Mar 142016
 

Jera Brown is presenting Christians Kink Too: Repairing the Relationship between God and Desire. Check out Jera’s bio here.

Jera Brown

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I consider myself an ambassador for the progressive Christian Church and the alternative lifestyle communities, hoping to build better relationships between them.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Meeting individuals who value authenticity: the woman that introduced me to polyamory, the amazing retired minister who taught a Sunday school class I was in and debunked the idea that homosexuals were somehow sinning. So many people who have opened my eyes to the limitless ways I can be authentically me if I break down my list of “supposed to’s.”

3. 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?

Non-normative forms of sexuality, such as fetishes and BDSM, are becoming de-pathologized and studied as healthy sexual practices. I think we’re also moving beyond “born this way,” and claiming the agency in our sexual and romantic choices. This is happening because we’re becoming less on the defensive, forced to say that what and who we desire is legitimate. When it’s morally and politically okay to have choices, you’re allowed the space to really “choose” how to pursue what you desire. It’s even okay if it changes!

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

Maintaining a sense of community and camaraderie. Queer, gay, transgendered, straight, heteroflexible, furries, dominant cis-men, sadomasochistic women—it shouldn’t matter. If we’re fighting the patriarchal heteronormative construct that defines how we should live, we should be in this together. These are the only “shoulds” I feel comfortable subscribing to.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

Because I’ve met so many people in the kink community who are “closet Christians” or, conversely, people who grew up in Christian homes who don’t understand how to feel comfortable with their desires. Anyone who has been impacted by a conservative Christian view of sexuality could potentially find some peace or justice by understanding how much more radical a Christian perspective of sexuality can be.

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

My favorite piece of jewelry is my vulva necklace from the Venus Emporium. I’ll be wearing it the entire conference.

Mar 092016
 

Laura Rademacher is presenting Pleasure is Primary. Check out Laura’s bio here.

Laura Rademacher

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I became a sex therapist through a somewhat “non-traditional” route (selling sex toys and creating pleasure based sex education for adults) and I feel lucky that from the beginning of my career in sexuality I was able to focus more on pleasure than pathology. Now I want to be a catalyst for prioritizing pleasure in sex therapy and education to help students and clients find empowerment, combat victimization, have better health outcomes, and bring them closer to their goals. This also means valuing the sometimes stigmatized work of porn performers, sex workers, hands-on sex educators, and sexual surrogates; the people in our field who work directly with pleasure.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Betty Dodson’s book “Sex for One” was a catalyst for a lot of my own personal growth. For many years it was the book I went to for reassurance whenever I needed to be brave and bold as a sex educator. I would say to myself, “If Betty could do it, you can too.” Also, all the people who attended the home sex toy parties in my first few years as an educator. Their questions and comments helped me grow as an educator, identify my blind spots and biases, and instilled in me that there is always more to learn in this field.

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

Recognizing and dismantling white bias and racism in the field of sexuality. Adjusting sex education for people of all ages away from a hetero-normative and reproduction centric framework.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

I believe in the power of pleasure. When pleasure is left out of the work of sexual health professionals all people are disadvantaged, but most of all people with vulvas and people who identify as LGBTQ. Including pleasure helps keep people safer by helping them negotiate for the experiences they want to have. Normalizing pleasure helps people expect that experience and realize they don’t have to “just put up with” pain or discomfort during sex. Don’t get me started…I can talk about the importance of pleasure all day long!

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

It is probably an overstatement to say I was once a professional puppeteer, but a long, long time ago I was paid to make and perform with puppets.

Mar 072016
 

Rev. Dr. Beverly Dale is presenting “Finding Good News about Sex, Pleasure, and Diversity in the Bible”. Check out Beverly’s bio here.

Beverly Dale

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

Hey! I am bucking 1700 years worth of sex-negativity in the Western Christian Church. How’s that for being a change maker?!

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Either we seek healing or we die. I choose to seek to find healing and wholeness in my faith even when the church was part of the illness!

3. 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?

Reliable contraception and the approval of Plan B that liberates women to more freely make their own significant life decisions and frees families to be more carefully planned. Yet invasive legislation is attempting to roll back such contraceptive access and to control women’s reproductive lives.

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

We have to change the misogyny and ignorance of our male-run Congress and counter the backlash of the leadership of the Republican party as it proudly flaunts its anti-woman bias.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

We need empowered people to stand up to religious ignorance, theological misogyny, and Christian sex-negativity that spreads so much guilt and shame about sexual pleasure and diversity.

