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August 21, 2015

Short film about disability civil rights leaders in San Francisco

SF remains the boom-town of opportunity and culture for people with disabilities. It sounds simplistic...but I think we need to add...more poetry, more accessible, day-to-day language to the disability rights movement, so that the culture in SF can really take hold in other places. Many people watching this video will get the general message, but not really understand the definition of the ADA or the 504 that these activists make reference to. In this way, the cause stays segregated in academic memory. (If you do want to get down to the technicalities of those terms, you can always read up on them at ada.gov.)



This film was made by the Paul K. Longmore Institute at San Francisco State University. Paul was a good friend pf mine who passed away unexpectedly a couple years ago. He was a scholar and a cultural commentator, possessing VHS tapes of over two decades worth of telethons for MS, juvenile arthritis, polio, etc. He was in the process of writing a book about the way the telethon charity model keeps disabled people locked away in a box of spectacle and fairytale. I miss Paul and I wish we had that book!

In celebration of 25 years of the ADA,
thebodpoe

August 19, 2015

the bodpoe, Summer 2015

the body poetik was named for Walt Whitman's  famous "I Sing the Body Electric"
“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” 
A great poet of the flesh is Seth Taylor, of Port Charlotte, Florida. He and I have been corresponding for almost two years now, via Facebook. Seth has spastic cerebral palsy. His hands are contracted in to tight fists and his voice is impaired, but he is fluent with his toes. Not only does he type with his toes, he has written a book called The World at My Feet, which roams from the landscape and wildlife along the Myakka Rver, baseball, accessible home design, the way the internet has created a socio-cultural revolution for people with disabilities, to many other subjects. 


Seth lives in a group home, he does not drive, and he is on a low budget like many people with disabilities. Planning took considerable time and effort on his part. I was truly flattered when he chose his birthday, last Sunday, to arrange the two-hour drive to come and see me , to have a body poetik session. 

Afterward, Seth treated me to dinner at The Golden Corral. here he is above, with his personal care attendant, Priscilla.  She was an added bonus to finally getting to work with Seth. Priscilla is a musician and young mom who is planning to enter social work. She was very curious about my background as a social worker turned intimacy coach. We talked on and on. The three of us had a beautiful Sunday together.


To me, meeting new colleagues is just as important as finding great clients. Recently, John Arnaldi reached out to me. He is an intimacy coach in Tampa and he stumbled upon my website when doing a search for other professionals in the field. I was thrilled! This intimacy work can, paradoxically, be so lonely. Many people don't understand what I offer and react with disinterest or negativity. 
John and I met for coffee and it was so validating! I especially appreciate that he is my elder and that he  has worked for 25 years as a mental health counselor in the Tampa area. He is also super familiar with the training and sexperts from California that have shaped my practice, so it was very easy to share experiences with him and compare consulting strategies.

"Mixed orientation relationships are those in which your sexual identity/orientation differs from your partner's. I have a lifetime of personal experience living as a bisexual in a mixed orientation marriage. As a sex and intimacy coach, I help individuals and couples come out from the shadows so they can talk honestly, grow in their understanding of their sexuality, negotiate new ways of being together, and decide if they will continue in relationship together. I also lead support groups in Tampa for men, bisexuals, and mixed orientation couples."


Internal Landscapes and Shadow Stories Workshop - with John Ollom (see Internal Landscapes) and John Arnaldi - $150. Tampa, FL - September 19, 2015 - 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Register before September 1st for $25 discount.  

Get Naked and Get Moving - a clothing-optional movement class for men with John Ollom - $25. Tampa, FL - September 20, 2015 - 10 A.M. to 11:15 A.M. Plus optional Naked Yoga class for men (additional fee of $15) 11:30 to 12:45. 


Soon, John and I plan to team up to facilitate a Building Sex Positive Community Meet-Up group. If you are interested, be in touch so I can email when we have posted details.




I hope to meet more colleagues like John at the first-ever  Sex Down South Conference in Atlanta, October 15-17. 
"In addition to a diverse range of sexuality based workshops, Sex Down South will offer attendees access to various education stations where participants can learn and practice sexy skills taught by experts, as well as attendance at our one-of-a-kind SEXxATL talks by local Atlanta experts.
The theme of Sex Down South 2015  is Transcending Sex, and will include an in-depth exploration of different tantric practices. With industry experts, keynote speakers and vendors from around the country, the 2015 Sex Down South conference is not to be missed.
Expect over 50 presenters and workshops to choose from including appearances by Sex Celebs including: Devi Ward, Tristan Taormino, Amy Jo Goddard, Lee Harrington, Dr. Ruth Neustifter, and Dr. Tamara Campbell-Griffin!"
 If you are a professional sex-plorer, it is not too late to register, though rates are going up. Or, schedule a consult with me when I return, as I will have plenty of new skills and sensual inspiration to share. 

xoxo, thebodpoe

July 15, 2015

Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit

My friend and colleague, EveLynn Maurine, Awakening Body, an erotic educator and minster out of Orlando, will be presenting at  The 6th annual Summit of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance. I am not able to attend this year, so she invited me to write a brief history of my work and an update on the Body Poetik's services in Florida. She'll include this is her intensive workshop at the summit. I am so grateful!

