside of marriage was considered sinful or criminal, and when masturbation came to be conceptualized as a self-polluting sin and anti-social ‘self-abuse’. Significantly, the depictions of these socially deviant women also refute the contingency of sexual stimulation being dependent on a man’s participation and promote the idea of female eroticism and sexual independence from men.

 

Yet, woman-to-woman sex practices were prominent enough during this time in elite circles that they are actually mentioned in penitentials (a book or set of church rules concerning repentance) by Theodore of Tarsus in the seventh century, Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth, St. Antoninus in the fourteenth, and St. Charles Borromeo in the sixteenth.

 

Depending on whether penetration occurred or not determined the seriousness of the offence. For example, Theodore recommended lesser penalties for women who ‘practice vice’ with one another than for heterosexual or male-to-male couples. However, using an ‘instrument’ was a serious offence, since penetration was considered ‘real sex’. The sixteenth century Italian jurist Prospero Farinacci wrote that the death penalty applied only if a woman used a sex object to penetrate another woman. Evidently the use of brooms or sticks as a sexual instrument would be a grave sin and crime even without the often cited witch or satanic implications accompanying the sex act.

 

From the viewpoint of 2017, such drug use and sexual autonomy like self-pleasure, sexual experimentation, and sexual preferences are not shocking acts, in fact they are both celebrated and liberating today. Yet, at that time, a woman choosing to do what she wished with her own body or mind was so inconceivable that it was considered evil doing or synonymous with the devil himself. Many women were tortured and killed because they dared to explore what we now know as personal liberties.

The idea of the witch was born in a time of much anxiety about women and the place they had in a transforming society; a time where women risked ex-communication, imprisonment, torture or even death to explore their own autonomous sexuality. Some women most likely imagined, feared, dreamed about, or actually engaged in prohibited sex acts such as extramarital sex, masturbation, woman-to-woman sex, or used ‘instruments’ to have intercourse with other women.
Hans Baldung 16th Century "New years wish with three Witches"

Hans Baldung 16th Century "New years wish with three Witches"

 

The idea of the witch was born in a time of much anxiety about women and the place they had in a transforming society; a time where women risked ex-communication, imprisonment, torture or even death to explore their own autonomous sexuality. Some women most likely imagined, feared, dreamed about, or actually engaged in prohibited sex acts such as extramarital sex, masturbation, woman-to-woman sex, or used ‘instruments’ to have intercourse with other women. It is not a stretch to believe that this real and imagined ‘sexual deviation’ of women both concerned and thrilled their contemporaneous male counterparts, who invested substantial amounts of time and thought into understanding why women might contest and contravene their stipulated sexual roles. Indeed, both men and other women likely struggled to comprehend these problematic women and their self-governing sexuality. It also highlights the formation of certain social categories that worked at marginalising women for their ‘otherness’; a wealth of gender scholarship from the 80s and 90s focuses on the misogynistic influences of the witchcraft narrative, arguing that witches were socially, economically, and sexually marginal figures who were punished for straying outside of the appropriate gender or sexual norms that were expected of them.

 

As such, the historical idea of the witch has come to reveal more about how well a woman fit into societal norms and gender roles of that period than it does of her actual use of magic; for to be a witch was to be a woman feared of her self-governing sexuality and power in a world where women were otherwise powerless.

 

Amy Keighran

@amy.keighran



 

References

Erin Mahony, Demonic Carnality: Female Witches and Sexuality in Medieval Magic, Science, and Faith (2013).

 

Justyna Sempruch, ‘Feminist Constructions of the ‘Witch’ as a Fantasmatic Other’, Body and Society Vol 10. No. 4 (2004).

 

Qinna Shen, ‘Feminist Redemption of the Witch: Grimm and Michelet as Nineteenth-Century Models’, Focus on German Studies 15 (2007).


Dylan Thuras, Sex, Drugs and Broomsticks: The Origins of the Iconic Witch, www.atlasobscura.com (2014).

Gender Identity and Bisexuality - Mayah's Experience

Aimee Vincent
At this time, I consider my body an instrument of micro-political resistance. When I go out dressed in clothes said to be masculine I break up the normative discourses. My goal? For people to look at me and not know what I am.

