A few weeks ago, a group of self-identified geeks met up at a bar to talk about sex. Sounds like any old Wednesday night, you might say, but this was the beginning of a new movement in town. This was Winnipeg’s first Sex Geekdom Meetup.
“We live in a culture where you either don’t talk about sex, or you talk about it in a very specific, surface-level way, which I think is part of why a lot of people hold a lot of shame around it,” Brynna Stefanson explains. Stefanson, 27, is one of the organizers of the Jan. 14 meetup, and she’s working on planning another for early February.
The term “sex geek” was coined by sex educator Kate McCombs during her time in Melbourne, Australia, where she attended grad school.
“‘Sex geek’ or ‘sex nerd’ is an identification used by many people in the sex-positive community to describe their unusual, academic, and/or voracious interest in sexual knowledge,” McCombs explains on her website. “While clearly this kind of scholarship would likely lead to better sex for the individual, sex geeks like to learn about sex for the sake of learning about sex.”
Cities all over the US, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, and Canada (well, Toronto) have created their own hubs for sex geekdom.
“I wanted a regular, formalized way to get all the amazing sex geeks I knew together for excellent conversation (and nice food),” McCombs says. “At our first meet ups, there were public health professionals, sex educators, erotic writers, sex shop employees, and health care workers - all in the same room, chatting about sexuality. Total heaven.”
Meetup organizers hope to empower people to talk more and to create spaces for openness and information. While these are early days, Winnipeg hopes to join the global ranks as a new Sex Geekdom hub.
“I think it’s also important to remember that sex is not all positive, or all negative. The strongest voices in the media tend to really swing one way or the other, but in real life there are a lot of nuances. We really want to be a safe space for people to talk about all of their lived experiences and feel respected and heard,” Stefanson says.
The first Winnipeg meetup had a fairly informal feeling, recalls Stefanson. They met at the Handsome Daughter, and let the conversation sail along through female ejaculation, opinions on the most interesting STI and how old people were when they first started masturbating.
“Everyone had so much to say! Talking about early sexual development is very taboo in our society, so I think people were really excited to have a place to do that,” Stefanson says. “By the end, it really just felt like a night out with friends.”
McCombs hopes that these meetups continue to grow, especially in mid-sized cities that don’t have more prominent sex-positive communities doing this kind of work.
“We hope that by being what we call ‘beacons of permission’ that it’s OK to have open, meaningful, and respectful conversations about sexuality, we can help make the world a more joyful place.”