Girl Sex 101 is an innovative and unique project created and spearheaded by Allison Moon and illustrated by kd diamond. Described as "a road trip in a book," Girl Sex 101 seeks to combine fiction, comics and sex education as a resource for queer women in a way that no other sex education tool has done before.
Moon notes that Girl Sex 101 embodies "feminist, pleasure-positive, and consent-oriented sex education to help women of all orientations and experience levels understand their bodies and those of their partners." It also features the opinions, expertise and experiences of over a dozen educators in order to make Girl Sex 101 an expansive and inclusive resource for all queer women, regardless of how they identify.
While the Kickstarter goal for Girl Sex 101 has been met, Moon has extensive plans to push both the project and message of Girl Sex 101 further with the additional funding. The Huffington Post caught up with Moon last week to discuss the structure and functionality of Girl Sex 101, what she hopes the book will accomplish and they way it will revolutionize sex education resources for all queer-identifying women.
The Huffington Post: Give us a bit of background on Girl Sex 101 -– what was your inspiration for the book?
Allison Moon: Girl Sex 101 originated as a workshop that I taught live for, generally speaking, what I would call baby dykes and young queer and questioning women. It started at Burning Man in 2007 and it became really clear to me that there was a need for this kind of information in a much larger way than I anticipated. So I started traveling with the class and I taught it at workshop spaces all over the country and Canada. I decided that I wanted to transform the workshop into something more accessible, because everyone doesn’t have access to a sex-positive, feminist, sex toy store in their town in order to get this information. I wanted to be able to bring a diversity of voices in, as well, so I decided to turn it into a book with a lot of illustrations and guest experts speaking about specific topics that inspire them around the topic of girl sex.
You describe Girl Sex 101 as a “road trip in a book unlike any other.” What do you mean by that?
I’m kind of jokingly calling Girl Sex 101 “Zen and the Art of Vulva Maintenance” because I wanted it to have a story -– an actual narrative. So I decided to write a fiction piece to introduce each chapter that follows two ex-girlfriends as they travel down Highway 101 together. I wanted there to be a story because I think that there are a lot of educational possibilities by using story. So that’s kind of the roadtrip idea and I think the 101, obviously going from Canada down to San Diego, is really fun. I think so many of our great American narratives involve road trips and I wanted to kind of add a lesbian twist to some of those stories.
Do you find that the sex lives of queer women are often erased or misrepresented within mainstream consciousness or media?
I think there’s a lot of misrepresentation of queer feminine sexuality. I think that our gender expressions are far more diverse than are presented and I feel like the diversity of how we have sex is much greater than I think traditional media portrays it. I think that this idea that there’s always a strap-on involved -– we always need to pretend that one of us has a penis in order to feel good. And that there’s a misrepresentation of just the full range of what we actually define as sex. I think that Western culture is very penis-centric and so when you remove the penis from the equation, what do you get? You get two or more people having a strong connection and sharing pleasure in ways that can be very, very diverse and very exploratory. I think that’s something there needs to be more representation about to realize that we have sex in a lot of different ways and this can be very hot and very different from one interaction to the next.
As a queer author do you feel any kind of responsibility to create work that pushes the boundaries of identity and contributes to a larger dialogue about what it means to be queer?
Absolutely. I feel like it’s really important to take into account people's opinions about how I should do this representation, which is one reason why I wanted to have outside educators. But it’s also why I really wanted to expand not only what “sex” means but what “girl” means. The title, even though it’s cheeky, in Girl Sex 101 we’re talking about trans-masculinity, we’re talking about trans-feminity, we’re talking about different expressions of self and of gender and of sex and sexuality all smashed together. So I wanted to make sure that trans women are at the table and I wanted to make sure that trans men are at the table and we’re not just saying that lesbian sex looks like what you’d find on “The L Word.” I want it to be much more encompassing of a lot of different kinds of sex. And while this is still an intro we do get into conversations about kink a little bit and we talk a bit about the various ways that we can show up in bed.
You mentioned that many different educators and artists are contributing to this project. What’s the role that they’re playing within the formation of the book?
