I’m currently in the process of self-publishing a book, and it’s been an eye opening experience. My book is about Sex Culture. It’s the story of how I ended up running Kinky Salon—the arty sexy community I’ve been hosting for more than a decade. It’s about culture’s relationship to sexuality, and the complicated limbo we are living in post the 60s sexual revolution, when we’re still carrying a lot of baggage from our intensely sex negative history.
I did my crowd funding on Kickstarter to pre-sell copies, and collected the cash with Amazon Payments. When I first put up my campaign, Kickstarter refused it because I was offering tickets to a Kinky Salon as a reward. They said that the events came under the category of “adult services”. So I grumblingly changed the reward to say “book launch party” with the stipulation “we will not have sex with you.” just to make it absolutely clear that sex was not being offered as part of a reward. With that change they allowed the campaign to go live. I successfully raised over $48,000. When the campaign was over, Amazon Payments processed the pledges but then froze my account. I received an email saying that my project had been deemed as “sexually explicit” and therefore they were not able to process the payments. After a stressful few weeks, many conversations with Kickstarter and Amazon, I have finally managed to convince them to release the last of my funds and have it safely in my bank account. PHEW!
What irks me about this situation is that I was singled out because I had the word ‘Sex’ in the title of my book. This absurd dog and pony show I have had to put on over the last few weeks, having to prove the literary worth of my book, trying to convince them that it wasn’t pornography, has actually been the most heartening reminder of why I continue to do what I do. The world of sexuality is considered shady and shameful, and I have to fight to use the tools that are easily available to everyone else. I’m still having difficultly processing the fact that we still live in a world with such restrictions of freedom of expression. This one essential aspect of being human is in a cultural stranglehold. I live in a bubble in San Francisco, arguably the most sexually progressive city on the planet, and sometimes I forget what it’s like out there in the big wide world.
This is why I dedicate my life to promoting Sex Culture—so that future generations can enjoy a full spectrum of self-expression unimpeded by puritanical bureaucracy.