You know that feeling you get when something that you’ve anticipated for ages is about to happen? When there’s another book due from your favorite author, or a new album from an amazing band and you wonder “Can this possibly live up to what I’ve imagined it will be?” That was how I felt heading into the 2016 Sexual Freedom Summit. The Blog Squad started looking forward SFS16 within minutes of SFS15 wrapping up, so saying that our anticipation level was high would be a massive understatement. We had planned, plotted and tweeted everything from schedules to liquor selections to wardrobe choices. While a few folks from last year couldn’t attend1 , the total number of bloggers in attendance was going to be huge2
I arrived at the hotel around 10:30 on Thursday morning. I was hauling a positively ridiculous amount of luggage, including one large plastic bin of “misfit sex toys” to be re-homed and a second bin to hold my traveling dildo gallery. My dildo suitcase sadly was not up to the task this year, busting a handle as I attempted to wrangle it downstairs.
Since moving all that silicone unassisted would have been exhausting, I stopped at the concierge desk to request a cart. I pulled my ninja van up to the front of the hotel, where a very kind and helpful bellhop helped me shift the heavy totes.
“Are you here for a conference?” she asked, making polite conversation.
“Yes.” I answered, not sure if I wanted to say more.
“Which one?” she inquired cheerfully.
“Woodhull,” I replied. “My second year attending.”
The bellhop looked at me, then at the bins, and grinned. “Ooooh. Are these the goodies?”
I told her that they were indeed, and we had a lovely chat about sex toy materials on the elevator ride to my room. It was the perfect unofficial kickoff to a weekend of open conversations about sex and sexual freedom.
I quickly got things settled in my room, then made a beeline for the registration table. Along the way, I spied Sugarcunt and gave her an enthusiastic hello. And then I remembered that until I am wearing my badge, people do not know who I am. Ninja fail! Poor Sugarcunt looked slightly alarmed by the very friendly stranger until I realized my error and introduced myself.
Just like last year, I elected to go with the “no photos” lanyard to keep my face out of any public photos. In case you’re wondering how seriously Woodhull takes that policy, they have their photographer take a reference image of the “no photo” folks so they can be blurred out of any photos if they inadvertently appear in the background of a shot. The photographer also remembered me as a “no photo” person from last year, which was particularly impressive.
The Blogger Lounge
Walking back into the Blogger Lounge was like coming home. As always, Tantus took good care of us, providing ample caffeine, and lots of tiny dildos to play with while we discussed which sessions we’d attend. There were new faces and voices in the group, but we quickly bonded over delicious European candy3 and coffee. And of course, we all had a good chuckle about the gummi pacifiers that looked more like cock rings. We’re mature and classy like that.
— Lunabelle (@ninjasexology) August 4, 2016
In other highly refined Blogger Lounge conversation, I told the now infamous story of waiting for dinner at Chipotle while post-hookup sex juices dripped down my leg and into my shoe. Not to be outdone, Girl on the Net shared her tale of discovering a mysterious crunchy spot in her hair during a late-night McDonald’s run. This could be the beginning of an anthology of fast food themed erotica.
The fabulous Crista provided ribbons to make our badges more colorful (and in my case, more accurate). In addition to presenting a session and sharing a story at Bedpost Confessions, Crista also served as accessibility coordinator for the Summit and proved her mightiness beyond a shadow of a doubt.
And the Blogger Lounge wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Lilly’s infamous Jar of Horrors. I could tell you a lot of valid, important, scientific reasons why you shouldn’t put jelly sex toys in your body, but seeing how they break down over time into a quagmire of foul-smelling, viscous ooze is worth a thousand words.
The Blog Squad Pajama Party
This year’s summit featured a Blog Squad first, a pajama party on Friday night hosted by the amazing SheVibe. There were drinks, snacks and even fancy swag bags for the bloggers in attendance. The party was a great place for us to mingle, drink and cackle4 without bring the wrath of hotel security down upon us. Huge thanks to SheVibe for their ongoing support and a fantastic night!
The pajama fashions on display were as varied as our personal styles. Silly, slinky, sexy, cute, colorful and comfy…it was all there. Bex’s Batman ensemble was a standout, along with Girly Juice’s 100% on brand Princess pajamas. And Joan Price looked spectacular in slinky leopard print!
As for me? I was sporting my standard reviewing uniform of knee high socks and a T-shirt…with the addition of boxers so I wasn’t mooning everyone at the event. I brought my infamous Gigantic Rainbow Dildo in place of a stuffed animal, and there may have been some dildo-helicopter dancing that Lilly kindly recorded and made me watch in the morning.
— April (@VivaLaSexyBlog) August 6, 2016
The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Bawdy Poetry Slam, where we were treated to performances by Noah of Yaybody, Girl on the Net and Sugarcunt. Noah’s poem was touching and heartfelt, but also provoked quite a few laughs. Girl on the Net, after modestly cautioning us that she wasn’t sure her poem was very good, proceeded to blow us away with this masterpiece. The written version is hilarious enough, but hearing it performed in her delightful British accent had me howling. Sugarcunt presented excerpts from her epic skewering of a positively awful blow job advice book. I am actually glad that this hideous book came into existence, because without it the world would never have experienced her glorious and merciless diatribe.
The Unofficial Gatherings
Informal “events” abounded as well. I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, I lost count of how many people I brought up to my hotel room in a weekend. People came to check out the strange and exotic dildos, as documented in Epiphora’s “wildlife” video.
— Epiphora (@Epiphora) August 4, 2016
I love sharing my collection and watching people get to see toys in brands and styles that are new to them. SelfDelve’s Aubergine was a big hit, and Cortez from Twin Tail Creations got a lot of oohs and aahs too. Mandi also made an important discovery about her own tastes while checking things out.
