Welcome to the School of Unlearning.

For us, celebrating Pride means celebrating diverse perspectives and voices. And for Pride 2020, we invited some of the most thoughtful and dynamic people we know to share their wisdom and their stories. 

There is a major imbalance in perspective when it comes to our sex education, since we’re mostly exposed to heteronormative and predominantly white narratives around love, sex, gender, and intimacy. We invited our School of Unlearning teachers to share what's helped them unlearn those narratives in their own lives. They remind us all that pleasure and self-expression belong to everyone. 

Wolf Medicine (@wolfmedicinemagic)

Gender + Body Connection

“Amplify black queer and trans voices! All of the work I do – whether it be Breathwork, teaching yoga, or leading an Āyurvedic workshop etc. – it is ALL about inviting folks to connect to their bodies. It has been said that often people do not connect to their bodies unless they are in pain (physically).

For many people, pain is the access point to body connectivity. Black people are not strangers to pain (physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual), but recent events (all past events really) have me thinking so much about those in the queer/trans community. We are often left out of the narrative (and often not safe in ANY space even black/POC spaces that are a majority str8 and cis-gendered).

The lessons and revelations I've experienced recently as someone assigned female at birth who is approaching middle age, unmarried and without children by choice have me feeling an even deeper connection to my fellow queer+trans community than ever before.  My awareness of just how much I don't fit into the gender binary has been amplified. The catalyst for my own body connection shift has been the fact that I am so much more aware of how corporations, brands, media etc. want people to believe that if you are a cis woman age 40+, unmarried and without kids then there is no place for you (also, there is no money to be made off of you and your body).

I have rejected the gender binary for a long time, but as 40 looms closer and closer, rejecting cis identity is taking on a whole new meaning for me. A good one. Not feeling pressured to cover up face wrinkles ( I could seriously give zero fucks), get rid of gray hairs, correct wrinkled body skin and saggy titties is freeing as fuck. I'M NOT ALLOWING CAPITALISM TO DICTATE HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY BODY.

When we are safe and comfortable in our skin we are free.”

Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn)

Self-Love Is Self-Care

“Masturbation is my most important form of self-care. Whether or not I’m having sex with my partners is irrelevant if I’m not making love to myself. Masturbation feels like learning to love myself – because if I can’t love myself, how can anyone else? However, I’m still unlearning childhood shame. Talking about all of it, both masturbation and my shame, are how I’m dealing with it.”

Daniel Saynt (@danielsaynt)

Myths of the Male Orgasm

“For this one, I decided to focus on the myth that men aren’t multi-orgasmic. This one has been around for a while and has been supported by years of popular media portraying the ‘one and done’ male orgasm. Male orgasms are often the butt of the joke due to coming too quickly and leaving their partner unsatisfied.

While most men experience a refractory period between ejaculations, about 10% of men don’t and are able to remain ready for another round after they’ve come. Men can also experience the feeling of an orgasm without ejaculation, allowing them to enjoy multiple orgasms during play. This is done by training your kegel muscles (yes, men also have kegels). Flexing and working out your pelvic floor (the muscle you feel when you try to prevent yourself from peeing) will help you better control your orgasms and stop yourself from ejaculating while still enjoying the feeling of an orgasm. This means you can reach your orgasmic peak multiple times during sex without ever coming.

Another way to experience multiple orgasms is to consider a little backdoor play. Stimulation of your prostate produces orgasms. Many times you can enjoy these orgasms without coming, but you can also continue to stimulate yourself to experience ‘milking’. Milking your prostate will lead to mind blowing orgasms which you can enjoy over and over again.

So, what did we learn? The “one and done” male is a myth. With proper training and a little exploration of your booty you too can be a multi-orgasmic male.”

Jimanekia (@jimanekia)

Relationships/Intimacy

“I want to aggressively remind you that you are allowed to use your “Nos” regardless of the type of relationship that you have. That “NO” is a complete sentence and should be respected.

And I want to note that you should do what you need to do for YOUR SAFETY.

I also want to remind you that your “YES” is just as powerful as your “NO”. You are allowed to ask for the things that you want and need, and if they are not being heard – maybe that relationship is not the best fit for you.

I want you to know that boundaries CAN be sexy. They can assist with feeling safe as well as with trust in your relationship.

If you are someone that struggles to find your voice or set boundaries, my advice is to practice them! Practice with a friend, record yourself saying the things so you get comfortable, write them down. If that allows you to get more comfortable using these words DO IT! It can be so helpful and affirming.

No relationship is perfect and no one is perfect. But, time, effort, respect, boundaries, and being heard as well as HEARING folks can lead to a healthy and more fulfilling relationship. You are not too old to learn this and you are not too late.”

Sesali (@badfatblackgirl)

Every(body) Is Deserving Of Pleasure

“How many times have you seen bigger bodies, bodies of color, or differently abled bodies portrayed as completely asexual? Even now, it's rare that fat Black women, or people in wheelchairs are represented as love interests (or even participants in sexual acts) in popular media or sex and wellness conversations. But the option to experience pleasure and intimacy is actually a human right that everyone, including you, deserves.” 

Phoebe Dahl (@phoebe)

Questioning Expectations 

“My biggest lesson that I have had to unlearn is that you don’t have to get married, have children and buy a house to find fulfillment in life. As a girl - now a woman, we are conditioned from a young age, with influence of generations before us, that happiness and success is defined by getting married and having children. I have to constantly remind myself that it's ok if that’s not for me and to not feel shame about it and to acknowledge that there are many ways of being in relationships in life, it's not one size fits all.  

At 31 years old, this pressure is real as I watch all my friends slowly start to settle down and have children, feelings come up of  feeling like I'm ‘behind’. As beautiful as it is to see my peers blossom into parents, I am not entirely sure that that’s what I want. I don’t know for sure yet, anything could change, but the real ‘unlearning’ work  is in the acceptance of it being ok NOT to conform to these social norms, out of pressure, but being able to make a choice that works for YOU and meeting yourself with love and compassion for doing something against the grain.”

Stevie (@stevieboebi)

Ableism and Identity

In life, you never stop learning, and by extension, unlearning. I’ve had to unlearn the inherently ableist institutions and ideals I was brought up on. This isn’t easy, as society in general functions without disabled people in mind, and as a result ableism in schools, workplaces, and even the medical industry is as widespread as it is dangerous. Understanding my identity as a disabled person has been difficult, but it’s made easier with a strong sense of community, and drinks with terrifying amounts of electrolytes.

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