I find it very interesting that people always try to validate the choices other people make. Nowadays, society is doing a better job at "understanding" that men can like men and women can also like women, but invalidate those who are in the middle of the road, liking both at the same time. Let's start with bisexuality. A lot of people have the idea that bisexuals are just confused and say that bisexuality. People have this idea of bisexuals as "indecisive people" because you don’t really **see** bisexuals: if a bisexual girl starts dating a boy, everyone says “she’s straight; she just went through this crazy rebel phase and now she realized she likes boys”. If they see the same girl dating another girl, then the discourse changes to “she finally made up her mind and decided to come out the closet, she’s lesbian”. It gives this non-sense idea that, in order for someone to be accepted as bisexual, they need to date a boy and a girl at the same time. When someone who is bisexual dates another person, the bisexuality automatically becomes invisible as a result of the classifications as either straight or gay, but never what that person really is or identifies as.

In fact, saying that the person was confused, went through a phase and finally decided what they are is very offensive and very often bisexuals disappear within the LGBTQI community.

Another problem that's rising up within the bisexual world is the idea that we are only attracted to binary genders and are often accused of cissexism (when many of us see the 'bi' part of the term as denoting both ends of the spectrum and everything in between). It is very sad to see that there is this constant argument within the LQBTQIA world between bisexuality v. pansexuality, which, once again, causes us to be left behind and lose visibility. 

I've dated man and women. I was married to a bisexual man and I'm currently dating a hetero man who knows about my gender identify and my sexual preferences. However, throughout my entire "dating-life" I heard things like "bisexuals are greedy/promiscuous/just want to fool around/cheat more". 

Being attracted to more than one gender does provide more potential partners, but it doesn't increase one's likelihood of physically or emotionally connecting with potential partners. And just as having an eclectic taste in wine does not make one an alcoholic, being bisexual does not make you greedy or promiscuous. 

My aforementioned partner has been quite understanding of who I am, and we often talk about gender-related topics. About 4 months ago I begun to not feel 100% comfortable with people classifying me as "girl/woman". Yes, I was born a woman, I do have a vagina and I love it, but some days I simply don't want to have the role of woman placed upon me (because, you know, society has gender expectations). Some days I don't **feel** like a woman and some days I want to opt out of any gender labelling at all.

Because of that I asked my partner to refrain from calling me "girl" and, at first, he was very understanding, but half hour later he asked me - according to him "just to be clear" - if that would affect our sex life. At the moment, I didn't think that question was a big deal, so I told him he had nothing to worry about. However, as the day passed, I caught myself mulling it over and over again. If he really understands my queer identity, then why did he feel threatened by it? Is the assurance of a good sex life more important than the assurance of your s/o's emotional well-being? Or maybe he just doesn't quite understand gender identity, despite all his efforts...

But gender, as we all should know, it is not the body itself, it is an interpretation of the body given by culture, designated through arbitrary semiotic relationships of what is male/female. A baby comes into existence long before being born. It exists as the subject of sex and gender from the time the ultrasound is done and the doctor says “it’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”. From that, a world of expectations is built

Our historical narratives, our founding myths of a non-historical time reveal the potential of uncertainty and, in some ways, it is recurrent in our speech. Even in the most normative ways we can think of, like “soul mates”: it is about them the myth that humans were created with a body that was both male and female but separated by a punishment of the Gods.

To think about the non-binary is not, as many suggest, thinking the unthinkable simply because one cannot use as a contesting argument the dimorphism of human bodies - after all, there are intersex people or even those who (very rarely) are born without any sexual organ. These people will identify with a gender (or none) throughout their lives according to the perception that they have of themselves and their experiences in the world.

But gender, as we all should know, it is not the body itself, it is an interpretation of the body given by culture, designated through arbitrary semiotic relationships of what is male/female. A baby comes into existence long before being born. It exists as the subject of sex and gender from the time the ultrasound is done and the doctor says “it’s a boy” or “It’s a girl”. From that, a world of expectations is built, along with impositions, colors, names, possible school life. Gender is rhetoric you are given even before birth, it is assumed and is performative. After born one must learn to be the gender that one was given: cross legs, not move his hands so much, not cry.

There is intense effort put into fitting the subject in one of the gender poles, and beyond the fitting effort there’s the escape from it, what some call “gender dysphoria”: the medical and clinical discourse that turned into pathology what is a question of identity.

