This is my first time and I want to know if there will be any support for me?
Welcome home! We try to offer a range of structured support systems, beyond our aim to build a culture of mutual support. A few examples are:
- A guided group of individuals who make themselves available creating a network of support during the event.
- Sharing Groups – on the opening circle we’ll have a moment to create pods, aka sharing groups, a buddy-system group who will meet, according to their needs (we have allotted 30min/day in schedule), throughout the event.
- Emergency Support Team – in case of an emergency!
- Couples’ Support
Do I need to know how to dance Contact Improvisation?
Although it is not necessary, we highly encourage any newcomers to Contact to take classes and go to jams before the festival to prepare yourself in understanding the essential physics and social dynamics of CI since this festival has its roots in CI. At the event we also offer some basic and more advanced CI workshops to ensure its continuity as one of our core practices.
Can I come late or leave early?
We ask that everyone arrive at the beginning and participate in the first two mandatory group sessions. Leaving early is highly discouraged and will not be reimbursed. If you do end up needing to leave early for some reason we would ask that you communicate with the organizers and let us know why and what the issue is.
Is this a sex festival?
No, this event is not a sex party. Expressions of sexuality, when consensual, are welcome as one of many authentic ways we have of connecting with ourselves, others and nature. If what you’re looking for is sex with no strings attached this is likely not your event. If you’re open to exploring intimacy with others in community and are open for this to include diverse and consensual expressions of sexuality you’re likely to find a warm home with us.
Do you use radical or affirmative consent or how can I stay safe?
Consent comes in different shapes and sizes and different cultures approach the subject differently. We at Touch&Play all agree that this is a super important subject and that without it we cannot safely connect with others. We do not however claim to have the perfect solution as to what way of expressing or requesting consent works best for everyone. Rather than radical and affirmative consent’s attempt at risk reduction our focus is on the cultivation of individual and collective resilience. We believe there is fertile ground between “Hell Yes” and “Fuck No”. Our team as well as all other participants are there to help support your journey. At the same time we ask you to be responsible for your own well being and comfort. We do this knowing that this, according to privileges and subalternities, as well as individual tempers and situations, will be easier for some than for others. To make sure that everyone is familiar with and has a chance to practice the more embodied approach to consent that we cultivate, the first two mandatory group sessions are geared towards this. If after reading this you feel you would like more clarity to be sure that you would feel safe with us please feel free to reach out (contact at touchandplay dot org)
What if I have a history of sexual or physical trauma? Can I come and will there be support?
On the first day we all learn about “safe words,” which provide an easy way to communicate if someone is experiencing discomfort and if they want to slow down or stop. Safe words give us an opportunity to move at the pace of presence, or the speed of trust. You can always opt out of an experience you don’t want to be in. You can witness in a workshop if participating isn’t what you want to do. If you’re looking for a place to heal with a focus on past experiences this event is not designed for that. You will likely thrive in a different container. If you are interested in being around people who are exploring intimacy and practicing the following skills, you will likely love it here!
Identifying what you want (specifically around touch and intention) and asking for it Noticing early stages of discomfort, fight, flight, or freeze and speaking up Hearing and receiving challenging feedback without taking it personally Recognizing when you want to be right and shifting your attention anyway to what you can learn in this situation If you come and you find yourself in a fight, flight, or freeze response. We have a support team – a guided group of individuals who make themselves available creating a network of support during the event.
What If I’m not interested in having sex with any one at the event?
There is absolutely no pressure or expectation to be sexual at all. This festival is oriented around somatic practices and communication techniques that can enhance intimacy and at the core consent is always paramount. This means you have agency at all times and get to choose how are you share space and time with others. This may include sexuality but there are so many other ways to share ourselves and discover connections.
I’m carrying an active STD can I still participate in the event?
First, to reiterate, there is no need or expectation to be sexual at this festival. If you do choose to be sexual we advocate clear honest communication about your sexual health. We do encourage participants to get tested before coming to the festival so that you have accurate information about your body if and when you choose to be sexually intimate. There are a few optional nude group activities such as “Liquid Love” which, if you do have an active STD or any other disease that could be transmitted through skin to skin contact, we will ask you to share this information with the group and advise keeping underpants, swimsuit or other layer on for the safety of the group. We will have limited supplies to cover smaller cuts and rashes.
