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Last year I attended a kink affirming street festival in San Francisco. This video is about what I learned and is intended to inspire even more compassion and curiosity in 2020. Thank you to the many people who let me share their images and thank you to everyone who makes Sexplanations possible.

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September 29th, 2019, I attended the 36th annual Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco, California.  I expected to witness sexual expression of many kinds.  Nudity, bondage, masochism, submission.  This was all there.  What I didn't expect was for it to feel so romantic, full of love.  People relating to each other.  Sexuality is often under sheets, behind closed doors, in the dark, underground, but not here.  At Folsom, people were out, shame-free, no guilt.  No walls, no pathologizing.  I was surrounded instead by intimacy, strangers conveying 'I love myself, into me, see'.  Maybe.  I can't say how people feel about themselves or their intentions, but this was my takeaway.  Romantic and refreshing.

Historically, society has marked sexual diversity as perverse, wrong, sick, unacceptable.  They called our differences 'paraphilias' and listed them in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of mental disorders for psychologists to fix.  At Folsom, 250,000+ people don't agree.  Fuck the diagnosis.  Fuck the taboo.  We love ourselves, and I love that.

I tried to capture video footage of this experience to share with you, but in the end, it turned out that it was really about the people and the best way to do this was to share portraits of the people whom I had asked permission.  

John Green once said, "I've been thinking a lot about what we love and how we love it, partly because those loves give us communities and I feel like we need communities bound by enthusiasm more than ever to combat what Vonnegut calls 'the terrible disease of loneliness'."  

Yes, whatever your sexuality, from A to Zed, there is a community, maybe even literally bound by enthusiasms.  You are not alone.  And that word, paraphilia, used to other you?  It comes from the Greek 'para', meaning 'beside' and 'philos' which means 'loving'.  Take it back.  Folsom is a celebration of that.  Beside each other loving.

Stay curious.