For two years, there have been efforts to get it off the ground — and it is finally here!
Typically, FemSex is a course taught on college campuses (sometimes for credit, and sometimes not). Originating from Berkeley College in 1993, FemSex has reached hundreds of participants across the country. Now, based in NYC, FemSex is more accessible to communities of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and therefore able to include a more inclusive range of ages, bodies, genders, and identities. This multi-week discussion and activity-based workshop focuses on topics of sexuality, gender, health, and identity through discussion, community building, and consciousness raising.
“FemSexNYC is inclusive of all genders, races, ethnicities, sexualities, incomes, ages, religions, and abilities. It aims to create a safe space for participants in the New York area to explore . This workshop will focus on these issues as they relate to female sexuality but is open to everyone.” —www.femsexnyc.org
From the third week of September until mid-December, the first season of FemSexNYC will meet once a week for three hours at a time. Participants will be asked to be dedicated to their assigned section in order to facilitate a sense of safe community.
Blair McNamara, co-coordinator and facilitator of FemSexNYC, was my facilitator when I was a participant in FemSex last fall at Brown. She says that FemSexNYC is based on the same curriculum, “I trust it, I know the people who worked on it, and it has been modified and adapted over 13 years.” Facilitators will guide conversations around sexuality, anatomy, health, pleasure and identity over the course of the season.
In order to create a specifically, intentional space, there are some rules for participants. At first, I found then annoying, but by the end of my experience, I was grateful that these guidelines existed. For example, the use of gender-neutral language is not something that is universal in all FemSex sections across the country.
ie. Participants will be asked to throw away any gendered terms during section, such as “he”, “she”, “mom”, “dad”, “sister”, “brother”, “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” and instead, adapt words such as “ze/phe/they”, “parent”, “sibling” and “partner.”
Blair assured me that this essential piece of my FemSex experience will continue in FemSexNYC. Having language restrictions did not only reveal how often I rely on gender in conversations, but by slowing down to think about what I was saying, I was able to become more mindful in how I communicate with others.
By partnering with two other Brown graduates, Hilarie Meyers and Rebekah Souder-Russo, they have been able to fundraise over $4,000 together online to get the supplies necessary to start the program — printing fees, workshop space, safer sex supplies, menstrual devices and guest speakers. This Fall, there are 4 facilitators and 2 sections this fall, which makes space for 30-35 participants in this first season. Blair notes that next season, “depending on demand, we may need to expand!”
If you have any questions, you can reach the lovely facilitators at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find them on facebook here.
Ready to apply? The application goes live tonight, around midnight! Applications are open until September 13th.
-Chanelle Adams, Blog Editor