What happens if someone steps over my boundaries?
During our lifetime others will hurt us and we will undoubtedly hurt others. Most of the times this happens by accident and without ill will. Depending on the severity and intentional/non-intentional nature of the situation each case is handled differently. The support team can be called upon for support who will be identifiable by bracelets worn throughout the event. We also have a team of varied health professionals who volunteer their services in cases of emergencies.In rare extreme cases we would call upon outside help and/or ask anyone who compromises safety in an egregious way to leave the event.
What if I’m in a monogamous relationship and my partner doesn’t want to come?
There is a diversity of relationship styles represented at the festival including monogamy. People come with or without their partners. Either way it’s important to have clear communication with your partner and clear agreements about physical, emotional and sexual boundaries during the event.
How do I create agreements with my partner(s) around intimacy with others?
Here’s a guide for Clarifying Agreements Before You Go Out To Play
Thank you for having the courage to have this conversation with your partner. What a powerful way to support each others’ desires and growth as loving erotic adventurers.
Is this a cis/heterosexual/white space?
This space intends to include the voices and teachings of those who are a minority (people of color, trans, queer) or are actively de-centering white privilege. Nevertheless, The event grew from a queer, cis-gendered, white males’ vision as a critique to contact IMprovisation which i a mostly moslty left leaning middle class, heterosexual, cis-genedered white community. All of the three main organizers team are white, one of them is queer, and the other two are involved in alternative sexual practices and personal bonding. We also have a very wide embrace for different human and non-human peoples.
Inclusivity is about more than the identities of the people coming, it’s about welcoming anyone who wants to be part of shifting from a culture of separation to a culture of interconnectedness by dismantling racism, the gender binary, heterosexism, and other limitations to who we are and how we love. Teacher recommendations appreciated!
I have physical limits. May I attend? What kind of support might be available for me?
We would like to support you in being here and partnering with your body’s wisdom and limits. Please let us know what might make it possible for you to join us. We are happy to support you with looking at logistic possibilities. We can also support you in clarifying what you’d like others to know about your body and abilities.
We ask that everyone participate in an intensive each morning. If you decide to join us let’s look together at which intensive will best serve you and anything the teacher needs to know in advance.
I identify as neuro-divergent and want to know if there will be any support for me
Given the level of non verbal communication in the contact improv community and intentional communication in the kink scene we have noticed that many people who are neuro-divergent gravitate to our festival. There is a lot of permission and respect for connecting outside the “norm.” The better you know what will support you and can specifically make requests, the more likely we will all have a successful experience together. Please email us to let us know if you have further questions.
How can I contribute or support the event?
There are a couple of ways to support this event. One is when you register you can pay a higher amount on the sliding scale which helps offset lower income participants who need to pay on the lower end. Another way you can help is to volunteer your services for set up, take down, or various needs that we have during and before the event. If you would like to volunteer email our participant coordinator here
I’m having financial difficulties is it still possible for me to participate?
Hopefully Yes! There are a couple of ways. if you would really like to participate but are unable to make the suggested financial contribution, we have a limited number of work exchange positions available. Please email our participant coordinator here.
Will there be photography at the event and can I take pictures?
Because of the unique atmosphere at Touch&Play Project events and the subjects that are addressed, we ask you to moderate your photography and video recording. Please only take images of the surroundings, yourself and those that have given you explicit permission to be included. There may be official event photographers and/or film-makers for documentation purposes and participants will be invited to indicate if they prefer not to be included in any of the material that is taken. We will publish any photos and videos for review by the participants during which any person may request the removal of material in which they appear. All material (audio-visual or other) recorded during a Touch&Play Project event falls under the following creative commons license: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Material may be published on the internet and could be used in the promotion of future events. The Touch&Play organizers can in no case be held liable for damages resulting from the recording and or publishing of audio-visual material relating to the event.
Contact us at
Politics of Pleasure
3 – 8 SEPTEMBER 2019