Apr 092015
 

Founder Dee Dennis Announces CatalystCon West, September 11-13, 2015

Over 350 attendees gathered in Arlington, VA March 27-29 for the CatalystCon East sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on topics such as body image, sex and aging, racial justice in sexuality education, and sex positive parenting, as well as live podcast recordings in the CatalystCon Studio. Described by founder and organizer Dee Dennis as a “melting pot of sexuality,” CatalystCon unites sex educators, sex workers, public health professionals, writers, activists, and others with a passion for creating change.

During the CatalystCon East Opening Reception, Francisco Ramirez was presented with the Catalyst Award by Dee Dennis. “Receiving the Catalyst Award was unexpected, touching and above all, encouraging,” said Ramirez. “Many of us working in sexuality function independently, rarely receiving formal praise of any kind, and many of us are attacked for doing the work we do. To be celebrated in a room among my peers and mentors was a uniquely humbling experience.”

CatalystCon returns to the west coast September 11-13, 2015 at the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport. Rachel Kramer Bussel will be returning with her pre-conference erotica and sex writing workshops, and CatalystCon West will also feature the return of Tristan Taormino’s sex educator boot camp.

CatalystCon West is accepting speaker submissions until June 7, 2015. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations about sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon West, visit catalystcon.com/call-for-speakers.

“Interacting with participants at CatalystCon was a great reminder that we are stronger than the challenges we’ve experienced and the backlashes we’ve endured in our work,” said Ramirez. “More than ever, I feel encouraged to continue to be vulnerable and to take risks with my work. Attending CatalystCon reaffirmed my conviction to speak up around injustice—and more importantly—to continue listening to those around me.”

CatalystCon East Book Signings

 CCON East, CCON East 2015  Comments Off on CatalystCon East Book Signings
Mar 202015
 

Red Emma’s is returning as the official CatalystCon East bookseller! They’ll be selling a selection of books on sexuality, including several titles by some of our speakers, and hosting book signings all weekend. The signings will take place in the Washington Room Exhibitor Hall.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

10:45am

Cooper Beckett

Rachel Kramer Bussel

Sheri Winston

 

12:15pm

Dr. Ava Cadell

Melinda Chateauvert

 

1:45pm

Barbara Carrellas

Best Sex Writing of the Year Contributors

 

4:15pm

Joan Price

 

5:45pm

New Views on Pornography: Sexuality, Politics, and the Law Contributors

Carol Queen, Ph.D., Kevin Heffernan, Ph.D., Kimberly A. Harchuck, Esq., L.LM. and Lynn Comella, Ph.D.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

10:45am

Dr. Melanie Davis

Dec 082014
 

Adam & Eve Founder Phil Harvey Heads List of Keynote Speakers for D.C. Area Sexuality Conference, March 27-29

Dee Dennis, founder of the CatalystCon sexuality conference, announces the lineup of Opening and Closing Keynote speakers for CatalystCon East, which will take place in Arlington, VA, March 27-29, 2015. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, CatalystCon features more than 40 sessions and panel discussions on sexuality and related issues.

CatalystCon East officially begins on Friday, March 27 with an Opening Reception, followed by the Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. The panel will include Kristin Beck, Melanie Davis, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Francisco Ramirez, and will be moderated by Lynn Comella. The panelists will address the ongoing debates over sexuality at the local, national and global levels and discuss how they’ve created their own sparks and been catalysts for change.

“There are few things in life that get me more excited than CatalystCon,” said Ramirez. “Catalyst has taught me how to be more open-minded and alive to the spectrum of experiences and realities of others, and I always leave the conference feeling reinvigorated & inspired to keep on keeping on.”

The Closing Keynote Plenary Address will take place on Sunday, March 29 and will feature Adam & Eve founder Phil Harvey. Harvey will be interviewed by Twanna Hines about his long career as an entrepreneur, First Amendment rights advocate, and philanthropist whose non-profit promotes contraception and HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

“Our closing keynote always has a focus on history and the lessons and inspiration that we can take from people who have been trailblazers in our community,” said Dee Dennis. “I’m thrilled to have Phil Harvey share the story of his work and activism with CatalystCon East attendees.”

More information on both of the Keynote Addresses may be found at catalystcon.com/sessions/keynotes.

CatalystCon East will be held March 27-29 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Registration is currently open at catalystcon.com/register. Early Bird pricing ends on December 10.

Nov 182014
 

More than 70 Speakers Sign On for CatalystCon East Sexuality Conference This March

Dee Dennis, founder of the CatalystCon sexuality conference, announces a wide-ranging list of more than 70 speakers participating in CatalystCon East in Arlington, VA, March 27-29, 2015. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, CatalystCon will return to the east coast with over 40 sessions and panel discussions on sexuality and related issues.