Artist unknown (if you know the artist please email us)

Artist unknown (if you know the artist please email us)

When I say I am queer I am not saying that any of these gendered “ways of living” stare upon me. I can look at a man and think “Am I like him?”. And my answer is "yes, in fact, I am"... the same is true when I look at a woman. But this is certainly not the most important issue. The central question is: do we need a gender in order to socialize? Is it really necessary to live from an intellection of another in binarity?

I am not one of those naive people who say “we’re all human”. When we equate everyone we hide the deep chasms that we have built to separate us – social chasms, class, gender, religious, sexual orientation. We are not only human, this is, perhaps, just one of our many identifying marks.

At this time, I consider my body an instrument of micro-political resistance. When I go out dressed in clothes said to be masculine I break up with normative discourses. My goal? For people to look at me and not know what I am.

Modernity has brought us too much confidence. We learned that we have a “paradise” (be it religious or an utopian socialist world), we learned that science could save us, that the science of the mind could protect us from our monsters, that money could end hunger. But it didn’t work. And the reason is clear: there is human immobility, there is multiplicity. And the experience of being male or female is multiple.

Judith Butler begins her book “Gender Trouble” with a question that troubles us even now: “Who is the subject of feminism?” What is this transcendence that classical feminism gave the concept of “woman”? Do we all live all the same experiences? Certainly not. Anyone willing to go into deeper reflection will find in him or herself elements of femininity and masculinity, the question is to be happy with the rules that define us.

 

Maya - @mondociberdelia

TO BE HONEST // Exploring sexuality Q&A

Aimee Vincent

Question: I grew up in a very conservative home where abstinence was shoved down my throat and sex education was of the devil. Now here I am with a child and a husband and I know very little of how to even begin this sexual endeavour. We have great sex but it's all very basic and I feel I am very sexual but just not getting what I want or even knowing how to ask for it. Do you have some advice?

 

A: First i'll start by saying everything I respond with is only my personal opinion and from lived experience - I am by no means an expert!

 

For me personally sex can see us feeling extremely powerful and vulnerable, sometimes simultaneously and there is nothing wrong with that. It can be scary to reveal things about ourselves even to those we love most. We all carry blockages, usually from childhood so given your upbringing I think its completely natural for you to feel unsure of how to explore your sexuality further. Firstly, I would really acknowledge where your blockages come from, once you face the rhetoric you experienced as a kid and understand that your family were existing only from their level of awareness then you can potentially separate yourself from it (if you want to) and move onto your next phase of exploring your own thoughts on sex. Secondly, i'd say get in touch with yourself, take time to meditate if you're into that or just spend time connecting with yourself and asking "What do I want? What do I want?", take time to explore your own body and its different sensations - what feels good for you, try new things on your own, take time to fantasise and don't shy away from your fantasies. As long as its between consenting adults everything is ok, nothing is too dirty or weird or kinky so go for it. You could even include your husband in that part. Once you've sort of thought of some new things you'd like to try then talk to your man, maybe ask him if he has any fantasies - it doesn't have to be some big heavy conversation just make it light hearted and exchange your ideas - even if its just trying a new position or fooling around outdoors. Honestly for me once you open that dialogue everything just flows and i'm sure your partner would love to talk to you about it. That power and vulnerability I mentioned earlier will definitely come into play because I feel when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable we can find our sexual power.

 

So I guess for me the main thing is that self connection and awareness and then opening up the communication with your partner. Of course it can be intimidating at first and you'll probably giggle and be a bit nervous but I think thats all part of the charm!

 

I hope this is helpful!

Alan Watts does some great talks on sex, repression, symbolism and religion ! 

 

LOVE. SEX. MAGICK// Letting Go - Feminism and Submission

Aimee Vincent
The ultimate “masculine” energy is aggressive, extrospective, powerful, and giving. The ultimate “feminine” energy is nurturing, resilient, introspective, and receiving. But this doesn’t have to do with natural born gender, just energy. Anyone can have any amount of masculine and feminine in them. Think of it as the yin and the yang, instead of the tits and the dick that we’ve been conditioned to think control our lives.
— Megan Furey
@regards_coupables

@regards_coupables

I’m writing this with the familiar sting of welts on my back, and bruises on my ass. Why? I just woke up from the heavy, peaceful slumber that follows a play party. A play party is, for the most part, exactly what it sounds like-- a bunch of BDSM fanatics getting together and playing with fun toys such as floggers, whips, paddles, ball gags, ropes, and more. A safe space where the masochists, sadists, dominants, fetishists, and submissives of the world can get together and experiment, gain valuable knowledge, socialize, or just sit back and watch the show.

