By Mandy Traut, MA, LMHC
My friend and role-model, Allena Gabosch, Director of Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle WA, looked squarely over the dinner table and eloquently stated, "You are part of a sexual renaissance here in Seattle." She acknowledged my sex-positive credo and work as a licensed mental health counselor in the community. She recognized my own passion in guiding others to their own sexual freedom and personal truths and acknowledged my own personal and professional journey. I felt welcomed and regarded and was truly grateful for that moment. Per an article written in the “The Examiner” as of January 7, the CSPC is a
10,000 square foot space with enough room to both socialize and live out your
fantasies. Having grown immensely since its inception in 1999, CSPC now boasts
over 11,500 members. “ (Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/sexpositive-seattle, on May 17, 2013)
I remember the first time I attended a CSPC orientation. I had just come back from
a vacation that literally changed my life. I had discovered swinging and a level of
human openness I never thought existed. To my husband and I, CSPC looked like a
warehouse (from the outside) - a hole in the wall - that was undetectable unless you
knew where to look. I must admit, I was still very "vanilla," and the place and the orientation
freaked me out. My husband and I left without signing our membership. We literally
analyzed the pros and cons of becoming members for the next 7 days. It was a big
decision - a turning point in our lives as a couple. Suffice to say, we became CSPC members. We spent the next month attending their Monday Madness event and networking with members on their social network site, Center Space. We were overwhelmed by the way people welcomed us in and seemed to take such a liking to us. Prior to this phase in our lives, we stayed very much to ourselves. We were either isolated or with immediate family. This was a whole new world for us.
As we soon found out, it was only the beginning of an amazing journey. Skip to present day: It has been two major cycles of growth later. We realize that we are swingers and evolving kinksters. My husband has tapped into aspects of himself he did not know was there. We are both very empowered in our own unique ways. Two years ago, we initiated couple’s counseling for the first time. We hoped to work through the major life transition we encountered. We did. We are better communicators, listeners, and friends. For me, it is not just personal. I had already had my license in mental health counseling coming into this world. With this new found life, I discovered a fire in me that burned brighter and longer than the North Star! I wanted to serve others in my community. We are unique in that we appreciate and explore all communities. In that way, we have become a bridge
for all communities in the alternative lifestyles arena. In my professional life, I carry this unique perspective with me. Like Allena, I advocate for sexual freedom and freedom of choice – as long as there is mutual consent. I fancy myself a social advocate – as well as a therapist.
To Allena, thank you for recognizing my place in the community. Lastly, you are right, us sex-positive advocates, practitioners, and therapists ARE part of a sexual Renaissance. Just like the Renaissance of the Romantic Period, I aim to make waves and push people’s boundaries – if only a little bit at a time. And to think – I may not even be writing this if it weren’t for the “little hole in the wall” – CSPC - and the community that turned out to be our first stop along the yellow-brick road along our sexual and Self journeys.