CatalystCon West

September 2015 – Burbank, CA


Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance
Closing Keynote Plenary Address: Afternoon Tea with Joani Blank



Click here to register!

Advancing Racial Justice in Sexuality Education
Aida ManduleyAnain BjorkquistCindy Lee Alves, M.Ed

It’s time to wake up, America, and stay woke. Our work as sexuality professionals is deeply necessary and has revolutionary potential. So how can we ensure we are actually sowing the seeds of social change? This pre-con will offer participants a range of tools for working more effectively towards racial justice in the field of sexuality. Racial justice refers to a wide range of ways in which groups and individuals struggle to change laws, policies, practices and ideas that reinforce and perpetuate racial disparities. The struggle for racial justice must address the ongoing practices that perpetuate these disparities and actively seek to dismantle them. This workshop provides a balance of self-reflection opportunities with engaging learning activities and deeper intersectional analysis of how racial justice and sexuality connect in contemporary social justice movements. The goal? To make a difference through our work without leaving communities in the dust.

NOTE: This is a special session held on Friday, September 11th, 1:00-4:00pm 

Aging Kinky: What 203 years of combined kinkdom looks like
Carol Queen, Skip Chasey, Olga Perez Stable-Cox, Winston Wilde

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a kinkster elder? This panel consists of four people and a moderator who have each been kinky for over forty years. Their shared wisdom and lascivious experiential history will prove to be provocative, entertaining, and enlightening. Almost any kinkster newbie will tell you how the world shifted for them when they came out into kink. What happens to mortals who engage and apply BDSM to their long lives, for decades? What was it like back in the day, before all these kink conventions and public dungeons? What works in the long run, and what doesn’t? Come join us for an hour of perversion, profanity, and kink-wisdom.

American Courtesans
Kristen DiAngelo, Steve Gustafson

In 2013, the critically acclaimed documentary American Courtesans drew back the curtain on the lives of American Sex Workers. After a lifetime of work in the sex trade, Kristen DiAngelo decided to bring the profession out of the shadows and present a wide variety of women who discuss their lives as escorts, the events that led them to the job and the reasons they stay. Journalist Steve Gustafson sits down with producer, escort, and writer Kristen DiAngelo for an open discussion on the behind-the-scenes making of the award-winning documentary, the struggle bringing it to life, and the state of sex workers today. This seminar will take an honest look at the exceptional lives of sex workers, the risks, and the rewards.

Black and Blues: When Bruises Become Bruised Feelings
Anna Randall, DHS, MSW, MPH, Richard Sprott, PhD

Come and explore the kink phenomena called SUBSPACE / TOPSPACE resulting from BDSM / Kink play and learn what we know about its compelling draw (Richard will be sure to throw in a little neurobiology, for good measure). We will blow away the common myths about what it is, theorize on where it comes from what we believing is really happening, plus discuss how to better enjoy the experience plus guard against the nasty and dark, post-play spin. You will come away feeling just a little more armed to battle those kinky demons.

Breaking Silence, Building Connection; Addressing Abuse And Intimate Partner Violence in Kink Communities
Samantha Manewitz, LICSW

Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence are epidemics that cut across all gender, racial, economic, and cultural lines. For kinksters, abuse is a thorny subject, as there are empowering and healthy dynamics that seem abusive to the outside observer.

In this class, we will drill down to the fundamentals of human connection as they relate to kink, challenge common narratives, and turn preconceived notions about abuse inside out. We will also will explore how abuse can manifest, how communities and individuals can respond to abuse using restorative justice principles, and how to promote a culture of transparency and healing.

Participants will leave empowered to be ambassadors of dialogue and change within their communities.

Covering Porn: The Life of An American Porn Journalist
Gram Ponante

The American porn business is filled with contradictions: An industry barely a generation away from illegality, that largely ignores its own history in favor of women who are “barely legal,” that pays most of its stars less in the final years of their careers than in the first, yet that uses more bandwidth and makes more money than most mainstream industries, where misperceptions abound about the people who present themselves in such clinical detail. There’s a lot of significant legal, social, technological, and even artistic phenomena going on behind those facial cumshots. Join America’s Beloved Porn Journalist, Gram Ponante, who has covered this world with humor and thoughtfulness for a dozen years. In this session Gram shares some insights into the business, its history, and its personalities as well as anecdotes from porn sets, both behind and in front of the camera.

