There’s a note circulating online about the ‘sexual’ nature of festivals. Specifically, it’s about how three women got pregnant at a recent festival in Europe. The note also touches on the power dynamics between professionals and attendees, as well as how many events are marketing the ‘sexy’ slant.
While all of these things do happen at some events, I think the conversation requires some clarification. Part of this is in service of beginners who are entering the festival circuit for the first time. I know I wouldn’t go to congresses if I though it was all sex – I just want to dance!
1. Not everyone is having sex.
Out of those who are, several are doing so with long-term partners they are attending the festival with. Some also have a long-distance friend-with-benefits who they adore, and regularly reconnect with.
Yes, there are casual hookups – and there’s nothing wrong with that, if both parties are consenting and smart about it. But, if it’s not for you, don’t do it. Sex isn’t the foundation of the congress experience, even at party events.
Even if a lot of people are hooking up, dancers generally don’t expect a hookup because of a steamy dance. If hooking up isn’t your thing, don’t worry. You can still have a fun, engaging, and thrilling weekend without heading to the hotel room.
If you are the person who is proposing the hookup, be respectful. If a person says ‘no’ (explicitly or implicitly), move on. If sex is that important to you, go find someone else. There is no excuse for badgering someone into sex.
2. Rock-Star Syndrome
Some pro’s hook up a lot at congresses. Some newer dancers don’t realize this.
When someone has rock-star dancer status, their intense romantic advances can be very flattering. These people know that they’re admired; they know that people want to dance with them. For a new dancer that idolizes a pro, this can be almost overwhelming. It’s like meeting your favourite Hollywood icon: they don’t have any ‘real’ power over you. But, it’s hard to think straight near them.
This can lead to a regretted hookup.
If a pro is seducing you, be aware that this is probably ‘just another night’ for them. There are rare cases where these relationships last beyond the weekend – but it isn’t the norm. Always assume you are the norm.
Some of the pro’s who have weekend hookups are quite nice people – they just really enjoy casual sex. They may even continue to be on good terms with their former partners, and strike up a friendship. Others cast partners aside after one night. In some cases, pro’s may even be married or in a ‘serious’ relationship – even if they don’t tell you.
– Great dance skills do not make someone a great person.
– Wanting to hook up does not make someone a bad person.
If you are actually OK with a fling, that’s fine – just be safe about it. Keep your eyes open. Ask questions if you need to. Use protection.
3. Sexual harassment or assault is Never OK
No matter how sexy the dance or how alluring the partner, harassment is Never OK. If you are not OK with something that is being done to you, speak up. If they don’t stop, tell someone.
Most harassment I’ve had involves a person I am dancing with for the first time. These are the butt-grabbers, boob-feelers, and cheek-lickers. These are the ones who you walk away from. Most of the time, they’re hoping you’ll say nothing. They know it is wrong. They’re trying to ‘get away with’ the behavior. So, say something and walk away. Report them, if you feel like it’s a good idea.
Sexual harassment can also happen when you are getting to know someone. These are (thankfully) more rare, but can be harder to deal with. If you are uncomfortable, say something. A decent person will respect your wishes. If they refuse to listen, walk away. If you feel it is important, you can also report them.
It’s very rare to have someone who refused to respect your wishes. But, it can happen occasionally. If it does, tell the organizers or other staff. They are responsible for keeping people safe at their event.
If you are underage, NO adults should be hitting on you. If they won’t stop after you tell them your age, report them immediately.
4. Choose your Event
Some promoters like to play up the sexy-party element of the event. If you’re not into a sexy-party culture, I’d suggest looking elsewhere for your event choice.
Every event has its own ‘vibe’. Depending on your personality and desires, you’ll find certain events meet your needs better than others. For example:
- The Nightclub Vacation (sexy themes, sexy people, lots of booze, lots of partying)
- The Competition Powerhouse (competition-focused entertainment and events)
- The Chill Getaway (fewer workshops, relaxing daytrips, low-key evenings)
- The Marathon (all social dancing, all the time)
- The Education Powerhouse (high-quality workshops with a strong program)
- The Epic Dancing Event (top DJ’s, great floors, high-quality social dancers)
Some events have more than one focus. But, the aspects of the event that are ‘sold’ to the public tell you what the organizers are focusing on. If you pick a congress that is more in line with your values and personality, you’ll tend to have more fun.
