I did something WAY outside of my comfort zone and recorded a video of myself in the car yesterday while I was driving to John Day. It’s a little over 5 minutes of unedited dorky footage and I end it with singing a Rilo Kiley song a capella.
I always get really nervous about posting videos, which means I never do, but I decided I needed to get over that if I’m going to start “building my brand” more. So, I just said ‘fuck it’ and hit record even though I was sweaty and driving and not wearing makeup.
It’s on my Patreon right now for all to view, but future videos will be for Patrons only as a way of earning gas money to get me to Ohio to teach at the Central Ohio Perversion Excursion. A one time $5 contribution will get you daily videos along with other fun things (or for $10 you can make song suggestions and for $20 I’ll sing whatever you want and dedicate it to you).
Episode 15: The One Where Everyone Masturbates – The title of this one is a pretty good summary. Amory Jane, Intern Courtney, and nine other Portland babes get together to talk about masturbation, watch porn, and playfully touch themselves and each other. This episode is full of personal stories, vibrator sounds, moans, laughs, and multiple real orgasms. If you loved Episode 9: Live from the Femme Sex Party, you’ll definitely want to check out The One Where Everyone Masturbates.
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).
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.
Time for my first guest post! This was written by a fan and new friend, Eric Snyder, after he volunteered to help me with Edna last weekend.
I pulled onto the street and was met with the visual of St. Enda the Sex Ed Mobile sitting diagonally in the middle of a suburban-like street in NE Portland. At first it put a smile on my face to see this RV I was looking forward to meeting sitting right there in front of me. However, I quickly assessed the situation and realized there was some stress in the air. Amory Jane, Edna’s owner and sex educator extraordinaire, was sitting behind the wheel with a trusty friend by her side and an onlooking neighbor was starring the situation down. Cars were maneuvering around Edna, but it was a little precarious for sure. The peering neighbor offered the oh-so-helpful advice of ‘you’re gonna have to move it’ as he took another puff of his cigarette.
I parked and approached the situation. Within a few moments AJ took control, tried to tune out the neighbor, and with the help of her friend pulled Edna safely up a steep gravel driveway. The stress of the first situation had been defeated, but soon the three of us were starring at a solar panel that needed to be attached and tested. None of us had any working knowledge of such things and had only done some minor Googling. The stress had returned, but we were soon on our way to understanding.
Going over to help with a few things was my first time meeting Edna and only the third time I had been around Amory Jane. The second time was an impromptu hang that included pizza, pot, silly movies, and life talk. The first time was when she led a sex education class about cunnilingus at Portland’s wonderful She Bop. I attended the class because I was very newly re-entering the world of dating after a 15 year relationship. I went to the class excited but filled with nerves. I was quickly comforted as Amory Jane and her co-teacher (Sid Need) put everyone at ease and educated us about oral sex. I learned tons of different tips, ideas, positions, and more practical information about anatomy than any public education or Google searches had ever provided me. Most of all though, I was provided a safe space where I could be curious, ask questions, and feel comfortable speaking about sexuality. Unfortunately, these spaces and opportunities are few and far between in our world. I wasn’t raised in a sexually oppressed environment and as a middle class straight white cisgender male I definitely had more opportunities than many. However, I did have plenty of cultural shame attached to areas of sexuality, and as a feminist I definitely wanted to approach sex and dating with respect.
In this short class, Amory Jane proved that as a sex educator she was the perfect tour guide into exploring these ideas with lots of enthusiasm and knowledge and without shame. That is why when I heard about her sex education tour, and then the idea of this traveling sex education mobile, I wanted to help make it possible in any way I could with my limited resources.
As we got the basics of the solar panel set up, unfortunately the rain clouds started to roll in. It seemed like a moment of defeat, but I couldn’t leave without helping. I knew AJ had mentioned the trouble she was having trying to remove the ratty carpet in Edna’s bathroom. Armed with an exacto knife type of tool, I took a crack at it, and soon big chunks of carpet were coming up. It didn’t feel like much to me, but AJ seemed very grateful.
In all reality, Amory Jane has a lot on her shoulders and she is feeling it right now. Going through a divorce (as she mentioned in her first post), making quick decisions about purchasing an RV and starting a business, and other life issues were making her feel like she was in over her head. However, amid the defeatist language we sometimes use when we feel overwhelmed, there was still hopeful talk about Edna’s future. The bathroom I was currently ripping up carpet in would eventually have an outer space theme and perhaps a floor lined with miniature dildos. Dildos in space? There was also talk of having an exterior wrap on the RV, proclaiming Edna’s name, Amory Jane’s website, and logos for sponsors.
These thoughts also perhaps felt out of reach to Amory Jane in the midst of the swirling situations she has around her. However, as I stood outside and prepared to leave with a quick hug and promise to help in any way I could, I stole one more look at St. Edna. Sure, she looked a little worn in and like any other RV that you’d spot in camp grounds or freeways across America, but I had a vision of her future. Someday, in the not too distant future, Amory Jane will be behind the wheel traveling the country to not only educate and discuss sex and sexuality with the masses, but to truly bring them hope. There are people like me out there who need to learn more and feel comfortable with sexuality. There are also people who have been made to feel ashamed of sex or abused or confused or dealing with rejection from family and friends. There are people across America that will see St. Edna as even more than a kitschy cute sex education mobile. There are people who will see her and Amory Jane as actual saints providing the safe space and opportunity to explore ideas and get their questions answered without fear or judgment.