• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram

Sex Positive World Ten Year

Retrospective Past, Present, and Future

Sex Positive World began as one chapter in Portland, Oregon, in the fall of 2009. It was born after a six-month gestation during which an erotic arts festival was created. ErosFest Northwest was a four-day celebration of the erotic featuring a juried art exhibit modeled after SEAF (Seattle Erotic Arts Festival), but with many added elements including 21 workshops, panel discussions, erotic poetry and literature, dining experiences, live performance art, and more. Over 620 people attended, including 100 volunteers and 40 artists. The event was an astounding success -- clear evidence that Portland was ripe for further sex-positive endeavors. Gabriella Cordova was the visionary behind the festival which she executed with a team of twenty co-creators. 

Gabriella founded SexPositive Portland to continue bringing erotic/sex-positive art, education, activism, and experiences to the people. Her vision was to create an organization that bridged the mainstream world and more exclusive and/or radical sexuality communities such as BDSM, swinging, Tantra, polyamory, LGBTQ, and others. The aim was also to liberate people from sex-negativity via education, replacing it with understanding, acceptance, freedom, and choice. She envisioned a circus tent where each sphere of human sexuality was like a circus ring, and members could explore all facets of sexuality without going outside of their community.

AND THE IDEA SPREAD

It was slow going, but over time, talented and committed individuals joined to help build the organization. Each year for the next six years, the group doubled in size. From 50 to 100 in year one, to 200 in year two, 400 in year three, 800 in year four, and so on, until it reached 2400 vetted and approved members. In 2010 a lease was signed for a dedicated sex-positive center in Portland.

In 2011 SexPositive Portland hosted an epic event at Portland’s Bagdad Theater featuring speaker and author Christopher Ryan (Sex at Dawn). The sell-out event was attended by 420 people.

In January 2012, Gabriella founded SexPositive Los Angeles. With the help of other sex-positive advocates, the chapter had a meteoric rise, and it caught up to Portland in just three years.

In 2013 SP Chicago and SP London came online, and SexPositive World (SPW) became a California not-for-profit corporation whose purpose was to help birth new chapters and support existing groups and to champion the greater sex-positive movement. A year-long sexual health lecture series was begun in Portland featuring sex educators, therapists, and authors including Janet Hardy, Dr. Paul Joennides, Dr. Marty Klein, Dr. Chris Donahue, and Dr. Annie Sprinkle. It culminated with an event with over 300 participants at the Alberta Rose Theater.

By 2014 five more chapters were going, including Reno, Ventura/Santa Barbara, Belgium, San Diego, and New Mexico (NM has since become innactive.) SPW did a Tour of Europe, bringing bringing a sex positive theater piece by Dance Naked Productions to to London, Brussels, and Amsterdam, and putting on chapter events. A Sexual Health Symposium took place in Los Angeles, which drew over 300 people to UCLA.

2015 saw the birth of chapters in Warsaw (Poland), Singapore, San Francisco. SPW launched its YouTube channel and worked on developing content.  That year the first annual SP World Chapters Convergence (Sex Camp) in Portland, OR, was begun, where members from all over came together to learn, teach, and relax. Polytopia, an annual symposium/celebration was launched. 2015 also saw the completion of SPW’s Operations Manual and training protocols for chapter use. SPW hosted a camp at Burning Man, which included a production of Dance Naked Productions, Gabriella spoke at Portland’s Slutwalk, and Slutty Prom was created. Additionally, SPP/SPW sponsored and tabled at Pride Festivals in Portland and Los Angeles.

In 2016, SF East Bay and Nashville joined the fold. SexPositive LA established a board of directors for governance, Dr. Laurie Bennett-Cook became the Executive Director, and a transition plan was begun to do the same with SexPositive Portland the following year. SPW Founder Gabriella purchased a riverside property on 40 acres with the hope of making it a sex-positive retreat center for frequent use by the organization. An extensive building renovation and land reclamation project got underway.

2017 was all about nurturing existing and emerging chapters, creating content, and increasing outreach. Portland’s Board was formed and Dr. Evelin Dacker took on the role of Executive Director. SPW was a key participant in the first Oregon Tantra Festival.

In 2018 the Austin and Utah chapters began, and SexPositive World started the process of reapplying (it was rejected on the first round) for its 501c3 status, plus a relaunch of its webpage. The first SexPositive World Hawaii vacation brought together folks from numerous chapters. SPW’s public Facebook Page reached over 10k likes and over 60k views.

In 2019 SPW was granted tax-exempt status. Sadly, the permit to host events at the retreat center was denied. SexPositive Portland COO, Karen Hery, joined the SPW board. SPW Formed twenty member Advisory Board and put out a call for Board Members. Eugene and Boise's chapters were chartered. By year’s end,  the organization will launch a fundraiser/member drive, create a photo repository of sex-positive people for use by all chapters, and finalize the development of a speakers/presenters bureau as a chapter resource.

THE NUMBERS:

  • Membership worldwide (vetted approved members), close to 7,000

  • Facebook public page followers - 11,500

  • Twitter followers - 2600

  • Facebook closed group - 990

  • Facebook secret group (members, educators, therapists, bloggers, etc.) – 1350

  • YouTube channel – over 300,000 views of SPW created content

Chapter Status as of October 2019

 

Active:

  • Portland, OR

  • Los Angeles

  • Belgium

  • Nashville

  • Utah (Salt Lake City)

  • Reno

  • San Diego

  • San Francisco

  • Ventura/Santa Barbara (SP 805)

  • Eugene, OR

  • Boise

  • Austin

  • Warsaw

Dormant or looking for new leadership:

  • Singapore

  • London

Inactive:

  • New Mexico

  • East Bay (Oakland/San Jose)

 

2020 GOALS

  • Add a minimum of two new members to the board

  • Execute Polytopia in both Portland and Los Angeles

  • Host fifth annual Convergence

  • Charter three to five new chapters (Phoenix, Brooklyn, Costa Rica, Denver, Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, and Taiwan are all in exploratory phases of chapter development)

  • Stream-line systems for open source content sharing and to facilitate information sharing among chapters

  • Develop a cohesive marketing strategy and image

  • Launch POC diversity taskforce (to address the issue of lack of diversity within the org.)

  • Grow social media presence by 25% and launch Instagram

  • Recruit volunteers for marketing, volunteer coordination, outreach, administration