 

    One of the most difficult BDSM aspects to swallow is the fact that some people enjoy receiving physical pain--and will allow someone who enjoys GIVING pain to grab the paddle and make them “weak”. Or so it seems, because in reality, they are becoming stronger. If you have ever had a tattoo, or know someone who has had a tattoo, you’ll know that after a while, the sting of the needle becomes less painful, and more pleasurable. You know that you are getting something worthwhile out of it. You learn to love the pain. Just like the tattoo artist knows that they are causing someone physical pain, but they know that they are doing it because the customer wants it. You wouldn’t get a tattoo if you couldn’t handle the pain. Both parties are consensual, both (usually) enjoy the experience, and both gain something valuable in the end.

 

    In the world of BDSM, I label myself as a Switch. This means I enjoy dominance and submission equally. I do not participate in BDSM relationship dynamics outside of the bedroom, for the most part, but I do allow power exchange during play. I allow men, women, trans people, or other people of ANY gender who gain my trust to tie me up, whip me, paddle me, and in the eyes of some, disrespect me. However, this is what I crave. I think it would be more disrespectful to deny me of my pleasure. On the other hand, I like to exercise control. I like to be the rope rigger, the ass-paddler, and the back-whipper. There are people who trust me to do so, just like there are people I trust to do the same to me. And that’s all it really comes down to--trust.

 

The only time a man can dominate me, is when I tell him to. I give him the power to do so. Which means, I hold the power to give, and I can take it back anytime I want.

 

    For lack of a better word, let’s say dominance is the ultimate “masculine” act, while submission is the ultimate “feminine”. I apologize if you cringed at that, because when I first heard it, I did too. The  ultimate “masculine” energy is aggressive, extrospective, powerful, and giving. The ultimate “feminine” energy is nurturing, resilient, introspective, and receiving. But this doesn’t have to do with natural born gender, just energy. Anyone can have any amount of masculine and feminine in them. Think of it as the yin and the yang, instead of the tits and the dick that we’ve been conditioned to think control our lives. There are plenty of female Dommes, and plenty of male subs. This is not to say that there are no misogynist Doms and that misogyny never comes into play in BDSM. There’s some screwed up people out there. But misogyny comes into play pretty much everywhere. The difference is, submissives submit because they choose to. Doms dominate because someone chose to GIVE them dominance. In reality, the sub holds all the power. He/she/they can call their safeword and end the scene anytime they want, and they can leave the relationship anytime they want (in proper D/s-there are still abusive D/s relationships, which unfortunately, us sane people can’t do much to stop).

 

    But isn’t it anti-feminist to allow a man to dominate you? Isn’t it anti-feminist to tell another woman that her way of sexuality isn’t the correct way? The only time a man can dominate me, is when I tell him to. I give him the power to do so. Which means, I hold the power to give, and I can take it back anytime I want.

 

As for D/s relationships outside of the bedroom- I can’t speak on that. I do not exercise control in another person’s daily life, just like I wouldn’t allow someone to exercise control in my daily life. That’s not to say there’s anything “bad” about the D/s dynamic. Some people feel that they are natural leaders, and that they want to help someone grow. Some people need guidance in their life. Who am I to say they are wrong for doing that? It’s just not for me.  D/s or S&M in the bedroom, however, I can speak on. I’ve been practicing dominance and submission in the bedroom since I was 16 (I was a bit of a troublemaker, I know).

 

When you give someone total control, you are trusting them with your health, your sanity, and possibly even your life. This isn’t something to just “play” around with, even though we call it play. It’s trust. It’s love. It’s even therapy, in a way. Most of us, whether you are man, woman, trans, fluid, or anything else, have to do a whole lot of controlling in our lives. Controlling our bodies, our employees, our finances, our health, our families, our own thoughts, and so much more. We live in a masculine world, and we live in a masculine way, no matter our gender. We are always doing, doing, doing. But hardly ever just letting life do for us. So when you allow someone to take control, when you allow someone to cause you pain, you start to drift away. Your body starts to loosen. You start to go into a trance. Why? Well, it’s actually pain induced meditation. We call it “sub-space”. It’s when you allow the world to pass by for a while, and you allow yourself to just exist, rather than control. All that matters in those moments is your body and the person there with you. And you get some awesome sex on top of all of that. In my opinion, it really is a form of therapy. It’s learning the art of letting go--something most of us don’t know how to do, because of the hyper-dominant world we live in. Yes, I just compared our entire world to BDSM.