Generation of Poly
Gary Jacobson, Koe Creation, Michael Macfarlane (Darling), Monique Darling

We have brought together panelist from two multigenerational family units. A mom and son, and a father and daughter who are practicing non-monogamy each on their own terms.

One family grew up poly with a father that was practicing before his daughter was even born. The other family includes a mom that discovered poly when her son was 15. At first it was a troubling time for them as she continued exploring and he continued the path he had grown up in simply thinking she was weird, but gradually with the support of the entire family, he discovered his own personal path as well. All bring unique perspectives.

We will discuss ways our everyday communication helped us develop a way of communicating that through our work today, changes people’s lives.

Maintaining mutual interest in sex-positive culture, we have used our communicative framework to create a level of acceptance so that even the things we each might have triggers around become opportunity for us to grow closer.

It is not only possible to have successful sex positive families, it’s happening, has for years and the people doing it are excited to share how.

Hot & Hypnotic – Five Ways Erotic Hypnosis Can Rock Your Sex Life
Amy Marsh, Ed.D., DHS, CH, CI, ACS

Personal erotic hypnosis is one of the newest ways to achieve sexual enjoyment and promote emotional intimacy. Hypnotic partners use relaxation techniques, erotic language, and the combined power of their imaginations to enhance physical sensations, deepen power and fantasy role-play, and even produce hypnotic orgasms on demand! Erotic hypnosis also benefits people who experience physical impairment due to aging, chronic illness, or disability.

Based on Dr. Marsh’s 2014 survey of 225 erotic hypnotists and their partners, you’ll also discover who’s doing erotic hypnosis and what they feel about it.

This workshop delivers “the basics” of erotic hypnosis, including easy to learn techniques, a discussion of safety and consent issues, as well as ethical boundaries for helping professionals.

Discover why it makes sense to inform your clients about erotic hypnosis as another option for sexual enrichment and intimacy. Learn how to incorporate information about erotic hypnosis into your practice as a sex-positive professional.

Note: The presenter asks that this session space be a fragrance free zone, so if you choose to attend this session please refrain from wearing perfumes or other strong scents.

The Importance of Trauma Informed Sex Education, Writing, and Therapy for Survivors and Professionals
Ashley Manta, Damon Holzum, Yoseñio V Lewis

How much do you know about trauma? As sexuality professionals, it is important for us to be trauma-informed so that we can best serve our clients, students, readers, and the community at large. In the first part of the session we’ll cover the basics of trauma: what constitutes a “traumatic” event (or series of events), the ways in which trauma affects the brain (from a neurobiological and psychological perspective), and common treatments (clinical and alternative) for trauma. In the second half, we’ll discuss the ways that we as sex educators, writers, therapists, and other professionals can use this knowledge of trauma to create more inclusive and safe spaces for those whom we serve. We’ll also critically examine the ways that much of the research on trauma has marginalized gender nonconforming people and people of color.

Is Kink a Sexual Orientation? A Panel Discussion
Anna Randall DHS, MSW, MPH, Richard Sprott PhD

Is Kink and BDSM becomes more mainstream and visible to public awareness, more voices from within the kink and BDSM communities are heard regarding their own subjective experience of their sexuality. Some describe it mearly as a fun and enjoyable leisure activity while others experience it more as a core and fundamental identity, much like an orientation. This raises an essential question: Can BDSM be an orientation? But to answer that question, we need to be able to define orientation. Is orientation only an attraction to a specific gender?
This presentation will review the various constructs and lenses through which we can define sexual orientation. It will then survey all the available information, both qualitative peer reviewed research and online surveys to shed a light on how BDSM practitioners construct meaning from their sexual practices. Finally, it will examine the available research on the etiology of sexual orientation as well as the subjective reports of BDSM practitioners to form some preliminary conclusions on whether BDSM can be understood as a form of sexual orientation.

Is there a secret handshake? – Navigating Alternative Lifestyles
Andrea Renae, Lola, Mr. Pent, Rebecca Hiles

Many people are drawn to alternative lifestyles such as BDSM, polyamory, and swinging, because they are seeking to explore a different side of themselves. As part of the learning process, people often feel that it is important to find a community to help educate them on their new lifestyle journey. For some, seeking out a community for education and camaraderie can be the most difficult part of the journey. At times, it may feel as though you have joined a club, but never learned the secret handshake.

In this session, we will share ways to find your place within the alternative community that meshes with your needs and desire. This panel will cover topics ranging from appropriate lifestyle etiquette and finding a community, to negotiation and safety.