If you haven't heard of Woodhull, check it out





 Here is how they describe the yearly event:

"We are at a critical time as the pendulum of social change swings far to the right.  We are going to have to work hard to keep the rights we already have while working to claim those rights not yet recognized.   Our goal at the Summit is to send attendees back to their daily lives with the tools and the inspiration to create the change we want to see in our world. The Sexual Freedom Summit features human rights activists, sexuality educators and researchers, professionals from the legal and medical fields, authors, sexual freedom movement leaders and organizational partners all working toward the time when sexual freedom is fully recognized as a fundamental human right. This Summit is for EVERYONE interested in learning about the issues in the realm of sexual freedom, advancing their current knowledge and in gaining the tools to actually create the change we need to accomplish."
There will be many lectures, classes and planning events. EveLynn's presentation is entitled, 
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The class description:

"This is an in-depth presentation and discussion designed to bring awareness to expanded therapeutic and somatic approaches to the sexual issues faced by individuals who are sexually challenged due to disability, chronic conditions and the process of aging."




It's very interesting how I got to know EveLynn. 

While I was in San Francisco working as a disability counselor and creative expressions teacher, I decided to change my focus, using the skills and work I was already doing, to empower people to find intimacy and embody healthy sexuality. This, in large part,  was because I attended a workshop lead by Rafe Biggs, founder of Sexability: Transforming Sexuality and Disability

Rate is well known for  retraining (actually redirecting) his erogenous zones after becoming paralyzed (and numb) from the sternum down when he was a young man. He was able to do this by working with a hands-on sex coach.  

Due to my own health issues, I needed to leave San Francisco and move back to Florida. I really despaired, thinking I would never find sexuality community and colleagues in Florida,  folks like Rafe. After many fruitless Google searches, I did find  EveLynn in Orlando and made a kind of leap-of-faith trek via Amtrak (I am visually impaired and don't drive). I took the train from Tampa to Orlando to meet with her. When I got to her home--which is also a gorgeous retreat center with a heated pool, cozy therapy rooms, and snacks--we became fast friends. It turned out she had studied at the same sex institute in San Francisco that i was considering attending. Thanks to her, I went and became certified as a sexological bodyworker. Also, we both knew Rafe! She was working closely with him, long-distance, to develop the aims of Sexability! This seemed like a sign that I was on the right path and it gave me confidence to start advertising as an intimacy coach in Florida!

Always look for coincidences and interconnections! It will lead you somewhere. Oh, and, if you visit Rafe's site and see the sexy-disabled calendar he created to raise funds--yes...yes I did pose topless for the calendar, so be aware of that if you are looking at it with kids!

And, as far as paralysis, numbness or other physical strictures and how to redirect erogenous zones around that...we can definitely consult! Give me a call!






















May 6, 2015

the body poetik gives academic, artistic, and bodywork presentations at the University of Arizona, Tucson


Not only did I get to present an academic talk at the University of Arizona, during my time at the Open Embodiments Conference, and to present poetry-of-the-body with my dear San Francisco collaborators











--I also got to do an interactive art installation in a downtown gallery. The organizers set me up with a double bed in the middle of sculptures and paintings and acrobats. I invited gallery visitors to step into engaged arts experiments around intimacy and body image. Here were some of the options I offered for engagement.






April 23, 2015

the bodpoe interviewed on USF Tampa Bulls radio--The F Word

My Tampa radio interview happened tonight! The Tampa Bay Area wasn't the same without these ladies when I was growing up. Do I make myself sound dated? I don't care. They are f****g rocking it on college radio! Title of the show is The F Word, as in Feminism, folks.

They gave me the best gift of an amaze-balls interview to introduce the body poetik services/consults to the Tampa Bay Area community. I had almost an hour to speak about intimacy coaching and the art of sensual awareness, what I can offer clients and how my practice works. These ladies' interviewing chops were awesome; full of grace, fun, and excellent timing--especially considering we were talking about sex, disability, feminism and childhood--not easy subjects to tease out!

Listen here: Amber explains intimacy coaching and what the body poetik offers. You can download the interview from this link or listen to it from the USF The F Word radio archives. My interview appears at the top of the page and starts about 15 minutes into the show.



[Tiffany Portacio, The F Word co-host.]





March 22, 2015

Blind mom, my former boss and dear friend from California