 

So maybe instead of assuming that submissives are weak, fragile people who can’t do for themselves- let’s consider them master pain/service-induced meditators. They’re actually incredibly tough. And instead of assuming that dominants are manipulative, misogynistic control freaks- let’s consider them strong minded individuals who enjoy helping people let go of their worries, and blossom into resilient, introspective, badass feminine-energy-wielding warriors. If you can take a leather whip to the back, you can take pretty much anything.

 

Megan Furey

Instagram: @dirty_soles_

 

Labiaplasty in Australia

Aimee Vincent

Artist  Jacqueline Secor

To love women, to love our vaginas, to know them and touch them and be familiar with who we are and what we need. To satisfy ourselves, to teach our lovers to satisfy us, to be present in our vaginas, to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so they cannot be ravaged in the dark without great consequence, so that our center, our point, our motor, our dream, is no longer detached, mutilated, numb, broken, invisible, or ashamed
— Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues

Australian law stipulates that all vulvas (the external parts of female genitalia) in soft porn M15+ must have no exposed inner labia. Women's parts must be air brushed to the point that none of the labia minora is exposed. This isn't a rationale of "giving the people what they want" it is literally a legal requirement because a woman's inner lips are considered too offensive. A woman's natural pussy without air brushing is considered R18+ yet the pussy without lips is M15. However testicles and penises; erect, flaccid, hairy, bald penises are, for the most part, untouched in any rating. So, people viewing soft porn have a completely unrealistic perception of what a vagina really looks like. It also kind of gets very scary here, as the inner lips don't actually extend until puberty so the vaginas they are representing in porn are for the most part - pre pubescent. This is highly, HIGHLY inappropriate as adult entertainment should only represent....ADULTS (am I crazy!?) ~ The issue of porn and media representing women as young girls has been an issue since the 70's/80's when the glorifying of the virginal, non offensive little girl became a way to counteract the rise in feminism. Twisted.

A symptom of this has been the rise of Labiaplasty over recent years due to this false representation of vulvas having only the labia majora (outer lips) and the concept that exposed labia (which is completely normal and healthy for adult women) is somehow unclean or abnormal. Labiaplasty is a procedure by which they cut off most of the inner lips. Read that again. Yeah. Cut off your lips. It's becoming one of the more popular procedures in this country.

Women are mutilating their vaginas to adhere to a norm that DOES NOT EXIST. We come in all shapes and sizes, small inner labia, large inner labia, two lips of different sizes. There is no "average" or "normal" looking vulva.

Love Sick interview with Laurel and Hector

Aimee Vincent
I feel this shift in femininity at the moment where we are taking a step back and saying “No you don’t get to tell me whats sexy anymore” “You don’t get to tell me which parts of me are sexual or how I can represent my body” I feel this really strong air of reclamation. I mean they can plaster our asses and tits on a billboard but we can’t expose our nipples if we want to?

www.laurelandhector.com.au

That photo shoot in your house was heaps of fun, what did you think of the lil collab between L&H and Stoned Chrysalis? Any fav pieces?

That was such a fun day and I love the entire concept of showing off your pieces in real life wardrobes. I mean I love everything you do but our style is super different, you’re my colourful friend and i’m the grub who only ever shops second hand so actually floggin’ your pieces with my own stuff really reiterated how versatile your designs can be. Just made me appreciate you even more my dog. 

 

If I HAD to choose a favourite piece it would probably be the xoxo pants and skirts, they are both really flattering and go well with either a comfy tee or more dressed up. 

 

As long as I've known you, you've been an op shop/recycled clothing kinda gal, what's your thoughts on fast fashion?

You know me, I don’t think too much about fashion but I think people need to be aware of where they are spending their money and how things are being produced so quickly and so cheaply. Are the companies producing this shit doing it ethically or on the backs of other people? This stuff matters. I also think individuality is so important and when we are just constantly changing with whats being forced down our throats as “cool” or whatever we lose any chance of choosing our own style and being true to our vibe.

 

 

How can we hold companies accountable or how can we as consumers be more aware of what we're buying?

I think there should be peak bodies that are seriously responsible for holding companies accountable. I mean that shit that happened in Bangladesh a few years ago when the building collapsed from lack of care and maintenence, that is avoidable when businesses are ACTUALLY being held accountable! 

