Speaker Spotlight

 CCON East 2013, CCON West 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight
Jun 242013
 

speaker2Shortly before CatalystCon East, we decided to add a new feature to the website to help everyone get to know our speakers a little bit better. Now we’re bringing it back for all of the amazing CatalystCon West speakers scheduled to present in Woodland Hills this September.

Founder Dee Dennis regards this conference as a “melting pot of sexuality” that will unite sex educators, sexologists, sex workers, writers, activists, and anyone with a passion for creating change. The fundamental principle behind CatalystCon is “knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge is the first spark in igniting change.”

All of the speakers that have been selected for CatalystCon West are catalysts for change in their own way. We gave them each the opportunity to talk to us about that, in their own words… by answering a few questions about what being a catalyst means to them.

This season’s round of “Speaker Spotlight” posts will officially begin tomorrow, with one of our Opening Keynote panelists Jackie Strano.

CatalystCon East Sexuality Conference a Success

 CCON East 2013, CCON West 2013, Press Release  Comments Off on CatalystCon East Sexuality Conference a Success
Mar 272013
 

After the Resounding Success of CatalystCon East, Founder Dee Dennis Announces CatalystCon West, September 27-29, 2013 

Over 350 attendees from around the U.S. and Canada – and as far as Sweden and the Netherlands – gathered in Arlington, VA March 15-17 for the sold-out CatalystCon East sexuality conference. Created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality, the event featured 40 sessions and workshops on sexuality-based topics such as erotic writing, “toxic toys”, body image and sexuality, homophobia in communities of color, and sex and disability. 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.

CatalystCon continues to be such an important meeting of the minds for sex educators, thinkers, academics and community members,” said Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibrations and co-founder of The Center for Sex & Culture, who spoke at the Closing Keynote with her partner Dr. Robert Morgan Lawrence. “It was a real honor to bring some historical perspective to some of our colleagues who’ve recently gotten involved with sex community, sex ed and CatalystCon.”

The official hashtag #ccon was used so often that it became a trending topic on Twitter on Saturday evening. The conversation continued during and after the conference using the main hashtag and customized hashtags for each session and special event, and many of the best tweets from the conference were curated using Storify. For more information, visit catalystcon.com/press/live-tweets.

Dennis is also proud to announce that over $900 was raised for sexuality education organization Scarleteen (scarleteen.com) at CatalystCon East, thanks to fundraising efforts by conference staff and attendees and representatives from sponsors artpulp, Tantus and Sportsheets International. Other official sponsors of CatalystCon East included ANEROS, Pleasure Chest, Wet, EROS, the FC2 female condom, Good Vibrations, Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino, Sexquire and The Smitten Kitten. Find more info on the sponsors at catalystcon.com/sponsor/sponsors-east.

“Tantus Inc has always been an education based company,” said Tantus President and Founder Metis Black. “We were the first business to educate the industry about material safety and silicone sex toys, and when a sex positive conference that reached out to sex toy bloggers, sex educators, health workers and sex workers came we were one of the first to jump on board. Sponsorship at Catalyst isn’t a vending opportunity; it’s a chance to talk with peers and experts, hear their voices and ideas and share common ground.  We get one on one time with store affiliates, meeting the movers and shakers and social media’s who’s who. I feel so energized and full of ideas each show. Really, there are other educational conventions around but there’s only one CatalystCon.” CatalystCon West 2013 will be the third CatalystCon Sponsorship for Tantus.

CatalystCon returns to the west coast September 27-29, 2013 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA. Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service under President Clinton, is already confirmed as the Closing Keynote Speaker.

CatalystCon West is accepting speaker submissions until May 15, 2013. The conference welcomes anyone who has something to share and the desire to spark conversations in the realms of sexuality, activism and acceptance. To apply to speak at CatalystCon West, visit catalystcon.com/call-for-speakers.

“At CatalystCon, everyone is welcome, everyone is respected, and everyone is encouraged to share their knowledge and experiences,” Dennis said. “Everyone has something to offer, and the more participants, the better the experience — for everybody.”

