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Testimonials from presenters, volunteers and participants about Xplore12 Sydney:


Tristan Taormino on Xplore12 Sydney, 6th-8th April, 2012  (source: www.puckerup.com)


We woke up the next morning and headed to the first of many events. This one holds a special place in my heart: it’s a kink/sex/Tantra festival called Xplore Sydney. It based on Xplore Berlin, where I taught in 2004. I finally got to meet its co-creator Peter Banki, who I’d been corresponding with for months. My first impression was that there was a diverse group of attendees and really cool offerings like Tantric Dominance and Submission and Full Body Orgasm. I sat in on The Kissing Whip with delta®, then taught my class on Female Ejaculation. The crowd for my class was very big and really engaged with lots of questions and comments. Jacqueline Hellyer, a local well-known sex therapist and also a presenter, told an especially entertaining story about her pussy! Then came the hands-on portion of the workshop and people got right down to it. One participant told me later that she ejaculated at the hands of someone she met in the class, and it was only her second time squirting! That stuff makes me smile. I was insanely exhausted, so we left as the Bondage Competition was well under way.

The next morning, I went to Marina Kronkvist’s class “A Journey Into Breath.” Marina is a really good teacher with an interesting approach to breath work. We all laid on the floor of the dance studio where the festival was being held, and pretty quickly I got very cold (it was a cement floor with a thin covering). I started to do the breathing exercise with the group and I heard people around me begin to vocalize and really get into it. I was freezing, but tried hard to stay present and go with it, then all of a sudden, I got the hiccups. Classic. So I am lying there, shivering and hiccuping, and decided I should probably bow out of this one since I seemed to be fighting the tide. I went out to the social area and met some cool people chilling out on the couches. Lots of nice queer eye candy to admire there. It turns out that most of them weren’t actually from Sydney (!), but had traveled there for Xplore. I met a fantastic woman named Zahra Stardust; she’s a queer, feminist sex worker, a former NSW Senate candidate for the Australian Sex Party (yes, an actual political party), and a pole dance champion! Very smart. I also spoke briefly with Gala Vanting who has appeared on I Shot Myself and Beautiful Agony, among other places, and was featured in the article about feminist porn in The Age. We also met J, E, XI, Sam, and Ana. Next, C and I attended Feasting the Body with Annetta Luce. The thing that struck me about Xplore is that many of the classes are participatory, and most people are willing to jump right in and do it. I don’t know that I can say the same about Americans. The Xplore folks are ready to stand up, move their bodies, look silly, and just go with it. After a quick lunch at a pub down the street (it was Easter so many places were closed), I taught my Anal Play class. Again I had an awesome crowd, and some butt play—with givers and receivers of different genders and sexual orientations—was the climax of the class. I needed to wind down afterwards, so we swung by the famed Sydney Opera House, got a bite to eat at a cool restaurant, then made the long drive home to paradise....


On Sunday, we headed back to Xplore. My class was at the same time as one that I really wanted to go to on blood play with AnA Wojak. That always happens to presenters! Next time, I hope. I premiered a brand new presentation: The Feminist Porn Clip Show, where I screened about 70 minutes of clips of porn by Candida Royalle, Erika Lust, Petra Joy, Louise Lush, Buck Angel, Courtney Trouble, Jaiya, Nina Hartley, Joanna Angel,Maria Beatty, Madison Young, Shine Louise Houston, and me, while I narrated it live. There was a great discussion afterwards and people really responded to the different clips. (I am expanding this presentation and will do an even better version, The Feminist Porn Show, presented by She Bop in Portland, OR in June; details will be on my Tour page soon). After my presentation, I sat in on Hajime Kinoko’s class Using Shibari for Therapeutic Purposes. It was fascinating. He is from Japan and brought a translator with him, a young woman who also happened to be his demo bottom. They had a wonderful chemistry, with him tying her up while explaining his techniques and thoughts in Japanese and her translating into English as she got further into bondage. Talk about a power dynamic! In the last class slot, I taught Making Open Relationships Work. About ten minutes into the class, a dramatic rainstorm began. The roof of the building was tin, and the rain was pounding so hard that no one could hear what I was saying. In the next room, presenter Mistress Tokyo was having the same experience. I ended up moving to the other room, where it was much less noisy. Again, a great, engaged crowd with lots to share...


 I want to thank Peter Banki, delta®, and all the teachers, participants, and volunteers who made Xplore Sydney possible—it’s a really unique, important event. The people it attracts are bold, courageous, inquisitive, and charming. We need more spaces like the one Peter created in Sydney.



xplore 2012 By Gala Vanting (07/04/2012) (Source: http://someplacetostickit.wordpress.com/)


I’m on a little journey at the moment.  It’s not quite a holiday, but I’d really like one if your holiday house in such-and-such is a little untended.  A few days ago I began moseying up the coast from Melbourne to Sydney to attend Xplore in Sydney and to make some space in my brains.  I’ve finally landed in a reliably-welcoming queer house in Newtown, having parked my van in the backyard of a whole bunch of people I’ve never met, cooking pasta on a butane stove at 7:30am.  There’s a kitchen about three metres away, like a domestic one, in a house, but camping is romantic, yanno?

