The 2016 Sexual Freedom Awards was held at Hackney Showroom on November 16th.

Amidst fantastic shows from the highly talented and diverse performers, the finalists were described and winners announced from the categories: Activist, Ally, Event, Performer Pioneer, Publicist, Sex Worker, Somatic Sex Educator & Stripper of the Year, Volunteer of the Year awarded by Outsiders. and this year there were three discretionary Lifetime achievement awards, all detailed below.

We salute all of the nominees and finalists, who will remain featured here to reflect their outstanding contributions to the myriad worlds of sexual freedom and expression.

Nominations are now open for the 2017 Sexual Freedom Awards!

 
 

Activist of the Year

SCOT-PEP - Scottish Prostitutes' Education Project   WINNER!

SCOT-PEP are a sex worker-led charity that advocates for the safety, rights and health of everyone who sells sex in Scotland. They made history last year by bringing their decriminalisation Bill to the Scottish Parliament. On 27th September 2016, Scotpep held a parliamentary debate in the Scottish Parliament with five amazing speakers - from New Zealand, Canada, England and Scotland. The proposals are closely modelled on New Zealand’s law. New Zealand’s model of decriminalisation is supported by the World Health Organization, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Anti Slavery International, the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women, UNAIDS, the Lancet, the Association for Women in Development, the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, the UK Network of Sex Work Projects, HIV Scotland, NUS Scotland, and every sex worker-led organisation in the world.

They say "although our primary focus is on Scotland, we view ourselves as a proud and active member of the global movement for sex worker rights. Our Campaign Group forms the heart of the organisation. Comprised of members of the Board, and including current and former sex workers and allies, the Campaign Group directs our activities, including engaging with politicians on a local and national level, steering our responses to policy and legislative proposals, ongoing participation in debates, and promotion of our own legislative agenda". Read more at http://www.scot-pep.org.uk/


Carina Edlund

Carina Edlund is a sex worker and activist from a tiny village in the north of Sweden. After seducing the local pastor’s daughter she decided it was time to move to a bigger city and has lived in Stockholm for the last two decades. She has fought against the Swedish Model for a decade parallel with her fight for people living with ADHD getting just and adequate treatment by the health care sector and the social services. She constantly challenges the norms; identifies as lesbian but has male clients, has mainly worked outdoors and is a drug user yet has co-authored two community-based research reports. A victim of sexual abuse during her teen,s she describes sex work as something that healed her as it taught her that she had the right to say no among many other things.

Despite a number of challenges including a phobia of flying and severe panic attacks she never says no when asked to speak about the Swedish Model and her own experiences even though she needs to plan every trip in detail to manage to go. Despite this she has spoken in close to 20 countries on 3 continents. She says that giving up is not an option as she lost too many friends already and it needs to stop. Just days before the awards her second co-authored report is published, at least some of it as it will be published daily over a two-week period. It is on the Swedish Model and discrimination and is called “Then again they are not totally stupid either” published by Rose Alliance. You can find out more about the report and Carina here www.nottotallystupid.com


Laura Renvoize

Laura is a performer and activist who found her drive to campaign and push for the rights of other sex workers from her experience as a university student and sex worker. Seeing the gap in representation she went on to form Europe's first student sex worker union, which came at a crucial time as austerity measures had seen a spike in the number of students utilising sex work in order to achieve an education.

The union took the form of a university society which promoted freedom of speech on campus as a well as the recognition of student sex workers, who comprise one of the largest groups of sex workers in the UK. There are potentially over 100,000 students selling sex in the UK. The society's aim and result was to educate the university administrators, students and the general public as to the issues of austerity, class systems and representation which effect both sex workers and the general population alike.


 

Ally of the Year

Georgina Perry   WINNER!

Georgina Perry is a principled advocate delivering pioneering NHS services to some of the most marginalised sex workers in the UK. Georgina took over a small NHS sexual health service for sex workers 13 years ago and turned it into one of the largest and most effective in Europe, regularly supporting around 2000 sex workers across three East London boroughs. Despite being potentially constrained by the NHS, throughout her time at Open Doors, George has been an extremely vocal critic of police enforcement and a strong public advocate of decriminalisation.

She regularly features in the media and speaks at conferences internationally pointing out that criminalisation of sex workers or their clients seriously affects the health and well-being of sex workers. From a recent article in the Hackney Citizen: "Many credit the service as a lifeline: 'I’ve got my house, I’m clean six years'; 'Open Doors harmonised me'; 'I would have died without Open Doors'."