Is your therapist (therapy) really sex positive
Buster Ross MA, CSC, CADC II, LPC, Chris Donaghue, PhD, LCSW, CST
Current psychology, including sex therapy, is based upon oppressive heteronorm, male, white, ableist diagnostics and couples work, based on ableist and sexist developmental theories, and static concepts of Self/identity and gender. It supports neurodiversity as a pathology, versus seeing the health and strengths in a neuroqueer/neuroatypical diversity model. This is a social justice issue! And the thesis of this talk or training is that normalcy, as defined by the current heteronorm neurotypical medical-model paradigm, is a pathology

This session is for individuals in therapy or seeking therapy, that want the tools to critically analyze the (sex positive queer social justice) value and safety of the therapeutic work.

Knowing Your Sex Ed Business Style So You Can Move The Needle
Cathy Vartuli, Reid Mihalko

There are tons of different ways you can grow your sex-positive business… And lots of different people telling you what’s best for right now. Its easy to get lost in the noise and get so distracted that nothing actually gets done.

Rather than picking this teacher over that, and technique A over approach B, and feeling confused about how to implement them, there’s an approach that will align your business with your personality and your goals so doing the business of Sex Ed is fun again.

The key is to know what your business style is, learn your natural self-expressions and flow, and then build your business around that. Once you understand these key principles, decision making becomes much easier and you can choose the actions that will let you move the needle for yourself, and your clients!

The Limits of Sex Positive
Chris Donaghue, PhD, LCSW, CST, Conner Habib

The sex positive movement has helped contribute to a healthier, better educated, and more open sexual culture. But with any cultural shift, new dangers are created. What are the limits, pitfalls, and problems of the sex positive movement? In this session, Chris Donaghue, Conner Habib, and the attendees will pull apart six failures of sex positivity:

  • The identity trap: Understanding identity is crucial to a healthy sexual ethic and culture; but when does identity become unhealthy? When do identity politics go wrong in the sex positive movement?
  • Compulsively open relationship: Respect for non-monogamy is a foundation of the sex positive movement, but how many of us truly choose to be open rather than monogamous? Can open relationships be another cultural pressure, played out in an unhealthy way even by sexual progressives?
  • Scientific Codependence: Science, facts, and studies provide much of the fuel for a rational, down to earth cultural conversation about sex. But emphasizing science at the expense of other aspects of the human experience can create an unfeeling and narrow sexual perspective.
  • Anxious Eroticism: An honest and open expression of sexual topics and languaging are important components of being sex positive, but much open sexual expression of sex can flood others and actually do damage versus activism and evolution.
  • Scope of Practice/Competence: The field of sex-related professionals is expansive in terms of practitioners and advocates. This brings much needed services and attention to increasing sexual health. Caution is needed when sexual advocates provide counsel and advice that is outside the scope of their training and education. We all need to be aware of the limits of our practice.
  • Working in Sex While Hating Sex: The sexuality field is full of many individuals with a desire to advance sexual right and sexual freedom. Sex negativity still lurks unconsciously as many advocates sustain oppression by having not examined parts of sexuality they still shame and pathologize.

Litigate to Emancipate: ESPLERP’s Constitutional Challenge to California’s Prostitution Law
Domina Elle, Jerald L. Mosley, Maxine Doogan, Vanessa Soma

California’s law that criminalizes prostitution could be declared unconstitutional very soon, due to a lawsuit brought by the Erotic Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project (ESPLERP). The panel’s speakers will discuss the implications of the lawsuit, the victories achieved, and the challenges that the community continues to face in the effort to decriminalize prostitution and to ensure that erotic service providers are protected equally under the law.

Micro-aggressions of Desire
Yoseñio V Lewis

Words matter. “And you’re just so articulate” to a black or brown body (“how could you possibly be so eloquent when you’re not white?”). Actions matter. That “I smell something funny” look when a woman walks by (“She must be on her period. Why doesn’t she stay home?”). Seemingly “innocent” actions have major consequences, especially when they are inflicted repeatedly.

To this awareness we bring the notion of the Microaggressions of Desire and how they can teach us to be ashamed of that which turns us on. We’ll acknowledge the smirks, the looks, the avoidance, the turn aways, the one word responses and how they all can lead us to deny, diminish and delete our desires. When we have clarity on what we’re dealing with, we can then empower ourselves to move past the microaggressions to experience the exhilarating heights of sexual health. Join us as we discover how to navigate the microggressions, overcome them and claim a sexuality that is rightfully ours!

