By Albert Samaha
By Amanda Dingyuan
By Anna Merlan
By Anna Merlan
By Albert Samaha
By Tessa Stuart
By Anna Merlan
By Roy Edroso
I just returned from a very special place. My friend R., who was there, called the site, which is in the middle of nowhere (actually in rural Maryland) and feels like it could be anywhere, "the happiest place on earth." Her homage to Disneyland is fitting, because this place is very much like an amusement park. Full of thrill rides and larger-than-life characters, it provided so much wonder and giddy excitement that you'd have thought euphoria was being pumped in through a secret ventilation system. And there was magic all around. Sex magic.
How does one describe the population? All genders, all sexual orientations, all ages? Yes. And: activist, artist, bisexual, boi, bottom, boy, Buddhist, Catholic, Christian, coupled, cross-dresser, Daddy, dominant, exhibitionist, fetishist, girl, Jew, kinky, leatherperson, man, married, masochist, monogamous, non-monogamous, nudist, omnisexual, Pagan, pansexual, polyamorous, queer, sadist, sensualist, sex-positive, single, slave, submissive, swinger, switch, Tantric, third gender, top, transgender, voyeur, Wiccan, and woman. Not to mention teacher, student, shaman, healer, and priestess. But in this place, these wordsthese identitiesbecame simultaneously crucial and insignificant. Like diving boards, they propelled us into a deep pool. We acknowledge them above the water, but we don't need them anymore.
The goal was not just to gather all these people in one place, but to have them eat, sleep, live, learn, and play together for five days. The clichéd dilemma was ours to embrace: If you build it, will they come? They came, all right. Because we were in a summer-camp-like environment, interaction was inevitable yet organic. I found that I spent less time with my friends and more time with people I'd just metsomething that almost never happens. But it's hard work to bridge the gaps between so many communities, accept difference, challenge each other's assumptions and boundaries, and still agree on common principles. Embracing other people's quirks and kinks and unique selves without judgment is an incredibly tall order. It creates a dynamic space that is at once safe yet dangerous, electrifying yet scary, where the unexpected may be around the corner or right there in your lap. The key was that so many people there were so accessible, open to answering the deepest, most personal queries about the who, the how, and the why of their desiresquestions we're afraid to ask, questions for which the average person might not even have an answer.
This place was utopian in so many ways, with pleasure, acceptance, and growth its unifying principles. You may be thinking by now that it exists only in my imagination. Well, it does, but it was also made entirely real for one short stretch in September. I have the mosquito bites in strange places to prove it. I witnessed as people experimented, recognized desires they never knew they had, did things they've only fantasized about, and had revelations about themselves, their relationships, and other people. A woman was dominated for the first time by another woman. A heterosexual man openly expressed his desire for a transgender woman, knowing that her body was a lot more complex than our gender binary would have us believe. A dyke who's never been with a man touched a naked guy. A genderqueer couple explained their choice to be monogamous so articulately that what I always thought of as oppressive, they made radical.
I fucked an Australian self-described "girlie-man" who, when she lifted her plaid skirt to reveal her ass to me, made me wet on the spot. I helped give an exquisite beauty her first double penetration. (Guess which hole I got to fill?) I watched someone I love step outside his comfort zone. I orchestrated the most elaborate edge-play scene I've ever been involved in for a girl who really doesn't deserve it (and likes to be humiliated, so will get off again on reading that she doesn't deserve it).
But I had nothing to do with the exchange that defined the event for me. It involved a fiftysomething, redheaded, married swinger from the heartland, where she and her husband (who've been together 17 years) make their own beef jerky. She's played with women, undeniably loves pussy, and has a zest for life. She watched a young, short-haired tranny boy (who's got an unmistakable sweet-shy awkwardness that comes in handy when he wants to play 12 years old) fist his radiant femme dyke girlfriend in the dungeon. Redhead thought the whole scene was really hot, and conveyed her appreciation to them the next day. How nice, I thought: A woman whose identity barely intersects with theirs saw them and got turned onthat's what this place is all about. Sometimes our desires surprise even us.
Little did I know that less than eight hours later, that same woman would proposition said young tranny boy for a five-finger fling of her own. The boy blushed and stammered and generally had no idea how to respond to a woman who could either be 30 or 40 years older, depending on how you saw it. This one moment in a sea of universe-exploding, awe-inspiring moments touched me deeply. Sure, I wouldn't mind seeing Redhead fisted for the first time by Short Hair. (I'd even play lube girl for the occasion, although I believe Short Hair's girlfriend already has dibs on that position.) But this fantasy of someone else's has stayed with me, and whenever I think of it, I smile. Two people, from two very different worlds, whose paths would not have crossed if it weren't for this place, broke open something in each other. It was evolution at warp speed. Redhead, open to exploring new things, found herself attracted to a person whose gender identity and presentation she'd rarely seen before or had access to. She was able to do what some people cannot accomplish in a lifetime when it comes to their erotic desires: She listened to them, owned them, named them, and verbalized them, even at the risk of being rejected (which, by the way, she hasn't been; though nothing happened on the spot, I've been informed the door has not been closed).
People ask me, "Did you have fun? Did you live out a long-desired fantasy?" I tell them I did. I saw sex magic, and I helped make it happen.
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