 

There also needs to be a higher level of individual accountability and we as members of this society need to take ownership of our actions. Money is like placing a vote, if you don't spend your money somewhere because you ethically don't agree with their shit, then they lose out. That’s powerful. It’s important to care about and to research what you’re supporting. 

 

 You're the same with your pets, where do you foster from? 

Ahhh my pets. They are all rescues. I adopted my first dog 11 years ago and she's still going strong, albeit skint as all hell. I also have an adopted cat, bird and most recently dog, Odin who came from Rockys K9 Rescue which is the shelter I’ve volunteered for on and off for around 6 years. Amazing little shelter out in Canley Vale started by one of my heroes Merna who lives and breathes for rescuing abandoned and abused animals, of which there are many.

 Much like the fashion we were talking about before, the same thing happens with pets. It makes my blood boil. People will impulsively buy a designer animal while thousands of cats and dogs sit in kennels waiting to die. Thats some cognitive dissonance shit. It needs to change.

 

 How can people get involved?

You can add them on Facebook! Rockys K9 rescue. Also just encourage people to look into rescue pets before buying from breeders or pet stores, it doesn’t matter from which shelter just don’t support the production of animals as commodities.

 

Talk to us about Stoned Chrysalis, where did it start?

I’ve always had a passion for Crystals and sort of natural healing I guess you can call it, after years of struggling with my own emotional issues I looked more to meditation and self reflection to help me overcome things rather than modern medicine, anti depressants etc. Then one day I met this amazing older couple who really taught me a lot about the meditative and healing properties of crystals, from there I started casually making pendants which I loved doing, then went on to stocking raw stones mainly for womens health and wellbeing. Now thats sort of accelerated further down that path and i’m really getting into the sexual health of women through natural sex toys, which is something i’m really passionate about. So i’m now having crystal sex toys and aides hand crafted and selling them through my business The Stoned Chrysalis, which has been super exciting.

 

 

You're moving into a more liberating space for women, how has this been received?

Yeah, it’s actually been really liberating for me personally to be having these conversations with women and being able to talk openly about sex, our bodies, fears, insecurities and things we feel hold us back. I feel we’ve all really wanted to be talking about this stuff for so long and now is the time. So i’d say its been quite well received by my friends and through Instagram. Haven't had any death threats yet..

 

What's your idea of sex vs what the media feeds us?

I think we’re all tired of the medias bullshit. I know I am. And I feel this shift in femininity at the moment where we are taking a step back and saying “No you don't get to tell me whats sexy anymore” “You don’t get to tell me which parts of me are sexual or how I can represent my body” I feel this really strong air of reclamation. I mean they can plaster our asses and tits on a billboard but we can't expose our nipples if we want to? We have only ever really experienced a mostly male catered media and porn especially, but I think that is slowly changing. Porn feeds us this completely unrealistic, misogynistic version of sex which most of the time is awful for us women, I mean if I experienced some of the shit i’ve watched in pornos i’d be scarred for life. Not to mention the message it’s giving young boys, typical porn is like a video on “How to: be shit in bed”

Sex should be a connective and reciprocal experience or exchange, not an act where one party leaves satisfied and the other doesn’t. To me sex is the ultimate opportunity for spiritual growth and growth as human beings

 

How do you think we could move into a more female body positive space within our communities, media & advertising?

I’d love to see more women of colour in fashion, particularly First Nations women in this country. And obviously women of all different sizes who actually reflect this society that we live in. Fuck the beauty standard bullshit, we need to start asking ourselves why we aren't seeing more black, brown and asian faces, more size 12, 14, 16 in the media and advertising. Enough of the tokenistic crap, we need to start seeing true representations of the world.

 

Have you copped any slack for being so vocal about how important female orgasms are?

To be honest not really, I mean i’ve had a few gross comments left, but at the end of the day women want to hear this stuff because we all think it. I think perhaps my opinions maybe intimidate a few men but that’s totally ok by me haha

 

 I often wonder how liberated your daughter Airlia will be when she's older, what are some positive messages that you've taught her that other kids just don't get?

I guess I just try to encourage her to be free, to not feel ashamed about things. I mean obviously I teach her this in a responsible way but I just really try to combat the insecurities other people put on her. I mean I had her tell me vagina was a bad word, I met a mother who made her kid call her vagina a “front bum”. Front bum, dude. Like I don't even understand that. Airlia is such a feisty strong willed girl, I just don't want that fire to be stamped out of her. I always tell her to stand up for herself and try to give her the opportunity to do so before I rush in to baby her. She's tougher than most adults already.