CatalystCon East’s schedule will include sessions on sex work, nonmonogamy, adaptive sex and kink, asexuality, and body image, and panel discussions on sex toy materials, sex positive parenting, new views on pornography, pleasure and danger on campus, and public health. A complete list of sessions may be found at catalystcon.com/sessions.

Speakers include sex educators Joan Price and jessica drake; academics Lynn Comella, Ph.D. and Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D.; activists Yoseñio V. Lewis and Melinda Chateauvert; sex therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue, and author and Tantra expert Barbara Carrellas, plus sex writers, sex workers, and other experts in the field of sexuality. A complete list of speakers may be found at catalystcon.com/speakers.

“I love being part of CatalystCon because everyone is so energized about their mission, engaged in the content and ready to learn, share and create,” said Rachel Kramer Bussel, author of Sex & Cupcakes and Philadelphia City Paper sex columnist. “It’s a unique, special environment where we get to connect across sexual subcultures. CatalystCon is one of my favorite places to teach erotica and sex writing because of the high level of insight attendees have into various aspects of sexuality, often ones we don’t hear enough of in the mainstream world.” In addition to her pre-conference writing workshops, Bussel will be moderating a panel discussion on Sharing Your Sex Life on the Page and the Stage.

CatalystCon East will also feature the debut of two pre-conference workshops with Dr. Rosalyn Dischiavo of the Institute for Sexuality Education & Enlightenment. On Friday, March 27, Dr. Dischavio will be teaching The Deep Yes: The Lost Art of True Receiving, worth 3 CE credits, as well as Getting Your Credentials: Options for Professional Jobs in the Sexuality Field. Getting Your Credentials will be a free workshop open to all CatalystCon East attendees.

CatalystCon East will be held March 27-29 at the Hilton Crystal City in Arlington, VA. Registration is currently open at catalystcon.com/register. Early Bird pricing ends on December 10.

 

Sep 292014
 

Founder Dee Dennis Announces CatalystCon East, March 27-29, 2015

Over 350 attendees gathered in Los Angeles September 11-14 for the CatalystCon West sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on topics such as erotica, sex toy history and materials, sex work, and sex positive parenting, as well as live podcast recordings in the CatalystCon Studio. Described by founder and organizer Dee Dennis as a “melting pot of sexuality,” CatalystCon unites sex educators, sex workers, health advocates, writers, activists, and others with a passion for creating change.

“I’m excited about the success of this conference and the continued growth and evolution of CatalystCon,” said Dennis. “From the debut of the CatalystCon Film Series on Thursday night and the presence of a true catalyst like Kristin Beck and her film Lady Valor through to the emotional and inspiring reunion of Club 90 at the Closing Keynote, I believe that this weekend sparked exactly the kinds of conversations that I hoped for when I created CatalystCon.”

During the CatalystCon West Opening Reception, Joan Price was presented with the Catalyst Award by Dee Dennis. “I could not believe it when Dee announced me as the winner of the 2014 Catalyst Award ‘for inspiring exceptional conversations in sexuality'”, said Price. “This extraordinary honor felt like the most valuable validation of my work to normalize, celebrate, and enrich older-age sexuality. I looked out over the audience of 300 people – many of whom are true pioneers and my role models – and I couldn’t believe that they were all standing and applauding me. Nine years ago, when I started talking out loud about senior sex, I felt like a lone voice. Now I’ve received the Catalyst award. I am honored and exhilarated.”

CatalystCon returns to the east coast March 27-29, 2015 at the Hilton Crystal City. CatalystCon East is accepting speaker submissions until November 4, 2014. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations about sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon East, visit catalystcon.com/call-for-speakers.

“Dee Dennis and the CatalystCon crew once again succeeded in bringing together a diverse group of sex-positive educators, activists, and academics from around the country for this one-of-a-kind conference,” said UNLV professor Lynn Comella, who spoke on the Opening Keynote Plenary as well as on panels on social media and feminist ethics and the past, present, and future of sex toys. “Highlights for me included a session on the experiences of black women in the sex industry and the closing keynote, the women of Club 90. But the best part of the weekend was seeing so many people genuinely excited to talk about sexual politics and culture, conversations that spilled into the hallways, continued over lunch, and kept people up late into the night. To me, that’s the mark of a great conference.”