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

While I am, in some ways, truly avant-garde, in others, I am pretty traditional. But ya gotta know me to find out which is which.

Feb 252016
 

Kate is presenting Talking about it: Porn literacy as media literacy. Check out Kate’s bio here.

Kate Sinclair

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I’m working in a smaller Canadian city, out of touch physically with the big urban centres, but using the internet and human connection to prove that we can do what we want without paying excessive rents in big cities. I’m creating art in that smaller city that challenges the ways that those folks interact with porn, and with concepts around sexuality.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

A big catalyst for me was Annie Sprinkle visiting the University of Winnipeg in about 2004, when I was living across the street from there. Her unapologetic sexuality and sexual agency really made me start to understand the concepts behind sex positivity. Even if I wasn’t as overtly sexual as Annie, knowing that our energies could exist simultaneously without harming each other was a real “wake up” moment.

3. 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?

Some of the most important changes made in recent memory are actually some negative ones for me. The recent changes in the UK porn laws, and recent changes to Canadian sex work laws being at the forefront. It’s all based in morality-policing, kink suppression, and quite frankly the suppression of (all) women’s sexuality. And boy, does it irk me.

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

The biggest challenges that we face right now are centred around concepts of morality. I’ll specifically be talking about what makes imposed morality so dangerous in my session “Talking About It: Porn literacy as media literacy”.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

My topic is so important to me because I honestly wish someone had taught me these things while growing up. I wish that there had been someone there to remind me that when I was consuming bits of porn here and there, that these things were produced, cast, and utterly created – and that that’s ok. It just means that things won’t actually look like reality. I also wish that the shame could be eliminated, especially for the sake of those that were raised in very morally judgemental homes. I feel like their lives could be so much freer.

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

Gee whiz. I’m a bit of an open book on twitter, but I’ll give it a go. My hobbies outside of porn include birding, sewing, hiking, gardening, and curing meat from the ceiling of my unfinished basement like a total creep.

Feb 242016
 

Monique Darling is presenting The Art of Accepting No with Monique Darling and Reid Mihalko and Overwhelmed and Overworked? Self Care IS a Priority. Check out Monique’s bio here.

Monique Darling

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I am the deepest catalyst by using my vulnerability. I am willing to express in real time my challenges and my enthusiasm, the things that are hardest for me and the things that are sooo good that I can’t even believe they are true. AND I spend 9/10ths of my life traveling and touring and offering workshops for people to transform right along with me.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Reid Mihalko and Cuddle Party. Ten years ago I walked in to my first Cuddle Party and it began the journey of reclaiming my voice, my choice and my power. And it awakened my own passion of being a role model for others to have permission around those things.

3. 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?

That its more and more common conversation. That more and more people are willing to talk about it. That it is becoming a less taboo subject and that there is a wider spectrum and playground that is nationally accepted as to what is acceptable discussion around sexuality.

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

That as much as it feels like conversations are opening it also feels like the greater the conversation and the greater the permission for people to be more sexually expressed the greater the fear from those who are unwilling to face those things in their own life. SO the more it is talked about the more it is opposed at the same time. The greatest challenge finding us today is to find a wider spectrum in the middle so that its not black and white expressed or repressed, but to find that middle ground where we can all be respectful of one another.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

My topics are the “art of accepting no”, and “self care” which are both life lessons that I have learned and I am continually learning in my life through living every day. In order to serve anyone else you need to serve yourself first so you are full and ready to serve anyone else and its important to have useful tools to use in a daily practice. Your ability to accept no gracefully is what gives others the gift to ask you anything in life. So it gives you greater access to resources in every aspect in the field of sexuality, and life transformation in general.

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

I have no idea who my biological father is. There is a whole mystery surrounding that so come ask me. 🙂

Feb 232016
 

Dr. Zelaika Hepworth Clarke is presenting Goddess Bodies Mortal Minds: The intersectionality of Black Sexuality and Respectability. Check out Dr. Clarke’s bio here.