 

 

How do you think social media can shape the conversations younger women are having?

Its like a flip of the coin. It’s so good to have a space where we can connect with all types of women from all over the world but then you can get into some dark shit too so it’s a fine line. I think all in all it’s a really powerful tool of connection and I choose to see the positives rather than the negatives.

 

Porn, ah yes, this question..thoughts, feelings, emotions?

I used to love porn, but i’ve always been very specific about the types i’ll watch. I like porn with real people, or people whom at least seem real. I don’t like looking at bald vaginas because they are too child like for me and I won’t watch anything that is degrading or violent. So basically I like lesbian porn with women who have ample bush hahaha

 

While we're on the topic of porn, whats your 2 cents on female body hair? 

I dig it 5000%. I also back whatever choices women want to make but personally I feel more myself, more womanly and more sexual when I have bush. I also wanted to challenge myself to grow my underarm hair back recently and now I can’t believe I ever used to shave. I got sick of being told what is beautiful and sexy and when I realised how male centred the entire conversation was I thought it was almost my responsibility to grow the babies back in full flare.

 

Female contraception vs male contraception?

Meh i’m on the pill. It kinda sucks but not as much as the other options for me. I’ve heard of some male contraceptive options that are potentially coming out including this switch that they can turn on and off to clasp their tubes so semen does get out and then obviously the temporary snip becoming more standard. Hurry up I say.

 

Why do you think there's lack of funding around male contraception? 

Because contraception has always sort of been a domestic duty; women take care of house, women cook, women make baby not come. Its lame. But true. I think because we are the ones that birth the babies it’s really fallen on us and obviously the fact that our hormones are more easily controlled apparently… I have heard there is potential for a male hormonal injection so whats the damn hold up?

 

Visit Laurel and Hector for ethical fashion

Aimee's women on top interview with Juliet Allen

Aimee Vincent
Being a Sexually Empowered Human means fully embracing your sexuality, your sex centre and your desire for life-changing sex. It means fully owning your deep yearning for connection, intimacy and wild fucking. You don’t feel the need to ‘dress’ sexy, because your sexiness isn’t reliant on what you wear, or what clothing size you are … you are sexy from the moment you wake up in your most raw and natural essence and way of being and moving in your body and spirit.
— Juliet Allen

Name: Aimee

AgeThe big 3-0

Sexual Orientation: 

Hmmm ... I have only ever had relationships with men however am physically attracted to men and women. So I’m going to go with just plain sexual.

Occupation: 

I kind of love that this is hard to answer. I’m a jack of all trades, firstly a mother to my daughter Airlia. I also recently finished my Diploma in Community Services and have worked in the social services. However, my love and where I focus most of my time and energy at the moment is on my Crystal Health and Wellness business The Stoned Chrysalis.

What was the message your mother gave you about sex as a little girl? 

To be honest we never really had 'the conversation', but there are fleeting memories of the standard 'Where do babies come from' followed by awkward stammering - pretty sure I thought the stork delivered them until I was about 9. On the upside my mum was very open and comfortable with her body and never really gave a shit about how she appeared to other people, particularly men. Men/lovers were never the focus in her life which I think gave me a real sense of independence and self assurance, which translated into my own sexuality.

Can you identify a moment when you feel you officially entered womanhood? 

I’m still entering it.

Probably when I had my daughter 4 years ago was when I really began entering the door that leads to the room which bursts into the true expansion of my womanhood. I have never ever felt more myself than I do these days. Turning 30 was also such a milestone for me, it has literally been a shedding of skins of that which doesn't serve me anymore. I was chatting to my friend about getting older and we related it to our drinks of choice; I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks now and love it - fuck the bullshit, the extra flavours and layers. I am what I am. And to stand in your power with no apologies, I believe that is true womanhood. I’m getting there.

How important do you believe it is to embrace your sexuality as a woman? 

Paramount. 

Sexuality is an extension, no, better word - manifestation, of our womanhood. When I think of sexuality I don’t just relate it to the experiences we share with our partners or even masturbation, it’s the sensuality that can literally permeate our lives if we let it, the joy that we see in the seemingly mundane. You know, you're at the beach and your skin is hot and salty, you dip your toe into the ocean, then your whole leg, then your body and your face - that is sexual when we allow it to be so. 

