San Francisco Sexuality Resources
This guide provides brief descriptions and contact information for some
of the sex-positive cultural resources of San Francisco, California.
Before beginning, we should pause to mention that:
- This guide is only intended for (and frankly only of use to)
consenting adults, since the overwhelming majority of the organizations it
describes are restricted to participants over the age of 18 or 21.
- This guide comes with no accuracy guarantees, may eventually go out of
date, in some points is (by necessity) based on second-hand suggestions
rather than the first-hand experience of its creators, and in using it you
release its creators from any liability concerning it. In other words, it
is at best a starting point, and never a substitute for using good
- There is always time in life for new experiences, but some health and
safety mistakes can't be undone: if you haven't learned enough about safer
sex to know what you need to do to preserve your own health and that of
those around you, or aren't sure whether you're the sort of person who can
stick with what you've decided, then this isn't the guide you should be
reading right now.
- Common courtesy, and asking whenever you're unsure whether something
is OK, never go out of style.
- Three national non-profit organizations actively defending the
freedoms which sex-positive culture depends on are the ACLU (see http://www.aclu.org), the National
Coalition for Sexual Freedom (see http://www.ncsfreedom.org), and the
work the Planned Parenthood Foundation does to maintain access to
birth control and STD prevention measures (see http://www.plannedparenthood.org).
Consider supporting their work if you can.
- If you sometimes travel to other cities on the West Coast, then you
may also wish to check out our Sexuality.org West
The monthly zine SanFranSexy is
also worth a look, both for event advertisements as well as a sense of the
- Good Vibrations hosts classes
each month in its stores: most are mixed-gender, but a few are women-only.
- A new organization called OneTaste is offering sexuality and
sensuality classes at their dedicated venue on Folsom Street.
- The SFSI educator training is open for
anyone to take, though it makes the most sense for people who would like
to staff the SFSI volunteer hotline.
- The Insitute for the Advanced Study of
Sexology offers independent graduate coursework, and several
certificate programs, in sexology.
- In cooperation with Joseph Kramer, founder of the Body Electric
School, the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality is now
offering a Sexological
- Heartwalker Studio
offers several classes related to sexuality, in some cases in a men-only
You'll find a wide selection of community events, newspapers, and flyers
at the city's impressive GLBT
Community Center (the Berkeley equivalent is Pacific Center).
In print the SF Bay
Times contains excellent listings of GLBT resources and events,
and online larrybob's list is often
San Francisco's newest GLBT institution is its GLBT History Museum, the only such
museum in the United States, and one of only two in the entire world.
Lesbian or Bi Women
Dance and social venues for women include The Lexington (San Francisco's
full-time lesbian bar) and El Rio
(offering dancing, music, and open-mic events). The Women's Building offers both
affordable meeting space for community groups as well as events of its
own, and butch/femme
socials are also held once a month.
Gay or Bi Men
One popular educational resource is the Leathermen's Discussion Group, which hosts
educational programs for both novices and experts on a wide range of
leather interests. In a more specialized vein, men with uniform fetishes
may wish to check out Men of
Discipline. For bears and their admirers there's Bears of San Francisco, and there's also a
bay area Radical
Bi Men and Women
BiFriendly hosts bi-friendly
social events in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
For most alternately-gendered folks, TransGender San Francisco is a solid place
to start: it's the oldest transgender educational and social organization
in the United States. Some FTM folks may wish to start with FTM International, which is the
longest-running educational organization for FTM's and trans men in the
Trannyshack remains the most popular
drag event in the city, and a nightclub called Diva's may be the country's only
full-time transgendered strip club.
Even including this section may be a lost cause, as clubs come and go so
quckly. But at least for the last several years the high-energy EndUp has been a fixture of the local
scene. The crowd depends on the event and the night of the week.
Recently there has been a trend of dance parties positioned much like
off-premise swing events but advertised to a younger crowd, with an
emphasis on dressing up, and restricted in attendance to couples and women
only: Pleasurezone is one
One source of current information on the club scene is the San Francisco Bay Guardian web site.
