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.