Now that I have successfully ambushed my good friends in their home, I can break my semi-secrecy and announce that I am home in Chicago! This week only! (My favorite part was when I dashed into a close friend’s room, threw my arms around him from behind and was already squeaking with joy by the time he realized it was me and shouted “Holy shit holy shit!”)

Because I am me, I have arranged a host of sex-positive, pro-BDSM events for your pleasure even though I am only here for a week. Note that all these events are free and open to the public (though one comes with a suggested donation)! Check it out:

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SEX+++ DOCUMENTARY FILM SERIES: “SLUT” (2004)
Tuesday, February 9, 7 PM — NOTE: THIS EVENT WAS RESCHEDULED TO 2/16 DUE TO SNOW. CLARISSE WILL NOT BE PRESENT AT THE 2/16 SHOWING.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 800 S Halsted

Every town has one. She was notorious in your high school. The girls harassed her; the guys had her. Or did they? Who is the slut? Can one be both virgin and whore? What does the word actually mean and why is it often shrouded with invention and intrigue? And should “slut” be added to the ban on “7 dirty words” from radio and television broadcast? Come out and join us at the ongoing Sex+++ Film Series for delicious documentary and discussion, and also some fascinating snacks! Chicago’s own sex-positive activist Clarisse Thorn, the original Sex+++ curator, is visiting from her work in Africa and will facilitate the post-film discussion.

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QUICK BDSM OVERVIEW
Wednesday, February 10, 3.20-4.20 PM
Northwestern University, Ryan Auditorium, Tech Building (near corner of Noyes & Sheridan)

Imagery deriving from bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, and sadomasochism (BDSM) is becoming commonplace — and we all know (or think we know) what a dominatrix is — but most people don’t have much idea of what BDSM actually involves.  Although it is increasingly accepted as an alternative sexual orientation, BDSM remains surrounded by stigma, scandal and occasional legal action.  In this presentation, pro-BDSM activist Clarisse Thorn will describe the basics of BDSM (however, it’s not a how-to lecture — you aren’t going to learn how to use a whip, though you’ll learn where to go if you want to find out!).  She’ll also poll the audience to see what else they want to cover — BDSM history? cultural landmarks? BDSM & feminism? legal issues? we’ll have to see!  This event is generously hosted by the Northwestern University Department of Psychology.

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SEX-POSITIVITY FOR ALL! INCLUDING THE MENS!
Thursday, February 11, 7-9 PM
University of Chicago, 5710 S Woodlawn Meeting Room

What is masculinity or male advocacy as a movement, and how is it in dialogue with contemporary feminism? Can it be incorporated into feminism, or can the values of the sex-positive feminist community speak to its concerns? What does positive, productive talk about masculinity sound like? Feminist, pro-BDSM activist Clarisse Thorn — currently on vacation from working in Africa — will discuss the above questions in a short lecturette and then facilitate small discussions on kinky male sexuality, men in the pickup artist community, and men who buy sex. This event is generously hosted by University of Chicago student group The Feminist Majority.

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LEATHER ARCHIVES & MUSEUM PRESENTS “GRAPHIC SEXUAL HORROR” (2008)
Friday, February 12, 7.30 PM
LA&M, 6418 N Greenview Ave

Graphic Sexual Horror” takes a peek behind the facade of Insex.com, a notorious bondage website, exploring the mind of its artistic creator and asking hard questions about personal responsibility. Original Insex footage, behind-the-scenes interactions, and interviews with website creator PD, models, members, and staff reveal deep fascinations with bondage and sadomasochism that run parallel, and in fact become irreversibly entwined with the lure of money. InSex was shut down by federal prosecutors, but its story asks questions that are still relevant. Can paying a BDSM partner distort his or her consent? Why were prosecutors so easily able to force a legal business to fold? Director Barbara Bell is coming to town for the post-film discussion, which will be moderated by pro-BDSM activist Clarisse Thorn. This event is a fundraiser for the Leather Archives & Museum, and we are requesting a $5-10 donation from attendees. Special thanks to our sponsors: Sex+++ Film Series at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum; and ShibariCon, Chicago’s own rope bondage convention, coming up in May!

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And just in case you were directed to this page by a friend or something and have no idea who I am, here’s my adorable small bio:

Clarisse Thorn is a feminist, sex-positive educator who has delivered workshops on both sexual communication and BDSM to a variety of audiences, including New York’s Museum of Sex, San Francisco’s Center for Sex and Culture, and several Chicago universities. She created and curated the original Sex+++ sex-positive documentary film series at Chicago’s Jane Addams Hull-House Museum; she has also volunteered as an archivist, curator and fundraiser for that venerable BDSM institution, the Leather Archives & Museum. Currently, Clarisse is working on HIV mitigation in southern Africa. She blogs at clarissethorn.wordpress.com and Twitters @clarissethorn.