Yes, there are still hookups at every event – but the tone also sets the expectation for behavior and volume of hookups. For example, a Nightclub Vacation is selling sexiness. An Education Powerhouse is selling opportunities to grow. An Epic Dancing event is selling quality social dancing.
Which do you think will bring out the dancers looking for a hookup?
5. If you can’t talk about protection, you’re not mature enough to be having sex.
This may sound very grade-school, but it’s still true. Sex has consequences. It can have more consequences if it’s with someone you don’t know well.
Both parties have a responsibility to take precautions. No matter who you are and who you’re hooking up with, you have the possibility to catch STD’s. Some can be life-altering. That’s Incentive #1 for talking about protection.
Women: Most of you can get pregnant if you’re having sex with an opposite-sex partner. It’s hard to be a single mom. Depending on your values and where you live, abortion may not be an option. Use protection. If the guy won’t listen, don’t do things that will get you pregnant.
Men: It’s your responsibility to not get a girl pregnant. If you’re a responsible adult that sticks around to care for your children, chances are you’re responsible enough to use protection. If you’re not, you owe it to the woman to protect her from being a single mom.
Honestly Im not sure why is this is a discussed topic?
Festivals are full of young people. Many of them in good healthy atractive shape because they excersise at least by dancing. Many festivals are on beach or near swimming pool. So you have young atractive people dancing sensually in swimming suits. Add a alcohol and nerby hotel room to the equation and you have a perfect place for hookup oportunities. Of course sex is going to happen. And there is nothing wrong and unusuall about that. Of course the sex is not mandatory. It is up to every single person to decide how much sex they will have.
If somebody gets pregrant it is absolutelly another story. It get two to tango. And as long as it is not a result of rape, then sorry ladies. But it is as much your fault as the partners fault. And not the fault of festival. If you can not handle alcohol, if you dont use protection and then you get pregrant and end up as a single mon – sorry, but it was you decision to risk it. No reason to create such a big topic around it and try to spin it that festival itself is somehow to blame.
I’m not sure if you read the article I wrote?
I don’t see much disagreement between our two points of view. Yes, sex happens. And yes, when it’s two consenting adults, it’s absolutely fine.
This article was written because there was a large amount of discussion on blame and the attitude of congresses. It was meant to clarify some of the common-sense approaches to take towards hookups at congresses – and also to reassure people who are newer to the scene that no, it’s not all about the sex.
No one at any place said it was ‘the fault’ of the festival – but there are certain festivals that play up the party and sexy side. This is a marketing choice, and they attract the people who are looking for a side of sex with their dancing.
Pregnancy is the responsibility of both partners. It’s not all the guy, it’s not all the girl. As you said, it takes 2 to Tango. A decent man doesn’t expose a woman to the risk of becoming a single mother. A cautious woman doesn’t expose herself to that risk. Of course, accidents can happen despite protection – but it’s both partner’s responsibility. Not just the woman.
Laura: I ment my comment in genral (not speficaly to your article). Because recently I have seen several of these articles about few ladies gating pregrant. And discussing if all congresses are jsut about sex and actually even if the events/organizers are to blame.
So I have nothing against this one article. But in general Im stunned how many articles are out there and it feels blown out of the proportion.
People have sex (what a revelation). People have sex everywhere (so even on dance events). And if you have unprotected sex you can get pregrant and it is 50% your fault. There is nobody else to blame. Only the partner. And you can not blame him more than you blame yourself anyway. Seems strange we need so many articles about that 😀 And if someone does, we should probably just point him in direction of generatil sexual education 😀
Great read, and an important one. It does everyone good to remember #1… especially given the attitude in Jimmy B’s comment.
I’d add to #4 that you can make the festival experience your own. There are pockets of people doing every one of those things at every congress/festival. Like-minded people will [usually] find each other if they look 🙂
Interesting read…though I wish that some statements be confirmed from sources of research, it seems as if many are just assumptions.