Milwaukee SHARE

Last week, I was honored to be able to attend some of the Milwaukee SHARE sessions. If you’re unfamiliar with SHARE, it stands for Sexual Health and Relationship Education. It is run by Tool Shed Toys, one of the most progressive and educational sex shops in the nation.

On Monday, April 4, I was able to attend their Health Care Providers Day.

The first session was “Talking About Senior Sex with Joan Price.” Joan is AMAZING.

One of the biggest takeaways from her session that I had was how sexual dysfunction can be related to non-sexual medical issues such as heart disease. Your physician should give you a full body exam when you present with sexual dysfunction symptoms instead of telling you to just use more lube.

Lube is always great, though.

Joan suggested sharing with your physician the following if you present with a sexual issue: “My sexuality is important to me.” Discuss how these issues affect your quality of life.

She also suggested creating an Advanced Sexual Directive. Many nursing homes and other assisted-living facilities have rules against sex and sexuality. Making sure that you have such a directive in place can help you to enjoy life should you need to live in such a place.

The second session Making Your Practice Transgender Friendly with Ashley Altadonna and Hudson P. of Tool Shed Toys.

This was a very useful session. I learned a lot about my own sexuality. Gender expression, for instance, was not a term I had heard of. It simply means the outward appearance a person chooses to give off and how that may tie into their gender identity.

I also learned some heavy statistics – 41% of transgender people are likely to have suicidality. Transgender patients are outed at doctor appointments, denied treatments, and treated horribly by physicians who don’t agree with their patients’ lives.

So much for the Hippocratic oath.

The third session Compassionate Care for Kinky People with Sophia Chase. Sophia is a dominatrix and rents out dungeon room for safe play. She’s also a sex educator and super cool human being.

I would like to be her best friend honestly.

She discussed the need for physicians to understand the difference between BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) and abuse.

Sophia has lupus and also discussed how many people with chronic illness or pain get involved in BDSM at some level. There is an attractiveness to controlling some pain we receive.

I definitely see it after that session.

There are great communication and negotiation techniques utilized in BDSM that I think we can all learn from as well. More to come on that in the next few months.

The fourth session Ready, Sexy, Able: Sex and Disability with Robin Mandell (whom I credited in our chat questions last week as Robin Marshall – oops!).

We are not that far removed from asylums and other demeaning institutions. Some of the worst ones only closed in the mid-1990s.

Many of the group homes we have today aren’t great either.

Women with disabilities especially have low sexual/self-esteem and are more likely to be abused.

I really enjoyed some of the definitions Robin included in her presentation. The one I enjoyed the most was the definition of intimacy: caring, sharing, loving, vulnerability, trust, self-disclosure, risk-taking.

She also shared the following resources (which will go up on our resources page shortly):

  • Through the Looking Glass
  • Rocking the Cradle
  • Disabled Parenting Project
  • How I Became A Human Being
  • The Sexual Respect Toolkit
  • Sexuality & Access Project

To check out more information from the week-long set of sessions, visit Milwaukee SHARE’s Twitter page or their hashtags from the events:

  • #sharekickoff
  • #sharehcp
  • #sharesexgeek 
  • #sharesrsex
  • #shareupdate
  • #sharesecrets
  • #shareplay
  • #sharethelove
  • #shareporn

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