…I’m learning that I’m oddly attracted to robot cocks. Thank you, @ninjasexology. 😆
— Mandi (@EROcentric) August 5, 2016
The dildo gallery tours sometimes turned into hangouts once the rolling bar was opened. At one point there were at least a dozen of us enjoying drinks and squishing silicone. This year featured an expanded bar with Midori and pineapple juice as well as vodka and cranberry. It was worth it to see Formidable Femme’s sheer joy as she sipped her signature melon ball.
— Formidable Femme (@FemmeReviews) August 5, 2016
Quite a few misfit toys went on to find new homes as well. Underappreciated toys like my Tsunami have gotten a second chance, a pink and blue dragon dick now serves as a desk mascot for Girly Juice. A few others have moved on to a career in camming. But most importantly, thanks to the Blog Squad’s generosity, those misfit toys turned into a donation to support Woodhull and all the work they do. We bloggers have always felt so welcomed and supported at the Summit, it was a great feeling to give something in return.
While my room had a serious dildo collection, Kenton from Funkit Toys took things to the next level. Behold the wild fucksmith mixing and pouring silicone!
He also had a variety of Funkit’s unique and gorgeous toys for sale. Funkit’s toy bases are a design marvel, suction cups that fold up to fit neatly in your hand or between your cheeks. And the colors…well, see for yourself!
— Funkit Toys (@FunkitToys) August 4, 2016
The gala on Saturday night was a chance for those who were so inclined to glam it up. I had the pleasure of hanging out with Girly Juice, Red Hot Suz, Formidable Femme, Artemisia and Caitlin before the gala began. They dazzled me with their femme skills and fed me crème brulee because they are excellent humans.
Being the bunch of introverts that we are, the Blog Squad’s appearance at the gala itself was fairly brief. We also wanted a chance to chat with each other before our all too brief time together at Woodhull drew to a close. We gathered in a corner of the retreat building, set up the rolling bar and spent hours talking, laughing and snapping pictures until the wee hours of the morning. We started planning to meet up at other events, like Sex Down South and Eroticon, because the thought of waiting a whole year to see each other was just too hard to bear.
And then there were all those little moments that don’t fit neatly into a narrative.
- The running gag of comparing my height (pretty darn tall) to Sarah’s (not so much).
— Lunabelle (@ninjasexology) August 7, 2016
- Also, this shot contrasting the size of our hands…
- Girly Juice’s incredible outfits, from shiny mermaid chic to an adorable pink vulva dress.
- Ruby Goodnight showing off the prototype Doxy bullets (SO MUCH WANT) and handing out shiny, rumbly toys for us to review. My Die Cast is stunning to behold, and perfect for those “need a quick orgasm between sessions” moments at a conference.
- The opportunity to wear rainbow fishnets without worrying what anyone will think.
— Lunabelle (@ninjasexology) August 5, 2016
- Learning that “doors” is not a very helpful location guideline in a large hotel (though we did eventually find the correct ones and the anxiety support group meeting in the parking lot).
- Bex being the sweetest human, hugging me when I commented that my friends live in my cell phone.
- The chorus of “I’m tweeting that!” whenever one of us said something outrageous/funny/weird. Which, us being us, happened a lot.
- This picture with Nina Hartley, who told me I have a “power chest”. That still makes me smile.
- Spanking Sandra from SheVibe with my oak paddle, and sheepishly declaring “Sorry, I’m a bottom!” when she looked disappointed.
- Girly Juice pointing out that in fact, I kind of got dommed into starting a blog.
- Sharing celebrity crushes with Girl on the Net (“David Tennant…I’d fuck him into a paste!”).
- The majesty of Epiphora’s sex toy manicure.
- April’s enviable purply-pink hair (which reminded us of the Hole Punch Fluke), Sex Bloggess’ stunning blonde/blue locks and Mary Q. Contrary’s multicolored streaks that coordinated with her gala dress.
- Talking Pokémon Go strategies with Harry Contrary and Lilly.
- Watching Girly Juice administer a very thorough spanking to Red Hot Suz.
- Brainstorming #sexolympics events with Mary Contrary, Harry Contrary and Girl on the Net
I’ve written so many words, and I can’t help feeling that I still haven’t done this event justice. The Blog Squad has grown so large now that I can’t possibly mention all the things that make each member unique and wonderful and amazing. But the feeling of belonging, of finding a place where we fit, that hasn’t changed. Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit is still the place where we feel validated and supported, where we’re free to speak our minds and be our authentic selves. It’s the event that inspires us to tackle new topics and aspire to new adventures. Which is why we’re already counting the days until SFS17…
My trip to Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit was sponsored by Peepshow Toys. Stay tuned for a second post about what I learned in summit sessions!
- Penny, Dizzy, Lena and Reenie were sorely missed! ↩
- I am going to try to list everyone here…if you spot an omission, please let me know so I can fix it! Epiphora, Dangerous Lilly, Crista Anne, A Couple of Kinks, Artemisia Femmecock, Bex, Mary Q. and Harry V. Contrary, Mandi (EROcentric), Formidable Femme, Girl on the Net, Girly Juice, Rose (Hedonish), Lorax of Sex, Sarah (Marvelous Darling), Red Hot Suz, Sex Bloggess, Caitlin (Sex-ational), Sammi (Squeaky Bedsprings), Sugarcunt, Mr. BLK and Ms. Pomegranate (The Black Pomegranate), JoEllen Notte, April (Viva La Sexy), Noah (Yaybody), Ashley Manta, Lilith and Polly ↩
- Courtesy of Marvy Darling and Girl on the Net ↩
- Incidentally, the collective noun for a group of sex bloggers that has been drinking is “a cackle”, as officially declared by the sage Epiphora. ↩