Aug 302017
 

Erin Tillman is presenting Beautism and Status: How Stereotypes Influence Leadership, and Limit Choices… Recognizing Patterns and Reclaiming Power. Check out her bio here.

Erin Tillman

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I’m doing what I can to empower single people when it comes to dating, consent, and self-care. Things are evolving quickly in the dating game because of online dating and dating apps, and these rapid changes have a lot of single people feeling lost. I help singles navigate through the ever-changing, ever-evolving world of dating.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Any and all individuals who are fighting for equality.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

The conversation around consent has become mainstream. Millennials and post-millennials are generally aware of what consent means compared to older generations. There’s still work to be done, but the younger generations are more aware of issues around consent because there has been media coverage of high profile cases…and for better or worse, that brings awareness and gets a conversation started.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?

One big challenges that I see is that we still aren’t able to live and let live overall, but especially when it comes to sexuality. I hope one day we can get to a place where we’re all happy and fulfilled in our own lives, so much so, that we aren’t trying to negatively influence others’ lives.

Another major challenge is that consent is still a huge issue. Though there is more awareness around boundaries and consent, there are still concerns about how it is discussed, how to prevent potential assault, care for survivors, etc. I look forward to a time where consent violations are consistently seen as unacceptable in our society and conversations about boundaries are a regular part of human interactions.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

Privilege is a huge topic impacting so many areas of our society, and beauty (or the perception of beauty) is a privilege that impacts individuals in regards to social status, and even in seemingly unrelated areas like career advancement. Like all areas of privilege, it’s important to be aware of possible (appearance-related) privilege not only to put things into perspective, but also to find solutions to certain issues.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.

I’m fluent in french

Aug 292017
 

Nancy Sutton Pierce is presenting Sexy Does Not Have An Expiration Date. Check out her bio here.

Nancy PierceHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

We are either a warning or an example – I focus on being an example of all I believe makes life worth living. I speak and teach first from my heart and personal experience then frame it with the knowledge and wisdom I’ve acquired along the way. It must be reasonable and doable for me to teach it.

My professional focus leans towards empowering women to grab hold of ownership over their lives and all their experiences; including, and not limited to, their pleasures and pains.

For the younger women who watch me closest (three daughters and three granddaughters to start with), I openly evolve without shame or self-limiting beliefs. For example, in my late 50’s earning my doctorate in human sexuality degree, traveling around the world to teaching women self-empowerment, and starting a You Tube Channel called Nearly Naked Yoga. Their eyes are wide open to the limitless possibilities of their own lives through my example. This may very well be my legacy; one of them anyway.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

In 2005 my husband and I, as new empty nesters, took a leap and went to a resort in Jamaica called Hedonism. Our experiences open our minds to possibilities unknown before, enhanced our intimacy and reawakened my sexuality to a new level.

At the time I was 48, already a grandmother and suddenly aware of the beliefs I had around aging and grand parenting that were greatly influencing my feelings of desire and desirability. I could hear my own mother’s values and beliefs around being an older woman creep into my consciousness. It became clear that by allowing this self-doubt I was stunting my freedom to fully express and embrace my inner sex goddess. This gave me reason to pause and rethink my old programming around being a woman, wife, mature, a grandparent, etc. Thank goodness, I did! That vacation changed me, us, my profession, and ultimately, my future.

Fast forward to 2017 – I am now the CEO of Exotic Lifestyle Retreats and for the past 10 years have been creating events for women, men and couples to go to Hedonism Resort in Jamaica. Guests are able to experience, with my team’s support and guidance, a chance to rethink, revise and reunite with their own sexual freedom of expression, on their terms. I’ve witnessed more awakenings than I can count and they never cease to amaze me. This, along with my 23-year Yoga practice/profession, has emerged as my Conscious Living Sexuality™ umbrella.

The two people who have been the greatest catalysts for me are my husband and muse, Mark. He has given me the gift of always loving me for being me – and all my evolutions. He lovingly calls me a “moving target”. One of the most powerful things he has said to me is, “If I were to direct your path in any way, I’d miss the chance of intimately knowing the real You. That is who I am interested in knowing.” Yea, he’s a keeper.

Dr. Ava Cadell is the second person who has been a catalyst of significant change in my life. The day I met Ava, in my quest to find fascinating judges for an erotic film festival I created in 2012, was to be a serendipitous moment in my life. At that first meeting, she asked me where I saw myself in five years, for which I replied, “sitting behind a desk like yours, doing the work you are doing”. Prior to that day, this was not a conscious thought for me thus surprising even myself.