Naming, Shaming, And Victim-Blaming: Practical Safety with a Sex-Positive Spin
Ashley Manta, Liz Powell, Psy.D., Rebecca Hiles

We live in a society that takes practical safety information and uses it to discredit and blame victims for their own traumas. How then do we talk about personal responsibility without falling into our societal penchant for victim blaming? When faced with risk awareness, messages are generally focused on women’s responsibility for their own sexual safety. How do we open this conversation to encourage everyone to be a part of a community-wide effort to mitigate risk while also challenging cultural stigmas and safety cliches? Join us for a discussion on risk aware assessment surrounding sexual safety and its implementation into daily life! This panel will guide participants to make more empowered choices by applying many of the sex-positive risk aware tactics in their lives outside the bedroom/dungeon.

New Views on Pornography: A Roundtable Discussion
Lynn Comella, Ph.D., Jackie (Jack) Rednour-Bruckman, Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D., Mireille Miller-Young, Ph.D., Ryan Bowles Eagle, Ph.D., Shar Rednour

Recent years have seen an uptick in media attention, online articles, academic research, popular books, and everyday conversations about pornography. This panel brings together a group of academics, lawyers, and industry insiders—all contributors to the book New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law—to discuss pornography’s relationship to contemporary cultural, political, and legal debates. What are the key legal issues that surround sexually explicit content, including obscenity, child pornography, and online piracy? Is porn addiction real? How did porn production and distribution change throughout the 20th century, from stag films to video arcades to home video? What were the circumstances that helped give rise to lesbian, women-centered, and queer porn in the 1990s and beyond? This panel discusses these and other issues regarding a topic that continues to be both compelling and controversial.

Online Harassment: It Happened To Us, How We Dealt With It, and How You Can, Too
Heather Parker, Sally Sparrow

Harassment of women who share their opinions online are growing to become common, pervasive, and frightening. Gamergate-style threats and anger have been lodged against many prominent sex-positive bloggers, forcing them to go private or even think about shutting down their sites and accounts. At the same time, the problem isn’t just facing outspoken women who address feminism, sex, gender issues, or sexism. This aggression has been aimed at any woman with a strong following or persona online. These trolls hide behind anonymous accounts, sometimes more than one, and share private information publically, making the Internet a sometimes dangerous place for the women they attack. Many women suffer from depression, anxiety, and even PTSD as a result of being actively trolled. This panel will talk about two writers experiences with online (and sometimes offline) harassment and doxxing. We will share resources for how to get fake accounts shut down, ways to control the conversation, safeguards that you can take proactively, and even share legal options. Our goal is to open the discussion and create a dialog so you don’t have to abandon your writing and leave the Internet for good.

O Wow! Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm
Jenny Block

It’s time for a revolution of the sexual kind. It’s time to define what we see as “sex” and what part women play in it. It’s time for women to stop being second and start seeing their pleasure, their desire, and their orgasms as the main event. Penetration is one act of many and should no longer be center stage. It’s time for women to focus on having ultimate orgasms and worry less about how sex has been defined in the past and more about what they want right now.

The author of “O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm” will discuss why this revolution is so important to men and women alike in pursuit of universal sex positivity and equality.

An ultimate orgasm is your personal best orgasm. It doesn’t leave anything at the table. It doesn’t want anything more. It lasts as long as it lasts. It takes as long as it takes. It’s as messy and loud or quiet and tidy as you like. It has no room for shame or apology. It leaves you feeling like you just landed on another planet and you definitely need to take some time before you can drive a motor vehicle or operate heavy machinery.

Pornography, Agency, and the Hypothetical Woman
Caroline Ryan

From Andrea Dworkin, who declared that all sex is rape and pornography has harmed women (Intercourse, 1987), to Julia Long, who claims it is merely a hypothetical woman who truly enjoys the acts depicted in pornography (Anti-Porn, 2012), feminist discourses on pornography have always been linked with examining authentic female desire. These views are challenged by sex positive, pro-pornography feminists who argue that pornography can be an authentic representation of female sexuality, and disagree with the framing of women as eternal victims who can never fully exercise agency and consent in exploring their fantasies.

While acknowledging that some pornography can be misogynistic, contemporary pro-pornography feminists argue that women can now enjoy the freedom to explore their desires and create their sexual selves (McNair, Porno? Chic! 2013). In the 21st century women can now consume pornography that has expanded to cater to more than just its previous hegemonic heterosexual male consumers. The key questions that the pornography debate asks, and which this presentation addresses are: is pornography a tool for empowerment or oppression? What is classed as authentic sexuality, and by whom? Is true female choice and consent achievable in a silencing, patriarchal system where a representation of female sexuality in pornography often includes acts of violence?

