Catalyst Con

Sep 012017
 

Joan Price is presenting 12 Steps to Sexy Aging – Starting Now!. Check out her bio here.

JP 1 2016-05-20 -1 - Copy cropped

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

When I started doing this work almost 13 years ago, I felt like a voice in the wilderness advocating for and educating about older-age sexuality. People didn’t know whether to listen attentively, laugh derisively, or go “ewww, wrinkly people having sex? That’s icky!” Now there’s a whole movement of older-adult sex education and advocacy, and I’m proud to be a part of it. I write books and articles, I give talks and webinars globally, and I review sex toys from a senior perspective at NakedAtOurAge.com. At age 73, I can’t imagine any work that would bring me more joy than what I do!

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

The catalyst for me originally was a negative one – I couldn’t find any good books about aging and sexuality that were relevant, contemporary, comprehensive, and other than doom and gloom. So I decided to write my own.

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 love the way people in many different sexuality-based fields come together these days to exchange information and support each other, whether it’s on Facebook or at conferences like CatalystCon and Woodhull. There’s a respect and willingness to help each other. I feel part of a warm, welcoming cadre of diverse people united by their sex positivity and open-mindedness.

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

The current political climate is our biggest challenge, concern, and fear. I’m sure I don’t need to say more.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?
I’m giving two new presentations this year: 12 Steps to Sexy Aging – Starting Now! is relevant for all ages, not just the over-50 crowd that I usually speak to. I’ve learned some things about ways to stay sexy through the decades that I’m delighted to share. I’m also giving a pre-con workshop: ALL WRITE! All You Need to Know to Turn Your Idea into a Polished Piece of Writing. I’ve been earning my living as a professional writer for more than 30 years, and I taught writing at the high school level for 22 years before that. The practical tools I’ll teach will help people in any field who want to write with more skill and confidence and enjoy the process more — and yes, I can teach that in a 3-hour workshop!

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

I almost died in an automobile accident in 1979. I decided to live. Every year, every day, is a gift I might have missed.

Aug 312017
 

Shadeen Francis is presenting Boldly Unbroken: Decolonizing our Approaches to Trauma and Healing. Check out her bio here.

Shadeen Francis

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

We all have the capacity to create meaningful change in the world, wherever we are and with whatever gifts we were given. I am a teacher, a creator, a witness, and collaborator. I help people of all backgrounds to accomplish their goals, create loving relationships, and lives they desire.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

The things that have always driven me are love, learning, and justice.

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?

Communication has been invaluable to the field of sexuality. Despite ongoing censorship, there has been so much gained from dialogue between open-minds and vulnerable hearts. I’m excited by how many people are willing to have hard conversations that center pleasure, inclusivity, consent, and medical accuracy.

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

Division, misinformation, and shame.

Why is your CatalystCon presentation topic important to you?

My idea of the world centers around relationships: our relationships with others, our relationship to the planet, our relationship to a higher power, and most importantly our relationships with ourselves. Trauma can happen at any level of existence, and it keeps us from connecting to one another in ways that make us feel safe and whole. We all deserve safety and satisfaction in our relationships. If my work can help anyone find more peace or pleasure, I have done my part in service to humanity.

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

If I’m not talking about sex or social justice, I’m probably having brunch or re-organizing my closet.

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.

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.

Mar 312016
 

Liz Powell is presenting Naming, Shaming, And Victim-Blaming: Practical Safety with a Sex-Positive Spin and Military and Veterans 101 for Sexuality Professionals. Check out Liz Powell’s bio here.

Liz Powell

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

I’m working on keeping the sex-radical spirit of San Francisco alive through my work in my private practice and with the collective I helped found, the Embodiment Arts Collective. I also value being out about myself as polyamorous and kinky because, especially in the world of psychology, not many people are out openly. This can make clients feel like no one out there understands their life. I want to lead by example and show that normal everyday people can be successful and non-monogamous/kinky.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

When I was first stationed in Savannah, GA I was looking for a couples’ counselor for myself and one of my partners and there were only 1 or 2 therapists in the whole state who spoke openly about non-monogamy; none of them were in Savannah. I knew then that part of my work had to be in reaching out to the less mainstream folks and providing a safe space for them to seek help.