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Thank you for helping to make CatalystCon East a success!

 CCON East, CCON East 2013, CCON West, CCON West 2013, Press Release  Comments Off on Thank you for helping to make CatalystCon East a success!
Mar 242013
 

CatalystCon East was a huge success! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make this event possible.

Keep the conversation going!

We want to thank everyone for all their comments and praise! We are working hard to round up all of the best tweets using the hashtag #ccon and curate them on Storify to tell the stories of CatalystCon. (We’re also working on creating stories for individual sessions, keynotes and special events.) This is taking a little longer than we expected because there are just so many amazing tweets! In fact, the hashtag #ccon was actually a trending topic on Twitter on Saturday! We owe this to everyone who live tweeted this event – without you there would be no stories to tell here. Some of the Storify stories are already on the site and we’ll be adding new ones as soon as they’re ready, so check back often! Thank you for your patience.

We’re also compiling links to articles and blogs about CatalystCon on our Press page. If you have written about CatalystCon, please let us know! We will be posting photos from our official photographer, Tyler Keegan Grigsby, to our website soon. If you have photos from CatalystCon East send them to us and we can share them on our Facebook page. (Please double check your photos to maek sure there are no “No Photos” people anywhere in them before posting.)

Did you complete the post-ccon survey?

We’d love your feedback about the conference to assist in better planning of future CatalystCon events. Please take our survey and let us know what you liked, what you didn’t like, and what you’d like to see more of in the future. Your feedback can help shape the future of CatalystCon! Check your email (the email that is connected to your Eventbrite account) to find the survey.

 Announcing CatalystCon West

We are thrilled to announce that CatalystCon West will take place on September 27-29, 2013 at the Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills, CA. We are so excited that Dr. Joycelyn Elders, former Surgeon General of the United States under President Clinton, has already signed on as our Closing Keynote Speaker with Lynn Comella as moderator.

The Call for Speakers for CatalystCon West is now open. We urge anyone who has something to share that will spark conversations in sexuality to submit a proposal. Whether you are an individual, therapist, sexuality educator, media specialist, blogger or activist, you have a voice to be heard. The submission deadline is May 15, 2013.

Fundraisers to Support Scarleteen

We are proud to announce that over $900 was raised for Scarleteen at CatalystCon East!

One lucky attendee won two tickets to a future CatalystCon conference! We also would like to thank both Tantus and Sportsheets, who so generously donated items for their own raffles.

And a special thank you to Artpulp.net who sponsored a special “masquerade” art project to raise money for Scarleteen. All the finished masks were photographed and viewable in an exclusive gallery here.

Thank you to everyone who donated. It’s not too late to continue to support Scarleteen. You can still donate now: here.

Thank you so much for being a part of CatalystCon East!

Thank you so much to our sponsors – ANEROS, Sportsheets, Tantus, Pleasure Chest, Wet, artpulp, EROS, the FC2 female condom, Good Vibrations, Sex Out Loud with Tristan Taormino, Sexquire and The Smitten Kitten. (Find more info on our sponsors here.)

Thank you to everyone who was a part of CatalystCon East – the attendees, speakers, volunteers, and everyone who followed along at home via social media. And a special thank you to my staff and the “girl gang” who helped make the weekend run so smoothly. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Hope to see everyone at CatalystCon West…

Speaker Spotlight: Cathy Vartuli

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Cathy Vartuli
Mar 122013
 

Cathy Vartuli is presenting Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality. Check out Cathy’s bio here.

 

Cathy VartuliHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I educate and inspire people who are open to seeing the world a new way. Through TheIntimacyDojo.com and ThrivingNow.com we offer new perspectives and practical approaches to build confidence and allow more self-expression and power.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

There are many sparks in everyone’s lives. For me, I’ve had several people who believed in me and helped me find a new way of being. So many people who paved the trail we’re all following.Reid Mihalko has helped me change my trajectory through life in profound ways, which is a big reason I’m his affiliate manager. I love to share the voices that inspire me and help the world find what they’ve been searching for.