Xplore plays with a lot of different approaches to sexuality – some really pragmatic, and others much more spiritually-based.  I think I might be a sucker for this sort of gathering, which I didn’t really know until I attended Barbara CarrellasUrban Tantra training last year.  I find that the spaces created by a whole bunch of curious souls coming together to seek personal and professional development around sexuality to be a pretty supportive environment for me.  I like to be offered a perspective and to make the choice as to whether to try to adapt it to myself.  What I hope to gain from this is a few technical skills to add to my BDSM toolbox, some good body-play, and to be provoked.  Thus far, that’s happening.

One common criticism of these sorts of spaces, and one that I often hold myself, is that they can have a tendency towards the heteronormative, but I’m really finding that to be kept in check here by a few elements.  There is definitely a substantial queer presence here, and I find that to ground things quite a bit.  Having queer voices in these spaces keep things broad and open, and adds dimension to the understanding of every workshop on offer.  Another element that seems to contribute to this space is that this is a kinky space, and if you’ve ever had anything to do with kink culture, you know that openness and frequent checkings-in with reality are essential.  Last evening I found myself in the ‘practice space’ of Tristan Taormino‘s Female Ejaculation workshop surrounded by mostly-queer duos and trios going at their practice while other folks talked glands and ducts, and my heart swelled three sizes.  I am not personally very plugged into queer community, but fuck I’m grateful that it exists.

Something that’s been coming up a lot lately in my work, particularly in professional BDSM, is the topic of ‘performance’ and performative identities.  Stepping back from the sex industry for a couple of years gave me the opportunity to go light on that issue for a little while, which was most rejuventaing.  But it’s reared its Medusa head again, proving itself to be a recurring theme, and one that is definitely addressed by the content of Xplore.  I’m developing some thoughts and words on that now, so watch this space…


hit to heal (Gale Vanting) POSTED ON 11/04/2012


I’m coming down from Xplore 2012, which did even more in its last 3 hours than it did in its prior 3 days.  I’m not really one for play parties, generally – too much of the general public to negotiate and not quite my style of play – but the space created by Xplore (and definitely the free ticket as my reward for volunteering) made me feel that if ever there was a time, it was probably then.  It was.

You walk away from these sorts of gatherings with a fair bit to sift through, more of it personal than professional (though often for those who work with something this intimate, those things are hard to distinguish from one another).  I had a beautiful 10-hour drive to do some of that yesterday, and carrying all of that stuff down the Hume with me was pretty intense.  This was trips inside of trips inside of trips, this thing, and a couple of those occurred in the wee hours in a dinky bar in industrial Marrickville.  Before they disappear from the forefront of my consciousness, I want to put them to text.

When you navigate other people’s sexualities for three solid days, you absorb a hell of a lot.  Not all of it is yours.  Some people’s energies are harder to interface with than others.  Let alone trying to work out what to do with your own.  I almost got back on the road that night, planning to skip out on the party, but as Sunday afternoon went on and I started to hit the wall and break open a little, it became very un-sensible to stuff it into the car with me and take it flying down the highway at midnight.  So I went to the play party with the intention to let some of that out.

When you ask for what you want, you are more likely to get it.  I made it clear to as many people as would listen that I’d consider it a good night if I left with a few marks.  They came as bruises and scratches in one of the most nurturing BDSM experiences I’ve had.  Every woman involved was queer, feminist, and a couple also are or have been sex workers.  There was something very valuable in that, for me.  Something very safe.  Like I knew exactly with whom I was negotiating and that their top priority was my care.  They each hit me as if it were so.


France Licastro

In wish I could turn the clock back and be the 6 April on the first day of Xplore


Raj Vastrad

Sending Thanks, Gratitude, Appreciation to all

the Presenters, Participants, Organisers, Volunteers

Wishing you all the Best 

Raj www.rajvastradmd.com


Jenn La Fair Seedman

A big thankyou to Peter Banki, Delta, Natalia Je, Paul Cartright, Dave Hebari, Darren -zero & everyone I haven't mentioned for their huge effort making this awesome unique event come together and blow our minds & hearts!! What a big success! (3 cheers!) It was a special & honorable experience to connect with some gorgeous like-minded souls, and also to be performing my craft Hawaiian bodywork & massage while rope & whipping & all manor of funshops were happening the other side of the screen! Hehe! Thankyou! Look forward to the next Xplore adventure!


Colleen Mullin

Deep thanks to everyone who was involved in making Xplore happen. A great event, well conceived and executed. I met great people and xplored in an intellectual and artistic context that is rare and special.


Jacqueline Hellyer

Absolutely loved being at Xplore. What a wonderful space in which to really explore and to hang out with such great people! Thanks for Peter, Delta and everyone else involved (especially the cooks, yum!) I also loved being able to try out some new ideas in my workshops with such receptive participants - my mainstream workshops will be greatly enhanced (can't wait to see if I can get a roomful of Mr and Mrs Vanillas going down on each others' bananas!)


Pal Fekete

Thank you to all the people at Explore for organising a great weekend.


Felix Ruckert

Apparently xplore Sydney went well..


Mista Samsam

xtraordinary xciting xhilarating xhausting xplore. happy sam.


John Michael O'Brien Thanks so much to all associated with the festival. Such an intense three days! Xilerated but deliciously tired!


Mark De Viate

i'd like to thank Peter Banki for organizing Xplore and having Aleni, Lani and I present classes and be part what was once again an awesome event. Bring on Xplore13


Mista Samsam

I'm loving xplore this year. thank you PB and co, it's sexy and queer and a whole lotta fun x


Janenne Vickery

Big thanks to all for a successful and hugely enjoyable Xplore....... Amazing workshops and great bunch of participants....... Cheers all xxxxx


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