Putting the ‘Ethics’ into ‘Ethical Non-Monogamy’
John N.R. Wayne

People outside of the sex positive movement often consider the term “ethical non-monogamy” an oxymoron. Within the sex positive community, however, there is often little consideration of what exactly the “ethical” part consists of. Discussions rarely get beyond the requirement of informed mutual consent. While consent is an excellent starting point for the discussion of ethics in sex positive communities, there are a number of cases where the question of what is ethical in non-monogamy is considerably more complicated. In this session, we’ll discuss several cases that challenge the idea that consent is a sufficiently robust definition of ethics in ethical non-monogamy. By considering what is a philosophical question by nature, the session is unlikely to resolve the question, but it should provide additional depth and an interesting discussion as participants define for themselves what “ethical” means to them regarding sexuality. This will be a highly interactive/Socratic session, so please bring your ideas to contribute to the discussion.

Recognizing and Responding to Abuse in Non-traditional Relationships
Cunning Minx, Eve Rickert, Tamara Pincus, MSW, LICSW, William Winters

We don’t like to admit that things like abuse occur in the sex-positive communities that we work so hard to construct. Social acceptance of our communities rests on the premise that our relationships are healthy. But not only does abuse occur in non-traditional relationships just as in traditional ones, some alternative relationship styles may be uniquely vulnerable to abuse, because certain structures or practices can mask or even facilitate abuse.

Creating safe spaces for people to express unconventional relationship styles usually requires us to create “judgement-free zones” where people can explore their interests without facing moral reproach from their peers. But when allegations of abuse arise, or members of our community are causing harm to others, we cannot remain neutral and take no sides. If we do, we can end up creating safe spaces for predators and abusers while allowing vulnerable members of our communities to come to harm. And yet if we respond inappropriately, we risk causing still more harm.

How do we recognize abuse dynamics in non-traditional relationships? How do we distinguish healthy from unhealthy relationships? In what ways do the special dynamics of our relationship styles open the door to forms of abuse less often seen in traditional relationships? What’s the appropriate response to allegations of abuse? How can we create safe communities that do not operate as private hunting grounds for those who would abuse others?

In this panel, we’ll discuss some of these things and talk about how to spot and respond to abusive dynamics.

Renaming Desire — Trans/Non-Trans Sex
Yoseñio V Lewis

The workshop will focus on sex between trans and non-trans people, and the fears, desires and assumptions about that sex. This will be an opportunity for people to gather and talk honestly about sexual attraction between and among trans and non trans people and the political implication(s) of manifesting that attraction. We will talk about identities and gender roles and assumptions and the limitations of such. We will do all this and more in an atmosphere of openness and clarity. ATTENDEES: please be aware that we will be using adult language in this workshop. All are welcome.

The Revolution Will Not Be Comfortable: Radical Self-Care for Social Justice Warriors.
Lillith Grey

The revolution will not be comfortable, but it doesn’t have to be excruciating. For social justice warriors, self-care is not a luxury – it’s mandatory. In this workshop, participants will be actively engaged in self-reflection and personal exploration throughout, and will leave with a broad set of practical skills and techniques to help maintain well-being while staying present in the fight. Skills learned in the workshop are also helpful for caregivers and helping professionals who assist others with their self-care.

SEX AND LOVE AFTER 50 — Rewriting the Rules
Eve Pell, Lynn Brown Rosenberg

Can women with a history of troubled relationships overcome destructive patterns and open their hearts? Can previously shut down sexual desire be awakened later in life? Can widows find new love? The answer to all these questions is an enthusiastic yes!

Outmoded ways of viewing women over 50 are changing: we are far more than grannies, spinsters and crones. We are claiming our pursuit of happiness in ways that were off limits to previous generations, including our sexuality. For many, this is uncharted territory. Families and friends can take a dim view of mothers and grandmothers who seek new relationships by joining on-line dating sites, opting out of unsatisfying marriages, taking up with old flames and/or visiting sex shops.

From Eve Pell, author of Love Again, the Wisdom of Unexpected Romance we hear how women have navigated the uncertainties of the dating world, found new partners in a variety of situations, and formed happy relationships. From Lynn Brown Rosenberg, author of My Sexual Awakening at 70 and What Led Me Here, we explore bold ways to re-energize sexual desire, including porn, sex chat websites, writing and reading erotic stories and more.

