As I’ve journeyed into the world of sex ed I’ve met and learned from some amazing people. One of those people is Cooper S. Beckett. Cooper is a sex educator, a blogger, a podcaster and a planner of epic sex parties. If his name still isn’t ringing a bell do yourself a favor and check out the Life on the Swingset podcast and blog. They are a definite must listen for anyone considering a life of ethical non-monogamy.
Last year at Catalyst Con West I had the pleasure of hanging out with Cooper for a while and it was refreshing to see that he was exactly as awesome as he comes across on the podcast and in print. He is honest, open, geeky, funny, and smart as fuck. He ticks all the boxes on my list of reasons to adore someone. I went from fan girl to friend that weekend. I liked him so much that I told him my real name. Yep.
Yesterday, Cooper’s first book, My Life on the Swingset: Adventures in Swinging & Polyamory, hit the digital bookshelves. I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy and I honestly couldn’t put it down. As I followed Cooper’s journey into non-monogamy I came across so many moments that mirrored my own, a few that hit way too close to home, and hope that it will all work out in the end one way or another. This book is going to change a lot of people’s lives. Get in on the ground floor folks! One day you’ll be bragging about owning Cooper S. Beckett’s first book.
You did it!! You published your first book! Yay!! How does it feel to be published author?
It’s exciting! I can finally reach those people who don’t read blogs. And don’t listen to podcasts. Though I’ve yet to figure out how to get them to find out about the book! It’s a cool feeling, sitting with a book in your hands that you wrote. I’m intensely proud of how this one shook out, too. Came together far better than I could’ve imagined.
In your book you say that you are “ very positively, very certainly, not cool.” You know that I always thought you were cool, and that this book pretty much solidifies your cool kid status in my book. How do you feel about that?
Well, while I certainly appreciate being called cool, I can’t allow myself to take on that title. Cool is such a funny thing, isn’t it, completely objective, and completely existing outside you. For that essay I’m definitely using cool in the traditional high school hierarchy sense, and in that sense I’m still very much not cool. Played my first Dungeons and Dragons campaign this past week, so any semblance of cool I’ve built up, I think I effectively pulled the ripcord on it. We’re the misfits and losers that Hedwig talks about, the strange and unusual of Lydia Deetz, but very certainly not cool.
My Life on the Swingset is basically a compilation of your writings from the last five years. Who or what inspired you to finally compile your various writings and rantings into one book?
When I saw the sheer volume of words I’d put out and felt compelled (and misguided) to try something “easy” for my first book. I think it was far more difficult to compile and edit and mold the pre-existing content to work together than it would’ve been to write something new. I’ve felt for a while now that it was time to push things to the next level, and a book is the way to do it. This also allows it to act as a semi-memoir. A semoir.
Who’s bookshelves do you hope your books end up on? Did you have a particular audience in mind when you were putting the book together?
If my book is on any of the shelves of the authors whose books line my shelves I would consider it such a great honor. Just knowing that some of the luminaries in our adult sex education field (as well as my two favorite porn stars) have read and loved my book is an incredibly surreal experience. Beyond them I’ve written it to be very accessible. Since it’s in essay form, there may be 60 out of the 75 essays that you can connect with, and that’s just fine. You can skip over things that are overwhelming or scary. You can read it straight through (semoir style, I suppose) or jump around reading the essays that sound interesting. Accessibility is great, because it allows for those who are just vaguely curious about non-monogamy to pick it up without melting their face off like Toht at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
What is one thing you hope people learn from reading My Life on the Swingset?
It’s not something I hope that they learn so much as something they already know that they often forget, that sex is fun. That’s my whole deal, really, that we do this thing, we play, because we enjoy it, because it’s fun. There’s no other reason to do it this way. Procreation is the one part, but if you have sex beyond that, it’s for fun. Too often that message gets lost in the din of conflict and oppression and difficulty, but it’s really what we’re doing it all for, to be appreciated, respected, and enjoy the fuck out of ourselves and others!
For more information and to order the book, visit My.LifeOnTheSwingset.com. For more information on the Swingset Network of podcasts and blogs, visit LifeOnTheSwingset.com.