Since that day, she has been the most generous and honest mentor. Her guidance led me on the path to earning my Doctorate in Human Sexuality and becoming a global Holistic Sexologist. Being able to add this new body of knowledge to my 30+ years as a registered nurse, health educator, yoga therapist, radio talk show host (The Conscious Living Show), and author, has enriched my life in countless ways. I have much to thank her for – most of all for being a beautiful example for all women to learn from.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

I’m in awe of the rapidly growing community and eclectic mix of sex positive, highly educated professionals who represent the field of Sexology. We are collectively accessing the powerful force of media to move discussions, covering all areas of sexuality, into living rooms rather than just bedrooms. As these conversations become more commonplace, there will become more comfortable and hold less shame and fear. The benefit is, our future generations will be better equipped to build healthy sexual attitudes thus healthier and happier intimate relationships.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?

Healthy, Honest Sex Education for our youth (and their parents) is a massive hurdle. So many pockets of our society are still in the dark ages thinking that keeping kids innocent, aka ignorant, will somehow protect them. Yet, access to the internet has changed the level of exposure to all information, including what is unhealthy and misinformed. Without comprehensive and real information, they turn to peers and porn for their education; and we all know how well that is working out.

Why is your Catalyst Con presentation topic importation to you?

Women are suffering from ignorant and self-serving media influence. They are buying into the belief they are not good enough, thin enough, young enough, perfect enough, etc. They’re flocking to surgeons and subjecting themselves to horrendous, often disfiguring, procedures and expensively ineffective treatments; all in search of a feeling of self-acceptance. This is a viscous, self-defeating cycle since the entire beauty industry makes its billions from our lack of self-acceptance.

Once we have subconsciously or consciously bought into these messages, we become the propagators. If we can propagate this message, I believe we can awaken to the impossibility of ever meeting the beauty industry’s proposed ideal of “what is acceptable”, and take back that power of self-love by being real and being real happy about it.

“Celebrate our uniqueness rather than attempt to look like another for acceptance to be earned.”

I frequently ask women, “What would it be like to embrace our tear drop breasts, stretched skin from our babies, smile and expression crinkles on our faces and our silvering hair? To be excited about our finally and magnificently matured body after creating a life?” The more we ask and imagine, the more we can create a new reality for womankind. The implication that these are flaws requiring correction, we do a harmful disservice to women everywhere who are distracted from living their lives for the pure joy and experience of living rather than for the pure acceptance of others.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?

As a yogini, I’m often mistaken for being passive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I have a fierce protectiveness against injustice, especially when it pertains to the vulnerable and voiceless. My family certainly knows this about me, however the outside world might not see this unless provoked. This makes me a strong advocate and loving supporter for the voiceless who wish to learn to speak again.

May 032017
 

Hello fellow Sex Workers! It’s time to start planning CatalystCon’s Second Annual Sex Worker Summit and we need you! The Sex Worker Summit is about Sex Work and for Sex Workers, so it only makes sense that Sex Workers would shape and plan it.

That’s where you come in. Do you have an area of expertise that you’d like to share with the community? Is there a current issue impacting our community that you’d like to teach on? What do you want to learn about or be taught? Is there someone you think might be interested in educating our community? What issues are most important to you right now?

The beauty, wisdom, and strength of our community is in its diverse makeup. Like last year, we want this year’s SW Summit panel to continue to reflect the face and experiences of our community. This means we’d like to see POC, Transgender, Queer, those living with disability, BDSM/Kink, exploitation survivors, and survival/street-based SW to the front, leading and helping us grow as a community.

We’d love to plan a day that reflects and looks like YOU, so tell us what you’d like to teach or see your community learn about. Send your thoughts and ideas to swl@catalystcon.com by June 1st.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Meg Munoz & jessica drake

Sep 082016
 

Headshots at CatalystCon

Robert BurkhartLiz BlackfordMary Prescott

Catalyst Con’s photographer Erika Kapin is offering a limited number of discounted headshot photo sessions for attendees of CatalystCon 2016!

Reserve your session by prepaying for one of the following packages:

–15-20 minute session. 1 Look/outfit. Includes 2 retouched high res image of your selection. $100 prepay. $130 registration at conference.
–1 hour session. Up to 3 looks/outfits. Includes 5 retouched, high res images of your selection. $200 prepay. $250 at conference.

Work samples at www.erikakapin.com

Email erika@erikakapin.com reserve your space or ask any questions!

Check out Erika on Instagram and Twitter

 

Sep 072016
 

Reid is presenting Sex Geek Conservatory Primer: Teaching Sex Ed Without FearHow To Make More Money as a Sex Educator: Dating Your Business Model  The Art of Accepting No with Monique Darling and Reid Mihalko and Finding Your Unique Voice and Brand to Wow Your Perfect Clients (and Create Bigger Value). Check out his bio here.

