August 1, 2008

Midori's Newsletter August 1, 2008

Table of contents

1. Sex and the Economy
2. August classes/events (Montreal)
3. September preview (SF, Santa Cruz, Chicago, LA, Las Vegas)
4. Succumbed to FaceBook. Recent Columns. My on-line haunts

(Please feel free to repost or pass this along.
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1. SEX AND THE ECONOMY
Has the economy affected your sex life and that of the people around you?
If you think it hasn't, think again.

The forces that shape the headlines and stock market also affect our sex lives. It always has, but in today's economic and global reality it's become starkly evident, creating fascinating consequences and trends. Today I'd like to share with you some of the patterns I've noticed through my travels and conversations. There are some noteworthy signs of trends and changes for sexuality and related issues on the horizon.

The most obvious is the skyrocketing cost of fuel. Whether flying or driving to an event, transportation cost factors in to people's pursuit of pleasure.

The boom of sexuality events in the last few years, whether designed for swingers, kinksters, spiritual seekers or even industry professional conventions, created a full calendar. If you're in North America, you can find some exciting event to fly off to on most given weekend. Cheap flights made even the most far-flung destinations an accessible sexy jaunt. Fifteen years ago, before the boom, I would see pretty much the same die-hard faces at the Rubber Ball and the few similar events in existence. Within the last few years I've seen a huge influx of fresh faces, from all over the world, dropping into the Rubber Ball as well as the growing number of like-minded events. The same fresh faces would jet around to multiple international events. This year, however, with prohibitive travel costs, the crippled US dollar against other currencies, and increasing overhead of day-to-day living, I'm hearing more and more erotic pleasure travelers making the difficult decision to attend fewer events. They're considering the benefits of each event more carefully against one another. Kink in the Caribbean or Fetish Evolution in Germany? Folsom Street Fair or Leather Retreat? Rubber Ball or London Fetish Weekend?

The attendees aren't the only ones making difficult choices. Vendors, designers and manufacturers that regularly attend events are being hit hard by the cost of transportation to the events. That's after they've had to swallow the increased cost of the raw material to produce their toys and goods. The margins are getting thinner and thinner.

Some attendees and vendors are choosing to not travel at all, as the recession, mortgage crisis, growing unemployment and job instability looms darkly over so many.

This in turns affects the event promoters and the survival of the event. Often times events have contracts with the host hotel or space that requires certain amount of room sales or drink purchases, etc, based on expected attendance. Failure to meet that base number can financially ruin events and their promoters. Regardless of the quality of event, the low attendance is a killer.

Then there is the matter of morale. Financial hardship creates psychological pressures for many that can dampen their sex drive as well as a general sense of joy in life. Many are similarly affected by the ongoing wars and global conflicts, political uncertainty, environmental crisis and medical conditions and bills aggravated by lowered earning potential. No little blue pill can fix that ED.

For others, these stressors can trigger compulsive and self-destructive sexual behavior as irrational refuge of escape. They may seem like they're fun and carefree, but they're "looking for Mr. Goodbar" all over again.

Not all is gloom and doom, however.

Much in the way that the buzzword "staycation" becomes more popular, more and more people are choosing to enjoy sensual escapes in their own region. Hotels and spas are repackaging services geared towards the local couples seeking affordable romance and sexual vacations. Cities with well-developed sexual subcultures are enjoying a modest growth in event attendance, as those who chose not to fly to big events come out to adventure locally. Local events and venues in erotically sophisticated cities, however, are having to be creative in offering activities and topics that keep the interest of the populace, as they would soon choose a blockbuster movie or some other local entertainment over predictable content.

Unfortunately, those who live in cities and towns that don't have an active erotic subculture may suffer when pressures against travel keep them at home. A niche is now developing that needs filling. This maybe just the impetus needed for the forward thinking and entrepreneurial to create sex positive spaces. A fine example of such a space that should be looked at as an outstanding business model is the Sex Positive Community Space in Seattle. They've figured out how to bridge the gap in an often-fractured set of subcultures to sustain a viable erotic event venue.

A bit of ironic positive in these interesting times - have you noticed that censorship and the religious right's obsession with sex has dropped from the front pages? I'm personally glad that the powers-that-be decided that the terrorism boogieman, the US election and the mortgage crisis have been deemed greater threats than what consenting adults do and watch.

There are other positive trends.

Curiously, there is a certain sector of sex toy producers that will be reaping the benefit of these interesting times. As you know, most sex toys are made with cheap products in overseas sweatshops, using cheap labor without much health, product quality or environmental regulations. The weak US dollar, increasing wages for laborers, pressures for regulation, rising shipping cost will slowly push up the price of sex toys, just as the price of "made in China" clothing, shoes, and children's toys have increased.

In addition, the average sex toys consumer is now far more sophisticated in terms of product selection. It's no longer the era of the sleazy adult shops. Today's dildo buyer is more likely to be well educated, in long-term relationships, quality driven, as well as socially and environmentally aware. There once was a time when the intelligent warnings by the makers of Tantus silicone dildos about toxic off-gassing from cheap sex toys fell on deaf ears. Not so any more. Like the Slow Food movement, consumers are waking up to the idea that the quality of what you put inside you, whether in your mouth or your sex organ, could affect your health as well as environmental health.

Environmental health and sex toys?
Yes.
Remember toxins in pet food and lead in kiddie toys? What do you think it does to the people making the items and the soils and water of the manufacturing site? Is it really necessary to make sex toys using precious petroleum products while poisoning the soil, then to ship it across the world using scared fuel - just to provide you with a poorly made sex toy that breaks after a romp or two?

