Day 3: I drove 407 miles from Salt Lake City to a gorgeous campsite in Eastern Wyoming. It was called Vedauwoo located in Medicine Bow National Forest. The air smelled like desert sage and pine. I collected wood and built myself a nice little fire, cooked food, and wrote by firelight until it was too dark to see. Then I climbed onto the roof of my van and looked at the stars. I felt alone, but calm and powerful. I felt present. I felt like I was enough.
My mind, body, and spirit feel a hundred times better when I am doing things like this and surrounded by nature. The constant stress of capitalism and needing to be connected to social media and always trying to promote myself is not only exhausting, but it’s actively unhealthy for me. My time in Wyoming made me realize that If I didn’t have a mission as a sex educator and need to be near a major city to do my work, I would love to hide away for a bit to live somewhere quieter and write a book.
Day 4: Another long drive – 473 miles to Lincoln, Nebraska. Everything became much flatter once I left Wyoming, and there was tons of construction on I-80, so it wasn’t an especially pleasant drive. I decided to get a cheap motel room for the free HBO so I could watch the Game of Thrones premiere though. 😛
I have added two more videos to my Patreon page of me giving updates and singing from my car. Day 2’s song was “Stay” by Lisa Loeb and Day 3’s song was by the Dixie Chicks. Those are viewable to Patrons only, so if you want to check them out, please sign up and support my journey. Just $5 gets you videos, extra updates, and late night vulnerability posts (and higher amounts allow you to request songs and get access to a few soon-to-be-released secret podcast episodes and sex ed classes)!
Tomorrow I am going to Iowa where I’ll be staying with someone I’ve never met but who is a friend of a friend. They’re even going to make me a home cooked meal. Can’t wait! Loving the road but eating well isn’t easy.
My birthday was this week, and what I wanted for my birthday was for my sex-positive variety show + afterparty to go well. That meant a night the audience would enjoy and remember and, for me, high enough ticket sales so I could finally fix my sex ed mobile and get back out on the road to teach sex workshops and attend conferences.
The show was incredible (seriously, the performers were amazing) and I kicked ass at my standup comedy debut, but we fell short of our ticket sale goals. We had a Sunday night show the night after the World Naked Bike Ride, there were record high heats, and it was just Pride Weekend – not easy to compete with those things. So, while I am proud of the show and everything it brought to the community, the joy of the event unfortunately didn’t last long for me because of the impact it had on my bank account. It was a major bummer, especially since I was hoping to earn some of the $700 I need for van repairs before I can leave town.
This is going to start sounding like a sob story, if it hasn’t already, but hang with me (it gets more positive eventually).
On my actual birthday, I had one of my worst days in recent memory. It started with me being admitted to the hospital with a very painful autoimmune flare-up, and continued to get comically worse, until it ended with both of my dogs puking all over the house. When it rains it pours, and this time it poured vomit.
I was pretty ready to give up. It felt like rock bottom to me after one of the worst years of my life, in which I got divorced, sold my possessions and moved into an RV to travel the country only to have the RV break down on me, was crashed into by a hit and run driver that left me with medical bills and worsened my chronic pain condition, dealt with multiple mental health crises, and had my heart broken (again).
Pushing myself forward in a career where I was always supposed to be “on” – sexy and funny and charming and self-promoting, didn’t seem feasible any longer. I told myself that as much as I love the work I do, and as important as sex and consent education and patriarchy-smashing is to the world, it was time to either become an off the grid hermit or get a “normal person job” that paid the bills more consistently. Not making enough money each month has meant chronic stress, which certainly doesn’t help pain or mental illness or healing from grief. But when I told my best friends about my fears and plans, they all told me I was full of shit. I mean, they did it in the nicest way possible, but they still refused to believe “hermit” or a 9-5 job were my only options. They begged me to never be normal, and encouraged me to try a few more things before I gave up on my dreams. Most of them agreed I should set up a Patreon, so that’s what I did.
The life of a sex educator can be exciting and hot and rewarding and ridiculous, but it can also be challenging, exhausting, and like I’m always fighting “Imposter Syndrome.” Plus, it can be really financially unpredictable, like when colleges wait two months to send a check for a safer sex workshop, or frustrating when everyone asks for sex and relationship advice and expects it for free.
