May 202011

Susie and daughter, ArethaWhat can I say about Susie Bright? She’s the reason that I can do the work that I do today. She’s been prominent as a sex-positive feminist since the 1970’s. She does an amazing amount in the field of sex – writing, editing, activism, educating, and performing. She’s also a mother (her daughter is graduating from college!) Susie Bright’s tireless work has given countless others permission to talk about sex in a frank and forthright manner. Her intelligence, sense of humor, honesty, and brilliance make a strong case for sexual sanity. Basically, she rocks, and I admire her greatly.

So I was super excited to see that Susie is making an appearance in Seattle this weekend. Even more stoked when she agreed to answer a few questions for us…

WholeSexLife is dedicated to helping women normalize sex in an integrated way. As a long-time sex-positive activist, you’ve surely seen progress toward this goal. What is the biggest challenge we still face?

“Well, I hate to sound so dire right off the bat, but the dramatic decline in American education and democracy have engendered a stupidity, incuriousity, suspiciousness, and elitism that is truly reactionary.  Things we thought were “in the bag” a decade or two ago are now up for debate again. Backlash is a bitch. When I started surveying young women in the early 80s, 18-20% of them had never had an orgasm. That’s now up to a third.”

This weekend, you’re speaking about positive sexuality and parenting. Many parents seem to approach the teenage years of their children’s lives with particular trepidation, and seem to have forgotten that one of the most important goals of adolescence is to embrace sexuality.  How can parents best help their kids meet this complex, dangerous and joyful challenge?

“By the time they’re teenagers, you’re reaping what you’ve sown. If your kids talk to you about the news, popular culture, the things they notice around them, sex is obviously going to enter those conversations, and it will be as natural as anything else.

“If you’ve taught your kids to think critically, to be resourceful, to question authority, to nuture themselves, to have privacy… it really pays off in the teenage years. That’s the balance they’ll need when they feel “impulsive,” which is the main thing parents worry about. Hopefully you let them be impulsive about little things, so it all doesn’t build up and explode in your face. And… when it does… forgiveness and compassion go a long way.”

You’ve been Susie Sexpert for many years. Is there anything left that you haven’t tried but still fantasize about? Anything you’re still embarrassed to talk about?

“The list of things I’m embarrassed about could go on for pages! I’m still shy, I still wonder “what was I thinking?” all the time. If I was your teenager, you’d be screaming at me for leaping before I look. I like
to be surprised. I hope there are some great surprises left.

“Perhaps you wish I’d  say something like: “Vicodin and whipped cream, German riding ponies, five-at-once,” but really, that’s not how my sex mind works. —Okay, actually the Vicodin and whipped cream sounds pretty good.”


If you’d like to meet Susie Bright in person you have two opportunities in Seattle:

Sex-Positive Parenting:  How Raising Kids Changes Your Sex Life… and Foretells Theirs
Seattle Babeland
Sunday, May 22, 07:30- 9PM, $40

Susie Bright opens up the sexual revolution of parenthood. What’s a sex-positive mom and dad to do? There’s your own life as a lover and a parent— and then there’s seeing your children develop their own sexual perceptions and values.

Yes, this IS the place to talk about things you won’t hear on Oprah! There’s physical and practical information to share, and emotional and ethical questions that can’t be ignored.

What are the most important things you can do, as a parent, to give your children sexual sanity? How do you nurture and enjoy your own mojo as the years go by?

Join us for this discussion. Susie Bright is the author of Big Sex Little Death: a Memoir, Mommy’s Little Girl: On Sex, Motherhood, Porn, & Cherry Pie, and a Jezebel sex advice columnist with her daughter, Aretha.


Tuesday, 05/24/2011 7:00 pm
Reading, Discussion, Signing with Susie Bright

Big Sex Little Death: A Memoir

“I have a very, very scary feeling Susie Bright is not making any of this up. Guns, drugs, threesomes, socialist factionalism, a stabbing…all before she got her G.E.D.?

—Alison Bechdel, author of Fun Home

“Susie is a national treasure. Big Sex Little Death is subtle, hot, enthralling, raw and tender.  Just like her.”

—Josh Marshall, Editor and Publisher, Talking Points Memo

“Susie Bright is a one-woman counterculture. In this lively, bittersweet memoir, she recounts a life full of political and erotic adventures and betrayals, a life at once deeply subversive and totally American, defined as it is by the idea that people should be free to express and pursue their own visions of happiness, no matter how uncomfortable it makes the prigs and scolds among us.”

—Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children, The Abstinence Teacher