Many thanks for what we accomplished together this year…
Impending New Year’s greetings from Northern California where I’m holed up in a cabin with some close friends gearing up to ring in the New Year… Today we close ’09 and open up ’10… ‘010? 2010! You get the picture…
Even though this is my vacation, as the early morning mists creep up the hill through the surrounding Red Wood trees, I’ve been slipping out of bed, tip toeing to the coffee maker and brewing a heaping pot o’ the morning joe. As the rest of the house sleeps, after adding my Bailey’s, I grab my coffee and my laptop to log in a few hours of work as is my workaholic routine (which, btw, happens to be a good thing when you’re an entrepreneur sex and relationship educator as I am!). I’ve learned that a few hours of calendaring, writing, website updating, and the reading other’s blogs allows me to relax the rest of the day. And so it is…
This morning, I am reminded by how so very blessed I am to be able to do what I do, and it’s because of YOU that I get to do it. So, before the world kicks off another year, I wanted to thank you for accompanying me on my journey in 2009.
Whether this is the first time you’ve visited my website or the 100th time… Whether you’ve just signed up for my newsletter, downloaded your first podcast, attended a dozen workshops, or hired me for relationship coaching… It all boils down to this: my world doesn’t work without your support and participation. So, during these last moments of 2009, I send you MUCH, MUCH GRATITUDE for helping me making this a break out year for ReidAboutSex.
I hope you got as much out of 2009 as I did. This was a HUGELY busy year for me and, in looking back over the last 12-months, it seemed appropriate to summarize and share what we accomplished this year.
Thusly, our year in review, the highlights…
I kicked off 2009 by launching the first of many of my more “edgy” workshops and many people turned out for ’em!
Having recently turned Cuddle Party, the G-Rated, pop-culture phenomenon communication (even SNL did a skit on us) workshop about nonsexual affection and social intimacy that launched my career, into a non-profit (not that it was making a profit – insert snare-drum ba-dump-bump!), I was free to venture into more salacious sex ed territory without damaging Cuddle Party’s sterling reputation. Following my instincts would eventually lead to me creating a rating system for my workshops analogous to the film and television industries’ rating system.
The first of my edgier offerings would be the playful and salacious Negotiating Successful Threesomes (With Live Demonstrations!) at San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture.
The first of my R-Rated workshops, Negotiating Successful Threesomes was designed to have – shock! gasp! – “live demonstrations!” The demos consisted of friends of mine (and later on, audience volunteers) acting out fully-clothed versions out of my Threesome Kama Sutra along with practicing the communicating and ice-breaking tools and techniques that the workshop delves into. It was a huge success and so much fun that I immediately turned up the heat and began considering what my first NC-17 Rated workshop would be. That workshop wouldn’t launch for another few months…
2009 was also the year that February 13th, the day before St. Valentine’s Day, just happened to be a Friday… The combination of Friday the 13th falling before Valentine’s Day inspired me to declare every Friday the 13th, National End a Bad Relationship Day!
Sometimes, the first step in creating the relationship of your dreams is to end the nightmare relationship you’re currently in, so I held a teleclass on how to break up with panaché.
On the website front, I finally began the reorganization of the ReidAboutSex website. The first step was to begin gathering all the disparate posts and announcements and herding all of my free products and podcasts onto one easy-to-click on page of FREE Reid Stuff… One of the fun parts was dusting off my art school degree, double-clicking on my copy of Adobe Photoshop and designing a few eye-grabbing buttons to promote things. This would become the eventual home of podcasts Women Who Give Too Much with Diana Adams, and the hugely popular Energetic Sex: From Mystical to Practical podcast.
March would find me kicking off the first teaching trip of the year, landing me in our nation’s capitol, Washington DC, to teach several workshop for WholeDC. 2009 would end up being a year full of lots of traveling and teaching!
Cuddle Party would get a mention on the annimated show King of the Hill in March.
In April, I got up the gumption to run my first NC-17 Rated workshop, a workshop for adults age 18 and over where some of the demonstrations would be sexually explicit. Why? Because, as a sex educator, there are some things that are just plain easier to teach folks if I demonstrate them on a living, breathing human being while the audience watches and gets to ask the both of us questions. Let’s face it, in today’s culture many folks get their sex education from watching porn, and watching porn to learn how to be a better lover is like watching The Fast and the Furious to learn how to drive!
Let’s face it, in today’s culture many folks get their sex education from watching porn, and watching porn to learn how to be a better lover is like watching The Fast and the Furious to learn how to drive!