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?

I’m really loving the push to normalize all consensual forms of sexual expression, especially regarding low and high desire. Asexuality and Megasexuality are not problems, they’re just expressions of our variance as a species.

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

Right now, I think it’s important for us to remain intersectional in our work. Empowering people sexually is always, for me, build on a foundation of social justice. Without this understanding and awareness, it can be hard for us to create true freedom of expression.

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

I’m really passionate about both of my panels for very different reasons. For my panel on military and veterans, I’m a disabled veteran myself and I’ve found that so few people know anything at all about what life in the military is like. That experience can be very alienating and make it hard to transition out of service. While I was in the service, the regulation of the UCMJ made it challenging for me to express myself sexually as there could be repercussions (legally and professionally). For Naming, Shaming, and Victim Blaming, I’m someone who feels very strongly about the need to address rape culture and to also empower everyone to help keep themselves safe. I’ve struggled myself with how to handle “missing stairs” in the communities I’ve been a part of and I think this is one of the most important conversations we can have, especially in the light of the allegations against people such as James Deen.

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

I was a figure skater from 8 to 16 and still love when I get a chance to get back on the ice.

Mar 252016
 

Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson are presenting The Dark Side of Tantra. Check out Mark Michaels’s bio here and Patricia Johnson’s bio here.

Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson

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

We have been active in various alternative sexuality communities since 1999; Mark started exploring polyamory a couple of years before that. We see our role as one of empowering people through sharing information and community-building. We feel that these efforts have helped people realize that there is no “right way” to be sexual.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Even though we’ve moved away from identifying as Tantra teachers, Dr. Jonn Mumford (he still teaches people personally via his online courses – www.jonnmumfordconsult.com) was a major catalyst; our first book is based on his material, and his influence is there in all of them. The friendships we have developed with amazing colleagues (many of whom are presenting at Catalystcon) are an inspiration too. That list would be so long!

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?

Cultural attitudes toward what constitutes a happy relationship are changing rapidly. More and more people are looking to create and nurture relationships in an intentional rather than a reflexive way – whether they’re monogamous or have some other relational orientation. We see the act of consciously and consensually creating relationships is good for individuals, their partners, and society.

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

Well, climate change and ecocide are the biggest ones. In the face of such monumental challenges, it sometimes feels like talking about sexuality is inconsequential; we can only hope that helping people develop a more integrated and authentic way of being in the world is a small step toward inspiring a more respectful attitude toward the planet.

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

There is a lot of mythology around Tantra. The meaning of the word, and the history of the tradition are hotly contested. The popularization of Tantra in the West has been problematic in many ways, and we’ve made our own mistakes over the years. While these issues are difficult and potentially painful to discuss, we thinks it’s important to examine them.

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

We’re both active in conservation. Mark is a leading expert on the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (www.projectcoyoteIBWO.com), and Patricia has rehabilitated hundreds of Native New York turtles (www.TurtleAdvocate.org.) We’ve also spent the last five years writing, touring and generally working too hard. This year, we’re focusing on having more fun!

Mar 162016
 

Mr Blk & Ms Pomegranate are presenting “What does consent look like; Practicing consent in kink”. Check out Mr Blk’s bio here and Ms Pomegranate’s bio here.

Mr BlkMs Pomegranate

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

​At The Black Pomegranate our credo is, “Talking the Taboos” and that philosophy permeates everything we do. In a sense, that credo is emblematic of the manner in which we’re catalyst for change. Sexual alternative lifestyles are still considered to be taboo.

Coming out as kinky can have very real consequences, professionally and personally even in 2016. When someone is kinky, the prevailing thought still exists that you’re different at best, potentially harmful at worst. The message is, if kink is your taboo, perhaps that should be hidden.

We define taboos differently. We think the taboos of sexual alternative lifestyles can be incredibly nutritive and affirming, something to be celebrated in life. In essence, we’ve redefined taboos as a positive instead of a negative. We want people to talk about the taboos of sexual alternatives with candor, acceptance and security, yet without shame or fear.