Reid MihalkoHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

For the past four years I’ve been geeking out hard on helping sex educators become better at the business of being educators and how to reach more people and make a better living doing what we love.
The way I see it, the more people’s lives we can touch, and the more peace of mind we can foster by paying our rents and bills, then our Industry as a whole becomes stronger, healthier, and happier. And happy, well-paid, self-expressed sex educators have more resources to be catalysts for the kind of change the planet needs right now!
Who or what was a catalyst for you?
Seeing how much my Mom and Dad loved each other and how “Love” wasn’t enough to keep them happy was the catalyst. Their growing pain -my mother would become an alcoholic, my father would become a workaholic, with things just getting worse and worse- and inability to heal it had me vow to never “be like them.”
My father also lost everything in his once successful business and my folks ended up living in their van with the family dog for several years, so I also “inherited” a great fear of finances and owning a business/“having a career.”
Lucky for me, I had friends and mentors who helped me overcome my fears and unleash my natural curiosity and geekery about people, business and life… And I’ve been able to make a career out of it, even to the extent of helping other sex educators win at business!
It’s very inspiring to help men and women not have to go through what I saw my parents go through.
What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?
Decolonizing sex education and how white people in our industry are learning why and how to help other white people be more inclusive and savvy with things like racism, classicism, abelism, ageism, sex workers rights, sexism, body shaming, etc.… These conversations and the actions/growth surrounding them are SO important!
What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today?
One of the biggest challenges happening right now in our industry is how sex educators are handling consent violations, consent accidents, and predatory behavior inside our own community/industry.
We are at a lack of tools for how to invite our industry to heal itself. We need to be able to hold people accountable and take personal responsibility while giving people room to have their feelings and voice/be witnessed in healthy, empowering ways.
Our industry and the sex-positive movement, like other movements that came before us, is prone to “eating it’s own” and using banishment and bridge-burning as means of bringing justice and creating safety. The unfortunate outcome of this is that we’re at a loss for protocols and role modeling on how we invite community members to step-up, grow, heal, and improve.
I don’t have the answers, but I’ve been having lots of conversations with folks who specialize in geeking out on these things. I invite all sex educators to look into the areas of Restorative and Transformative Justice, Call-In and Calling-Out Culture, as well as other areas and communities and brilliant minds, and help us find tools and concepts that can empower our industry and help all of us upgrade how we hold space and role model for each other. These tools need to include how we can leverage social media to build bridges rather than burn them.
Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?
I look at getting better at business as a kind of self-care for sex educators. One of the most powerful ways to avoid burnout and stress is to not make the common mistakes I made “re-inventing the wheel” as I built my career.
Anything I can do to help my peers shorten their learning (and frustration) curves means there are more of us transforming the world! And THAT is important to me.
I’m teaching two pre-con workshops on business skills and public speaking  bad-assery. I’m also co-leading two presentations, one on how to say and receive No powerfully as well as a 2nd talk on how to use your personal life’s story as a sex educator to reach clients and create a career that’s a great fit for you… All of these discussions help sex educators build businesses that excite them and pay the bills rather than stress them out.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
I used to play flute in 7th grade band, but couldn’t read music at all, so I just faked it
 

Speaker Spotlight: Robert G. LeFavi, PhD

 CCON West, CCON West 2016, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Robert G. LeFavi, PhD
Sep 062016
 

Bob is presenting Treating low libido in women: What sexual health professionals should know about the latest research, with emphasis on hormonal therapies. Check out is bio here.

Robert LeFavi, PhDWhat do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

In the past decade, great strides have been made in the understanding of the causes of low libido in women. The most dramatic change in awareness has been in the importance of how hormone levels affect physical sensation, emotions, and human sexual response. This awareness is slowly moving from labs into medical practice, and is most often adopted into use by those treating patients with hormone replacement therapy. Those physicians often see dramatic results, and their treatments should be made known to wider populations and women of all ages.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?
There is simply no reason we have not been as focused on female sexual dysfunction than on male sexual dysfunction. And low libido is indeed sexual dysfunction for those who experience it. The information gained in recent research on hormones can change much of that. I am passionate about getting this information to as many sexual health practitioners as I can so the opportunities for successful treatment can be increased. The awareness of the importance of the hormone-sexual response interaction can empower all of us to be catalysts of hope for those women who suffer from low libido; this knowledge is indeed power.
Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?
I have dual citizenship (Italy & U.S.) and was a competitor in the 2013 World CrossFit Games

Speaker Spotlight: Rebecca E. Blanton, PhD

 CCON West, CCON West 2016, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Rebecca E. Blanton, PhD
Aug 262016
 

Rebecca is presenting Claiming Female Sexuality Through Performance. Check out her bio here.

