Polly Superstar is probably one of the people I've known the longest in the Bay Area... about 10 years of costumed, conscious, sex party silliness. She's gorgeous, and talented, and I was of course terrified of her when I first met her as a self-conscious 20 year old just tiptoeing into the San Francisco kink scene. Polly made me feel right at ease, though, and I felt warmly enveloped into her world of fantasy and fun. In a city where all the places to have kinky sex felt dingy, sticky, dark, and predatory, Mission Control stood out as bright, colourful, and silly.
I really got to know Polly when we worked on a free festival in Maui, the Ua Noa Festival. It was where I really got my feet wet (literally) in running events, in not having control over what happens but only being able to act as a guide, in acceptance of those moments where you're laughing and crying at the same time and also there's a rainbow. People talk about do-ocracies, but Polly really encourages people to make their dreams into actionable realities, both by example and through her resources. I am absolutely in part the person I am today because of Polly Superstar, Mission Control, and Kinky Salon.
She's written a book called "Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary". While I'm a cynical East Coaster who would typically snort at such a title, Polly is legit the Real Deal. Her baby, Kinky Salon, got people in London to have conscious sex in silly costumes. That's MASSIVE, and should demonstrate how Polly's ideas can manifest into real life impact. The book shows where all of that passion came from, and is a hard to put down read. It's got sexy bits, sure, but it's also the interesting, complicated, messy truth, about jealousy, about muses and artists, about holding space and grand ideas.
ANYWAY WITHOUT FURTHER ADO, here's an interview!
Kitty: Do you remember when we first met? I was scrubbing the floor at Mission Control in penance for sneaking into Kinky Salon!
Polly: Wow. I don’t remember that. Who gave you the task? How did that happen?
(side note: I went to KS before I was supposed to. I was 20, not 21. I felt so guilty about it the very next time they had a volunteer event I went and cleaned the floors so they could be repainted as my apology! When I told Polly a year or so later she just laughed at me, which was fair)
K: What's one of your favourite memories at Mission Control?
P: Without a doubt my all time favorite memory is when I realized that Mission Control would be able to continue without me being the sole force in pushing it forward. It was an “it’s a wonderful life” moment for me. There was a room full of people all saying “Yes, what you do has value,” when I thought it had none. That moment is the climax of my book. But now this is a spoiler! Oops!
K: What about a favorite Kinky Salon moment?
P: There have been so many great moments its hard to single one out. I love those surreal end of night scenes. Watching a naked girl in the baby head bounce down the hallway was a treat. Sitting out on the patio having in depth conversations about culture. Having my circuits blown with kundalini. Being sandwiched between my two favorite boys. There are so many!
Check out the Kinky Salon Manifesto, which for some reason will NOT embed, bah!
K: Did you identify as a "sex culture revolutionary" your whole life? How do you define a "sex culture revolutionary" now, and has that changed?
P: No I haven’t been a sex culture revolutionary my whole life. Although I’ve always been drawn to sexuality as a means of self-expression and a particularly fascinating aspect of culture, my identification as a sex culture revolutionary is recent. Sex culture is something I fully articulated when I was coming up with the title for my book. I didn’t like the term “sex positive” because it excludes Asexuals and people who just aren’t interested in sex right now. I wanted to be inclusive to everyone. It also had a political aspect I didn’t resonate with.
When I thought about what to call that all encompassing, non judgmental realm of sexuality within society the idea of “sex culture” made sense. The culture of sex.
Calling myself a revolutionary is provocative, but I want to express how passionate I am about changing culture. I literally took a thesaurus and listed out the options: “sex culture radical, sex culture activist, sex culture innovator.” I enlisted a group of my most creative and brilliant friends to help me decide which term was best. Although at first I thought the term made me seem arrogant and was resistant to it, these days I’m owning it.
K: With all the stuff in the news again/still about sex culture and consent, what's your definition of consent, and how do you seek to manifest consent culture in your life/work?
P: Consent is simple. It’s a yes from everyone. It surprises and frustrates me when something so simple and obvious is in the spotlight as controversial. There’s a “grey area” that’s supposed to exist but I don’t see it. I do understand that relationships and sexuality can be confusing, and traditional gender roles can exacerbate circumstances. I see that our current culture creates unhealthy images of sexuality, where it can be seen as a reward or an expectation. I understand that it’s a complex issue and I don’t blame the people who don’t understand, but I am a little tired of the conversation. People who resist the need for consent, or who blame victims are standing on the wrong side of history. I’m looking forward to reaching the tipping point and moving forward.
For the people who want to be more dominant sexually (they tend to be men) who are confused about how to stay in their power while navigating consent, I have some advice. Demand consent. Say “I’m not fucking you until you ask me to.” You stay in control, it’s super hot, and you can navigate the so-called “grey area” when sex is on the cards but you’re not 100% sure you have the green light. Make them beg for it.
K: From your book, it definitely seems clear you think sex can be a force to change the world. What would you like to see changed? Do you think it's working?
P: Sex is an important part of being human which has been repressed and shamed for centuries. A lot of the problems we have in sex culture are a direct result of this sociopathic denial of a natural and normal part of life. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the religion that denies its holy men the right to have sex lives is the one where sexual frustration is taken out on small boys.
The idea that sex is only for procreation and that our entire relationship to it is based on a subconscious desire to leave our genetic legacy is old fashioned, short sighted, and being proven wrong by scientists. I would like to see a world where sexuality is seen for what it is: as a powerful tool for social bonding, connecting and communicating. Although only time will tell, the trend of the last 50 years does suggest that we are slowly moving in the right direction.
K: Where would you like to see Kinky Salon in another ten years?
P: I would like to see the name Kinky Salon be synonymous with the idea of creative, open minded, and sexually enlightened community. I never see it as being mainstream, because I think we’re too edgy for most people, but I would like to see Kinky Salons opening up in lots more cities.
K: What's stayed the same, and what's changed?
P: Since the very first days of Kinky Salon a lot has changed. Originally it wasn’t a costume party or a sex party! It was more of a leather and latex fetish event. But since it got into it’s swing (pun intended) about 9 or 10 years ago, it’s actually stayed quite stable.
K: What's the next phase for Polly Superstar? Any more books planned?
P: Birthing that book was the most intense creative experience of my life. It took a total of four years and an incomprehensible about of time, energy and love. I can’t imagine being ready to write another book for at least a year. Maybe more. I don’t identify as a writer like some people do. It’s not my vocation to write. I’m a sex culture revolutionary, and that’s where I want to focus my energy next. That means throwing events, growing the global community, and letting the world know what I’m doing by blogging and speaking.
This post is part of the Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary Virtual Book Tour. If you make a comment in the thread below you’ll be automatically entered in a chance to WIN a LIMITED EDITION signed hardcover copy of Polly: Sex Culture Revolutionary.
The comedian Margaret Cho called it “Raw, untamed, emotional beauty–Polly is a true supernova. This memoir is as touching as it is hot, as moving as it is a masterpiece.”
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