Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What Does It Mean to be an Erotic Hostess?

Sometimes I wonder if I should change the title of this blog; while it is compelling and truthful, it is also deceiving. It could make people think they will read a lot about sex. While I have great sex several times a week with my partner, and have lovely sensual and BDSM experiences with friends, sex really has little to do with my position as a hostess for erotic events. Of course our parties -- the primary service we offer -- are very much about sexual expression. But what we do as Hostesses is far more about creating the space and facilitating the community relationship in which to have free sexual expression than it is about sex itself.

Creating a space requires all of the logistical work: negotiating rentals, ticket management, marketing, purchasing equipment and decorations, renting a truck and moving all the stuff from storage, purchasing and preparing food, and setting up and decorating the space. It also requires managing the various crews, the all staff meeting and trainings. But that is really the easy and least time-consuming part.

Most of this work is about facilitating the community relationship. Whether it is nurturing relationships with community members or managing our leadership staff or responding to community issues both online and offline, most of my time is spent facilitating community in some way. The three of us have as many conversations about how to address various relationships as we do about the logistics of party planning.

We had no idea this is what our jobs or our lives would turn into. We went into this with some romantic notions about throwing sexy parties. Due to my involvement in the previous incarnation of local sex parties, I knew that we were working with some big energies and that people's lives can change when they experience the freedom and safety of a well-produced event. But I didn't know that every choice we make in relationship to other people would be so important to the success of our mission or how much personal evolution we would go through in the process of learning to make the right choices. I didn't know how we would be held accountable for every choice, whether through positive validation or through complaint. I didn't know that I would suddenly have to put everything I had learned by watching other leaders fail in managing people over the last 10 years into practice.

When we wrote our mission and vision statements, they were a lot of pretty words and theoretical concepts. We weren't really conscious yet of the personal and community work it would take to live up to them. As expressed in my previous post, creating safe emotional space for a truly inclusive sex-positive community requires a healthy standard for behavior and communication. It is a higher standard than I have ever been asked, or required, to live up to before.

I realize that as emotionally draining as it can be at times, this is a significant aspect of my bliss. Relationship and communication are my favorite ways to spend my time and energy. Opportunities for deeper understanding and intimacy bring me great joy. Opportunities to make healing choices in the face of heartache enlighten me. Yet I don't always get it right. I am introverted by nature. I am not so good at knowing how to start conversations with new guests or nurturing new relationships with those that I don't have an immediate chemistry with. I have exhausted days and am not as present to people as I desire to be or they need me to be. Occasionally I get upset and sometimes I am more transparent than I should be about my thoughts and feelings. Navigating healthy and inclusive relationship takes hard work, but it's work that fulfills my heart like nothing else does.

1 comment:

Dave Berman said...

Keep following your bliss. It is doing us all a lot of good.