However, after 13 years of developing the best sex worker service in the country, the local authority in Hackney have tried to replace support with enforcement and have tried to compromise the type of service Open Doors offers. Rather than take it on the chin and keep quiet, George has publicly spoke out about the actions of the police and local authority to the extent that her position became untenable and she was forced to resign from her position and lead the campaign against local authority dispersal orders being used to criminalise sex workers.

George is a pioneer who has developed a service that has saved the lives of many sex workers. She never compromises on her principles and the human rights of sex workers.


Dr. Kate Lister

Dr. Kate Lister is a researcher at Leeds Trinity University in historical attitudes to sexuality and sex work. She has published on the history of media narratives around sex work, the history of menstruation and sexual violence in historical dramas. She is the curator of the popular Twitter account @WhoresofYore where she tweets the history of illicit sex and works to promote sex worker rights and challenge stigma to over 55,000 followers. Kate is currently working with leading sex worker rights activists and historians to expanded the Twitter feed to a website and online archive that will allow sex workers to tell their stories, and bring sex work history to an even wider audience.

Kate has been invited to speak at the 2017 International Eroticon Conference on the history of pornography, as well as social media, providing a space for sex worker's voice to be heard.  She works with a Sex Work Research Hub to conduct research into all aspect of sex work and make sex work safer. Kate is delivering a lecture on her work into sex worker rights and Twitter at the international "Displacing Sex for Sale" conference in Copenhagen next March.  Kate appears on radio, local television and podcasts to spread a sex positive message and dismantle stigma.


Kemal Ördek

Kemal has been a trans* and sex workers' rights activist in Turkey since 2007. She has also worked as a sex worker. She has worked for local and national trans* and sex workers' rights NGOs and carried out national and international advocacy work for around gender identity and expression; and sex workers' rights. Transgender sex workers in Turkey are particularly vulnerable to violence, including from the police and Kemal coordinated a national legal assistance system, working to document and support trans* sex worker victims of ill-treatment and torture.

Kemal Ördek, co-founded of the Red Umbrella Sexual Health and Human Rights Association (Kırmızı Şemsiye), a sex-worker-led non-governmental organisation founded in Turkey in 2013, and a member of the regional networks the International Committee on the Rights of Sex Workers in Europe (ICRSE). The board is composed solely of sex workers with the membership also including allies such as lawyers, students and activists. She is a steering committee member for the Sex Workers' Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia and formerly sat on the Steering Committee of Transgender Europe (TGEU), and the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP). Read more at NSWP


 

Event of the Year

Koinonia

Koinonia is a person-positive event, currently taking place on a quarterly basis in London. The word Koinonia is a Greek term, which means Intimacy, Community, and Communion – and these are the three wishes on which these spaces are founded.

Founder Rowan says "characterising the event as “person-positive” reflects my original intention in creating it. My experience in the conscious sexuality field, and my work as a psychosexual coach, have shown me time and again that erotic safety is not simply about the permission to be sexual. I set out to create a space that would welcome the totality of each person who came through the door – their emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual selves alongside their sensual, lustful, and perverted selves. This has been achieved by creating circles within circles, spaces within the space that is Koinonia, in the form of four quarters based on the four elements - each offering a different set of invitations to the seeker.

"Since intimacy, community, and communion all ultimately come down to connection – be that with the self, tribe, or the universe – the possibilities offered by each of the four quarters are designed to support the individual in making connection in whatever way feels most delicious to them in the moment; from dancing to cuddle puddles, from massage to kink, from a tentative moment of held eye-contact to sex in all its forms. There is also room for rest, reflection, and stillness. Oh, and an abundance of homemade edible treats. The space is presided over by a terrific team, woven with ritual and structure as well as freeflow time, and held within a unique safer sex protocol".

Koinonia events welcome individuals and partnerships of all genders, orientations, bodies, and backgrounds, and have gathered around them a truly diverse tribe of regular participants. As of this year, they invariably sell out. You can find out more about them via the website here.


Queer Spirit Festival

This world's first Queer Spirit Festival brought together an astounding line up of performers, activists and facilitators, combining their skills and talents in the name of the growth of love, community and awareness in the world.

LGBTIQ life has made huge achievements in the last 5 decades in the areas of sexual, social and political freedom.  Queer Spirit Festival gathered together 400 souls who are exploring the next frontier, the union of sexual and spiritual liberation, for a 5-day celebration in Wiltshire in August 2016.