Rebecca E. BlantonHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I don’t really think of myself as a “Catalyst for Change.” That idea seems to big for what I do. What I am concerned about it the growing need for everyone to be certain about everything at every moment. This leaves little room for growth or change without being painted as a dilettante or flip-flopper. I have long been concerned with both identity and sexuality in a person’s life. Both healthy identity and healthy sexuality require an ability to explore and grow and change — which is antithetical to the current need to certainty in identity at all times.

I have opted to live as open and authentically as I can as a way to free people from the need to pretend to be something they are not. I have used my sexual and emotional path to illustrate things on stage through comedy and burlesque performances. I think the boom in burlesque and the growth of women in comedy allow women a new and unique way to talk about the constant “becoming” that is the human experience.

Who or what was a catalyst for you? 

My biggest catalyst to this day was The Life and Times of Harvey Milk. I saw the documentary when I was 11 years old on PBS. Milk’s statement that “If a bullet should ever enter my brain, let it blow off every closet door,” became my mantra. I have been out and proud as queer since I was 13 and realized I was gay. I am out about my kink and my mental illness. People, much braver than I, came out before me so I didn’t have to fight the hardest battles. I owe them being open and out an it is my gift to the next generation.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

I think the ability to talk more openly about sexuality is, by and large, a good development. I see us as still a nascent culture when it comes to talking about sex and sexuality and there are growing pains as we open the culture. However, the ability for people to connect with community and get information about things is a good thing.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today? 

I see the pushback against changing ideas of gender and sexuality as dangerous. As much as we have pushed to decriminalize and de-pathologize queerness and trans folks, we are still based in a medical model for sex and gender identity. Medicine is a field of late adopters for any ideas. The fact that we conflate sex and gender to what sex is assigned at birth by some doctor and that we still require trans folks to prove things like “gender dysphoria” to multiple medical professionals before getting any help will always slow and limit the development of new ideas of sexuality.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

I know hundreds of female and female-identified performers who have used the stage to claim who they are sexually and with their gender. I find it absolutely fascinating what parts of their sexuality and gender they choose to claim on stage and how they go about doing that.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?

I was raised on a farm in southeast Idaho by parents who were escaping their role as Baptist missionaries.

Speaker Spotlight – Walker Thornton M.Ed

 CCON West, CCON West 2016, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight – Walker Thornton M.Ed
Aug 232016
 

Walker is presenting Addressing Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder—It’s Not as Simple as Popping a Pill or Using a Sex Toy/Device. Check out her bio here.

Walker ThorntonHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I speak about topics of vital importance to older women—menopausal and postmenopausal women (and a significant number of older men as well). We’re a segment of the population that is pretty much overlooked in many areas. We are seen as past our prime, old…not interested in sex, and invisible in some ways. Women this age, as a general rule, don’t feel comfortable talking about sex and sexuality. I believe that my job is to help normalize and demystify sex in the middle years and beyond. I don’t hold to the myths about aging and menopause. I try to present a pro-aging, natural approach to getting older and maintaining our sexuality. My willingness to have “that” conversation, any time, any place, is just one way to remove some of the stigma and provide space for change to happen.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

I hear from women who struggle with issues around sexuality. Women who want a different, better sex life but don’t know who to talk to…and in some cases don’t really know what it is they need.  Much of the available information for older women portrays sexuality in a negative light. The prevailing myth is that menopause will bring an end to desire and sex and that the best answer, if any help is offered, is pharmaceutically based. Instead of helping women understand their desire, or give them tools to enhance their understanding of sex and their bodies, women are pushed towards expensive toys and medications. Low female sexual desire doesn’t exist in a vacuum and it can’t be “treated” as a deficit that begs for a fix. The idea of inviting desire, which happens to be the title of my new book, is a way of helping women do their own work—giving them tools and resources, readily accessible and practical. I’m excited about the opportunity to help workshop attendees look at how we work with women (and their partners) in providing ideas and tools for increasing sexual desire.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself

I’m a small town girl. I grew up in a town of 500—on the water, at the end of a road that doesn’t really lead to anywhere else. Somehow over the years I’ve managed to shed that awkward little girl, small town image. Oh, and… I drove a bus for the University of Virginia when I was in college.

