Here’s What I Learned About Vulnerability From Moderating A Roundtable About Sex

What happens when you invite 15 strangers to a candlelit discussion about sex toys, pleasure, intimacy, intersectionality, and everything in between? Thought-provoking questions. Surprising answers. Mind-blowing vulnerability. Genuine connection. 

When Tango’s founder Dana Savage asked me to moderate the roundtable at the brand’s very first Salon, I immediately felt grateful and anxious. I’d never done something like that before and, to be completely honest, I’m not sure I ever wanted to. As a freelance sex and wellness writer, I cover stories about sexual health, relationships, and pleasure products for the internet all the time… but confronting this stuff face-to-face with a group of people I haven’t met before? Totally different animal.

However, I’m so glad that I accepted her offer because what happened that night at Honey’s, a Brooklyn bar and meadery, drastically changed my perception of how we explore and approach these important topics. 

What I feared would be an hour of anxiety-inducing awkward silence where I wished I could teleport to the comfort of my bed turned out to be the exact opposite. An hour accidentally flew into an hour and a half of natural back-and-forth contributions from every guest. Sitting in a dark room surrounded by barrels of mead on the wall, shots of Mezcal on the table, a disco ball hanging from the ceiling, and butt plugs in our goodie bags, we opened our hearts and shared honest stories about our personal journeys, beliefs, and hardships. Tango’s Salon introduced me to strangers who became friends that I wouldn’t have met had we never attended this intimate gathering in the first place.

It’s funny how we can struggle to find the words to communicate our needs, desires, and fears with the people we love or share a bed with yet we’ll open up like a book to those whose names we barely know. It’s beautiful how unique our perspectives are and how diverse our backgrounds can be yet we all share similar values and ideals that ultimately bond us together at the end of the day. 

But where do we go from here? How can we spread the magic of that roundtable out into the world? How do we invite you into this conversation? 

There’s an urgency to this work. We’re at a critical moment in history with sex-tech companies and educators disrupting the industry and reshaping the pleasure narrative as it was once known. What would happen if we didn’t reinvestigate pleasure? Redefine consent? Reform sex education? Remove stigmas? How do we understand the empathy we have to reach across aisles and change the conversations around them? 

Everybody must be the example. By seeking knowledge, having these heart-to-hearts, and practicing vulnerability in our everyday lives, we improve our relationships with romantic partners, friends, family, and ourselves. We go from talking about having better, safer sex to actually having better, safer sex.

The intention of curating this event series is to spearhead these discussions and promote the body-and sex-positivity movement this world so desperately needs. Tango will build off the momentum of this inaugural Salon to inform the direction of their platform and continue to create similar opportunities for the collaboration of creative storytellers, peacebuilding educators, and important voices to be heard. Tango’s Founder Dana Savage is working to open that door and achieve an environment where everybody is welcome, and I’m honored to be a part of their journey from the very beginning. We invite you to keep in touch and join us in our collective mission to normalize the narrative of sexual wellness, pleasure, intimacy, and everything else that makes the shared human experience so incredibly special.

Morgan MandriotaOlder