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

A lot of people (I was one of them for decades) don’t know what they don’t know. They think the myths, stories and incomplete and sometimes false information they learned as children is all there is. They struggle with an incomplete puzzle and don’t realize that life would be so much easier and delicious if they found the rest of the pieces…or started playing a new game.

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 love that more mainstream information about poly is getting out there, like Showtimes Polyamory: Married and Dating. And gay marriage being more accepted and supported.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat?: Body Image and Sexuality, to CatalystCon East?

Does This Panel Make Me Look Fat? Body Image and Sexuality is close to my heart because I was single for 14 years, thinking that I had to be slender to date. I spent so many years lonely and stuck because I bought the media’s view that I was disgusting and undatable. Discovering that I let a lie control me and isolate me for so long was humbling and eye opening. I want to do whatever I can to help others find the freedom and truth- that they are absolutely acceptable and can have a beautiful life, where ever they are in their life- so they can get out there and live.

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

I can’t sing at all. My cat once slapped me when I sang to him. But I still sing in the shower sometimes. 🙂

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

Speaker Spotlight: Terri Clark

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Terri Clark
Mar 112013
 

Terri Clark is presenting The Silver Rainbow: Working with LGBT Seniors and What’s Your “Bi-Q”?. Check out Terri’s bio here.

 

Terri ClarkHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

Sharing what has motivated and moved me to make a difference in my own life. 80% of success (ie, being a catalyst for change) is just showing up (Woody Allen). The Pareto principle (also known as the 80-20 rule, the law of the vital few) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. (Wikipedia). How does this apply to being a catalyst for change? It means that 80% of success in making change is just showing up, but only 20% of the people do it (probably even less). Folks at CatalystCon East are in that 20% and ready to make change, especially as that change applies to the diverse field of sexuality.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

One of my favorite quotes that inspires me as a catalyst is from Howard Thuman, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader. “Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”

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

The societal values and norms that permeate our culture, media, policies, and laws that view sexuality as a narrow, heterosexist construct. Sexuality is a social construction and as such reflects the judgments of society. For example, our society assumes that older adults are asexual and without sexual desires, thus impacting their access to information about pleasure, intimacy, and safer sex. For those of us who identify other than male/female/heterosexual, we are often subjected to discrimination, prejudice, and numerous encounters of homo/bi/trans phobia. Our society has little tolerance and understanding of the variances within sexuality.

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?

CatalystCon East! Creating Change Conference (National Gay and Lesbian Task Force). Marriage equality cases being heard by the Supreme Court.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, The Silver Rainbow: Working with LGBT Seniors, to CatalystCon East?

Long overlooked and invisible in society at large, older LGBT people are beginning to emerge as a distinct community. 2012 is the first year our baby boomers are turning 65—our society is going to see dramatic growth of this age demographic and with that, growth in the number of LGBT folks. While LGBT seniors share many of the same aging related issues as their hetero counterparts, they also confront special challenges as well. LGBT seniors may face social discrimination due to their age as well as their sexual orientation or gender identity. Older LGBT people often experience homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia when trying to access healthcare or elder care services. They may also confront age discrimination within LGBT community organizations.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, What’s Your “Bi-Q”?., to CatalystCon East?

Bisexual individuals are in many ways a hidden population. When recognized, bisexuality is often viewed as being part gay and part straight, rather than being its own unique identity. Further, bisexual individuals face not only discrimination confronting the LGT community because of their non-heterosexuality, but also resistance from the LGT community. Participants will increase their understanding of bisexuality and become savvy when working with the diversity of our sexuality.

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

I am an avid cyclist and used to spend my summers leading bicycle tours. Highlights include riding from Maine to Florida and cycling 800 miles in 8 days throughout central Florida. I also enjoy hiking and climbed three CO “14-teeners” in three days.

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

Speaker Spotlight: Nate Glass

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Nate Glass
Mar 102013
 

Nate Glass is presenting The Piracy of Sex. Check out Nate’s bio here.

