>There’s nothing like a 25-hour trip home through frigid conditions to blur recent memories of a week spent knocking about spring-like Texas, especially when those recollections might have already been made hazy by a week of tequila and BBQ.

After a few days of sleep, however, it’s all starting to come back to us. We arrived in Austin to learn that our panel, Sex Scenes Stay Hard, was being touted as a “must-do” in the local media. It took us several days to tackle our resultant stage fright, but by the time we finally faced a room packed with attendees eagerly anticipating tidbits of uproariously naughty wisdom, our nerves had been reduced to a minor frog lodged at the back of our throat.

We were definitely comforted that the panel also featured other actual experts on the topic of shooting sex scenes – directors Bryan Poyser, Joe Swanberg and John Cameron Mitchell (who coyly avoided any acknowledgement of completely coopting our intended career trajectory), along with producer Lisa Thrasher of POWER UP. You can see a few video excerpts here, but generally the discussion touched upon the frequent conflict between sex and narrative, the importance of making cast comfortable and ensuring a connection between them, and the hypocrisy of a society that seemingly doesn’t question the depiction of violence, no matter how extreme, yet goes into a tizzy fit over the presence of a mere bare breast. As time flew by, the topics of ratings, obscenity laws and 2257 requirements were probably given shorter shrift than they deserve, but we’re just happy we somehow managed to work the word “cunninlingus” into the conversation, since now that we know how to pronounce it, we just can’t seem to say it often enough.

Other excitements at SXSW included meeting up with several in the flesh representatives from the CineKinkster blogroll. We probably spent more time in Austin with the lovely, cupcake-wielding Rachel Kramer Bussel than we’ve ever pulled off in NYC, after she appeared on one of the (strangely?) most controversial panels of the interactive conference, Do You Blog on the First Date? We had the pleasure of finally meeting both Violet Blue and Cory Silverberg, who were speaking on Sex and Computational Technology. (Teledildonics? Now there’s another great word!) And we encountered the delightful Seska Lee, in town for Pay Up! Should Publishers Choose the Porn Path?, whose Seska 4 Lovers was previously unknown to us, but whom we eventually recognized from an episode of HBO’s porn-related something-or-whichever.

And movies? There were marathon days of great screenings, including a few on the CineKink scouting roster: Zoo, a beautifully shot if perhaps overly tasteful retelling of one man’s death from having sex with a horse, and Pretty in the Face, a tender narrative about porn, sex toys and opening up to one’s own sexuality. But for our money, the kinkiest of them all by far was Helvetica, a documentary look at the twisted world of compulsive typography fetishists.

Many thanks to the ever-gracious Matt Dentler – how does he manage to be in so many places at the same time? – and Jarod Neece for the wonderful time and for SXSW’s sex-positive inclusivity. We’re already looking forward to coming back again next year. (Please?!?)


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