You've heard of the 100 Mile Diet and the increasing trend to consume locally grown foods relying on less trucking around and environmental damage. This encourages the local economy, small-scale farming, sustainable agriculture and crop diversity.

Similarly, growing number of sophisticated sexual beings are seeing toys made regionally with environmentally conscious ingredients. This isn't just about "Green" trendiness. If its poisonous to the earth and air, would you stick it up your twat or your butt? Or that of your lovers? I've seen an increase in quality toys made by engineers and artisans and other specially educated and trained people. Njoy, Tantus, Standard Glass and NobEssence are great examples of this new crop of cool for forward thinking toys makers. They're making the toys they want to use themselves, and finding a consumer base within their region. They're using body safe, earth safe, and sometimes sustainably harvested material. Because they're being made in North America or Europe, they're selling within that region, lowering the shipping cost and carbon liability.

What's the carbon foot print of your next sexual purchase?

Sex and the economy; strange bedfellows, indeed.
Wishing you peace, pleasure and joy!

Midori
P.S. Humming the tune to "money, money, money" from Cabaret

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2. UPCOMING CLASSES / EVENTS (Montreal)

MONTREAL, CANADA
· Fri Aug 8 through 10 at Montreal Fetish Festival

Saturday afternoon I'll be teaching a class "Psychology and Scene Dynamics of Rope Bondage" at this cool inaugural weekend event.
That evening Kumi and I will be performing for the "Dark Fairy Tale" themed party.

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3. SEPTEMBER PREVIEW

SAN FRANCISCO, CA
• Wed 9/3 "Playing with Erotic Embarrassment" at Good Vibrations on Valencia St. (415) 522-5460
• Tue 9/23 "Beyond Twisted: Kink Outside the Box" at the Citadel 1277 Mission St (at 9th st), San Francisco
• Sun 9/28 Attending Folsom Street Fair

SANTA CRUZ, CA
• Thr 9/4 "JoyStick Secrets: How to Thrill a Man" at Pure Pleasure Boutique 204 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Phone: 831.466.9870
• Tue 9/30 "How to Eat a Peach: Pleasuring Her" at Pure Pleasure Boutique 204 Church Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Phone: 831.466.9870

CHICAGO, IL
• Thr 9/8 "How to Eat a Peach: Pleasuring Her" at Early To Bed 5232 N. Sheridan Rd. on Chicago's north side, right off Lake Shore Drive at the Foster exit Tel: 773-271-1219 or toll free at 866-585-2BED (2233).
• Tue 9/9 "Wrapped for Pleasure: Easy Sex Bondage" at The Pleasure Chest. 3436 North Lincoln Avenue. Tel: 773.525.7151
• Wed 9/10 "Aural Sex 1: Seduction by Voice & Erotic Story Telling" at G Boutique. 2131 N Damen Ave. Tel(773) 235-1234.
• Thr 9/11 "JoyStick Secrets: How to Thrill a Man" at The Pleasure Chest. 3436 North Lincoln Avenue. Tel: 773.525.7151
• Fri 9/12 "Become the Fantasy: Erotic Role Play Games for Couples" at G Boutique. 2131 N Damen Ave. Tel(773) 235-1234.
• Sat 9/13 class at Galleria Domain Topic to be announced.

LOS ANGELES, CA
• Mon 9/15 "Backdoor Pleasures: Anal Sex for Him and Her" at The Pleasure Chest. 7733 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 Tel. 323.650.1022.
• Tue 9/16 "Knotty and Nice: Easy Bondage for Sex and Pleasure" at The Pleasure Chest. 7733 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 Tel. 323.650.1022.
• Wed 9/17 "Aural Sex: Courtesan's Secrets of Erotic Voice and Stories" at The Pleasure Chest. 7733 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, CA 90046 Tel. 323.650.1022
• Thr 9/18 "JoyStick Secrets: How to Thrill a Man" at Coco De Mer. 8618 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA90069 Tel: 310 652 0311
• Mon 9/22 "Bedroom Pleasure Toys: Tips, Tricks and Bloopers" at Coco De Mer. 8618 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA90069 Tel: 310 652 0311
• Wed 9/24 "Erotic Humiliation Play" for Avatar LA. Part of the 25th Anniversary celebration year! Everyone welcome.
• Thr 9/25 "Rosy Cheeks: Beginner's Guide to Love Swats, Spankings, Paddle and more" at Coco De Mer. 8618 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA90069 Tel: 310 652 0311
• Fri 9/26 Possible class at Syren. 2809½ W. Sunset Blvd. Los Angeles. CA 90026. Store Phone: 213-989-0334

LAS VEGAS, NV
Sat 9/20 and Sun 9/21fun classes! Topics to be announced. at http://midorlvwknd.wordpress.com.

ON-LINE KC ROPE DOJO REGISTRATION OPENS
• Fri 9/5 Noon, Pacific Time. On-line registration opens for the October 18-19 Rope Bondage Dojo ® Stage I in Kansas City, MO. FAQ and registration at Rope Bondage Dojo

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4. MY ON-LINE LOITERING HANG OUT WITH ME!
As if I didn't have enough to do. I finally let myself get talked into having a FaceBook account. Search for me there under Midori ReallyMidori. Make sure to let me know you read this in my newsletter, and then I'll add you.

Here are some other places I've been known to waste my time
Live Journal
Tribe
KinkWire.com
Yahoo Diva Midori Group

I've been writing articles for various sites. Here are some of my recent columns
~ Men's Health UK column on Quickies.
~ "Defining Your Appetites- Not Your Labels" at www.socialkink.com Look under "Exclusive". You may have to comb through a busy looking site. Not work safe.
~ "On the Erotic Objectification of Women by Women" at www.bondage.com in the Columns section

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Midori