lola houston

   live a true life

who am I?

Counselor, listener:  As a member and leader of several local communities that span a range of flavors, I provide quiet, thoughtful counsel in relationships, sexuality, gender, play and personal growth.

Learner, explorer:  Curiosity has been an integral part of who I am in the world.  Observing, sharing, building bridges and simple investigation have opened doors into worlds I never knew existed. Seeking out and embracing change are key parts of who I am.

Queer, Shapeshifter: I'm transgender, non-monogamous, and often seek out and play in the edges. Sexuality and gender are constellations of delight and discovery, and I believe strongly that full sexual expression offers a deep healing to all of us in whatever form we choose.

Creator: I swim in music and dance, manifest my thoughts, feelings and desires through many different forms.  I take a different approach to self-actualization that involves commitment, courage and joy.

In Depth...

I never imagined I would be in this business. If you had asked me 20 years ago what I'd be doing today, easy: technology. But what I found along the way was something a lot of people seem to be discovering - that technology can isolate you. And there was a moment in time, using that same technology, that kind of pried my lid off, so to speak. I was left surprised, vulnerable and scared. "This is who I really am?" I wondered. Yep. It is.

I realized something about myself, about my own sexuality, that was at once terrifying and liberating. And that moment started me down a path that took a lot of twists and turns before I wound up here. There was a lot of pain along the way. A long term relationship ended, in part because of my own realization about who I was. Where that moment led me was a lot about sex and feeling and relationships and who I am and who you are. And why being happy, not being stuck on "pain island" matters. A lot.

I learned that a lot of sex was being able to step past all the conditioning that I had been subjected to in my life. I learned that relationships couldn't exist if they were always focused on the past, and that being present, right now, right here, was vital. I learned that letting go was both the most important thing I could do and the hardest thing to learn. I'm still working on that one. And when I managed to put myself in front of teachers, mentors and guides who had already been through this stuff, I realized I knew a lot of it. I could share what I felt, what I dreamed, what I longed for, with others.

One of those teachers was Barbara Carellas. Her work in Urban Tantra opened huge doors for me. I learned that sex is not always about genitals, that breath was an incredibly powerful tool, something that could take me to ecstatic places. Orgasms were not only attainable, but the experience could be so fantastically different.
Another one of those teachers was Marcia Baczynski, one of the co-founders of Cuddle Party (I lead those, by the way!). Marcia demonstrated this unbelievable ability to be calm, collected and compassionate in what seemed to me like any situation. She talked me down from the ledge the first time I attended a Cuddle Party. And then I trained under her and realized that leading a workshop or teaching a class had aspects to it I had never even imagined.

My most recent teacher is Dr. Betty Martin. I'd heard of her, but had no idea what she did. I got wind of a class she was offering in New York City called Like A Pro, and decided to go. It profoundly changed my life. I had just emerged from a particularly difficult moment in my life, and during Betty's class, I felt parts of me that I'd never, ever felt before. It wasn't about sex, but about the core of who I was. I knew it was a turning point. I went back the next year and took the same class again, and wham - got the same deep experience.

I'm now very out, something I hope offers others a chance to see that it is okay to be different. I landed in the New York Times, which surprised me when I did it. I'm still fitting these different "tools" together. I still test, experiment, iterate, test again, and repeat. But now, I am ready to share these experiences, put my toolkit to work doing what I love: opening people up to new way of being, a new approach to self-understanding.

The "credentials" stuff...

What informs my work these days are all of those special teachers, of course, but I also have much I have brought forward with me. I have a graduate degree in the social sciences from McGill University. I've completed certification for Urban Tantra. I've been through many rounds of Like A Pro training. I've worked through the Foundations of Facilitation certification, and then went on to become a certified Cuddle Party facilitator. I have taught at many levels - undergraduates, graduates, youth and adult - on a wide range of subject matter for almost 18 years. I've published a number of pieces in edited volumes on anthropology, gender, sexuality. And I've been teaching and facilitating classes and workshops on gender, sexuality and just plain fun for over 12 years.