‘Wild & Sublime’ sex positivity in Chicago


Montgomery Blair

Florentine Flogging Demonstration by Dom Scott

Monty Stites, Editor In Chief

Don’t “yuck someone else’s yum,” urged creator, producer, and host Karen Yates before the Feb. 15 opening of “Wild & Sublime,” the sex positivity show once known as “Super Tasty.”
The show is located at Constellation, 3111 N. Western Ave, and tickets cost $25. Yates encouraged the over-200 strong audience — a product of record-high ticket sales — to be tolerant of others’ sexual preferences before introducing us to the first attraction of the evening, burlesque artist Miss Nyxon.

Dressed in what was clearly a prep school-inspired erotic outfit, Miss Nyxon performed a dance to a cheering, enthusiastic and yet respectful crowd.

After the dazzling performance, Yates interviewed Dr. Pia Holec, a trained sex therapist and psychotherapist. Holec hosts a weekly Instagram video series with advice for healthy and fulfilling sexual activity and understanding titled “Just the Tip Tuesdays.” During this interview, Yates asked Holec when to talk to one’s partner about sexual wants, needs and desires. “Outside of sex,” Holec replied, explaining that attention to discussion is not available during coitus in the way required for progress.

The discussion then turned to what Holec called “sense-focus” therapy: a method of exploring the body through touch. Holec said there are three aspects of touch that are important to explore: temperature, texture and pressure. Combining these aspects while touching the head, the arms, behind the knee and other parts of the entire body, allows both partners to discover what is pleasing–not necessarily in an erotic way.

Following the interview, comedic ukulele artist Matt Griffo and cellist Leyla Royale performed a cover of Monty Python’s “Sit On My Face,” as well as an original song titled “Butt Stuff.” Griffo had an engaging stage presence, turning an already excited crowd into a boisterous one.

After Griffo concluded his performance, Yates returned to introduce massage therapist Nina Lichtenstein, who demonstrated a few basic “sensual” massage techniques. For budding masseurs in the audience, Lichtenstein said to focus on the skeletal structure and to apply pressure to opposite sides of the frame, such as the right hip and the left shoulder. Lichtenstein, in a return to Holec’s idea of “sense-focus,” emphasized the importance of giving the whole body attention, not limiting oneself to sex organs. While watching this demonstration I was briefly overcome with envy — I’m a fairly tense person with my share of knots, so seeing someone get a massage drew my attention to my tension.

Next, the show featured a small panel discussion with sex coach Tazima Parris and sex-positive therapists Matthew Amador and Peter Navarro, who focused on the unrealistic expectations some have toward partners or prospective partners, communication and navigating online dating. The panelists agreed that the best way to cope with badly defined expectations was proper communication, understanding that relationships are a collaboration rather than a compromise.

The therapists then invited the crowd to submit anonymously their unrealistic expectations — the most amusing was “I expect my partner to know that I want to be interrupted and taken to the bedroom. But I don’t say anything and I get cranky and complain.” Parris referred to the discussion on dating as data gathering, an accurate description for the practice of testing people to determine compatibility.

Burlesque artists Clitora Leigh and Lavender Vyxn followed the panel with a choreographed dance parody of a boxing match, which concluded in a passionate collision of lips.

Griffo and Royale returned at the close of the show for a final original number entitled “That’s the Way I Like It,” incorporating suggestions from the audience — for which way Griffo likes it — ending the show in high spirits.

At the show’s conclusion, Yates invited the audience to join the hosts for the “Afterglow” party/meet-and-greet on stage, while pop-up traders sold locally produced toys and kink merchandise, Dom Mr. Scott performed a Florentine flogging demo set to music for the remainder of the crowd. Fueled by alcohol served at the Constellation’s bar the afterparty was ablaze with chatter between the many audience members who remained and the performers and guests of the show.

Interviewed afterward, Yates said that “Wild & Sublime’s” mission and values are to “celebrate(s) sex through body-centric infotainment. We create a welcoming, inclusive community, attracting people interested in sexuality in all its forms who want to discuss sexual matters with experts and each other.”

When asked why this event would be a good resource for college students, Yates responded with: “Sex education is a lifelong journey that doesn’t end with a health class. When I was in school, the most I got was knowledge about basic biology. No one was educating me about increasing pleasure, about good communication with partners, about how to make sense of one’s desires — yet all of those areas are critical building blocks of sexuality. Wouldn’t you want to have information about that? Wild & Sublime aims to point people in the right direction and give them some resources. It’s inclusive, so you’re bound to see someone onstage you relate to.”

The next “Wild & Sublime” show takes place Friday, March 13. Titled “Are You Experienced?” the show will feature another series of burlesque and drag performances, a panel on “staying teachable and open-minded in bed,” two interviews and a “rope” demo.