Mar 262014
 

Founder Dee Dennis Announces CatalystCon West, September 11-14, 2014

Over 350 attendees gathered in Arlington, VA March 14-16 for the CatalystCon East sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on topics such as sex education, sacred sex, sex work, and sex positive art, as well as live podcast recordings in the CatalystCon Studio. Described by founder and organizer Dee Dennis as a “melting pot of sexuality,” CatalystCon unites sex educators, sex workers, health advocates, writers, activists, and others with a passion for creating change.

“A movement is underfoot at CatalystCon! A movement where open and courageous Sex Positive conversations, advocacy, action, and FUN happen. This exceptional happening will inevitably flow over into the world at large,” said Mo Beasley, who spoke on the Opening Keynote plenary, moderated the panel PRIDE & Prejudice: Confronting Homophobia in Communities of Color, and hosted UrbanErotika during Saturday evening’s entertainment.

During the CatalystCon East Opening Reception, Tristan Taormino was presented with the Catalyst Award by Dee Dennis. “Tristan has been a catalyst for me and for so many others in the CatalystCon community and beyond, and I wanted to recognize her for her inspiring career and all that she has done to spark communication and change in the field of sexuality,” said Dennis.

CatalystCon returns to the west coast September 11-14, 2014 at the Westin LAX. CatalystCon West is accepting speaker submissions until May 15, 2014. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations about sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon West, visit catalystcon.com/call-for-speakers.

CatalystCon West will also mark the debut of the CatalystCon Film Series, which will take place on Thursday, September 11 and will feature screenings of documentaries on topics related to sexuality. The call for submissions for the film series will officially open next month.

“CatalystCon is like the TEDx of Sex,” said Jackie Strano, Executive Vice President of Good Vibrations. “For queer folks it’s like their Michfest or how it should be. Academics, writers, bloggers, educators, performers, industry professionals, and others come together for a weekend of potent concentrated mash-up of ideas, conversation, workshops, panels, keynotes, training sessions, and connection. I have thoroughly enjoyed and have been deeply inspired by every session I attended and not just the panels I was on or participated in, every aspect reminded me of why I do the work I do and confirmed my belief in education and activism as the road to freedom, liberation, and justice.”

Mar 132014
 

Mona Darling is presenting The Business of Blogging About Sex. Check out Mona’s bio here.
Mona Darling

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
I am creating a sex positive community of women who can embrace their sexual interests and limits. I want to help them build self esteem in the bedroom, (and beyond!) I also want to create a healing space for women who have experienced sexual abuse.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?
Ages ago Mistress Ilsa Strix and Mistress Sabrina Belladonna started a web site called ProDomination. It was a pay site that raised money for Pro Dommes who encountered legal trouble. I was young and fairly new to sex work and in awe of their ability to gather so many women to work together for such a noble cause. I loved the community that they created. I loved being involved and feeling like I was a small part of a much bigger movement.

3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
In my ‘glass half full’ kinda way, I think this is a great time for sexuality. People are talking about sex a lot more and the internet offers easy access to sexual exploration and sexy education. Not that there aren’t still challenges. We need sex education more then ever! Not just education about the physical aspects, like avoiding STI’s, but also the metal aspects, like being ok with who you are, and what your interests are and how to negotiate them.

4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
I feel like in the last year there have been some great movements forward in body acceptance. Still a long way to go, but I loved seeing several lingerie companies, like Forever Yours Lingerie, vow to use real women in their ads.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic The Business of Blogging About Sex to CatalystCon East?
I’m speaking on a panel about the business of blogging. The three of us, Epiphora, Queerie Bradshaw and I, have approached the business of blogging differently and we look forward to sharing what we have learned about our respective approaches. Personally, I think the business of blogging is an important one right now because it provides a great way for women to stay home with their kids, yet still bring in some income.

6. Share one unknown (or little known) fact about yourself.
As a kid, my mom and I were members of The Peoples Temple in Northern California.

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Mar 122014
 

Francisco Ramirez is presenting Entrepreneurial IQ: 10 keys to designing an unconventional career in sexuality. Check out Francisco’s bio here.
Francisco Ramirez

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

We are all radiant sexual beings with unlimited potential. Yet, society often steps on our sexual selves and quiets us unnecessarily. And perhaps just as often, we quiet ourselves and our own voices. I know I sometimes do. (In fact, I get scared all the time.) But when I’m feeling strong enough, I find the courage to say, “f— it,” and I push through whatever’s holding me back. I see part of my role in life to inspire others to identify whatever beliefs and fears might be holding them back from being their sexually fabulous selves, and to then say “f— it” as well.

