The Power of Stories
The Conscious Sexuality Book Club was born at the beginning of the year, when various friends in the SP world took part in a production of the Vagina Monologues. This was a time of huge breakthroughs and empowerment, of speaking, feeling and being heard. Although I didn’t take part in the production, I was very moved by the experiences my friends were having in rehearsals and I wanted to share these monologues beyond the performance and into our community. These were stories of hair, rape, squirting, love, childbirth, ageing, stories of men and women, stories of hope and despair and everything in between.
The first draft of these stories was written by Eve Ensler in 1996 and they haven’t lost their relevance, as uncomfortable as it may be to admit, we’re really not past them. So, we sat week after week reading two monologues per night and discussing them, usually with a coffee and cake at our favourite sex positive venue – Coffee, Cake and Kisses. Each monologue was so rich it served as a brilliant conversation starter for participant stories, that were even more engaging and moving, shared in real time with deep courage and vulnerability. The group was small and consisted mainly of women with the exception of two men who bravely voiced their perspective bringing new depths and understanding to the issues (thank you, men!). The series ended on a high with a stellar performance of the monologues that brought Eve’s work to life – it was an unforgettable experience.
For series two, we read and discussed The Conscious Sexuality Workbook by Melissa Jerbian Fritchle, initially brought to us by Sarah Martin (the leader of SP Poland) who facilitated a brilliant series of this book last year. Melissa’s work is centred on self-enquiry and self-exploration, every page is packed with discussion materials and questions to work on. By then word about the book club has spread and 10-15 people (sometimes more!) attended each week. We explored how our family, friends and childhood experiences have shaped our sexual self, how we show up now in relationship, including our desires, fears, societal conditioning and so much more.
The discussions created new hopes about what’s possible in our sexual landscape when we love and respect our bodies, ourselves and each other. The stories shared continued to carry so much power, they triggered memories and new realisations often from the past that brought more awareness of who we are. The group was attended by cis men, cis women, trans and non-binary with a variety of ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds. I feel very passionately that inclusivity is essential to these events and provides a real reflection of sexuality as a human experience. We started (mostly) as a group of strangers and each chapter grew the trust and connection between us. We left as friends.
After taking a break for the summer, series three is now upon us starting on 8th September and we will be reading and discussing The Ethical Slut: A Roadmap for Relationship Pioneers. This is a wonderful book that will shine some light on polyamory, open relationships and other adventures. The Ethical Slut provides guidance to anyone who is interested in having relationships, in whatever form they may take (including monogamy, friendship and non-sexual relationships), the content is widely applicable and versatile. I’m really excited about this upcoming journey and what we will discover.
The Conscious Sexuality Book Club would not exist without the participants who make it! A huge thank you to this kind, non-judgmental and open community that has emerged through these series. You each bring so much of yourselves and it’s so beautiful. I am humbled to hold this space and constantly learning from your stories and the magic of our shared connection over a simple coffee and cake. Thank you to my partners, peer facilitators and friends for your tireless enthusiasm, support and energy every single week! Lastly, thank you to our venue hosts Sonia, Amanda and all the staff at Coffee, Cake and Kisses who have supported and cared for us, helping us fly the SP flag in Central London!