My first NC-17 workshop was The Ergonomics of Dynamic and Dynamite Sex. My goofy sense of humor, shameless view on sex between two consenting adults, and pragmatic approach to having sex in a way that was easier on your body (ergonomics) was a huge success. That was all the proof I needed to begin creating a slew of R-Rated and NC-17 Rated workshops.
And it would be in Sedona, Arizona that May, while attending the annual Sedona Daka-Dakini Conference where I was invited to speak on the topic of sexual healing work with rape and incest survivors that I would be asked to co-organize what would end up being two conferences on the East Coast in the Fall. (Little did I know that these conferences would turn into a huge win-win for everyone in my sex positive world!)
Later that May, I would pull-off one of my biggest teleclass achievements in 2009, the widely successful and still frequently downloaded, Day of Jealousy, where I got 13 of my favorite sex and relationship experts together across several calls to share their views, tips and personal stories on the great Green-Eyed Monster of Jealousy!
The next month, June, I would get the great opportunity to sit down and interview one of my sex ed heroes, mentor and friend Dossie Easton, co-author of the historic text, The Ethical Slut to talk about the release of it’s long awaited 2nd edition! It would take me the rest of 2009 to finally get the video footage from that interview edited and uploaded on to my YouTube “ReidAboutSex” Channel and posted on my site…
June would also find me in San Diego with the amazing Tantra and Polyamory educator and community leader, Kamala Devi, for a week of teaching and frolicking… The week would culminate with Kamala Devi and I shooting our first DVD together – Earning Your BLACKBELT in Relationships. Though it would take the rest of the year for us to edit the final footage, and I would have trouble designing the cover art ($80K of art school education back in action, remember!?), it was an amazing experience and I couldn’t have done it without the tenacious and tender Kamala Devi cracking her velvety whip! The official release party is this Jan 30th in SD, btw! Get your tickets and come join us…
Somewhere along the way, I joined the Twitter craze and became quite proficient in updating my Facebook status, uploading recent photos of my exploits, and even have links on my site so people can friend and Tweet me. At some point I’ll reach the point of needing to have a FB Fan Page, but for now, I’m quite content with my many friends and using Facebook for buisness and pleasure.
As the saying goes, “Business before pleasure unless pleasure is your business!”
In July, I shared my love of, and savvy for, running teleclasses with my fellow sex positive professionals and taught a workshop on how to design and run your own teleclasses. I couldn’t tell you how many teleclasses I’ve run in the nearly 6-years since Cuddle Party launched my career, but this I can say: If you’re going to ever run a teleclass on how to run teleclasses, don’t be surprised if everything that could go wrong goes wrong! In a befitting twist of “Here is how to be powerful even when something goes wrong,” my 4-week teleclass (available for download) had about a million things go wrong. You’ll be happy to know that I was an excellent role model for “how to fix a glitch” and the “what to do when something goes awry.” The class and the workbook that goes with it came out great, btw, but it was a humbling and illuminating experience to say the least!
Speaking of illumination, as a “sex educator of sex educators,” I found that many of the struggles I’m encountering with the growing my own business and skills as a sex educator have been valuable for my peers when I’ve shared them. I admit it’s a bit vulnerable at times sharing what I’m having challenges with in my life to the world at large; however, business is a lot like love when it comes to communication and growth (and having good days and bad days). So, in the interest of role modeling things that are essential to making relationships sustainable, 2009 was the year that I stepped up my own personal practice a notch and began sharing my challenges and growth edges with my fellow sex educators. Vulnerability and transparency are key, right?
To check out what new things I’m up to for my Sex Educator peeps and Sex-Positive Professional peers, check out my ReidAboutSex Pro-Series products.
The end of Summer and Fall were pretty much consumed by the two Tantra Conferences I was organizing for the East Coast. So consuming in fact, that I chose not to attend the Burning Man Arts Festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. Three years ago I had founded the first large scale queer women’s/lesbian camp at the festival – Camp Beaverton for Wayward Girls. To date, it is one of my most proud commmunity bilding achievments. I note it here as a plug for anyone reading this who’d like to support the Beavers as they fund raise for this years trip to the desert. To learn more about the exploits of the Beavers, go to www.CampBeaverton.org. Go, Beavers!