We spent so many years being repressed under the patriarchy, we still are in so many ways. How we are supposed to act, look, express our sexuality has been dictated for too long, so to me owning our sexuality as women is an act of staunch feminine power.

How important is self-pleasure to you?

Very. How can we guide and explore with our partners what we haven’t explored in ourselves? And you know, my body isn’t here just for other people to enjoy - I want to enjoy it too. The fact that we even have these vessels that feel good to touch? That shit is amazing, make the most of it. I think making genuine time for self pleasure is important. If I’ve had a hectic few days and I realise I haven't masturbated I feel disappointed in myself haha ... only because it means I haven't set time aside for me. In the words of the Rupaul “If you don't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

What are three things you love about your body (that perhaps you've struggled with in the past)?

My breasts have recently become two of my favourite things when I never really paid them much mind in the past, recently they've changed shape and I’m loving the feel of them, also the fact they nourished my child for almost 2.5 years? That is worthy of a deep love.

I’ve always had a funny relationship with my hips because they are wide, child bearin’ hips! As a younger girl I wanted to be skinny all over and I guess over recent years I’ve come to see them as an extension of my womanhood. I love their width and their feel now. 

My vagina. The holy yoni. I love her. As a younger girl I shaved and waxed and felt insecure about how my vagina looked or was perceived by partners, then I got into my twenties and suddenly gave zero fucks. I just love everything about her and what she does for me. Completely enamoured.

What are three things you look for in a lover?

Self worth. These days I am drawn to people who can see themselves in their strength and wear it. I think self worth really permeates everything else including our body image and how we treat other people. I’m so attracted to people who know their worth and make no apology for it.

Reciprocation in love and sex. Someone who really loves and appreciates women and sex and can express that openly in love making. A person who wants to make me feel good because it genuinely makes them feel good, and who is open to me making them feel good in return. No holds barred. Love and sex are reciprocal exchanges, you know? An even playing field of strength and vulnerability, masculine/feminine. I love when someone can feel that.

Gratitude. I walk through life like a child consistently amazed and excited by everything. You know, I see a butterfly or a cute dog and I’m like a kid. I want that in a lover. To see the beauty in the small things. Stuff like you’re laying together in nature when suddenly the leaves are swept up off the ground by the wind and you both see ‘God’, pacha, Gaia, mama nature in that moment. Thats not too much to ask, is it? haha! Someone who knows that although society can feel like a shit storm we should always be grateful for our lives and experiences. 

What inspires you to make love and enjoy sex (either alone, or with a partner)? Do you feel more inclined to enjoy sex at certain times of the day/month/year?

Funny you ask this because I’ve discovered that late afternoon is my peak time, ha. Around 2 or 3 in the afternoon when I probably should be suffering from three thirty-itis, I crave sex. Generally however what inspires me is my perception; how I’m feeling about myself, when I’m feeling healthy, happy, have eaten good food. 

Alright, to be completely straight up though, when I am feeling good about myself I am “in the mood” all the damn time. 

Do you have any particular women in your life who inspire you to be a sexually empowered woman?

Every woman I know. Even those still working on their sexual empowerment; they inspire me to be more open, push myself further with my openness, my self love, self talk and how I express myself. Women in general to me are such sensual creatures, I see a beautiful woman on the street and I feel inspired.

Do you have any re-occuring sexual fantasies? Tell us more: 

To be completely honest, most fantasies I have ever had - I have lived out.  I guess for me the ultimate sexual experience/fantasy though is making love in nature. Being naked in nature and feeling at one with her and then sharing that with a partner? Damn. That is the ultimate. Being able to sit naked together within the trees, completely exposed, vulnerable, looking at one another yet feeling unafraid of the vulnerability. Being able to connect deeply on that sexual level is all time. 

What rituals do you have for self-care and self-love? 

Meditation is a big one. Eating well. Getting out into nature at least once a week is also my constant goal, if I go a week without that connection I feel a bit fuzzy. Making time to be naked in nature and preferably be in natural water while naked - that is really important to me and revitalises my mind and body. It’s probably my biggest form of self care … if sex is involved that’s also very good haha.

I also really enjoy evenings after my daughter is asleep, lighting some insence and feeding my brain with nourishing music or podcasts. 

 

Juliet Allen is Australia's leadng Sexologist