The Festival had community campsites, a marquee for performance and dance, ceremonies, workshops, campaigns and a Sacred Sexuality Temple hosted by Amanda GayLove, Bonobo Woodland and Calu Lema. The Temple’s popular programme included sex magic, ecosexuality, bdsm, tantra, naked cuddles and a LoveRite party. Other festival features included Dance Your Naked Truth (with Cloe Jackson), meditation, healing and fire-walking.

Queer Spirit was a zone of self-discovery in which people of all genders and sexualities were able to be and express themselves freely, celebrating sexuality as a divine gift and community that starts in the heart.

The Festival was organised by Al Head, Buzzy Dandelion, Miqhael Kannemeyer and Shokti Lovestar and the 2017 dates are 26-30 July. Read more at: www.queerspirit.net    


RIP Shoreditch   WINNER!

RIP Shoreditch was a New Orleans-style jazz funeral procession and wake organised by the East London Strippers Collective (ELSC) to commemorate the closure of The White Horse, an independently-run pub open for 38 years, which provided a family environment for many of the dancers who worked there. Over the decades it was home to some of the most vibrant and brilliant striptease performers in the world and nurtured the talents of award winning pole dancers. For the last 3 years it also provided a location for ELSC to launch their regular flagship life drawing events; it was mainly thanks to working together in The White Horse that members of the collective convened and formed the group.

The ceremony included a pole burial, live music and singing from members of the collective, a memorial service, and an opportunity for audience members to pay their respects to the many alternative sites, studio warehouses, sound systems, queer spaces, places and moments of cultural significance being eradicated by the relentless corporate land-grabs and persistent gentrification of Shoreditch. The funeral event coincided with the closing date of “Objects of Desire” exhibition at Red Gallery, a collaborative project by sex workers and artists shifting the focus of the 'object of desire' through archiving and art, by bringing together a collection of objects related to sex work and display. Read more about the event here. and connect with ELSC on Facebook.


 

Performer of the Year

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Cabi and Kimokawaii

Cabi and Kimokawaii have been tying together; teaching rope; treating rope; and running workshops for 2 years, learning under many rope greats. They run events and try to provide Sussex in the UK with a rope space, aimed to be open, accepting, knowledge sharing and accessible to all. They have taught themselves to teach with a wide knowledge base and diversity to include all. 

Kimokawaii recently had a stroke and they have used this challenge, along with the other difference to the norm of being a bigger rope bunny, to perform on stage and have been invited to share their message of body positivity, sexual freedom and ability with great aplomb in such places as: Berlin, Moscow, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London and Brighton.

You can find them on Instagram or Facebook as Friction Ropes.


Danny Ash   WINNER!

Danny Ash is a multi-skilled showman, aerialist, stripper, boylesquer, dragster, comedian and clown. He is a London based Cabaret and Circus performer and over the last 5 acts has been touring a range of acts that mix circus, comedy, stripping, burlesque, stand-up, clowning and mime and toy with gender, stereotypes, the outlandish and the queer.

He has a passion for liberation and work in the sex industry and does stripping and cabaret work as he believes so much work still needs to be done to promote open mindedness and a world free from boundaries and a break away from societal norms. It would be a pleasure to be part of these awards.  He originally started out as an actor, then trained with Marisa Carnesky, and most recently has worked with Scottee and graduated in aerial circus from the National Centre for Circus Arts.

For reviews and more info please visit: www.dannyash.co.uk


Marnie Scarlet

Marnie Scarlet is the Queen of Fetish cabaret!

Renowned for her surreal shows and Larger than Life looks, Marnie will confuse, shock and tantalise.

Marnie Combines aspects of Cabaret with Drag and Burlesque also throwing elements of fetish and performance art into the mix

A Freak of Nature she embraces the light and worships the darkness, with elements of comedy in her shows, as well having slightly sinister and morbid aspects to her acts

Beware! Marnie Scarlet will steal your heart and probably make a nice hat out of it!

Read more at http://marniescarlet.com/


Photograph by Simon Yin

Photograph by Simon Yin

Silvia Pavone

Silvia is a hula hoop dancer and fire performer, based in London. She discovered circus on the streets and became totally entranced by this art form. The street was in fact her first teacher, as Silvia started her career by doing street shows in Italy, which gave her invaluable improvisation skills

After graduating in translation and interpreting, Silvia realised that sitting at a desk with headphones on all day was not quite right. Her heart told her to quit the dictionaries and take her passion for circus to another level, so she dived onto the Foundation degree in Circus Arts at the Circus Space, London, where she specialised in hula hoops. Since then, Silvia has been performing in London and internationally.