As you can tell by this year’s accomplishments, I’m not your “normal” sex and relationship educator, and 2009 was the year, in my opinion, when I was finally able to make sense of my diverse and crazy way of approaching sex education. I’d heard from lots of marketing gurus that I was going about it “all wrong.” Their advice was to either “stick with Cuddle Party,” or “pick one niche within sex ed and target just that.” But, to me, there’s so much to talk about when it comes to sex and relationships and intimacy and love. I understood from a marketing point of view, the value of niching, but my intuition kept tugging me in a different direction. It wasn’t until the middle of this year that I began to see what the “Reid Brand” was, and, as the URL states, I am “about sex.” Plain and simple, and so very, very diverse and large and encompassing…. More than pointers on flirting, or podcasts on battling jealousy, or advice on how to understand men and women… I’m, literally, all about sex, all about relationships, love and intimacy, and everything in between.
I’d heard from lots of marketing gurus that I was going about it “all wrong.” Their advice was to either “stick with Cuddle Party,” or “pick one niche within sex ed and target just that.”
This was the year I gave myself permission to just be me, all of me. Not half of me, or what some marketing guru thought America could handle… And, like the advice I dole out to my clients in emails and one-on-one sessions, I began to not hide myself and who I am. America is ready for me, or at the least, I should empower them to chose for themselves if they’re ready or not. Who am I to “turn down the volume” on who I am and what makes me happy so that people feel comfortable? The more powerful and respectful choice is to empower them to choose for themselves, to hold them -and you- capable of saying yay or nay.
So, after running two successful conferences and nearly a year’s worth of PG-13 Rated, R-Rated and NC-17 Rated workshops, as well as a slew of teleclasses and podcast interviews, it was time for me to head to Hollywood and pitch… You guessed it: a reality show! Yep, I created a show about relationships and was off to the land of Lost Angels to squire my creative genius the big leagues of the cable TV industry…
It’s a long story, so I won’t go into it too much, but the short version goes like this:
- Reid creates a scripted damadie (comedy + drama) series about alternative relationships called Polly And Marie ten years ago…
- Eight years later, the pilot gets produced by an independent producer in LA and HBO almost buys it…
- Said producer asks Reid to help him create a reality show on alternative relationships in 2008 and they film the teaser reel to help pitch the show…
- After lots of legal negotiations, the initial paper work is signed and one of the top reality show producers in LA begins setting up appointments for the show to be pitched staring in November…
As fate would have it, I am contacted by Green Mountain College in Vermont and they ask me to fly to their college to be the headliner presenter for their annual Sexpo Day. This ends up happening the night before my first big reality show pitch meeting in Hollywood… I get up at 3am to drive from Poultney, VT, to the Albany Airport to fly to Hollywood to make my meeting. Thankfully, everything goes smoothly. Yikes!
November 19th, my “team” consisting of some of the best reality show and film producers in the business begin pitching our reality show creation to a few major networks. Our team is immediately confronted by concerns from network execs regarding demographics and advertising. While we had accounted for this, it was still amazing to sit in in a room of executives fielding their concerns… Apparently, women behaving badly and stabbing one another in the back to marry a millionaire is more appealing to advertisers trying to sell soap and shaving cream than a show about open relationships founded on the principles of honesty and transparency. Go figure!?!
Apparently, women behaving badly and stabbing one another in the back to marry a millionaire is more appealing to advertisers trying to sell soap and shaving cream than a show about open relationships founded on the principles of honesty and transparency.
Our next pitch meeting is scheduled for Jan 13th in Los Angeles and I’ll keep you posted!
Whew! And that brings us to these last few weeks and the holiday break.
Woefully behind on a few projects (mostly having to do with scheduling teleclasses and workshops and writing promotional copy), I cleaned off as much of my desk as I could, threw some clothes and my computer into a suitcase, and flew to see the family. In between playing with my nieces and nephews, early in the mornings I would secretly creep to my computer to continue plotting out 2010… And here we are: This hopefully, sensical wrap-up of 2009…
And, as if the Universe was trying to tell me something (I’m not sure what, tho!), yesterday I found an autographed picture of moi for sale on eBay. It’s a head shot photo of me from back in my acting days appearing on Guidling Light or Another World or As The World Turns…. Bid staring at $24.99, btw!
Somehow, this seemed a fitting way to close the year for me, and in celebration of my past acting career, I leave you with this clip from 1999 when I appeared for the first time on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart…
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Thersday for the Ladies|
In 2010, expect lots of workshops, teleclasses, and hopefully a HUGE announcement regarding the sale of my reality show… If you have friends or colleagues who need some relationship coaching, send ’em my way… And I hope to see you at a workshop sometime soon!
Thanks again for being a part of my work and my journey. I hope the things I’m up to have helped create more freedom and self-expression for you in your bedroom and outside of it!
As we step into this New Year, my wish for you comes from one of my favorite toasts (I apologize that I can’t recall where I found it): May the most you ever ask for be the least you ever get!
Happy New Year!