Fetish Fashion and Gothic Events
Dress-up events include Bondage-a-go-go and events
sponsored by Vau de Vire.
Community Event Calendars
For the mixed-gender BDSM community the EroBay calendar is excellent. For the
men's leather community, there's the San Francisco Leather Page.
For the women's leather community, there's the Exiles calendar.
The best place for most people to start is the Society of Janus; they have a rich schedule
of educational events and panels each month, and also offer a monthly
munch for new people. Other possibilities include EduKink.
The Knotty Boys and Rope Bondage Dojo offer bondage
workshops, Cleo Dubois offers
multi-day workshops on a variety of topics, and Midori has moved into education
Women who prefer to learn (or socialize) in a women-only environment
should look into joining Exiles and
attending their monthly workshops. Workshops are also hosted in
conjunction with the annual International
Ms. Leather contest.
Social, Support, and Play Organizations
Two mainstays of San Francisco's leather community today are SF Citadel, which hosts events almost
every day, and Wicked Grounds,
San Francisco's new kink cafe.
Leathermen who enjoy the social and erotic company of other men will
probably want to look into the 15 Association, which sponsors
regular play parties and the annual Bootcamp weekend. Similarly,
leatherwomen will probably want to look into Exiles and San Francisco Girls of Leather.
Organizations focusing on spanking include SF-CP.
Men's Leather Bars
The Powerhouse (which also
offers SM demos during the month) is very popular.
Out of Town Organizations
SM Odyssey in San Jose offers
parties and workshops, and Backdrop
offers parties, workshops, and a library for their members in Mountain
On-premise events include those by Club
Kiss, Tangerine's Dream,
Mixed-Gender Sex Clubs
The Power Exchange is now open
again at a new location. Other facilities hosting sensual events include
Mission Control SF.
Men's Sex Clubs
Blow Buddies (which also hosts
Golden Shower Buddies, Naked Buddies, Leather Buddies, Underwear Buddies,
and Bear Buddies on various nights of the month) has an excellent
local repution and is extremely popular. Eros is particularly clean and well-lit,
and very popular on weekends.
Although there are no bathhouses in San Francisco (the aforementioned
clubs are not technically bathhouses, as they do not provide fully private
space) but in Berkeley there's one called Steamworks.
A "loose, goofy, and semi-spontaneous" group of men's j/o enthusiasts
called SF Jacks meets at least twice
Polyamory Organizations and Resources
The Bay Area
Polyamory mailing list is one way to stay in touch.
Two resources for poly-friendly therapy are
Geri Weitzman and Integrated
Workshops on Spiritualized Sexuality
The Body Electric School offers
their full range of men-only and women-only classes in nearby Oakland. The
Flesh and Spirit Community
specializes in men's workshops, while Love Journey specializes in
The Institute for Ecstatic
Living sponsors workshops throughout the year at the Harbin Center. Other organizations
offering mixed-gender workshops in this area include Dakini Temple, the Body Electric School, Celebrations of Love, and Center for Healing and
Good Vibrations is the place to go
for most sex toys and video rentals. For a more extensive selection of
BDSM equipment, try Mr. S
Leather and Stormy
Try Stormy Leather and Madame S first for women's leather and
fetish fashion. Mr S
Leather is an excellent choice for most men's leather and fetish
clothing (as is the vendor area at the annual International Mr. Leather Contest), though
you can also check Leather Etc for
deals when you're in the neighborhood.
Romantasy and Dark Garden sell corsets.
Popular boutiques for women's lingerie include My Boudoir, Toujours, and Les Cent Culottes.
For drag clothing, try Piedmont.
Most folks recommend Black n
Blue Tattoo for tattoos, and Body
Manipulations for piercing.
HIV/STD Testing, Reproductive Health, and Counseling
HIV/STD testing referrals are available through the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, though one
commonly-used location is the San
Francisco City Clinic. A Planned
Parenthood clinic is located dowtown at 1650 Valencia St, and offers
drop-in hours for emergency contraception. Kink-aware physician and
psychotherapist listings (e.g. Vanguard Leather) are available
on the KAP
One well-respected sex therapist in the San Francisco area is Claudia Six.
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