However, I love my job and am very passionate about my chosen career. I’m good at it, and people tell me frequently how much it means to them that I do this work. So, I really want to be able to keep teaching, writing, interviewing, and podcasting about sex, relationships, love, and intersectional feminism. I also want to start embracing my creativity and getting more in touch with the comedian/writer/storyteller I’ve always been. I know creating and performing, and vulnerably sharing those parts of myself, will help me heal. And I hear that’s something the world needs – more healed people to help heal others.
Whenever things get to the point where I feel hopeless and helpless, I admit, I wallow in it for a day or two (#Cancer). Then I try really hard to get out of my mopey crab shell and rise from the ashes like a glorious Phoenix of Sex Wizardy (because apparently mixing a bunch of half-assed metaphors and witchy imagery is how I get inspired). That’s what this Patreon is for me – an attempt at an self-inspiring rebirth – or at least a healing new chapter.
So, please, won’t you allow yourselves to be inspired too? Join my Patreon, get exclusive access to my intimate stories/projects/comedy/podcasts/ridiculous life + sex ed videos and advice, and feel good because you are making a huge difference in the life of an educator (who can then make a difference in the lives of others).
Episode 14: Flirting – Sex on the Brain brings back two former guests to talk about flirting and modern dating. Ev’Yan Whitney of the Sexually Liberated Woman podcast and Intimacy Educator and Sex Coach Stella Harris join Amory Jane in discussing different flirting styles, pick up lines and so-called “pick up artists,” and how flirting has changed with online dating. They also share their experiences with dating non-monogamously, and offer plenty of flirting advice to listeners and each other.
About a third of my Facebook feed today is filled with #420 memes and statuses and another third is filled with people who are annoyed by people who are into weed.
For most of my life, I was in the latter group. Most stoners I knew growing up were trashy white boys who listened to Sublime, made jokes about Funyuns, and mocked me for being a straight A student. In my younger brain, I thought pretty much all stoners were lazy, and probably also smelled like skunk. However, after cannabis was legalized in Oregon, it was suggested I use some for my chronic pain, mood disorder, and nausea. So, I tried some. Sure enough, it made me feel a whole lot better.
I had been taking pills for pain, which sometimes made me feel like a zombie (and made my nausea worse). I used to drink booze multiple times a week to help with anxiety, but I’d feel terrible later, and it honestly made me way moodier overall. Discovering the healing that cannabis could offer me, and realizing I had no negative side effects the next day and I didn’t even have to smoke if I didn’t want to (hooray for edibles and oil!) was actually life-changing.
I also discovered other types of weed lovers too — high femmes, successful stoners, chronic pain warriors, cancer survivors, and everyday people who used it to help themselves feel better about their bodies, sex, stress, etc. Yes, there are still plenty of smelly slacker stoners out there, but I’ve grown to appreciate cannabis culture. I love that anywhere I go where people are smoking weed, they’ll invite me into their circle and share both their cannabis and their stories freely.
I love that when I’m high I am in love with myself and my brain and my body (which, when I am sober, I struggle to appreciate). I love that cannabis has helped me work through trauma without shutting down, helped me make new friends easily, and truly helped my career by allowing me to have less pain and anxiety so I can accomplish more. It’s also made me hear songs in brand new ways, taste foods more intensely, and helped me process two back to back heartbreaks that surely would have crushed me a few years ago.
So, yes, I recognize that this “holiday” is completely goofy and maybe even obnoxious to a bunch of folks. But for lots of us, it is a day to celebrate that we have a plant that helps us more easily handle all the bullshit life can throw our way. For me, I use cannabis not as a way to escape, but as a way to become more connected — to myself and to others. I use it to let my overactive and frequently worried mind have some moments of solace. I use it to zone in on relaxing and relieving parts of my body that are chronically tense or in pain. I use it as a social lubricant, a libido booster, and a creativity booster.