Well, the book is definitely my baby and then I’ve worked with kd diamond to create kind of a sense of the structure of the book. Each educator will have what I call a “Scenic Viewpoint” where we kind of pull off to the side of the road and listen to somebody else talk about what their take on it is. So what I’ve really asked everybody to do is offer something from more of a personal take. I think a lot of educators are taught or trained to never really speak about our own lives because that blurs boundaries or whatnot. But I think it’s really important for the people who are going to be reading this book to see the different kinds of ways that we all have sex. And so some of the educators will be talking from a very specific perspective about the first time they did something or the way they like to do something or a different take –- for instance, strap-on sex will be covered. We’ve got Tina Horn talking about how to give blowjobs to non-bio cock, which I think is a really beautiful, special thing that I think she loves to do and so she can talk about it from the perspective of “If you want to try it, here’s a really great way to explore it” -- in a fun way – not just in a dry, expert, educator way.
How is the book structured?
Every chapter begins with the narrative. We kind of find our characters on their road trip and often times they’ll get into some kind of sexy adventure that will illuminate the topic for the rest of the chapter. At one point one of our characters has a hot little hand sex scene outside of a club with a woman who has a disability. So, that will intro into how to negotiate sex but also how to negotiate sex with somebody who might have some physical impairments that make it difficult for them to have sex in a way that you might have taken for granted. It will be a nice opportunity to kind of see in action negotiations happen and then move into the “how to” and the advice-oriented section. This, for me, is really fun because I think that one of the things I encounter the most as an educator is people thinking that having the consent conversation or having the “what do you like,” “what do you not like” conversation is going to “ruin the moment.” In my experience, as a sexual person, I love the negotiation part because I think it gets me really excited -– it’s really sexy to me to talk to my partner about what they want me to do to them and what they want to do to me. Being able to show these conversations and these kind of sexual acts happen within a story where people are actually having it in front of you –- where you’re actually kind of getting to be role modeled. And you get to see how this stuff can work in real life in a way that’s not just academic.
A portion of your Kickstarter referring to current sex education resources available to queer women reads, “Some of the books are outdated or use language that many of us find alienating. Girl Sex 101 fills a void in the market, an accessible, funny and info packed book that’s both easy to read and good for women of all experience levels.” How is Girl Sex 101 going to fit this really unique niche within the market?
Well, when I said that this has never really been done before I believed it but then I started getting these e-mails from people and an outpouring of support for the Kickstarter –- it made me realize that this really has never been done before. I think that in some ways a lot of texts about sexuality tend to be incredibly text-heavy and incredibly expert. They’re comprehensive, to a fault, in my opinion. Which is great if you’re looking for a lot of advice about a specific thing. If I want to flip to the index and think, “Oh, fisting –- okay, I’ll read these 30 pages about fisting.” That’s great – but I wanted a book that’s actually very entertaining and easy to read from start to finish. So I wanted you to be able to just kind of kick back with this book in a way that a lot of other sex ed tomes don’t really offer. So, that’s part of it –- another part of it is that, again, having a modern book that really takes into account different gender identities, different languaging –- talking about how to even just talk about what we do without saying gender essentialist man-woman, women like this, men like this, or without using overly flowery language. That happens in a lot of books -- like tauntra-oriented books with goddess energy and stuff like that. I find that really alienating, personally, and I think there’s a lot of people who I teach that also feel like, “I’m not a goddess –- I’m just a chick.” [laughs]
You’ve already reached your Kickstarter goal and you’re increasingly bringing in more pledges. What do you hope to accomplish or how do you intend to push Girl Sex 101 further with the additional funds?
Well, there are a couple of things that I’ll be doing with the additional funds. First is that we’ll be able to print more books and that means we’ll be able to give more free copies to nonprofits and various organizations. That’s really important to me. Secondly, if we hit $20,000 I’m going to guarantee that Girl Sex 201 will happen, which will include more advance skill sets like fisting, kink and polyamory -– slightly more advanced topics that won’t get covered in the first book. So that’s where I want to go with that and that will basically guarantee that I can hire kd back on to do a whole other book with me. If we hit $30,000 we even promised to actually do the road tip and film a documentary, which is a very lofty goal [laughs]. But hey, who knows!