Sexpo and beyond

WARNING: The opinions expressed below may differ dramatically from yours - but hey, it's my blog and I ain't your cookie-cutter anything... Leave a comment expressing yours!

The Cape Town Sexpo is in full swing ('scuse the rather obvious pun) at the moment, and has attracted its usual complement of protests. Mostly, of course, by the Christianly-religious folk. (I have yet to see a Buddhist protesting outside something like this!)

Trouble is, the naysayers have zoomed in on what they perceive, and nothing more.

Take a look at the Sexpo website - this is the HEALTH, SEXUALITY and LIFESTYLE expo - not just a "den of debauchery". In their words:
The SEXPO – Health, Sexuality and Lifestyle Expo is about sexuality and so much more! It’s a lifestyle expo encompassing all areas of adult leisure; it’s an information expo, heightening awareness about everyday health issues but most of all it’s about having a good time!

SEXPO presents a diverse range of exhibitors, stage performers and workshop professionals providing a powerful and comprehensive platform for information, service offering and trade.
So it's pretty much wholistic - but yes, it's not for everyone - and it is for grownups.

Truth is, if it weren't for financial & time constraints, Favourite Man and I would be there this weekend. I think it's cool that there's something like this going on in Cape Town - and indeed around the world. I'd love to try my hand (or legs) at the pole-dancing workshop (damn, that's good exercise! and targets exactly the bits I have trouble with), or get information on some of the stuff that's being exhibited. I'd love to get the chance to meet a few new folk and learn about things that may not yet have crossed my radar. I'd love to experience the kind of environment where you don't have to hide who you are - where no-one does, and where it's OK to be different, even more OK to have fun and a good laugh doing it. I don't condemn anyone for how they feel, how they choose to live, or not conforming to greater society's norms. Which apparently has surprised a few of my gay and lesbian friends who thought I'd be judgemental when they came out.

But not everyone thinks the way I do.

First to jump on the protest bandwagon are those who apparently never have sex because it's dirty and a sin. They've labelled the Sexpo as evil, adulterous, perverted. Perhaps to their way of living & thinking it is. But there are others who don't feel this way at all. Those who end up labelled by the righteous simply because they're a lot more comfortable with their sexual side and believe in "live and let live", who live openly and honestly enough not to hide their desires and interests. (I've known some who feel extremely repressed and bitter because they have to live double lives or be condemned in the worst possible way)

Then there are those who believe they can make a difference by being involved. They may not agree with everything that's going on, but they're doing good in the midst of it. I have a lot of respect for this chap, who goes transformational in spite of what the stiff-upper-lips of his denomination (and beyond) have to say about it. He's in there getting his hands dirty, and has probably made more of a positive impact than all the placard-carrying characters accosting Sexpo-visitors outside.

My take on this is simple. Each to his own journey - and don't try force people into your version of what that should look like. Nor condemn those who choose a different way to what you have. By all means share what you believe and think, but don't get pissed off if you can't convince others that your road is the only proper one. Respect their right to choose their path and walk it.

Perhaps I'm too open-minded? Too willing to accept people as fellow humans instead of examining their "faults" to fix? There are those who say an overly-open mind allows all the wrong stuff in - but I firmly believe in exploration, in finding what's right for you.

This morning Favourite Man and I were watching a local programme called Free Spirit over breakfast. It covers a lot of stuff some people would call weird, and others would immediately switch off because "I'm not letting the devil into my house!". There's a strong undercurrent of mysticism, an exploration of things like Reiki and energy fields, alternative therapies (ever heard of Apitherapy? Curing stuff through the use of bee stings? Fascinating!), concious caring for the earth and off-the-mainstream spirituality. Things that many are exploring in this day and age of the death of organized religion, which I've dipped briefly into in the past on this blog.

Today's episode had an insert on energy lines for home and personal health. Although I only caught part of it, a lot of it made sense - scientific and practical sense. Some was a bit way-out, but I'm willing to ponder it to decide whether I agree or not.

Same thing I do with the sort of stuff going on at the Sexpo. Not all of it's my cup of tea, but I'm quite happy to be open-minded and learn about it.

And there is the crux of the matter, both with the Sexpo and matters far beyond, which if I were to write about you'd be scrolling through for hours. Many folk are simply not willing to even entertain a thought that there could be value in something like this - that they could be enriched in some way by either attending the event or simply treating those who do with respect. Initiating abuse and condemnation does nothing for interpersonal relationships, transformational missiology or even simply getting along with your neighbour (remember "love your neighbour as yourself"?).

Same thing goes for matters religious and spiritual. Too many people miss out on a fantastic experience by dismissing things that are different to the norm outright. They condemn the bloke down the road because he chooses to believe in using a pendulum or has an altar.

So me - I'm all for the Sexpo, and happy to support organizers, attenders and explorers. I'm for alternative theologies too, examining every side avenue of every aspect of life, and finding the path that's right for you. I'm for the discussion, the listening to what people have to say, even if you don't agree - and for taking away from that what works for you.

And those protestors outside the Sexpo? I don't condemn their opinions - yet I do think their actions say a lot more about their spiritual insecurity than its strength.

But like I said, that's my opinion.