I am outraged that so many people, most especially POC, have been sent to prison (or worse) for buying, selling, or possessing weed. I am sad that cannabis is still not legal in many places where I know it would help many members of the population. I’m frustrated by restrictive laws and ridiculous punishments. I know I am lucky to live in Oregon and be able to travel easily to Washington, so that I can enjoy cannabis legally and safely. I wish and hope that one day everyone will have access if they need it. Until then, I’ll keep being a vocal and passionate supporter of cannabis rights, decriminalization, and reparations for communities that have been disproportionately affected by America’s War on Drugs.
To all who celebrate – whether you celebrate sincerely, humorously, with a heavy heart/conscious mind, or every damn day – Happy 420!
Read this heartwarming, sexy, sweet little personal essay written by our very own magical intern (Intern Courtney) for Autostraddle! It’s about her experiences with our Femme Sex Coven (also featured in Episode 9 of our podcast, Sex on the Brain with Amory Jane)!
This made me cry happy tears. So much love for my intern and friend, Courtney, for my community, and for all of the witchy wonderful femmes out there! <3
Episode 10: Intergenerational Relationships (& “Cougars”) Our tenth episode is on the topic of intergenerational romantic relationships – or significant age differences between partners – and the unique considerations, benefits, and issues that tend to come up in these relationships. We’ll hear from The Date Maven, Suzanna Mathews, author of Revising Mrs. Robinson – a book that dives into ageism, sexism, and the “cougar taboo.” We’ll also hear from sex and disability educator and advocate Robin Wilson-Beattie about the intersections of age, race, and disability when dating polyamorously.
Episode 8: Sex & Self-Care is a collaboration with Ev’Yan Whitney, host of The Sexually Liberated Woman podcast. In this episode, Amory Jane and Ev’Yan chat about how their sex lives and intimate relationships have been impacted since the election and share their thoughts on self-care, sexual expression, body love, and resistance. They also take a live call from writer and “professional oversharer” Crista Anne. Trigger Warning: Trump, mentions of sexual abuse, discussions about trauma, mental health, and survival.
After a year of research entitled “Amory Jane on Mary Jane: Cannabis & My Body” I have found that cannabis has helped me with/relieved:
-Muscular pain (still chronic, but helps me manage the pain and also relax enough for healing to take place)
-Anxiety (although some strains can make it worse in certain situations).
-Menstrual Cramps (seriously the best remedy I’ve ever found)
-Depression (still dealing with it as regularly as ever, but Sky cannabis oil can help me get through really dark times and spiraling moments without letting them destroy me for weeks on end)
-Sex: body image, less pain in hips and other frequently achey spots, feeling more connected to my body, giving oral sex is extra fun while high, libido boost, cool different orgasms.
It has not helped with:
-Being a long-term “cure” for depression
My most frequent and favorite way of consuming cannabis is through ingesting cannabis oil (a couple drops under the tongue, then swallow, then wait a while for it to kick in). My #1 recommended products are from Luminous Botanicals (and I promise they’re not paying me to say that! I just think their stuff is incredible). I like edibles/tonics/tinctures because I have asthma and smoking is not great for my lungs. However, sometimes I want to sit around and share a bong with friends, so I do smoke occasionally. I also have an herb vaporizer pen for getting high (or just relaxing with some CBD weed) on the go. It’s nice to have options and I am grateful that I live in a state with legal cannabis, especially since I don’t have health insurance.
Not everyone reacts the same way, but after a year of journaling, those are my own personal (summarized) findings. Feel free to share yours as well, and for more info on sex and cannabis, check out Episode 4 of my podcast, of Sex on the Brain with Amory Jane!
This week’s guest – JoEllen Notte (The Redhead Bedhead) – describes sex and depression as “the intersection of two taboo topics.” Good thing Amory Jane and Intern Courtney have no problems discussing taboos! Instead, they open up and share firsthand accounts of living with mental illness and how kink and sex toys have helped them retain their sex lives during depressive episodes. On the second half of the show, JoEllen Notte dives into her research on depression and how mental illness and medication can impact our sex lives and our relationships. She also debunks depression myths, offers important advice for partners of people living with depression, and emphasizes how none of us are broken.