Interview With One Of The Involved: Kara Sutra
Sex Ed 102 Videos
Fixing the issues needs to start at the beginning, with a shift in the way people view sex, sexuality, and their bodies. Rather than having sex be something we talk about behind closed doors, whispering so that no one hears, it needs to be brought out in the open and discussed in an honest and frank way. No shame. No guilt. No embarrassment. No bullshit. I think if this happened parents would be more comfortable educating their children about their bodies (without the need to call a vulva by any other name), people would be more receptive to learning and sharing their knowledge (rather than spreading myths or fallacies), safer sex practices would be honored because people would actually care about the health of their sexual selves, more attention would be given to buying body safe sex toys, and judging or labeling others for their sexuality or willingness to explore it wouldn’t be such an issue.
2. What was the biggest struggle you overcame in the sex industry?
A. The biggest struggle for me has been fighting to spread sex positive education on a platform that constantly seeks to censor; for the first 4 years making sex ed videos on YouTube I was faced with very little censorship, videos were flagged for 18+ viewers, but never actually terminated or removed. Then in November of 2011 my entire account was shut down by the company. No explanation. No heads up. Nothing. 193 videos and countless hours of work, poof! gone… all because the topics I discussed had to do with sex, sexuality, and sex toys. I know for a lot of people this may not seem like that big of a deal, but I poured everything I had into that channel, going so far as to make creating videos my full time job. Now keep in mind I started in 2007, social media wasn’t as big as it is today; twitter and tumblr were just getting started, Myspace was dying, and Pinterest didn’t even exist yet. The only real and far reaching outlet I had for what I did was gone, with no chance of ever coming back. Losing my account was like experiencing the disappearance of myself. It was scary, depressing, frustrating, disappointing and demotivating. Thankfully I’m a fighter, and quitting is very rarely an option, so I fought YouTube until finally, this year, I got my original Sex Ed 102 channel back. It was something I never in a million years thought would happen, but it did. Just goes to show you, if you believe in something, don’t stop fighting for it. #deathtocensorship.
On a more personal level, learning to share what I did/do without fear of judgement from others. It’s surprising how many people think the worst when you say you have anything to do with the sex industry, even when it’s something like sex ed. Also, dealing with online trolls on a near daily basis. I don’t think a day’s gone by (since I started making videos) where an anonymous jerk didn’t leave a crappy comment simply because they could. After a while you just learn to let it go.
3. If you could change anything you’ve done through the course of your career, what would it be? What is the significance of said event or period?
A. That’s a tough question because I don’t know that I would have changed much. I pushed boundaries, I talked about things lots of others wouldn’t, I didn’t bow down to any set of social standards, I challenged belief systems, I was honest, respectful, and did my very best to help whenever and where ever I could. Maybe I would have embraced the opportunity for something bigger when the videos really started to get noticed and taken that time to push harder for my own tv show (something that almost happened, we did a pilot episode and everything). Maybe I would have reached out more for sponsorship to help fund what I was doing, but at the time I was nervous about my safety and the potential of what would happen if my personal life was made public (let’s just say there was a lot of violent hate mail from religious groups and organizations).
4. Who is your favorite author, erotic or non?
A. Since I get bored rather easily, I tend to have a few books on the go at once, all different genres. As for authors, Chuck Palahniuk, Ilyanla Vanzant, Linda Goodman, Neale Donald Walsch, Dean Koontz, older Stephen King, Gary Zukav, Mitch Albom, Spencer Quinn, and J. Kent Messum.
5. What is one thing you wish you could just explain to the world and have everyone understand instantly? Why would you choose that one thing over any other?
A. “A hand is a hand, a touch is a touch, love is love”. It’s something I started saying when people didn’t understand my being pansexual. Usually once I said that they seemed to ‘get it’, even if they didn’t agree with it personally. I would choose that one thing because I think if there was more acceptance and less judgment, more understanding and less confusion, more kindness and less selfishness, the world would be a much better place. #hippielove
6. Who in the industry inspires you? What about them does so?
A. When I think of those that inspire me, there are quite a few names that come to mind; Sue Johanson, Todd Klinck, Dan Savage, Betty Dodson were the first to challenge my beliefs/concepts of sex, exploration, and my own sexuality. Annie Sprinkle, Ducky Doolittle, Tristan Taormino, Dr. Carol Queen, Carlyle Jansen, and Megan Andelloux, helped me to see that teaching about sex/sexuality didn’t have to fall under the “text book” style of learning and instead could be fun, interesting, exciting, challenging, open-minded, non-judgmental and liberating. Last, but definitely not least, Metis Black from Tantus Inc (edit by Mr. Will: Interview with Metis Black is here), because she made me question the sex toy industry, the chemicals being used, the effects they had on our bodies, and fueled my fire to teach about the best products on the market.
7. What do you wish someone would have taught you when you were just learning about sex and sexuality?
A. I was fairly lucky growing up, my Mom answered any questions as best she could, of course there were things she didn’t want to offer before I was ‘ready’, but she made sure I had a solid foundation and lack of shame regarding sex and my body from a young age. When I hit the age where I didn’t feel comfortable asking her questions anymore, things got a little more intimidating and confusing. I think I would have liked more honesty and straightforwardness regarding how things are without sugar coating or bullshitting, more real life knowledge and less text book info. I would have liked to know that what you see in the movies (Hollywood and porn) is rarely how things are in real life, that sex doesn’t have to be filled with fear of consequences, and that it’s okay to own your orgasm (i.e. sex is meant to be pleasurable for everyone involved).