Passionate, knowledgeable growers. Wellness, entertainment, luxury and relaxation. Education and opportunities for connection. Welcome to the Emerald Exchange IV in Los Angeles.
I’ll admit, I was skeptical when I heard the venue was changing unexpectedly from Malibu to Moorpark. I loved the location of the previous Emerald Exchange, and I wasn’t stoked about tacking on an extra 25 minutes to my drive. But I could not have been more wrong! The new venue was absolutely perfect; a large private ranch with a man-made lake in the center of the property, fed by a well, with waterfalls and a bridge to an island in the center of it all. The vendors, educational areas, brand activations and wellness activities, as well as the VIP area, were situated around the lake. The layout was spacious, and there were plenty of shady spots to hydrate and relax. There were also portable restrooms that were actually really nice! This was an incredibly well-executed event, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate.
I receive multiple messages asking me for sex and relationship advice almost every day. Typically I refer folks to my website, where they can book me for coaching, or a “pick my brain” wish list on Amazon if they have a quick question that would take me less than 15 minutes to answer. This ensures value exchange for my time and expertise and allows people to operate within their budget if they don’t want to commit to a full, hour-long session. When I reached out to get involved with this two-day festival, I suggested it might be fun to offer free sex and relationship advice to attendees. This was met with a resounding “yes!” from organizer Jessica Cure. I imagined a table somewhere near Foria with me and two empty chairs, waiting for people to stop by for advice, a la Lucy from Peanuts. While I pitched my advice station as a process where attendees would sign up for 15-minute time slots and lightning rounds of singles and/or couples coaching, what transpired was even better.
Because I had a spot to myself on the island—a small, somewhat secluded cove with pillows and blankets where attendees could sit, relax and converse—we organically co-created a series of sex and relationship roundtable discussions. I got there early to set up my demo supplies and giveaway items: samples of Foria Pleasure THC-infused sex oil, samples of SmartMouth anti-dry mouth mints (these were a huge hit!), lighters from Mankind Cooperative, my anatomically correct dildo, vulva puppet, and two of my favorite sexuality books; Girl Sex 101 and Come As You Are. I even had two vibrators from Sportsheets to give away.
There wasn’t really a set structure; people stopped by, asked questions and participated in whatever conversations were going on at the time, then left when they felt full. I loved it! I enjoyed getting to answer questions about pleasure-based anatomy for vulvas, showing diagrams of the clitourethrovaginal complex (thanks, Girl Sex 101!), as well as sharing tips on communication, negotiation and navigating non-monogamy. I was asked a lot of questions about squirting (yes, it’s real, and no, not all people have the super-soaker experiences you see in porn!). Multiple attendees asked a question I was happy to reframe for them: “How do I get my partner to do X?” My response, as always, is that anyone can ask for what they want before, during and after sex. HOWEVER. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do with your body, or anyone else’s body. If you’re not a “yes” to something, you don’t have to do it just to please a partner. Negotiation and compromise are one thing. Coercion is another.
My favorite discussion of the weekend came during Lizzy Jeff’s Zen and Kush lounge later that night. A group of mostly feminine-presenting folks were passing around pre-rolls from Flow Kana and we started talking about energetic sex. I shared that I’ve been experimenting with energetic sex/tantra for about two years now, more so since I was attuned in Reiki in December, and it has been a game changer in my sex life. I was delighted to learn that some of the women in the circle were also incorporating various facets of energetic sex into their partnered experiences with great success. I shared that I have a technique for manifesting that is tied to orgasm. Whether I’m with a partner or on my own, when I feel myself getting close to orgasm, I start imagining the thing I want to manifest in my life—financial abundance, love, career opportunities—whatever I’m wanting most. At the moment of orgasm, I picture myself living that life, having that dream or wish come true, and the orgasm energetically launches that intention into the universe. You might think it sounds like hippie BS, but let me tell you, I manifested myself an apartment three miles from the ocean that way! It was delightful to share my experiences with a group of supportive people who understood, and who were anxious to try it in their own lives.
The piece of feedback I received the most over the course of the Emerald Exchange was that attendees appreciated how open I am about sexuality and pleasure. That’s my goal, to be what my colleague Kate McCombs calls a “beacon of permission”: to encourage people to find bliss, joy and pleasure in their own lives. I’m grateful to Emerald Exchange for giving me the opportunity to bring that magic to the weekend!