This time last year I was fizzing with excitement because I was on my way to the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. It’s an incredible event, hosted in Arlington (in America – woo!) each year. Unfortunately I can’t go this year, and it’s making me very sad. So if you’re on the fence about going I thought I’d try and use some of the influence people keep telling me I have to persuade you that it’s totally worth your while.
Here are my top reasons to go to Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit:
You will learn a hundred fascinating things about sex
When I went, there were sessions on everything from accessing PrEP to taking nude photos. I learned more about the different contexts for sexual rights and freedoms in America versus the UK, and came away feeling I understood a lot more about the different challenges for Americans, as well as the different strategies that their campaigners used to fight for sexual freedom.
And that’s just last year – the speaker line-up and workshop schedule for this year looks equally fascinating. I came away with a head full of thoughts and a notebook full of lessons.
It will inspire you in lots of ways
When I went to Woodhull, it was shortly after Molly, Michael and I had offered to take over Eroticon in the UK. While the two events are really different (Woodhull is more education-focused and rights-focused, while Eroticon has more of a focus on erotica writing and the business of sex), there are so many things that I learned from Woodhull which helped us make Eroticon a better event – from little things like adding a space for people to write their pronouns on their attendance badges, to bigger things like having social events that encouraged people to come together.
And that’s before you even get to the sheer number of workshops and talks that will inspire you to write about something, or try to be more inclusive, or just tell you something you’ve never heard before.
You will have an amazing time
As well as all the fascinating workshops during the day, Woodhull also runs fun social events in the evenings, like “Bedpost Confessions” where people tell funny/moving/fascinating/all of the above stories about their sexual escapades. Last year SheVibe also ran a blogger pyjama party with accompanying poetry slam (which I entered with this filth), and it was a brilliant way to meet other bloggers.
Talking of other bloggers, if you head to Woodhull you will meet some amazing sex bloggers and educators. Because I am super-anxious, when I first arrived I was so nervous I couldn’t quite bring myself to enter the bloggers’ lounge to go and say hello. There were so many people I’d seen online, and really wanted to impress, that I ended up doing the opposite of impressing people and just hiding in my room or sitting at the back of a workshop because I was too nervous to say hello.
I get weird in new environments, and ended up not even really eating any food for the first day or so because I wasn’t sure where to go or who to go with. Luckily, Ruby Goodnight – who runs Doxy North America and is one of the most caring, welcoming people in the world – took me by the hand and nudged me into the bloggers’ lounge… whereupon I immediately realised that I was being ridiculous to be anxious because everyone was intensely lovely. Even though half of the people there were as shy as I was, they were warm and welcoming and ready with hilarious sex-toy-based stories to break the ice. Though I arrived alone, I left feeling gutted that I had to go so soon, and determined I’d get to come back again this year. Which brings me neatly on to…
You have to give my love to everyone
I can’t actually go to Woodhull this year. I am beyond gutted. It’s a combination of money and timing, and though I’ve tried my best to save enough cash, I can’t afford either the flights or the time off work to go along.
So although I can’t go myself, I would love to see more people heading along to this incredible event. And it occurred to me that I have as many readers in the US as I do in the UK, so it’s very weird for me to bang on about Eroticon but not plug this incredible summit. If you have an interest in sexuality, human rights, sex blogging, or any related topics, I think you’ll have an amazing time.
Visit the Woodhull website, find out more and buy a ticket if you want to go! You can see my posts from Woodhull last year here. I was spectacularly lucky to be sponsored to attend by Doxy – without them I would never have got to experience the summit, or meet any of the incredible people there, so I am beyond grateful that they made it happen for me.