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Reaching Out Through Zines: The Sexytime Series

Amophrast's picture

For our presentation with rayj and w0m_n, we created a zine series called "Sexytime." 

Our topics included:

Anatomy (male, female, intersex bodies): with fold-out diagrams!
Consent: anti-slut shaming, body image, virginity
Pleasure: masturbation, sex toys
SM/kink: safety, yes/no/maybe lists
Interpersonal relationships: deciding when to/not to use a condom, emotions, negotiating in sexual relationships, consent once is not consent always, asking people on a date, asking for sex
Safe sex
: pregnancy, contraception, stds/stis, infections (yeast infections, etc), UTIs. Emergency contraception. include queer sex. Also where to get stuff for free.

With one main goal in mind: encourage exploration.

These zines were targeted towards middle school aged children, of the age range from 11 to 14. One of the things we wanted to emphasize when using this age range is that you don't necessarily need to change the language you use when you switch audiences. I do not believe that information should be diluted, censored, or "dumbed down" for younger people. I especially feel this way when it comes to the topic of SM and kink, especially as they relate to the concept of consent. While middle school might seem like a "young age" to be thinking about these things, puberty is about exploration. Additionally, I know several people who got into the scene when they were rather young. Oftentimes this happens (presumably consensually) with an adult. Rather than thinking of this as pedophilic, I think of it as a mentor role. The biggest concern in SM/kink play is safety. I think it is beneficial for younger people to learn about safety without having to experience it only as something firsthand.

These zines were not very long--about six pages worth of content could be included, plus additional space for diagrams or charts if you use to unfold the zine and put this information on the inside. Many things that I wanted to put in the zines had to be cut for space. As a result, my main focus was using a wide range of words and resources. It's easier to look up something you've heard of rather than something you're not sure has a word to describe it. I also found that the most useful information to put in the SM one was information such as a diagram of where you can and can't safely hit people, and ideas for cheap or DIY tools.

An idea for distributing the zines was book bombing a local library's Young Adult (YA) or Teen section. Key zines could be placed in relevant books, such as the "consent" zine in Twilight.