Silvia is constantly attracted by the possibilities and challenges of expressing feelings and ideas through movement and body language. This has inspired her to research and explore how integrating her own discipline with others such as acrobatics, contemporary dance and yoga, in combination with personal life experiences, can affect and add depth to one’s own performance style. Read more at   silviapavone.com


 

Pioneer of the Year

Ellen Heed    WINNER!

Ellen Heed has been educating students and clients about how to attain radiant health worldwide since the turn of the millennia. Using keen perceptual skills to accurately assess the needs of her clients, Ellen connects the dots and facilitates successful outcomes for health issues ranging from chronic pain and sexual dysfunction to emotional stagnation and nutritional imbalances.

Ellen has pioneered new techniques for scar tissue remediation, particularly for women, which are very relevant to people living with any kind of body stress especially scar tissue from operations, accidents, post-natal and post-operative scars impacting on sexual enjoyment. Her holistic approach combines posture, emotions, nutrition & gut health, scars and pelvic health. This year, for the first time, she presented thirty years of research to an international group of students here in the U.K. She is currently writing a book that is expected to become an essential reference for sexuality and bodywork professionals internationally.

Ellen currently teaches Craniosacral Therapy at the Shiatsu Massage School of California in Santa Monica. She travels internationally to teach workshops about human anatomy, energetic potential, and sexual empowerment. She teaches Functional Anatomy for Yoga Teachers worldwide for the Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training. Read moreat ellenheed.com and scartissueremediation.com.


Justin Hancock

Justin Hancock (he/him) is a sex educator working with young people and not-young people online and in-person. He is thrilled to be nominated for a Pioneer Award (and loves writing in the third person).

He's most known for www.bishuk.com which is a guide to sex, love and you for everyone over 14s, which Rod Liddle describes as “creepy and pornographic” (so it’s clearly awesome). The reach of this varies, according to whether it’s being filtered at the moment, but gets over a million visitors a year. It’s most popular with young men under 35 who want to learn how to have sex and is the top hit for ‘how to wank’.

Justin has also joined forces with the awesome Meg-John Barker at www.megjohnandjustin.com to offer advice about sex and relationships for all ages. Together they have written a sex advice book ‘Enjoy Sex - How, When and If You Want To’ which is out in January.

Justin has also tried to revolutionise sex and relationships education in schools. To this end he co-wrote some awesome resources for teachers as part of the DO… SRE for Schools project which is paid for by Durex.


Mike Lousada

Mike Lousada's pioneering approach to intimacy issues, Psychosexual Somatics® Therapy includes both talk therapy and bodywork.  This integrated model offers clients a fast and effective way to overcome sex and relationship problems. His work has attracted widespread media coverage and support.  Most notably he features strongly in Naomi Wolf’s latest bestseller, Vagina and has gained a range of celebrity, prominent business leaders and other clients from over 50 countries.

His professional training as a psychotherapist, alongside his qualifications as a clinical sexologist, sex educator and the first California state-approved Sex Coach, and bodywork practitioner gives him a unique perspective from which his work arises.

Together with his wife and professional partner, Louise Mazanti Lousada, he is teaching and running workshops worldwide. He is on faculty at the Esalen Institute. In 2016 they opened Britain’s first Sexual Wellness Clinic at a private hospital, offering Psychosexual Somatics® Therapy.

Read more at http://mikelousada.com  & http://psychosexualsomatics.com


 

Publicist of the Year

Conner Habib   WINNER!

Conner Habib is an author, lecturer, activist, and porn performer. His essays and articles have appeared in The Stranger, Salon, Vice, Slate, The Advocate, and many other magazines and anthologies.   In over eight years, he has appeared in nearly 200 adult scenes; and from 2014- 2016, served as the Vice President of the Adult Performer Advocacy Committee (APAC); a nonprofit which works to improve quality of life, experiences, wages, and safety of current and future adult performers.  Conner gives lectures at organizations and universities around the world on pornography, sexuality, and culture. In 2013 he was the first gay adult performer to speak at MoMA in New York.  His next course is on Banishing the World: Postmodern Philosophy & The Occult on the intersection of critical theory, occult philosophy and postmodernism. He lives and teaches in Los Angeles.

Read more here: "If You're Against Sex Work, You're A Bigot"; "What I Want To Know Is Why You Hate Porn Stars";  "Why Are We Afraid To Talk About Gay Porn"; The Sex Radicals: blog series on sexually radical thinkers - starts here (then follow through with links).