My team and I use various platforms–primarily television and online media, but also trainings, research, advocacy work, a mobile app, and chats with strangers on park benches in New York–to promote sexual well-being for all people. My core belief is that we all have a right to lead sexually healthy, fulfilling lives, however we choose to define them. And I will battle ’til the end to see this happen.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Sue Johanson–my inspiration for talking sex on TV! Margaret Cho. Dan Savage. UC Berkeley. Carol Queen. Good Vibes. The Rachel Maddow Show–that is how broadcast and hosting should be done! And everyone who comes to see me at Free Sex Advice in the park: these New Yorkers are constant proof to me that human beings are capable of taking great risks and finding even greater payoffs.

3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

No hesitation on this one. That people in the US (and around the world) are still not in agreement that we should have gender equality as an agreed upon baseline. This is bananas. That some people believe that the lives and livelihood of some human beings are somehow more valuable, worthy than others astounds me. If we can’t agree that we all should be afforded the same rights how can we ever move forward?

4. Why do you feel it’s important to bring the topic of your session Entrepreneurial IQ: 10 keys to designing an unconventional career in sexuality to CatalystCon East?

So many of us sit on our dreams. But when you really want something, when you really have a dream, there’s a good reason why. If I can inspire just one person to create the next big thing in sexuality, I am elated.

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

I start every morning at 4:00am, salsa dancing around the apartment in my pj’s while listening to Celia Cruz. ¡Azúcar!

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here

Speaker Spotlight: Ritch C. Savin-Williams

 CCON East, CCON East 2014, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Ritch C. Savin-Williams
Mar 112014
 

Ritch C. Savin-Williams is presenting “Mostly Straight”: A New Sexual Orientation Group. Check out Ritch’s bio here.
Ritch C. Savin-Williams

1. How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?
By presenting a positive view of being young and having same-sex attractions, of being proud and happy with your sexuality, of being able to live a “normal” life of your choosing, of having unique talents and perspectives because of your sexuality, I hope to counter the “woe-is-me, suicidal view of gay youth.” I do this through my research, teaching, speaking, and books.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?
The early researchers of sexual-minority youth who said it could be done.

3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?
Accepting the range of sexual diversity that is increasingly apparent and to find a safe place for those of all gender expressions.

4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?
The various ways one can be nonheterosexual and the visibility given to these possibilities.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic “Mostly Straight”: A New Sexual Orientation Group to CatalystCon East?
To illustrate that not all straight people are totally straight, that having a bit of gayness is common and acceptable, and perhaps even an advantage. It gives added credence to the reality of the sexual continuum. Between straight and gay is a large range of nonexclusivity.

 

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here. Register for CatalystCon East here.

Mar 102014
 

Walker Thornton is presenting The White Picket Fence and Midlife Sex. Check out Walker’s bio here.
Walker Thornton

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

By writing and talking about midlife sex I am able to help women feel more comfortable about sex. There’s so much misinformation out there, or lack of information, about sex for the over 50 woman that women don’t really know where to turn. I write openly about sex in an accessible way, including my own experiences when appropriate, and I encourage women to reach out with questions.

2. Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Divorce and dating was the catalyst for me—I began to look at how I approached sex as an older woman and decided to embrace my own sexuality. Once I started reading and writing about sex I’d have to say Betty Dodson has been and continues to be one of my main catalysts.

3. What do you feel are some of the biggest challenges or concerns facing us in the field of sexuality right now?

One of the biggest challenges for all of us, particularly young women, is the current political atmosphere. Shaming and the lack of sex education is damaging to women’s self-esteem, hampers the ability to disseminate information and creates a negative attitude towards sexual freedom. Challenges for older women are more ingrained and subtle. Midlife women are products of an environment that denied women’s ability to experience sexual pleasure. There aren’t enough resources or professionals who are sex-positive and knowledgeable about aging and sexuality.

4. What do you feel are some of the most important/valuable positive changes that have been made in the world of sexuality in the past year?

There seems to be more literature and information about sex in the mainstream media. We’re seeing prominent public speakers talking about sex in venues like TedTalks. The conversation about older people and sex is seeping into the media, even if it’s something as foolish as Miley Cyrus saying that no one has sex after age 40.

5. Why do you feel it is important to bring this topic The White Picket Fence and Midlife Sex to CatalystCon East?

The women I write for and work with are mothers and grandmothers—they are often overlooked in sex education and in conversations about sexuality. By encouraging this age group to embrace their sexuality, learn more about their bodies and how to ask for what they want we are also helping to ensure sex education for younger people. The older woman can be a strong role model and offer political, financial and emotional support to the work of promoting a healthy sexuality. And, imagine a world where orgasms and sexual pleasure become the norm regardless of age!

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

When I was in college my part time job was driving a transit bus for the University. And, I’m pretty proud of the fact that my 6-year old granddaughter asked me how to spell vagina.

 

Learn more about all our amazing speakers here