 

Nate GlassHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I see myself as being able to help people protect the property they worked hard to create.  Content creators are a minority entitled to the same rights as everyone else.  I hope that through me, those artists can stand up for those rights.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I won’t say who, but a studio owner dismissed me during a contentious debate about piracy.  His words were something to the effect of “Do you really think YOU can make a difference?” – I was determined from that date to not only make a difference but to go above and beyond what any doubter would ever think possible.

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

There’s obviously huge issues like gay marriage, human trafficking, reproductive rights, etc., which trump most everything else.  But speaking to my little area of expertise, educating consumers to not see adult content creators as unworthy of basic human rights is a huge challenge, as well as educating consumers to understand why it is important to protect intellectual property and not treat the producers and performers as disposable.

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?

Seeing the overwhelming tide of support for marriage equality.  Knowing I will see a time in my lifetime when gay marriage is recognized across the United States.  I grew up in a small town where you would have been taking a risk by coming out.  To go from that to seeing the strides the LGBT community has made in acceptance – that is amazing.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, The Piracy of Sex, to CatalystCon East?

It is important for people to know there are things they can do to protect their intellectual property that won’t break their budget.  I also want to reach out to those bloggers and/or educators who may be of the opinion that somehow anti-piracy equals censorship.  I want them to know who the people are they are supporting.  I want them to see how pirates are exploiting sex workers and artists.  There is a lot of misinformation out there, and I hope to counter that with actual first-hand experience and facts.

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

I could tell you that, but I’d have to kill you.

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

Speaker Spotlight: Dylan Thomas

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Dylan Thomas
Mar 092013
 

Dylan Thomas is presenting Sex With Benefits: Progressive Swinging. Check out Dylan’s bio here.

 

How do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

When I look around, when I introduce myself and chat with random people, I hear a lot of people with hopes, dreams, desires, and preferences, and I hear a lot of people who aren’t confident, educated enough, or feel free enough to explore and pursue what or who they want.

The thing is, it doesn’t always take a lot to convince people to go for what they want and be who they want to be.

So I like being that person, the troubleshooter, the one that takes the time to find out everything that’s going on and find a path that makes everyone just a little more happy, or respectful, or open.

I see myself as a catalyst for change, a few people at a time.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I’d been unhappy with my given religion for a long time. Working through that process also allowed me to examine my political belief system and made me realize that I’d been brought up by my religion and my politics for years to be someone I’m not. It’s motivated me to solidify and make consistent my own internal beliefs, and to explore how they effect other people and in my estimation almost everyone’s been poorly served. So, I don’t necessarily pursue one party, one agenda, but I pursue equal rights for every consenting adult and either bring different people together to talk, or aggressively call out those unwilling to.  My own upbringing makes me want to work to make it ok for others to dissent where I couldn’t.

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

Right now the winds of change are clearly at our backs, the lgbtq has slowly but surely been opening peoples hearts and minds for years and while it’s all been hard fought I feel like it’s finally inevitable.
What I fear are the holdouts, much like in the wake of the civil rights movement, the people left behind by history are going to continue to respond, loudly, vehemently, and occasionally violently. Between gay mayoral candidates in Mississippi being murdered and new same sex married couples being harassed outside the states they got married in, I hate to think it’s going to get ugly before it finally gets better for good.

I don’t know what the answer is, but for the moment my push is constant engagement and publicly exposing hate.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Sex With Benefits: Progressive Swinging, to CatalystCon East?

We’re speaking about progressive swinging.

I’ve never been a fan of labels, I started out not even wanting to call myself a swinger, but I found that labels don’t have to necessarily define or separate people, they can just be useful pieces of information and give people an idea of where you’re coming from. Some labels are terribly unhelpful, but we decided attaching “progressive” to the swinging label was useful.

When I identify as a progressive swinger, I want it to mean that I enjoy sex, no-strings attached, with an ongoing friendship, or regular deep connections with someone. I”ve made a decision not to separate emotions from my sexuality, but I’m ok if you do. I may identify as other things on occasion, but my identifying as progressive swinger feels like an expansion of  what a swinger is and can be and not a subset of what it currently is. It’s just another way to tell people I’m likely open to who and what you are, without having to explain myself  for a half hour., and a way to build a community around that.