Jerry Barnett

Jerry Barnett is a veteran campaigner against censorship. He is the former chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA), and a member of the Policy Council of US-based industry body, IFFOR (the International Foundation for Online Responsibility).  In 2012, he founded the Sex & Censorship campaign, with the aims of countering misinformation about sexual expression in the media, opposing the drive towards more state censorship and defending sexual freedom. He believes that the dangerous drive towards censorship is really not about porn: that just makes for a convenient excuse.

His 2016 book "Porn Panic!" charts the rise of a new anti-sex, pro-censorship movement. Unlike the old morality movements, this one is focused on the left of politics. Starting a decade ago with attempts to censor porn and close strip clubs, the movement has broadened into a general assault on free expression and liberal values.  Free speech, an essential underpinning of democracy, is facing its greatest threat in generations.

Read more at www.sexandcensorship.org


Dr. Julie Peakman

Dr. Julie Peakman has worked for 20 years on making the sexual underworld of the past real in today’s world, and by doing this, in challenging conceptions of the ‘normal.’  ‘One person’s perversion is another’s normality’ as she says in the first words of her landmark book The Pleasure’s All Mine: A History of Perverse Sex which was released in paperback this year.  Julie’s PhD thesis was on the development of pornography in eighteenth century England, later to become Mighty Lewd Books (2003). 

As Professor Roy Porter wrote, ‘When Julie Peakman started out, the topic of erotic writings was a largely uncharted and under-theorised field.  To a considerable degree, she has had to carve out the boundaries of the topic for herself.’  Julie continued with Lascivious Bodies, a sexual history of the eighteenth century (2004) and with the tremendous academic achievement of editing eight volumes of eighteenth century Whores' Biographies 1700-1825 during which she identified whores' biographies as an important sub-genre of English literature.  Julie has embraced the humanity of women considered sexual outcasts in her biographies Emma Hamilton (2005) and Peg Plunkett: Memoirs of a Whore (2014). 

She has encouraged young scholars to come into the field in works she has edited such as the six-volume A Cultural History of Sexuality (2010) and Sexual Perversions 1650-1890 (2009)  She is frequently called upon to make contributions to public understanding of the history of sexuality in television and radio broadcasts and public talks.  She is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an honorary Fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London.  This year she had the accolade of a collection of her essays being published, under the title Amatory Pleasures: Explorations in Eighteenth-Century Sexual Culture.  The leading figure, Professor Randolph Trumbach, called her ‘the supreme mistress.’


 

Sex Worker of the Year

Araneae Mactans

Araneae is a Dom sex worker who has been a professional model for over 10 years, focusing mainly on alternative fashion and fetish life. After a recent course case resulted in a conviction against a photographer who assaulted her, she has inspired other models and sex workers to speak to the police and take a stand for their dignity and rights.

She says "I love to explore the fetish and kink side that many, if not all people have and I base my modelling on my love and experiences within the awesome fetish community. I have been lucky to be published nationally and internationally with great photographers and teams. I travel to Fetish and Bondage conventions in Europe and represent the British scene with other wonderful models, Dominatrix and rope artists/riggers. I live openly as a Dominatrix and wrestler where I am privileged to meet so many clients who wish to explore their particular tastes in a safe, sane and consensual atmosphere.  I am also involved in the Splosh community where I offer sessions for those who enjoy WAM but cannot do it openly. I recently appeared on World of Weird discussing the reasons why some people enjoy this particular fetish.  I hope to continue to be involved in the fetish scene for as long as I can and do as much work promoting good within it". Read more about Araneae at http://www.araneae.co.uk/


Elle Woods

Elle Woods is an autistic full service sex worker, activist and cartoonist who communicates her experiences as a cartoon activist on tumblr and twitter creating reflection and sharing humour of her own experience working in a brothel in Denmark. In only six months her autobiographical comic "brothel girl" has been shared across the world, published in "Working It" and chosen to be part in the art show We're Still Working: The Art of Sex Work at SOMarts in early 2017. Elle has been selling sex and sexual services since 2012. She is also a board member of the Swedish sex worker organisation Rose Alliance where she together with a few colleagues decided to step up when the organisation was at risk of closing down. Despite being quite new to activism she has been instrumental in the organisation's survival and at the same time her comics are spreading through sex worker’s social media as her brutally honest and funny take on sex work is so easy to relate to, at least for sex workers and that is the only audience she has in mind when she is drawing. Anyone else she refers to as civilians and politely request they respect her rules: “Heads up - I don’t want civilians to engage with my posts about intracommunity issues at all, including hitting like. Thanks pals!” She likes fantasy books and games, make up and justice.

Read more at http://brothelgirl.tumblr.com/ @brotherlgirl facebook.com/brothelgirl


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Saul Isbister    WINNER!