In response to a series of questions from one another and audience members, Eve shares the results of her conversations with a variety of couples, straight and gay, who found love later in life. Lynn shares her extraordinary journey and the role the mind plays in all this.

Sexual Esteem: Five Ways To Claim It, Build It and Celebrate It
Jean Franzblau

Sexual esteem can be defined as “confidence in the worth of one’s sexuality.” There are numerous influences that can compromise the sexual esteem of an individual including being the member of a sexual minority, religious influences, genital shaming during childhood and adolescence or traumatic sexual experiences. Luckily there are just as many interventions that can help claim, build and celebrate sexual esteem. In this session, we’ll identify five tools to enhance sexual esteem accompanied by colorful visual aids, memorable stories, a group discussion and a Q&A to finish.

Sexual Medicine: A State-of-the-Art Update on the Medical Management of Male and Female Sexual Dysfunction
Joshua Gonzalez

Sexual Medicine is a diverse field with a colorful history. From the early works of Alfred Kinsey and Masters & Johnson to the recent FDA approval of a medication for women with hypoactive desire, the field of Sexual Medicine has progressed significantly. This lecture aims to provide a brief history of our field and update the audience on where Sexual Medicine is today, and where it is going tomorrow. The talk will cover medical and surgical strategies to treat a variety of male and female sexual dysfunctions including issues with erection and penile curvature, sexual arousal, orgasm and ejaculation, and painful intercourse. The focus will be primarily on medical and surgical treatments, but stress the importance of a biopsychosocial approach to the care of patients/clients with sexual dysfunction.

The Shame Virus: Honest Talk About Protecting Yourself and Your Clients, Students and Peers
Amy Jo Goddard, Marcia Baczynski

As sexuality professionals operating in a sex-negative culture, we are constantly working in and around issues of shame. We know that we can’t use the mainstream dialog about sexuality to shape a new conversation about sex, yet we are swimming in toxic messages about what is and isn’t okay when it comes to sexuality.

In this workshop, Marcia and Amy Jo will explore what shame is and why it’s so prevalent, even inside our communities. They will outline ways we in the sex-positive community are impacted by shame-based culture. Drawing from current research, they will look at how shame functions as a virus, how to keep yourself from catching the “shame virus” and what to do when you do.

Amy Jo and Marcia will also discuss concrete ways to avoid accidentally shaming clients, students, and colleagues, share some of their own screw-ups, and provide concrete tools participants can immediately use to shift the shame paradigm in teaching, marketing and activism. This will be a lively and practical discussion of issues core to all of our work so we do not unwittingly perpetuate the shame cycle.

Sharing Your Sex Life on the Page and the Stage
Anain Bjorkquist, Dixie De La Tour, Gaby Dunn, Rachel Kramer Bussel

Whether on the page, stage or podcast, sharing personal sex stories means making public what’s often deemed private and inviting audiences to read, hear—and judge. What are the biggest challenges and rewards of airing our “dirty” laundry? How do we decide which sex stories are worth telling? Is there such a thing as TMI? How can we be deeply honest while honoring others’ boundaries (and having ours respected)? How can we tie our lives into what’s happening in the larger world and further social and political change? Is writing about your sex life different than sharing it live or via podcast? This panel will explore what it’s like to invite readers, listeners and audiences inside our bedrooms, and beyond. Featuring Anaín Bjorkquist, sex educator and host of the Sex Love Joy podcast, Gaby Dunn, writer, comedian, YouTuber and co-host of web series Just Between Us, and Dixie de la Tour, founder, host and curator of long-running live storytelling show Bawdy Storytelling. Moderated by Rachel Kramer Bussel, Philadelphia City Paper and DAME sex columnist and author of the personal essay collection Sex & Cupcakes.

Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities (and Elsewhere)
Carol Queen, PhD, jessica drake, Katie Mack, Zyra Lee Vanity

Sex-positive means different things to different people, for better or worse. We all know slut-shaming is an issue outside of sex-positive community, but what about when it happens among us? Does “sex positive” always mean acceptance of the sexual interests or identities of others? What happens when sex-positive people bash or criticize the sexual proclivities of others while claiming to be supportive allies? This panel examines some of the ways we’ve witnessed, experienced, and dealt with slut-shaming, even from those from whom we’ve expected it least.