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

I’m a -HUGE- fan of Roller Derby!

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

Speaker Spotlight: Emerald

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Emerald
Mar 082013
 

Emerald is presenting How to Become a Successful Erotic Writer. Check out Emerald’s bio here.

 

EmeraldHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

This is probably a two-pronged answer. One of the literal ways I aspire to be is by writing sexually-themed work in a way that invites collective and individual recognitions, appreciation, and relaxation around sexuality, particularly in a culture that seems so reticent and sometimes resistant in that area. The second way seems a little more esoteric and difficult to articulate: I see the increase of self-awareness, the continual examining and exploring of ourselves and our motivations, as the most relevant catalyst for change and growth there is. For this reason, everyone has the potential to be a catalyst for change, and it is something I’m doing (or aiming to do) all the time.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

Almost any time I see someone doing sincere work to further the authenticity of human sexuality, it inspires me. (Obviously that’s going to include a lot of people who will attend and/or present at CatalystCon!) Some I have experienced as influential to my own process mostly or solely from afar, such as Annie Sprinkle, Nina Hartley, Veronica Monet, Charlie Glickman, Heather Corinna, Carol Queen, Megan Andelloux…others I have been fortunate enough to be in more frequent personal contact, some even personally supporting me in my writing (including by setting an example). A few of these include Dr. Richard Wagner, Donna George Storey, Ashley Lister, Monica Day, Alison Tyler, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Jeremy Edwards, Robin Sampson, Kristina Wright, Jolie du Pre, Violet Blue, Alana Noel Voth…. There are tons more, but I would fill up a page before I named them all! The support of all of them has been profound in my journey of writing and publishing erotic fiction, and the level of gratitude I feel is hard to describe.

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

To harken back to the latter part of my answer to number one, I feel that our issues around sexuality (which indeed seem plentiful) as a culture are formed from the ignorance and unconsciousness we display as individuals. I do not use “ignorance” there in an antagonizing or insulting way. I mean that we are, in large part, unaware of our unconscious patterns and motivations, and these are, to what most of us would find a disturbing degree, what run us. The more we are unaware of these things and out of touch with our deeper selves, the less I feel our actions and perceptions are grounded in truth and reality.

Since I feel it is virtually impossible to grow up in our society and not experience the indoctrination of the sexual neurosis it exhibits (as well as many other less-than-ideal phenomena), as I see it, our biggest challenge is lack of self-awareness. Sexuality is a realm around which this culture has experienced great repression and oppression, and thus the more unconsciously we are living in relation to our own self-awareness around sexuality, the more we may feel compelled to strike out and attack it in self and others. Unconscious inertia is simply a part of the human condition at this point in our evolution, but it can be consciously addressed—by our becoming aware of it, first of all.

Some people reading this may feel they are not the culprits in that they are not the ones doing the striking out. I don’t disagree! But to repeat myself once again, I feel the more we become aware of ourselves and our own unconscious, the more it supports the momentum for others—all others—to do the same.

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?

This isn’t a very flashy answer, but it relates directly to my immediately previous response: I feel a lot of them are unseen. I won’t personally know of them. Every time someone wakes up to whatever degree that person does, opens from sexual repression, gets in touch with his/her/their deeper self, it shifts the world in favor of awareness and out of unconsciousness. It has the potential to happen all the time, and it does.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, How to Become a Successful Erotic Writer, to CatalystCon East?

Fiction, as a form of art, has the potential to shift both individual and collective landscapes, as all art does. One of the reasons I write erotic fiction is to invite awarness of sexual patterns, desires, or understanding in others. When I first started writing in the genre, there was a funny reticence or inhibition there—as though I needed “permission” to talk about these things or express them explicitly. If any others feel this way or just want to know more or connect with people who have done this due to their own desire to express themselves this way, I am delighted to do whatever I can to help. It is an honor to be on the erotic writing panel with the revered authors with whom I will be sharing company.

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

I was a Police Explorer for four and a half years in my youth and spent a number of years thinking I would be a cop after I graduated from college.

