Welcome to Sex & the River City

Welcome to Sex and the River City: your progressive, sex-positive sex and love advice column.

Kenna Cook

Everything I know about writing a sex column, I learned from Sex and the City. I was a low-key super fan in high school because I could watch it syndicated on TBS after school–typically baked out of my brain and desperate for insight into why I cared so much about the link between what was going on between my legs and my ears.

I learned about threesomes and blow jobs from Samantha, the hedonistic, impulsive “trysexual.” I was introduced to my college favorite, the Rabbit vibrator, during the episode where Charlotte gets addicted to her vibrator, masturbating the hours away and ditching her friends (been there, done that). Miranda played a straight character but even my baby gaydar and desire for queer women saw right into her Birkenstock-wearing, Indigo-Girls-loving soul. Then there was Carrie, our fearless narrator and forever single gal. She got paid to write about love, sex, relationships and emotions. Gimme that life!

While Sex and The City was touted for being the first show centered around female sexuality and empowerment (I beg to differ. Golden Girls did it first and did it better.), it was a terrible guide for teenage, bi-curious, serial monogamist me on how to operate in the real world as a sexual human woman. It took me years to unlearn the slut-shaming, kink-phobic, queer-repressive tropes I ingrained from that show. And that journey started when I decided to be unapologetically sex positive.

I didn’t just decide to be sex positive and then follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City of sexual enlightenment.

Becoming sex positive took work. I had to undo deep-seated shame and stigma around sex and sexuality. Being a woman who has a passion for sex education made me a target of slut shaming. Sex positivity doesn’t mean that you are positively always having sex.

The core of sex positivity is the idea of informed consent and agency within one’s own sexuality. For some people this means having lots of sex. For other people it might mean abstaining. It’s more of a “you do you” mentality than a “can I do you?” approach.

But why is sex positivity so important–especially in Sacramento? It comes down to acceptance and communication. Being sex positive means looking at your own and other people’s sexuality without judgement. Exploration leads to education and education leads to empowerment.

How do you become sex positive? You start by not being scared of the taboo. You support local sex positive businesses like adult toy boutique and art gallery Autonomous Love on J Street. You find (and USE) sex positive resources and counselors like Sex Positive Sacramento and Mineh Dee Education and Counseling. All three of these local businesses are kink-friendly, highly-educated community answers to a lack of sex positivity that permeates the banks of our River City–and they’re powered by poly pansexuals.

Everything you probably learned being socialized in a heteronormative, monogamy-centered society hasn’t set you up to have a very healthy sexual life. And if you do have one, you had to spend a lot of time on unlearning the social constructs of gender roles and taboos around alternative sexuality. Sex positivity isn’t something that defines you, it’s just something that you should be.

I grew up in Sacramento, where the rich kids had the good drugs and the American River bank was the perfect stage for teenage debauchery. I stuck around after I spent four years majoring in keg stands and all-nighters at Chico State. Now I’m a full-blown pansexual, polyamorous single parent, trying to figure out how make the banks of our River City fertile with sex positivity, one consent workshop at a time.

Think of me as Dan Savage without the micro-misogyny and unapologetic cis gay male privilege. I’ll be just as controversial but a bit more conversational.

So, let’s be clear: this is a sex-positive space. This is where you come to ask questions about how to facilitate your first threesome or what type of lube works best postpartum when you’re breastfeeding. This is where you start to explore your sexuality, sexual identity and begin the journey of unpacking and unlearning shame and stigma that surrounds being a sexual human being.

And it’s not just all about sex. I mean, yes, everything is about sex because sex is one of the most legit parts about being human. But this space is also for advice about love and relationships.

What happens when you get your heart broken, and how do you heal? How do you know it’s time to get out of a monogamous relationship because you’re pretty sure that you’ve always been poly? What about having kids and trying to balance dating two partners and be a single parent? Pretty sure I can give you some pointers from my personal playbook.

This also a space where I listen to survivors, and call out any bullshit sexual violence and rape culture Sacramento is supporting. This is my fucking fucking column.

In radical pleasure,


Got a burning desire, a burning sensation or an issue that’s about to burn down your house? Email Kenna for sex & love advice at kennac.se@gmail.com.


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Kenna Cook
Kenna Cook is a pansexual, polyamorous, pun-loving professional sex educator and parent born and raised in the River City. Whether you're inspired or mystified by all those nouns, send your sex and love questions to her for deep-dive discussion featured each month on "Sex and the River City."