Zhana Vrangalova, PhD is presenting “Mostly Straight”: A New Sexual Orientation Group and Is Casual Sex Bad for You? It Depends. Check out Zhana's bio here. 1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change? I'm primarily a sex researcher. As such, I research topics - casual sex, promiscuity, and mostly heterosexuality - that are often ignored, misunderstood, or shrouded in stereotypes. By getting some scientifically sound information on these topics, I help bring ignored issues to light or dispel incorrect myths. By talking to journalists and writing for broader audiences about the science of these sexual issues, I hope to bridge the gap between science and the general public. 2. Who or what was a catalyst for you? Growing up in a very double-standard kind of culture in Eastern Europe. 3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now? A very hostile political climate, with half of the country being very anti everything that has to do with sex. In my primary profession as a researcher, this often means lack of funding for sex studies, ethics committees refusing to approve sex research studies, university departments not willing to bring in professors who study and teach sex, etc. Another major challenge is the ambivalence our culture has about sexuality. On one hand, it's highly encouraged, on the other hand, it's highly suppressed. 4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year? 5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic “Mostly Straight”: A New Sexual Orientation Group and Is Casual Sex Bad for You? It Depends to CatalystCon East? Mostly heterosexuals are a completely ignored sexual orientation group, in research, in clinical practice, in everyday life. Yet, recent studies show that they are a distinct group in terms of their sexual orientation, and more critically, they have increased vulnerabilities in terms of mental and physical health when compared to completely heterosexuals. Raising awareness about this group among the public beyond the halls of academia, and particularly among other sex educators, is critical. Whether casual sex is bad for people's health is a highly contested topic, both among academics and non-academics. Stereotypes, fears, and myths abound, but there is now substantial amount of science to provide some answers. Given the number of young people who engage in casual sex these days, being aware of these insights has important practical implications for people's own lives. 6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself I'm addicted to popcorn. Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon East here.