Saul has been an out and proud sex worker and human rights activist for over 25 years in New Zealand and Australia. As a staunch defender of decriminalisation, Saul has played a key role in representing the interests of private sex workers and the broader sex industry in negotiations with all levels of government in New South Wales. He has written widely on sex work, is frequently invited to present at conferences and is often interviewed for TV, print and radio. Saul was a consultant and featured in the award-winning documentary Scarlet Road.  

Drawing on experience working with a wide range of clients, Saul is one of the original sex workers involved in setting up the charity Touching Base in Sydney in 2000. Since then he has volunteered countless hours energetically leading the Touching Base team into ground-breaking territory time and again. Recently Saul supervised the development of two revolutionary picture book stories about women and men with intellectual disabilities seeing a sex worker and a more comprehensive guide for disabled people in general. They were launched at NSW Parliament House in May this year.  Saul has helped to attract a truly impressive support network around Touching Base, whose work has transformed the way the sexuality of disabled people is supported in Australia.  To find out more about Saul, visit:  www.touchingbase.org


Somatic Sex Educator of the Year

Deej Juventin    WINNER!

Deej Juventin founded the Institute of Somatic Sexology (ISS) in Australia and the Somatic Sex Educators Association of Australia (SSEAA) which was a major influence and guide for the UK Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists (ASIS).

Together with with his working partner Uma Furman, he has run the Certificate in Sexological Bodywork (CSB) and Certificate in Somatic Sex Education (CSSE) trainings for many years in Australia and in the U.K. since 2014, a training that offers sexuality professionals advanced foundational skills into working from deep integrity and consent.

He has worked closely with the queer and gender-diverse community developed ground-breaking training in articulating differences between sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual expression. He embodies in his facilitation a pioneering bridge between talking therapies and somatic work epitomised in his Embodied Counselling program, which he brings to the UK for the first time in February 2017. He's a wonderful educator recognising we are all traumatised by our education system and has created a teaching practice like no other. He continues to be rigorous in the development of the international somatic sex educator trainings, keeping abreast of current trends in neuroscience and teaching with diligence and compassion.


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Jason Tantra

Jason is the founder of Tantra4GayMen, and a pioneer of Tantra for gay and bisexual men in the UK. Trained as a counsellor and as a spiritual medium, and after years of professionally working with male survivors of rape and abuse, Jason met Tantra in 2006. He immediately knew that his life purpose had become clear. Since 2008, with his husband Ingo, Jason has pursued his life as an exploration of sexual and spiritual liberation. He has done this by creating events and trainings that express this: Events where men who love men can let go, explore love, and find ways to freedom where sexuality meets spirituality.

Over 10.000 men having been through Tantra4GayMen’s work. Its two yearly Festivals are beautiful wonderlands where sex meets spirit, bringing together facilitators from the cutting edge of Tantra in a context where men can love men without holding back. Its Tantra Diploma offers a one-of-a-kind transformative experience for those who want to live Tantra as a path of personal development leading to total freedom. Currently, Tantra4GayMen is expanding these events into the USA, and Jason and Ingo are working towards their vision of a community of open, free, conscious and aware men that are happy and in love with the very world they live in and themselves. Read more at: www.tantra4gaymen.co.uk


Laura-Doe   WINNER of Multi Talent Award being nominated as Activist, Performer, Pioneer and Somatic Sex Worker of the Year!

Laura-Doe is a pleasure coach, sexologist, comedienne, singer/songwriter, writer and an international educator and sexual health activist who is passionate about supporting people to understand and to cultivate the potent healing power of our natural capacity for pleasure.

She offers workshops and sessions, both online and in person; writes and performs theatre, comedy and songs as ‘Vaudeville of the Vulva’ ; creates and distributes the Vulvalicious® Cushions and other educational and simply beautiful vulva art via www.yOni.com and most recently has created a DVD The Art & Science of Female Arousal

"I think the most clearly somatic sex ed resource that I've developed are the Vulvalicious® cushions, which are individual fabric art pieces, handmade with love to create a beautiful, tactile and anatomically accurate, 3D representation of feminine genitalia. I've designed them using the latest research to present some of the lesser known structures that contribute to arousal and erotic pleasure in people with vulvas. You can feel through the outer lips of the vulva to the extended clitoris and the vestibular bulbs as well as inside the vagina to the g-spot, the cervix and the perineal sponge. I wanted to give people an opportunity to get a felt sense of these amazing structures without having to find a person with a vulva to practice on. I would dearly love to get both the cushions and the DVD into schools".

