Halifax
5 min

Just the Fucking Facts, ma’am

Kaleigh Trace loves to talk about sex. That’s a good thing, since she works in a sex-positive Halifax store, Venus Envy. She not only likes talking about sex, but she also thinks that it’s very important to talk about it. That’s why she started her blog, Fucking Facts. In her About page, Trace declares:

Many people have some pretty funny ideas about sex. And how couldn’t we? We live in a world where we see sex everyday, all the time, in one-thousand-and-one different places, but we don’t really talk about it. There is a wealth of imagery and a poverty of words.

Image courtesy of Fucking Facts

And so Trace began blogging. Her blog even caught the attention of The Huffington Post, where she now occasionally posts her thoughts and ideas.

One of the reasons that Kaleigh has garnered attention is because of a post she wrote where she describes her life as someone with a disability. Years ago, Trace was in a car accident that left her with spinal cord injuries. “This difference,” she says, “has informed my world view, my politics, my experience of this city (Halifax) and everything in between.” In her blog, Trace describes how “the way that I walk and all my bodily differences do not make me any less valuable a human. There is no rule that to be smart you have to stand, or to be sexy you have to speak, or to be worth something you have to walk.”

Down East caught up with Trace via email.

Tell me about you.

I moved to Halifax in 2004, fresh outta high school. I attended Dal for five years, and upon graduating was hired at Venus Envy. Working there has been what’s kept me around the last three years.

What made you want to start blogging?

I began blogging because what I love most about working at Venus Envy is talking with people about sex and helping, or at least trying to help, make people more comfortable with this topic.

I strongly believe that the freedom to explore our sexuality shamelessly is a right we should all have access to, regardless of ability, gender, sexuality, race and class.
In talking about sex, blogging about sex and curating conversations about sex through a variety of mediums, I hope to remove some of the shame that surrounds sex and some of the stigma that different marginalized groups experience with regards to their sexuality.

My blog is both a way for me to have conversations with people outside of the store and a way for me to hold a conversation with myself. Often, because of the nature of working in a store, I have many too-brief conversations that raise questions and hot topics. I am often left feeling like I want more, like I want to explore these further, both in my own head and with others. Blogging is a way for me to do both.

Why call it the Fucking Facts?

I called my blog the Fucking Facts because I think it’s catchy. As you may have noticed, I have a fairly dirty mouth when I’m writing on my blog. This is an intentional choice. I think it’s important to speak casually about sex, use colloquialisms and accessible language. Sex is fun! Talking and writing about it should be fun too. I like writing and using language in a way that is both fun and inclusive.

Trying to remove some of the shame that surrounds sex and some of the stigma that different marginalized groups experience with regards to their sexuality is important to me for many reasons, but to quickly name two:

For one, it is important to me because sex is fun, maybe one of the most fun things a person can do with themselves or with others. And I think it’s deplorable, a total fucking bummer, that so much shame has been created around it. The shame and stigma around sex limits people’s access to good times and I would rather it didn’t. That’s the easy answer.

But, the second reason is a bit more complex. To break it down: when I write that certain marginalized groups experience stigma surrounding their sexuality, I am referring to many different groups of people. While I do believe that shamefulness about sex is a broad sentiment affecting most everyone, I also believe that some experience this stigma more severely than others: queer people, trans people, everyone along the LGBTQ rainbow, women, people of colour, people of size, and people with disabilities (to name a few). Those of us who don’t fall into the white, straight, able-bodied “norm.” And as a person who falls into these categories (I am a woman whose sexuality is not always straight and whose body is not “abled") this stigma has affected me directly and has in the past limited the ways in which I have felt comfortable expressing my sexuality. And it was terrible! To feel like you aren’t being yourself, like you are hiding or faking a part of who you are, is so disorienting. I am so glad that I don’t feel that way any more, and I want to blog about sex in a way that is both raunchy and political so that others who may experience that stigma and feel that disorientation can hear a voice that has moved past that shitty feeling.

How do you find talking about sex all week long?

I love it. I love my job. Working at Venus Envy has been, and continues to be, an awesome growing experience. Of course, there are some days when it just feels like any old job and it’s just “fine.” But then there are other conversations that feel so meaningful and important and I come home from work feeling excited about it all over again.

Who do you talk about sex with?

Anyone who comes into the shop, I suppose. Anyone who asks me a question, be that friends or customers. If you are asking me who I speak to about my own personal sex life . . . I suppose my co-worker. I mean, she is a sex-shop worker. It’s almost like listening to me ramble about my sex life is her job.

How hard is it to learn about sex and sexual health for the average person, in your opinion?

We live in a society where we are inundated with sexual stimuli all the fucking time. But, the quality of this information is questionable. I think that the sex we see on TV, in the movies, and in mainstream porn is most often heteronormative and disempowering. Mainstream media almost exclusively features the sexuality of straight, white, skinny, able-bodied people. I certainly didn’t learn anything about how to have great sex through watching that shit.

I also think mainstream sexual health education is really limited. Teens are taught so much about safer sex and STIs but so little about consent and communication, the fun of oral, the joys of anal or the power of the clitoris. As a teen you’re taught not to get pregnant or contract an STI, and for many of us who went through the public school system, that seems to be the extent of our sex education. We need so much more!

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