“Talking the Taboos” is a prelude to learning about the ways we can all participate in healthier, safer and more fulfilling alternative sexual lifestyles. We see ourselves as facilitators, working to demystify kink and BDSM and help make it more accessible and approachable. We want to initiate the ideas and changes in our communities which promote informed consent, openness and confront abuse. In our teaching, we want to advance play techniques, so participants learn a better way of doing things. We want people to acquire the tools to get the most out of their kink journey. Therefore, by that metaphorical act of talking about the taboos, we aspire to be catalysts of change.

2.­ ​Who or what was a catalyst for you?

​Our catalyst grew organically, from our separate and shared experiences in the kink world. Over time, we shared our perspectives with each other and remarked about the conversations we didn’t see occurring often enough.

One problem in the kink community is that it can be very hierarchical and dogmatic. Kinky people often joke about “the one true way” of doing things when it comes to BDSM play and
relationships. This dogma is based less on what’s best and more on long held conventions, even if they are wrong.

Over time, Ms.Pomegranate and I saw things that bothered us, both in our local kink community and from our experiences. We reached a point where we realized we had something to share,
that we could use our skills and knowledge to address the problems we saw. From that point on, we became advocates and teachers in the kink community, often being able to give new people the advice we didn’t receive early in our journey. Finding our agency and our voice to create positive change became our catalyst.

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 effect of technology on kink culture has been undeniable over the last twenty years. For example, in the 1990’s, the local kink community in Baltimore was linked by small ads in the
City Paper. Any actual networking was a long process with a negligible chance of leading to a play partner, never mention an actual kink relationship.

Today, the information revolution has fundamentally changed kink. Websites like Fetlife have moved BDSM networking from a small newspaper ad to become a global endeavor. People can
stream kink classes on any subject and learn from their living rooms. Thousands of bloggers and writers share their sex positive thoughts, culminating in events like Catalyst Con.

Technology has had other effects on kink culture. Gear is better made, with an easier learning curve. There are whips with flexible cores, which make them easier to throw. Sex toys are
ergonomic and body safe now. Haptics offer us genuine virtual reality experiences. To say nothing of the effect technology has had on the discourse surrounding the emotional and physical factors regarding kink participation. Technology has made kink, sex positivity and sexuality a very different place in 2016, with much more to come.

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

BP­ ​The plethora of misinformation about kink. As we stated, there is more access to kink information then there has ever been. But this also means there is also more access to bad kink
info. It’s inevitable that we mention the book and movie, “50 Shades of Grey”. Various “50 Shades” media exposed millions to BDSM, it became a guide of sorts for kinky curiosity. The
problem is, it was never intended to be that. “50 Shades” was written as fan fiction by someone who had no practical knowledge (or desire) to exhibit a reliable manual for how to live a kinky
lifestyle.

The danger is when people new to kink take this misinformation as fact. When people read lack of consent and breaking boundaries in a book and think it’s ok, there is a danger. When
someone views slip knots used for bondage in a movie and don’t realize that can cause an injury, that is another danger. Because the topic is kink, that doesn’t make the content reliable.

Part of our collective jobs as sex positive kink and sex educators is to debunk bad information and strive to offer timely, credible information. That is the responsibility we’re charged with and should always uphold.

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

​Our CatalystCon topic is about practicing consent in kink. It’s appropriate, because consent is the true catalyst of everything that occurs in BDSM. Consent provides the framework which allows participants to negotiate and the parameter that sets any kink scene. Simply, without consent, healthy BDSM can’t exist.

Consent violations are all too common in the kink community. The scene all to often struggles with consent violations in a manner that helps victims and holds violators accountable. We need
to reframe the dialogue surrounding consent and kink. Consent has to become dynamic and applicable in order to address the unique paradox of kink interactions. Elevating the conversation on practicing kink should be important to anyone who cares about building a better, safer sex positive kink community. That’s why our topic is important to us.

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

​Ms.Pomegranate is actually a very good dancer, with a skill and physicality she takes full advantage of as an experienced rope bottom. Mr.BLK once considered becoming a Catholic priest and considers his kink teaching another type of vocational calling.

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.

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