Check them out on this YouTube video and read more about them here.


Stripper of the Year

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Jem Ayres

a.k.a. Mumma Mimi has taught Burlesque to thousands of average women over the last 5 years through her work of holding a judgement-free space for ladies all ages, abilities, shapes, sizes and all genders. As well as her weekly striptease classes with women she has also worked creating an all male striptease as well as working with Drag Queens & Kings, Transvestites and Sissies. She was nominated for last year's Sexual Freedom Awards however was unable to take part due to undergoing emergency brain surgery a month beforehand.  Having beaten terminal cancer in less than a year, she is now back, fighting fit and inspiring others with her dance.

Read more at http://burlesquejems.co.uk

Write here...


Nicole Henriksen

Nicole Henriksen is an Australian alternative performer, writer, producer, and of course stripper, who's toured around her native Australia and the UK for five years, gaining rave reviews, award nominations, and selling out shows, before making the big move to the UK this July.  Nicole began her stripping career as a means to fund her self-produced comedy show tours, but soon realised the world of sex work itself deserves a creative platform. And so Nicole's debut theatre show, 'Nicole Henriksen is Makin' It Rain' came to be. An in depth, revealing and very personal piece about Nicole's two world's colliding, and the concepts within them both. 

Makin' It Rain is a look at one person's experiences in the sex work industry, and what it taught her about gender, sexuality, relationships, mental health, body image, and so much more. And Nicole's combination of lively storytelling, passionate debate, and candid personal revelations, make it a show for die hard theatre-goers, sex workers, and everyone in between, to feel heard, connected, and represented. During the show's Edinburgh debut, it received a rare five star review from The Scotsman, a rating not handed out lightly. And with that, the opportunities to spread the show's themes followed.  Currently, Nicole is finalising plans to tour Makin' It Rain around to theatres in the UK and Ireland, as well as holding informal talks, workshops, and Q&A sessions at secondary schools and universities, to give young performers and academics alike a face and name to an industry many oversimplify.

Read more at http://nicolehenriksen.com/


Shiva Striptease   WINNER!

These brave and daring, average men are breaking taboos of what 'male strippers' look like. These blokes are more at home with a cuppa tea than a waxing regime but with their humour and open heartedness, their stage performance striptease embraces what 'real men' look like, in all their many guises.

Championing men of all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes just the way it should be, these fellas are empowering men with their bare-faced (bare cheeked) full nudity striptease and challenging the views of what men's bodies should look like.  This act has left women wetting their seats with hilarity (and hopefully eroticism) and men cheering along in support!


Vera Rodriguez

Vera started working in a peep show in Soho in year 2000 to fund her studies in photography. Sixteen years later she has photographed and danced in most Peep Shows around Europe and worked in many strip clubs around London. In 2011 she volunteered as a photographer for the first Sex Workers Film Festival and since then she started fighting for sex workers rights. She is part of the Sex Workers' Opera and a member of the East London Strippers Collective -ELSC-. Vera was one of the first persons to join the ELSC when it was first formed three years ago. She has not only performed but also taken pictures at most of their parties and she is currently preparing a book about it.

She has been a member of X-talk organisation for over 5 years offering free English lessons to migrant sex workers and she co-started 'Pole Studies', free open pole dancing lessons where sex workers and their allies could share their skills about bodies and sexuality. The space is still open and self organised.

Vera's routines are very varied -from classic strip tease at small cabarets in Soho to toys shows in seedy peep shows in Belgium and Germany and her performing can bring tears or laugh and decadence always under the lights of eroticism. Read more here: highheelclick.org


 

Lifetime Achievement Awards

These are discretionary awards given by the Judging Panel for long-standing dedication to sexual freedom, exploration and expression.

Previous awardees have included:

Derek Jarman  –  Anthony Grey (leading English lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights activist)  –  Deborah Ryder (writer of erotic fiction representing female masochism)  –  author Kathy Acker–  Berth Milton (photographer & founder of Private in 1965)  –  photographer Charles Gatewood–  Betty Dodson  –   William Levy (founder of Suck & International Times)  –  photographer Irena Ionesco  –   Derek Cohen (founder of SM Gays in 1981)  –   Jo King of the London School of Stripping  –   Sir Guy of The Tawsingham Community and The Other Pony Club  –  William Margold (porn actor, director and activist)  –  publisher Dian Hanson  –  Dolores French (author of Working: My Life as a Prostitute)  –  Empress Stah (Aerial Artist, Cabaret Theatre Performer, Show Producer and Director)  –  porn actor & director Ben Dover aka Lindsay Honey  –  Hilly Spenceley, founder of Shakti Tantra.