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

Speaker Spotlight: Yoseñio Lewis

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: Yoseñio Lewis
Mar 072013
 

Yoseñio V. Lewis is presenting Sex and Sexuality from a Trans Perspective. Check out Yoseñio’s bio here.

 

Yoseñio V. LewisHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I’m a catalyst for change through being a shit-stirrer…people always want to go back to homeostatis, they want that balance in their lives. If I upset the status of complacency by making them realize things need to change, I have a 50-50 shot the change will happen in the direction I wish it do happen. A lot of people don’t know they’re complacent till it’s pointed out to them. Others have to be drug out of their complaceny. I’m a pretty persuasive person, so change happens!

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

There were/are many people who were/are catalysts for me, but right now my brother Shadow comes to mind. The first day we met he stood up for me and became the best white ally I’ve ever known. He’s made the way much easier for me because he takes on a lot of the silliness for me so I don’t have to deal with it.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Sex and Sexuality from a Trans Perspective, to CatalystCon East?

It’s important to talk about sexuality from a trans perspective because even today there are people who think our bodies and our sexuality are so foreign, think that they could not possibly be attracted to trans people (though they slobber all over us UNTIL they find out we are trans and then they try to backtrack). Demystification and celebration of our lives, of our bodies is an endless task.

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

It’s my goal to ride every rollercoaster in the world, especially ones that go upside down and backwards!

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

Speaker Spotlight: jessica drake

 CCON East 2013, Speaker Spotlight  Comments Off on Speaker Spotlight: jessica drake
Mar 062013
 

jessica drake is presenting The Facts About Measure B and How It Impacts Us All, Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities and the CatalystCon Opening Keynote Plenary Address: Sparking Communication in Sexuality, Activism and Acceptance. Check out jessica’s bio here.

 

jessica drakeHow do you see yourself as a catalyst for change?

I really think we all have the potential to be catalysts in our own ways. Personally, I come from years in the adult industry as a contract performer, writer, and director for one of the top companies, Wicked Pictures. First, I realize I come equipped with a large fan base to get my message out, and I use this platform to help spread knowledge about sexuality and to encourage people to be open and comfortable communicating their needs and desires. At the same time, I also combat the stereotype pervading the very industry making me who I am. From my line of instructional DVDs to lobbying against Measure B and everything in between, I love and defend the adult industry, while challenging the misconceptions many people have about it. I change opinions, often just one at a time.

Who or what was a catalyst for you?

I recognized very early in my career the need for more realistic sex education – porn does have an entertainment value, but for some, it is their sole reference for information. At a store signing, I had a woman come up to me worried she wasn’t always “ready” for anal sex the way she saw it happening in porn. It made me much more aware of the public perception, and it showed me the need to portray a more accurate representation of sexual experiences. This is but one of the many catalysts leading me down my path.

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

The biggest one is the stigma surrounding it. I’m not even talking about the stigma of my industry, but of sex in general. In a world where sex is supposedly so “mainstream,” the field of sexuality is still cloaked in shame. Most all of us have sex… why can’t we talk about it?

An international challenge in the field of sexuality right now is the educating of women in impoverished countries who have no real resources. Lack of HIV/AIDS awareness, family planning assistance, female genital mutilation, STI education – these things are only worsening the outlook of underdeveloped countries. If we strive to educate women, we can potentially impact future generations and in time, truly bring about change.

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 think the emergence of conferences like CatalystCon, which bring together like-minded people for the sake of discussion and progress brings about change in a direct way. When I attended last year, I had no idea what to expect, or how motivated and inspired I would be afterward.

Why do you feel it is important to bring the topic of your session, Slut Shaming in Sex Positive Communities, to CatalystCon East?

I am honored to be speaking on a few different panels with some amazingly iconic, inspirational people, but “Slut Shaming” hits very close to home… actually, it dive-bombs into my living room. I won’t give away the ending, but I’ll say it will be a very insightful panel.

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

I abhor wet socks almost as much as Dee and the Evil Sluts love Nutella. ; )

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

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