Monday, July 23, 2012

Let's talk about sex, baby

Sex.  You can’t think of San Francisco and not have some association to sex, to free love, kink, queer cultured woman-positive, dirty, messy, it’s complicated, involving two, three, four, ten, twenty people. 

San Francisco is considered the gay homeland, but beyond that, it’s the home of progressive sex.  It birthed the Lusty Lady, the only worker-owned strip club in North America, and is home to Good Vibrations, one of the first female- and queer-positive sex shops.  It boast Wicked Grounds, a kinky coffee shop, and the Center for Sex and Culture.  It has one of the biggest pride parades in the world, and was the epicenter of “free love” in the 1960s, where piles of hippies would crash together in the park, exchanging words and body fluids.   

SF Pride 2012 - bikes and gayness - two things San Franciscans love! 
San Francisco is also one of the most “open” places I’ve been.  Almost everyone I know who is in a relationship is in an open relationship.  In other words, most of the people I know (myself included – more in part two) are delightfully promiscuous sluts (I use this term with the most endearment, applied to all genders and orientations). 

But really, the LGBTQ community was, is, and continues to be San Francisco’s sexuality hub.  In particularly, this meant that this city felt the AIDS crisis acutely in the ‘80s, and older generations of primarily gay men still remember this sad period of San Francisco’s history, which killed thousands of the city’s young men (at one point, 50% of gay men in San Francisco were infected).  However, the gay and lesbian community rose up and turned the tragedy into a brave political battle against bigotry and for care and comfort of those infected, turning tragedy into hope.  An excellent documentary was made on this, called “We Were Here”.  You can watch the trailer  or stream it online for $5.  As a current San Franciscan, I was glad to be educated about this dark but important part of San Francisco’s history.

Your friendly neighbourhood leather-fans at the Folsom Street Fair
Gay, queer, kink, gender-fluidity and sex of all forms continues to be a big part of the culture.  Tourists in the Castro gawk at naked men reading the sunday paper on a public bench while locals and visitors alike immerse themselves in BDSM, leather and rubber annually at the Folsom Street Fair and related events.

The sexuality of this city took me completely unawares.  In my next post, I’ll share how I’ve had my own personal journey into love, lust and lasciviousness.  


  1. Looking forward to hearing more about love and about san fran, sabrina!

  2. Time to rain on your parade.
    The point of my post is not to be needlessly negative, but to provide a reminder of what the big picture is, and in the process provide a more balanced perspective.
    I think what's missing is context. While I am glad to hear San Fran continues to be such a progressive city, I think it's important to keep in mind that it is the exception to the rule. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are still dealing with a country awash with all kinds of hatred and bigotry.
    Indeed, when I think of the States, I am horrified that it is still struggling to come to terms with some pretty severe cases of homophobia and misogyny. Lest we forget that it was just less than a year ago that the Don't Ask, Don't tell policy was finally repealed. Not to mention Virginia, which recently came close to forcing women to having transvaginal ultrasounds if they wished to get an abortion.
    California itself is not so hot. We are talking about a state whose last governor was a sexist Republican, voted not once, but two times. He was known for such gems as "[i]f they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ...' if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men."
    Hey, U.S.A., you have some pretty cool, progressive cities, but at the end of the day... I'm just not that into you.


    As a secondary comment, I might add that Free Love was not all it's cracked up to be. Talk to many women who came of age in that era, and you might discover that many of them were pressured into having unwanted sex in the name of Free Love. I'm not saying it was all bad, I'm just saying it wasn't all good! I think it's important that when we tell these stories, we have to acknowledge a variety of lived experiences, not just the positive ones.