Social Media Best Practices for Sex Positive Educators
Hudsy Hawn, Kate Loree, LMFT, Steve Aleck

This presentation will focus on most effectively building a powerful media presence as a sex positive educator. Offering three different prospectives, Hudsy Hawn, Pro Domme, Kate Loree, sex positive psychotherapist, and Steve Aleck, sex positive film director/producer will guide the viewer, with first hand accounts, through an action plan to create a powerhouse media presence. Buzzfeed short videos, “Ask a Polyamorous Person” featuring Steve Aleck and Kate Loree with over 2.6 million hits and “The Try Guys ‘Fifty Shades’ Style BDSM” featuring Hudsy Hawn with over 2.2 million hits will be shown. Hudsy Hawn will cover how she markets not only herself, but also, other sex educators, as the Head Mistress in charge of education and special event bookings at Stockroom University. Kate Loree will share her media marketing plan including Fetlife Ads, Google Adwords, the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s (NCSF KAP directory), Twitter, Facebook, etc. that have lead to her having a waiting list for her private practice. Steven Aleck, a video producer at BetterThanFamous and formerly at Buzzfeed will share his experience regarding what does and doesn’t do well on social media. He will also explain which social media venue is right for you and how to accurately measure your presence through the metrics provided by each site. These three lenses will be integrated into a clear strategy for the novice or seasoned sex educator who wants to reach the general public in an approachable and relatable light.

Success 101: The Top 5 Strategies for Success as a Sex Expert and What You Need to Know
Patti Britton, PhD, Robert Dunlap, Phd

Sexuality experts who provide information, education, training, and/or clinical services may be successful in the delivery of their offerings, but often fail when it comes to business. They lack the knowledge and skills for business planning and management, understanding their outcome measures, marketing and promotional strategies, client management structures, or how to monetize their message. Being vital in business is just as important as being a good educator or clinician or sex positive advocate. We believe in the adage that “you cannot take care of others until you first take care of yourself”. That is the impetus for this presentation, to empower sex experts for business success. As international trainers, where we offer advanced sensitivity trainings known as “SAR: Sexual Attitudes Reassessment and Restructuring” events, participants from all around the world ask us, “But how do we make a sustainable living at this?” At SexCoachU 25% of our curriculum focuses on the business of being a sex coach, showing aspiring sex experts how to become a financial success. In this workshop we will provide an overview of the key components for your business success. Those elements will focus on the top 5 strategies, that include: Why credentials matter, how to shine in or on the media, website secrets, presentation skills, use of video marketing for promotion, along with other key ingredients for success. The content of this workshop is derived from years in business and our own insider secrets for success as sex experts.

Swingers 101 and Beyond
Michael K. Bell

Swinging is available to anyone however it’s not right for everyone. Should you dip your toes into the ‘Swinging Pool’ or jump head first into the deep end? Topics covered include the ‘Swinger Traffic Light’ (Do’s and Don’ts), Swinger Speak, Threesomes, Foursomes, Moresomes, Where to and How to meet other like minded people, Sensuality, Sexuality, Communication, being Sex Positive and the psychological side of being a Swinger Living in the Lifestyle.

Talking about Porn: Issues, Controversies, and Frameworks
Carol Queen, Ph.D., Jessica Johnson, Ph.D., Kimberly A. Harchuck, Esq., L.LM., Nicole Prause, Ph.D., Shira Tarrant, Ph.D.

The academic field of porn studies has exploded over the past few years, generating widespread media interest and prompting new conversation about pornography. Porn performers, directors, and scholars are increasingly asked by media outlets to discuss their experiences and observations about an industry that many people are deeply interested in, but know very little about. This panel features contributors to the book New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law who will discuss various issues, controversies, and frameworks regarding pornography, with a focus on constructively communicating with the public.

To educate, not titillate: live demonstrations in adult sex ed workshops
Alex (formerly Sabrina) Morgan, Annamarie Stockwell, Stella Harris

The sex education field is relatively new and rapidly growing and that means many of us are blazing a trail without a roadmap. When it comes to putting on a workshop or presentation there are numerous considerations the educator must juggle. One of the most interesting, and potentially controversial and complex, is whether to have a live demonstration as part of the class.
Those of us teaching pleasure-based sex education have our work cut out for us. There’s a world of misinformation we must dispel and that makes clear and accurate content absolutely essential. Sometimes a live demonstration is the best way to achieve these goals. In addition to the class content, a live demo allows the educator to show real bodies and real responses, and the students have the opportunity to witness the care and attention paid to the demo models, and see communication and check-in techniques in a real-life situation; allowing us to teach by example.
This session will discuss the ethics and logistics of including a live demo in sex ed workshops, how to decide when a live demo is appropriate, and how to keep the tone professional. The panel will cover demonstrations from both the top and bottom perspective, we’ll look at the considerations venues must take into account, and we’ll discuss audience comfort and reaction, including when the demo models are outside of expected norms.

