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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Last Night: Blogging Sex at the Center for Sex & Culture

Posted By on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 at 8:25 AM

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Melissa Gira’s Blogging Sex Workshop

Center for Sex & Culture

October 14, 2008

Review and photos by Bonnie Ruberg

Better Than: Sitting home blogging about sex all by yourself.

Download/Stream: The slides from the workshop, available at MelissaGira.com.

Ever been to the Center for Sex and Culture? From the street, it barely exists. No sign, no photos of naked people, not even a pride flag give away its presence to passersby near Mission and 11th streets. Climb up the unmarked stairs and into the workshop room, and even then you might think you were about to attend a poetry reading or a group therapy session –- if a cryptic sculpture or two of the nude female form didn’t give things away. Maybe that’s what happened to the poor, lost soul who ventured into the opening moments of Melissa Gira’s sex blogging workshop last night. He poked his head through the door, asked what we were up to, then promptly fled when he heard he’d accidentally stumbled upon a class about the discussion of sex.

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Forget that guy. Given the look of his face when he realized where he was, he probably wasn’t having the kind of sex we internet goers want to read about anyways. Gira, on the other hand, is sex blogging personified. Beautiful and candid, she settled in with us 12 attendees surprisingly well after nearly an hour spent battling a projector over ironically technical difficulties. Her laptop on her knees like a picture book an elementary school teacher might share with her classroom, Gira gave us a chance to introduce ourselves. Some were bloggers, some students, some fellow sex writers – like me. Everyone wanted to know where the line falls between sharing and oversharing your hot, steamy stories with the world.

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With the hope of teaching us by example, Gira presented us with models of other sex bloggers whose lives have been upset or flat out ruined when they revealed too much online. She also talked about different kinds of sex blogging: the cathartic kind you don’t think anyone will read and then they do, the kind you think will make you famous and it does – but in a bad way, the kind where you think a lot in between writing about actually having sex. With the grace of a woman who’s had her own share of tough sex blogging moments and now knows when to keep quiet, Gira didn’t go into details of her own dramatic experience -- the ups and downs of writing about intimacy in a public setting –- which are part of what made her qualified to teach this class.

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To wrap up the night, Gira passed out index cards and instructed us to practice for our future as bloggers by writing about a sexual experience we’d had in a way that even our friends wouldn’t be able to tell who wrote it.

The idea: starting a blog can be a lot of fun, but it can also get un-fun real fast if the people you’re writing about find out. After we wrote down our tales, we tossed the cards into a hat and each drew out a different one to read. Our anecdotes ranged from the emotional to the plain old awkward: bad car sex, sex on a roof with neighbors watching, Craigslist sex that ended before it began. Who wrote each story, we still don’t know. As for the cards themselves, Gira plans to scan them and upload them to the internet – so whether or not the class inspired any budding bloggers, at least our words will hit the web: hesitantly, amusingly, sexily.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: Melissa is not only a fellow sex writer, she’s also a friend. Plus I think she’s cute. So there.

Random Detail: One attendee spent his writing time poised over his index card full of thought, but ended up turning it in blank. What’s up with that? Was he wrestling with inner demons, or just trying really hard to think of a time he’d had sex?

By the way: Blogging may be old news, but Gira says that shouldn’t stop you from starting a sex blog of your own. If you’re looking for a platform, check out Wordpress, Blogspot, or Tumblr.

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Janine Kahn

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