Zelaika S. Hepworth Clarke

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I lead by example and seek to be the change I wish to see. I am dedicated to being a catalyst of change within myself before I seek to inspire transformation and liberation of others. Specifically, I’ve focused on ways to free myself from the bondage of white cisheteropatriarchal power structures that inform mentalities surrounding sexualities. As a sexosopher, I am perpetually involved in critical thinking about sexualities as well as being actively engaged in decolonizing sexualities. While working towards my PhD in Human Sexuality, I created theories that de-pathologize certain paraphilias and gave voice to non-phallocentric narratives of “sex.” (via the “devouring vagina,” ecosex, spiritual penetration, etc). Others can see how I was able to achieve sensual liberation through my dissertation publication titled Coming to my senses: A decolonizing autoethnographic exploration of Ọ̀ṣunality. I articulated my liberating experiences through the auto-sexual-decolonization process, which utilized self-love (autosexuality) as a means of overcoming negative effects of (sexual) colonialism. I am committed to intersectional mindfulness, sexual decolonization, counter-oppressive discourses, sexual epistemic diversity, sexual rights, self-determination, freedom of expression and empowerment.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Ọ̀ṣunality served as a catalyst for emancipation from cisheteropatrarchal colonialistic mentality that informs conventional discourse about sexualities. I was able to perceive sexuality in new empowering way. While studying Ọ̀ṣunality, I transformed my understanding of sexuality from a pleasure affirming, non-judgmental, self-loving place. A simple translation of Ọ̀ṣunality is Ọ̀ṣun-sexuality or African sensuality-sexuality and eroticism (Nzegwu, 2011). Ọ̀ṣunality is an empowering, post-colonial, sex-critical, African-centered paradigm. Ọ̀ṣunality supports diversity in sensuality and eroticism, inclusive of all forms of sexual pleasure (Nzegwu, 2010). All forms of pleasure are considered normal: from traditional, procreative heterosex to pathologized paraphilias.

3. 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 accessibility of information and people’s ability to be able to learn from different perspectives are important changes in the field of sexuality. Technoheutagogy (self-determined e-learning) can help spread awareness about issues surrounding sexuality. The internet also supports creating communities of subcultures that might not have been possible a century ago. People realizing their right to self-determination and defining themselves for themselves is an important aspect of creating change.

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

Established forms of oppression are the biggest challenges to overcome within ourselves as well as institutionalized levels including but not limited to: heterosexism, genderism, cisgenderism, sexism, cissexism, racism, misogynoir, monosexism, classism, ableism, hierarchial binarism, somatocentrism, logocentrism, androcentrism…etc. These forms of oppression are vulnerable to being engrained in our mentality about sexuality unless we actively seek to hear diverse view points and perspectives. Another aspect of this challenge in the field of sexuality is how these forms of oppression play a role in knowledge production which is dominated by Westocentrism. There are many different views of sexualities, however, there are only few that are being highlighted at the expense of silencing Others. Therefore, epistemic diversity is imperative in the field of human sexuality to ensure a holistic view of sexualities that respect Indigenous sexual epistemologies.

6. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

I am on a panel discussion about the intersectionality of Black sexuality and respectability. In the sexuality field, it is important to use a critical lens to deconstruct and reconstruct Black female bodies while being mindful about intersectionality and historical trauma. Black sexualities have historically been pathologized and harmful to the conceptualization of sexual self, body image, sexosophy and sexual schemas which are not conducive to self-expression, empowerment or fulfillment. However, updating our understanding of Black sexualities by hearing from women of color about their views of their own body is an important step towards unlearning colonial views of Black sexualities. Indigenous sexual knowledge can serve as a catalyst for empowering Black women.

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

I am an eight generation farmer and have been able to integrate my personal and profession self by being a sexecologist through studying to the intersectionality of sexuality and nature.

Feb 222016
 

Harmony is presenting Military and Veterans 101 for Sexuality Professionals. Check out Harmony’s bio here.

Harmony Larson

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

As an openly queer, sex positive military officer, I’m acutely aware that I have a distinct privilege in being open and championing advocacy around sexuality. I hope that, by being visible as an advocate, I can foster a sense of safety and community support for military members to be their authentic selves.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

The catalyst for my work around sexuality in the military was realizing that people were voiceless and invisible in their health care because of institutionalized discrimination.

3. 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?

Within the military, there have been major strides around sexuality in the past decade. These changes–repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, inclusion of women in combat role, Secretary of Defense’s Transgender working group, to name a few–have widespread impacts, and military culture is growing and adapting to the new expectations.

4. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

Every day, there are military members and veterans who are reaching out for support but don’t know where to turn for help. Outreaching to this population is sorely needed, but there are significant gaps in military and civilian services in providing compassionate, culturally sensitive care around sexuality. I hope that our presentation will foster awareness among sex positive professionals to improve support for military members and veterans.

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

I used to work at Walt Disney Imagineering as a story writing intern

Feb 162016
 

Jackie (Jack) Rednour-Bruckman is presenting Sex Positive Parenting,  Queer & Trans Sexual Health and the Closing Keynote Plenary Address. Check out Jackie’s bio here.

Jackie Strano

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I try to be visible as possible as a trans butch queer who is raising kids, running a business, involved with community, working on social change and stigma around sex and women’s reproductive health rights and trans and queer health rights

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

my grandparents and then also working with Good Vibrations and community, living through the AIDS plague years in SF

3. 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?

More transgender awareness, reproductive health access, college campuses talking about consent, countries in Africa outlawing female genital mutilation, trans surgeries getting covered by health insurance providers

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

More medical professionals and psychiatric professionals need sex positive sex education training. And Evangelical movements across the country trying to dismantle Roe v. Wade and women’s health care rights

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

Because it’s about being an agent of social change and talking about sex positive parenting, queer and trans sexual health education and keynoting with Bryanna Jenkins is going to be compelling, inspiring, and highlight the need for more access, education, and resources

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

I want to grow up to be a marine biologist

Feb 032016
 

Erin is presenting Consent and Abuse Awareness in Alternative Sexual Communities. Check out Erin’s bio here.

Erin Kennedy

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I am really passionate about bringing the consent culture indicative of the Kink community into the mainstream. I believe there are many things that we can learn from alternative sexual communities regarding safety and consent that would be beneficial to everyone. My lifelong goal is nothing less than to affect positive change in society. I am a teacher because I believe, as Mandela said, that education is the most powerful tool we have to change the world.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

There have been many, but the most powerful catalysts in my life were those friends who believed in my wild dreams with me, and who helped me to visualize my desired future as a real possibility.

3. 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?

Certainly one of the most powerful shifts in our society has been around sexual consent.

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

Achieving sexual freedom from cultural shame for sexual outsiders is both one of the most important challenges we are facing, and one in which we are making great progress in achieving. A person’s autonomy over sexual behavior, identity, and expression, is a key component of mental health for all of us. Sexual freedom is freedom from the cultural shame that atrophies our spirits when we aren’t able to share our whole selves without fear of judgement. We have made giant leaps in our mission to save ourselves from the self-flagellation of cultural shame.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

Consent and abuse awareness in alternative sexual communities is important to me because if we aren’t helping to assure the safety of the people within those communities then we aren’t and never were really communities to begin with. Our communities exist so that people can share information and experiences with people we trust. Communal trust can only be achieved when we able to circle the wagons when someone is attacked.

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

My first dog was named Darth Vader.

Feb 012016
 

Sigga Dogg is presenting Genitals and orgasms and anal, oh my: sex education in Iceland. Check out Sigga’s bio here.

Sigga Dogg

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I think that changing peoples perception about sex is done on a
grass-root level by talking to them with out nonsense and by challenging stereotypes but allowing people to loosen up and let go of negativity by giving it a sense of humor, there by making the conversation easier and more relatable. Laughter unites and gets people really talking about things that matter but can be difficult to discuss.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I would have to say that the women in Iceland are quite strong
and they speak their mind, endure the toughness of the weather and just get things done. There really isn´t a “it cannot be done” but more of a “well go do it, what are you waiting for?” sense and for that I am truly grateful. There are no limits on what can be achieved if you keep on working, just like Björk says, you have to put in the hours and stand true to yourself.

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

The advancement in grass root organizations, some media figures finally telling it like it is and the LGBTQI communities struggle. Everybody needs to be allowed to be an individual and being different isn´t a bad thing as we are all unique. The messages of talking about sex with your partner and understanding consent is one of the biggest issues the field of sexuality faces and by making sex ed available to as many people as possible, we will facilitate that change.

5. Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic importation to you?

Learning about your body and sex before you get into it is really important to me because I want sex and the exploration of your body to be a natural thing, without shame, as this is something
that will follow you through your life in one way or another and effect your relationship with others. By making the language of sex more accessible, people will get more accustomed to talking about it and thereby shattering the number of taboos surrounding it.

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

I love all things Halloween even though it is not an Icelandic holiday and I wake up singing every morning (type A,you got it!)!

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