Toys For a SexAbled Life: Fun, unique and adaptable ways to give and receive satisfying pleasure with erotic toys.
Robin Wilson-Beattie, Bethany Stevens

Humans are sexual beings- and having a disability doesn’t change that fact of life. However, people with disabilities face unique challenges when it comes to finding toys that can be suited for their sexual needs- but that is why you think out of the box, and come up with awesome adapted solutions. Let Bethany Stevens and Robin Wilson-Beattie show you some truly awesome ways to adapt and use cool products to get your groove on and be SexAbled!

What Do Men Really Want? A “Sex Object” Speaks
Dr. Kelsey Obsession

That porn objectifies women, and those who watch participate in their degradation, is a truism among mainstream, religious and certain feminist circles alike. Entering the world of fetish porn as a feminist grad student, I expected insults and disrespect but instead received praise and worship from my customers and fans. I discovered men aching to connect with a woman willing to understand them, wondering how to share a very vulnerable part of themselves with their wives and girlfriends. This session aims to challenge simplistic and derogatory stereotypes of men’s sexuality and the relationship between porn consumption and desire. Through personal experience, academic theories and group discussion, we will consider questions such as, What is the nature and range of fetish porn and men’s fetishistic desires? What role does objectification play in human sexuality? Is objectification inherently synonymous with debasement? How can we make space for men’s non-normative desires in respectful, authentic relationships?

Why Can’t I Go to a Sex Party?: Ethical Dilemmas for Professionals
Michael Giordano, LICSW, Tamara Pincus, MSW, LICSW

Finding the balance between your professional and personal lives can be challenging for many people. However, for mental health practitioners, educators, clergy and other professionals who are also members of the poly/kinky/positive sexuality communities, this can be a real quandary. This facilitated roundtable discussion will provide an opportunity for professionals to discuss how they manage professional boundaries while being true to their sexualities and communities. Mike Giordano and Tamara Pincus, two psychotherapists in Washington, DC, will assist participants in exploring their concerns as well as ways to address them with regards to creating a healthier dialogue around sexual freedom.

Writing Sex & Pleasure: Tackling a Comprehensive Sexuality Tome
Carol Queen, PhD, Shar Rednour

When old friends Femmepress Shar Rednour and Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist Carol Queen reunited to write a book on sex they didn’t want to make just any “how-to guide,” they set out to create an expansive sex compendium that anyone could use and benefit from reading and re-reading throughout the years. Hear their thoughts about sexuality from cradle to grave—and enjoy their tales of throwing away Kinsey’s rulers to embrace spectrums instead. Magnifying glasses gathered dust while horizons of infinite possibilities were eye-spied. Prisms are indeed welcome at this presentation!

If we posit that sexual growth is never-ending, then is there any end to writing a book?

Find out how they distilled almost forty years of Good Vibrations’ know-how into THE book about sex and pleasure.

From Shar’s emphasis on shame-free child-rearing and ally-making to Carol’s commitment to sex-positive discourse and diversity, in this presentation they’ll share the results of their collaboration –– the whole-life overview of sexual health and pleasure, and how to get it all on the page.

Yes, All Genders: How to Normalize and Include Trans Bodies and Pleasure in Adult Sex Ed
Alex (formerly Sabrina) Morgan, Monique Darling

While trans rights are making huge strides globally at present, most sexual health and pleasure resources for adults still reference “male” and “female” sexuality in ways that link genitals with gender experience. Transgender men, women, and non-binary individuals–as well as their partners–are left out of sexuality workshops, in part because educators aren’t sure how to best address their needs without alienating a general audience.

Over the course of the past two years, recently-transitioned sex educator Alex S. Morgan and genderfluid Tantric facilitator Monique Darling have treated North America as their lab, testing different approaches, terminology, and methods of increasing accessibility for trans, genderqueer, and questioning seekers of adult sex education (as well as their partners).

In a society that often does its best to divorce trans people from their bodies and reinforces the message that trans people are unworthy of love, treating trans bodies as normal and desirable, and trans pleasure as important and worth discussing, is a revolutionary act. From best practices in choosing inclusive language to adapting exercises to reduce the odds of triggering dysphoria, we share what’s worked across America.

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