Speaker Spotlight – David J. Ley, PhD

 CCON West, CCON West 2016, Speaker Spotlight, Uncategorized  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight – David J. Ley, PhD
Aug 192016
 

David is presenting Ethical Porn For Dicks: Encouraging Users to Embrace Mindfulness in their Porn Consumption and speaking on Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. Check out his bio here.

David LeyHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

Each of my books has been the first of its kind. Insatiable Wives was the first scholarly exploration of the cuckold/hotwife fantasy and fetish. Myth of Sex Addiction was the first popular book to challenge the concept of sex addiction, as morally-based, shaming model. Ethical Porn for Dicks (EP4D) is the first book to approach the men of our society with a model for responsible use of pornography, in a way that does not demonize either porn or male sexuality. I’ve been deeply humbled to have my work honored as an inspiration by the many people who have been shamed for their sexuality, and have felt that my writing and advocacy has led to them being able to challenge social elements who shame and suppress sexual diversity. When Myth came out, I was one of only about 3 people who were publicly challenging the notion of sex addiction – now, dozens of writers, therapists and researchers around the world are publicly attacking the concept as dangerous, ill-informed, and harmful. To have their support and encouragement in this fight has been one of the great successes of my life.

Who or what was a catalyst for you? 

Truthfully, I’ve had any number of mentors and catalysts. But the ones who have meant the most to me have been the countless people around the world who have reached out and told me about the shame they have experienced at the hands of counselors, doctors, media and writers. These people’s stories spurred me to advocate on their behalf, challenging our society’s use of mental health and addiction diagnoses to enforce morally-determined sexual values. I believe strongly in the values and ethics of my profession as a clinical psychologist – but, I believe equally strongly that we must be ever mindful of the intrusion of morals into clinical practice, especially around sexual issues, lest we replicate the many times through history when our field has harmed our own patients, by labeling women as nymphomaniacs or homosexuality as an illness.

What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable changes that have been made in our current society and the field of sexuality?

Recent research on the role of religious/moral values conflict with pornography is one of the biggest, most recent bombs which as gone off, revealing that the majority of people who struggle with their porn use, are doing so because of a moral conflict between their religious values and their sexual behaviors. The implications of this are huge, as it helps us to now better help the many people who struggle with porn use, even when they use less porn than other people. Those folks deserve assistance – but the simplistic “Blame porn” approach has been ineffective and often worsens the problem. Now, we can begin to help them, and society, understand that a lack of sexual education, lack of sexual self-understanding and acceptance, and a basic fear of sex that these people (and their religious communities) hold, leave these people desperately ill-prepared to deal with the modern world of sexuality available to them. Educating therapists, religious leaders, societies, policy-makers, porn-users, porn-producers and parents about ways to understand and resolve this conflict is one of our next biggest hurdles. But it’s also at the same time, a very positive way in which we can now begin to address peoples’ pain and struggles MUCH more accurately and effectively.

What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in society and the field of sexuality today? 

I say often that we are in a “sea-change” environment when it comes to sexuality. Core beliefs about sexuality, orientation, gender and what sex actually “means” are being rocked by changes in our society and world, mostly wrought by ripples of the Internet and increased private, independent access to information, community, and acceptance. These are scary times, for those people who fear sexuality, both their own and that of others. Many religious people believe that internet porn and transgender bathroom issues are greater social concerns than are gun violence or racism. These feelings reflect their deep fears of these changes, and what the changes might mean for them and their understanding of the world and sexuality. Currently, I don’t think anyone is doing a good job, understanding and acknowledging these fears, and at the same time, presenting a courageous and informed way in which we can help people move beyond their fear.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

Men who use porn have been deeply shamed and isolated by the modern porn panic. EP4D is the first text that is written for them, for the layman, that acknowledges both the positives and risks of porn, and empowers men to make decisions from places of self-knowledge and integrity. I hope that my work serves  in some small way to empower both men and porn producers/performers, to push back against the shaming, attacking elements who pathologize all porn, and want people to fear it. Ethical Porn is a way we can all rally together, to protect our sexuality, or free expression, and our own determination of our sexual values.

Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself?

I was born with one hand. It’s a very obvious physical disability, which has not been that disabling. But, I have a lifetime of feeling, and looking, very different, and being singled out for that difference. As a result, I am very sensitive and attuned to those who shame others for differences, particularly differences in sexual behaviors or preferences. I view such shaming tactics as akin to those bullies I’ve experienced all my life, who shame others for being different in some way. Throughout my life, I’ve always aggressively fought such bullying, whether it’s directed at me, or others. My writing is a unique expression of that aspect of my personality.

 

%d bloggers like this: