Hot, Wet, and Shaking

By Kaleigh Trace

Hot, Wet, and Shaking
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Winner of the 2015 Evelyn Richardson Non-fiction Award

This is a sex book. It’s a book about having sex by yourself, with one person, or with twenty people if everyone is down. It’s about saying words like cunt, fuck, and come. But it’s also about the things we don’t ... Read more


Overview

Winner of the 2015 Evelyn Richardson Non-fiction Award

This is a sex book. It’s a book about having sex by yourself, with one person, or with twenty people if everyone is down. It’s about saying words like cunt, fuck, and come. But it’s also about the things we don’t talk about—the mystery, the expectations, and the bullshit that can go along with sex. Kaleigh Trace—disabled, queer, sex educator—chronicles her journey from ignorance to bliss as she shamelessly discusses her sexual exploits, bodily negotiations and attempts at adulthood, sparing none of the details and assuming you are not polite company.

Kaleigh Trace

Kaleigh Trace's work has appeared in The Coast, The Huffington Post, CRIT, The Tide, and on her own blog: The Fucking Facts (thefuckingfacts.com). As a disabled, queer, feminist, sex educator she has spoken at conferences across Canada. From her home base in Halifax, Kaleigh writes about safe and shameless sex of all kinds, for all kinds.

Excerpt

Dear Reader,

Let me be honest.

I must confess:

I do not know what I am doing here.

I do not know where to start.

I am not sure that I am an expert. I am not sure that I am

an author. I am not sure I have a memoir in me, or anything  worth saying over the length of 200 pages.

I have never written a book before.

When I imagine people who write books, I imagine Hemingway, hunting lions and then propping his feet up on some chaise-longue like a boss and jamming out a perfect piece of literature on his typewriter in a single afternoon. Or I see Jeanette Winterson, falling in and out of love and then moodily pouring her broken heart into her work, constructing incredible sentences that make a reader weep while sitting under the grey skies of England. A writer looks like Leonard Cohen in a three piece suit, passing poetry through his lips. It looks like Michael Ondaatje, teaching us Toronto’s history and immigrants’ stories. It is Agatha Christie typing, typing, typing, in her upper class boudoir. It is Charles Bukowski fueling his brain and his books with booze.

I am not these things. I am messier than all of that and this town is more mundane. There are no lions here. I am not wearing a suit, just yesterday’s underwear and stained jeans. I am not smoking a cigarette nor drinking a glass of wine. When I get drunk I just fall over, and sometimes even pee my pants a little. Smoking irritates my asthma. On my desk are only this laptop and a yogurt container grown mouldy, a few coffee cups with last week’s dregs and a small bundle of lint and gum wrappers pulled out from my coat pocket. There are no windows in this room. And it smells weird too.

These credentials, full of everyday details and lacking entirely in romance, make me feel nervous and ill-equipped. This space does not feel perfect enough to write a book in. My life experiences do not seem exciting enough to narrate. My underwear are too dirty. My hair is a mess.

However, I should start somewhere. And despite all of my aforementioned uncertainty, there are some things that I do know for sure.

Let me begin with these:

1. I am a (tough as fuck) woman with a disability.

And I have been for nearly as long as I can remember. In 1995, my family and I were in a car accident. This accident caused me to sustain a severe spinal cord injury. Doctors diagnosed me as having paraplegia, and I spent a part of my childhood in a wheelchair. However, children’s bodies, with all of their youthful will, are capable of incredible feats. I was out of my wheelchair within a year, stumbling and slipping and fighting to keep up with all the other kids. Today, I amble around with a serious swagger. It looks a little like I am always dancing. My wobbly two-step gets me to all of the places that I need to go: upstairs, downstairs and across long distances. I am in love with my body: the way my thighs scissor in and out, the way my feet curl and tumble in on one another, the broad width of my shoulders that support me when I trip and fall.

Having this beautiful, disabled body and living in this world with such an obvious difference has shaped me irreversibly. Being disabled informs every single experience I have with every person, every street corner, every building and every set of stairs. I am, and have always been, constantly reminded that my body is different from “normal” bodies, that it is actually physically impossible for me to conform to hegemonic standards of being. I can’t fit in because my legs won’t let me. My shattered spinal cord bars me from regularity.

I cannot walk through city streets without being disabled, and so I cannot write a book without being the same. This book will not be about my “perseverance,” “courage,” and/or “bravery. ” Those words have never felt like friends, with their implicit condescension. Instead, this book will be about who I am, in my entirety. I am a woman, I am disabled, and I am an avid eater of eggs, to name only a few. These identities overlap and move in and out of one another, criss-crossing and informing me and my universe. I cannot not talk about them. I cannot not write about them.

2. I am a sex-positive sex educator.

Sex, sex, sex. It is kind of my deal. What this looks like: I teach blow job workshops. Seriously. I am a blow job master, an expert, the top of the top. Once a month I wave around a big, silicone cock in front of a group of people and I get paid to have this much fun.

But, of course, that is oversimplifying it. I suppose that on the surface being a blow job expert sounds like a pretty specific skill, one that would perhaps not be applicable outside of my current work environment (I work at a sex shop). You may think this job title and skill set make me seem vulgar (I may be). You may think that this book is not for you. And I guess it may not be, especially if you are my family member and reading a book about my sex life makes you wildly uncomfortable (understandable, and in which case: stop now! Close the cover and put down these pages!). But, really, this book could be just the thing for you. And really, so could blow job classes. Because being a sex-positive, feminist sex educator is not really about blow jobs at all. I was just being facetious.

When I teach those classes, when I go to the shop and talk about sex all day long, when I write a blog post about sex, I am not only talking about the practicalities of doing it. I am not necessarily talking about how much fun sex is, though sometimes I am. I am not necessarily being explicit, though sometimes I am doing that too. Instead, what I am trying to do when I go on and on and on about sex is subvert those boring, repressive ideas that we are taught about the fine act of fucking.

Talking about sex is important because we live in a world that is saturated with it. Sex is absolutely everywhere. It is on the sidebar of the website you are looking at. It is on the billboards lining our city streets. It is on commercial breaks and in plot lines. It is the climax, the end goal, the outcome, the problem, and the solution. And, despite its constant and inescapable presence, the image of sex that we are force fed is both boring and exclusive.

Awards

  • Evelyn Richardson Non-fiction Award 2015, Winner

Reviews

Hot, Wet, and Shaking is written in the tone of a trusted and cheeky friend, confessing secrets that shake loose their shame when spoken aloud. This is not the sex advice of a poised, multi-orgasmic, inaccessible, or clinical expert, but rather the honest musings of a woman in a pair of yesterday’s dirty jeans. ”National Post

“Hot, Wet and Shaking is… a funny, fast and absorbing read; powerful, empowering, and so important. ”Pickle Me This

“This book is a much needed lighthouse that guides us all with love and laughter. ”Broken Pencil

“Honesty, self-awareness, a wicked sense of humour, an unflinching sense of the ridiculous. You generally need all of these to be able to talk as candidly about your sex life as Kaleigh Trace has done… she sheds light on sexual stories and scripts we don’t usually get to hear but which are a part of a lot of people’s lives. ”—Ready, Sexy, Able

Hot, Wet & Shaking is laugh-out-loud funny in some parts, incredibly touching in others (pun partially intended)… Trace’s book is like a talk with an old friend you can share anything with. ”—Sexual Health Lunenburg

Hot, Wet, and Shaking is an important read…This book fights the myths about sex and disability and starts discussions that are long overdue. ”The Dialog

“Trace has learned to talk about sex and she has learned to do it extremely well. ”The Coast

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Reader Reviews

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