Barbara Carrellas

Barbara Carrellas has done a whole lot of pioneering work in sexuality, beginning with the AIDS crisis in New York in the 1980s. She founded the Urban Tantra® Professional Training Program, which has been and continues to be, a huge support and great inspiration for hundreds of sex workers and educators of all kinds. Her recent online survey gathering information about transgender people’s genitalia and pleasure is the first of its kind. Her work this year opened the door to a practical language and loving sexual touch for people who identify as gender nonconforming, nonbinary, and otherwise genderqueer.

Barbara Carrellas is the author of the the world’s first LGBTQ and kink inclusive Tantric sex book: Urban Tantra: Sacred Sex for the Twenty First Century. She has also written Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide To Sex, Relationships and Oh So Much More, and Luxurious Loving. Barbara is the founder of the Urban Tantra® Professional Training Program, a comprehensive training program in the practice and application of conscious sexuality. Urban Tantra® is an international community, a philosophy, and an inclusive sacred sexuality practice that supports both personal and professional goals. Barbara was named Best Tantric Sex Seminar Leader in New York City by Time Out/NY Magazine for her Urban Tantra® workshops. 

She is currently editing the soon-to-be-avilable video of her Erotic Awakening massage for trans and gender non-conforming people, and analysing the results of her international survey of how transmen, transwomen and people of non-binary gender experience their genitals.     

Barbara delights in blurring the lines between sacred and profane, enlightened and perverted, spirit and science, and pleasure and pain. She is a proud graduate of the Coney Island Sideshow School with a double major in fire eating and snake handling. You can read more about her at http://barbaracarrellas.com/


Dr. Joseph Kramer

Joseph Kramer, Ph.D., is the foremost teacher of erotic massage in the world. In 1984, he founded the Body Electric School in Oakland, California, where he trained thousands of professional massage therapists, erotic bodyworkers and somatic educators. In 1992, he started the Erospirit Research Institute, a think tank exploring the connection between spirituality and sexuality where he produced the ground-breaking 12-volume Gay Sex Wisdom series on audio cassette and VHS. In 1999, he founded The New School of Erotic Touch.

Joseph founded the new, leading edge, profession of Sexological Bodywork in 2003 and obtained accreditation for it from the State of California. Professional trainings are now being offered in Australia, Brazil, California, Canada and multiple European countries. He is on the faculty at The Institute For Advanced Study of Human Sexuality and The International Institute of Sexological Bodywork in Zürich. Joseph has produced over thirty educational DVDs and videos and has been featured in the HBO series Real Sex.

Joseph is a constantly pioneering, bringing sex work and erotic massage into reflective practice combining neuroscience, interpersonal neurology, body focusing, tantra, Taoism, anatomy and psychotherapy. His pioneering explorations with Jack Morin exploring the erotic mind and core erotic themes along with anal massage master and expert on healing shame Chester Maynard created some of the many foundations that make the Sexological Bodywork training so comprehensive today.  He has created the Orgasmic Yoga program to support people to creatively break the patterns of fast secret silent masturbation habits and reinforce new neural pathways into greater choice adn possibilities. He is currently engaged in extensive research on the use of porn and is teaching how to bring the use of it into embodiment. Read more at www.eroticmassage.com


Kenneth Ray Stubbs, Ph.D.

Ray could be called the originator of erotic massage as we know it in the twentieth century West. He started teaching erotic massage in San Francisco the 1970s where he developed his unique 5-7-hour nurturing ceremony of guided meditation, bathing, feeding, and massage.

Since his ground breaking Tantric Masaage VHS and book in 1989, Ray has written/created over a dozen books and DVDs on sexuality, including Erotic MassageThe Essential Tantra, and The Clitoral Kiss. His 1994 book Women of the Light: The New Sacred Prostitute has been an inspiration to many sacred intimates over the years.

He has co-created the 90-minute documentary The Sacred Prostitute, and his most recent documentary is Path of the Sexual Shaman: Teachings on Energy, Orgasm, and Wisdom.

Ray has been on a shamanic path for over two decades and is a 13-year SunDancer. He is the creator of The Shaman Cards: Ceremonies for Energy and Wisdom. Tibetan Buddhism has also been a major influence in his life.

Quadriplegic for half his life, he supports many people internationally over Skype and breathes contagious kindness and profound insights in the realms of sexuality drawing from his wealth of experiences. Read more at: www.SexualShaman.com